Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Two Things Tuesday (5/24)

1. I decided that for the summer months, we'd do a simpler learning-time routine. I found this on Pinterest and modified it to fit our days. 
Here's what ours will look like. 
Instead of choosing books and basing learning time activities around them, I'll choose books and won't worry about making lesson plans to go along with them.  Simple summer :)
We already began the new routine this week with cooking together on Monday. I had to get the soup in the crockpot by 8am, so it would be ready by lunch. I took the kids from their beds straight to the kitchen counter before changing them or even feeding them haha. But they enjoyed helping :). Please ignore their mismatched pajamas! 

Ella enjoyed playing with the beans and did so on that blanket for nearly 30 minutes with no breaks and almost no interaction with me other than to show me her big scoops every once in a while :)

2. Our first harvest of our mini cucumbers!! I'm like a proud parent, and it's so ridiculous how excited I got when I saw they were ready to be picked! The kids came out with me and helped me choose the two biggest. These are ready when they are between 3-6 inches. 
They were my taste-testers, and they approved! 
The bummer is that I realized I missed  a few female flowers when I was out the other day, so they won't produce any :/

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Stayin' Busy

We finally got past our colds, so we've all been feeling more like ourselves the last few days. It's been nice to have the energy to work around the house again and get things accomplished. 

The Husband decided to start the long and arduous process of fixing our upstairs rooms. This is the back bedroom. 
Such shoddy workmanship by the previous owners. Makes us sad that it won't be a simple process. The floors have to be completely redone, as well as tearing down the walls and putting in insulation there and up in the ceiling. It's going to take him a very long time (and lots of money) to accomplish everything, but I'm thankful he feels confident that it can be done. 

My strawberries were just about ready to be picked when nasty birds came along and stole them :(. I found this idea on Pinterest and tried to copy it. 
Hahahahaha. We'll see how well they do at keeping pests away. While I was out there, I went ahead and pollinated the female cucumber flowers. 
The ones I've helped along are growing!
This girl and her mop of hair. The Husband says she reminds him of a Shetland pony, hehe. 
The city came out one (early) morning and dug up and replaced our culverts that were in poor shape. Jack had the best time watching all of the big equipment and the men doing their jobs.  
My mother-in-law sent these batman shirts last week. The kids love them :)
Yesterday afternoon, before the rains hit again, I asked The Husband to move some of the big tree stump pieces and make me a border around my new compost pile. Those pieces are crazy heavy. 
This morning, I stayed busy with a few Pinterest activities while Ella painted and Jack was having room time. 
I learned how to distill water. That was neat. 
I mixed up some spider spray (peppermint essential oil and distilled water) and sprayed all of the door frames (inside and out) and under furniture and on the porch. 
I also mixed up some all-purpose cleaning spray and used it on the bathroom counter and the kitchen surfaces. Disinfecting, fresh-smelling, and non-toxic. 
I've enjoyed staying busy, but now I'm going to put my feet up while the kiddos rest and read a few chapters in my book before our afternoon activities begin. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday Grumbles

The kids and I have been sick for the last week with a summer cold that seems to have the "I won't quit you!" mentality. I'm super ok with it quitting us. Really. Leave us alone. The snot. The coughing. The inability to breathe while the snot and mucus pour.  The upset stomachs because of all the drainage.  The restless nights. It's all so unpleasant, and we all keep sharing it with one another. So nasty.  The upside is that my kids, although far from being their usual super happy selves, are still happy and loving, if not a little clingier than usual.  I'm ready to feel like myself again. 

I was checking my garden yesterday, and although my strawberries are producing and my bell peppers are making themselves known, my poor, poor cucumbers just can't get going. The plants themselves look pretty good, but since they aren't self-pollinating plants, they need an outside source (i.e. bees) to help them along. And obviously no bees have been visiting my male and female cucumber flowers :(. The tiny cucumbers have all shriveled and died. 

So, I hope more female flowers will develop and bloom, so I can move pollen myself from the male flowers to the female flowers. Maybe al this rain will encourage some more blooms. This is my little garden just over 5 weeks after planting it. I'm proud :)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Few Weekend Projects **Updated**

I decided to tackle a few projects this weekend. 1, because it was payday on Friday, and 2, because I decided to take advantage of a sale at our local lumber store (which sells a bunch of stuff, and not just lumber). 

So, yesterday, I bought and washed up four pint-sized mason jars and four pretty blue quart-sized mason jars. 
I've been making overnight oats for The Husband to eat or take with him to work each night, but our plastic containers aren't big enough. The pint-size ones are perfect! I found the apple cinnamon recipe here.  

I looked at several other ideas and ended up concocting my own peanut butter and honey recipe. 

The list of ingredients is as follows:
1/2 cup of oats
1/2 cup of milk of your choosing 
Two big spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt  
One honkin-big spoonful of peanut butter or other nut butter of your choosing
A squirt or two of honey  
A dash of cinnamon
Directions: stir everything carefully until everything is mixed well. Place lid on tightly and give it a few good shakes. Let sit in refrigerator overnight (8-10 hours). Eat cold :)
He enjoys and is filled up by both, and he normally does not like oatmeal, so give it a go if you're looking for filling, easy, and healthy. I'm sure I'll find some others to try, but these two are both simple and require few ingredients. I made up four jars in 15 minutes tops. Easy-peasy. 
Eventually, I'll invest in more jars so that I can make up batches for the kids, who both enjoy (warm, steel-cut) oatmeal three or so times a week for breakfast. 

This afternoon, the kids and I went to the lumber store and picked up six plants and a large bag of soil. Four of the plants I got for 99¢ each. Score! All six plants are known for repelling mosquitos, and after the weeks of rain we've had, those suckers are big and out in full force. I'm hoping I can check out the dollar store tomorrow for a few small pots or one really large one to hold the marigolds and the petunias the kids helped me choose!
**Update-Sunday afternoon** I bought my pots, and I planted the remaining four plants. I'm pleased with how they turned out :)

Two of the plants I found were herbs for my herb garden. I had originally thought I'd like to hang the large blue mason jars on an outside wall, but The Husband is probably getting tired of my honey-dos. So, instead, I did a little redecorating during nap time and made room for a tiny herb garden on our kitchen table.  I got the rosemary, the basil, and the two mint plants from my dad all planted in the mason jars while the kids ate dinner. 

Now, we have something lovely to look at and smell while we sit there each day, and I think it freshens up the room. 

They like shade, so it should be the perfect spot, and the pea gravel at the bottom should keep them from staying too moist. I think they look lovely :)