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Gardening Update

Gardening Update

This week not a lot got done in the garden besides watering and weeding.  We had a busy week with the oldest daughter graduating from high school and Father’s Day so we were pretty occupied.  We spent a lot of time doing maintenance type stuff […]

Gardening Update June 19, 2017

Gardening Update June 19, 2017

We have had some excitement in the garden this week. Our plants are continuing to grow super fast from our week of excellent sun and we harvested our first few strawberries.  I got some more seedlings planted and we spent quite a bit of time […]

Gardening Update June 5th 2017

Gardening Update June 5th 2017

We had a really busy week this week with playdates for the younger kids and prom for our oldest.  There were errands to run and the one year old didn’t nap all week. Both little kids must be growing through a growth spurt because I spend a lot of time feeding hangry (yes hangry) kids who had been fed an hour prior and then having to run to the store because we some how were out of everything. There was a lot of cleaning up of messes and my husband and I spent all of Sunday working on cleaning out the garage. We made a lot of progress and I feel much better about it.  We just need to add another shelf to the ceiling and some along the walls for our gardening stuff and we should be mostly done. Ug. It was both exhausting and fun hanging out with the kids this week but we didn’t get a lot of gardening done.

 

I spent most of my time weeding and cleaning up the back yard.  I didn’t have a lot of time so I pulled the biggest weeds from the asparagus bed, around the fruit trees/bushes and in the back around the deck/huckleberry bush.  I found the biggest Stinky Bob plant I have ever seen underneath the huckleberry bush. It was easily three feet across. They are native here so they are everywhere in our back ravine and luckily they are easy to pull once they get big enough.  My teenager also spent quite a bit of quality time with her sister pulling ivy along our back slope in preparation for the back fence.  Getting the back area clear will be a family effort but well worth it once the fence is in and we can let George out to roam.  I didn’t get any pictures of her efforts because I was busy in the garage (which I didn’t take pictures of either because it was a huge embarrassing mess).

 

 

Our indoor seedlings are past the point of needing planting but I was waiting on our trellises to come in the mail. I ordered them from Gardeners Supply Store a few weeks ago but you can also find something similar on Amazon and they will come much quicker since I had to wait almost three weeks for them to ship which was kind of a pain. I am going to plant my Luffas along the red three panel trellis and my three year old and I planted some pole beans under the bamboo stakes to create a bean tepee for her and her brother to play in.  She was very excited! I let her choose beans or peas. My kids love their vegetables and peas and green beans are their favorite. I am really glad she chose green beans because I am not a fan of peas and I have been having to eat them quite a bit lately so that I am modeling good vegetable eating behavior.

 

 

My Luffa plants are doing well. I have been hardening them off all week and they should be ready to plant some time this week.  I am really excited about them but also nervous because we just started out gardening and these are a little unusual.  I have some bottle gourds that are ready to plant as well but I am in need of another trellis for them to climb.

 

 

I used some Earth Staples to anchor the trellis and some of the soaker hoses down.  I plan on anchoring more of the soaker hoses down but I am waiting for after I add another trellis or something for the gourds to grow on.  I probably need to use a splitter with my soaker hoses so there isn’t so much wasted water but I am still trying to figure out a good configuration for them. I am afraid that if I bury them I will forget where I put them…

 

 

Our green bean trellis is looking good. I am hoping it will be fun for the kids to sit in and sneak eating beans while I work in the garden.

 

 

Our pumpkins and squash are doing well with new growth and lots of flowers.  I am hoping to get at least one good sized pumpkin and I know that the zucchini will probably over produce so I plan on freezing a bunch of it for the winter since I am the only on that really likes it.  I only have two plants in the garden and a couple still in their red cups but I don’t think I will be planting the extras since two zucchini plants it probably enough for us.

 

 

After I worked in the vegetable garden I spent some time looking around the rest of the yard while my husband and son watered the asparagus and the front garden bed.

 

 

My gigantic bush by our front door is abuzz with bees.  It is really pretty with all of it’s white flowers and the way it is shaped.

 

 

We also have these pink flowers that are stunning. We almost killed these last year when we planted the asparagus. They die back every year and the previous owners must have cut them back before they put the house on the market so we had no idea they were there until after they had been stepped on. They did not bloom last year but this year the bush is much bigger and has several big blossoms. We have really enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for the flowers to finally open. Our three year old has been checking them daily for progress which has been fun to watch.

 

This week I am going to continue to do bi-weekly watering, try and plant my luffa plants and maybe the gourds or my leftover cucumbers. We also have a ton of cleanup work to do in the yard for the oldest’s graduation party in two weeks (time has flown by too fast!) and to get the back ready for a fence.  Our strawberries are starting to ripen and we got one berry off of them this week which the three year old promptly ate.  I did find some unwelcome visitors in the garden this week and I used a non-toxic solution to hopefully get rid of them but that is for another post!

 

Happy gardening everyone!

Indoor Gardening

 

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Gardening Update May 30, 2017

Gardening Update May 30, 2017

I haven’t posted an update about the garden in a while since we got really busy and I ignored it for a bit…I am definitely paying for it now with weeding and chopping back, I mean pruning, the massive growth on our many ornamental bushes. […]

Gardening Update May 15th 2017

Gardening Update May 15th 2017

Sunday was Mother’s Day and my wonderful husband ran to the nursery and picked up soil after work on Friday and played with the kids on Sunday so that I could get my seedlings in the ground that were ready to plant.  We spent Saturday […]

Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We have been spending a lot of time lately working on sensory play with our kids. They love to get messy and a lot of the activities we have been doing are brand new to our one year old and our three year old hasn’t done them in a while because of how difficult it was to keep her brother from destroying everything.  We tend to do at least one a day depending on what the kids want to do.  I try and let them decide which activity to do unless I have something in mind or I don’t want to do laundry. Since the weather has finally started to warm up in the Pacific Northwest we have been doing a lot of sensory play outside with found materials.

 

Practicing dumping and pouring while sharing with two plastic plant containers the kids found in the garden and dirt.

 

Having kids work with their hands using a variety of materials is a great way to have them learn without it seeming like forced work.  So many parents I talk to are amazed at how much we do with our kids but honestly it is super easy and it doesn’t cost much to set things up. Many of the set ups I made when our three year old was one we are still using and will continue to use for many years and the others (most of them) are ones where my kids ask to play with something and I throw a bunch of things in a bin and they play.  My kids also find sensory play items in their own as well and unless there is a safety issue I usually let them play with it.  We have been on a strict budget ever since I can remember so I have not spent a lot of money.  They key is to not get caught up in all of the fancy sensory bins you see on Pinterest with very specific items included in them and to make sure and buy materials that can be used for many different activities.  Every once in a while throw in something new or “new” to them (as in mommy hid it for several months) and it will keep them interested.

 

Split peas we didn’t use in time, spoons from the silverware drawer and tupperware from the bin.

 

Our focus lately has been water play. In the winter we have dumped bath toys in the kitchen sink and I have had the kids wash them for me but I only like to use that activity for special treats (like when the kids have cabin fever) since it can get out of hand and cause a huge mess. The weather has finally gotten warm enough so that the kids don’t freeze when they get wet outside so we have moved to the front yard. We used to live in a townhouse with no yard but a decent deck that was shaded in the heat of the summer so in the afternoons I would get our middle daughter a big bowl of water and sit out there with her while she poured water out of her tea pot over and over again.  She absolutely loved it.  Writing this reminds me I have to find that tea pot so that the kids can play with it this summer.

 

 

Now that we have two kids I have had to get a little more creative.  I usually give them our white dish pans that we never use for dishes.  I bought them several years ago at Target and we use them almost exclusively for sensory play.   The dish pans, a set of large sterilite containers similar to these and this set of sensory tools are by far the best sensory play items I have bought so far.  The dish pans are the perfect size for keeping projects small but deep enough so that material spills way less often then something shallow like a cookie pan and the sterilite containers work well for when you want a little more room, especially if the kids want to sit in your material which is good for them as well.

 

 

Our one year old’s first time using the dish pans outside. He was content with two red cups leftover from planting seedlings.  Both had holes in them but all he cared about was practicing scooping and pouring water into the bin.

 

 

I had to bring out both dish pans when both kids were outside last week since they each wanted to play in a different way.  They used the red cups, beach toys and watering cans to scoop and pour.

 

 

Today I turned on the hose to water some plants I had moved and our son ran into the garage, dumped out the first white bin he could find and brought it to me to fill.  It was super sweet. I guess he loves playing with water outside!  The kids were a little bored with the same toys so I added some bubbles to the pan.  Oh man.  Our one year old loves bubbles.  He was so excited I had to break out the large sterilite container I have for larger sensory play and fill that with bubbles.  It also kept the water loss down since the waterwheel drained back into the container instead of on the grass.  They played with bubbles for over an hour until both of them were cold and ready for dinner.

 

Here is some of the sensory play we did outside the last couple of weeks:

 

Playing with old potting soil, an empty pot and a shovel.

 

Walking around in the woods. Lots of tree roots, noises to hear and wind blowing on our faces.

 

Digging out weeds from the garden bed using a variety of scoops (shovel, cup, random sticks etc.).

 

Collecting rocks and talking about the different textures, how they sound when they bang together.

 

Carrying large rocks and banging them on things. Watch out for your toes!

 

We have done some indoor play as well. My kids have been obsessed with their legos and our creative muscles have been working hard making stores, schools, houses, and many other creations.

 

Legos!

 

Our son has just started to really play with them so it has been a lesson in sharing and taking turns for everyone.

 

There are many many other ways you can do sensory play.  In the past we have used water beads, kinetic sand, gak, pinto beans, flax seed and many more ideas.

 

What ways do you use sensory play in your home?

 

Gardening Update May 2, 2017

Gardening Update May 2, 2017

This past weekend we started our work on completely overhauling our front bed. It was originally planted with all ornamental plants and last year we removed a couple of large bushes and installed a planter box we were gifted from our neighbor.  After a winter […]

Spring is Here!

Spring is Here!

Spring is finally here! We have spent huge chunks of time outdoors the past week now that the weather has finally warmed up. Today I spent time alone with each of the little kids. I spent the morning blowing bubbles, riding in cars and cleaning […]

Zen

Zen

Today for the first time in weeks I was able to get out walking in the sunshine.  I love walking. Being outdoors and getting exercise is one of my favorite things to do. We have been hit really hard with sickness in our family this winter and I have barely been out on my walks. Today I seized the opportunity and got in the best walk I have had in a while.  My son played and talked to me about the things he saw in his baby language. We saw some dogs (his favorite) and happened to walk by the school as it was getting out which was exciting for him.

 

I should have taken some more pictures along the way of the beautiful plants that are coming up along the way but I was too busy chatting with my son and trying to remember to hold onto the stroller on the steep hills. Ha! Hopefully we will be able to get out more frequently now that the weather has turned!