Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Keeping Garden-Fresh Herbs Fresh

My herb garden is my favorite... but with the heat of summer setting in, I know my precious herbs' days are numbered! Many have already bolted, others I'm constantly clipping to keep them from going to seed.

I love to watch the butterflies visit when they flower, but I'm into gardening to eat fresh and save money, sorry butterflies. Maybe we can compromise... I'm trying something new (thanks to a friend on facebook!) to hopefully accomplish both!

Resa said to clip my basil & store it in a vase to have fresh basil available at my fingertips. She listed a second benefit- the basil will start to root and I can plant another plant!

I'm trying it out. (See my picture? Chris brought me some sweet mini-roses!) I'm wondering... will it work for parsley as well?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Make time for FUN!

I am so serious.

I love to smile and laugh, but my default mode is "get it done and move on to the next thing". I guess that sinful focus on to-do's instead of relationships is affectionately referred to as task-oriented.

Since I'm wired that way, I have to be really intentional about having fun with my children. I could definitely spend the whole day accomplishing tasks and miss out on the privilege I have as a homeschooling mamma to develop relationships with my littles... to truly get to know them.

Enter the glasses.

I bought them in the $1 bin and we took them to the zoo. Everyone took turns wearing them because, well we don't already get enough looks as a family of 8. {hahaha}

It was fun! We laughed and posed and made some silly memories... and didn't see every exhibit. {pat pat pat on the back!} Now I'm brainstorming my next way to lighten up... how do you make time for fun?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meal Planning Monday

We have family coming in town for the 4th & Clara's Birthday and a special night out at the beach- this week's menu is shaping up to be yummy!

M- Bruschetta (made with tomatoes and basil from my garden!) and a BIG Italian Salad with peppers from the garden, marinated olives, fresh parmesan and a homemade balsamic viniagrette!
T- My VFSITWWW (very favorite soup in the whole wide world) the Sweet Potato Bisque from Biscotti's
W- Dinner & a concert-by-the-sea in St Augustine
R- Greens & Cannellini Beans over Polenta
F- Roasted Potato Salad & Chris' Amazing fish cakes
S- Veggie Pot Pie in individual puff Pastry Bowls
S- 3rd of July COOK OUT!

If anything looks good, come on over! If anything looks great, ask for the recipe!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

meet me in the garden

Alex said he hadn't seen me in a while.

I'm on a first-name basis with all the Publix employees- Alex is the solemn Russian in the produce department. I had to confess to him: I don't need to come as often because I'm getting my produce somewhere else... My own backyard!

Chris & I have attempted gardening for all 13 years of our marriage. Some years we have bell peppers, others the tomatoes flow in all summer long... but this is the first year my garden has been bountiful enough to save trips to Publix!

I haven't bought eggplant or collard greens in months, cucumbers are plentiful, the bell peppers and tomatoes are keeping us supplied, and okra is starting to roll in. The green beans and squash were tasty but I didn't plant enough. Oops.

And my herbs... oh, the herb garden is my favorite!! It's a little messy but fruitful beyond imagination... kind of how I view our family! {smile}

There is more, but I won't bore you. Some are ready before I know it (radishes!) and others take their time (onions & garlic). The lemon flaunts it's fruit but strawberries are nestled among large, deep green leaves like jewels in velvet.

My blueberries were trampled by well-meaning children... I need to find them a safer place for next year. The sticks are only a couple of inches above the ground, but I think they'll come back. That's the thing about a garden. With a lot of love and even more work, it'll yield abundantly. Hmm... sounds a lot like the rest of life...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reinventing the Wheel

Our evaluations & tests are complete for the 2010-2011 school year. It was a successful homeschool year according to the principal (Daddy O) and according to the state.

I'm starting to think about next year and I've realized when addressing challenges, I may need to do more than apply a band-aid.

"Once we've decided to go somewhere, it's too late to ask the question: 'Should we really go there?' Too often we are too busy trying to keep the car running, the spare tire patched and the clothes washed to ask the question: 'Should we really be taking this trip in the first place?" -Joel Salatin, Salad Bar Beef

What does my school day need to look like? What subjects do I need to cover? Do they have to be "taught" as "subjects"? To borrow from Mr. Salatin, perhaps I shouldn't "be taking that trip in the first place."

Perhaps learning should be integrated into lifestyle instead of making room for compartmentalized, school-style education in our life. I'm gonna ask my Abba for some direction before I start planning this year. I'm looking forward to seeing where 2011-2012 school year takes us!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Proud Mamma

Be still, my Mamma's heart... Benjamin went with Mr. Seth & Dad today to buy his first guitar!

He's been saving up for a while and waiting patiently until he had the money and the time with our expert consultant. When he got home, Mr. Eric taught him a couple of chords and leant him a book. And with that, he's on his way!

Clara thought he was doing a mighty fine job. She clapped for him from Daddy's lap (everybody loves a captive audience) and then fell asleep to her brother's strums. My little man... {happy sigh}

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

timers are this mom's best friend

My sweetest, snuggliest boy reminds me of Ferdinand the Bull- always stopping to smell the flowers.

I love how he savors life... but when it comes to cleaning his room or doing his math, he needs some help learning how to stay on task.

Using a timer- whether this counting-down Time Tracker or the timer on the kitchen stove- helps him learn to use his time wisely. It's almost as motivating as the promise of a snack when he's finished!