Garden Update & Cashmere!

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Somehow I missed the opportunity to photograph the raspberries loaded down with beautiful ripe berries, but they were wonderful while they lasted. I think the birds got to them quicker than me! We have quite a bit of new growth so we are hoping for more berries next year. I need to research pruning to make them easier to access. We have been gifted a volunteer tomato plant in appreciation from the birds also.

The tomato garden is growing great with a few volunteers also. Depending on spacing, we let some of them grow. Sometimes the best producing cherry tomatos are volunteers! We grew tired of the radishes, especially when the weather got warmer and they were spicier, and haven’t picked what remains. The girls wanted lots of cucumbers so we planted two more vines this past weekend in that bed also.

The earliest bed we planted began with turnips, which we harvested completely. Zucchini is now flowering. We are starting to see some fruit and the flowers are gorgeous. We planted a row of zinnias between the zucchini and the cucumbers. After that is a row of bush beans and more cucumbers. Did I mention we love cucumbers?

The rains have slowed and we now have these brief afternoon thunderstorms, enough to give everything a quick drink and make the air really muggy.

As a side note, so much cashmere yarn is on sale at Jimmy Beans wool! I bought a bit of the Lotus Cashmere Fingering for some Christmas gifting. Have you used this brand?

 

Finding My Summer Groove

These first few weeks of summer have been chaotic for us as we try to create some structure in the day for the kids, because my husband and I both work full time.

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We have challenged the girls to take more responsibility keeping the house tidy (and their rooms especially). Each week I post an “I’m bored” list of ideas for them to be creative as well as some chores I would like them to do. We have tried an allowance in the past and were not successful, so the reward for the responsibility is experiences. We go out for ice cream, get pedicures, go to a movie, etc if we are all working together well and keeping the house clean.

I don’t like cleaning with harsh chemicals because I don’t enjoy the smell, and I especially don’t like the kids being exposed to them because they want to help our family. Each week I mix some of Young Living’s Thieves Cleaner in a spray bottle and it makes it easy for the kids to spray down the kitchen or bathroom.

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It is also easier to keep the house clean when I get rid of clutter, and I tried to overhaul our house last month. I was not 100% successful following my list. I went down a rabbit hole reading The Curated Closet and got off track in my own closet, AND it took a full week to finish cleaning out the garage. So while I got rid of the quantity I wanted to meet the challenge, there are several areas that continue to need work. It feels good when you finish a room! (At least that’s what I’m telling myself.)

How is your summer going?

April Reading

As spring blossomed, I heeded the call to be outdoors this month (allergies be damned, ha). We spent several weekends at the lake, adjusting the dock and cleaning up after the flooding, and just enjoying some longer evenings spent with friends, riding bikes and playing in our neighborhood.

I had running on the brain, with the half marathon, and read a couple of cookbooks about running nutrition and whole foods- Run Fast/ Eat Slow and Nourishing Meals.

I also listened to Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli on my walks. It was narrated by John Ritter, a voice I adore. Stargirl is a girl who is misunderstood, who marches quite literally to the beat of her own drum. I loved it and can’t wait to enjoy this one again with my soon-to-be-middle-schooler.

I’ve been wanting to read When Breath Becomes Air for awhile now. Being so popular when it came out, it was hard to pick up at the library. And in forgetting to reserve it online, completely forgot about the book. A couple of months ago, when reading yet another glowing review, I finally pulled the trigger and got on the wait list at the library. Of course, the advantage in waiting is that the library has many, many copies now and the wait was not long. The book was hopeful, and sad, and lovely, and just everything I wanted it to be. (Well maybe not, I knew the ending, but if I didn’t- I would hope for some magical cure, happy-ending optimist that I am.) The medical jargon was a little over my head, but broken down enough that I got the gist of what was happening to Paul. I certainly read it more with the focus of Lucy and how she must feel to navigate this journey, rather than Paul. A true must-read, as many reviews have advertised.

I also read Running by Cara Hoffman. I had mixed feelings about this one. The story is centralized around a young girl orphaned very young, and raised unconventionally. She ends up hustling for money and squatting around Europe. Parts of the story were shocking, and seemed to amount to a miserable existence. Just when you think the abandonment and hopelessness would triumph, hope peeked around the corner and you realized that she was living the life she wanted. So maybe as an observer, I just don’t understand the appeal of the lifestyle, and that’s why I was a bit distracted and uninterested as a reader.

Have you read anything wonderful lately?

 

Summer Reading Plan

With the school year ending, I’m not going to lie- I am very excited to see the end of the reading log for the kiddos. We love to read! However, the requirement to log in a certain amount of time a day truly steals the joy.

So this summer, the reading plan is very loose. I am taking them to the library on Fridays, to let them pick anything they want. They have their own library card, and I let them usually choose 5-10 books. And together (bedtimes and car trips mainly) we will try to read a few chapter books.

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These are some of the ones I’m looking forward to sharing this summer:

The Boxcar Children

The Courage of Sarah Noble

Red, White, and Blue

Hattie & Hudson (not chapters but so beautiful)

Bellyache

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And for me-

The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a dark, dark wood, in thriller preparation for The Lying Game (coming out July 25!)

More of the Outlander series

Pure, White, and Deadly 

Always and forever, Lara Jean 

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And some other new releases that I heard about on Bookpage: How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A Memoir in Essays and Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel

Do you like to make a plan for yourself and your kiddos?

10 Thoughts on the end of Elementary School

At the middle school meet and greet, just about everyone who spoke said the words “Don’t worry, you’ll make it through this.” Worried, check.

Worried about exposure. Is my baby ready for middle school in the smartphone/ social media age? Am I?

Worried about discipline. Am I ready to hand over the reins and let the relationship be mostly teacher/student? For this will require discipline for myself as well.

And while the weight of middle school is threatening, we have the joy that is SUMMER VACATION already upon us. (pool! beach! sleep! relaxed art projects! no reading log!)

She brought me a list of chores she thinks she can do to earn some extra spending cash this summer. (She thinks cleaning a bathroom is worth $10. We’ll see.)

She sleeps past 8 o’clock most days now, craves it, and getting those extra hours was a joy that I remember as well.

Think of what I can do with those extra 2 hours between gym time and work time when I don’t have to be waking, feeding, and ushering to school!

The 5th Grade Walk. The teachers line the halls and cheer as the 5th graders parade out to the parking lot on the last walk out of the school. Tears, thankfulness, relief that my youngest has a few more years at that school.

This is the last year my girls will be at the same school. Logistics nightmare will be our reality this fall.

Need to live in the moment. Have I bought enough sunscreen?

 

 

 

 

Garden Update

Clockwise: The raspberries are spreading magnificently.

This one has some turnips and radishes growing in one row. The rest is a weedy mess. I need to pull the weeds and this will be where the tomatoes, and more beans are planted this weekend.

This one has some turnips and radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, and bush beans growing.

We have had so much rain that I have no need for the soaker hose, and I can hardly keep up with the weeding. So around the edges of these raised beds are especially bad. I went to the farmer’s market last weekend, and it seems most people are leaps and bounds ahead of me (some had tomatoes and zucchini, but it was mostly potatoes, greens, onions and strawberries). With the mild and rainy spring we’ve had, everyone who got their garden in early seems to be thriving. How does your garden grow?

Using the Stash

With the minimalist challenge that I’m doing this May, my mind has been more focused on what I can get rid of versus what I need. I am a process knitter (that’s code for I start many projects and never finish). And I love to peruse Ravelry and my favorite knitting blogs like MDK, so it’s truly an active challenge to not want to order more yarn and start more new projects.

Yarn was scheduled for Day 9, and I knew that in order to donate 9 skeins of yarn (to my daughter’s classroom, btw) I would have to first get an overview of what I had, then make a list of possible projects I could make with what I had, and THEN decide what was truly worth destashing.

I frogged so many projects (Aspen, several scarves and shawls, a Tea Leaves Cardi, to name a few). It felt so great! And in the end, her classroom will receive a colorful bundle to play with at her end-of-year class party coming up.

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Of course, with such a public destashing, the onlooker quotient was not factored in. I have now on the needles a purple feather & fan church shawl for my youngest daughter. (SO SQUISHY, MOM, CAN YOU KNIT SOMETHING FOR ME? I’m a sucker for that, you know.)

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