Friday, April 30, 2010

Recycled Art

We have a box where we save things like toilet paper tubes, foil scraps, milk jug lids, fabric scraps, spools, corks, egg cartons and more that we use for art. It's a great way to encourage creativity, and it reuses things that would otherwise end up in the trash.
For our art time the other day I took the box out and this is what the kids came up with:

James' crazy tower.

Hannah's caterpillar.

What are some ways you recycle/reuse??

Great Outdoor Challenge- April 29th

It was a great day for jumping!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge- April 27th

We had so much fun outside working in the front yard that I didn't get a chance to take any pictures. But we were outside pulling weeds and planting seeds for almost 2 hours! What fun!

Garden Update

It's Tuesday! Time for my weekly garden update.
Our greenhouse box is doing so well. We've been able to eat lots of spinach, and soon we'll be making salads with spinach AND lettuce. I'm so excited with how well everything has been doing! Hopefully the rest of the garden will do as well.
The peas are starting to sprout and push their little heads up through the soil. So nice to see especially after the pesky squirrel had been digging in the garden box. Wasn't sure if any of my peas were still left. The broccoli and onions are continuing to do well too. Not much change from last week, although I can definitely tell the onions especially are growing.
Still trying to keep my seedlings going inside. Hopefully they'll last till planting time next weekend. And hopefully they'll survive the transplant!
Strawberries are growing well, and so are the raspberries. I saw a couple blooms on the raspberry canes today. My blueberry bushes aren't doing as well. It appears something has been eating them, so I'm gonna have to figure that out and get them some help. I got one more new blueberry bush that I planted out front as part of the landscaping, and it looks good. Maybe I can atleast keep it healthy.
Hannah and I also planted some flower seeds and squash, pumpkins, and zucchini today. They were some heirloom seeds that my mom had given me. They are quite old, so she wasn't sure if they'd grow, but we're gonna try! If they do, we're gonna have food all over the place!!
At any rate, this is all one big learning experience, so each year should just get better and better.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge- April 26th

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea

Robert Louis Stevenson

Ellie is CRAWLING!!!

Can you tell I'm excited??? LOL To be honest, I'm a little scared too. Now that she can really get around, I'm going to be chasing two munchkins everywhere! Yippee! No need for a gym membership for this lady...I've got two very cute and happy personal trainers. :)

(I tried posting a video, but it just won't load. I'll keep trying!)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge- April 23rd

Today Hannah and I made some homemade clay. Then we went outside and found some different things like pine cones and sticks and pressed them into the clay to leave prints. It didn't work quite as well as I had hoped it would, but we still had a great time. We baked them in the oven when we were all done, and then maybe we'll paint them another day. I made holes in the tops before we baked them so we can string ribbon through them and hang them up.

Basic Clay Recipe

4 cups white flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water
food color (optional. we left ours white.)

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the water and continue to mix for a few minutes. Gradually add the remaining water and keep mixing the dough. Form dough into a ball, working in any dry flour and salt left at the bottom of the bowl. Knead dough for approximately 5 minutes. Add food coloring if desired.
Play with it like that, or if you want you can roll it out and cut shapes and bake them. I can't remember the original directions for baking them, but I did mine at 200 degrees for a few hours. You might have to experiment with that part.
Have fun!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!!!

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

Today Hannah and I worked in the yard pulling weeds, and then we took a walk around the neighborhood picking up trash. We also read the story of creation from Genesis, and talked about how we can take care of the beautiful world that God gave to us.

Here's a list of some things to do to help keep our world beautiful and healthy:

1. Recycle!
These days most every city and town has recycling programs. Use them! Plus it's easy for the kids to get involved, saving and sorting the paper, cans, bottles, etc.

2. Reuse!
With a little bit of effort you can turn something that is old, worn out, or otherwise unfit for it's original purpose into something useful. Cut up old button up shirts into napkins. Turn empty food cans into pencil organizers or pots to grow herbs on your window sill. Use an old toothbrush holder to make a plastic bag drying rack. Use branches leftover from trimming trees to make trellises for plants to climb on. The possibilities are pretty much endless!

3. Grow a garden!
Even if you just have a tiny patio, you can put a few plants in a pot, and grow some of your own yummy goodness!

4. Clean Green!
Use homemade natural cleaning products. It is better for you AND the earth! Plus it even helps your wallet! Baking soda and vinegar are cheap.

These are just a few ideas. And I'm sure you've heard them all before. But these are just a few of the things our family does to be good stewards of the earth that God has placed in our care.

Dandelion Greens

Today I thought we'd get a little adventurous and try some dandelion greens. I've always heard how they are edible, and just read about how good they are for you. They are full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium, plus they have very few calories. And the best part is they require no work to grow. Dandelions are everywhere!
So Hannah and I went out this morning and picked some along with some spinach and baby kale leaves from our garden. Then we cooked them up with garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to eat with our grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.
How were they you ask?? Well.................if you put enough salt on them, the bitterness is a little easier to deal with, but I don't think I'll make this a staple on the menu. LOL
Here's how we cooked them if you want to give it a try yourself. Or you could look up some other recipes in Google. Surprisingly, there are quite a few recipes using dandelion greens.

Cooked Dandelion Greens

handful of dandelion greens
handful of spinach and/or other greens (kale, chard, etc)
1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how many greens you have)
garlic to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in pan over med-low heat. Add in garlic and all greens. Cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Great Outdoor Challenge- April 21st

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge- April 20th

Rain Art:
Drop some food coloring onto a paper plate and go stand outside in the rain. Watch as it makes patterns and mixes the colors!

Standing under the dripping gutter. So much fun!

All wet!

Today is rainy and a little bit cool, but we still had tons of fun outside! We did an art project, planted some more seeds, played frisbee, blew bubbles and just ran around.

Garden Update

broccoli and onions

cabbage and tipi for the the peas to climb once they grow


yummy spinach!

lettuce, spinach, and more. oh, my!

Well, it's been 4 weeks since I planted the first garden bed with lettuces and spinach and such and I'm happy to report that so far everything is growing beautifully. We have even been able to eat a little bit of spinach already. In fact, Hannah and I had some for our morning snack today. Yum! Can I just say there is nothing better than walking out into the yard and finding something good to eat? We are so blessed that we have the space to have a garden!
Since our first planting in the garden, Hannah and I have gotten a few more things started in some of the other beds. My mother-in-law shared some of her onion starts, and I got a broccoli plant to try my hand at growing broccoli. I also got a few cabbage plants to try. 9 to be exact. I know, that sounds crazy, but it wasn't really my fault. LOL They only sold the cabbage I wanted in packs of 9, so we have LOTS of cabbage growing in the garden. I sure hope it does well! We also planted a bunch of peas which hopefully will grow despite the squirrel digging around in the garden. Soon we will be planting more, and hopefully we'll be able to get our seedlings going outside too. They are still not looking too great, so I'm not sure what's going to happen with them. Just have to wait and see.
I'm just so happy that gardening season is here!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge- April 19th

Today was grocery shopping day, so we didn't get as much time for outside play, but we still managed to squeeze in a little bit before nap time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Great Outdoor Challenge- April 18th

Today was an absolutely GORGEOUS day!!! It was in the low 70's and beautiful sunshine all day. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch and just hung out in our yard for the afternoon. A friend came over for a little bit and the guys threw the football around. Hannah and I planted some morning glory seeds around her tipi. Hopefully they grow well and climb all over her tipi and make it a wonderful little retreat for her. Today she told me it was her castle and she is the princess. So sweet! The kids also had some fun with bubbles for a little bit, and Ellie enjoyed hanging out with Dad on the patio before her nap. What a wonderful day!