Friday, December 22, 2017

Fall Garden updates!

Things have taken off in the garden within the past month or so. We have had tons of zucchini blossoms (some I fried stuffed with Ricotta), a couple handfuls of green beans, and huge collard leaves.

One of my favorite parts of gardening is seeing how each plant grows. For some reason I thought that zucchini plants would grow like cucumbers but instead found that they grow like squash. Some veggies seem to do better in my garden than others. I've found that beans are easy to grow and can be prolific. We love eating sauteed green beans with garlic.

The collards are thriving and require little care. They are also have a little blue tint to them which makes them so pretty in the morning light.

I do however, have a lot of trouble with zucchini and squash. I tend to get lots of flowers but very little fruit and none that reach maturity...yet! Hoping that the few zucchini's I have don't rot.

Any other Fall gardens out there? What is working for you?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Florida Fall Gardening

Fall in Florida must be how the weather in heaven feels. After a very humid and hot summer these small cold fronts are much welcomed. In Florida our growing season can easily be year round since our winters are so mild. This is my first fall garden and is a bit smaller than the spring garden.

I decided to narrow my plants down to 3-4. I have beans growing in the back, then zucchini, and collards in the front. One of the most interesting things I've found about gardening is just seeding how different plants grow. For instance, cucumber and zucchini seem like they would grow similarly, right? Nope, cucumbers vine and zucchini grows in a bush (like squash)!

Everything seems to be growing well and I am waiting on the first blossoms! I think I should have lots of pole beans coming soon. Does anyone else have a fall garden going? Do you can any of your bounty?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

New Beginnings

This year I decided that I would begin my own garden. I knew I wanted to start small and inexpensive. I had so many questions as a new gardener: Will I enjoy tending the garden? Where should I start it? What do I plant? and maybe most of all Will I have TIME?

With those questions in mind I spent a month examining our small tree covered property trying to find that special sunny spot. I settled on a brambly weedy area near our front fence. Can I do this? I kept asking myself. Can I actually grow my own food? 

Still unsure of my green thumb I carried on. Amending my soil and tending to my seedlings. I noticed every single change from day to day. I was aware of the moisture, sun, new leaves. I would wake up excited to see if any new seeds have emerged.

Eventually these seeds were ready to be transplanted. Like a mother dropping her child off for school on the first day of kindergarten I reassured my tiny seedlings that this new patch of dirt would be perfect for them. I gave them a nice drenching of water, a sprinkle of fertilizer, and crossed my fingers.

Then, Florida did as Florida does and surprised us with a very frosty night! I was so worried, was all that hard work for nothing? I carefully arranged small containers over the seedlings to keep them warm. I prayed to mother nature to have mercy on my little seedlings.

The following days I carefully monitored the condition of my seedlings. Eventually things warmed up and the seedlings grew. Still nothing to eat but they were growing! I was actually growing cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, squash, peppers, and strawberries. 

Now, as we reach mid-summer I am able to harvest a few veggies almost daily. I am hoping to post weekly garden updates and tips that I find helpful. Maybe a small garden is in your future?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blueberry picking at Southern Hill Farm

Down a winding dirt road, a stones throw away from the Mouse, hides a real Florida gem. On a warm Florida morning I packed the kids up to meet Granna at Southern Hill Farms for some blueberry picking!

I never knew this but there are many varieties of blueberries, some sweeter and some with more of a bite. We took one look at the little map and decided to head towards to the sweet juicy rows of blueberries. 

The kids picked blueberries for about 15 minutes before spotting the play area! Huge tires to dig into, swings, and even checkers! We also enjoyed some thirst-quenching blueberry lemonade at their little store. 

We had picked about a 2 pounds of blueberries, more than enough for a blueberry pie. I used this recipe (and refrigerated pie dough) to make a delightful blueberry pie bursting with flavor. Southern Hills Farm is the perfect place to bring kids for their first trip to a farm! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

From Drab to Fab!

One of my favorite things is finding a piece of furniture that someone is tossing out! I am a known trash collector who enjoys transforming tossed aside pieces into beautiful show stopping works of art.

First I painted the mirror frame teal and them I used a variety of paint markers to create zentangle designs. It was nice to doodle every time I got 15 minutes to myself.

Before hanging outside I sprayed it with a coat of protective spray paint. Pretty sure you can find this clear coat at most craft stores and even home depot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Let's get Rolling!

Tinkerlabs is running a 7 day challenge to get you creating with your kids, or just yourself! This is the 2nd time that we have done the Art Start Challenge and this time I bought the PDF. I highly recommend checking out the website and signing up for emails.

Today we used marbles and a spinning top to paint! I watered down the tempura paint a little bit so the marbles could roll around a little easier. Annabel and I were both surprised to see the neat spray that the spinning top made on the paper. We placed a small sheet of white paper inside of a plastic lid (a pan with big walls would work too). Then Annabel used a spoon to drop paint onto the paper. Lastly we added the marbles and got rolling!

I really like this activity because it works so well with all ages. You can get complicated with colors or just let them mix freely. 

The most popular play-based learning activity!

Water Play!

One of my most successful activities for my preschooler has to be water play. I hosted a 4 week Play-based art group as part of my master's capstone. This activity held all of the children's attention for the majority of the 45 minute class.

The only thing you really need for water play is a large bin or plastic storage box. I used shallow bins from Ikea and placed them on wood crates to elevate them a little bit. I them placed a variety of tools like mesh strainers, spoons, fuzzy balls, sparkles, tissue paper, and paint. The kids loved using the strainerstrainers to get the fuzzy balls. 

Large Bin or storage box
Mesh strainers
Tissue Paper
Pretend flowers

Fill the bin with water either outside or inside with paper or a rug beneath it. I noticed our tile got rather slippery once the kids started splashing around. Then place a small box filled with the tools and mediums. Then sit back and watch the children play and explore. They will quickly find out how strainers work and will enjoy the new colors the water turns.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Rainy days = Art days

With a cold front, think 50 degree weather, approaching Florida we have been stuck inside today and most likely most of tomorrow. Perfect timing to begin 2 art challenges. One for the kids and one for me. This is my second time doing the ArtStartChallenge with Tinkerlabs and I love the different easy projects she provides. This time I bought the PDF for the week because the last challenge was so great.

Today we explored how paint was absorbed into doilies. Doilies offer a unique shape for kids to play with and tend to let colors spread nicely. My 3 year old daughter really enjoyed mixing the colors together, as usual. 

To complete our project and turn it into "wall art", she painted a small canvas bluish and glued the doilies onto it to make trees!

My Art Challenge begins today and the topic was sun. I took about 15 minutes to do a quick little watercolor of a Sunflower. This challenge lasts for 30 days and has a new topic each day. Simple and therapeutic. I hope everyone is having a cozy and creative day!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Peg family fun

I've always adored the simplicity of wooden peg people. They really are a blank slate that a child can customize in so many ways. One morning I quickly cut up some fabric scrapes and yarn, then put out a variety of bottle caps and buttons. Then the fashion designer came to the rescue to cloth these poor peg people.

Peg people (I bought mine on Amazon).
Fabric Scrapes
Bottle Caps
Glue (stick or school glue)

After you set out the materials let your children explore and create their own ideas. I often find that my 3 year old has lots of ideas but has difficulty making them "come to life". I helped a bit with the gluing and cutting. Aside from that, Annabel was involved in this activity for about 30 minutes.

Will you wrap fabric for dresses? Make belts of yarn? Maybe your peg person has a button hat? There are so many ideas! Let's see YOUR peg people!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mommy and Me Art

After the holidays I found myself swimming in tissue and wrapping paper. Instead of tossing it out we decided to paint on it. Annabel, like most kids her age, loves free painting. The tissue paper gives interesting texture and the colors blend together easily.

Tissue Paper
Watercolor Paint
Elmers Glue
Small canvas or thick paper

Step 1: Paint your tissue paper. Cool colors for the ocean? Warm colors for the sun? Maybe some greens and yellows for a forest? Let your tissue paper dry for a few hours or overnight.

Step 2: Shred it up! Tear your tissue paper into small prices.

Step 3: Arrange it. Decide what kind of design you will be making. Lay out your tissue paper.

Step 4: Glue it down. Mix 1 part glue to 1 part water (Glue water) and use this to adhere the tissue paper to canvas. Let it dry and you have a little masterpiece!