Mar 022016
 

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We are back to routines for the most part, sort of. All kids are doing school at their respective locations, a load of laundry was done, lunch was cooked, and a new morning routine has been formed in my mind.

I did change things a bit:

  • During afternoon Quiet Time I took down some wallpaper.  This was aided by a kid who got up, thereby necessitating a restart of the timer. This is normally a morning activity before everyone wakes up. However I have a renewed urgency to get this HUGE project done.
  • While writing this Jack is writing his spelling words. Who says I gave to write everything at one time?
  • During math practice I expanded some seed starting pellets.
  • Jack’s computer time was used to order a pencil sharpener and switch laundry, via another computer.
  • Lunch time also found me unloading and reloading the dishwasher. (Okay, that is pretty standard.)
  • Jack’s read aloud time allowed me to clear off part of a counter.
  • We got behind on our composer studies. Thanks to a CD from an inter-library loan Franz Schubert has been playing in the house all day long. Could this be lending a hand toward me feeling calmer?
  • A shower did not get on the list for me this morning, I didn’t even get a coat on when I left the house.  So Jack gets half an hour of t.v. while I add this indulgence to my afternoon activities.

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Today feels better, calmer.  Could it be because I have not had 3 boys (8, 6, & 6) behind my in the car for the last 1.5 hours?

Or because life still has a semblance of normal? 

Or because I know our new guy, who still needs a blog name, will be gone during George’s after school time. This will allow us to get his homework done and spend some QT together. He has so many big feelings going on inside, but doesn’t always know how to express them.  Also, new little guy doesn’t seem to understand leaving someone alone while they do homework. George has trouble staying on task as it is, having a new friend constantly telling you to come play does not help.

I also bought some school supplies between dropping kids off at school and coming home to start home school. Boy, things are expensive during off season and at a store in Small Town.  Saved me 40 minutes of driving, though, which was worth it.

The urge to drop a coat off at the dry cleaners was ignored. Once home, I checked the tag – wash gentle cycle with cold water. Perfect, no extra bill.  I feel like I’m handing out money left and right this week.

My car problems may be passed. Maybe. The mechanic cleared the error message to see if it would come back. So far so good. My husband is insisting the kids and I take his (smaller) car to visit family this weekend. He would rather my car give out near home instead if two hours away from anyone we know.  It is crowded enough with two kids in the back, 3 is going to be interesting. I’m thinking movies from the library and getting to our destination as soon as possible may be the only hope for my sanity. Supper will be in the car. Potty breaks? I have not figured that one out yet.

Mar 262014
 

Garden Update 2014

I started this week with the plan to plant several hundred onion bulbs to grow an early crop of green onions.  It didn’t happen, of which I’m very thankful.  We have had several mornings where a hard frost has fallen over night. The birds and squirrels are also much active and my fencing and other deterrent methods are not set up.

I have already lost one of four blackberry canes to hungry rabbits.  Please, let’s not start the gardening season out by decimating what little is out there.  I tried to salvage some of the blackberry canes.  Not only did the rabbits eat the one cane down, they snipped off another cane into two pieces.  After chasing the rabbits away, I put some wire cages around the remaining canes.  In the cage with the really short cane, I stuck the two snipped off pieces down into the dirt in hopes that they would root and start growing.  A girl can always hope.

The only reason I caught the silly rabbit eating the blackberry canes last Saturday, and thereby having any hope of blackberries this year, was because I in the same bed digging up the lilac bush stump.  I need to get this stump out of there if I am to plant the intended peach tree there.  The tree arrived in the mail on the 13th and has been in my basement (cool and dark) every since.  It needs to be in the ground soon.  The stump is only half way dug up.  For a rather empty week we have been busy around here.  However, this really needs to be a higher priority than it has been.

Here are pictures of my seedlings.  I have two grow lights there, but the one is lifted up as it is mainly over the area with the heat mat.  The flats in that area are not ready for light yet.

I will apologize now for the poor quality.  With only the grow light on in an otherwise dark basement and some of the flats next to a white wall, well, the conditions were the best for photo taking.

View of seedling table

I’m planning to divide some of these lettuce plants into other containers.  I put them all into this old margarine container because it was the quickest at the time.

seedlings tomato lettuce basil labeled

With the okra, I had run out of cells but had extra soil and cups, so I used those instead.

Okra seedlings

The flats below are a mix of plants.  I did make a “map” of each so I would know what is what.  Very important when there are about 4 different kinds of tomatoes in there.
Seedlings Round 2 tray 2

Seedlings round 2

Seedlings tomato

Seedlings on heat mat

I have been rotating my seed flats so each gets a chance on the heat mat.  The heat mat was one investment that has really helped.  I have so many more seeds sprout, and quicker, by using it.  If I had a green house, or a warm counter top on which to place my flats, then a heat mat may not be needed.  However, what I have is a cool basement in a cool house.  I is much cheaper to plug in the mat than to raise the whole house by about 10 degrees.

I’ve also been saving milk jugs and plastic drink containers to use in starting my zinna seeds next week.  I need to check with a gardening friend to see if she has any empty cells in which to start spinach, which also needs to be started next week.  The space on my counter with grow lights and the heat bad is basically gone, so I also need to figure out another set up for the next few weeks of seed starting activities.

Mar 082014
 

Garden Update 2014Among the decluttering, planning for the upcoming adoption and other business of life I have been able to start a few seeds.  The first batch was started early, as the kids were anxious to do something when I pulled out all the seeds.  These were kits from clearance at the end of last year.  If they came up great.  If not, they cost less than $.30 each.

I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  The kids were thrilled.

first seedlings 2014 labeledThe second batch of seeds followed a week or so later.  The difference in timing had nothing to do with staggered harvest dates and everything to do with having a book to read.  At least I’m honest.

second batch 2014 labeledThe compostable pots used were also an end-of-the-season find last year.  The soil was left over from some potting I did.

Since I can not write on the soil and I have found wooden popsicle sticks to absorb moisture, smear writing and mold, I took a different route during this stage of the game.  Pen and paper.  Well, marker and envelope to be exact.

seedling list 2014As plants grow larger I will find a better way to label them.  For now this works fine.  When I get into the many more seeds to I have to start I will find another system. What do you find is the best way to label seedlings?

 

 

 

Mar 102013
 

 

I’m keeping this post short today, as we our schedule is thrown off a bit by the time change.  We really need to get going, but I wanted to post this list before I forgot or ran out of energy to set goals.  =)

My routines

  1. I have spent 5 minute each day (or 35 minutes total) clearing off the hotspots in the kitchen, dealing with paper clutter, and straightening the basement.
  2. I have cleared the kitchen every night after supper.
  3. I have spent 15 minutes each day reading with the kids.
  4. I have done my Bible readings 5 days.
  5. I have mailed two notes of encouragement.
  6. I have walked 2  miles, 4 days this week.(updated to exercising 4 days as I started doing a different exercise.)
Homemaking
  1. I have cleaned up the bathroom upstairs (finished the 21 day challenge) and posted the final post about it.
  2. I have created a spreadsheet for future monthly menu plans and grocery shopping – I have started this, but it is turning out to be bigger (longer) than I thought.  I want to keep working on this as it will help future shopping trips.
  3. I have finished and mailed paperwork.
  4. I have gathered outgrown clothes and given away.
  5. I have closed one bank account and transferred the money to another. – I am waiting for the money to go through before I close it.  This wasn’t hard to do, just took a few more days for things to happen than I thought.
  6. I have completed all my daily goals in the 30 days, 21 projects series.
Gardening
  1. I have started my tomato seedlings.

Last week turned out well I think.  Especially being that we had three days in the middle of the week that had us out of the house for half the day.  I am looking forward to seeing what this week holds.

My routines

  1. I have spent 5 minute each day (or 35 minutes total) clearing off the hotspots in the kitchen, dealing with paper clutter, and straightening the basement.
  2. I have cleared the kitchen every night after supper.
  3. I have spent 15 minutes each day reading with the kids.
  4. I have done my Bible readings 5 days.
  5. I have mailed two notes of encouragement.
  6. I have exercised 4 days this week.
Homemaking
  1. I have cleaned up the bathroom upstairs (finished the 21 day challenge) and posted the final post about it.
  2. I have finished a spreadsheet for future monthly menu plans and grocery shopping.
  3. I have closed one bank account, and another account. (We are trying to consolidate our finances, as they have gotten spread around a bit over the years.)
  4. I have completed all my daily goals in the 30 days, 21 projects series.
Gardening
  1. I have bought onion sets.
  2. I have replanted the tulips that came up where my flower bed used to be, and extras I took out last fall.
Jan 132013
 

Here is the third and final part to Burpee’s seed starting videos. I find this to be my favorite video of all three because it goes from the theoretical (why should you do this?) to the how-to part. In other words, you get to play with dirt. I like playing with dirt. Okay, technically it is soil, but it is close enough.

 

 

Out of curiosity, have any of you considered starting seeds after watching the videos?  Were you sold on the idea and the ease of doing it?

Jan 112013
 

Here is a video from Burpee that talks about some of the reasons for starting seeds at home for your garden.  A few days ago we added in the dates on your gardening calendar for seed starting and transplants.  If you have never tried to start seeds at home, you may have skipped over that part.  Seed starting is something I started several years ago and found that I really enjoyed doing.  As I watched the video below I had the thought that all the equipment seems like an investment if you have never done this before and are not sure if it is something you would like to do.  Just remember that they are showing you the ideal way to start seeds, but that there may be a few cheaper ways to go.  I’ll talk about that later, but wanted to go ahead and show you this video.