I almost forgot to post today for the Unplugged Project and when I saw her post I decided to copy her fairy garden idea a bit instead of just writing about our garden. My boys are not really the fairy type but they have recently been watching the Smurfs so I got out my old Smurf figures and we made a Smurf garden. When I was a kid my friend and I used to play outside with our Smurfs and make things out of twigs and rocks for them. Today we planted some mint I was rooting, the grass head Ben had grown at school and some tiny daisy plants I was planning on potting. The boys were busy on the porch for a long time and made pebble paths and then got a planter of marigolds to expand into. Our regular garden isn’t so exciting (not yet anyway since we have nothing to pick from it this early). We planted some sunflowers, squash, cilantro, gourds, carrots, radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes. I don’t know if we will get all those things though, things seem to be growing slowly but hopefully I am wrong. Its a weedy garden this summer, I didn’t add all of my leaf mulch since I started so many seeds and that let the weeds sprout too (I think next summer I’ll do things differently). I’ll post more once we start picking. Below the boys are protecting the garden from Henrietta (she likes to dig in it for bugs but she digs up plants too).
Does anyone here use twitter? I’ve been hearing about it for a long time on the podcasts I listen to, but never tried. I finally broke down and signed up, but didn’t bother going back to check the feeds I was following. Today, while upgrading to Firefox 3 (awesome!) I discovered TwitterFox, a Firefox plugin for following and posting on Twitter. Works great, but now the question is…who to follow? I added a few of the tech podcasters I listen to and the feeds are pretty interesting so far. Do you have any recommendations?
For those less geeky than me, twitter is like text messaging on the internet. The idea is to tell your followers what you’re doing in 140 letters or less. People in the tech industry are using it pretty heavily. For more information check out the Twitter FAQ.
Yesterday I took the kids to the Dr, I was thinking that they were getting a little virus but I was also worried Jamie had an ear infection (she was touching her ears a lot). Turns out it is Coxsackie virus and Jamie and Ben both have a lot of sores in their mouths. This explains the temps and the crankiness the last few days! Poor kids. Ethan had a temp earlier in the week but our Dr doesn’t think he had the virus yet because his throat is clear, so we’ll have to see what happens with him. I think I’ll be giving the kids a lot of ice cream until they are better. The boys had this 2 years ago and it lasted so long (over 2 weeks I believe) that our Dr was afraid it was Kawasaki virus and they both had to have EKGs (apparently its a similar virus that lasts longer and can cause heart problems). Luckily it was just Coxsackie but it better not last that long this time.
We have been very lucky that our robins came back and our 2nd batch of chicks were born on Father’s Day. I haven’t even blogged about it until today and only took pictures once! We enjoy them every time we are in the dining room though and they are unfortunately starting to look close to being ready to leave the nest. I really hope we get them next year too.
I have had too much good stuff to post about to keep up lately! I never wrote about the great weekend we had and its already Wednesday! Saturday was the boys’ last t-ball of the season and it was a gorgeous day.
I love that they are close enough in age that some years they will be on the same team for sports BUT sometimes they can get a little wound up together. We went straight to the air show after and saw a lot of cool planes. Ben decided he is going to be a “helicopter driver” we he grows up (he had just wanted to be a dad prior to this). He also wants me to buy him a real helicopter when he is big and I said yes (since he is just 3 and won’t really remember?). We did buy him a toy helicopter and he got to sit in a real helicopter twice.
Ever since last Fall Ben has been asking to make “strawberry Damn” (he has recently learned its really jam) so yesterday I took him and Jamie strawberry picking while Ethan (who didn’t want to go) played at my mom’s house. Since I’m 5 months pregnant with 3 little kids I was sort of glad to just take 2 kids with me and they were both EXCELLENT!!! I knew Ben would be good because he has been fruit picking a ton of times and was on a mission but I was a bit worried that Jamie would get out of hand. She listened and held her own bucket and only picked ripe berries AND stayed on the paths. I was so proud! They ate a lot of berries too but I got a large sand bucket full and I combined the kids’ into a smaller pail. We will probably go picking at least once more but I hope to go more than that since this supply will go towards our jam production instead of eating them. I think we will make the jam today and hopefully our first attempt at it will turn out well. Ben is already talking about making blueberry jam which I have made before with great results, so I can’t wait for blueberry season next.
* Jam update: Well the jam making did not go nearly as smoothly as the berry picking did! I had thought I’d set the water tables up on the porch for the kids to play at while I prepped the jars and I was hoping Ethan and Jamie would still be playing with them while Ben and I did the jam BUT instead they all finished early and came in wild. Ben was more interested in eating the berries than smooshing them with the potato masher but that was okay. What I’m really grumpy about is that when it was time to pour the jam into the jars I poured it on my left hand and burned it (nothing terrible but enough to HURT) and then after the 5 minutes of keeping the jars inverted they do not seem to have sealed properly. I had no trouble with this method when I had made the blueberry jam so I’m not sure where I went wrong. The good part is that the jam itself turned out well and there are worse things than having to eat 8 cups worth of jam in a hurry.
Updated update: I checked back later and 3 of the 5 jars did seal so I’m happy now! Ben, Jamie and I tried one of the unsealed jars and it was good on toast.
This weeks Unplugged Project is OLD and I imagine there will be a huge range of projects made with such a theme. I decided to use this as an opportunity to use up some VERY old sculpey clay. John and I used this is college and I know we haven’t bought any since but for some reason we still have a pretty huge supply of it. Ethan has been wearing this necklace that makes him look like a little surfer and so I thought the boys might like to make beads. I of course was wrong (no beads) but they did love the sculpey and made a bunch of little dinos. This kept them busy for a long time and I even left the 2 of them alone at the table for maybe 1/2 an hour after I got tired of it. Ethan (the one who actually knows how to wear a shirt) really did well with it and his dinos came out really cute. He even got the sculpey out the next day and made 4 more on his own. Ben only made 1 dino that we baked but he just had lots of fun playing with the sculpey (he made some dinos that he then “turned to fossils” and luckily he didn’t mind when I didn’t bake the remains).
Congratulations to Judy Brittle for winning the box of 30 fruit roll-ups!
Its been awhile since I’ve posted about the chickens. They seem bigger to me every day but are far from full sized. I don’t have nearly as much to do for them now that they’ve been outside and its nice. I open their little door to let them out each morning into their fenced in area, make sure they have enought food and water and then I close up their door once they go in for the night. Thats all I NEED to do but I have been opening the big door and letting them run around the rest of the yard more and more, I usually give them any appropriate table scraps and we now check for Henrietta’s eggs (she is the only adult chicken and she lays about 2 out of 3 days since she has been with us). We found a problem this week, I went out into the back and found all 7 chickens had gotten into our fenced in backyard. This is bad because at least one of our 2 dogs would probably try to eat them (luckily the dogs were inside). I know the spot they crawled under and we can fix it but I’m a little worried that they’ll fly over the 4 ft fence in the future. Hopefully Casey and Reuben will have lost interest in the chickens by then.