1. About My Dad Video or Paper I love when you can capture kids thoughts in a video or on paper. I made another video this year of Izzy talking about her Daddy. I also asked her the questions on this FREE printable. At the …
Izzy and I love books and Eric Carle books have alway been a favorites of mine. This morning we read A House for Hermit Crab. Izzy loved the story so much I asked her, “What if I make an activity to go along with the story?’ She was all in! So I quickly sketched out the hermit crab and items from the story. And now we all have an activity to go along with the book.
Allow your children to color and cut out their crab and his shell decor. Then have them create their own decorations for another crab. Do some research together. Look up what kinds of hermit crabs there are. How big can they get? Do their shells normally have living creatures on them? Enjoy exploring the ocean and hermit crabs together.Hermit-Crab-Shell-Activity
Have a blast!
Between having dogs and a child the floors can get so dirty. I can only imagine the germs we can’t see! My husband and I have a love/hate with spring. We truly dread the mud and dirt that comes with spring because it means extra …
Those of you that follow us on social media know we moved back to Maine from GA in 2019. That spring we moved into our home, however the yard wasn’t completed until mid July. Basically the builder came back and finished the back patio and leveling of the yard, along with putting down seed for grass in May/June. Since I had no idea what that was going to give us as a yard & moving is stressful. I worked on landscaping a hill area and gave myself another year to plan the garden I’ve always wanted.
We all know what happened in 2020. That spring was overwhelming because everyone was in gardening mode too. So much was on back order & everyone had basically bought up all of the wood, raised garden kits and things I had planned for my garden. That put me a bit behind. Everyone wanted to do what I had been planning since the spring before. I had no idea I would need to urgently buy the supplies I wanted & needed prior to March or April.
#1 buy your seeds and garden supplies now, before spring!
You will also want to start many seedlings 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Beyond that, people are now going crazy over gardening and many seeds will be sold out if you wait too long. When choosing seeds pick foods that you will enjoy eating or eat often and flowers that are native and good for pollinators. Consider edible flowers (such as marigolds), these are the ones I like to mix in my garden with the vegetables.
The first year is a big learning process and you don’t want to have a ton of plants to tend to and learn about.
#2 Seedlings can be finicky
They want soil that’s very light and airy. A peat moss mix for me has done best. Once they spout and grow a bit, I add them to a soil mix in a bigger space or in their final spot, whether that’s the garden or a larger pot.
When it’s warm enough I direct sow my seeds in the garden. But I do enjoy starting the seedlings in the house/greenhouse so I have some veggies to enjoy a bit sooner in the season. Now this brings me to the soil in your garden or raised garden beds. You need to make sure that the soil isn’t too dense and you can loosen it up & fuel the soil by using things such as compost & peat moss. Soil prep is one of the most important things, I suggest you really focus on this.
I linked some items below that we have found to work great for seedlings. I have found the Jiffy peat moss seedling mixes to be great, along with their mini greenhouses!
#3 Pick the size garden you want and where to put it.
As I waited on things to come back in stock I planned where my garden would be and started prepping the area. I picked a spot near the woods, just on the edge of our yard. I dug out stumps, removed dead/fallen trees and leveled the area. I had a lot of free time considering there wasn’t much marketing work for me during a time when companies were not sure what products would be in stock -plus many places had shut down their factories.
I didn’t want to take up our lawn space, which is why I cleaned up an area on the edge of our woods and lawn. This is a personal choice, you need to make that decision for yourself. I also wanted to make use of vertical space, so I planted some herbs in pots on the back wall of my garden. Mint can spread like crazy, so that’s a great one to put in a pot away from your other plants.
Your garden is going to need sun to grow, so make sure to find a spot that gets partial to full fun. Full sun is best, you can always plant your garden accordingly to help give more shade to the plants that prefer it. We had to clear some branches and dead trees that got in the way of the garden getting enough sun in the way right corner. Which you can’t see that well in the photo below.
#4 Research your plants
Some plants like shade, some want full sun, some love compost while others do not. Also some plants do well being planted next to each other and even help keep certain bugs away. This is called companion planting.
Companion planting basically means you plant different crops in proximity to others for any of a number beneficiaries reasons. Some are planted near each other for pest control (such as basil and tomato plants). Other reasons include pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial insects, or even maximizing use of space.
Marigolds are great for repelling bugs you don’t want in your garden. I also loved my borage last year. It’s a beautiful flower and works wonderfully for protecting your tomato plants and improving their flavor. Not to mention it’s beneficial for your pollinators. Basil will also improve the flavor of your tomatoes and helps to repel nasty garden destroying bugs such as hornworms.
#5 You can regrow some of your food scraps
I have regrown green onions, lettuce, carrots, potatoes & onions. I want to try ginger & garlic this year. You can see my quick video on how to regrow carrot scraps here. One of the easiest things to regrow are green onions. Cut the onion a few inches from the root (use the rest in your cooking). Set the root cuttings in some water for 2-3 days. Once you see some growth, you can move them to a pot with some soil. I have found peat moss mixtures have done well. Keep the soil moist & water daily. I clip my onions as needed right from my kitchen window.
#6 Get a silicone ring
Take off your fancy rings, if you have them and replace them with a silicone ring! I got a few rings from Groove Life & I’ve been loving them! Trust me, you are not going to want to scratch or have to clean your engagement or wedding ring. My husband and I basically only wear these now and have our other gold wedding bands tucked away safe.
I hope you have fun gardening this year. Even if you think gardening isn’t for you, I suggest you try making a spot for a mini raised garden your kids can enjoy. Marigolds and peas were some of Izzy’s favorites. She loved to deadhead the marigolds (it stimulates more growth) and pick out the sweet peas from the pea pods.
I hope my tips are helpful and you enjoy some delicious vegetables & maybe even fruit this year.
Painting with a Purpose Teach your children about different types of art. Look on the internet or in books & discover different styles of art together. Discuss the artists that created the art. Now ask your child which style of art they want to try. …
I love bread and have been experimenting making homemade bread for the past year. But I was discouraged multiple times, when it just seemed inconsistent and some just too dense. So I’m happy to say, I have mastered an easy recipe that has been consistently perfect every time!
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tbs salt
3 1/4 cups flour
First add the water, yeast and salt to a mixing bowl. Mix until the yeast and salt is dissolved.
Once dissolved add the flour and stir until evenly mixed. I use my kitchen aid mixer & a silicone spatchula to help push the floury edges down.
Now cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Be sure not to put the plastic on tightly. Let the dough sit for 2 hours. It should just about double in size.
Once the dough is just about ready, preheat your oven to 450. Be sure to put your baking pans in the oven to heat up. I have used both a 9X5 inch pan & 1 QT- 950 ML Pyrex glass bowl. They both work great!
Next put two pieces of parchment paper on your workspace and sprinkle a couple spoons of flour. Take a spoon and use the back side to smooth out the flour so it covers the parchment paper. I find by smoothing the flour evenly, it really helps keep the dough from sticking.
Pull the plastic off the bread bowl. Use a silicone spatchula to remove any dough stuck to the plastic. Add the dough to the bowl. Push down the edges with the silicone spatula and cut the dough in half.
Take one half and drop it on one of the parchment papers. Take any extra flour around the edges and sprinkle up the sides of your dough ball. Use the spatchula if needed to help. Once the ball can be held and is covered in a light dough bath, dump the extra flour onto the other parchment paper.
Remove a baking pan from the oven. Place the parchment paper into the pan & drop your dough in, on the paper.
Now score the bread with a sharp knife, cover with foil and place in the oven. Repeat these steps with the second half of dough left. See below for details on adding extra flavors/ingredients to your bread.
Bake for 20 minutes with foil. After 20 minutes remove the foil and bake for 10-15 minutes longer without the foil cover. Once golden brown remove and place on a cooling rack.
Once the bread is completely cooled you can store it in a bread box or bag.
Flavor it up!
If you prefer to add a little flair to your bread, it’s easy & here is how.
Izzy’s favorite is Rosemary bread. For this recipe just add two table spoons of rosemary per mini loaf & fold in with a spatchula. This means each dough ball would get two tbs of rosemary or four tbs for the full bowl. This is done after the dough has risen & before separating it and dropping on the flour covered parchment paper.
Joe and I wanted a little spice so I came up with this fun recipe. Spicy jalapeño, bacon & cheese bread. It tastes just as good without the bacon. We just happened to have some leftover in the fridge, so I figured, why not? For this recipe I used 1/4 cup Mexican cheese, 1-2 tbs jarred jalapeño slices & 1 tbs pre cooked bacon. Chop the jalapeños and bacon & mix all ingredients. Now fold them into the dough. I should note, this is for one of the mini loafs. Double the amount if you want both loafs to be spicy jalapeño & cheese bread, with bacon. I do my best to keep folding so the ingredients are mostly inside the bread & can’t be seen. Now place on the floured parchment paper and continue with the directions above.
I hope you guys love this bread recipe as much as we do! We have used it for sandwiches, dipping in soup and just by itself.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I thought it might be fun to share some free downloads and ideas for you all with conversation heart candy. Izzy had a blast working on math skills & problem solving. If you enjoy playful learning these are …