Hooray! My Garden is Growing!

Barely.

Seeds have only just started to poke their heads out of the ground, but I am already dancing for joy!

Spinach!

Swiss Chard!

Asparagus!

Peas!

Carrots that Elly and I planted last Fall!

Unfortunately, I need to remove the lion’s share. One, they are growing too close together and two, I need room to plant seeds of corn.

Other plants require less squinting to find, such as the garlic and herbs.

Just this past week, I tossed the dried thyme in my spice rack because the thyme in my garden is available year round. And fresh is better.

Soon I will be able to toss the rosemary too. Even though it dies back in the winter, I can whip out my dehydrator and dry my own supply in the Fall before the first freeze.

It’s rewarding and really fun to reap what you sow.

What the Moms Club Means to Me

Last week the Pottstown/Pottsgrove Moms Club held an open house at the Heather Place playground. Despite earlier predictions for rain, the day was beautiful.

Elly had went to sleep with a low-grade fever, but she woke up in good spirits. So, away we went to the party.

I joined the Moms Club when Elly was 18 months old because we would go to the playgrounds and nobody would be there. I felt like I either needed to have another child so Elly could have a playmate (and I so wasn’t ready for a 2nd child. Heck, I’m still not quite ready for a 2nd child) or I needed to find some other people who had kids around Elly’s age.

The Moms Club had a weekly playgroup for moms and their children that were around Elly’s age. It was great for Elly. She had always been a social butterfly, but she really blossomed when she finally got to make some lasting friendships.

Several side benefits occurred including learning how to share, experiencing time away from Mom, and learning kid games like tag and run away.

The surprise was learning how supportive the Moms Club was for me.

Elly had been a baby who hated sleep and thought most food was poisonous. It was so reassuring to hear that Elly was not the only baby in the world who held fast to these notions. More importantly, it was just a phase. Elly would grow up. She would learn to eat better and sleep better.

At 3, Elly does eat better. She is still picky, but she will eat more than just French fries although they remain her favorite food. She is a MUCH better sleeper too though she has still never slept through the whole night. But what started as a nightmare of waking up every hour on the hour now has turned into only waking up once in the night.

Now when Elly and I attend Moms Club activities, Elly runs off to play with her friends. I pull up a chair, relax and chat with some pretty awesome women whom I am proud to call my friends.

Perhaps feeling the way I do, it is only fitting that I have been nominated to be the next president of the Pottstown/Pottsgrove Moms Club.

If the Moms Club sounds pretty awesome to you, check out your local chapter.

Sunday Snapshots (of singing)

Rest assured no singing was done by Dan or myself. We are both tone-deaf. We keep any singing limited to our small house and for the sole entertainment of our daughter. Surely nobody else wants to hear us sing. It’s not a pretty sound.

Elly, on the other hand, sings anywhere and everywhere.

She loves to sing.

LOVES.

Can she sing better than we can?

She does have a great memory for tunes. It’s amazing how quickly she learns a song.

As far as sound quality goes, well Elly is 3 and virtually anything she does short of whining is pretty adorable.

 

Yep. Adorable.

Grass Mulch

It is a goal of ours to eventually replace all the grass in our front lawn with trees, bushes and an overabundance of ground cover plants.

Dan hates to mow. He especially hates to mow under the low hanging branches of all the dogwood trees. Apparently, it is difficult to get the mower underneath the tree to cut the grass without getting whacked in the head.

Perhaps most importantly, we don’t use the lawn in the front yard. It is strictly for decoration. The backyard is where we play, lounge about and run barefoot.

Slowly but surely, I am eating all the grass up with my ever-expanding vegetable garden and miniature trees.


Japanese Maple and Japanese Stewartia trees
When I am 100, they might be as tall as me. Which is to say, they are terribly slow growing.

In the meantime, the grass is earning its keep by providing free mulch.

Dan saves the grass clippings for me every time he mows. The grass mulch is used all over the yard, but most heavily in the vegetable and herb gardens.

Not Enough Fabric

Actually, it depends on who you ask as to whether or not I have enough fabric.

Elly will tell you that I have the perfect amount of fabric.

It is just the right amount to snuggle in with 2 baby dolls.

It is not the right amount to back the Dresden quilt with. When I bought the fabric, I based it off the fact that the squares to which the Dresden plates would be appliqued to were to be 25″. Yet, I bought extra fabric to cut the squares out of. There was enough to make 26.5″ squares. Since bigger is better, I cut the maximum square allowed out. It never occurred to me that the backing fabric would not be enough to cover the backside of the enlarged quilt.

But, all is not lost. Plan B was concocted last night. It involves piecing the back together out of the backing fabric, the sashing fabric and some grey fabric I had in my stash. It might even look better than Plan A when finished.

Here’s hoping.

Sunday Snapshots (of dandelions)

I hate dandelions.

Every year, I pull out close to a hundred. Of course, the only way to pull them out properly is to dig down and get the entire root. If you miss even just a little bit of the root, it will grown back. Grrr.

If they would just stay in the lawn, I wouldn’t care. But no, they get into my garden beds and even my raised vegetable beds. They are pure evil.

Elly, on the other hand, loves dandelions.

She likes to pick them and then give them as little gifts.

It’s adorable.

It almost makes me want to forgive the dandelion for all its evil traits. Almost, but not quite.

Spring Shuffle of Clothes

Our house was built in the 1950s.

Like most homes built back then, there is only 1 closet per room and the closets are super small. No walk-in closets here.

Dan’s side of the closet in our bedroom.

My side of the closet in our bedroom.

It is a mystery to me as to why the closets were built so small back then. Did people not have as many clothes? Did they use armoires? Perhaps, they did what I do.

Every Spring and every Fall, I swap a season’s worth of clothes. Today I packed up all the winter clothes from wool sweaters to fleece jackets to scarves. Then, I unpacked all our summer wear from shorts to bathing suits. It made me so happy to see those clothes. I can’t wait to go swimming again and head down to the Jersey shore.

Since I have been doing this for as long as Dan and I have lived here (8 years), I am used to it and can accomplish it in about an hour. The plus side of doing the swap is that I have a chance to weed out the clothes that didn’t get worn all season. Clothes that don’t get worn for one reason or another get donated. The trash bags in the picture below hold all the donated clothing.

The bins are stored in our cedar closet in the basement. It is another clue that makes me think the original owners did the same clothes shuffle each season.

Since Elly does not have to share her closet with any siblings, I can keep her winter dresses tucked in the back. I still packed up her winter jacket and snowsuit, mainly because I am SO done with winter.

Sunday Snapshots (of playing by the river)

The yellow flowers were all in bloom when Elly and I visited the Riverfront Park last week.

While I took pictures, Elly threw rocks in the Schuylkill river.

Then, she watched an older boy dig in the mud. Elly wanted to join in on the fun, but my dainty girl does not like getting her hands dirty anymore. (Thankfully, dry garden dirt is still OK). So, she grabbed a stick.


Getting her to leave was the tricky part.

Baking Station

We have lived in this house for almost 8 years. For all of those years, my baking ingredients, such as flour and sugar, were scattered across the kitchen. For a time, the sugars were kept on the shelf behind the stove. Never was it convenient to reach over a hot stove to grab a cup of sugar. Yet, I tolerated the annoyance because the sugar canisters looked so pretty sitting on that shelf.

Finally, I could take it no longer. Pretty be damned. I needed orderliness to reign supreme.

It took some shuffling and some paring down, but the baking ingredients are all housed on the open shelves in between my collection of cookbooks.

It has cut down on prep time. It has even increased my baking output. It is all just a little easier now, which is good since more often than not I have a little helper in the kitchen with me.

Quilt Blocks on the Floor

Typically, I would stack my quilt blocks on a table, but these quilt blocks are gigantic. They measure 26.5 inches square. It is far easier to piece them together on the floor.

Dan is not a fan. He has been sick and has graciously relegated himself to the guest bed so as not to get the rest of us sick. Thus, he has had to weave his way around the blocks to get in and out of bed.

Hopefully, I can finish pinning the sashing to the quilt blocks in the next day or so. Then at least they will be off the floor.

The plus side of the gigantic quilt blocks is that it will be quicker to piece the quilt top together, since there are fewer pieces to sew. Which in turns means that I can hurry up and get to the part I love: hand quilting.