Thursday, June 30, 2011

Enjoying our garden

I can't even imagine what we would do if we did not have a garden. Our garden is not huge, but we get so much fresh food out of it each summer. It is nice to run outside and see what is available, and then plan a meal around it. We're still waiting on a lot of things this summer, but so far we've had strawberries, salad (more than you can even imagine), spinach, peas, cucumbers, and green beans.


Here is our spinach. It is spinach red malabar, and it will last throughout the summer. You have to have a trellis or something for it to climb, but other than that it is very simple to grow. It is just getting started now, so it looks a little thin, but in a few more weeks it will cover the trellis!

Spinach and a few more cucumbers

I planted leeks in this corner of the garden, which are a new favorite of mine, but as you can see the dill took over. I should probably pull most of it out before it takes over the entire garden, but I just can't do it. I love walking by and smelling the dill!

This is our very first year for planting kale (or I guess I should say having success with kale). I tried planting kale last year, but it never came up. We haven't tried any yet, and honestly I really don't know what to do with it, but I'll figure something out.
Kale and some more salad

East garden

West garden

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fueling the obsession

Shhh! I've started making a birthday present for Drew. I just hope I will be able to finish by September - if not it will have to be a Christmas present. And I won't be making just one, but two, since he shares a birthday with his twin sister. I haven't decided what I will make for Faye yet, and deciding and planning is the most time consuming. Well, almost.

As Andy tells me, I'm fueling his Mario obsession.  But how cool will it be to have an 8-bit Mario quilt?! I am sewing together hundreds of 2 1/2 inch squares(160 so far), and as you can tell my squares are not perfect.  Rats!  But I'm hoping a little 7 year old boy will look past all my errors and still love it. It really is more difficult than you can imagine to sew perfect lines with a 1/4 inch seam, press them all and then add more(and press again - it seems like I have my iron out ALL THE TIME) and have them match perfectly.  I will have to had a wide border around since this will not be large enough, so if you see anything that will go great with this, let me know.  I haven't picked anything out yet.

I've been doing a little embroidery lately(its an easy project I can throw in a bag and work on while at the park with the kiddos), so I told Drew to print out his favorite Mario coloring picture.  I traced it onto tissue paper, and have embroidered it on a pillow for him.  He said he wanted the pillow to be red, and I had just enough red cotton fabric leftover from the quilt.  He sat on the floor and watched me  - he was so excited.  I think it would have looked a little better if I used white fabric, but he wanted red so red it is! I finished it up this morning, so it will be waiting for him when he returns from Grandma's house! As you can see the red floss doesn't show up well against the red, especially in the picture, but in person you can see it much better.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tumbling videos

 Faye performing her floor routine

Drew on the double mini

Faye on the trampoline

Drew on the trampoline

And lastly - Drew jumping in the pit!

An afternoon with Alex

Alex and I spent a couple hours looking around Lake of the Woods in Mahomet yesterday afternoon. Faye and Drew are in Eco-Adventures camp, which is a once a week camp with the Champaign County Forest Preserve. They teach the kids different things about nature and go on a short hike.  

Since we live about 10 miles from Lake of the Woods, I figured there is no sense in driving back home, so Alex and I visited the museum, one room schoolhouse, botanical gardens, and went on a short hike too.  He really had a good time!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bike tricks

Drew is almost as obsessed about biking as he is about Mario. He asks me all day long if he can go ride his bike. This week the kids are in gymnastics camp at the YMCA, so bike riding in the morning is out. But after lunch and a bit of relaxing on the sofa, they are all ready to bike!

Look - one hand mom!

Andy showed Drew how to ride without hands a few nights ago, and he quickly picked that up. By quickly I mean it took him a few laps around the park and he had it down. He's been figuring out his own stunts as well, like standing on the middle bar of his bike, and riding with his handlebars backwards. He really is a little stunt man!

Andy finally got a new bike! He's been looking for a new fixed gear bike for what seems like forever! He finally decided on a Wabi, and it arrived yesterday.

He showed me a few videos last night of bike tricks you can do on a fixed gear bike, like track stands and skidding, and several other things. I specifically told him NOT to show Drew. Before I made it downstairs this morning, Andy was showing the kids videos of bike tricks! I will not be taking Drew on a bike ride today - and will hope he'll forget what Andy showed him this morning.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A cake a day?

From Have your cake and Vegan too! Can you tell the kids are excited to try the cake?

I recently purchased this recipe book(OK, I just got it on Thursday) from Amazon, and so far I've made 2 cakes, but I'm anxious to make more. Can I make a cake a day? Or is that just too much? Well, after this cake, I will have to wait awhile before I can eat any more cake. It is very sweet! Andy and Drew were able to finish their piece of cake, but it was just too sweet for me, Faye and Alex. It is a tuxedo cake, with butter cream frosting with chocolate cookie crumbs mixed in.

I love how pretty it looks on my cake platter! I found this footed cake platter after Christmas last year, along with a matching tree shaped dish, for around $8. It is the Mikasa Christmas Night design, but I figure I can use the cake platter anytime, because with the cake on there, you can't see the design anyways. Cake platters just make everything look so pretty!

The cake was pretty good, although the chocolate could have been a little bit more chocolate I think. Andy thought it appeared a little too light colored for chocolate cake, but I followed the directions exactly. If I ever make it again, I'll make the chocolate a little different. It's not really my type of cake, so its doubtful I'll make it again unless someone requests it. I prefer cakes I can eat without frosting, and that usually aren't chocolate. The first cake I made from this book was a lemon blueberry bundt cake, and it was delicious!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Last day of Kindergarten!

Today was the last day of Kindergarten!! Faye and Drew are excited for summer to be here, but I can tell they are a little sad school is over too (they are making weird faces in these pictures because it was very sunny this morning).

Ready for the last day of Kindergarten!
Last day of Kindergarten!
It was a very short day, with dismissal at 9:45am. Basically they just had to show up and pick up their report cards.  We (the room parents) decided to have a little mini-party on the last day. Since it was so early in the morning, we thought having snacks might be too much, for us and for them.  We wanted to do something simple - and we had $50 to spend. 

We decided to buy white T-shirts for the kids, fabric markers, and have the kids sign each shirt.  It was so easy and the least chaotic party we have ever had! The kids were excited about taking a t-shirt home too! They all finished early, so Mrs. Peterson said the kids could go outside and play on the playground.  Drew told me it was the best day of Kindergarten yet!

Faye had a perfect report card. No surprises there!  Drew also did really great, receiving all 3's on his report card.  Three's are the best you can get in almost every category, with only a few categories having 4 as the best, which I've heard are rarely given out.  Yeah! They have both learned so much this year - a big thanks to Ms. Curtis, Ms. Barber, and Mrs. Peterson for making Kindergarten a great experience for all the kids!!