Sunday, February 28, 2010

On Call

For the last 24 hours, Annie and I have been "on-call" to go witness our friend Merryl's goat kid (have a baby). It has not happened yet, but we're still on call. I'm not sure how I'll feel about a 2am phone call, but I will answer and I will get Annie out of bed to go see. This happens to be our favorite goat Sophie who is pregnant, and Annie is very excited. We spent a good portion of the day hanging out with Merryl and watching her two crazy cats climb up trees. Annie had fun visiting with Merryl's chickens and turkeys.

Annie dressed and ready to go.

Annie sitting on Merryl's porch with Pierre and kitten (they never named this one).

Annie holding a green egg, laid by one of their chickens.

Saying hi, to an old friend. Annie met this goat last year when she was two days old.

Annie Saying good bye to Sophie and telling me, "she says she needs me here."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Planting Babies

You must be getting tired of all our planting by now, but sadly it's all we do. When I asked Annie what she wanted to do this morning? Big Surprise, "plant more babies," was her reply. After I got over her hysterical new name for seed starting, we got to work. This time we used empty eggshells from the chickens for the containers. I saved them from the pasta we made yesterday. So now we've combined two of Annie's favorite things, Chickens and Gardening. We're going to need a new hobby soon, I'm running out of space for all these babies.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Today Annie and I got home at 4:30, which was nice after a long week. So we had to decide what we were going to do. Options: Clean our messy house, do laundry, watch a movie, or make pasta. As you can see from the photos, we chose to make pasta. Banjo included. My favorite part was to finally have a good way to store our pasta after it's made. I found these awesome tall kitchen jars at a garage sale and I love them. I love them even more because I got a case of them for $2. Tomorrow I will clean, maybe.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Supermom (it's not me)

I'm not sure I can explain how I ended up standing in my mothers kitchen making avocado buns for 7 hours, but it reminded me of how hard it is to eat healthy and how frustrating life was when I couldn't eat what most people eat. For years I had to restrict what I ate (I still do to a certain extent)and suffered horrible reactions to anything I put in or on my body. It only recently got easier after I had Annie, and by easier I don't mean cured. I still have to be really careful and pull back every now and then. A friend of mine has recently embarked on the long journey of cleaning out her families diet (which is who I made the avocado buns for). A task I do not envy, but I am very impressed with her ability to stay afloat. It is near impossible to overhaul the diet of one person, add three kids, three different food allergy lists, and then the reality that you can never just pick up dinner again; life can get scary. I remember getting to the point of panic when I would be stuck somewhere with no food and I couldn't just run out and pick something up. Add to that a family who did not understand or support why I was changing my diet, and all I can say was it hurt. My friend Kim is doing an incredible thing for her kids. I am so glad that she has started sharing her journey on her blog, and that through her blog my mother and I were able to help her a little. Kim you are doing an Awesome job with an incredibly hard situation, and I really hope you have a lot of people supporting you because it's a lot harder than anyone one ever thinks it is. And it's even harder when the people around you don't understand. I will get faster at making these avocado buns (7 hours = 33 pieces, and some of them look a little wonky), and if you even need anything call me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Potager Garden

So I got the ok from my land lord to put in a Potager or kitchen garden. I am so excited. All winter long I have been dreaming of this garden in my head. Now that I actually can do it, I'm beyond excited. I've already picked out my design layout, ordered my seeds and made a mini mock-up with Annie on photoshop. She did all the tomato dots. I think it turned out kind of cute. Annie put in a few more Purple cabbages than I think we'll need, but you get the idea. I'm going to need a lot of bricks to layout the paths, but hopefully Craigslist will come through for me.
Here's the area we are going to transform into a large kitchen garden.

This is what we're going for as far as general layout.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Scooby Doo

Annie and her cousins have developed an obsession with Scooby Doo. This is no slight infactuation, they are enraptured with all things Scooby Doo. Annie does nothing but talk about it, Ruby is trying to convince her mother she needs a Velma wig now, and Sadie of coarse is the resident expert on all things Scooby Doo. Together they solve mysteries as the meddling kids. Ruby is always Velma, Sadie is Daphne, and Annie has been struggling to find her place. Until this morning that is.
Annie dresses herself this morning, comes downstairs and informs me she is Velma-Daphne. Yes, she is dressed in the combined fashions of Velma and Daphne, neither of which is very fashionable. But she did look cute, even if she was basing her clothing on two cartoon characters from 1969. So we now know what a cloned cross between Velma and Daphne would wear.
Turtleneck dress with a pink sweater.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Little love sprouts.

I took Annie downstairs to see her first sprout from the soil blocks. It was an interesting conversation on the way down. We were talking about our week, when Annie suddenly says, "JJ is my prince."(We had just talked about playgroup, and Annie said she was sad that JJ wasn't there). As the conversation continues she tells me, "I had a dream about JJ." What was the dream about? "that I love him." So it's officail. Watch out all you JJ lovers, Annie has entered the race for JJ's heart.
Thankfully the sprout changed the subject for me; I really wasn't ready to talk about the birds and the bees with my three year old. She was overjoyed with excitement as she searched through the tray for the tiny sprout and it is tiny. So tiny that Annie almost didn't see it, but once she did, she started to jump up and down. Then insist upon a picture being taken of her with the sprout and her new Scooby Doo DVD. An odd combination, but those seem to be her two great passions at the moment. Well that and JJ.

The Speedy Seed

Evidently while I was upstairs working on my taxes we got our first sprout out of the soil blocks. It only took 4 days! I was expecting something closer to ten days, like we had with the Impatiens and Pansies. Covering them in the thick black plastic and finding the right temperature setting for the heating blanket cut the germination time by more than half. I am so excited to go get Annie and show her. Broccoli is the winner!

A lunch date with taxes

Today, I attempted to do my taxes. It was not fun, nor was it as fruitful as I had hoped. But to be fair I do not owe any taxes. That was good news. I was just hoping for a much bigger refund. I more than doubled my income from last year and as a single mom that wasn't easy. I guess my lesson is to no longer look at my taxes as a savings plan. Thank you so much Meike for all your help. I could not have done it without you. Taxes, we'll talk later when I have the rest of your endless list of needless information complete.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Update on our seedlings

Annie went down to the big scary basement with me to check on our seedlings today, and it really is amazing how a few seedlings can captivate her attention for so long. What was meant to be a simple 5 minute check and water turned into 30 minutes of "ooh," "aah," and "oh my mommy, look at that one."
Hopefully they will all make it, because I think Annie is expecting these plants to grow old with her. I'm not sure what she'll do when next winter hits. I'm pretty sure she'll be trying to hide plants in her room. So far though, everything is going great. All but a few seeds came up and they seem to be doing fine. The heating blanket is working great and I love how much heated space we have. I am able to start germinating seeds in the dark on one side of the mat while the others are under the light. I'm just hoping I have everything timed right otherwise I'll have seeds sprouting and no room on the lighted half to put them. Anyone have any old florescent light fixtures hanging around?


"My mom is just so boring." WHAT!?! I love my little Annie, and the fact that she said this to my mom earlier today just makes me love her more. To say she has high expectations of what a mother should do is an understatement. I am not only supposed to throw her parties, play in the dirt and be her constant partner in crime, but I am also supposed to have unlimited energy 24/7.

Dear sweet Annie,

You kept mommy up all night last night and then I had to wake up and go to work in the morning. Please excuse my napping when I got home. It will not happen again.


P.S. it might be best if we don't call Gigi at 3 in the morning anymore.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Tomatoes are supposed to be started on Valentines day, but I was a little too busy so I put it off till tonight. Annie and I were super excited to use our new soil blocker. Yes, my three year old knows what a soil blocker is. The question is do you? If you don't, be prepared to fall in love with a new way of seed starting. I read about these online on a blog no less and couldn't believe how cool they are, so of coarse I ordered one. It came in the mail after I started our Pansies and Impatiens. Which I'm kind of glad. This way I was able to do both, and I have to say not dealing with plastic trays is awesome, and never having to buy another plastic tray has me smiling.
You can fit 50 blocks per pan verses the traditional plastic tray of 36 per pan, and when you only have so much lighting available every square inch counts.
Last year I did peat pellets and hated it. They really don't offer a well rounded nutrient base for your seeds. Plus you have to buy new pellets every year, and that netting around them does not disintegrate like they say it should.
The plants do not get "pot bound," because there is no pot. The roots are naturally "air trimmed."
The plants do not go through shock when they are transferred into the ground either because you do not have to loosen the root ball, just place the soil block directly into the ground.

So here it is:
My soil blocker makes four 2" blocks each fill.

Here's one block up close. The blocker makes an indentation in the top to place your seeds inside.

After seeing me make a few blocks Annie tells me, "Mommy, I will do the messy part."

Needless to say, she had a lot of fun.
Yes, she threw that fist full of mud at me, and no I did not get mad. It was funny.

Tray ready for seeds.

Our treasure box of seeds. Annie and I love to spend time looking at all the packages. Many of which I save and refill with seeds after we harvest. This way I don't have to make new packages, remember the exact names, or growing info.

50 Soil blocks seeded, labeled and ready to grow!

Monday, February 15, 2010


In my haste to post I forgot to include photos of the topiary's my mother made for the front windows and a few other must sees. Thank you mom for all your help. Aunt Leslie I'm sorry I forgot to put these up. Next year you will have to be here for the tea party.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Journal

Today I started a new journal. My goal is to keep track of the parties I throw for Annie. Including the guest list, recipes, and what not to do next year. Like run out of food, or forget to buy Annie a new dress (she insisted on wearing the newest thing she had, which happened to be a see-through baby blue nightgown and very inappropriate for a party). In my head I have fantasies of giving the journal to Annie for when she has a little girl, but most likely she will not be interested.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I am certifiable

Today was Annie's second annual Valentines day Party! I think I'm a little nuts to start a tradition like this. Even more nuts to insist on making everything myself. I totally get why parents do party's at Chucky Cheese and the transportation museum. They do it all. You don't have to clean, decorate, or prepare. You just go and enjoy. But honestly, I wouldn't enjoy it. I think a part of me loves the preparation. The crazy late nights, staying up till well past midnight making food coloring, rose cupcakes and decorating everything in pink. Best part? When everyone leaves and I'm sitting on the couch with my second White Russian as the after party of Annie, Sadie and Ruby are busy with Polly Pockets.
Red food coloring in the making.

Orange, purple, red and green food coloring finally finished. Thank you to little Maddie who spent three hours peeling blue berries, I love you!
My fridge filled to the brim with rose cupcakes. We made about 300 cupcakes by the the end of the night.

The cupcakes! Thank you YouTube for teaching me the art of icing roses!
End of party movie, we put on Scooby Doo in order to calm the chaos of 20+ sugar high kids.
Poppy, color coordinating her cookies and cupcakes.

Thank you
Mom for all your help. I couldn't have done it without you.
Annie's dad for pitching in and being a real life saver.
Little Maddie for a long night of sugar coated fun and chaos.
Peel boys for the beautiful Roses!
and all our wonderful friends for coming over.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It was a good morning

Every morning Annie and I go downstairs to look for some sign of growth from our plants. It has been a little discouraging, until this morning. Little green leaves poking through the soil. Annie and I are dancing in the basement, and singing our long forgotten frog belly rat bone song. Who knew a few sprouts could make us so happy. Now to keep them alive...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The great splurge

I took Annie shopping with my mom the other day. She was not really excited about shopping, but she went. I ended up buying her an entire new wardrobe. Not because she was throwing a fit, but because everything was so cute. I have been searching in vain for cute clothes for Annie all winter, and since her clothes from last year still fit, it wasn't a big deal that we found nothing, or so I thought.
Annie has not stopped talking about her new clothes and how they make her feel. Best quotes: "I feel so beautiful my heart could break." "I am Cinderella now," stated after putting on a pair of overalls. Her excitement over these new clothes has made me feel terrible for not finding her something sooner. Every morning she is so excited to put on one of her new outfits.

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