Friday, April 29, 2011

It's a Cucumber!

Picked on 4/29/11 at 9:45AM, weighing 13.2 ounces and 8 inches long.  We're all very happy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sewing and Gardening

If you'd told me 5 years ago that I'd enjoy sewing and gardening as much as I do, I would have laughed my head off.   Seriously.  Never would I have imagined that I'd be making Easter outfits for my children.  But there they are!

I used the Bowling Shirt and Easy Fit Pants e-patterns from the Scientific Seamstress.  If you want to learn how to sew, her patterns are wonderful.  They are like having a skilled seamstress sitting next to you and guiding you through the entire process.  I'm slowly acquiring everything she has to offer.

We attended the Easter Vigil Mass at our parish and it was lovely.  Three hours long, but lovely.  The kids held up very well and it was great to see all of the RCIA candidates receive the sacraments of baptism, the Holy Eucharist, and confirmation.

 The garden grows and grows and grows.  The cantaloupe seedlings seems to be fighting a battle to the death.  Out of the three transplants on each hill, one is going gangbusters, one has died, and one is limping along.  Survival of the fittest, I suppose.

The watermelon plants are all about to overflow from the pools.  We'll be purchasing some stakes and netting soon to create a place for them to climb.  Our garden is going to look like a jungle soon.

The little cucumber is now bigger than my hand!  And it's been joined by many cucumber siblings.  It's amazing how fast they grow.  

 The carrots are one big mass of greenery.  Crazy!

Two of the tomato plants are flowering (the other died, was replaced, and the new one died again.  Strange.) and the lettuce is slowly filling in the gaps.

Our strawberry plants are sending out plenty of runners and we're going to let them settle in.  I'd love for the beds to just be covered with strawberries.  Last year, our few strawberry plants didn't fare so well in the full heat of summer.  I think having more leaf cover will help keep the berries from getting sunburned.

I really, really, really meant to get a picture of the peach we picked today, but it smelled so good that we couldn't resist eating it up.

None of us have ever had a tree-ripened peach.  I don't think any peach we've ever gotten from the grocery store has ever been as sweet or as juicy.

We have two more still ripening.  The one in the picture is just about ready!

The pomegranate buds are bursting open, but I don't think we'll get any fruit.  Our other shrub doesn't have any flowers on it, so there's no cross-pollination.  They're pretty to look at though.

And speaking of pretty, look at these!  One side of our yard includes a treed portion and we've seen this big vine spreading over the past couple of years.

This year, we got a lovely surprise when these beautiful, fragrant white flowers began opening up.  I looked them up online and found out that they are Cherokee roses.

There is a sad legend for these flowers:  

When the Trail of Tears started in 1838, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mother’s spirits to give them strength. The next day a beautiful rose began to grow where each of the mother’s tears fell. The rose is white for their tears; a gold center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem for the seven Cherokee clans. The wild Cherokee Rose grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma today.

My husband grew up in Oklahoma, so these flowers are even more special to see here in Florida.  And they grow like weeds!  The information I found online said their cuttings take root very easily, so I may look into trellising them around our windows in the future.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 25 - May 1, 2011

It's perfect timing: we're heading into a plant unit in science!


Science Play!: We're going to do some sprouting this week with dried beans in a jar.  Henry's been wondering what our garden plants look like under the dirt, so this will be a perfect lesson.

Who Am I?: Easter - Nope, it's not over!  Easter season is here for many weeks.  We'll continue the Easter-themed lessons this week.


We've been looking at the letter "A" on Starfall every day.  This week, we move to "B."

Happy Easter!

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In the Garden

Every day, I am amazed at the growth in the garden. Sunshine, rain, and time can do marvelous things!

A tiny watermelon blossom.
And a little cucumber!

Holy Thursday

1 Cor 11:23-26

23 For the tradition I received from the Lord and also handed on to you is that on the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread,
24 and after he had given thanks, he broke it, and he said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.'
25 And in the same way, with the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.'
26 Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord's death until he comes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 18 - April 24, 2011

Our weekend got pushed to yesterday and today because Matt was working on Saturday and Sunday.  Here's what we'll be working on for the rest of the week:


Science Play!: Puddle Prints - Henry's been doing quite a lot of this already, but he'll be "painting" the sidewalk and patio with water.

Who Am I?: Lessons 26-28
  • Lesson 26 - Palm Sunday
  • Lesson 27 - Holy Week
  • Lesson 28 - Easter

We'll continue with Starfall for now.  Oliver may be more interested in Hands on Homeschooling a little later.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Truth

A great quote from a great author in a timely article by the wonderful writer of one of my favorite blogs (got all that?):
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Quirky Child

What to do with Oliver?  My husband and I wonder about him sometimes.  He is so different from Henry at this age.  Henry was like a little puppy, eager to please and anxious to perform.  Oliver... well, he does his own thing.

He's very affectionate and cuddly and I know he understands what we tell him because he responds appropriately.  I'm not concerned about him not speaking yet because Henry didn't speak at this age either, and now the child won't stop.  However, Oliver is not taking to the Hands on Homeschooling lessons like Henry did. The activities just don't interest him.

What does interest him?  Starfall.  He absolutely loves it.  He races to my lap whenever I click on the site.  So, I'm going to go with what captures his attention and see what happens.  That's the great thing about homeschooling, right?  Your resources don't have to be one size fits all.

In garden news...

One of "our" bluebirds.  I need a better zoom!

The monster cucumber.

A forest of carrot stems.

A jungle of italian parsley.

I can't wait for this pomegranate bud to bloom.

A ripening peach!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rainy Morning Tuesday

Why is it that the rain always holds off just long enough for you to go out and water every plant and tree because you think it's just going to blow by?  I was literally pouring the last drops from the watering can when the heavens opened up.  Ah, well.  Oliver had fun.

We also got a chance to try out our rain gauge.  We got maybe an 1/8 of an inch, but Henry was excited to see it in action.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Trip to the Farm

While our garden is still growing, we're in need of a good source of fresh fruits and vegetables.  We wanted a local source for seasonal produce and discovered a CSA in our area, Black Hog Farm.  Today was Slow Food's Tour de Farm, an exposition of over 20 different farms in Florida.  We took a little field trip to Black Hog Farm to turn in our CSA application and check out the operation.

Henry approaches the pigs.

Petting one of the littlest piglets.

Enjoying the shade.
We were really impressed with the farm and we're really excited about joining the CSA.  Besides the fresh produce, we'll also be getting a chicken and a dozen eggs every week.  Yum!

Meanwhile, our own garden continues to grow each day.  I think the cucumbers are going to take over!




Jasmine.  I wish these were always blooming!

April 11 - April 17, 2011

What we're working on this week:

  • Science Play!: Cloud in a Bag - This is a really neat little project.  We'll take some earth, some grass, and some water and put it all in a plastic baggie.  We'll seal it up and tape it to the window and watch "weather" form inside.
  • Who Am I? - Lesson 16 - God Should Come First in Our Lives
  • Tracing lines with a crayon
  • Clapping to a beat
  • Throwing bean bags in a bucket
  • Looking at the color white
  • Identifying body parts
  • Identifying family members' pictures

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4 - April 10, 2011

What we're working on this week:

  • Science Play! - Wet World: We're going to use a big Mason jar to create a rain gauge in the garden.
  • Who Am I? - Review of lessons 8 to 15.
  • Tracing lines with finger
  • Gluing squares on paper
  • Clapping to music
  • Throwing bean bags
  • Shaving cream squares

Friday, April 1, 2011

Henry's Nursery Level is Complete!

I wound up requesting Henry's certificate earlier in the week because I wasn't sure how long it would take to generate.  Happily, the wonderful people at Angelicum got it out right away.  I had the certificate printed out on cardstock and laminated at the UPS store.  My husband and I presented it to Henry with much fanfare.  Henry was really excited to get an award and wants to put it up next to all of Matt's work certificates and plaques.  We'll get a frame for it and hang it soon.

Again, I'm so pleased with what we've accomplished so far with our homeschool.  I know not every level will be as pain-free as this one, but I'm looking forward to them all nonetheless.

In gardening news, our other set of trees arrived yesterday and we'll be planting our mini-orchard on Saturday afternoon.  We'll be putting in two pecan trees, two plum trees, two pomegranate trees, an orange tree, a lemon tree, a peach tree, and a banana tree!  I hope 1) that they transplant well and grow quickly and 2) that we'll be around to get a harvest.  With Matt in the military, it's always up in the air where we'll be from one year to the next.  However, we've managed to stay in the same house for going on 6 years now.  We didn't plant trees when we first moved here because we thought we'd have to leave soon.  Now, I'm kicking myself because we could have had a producing orchard by now!

Live and learn, I suppose.  This is probably another good Lenten lesson.