Sunday Quotes

There are two ways to get enough.  One is to continue to accumulate more and more.  The other is to desire less and less.
~G.K. Chesterton

Google Reader

This is just a note to say that Google Reader will be going away on July 1st.  I know that I have a lot of followers via Google Friend Connect, and I know that these followers can see my blog through the Google Reader.  I don't want to lose any of you!  So, here are a few ways that you can keep up with me, and I hope that you do, because I love my readers!

The easiest way to follow me is via e-mail.  Each day that I post, you will receive an e-mail from me with my blog post.  You can follow me by e-mail here

If you would prefer a new feed reader, you can use bloglovin

You can follow me through my Facebook page

You can also follow me through my twitter feed

If you are interested in following what I am reading, you can find me on Goodreads

I think that about covers everything from me!  I hope that you find an easy way to follow me going forward.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House!

Linking up at empty your archive

A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days review

What if everything you know about the end times is wrong?  Few topics captivate our minds, or fill our hearts with fear, like the end times.  Books and sermons on the book of Revelation are plentiful  Yet uncertainty and misunderstanding continue to abound.

Now, with a perspective that is both startling and hopeful, Jonathan Bernis unpacks the mysteries of this cryptic time.  This prominent Messianic rabbi reveals how biblical prophecies are being fulfilled right now - and what this means for you.

This was a very interesting book to read.  I have always loved to read about Jewish history, and this book includes a lot of that.  It was nice to read about how he became a Messianic rabbi, and the passion that he has to share with other Jewish people the love of Jesus.

I have to say that I'm not sure I am the target audience for this book.  It seems like it was written more for the Jewish people.  That is not to say that it wasn't highly enlightening, it was.  The way that he describes Satan's warped idea that he can still win in the end was something I hadn't really thought much about.  And to learn about specific Jewish culture and ideas was also extremely interesting.  But, it seemed that he was focusing more on the Jewish people that do not believe Jesus is the Messiah.

Overall it was a very intriguing book, although it did take me a while to read through it.  I think that reading about prophecy and the end times really requires a specific mood in order to delve deeper.  I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy Jewish history, or if you have a real passion for learning more about the end times and prophecy in general.

I received a copy of this book from Chosen in return for my honest review, the opinions are my own.

what i am eating

I love cooking and eating, and I especially love looking at pictures of food!  If you love food as much as I do, please add your food pictures/recipes/food related posts to the linky below.  All you have to do is link back to this blog post.  I look forward to seeing what everyone else is eating this week!

This week I was so happy to be able to pick some garlic scapes for my dinner.  I love fresh garlic scapes!  I use them in pesto, to put in salad dressings, grilled, and also sauteed.  They are delicious.  Not too spicy as far as garlic goes.  When the garlic scapes start to curl over you are supposed to cut them so that the plant concentrates on the bulb instead of the flower.  With these garlic scapes, I decided to saute up some veggies for dinner over quinoa.

It is such a simple meal to make.  Cook some quinoa (make sure you rinse it first!), and then saute up some veggies with a little coconut oil salt and pepper, serve over the quinoa.  Delicious!

Now for my favorites from last week!

And I would love for you to share my new "what i am eating" button on your blog wherever you share about your linky parties!  Thank you so much!

what i am eating

Linking up with Whatever Wednesday

Cascade Platinum Pacs

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review, the opinions are my own.

I'm not sure about you, but I do a lot of dishes.  I always strive to make most of my food from scratch, and so that generally means dishes are being cleaned all day every day.  We didn't have a dishwasher until about 2 years ago, and man, it was ridiculous the amount of hand washing I was doing.  I thought for sure having a dishwasher would be the answer to my prayers.

Unfortunately, that didn't end up being the case.  We have gone through many different types of dishwasher detergent, trying to get the dishes clean.  Some of them work for a while and then stop working, others don't work at all.  Does anyone else have this problem?

I was really excited to have the opportunity to try Cascade Platinum Pacs.  And I have to say, they convinced me on the first load.  The dishes came out sparkling clean, and the dishwasher itself seemed clean and smelled clean.  I can't tell you how many loads of dishes I have washed that had egg stuck on pans or dishes still.  It kind of defeats the purpose of running the dishwasher if the dishes come out dirty!

I am so impressed with the Cascade Platinum Pacs, we are switching from our previous detergent!

Cascade is now partnering with Gail Simmons!

Now, more than ever, people eat with their eyes, and the evidence is all over sites like Facebook and
Instagram. With that in mind, Top Chef judge and editor of Food+Wine magazine, Gail Simmons, has partnered with Cascade to discuss why presentation is just as important as preparation.

  • From prep to plating: It’s more than just a great-tasting recipe, but also perfect presentation.  Sparkling dishes, shining flat ware and spot-free glasses truly let you put your best food forward with culinary creations that pop!
  • Gail recommends impressing with a Platinum Presentation: “The easiest recipes pop with unexpected, gourmet presentations. Drizzle bright sauces on sparkling white plates or layer desserts in crystal-clean glassware. Keep your presentation sparkling with Cascade Platinum, which keeps dishes perfect for anytime entertaining and impromptu guests.”

You can find out more about Cascade's products on their Facebook page and also on their YouTube page.

They are also hosting The Cascade "My Platinum" Instagram contest, and you can find all of that information here.  You should enter!  The winner gets a kitchen makeover!  Who wouldn't want that!?

the tank top is done!

Yay!  It is finally done!  I think that I work so much better with a deadline.  As in, I had to have this finished this past weekend.  And it was!  I also realized that I knit for peanuts, and I need to seriously adjust my knitting sizes when I knit for a few very important little girls in my life.  But, overall, I was incredibly pleased with how it turned out.

And this week, what am I knitting?  Absolutely nothing right now.  I have been outside doing a lot of weeding, and watching my plants double in size as each 90+ degree day passes by.  I hope to pick up something again soon, but I am taking a week off after I was knitting every free second last week to finish on time!

My reading, well, I am not doing a ton of reading right now.  I did just finish The Steady Mom's Freedom Guide: Joyful Motherhood on Your Own Terms and The UnWired Mom - Choosing to Live Free in an Internet Addicted World.  Both were incredibly insightful, and it didn't hurt that they were extremely quick reads.  I recommend them both.  As a *relatively* young mother still, I am always searching for the "right" way to parent my children.  These books helped me to see that I am doing things the right way for me, which is an important distinction I am slowly learning to make.  I recommend them both!

I'm also planning on starting Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, which so many people recommended to me last week.  I actually already own this book, but never made it past the first few pages.  So I am starting that now.  Hopefully it won't take too long to get through!  And after all of my getting outdoors with the kids posts as of late, I also want to re-read Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, which I loved when I read it last year.

Joining in with Tami, Ginny and Nicole today!

hiking continued...

Last week I talked about how we were trying to get outside and hike more, or maybe I should just say get outside in the woods away from the house.  We live in Maine, and there are some beautiful trails all around the state that we can travel to.  I'm not going to talk about any of those places though today.  Instead I am going to talk about where we went last weekend.

I actually live now where I grew up, which is a story in and of itself considering I said in high school that I would never live in such a small town...funny how life happens!  Anyways, while growing up we had an amazing set of friends that owned a couple hundred acres of land very close by.  And those family friends are still on that same land.

I have to say that it is very nostalgic for me to bring my kids on the same trails that I went on when I was a kid.  To know that my kids are able to experience some of the things that were integral to my life as a child is so rewarding.  Not to mention the land is so beautiful, and it feels like my home away from home.

We were able to walk a couple miles worth of trails, and not be worse for the wear.  I was concerned about how Jack would do, considering he is only 2 and a half, but he really was a champ.  Both of the kids were.  There was a bit of shoulder riding, and maybe some grumbles because they wanted to go back desperately to ride the horses, but overall a fun experience.

When we got to our destination, which are some cabins at the back of the property, we were able to sit on a porch and just enjoy the view of the water.  It was fun, and relaxing, and I didn't want to come home.

Sometimes I think that we need to drive far away to really get out into nature and see interesting things, but here is something that is just a few miles away from where we live, beautiful and sentimental to me.  What better place to spend some unplugged time together as a family?

Do you have any special places from your childhood that you love to go to or take your children when you are close to home?  Are you like me, swearing you will never go back to your town, only to end up there and be incredibly happy with that choice?

new garden pests

I have been so concerned this year about pests in the garden  Slugs, cucumber beetles, stink bugs; if it is little, I have thought about it!  I didn't, however, consider the larger, furrier pests.

Last week I went outside to let the chickens out and walk around the garden, like I do every morning.  Instead of looking lovingly at my plants, I was looking at half-eaten cabbage plants.  I was not pleased!  How can this be!?  I spent so much time trying to keep the plants safe from the little bugs that I forgot about the bigger pests that always plagued my mother's garden.

I knew that there was a woodchuck family living close by.  I had seen the mother out eating in the neighbors yard, and Matt said that he had seen ten next we knew they were around.  We also knew that there was a family of grey fox living down the street (because the male was out barking at my mom while she was sitting on her deck - not something I had ever experienced!), and I thought that they took care of the woodchuck issue because I didn't see them out anymore.

I had a small bit of garden fence that I was able to use and enclose a couple of the boxes - the cabbage and the majority of my lettuce.  I knew I needed a better solution when I went out and found most of my kale missing the next morning.

So, this past weekend, my husband, being the ever helpful spouse, went out and put garden fencing up around the whole garden.  Now if he will just make me a door so that I can get in and weed the garden...that will also be helpful!

I think it is the woodchuck family, but it could also be whatever is now spending nights digging underneath the chicken coop and stealing the random eggs the chickens sometimes lay under there.  If it isn't one thing, it is another!

Have you had any unexpected pests visit your garden recently?  Am I the poster child for garden pest issues?

Linking up with Homestead Barn Hop, Clever Chicks, Green Living Thursday

Sunday Quotes

Long stormy spring-time, wet contentious April, winter chilling the lap of very May; but at length the season of summer does come. ~Thomas Carlyle

what i am eating

I love cooking and eating, and I especially love looking at pictures of food!  If you love food as much as I do, please add your food pictures/recipes/food related posts to the linky below.  All you have to do is link back to this blog post.  I look forward to seeing what everyone else is eating this week!

I am so excited to tell you all that I have finally made a button for this blog hop...yeah, it only took me 11 months, no big deal!  I would be really happy and appreciative if you would put this button in your post or on your side bar or link up list!

what i am eating

Now for what I am eating this week.  We don't eat a whole lot of meat here, but chicken has been making its way into our meal rotation once in a while.  This week I took a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast, put it in the crock pot and then added two pints of my home canned tomato salsa, and one half pint of my home canned peach salsa.  Turned it on low and let it go for the day.  By the end of the day my house smelled heavenly and I had amazing chicken to put over rice.  It was really delicious, although the picture is not very appetizing I don't think...

And now for my favorites from last week!

I hope you will all link up below!  Also, I would love to hear what you think of my new blog design!  And if you are interested in purchasing an ad spot on Townsend House, please see my sponsorship page or e-mail me directly at  Now link up all your yummy food posts below!

blog redesign and sponsorship opportunities

Welcome to my new blog design!  I hope that you all like it!  It took me quite a while to work on it, and while I really enjoyed working on it, it was a little time consuming.  I have categorized a lot of my almost 600 posts, and you can find them above in the pages section.  I have also decided to open up sponsorship on my blog.  It isn't a decision I have come to lightly

I started blogging back in 2001, when I was still in college.  Then it was random tidbits of information about living an apartment with five other women - insanity!  Over the years I have started and then deleted numerous blogs.  I now realize that each blog was me stretching and growing as a person.

Finally, I feel like I am at home at Townsend House.  It has taken a lot of growing to get here, but I am now very happy with the topics I explore every week!  I also realize that I am spending an awful lot of time on blogging.  I do love it, but at some point there is a need to move beyond just writing posts every day.

Townsend House has become a representation of my journey, and the journey of my family, to live a green and simple life.  I hope that you find it enjoyable and informative.

That is where sponsorship comes into play.  If you like what you see, and find that your values as a blogger or business line up with mine, I would love to have you as a sponsor.  You can see my sponsorship page for all the details.  And if you have questions or would like to do something other than what is offered on my sponsorship page, don't hesitate to e-mail me at

Thank you for helping me support my family through Townsend House!

tank top almost done!

Dare I say such a thing?  I am incredibly happy that this is almost done - especially considering the birthday party this will be going to is in just a few short days.  It has been really fun knitting this, and honestly, it isn't a hard knit.

Last week after I posted my seriously sad amount of knitting progress I decided to sit down and spend some dedicated time knitting.  I don't typically do that.  Usually I try to knit a few rows here and there, my attention always elsewhere.  But, I figured that it was ok for me to sit down for a couple hours and just knit, so that is what I did.

With all of the extended knitting, there has been a lot less reading.  I am still reading 1984.  I am starting to realize that reading this book on my Nexus before bed is probably not a smart choice.  It is enjoyable though, just a little concerning considering all of the news recently.  I need to look for something light hearted and easy.  I have a few books that I received recently, so I will have to take a look at them and see if they fit the bill.

I'm not sure what I am going to knit next.  I have a shawl that I have been working on for a while, but it was put down in order to get this tank top finished, so maybe I will go back to that.  There are a lot of beautiful shawl patterns out there that I have been eyeing lately...maybe I will have to take extended knitting breaks during the day more frequently!

Linking up with Ginny, Nicole, and Tami

getting out in the woods

We went for a hike this past weekend.  And I am not even sure you would call it a hike...but I am going to name it as such!  It is only the second time we have attempted this with kids.  The first time was last year when Jack was still in the ERGO.  It is something we have talked about doing more of, and I think we were extremely successful this time!

It is kind of funny because I am not really a hiker.  I'm not that crazy about climbing mountains or mosquitoes, or sweating for that matter :-)  But, I definitely see the importance of getting the kids out into the woods to explore nature.

That isn't to say that we stay inside all the time, but we mainly stick to playing in our yard and being in the garden - which are also great outdoor experiences.  The problem that I have when we are home is that there is always something else that needs to be done.  Yes, we can be outside playing, but then I remember that I have a load of laundry to do, or I should start dinner, or put in another load of dishes.

When we go away from the house, I feel like it allows a lot more down time to really enjoy nature and not necessarily think about what else needs to be done at home.  This is something we have been talking about for a while, and I hope that we can make it into a weekly occurrence.

There is something about being out in the middle of the woods, with only the sounds of nature (and perhaps some screaming children when a toad jumps out of their hand).  It is incredibly peaceful for me, and every time that Matt and I experience that peace, we realize that it would be nice to have more of it!

Do you try to get out into nature frequently?  Are you able to find the same peace being at your own home?  Or are you like me always feeling like there is one more thing that needs to be done, so never completely relaxing?

Linking up at Hip Homeschool Hop, Summer Bucket List, the Mommy Club

garden update

My garden seems to be doing really well despite all the rain.  I don't see any pests yet.  Of course that doesn't mean they aren't there, it just means that I can't see them :-)

This week is typically the week I start to see the cucumber beetles and their very amorous mating rituals.  I don't see any sign of them on my potted cucumbers it is probably too early.  I am holding out hope though that they have decided to live someplace else this season.  I'm all for visitors, but the ones that destroy my plants are not welcome!

The one sign of damage that I have seen is on my pepper plants.  The leaves are all turning yellow and dying.  I know that it is because we have had so much rain, and not so much in the way of hot sunny weather.  It is still early though, and I hope they are able to bounce back.

This week looks like it will be warmer, mid-70's during the day and mid-50's at night.  This is a big change from the past couple of weeks where the temps at night have hovered in the low 40's.  I know that my plants are not huge fans of those temps.  Well, the lettuce and kale are totally fine with that, but all of my other plants are not happy.  I have also heard the rumblings of humidity, while not my favorite type of weather, I know the garden loves I will go with it.  And honestly, with winter seemingly lasting 8 to 9 months this past year, a little heat and humidity is welcome!

I remember a couple years ago that it rained all but two days in June, followed by half of July also in rain, and then no rain for about a month.  What a strange summer that was!  But, I am learning that I can't really expect the same thing every year.  It is incredibly interesting to see the differences and challenges each growing season.  I sometimes wonder if I will ever get ahead of this crazy gardening learning curve.

I recently heard something fascinating about gardening and farmers.  Say you want to grow potatoes, and you grow potatoes for 30 years.  That is only 30 chances to get it right.  If you are trying to learn a piano piece, you practice it hundreds of times to get it right.  I thought it was an interesting comparison, and not something I had thought of before.  It also made me feel a lot better about sometimes losing a lot of what I plant.

How are things growing in your garden?  Are you harvesting already?  Have you been gardening a long time?  If yes, do you feel like you have it all together?

Linking up at Clever Chicks and the Homestead Hop

Sunday Quotes

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there!  I especially want to thank my wonderful husband for the awesome job he does with our kids.  And also a very happy 1st Father's Day to my brother!

"You fathers will understand.  You have a little girl. She looks up to you.  You're her oracle.  You're her hero.  And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you're in a constant state of panic."
~Stanley T. Banks Father of the Bride

what i am eating

I love cooking and eating, and I especially love looking at pictures of food!  If you love food as much as I do, please add your food pictures/recipes/food related posts to the linky below.  All you have to do is link back to this blog post.  I look forward to seeing what everyone else is eating this week!

My kids have been on a yogurt and fruit breakfast kick for several weeks now.  My 2.5 year old even exclaimed to me this week, "Mama, I love yogurt because it is made out of ice cream!"  Highly entertaining...and very happy that I give them very basic vanilla full fat yogurt, instead of the M&M stuff I saw a grandmother buying at the grocery store.  

They have always liked yogurt, but it has been more of a snack.  They are usually opting for a warm breakfast.  I'm not complaining though, yogurt and fruit is about the easiest breakfast I could ask for!  But, when they only have yogurt and fruit, they seem to be ready for something else to eat at 8am.  With it being cold and rainy at the beginning of the week I decided to make granola.

I don't really have a recipe for this.  I used about 4 cups of rolled oats and then about a cup each of unsweetened flaked coconut, raw sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.  Maybe 1/4-1/3 cup of chia seeds, a couple handfuls of brown sugar, some cinnamon and nutmeg.  Then I *may* have melted a stick of butter with a couple tablespoons of honey and mixed it all together.  Cooked at 250 degrees for a little over an hour stirring several times.  It came out delicious.  And now my kids want granola with milk for breakfast instead of the yogurt and granola I thought they would want! :-)

I used to make a lot of granola, but I never found a recipe that my husband liked.  Apparently I should stop following recipes and instead make it up as I go along :-)  I also want to note that I have a HUGE cookie sheet that this all fit on.  If I was using a normal sized cookie sheet I would have had to split this in half.

Now for my favorites from last week:

Alright everyone!  Show me what you have been eating!

Linking up with One Project at a Time

Hello Mornings!

How are you at waking up before your kids in the morning?  I am successful some of the time, but not all of the time.  My kids are early risers - 6:30am and they are awake for the day!  We put them to bed at 7pm every night now - this is a newish change, as in it started right around Thanksgiving last year.  I know what you are thinking, why don't you put them to bed later?!  Well, we have tried that, and have figured out that when they go to bed later than 7:15, they wake up between 5-5:30am for the day.  So 7pm it is!

I'm not really here to write about my kids' bedtime routine though!  I want to talk about my morning routine.  I have talked about it before here, but I wanted to talk a bit about how it has changed.

I am still doing the very cool Hello Mornings challenge.  If you haven't heard of it, you should look into it!  We are in week six of the summer session right now and let me tell you, it has been a complete blessing to me.

The gist of the challenge is to wake up before your children to have quiet time, plan your day, and incorporate some exercise before the chaos of the morning ensues.  The point is to not be a bear to your children in the morning.

Now, do I always have a big chunk of time in the morning to do all of the above?  Absolutely not!  And I have to say that it was entirely discouraging for a long time.  Here I am waking up before the sun comes up, looking for some quiet time to center myself before the craziness starts, and a babe wakes up 10 minutes after I get out of bed.

But, in the past several months, things have been turning around for me and my attitude in the morning.  I think a large part of it is because of the wonderful group of women I *meet* with each morning to check in with.  Oh, did I not mention that?  When you join the challenge, you sign up for a group to participate with.  They are your support system and everyone checks in and checks on each other.  It is extremely encouraging to get a "good morning!" from someone that early, don't ask me why, it makes me smile!

Not to say that my previous groups were not wonderful as well, but this group is a lot more involved than the previous groups, even the one that I created myself!  I realized that even having 10 minutes to myself in the morning was enough for me to take a breath and be thankful for a new day.  The biggest change to my morning routine is giving myself the grace to not be perfect about it.

My mornings still start extremely early - I aim to be out of bed by 4:45am, crazy but it seems to be the best time to sneak downstairs with no one the wiser.  It doesn't always happen, and I give myself a lot of leniency, especially if we have a teething child or someone goes to bed late (ie me when I am reading a new book).  I have been doing this now since September of 2011, and it has become much more routine for me.

I would love to say that I participate in all three areas, but mainly I incorporate the quiet time and the planning of my day with my planning pages.  Sometimes during the spring and summer months I can get out for a walk in the morning, but that is rare.  Maybe next challenge session I will try to work on the exercise portion!

Do you have a special morning routine to get ready for your day?  Have you participated in Hello Mornings before?  Is it something you would be interested in doing in the fall?

tank top progress and new books

I am making progress on the front.  Not nearly as much as I thought I would over the last week.  But, let's be honest, I don't seem to ever make the amount of progress that I think I will.  Well, unless I am up against a deadline, you know, like Christmas.  So I am plugging ahead with the tank, and pretty happy with how it is looking.

I keep holding it up to Emma to check sizing (her and her cousin are only 6 weeks apart in age), and I think she is hoping it will be for her.  I might need to get some more yarn and try and make her one as well - although with the speed of my knitting it might not be finished until the fall, in which case a tank top might not be the best knitting pattern choice!

Books, well I started reading 1984.  I have a vague recollection of reading it in high school, but really can't remember anything about it.  It is a free e-book, so I can't complain there!  And I am finishing up A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days.  It has been really interesting, and eye opening.  I'm also going to start reading the Hunger Games again.  I read the series last year, and loved it, but when I read the first book, I didn't realize it was a trilogy, so I plowed through the second two wanting to know what happens - of course.  Now, I want to sit down and read them a bit slower.

And with all of those uplifting books on the horizon, I will be in my underground bunker knitting away in case anyone is looking for me!

ETA I just want to clarify that I don't actually have an underground bunker, I was just referring to the types of books I have been reading as of late :-)  Didn't want anyone to become too concerned!

Joining in with Ginny, Nicole, and Tami!

my kids, mud, and staying sane

My kids are extremely fond of mud these days.  Although, I guess all kids are fond of mud.  Every day when we go outside they will start out playing with some toys, or running around, or riding their bikes.  But, after about 20 minutes they are asking me to fill up their respective holes in the ground with water.

At first I was a little concerned about all the mud, and the disaster it would cause in terms of laundry and clean up.  But, after the first day of letting them play in the mud, I realized that they loved it, and I loved that they would keep themselves occupied for hours.  Yes, hours.

I know that a lot of people are leery to let their kids get outside and get messy.  It isn't fun to spend the extra time cleaning them up, and attempting to keep clothes free of mud stains is next to impossible.  However, I am fully accepting of them being kids, and kids like to get dirty.

Recently I saw a re-post over on Simple Mom about just this, letting your kids get out and enjoy dirt.  I definitely recommend it.  If you are on the fence about letting your kids get dirty, this gives some great insight into how important it is for kids to get out there and get in the dirt.

But, I want to tell you how we do it in our family.  

  • They aren't allowed to get in the mud every time they go outside.  Often when we are getting ready to go to the grocery store, they are all ready for me to fill up their buckets with water - obviously they can't have free reign with the hose unless we are going to be home for an extended period of time.
  • Have specific mud clothes that the kids can wear.  I have two pairs of clothes that are just mud clothes.  I mean, they are play clothes too, but they are completely stained and probably will never be worn out in public - you know, unless the washing machine breaks :-)  This helps me keep my sanity knowing that these clothes are designated for being messy.
  • Have a big bucket outside the door that the kids can wash off in before they come inside.  This has been a big help, to get most of the mud off of them before I throw them in the tub to get clean.  Plus, they seem to enjoy getting in a bucket with more water.  Then, when you are done washing them off, use the water to water your garden or other plants!
  • Don't stress.  I think the biggest factor in this working for us is that I am not freaking out about them being messy.  I know they are going to be messy, and I accept it.  Then I go about doing whatever else I need to while they entertain themselves.
For the most part, this all works well.  There are some days when it is time to come inside and the kids don't want to.  I like to use alarms to let them know when things are expected of them.  It works well for my kids considering they don't really understand the concept of time.  But, they do understand the concept of "alarm going off, time to wash up."  And the other thing that works for me, is that the kids really love taking baths, so it is almost like another activity for them to do after they have worn themselves out smearing mud all over each other.

This is part of my trying to say yes more often to my kids, instead of saying no because it is inconvenient for me.  Overall, it is working.  I know that a lot of people don't stay home nearly as much as I do, so it would be difficult to do all the time.  But, for us, it works.  We are able to get all of our errands and other activities out of the way in the morning, and then after lunch it becomes a free-for-all.

it isn't just mud my kids enjoy using to their full advantage (and imagination)!

How often do your kids get muddy?  Are they as enamored with dirt and water as mine are?  

protecting my garden from pests

The past couple years have been kind of crazy when it comes to bugs in my garden.  I'm talking specifically of the cucumber beetle and, my favorite, the squash bug.  You can read about some of my previous bouts with these fun friends here and here.  Now of course we seem to always get those wonderful tomato horn worms, and they do a lot of damage as well, but they definitely are not as wide spread as the cucumber beetles and squash bugs.

This year I am bound and determined to get ahead of these bugs.  I'm not sure how well it will work, but I am very hopeful that I can deter them.  I have been checking the plants every day.  The eggs of the squash bugs are typically on the back of the leaves, I don't know how early they show up, but it seems like these bugs are an infestation by the end of June.  And as far as the striped cucumber beetles, they all of a sudden just appear flying around, I don't know where they come from, and haven't spent a lot of time trying to figure that out either.

My first line of defense was to let the chickens loose in the garden last fall, where they would hopefully eat anything that had the desire to overwinter in our garden space.  Of course, that didn't go as well as planned.  They were only satisfied with the garden area for about 2 days, and then they started flying over the incredibly short fence I had set up.

And now we are trying to use floating row covers - which aren't exactly floating right now.  We decided that by getting these over the garden beds early, it should help deter the pests from coming here in the first place because they won't know where to land.  Will this work?  I have absolutely no clue, but it is a start.

The floating row covers, coupled with me getting outside every day and checking on the plants is what I hope will work.  I don't want to spray chemicals on my vegetables, and never have in the years past.  But, last year was the last straw.  I lost all of the cucumbers and squash that I had planted, and it seemed like it happened over night.

I spent a lot of time squishing bugs last year, but after doing some further reading I am just going to spray the squash bugs with soapy water.  Apparently when you squish them, the smell that comes out of them attracts perhaps I shot myself in the foot last year when I spent so much time squishing them?

What do you do to deter pests?  Any ideas on staying ahead of squash bugs/stink bugs/cucumber beetles?  Would you use an organic or non-organic spray if you had a serious infestation?

Linking up at Clever ChicksHomestead Barn Hop, Green Living Thursday, From the Farm

Sunday Quotes

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
~Benjamin Franklin

what i am eating

I love cooking and eating, and I especially love looking at pictures of food!  If you love food as much as I do, please add your food pictures/recipes/food related posts to the linky below.  All you have to do is link back to this blog post.  I look forward to seeing what everyone else is eating this week!

We are rolling in eggs, no really, 8 chickens lay 8 eggs each day...and I am running out of recipes!  Speaking of which, if you are local and want some eggs, call me!  So, this week quiche was on the menu.  I actually do a really simple quiche with just eggs/milk/cheese.  My kids aren't into veggies in their "egg pie" so I serve them separately.  But, if I were to make this for just myself, there would be a lot of mushrooms/spinach/broccoli/onions/peppers, that is just me :-)

Basic Quiche recipe

1 pie crust

8-10 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
6-8 oz cubed extra sharp cheddar (i use 1 8oz block of Cabot New York Extra Sharp)

Put pie crust in 9" pie plate.  In a bowl whisk eggs and milk together.  Pour in pie crust.  Drop cubes of cheese around into the egg mixture.  Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, and then turn heat down to 350 degrees for maybe another hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Now for my favorites from last week!

I can't wait to see what everyone else is eating!  Don't forget to check out the what i am eating pinterest board for previous feature recipes!