Celebrating Our First Harvest!

What's tiny, red and tastes a bit spicy?

Say hello to our first radish!

Ok, so it's not much, but I am SUPER excited to show off our first vegetable straight out of the hoop house.  Claire was so eager to pick something other than lettuce leaves (she's been munching on them for weeks whenever we would walk up to water) so I gave in and let her pick a radish from the pot.

These are the ones we planted back in December. They grew s-l-o-w-l-y in our unheated greenhouse, but grow they did. The January and February ones are just as far along. Claire described the flavor as being "like spicy pepper, but it was good too [at the start]."

The rule in our house is that you must try food. You may not like it, but give it a shot. Even parents have foods that they don't like (don't you try to sneak any olives onto my plate!), but we should always have a try to see if our tastes have changed. Claire could live on broccoli, kale and garlicky spinach and she loves (gasp!) brussel sprouts. Really, the only things she doesn't enjoy are mushrooms, olives and (lately) raw tomato. And bread...we almost never have sandwiches because she never eats the bread.

Claire has shown me that it is entirely possible to eat PB&J without the bread, it's just very, very messy.

Are you gardening with your little ones this year? 


Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Just a quick post to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I posted last year about a frugal find for exploring sculpture and how we tied it into learning about  Saint Patrick and wanted to share for those of you new to the blog. Enjoy!

Pin It

I hit the jackpot! Have you seen those Magic Nuudles Bloxx? They look like a fantastic craft material and I love the idea of exploring sculpture with them but they’re a bit pricey.  I found a cheapo option in shipping supply aisle at Staples - cornstarch packing peanuts! They’re not quite as colorful, but for $10 you’ll get more than triple the amount of fluffy fun. Of course…an even cheaper option is to hang on to your packing peanuts when receiving mail!


A damp sponge was just the right amount of moisture for Claire - a little goes a long way in getting these guys to stick together. If you are too generous with the water, the result is sad and disintegrated noodle goo. Claire added on lots of file sorting stickers and I helped with a bit of pink yarn for the tongue. And voila! A cool snake sculpture! I can’t wait for Claire to try some more shapes, right now she’s only interested in sticking them together end to end. I suppose we’ll slowly work our way up sculpting the Eiffel Tower, heehee!


I've got a book on hold at the library by Sheila McGill-Callahan called The Last Snake in Ireland. It's a perfect literature connection for this activity and Saint Patrick's Day! We've read it before and its a hoot to read out loud. 

I’m off to drive away the snakes like Saint Patrick. I suppose clearing my table of cornstarch serpents isn’t quite as impressive as driving them out of Ireland, is it?


Early Spring Nature Activities

If you missed out last year in creating a nesting material dispenser for your backyard birds, buy some onions and hang on to that bag because now is the time!

Last year we left out bunches of sparkling ribbon, pink yarn and batting and were treated to some pretty fabulous nests. We're in a new house now and while walking in the woods, my husband found this nest on the ground for us to examine, take a close look...

Remember not to take nests still on trees, some birds will revisit the same site year after year!

Do you see the dental floss and the blue string from a nearby tarp? We'll be spending the afternoon here hanging some yarn remnants on bushes and waiting for the song birds to arrive. With the warm weather our area has been experiencing, we're expecting the first robins of the year any day now. If you already have a feeding station set up, add an onion bag filled with goodies for your nesters (be sure to keep the string snipped to about 4 inches).

Pin It

If you're looking for a literature tie-in for this activity, I highly recommend The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman...you might just know one of his buddies, Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss). This book about a bird couple and the pursuit of the perfect place to live.

In other spring news, the wood frogs have been busy in our pond and there are a few THOUSAND eggs just waiting to turn into tadpoles (we might bring a few indoors to watch!). They sound rather like the chickens in the morning, not your usual "ribbit" at all!

Hooray Spring!


The Happy Monkey House


Blanket forts, tree houses, tucked away closets...it's obvious that the kiddie crowd loves to have places and spaces to call their own. Claire is no exception. Santa dropped this cardboard house off at Christmas and for the following 4 weeks Claire meticulously colored and embellished it in her own style.

Now if you've spent any time at all here at the blog, you know I'm a "color outside the lines" kind of gal so picking up this house was a little out of character for me. But I am so glad I did because Claire loved it (and I was able to bury my nose in a bunch of books for hours at a time - BONUS!)                                                                                                                  I dubbed this "Happy Monkey House" because all over the outside of the house Claire drew happy smiley monkeys. These are quite different than her people drawings, a keen eye will notice the pronounced monkey ears (often colored in). A friendly family of millipedes live over the door (I'm sure this is my fault).

The aforementioned skylights in
their full glory. Future architect?

But by far the most interesting of modifications are Claire's skylights. Yep, it was dark inside the house so Claire punched an assortment of holes in the roof to let more light in. Like I said, I had my nose buried in a book...apparently she did this very quietly.

I can't ignore the genius in the idea, but Dan and I asked her to refrain from poking more holes. Her response? "It's ok, I'm done now with those I can see in my house."

Speaking of things to see, when not coloring the outside scenery, Claire was hard at work decorating the interior of the cottage. You guessed it, more monkeys. There's one frown-faced fellow in there and a picture of Dan and I even made it in (I feel honored).

Happy Monkey House is stowed in the basement right now. After giving up half the living room for nearly a month I've reclaimed the space but I'm sure we'll bring it out again. All of the monkey portraits that hung from the ceiling have a new home too but you'll have to wait to see it!