Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Garden Project - Part 1

Although it may be a long time before Mommy 2.0 ever goes completely green, it looks like 2012 is the year that our family makes a stab at creating a renewable food source, right here in our own backyard (literally!)

I have envied those of my friends whose Facebook photos in the midst of the summer heat, show their kids' freckled faces amidst the verdant backdrop of their summer vegetable garden, picking and eating their homegrown beans and peas. I have longed for quiet moments in the garden with my girls, as they discover the excitement of seeing a new shoot, or the glorious victory of plucking a finally ripe tomato off the vine.

But to be honest, the only time my thumb has ever looked green, is when I have spent more than a few minutes trying to scrub green marker/fingerpaint/or the occasional green-colored candy off of my rug/walls/various body parts of my children.

Plus, in the back of my mind, I know that having a fruitful garden is a Buttload.Of.Work!

I think Sweet Hubby has always been right there along with me; plus, he has the added "I'm-a-chef-so-I-am-supposed-to-grow-and-harvest-fresh-food-for-my-family" kinda thing going on.

This year, despite the odds against us (lack of time, lack of energy, lack of knowledge), we decided to go for it. With a little bit of self-motiviation (and A LOT of enthusiasm from Little Diva), we stopped planning to make a garden, and actually made one.

Since Little Diva, and by extension, The Baby (who, by the way, isn't really much of a baby anymore - but that is a post of a different day), really motivated the process, the Garden is dedicated to them. Though we hope for some decent crops, it is really more of an experiential project for the whole family.

Here is a glimpse of the experience so far . . .

Because of the local wildlife population, namely groundhogs and rabbits, we opted for the Raised Bed style garden.
The wood for the bed is cedar.
Getting to use the gigantic drill from 1975 was just a bonus!
So it is pretty level - a good start!

This was the original frame plan - 8'Lx4'Wx6"deep. We decided it need to be 6" deeper, just to help keep those pests out.
We got lots of help from Little Diva, who was really into the whole construction concept.

With the sides complete to a height of 12", we picked just the right sunny spot in the yard.
Oops, we spotted a little gap, that Sweet Hubby was kind enough to fix, because that kind of thing would just drive me crazy.

We tacked a weed cloth, and a stainless steel hardware cloth (aka chicken wire) to the bottom to keep both the weeds and the groundhogs from poking their ugly little heads up.
We decided on a local company to deliver the soil. It is a Screened Topsoil with Mushroom Soil added.
We also plan on amending the soil with some good organic fertilizer from the bunny cage.
Having the wheelbarrow bust on the first soil run impeded our progress a little, but Sweet Hubby powered on.
This is one very proud dirtgirl and she refers to every thing we are planning to grow as "hers". Her peas, her beans, her tomatoes.
We will see how her tune changes when it comes time to weed the place.
I recruited her to help me measure and mark off the bed in 12" increments.

She happens to be really into using the tape measure, and it ties right into what they are learning about Math in school right now, so I felt very gratified by her participation.

So here we go, ready to start planting! We are loosely incorporating some the "Square Foot Gardening" concept into the project, so I felt that neatly a measured and marked grid would help. The duct tape was not the most aesthetic choice, but it is more of a temporary guide to help us know where to plant everything.

Our first crop of shelling peas and snow peas has been planted and the rest will wait for a few more weeks until slightly more reliable warm temperatures come around.

Anyone have tips or anecdotes to share about your own family gardening experiences?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Fitted Sheet

I am a little obsessed with perfectly folding the fitted sheet. For me, it is the Holy Grail of Domesticity. There is something so satisfying about tucking that tightly folded little parcel of success into a neat stack on the shelf of an otherwise horrifying linen closet. I don't get it right that often.

How does one properly fold a fitted sheet? Google it, and you will get a bunch of different "expert" opinions on the topic. It seems like every domestic guru out there knows exactly how to do it, and will happily sell you a glossy magazine for $5.95 so you can do it too!

But no matter how well I follow the instructions, I can never do it the same way twice. Sometimes I end up with a jumble of corners and bunches and just stuff the thing into the back corner until however many months pass and I am motivated to change the sheets again. Other times, it looks like I have channelled my inner Martha and could get that sheet right back into its original package. I like days like that, and I will proudly run my hand over the smooth bundle several times before putting it away. I will admire it from every angle. Maybe even show it to Sweet Hubby so he knows that my time spent at home involves more than bon-bons and the soaps. <snicker snicker>

Like so many things, folding the fitted sheet takes practice. You try to do it the same way every time, but you can't always remember exactly what you did last time that worked so well. Other times, you are rushed, and can't take the time it needs. Maybe you were not taught how do it growing up, so you had to figure it out on your own.

And don't you know, you may spend a lot of time trying to get it right yourself, but then along comes someone else, who doesn't place the same importance on the perfectly folded fitted sheet, and will just shove their wadded mess into your organized pile.

You can take one look at that totally together mommy at the playground, and just know that her sheets are perfectly folded. She did it right before baking homemade chocolate chip cookies, and still had time afterwards to jump on a conference call to change the world. You wonder - does fold her own sheets? How did she learn to do it so well? Why. Is. It. So. Freakin'. Hard. For. Me?

Hmph! Maybe she just buys new sheets every time.

Sometimes, if I know I didn't do my best, I will go back and refold that sheet until it looks a little better.  I feel slightly bad for giving up on it so soon. Sometimes I listen to the experts, and sometimes I just do my own thing. I do what feels right.

When I climb into a freshly-made bed, I realize, no matter how the sheet was folded, it feels soft and smooth against my skin, and it is something that makes me happy. It is a fun challenge to make it perfect, but sometimes you just have to shut the linen closet door and try again later.

What is your domestic Holy Grail?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Can You Go A Day Without the Internet?

I am posing this question to all my readers, knowing full well that it is really quite contentious to bring up the topic in a forum that is clearly fueled by the power of the internet. After all, by definition, the existence of blogging relies solely on the web.

And that is only a small part of how the internet is complexly woven into our daily lives, isn't it? A day without the internet (or any sort of web-based applications) would mean using our iPhone only to make phone calls, and having to look up the number in a phone book, or <gasp> call 411. It would mean finding a recipe in a cookbook, not on (which totally rocks, by the way!).

I wonder how many of us, as parents, use the web to answer day-to-day questions about everything from how long it takes to roast a chicken, to what should I do if my child's fever spikes to 103? Could we get through a day without Google or Wikipedia?

At this point, I should interject with the disclaimer that my interest in this topic has nothing to do with SOPA or PIPA or any other internet legislation coming down the pike. I am really just curious from a personal perspective.

So why my obsession with trying to get through a day completely off the grid? Well, I have been paying a lot of attention to the concept of "screen-time" for my little ones. This does not mean that I have limited that screen time as much as I probably should. But at least I have been aware, and that is a start.

And as I have tried to set, at least in my mind, reasonable limits, it has led me to wonder - what if my kid told me that she absolutely could not survive a day without going on-line for one reason or another? Would I not feel like just about the crappiest parent out there? Clearly, I would have gone wrong somewhere along the line, if I raised my kid to be so cyber-dependent, right?

And yet, if you were to ask ME to go a day without the internet, in some form, or another, could I do it? Would I even try?

If the answer were no, then it should stand to reason, that my own kids, with me as their model, will someday be just as dependent, I suppose.

But if I really could do it, would the results open my eyes in some way? Would I see that I can turn to friends and family with my tough parenting questions, and not rely on the collective "wisdom" of some user-group of parents, hundreds of miles away, that I will never meet.

Would I find answers to my little one's questions like, "what kind of bird is that?, by finding some old book in library, and leafing through the pages together until we found a match?

Perhaps I could show my budding reader about how a newspaper is laid out, with headlines, and comics, and the weather report, and teach her how to get the day's news and forecast without pressing a single button.

Maybe, just maybe, I would spend 100% of a day thinking only about what is going on in the lives of people I interact with on a human level, not a cyber level. I would not "Update My Status" in any way other than calling a friend a to tell her how I am doing or recapping with my husband at the end of the day.

I left my phone in the car (by accident, of course) when I took Little Diva to sporting event yesterday, and after a good 10 minutes of nervous supposition about how I would make it through the game without out it, I let it go, and we somehow survived three periods of regulation, over-time and a shoot-out. Of course, no one got to see a picture of us posing together in the stands, and there were no OMG's or play-by-plays of our adventure via Social Media.

But we had a great time, and I truly enjoyed the lack of distraction. Those moments belonged to us, and to no one else. I sense that we, as a society, are experiencing fewer and fewer of times like those, and I know I, at least from time to time, feel powerless to change that.

But I am curious to know if any of you are interested in trying this social experiment with me. One day, no internet. Think we can do it? Care to give it a try?

PS - I will not be offended or judgy in any way if people are like "H-no, that is just a totally dumb idea, go buy something on Amazon and get off our backs".

Sunday, December 18, 2011

T'was the Week Before Christmas

Where has the time gone? It has been months since my last blog post. And this is hardly the time for me to sit down and start grinding out any of the dozens of blog ideas that have been swirling about my sleep-deprived mommy brain. So I am reposting my ode to holiday spirit that I penned last year, right around this time. I am not surprised to note that it is just about as accurate to this year's preparations as last.

I wish all of you of a wonderful holiday season, a very happy new year and most importantly -a full recovery from the "most. wonderful. time. of. the. year!"

T'was the week before Christmas

T'was the week before Christmas and all through the house,
The kids weren't behaving nor was my spouse.

Their stockings, their jackets, nothing hung in its place.
They left crumbs on the floor and left jam on their face.

A week's worth of dishes were used in a day
And left in the sink for mom to put away.

The holiday baking didn't come out quite right
And the wrapping of presents turned into a fight.

A phone call to Santa was threatened at least once,
But that had grown old since we'd used it for months.

But the countdown is on and we will be merry,
We may even get a visit from the Tooth Fairy!

I'll hear them proclaim, as I kiss them good night,
I love you, Mommy and that makes it all right.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Favorite Christmas card choice, vetoed by Sweet Hubby!

Naughty Or Nice Christmas Card
Creating Christmas cards has never been this easy.
View the entire collection of cards.