OK, I have been a blog slacker. So sorry to the two of you who read this. But I have taken a slew of pictures and I’m sharing:
One of the best things we did this summer was to plant flowers.
We did it for the boys, especially for the Monkey since he loves science and green things and seeing how things work, so seeing a seed turn into a plant and then to bloom was a nice educational treat for him. And believe me, the beauties I photographed are BIG ya’ll.
We planted sunflowers (three varieties, I think), zinnias, marigolds, poppies and asters (all have bloomed but the asters). BHE also bought a hibiscus for me for Mother’s Day (fully grown, not from a seed) – Monkey helped choose that one. Throughout the summer I have seen all manner of butterflies and moths, bees, bumblebees, and hummingbirds. Our backyard might not be landscaped in the traditional sense, but I think it’s beautiful. And it has been such a pleasure to photograph. If you’re going to garden for photography, definitely go with the sunflowers and larger wildflowers. Zinnias work rather well too, and I can’t say enough about the hibiscus – don’t know how well it’s going to do inside this winter, but it’s gorgeous.
And gardening for kids? Again, you can’t beat the sunflowers – they get HUGE! And the marigolds have been hearty, prolific, and have a nice variety of color.
So, BHE set up a bird feeder in a nice tree next to our house. We’re trying to keep the redbirds and their friends happy, especially since the redbirds have set up a nest in our rosebushes. We appreciate their company. Anyway, BHE has noticed that a LOT of birdseed has been consumed regularly…I blamed the squirrels, to which BHE said “there’s NO WAY that a squirrel would eat a half gallon of food!”.
A good write-up on natural cleaning for those interested – I’m so thankful she mentioned the use of essential oil in water for a Febreze effect – I’ve had a hard time finding how to make my own!
BHE and I have recently taken to using vinegar for a lot of our cleaning needs. Need to clean your carpets? Half vinegar, half water versus buying the solution that the Rug Doctor recommends – the floors look just as clean, if not cleaner, it’s cheaper, and there’s no nasty chemical mess. And our kitchen floors have never looked better since switching from your standard, chemical-laden mopping solution to vinegar.
It made me ponder – if vinegar is cheaper, cleans as effectively (if not better), and is friendlier to our bodies (and additionally to the environment) than using that chemical junk – how did we get this way? What happened over the last 25 or 50 years to progress us to this state of affairs? Are marketers that effective at their jobs that they could guilt all the moms of America into chemical cleaners?
Anyway, a couple of vinegar-related links:
Vinegar Tips – 1001 uses; it’s no joke that you can pretty much do anything with vinegar
Surprising Cleaners – this not only details vinegar, but baking soda and a few other natural ways to clean.
OK, who doesn’t like seeing their work appreciated in some form?
Several weeks ago, Monkey and Bear did some major painting. With all this art going on I had to find a way to let it dry – table space was at a premium. So this was my solution:
Monkey loved it so much that we left it up. One painting of his – a snake (his favorite animal) – is in his room, but the rest are up in the entry between our kitchen and den for the whole family to enjoy. The display – just string and paper clips – is two sided, so we can enjoy art on either side. I think it will be a while before we will take it down – when the boys create new art, we can just take down some old pieces and hang up the new.
Found this via the fabulous BlondeMom. It’s a great idea for covering plastic bins that many of us moms use for toy storage; check it out. I am now wishing we’d bought some excess fabric when my mom did the curtains for the boys’ rooms.
However – I always see these cool ideas and make a half attempt at organization, only to have it FAIL MISERABLY. I am no Martha Stewart, my friends.
My new “someday this house will indeed be decent” mantra is: “when The Bear (my youngest, not in any way, shape or form affiliated with a certain long-deceased-yet-long-revered-within-my-former-state SEC coach) moves up into a toddler bed, the boys will share a room and the other room will be a playroom, and all the toys will stay in there”.
Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha.
We just run a chaotic yet lazy household here on Awesome Avenue, I guess. It’s not a pigsty (yet) but it ain’t no Martha Stewart.
However – again, via the fabulous BlondeMom – I found some blogs with the intent to simplify their living; I’m adding them to the blogroll in just a bit. A lot of it is devoted to reducing spending – a good thing to do, and a bit brave in the midst of our “buy buy buy” culture. Honestly, I’m not a big shopper, but it did get me thinking about all the stuff in our house that we just don’t need – starting with the bags I have been meaning to take to our local Goodwill for some time now. So I think 2008 might be the year that we declutter – really take inventory of what we need and just get rid of a lot of junk. I’d have a yardsale but that takes a lot of planning and time that I don’t have – instead I think I’ll donate. Anyone know of some worthy organizations for my “junk”? Goodwill always works, but I would love to find a good organization that might get stuff directly to those who would need it (for this I’d assume clothes, children’s toys, etc…).