Friday, May 31, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking - Gardens and Gardening

Chapter 6 - Gardens and Gardening
You may have 300 acres to work with, or three; a large and fertile garden surrounding a suburban home, or a tiny square space in the back of your city home; you may have a large balcony with space for oblong or round boxes or containers of some sort, or only a windowsill or two. Whatever it is, there is something very basic in being involved with growing, living art form such as a garden of some sort. p.86
As far back as I can remember I have been surrounded with some form of flower gardening. As a young girl I would help my mom plant flowers from the nursery in the spring and in my teens I did it myself. In the first home my husband and I lived in promptly got a roses planted in the front along with some annuals.

I was a failure for a while in the gardening department when we lived in Texas. For some reason I couldn't get my northern mind wrapped around southern plants and I pretty much killed everything I tried to grow there. You couldn't put anything straight into the ground since just a trip out into the yard found you up to your ankles in water let along dodging the fire ants.

1. Look at this crazy rose bush! For some reason this one grows
like crazy and it has to be cut back several times a summer.
2. More roses. 3. My pots by the door.4. My gerbera daisy
makes me happy!

Over the years my gardening style has changed. My husband really enjoys working in the yard and planting flowers and he has taken over that aspect of it. I don't really mind since it keeps my hands clean! I also tend to buy the same flowers every year since I have hit on ones that I can get to grow and are pretty tolerant of not being watered. For some reason when it comes down to feeding the kids or watering flowers the kids always win! I also have to have flowers that don't need lots of TLC.

Our backyard came with a butterfly bush (actually it was a huge tree), a few more rose bushes, and two smaller trees. A couple of years ago I realized we had iris' back there but they would never bloom since the butterfly bush overshadowed them. Earlier this spring my husband majorly cut down the bush and lo and behold the iris' bloomed.

The iris' that finally bloomed!

One thing we always try to plant, even at rental houses, are rose bushes. The house we are renting now actually came with five and we put in one more. Since living in Oregon my "go-to" plants are fuchsias, impatiens, geraniums, and a few gerbera daisies. A couple of years ago we did put in a small square foot garden. This is really my husband's project and our biggest successes have been green beans and tomatoes. It has been fun to have and great to get the kids interested in eating their green beans.

Garden Collage 2
1. Our square foot garden from a couple of years ago. 2. My front
 porch -I bought the bistro table set because I had dreams of sitting out
on the porch in the mornings, but alas, Oregon summer mornings
are still too cold for me.

I do have a few flowers that one of these days I want to plant and never do it. My first is sunflowers and eventually when we get a house I will put in a clematis.

More from this series:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5 - Part 1
Chapter 5 - Part 2

I am linking up with Cindy at Ordo Amoris and with Fellowship Fridays at Christian Mommy Blogger.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Read-Aloud Thursday - John Adams:Independence Forever by Janet & Geoff Benge

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

Book Description:
John's heart sank. A British man-of-war was plowing through the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean in hot pursuit of his ship. If the British caught up with the Boston, John would be hanged. He had proudly signed the Declaration of Independence and was carrying the colonies' secret papers. He couldn't be captured now!  
Growing up in Massachusetts, longing to be a farmer like his father, John Adams never imagined the vital role he would one day play in the transformation of the colonies into an independent American nation. As the injustices of British rule stirred up the colonists to revolution and independence, this rising young lawyer became and influential member of the Continental Congress and a passionate advocate for freedom.  
As a foreign diplomat for the young United States, first vice president, and second president, this true American patriot held firmly to his integrity and left an uncompromising legacy: independence forever.

My thoughts:
I wanted a biography of John Adams for Chantry to read for his last half of school. I have always passed and looked at the YWAM Publishing booth at our local homeschool convention, but have never bought or read a book until I found John Adams: Independence Forever (Heroes of History) by Janet & Geoff Benge. My first intention was for him to read it to himself, but I soon saw that we needed to do it as a read-aloud.

Even though this is a biography, John Adams: Independence Forever , is in no way a dry and dusty book just filled with facts. It is written in a very engaging style and kept his interest (and his sister's when she was in the room) throughout the whole book. The book also has many excerpts from John's writing and letters which were a nice addition to the story. When the story was finished Chantry had a very solid idea of who John Adams was and what he had done in his life time.

I have to admit I was very impressed with the writing quality of this story and will definitely be adding more of these stories to our personal library. If I had any complaint it was how long the chapters were (for a read-aloud), but since this was a 'school' book we broke it up with narrations. If you are looking for interesting biographies I highly recommend John Adams: Independence Forever  and others published by YWAM Publishing

See what others are reading aloud over at Hope is the Word.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Simplified Pantry - Simplified Dinners (TOS Review)

 photo tn_zpsd0054245.jpg
Meal planning (and cooking) is something that really eludes me. I don't enjoy cooking and I prefer to cook quick and easy items rather than slaving away all day in the kitchen (plus as a homeschool mom that doesn't really work!). I was excited when the opportunity came to review Simplified Dinners written by Mystie Winkler from Simplified Pantry. 

 photo sp_sidebar_lg_zps684e1145.gif
Simplified Dinners provides plenty of options for simple but delicious home-cooked meals. Mystie's primary purpose of the recipes in this eBook is to give reminders of the steps of certain standard dinners rather than provide recipes. Her second purpose was to pare her pantry down yet have plenty of dinner options. She shares her Master Pantry List that is all you need to make anything from the book.
Included are such recipes as Slow-Cooker Roasts, Slow-Cooker, No Defrost Chicken Pieces, Stovetop Pasta, Bean Pots, Quesadillas, Pizza, Soups, Vegetable Side Dishes, and so much more. Under each recipe is the process for cooking and then there are many different options that can be made from that one cut of meat, veggie, or beans, etc. For instance, under Slow-Cooker Roasts there is listed a four step process of browning the roast, mix the seasoning mixes, putting everything in the slow-cooker, and then the cooking time. Following this are 8 different types of roast you can cook such as Barbecue Pork, Sweet & Sour Pork, Savory Beef Roast, and more.
The really nice thing about Simplified Dinners is that it uses real, whole foods from your local grocery store. It also makes it easy to easier to pick something out for dinner since the ingredients are in your freezer and pantry. You can easily add recipes you find online to this set-up and add them to great list already included.
At the end of the book she give a sample menu plan with suggestions rotating your meals. She also includes a blank menu plan for you to use. Mystie suggests in your meal planning to add one convenience dinner to your master list so you have a "plan B" ready on those days that it calls for it.
simplified dinners collage
I was inspired to oven roast my green beans from Simplified Dinners.
Yum! This is the only way green beans are getting cooked in this house anymore.
I found Simplified Dinners something that I could "get" and felt inspired to get a meal plan going for us as soon as baseball is finished. Though there were some recipes I know won't appeal to my family I can see how her simple plans can be easily adjusted to fit in my family's favorite recipes and my collection of Pinterest  recipe "pins" waiting to be tried.
Simplified Dinners eBook is available for $12.99. You can download a sample and see the list of meals here (scroll down). Make sure to read through to the end of this post to see the special offering going on right now.

Mistie also has available:
 photo sp_gfdf_sidebar_lg_zpsbf28c2f7.gif
Simplified Dinners Gluten Free/Dairy Free is also available for $12.99 and
 photo book_cover_zpsea3c0ac1.jpg
Paperless Home Organization which is a guide to show you how to create a digital home-making binder which is available for $3.99

Right now Mistie is offering 30% off until June 3. Enter TOS2013 at checkout.

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Monday, May 27, 2013

What's on Your Nightstand - May

{Affiliate links included.}
What's On Your Nightstand

My June Nightstand:

From my April Nightstand:

I also read:
  • Ring of Secrets (Culper Ring Series) by Roseanna M. White - I read this based on another blogger's review, though I can't remember who. I really enjoyed it. The Revolutionary War (which I just studied with my kids), spies, and suspense--what's not to like?
  • Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott - Probably my favorite Alcott book! (review)
  • Spring Fever by P.G. Wodehouse - Whan all other fiction fails you pick up Wodehouse! Actually, a first edition of this book was donated to our Friends store and while looking through it I realized I had never read it so I had to get a copy from the library and remedy that. A reformed crooks, a penniless earl who falls in love with the cook, a crazy love triangle, an know-it-all butler, and a domineering woman--classic Wodehouse.
  • The Tempest (No Fear Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare - This was our Shakespeare reading for the last couple of months. I am going to have to revisit this story. One time through is not enough exposure to the plot.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (review)
  • Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George - This is the first Elizabeth George book that I just can't rave about. Not that it doesn't have good information, but it just fell short of other books I've read on moms and daughters.

I listend to:
  • The Comedy of Errors (Arkangel Complete Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare - After reading The Tempest and feeling kind of lost I listened to this in preparation of our next Shakespeare book. When it comes to Shakespeare I am learning that for myself I need exposed to his plays several times before I can get the story straight in my head. Oh, the joys of growing old!

See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Reading Journal - The Ben Reese Mysteries by Sally S. Wright

{Affiliate links enclosed.}

I saw this series recomended by Cindy at Ordo Amoris and since I have been in a mystery mood lately found the books at the library. Here is what the author says about these books.
I write the Ben Reese mysteries about a university archivist who'd been a World War II Scout who uses those skills to investigate murder in the early sixties. I started writing the Ben Reese books after I'd badgered an archivist I knew into telling me what he'd done in the war. The contrast between what that was, and what he did when I knew him, made me want to create a fictional character with those internal contrasts. (
I found I really enjoyed this series and was a little sad to see it end. The mix of an university archivist and war scout made them an interesting blend. Add in all the other little tidbit of information that was included such as painting and painters, interesting places, intriguing people, and they make for a very compelling and suspenseful read. If you enjoy a cozy (though there are some intense moments) mystery I highly recommend this series.

A note: I have linked to the Kindle edition of the books since I liked the covers. They are available in paperback, also.


Related Posts with Thumbnails