Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Adventures in vegetable gardening (pt 3 of 3)

The garden is still producing, namely cantaloupe and bell peppers. Here's a recap of the bounty we received and some plans for the future.

Week 4 (04/16/12)

Week 6 (05/01/12)

My little garden helper picks our first two mature squash of the season!

Week 9 (05/18/12)

Harvested most of the lettuce. The leaves were becoming bitter, so I pulled up 2/3 of it to make more room for the encroaching cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe runners are spilling over into the yard. Do your thing, melons. Do your thing!

The bell pepper plants are budding.

And the squash will be goners soon. I didn't treat them for powdery mildew in time. I was unsure on what kind of spray to use, especially since I wanted to avoid chemicals. Someone told me baking soda and water would help, but I never tried it. Still, we harvested nearly 30 squash and zucchini before we lost the plants; not bad!

Short carrots could've been left in the ground a week longer, but my daughter and I were anxious to pick them.

Fruit tree: Mr. Mac Satsuma
Just in the nick of time, we planted a citrus tree before the summer heat hit.

The tree is pretty small right now, but will eventually have a canopy of 10 ft, which may eventually cause problems with adequate sunlight over the raised bed. But, that's several years from now, so I may change things by then anyway!

Future plans for our "backyard farm"

See the random places I planted squash and cantaloupe? I just couldn't bear to just compost them when I thinned the plants, so I gave the seedlings a shot in unamended soil alongside the house and in bare patches in the lawn. They didn't really produce, but at least I gave them a chance. In the future, I'd like to amend the soil along the house to plant lettuce (I think they were overexposed in the full sun.)

Next season, I'd love to remove the dead tree in the corner and make room for two more raised beds to plant some veggies on rotation. Maybe add another fruit tree and invest in some blueberry shrubs along the fence. A girl can dream!

My more short-term goal is to replace the failing squash plants with tomatoes for the remainder of the summer.

Read the archives:
Part 1
Part 2

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Princess tea party

Can a preschool-age girl avoid the princess obsession? I mean, twirly skirts and tiaras just seem to be a rite of passage these days!

Our daughter requested a princess birthday party, which then evolved into a princess tea party.

We welcomed our guests at the front door with a framed invitation mounted on white cardstock.

The kids got started on an activity while we waited for everyone to arrive. Coloring the castle, which the girls later dubbed the "Princess Club."

Now, the tables are ready. Simple white tablecloths. Folding chairs with tulle tied on back. Vases with lantana blossoms. Borrowed china cups and saucers.

Our guests sipped their "tea" (raspberry lemonade.) See the child wearing the crown above? That was another time-filler craft using faux gems and stickers.

While the kids enjoyed their tea, parents went inside to grab plates of food for themselves and to serve the princes and princesses. In the photo just above, we created "tea cups" using plastic Easter eggs and buttons (see the blog, Creativity in Progress, for instructions). Filled them up with pastel M&Ms.

Opening gifts was a hoot, especially when our son tried to steal the show with his adorable antics.

A few details on these decorations. I changed out the decorative items on these shelves in our dining room to fit the theme a bit--kinda minor, but I think it helped with cohesion. Strips of scrap fabric tied to twine made for a pretty bunting to drape from the window above the food table.

And the highlight of the party--THE CAKE! I baked a three-layer Baby Vanilla Bean Cake and my dear sister (who has taken a Wilton's decorating class) did this frosting technique. The topper for the cake was a tea cup and saucer that my daughter and I made in a pottery studio when she was 2 years old, so very sentimental. Much like this photo of us where she rested her head on my shoulder while we sang to her. *mommy's contented sigh*

Guests grabbed a favor bag on their way out the door. Basically, I cut a square of tulle, filled it with goodies like a ring, a flute, stickers, a crazy straw and some candy. Tied it with some yarn and handstamped the child's name on a piece of cardstock cut to mimic the shape of a tea bag.


For my social butterfly of a daughter, a big birthday party is the best gift we could give her. It was a whirlwind afternoon, but oh-so-fun.

Please also see my Pinterest idea board for the party.