Saturday, 29 June 2013

Library Time Week 4

Lots of reading going on here with school being out. Well let's face it, even when school is on there's lots of reading going on here. :)
Myself - I read a Grace Livingston Hill book this week that I downloaded for free on my Kindle...The City of Fire. Grace Livingston Hill started the Christian romance genre. When my grandfather was in a major car accident and had to spend months in the hospital he was so taken with the idea of a Christian romance that he read as many as he could get. This one had a different twist because the main character is a twelve-year-old boy so, of course, the romantic interest wasn't his.
14-year-old daughter - Lady Vernon and Her Daughter - a take-off on a little-known work of Jane Austen's
13-year-old son - The Endless Steppe (a Jewish girl taken with her family by the Russians and sent to Siberia during World War II) and The Wild Children
11-year-old son - The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
9-year-old daughter - She's on a Beverly Cleary kick with Ramona the Pest and Henry and Beezus.
7-year-old daughter - She's been reading a lot to her two little brothers. They enjoy the Little Jewel books from the Rod and Staff Publishers and The Golden Books.
What has your family enjoyed reading this week?

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Vitamin B1 - Thiamine

We have finished looking at the fat-soluble vitamins. You will remember that fat-soluble means they need fat to be present for our bodies to properly absorb them. Now we are going to be looking at water-soluble vitamins. These are more easily absorbed by our bodies because they can dissolve in water. Any excess of these vitamins is eliminated through our urine and not stored by the body so we need to make sure we are replenshing them frequently.
There are many different "B" vitamins. They all work as coenzymes which means they help enzymes function properly in our bodies. What are enzymes, you ask? They are special proteins in our bodies that help produce chemcial reactions. For instance, you have probably heard of digestive enzymes. They help us digest our food. There are myriads of enzymes in our bodies all with a specific function, and the B vitamins help them to perform. So you can see that these vitamins are very important to us. Finally, before we move on, since the vitamins B all work together you should look for a B complex supplement.
The first B vitamin is Vitamin B1 or Thiamine. This vitamin is important to our mental health. Children need it for growth and learning ability. It is also important for the muscles in our digestive tract and helps in the assimilation of nutrients and stabilization of appetite. A deficiency of Vitamin B1 can lead to the disease beri-beri. Caffeine may destroy thiamine. Pregnant and breast feeding women have increased need for thiamine.
Some pretty important functions here, but according to there are some tasty foods containing Vitamin B1. First off is yeast extract spread (Marmite), a popular food in British culture. Then we have sesame butter (tahini) and seeds and sunflower seeds. Next are dried herbs and spices, pork chops, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, fish and pecans. All of those nuts! Sounds good to me.

The information about Vitamin B1 comes from the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Group, 1997.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

More Free Reading

I guess by now you know that I love books. I can't help myself. I was raised by a book addict - my dad. My dad read to my sisters and I so many books when we were growing up. He didn't just read picture books to us when we were little; he read classics to us when we were older. He instilled in all of us a deep love for reading. My mom taught us the mechanics of reading, but my dad gave us the love of reading.
Photo: Grampa reading to Micah.jpg
My dad passing the love of books on to the next generation.
You can imagine my excitement today when I discovered that there is a website where you can download audio books for free. Yes, you read that correctly - F.R.E.E. Not only can you download audio books for free they also give you different sources for the book such as the Gutenberg Project, a wikipedia link, a cover for a CD case and several audio option for downloading the book. The books are read by volunteers. Some books could have more than one reader. You could even volunteer to do some reading if you so desired.
I've only looked up a few books (yes, Eva-Joy, they have Les Mis in French or English) but am excited by what I've seen. I can think of so many applications. You could listen to these while ironing, for a sick child, listen to the literature book they are studying, in the car on a trip, a bedtime story. You could just download them as needed or plan ahead and get several books ready for a trip.
So where is this site, you ask. So glad you asked or in my enthusiasm I may have forgotten to tell you. The website is Happy reading or I guess I should say listening.
What book will you look for/listen to first?

P.S. While we're talking about reading - look for a small reading-related giveaway to be announced when I hit my 50th post.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Patriotic Baby

  • My sister made a blanket for my youngest when he was born - Snoopy at that (my favourite cartoon character). Jonah loves his blanket. The problem is that he loves his blanket so much it's hard to find a time to wash it.

So, this project was not on my summer sewing list but it became high priority. When I went to the fabric store I really didn't want camo or cars/trucks. Thankfully it's almost Canada Day so we went with a patriotic pattern. You will need two pieces of flannel - one meter (yard) of each.

This pattern is so easy that even the most novice person on a sewing machine could make one of these blankets. They would make a great baby shower gift. I know that I love to receive handmade gifts no matter how simple they are.
The first thing to do is to trim your two pieces so they are exactly the same length. Then you will want to trim the sides. You need to take the selvedge edges off. If you lay one piece on top of the other they will be trimmed to the same width. I use my rotary blade and mat. You could do this with scissors, but let me tell you a rotary blade makes life so much easier. I love mine.

Now lay your two pieces together with the right sides facing each other. Starting in the middle of one side sew a straight seam all around the four edges stopping about three inches from where you started. Before you turn it inside out clip each of the four corners. This will make your corners sharper when you turn the blanket right side out.

Now there are several ways you could close up the hole left from where you turned the blanket inside out. You could hand sew it shut. You could sew a ribbon across the whole side where the hole is - that's what my sister did on the blanket she made. It will give the blanket a nice satiny edge that so many babies seem to enjoy fingering. Or you could do what I did. I didn't have any ribbon so I turned the raw edge to the inside of the blanket, and then I sewed a decorative edge around the four edges of the blanket.

Jonah loves it and so do I. So simple and if you buy the fabric on sale (mine was 75% off) it's an inexpensive gift.

He still wants to be swaddled when he goes to sleep. Here he is enjoying being swaddled in his new blanket - seconds away from falling to sleep.
What do you think? Could/would you make one of these?

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Library Time Week 3

Sign up for our library's reading club started today so I know that we'll be going sometime next week to do this.
I don't have a list of books this week, but I thought I would review a book that my younger girls and I are reading...The Lost Prince by Frances Hodgson Burnett. You might recognize her as the author of The Little Princess and The Secret Garden. You can buy the book at Amazon or get it free on your Kindle.

This is a story about a 12-year-old boy who along with his father is an exile from Samavia. They spend their lives fleeing from one European country to another always awaiting the day when they can return to Samavia. Then they are given an assignment - prepare the Samavian people to rise up against their current rulers and accept their lawful prince as ruler. Once more they are on the run but this time with a purpose.
Who is the prince? Will everyone be ready in time? Will Samavia finally be free as her people long for?
I loved this book as a child and read it many times. It's full of the action and mystery which all children love especially when it is a child that is the hero. I'm having fun introducing my children to it.

What is a favourite book from your childhood?

Friday, 21 June 2013

Organizing and Baby

I was thinking about this week and what I have done for my family's health. The beginning of our week was occupied with a lot of moving. We moved our all empty jars (a lot) and the few still with food in them from the basement up to our storage room. My husband and two oldest sons did most of the work. My husband did a great job reorganizing our storage room to accommodate the two extra shelves. I was so thankful he did because I was busy revamping our basement. We took all the pictures and board books from the basement up to our little boys' bedroom. Then I spent two days reorganizing all of the rest of the books (approximately 20) while the children sorted through all the toys, books, games, puzzles and clothes that had taken up occupation on the floor. It was a lot of work, but the results are so great. The children love to play down there now. I even labelled the book shelves so when they take  book off they can put it back where it belongs.

That was all amazing, but then I weighed my baby this morning and I realized the greatest thing I did this week was feeding him. At 5 1/2 months he weighs in at a whopping 21 1/2 pounds. Since he is only nursed my body has done an amazing job nourishing his little (?) body. He has the sweetest smile with a dimple in each cheek, chubby thighs and a soft, squishy tummy. I think very soon we're going to have to start some solids. He is definitely starting to show an interest in what we're eating. It is such a bittersweet time. I love that he's growing up, but even if takes another 20 months to wean him it's still the beginning of the end of a very sweet part of mothering him. August 1-7 is International Breastfeeding Week and I plan to do a series of posts about nursing your baby at that time. 

I've done some sewing this week too and will be posting one or two tutorials next week based on the sewing I'm doing. We're also getting ready for Canada Day celebrations. Our garden is really shooting up and this coming week starts u-pick strawberries which we hope to get to. So we're winding down one busy week and looking to start up another.

I hope you had a good week too.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Vitamin K

This vitamin is fairly straightforward. Basically we need it for blood clotting and to help support our bone structure. Our bodies can manufacture what we need through our intestinal bacteria. It is very rare to be deficient in Vitamin K. Vitamin K2 is produced by our bodies; while Vitamin K1 can be found in the chlorophyll of plants.
So just in case you are worried, here are the top ten foods for Vitamin K according to First, herbs - basil, sage, thyme - then, dark leafy greens, scallions, brussel sprouts and broccoli. There are spices - chili powder, curry, paprika and cayenne. You can also eat asparagus, cabbage, pickled cucumber and prunes. With foods like this if you do have to supplement it should be delicious.
The information about Vitamin K comes from the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Group, 1997.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

English Muffin Bread

Today I made one of our favourite breads. I found this recipe on the internet a few months ago, and it has become my go-to recipe when I need four loaves of bread faster than the traditional yeast bread. You know, those mornings when my brain is in such a fog that I forget to start my yeast dough or I'm so busy with some project that I just don't stop to make regular bread. This batter can be mixed in five minutes and in the oven two hours later which means I can actually start it at 9:30 and still have it for lunch - my regular bread needs to be started by 8.

It's called "English Muffin Bread". It is similar to English muffins in texture and is oh-so-good when you toast and butter it. The recipe comes from here, but I have tweaked it to be a little more healthy.

English Muffin Bread
5 cups warm water
2 1/2 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp honey
11 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp salt

Dissolved the yeast in the water. Add the honey and let it stand for five minutes to get the yeast activated. Add the flour and salt and mix well. That's it! Now it has to sit until it reaches the top of your bowl (45 minutes to an hour). Then you spoon it into well-greased pans (do not be stingy with the greasing). Let it rest again until it's near or at the top of your pans (again 45 minutes to an hour). Place the pans in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes. So easy and so good. I dare you to eat just one piece.

You can see that the batter is a little thicker than pancake batter, but not thick  enough to knead.

After an hour my bowl was overflowing - I was distracted and forgot to check it.
Spooning it into the pans - notice how well the pan is greased.

ready to rest again

ready for the oven

Finished - yummy goodness

Monday, 17 June 2013

Father's Day

Prov 17 6

Library Time Week 2

Here’s what we’ve been reading this week. I hope you can find something that would interest you. Any books marked with a * can be found for free on Kindle. Happy Reading.

Me – Anna the Adventuress* by E. Philipps Openheim and Backpacked – A Reluctant Trip Across Central America by Catherine Ryan Howard

14-year-old daughter – Your Novel Day by Day – Her goal is to be a published author by the fall of 2014. She is currently at 12,000 words.

13-year-old son – Titanic Voyage – The name says it all. I can’t bring myself to read books about the “Titanic” because it’s just so sad.

11-year-old son – Fire Hunter by Jim Kjelgaard

9-year-old-daughter – Hidden Rainbow by Christmas Carol Kaufmann. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is about a Ukranian couple in the early 20th century shackled by their Catholicism and the despair it led them too and their eventual freedom in Christ. She also read “These Happy Golden Years” by Laura Ingalls Wilder (her favourite in the series).

7-year-old-daughter – She’s still in “Family Circus” mode, but she also read “Again” by John Prater.

5-year-old-son – Again he’s not a reader but does enjoy being read to. We read “Madeline and the Cats of Rome” by John Bemelmans Marciano (grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans the author of “Madeline”)

2-year-old-son – The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

I hope there has been something here that interested you. What did you read this week?

Weight Loss And Baby Beans


This has been our first week of summer break! Yeah! That has meant more sewing for me. We have also had some warmer and drier weather so the children have been enjoying playing outside. It has also been the week that I have finally lost more than half of what I’m hoping to lose – only 12 more pounds to go.

So let me say a few more words about the Trim Healthy Mama plan of eating. I have mentioned before that this is what I’m using for a diet. Let me just say that I’m absolutely blown away with how I have been able to lose this weight even though I would say that I have only followed the plan about 70-80% of the time. For instance, when my husband takes me out for our weekly date I don’t worry about dieting and even have dessert. However, this diet has taught me how to properly fuel my body so that I’m not giving my body extra fuel that it stores as fat but rather uses fat already stored to fuel my body hence causing weight loss. (That sentence was a bit too long. I hope it at least made sense.) If you are sitting on the fence as to whether or not to buy the book and use the Trim Healthy Mama plan for eating, go for it. Not only  have I lost weight I’ve also lost my headaches, depression and out-of-control sugar cravings. It has been wonderful and overall has been simple. I have not felt starved or deprived except for the few times I’ve eyed my children eating their fresh-out-of-the -oven bread, but then there has always been a chocolate shake, lemon curd tart, fudge or a strawberry whip to fall back on.

On the garden front our beans are up. This morning when I hung up our laundry there were a few poking up. Some were maybe and inch or inch and a half tall. When I went to get our laundry tonight we counted 26 baby bean plants! Several were 3-4 inches tall. It was exciting. The children had to come have a look. I think beans are one of the easiest and most fun plants for children to grow because they are easy and fast.

Checking out the new babies in our family

baby beans - yeah
Baby beans - yeah!

We’ve been having fun travelling around the world. So far we’ve visited New Zealand, Australia, Papau New Guinea, Japan and China. I’m learning my geography better and so are my children. It’s been fun. Did you know that for every person in New Zealand there are seven sheep?

How was your week? If you have a garden, how is it doing?

Vitamin E could be called the “Warrior Vitamin”! It protects our bodies in so many ways. It is an antioxidant that helps to protect us from toxins, pollution and premature aging. It also protects other nutrients from being damaged. Our immune system, nerves and muscles all need vitamin E to function properly. It helps to heal injured tissue and prevent scarring. It also has some anticoagulant properties to keep our blood from clotting. We store it in our liver, but if we have excess our body eliminates it through our urine. This is one powerful vitamin.

Since vitamin C and selenium are also antioxidants they are good to take with vitamin E to help fight toxins in our bodies. Vitamin E helps our bodies to absorb vitamin A, but iron absorption is hindered by vitamin E so take them at separate times.

So how can we get Vitamin A into our diet? According to here are the top ten sources: sunflower seeds, paprika and chili powder, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, dried herbs (basil and oregano), dried apricots, pickled green olives, cooked spinach and cooked taro root. No doubt you already eat many of these foods. Obviously adding vitamin E to your diet is simply and delicious. I do wonder though if anyone has ever cooked and/or eaten taro root. What is it like?


The information about Vitamin E comes from the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Group, 1997.

E. Phillips Oppenheim

Okay, so I know this is not really a homemaking topic or something about health, but it is something I want to share.

Long, long ago and in a place far away I was a teenager reading a book called “The Great Impersonation” by E. Phillips Oppenheim. It was great. Suspense, mystery and gentle romance all wrapped up in one book. I read and re-read the story several times over the next few years finally losing track of it.

When I got my Kindle I decided to look it up and see if I could get a free copy of it. Not only did I find “The Great Impersonation” I also found 53 other books by the same author. I started downloading books as fast as I could click. Since then I’ve read an average of one book a week. I have not been disappointed with Oppenheim’s books. They are all similar in that they are mystery AND romance and they all seem to take an unexpected turn somewhere.

I looked Oppenheim up on Not surprisingly he is British – so far all of the books I’ve read either start in England or end up there – born in 1866. He wrote over 100 novels and short story books. His writing enabled him to buy a yacht and a villa in France and later a house on Guersney which he lost during World Ward II due to German occupation. He was given the house back after the war and died there in 1946.

The Great Impersonation

If you have a Kindle check this author out or see if your library has any of his books. I have heard that you can get a Kindle app for your computer but have never looked into it. It might be worth checking into although a computer is not as easy to hold as a Kindle. 

Do you have a favourite author or book?

Library Time Week 1

I thought I would start a new series and share weekly (hopefully) what we’ve been reading in our family. It may give you some ideas for reading in your family. Any books marked with a * can be found for free on Kindle. Happy Reading.

Me – The Lost Wagon* – Jim Kjelgaard

14-year-old daughter – A Little Princess* – Frances Hodgson Burnett – a re-read which shows it’s a good one

13-year-old son – The Basil of Baker Street Series - Eve Titus – a bit below his level but a fun read

11-year-old son – Canadian Attack and Support Planes and the Big Book of Riddles

9-year-old daughter – 5 Nancy Drews

7-year-old daughter – She’s been reading a lot of Peanuts and Family Circus books. It’s so fun when they can read what the picture is about and “get” the joke. She’s also been reading “The Boxcar Children” for school so I’ve been hearing it repeated to me almost verbatim.  Sound familiar, Mom?

5-year-old son – He cannot read for himself yet but still loves books. Here are a couple that were read to him this week…

Mop Top by Don Freeman (author of “Corduroy”) and Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle

2-year-old son – Teddy Bear’s Fun to Learn. We discovered this book with our oldest daughter. We have worn out three copies and really need to order another one. This is Ethan’s all-time favourite which is saying a lot because he LOVES books. My husband has never read these books word-for-word to our children. Instead, he has made up his own story for each page and it becomes more detailed with every child. They all love to hear how Daddy is embellishing the book for the newest toddler, and we’ve had a lot of laughs at what he comes up with.

So there you have a small sampling of what we’ve been enjoying reading this week. Have we interested you at all? What have you been reading?

It's IN!


Yesterday I was all set to do a a post only I couldn’t get into my account. I was upset and tried everything I could think of. I went to bed with the post unwritten and the problem unsolved. A couple of hours after I got up this morning I was mentally giving myself a slap on the back of my head – I had been using the wrong username. Such is life. I’ll have to save that post for another time.

On a happier note we finally planted our garden this week. Since we were late buying our plants this year I had to make some changes but I don’t mind. I just am happy to have plants growing in my backyard. We also saved a little money since the plants were on sale. We ended up with eight tomato plants, 4 zucchinis, 1 honeydew melon, 1 pumpkin. We also planted a mint plant. I wanted to get some parsley but couldn’t find any. While we were looking we saw a stevia plant which we thought might be fun so we bought it. I know nothing about growing or harvesting stevia so I’m going to have to do some research. I’m excited to be trying something new. We also planted some beans and carrot from seed. I still have some marigold and sunflower seeds that I want to get in – hopefully tomorrow.

I had a whole bunch of pictures of us planting our garden, but one of our children mistakenly deleted all the pictures from my camera this morning. So you’ll have to be happy of one picture of everything tidy and in place. The plastic box is my compost box. So far no compost. I’m so anxious to make my own compost – gardening can be great for increasing patience. 


How was your week?  Do you have a garden?

Natural Body Products

Body Beautiful
This is going to be a short post. Maybe it’s just an excuse for me to see if anyone is really reading this blog. 

I wrote a post a while ago about using oil for a facial cleanser. I have been accumulating recipes for various body products – shampoo, conditioner, deodarant, hand lotion, lip balm/gloss, shaving lotion, skin salve, etc. I’m hoping to try a lot of these this summer and get back with you as to whether or not I like them. If I do like them I will definitely share how-to’s. Our skin is our body’s biggest organ. We sometimes forget that what we put ON our skin can affect us as much as what we put IN our body.

Here’s what I’m wondering – have I missed anything? Is there a body product that you’ve really been wanting a natural alternative for? If so, I’ll try to find one for you. Let me know in the comments.

What To Do?

So we’re pretty much finished all of our school work for the year. Just a few more assignments and we’re done. The downside is that I am already hearing rumors of boredom. Why is it that they work so hard all year to get done and then complain three days into their vacation that there is nothing to do? And you know, complaining to your mom about nothing to do is never a good idea because she can always come up with some chores. 

I need to keep my children busy but I want it to be fun too. After all, this is supposed to be their summer vacation, and they did work very hard all year on their school work. They deserve/need some downtime. So what are our plans?

First of all, there is our garden, of course. They’ve been having fun putting scraps in the compost and digging for worms to add to the compost bin. Soon there will be plants to water and weed – although with square foot gardening there aren’t a lot of weeds. The boys also have our lawn to mow and a neighbour’s lawn. They’d like to get more.

I found a programme online called “Around the World in 60 Days” . This is put out by This takes you to 27 different countries over the summer with simple activities. It is a way to help my children learn their geography in a fun way and also to remind us to pray for others as we “visit” these countries. We will start in New Zealand and end in Canada. I’m looking forward to this. I like geography.

We are also going to do a photo scavenger hunt. Here is June’s list. I’m going to make individual folders on my computer for each child who wants to participate to store their pictures in. I’ve done something a little similiar to this before and enjoyed it. All my children like to take pictures so I think they will like this activity. The beauty of digital cameras – no film to worry about wasting.


We will also participate in our library’s summer reading club. Our children certainly don’t need to be encouraged to read, but they still enjoy joining in with the library’s programme.

Finally, I encourage my children to set 1-3 goals of what they hope to accomplish over the summer. Every day when we gather after breakfast to pray and read a chapter in Proverbs we discuss what their goal(s) for that day is. I want to encourage my children to start making a habit of purposefully striving towards a goal. In the past, we have “scheduled” our goals to help them get used to this. For instance, one day would be a spiritual goal (pray for someone, memorize a verse, etc), another day a physical goal (a certain number of repeats of an exercise or learning something new like jump roping), a mental goal (learn a new skill, write a story, etc), a social goal (write a letter, call a friend or relative, make a gift for someone). It’s always fun to hear what they hope to do. I make sure to include myself so they see me setting an example. Last summer several of them challenged themselves to see how long they could stay outside one day before retreating to the coolness of the house. Most of them made it to mid-afternoon. That was fun to watch.


So yes, I will try to keep them busy and away from boredom, but I will also make sure that they have downtime to unwind from school. When we start up again I want them to be excited about the new school year.

What will your children be doing this summer?



Today I needed to go to a couple of stores and the library, and I had to do it by myself! {gasp} No help from another adult or an older child with the toddler and baby! So, my husband dug our tandem stroller out of the back of the garage and off we went. Absolutely wonderful! I had totally forgotten how wonderful this set-up is. First of all, it’s a great workout. I’m pushing between 75 and 85 pounds between the children and the stroller. Secondly, with my toddler sitting in the front seat we don’t talk much so I’m just pushing and quietly thinking. Occasionally my little guy would call out “digger” or “truck”, but it doesn’t take much thought to agree with him and go on with my own thoughts. To have that time to just think without interruption was wonderful. I really need to plan on doing this more often.

The shopping wasn’t fun – couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and what I did go with just seemed overpriced (maybe I’m just too picky?). We stopped at the library midway to return something and for a nursing break. The baby was too distracted though so he nursed a little and then quit – at least it was enough to hold him until we got home. I normally don’t shop. My husband does it all – wonderful man that it he is he loves shopping. Today reminded me why I hate shopping so I’m so glad that the walk made up for the disappointment.

If you’re not one for walking you should try my mom’s idea for inspiration (not that she needs motivation herself – I think my love of walking is inherited from my mom). Every time she walks she clocks how far it was. She’s following Google Maps and “walking” to visit my sisters. So far she’s made it to my sister in Illinois. Now she’s on her way to my sister in Wyoming. Check out her blog where she talks about how she does this and how far she is.

On the garden front I still don’t have my veggies in yet.  In my defense it has been cold and rainy quite a bit. However, my oldest son made a compost box for me. We followed this pattern. So I’ve been having fun putting scraps in it. The problem is I want to see it changing now, but this is one of those projects that’s going to take a while. He also made me another garden box which is approximately four feet square. Hopefully this week my plants will go in!

I know it’s been a week since my last post. Hopefully, next week I’ll get back to more posting. I hope you had a fruitful week too.

Starting Our Garden


This has been a cool, overcast and sometimes rainy week for us. It’s been so cool, in fact, that I was glad I hadn’t planted my garden yet. However, today seemed like a good day to get started. We didn’t plant anything today, but we cleared out our garden box and the plants that were overtaking it. I couldn’t believe how many weeds had started to take over. My oldest son chopped out numerous branches of a bush that was trying to take over that particular corner of our yard. We tossed weeds out of our garden box, and two of our middle children took our wagon around to the other side of the fence to gather up all the weeds and toss them in the deep bush in the ravine behind our house.

Then we set up our fence. Every summer we unroll a length of snow fence and attach it to stakes with tie wraps. We initially did this to protect our garden from the labrador we had. If any of you have ever owned a lab you know why our garden needed protecting.  We no longer have our dog, but we do have toddlers and little ones who don’t understand that plants grow best when you don’t dig around them.

Every year I struggle to come up with some way to create a simple “door” in the fence so I can get to the garden and my clothesline. I think I have something workable this year as you will see in the picture. I’ll let you know how it holds up over the summer.

Tomorrow my husband and oldest son are going to build another garden box for me. We’re also hoping to set up a compost pile. I really want to stop giving my compost scraps to the city and use them myself for my garden.

Sometime in the next few days we’ll be putting in our plants – tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, mint, carrots, pumpkin and I really want to try a watermelon again. I love square foot gardening, and I love the excitement our children have in planting, watering, watching and harvesting. Gardening really doesn’t feel like a chore, but that could be because space constraints keep our garden fairly small. We buy from local farmers to get the bulk of the vegetables we need for preserving in the fall.

I hope you had a good week and that if you have a garden it is going well.

A very sad 'before' picture

My hockey stick 'gate'

A close-up of the 'latch'

A much-improved 'after' picture