Monday, July 29, 2013

Working in the yard.

Since Grace is away this week (she's spending time with Meme and Pop and attending an art camp) I decided that this would be a good time to accomplish some much needed yard work. I've been highly motivated to tackle our backyard since we arrived home from our vacation - the landscaping at the inn we stayed at was beautiful.
So, this morning I headed outside armed with my gloves, trimmers and yard bags at sunrise, ready for a day of work. For some reason, I gauge my productivity on the number of bags that I fill and not by the amount of time that I spend working. I ended up being outside for nine hours (some of that time was spent sitting under the shade of the oaks to cool off) and filled six bags to brim.
a partial view of our butterfly garden
As always, I expected to accomplish more than I actually did, but six bags isn't to shabby. Up next is prepping the raised garden beds for fall planting. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Harvesting our peanuts.

As we thumbed through the seed catalogs in February, we came across peanuts and wondered if they would grow in southern Florida. Not knowing how successful they would be, I ordered a packet and thought we'd give them a try. To our amazement, they grew. And not only that, they were the most productive plants that we attempted to grow this spring.
 After doing a bit of research, I decided it was probably best to harvest them, despite the leaves not being fully yellowed yet. Apparently it's best to unearth them after a dry spell and since we had gone nearly a week without rain, out they came.

Grace was eager to help (her desire to garden is hit or miss these days) with pulling up the plants and plucking the swelling pods from their roots. We ended up with nearly half of a dishpan full, not too bad for a four by four foot raised garden bed. After giving them a quick rinse, we placed the peanut pods out on our kitchen counter to dry. Once dry, fresh roasted peanuts here we come!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Art in the park.

One of Grace's friends from school asked if we'd like to join them for a morning of "Art in the Park". Without hesitation, we agreed to join them and couldn't have been happier that we did. The park (which the name slips me at the moment) was in Osprey and was right along the bay. You would have never known that it was July due to beautiful breeze that came off the water and all of the shade provided the sprawling oaks.

After a nature walk, where the children learned about the many native plants on the property and collected various leaves, they created their art. They used a gelatin relief printing technique, along with their leaves, to create a design on a tote bag. As you can see from the above photo, Grace arranged her leaves to create an ocean scene.
So there you have it - art in the park!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Off to the beach.

Over the weekend we headed to Cocoa Beach. We decided that even though we took our "big" vacation over Grace's spring break, we still needed a "little" getaway this summer. So, off to the beach it was.  
relaxing in the hammock

the view from our deck
during our visit to Kennedy Space Center
I adored the landscaping at the inn

having fun in the waves
during our walk at sunrise

I do believe we may have found a new favorite weekend getaway!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pizza Muffins.

One afternoon, towards the end of the school year, Grace hopped excitedly into the car exclaiming, "I have a new recipe for us try - it's for little pizzas!". Apparently she had come across it while on the computer completing a "Success Maker" reading activity. Being that pizza is at the top of her list of favorite foods, she jotted the recipe down on a piece of scratch paper.
I always ask her and Dean what they would like me make for dinners during the week and more often than not they have nothing to suggest. I think the fact that Grace now had a dinner to recommend, along with it being something "new", made her quite pleased with herself. Needless to say, the "pizza muffins" were added to the weekly menu and have been on regular rotation ever since. And I must add that every time we eat them she reminds us that they were made by using "her recipe".

Oh, for the love of pizza!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer swimming.

Our swimming has been curtailed over the past week or so, well make that the entire month of June (and now July), due to frequent rain storms. I've never seen the pond behind our house quite so full, which makes Dean happy since there's less grass to mow now that the water level has risen substantially. However, all that rain has put a serious damper on our pool time.
Grace managed about forty minutes of swim time yesterday, then the ominous dark clouds rolled in, hampering her fun yet again. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that the rain will stay away, perhaps just for the day, so Grace can get her swimming "fix". Wish us luck! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book inspired project - Drawing birds.

Now that camp is over we find ourselves with a bit more time to create. And what a better way to come up with ideas than to be inspired by books. Grace rarely selects picture books from the library anymore, as chapter books are her "thing" now. Every once and awhile though, the cover illustration on a picture book will spark her interest, so into the bag it goes.

 We have several of these such books in our possession now and Grace has been inspired to create projects based the their content. First on her list was, "The Boy Who Drew Birds", written by Jacqueline Davies and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. The book is based on the true story of John James Audubon and his love of birds.
After reading the book together, we busied ourselves drawing and painting our own favorite birds. Grace opted for a Blue Jay due to her current favorite color being blue and I, a Cardinal due to my love of their distinctive chirp while dining at our feeder. We first drew our birds using a drawing pencil, then outlined our pencil marks with a Pigma pen and finally gave them color by using watercolors. 

Reading and creating birds together, was a perfect way to spend a rainy day!