Monday, February 20, 2012

Take a hike

We finally decided to go explore our backyard. We have a hiking trail right behind our house and Alex took the dog to scope it out one weekend. We finally decided to brave it with the whole family. It was a pleasant experience and we will certainly do it again. 
Lily was a "brave big girl" the whole time. She only pooped out at the end. Alex carried the littlest hiker in the backpack. 
All this hiking makes for a thirsty crowd. 
We were rewarded with a lovely view on top of the first ridge. It is the resevoir in Simi on the other side of our hill with Wood Ranch behind.
We met several other hikers and bikers on the trail. This is the view we see from our yard, only in reverse I guess. Winston had the best time of all. We let him run free off the leash and he could have gone on for miles. 
Lily got "very tired" on the way back down so I took Gemma and Alex carried Lily down.

We spent the rest of the weekend visiting with Aunt Tonya, Uncle E and Auntie Rach, and finishing our garden. We are all planted and protected from little fingers, dog paws, and bunnies. Now we have to watch out for birds and snails!! Fingers crossed something grows!!
So far the French beans, Zucchini, and Broccoli are going strong. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How does your garden grow?

The only right answer to that is, hopefully it does grow!!
We have been busy preparing for our very first garden. We did plant some tomatoes in pots in Seattle. It was sometimes comical how we would move them around the garden a couple times a day chasing a bit of sun. We are hoping that the sun and warmth will help our garden here flourish. I have been reading a book called the square foot gardener and am basing our project on that.

A couple of weeks ago we planted some seeds in milk jug "green houses" to see if they would grow. It was a bit of an experiment, and now we have one tiny cucumber...
 lots of broccoli...
 a couple of french beans...
 and one zucchini.
We had a bit of trouble during a windy night. The plants were on top of our table to protect them from predators (Gemma) and they blew right off. We lost the cucumber and zucchini on the ground. I decided to scoop it all back in and see what happens. I think we are lucky to have even one little plant survive.

So now that our seeds were sprouting we needed a garden to transplant them to. Enter phase two, building the raised beds.
We (Alex) built two raised beds, 4 ft X 4ft, six inches high. We then moved them to the garden and lined them with weed cloth.
Then we filled them with our special mix of soil.
Finally, the peanut gallery (also known as babysitting crew, tomato taste testers) arrived to see the final product. You mark off the raised bed in one foot squares to guide what you can plant in each square.
Next weekend we need to finish the second box and plant the seedlings and more seeds. Then enters phase three. Protecting the garden from predators (Winsty, Gemma, snails, birds, bunny's, you name it.) Oh and then there is the trellis we need to build. If you can't find us for the next 6 months...we will be in the garden.

Sweet face

You know how some people just have a certain face they make? That face is sort of their "signature" look. Well, Gemma has a couple of them. They are real doozy's. Do people say doozy anymore?

This is her I know I am cute in my new Valentine's romper from Granny and Grampy look. Better known as the I am going to run away from you pose. We see a lot of this pose, followed by roaring laughter and usually headed toward a busy road. 
 This is the ok, ok, I am coming back already so stop losing your temper look. Funny GG.
 This is definitely one of her signature faces. She has used it since she was so very little. She does it all the time like when she hears an airplane, or when you gasp like something is going to happen. She likes to do her startled, "oh my gosh face."
 This is her newest face and a huge favorite. She started doing it out of the blue and got such a reaction out of everyone that she does it all the time for attention now. We can even request this face and she will do it for all to see and laugh. Alex calls it "lazer eyes."
 Gemma, do your face, lazer eyes. I think an eye roll is going to be added to this one in a few years.
 This is what you get when you try to get two sisters to pose nicely together for a photo. Note to self, chairs do not make good props when your monkeys think they are for climbing.


Last year it was called Balem-times. I guess we are making progress this year. The girls love any and every holiday. We even celebrated it earlier in the week with Granny and Grampy England, complete with table decorations and presents!!  The day after Valentines Lily says, can we have another Valentimes again soon? I agree. One a month please!
 We started the day off with special treats in a tiny mail box. There has been a lot of post office mail play ever since. Lily got candy, bubbles, and tattoos. Gemma got mini M&M's and a cell phone. Girl loves her a cell phone.
Special breakfast of home made dark chocolate donuts with sprinkles, and strawberries. We have our very own strawberry stand (a mini van) two blocks from our house. Let's just say this year round amazing strawberry supply is awesome. Gemma's approach was a giant shove in the mouth.
 Lily approached hers by eating all the glaze and sprinkles off, then leaving the actual donut behind. Very peculiar indeed. She does the same with cupcakes usually.
 Then it was off to preschool for Lily and a valentines party with her class. She came home with a decorated bag full of Valentines and treats. They had sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles as snack too. Can you see the sugar and sprinkle trend here? Gemma of course refused to take a nap in the morning. So off to Grandma's we went. We met for lunch then played at her house and had more valentine surprises.
 Lily has been all about penguins lately after reading a library book about baby penguins. This has led to watching the movie happy feet. Then came the request for a REAL baby penguin of her own. She will not be swayed with concerns of how we would care for this penguin.
GopGop managed to find a baby penguin that moves and chirps and has a bottle to feed it. Now we can care for our own baby penguin at home. Of course we were festive in our red and pink outfits and a you never can over do it with head bands. We rounded the day out at home with a family favorite meal. Pesto noodles. I decided to for go the fancy meal that might be met with sour faces and make something we could all enjoy. In peace and quiet. My valentine left me roses in the morning, even though he had to be off to work at 6am. We get to go on a date night later in the week, a real dinner out and a concert? Wow, we won't know what to do with ourselves! Like Lily said, can't we do Valentimes again soon?