Kitchen Counters and Sink Part Two: The Challenge

Continuing Organized Tuesday  (whoopsie), we’re into the planning phase of the project of the week. I like this. Our brilliant hostess over at Home Storage Solutions 101 is seriously like a therapist for the organizationally challenged. How’s that? Before you start acting like the mayor of Crazyville (there can be only one, so don’t be me, okay?), she tells you to THINK about what your end goal is. You can’t organize a room if you don’t know how you’re supposed to be organizing it, right? Common sense? No. We live in Crazyville. Common sense doesn’t exist in Crazyville. We need people like Taylor to tell us to think about what we’re doing before we do it. Oh, admit it. You do too. So I am telling you: FOLLOW THE DANG STEPS. They’re there for a reason.

The steps?

  • First, The Brilliant Lady says to “think about the functions of your kitchen.”  Uhhh. It’s a KITCHEN. Oh no, darlings. It’s so much more than just a kitchen. What do you do in your kitchen?

    – I eat in my kitchen, sometimes. Sometimes I eat in the living room. Sometimes I eat on the run. But there’s a table in there that is, ostensibly, for eating.
    – I make food in the kitchen.
    – I STORE food in the kitchen.
    – I enter the house through the kitchen. This means that I usually also dump whatever I am carrying in the kitchen. What? You do too, and you know it. Don’t judge.
    – I LEAVE the house from the kitchen. That means that I grab whatever stuff I am taking with me from the kitchen (and then I run through the house for fifteen minutes trying to figure out where in God’s green acre I left the blasted freaking no-good miserable cussing keys THIS TIME. Don’t pretend you don’t know EXACTLY what I mean.)
    – I’d like the kitchen to be the homework area, but it’s NOT yet. YET. YET. 
    – I store all my basic home cleaning supplies in the kitchen.
    – Life organization happens in the kitchen. Calendars, chore charts, reminders of stuff we have to do for school, all of that happens in the kitchen. Most of that is stuck on the fridge with magnets.
    – I really like coffee and tea. I mean REALLY. LIKE. COFFEE AND TEA.

  • Next, we’re told to “Create Useable Counter Space And Clear Your Kitchen Table (Mostly).” That’s……doable? Right?
    Y’all remember by before-before, RIGHT? Let me remind you some more.
    kitchen before 2Remember, I have a year in between these two pictures, but there was still kind of a lot of clutter on my counters day-before-yesterday. I worked fiendishly, took a bunch of pictures, and texted my friend, “WHY do I never take before pictures when I go on crazy sprees like this?????” I never remember. Ever. But I made a pretty usable space on the counters, and the table is cleared off, minus the pretty things that live there and a gift bag in a chair.

    There are some REALLY good details of HOW to clear this stuff off on the challenge site, but here’s the basics: get the stuff that doesn’t mesh with the use of the space out of the space, then declutter the stuff that DOES go there. Bike helmet, out! Why on earth do I have THREE potato mashers?? Seriously??????? No kitchen sheers (til last week. Thanks, Santa-Dad!), but THREE potato mashers?

    I did some clearing and decluttering! I have been driven crazy for two years by the medicine and vitamins being stored on the kitchen counter. THEY’RE GONE! Boom! They’re hiding in baskets in drawers of the changing-table-cum-storagey-thingamabobber that you will meet later in the kitchen challenges. I left the weekly pill organizer that Roo uses. I need to find a similar organizer for my stuff. Right now, my stuff is sorted into sandwich baggies in the little treasure chest looking thing the boy and his karate-teacher-best-friend haven’t finished painting me for Christmas yet (ADD meet ADHD. Enjoy.)
    PicMonkey CollageMUCH more functional. My drill doesn’t live there, but I wasn’t done screwing the handles back into the upper cabinets yet, and I had JUST hung those lights, so, I hadn’t moved it yet. The crock pot doesn’t live there either, but it’s a couple of soup nights right now, so there it is.

  • Steps three and four were sort of combined for me. Storage solutions and developing a habit of clearing the sink of dishes twice a day. I try to keep it clear of dishes all the time. Try to. We’ll keep working on that.

So what’s next? Well, we tackled a lot of the big challenge, and that feels pretty good. But, you see, my she-ro over there is a GENIUS for real. We don’t JUST have the 52 weekly challenges. No. That’s not ENOUGH for some of us. Some of us are real clutterbugs, packrats, THE MAYOR OF CRAZYVILLE. I have a clean sink. I have some nice counter space. But I still have a hot mess, in all likelihood. What? You know you stash-and-dash too! You KNOW you do it. So, there’s also a series of 365 decluttering missions, which, miraculously, are arranged right along with the weekly challenges! Wonders, I tell you. WONDERS!

In the schedule that contains the sink and counter challenge, we have the following tasks, which are meant to be done in fifteen minutes or less:
– Read Organized Home Challenge Week #1: Kitchen Counters
– Declutter kitchen utensils and silverware drawer
– Declutter and organize kitchen sink area
– Clear off kitchen counters
– Clear off kitchen table
– Declutter everyay tablecloths, napkins and placemats
– Declutter potholders and kitchen towels

So that’s my to-do-list this week, other than the regular chores and routines. See you next Tuesday with pics.

How’s it going for YOU? Let me know!

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Kitchen counters and sink part one: The nickel tour

Oh. Em. Gee, y’all. Did you SEE my kitchen counters when I started looking at this challenge last year? It was NOT PRETTY. No. I mean it was NOT PRETTY. Here. Let me show you.

kitchen before 1

Now do you believe me? My kitchen was many varied and inglorious kinds of A HOT MESS. Now, understand that where my kitchen was THAT DAY and where my kitchen is RIGHT NOW was not a one-day or a one-week project. It’s been a one-year excursion into Crazyville. They declared me sheriff. Then they elected me mayor. That’s right. I am Kate, Orthodox Single Mom, and Mayor of Crazyville. Welcome to my kitchen. Have a cup of….well, better to bring your own!

Last February, you may remember, I lost my beloved Labrador, Mandy Mae. In the few days after her death, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t really eat. I couldn’t really function. So I did what any sane, rational mayor of Crazyville would do. I tore apart my kitchen. I was so tired of looking at the busted cabinets and the janky countertop, the FLAT WHITE PAINTED backsplash, and the just DREARY GROSSNESS of the kitchen. So I CHANGED IT.

This was my countertop before the mourning period:

countertop1This was, of course, on a super-CLEAN kitchen day. Obviously. Y’all SAW the example picture at the top right? I needed an intervention there.

This countertop was not dirty. It was stained. Stained and beat up and missing chunks of….is that formica? Who knows? WHO CARES? It was JANKY.

So, I got out some wood putty and plastic putty, and filled in all the holes and scratches. I sanded that down flat, and covered it with two coats of steel grey Kilz primer. Then, I ran to Hobby Lobby and bought a couple of bottles of cheap acrylic craft paint. I pulled out some metallic silver paint that I had (from painting the backsplash when the flat white became completely unbearable in 2013). I dabbed the metallic paint and the acrylics onto the countertop in random non-patterns with paper towels. When it was dry, I poured epoxy resin over it, and I HAD A COUNTERTOP!

backsplash1Then it was time to address the backsplash. I have this crazy obsession with decoupaging ALL THE THINGS, so I figured I could, well, decoupage all the things. Back to Hobby Lobby. I got some cool scrap book paper. I cut pictures out of old cookbooks that I got at the thrift store, and I printed out some pictures of Northern Ireland and Old New Orleans. Then I decoupaged all the things. Seriously. My backsplash is scrapbook paper, photographs, cookbook pages, and tons of mod podge covered in several layers of acrylic sealer and then epoxy resin.

backsplash2And the cabinets! My broken cabinets! I spent a couple of months salvaging cabinetry from other houses in the neighborhood that were redoing their kitchens. Finding the original cabinetry was important to me, because, while I hated the look of my cabinets, I LOVE the history of this ancient, tiny, dingy little house and the village. Since the kitchens were very cookie-cutter, finding enough pieces of the right size was really easy. I replaced a few cabinet doors. Then I painted the whole thing white. Except the very tops. I can’t reach them even on my ladder. Ten and a half months later, I am still waiting for a tall person to come help me for half an hour. HALF AN HOUR, TALL PEOPLE. THAT’S ALL I NEED!!!

kitchen during1And that brings us to March 2014. There was some more painting. I painted the kitchen table. I painted the cabinets behind my pantry (not shown here. That’s another week. Also, I totally just did that today.) I got new-to-me chairs, but I haven’t painted those yet. My man-human installed my dishwasher (after I’d been waiting to get it installed by the maintenance guy for seriously four months!). Y’all. I have a man-human. Y’ALL!! I HAVE A DISHWASHER!!!!!!!! (In case you missed the memo, it was installed by my man-human.)

And, in addition to all the pretty changes, I ALSO let my kitchen basically go to hell in a fruit basket. Except not. Because I didn’t have a fruit basket until yesterday. Actually, it was the fruit basket that sparked my mad cleaning spree of yesterday. It was a gift from the world’s greatest niece and nephew. I have NEVER HAD ONE BEFORE. But that’s later. There was a hot mess up in my kitchen all over again. I’ve been off my game since surgery #1, and my kitchen suffered the consequences. So, it was TIME. Clearly, Taylor, I cannot live without you another moment. It is TIME for some serious decluttering and organizing!

Next post: planning the first weekly challenge.

52 Week Home Organization Challenge

organized-home-challenge-adI know you’ve seen this one. It’s gone viral a few times now. I think by now it’s probably a mommy blogger staple. It’s the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home plan and challenge by Home Storage Solutions 101. At the beginning of 2014, I TOTALLY started off trying to do this. It didn’t take. You either? GREAT! No time like the present to start over, right?

So look, here’s my failing every season (not every year, because I don’t do these things just in January. I loathe New Year’s Resolutions, and firmly resolve to make none.) (Yes, I did just say that.): I get these grand ideas, and then I try to run with ALL THE PLANS. Because THAT ever works, right? If at first you don’t succeed, try doing forty-seven things AT ONCE! Make sure they’re all BRAND NEW THINGS! And make them REALLY DETAILED AND INVOLVED. That’s TOTALLY the ticket to success right?

Not according to my therapist. You know the one? I need her because I do the same thing every. single. season. without. fail. I am an underachieving overachiever. I need to quit that and become an overachieving slacker. That would be SO much nicer.

Seriously though, I did stick very diligently to a great housekeeping schedule til surgery #1 happened in July. I was almost back into it when surgery #2 happened in November. Right now, I am trying to get the house clean enough for surgery #3, and then maintain from there as we wait to see if surgery #4 is going to be a necessity. I REALLY want to do this 52-week challenge though.

So here’s my goal, if not my plan. The genius at Home Storage Solutions has given us a great pdf file of the areas to organize each week, dated each Monday. I am going to start my week on the Tuesday before, and think of those dates as “due dates,” rather than as start dates. That means that today is the beginning of  week one: Kitchen Countertops and Sink.

So, anyway, I am in for this. Will you join me? I am dubbing this the first of my Organized Tuesdays. My next post (ostensibly) will be a tour of my newly cleaned and somewhat redecorated kitchen, and some before/after shots. I am extra proud of my kitchen. I went on a major cleaning spree in there yesterday, and today, on my personal facebook wall, I posted pictures and exclaimed, “Y’all should have SEEN the catastrophe that was this kitchen when I moved in. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Then I found pictures. Watch this space. You can see the transformation for yourself!

Here I am.

So, hard decisions in life. You may know by now how strongly I feel about homeschooling and taking a very active role in educating my son. I also feel very strongly about staying in our (inexpensive) house, and maintaining stability. Several weeks ago, it became very apparent that things were just not working, and I needed to start searching for a “real” job. ANY job. Even part time at minimum wage. I don’t have friends and family nearby who can watch my boy and/or help with his schooling while I look for a job, and then while I am working. I have spent months searching for something I could do that would have the right hours and days to let me keep homeschooling. It wasn’t happening. So we decided that public school was an inevitability this year, and that it was better to make the choice to put him into a public school and try to get a job so we can stay in our home than it is to lose everything and be forced to use the public school system.

So my son has been in public school for four weeks now. Except this week. God bless him. He’s been home sick all week.

So, that’s where we are right now. I am still looking for the job, but I can at least have my days right now to go to interviews and things like that. I am at the mercy of his dad on a car though. I’ve been driving his car since July, and this week he decided he needed it back. So I am now a public school mom with no car to get to work once I can find a job.

I am frustrated beyond words, and I really, desperately need your prayers. Roo is struggling hard at school. He keeps getting into trouble, because he always HAS to be right, have the last word, be the boss, etc. He’s trying so hard to adjust, and he really wants to want to be there. I want him to have a really positive experience there. I want this to be something GOOD for him. I want it to be good for our family. I want us to come through this stronger, wiser, and better off. But it’s hard for a jumpy little kangaroo to adjust to a new environment when he’s supposed to do as he’s told and be quiet about it. It’s been miserable that he’s been sick this week, but I have to confess that I’ve really missed having him at home during the day. Alas, next Monday morning he’ll be back on that bus, off to a world where I can’t help him.

I am struggling with this decision a month in. Please, please pray for us.

In other news, we’ve had our Joey dog a year today! He’s my pumpkin puppy. He came to us last Halloween a broken, starved, heartworm-positive dog with some “questionable” lung and stomach problems. But we saw our vet last week, and Joey is officially a well-adjusted, well-fed, PERFECTLY HEALTHY HEARTWORM NEGATIVE DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!! Glory to God! My puppy is all better. So, I have been saying, now that he’s perfectly healthy, we know he really IS lazy and useless. Good for him! He can be pampered and lounge about all day.

Roo turns seven next Friday. That just amazes me. How did my tiny baby get so big? It’s incredible. For his birthday, he asked for a cool chair and a reading nook in his bedroom, a model of the solar system, a rug, and a sweater made from Plymouth Galway yarn in this cool electric blue color. My dad is giving me his AWESOME sleeper sofa, so I put made over Roo’s room with his favorite recliner. There’s nowhere to FIT a model of the solar system, but we found an AMAZING rug that answers that question. And it’s not too expensive. I have all but one skein of the Galway yarn and the pattern for his sweater. I told him it won’t be done on his birthday, but I’m working on it, and that’s good enough for him. He’s really a great kid.

I am currently working on reconfiguring pretty much the entire house to make a space for that sleeper sofa. I will update on that shortly, as progress is made. I won’t be a stranger anymore. Really. I’ve just been struggling a lot, and trying to figure out how to post about the public school issue that broke my heart.

As always, I deeply appreciate your prayers and your comments.

Monday, Monday (bah dah, bah dah dah dah)

Don’t tell me you’re not singing it yet.

Okay, I am not as cool as Mama Cass Elliot. I am just not. I am, however, an awesome (and overweight) woman. You can call me Mama Kath.

No?

Okay.

Enjoy the music anyway. For my friends on the Old Calendar, today is the first day of the Apostle’s Fast. It is interesting to me how the calendar difference can just erase an entire fast period from the calendar for a big chunk of the Orthodox world. It makes me wonder about things. I think I am going to sit down later, perhaps, and do some research into WHY so many jurisdictions changed their calendar! Does anybody know?

Regardless of your calendar, it is Monday. Summer is in full swing. My sunflowers are HUGE, and my little garden is producing little green tomatoes and tiny carrots. And my much-beloved Lawn Dude is here working his magic on the overgrown jungle of my yard. This is the downside of summer. if I go two weeks without mowing, it turns into a perilous jungle out there. Seriously. Little Man plays tiger in the tall grass. There are dangers in the jungle!

SunflowerCollage

Speaking of the wee one, he is currently out of town with his dad. They’re going to the annual family reunion. He was totally excited. I was……..not. I haven’t been away from my only child for more than just a couple of days in a VERY long time. So eight days and seven nights is not really an appealing thing for me right now. It’s been less than 36 hours, and I have already turned into a crazy woman.

At least I use my powers of neurosis for GOOD, right?

I am cleaning, reorganizing, sorting, washing, scrubbing, planting, baking, creating, fixing, rearranging – probably sulking a little bit too. I am trying to see this week as my opportunity to do some serious projects that I can’t easily get done when the kiddo is home.

I tossed out all the junk food, so I don’t get lonely and binge on junk. I went to the grocery store, and I loaded my cart with fresh, seasonal veggies to eat while he’s gone. I am planning on not re-purchasing any of the junk when he gets home. I’ve been doing more and more research on things like the GAPS Diet, the Feingold Hypothesis, and whole foods as health care. I am sold on GAPS, since I personally know several people it’s worked for. Some bits of Feingold have been common knowledge in the ADHD community for years and years (artificial stuff is bad for you! Also, it hinders our ability to exercise some control over our emotions and things. And let’s face it, my family puts the H in ADHD.) So I am going to work on transitioning us into a GAPS style of eating, with special emphasis on whole foods and local stuff when possible.

I am currently re-arranging my “pantry thing.”

You remember the pantry thing? Did I show you the pantry thing?

paintedpantryIt’s a great pantry. I love it. When I moved in, I was using a half-broken old changing table as a pantry shelf thing. See, my kitchen has 13-foot ceilings, and the cabinets go ALL THE WAY UP, but the lowest cabinet is about six-and-a-half feet up there, and I am only 5’4″. So most of the glorious cabinet space here is entirely wasted. I briefly entertained the idea of taking the doors off and putting pretty stuff in it, but then realized that I wouldn’t be able to reach it to DUST!

cabinet doorsIt didn’t take long for the half-broken changing table to become an entirely-broken-beyond-repair heap of useless MDFboard. When that happened, my mother picked this up at a garage sale for me. It’s brilliant. I painted it when I built some really cheap cabinet doors to keep my dog out of the trash. Did I show you those either? (NOT useless MDF board here. This MDF board was very useful, and also free. I paid for the hasp. That was it!)

But I am rearranging the pantry. I have two purposes here.If we’re going to eat REALLY HEALTHY STUFF, well, then I don’t need a pantry full of cheap stuff, so I don’t need to dedicate shelves to things we PROBABLY shouldn’t be eating anyway. I do, however, need some space for my business supplies.

Yes. Business supplies!

I am now making and selling organic bath and body products.

This Is The OneIt was an answer to prayer, and it happened SO suddenly. Have we discussed my health? I have lupus, eczema, and psoriasis (among other things. But these are the pertinent issues that lead to the business). I was sitting up one night, entirely unable to sleep, OUT of any products that would make me stop itching, burning, and hurting all over. In desperation, I went to my garden and grabbed what I could: lavender, mint, rosemary, and calendula. And I started to work distilling, pressing, and infusing my extra-virgin olive oil to try to get some relief. It helped!

Next, I made a moisturizing bath soak.

Then a heavy body balm for the worst spots.

Then a lotion for maintenance.

Then I started making a little money selling it. Now I am working on opening up an etsy shop! I’ll let you know when that’s up and running.

My skin is feeling better than it has since I was a CHILD, and some of the spots I have been fighting for months are FINALLY starting to clear up.

So that’s my Monday so far. What’s your Monday looking like? Do you have big plans for the week?

 

The Chore Board

My friend Arlie asked me to blog about our ticket system and chore board. So, here I am.

We’ve had some behavioral challenges around here, and your standard fare punishment is not enough for the little man of the house. Neither is the standard fare positive reinforcement system that I’ve always known.  We had a disorganized system of rewards and punishments, but it was, as noted, disorganized and chaotic, and thus, useless.

We’ve also had issues with chores. Wee Man wants to get paid for his chores, and I love paying him for chores. The problem is that the money just isn’t always there for it. And it gets EXPENSIVE paying a kid every time he does a single chore. Also, who REALLY keeps rolls of change around?

We’ve had issues with screen time, which is related to behavior and to chores. He would grab my tablet, often without permission, and start playing Angry Birds before doing chores, and he would yell and scream and cry when he was told to turn it off. It was really ugly.

So we had to think of something else!

We went to my sister’s house for my dad’s birthday, and she had the lovely chart made for her kids. It gave them a limit of screen time, and they had options for earning more time on specific days (my nephew can earn extra screen time only on weekends, and never on school nights). I liked it. A lot.

Apparently we had both seen the next one on the internet.

A box.

A box that holds things that the children left lying around the house.  If it’s still there after the child is told and reminded to put it away, it goes in the box, and they must do chores to earn it back.

So a system was born.

I got a bunch of tickets from my mom, who picked them up at School Box. I bought a magnetic dry erase board at the dollar store, and I re-purposed a magnetic coupon holder. I got some baskets and an empty opaque tote out of my storage room.

 

The white board gives him a limit on his screen time and is updated during the day as it is earned. Screen time is limited to one movie and half an hour of game time in a day. I have to count it in movies, because I do not have a subscription television service, Netflix, Hulu, or anything like that. Rather, we have a bunch of VHS tapes.

Below that is a behavior tracker. Smiley faces are for good behavior. Frownie faces are for bad behavior. At the end of the day, we do some subtraction.  Smiles minus frowns equal tickets.

Next is the chore chart. If he completes his daily chores (in orange) he earns one ticket. He can also do any of the “high value” chores, which are worth one ticket each.

Once he gets tickets, he can trade them in for special things. Three tickets equal one item from the “blue box.” Five tickets can be cashed in for a slushie from Slushie Gary (like the ice cream truck, but better!) on Saturdays. One ticket can be traded for five minutes of tablet time.

Now, tablet and TV time can be taken away. If you’re able to read the picture above, the game box says “Mon. 4/22.”  He told a lie at his baseball game on Monday, and lost the tablet for a week.

TicketCollage

Daily Chores:

  • Take out trash
  • Water for the dogs 
  • Feed the dogs (once. I feed them breakfast; he feeds them dinner)
  • Clean your room
  • Put away your things
  • Get the mail 
High Value Chores
  • Do the dishes
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Put away your laundry
  • Vacuum the floor
  • (not on the board: he can dust, clean the fronts of cabinets, sweep the porch or patio, etc.)
Put Away Collage
 
I do my blue box a little differently. I have baskets in the kitchen. These are called the “put away” baskets.  As I am cleaning up, if I come upon something that needs to be put away, it goes in the basket. Yes, one of them is mine and contains purses and shoes! These are separate from the “put your things away” chore, in that “put your things away” tends to mean “put away the stuff you got out” and these things, for whatever reason (perhaps that we both have ADD) aren’t included in those items. Just go with it.  
 
Anything left in the basket for more than two days goes in the blue box to be earned back by exchanging tickets.
 
Anyway, that’s the system. Tickets can be earned for exceptionally good behavior aside from the smiley face chart as well.
 
It’s simplified things quite a lot, because it’s just all there in one place, and it’s consistent without having to try too hard. It just IS consistent. When he can see what time he’s allowed to ask for screen time, it stops some of the arguments. Once school work and chores are done, the screen time chart is updated to show him how much time he is allowed.
 
And I am all about simplifying!

Budding Blue Botanist

Botany1CollageI have so many partial posts that I haven’t gotten around to finishing up yet, because there’s just a LOT to them. So many parts and pieces to finish up. Lots of pictures, lots of ideas, and a theory or two behind homeschooling. That’s right, we’re homeschooling for real now. Sometime in the winter, the online charter school changed their policies on moving kids up a curriculum level, and Jack had finished TWO language arts levels. But that’s another post. Another half-finished post that I will eventually slow down and post for anybody that’s reading! This is not that post. This is a post about my budding blue botanist, and the awesome spring time we’re having here.

Yesterday, we went on a field trip with my mother. If you’re in or near Atlanta, Scottsdale Farms and Bella Luna Cafe is DEFINITELY worth a visit. Warning: TAKE CASH! You’ll want it! We went for their children’s event. Jack was the oldest by a good bit, but the ladies running it were absolutely brilliant with him and told him that “with age comes privilege.” In his case, that meant the ability to make extra biscuits, carry the biscuits to the oven in Bella Luna’s kitchen, and pick a story at story time. It also means that next time we go, he gets to not only PICK a story for story time, but read it to the younger kids! He had a blast making biscuits, reading stories, EATING the biscuits with fresh local honey, and playing with the other kids in their demo garden. It was lovely.

After this, my mom treated us to lunch at Bella Luna, the cafe inside Scottsdale Farms’ gift shop. Jack had “the Jake” – a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on crustless whole wheat bread with apple slices and fresh squeezed organic lemonade. I had the most beautiful fresh, organic salad with fresh vegetables and cherry walnut vinaigrette. I also cashed in on my free chocolate caramel latte with almond milk. And their water! Oh their water! It’s infused with cucumbers, and they have fresh mint leaves and lemon wedges to put in the cup! Glorious! (mind, I have a pitcher of filtered water in my fridge that is ALSO infused with cucumber, lemon, and fresh mint). It was an inspired lunch, with “Jake” the flower-lady’s small black lab mix at our feet.

Then off for our awesome botany lesson and tour of their nurseries. Jack learned the difference between annuals and perennials and also between deciduous and evergreen trees. We looked at all the plants, and walked for well over two hours exploring everything. He was enthralled by the flowering blue daze plants, so when his Mema told him at the end of the tour that he could pick out one plant to buy, he went IMMEDIATELY to the blue daze, and picked up the plant he wanted. Before my mother and I had even settled on the two lantana plants for my butterfly garden (which soon will also have purple verbena and a butterfly bush or two), he came back with the plant he wanted. He was able to tell my mom that it’s an annual that grows in full sun! So that was his first plant. He walked through the shop to check out, proudly showing off his blue daze to anyone who cared (and probably a lot of people who didn’t), and he’s been so excited and proud of the plant since.

So, now, he’s into this gardening idea. We’re in the process of setting up a notebook journal for his gardening project this spring and summer. Yes. Project. What started as ONE flowering blue daze in a pot has become a HUGE project. We’re planning several garden plots and flower beds in our yard, and I am hoping it works out, because if it does, it will be fantastic.

Today, we were in a store looking for a birthday gift for Jack’s baseball best friend (baseball is another post. I promise I will explain that one too, with pictures, adorable, wonderful pictures!), and they had a BUNCH of seed packs on sale between 10 and 33 cents each. So we bought some. Okay, more than some. We bought a TON of seeds! Jack is planting his own BLUE flower bed, some herbs, and a vegetable plot! 

His blue garden contains:

  • Flowering blue daze
  • blue morning glories
  • blue mink algeratum
  • blue cupid’s dart
  • blue flax
  • Chinese blue forget-me-nots

We also picked up these flowers:

  • Marigold
  • Morning Glory
  • Columbine
  • African Daisy
  • Wild Flower Mix
  • Aster
  • Zinnia
  • Ageratum
  • Sunflower
  • Echinacea
Vegetables:
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Contender Bean
  • Cherokee Wax Bean
  • Cucumber
  • Bush Blue Lake Bean
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Corn (GMO free!)
  • Carrot
  • Radish
  • Turnip
And Herb
  • Dill

So we got home today, in the cold and the mist, and Jack DEMANDED that we start our project. He wouldn’t relent. So we started turning over dirt and turf to make flower beds, and we mapped out where we want to plant what. It’s great how excited he is about this, and I hope that our gardens turn out lovely!