Tag Archive | Florida

Spring Garden

It’s already getting hot in Florida. But my spring garden is looking fantastic.

I have to admit I have been giving myself pats on the back for this one. I am so proud.

I love just looking at it and admiring its beauty.

I have had gardens in the past. But this one takes the cake!

These pictures are from April 21st.

Left side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Watermelon

Watermelon

Watermelon with a fly

Watermelon with a fly

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

Nibbles always waits by the fence when his Mama is in the garden.

Nibbles always waits by the fence when his Mama is in the garden.

Right Side of the garden

Right Side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Back in the fall, my right side of the garden looked great and my left side was still getting prepped. But as you can see the left just exploded this season. These are pictures from this morning.

Growing a large family

Pea pods

Pea pods

Right side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Watermelon

Watermelon

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

Pickling cucumbers

Pickling cucumbers

Watermelon

Watermelon

Corn

Corn

Green Beans

Green Beans

Pineapple

Pineapple

I am definitely not done. I want to get some wild flowers planted. Oh I also forgot to take pictures of the milkweed with butterfly eggs on it. Brianna is so excited. But the heat is getting bad so I don’t how long some of these plants will last. Summers in Florida is like a winter up north. You can’t plant anything; it’s too hot and too rainy. I will be conditioning my soil during that season and prepping for a huge fall garden.

I am even thinking of another expansion. One in a more shady area to grow plants that can’t handle a lot of heat and sun.

Advertisements

Sleepless Nights, My Garden and El Nino

Gardening~Growing a large family

 

Living in Florida, we are used to dealing with hurricanes. They take several days to get here and we have plenty of time to stock up and plan.

But dealing with El Nino, this past month has been stressful. You don’t how severe it’s going to be or how soon it’s going to get to your location. And the worse part has been 99% of the severe storms have been at night. I hate when they hit at night.

First off, I live in the boondocks so you can’t see anything on a clear night, but now you have added in a wicked storm, so I really am left in the dark. I always take my phone in my room for all the alerts. But that’s the problem, I’m up all night checking out the alerts and warnings. And of course, the one alert that didn’t come through on my phone was the tornado on the ground alert. Thankfully all my kids sleep with radios on. And thankfully one of them does wake up when the emergency beeping comes on.

Now here in Florida, we are used to water spouts or quick tornadoes. They touch down, last for a few minutes and then they’re gone. But when the weatherman and National Weather Service is saying take cover, a very large and dangerous tornado is on the ground. It makes you think What the …… These are words my local weatherman were using, along with, this is a tornado you would see in the midwest and we have never seen anything like it. It lasted through 2 counties!

I mean it came to the bottom of my county. In my mind, I’m mentally giving out assignments to my 2 children, that at this point were scared to death and looking like a deer caught in headlights. Luckily it dissipated. But it came awful close to my Mother-in-Law’s house. Which my kids were at the night before and she doesn’t own a smart phone or a TV. And lives in a mobile home.

Needless to say, I will be investing in 2 weather radios. One for my house and one for hers.

So what does this have to do with my garden. Well it’s been to hell and back! First, our weather was too hot for winter. I mean, its was 85 degrees on Christmas, who does that!?! Now it turned cooler and my plants were so happy.  Then all the rain came. And that was ok, my garden never flooded. But then the winds came. We have had strong winds as least 2-3 times this year. I am talking, don’t let your kids out or they’ll blow away strong. And well everything fell over!

On the positive side, all the rain loosened the ground so Brianna could finish getting the grass up on the other side of the garden. And I did get a ton of cherry tomatoes before the winds, along with 2 cabbage, 3 broccoli and some green beans. So I am going to replant on the other side and see what happens.

Spring Garden~Growing a large family

Here’s hoping Spring comes soon.

At least that’s what Punxsutawney Phil said.

This blog post is partying over at Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Fun weekend!

It’s the little things in life that make me smile. This weekend was one of those times that just made me giddy.

Saturday was the big day! The day I have been waiting for since April, when I bought all those fuzzy chicks home. That’s right folks! I got an egg!

DSC_0106

Here is proud egg layer!

Thing 1

Thing 1

The first egg arrived on Saturday morning. I happen to hear one of the other hens singing the egg song so I went rushing out there thinking she laid an egg. But really she just likes announcing when others have made a nest and our laying their eggs. That is when I found Thing 1, not in the nesting boxes, but in her own little homemade nest. So for about an hour, I kept peeking at her and finally it was there. And I squealed like a girl. But hey, farmer’s can be girly!

Then Sunday, she took almost all day to lay again. And I sent little man out to gather the egg. But she wasn’t done yet. So we found these beauties in the garden instead.

DSC_0107 DSC_0108DSC_0110

Thirty minutes later, little man and I went out again and found our 2nd egg.

DSC_0111

 

Needless to say, my kids are so excited about having to check for eggs everyday.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

DSC_0241

 

A few months back I took the kids strawberry picking. This is an activity we do every year when the U-pick em’s open up. While we were picking Dakota was listing all the things we could make with our strawberries. Then I hear, “Momma, I want a strawberry pie. Can you make a strawberry pie?” So of course I say yes, because I can’t say no to him. And there began our strawberry pie challenge.

When I am making something new, I usually read several recipes and then mix and mingle them together to accommodate it to my family’s taste or to my pantry supply.

The original recipe is from 2006 Taste of Home Annual Recipes, but this is my version of it.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 pre-made pie crust, frozen or refrigerated. I used the refrigerated Pillsbury pie crust.

1 package of cream cheese, softened

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs milk

Fresh strawberries about a quart, sliced

1 container Sugar free Strawberry Glaze, my kids grabbed the sugar free when I sent them to get it. I couldn’t tell the difference.

1)Preheat oven to 450

2) Unroll your pie crust and place in your pan. Trim edge and flute. Line unpricked crust with heavy duty foil.

3) Bake for 8 minutes, remove foil and bake 7 minutes longer. Cool completely.

4) Beat cream cheese, sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth.

5) Spread over the crust and arrange strawberries on top.

6) Spread Strawberry Glaze over the top and chill until serving.

Our Frugal Disney Vacation

One day at Disney World can be expensive for a family of 6, but 5 days can be down right ridiculous. You can read about how we save for our Annual passes and this vacation here.

We stayed at the Fort Wilderness Cabins. I chose here because I have always wanted to stay in a cabin and it also came with a kitchen. Now Disney has quite a few options for large families. There is the option of getting 2 rooms at the same hotel, but you are not guaranteed side by side rooms, though I have never had a problem getting them. But there is no kitchen and would have to go out to eat for every meal. Then there are family suites at some hotels that sleep up to 6 and have a kitchen, problem though is you hear everyone walking through the halls and talking loudly. The cabins are placed about apart from each other so you don’t hear all the footsteps and voices.  Comparing the cabin and the family suites, the cabin turned out to be much better priced. Now the cons, we are early to bed and early to rise people, so I didn’t take that into account when it came to the daily 10pm fireworks show that we could hear clearly even though it was at Magic Kingdom across the lake. The kitchen was poorly stocked as far as cookware. Let’s say it took some adjustments to cook the meals I did cook. Can you say aluminum foil cookie sheet?

DSC_0154

 

After we checked in, we headed for the nearest Publix to do some grocery shopping. I had it planned where we would have one dinner and one breakfast out and the rest at the cabin. And of course for the first night we grabbed some subs at the store. For a total of $160 which we took from our grocery budget.

Breakfast: Pancakes, french toast sticks, toaster strudels or breakfast sandwiches and then out to eat. You have to have Mickey waffles once while at Disney.

Dinners: subs, Burgers, chips and leftover potato salad, Golden Corral, Chicken Cordon bleu and tater tots.

Not the healthiest meals but better than hamburgers and french fries everyday.

Now as you can see I left lunch out because we were mostly at the parks during that time. And most of the time we didn’t eat breakfast until 9am so we weren’t hungry for a big lunch. We mostly purchased snacks. First day was fruit, second day we actually ate a big lunch, third day funnel cakes and last mickey pretzels and churros. (Don’t judge it’s a vacation from our diet too!)

Souveniers are a given when you are at a place like Disney. My older kids had earned or saved some money before the vacation. I had also earned 4 free $10 Disney giftcards with our movie rewards and then my grandmother gave each of them $5. So each had $10-15 saved, a $10 giftcard and an additional $5, once it was gone it was gone. And Mom and Dad weren’t handing out extra. This was to be spent on whatever (within reason) they wanted. We provide necessities but if you want a bag of candy, you have to buy it yourself. This worked out well for some and not so well for others. But maybe it was a lesson learned. (Hopefully?!)

In the end, we came home with over $100 still in our pocket to put towards our next vacation fund. And a lot of priceless memories!

DSC_0087

Why I homeschool?

10 years ago I would have never thought I would be a homeschooling mom.

But now 6 years into this journey, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Let me paint you a picture of my former life.

I was a normal suburban mom. I got the kids up in the morning, fed them breakfast and off to school we went. Some days I would stay and volunteer all morning. Other days I did grocery shopping or leisurely shopping. I made lunch dates. Then I would go back and pick my kids up and go home to homework, dinner and bath time. And always couldn’t wait until bedtime. OH MY bedtime couldn’t come fast enough. One year I was even a PTA board member. Voted as volunteer of the year in our school! Homeschooling never even crossed my mind. I loved being away from my kids.

So how in the world did I become a homeschooling mom?

We moved out to the country. And people weren’t as nice as they were in our old neighborhood. I wasn’t embraced by the school, teachers or PTA and neither were my kids. We came in the middle of the year and that made us different. Why I am not sure? Tons of people move schools in the middle of a school year. Out here it made us outcast. I had a daughter who was brilliant and they couldn’t see it. And a daughter that would freeze and have a panic attack at the mention of a test and they didn’t care.

Down here in Florida we have an annual test called the FCAT. Like a standardize test, but Florida thought it would be fun to say if you don’t pass this test in 3rd or 12th grade, you don’t pass or get a diploma. So the teachers were under pressure and they put their students under pressure. This wasn’t a good situation for someone with a test anxiety. So I talked to the teachers. The results were deal with it because the State of Florida says this is the way it is. Let me tell you, I tried to walk away from this teacher without an argument. But she followed me out into the hallway and confronted me. After a huge argument which got me labeled as the Bitch mom. I walked away and decided no one was going to tell me to deal with it. This was the day we decided to homeschool.

At first it started with just my oldest two children. But half-way through the year, my youngest joined. Over the years, my kids have chosen home or school. I think we finally got it right with my oldest in a regular public school and my 3 youngest homeschooling. It fits everyone’s personalities and makes everyone happy.

It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. And there are days when I am like what was I thinking!?! But to see my test anxiety child, who hated reading and took 3 hours to write spelling sentences, pick up a book on her own and fall in love with the characters and stories was amazing. To see her read a 700 page book with joy, unbelievable. And now I am experiencing it with my special needs child. Who always felt safer to stick with the easy reader books, branch out and found, not 1 but 2 series that has her excited for our library trips. There were tears, fights, judgement and criticism. Still is.

But I have seen so much and learned so much through homeschooling and my kids.

I realized I love them more everyday! And being with them to watch them grow is a blessing.