Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ode to my compost

Last year when we moved in Chuck built me a lovely compost bin. And we quickly filled it up with all kinds of bunny litter, kitchen scraps, yard waste, old hay bails (from that awesome party we had), shredded paper all things natural. ***Have compost questions: see this post.*** And we waited. And waited. And waited. Our compost bin was pathetic last year. I had my doubts that it was ever going to break down. When we lived down in the tropics, our compost bin turned so quick and we saw great results. And then here...there is a lot of clay in our soil rather than sand and it takes a lot longer for the compost to turn.

So I have been on the hunt for something to help my compost speed up the break down process. Any kind of magic sprinkle that would help it break down a little more quickly. I asked around at local nurseries and no one had heard of any such thing. Then one day early this spring I found my magic potion.

I sprinkled this on my compost pile and it seemed to do the trick. It contains some kind of fish guts and gross stuff. It was either perfect timing and the compost pile was just going to turn into usable soil or it was this gunk.

And have you heard of the compostable chip bag? Yep...a chip bag that can be composted. Sunchips now comes in a bag that can be composted. Just a is a REALLY loud bag. Crinkly doesn't even describe it.
I am curious to see how long it takes to break down. I put it in the compost bin Mother's Day weekend. So far, it hasn't done much.

You can see the side on the right has finally turned into usable dirt. And we are just dumping our compost into the side on the left now. We have even used the dirt to fill up a flower box. I am still forever fascinated by the whole idea that what we put in here would go into the trash. With recycling and composting we have less waste than the average family. I have also noticed how many more worms my compost bin has this year. Must be some good eats for those guys.

Comments are off of my posts for a time while I take care of some maintenance.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A visit from friends

Head on over here to see a few pics from a visit from friends. It was such a treat to see our dear friends. Though our family is still not used to anything outside our normal routine, the boys did alright. Tyce didn't like that he was left out when the girls played with their very dear friend. He ended sitting on my lap and crying for awhile. It reminds me that we are still in the thick of bonding and creating our family dynamics. It will be awhile until visits like that feel normal to the kids.

Even when my parents drop by for a short visit, the boys are still not themselves. It is just different for them when others are around. Still working on adjusting...and I am willing to do it slowly.

Just trying something out

I am going to try something new here. Hoping that this works.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Remember all that flooding???

We just had to help out in a very small way. That flood that came through our area was disastrous to so many families.

They lost it all.

We have more than we need.

I told the kids to go through their closets and drawers and toys and books to come up with some nice things to pass on.

At first Tyson didn't understand and it was hard for him to have us taking his things away. He quickly got into the spirit of it and enjoyed passing on to others. We explained the situation in very simple English that these kids had nothing and we wanted to share.

Here Tally was helping him bag up his clothes to give away.

Loading up the van with our donations.

Taking our things to a local drop off destination. Easy as that. Passing it on.

Spring Has Sprung

We planted seeds for a science project a few weeks ago and I am now just getting these pictures up. I feel sooooooooooo behind in all my tasks and I can only steal a few moments a day to get these extra things done.
Tyson was so into this that he wanted his own set of seeds to grow. He LOVES flowers and plants. He has enjoyed watering his own flowers each day.

These hands on projects are some of my all time favorite ways to learn for school. I think the kids enjoy them and actually learn more when they get to do these kinds of experiments. It has been my goal to do more.

We are using the Apologia series for science and we are currently working on our Botany book. It is slow going, but we like it. I do love how it takes a strong creationist point of view.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tiny Tots !!!

We are back into school after a small break this spring. A new challenge for us is having little ones take over our schooling space. So...instead of getting frustrated, we have decided to embrace these early learners.

I found some inspiration for having something for our tiny tots to do. I spent some time online coming up with creative and inspiring ideas for fine motor activities. This is all very new to the boys.

The idea is to have some organized activities for them to work with while I teach the girls. It has taken a little bit of getting used to our new routine, but it works well.I ordered a few basic supplies and we were set to go. I just needed a little boost to get my creative teacher juices flowing.

Here is Tyce sorting texture rings. He is using plastic tongs.

Here is Tate pushing beads into a can. Great fine motor skill builder.

Even the big kids like to work with hands on learning. Tissy is working on a phonics game.

This set of geometric shaped blocks are sure fun. I had no idea what I would do with them until they arrived from Oriental Trading. So far...they are tons of fun.

I love how these small balls fit into these paint trays.

Let's just say...I am just getting started. These activities are fun to put out onto the table and watch the kids (both big and little) explore. It seems to keep them entertained for a while.

Then...after a bit...Tate is done and he runs off to play.

My world has doubled since last Mother's Day

I am now a mama of four precious children. Who would have thought last year our world would have changed so much? I love that God knew from before the foundation of the world all these details.

The day was full of many emotions and feelings and at the top of the list...gratitude.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cheesy Lentils and Brown Rice

2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 C chopped onion
1 C brown rice (uncooked)
1 1/2 C lentils (green or brown)
4 C Chicken broth
2 C cheddar cheese
garlic powder to taste (or use some of your Ethiopian spices)

Drain the tomatoes (reserve the liquid) and chop (I chop with my kitchen scissors). Add the tomatoes, their juices and ALL ingredients (except the cheese) in 9x13 and stir well.

Bake at 350 covered for 1-1 1/2 hours or until rice is slightly undercooked and much of the liquid has evaporated. Remove cover add the cheese and cook to melt the cheese.

***I made this to freeze. I did NOT add the cheese, but cooked until the liquid had evaporated and removed from oven. I let it cool in the fridge overnight and put in the freezer until I was ready to use it. You can bring it out to thaw or defrost it in the microwave (I made mine in a Glad reusable container). Then I cooked with foil cover for about 30 min. then added the cheese and melted the cheese. ***

It is yummy topped with sour cream or served with injera.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

WOW !!! What a flood !!!

It has rained here for about 2 days and this storm has dumped more rain than anyone could have imagined. I knew it was going to rain this weekend, so I thought I was doing a good thing in spreading grass seed around the lawn in the bare spots. Well, that was a waste. It has all washed away.

Notice the brown "river" running in the back of our yard. It was about 15 feet wide today.

Here is the water run off that is off to the side of our house. You can see the neighbors behind us look like that water is REALLY close to their basement.

And speaking of basements...glad we have one. When these storms run through, we head down there when the tornado sirens go off. We considered sleeping in our basement last night. We didn't and there was no tornado in our town, but we try to be safe.
The road in front of our house.

Compared to some of the devastation, we are very thankful for our minimal damage. We lost one small tree and had a few little leaks from the driving rain. Nothing too major. And nothing like our downed tree from last year.

Here are some pics of Chuck's work building. It is the red one in the back with the white garage doors. If you didn't know, Chuck works for a Christian company that makes video for children. This flood will be a big loss for Kidmo. A lot of damage to overcome.

Again, these pictures were taken from the overpass above Chuck's building.

Where we turn to get to Chuck's work. A church on the left and a farm on the right. He also heard that his small studio, where they do some video shoots, has also flooded. No pictures of that yet.

As you can see, there is a lot of damage and huge flooding. Please pray for our area and the struggles that are taking place here this weekend. Many homes and families and businesses are effected.