Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lori Scott shares potato fun ideas for kids

Originally uploaded by Spud Girl
On May 3 I will host Lori Z. Scott's book blog tour, and you will have a chance to win a copy of her book "Meghan Rose Has Ants In Her Pants", a cute book for kids.
I asked Lori for a garden related tip and she came up with 2 good ones which I share here.
Lori wrote to me that Meghan Rose has a song in her head, stars in her eyes, and now she has ants in her pants. All because Meghan just has to own a pair of "K-K-K-K-Kangaroozies!" She saw them on TV, and now she can't stop thinking about them! But how can she ever get a pair? Don't worry--Meghan ROse always has a plan! But will God help her plan to work?

So here's where the potatoes come in. In the book, Meghan hatches all kinds of ideas to earn a pair of Kangaroozies. She decides to sell cookies or lemonade, but her mom doesn't have those things at home. All she has is cans of soup, etc., and a sack of potatoes. Meghan takes the potatoes to school, draws faces on them with permanent marker, and sells these Spuddy Buddies at recess. Since it's such a fun thing to do (trust me, I've had college students do it and they love it!) one of the activity suggestions at the end of the book is for readers to create their own Spuddy Buddies. What comes next is what relates to your gardening theme--planting their Spuddy Buddies once they sprout.

When your Spuddy Buddy starts sprouting, it’s ready to have babies! In depth planting details can be found at .

The steps can be summed up as follows:

1. Have an adult cut the potato into 1 inch chunks, each chunk with one eye.
2. Let the chunks air dry for 24 hours.
3. Plant the chunks facing eye up into loose soil in a well-lit, dry section of the garden.
4. Build a 6-inch mound of mulch over the plantings.
5. Water lightly.
6. Put additional mulch around the vines each time they grow 6 inches.
7. After the potatoes flower, they can be harvested. Sift through the mulch until you uncover a potato and snap it from the stem.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My first strawberries of this season...

Bravo Strawberries, a welcome sign of summer

I am inspired this year to plant strawberries, something I haven’t done in many years. What an oversight! If you have any growing tips or favorite varieties please share them here.

I planted a six pack of Chandler strawberries this weekend, which grow well all across the United States. Next weekend I aim to buy a six pack of another variety, not selected yet, and plant it too.

There are three types of strawberries: June bearing (one large crop of berries in late spring/early June), Everbearing (2 crops, in late spring and early fall), and the newer Day-neutral which give berries throughout much of the season.
Chandler strawberries are a vigorous early midseason June bearer variety, hardy in zones 5-8. They bear a single large crop over a period of three to four weeks, in spring to early summer, depending upon where you live and when you plant.
Strawberries need plenty of water and food, a minimum of six hours of sun, and mulch is important, both to prevent the roots from drying out, and to keep the strawberries from resting on the soil. A good soaking each week is ideal. It is best to pinch off flowers when planting, which will yield a better root system and healthy runners.

I haven’t tried this, but hanging baskets are ideal, as long as you keep the moisture constant. Don’t forget to water the plants for three days during a heat wave!

Strawberries taste delicious and are pretty, too, and as William Butler (1535-1618) wrote, “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.”

Thursday, April 24, 2008

review of thriller with suspense and humor

I just finished reading this book, and want to share it with you. Melanie Wells captures her readers from the get go with Dylan Foster, a likeable heroine who knows she is not perfect, and a well crafted plot featuring a kidnapped child at the center of the doings, and compelling villains with creepy powers.
At a picnic, Nicholas, the son of Dylan’s friend, is kidnapped by a man in an old car or van. Plot twists are added by references to Peter Terry, a menacing figure from Dylan’s past, the sound of rattlesnakes in Dylan’s home, and troubling hard to understand visions by the heroine and her young friend, Christine.
As the perfect antidote to the terror of the kidnapping and frightening events, fear for the captive boy, and Christine under attack, readers are treated to Dylan’s thoughts, including “God has to smack me with his ruler on my desk to get my attention.”
The heroine is a compulsive sink cleaner, not one of my compulsions! When she hears the sound of a rattlesnake under her kitchen sink, she thinks “The sad truth is, if I paid as much attention to my soul as I do my sink, I would probably be a whole lot better off. My sink is pristine. My soul could use a can of comet and some elbow grease.”
This is an ideal thriller with a good dash of humor, and now I plan to read the other two Dylan Foster novels, the first one being “When the Day of Evil Comes.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Cat Deluxe

Tax Cat Deluxe
Originally uploaded by leadenhall
Tax day today!
Do you always wait till late to mail in your tax returns? I do. At least this year, many of us will be receiving $600 (or less, or $600 each for a couple filing jointly), so we can apply that money to purchases or paying off debt.
My husband and I are investigating buying a new PC with lots of bells and whistles, re our $600 or whatever amount it turns out to be.
April 15 can focus our thoughts on money, but remember "Having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." I Timothy 6:8

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Garden Gnome in the Bushes

When my sons were little, we lived on a ranch near a very small town in California. One cute neighborhood in the town, consisting of a dozen houses was fun to visit, because the gardeners had all gotten inspired to hide tiny figurines of garden gnomes and animals in their yards right near the sidewalk.

Everyone passing by, not only the kids, got a kick out of finding a plastic dinosaur or a red suited gnome peeking out from under a fern leaf or low lying pine branch. We found a few small animal figurines in unexpected places, like hiding hear a tree trunk or under a bird bath, and these always resulted in shouts of glee and laughter.

When we moved away, to a nearby larger city of 50,000 we discovered that the city hall had lovely heavily planted grounds and someone had nestled tiny plastic deer and other wild critters among the flowers and shrubs. This was unbelievably nice!
So now we had yet another venue for our adventure walks, looking for the unexpected among the roses and cantua vines.

This is a fun element to add to your garden, especially if children play in it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

All Hail the Princess and movie Enchanted

All Hail the Princess..
Originally uploaded by Cvalentine
"Enchanted" is a wonderful family film. My husband and I both give it high marks, 9 out of 10.

Part of this film is very high quality Disney animation, with Prince Edward (James Marsden) and Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) meeting, singing to each other, and falling in love. When the nasty queen finds out about their love, she casts the princess into the harsh real world of New York City, where "Happily ever after" does not always happen, and where the animation changes to live acting.

I loved the scenes where the feckless Prince Edward bravely fights to save his lady, using his sword to vanquish a city bus in one scene.

A divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey) and his young daughter rescue the princess who is completely confused about "real life", and continues to search for "true love's kiss."
This movie even has big city cockroaches helping the princess.
This is rated PG for some violence and light innuendo, so parents of young children can decide whether it suits their kids. Since our household is all over 21, PG is ok here (smile).

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reading magazines

Originally uploaded by cesarastudillo
Do you subscribe to any magazines?
For many years I have subscribed to Writer's Digest and The Writer, taking notes and absorbing the information in them. These are excellent magazines, especially for beginning and intermediate writers.
I subscribe to so many mags that I recently cancelled my subscription to these two writer's magazines, while keeping my subscriptions to Christian Communicator and Advanced Christian Writer.
Of course after being so proud of myself for cancelling two subscriptions I am treating myself to a new subscription to Prevention Magazine.
I haven't received my first issue yet, but the wheels are in motion.
Even if only one article per issue helps me live a more healthy life, I figure it is well worth the cost.
I think Prevention will even have some garden ideas. I saw a charming short article online today from Prevention, which suggests "For those of us who have no space for gardening outdoors, how about planting a garden in our hearts?"
Take care, and keep on reading.
Is there a magazine you consider helpful that you want to share in a comment?