Monthly Archives: September 2008

Planning My Fall Garden

Well, my summer garden was a bit of a bust. We got some tomatoes and basil, but not much else… unless you want to count some random pumpkins growing out of last year’s seeds, and what I think is millet growing from dropped birdseed. I’m guessing on that one, though.

We’re probably going to keep things simple for the fall. Just some broccoli and one variety or another of lettuce. I think after last year’s experiment with unusual varieties of lettuce, my husband is quite willing to go with something we know we like. It just didn’t really work out last year.

I’m really trying to build this habit of growing more food at home. I like knowing what goes on my food as it grows, and its great for the kids. If I grow the right stuff they snack on it quite freely.

I don’t think I’ll try for much more this year. My husband has been resisting the idea of a fall garden, but I think he knows now that I’m serious about it. Not like southern California doesn’t have amazing weather for growing food most of the year, after all.

Will the Economy’s Trouble Make it Harder to Go Green?

If you’re in the United States and paying any attention at all, you know the economy’s in deep trouble. With a huge bailout coming and people losing their jobs, I can’t help but think of how this may impact people’s interest in the environment.

Some of the negatives for people’s income has encouraged being kinder to the environment, of course. People have cut back on driving because gas costs so much. I’m talking to more people who want to garden and preserve food.

It’s a pretty interesting shift.

But it’s also quite reasonable that if you’re facing the loss of your home, you aren’t going to be so worried about the impact of other things you do. Keeping a roof over your head is rather important.

I think of this as a good time to focus on the ways that going green can save money. Some tactics are long term, and may not go over so well right now, but anything that will save you money and be better for the environment is a pretty good deal right now.

So keep on making those homemade cleansers. Make the switch as each incandescent bulb burns out to compact fluorescent; check to see if the electric company in your area offers discounts or free ones. Garden, even if it’s just herbs in the kitchen window.

Tweaking My Clothesline Usage

I had to do a ton of laundry yesterday. Much of the time right now I’ve been having to do a load a day. Pretty standard routine when you have a child who isn’t quite perfect about not wetting the bed. It’s easy to make up a full load when you have bed sheets to start it off and young children who love to play with dirt.


We had been just drying the sheets and mattress protector outside, but I’ve found that if I try I can fit a whole load on there, even with the sheets taking a lot of room, so that’s what we’re doing now.

It’s really not that hard to do, even if the weather out is 90+ degrees still. A little time consuming, but I’ve already warned my husband that I probably want a second line hung soon.

But eventually the time comes that you have to do ALL the laundry. The bed stays dry for several nights and things just pile up.

When you have just one clothesline and the day is warm and windy but not hot, you can’t count on clothes drying fast enough for each load. So what I did was to put on the clothesline what would fit of each load, let it dry in the sun and wind as the next load washed, then move it to the dryer.

This worked pretty well.

You really don’t want to fully dry denim or towels on a clothesline; they tend to end up really crunchy feeling. But a half hour on the line cut their time in the dryer about in half, and they came out quite nicely.

The challenge is that this is a full extra step in the laundry. I’ve been trying to cut our power bill, so I really don’t mind that much, but I could definitely see that it was adding to the time the task took.

On the plus side, it’s a bit of exercise for the arms.

Peer Pressure and Bringing Lunch to School

My daughter has started a new problem with the lunches I pack for each day. She barely touches them. Apparently she’s afraid people will laugh at what she brings.

bag lunch

Here’s the thing, though. No one has.

She has decided on her own that the foods I pack will be laughed at. You see, she’s the only kid, or so she says, who gets fresh vegetables in her lunch.

Old favorites are going ignored. She wouldn’t touch her pasta salad, even though I threw black olives in to attract her attention. All she wants to bring is the canned soups and such I give her if I’m out of time to make something healthy.

And I’ve long been resigned to the fact that this girl who loves my homemade bread will never, ever eat a sandwich. Not even at home, so at least that’s consistent.

The one relief for this year is that she appears to be inventing the peer pressure. She admits to being worried about what the other kids will think of what she’s eating, but also admits that no one has ever said a word to her about it.

I ask her about what the other kids are eating, and she rarely knows. Except for the day a classmate shared fruit snacks with my daughter because my daughter spilled her snack.

This is a tricky situation, but I am determined to use it as a lesson in ignoring peer pressure. Better now when the problem is a matter of her perception, rather than actual teasing, I hope.

I’m determined to find healthy foods that she will eat at school. Sure it’s easy to give in and feed her the canned stuff, but ugh! I don’t like to. I want to keep her eating habits healthy, not lazy.

I’m going to have to experiment on her at home and figure out what she will eat. If it’s a big enough favorite I know she will eat it despite what her friends say. She did the day her friend told her that her pesto chicken looked gross, after all. She loves pesto chicken well enough to not care what others think.

At this age, I figure not giving up is the key. She just won’t take to rational arguments such as “you love it at home” or “if no one has said anything, it’s not a problem.” Six year olds aren’t always the most rational of creatures, after all.

But you can wear down their resistance and show them ways to cope with their problems. Hopefully I can get it to take before the next problem comes up.

Do your kids face peer pressure in bringing lunch to school? How do you cope?

Starting Halloween Costume Planning

I’m just loving how my planning for the kids’ Halloween costumes is going this year. Looks like it’s almost all going to be reused!

dragon halloween costume

In the case of my son, I’m really delighted, because I spent many hours working on that dragon costume, and hardly anyone saw him in it. He’s started to play in it a little now for dress up, and says he wants it to be his Halloween costume.

The sleeves and pants legs are too short, but he’s 3 and doesn’t care. At least this year the waistband is tight enough that the tail shouldn’t make the pants fall down every few minutes.

My daughter wants to be a butterfly again. That was her costume about 3 years ago. We still have the homemade wings, though. I’ve promised to add a little glow in the dark paint to the wings like her brother’s dragon costume has. Considering how dark the costume is otherwise, it’s a very welcome request.

Both need their wings strengthened so they can lie flat on their backs a bit longer. The wings have been used for dress up by both of them all this time, and so they’re rather floppy. That’s fine for dress up, but not so cute for trick or treating.

And of course my daughter needs appropriate clothes for the body of the butterfly, and maybe some antenna. We just dressed her in black the last time. I don’t think she has any black pants, much less a plain black shirt, so that will have to be a thrift store run.

I don’t think she has a headband that would support antenna, so that will probably mean buying something new. Still, not a bad deal for Halloween costumes.