One of my favorite things in the whole world in multitasking. LOVE IT!!! Getting two things or more done at the same time feels like heaven. I think that is why three sisters gardening appealed to me. You make a mound and plant 5 corn seeds. Once they are about 6 inches tall you thin them to 3 plants. Then you plant five climbing beans in the mound, thinning them to three. As the corn grown the beans grow up them. At the same time you plant the beans you plant four squash seeds, thinning to one. These three sisters work together in a perfectly symbiotic relationship. The beans and corn use and provide different nutrients to each other. The squash (pumpkins? or luffas? I'll do a crazy type I think) spreads out and acts as a weed mat. At the very far end of my orchard garden I have three mounds ready for this. The corn is planted and just starting to poke up. I will keep you posted on the progress.
Big fun. BIG fun. I choose a bunch of different varieties to plant this year. I picked some based on size and some just on color. I just wanted types that sounding interesting. If I hate them, surely someone at work will eat them. Here is a list of what types of tomatoes I planted and how big the finished fruit is. Once they actually come up and I will review them and see if they live up to their hype.
Fourth of July Hybrid (49days, yes I said 49, 4oz)
I’ve got two of these little babies growing like weeds in the orchard garden. The early factor is the only reason I tried them out, but if they don’t taste great they are off next years list.
Big Mama Hybrid (80 days, 8oz)
“Enormous, incredibly meaty fruit, up to 5” long and 3” across. Practically seedless, sauces lot of time peeling and coring; perfect for tasty sauces.” I am super excited for these puppies too. I plan to can the tar out of them. I planted 4 in the orchard garden.
Big Rainbow (80days, 16+oz)
“This colorful variety is bright yellow streaked with scarlet.” And it is a crazy shape. I can’t wait to try out this puppy. I have one in the cottage garden and one back in the orchard.
Black Krim (80 days, 8oz)
“Very dark maroon, tasty beefsteak that originated in Crimea. Offers incredible tangy flavor, and delightful juicy texture.” These suckers are so cool. Some may think they look rotten, but they are just so visually interesting to me. I can’t wait for them to show up. I have one in the cottage garden and one in the orchard garden.
Italian Ice (65 days, cherry)
“Sugary sweet bursting with juicy flavor.” I can’t wait on these. I think I am most excited for them. They are white and I plan to eat lots of them. But I also know that one cherry tomato plant goes a long way. So, I only planted one out in the orchard garden.
Sunny Boy Hybrid (75 days, one pound)
“With bright, luminous flavor, this yellow tomato is edible sunlight.”
Who can argue with that? How can I not grow this sucker? I planted two of these. One in the cottage garden and one in the orchard garden.
Orange Wellinton (75 days, 12oz)
“Bursting with flavor, here’s a tomato you’ll want to have dinner with, or lunch or the occasional snack.”
I really wanted to try an orange tomato and this one fit the bill. I have two in the ground. One in the cottage garden and one in the orchard garden.
Burpee’s Supersteak Hybrid (80 days, 32oz)
“The original giant with beefsteak taste and meaty texture.” I wanted to grow at least one that was big enough to be startling. I have two in the orchard garden.
Red October (68 days, 8oz)
“Keeps for up to 16 weeks. Hangs on the vine longer without softening, too. Great flavor and color.” 16 weeks???? That’s wonderful. That 16 weeks of BLT’s. Bring it. Two of these puppies out in the orchard garden.
Brandy Wine Pink (85 days, 14oz)
“Rich flavored, potato leaf pink heirloom, from 1885. One of the best tasting tomatoes of all time .” What a potato leaf?? I guess I am going to find out. I have two of these in my orchard garden.
Super sweet 100 Hybrid (70days, cherry)
I planted one of these little guys out in the orchard. You have to have at least one red cherry tomato plant or what kind of gardener are you?
Any favorite types I missed? Things I should consider for next year? Which one looks/sounds best to you?
Again - once these tomatoes come in I will measure them and taste them (lots) to see if they match their description. Maybe I should have a tomato party?
I have been working on this for awhile, but I didn't want put it out there on blog land till I really knew the details. A few days ago I got my final offer from Community Hospital. I accepted. Even though I just about wanted to cry my eyes out when I told my manager.
I will be floating between NICU, peds, and ED! The people in the know call it the ED, ER is the wrong term. Which I have keep reminding myself, because I know so little about ED that I can't even call it by the right name. I will start in NICU just to learn the system and then float to any of the hospitals, based on their need.
2. Clean the playroom. Not just a quick company-is-coming-over-shove-it-all-in-baskets clean. I slow all day clean every basket and nook and cranny. Put about 1/2 the toys away in the attic to rotate through. There is just too much crap in there right now and it is visually overwhelming. To kids and me. DONE
3. Keep eyes open for KILLER idea's for Lily's science party in September and my friend Becky's baby shower in October.
4. Get ready for a summer of photo shoots. GULP. I have 2 different sets of quads to shoot plus 8!!! other families set up, and TWO different senior pictures to do. Scheduled and ready to party. That's a lot for me, and I am nervous about it. But I am always nervous about it.
5. PURGES!!! The attic needs a full empty and redo before it gets to hot to go up there.
I want a holiday area, long term storage area, kids clothes area, luggage area, toy rotation area, and ???
6. All closets in the entire house need a remodel and need their purpose maximized.
7. ANIMALS!! Time to start training the new babies to walk on leashes for fair. The pony also needs some major loving because he is bored to death. I need to clean out the chicken coop. I need to clean out the old goat pen so that the dogs can use it better.
T2D in my notebook: (PS-thanks for the post it love note Blythe. Loved it)
Dogs to the vet - one at a time and to low cost place
Luna needs puppy class (humane society???)
Get back on the alphabet wall
Paint my Dad's shelves he made
Fix up goodwill kids cabinet
Fall in love with pinterest
Set up Lily summer curiculum
I am cheap. Super cheap. I have not bought Max a new item of clothing in over a year. Everything he owns comes from the used clothing store or goodwill.
I also read all the party blogs I can find. LOVE THEM!! All the creativity makes me so happy. (If you have a recommendation on one let me know)
But my cheapness and my desire to hold insane kids parties does not go hand in hand all the time. I wanted about $500 to spend on the tea party. But I knew that was crazy. $250 was crazy too, but I needed a little splurge. Just a little. I do so much to save us money, can’t I just have this little luxury?????? That’s how I justified it to myself. Josh seemed to buy it to, because he wasn’t on me too bad.
Here is what the party budget broke down to be.
Costs: Crafts: Teacup crafts $6 (I had the sharpies) Paper hats $0 Paper Trees $0 (I had it all) Paper dolls $8 Decor: Table skirt $20 in fabric, but I hope to reuse it Pink cups $10 – and I will reuse them Breakables from goodwill - $25 I can reuse the tea pots but I gave away the tea cups/saucers Colorful pots - $30 Perfect for the front porch Butterflies/flowers - $30 Splurge Pink flat sheet - $5 Napkins, utensils, etc - $5 The rest was made from things I already had Treat bags - $8 Envelopes - $5 Misc - $20 Food: See food post for details $65
TOTAL: under $240
Why waste the money on a party that isn’t even a birthday party (ie – the tea party)? Because I needed a distraction. Because I just wanted to focus on doing something fun for Lily and her little friends. Because I had to cancel Max’s birthday party and I was party jonesing. Because Because Because. Because I did. But after it was over, Josh and I had a big talk about what me going into party over drive does to the family. It turns me into a bossy drill sergeant. If everyone isn’t doing exactly what I want them to do, I go insane. It’s a touchy environment. He didn’t bring up the expense, but that is part of it too. So, I have decided that this is my last random party for awhile. Not forever. I really want to have a Halloween party someday. But in the next year it’s just birthday parties. (And the GREATEST baby shower ever coming up in October for my great friend at work)
Lily’s September Party – Science October baby shower – theme ??? AWESOMENESS Max January Party – Dinosaur? Red wagon? Trucks? Who knows?
At least a few times a day I can here the clock ticking off in the back on my head reminding me that my not going to happen due date is coming up. I walk around feeling 95% and then something happens that kills it. I just really want to get past June. I am like a caged lion most of the time. I run all day every day at full force so that I can keep my mind distracted. I plant huge gardens, and do photo shoots, and make 600 lists so that I can fall in to bed and sleep like a log.
There is a mom in the unit right now that is particularly broken. I see it in her face. It's like a reflection of me in January. Dead behind the eyes. I couldn't take it. I was literally having a physical reaction to her. I felt like I was going to throw up every time I had to be near her. After a few shifts of this, in which I asked not to have that baby anymore, but by a twist of fate kept getting her back, I sat down and looked at that Momma and told her she needed help. Every time she walked through the door she would just cry and cry and cry, tears literally rolling down the isolette. I told her that she was broken and that her baby needed her. And even though the trauma she went through in the OR was unbearable (meaning the trauma of the delivery) she had to get better. I told her she had a long road in front of her and that her baby needed her, and that she needed professional help. I explained to her how frustrating the NICU is. I told her she had PTSD and that she needed help. That this wasn't just post parduem blues. I explained to her that she had no peers in this, so to use us nurses as much as she needed us. She talked to me about her unfairly empty belly and her fear to leave the unit. I saw her yesterday and she looked so much better. Started down the road to getting better. So, why can I feel a disproportionate amount of sadness for this Mom but if you asked me if I was sad about Zack I would say no? When I was TL yesterday the power went out on the unit for 2 seconds. I jumped out of my chair and ran directly to this Momma's baby to make sure its vent was working correctly still. I try to be too cool for school, but in that moment of possible emergency this baby was the first thought I had. And also - I have this strong gut feeling that her baby is going to make it. She's tough (the baby), but my radar is so off that I can't trust it.
One of my bestest friends had her precious baby girl. This friend has been through so much. She lost her first husband suddenly to cancer and has since married the second most amazing man alive (Josh gets front runner). They had their first baby last week. I am in love with her. Why does that baby not sting? Not at all. I feel so normal and happy about her. I feel so REJOICEFUL for my friend. Nothing but rejoiceful. No hidden jealousy or sadness. Why? Why? Because I want to bottle that and feel it for all.
My good friend, who has had some scary complications, had her baby last night while I was at work. I stood at the OR door and just listened for his cry. I didn't want to intrude on this personal family event, but I had to hear him cry. I told the delivery team I was there as a second nurse if things got hairy. But I prayed like crazy they would not. And when I heard him cry I felt such amazing relief for my friend. And then I went in the stair well and cried my eyes out. Because we had very similar due dates (her man came just a tick early) and we were both having boys and I've walked by the room I delivered Zack in every time I would go to see her. Sometimes I even touch the door, just to tell that room its not the boss of me. I gave myself 15 seconds of crying. Just 15, because I am not going to mourn life. I am going to celebrate my friends new baby. Then I watched my Max videos on my phone to recover my mood and went up stairs to finish the day. Which I did.
(Laura - don't feel bad. I am SO happy for you, but this is just a step in my grief process. I love you.)
But, at what point is it ok for me to turn and run from NICU? I think that point is now. I have been back since February, but I still feel wrong there. I don't have enough emotional stockpile to have any to share. I am lots better. 95% most of the time. But my shifts in NICU take it out of me.
All different colors and shapes and sizes and glorious-ness.
I spent the winter reading about different techniques for tomatoes.
~Because I am a big geek~
I decided to plant them in rows covered with black landscape fabric on top.
Then when they are big and tough I will heavily mulch them with grass clippings. The black fabric makes the soil hotter making the tomatoes grow faster. Then latter it keeps down weeds.
I also followed a tip from my father inlaw and cut off all the leaves but the top set and planted them on there sides. So only the top leaf set is above ground. This gives a much larger root base and a stronger stalk, plus it keeps the initial roots closer to the surface making them hotter faster so they grow like crazy.
Why the hula hoop? It is the exact size an average tomato plant needs to thrive - 3ft. I used mark off my spacing in the row.
I really do love sticks.
Cheap and effective.
(Just like me?????)
See how short the far row is and how tall the plants waiting to go in are?
All that goes back to this planting them on their side idea.
This winter I also looked into the many ways to stake them.
I didn't really want to do cages for the orchard garden.
Too much material and storage space.
Plus - again - I am cheap.
I stumbled across a technique called Florida Weave.
We had the tea party!! And it went great. I had to be flexible and change all my well laid out plans. The party was from 2-4 and a really bad think-about-going-to-the-basement thunderstorm was coming sometime around 4. In bad weather we usually move parties to the barn, but that didn’t really work with my tea party theme. So I moved around all my furniture and set up in the house. It was actually very nice to have all the major set up done ahead of time.
We started out with two different crafts.
The first one was “Decorate You Tea Cup”. I had a jar of different color Sharpies for the girls to use. My only instruction was – write your name on it so you can see it and then decorate it how ever you want. They came up with some really cute stuff.
The second craft was newspaper hats. You take two sheet of a newspaper and unfold it. Place them on top of the kids head and wrap masking tape around the papers at about eye brow level. This leads to a hat shape that the kids can then trim and decorate. Most of the kids left them big, but Lily trimmed hers down to a stylish little hat. I had feathers out for them use to decorate with.
When these crafts started I had my helpers out on the porch doing face painting. They had some flowers stamps to use or they could also just free hand things. My Emma and my neighbor girl, that are the same age, where the big artists of the day. But my mother in-law and my older neighbor girl (who does most of my babysitting) also did some great work too.
Next we went outside and played games. I wanted them to burn off a little energy. We played Duck/Duck/Goose, sugar cube spoon relay, and hot-potato.
Then they came back inside to eat. An idea that helped me stay within budget came over from my friend Wendy. She made a circle table runner for her rainbow party and I converted that into my table. I also used slightly larger circles as chargers. The napkins had some feather napkin rings added to them. The pink table cloth is a cheap flat sheet. The little butterflies down the middle are a little splurge that I am going to use as part of the wrapping on future presents. Over head was a chandelier that was made from colored straws, twine, and paper.
The food table was so much fun! I bought a few spools of tulle and made the skirt. It’s just a long piece of twine with loops of tulle pulled thru. Link here for a tutorial on how to make tutu if you want more information. The table cloth and back ground are two green flat sheets straight out of my linen closet. I made some of the food and bought some. I thought long and hard about making all the food, but it really reduced my stress load to just buy some of it.
After they ate, I took them back into the craft room to do the last two crafts. The first craft was making cherry blossom trees. The girls painted a tree outline and then filled it in with pink punched out flowers. They girls also got paper dolls to work on. I bought these from an AMAZING vendor on Etsy called Anne Made Art. Go see her shop. She is talented. And they were so CHEAP. I had a large enveloped for the girls to take them home in so all the little parts would not get lost.
When all the crafts were done they went outside to play a few more games. We played a game were they stacked sugar cubes and at the end of one minute whoever had the highest tower won. Then we played a game were they sat in a circle with their eyes closed and I tucked a tea bag into one persons hand. They had to try and guess which one of them had it. That game got lots of giggles.
The party was 2 hours long and they were having fun the whole time. We only had about ten minutes at the end were I just let them run wild on the playground. And you could see the black clouds rolling toward us in the distance.
We sent them home with a little treat bag that I had mocked up earlier in the week.
We ended up adding the flower straws and the tea cup saucers.
I am a wife, a mom, a NICU nurse (who fakes it in the ER), a city mouse learning to be a country mouse, a smart mouth, an over emotional nut jar, a normalish neo-homesteader, and a converted spoiled brat.