Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Garden & Greens 2016

My proudest harvest yet would have to be blueberries. Even though earlier this year, we had a bountiful harvest of broccoli and cabbages. I love spring & summer. So much green and fruits and veggies. 
I took a LOT of blueberry pictures. It was just so cool to see them grow. Every day I would ask Andrew to go pick them and dutifully, he would go. Surprisingly, he ate them. Elena enjoyed eating them too. We have two trees in pots and they are loved. 
One day this summer, while gardening I found some berries. They seemed to be blackberries to me, but what do I know? After posting on Snapchat about it, a friend told me they were dewberries and they were totally edible. These grew on small tiny vines alongside our fence. It was pretty cool to find edible berries on our property. 
I did have a funny video of Elena eating the dewberries. She ate one and made a sour face. Totally adorable. It must have been a video that was lost when I dunked my phone in the water and there was no resuscitating that thing no matter how much money I spent. So just picture her eating these things and making faces. She liked only a few of them, and the rest, I ate. 

This year, I planted one of my two brown turkey fig trees in my yard. And it is doing great after a very poor start in the spring (I think it outgrew its pot).
However, since we left of vacation, they became neglected (they're very young) and most of the figs dried up & fell off. I did manage to savor two of them though. I thought they needed a cute photo op.
Since we've had such a wet summer (so.much.water), we have mushrooms come up every day. You know I have a love affair with these things--at least photographing them. Not eating them. 
Elena wanted to touch them, I'm not sure if she likes them or what. 
This here is Elena touching little mushrooms from last year :) Aren't they cute? 

Earlier this year, without much success, I planted a bunch of cucumbers. At many points I doubted myself because I couldn't remember if I had planted squash alongside the cukes. I never got squash but I couldn't figure out why the blooms were different. I did get about 4 cucumbers and two of them were pretty good since I picked them in time. 
I planted strawberries and no go there. No strawberries that were edible, anyway. My jalapenos are always good. And I finally got more than 2 bell peppers this year!!! I was excited about that.

I had good success with cherry tomatoes. The boys would pick them but not eat them. They do not like tomatoes. I think I must have raised them wrong. I remember pulling carrots & tomatoes from gardens when I was young. They were a delicious treat. 
These are my first two tomatoes. Pretty soon after, I had a bucket full. 
Anyways, I have to talk about my compost. My failing compost. 
You guys, I'm not a good gardener. I'm just ok. Barely getting by. And I know that every successful gardener keeps a compost (thanks Uncle Jackie!) My father in law has never planted a garden but he'll tell you everything about it...it's ridiculous, his knowledge. 
He has told me that my compost does not get hot enough. It's not 'baking' properly. It's more of a raised bed at this point. 
So far, I've found 6 avocado pits growing (I have killed all but one), cucumbers, pumpkin, squash and pinto beans all gleefully and beautifully sprouted. 
The joke around here is if I want something to grow, just throw it in the compost. 
You guys, this is my compost after Andrew dumped half a bag of pinto beans from one of his projects. Such a sight, right?

I hope you liked my pictures and my gardening woes. Help me out if you know anything about my struggles along this green thumb adventure. I did attend a Master Gardener's meeting earlier this month and I very much enjoyed it. So much information that has to be applied. 

Have a good week, everyone! 

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Friday, August 26, 2016

washington dc: memorials

Before another summer goes by, I wanted to recount our trip to Washington DC with the family. This would be Pt. 3, if you're keeping track. But if you need a refresher, check out Pt. 1Pt. 2.
This time, we'll be visiting the National Mall and a whole buncha memorials as well as the White House.
Of course we were pumped about the memorials and the National Mall, but not about hauling 3 small kids all day in Washington DC. Gary and my father in law were amazing at mobilizing a stroller along with the kids. And I think by that time though, we had a 'groove'.
A lot of water bottles, sunscreen, metro cards, extra phone battery, & lots of snacks and I think we did pretty good. We set out for some adventures--Let's go!
We headed out with all the devices, and all the public transportation and then some...this was no easy feat. Our first stop was the White House Visitor Center for a quick potty break & cool down. There was SO much information there, it was overwhelming to capture it all. 
Elena lit up the Christmas Lights and the boys wrote their thoughts of what would they do if they became president. I read a lot while trying to keep up with the kids roaming around like ants and yelling like banshees. Just kidding, they are good kids. 
We headed out to sight-see the White House, finally. We had been told before-hand that our request to tour the White House had been declined (which really sucked) but it was still neat to see it in person. You always see it in movies & the news, and when you are there, it is just big. The south lawn is just immense. 
When I say that, I don't say it to make it sound grandiose (it is, really, don't get me wrong) I say it in a way that I felt badly for my two sons who had to walk the same distance that full grown adults had to walk. To them, 5 & 7, they had a really long way to walk. Nevertheless, seeing the White House in person is just something you had to do, so we did it. 
We parted ways with our group and we walked around the National Mall area and got rained on. 
Everyone was taking pictures. Every.ONE. We waited awkwardly to get a semi-clear shot of the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool. 
When we walked by the reflecting pool (left), Gary wanted us to recreate the Forrest Gump scene where Jenny walks across it to get to Forrest. Ahhh, if only...
What do you do after walking miles around the National Mall? You run. Gary bet Andrew that he could touch the Washington Monument and they were just a'gigglin'
And of course, you could see the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Memorial. It was super cool. It was a VERY LONG way away and in between, there were softball teams playing among the fields. I've heard it's a 'tradition'.
After a really good day at the National Mall, we headed back to our hotel via, you guessed it, amazing DC public transportation! 
Now, for some reason, we had tickets for the Big Bus tour which I'm sure you've seen tourists riding on those buses throughout the city. We went on one in New York....remember? except this one wasn't at night. Well, kinda. 
So we boarded, plugged our free earbuds to the transmitter to listen to a recorded voice tell us about the place, and we were off. 
So guess where we went....again? First stop, Lincoln Memorial. Which was so beautiful in all its white glory. Apparently, we had jumped the gun the day(s) prior to the memorials because we stopped at all the places we had already visited. 
But I love the way these pictures turned out, including the little hand-painted heart on Elena's training pants and the fact that she didn't have any hair when we set out on this adventure. 
Totally cute. 
The heat in July was unbearable - even in DC. The kids would fall asleep because it would takes us forever to get to each different destination. Our butts would stick to the seat & sometimes you would get lucky to get a little shade from trees and not get whacked by them. 
We went by other (farther) memorials, including the Jefferson Memorial. 
By this time, the sun was setting. We still had memorials to stop by and we were growing weary. Our tour guide made us all stop at Franklin Roosevelt's memorial (which I loved), Martin Luther King Jr.'s (very impressive), and finally at the US Marine Corps War Memorial, otherwise known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. 
It was almost 10 or 11 o'clock by the time our tour ended. I couldn't believe it. Transportation wasn't available at that time so we had to take a taxi cab back to our room. And oh, the tiredness.
I think we just hung out at the hotel pool the next morning and let the kids play. It was all they asked about, really. And it's all we did.

Those days were hard. Somewhere in there, we included a trip to the (very far away) DC Zoo. The kids really liked it, including watching the Panda's play and roll and eat their day away. But it was SO incredibly hot & sticky, not unlike the weather that Houston is known for.

I'm not sure if this will conclude my series, now talking about the zoo and all. I'll try, though. Just to finish off this trip & start on the Disney World vacation we took this year :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

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