Archive for the Gardening Category

Mar 16 2015

Mommy Monday-Spring Planting Activities for Kids

Well, it is definitely feeling like spring around here!  I am loving the warm temps and sunshine!  One of the things I love about spring time is seeing things come back to life in my yard.  I love working in the yard and planting my garden.  Today I thought I would share some lessons you could do with your littles that have to do with gardening.

I am a part of a wonderful pre-school co-op with some other mom friends.  We rotate houses and share the teaching.  We use Hubbard’s Cupboard as a resource if any of you are interested in checking it out.  A couple weeks ago it was my turn to teach on seeds.  I was so excited to get to share my passion of gardening with eleven sweet kiddos!

Below are some planting activities for kids that we did and you could also do to introduce seeds/plants/gardening with your kiddos:

1. Read some books about seeds/plants/gardening–  This is a great way to introduce it to your kiddos.  I went to our local library and borrowed a bunch on the topic.  I read one aloud to the kiddos and then had the books out for the kids to read and explore.  Some were fiction and some were non fiction.  (I forgot to take a picture of them before I returned them, but the ones below are a couple we own)

seeds6

2.  Say some rhymes or sing songs on the topic– Some ideas are “Mary Mary Quite Contrary,” “I’m a Little Sunflower” (google and you will find lots of different versions to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Roses are Red.” Here is a good resource for this as well.

3.  Create and Read “Life Cycle of a Plant Booklet“-  This is a great book to read to kids and then have them create it by cutting and coloring.  It does a great job explaining the life cycle of a plant to kids.

seeds3

4.  What plants Need Flashcards– We brainstormed what plants need to grow and then also used these flashcards.  Then I had the kids help me to label the parts of a plant I had drawn and laminated using velcro tags.

seeds2

seeds4

5.  Visit a garden or take them outside to your garden–  We went outside into our garden and talked about what is growing.  At the time I had lettuce, strawberries, peas, onions, and broccoli all at different stages of growth.  I showed them the sprouting broccoli, the flowers and the fruit on the strawberries and how to harvest the lettuce.  We did some taste testing of the lettuce and everyone went home with a bag of homegrown lettuce!  We talked again about what plants need: water, air, sunlight, soil.

lettuce

6.  Plant a bean seed-  At pre-school we all planted a lima bean seed and I showed the kids how mine was already growing and what there’s would look like in about a week.  All you need to do is wet some cotton balls and put them at the bottom of a ziplock baggie (you don’t want them drenched).  Then put a lima bean or any kind of bean you choose at the bottom and seal the baggie.  Hang in a sunny window and watch it grow!  The cool thing about this method is that you can see the seed germinate, and also get a look at the roots which would normally all happen under ground.  Depending on the age of you kid(s) you could give them a notebook to draw their seed every couple days to record the changes.

seeds5

7.  Parable of the Sower Bible Story–  I found a short video on this that the kids watched.  We then talked about the different types of soil and which one we want to be.  There are lots of resources on this online for more activities.

8.  Plant a Vegetable Garden– My son and I love getting out in the vegetable garden and working.  It’s so fun to watch things grow and be able to pick your veggies, wash and eat them right there in your backyard!  I had my son help me start some vegetable and flower seeds and he kept saying “This is a fun game, mama!”

seeds

There is so much you can do on this topic and lots of resources online.  I have started a Preschool Pinterest Board if you would like to follow along.  I also document a lot of our gardening on Instagram at @marissaramsland.  I’d love to connect with you on there!

I hope you all have a great Monday!

Signature - Marissa

 

 

May 1 2014

May Day Tradition

Happy May Day Everyone!!  My mom called me this morning with a great idea.  When she was little she would pick a bouquet of flowers from her yard and give them to the elderly women next door every May Day.  I love that!  I decided to start that tradition with my little guy today.

may day tradition3

The house across the street from us is a nursing home.  I knew the ladies in that house would love a surprise visit from a cute little man carrying a bouquet of flowers!  And they did!  Isn’t he so cute!! He was very shy, but said “hi” and “bye bye” to all the people.  They really got a kick out of him.

may day tradition2

I just love brightening someone’s day.  It’s the little things in life that really make a difference.  I pray that my little man would grow up to help others, and go out of his way to do something nice for someone else.  I hope that he is compassionate and thoughtful.  Today brought a smile to my face watching him.  I think he’s on his way :)

may day tradition

 

Hope you have a great May Day!

Signature - Marissa

Mar 21 2014

Spruce Up Your Porch for Spring: 10 Simple Ideas

We’ve made it to Friday!  I’m so looking forward to the weekend.

My front porch was looking pretty drab, old faded chairs, tattered doormat, a plant that was barely alive, you get the idea.  So over the weekend, I decided I would freshen it up a bit and give it a pop of color for spring!  It really didn’t take much effort and I didn’t spend much money.  Here are some simple steps to spruce up your porch for spring:

Spring Porch

1. Clean! Just cleaning the windows, sweeping the porch and wiping down the front door can do a world of difference.

2. Buy a  new doormat.  I picked mine up at Target and it matches the rugs I have in my laundry room!  Threshold and Room Essential doormats are on sale at Target this week, so go check them out they have some really cute and colorful options.

Doormat

3. Hang a spring wreath.  I used this same boxwood wreath (also from Target) during the Christmas season.  I simply added the burlap ribbon with a cute chevron pattern to give it a fresh spring touch.  The porch gets a lot of sun, so to prevent the wreath from fading, I usually hang the wreath on the inside of the door and flip it around when we have company coming over.  This way I get to enjoy the wreath from inside of my house too!

Spring Wreath

4. Plant flowers.  I like to pick three or four colors and select flowers in that color scheme.  I am usually drawn to reds, but decided it was time for a change.  I went with pink, purple and green with touches of white.  I planted ranunculus, petunias and campanulas.  Before you head off to the nursery, take inventory on how many pots you have and the sizes, so you know how many flowers and how much potting soil to buy.  I like to have pots in all shapes and sizes.  Vary the height of your pots to add some interest.  I used an old wood crate that I turned upside down.  You could also use plant stands, small patio table, galvanized bucket turned upside down.

Flowers

Flowers 2

Ranunculas

5. Add seating.  We had 2 patio chairs on our porch, but they were fading.  We swapped them out for this bench, which we usually have in the backyard, but we have plenty of seating out there already.  The bench is perfect, because we can store the pillows in it during the night so they don’t get wet from the dew.  You can also keep gardening tools in it as well.  We’ve had the bench for several years now, but I believe we purchased it from Home Depot.

6. Arrange decorative pillows.  Pillows add a great pop of color and its fun to mix different colors and patterns.  These pillows are from Pottery Barn.  I used them for my wedding almost 5 years ago.  They hold up really well.

Bench

7. Make a welcome sign.  There are so many adorable welcome signs out there, but I didn’t want to spend any money.  So, I used a small chalkboard and wrote a welcome message to great guests.

Welcome Sign

8. Lighten Up.  Outdoor lanterns add the perfect finishing touch and give great ambient lighting in the evening.  Or, hang string lights for a romantic evening glow.  If you have a porch light, clean out the cobwebs and switch out the light fixture for an updated look.  If you are on a budget, try spray painting the fixture you have (make sure you use a weather resistant spray paint).

Lantern

9. Add decorative accents.  If you have a covered porch, add a colorful outdoor rug in a fun pattern.  Our porch isn’t covered and a rug just isn’t practical.  If you don’t have a side table, use a galvanized tray to place drinks and snacks while enjoying the outdoors.  HomeGoods, TJMaxx and Target always has really cute and inexpensive outdoor decorative accessories.  The white pail that the purple flowers are in below was from the Target dollar bins it was $3.00.

Welcome Sign 2

10. Make it pop with color.  All of the items above (doormat, flowers, wreath, pillows, decorative accents) add wonderful pops of color that freshen up your porch and make your home look warm and inviting.  If you have the budget and aren’t tied to rules of an association (like me), paint your front door.  Be bold and choose a color like red, plum, green or yellow.  I wish I could paint my door :( !

What are your favorite ways to spruce up your porch for spring?

I’m linking up with the Swing into Spring Link Party hosted by: The Every Day Home, Our Southern Home, and Confessions of a Plate Addict. Be sure to visit their blogs for more spring porch and wreath ideas!

Enjoy your first Spring weekend!

Signature - Alisa

 

Feb 5 2014

Starting My Garden

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while!  I have missed you all!  Life has been busy and full.  Today I want to share one of my passions with you…gardening!!  I love planting flowers and vegetables.  I am not an expert by any means.  I probably don’t do things the “right” way but I have a lot of fun experimenting and watching my garden grow!  Below is a picture of what my garden currently looks like.  We have 3 raised beds and 2 barrels that I plant in.  My winter crops include 2 different kinds of lettuce, broccoli, onions, beans, peas, and bell pepper.  We also have 2 orange trees and a lemon tree.

winter garden

 

lettuce

 

broccoli

 

Peas

 

bell pepper

This is my first time doing winter crops.  It has been so much fun!  The lettuce has been so prolific!  I have enjoyed sharing it with friends and family!  I wish I could bundle one up to give to each of you!

lettuce to share

Yesterday I started my seeds for my spring and summer garden.  My sweet friend Jacqueline bought a bunch of vegetable seeds and let me have some.  I would totally recommend sharing with a friend or friends.  You get a lot of seeds in the packets and unless you have a HUGE garden you probably won’t use even half.  Buying seeds is much cheaper than buying plants at the nursery.  The following is how I planted my seeds.  You may want to do some research to decide when and how to plant yours for your area.

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I went to Walmart and bought some Jiffy Peat Pots to plant my seeds in.  They were under $2 for 14 of them.  The nice thing about these containers is that they are big enough to let the seed grow for a while and you can plant them right into the ground, pot and all, when ready to transplant!  You could also start your seeds in an empty egg carton, but you may need to transplant the seedlings into a bigger container as they grow before they are ready to be put into the ground.

Jiffy Pots

Fill the pots with dirt and follow the instructions on the seed packets to plant your seeds.  Pay attention to the planting schedule for the zone you live in.  Some also have special germination instructions.

seed packets 2

Make sure to label your pots somehow so that you know what seed is planted in each one.  I just wrote the names in pen near the top of the pot.  Water thoroughly.  I covered mine with plastic wrap to create a greenhouse affect.  The seeds need to stay moist to germinate.  This year I planted seeds for pumpkin, roma tomato, beefsteak tomato, cucumber, yellow squash.  I also plan to do eggplant and corn.

potted seeds

 

Below is a picture of how last year’s spring/summer garden looked.  We even grew corn!  It was a lot of fun and yummy!

spring garden 2

I decided to also try planting some flower seeds this year.  We’ll see how they turn out!

seed packets

These days gardening is even more fun because I have a cute little helper who loves being out in the yard as much as I do.  It has been so fun watching him explore and “help” mommy in the garden.

oranges

I would love for you all to follow me on Instagram as I document my gardening journey!  I am @marissaramsland.

Happy Gardening!

Signature - Marissa

 

 

Update: Oops!  I meant to let you know what seeds I am planting right now for my spring/summer garden.  I have pumpkin, roma tomato, beefsteak tomato, cucumber, yellow squash.  I also plan to do eggplant and corn.  I included this above where it should have been written as well 😉