June 29, 2012

Friday - Garden Update, Watch Out It Smells

Things are moving right along in our garden these days.  Last week was really hot and sunny for days and days and this week has been cooler and rainy.  Both have been perfect for the garden and things are taking off.
 Last week I used up the last of our compost tea fertilizer.  Compost tea is the black liquid that seeps out of our compost bucket as the organics break down and decompose.  It is a great fertilizer that is constantly being generated in our compost system.  This black fertilizer is very good for all our plants but using it is not for the faint of heart since the whole time I am ladling it onto the plants I am surrounded by the smell of it, not super splendid indeed but the benefits are worth it.  The compost tea has been combined with the nitrate fertilizer from my friend on the squash plants and I am happy to report that not only are the yellow leaves long gone but the plants are growing huge and all of zucchini now have blossoms, hopefully the other squash won't be far behind.
 Inside the greenhouse things getting huge.  As I walked the greenhouse last night I realized that some of the tomato plants are now taller than I am.  That and we have started to see little tomatoes growing.  Right now we only have two but there are a lot of blossoms on the other plants so it is only a matter of time before we see more.  The cucumbers are doing great as well and those little tiny ones I showed you two weeks ago are several inches long and making us excited about their taste.  I love how I come in from the greenhouse each day and my hands smell strongly of tomatoes, what a joy.
As the peas start climbing their lead ropes, the thin little broccoli grow stronger and taller, the acorn squash leaves start to stretch big and wide and the lettuce is reminding us that we need to eat salads daily we rejoice at the start of the production of our garden.  I have realized recently though that as much fun as it is to have such a big garden the work involved has grown just as much.  Weeds, watering, fertilizing and even the time to admire what is growing all takes a lot of each day.  I laugh and wonder just what I was thinking sometimes when I planted this many seeds in the spring.  I just hope that a lot of these great plants will grow and be able to be harvested before our baby boy is born.  Grow plants grow because we all know our baby is racing ahead with his growth too, who is going to win?

June 28, 2012

Eating Goodness

I know my garden post is going to be tomorrow and that I don't want to drive you crazy with just garden pictures, but this is more of an eating post than a garden post.
 You see this little lemon cucumber that I showed you a few weeks ago was big, well for a lemon cucumber, yellow and ready for the picking the other day.  So was the lettuce, chives and maybe a few small radishes.
 So we had our first dinner almost completely from the garden, with a little chicken put on top to round it out.
Ahh, let the summer garden joy begin.  Who wants to come over for dinner tonight?

June 27, 2012

Fruit Smoothie Please

For Mother's Day this year Abigail and Josh bought me the most amazing blender, a Ninja.  The number one thing I have craved this pregnancy is cold fruit smoothies, everyday if my body would allow it.  
 And this weekend with its super warm temperatures, for Fairbanks, was no exception.  We had smoothies everyday for lunch as we enjoyed the shady spots of our deck.
 Where I make a lot of smoothies, Josh is also a smoothie master himself.  He and Abigail were in charge of our lunch time treats as she loves to press the buttons once the blender is full of ingredients ready to blend.
 And no matter how often we make a smoothie she is always amazed at the wonder of it.  
 She actually comes running into the kitchen when we pull the blender out and yells, while pointing, Juice Juice Juice.  I love that she will drink a smoothie pretty much no matter what is in it, a great way to get fruits, almond milk and veges into her.
 Or in situations like this past weekend, keep her fluid levels up.  Bring it on Mama is what she pretty much is telling me every time she downs a glass of smoothie.
And she is not alone.  I think I pretty much could live on a liquid diet of smoothies these days.  Our baby boy seems to enjoy it too as when lunch time rolled around yesterday, even though the weather had cooled and it was raining, all I really wanted was another smoothie.  But with Josh back at work and cooler temperatures I realized that maybe I should take a one day break and eat something solid for a change.  Today, now that is a different story.

June 26, 2012

Not too long ago my grandmother sent me a great care package to cheer me up when I was down.
 Abigail was fascinated by every part of the package, the gum, powder, pictures, and especially the small bottle of lotion.
 You see by having her grandma live with us this summer Abigail is learning a lot of new things about body products.  I don't use much, lotion yes, but not a lot of other beauty products and especially nothing that has a scent as they don't work well with my migraines.  But my mother, well she is much more "normal" in the fact that she has hand cream, face cream, make-up and more that she uses.  Abigail loves it all and enjoys hanging out with grandma when she gets dressed in the morning as she might get a splash of blush on her cheeks a little lotion on her hands.
So you can imagine how fun it was to watch Abigail with this small bottle of lotion from the care package.  It took awhile for her to figure out how to get the top off but when she did she knew just what to do, although this was not face cream, ha ha.  Thank you so much to my grandma to treated me to such a fun package and box of love.  Thanks to Abigail's grandma for teaching her to use of these fine products.  I am thankful for both of these ladies for reminding me that taking time to treat ourselves well really should be a part of everyday no matter if I am pregnant, in Alaska and a stay-at-home mother.  Beauty is how we feel not just what we look like and I thank Abigail for reminding me that all products are worth ohhing and ahhing over at times as well.

June 25, 2012

Random Thoughts

The following are just some random things going through my head this Monday morning.
I have a garden post that was started last week but figured I will just put it up sometime later this week.  Always a lot going on out there and with it being so hot and sunny last week things really took off.

I gave Abigail a quick bath in the sink the other night since one, it was way overdue with all her outdoor play even if she is in the “pool” every afternoon and two, the sink is easier to fill and me to stand at than the tub some nights with this growing baby belly of mine.  As I did it I was so thankful that we have a kitchen sink that completely fits my 18-month old, yeah for owning the biggest, non-utility sink, I know of.

Josh is listening to an audio book right now that has something like 22 cds.  I love that he has something that he enjoys and even though it means I use the laptop less it means he has something fun to listen to when he works.
I went out to the deck the other day and saw Abigail sitting in this basin and asked Josh why he didn’t fill her little pool.  He responded that this could be filled deeper and that was more fun, makes sense to me!

My cough medicine seems to make my muscles spasm so I am not taking it any more.  Which is worse, spasms or coughing every few minutes?  I am just not sure, I just want to feel better.
Josh has an unexpected four-day weekend as he had to take time off work at the end of last week to care for Abigail and me.  Even though I was not up to par, having him home every day when it was so nice out and we could just sit outside on the deck was wonderful.

Sleeping on the couch during an Alaskan summer means you get to sleep in a very bright living room but the upside was every time I woke up to cough I was able to see the wind blowing the tops of our tall birch trees.

June 22, 2012

Garden Update Postponed

A lot is happening in the garden these days but due to some congestion that has lead to chest congestion and thus a migraine I have been out of commission for several days now.  Josh has been dedicated with the garden care for the days I haven't been able to and hopefully I will be able to look at a computer long enough tomorrow to bring you an update.  Until then...

June 21, 2012

Pool Side Fun, Water Not Included

After the warm days of pool fun Abigail's little pool gets dumped out, turned upside down and it waits until the next time it is warm enough to play.
 Well the other morning Abigail and I wandered out to the deck to enjoy the early morning sun.  I had my knitting and she came armed with snacks and a drink.  After a few slides down her little slide and a quick ride on her truck she settled into her overturned pool to relax.
 I laughed quietly to myself as I watched her take in her world with the birds, bugs, wind and sun all within her little dry pool.  She felt safe and secure eating her snacks, and dropping plenty which could come to later use, within her new domain.
And this picture kills me.  Snack time must have been super tiring.  Maybe there was some tryptophan in with her peanuts and pretzels.  I guess it was just going to be a day to relax awhile, maybe later we would get up the energy to add some water to the fun but for now the sunshine is all we needed.  

June 20, 2012

Making Memories

Ever since Abigail was born we have had a pretty firm rule that in our home that no movies will be watched during the hours that she is awake, at least for now.
Well, Grandma is here and it was a cool and rainy day recently and grandma begged for an afternoon movie.  Abigail thought it a great idea and even brought her baby along for the adventure.  A warm blanket, cuddly clothes and a bowl of fresh popcorn and these two were as happy as a clam for a hour.  I guess it just goes to show that the rules do have to be broken every once and awhile, or maybe just when Grandma is here.

June 19, 2012

The Start of a New Year

Last Friday was a special day for me.  A day to stop, look at the past 365 days that had past and the start of a new year that was about to begin with the marking of my birthday.
 A birthday is such a fun day to look back and see just where was I this time last year, the year before, 10 years before that and so on.  This is the fourth year that my mother has had the chance to be with me on my birthday, what an unexpected blessing that I don't take for granted at all.  
 Josh, Abigail and my mother all worked so hard to make my day special and it was.  There was a chance to sleep in in the morning, meals cooked for me, time to walk away from life and just be me for a time, presents and cards that arrived from so many places and people who showed me love, and time was spent as a family.
 Several people asked if I had a cake and I laughed since my "cake" has been a watermelon for about the last 25 years and this year was no different.  The tradition started back in NY when a middle of June birthday was just too hot for my mother to fire up the oven to bake a cake and it has continued due to the shear joy of it and the fact that I love to eat watermelon more than just about anything else around.
And I am not alone thats for sure.  Three adults and one very excited toddler managed to eat 1/2 of a watermelon in one birthday celebration sitting.  Yes we all had stomach aches that night but honestly, that is part of the tradition too.

June 18, 2012

To Be A Father

Parenting is an interesting role.  There are no instructions, the parenting changes every day as the child grows and no matter how much advice other people give you at the end of the day you have to make the right decisions as to how to parent yourself.
 Yesterday in honor of Father's Day we celebrated this great man in our family.  Josh is a wonderful father to Abigail, she is a very lucky girl.  Her daddy loves her, cares for her, plays with her, instructs her, disciplines her and tells her every day that he loves her.
 I left the day's plans up to Josh and whatever he wanted to do.  Part of the day was spent working on a new house project that he is in the middle of but we did take some time away to go play a round of frisbee golf as a family.
 In this summer's fashion it was beautiful outside until the afternoon rains suddenly arrive.  Luckily we caught the perfect part of the day to play 9 holes of golf.  We don't play very fast as our pace must match the small legs of a 18-month old but we all love that our course is a place where Abigail can just run without fear of cars, forests, or too many other people.  Run that is until she just gives up and sits down.  Then she gets to ride in the Ergo on Daddy's back until we finish up our game.
As the day ends and we look back on our time as a family, the meaning of Father's day and the chance we had to honor Josh, we feel truly blessed.  With the arrival of baby two in just a few weeks Josh has his work cut out for him that is for sure but from how the past 18-months have gone I say he will do just great.

June 15, 2012

Friday-Garden Update

As the summer days pass I spend so much time in my garden and greenhouse caring for my plants.  And if I am not in either of those places I am looking at them from the kitchen or the deck.  So with all this time and dedication I thought it would be fun to give you a weekly update so you too can see the changes our summer sun and rains bring.
(all pictures taken at 11pm last night, love our summer sun)
 Here is a quick view from the corner.  You can't see the peas that are to the left or the carrots to the right but I thought you would like a closer view to see the lettuce in the fore ground (we will be having salads soon with this lettuce), the green beans behind, celery next to the right and the taller broccoli in the back.  This is a fun time of the summer because even though we aren't eating anything yet there is so much possibility and promise in these little green plants. 
 Life inside of the greenhouse is amazing.  I was so fearful to start my tomatoes from seed this year just because I had heard it was hard and I haven't done it before but from the looks of these plants my fears were in vain.  So many of them have bright blossoms as well and I go in and give the plants a shake each day to help with the pollination.  I know you should never count your chicks before they hatch but I have to admit I have been dreaming of tomatoes, sauce, salsas and more for many days now.
 And where most of the garden is just blossoms or initial growth our cucumbers are speeding right along and are the first to be producing fruits.  Here is my very first lemon cucumber.  I know, you might think it silly and if all goes as well as planned and we end up with buckets of cucumbers you won't see each initial small growth I promise but for now...this is very exciting.  I am sure I will give you a picture to enjoy when it is full grown and we are ready to eat it.
Ok, this last treasure is itty bitty but never the less exciting.  The fact is it is mid-june in Alaska and I have a real cucumber growing, our greenhouse is truly amazing.  I thank Josh every single day for building it for us.  

So there is the garden up date for this first week.  I will admit that it is not all great as my butternut squash plants and zucchini plants are really struggling for some reason.  (I know I can hear you say, "zucchini struggling, oh come on, anyone can grow zucchini") But the weather this year or something else I am doing is hurting my squash.  I talked to an older and very wise farmer last week and he suggested straight Nitrogen fertilizer.  So I treated each of my little struggling plants with those on Monday night and am praying it will make a difference.  I will give you an update next Friday as to how they are holding up.

June 14, 2012

Water and Sun

The summer days have been a little funny around there, nice sunny mornings and rainy afternoons.  But we are trying hard not to let these rainy days get us down, it is keeping the forest fire smoke away which we love.  
When there is a break in the rain and the sun comes out Abigail and I have been enjoying it to its fullest.  Abigail loves water so the other day I gave her a basin and bowl on the deck.  She had so much fun.  These shirts and diaper were soaked in no time, and the basin just might have been refilled a time or two.
It wasn't long after this picture was taken that I went downstairs and rummaged around until I found the blow up baby pool we got last fall.  Now Abigail has a little more space, more water and is having more fun.  That and the strawberry shirt and diaper were soon in coming off as well, a sun shirt is the only thing this girl needs to play in the water on our deck.  Ahh summer time we love you!

June 13, 2012

18-Months

Last week when we didn't have internet access our little girl hit the 18-Month mark.  Here are are a few things that she is up to these days.
 She still has a huge love for shoes, all of the shoes in the house.  If she can get a hold of her boots she will wear them over whatever she is already wearing and tromp around the house.  Her balance is getting better and better and so walking around in oversized shoes are becoming more normal (maybe she is destined to be a clown and wear oversized shoes, if so I guess I should be excited that she is learning these job skills so young.)  She also is very intent on everyone in the house wearing shoes as well and often is bringing me my sandals and my mother her slippers if we don't have them on.
 Abigail's eye-hand coordination has gotten better this past month as well.  She still loves to chew on crayons but when we can prevent that coloring has started around here.  She also loves to brush her own teeth and the big new skill is that she wields a spoon very well.   It is fun in the morning to just give her a bowl of oatmeal to eat on her own.  She also manages great with apple sauce, cottage cheese, or cereal with most of her milk drained off.  Yes, she could get more food into herself if I did the spooning but she is doing great.  
Books have always been a big part of our house and daily lives and identification in books has become a very fun game.  Every page of every book is inspected for the truck, bug, shoes, flower and so on.  Her language skills are improving every day but since what she verbalizes is so limited it is easy to sometime think she doesn't get it but that is so wrong.  This girl picks up on everything.  

She also loves to help with chores.  She throws away trash, picks up toys and books, "helps" cook, plays in the water in the greenhouse when I water, and has mastered throwing recyclables down the stairs for me where I keep the bin of recycles to go to town.

I love this age.  She does well listening, mostly, is easy to take into public but is also so happy to just be home playing with me and her toys.  May the days go slow and the memories stay strong.

June 12, 2012

First Harvest

Even though it is early June things are growing strong here in the north.
 So much so that Josh worked on our first harvest on Sunday, first harvest of Rhubarb that is.  
 And just like last year we let Abigail enjoy the first of the bounty that we had.  If you remember the post from last year you might remember she wasn't too sure of what I was giving her, this year she loved it, ha ha.  It must be the fact that she is teething on a few lower teeth right now and gnawing on anything these days is enjoyable for her.
 These plants are doing amazing this year.  Last year we were able to get three harvests out of each of our plants, we will have to just wait, water, fertilize and see what happens this time around.
 But from the amount that Josh brought in things are looking good for us so far .  We are big fans of Rhubarb around here.  This harvest is destined for pies, cakes, scones, smoothies, syrups and soda.
This blog post is dedicated to my sister who lives in a part of the world where she orders her groceries online and they are delivered to her house.  Sometimes when she does this the quantity of what she is buying gets a little confusing and so the other day she found herself with her order of rhubarb which ended up being just one stalk of rhubarb.  As we harvested our plants and I preserved our 32 cups of cut up rhubarb I thought of you Hillary, wish there was a way we could have shared.



June 11, 2012

Born 50 Years Too Late

We are a house that has music going all the time.  During the day Abigail and I will listen to one type of music and in the evenings when Josh is home we often listen to another.  From Showtunes, to alternative, hard rock, Jazz, instrumental or toddler radio we listen to it all.
video
Abigail, as you have seen before, loves this since she loves music.  We have found though that she will dance the most and the hardest to 70's light rock music.  I am sorry my girl it looks like you were born about 50 years too late for that to be what will make you popular in school someday.  I guess you can just get your fill at home with your parents who love the tunes as much as you do.

Do me a favor and stick with the video since the "classic" Abigail dancing comes near the end, the camera is such a distraction!

June 8, 2012

Streaming Live

This week has been a super busy week at the Klynstra home, sorry for no blog posts.  Since Abigail was born and I became a stay-at-home mother a year and a half ago I have not had daily, or even weekly, access to the internet.  So the way we have rolled is that I write a blog post and send it with Josh on a data stick and he posts them from internet in town for me.
But yesterday things changed.  You see with a house guest this summer there was a much stronger need for internet to be available within our four walls, mother needs to connect with her life in Texas.  So after a few rounds of dealing with the phone/internet company our very own personal wireless modem is in our house.  I am writing to you from my dining room table for the first time ever, how fun is that.  Abigail and I are living it up with listening to Pandora during the day and me being able to touch base with the world in the evening.  This little girl, and her mama, don't like to be on during the day when there is time to play together, but it is fun to have to send quick emails to Josh during his busy work days.  So blog posts will be a little more consistent and easy to post at least until the fall when we will loose our house guest and our internet once again.

June 1, 2012

A View from Above

The following is something fun that we have started to do each year.  In the spring Josh climbs up on the roof to put the cap on our woodstove pipe he take the camera and captures a look at the yard.

 For fun I thought you might like to look at last year’s picture before I show you this year’s picture.  So many things have changed in just one year it is amazing to see.
 The greenhouse changes the look of things so much and this view gives you a good view of just where our beautiful new addition now sits.  There are many reasons why we used black plastic on the garden this year but the main one is my growing pregnant belly makes it a little harder to weed this year than last year.  The back to rows with the plastic is for the larger squash plants and broccoli/cauliflower plants.  We will have to just wait and see how it goes.
Another change this year is that Josh could take a quick picture of me on the deck hanging laundry.  It is fun to look back at last year’s pictures and realize just what the house looked like without a deck.  Already the deck has been an essential part of our summer living this year.  The meals, play, laundry and time in the sun are so much fun to enjoy.  Can’t wait to see what changes will come in the year before us.