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Farewell, Garden Week!™

Yikes, that yarrow on the bottom left is looking more than a bit sad.  I’m happy to report that he’s perked up a bit since Thursday morning, however.

If he doesn’t continue to perk up, there’s always Home Depot’s exchange policy.

I’m pulling for him, though.

As for the mums, I’m surprised at myself.

They’re my favorite part.

Or maybe that’s my favorite part.

Seeing them learn new chores makes me happy.

And Garden Week!™ rolls on!

Yesterday was Flower Buying Day.  We started our hunt at Home Depot’s clearance racks before moving onto the main nursery section.  I’m nothing if not cheap budget-minded.

I think we did well.

Yarrow!  (I’ve heard of it, but never used it before.)

Trailing Petunias!

Mums!  I’ve never been much of a fan, but they’re so cheery, aren’t they?

Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia).  I’ve never heard of this one.  It’s full and pretty.

Dahlias!  These are gor. geous.  Absolutely brilliant.

Soil!

Oh, how my farming ancestors would have laughed at me, buying dirt from a store.  What a different world we live in.

Tomorrow on Garden Week!™ — the finished product.

I used to work at a certain store that had that phrase on the back of its employee t-shirts.  Customers asked all. the. time. how they could get one.  Sadly, no can do.

However, in an attempt to (a) do something fulfilling with the boys, (b) make some pretty, and (c) work on that list from the beginning of summer, I’ve declared it Garden Week!™ here at Camp Mom.  Seeing as this house, and therefore its yard, does not belong to us, a container garden it is.  I’ve broken Garden Week!™ down into daily steps to better keep the boys’ interest – and my sanity – intact.

Day 1: Procure containers.

My original thought was to go thrift store shopping to get all the containers.  That original thought became shocked resolve when I looked at the price of new pots and planters – $28-$45 apiece?  Wow.

So, yesterday, the boys and I hit the thrift store circuit.  Selection is low.  Okay, okay, I know it’s August, and most on-the-ball people started their gardens much earlier in the summer.  Or spring.  But still.  NOTHING at the first three stores.  What we did find was cracked, chipped, or plain old ug-lee.

Goodwill, though.  Goodwill came through for us.

Goodwill always comes through.

$27 later, and out we walked with a bevy (herd?  flock? murder?) of containers for our front porch.  (Plus two flower containers for inside, because why not?)

There’s a shy one hiding in the red planter, too.  He wasn’t too keen on hopping out during the photo session.

Or I forgot about him.  Either way.

Tomorrow on Garden Week!™ – Day 2: Buying flowers!

randomtuesday

  • I am really, really not looking forward to school starting again.  It’s the first time I’ve felt this way in my entire life.  Including when I was in school.  We have very few concrete plans, the boys and I, and I’m quite enjoying sort of floating along through summer.  Who knew?
  • It is very cool, however, that school doesn’t start until September here.  The back-to-school sales have begun at all the national chains, with new sales running every week.  I’ve made a game for myself of comparing prices and finding killer deals on markers, Pink Pearl erasers, reams of papers, and a protractor.
  • Oh yeah, remember this?  He did it again on Sunday.  Seriously.  Same crash, other side of the same towel bar.  Lessons, schmessons.  The only person not beside themselves during the whole drama was Nicolas, who wisely grabbed The Order of the Phoenix and retreated to the den to read for a while.
  • How did I handle it?  I mostly didn’t.  I left him and it to Jason, grabbed a basket of laundry, and folded it while I watched the season finale of Doctor Who On Demand.  Yes.  You read that right.  I hid.  Given my incredulity and potential inability to respond rationally, I believe I made the responsible choice.
  • Speaking of Doctor Who, I have to say the cliff hanger episode directly before the finale was much more compelling.  I find that “I knew what to do to save the future because I came back and told myself” bit a little far fetched.  Yes, I know we’re talking about time-traveling aliens here, but I have to draw my far-fetchery line somewhere, don’t I?
  • I was amused yesterday while checking my blog stats page.  There have been additional, completely out-of-left-field search engine queries bringing people by.  Someone is looking for ‘Civil War scrapbooking paper,’ and Google apparently thought I had the answer.  Four times.  Another person searching for the cost of Dooce’s new house popped in.  Seriously?  (a) Hello, NOSY!  (b) Do you think that search is really going to yield results??  Not that I didn’t wonder, myself, when I saw that bath tub Monday morning.  I don’t care what other amenities that house has, that tub alone would have me pulling my credit scores and scrambling for a good mortgage rate.
  • The boys want to make Harry Potter wands today.  I think we might just have to do that.

The kids are happily pounding away at their play dough right now.  The homemade kind.

When I saw it on Nicolas’s track, my immediate thought was, “He needs to make his own.”  I used to make it once or twice a year for the boys’ preschool classes, and the recipe was still floating around here on my hard drive.  It couldn’t be easier, and it’s fun for the older kids to help with.  I figured the kneading would be good, OT-wise, too.

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup salt
1 Cup flour
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. oil
1 Cup water
Food coloring

Dump all of the ingredients, except the food coloring, into a heavy pot.  (I doubled this batch, so each boy would have a giant lump to play with.)

Turn stove on medium heat and stir.

And stir.

And stir.

(It takes some strength after a while…they each only stirred for a few seconds.  You have to keep it moving.)

Until you have this:

A lump.

Careful, if it starts to smoke, yank the pot off the heat.  It’s done.

Okay, this is very, very hot dough.  I do NOT let the boys touch it yet.  I don’t think it would burn them (although the pot would), but remember: Sensory Processing Disorder.  Heat hurts Nicolas.

Anywho, carefully turn the dough out onto a clean countertop and knead it a few times.

When you’ve kneaded it for a couple of minutes, and it’s cool enough for the kids to handle, divide the dough as you see fit.  In this case, I divided it into two equal lumps, so each boy would get their own color.  If you want to make dough of many colors, make a lump for each color.

Create a well to put the food coloring in, and drip it in!  Kalen asked for a turquoisy-green, so I put in mostly green with a smidge of blue.

Fold it up.

Knead.

And knead.

And knead.

And knead.  (Nicolas wanted “just blue.”)

Until the color’s all blended in.  Add more food coloring, and repeat the kneading bit, if you’d like.

See?  Turquoisy-green.

It’s the last day of school.

How does one fully tell a teacher how much they’ve meant and how much one appreciates them?  I don’t think it’s possible.

Anyway, we did a little something for the boys’ teachers, and a little bit for some other folks, too.

For Kalen’s teacher, who is so cute and sweet, and so into those first graders, something incorporating some of her favorite book characters.  She loves those kids, it’s obvious, and she’s given them a great kick-start to their school careers.

The buttons are magnets.  A little E6000 and some inexpensive magnets from Ben Franklin turned spare buttons from my button box into cute memo holders.

We did gift cards for Nicolas’s teacher and some of their specials teachers (PE, Music/Choir).  Nicolas’s resource teacher got a very cute book, inspired by the Haiku work they did together.

I felt we couldn’t end the year without thanking the office staff and our crossing guard, too.  You know the office staff are the ones who keep the school running.  And our crossing guard is out there in ALL weather, dancing along to the music blaring from her iPod and speakers, which she’s rigged to hang off of a light pole by the cross walk.  In the rain, the speaker system has its own plastic covering, so she can keep the music going.

I found these little plants at a local nursery – can’t remember what they’re called.  It starts with a ‘J’.  The faces were easy – a little white acrylic paint and some Sharpie action once the paint dried.  We wrote a quick “thank you” on the backside of the pots.  Cheap, cute, and fun.  And long-lasting.

And last but not least, for the principal.

Fabric + pinking shears for the base.  The sign is mounted on a leftover stick from the bamboo place mats I used for this project.  And Jason wonders why I keep so many leftovers from my crafting projects.  Every bit eventually comes in handy!

Well, I think we’re nearly the last school system to get out this year.  Summer is upon us!  The weather hasn’t quite figured that out yet, but I’m sure it will catch up.  Happy Summer, everyone!

My boys

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