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    Sunday Spark: Spring Break

    As our Spring Break comes to a close today, I'm looking back with fondness on a week that we didn't really go anywhere, butwe had a grand time all the same - relaxing, witnessing the many Spring flowers in bloom, planting and finding geocaches, and just enjoying tons of family time. Okay, yes, and enduring the stomach bug too (fortunately, that passed quickly). And with today's weather in the 80's, the kids put up a lemonade stand (They made $3.75!!). I hope your Spring break was as agreeable as ours (less the intestinal flu). Happy Spring! 

    Lemonade stand and chalk drawing in April!


    Clematis in our front garden, in nearly full bloom!




    Iris in our front yard. So quickly they come & go...


    One of many geocaches we found this week!


    Ah, tulips - the sure sign of Spring!


    Serious egg-dying at Grandma's house.


    Eggs on the lawn after the fifth or six hide & seek game.


    Fetching a ball from the pond. 


    The stunning beauty of nature & why I love New Jersey - the pines.

    Posted: Apr 15 2012, 19:36 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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    How Does Your Garden Grow?


    One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.  ~William Shakespeare

    (Columbine, out back)  

    I've tended a garden – of some kind – for as long as I can recall. As a child, we had a great big garden – surrounded by a picket fence, filled with treasures we’d tend all summer long: potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, broccoli, strawberries. I remember tilling the soil, planting, watering, pulling weeds (ugh), and finally harvesting our bounty! The garden was always a marvelous place for discovery: we had bugs in our veggies, rats digging tunnels through our rows, and one year, even turned over a nest of baby bunnies! Gardening was a part of every day life – a lot of work, but fun too, and even better – we ended up with Stuff To Eat at the end of it all.

    (Our strawberries ripened this weekend & they were delicious!)

    When Adam and I were apartment living, I kept pots of flowers and tomatoes on our deck, and when we moved to Maine, we tried our hand at a full-fledged vegetable garden a couple of years, along with many perennial beds.  Though we never got much of a veggie harvest, there was always something that felt so right – and even necessary – about tending a garden. Without it, there’s a piece missing from Spring and Summer. A piece missing from the soul.

    (Our backyard garden as of last week) 

    We’ve been back in New Jersey now a few years, and don’t have much space. But every year with the kids I’ve made the effort to get something in the soil with them. Our perennial beds are thriving, but with limited space and sun, we don’t have the most impressive veggie garden. Yet, even without ending up with baskets full of edibles in the fall, it’s still so important to get your hands dirty. Through gardening, my children have come to understand the sequence of planting a seed, watching it sprout, grow, bear fruit, and die… the cycle of life. A garden is life.  I’m grateful for the time with my kids – planting seeds, digging in the dirt, feeling the sun on our shoulders, the breeze in our hair, smelling the rich soil, and watching our plants move through the cycle of life and seasons.

    (Kiddos, planting)

    We are all a part of this earth – no matter how far away from it we tend to get, through technology – we come from the earth, we return to it, we need it. The garden reminds me of how interconnected we all are with each other and our earth, and I am grateful for it.

    (Foxglove, out front) 

    So… how does YOUR garden grow? Do you have rows and rows of veggies or a couple tomatoes in pots? How do you connect with the earth with your children?

    Posted: May 31 2011, 19:19 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    Wordless Wednesday: Don't Mess With Texas

    We travelled to Texas over Spring break. The wildflowers were abundant; my iPhone camera was so happy! Family time was also in abundance; and for that, I am grateful. For Wordless Wednesday, here's our trip, in pictures. Enjoy!

    Texas Bluebonnet



    Blanketflower like I can never get to grow in my garden


    Sitting on rocks. Not the best photo, but necessary for the dramatic next photograh...

    This fellow crawled out right next to where we were sitting, above.

    Obviously, we didn't see this sign before sitting there.

    Creek bed


    An awesome mural

    Geocaching (we did A LOT of cahching while in TX!)


    Walking with her hand on his back. My heart.


    More wildflowers. And bugs.

    Tiger at the In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Sanctuary. Each big cat here was rescued (some really heartbreaking stories of abuse & neglect) & are cared for by this amazing place, run completely on donations. If you're ever near Wylie, Texas, you must visit. (just a note, I'm not affiliated with In-Sync, we just happened upon it on our trip & I was really moved by the place).

    Big tiger sleeping like a little housecat


    Hot & dry y'all

    Walking along the reservoir in the sunset

    Waiting to head home

    Posted: May 03 2011, 23:49 by kelly | Comments (6) RSS comment feed |
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    Wordless Wednesday: InstagraMania

    A few days ago I discovered Instagram. I know I'm late to the party, but where has this party been all my life? It's an instant gratification salve to my no-longer-in-art-school-and-don't-have-enough-time-to-make-art-anymore blues. I can turn any so-so snapshot into something closer to remarkable - instantly. So, for this Wordless Wednesday, the fruits of my recent infatuation:

    Me, in the sun.

    Happy sprouts on our windowsill.

    My son's curls.

    Beautiful spring blossoms.

    My daughter, peeking.

    Spring rain on daffodils.

    Adam, contemplative.

    Have you discovered Instagram? Is there another iPhone photo app that's even cooler? Please let me know!

    Posted: Apr 06 2011, 18:16 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Wordless Wednesday

    Starting Seeds

    Last year was the first year we tried planting edible plants in our backyard in containers, and had a fairly successful (albeit modest) harvest: a couple of sweet strawberries, three tiny cucumbers, and several handfuls of cherry tomatoes! In our condo, we are blessed with a tiny fenced yard which allows us a private (although mostly shady) area where we can plant our own veggies and flowers, along with a sunny garden we built up against the woods in the common area. We've used the in-ground garden in past years for non-edible plants (due to the pesticides & fertilizers which are spread in the neighborhood [not inside the fences], I'm not comfortable eating anything from the common area) like sunflowers and pumpkins. This year, we decided to get a bit more ambitious with our edible garden, and we're going for some shade-tolerant root veggies: beets & carrots, greens: lettuce, spinach, and broccoli, along with fun-to-grow & eat snap peas! It's still a bit too cold yet in New Jersey to plant veggies outside, so we decided to start our seeds inside, and move them out to the back in a few weeks. I'm not sure yet whether we'll construct a raised bed, or plant in pots again. We also haven't decided what's to go in the common area garden yet either. Stay tuned for details!

    We bought some lovely organic potting soil (from Maine - yay!), biodegradable pots, and organic seeds, put down some newspaper, and got to work! The kids had a blast in the dirt (okay, so did I!), my daughter showed a bit of her creative side with designing the seed markers, and my son practiced his motor skills gently watering the finished pots. Enjoy our afternoon in pictures... Can't wait until they start to sprout!

    (Go Organic!)

    (If you could only SMELL this dirt - *swoon*)

    (Carefully filling the pots)

    (Gently sprinkling the seeds)

    (More seeding...)

    (Watering the pots)


    Are you planning a garden this year? What are you planting?

    Posted: Mar 28 2011, 00:35 by kelly | Comments (6) RSS comment feed |
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