Archive for the Garden Category

Planting Maters Tutorial

Planting Maters Tutorial


I am the kind of person who likes to come up with original ideas. It could be the competitor in me, or the artist. I am not exactly sure which side it comes from. Either way it has always been important to me, as far back as I can remember. When it came to hosting my #DisneySide party I have to admit I was a bit stumped, and Pinterest didn’t really have much to offer beyond sugary snacks. In my expierence other than cake, cookies, or cupcakes the kids don’t care what snacks are there, they will eat it or won’t. No, for kids it is all about the activities, so I needed to have some good ones.


After watching Cars two nights in a row the week of the party I finally had an idea. It was the line in the movie when Mater meets Lightning for the first time. Mater says his name, “Mater. Like Ta-mater, with out the “ta.” That was when I knew what I wanted to do with the kids. Plant to-maters, or tow-maters. How ever you would like to spell it. A play on words is fun, and cute, but the 3-5 age range won’t really pick up on that. To make it more Mater-like, I wanted the pots to look like Mater. Tada! Today’s craf-tiviy was born.


Planting “Maters”

You will need;

  • Seed starter pots
  • White paper
  • Tomato seeds
  • Glue of choice
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Dirt
  • Water
  • Children willing to help


You could easily use any cup you wanted for the purpose of this activity, but I chose the seed start pots because they are already brown like Mater, and they can go straight into the ground the way they are.


The first step is to make your pots look like mini Maters. Start by cutting your white paper to look like Mater’s windshield. After you have cut out your windshields cut small rectangles for his two front teeth.


Then glue on googly eyes. I chose to use white glue because it is less toxic than other choices, but it will also dissolve with too much water. Just something to keep in mind, because they might fall off from too much watering. Also Mater’s eyes are actually green, so you could skip the glue and let your little crafters draw in his eyes, with crayons or markers.


Next attach your “eyes” to the top of the pots.


Glue on his two front “teeth.”


Honestly everything up to this point could easily be done by even the smallest crafters. Being that I did this as an activity for a party, I chose to make them in advance. Waiting for glue to dry can be hard, so I wanted to skip that step. When we do this again in the future I will have my kids do 100% of the work. I will make a template of the windshield from cardboard for them to trace.


Now onto the dirty part. Dirt being the key word.


Fill those pots with dirt!




Fill them all the way to the brim, because the soil will settle as you water it.


Now it is time to add seeds! I chose to use cherry tomatoes because they can grow easily in a pot, and I wasn’t sure what all of our guests would do with them. I wanted everyone to have a chance to watch their “Maters” grow.



Once the seeds are in place it’s time to WATER! These kids loved watering their new plants.


Lot’s of helpers.



Then find a sunny windowsill for Mater to sunbathe in and watch your tomatoes grow.


It almost looks like Mater sprouted hair!


What is your favorite activity to do with/or have kids do, at a party? What are your children’s favorite party activities?

Oh How The Garden Has Grown

The above photo is not from the day that everything was planted. If you looking for that, look here. I added this photo because it was taken a month ago. Things have really taken off in the container garden in the last month. Even the tomato plant that has suffered from so much is happy. Somehow it is actually happier than the tomato plant that had no struggles in life. Go figure.

This little guy hanging out on the leaf of a sun flower is a wasp.

I have love hate feelings about Mr Wasp.

The hate comes from the fact that I am allergic to Mr wasps sting, or the sing from any of their children, should they decide to do so.

The love part? Well wasps lay their eggs directly onto inch worms which just so happen to have ravaged my plants last year. When the eggs hatch the larvae feed on Mr. Inchworm. Now your feelin the love, aren’t you?

But ugh, to be stung. My reaction gets worse with each sting. Fortunately it has been a few years since the last so, you know … I forgot how it really feels.

Hidden among the leaves in this photo is an inchworm. I actually caught him making his cocoon.

Did you find the worm? He blends in very well.

(It’s just above the Ma in Gemini Mama)

Those two ugly little guys are ladybug larvae. Yup ladybugs your offspring almost died because they are spiky and ugly. I need these bugs, badly, but I didn’t know what they were.

On the bud to the left of the flower the ladybug larvae are hanging out on, there are aphids and white flies. Armies and armies of them are all over my summer squash plant. I have stopped worrying about it. On several occasions I can say that I have been surprised it is still alive.

In order to actually grow squash and eat it, a male flower and female flower have to be open at the same time. Then pollination has to occur. Basically my plant can’t get its act together. The flowers continue to open opposite each other. So I have stopped trying to import ladybugs into my tiny space. I figured if they aphids had the squash to eat, they would leave the rest alone.

I finally did some research to determine what this weirdo ugly bug was. Ha ….. the lady bugs are now coming to me. Finally! What took so long? Oh, and could they bring some of their friends? I don’t think the five little guys I spotted are nearly enough.

I designed this planter after something I saw somewhere, some time, on face book. There were no instructions or anything, but after making self watering planters, I didn’t think any were necessary. From March to May the only thing in the entire planter was the lone strawberry plant.

I tried growing lettuce from seed in the bottom, but someone kept eating it, and it never grew to be edible for humans.

After two months my strawberry plant was sinking. With nothing to hold the soil in place it was just settling. A 6 pack of petunias saved the day (good thing I drilled 6 holes into that PVC). I selected them simply because they can tolerate the heat, and they are an annual. On K1’s birthday we planted Marigolds, that was actually our Earth day activity being they are the same day. I relocated a bunch of the marigolds from the egg crate they were in, into the bottom of this planter. I We are still waiting for them to bloom. Still. Any day now guys really.

A quick peek from today. Look at how much has grown in just the last month! Crazy.

What are you growing?


Simple Sunday

 I was excited a few weeks ago when one of the lemon seeds I planted finally sprouted. Quickly after there were two, as you can see in the photo.

Now there are many!

I find it strange that those first two sprouts are not the happiest or largest seedlings, but whatever.

Last time I counted there are about nine seedlings. I am excited because when I put them in the soil one seed already had some green coming out of it. I anticipated sprouts really quickly, but time kept passing by, and nothing. I thought I had bad seeds and just kept adding more seeds to the same cup of dirt. At one point I decided none of them were going to sprout, then all at once, they started popping up. Even now more green seedlings emerge every day. (Like two more yesterday).

First let me say I am not an expert.

Now that is out of the way, apparently lemon trees can grow in containers, and make great indoor plants. You can start them in a cup and they should not need transplanting for a year even if there are two seedlings.

How I did it

Use lemon; on fish, your hair, in food, lemonaide, however.
Keep seeds.
Wash them. Lemony pulp is no good for growing seeds.
Fill a glass halfway with water. Put all seeds in the water.
Throw away the ones that float. (they will not germinate) Place other seeds in soil.
Water soil. Until sprouts emerge soils needs to remain moist, but not swimming.
Place on a sunny window sil, and wait.

Note, if you live in a colder climate you may want to put cling wrap over the top to maintain moisture and warmth. I did not do that to test this, but allegidly it works.

Thats it your done!

Now go make some lemonaide and plant your free seeds with your children. They will love you for letting them play with dirt.

I feel I should add that these seeds do not sprout quickly and while this activity can be virtually free, it is not necessarily the best “plant” for impatient toddlers. In that case green beans are better. Either way this can be fun.


Climb On

Climb on Scarlet Runner bean plant. Okay okay, I admit it. I just kinda wanted to share this fun photo with you.

I had fun editing it, and found a better way to get photos from my phone, to you.


My bean plant is very happy, but ….
There’s always a but isn’t there? The buds don’t open all the way, and drop off. I think it’s been too hot here lately. I think it will be a happier bean plant this week. The temps are a bit lower.

Here is the original before editing, just for fun …

Insta Friday

Simple photos captured with nothing more than a cell phone.

Since I hurt my back I tried to get the little lady to carry as much as possible. Don’t worry she won’t be hurting her back, the backpack is basically empty.

We had photos taken as a family on 6/9 ….. I finally ordered them. They arrived so fast. I was quite happy. Now to go frame shopping and all will be complete.

we, well let’s be honest, S, planted my Scarlet Runner Beans. With an injured back doing anything bent over is/was a bad idea. He got it all together for me tho, and six days later this is what popped up. In the morning there were three little sprouts, and by the end of the same day there were seven. They are growing so fast. I can’t wait for them to flower and grow on our home made recycled trellis.

Look at these two goobers. They are so cute. We love them.

Yes he is wearing one of his sister’s old bibs, yes that is a hand me down sippy cup too. She basically didn’t use it tho. She did not like them, so it is basically new. This guy is a solid food champ. Unlike the bottle.

Waiting for daddy and sister to get back home. I think I have a future escape artist on my hands.

Somone has to check the ads right? It certaintly hasn’t been me lately. She got right to it.

These two strawberry plants have produced no fruit recently. They have made two rooted babies (runners) and there are three more sitting on soil waiting to root.

Can a girl get a strawberry? Please?

When a two year old tells you “I need money” … be worried, very worried. She found my wallet and proceded to empty the contents. Yay!

Check out what some other Insta-Fridayers are up to.

life rearranged
life rearranged

Polyester is for professionals

Not for mama’s with two kiddos, who knit at nap time.

Collecting dust

I wanted to add some color to out living room. It has always been non committal in the color department. Black and silver, forever. With baby and toddler items all over, the black and silver get lost among the bright colors of baby toys. Side note, that’s another one of those things the baby books don’t tell you. Your living room (if not the whole house), will look like a day care center.  Even if you don’t want it to.

We have tried looking for some throw pillows a couple of times. I feel like they are always over priced, and never the “right” green. Haha yes, my living room is “Going Green”, not entirely in the recycled sense. For my birthday S surprised me with some pillows, in green. Pale, yellowy, sagey ish, green small pillows. They also are knit, but not by hand. This is funny cause I actually considered knitting some pillows for our couch. I was considering this pattern on ravelry, or here for non ravelry peeps. Now I will not be knitting pillows for our couch. I think it would look too old ladyish and tacky.

Not to shabby

I decided to sew myself some.

Remembering that you know how to sew and looking back 18 years ago, you think, it was easy.
Shopping for fabric, fun, and easy.
Ironing fabric to get started, also easy.
Every other step, not. so. much.

I am impatient. Pinning, measuring, remeasuring, reironing, blech.
I also can not sew a straight line.

I apparently have never worked with 100% polyester either. It moves. A lot. Extra pinning, blech. Setting a 30 minute timer to get everything set up and done? The biggest joke of my life. Oh, and my DS decided he did not want me to make pillows either. Three 30 minute timers and both pillows were sewn and one was stuffed. I ran out of batting.

I did not want to buy more, or wait to go to the store. So I washed some old pillows, to use their batting. Pillows do not dry, like ever. Three days later the batting, which does not absorb water, was dry. I now fun, happy, bright, and fluffy new pillows, on my couch. I even re stuffed and repaired one of the old ones. Yay!

I did order this print in a spring green to continue with the green theme. It’s here and waiting for a frame, so it can take it’s rightful place on the wall.

In the mean time, everything else has been neglected. No knitting, not much gardening, nothing.

Oh, the kids are growing like weeds, no worries.


Just a little birdie

For my birthday one of the items that I decided I wanted was a hummingbird feeder. We already get a few hummingbirds around. I do not know the name of the flower that I saw nearby which let me know that hummingbirds were frequent visitors, but it’s here. There are also huge birds of paradise which they drink out of as well.

You can see one of the huge birds of paradise behind the feeder in these photos.

One day two of the feeder being in place we had a little visitor. The little guy came every few hours and he/she/it was the only visitor until Sunday, which was five days after putting it up.

Sunday a big fatty came by and visited. I actually thought that the bird was pregnant, but birds lay eggs, just well fed.

 I know that hummingbirds are territorial. Because of this I am not sure if the two birds are dating or fighting.

 The past two days they have been yelling at each other, darting, and taking turns eating from the feeder. Listening to them argue sing, is actually kind of pretty. When they are chatting at least we know to look up. Then we get the treat of seeing two birds instead of one.

Yesterday morning one of them decided to check out DD. It was cute. The humming bird was looking at her as if she was in a zoo. DD got to get a great look at it too. 
I think they are starting to get used to us being here too. Today I was able to walk into the house with it still there eating. Maybe I will be able to get some better photos. For now this is the best one that I have. As they get more comfortable with us I will be able to stand at the door and snap pictures.

Oh and there are officially three now! Too bad they don’t eat inchworms … ugh. That however is a tale for another day.


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