Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's been 1 week

Did you miss me? Our family did a media fast last week. We turned off the tv, computers and video games. I thought that our family was too plugged in and that we needed to reset ourselves. Too many nights, we are tired and just veg in front of the tv or computer screens and don't spend enough quality time together. I don't know about Dan, but Liam and I had a great week. It helped that our county was on spring break, so we were invited to go lots of places with friends.

1 week without tv? Oh no!

This is what we did.

On Saturday morning, Dan, Liam and I went to the zoo. They have a new dinosaur exhibit. It's really cute.

I kept trying to get Liam to look at me for a picture, but 500 million years of evolution told him that he shouldn't turn his back on a dinosaur.

They had a really cute fossil excavation sand box.

Liam really likes to feed the deer, too. He does it almost every time we go. (Ignore me talking to a stranger. I am right next to the mic and, therefore, loud.)

Liam and I also returned to the zoo on Monday to go with some of our friends from playgroup.

On Thursday, I took Liam to the beach for the first time this year. The last time we went to the beach, he was hardly crawling and was perfectly happy to sit in an inflatable pool on the shore. Not so much this time. He could not get enough of the water. I had to hold him back from going too deep. When big waves knocked him off of his feet, he swung on my hands and said, "wee!" He liked digging in the sand.

I love baby toes in the sand.

I discovered some of Liam's new talents this week. He is getting pretty good with fine motor skills.

What is that? It's my headphones plugged into a phone jack and the reason all of our electrical outlets are covered.

I also discovered that Liam has expanded his climbing abilities. I was trying to sew in the dining room while he played on the patio. When it got too quiet outside I went to investigate and found Liam on the patio table watering the peppermint plant.

And smelling it.

Of course I can't sew with him in the house either, that's why it's called "nap time crafting."

I did manage to finish a quilt top and back last week. I started hand quilting it today. I think I bit off more than I can chew so to speak. It is going to be a lot of work and take forever.

Friday, March 23, 2012

DIY Garden Box (aka EarthBox) part 2

Building the garden box was the hard part, not that it was difficult at all. Filling it up is easy and I love the garden center at Lowe's. I spent a long time reading the backs of seed packets and the inserts in herb and vegetable pots.  

64 quart bag of Potting Mix (Potting mix, not potting soil or regular dirt. This is very important!) 
2 cups Fertilizer (Any normal mix of fertilizer is fine. I used 10-10-10.) 
Garbage bag (White works best here in Florida. Blacks ones cause the soil to get too hot and kill the plants.) 
Plants! Yea! 

Time to get dirty. 

First, move your box to where you want it to live. It gets really heavy really fast.

You will need damp potting mix. I had a watering can handy and would wet the potting mix as I dumped it in. Start by filling, but not packing, the 2 soil tubes. Once your box starts getting full, add the soil so that it creates a ditch lengthwise across the box.

After all the soil is in, spread about 2 cups of fertilizer in the ditch that you created. You don't have to measure, just approximate.

Spread the plastic garbage bag across the top of the box and secure with the leftover outer ring of the lid. This keeps bugs and weeds out of the soil and prevents water from evaporating from the potting mix.

Cut X's into the trash bag where you want your plants to go. I found this link from the EarthBox site very helpful. My boxes are slightly larger, so I planted an extra row or so. Plant you plants in the X's.

Using a funnel, fill the box with water through the PVC pipe. Once water starts to trickle out of the hole you drilled in the box, it is full. The water will wick up the potting mix through the soil pipes and water the plants. Some plant roots may even grow through the soil and holes in the lid and directly into the water.

That's it! Keep the water topped off for the first couple of day. After that, water as needed. I water mine every 3 days or so. It doesn't take much to fill the box with water since the plastic keeps it from evaporating.

Here is my little garden. In 1 box I have a cherry tomatoes, sweet heat peppers, zucchini squash and basil In the 2nd box I planted 8 cucumber plants. This is way over the recommended amount, but I sprouted my own plants from seeds and didn't want them to go to waste. I'll not use the entire seed packet next year! In the last box I have 10 spinach plants. (I also have a peppermint plant. Apparently they will completely take over a garden box and are not recommended, so I have it planted by itself in a large flower pot on my patio table. I'm out here now and it smell delicious.  )

They are all thriving so far. We have already eaten a few cherry tomatoes and a pepper.

Since this picture was taken, I've actually rotated the boxes so that the PVC pipes are in the back. Liam loves to pull on them and it would be really bad if he pulled one out. Happy gardening! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DIY Garden Box (aka EarthBox)

I'm attempting to garden this year. As I may have mentioned before, our yard is watered with reclaimed water. This means that I have to garden on my patio. I tried a few years ago, but I didn't do a good job of watering and fertilizing the plants. It was a total failure. 

At the beginning of March, I attended a Relief Society conference. One of the classes was building a self-contained garden box, the DIY version of the EarthBox brand. I loved it and planted tomatoes, zucchini squash, green onions and peppers right away. At that point, I was totally bitten by the gardening bug and set out to build a couple more boxes. 

I took photos as I went and am going to try to write some instructions. There are plenty of different methods and materials you can use by searching the internet for "DIY EarthBox." 

18 gallon bin & lid (Use a dark color, not clear. Also check the recycling number on the bottom of the tote. Most bins are made of #5 plastic. #1, #2, #4 and #5 are safe to use. #3, #6 and #7 contain BPA that can leach into your food.) 
4 inch wide drainage pipe (It looks like PVC, but has holes in it. You will need a length of 45 inches for each box.) 
PVC pipe (Any width between 3/4in and 1.5in is fine. You need about 27 inches or 4 inches taller than your bin.) 
14 Zip ties 

Box cutter or sharp pocket knife 
Hand/Jig/Table Saw 
Drill with 1/4in bit

Using the box cutter, cut the lid. Mine had a lip around the outside of the lid. I cut just outside of that and it fit perfectly. 

Cut the 4 inch drainage pipe into 9 inch sections. You will need 5 total. Also cut the PVC pipe to about 27 inches. It doesn't have to be exact, but at least 4 inches taller than your box. Also, one end of the PVC pipe needs to be angled. Again, it doesn't have to be perfect, but a 45 degree angle is the goal.

I was making 2 boxes, so I have 10 pieces of drainage pipe and 2 lengths of PVC.  
Mark circles onto the inner piece of the box lid. We want the PVC pipe to go through the lid, but the lid to sit on top of the drainage pipe, so trace the outside of the PVC pipe and the inside the the drainage pipes. The 5 pieces of drainage pipe should be in a pattern like a 5 sided dice. The PVC pipe goes on the bottom between the 2 lower circles.

Cut the top 2 drainage pipe circles and the PVC circle out. Dan used his drimmel tool, but your box cutter will work just fine. Remember to cut inside the drainage pipe circles and outside the PVC pipe circle. These top 2 circles are your soil circles, the 3 that are not cut out are support circles. Drill 1/4in holes at 4 points around your soil circles. Drill 2 pairs of holes for each support circle: one on the inside of the circle, one on the outside. These are the holes through which you will attach the drainage pipe with zip ties.

See the plywood under the lid? That's to protect my patio table. It's a good idea. 

To make sure the soil gets fresh air, drill 1/4 inch holes all of the lid, including inside your support circles.

In 3 of the pipes, drill 2 holes across from each other at the top of the pipe. These are your support pipes. In the other 2 pipes, drill 4 holes. These are your soil pipes. These pipes also need a couple more holes in them to allow lots of water into the soil, so drill a few extra holes in them down the length of the pipe. Attach the pipes to the lid using the zip ties.

I found it easier to loosely attach the pipes until I got both (or all 4 in the case of the soil pipes) in place, then I tightened it. Cut off the excess of the zip ties. 

This is turned around from the previous pictures. Don't let it confuse you.

Set the lid inside of the box.

Drill a hole in the side of the box, just below where the lid sets inside of it. 1/2in drill bits are the right size, but I don't have one so I used 1/4in and it works just fine. You can tell where the lid sets by looking for its shadow or by pressing on the side of the box. This is how you prevent over-watering in your container garden.

Slide the PVC pipe into its hole so that the angled end is down. This helps keep the PVC pipe clear and prevents it from clogging against the bottom of the bin.

That's it as far as the construction of the garden box goes. I'll write another post this week on how I filled my gardening boxes. Does Friday work for you? Read Part 2 here. 


Dan has been saying for weeks that he was going to cut Liam's hair and insisted that I not take him to a barber. Dan needed a little motivation to follow through with this, so I was happy to oblige him. 

I wouldn't take Liam's hair out of the pony tail (or samurai tail as it became known) until Dan was ready to cut it. It didn't take very long at all. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Dan and I are constantly pointing out things that Liam does that are like us.

Dan has the propensity to make things up when he doesn't know something. Liam does the same thing.  Whenever I ask him, "Where is the [insert word Liam doesn't know here]," Liam will just point off into any given direction and say "there." I've done this with words like rhinoceros, thimble and rhombus. 

Like his daddy, Liam is also into video game controllers. They are delicious apparently. He has figured out how to turn the x-box on and off. It scares him when he hits the eject button and the tray opens, so he just shoves discs under the console instead of in the tray. 

He's a little nerd like his daddy, too.  
 Liam has some of my mannerism as well. He is a little shy sometimes, though I think most kids his age are. He touches his face a lot, especially when he is tired. Even during ultrasounds, he always had the back of his hand against his forehead. At night, he always ends up with his lovey above his head. Said lovies include various stuffed animals, blankets or shirts that belong to his momma. 

Sometime over his head, too. 
 Liam is starting to get into that "terrible two" phase. I know that a lot of his frustrations are from not being about to express himself. He wants to be held all of the time so that he can show me and get to the things that he wants. He knows what he wants, too, and gets upset when I don't let him have it. I don't have any explanation for why he hits, throws and bites though. Thankfully that is only around the house though. He is excellent when we go places and the nursery leaders at church can't say enough good things about him. 

I have posted this picture a couple different places, but in case you have missed it, I'll put it here too. Liam doesn't stack blocks. Imagine my surprise when I found him in the pantry like this:

Future engineer, just like daddy. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mischief Managed

Liam has been down and out with Roseola for the last week. This hasn't, however, prevented him from getting into all sorts of trouble.

Liam has known how to open doors for a few months, so we make sure to keep the exterior door locked at all times. He figured out how to unlock the garage door recently while I was folding laundry.

What a stinker! I know you won't believe me when I say I had nothing to do with the following laundry time escapade.

The hamper was on its side on the floor, he crawled in and pushed on the bottom until it turned upright. He was perfectly happy in the hamper and figured out how to push it on its side and crawl out when he was done.

Liam LOVES books and he thinks that he has to sit in my lap whenever we read books. He wasn't quite sure what to do when I was trying to read his book while laying on the floor, so he improvised.

Yep, sitting on my face.

Liam tends to go a little wild when he isn't constrained by his diaper and clothes. I have this hilarious picture of Liam riding his bouncy zebra while naked but Dan has forbidden me from putting it on the internet. Maybe I'll hang it in the living room instead.

My baby has officially become a toddler. I know this because he is throwing dramatic and unnecessary tantrums. Most of the time, it isn't worth it on my part to fight him. Case and point: I was on the phone with my dad and Liam desperately wanted to hold the box of Cheerios. No big deal, right?


At least he ate some of them.

Liam's other new thing is getting on the dinning room table. He is pretty careful so I don't mind very much. It's good for his confidence to explore. Who needs toys when you can swing the chandelier?

Today he found a spray bottle on the table. I just use it to water plants, so it was okay for him to mess with it. And mess with it he did.

Until he got really good at spraying it, mostly in his own face, then it became an outside toy.