Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow is finally here

I was a bit disappointed when there was no snow for Christmas this year again. It started falling in the evening and it lasted only for few minutes. It has been falling on and off since then but never too much to be good for a good snowball fight or even sledding. 

This is the view from our our back door. 

And here are the girls on Christmas eve having fun looking around for the last pieces of green grass. They don't like to come out when the snow is on the ground so this was their last walk around the yard.  

So now is the time to start planning for next year - new garden plans, more garden beds, and some fruit trees that we would like to add to our little farm. I would also love to have bees but I might have to wait for that just one more year. First things first... I will keep you updated on my progress and new findings! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Orange slices as a tree decoration

So this is Christmas my friends! I have been MIA on all my social media websites because just like every year I make a list of way too many handmade gifts that I want to make for friends for Christmas and so just like last year, I spend the last month before the Holidays creating them (and I always finish, even though it sometimes doesn't seem like I will...)

Anyway, I thought I would take a quick break and share a little tutorial for these super cute dry orange ornaments. I make them every year but those from last year are still really well holding up!

First step, you guessed it, is to cut your oranges into circles.

Then lay them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 Celsius for my European friends) for about 3 hours. Come back and turn them over. Leave them in for another 2 hours. If you have to leave them longer. Check if they are dry enough to use. The middle will turn darker and might be a bit damp, almost gooey-like. That is ok, it will finish drying while hanging on your tree.

Take them out and let them cool. Use a cute ribbon or a string to hang them up. They are such a cute addition to any Christmas tree!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 07, 2012

all the small things

We are very close to Christmas right now and everything is just turning into a chaos. I wish I could just sit back and reflect and really fully appreciate the small blessings in life. I am sure aware of them but just to truly reflect on them is something I need. There is so little time in my days that are filled with work, teaching the kids, housework, animals, and just stuff. I still don't have all christmas presents bought or made and the date is fast approaching. After this weekend I vow to relax more and experience this Christmas season the way it's meant to be experienced. 
For now, please take a look at some of our decorations we put up with the kids around our home!

This angel was a gift from my mom...

We love to pretend that the silver tinsel is our inside snow ;-)

One of my best decorative pieces is this German Candle mill. (Kids love to play with it while eating)

A little count down help...

and some wooden letters are a must! I love them. 

This is a detail of our tree this year and...

This was our tree last year. I have to admit I am a bigger fan of white lights...

Monday, December 03, 2012

Preparing the garden to rest for the winter

It is the time of the year for all of us gardeners to say good bye to our garden and lay it to rest for the winter. Every year I spend at least three days there to finish the job. With little kids I don't get the whole day to work on it, but I am sure if I had uninterrupted time, I could be done in one day - especially in such small space that I have.

First I pulled all my plants out and put it all on my compost pile. I will turn it over before it starts freezing. 

Here you can see the garden somewhat in whole picture. I leave some of the leaves on and let them rot on the garden beds. I also spread some chicken manure from the "girls" on top and let it soak in through the winter.

There is a new thing I am trying out on one of my beds. My sister-in-law did some research and found that organic gardeners don't till the garden beds for the winter. They spread leaves on top and some don't even pull their old plants out. They let it all rot through the winter months. Click here for more information on this subject. It seems that there is lots of benefit in keeping the soil untouched if you are an organic gardener.

And look who LOVES this time of the year in the garden! The girls get to roam my garden beds free of trouble. This is all they want to do the entire summer season - when everything looks so green and juicy. At least now they get to dig up some bugs... the last live food of the season.