Thursday, July 30, 2015

July Garden Update

growing garden in july

So we've cruised from the "just starting to grow" and fully of potential state of the garden straight to the growing jungle of weeds and vegetables.  Part of that is due to my lack of update for over a month.  It also helps that our garden has been growing like crazy!

We decided to try to group all our vine/large plants into two sections of the garden this year with our peas, tomatoes, peppers, and pole beans in the middle plus potatoes at the far end. Well the first vine section is growing so crazy there is barely any place to walk.  The squash is growing everywhere, the zucchini plants are huge and in among it all the cucumbers are thriving in the shade of the big zucchini and squash leaves.  Some sections still have more than plenty of weeds, but its nice when the plants you want to grow start to take over.  I tell the kids I'm going on a vegetable treasure hunt every time I go the garden, mostly because it is so hard to find some if it!

We've been eating lots of cucumbers, some peppers, snap peas and plenty of lettuce.  We also have a ton of zucchini (zucchini muffins, zucchini bread, grilled zucchini, baked zucchini chips, etc).  In fact our oldest decided one of the zucchini might just be the biggest ever and wants to enter it in the fair next week.  So we've let it grow longer than we normally do just to see how big it gets.  The boys have decided that zucchini carrying is a job that takes muscles so they always volunteer to carry it to the house for me.

The beans should be ready soon and hopefully all the tomatoes will begin to ripen.  We have several pumpkins, including the large one above and a bunch of small/med squash.  The potatoes didn't really do much, grew flowered and then were done, with only a few potatoes.  The carrots also didn't come up very well this year.  Thankfully it sounds like the neighbor has quite a few and offered to share.

Thankful to have a growing that garden that helps feed my family and kiddos that enjoy helping out here on the gravelly road.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fair Trade Friday and a Giveaway

I've followed Kristen Welch's blog We Are That Family for quite a while now and had heard about Mercy House Kenya (a ministry that provides support, shelter, education and medical care for pregnant and new mothers in Kenya).  Well, Fair Trade Friday is another ministry of Mercy House Kenya, a monthly subscription club that sends a box of 3-4 quality fair traded items to your door (think stylish accessories, organic soap, etc).  It provides employment and empowerment to women all over the world, giving the artisans a fair source of income that can help sustain their family as well as introduce them to the gospel.

So when I heard that the Fair Trade Friday and new Fair Trade Earring Club was putting together blogging team to help spread the word about these great ministries, I gladly joined in.  I've been so inspired by the encouragement in the group and the information shared about these ministries.  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've likely seen some of these great reminders.

As a stay-at-home mom to two preschoolers and an almost 1st grader, it is sometimes hard to see how I can make a difference in the lives of others on the other side of the world, but purchasing fair trade items from ministries like Fair Trade Friday (and spreading the word about them) is a great place to start.

Fair Trade Friday group sent me this adorable pair of earrings below to give me a better idea of what their new Earring club is like.  Now, I'm normally not a big jewelry person but these are so beautiful. I love the meaning and purpose behind a fashion accessory like this- using your purchases to be a blessing to others.
The beautiful earrings from Fair Trade Friday Earring of the month club, made by a woman in India - photos by me :)

So I thought I'd share a bit more and give you a chance to win these gorgeous earrings.  Just do a few simple things to learn about Fair Trade Friday and Mercy House in the rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are interested in more information about joining Fair Trade Friday or the monthly Fair Trade Earring Club, please follow the links.  Sometimes there are waitlists for one or the other, but if you're interested, please take the time to join the waitlist so you know when they are able to expand their subscription list (they add new members from the waitlist almost every month and rely on the waitlist to project numbers as they work with the artisan groups).

Learning more about using my purchase to impact others for Christ in the world beyond our Gravelly Road.

* Note: I haven't ordered a FTF box or earrings from Fair Trade Friday yet, but I did order some Christmas presents from the Mercy Shop and was impressed by what I received.

* unless otherwise noted, images provided by Fair Trade Friday

Friday, July 3, 2015

Camping Family Vacation

We just got home from a 5 day family vacation, camping in one of our favorite state parks in the northwoods.  In many ways it was similar to a trip we took a few years ago, but a different park this time.

The kids spotted a wide variety of wildlife while we were there: bears (thankfully only at the bear sanctuary), porcupine, red fox, snapping turtle, deer mouse, and a big buck to name a few.

We made so many family memories: hikes, bike rides, going deep underground to visit a mine, seeing bears at a bear sanctuary, campfire stories, lazy mornings, spending time by the lake and so much more.

We are so lucky to have so many great places to visit not that far from home!

Blessed to spend time exploring God's creation and spending time together as a family of five.  Equally blessed to be back home on the Gravelly Road.

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