Incidental Learning

Gardening – It’s Like Watching Water Boil, But More Exciting

I’m so glad I decided to plant the sunflower seeds the same day as the tomato plants, because for days and days nothing happened. We opened the growing thingy each day to find nothing, except one random weed that popped it’s head out. I was beginning to think the Heinz Grow Your Own tomato plants were a fail. I did find another bag of seeds though, so thought I’d try again.

20130505-222540.jpgThe sun flower seeds sprouted and one of the two of them shot right up. It’s pretty cool though. The other may or may not have had a fight with a pigeon. I’ve stuck it back in the ground, but I’m not sure it’s grown at all since then. At least it hasn’t died. That’s progress, right?

It’s been a bit of a rubbish week, weather wise, so I haven’t really been out in the garden much, and left my ‘failed’ tomatoes where they were, and I’m glad I did.  When I got back to them, there were four little plants smiling up at me. I’m not sure if Ameli was more excited, or me!

We’ve replanted the sunflower plants, and will be replanting the little tomatoes soon. In the meantime we’ve also planted some potatoes from the Grow Your Own potatoes scheme that was advertised earlier in the year – did you know there’s a potato council? It’s a little like the Ministry of Magic, eh? – but I took more than a month to open the box, by which time all the eyes had sprouted and now I’m not sure if they’re actually going to grow or not. We’ll see, I guess. I’m still really hopeful for something more than herbs from our garden this year!

Anyway, I have yet to plant the next bag of tomato seeds. They’re a different variety, so hopefully between the two we’ll have a good harvest, and once again I’m really hoping I didn’t leave it too late!

 

Getting Into Gardening

For the last two years, I have had the worst luck with  my garden. What pregnancy didn’t take out of me, sickness and a newborn did, and then, to top it off it rained so much last year that even my mint died. Do you have any idea how hard it is to kill mint? Well, it drowned. And got moldy.

Of course, this year, what with being in Australia and all, I came a bit late to the planting season, so I had to get a bit of help from the garden centre, but overall, it’s gone okay. This is the ‘before’ photo of the garden. To be honest it’s not all done yet, so there’s no after photo just yet, and the before photo was taken after mowing the lawn and hacking away the foliage, but oh well.

20130505-192847.jpg

20130505-192910.jpg

As well as planting an envelope of tomatoes from seed – thank you very much Heinz for sending us a gorgeous wheelbarrow and gardening equipment for Ameli, as well as a bag of seeds – we also planted some sun flowers as I figure they’ll grow quickly and maintain the girls’ interest.  Interestingly, both of them really enjoyed digging about in the ground.

20130505-192941.jpg20130505-193106.jpg

And including their little friends in the process.

As I said, since we’re quite late in the season already, we got some help from the local garden centre and bought a few ready to plant out courgettes, marrows, shallots, kale and a few different herbs.

20130505-192922.jpg20130505-193037.jpg

Well… I’ll let you know how it goes. It’s been fun, but I really do hope we get to eat from our garden this year!

P.S. If we happen to get tomatoes off this plant, Heinz have promised us a hamper of goodies, so here’s hoping we get a double bonus for our efforts! I think Heinz are still giving out grow your own tomato kits, so head over to their Facebook page for some to grow yourself.

 

 

 

Andrea's Summer Camp At Home : Week 3 – Ocean Theme

Colours: Blue and yellow, purple (explore colour mixing)
Shapes: Circle, oval, star
Sensory: Whipped foam and sea animals (use a squirt of foam, a drop of food colouring and about 1/2 cup water in the food proccessor. I use baby soap)
Field trip: Zoo, aquarium, swimming

Monday: Tuna sanwiches/ tuna melts, rainbow fish water bottles 
Tuesday: Sock sea creatures (Use in the coloured foam)
Wednesday: Pop up shark card (With foam sheets)
Thursday: Jello aquariums
Friday: hand print crabs

Shopping list:
Bread, tuna, mayo, star cookie cutter, cheese slices, tissue paper (different colours) tin foil, old socks, pillow stuffing(Or more old socks), wiggly eyes, foam sheets, blue jello, gummy fish, red paint

As I sit here and think about the week, all I can say is that I’m grateful it’s over!

As usual I had high hopes for this week and my plan was in place, but, I’m sure you know, things hardly ever go according to plan when you have kids.

We started the Ocean theme this week on Sunday afternoon, with a yummy cheese and egg croissant, shaped like a crab. My kids (and daddy!) loved it. I think I may be winning them over, they are much less picky than they used to be.

Monday morning started a little slow in our house, so we read some rainbow fish stories and played playdough. I used the kool-aid recipe , this is a no cook one that works really well. I provided star shaped cookie cutters, pompoms, foam shapes, googly eyes and ribbon for the boys to play with. It was so hot in the morning, that I thought we would do some foam and water play after nap time, as it happens, it started raining the minute we went outside. Thankfully part of our deck is covered, so our fun wasn’t spoiled too much.

On Tuesday we did a lot of activities. We made the sock creatures, and then went outside for some fun. It was a beautiful day! I spread some bubble wrap on the deck, and covered it with shaving foam, it was really slippery (I think it may work better on grass!) the little one wiped out pretty early in the game and decided its not for him, he retreated to the rock pool to play with the sea creatures. His brother could not get enough, he simple loved the feeling of the slippery foam and plastic bubbles as he was running across the sheet!

After a quick shower, the boys decided they needed a hot drink, so I invented sea turtle milk. (boiled milk with a little cinnamon and honey).

For lunch, I made an easy to read Tuna Melts recipe for my little reader, and we were off. The boys loved keeping an eye on the sandwiches as they were grilling.

They reported every single change they saw. I surprised them with “sushi” made from cereal treats and gummy fish.

Wednesday was a fun day! We had a great field trip to our local mall. We are lucky enough to have an aquarium and sea lion show, all under one roof! We had a yummy lunch of calamari and chips, and then went to see the animals. My boys were thrilled, they loved the sharks and penguins and were quite surprised that they were allowed to touch the anemones and stingrays.

My oldest loved the sea lion show, he was laughing out loud at their antics. The little guy is a little more suspicious, he was very unsure of the large slippery creatures. It was a great outing!

On Thursday, my husband and I had to take our oldest for an appointment, so the little guy stayed with his aunt and cousin, and oh my goodness, did he ever have a good day! My niece helped him make a texture book with ocean creatures. My sister made him fantastic “Nemo” sandwiches and an ocean scene dessert! It is true that it takes a village to raise a child, and I am so thankful that we are a part of this one! We also watched “Big Miracle” for family movie night, what a beautiful inspiring movie!

Friday we read some more stories, and we made some lovely “Rainbow fish” from empty water bottles! The tissue paper worked much better than regular paper to cover the bottles, the boys also loved to glue the one “special” scale to their fish

I wish you all a wonderful week full of fun!

Shopping List for NEXT Week: mini hot dogs, dough, graham crackers, marshmallows, paint, card stock, tape, canvas or heavy stock card, ingredients for bird feeder

Autumn in England

There are many things about life and living in the UK that it seems, even after eight years, that I will just never get on board with. There are things that make me realise painfully, that this is not home. (Home isn’t home any more either, but at least it’s familiar.) But there is something I have in the UK that I do not have in South Africa, and that is an immense freedom.  I realised that again today as Ameli and I walked along a canal and we took in and loved our environment.

If money was no object for me, I would spend January, February, March and April in South Africa, and May, June and November and December each year in England, because Spring is the most beautiful in England, and Autumn is hard to compare to anywhere else I’ve been.

Today I remembered my love for Autumn in England and for the freedom to be without fear …

We went for a walk along the canal

We went for a stroll along the canal...

Watching the ducks

... where we stopped often...

ladybird

... to observe the wildlife...

examining a spider

...and get up close with the spiders and insects...

smelling the flowers

...and to really smell the flowers...

exploration

... and explore our world as we go...

...then stopping to share a well-earned hot chocolate....

…. before heading home for a two-hour nap.

These are the great moments. The ones I don’t want to take for granted.

 

Attachment Parenting In Nature

Becoming a mother has changed me in more ways than I knew possible. I am passionate today about things I’d never heard of two years ago. I also spend a lot more time around animals than I ever did before, since we’ve tried to get Ameli outdoors and into nature as much as possible.
Over the last two years I’ve started a ‘collection’ of sorts, of photographs I’ve taken of wild animals practicing ‘attachment parenting’. These are the best I have so far, but I intend to extend my collection whenever I have the opportunity.

Nursing in Nature

It’s no secret that I am a massive fan of breastfeeding. I think it’s the most amazing gift women were ever given. And whenever I see animals feeding their young, nurturing them and helping them grow, I have strange little flutters of excitement in my belly. A little OTT, I’m sure, but it’s true.

Here are three of my favourite animal nursing shots

Kangaroos in Perth, Australia

Giraffes in Longleat, Somerset, England

Zebras in the wild, Dhikololo, South Africa

Babywearing in Nature

The origin of the term Kangaroo care – and the ultimate in babywearing.

Perth, Ausralia

More to come…

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On Pinterest