5 Ideas for Gardening Fun with Kids

 

Guest post by Wren from finchnwren.com.

Have you ever considered that gardening is a wondrous way to introduce your children to the miracles of God’s creation—and family fun?

5 Ideas for Gardening Fun with Kids @hsbapost

We’ve been a gardening family for 4 years, when a friend gifted us with a small raised garden bed and soil. We purchased zucchini and yellow squash seeds, and were astonished at the harvest! Since then, our garden has expanded every year, with great rewards. And involving your kids in gardening is amazing on so many levels. Here are 5 of my favorite ways…and don’t forget, you can create unit studies out of all of these!

1. Choosing Seeds

Taking your children to the garden center to choose the season’s seeds is the perfect way to start. Seeing the seeds and the potential through their eyes can help us step way out of our comfort zones.

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Choosing Seeds

This is a moment where your vision and dreams for your summer garden can run wild. This year, we picked old favorites and brand new ones, like the mouthwatering mini-watermelon seeds! Of course, you’ve got to keep in mind the length of your growing season, but if you watch the planting dates for your region and stick to that, you can still reap a great and varied harvest.

We’re starting most of our garden from seed this year, and we’re planting beets, basil, zucchini; summer squash, sugar snap peas, and carrots; garlic, watermelon, cucumbers. We’ll be buying tomatoes to put in later once the freeze warnings are over.

2. Creating a Garden Plan

This year, we’re trying square foot gardening. We have 3 raised beds, plus two large containers to work with. I discovered that with square foot gardening, I can plant a LOT, simply by dividing our beds into 12” squares. For example, did you know that you can plant 16 radish plants in one square foot? Or 16 carrots? Or, 8 sugar snap pea plants? My son made a planting guide for our large raised bed in Paint. Great way to combine art and gardening!

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Make a Garden Plan

Your raised bed can yield so much more than you’ve ever imagined, if square foot gardening is new to you. You just need a bed plus wooden slats to place across it in grids, to segment all your square foot spaces. It is fun AND exciting!

3. Birds & Bees

There are some insects whose presence is integral to a garden’s success. And others which might not be as necessary, but will still add value and health. Bees, of course, are vital for pollination. I have several beds which run along our fences that are planted with bee-friendly plants. What’s even better is that they bloom over the course of the summer, so that the bees always have flowers to visit.

Russian sage is super-low maintenance, and bees swarm ours every summer. Our peonies don’t last quite as long, but their sticky nectar and heavy fragrance draw the bees beautifully. Last summer, I needed a little extra on one side of our garden, so I planted catmint. It’s very pleasing to the little pollinators as well. You can also try bee balm, lavender, basil, mint….just Google “plants bees love” and see what will work in your area!

One of our summer joys is watching the hummingbirds in our backyard. Did you know that hummingbirds also do some pollination? I was pretty surprised at this, but I know they love the Russian sage and find our tomato cages a wonderful perch. You can find inexpensive hummingbird feeders at your local discount stores, and make your own nectar at home. (Just heat 1 part granulated sugar with 4 parts water over medium heat til sugar dissolves. Let cool, then pour into feeder.)

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Hummingbird

 

4. Creating and Cooking

We know that kids who grow their own vegetables are much more likely to eat vegetables than those who don’t. I don’t know if your children are veggie-lovers or not, but how cool would it be to create and cook recipes with your kiddos, right out of your garden? We’ve made zucchini pizza rounds, zucchini-tomato gratin, zucchini breads and cakes, squash casserole, stir-fried beef with sugar snap peas…the list is endless! And that’s not including just eating veggies out of hand. My son even created a pasta and squash recipe several years ago that we still eat, which you can find here:  “Jackson’s Amazing Fettucine with Sauteed Squash and Parmesan

 

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Cooking

5. Sprouting

This is more of an indoor activity than an outdoor, but our family loves growing sprouts. This time, not to plant…but just to eat! Sprouts are a wonderful snack, and make a lively addition to sandwiches and salads as well. We have a kitchen seed sprouter, but you can sprout with just a mason jar! My son loves these and I love the fabulous antioxidants and fiber they provide. We’re currently sprouting alfalfa, radish and clover.

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Sprouts

There’s so much to love about backyard gardening. You can do it even if you have a teeny tiny space. And involving your family in it…priceless!
How do you involve your family in your gardening? This summer, Kemi from Homemaking Organized http://www.homemakingorganized.com/ and I are hosting a garden linky! Come and link up at Garden Party!

 

Finch n Wren

Wren blogs with her sister Finch at finchnwren.com. She and her husband met on the mission field and still love hearing about God’s work around the world. Wren has homeschooled their only son since the beginning. They love family fun, the beach and great comic book heroes.

 
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Managing Homemaking and Homeschooling

Homemaking was never my top pick for job choice. ;) I am sure it wasn’t yours either, yet regardless of your career choices you are also are responsible for managing a home.

With managing homemaking and homeschooling, comes meals, dishes, papers to grade, toilets, floors, laundry, laundry, and oh did I mention laundry? It is enough to make me want to scream some days! And often times I feel far from joyful.

Managing home making and homeschooling

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Mister GC

As a work at home, homeschooling mom, I have had to learn that the best way to bring joy back into my home, is by giving myself grace. My home will never be as clean as I would like it to be. We live here, every day. I will probably always have something on my to-do list, and that’s okay. As moms, we have to learn to give ourselves grace. We need to realize that not everything HAS to be perfect, and my level of clean and organized, may look different than yours.

When it comes to managing our homes and homeschools I want you to ask yourself:

Am I doing my best? Remember that everyone’s best looks different. Homemaking will be a lot different when your kids are school age, than when they are toddlers. Remember your best is just that — YOUR best, not mine, your neighbors, or that mom from playgroups.

Are my kids fed? I didn’t ask if they were fed gourmet meals. I asked if you provided them with something to eat (yes chicken tenders count!).

Are we dressed? Meaning that you woke up with an option of getting dressed for the day, whether or not those clothes came from a basket or your closet does not matter.

If your answer to those is yes, then you are a success. Don’t beat yourself up, if you are managing homemaking and homeschooling to the best of your ability then everything else will fall into place.

For more homemaking, homeschooling and parenting encouragement check out the 2015 Spring Clean Bundle! It is jam packed with resources that are perfect to help you manage your heart and home.

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Misty (9 Posts)

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.


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Quick & Easy Trim Healthy Mama Recipes {that kids like too}

 

Guest post by Linda Rose.

I began my THM (Trim Healthy Mama) journey this past summer. In June I started training for a 5K using the Couch to 5K training program. Shortly after that, a friend started up a Trim Healthy Mama group at her house. At first I was like, ok sure I’ll come, but you can’t make me eat anything green or weird. After hearing people talk about THM, I still wasn’t convinced, but ordered the book out of curiosity anyway. I read the book and it just made sense. I had a light bulb moment! You see I had always thought that in order to lose weight I would have to eat weird or green food, but it turns out that isn’t the case at all.

It’s been slow going, and there are days that I find it challenging to eat on plan all the time, but even so, I’ve lost almost 27 pounds! I feel healthier, have more energy, and am still running. It almost feels strange to be able to eat some of the foods that I do eat and be able to still lose weight. And I don’t have to eat any weird or green foods (unless I’m feeling adventurous). I’m a pretty picky eater (so are some of my kids). In order to make THM work for me, I’ve had to make foods that the whole family will eat and love. I’m not about to make a meal for them and then make a separate one for me.

 

Many of the recipes in the THM eating plan are extremely quick and easy. If you are like me, you can appreciate that because honestly who has the time or the energy to slave away in the kitchen?

A couple favorite recipes at my house:

 

Chicken Alfredo (S meal for THM)

Ingredients:
6-8 frozen chicken breast tenders (or 3-4 whole chicken breasts)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 cups mozzarella cheese
garlic powder (or fresh if you have it)
salt and pepper to taste

Serve over Dreamfields spaghetti pasta or steamed broccoli.
Place the frozen chicken breast tenders into the bottom of the crockpot. Pour the heavy cream over the chicken. Sprinkle the garlic powder over the cream and chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the mozzarella cheese. Turn the crockpot on high. I like to stir the ingredients every hour or so. It just prevents the cream and cheese from burning on the edges. As the chicken cooks it becomes tender and breaks apart easily. I use a fork to pull the chicken apart before serving. I serve the alfredo sauce over Dreamfields spaghetti with broccoli on the side. It’s so easy and delicious. I put the ingredients in the crockpot at lunchtime and it is ready by dinner time. If it’s ready sooner, then I just turn the crockpot down to warm until we are ready to eat it. The house smells delicous while this is cooking! (adapted from a recipe in the THM book, which you can purchase here)

Ham and Cheese Scrambled Eggs (S meal for THM)

Ingredients:
6 eggs
4-6 thick slices of ham–diced
1-2 tablespoons of cream cheese
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Directions:
Put all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk everything together. Melt a couple tablespoons of butter into your frying pan. Add the ham and cheese egg mixture, stirring to help everything cook evenly.
 
You can use more or fewer eggs; this is what I use for our family. Alternately you could substitute the ham for some other breakfast meat–bacon or sausage is yummy too. Be careful if you choose to substitute store bought pre-packaged bacon bits as many of these have sugar in them.

 

These are quick, easy, and yummy–perfect for a quick breakfast!

 

Linda RoseLinda Rose blogs at Rose Academy and Sew Happily Ever After. She has 15+ years of teaching experience in public, private, after-school, and home school settings. She enjoys homeschooling her own children as well as teaching small group English classes in her home and at local co-ops. Sewing has become an important creative outlet for her and allows her to use her talents to bless her own family as well as others.

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