Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Why I'm An Avid Meal Planner

Happy hump day ladies and gentlemen! Is it the weekend yet? Been a rough week and it's only Wednesday. But the big thing that gets me through the day, knowing that in a few short hours I get to see my boy! I get to wash away any stresses. Even if he doesn't notice I'm there to pick him up, just seeing him playing and happy turns my day around! 

I was getting frustrated in the Spring at the end of the day when it was time to put dinner on the table. Sam was in a very clingy stage where all he wanted was to be held after we got home. Being that Ryan would usually be home later, this made it impossible to have dinner on the table. Some nights, we had cereal for supper. 

It has gotten better though. Sam is happy to "help" me cook with his own bowl and spatula. It has taken A LONG time for me to perfect the after work chaos. Remember how I was super particular about planning my meals pre-Sam days? It has only gotten worse! 

There are a lot of reasons why I am avid meal planner but here are the things that are at the top of my list! 

1. Stress reliever
While some people may think trying to pre-plan the meals is more stressful, I find not having a plan worse. I would be having panic attacks if I had to figure out what was for supper at 5 pm.

2. Time Saver 
There is about 2 hours between the time we get home and the time Sam goes down to bed. I want to spend as much of that time soaking up time with my boys. I always know what is for supper for the week and usually cook/prepare the meal the night before or morning of. That way all I have to do is stick it in the oven to re-heat. 

3. Money Saver 
There is nothing that I love more then saving a little money! When planning a menu, I look at similar foods. For example, for one week on say Sunday, we will have a ham with scalloped potatoes. I know that we always have left over ham so for a meal that same week, I'll make Ham and Cheese sliders. 1 thing of meat, 2 meals! It's a huge money saver! Extra bonus, no food waste! 

4. Healthier 
There is no doubt that when you are in a crunch for something for supper, you turn to junk a lot of the time! Either in the form of fast food or processed food. It's easy, I get it. And occasionally we indulge in some quick meals as well. Do I take some cooking shortcuts? You bet! But I know that for the most part I know where our food is coming from and how it was made. I know that things have been properly cleaned and cooked. 

5. Yummier! 
Have you ever gone somewhere on vacation and started to crave some home cooked food? I have! There is just something so much more tasty about a dish that you've perfected to your taste buds with fresh ingredients. Tasting as you go so that it's just right. Serving it right from the stove and to your plate!

Really, the biggest reason why I meal plan...for my family and for all the reasons above. When there is no meal time stress, I am a happier and more attentive Mommy. It's part of the balance I need to be a successful working Mom. 

What does your meal plans look like? 


Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy Monday - And I'm A Dumpster Diver

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you all had a great weekend! 

I had a great start to the weekend! A local artist hosted a Paint Night in her home. It was an awesome evening chatting and creating! At the end of the night we had our very own "masterpiece" to take home with us. I've seen these paint nights in the city but this was only 5 mins from my home (versus an hour)! Can't wait to for the next one! 

We had a nice quiet morning on Saturday. Playing, cleaning out the pool area and setting up Halloween decorations! 

I've officially reached dumpster diving status. Don't judge. I was on the road about a week ago visiting with golf course clients. On my way to one of the courses I was driving through a subdivision. It was clearly garbage day. At one of the houses with their garbage was this toy grocery cart. It looked practically new and I couldn't understand why they were throwing it out. I looked and there was a crack on the bottom and the handle was broken in 2. I loaded it up because I knew I could make it work! 

When Sam was down for his morning nap I grabbed some needle nose pliers and removed the handles. I then used duct tape to fix the crack. When Sam woke up it was like Christmas morning! He loaded up his toys and was pushing it around all morning! I am not ashamed to say that I got this for FREE on garbage day in the city because my boy was very entertained by it all weekend long! 

BIG plans that afternoon/evening! Jilly arrived for the first scary movie of the day, Jaws. I wasn't as scared as I expected to be. Sam woke up and we attempted some family pictures in the rain! You can't help but laugh about trying to take pictures with your 1.5 year old! It's like trying to wrangle a drunken octopus! But Jill was snapping away and from the few I saw on the camera, we'll have a few options for our Christmas card. 

We relaxed for a bit, gave Sam supper and he went to bed. We warmed up some pizza and wings and then watched Silence of the Lambs. Freaky but since I have seen it, I wasn't AS scared. 

Last movie, Pet Cemetery! By far one of the scariest movies I have seen! If you ever see it on TV, just turn cartoons on instead! ha ha! But it was fun and now I am really excited for Halloween. 

Sunday my boys were having a snuggle and I couldn't help but take a picture. Sam is ALL about Dada right now!  

Another thing he is into, building things! He loves his blocks but it doesn't stop there. He even uses his food and makes towers. This is banana tower from Sunday. Ha ha! 

We all headed to church, had a quick lunch and both my boys had a nap. While they were sleeping I was busy in the kitchen getting 20 lbs of potatoes ready for my church Harvest Supper! One of our biggest fundraisers of the year! 

Ryan headed off early with the potatoes and to help serve. I stayed and let Sam sleep a little longer. When he woke up we headed to the hall for a bite to eat. While Ryan continued to serve I let Sam play! Thank goodness for Molly and her toys there! She proclaimed at the end of the night that Sam would "only speak to her". Ha ha! Love our church family.  

It was a great weekend with a combination of busy and low key! 

How was your weekend? 

Friday, October 23, 2015

How I Started Planning For Christmas MONTHS Ago!

Happy Friday everyone! I am extra excited for the next two weekends in October. There are such some really fun Fall activities happening before October wraps up. 

Even though I am still really enjoying Fall, there is something that is in the back of my mind, Christmas! 

Yes, I love Christmas but I did find it a little stressful last year. I kind of kept the majority of my planning till right at the end. I kept saying, "there's lots of time". But right when I was ready to dive into the decorating, shopping and cooking...Sam went through some growth spurts and no body was getting any sleep. 

I remember feeling very overwhelmed last year as I tried to make everything like it use to be pre-Sam days. Things last year just took a little longer with a grumpy baby and tired Mama! But I managed to get it all done and we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas together. But the problem with being so busy during that Holiday time? It's hard to sit back and enjoy that time. It feels as though it goes quicker when there is a blur of things to get done. That is why I promised myself that next year would be different! 

It all started when I was seeing friends post on Facebook about how many months till Christmas. On August 25, just a few months till Christmas and I wanted to start right then! So I did. 

The first thing I did was open up an empty word document and write down a list of everyone there is to shop for and any ideas if I had any. This included EVERYONE! Tucker, Sam, Ryan, extended friends and family and I even had a section for potlucks and donations. 

The next thing I did was set a budget. Ryan and I sat down and discussed what we wanted to spend this year. This was a grand total that would included stocking stuffers! Once we had that number finalized it was time to break it down into how much to designate for each person on our "to shop for" list. This makes it A LOT easier to get ideas rolling so that we make sure what we want to purchase is within the allotted budget. When we would think of something for a certain person that met the budget, I would jot it down beside their name in the spreadsheet. 

Have you ever noticed that when you scramble to buy a last minute gift(s) for someone before Christmas you usually spend more? You are desperately wandering around wondering what to get someone and settle on something you weren't sure of that may be outside your budget. Pre-planning for each person takes the guess work out of it! 

We had our list done around the end of September and then it was time to get to work! Some of the items are homemade and we've been slowly working on those when we have time. 

But then there are some things that aren't homemade. And those items have to be purchased. We decided this year rather than going on one giant "Christmas shopping" trip, we would buy 1-2 gifts a week. It has been going really well and we have successfully gotten lot's of items crossed off the list! There will be no panic buying this year! I can stay at home and leisurely wrap in front of the TV watching a cheesy Christmas movie while everyone else fights the crowds! 

Have you started preparing for Christmas yet? 


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Few Things I Am Loving This October

Happy Monday! I hope that you are all enjoying your week! 

Life has been a little overwhelming lately. I am especially in awe of the fact that 6 months has gone by since Sam turned 1 in April. It feels as though that time has passed by at warp speed. 

You can feel the end of the season approaching at work. When the cold weather strikes (like Monday) every one hits the panic button and work has to get done THIS SECOND in fear that snow is about to fly! 

I am treading through the chaos with warm Fall thoughts. Because even in this busy time, I can't help but reflect on some of the good that happens this time of year. 

From the latest work event:

For one, I started piano lessons again! I was born into a musical family and have always loved to sing. I knew how to read music and could play a little on piano just through the theory I had learnt. Last Fall, I decided to take an Adult piano class on a whim. I am SO glad I did! I whipped through book 1 and I am now on lesson book 2 learning much harder pieces. It is my "mommy night out" every week! 

My boy still loves to "help" me play! Beautiful duet! 

So I am a complete girl when it comes to movies! I hate action movies and I especially hate scary movies! I just am a huge chicken and I get scared really easily! But I suck it up for one night and have a "Scary Movie Marathon" with my bestie Jill in order to get in the spirit of Halloween. I have to admit, after watching a series of freaky movies, I need to sleep with a light on for about 1 week but it is totally worth it! I am actually still scared from one particular movie marathon that included The Shinning. I can still hear the "Here's Johnny"! AHHHH! 

The part that I am looking forward to? The pizza party supper and snacks! The rest of the time I hide behind the blankets at scary parts! #truth 

But it does get me in the spirit for Halloween and this year I am SO looking forward to Halloween. I LOVE that it is on a Saturday this year. For now, Ryan and I chose Sam's costume for him and because we are big kids ourselves, we are dressing up again! It was a little harder to come up with a family costume again this year but we did and they are ready to go for next week! 

The plan is to let Sam have his normal nap. Have a quick supper when he wakes up and then hit the road. Sam is too young to "trick-or-treat" so for now it's just a little tour to visit a few family members and friends. Being that it's on a Saturday, and we will be getting an early start, we are hoping to be back early enough to put Sam to bed, have a fun supper (consisting of wings, cheese sticks and other) and watch a scary Netflix movie (or maybe a Disney movie depending on how scared I am after Scary Movie Marathon). 

Other things I am looking forward to: 
Paint night 
Pumpkin carving 
Making Halloween treat bags 

Love this month! 

How is your October been? 


Monday, October 19, 2015

Cold October Weekend - First Snow Fall, Yuck!

Happy Monday everyone! Apparently this is one of the coldest October 19th's in Canadian weather history, blah! While I am actually slightly looking forward to winter, there is one thing that is already getting on my nerves, dressing Sam up for the cold weather! 

Every time we go outside it is now a battle to put the coat, hat and boots on him! When he get's it in his head that he wants to go outside to play, he wants to go NOW! No waiting to get dressed up to head out the door. I already miss the warm summer days where Sam can just go outside in a t-shirt and barefoot. 

Regardless of the cold weather this weekend, we had a lot of fun! It started out with a quiet movie night on Friday! Unpacking groceries, pizza for supper, a drive to pick up a piece of farm equipment with my boys and then a movie on Netflix after Sam went to bed. 

Saturday morning I was up early so that I could get things ready for the day ahead! I made a pot of soup so Sam and the babysitter could enjoy for supper that night and then chocolate chip cookies for a snack on car rally! 

Oh and it started to snow as we were getting ready! I cringed but my husband cheered and ran outside with Sam in his bare feet! Weirdo! ha ha! 

This was year 2 with our team of ourselves and friends Josh and Amanda! We were looking forward to a fun and challenging day ahead! The babysitter arrived, we kissed Sam goodbye and we were on our way! It was a very challenging year and we had to quit "trying" so hard because the last thing you want to do is get first place! That means that you have to plan the car rally for the next year! We had lots of laughs that day and a feast of snack foods! 

Thankfully, we didn't win! 5th place, which is perfect! Not too low and high enough that we are proud of how good we did. Can't wait for next year! 

On Sunday we were up early and off to church and then my parents stopped in for leftover soup for lunch and a little visit. 

We attempted to put Sam down for an early nap being that we had somewhere to be early afternoon. Sam had other plans and proceeded to lay in his crib talking and singing for 60 minutes! Eventually, we just got him and headed off to celebrate Sophie's 2nd birthday! 

It was lots of fun at the birthday party! There were lots of kids around Sam's age but being that he was tired about 1.5 hours into the party he was started to get grumpy! Thankfully, my MIL was there and took him outside for a little one-on-one play time! It was a nice break, thank you Bev! Right when we were about to leave we asked Sam and Sophie to give eachother a hug and they actually did! Sam wrapped his arms around her and everything! I have never seen him hug another kid before! 

We picked up a pizza on the way home because I was too tired to cook anything! But it was a nice treat! We finished off the weekend with play time and relaxing! 

How was your weekend? 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend 2015

Happy Wednesday everyone! And a happy belated Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Canadians! It was a beautiful LONG weekend in my little neck of the woods! 

I was SO looking forward to the weekend ahead. I had a feeling that it was going to be an AWESOME weekend. And it was, but it didn't start out like that! 

I picked Sam up from daycare on Friday afternoon and was greeted with all of Sam's Thanksgiving crafts! I love all these special pieces and these ones specifically were great as Thanksgiving decorations! 

 Big plans for Friday night, a birthday supper for me and Sharon with the girls! As I was getting dressed for my girls night out, I heard Sam crying and Ryan saying, "It's ok, it's ok, you're ok". 

I quickly ran down the stairs half dressed to see Ryan's light grey sweater covered it blood. Sam was heavily bleeding from his mouth. I know instantly that I wouldn't be going anywhere. I called Jill and filled her in quickly on what was happening. I changed into comfy clothes, packed some stuff for Sam and we hit the road on the way to the hospital. 

We were taken into triage right away and then proceeded to wait 6 hours to see a doctor. I am normally someone who constantly praises our local hospital but we had an awful experience this time. There were multiple people being taken in before us. One gentleman I overheard saying he was there to get a wart removed (at 10 PM) and got in to see a doctor before us. At the 3 hour mark, I politely told the nurse that I would stay all night if someone told me he needed stitches. But waiting with a 1.5 year old only to be told he's OK, is a waste of everyone's time. She was wonderful and said in her opinion, we should wait. So, we did. FINALLY at 11:30, we got called in. The doctor took a 4 second look at Sam and said she couldn't stitch it. We left immediately, all of us exhausted from trying to keep Sam happy for 6+ hours in a hospital ER waiting area. Let me get something straight, I think the staff (nurses, looking at you!!) were wonderful. I just think there is something broken with the system! A 4 second look at Sam's lip in triage by a doctor would have told us if we needed to sit and wait for stitches or not. As I mentioned, we would have waited all night if a doctor had told us stitches were in fact needed but it wasn't our turn.  (End of rant, ha ha!) 

Thank goodness I had his umbrella stroller in my car! We must have walked for 3 hours straight within the hospital! 

Saturday morning I wanted to sleep in but we had an important work document due and I needed to get some stuff done for it. So at 5 AM, I walked across the road to do a little work. I got everything done and headed home just as Ryan was walking out the door for his day of work. Sam and I enjoyed breakfast at home and then hit the road to run some errands! 

One of those errands was grabbing the "Thanksgiving" meal for that evening. Knowing that it would just be my little family and my brothers (4 kids, aged 6 and under), we decided that pizza was the best bet! We didn't want to spend all that time cooking for little ones who wouldn't appreciate it. But pizza night ended up being WONDERFUL and maybe a new tradition. It was so relaxing and no one had to worry about dishes, leftovers and trying to force kids to eat veggies! 

Sunday morning it was one of my most favorite services at church! I love all the decorations that are done on each window for Thanksgiving. It just makes it feel so festive! 

Sam decided he was a big boy this service. He is really starting to know the traditions at church. This past Sunday he put money in the celebration jar, "passed the peace" and went up for story time all by himself (and stayed there). I was pretty close to a mommy melt down looking at him sitting there like a big boy. It was a mixed emotion of pride and sadness. 

I taught Sunday School that morning and was glad when my little thanksgiving cookie game went off wonderfully! You never know how kids are going to take onto things. 

Sunday afternoon we headed to Ryan's parents for Thanksgiving. This time no pizza, turkey with all the fixings! Yum! And birthday cake for my birthday! After dinner Melissa and I took the kids outside to burn off some energy and we had such a blast! The jumped on the trampoline for the longest time, walked, playing on the slide. Sam slept SO well that night. 

Sunday night we watched Netflix, my choice of movie for my birthday! :) 

Monday, my 28th birthday! Ryan stayed up late to make my tin foil numbers and get things ready. The big birthday plan for the day, nothing! It is nice having the day off of work on your birthday. Ryan did his best at making the day special for me. Making the meals and changing all the diapers for the day! ha ha! I even got to take an afternoon nap! It was glorious! 

How was your weekend? 


Friday, October 9, 2015

Sam Update - 16, 17 and 18 Months

Hold the presses, 18 months. That means that I have a 1.5 year old? Was I not JUST helping him to blow out his 1st birthday candle while he stuffed cake in my face? 

Oh man did the time since Sam's 1st birthday ever fly by! We had a really fun summer! Having a 1.5 year old is a whole combination of excitement and exhaustion. But somehow, each and every day I am still amazed and blessed that I get to watch Sam grow up into the person he will be. 


Still my healthy and growing boy! At his 18 month doctors appointment we didn't get any measurements because Sam was FREAKING out and the doctor intervened. His wonderful doc said, "you can clearly see he is a healthy boy, don't worry about getting his weight". 

At the CLSC appointment this week we were able to get some measurements Sam is 29.5 pounds, 84.5 cm long and a head circumference of 50.5 cm.  


It's still fairly nice out and I already miss summer dressing! The sandals (or bare feet) and the fact that no coat is usually needed. Kids need far more clothes in the Fall/Winter for layering, keeping warm, protecting heads and hands. boots, socks! 

Sam is currently wearing most 24 month clothes with a few 2T. His shirts are the biggest problem. They are all so short on him no matter what size they are. The shirt will look baggy but then his belly sticks out the bottom. He is in size 6 shoes but seems to be growing out of those shortly. PJS are mostly 2T. 


Thank goodness, I still have a good sleeper! Sam is great to put to bed still. We lay him in his crib and he kind of just peacefully lies there (or talks to himself) for a while till he falls asleep. At home on weekends, sometimes he sleeps in a little (till 7 AM) and doesn't nap as well in the morning. But on daycare mornings (up at 6:20 AM) he needs his morning nap. He sleep sleeps for 2+ hours in the afternoon and in bed usually around 6:30-7 PM. We have noticed that he needs a dark room to sleep. If it's too light he won't doze off for his nap. 


Eating me out of house and home! I really have no idea where he puts it! His servings are recorded every meal at daycare. One time I went to look at his book at it said 5 pancakes! FIVE! I was in shocked! The older girls were laughing that he ate more than they did. 

But I am really lucky he eats as well as he does. He has his 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks after each nap. He also has about 3-4 sippy cups of a milk a day and water in between. 

Sam has gotten SO good at eating with a fork or spoon! He insists on eating most food with some sort of utensil. 

His favorite foods are yogurt, cheese, bread, meatballs, fries with ketchup, oranges, blueberries....ok maybe it would be easier to list the food he doesn't like, eggs! 


Even as a baby, Sam has been pretty chatty. Now, his words are making sense and he is trying so hard all the time to pronounce the things he is trying to say more clearly. The words that we can pick up are, Momma, Dada, Grandpa "Grmpa", Nana (for his grandmothers and daycare), Poppa, Tuck Tuck, ball, truck, night night (ni ni), bye bye, cheese, "ca ca", no, yes, more, milk, "sus" (what we call his soother), "wa wa" (what we call water), shoes, row row (his favorite song) and car. 


Ryan's little mini-me in my opinion. Thankfully, he has my brown eyes but otherwise he is like Ryan. I believe he is going to be tall like Ryan as he is continually growing off the charts. Sams brown hair is straight but very course and thick. It grows like crazy too! We have to go for a haircut every 3 months.  


There is so much that Sam likes that it is impossible to list it all. But I will try to mention the ones that come immediately to mind.

Being outside, anything that drives, food, building things with his blocks, Splash and Boots, feeding Tucker, "reading" books by himself and being with his friends at daycare. 


For the most part, we have a pretty happy boy. He hates being tied down. He just wants to be free to do as he wishes. Getting in/out of the car seat is still on this list. Leaving daycare. Most days Sam freaks out because I make him stop playing so that we can go home. Being told "no". Getting dressed/bum changed. Sam can also get easily frustrated when I am cooking supper and he is not at counter level to see what I am doing.


Well it's hard to believe that my last update I was worried that my almost 16 month old still wasn't a regular walker! Any body out there who is worried about their 13/14/15/16/17 month old that isn't walking, DON'T! They are all doing stuff at their own pace and will figure it out. Eventually they catch up and will be just as good at walking as the rest of the kids around the same age. 

Sam is not the most social kid. At home, his goofy and silly but out he has clam up and be a little on the shy side in public settings. He is good about playing with other kids he has never met but he kind of prefers playing with himself. 


Even though 100% of my day is not entirely revolve around Sam anymore, he is still the number one this on my mind. When planning or scheduling things, I always think of how it's going to work with Sam. 

Right now my favorite time of day is right when I wake him up in the morning. We usually play this little game where he pretends to sleep and I say "Oh no, you fell back asleep" and then he starts giggling. I pick him up out of the crib and then he nuzzles right into the crook of my neck for a snuggle. After a full nights sleep he is full of laughter and has a lot of stories. He "talks" on the way to daycare. It still pulls at my heart strings every morning when I drop him off but I know he is having such a fun time. When I go to pick him up, no matter what my day has been like, I love  watching him play with his friends. 

In September I went away for a girls only trip in Nova Scotia. I was feeling a little guilty but once I was there I realized how ready I was for the break! I needed a break from being the CEO of our household. I wanted Ryan to experience planning a grocery order and meal plan for the week, getting Sams stuff ready for daycare and getting supper on the table while interacting with a cranky toddler. It was just the perfect amount of time to re-charge my batteries! 


Ryan may have needed a little independence this this summer as well but after learning what it's like to have a toddler by yourself for an extended period of time, he seems to be sticking around home a little more. 

But Ryan is a wonderful Dad. Sam is SO excited to have Dada come home that he runs to the door yelling his name as soon as he hears it open. 

I think Ryan is enjoying this stage because he can take Sam more places now. They like to go out exploring after supper to see some of the equipment on the farm. Sam loves typical "boy" things and Ryan loves that. Ryan is still the best sound effects person in our home. 

Sam and Ryan have their own set of games that only they play together. If I try to imitate the same game, Sam just looks at me funny. 

As a couple, we have learnt who has what roll in the parenthood. Turns out Ryan is the softy and I am the disciplinary. Sam knows how to get exactly what he wants from Ryan! The manipulation starts so young! ha ha! 

Dear Sam, 

It been 1.5 years since you made us a family. It amazes your daddy and I how much you have grown in that time. We always mention that this time last year, you were this tiny baby who was not even eating real food yet! Now, you are this independent little boy who loves to use a fork himself! 

We are having so much fun together lately! You are learning new things every day! Your energy is amazing and we try our best to keep up to you! 

You are such a the typical boy! Climbing, running outside, loving of trucks and balls! But thankfully you usually give me a little snuggle at least once a day. As independent as you try to be, we both know you still need a little snuggle once in a while. I'm not complaining! 

Even though life goes by so fast right now, we are so enjoying the ride and love each and every day with you. 

I love you! 



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Garden 2015 Update

Happy Wednesday everyone! 

I got to spend the majority of my day yesterday outside enjoying the beautiful fall weather. It wasn't too cold but I could still feel that chill that comes with this time of year. 

While enjoying my scenery, it got me thinking about my garden this year. In the past, I haven't been the best gardener. The set up I had did not help suppress weeds and I would get discouraged by how much maintenance there was. 

This year for mothers day/anniversary Ryan build and installed new garden boxes for me. I had read a gardening article that mentioned that this method is much easier to maintain. I still really wanted to garden and figured I'd give it a try. 

I learnt a lot my first year and I can say that garden boxes are the way to go for me! Having a certain amount of square footage to maintain was so much easier. It took less water and my yield this year was amazing!

When I was trying to decide what to plant in my garden this year I was a little unsure as to what I wanted. This year was a trial. 

I decided to designate one box JUST for herbs! I planted basil, cilantro, parsley, chives and thyme. This worked out so great and I used these herbs from my garden all summer long! It's so nice having fresh herbs on hand to add extra flavor to our meals! 

Box 2 was my cherry tomato and pepper box. I planted 3 pepper plants and 3 cherry tomatoes. My cherry tomatoes were insane this year. Of the grape variety I had hundreds! Way more then we need and enough to share! Too many. Next year I will be only putting in 2 plants. 

My peppers didn't perform well this year. I think they competed with the tomato plants. I will try them again next year. 

Box 3 had 6 kale plants and a row of dill weed. I do really love kale but I do not need 6 plants! 3 would give me lots for myself and to share! The dill actually did really well! One little row was plenty for my pickles and to save some seeds for future. 

Box 4 was spinach and beans! I have NEVER had luck with beans. They would either not germinate for me for get eaten by crows. This year I had SO many beans! Enough to freeze about 10 bags (1.5 cup portions) for a side at supper and make 3 jars of pickled beans for Caesars! 

My spinach did really well but 3 plants was more then I needed. I think I will only plant 2 next year and attempt to freeze some spinach for soups and dip. 

Box 5 was all cucumbers to make dills! I had 6 plants and most did really well. I ended up with 8 jars of pickles! I would have had 10 but the week that we went on holidays they got over ripe. 

Box 6 was a couple of rows of peas. These didn't do amazing but I was able to snack on them. One of my favorite things to eat fresh from the garden. I also planted 2 rows of carrots. Carrots are a hit or miss for me. This year...WOW! So many carrots! It took me almost two hours to process them for the freezer! We'll have carrots for suppers all winter long! 

I also continued the tradition of putting my tomato plants (roma variety this year) in my flower garden. Only 3 of the 6 plants performed really well. But I got enough tomatoes to have LOTS of diced tomatoes all winter long for sauces and soups. Yum! I also process 16 bags of corn from a local farmer and grew a few gourds. 

I am so happy and my garden enthusiasm has grown after having such a successful year with my garden. There are a few things that will change next year and we are hoping to even add a couple of extra boxes. I also love to have some frozen garden treats to use all winter long but the best part is sharing some garden surplus with friends and neighbors. 

Sam has been my little sidekick. He loves to help me pick the veggies and put them in the basket! It is still the first place he walks to out of habit when we go outside to play. I hope to continue to learn how to garden and teach Sam my love of growing as well.