Friday, July 21, 2017

You're One in a Minion

Olive and I were strolling the party aisles at Wal-Mart weeks ago and she spotted Minion party products.  She gasped and said, "Daddy would LOVE those!!"  So we threw him a minion party for his 36th birthday.  They love watching Despicable Me together and I knew he'd get a kick out of it.


We told Kevin he was One in Minion and he loved it :)


We picked up our party supplies at Wal-Mart and Target and tried to do some fun things for all the kids.  They were easy to find with Despicable Me 3 being so popular right now.


We headed to Southern Indiana to see our family for the weekend and had to make a firework pit stop.  Kevin has always done fireworks on his birthday since it's just a few days after the 4th.  He stocked up with Olive's help and we were back on the road.

The weather was GORGEOUS and the kids were so happy to play outside.



Olive stayed up late to help bake the birthday cake with Kevin's mom.

We also did some plant shopping for our yard and for Kevin's office.  We came home with this beautiful Crepe Myrtle and Kevin got some new succulents.

 Party time!!





Looks like Fletcher loves fireworks just as much as his dad :)

We celebrated Kevin's birthday with my family and he had tons of little helpers to watch him open gifts :)  The cousins had a great time playing together and Kevin loved all of his new tools and gifts.


We headed home and had a birthday fiesta for him on his actual birthday.  Olive loved helping me chop veggies.  She's been asking to help out more and more lately so I am trying to be better about teaching her how to do things with me.


I was extra proud of Kevin's birthday cake this year.  It's from scratch and it's his grandma's recipe.  It turned out perfect - look at those even layers!!


We had a great time celebrating our One in a Minion Guy!!

Have you seen Despicable Me 3 yet?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sunflower Maze in Paris

Have you heard of a sunflower maze before???

Turns out they're just as beautiful as you'd imagine.

I heard about this Sunflower Maze at L & A Family Farms in Paris, IL this time last year, but we weren't able to go.  It's only open for a week or two every summer or as long as the sunflowers last.  It was on my radar for this summer and I jumped on the chance to go on the coolest day of the week.  It's a 30 minute drive from my house and it was totally worth it.  I'm not typically a huge sunflower lover, but these blooms were GORGEOUS.

I snapped pictures through the whole maze and I even caught my husband taking a few pictures.  So you know it must have been beautiful :)

There were dead ends and Olive thought it was so funny to walk down and realize you couldn't go that way.  She'd just laugh and turn around.  The sunflowers were all way over the kid's heads, but the adults could just see over the top of them.  It was fun to see where other adults were in the maze and kind of gauge where you were headed.  Now on to the sunflower picture overload - sorry, not sorry :)


We visited their little family farm store, played with the friendly farm dogs and road the tractor down to the sunflower field.  It was HOT, but oh so fun.  I brought our small stroller with a sunshade for Fletcher and pushed him through the maze.  I should have put sunscreen on all of us, but I forgot.  I did pack my backpack with snacks and drinks for everyone and that was a nice treat after the maze while we were waiting on the tractor to come back.



Pulling up to the fields:


We let Olive lead the way and she thought the giant flowers were fascinating!  They were nearly twice as tall as her in some spots.  It almost didn't feel like real life because the skies were so blue, perfectly puffy clouds and gorgeous flowers as far as you could see.  I'm SO GLAD we made the trip and hope to make it a yearly tradition.





Fletcher very happily road along in his stroller.  I was a little nervous about how he'd do after he didn't really enjoy our strawberry picking day earlier this summer.  He did great!  He was in the shade and loved touching all the sunflower leaves.  He got out to run around a bit and then headed back to his stroller.  I was thankful for the dry fields so we could easily push the stroller.



Olive kept yelling: THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!!

 

Sweaty parent selfie :)

We made it to about the middle of the maze and made a family decision to head back to the start.  We figured it was better to enjoy ourselves through half of the maze rather than push it too hard and end up with kids in tears at the end.  Good choice!  We all left with smiles on our faces :)


 





We made it to about the middle of the maze and made a family decision to head back to the start.  We figured it was better to enjoy ourselves through half of the maze rather than push it too hard and end up with kids in tears at the end.  Good choice!  We all left with smiles on our faces :)


Real life:
Fletcher was hangry after all that strolling through the sunflowers so he's shoving pretzels in his face here.  Olive is sad because she tripped and fell as we were walking out of the maze.  You can walk to the fields, but we were so thankful for the tractor ride on the hot day.  I'd definitely say it's too long of a walk for little kids.


We headed to the farm store to get some sunflowers to take home with us.  The store sold all kinds of meats, sandwiches, honey and jellies.  The flowers were $1 each and they were huge.  Both kids were super interested in them and I was happy that I had a vase heavy enough to hold them when we got home.




Thanks for the memories, Sunflower Maze!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Polka-Dotty Garden

We moved into our house one year ago and we have done a ton of work inside and out.  We focused on all of the inside projects last summer and have been doing yard projects this summer.  The yard had very little landscaping so it's been really fun to clear out areas and add in our favorite plants.  I do not have a green thumb, but I've tried hard of the years to learn how to take care of plants.  I seem to have better luck with outdoor plants than indoor ones.

I thought I'd share some gardening tips with you today.  We are landscaping on a budget and have learned some things over the years.  We first landscaped our home in Mississippi.  That house had tons of shrubs and we added in tons of flowering plants.  The climate was so tropical (Zone 8) that it was amazing how well things grew there.

We are now living in Zone 6 so it's been fun to see what grows best in the Midwest.

What type of gardening do you do at your house??
Herbs?  Veggies?  Flowers?  Indoor plants?


Figure Out Your Yard:
If you are living in a new city, scope out your neighbor's yards.  See what is growing really well, take note of what you like or snap a picture and then plant your favorites in your yard.  Watch how much sun/shade each part of your yard get so that you'll know what type of plants to buy.  Most plants will tell you how much sun they need on their label.  That is super helpful when you're learning how to take care of plants.

We planted basic shrubs like Winter Gem Boxwoods and Euonymus.  We picked out some flowering shrubs like red Weigela, Rose of Sharon and I'd love to add in some hydrangeas or peonies eventually.

We planted all the flowers pictured above in our yard and they're all doing well.  I've only managed to kill one plant out of everything we've bought this season so I'm thrilled with that.  Here are the flowers in the picture above:

Scabiosa Pink Mist
Balloon Flower Platycodon Pink
Achillea Vintage Violet
Gaillardia Grandiflora
Coneflower
Crepe Myrtle
Phlox
Veronica
Coneflower

Most places have all of the flowers, shrubs and some trees on sale right now.  It's a great time to stock up on plants at half off if you have time to keep up with the watering.  It's obviously a hot time of year for many places in the country so go ahead and plant if you can commit to watering and fertilizing regularly.

Gardening Journal:
I started keeping track of every plant we bought this year.  I wanted to learn the names of the plants along with the details of caring for them.  I saved the plant tags from each plant and put them in my gardening journal.  It's so fun to flip through it and see all the things we're adding to our garden.  I think it'll be really helpful to keep track of what grows well (annuals & perennials) so we know what to buy more of in the future.

It also came in handy when we had to return a dead plant.  I had the plant tag, knew the price and keep my plant receipts in the back.

We focused mostly on adding perennials to our yard.  I wanted the most bang for our buck and knew that by adding plants that would come back year after year would be a great investment.  We have picked up plants at our local garden centers, Wal-Mart, Rural King, Lowes and Meijer.  If you're wanting to ask questions and learn about the plants stick to buying from local garden centers.  You can likely get a better deal at big stores, but it's harder to find knowledgeable people to help you there.

Potted Plants:
If you've got a patio or don't have a very big yard, pots are a great planting option!  Just figure out how much sun you're working with and go pick out some flowers.  My deck and backyard are pretty shady so things like Impatiens do wonderful there.  I love to put 3-5 different varieties of plants in my pots and group them together.  Water them regularly and they'd do great!  I also Miracle Grow them once a week.

Including Your Kids:


Mini tools from Target and Big tools from Amazon. 



My 4 year old loves to garden with us.  She's pretty helpful and loves having her own tools.  I scored her this set of garden tools on super sale from Amazon months ago.  They're metal and work really well.  She also has her own gardening gloves from Target Dollar Spot and both kids have their own tiny watering cans from Wal-Mart.

They love to help dig holes for plants, spread mulch, sweep, pull weeds and water with me.

We let everyone in the family have a say in the plants we buy.  I've found that they get more excited to help when they're invested in our garden.  It's been a fun hobby for us to all do together.



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