Everywhere I go, I see signs. Literal and figurative signs grab my attention. Some messages make me laugh while others makes me think. Three words pack a punch, “Me vs Me.”
Hon, do you see signs that speak to you?
My mother loved to garden. Her roses were lush, hearty, and fragrant, and their maroon and pink petals were as soft as velvet. Before I walked to elementary school, she’d cut stems, crinkle tin foil around the bottoms, and tell me to give the flowers to my teachers. I’d walk the whole way smelling sweetness.
Irises and strawberries were also abundant in my mother’s garden, while my father cultivated tomatoes and cucumbers. I’d pick wild raspberries and blackberries which grew on the hill behind my childhood home. Needless to say, roses are my favorite flowers.
Though I share my mom’s love of writing, I did not inherit her green thumb. If the garden in front of my house were my mother’s, the roses would bloom large and healthy. My roses are not. I prune them regularly, cutting off spent blossoms at an angle, and though they smell sweet, their petals are thin and their leaves are being eaten by garden pests. What to do?
I came across this organic pesticide in the article Safe Rose Spray Recipe That Really Works by Meghan Shinn in Horticulture.
Hon, do you have any tips for keeping roses healthy?
More than 5,000 rose bushes grow at Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Pa., where the gardening staff works hard to keep them free of pests and diseases. They use a chemical spray in the main garden, but they did not want to use this spray in the dedicated Children’s Garden. Instead, they came up with the following safe rose spray recipe, which they’ve found to be very effective.Horticulture
Mix vinegar and water, then add baking soda, dish soap and vegetable oil. Stir mixture into one gallon water. Pour into spray bottle and spray on roses’ foliage. Reapply every seven to ten days or after a rainstorm.
I haven’t posted a recipe in awhile, but I’m still collecting them! Every time I see something interesting, I “Bookmark” it on my computer. So many recipes to try!
I discovered this recipe for Strawberry Galette by Naz Deravian in the Cooking section of The New York Times. Though not complicated, this recipe takes time. I read comments and found out some steps can be skipped. I needed to make this dairy-free and nut-free, so I used non-dairy whipping cream, margarine, and rice flour. Hubby whipped up whipping cream and, hon, the dessert was delicious!
A strawberry galette served with a side of fresh whipped cream or ice cream is a spring salve that is just as soothing to prepare for oneself as it is to share with others. Inspired by the baker Alice Medrich’s yogurt-butter pie dough, the dough in this recipe includes almond flour for a flaky, subtly nutty crust that comes together without much fuss. This dough is very forgiving and works well with the rustic charm of a galette. It’s OK if the edges of the crust crack and some juices leak. Even out-of-season strawberries would work, as there’s just enough sugar here to coax them back to life. Make sure you give the galette enough time to rest before slicing into it, so that the juices have time to set.The New York Times Cooking Section
Theresa Julian’s newest book, Calling Dibs, Jinx, Shotgun, and Other Things No One Knows the Rules to is a natural third book in her series with the The Joke Machine and 101 Hilarious Pranks and Practical Jokes. Like the Joke and Pranks books, illustrated by Pat Lewis, Calling Dibs, illustrated by Kim Griffin, is a funny, punny guide on “who gets dibs on the last slice of pizza” and “who’s ‘it’ when two people call ‘not it’ at the same time.” The book was written with 8-12 year-olds in mind, but anyone who wants to connect with kids and nostalgic adults will laugh-out-loud at Theresa’s rules and game challenges.
Theresa, critique-partner, writer-friend, and fellow triplets-mom, is getting good press! Time for Kids magazine featured her “How to Write Funny” advice and Highlights for Children Magazine asked her to share some “tips and tricks of the trade.” So cool!
Easy DIY Father’s Day Cards!
Preschool may have ended, but my students still have a present to give–adorable, easy DIY Father’s Day cards where their handprints transform into leaves on a tree. This idea is fun for preschoolers and elementary age children. I think my students’ dads will like the message, “No matter how tall I grow, I will always look up to you.” Sweet!
New ceramics supplies at the Visual Arts Center of NJ means time to experiment! I’ve been creating textured dishes with the studio’s GR Pottery Forms. These cool, fiberboard shapes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and I’ve been having fun trying out different forms, applying textures, and finishing with different glaze combinations.
Next up will be small, wheel-thrown bud vases. Hon, I’ll let you know how they turn out.
I’m re-posting this poem, a prayer, from last Memorial Day with an added line.
In this year,
an historic year
of a global pandemic,
economic and educational disparities,
racial and religious hatred,
ideological and political divides,
innocence and freedom terrorized,
and our beautiful, irreplaceable earth
in deep trouble,
remember those who have served our country
and those who still do,
sons and daughters
whose families long to embrace them
and welcome them home.
Hon, you know I like to post happy things with occasional contemplations. But.
But my heart is heavy after yet another school shooting amidst a spate of violence in a disease that has infected the United States. Thoughts of horror in classrooms invades my mind and I tell myself to think of the ocean, the forest, the mountains and sky.
Throughout the year at the preschool, we drill for emergencies: fire, shelter-in-place, and active shooter. The morning after the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas we drilled.
My co-teacher had taken three children to the bathroom, so I was alone in the classroom with six two year-olds when we were heard “Active shooter in the building!” Should we stay in the classroom or run?
I blacked out the window on our door, bolted the door, and told my kids to get down and stay quiet. It was hard for them. Was Miss Naomi serious? She never speaks in that tone. My tone said Now! I mean it! Shhh!
As soon it seemed safer to run, we did. My toddlers are little and their wobbly legs can’t run fast without tripping and falling. I scooped up one, held hands with three, and teachers who were running with their students through my classroom scooped up the others and ran holding them.
We gathered outside. One teacher didn’t know it was a drill.
The critique from our security guard? Run much, much farther.
I posted the video of the New York City Children’s Choir singing Holy Night December 15, 2012, the day after the horrific Sandy Hook School tragedy. At the time, my youngest wanted to know if December 14 would become a national day of mourning. We’d have to add February 14 for Parkland and many more.
I can’t stop thinking about the precious children whose eyes tear up when they look at their teachers for reassurance. Is this a drill or real?
Researching color trends put me in the mood to paint, and learning how to create a butterfly and hummingbird garden has–ummm-planted the idea in my head! “How to Build a Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden” was published in the April-May 2022 issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, and since it came out, I’ve been thinking about starting one. A couple of years back, when I covered a design mansion and then toured it, there was a lovely, four-season garden. Maybe I can combine the two…
As an added bonus, the butterfly pics accompanying the article are mine! When I showed my wonderful editor, Kara, the photographs I’d taken, she said she’d use them instead of stock photography–yay!
Hon, have you ever planted a butterfly or hummingbird garden? Did you get lots of visitors?