A master gardener’s farm garden

I have a lot of online gardening crushes. It’s fun to see what other people are doing, and I love reading about new techniques and plant varieties. But nothing is as good as seeing how another gardener does things. That’s why I’m always bugging gardening friends for tours, no matter how small or big their garden is. If they are growing something I want to know, what is working, what is not? What do you like this year the best, what have you learned?

master garden-11

I love the dill on the edge, flowers spilling everywhere – a lot of volunteers I was told, and the half barrel you can see on the far right – that’s overflowing with carrots!

One of my good friends, Kathy, is a farmer. She grows lots of stuff, but most of it I won’t grow (grass seed, winter wheat). She is one of the most interesting people to talk to, I just love seeing how everything works on her farm, so I still want to talk growing and planting. And she is so generous with her time. When my friends from Alaska visited she gave us a tour of her farm and showed the girls cows up close and personal, took the sides off her combine and explained everything, and even let them try sliding down a big bay of wheat! She is always asking if I want fruit from one of the many trees on her property, and towards the end of the summer, her mom starts bringing over boxes of delicious produce when she knows Kathy has friends over. You can guess how thrilled I was when I was finally able to bring over something Kathy and her family like that they didn’t grow (asian pears) to share.

master garden-15

A few fruit trees and grape vines on the property, Kathy has more up at her house “across the street” (3/4 a mile away). 

I’ve been trying to come up with nice ways to say thanks to Kathy and her mom for years, I mean if you tried the tomatoes I get from her garden you would be too! I finally decided to order them a few new tools: my favorite jar lifter (no slips, ever!), and a funnel I’ve already gifted twice before, it has a built in headspace ruler. With those two gadgets and the news that you no longer need to heat jar lids that’s all they’ll need! Oh did I mention that besides working marathon days in the fields Kathy cans with her mom? Yup! They put up things they grow (green beans, grape juice, all manner of fruit goodies, tomatoes, etc.) as well as things from neighboring farmers (like peaches and corn – Kathy was the one who taught me how to milk a cob and make creamed corn, they use it for pancakes!).

master garden-9

My mom is hidden in those towers of tomatoes! We filled a giant box full of 3 varieties of smaller tomatoes – of course they said, help yourself… but we barely made a dent!

I was so happy to get to spend some one on one time with my mom (so rare!) and drive out to deliver the new goodies (her farm is just 20 minutes outside of town, a pretty drive down the river). And without kids I brought my big old camera and snaps some pictures of the amazingly productive garden that Kathy’s mom tends.

master garden-16

Here is a good overview of about a third of the garden. The giant tomatoes and beans (on the right – the tallest she’s ever grown them) block cucumbers, peppers, potatoes and squash, including a large patch of pumpkins for Kathy’s kids to carve.

master garden-14

Here you can see some of those things, along with a swoon worthy compost pile (I mean if you’re semi addicted to compost like me), and cows… you know, just lounging in the background.

master garden-3

Kathy’s mom checks on peppers, which are loaded. You can see the bricks she has around them, to sink heat into and help with ripening. She’s done this for years. But don’t think that she’s set in her ways. I LOVE that she is continuing to try new things. She’s completed master gardener training through our extension (a very time intensive program I hope to do when my kids are older) and still will listen to radio shows on gardening and try new things. She said that this year her husband spread compost around, but didn’t have time to till it in. Also she has noticed a big difference since she started throwing grass clippings mixed with leaves over her garden come late fall, to protect it from our heavy rains, and the compacting they do on the soil. This falls in line with what I have been reading about top down nutrition for soil. Awesome to see it in practice.

master garden-5

I adopted a mini version of this cucumber growing set up after seeing this here a few years ago. She has a tilted trellis and the cucumbers just fall through the back, for easy harvesting, brilliant!

master garden-2

Here she is trying something new to her, a fall/winter bed. Late planted with lettuce (and a fake snake to keep out birds), radishes, chard and peas. She’s not sure all will do well, but just wants to try it out. Of course they repurposed this metal bin, because farmers are nothing if not resourceful!

master gardener tomatoes-13

My main goal in taking pictures was to try and capture how she grows her tomatoes. Pictures do NOT do this justice. Those “healthy kick” tomato plants put out so many paste tomatoes (which are lower in water and better for canning) that she’s already given me FOUR BOXES and canned all she wants for her family, as well as Kathy’s. Um… here’s where it gets embarrassing. I have MORE tomatoes plants in my yard and have gotten about a tenth of what she’s grown (ok probably less). She doesn’t have any better light than me, in fact, her garden gets shaded by the big fir trees you see. I think it’s her pruning, which I have quizzed her on repeatedly. She gives the tomatoes lots of room to breath, but diligently cuts off suckers, and foliage too close to the ground, to deter pests. The amazing thing about the tomatoes you see here is that they were garbage plants. Through an accident the master garden’s planted seedlings in soil contaminated with weed killer, so these were to toss (the master gardener’s put out great sales of starts to raise money, I highly recommend you search one out in your area!). Kathy’s mom took the seedlings brushed them off and re-planted them. The middle shoot came out all wilty so she cut it out, and everything you see are shoots that came up around it. Talk about a happy accident!

master garden-4

One more shot of the gardener with her massive beans…. which by the way she was pressure canning inside when we pulled up.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour. Of course Kathy’s friendship is so special to me (we met rowing crew in college), but I have to say the gardening and the canning is certainly a bonus!

  • mary m - That garden looks fantastic! And sounds like it produces a TON.September 16, 2014 – 9:14 amReplyCancel

The Garden – end of August 2014

I’m sure many of you have guessed that I’ve gone into my yearly canning phase. Yes, yes, I have lots of good stuff put up now, and much of it from MY GARDEN, which is so exciting.

garden end august-4Ah the August garden. So full that it’s had too see the weeds for over flowing blooms, fruit, veggies, and lush green everywhere. I love it, obviously. Where to start (since it’s been a month, oops)? Looking right at this picture you’ll notice two things in the back you won’t see next year: scarlet runner beans and a cherry tree. I was given the wrong cherry tree variety and unfortunately it took four years (and fruiting) to figure it out. This type will grow to large here and has to go. To be replaced by columnar peaches? I’m starting to scheme and dream. The scarlet runner beans are just horrible. Totally gross as a bean. I mean what is up with this bean??? First of all it took FOREVER to fruit. Then the beans go from maybe edible to giant and fibrous overnight. At this point I’m harvesting zero and going to attempt something with the dried beans from the pods instead. I almost made the girls’ bean teepee out of these, what  fail that would have been. They love the yummy purple beans that have been passed down in my family and are happy to snack on those. I have been told after I sowed the scarlet runners that gardeners plant them only for ornamental reasons sometimes. I think that’s weird, but they certainly are pretty. And hummingbirds like them.

garden end august-11

And bees like these. Every time they bloom the bees go crazy for them. It’s really amazing you can get so close and watch them just go to work. I’m enthralled with bees right now after reading this fabulous book called The Bees (seriously click on that and just look at that cover!!!). It’s fiction, about the life of a bee, I was sucked in and read it quick.

garden end august-3

I feel like my garden as a whole could use more flowers. Well maybe not flowers, but color. I’m focused on food right now, but hopefully I’ll have time to learn more about flower gardening as well. Friends have done cut flower gardens this year and they looked lovely. I might have to try that. Even though bouquets in the house aren’t really my thing (I know! But I hate cleaning up after pollen dripping flowers and dead crumbly leaves).

garden end august-5

See where more flowers were in years past I have edible plants like this gorgeous kale.

garden end august-6

Opposite the kale my pumpkins are doing well. I think I’ll have at least four that will ripen well, hopefully five or six. I wanted to focus on this lovely Jarrahdale variety. I grew them last year because my friend had extra seeds and fell in love. I got ONE pumpkin. I Stuffed it and was without a doubt the best meal I’ve ever prepared. So I went to the market to buy more, only it’s not common. I found a similar one and it was ten dollars. They hold very well so I figured eating one a month for four or five months would be a good goal. mmmm cheesy, bacony, yummy goodness I can’t wait for you to be in my belly!!!!

garden end august-8

Almost ready for me to eat you!!!!

garden end august-7

How many melons can you spot? Now these I’m not so sure when I’ll eat. Since I got burned! I was like, “Hey this looks like a melon from the store, I’ll pick it!” only it wasn’t ripe and we couldn’t eat it. And I almost cried. But I think these will ripen, as it’s still hot here (93 today!) and sunny. This trellis Bj made me is working great. Super sturdy. I’m a huge fan of this style of melon growing (especially because it’s the only kind that will fit in my yard!). The apple tree is empty. We have roving raccoons and I was afraid they would try and get some apples and wreck my tree (after all it already suffered a pretty horrible branch loss due to my inability to properly thin). So once they were ripe I just took all the honeycrips. So delicious. I am surprised how early they ripened. I love them, but they’re competing with so many other fresh things to eat! I hope they will hold for a month or two at least in our cool basement.

garden end august-10

Next year I will also be eating grapes, I hope. This one vine is doing great, the other one a little slower, but it will get there. Maybe it will camoflogue our garbage cans, weed bins, and mangled kiddie pool next year. A girl can dream!:)

garden end august-1

Speaking of next year; I am so proud to say I know what I will be picking first thing next year: hopefully some cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts come late winter. Yes I’m trying a winter garden. I have wanted to do this but never got it together to try it. The first year of the garden I had a one year old and hundreds of new plants I knew nothing about. The second year I had a 2.5 year old and when I should have been putting in a winter garden, a miscarriage. The third year a newborn. The forth year a one year old and a 4.5 year old. This year though. I can do it. I think I am finally getting my parenting self together a bit. A two year old and a 5.5 year old don’t take care of themselves, but it is just much more doable for me. Also only having to wake up once at night is wonderful. I digress. I got these starts at Good News Nursery in Hood River. Tuesday and I were going up there for a Daisy Girl Scout day camp and by the time I rolled into the nursery I had five minutes to shop before they closed. I think I did good, considering.

garden end august-2

Here you can see the bed I prepped last month, so those carrots and swiss chard are a month old. A few weeks ago I decided to over seed some of the lesser performing carrot rows and the onions. So now I also have spinach coming up. Bj is going to make me a tunnel out of PVC pipe to put over those two beds and I’ll cover it with plastic, to make a sort of green house. I would love to have fresh greens almost year round. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that my beds are all clean and in good shape. Even my herb bed is freshly mulched and my cane berries have been trimmed and thinned for next year.

garden end august-9

Ya, loving it back here. I am still mostly out here earlier in the day. It just gets too hot to hang out in the afternoon. That’s our rest time anyway, so it works out. That’s when we pick most ripe things. I’ve done great with tomatoes this year. I’ve already put up 15 pints of whole crushed tomatoes in their own juice, and 4 pints of salsa. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to buy any tomatoes, but I didn’t plant any paste or romas. So I probably will for Italian sauce.

garden end august-13

In the front we finally did it. Goodbye giant mess of a willow-grafte-whatever-you-were. Sure, you were pretty but not for this space. Taking gardening classes made me realize it was totally the wrong tree for the space. Of course it won’t willingly die, as you can see. We’ll cut it out stump and all and prep this space for something new. I’m pushing for a trio of super dwarf fruit trees (backyard orchard culture style). Pretty blooms in the spring, fruit in the summer, sounds good to me! The swiss chard in front here is so pretty (and tasty). I plan to sprinkle that seed all over my yard next year. It could almost be an ornamental!

garden end august-14

Sunflowers, while not as impressive as last year (and no I didn’t take a picture somehow), still give a nice bit of privacy to our front porch, where we eat regularly.

garden end august-15

The flowers could all use dead-heading, but I don’t mind the mess of them. It still looks quite nice walking up to our place.

garden end august-12

And you might notice these basil plants. I’ve gotten a few quarries as to if I’m going to plant them. Nope. They love it here and I am totally doing this every year. I went to the store and happened to see basil was $3.99 a (small, not organic) bunch. I figured I would have to bulk order basil since mine never seems to grow well, or it gets over shadowed or something. Then we walked back to the garden center and they had these $7.99 basil plants marked down to $1.99 (this was maybe the beginning of August?). They looked healthy and I figured I’d just take the basil from them and toss the roots into my compost. But when I started cutting them there was so much nice new growth I just took the taller stems and made sure there were no flowers (flowers make the basil put all it’s energy into seed growth instead of leaf growth). I’ve done this twice and look at them! You can’t even tell, it’s nuts! I’ve put away enough pesto to last at least a year and a half, and that’s accounting for keeping my mom in pesto too. 19 containers the first time, 5 big ones the second time (I bet 4 pounds of pesto!) and I could keep going. I’ll pull these in when it gets too cold and see how long I can keep them going inside. This is a tip I must remember for next year.

How is your garden? What did you learn gardening this summer?

  • Julie - Your yard looks amazing! Please come and work in mine!!August 28, 2014 – 4:41 pmReplyCancel

  • Dee - Your garden is *so* beautiful. I really like your kale in the front. I am moving towards an edible landscape and plan to have blueberry bushes, kale, and strawberries in my front bed. I may have to copy your melon trellis. I didn’t trellis my squash and they have gone wild in the garden. This summer, I learned that my tomatoes like to be left alone. The ones I watched and treated with tender care didn’t do well while the ones I ignored fruited tremendously.August 31, 2014 – 9:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Place Under The Pine - First time here and I have to say I love you backyard, it’s a great mix of garden and playground, organized but lived in, real. I really like the edible landscape too, it’s nice to have colourful flowers popping up in amongst the vegetables.

    What have I learned this summer? That my garden is small, and I need to realize that. I cannot cram plant after plant into such a small place and expect them all to do well. Also, my family can eat through a seemingly endless supply of raspberries. Mmm.
    Here is my latest garden update if you are interested http://theplaceunderthepine.blogspot.ca/2014/09/garden-2014-update-5-and-more.htmlSeptember 10, 2014 – 1:53 pmReplyCancel

The Garden – end of July 2014

Such a lovely time in the garden. I’m staying up much too late writing this entry, but I have to, as everything will change tomorrow I’m sure! Things are growing so fast!

garden sunflowers-1

 

In the front yard the small amount of sunflowers that came up are looking great, but no where near the huge stand we had last year, I’m still not sure why. We do love these though. That bush in the front is dying, I have no idea why.

garden end of july-24

In the backyard the marigolds are taking over. I’ve never had them go nuts like this. Most were from a six pack of sad tiny starts I got for free outside a master garden sale. I love the cosmos, but next year I also want to plant zinnias, my mom has some that are amazing.

garden end of july-12

More flowers, with veggies tucked in and the bean teepee center of this area. The girls love it. I love that they come out here and snack. Cherry tomatoes, beans, apples, berries of all kinds. It makes me so happy that they love all the fresh food.

garden end of july-23

Opposite side of the yard a bit of a mess of things I squeezed too close together. After snapping this I decided to clear out a bit of the butternut squash vine, thinking it was doing nothing. The section I chose to cut out of course had a mini squash on it; the only one on this huge vine. ARGH. Hopefully happy bees will help me get at least one more. I’ve never succeeded in growing my own from seed before. The cucumbers have mildew, but that’s nothing around here. Pepper and tomatoes are good, I’ve brought in a few of each.

garden end of july-10

The opposite view, many more almost there.

garden end of july-9

I hope this nearly perfectly prepared bed will yield me some good late fall/winter veggies. I have been very carefully keeping it moist so that my seeds will germinate. The swiss chard came up great. I was surprised how well the carrots did, but I don’t see any onions. I’m going to order more seeds, as mine were pretty old.

garden end of july-22

Look an eggplant! No, I’ve never cooked an eggplant, but isn’t it pretty?

garden end of july-14

Down below pumpkins are coming along. Thank goodness! I’m counting on these for long storage food from my yard. I’d love to have stuffed pumpkins in the very deep of winter.

 

garden end of july-16

I made some melon hammocks. When do I know how to pick it?!? I must do some research. Same with these:

garden end of july-15

Should I pick and store my honeycrisps? I have been eating them fresh, and they are a bit tart, but overall so lovely. I dried all the ones from my under pruning accident. I talked last time about not pruning my apples as much as I was supposed to… and  a big branch cracked and broke off. HORRIBLE. The break was terrible and into the tiny four year old trunk. I so hope the tree survives, otherwise it’s at least three, probably four more years without apples. SAD FACE.

garden end of july-19

Which means I should probably take care of my asian pears before the same thing happens to them. I did some emergency picking today, but I have to get out there with a ladder (not so easy with the kids).

garden end of july-13

I’m including this so you can see our plum tree I mentioned in the last post. See how high up the ripe ones are? So close, and so far away. I did snag these from my mom’s:

garden plums-1

Her and my step dad don’t care for plums. I have heard this from quite a few people this last week. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!? These are little bits of heaven, truly! I think they are damson plums? I’ve been trying to figure out what these kind are, any one have ideas? These are similar to ours, but not exactly the same.

garden end of july-18

I am still chipping away at the chips in the driveway. I covered the back corner of the yard with cardboard and put a thick layer of chips here. It was getting a bit mucky. I’m still not sure exactly what we are going to do back here. It was supposed to be a play structure. I’ve been day dreaming about a pond and ducks. Or pretending my yard was bigger and somehow putting in a swimming pond. Ya, I’m obsessed with them, they looks so awesome. Always dreaming of the next thing.

What are you doing or dreaming about in your garden?

 

 

  • Julia - Okay, your front porch is just darling with all the lovely sunflowers! And the garland… I LOVE it! I planted my cosmos in a pot, and sadly they didn’t make it. They were taken over by ants and couldn’t be saved. I have a pot of zinnias that I love! I will definitely plant more next year. They are perfect cutting flowers. Eggplant is really yummy roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. And I know it can be used in lasagna too, but I’ve never tried it. Your back garden is looking lovely as well. Those plums are amazing!August 1, 2014 – 5:22 amReplyCancel

    • Amber - Julia,
      Oh no on the ants, we had a lot this year too, I put out Terro a few times (I know, but they were so thick!). I have a post planned about the garland, it was so fun to make!
      AmberAugust 1, 2014 – 9:23 amReplyCancel

  • mary m - Everything in my yard died. I need to empty the potato bag to see if any grew, but I’m doubtful. The tomatoes are still chugging along, but I’ve gotten 2. Dexter keeps figuring out how to get at them and then he rips the plant and eats all of the tomatoes, ripe or green, he doesn’t care. Darn dog.August 1, 2014 – 8:35 amReplyCancel

    • Amber - Mary don’t worry so much about the potatoes, you should dig them up and see what is there. I believe they grow the tuber part we eat after the plant flowers and dies, so it may not be a sign that all is unwell. Even though mine looked absolutely horrible I still got 4 potatoes, and my plants never even really grew.
      AmberAugust 1, 2014 – 9:21 amReplyCancel

Plum good – my favorite plum canning recipes

Our lovely plum tree is in full production! This is the biggest bunch of plums we’ve picked from it so far; two five gallon buckets almost full. Everything lined up perfectly this year. One big problem we have in the pacific northwest with growing stone fruits is the bloom time. They bloom when it’s raining! And bees don’t like that, so things don’t get pollinated. I love to see the soft white blooms of this tree, and I knew when I saw them FOR WEEKS that we would have lots of plums. It was a weird streak of sunny in the spring. These are Bj’s favorite edible from our yard, for sure. He went so far as to rig up a “plum catcher 9000″ before we had the shed, to catch our precious few. The shed helped us this year, as it gave us a place to stand and pick from. We took turns on it’s roof gathering from the lowest branches, a full 15 feet up. There are still LOTS for the birds.

april 15-1

This picture of our messy yard is from April 15. The tree has already bloomed out and is in full leaf, you can see the trunk coming up behind the shed and a little bit of the canopy. I don’t have many pictures of it because it’s so high up! When I first moved in the backyard was so overgrown towards the fence I didn’t even know I had a plum tree (until my creepy neighbor showed up IN MY DINING ROOM while I was working on the restorations saying, “Did you know you had a plum tree?” and handing me a plum. I called about a fence the next day!).

plum canning-2

So yes, we had lots of plums. And I think the reason I never see these small plums in stores is because they go bad quickly. We picked them on Sunday night and when I got to the bottom of the buckets Tuesday already some were spoiled beyond using (it has been very warm, so I’m sure that didn’t help). The other reason may be that they are clingstone plums. Oh bother, a bit of a pain. For part of the recipes I squeezed out the pits before hand and for the other I got them out after (using a food mill like this – but mine is from an estate sale). I am super happy with all of these (from left):

1. Asian Plum Sauce. This recipe is from the Ball Complete Book of Canning (affiliate link). I’ve linked to the hardcover version of this book because I think it is an absolute essential. It has hundreds of recipes, great tips and general guidelines. I write in mine noting the years I’ve tried various recipes, how I tweaked them, and the results. I really chose this recipe because I was at a loss at what to make with all the plums! And I’m so pleased with it. Sweet, but not overly so, and so good on pork. I think this will make a great stir fry sauce as well.

2. Plum Lemonade Concentrate. OH MY GOODNESS! This one is a bit over the top! I needed an easy sanity saver plum recipe and this was one. Hardly hands on. Cook plums for a bit, then hang in cheesecloth overnight to extract the juice, combine with other ingredients in the morning and bring to 190 degrees then can. Done! I use this amazing stockpot from All Clad (wedding present!). I love the steaming baskets. I just line the small one with cheese cloth and put in the fruit; making juice is so simple this way (works for any fruit), and completely covered, so no bugs get in there.  The recipe notes to make this 1:1 with water. It is still so intensely sweet. I mixed a pint with a full 2 liter of non flavored seltzer water plus a bunch of ice and it made a very refreshing punch type drink. At home I just make up fizzy water in the soda stream I got Bj a few years ago and then add a dash of this to a glass (plus ice), instead of their syrups. I love it. In fact I think I’m going to make more concentrates in little bottles. I need to do some research on canning in bottles to see if that is possible because I think these would make fun gifts.

3. Plum BBQ sauce. The recipe calls for peaches, but I think plums and peaches can be pretty well interchanged. This is also in the Ball book, but they have some of the recipes on their site as well. Also good. A tangy not spicy sauce that would make a good marinade. I had some pork loin dipped in here and it was great.

4. Plum butter. Oh baby is this stuff rich. I think some of this is going to be presents for holiday time. Mmmm in the winter on warm toast? Yes! And I am sold on this style of cooking preserves! Another time saver. You mix up with fruit, spices, and sugar. Mash it together and let it sit overnight. Then you pop it in the oven and cook it way, way down. Mine never boiled, nor scorched in any way, so it was a simple way to cook without having to be hands on (I was actually baby sitting a friend’s kids at the time so I was really hands off!). Now getting the pits out of this was a bit of a trick as I didn’t squeeze them out before hand. The foodmill helped, but I wanted all the yummy chunky bits of skin in there so I had to hand squeeze them out of the sticky buttery mess. If you click on the link you should know I used an asian plum (I’m not sure what variety I have) not a prune plum.

plum canning-1

Here is Tuesday being a goofy model. I told her to have a sip of the drink and a bite of the muffin, but she wouldn’t do it! The drink yes, but the muffin for some reason she just didn’t want any so she did this nice pose:)

plums-1

I wish I had a better picture, but this phone snap from last year is the best I could find (I guess we eat them pretty quick!). I wanted to show them so you could see what type I used.

I would love to know what you do with plums! There are still trees around loaded with fruit, and prune plums (the dark purple kind) are not quite ripe. With those I make a straight up plum jam.  If you’d like a general post about canning from me I’d be happy to write one. I do have a few tips and tricks. Happy canning!

  • Julia - How lucky you are to have a plum tree in your backyard! The plum butter sounds absolutely amazing! Feel free to send a jar my way :) July 30, 2014 – 5:58 pmReplyCancel

Backyard fun and fun with toys

I think the best thing about working like crazy out in the yard is when I get to enjoy it with friends! When I was in high school my best friend Carmen went to Japan for a year on an exchange, I was heartbroken! While she was gone a super sweet girl came to live with her parents. And this last week she came back to visit, so Carmen came to visit too – as her and Tomoko had never actually met!

backyard fun-1

Look at all our cute girls! The big girls are all with in six months of each other, and the little ones all within a year of each other. Such sweetness.

Last night I had an all girl party of a different sort. My friend Tracy is a Discovery Toys consultant and since I’ve wanted to have a Discovery Toys party since I was a kid (really!) I asked to host her first party!

discovery party-1

It was awesome! I made my easy bean salad, cut up some veggies, got some fun vintage type sodas and we sat and ate and chit chatted and looked at toys for a few hours. With a few cute little babies.

Here is a link to my party in case you are interested in any toys. I love these things so much. When I was younger my mom had a Discovery Toys party and got a few things for us. She got us something they don’t sell any more, a Think it Through. Did any one else play with one of these? It’s a self correcting puzzle of sorts. There is something similar and I already have it for Tuesday, the It’s a Match. I picked up the level three set at my party. I love that she can play with this thing for hours by herself, and check herself to see if she is correct. It is fabulous for the car.

They have a bunch of other fun stuff, for older and younger kids, and family games, so fun! Tracy doesn’t know I’m doing this, but if you’re in my area and want to have a party she is really good and it was so fun. I’ve never done a “party” for anything else (candles, kitchen stuff, etc.), even though I worked for a (now defunct) consultant scrapbooking company out of college. I was the warehouse manager and purchaser so I didn’t actually do parties. This was super laid back, gabbing about kids and looking at toys. The only problem was that Tuesday was pretty jealous!

  • Julia - Those are some really cute little girls!! It sounds like you are having lots of fun with friends this summer!July 18, 2014 – 1:40 pmReplyCancel

  • mary m - It was lots of fun–your backyard is so versatile!July 22, 2014 – 8:14 amReplyCancel

  • carmen - Cute photo! We had so much fun with you guys! Actually Tomoko was with us our Sophomore year so I got a whole year with her before I went to Japan my Junior year!July 25, 2014 – 9:36 amReplyCancel