Saturday, July 9, 2022

Mid-Summer Garden Update | 2022

Hello from my favorite place to be - in the garden! 

Walking around my garden has become the "bookends" to my summer days. It's my favorite way to start the day, and to end it. A couple weeks ago, my husband added lights to the deer fence he built for us this Spring. The lights have completely transformed this space. After we get the kids to bed, Nick and I meet out here in the garden to sit and admire the space as we chat and wind down from our days.

Things are growing quite nicely, despite some pest pressure. We have battled slugs - which was mostly a problem in the Spring. Our more recent pest pressure has come from cucumber beetles (which are also loving our bean trellis). A new pest I found this morning was a clicking beetle, which is wreaking a new kind of havoc on the cucumber foliage. 

I'm just glad the pests have been leaving my tomatoes alone - which are my favorite plants in the garden. I chose to spend a lot of time learning about how to care for tomatoes and how to prune them for the best yield. I think we'll start to see the fruit of my efforts in the next month! Then, I will divide my focus to add harvesting, canning and preserving to the mix.

Speaking of harvesting, I finally got to harvest my first round of garlic last weekend! For my zone (6a) I will continue to plant garlic around Halloween and harvest around Independence Day. It worked so well! I cannot wait to start using this garlic in our different canning recipes and cooking in the coming months!

I love to look back on the progress we have made with the garden. It was only last Fall when I was sitting in a chair with my sketch pad, dreaming of what this space could look like. I made a five year plan for this space and Nick has absolutely helped make year one come true! 

Fall, 2021

Spring, 2022

The beds and fence are in - next we will be working toward a chicken coop for the Spring. But, that will all come in time. For now, it is important to stay in the present moment and to appreciate the space we've built, just as it is right now.

For more on our garden, you can follow our new YouTube channel: Gracefully Grown.

If you're interested in seeing a peak of our homestead from last Fall - Spring, you can watch this new video I just posted about overwintering garlic.


It's incredible to see how it once looked like compared to the mid-summer garden we have today!

Friday, July 8, 2022

Our Summer Staycation | 2022

The past couple years our family has been taking a week-long "staycation". Last year, Laney was only 6 months old and at that time we didn’t want to travel away from home to go on a vacation. We enjoyed our staycation so much last summer that we decided to do another staycation this summer!

This past year we have felt the need to invest more of our time and money into making our home a space where we don’t need to take a vacation from. We put a lot of our resources into making a beautiful garden space this year with the "staycation" idea in mind! 

We will of course want to travel away from home again in the future but staying at home for staycation these past couple years has been a good plan for us considering the season of life we’re in.

Our staycation was much different this year now that Laney is a toddler! She got to have a lot more fun with us!

A friend of mine gave us some good advice to not over plan our days during our 10-day staycation. We only scheduled one outing or activity each day and went with the flow the rest of the time. It made the week go by at a perfect pace. We weren’t saying “that went so fast” at the end of our time together. It felt like the time went by just right.

Our first outing was a beach night! Piper quickly found a friend that we just happened to run into that evening and so she had a lot of fun in the lake with her. Laney enjoyed testing out the water with her feet, and eventually sat down in the lake amidst the low waves. 

At this particular beach, there is a playground nearby. We ended the evening on the swings overlooking the lake. It was such a nice way to start our staycation! We are so blessed to live near such a beautiful lake.

On Monday, we went to the zoo! Piper has been coming to the zoo ever since she was Laney's age. She still loves going to the zoo and Laney is beginning to love it, too!

On Tuesday, we spent the morning at home. We ate lunch and then after Delaney woke up from her nap, we went to Water World and Waldameer!

We have season passes to our local amusement park and while we visit it every Friday during the summer, we don't very often go to the water park side. This day trip felt like a special occasion for us all!

On Wednesday, we grabbed stromboli's from a local tavern and visited with our friends for a "kids and karts" night! The kids road around with Piper's go kart and other fun atv type things!

On Thursday, I took a bit of a self care day which included a haircut for Piper and I.

On Friday, we went to a local campground where we have a membership to access their pool and splash pad! 

Piper was lucky enough to run into friends again - which is another awesome thing about staycations! She swam with her friends while Nick and I got to play with Laney at the splash pad for a bit.

From Saturday - Monday, we spent the rest of our days hanging around home. We gardened and relaxed quite a bit! Each night, we had a different picnic to attend with friends and family to celebrate independence day.

It was icing on top of the cake to have the end of staycation met by fireworks and picnics with our family and friends! Many memories were made. We had the best time!

Friday, July 1, 2022

Hello July and... Easter?

Happy first day of July! Want to watch our Easter vlog? ...Random? Yes! That's how far behind I am on editing videos.

This past week my husband took off work so our family could have a staycation! We have done a lot of fun things that I might be able to share with you by Christmas. Just kidding... kind of.

Let me get caught up on Easter, first. Here's the long awaited Easter vlog that I've filmed and edited mostly for my own memory's sake. Enjoy!