January 2011

Nick’s sister and brother-in-law purchased a house fall of 2008 about 10 minutes away from us.  Summer of 2009 his sister, Abby, and I decided to attempt our first garden together in the plot obviously meant for that purpose in their backyard.  It was not a huge success, we got a few tomatoes, some zucchini and a bit of basil.  It was a rough start mostly because as soon as our plants were looking good the end of June, there was a huge hail storm which ruined everything.  Not much came back. . .

So we decided to try again and in the mean time through the fall and winter of 2009-2010 I got some books and resources to learn more.  We decided to try to save money by planting seeds to transplant vs. buying all plants.  I also kept a bit of a garden journal, so now as we prepare for our 2011 garden I”m finally getting around to sharing what we did and learned from 2010.  First of all, after 2009 we thought we needed to enlarge the garden so pulled out the bricks and made it bigger, we got some help from my parents in May when they were out visiting.

By then we had already planted our seeds in April and they were growing well.  We decided to plant them in the garden early June.  I had read that we could plant the seeds in toilet paper rolls and then just transplant the roll and all, for ease, we tried it, and reused in the process. . .



We planted once they got bigger, but still had to purchase some plants, so lesson #1 plant seeds before April to transplant in garden.  We also did not add any extra fertilizer as we had done the year before, so lesson #2 always add steer manure when spring tilling.

We picked our first zucchini/lettuce/basil/cilantro July 21 and successfully grew: tomatoes/peppers/beans/peas/basil/cilantro/zucchini/butternut squash and 1 tiny cucumber.  We tried having the beans and peas climb the corn, but didn’t plan the timing very well, so lesson #3 plant corn before beans and peas so that it can be sturdy enough for the companions to climb.  Our squash also took over the garden, so lesson #4 plant any vine-y squash well away from everything else, so that it can just take over . . . The last bit of gathering and our winterizing of the garden was well into October.  We added leaves and grass clippings to the garden and cut up and added any additional plant remains.  We added a truck full of more dirt and made sure to pull up the remainder of the black tarp which may have hindered the plants growth. We tried to grow a winter crop like Kale or something to keep the ground better, but I think in the end we forgot to water it, so nothing sprouted.  Anyway, many more lessons learned, but hopefully at least those 4 we have planned to tackle for this year, so that we can get more produce.

We’d love any tips or advise on this journey.

We were blessed to spend our Christmas and New Years Eve with family for 2010.  The Girards‘, Nicolas’ mom, brother, and grandparents all travelled from Kansas to be with us (and the Christensens’).  Both of us were off from work between the two holidays, so we were able to spend much time with everyone. 

We all celebrated Christmas together at Abby & Jason’s house, with periodic visitations to various attractions around Denver.  A few days later, we all then joined the Coates’ clan in Buena Vista.  If anyone thinks 3 girls under 6 of age is fun, try 6 girls under 6!  Needless to say, it was a screaming and giggle fest!

Finally, we returned to Littleton for New Years Eve at our home with most everyone, including friends Dan and Angel.  As is our custom, we had a three course fondue of two cheese fondues, meat and veggie fondue, and finally a fruit and chocolate fondue.  Delicious!  Unfortunately the holidays passed quickly and all of the family had to return to their own homes.  It was a wild period with tremendous fun, and we do miss everyone.

Here is a video of pictures and other clips.  We hope you enjoy the story! http://vimeo.com/19032433

We recently decided to reduce our 3 piece bedroom set, down to just a single (but much larger) dresser.  Kara was ready for it too as she has been looking at our old set for nearly 20 years!

Out with the old….

…and in with the new

As most of you, our friends and family know, I like to read books.  In our attempt to de-clutter this year I parted with many books, however I still have many and am getting better about going to the library or borrowing from friends.  Anyway, for whatever reason in 2010 I decided to keep track of the books that I read and now and publishing the list, just for fun.  I’d love to hear comments if you have read some of these or are interested in reading some.  You’ll see fiction and non-fiction, Christian, financial, personal and fun all together.  It was a good year and I think I’ll do this again.

  1. Marley and Me by John Grogen
  2. Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson
  3. The Lies about Money by Ric Edelman
  4. The Bold Truth about Investing by Adam Bold
  5. Peace Child by Don Richardson
  6. Apartment Therapy by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan
  7. The Lady, Her Lover and Her Lord by T.D. Jakes
  8. If I Live to be 100 by Neenah Ellis
  9. Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
  10. The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus by Peter Gomes
  11. The Skin that We Speak by Lisa Delpit
  12. Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
  13. Arkansas by Christine Lynxwiller
  14. Forgiving the Dead Man Walking by Debbie Morris
  15. Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  16. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  17. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  18. No More Monday’s by Dan Miller
  19. What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles
  20. Soon the Light will Come by Thomas A McKean
  21. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  22. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
  23. Reimagining Church by Frank Viola
  24. The Power of Uniqueness by Arthur F. Miller Jr.
  25. The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
  26. Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel by Ronald Allen
  27. Skipping Stones by Paul Barnes
  28. The Bible by God