How Does Your Garden Grow?

As a kid we always had a small garden, it started out as just a few tomatoes and eventually we had about 6 rows of corn. Being small I always thought the "corn field" was endless, I spent lots of time in there, weeding with my mom. Even though we lived in the suburbs, as a kid I was aware of the farms just a few miles away cultivating delicious veggies (none of which I'd eat as a kid). Growing up in upstate New York there were lots of apple orchards and corn fields to play in we took it for granted.
I have never thought of myself as a gardener although I have have had a few in my time. Matthew suggested we grow food instead of just watering all that grass. So we decided to rip out some of the lawn, it makes sense, how many times have I been caught with out parsley or thyme or an onion, why not expand out little growing area? Now we are older and wiser and have moved the garden to triple the growing space. We have three planting areas other than the main veggie patch, one for herbs, one for squashes and beans and one for tomatoes.
As my daughters tastes grow so does our garden, it all goes hand in hand, the more she tastes the more she likes. Last year we had a nice garden, I let kidlet plant, pick and generally abuse the garden in her own cute way.
Last September I showed you some of our beans and flowers from our small garden.
I think we will have so much food this year, melons, squash, greens, berries, onions, herbs, if we do we can put it in our red wagon and take it to the neighbors. The first photo here is before the rain and the second is after a few days of rain, the garden exploded!
Kidlet loves helping in the garden, sneaking sweet peas and strawberries, and pointing out the good and bad bugs. She has already eaten 5 ripe sweet strawberries, I don't think we will be making a pie!!
You don't need a large patch to grow veggies, even a window box will do. Just grow something for your kids to explore, taste and care for, it gives them such a sense of accomplishment.
You could make a pizza garden by growing herbs and tomatoes for making their very own pizza!
Now when I am stressed I go out to the garden and water, weed or just admire the strength of the emerging plants, maybe that is what my mom was doing in our little garden when I was a kid and just playing in the corn?

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Toddler Café Tuesday - Where Glop Tastes Good!

It's Toddler Café Tuesday. Our book has been out about a year now and I thought it was time to start sharing more of the recipes with you, my loyal readers. If you read my blog you know I love to use up the stragglers in my pantry and fridge. This recipe is no exception, have a forgotten fruit cup hanging around? This recipe is so simple and it is a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies.

Tropical Glop

Dips are fun and interactive for toddlers. They can scoop it up with cut pieces of veggies and fruit or spread it onto slices of bread.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces cream cheese

One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained

Two 4-ounce fruit cups, tropical or peach, drained

1/2 cup diced or shredded carrots

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup toasted unsweetened desiccated coconut

Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 20 seconds to soften. Add the fruit, carrots, and salt to the bowl and use a stick blender to blend for 2 minutes, or until combined.

To toast the coconut, place it in a dry sauté pan on medium heat and watch closely. When you see it starting to turn light brown, stir the coconut around constantly to brown the rest evenly. Then pour it onto a plate to stop cooking.

Sprinkle the dip with the toasted coconut. Serve with apple slices, carrot, celery, or pretzel sticks.

Toddler Tip:

Have your child “draw” shapes on their plate using the veggie as a pen and the dip as the ink.

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