Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. (Psalm 4:7)

We’ve been very busy this week at our house, bringing in the first fruits of our summer gardening ventures,  and squeezing the most out of our summer vacation before the school year resumes. Here are the highlights from a wonderful week.

1. God Loves a Cheerful Giver
Jewelry making (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013

I have enjoyed creating jewelry out of the zillions of paper beads I’ve made this summer. It is like magic, to see how the beads turn out, as I slowly roll thin paper strips into beads.

My youngest son wants to start a craft project, and I would love the idea of making some of our own gifts this year. We saw an article on how to create friendship bracelets that would be a great way to use some of the paper beads.

For details, see “Friendship Bracelets – All Grown Up,” at Martha Stewart Living.

2. Enjoying the Bounty of the Garden (Now and Later)

We have had the most amazing summer weather for gardening: hot temperatures, with thunderstorms a couple of times a week. Little need to water, and plenty of sun for vegetable plant growth. We have been bringing in hot peppers by the bucketload for a couple of weeks, and now the cherry tomatoes, eggplants and summer squash are ready. I have been experimenting with recipes for putting up all those hot peppers into sauces, chutneys and relishes to enjoy all year round. My last endeavor: South Indian Pickled Eggplant.
All kinds of hot sauces, chutneys and relishes. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013.

3. Ooh… Now This Would Make My Heart AND Mouth Glad!

I have a Pinterest board with about a zillion recipes to try. The latest entries…

  • Sweet and Savory Gelato
  • Plum Jam
  • Mississippi Mud Cake
  • Marinated Grilled Zucchini, Feta and Huckleberries
  • Pork Loin Braised in Milk

Take a look, at “Mmmm… This Recipe Looks Good!

4. Come Into the Garden

We are blessed to have four garden plots in a community garden near our home.  This garden has been such a blessing to our bodies, minds and spirits. I have noticed honeybees on the white clover in the walkways — such a wonderful thing to see, since honeybee populations have declined drastically over the past years. I am very interested in ways to attract bees, and have enjoyed reading about Martha Stewart’s beekeeping — a “maybe someday” garden endeavor!

In the meantime, I have begun making a list of seeds to buy for fall planting. My favorite source is Seeds of Change.

You can read all about our garden adventures and nature studies we conduct in the garden, at “A Child’s Garden” on Facebook.
My mom helping out in the Three Sisters bed of our garden plot. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013

5. Summer Homeschool
Shakespeare, Kipling and other summer readings.

We are using our summer days to go back to previous years so we can read texts that somehow didn’t make it on the list, that we didn’t finish, or that we just loved so much that we want to read them again. Since we didn’t start homeschooling our youngest until the end of first grade, we decided to go back to Ambleside Year 1 and fetch the books that we haven’t yet been able to read: Fifty Famous Stories, Retold… Our Island StoryParables From NatureJust So Stories…  and many others. I collected links to the year 1 electronic resources on a Pinterest board, “Ambleside Year 1 Texts and Resources,” for future reference.

6. Back the the (Original) Garden

We have been studying Genesis and the story of the origin of our world. If you want to see a beautifully done video of the Creation, the Garden and the Flood, please view Genesis: The Creation and the Flood, which is set in Morocco, and brings the stories to life for the whole family.  There is a great map of the location of Eden at Ancient Roots. We are tying our copywork to our Bible study by using Write Through the Bible – a great copywork, vocabulary and memory verse resource.

7. Getting Ready for Homeschool and Classroom
Follow Simple Science Strategies on Pinterest. (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2010.

Classroom teachers are preparing (already!) for a new school year. I have been compiling helpful resources and current events articles for science teachers on Simple Science Strategies on Pinterest. Recent additions:

8. Don’t You Just Love This?
Great summer gathering idea: a S’mores party! (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2011

Sometimes there are just things that delight the heart, like the inhabitable tree houses that you can see in the linked photo gallery.  So you pin them to a “once, upon a dream” Pinterest board.

I found an article on how to throw a S’Mores party. Wow! I recently bought all the fixings, and was waiting for a time to make them. Now I’m thinking that I’ll turn the event into a party. Wouldn’t that be fun?

9. Cooking from the Garden

I have been cooking (and my family has been eating) this week. Besides all the hot sauce recipes I previously mentioned, I have also made another batch of our favorite dry rub (the only way we make ribs, now), morenos y cristianos (beans and rice), and Puerto Rican style sofrito (which I’m putting in everything, now). Great way to use the hot peppers from the garden. And the youngest who hates visible pieces of onions/garlic/peppers/tomatoes/etc has been gobbling up anything made with the sofrito. Which, of course, is made from onions/garlic/peppers/etc etc etc.

{PS – You can check out my “Mmmm… This Recipe Looks Good!” Pinterest board for these recipes, too.}

10. Butterfly Friends in the Garden
Gardens and butterflies go together! (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2013

A garden is an instant classroom. We have had so many different buggy friends as a result of gardening. Recently, we saved a tomato hornworm to bring home as a nature study, along with a cute little skipper caterpillar. Our swallowtail caterpillar emerged as a beautiful black swallowtail, and flew away to a new life. My eldest son was surprised by a giant luna moth caterpillar on his front door one evening. A cricket has taken up housekeeping in the kitchen windowsill. And there’s a katydid that plants itself on the screen door in front, every night. Everyone in the family has joined in to photo document our wild friends. We are collecting the photos in “Butterflies, Moths and Other Buggy Friends” on Facebook.

Looking Ahead to Next Week…

On deck for next week: an online “shop” for the paper bead jewelry, fish studies, more garden bounty, and a summary of the inquiry workshop that I’m attending this week.

Be blessed!

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings