Seed Sowing

The warm weather over the last few weeks has helped us celebrate the arrival of Spring - and brought the joy of an 'early summer'. Thankfully, the brighter mornings and evenings extend our days, providing time for extra leisure time activities. There are a lot of walkers, joggers and cyclists on our roads - it's wonderful to see.

For those of you who like to have a more relaxed approach to the good weather, the sowing of seeds could be a perfect fit. One project I try to focus on at this time of year is planting some flower and vegetable seeds - in the hope of a bountiful harvest later on. Almost twelve years ago I became a member of the Irish Seed Savers Association (ISSA), based in Scarrif, Co Clare, so this is where I get my selection. They're an amazing conservation organisation, and so far, I have tried only a small sample of their seed collection. Looking through their catalogue will have you drooling with excitement. 

Organisations like the Irish Seed Savers Association constantly need supporters to help them to continue their collection and protection of some native seeds, plants and trees.

So, to celebrate Earth Day, we thought one of our followers should get the chance to experience the treasures the ISSA offer.

Therefore, we want to celebrate this gentle earth of ours and provide one of you with a yearly membership of this charitable organisation. The prize includes: 

  • Twice a year you receive a printed newsletter keeping you up-to-date with the results of their work and details of similar international work.
  • You receive a comprehensive seed list from which you can order FREE up to five varieties of vegetable seeds and three varieties of seed potatoes (subject to availability)
  • You gain FREE access to their heritage gardens and orchards.
  • You are entitled to a 10% discount on all Irish Seed Savers Association training courses.
  • You are entitled to a discount on their apple trees - their nursery holds samples of over 140 varieties of native apple trees.
  • You contribute to the preservation of Irish biodiversity by growing rare varieties of fruit and vegetables. Many people join because they do not want to see the fruit and vegetables from their childhood disappearing
  • Free entry to their Open Days

To enter, just tell us on Facebook or Twitter, "what three seeds would you want to grow?" if you had this prize.

 T&Cs
Competition is open to ROI residents only. No cash alternative. Closing date is midnight on 30th April 2015. Entrants must  leave a 'three seeds' comment on one or more of the social media accounts to qualify. A winner will be drawn randomly from all qualifying entrants and announced on BirthingMamas media after the closing date. BirthingMamas decision is final. Enjoy the sun!!

 

Starting Small

This year I also tried a small seed pack from our local discount supermarket, and the kids loved the fact that it had everything except water inside the box - the bags, the seeds, the 'soil' and the name tags.

The four plastic bags were the containers, which you filled with dried & shredded coconut husks that only required water to hydrate them to a soil-type consistency. The kids loved this simple task.

While waiting for the water to soak into the mixture we looked at the different varieties of seeds - the texture, size and colour - wondering, as kids do - why they were so different. 

Sowing seeds is a great family activity, no matter what the weather is like. Starting the job indoors and then transferring outside can work with the Irish Spring weather. When the seeds grow over the following weeks there is pure joy in the eyes of the child, and the harvesting as fruit and vegetables grow can bring more smiles (and nutrition). Considering I bought this pack for less than €2, it's money well spent. 

So, go try sow the seeds of something you will eat, and then move onto something else the following year. And don't forget to enter our competition!!

Happy Earth Day!!

February 2015 Snapshots

It's been an up and down month for us here in the BirthingMamas household.

The highlight was definitely a night away at the very luxurious Castlemartyr Resort for myself and David - our first night away in 10 years.

We had a lovely trip to Dublin as well - I went up earlier in the week with the kids and we got to catch up with friends and help my Aunt celebrate her 80th birthday. I also brought Sadbh to a show in The Ark - Far Away From Me,  whch we both loved. It was our first time going to a show here and hopefully it won't be our last.

Here's a glimpse into what else we have been up to this month:

Watching:

Myself/David: One of the things I love about Netflix is that I can watch on my phone. If I was relying on being able to sit down with a TV and a schedule I would never get to watch TV at all. Netflix means I can watch some TV when I am folding the laundry or washing up after dinner. David has been watching House on Netflix for the last few months and raving about it. I was reluctant as it's a long series, and I didn't want to start something I would want to watch and perhaps ignore everything else in my life - but I gave in and have started it. I'm only at the start of Season 1 so it's early days, but so I am enjoying it and I can see now why David is coming up with very unusual diagnoses for any aches and pains we may have based on something he saw in House - an interesting side effect of watching the show.

House of Cards: Another show on Netflix. This is the third season and Netflix released all 13 episodes in the one go on Friday. We had both been anticipating the arrival of this and I did allow for the fact that the house and kids might get a bit neglected when it arrived, and I might end up with a few late nights.  It is edge of the seat television - Kevin Spacey is incredible as is Robin Wright Penn. I could probably sit and watch all 13 episodes in the one go if time allowed for it. As it is we have managed to watch 2 so far.

Sadbh: Stampy Cat on YouTube is still going strong here (I mentioned it here last year and she is still loving this UK gamer who posts videos of his character Stampy Cat under the name Stampylonghead/Stampylongnose).  I know some parents find him annoying, but I actually enjoy him. He has a very infectious laugh and I like his accent. Sadbh got her Xbox and so she is now playing Minecraft. What I love seeing most is that she can now play with her friends in Dublin - it's so lovely hearing them all laughing and chatting away while playing. Am thrilled for her and it's opened up a whole new avenue in being able to connect in with friends. 

Odhran: Lego Ninjago is one of his big favourites at the moment (another show we watch on Netflix). It's a really good series -  I enjoy watching it as well with him. I have to really as at various times during the day I am expected to play the role of the baddie (Lord Garmadon) so need to know my character in order to properly portray him!!! I have to say I love doing the evil laugh. 

 

Reading:

Me: Eat That Frog: a book about how to be more productive in what you get done. I am finding it really good. I am reading it slowly (it's a tiny book), so I can implement the suggestions and so far I am finding them helpful. They are all very simple and most of it I do know already, but don't actually do. So I appreciate the chance to put the ideas into action and I definitely feel more productive now in my day. One interesting point he makes is that we are so busy these days that we have to accept we will never get our To Do list done. I really needed to read that as myself and my To Do list have in the past had a very stressful relationship. Trying to juggle parenting, working and running a business means I have a huge To Do list, and it is there gnawing at me to get it finished. It has been very liberating to realise that it is not going to ever all get done and so I just need to focus on my 3 Most Important Tasks each day and get those done! I tend to write my To Do list for a week (he suggests to do it every day first thing in the morning - but I don't always get that time so I prefer to have a rough outline weekly and write it up over the weekend when I have a bit more time).  I have been picking out the MITs daily - and it's amazing how the impetus is there to get them done (even when I don't really want to Eat That Frog).  I feel I have managed to get a lot more productive stuff done over the last few weeks because of just this simple change. 

And The Mountains Echoed: I had been given a lend of this book a few months back, and thought it was high time I gave it back. I started reading it on our night away, and couldn't put it down. I had been reluctant to start it as the person who lent it to me didn't enjoy the book, but I found it a great read and did enjoy the various stories in it. His books are tough to read as I find them very sad, but so well written, and I love getting to read about a different culture.

Sadbh:

Violet Mackerel Series: These books are so beautifully written and I have to say I LOVE Violet Mackerel - she is funny and interesting and quirky. Really glad we were introduced to them. We are currently reading on Violet Mackerel's Personal Space now.

Magic Tree House Books:  We are currently reading Vacation Under the Volcano - so making our way through another great collection of books.

Odhran: Is currently wanting to read anything to do with the human body. Thankfully we have a  few Osbourne books like the one below, and he is loving them. 

By Katie Daynes
By Anna Branford
By Khaled Hosseini
By Brian Tracy

Listening:

Me: David has introduced me to Spotify and I am in love! Have been slowly figuring out how to use the app and am finding it brilliant. There's playlists you can follow, but I prefer to create my own and am adding songs to them every day. I used to love music, but I hadn't been listening as much anymore, and was missing it. I also felt completely out of the loop with discovering new music. Spotify is giving me back the passion I used to have and also letting me introduce music I love to the children. I have been slowly going through my CD collection and adding old favourites such as The Cowboy Junkies and Garbage, as well as being able to check out new songs or bands such as The UnThanks and Angus and Julia Stone:

One Direction (Sadbh) - we have a fan in the house! Taking me back to my days of Wham worship, it's great to see her singing along to the songs and wanting to watch their video's on YouTube. They are definitely infectious!!! And catchy - very very very catchy!

Katy Perry (Odhran) - it started with an obsession with Roar, now he loves all her stuff (can we listen to the song where the girl throws her phone away Mammy!) 

That's it for this month. Thanks for reading our Snapshots and hope you all had a great month as well