Wednesday, March 30, 2011


March has been a rough month for my guys - sleet, snow, rain, unusually cold temperatures, clouds. And while the past few days have been sunny (yay) it has still been really COLD. Much colder than it should be this time of year.

So while they have been out to ride bikes in the alley whenever it is dry, and we have a big yoga ball and trampoline inside, my guys have been wanting MORE physical activity at home, and INSIDE where they can wait it out until spring finally comes (their words).

So when spring fever hits and it is too cold what do you do? We pulled a futon out into the living room and the boys have been doing rolls, flips, handsprings and karate rolls all week.

They come back to it throughout the day. Their skills have improved daily, and at night they have both happily talked about how sore their tummy muscles are. And yes, some little boy flexing has been involved. ;) (Brothers)

Lots of fun, and very happy energetic boys! I think some almost seasonal temps are coming, but I have a feeling this futon will be out juuuuuuuust a bit longer.

Any kid spring fever going on in your house?


Monday, March 28, 2011

sunflower shoots.

I have had a bunch of people ask about how to sprout sunflowers, and how easy it is compared to traditional jar sprouting or growing microgreens. So, here is how I sprout sunflower shoots!

It has a few more steps than sprouting of course, but isn't quite as involved as growing other microgreens. With microgreens I find I need more space, more equipment (trays, lights), and it takes a little more time. With sunflower shoots I can grow small trays that fit on my kitchen counter or windowsill and don't need any light supplementation. So while it make take 9-11 days or so, it isn't hard or too involved.

Step One: Soak
Put your sunflower seeds into a canning jar or sprouter, cover with cool (60-70ºF) water. Soak 8-12 hours. Rinse. Drain. (They float, so you can shake/stir a few times during this phase to keep them all moist, or put something in to weigh them down a bit).
Step Two: Sprout
Set your drained sprouts in the canning jar/sprouter anywhere out of direct sunlight. Keep them at room temp.

Rinse and Drain the seeds every 8-12 hours for about 24-36 hours (2-3 rinse cycles). You want to have a small root before planting.

Step Three: Planting
You can use different types of growing medium, I usually use organic potting soil which contains a few other goodies (earthworm castings, etc.). They seem to grow best that way. Start with moist soil in a shallow tray - 1-2" of soil is fine.

Plant in a shallow tray with drainage holes. You don't need deep soil. You can use pots, trays, canning jars ...

Spread seeds on your soil. They can be densely packed, but don't pile on deeply or you might get mold. The seeds can be packed in there, single layer, all touching. Just press into the soil, you don't really need to cover them with dirt.

Step Four: Cover
Cover with a tray or slip into a gallon baggie (don't seal, let air circulate) to root well for a day or two - low light, not direct sunlight. Keep them under cover until they are 1 to 2 inches tall.

Water carefully once or twice a day. I like to add some organic kelp fertilizer to the water every few days, but you don't have to.
Step Five: Grow
Take off your plastic/cover and move the tray of small sprouts to a sunny location. If they get a lot of sunshine in a window you might need to water more. Let grow in the sun a few days.

Step Six: Harvest
When the shoots are about 3 or 4 inches tall and have two green leaves per shoot, you can start cutting them. Cut just above the surface of the soil. Be sure to cut/harvest when there are only 2 leaves per shoot, BEFORE true leaves come.
Just a note: sunflower shoots shed the hulls of the sunflower seeds as they grow, but you will see some that will retain those. If there are shoots that still have the hulls at the sunshine/grow stage, you can just gently pluck/pull them from the leaves as they grow.
(Here is the timeline for the batch I grew/photographed this time. 3/15: soak, 3/17: drain/rinse, 3/20: plant in soil, covered, 3/23: uncover, 3/27: harvest).

Sunflower shoots are high in vitamins A, B, C and E and contain chlorophyll, Iron, Niacin, Phosphorous, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Amino Acids and are up to 25% protein. They taste so green - and just like sunflower seeds. YUM! I eat them plain (can't stop myself!) or use them on sandwiches or in salads.

Many places carry sunflower seeds just for sprouting/growing shoots. It is a good idea to use organic seeds, and seeds meant for sprouting, as they have not been chemically treated. Where to find sunflower seeds for sprouting::

High Mowing Organic Seeds
Sprout People
Pinetree Garden Seeds

Happy growing!


Thursday, March 24, 2011


It may be just 20º outside, but the sun is out and we are feeling happy and energized. Here are some more things making us feel happy on this sunny morning, right now.

Golden honey in the sun (above).

Sunflower shoots.

Warm biscuits fresh out of the oven.

The sun shining on the ice coating everything, making it sparkle.

Trays of thick wheatgrass.

The sun perks us all up and the boys have been happy and energized - I'm feeling it too. The birds are chirping, I smell the soil as I water all the seedlings, the cat and rabbit are stretched out to get every inch of sun, and the house smells amazing from the biscuits. Ahhh.

I hope this sunshine stays awhile. And I think we have plans for a beach party in our living room this afternoon to soak up some of these delicious rays!


Monday, March 21, 2011

happy spring!

Our first days of spring have been very spring-like. Cloudy, wet. But Saturday? Oh, we had a glimpse and it was glorious. Enough to tide us over.

We took a walk at one of our favorite spots - the local botanical garden not too far from home. While most things were still brown and slushy ice covered the ponds, there were signs of growth. The earliest spring bulbs were blooming - so tiny, but demanding that you kneel down to see.

The magnolias have buds, and little creatures scuttled past (voles!) while the birds were so loud and busy it was hard not to walk around looking up into the trees.

While it was just 50 degrees, it was we were able to walk and the boys run run run without hat or gloves. Ahhhh.

I got a glimpse of the view I have every year from April to November...the boys running full speed ahead as I jog to keep up. ;)

We are going to have cold and dark days for awhile, even more snow, but we got some buds, flowers, sunshine and fresh air and we are satisfied. For now.

Can you tell?

Just what we all needed!


Saturday, March 19, 2011


The full-orbed moon with unchanged ray
Mounts up the eastern sky,

Not doomed to these short nights for aye,

But shining steadily.

She does not wane, but my fortune,

Which her rays do not bless,

My wayward path declineth soon,

But she shines not the less.

And if she faintly glimmers here,

And paled is her light,

Yet alway in her proper sphere

She's mistress of the night.

~Henry David Thoreau

Oh, beautiful (super) moon.
(I'm glad I went out when I did...soon the moon was cloud covered and the rain rolled in!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


It starts so innocently. A few flats, a calendar, a few shop lights. But sure enough, soon the need to have green growing things expands and you have ... more!

More...Sprouts. Wheatgrass. Pea Shoots. Microgreens. Seed trays full.

Spray bottles of water for misting, canning jars with a kelp water mixture.

It is all good and very reassuring. All that life, all those bits of green.

Yes, spring is coming!

What are you growing?


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


With some sunshine and a bit of warmer air we have new visitors (and the regulars) to our yard and feeders. There have been a few others who don't want me taking photos of them. Ahem.

We have camera and bird book always close at hand, and the boys have been dragging out the binoculars!

A sure sign of spring.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


My boys are growing up. They sometimes will remain in the room during photos and sometimes there is no way they want me to take their pictures. Which I totally respect.

But then again, they have new haircuts. My sensory guy who hates the feeling of his hairs being cut and of wind hitting his ears and of short hairs poking through hats wanted it SHORT! And his little brother decided he wanted short too, and would go first to make it easier. So they both have short really cute haircuts and I want some pix! But I had to get kind of sneaky. Not that I would sneak (they always look at the photos on the camera). So in the name of taking photos of them doing other things,

I kind of sort of have photos of their haircuts. Or not.


Monday, March 14, 2011


A weekend without anyone sick? Oh, it has been so long it feels downright odd to be outside, wandering, doing, going places. And everything seems always seems so bright and raw those first few weeks of March anyway, as the sun shines and the winds blow and the ground is once again revealed.

It is still really cold but there has been enough to melt a lot of the snow, and some bare earth combined with sunshine, even if cold, is a treat. The boys have been out out out, running, climbing, playing. It almost feels like...dare I say it...spring is coming?

It seems that we are finally easing back into a groove. It was such a crazy almost two months there that it seems unfamiliar to have normal days, to just play and read and work on projects. But we are figuring it out, slowly but surely. The boys are back to their full tilt energy again - and I love the loud sprinting nerf battles, hide and seek, and silly games going on.

This week we have some warmth coming (40's! 50's!) and it might be sunny and dry a few days before the spring rains come. We can't wait - walks, playing, exploring. Ahhh. Just what we all need, I think.

Happy Monday!


Wednesday, March 09, 2011


A was pretty excited to get the snap circuits wireless RC rover for his birthday. So of course today we had to build it!

The boys took turns snapping each element onto the grid (A is an awesome big brother, always including G in EVERYTHING), carefully reading and re-checking the instructions/schematics as they went. They did a final schematic check and decided they were ready.

The cool thing is that not only did they assemble a remote control vehicle - but one that has a headlamp and forward/reverse lighting. Oh, and a beeper.

They immediately went to the dark of the hallway and bathroom to get the full effect. They took turns - one driving while the other filmed with their video camera, and then switched.

They also read all about how the wireless remote works, the internal motors, gears and ratios, and electrical circuits. There are 19 more projects with this I know there is much more to come. Lots of fun!