Flowers after April Showers

Grape hyacinths,

my two new favorite daffodils,

and the sweetest miniature irises (picture the plant as no taller than 4 to 5").

e. e. cummings calls Spring mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.
I couldn't have said it any better.

Updated Belly Picture

34 weeks
Originally uploaded by quirky granola girl

34 weeks, 6 more to go. Now, when the baby moves, it isn't cute little kicks or squirreliness anymore. Now it feels like he's moving furniture around in there. Or maybe he's studying to be a whirling dervish?

Patrolling for shoots and buds

Do all gardeners do this? In the spring, I go out every day and patrol the yard looking for what has popped out of the ground next. Each day there is something new if I look close enough. Here is what I found today:

Above are bleeding heart shoots, grape hyacinth buds, prairie grass shoots, mum sprouts and the "way back" bed filled with daffodils, mini daffodils, hyacinths and grape hyacinths (I'm super excited to see all of the yellow and purple when this blooms). Plants aren't only exciting when they flower or give fruit (or vegetable). I adore the fresh newness of the shoots and buds.

When people ask me how soon the baby is coming and if I'm getting excited, I just think about all that I want to accomplish and witness in my garden before he comes. I hope to take him outside for my daily yard patrol as soon as possible. I also hope to be present daily to witness the fresh newness and changes in him every day.

Things look better in this photo than they actually appear

Dyed eggs
Originally uploaded by quirky granola girl
Last week Friday, I decided to experiment with natural egg dyeing. I spent the entire morning and early afternoon in the kitchen boiling eggs, boiling dye stuffs, cooling and straining dye and then timing eggs in the dye. Each dye recipe started with 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons vinegar and then one of the following (in order from left to right): 2 Tblsp bright orange Hungarian paprika, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup chopped beets and 2 Tblsp turmeric. Each egg was left for 1/2 hour in the cooled dye bath. The paprika egg turned out barely gray. The blueberry dye turned my counters a pretty purple, but the egg only blue gray. The beet dye turned my kitchen sink an adorable pink, but the eggs were spotty and ruddy. The turmeric turned everything bright yellow, and the eggs were yellow/orange and ruddy again. I should mention here that I got so frustrated that I had to leave the kitchen, and Ben saved the day by scrubbing the counters, sink and stove while I cleaned the rest of the house. Overall, I don't think the experiment was a success. I was disappointed with the quality of the colors and it took a lot of energy to cook up (and clean up) all of the dyes. Maybe I'll stick with the brown eggs and crayons next year.

It will be a BOY!

I decided to spill the beans on my birthday, but I didn't find the time to blog yesterday. Anyway, now I can share pics of the cute second-hand things we've found for our little guy, and I don't have to be fearful of using pronouns. It's a he!

It's been interesting seeing the votes come in. Almost everyone guessed girl at first (as did Ben and I) and then the tide started changing to boy. The votes on the blog still said girl though. Thanks for being patient, everyone.

In gardening news: I'm still anxiously awaiting the daffodil blooms in the yard and I'll share the Daffodil Angel Food Cake recipe soon, too.

First bulb blooms of the Spring!

We are expecting snow this Sunday, so I'm enjoying our first blooms now. I have at least 12 daffodil bulbs by the back door that we'll be protecting this weekend. They'll probably be fine, but I'm going to baby them because I adore the first flowers of spring.

Baby Shower Weekend

I have been crazy super sick for nearly a week, but I finally feel more like myself today. So, here is a late post about the lovely baby shower that my mom threw for me last weekend. My mom started planning the menu 2-1/2 months in advance and it was well worth it. Unfortunately, I was too congested to remember to take a picture of the fabulous buffet: gorgeous green salad with fruit and nuts, yummy chicken salad, rhubarb quick bread, cherry and blueberry yeast bread, artichoke/sun-dried tomato/provolone stuffed bread, fruit plate (thanks Auntie Nonie), Scotcharoos (thanks Auntie Pam), and my mom's famous Daffodil Angel Food Cake. Does it make your mouth water even without the picture? It really should.

Anyway, Mom and I had no enthusiasm for party games, so we shared "favorite childhood memories" or "funny things kids say," instead. For instance: my niece, Haille (pictured in the party dress below), at 4 years old and struggling to fit the crayons back in the crayon box said, "C'mon, it's not rocket science!" And Ben, now 35 and a mathematician said at 5 years old (quoted in his baby book by his mom), "I used to not believe in a hundred." I hope I can be half as good as Ben's mom about remembering and writing down those kid quotes.

There were an overwhelming amount of lovely baby gifts to open. Haille was on trash duty and also on hurrying the pregnant lady when she was opening the paper too slowly. Little Kelsie (far left) was on duty admiring the "baby" in all of the pictures on the boxes.

The shower was a grand success because of the lovely people pictured below (my sweet mom is on the far left) and numerous people that couldn't make it to town, but sent greetings in the mail. Ben and I feel grateful for the community of family and friends that surround us. Thank you SO much!