The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden

It is feeling like springtime here in Seattle, the blossoms are out and making the neighborhood smell divine. This time of the year brings about such possibility. Seed catalogues have arrived and the possibilities are endless. I’ve never had the garden that I have dreamed of, I have always had a porch or a cement pad that I have been able to utilize and turn into something.  However, having a small space does bring about certain challenges.  The goal of this 40th anniversary edition is

To accommodate today’s lifestyles, a garden needs to fit easily into a very small plot, take as little time as possible to maintain, require a minimum amount of water, and still produce prolifically. That’s exactly what a postage stamp garden does. Postage stamp gardens are as little as 4 by 4 feet, and, after the initial soil preparation, they require very little extra work to produce a tremendous amount of vegetables–for instance, a 5-by-5-foot bed will produce a minimum of 200 pounds of vegetables.

Cover

Recently, I came across Karen Newcomb’s most informative book The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers.  This book is filled with such helpful pieces of advice and tips for making the most of the space you have.  I think that one thing that this book does really well is offers the specific types of midget vegetables that work the best in containers and smaller gardens…for me, this has always been the most difficult aspect of the small garden – finding the varieties that are successful.  This book takes all the guess-work out of planning.

Karen Newcomb gets even more specific by telling you which varieties and types of veggies will give you the most bang for your small gardening buck.

What I like most about this book is that it really covers all you would need to know about having a small garden.  If you were to buy one book as a resource for your small garden this book should be it.  There is no reading about a variety of tomato then needing to get out another book to read about the details of that plant or of getting on the internet to find out who sells those seeds.  This book has all of that information in one easy to read and use location.

The varieties of plants are specific, with how much space you need, how long it takes, what the plants prefer and also where you can find them (which seed companies).  There is also a section that clearly tells you how much time you will need to start those seeds indoors.  Something I’ve not seen before that this book has is a table that tells you how many plants you will require to feed each person in your family.  This is so helpful when you have limited space and need to maximize what you do have.

 

This book is packed with information that will help you to have your dream garden no matter how much space you have.

When first published 40 years ago, the postage stamp techniques, including closely planted beds rather than rows, vines and trailing plants grown vertically to free up space, and intercropping, were groundbreaking. Now, in an ever busier world, the postage stamp intensive gardening method continues to be invaluable for gardeners who wish to weed, water, and work a whole lot less yet produce so much more.

The one downside of this book for me is the lack of pictures.  I am very visual when it comes to things like gardening and I would have loved to see more pictures of the plants or actual gardens.  With that said the information is so thorough that I almost didn’t mind the lack of pictures.

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinions in the post are my own.

Advertisements

A Violin for Elva

CoverA Violin for Elva by Mary Lyn Ray with Illustrations by Tricia Tusa is an endearing read.  For me what was so important about this book was the message.  In this story Elva is a young girl who happens upon a garden party and hears music, the music inspires her to ask her parents for a violin.  They say no, they did not hear the music she heard.

 

Elva doesn’t give up, she manages to “practice” her violin when she should be studying math, brushing her teeth and even when she should be sleeping.  As time goes on Elva grows up, she still loves music.  She goes to her library and borrows records and feels inspired again in her mind she plays the violin, sometimes she plays the entire string section of the philharmonic, sometimes she plays solo.

…and silence filled the room.  Elva had a dog for conversation.  But conversation with her dog couldn’t cover up the quiet.  She kept chocolates for refreshment.  But chocolates couldn’t fill the empty feelings.

This book is about choices.  I feel as though Mary Lyn Ray is not only giving our petites an important lesson, but also helping to inspire parents to seize the day, to realize it is not too late to do anything if we really set our minds to it.  What an important lesson for our children and a fantastic reminder for us as parents.  This book is about imagining what might have been, and realizing that we don’t have to imagine, we can make it happen.

 

This story is so honest and so heartfelt, eventually the day comes when Elva does indeed follow her heart and buys the violin.  This is the part of the story where I want to applaud Mary Lyn Ray, it would have been easy to write that Elva was a master violin player, that she doesn’t struggle, but this book is about reality and sometimes reality is hard.  Elva is not a natural.  However, after all this time Elva does not give up.

It wasn’t easy: holding the bow correctly, landing on the right notes, figuring out flats and sharps.  “I will improve,” she said.

And she did.  With hard work, she never gave up and with all of her hard work she made music.

This book is so important, a skill that really needs to be taught by parents is to persevere in tasks even when they are hard.  Even when they seem impossible, for Elva playing the violin did seem impossible, but she never gave up on her dream.

Baby Bundle Giveaway Winner is….

Winner is

Hooray Abby K, you are the winner of the Baby Bundle!  If you didn’t win this time here are the links if you want to purchase the amazing Grace Mable Cuddle Rub and the books that were featured in this giveaway. Good Night, Gorilla, Guess How Much I Love You, Llama Llama Nighty-Night, Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book

Personalized Book Perfection

Recently my petite received the most unique book she has ever received.  A personalized book from Lostmy.Name.  This is a company that was created by three dads and an uncle, they have set out to create unique books for any petite who may be lucky enough to receive one.  The age that is intended for these books is 2-6, but I am a firm believer that if your petite will listen then any book can be for them; especially one so vibrantly colored and stunningly illustrated.  The books are written by David Cadji-Newby and illustrated by Pedro Serapicos. This is a quality product made out of thick coated paper, gorgeously printed on environmentally friendly paper.  What I love the most about these books is that you know what you’re getting.  What I mean by this is that you get to see a preview of the entire book.  Not a sample of what it might look like or someone else’s name, but the exact name you enter into their website.  Yes, you read that correctly, the ENTIRE BOOK! How to You simply go to their website and type in the name you would like the book to be made about and then choose boy or girl and create – it’s that simple.  Then you get to preview the book in its entirety.  I will confess, I’ve put just about every name I can think of into this little tool to see what the different illustrations look like.  They are all quite lovely whether dragons, frogs, princesses, unicorns or vikings.

Let’s get a little specific each letter get’s two pages where the little girl or boy encounters a magical and wonderful creature where they discuss the current struggle to replace the missing letters in their name.  The creature then does something so generous so thoughtful they give up part of their name to help the petite out.  The petite continues on their journey to find their missing letters until their name is complete. You can watch Amber’s story being read: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7OdgQKRCOI These books are so special.  These books would be perfect for any little petite bookworm.  It is such a personal book that would easily become a treasured gift.   Note: this book was given to my petite by the lovely people at lostmy.name, but the thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.


Title

How to Enter

Head on over the Grace Mabel Baby on Facebook and Like the page

Like The Petite Stag on Facebook

Follow Grace Mabel Baby on Instagram

Follow The Petite Stag on Instagram

 Next up, share the giveaway with your FB friends

And finally, a Rafflecopter giveaway this is where you add your name to the drawing, make sure to complete this last step for a chance to win.  Winner will selected tonight!!

**Giveaway open to US Residents Only**

Have you misplaced something lately? Hermelin is just the mouse you need to meet.

Hermelin

I have met the most wonderful character, a very smart detective named Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Grey.  This book is so much fun.  The illustrations are wonderful, they almost have a Richard Scarry feel to them in how much is happening on the pages.  If you happen to watch this video below, you will see that the publisher likened this book to Ratatouille meets Sherlock Holmes!

Hermelin is very smart, he loves to read books as well as type notes on his type writer.  Even more so he loves to solve mysteries of lost things.  The people who live on his street misplace things quite often which keeps Hermelin quite busy.  The residents are so thrilled that all of the mysteries and misplaced things have been found that they throw a thank you party for Hermelin, however it does not go as planned.

Hermelin is charming in his innocence.  When he is discovered he ponders over what is so bad about a mouse?  He is perplexed and so naturally he consults his encyclopedia and realized the devastating truth.  “Unclean, unhygienic, unwanted”  Worst of all a “pest”.  At this point you feel so badly for this darling binocular wearing mouse.

But do not despair quite yet, just when the reader begins to fret for Hermelin and his mental state and future, Hermelin awakes to find a note in his bed and an advertisement needing a detective mouse with just his set of special skills.  Hermelin joins Emily(who happens to live downstairs) for breakfast and they put together their plan for a detective agency.  This book is perfect for little ones four to eight year olds.  My almost two-year old likes looking at the illustrations especially looking around the pages for Hermelin.  I personally loved reading this book there is so much to see, it is the type of book that you notice something new in the illustrations with each reading.


Don’t forget to enter to win our baby bundle, the giveaway ends tomorrow night!  Hurry for your chance to win.

photo 3

How to Enter

Head on over the Grace Mabel Baby on Facebook and Like the page

Like The Petite Stag on Facebook

Follow Grace Mabel Baby on Instagram

Follow The Petite Stag on Instagram

 Next up, share the giveaway with your FB friends

And finally, a Rafflecopter giveaway this is where you add your name to the drawing, make sure to complete this last step for a chance to win.  Winner will selected on 2/24.

**Giveaway open to US Residents Only**

The Perfect Book for Sensitive Souls

My eldest daughter is a sensitive soul.  A petite who worries about what others think and sometimes struggles with being shy, not all of the time, but there are times where she’s worried that others are laughing at her and not with her.  Sometimes that worry stifles her confidence.  I am sure most of you can relate to this in some way.  There are lots of sensitive souls walking among us.  As a mom, teacher and book lover I look for books that resonate, that are important and have the potential to impact my girls.

Source: Candlewick Press

Source: Candlewick Press

Recently we borrowed Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif from the library this book does all of these things.  This is the story of Frances Dean a petite who loves to dance, she is moved by the wind and the birds signing in the trees, she loves to dance – it is her passion.  The only problem is that she is unsure of dancing when others may be watching.  She is worried that they will see her.  This is something that I could relate to immediately, my darling daughter does the same thing, and that is when my heart skipped a beat, Frances Dean is like so many little girls and boys, who have hidden talents that they are apprehensive to share.

Frances Dean goes from smiling and dancing everywhere she goes to being incredibly sad, she forgets how to dance, she even slumps down on her park bench, which worries her bird friends who she always danced freely with.  The birds in this story show Frances Dean  another little girl who can sing and sings even when people might be watching, Frances Dean wonders if she will be able to be like the little girl and share her talent without worry.  She builds her own confidence and when she feels comfortable and is ready, then she begins to share her talent and passion with those around her.  What she discovers is that people love her dancing and that they even want her to teach them her moves.

One thing that I love is that her parents aren’t featured in the problem solving.  Frances Dean works to build her confidence and does it herself.  I think that this is the first story I have read where the petite is empowered on her own.

This book is beautifully written, even the inscription by Ms. Sif is sincere and completely touching.

To all those who live with all their heart

This book is absolutely perfect in every way.  As a teacher I have taught many students who were sensitive souls just like Frances Dean, this book is so much more than a picture book about a little girl, it is inspiring, confidence building and empowering.  This book should be in all classrooms and school libraries.

Happy Saturday,
Erin


Friday Five: Top Fictional Places I Wish I Could Live

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  Reading is so magical and takes you to so many places, places you can only dream of sometimes.  But what if they were real and you could actually live there?  How amazing would that be?  I’ve chosen my top five fictional places that I would want to live.

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Hogwarts, Harry Potter Series

Source: google images

Source: google images

The Shire, Lord of the Rings

Source: theage.com.au

Source: theage.com.au

Pemberly, Pride and Prejudice

Source: James Coleman

Source: James Coleman

Neverland, Peter Pan

Source: Disney

Source: Disney

The Treehouse, Swiss Family Robinson

These are my top five fictional places.  What are your top five?


Also, don’t forget to enter into the Grace Mabel Petite Stag Giveaway

Title

How to Enter

Head on over the Grace Mabel Baby on Facebook and Like the page

Like The Petite Stag on Facebook

Follow Grace Mabel Baby on Instagram

Follow The Petite Stag on Instagram

 Next up, share the giveaway with your FB friends

And finally, a Rafflecopter giveaway this is where you add your name to the drawing, make sure to complete this last step for a chance to win.  Winner will be selected on 2/24.

**Giveaway open to US Residents Only**

Classics Begging to be Read Aloud

There is something that I find comforting about snuggling up with my petite at night and reading chapter books.  You see, I’ve been waiting for her five year old attention span for years now; so that we could share in reading larger books.  I am so excited that she is interested in reading chapter books and has the attention to stay with it.

It is so much fun to see some of these books that have been repackaged and are completely stunning – I am going to need to add them to my collection.  I am in love with these beauties from Rifle Paper Co, they are part of the Puffin in Bloom Series.

Little WomenHeidiAnne of Green Gables

Little Women (Puffin in Bloom) | Heidi (Puffin in Bloom) | Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom)

The other collection that I just love the simplicity behind the redesign are the Puffin Hardcover Classics featuring: A Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, and Peter Pan.

Puffin Classics Boxed Set

Puffin Hardcover Classics Box Set

 I am completely drawn to the books that were read to me in my childhood.  Books that are classics like:

Wizard of OzRobin Hood

The Wizard of Oz (Puffin Classics) |  The Adventures of Robin Hood (Puffin Classics)

Wind in the WillowsSecret Garden 1

Wind in the Willows (Puffin Classics) |  The Secret Garden (Puffin Classics)

MatildaPippi LongstockingCharlottes Web
Matilda |  Pippi Longstocking (Puffin Modern Classics) |  Charlotte’s Web

There are so many books from my childhood that I cannot wait to share with my girls.  What were some of your favorites from childhood?  What did I miss?  I just know I am missing one.

 



photo 3

How to Enter

Head on over the Grace Mabel Baby on Facebook and Like the page

Like The Petite Stag on Facebook

Follow Grace Mabel Baby on Instagram

Follow The Petite Stag on Instagram

 Next up, share the giveaway with your FB friends

And finally, a Rafflecopter giveaway this is where you add your name to the drawing, make sure to complete this last step for a chance to win.  Winner will selected on 2/24.

**Giveaway open to US Residents Only**

All About Baby Giveaway

It really is better to give than to receive.  For this giveaway I am partnering with Grace Mabel Baby  to create the perfect bundle for your petite.

photo 3

What you could win:

Grace Mabel Cuddle Rub in Delicate Mint this lotion is so silky and luxurious, my petites both cannot get enough of it.  Grace Mabel is so special because: it is hypoallergenic, 100% all-natural, they don’t test on animals or use animal by-products, no harsh chemicals, parabens, dyes, formaldehyde, sulfates, propylene glycol, phthalates or mineral oil.  It is scented with delicate peppermint oil to help promote healthy digestions, sleep, circulation in babies and children.  This lotion is safe for babies with sensitive skin and eczema.

Where is Baby’s Belly Button?

Llama Llama Nighty-Night  

Guess How Much I Love You  

Good Night, Gorilla

This gift bundle is worth $45.  All of these lovely items will ensure that you and your petites can have a relaxing nighttime routine.

How to Enter

How to Enter

Head on over the Grace Mabel Baby on Facebook and Like the page

Like The Petite Stag on Facebook

Follow Grace Mabel Baby on Instagram

Follow The Petite Stag on Instagram

 Next up, share the giveaway with your FB friends

And finally, a Rafflecopter giveaway this is where you add your name to the drawing, make sure to complete this last step for a chance to win.  Winner will be selected on 2/24.

**Giveaway open to US Residents Only**

Illustrator Love: Lauren Castillo

City Cat

A few months ago we checked out City Cat(2013) by Kate Banks from the library.  It is an incredibly fun story about a very smart stray cat who wants to go on a European adventure with a family.  City cat travels through Europe to Italy, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany.  It is beautifully illustrated by Lauren Castillo.  I quickly fell in love with City Cat and am sure you will too, just watch this book trailer.

This book was my introduction into the beautiful illustrating style of Lauren Castillo, she has such an incredible talent, I wanted to share some of her books with you and one very special one that will be published in April.

Yard Sale

Yard Sale(coming in April of 2015) written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo, a book about big changes for one petite, her family is moving from their home into an apartment and she needs to get rid of a lot of her things in order to fit everything into their new home.  I think that this book speaks to so many families who have had to downsize and move to new home, but why I am so excited about this book is the message that home is who you choose to live with not where you live.

Nana in the City

Nana in the City (2014) written and illustrated by Ms. Castillo is a 2015 Caldecott Honor Book.  This book is about a little boy who goes to visit his nana in the city at her new apartment.  At first he doesn’t like the city, it is too busy, too loud and too scary.  Nana assures him in the most delightful way by making him a red cape that helps him to be brave.  The next day the two explore the city and the boy begins to realize that the city is quite extraordinary.

The Troublemaker

The Troublemaker (2014) written and illustrated by Ms. Castillo is about a boy who is bored on a warm summer day, he takes his sisters rabbit and of course gets caught and is in trouble.  When other items start to go missing everyone assumes it’s the brother, but this time there is another culprit.  Just wait until you see who is the mischievous one stealing everyone’s snugglies.

The Reader The Reader (2012) written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Lauren Castillo – let me start by saying that this book had me at the title.  I love books about books and reading.  This book is about a little boy who has a pup and a suitcase and they are on a mission.  It is quite snowy out and our protagonist is pulling a red sled along with his suitcase, it is a tough job, but he is ready for the challenge.  They get to the top of a big hill and this is where the two decide to stop and read their story together.  After they are done sharing in their story on the snowy hill off they go on the sled.  It is a really sweet story about a reader enjoying a story with his pup.

I adore Lauren Castillo’s amazing illustrations.  She has a Society 6 shop Studio Castillo where you can check out more of her designs, like totes, prints, shirts etc.  These are just a few her most recent books, I am sure your petites will love them.  I love that so many of these books feature little boys who are kind, inquisitive, readers, sensitive, strong and brave.  I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the months to come.

Make sure to check in tomorrow for details

Sneak Peek