The Spice of Life

Among the myriad of things we’ve changed in our lives in this past year, one great addition has been our garden. I have never kept a plant alive before, but I’ve kept my three kids alive so far, so I figured, how hard can it be? Ha! Those of you who garden are laughing at my naivety aren’t you?

After finding a raised bed we liked on the Pioneer Woman’s site, (Raised Garden Bed How To) we went to work constructing one in our yard with the help of my very handy daddy. We then went to our local garden store and shopped for dirt (oh how the mighty have fallen–just three months ago I was shopping for power suits).

I was so proud when all my plants bloomed gloriously. I had thoughts of running my own organic farm dancing through my head. The op-ed piece in the newspaper would read like this:

“Former Corporate Mother Becomes One with Mother Nature”

There would be pictures of me holding my 18lbs cucumbers, surrounded by birds and butterflies and looking serene. 

Enter the deer. The deer were very impressed with my endeavors as well. It was like I planted them their very own snack bar. The destruction was swift and brutal.

susanna and the deer We are so used to the deer around here, I forgot about them…yes, I realize that makes no sense.

Anyway, I was then on a mission: Bambi Must Die

Okay, not die, but get the heck out of my tomatoes. After rigging a makeshift fence our garden is back in bloom. But now there is another problem. What does one do with all these tomatoes?

Friends suggested sauces and salsas. I buy those things in a grocery store ladies. How do you make the stuff?

Again, Pioneer Woman to the rescue! Click to see recipe

We made several changes. A big one being we used our own ripe tomatoes and not something out of a can.


The other great thing about cooking is that it turns out it is awesome for kids who need work with their fine motor skills. Willy Man helped my by peeling the garlic and the onion.


My child had never seen actual garlic before. Seriously, I’ve failed this portion of motherhood.IMG_0731

Once we had all our ingredients (including a quick trip to our corner store for some cilantro), we were ready to mix.


Great hand strengthening exercise for Willy Man. We had him squeezing limes into everything last night. Lime water anyone?


Grinding peper was another good one…I see a lot of cooking in our homeschool future. Fine motor exercises are meant to help with handwriting…and hopefully getting those pesky Capri Sun straws into that little hole.

Our final result was ridiculously spicy (note to self: less jalapeno and cilantro next time), but very tasty. 

In case you are missing this….I MADE that salsa…with tomatoes I grew…this is crazy! Next grinding my own corn for corn chips (not really)