Archives

Tourmaline Hunting

We had a lot of fun at the Himalaya Mine located at the base of Palomar Mountain in San Diego County. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enter the mine. It was still a blast searching through their tailings to find treasure. Check out our video of our day and the loot we brought home.  Tidbits About Tourmaline The Read More

Worm Composting FAQs

What kinds of worms are best for composting? Red Wigglers are the most highly recommended composting worms. Other worms that you find in your garden may not survive in a bin. How many worms should I start with? Recommend you start with 1 pound, purchased from a reputable worm grower online or in person. It’s Read More

Best Foods to Feed Red Wiggler Composting Worms

We’ve tried a bunch of foods in our bins at home and have a nice list for you to keep things simple. It’s easy to make worms happy if you feed your red worms a variety of foods they love. LOVE: Vegetable scraps: apple cores, peels, carrot tops and wilted lettuce or trimmings. Any vegetable that’s not Read More

5 Tips for Buying a Compost Tumbler

There are rolling drums, spheres and crank operated models. Some compost tumblers sit on a sturdy base and tumble vertically. Some rotate horizontally on rollers. If you want to invent the next workout craze, get together with some friends and roll around those ball-like tumblers. On second thought, this could cause too much frustration – they Read More

HOW TO Kill Weeds With Vinegar – Plus a VIDEO

Weeds are a Pain! Despite all the blogs and websites that rave about vinegar killing weeds, it’s not a perfect solution. In fact, boiling water will kill weeds, sometimes better than vinegar. Vinegar dries out the leaves of weeds and makes them wilt. What it won’t do it kill the roots. If you’re still determined Read More

HOW TO Tell the Difference Between Real Gold and Fool’s Gold

“There’s gold in them there hills!” On a recent trip to Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, CA, we got a chance first hand to discover actual gold and learn how to tell the difference between the real deal and tricky fool’s gold. Without zooming in, it can be tough to tell the difference, especially when the Read More

YUMMY Ginger Snap Cookies with Flaxseed

Let these ‘in your face’ ginger cookies snap back at you! Lots of ginger and spices leave an impression you won’t forget. Not passed down from Grandma (we love you Grammy), we used olive oil instead of butter and organic ingredients including flaxseed to make them even more healthy and satisfying. Takes 15 minutes to mix and 15 Read More

HOW TO Grow Cucumbers Over Other Plants to Save Space

How We Did It Selected varieties of cucumbers that we prefer eating. A no-brainer but try and pick the ones with smaller seeds. We like the pickling cukes as long as we don’t forget them. Don’t let them become more than a few inches long. Their skin will be like cardboard. We make many hills Read More

HOW TO Enjoy the Farmers Market with Kids

There are over six thousand farmers markets in the United States according to the U.S.D.A Agriculture Marketing Service. About once a month, we head out to the Farmers Market in Vista, CA. We love the variety and the focus on food and produce. It’s located in a huge lot in front of the County Courthouse. Read More

Compost Fair HOW TO

The Home Grown Fun Family put on a composting fair at an elementary school in Southern California. Check out how we did it. Create your own and improve on our ideas! See the video  and notice that we had several learning stations and exhibits. Contact us and we can send you our plan and some tips. Read More

If Birds Had Farmers Markets CARTOON

Bunch ‘pillars’ $2, tomato hornworms by the pound… What would a Farmers’ Market look like for birds? …. For more Tomato Hornworm Humor, checkout our fun and educational poem, ‘The Tricky Tomato Hornworm’. Also see our funny take on how to recycle human hair! Read More

HOW TO Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners and Cures

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent UPDATE:  This needs a booster to remove a film on white and clear dishes. This works but not as well as the commercial stuff. Any ideas out there? Mix two cups borax and two cups baking soda inside a glass container and placed it near the sink. Add 3 tablespoons to the wash cycle, two to the main compartment and one Read More

Vertical Seed Starting – Easy, Fun, Saves Space and Money

It’s back to elementary school for some space-saving tips on germinating seeds!  No need for fancy seed starting domes, soil or spritzers. This method makes it fun to see how plants grow. In just a few days, your beans, basil, zucchini, pumpkin and sunflower will sprout and will be ready for planting. Some plants such as gourds Read More

Roasted Chickpeas – Way Easy and Chock Full of Protein

A crunchy, satisfying snack food that’s got plenty of vitamin B-6, protein and fiber. More often than not, our kids don’t get enough protein to ward off hunger, repair damaged tissues and build new cells – basically to grow up healthy. Here’s the simplest recipe on earth for a healthy, crunchy snack baked at home that appeals to adults and Read More

Jack and the Borage Stalk

Wow, this is our borage (starflower) this year. It grew so tall and full  there is enough for the kids and the bees!  Our girls feel like they are in another world poking around the borage bush. Read More

Recommended Music and Videos for Kids – Gogo Bonkers

Do you have a zanny side?  We hope so. Even if you’re not playing the spoons in your backyard right now, you’ll love Gogo Bonkers! Meet Treevor the Tree Spirit, Olagg the Ogre, mystical fairies and other fun characters. Their album ‘Love the Land’ is award-nominated and their nature-inspired, zanny and entertaining videos will make you Read More

HOW TO Grow Healthy Roses

Water at ground level and deeply. Don’t soak the leaves. You’ll get black spots from the sun burning the petals. Better to water once a week really deep than surface watering every day. Black spots? They say one tablespoon esach of baking soda and dish soap in a gallon of water will do wonders if Read More

Teach Kids About Composting – VIDEO

A video that shows composting is fun!  Kids love learning how it helps the environment and makes awesome garden soil! Kids moved from station to station and learned how keeping household waste away from landfills prevents dangerous gases from rising into the air and seeping into the ground! They were amazed that food scraps can be recycled to make awesome garden Read More

5 Entertaining Facts about Red Worm Eggs

Take a gander at this close-up of a red worm cocoon – looks like a miniature lemon. These little baby sacks are fascinating! 5 Fun Facts About Red Worm Eggs 1)  Walt Disney may not be cryogenically frozen under Disneyland… but it’s no urban legend that red worms can survive a deep freeze. Worm cocoons can hang out unprotected in snow Read More

Review of the Lifetime Compost Tumbler

Have you seen this tumbler? It’s $98 bucks at Costco!  But hold off a bit before you lay down a hundred smackers on this seemingly great deal. UPDATE ON PERFORMANCE Our first batch of compost came out pretty good. It took 2.5 months to get this: 18 days after start of batch: If you have Read More

TRASH TO TREASURE: Reclaimed Bureau Planter

This bureau works great as a pretty herb garden and raised bed. We’ve got lemongrass, tarragon, green pepper, carrots, flowers and a tomato growing in this chest of drawers! It was simple to score this “Trash to Treasure Chest” – I just looked across the street. My neighbors were cleaning house, stacking tons of useable material on the curb. I hesitated at first, timidly peering Read More

Swiss Chard – My Hero!

After years of steaming swiss chard in a big pot, we’ve found a much easier and tastier way of cooking chard – Grill It! One cup of chopped swiss chard has only 35 calories and provides more than 300% of the daily value for vitamin K. It’s a powerhouse punch of vitamins A and C Read More

Birthday Tree – Simple and Inexpensive Celebration

Our 8 year old loves anything NATURE.  Patterns, colors, flowers, animals, experiences… It was a rainy weekday and the fun we had planned after school (horse back riding lessons on Camp Pendleton) was canceled. So we got creative! With the help of little sister, we stuck a trimmed branch from a eucalyptus tree in a Read More

Homemade Soft Pretzels with Herbs

Herbs are fun to experiment with and we hit a home run with these homemade pretzels. Click here for a printable recipe using no herbs. Makes 16-24 pretzels, several pretzel sticks and a dozen small pretzel bites GO AHEAD, FREEZE THE DOUGH!  You can freeze or refrigerate the dough. If this recipe is too much Read More

Graduation Cap Cupcakes

Bake your favorite cupcakes. Use school colors for the icing on top. For the graduation cap, use mini peanut butter cups. Small graham cracker squares (you may have to trim a rectangular piece) make a nice top. Mini chocolate candies resemble a button and for the tassel use spaghetti-sized licorice or sour rope. Huge hit Read More

Grow your own loofah sponges with video!

We’ve wanted to grow our own sponges for years now ever since we learned about them from Chet at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California. A great place for old fashioned fun and our favorite, the Fall Tractor Show. They grow all sorts of plants and sell them to keep the tractor parades going and Read More

Pink Halite Crystal Hunting in Trona California

Now this is out of the ordinary! Fantastic fun for the whole family. Two days and 3 field trips to the Mud Fields, Blow Hole and Brine Pools at Searles Lake. Everyone convoys in their own personal vehicle to each adventure, starting out in huge parking lots in town. Visit the Searles Lake Gem and Mineral Society to get Read More

How To Compost with Worms and Solve Common Problems VIDEO

Vermicomposting has taken off at homes and schools. It’s fun and makes the best fertilizer nature has to offer. By recycling food waste properly, we keep the yukky stuff out of our landfills and prevent dangerous gases from releasing into the air and seeping into the earth. We just added a new guide, “How To Compost with Worms”. Read More

Herb and Lemon Scones

When I can’t get my favorite scones from Petite Madeline Bakery in Oceanside, CA, I resort to a good alternative. Chopped fresh borage leaves melded perfectly with lemon zest for a light and moist scone combining mild cucumber and citrus flavors. We discovered Fresh & Easy’s English-Style Scone Mix.  It has no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. What a relaxing morning, Read More

Blue Hake with Fresh Lavender and Thyme

Our “recipic” for Herbed Blue Hake highlights how ground mustard seed and peppercorns are combined with lavender, thyme, onion, garlic and olive oil to produce a highly aromatic herb mixture that will entice everyone to join you in the kitchen the minute it starts baking! TIPS: Create a tight fit for your fish in a foil covered pan. Read More

Dig your own Fossils in Wyoming and Utah

Get out the chisels! Love fossils? Delta, Utah and Kemmerer, Wyoming offer some of the best fossil diggin’ around. Warfield Feel like an paleontologist as you carefully separate layers of rock to find your own 55 million year old fossils at Warfield Fossils in Southern Wyoming. Bring gloves and glasses to protect your eyes. They provide the Read More

How to Make an Easy Bean Teepee

Kids will dig this home grown secret hiding place! It’s fun to put together and the anticipation from the young ones is priceless.   A bean teepee can be made in less than an hour if the ground is ready for planting, you’re not striving for perfection, and you have spare materials lying around. This one took a little extra time because Read More

Pros and Cons of the Urban Compost Tumbler

Urban Compost Tumbler We have the largest model (9.5 cubic ft) and it has given us compost in 4 weeks. The larger the better if you are serious about composting. If you would like to try it out, go for a smaller model or one that is less expensive. How It’s Used If you keep it in Read More

Learning about Lavender

I like the video series by Sarah Bader on lavender. I easily remember her tip for pruning. Cut two inches above the start of the soft wood. If you don’t do this in the spring your lavender will end up scraggly and won’t create a nice mound like it’s supposed to. I have Spanish Lavender and Read More

Funny Ways to Recycle Human Hair and Stay Green

Hair is a renewable resource! Pounds of hair get wasted every day and lost in landfills. Like tumbleweeds rolling around in the desert, these misplaced clumps and drainage gooh can be put to use for the good of humanity. There are plenty of ways you can reuse human hair and if you are ready to do Read More

The Crazy Things You Can Compost

Wowza – you’ve probably got a bunch of this stuff hanging around your house. Once used, it can be composted into soil amendment!  Top 5 Tips for the Best Compost Mix You can compost almost anything but meat, cheese and fatty/greasy foods. There are Brown (carbon-rich) materials and Green (nitrogen-rich) materials. You need both for the Read More

Deck the Halls Winter Gardening Song Lyrics

Happy Holidays My Friends! When it gets cold outside, we can still enjoy gardening, whether it’s preparing beds for spring, planting cold crops or planning what we’ll grow when the soil warms up. We got in the spirit by creating our own version of Deck the Halls, and included some dancing parsnips! Lyrics: Deck the Read More

California Buckeye Seed – Fun Facts and Folklore

              The California Buckeye tree looks almost unnatural in the fall with it’s bare tree limbs and giant seed pods that resemble deer eyeballs! The smooth, chestnut-colored nuts drop out of their shells and onto the ground. Don’t eat them unless you know specific leaching techniques because they’re poisonous. Read More

Holiday Aprons and Creative Christmas Card Ideas

Just one idea that was a huge hit in our family. I took some left-over white fabric used for blackout curtains and cut it into an apron shape – no sewing necessary. An old sheet would do too. Then I found extra fabric (could be old clothes) and cut out the design. Using a glue Read More

5 Tips for Using Manures in the Garden

Before you “poop your plants” LOL, learn these key handling and processing techniques to keep you and your plants free from contamination and sickness. Here’s the scoop on the poop: 1. Fresh Ain’t Best! Never Use New Manure Near Your Edibles Manure is a prime source of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. It’s also rich in Read More

The Best Campfire Fish

There’s nothing like campfire fish. Cooking it in foil (or parchment paper inside foil) keeps it moist and flaky. Here are a few tips for success: 1) Add some crushed Mediterranean olives on top of the fish to give it a fresh punch of flavor. 2) Cook the packets on a grate instead of directly Read More

Our Favorite Children’s Books

Over the years we’ve accumulated a nice list of our favorite books. As of Spring of 2011, our oldest daughter is almost 8 years old. Do you have a favorite book that isn’t on this list? Please add a comment with the scoop. Thanks a bunch! Our neighbors and friends have given us books that we continue Read More