Mini Pinata Advent Calendar - Christmas in July

Only a little over four months left until December 1st  - so what better way to celebrate "Christmas In July" than to get started making your Advent Calendars!

July? Christmas?  Absolutely!  "Christmas in July" celebrations have been a much loved tradition in our family since Diane was about 5 years old.  On July 25th we would take a trip to a local Christmas shop so my children could pick out a special ornament to save and then put on the tree in December.

Come explore with me!

Do you recognize this view of Realto Beach from a recent post?  This is another of the many moods of one of my very favorite places in Olympic National Park.

As promised, I am sharing a few images from our trip. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, and are planning "stay-cations" for the summer, perhaps these images will entice you to consider a trip to the San Juan Islands or to Olympic Park.

Meet my friend Teri

I had a birthday recently and my wonderful husband ordered two mugs from Teri's Zazzle Collection that I was eager to own!

Raspberry Blueberry Pie

Raspberries are ripe at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island!  K and I just got back from picking a year's supply of berries to freeze. This holiday weekend would be the perfect time to take the kids and go berry picking. How to get there? Here are directions!

Veggies in pots?

Everything we grow in our garden must be grown in containers and for many years our containers have been planted with flowers.  This year, we are experimenting to see what, besides tomatoes and herbs, we can successfully grow in containers.

Even if you have limited space - just a small patio or balcony - as long as there is sunshine and a little fertalizer, you should be able to grow a few veggies in containers.

Tomatoes always do well in containers - ours are already over 5' tall and full of the promise of a great crop!  We always get a cherry variety called "Sun Gold" as it is a very reliable producer and the tomatoes are delicious.

Anaheim peppers also do surprisingly well in pots.  I usually get two crops before frost.  Two plantswill yield about 12 peppers at each harvest.

Right next to the peppers - my "Tabbouleh" garden!  Mint and Italian parsley grow like weeds and I have already cut enough from this one little pot to make three big batches of Tabbouleh.  I planted the little seedlings just four weeks ago!

Greek oregano is a must and another vigorous grower! We grow it in a little flower box Kirby built and enjoy fresh Greek dressing all summer. This recipe is closest to the one I make, but use fresh Greek oregano instead of dried.  The recipe I use is from Pappas Art of Traditional Greek Cooking, a cook book I dearly love and highly recommend to anyone seeking to learn to cook Greek food. 

Rosemary? Always.  I love how beautiful it looks in the garden, and the fragrance, and the focaccia bread I make in the fall.

And, yes, that IS a blueberry bush growing in the big pot on the left. 

Kirby gets a quart or more off this bush every year! 

Potatoes?  Actually it is surprising how well they do in a container.  Use a fairly big pot so you get a good crop!  K planted a sprouting member of the "old forgotten potato gang" and just look at what a beautiful plant grew up from that sprout!  He tried this several years ago and we had the best potatoes ever!

And that really IS corn growing in that little pot next to the potatoes!  Apparently squirrels hid kernels in this pot last fall and - well - Kirby just will not dispose of any plant that is growing.  If we actually get an ear of corn out of this - you will be the first to know!! I'm not holding my breath - but - I've learned not to bet against K's green thumb! 

We rescued these from the $.99 table a few days ago.  Lovely Italian peppers to roast, summer squash, garlic chives and Cuban oregano.  We haven't ever used Cuban oregano as a seasoning, but it is a gorgeous plant and can be brought in as a house plant in winter.

Feast your eyes on our not so successful strawberries! 

And finally, a small patch of soil our neighbor has shared with us. We have planted cucumbers, butternut squash and pumpkins.  We'll see how they do growing in heavy clay soil completely riddled with gophers and moles.  May have to go the container route next year!

But so far so good!  My first cucumber blossom.  Wouldn't if be fun if we grew so many our neighbors hide from us when they see us walking up to the door with our arms full of cucumbers? 


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