Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Family Night: Garden Blessing

As we are preparing for the biggest couple of weeks of planting this season, I thought it would be meaningful to spend the evening out in the yard/garden as a family and ask God's blessing on our little space.

I can't tell you how many times I've been laying stones or preparing soil and feeling like my efforts were so feeble and small. I keep saying, "Lord, take my feeble efforts and use them to produce a beautiful and productive garden!"

I've been longing to get back into regular Family Nights, but have learned something about myself. When I'm planning lots of activities to do with our book of the week (via Before Five in a Row) I just don't have much left to give to Family Night. I'm going to *try* to make this more regular around here. Lord, please keep the inspiration and ideas coming!

Isaiah 61:11,
"For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations."

Since this week is the beginning of our biggest part of the garden planting, it has been on my heart to really be in prayer for our garden. My goal is of course to have wonderful fresh veggies for my family. But, I am really hoping for more than what we can eat to be able to share with others.

We began our evening with a picnic outside near the garden - I had envisioned making a big salad and some fresh bread but the cool weather prompted me to make something warmer! We still enjoyed our picnic near the garden! I taught the Johnny Appleseed Prayer that we used to sing in Girl Scouts.

Oh, the Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord!
For giving me the things I need
The sun, the rain and the apple seed
The Lord is good to me!

Next, we made stones for the entrance to our garden. I spent a total of $3 on this project! There are some great directions here - but it was a bit harder than this made it appear. Regardless of how they dry (I'm writing this Friday night) it was fun and the little ladies thought it was so neat to make their handprints in cement! I recycled pizza boxes into the "molds" and just pulled embellishments that I had already around the house.

We prayed for our garden and for a successful harvest that we could enjoy and share with others. We'll also be adding this to our Prayer Journal. I finally got this put together this week and am so excited to begin implementing this into our home.

We also enjoyed some fabulous "Dirt" Dessert - I'll share my improvised recipe as the original did not look dirt-y enough!

Cream together:
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. softened butter

Prepare 1 pkg. vanilla pudding according to package directions. Stir into above mixture. Fold in 1/2 carton whipped topping.

Stir in 2/3 package of crushed Oreo cookies (or store brand as I did) and then about 2 Tbsp. chocolate pudding mix to make it look darker!

Spoon into small cups and top with crushed cookies. Insert flowers if desired!


Anonymous said...

Love these photos from your Garden Blessing Family Night -- you will harvest more than food from your garden! :) Love, Mom

Tim, Allyson, and kids said...

What a great idea. We've been praying for our efforts with the garden, but it's been too cold recently to be out in the garden with the little ones. One of our biggest goals this year was to get the garden planted while spending as little money as possible. Read about how we're accomplishing this here:

Anonymous said...

We are starting our extended-family garden this week as well! My Brother in law has 5 acres, part of which we plant in a garden for our three-family, 15-member extended family. We all work to plant and harvest and it is a great way to get all the cousins together throughout the summer!

We also have a "Family Blessings Book" in which I keep all our routines, lists, info, and prayers and blessings.

Your blog has been a source of inspiration and "grounding" for me! Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I've found the work of family nights to be tiring as well!

Here are a few things I've learned that help me keep things simple:

1) Dinner is often a fun food we can make together to save me the work of doing it myself. If we have a bigger activity planned, I'll just make something really easy, or in a pinch, I'll have my husband pick up a $5 pizza that feeds all of us.

2) Being outside when it's nice out is always great, and there doesn't need to be a big thing planned. We have a wagon full of outdoor toys, so we may just take that outside and play together for the evening. Spontaneous walks might happen, or we might end up drawing with chalk on the sidewalks, playing ball or with bubbles, or anything else!

3) This isn't something I've done so much of, but I want to start, especially with a second child on the way. I know a family of eight, and they all take turns choosing the activity, even the two year old! There are a few rules. A- Nobody is allowed to complain about the chosen activity. Period. B- It has to be an activity the entire family can somehow participate in, even the little ones (the oldest child is 19). Everyone gets a turn, including the parents, and it saves the mom many hours of trying to figure out what to do, so everybody's happy!

Since I've been extra tired this pregnancy and not planning much, I just remind myself that the important thing is whatever we do, we're doing it together. It doesn't matter to our daughter if I've spent 30 seconds pulling a board game out of the closet, or if I spent days preparing. What matters to her is that we're all spending time focusing on each other. Once I started the simpler family nights, I was shocked to see that my family didn't seem to notice or care that we weren't doing elaborate activities anymore. In fact, they seem to prefer the relaxed simplicity!

GammySel said...

We will be planting as well. We read the squarefoot gardening book, which will assist us in this sandy Texas soil. We are excited- and like you will be praying alot over these boxes for the Lord to multiple our meagle efforts!

What a great idea for the concrete stones with the children's hands and what a blessing for them!

Anonymous said...

Monica, I really enjoyed this post, from your thoughts about praying for the garden's bounty, the prayer journal, and simply hearing how you are filling your role as wife and mother. Thank you for sharing.

angie said...

Wow! You touched on so many topics in this post!
I would be interested in hearing more about how you created your legacy prayer journal and how you incorporate that into your daily prayer life.
I like the design of the pavers in the garden. I am assuming that the plants wil be grown inside of those squares.
You are definately giving me spring fever!

Elizabeth (Lizzie) said...

You inspire me so much... this is a fabulous idea! thank you so much for taking the time to share.

Jessica said...

How fun!! I wish it was warm enough in Iowa to start doing those things!

Oh, I got the Legacy Prayer Journal for Christmas but have not had time to work on it. You're picture has inspired me to get to work! What a great way to document prayers! Thanks again!

Jessica said...

How fun!! I wish it was warm enough in Iowa to start doing those things!

Oh, I got the Legacy Prayer Journal for Christmas but have not had time to work on it. You're picture has inspired me to get to work! What a great way to document prayers! Thanks again!

Kimberly said...

We will be starting our first vegetable garden in a few weeks. Unfortunately I think I'm behind since my garden doesn't even exist yet but hopefully the weather will warm up soon and we can get it started. Thanks for the ideas on getting the little ones involved.

Elise said...

What a great idea!! I love how you made the stones{I did that with Jackson when he was a baby and I know they aren't the easiet things to make}, had dirty dessert, and prayed for your garden!!

Mrs. JP said...

You will still be harvesting the fruit of these special times many years from now. Our son, 30 yr. old in the army, still loves the little family times we had and remembers more about them than I do! God is so good. Now he wants to do the same things with his kids which is a double blessing for us. You keep up the great work and God bless your garden too :O)

Pamela said...

Oh what a lovely family night! I wish we had a yard for a garden, hopefully one day! I would love to hear more about your family prayer journal!

Me said...

Oh Monica,

How wonderful! I pray, too, that the Lord will bless your harvest. I am a bit timid right now, as it has been years since I have been able to garden and can, and I feel that I am rusty. I am praying for supplies to build my garden containers, that my son will be able to fit their construction into his schedule before leaving for his mission and all that he has to do, and that I may refresh my gardening skills and gain knowledge to see it through. I’ll send out prayers for all of us. :)

Lauren said...

We love the Johnny Appleseed prayer! We have the old Disney cartoon on DVD, and we sing the song for days after we watch it. It's just so simple and beautiful!

Randall and Rachel Beita said...

What cute pictues of your little ones! Looks like you guys had fun.

Unknown said...

Amazing garden stones! I thought they were pavers which here in PA are about $9 per paver, which is too costly for me. I love this idea. I have been wanting my garden separated with "something" because I like square foot gardening. I don't know if you know what that is, but it looks just like your amazing garden. Thanks for the idea! I already have cement :)