Aug 24, 2013

Buying Something You Always Wanted....Like Dansko's.

A few years ago when I was in the middle of my annual New York City trip with my friend Gail was when the exact moment came that I learned all about Dansko shoes. I had blisters on my feet from all the glorious New York City walking and the blisters got me to start noticing what types of shoes people around me were wearing. Gail was wearing her Dansko clogs and she totally made me aware of Dansko shoes, their comfort, and general awesomeness. I have honestly never thought twice in my entire life about whether I owned "good shoes" or not until I had friends who did care and talked about their good shoes around me. Maybe it is because I have such small feet? Thus making it particularly hard to find "good shoes." maybe it is because my feet have never protested before? Who knows?? But after our "Dansko talk" I started finding myself occasionally wondering if I really was fine? Maybe I just did not know the joy that is nice, well made, last forever, expensive shoes??

 I liked the chunky style of Dansko's and found myself longing for them but when I finally saw them for the first time in a shoe store and saw their price tag I just could not take the plunge and squelched any notions I had about ever owning Dansko shoes. I do not think I have ever spent over $30.00 on a pair of shoes for myself so you can imagine how I balked at $120.00 shoes. I have continued to long for them for the past few years...without ever trying them on...mind you. My oldest daughter even bought a pair to take on her mission to El Salvador thus making me a little teeny bit jealous.  

There is a kid shoe store in our mall called Footbeats and every time I walk by this store I stop and stare at their Dansko shoes. The clogs never interest me much which I presume is what most people know Dansko for. I do, however, find myself adoring their Mary Jane styles and some of the sandals. I always pick them up and look at them, observe the price, and then set them back down and leave. Until about a month ago when I saw these beauties....look to the left :) The ones I happened to see were in black and I loved them, immediately. I showed them to my kids whenever we happened to be in the mall and they deeply disapproved of them. And made all sorts of noise about their ugliness.Thankfully, I do not place too much value on my kids fashion advice....sorry guys :) One time I happened to be in the mall with Gail and showed her the shoes and she said she could totally see me wearing them....that is good, right? :) Gail has impeccable fashion sense. She also knows my reluctance to spend money and was not surprised that we did not leave with them.

But she did encourage me a few times to buy them and that got me thinking.....so a few weeks later when I was once again headed towards the mall I decided that was it...I was trying them on. I could not stand it anymore. Now remember I have never tried Dansko shoes on. So I go into the store and take those sandals off the shelf and ask the employee for a 35 to try on. Dansko's are in European sizes and a 35 is between a 4.5 to a 5 in USA sizes and is the smallest Dansko adult shoes go. Well at least that is what I thought. But it turns out none of the adult shoes I liked in the store were in that size. WHAT? I even tried to will a size 36 to fit me. But no luck on that. Don't you love it when your decision to finally spend a lot of money turns out to not happen?? I was bummed and a little amused that all these years I had longed for these shoes and it turns out it was wasted longing time because they would never be available in my shoe size....sigh, story of my shoe shopping life.

But it triggered some shoe determination in me so I headed straight to the computer when I got home and started learning all about Dansko shoes and sizes. They do make kids shoes just not in the adorable grown up styles. If I ever want purple or red patent leather clogs I totally know where to get them. Not many styles had a size 35 available even on line. Finally, through Amazon I found a pair of size 35 Mary Jane Dansko's that I liked. Of course they were not available in black but I could see  the brown making me happy. I have no idea when I decided that $109.00 was a good price for shoes but it strangely happened and I magically I thought they were a good price :) And...gulp...I ordered them.

I only had to wait three days for them to arrive and I immediately opened the box and put them on. They are a little big...but shhhhhh don't tell anyone. I eagerly searched for approval from everyone in the house but to no avail. Not one Baird will validate or reassure me about my Dansko shoe purchase. But I decided in a crazy moment of confidence that I do not care because I ADORE them. Now I just need to own more things that go with brown, chunky, mary jane, Dansko shoes.

Aug 22, 2013

Saying Yes When You Meant No.

I have no idea how it happened but we woke up yesterday morning without a kitten and we went to bed with a kitten. Well actually I do know how it happened. Yesterday morning Tatiana, Natalie, and I were walking through the parking lot towards the entrance of Wal Mart and I saw a gathering of people around the entrance and knew without really even knowing that the scene had free kittens written all over it. My two little girls have never seen the "free kitten outside of Wal Mart" thing before but I have, many times. I uttered the words oh no long before the little girls realized what was going on.

Before I go any further let me quickly catch you up....we had owned a cat, Kittromney, for almost six years and when we all went out of town in the end of June Kittromney accidentally got out of the house and we never saw her again. I was so embarrassingly elated at this turn of events.

 And every day since then my Tatiana has asked at least ten times a day for a new cat. She has checked Craigslist every single day for kittens. I even indulged her and we had a most illuminating outing to the cat shelter in town. Thankfully up until now the cats she has found have been VERY expensive...wild....or too far away. But today all that changed.

There were three little kids in front of Wal Mart standing by a basket with three little kittens in it...all white with varying shades of gray spots on them. Before I knew it I was asking how old they were and if they were boys or girls. The little kids did not know if they were boys or girls. They all spoke English but with a very heavy Russian accent. Their mom appeared from inside of Wal Mart while we were talking and she said she did not know if the kittens were boys or girls but she assured me you could just tell by looking at their faces which ones looked like boys and which ones looked like girls. I indulged her and just smiled as she very honestly and seriously explained  to me that the girl kittens had sweeter looking faces and voila that is how you knew. I was greatly amused by this method of determining the sex of a kitten that she was SO sure of. I did not want to burst her bubble with the "talk."

The minute I touched the kitten I knew it had fleas badly. But something kept driving me on asking questions and acting like I was getting one of these kittens. Tatiana chose one and she and I sheepishly looked at its private area right there in front of Wal Mart and Tatiana felt certain it was a girl. I asked the lady to hold it for us while we went into the store. We promptly abandoned everything we had come to Wal Mart for and bought kitten food and flea shampoo and headed back to procure the kitten. All the while I am in a daze wondering what on earth I am doing.

But on the way home I come up with a plan to have cat central be in the basement in the spot under the stairs in the play room. It is a big area. I can block it off easily. I need the cat litter box to be out of the way. This plan makes me feel a little better about the reality that I succumbed to pressure and once again have a cat in the house.

The absolute minute we walked in the house I headed straight to the sink in the kitchen and we gave the poor kitten a flea bath. I felt sick as I bathed it for half an hour..pulling at least 40 fleas off its teeny tiny body. I felt so sad for this kitten. I have given flea baths to kittens and cats before and I was surprised, this kitten did not make a peep and did not attempt to climb on top of my head or "get out of dodge." It took the whole process like a man....yeah, you read that right...the girl kitten is really a man kitten....google confirmed it.

I told everyone in no uncertain terms that for all my troubles, misery and woe in my whole entire life I would get to name this kitten and I spent the afternoon mulling over Lord of The Rings names ....mixed in with some Hobbit names. Tatiana was rooting for Sam. And I was leaning towards Frodo. But then the big kids came home from work and Joe, my seventeen year old, without even hesitating, declares that the cats name is Benzo....WHAT? He tells us that in rap songs they often sing about riding down the street in their Benzo....AKA Mercedes Benz. I was emphatic. NO, we are not naming this cat Benzo. Pretty soon party lines were drawn and things were not looking good for the three of us against the name Benzo. By the time we finished a thirty minute car ride to the church with Joe to our Wednesday night activities he had swayed all three of us and Benzo it is. Say it lots of times and you will have to agree. It is a tad catchy.

I know you thought I hated cats and I do... but I don't. I hate when they scratch furniture. I hate their hair everywhere. I hate that good friends who are allergic to cats have to worry about coming to our house. I hate that they sometimes forget they have a litter box. And that is the short hate list :)  However, if you knew what was going on at the Baird house right now you would agree that getting the kitten was a good idea. The kids were thrilled beyond belief. It was so fun to see all of them sitting around in the basement laughing, exclaiming and watching the kitten. So you may judge me if you must I deserve it.

Aug 19, 2013

Vulnerability Equals Connection?




To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. – C.S Lewis 


Man, you gotta love good old C.S don't you? When was the last time you used the word vulnerable in a sentence? Would you say you use it every day? Once a week? Are you sure you know what it means? When was the last time you felt vulnerable? What makes you feel vulnerable? Is being vulnerable good or bad? Does Jennifer have a new obsession? Yep....vulnerability is what is trending in Jennifer Baird's world right now. It all started with an innocent enough looking email from my son Zach who lives in Europe. He sent me a link to a TED talk about vulnerability by a woman named Brene Brown. I had never heard of TED. I have a friend named Ted :) Anyway, I had rarely thought about vulnerability but within seconds of watching this video I was sucked right in and became fascinated with Brene Brown and her research. I am longing to have you over so we can grill a steak and sit in my hammock and talk about vulnerability until we can not talk about it anymore. Yeah, it is good to be in my brain....oh and my hammock :)

So lets start at the beginning...what is vulnerability? Actually lets start with vulnerable. What does it mean? It means you are open...... accessible....susceptible...sensitive....exposed....if you find that you can describe yourself as guarded...protected...safe...secure...strong and closed you do not have to worry in the slightest about being vulnerable....you are indeed the opposite of vulnerable. If you are vulnerable you are capable of or "susceptible to being wounded or hurt." You are open to attack or damage. You are open to moral attack,criticism and some temptation. Whew,sounds like a good time, eh? This vulnerability thing has a bad rap. Most of us think it is weakness. But it turns out we desperately need vulnerability. Brene Brown, my new best friend, points out in her talk on TED that after years of research she has come to realize that we can not connect without being vulnerable. And connecting is what we darling humans crave. No it is not Twinkies we crave :) Connection is why we are here....not Twinkies :) In order to have connection you have to allow yourself to be seen and that requires you to be vulnerable....yeah, good times :)

I have been searching my mind for moments that I know I feel vulnerable....

 when I wear a swimsuit...duh :)
 when I have to play the organ in church...ugh.
 when you give me a math problem
 when you ask to see my garden and it has weeds in it
 when I realize I did not shave my legs
 when I realize that you see me singing my guts out at a stoplight
 when you ignore me
 when I make a mistake

So you have to be okay with vulnerability in order to have connections. I have to be okay with the fact that I forgot to shave my legs so that I can tell you and connect with you when you in turn confess you did not shave yours either...and you tell me you keep a razor in your car for this very purpose and we can giggle about that and thus connect :) I have never in my life felt like protecting myself before... but now I do and I see it does restrict my ability to connect. I am not connecting much these days. I am longing for something to snap me out of this safe mode I have locked myself into. Hopefully the team from Star Trek is on their way in the Starship Enterprise with the code? Or maybe Jason Bourne is the one who will save me? I would even be okay with Superman getting in on the resolution of this :) Someone has to know how to fix this. Now I know why people who get bit by dogs sort of freak out when they are around dogs and are not really interested in being around dogs and you see fear in their eyes. It seems unreasonable to you if you have never been bit by a dog but I confess after the last two years I totally "get" it :)

I am working on writing a bill that would convince congress to require everyone in the world to watch Brene Brown's presentation on vulnerability and she also has one on shame that is fabulous. I am going to give you the link and trust me the twenty minutes is worth it. I love understanding what it means to be human and what we need and thinking and wondering about all these things and Brene researches this for a living and does a gosh darn good job of it. Brene Brown TED talk about vulnerability

Aug 15, 2013

Provincetown Breakwater And Life.

Today (Saturday the 10th was "today" ) started at least five weeks ago....actually I guess technically it was way back in June when my college roommates came to visit that my notions about today started.

I have always wanted to drive to the very end of Cape Cod. I mean to the very end...where in real, honest to goodness life the road ends. When my college roommates were here I was able to accomplish this goal and what was at the end of Cape Cod was even better then I had ever imagined. There was a culdesac like drive and cars were parked around the semi circle. I parked. I was a little confused that there was no signs banning parking and no signs looking for me to leave an exorbitant amount of money to park. I mean this is Massachusetts after all. Just when I think all they want is my money and to make more rules they trick me :) I finally confirmed that, strangely, it was okay to park where I was parking for free. Then the darling roommates and I discovered that right in front of our very eyes there was this amazing rock walkway, which I learned later is officially called the Provincetown Breakwater. It is a mile walk across these rocks across the Provincetown Harbor out to the outermost finger of the cape. The walk is across a mile of these huge, very steady, but not evenly laid boulders. Picture beautiful New England blue water on both sides...swaying New England green grasses in the distance...blue sky....white sand...and a quaint New England light house in the distance. Once you get across the breakwater to the beach you can walk across the dunes...being sure to avoid the poison ivy... to a very quiet beach....since you have to walk at least an hour to get to it only the most hardy are enjoying the beach which is why we can call it quiet. Words can not tell you enough how thrilled I was with this awesome discovery. I wanted to tell everyone I knew and make them come enjoy it with me. But yeah, you know how that, "making people do things" kind of things go :)

My Madeline seemed very interested in my discovery when I got home from my fun with my roommates so she and I picked a date to take the family back to my secret spot. And that date was today. Through a course of events, that deeply saddened me, discouraged me, and frustrated me our Cape Cod trip did not happen today. Hopefully there was enough describing words in that last sentence that we can connect on how I really felt :) After I expressed....using my words...how I felt to my children about this unfortunate turn of events, today (remember it was Saturday) still morphed into a day trip, just a little different day trip then I had planned in oh so many ways.

The Cape Cod trip needs some advance planning since we have paper routes in our life and the drive to the Cape is at least 3 hours. So it was too late to attempt it. SO, the children and I discussed and decided we would instead go to Salem to see the witch trial stuff.

When I do day trips I really,really like to start early in the morning but I am a little tired of having to always be the driving force behind everything that happens around me. So I just chilled and made sure I was ready by eight thirty and then I watched and waited. It was the most beautiful day ever and it honestly killed me to watch it slipping by... Eleven forty five was when we finally left....need I say more? Joe was not at all impressed with this notion of a family trip. So we were waiting for him. It always stuns me that I have to beg my children to go places. But actually this time I moved past begging and there was just telling of what was what and before you knew it we were all in the old and very tired fifteen passenger van heading towards Boston. We were grumpy but we were on our way. When you leave that late in the day and you are heading towards Boston you have to embrace the fact that you and the stop and go traffic will indeed be one. I am not really sure what time we finally arrived in Salem and that is a good sign that means I was not worried about it. After the witch trial stuff I chose to try to do something impulsive and convinced everyone that we needed to drive 14 more miles and go to one of my most favorite beaches....Crane Beach. This beach is constantly on the top ten beaches lists and it is so pretty. We rarely do adventures. We rarely do something random but today was different. I think when all was said and done most everyone enjoyed themselves but it was not without struggle.....silly life :)

So I still want to go enjoy the Provincetown Breakwater can you come?


Aug 9, 2013

The Beagle Connection.

The other day when I was driving through town, feeling more than a bit melancholy. I found myself sitting at a stoplight and as I sat there I felt something looking at me. Usually when I feel that feeling I never, ever succumb to it but for some reason this time I turned my head to the left and looked straight into the deep, dark brown eyes of a beagle. An adorable, floppy eared beagle. He was sitting in the passenger seat of the car next to me and his window was down... not all the way down... but down far enough that his doggy head could rest perfectly in this space between the car door frame and the part way down window. I wish I had a picture of it so you could see it. My windows in my car when they come down do not create this perfect space. But for some reason when this cars window comes part way down it creates this space. Mr Beagle was just resting there looking straight at me and I am telling you he looked at me exactly the way I felt. Yes, what I am saying is that I connected with a beagle at a stoplight. I am 85% sure that he understood my mood exactly and he made me wryly smile at the realization.

Aug 6, 2013

Books Were Harmed. But Look How Pretty :)

I rarely get to post a craft on my blog because I rarely get my craft on but I am so completely pleased with these paper roses that I have recently learned how to make that I am going to tell you about them. But I need to warn you that numerous books have been harmed in the making of these roses :)

It all started when I was at the library and I saw a notice posted for an upcoming class for making paper flowers. My eyes quickly scanned the announcement and I was so sad when I saw that the class was for 3rd to 5th graders. Maybe if I wore my hair in pigtails I could sneak in? I was at least hoping my eighth grader could learn how to make these. I knew she would love it. I actually do have a fifth grader but I knew this class was so not her thing. And besides, the class was being held in the middle of when she was at another class. The picture of the finished product was beautiful and I really needed to know how to make them.

 Well a few days later as I came in to volunteer at the library one of the librarians handed me the stuff for the paper rose class and asked me to copy the patterns and cut them out. YES!! I was one step closer to learning how to make these beautiful roses. Then the day of the class came and I was stunned to find out from this librarian that only one person had signed up to make the roses and the class was canceled. The only good part about this news was that I inherited all the patterns I had so lovingly cut out and I also got to have my very own paper rose class with her and she taught me all the tricks. This librarian is actually using these paper roses as her centerpieces for her wedding reception and I think it is going to look so cool.

The hard part about these roses is that they are made out of the pages of books. And it takes a minute to deal with the fact that you are, indeed, ripping pages out of books. But in the same breath that I say that it is also kind of cool that you can choose particular words or phrases that you want to be showing on your roses. Words that mean something to you. My kids fell apart when they saw the first roses I made and realized they were out of the pages of a Harry Potter book. I tried to console them with the fact that they were out of a damaged, out of circulation copy from the library but it was still touch and go for awhile.

I decided that these roses would be perfect to teach as a craft at our girls camp in New Hampshire. So I started practicing making them and looking at thrift stores for old books that might interest the girls at girls camp. I found a Princess Diaries book. I found a Barbie Princess and the Pauper book that had mostly colorful pictures but I was curious how it would turn out. I even found a very old copy of Moby Dick. I was looking for different color pages and different feeling paper. I also searched for a Twilight book because I had a feeling some girls would like that. Tatiana was with me at the Salvation Army and she kept snatching the books I chose out of my hands and "saving" them as she called it. Yeah, she may have to have misusing books therapy :)

I made a couple roses and then spray painted an empty wheat germ bottle a muted shade of yellow, glued a ribbon around the outside of the jar and gave it as a gift. It turned out really cute and I was excited. Remember I am not a craft girl so these little things thrill me :)

My craft assistant at camp was amazing and when we got to camp she showed me that she had torn some pages out of a dictionary and dyed them pink. Holy craft queen batman. They were beautiful. She just took a cookie sheet and put some water in it and added some dots of food coloring and carefully laid five sheets of paper in the cookie sheet. She brushed each page to make sure it was covered with the dye and then added the next page they only sat for a minute and then we took them out and hung them over some pipes to dry.

Then we started going crazy and I found some pages in her dictionary with maps on them and I made map paper roses....these are my favorite. So we learned as long as your paper is not too stiff anything will work. Some of the girls at girls camp used my Barbie children's book I had picked up and I was so amazed at how cute those roses turned out. I even tried making them with some very thin scrapbook paper and it was very pretty.

I have not tried toilet paper just so you know I do have some making paper roses boundaries :)

Aug 3, 2013

A Cover Letter?

It was January 4th, 2013 when I went to my first day of volunteering at the Westfield Athenaeum ...yes, you have to know how to spell Athenaeum before you can volunteer :) JK. I have most seriously loved every single minute of the volunteering I have done. I have wanted to be there way more than I was. But I worried they might think I was stalking them :) So I went just six hours a week. I learned something brand new every single day I went and helped. I did not start volunteering with any intention of working at the library but the longer I volunteered the clearer it became to me that the library was the place for me.

 It took me awhile to get up my courage to casually say something to the head of the children's department about my interest in ANY paying position that may become available. When I finally did it. She mentioned to me that they would love to put me in a substitute spot if the funding ended up getting approved. I was so excited about this possibility. And I most patiently waited to hear whether it would happen or not. Then in July that possibility became a reality and I became an official paid by the hour substitute. I ended up getting to start on the very day she asked me and I adored every minute of checking books in and checking books out. Summer is a most busy time in the children's library because it is summer reading program time. So it is not simply about checking books out and in. It is about approving all their summer reading stuff, giving them raffle tickets, and making sure they can tell you where they found the hidden hedgehog and dinosaur. I went home after my first three hours of volunteering feeling SO gosh darn content. i adore making connections and working at the library for me is making connection after connection as you help people find things or answer questions or simply check out their books.

Right now I permanently substitute every Monday from noon to three in the boys and girls library...happy days!! But that is not all... on Friday I got to substitute in the adult part of the library. I helped people find books. I handed out new library cards. I forgot to desensitize one book and felt the joy of making the buzzer go off as the patron left the library. I helped put all the new holds on the shelf for people to come and pick them up. I asked a whole lot of questions. And I was in heaven. But wait I am not even to the best part of the story.

One of the ladies who works at the library asked me if I had seen the recent job posting for a full time library assistant? Funny thing that she would ask because I actually had seen it but I had immediately thought I was so not qualified for a full time library position. I mean...hello...stay at home mom. Thankfully she kept asking me about it and I finally decided I should apply for the job. Thirty seven hours a week in the glorious library...what self respecting lover of organizing things by the dewey decimal system would I be if I did not apply for this job? I felt so out of my league when I told her I decided to apply and she started throwing crazy phrases around like "cover letter" and "references." I meekly and somewhat jokingly asked her if the library had a book I could check out on what on earth cover letters were? She laughed at me....I mean with me :) Cover letter?...Like a duvet cover? Like a book cover? Like under cover? Like take cover? Yeah, I called my dad and my son who recently graduated from college and they educated me :) I think I understand.

I cringe at the thought of filling out a resume. I mean, there it is, your whole past staring at you up from a page of white paper. I have no idea how to make changing diapers and cleaning up throw up sound like I have experience with computers :) I have no idea how to make the fact that I check out at least twenty five items each time I go to the library sound like I know the library system :) I can not explain a year and a half of BYU and not one piece of paper to show for it. I wish they could just give me the job based on my desire. How do you write that to make it sound professional? The first time I attempted writing a resume a few years ago someone helping me threw the word matriculated in my accomplishments and I needed oxygen. I successfully matriculated kids?? WHAT? I have decided to just face this head on and be who I am....oh dear, can I put smiley faces on the cover letter?? What about on the resume? Just one? Please?

I have no idea what will come of this attempt at procuring a library job. All I know is that I love working at the library. I can not imagine ever being bored of it. I can not imagine it ever being hard. I did not want to come home today when my three hours were up. And when they asked me if I wanted a break I looked at them incredulously? A break? Um no :)

So wish me luck as I figure out how to make my intentions known concerning this job in a so called cover letter. Wish me luck as I figure out if I have three people who can muster up some nice things to say about me. The deadline to turn in my application and cover letter is August 6th. Did that sound official? And did you notice I refrained from putting a smiley face after that even though I was, indeed, smiling ? :)

Aug 2, 2013

You Say Potato.

I think growing potatoes in your very own garden is one of the best kept secrets around. They are truly the most rewarding thing I grow.

Wait don't leave...you know you want to hear my list of all the joys of growing potatoes.

The fun can all start in March when you drive to your local garden store and buy your potato starts. They are just plain old potatoes....nothing exciting or crazy...that part comes much later. I love that I can buy my potato seed when there is sometimes still snow on the ground. I love that they are not to picky about when you plant them so as soon as I can get a shovel in the ground and that it is not too wet I plant them. I usually buy about 12 of each variety I want to plant. And sometimes the potato seed are big enough that I can cut them in half and get two plants out of one. As long as there are at least two eyes on each piece you plant everything is good.

This year I mixed up the routine a little bit and bought some potato seed from a seed company...Pinetree Seeds. I waited and waited for my seed to come. Finally, I called them and learned that they were waiting for when the rules say it is time to plant potatoes in Massachusetts...AKA...Zone five. I begged them to send me mine and they agreed. It did not seem to matter much to them that I am crazy :)

Because they took so long to send the seed I panicked and also bought potato seed from the garden store in town. This meant that I planted over sixty potato plants this year. Half of my garden was potatoes and that has not happened....ever.

Once the potato seed is in the ground all you have to do is hill some dirt up around the plant that comes up. Once, when we lived in Indiana, I found an evil bug on my potato plants but I filled a bucket with soapy water and handpicked each bug off and tossed them in the bucket and never heard from them again.

I always plant a mix of red potatoes, gold potatoes and white potatoes and this year I added fingerling potatoes into the mix. I am not sure if I will ever bring myself to purchase the purple-y/ blue potatoes. It just seems wrong.

I always forget that my favorite part is digging up the potatoes when they are ready. You know it is time when the plant starts to fall over and turn yellow and sometimes even brown. I love slowly pulling the top of the plant and eagerly watching for the few potatoes still attached to the stem to emerge.

After I pick those off and put them in the bucket then I carefully dig under where the potato plant was and find the rest of the buried treasure.....okay, secretly it feels like you are finding something very important...yes, I am telling you that digging up potatoes is very rewarding....okay, and addicting.

I have filled three five gallon buckets with potatoes so far this year. I still have two rows left and all my fingerling plants. My plants did so well this year. Every hill had at least 5-6 potatoes in it. I felt like the queen of potato growing.

This year I found a new potato recipe and it is quick, easy, and very yummy. My kids inhale them.You just slice some potatoes fairly thin. Melt a few tablespoons of butter. Pour the melted goodness onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and black pepper over the melted butter and then lay a single layer of the potatoes on the butter and put it in the oven at 375 degrees....usually within twenty minutes they are done.

Once I dig up all my potatoes then I store them in the basement and use them all winter. If I store them right they usually last me until March and then I have to start buying potatoes from Costco again :)