Here at Contentment, February means three kid birthdays. We are kind of anti-birthday party around here. We have a big day, of course! We give the birthday child the choice of every meal that we eat, cake choice, we take the day off of school and give the birthday kid the choice of what we do all day, and of course, we give a few gifts. But we kind of nixed the Birthday Party circuit a few years ago. This year, we went a step further, and kind of nixed the giving of more stuff. We have waaaaay too much stuff already and I'm sure the extended family will give us a few more wonderful and unique gifts for each child, so I decided to do something a bit more... entreprenureal. Now, all my kids are interested in gardening. They all get their own little patch, a la Little Men, and we buy the produce the kids harvest from them. This year, my oldest daughter decided she didn't want to grow veggies, because she doesn't want to eat them... she's not a fan. But she loves herbs, so she requested the permission to grow lavender and sage and thyme and then we decided she'd grow medicinal herbs and start researching old remedies for aches and pains. It's still a contribution to the family that is worth paying her for, and hopefully she'll enjoy the educational aspect of the project. I just had the kids go through the catalogs and circle and initial stuff they thought they'd like to have.... my middle daughter took the White Flower Farm catalog, looked through it, told me she couldn't possibly choose, as she wanted everything, put the glossy pages on the table and drew a metaphorical circle around the whole catalog with her finger... she's so cute!
Soooo, for my middle son, we purchased a round strawberry bed with 50 strawberry plants and plastic cover and netting to protect them from the chickens... for my oldest boy, two dwarf fruit trees, for my middle daughter, a couple of rose bushes, potato and onion sets, and we ordered for my oldest daughter a set of medicinal herb seeds and book on using them, plus 10 lavender plants. I couldn't resist ordering something for me, too... I ordered a David Austen rose (Carding Mill) and a blue hydrangea (Endless Summer). It's sort of a birthday/Mother's Day gift for myself! It's perhaps a bit untraditional to buy your children plants for their birthday gifts, but I think they'll enjoy them a lot. Now, on to negotiating produce prices!