Category Archives: Parenting

[Giveaway] “Smallfoot” DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack

The Little Birds are taking over the blog! Today, they are sharing their review of the movie, “Smallfoot,” AND giving away a Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital download combo pack.

In case you don’t follow Baby Birds Farm on Instagram yet, Little Bird has been asking to start her own blog. We let her take a baby step as she staged an Instagram “takeover” to cover the opening of a new movie about Volcanoes at the Fleet Science Center. She did so well that she and the Littler Bird were asked to takeover again to share about “Smallfoot.”

Smallfoot DVD Giveaway

Digital downloads start December 4th in the United States. The DVD and Blu-Ray versions will be out December 11th. And YOU can win a combo pack right now. Enter below and one winner will be sent a combo pack directly to their home (US only please.)

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6 Tips for a Southern California Edible Garden in the Summer

Hi! Abby here. You may have noticed in my Mother’s Day post that I mentioned we moved. It’s true! We no longer have a third of an acre on a canyon as our backyard, playground, and chicken farm. It was a fast move, and our edible garden was just getting good on the day we moved. 

edible garden

Our new backyard will have room for some small garden boxes. Which brings me to the question: can you plant new vegetables in the heat of a San Diego summer? Guest blogger, Emily, recently reached out wanting to share some of her knowledge of gardening and conservation. She put together this guide for us with her best tips for planting edible summer plants in Southern California. 

Best Edible Summer Plants to Grow in Southern California

Southern California is a unique area with a climate that is varied, ranging from Mediterranean to desert-like conditions. Summers in SoCal are warm and dry with infrequent rain, so growing during the warmest days can be a bit of a challenge. However, overall, Southern California has an amazing climate for growing almost anything.

The average temperature in July is 92 degrees with only .04 inches of precipitation. Fortunately, there are still a number of edible plants that do well in this type of warmer weather and will thrive for you. There are also tweaks you can use to help plants grow better or take root when you transplant them.

1. Choose Plants that Take Heat

anasazi green beans

The harsh summer sun cooks delicate plants. In the summer, focus on plants that withstand heat, such as sunflowers, beans (like the Anasazis, pictured above) and corn. There are some additional things you can do to help these plants withstand dry conditions, such as regular watering and installing an irrigation system in your garden. Make sure you water early in the morning or early in the evening, so the water doesn’t heat up and further cook your plants.

2. Shade Transplants

When first moving plants to a new edible garden, they are particularly vulnerable. Use screens or taller plants to create shade for these transplants until they fully take root in the soil. Remember that the sun is harsher from June until August, so anything you can do to reduce the intensity a bit, without completely taking it away, will help your new plants. The key to planting in the summer is to do it in the morning or evening when temps are cooler.

3. Plant Melons

Melons tend to love the heat and absorb the sun. While they do need some water, they do okay in drier conditions as long as you give them water occasionally. To see if they need watering, pay attention to the vines and make sure they aren’t drying out too much. The first thing to suffer if the plant gets too dry is the edible part of the plant, or the melon. You can also purchase water stakes that deliver water to the roots of the plant throughout the day.

4. Pick Heat Tolerant Greens

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to grow your own organic salad? Unfortunately, many varieties of lettuce or vulnerable to heat and wilt in the summer sun. There are some heat hardy varieties, such as magenta spreen and calaloo amaranth. Choose varieties that do better in the sun both for garden décor and to make a salad for your next dinner.

5. Start Your Winter Vegetables

In August, start your winter vegetables. Some varieties that do well in the area include cabbage, broccoli, kale, leeks, onions and fava beans. If you’re worried cool weather will arrive sooner rather than later, plant in pots or above ground gardens, so you can easily cover and protect from the cooler nights.

6. Choose Everbearing Strawberries

strawberry picking

Southern California grows about 80 percent of the strawberries in America thanks to the perfectly suited soil that drains quickly. Even though it is ideal to plant in cool weather, so that the blooms develop properly, everbearing plants will bear fruit all summer long, giving you fresh berries to enjoy during the warmest days of summer.

Growing Your Edible Garden

Summer is a good time to enjoy the fruits of your edible garden labor. You don’t need a lot of acreage to grow your own garden, either. Even a patio will suffice if you’re willing to go vertical or put plants in pots. Although you’ll need to pay particular attention to how much water plants get, overall the milder weather of Southern California allows you to not only grow fabulous crops in the summer, but to enjoy fresh foods all year long.

About Guest Author, Emily Folk:

Emily Folk, guest author on Conservation and Sustainable GardeningEmily is passionate about gardening and is currently working on a three bin composting system. You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks.

Emily on Twitter

Emily on Google+

Emily on LinkedIn

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

Happy Spring Break! I love this time of year… perfect for new beginnings and babies. Today I’m sharing a new product from my friends at Ergobaby: the 180 Reversible Stroller. And guess what? They are sharing a brand new stroller with one of you.

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

I’m a fan of Ergo, their baby carriers, and their whole business. In fact, they are one of the few businesses I’ve joined as an affiliate, which means I receive a commission if you purchase anything of theirs through a link on this site, like this one. If you do, thank you! It helps support our hosting and keeping Baby Birds Farm going.

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

Sadly, our Baby Birds are not so baby anymore, if you saw them cutting and cooking in the our last recipe post. So we asked our friends Sarah of a House in the Hills, Lou (a #dadgonemild complete with bunny) and Teo to stroll for us. Our daughters have pretty much adopted Teo as their honorary little brother. Such a kind and wise baby… and couldn’t be cuter.

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

As the name suggests, the 180 Reversible switches easily between baby facing the world and baby facing you. Sometimes your kid is inquisitive and soaking it in, and sometimes they want the reassurance of you.

Sarah shared: I love how lightweight it is, and that it’s so perfectly suited to transition from infant to baby to toddler.

Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller Giveaway

Want to Try the New Ergobaby Stroller?

And now: how can YOU get one? As of this spring, US customers can purchase online on ergobaby.com.

Feeling lucky? For a chance to win a new stroller, enter through the box below. The primary means of entry is by providing your email address to the sponsors: Baby Birds Farm, Burd Psychotherapy, Ergobaby and a House in the Hills.

Not into more emails? No problem! You can instead enter through Instagram @BabyBirdsFarm or @BurdTherapy (no emails needed). Or do both to maximize your chances!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dad pushing the reversible 180 stroller

Loquat Sorbet Recipe with Tequila and Salt

Here’s a fun post: a delicious recipe for loquat sorbet made with a splash of tequila and sprinkled with Hawaiian black lava salt.

Loquat Sorbet Recipe using fresh loquats and a splash of tequila and salt

The loquats came from a tree in our backyard. We started it from the seed of a tree down the street and it’s taken off. According to the Specialty Produce App, loquats grow well in most Southern states, but usually only fruit in California, Florida and Hawaii.

Loquat Tree with fruit ready to make into loquat sorbet

This post is a family collaboration! Papa Bird (our sorbet master) came up with the recipe and shot the “making of” photos. The child labor came from the (not so) Baby Birds.

Fresh loquats from the treekids cooking loquat sorbet

Kids Cooking in the Garden

Kids cutting loquats for sorbet with playful chef safety knives

The girls have been honing their kitchen skills with their new knife set. They love the safety knives from Playful Chef (Amazon link) which are designed to cut through apples and carrots, but safely fit in young hands. They use them almost daily.

The kids also harvested the loquats from the tree, selecting the ripest, softest and sweetest fruit.

My kids enjoy cooking, especially sweet treats. And they LOVE making and eating anything from our garden.

How to Make Loquat Sorbet

Loquat Sorbet Recipe using fresh loquats and a splash of tequila and salt

Loquats are from the same family as apples, pears and roses. The fruit have a mild, sweet, slightly sour and refreshing flavor.

loquats on the tree, ready for this sorbet recipe

They grow rampant in Southern California. So check your neighborhood and forage! If you or a friend have a tree, you likely have more fruit than you can deal with. And sadly, there are not very many loquat recipes out there. Select fruit that are a little soft and pull off easily from the branch.

Loquat sorbet

Next, Papa Bird set up an assembly line for the girls outside. The fruit can be juicy and sticky.

Kids Cooking Recipe: Fresh Fruit (Loquat) Sorbet

The kids cut the fruit in half. Loquats contain 3-7 large, hard, inedible seeds in the middle.

fresh loquats with seeds

Remove the seeds. The fruit are now ready to run through a juicer.

loquat sorbet

Preparing the loquat sorbet

This sorbet came out delicious!

Loquat sorbet with tequila and Hawaiian lava salt

To make 2 cups of juice, Papa Bird used approximately 60 halved, seeded loquats. We have a Breville compact juicer, which quickly separated the juice from the skin and less edible parts.

Read the printable recipe below. Continue reading

Giveaway: New Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier

I am beyond excited. First, we giving away a brand new Ergobaby Omni 360 baby carrier. Second, I get to share these beautiful pictures by our friend and photographer, Alysha Rainwaters.

Ergobaby Onmi 360

Recently, Ergobaby asked if I wanted to review their newest baby carrier, just released last month. The Omni 360 combines the best of the 360 with the Adapt, which converts from newborn on up. The Ergo 360 (which you might remember from my video review with Baby Bird and from this guest article) is seriously the best forward facing baby carrier. Until now.

Compare Ergobaby Omni, Adapt and 360

The major improvement with these new, flexible baby carriers (the Omni and Adapt) is that they can be worn without an infant insert – even with brand new little bitties. Infant inserts are great but can be hot. We love this simplicity in hot San Diego.

Not sure how to wear them? Ergobaby has great videos on YouTube showing how to wear the different styles, like this one. For help in person, I always recommend finding a local Babywearing International group, too.

Ergobaby Omni 360

Reviewing the new Ergobaby Omni 360

I’m a fan of everything Ergo does. So I was thrilled by the offer to review the Omni. Only problem? My littlest Baby Bird is almost four! Luckily our friends Alysha and Matt Rainwaters have two beautiful girls, including the adorable Coco. Sadly they are in the midst of moving away from us in San Diego back to Austin, Texas. Alysha said that her cutie has been super clingy and she hadn’t been able to put her down to pack.

best front facing baby carrier

When I brought the carrier over to their house, little Coco intuitively gravitated towards it. She wanted her mom to wear her immediately! Her little smile once she was up was priceless.

favorite forward facing baby carrier

Here’s Alysha’s review of the Omni 360:

I had given up on wearing Coco and hadn’t put her in a carrier in a couple of months because she couldn’t get comfortable forward-facing in our previous carrier. I was so so excited to try the Ergo because I missed feeling close to her and kissing and smelling her little head. Sure enough, she loves the Ergobaby and actually sits still, which frees my hands to wrangle my older daughter. I’ve also noticed that my back never hurts while wearing her and I can hold her for longer! Yay!

Ergobaby Omni 360 Forward Facing

Babywearing is Good for Parents’ Mental Health

Obviously, I’m a big fan of babywearing. In my private practice, Burd Psychotherapy, specializing in postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, I often recommend babywearing to ease mom’s anxieties. You can multitask. More importantly, babywearing increases bonding, attachment, and attunement. In fact, I wrote a blog for Ergo on How to Prevent Postpartum Depression, which includes wearing baby close.

Ergobaby Omni 360

Continue reading