April 25, 2015


Aaah...basil. I love basil. It is one of my favorite herbs. (It could be why I have about 20 starts of it growing right now. I'm a little obsessed.) It is one of the easiest thing to grow, although so many people have trouble with it. There are a few reasons why. 
One...it is one of the most cold-sensitive herbs out there. Any chance of frost and it shrivels up the next day into a sad heap of dead plantness. Better wait until end of May or even the beginning of June to leave it out all summer. Definitely still take it outdid during the day...I cart mine outside almost every day for the sunlight; just not overnight. (Because I'm too cheap to buy grow lights...I just pretend they are outside for several weeks to a month.) Its also the reason I start so many...just I case I kill the first round; I have backups. 
Another thing about basil...it roots very easily. So easily that it I often have some in a cup of water to use in a day or two; I forget...and bam! I have another basil plant with roots ready to plant. You could really get away with just buying a basil plant at your local nursery, pruning it and just multiplying it from there. 
The third thing and probably most important is pruning. So many people just do it WRONG. They either just pull a few leaves off the plant (wrong) or cut it right in the wrong place. 
The first thing you want to do with basil is cut it right above the very bottom two leaves. 

Can you see where I cut this one? Then what happens is it goes into survival mode and makes two branches of basil instead of one skinny sad basil plant. Then after that you can wait a bit, and harvest EACH branch above those two leaves. (Then you'll have 4; and so on and so on.) you might end up with way too much basil at this point...but just put it in a cup of water (like flowers---NOT the refrigerator--remember, it's cold sensitive?) and you it will even grow roots in a few days and replant or just use later. 
If you follow these tips you will have huge  bushes of basil, instead of tall skinny lanky ones. 

March 31, 2015

Spring Gardening

Hello fellow gardeners! Or better yet, aspiring gardeners. I am in no way a gardening expert; I've only had a few years experience, even. But since I had no clue what I was doing, I did a LOT of research and have learned quite a bit along the way. 
Here is some of my tips: 
1. You can get out there and start planting NOW. A lot of plants actually PREFER the cold weather. There are actually 3 gardening seasons that most people try and cram into 1. (So sad, I know). 
You can get out into your garden with some seeds and go ahead and plant these crops: 
Peas (sugar snap, snow or shelling varieties. I personally like sugar snap the best; and they are my main sustenance while gardening. They never make it inside the house. That is why I'm planting even more this year.) go ahead; plant generously. They will be mostly dead when it's time to plant your tomatoes, anyway.
Spinach (I don't have the best luck with spinach; but I think it's because I'm not using the right variety yet. But I still plant it!) 
Lettuce-technically you're supposed to wait a couple more weeks but I plant it anyway. It doesn't hurt anything; plus there are so many seeds that come in a pack you can replant later. Lettuce seeds don't tend to save well, longer than a year or two. Plus, if it does work, you are a few weeks ahead of schedule. 
-takes forever to germinate; but I promise; plant it now. (It takes forever when it's warm, too). 
Cilantro-this is a good pollinator; and it dies off when it gets warm anyway. This year I went a little crazy with how much I planted, but I think it's a good problem to have lots of cilantro. I can make some pesto early summer and call it a day. 
Dill-just do some in case it germinates. Definitely save most of your seed to plant again in a few weeks but it should work. 
Chamomile-I love this little plant. The tiny daisys are so cheery. 
Poppy-this flower actually NEEDS some time in the cold. Better yet; you planted it after the first frost in the fall. Don't worry; you can still plant it now. It will bloom spring and fall. It's a cool season annual but will probably self-seed for you every year. (Or be seeded by your kids playing with the "pepper shaker" seed pods)
Lupine-just like poppy needing some cold. Although I've been told a lot that I'm lucky to get it to work; not sure if it's the only secret or not? 
Onion sets -try planting close to your lettuce. Apparently it's supposed to deter pests that bother lettuce and make it taste better. And onions don't take up much space and you plant at the same time. Genious! 
Potatoes-my bag said, "plant early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked" which is NOW. So there ya go. I've never planted potatoes, it's my first year so I have no experience. I've heard they are one of the easiest crops to grow, though, and also to plant them in a new garden bed because it helps till your soil. 

2. Another one of my tips: don't go too crazy trying to plant stuff inside just to transplant it later. Some stuff you need to, but why take all those extra steps? I look for things that can be direct-seeded or that are easy to grow and plant those. Mostly because I'm LAZY. Most stuff will just grow when it's good and ready to grow. Most seeds you aren't going to kill by planting them too early, they will just warm up and germinate when they're ready. 

3. Plant some herbs. They mix well with flowers or vegetables, are great pollinators, caterpillars eat them so you'll get more butterflies, taste great, look pretty. Just do it. Most of them help your vegetables taste better, too. 
If you have a butterfly garden, my favorites are dill and parsley. 
If you plant tomatoes the best are basil, marigolds and sunflowers. 
Carrots the best are chives and rosemary. 
Look up articles about "companion planting" if you're interested in this. 

4. My other best tip is to just go out and plant something. Don't be scared. Most of the stuff you'll have to wait a while, but even if you have a small garden, pick something and plant it. I really enjoy myself gardening. I feel like it just gobbles up my stress. I know other people don't like it as much as I do, which is fine. So don't plant a ton. My favorite is herbs; 1. because I love them; 2. because they're easy to grow and 3. because they are so expensive at the store; if you grow them yourself they are practically free. 

There you have it. I'll try to post some more tips in a few weeks. 
Feel free to comment with some of your tips. Either with other stuff you can plant now (these are just the only things I actually PLANT; I'm sure there are more) or just other tips. Like I said; I'm new at this, too. 

March 27, 2015


I had one of those moments at Walmart today that every parent dreads, yet when you're in the moment you think to yourself, "people say they have been there too, yet their kid isn't behaving THIS badly." Moments that usually make me avoid taking my kids to the store at all costs. But then you really need just like 5 things and you psych yourself up and think, "I can do this, it won't be that bad" but then it's worse. Yeah. 

It's so bad that I can't really describe in words just how big this tantrum monster is. I've tried to describe it to people and I always fall short. I get it. I know probably every person in the store was probably thinking, "wow...my child never behaves THAT BADLY." I did get a few sympathetic glances that were the "hang in there, I really HAVE been there" kind of look. 

I feel judged constantly by thinking and sometimes saying out loud the types of things it makes me respond with. I'm just trying to survive here. My survival mode is usually a bit extreme, usually some sort of inappropriate emotional response. I feel EVERY DAY like I am screwing up as a parent. I feel like no matter what I do, which way I go it will somehow be the wrong choice. I also feel like if I work my hardest and am the best Mom ever, it is very short lived and 5 minutes later they are back to giving me death looks or screaming at me or even punching me. 

Often I try and do "the right thing" but what even is that? I read countless parenting books, blogs, you name it. Often they make me feel worse that I can never measure up. 

When my daughter has her tantrums...there are several ways I COULD respond. I could do the "ignore it" tactic. This would almost 100 percent of the time result in some sort of horrible injury. 

So why is it so hard? I cried the entire way home from the store. She even asked me why I was crying. Like she had no idea. Really? 

I know these self-degrading thoughts are from the enemy. I know they are LIES. But I still battle them every day. I know thoughts like the ones I had today are definitely from the enemy. They sure aren't biblical. 

I think the only thing I can do is not let him win. 

You know what WAS from God? Right in the midst of this tantrum when I thought I was at my breaking point my good friend Heather showed up to say hi, give me a hug and temporarily distract Gabby. So really...in the midst of a terrible storm God sent me a rainbow. And it was just enough encouragement to get me through until the next storm hits. (Which sadly will probably happen within the hour; because she is fighting sleep.) 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm CHOOSING to see the good in this situation, instead of dwelling on the bad. 

August 17, 2012

On buying a house.

So I continue to be about 2 months behind on my blog. Even when I actually work on it. How discouraging. Now I'm about 3 months behind. It all started from our first move out to the Midwest; so much happening; no Internet, etc. And now with another move scheduled for next week...I can see it just getting worse. Maybe you'll get to see our summer pictures around Christmas time?
Anyway, so much is going on I wanted to capture it all before it escapes my brain.
1. We bought a house. For the first time. We are a little big overwhelmed, but mostly a LOT of excited.
2. We get to move in to this house in 9 days!
3. We continue to feel the benefits of living closer to family with all our travelling to see them. Josh and I figured out the other day that if we added up all the drive time to all the various places we've been, would it be MORE or LESS travel than what we would have done before we moved? I think it's actually been more by this point, but you can't put a price on how OFTEN we get to see them now. Before it was only a couple times a year, now it seems rare when we're actually here for the weekend. We love it, though. We love getting to be able to just go visit for the weekend and not have to take time off of work, and then drive for 12 hours one way (hundreds of dollars later on gas, tolls and food).

I think it's mostly the little things I'm the most excited for about buying a house.
*Feeling settled. I've been pretty unsettled for a year now.
*Having more than 3 bowls for a family of four. (the rest are in storage.)
*Having my summer clothes. Yup, storage. It was a hot one here, too. I have no shortage of long-sleeved shirts and sweaters here.
*Having a dishwasher. Can't wait. It's been rough doing all my dishes by hand. (Quite frequently especially since we only have 3 bowls, one being a kids bowl.)
*Putting child locks on EVERYTHING. Seriously. We don't have them here. I didn't feel like installing them for just a few months, which turned into 8 months....of having Gabby open and empty every cupboard, drawer on her level. And then having to add all the contents to my "to put away" list. Our new place is going on lock-down. Gabby is going to be so mad.
*Getting our entertainment center back. Seriously? Have you noticed in any pictures the thing we have rigged up right now? The table with the baby gate around it with the tv, AND the computer on top and everything underneath?
*2 words: Kitchen-aid Mixer. Mine's in storage. It's been rough without it. I miss it so much. I've had to even mix a few batches of cookies BY HAND. (No, I don't have a hand mixer, even.)
*Brooke and Gabby will have the rest of their clothes back. I thought I packed them all, but I did keep their seasonal clothes in storage, too. Luckily, this forced me into learning to sew them new ones, for which I am grateful.
*Privacy. I'm excited to not lived attached to anyone, even though we have the sweetest neighbor in the world right now...I'm just ready to live in our own place. For their sake, too...I no longer have to worry about my kids being too loud and it annoying our neighbors. Now it will ONLY annoy Josh and I.
*Also on the privacy note...Gabby will finally have her own room. She's been in our room her whole life so far. I'm ready to be able to put my laundry away, or take my own nap or just be in my room without worrying that I'll wake her up. Also for Josh and I to have our own space.
*Oh, and there's things like building equity, the tax break for buying a house....all that sweet stuff that comes with buying a house.

July 31, 2012