Gardening 101

Our first "big" harvest :)

I’m calling this Gardening 101 because this is a new hobby for me and I’m no expert, but I’m loving it! I want to share with you because I’m hoping after you read this, you will want to plant something! And for those of you experienced gardeners, please share your knowledge

I was inspired to garden because of my sweet 70+ year old neighbor. And when I say sweet, I mean just about the sweetest lady around. Talk about neighbor jackpot. In the fall of last year she started a raised bed garden with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, all types of lettuce, etc. We loved watching everything grow, and my oldest loved picking the lettuce and eating it straight from the garden (my middle liked picking it and tossing the veggies aside). Our neighbor, Kathy, always takes time to explain and educate the kids on what is growing. Now, I’ve always had the brownest thumb around. I think part of that reason is we never really stayed in a house long enough to have a landscaped garden, where I could really see the fruits of my labor. So, everything died. But watching my neighbors garden flourish, eating fresh salads, and seeing the kids enjoy being in the garden, made my husband and I think about having our own garden. Plus, I had the benefits of a garden expert right next door 😉 We finally started landscaping our yard at the beginning of the year so, we had a clean slate to work with (and please bear with me as it is still a work in progress. We need ground cover, etc). We chose a sunny spot so the veggies would thrive!

garden before
Our “lovely” clean slate

My neighbor has very long and large garden beds, but that seemed too overwhelming to me. How would I know how to arrange everything in such a big bed?! So I decided on 4 square boxes. We filled it with soil we purchased from our local plant nursery. Our soil is like clay, so we bought a sandy soil and some humus (a mature compost). You can also buy bags of raised bed soil…the correct soil makes all the difference. If you are choosing to plant straight into the ground, look into adding some amend, sort of like a soil conditioner.

From talking to my neighbor and doing some research I decided what spring vegetables I wanted to plant (see below for a list of things I planted). I started with plants because I didn’t want to wait for the seeds to grow (impatient), and because I felt like planting seeds was more advanced. I know now that planting from seed is really not difficult. I also decided to do some “flowerscaping” in my garden beds to add color. So I started planting and…got overwhelmed. Can the onion be planted by the tomato bush!? Then I felt like I should to all this research to make sure everything was strategically planted…but I don’t like spending that much time researching!! Do you know what advice my neighbor gave me? “Girl, we are just doing this for fun (except she really is a garden expert), so what if something doesn’t work out…we spent a buck on it! Just go for it and have fun while doing it!”  And that was just what I needed to hear.

Planting day!

After we started my garden we decided to make our kids their own little garden boxes so they could plant, dig, and water however and whatever they wanted!

Everyday I go out to my garden to water, inspect, remove dead leaves, or pick a little something to eat! It takes me about 15 minutes and its so relaxing. Plus, its fun to go out and see what has sprouted or flowered!

1 month from start date!

2 months from start date!

2.5 months from start date!

This has been such a great hobby for our family! We are still experimenting and have work to do in our garden area, but we are having fun while doing it! I love that we can use this as a way to educate our kids on how things grow, how to take care of things, and then…enjoy the fruits of our labor!

I will write posts here and there to keep you updated on our little garden! Please let me know if you have any questions about starting a garden, and if I don’t have the answer I can run next door and ask my neighbor 😉 Do you have a garden? What are your favorite things to plant?! I’d love to hear!

What I planted: Carrots, lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, thyme, radishes, squash, cucumber, zucchini, a variety of strawberries (so we can decide which one is our favorite!), green beans, snap peas, green & red onions, and then I added some snap dragons, white pansies, & poppies just because  🙂

Motherhood letter part 1, Sleep & the Virtuous Woman

Proverbs31

In honor of Mother’s day approaching I want to share with you the first of a 3 part “mini series” on motherhood. One of my best childhood friends recently became a mom (yah!), and while she was expecting her sweet boy I wrote her a letter about a few things I’ve learned on my motherhood journey. Being a mom is so extremely hard at times, but brings a joy and love you can’t describe! I’ve divided the letter into 3 parts so that each part is just a few paragraphs and makes for an easy read!

Part 1

….”As you begin on the this journey of motherhood you have a sweet little newborn, who needs you 24/7. And although “lack of sleep” can sometimes be a laughing matter when talking to a new mom…it.is.hard. I have a very supportive and hands on husband, however, in the beginning I would find myself annoyed at him. Annoyed that he would wake up after a solid 6 hours of sleep and would yawn and say “I’m tired”. Really? Really. You’re tired?! Must be nice to get more than 2-3 hours in a row! And although things get better the older they get…there is teething, sickness, early risers, scary dreams, more kids… It used to be really hard for me mentally. I would want to sulk on days I felt exhausted from not getting a good night’s sleep. Over the years though I’ve learned that that’s just part of parenting and I need to stop dwelling on it…or to stop dwelling on the fact that some peoples kids sleep actually do sleep a solid 12 hours at night (because I’ve dwelt on that). I just read something I wrote in my “motherhood journal” recently:

Today I write this feeling exhausted. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in, I don’t know how long. Recently there have been nights I’m up 8 times between all the kids. I’m trying not to focus on the lack of sleep and just enjoy the days we have together as a family…however, I think I’m almost at a breaking point.

There are times & seasons (sickness!) when you really do just need sleep, so get some help and take a nap! But I’m talking about the normal, day to day sleep deprivation. Something that has motivated me to get up before the kids when I just really want to hit snooze, or when I’m just tired and don’t feel like serving my family, is striving to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. Proverbs 31:15 says “She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household”, and verse 27, “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” The virtuous woman here rises early and works hard because of her concern for others. She gives of herself to care for her family..she was a servant leader. What a great example for me.

The scary thing is that as woman, we set the tone for the home. Titus 2 talks about how the older women need to teach the younger women “…to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home.” Our husbands are called to be the leaders of their family, but we are the overseer who can plan, organize, manage the creativity, and set the tone for the home. My attitude greatly affects my family, so I need to stop dragging my feet around whining that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep.

This leads to the next thing I’ve discovered about being a mom, it’s really hard to keep a good attitude and have patience when you’re tired and its complete mayhem…”

**Please check back for part 2 of the letter that talks about the hardest thing for me as a mom, patience!** Proverbs 31 has been a great reminder for me as I take care of my home and my family, and I hope it is for you to!

Entry Way

entry final

entry with door
I want to share with you our little entry way. It is pretty simply, but the few things that are there are very functional. As I was browsing pinterest for entry way ideas (see here for some steps on decorating a space), this picture caught my eye.

entry way pinterest

I liked the simplicity and the size and space is similar to what we have at our front door. As I was browsing target one day around this time I saw the same hooks in this pinterest picture (I thought for sure they were from some where expensive like pottery barn)…so of course I bought them! I decided to hang ours at a level the kids could reach. I was tired of jackets all over the living room, and they can’t reach up in their closet, so this was a way they could get their own jacket or sweater. One less thing for mom to do!

Shoes or an umbrella holder by the door just won’t work in our house with 3 littles, plus the front door area is our time out zone so…nothing can be on the ground there. Shoes would be scattered and umbrellas would be weapons.

cubbyI already had the wooden “clutter collector” as I like to call it, or the wooden cubby, from Home Goods. This has been a great way to reduce clutter on the counters and to *help* us keep from losing things. We put our car keys, phones, wallets, mail key, baby monitors, mail to be sent, etc. in it…it’s very useful. And I’m all about using what looks good but also serves a purpose, as space is limited in our house. Try to figure out what you need and what will work for your family as you’re creating your space. Make it yours, and make it useful. What have you found works for your entry way?! Please share:)entry final

entry undies (1)
I found our entry way “decorated” one day, curtesy of my daughter!:)

 

In case you’re interested where I shopped for the entry way:

Picture frame: Target

Hook: Target

Wooden cubby: Home Goods

Black bucket: Target

Greenery: Michaels

Candle: Marshalls

Every Day in May

 

every day in may give away

I thought for the month of May I would choose an item a day to give away or throw away. A little spring cleaning! What do you think? Will you join me? I know I would like the accountability! If you’re like me, you have too much stuff. We live in a culture where we are blessed abundantly, but I think sometimes those material blessings can turn into, a stressful mess. And I’m not sure why I don’t declutter more often because it feels so freeing!

So, lets work on simplifying our life and getting rid of things we don’t need. Pick an item every day and remove it from your home. It could be a piece of clothing, a toy, a pair of old socks, a book, an old bottle of lotion under the cupboard….anything! Head over to Instagram and I will check in every few days to see how its going. If you join late, just have a total of 31 items over the month 🙂  Every day in may

How to start a blog in 100 hours

So, those articles on Pinterest titled, “How to start your own blog in 15 minutes!”… NOT true for me. It’s taken me hours. Part of the reason is that we have older laptops that are slow and they needed some troubleshooting, but there were also setbacks with purchasing the domain, the theme, etc. Not to mention figuring out Word Press. I am not a computer genius, so this has been a good (hard?!) challenge for me. My patience has been tested. I have been so anxious to get this site up and running… and I have been frustrated that it didn’t just take me “15 minutes” like the articles said. I mean, I guess I could have just gone to posts, written something, closed my eyes and clicked publish. I would have had a post up, but been in complete darkness about how to navigate and customize the site.

There have been a few days were I have had to put this project aside because my mind was too consumed. I wasn’t fully present for my family. I ended up taking my kids to the zoo one day so I could have fun with them and not think about blog stuff. 

zoo

I’m so excited and have so many ideas swirling around in my head, but sometimes I have to take a deep breath and realize I have to work at a slower pace than I would like. It’s hard to balance time as a mom. There are some things that I have to get done and the kids need to wait for mommy to finish (cooking, cleaning, caring for a sibling, etc), but there are some areas that are more flexible. When I’m gardening, blogging, getting ready, or decorating and start getting frustrated at them because I’m “in the zone”, I sometimes ask myself, “In 20 years from now will you wish you would have stopped what you were doing to be intentional with them?” Most of the time (sometimes reluctantly), it causes me to stop what I am doing to give them some quality time before finishing my task. When it comes down to it though, when I get past the initial “annoyance”, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being needed and caring for my little family.

So, with all that said, this has taking me longer than I thought, my patience has been tested, and the site is not where I want it yet, but I’m trying to be ok with that! If you’re interested in starting a blog, just contact me and I’ll give you my tips on “How to start a blog in 100 hours”  😉

I’d love to hear ways you try to find balance as a mom!

DIY Succulent Centerpiece

succulent final

I want to share with you how I put this succulent centerpiece together for our patio table! My husband made the basic box out of some extra wood we had, however, you can use any sort of container. My mom has a lot of succulents in planters around her house so she gave me enough for this whole project (thanks mom!).

succulent clippings

I went to Hobby Lobby in search of something to add to the centerpiece. I was thinking I would use Mason jars, or something similar, but came across these cute little lanters and thought they would be perfect. One thing I like about them is they open from the top, so it’s easy to access the candles. I used LED candles…so no fire around the plants! I needed something to put under the lanterns to bring them flush with the top of the box so, I went digging through my recycling. I found that tuna cans, along with a piece of thin scrap wood was just the height I needed! Reuse and recycle!

succulent paint and layout

To give the box a more worn look I watered down some grey paint we had and brushed on a quick coat. I was pretty happy with how it turned out! I lined the bottom and sides of the box with a garbage bag (its what I had) so that it would contain the dirt. Then I went to our side yard and gathered some pebbles to put on the bottom of the box to enhance drainage and help prevent the roots from rotting.

succ dirt and pebbles

The fun began as I spaced out the lanterns where I wanted and starting filling it in with succulent clippings and potting soil! I wanted to leave some room for new succulent growth, but there were a few spots that looked a little spars, so…shhh *I added a few fake succulent pieces I had*. For the final touch I added some small pebbles to the top and covered most of the dirt.

succulent final2succulent final

A few weeks later there is new growth and the succulents are doing great! I’ve been known in the recent past to have a brown thumb, so this new growth is very exciting for me 🙂

Thanks for reading about this DIY project! I hope this inspires you to make your own succulent centerpiece…have fun and be creative!

 

 

 

 

5 Steps to Decorating a Space

nursery dresser

Hi! I just wanted to share with you how I go about decorating a space…how I find my inspiration. We all want our homes to be cozy, and sometimes it seems hard to know where to start. This system has helped me as I decide what I want to do, or what style I want to go with. It’s pretty basic but I hope it helps you too!

I am going to use our nursey/guest room as my example. Because the nursery also doubles for our guest room, I wanted it to be calming and relaxing for our guests.

First, I cruise pinterest and use other people’s beautiful ideas. There are some talented people out there so why not use their help! I probably pin about 10 or more pictures that I like..images that jump out to me and spaces that seem calming and peaceful to me. Below are a few pictures that caught my eye (and the room ended up looking very different, but they started the idea).

Second, I go back and look through those pictures and see if something catches my eye. In this case the “Let’s be Adventures” print jumped at me… especially because it was a *free* print out! I am all about spending the least amount of money possible to get the look I want! I was able to have this printed at staples for $2.99! The frame was about $18 dollars, but I still was pretty happy that the whole thing cost just over $20 for my main piece of art in that room!

Third, I gather pieces of art or décor that I have around the house and see if anything I have will work with the look I’m wanting.

nursery lamp

 In this case I already had a basket and a desk lamp. I liked the idea of a basket to hide the wipe warmer in, but the basket seemed too small. I liked the color and style of the lamp, but felt like the lamp on the dresser sort of made it cluttered. So, back to pinterest I went searching for wall light ideas. I came across this post from LizMarie, a very talented decorator. Check her out at http://www.lizmarieblog.com/

liz marieIn her tutorial she talked about how these lights were from Home Depot for $29.97! So, off to Home Depot I went. Which is part of my fourth step, buying some items to work with. Of course when I got back from Home Depot I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like so I got some Velcro and stuck it on the wall. (This is a very handy trick if you’re a visual person like me but don’t want to put holes in you wall as you’re figuring out where things go!) My husband may or may not have rolled his eyes at me 🙂

nursery dresser with ikea

I then went back through the items I had at home and tried out a few things. I had an Ikea wall shelf lying around so I also used Velcro to try that out too. Sometimes I just leave things for a while to see if I like it. As I was “leaving it to see if I like it” I happened to run into an antique store near my husbands work. (And no, I don’t often just “run into a store” to browse, this was a rarity!) I found a crate that said “Made in Australia” for $10. I was so excited! For those of you that don’t know my mom is from Australia, and I’m a dual citizen (US and Australian). So, the crate was just perfect because it had meaning.

nursery box

I really like the look of the light wood, so I went to hobby lobby to try to find something to put over the crib. I found this wooden Owl piece (50% off) and thought that would be my main piece over the crib.

owl2

 I decided on a black frame, a light wood “W” for some personalization, and some hooks we did a DIY project with. At the time I was working on the nursery my handy husband was making some wooden arrows. The one I used was supposed to go in my oldest sons room, but… I stole it for the nursery! I also remembered we had a light wood TV tray laying around and thought I would just use that as a night stand for now.. because I didn’t want to spend anymore money and it gave the look I wanted.

And fifth, I take what I had and what I bought, and after a little tweaking, re-arranging or painting, I come up with the final product!

nursery above crib2

nursery bed

image
We took some individual hooks and attached them to a painted piece of wood to tie in the wall light fixture!

nursery dresser

nursery with EM
Emersyn playing in her brothers room!

I hope this helps you even just a little as you are decorating your home to make it yours!  🙂