Organic Gardening

Spring time is finally here! This usually means it’s time to get our garden’s prepped..out come’s the garden tools, out comes the barnyard soil, and hopefully out comes the beautiful veggies. Today, Matt and I bought our ” rich” soil for the garden being the soil in our yard is dry and this isn’t typically the best soil for plants to thrive on. We bought barnyard manure mixed with soil which does wonders for the garden so I hear…we will see. This year we are planting eggplant, cucumber, onions, tomatoes, squash, beans ect… and a few herbs we’re going to grow on the front porch. There is nothing like going out to your backyard and picking “homegrown” veggies.

Matt pouring the barnyard soil.

spreading the barnyard soil.

Dark, rich, glorious soil.

The depth of a handwritten letter.


I just finished writing a few of my dear family members and I was reminded of how nice it is to give and receive of something that holds such truth and depth. There is something magical about writing a letter. The deepest parts of your soul are unveiled making you vulnerable yet candid at that very moment the ink touches the paper. We lose depth in day to day life when we take the easy way out. I prefer to give back something that gives of itself and may be cherished throughout the years. What is something you like to give that gives back?

Things you may find at your local Goodwill store.

I’m a bargain shopper. This being said, Every few weeks I go exploring at my local re-sale shops to see what treasures I may find. Some weeks I may find nothing but an exit out the door and other weeks my bags are flourishing with goodies that I found in one trip. So, it may vary from time to time. I guarantee it’s worth your time to check out some of your local re-sale shops as mom always says, “Where there is a will..there is a way.” For example: A couple of weeks ago, all I found was a dish set for $8.00. The condition is fabulous and looks to be brand new. I love the olive green color as well.

This is the best approach to finding good deals and living green. You are not only saving money but recycling as well. I love being a able to find an item that is name brand with the price still on it and get it way cheaper than the original price tag ( cha-ching!) Not only is this endeavor rewarding but beneficial in helping you to learn the quality of the simple dollar. My advice is to try and arrive early so you can catch the stock that has just been set out by the employees’ before the afternoon rush hits. It always goes back to the old sayings, ” The early bird gets the worm.” Here are some treasure I’ve found at my local Goodwill.

The dirty essentials in composting the garden.

While walking down to the garden last week, I spotted two Canadian geese. Aren’t they pretty?

Step 1. spread collected newspaper on bed of garden.

Step 2. Spread my compost in various places. Simple, there is no fancy form to it.

Step 3. Try not to get attacked by red fire ants..Ouch! Mission failed.

Step 4. Find an “organic” way of getting rid of these suckers!

A simple solution (literally).

I have decided to make my own laundry detergent. The benefits and possibilities are endless! These are a few reasons why: I buy a 1/2 gallon of 7th generation laundry detergent every couple of weeks after it’s gone on sale for $5.00 or less. The detergent is concentrated and equals out to 33 loads. After two weeks, I refill my gas tank, drive to the store to pick up another 1/2 gallon. Some of you may be thinking, Why not 1 gallon? The particular laundry detergent I buy is specialized being it is a “greener method.” Therefore, it tends to be higher in price and smaller in size than brands like, Tide or Downy. This is my reasoning for waiting for it to go on sale.
Every-time, I start up my Jeep Cherokee, I can’t help but think..Gas=$$$

Conversely, making your own laundry detergent is cheaper and less toxic. Many generic laundry detergents contain numerous chemicals that cause allergic reactions. The internet has been a great resource for finding a variety of homemade laundry detergent recipes. Some people like adding naturally derived plant oils to their laundry detergent. Lavender and Sandal-Wood are some of my favorite’s. Being, I enjoy earthy undertones. I feel satisfied in knowing my penny’s are being saved and my family is taken care of. This will be my first time to make homemade laundry detergent. I plan to stick to a simple recipe that consists of borax, washing soda, and natural soap.

How to make laundry detergent:

4 cups hot boiled Water
1 natural Soap Bar (see the directions below for tips)
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Borax
Directions

Grate the soap bar using the coarse side of your cheese grater. I buy clear vegetable glycerin or olive oil soap bars from my local bulk food store, and many web sources suggest using Fels Naptha or Ivory soap.

Combine the soap flakes and hot water in a large saucepan. Stir over a medium-low heat until the soap is melted.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of very hot water. Add the melted soap mixture, the washing soda and the borax. Stir until all the powder is dissolved.

Fill the bucket up to the top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

What If It’s Really Lumpy?
I just made a batch with a new laundry soap bar and my homemade laundry soap came out really thick and lumpy.

I tried mushing it with a spoon, then with my potato masher, and then finally I just put my hands in and squished away the lumps.

It was surprisingly fun, and I’d definitely recommend making it with your kids. It’s a great alternative to squishing around in mud!

Next morning, stir the essential oils into the laundry soap mixture.

Transfer your homemade laundry detergent to a bunch of clean used laundry jugs.

To use: Shake the bottle before each use to dissolve any lumps of gel that might have formed while it was sitting. Use 1 cup per load for top-load washing machines, and half a cup for front-load washers.

This recipe makes enough homemade laundry detergent for 45 top loads or 90 front loads. If that seems like a lot, reduce the recipe by half (although it’s not going to go bad – it’s soap!)

I hope you can join me on this journey! 🙂

Composting, Gardening & Preserving the Harvest.

I was walking at the park today with a dear friend of mine, (Bonnie) who is also a wife, mother, craftsman, and loyal friend. Alike, we both seek to find better time management between our busy schedules. Exercise is one of the many things we discussed, being it’s hard fitting it in the tightly-strewn schedule at times. Some days, I would like to just sew my heart away until all thread and material dissapeared from my hand. This can be a challenge as I have a three year old, whom requires alot of my attention. I love every bit of being a parent but there are times you just want to be yourself as well. As mothers, we can sometimes get lost in investing so much in our husbands and children that we forget to take time for ourselves. So, I have decided to set out a time of every day to do just that…which will generally fall around Adia’s nap time.

I intend to keep my goals for the year, it may take a little while but you can never rush learning. My personality is to attend one project at a time. Again, I will update as goals are accomplished one at at time. That being said, I’m currently still trying to target my weight and eating habits. I will be meeting up with my friend weekly to walk, as well as workout with my two lovely sisters at the gym on sundays, mondays, and tuesdays. My diet has changed from a snack of salty potato chips to sweet, crisp Gala Apples instead. I have been making wiser choices in what I choose to eat on a day to day basis. Because, it’s not just about the number on the scale, I want to be healthier.

This year, I plan to have a beautiful garden overflowing with richness and color. I would like to walk out to my garden, pick out what we’re having for supper and be done…Voila!
I went to the library with Adia last week and found a few books on gardening which I’m very eager to read. The anticipation of having a garden to get my hands dirty in enough to work for my food, gives me a great sense of pride. Matt and I have already started a compost just waiting to find a big enough bucket to transfer it to. We have been saving all of our vegetable/fruit peelings to transfer to the garden. I plan on preserving all the harvest has to offer. 😉 The compost started thus far>>>>

Here are the books I’ve chosen to read concerning Gardening-n-such:

These are a few of my favorite things.

My morning started off with Adia jumping in bed with me and watching Go Diego Go! Then it proceeded to a late brunch in the kitchen around 10:00 a.m. as I drank my coffee and read a few blogs. Soon afterward Adia and I decided to head for the park being it was so beautiful today. We played for a good 30 minutes running back and forth from swing to slide and then sandbox.
It was nice being able to spend some quality time with my big girl as she doesn’t like to be called baby anymore which is hard for mommy because I’m having a hard time remembering to call her that . We then picked up some lunch from Zaxby’s drove home and ate. By the way, Zaxby’s in my opinion has the best sweet tea which just added more awesome to my day. I tucked big girl into her bed for nap-time and checked my email so on and so forth.

An hour later, Adia woke up from her nap and we drove to the local grocery store to pick up ingredients for homemade salsa and Baba- Ghonoush . I love grocery shopping…it always feels like an adventure. Adia was happy to ride in her cool car/grocery cart. I was very thankful as this kept her busy during the shopping process. The smell of sweet, buttery bread filled the air as we walked into the bakery. The produce section is always interesting between the colors and textures of the fruits and vegetables.

The sounds of endless carts being pushed as customers hurry their way out the door. An experience for all five senses.
My recyclable bag is my oh so faithful companion on these small endeavors. I cant forget my comfy flip flops that go wherever I may lead them and the beautiful pumpkins outside the store reminding me that fall is almost here.

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