House Hunting!!

A moving truck operated by Piedmont Moving Sys...

This year holds so many amazing opportunities for us, one of which is buying a new house!  YAY!!!

We outgrew our current happy little abode a couple of babies ago, honestly.  At the time, however, Abe was in school working on his degree, and we were comfortable.  It is hard stepping out of the comfort zone, isn’t it?  Venturing into the unknown?  As terribly excited as I am to begin the process of searching for our new home, I am equally terrified of the change.  Where we are now is old hat.  We have been here for ten years, we know what to expect.  Our home is a part of our family, it is safe and it is comfortable.

This is a change I can embrace though, because it will afford us so much more, with space,  a large yard for planting and playing and for growing.  I guess I am butterfly in the tummy, happy nervous to see how the next several months unfold.  We are very close to completely paying off our current home.  That is a feat!  And then any money we get with the sale can go directly towards our new place.

The kids are beyond excited!  We told them that if we move early enough in the summer, we will get a swimming pool to help cool off in between unpacking and settling in.  Of course, their minds are also racing with ways to decorate their new rooms, wondering if they will be changing schools, etc.  When we talk about moving, Bella always asks if we will bring all our current belongings with us.  I guess it can be confusing to a little one, when we say we will sell our house, they must imagine our house and its belongings as a whole.  We have assured her many times that we will be taking everything with us.  Then she just gets silly and asks if we will bring the ceilings and the walls, etc.  🙂

So many exciting things to look forward to this year!

Chinese Evergreen Flowering

It has been years since I have kept houseplants, mostly because our kitties like to chew on them, rip them to shreds, and then, adding insult to injury, sleep on top of the dying plant.  Cats are evil, what can I say?  Also, when it comes to houseplants, my thumbs are undoubtedly black.  If the cats didn’t murder them, my neglect would before long.

This past May, whilst browsing the plant section at Lowes, I noticed some house plants that were advertised as both pretty and easy to care for.  Their tags said “Plants of Steel”, so I decided to accept the challenge and see if they really are as tough as their tags imply.  Well, four months later, I am shocked and happy to say that they are not only still alive, but they are thriving!

*happy dance*

This morning, I noticed my Chinese Evergreen, also called Aglaonema, is flowering.

 

Happy plants make flowers, not sad and dying ones.  I declare myself the best gardener/houseplant keeper in the whole entire world.  Yes, the whole entire world.  Now don’t ruin my moment, just ooo and ahhh along with me.

Bum Boosa!

Can I just start this review by saying how fun it is to say Bum Boosa?  Try and say it without smiling.  Impossible!  You’ll be smiling when you hear about this awesome company too.

As parents, how many baby wipes do we go through while our little ones are growing up?  Too many to count!  Well, Bum Boosa happens to make non synthetic, tree free baby wipes.  What do they make it out of?  100% viscose renewable bamboo!  Their wipes are alcohol free, paraben free, sulfate free and are formulated with gentle ingredients that include organic aloe vera and calendula extract.  They have a very lovely, mild scent of lavender and sweet orange.

Bamboo is completely renewable and sustainable, requiring no pesticides or insecticides, things I don’t care to wipe my baby with.  And with every purchase of the 80 ct wipes, Bum Boosa, in partnership with Trees For The Future, will plant a tree, helping to restore deforested regions around the globe.  Ummm…..that is really amazing.  Buy wipes, which you need anyway, and plant a tree, rebuilding a forest.  Yup, sounds like a plan for me!

I have been enjoying the wipes with my babies, they are soft and strong, and leave a very pleasant scent.  They are also very gentle and soothing on delicate baby bottoms, which is very important especially when you have babies with sensitive skin.

Speaking of sensitive skin, Bum Boosa also has an amazing diaper rash ointment.  It is 100% natural, made with nourishing plant based ingredients. A soothing formula of zinc oxide, vitamin E, lavender and chamomile make this powerful, effective and again, very pleasantly scented.   It is also made at a factory utilizing 100% wind power!  Bum Boosa isn’t just talking the talk, they truly are giving back and doing their part to make this planet a better place to call home.

Check out Bum Boosa on their website by clicking HERE.

“Like” Bum Boosa on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Follow Bum Boosa on Twitter by clicking HERE.

 

The awesome folks at Bum Boosa provided me with a sample of their wipes and diaper rash ointment free of charge so that I could share their awesome company with all of my readers.  I was not compensated in any other way, and I really do think their products are awesome.

Yum!

Our tomato plants are doing very well, as you can see by our bowl full of yumminess here.  I have a hard time walking by the bowl without sneaking one of those cherry tomatoes, they are so delicious!  Our cucumber plants are pulling down their trellis and trying to choke out the maters.  I see loads of blooming flowers, and hoards of bees for pollinating, but no signs of any cucumbers as of yet.  Perhaps it should spend less time plotting world domination and more time on producing cukes.  Just a thought.

En el Jardín!

Each year we are expanding our garden a little more.  We don’t put much in the actual ground, but have been using containers or DIY earth boxes with pretty awesome success.  (Our soil here suuuuucks.  All clay and rock, just crappy.  And we plan on moving soon, so I don’t care to even attempt to fix what we currently have.) 

This year, for the first time, we decided to start a lot of our seeds off inside.  The jury is still out on that, but I will say, the plants started inside seem a wee bit too wussy for outdoor life.  They are fragile and weak, and lose their will to live either during the hardening process, or soon after transplanting outside.  Annoying.

Now, the seeds we just throw on the ground and throw some dirt on?

Well, they are thriving.  Go figure.  That is one of our pumpkin mounds right there.  I had started quite a few inside, but they just didn’t have what it took for the tough suburban lifestyle.  Pffffft!  

This is an earth box with what was two teeny tiny little cucumber plants.  That was about two weeks ago, before they decided to hulk out in their new home.  I haven’t seen any flowers yet, but they are very quickly growing up the trellis and stretching their leaves claiming every little bit of sun that they can.

The tomatoes have exploded!  And as you can see here, they are very quickly ripening!  I found my first ripe cherry tomato the other day, but I very quickly devoured that little guy.  Hey, I had to taste test for quality assurance reasons!  It was delicious, in case you were wondering.  Nothing tastes as good as home grown!

This big guy is my first ripe poblano pepper!  Chili rellanos anyone?  I am freezing it so that I can cook up a nice big batch once the rest of them have ripened.

Which, as you can see, won’t be too terribly long.

At the beginning of the season, we went nuts buying seeds of all sorts of goodies that we wanted to grow ourselves.  Here’s a tip.  If you decide to grow your own fruits and veggies from seed, read the package first.  We have a large handful of awesome things we won’t be able to grow until next year because we got them too late in the season.  Snow peas, for example, need to be started in the winter.  Literally, they are snow peas.  Who knew?  Well, we all know now, don’t we?  And really, I have had so much more luck with growing things straight in the ground or in the pots outside.  The plants get too spoiled inside and just don’t do well.  Yes, I am hardening them.  Yes, I protect them from the wind and sun.  I have studied everything I can possibly find on hardening plants.  Seems they prefer the tough love, which incidentally is a whole heck of a lot easier!

So there is my garden update.  I’m sure the pumpkins will soon be taking over our entire yard.  The neighbors love that.  Well, they don’t mind so much at the end of the season when we chop it all down and give them home made pumpkin bread.  Who can be mad with a delicious home made treat?

Tomatoes!

Our tomato plants are exploding out of their earth box this year!  We put one large plant and one cherry tomato plant in the one earth box, and already they look like they have far outgrown their home.  We did a lot of research this year, trying to maximize our fruit production, and so far so good!

I’m excited, I love cooking with ingredients we grow ourselves.  It is very satisfying knowing that we grow some of the food that we eat.  I like knowing exactly how the plants are treated and cared for.  No pesticides or picking unripened fruit.  And the taste!  The taste of real, home grown fruits and veggies can not be beat.  I never realized how bland and tasteless fruit and veggies from the grocery store were until we began growing our own.

I want to preserve as much as I can and make use of every single fruit and veggie that we grow.  I love to can and share our harvest with friends and family.

I am truly longing for a larger yard where we can expand our garden.  Won’t be long.  Hopefully by next growing season.

Fairy Gardens

I had mentioned before that we noticed some new construction in our fairy gardens, and wouldn’t you know it, it would appear that they moved into their new homes this weekend.

The house looks small, but they are magical beings, so they make it work.

Isabella named this fairy Violet.  She looks a bit shy, doesn’t she?  Abe said she isn’t a fairy because she doesn’t have wings.  Isabella and I know that fairies are magical and can hide their wings from buttheads that say they aren’t fairies.  Obviously, that is what happened in this case.  Obviously.

We named this fairy Azul.  Fitting since that does appear to be his favorite color.  Abe said that he is a gnome, not a fairy.  We know better.

This fairy garden is in a very sunny spot outside, so we picked plants that love full sun.  I just adore the teeny tiny little flowers!  So happy and pretty!

This fairy garden is in the back of the house, where it’s pretty shady, so we chose shade loving plants.

The shady fairies seem to be hiding in these pictures, but I’m sure we’ll catch them out and about in their garden soon.  They must have heard about the butthead that calls them gnomes and decided not to come out to play.

Indian Strawberries

While sitting out in the back yard this past weekend, a flash of red near one of our trees caught my eye.  At first I thought it was some sort of flower that had accidentally gotten transplanted, either by wind or rogue gardening kiddo.  Upon closer inspection, I saw this:

What the what?!

Teeny, tiny strawberry looking fruit on what appears to be a strawberry plant.  But so small!  And alien looking!

I had Abe come out and look at it, and he declared it to be wild strawberries.  Upon further research on my part, I believe these to be Indian Strawberries, also known as False Strawberries, Mock Strawberries, She Mei, and Wild Indian Strawberry.  Also often confused for wild strawberries.

The fruit is edible, but completely tasteless.  We ate them and didn’t die, but I wouldn’t eat them again.

They are a perennial herb with several medicinal purposes, but are considered by many as an invasive weed.  Their location doesn’t bother me, so as far as I’m concerned they can spread as much as they like.  Its kind of neat to look out and see the tiny strawberries growing wild.  What can I say, I’m easily amused.

Flores Bonitas

While my pretty little flower is recovering today, poor Bella, I told her that we would sneak outside for a spell when the babies are sleeping for some fresh air.

It is a beautiful day!  So sunny and warm, with beautiful flowers blooming all around us.  Hard to feel bad when you are surrounded by beauty!  Go ahead and try.  Its hard, isn’t it?

One of the very first things we planted when we moved here was a Clematis.  Its a pretty, climbing plant that blooms early in the spring.  We made the mistake of tearing down the dead looking vines at the end of the season.  Yeah, don’t do that.  Its not dead, its just ugly until spring.  Good to know.

We have ours climbing on a gate, but when we move I have grand plans to build a fancy trellis and have it loaded with several different colors and varieties.

We have a handful of flag plants/iris.  You never know what color will decide to bloom or how many will bloom any given year.  Sometimes we have a rainbow of them, and some years we have none.  This year, so far, this is the one and only bloom.  The day this was taken, it had rained quite a bit all day, so it is a bit soggy, but I wanted to be sure and get a picture before it was too late.

This is, I believe, wild daisy fleabane.  It just showed up, looked purdy, so we took some pictures.  See, I am even happy looking at weeds.

This rose is currently in bloom, so that definitely deserves a new picture.  We planted these when I was pregnant with Isabella.  Pretty pink roses for a new baby girl.  I love roses.  So pretty and elegant.  Unfortunately, Japanese Beetles also love my roses, and they are common visitors in the summer heat.  They are the reason I don’t get mad when I see the mole hills in the yard.  Moles love to eat the Japanese beetle grubs, so as far as I’m concerned, the little boogers are doing me a favor.  Until I step in a hole and twist my ankle.  But in general, I enjoy my mole friends.