Monday, February 24, 2014

Starting seeds on the cheap

It's seed starting time here in south Texas! 
In the past I've bought those fancy seed starting trays and peat pellets to start my peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and tomatillo. 
 I always end up having to transplant them to a bigger container in order to harden them off, and truth be told, it's a big pain in my backside! 

I was looking for easier (and cheaper!) 
ways to start seeds and came across the idea to
use old water/milk jugs as mini-greenhouses to start seeds.  
We buy gallons and gallons of milk and water weekly so we always have a large supply of jugs lying around.  I fished a few out of the recycling bin and cut around the middle leaving a small connecting tab at the base of the handle.

Just poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage 
and fill with soil or seed starting mix.  
Plant your seeds, label the container, and DONE!  
I set these on my back porch to heat up from the mid day sun.  
In 7-14 days you should see spouts appear.  When that happens, open the tops back so the seedlings can get plenty of air and light.  At night, close the container to protect the seedlings from cooler temps.

I'm going to wrap the cut edges of these jugs with some duct tape until my seedlings get about an inch tall, 
just to insure that the heat and moisture stay inside...
and to protect them from the prying little fingers of curious toddlers who may want to make mud pies out of the dirt!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I surrender!

Feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of control right now.

Two boys in baseball with overlapping games and practices, a whole city apart (which equates to an 1 1/2  hour commute each way, not to mention games!).  
Another son and husband in college classes 3-5 days a week.  
A stressful job that calls me on my days off to work extra.  Responsibilities of homeschooling, running a household, growing our own food, CCD classes, and First Communon prep.  Continuing to try to keep walking for my health, even if it means doing it at 10pm at night!

Oh yeah, and then there's that surly redheaded young lady 
who is rocking my world.

But she sure is cute, isn't she?

Trying to take the time to quiet my mind and soul from endless lists and duties.  Trying to be so very thankful for all the blessings we have been given and trials we've been spared.

One word keeps forcing it's way into my brain,


I'm a control freak.
I don't like that word.
I don't like it because you can't see what is beyond it.

God has proved himself time and again to me, 
but I still need to relinquish my desire to have things my way.

 I need to rest in the knowledge of the love of God.

I can't make everything work, only HE can.

So in the midst of dirty laundry and between innings,
I'm giving it all to Him,
taking a deep breath,
and surrendering.

My mantra, my daily prayer...
"Jesus, I trust in you"

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

On this very cold and rainy day, we skipped school work to devote the day in celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  
After a lesson on the life of Bernadette Soubirou and the apparitions at Lourdes, France, the boys set about making a cereal treat grotto for Our Lady.

Complete with Twizzlers "roses"!

Then we settled in for one of my all time favorite movies, 
'The Song of Bernadette'.

We finished the movie just in time to attend an evening Mass at a wonderful little church in a nearby town.  It has a grotto with a depiction of the Blessed Mother appearing to Bernadette.

 For the most part, it was a very peaceful family day.

Until after dinner, 
when the boys devoured the grotto!

Divine Jesus, 
You sent the Blessed Mother to Saint Bernadette to show the world that God is real. 
Just like Mary asked to the girl to dig for a spring of healing water to appear,
 show me how to be cleansed of my sinful tendencies. 
Give to me our dear Mother when I need her tender love and holy inspiration.
 As I go through difficulties, cover me with her prayers. 
When I have important decisions to make, 
ask her to intercede for me until I understand and follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. 
When it's time for me to die, send her to carry me peacefully into the arms of our heavenly Father.

 Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for me. 


Monday, February 10, 2014


And like its name implies, it just keeps on producing!
It has survived 100 degree temps (shaded) in the summer 
and 3-4 hard freezes already this winter.

It belongs to the same species as chard and beets, but tastes just like spinach.  That makes it perfect to eat raw in salads 
or sauteed with garlic and olive oil...

much to John Paul's disappointment!

(given a choice, he'd rather eat the basket!)

Click one of the links above to get a free seed catalog from 
Baker Creek, it's going to be planting time soon!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Men's shirt to toddler dress

For weeks now, I have gotten posts on my Facebook timeline for a link to make a toddler dress out of a men's dress shirt.  
Seriously, I have like half a dozen of them!  
Today I made that happen, and I couldn't be more pleased with the end product!

I went through Doug's closet and pulled out this chambray Polo.  Before chopping it up, I asked my one of my teen boys 
if they wanted it.  
That question was answered with an eye roll and, 

"Gross, mom, that shirt is SO 1980!"
So to the cutting board it went!

There are tons of tutorials online on how to re-fashion a men's shirt.  I went with the simple peasant style dress pattern that I use all the time for Mary Grace.  It's easy and I can finish it in about 20 minutes (which was about all the time I had before starting our home school day with the boys).

I am thrilled about how cute it turned out 
and could kick myself for not making one sooner!

I added a ribbon encased hem because I hate to hem,
I also thinks it make the dress a bit more "girly!"

So what do you think?

I think it is...

SO Pinterest 2014!

and I'm off to raid Doug's closet for more dress shirts!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sage & Lavender

I cleaned out my herb garden bed and gave the sage and lavender (among other things) a much needed trim.  They smell so good together that I made little bundles of the herbs to dry in the sun. Some of the bundles will go into the campfires this summer.  Burned lavender and sage are supposed to be good for shooing away bugs and mosquitoes. 

The rest of the dried herbs will be combined with epsom salt and essential oils to make a relaxing/detoxifying bath salt.

And after a week of clearing out garden beds and shoveling wood chips, a nice hot bath sounds wonderful!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

'Back to Eden' meets 'Square Foot Gardening'

Got wood chips?
Well, I FINALLY do!

Last year I watched the documentary, "Back to Eden," and I wanted nothing more than to implement this philosophy into my own little backyard garden.  But despite living in the country, I couldn't find anyone who would deliver wood chips without charging us an arm and a leg.  So I resolved to just continue mulching my beds with hay and leaves.

Friday morning I awoke to the sound of tree trimmers in our neighborhood and I begged Doug to ask them if we could have the wood chips.  They promptly dumped a truck full of chips right in my backyard FOR FREE!

 Oh, what a glorious site!
(See, I'm not hard to please!  Most women want jewelry and clothes,
 just give me wood chips, seeds, and plants and I'm over the moon!)

I spent Saturday morning cleaning out my raised beds and then happily mulched with inches and inches of wood chips. Then I spent all of Saturday evening in bed with my bad back, but it was sooo worth it to get these wood chips and I cannot wait to see how they impact my gardening this year!

If you haven't watched the "Back to Eden" film, you can check it out at the official site HERE.

I'm going to take two Aleve and call it a day!

Happy gardening!