I was planting tomato seeds one beautiful January day and Mary Grace asks me, "Why are you planting seeds when you can just go to Walmart and get plants?"
I told her that these were special varieties of tomato that you can't find in the stores. Then she asked if people would be interested in buying them. I told her they probably would because seed starting is a little hard.
So she asked if she could start some seeds to sell.
She followed my directions and planted around100 tomato and pepper seeds. When they outgrew the starter trays, she up-potted them to Solo cups.
She helped me water them and harden them off outside.
They were finally big enough for sale
and the weather was warm enough for them to go in the ground.
To sell them, I didn't have to go further
than my FaceBook friend's list!
You all turned out in droves and bought
EVERY.SINGLE.PLANT. she grew!
And while I can't get her to EAT a tomato,
she has learned to love them from an economic standpoint!
Hey, I'll take what I can get!
Growing these tomatoes for you has taught her:
Responsibility for living things
Understanding of cause and effect
Encouraged her love of nature
Boosted her self confidence
Thank you for your support and encouragement!
It means so much to Mary Grace
but it means so much more to this mama's heart.
You all have been such a blessing.
So happy gardening to all our friends and I'm looking forward to all the FaceBook photos of your giant tomato hauls and delicious tomato sandwiches!
Mary Grace is already planning for next year's seeds!
but I am tired of living through major historical events!
This past Valentine's Day ushered in one of the worst winter storms to ever hit Texas.
And while the above picture doesn't look like a lot of snow, it was enough to bring civilization as we know it to a grinding halt!
The single digit temperatures caused enough ice and snow to accumulate that roads were inaccessible, rolling blackouts of 24-72 hours, burst pipes, a failed power grid, and fatalities that affected every single one of the 254 counties in Texas.
That Valentine's Day evening, Doug drove me into Houston to the hospital where I work. They were asking employees to come in to ride out the storm days since most employees wouldn't be able to make it in. I stayed there three days and had it better than most ~
I had a warm bed, food, and electricity.
I was safe and so very thankful.
And by God's grace, Doug and the kids were able to hunker down at home with plenty of supplies. Our area on the Texas Gulf Coast made it through the storm with not too much damage and temperatures that were higher than most.
Now we face the aftermath of the storm,
the clean up, boiling water, the empty store shelves,
the failing power grid...
I'll take a 100+ temperatures and hurricanes any day of the week,
For the past few weeks, I've stolen this corner of my dinning room and converted it to a mini greenhouse. You won't find shelves of little seedlings under grow lights
in the pages of 'Better Homes & Gardens' magazine...
and I'm sure Joanna Gaines would not approve...
these shelves full of life make me so happy
during this chilly, dreary time of year!
Best of all, the tomato seedlings are ready to be up potted!
That means they have outgrown their seed trays and need a bigger home for development.
The way I do this is to up pot them into Solo cups.
It's the perfect size.
I use them year after year.
Each little seedling gets popped into a cup with fresh potting soil. You'll want to bury that little seedling up to it's top leaves because tomatoes can send out new roots all along their stem.
It makes for a stronger, healthier plant.
I then put all the cups into bins so I can begin to take them outside to "harden off" as the days become warmer. By the second week of March, they'll be ready to plant in the garden.
But until then, the little corner of my dinning room is over run with plants. I'm sure the purple glow coming from my windows is concerning to my neighbors and passers by. But I assure you folks, it's JUST tomatoes and peppers, nothing illegal going on here!
It was riddled with anxiety, seclusion, social upheaval, and for some, sickness. And while I'm not trying to be dismissive of those things, for me, 2020 has been a pretty good year.
The first four months of the year were a bit scary. I'm a nurse, and seeing the pandemic work it's way here was very unsettling. But I work for the most awesome hospital system and they held our hand and were with us every step of the way. I never felt abandoned or on my own - even when PPE was in short supply. My employer took care of their staff and made sure we were safe every.single.day.
By May I was able to have the corrective surgery on my foot. It was a struggle to get to my surgery date because of COVID, but it taught me to be humble and patient. It was truly God's hand at work that I had the surgery when I did. My recovery was long, but not painful. By October I was back at work full force and I have not slowed down yet!
The holidays were very special to me. It was the first time in about 30 years that I've had my little family all to myself. We had no commitments to travel anywhere else, and I relished having all my babies at home and making the seasons magical for them.
I'm also in the best health of my life!
I've never felt better and continue to improve my diet and now my fitness (thanks to my new foot!) daily.
2020 has also definitely taught me a few things like:
Finding happiness in simple things.
Difficult times reveal the truth about people.
Freedom should never be taken for granted.
I can do hard things.
Making self care a priority, not a priviledge.
And to be thankful for EVERYTHING!
Whatever 2021 brings, I'm going to hold on to the lessons I've learned and treasure each day for what it IS,
26 years ago I was standing in a Barnes & Noble bookstore and came upon this book:
I had just had our first son, Ryan, a few months before and I knew I had to get this book to chronicle each Christmas of his life
and of our new family.
Our very first Christmas as a family: 1994
Every year that I pull it out, I just smile as I leaf through the pages. I remember each Christmas like it was just yesterday. It has a place for each year's Christmas card, a small section for writing down memories of the past year, a place for pictures, and names of those you gathered with.
Doug's grandmother's last Christmas letter.
We filled up the book last year,
25 YEARS of memories, y'all!
And now we are on to Volume 2!
I just ordered a second book this week
to continue our memory journey.
I'm so happy the publisher still prints this book,
because I'm sure going to have a LOT to write about 2020!
Christmas art projects by Ryan from when he was in KINDERGARDEN!
And it gives me great joy that when I'm long gone,
my children will have this book to show their own children.
They'll remember and laugh about the wonderful, and some times not so wonderful,
years in this family.
I encourage you to start your own Christmas memory book.