Category Archives : Home/Garden


Make Your Own Compost – And 45 Things You Can Add to Your Pile!   Recently updated !

compost-419259_640Mother Nature will always find ways to help those who help her, and so it is with composting and organic gardening.  This really is the basic principal behind organic gardening, actually.

You may be new to organic gardening, or you may be an old pro.  I’ve been gardening for quite some time, but I really haven’t done a great job with making my own compost.  I’ve always just bought it.  (Shame, shame.)  While I have never added chemicals or sprays to my garden, I’d like to do a better job this year and in the years to come of improving my soil the “right” way – with the stuff that nature has already provided me.

 

Making your own compost is a simple concept, but it’s not one of those things that you can make and be done with.  It will take time and effort on your part (this is partially why I haven’t been more dedicated myself).  It is definitely worth the wait once completed, however!

 

How to make compost:

 

The first technique when attempting to start your own compost pile is to gather together your discarded vegetable peels, dried leaves, and cut grass.  You can place these in a compost bag.  You will need to check the pile regularly and periodically add liquid to keep it moist.

The second technique is to decide on a suitable place on the ground in your garden for the compost pile, and then to gather the materials and put them there.  You will literally just leave them there for nature to take it’s course and break them all down.  This technique obviously takes a lot more time, possibly even years.  But eventually nature will turn the pile into compostable material that can be used to fertilize your garden.

With either approach, you must check thoroughly and often.  With the second technique, your pile is left in the open.  You’ve got to make sure that no elements which are harmful to your garden and its plants are allowed onto the pile.  If you have a pet dog, make sure he/she is not doing its business on or near your pile, you know?

How To Compost - The Basics, and 45 Things You Can Add To Your Compost Pile!

Of course, there are a LOT of items that you can use in your compost pile.  You’re not limited to leaves and grass!  Here is a more extensive list of items you can add to your pile:

  1. Pine needles
  2. Chicken manure
  3. Rabbit manure
  4. Tea grounds (not the bags, just the grounds)
  5. Egg shells (crushed)
  6. Coffee grounds (not any bags, just the grounds)
  7. Wood ash
  8. Cooked rice
  9. Stale bread, tortillas, or pitas
  10. Nut shells (except for walnut shells, DON’T add those)
  11. Shredded newspaper
  12. Cow, horse, or goat manure
  13. Alfalfa
  14. Unpopped, burnt popcorn kernels
  15. Grapefruit rinds
  16. Old spices and herbs
  17. Houseplant trimmings
  18. Toothpicks
  19. Garden soil
  20. Blood meal
  21. Hair from your hairbrush
  22. Spanish moss
  23. Nail clippings
  24. Limestone
  25. Fish meal
  26. Dryer lint
  27. Shredded paper (like junk mail – don’t shred and add any plastic)
  28. Kleenex tissues
  29. Tree bark
  30. Pencil shavings
  31. Natural potpourri
  32. Used matches
  33. Grass clippings
  34. Dead leaves
  35. Sawdust (from wood that has not been treated, painted or stained)
  36. Smashed Jack O’ Lanterns
  37. Fur from your cat or dog brush
  38. Old flower arrangements
  39. Stale potato chips
  40. Straw
  41. Brown paper bags (shredded or cut up)
  42. Veggie peelings (like potato peels, apple peels and cores, watermelon rinds, etc) – There is some debate about whether you should add onion peels and/or citrus peels, so if you feel unsure, don’t add them.
  43. Old or outdated seeds (you don’t want them sprouting though, ha ha!)
  44. Old beer
  45. Urine (yes, it’s true.  The nitrogen in urine is fantastic for compost)

 

How_Compost_HappensYou’ll want to rotate, or aerate, your pile regularly to keep it “airy”.  You can add worms (red worms specifically) to your pile to help speed up the composting process.  You also want to keep a good balance of “brown” vs. “green” material.  Green material is high in nitrogen.  I think of it as the “wet”, or fresh stuff (kitchen scraps, fresh grass clippings, etc).  Brown material is high in fiber.  I think of it as the “dry” stuff (sawdust, dead leaves, etc).  You also need to make sure that the pile does not dry out.  You can read about that in much more detail HERE.

 

There you have it – the basics of composting!

 

Do you compost?

Would you ever urinate in your compost pile?

 

 

 

 


Organic Gardening – Companion Planting 2 comments   Recently updated !

It’s that time of year in my area…gardens are popping up!  I love it.  Growing your own food is addicting.  It feels SO good to go outside and do some “grocery shopping”.  I’m not anywhere close to being an expert, and which I were, but I enjoy it and am constantly trying to learn more.  I’m all about gardening organically. I’ve not used chemicals on my gardens for years, and I feel good about it.

Raised_bedOrganic vеgеtаblе gаrdеnіng mеаnѕ thаt уоu will nоt bе ѕрrауіng toxic сhеmісаlѕ оn уоur frеѕh food, and уоu wоn’t bе ѕрrеаdіng сhеmісаl fеrtіlіzеrѕ on the grоund. If уоu dоn’t do thаt, how do you keep уоur gаrdеn frоm bесоmіng a bug fеаѕt or prevent ѕраrѕе, lоw ԛuаlіtу сrорѕ?  This is what I want to get better at understanding.

 

Companion рlаntіng offers a ѕоlutіоn.

 

Cоmраnіоn planting саn bе dеѕсrіbеd as growing twо or mоrе dіffеrеnt kіndѕ оf plants сlоѕе together ѕо thаt ѕоmе benefit is derived, lіkе repelling pests, attracting beneficial іnѕесtѕ, adding needed nutrients tо thе ѕоіl, or providing ѕhеltеr.

 

Sоmе plants gіvе off ѕсеntѕ or сhеmісаlѕ thаt rереl іnѕесtѕ, іnѕесtѕ like wоrmѕ аnd bееtlеѕ that саn dеѕtrоу your garden. Othеr рlаntѕ hеlр рrеvеnt dіѕеаѕе оr attract іnѕесtѕ, whісh аrе bеnеfісіаl tо рlаntѕ. And ѕоmе plants аrе exceptional аt brеаkіng down the soil аnd hеlріng оthеr рlаntѕ аbѕоrb vіtаl nutrients. Eѕѕеntіаllу, companion planting іѕ used tо hеlр уоur соrе рlаntѕ thrіvе without сhеmісаlѕ.

 

An еxаmрlе wоuld be рlаntіng corn аnd bеаnѕ together. Corn rеmоvеѕ nіtrоgеn from thеn soil whіlе grоwіng. Beans fіx nіtrоgеn back into the ѕоіl whіlе grоwіng аnd help thе соrn. A wаrnіng  tо people whо wоuld рlаnt beans іn wіth thеіr соrn. Bеаn vаrіеtіеѕ іnсludе роlе bеаnѕ (climbing bеаnѕ) аnd bush bеаnѕ (non-climbing beans). Dо NOT рlаnt pole beans in wіth your соrn. The сlіmbіng bеаnѕ wіll сrеаtе a twіѕtеd аnd lеаfу junglе аrоund your corn plants, mаkіng іt dіffісult to hаrvеѕt thе соrn.

 

 

images (4)Companion Plаntіng Suggеѕtіоnѕ

Mаrіgоldѕ hаvе a vеrу ѕtrоng frаgrаnсе. Many іnѕесtѕ fіnd mаrіgоldѕ ԛuіtе dіѕtаѕtеful іnсludіng nematodes (rоundwоrmѕ), whiteflies, bееtlеѕ, аnd арhіdѕ. Tо uѕе marigolds аѕ a соmраnіоn plant, рlаnt thеm аt the реrіmеtеr оf уоur ѕԛuаrе fооt gаrdеn box. Tаkе care tо not рlаnt thеm tоо closely to уоur vegetables because they do аttrасt ѕріdеr mites and ѕlugѕ.  This is probably the only plant I’ve been good at using consistently in my garden.  I’d like to try some of these other ideas too:

Nasturtiums оr wormwood аrе good whеn рlаntеd сlоѕе tо thе саbbаgе fаmіlу as thеу аttrасt thе white cabbage moth аwау frоm thе рlаntѕ. Nаѕturtіumѕ аrе аlѕо very hеlрful when planting broccoli.

If уоu’rе grоwіng tomatoes, use gеrаnіumѕ to repel саbbаgе worms, Jараnеѕе beetles, аnd leafhoppers. Geraniums are also beneficial if уоu’rе рlаntіng corn, grapes, рерреrѕ оr саbbаgе.

If you іntеnd to grоw tomatoes, planting gаrlіс wіth them is a gооd іdеа. Plаntіng them wіth carrots іѕ a BAD іdеа bесаuѕе thе tomatoes wіll stunt thе grоwth оf thе саrrоtѕ.

Avоіd рlаntіng dіll and kоhlrаbі nеаr tоmаtоеѕ, because thеу slow tоmаtо grоwth.

Horseradish іѕ good with роtаtоеѕ.

Parsley is gооd wіth tоmаtоеѕ.

Sаntоlіnа іѕ a good іnѕесt repellent, especially for ѕріnасh and lеttuсе.

Thyme іѕ a gооd рrоtесtіvе bоrdеr fоr the vеgеtаblе garden аnd repels fruіt moths.

Want to kеер ants аwау? Cаtnір, Mіnt, Onion, Pерреrmіnt, Sреаrmіnt, Tаnѕу, and Wоrmwооd are good for that.

Need a slug repellent?  Try Artеmіѕіа, Gаrlіс, Rоѕеmаrу, or Sаgе!

Whеn уоu dоn’t wаnt flурареr іn уоur garden, use Bаѕіl, Pеnnуrоуаl, Ruе, or Tаnѕу (also repels Aрhіdѕ and grееnflу).

 

 

download (1)Dоn’t Forget The Bees

You nееd bееѕ аnd other роllіnаtіng insects for your garden.  Bееѕ аrе аttrасtеd by mоѕt flowers bесаuѕе they соllесt nесtаr to make hоnеу and роllеn tо fееd to thе larvae. Gоіng from flоwеr tо flоwеr tо соllесt аѕ muсh as thеу саn bеfоrе going back tо thе hіvе, they take pollen frоm оnе рlаnt to thе next аnd hеlр with рlаnt fеrtіlіzаtіоn as they go.

Flоwеrіng plants аrе important іn a vеgеtаblе раtсh to help attract bees.   Sоmе of the bеѕt include: allysium, red clover, Quееn Anne’s lace, соѕmоѕ, coriander, раrѕlеу flоwеrѕ, dіll, ѕmаll dаіѕіеѕ аnd lucerne.

 

So, there you go.  A few tips about companion gardening to help make organic gardening a bit easier.  I’m excited to try many of these this year!


Menu Plan Monday and Weekly Goals April 13

I’m going to make this quick and fairly abrupt, simply because I’ve got a full plate right now (although that’s life, isn’t it?  We ALL have a lot going on in our busy lives).

 

I eat gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, iodized salt free, nitrate free, and oil free (except for olive and coconut oils) due to medical necessity.  These meal plans reflect that diet.  My family doesn’t eat free of any of these foods, so some meals may not follow that diet.  In those cases, I simply eat leftovers or something else that I’m allowed:

 

Crunchy-Chicken-Bites3-648x1024Monday – Potato Fry

Tuesday – Paleo Party Meatballs, Salad

Wednesday – Crockpot Chicken, potatoes and carrots

Thursday – Leftover Night

FridayGluten Free Crunchy Chicken Bites

Saturday – Spaghetti (I’ll use Quinoa Pasta and we’ll all use home canned spaghetti sauce)

Sunday – Hubby’s in charge of dinner – yay!

 

Weekly Goals:

– Update budget for the month

– Finish up Tea Tree Oil giveaway

– 4 HIIT workouts, 6 WBV workouts

– Take car load of stuff to the thrift store.

 

I hope you all have a grand week!

 

*Linked at OrgJunkie, where you can find hundreds of other menu plans!


Vimbly.com – Find the Best Things to Do in Town!

*This post contains sponsored content.  Please see my full disclosure for more information.

 

I recently discovered a new (to me) website, and I’m really excited about it.  Vimbly.com shows you different activities that can be found near you… SO MANY awesome activities!  Some examples are cooking classes, outdoor exploration, dining, shows, and so much more.

vimbly_logo

 

 

I think what makes this site stand out to me is the fact that you can book your “adventures” right online there.  You don’t have to go to the company’s website.  Just pick a time slot, and book right on Vimbly.  It’s really convenient, and I was blown away at all of the different activities available.  They have options in the following categories:  Learn, Explore, Eat, Watch, Drink, Date and Fight.

 

 

 

Vimbly.com is currently operating in 18 major U.S. cities and expects a national presence later this year.  While they are not currently in my location yet, I looked around at the closest option to me, Las Vegas.  Let me show you just a few of my favorite finds:

 

 

Under the Explore category, there is a Grand Canyon West Rim Helicopter Tour.

grand-canyon-1Can you imagine??  One day I’m going to book this for my husband and he will be forever in my debt.  Seeing the Grand Canyon is on his bucket list. :)

 

In the Watch category, I think Gregory Popvich’s Comedy Pet Theater sounds pretty fun!

comedy-shows-1

 

Because I love to explore, I have to share another one from this category:  The Valley of Fire and Lost City Museum Tour.

old-bear-wallow-1

During this activity, you get to tour the sacred Indian lands through the Valley of Fire, and explore Aztec sandstone formations!

 

 

If you want to do some learning, you may enjoy this Photagraphy:  Places, Landscapes, and Travel class:

photography-2

 

There are so many more options, and I could go on for way too long, but I think you get the idea.  I’m seriously excited for Vimbly to open up operations in my area!  I would just LOVE going to a cooking class, or on a group tour/hike with my family.

 

You can see the prices right on the page, and even see if there is a discount currently available.  I actually saw one that was listed at -3% discount, because the price had gone up above normal!  It made me laugh, but in reality I’m glad to know if an item/adventure is priced above retail or not.

 

Have YOU tried Vimbly yet?  If not, it’s worth your time to check out.


Candy free Disney gift basket ideas for under $50

Easter can be overloaded with candy, and honestly, it makes me crazy!  I'm always looking for ways to create new and fun Easter baskets without the sugar.  I've found a few ideas for your little ones, if this is something you care about too!  These are all Disney-themed.

 

I don't know what kind of budget people have for Easter.  Each basket shared here is under $50:

 

Disney Princess Toiletries Gift Basket ($45)

Gift Basket 4 Kids - Ideal Gifts for Girls Disney Princess Toiletries Gift Basket


Disney Frozen Tin Mini Pail Gift Basket ($45)

wrapnrave :) - Disney Frozen Tin Mini Pail Gift Basket Great for Easter Birthday Thank You or Get We


Disney Baby Winnie the Pooh Kids Preferred Plush Bear ($25)

Disney - Baby Winnie the Pooh Kids Preferred Plush Bear with Easter Basket


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.

  

Candy free Disney gift basket ideas for under $50

Easter can be overloaded with candy, and honestly, it makes me crazy!  I'm always looking for ways to create new and fun Easter baskets without the sugar.  I've found a few ideas for your little ones, if this is something you care about too!  These are all Disney-themed.

 

I don't know what kind of budget people have for Easter.  Each basket shared here is under $50:

 

Disney Princess Toiletries Gift Basket ($45)

Gift Basket 4 Kids - Ideal Gifts for Girls Disney Princess Toiletries Gift Basket


Disney Frozen Tin Mini Pail Gift Basket ($45)

wrapnrave :) - Disney Frozen Tin Mini Pail Gift Basket Great for Easter Birthday Thank You or Get We


Disney Baby Winnie the Pooh Kids Preferred Plush Bear ($25)

Disney - Baby Winnie the Pooh Kids Preferred Plush Bear with Easter Basket


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.

  

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – February 2-8 1 comment

And….it’s February.

 

This new month is bringing a few changes.  The rock climbing class that I signed both my kids up for has ended.  I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to sign them up again, but they both felt like they were having a hard time keeping up with all of the extracurricular things we have going on, so we’re going to take the next few months off, and start up again in the summer.

My husband and I both received new callings (volunteer opportunities) in our church:  Cub Scouts.  My husband is the Wolf Den Leader, and I’m the assistant.  I know NOTHING about scouts, so it’ll be a new learning experience.  My son just turned 8, so he’ll be in our Den, and that will be a good experience for him as well, hopefully.  I always get nervous sending him off to do things with people who aren’t comfortable with him and his disability, and I think that is probably a big part of why they gave us this new “job”.

 

As for the food, we’re still employing the pantry challenge.  I’ve been purchasing fresh produce and dairy as needed, but the bulk of our meals is coming from food in our freezer and food storage.  In looking through the freezer today, I found that we have some ground beef, which made me happy – I thought we were out!  We’ll also be using up some ground turkey and some chicken thighs in the meal plan:

 

Chicken and Rice SoupMonday – Chicken and Rice Soup

Tuesday Nacho bar  (tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream homemade refried beans, avocado, taco meat, salsa, etc)

Wednesday –  Crockpot BBQ Pork Ribs, brown rice, salad

Thursday –  Leftover night

Friday –  Homemade Pizza night

Saturday -   Baked Dill Chicken Thighs, roasted potatoes, carrots

Sunday –  Blueberry Crepes

 

In looking at my goals last week, I am happy to say I got them all done.

  1. Get the Cub Scouts materials, go to the Pack meeting, and figure out what I’m doing.  I mean, I still don’t know ALL of what I’m doing, ha ha…
  2. Munchkin is going ice skating for the first time – I’ll need to sign the release form and take her to that.
  3. Rock climbing with the kids.
  4. Post at least 3 new blog posts.
  5. Gather and organize tax materials.
  6. Set up budget for the first half of February.

This week, like last, is as much a to-do list as anything:

  1. Go to my son’s IEP meeting, get a new IEP set up.
  2. Get the disability tax form signed by his school.
  3. Meeting with a local company to share my thoughts on a new Autism program they want to roll out.
  4. Start the Fe’ Fit Workout Program.  (I’ll be reviewing the program for the blog; I’m excited to see what it’s like!)
  5. Sing a musical number at church.
  6. Post two new giveaways!! :)
  7. Start taxes.

 

I hope you all have an awesome week!

 

 

 

 

 


10 Valentine’s Day gifts under $50

Need some inspiration for Valentine's day? Here are some ideas for gifts under $50!  Enjoy:

Luxury Spa Experience Gift Basket

A Spa Experience Gift Basket

Hydro? Luxury Spa Experience Gift Basket – $29.95, See Site shipping – Available at GiftTree.com


Disney - Frozen Crystal Silver-Plated Snowflake Pendant Necklace 18

Disney Snowflake Pendant Necklace


Overstock - 14k White Gold 4/5ct TDW Diamond Engagement Ring (H I, VS1 VS2)

Overstock – 14k White Gold 4/5ct TDW Diamond Engagement Ring (H I, VS1 VS2)


Harry & David - The Favorite Royal Riviera Pears - Gift Baskets & Fruit Baskets - Harry and David

Harry & David – The Favorite Royal Riviera Pears – Gift Baskets & Fruit Baskets – Harry and David


Teleflora - Hugs and Kisses

Teleflora – Hugs and Kisses

[Your text here]

Teleflora – Hugs and Kisses – $34.16, 14.95 shipping – Available at FlowerShopping.com


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.

  

My natural health kit

Cold/Flu season got you down?  This winter stay healthy with these healthy alternatives to over the counter or prescription medicines for colds or the flu.  Portable for daily use on the go. 

Vitamin C to fight off colds

Emergen-C - EMER'GEN-C TANGERINE Net Wt. 0.3 oz./Packet, 30 Packet Box


Echinacea to fight off colds

Nature's Answer - Echinacea Alcohol Free -- 2 fl oz

Nature's Answer – Echinacea Alcohol Free — 2 fl oz – $15.35, 4.99 shipping – Available at evitamins.com

(8 reviews)


Ginger for stomach upsets

Ginger People - Ginger People Ginger Chews Original-3 oz Bag


Tea Tree Oil as a disinfectant

Rock - Tea Tree Oil Australian 100% Pure 2 oz Liquid

Anyone familiar with Tea Tree Oil knows how incredible it is.  It's my miracle worker!  It's an amazing disinfectant.

 

Rock – Tea Tree Oil Australian 100% Pure 2 oz Liquid – $5.99, 3.95 shipping – Available at Piping Rock


Lavender oil to help you relax

Rock - Lavender Essential Oil 1/2 oz 100% Pure Oil Therapeutic Grade


Organic Black Elderberry Syrup to Fight Viruses

Gaia Herbs - Organic Black Elderberry Syrup 5.4 fl oz

My holistic doctor introduced me to this sweet syrup.  He explained to me that there are studies showing that it helps to slow the reproduction of virus cells, helping your body to fight off the infection faster.  It tastes awesome, too!

 

Gaia Herbs – Organic Black Elderberry Syrup 5.4 fl oz – $21.44, See Site shipping – Available at LuckyVitamin.com

(17 reviews)


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.