Momma’s Garden Project

SONY DSCI replenished over the weekend, and I replaced a lot of my fruit and vegetables that lost a fatal battle with the insane heat the Central Valley has become accustomed to over the last few weeks. I lost some basil, a couple pepper plants, my lavender and a whole row of flowers.

So, I picked up some new flowers, two new basil plants, a new lavender plant, a couple pepper plants. I also got some cilantro, rosemary and chives. So, I’m hoping these will hang in there. Luckily, my tomato and zucchini plants have been holding strong. Although I think a pesky little visitor got into my zucchini plant because the flower that was there when I took the photo yesterday is now gone!

SONY DSC SONY DSCThen, in the front yard, we have a patch of a pretty big rock area with lots of succulent plants, and also lots of dead plants, since they weren’t well maintained before we bought the house, and since I was so focused on the backyard, I slacked on my plant mama duties. So I pulled out the majority of the dead plants, and left all the succulents that were there. I’m going to add more as I get them and make that the succulent garden. I also moved the lavender plant to the side of the front door so people can smell it coming in, and I added a daisy plant.

If anything, this garden experience has taught me patience and perseverance. It’s something I work on every day (although I do need to get better about trimming) and I sincerely love watching the progress every day. It started slow, and now I see new developments popping up every day – literally! I really don’t think your garden is ever complete, and I love that it’s a continuous project that I can work on and learn from every day.

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My beautiful zucchini flower that is now gone :(

My lovely zucchini flower that is now gone 😦

Do you have a garden? Share your progress and photos with me in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!

Oh, hello again!

I know I have been pretty quiet around here for the last few weeks, but I have some really good news to share! And that will also explain why I haven’t written much lately. We found out last month that we’re expecting again! Cecilia’s little brother or sister will be due in January, and I must admit that the first trimester has been rather rough.

925495_252536484947289_1641411222_nThere are also some other things growing around here! While many of my plants have fallen victim to the triple digit heat around here, my zucchini and tomatoes are still hanging in there! I will need to get some more soil for one of my garden plants, and replace the basil and some of my pepper plants.

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Zucchini buds sprouting!

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Little baby tomatoes!

IMG_2401 IMG_2403Since I’m lucky enough to have a few months off school, I have been lounging around my house and eating when I can, while everything else has sort of been pushed to the side. But dang it – I needed some rest! Now that I’m feeling better, it’s time to get back into my groove while the gettin’s good.

There are some projects that I want to finish before school starts again in August, and I wanted to share them with you so there was some sort of accountability:

  • Finish painting house
  • Fix faucet
  • Fix light fixtures
  • Put faceplates back on all outlets
  • Restore Cecilia’s bookshelf
  • Change window coverings
  • Work on backyard garden – get soil, change out dead plants, fill old planters
  • Work on front yard – pull weeds, change out plants
  • Clean out craft room – move to back house, transform room into nursery
  • Clean and organize Cecilia’s room
  • Paint kitchen table

I realize there’s a lot there, but I’m giving myself (and any nice family and friends I have) two months to get it done. I realize there will be small projects here and there, but I want the major stuff done so I won’t be going crazy during school and the last few months of my pregnancy.

I mean…summer cleaning is a thing, right?

What projects are you working on over this summer? Share your projects and progress in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest! I will be sharing updates on all my projects as I work on them!

Momma’s Garden Project: Round 2

garden projectMy garden is back in action! With the big move taking every ounce of our attention, my garden was put on hold until we were settled in and the beds were moved from Stockton. Luckily, I have a green thumb of a dad and he came over last Saturday and helped me put the garden boxes in, pick out my plants and get everything planted.

SONY DSCRight now, we have four tomato plants, six pepper plants, two basil plants, four zucchini plants, a lavender plant and some beautiful flowers. All the plants seem to be doing fine, except for the basil and rosemary. Apparently I got a little sloppy with the basil and it wasn’t put all the way into the soil (whoooops), so my dad helped me fix that up a little and now we’re back in action! Except for the rosemary….

BASSSSILLLLL!!! So much pesto to be made...

BASSSSILLLLL!!! So much pesto to be made…

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Zucchini plants!

Zucchini plants!

Pepper plant

Pepper plant

TOMATOES!

TOMATOES!

You can already see it flowering...

You can already see it flowering…

Poor, poor lavender

Poor, poor lavender

Basil and pepper plants

Basil and pepper plants

Zucchini!

Zucchini!

This round already feels easier to maintain because it’s my second go-round, and it’s right in my backyard, where we spend a lot of time anyway. And I love that I can look out at it from my bedroom window. It’s a lovely view and a daily reminder that I need to keep it looking pretty so I’m not ashamed every time I look out there!

I’m looking forward to watching my second garden grow, and enjoying its bounty. There is still some more stuff I want to plant in all of the random planters we have around here, but for now…this is perfect. I just hope it can withstand a one-and-a-half year-old and a chocolate lab.

Have you started your garden? If so, what are you planting? Share your progress with me in the comments and if you have a blog, share the link so I can check it out! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest if you want more updates and photos of my garden!

Inspired Recipe: Quinoa Lasagna

I love getting a new canvas. It’s so fresh and clean, not a speck on it. You wonder what will come of it. What will you paint? What colors will you use? How many revisions will it take until it’s just the way you want it? How long will you spend on it? I feel the same way when I find a new recipe. Something about starting from scratch, touching something that has been untouched by you until now. It’s even more exhilarating when you improvise a little to make it your own. That first bite is a mixture of agony and excitement.

And then…it’s delicious! And other people enjoy it, too!

This is what happened when I made the quinoa lasagna inspired by MJ and the Hungryman at my aunt’s last week. When I lived with my aunt a long, long time ago, I was always amazed and a little perplexed by all of the healthy food she ate. Now that I’m on my healthy journey, it’s fun to share these recipes with her – as she is part of a very small group of people I know who truly appreciate the whacky, healthy recipes I attempt.

I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures because we were busy visiting and eating. Actually, I only got one picture.

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The original recipe called for this:

  • 3 cups diced sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce or prepared pasta sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh basil
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

This is what we did:

  • 3 diced Russet potatoes – because that’s what we had
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli – again, what we had
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce or prepared pasta sauce
  • 2 cups of cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs minced fresh basil
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • A few slices of pepper jack cheese – it’s what we had, and I put pepper jack on everything so this is no surprise

Next time, I would like to make my own pasta sauce. I can’t even comprehend making my own cheese yet, so if that ever comes, it will be much later in life.

Have you ever improvised a recipe you found? How did it turn out? Success, or total failure? The next time you find a recipe that you haven’t tried due to lack of ingredients, see if you can sub in what you have. You can Google substitutions for just about everything and if you are trying to make your favorite recipe a little more healthy, you can consult The Gracious Pantry. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and Twitter for more healthy inspiration!

Weekly Wishes #3

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

This is the third week I have been blogging about my Weekly Wishes – an awesome link-up started by Melyssa of The Nectar Collective – and I have to say, it has been a huge motivator. I’m holding myself accountable for my goals and challenges, and I’m figuring out why I didn’t do what I had planned to do. And it always boils down to do this…life really does get in the way. It might seem like the biggest and most widely-used cop out in the world, but it is true! Sometimes, you really don’t have enough hours in the day, and that rang true last week.

Last week’s wishes:

Business: Get together with Heather to go over her Press Release (very exciting stuff!

Creative: Restore the three-tiered basket I recently purchased at the Lodi Street Faire and finish my chalkboard tray to use as a prop for my photos.

Fitness: 15 minute workout along with a 15 minute yoga session in every day

Home: Switch out the garden – work on moving all of the old stuff out, cleaning up the garden area, and starting planting new veggies

I did get my business wishes completed last week. I got the Press Release from Heather so I can start promoting her work more, and I found a bunch of new author communities for her to join. She’s going to look through all of them and pick one for now. She’s also looking at independent bookstores in San Diego where she can do a reading and sign some books – so I’m excited to see what happens there! We also have some Book Reviews I need to check on and share!

As for my creative wish – I got the tray done, finally! And as it turns out, it works perfect as a prop for my photos! I used to take a photo of a recipe I’m working on, and it added a really nice touch. I need to find a rust removal solution for my three-tiered basket, so if you know of any – please let me know!

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I was not able to get much of an exercise routine in last week, so I’m going to try it again this week! My daughter is starting to get more of a sleeping schedule down, so I should be able to fit something in during her naps.

And, my garden. I’ve decided to hold off on working on it until I get some new plants in. Then I can take a day to just clean it out and put new stuff in. I need to look up what plants will do the best in this season and go from there. I’ve started making salsa and hot sauce with the peppers from my garden, and that is a big motivator to keep it going!

This week’s wishes:

Business: Start working on my logo and graphic design work for Baby Burrito Collective. I’m going to work on the website as well, but I at least want to get my branding done before I do more work on the site. My goal is to eventually learn web design and build my own website, but I’m taking it all step by step. I’ve learned what trouble I face if I try to do it all at once, so I’m trying more and more to take my time with everything. I’m going to keep a Pinterest board with all of the colors, fonts and designs I want for my site.

Creative: Start working on the three-tiered basket. I need to soak it in some rust removal solution and then I will paint it a lovely color and hang it in the pantry. I didn’t know how much I would love repurposing and upcycling old stuff to make it the way I love it, but it gives me such a rush! I also need to work on the chalk/cork board I have been wanting to fix. I have the frame, just need to make board now.

the baskets are holding the cheese grater

the baskets are holding the cheese grater

Fitness: Get a routine. I did so good for the last couple weeks, and now the weight is creepily finding it’s way back. I just need to get a routine that works for me instead of worrying about doing it for a certain amount of time, and just doing it every day. Even if it needs to be something quick, it’s better than nothing, right?

Home: Get all of my peppers and basil out of the garden before the frost hits and start canning like mad. I’m hoping to get a pressure canner, which will help a lot. I’m thinking of canning apple butter, hot sauce and pesto as part of my Christmas gifts I’m giving away. I always love getting that stuff, and I would love to do it for my family!

What are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to having another lovely and productive week!

 

Momma’s garden project

Sadly, a lot has changed since I last wrote about my garden, and it’s rather depressing. My potatoes didn’t last in the ground, and they did not make it through the transplant into my pots. After I planted those dang things, I read up on them a bit (yes, I know it’s better to read before planting, but obviously I don’t roll like that) and learned that they are actually very tender plants and need some TLC to correctly grow.

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So, I’m hoping that the next time I try to plant them, they will actually survive, now that I know what I need to do. My tomatoes are going good but the sun pretty much destroyed a huge chunk of the plants. I was able to get rid of a lot of the burnt parts, and now they’re growing better. We have been lucky enough to pick tomatoes whenever we need them, so I shouldn’t complain.

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And I had to get rid of my broccoli because the sun also destroyed that plant to the point of no return, and I realized that I never really use broccoli in my cooking. Maybe for a stir-fry or something, but I could definitely do without it.

The only plants that have lasted through this heat without too much maintenance are all of the peppers. We literally just pick the peppers when we use them, and they have lasted for a long time. Thinking of making some good salsa and hot sauce! Every time family members come over, I usually send them off with some peppers. Even if they don’t like them.

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My basil also made a surprising comeback, and is flourishing out of control right now. Hooray for pesto upon pesto upon pesto! I’ve also been able to use it for a bunch of other dishes, so I’m really happy it’s growing so well, cause it ain’t cheap. And the compost is doing it’s thing and, you know, composting.

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This week seemed to mesh really well with the last prompt on the Grow Write Guild, which is: This Plant is Driving Me Nuts. The potatoes were definitely driving me nuts, and sometimes the tomatoes can make me frustrated! I did what I could with the potatoes, but luckily I was able to resurrect what was left of the tomatoes and they are still harvesting.

I just have to keep reminding myself that this is my first time with a garden that houses more than just herbs, so I need to cut myself a little slack. But just a little. I’m excited to move these plants out when they’re done and try this shtick all over again.

Momma’s garden project: Week 13

I was fearing for the worst when my garden started to die due to the heat over the last few weeks. But then I increased the amount I was watering them and all of a sudden, they were blooming again! The most awesome plant in my garden thus far has been the tomato. I have been able to give A LOT of them to my family and still keep a bunch for us. We always buy tomatoes when we go to the grocery store so it’s pretty awesome to not have worry about that for a while.

The peppers have also been insane as of late, so it looks like I’ll be making some salsa soon! Along with the homemade tortillas I’m learning to make, we’ll be good! The only issues I’m having are with the potatoes and red onions, which are in the ground. We tried to pull them a couple weeks ago to see how they were doing, and we got nothing. But I’m going to pull them again next week and hopefully I will have a few potatoes to show for it!

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The most recent prompt for the Grow Write Guild was to write about a plant that is in bloom, which seems to perfect for right now, since all I can talk about is how wonderful my tomatoes are right now! I’m not even a tomato fan, I just can’t wait to make my salsa right now! The only thing I would change about the tomato is getting cages for all the plants. I do like the way it looks growing wild, but when I water it, I end up watering all the weeds too so it would be better if it was maintained!

Definitely getting cages for all of the plants next time around.

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The broccoli isn’t really doing too good right now. I’ve been pulling the weedy parts, so that all of the water goes to the broccoli, but it’s still taking a while. I’m going to pull the flowers that I have growing right now to see how they do.

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But what has been improving is my compost! I stopped adding to it, started mixing it up a lot more and kept it hydrated, so the food was able to compost faster. I’m hoping to have the compost ready by next Spring since I already have enough soil to last me for now. Luckily, the smell doesn’t completely blow me away when I go out there and I haven’t found any unwanted visitors…yet.

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So this is my garden right now, how is yours doing?

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Feel free to share your garden’s progress with pictures and the hashtag #yardlife on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Or share your pictures and stories by linking to your blog in the comments! You can check out more of my project on Facebook page and see more of my garden inspiration on Pinterest.