Gardening Outlook 2015

I’m approaching my organic garden with a good deal of optimism this year! Last year I had several plants do very well. Specifically, the tomatoes and bell peppers and EVERY herb that I planted in our community garden plot.

We have two plots again this year: the community garden plot up at the elementary school where my children will attend and one in our backyard.

The community garden plot is small, probably 4 feet by 4 feet. Raised bed. The soil was put there by a master gardener who set up the community garden. It is MAGICAL soil. Everything I have planted there has grown huge quickly. No pesticides or non-organic fertilizers are allowed. It gets full sun and we take turns watering so that it is watered every other day in the summer months. I have had no problems with pests aside from some beetles that took out the lettuce at the end of it’s growing season last year. But they didn’t touch anything else, and those plants were finished producing anyway.

Our backyard plot is 4 feet by 8 feet. This is our third year to attempt to plant things in it. It is also a raised bed, the soil came from a local composting plant that uses city scraps for compost. Everything I put into this soil has done poorly, if not immediately died. We also have terrible infestations of squash bugs, caterpillars, and extremely aggressive roly polys. I did not even know roly polys were aggressive until I got this garden. Those roly polys eat ALL the baby plants from the ground up. They never make it to full grown plants. Those that do make it to medium size never get any bigger, and the tomatoes do not produce much. I spent all of last year amending the soil with a number of different soil additives (organic) and spraying with garrett juice (compost juice). The soil failed all soil tests, showing that it has basically no nutrients at all. Kale grows well consistently, but it’s pretty difficult to kill kale. I planted a lavender plant in the fall and it’s not dead either, but it hasn’t grown. The broccoli I planted over the winter produced a few times. I also trapped thousands of roly polys by setting traps of tuna cans full of (cheap) beer. Roly Polys LOVE beer! But they get drunk and drown in it. It’s pretty awesome.

I spoke with another friend who is a master gardener about my raised bed in the backyard and she suggested mushroom compost. I have added 3 bags to the backyard bed and attempted to mix it in. I will also continue to add the soil amendments I added before, as well as the garrett juice. Hopefully this will be enough to allow some things to grow.

This morning it was our turn to water the community garden, so we stopped by a local gardening store and bought some small plants. Another way I am attempting to improve our results is to buy from local gardening stores rather than Home Depot, as I have in the past. I am hoping that the quality will be better.

Today we bought:

cilantro
tomatoes (I do not even understand the types of tomatoes, who knows what I bought? My 4 year old daughter picked it out)
dill
bell pepper
salad mix

Garden Plants 2015 - starting plants | Living Consciously Blog

We already had seeds for:

carrots
marigolds (to repel harmful insects)
sunflowers
green leaf lettuce

In addition:

an onion from my pantry sprouted and I have planted it in the community garden plot, it’s already huge!
a “volunteer” squash from last year has started re-growing in the community garden plot

I have a lovely little herb garden going at the community garden now! I am hoping that soon I won’t have to buy fresh herbs at all. The thyme and oregano from last year made it through the winter and are already so large that I had to trim them back. I even dug up some offshoots of the thyme and am going to try to plant them in our backyard garden.

Garden plants 2015 - herb garden at community garden | Living Consciously Blog

I think the only thing I might be missing is basil. Not sure why I forgot to buy that!

What are you planting? Do you have any recommendations for soil improvement?

Really organic rosemary kale chips from our fledgling garden

This post brought to you by Organic Choice by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s been a few weeks now since we started back on our organic gardening efforts, and I’ve killed a lot of poor, defenseless seedlings since then. I have watched my dreams of tomato and basil bruschetta curl up and blow away. Fortunately, there are two plants nearly impossible to kill: rosemary and kale.

My kale hung on through the single-digit freezing, ice, and snow of the winter — with it’s leaves still green. It looks even better now that the weather has warmed, and I couldn’t wait to eat it!

Kale in garden 2014 | Conscientious Confusion

The rosemary has done equally well in the past, but this year’s low winter temperatures left more than half of it brown and withered. I love my rosemary in the giant galvanized steel pot, so I had to find a way to revive it without any dangerious chemicals, keeping it safe and healthy to eat.

Here’s how it looked when we started:

Rosemary bush BEFORE organic fertilizer | Conscientious Confusion

The good folks at Miracle-Gro Organic Choice sent me a bag of Organic Choice potting soil and organic fertilizer, which I also noticed is sold at Target in the gardening section (in case I need more later!). I decided to give the fertilizer a try in reviving my rosemary.

My son volunteered to be my little helper. All he had to do was sprinkle the appropriate amount of fertilizer around the base of the rosemary and then water it.

Little Sir helps add organic fertilizer to our rosemary bush | Conscientious Confusion

We also added additional Miracle-Gro Organic Choice soil to the rosemary’s pot, which was low on soil.

We fertilized on March 27.

On April 11, I took this picture of the rosemary bush.

Rosemary bush AFTER organic fertilizer | Conscientious Confusion

What a difference! I was truly surprised. I realize that fertilizer helps encourage growth, but this is really neat, right?!

Since the kale and rosemary are our only fully grown plants worthy of harvesting right now, I created a Pinterest board of Garden Recipes that contained kale and rosemary. Kale chips were one of the kids’ favorites from last year’s garden, so I found a rosemary kale chip recipe that utilized rosemary-infused olive oil. Perfect!

Making Kale Rosemary Chips from our garden! | Conscientious Confusion

The chips were approved by both of my kids (3 and 4 years old)! We’ve tried the kale chips from the store in the past, but they were never fans. I think the key to getting children to grow up eating healthy, fresh foods is really to involve them in the process. They have been so excited to be participating in our gardening this year.

I haven’t given up on the rest of our garden! We have some spinach, bell pepper, lettuce, swiss chard, and strawberries that seem to be doing quite well. I am particularly hopeful about the bell peppers, and I have actually Pinned a few articles from the Miracle-Gro Learn And Grow web site that has helped me toward a successful harvest. According to this bell pepper article, last year I probably let the bell peppers get too dry. This year I have a new hose system that I am very optimistic about, and a new resolve not to get so lazy with my watering.

Stay tuned for continued progress reports! I’d love to hear about your gardening efforts, and your favorite rosemary and kale recipes in the meantime!

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It’s (organic) gardening time again!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro Organic Choice. All opinions are 100% mine.

I think we’ve seen the last of our 16 degree days here in Dallas, and just this week one of our chickens started laying again! I’m so excited to be doing yoga outside and cleaning the chicken coop (ok, maybe not the coop…), that I’ve also forgotten my past failures and I’m gearing up to start another organic garden.
In fact, I’ve already planted some seeds in biodegradeable seed cups. I have actually been keeping them in our downstairs bathroom because it’s the only window with a wide ledge inaccessible to children and the cat. Classy. The seedlings need to be watered several times a day to stay moist, so at least it is convenient!
This weekend, we went on a road trip. We had the cat’s autofeeder on, a weekend tablet for the fish, and plenty of food for the chickens. But the seedlings needed constant watering. So we took them with us!
Taking our organic seedlings with us!
You don’t pack your seedlings with your beach towels and cooler, too?
What am I planting? Right now, the seedling cups contain:
tomatoes
cucumbers
basil
bell peppers
spinach
I have more seeds for growing kale, swiss chard, and dill which will be planted directly into the ground as soon as I’m sure it won’t freeze again. There is also a bunch of rooted basil in a cup of water on my windowsill waiting to be transplanted into the ground.
I have this vision of being able to create freshly picked, organic bruschetta from my garden this year, on my own homemade bread. Yum!
Of course, it’s very important for me to keep my garden organic. Organic veggies are expensive, so if I can grow even a few, it is a great savings. And what could be more yummy than fresh organic veggies? The raised bed we built two years ago is low on soil, so I’m adding additional organic soil this year from Miracle-Gro Organic Choice before transplanting the seedlings. It is easy to find, available at the Home Depot down the street. If you’re looking for it at your local store, here’s what the bag looks like:
Organic Soil photo 72859510_22_zps758b34b4.jpg
If you’re a novice gardener like me, I recommend visiting the Growing Something Greater site, they had a lot of great posts with tips for successful growing.
Is it warming up where you are? Have you starting planting or sprouting indoors?

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2013 To Do List: How Did I Do?

I don’t make resolutions, I make To Do Lists. Here is 2012. Here is 2013.

How did I do this year? Let us review

  1. Finally make those reusable snack bags.
    I am going to cross this one off simply because I bought reusable snack bags. Well, when I say “I”, what I mean is that my BFF found a bunch on sale and mailed them to me. So yay! No sewing. I still have the fabric for the bags I didn’t actually make. Maybe I will make them before my kids are in high school.
  2. Print family blog books.
    Done, and now I have to do 2013. Which means I have to actually update our family blog that I haven’t touched since October.
    2014 To Do List, here I come.
  3. Meal planning.
    TheFresh20.com solved this whole issue for me. I seriously love them. I should get commission for recommending them. That, by the way, is NOT an affiliate link. Oh, how I wish it were.
  4. Patch some giant holes in our walls.
    Um, no. I did buy a patch kit at Home Depot last week in a frantic effort to make it by the end of the year, but I am going to have to admit now that it’s just not going to happen before midnight tomorrow.
  5. Repaint other messed up paint…or do something about it.
     I totally did this! At least, in the living room. The downstairs bath still needs help. I partially did the living room because we got this awesome Nest smart thermostat and removing the old thermostat exposed some unpainted wall.
  6. Do something about the front yard.
    We started this. We removed the bushes and created flower beds lined by bricks. However, all the mulch we filled them with has sunken in or washed away, and I never planted anything in them. So it looks weird. But at least we removed the bushes? So, kinda done?
  7. Go to the dentist.
    I never did. Again, tried to figure out a way to get this done in the last 2 weeks but with the kids not in preschool over the holiday there was no way. I really do need to do this, my teeth need whitening and I want to try peroxide but not until I get my teeth cleaned. Now it’s been 3 whole years since I’ve been to the dentist. Whee!
  8. Take Little Sir to the dentist.
    Yep, he has actually been twice! We found a great pediatric dentist just down the street from our house and both kids LOVE her and her office. They are actually sad to leave because she has so many neat toys there and the visits are so quick that they don’t get to play as long as they want!
  9. Try again with the garden.
    I did try. I got a lot of kale and swiss chard, so that was awesome. I pretty much killed everything else. Even the bell peppers, which were doing so well right before Thanksgiving. It must have frozen while we were gone because when we got back they had shriveled up, never to recover.

I feel like I actually did really well this year, if I could only stop fixating on that dentist failure. I really want to get my teeth cleaned. I know that is a weird thing to say.

Stay tuned for the 2014 To Do List, coming soon!

Update on the 2013 To Do List

It’s June already, what?! Where does the time go? I think it goes here:

Kids swimming

Still, I remember that back in January I made a To Do List for 2013. How am I doing halfway through the year?

1. Finally make those reusable snack bags.

Nope. Have not done this. Once, I took all the fabric out and looked at it for 15 minutes. That is the farthest I’ve gotten. I keep buying plastic baggies for snacks and I feel extremely guilty EVERY TIME.

2. Print family blog books.

I did this! Almost immediately after making the To Do list. It was super easy, as it always is (I use Blog2Print, this is not an ad, I don’t get anything from mentioning the site. Every year I pay for a book. I don’t even have coupon codes!). Unfortunately, I am doing a crappy job of keeping up with our family blog again this year so next year will be a depressingly sparse blog book. Or I will be staying up until 2am one night publishing 15 blog posts at one time.

3. Meal planning.

I am doing so much better with this since discovering The Fresh 20. This is NOT an ad, I did not get paid or compensated or receive anything free to say that. I heard about The Fresh 20 meal planning program from OneStarryMom when there was a Groupon running, which I then purchased with my very own money. I just found out a few weeks ago that the founder of The Fresh 20 will be my co-panelist at BlogHer this year! I was so excited I nearly peed myself. It might not bode well for me to be such a ridiculous fan girl. But I love her product SO MUCH. Everything made from scratch, all whole foods, super easy shopping lists, and the meals themselves take very little time to prepare. Recommend!

4. Patch some giant holes in our walls.

Nope, the holes are still there. Home Depot scares me.

5. Repaint other messed up paint…or do something about it.

Nope, the paint is getting worse. My children have applied stickers to the wall and ripped additional paint off of it.

Sticker wall art
Sticker wall art, the unprofessional kind

Procrastination on this one has to do with my fear of the 100 paint cans in our garage. I just can’t bring myself to try to figure out which one is the correct one for the living room.

6. Do something about the front yard.

We kinda started this.

bush destruction
Ripping out the bushes

We took a chainsaw to the giant shrubs, got rid of them, and created flower beds. However, I neglected to line the beds with newspaper for a weed barrier and we didn’t use enough mulch, so the grass is growing back up through the beds. It looks pretty ghetto.

Front yard: An "after", of sorts
An “after” picture, but before the weeds came back

A solicitor (who did NOT see my Do Not Solicit sign, I suppose) commented yesterday on whether we were going to do anything about that. No, young-single-guy-without-kids-who-doesn’t-even-live-in-this-area-and-can’t-read-signs, I have not gotten around to “doing something about that”.

7. Go to the dentist.

I looked up some Groupons but I did not do this in enough time before school got out. Now preschool is out for the summer and there is no way for me to go to the dentist because I have a 2 and 3 year old with me at all times. This will have to happen in the fall when I have 2-3 hours per week kid-free.

8. Take Little Sir to the dentist.

I did this! It was super easy! He loved it! And the dentist taught him to spit out his toothpaste, which he is doing like a Big Boy. He has great teeth. Hooray!

9. Try again with the garden.

My garden is doing surprisingly well considering how little effort I have made.

Garden June 2013

Most of the plants came from seeds I forgot that I planted last fall or scraps from our compost heap. It’s very scientific.

How are you doing on your To Do list or resolutions? If you posted a list at the beginning of 2013, I’d love to see a link to an update in the comments!

My Garden: planting from compost sprouts

It’s spring again in Texas, and I’ve clearly learned nothing from the failure of my garden last year. The only thing I grew successfully was a few good bell pepper plants and a whole lot of mint. Mint, mint, mint. I mean, I love mint in my green tea in the summer (it’s one of the natural coolants that I recommend if you are giving up antiperspirant), but the amount of mint I have had in the last year is ridiculous. After I planted it initially, I had a lot of people warn me that I never should have planted it in a garden because it would take over. They were not kidding. That stuff pops up in the weirdest places. Like growing out of the side of the raised bed:

Mint growing from side of raised bedWeird.

Most of my herbs came back: parsley and two kinds of mint, as well as the strawberries from last year which are now putting out little flowers.

The minute it got warm outside about a month ago, I was out there planting seeds and watering things again just like I hadn’t killed nearly a dozen plants last year. Some time last November I planted kale and swiss chard seeds by haphazardly throwing them into the ground willy-nilly, because they were supposed to bloom in the cooler weather (it doesn’t get cold here until late December/early January — this year it was February). I thought the seeds had died, but suddenly sprouts appeared a few weeks ago and now I have some pretty decent sized plants!

Swiss Chard April 2013
The thin little shoots are leek sproutlings that I got from a neighbor, they were initially sprouted for our elementary school’s community garden and there were extras.

Leeks April 2013

The rest of the garden has evolved from another odd spot: compost sprouts.

First of all, my compost bin is not so much a bin as it is a circle of chicken wire at the side of the house that I dump things into and turn with a shovel every 10 days or 2 weeks. More accurately: I do it when I remember.

I add things to it, but it’s more of a random compilation than a science. Because I do tend to, um, leave it alone a bit too long, when I do turn it I often find little sprouts in the mishmash. For example, some kind of root vegetable that had gone bad and was tossed into the compost bin had a full 6-7 inch plant growing from it. A head of garlic that sprouted was also almost 4 inches tall in there. My mother was visiting one day and found a huge collection of squash sprouts. Unfortunately, the squash died when I tried to transplant it to the garden. But the mysterious root vegetable is now nearly a foot tall!

Sprout from compost

And the garlic is looking pretty healthy too:

Garlic from compost

Just yesterday I found some other tiny thing in the compost and planted it as well.

I have no idea what that thing is either. I guess we’ll see when it starts sprouting something!

If I don’t kill it first.

How about you? Have you planted anything yet? Do you also raid your compost for sprouts, or is that just me?

7 Quick Takes Friday #48

— 1 —

The weather last week was warm and sunny for a few days, so of course I started planting things. Because I have such a great record of success with gardens. Of course, this week it’s been in the 30’s at night. So I’ve probably already killed everything.

— 2 —

I almost did an “All the Drama on the Internets” about Marissa Meyer eliminating working from home at Yahoo, but there wasn’t much drama in that there weren’t many differences of opinion, that I could tell. Everyone was pretty united in thinking that what she did was a bad idea and sets us all back as women in the workplace.

— 3—

You might have noticed that I frequently run advertising for ThredUp, which is a way to buy used children’s clothing online that is similar to a consignment sale or shop, only online so you don’t have to leave your house. You can also sell your used children’s clothing the same way, they send a bag to your house and you fill it up and get credit for clothing in the future. It is a very green thing to do, and you know I love consignment sales. I’ve heard really good feedback from others, but I’d actually never tried it myself. Last night I placed my first order. I’ll be letting you know how it goes, I am excited to receive my first box!

— 4 —

Speaking of advertising, now is the time to purchase advertising on this blog! If you purchase an ad now, you can get 10% off the cost by purchasing 3 months at a time using the promo code 3MonthsOfFun. If you are a fellow blogger, consider purchasing a 125×125 spot to run during Blissdom! Here’s the size of a 125×125:

Conscientious Confusion - a blog about living consciously

— 5 —

Are you on Vine yet? I am, but let me tell you: I am terrible at it. Terrible. I like the people who do stop-animation with Vine. Super cool!

— 6 —

Blissdom is next month but I’m probably not going to conference because it costs money. However, I do live 45 minutes away so if you’re a blogger who is attending and would like to get together at a local restaurant, I bet we could get a group together! Email me!

— 7 —

I have noticed that Facebook click through rates for this blog are pretty terrible. I’m not going to close down the FB page, but if you’re looking for me, I’m mostly on Twitter. Or you can subscribe to receive my blog posts via email or RSS.

~~~
Well that’s all for this week, be sure to visit Conversion Diary for links to more 7 Quick Takes Fridays.

To Do List 2013

Happy New Year! As you might remember from previous years, I don’t do “resolutions” but I stole the idea of a yearly To Do list from Jennie. Much more satisfactory. Here are mine for 2013.
    1. Finally make those reusable snack bags.
      I bought some nylon fabric and coordinating cotton probably almost a year ago and still haven’t attempted to sew snack bags out of it. I had some awesome Snack Taxi snack bags for years and this year they both went MIA. I am ashamed to say that I am using plastic baggies more now, and I hate it. I need to just sit down at a few naptimes and sew some seams to solve this problem.
    2. Print family blog books.
      I have a woefully neglected family blog that I go and back-date-post so that my children will have some semblance of a scrapbook type thing for our family. In 2009 and 2010 I used Blog2Print to print books for the year and they turned out very nicely. All this year I have had “2011 blog book” on my To Do list. And lookee here, now I have “2011 AND 2012 blog books” on my To Do list. I really need to do this, it’s ridiculous. I think the amount of editing it takes is a little intimidating.
    3. Meal planning.
      I hate that this shows up every year. I hate meal planning for picky toddlers that can’t have soy or dairy and won’t eat meat or beans. I hate planning and planning and still going over budget and me being the only one that eats anything I cook. That is all.
    4. Patch some giant holes in our walls.
      When we moved into this house over a year ago, the baby gate at the top of the stairs was installed backwards, so we had to rip it off and re-install it correctly. Then the screws fell out of the wall and we had to re-drill. What is left is a horrible, horrible mess. I need to get some fine sandpaper, some spackle, and the original paint from the walls and repaint it. What has been stopping me is 1) the idea of going to Home Depot and tracking down some moron who doesn’t understand what I am looking for, and 2) digging through our 800 cans of paint in the garage to figure out which one matches the stairway.
    5. Repaint other messed up paint…or do something about it.
      When we moved in last year, the painters put latex paint on top of oil-based paint in our living room, which is a big no-no. As a result, pieces have been flaking off or been rubbed off. I have no idea how to fix this, but someone should. SOMEONE.
    6. Do something about the front yard.
      We have giant bushes covering up our porch and half of the bushes are dead, it looks terrible. My first impulse was to rent a chainsaw and go at that stuff but I don’t think Christian was super excited about that idea. Also, whatever it is needs to be pretty much FREE.
    7. Go to the dentist.
      Without dental insurance since I quit my full time job in 2011, and having moved to the suburbs away from our former dentist practice (it was just a dentist-in-a-box anyway), I actually have not had my teeth cleaned or looked at since I was pregnant with Little Lady. I really need a teeth cleaning.
    8. Take Little Sir to the dentist.
      Oh geez. I am dreading this way more than going to the dentist myself. Mostly because it is bound to be super expensive to go to a pediatric dentist without insurance. I freaking hate going to doctors that I feel are unnecessary so that they can tell me or my children that “everything looks fine”. And that will be $1,000, thank you very much. uuuuuggh.
    9. Try again with the garden.
      I have to keep trying, I guess.

 

There you go, I’ll do posts about any of these things that I accomplish and update you again at the end of the year! What’s on your to do list for 2013?

To Do List 2012: How did I do?

Oh look, it’s almost 2013! Time to look back at my To Do List from 2012 and see if I accomplished any of it.

1. Eat better.
To make this a little more measurable, I’ll just say that I want to get back to eating at least 5-7 whole fruits and veggies per day.
Sort of done. I have been doing a lot better as far as cutting out the extra sugar and carbs but I’m probably still not up to 5-7 veggies a day. Mostly because I give all the fruits and veggies in the house to my kids, and there are rarely any left for me. Those things are expensive! But I am still drinking my NingXia Red, which is packed with antioxidants, so I think that helps.

2. Resume meal planning.
I did pretty good with this probably 6 months out of the year, off and on.  At one point, I got depressed about how much money we spend on groceries and stopped even trying. Then we found out that Little Sir is dairy and soy intolerant and that threw another wrench in the planning because I can’t use Food On The Table or eMeals since they all contain dairy ingredients that I can’t always substitute. I am currently off the wagon. This is going to show up on the 2013 list again, dang it.

3. Regular exercise.
I want to aim for 3 days a week.

Oh thank God, one that I can actually cross off the list. Thanks to becoming a Lagree Fitness instructor at Ultimate Pilates Plano, I am now in better shape than I was before the kids. I actually do have six-pack abs, not lying. I would love to take pictures but that seems really indecent for a family-friendly blog. OK, I did take pictures in the mirror once but I haven’t shown anyone. However, this is not bragging because it is very hard work and continues to be very challenging. It’s not like I am saying “oh look, I have magically great abs! Whee! Be jealous!”. Nooooo, I write routines that are specifically heavy on moves targeting my transverse abdominal muscles and my obliques, and I do those routines for 50 minutes, at least 3 times a week. And I must mention, I teach these routines in my classes so if you want to work on your post-baby body like I did…you know where I am!

4. Attempt monetization of this blog
“Attempt monetization” is not a very measurable goal, but let’s just say I’ll research and apply for some ad networks and work on ways that I could increase my readership. Such as participating in blogger link-ups.

First of all, I would like to give yet another shout-out to my wonderful sponsor Tanya of Happy Feet, Healthy Body who has an Etsy shop selling handmade bath and health products that are completely free of toxins but also provide the natural healing powers of essential oils. Please consider supporting this blog by purchasing her products! She has an excellent headache remedy and an amazing lavender lip balm that I use every night. And if you are in the Dallas area, she can even arrange for local delivery rather than paying for shipping.

I feel like I have done some positive work in this direction. I have also joined up with a number of other green bloggers via The Green Sisterhood and some closed Facebook groups. I actually don’t participate in a ton of link-ups, but that is because I am very picky about my topics and I don’t do a lot of giveaways. I feel like I am heading in the right direction and I’m looking forward to 2013!

5. Start potty learning with my son
This is pretty much done! Now that we’ve addressed the stomach issues of dairy and soy intolerance and provided both negative and positive incentives (positive alone did not inspire him), he has very few pee or poop accidents. Well, thank goodness that only took about 7 months.

6. Decorate the kids’ rooms
I think they look a lot less bare now. I put the animal and letter decals up in my son’s room and hung his name picture and handprints, and he accumulated a number of additional toys and books to fill up some of the extra space. I put up a lovely tree decal in my daughter’s room and bought some curtains. She also got a bookcase with bins like brother’s and a bureau for her clothes. I am sure I could do more but there’s not a ton of space. I like what we have right now!

7. Plant a garden
Hahaha, that was pretty much a failure except for the bell peppers, but there is a good reason that I didn’t specify that it had to be a successful garden. I ended up getting enough bell peppers that, when chopped, fill up a plastic baggie (I know, PLASTIC, I lose my green cred yet again) in the freezer. That is a significant crop considering how small they were. But they died in the snow on Christmas Day, so that’s done. Since we have such a nice raised bed setup now, I’ll try again next year.

Need feedback: Future posts?

If you haven’t been following this blog long (and a lot of you are new, thanks to Green Sisterhood, CottonBabies, and Dallas Moms Blog – hi! welcome!), you might not have noticed that since my last BlogHer, I’ve really been trying to focus the intention of this blog to be less random stream-of-consciousness, Jenny’s-personal-thoughts-about-today and more eco-friendly and green. More Pin-able and less philosophical. Which is a smart and noble endeavor, I believe, especially since I really want to grow my blog to something more than 50 people that I’ve met IRL at some point in my life and who think I am weird enough to be amusing.

But then, things like last week happen. Where I have a lot of random thoughts in my head but none of them are relevant to my green living endeavors or long enough to be an entire blog post. In fact, a lot of them are probably bemoaning the ways I’m failing and can’t seem to gain traction. So I just don’t post at all. How is THAT helping my blog? To not post? Probably not much.

Yet, I have a lot of random things to share, which I often do on my blog’s Facebook page (make sure you’ve “Like”ed me!).

  • The defeat of Proposition 37 in California and what does that mean for our ability to be conscientious consumers? I think I am too unhappy that this failed to see a way out right now. The truth is, Prop 37 failed because a lot of big corporations have a lot of money and they had the advertising and lobby power to convince people in a tight economy that their overall health and ability to be informed is going to cost them too much. When the opposite is true. It’s another case of Big Corp and Big Money winning and I am just so dang sick of being optimistic about that battle when it seems unrealistic.
  • What is going on with my garden: it is actually currently producing a fairly good crop of tiny but healthy bell peppers! I think I will collect the entire crop, chop them up and freeze them, and make a stir fry. For one person. I already made these cute bell pepper eggs once. Only the pepper was so small that I made a little flower with all the rings instead…it’s hard to describe and I didn’t take a picture. Sorry.
  • Free shipping with Shaklee. I buy some of my green cleaning products from my friend Jessica’s Shaklee business, as you will find out if I ever finish my “Green My Routine: Cleaning” post. That’s going to be a long one.
  • Going dairy and soy free, in addition to already being vegetarian. OK, it’s not me that’s dairy and soy free, it’s my son. Since we’ve taken him off dairy and soy his potty training poop issues have suddenly improved. It’s been almost 5 days since he’s had a poop accident. But, since he already refuses to eat meat of any kind or beans of any kind, removing dairy and soy presents seemingly insurmountable obstacles when it comes to his nutrition. He’s already in the 40th percentile for weight. Shoot me now. I have no idea.
  • Giving my children salmonella by mistake. It wasn’t actually me, but our stupid backyard chickens. I swear, sometimes I consider cooking those chickens for dinner and I don’t even eat meat. I believe what happened is that my children’s sippy cups came into contact with the chicken poop that is EVERYWHERE in our backyard because those stupid birds are aggressive poopers. As in, you leave something out there for 5 minutes and when you come back there will most definitely be poop on it. Aggressive pooping. So we have confined them to an area of the yard. Pictures to come. And maybe I should blog about the salmonella you can get from backyard as a cautionary measure for other potential chicken owners? It’s just all so embarassing.
  • Operation Christmas Child. It’s a worthy cause, we are excited about it. I took an emergency trip to Target and Whole Foods to get a ton of suitable and conscientious items and then we left our stupid box at home so we might have missed the deadline. Nice.

So maybe some of those bullet points deserve their own post but I’m feeling overwhelmed. Help me out. Which would you like to hear more about? And thanks for hanging in there with me!