Buying Strawberry Plants for Dad and Spring Planting

We stopped in our local grocery store the other night to pick up groceries and I found these strawberry runners. I’ve never seen these being sold in the grocery store before. I have seen potato and onion starts but never strawberries–which in my opinion is pretty exciting. Right away Dad asked when we would be able to plant these and how long before they produce strawberries. Well, I don’t know. I planted a bunch of strawberries years ago and within 3 years had a small strawberry bed. Other than a couple of strawberries out of the blue one year, I don’t believe they ever produced much of anything. Of course, back then I knew little about soil and plant nutrition so they were probably starving and unable to produce. I told him I will try to plant them around his birthday and that we should have strawberries by early summer. Which is pretty exciting for two people who really love strawberries–my husband not so much! I’ll be planting a few different types of lettuce for him soon. Next week this time I will be starting my seedlings–heirloom tomatoes, thyme, pumpkins, and cucumbers for starters.

It’s fun when people older than me want to share their photos on the internet. Here’s Sunday breakfast frying away–photo courtesy of Dad.

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Macronutrients

First–what are macronutrients? Macro means “large” so macronutrients are large nutrients.

There are three basic components of every diet and they are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. You can also include a fourth one which is water. We need large amounts of the three basic components in our diet to keep our bodies well and to keep them going–energy, metabolism, and bodily functions. We need carbohydrates to keep our brain (which is why people on the Keto diet get brain fog) and muscles working.

We need fats–and it’s best when it comes to fat to eat unsaturated plant-based fat(nuts, avocadoes, and olive oil) mostly and only some times consume fats like butter and cream. Healthy fat helps you to absorb the vitamins in your food. Again–concerning the Keto diet, and likely why everyone I know who has ever been on it gained back + weight soon as they went off of it–the fats that are recommended with this diet are all the wrong fats. There isn’t a plant-based fat among the fats listed that keto dieters are to include in their diets. The list includes butter, ghee, meat, high fat cheese, cream, and eggs.

Protein breaks down in your gut into amino acids which help to repair tissues like muscle and skin. Amino acids are also used for making essential hormones and enzymes in our body that support our immune system.

Source

If you are about to try dieting, regardless of which one, please see a nutritionist–if even for a consultation (some are free) and learn about basic nutrition. I am not a nutritionist but I have studied nutrition from the very basic roots (science, biology, anatomy) of it to just about everything in our present day food chain and would not go on a diet, or drink some magic elixir sold through social media, without consulting a nutritionist and talking with my physician or naturopath or both.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to start a conversation with the farmer who grows your food, or someone selling what they’ve grown at a local Farmer’s Market, and even a local chef. You will be very surprised and forever grateful for what many of them can teach you about nutrition. Everyone’s body is different and everyone’s physical health–immune system, metabolism, organ health, skin, and bodily functions are completely different from everyone else’s.  I know the ads, pics, profiles, and sales pitches can be pretty convincing but remember you aren’t seeing everything going on behind the scenes. Everyone I know that has gone on some fad diet also worked out a lot.   The second they couldn’t work out they started feeling fatigued, sore and achy muscles, and the weight started coming back. When you reduce one macronutrient and increase another there are consequences. Many people I know drinking magic elixirs also spend an unusual amount of time in the restroom. While others are constantly crashing from the protein powders and drinks and supplementing with large doses of caffeine. Have some people benefitted from fad dieting and magic elixirs? Maybe? But remember they are doing way more than just drinking juice or having butter/ghee in their morning coffee. There are gym memberships, enzymes, supplements, vitamins, energy drinks, regular running/walking/jogging and often times an income (from selling said supplements/books/gym memberships) and so much more behind their weight loss. Ok lecture over and back to macronutrients!

Secondhow do I get them? Through the food in your diet.

Third-what do they do? Macronutrients help us grow, heal, repair, and they give us energy.

Macro Calculator-free macro calculator from Transparent Labs here

Macro Diets– Counting macros–a wonderful article and recipes at Cooking Light here

Macronutrient recommended %– 45-60% of your daily calories from carbs, 20-35% from fat, and 10-35% from protein.  Source

 

 

Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook–a book review

This is my review–

Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook by Kristine Hansen is a comprehensive and delightful look into Wisconsin farms and cheesemakers. Currently living in Wisconsin, I have heard of many of these farms and cheesemakers and look forward to tasting cheeses from several more. The recipes are easy to follow and the story behind each cheese simply fascinating. I appreciate that this cookbook also has a list of all the award-winning cheeses, festivals, and fairs that one may taste a sample, and references to websites where out of state readers may order some of Wisconsin’s finest. I enjoyed reading the Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook and highly recommend it to anyone who loves to eat and cook with cheese.

My disclaimer-Special thanks to Rowman & Littlefield & NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for review.

Reviews PublishedProfessional Reader

I started requesting books to review on NetGalley about a year ago now and have successfully reviewed 20 books. I have enjoyed doing this. I have always loved reading and books have remained my #1 pastime and passion my whole life. I primarily request cookbooks because I love reading cookbooks and I learn so much about food and food preparation from them. It seemed a natural progression to post my reviews on my blog in case readers/followers were interested in reading cookbooks too. Anyone can become a member of NetGalley and request books from publishers. Sometimes your request is accepted and other times based on your profile and other things taken into consideration your request is rejected.  If accepted you receive an advanced reader copy download and have a certain period of time to submit a review. This is an excellent way to read new books without having to pay for them. From this interest came opportunities that I found on my own to become a member of author book launches and I’ve loved being a part of launch teams. This is not an ad-sponsored post nor do I receive any type of compensation for talking about it. This is simply a cookbook review and a hobby of mine that makes me happy!

Being married to a Dutchman all I’ve heard our entire marriage is how great cheese is in Holland. Yes, Holland has great cheese. However, we are not always able to order from or travel to a place that sells cheese directly from Holland. Lucky us we live in the cheese capital of the United States and there are many, many cheesemakers near where we live. I requested the Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook because it is about Wisconsin cheese and also because this cookbook has outstanding reviews about the recipes featured, and also features the author throughout visiting the farms where the cheese is made and learning/ then writing about the history and culture behind the cheesemakers cheese. Several of the farms and cheesemakers featured in this book are known to us and others are on our list to visit. I loved, loved, loved this book and I’m so glad I requested it.

Until next time–many blessings to you from me!

Bush tomato plants & plans for 2019’s container garden

So this year I am going to be focusing 100% of my attention on growing tomatoes–bush tomatoes to be exact. I am going to use my entire deck for this endeavor leaving a small spot for herbs and a couple pots of flowers for the bees.

I’ve realized over the years that I’ve put an incredible amount of energy toward my container gardens but never really perfected the art of growing any one thing. This is the year! I will begin to grow my seedlings probably towards the end of April because I won’t be able to harden them off outside until the end of May. I will also be buying my tomato plants from a local nursery and my herbs and flowers will be from Bonnie Plants. I’ve been growing Bonnie Plants rosemary and thyme for almost 15 years and in my opinion, they are always the hardiest plants to buy from anyone around here.  I’m choosing to grow bush tomatoes because I want all my tomatoes to harvest within a month or two so that I can harvest them, can and freeze them, and enjoy the rest of my summer. Indeterminate continue to grow to several feet and have tomatoes all season long–requiring care and water throughout the growing season until season’s end.

Here’s how to grow bush (determinate) tomato plants in containers:

  • Buy good draining pots big enough for the plants you are planning on having in them.
  • Pick a nice sunny spot where the plants will receive at least 6 hours of sun. Group the plants together to help shade the root zones of each plant but not close enough to touch. Keep the plants in a wind-free area (this one is big for me because I may have to create one).
  • Use good premium soil. I use Purple Cow Organic soil and have always found it to work the best for me.  I need really, really good soil not only for obvious reasons but also because our deck is not shaded. It also gets incredibly hot and has too few hours of sun for growing.
  • Plant your plants properly buy digging a hole and covering 2/3 of the plant with soil to encourage good root growth.
  • Add your trellis or tomato stakes right away.
  • Leave about an inch of space from the top of your container to add mulch to hold in moisture.
  • Feed your plants. I mix Purple Cow Tomato gro with my Purple Cow Organic Soil mix and throughout the season use their compost tea and their bio-active fertilizer.  ***This is not a sponsored post***
  • Water regularly.

Source

That’s it for now–just blogging about this has made me feel happier and more hopeful that spring is coming.

2019 Pantry Challenge #1

Welcome, February–I kind of took the month of January off for several reasons. First off I really needed a break from creating content. I refused to just put up blog posts just to put up blog posts. In my mind, I’ve always wanted my blog to remain as good as the really good blogs I follow. I’ve always been like that when it comes to blogging. Admittedly I’m not perfect and I know some of my content could have been better over the last ten years. So my goal for 2019 is to produce stellar content. I’ll be honest that before coming to this decision I thought long and hard during my holiday break about not blogging anymore. I’ve been working hard to promote my business over on IG. But by the end of the year the answer was clear to me–no I did not want to quit blogging. I’m a writer and though not perfect in my sentence structure or grammar, I feel compelled many times a year to write. And so my blog goes on. Some things will change. I may integrate some vlog information and a chance for my readers to see me in action rather than just word. So, I will be sharing a video here and there in my blog posts. I want to engage more with my audience. I have found that making videos can be a great way to accomplish that.

I have many different projects to complete this year. I want my content to be informational on my blog as well as include the lifestyle that goes with it. So I will be focusing more on food, food sourcing, safety, storing, and lifestyle.

Pantry Challenge #1
In January one of the first things I do is take stock of everything. So– an inventory of food on hand, household goods, a new budget created, appointments scheduled, areas decluttered and cleaned and so on. I decided that completing a pantry/freezer challenge was a great thing for my family because it would accomplish several things at once. First, it would help me to put together a menu for the entire month. Because I was taking inventory of food on hand, creating a 31-day menu would be fairly simple. Second, it would allow me not to have to make a big shopping haul this month when I am quite busy with other things (first of the year, tax season, bad weather). Lastly, we could save some money? Possibly $3-400.00 worth of money (win-win) The video below is how I started my pantry challenge and I also have one up about the success of my pantry challenge. With two fill-in shops, I still managed to save $200.00 this month on my grocery budget. I would encourage anyone looking to clean out their freezer, fridge, or pantry to give this a try. I do this four times a year and then take the saved money and buy household items as needed– preferably when they are on sale.

I’ve had a productive start this new year and hope you have had one too. Soon–container garden planning and I’ve got a lot of new ideas for that as well. Until next time—Take Care!

Here’s my pantry challenge YouTube video!

What’s New for 2019!

I started a YouTube channel here

It’s almost time to start thinking about my container garden–this year I’ll be making videos!

Since last fall I’ve lost nearly all of my houseplants due to lack of sun. In our apartment we get most of our sunlight from the west. In winter we get almost no sunlight from the north–and all year round no sun from the south or east. It is extremely hard to grow anything in this apartment. Add into this we’ve had three periods since fall where there was no sunlight at all for nearly two weeks at a time. Everything withered, rotted, and died. Either they ended up being overwatered because they weren’t totally drying out between watering times, or they turned yellow, brown and then died.  I still have my opuntia, and several of my succulents, and thank goodness my sansevieria. I’ve decided that as long as we live here–which I hope isn’t much longer, I will grow succulents and sansevieria only for my indoor plants.

Besides my YouTube channel, nothing will change for my blog posting. I hope to continue to post every week. I created 60 posts in 2018, grew my blog by 51 followers, and my most popular blog posts were about my container garden. Thank you to everyone who follows my blog.   I hope to produce just as good of posts about my gardening and more this coming year. Until then–some of my next posts will be my container garden plans and a post about my current pantry challenge. Have a fabulous 2019 everyone!!

2018–A Year in Review

(All figures approximate)

# of hours I worked–2500 hrs

# of hours my spouse worked–2500 hrs

# of meals I made– 720 meals

# of lunches I packed–500 lunches

# of loads of wash–1440 loads

# of times I vacuumed and dusted–104 times

miles hiked-50 miles

miles biked-80 miles

miles in a car– 20,000 miles

# of books read–55 books

# podcasts listened–100 podcasts

# theater movies watched–24 movies in our local theater 

# new customers I served in my business Living Simply-30 new customers

# hours volunteered–120 hours

# of times I hosted a dinner party/meal/gathering–6 times

Thinking about things like this really puts into perspective how I spend my time and how much of my time I spend doing certain tasks or daily things in my life. In a perfect world I would volunteer more and work less–this I know. Perhaps when I retire that will be an option. This year my husband and I are going to be looking at changing a lot of things we do in our day to day to cut down on how much wash I do, and whether or not I need to cook every day & perhaps try freezing meals ahead? Those are two of several things we are looking at because whether I want to believe it or not I am 1/2 way to 60 years old. I work way, way too hard and sleep or rest way, way too little.  Ideally, I would like to retire from accounting when my business Living Simply is closer to being a full-time business. I would still do some form of accounting and for certain would take care of all business/admin aspects of my business.

I think jotting down information like this is very crucial to good time management–at least it gives you a starting point. The hours don’t have to be exact but should be fairly close to as accurate as possible.

A social media detox is something I am willing to try this year! I don’t have any issues with my phone but I do check IG more than a couple of times a day.

 

Well, that’s a wrap for 2018–I hope you’ve all had a good year and here’s hoping that 2019 brings you and yours good health and lots of happiness!!

An Old Fashioned Christmas–All the Things!

The first old-fashioned thing we did this year was to attend a Christmas parade in a town about 40 minutes away from us. At the end of the parade, the entire town gathered to watch Santa light up the Christmas tree above the Al Ringling Theatre.

My YouTube channel with Santa lighting the Christmas tree video is here

The second thing we did was gather to watch the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop and perform, gather food contributions for the local food pantry, and then go on their way towards their next stop. We try and catch this festive treat every year because we both love trains and we love that they collect food for local food pantries.

My YouTube channel with CP Holiday Train video is here

The third thing we did together was travel to La Crosse WI and see the Rotary Lights–which are an annual thing for us and enjoyed thoroughly!

My YouTube channel with the Rotary Lights video is here

The fourth thing I did was by special request by a local library and that was to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to a group of children one afternoon shortly before Christmas.

And finally, the fifth thing we did was to buy tickets to see an afternoon viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Al Ringling Theatre in Baraboo WI.

We work extremely hard all year long to get work, projects, shopping, and plans set in stone as much as possible so that we have the whole month of December to volunteer during our free time and enjoy Christmas. There’s no last minute shopping or wrapping or unexpected this and that. Baking is done at a leisurely pace and any dish I need to make for a work potluck or get together is handled quickly. This has worked out really well for us for a number of years and has helped us to enjoy Christmas without stress and live each day throughout the holiday season with much more intention.

Next up>>That’s a wrap–A Look Back at 2018.