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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Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee

My video is here on my YouTube Channel

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and follow along with me this spring as I plant my container garden and all summer as I care for it.

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.

Change is a good thing-twenty-five things in twenty-five years!

Random post here that I felt the need to document for safekeeping for the days I’m not feeling positive about change.

  • I’ve quit every single thing I’ve ever been addicted to in the last twenty-five years.
  • I got married almost 25 years ago and I’m still married.
  • I learned how to say I’m sorry and mean it.
  • I discovered, for the most part, my purpose in life.
  • I found my best friend.
  • I grew up.
  • I became ultra-responsible.
  • I learned humility.
  • I also learned I don’t know everything.
  • I admitted to myself and others that I’ve made some really bad choices, decisions, and mistakes.
  • I haven’t had a traffic ticket in 31 years and knock on wood. I’ve never been in an accident where I was driving, but when I was a teenager I was in a couple of car accidents (minor) while someone else was driving.
  • I’m a foodie. I went from being someone that was not that into food, except as a means of survival, to someone who LOVES food and spends an awful lot of time writing about it.
  • I’m a business owner.
  • I finally went to college (eight years– three degrees)
  • I advise people on their taxes, estate planning, finances and work as a CPA.
  • I speak two languages and I’m working on a third.
  • 75% of what I watch is international television and film with subtitles.
  •  I’ve had a savings account for fifteen years that I actually deposit money into.
  • I’ve managed to not have to take any prescription medication of any kind and I’m almost 55.
  • I’ve discovered that I’ve spent my entire life in a reactive state vs. responsive state (I’m working on it).
  • I laugh a lot.
  • I take care of myself–the biggest change>> I eat 3 healthy meals a day.
  • I spend less time being angry.
  • I’m not scared of confrontation.
  • Quitting isn’t an option.

This list may seem quite random/all over the place concerning things I’ve accomplished or overcome or even skills that I have developed. And for the most part that is true–though the list doesn’t quite tell the whole story. You see twenty-seven/ twenty- eight years ago I was homeless, working as a CNA, in a relationship with an abusive drug addict, and really so close at any given time to become another statistic. I had an eating disorder brought on by years of not eating properly, I was constantly injured at my job and on pain medications, and I survived on 40 oz bottles of beer, cigarettes, and mountain dew. I owned nothing. A few years before that I was in another really bad relationship and was being emotionally and sexually abused regularly. I didn’t own anything then either not even a decent car (even though I had 3 jobs). Mainly because I was helping the person I was with to pay his bills. I also had a spending problem–buying things I didn’t need and lending money to “friends” all the time. I was angry all the time and had been since I was a teenager. I was immature even though I often did very mature things in my life. I was irresponsible even though I took some of my responsibilities seriously. I quit a lot of jobs–and in some cases never even collected my last check because I was scared of confrontations. I refused to go to college, instead opting to get into healthcare. I loved working in healthcare but I never made more than $6.00 an hour until I worked in healthcare management. I suffered six serious back/neck injuries from working in nursing homes that were short-staffed.  I refused to commit in either of my relationships and I am so happy about that. I never believed I would ever get married and didn’t until I was 30 years old. I lived like a rock star for twelve years straight. I suffered from severe depression from the time I was 13/14 until my mid-thirties. Learning a new language seemed impossible to me and subtitles really annoyed me twenty years ago. I was once a very reckless person and was often given “passes” when caught driving recklessly or acting irresponsibly, even driving under the influence when I was in my twenties. Not proud of this at all. Twenty-eight years ago I was arrested for writing 3 bad checks for groceries and to help pay my rent. I spent thirty days in jail and I was on probation for two years. Almost ten years ago now I stood in front of a Governor’s board and asked to be pardoned for that crime. If you’ve never had to look into the pardoning process I will sum it up in two words—really hard. I wrote several essays and was able to prove to the Governor’s board I hadn’t had so much as a traffic ticket for over twenty years. I was granted a pardon after I stood up in front of a whole room of people and made my case. I learned true humility and I grew exponentially from that experience ( from arrest-pardon).

So, in closing. Change is good. No matter how much we fear it. Some of the things I changed about myself were really really hard and at times seemed impossible. Some of the things that changed over the years saved me. There are other things that have changed in the last twenty-five years that are not so profound and not entirely positive. But, the good definitely outweighs the bad and that is where I am at today.

Many blessings to all making changes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source

Before we get to the holiday baking, I thought I would take full advantage of all the pumpkins and make some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I bake cookies every week for my husband’s lunch and use Martha Stewart’s Crisp and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe. The recipe for the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies is from Delish.com and they are/were delish. At the present time, they are almost gone—just two left for the hubby’s lunch through Friday! Hence why no picture, but I do have a lovely photo of my Martha Stewart Crisp and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies on my IG feed.

The last few weeks of autumn have been busy as usual. There is always a lot of planning of my time. Thankfully my health has been great though I cannot say the same for my husband. Every year he gets allergies from ragweed–which is what we thought he had six weeks ago. Turns out he had something like a bad allergy, but not quite the flu, and it has really held on. It really is impossible not to get sick when your co-workers come to work full of sick. He has now been given a large bottle of sanitizer and a can of Lysol because neither one of us want him sick for his vacation–he takes 10 days every November and a week in December and that’s all the time he takes off from work–no sick or personal days in over 20 years. We’ve got a lot planned for his vacation time. This year we are going to be having an old-fashioned Christmas which I will be blogging about soon. I will also be blogging what products I use to stay healthy and keep a strong immune system going. Until then enjoy your family, Thanksgiving week and weekend if you celebrate it, and be well.