Archive for the ‘Cleaner & Greener’ Category

Tomato Attack 2013

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Hard to beleive that our tomatoes went from this

raised bed planter box tomatoes

tomatoes in cages

To this

in less than six weeks. Hope we get some tomatoes soon. We do have lots of blooms.

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Easy Ways to Remember Plant Names in Your Garden

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Are you looking for an easy way to remember plant names in your garden after the plants have been planted and months have passed? I was. We recently planted our new planter box and I was thinking about how my mom knew the names of every single plant she ever planted. Always. I am not so good even though I try to remember the plant names after I plant, but I only know the more “famous” ones – the dahlias, the daisies, the relentless matilija poppies. Then I thought, there must be an easy why to record the plant names while I was planting.

Sure, I could just leave the little identification marker in the box next to the plants, but 1. I think it is unreliable and not that cute and 2. Spencer pulled most of them out at the store. Luckily, the pots had labels, but that isn’t helpful for IN the planter box. Pencil and paper seems so 1996, so I went to the old standby – phone camera.

At first, I just took photos with the pot or label marker. Boring and decidedly not cute, but very functional.

How to remember plant names


Garden Markers

Boring, hard to read

Planter box plants

My dahlia wants to party all the time.

So. Fine. But not what I wanted. I thought I could write all the plant names on with picmonkey or photoshop, but I didn’t want to bring my laptop outside or the pots in the house. And then (FINALLY) I realized that I could just take the photos with my iPhone and write on them at the same time with an app. I use over, but any app with text would work.


Remember plant names

So simple.

Now I want an app that will let me take photos, store the name, date, location and then file them away sorted by location in my house. Does that exist? The ultimate garden app.

I plan on using the write-on the plant photos method in the vegetable garden when we put it in next week. I don’t have that much trouble remembering plant names with edibles, but I do have a horrible time remembering the date I planted them. I think that’s why my dad always planted tomatoes Mother’s Day weekend – made it easy to remember. You could also use the calendar app to record planting dates, but I think photos are more fun.

Hey, look this would be cute on pinterest. Hint. Hint.

Clean all the things! Again.

Friday, November 16th, 2012

It is sort of embarrassing how often I have posted some grand plan to fix/organize/clean/make wonderful my life/house/blog/beauty routine on this blog. It’s sort of like the people who watch a movie, announce their veganism and then are tweeting about burgers in a few short weeks. I have a book coming that may be my salvation (I hope). In the meantime, I’m going to clean one extra thing every day until the end of the year. I made a list of 10 tasks so far. I’ll be adding to the list next week. I have high hopes. I mean it this time. My hopes are HIGH.

Maybe the background of my photos can stop looking like this:

Or this:

Note the cropping to attempt to hide the mess on the bookcase. (Also any excuse to post this photo. I love doughnut face).

Sigh. Someday my house will be organized and awesome. Maybe I’ll win the lottery and can hire a Carson to get my house in shape like Downton Abbey…

The Simple-ing: Stage One

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Somehow, I thought just announcing my desire to Real Simplify My Life by blogging it from the rooftops would solve all of my problems and magical elves would swoop in to reorganize my house, color block my wardrobe and fold paper into random objects. Guess what? Didn’t happen. However, I did make some little changes and try some things out. I also started boards on pinterest if anyone wants to follow along with what I have tried and what is on deck.

Snapshot of my morning studies.

The cover stories in April were:

  1. Act Small Save Big everyday strategies to save $5,000 this year
  2. Food Storage 101
  3. The Organized Home Office
  4. How to be More Optimistic
  5. Where did your Free Time Go?

I started with 1, kept 2 for future reference, don’t even recall 3-4 and 5 seemed to be more for people who worked or were much busier than I am (how I get more free time: spend less time on the internet. how I get productive free time: take Spencer to school), but I’ll look at it again.

The financial article was disappointing. There were a few gems here and there (Tried to find one to insert in these parenthesis, so on second thought, maybe nothing groundbreaking), but it mostly focused on stating the obvious. The food and drink/home section had 25 items and basically just said: use coupons, buy in bulk and shred your own cheese. There were a few recommendations for shopping at specific stores for specific savings (like shopping at drug stores from milk). I always find that surprising, but I guess it depends on perspective. They suggest that going a separate place for milk could save up 20%. I would only recommend doing this if you were already going to the store. Otherwise it doesn’t seem worth the time, gas or possibility to buy something else in the store. I’ve also found that Target, Fresh & Easy and Trader Joe’s all sell milk at least 25% cheaper than our chain grocery stores.

The other thing I found very surprising was that they suggested a big savings ($668) by buying bottled water by the case instead of at gas stations. I’m pretty surprised that there isn’t a recommendation to not buy bottled water. The monthly bills section is a little better. Many people don’t know they can appeal property taxes and get reassessed, so good to include that. And they said to dump extras on your landline and somewhere else to bundle your landline, but never to drop your landline, so I sense a corporate hand in some of this. So basically, if you’ve never read an article on little ways to save money, check this one out. Otherwise, skip or scan it. It’s mostly common sense.


I had a lot more luck with the food sections this month. 10 ways to cook chicken thighs! We like chicken! Lemon desserts! We like lemons! I had less luck with an online pot roast recipe, though. So, maybe I should stick to print. Starting up with menu planning was my biggest change, which wasn’t in the magazine per se, but inspired by the project. I’m sure they’ve mentioned it at some point… I did 4 days and stuck to them, with some minor rearranging. It even rolled into a 5th day when I decided to use my leftover pot roast to make chili. If you are looking for a pot roast recipe, don’t use this one. I do, however, highly recommend making chili from left over roast. Delicious!


I only really did 2 things from here this month: purple eye shadow and the magic hairbrush. Seriously, this hairbrush is a life changer. I don’t blow dry my hair and would put it up out of the shower to keep my clothes from getting wet and then hours later, I would end up with bumpy, still damp hair. Now, I get out of the shower, towel dry, brush through and I can leave my hair down or braid it and no wet shirt. Score!  I thought I could test run the lacy bra feature when I found one that still had tags on in my dresser drawer, but it didn’t fit. I’m quite curious about preppy clothes – maybe if I need a new thing or two for BlogHer in august.

This Month’s Question: What change to your routine has save you the most time?

I found this section way more helpful than the article. This is where readers write in answers to a question posited in the issue prior. Maybe I should make it my mission to get one published.  The tips were really good: sort silverware in the dishwasher while you are loading it (I tried this – way harder than it sounds). don’t put it down, put it away (I’m trying this, but it is brutally hard. I’m a stuff abandoner.), choose kid’s clothes the night before (I did this myself for work, will use for Spence when he cares more.)


I also cleaned my kitchen cabinet that was on my 12 in 2012 list for April, but I got the extra motivation from reading such an organization-focused magazine. Baby steps, people. Baby steps. I realized that I can’t focus all of my energy of just the magazine and the website has a lot of listings, although not the current issues recipes (?), so I am going to consult it when I have a question. Like right now, I am thinking about changing out the liners in my kitchen drawers, I will definitely check the site for tips. Maybe I should make myself a WWRSD bracelet.

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