Sunday, July 28, 2013

Garden update


Our garden has been pumping out produce left and right.  I don't know if it's beginner's luck or if we just started off with really low expectations (probably both), but I am so, so proud of our little green thumbs!  Here's a quick recap:

This is our garden newly planted:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 6:

Week 9 (earlier today):

Sorry for the poor quality in some of those photos, but holy cow!  I think there's magic in our dirt - it's like Jack and the Beanstalk out here!  Look at these massive pumpkin vines.

Hubby had to trim them down because they were taking over the whole garden - they almost killed off all our lettuce.

Our cucumbers and squash are even bigger than the grocery stores'.

Green beans galore.


Little baby watermelon.

Sad little peppers that don't want to bear fruit.

I hope this post doesn't come across as bragging, I just can't get over how much we actually grew our first time.  I honestly thought we'd get just a few embarrassing sized veggies and that would be it.  I had no idea that you could actually get this much food from a small suburban garden.

There's such a feeling of accomplishment when we sit down to dinner and see food on our plates that we've worked hard to grow and prepare and cook ourselves.  Hopefully this is an encouragement to others that you don't have to know much about gardening or have a lot of experience before you start.  A little bit of research and some sweat and dirt and diligence can actually result in some homegrown veggies on your table!

Tell me about your gardening experience this summer.
What are your favorite plants to grow?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's a Boy!!!

Blog world, meet nephew #3:

Hello, sweet baby D. 

We love you so much. 

We're so glad you're finally here. 

And we can't wait to love on you and watch you grow. (And give your soft, sweet face lots and lots of kisses.) :)

Mommy, Daddy, and baby are doing great.  Aunt Jess got to hang out with big brother all day today.  Check my instagram for the cutest of pictures and his first beat boxing debut (@JessicaDanae7).

Monday, July 15, 2013

You clean your hair with what?!?!?

I have a secret.  I've been dabbling a little bit into the Natural Living realm of things lately.  Just dipping my toe into the pool of "crunchy granola-ness" if you will.  I don't even quite remember how it all started.  I think it was a mix of several different situations all happening at once, mainly:

I'm a total researcher and love to learn so it has been exciting to learn more and more about natural living and the small changes I can make in my life to be living healthier and more naturally.  We have been taking things slowly.  Really slowly.  And that's ok - I know it could easily become overwhelming to feel like I need to make a million changes all at once.  I also don't want to make any rash decisions.  I thought about throwing out my microwave once I read about all the horrible things it can do to your food.  But I'm pretty sure my husband would not be ok with that.  He's been great about the changes I've made so far, but I also don't think he's totally sold on this way of living so I'm trying not to scare him off.  Teehee.

So what changes have we made so far? 

We make our own dishwasher and laundry detergents.  I'm loving the laundry soap.  We use Fells Naptha, Super Washing Soda, and Borax and it smells soooo good and I love the way our clothes look and smell (when I remember to switch them from the washer to the dryer in time...)  I'm not super sold on our dishwasher detergent yet.  Most of the dishes come out fine, but I'm picky about my silverware and glasses looking squeaky clean and streak/residue free.  I've been adding vinegar as a rinse aid and still am not loving it so I will definitely be tweaking this recipe next time.

We are slowly replacing our cleaning products with natural alternatives.  I've made my own granite cleaner for our countertops and was using a vinegar and water mix for general cleaning.  I also went to a Norwex party recently and have been using their microfiber cloths for cleaning.

We are growing food in our garden.  This hardly counts since it has barely been enough to supplement food we buy at the grocery store.  Right now, we are eating our own lettuce and cucumbers and that's it, but it's a baby step.  Who knows where it will go from here.  Gardening is hard work.  But don't those veggies look delicious? ;)

We make our own toothpaste.  This one took a little getting used to.  I don't like the taste of our current batch, so I need to research some new recipes for this one. But I do like the fact that I know what ingredients I'm putting into my mouth.  My breath is fresh and my teeth feel clean.  I'll take it.

We don't use shampoo anymore. What??  This might not be as weird anymore as it was a few months ago, I've seen it floating around online quite a bit.  Then again, if you're not in the natural living sphere, maybe it is still weird.  Either way, we have switched out our shampoo and conditioner for baking soda and ACV.  The real miracle to this switch is the fact that I didn't ask hubby to make this change with me.  I let him finish up our shampoo and started testing this method out on myself.  When we ran out of shampoo, he decided to try out the baking soda and ACV and loved it! He said it gave him the hairstyle he'd been trying get with hair products but never could.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to convince him to use this stuff on his hair, so I'm glad they did the convincing themselves!

So now you know my secret.  As you can see, this is a total work in progress and I'm just trying to keep an open mind about everything and learn as I go.  I figure small, slow changes are still better than no changes.  My goal is to keep me and my family as healthy as possible as naturally as possible.  Who knew that would mean cleaning my hair with baking soda?!  :p

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Canada, Part 2

Yikes! I wrote all about the first half of our Canada trip and then forgot about part two for a while.  Well, better late than never :)

Monday morning was a bit overcast so we stuck close to the island.  Doad wandered around in the kayak for a bit.  I don't know what it is, but I just think he looks so sexy in this pic.  :)

He brought me back a pretty flower :)

And The Cuteness tried on Gram's boots.

Later in the day, Doad and I decided to do some 'sploring in the boat.  We saw loons and turtles and muskrats.  And lots of beautiful scenery.  It was so peaceful and wonderful.

Doad also reminded me again how very, very short I am with these pics.  I could barely reach the seat with my toes!

At dinner time we all crammed in the boat to go into town for some pizza and bowling!

The Cuteness beat me.

And then decided to take a quick nap. ;)

Winner got to pick the movie for the night so instead of James Bond, we wrapped up the evening with a little Over the Hedge.  It was even rainier the next day, so we spent the morning on the screened in porch playing Battle of the Sexes.

 Boys won. :/

The time to head home came all to quickly.  We bundled up for a rainy boat ride to shore and packed up the car.

 Of course, we couldn't cross the border without a couple of souvenirs and a picture with a bear...

 ...I'm wearing shorts I promise.

After many much hours on the road and a couple odd sights like this one:

We finally pulled into our own driveway.  Yay!  I was sad our vaca was over, but happy to be home.  Plus we had New Mexico to look forward to.  :)

I love that we were able to enjoy a few days away with our family.  I cherish these moments and am so thankful that we can make these memories together.

So tell me your summer plans? 
Are you going away or staycationing this year?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Spring Fever

I got my first Influenster Vox Box in the mail recently and have been very excited to try out these items.  Check out my review below! :)

Quick Product Recap:

Secret Outlast Clear Gel Antiperspirant/Deodorant:

Pros: Smells wonderful, works great, no white marks.
Cons: Doesn't last the full 48 hours for me (really though, who doesn't apply every day?), I traveled with it and some of the gel got all over the cap since it wasn't upright in my suitcase - not a huge deal, but something to note if you travel often.

Retail price: $4.59

NYC New York Color Applelicious Glossy Lip Balm:

Pros: Smells good, low price, cute apple design.
Cons: Didn't love the color I received, wasn't very moisturizing or glossy, the little bit of moisture there was didn't last very long.  Maybe I just got a bad batch?

Retail Price: $2.99

Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure:

Pros: Easy to apply, lasts up to a week, super cute designs, no drying, uv lights, or salons needed!
Cons: Sometimes my hair got caught around the edges of the nail - this was kinda annoying especially when shampooing.

Retail Price: $5.99-7.99

Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS Dust It:

Pros: Got great volume using this product, my updo lasted for the whole event, pretty easy to use.
Cons: Instructions weren't very descriptive - if I didn't know how to use it, I might have been confused.  As it was, I think I used too much.  Also, it took a few rinses to get it out of my hair.

Retail Price: $23.50

Tastykake Kandy Bar Kakes:

Pros: Delicious!  Tasted just like S'mores.  Fresh and moist.  Yum, yum, yum!
Cons: ...not healthy enough?  :p

Retail Price: $4.49 per box

Total VoxBox Value: $38.97 + $5 coupoon

I was very impressed with my first box and am excited to continue reviewing products for Influenster.  If you are interested in becoming an Influenster too, you can find out more info and sign up here.

I know these reviews aren't super extensive - I didn't want this post to be eternally long, but if you have any questions about these products I'd be happy to answer them!  Just leave a comment below.  :)

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day

Just stopping in real quick to say,

Hope your day has been relaxing, enjoyable, and filled with gratitude at the blessings we have in our country.  America's not perfect, but it is still a pretty awesome place to live.  :)

See you tomorrow!

Ps. I finally fixed all the ugly minus signs on my blog template! It only took me days... 
Aren't you so proud of me? ;)