In the Garden

We’ve had little rain and lots of sunshine the past couple of weeks, and the weather went from cool 60’s to hot 80’s in a matter of days. I need to weed, but I’m waiting for a good rain to loosen everything up. If it doesn’t happen, I’m going to have to water it with the sprinkler.

Clockwise from top left: We have peas! They do not grow well on the teepee we built but I have enough for a small stir fry. The red onions are doing well; maybe one or two are ready now. This is my first time growing bulb onions and my husband loves them. The strawberries are spreading, but something is eating them as soon as they turn red. I need to create a cover for them. Radishes and Turnips have been pulled out and tomatoes are growing in that area now. I’m going to try to grow cucumbers vertically on the big rectangular trellis. We’ll see; so far it’s slow growing.

We created a trellis out of this old wire fence of my late grandfather’s. The moonflower and morning glories haven’t quite reached up, but I think it will be really pretty once it does.

The raspberries are growing well and we’ve had a couple of red ones. I have a feeling it will need a year or two before we have any real output from those plants. I am trying to train them on the wire trellis also.

The other raised bed has mostly beans and tomatoes. The beans are growing on the back teepees and the large rectangular trellis. The tomatoes on the front few teepees. There’s one squash plant over to the far left that’s doing well. I plan to plant some bush beans in the left area after I weed thoroughly this weekend.We will have some sunflowers growing on either side of the large rectangular trellis. We planted it on both raised beds, but they only came up on this side.

Happy Growing!




Today’s post was going to be about big batch meal planning. But despite my grocery shopping and planning, my oatmeal hasn’t been made, the produce for lunch salads hasn’t been cut, the fruit for the smoothies has been consumed, and no photos were taken of the monster pack of chicken that we marinated and grilled earlier this week.

Instead of waking early to exercise and eat the premade oatmeal and smoothies, I curled up on the couch with my puppy, coffee and a good book. And lunch breaks were filled with satisfying the fort building, complex crafting, and generally giving extra attention to the girls, who are bored on their first week of summer break.

But something great happened this week too, actually several somethings… I read this and shared it with a couple of friends. My mom rescued the kids from their boredom and entertained them for several hours. We enjoyed a couple of relaxed evenings being outside with friends playing four square and eating watermelon.

And now its almost the end of the week and our hearts and homes and bellies are full of good food and love and hope that maybe next week we will keep it together a little better as we adjust to our summer pace. But we also have the reassurance than we will expand to fit the  challenges that might wreck the best laid plans as well.

Oak Ridge Farmer’s Market

The Oak Ridge Farmer’s Market has grown so much since I started coming on Saturday mornings more than a handful of years ago. (10 booths to 30 plus now) It starts promptly and strictly at 8 am. I like to get there a few minutes early to walk around and see what looks good. I’ve bought local honey, herbs, homemade jam, local baked goods, cucumbers, peas, onions and squash so far this year. It’s a great small market with good prices, that you can be in and out in just a few minutes.


Candle Making



We used these instructions. She has so many great “recipes” for making essential oil products. The most challenging part was to get the wicks to stand straight up. As we were giving them away on Mother’s Day, my mother-in-law suggested to put a drop of wax in bottom of the jar to adhere the wick in place before pouring more wax to fill the jar. I will definitely try that next time!

An Honest Norwex Review

I do not sell Norwex. I have been to a handful of parties, and hosted my own. When considering which products to purchase, I wanted more honest, no strings attached reviews and I couldn’t find many online that weren’t connected to someone who sold the product. So I’ll go through what I bought, how we use it, and if I would buy it again.

When I had my party, the host special was a free Superior Mini Mop System. I had to be the final buyer at my party, so while it was not technically free, I spent around that amount buying other things I knew I would use, like another Envirocloth for our bathroom, the small Tile Pad to go with the mop system, a Rubber Brush to help clean the dry mop pad & Dust Mitt, and the big bag of UPP laundry detergent.

I had a $30 microfiber mop that you could remove and wash the pads. I used Bona to clean the floors, but we have darker wood floors and the floors always looked smudgy and dirty. And I used a dry Swiffer mop with dry cloths as a broom to pick up between washings. The Bona product was $20 a bottle, which we used every 4 months or so. The Swiffer cloths weren’t terribly expensive, maybe $5 a month. So after the initial investment for the mops, maybe $120 a year to keep this up.

The Norwex mini mop system is $94.99, and the additional tile mop pad is $24.99. Like the other Norwex cleaning cloths, you clean only with water, and very little of it. The dry pad picks up dog hair excellently, but it doesn’t pick up as well to get bigger pieces, so you still need a broom or vacuum. The kids track grass and mulch in from the backyard and I still use the vacuum to get most of that up. The tile mop pad works better than the standard wet pad, I would definitely recommend buying that extra, but maybe it’s just because my family is messier than most!

Overall I’m very pleased with the Norwex mop system. It works better than the system I was using before, reduces the amount of chemicals I use in our home, and pays for itself the first year. Because the mop uses so little water, the floors aren’t soaked, and they do not look greasy when you are finished. Sometimes I put a little lemon essential oil (I recommend Young Living) with some water in a spray bottle and spray a little before I use the wet mop to replicate the clean smell I used to get from Bona.

Currently Reading

April was a much better reading month for me. I read more middle grade and young adult and enjoyed most everything.

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak… It was moving, heart-breaking, uplifting, unforgettable, and really wonderful. I hope this is on the girls’ school reading list, and if it isn’t I might just read it again together with them, when they are older.

The Summer I Turned Pretty, Jenny Han… It was an easy and sweet young adult novel. I prefer a stronger lead character, and I hope Belly gets stronger as the series moves forward. I have the next novel in the series on my list for May.

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart… This young adult novel was beautiful and interesting, and the ending was unexpected. I don’t want to give anything away, but I would highly recommend this one.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Jesse Andrews... This young adult novel was reminiscent of John Green. It had some funny moments, some serious, and believable dialogue. Maybe just slightly less great than John Green. But I really liked it too.

There Was A Little Girl, Brooke Shields… I listened to the audio version of this one, narrated by Brooke Shields. I was bummed she didn’t cover her relationship with Michael Jackson (she covered so many others!), but I understand the relationship with her mother was central. I thought it was courageous of her to write it out, the good and bad things, and she painted a wonderfully human portrait of her mother. She’s probably had decades of therapy to gain this level of clarity, but she seems to have made her peace with her mother and a peaceful understanding on the impact a parent can give a child, however unintentional.

H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald… This wasn’t my favorite. In fact, I quit the novel about a quarter of the way through. It just seemed so odd and cold, and I couldn’t get into it. Just not my cup of tea, I guess.

Have you read anything great lately?