Thursday, January 30, 2014

growing a garden.

(berry picking early this summer) 

We definitely live on a "postage stamp" property, but this year, we are excited to utilize all our space and grow an awesome garden.

You know when you are pregnant and you kinda get fixated on things, even more than usual? Or is that just me? Well, lately I've been ALL ABOUT a garden. Ask me about something else, the answer's gonna be, "uh....I don't know." Because I'm thinking about zucchini, tomatoes, and what patch of the yard gets the most sunlight. How many days have the clothes been sitting in the washer? I don't know, I'm looking at heirloom tomato seeds.

Growing veggies is a money saver, a fresh air guarantee, and a fun family project. Using home grown produce also just feels like a special treat...and it also allows me to connect to my Little House on the Prairie alter-ego.

At first my thoughts were, "I don't think we have a ton of room, so we'll have to container garden, and if we get a few tomatoes I'll be very happy!"

But then, I read this article from GNOWFGLINS (one of the best web sites for homesteading, real food-ing, and simple living) about how Christy grew over $500 worth of her family's produce on a tiny piece of property in a 4x4 and 4x8 foot bed, plus some containers. That's impressive!

On my Little Urban Homestead Pinterest board, I spent the last few evenings reading different articles and these were the big winners:

Gardening in Small Spaces from GNOWFGLINS

Plant a Compact Vegetable Garden from Boy's Life Magazine

4 Easy Steps to Your Own Square Foot Garden from One Hungry Mama

I think that's all I need to get started.

Are you growing anything this year? 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Traditional Medicinals Winter Wellness Kit {GIVEAWAY} *CLOSED*

* GIVEAWAY CLOSED...congrats to our winner Susannah!

It's after the holidays, when our immune systems and bodies go "Uggggh" as we get back to the grind and revel in our post-holiday feasting and fun. Unfortunately for us, both Afton and Andy spent from Thanksgiving to Christmas fighting bronchitis. Their poor throats were raw from coughing and many nights were spent up giving herbs and elderberry syrup.

In perfect timing, Traditional Medicinals sent us a Winter Wellness kit to try, featuring three medicinal teas to support the immune system and care for troubled throats: Echinacea Plus, Gypsy Cold Care, and Throat Coat. All naturally caffeine free and plant-based, Traditional Medicinal teas are bagged in plastic and chemical-free tea bags. (After reading this article, I've become much more picky about teas!)

Andy came to rely on his double-bagged cup of Throat Coat to get him through all his new employee interviews and long workdays. I relied on the Echinacea Plus to keep myself well and functioning so I could take care of my family. And I never did get sick! Echinacea Plus tea will definitely be a staple in my tea stash.

Traditional Medicinals is also offering a Winter Wellness Kit for a reader! Just leave a comment below with your favorite cold remedy or tea!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

house of God, forever.

We've had a bittersweet holiday season, many moments of tears and sorrow; hearing of friends losing their precious children, our family losing two grandparents within a span of seven weeks, dealing with illness and weariness of both soul and body, and just hard stuff that seems to bleed you like a thousand paper cuts.

But there's been hope here too, in brilliant glimmers, like gathering under the brightly-lit Christmas tree and laughing, loving, sharing, and listening to the pure glee of joyful little toddlers. We've also had surprising news of new life (I'm due in August!) but you know, it's been very tough with 24/7 sickness and I guess I'm just not a first-trimester type person.

I guess you could just say we've lived deeply in the past two months, deeper than is comfortable. And more deeply than I've been willing to share with anyone else but my family. At the worst parts, all you can do is say to one another, "Yes. I am here." And we come a little closer to each other because pain will either shove you together as you cling for dear life, or you'll each look away and stand back to back, searching the horizon and when you turn over your shoulder, you're miles apart.

There are some songs that stick in my heart during the happy times and the sad times; in the mourning times and in the joyful cheek-stretching smiley times. This is one of those songs, for me, and with it sounding in my heart we grab hands and walk bravely into the New Year.

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