Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Seedlings accidentally

I've never had this happen before. I planted last years seeds and did not intend in using the remains (if there were any) so, I propped the seed packet behind the rows of seed pots as a marker. Today I tried to move one and it ripped, slightly stuck to the bottom of the tray. When I looked inside, the whole packet was full of sprouting seeds! 

I salvaged what I could, as I hate to throw away perfectly good seedlings. 

I am the person who replants the double sprouts into other pots. ;) I can't help myself. 

Hopefully these grow ok. There was a little mold developing on the outer seedlings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014



I have wanted bees for so long, and now I'm finally getting some! My pest control management company is very small. Mom and Pop type. (Matt and Mary Anne) They have several bee hives and in passing told me they were looking for places to set up more. I just about jumped with excitement and practically demanded one. :) That was last year, this year, I finally got a hive. I wanted my own and we came to an agreement that he would teach me what he knows and his techniques and next year I would buy a hive from him and have two in my yard. 

The delivery was somewhat chaotic. They arrived April 2nd, and the hive fell over in Matts trailer on the way. They (the bees) were understandably very  angry. Matt and his son had to suit up and move the angry hive in full gear. They swarmed the property trying to find their bearing.

This little gal flew into our car as we were leaving. Had to fish her out with the envelope. She was very disoriented I think. I showed her to the kids and headed to take her back to the hive when she finally flew away.

We waited a couple of days for them to get used to the area before going back to view them. The hive came with a little door and viewing glass which I LOVE. I'm still looking for the perfect size stool to sit and watch them in. It's just so fascinating. 

This is a photo of the hive on the ground. Matt came back a few days later and put it on two sawhorses and the lid on as well. 

This is a photo taken from the viewing window of the hive about a week (9 days, April 9th) after delivery. They already have a comb built and are starting on a second. 

I am very excited to have bees. I love them and have lots of yummy flowers for them to feed on and pollinate. And with all the talk of their decline, I'd like to make sure I have some around. 

Happy Gardening

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kids Crafts- Aquarium Diorama

Another glorious spring Day here in New Mexico. With 6 kids with me today I had to be prepared. I took the time over the past week to make a new Pinterest board of things that would be fun and age appropriate to do this summer. The board is accurately named 'Summer2014'. One of the first things I saw (that I had all materials on hand) was this Aquarium Diorama.

Amazingly, I even had the foam sea stickers! I bought a package of them from amazon that was three times the size I expected. I have enough of these to last 5 more projects! 

I skipped the sand and 2nd color of paint. Too much for these little guys and my patience. ;) 

The painting of the plates was quite time consuming for these kids and gave me lots of time to get a snack ready and feed  the babies. 

I used Dixie plates and wished I had used regular cheep paper plates. The paint was runny on the waxy surface. I added some flour to it to thicken it up.
The kids had a lot of fun doing these and ran out of room for all the fish they wanted. We used tape instead of staples and Saran Wrap for the window 'glass'. 

This is one of the better projects Ive come across for 2 to 4 year olds. They were able to do mostly all of the steps themselves with minimal assistance. They were talking about ocean life and naming all the fish and asking questions about each one. 

And best of all, they were super excited to show their loved ones and take them home to keep enjoying. 

Definitely a success. 

(The middle plate is the 1 year olds) 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Smoothie Recipe

I've had a couple people ask me for some smoothie recipes, since I drink them daily and brag about how awesome they are. ;)

I really only make two variations. One is a copy cat of Keva Juices Ragin' Bull. Which they have changed and is now called ragin' rocker, since they switched to rock star energy drink.

Anyway, the Ragin' Bull is my favorite. If done just right, it tastes like sweet tarts. Measurements are not exact. I really just eye it. It also usually makes enough for two smoothies and are about 300 calories. 

Start with a blender.
8 oz of sugar free red bull 
8 oz of guava juice
Hand full of frozen peaches
Hand full of large frozen strawberries

If your having trouble blending add water or more juice. 

That's it! Sometimes I'll add a scoop of vanilla flavored whey protein, it no longer tastes like a sweet tart, but is still yummy and will keep you fuller longer. 

My second favorite smoothie has stuff I almost always have on hand. (I don't always stock red bull or guava juice) 

Easy peasy.

I use some kind of Naked brand juice. I switch up the brands periodically, but usually green machine, mango or berry. 

Juice 8 to 12 oz
Water 4 to 8 oz
Hand full or two of baby spinach
Hand full of frozen strawberries
Hand full of frozen blueberries
5 hour energy (optional) (I use kirklands brand)

The 5 hour energy gets me motivated. (I don't drink coffee) and I normally use it before workouts or an expected long or strenuous day. 

I also LOVE putting spinach in my smoothies. I will usually make the smoothie first, give some to the kids, then blend again with the 5 hour energy. It's a great way to hide the greens in their food. And since I discovered you can dehydrate spinach, I don't have to worry about having it fresh on hand, Or if its slightly slimy :/. 


You can use fresh fruit if you like, but you'll need to add ice to get the frozen consistency. You can also add plain yogurt for added nutrition. I'm not a big fan of dairy smoothies so we don't do this often. 

Unsuspecting children, drinking delicious spinach smoothie. Bwa ha ha ha!!

I love smoothies! 

I hope this helps you start your own smoothie experimentation. The possibilities are truly endless. And if you have a hard time being creative, just grab a menu from your favorite local smoothie shop and experiment with their ingredients and your measurements. 

Happy blending! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Last minute St Patties Day Activities

I'm not much of a planner when it comes to some things.

Crafting activities is one of them.

I get an idea and wing it. 

So, today is St Patricks Day. I did not prepare anything fun for the kids. I did not wear green. I did not research the history to explain to them. I did not really care. Then, I felt guilty. 

I quickly skimmed Pinterest for visual ideas and saw this:

Perfect. Easy, and I had all the materials. I did not venture into the details, I usually don't. I use Pinterest for visual ideas and then wing it. 

I shredded some construction paper and looked for any green decorations I had on hand. Amazingly and to my surprise I didn't have (or couldn't find) my shamrock stickers. So, green frogs and green foam was all I had. Add markers and glitter, and that's really all I need. 

It kept the kids entertained for a good amount of time and they had a lot of fun. 

'Binoculars for spotting leprechauns! Awesome! ........what are leprechauns?' 

Ah yes, what are leprechauns.......hmmmm. 

A quick google search and a brief explanation is all I gave them. If I was being perfectly honest, I'd tell them it's a holiday to punish your liver like the stereotypical Irishman does. But I won't.

I then made glorious plans to bake green sugar cookies, but, after nap I was in no mood for a big mess. Soooooo I whipped up the easiest St. Patrick's Day snack ever. I pulled out the individual store bought rice crispy treats and painted them (water and food coloring) green, added green sprinkles and BAM! Best mom ever. ;) 

Ha ha yeah right. But it was satisfying enough for me, and the kids had fun. At least I did SOMETHING. 

The water made the tops a wee bit soggy.  The kids did not notice, at all. And the sprinkles almost made up for it. :)

Well, that's it for St Patricks Day here. Thanks, Pinterest, for once again saving this mom's ass. ;)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dehydrating Spinach

So I just recently found out you can dehydrate spinach!! 

Why have I not know about this!?! I swear I waste more spinach than I use. I always buy the Costco size organic baby spinach. It comes in a thin plastic tub with lid. I use some about every other day, but in the end, feed about half the container to the rabbits. (So it's not really a waste, either) 

Anyways, recently a friend asked me why I didn't just dehydrate it and explained this is how she makes her green juice powder at home. She takes all her unused greens and dries them out and powders them and makes her morning green smoothie with the powder.

I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped. This thought had never crossed my mind. 

I immediately pulled out my dehydrator and put half the container of spinach in it to test this out. 

Half the container filled all four of my trays.

I set the heat at about 125*. After about 7 hours I started to checked every 2 to 3 hours, in total it took close to 8 hours to fully dehydrate. 

Once don't I shuffled all of the dried spinach into the food processor.

And processed! 

The end result was slightly grainy, but very powdery, and smelled somewhat awful, but close to the smell of canned spinach. (Which I despise) 

The half container of spinach dried down to about 5 oz of powder.

I used it the very next day in my favorite green chile stew recipe, something I normally would not put spinach in. It was fantastic! You could not taste it at all, but it was visible and gave a nice seasoned look to the stew. 

I also used it in my sons smoothie, which I normally put fresh spinach in, however, I was able to put about 5 times more of the dehydrated version in one smoothie than fresh without any change in flavor. 

Hells. Yes.

This was such a fantastic success. I'm sure ill be doing this about every two or three weeks. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fairy Garden Additions

With some neglect happening to my fairy garden, I was feeling guilty. A trip to hobby lobby with a Christmas gift card quickly changed my rut. I was wondering around with my son when I stumbled into an isle filled with 30% off fairy/gnome garden accessories. 

Hot damn.

There went my gift certificate. 

I bought this tiny, cheap birdhouse. (A couple of them, actually) and began to think of designs. A little inspiration from Pinterest, and supplies i (mostly) had on hand, and I whipped this baby out in 24 hours. 

Last year I attempted to build a stone stacked cottage. It was a mess. I used unsanded grout hoping to get a mortar look, but it just looked sloppy. I then let it sit in my craft room for several months until the boy knocked it over and broke an entire wall. At this point I said F* it and dismantled the whole thing, which was far easier than putting it together. 

Anyways. I had my heart set on a stone cottage. After having (or obtaining, I don't  remember) the idea of a birdhouse base, the domino effect of ideas consumed me. 
The variety of inexpensive birdhouses surprised me. There were bird barns, gazebos, wrap around porches, double deckers, castles, etc. I almost got carried away, but remembered the funniest part is being thrifty and creative. Not just painting a birdhouse. I may still upgrade later on to a 'fancy' barn. ;)

Here is what I chose. (Minus the hanging rope, this was a stock photo as I forgot to photograph my own :( )

I chose three. 
I only had plans for one, but knew I wanted to do more. I have space for a while village sectioned off. 

As for supplies I asked my husband what glue he thought best. Wood glue came to my mind, silicone to his. Silicone was awesome. 

I had the rock on hand. I have several bags of varying sizes for the fairy garden already. 

I had no idea what to do for the roof. I entertained the idea of black river washed rocks, same rocks as the walls, or pine cone shingles as I had seen on Pinterest. I left it open for suggestions. As for a grout look I pondered dirt, unsanded grout, and settled on beach sand I acquired from our vacation to Oceanside last year. It turned out great. 

My husband cut the bottom bird hole into a door for me. (He's so handy!)

I got started on my stone laying as soon as I washed some rocks and fetched the silicone, thinking I'd only do a wall a night or something to let it dry. Nope. Finished all four walls within 3 hours. 
I silicones the crap out of each wall (one side at a time) and laid the rock out. It was similar to a puzzle, but easier since you could make it up as you go along. I was glad to have so many shapes and sizes. Once done laying I sprinkled the beach sand into all the cracks. It only took about 20 minutes each side to dry enough to move on. 

Once all four walls were covered I brushed off the extra sand with a painting brush and let dry over night. 

This morning We went out for our daily walk and I planned to keep my eye out for inspiration, and gather pine cones, just in case. 
The park turned out to be a Mecca. I gathered up some 'itch ball' tree bark and other materials and headed home. The bark did a great job as roofing shingles. The wood was thin and curvy, but not unmanageable. It took a lot of silicone to get it all to fit tightly. 

While that was drying I co templates the door. Several ideas later I settled on Popsicle sticks. The rocks were a bit in the way, (should have done the door first!) so I couldn't really get a sense of how to make it fit just right. Then, I remembered that this was just a fairy garden and I doubt anyone would care if the door had a gap or was not level. 

I cut the sticks, glued them together, painted it red and stuck a upholstery tack as the door knob. The fight to get it inside the frame was not as bad as i had anticipated. the rocks were a little bit flexible on the silicone. I added silicone to known contact points of the door and house and shoved it in. 

Dun du nu Na nah!!! 

I then couldn't contain myself and ruined a small portion of  my carpet by wood staining the next bird/fairy house while trying to fit too many projects in a day. 

But that's another story....