spring projects

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i don’t know if i’ve been hit by spring cleaning fever or if nesting urges are kicking in hard-core but things are happening around here. maybe these two naturally occurring phenomena are fusing together to make one crafty superpower in this momma. anyone else experiencing this?

i’m not normally much of a “maker” but i’ve been taken over by an urge to make our space over a little bit, to pour a touch more of myself into everything. i believe that pregnancy is a naturally creative time for women. we are literally creating life. compared to that a few little household projects seem like a cinch. this week we repotted some plants, took on some baby projects and started our seeds.

what are you going to take on this weekend?

sending lots of positive vibes out there to you for your to-do lists and purge piles!

making her mark

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darla was present from the very onset of this project.  in her usual way, she dove straight in, wanting to give her contribution, without really listening to how it is she actually could be of help. she took the yardstick over to the wall, traced around it and proudly declared afterwards that she liked her work.

you can see very faintly that i had drawn a triangle around it and had plans on painting it to match the pattern of the rest of the room. but once i got over to that spot on the wall i couldn’t paint over it. the way she had been so proud of herself kept playing in my mind so i found our small paint brushes and set to painting in the outline she had drawn. and i couldn’t love it more. it’s a little piece of her in the middle of something that i had planned to look a certain way. but i know that without her addition it wouldn’t be complete. this could be a metaphor for my life. i try to make plans for my life to look a certain way. but then there is darla, with her own plans, ready to make her own mark on my life and the world. and if i look at it the right way, i can see how she makes everything better in that way.

and there’s the fact that this bit is going to be behind a dresser, but that’s beside the point…

this house is clean

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big life events for the wruckers: we’re moving!

we are moving to the part of columbus that we’ve found we spend the most time, we have a good amount of friends there and we’re hopeful it will be the right fit for us.

i spent my day cleaning and cleansing our new space. this was the first time i have saged a house before we moved and i really enjoyed it. whether the act works or not {although i’ve experienced it twice now and feel that it does} is beside the point. the essence of it, at least for me, is the ceremony of it and the devotion of myself to the new space. it feels good to know that i put a little bit of my energy and wishes into the house before i start painting, bringing in boxes and making changes.

i look forward to sharing more of our life from our new place. our moving process gets to be a bit more lax this time so stay tuned as to when we make the final jump.

hurrah for life changes!

 

the sage smudge sticks i used found here.

 

zero waste wednesday

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^^^ my travel bag  i carry in my purse for use when disposables are present ^^^

do you know the number one largest component of american trash? one-time-use restaurant ware. think to-go coffee cups, napkins, disposable fast food wrappings, plastic drink cups, straws, paper linings for tables and trays, take out containers etc. etc. etc.

once you really start to think about it, it gets really scary. just one trip to restaurant can yield up to 20 pieces of trash that were used only once…that were precious resources…and more precious resources were used to get them to your table.

this is been an area of my life that i’ve desired to work on for a while. of course the easiest and our number one way of solving this {mostly for financial reasons} was to curb eating out. making meals at home is healthier for your wallet, waistline and the planet.

but sometimes eating out is unavoidable or rather just plain desirable. i’ve come up with a few strategies for reducing our waste when we choose to eat out. I’ll be sharing them here for this series. here is my first:

1. opt for restaurants that use real napkins & silverware when possible. if you have to choose between going to someplace like steak n shake or burger king for a burger then choose steak n shake. they use real silver ware, reusable cups and some still have cloth napkins. we try to eat places with better quality food but hey, you need these tips when road trips are involved. and maybe plan ahead and research quality food choices ahead of time for road trips. i am not actually very good at this but i know people who do. or skip this altogether by packing a cooler of quality food before you start.

another option is to make a small pack to carry around with you. i regularly carry a few kerchiefs with me so i just added a couples sets of silverware. this goes where I go and we’ve used them several times when some of our favorite eats only offer disposables.

making an effort to be more zero-waste, a little bit at a time.

unschooling: butter making

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if you read this blog regularly {which you should} you know that i talk about butter a lot. go ahead and type butter into that search box and just see what pops up. anyway, when i saw this simple butter making activity on five little homesteaders the other day i was like “e’rybody got time for that” and giddily went about buying heavy cream and it’s the first thing darla and i did together when she got back to our home. i really enjoyed making this with her and we used basically the same method again a few days later to make fresh whipped cream for our strawberry pickins. i don’t need to give you any instructions because you can just click on that link. actually, here are my instructions on how to make butter: CLICK ON THAT LINK.

the kitchen is one of our main unschooling areas. i’ve been moving towards making food stuffs from scratch and it’s been an important learning arena for all of us. i think it important to understand where are food comes from and how it is made.

i’d also like to note that we were also able to use the buttermilk to make biscuits and added a bit to our soup. it’s like a turn of the century kitchen up in there. i mean the century before this one. if i meant 2000 there would be a dusty bread machine in some corner. there’s not. just dusty corners.

guest post host: gardening for beginners with Five Little Homesteaders

hey all, this has been our first year of keeping a garden of substantial size. the whole effort has been mostly trial and error for me since i’m not as good at reading and researching as i am at jumping in and making mistakes that i learn from in retrospection. i’ve been following Five Little Homesteaders for a while because homesteading is one of the many lifestyles on which i have a crush, which is silly for me since many of you know my ultimate dream is to be roamer, an anywhere-goer. BUT as long as i’m in one spot i’ll be growing things! i’ve asked Colleen to write a guest post on tips for first time gardeners. i have to say that by reading just this post i’ve learned a lot so maybe becoming book smart on something first does have its benefits. i hope this helps give some of you a little direction as well. enjoy!

I was thrilled when Elaine asked me to guest post here on MomJeanz.  I’ve been inspired by her zero waste efforts and love reading about the latest happenings with her little cutie Darla.  Today I’m going to be talking about gardening.

Gardentips

If you check out my blog, Five Little Homesteaders, you’ll see that gardening is something near and dear to my heart.  We’ve expanded on our garden each year and hope to eventually produce all of the vegetables that we need.  However, I realize that for many people, gardening isn’t second nature and in fact, some people just don’t know where to start.  In this post, I’m going to attempt to reduce the trepidation that some beginners feel when approaching the idea of starting a garden and I’ll reduce everything there is to know about gardening to 5 simple tips: soil, start from seed, harden off, fertilize and protect.

1. Soil – Soil condition is one of the most important things to consider when starting your garden.  Will you be able to grow right in the ground?  For some lucky people, the soil in their yard is rich and ready to go, but for most of us, we have to either amend the soil (i.e. add compost and other nutrients) or grow in a container.  Growing in some type of container is usually the easiest route to take.  You can either grow in a raised bed or simply in pots that you buy at your local hardware store.  In either of these growing situations, you’ll need to buy compost and soil to fill the bed/pot.  This will ensure that your plants get off to a great start.

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2. Start from Seed – Sure, it is really tempting to buy plants directly from the store and stick them in the ground.  However, I’ve honestly had better luck with plants that I start on my own, from seed.  To begin, it is much more economical.  The average pack of seeds costs anywhere from $1-$3 and will usually grow more seedlings than you could ever want in one season.  The average four or six pack of seedlings will usually cost anywhere from $3-$5.  Further, the seedlings that you start on your own will immediately be ready for the unique conditions that you have on your property.  I always start my seeds in a small pot or reused food container and then transplant to the ground.  This prevents the seed or seedling from being eaten by a passing insect and allows me to control the light and temperature that the tender plants encounter.

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3. Harden Off – The process of hardening off means that you are slowly exposing your seedlings to increased light and increased (or decreased, depending on your growing conditions) temperature.  You slowly increase the amount of time that you place the seedling in its designated growing location until it is spending 24 hours a day in that spot and then you transplant it.  This prevents your seedlings from going through shock and potentially dying after you’ve transplanted them.

4. Fertilize – Using organic fertilizer, like fish emulsion or liquid seaweed, fertilize your plants once or twice a week after you transplant them.  I’ve found that if I fertilize my plants shortly after transplanting them to the ground, I don’t have to fertilize them at all later on and that they get off to a very strong start.

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5. Protect – When you plant your seedlings, even after hardening them off, be sure to protect them.  What you are protecting them from depends on where you live.  Some gardens have vicious pests that will go after newly transplanted seedlings.  In some regions early morning temperatures still dip down to near freezing.  If you live near me in Phoenix, the harsh afternoon sun can fry a newly planted seedling.  Be sure to know your environment and protect your new little babies from whatever nature can throw at them.  When they are bigger and stronger you can worry less and ease up.

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Getting your plants off to a good start is the key to success.  Much like child-rearing, if you give your plants a good basis of support and nourishment, you’ll set them up to take-off and produce well in your garden.

~hello, it’s elaine again. well, i don’t know about you but i learned a whole lot in there. stop on over to Colleen’s little bit of the internet often to continue learning from her life experience. happy growing!

dress yo’self

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if you look back in the archives to a year or more ago you’ll find darla’s style has evolved a bit. i have lots of pics of her in perfectly styled outfits through her 2s and most of her 3s. lately, things have been more of a random mess. this is due to the simple fact that i am no longer the person that chooses what darla wears. it’s a bittersweet pill to swallow. every once in a while she’ll let me put something together for her but most days it’s all her. actually, i think getting to pick her own clothes for the day is her main motivation for no longer screaming for me as soon as she awakens. most mornings she has herself already ensembled before we see each other. one time she dressed herself, toasted her own toast and was spreading the butter on for herself before i was done brushing my teeth and washing my face.

anyway, most of the time i feel that she goes in there and picks out the two ugliest things she owns and puts them on together. it never fails that the clothing i like the least are the ones that are her favorite. so no more mommy playing dress-up with her baby. that little girl gets to wear what she picks. sometimes this means pajamas to school or shoes on the wrong feet or socks with sandals on the first 90 degree day of the year when she refused to wear them all winter. whatever. go on witcha bad self.

believe me, i’ve tried to persuade her to let me put together some really cute pairings over the past few months. i’ve wasted time and energy trying to coerce her into wearing something that i think will look sweet but i finally gave up and realized it wasn’t important. everytime i look at a stylish blog with preschoolers dressed like olsen twins i remind myself that someone probably had to put a lot of time and effort into getting their children to look like that. be it either spending the time to acquire the clothing in the first place or by instituting a parental apparel command chain.* it’s just not important to me that darla look like the most stylish 4-year-old this side of a gapkids catalog. it matters that she gets wear what she likes. and who am i kidding? most of the time i look back at pictures of myself and have the same thought every damn time: why did i think i could wear that? who let me go out looking like that? i am not really the most qualified person to be putting outfits together. { i think we already covered the whole army boots with knee-length skirt phase }

but every now and again she’ll put something together that makes me think hey, she’s on to something there. she’s developing her own style. at the tender little age of 4 she’s got her OWN style. and it’s pretty rad. it needs a little more fringe and shiny, in my opinion, but seeing as how she pulled out a pair of thrifted 80s heels from my closet, set them on my pillow right next to my head and said “mom, if you wear these heels everyone will like you” i’m confident that we’ll get there eventually.

*full disclothesure {pun! clothing pun!} – i do enjoy the aesthetic pleasure of visiting stylish blogs and seeing stylish kids. it’s great. it’s just not for me. i’m too unorganized to pull it off. and i could be wrong. all these families could be operating in a blissful little well dressed cloud world that i know nothing about as evidenced by my own wardrobe which incites people to place bets on what i will show up wearing and has been described as being composed of “wallpaper prints.” a complete stranger told me at the airport that i don’t spend a lot of time living in reality based solely on my outfit that day. maybe this needs a separate post…

a day in may

the first day of may was very picturesque here in columbus. today is starting off pretty grand as well. i like what you’re offering so far, may:

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our day included picnic in the park, my first load of laundry out on the line for the year, a prenatal meeting for my june clients, and popsicles and nail painting on the porch. that’s a lot of P activities and it wasn’t on purpose. can you tell darla talked me into letting her paint mine too?  i just had such a good time with her yesterday. it’s during these days that i say in my head “can we just always be this way? can she just stay with me and we’ll read books in the park and go on adventures and she won’t need school, we’ll learn together along the way?”  i guess we’ll find out the answers to those questions in their own time.

actually now that i’ve looked at it longer, sorry about that picture. it’s pretty gross. outdoor feet = funky feet.

may, i give you permission to let all days be just like may day.

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i’ll be posting a few more eco-friendly posts this week in honor of being in the running for Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Eco-Friendly Mom Blogs. If you would be so kind as to vote for me, click on through to the badge below. Thanks!