🌲 Happy Holidays 🌲

Friday, December 25, 2020

Hey! I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Today we are going to be making merry, and I am going to try to stay away from social media as much as I can. Even though every year, I regret not taking enough pictures on Christmas Day, I can't guarantee that I will change. I'll probably just be hanging out and cooking a lot today lol. But either way, I hope that you are also enjoying this day as much as you can. Love you all!

My First Cookie Exhchange

Monday, December 21, 2020

A few weeks ago, the sisters and sister-in-laws had decided on doing a Secret Santa and Cookie Exchange. In the past, I've always told or hinted at one person who I had drawn for a name. But not this year, lol. It's highly probably that social distancing helped with being able to keep my person a secret but I don't know, maybe my willpower is getting better.

I also had plenty of time to practice make and decorating cookies. But did I actually practice? Kind of. I tested the viability of store bought cookie dough mix because all the sugar cookie recipes I tried in the past were just terrible. Even with store bought cookie dough, I made mistakes. During my practice runs, the dough was too dry so I made my final cookies less dry and it ended up spreading more when cooked. Mistakes were made, but they were still delicious. Graham chose the cookie cutters and I created the design on top. I am soo thankful that he chose a snowflake and a snowman. It allowed me to use less food coloring and more white frosting.

Overall, I have to say that Christmas this year has been really nice for me. I pretty much did all my gift shopping online. We did a terrible job with opening the advent calendar every day. Some days we'd be making up for some lost days, but it was still fun. I will miss seeing my big family and celebrating it like we traditionally do. But this has also allowed me to celebrate it with nothing too stressful with just my little family of three.

My 2020 Backyard Urban Garden

Thursday, November 12, 2020

This year, I decided to create a no dig garden in my backyard. Back in January, I was actually contemplating not gardening at all. But Jeromey encouraged me to keep cultivating my green thumb. (I love him so much.) I kept saying, if I really dream about owning land one day and growing my own food, I might as well practice and learn now and figure out if that's what I really want. It pushed me to start saving every piece of cardboard we got. And by spring time, we had enough to create a nice sized garden in our backyard.

First we tried our best to mow the grass down as low as possible. Our mower couldn't scalp the lawn so we tried our weed whacker. It worked, but we ended up burning it out and it needed to rest. After, we laid down cardboard and weighed them down with rocks and boards.

We are fortunate to have a compost site near us, and made many trips back and forth, hauling bags full of compost that we got for free. I think in total, we used 36 contractor grade trash bags to build the garden up around 3-4 inches. We were able to turn our backyard from grass to garden in just two days.

I amended the compost with worm castings, BioTome Garden Fertilizer, and Azomite. Sometimes the cardboard beneath the compost would be dry but the soil on top was moist. I watered it pretty frequently so that the cardboard would not curl up. By October, there was still carboard, but the side that had contact with the ground was pretty dissolved. And below the cardboard there was no grass. It successfully killed everything underneath.

From this garden and our other 4x8 raised bed garden, we had harvested 27 watermelons, countless amounts of zucchinni and cucumbers, tatsoi, lettuce, kale, basil, green onion, cilantro, and cabbage. I really love what we were able to learn and grow from this little garden and I'm looking forward to next year.

Target Dollar Spot Garden Markers

Monday, February 24, 2020

I started seeds in my dining room about a month ago and they've just been sitting there without any labels. Thankfully I was able to keep track of them because I didn't sow a ton of seeds. But I was thinking it would be nice for me to get some plant labels just to help me identify them later on. I initially decided to go to Target to get some wooden popsicle sticks. In the past, I found some pretty great gardening items in the dollar spot so that was the first place I decided to check. And to my surprise, I found these really nice metal garden markers. They might be a little overkill to place into my seed trays right now, so I'll be holding them until I can start transplanting my little guys into the garden. I just wanted to share with you all how excited I was to find these.

I've grown these plants from seed in the past, I can still tell them apart. But if any of you are still unsure of what you planted, whether it's the type or variety of seed, I would definitely recommend labeling them. But check out these really pretty and affordable metal garden markers.

The packaging doesn't tell what it's made of. But to me, it looks like a galvanized metal wire with brass plate. The wire seems pretty strong. But it does bend a little bit when I tried to test it's strength, so be I'll have to be a little gentle when actually driving it into the soil.

The brass plate is bent around the wire to secure it. I really like that. It adds a little bit more strength to the face of the marker. The faceplate is also bent slightly back for easier identification if you were standing. The ends are just blunt cut, and I'm completely ok with that. I don't want to accidentally pierce myself.

Overall, I'm super, super excited that I found these guys. I bought four packs. It comes in a 6 pack for $3 at the Target Dollar Spot. I'm hoping they last me a long time. I am not growing a ton of things this year so I will have extras for when my garden grows. (we'll see... my plan always gets grander as the season progresses.) They have plenty of other garden items and a few other garden marker designs. But this is a classic, simple design that matches my style. The marker is nice and long, so I hope that it will stand up straight and not get knocked down by wind.

Go check out the Dollar Spot and see what pretty things you find. What have you been looking to add to your garden this year? Let me know! I am so excited to get this growing season started!

Going to a Winter Kite Festival

Sunday, February 9, 2020

I love love love seeing festivals from neighboring cities. Everyone who knows me, knows that I prefer less crowds but high quality events. I love going to car shows and festivals from cities outside of the metro. Usually we attend summer and fall festivals. But, in winter I'm usually doing so much that we don't get to explore. Yesterday, I was finally able to see what it was like to see lots of giant kites flying above a frozen lake. Buffalo, Minnesota holds the Kites of Ice Festival every year and I kept my eye on the calendar waiting for it to come. Every year, I'd add it to my list of things to see, but I always end up missing it.

There were so many kites and we had soooo much fun. Graham enjoyed it more than I expected him to. He screamed in excitement at every kite, and it was so adorable. A little part of me wants to own a giant kite, but I have no clue how to even properly fly a big kite. A small kite, sure. But these kite flyers have some major skill. I don't know if I would ever be able to wield anything like we saw yesterday.

We were at the festival for about an hour. I wish we could have stayed there longer, but we were freezing! We definitely did not prepare well, despite me dreaming of this event. If you are thinking of attending a winter kite festival, I have a couple suggestions to help you prepare for the trip. Besides dressing warm, remember, you're going to be outside, it's not just a casual stroll in a park. Be better prepared than I was. These are tips I gathered from my experience and I hope these suggestions will help you, if not remind me for next year, on what to wear or bring to a winter kite festival.

Dress Warm

I know, it's an outdoor winter event. This is a given. But I just had to say this to remind you to wear your base layers, warmest winter jacket, warm gloves or mittens.

Snow Boots are a Must

The lake hasn't been plowed like the streets and sidewalk. There will be times where you might have to step in snow to get closer to the kites. If possible, bring something with grip as well. There may be slick spots on the ice, you might slip.

Wear Snow Pants

Not only will snow pants keep you warm and dry, they will also act as padding if you so happen to fall. Or possibly even kneeling down to take a picture with your family, friends, or loved one. If you don't have snow pants, wear thermal leggings underneath your pants to keep your legs warm.

Protect your face, head, and ears

It will be windy. We were lucky, it wasn't that windy; only enough to keep some kites in the air. But there was also enough wind to nip at our cheeks. Get everyone's ears and face covered up and protected from the wind. A hat or hood will keep your head warm so that you don't lose too much heat. You don't want to get sick from enjoying a day out on the ice.

Bring Hot Chocolate

Yes, there will most likely be hot chocolate there. But I don't want to be standing in line for hot chocolate that might not even taste good. I suggest bringing your own hot chocolate in a thermos and either leave it in your car to warm up after your excursion, or bring it with you and enjoy it as you walk around.

Bring Tissues

It's cold. You and everyone around you will probably have runny noses at some point. Have some tissues in your pockets to clean your face, scarf, or mask. Then just tuck it away until you can toss it into a trash can on your way out.

Optional: Sunglasses

If you love wearing sunglasses, I definitely see how it would be a benefit to bring them. I personally don't wear mine a lot, and I end up being the idiot squinting at the kites flying in front of the sun. There is a lot of white snow, with sunlight bouncing off all around you. Protect your eyes, bring your sunglasses.

If you are a parent, I don't really suggest bringing a wagon or stroller, just because you may have trouble getting anywhere. But if you absolutely must, there will probably be a stroller parking area at the edge of the lake. You can at least use it to get to the lake from your parking spot, but once on the lake there will be too many bumps and inconsistencies on the lake to roll through.

That's it. I know there may be other things to do at the festival such as food trucks, games, local shops, and restaurants. But these tips are for those of you who may like to enjoy things without having to spend any money and just be able to enjoy the heart of the event. I hope these suggestions helped you in preparing for a great day out at the winter kite festival in your area. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments to help out everyone else.