Ten reasons to grow your own food

4.08.2014

April is upon us and that means that its time to get the garden started!  Do you plant a garden? If you don’t, there’s seriously no excuse not to. I cannot even keep a potted succulent alive, but gardens I have no issues with.

succulent
(sad. so sad.)

 

And space? I live on less than a 1/4 acre city postal stamp lot. No space needed!

1. Taste: homegrown fruits and vegetables just taste better. They are jucier and crisper and more flavorful.

2. Health: The Journal of American Dietetic Association found that children more than doubled their overall fruit and vegetable consumption after their parents grew a food garden in their yard. Additionally, fresh vegetables are 50% higher in nutrients.

3. Fitness: When you’re working in the garden, you’re outdoors, moving. Not only can you burn approximately 300 calories while gardening, but you also get to squat, stretch and do other things that are awesome for your body.

4. Budget: Its no shock that a garden can considerably reduce grocery your bill.  One seed costs between 3-10 cents. Compare that with the cost of 1 piece of produce at the store. If you plan well, you can save some great money by gardening from spring into fall and by canning some of your harvest, as well.

5. Happiness: Digging in the dirt makes you feel good!

6. Its good for your kids: It not only teaches them life skills, but you’re teaching them about health and sustainability.

7. Environmentally friendly: By growing your own garden, you’re greatly reducing your carbon footprint. Additionally, if you skip the pesticides, you’re not adding to air pollution.

8. Sense of achievement: Nothing feels better than when you prep a meal made from ingredients that you grew from a seed.

9. Less waste: The average person is more likely to throw out produce purchased at the grocery store that has gone mushy than food grown in their garden. When you take ownership of it, you are less apt to take it for granted.

10. Safer food: When you’re growing it, you have control over it. You don’t have to worry about contamination from farm runoff or from the manufacturing plant where it was cut and bagged.

Like I mentioned, I have no yard. But we still manage to squeeze in 2 square foot gardens and a few pots and patches. By planting strategically, last year I managed to grow asparagus, pole beans, jalapenos, bell peppers, several types of tomatoes, kale, chard, spinach, mesclun, romaine, carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, small cantaloupe, onion, garlic, and lots of herbs.  I’ve tried to grow beets, but every year, I fail.

Do you garden?? Do you have a large yard? What do you grow? If you don’t garden, what’s stopping you?  For more gardening stuff, check out my gardening board on Pinterest.

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An organized house for spring

4.03.2014

how to: an organized home for spring @houseoftubers.com

Usually the first thing people think of during Springtime is cleaning. However, I’m here to tell you that organization in the home is equally as important. Contrary to popular belief, getting your home organized can be a fun project that the whole family can enjoy. Follow the tips below for a home that is both organized and beautiful for Spring.

Declutter each room: The first step to any decluttering project is to decide what’s going to stay and what must go. One room at a time, make piles of the items you haven’t used in a while. Let’s be honest. If you haven’t used something in over a year, you’re probably not going to use it again. By getting rid of a few items in each room you’ll gain more living space and feel less stressed. (Really, try it out)
Don’t feel like you have to do all the organizing by yourself. Involving children and other family members into the cleaning up process can help you grow closer together. For a list of games to make getting organized fun for children, read this article.

Donate and Sell: Make piles of items that can be sold or donated. If you’re looking to make a few quick bucks (and aren’t we all) consider listing items in good shape on sites like Craigslist, or Facebook pages for people selling items in a specific city. Donate items that you can’t sell, but would are still in good condition. Throw away everything else.

Buy: Here comes the fun part! Using the cash you made from selling unused items, you can now buy fun storage options. Consider looking at sites like Pinterest for organization inspiration. Investing in matching tubes and baskets is always a good idea for books or other small items that need stored.

Decide Function: Now’s the time for some rearranging. If you were unorganized before this process it’s probably because you have too much in too small of an area. Or, it could be your current organization system just isn’t working. Consider the function of each room that you’ve organized. Make a list of the items that you use the most and the items that you use the least. Put items that you use the most at eye level or where they are easily accessible. Items that aren’t used as frequently should be placed out of the way.

Have fun: Nothing says Spring like a touch of color! Now that your room is organized feel free to add decorations for Spring and other colorful accents that showcase your newly organized home. If decorating isn’t your style, be sure to reward yourself (and other family members) for the amazing job they just completed. It could be a walk, a piece of chocolate, or a shopping spree. You decide!

Stephanie Hanson is the community manager for Monkey Bar Storage Solutions. They provide homeowners in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas with custom garage storage solutions. For more ideas on organization, follow their corporate Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/monkeybars/.

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eShakti’s 2014 Spring line

4.01.2014

I received a free dress from eShakti in return for writing a review on my blog
eShakti spring line 2014

Spring is almost here…and on Sunday and Monday, it actually felt like Spring!!!  I actually left the house wearing no jacket. And yesterday I walked the dog after I was at the gym, wearing my workout capris. Crazy, I know!  With the season temps comes the urge to buy some fun, seasonal clothing, as well. So when eShakti contacted me to review a piece from their 2014 Spring line, I couldn’t resist.

eShakti spring dress 2014

You may have heard me mention eShakti here before, when I’ve talked about some of the other custom items I’ve gotten from them.  I just love that eShakti can custom fit any of their pieces for you, from sizes 0-36. And not only do they custom fit, but they can often tailor certain pieces to your liking, by adding/subtracting pockets or embellishments, changing the neckline or sleeves and shortening/lengthening the hemline.

Every since my friend Robyn found (and wore) a gorgeous yellow dress at Nordstroms several years ago, I’ve been wanting a yellow dress. But I have to be careful with yellows, so its taken a few years to find one whose color didn’t make me look sickly. When I came across this one, it fit the bill perfectly. I wish I had thought to take photos of the back…the neckline is a ‘v’ in the back and there are fabric covered faux buttons that go down to the waist.

eshakti spring 2014
I opted to, once again, go the custom route, and send in my measurements, to ensure a perfect fit. I kept the sleeves and neckline the same, but lifted the hem a bit. And I went with pockets. Because who doesn’t love pockets? (unless its a fitted dress. then pockets have no place being there).

eShakti Spring2014 line

The dress fit perfectly. A little too perfectly. There is only a small partial side zipper that opens to allow you to slip it over your head. It took my husband’s help to get me in and out of the dress. Whoopsie! A full side zip would be so much more beneficial. I’ll be taking this to the tailor to have that done so that I am able to wear this without fear of ripping it or getting a dislocated shoulder when putting it on.

Have you ever purchased anything from eShakti? What spring purchases are you looking forward to making?

linking up with lindsey , Alison, and Allison

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Go strong or go home

4.01.2014

Its April 1st, so in the words of the great FLOTUS, “Let’s Move!”

Today’s Ten on Tuesday was inspired by the #1800minutechallenge . When I saw this challenge, I thought easy peasy! But I realize that not everyone exercises. I know that its super easy to come up with an excuse like, “I have no time”, “I’m too busy”, or “I can’t afford a gym membership!”, all to which I’ll wave my hand at. If you make something important enough, you can find the time. And you don’t need a gym. Or any special equipment (check out this awesome at-home workout Sadie put together).

With that, I bring you the Top 10 Reasons to Get Moving!

1. it boosts your immunity

2. you can burn more calories at rest (the more lean muscle mass you have, the more efficient your metabolism will be)

3. its a natural mood booster and anxiety lifter

4.  keep your ticker ticking (heart health)

5. it helps prevent muscle loss

6.  it strengthens your bones

7. it reduces fatigue

8. it will help boost productivity

9. it can help lower your cholesterol + blood pressure naturally or keep it at a normal level

10. for pure vanity…strong feels sexy!

1800Button

In addition to the 1800 minute challenge, I am participating in a 1,500 Pushups in April challenge that my gym is having. What are you doing to get moving? What inspires you to exercise??
 

 

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a pain in my neck

3.31.2014

headache remedies via houseoftubers.com

Hello Monday – hello Spring! Its a good day! We had a beautiful spring day yesterday and its gorgeous out again today! Dare I suggest that Spring may actually be here??

I picked up some potted flowers at Trader Joe’s this morning – tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Just enough to get me through till the real things pop up. And then hopefully I can plant these bulbs for next year!

 

Hello Monday- I feel great today!!!  Recently on facebook, I asked for some advice from fellow headache sufferers.  I was on day 2 of a bender of one of the worst headaches I’ve had in quite some time.  And that says a lot, given that I’ve been suffering from these debilitating things for 24 years now (ugh).  You’d think that in that amount of time, I would have found something to knock this shit off, right?

Currently (and for the past 10 years), I am taking Topamax, which is actually an anti-seizure medication. This is supposed to be a preventative med and for the most part, the severity and frequency have been reduced. In addition to that (since I like to be thorough), I get regular massage and I occasionally see a chiropractor.   I practice yoga and I work out regularly, as well.  But these buggers break through and when they do, they kill me. They’re technically a tension headache, based on where the pain is located, but they mimic a migraine. Awesome, huh?  So my doctors have tried to treat me with migraine meds, mostly to no avail. I’ve tried pain relievers like Midrin and Zomig. I currently have Tramadol (an opiod) to treat, but have discovered that Fioricet (a barbituate/acetomeniphin/caffiene combo) works better. Flexeril puts me out for 2 days – even a half a pill.

On the preventative side of things, I’ve tried a beta blocker (Inderal), a calcium channel blocker (Calan) – both did nothing. Tricyclic antidepressants (both Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline) didn’t work, either. They just made me fall asleep all day.  At one point, I even tried an occipital nerve block and an epidural steroid injection.  Neither worked. I was given the option for Botox, but declined. I was (and still am) too afraid of it.

And yes, I’ve had  xrays, an MRI and a CT Scan. All show nada.

I am literally at the end of my rope.

Right after this last episode, I decided to give acupuncture a try. We have a community acupuncture clinic, which is an awesome concept.  If you’ve never heard of it, its where they treat in a communal setting (kind of creating a sense of collective healing energy)  and offer payment on a sliding fee scale.  In addition to acupuncture, a friend of  mine (who, coincidentally owns a community acupuncture clinic in another state) suggested taking magnesium in a supplement form called Natural Calm. She explained that almost everyone is deficient because our diets are over-supplemented w/calcium; but Ca & Mg have to be balanced, otherwise you get symptoms like headache, anxiety, constipation, insomnia, etc.  So I figured I’d give that a shot.

Its going on week 5 and the only headache I’ve had was a sinus headache this past week when I was down with a cold. Is this the solution to my 24 year pain in my neck?

Have you had success with any treatments?  And if you’re one of those lucky people who gets to take an aspirin and you’re good to go, then bless your heart. You’re awesome. Don’t tell me about it, though.

Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello Monday.

 

 

 

 

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