Get Healthy

Fourth of July

Where I come from, it’s not necessarily cornbread & chicken, BUT, 4th of July is a pretty big deal. Sonoma has been voted multiple times over the past few years as having one of the best celebrations in the good old U.S of A. I’m proud of my hometown and the well deserved recognition it has received.

People from all walks of life come to experience our parade. My memories of the parade when I was a kid are fond. The parking spots around the square were filled with trucks, which were then filled with chairs. Any empty parking spots that were not already occupied were crammed with families and tables of food. That is all true today, just minus the cars. No more are cars allowed to be parked Downtown during the parade, instead the streets are lined with canopies to provide shade. People fight for these spots (and I am not kidding or elaborating), this is comparable to finding a spot for the parade or fireworks at Disneyland. Someone stakes out for hours to hold that special spot. It’s pretty crazy, I have done it in years past for Aurora to have a good viewing spot & shade. Luckily, this year, she was in the parade and I didn’t have to worry about finding a prime location. I walked around, Mimosa in hand and had the freedom to do what I wanted instead of worrying about leaving all my belongings somewhere it could potentially get moved. Also, it allowed me to find my way to the Rancho Maria Tasting Room & get free tacos. FREE TACO’S. I was super happy.

The afternoons are typically filled with BBQ’s and a much needed nap. I swear, a day here for Fourth of July is almost like being in Disneyland. You have certain things you are trying to get done and spots to hold for the parade or fireworks, and so much walking around! By 1pm I’m usually ready for a nap and so is Aurora. Our mid evening routine has switched around, sometimes there’s another BBQ to get to and have dinner, or what we have been doing the past few years is go watch our local baseball team, The Sonoma Stompers. Yes, baseball, in wine country…who knew?! One of Sonoma’s best kept secret maybe. The Sonoma Stompers are part of the Pacific West League, an independent national team, which has a total of six teams. They are so much fun to go to and definitely family friendly. After the game they allow everyone in attendance to watch the fireworks, which is so convenient.

Our fireworks are the best for a small town. No arguments. Our show is easily 30 minutes, there is an opening sequence that resembles a finale and the actual finale is just stunning. Between that is 20 minutes of just beautiful fireworks of all shapes, colors and sizes. The next greatest thing about them is the location. Location, location, location! It matters. Our bike path is a few miles long, hidden along beautiful fields and some historic sites and in one of those open fields is where the launch site is. You get ti literally sit back (or lay down) and look up into the sky and see these fireworks up close and personal. It’s not like Disneyland where you are shoulder to shoulder in a crowd of thousands of people. You grab a blanket, some lawn chairs, snacks and maybe some beverages and enjoy the show. One of the things that also makes Sonoma’s firework show so special is that it is community funded. Now, who launches the fireworks? Our very own Fire Department, well one of them, and some volunteers. They prep the field and make sure it is safe, especially after the October fires, and do the clean up the next day.

What I love about Sonoma is that we are very much a community based town. We love nothing more than gathering together and celebrating anything and everything. Come to a Tuesday Night Market and you’ll see exactly what I am talking about. Blankets and tables filled with  families and friends cover the park. People bring small bites to share and grab dinner from one of the food trucks and leave with some awesome local produce or other goodies. Sonoma is just the best. Growing up, I definitely didn’t appreciate it for what it was. It took moving away and putting an ocean between my hometown and myself for me to love it. So, now as I raise my own daughter here I try to show her the best our town has to offer.

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Thoughts

No time to Siesta…

Hey, what’s up? Hello! Making my every few months check in here. (Insert major eye roll). I’ve been getting way into my own head lately, as per usual. I write a new post, over think it, save it for later and then the vicious circle repeats itself. Some days are better than others. It’s been quite the rollercoaster of emotions.

In March I stepped away from a job that I was beginning to love but could the slow decline in my child. Our time was cut so short as my days got longer. There were some great things about my job and then other things I knew weren’t okay and shouldn’t be occurring. But you have to go through a few bad eggs to find a good one, right? Well either way, I found my golden egg. I’m excited to go to work, I love my coworkers and who I work for. I’m happy in my work environment. Now, is every environment perfect? No. It ebbs and it flows, great days are met with mediocre days and the mediocre days are greeted by some pretty shitty days. But the good days out weigh the amount of bad and usually the bad aspects of the day are things that can be fixed or are so minor in the grand scheme of things, they can easily roll off your shoulders and into the past.

With my schedule constantly changing though and adjusting, I haven’t been working out and absolutely feel it. I’m grumpy, irritable, bloated almost all the time, and not happy. Hopefully that will all be changing in July once I am fully settled and. When I put too much on my plate, I get stressed out and want to hide. I say yes to too many things and feel bad saying no. No is a word that needs to be in my vocabulary a lot more in my adult life and not just in my mom realm. I do have my Nike training app and have made it an aspiration to start running more. So….we’ll see where that goes. Also, if anyone has recommendations for good headphones that actually stay on when running, holla at your girl. I have oddly shaped ears and finding good headphones is a job within itself.

Among the other good things happening in my life are all of the exciting things occurring for my friends. In our group we have three new brides to be and the sweetest baby boy. Two of our friends are getting married this year and others are sharing news of pregnancies. Which upon hearing all of these great things, Aurora asks when I am giving her siblings or going to date someone. She’s hilarious….When all of these awesome things are happening, it’s only right to have a party or celebration of some kind. Which is what a few of us did recently. Now, two of the girls who got engaged have been in my life since Kindergarten and Third grade! They have also been best friends since 4th grade and were engaged within days of each other. This needed to be celebrated. So we did what we do best, fiesta. Who doesn’t love tacos and margaritas? This party was incredibly easy to plan because over the years I have slowly collected items specifically for parties, thanks Grandma. I can’t tell you how less stressful it makes things when you can just pull plates, cups, vases, etc then having to rent or borrow. If you have the space or can get a storage plastic container to store somewhere, I HIGHLY suggest starting your own stock of party supplies. My collection so far includes mostly plastic, reusable items such as

Plates
Tumblers
20oz Cups
Stemless Wine Glasses

and other good things to have are

beverage dispensers
bowls for condiments or dips
ice buckets
vases
signage

Invest, invest, invest. I love having party supplies readily available for a last minute BBQ or girls night.

For the party a majority of the food was catered by Lola’s market. The meats were BBQ’d at home, and the beans, rice, salsa and guacamole came ready to serve. That alone took so much off of our to-do list. They only items we took care of for our Taco Bar was the toppings and the tortillas. I took on dessert because, thanks to Instagram and friends, I found @cookiesbyjenn. She created the most beautiful and delicious cookies for our party sticking to our fiesta theme. (Which I’ll post and tag below) Also for dessert I attempted for the first time a chocoflan cake, that turned out so much better than I thought it would. I was worried because due to my schedule I cheated and used a boxed chocolate cake mix 🙈. Most of the decorations came from Amazon, gotta love that Prime! The photobooth was provided (borrowed) from a friend who, in my opinion, made a great life choice bully investing in one. Any of my pictures on my Instagram with a photobooth are because of her! The day of we had no idea what to do for a background, so we decided to do a very last minute balloon garland, which turned out pretty good in my opinion for being made literally 2 hours before the start of the party.

I made a playlist on Spotify, titled Fiesta ✨ that I suggest you check out. There are some great throwbacks on there as well as some of my favorite country songs.

Well, now that I wrote a novel. I hope you all have a wonderful week. It’s going to be a hot weekend here and I can’t wait to lay by the pool and read!

a href=”https://www.instagram.com/cookiesbyjenn”>Cookies created by @CookiesbyJenn[
a href=”https://www.etsy.com/listing/499127364/mexican-fiesta-invitation-custom-fiesta?ga_search_query=Fiesta&ref=shop_items_search_1″>Invitation Template by BohemianWoods via Etsy (completely customizable via PDF doc)[
Invitation by BohemianWoods on Etsy

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Get Healthy

I’m simply just a mom.

I consider myself a mom, no more no less. Never truly a single mom. Am I wrong for thinking that?

This is a question that often comes up, internally. On the outside, I’m sure that I am considered one amongst those that know me. On the inside though I’ve never quite felt that I deserve that title. I’m one of the lucky ones, there’s no doubt about that.

It’s no secret that I am forever grateful for Aurora’s dad. When it comes to our sweet girl, she’s always the priority, our number one. We communicate as well as we can, split our time with her as evenly and as fairly as we can. The both of us constantly make sure she always knows she has us on her team, no matter what. Even when she tries to pull fast ones on the other, she is a weekly occurrence. Within the big moments of her life I don’t ever feel like I am alone. For instance, a couple of months ago Aurora broke her arm at grandma’s house. I showed up first and then her dad. I knew in my heart something was wrong and just because she hit her head but her constant complaining of her arm and never her head injury. The advice nurse said for us to bring her to the ER to get checked. We both took her, not in separate cars but together. Also, let’s be real, it’s stupid to take two cars 45 minutes away and to be following one another. It was reassuring to have him there and have someone to turn to, instead of sitting by myself and having no one to talk to. I worry and overthink and it’s worsened when I am alone and under stress. When there’s basketball or play practice to get her to and I can’t due to scheduling conflicts, I can call him and know he’ll help out when he can. I get stuck in traffic and my mom’s back is out and she isn’t able to pick up Aurora, I can call and he’ll come through and bring her where I need him to. She’s always the priority and I never have to question that with him. Due to moments like that, I’ve never felt that I am truly doing this parenting thing alone.

It’s the smaller, almost insignificant little things that make me feel like a single parent.

In the mornings when I have to wake up my little sleeping beauty and while getting myself ready I have to leave the room and come back five minutes later to see her still asleep. At night when I ask her to do any of the three trigger phrases, “brush your teeth”, “take a shower” or my personal favorite “go to the bathroom”. If it’s passed 7pm and I ask Aurora to do any of those she knows bedtime is near and sometimes she flips out. It’s at night before she bed and she starts to cry because she won’t see me for the next few days and she’s already missing me. It’s when I am emotionally drained and have to battle with a six year old all my own. When a majority of our pictures are terribly angled selfies or ones of just her, unless a kind stranger obliges and takes our picture, which sometimes end up blurry. When I go to basketball games or performances alone. School functions and fundraisers.

See, the small insignificant shit. That’s when I am confronted with the fact that I am at times a single parent. Maybe the picture thing I care about, but I try to have our local, incredibly talented photographer and fellow badass mom take our pictures, so I have those to look back on of Aurora and I. But everything else is so small in the long run. As long as that little girl see’s her mom in the crowd and has me there to argue with, that’s all that matters. That I am there.

I’m also left with the feeling that I am not doing this whole raising a child thing alone because I have such an amazing village backing me up and willing to step-in when needed, if needed. They show up to her performances and basketball games. They participate in her school fundraisers and buy wrapping paper, of all things.  My friends and family have been willing to pick her up and have her over to play dates if I need to be at work and or have any other form of scheduling conflicts. They support us in every way possible and am so indebted to them all. I am never truly alone in this journey.

Now, in no way am I knocking the whole single parent title. There are people in this world who truly hold that title and deserve every single ounce of acknowledgement. They are out there being both a mom and dad. I commend them and feel I am no where near their level of super-mom(dad) capabilities and strength. They wear ALL the hats and take in the stresses that follow, solo.

So to all the single parents, I raise my coffee to you. We’re all in this together and need to be each other’s support through the good and the bad. Whether we are doing this alone or not.

In fact, I raise my coffee to all the parent’s who show up for their kids day in and day out.

xoxo

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Get Healthy

Twenty-Nine

Turning 29, is as every bit of scary as it is exciting. A chapter is truly coming to an end. It is my last year in my twenties and the goal is to end it in the best way I can. In one way or another I have chosen to just live and be more present. I’ve let my depression and anxiety hold me back so much in the past and I can’t let it anymore. Not just because I’m exhausted from the stress that it brings, but because I don’t want my daughter to do the same. She is my mirror, my little shadow. What I do or say she will emulate. Whether it’s something as simple as putting my phone down or taking those few extra minutes to have an actual conversation with the lovely people who make me my coffee every morning. So many of us just let life pass us by. And in hindsight we are all indeed living, we breathe and have blood pumping through our veins. But, it’s more so the actual mindset of living life and truly being present.

The concept to just live wasn’t something I came up with on my own, it’s something I borrowed from Peter Pan. Shocker right? In Chapter 8 of  “Peter and Wendy” by JM Barrie, Barrie is describing Peter’s bravery and that he also at times, despite his bravery, gets scared. At that point a huge smile comes across Peter’s face and he thinks to himself, “to die will be an awfully big adventure”. Peter has this thought because as a boy who has been stuck at a young age, living on Neverland for years, loves the thrill of chasing pirates and the risk that comes along with it. At the end of the films “Hook” & the live action version of “Peter Pan”, both Robin Williams and Jeremy Sumpter deliver the line “to live would be an awfully big adventure”. Though never in the books by Barrie, this quote has become just as famous as any other from his novel. Pan is watching the lost boys being embraced by the Darling Family and realizing that they will grow up and live a new life with new adventures. You quickly see Peter coming to the conclusion that living is the real adventure. But, of course Peter is far too stubborn and will stick to his word to never growing up. When I finally understood that quote and how profound of a thought it was, it stuck with me all these years. It’s held so much meaning to me. Aurora calls me Peter Pan and she’s always been my Tinker Bell. Disneyland is our most obvious version of Neverland. But, in all honesty we are in Neverland anytime we are together. We are almost always in our own little world, on some great adventure. When I had Aurora she gave me back a piece of my soul that had gone on vacation elsewhere. My desire to live and be present grew. That being said, I got that quote tattooed on my arm recently as a late birthday present to myself. It took about two and a half hours, but it was well worth it. It is a beautiful representation of the promise I made to myself a few years ago and it just looks really cool. I got my tattoo done at Electric Oni by Dan who truly deserves all the credit for bringing my idea and design to life. He took a rough sketch that I had brought in for reference and exceeded my expectations. When I went in for my session I was taken back by what he had put in front of me. I was definitely getting a little emotional. I’m so grateful for him and will most certainly get another tattoo from him in the future.

Another gift I am trying to give myself this year is the gift of book’s. My goal for the last year of my twenties is to read more and to have Aurora read more as well. There are so many great books out there and I want immerse myself into them and into the worlds created by the authors. I’m going to do my best with sticking to the classics, but we’ll see where this adventure guides me and what sparks my interest along the way. Aurora and I’s first book was a joint read and of course it was “Peter Pan” by JM Barrie. It was a version adapted for children and excludes some bits and pieces from Barrie’s original, but for Aurora it was good enough. My book for March or rather what’s left of it will again probably come as no surprise to anyone because it is “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Aurora has chosen “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland |  Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll , which I couldn’t be more excited for her to have chosen. It is an incredible journey that Aurora and I are on together, not just through reading but through life as well.

Cheers to another year, mates. xoxo

If any of you have any suggestions for new reads, send them my way.

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Get Healthy, Health and Fitness, Thoughts

Let’s just pretend like I have my shit together | September 28th, 2017

Well, hello. It’s been a while, eh? Typical Brooke fashion, for sure, like for-sursies (there’s my college education going to work right there). My plate is full, my cup is constantly runneth-ing over, and life is good. The bad is never actually that bad and is typically things I can easily brush off or just sweep under the rug and leave them to be dealt with later, if I remember. I mean, between raising a human being, both of us being in school and starting a new job I don’t have time for anything that is not serving my life in a positive way. And guys, I’ve gotten so much better about not giving a shit, it’s amazing. I’m letting go of things and situations and just not allowing them to take up like 80% of my life anymore. I have always been and will most likely continue to put other people’s needs and happiness before my own. It’s one of my charming qualities. I will always look for the best in people and want them to be happy no matter what the situation is. And, honestly when you get to a point where you realize that maybe this person or a situation doesn’t even know what will make them happy or what road to take to be happy (without them saying it outright of course), you just have to back off and let someone else take the steering wheel. So here I am getting my Carrie Underwood on and letting Jesus take the wheel. Let’s be honest, I’m a mom and always have that part of my brain on. I want the people I care about to be happy and to live the best life they possibly can and to see all the potential they have. And for everyone to just be fucking nice to one another. I just have a lot of feelings, okay?

So I am now in my third semester back at school and it is going swimmingly. Like the kind of swimming where you’re good, then get a cramp and have that quick flash of where you think you’re drowning. There have been a lot of long and sleepless nights. But, I love all of my classes and my teachers. I have all female teachers and they are all amazing in their own ways. It sounds terrible, but I have yet to find a male teacher that is not a complete asshole or narcissistic douche and made me want to actually stay in their class. My female teachers have all been so badass and motivating, the keep me going. My psych teacher was the worst last year, so bad that I actually dropped the class. I think going forward my goal will be to have my all of my teachers and professors be female for the rest of my academic career. I mean, unless someone knows a guy, then I will take a friendly suggestion. Little miss is also in school and has started Kindergarten. Which, how crazy is that? I have a child in Kindergarten. I never once imagined that I would be in school at the same time as one of own. Aurora is loving it, of course. If you know my child, she is so the opposite of me and actually loves school and looks forward to it. I am definitely going to keep that train going for as long as I can. But, she is also feeling the repercussions of being in school five days a week, for seven hours a day. I am pretty sure this is the most exhausted I have seen my girl. But, again, she is so happy. My favorite part of my days when I have school is when I’m done for the day and I go pick her up and we go do our homework together. My heart is so content and it motivates me so much more to have her by my side. I mean talk about a constant reminder of why I am doing what I am doing. She’s the best and it’s almost gross how much I love her and am obsessed with her, as a mother should be with her child. Talk about being domesticated, in some form, I’ll be cooking dinner and Aurora is at the table doing homework and asking me questions and I fucking love it. Every stress I have goes away in those moments because we have a great life and we are so blessed that we even get to do that. I love us, our life, everything.

Our time together has just become that much more important because, for one, half of the week she is with her dad and secondly I did start a new job that is time consuming in all of the best ways. My mornings start very early, in regards to waking up and then dropping of Ro at school. I tend to get home 12-13 hours which is what is making things difficult but we are starting to get into a rhythm and have a better sense of our schedule and how things will work out. Which, thank god. I have not worked out or been to Crossfit in two months. My priorities have had to shift and unfortunately that took the brunt of it. A lot of my priorities have had to change due to life and all the changes that have occurred. Some of those changes were to my education and the path I am on. Which, for those of you who don’t know I am making my way towards being a nurse. I had to make the hardest decision when it came to school and what made the most sense for my life and where it is right now. I am still 100% in love with fashion and all things product development and FIDM. But, it is currently going on the back burner until I can fully devote myself to it. It was such a heartbreaking decision to make too. My counselor looked at me and dead in the eye and told me I had to make up my mind, in the nicest of ways of course. And I had to do some deep soul searching, as I having been doing a lot of the last two-three months. What it all came down to was that my passion is helping people and I love children. So, for now, that is my focus and I have a long road ahead. I still question if I am making the right decision, but for now it feels like the right decision for me.

So here I am, slowly getting my life back together.

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Get Healthy

Whole Life Challenge | 07.17.2017

I might as well dive right in, so let’s do this. Hi, by the way.

The past eight weeks have flown by so fast. At my gym, Crossfit Valley of the Moon, around twenty of us participated in the Whole Life Challenge. I don’t want to go into some long informational tangent as to what the Whole Life Challenge fully entails and requires, but I will quickly break it down. We had 7 Daily Habits to improve upon or to spend extra time on that maybe we normally wouldn’t have. The 7 daily habits are exercise, mobility, sleep, hydration, nutrition, lifestyle practices & reflection. Essentially you have to work out everyday for at least thirty minutes, spend ten minutes on your mobility and stretching, drink your suggested ounces of water each day and eat REAL food. Those are the five major habits. The last two consisted of weekly lifestyle practices to challenge you and get you out of comfort zone and reflecting each day about your progress. So when you look at it, the name of the challenge is incredibly literal.

I eat fairly clean, to an extent, so having the opportunity to hone in on my food and cut sugar and bread out was really cool for me. I’m a total nutritional nerd and love all that shit. Seeing how my body reacts to food and how much better I feel over all once I cut something out is so cool. Now, some of the foods we were allowed to eat or not consume I was already practicing in my everyday diet. I don’t consume mass amounts of dairy and rarely eat it. In social situations I’ll make the exception, but at home I don’t mess with it. I primarily eat a lot of protein, vegetables and some fruit. Toss in the occasional flour tortilla, slice of pizza or bun on a burger and that’s my gluten intake. Once I cut food I find that my body rarely craves it anymore. I was pretty in tune with my body before but the challenge allowed me to become incredibly understanding of what my body wants and actually needs. I know when my body is lacking specific nutrients and what it needs to get me through the day. If I eat something I don’t normally eat I know immediately, and it is immediate, how it’ll react or how I will feel the next day. Our bodies are amazing, that is all I will say.

My sleeping improved vastly, this is the most sleep I have gotten consistently in a very long time. I usually sleep from anywhere between 5 and 7 hours, so adjusting to 8 was refreshing. I try to exercise consistently at my gym. Some weeks I am really on it and will be there 5 times a week, other weeks I’m lucky if I get to go three times. On days I wasn’t able to be in a physical gym I had to really be on it to get outside and go for a walk or a run. At home I have really been nudging for Aurora to get active as well. Not like we watch a lot of tv, she mostly plays games and with her dolls, inside. My siblings and I were outside any chance we had so I want her to be better about that. So we went on a lot of walks where she brought a long her scooter or bike. The mobility aspect was a really interesting part of the challenge. I am at the top of the list when it comes to people who are the worst at stretching after a workout or before, absolutely the worst. Setting aside time in the first few weeks was crucial, otherwise I’d just say fuck it and just not do it. But, I noticed a difference when I was consistently stretching each day and I realized how much I miss yoga.

My favorite part of the challenge though was the weekly practices which forced a lot of people out of their comfort zones. The practices were…

Week 1:  Write in a journal for 10 minutes

Week 2: Support Your Teammates

Week 3: The Big 4 (No Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram)

Week 4: Intentional Acts of Kindness

Week 5: Brain Toss (Write down things that come to mind)

Week 6: Do Something You Love

Week 7: Get Rid of It (Stuff you don’t need)

Week 8: People Who Matter (Pick a person each day and write why they matter to you. Keep that little piece of paper to yourself or share it with the person that you appreciate)

These were either really easy or incredibly challenging, especially week 3. You never realize how often you reach for your phone to check social media until you’re told not to. So that one I failed, we were giving the opportunity to check once a day. Old habits are hard to break, lets just say that. Since then I have made a conscious effort to not be on my phone as much, as far as social media goes. I still check those apps multiple times a day, don’t get me wrong, but I try not to. But some days are easier than others.

I know it’s hard to believe, but I am a wee bit shy and am still pretty shy at my gym. So reaching out and supporting my teammates through our feed on the app and physically in the gym was something that for sure pushed me out of my comfort zone. But it knocked down walls and barriers that I had. I interact with more people at the gym because of it and don’t feel uncomfortable starting up a conversation.

My favorite practices were the ones where we really had to think. The journaling I loved for obvious reasons. The intentional acts of kindness throughout our group were really neat. People were doing things I didn’t think to do, simple things such as picking up garbage when you see it on the ground or buying coffee for the person behind you. We always hear about paying it forward, but how often do any of us actually do that? The last practice is where I really poured my heart and soul the most. I have so many people I am appreciative of and never exactly get to tell. I wrote quite lengthy letters, address to seven specific people. Will some of those beautiful souls see those letters? Yes. Others I think we’re just very therapeutic and those are the ones I’m not sure about handing off letters to. I can’t show all my cards, where’s the fun in that?

Overall, I loved this challenge and would totally do it again in a heart beat. I’m looking forward to the weeks following the challenge and how I can intertwine all 7 habits into my daily life and continue on this path. To be more open about my love and appreciation to everyone in my life. To really take care of my body and listen to it. And to just be appreciative of life overall.

xoxo

 

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Gardening

May 18th | Adventures in Gardening

Crazy weather aside, Spring is here and Summer is coming. Aurora and I have been working hard in our little garden. Every week we are adding more to it and having so much fun working on it together. Last year I didn’t have my expectations incredibly high which left us both pleasantly surprised by how successful some of our plants were. Our Spaghetti Squash gave us the biggest yield followed by our Butternut Squash and Grape Tomatoes. We had purchased six strawberry plants and got very little fruit, but that was to be expected as the plants were small. From doing my research as well, strawberries will have a higher yield each year as they grow. Our watermelon and eggplant seeds didn’t catch nor did the fruit grow very large. Again, no disappointment on our end because we didn’t expect much. Last year we also completed, with the help of Auntie Jenn, building a fire pit in the backyard. So, it was a good trial run for us as we work on our garden and fixing up the yard in whole.

This year though, we have big, big plans and have been slowly chipping away at them. We both have more confidence and are feeling a little more in tuned with the soil and what we needed to do to improve it and the surrounding area. Our strawberry plants lasted through the winter, which was incredible because I did not pay any attention to them other than pulling old leaves out whenever I noticed. So far, we’ve picked 16 strawberries this week over the course of two days as they become ripe. I let Aurora snack on all of them and she said they were sweet, so I will take her word for it. In our huge planters in the front and back yard we’ve planted

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Watermelon
  • Pumpkins
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Jalapenos
  • Carrots
  • Green Peas
  • Green Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes: Grape, Roma, Heirloom Brandywine
  • Basil
  • Mint

Seems like a lot, but we have the space for everything. Some of the smaller plants are in table top planter’s since they require such little space. Most of the items are trial runs to see how they do. The squash group I know does well in our soil and have been growing at a pretty good rate, same with the tomatoes, basil and mint. Which by the way basil, mint and tomatoes are so easy and you can trim stems off the plant, toss it in a cup of water and they will sprout roots and you have a new plant to place in the garden. How cool is that? I’ve done this for my mint and basil and I have so many healthy plants that were free. Thanks to Pinterest I found out you could do the same process with tomatoes and am trying it out with the Roma’s, so fingers crossed that works out. Everything from the Cauliflower down to Eggplant is all new pretty much and it’s exciting to see how well some of them are doing while others are just taking their sweet time and really testing my patience. Thanks to the birds we also have random blackberry bushes all around the property and I personally can’t wait for those to be ripe so I can make so jam. It’s the simple things guys, I’m telling you it doesn’t take much to make me feel content and happy.

At the beginning of spring I added some bags of compost and manure to our soil, mixed it in and let it sit for a couple of weeks before adding any plants. Aurora and I also dry out egg shells and blend them up to toss around our plants to get extra nutrients as well as used coffee grounds. Most of the tricks are a huge part to Pinterest and the rest of the credit goes to my Uncles Joe & Johnny. Which, they learned everything they know from my Grandparents, who had gardens for as long as I could remember. My Uncle Johnny owns a nursery in Fort Bragg and is incredibly talented. His nursery and home garden are both so magical and he is amazing at what he does. Same goes for my Uncle Joey, all my memories of Joey growing up will always include him sitting, drinking a bud light and playing guitar and gardening. He builds all his own arbors and I am so envious. His garden this year is insane and I am very thankfully for his patience while I ask a million questions. He also inspired me to cut down some branches that were beginning to cover Aurora and I’s garden. Joey had purchased this rope chain and he let me borrow it. You’re definitely not supposed to do it alone because you need a good angle on either wide to get a clean cut. Ha, yeah no, I did it alone and took down 6 branches so far. It was AWESOME and we got some firewood out of it. Win-win situation.

Aurora loves going to Friedman’s and I think we spend at least an hour there every Sunday browsing around, as we are looking to plant more flowers to attract some bees to assist with some of our vegetables and fruits. I love hydrangeas and would love to have a huge garden full of them and dahlias and bougainvillea. Oh, and lots of roses! So that’s also why we go so frequently so we can start pricing things out and then mapping it all out at home. And, of course, we always end up with a new little garden toy. They sell these really pretty decorative garden stakes, we have four now I believe. The fourth one came from a trip to Dollar Tree though, it is shaped like a flower, spins and is pink, so how could Aurora not want it? We also purchased a wind chime at Friedman’s which Aurora has become completely obsessed with! I have to keep our bedroom window open when we are home so she can hear it any time the wind blows. And the same should be said about our hummingbird feeder, we haven’t been able to spot one yet but I hope we get to soon. It’s really sweet how involved she wants to be and how much she loves our time spent outside.

I’ve posted links below to the stepping stone kit Aurora and I were given and I also provided a link to the ones I found at Michaels. The one Aurora and I made is very simple, you just need a bucket to mix it in and some water. Again, I did purchase additional glass gems, but you don’t need to if you don’t want.

xoxo

Kid’s Stepping Stone Kit

Michael’s Mosaic Stepping Stone Kit

 

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