Category Archives: All things “girly” & homemade…

Some God in my Gardening

The older I get, the more settled & *cough…ahem…cough* domestic I seem to become. My nightly Google searches have switched from, “what bars are closest to this bar I’m currently at” to, “easy sewing patterns…how to make a pallet dog bed…how to decorate outdoor patio using concrete, rubber bands, & beer tabs.” Okay, maybe the last one is a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.

I’ve taken up gardening…

By “taken up gardening” I really mean, “I’ve developed an obsession for gardening…”

Thanks to Pinterest, a father who has always had a vegetable garden & a plethora of Twitter-communities where gardening is cool again, my obsession has been even more fueled. This is the first year that I’ve had a real decently thriving garden in my yard. I moved to my house about 3yrs ago; a big metropolis village of 300 people. Not that I lived in a real big city before, but a city of 100,000 compared to a village of 300 is a big difference. Trust me, I’m not complaining. AT ALL! I’m a country girl with country roots & cities are not my thing. Now I live smack-dab in the middle of the woods, with a long driveway & land for my dog to run around un-fenced. That also means I have land to plant an outdoor herb & vegetable garden.

While I’ve always had a love for gardening, it was pretty limited when I lived downtown in the city. I had no yard & my “garden” consisted of tomato plants growing in flower pots on my deck. One year my tomato’s seemed to come up missing, while I thought it was a stray raccoon or cat stealing them (cats eat tomato’s???) I later caught my neighbor plucking them off my plants…it did not end well. Another year I bought a “Topsy Turvy” plant from a

my $400 upside down tomato plant

my $400 upside down tomato plant

commercial on TV. This product was made for tight-space living; was hung upside down from a hook & tomato’s grew downward. I thought “perfect” & couldn’t wait to expand my deck garden. Well, the commercial didn’t lie! This plant took off! It grew so well & contained so many tomato’s (definitely factory-produced seeds that grew low-quality, abundant tomato’s) that one day I came home from work to find that my upside down tomato plant had grown into the gutters & the weight had ripped them down & half of my neighbors gutters. A $19.95 product ended up costing over $400 to fix. Nice!

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Green onions & romaine lettuce started from seeds.

So fast-forward a few years & my 3rd season of planting at my house & the soil finally seems dense enough to support a healthy, full garden.
I started my plants from seeds back in March. March, 7th to be exact. As told by the dates I had sharpied on the egg-carton starters. My sunroom had turned into rows of seeds that rooted & bloomed into tomatoes, onions, lettuce, eggplants, dill, chives, parsley & lots more! I had containers on my fireplace mantel, Hearst & brickwork, on my fish tank, on the floor, behind the couch…you name it & it had a vegetable or herb. Ohio also had a late spring, so I didn’t get outside to plant until the beginning of June. By that time I had lost some of my vegetables & they had to be replaced with plants purchased from greenhouses. Quite the ordeal of tilling the garden, pulling weeds, planting, mulching, weeding again, watering, weeding again….and again…and again…but they’re a’growin!!!

This may seem like a huge, detailed backstory to someone who has little to no interest in gardening. But those that enjoy it will understand when I say what therapy my little garden has been. The last few years have been very hard & stressful in my personal life. While I have found ways to relieve that stress (I’m a big outdoorsy-girl), there’s a different kind of therapy that comes from working the land & watching something grow. There’s something different about getting your hands dirty, sweating, tending, & then reaping the benefits of something you’ve put your time into.

I listen to music a lot, I rarely watch TV but I always have music on. When I’m out hiking-headphones on, when I’m cleaning the house-music playing in background, when I’m running (okay, let’s be real. When I’m out one-step-up-from-walking)-headphones on. However, when I’m working in the garden…no music. I’m on my hands & knees, digging in the dirt, my dog at my feet, & I’m thinking…figuring stuff out, praying, having conversations in my head. I’m going through an especially hard time right now, making some big decisions & stressing out over what is the right path; in addition to stresses that life already has me boggled down with. Yesterday while in the middle of planting squash, the story of the Israelites popped into my head. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery from the hands of Egypt, however, he didn’t take them to the Promised Land right away. They wandered around in the wilderness for 40yrs; they couldn’t see past their own stubbornness, unforgiveness, frustrations, situations & attitudes. They never even realized how close they were to their promised land until they gave up even more control. This is me, I’m currently in the wilderness. Even though I’m delivered from the bondage I was in, I’m still “wandering” around in the desert until my promised land. Have I done anything wrong?? No. In fact, I’ve done everything right (mostly). I’ve obeyed. I’ve listened. But the reward hasn’t come yet. Is it frustrating? You bet’cha! Especially for someone like me who lives by day planners & loves schedules. Do I feel forgotten? Ignored? Un-worthy? Yes, Yes, Yes. But just like my garden, the harvest will come. The reward will come because I’ve been working the land, planting seeds, watering, & weeding. Is there an area of my life that God is trying to get me to focus on before the harvest can come??? I believe there is. I can only pray that He will reveal that to me so I can move on.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”-Galatians 6:9-

Being in the wilderness stinks, big time. But it will make the harvest that much sweeter. And all these thoughts came because I decided to plant some tomatoes.

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can't wait!

My first tomato has arrived! Will turn into a Indigo Blood Rose tomato, black & a sweet salad tomato! Can’t wait!

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Right Now: my reflections, obsessions & thankful’s in this moment.

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1) I’m currently reading, watching & listening to…
-Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I’ve read this novel dozens of times, but I’ve never read it from my 1895 early addition copy. There’s something amazing about holding a copy of a 100+year old book & thinking about all those that have read & held this novel before me.

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-The Butler. It usually takes me days to watch a movie, can’t sit still long enough to watch a full movie. This one I was captivated by & watched all 2+hrs from start to finish. And I watched it the next night as well. Based on a true story of Cecil Gaines, a White House Butler for over 30 years & spans through many Presidencies.

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-I Will Run to You by Hillsong. Sang this song for the first time in church a few weeks ago & I’ve been in love with the lyrics ever since! http://youtu.be/RZGqKqciv8E

2) I’m worried about…money! Isn’t everyone always worried about that???

3) I’m improving myself by…Sewing! My Grandma gave me her sewing machine & I’ve become obsessed. My first attempt was a success (just don’t look to close at the stitching job!). Bandana chair covers for my kitchen table.

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4) I’m excited about…my first solo sermon is this Sunday night. I’ve changed it 4x’s & was supposed to preach last week, but due to the weather class was cancelled. I was very glad because it gave me a chance to completely re-do it again & I loooooove the new approach. And my parents will be there to hear me, woot!

5) I’m grateful to God for…so much this month! Above all for friends & family that helped me through some car problems when I didn’t know what I was going to do!
I’m asking God for forgiveness because…I threw a temper tantrum & doubted He would come through! Which He did!

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One Thousand Gifts…Weeks 4-7

Okay, I know I’ve been terribly lazy about posting my One Thousand Gifts. I’d love more than anything to fill you with all these excuses about how I’ve been super busy with work, my family…life. But the truth is I’ve just been…lazy. I started off writing 3 “gifts” a day & that’s dwindled to one a day..one every other day…one every week & so on.

So, my weeks are lumped together so it looks more filled than what it actually is. (again….lazy!). And I’m making a conscious effort to start this week (my “gifts” weeks run from Wed-Wed) to get back in the habit of 3 a day…well, maybe one a day!

“Think Happy. Be Happy!”

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One Thousand Gifts: Weeks 4-7

61. Fresh clean-laundry!!!! *I know, I know…I’ve lived in my house for 148752_608511712497962_1389588840_nalmost a year & still haven’t broke down and purchased a washer/dryer yet. Just seems like other expenses seem more pressing* 

62. How beautiful the sky looks as the sun’s peeking through snow clouds. Especially because the sun shining on an Ohio winter day is a rarity!

63. when I get the opportunity to see a situation through a perspective other than my own.

64. a check lost in the mail was recovered & deposited (doubly thankful that multiple checks wrote for bills were not cashed & nothing bounced!)

65. women who remind me to, “live in the present” when I find myself thinking of past memories

66. Aunt Gloria & the struggles she overcame during her lifetime. She will be missed.

67. after another visit to the hospital that resulted in a few days stay, my dad is home from the hospital again & mending (again!). Subsequently, my Grandma is home & mending from her heart-attack (that happened the same time my dad was in the hospital). Been a rough February!

68. the right to (occasionally) have myself a temper-tantrum, pity party, & “feeling sorry for myself” night.

69. an afternoon spent with my nieces & how excited they get when they’re allowed to spend the night with me. Although, I think a swim party & my dog had more to do with their excitement than an evening spent with their aunt Winking smile

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70. nighttime hikes on starry, clear, winter nights! *my favorite time of year to get a good hike in*

71. “There’s no difference between us when it comes to the Lord”-words by Pastor Jim, followed by an “Amen” said by a handicapped, disabled gentleman in a wheelchair at a Sunday morning church service. What a lesson!

72. the fact that my cat, Sundae, sleeps at the foot of my bed every night. Snoring away!

73. Bible scriptures that remind me to,”keep the faith” when I can feel it fading. hanginthere1

74. Being a girl & it being perfectly acceptable to spend 2 hours in the bathroom playing with my hair, doing my nails, plucking my eyebrows, waxing/shaving, experimenting with makeup, exfoliating & moisturizing Smile

LetGoLetGod175. reminders of “let go & let God”

76. powerful church services where you know God is moving, answering, & grace is overflowing

77. living within minutes of great hiking spots & a love for being outdoors

78. my mom telling me, “your dog is so attached to you”. Makes me smile because I know trust is an issue for him & we’ve been working on trying to overcome.

79. indoor flowers that are blooming, reminds me that spring is soon here! Baby animals, sunnier days, warmer weather, & green everywhere! amaryllis1

 

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All things “girly”…makin’ some homemade body wash!

 

This past Christmas I tried my hand at making my gifts homemade. For my Grandma Martinez I made her a basket filled with items to pamper herself with, one of the items was homemade body wash. I’ve got terrible skin allergies, I actually had an allergy test done a few years ago & it showed 197 allergens present! Almost 85% of them were skin related allergies. So needless to say I have to be very careful about what lotions, body wash, detergent, pretty much anything that comes in contact with my skin, I use. Making this pampering basket for my Grandma was the perfect opportunity to whip up a few extra batches of goodies for myself to see how it works with my insanely (annoying) allergic skin. I have to be honest, I really didn’t have to much faith in the body wash working out. I’ve tried countless “all-natural”, holistic, “pure”…(blah blah blah) products & still had problems with them. Through doing research, I learned that even “all-natural” products still have some chemicals in them due to the preservation need. I spent many hours reading articles online- comparing different ingredients to see what combination/recipe worked for me. I wanted to mix the least amount of ingredients possible, but a finishing product that still held up in the moisturizing department (since I also have extremely dry skin). After many failed batches, adding a little more of this, taking away a little more of that, I came up with a recipe that works for me. Since I’ve been bragging about how much I love my homemade body wash, I’ve had quite a few people ask how to make it, so I’ve decided to not be stingy & share Smile 

It’s simple & easy…hope it works out for ya’ll!

Homemade Body Wash

What you’ll need:

water (approximately 1qt)

1 bar Castile Soap (I use Kirk’s-its made with coconut oil, no preservatives & not tested on animals)

4oz liquid Glycerin (again, no preservatives, all natural…its nature’s moisturizer)

scented essential oil (optional. Most are vegetable based & extracted with little preservation involved)

soap coloring (I rarely use this-just not necessary for myself, however, if you’re gifting out might want to add a pretty color.)

 

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Step 1: Boil water in large pot & add bar of Castile soap. Let water boil until soap is completely broken down. Should take about 15min’s-you can also use a food processor to cut soap into small shavings. I tried this & it did make this step a lot faster, however, I was worried it would dull my food processor blades. Also, the first time I made this I used distilled water & skipped the boiling process. It took a lot longer for the soap to completely dissolve (hours instead of minutes), but the body wash was softer. Not enough to matter to me, but might be important to others.

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Step 2: After soap is completely dissolved, let it cool down enough to be warm & not scolding, add 4oz. of liquid Glycerin. If you choose, you can add your scented oil at this time (use “essential” oil). I like the lighter scents (lilac is my favorite). I just add it until I can barely begin to smell it.  This is the step where you would also add your soap coloring if you want color. I used orange so it would show up better in the pictures.

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Step 3:  I used empty body wash containers to store my homemade body wash. They’re the perfect fit & you can fill about 2 bottles using this recipe. Using a funnel pour liquid body wash into containers (about 3/4 way full). This step can be messy so make sure you put your body wash containers in another container to catch any overspill.

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Step 4: Make sure the bottles are only 3/4 way filled. The Glycerin & soap will coagulate together & harden up (takes about 4hours). Prior to use you’ll need to add water & shake to mix together. The body wash will look lumpy & gloopy, but once it mixes together it will have the consistency & look of the store-bought body wash that you’re used to seeing.

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