Friday, June 20, 2014

The Little Garden that Could

Hubby and I took our first stab at gardening this year. While there has been some trial and error, we've already been able to eat some of the veggies of our labors. (See what I did there?)

Baby tomatoes are starting to grow

Eggplant is in the works

Baby peppers

Cantaloupe, Squash, and Broccoli... oh my!

Lettuce and Carrots -- Almost a whole salad

Snap peas growing up the trellis
Slowly, but surely things have started to come in. I am excited for what the next few months will bring us. At this point, though, I have learned one major lesson: Space Out Your Plants!  I didn't leave enough space between all of my veggies to grow and I've needed to be extra diligent about pruning. 

Best wishes!

Project 333 Wannabe Update

First off, it seems that I fell off the blogging wagon again.  After a month of blog posts, I was actually worn out.  That being said, today's post is about where I am at with Project 333.  I tried to remember to take pictures of my outfits every working day for a month, but as you can see I fell a bit short.  It's not the end of the world since the picture project was meant to help me see what I actually wear from my closet.

12 non-repeated outfits
During the course of the month I wore 20 pieces of clothing including belts and shoes.  I guess I can handle Project 333.  The real question is:
What is keeping me from limiting my closet?
I think it comes down fear of the unknown. What if it rains? What if it's too hot or too cold? What if I'm going to an event and have nothing to wear? But this photo project has shown me that I can manage to wear a limited closet over the course of a month with 13 pieces to spare. I guess that means I need to just plan for the what ifs in my 33 items and trust that I can make it work. My weekend project will be going through my closet and picking my 33 items for the July - August round.

On the surface, I'm a little apprehensive about such a feat. During those three months I have two family trips and one conference. On the upside, I'm done teaching for the time being and don't need to plan as much for work. Since I practically live in jeans on my non-teaching days -- evidenced by jeans being in 5 of the 12 outfits -- I think that I can handle it. 

How have you tamed your fears to try something new?

Best wishes!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Another family addition

A few months ago I found out that my brother and his wife, D and J, are expecting a baby in late November. I am so excited to be an Aunt again. I am already the aunt to two wonderful boys from my other brother and his wife, R and M. (Yes, I have a few brothers. This is where not using names gets tough.) As soon as I found out, I set out to start a couple new crochet projects -- a baby blanket and a basket with washcloths and toys. The baby blanket is still in the works, but I thought I would talk about the basket of goodies.

You might remember the oops I made with Sisko's crocheted dog bed a few weeks ago. I have already found a home for the basket that resulted from that mistake as my yarn and hook corral, but I plan on using the pattern to make a basket for the goodies that I'm working on. I like the idea of an entirely crocheted gift that can be re-purposed as he/she gets older.  

Sample washcloth for me.
The second component of the basket is the pile of washcloths. I don't have kids, but I do remember going through quite a few washcloths when my sister was born. They are great for giving baths, wiping up quick spills, etc... I found a pattern for a granny square washcloth (here) that uses Lily Sugar'n Cream (available here). I was able to crochet a sample washcloth in about an hour, so this is a quick way for me to get a couple of washcloths.  I am going to keep the sample for me since I plan on making a few modifications for the final product, namely using a smaller hook since I crocheted the sample very loosely. I made three other washcloths with a different pattern. I like how these came out with a super soft texture and very cute.

Gender neutral washcloths
The next part of the project will be to figure out which toy(s) I am going to make and to make a basket to hold it all. I am excited to see this project through until the end.

Best wishes!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Reflecting on a Month of Posts

For the month of May I participated in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) and was challenged to write new blog post each business day of the month. The theme of the month was "nourish" and I tended to use the prompts as spring boards to new ideas. I learned quite a bit about myself and writing on a schedule along the way.

30 days of posting was hard

I normally do one pomodoro of blog writing/maintenance each day and it is usually the first pomodoro of the the day. I like being able to cross "blog" off my list of things to do early because it makes me feel productive and I start the day with a bit of creativity. That being said, writing blog posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I need to be at school became a challenge because I have a specific morning routine that does not often include writing or work. This certainly needs to change for the future.

I sure do like to eat

Since the theme of the month was "nourish," most of my posts revolved around eating. I truly do love the process of cooking and consuming. I also learned that I am generally exercise averse and need to get back on the exercise wagon if I am to be able to continue eating the way that I do. Exercising used to be a way that I nourished my soul, so it would be nice to regain that sense of balance.

Writing is my work

On a normal day I write anywhere from 1500 to 2000 words (a rough estimate) spread across a variety of tasks including note-taking, drafting, editing, communicating, and grading. To be honest, I didn't realize how ingrained writing is in my everyday life. I've sort of rebelled against the fact that publications are the currency of my field, but if I am writing as much as I do I may as well be recognized for it. I also learned that I hold my students to a higher standard of writing because of my focus on it. I do see grading as a communicative task and hope that through my comments and corrections that my students become better writers and communicators.

Ideas for new posts

Writing over the last month, while difficult at times, has challenged me to come up with new ideas for blog posts. I do like writing about what happens in Smith Land on a regular basis, but hope to reach a wider audience as well. To that end, I am going to start incorporating regular "consumption" reviews. These posts will be about the things that we "consume" in Smith Land including media, food, and entertainment. So much of my life is wrapped up lately in the accumulation process and the theory of value that I think this is a way I can mix my research with my life. More to come of course.

Going forward

A month of blogging regularly has taught me that I can indeed keep to a schedule. I think that I am going to continue posting during the week with weekends off, but with more intentional posts. I like having structure and scheduling my posts gives me that. Also, the purpose of this blog has been evolving over time and I like the current direction.

What do you think?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

For the love of lettuce

Thursday, May 29, 2014: Which food do you eat but only endure and not enjoy?

Lettuce is one of my least favorite foods. I find that it doesn't usually have much flavor, gets slimy too quickly, and doesn't fill me up for more than an hour or so. However, I do enjoy eating salads with lots of other veggies, so lettuce is a staple in my diet.

On the upside, we recently started gardening and lettuce is one of the few vegetables that I seem to be able to grow with little fuss. Below is a picture of our backyard garden.


I like to call it our portable garden since everything in it can be relocated to our new home when we eventually move.  So far I have managed to not kill three kinds of tomatoes, an eggplant, several types of squash, sweet peas, spinach, carrots, and two types of lettuce. Most of the garden was started from plants, but we did start the squash from seeds. As the summer progresses I'll post more pictures.

Now back to the lettuce. We have "salad bowl" lettuce and a heartier "head" lettuce.  The salad bowl lettuce tastes really yummy in wraps and on sandwiches, but it is really tender and does not seem to hold up well to salad dressing and veggies. The "head" lettuce, on the other hand, is great for salads. Both taste better than any lettuce I've ever bought from the store. Truth be told, growing lettuce, carrots, and spinach in pots (or containers) doesn't take up much space and could easily be done on a small patio.

Best wishes!