Imperfect food review #1

In the winter we do eat a lot of our own canned food. However, we miss access to fresh foods. We can get a lot of things from the grocery store, but usually don’t. Why?! It’s because it usually doesn’t taste good. Things go from rock hard to spoiled and don’t ripen. I just get tired of wasting money on things that end up in my compost pile or fed to the chickens.

So, we decided to get an order from imperfect food. They deliver here (with minimal and recyclable packaging) and it’s customizable. I’m picky and there are certain things that we just won’t eat. Now, on to our first order:

This is the small 1-2 person box!

It’s missing the sweet potato that was used in making some dog food (our bulldog has extreme allergies) and one fuyu persimmon is missing too because I ate it! (Pretty good!)

Overall, it was exactly what we put in the cart and I was able to form my meals around what we received. We only had one apple with a bad spot, but not a big deal. I compare priced the items at our local store and it’s almost exactly the same price ($32 ish). *and that’s not including the promo code that we got to use on the first box.

Here’s what we did with what we have used so far:

We have snacked on the oranges
The beef was used in tacos and we loved he sautéed Brussels
Some carrots were used in the bean soup
I made a tiny jar of apple/pear sauce
The chicken became orange chicken
New potatoes were boiled and then sautéed. Yum!
Lemon bars!

I was really impressed with the order and I am looking forward to receiving the next shipping! I plan on using this service until we start harvesting again and then I will take some weeks off and visit our own farmer’s market and enjoy eating local.

And, I was not paid or encouraged to do this review! It was my own honest review!

Keep blooming friends!

2019 Goals Finale!

Hello 2020! After staying up finishing my quilt on New Year’s Eve, I am proud to say that my goals went pretty well this year!

2019 can be best described as the craziest roller coaster ride that I have ever been on. The ups have been going fantastic places and meeting fabulous people! The rough part has been watching my favorite person battle cancer and have way too many complications.

Beekeeping in December!
Crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– ✔️ Yes, it’s finished! And I love it!

2. Keep doing good for our community.✔️ we have done a lot with our little free library and also decorated the town for Christmas. We helped organize the town cleanup and did a few of our own street cleanups.

3. Can and save money on our groceries:✔️ We has a pretty rocking garden this year. We canned so many green beans, some salsa, jams and some pickles!

Moon and stars watermelon

Dickinson pumpkins

4. Use that camper some more!: ❌Maybe in 2020!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so we couldn’t get the camper out.

Ocean City!

5. Compost!: ✔️We composted 148 pumpkins, several bags of leaves and over 100 pounds of holiday waste. So much future garden food!

Holiday composting

6.Little free library/seed sharing- ✔️The Mr. built it, so many donated books towards it and many have utilized it. And the best part, it’s in memory of my sweet sister who loved reading and always wanted to be an author.

7. Grow some new plants: ✔️We grew so many new plants this year! The ground cherries turned out to be my favorite! But I also love how different and pretty that the Dickinson pumpkins are! Plus, the nest egg gourds are beautiful!

Our last harvest of the year.

Nest egg gourd

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. ✔️We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We harvested zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

**we have some trellis ideas for this space and ideas of what we are going to grow next year!

The after!

9. Keep reducing our trash ✔️We took out 7 bags of trash this whole year! Since I have been away a lot this year, I can say that I missed out on always getting pictures! But, we will try to do better in 2020!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-✔️ It happened! We created a monarch waystation! That habitat was loved and used by so many pollinators! We released 186 butterflies (108 females and 78 males) plus a few swallowtails and even this beauty:

Pollinator garden in late September!

11. Teach the teen life skills– ✔️He had several tie tying lessons and he’s kind of getting it. Lucky for him, his momma is a good at that! Plus, he’s so much better at managing time and tracking his own grades.

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– ✔️We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We made some spending $ for his trip and lots of neighbors enjoyed the cheap and local produce!

The last garden cart of 2019

Disney World was a delight!

See you later 2019! I am planning out what I’m going to accomplish in 2020 in my neighborhood/home/classroom! I hope that you’re completing your goals and thinking about 2020!

Keep blooming friends!!

Chicken Quilt Reveal!

It all started out with a pattern that I found on Pinterest! I made a test square using scrap fabric and I decided that in 2019 that I would make my first quilt! Here’s the pattern that I used to make a Chicken quilt square

I learned from a few mistakes and started whipping out the squares!

All together I made 40 chickens and I spent one afternoon placing the squares exactly where I wanted them to go! Once I had them perfectly placed, I cut and sewed the squares together.

And then I sewed on the edging.

The quilt sat around asking to be finished for way too long. Then, on New Year’s Eve, I decided to finally quilt it. Lucky for me, my mom has a long arm machine and didn’t mind spending an afternoon teaching me how to use!

Next up, I cut off all of the extra batting, trimmed the backing, and used it to be the edging!

The front!
The back!

The finished project!

I am loving the finished project and I’m already planning out what the next quilt will be! I am so glad to put a big ✔️ next to my last goal for the year!

Now that it’s 2020, what are your goals for this year?!

Beautiful December Week!

It has been so incredibly warm this week! Like, 60 degrees warm! I won’t complain at all!

Let me share my favorite thing that I got for Christmas:

I plan on riding this sweet ride to and from work when the weather allows. It has both a pedal assist and a throttle. It is ridiculously fun to ride!

I made some sugar patties for my bee friends and I was even able to get them out into the hives. The bees did not enjoy my visit, but I feel better knowing that they have a little extra food for the winter!

I also spent a nice chunk of the day moving the aged compost into the garden and turning the pumpkin compost into a new container. We took in a total of 148 pumpkins and we will be taking in holiday compost buckets this weekend!

Aged compost. Look at those worms!

The yummy dinner that I whipped up tonight was mostly homegrown! We are still using produce from our garden! Those are some of our homegrown potatoes and our last delicata squash. Roasted in the oven is the way to go with them!

And lastly, I have been enjoying my indoor plants. I am loving succulents and propagating them! This little baby is adorable!

I hope that you have had a few moments of joy during the holiday season! I’m trying to knock out the last of my goals for 2019 and I have some ambitious goals for 2020!

Potato stamp wrapping paper

I catch myself getting a little bummed by how much waste is created by the holidays. So, I do my best to cut way back on gifts, give experiences and avoid all of the holiday excess.

When it comes to wrapping paper, so much if it is not recyclable. Then, there’s the plastic tape and ribbons. So. Much. Trash!!

This year I decided to make my own paper using things that I have around here. My momma taught me how to make potato stamps when I was young.

I used a couple of my homegrown potatoes. (Yes, that one is a purple potato!) I cut them in half and then just drew on some easy shapes. Then I cut them out:

And nope, I don’t get the newspaper either! But, my husband rescued these from work! And yes, that oui yogurt cup was rescued too!

So, after the potatoes dry off for a bit, I painted on some craft paint that I had here. Then, I stamped it on the newspaper. (By the way, make sure that you read the pages a little first. I avoid the obituaries and not so great articles!)

Don’t these stamps look beautiful all painted and ready to be used?!

I can’t wait to see our paper put to use!

Then, it will either be burned or composted!

How are you all bring a little more green this holiday season?!

Who wants pie?!

This year I grew one really different looking pumpkin! I read that it’s the same kind of pumpkin grown and used by the Libby company. The funny part is, that it looks more like a squash than a pumpkin!

They grew really well here and were not attacked by vine borers or squash bugs too badly.

Since they are pie pumpkins, I couldn’t wait to make a pie! (Always make sure that you start with a variety of pie pumpkin! Field pumpkins are stringy and do not make a good pie!)

Now onto the pie making process! First I harvested these beauties:

Dickinson pumpkins!

After that I cut them in half, took out the seeds, roasted them in the crockpot (you can do this in the oven too), scraped out the softened pumpkin, puréed it and then mixed it with other pie ingredients!

Sliced in half and deseed

Roasted in the crockpot
Pumpkin purée!

The end result!

The guys say that it was delicious!

And now for my favorite fresh Pumpkin pie recipe

Have a great week and start dreaming about that pumpkin pie! (Or, if you’re like me, continue dreaming about what that garden is going to look like in 2020!

Keep blooming!!

October 2019 Goals

Hello November! Yes, it’s already day 12 of the month, but October was still beautiful! The leaves were so colorful this year!

During October I visited Ocean City MD to attend a conference and then back to Baltimore for the teacher of the year gala. It was a fun night!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. Everything is sewn and I just need to quilt and bind it! ** I decided that this will be a December project!

2. Keep doing good for our community.

I had a book giveaway with Halloween. A few kids got a new book! I also finally got the plastic film collection box dropped off at town hall.

3. Can and save money on our groceries: I have been cleaning out the garden, so not much to be harvested! But, I did harvest all of those Dickinson pumpkins! Then, I roasted a couple and turned some into a pie!

The boys gave it 2 thumbs up!

4. Use that camper some more!: In October I traveled a few places to watch our teen play the bass drum in marching band. I also went to Ocean City for a conference and the gala in Baltimore!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so I don’t think that we will be doing much traveling this year.

Ocean City!

5. Compost!: We are taking in pumpkins, corn stalks and leaves in the months to come! (And getting a good many so far!)

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library has been having many guests! We got a few extra for Halloween too! Plus, we have been getting so many book donations that we need to go book bomb some other libraries!

7. Grow some new plants: We grew so many new plants this year! The ground cherries turned out to be my favorite! But I also love how different and pretty that the Dickinson pumpkins are! I’m starting to look through seed catalogues at new ideas for next year!

Our last harvest of the year.

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We are still harvesting zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

**we have some trellis ideas for this space and ideas of what we are going to grow!

The after!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 5. Bag 4 left the house.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-It happened! We have a monarch waystation! That habitat was loved and used by so many pollinators! We released 186 butterflies (108 females and 78 males) plus a few swallowtails and even this beauty:

Pollinator garden in late September!

11. Teach the teen life skills– the boy is growing up way too fast. He will be in high school next year. I want him to be ready to be an independent adult when he decides to leave the nest many years from now!

*he had several tie tying lessons and he’s kind of getting it. Lucky for him, his momma is a good at that!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We made some spending $ for his trip and lots of neighbors enjoyed the cheap and local produce!

The last garden cart of 2019

October was flew by! I’m still can’t believe that it’s November! I’m already planning out what I’m going to accomplish this year in my neighborhood/homes/classroom! I hope that your completing your goals and thinking about 2020!

Keep blooming friends!!

Harvesting and planting on a Monday night

We had a light frost on Sunday evening, so I decided it was time to start bringing in most of the pumpkins and gourds!

I am absolutely proud of the huge Dickinson pumpkins that I grew this year! All 98 pounds of them! Plus, the birds helped to clean up the garden while I was working!

Beautiful colored pumpkins!
Ducks and chickens cleaning the garden!

We also were able to get more squash and a few more gourds out of the garden! Plus a few dried beans too!

Delicata squash
Scarlet runner beans
Birdhouse gourds
Spinner gourds
Egg gourds and a few jalapeños

Since the weather was so nice, I decided I better get the garlic in the ground too! And yes, there was a lot of compost added to the soil!

I saved lots of garlic for planting!
Lots of compost for the garlic!
Gorgeous strawberry blonde calendula

It turned out to be one great Monday night! If only winter went as fast as summer! Keep blooming! 🌸💚

September 2019 Goals Update

Goals are meant to be crushed, right?! That’s exactly what I’m trying to do as a mom, teacher and organic gardener. But, I don’t feel like I have been focused enough on these goals. So, I’m going to be working harder in October!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. Everything is sewn and I just need to quilt and bind it! ** When momma feels up for it, we will quilt it!**

2. Keep doing good for our community.

We had a big book exchange in honor of my sister for her birthday! It was nice to see so many people utilizing the library!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We are still harvesting a good bit from the garden! (Especially cherry tomatoes, peppers and cucamelons!) So, not much preserving, but at least produce is still good coming in!

Purple potatoes!

4. Use that camper some more!: In September I spent some time on Tylerton Island (Smith Island) and learned all about the Chesapeake Bay and met lots of locals!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so I don’t think that we will be doing much traveling this summer.

Sunrise paddling!
Smith Island Cake!
That little dot is a baby crab!

5. Compost!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off. Plus, we compost everything that we can here! We will be taking in pumpkins, corn stalks and leaves in months to come!

Composting on the island!

Our compost is looking good!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library has been having more guests, since the garden cart has been out so much!

7. Grow some new plants: The ground cherries are still growing well! Now the Hawaiian peppers are taking off and I’m harvesting some gourds. In the garden, the Mexican sunflowers are a great nectar and pollen source!

Hawaiian peppers
Egg gourds
Mexican sunflowers

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We are still harvesting zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

The after!

Luffa gourd growing!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 4. Bag 3 was thrown out while I was out of town and the Mr. doesn’t take pictures of our garbage. 😆

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-It happened! We have a monarch waystation! That habitat is being loved and used by so many pollinators! We are still finding caterpillars out there. We have released over 150 and I have sent in our data for all of our tagged monarchs!

Pollinator garden in late September!

11. Teach the teen life skills– the boy is growing up way too fast. He will be in high school next year. I want him to be ready to be an independent adult when he decides to leave the nest many years from now!

*he has been learning lessons on time management! Between long practices, not getting back until late on school nights and lots of homework, he’s still getting his work finished.

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We are slowly making a little bit at a time! (We should be having a few more garden cart sales this year!)

September was filled with lots of fun events, and this whole teacher of the year thing is such an honor! I’m already planning out what I’m going to accomplish this year in my classroom! I hope that your completing your goals and thinking about 2020!!

Keep blooming friends!!

Visiting Tylerton Island and learning about the Chesapeake Bay

The past few days I went on one memorable adventure. Since I was chosen as a teacher of the year, we were given a trip to Smith Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay! I walked away with a great group of new friends and a fire in my soul to make the world a better place.

Such a beautiful little town with amazing people!
A baby blue crab that we found combing grasses in the Bay!
We have a lesson with a local and she taught us how to make a Smith Island cake!
Sunrise canoeing in the bay!
We caught crabs!
I found a beekeeper on the island!
I got to pull in the rake that we used on the seas grass!
Kiss the fish before you set the trap!
My napkin for the couple days!
We found a pomegranate tree!
The compost bin in the kitchen
The compost bin outdoors!
I loved this sink setup!

The facility that is run by The Chesapeake Bay Foundation was beautifully green. There was a compost bin, recycling and the kitchen that was so efficiently green. I can’t say thank you enough to the people who made this happen. I am one happy greenie and I can’t wait to share with my students! Students learn even better when they can tell that you are passionate about certain topics, and they will definitely see my love come out when I talk about the bay from now on!