Greening up the school!

This has been a pretty great week at school! In case you are just stopping by, I am a third grade teacher and teach all of the regular curriculum and squeeze in Earth friendly lessons along the way.

Last year we were able to start a cereal bowl recycling program and recycled a grand total of around 500. More teachers have jumped on board and now we are recycling more!

9A4AF6D3-7ECE-4A4D-A08A-CCC457FFB3F2
So far 446! (Since August!)

We have had a paper recycling program going on since I started teaching at the school that I teach at. However, last year we only had one out of many cans recycled due to contamination. So, this year we changed up the program, added more guidelines and it is going so much better! After sorting through it, I only had to pull out a few crayons, glue sticks and gross tissues.

D9EC6E1D-096A-4217-9CA3-2E2FFF7FC081
Almost 90 pounds! 

Last year I started begging about wanting to do some composting at school. I was told no, but persisted. Then I started a neighborhood composting program with my son this summer to learn more and practice mixing the browns and greens. Then, revisited it with my principal and composting guru and now we will be having waste free Wednesdays with our grade level. I can not even tell you how happy my green heart is!

89B8BF59-99EA-48DE-8067-49CB449EE473
One of our new compost bins! 

Speaking of composting, we are up over 900 pounds here with our neighborhood program and have a goal of 1,000 pounds before we go on winter break. I hope that it happens!

32CBD826-A508-44B0-9927-71C24E4E0EE3
Getting closer! 

And lastly, we finally had to take out the trash. This is only bag 4 for the whole year! We might just reach our goal!

4500DF93-C916-4BFB-ABB0-FC26455904A4
Bag 4 for the year

So, pretty great progress this week! I have so many ideas that I want to do in the future! I love the feeling of hard work paying off and being given the chance to prove that I can do something! Here’s to teaching some 8 year olds how important this Earth is!

No Spend September Update

This no spend year has been much harder on the Mr., instead of myself. He’s is the spender and I am the saver. I was so proud of him for not buying me expensive stuff for my birthday! He even reused a gift bag that I had saved! ❤️

As a gift, I got a grab bag of seeds, compost thermometer and a new pair of sanuks, since mine were getting holes. (Btw, MIgardener has these grab bags for only $10!) Phenomenal deal!

61C7268F-C48D-4727-BA8A-BB84F9201AE8
30 seed packs picked at random! 💚

I also decorated the house for Fall with what I grew. Everything is from the garden and I spent a whopping nothing!

4A671F3C-7BAB-4213-9420-038BA5DD2748

10216D67-6BCA-4BDA-9DA3-BF5712A2E23C
Our beautiful glass gem corn!

I have also been saving lots of seeds, so that I don’t have to buy more next year! So far I have put up several types of beans, dill, cosmos, ground cherries and I’m working on fermenting cucamelon seeds.

8F37A9B3-4F59-4E3E-B655-5BE7A79B4499
Cosmos seeds
E025FF5D-15C2-4296-8641-6B0B30901A38
We saved the Paw Paw seeds from our hike

Speaking of hike, we enjoyed going out to a local trail. We stopped at a comic book store that my boy loves along the way. So, it was a great family day!

C7FE8CCE-4FD9-4672-ABA0-DF7A9CE29506
Beautiful hike

I also enjoyed raising some monarchs that were on the milkweed! It was free to do and so much fun! The whole family enjoyed searching for the tiny caterpillars on our plants!

0F9C74E9-0834-4615-80A3-C1C5291632A5
One of our handraised beauties

We were able to start paying more on the house since I am back to work and are planning on becoming debt free in less than 5 years, pending health and staying accident free! Keep pushing on and thinking twice before buying those wants!

Does anyone else have some tips for saving more? Please share in the commmebts! 😊

September Goals Update 2018

Hello October! September was pretty good to us! I mean, it was my birthday this month! And I got seeds and a compost thermometer (along with other great things!) We were able to still harvest some fruits and veggies and the flowers keep blooming too! So, here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden- ✅it happened! Everything is slowing down and harvests are becoming few and far between. But, we still have some yumminess coming out of our garden!

BE9BBE3D-A018-4160-98DA-6E55291BCEC3
Garden in September 

2. Fix the camper- ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! I catch myself thinking about the fun that we had this summer often!

E73191BA-419F-4842-9102-D160BCBE345D

3.Travel out west- ✅ We did it and enjoyed every single stop! I loved hiking the trails and still think about how we packed a lunch, went on a long hike and then ate our lunch while watching buffalo and wild horses in the distance! 🌏💚

CD7D2EB4-9B05-4771-9815-B5F4EF5C3F58
Natural bridge in Yellowstone 
EA27B874-C6EF-4CAE-98D0-EFC3E93A4134
Buffalo in North Dakota 

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat ✅ There was grass patch in front of the garage that was begging to be returned to nature. So, we did! There is still so much blooming! And my favorite part is that I have been able to raise and release monarchs because of the milkweed planted! Plus I’m saving seeds for next year and to share!

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. Still only 3 bags!

8DF635B8-6627-4C13-87BE-904D0E685174
Love that photo bomber! 

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- I didn’t do a grand gesture last month. We shared produce and started looking at sites for a community garden that I’d like to help with. We also attended the town meeting and asked about a good location.

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  This month I had the Mr. help to paint them ends of some silverware (to help them not be left at home) to put in the faculty room to deter people from using disposables. It’s working so far!

02A45C69-A262-4C2E-8F6A-BC7B5EFE22E0
Reuse! 

8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are looking great! They were repotted and put outside to get used to the weather.

We went hiking and found some paw paws to try! They were good!

C1848ADD-854E-4438-A1E5-145F93D00EB4
Paw paw! 

9. Build a pizza oven- ❎ we are not doing this one this year. We are trying to figure out how we are going to change up the backyard next year! (We have an interesting plan for next year!)

10. Grow different produce- We have grow so many different plants! Huge gourds, different melons and glass gem corn!

10216D67-6BCA-4BDA-9DA3-BF5712A2E23C
Glass gem corn on the door
C02ED336-3BB7-4D43-8DA3-03C831B92E5D
Gourds galore! 

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- September was a rainy month, but we still produced enough power to keep our bill at the $5 connection rate!

F514C5B7-8084-440E-88CE-585C3E3DBFC5
Not bad considering it rained nearly everyday! 

12. Work on garden cart sales- We mainly sold honey in September and we are looking forward to a big craft show this month!

C645EDD1-2FA3-4B5C-80EE-B71E28ABF08C
Honey! 

I am pretty proud of the steps that we are making towards achieving our goals! And, I have a list of 20 different goals that are on the chopping block for 2019! Are you thinking about next year already? Anything that you think we should give a try to?

Keep blooming friends! 🌱

A plan that actually worked!

Last year right around this time of the year, I had an interesting idea. It was to expand the garden to go out around the bee area and attach in to the chicken run. I even posted this:

8CF6D954-DEAE-49D9-9810-9258A52647D3
My 2017 dream! 

Last Fall my mister was awesome and tilled that area and I planted some different cover crops. The old fence was taken down and I started planning for spring! When it finally arrived, we put up t posts, fencing, lots of mulch and weed paper around the perimeter. It was at that point that I thought that I may have overcommitted!

image
The garden door and no fence

Once all of the fencing was installed, we had to fill it all again, made a mulched walkway, trellis around the beeyard side and planted the seedlings!

img_3502
A very young garden! 

And even after a long trip out west, and the wettest summer in forever, the garden seemed to be thriving!

img_3944
An early season garden 

The trellises held the pole beans well, and the chickens loved that I would toss Japanese beetles to them!

5086F77A-F66B-4C87-B111-24D8A2FA625E
Trellises full of beans and gourds 

And then today, exactly what I had dreamed and hoped would happen last year worked out! While cleaning out the garden, I just opened up the door to the chicken area and they helped clean the garden with me! No more dragging everything from the chicken run for them to check it out. It was well worth of the work!

FA7AA4A3-E61B-4167-931A-6A439829CE6E
Chickens checking around the gourds 
9C6318EF-038B-47C3-867B-C985AD7D47E1
They also cleaned up under the trellis! 

They spent so much of the day in there scratching around, eating pesky bugs and enjoying digging under the corn stalks! It was all worth the hard work!

I always wonder if I’m crazy for not wanting to move, but then moments like today happens! Keep blooming friends (even when you are pretty sure that you are in over your head!)

August Goals Update 2018

Well September, you just snuck right up on us! August helped to grow some delicious food and work in some fun before school started!  And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden- ✅it happened! Everything is growing pretty well and I’m hoping that I continue to get great harvests! The before and after below!

8CF6D954-DEAE-49D9-9810-9258A52647D3
My big idea
37686419-8EE4-40A9-9D68-A23B17DB7C55
How it turned out! 

 2. Fix the camper- ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! This month we took the camper on another trip in August to the Chesapeake Bay!

6178D29F-FAB2-4E81-AA7E-D3DF2397C789

3.Travel out west- ✅ We did it and enjoyed every single stop! We are still talking about our fun trip and I love hearing the boy talk about what he saw and what he learned! (I am still in awe of all of the beautiful sights that we saw!)

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat ✅ There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. So much is still blooming! And my favorite part is that I have been able to raise and release monarchs because of the milkweed planted!

F30287FC-1FBD-4AF0-8B4E-BCC07CEFDFC6
A beautiful female tgatcwe released last week! 

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We had to finally get rid of bag 3.

8DF635B8-6627-4C13-87BE-904D0E685174

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month we had an excess of cherry tomatoes, so the boy and I walked around the neighborhood to give away extra tomatoes! We also passed along a lot of my boy’s clothes in to people who could use them!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  This month I upcycled some old cat litter containers into recycling centers at school and into more compost buckets for my son’s composting service! 

8AC5796C-A9AE-425E-B343-21FB52981211
Recycling center at school 
45AF297A-2438-4A8C-8A7C-AE53979397EE
Upcycled containers from kitty litter and laundry detergent containers 

8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are looking great! They are going to be repotted this month and set outside to start being put into dormancy for winter.

9. Build a pizza oven- ❎ we are not doing this one this year. We are trying to figure out how we are going to change up the backyard next year!

10. Grow different produce- We have been able to start harvesting some of those different fruits. We ate our first Apple melon this month and have picked so many cucamelons.

FD240FEA-00B5-478B-A257-B3607A4D2CB7
Glass gem corn 
F1B0847E-BA1D-4137-8A19-09E83491EAC6
Apple melons

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- August was a rainy month, but we still produced enough power to keep our bill at the $5 connection rate!

A5A27665-BE65-443F-BE3B-32CE33F72D3A

12. Work on garden cart sales- We have been selling lots of extra produce to friends and neighbors! Mostly tomatoes here lately! I love being able to sell organically grown deliciousness to people who can enjoy it! (Below is before and after our sale)

How have you been crushing your goals lately?! Have you been enjoying any deliciousness from your garden? Keep blooming friends! 🌱

Canning and back to work

Last week was a long one! Going back to work means prepping for a new school year and SO many meetings. (And sitting in seats made for 8 year olds during those meetings!) I am absolutely exhausted by the end of the day! But, everything will be ready by the first day for my students!

I have been able to get in the garden several nights this week and had a few nice harvests! I need to make so much more out of tomatoes!

6E219567-19F4-4FDD-8B65-26BC6B773923
Nice harvest right out of the yard! 

We also had our stand set up this weekend! We had lots of customers!

3CE80599-A9B7-45FD-B4ED-8974A731B1F2
Our tiny produce stand 
B8B5C939-F0C7-4276-8B21-FC6263C0D745
All of the tomatoes still left after the sale! 
3EBBBAAA-14B3-4F86-9D72-F95BB0E44A48
Some salsa ready canned and delicious! 

We finally had to take out the trash. Our goal for the year is to only make 6 bags, so I am thinking that we should be ok!

6D82C66A-2A7F-4709-A84A-9EC2AE6BEB0B
Bag 3 and both dogs made it in the picture! 

We also did the compost pickup today. It takes a lot of scrubbing and cleaning, but we only upcycle unwanted containers for the compost. The regular buckets are from a company’s laundry detergent and the left are kitty litter containers.

45AF297A-2438-4A8C-8A7C-AE53979397EE
Upcycled and ready to be used! 

And check out how much we have composted so far:

8511A7E9-B871-4640-8DD6-0961352E5BB3
717.24 pounds!!!!

And last, but no least, we found 13 more monarch caterpillars that we will be raising and releasing!

7ECD557D-0C66-4169-8035-CF37B6E57DCB
So many babies! 

And our last 2 were ready to be released on Thursday! 1 girl and 1 boy! (The girl flew away immediately!)

A6080F69-163B-49DD-8D4B-A33F5AB3A754
This handsome fellow even posed for me! 

I’m looking forward to getting myself back in the work routine and hopefully having a great school year! Keep blooming! 🌱❤️

No Spend July Update!

July used to be a tough month for us, since I don’t get a paycheck from June until September. (Teacher problems!) We normally had to dip pretty heavily into the savings. However, we haven’t touched it yet!

I was able to score a brand new pair of shorts from the goodwill for a whopping $4. Since my sandals broke, I was able to use the remainder of a gift card and only owed $5!

We have also been selling off our extra produce and we will be putting that money towards seeds for next year!

FA7DB7BF-824D-41F3-A12C-9EC5449918FD
I have awesome neighbors and friends! 

I have also been able to make lots of food from scratch with the ingredients from the garden: salsa, dill fridge pickles, salads, tomato sauce… and that means fewer trips to the grocery store!

2E698F43-F183-48F0-A3AB-B059EE53AF2A
Grateful for a bumper crop!

And we have even been able to put up some for winter! (Which will save me money eventually!)

0B2E3078-B7FA-48B7-BE9B-2D2254D2EDCD
Green beans for winter! 

To keep the garden cart sales rolling, I have started my fall garden seedlings! It looks like there will be more beans, spinach, lettuce and kale!

1F6E2E45-8C7A-4B3E-8A3B-5B50D1377E4E
They have tripled in size since this picture! 

Instead of spending tons of money with entertainment, we spend the days relaxing, walking/working in the garden and my favorite, hammocking with my Sherman!

A84EEDDF-AAFA-40A6-95E5-C2DDD2C5721E
His favorite hobby is relaxing! 

I am hoping to be able to stay away from the savings in August too, which is hard with back to school time. I don’t need anything new and the boy only needs new shoes and basic school supplies. And no, I don’t think a kid needs a whole new wardrobe because it’s the start of another school year!

So, how has your budgeting been going? Are you paying anything off, or have some major financial goals? Whatever you do, keep blooming! 🌱❤️