2013 in Review

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I last posted. I’ve thought about it a lot, but just never sat down to write. Had a few hosting issues along the way, too. But I’m back!

So, how was your 2013? Mine was pretty good! I actually did a lot of the things I set out to do the beginning of 2013. Here are the highlights:

  • I finished remodeling my kitchen – March 2013

kitchenbefore kitchenafter

  • I remodeled my bathroom (with tons of help from dad) – December 2013

bathroombefore bathroomafter

  • I visited a new place I’d never been to: Alaska – August 2013

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  • I went paragliding of the edge of a mountain – August 2013

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  • I joined an online dating service and went on a few dates and met good peeps.
  • I even ate new vegetables!

Of course, there are a number of things I said I’d do that I didn’t do. I didn’t lose those 10lbs in 2013, although I’m working on it now. I didn’t get my PM certification, but am working on that too. I kept my house clean, but only in between remodeling projects. And I still have shows on my DVR from 2012. But, hey, you can’t keep all your resolutions, right? What would you resolve to do the next year?

I have no real resolutions this year. I hope to travel more. I hope to get in better shape. I hope to meet a special someone. And, I hope to spend a little more time with my blog. Have a few ideas lined up in my head – is there anything you want to see?

Thanks for coming back!

Lisa

Spring is almost here! It is not to late to start planting seeds for a home-grown vegetable garden!

When I was a kid, I hated my parents’ garden. Mostly because it restricted where I could play, required me to weed, and determined the direction in which I could blow dandelions. But, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to love the feeling accomplishment found in growing my own vegetables. The accomplishment is even greater when I start those vegetable plants from seed. Sure, you can buy plants, but it is cheaper, more satisfying, and you’ll have more selection if you start from seed. (and no, that’s not a picture of my garden. Wish it was though!)

Each year, I find myself planting later than I should, but it is still not too late! You, too, can start your own vegetable garden!

Here’s what you need to start:

1. Seed starting kit. I like these. You can find them at all home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware), as well as many drug stores, Walmart/Target and other home stores.  They come in various sizes – from 9 – 72 pellet sizes. I also like them because you can keep the plastic container and buy pellet refills. But, if you don’t like that option, you can also purchase small pots and potting soil and start seeds that way.

2. Seeds. Determine what you want to grow and buy the seeds. Some people are picky about organic seeds, name brands etc. You can find most seeds in the stores listed above, or at local nurseries.

3. A way to label. Always mark your seeds somehow – whether drawing a grid on paper, or by writing on markers. Seedlings tend to look similar and unless you know the difference by sight, you’ll want to know what you’re growing!

4. Water and Light.  Keep your seedlings well lit and watered. More on this later.

Getting Started – When to Plant

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Save your salad!

As a single girl, I’ve discovered I throw away so much food. I just can’t seem to eat it all before it goes bad. The worst are the packaged salad mixes. They last two days, maybe three, before the lettuce turns soggy and mushy against the plastic bag. Half the time, the lettuce is already wet and mushy when you buy it!

I have discovered a solution, a pretty simple one. When you buy bagged salad, immediately open it up (well, ok, when you get home!) and empty the contents into a colander in the sink.

Sort through it, taking out any bruised or mushy leaves. Next, gently shake it in the colander a bit to get the water off and separate the leaves. Let it sit for an hour or two, until it’s dry. Be sure not to leave it out too long, or it will start to wilt, which defeats the whole point!

Once it’s dry, put the lettuce in Tupperware or a plastic container. Don’t pack it in too tight – keep it loose so the air can circulate. This trick also works for the boxed lettuce. You can put some of the lettuce back into the plastic box, but not all of it! It will be too squished, and you’ll be back where you started. Put about half in the box, and put the rest in new containers.

Store the container(s) in the refrigerator and it should keep for at least a week, sometimes longer.

This trick has been a great money saver! And now I’m able to buy my two favorite mixed salad bags (Arugula Blend and Herb Salad mix from Trader Joe’s), combine them, and eat them until they’re gone, instead of until they go bad!