Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating your self.

Category: Mom Life

7 Easy Grow Veggies for Kids

It’s that time of year when winter gradually turns to spring, and the seed catalog find their way  to your mailbox. Now is the time to also involve your children in planning this year’s garden. Start your summer garden by choosing the seeds you will be planting.  My daughter enjoys looking through the colorful pages of the seed catalogs–oohing and ahh-ing over beautiful green peas and rainbow colored flowers.  Gardening with your children is so much fun! Kids learn not only where their food comes from but also care taking and patience. Plus, research shows that children are more likely to try a new vegetable if they have grown it themselves. Teaching your child a lifelong skill of growing her own food is a very valuable lesson indeed. Having grown vegetables and flowers with my oldest daughter as she grew has instilled a love of growing her own food, and now as a young adult she has her own container garden. My youngest daughter is also well on her way to becoming a master gardener as well at the ripe old age of 4.  One of the things I found that  parents can do to foster a love of gardening is to chose vegetables that are easy to grow and do not require anything beyond watering and weeding.

Here is a list of 7 easy to grow vegetables for your family’s garden:

Crisp and a little spicy, radishes are a very hardy, cool season vegetable. Radishes need a lot of sun so be sure to plant them where they will not be shaded. Many varieties will germinate within 3-7 days and can be harvested in about 3 to 4 weeks after planting making them very easy to grow. Be sure to pick them when they are ready as the texture of the radish deteriorates after maturity if not. Bonus: The leaves/greens are edible too!

Popeye was definitely on to this super food. Spinach is also a very hardy, cool season crop. Spinach needs about 6 weeks of cool spring weather from germination to harvest. Full of essential vitamins and minerals, spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. Encourage your child to try easy to grow spinach right out of the garden.

 Cherry Tomatoes
There is nothing in the world like a garden tomato! Although technically a fruit, cherry tomatoes are sweet and juicy and easy for small fingers to pick. Many people opt for tomato starts rather than planting tomatoes by seed. Children will learn transplanting from one container to the next or the garden. Provide full sun and lots of water and your plant will yield a bounty of tasty little tomatoes in late summer.

Eh, what’s up doc! Carrots are a must have for gardening with children. Not only do carrot varieties come in orange but also white, yellow, red, and purple! Carrots although easy to grow take up to 70-80 days to mature. This is where teaching your child gardening patience comes into play. Try planting carrot tape to ensure proper spacing and no need for thinning.

Yes please, pass the peas! Peas have been documented as one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world! Coming in many varieties from snow peas to sugar snap peas, your child will enjoy planting this tasty treat. Soil temperature is the deciding factor on how quickly your peas will reach maturity. Raised beds warm faster than the ground so peas planted in a raised bed will make this easy to grow vegetable germinate faster. Teach your child about seed saving by saving a few shelled peas: air dry the peas and save them in a sealed envelope in a cool dark place until next summer.

The almighty zucchini! A very prolific producer of summer squash, this easy to grow, warm season vegetable is also technically a fruit. Most zucchini varieties take about 60 days to maturity. To help stave off over abundance of zucchini fruits, harvest a few flowers from each plant. The edible flower of the zucchini plant is a fun delicacy to share with your child. Do not let zucchini get overly large or the texture becomes pithy inside the squash. Zucchini fruits can grow up to an inch a day so chose one with your child to measure each day until it is ready to harvest.


Have the most sincere pumpkin patch on the block, and plant easy to grow sugar pumpkins with your child! Sugar pumpkins reach maturity after about 110 days when they are orange and 6-8 inches in diameter. Roasted pumpkins can be used in everything from pies to soup. Seeds can also be roasted and enjoyed as a healthy snack.

Embracing My Inner Kitchen Witch

I am a full-fledged Kitchen Witch and proud of it!  Here are twenty ways I embrace my kitchen witchery:

1.I love the magic I can create with my hands when I am in the kitchen.  From simple suppers to fancy birthday cakes, I come alive when I am kitchen.

2. I love being in my backyard garden harvesting vegetables and herbs for dinner that night, I get so excited to get my seed catalog in the mail every year so I can begin to plan out the upcoming season.

3. I can pour over my collection of vintage Betty Crocker for hours, relishing in the kitschy dinner party ideas.

4.Baking is “my thing”, but I love the stove top just as much.

5.I have my gadgets and power tools.

6. I love sharing my love of cooking and gardening with my daughters and nieces and nephews.

7. I know the healing power of foods for the body and the soul.

8.  Have you seen my Pinterest page?

9. I write my own recipes and have fun modifying others.

10. I don’t cook professionally, but dream of owning a food truck.

11. I would rather cook at home than go out to eat.  Dining out is a rare occasion around my house.

12. I have been paid for my sweets before.

13. I am usually first to sign up to bring treats for bake sales.

14. I have drying herbs hanging from my dining room ceiling and a laundry basket full of spaghetti squash stored in my home office.

15.  I was a member of before the Dinner Spinner app.

16. I meal plan to an extent but like to go with the flow too.

17. I can make a 5 course meal out of thin air.

18. I was in charge of coffee hour for two years at a local church before I got also got sick of being in charge of the dishes as well.

19.  I am not afraid to order gourmet foods off of Amazon.

20. I come from a long line of great cooks many of whom never cooked professionally either.

20 Facts About Me

Hello, dear Reader! It has been too long since my last post. I’ll admit it. I thought it would be easy peasy to keep up with a blog and an infant. Boy, was I wrong. I kept thinking it would be tomorrow that I would pick up my pen or open up my laptop. Tomorrow…and tomorrow..and tomorrow. So many tomorrows have passed that my infant is now a toddler. I guess it is finally “tomorrow” and time to get reacquainted.

1.  I like writing lists except the kind that gets washed off my hand before I get the chance to use it.
2. I believe in fairies.
3. I love riding on the Tilt-a-Whirl.
4. I am an accidental gardener. I’m not sure how I get things to grow, but they do.
5. I love collecting recipes and cookbooks, especially vintage Betty Crocker.
6. I have a rather large extended family.
7. I am a long time  fan of Days of Our Lives.

8.I drink my coffee black 98% of the time.  The rest of the time make mine a double mocha yes on the whipped cream!

9. I am long over due for a new tattoo.

10.  I love rocks.

11. I gotta dance!

12.  I put my lime in the coconut. 

13. I need chocolate in my life.

14.  I eventually put my laundry away.

15, I make up songs to help me find things I have misplaced.  It works every time.

16.  Pharmaceutical commercials freak me out a bit.  All those side effects!

17. My birthday is on October 17ith. I do accept presents.

18.  I bleed blue and gold! Go Cats Go!

19. I can and will sing along to John Denver songs.

20. I really enjoyed writing this list. And the best part is, it won’t wash off.

Having a Baby? Here, Take This Crap!

crappy baby gear2


In this modern world, having a baby means needing a lot of “stuff”.  The baby industry rakes in billions of dollars each year selling everything from carseat/stroller combos to teeny tiny hangers for wee little dresses.   Parents and well-wishers spend a lot of money on that new little bundle of joy for both the necessities and extras.  One of my favorite baby related websites  has a handy dandy calculator to estimate your costs for baby’s first year –not including your hospital or birth center stay.  Since my husband and I do not require childcare, our total comes to a modest $6,929 for our daughter’s first year of life. Those who need to pay for day care will spend over $10,000 for their baby in that first year!  Needless to say, gifts, discounts, and second-hand items are a necessity for most parents.

Our family is blessed to have a large extended family and amazing friends and acquaintances. Everyone was so excited that we were adding on to our family after 22 years! Our first born just turned 22 this year, but that’s another story for another blog post on another day.  Although we had saved some very special outfits, toys, and books, we needed everything, and I mean everything for our second child.  The outpouring of gifts from our circle of family and friends was incredible.  I will always be thankful for the “kick-start” for daughter 2.0.  We seriously did not need to buy any disposable diapers for our baby’s first 3 months of life, and she has a nice stack of blankets and lots of cute clothes in different sizes.  She did receive waaaaaay to many baby hats; and by waaaaaay to many, I mean about 20 hats. Once, she got to be about a month old she couldn’t stand wearing those hats no matter how stylish they were.  **A little helpful hint: don’t gift a lot of hats to one baby if she is a spring or summer baby because unless you live at the North Pole she isn’t going to need that many.

We were also gifted a lot of great second-hand items: clothes, a little tub, and a baby play mat gym.  I absolutely love thrifting and finding great deals myself.  When a friend found a free baby swing on an online garage sale page, I was so excited!  Our oldest daughter loved hers, and I was hoping a swing would be something our youngest would love as well.  After our daughter was a couple of weeks old, we decided to take the swing out and put it together.  Well it went together alright–all except the safety straps.  They were no where to be found. Who the hell gives away broken baby stuff?  To spare my friend’s feelings, I never told her.   She has no children and probably didn’t even think about it, and I know she didn’t take them off.  They were without a doubt missing when she went to pick up the baby swing.

But now what?!  We knew a swing would be another comfort to offer our newborn.  Struggling with the necessity versus luxury dilemma, we held off on purchasing one.  Then a co-worker of my husband mentioned she had a swing she was getting rid of and offered it to him.  She said all it needed was batteries .  (Battery operated baby swings were not a thing when our first born was a baby.  You had to crank it up to get it to go).  My husband brought it home, and we replaced the batteries. Aaaaanndd ….nothing.  We double checked to make sure the batteries were in properly and turned it on again.  Still nothing.  Sigh…. This woman gave us a broken swing.  “Having a baby? Here, take this crap!”

Lesson?  Be wary of free baby equipment.  I know that used car seats are a bit sketchy, legally and liability speaking.  Used swings with no straps? Definitely sketchy.  Free items?  Make sure you can test them out before taking them home or don’t take them.   If you have baby gear you want to gift to someone, make sure it isn’t crappy baby gear. You would think it should be common sense.  But my senses are telling me that some people just want someone else to figure out what to do with their broken crap. Whatever happened to the defunct baby swings?  Well, I have to sheepishly admit that my husband dropped them off  in a stealthy manner in the dark of night outside of Goodwill knowing they have a giant dumpster for broken or unsaleable items.

As I sit here in my living room writing this, our daughter is peacefully napping in her swing we purchased shortly after the second one was found to be a piece of crap.  It was $80 dollars well spent and came with a cord so we wouldn’t need batteries to operate it, and I solemnly swear not to give it away for free if it breaks swing

P.S.  And if anyone has any suggestions how to transition our 6 month old from swing naps to naps in her crib that would be great!



No Shame in This Mom’s Game

Calliope Jane & Me

Calliope Jane & Me

I recently became a mommy again in March of this year. I say “again” because my one and only up until now just celebrated her 22nd birthday! Let me tell you, parenting twenty-two years ago was much different than it is now. First, the hospital setting in labor and delivery was much more relaxed and not as clinical looking. We even had a small sofa in our birthing room! Plus, I was given the option of having my daughter room with me. I was also offered and took advantage of lactation counseling services, something that just wasn’t done here after giving birth to my first-born. Mind you, this was the same hospital where I gave birth to my oldest. Further, technology is so much more advanced in 2016 than it was in 1994. I was so excited to have ultrasounds done with 3-D imaging!   Consumer products such as cell phones, computers with Internet access and Wi-Fi, and digital cameras are found in most American households.  Oh, the pleasure I got from online shopping from my baby register on Amazon from my tablet and deleting unflattering pregnancy photos from my smart phone! This was not the case in 1994.  Here’s something more. Twenty years ago, I hadn’t even heard of the term “Mommy Shaming”. Sure, I would see the mom cliques during school functions when my oldest was growing up. And yeah, I would get a sideways glance from another mommy from time to time, which I usually attributed to being ten years younger and looking it than most of the moms in my daughter’s class. (My husband and I started our family when we were both 21 years old). Sometimes, I would accredit those looks to my obvious baking skills when I brought my offerings to the class bake sales.  Or, those looks could have also been out of a mixture of curiosity or disgust because we are an interracial family.  Needless to say, those fleeting looks did make me feel uncomfortable.  Yet as uncomfortable as I may have felt then, it is nothing compared to the feelings that mommies, including myself, have when another mom out right shames them in a public forum.


Now,  fast forward to 2016. Today, the majority of Mommy Shaming is done from behind a screen and is no better than the cyber-bullying we teach our children to look out for and report.  Google the term “Mommy Shaming”, and you’ll get over 500,000 related results.   In just 4 short months, I have observed the different ways to shame another mommy:


  1. By comparison such as my-child-versus-yours, MommyA-versus-MommyB, or this-way-versus-that-way of doing things

2.  Name calling i.e. thigh-gap crew, sanctimommies, crunchy

3. Acting holier than thou (where the term sanctimommy comes into play and is closely related to #1)

4. Posting articles and memes and tagging a mom you know parents a little differently than you do.


Sadly, before my wee one has even figured out the art of sitting up on her own, I have been on the receiving end of Mommy Shaming; most recently with the double whammy of my-child-versus-yours mixed in with an article to back this other mommy’s claim.  The reason?  I decided to start feeding my child her first foods.  In this case, I had posted a picture of my baby with a happy, messy face.  She really did enjoy that organic oatmeal.  I knew she was curious about foods.  I know she can sit with help of her Boppy Chair. I know that food is just for “fun”.  I know babies need either breastmilk or formula as their main source of nutrition.  What I didn’t know is that I would be shamed for feeding her an age appropriate food: “Ben* has never had baby food ” along with an article about baby-led weaning.  This woman and I have been acquaintances for a few years now.  In fact, her ex-husband and his family have been close family friends since we were children.  This other mommy is also a nurse, and often posts great articles that I read and comment positively on.  The article she included this time was also informative; but I am not weaning my daughter,  just letting her explore food. I am pretty sure this mommy didn’t even realize she had shamed me.  Yet, after comments from my mom, sisters, and girlfriends about how cute my little Sweet Pea was in that picture; this mommy had to put her two cents in about her way of doing things and information to back up her claims.   I just responded by telling her thanks for the article.  Thank goodness for my little sister!  She had my back like she always does and was quick to point out that some babies sleep better with a bit of solid food in their tummies.  (I love you, Kayla!).  But of course, the mommy (would she be considered a sanctimommy?) had to put her cents in and talk about lack of scientific evidence and blah, blah, blah.  Meanwhile, my sister is messaging me to make sure I am okay and to remind me that I am a great mommy and to do what ever works for my family.  To make a long story short, I ended up just deleting the original post because I didn’t want to deal with any more comments from the mommy shamer.

Mommy shaming has become so prevalent in our society that there are even trends in the shame game:

  1. Breastfeeding– vs. formula,  breastfeeding + formula, in public, cover or no cover, up to a year, more than a year
  2. Snacks– organic vs. non-organic snacks
  3. Parties– Pinterest perfect, store-bought vs. homemade, theme vs. no theme
  4. Mom Fashion and Hair– mom jeans, yoga pants, messy buns vs. coiffed hair, natural vs. make-up
  5. Working Mom vs. Stay at Home Mom (SAHM)
  6. Baby food– store bought vs. homemade, baby food vs. baby-led weaning
  7. Baby transportation– baby wearing vs. stroller or carrier

Seriously mommies, unless another mommy is abandoning, abusing or neglecting her child or allowing another person to abuse or neglect her child we don’t need to shame each other.  Are your children fed, clothed, given shelter, and loved? YES!  Are mine? YES!  We are all doing the best we know how on any given day.  My sister summed it perfectly, “What works for you, works for you!”



P.S. This article was not meant to shame my shamer. My story is included to illustrate a mild case of Mommy Shaming.

*Name has been changed.

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