Breaking Down My Goals – Family, Part I

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Family Christmas Photo 2015This year I plan on being more intentional with planning things out with my family.

Not just my immediate family of adorable mini-me’s that my husband and I have created, but with my brother and his family, with my uncles, aunts, cousins and their families, and with my dad.

The three goals I’m listing in this area are:

  • Plant/maintain 12 different types of plants this year

  • Plan 12 intentional events with the family

  • Complete 12 home improvement projects (of any kind)

As I’m trying to improve the length of each blog post, this post only discusses the top two goals, and I’ll get to the third one in a subsequent post.

How I plan to plant and maintain twelve different types of plants

This is my barely surviving oregano plant.

This is my barely surviving oregano plant.

My dying peppermint plant still has a few green leaves on it!

My dying peppermint plant still has a few green leaves on it!

This is my dill (herb) plant. It was dying inside the house and seems to be thriving outside!

This is my dill (herb) plant. It was dying inside the house and seems to be thriving outside!

This is our five year old blackberry bush.

This is our five year old blackberry bush.

The strawberry patch is in full swing in our raised garden.

The strawberry patch is in full swing in our raised garden.

This is my pot of my mother's daffodil bulbs.

This is my pot of my mother’s daffodil bulbs.

This photo was taken in January 2016 of my blueberry bush. It's the one in the center of the photo with the remaining red leaves.

This photo was taken in January 2016 of my blueberry bush. It’s the one in the center of the photo with the remaining red leaves.

There have been many plants come and go into my home and garden.

You can see the photos I’ve placed in this post show various stages of plants, both edible and ornamental.

One of my favorite things to grow however is aloe vera. Aloe Vera succulents

My Aloe plants have thrived at this home for over ten years.  I hope to eventually turn them into a small side business for my oldest, who has asked in the past, but not followed through, on how to make money selling things.  I set up an Etsy shop that I haven’t opened, mainly out of fear that I won’t meet customer expectations.  I don’t have “extra free time” to run an Etsy shop.

My son however, might have that time.  It’s just getting him to commit to doing it with me!

But I digress.

This year, I really want to get to know my plants better.  I’ve been able to grow them and keep them alive, but I really don’t “know” how to take care of my plants.  This is really what the “maintaining” part of my goal is about.

In this post alone, I show eight of my garden plants.

My husband and I have agreed that this year, we’re going to add pumpkins and zucchini, and grow tomato plants again this year.

My indoor plants include Easter lily’s and common house plants, all of which I don’t even know the name of, but I will find them out this year!  All in all, I think I’ll have well over twelve different types of garden/house plants that I both plant and maintain this year.  I can’t believe I’ve never tried adding up the different types until now.

How I want to plan twelve intentional events with the family

If you didn’t already know (or for some reason couldn’t tell) – I’m pretty obsessive-compulsive about having things scheduled out.  In my defense, my husband is too.

In an original discussion we had talking about goals for the year, we wrote down a few important things we want to do with our three children.

One of the things that I’m going to try to do this year is put myself out there for my brother and his family.  His triplets are older now and I have been able to take care of all three of them plus my three in the past, so hopefully my brother and his wife can get a much-needed break.

The last time the triplets came to visit was memorable!

The last time the triplets came to visit was memorable!

I also hope that I can help organize a few more of my extended families functions too.

We have plans to go see an uncle, aunt and their children in Oregon, and help organize an event or two with my nearby cousins and their families.

Our children have been begging us to go to the snow this year, so we’re going to try to plan that first.  I’ll keep you posted on how we do!

Stay tuned for the next blog post on another ‘Family’ oriented goal, trying to complete twelve home improvement projects!

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Five fun things to Welcome Spring

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5 Fun Things to do to Welcome SpringWe have had a beautiful winter in the Central Valley of California.  There have been more days than not where it “felt” like Spring was already upon us, and I wanted to take full advantage of it when the time changed in early March.

Our families top five things to do to welcome Spring became more than five things, but there are so many lists of ten and twenty things to do, that I kept it simple.  If there was only five things, what would those be?

Here’s our list, and I hope you get to make your own list and check it off like we did.

Fly a KiteFly a Kite

Just one windy evening after work we stepped outside and flew our kites.  The one in the photo is a dollar store kite so this doesn’t have to be an expensive thing.  We did realize though that we were going to have some sibling rivalry because we only own two kites.  A trip to the dollar store took care of that for the next time we have a windy day.

Have a picnicHave a Picnic

Another after work thing for us, we made peanut butter sandwiches, had chips, chocolate milk and apple slices outside for dinner.  It’s amazing how fun these seemingly small differences of just to eat outside on a blanket can bring such joy to my husband’s and my hearts….

Plant Flowers from Seeds

Plant Flowers from Seeds

This visual lesson in growth can be used in so many ways.  We have so many things to be grateful for and planting a flower from a seed is so rewarding.  We used old plastic 2-liter bottles to plant the seedlings, and we want to replant them when they get big enough.  The 8-year old read the back of the seed packet and is learning how things grow, when to plant, how and when to water, etc.  The younger two (3 & 4 yrs) just enjoy watering the soil and watching it grow.  The sunflower seeds were $1 plus tax.  We had the soil from our garden project, and we placed a layer of rock about 2-inches thick on the bottom of the plastic “pot.”

img_1893 img_1894Plant a Garden Together 100_0205

We chose to plant two things our children happily eat – tomatoes and strawberries.

We planned a Saturday to spend to do this all day and the kids were involved from the purchase of the wood, to the compacting of the dirt.  The total cost for everything was probably close to $100, but if we planted the seedlings in the ground rather than in a raised bed, it would have been much cheaper.  We chose the raised bed garden so that our dog wouldn’t chew on the plants, and that the kids wouldn’t be tempted to step on them.  We’re excited to get our first batch.

Our oldest was able to help immensely, and our 4-year old some, but our youngest got bored.

In order to involve the youngest, we made strawberry “rocks.” Painting rocks as Strawberries Everyone loves to paint!  Painting rocks is no exception.  It took us several days to paint the rocks the different colors and both sides.  The “seeds” on the rocks were done by using a regular black permanent sharpie marker.  We placed the dried rocks around the strawberry plants to deter birds and mark where the strawberry plants were planted.100_0231

Our fifth and final fun Spring thing was Cleaning!

Have fun Spring Cleaning!

Spring Clean We chose to clean up my old jewelry box shown below to the system shown above.p1020270The most fun thing about this was going through the jewelry itself.  The kids hang out with me everywhere, even when I try to clean.  (Note I said try!  I’m still laughing on the inside.)

My daughter took some of the old necklaces, I was able to go through the earrings and toss the ones that didn’t have a pair, and everyone had a great time with me telling stories of some of the pieces of jewelry I inherited from family and that were important to me.  We talked about wedding rings and thier meaning, and had an overall good time just being together.  Free, meaningful fun.

There is so much more you could do.  We keep telling ourselves we’re going to take an evening walk together to a fast food restaurant for dinner, but that hasn’t gotten done yet.

We try to go outside every evening and play on our little swing set while they are still little, and my husband and I cherish the giggles and laughs while they are young. Play outside

Enjoy it all friends!  I know I am!