The Grounded Gardener: Snapdragons

Since we are preparing to get out of the army and move at the beginning of the year, I am preparing to garden for as cheap as I can. Gardening keeps me well grounded. So there is no way I can skip it. One way to garden cheaply is to collect seeds from your own plants. Collecting seeds from plants you have already purchased makes next year’s plants and seeds free…you can’t beat free!

I have been doing this with marigolds and morning glories for a few years now. If you plant enough seeds something will grow. (sometimes over grow) 20150601_085604

This year I found out that snapdragons can go to seed, if you don’t “dead head” them. They create this AWESOME seed pod, which looks like a skull.

20150601_082856If you gently pinch off the seed pods from the plant, it is safe and will keep blooming. You can also collect them after the plant dies off. If you wait too long to collect the seed pods they will start to drop seeds into the soil under your already growing plant; which will make your snapdragon plant look fuller but hinder your seed collecting progress. After you pinch the seed pod off you want to let the pod dry some in a container. As the20150601_084509 pods start to dry they will drop very tiny dark colored seeds. You can crush or shake the seeds out of the pods as well. Use a sifter to separate any unwanted plant pieces out of your seeds.

 I use an envelope, ziploc or paper bags to store my seeds and always label them with the plant name and year I harvested them. Store your seeds in a cool dry place.

I think collecting seeds is an important part of gardening, especially if you are an organic or chemical free gardener. Collecting seeds from your own plants can help you save money and keep your healthy plants growing for many generations. If you end up with too many seeds you can pass them to a friend or neighbor, set up a seed swap or even sell them online.

Do you collect seeds from your garden?

Namaste <3

JEM

The MEANER, GREENER Cleaner.

**Update on the All Purpose Green Cleaner. **

I have been using only this green cleaner for about 4 years now. I love it! I will never go back to any store bought cleaner, chemical free or not. I use it on my counters, floors, tub, walls and doors, you name it I used JEM’s Green Cleaner on it. I’ve even used it to wash clothes before. I have shared it, sold it and gifted it many times; and I hear nothing but pleased responses. Not only is it cheap and easy to make; it also is safe for children and pets. All 4 of my children (ages 14-7) use it.

My friends 3 year old daughter colored all over her antique table with markers. Jem’s Green Cleaner took the marker right off without messing up the wood or finish.

This batch makes about a gallon of cleaner. It cost about $2.00 to make and last me 4 to 6 months. (Depending on how many times I need to mop the floor)meaner greener cleaner

All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate

  • ¼ cup washing soda
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup borax
  • 64 oz hot water
  • 1 cup liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s magic soap)
  • 24-36 oz white vinegar
  • 50-60 drops of lavender Essential oil
  • 30-40 drops of tea tree Essential oil
  • 50- 60 drops of Eucalypts essential oil
  • 50-60 drops of lemon Essential oil

Make sure you add the vinegar to dry products before you add anything else. Shake well, once the reaction stops foaming add half the water, then add the castile soap. Shake well. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with hot water. Now add the oils. Shake well.

Makes a gallon.

SHAKE WELL BEFORE EACH USE.

To fill a spray bottle with all purpose cleaner add half water half cleaner. Shake well.

The all purpose cleaner can be use in mop bucket for floors, just add a few ounces of cleaner then fill the bucket up.

Hints:

  • When using in a spray bottle add water before cleaner. The cleaner foams up less.
  • Essential oils are optional, but are not used only for their scent they have lots of properties to keep bacteria and other “germs” away. I wouldn’t use cleaner without them.
  • Sometimes adding half the water before vinegar helps with foaming but can cause dry ingredients to clump.
  • Try to find reused or recycled bottles to help keep your cost down.

Try it you WILL like it!

Namaste <3

JEM

Suncatchers, (how to add some fun color into your life) #kidfriendlycraft

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I am always looking for fun ways to keep the kids away from screens. We love crafting and these colorful sun catchers were a perfect way to spend our afternoon.

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This you will need:

  • Clear plastic beads
  • Glass beads
  • Metal muffin pans or fun shaped cookie cutters
  • Oven or grill
  • Dremal tool or small drill bit
  • Fishing line

Steps for molding the sun catchers:

  1. Heated the oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Place the plastic beads in the cookie cutters and muffin pan. One layer deep. If u20140524_152409sing cookie cutters, place cookie cutters on a cookie sheet or metal pan before adding beads.
  3. Place the pans and beads in the oven for about 30 minutes or until fully melted.
  4. Once they were melted, place them on a cooling rack. It didn’t take long to cool.
  5. After the sun catchers are cool; pop them right out of the metal molds.20140525_163825
  6. Now drill small holes in the sun catchers. (use eye protection)
  7. Thread the fishing line through the drilled holes and add some colorful glass beads for some extra fun.
  8. Tie off and hang to add some color anywhere in your home or outside.

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I also made a few wind chimes by repurposing a wooden rod that had been lying around for a while. I cut the rod in smaller sections then drilled some holes through the rod. I attached the sun catchers through the holes with fishing line. I found that stringing the sun catchers and beads on the fishing line first made them hang nicer off the wooden rod. Be creative and step out of the box to make some really cool sun catchers on the cheap.20140525_163904

20140525_163833**Notes**

  • Use eye protection while drilling plastic. Safety first!
  • Keep home well ventilated, or do it outside on your grill, while melting the plastic.
  • If you string the sun catcher first it will hang better.
  • If you don’t want to drill holes in the melted plastic shapes you can also use them as coasters or magnets.20140629_131409
  • I used fishing like because it is strong and clear, you could use any thread you have on hand though.

This was a fun way to add some color into our home and patio.

Namaste <3 Jem

I am not perfect, but I am AWESOME.

Lately, I have been trying to decide which direction I’d like my blog go. I know I don’t have a huge following and I know that in order to become a popular blog I must take steps to become bigger and better like pictures, buying my web address and joining more social media sites, but I think, why, all the time. Why do I have to spend hours to have the perfect pictures. Why can’t I just whip out my cell phone take some pictures in the moment and take my time writing the post. Why do I need to stage perfection when some of the things I want to post are inherently messy; or why should I spend so much time STAGING when I could be working on other household chores. Which brings me to the topic of this post…being perfect.

You were born to be real not to be perfect.

Do you ever struggle with the feelings of being inadequate? Or maybe just that you have to keep up with the Jones’s?

As I look through my Pintrest I see many blogs and pins on how to be perfect; be better at cleaning, purge faster, lose that weight you might not even need to lose, parent kids this way, dress to impress…the list goes on and on of how we can make our life better, yet it is all staged.  You can even search “How to fake a clean house”.

I  don’t know about you but I have come to realize that if I strive to look good to or for others I start to shut down and become unhappy; I gain weight, stress myself out to the point of not wanting to do anything, I start to doubt myself worth. Yet when I stop worrying about what others think of me and strive to be the best ME I can be; everything falls into place.  AND viola my happiness is restored.

Now I am not saying I haven’t been inspired by the many bloggers I follow, because I have been. I am just saying that I wish to inspire people in real life situations and stay true to who I am. I want someone to think, “Wow, I can do that”.  I don’t want people to think poorly about themselves because of something I wrote or the picture I may have staged. I want to be true to myself, and I do not live a photo shopped life. Which to me means my blog should be true in real life also.

Because I don’t live a photo shopped life, or in some kind of TV sitcom-esque world I will not stress myself out over getting the perfect picture. The content of my post is enough because that is being true to who I am, which is what blogging is all about any (right?). I will strive to inspire others like me by being myself. Hopefully making someone’s life easier along the way because that is what I set out to do anyways, to inspire not create a perfectly staged life.

Why can’t we all be true to ourselves anymore? I have noticed tons of people over the last few years striving to impress others, when they aren’t truly happy with themselves or their lives. Hiding behind perfectly dressed children and homes, volunteering and over extending themselves all to save face and look like they are the perfect little family. When behind closed doors and deep down they are not as put together as they seem. Eventually, all of those actions will catch up to you and can put you in a place where my may feel alone, wishing for more or looking over the fence wishing for greener grasses.  All the while forgetting that happiness comes from within. You cannot expect to fill your life with expensive things and staged lives and find anything more than a sense of disappointment. All those things eventually fade. Remember not everything that sparkles is gold.

perfect people

Who gets to decide what perfection is any way? You get the opportunity to decide that for yourself and your loved ones. This is one of the most empowering things you can do. Do not give that power away- to anyone or anything.

Nowhere in our goal of “perfect or perfection” should we stage or fake what we truly are not. We all need to stop worrying what others think about us and more about what makes us feel good about ourselves. By becoming a healthier version of yourself, for you and your family, eventually you can manifest your own version of perfection.

Namaste <3

Jem