3 Easy Steps to Beginning Meal Prep

beginning meal prep

For so many the biggest question about meal prepping is, “How do I get started?” The entire process, if looked at as a whole, might seem overwhelming in the beginning. However, I have found that if you break it down into steps and choose one step at a time to implement, then it actually saves time. Plus, it’s so much easier to eat healthy when you have a plan. I don’t know about you, but if I wait until 5pm in the afternoon when the baby is going crazy and my big kids are ready to run wild, cooking can easily be put on the back burner while I look for the quickest escape, such as having my hubby pick up a pizza on the way home. While a cheat meal is okay, if I’m not intentional cheat meals become the norm and healthy eating only happens every once in a while. Here are 3 easy steps to beginning meal prep that have helped my family tremendously to create a healthy eating lifestyle. [Read more...]

Romantic Valentine Game | Get to Know Your Spouse

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For those of us who are married with kids, a date night out can be hard to arrange, both financially and logistically.  If you are going to be staying in on Valentine’s Day or just to reconnect on a regular Friday – here’s a romantic game you can play with your spouse once the kids are in bed to help you reconnect!

It’s simple really – Just jot down questions on little slips of paper – and have your spouse do the same.

Try to think of a good mix of questions – anything from silly “Cosmo-Quiz” type questions to more serious ones that pique your curiosity.

Some examples:

  • If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be and why?
  • What super power would you choose for yourself?
  • You are forced to dye your hair – what color do you go for: Pink, Blue or Green?
  • What’s one crazy thing you would like to do before you die?

Think up questions that have to do with you as a couple as well!

  • What is one of the first things you liked about me?
  • What should be “our song” (if you don’t have one) or pick an extra if you already do!

If you’d like to take it a step further – you can make it a challenge like the “Newlywed Game”.  Try to guess your spouse’s answer – jot it down while they think about it and see if you’re correct.  Create a “prize” for whoever has guessed the most answers correctly!

datenightideas

You can get more ideas for questions or silly dares in our post Free Printable Date Night Conversation Starters

I found a great list of 50 questions to ask your spouse on a date night HERE

Crock Pot Lasagna Recipe

 

 

We wanted to re-post this recipe from Valentine’s – because it’s also a great way to keep from using your oven on hot days!

If you happen to be staying in on Valentine’s Day and are looking for an easy Valentine’s Day dinner, Crock Pot Lasagna is a fabulous option!

Several years ago, I found this recipe for Crock Pot Lasagna and fell in love.  I use a bottled spaghetti sauce but add additional spices to give it a homemade taste.  If you keep browned ground beef in the freezer (read more here), it will cut your preparation time dramatically.  After the recipe, scroll down as I have also included a couple of pics to answer any questions you might have.

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Marvelous Mulch: How Vegetable Garden Mulch Can Help You!

best-mulches-for-gardens

If you are planning a vegetable garden this season, you will want to know how vegetable garden mulch can help you in your planting.  Mulches halt weed growth by acting as a tough barrier. A good mulch can help you avoid hours of painful weeding.  Isn’t that alone worth giving it a try?

So how do you know what kind of vegetable garden mulch to use, and how much to use? Mulch can seem confusing at first, but in reality is quite simple. By arming yourself with mulch knowledge, you can give your garden a wonderful additional benefit which will keep it performing at its best!

Take a peek at these tips for what materials make great vegetable garden mulch and how to use them! [Read more...]

Growing Up: Types of Vertical Vegetable Gardens You Can Try!

vertical gardening methods

 

With so many people living in small spaces, vertical vegetable gardens are becoming all the rage! When you plant a vertical vegetable garden, you are still getting the vegetables you love but in a smaller amount of space. Your garden in this case will grow up vertically, instead of being spread out horizontally. Ideal plants for vertical gardening include tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, squashes, and any other vegetable plants that have vines.

So how do you do this? There are a few ways to plant your own vertical vegetable garden and achieve some great results. Below, you will find some helpful information on how you can plant your own vertical vegetable garden. If you are limited on space or just want to try something different this growing season, take a look at how easy a vertical garden can be.

Types of Vertical Vegetable Gardens You Can Try This Weekend:

1. Trellis garden
You can find trellis in both wood and plastic materials online and at your local home improvement stores. It is rather inexpensive, especially if you opt for a plastic option. They come in a variety of colors and finishes as well. Simply plant your vegetable plant in a large pot or box and insert the trellis. As plants grow you can tie them to the trellis for more support.

2. Lattice garden.
Lattice is a lot like a trellis, but with a lattice you are getting support that is wider. Lattice can be wood or plastic, and is available for just a few dollars at your local home improvement store. You can easily have it cut to fit whatever space you need. When you use lattice, you insert it into your planting box and allow plants to use it as a climbing support.

3. Pallet garden.
Some people have found success hanging a wood pallet on a wall and attaching planting boxes or even bags to it to grow in. If you don’t have a lot of yard or floor space, a pallet garden hung on an outside garage wall works out well. Just hang your pallet, attach your vessel of choice, and plant as normal. Pallets can often be found for free at stores if you just ask! Nothing beats free, does it?

4. Cage garden.
Plant cages come in a variety of sizes and shapes. You typically see them in cone shapes for tomatoes but you can find them in a wide range of sizes allowing them to be used for other plants too. When you use a cage, you simply place it over the young plant and then train the plant to grow up the cage. You can do this by simply twisting any vines onto the cage as they grow. These are budget friendly as well, since they are typically just a few dollars each.

5. Teepee garden.
You can take three long dowel rods and tie them together in a teepee shape to use as support for plants. These are easy to assemble and all of the supplies (dowel rods, wire or rope) cost just a few dollars. Once assembled you can place over young plants and encourage them to grow upwards using the teepee as support.  You can also buy full kits here.

See how easy it is to grow your plants “up?” This season, give vertical gardening a try and see not only how simple it is, but how simple it is to do with limited space!

Sweet Simplicity: How to Plant a Simple Vegetable Garden

how-to-plant-a-simple-vegetable-garden

Who says that vegetable gardens needs to be complex? You don’t need to have a massive garden in order to be a real gardener – or in order to enjoy all of the benefits that a garden offers. A simple vegetable garden may be just the perfect thing for you, especially if you are working with a small space or with limited time.

Below, you will find some simple tips on how to plant a simple vegetable garden. Sometimes simplicity is best, even when it comes to vegetable gardens. Take a look!

How to Plant a Simple Vegetable Garden:

1. Choose 2-3 plant varieties.
Look at your daily diet. What vegetables do you consume daily or weekly? Narrow it down to 2-3 varieties and keep it at that. Focus on growing those 2-3 plants really well instead of spreading yourself out thin with 8-10 plants.

One idea on this scale would be a Salsa Garden – perfect for those who love Mexican Recipes!

2. Choose a manageable sized plot.
A simple 6×6 planting bed may work best for you. It is the perfect size to easily maintain and manipulate your way around – won’t take a TON of tilling to make it happen. A simple square plot may work best as opposed to an alternate shape.  For some folks – a small raised bed is a PERFECT manageable size.

3. Let the soil work for you.
Enrich your soil with crushed egg shells and compost so that it works hard for you. By keeping your soil full of nutrients, it will work for you 24 hours a day keeping your plants healthy.

4. Give your garden a good evening sprinkle.
A quick evening sprinkle will allow your garden to absorb a healthy sip of water each night. You can even set a sprinkler if you wish to make the task even simpler. Just turn it on and go.

5. Bring your family in on the action.
Have your family help with harvesting. This part of the gardening process is simple and fun for kids to do. Pass this task along to them and simplify your gardening even more.

Gardens should be fun, not stressful. Plant a simple vegetable garden and reap the benefits of fresh vegetables with a side of less stress! Gardening is not a contest, it is just a great way to bring fresh produce to your table. Keep it simple and enjoy your garden as it is meant to be enjoyed.

5 Ways to Repel Vegetable Garden Insects

ways to repel vegetable garden insects

If you have a vegetable garden, then you have pests licking their lips wanting in it! Pests love vegetable gardens and all of the tasty treats they have to offer. If you are not vigilant about keeping pests at bay, your garden can soon be overrun with nasty bugs and pests. If you are looking for ways to keep these pests out and your tasty vegetables in, take a look below at 5 ways to repel vegetable garden insects in a way that is easy and inexpensive.

5 Ways to Repel Vegetable Garden Insects:

1. Pour them some beer.
Slugs love beer. Place some in a shallow bowl and place the bowl in your garden. The slugs will want to crawl in and won’t be able to crawl out!

2. Sprinkle some pepper.
Sprinkle some hot pepper flakes along the perimeter of your garden and pests won’t want to cross it. Be liberal, and reapply after a heavy rain.

3. Spray with soap.
Add some dish soap to a bottle and mix well with water. Spray directly on your plants and veggies and bugs won’t want to touch them.

4. Pick by hand.
Take a few minutes a day to remove any pests you see by hand. Yes, it can be tedious but it is truly effective and will keep those pest numbers down.

5. Don’t over water.
Creating pools of water in your soil can attract pests. Be careful not to over water and only give your plants the amount of water they can absorb.

And if you don’t mind ladybugs - they make WONDERFUL little pest-killers!  They eat aphids, Moth eggs, Mites, Scales, Thrips, Leaf Hoppers, Mealybugs, Chinch Bugs, Asparagus Beetle larvae, Whitefly and other common garden pests.  We’d love to hear if you’ve tried anything that you would recommend!

See how simple it is to keep those plants of yours safe and bugs far away? Give these ways to repel vegetable garden insects a try and you can enjoy a pest free planting year!