Gardening Update

A few weeks back, I shared a look around and I thought I would update you as to what is going on around these parts. 🙂

I go through a phase here where most of the blooms of the irises and the rhododendrons have fallen and we only have a smidgen of color, but oh it is a fragrant smidgen – the beautiful peony.

peony 2


This is one of the 4 that come into bloom at this time. I still have 1 bush that hasn’t opened any and 1 that is already spent. Either way, I just love these beauties.

I planted this outside of the garden last year and it did nothing. Don’t recall what it is but since it was green when we sought to expand the garden, I didn’t till it under. I am so glad that I didn’t, she provides some much needed color to the otherwise green garden.


Remember this tomato –

big beef tomato

Check her out now with some of her bounty –

beefsteak tomatoes

These were the squash and zucchini seedlings a few weeks back

squash and zucchini

Now look at them, it always amazes me what sun and water will do

squash and zucchini

I also have spinach coming out of my ears…


Still need to transplant a few plants, primarily tomato plants and I have lots of deweeding to do but all in all, I can’t complain. Things are moving along nicely and I am looking forward to this years harvest. Thanks for stopping by!


Got Strawberries?

My local farm is not having pick-your-own strawberries this year and I was pretty bummed. I picked up some from the store because the little people were begging for strawberries and decided to make some Strawberry Bread.

I took some fresh mint from the deck added some whipped cream because I always want to have one of those awesome food pictures. 🙂

strawberry bread

End of the Week Random Thoughts

We are at the end of yet another week, time sure seems to be flying. I find my head full of lots of random thoughts about a host of different topics.

Blog Identity

Does your blog have an identity? I see so many that are Mommy blogs, craft blogs, cooking blogs, homeschooling blogs, etc. and I wonder if I am the only one whose blog falls in the ADD or ADHD blogging category. I share Mommy stuff, craft stuff, cooking, gardening, homeschooling and what ever else seems to flit though my jumbled mind. I guess when I started this blog, I was looking for an outlet to share my thoughts on different things especially being a SAHM who was in need of adult conversation on topics beyond the kids, best diaper bags, and other kid related topics.

My question for you, do you enjoy blogs that have identities or are you okay reading random life blogs?

Currently reading

I was such an avid reader before marriage and kids and I always yearn to keep reading. I saw this book on the bookshelf in the library and picked it up. Truly a fascinating read and I wish the author was still alive to truly delve into why he took on this assignment during a very divisive chapter in our country’s history.


I am also reading/flipping through..

gentle art of domesticity

My cover is slightly different, but the author Jane Brocket has a blog and a wonderful area for tulips. Sometimes when I read some of these crafty books, I wonder why the publishers have not come knocking down my door. Doesn’t the world want/need a Brown Martha? 😉 You know someone who keeps it real, doesn’t have a large company with lots of staff nor several homes nor any servants to do all of her cooking, cleaning, gardening, and prep work.


For the record, I am a registered Independent. Having worked on Capitol Hill and seen the ugliness in both parties, being an independent keeps my sanity. That being said, I never think it is a good idea for one party to hold power over the White House and Congress, it messes with the checks and balance system. The Dems are seemingly singing and holding hands while the Repubs are trying hard not to self-implode. Power corrupts, money corrupts…I will continue to pray for our leaders according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and hope that you will do the same.


Some of you think I have a green thumb, I have been known to kill house plants. 🙂 Last year was my first ever garden. My parents had a garden when I was growing up but I did little besides go out and pick the fresh blueberries for pancakes on Sunday morning. I read lots and lots and at some point before information overload led to paralysis I threw caution to the wind and purchased some plants from the local feed store and put them in the ground. I tended to them and kept a journal and learned lots. This year is quite different. I have started almost everything from seeds and that requires an entirely different gardening mindset. I started my seeds later than I may have liked and it is a true process. I started most inside in those peat pods and have used my pseudo-greenhouse on the deck to keep them all going. What have I learned…

1) Peppers take forever if they are not at a constant temp of about 70-75 degrees.

2) Tomatoes pop up with little to no effort on my part and once they are up they grow fast.

3) Next year, I will start seed saving as it breaks my heart to thin out those pods when all 3 of the seeds that you planted pop up.

4) Seeds directly sown in the ground can take awhile if your dirt is not warm enough.

5) Google images have become my best friend in that I had no idea what a sprouted leak, parsnip, dill, cilantro looked like before they gain their true leaves. Thanks to all the gardeners out there that blog about their plants, you have saved me from pulling up a seedling thinking it was a weed.

I am expecting a later harvest than last year but hope it will be even more bountiful.

I have lots more going on in my head but I will leave you with this for now. Next week will be our *official* last week of homeschooling and I will probably take a break until June 1st when we will continue our efforts.

Hope you have a great weekend!!!

Rosetta Stone Latin Giveaway

Exciting news on the homeschooling front. I came across this great giveaway:

rosetta stone

Rosetta Stone is the fastest way to learn a language and has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while — and you can WIN the *all new* version 3 Rosetta Stone Homeschool LATIN program… FOR FREE! This is the first year you can get Latin in the brand new Version III update.

This is a $259 program (and believe me it’s worth every penny!)
This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever! Students participate in life-like conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone incorporates listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing along with speaking and pronunciation lessons. For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program to allow parents to easily enroll up to ten students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, grade completed work (the program grades the work automatically as the students progress- I love that!), and you can view and print reports for transcripts. Homeschooling a lot of kids at your house? This program is designed to enroll and track up to ten students (five users on two computers) and will work for nearly all ages — from beginning readers up to college students.

To win this most excellent Latin program copy these paragraphs and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR link to the contest from your facebook page and/OR email the information to your homeschool support group – Then go to the original page Jeneric Jeneralities and leave a comment saying that you’ve posted about, or have linked to, the contest. Please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post. And good luck!

Taking a look around

The outdoors often beckons me and takes me away from the computer and blogging. I am still here and have a few posts lined up. Thanks to all of my readers for staying even when I seem to fall off from blogging.

I have been spending some time on Twitter as you can see from the sidebar if you come here and visit. Other than that, I have been busy with family stuff and outdoors stuff and of course the homeschooling stuff. I took some pics of some of what is in bloom or growing around here:

These rhododendrons grace the driveway entrance/exits:


rhododendron 2

These hang out around the side near the deck:



These hang out on the deck:


tomato seedlings





As you exit the deck and journey out back, you may run into these:

iris 1

iris 2

They aren’t too far from these lovely peaches:


peaches 2

Keep heading out back to the garden and you will see:

squash and zucchini

big beef tomato

Now one of the things, I was most proud of was when the little Princess kept pestering asking to cook something out of her cookbook.


I read lots of reviews before deciding on this book and I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted a real food type of cook book and this delivers. The Princess chose cheddar bread and with very little help from mom, she whipped up this yummy bread. On Saturday mornings she likes to watch Paula Deen, but maybe Paula Deen better start watching out for her. 😉

lil chef and her bread

Featured Artist Friday – Dana Laymon

Yippee it is Friday and it is the 1st of May, time sure is flying by…before we get too ahead of ourselves though, it is also Featured Artist Friday. Today we have Dana Laymon of Dana Laymon Photography. Dana’s photography is simply beautiful and she and I are kindred beach spirits. 🙂


Let’s meet her shall we:

1) Tell us about yourself – name, location, any personal tidbits

My name is Dana Laymon and I live in Wilmington, NC. I’m fairly new to Etsy (just joined in Jan) and love the community here. I have a full time job but do photography on the side and it’s truly a passion of mine. I do weddings and portraits as well. My husband and my new puppy also keep my very busy.

2) When you are not creating items, what do you do for fun?

In my spare time I take pictures and go to the beach! I love the beach here and go every chance I get. I also love hanging out with all my friends.

3) When did you first recognize/accept that you were an artist?

I started getting serious about photography in college about 7 years ago and really wanted to keep learning and mastering this craft.

4) Describe your creative process – idea first or material first?

I actually come up with photos both ways- idea first and material first. And I can’t say which way is better because I’ve gotten incredible stuff from both ways.

The Ninth Hole

5) Describe a typical day for yourself in your studio?

My typical day consists of working at my 9-5 day everyday and then going home and trying to get my house duties done and then I dive into photography for a couple hours on the computer. I don’t know how I fit everything in but I do.

6) Besides Etsy, how do you promote your work?

I’m in the process of getting a website up. So hopefully that will drive a lot of people to Etsy. I’m also on Twitter (@danalaymon) and Facebook (Dana Laymon Photography) and I have a blog. Oh yeah, and word of mouth 🙂

7) Any advice for other artisans?

My advice is just to do what you love and continue to master your craft- learn everything you can and don’t think you’ve learned everything there is to know! Also don’t let people tell you that you won’t be successful because if you put hard work into it and believe you’ll succeed than you will, just be smart about it. (not that I even consider myself successful)

Thank you so much Dana for sharing the you behind the lens. Feel free to click on any of the pictures to take yourself straight to Dana’s shop. Her work is beautiful and I am sure your walls will be happy.

Mexican Porch