Thursday, April 30, 2015

April numbers are in

Here's my spending rundown for the month with average daily spending for each category. Yikes, I did not do so well this month.

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.43

$12.56 a day on Groceries. Total for April $377.66
94 cents a day on Cleaning. Total $27.97
$1.33 a day on Toiletries. Total $39.94

$1.37 a day on Gifts. Total $41.59
$1.28 a day on Food out. Total $38.49
$1.98 a day on Pets. Total $59.49
62 cents a day on Clothing. Total $18.27
$1.21 a day on Stuff. Total $36.64
$1.13 a day on Garden. Total $33.76

Average daily spending for April: $22.46
I'm glad to see my average daily spending for food sticking around the $12 a day mark.
Jan. $11.36 a day groceries.
Feb. $11.53 a day groceries.
Mar. $12.83 a day groceries.
Apr. $12.56 a day groceries.
The average is trending up buy my average daily spending for the year on groceries is roughly $12.07 a day. I guess my blog title still fits.

The spending in all the other categories really shot up this month though. I admitted it early on however, I did not do a great job with "planned" spending this month but rather I indulged in considerably more impulse spending than I would have liked. My numbers are proof of that. I also added a category to my spending with the gardening season beginning. I don't regret a single gardening purchase that I made ($33.76 worth) but that's a whole other $1.13 a day I spent in April that I didn't spend at any other time. I am not happy with an overall $18.43 a day average for spending this year. I must get that down next month. If I come in under $18 a day at the end of May I will be happy.

My spending goals for May, as of right now, are to only use four spending categories. Groceries is a given, after than I'm not sure what other three I'll need. Ah, pets will for sure be one of them too. Again, I want my average daily spending for the year to be under $18 a day. With an average daily spending of $16.90/ Jan, $18.10/ Feb, $16.20/ Mar & $22.46/ Apr; I'd like to be much closer to a low $16 a day average for May.

April 2015 Total: $673.81
Groceries $ 13.74    4.30
Groceries $5.99    4.29
A birthday gift $14.45    4.29
Diaper detergent $9.53    4.29
NO SPEND day 39    4.28
NO SPEND day 38    4.27
Groceries $1.57    4.26
Two furnace filters $12.15    4.25
Toiletries $9.94    4.25
Dish soap $3.31    4.25
Cat litter $5.70    4.25
Groceries $79.63   4.25
Groceries $23.32    4.24
Groceries $6.99    4.23
Arby's $12.79    4.23
Lunch $4.74    4.22
Lunch $7.91    4.21
Groceries $15.13    4.20
Shoes for Abe $18.27    4.19
NO SPEND day 37    4.18
Dog food $25.43    4.17
Dollar store $3.18    4.17
Dirt $15.00    4.17
Mulch $14.98    4.17
Random groceries (I lost the receipt) $45
Pet stuff $3.99    4.16
Groceries $19.47    4.16
Grape plant $4.72    4.15
Groceries $8.03    4.15
Dirt and seeds $5.37    4.14
Groceries $11.57    4.14
Seeds $8.67    4.13
Groceries $26.91    4.12
NO SPEND day 36    4.11
Groceries $4.94    4.10
Coffee $1.79    4.10
Cat food $24.37    4.9
Groceries $23.56    4.8
Light bulbs $4.49    4.7
Groceries $8.91    4.7
Dish soap $2.98    4.7
Stop at the dollar store $4.24    4.6
Coffee and a dollar added to dinner tip $2.79    4.6
Groceries $15.07     4.5
Bird feeder, suet, light bulbs $10.74     4.5
Easter basket fillins $4.02    4.4
Food $4    4.3
A birthday gift $10.98    4.2
Toilet paper $30    4.2
Groceries $40.42    4.2
Candy for a missionary $12.14    4.2
Groceries $23.41    4.1
Little yard tools for little Abe $3.50    4.1
Ice cream $8.47    4.1

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Four Big Happy Smiles

1. Homemade cheese crackers with fresh homemade guacamole.
(food always come first with me doesn't it... what can I say)
YUM!!! I'm vastly enjoying this little plate of treats right now.

2. Our first born sun bathing herself in the kitchen.
I think hot sunbeams streaming in the windows on a cool spring day make everyone happy.
We picked out this beauty from the pound just a month or two after we got married, almost 13 years ago.

3. The other day when I ran to the store for peat, for the carrot seeds, I pulled this bag out from the self check out bag slot. It appears all the bags in the slot were colored on, I have to assume by a classroom of children. I'm not entirely sure why but this lovely drawing made me smile and smile some more. It was just so unexpected and really a special ray of happiness in an ordinary place.

4. Lastly, yes the tomato plants again. I cannot believe how much they change with each passing day. I hope they take good to the soil outside. I love them each dearly.

These things have made me smile so much over the past few days! 
It really is the little things.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Have you ever noticed the tiny little hairs on a baby tomato plant?

Life is SOOOO beautiful, even in the simplest of places.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Minimalist living vs. Frugality

I'm torn right now between frugality and cleanliness; a minimalist lifestyle. I'm serious.

Maybe you all have some helpful insight for me?!?!?! Please?

I grew up in a hoarder home. My husband and I have inherited THREE lifetimes of "stuff" from relatives of his that have passed away. Minus things that other relatives of ours wanted.

My husband is the only child of his divorced/ single father who passed away from Leukemia a few years ago. His dad lived in a small trailer but he was also a rather OCD collector of antiques so we inherited a LOT of things; some very nice, some very valuable, all of which there's not much use for in our home. (I say all of that but I'm not able to get rid of any of these things as they do belong to my husband and they are what he has left of his dad so... it's case closed).

What I do have some control over is all of his grandparent's stuff that's still scattered all around our home more than 10 years after we purchased it. We bought his grandparents house, the house they built in the early 1940's. His mom grew up here. The home has always been in his family. But when his grandparent's passed and we purchased the house his family only took what they wanted and everything else stayed. I can hardly complain about this as I am quite frugal and I delight in being able to use, for example, very old measuring cups that just so happen to have been in my kitchen as opposed to buying new ones when my set broke (the kitchen was pretty much fully stocked with all sorts of old utensils that I use to this day). I've been able to sell some things on esty, old cups and glasses that now have some value. As you know if you've read through my blog I find things of use around the house, a giant old box of trash bags that enabled me to not buy trash bags for a year, bins for container gardens or flower pots, you name it, I've been finding use for random nonsense.

I read posts about de-cluttering, clearing out the waste, minimalist living; I LOVE these ideas. Because I grew up in a hoarder home the thought of a semi-empty house, all clean and clutter free, and cute and simple just makes my heart do happy leaps and giggle with glee (yes, my heart can giggle). But, we have all this stuff, stuff I've wrangled with the idea of unloading for years. Now maybe some tub or bin in my basement won't be useful to me for another three years BUT three years from now when I need it I won't have to buy one if I already have one. <- See the hoarder-ish logic there? But I'm absolutely not acquiring any new things, so it's not like I'm hoarding things myself.

The minimalist in me just wants to get rid of everything and live a simple life. I don't even like stuff. The frugalista in me wants to keep everything exactly where it is for the day in my life when it will become of use. I guess, in writing this post I'm realizing that maybe what I need is to just be more organized, to go through EVERYTHING and put everything in it's place. Maybe have a spot, ONE spot (like not scattered all over my entire home) for "future use" stuff and respective homes for currently useful things. I think I'm just super unorganized. Balance... right? I need to learn how to be me, a frugal minimalist with the free spirit of an artist. I can be an adult and be all those things together, right?
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Purple Carrots

After finding trash buried in the little garden behind the garage I decided that I wanted to do a carrot container garden this year. I already purchased carrot seeds and I've really been looking forward to growing carrots. I have been perusing the bins at the store and scrounging around my house for about two weeks trying to find some sort of container to plant the carrots in. My goal, if I had to spend money, was to pick up something for under $3. I couldn't find anything at the store I work in for less than $6 but I've been looking every single day hoping to stumble on some great find.

Today little Abe and I were in the basement putting clothes in the wash when he points to a purple storage tote that's been sitting in the middle of my laundry area portion of the basement ever since I started the basement clean up. My kiddo out of the blue asks, "mom, what's that?"

I'm too cheap to purchase storage totes. I think we have one or two very large ones upstairs in our attic that my husband and I packed some of our childhood things into around the time we first moved into this house. Other than those two though, we don't have any storage totes. We just re-use boxes for anything we need to pack up. Sluggy would be very proud of me, haha! 

So the rather hideous purple one that came with my father in laws small assortment of Christmas decorations after he passed was apparently invisible to me? Ah ha! I responded, "THAT my son is a carrot garden!" Okay, I don't think I actually said that but I did jump for joy and thank him for pointing the thing out to me. How had I not thought of using that? I've been wanting to get it out of the basement for months. I have a strange dislike for the color purple. It is my mom's favorite color and she always tried to dress me in purple clothes when I was little and I really disliked them for some reason. Maybe because my favorite color was blue.

My backyard this year is going to be unsightly but I LOVE it! There are carrot seeds planted in that purple bin now. I did run to the store again today (even though I'd planned a no spend day). I picked up peat for the carrot garden, a light bulb for our hallway, and fixins for chili (just to have another meal and get the price up to $12). I used a $12 store reward and spent $1.57 oop.

I did not plant purple carrots (as implied by the title) but my purple carrot garden will probably lead me to calling my carrots "purple carrots" all year and I might not have such a dislike for purple if this thing produces beautiful long orange carrots this summer.

For the record, I punched several triangle shaped holes in the bottom of the bin. I put about a one inch layer of river stones at the bottom. Then I mixed together an organic garden soil with peat. We'll see...

Just a small morning conversation with a three year old boy

Yesterday during a very long shopping trip I picked up a donut for little Abe. He always gets to choose which donut he wants (this happens about twice a month when he gets to go to the grocery store with momma). He chose a plain cake donut with white frosting, no sprinkles. I actually prefer he get sprinkles because frosting with out is SO messy.

Generally we pick out our donut, shop, check out, he rides the penny pony, and then on our way out of the store and during the drive home we share the donut. It's amazing how long we make one donut last. Well yesterday's shopping trip was a bit more exhausting than normal so I let him have a quarter of the donut while we were in the check out lane.

My kiddo was incredibly friendly and talkative until practically the day he turned three. It's as if all of the sudden he realizes people can see him. He tend to bury his face in me when we're out and about and strangers talk to him. Maybe he just realized that all these friendly folks saying hi to him or telling me he's so cute are "strangers." I imagine before two he must have thought we just know everyone. Anyhow, it's strange to me having had a very friendly kid and now having such a shy boy. Ah, the stages of childhood : ) I really love it all!

I've talked to him on many occasions about how it's kind to say hi to nice people when he's with me. They just want to be friendly. It makes them feel a little sad when you hide your face from them, like maybe they think you don't like them. Gee, there's some sort of weird strange balance these days between being nice to strangers and not talking to strangers, isn't there?

Little Abe had just finished eating his sticky donut quarter yesterday and he was sitting there with white frosting all over his fingers, holding his hands out at his sides trying not to get stick all over the cart he was sitting in when an older couple walked up behind us to place their groceries on the belt. The lady said hi to him while I was finishing up putting my last items on the belt. He whipped his head backwards trying to turn invisible but she could still see him (duh). Then she stood closer to him to play a peek-a-boo of sorts. I said hi to the couple and explained that he's quite shy lately. They said, "oh, he really is shy, isn't he." I think he scowled at her when his neck started to hurt from turning his head so far backwards for so long and he tried to look forward again and she was still standing right there trying to get him to smile. (great my kid is scowling at people now (um, just like I did as a child))

This morning pretty out of the blue my kiddo brings up his shy episode in the checkout lane yesterday:

Him: Mom, I'm going to tell you a story. This is a lie. Yesterday, I was so shy because my fingers were sticky, yucky, like all over.
Me: So, you didn't want to talk to the nice couple because you were embarrassed about the frosting all over your fingers.
Him: Yes, exactly! Next time when I do not have sticky fingers I will say hi to the nice people. Is that a plan, okay?
Me: Well, that makes perfect sense, thanks for telling me. Next time we'll wait to eat our donut.
(I did not have any wipes on me for his hands)

Now notice, he prefaces his story, with, this is a story, this is a lie. So, did he just make up a story so that I would understand why he's shy, I mean for my sake, when really he is just shy and doesn't want to talk to strangers, or was he really embarrassed that there was frosting all over his hands? Honestly since he turned three he's refused to talk to (or look at) people in the grocery store that try to talk to him. This was in no way an isolated incident. My kid! He is so awesome and is starting to be quite the enigma. I'm not actually looking for insight here, just sharing a bit of my morning's content. We're going outside now. There is a very big world out there for him to tackle, and a backyard filled with worms!
Upon arriving home from work Friday:
him: mom, do you have something for me?
me: no, not unless you want some ham?
him: did you kill some piggies today?
After I threw him a baseball in the living room and he hit the darn thing with a bat full force across the room:
me: GEE, you really hit that thing! I was not expecting that.
him: see, I told you! I'm a naturalist base baller. I told you!
Discussing our dog today:
him: Bozzy is a boy. Bozzy needs to leave the house, go outside now. Bozzy needs to go to work and leave now because Daddy is at work and Daddy is a boy and Bozzy is a boy. Bozzy, go away now!
The other day my husband was talking about a deadline, something to do with Amazon shipping:
him:  "Wait!?! Daddy, did you say dead lion... like in the Lion King?"

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Shopping Game

I've just arrived home from the grocery store and while my average daily spending for the year just shot up I also had a big shopping trip and shouldn't need to run out for awhile. I just had my best shopping trip ever saving 50% on my bill. I pretty regularly hover around a 30% savings rate but I don't remember ever hitting 50% on a cart full of groceries.

If you can imagine the shopping equivalent of spiking the football after paying your grocery bill picture me doing that today. I exclaimed to my little shopping buddy, "Yeah! I feel like I just won a major battle! Woohoo!!!" And there was a little dance of sorts and flailing of arms involved. The store was pretty busy with other shoppers checking out and several people looked at me with strange expressions on their faces as I waved around the mile long receipt in one hand while doing my happy dance. I imagine none of those people had spent an hour of their son's afternoon nap going over digital coupons and the online ads and writing a very complicated list of must-buy-this-combination-of-items at such and such different price points in order to save that-amount-of-specified-dollars.

Of course on a Saturday evening before the sales expire there are going to be a great deal of out of stocks and so my very well planned out long, long list was foiled by this or that being gone. I had a little melt down half way through our trip. I found myself sort of pacing back and forth in the main grocery aisle scratching my head, looking at my list in dismay, and freaking out a little, "oh, what to do? what to do?..." I recovered of course, regrouped, and my $105.96 goal was only exceeded by $4.77.

Total spent $110.73
Total saved $110.53
Plus I earned $13 in store rewards for my next shopping trip.

I picked up two furnace filters
Cat litter
Some bathroom stuff
Dish soap (which I need to figure out how to use less of; we go through it way too fast)
Dishwasher detergent
And a bunch of food

I really have not done that well tracking my spending, planning my shopping trips, and saving as much as I should this month but this trip has redeemed me at least some. I honestly don't think I purchased one single thing that was not on sale... wait, no, I bought a donut for little Abe at full price. But that's it!

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.20

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ready for the weekend

I promise I will not post photos of my tomato plants every day. But, oh look how darling they are.  

I am VERY ready for the weekend and hoping it will warm back up as it's been very cold here this past week.

I need sleep and more glorious sunshine in the great outdoors and really nothing else.
(except for maybe chocolate and coffee; I do really need chocolate and coffee too)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


A kind friend I've made through the blog sent little Abe several packs of seeds in the mail. Today he and I planted some marigold seeds in egg cartons to sit on the window sill with the other seeds I've planted thus far. He was really excited to plant his very own seeds. (He also referred to the envelope addressed to him, filled with seeds as a miracle. "Oh, this is a miracle!" He is such a goof.)

After they were planted, watered, labeled with his name on top, and set in their very own spot on the kitchen window sill next to mommy's seeds he says to me, "mom, I want to watch my shows for a very long time now, while we wait for my flowers to grow. Like, one, two, wait for them to grow, three, four, wait for them to grow. For a VERY LOOONG time. Okay?"

In other news, as pictured above, just today I've noticed the first growth of the seeds I've planted so far. I am way too excited. Seriously, if you don't want to see silly photos like this one for the next few months, regularly, then I suggest you stay away. 

I planted these tomato seeds last week Thursday. This is my very first attempt at starting seeds and as I'm sure you can imagine I've been looking eagerly at these egg cartons filled with dirt stuffed into recyclable containers on my kitchen window sill every single day; in the morning, after I get home from work, while I wash dishes, before I go to bed for the night. Gee, you'd think I were a kid in a candy store waiting for something green to emerge from the soil. 

Well, today's the day. 
I see green! 
And I LOVE it!

(who cares if it's snowing outside right now anyway. I've got things growing in my kitchen <enormous smile>)

April Average

Average daily spending for April: $21.78

Yikes! I feel like this month is kicking my behind. I'm SO tired! Maybe it's the awesome twenty hours that little Abe and I have spent outside doing yard work this month. I have been paying virtually no attention to my spending though, which is NEVER a good thing. But come on, money is exhausting! Apparently I can't do yard work and budget all in one month. Oh, my, word, I am pathetic. But aside from obliterating my no spend goal for the month I'm really not doing horribly overall.

I'd hoped to get the daily average for the year to $16.80 by the end of April but considering that I've paid virtually no attention to my spending I'm happy to still be under $18 a day. Okay, now to keep it that way!

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.97
$3.69 left to spend in April <- that's to hit the $16.80 a day goal. Oops

Monday, April 20, 2015


All two hundred and seventeen entries went into the bowl plus a few scraps of newspaper that little Abe cut up and added to the bowl because he wanted to help out with my project. 

I had my husband look away and draw a name. He made fun of me for making him look away.

He drew entry number seventy eight which means the winner of the 1000th post Giveaway is Cindy whose determination has apparently paid off. Congratulations to Cindy! I will be e-mailing you shortly.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


I can't extend enough thanks to all the wonderful sponsor's for making this giveaway possible,
.sprouts., and 
you have made such a wonderful giveaway possible! I'm happy that so many of you who've entered have been so enthusiastic about entering and returning every day to comment for additional entries. This has been a fun way to celebrate my 1000th post at $12 a day. You guys are the best!

I will announce the winner sometime between one hour from now and tomorrow evening. If I do not have contact info for the drawing winner you have ONE WEEK to contact me. If I don't hear from you I will draw another winner.


The piles of clutter in the backyard at the house two doors down where the hoarder lives increase in size daily. Between stuff packed into white and black trash bags and the loose items, bicycles, ladders, strange grates, or gates, or who knows what type of wire contraptions they all are, the junk is becoming pretty difficult to look past; dare I say impossible. It had been just one large mass of a collection behind his home until someone reported him to the city. He was visited and he tried to correct the issue by moving the outdoor hoard to the garage. When it didn't all fit inside he started a much better hidden pile beside the garage. That pile took on an ugly life of it's own but the one directly behind his house returned to it's original size in no time and then continued to grow.

It looks like a mutated sort of shanty town back there, the scattered litter, the rust, the clutter that might be useful at some point in time when so little is accessible, and the bits of nature that are growing into what should be sound structures, like the massive trees of heaven that are growing literally into the roof of his home. And yet, along virtually the entire length of the rusty chain link fence, of which he dares not pile a single thing because he knows that his neighbors would have it out with him (they are my neighbors too, the only ones I like around here in fact) there are the most beautiful bunches of bright yellow daffodils that have all just popped open their eyes to take in a fresh breath of this beautiful spring air. They radiate beauty. They shine like stars in the darkest night. They glow. They sing; I can hear their music when I look over at them through my small kitchen window. They're like a choir of angels over there, rooted to the ground, long green leaves hugging their feet, stopped for a moment in time next to the rusty fence in the hoarders yard to grace this part of our world with heavenly beauty.

Thank the good Lord for daffodils, when in early spring after the glistening white snow (that covered everything) is long gone and only just a memory, and before leaves have burst forth on their respective trees to cover some of the filth man has cluttered up this world with we still find the beautiful bright yellow daffodils reminding us that there is always beauty.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday in the Sun

We were outside for virtually the entire day today and it was fabulous! The little guy and I are both beat but it's a wonderful kind of beat where you feel revived and so alive at the same time.

We spent the morning after breakfast out back playing baseball. I'm truly amazed that my newly turned three year old is very good at hitting a baseball (thrown to him) and he's been very good at throwing for quite a long time. I think we'll have to get him onto a t-ball team as soon as we can. The only mishap during our sport this morning was when he hit the ball straight into my eye (thankfully it's a softer sort of kids baseball). Gee, that kid has a swing! Ouch. I recovered quickly and am happy to report no black eye.

After a very long time of playing ball he took a turn at watching (and playing with) ants while I sat in the sun and just listened to the birds. This is the first time we've been outside this month for an extended amount of time without having been doing yard work (on my part at least). It was wonderful! The day was warm, very sunny, and delightfully beautiful.

We went in for only few minutes to boil some noodles for mac and cheese, and pop some cookies in the oven. I  had cookie dough in the fridge from a few days ago. We ate lunch in the sun, a picnic in lawn chairs, and then we each had a small bowl of mackinaw island fudge ice cream with a hot chocolate cookie on top. Shortly after lunch was his nap time.

After nap time we went back out to play in the dirt and plant carrot seeds in the bed of dirt behind the garage; the one I had tomatoes in last year. I'm not happy with what I found but I hope that I made the best of it. Last year I was given tomato plants at the very last minute and as my husband was in no way fond of me digging up the yard for a veggie garden I made a fairly small bed behind the garage. I just took out all the grass with a shovel, shuffled the dirt up really good, made sure there weren't a ton of roots and then planted the tomato plants I'd received. They were free so I wasn't too terribly worried about them not flourishing. They really did flourish in my opinion though.

When I went back to put down carrot seeds today I knew that I needed a nice deep bed. I'd purchased some really great organic soil that was also on a really great sale yesterday for the carrot/ watermelon bed and the new tomato/ bean bed I'm going to put in later this spring. Okay, long story short it looks like my garden is over a very old burn pile. At least I spent over an hour coming to that conclusion. Along with way more rocks than I was happy to find in my carrot bed (I managed to remove almost all of them where I put the seeds down) there were broken dishes,  pieces of very old charcoal I think, and misshapen screws, bolts, a metal handle. It was quite a ways down but too high up for good carrots. It must be a burn pit but it's at least 20 years old. I dug through my entire bed thoroughly and the stuff seemed to be underneath the entire length of it. It leads me to believe its behind the entire garage. Gah!

I planted a very small patch of carrots in a portion that I thoroughly cleaned out and I put down so much new dirt that the carrots won't have much of a chance to get anywhere near what I cleaned out anyhow. I'm frustrated by the find. I'm sure it's silly even trying to grow carrots in my yard. There are so many rabbits around here I've probably just spent half a day planting a patch of produce for the neighborhood wildlife. Hey, I'll give myself an "A" for effort anyhow. I spent $5 on the dirt I put down and $1.50 on a bunch of carrot seeds of which I only used a few. Maybe a less than $6 loss. I'd be okay with that if this first go at carrots ends up being a bust. I'm not sure I want to plant watermelon back there now.

Well, we are quite officially ready for bed. Bath time has been executed. Dinner has been cooked and eaten. I think it's now time to visit Narnia and then drift off to dream land.

Happy Saturday everyone... The GIVEAWAY ends tomorrow! I agree, that seemed like the longest month ever. You still have 23 hours to enter if you haven't done so yet. Just sayin
: )


Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! 
I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. 
Simplify, simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion.  
-Henry David Thoreau
I kid you not, I opened to this very page when I sat down to read during the kiddo's nap.
Ah, the refreshing state of mind he lived in...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stats (at least in my world they'd be considered as much)

Little Abe and I have spent over seventeen hours together outside this month playing in the dirt and digging for worms (mostly on his part), doing yard work and gardening (mostly on my part).

I've had ONE no spend day this month. Well, my goal is shot but I'm not lamenting letting the no spend days fall by the way side either. I can only lend my focus to so many things at once and apparently no spend days fell off the radar this month. I'm okay with that.

I've spent $18.76 on gardening supplies this month; that's seeds, seed starter soil (whatever its called), and one plant. I've also re-used a lot of what I already had around the house for yard and gardening purposes, saved plants and soil that I would have normally gotten rid of while cleaning up the yard, and am doing a lot of dreaming about what I might create outside this year with things we already have on hand. I am VERY excited about this year's growing season!

Maybe just because it's finally gotten a bit warmer we've been eating some pretty simple light meals around here (maybe also because we've been spending so much time in the yard) but I have baked four loaves of bread, a wonderful batch of pretzels, and a tin of wonderfully moist blueberry muffins. Yes, I often measure my success around the amount of baked goods in my home.

Little Abe and I have only two chapters left in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. I've had such fun reading it with him. We'll move onto the next book in the series once we've finished reading this one.

So far, and having made it just half way through, April has been a lovely month. I've not all the time felt so upbeat and cheery but I've loved every minute with my boy and every minute spent in the fresh air outdoors (we've both got a little extra color in our cheeks now), and I'm happy with everything I've whipped up in the kitchen. For the second half of the month I think I'll try and limit the computer time more, which was a goal that I did not meet during the first half and try to give a bit more attention to the inside of the house as well... maybe.
: )

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.57
$153.33 left to spend in April

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sping time beauty in the yard

Apparently lilac clusters start out as baby cabbages.

Or clusters of microscopic grapes.

I found something else in the lilac bush too.

Digging for worms of course.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Using what you've got; Fingers crossed

It has begun!

I've just finished planting a few seeds for the very first time EVER. With the exception of elementary school experiments of course. I'm rather excited!!! Should I have probably purchased the little seed starter greenhouses? Probably so. Should I not be having my very first go at starting seeds in an egg carton tucked inside a juice bottle? Probably not. Even so I've done it and I'm excited and we shall see what happens. I do honestly get the hugest sense of satisfaction out of avoiding a purchase and being able to make due with things around the house (things that would have gone to recycle sooner than later too).

Today I've only started a few lavender seeds, two juice bottles worth; if I'm lucky I'll get eight plants out of that. But I'll soon be starting roma tomatoes, pole beans, and watermelon. Yep, I've officially decided on my garden this year and I am so happy (this will only be my second go at a vegetable garden). I have purchased seeds for carrots too but those apparently can go directly into the ground so I won't be starting those in egg cartons and juice bottles.

My strawberry plants from last year look incredible, such a hearty beautiful green and growing and growing by the day. I put too many plants into that one container last year so I've moved one plant to a different pot and intend to move one or two more shortly. Maybe I shouldn't mess with success but there really were far too many plants in that little pot.

I'll keep you updated, because I'm sure everyone is so interested to find out how my juice bottle seeds end up.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Scrapbooking My Priceless Adventures

Why is it so easy to want more?

Why is it so difficult to find contentment or even enjoyment with what we already hold in the palms of our hands (metaphorically speaking since generally the only thing in anyone's hands these days is some sort of tablet or smart phone)?

I had intended to pose these two questions before even stopping by Sluggy's recent blog post but after having just commented THERE I've left feeling a strange sense of satisfaction in an exact area where I have been feeling some lack as of late.

I LOVE to travel. It is NOT in our budget, nor has it been for several years past. The debt is SLOWLY being paid off, so slowly in fact that at times it back tracks. Sad truth. Between home repairs, car repairs, paying bills and well, life, when I save pennies those pennies need to go to very necessary things and while I might argue that travel is necessary there are things higher up on the list in life. (one of the reasons you find me fuming when a very young and very unattached boy out of school living at home complains about not being able to travel, hogwash!)

I'm not complaining about my current situation, nor am I saying that my traveling days are through, oh, not in the least. I just find myself at times wanting to escape to a new place in a season of life that is not open to that. I must admit that I've been very fortunate as far as travel is concerned (a thing that the great Sluggy's blog has just reminded me of) and in this current season of life I don't think it'd be unwise of me to use reflection and remembering to find joy through travel.

I've journeyed to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Canada (North of Michigan and East of Michigan) with high school friends on very throw the daily routine out the window and escape the humdrum of every day life last minute adventures.

A very dear friend and I drove almost the entire way cross country in one day (from Michigan to Western Montana) and continued on the next day to Seattle Washington. I saw things on that trip I'd never seen before, had the time of my life, and honestly spent very little money. I think that was one of the first adventures I had that I truly noticed beauty everywhere. There were bright yellow flowers blooming in desolate landscapes out west. The mountains in the black hills of South Dakota glittered. I remember Seattle smelling like coffee and fresh cut flowers. Oregon was the most green place I've ever seen in my life and driving through that mystical country led us both to viewing the Pacific ocean for the very first time (and so far only time).

My husband and I were married in Georgia and honeymooned there. We spent different anniversaries in NYC, Chicago, Tennessee (I've been there at least three times), Cleveland Ohio, oh, and Sandusky Ohio (Cedar Point). And one at one of the six flags, haha, I have no idea where that was. I've been to Detroit MANY times (was born there in fact... I know, nothing to brag about).

I've traveled to Guatemala, a place I proudly consider a second home, for four weeks out of four different years on missions trips with church family. I fell in love with that dusty country during the dry seasons, a dust that coats everything in sight, hair, skin, clothing, vegetation, cars, trucks, buildings, animals, and almost seems to claim everything within its grasp as it's very own. And it's a lush green VERY wet muddy paradise during the rainy seasons.

The trip my hubby and I took to Ireland several years back with his mom and her friend left me with an even greater love for a country that many of my ancestors came from, an album full of incredible photos, and a heart full of vivid memories of a fabulous vacation with my husband. I am NOT a bumming it on a beach type of vacation gal. I'd way rather drive around for hours on rickety winding roads (that host virtually no street signs) and look at crumbling buildings that radiate a history so vibrant and living that you can almost feel it seeping from them.

I'd be negligent to not mention the Christian music festival I attended in Illinois on ten different occasions. After so many times returning one realizes they've not driven over 6 hours for a music festival only but for a culture, a returning group of people (who you belong to after so long) who all drive to this spot on earth over and over again each year, for the music yes, and to camp out in a dirty, hot field for several days with thumping, vibrating, at times screeching music blaring for all hours of the day and several hours of the night, and cheer on musicians that have written songs that word for word declare many of your hearts cries, and to be together, again. Maybe my second home away from home. (the festival is no more however but being able to say I've gone ten years is a pretty good run for anyone, I'd say).

I've also been to Texas, as my Grandparent's were winter Texans for quite awhile. We visited Mexico while we were visiting them. My Grandparent's lived in Indiana for quite sometime (when they weren't living in Texas) so I've been there many a summer as well.

Sure I'd love to visit Alaska. I need to see the red wood trees. I'd love to view the Grand Canyon in person and sit somewhere quaint and watch the sunset on one of our Western United States deserts. I've heard that California is lovely (in some spots). Scotland, England, Sweden, and Latvia are desired destinations. A beautiful friend of mine has found a home and made a family for herself in New Zealand. I've heard that that country is as beautiful as she is.

BUT I'm not really able to lament my lack of travels these past three or four years as I've got a pretty good arsenal of memories under my belt, memories that live on, memories that have shaped me, molded me, and on occasion have drastically altered me. If you have made it all the way through this long drawn out post, thank-you for reading about my memories and travels. I cherish them. And I hope also, that you've something in the palms of your hands (other than a smart phone) that you are able to cherish deeply despite anything beyond your grasp that maybe your heart whispers to you that it is presently needing.

You may not really be in as desperate need as your heart believes.
I imagine you've already got quite a lot.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Yellow Apple Basket Flowers

Sustainability folks and homesteaders alike seek to re-use things, find new uses for things, and get as much use out of something as possible. I'm just an increasingly more and more frugal gal but when I look up "homesteading" on pinterest I'll tell you that something inside of my heart starts to sing! I did so yesterday for practically an hour while my little guy was napping and it was a gloriously wonderful hour that planted hundreds of seeds in my mind. I'm actually looking forward to gardening and being outdoors considerably more than I already was and I found some ingenious ideas for gardening outside of the confines of our yard that my hubby is not very supportive of me digging up for a gloriously big veggie garden.

Today's project involved that pile of yard waste I posted about a little while back, an old rotty apple basket that I found in my basement during my recent basement clean up and some VERY invasive scraps of yellow perennials that were given to me many years back by my Grandmother.

My Grandmother was a wonderful gardener who had English garden type perennial beds surrounding her home. When my husband and I were first married she gladly split a great deal of her perennials and helped me plant a beautiful bed in my yard. I planted daisies, hostas, lavender, coreopsis, and several other plants with her from her garden. One of the plants she gave me was a very lovely yellow flower, Lance-leaf Coreopsis. That particular plant took over my bed, choked out my other flowers and just spread like wildfire. It's really beautiful but I got pretty mad at it the year before last for eating up all my other flowers and just started pulling it out everywhere I could find its remnants. I also found that it was super hardy, as I threw some scraps into a bucket and they took root in the other yard scraps I had in the bucket and bloomed for the whole rest of the year.

Today I have pulled up most of the remaining coreopsis plants (that have survived despite my having tried to eradicate them two years back) and placed them into this apple basket from my basement. I actually put three plastic jugs into the bottom of this basket as it's HUGE and I did not have enough scrap dirt in my driveway to fill it, plus I wouldn't have been able to carry it full of dirt. The dirt is not the best quality but I did manage to get most of the leaves, grass, and roots out by hand. I'm hoping the lovely yellow super invasive flowers from my Grandmother will bloom in the basket. I really think they will as they are hardy as all get out. And I think it will be a beautiful addition to my front bed at ZERO cost to me. I like the rustic look of the basket too. If the experiment fails I have only spent a small amount of time putting this basket together and will have lost nothing. This is my kind of homesteading beautification.

Now you must try and imagine these flowers in that old apple basket in front of my house. Of course I will post a photo later on this year if this experiment ends in success.
These two (1 and 1/2) bring my total to four loaves of bread baked this month. I'm really starting to feel like a pretty great baker. Yay!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Today has been very bi-polar

It's been raining all through last night and during most of the day here. I went to let our dogs out this afternoon and it felt unbelievably warm (although very wet with thick air). I let them run a bit and do their business while I watched them through the screen door. Only a minute or two had gone by before I opened the door to let them in and it was horribly cold outside. I don't remember ever noticing such a significant temperature change in a matter of two minutes. It was very odd.

Thanks to the wonderful spring rain the grass in the yard is turning green and the buds on the lilac bush out back are fattening up and also my basement has filled with water in the corner room. While I was down stairs this evening scooping up yucky basement water (so that it wouldn't travel to the rest of the basement and create a total flood like it did two years back) my kiddo got sick in the living room (which is very strange because we were just ill about two weeks back and this kid is one to virtually never get sick (also he seems totally fine now; quite possibly it was something that he ate)). Today is the first day in awhile that I've felt that little black rain cloud full of blah's depart so that I'm not down and out emotionally/ mentally and now I'm being attacked by strange circumstances all around me. It's been a very bi-polar day here; not me so much but the day itself.

Well I'm happy to report that these silly incidents aren't getting me down. In fact I must get back into the basement to check on the water situation, do some laundry while I'm down there, and then I think little Abe and I will read more from The Chronicles of Narnia. What better thing could there be to do on a stormy spring evening while one isn't feeling at the top of their game than to snuggle on the couch and read a magical fairy tale? Nothing, right?

I've FINALLY added up my daily spending for April. Did you know that we're 99 days into 2015? Seems crazy to me but it's true.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.85
$248.79 left to spend in April

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

This and That; Birds and Blueberry Muffins

I'm suffering a bit these past few days from "the grass is always greener on the other side" syndrome mixed with home sickness. My little sister is off on a mission trip to Guatemala again. I consider that beautiful country my second home. This will be her fourth time there; she's caught up to me now and while I'm extremely happy for her, and right now is not my season for travel (believe me I prayed about it), I am missing it tremendously and trying my hardest to not be jealous (while failing a bit).

May I just say thank the good Lord for the great outdoors. These past ten days in a row the little guy and I have spent around nine hours enjoying outside. It's truly been wonderful digging in the dirt, raking leaves, pulling weeds, trimming bushes... oh, the list goes on! My yard really isn't all that tremendously big either. Anyhow, we've been doing whatever just to be out there. It's fun too, me getting to day dream while I un-bury tulips and hyacinth that are popping up from the grass that's grown around them, about what I might do in our yard this year.
Today I finally managed to snap a photo of our noble woodpecker friend.I know he's a bit difficult to spot in it. I think the reason I'm so fascinated by this little guy is that last year is the first time I ever recall seeing a woodpecker in real life. He's got a red crown and he loves to peck at the wooden power line pole in the corner of our backyard.

 This tree is in the neighbors yard and it's the first time I've ever seen him on it and the closest we've ever been able to get to him. This encounter was grand in and of itself because that sad little tree still has several old brown, very dried out leaves on it that that somehow managed to hold on through the long harsh winter. Anyhow, as he was tap, tap, tapping away on the tired little old tree the dead leaves were rattling, making a very tinny sound. It was really quite an odd sound and very lovely.

In other news on the April in Alaska front, we've made it through chapter 8 of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The little guy seems quite interested. I baked two loaves of white bread yesterday (a recipe I'd yet to try). They turned out wonderful. My best loaves yet. Little Abe and I walked to a friend's house last evening and gave them a loaf of bread. I've just now pulled blueberry muffins out of the oven. I haven't started sewing anything yet but I've gotten the fabric out and picked which ones I'll be using for my nephews small quilt. I've been on facebook much too much but I've not been watching much TV. I think I'd have considerably more spunk if I weren't fighting this glum mood but at least I'm working at my goals for the month AND spending a great deal of time outside which was possibly the biggest part of the plan.

I've honestly not calculated a daily spend yet this month which is insane because I generally do calculate it daily. But I have been keeping track of my spending. My no spend days might be shot at this point. I have picked up little things here and there all month so far, which also means I'm spending more than I should be. I'll get to that soon though. I must. In the mean time little Abe and I are going to sit down to some hot blueberry muffins now. I hope everyone has been enjoying April thus far!

Also Happy Birthday to my little sis who's in Guatemala at this very moment!

Today Belongs to You

Go out and grab this day by its horns and take it for a fabulously exhilarating ride.
I mean, this is the only body you've ever been given, yes?;
and you woke up with breath in your lungs?
Live today to the fullest because life is a miracle and today is truly a gift that you've been given.

(this is really a pep talk for myself because I've been lazy and glum)
(and it is NOT a YOLO message because I'm absolutely not all about YOLO)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Free Stuff Makes Me Happy

You know that feeling, like you're still in your early twenties, or mid twenties at the most, and yet you're constantly realizing that you've been friends with this individual or that individual since high school... and wait... you've known them almost 20 years now?

A dear friend of mine that I couldn't have possibly known for close to 20 years, (could I?) started up  a natural beauty care business very recently (actually they've yet to have their grand opening). Her and her hubby have been making soaps, lotions, lip balms, all practically non-stop for the past while on top of raising four girls and both working full time jobs. I applaud their efforts, their money and time invested, and their go-get-um spirit in starting a small business like this. I've never had the gusto or guts to start one myself, although I can't say the thought has not crossed my mind.

This couple is one of the awesome sponsors for the GIVEAWAY (I now feel the urge to remind you that you get two extra entries into the giveaway if you "like" the sponsor's facebook pages (that makes 10 extra entries in total)) and I just received a sample pack of soaps and a lip balm in the mail from them so I could try out some of the different fragrances and blends myself. You know I like free stuff! Everyone knows that getting packages in the mail is awesome. I feel like it's my birthday now because of this lovely gift so I had to share my delight with you all. I tried the lip balm right away and LOVE it. The soaps are next in line.
This is my sample pack.
The soaps smell fabulous! Now that I've done and photographed them I can go try them out. Yay!

Please do visit Rock Creek Soaps website:
and like their facebook page if you're interested at all in wonderfully fragrant, natural, vegan soaps:

2015, First Quarter Goals

I wasn't going to post "New Year's Resolutions" or even 2015 goals because I just can't stick to anything for an entire year. I look back at my goals once the year's flown by and at least in my own eyes I end up looking a bit like a failure. None the less my mind has been racing with things I want to accomplish this year, goals, plans, yep New Year's resolutions. I decided to make some first quarter goals instead. I can handle focusing on a thing for three months. That's probably about my attention span limit anyhow. Come the second quarter I'll reassess and see where I am then instead of waiting 12 months and ending up with a big oops, I forgot.

The first quarter of 2015 has come and gone. Yep, we're a quarter through the year now. My goals were as follows.

1. Learn 10 Irish words/ phrases: I learned one but that's okay it was a fun goal
-1. Dia Duit
2. Bake 10 new recipes: Mission accomplished
- 1. Banana walnut muffins
- 2. A loaf of cheese bread
- 3. Brownies with frosting
- 4. Sourdough bread
- 5. Walnut Tassies
- 6. Apple Tassies
- 7. Citrus cupcakes
- 8. Cinnamon roll cake
- 9. Lemon cake with lemon frosting
-10. Pretzels3. Read 4 books: Yep, read 5 (even though three were kids books)
- 1. "Dreamers and Deceivers" Glenn Beck
- 2. "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims" Rush Limbaugh
- 3. "Rush Revere and the First Patriots" Rush Limbaugh
- 4. "St. Patrick of Ireland" Philip Freeman

- 5. "Rush Revere and the American Revolution" Rush Limbaugh

4. Not cut my hair: This was my easy one. Done!

5. Clean out the basement: I did not finish everything on my list BUT the basement is a hundred times better than it was so this is also a mission accomplished first quarter goal.
This might take me more than three months but it's a goal. Our basement is just a spidery mess of other people's stuff that I need to go through, get rid of, and clean up. I'd like it to not have anything we don't need or use.
-Go through hubby's grandparent's and hubby's dad's stuff and if it needs to be kept it needs to belong somewhere (other than the basement)
-Get rid of the garbage/ damaged stuff from the flood
-Get rid of the mattress
-Get rid of the boards
-Get rid of the paint cans
-Clear out my mom and sister's stuff
-Clear out Jessika's stuff
-Give Dave's huge fan back
-Scrape up the old paint on the floor
-Wash the floor
-Clean the walls
-Move the ping pong table to other side
-Move the tool and dye stuff (grandpa's) to tool room
I'd like it to be a place little Abe can ride his bike around in and where we can do art projects (and for it to not be gross)

6. Only spend every other day/ 45 NO SPEND days: 10 days short on this one.
- 35 so far
7. Build the emergency fund back up: Yes and then no.
- $1000 (for several weeks at least)

Now it's time for second quarter goals!

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Today we did something I've been wanting/ meaning to do for just about forever. Making from scratch, home baked, hot, soft pretzels has been something like a dream of mine ever since my husband discovered some fabulous soft baked pretzels at a very good (very expensive) local bakery here. Now, I must ask myself, why in the world have I not looked up a recipe and attempted this before now? Why? Honestly, why?

I'm so glad I committed to baking more often this year and I'm so glad I included making more things from scratch on my April in Alaska goals. The pretzels just came out of the oven and they are SO tasty! I think they turned out perfect in fact. This long awaited experiment is a total successful mission accomplished. I actually kind of wish that the little guy wasn't napping right now so that he could enjoy the fruits of our labor sooner than later. But of course the pretzels will still be yummy when he wakes up from his nap.

The recipe I used is linked HERE for anyone else who's had a life long dream of baking pretzels at home but has yet to try it out. I highly recommend it!

In other news we've also taken one of our dog's for a walk around the block, played with both dogs in the backyard, spent a good 30 minutes doing yard work (digging in the dirt on little Abe's part), dyed some eggs silly colors, and finished our reading from Narnia today. We're 3 and 1/2 chapters in already. April in Alaska, so far so good! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Part of my Alaskan adventure this month was to include watching less TV (ideally less for Abe and none for myself (the little guy watches a ton of educational tv)) and reading much more. I can't say that I've opened a book yet this month solely for my own pleasure (I read history mostly so that's a silly sentence) but I did sit down with a timer set to 15 minutes yesterday and began reading out loud from C.S. Lewis's, The Chronicles of Narnia.

I read to little Abe again this evening for another 15 minutes. Thus far we've read through two chapters of the 17 chapter book. At this rate we could reasonably read through two novels this month. I honestly wondered before I began if my very young three year old would pay much attention to my reading from a chapter book. I figured it would be a good exercise none the less and I've been wanting to start reading aloud to him for 10 to 15 minutes increments for some time (from a non-picture book).

I often times find myself imaging what life must have been like before television and radio even. I know that even before books families would tell stories after dinner, during down times at the homestead. Books and story telling are one of the earliest forms of entertainment. I'm certain that countless three year olds through out the history of the world have been subjected to hours and hours of their parents reading aloud to at least the other children of the family. I imagine story time must have been anticipated, looked forward to and families bonded during the evening readings. I've just realized that many a child must have been subjected to very boring readings as well that they cared nothing for. Haha, and here I am wondering if my reading a children's novel to my child is foolish.

I'm happy to report that he is very interested. He's been listening really quite well each time I've read the story and he's asked a great deal of questions about the story (much more this evening then the last). I found it funny that while I read from this older story of which words are jumping out at me left and right that I know my child has never heard before the only word he's asked me to explain was "batty." Edmund called his little sister Lucy, "batty" after she'd returned from the wardrobe and they refused to believe her story of adventure to a land called Narnia. Little Abe stops me and asks, "what's he mean, batty? what's batty?" I find it humorous that the three year old boy is most interested in learning this new insult word. Don't get me wrong, my kid is very kind and compassionate but it struck me as very humorous. "what's batty?"

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.

Isaiah 53:3-9

Thursday, April 2, 2015

chirping at the homestead

(yes I'm really running with this Alaska metaphor)

Today was really busy at work and then since I was running so late rather than pick up groceries while I was at the grocery store (where I work) I had to rush home so my third shift hubby could get to sleep and then Abe and I returned to the grocery store. Deep breath... we didn't get outside to enjoy the fresh air and warmth (which we were actually lucky to take in this evening since it down poured all day (not complaining; the rain is great)) until 8PM but we spent a great 40 minutes outside.

I think my biggest observation today is that I don't really hear the birds unless I'm listening for them. There were some incredibly boisterous robins leading the choir this evening. I actually laughed at their enthusiasm a few times. Bird songs are one of my greatest joys in life. But truthfully this evening while we were outside each time I got to focusing on which ever task I was working at I also stopped hearing the birds. Their songs never grew quieter. The beauty in the most natural of music never faded but I stopped hearing them when I wasn't listening. It kind of made me sad but then I'd stop what I was doing and listen to the loud energetic musical creatures and smile an even bigger smile than the last time I found myself stopping to listen. They were honestly very loud. It wasn't that I had to focus to hear them, not in the least. I just stopped hearing them when I wasn't focusing. Gee, how often in life does this same exact scenario play out in a million different ways?

I've said it more times than I care to admit, but please friends remember to look for the lovelies and stop and listen to the music of life. We're surrounded by constant beauty and yet we miss it so often when we don't remember to look (and listen).

This evening while some very fluffy robins led the neighborhood birds in a chirping contest I cleared out some dead perennials to make way for new growth, picked up some fresh dog dirt, and racked a few select spots in the yard while my BIG helper excavated the tomato bed. He makes me smile so much!

We found the very first blooms of the year... I know, you all WAAAAY beat us to it but spring is very slow going here on the lake in Michigan.

AND the hyacinth are well on their way to making their glorious debut and just in time for Easter. Yep, I love being outdoors!