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Ladybugs

We have had a spider mite infestation in our vegetable garden.  I don’t like to spray to keep our gardening as organic as possible, so we looked up what eats spider mites and turns out one of their main predators is the … ladybug!  I went on Amazon.com and ordered 1500 ladybugs for $11 (including shipping!) and they arrived yesterday and so we released them.  It was fun.  We may even do it again. A lot of them have stayed around but I think if I had misted the garden more frequently, we could have had even more stay – there sure are plenty of spider mites to go around!!!

Much to our amazement, there was not a single dead one in the bag!  Even after sitting in our mailbox for several hours.

We cut open the bag with some scissors and they immediately started streaming out.  So we placed it around the garden so they could get on all the plants having bug issues.  Here they are arriving on the eggplant to find plentiful food and water!

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The boys also enjoyed letting them crawl on their hands and arms.

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After a couple hundred took up residence on the eggplant, we moved the bag over to the tomatoes

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I checked on them tonight and there were still quite a few who have decided to make our garden their home for a while and help us not lose our crop of tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, watermelon and herbs that are still going strong!

Also, I mentioned one of our seashell projects – we grew crystals on them with Borax.  It was really easy and the result is pretty amazing.  You can do it with pipe cleaners too with some amazing results (google it!).  Here’s the recipe.  I would even experiment next time with using a little more Borax than the recipe calls for.

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100 days

My sister-in-law, Kristen, is doing this cool project where she does a painting every single day for 100 days.  I think maybe I should try to do the same with my blog to help me get better about writing and posting… a post every day for 100 days… which would be from today until November 4th… I wonder if I could do it?  I’m not as disciplined, but I guess that’s the point.  Some days, I forget to even answer my text messages (I answer them in my head, but then it never quite gets alllll the way back to the person…)!

Today was “Ema” day (my mom came over) and A LOT got done! Not in order:

2 loads of laundry (1 of which is folded but maybe not yet put away), 1 kid to eye doc, pilates class, 3 blackberry cobblers made (one for us and 2 to take to a family gathering), library books read, garden picking (eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra and cherry tomatoes), all kids toenails and fingernails clipped, I showered!, kids bathed and fed dinner, cleaned out fridge, set up hummingbird feeder, learned how hummingbirds build a nest, and drew and colored pictures of hummingbirds, picked up some things we needed from the store…

Phew!

I also was able to get a little work done for Beautycounter and for Jessie Mackay, a local artist and friend who I help with marketing and sales.  We decided to try something fun and are setting up a daily auction instagram account!  You can follow it here.  Each day, we’ll post a new painting for sale and first person to reply in the comments with their email address we’ll send the invoice to.  Most all of the paintings will be under $200 and are unframed oil on board paintings.  A few that are odd sized will come custom framed.   The first one will post on Friday, July 29th – so go follow @jessiemackayart now!

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My little cutie at the eye doc.

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One of the blackberry cobblers. Recipe is here but it doesn’t need as much sugar as it calls for. You can do less than a cup and also we just sprinkled a teaspoon or two on top instead of 1/4 cup!

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1/100 done!  99 more posts to go…

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Working on…

Meal Planning.  This might sound crazy to people who know me (and how I like PLAN THINGS AHEAD) but I really struggle with meal planning.  I think it is because I also give into impulsiveness…ooooh just saw Ina make a perfect roast chicken (folks, if you wanna cook a chicken, just follow this recipe) OR a bunch of yummy things just popped up on Pinterest…and then whatever I bought earlier that week at Harris Teeter just has to sit in the fridge and deal with it (but then I have to deal with it later, of course).  So I need to make a plan and, for the most part, stick to it.  Especially since it is my JOB to fix our family 3 healthy meals a day.  Plus snacks.  Speaking of which, if you don’t already keep up with 100 Days of Real Food, go check it out too.  I started reading it about a year ago and it has been extremely helpful with cutting down on the amount of processed foods we consume.

Today, I was inspired to get started on this by Pawley’s Island Posh (cute blog!) who referred me to this blog and motherload of genius ideas for meal planning…i.e. making repeating schedules on my google calendar…why didn’t I think of that especially since I’m notorious for leaving my list at home and having to play the memory game.

Anyway, it is too helpful not to share so go check it all out:

(image from lifeingraceblog.com)

I’ll post any good recipes I find as well as keep you up on any other tips I come across as I tackle this.  Got any meal planning tips to share?

And so I’ll leave you with this photo from Sunday afternoon.  We had to get outside, even though it was FREEZING and took a walk in our local arboretum.  Rand found some pinecones that are now hanging with peanut butter and birdseed in the yard.  I guess the birds got the first meal plan:)  Whoops.

 

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Back to School

I feel like I’m back in school.  A much more fun school though.  If you’re wondering, I’m currently enrolled in the school of YouTube and Pinterest.  You can learn how to do just about anything. Recently I’ve learned:

How to do an easy half-up hairstyle (check out all this girl’s videos…tons of ideas)

 

How to unclog a drain

How to make a teepee (we haven’t made it yet…but one day I will do this for Rand…and me…)

How to make a healthier version of a California sandwich

How to make a toga out of a bed sheet (4 ways!)

How to make something yummy with Quinoa (note: food lion in Pinehurst does not carry Quinoa.)

How to wrap wine (or beer) bottles for a hostess gift or to take on a picnic

Other things I’ve learned from the “School of PinTube” (can you think of a better name?) include:

boiling eggs perfectly

baking chicken without it getting dry

how to get stains out

how to play (just about any song!) the piano

how to install an infant car seat (Wes did this one, not me…I still have yet to learn it)

how to change the ring in the frontload washer (Wes again)

how to help a choking infant/heimlich maneuver

and so on…what have you learned that’s been helpful?

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Inspired

Today, I saw this fantastic Christmas swag (is that what you call it??) outside of the Aldena Frye Floral Design showroom in downtown Aberdeen.   Isn’t it fantastic?  I love how natural it is with the pine garland and pinecones, holly and grapevine all tucked in.  Magnolia too.  I think I need this at my front door.

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