2013 Vegetables

It is SPRING, Time for Growing Food!!seedlings

3/8/13

For the last three or four years, I have been trying to grow some of my own fruits and veggies. Last year, the urge to have something green growing in my garden was so strong that I started veggies indoors in February, which honestly was the earliest I could start. I am considering a winter seed starter that can be started even earlier for next year. I was absolutely compelled and obsessed. I mean, if there were a diagnosis for wanting to plant something this badly, it would be mild OCD.  This year, I am already growing a little human and am incredibly limited in movement. I however will not let a little thing like bed rest stop me :).

You may not know, but I am immensely frugal. My dollar has to go a long way so expensive things have to retain their value over the long haul. Last year, I bought the fancy schmancy self-watering grow kit (approx. $20), only to realize that one size does not fit all plants and flimsy is as flimsy does. Those containers are not meant to survive year to year and are a waste of my hard earned dollar. Hey….think of all the things you can do with $20. This year, the kids and I went DIY (do it yourself) to start our seedlings. I bought (had someone go buy for me) one of the large mixing tubs from the concrete section of Lowes (about $5 then), I splurged and bought an organic seed starting mixture for about $8 on sale and collected some free non-glossy newspaper.

planter

The kids and I (mostly them following my directions) made organic seed starting pots from the free newspaper and filled each with seed starting mixture. Yeah… it is seed planting time! Prior to this foray, I had already planned out the garden leaving some empty spaces for the kids to figure out later. I use the Square Gardening method for most of my plantings as this gives you way more bang for your buck. Annually, I only need to add some good compost to re-energize the gardens.  All three of my veggie gardening spaces are 4’ x4’. So I read up and plotted what would grow where then actually drew the diagrams. I must also note that I only get full sun on one side of my house. The back yard has three very large shady trees and the other side of the house only gets evening sun. I have realized over the years that cool weather crops will produce longer if they are planted on the evening sun side and nothing at all wants to grow in the back yard other than mosquitos and grass.

This year’s crops will include:

Sweet Potatoes (grown in a plastic storage bin) Spinach Mustard Mustard Greens
Red Stem Malabar Spinach (also grown in a separate area due to height) Dwarf White Sugar Snow Peas Red Russian Kale 
Lacinato Kale Three types of Sweet Bell Peppers Mini- Bell Peppers
Two types of sweet yellow onions Marigolds Broccoli
Two types of Carrots Sugar Baby Watermelon Minn. Midget Melon
Garlic Mesclun Mix Yellow Cucumbers
Green Burpless Cucumbers Possibly some Corn in a separate area Possibly strawberries in a pot

Anyhoo, using the Square Gardening system, I don’t tend to use more seeds than I actually need. So we planted the seeds after each homemade pot was in the large mixing tray, water each lightly, and covered the entire tray with cling wrap. Yep, cling wrap. Can you say insta-greenhouse!!! As you can see, in less than a week, we have lots of sprouts!! Using cling wrap allows us to only cover the plants that need it and to increase the height if necessary since one size really doesn’t fit all. The large mixing tray currently has 15 pots and could easily fit another 20 pots of the same size which is about the size of a soup can.

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I am still awaiting a few seed packets for new, specialty items but mostly, seeds came from the dollar store, Lowes/ Home Depot, or organic seed supply companies. The slips for the sweet potatoes are grown from a store bought tater.  Oh, I also collect seeds throughout the year from veggies I like.

When it is time to transplant, I will start with hardening off the seedlings. I neglected to do this last year and found that 50% of the seedlings died.  I am so excited to get these plants outside. Soon, we will prune and fertilized the two Rosemary bushes and lavender plant, and determine where the spearmint and basil will live. Growing my own veggies is so awesome. When I want salad, I go outside with the kitchen shears and cut it. Peppers and onions are there along with cukes… just waiting for us to enjoy them. Fresh strawberries all warm from the sun or melons hanging on the vine. The grocery store becomes a backup plan and can you imagine how much money we will save again this year!!!! KACHING!

Let me know if you want to learn how I handle sweet potatoes, making newspaper pots that actually stay together or square gardening? Did I mention that I personally built two of the 4’ x4’ above ground gardening boxes from scratch? The only tool I needed was a drill! The cost for each box was less than $20. Divide that by 4 years and that’s 5 bucks a year. So very frugal.

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Exceptionally Important – Safety Concerns

Share this! This is exceptionally important especially if you have children. My children’s safety is of the utmost importance to me. I don’t even allow my 9 yo boy to go into the men’s room by himself as the consequences could be heinous.

Please take a moment and watch the video and be sure to watch this to the end. There are specific directions on how to update your phone so that you and yours will not be targeted. I researched how to make the changes on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and they are a little different. those directions can be found below the video. Be sure to check any devise with which you take pictures.

Samsung Galaxy S3: Go to Camera App>settings>GPS tags> off

Stay safe my lovelies! Be sure to subscribe to this blog!

#CoiledGlory

How do you keep you and your family safe?

Review: Protective Style with TGIN

So just after New Years, I received an email stating that TGIN (Thank God I’m Natural) was having a sale. So I secured my uber great price of $9.99 and free shipping and went big. TGIN is sold a select Walgreens, just none in my area. So sale and free shipping were the way to go. I purchased: the Butter Cream Moisturizer for Natural Hair and the Twist and Define Cream for Natural Hair .

This is the first time that I have flat twisted my entire head myself. So as you can imaging, it took forever. Mostly because I kept taking breaks to chill with the kiddos and the Marine or snack or watch t.v. or sit down or almost anything that didn’t involve twisting my hair. My shoulders are a tad sore from trying to get the sides and back and the Girl stated that the back looks good. In fact, she actually complimented my hair which almost never happens.

So anyway, back to the products. They smell good. Not overwhelming but not anything to right home about. I don’t want hair products that have strong smells. Interferes with my natural glory. 🙂

I started off on clean but dry hair. I spritzed it with water or Jane Carter’s Re-Store Moisturizer (I really use this because it smells yummy) and then the TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer followed immediately by the twist and define cream. I sectioned my hair leaving what amounted to a mohawk in the center. I used one of CharyJay’s protective updo’s as a template. First time yall. I flat twisted the sides toward the mohawk and then individually twisted the center. I gathered pieces in the back and began to twist them up the middle. Pinned it. Then I wrapped the front around until it kinda resembled a Pompadour. Pinned it.

Okay, so that was a style. Not a great style as the ends were pointy (in hindsight I should have rolled them on rods but I didn’t). The back of my hair, the nape (you know, the kitchen) is relatively short.  So the most I can do with it is one flat twist in that area… and then pray it stays. It didn’t. I had to re-twist if several times but that is the transitioning life isn’t. Since my hair is not really long, there were a ton of hair pins attempting to keep it together.

I know, I know. This is a long review. Here is the best part, first, the ends didn’t untwist like they did with the Qhemetics. Second, The flat twist out ways so defined  it was obnoxious. Remember, most of this hair is bone straight. I wore the twist out for one day before I started loosing the definition. The roots/new growth had super powered definition. If my entire head of hair had been natural, I think I would have had the bomb diggety (yes… bomb diggety) twist out. I have worn it for a second week in a halo. A very textured flat twist halo.

Were there any cons? Yes, the moisturizer seemed to leave white residue on my flat twists that just dried and looked crusty. I don’t know that using the moisturizer in updos is the way to go as there is not way to rub it in and it doesn’t soak in. I really don’t like the crusty. But perhaps a bit of oil added to it will make the difference.

Would I recommend it? Heck yeah. There was not any stickiness afterwards, and the twists were so well defined. I am gonna try a regular twist out his weekend with rods on the ends and see how that works.

Teeth and the boobs

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“There are teeth in his mouth. I don’t wanna put this in there.” Those are the words that ran through my head when at 8.5 months old, the littlest boy sprouted a tooth and a half. We have been working hard to keep the milk up. All kinds of Hospital grade pumps, herbs and compunded pharmecuticals. And now I have to contend with teeth. As if his occasional gnawing followed by an adorable smile when I yelled firmly stated NO, wasn’t enough. If it ain’t one thing it’s another.

So here we are. Almost 9 months and I have a teething biter attached to my gi-norms. Oh. What is a gi-norm you ask? Well it refers to the milk producing ginourmous (gigantic and enormous got together and made a ginormous… yes it’s a real made up word) mounds that my wee one feels are a the best thing ever. Ok. Breasts. Big ones. I digress. 9 months and now what?

No real bites yet (thank you Almighty). A few nibbles that were quickly followed up with removal of said appendage from wee one’s mouth and a very firm no. But no bites. I hate pumping. But if he uses those new chompers on my already sore gi-norms, I am gonna be a pumping somebody.wpid-wp-1389043453251.jpg

Truly though, I am extremely thankful to have gotten this far breastfeeding. With the bigger boy (now 9 years old), I tried for a month to breastfeed and pump. He wouldn’t latch at all for a solid month and pumping throughout the day gave no more than 1 ounce combined milk. That is right… no let down ever occurred while pumping. Of course, I didn’t have the lactation help that I had this time, nor did I have a Hospital Grade pump that is as silent as a whisper. No, no. I had lactation help that considered me another number and a store bought loud as Hades pump that sent “The Marine” packing each time it came on. So I am not exaggerating when I say that this time around has been full of small goals and big accomplishments.

So my lovelies. did you continue breastfeeding while baby teethed?

Breastfeeding Challenges pt. 2

20140103_093238 So… ok, just picking up where I left off in part 1. So it’s just one week before I go back to working full time and the wee one starts with a sitter. AND, I don’t have any supply in the freezer, a pump with which to secure new supply, nor hardly any milk being produced. I am drinking ‘non-alcholoic beer’, drinking  boobie milk tea (ok, not the real name), taking to breast all the time, eating the occasional seaweed. Really, doing just about anything to make this milk stay. Now what do I do?

I visit the nearest store and price formula. Good gravy! Formula is priced so freaking high I would either have to be wealthy or qualify for WIC to acquire some. Since neither is my case and I don’t have a hook-up. I am back to searching for ways to produce liquid gold in a bottle.

I hit the internet. I search and search and finally stumble upon the correct words that will produce what I am looking for. I call stores the rent pumps, research pumps on various websites, and locate independent lactation specialists. The first person I speak to is a La Leche League rep. She answers! I explain and she rattles off with reasons why my milk is low, anatomy of the breastfeeding body, and some possible solutions with barely a breath in between. The conversation, that is is an overstatement. It was really a monologue. Anyhoo, it was over in under fifteen minutes and the whirlwind left me feeling very alone  and without usable solutions. She didn’t get my contact information and didn’t really seem interested. In fact, I felt like a nuisance to her otherwise wonderful evening. Booo.

The second pickup was a location that rents pumps. And yes, they had them. And no the rep couldn’t tell me anything more than the cost and which ones were most commonly used because they just work there.

A few more calls and then a call back. A lactation specialist who is absolutely kind and caring and actually paid attention to what I said. She was local. But couldn’t understand why I had problems with the last pump since that is the brand she carries. Hmmm.

A few more calls and another pick up. She skips to the point. Can you come today? I have everything you need here. Oh and I agree that pump was a piece of crap.

Enter lactation guru, book writer, care giver, inspirational, baby whisperer – Kathleen. I show up at this strangers house. She is a well dressed blonde, Mother of grown children, RN with about fifteen other letters behind her name and Ph.D. in her future. She immediately takes the car seat and invites us in. My Mom, Kathleen and I have so much fun over the next hour that it is more like hanging out with a good friend than having someone size up your breast milk shortage.

When I leave, I have pumped, nursed, had my wee one weighed, laughed, gotten two bras that fit, am outfitted with a high quality pump that only whispers, have few baby calming tricks up my sleeve, know what the law allows for regarding work and have some herbal solutions to bring the milk back full force. My knight in shining highlights!! I feel good about my breastfeeding prospects.

So here we are. The wee one just turned 9 months and he still nurses. I never have enough milk to have a huge stash but I can get enough extra for daycare and the occasional night out. I am happy, not stressed. Kathleen at Bethesda Breastfeeding continues to assist me as needed.

-Just an aside, this past weekend, I bought my first non-nursing bra in forever. A nice Felina bra in a mouth dropping 38G!!!!! What in heaven’s name? The Marine asked “G? Is that for Good Googa Mooga?” Eh.

What I know I did right? I sought out help and kept looking until I found someone I felt comfortable with. I  set small achievable goals. They were:

  • Nurse now
  • If I can do it now, I can do it in two hours
  • If I can do it in two hours, I can do it for a week,
  • If I can do it for a week, the a month
  • If a month, then two months,
  • If 3, then 6
  • If 6, then 9
  • If 9, then 12

Patience and diligence were the deal makers. I didn’t give up. Not when it hurt (um yeah, it hurts in the beginning or for my left Ginorm, whenever he nurses – use Lanolin), not when challenges presented themselves. I believed that I could do it, and I searched for the support I needed. I didn’t let the hours of phone calls to the insurance company or the additional hours of searching and calling new leads discourage me.

You can do it too.

Tell me, did you use a lactation specialist/consultant to help you?

Very Blessed Christmas

The Wee One & The Bigger OneI love Christmastime. Not the running around trying to search out the perfect gift for persons who will ultimately either take it back to the store or give a lackadaisical response. Not even the numerous and ongoing mega-sales. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good sale. But fighting the other sale shoppers is beyond meChristmas Conversation. I would just rather not.  Not even the multitudes of family that I invite over for brunch and that stay until early evening. I love Christmas lights. I love sitting in a darkened room with the Temptations singing any holiday song followed by Luther Vandross singing any thing at all. A room where the only light comes from a glowing Christmas tree. All decorated. I love the smoldering glow as if it were the lone candle on Jesus’ birthday cake.

This year, I had no less than 20 family members come through for brunch. I love all the love. The young, the old, the distant and near. Even now, we have Christmas company staying the night. I don’t mind all the cooking or even all the garbage produced. I am very blessed to have so many loved ones come and spend such a day with me. I truly hope that even if you do not celebrate the birth of Christ, that you are still blessed to have good friends and great family to spend your days with.

Oh, and check the protective do still going strong!!

Merry Christmas my lovelies!

Breastfeeding Challenges Part 1

With baby number 1 (um… nine years ago), even after a month of pumping and taking to breast, I couldn’t get him to latch on and couldn’t produce any milk. Let me expand on that. The bigger boy literally screamed bloody murder anytime he was near a breast. I cried. A lot. My Mother is my witness, my then, less than a month old child said NOOOOOO when the lactation specialist attempted to get him and nipple together. What on earth?

I didn’t stop trying though. Someone gave me a pump. A nice one from Medela with the bag an everything. So I pumped in between (huge air quotes here) “feedings” because well, he wouldn’t take the breast. On a good day, I could muster a measly 1 ounce of milk collected from both breasts… total. I would quickly take my 1 ounce and add it to his bottle for him to gulp down.

At just about one month, that child finally decided to give it a try!!! Whoooo Hoooo. I still only had 1 ounce so that didn’t last long at all. I continued to pump but going to the private bathroom at work was not conducive to making milk. Still I tried. I took brewer’s yeast, milk tea, almost anything that someone said would work. Still 1 ounce. Eh. Enough was enough.

My breast size went from 34b to 36C! Wowzer! All I can say about that is they get in the way of shooting pool.

This time around, I wanted to try again. There were so many things that didn’t go as I wished but this was one that I really wanted to give a chance.  I was completely blessed in that the Nurses and Lactation Specialist at GBMC were (each and everyone) not only willing to help me but did so in a caring, patient and supporting way. I had one nurse who actually cheered in the middle of the night when she heard the wee one swallow! “Did you hear that? ” She asked. ” He swallowed!” By the time I left, I had milk, I was breastfeeding, my holds were stuff of legends and my baby was being fed by me! They sent me home with a pump and a number to call in case of lactating emergency.

I didn’t mention that while in the hospital ( I was there quite often and spent a solid week an a half on a unit for high risk concerns) they actually came to my room to help me find an appropriate breastfeeding bra. I tried on several and well, they didn’t have any in stock that could fit me. I measured in at a true 40F. Booooooo on that. Ok, I was swollen and that had a good amount to do with it. I have since settled to  a UK & US 36FF. Like you read, Gi-norms.

Anyway, I suffered  milk depletion after the hospital pump went back and I waited a month (a whole month) for the insurance company to send me the ‘free’ pump. Only to find that it was a total piece of crap. In fact, it was so bad that I threw it in the trash can instead of selling or giving it away. What brand you ask Ameda, Purely Yours.pump_purely_yours

Now, the Ameda site has some extremely helpful information. But the bare minimum pump that I received produced about 2 oz. of milk. I had been getting an easy 6-4 oz depending on the time of day so you can imagine my concern as that 2 oz started to decrease. And worse yet, it was time to return to my full time gig. Oy vey!

I don’t want to leave you hanging on a cliff. Well yes, yes I do. I want you to subscribe and then read part 2 when it makes it’s appearance.

Til later lovelies.

Did you have breastfeeding challenges?

Protective Styling – Transitioners Dilema

Protective Style: The Halo

Protective Style: The Halo

It is kinda sorta winter. The Winter equinox was this past Saturday. It snowed on three separate occasions the week before last. There was shoveling involved. Yet, temperatures actually reached 70 degrees this weekend. So what on earth do we call that. Nonetheless, I have hair to concern myself with.

It seems that protective styling is the thing to do if you want to keep your ends attached to the rest of the hair shaft, some real level of moisture and gain length. What is protective styling, you ask? Good. So it isn’t just me. The most helpful info I found came from CurlyNikki’s 101 post and Napturally Curly’s Do’s And Dont’s. Using a relaxer, I had never heard of this unicorn call protective styling. So I Googled it and a few days later, I had an idea of what it used for but not how to do it on hair that is straight on the ends, coily curly at the roots, fragile and heck and getting shorter by the day.

What I have learned from countless hours of YoutTube and Google is this:

  • Hair doesn’t define me
  • Hair Typing is helpful to a degree but my hair and your hair are still very different beasts
  • Very few women have always loved their hair and even fewer have never had to struggle with their hair
  • Hair envy is not productive to loving yourself
  • HAVE FUN. It is only hair.
  • Some little girl is looking to you as her inspiration, she wants her hair to be like yours (teach her that her hair is beautiful too)

Oh, and I learned some actual styling and care stuff too:

  • Protective styling is moisturizing then tucking those ends, low manipulation (not touching, combing, handling the hair) very often, and different on everyperson
  • Protective styling can be simple and elegant
  • Deep Conditioning Moisture treatments are essential  on the weekly/biweekly basis
  • Transitioning hair is prone to breakage at the line of demarcation. You know, where the straight and coily curly hair meet.
  • Transitioning hair needs protein monthly
  • Protein treatments should be immediately followed by Moisture treatment
  • Your hair will undoubtedly need something different from my hair

So here is what I have been doing in my effort to protect my hair from going down the drain. And I totally mean going down the drain.

I sleep in a satin bonnet, on a satin pillowcase. This is not new to me. The pillowcases were purchased years ago from Burlington for about $3. I started using them after I read somewhere that they may reduce the chance of wrinkles!!! Sold!

I steam up may bathroom with every shower so that my hair gets a bit of moisture. I then seal in the moisture using a heavy oil blend while still steaming lol. I also tend to slather coconut or olive oil over my skin while still wet because winter weather will rob your skin of moisture too.

So far, a flat twist halo is my primary protective go to style. I haven’t been able to recreate a lot of other styles as of yet. It is relatively easy and involves one continuous or two flat twist on either side of my head that meet up together. I do need to use hair and bobby pins to secure it but it is easy to do and easy to manage. I like easy.

Stay warm and protected my lovelies.

What is your go to Protective Style?

Review: Andre Walker Hair – The Gold System for Naturally Kinky

ImageI recently purchased two items from Andre Walker Hair: Gold System for Kinky product line. My deft purchase occurred when Good Morning America (GMA Deals) had what equates to a Flash Sale featuring these products. Well, let’s clarify that. My Mom called regailing about the deal and how much she wanted to try it. So I bought her some and that means I was forced (ahem) to buy some for me too. So what did I get? I purchased both the Crème Gelee and the TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner. What did I think?:

The Skinny!

Beautiful Kinks Styling Crème Gelee

Ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-69, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Schinziophyton Rautanenii (Mongongo) Kernel Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance (Parfum)

Claims:

Shine, hold, definition, moisture – and never crispy, flakey, or dry. Infused with African Mongogo Oil and formulated to be your only leave-in styler, The Gold System Beautiful Kinks is superior in every way.

  • Paraben Free
  • Sulfate Free
  • No Animal Testing

Results:

So… My hair is not totally ‘kinky’. It is in fact, transitioning (relaxed to natural) so there is about 6 months worth of coiled curlies. This may have had an impact on my twist out results. I made sure to coat each strand with special attention paid to those ends. The twists were very sleek and skinny. Tight even. So my initial thought was that I would have great definition. If my hair were longer my twists would have looked like Senegalese Twist extensions.

Day 1 hair. I untwisted my hair and then began seperating each twist. BAD NEWS. Frizzy was all that resulted from those sleek super tight slender twists. So now what? Don’t separate that is what.  Alright, not the look I was going for but I can live with it.

Day 2 hair. Someone took all the body my hair had (which really wasn’t that much) and ran off with it. Even the curly ends are flat, lifeless and well relaxed. Before work, I added a couple of rods to try and reset the curled ends but they fizzled.

Day 3 hair. crowning flat twist is all I can do at this point. The definition has faded for about half of the twists. Drowned kinda wavy rat.

Likes:

  • The product has a nice smell but nothing to write home about.
  • The Gellee is very rich and creamy. Definitely feels like a luxury item.
  • The container still looks full!!! I used what I thought was a lot of product yet, only a small amount seems to have disappeared from the container. I love getting a lot when I am expecting a little. Cheese.

Dislikes:

  • Every time I touch my hair this product is on my hands. I touch my hair a lot. I know I shouldn’t but those are the facts. I wash my hands a lot too.
  • Curled ends fell after the first day.
  • Separated twists became frizzy. I really don’t like frizz.
  • The twists that were simply untwisted but not separated (hope that makes sense) lost all body by day two.

Products life on my shelf:

Suspect. I doubt that I will throw this away since I am way to cheap money conscious or even better… frugal for that to occur. I can probably figure out some product combinations that will make this useful. That may entail gifting it or waiting for more curly and less straight hair to emerge. Keeping it in the current rotation isn’t going to happen though. Unfortunately, this product Coiled Gloryisn’t for me or my transitioning hair right now.

You can watch the video here.

So tell me, have you tried Andre’s gellee? Did you like it?