Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gardening

This year I am super excited to get into gardening. Vegetable gardening that is. I've had some mild success last summer with growing herbs (mainly basil), so I'm excited to expand my growing abilities this spring!

I'll be honest though, my desire for gardening is not because I want to grow my own food. I'm honestly pretty happy to buy from the grocery store. I'm not concerned about pesticides and organic varieties, blah, blah, blah.

My desire to grow something actually stems from the spiritual. Say what? How does vegetable gardening connect with your spiritual life? Well, I'll tell you...


All last year (2015) I read the book, Spiritual Rhythms by Mark Buchanan, off and on. One particular time I referenced the book, I was so intrigued on the connections he made with "planting" and "harvesting" and sowing the seeds of spiritual disciplines.

This lead me to do some light research on how long it takes to grow and harvest vegetables and fruits. God asks us to plant spiritual seeds in our life (spiritual disciplines), and most often we have to wait to see what those seeds will mature into. The longer the mature time, the larger the crop, right?

Here are some of my findings...

  • Did you know that asparagus can be harvested sparingly for 1 to 2 weeks in the second year of planting? That's right, you can't even eat the first year's worth of crop. A mature patch would be considered 5 years old. Talk about having to wait for a good thing! 
  • Garlic: It's maturation time is 4 to 6 months and is one of the hardiest of plants. It's resistant to cold and is not harmed by frost, freezes, or even snow. It goes dormant over the winter, but does not die. Wow, I'd like that as a description of my spiritual walk (hardiest of plants)! 
  • Here's one more... Beans, onions, and peas take about 60 days to mature. They mature faster, but produce a much smaller vegetable. 


In any case, once I started researching I was hooked. Problem was I was right in the middle of a growing season (early December). I was TOO LATE to starting growing winter crops. 

Wow, so not only did I learn how long it takes to grow and cultivate things, but now I realized you can't just start any time. Can you feel the spiritual connection here? Planning, cultivating, waiting, caring for, timing, and the list goes on... 

 

Now that we are approaching the spring planting season (around March), I'm excited to starting planning for spring crops! 

After much research (honestly, there is so much info out there, it will make your head spin), and consulting this great book from horticulturalist Robert Bowden (fun fact: he was/is the Exec Director of Leu Gardens here in Orlando), I finally was able to decide on what to grow. 

- Green Beans

- Okra

- Collard Greens

- Rhubarb




And some herbs of course... Cilantro, Rosemary, Mint, Basil, Chives




I know that doesn't sound like much, but I am starting as a beginner. And.. many crops can't handle Florida's spring and summer heat. I'll have to wait until fall to plant other things like onions, lettuces, garlic, etc. 

Now onto building some more planter boxes... I'll keep you posted on how things go! 

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Master Bathroom Countertop: Before & After



Over the holiday break my husband and I finally got to put the last touches on our master bathroom. It feels so beautiful and complete now! I can't even believe it's ours!

You probably remember our bathroom overhaul that happened last February...



While it was great to get all the flooring and shower tile done, we knew we weren't 100% complete with that space. The countertop and sink basin had to go! They were definitely 1990's original.

Over the course of last year, it took me a while to decide on what I wanted for a countertop material. Concrete counters are super hot right now, but they are SUPER labor intensive. Plus, who really wants concrete in a bathroom..?

Another idea was to go with a granite, like we did in the kitchen. But oftentimes the stone companies will only take on a job if it's a certain amount of square footage, etc. For them to come out and just do one countertop in a bathroom probably wouldn't be worth it for them.

So, I took to Pinterest to get some inspiration.

I searched through all my previous pins for bathrooms I loved, and found that I kept pinning dresser-turned-vanity ideas.

Things like this...



and this...



And then it hit me... why not do a wood top with white vessel sink?! I could stain the wood to give the appearance that it was original to the cabinets. It would assimilate the dresser-turned-vanity idea. It would look like one complete piece. Done!

So, I convinced my husband and we went for it! I ordered my vessel sink, faucet, and drain cover from Amazon. Most home improvement stores don't have a ton of variety for vessel sinks in-stock (maybe one or two), so I decided to order online.



Before we installed the wood stained countertop, my husband put down 3 ft high beadboard and molding. The beadboard gives it some Southern charm, and ties in with more beadboard that we have in the guest bathroom.





What do you think? Doesn't it have so much more charm than before?


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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy 2016!


Happy 2016, all! What an exciting and fresh new year awaits us!

Each new years eve, my husband and I do what we call "vision boards". We pull together images to help represent what direction we want our new year to go in. The ideas are more dream and goal-centered, instead of hard and fast resolutions. 

The original idea for vision boards came from my mother-in-law, and you can see some of our previous years here(2015) and here (2014)

For 2016, some of my vision board ideas include:

  • Pampering myself with a monthly massage and facial membership
  • Focusing on exercising 30 minutes a day
  • Writing more letters and sending cards to loved ones
  • Taking more vacations with my wonderful husband
  • Learning to make bread and other baked treats
  • Starting a vegetable garden and growing herbs
  • Keeping up with my monthly BirchBox, and finding more vintage clothing pieces
  • Continuing to pour into others' lives by serving as a marriage mentor in our church's pre-marital class 
And lastly.... celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary in July! How exciting! 

Hope your New Years Eve was fantastic! Here's to all the fun adventures 2016 has in store for us!
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