Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Twigs

I knew several days ago that we would have freezing rain and wintery mix and because of the unusual warm temperatures in this area, some of our spring bushes already have buds on them. This is at least one month early.  I did not want the freeze to get these beautiful flowers so I did a little research on forcing buds into bloom indoors and went about snipping a few twigs.  This 1st photo is the Flowering Quince in my back yard and it is just beautiful.  The next  few photos are the twigs I took off the bush and put them in water on my kitchen counter.

I love this man vase.  He looks cute with all sorts of plants and flowers for his hair.  The twigs will continue to bloom for a couple of weeks.
Instead of waiting for warm weather,  you can hurry the season along by forcing some twigs. Forcing is when you cause plants to flower earlier than they would in nature.  The best way to force twigs is to cut long branches from a flowering shrub or tree, bring them indoors, and place them in water.

Good plants to try include forsythia, dogwoods, pussy willows, apple, cherry and flowering quince, peaches, and crabapples.

It is better to use a floral additive to make sure you do not get any nasty bacteria in the water and it is easy to make your own.
In a gallon of water put
4 tablespoons of real lemon juice
2 tablespoons of sugar
½ teaspoon of  bleach

You will need to  change the water at least 2 times a week.

I posted some photos I found online of beautiful flowers others have forced indoors.

It's so cute to use a mason jar as a vase and the lip on the jar holds the twigs upright in a good position.

I also love to force bulbs on the counter.  My brother-in-law gave me paper whites at Christmas and they were just beautiful.  You can force just about any bulb indoors and they are so fun to watch grow.

This is the vase I used to grow my paper whites.  The bulb fits perfectly into the top and it is neat to see the roots growing in the water.  Try forcing bulbs or twigs yourself, you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013


It’s time to start thinking about Spring coming up and what better way than to talk about Composting. I just got a new compost bin for my kitchen, from World Market,  and I love it.  It will hold about a weeks worth of compost and doesn’t smell because it has a charcoal liner.
Here are a few other kitchen composters I saw online.  There are so many to choose from that will match any style of kitchen.

The one on top is made from plastic bins that held coffee with holes drilled into the top.  Composting keeps your organic waste out of your local landfill, and makes a wonderful soil. Composting is easy, too. If you’ve never had a compost bin before, you might be surprised at how much satisfaction you get from seeing vegetable scraps, coffee, tea grounds and lawn clippings turn into rich, fertile soil, and it helps make your vegetable garden and flowers beautiful.  

 Listed below are the things you can compost.
Fruit and vegetable wastes - peels, skins, seeds, leaves
Egg shells
Coffee grounds (including paper filters), tea bags, used paper napkins
Corncobs - should be shredded to make them break down quickly r
Yard waste
Grass clippings

Pine needles
Woody materials (branches, twigs)
Straw or hay

Next is a photo of my outside tumbler composter.  When the kitchen one is full, I simply empty it into this large one, add a little hay or grass clippings, close and tumble.

I've also added photo's of what other's use to compost.  The possibilities are endless and can be very simple and decorative.  Just use your imagination.  What good this does our earth.

 Add water regularly during the compost-building process, about the wetness of a sponge.
Speed the process by turning the pile with a pitchfork once a week or if you have a tumble one like I do, just flip it.  Mixing it allows oxygen into the center of the pile, encouraging the growth of bacteria which will break down organic material. 
That’s it.  I know it may sound labor intensive, but believe me it isn’t.  Compost your scraps, add them to the outside pile with clippings from your yard, water and turn occasionally and you’ll have beautiful soil for your planters.  Happy gardening

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Car Emergency Kits

Just this past week, my husband was traveling out of town and got stuck for several hours sitting in his car on the interstate due to ice and snow.  We were not prepared.  Being from the south, it wasn't a consideration to us that this might, I am beginning the process of setting up all four of our cars with an emergency car kit.  Here is the beginnings of ours, (we still have much to add to it) but it's a start.
I researched several sites for emergency car kits and this is the kit I chose.  I may add more to it later and you may need to customize yours based on your family's needs.  Just get prepared.  

Water  -  Food Bars  - Flashlight  -  Rain Poncho
Blanket  - 1st aid kit  - Multi-purpose tool  - Knife
Rope  - Small Shovel -  Road Flare  - Socks
Heat Packs - Xtra Medications - Airpump
Car Phone Charger - Jumper Cables - Cash
Fire Extinguisher - Compass/Atlas  - Gloves
Tire Repair Kit - Empty Gas Can - Towel
Lighter  - Book  - Batteries  -  Dry Clothing - Walking Shoes             

All if this can fit into a backpack, which you can throw on your shoulders if needed and fits nice in the trunk.
My husband has a black backpack, but below is a picture of what my emergency kit is in.  It is something I had I can use until I can buy a backpack.  Hopefully pink.  My two boys also have backpacks.

You may want to a buy first aid kit or car tool kit if you don't want to put them together yourself. 

 Notice the name on the kit?  Haha, it's my last name.  I like that.  Also, make sure you have an extra tire and jack in case of a flat.  You never know when you may have an emergency and we all seem to think one day we'll take the time to be prepared, but don't do like we did and have an emergency before you're ready.  Happy traveling.              

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Winter Gardens

Winter gardening is a blessing in disguise. On days when I am feeling a little down in the dumps I can always walk out to our little garden and feel uplifted. I never expected to be a gardener, but I guess God knew what my soul needed to feel alive
Here are a few photos of my trip out to the garden today. I am making homemade chicken soup for dinner, so I'll post the recipe later. Enjoy God's bounty.
Empty basket waiting to be filled.

Sweet Cabbage.  Yum!
Brussel Sprouts

Collard Greens.  Fortune for the new year.

The sad empty basket before picking and the beautiful full one after picking.  Love it.  I also had an added flower surprise.   So pretty here in the middle of winter.  Veges are easy to grow and and very healthy from your own garden.  You can even grow them on a patio with plenty of sun and home grown cabbages are beautiful in planters. 

Friday, January 4, 2013


Don't you just love to see the sunrise?  I know most of us are up at sunrise getting the kids ready for school ourselves ready for work.  But it is so nice to stop and notice the shadows coming in the window.  They bring a sense of magic....
This is looking out my den window as I read my devotions.
Here are some shadows and the sun coming in through the windows.  They add a sense of wonder and imagination.  As a little girl I would dream of other worlds living in these shadows.  Today they remind me of how blessed I am to be able to see the beauty and feel the warmth they give.  Take the time, just a few seconds, to stop and notice them in your home and be thankful for your new day to start fresh.  No matter what is happening in your life, a new day can bring new perspective.

Don't you love the shadow of the angel on the wall in the next photo?  And the bubbles from the lamp on the wall.  Very pretty.

Have a blessed day.  Looking forward to the