Starting a Garden: Winter Sowing

We’ve been saving our water jugs for the past few months, waiting for just the right moment to use them to start our garden! It’s one of those ideas I have pinned on Pinterest that I actually HAVE got around to trying… and it works! We tried it for the first time last year, and are excited to see if it works as well this time around.
We’re no gardening experts around here. This will only be our fourth year to have a vegetable garden, and each year we’ve been really successful at ONE vegetable, yes, one… and that’s not because we only planted one. We’ve had a summer of squash, a summer of peppers, and, last year, the summer of tomatoes. Any guesses what we’ll get this year? Hoping a good mix, but we’ll see…
So, here’s how we start our seeds outside in the gallon water jugs. (You can use milk jugs too, but clean them out really well first.) They work like little mini greenhouses, trapping heat and providing protection from the elements, pests, etc. All you have to do is drill a few holes in the bottoms for drainage and cut a circle around the middle, leaving a about a 2″ hinge where the handle is. Fill the bottom half with dirt and plant away! If you get any precipitation where you live and use a great soil, you don’t even have to water them. (THIS is a great soil mix you can buy at Home Depot.) The seeds can survive freezes, snow, rain, anything. I know, because last year ours were snowed on and frozen a few times… and many of them grew into strong, healthy plants! If you don’t get much precipitation (like us) then check in on the seeds every couple days and water if the soil looks dry. It’s also a great idea to open the jugs on super sunny days. Oh, and do NOT leave the lids on the jugs… that precipitation needs a way in!
We start our seeds in the jugs at the same time you would start indoor planting; it differs depending on the vegetable and your location. We’re starting tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, squash, broccoli (Jaylin’s pick – I’m not optimistic), cantaloupe, and watermelon now (in February in Oklahoma). We’ve never tried any kind of fruit, so I really have no idea what to expect from them.
Once the plants start outgrowing their little jug habitats, we’ll thin them out and transfer them to our Square Foot Garden. If you don’t know what a Square Foot Garden is, I highly recommend you read this book! The author is responsible for the soil mixture I recommended above. It’s an easy starters guide to creating a backyard garden!
Last tip of the day… do NOT leave your newly planted seeds unattended in the presence of 3 and 4 year old little boys, not even for 5 minutes. Sad, sad, frustrating day. We’ll be starting over next week (maybe) and (if we do) I’ll post an update when we see GREEN!
If you’d like, you can follow my gardening pinterest board to see all the ideas I may or may not try in the future. You can find the pin that inspired our winter-sowed garden there too!
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Try Green Kid Crafts for FREE + HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Green Kid Crafts is designed for kids 3-10, and was built out of a passion for hands-on fun and learning. Every month’s Discovery Box is packed with up to 8 unique and engaging STEAM science and creativity kits designed to foster a child’s curiosity, creativity and confidence while helping to raise the nation’s next generation of creative leaders. You’ll also find detailed instructions for all the projects, plus exclusive online extras that provide bonus articles and DIY activities about the month’s theme to extend the learning and fun.Now you can try a FULL-SIZED Green Kid Crafts Discovery Box for free! This offer is valid until supplies last. You will be automatically enrolled in a Green Kid Crafts monthly subscription at a price of $19.95/month, and may cancel at anytime. The first month is free except for $6.95 shipping and handling. One free box per household. To get your free Discovery Box go here! (Discount applies automatically at checkout!)

Also, Green Kid Crafts has partnered with Barbara’s Bakery, Dolphin Organics and more to bring you one wonderful winter sweepstakes. These amazing companies are celebrating the month of February by giving away goodies to help spread love, health and fun! Two lucky winners will get a 1-year subscription to Green Kid Crafts, a $250 prize package of cereals from Barbara’s Bakery, a $50 gift card to Dolphin Organics and a $50 gift card to Expect Natural Boutique. The last day to enter is February 29, 2016. What a prize!

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the Liebster Award

I am so honored to be nominated for a Liebster Award by Millenial Mommy! She is a fellow parent-blogger, and I think you might enjoy reading her posts… Head on over next time you have some free time!

The Liebster Award is an award passed around among bloggers, helping us newbies build a network of blogging friends and readers. In a time where everything feels like a competition, it’s a breath of fresh air the way bloggers will reach out and support and encourage one another.

I did a little research on the Liebster Award, and here’s how it works:

  • You receive notification that you’ve been nominated by another blogger.
  • Read the post linked in your nomination (to learn what to do next).
  • Write a blog post accepting the award, answer the 10 questions you were asked in your nomination, nominate 10 new bloggers, and write 10 new questions for them to answer.
  • Notify your nominees via social media.
Questions for my Nominees:
How long have you been blogging?
What inspires you?
What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
Who is your biggest supporter?
Do you have a ‘day’ job? If so, what is it?
What are your top 3 hobbies, aside from blogging?
What kind of shoes are you wearing right now?
Do you keep a blogging schedule or just wing it?
What’s been the biggest obstacle for you since you started your blog?
List your favorite 3 blogs to read.
Questions Millenial Mommy asked me:
What inspired you to start blogging?
My sister and I thought about starting a blog many times, but we were too nervous (and busy) to do it. Then, I maxed out on the number of Stitch Fix referral credits I could receive in a year, and it was either start a blog to become an affiliate or miss out on all that referral credit. Not a very inspirational start, but that’s it.
What is your favorite book?
I honestly don’t read books as much as I’d like too. When I do, it’s usually ones that I know are about to be made into a movie (Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.), because I like to know the extra details when I’m watching the movie! I also love anything Francis Chan writes, except when it hurts my feelings.
Where do you find inspiration for your posts?
My posts are mostly inspired either by my family (especially my kids) or one of my subscription boxes.
What type of blogger are you (example: lifestyle, career, etc.)?
I suppose I’d call myself a parent blogger/product reviewer.
What is your favorite blog to follow?
Of course I’m a reader of Millenial Mommy, but I also love to read Living in Yellow (her Stitch Fix reveals are the best!) and  Fun, Cheap or Free.
What are your goals for your blog?
I’d love to make a little money from my writing, but really my goal is (and hopefully always will be) to be an encourager and make meaningful connections with other people.
What are your goals for 2016 – either personal or professional?
My friend and I are opening a new store this week, Two Scrambled Eggs! My ‘career’ goals are simply that both the store and this blog are successful and have a positive impact on the people they reach.
What do your family/friends think of your blog?
All of the feedback I’ve received so far has been very positive and supportive. Of course, I do have some very nice, ‘I won’t hurt your feelings’ kind of friends… so who knows?
What is the biggest hurdle that you have encountered with blogging since you started?
Time. Management.
What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Don’t try to fit into anyone else’s mold. I read a lot of blogs and catch myself trying to imitate their style when I write. It doesn’t work out well. Whenever possible, just be yourself.
Without further adieu and in no particular order… I give you, my nominees:
FabYOUlous Life – giveaways, DIY’s and all kinds of fun stuff! She’ll probably be the next big thing, and I’ll feel honored to have mentioned her in this post!
Alice’s Blessed Life – finding happiness out of a dark situation and, as though that wasn’t enough, using the pain to help others.
The Outnumbered Nest – could’ve chosen this one based on name alone, definitely relate to the struggles – and comedy – of being outnumbered by our offspring!
Serendipity – literally LOL’d reading her posts. A silly, fun, and encouraging place to read and hangout a few minutes. You won’t want to leave, her GIF’s are fantastic.
Women Winning Online – nothing I love more than a woman whose goal is to help other women. This blog is full of helpful tips to start (and maintain) an online business. I have a lot to learn from her!
Winging It – my queer little family – a parenting blog written by a mom who is very different from me, but also very much the same. I mean, we are all just winging it, right?
Feather by Feather – an account of traveling the world, written by my alter-ego, Ashley! Okay, it’s not really me, but I kinda wish it was some days!
Married to Restoration – my kind of couple. They’re into restoring all kinds of things: houses, furniture, themselves… excited to learn from them!
Emily’s Puzzle – raising ‘normal’ kids is hard enough… throw in an extra dose of surprises and it’s definitely puzzle. Our struggles with Enzo make it easy for me to relate to this momma.
Lovely Lucky Life – a fellow mommy blogger! Gift guides, tips, crafts… she’s winning the mom game in a big way!
Want to learn more about the Liebster Award? Check out this post from the Wording Well. I found lots of information there, including the Liebster graphics in this post and on my sidebar!
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Stitch Fix #10

This post contains affiliate/referral links and I will get credit and/or make a small commission if you make purchases after clicking these links, but the opinions in this post are ALL my own!***

It’s that time again! My favorite time of the month… Stitch Fix Time! If you aren’t familiar with Stitch Fix, it’s a personal styling service. You fill out a style profile and link your style pinterest board. (Here’s mine!) They send you 5 items to try on at home, and you only pay for what you keep. They charge a $20 styling fee, but it’s applied to your purchases. I’ve only had one box where I didn’t keep anything and lost the fee. Several times I’ve kept all 5 items, they give a 25% discount when you do that! Sound cool? You can sign up here

Each month, before your box ships, you can send a note to your stylist with specific requests. This month I asked her to send me this long black jumpsuit I saw on Pinterest. Sadly, it wasn’t available… but she made up for it by sending some really great stuff!
Market & Spruce Annabeth Faux Leather Trim Sweater Tunic ($68) and Lysse Joylyn Ponte Legging ($78)
They sell Lysse leggings on Amazon, but they’re mostly priced the same as Stitch Fix. I’ve heard you can get a good deal every now and then. These things are so comfortable! I completely understand why so many Stitch-Fixers rave about them, but I thought these were a little too big and a little too pricey.
I LOVED the color and fit of this top. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s a pretty emerald green and the perfect length for leggings. I just couldn’t figure a way to justify $68 for a solid color sweater, so it went back too.
Miz Mooz Serafina Slip-on Sneakers ($59)
These are comfortable, affordable, and FLORAL. No questions here, had to keep them! I love these so much, I’m considering ordering these too!
Loveappella Kandice Dress ($64)
I really thought this dress was going to be a winner when I pulled it out of the box. Unfortunately, I felt like it was too clingy on me, and I know wouldn’t be comfortable wearing it.
Papermoon Frontage Chambray Top ($54)
I really liked the style of this shirt. The sleeves felt like the most comfortable sweatshirt! But it was too short on the sides for me, so it went back too.
I ended up just keeping the shoes this time… but that’s okay with me! It’s a weird time of year where I’m not really sure if I want to buy winter or spring clothes, but I just can’t go wrong with slip-on flower shoes, right?
Want more reveals? You can check out a few of my past fixes here:
Are you a stitch-fixer too? Leave me a link to your reveals – I’d love to see them!
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That feeling of half-awesomeness

Oh this week. Trying to start a new business, write blog posts, doctor appointments, FOUR school parties, a must-happen date night, a book report, laundry, and a surgery. Thank goodness Enzo had a snotty nose that postponed the surgery part. I’m a pro at making busy weeks busier. I like to live on the brink of insanity.
I posted my Jaylin’s book report Valentine’s box on Facebook last night, got all kinds of praise from my friends… and got to thinking (dangerous, I know). Earlier that morning I was at the boys’ preschool parties. Showed up with my store-bought Walmart cookies and NO Valentine’s. I bought them a month ago, four weeks ahead of the game. And they were at home, in a box, in the closet. AND they get called up one at a time to deliver their special little gifts into each of their friends’ boxes or bags. Great. I felt like a total mom-loser-failure, for about 5 minutes. Enzo’s teacher gave him hers to pass out, and Roman never even noticed what was going on. No picture to post, nothing to see here…
…then home to remember Jaylin’s book report. I promise she did the written part of the report (mostly) by herself… but she’s not old enough to wield the hot glue gun yet, and I was determined to get my #momcard back. So, yes, we DOMINATED that box, killed it, did a victory lap, and posted that junk for the world to see. And then I headed back to Walmart, at 8:30, to buy whatever little Valentine snack wasn’t sold out yet, for Zander’s class.
And I ended the night feeling this tinge of guilt for posting my proud moment of the day… because I just know I’ve fooled you all into thinking I’ve got it together. (That’s sarcasm.) We’ve all read the article, Your Facebook life is a lie, ‘Fess up – you suck like the rest of us. My personal opinion? Post. the. good. stuff. If we all already know that nobody has it all together, then why not share the shining moments? Pat each other on the back and just be half-awesome together. That’s my game plan anyway, you with me?
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Little Passports: Coming Soon!

Enzo & Roman (…and baby D) don’t have school on Mondays and Fridays… so obviously they’re my most challenging days of the week! If I want them to be smooth (and avoid yanking every hair out of my head), I have to have a plan, a routine, FOOD, and entertainment. You know I love a good subscription box, and this one is all about entertaining (and educating) the kids! I really think it’ll be a fun thing for us to incorporate into our not-at-school days.

They let you choose a subscription plan and what kind of adventure you want for your kids. They have options for kids aged 3-12: Early Explorers, World Edition and USA Edition. I’m about to get started with a 3 month subscription for our kids… Want to do it with us? Sign up here! And stay tuned for our reviews!*This post contains affiliate/referral links and I will be compensated if you make purchases after clicking them.

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My very first Wantable Fitness edit!

I’ve been wanting to try Wantable for a while now, but I have so many boxes showing up at my door every week right now that I’ve been putting it off. Well, they went and sent me a ‘no styling fee’ offer and I couldn’t resist…
Never heard of Wantable? It’s very similar to Stitch Fix. They charge a styling fee and deliver items hand-picked just for you based on your profile. Big difference is you can choose what kind of box you want (they call them edits): Fitness, Style, Makeup, Accessories or Intimates! I’m still trying to convince myself to be active, so (of course!) I chose the Fitness edit.
Here’s what I got…
Racerback Tank Royal Blue ($38)
Glyder Elongate Legging Spanish Tile Jacquard  ($70)
UPDATE: A reader told me to search for this brand of leggings on Amazon, and wouldn’t you know they have them! Not this exact pattern, but saw several in the $20-$40 range (like these!)
Racerback Tank Black ($38)
Printed Performance Capris Audio Levels ($75)
Found these on Amazon too, but they’re only $3 cheaper. I might wait for a sale…You can buy them here!
“Further” Cross Over Sports Bra ($56)

 

The sports bra is adorable, but it didn’t fit right. It felt like it wouldn’t stay in place, so it was an easy ‘no’ for me. The tank tops felt great, but I would’ve liked them a little longer. Also, they were $38. I have to really love a tank top to pay almost 40 bucks for it. And then there were the leggings. I almost shed real tears sending those back, especially the capris! They fit great and the colors were even better in person! I was so tempted to keep them, but just couldn’t justify the price tag. In the end, everything went back. I emailed Wantable and they adjusted my price points, so I’m going to try again and see if I can get more budget-friendly pieces next time. Great customer service, great clothes… looks like I’m hooked on another one!

*This post contains affiliate/referral links and I will be compensated if you make purchases after clicking them.
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A Random Monday at the Stewart house

My loyal fan base (also known as my mom and sister) suggested that I share a play by play of a ‘normal’ day at our house… I’ve been hesitating to do it. One, because I thought it might be boring; and two, I never remember to pull the camera out to document what’s happening until I’m making dinner. Well ladies and gentlemen, today was the day. I made it happen.

Mornings are crazy around here. From the time my eyes open until everyone is off to school, it’s nonstop. Make breakfast, collect box tops, drink coffee, change diapers, let the dogs out, find Enzo’s helmet (and get it on his head), give Enzo his medicine, finish filling out reading logs (that were due last week), pack lunches, find clean outfits and get everyone dressed, brush teeth, make lunches…
I’m so thankful for late start Monday. Jaylin and Zander don’t have to be at school until 9:30. It’s a wonderful way to ease into the week… but it means Micah can’t drop them off for me. I have to load everybody up to drive a whole block to school… I hope we never get in a wreck driving that .01 mile because we all leave the house looking a little scraggly, as in no bra, no makeup, no shoes for mommy. At least I’m caffeinated.
Yes, Enzo and Roman are wearing the same shirts they wore to church… don’t call me out like that.
When we get back home, the three little ones doodle off to do their own thing… and I clean. I’ll never be accused of being a clean freak, but I am pretty compulsive about making beds and keeping closets organized…
You noticed how I cropped out the messy floors? Listen, we’ve got to focus on what I DO do, not what I don’t.
I tried to do a little laundry (and other boring stuff), but was distracted by a surprise visit from Jacinda. We had to do a little online shopping to get some things we needed for Two Scrambled Eggs (opening in Little Boy Blue in two very short weeks)! #shamelessplug
After all the hard work was done and Jacinda left, we ate lunch, Dylan went down for her nap, and the boys and I headed outside to enjoy the beautiful, warm January weather!
I finally decided I should get dressed, need to be somewhat presentable for the carline, right? As we were headed in, Enzo decided to jump off the swing set fort and land on his forehead. Thank goodness for that helmet. It bled, but nothing major. I managed to get his head cleaned up, straighten my hair, brush my teeth  and wake Dylan up just in time to leave to pick up Jaylin and Zander.
The exterminators came to spray for bugs right after we got home. It’s always nice to have other adults stop by during the day, even if for just a few minutes.
Next up was dinner, spaghetti. It’s a crowd favorite. They all eat it, so it makes me happy. You know what doesn’t make me happy though? Drinking poop. Yes, you read that right. All the kids were fed and out of the kitchen, so Micah and I finally sat down to eat. I guess Dylan had pooped, stuck her hand in her diaper and smeared her little finger in my cup… all without me noticing. Took a big gulp… and RAN to the bathroom to puke… seriously. I can’t make this stuff up. Don’t believe me? Here’s a pic of my cup… scroll fast if you’re easily disgusted.
Not much to do after all that excitement except have a little dance party. Enzo and I were the paparazzi. Totally skipped homework tonight (sorry teachers)!
…and I. am. tired. Headed to lay in my bed and watch the Bachelor!
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