Gardening Update June 2016

Hello.  Slacker blogger here.  I’ve been distracted by things like iced coffee, good books and iCarly reruns.  Good thing I don’t make a living off of blogging because we may all starve if I did.  Well, I guess we could eat the veggies that I am growing though so that would be work out okay, I guess.

To be honest, I have never had a real garden.  Oh, I have had a few plants but never a real garden that required planning, tilling soil and planting a larger variety of seeds.

I took these pictures on June 28th so it has grown quite a bit more than what is pictured and I am so pleased.  The teeny tiny watermelon in the picture on the top left is about a foot or so long and it has lots of little friends starting and the vines are growing all over the garden.  We have been getting lots of zucchini and yellow squash as well as snap peas and carrots.  All of my tomato plants (I think there are 10-12 plants) have fruit on them and my peppers (yellow, green, jalapeno and Fresno) all have fruit growing as well.  I see salsa making in my near future.

I also have tomatillos, corn, artichoke (baby plants, not much happening with them yet), walla walla  onions. cucumbers and green beans.  Sometimes I wonder if I have bit off a little more than I can chew but I figure that even if the garden doesn’t do as well as I like I am learning what works and what does not and I’ll take that knowledge and use it in the following years.

Are you gardening?  How is is going?  Do you have anything different or unusual planted?

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When You’re Life is Not Perfect… and everyone elses is

Do you ever look at other people and think or wish that you were more like them or that your life was more like theirs?  The people that (seemingly) have it all together.  Nice car.  Nice house.  “Perfect” family.  Well behaved kids.  Skinny.  Funny.  Giving.  Beautiful, feminine voice (I’m not the only woman who hates the sound of their own voice, am I?)  You know who I’m talking about, right?  You see them on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook.  The people that inspire us can be the very same people that unknowingly make us miserable.

Everyone’s lives can seem perfect when viewed through the lens of the internet.

One area that I sometimes struggle with is the area of home.  We moved in to our home in January of this year.  So, currently, we have been here for about 4 months.  Our home is wonderful but it also was a home that was a rental for a while so some things were neglected, like.. the backyard.

Its a nice, large yard and we are planting fruit trees and the garden is growing well but some days all I see is the large amount of work that needs to be done.The irrigation system is a mess, the grass is patchy and my patio is this “big” and the poor dry trees are shedding all over it daily.

IMG_2773

And I look for ideas.  I turn to the internet and then it starts.

“Everyone else has a pretty yard. Everyone else has perfect landscaping. Beautiful patio furniture. A pool (its HOT, I can’t help it)”.

And the comparison keeps going and in the process, I become discontent with what I have and envious of what others (seemingly) have.  The home and yard of our own that I so desired, that I prayed for, that we have been blessed with becomes “not good enough”.  Its embarrassing to actually admit it, but its the truth.

Rick Warren wrote, “you cannot be happy and envious at the same time“.   What a true statement.  When I am not happy and content with what I have, I am not pleasant to be around.  Thinking about what I need or feel like I “deserve” makes me a bit cranky.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

Truth is… my life isn’t perfect.  Truth is… no one elses life is either.  God has blessed us with, honestly, more then we ever deserve.  I have a wonderful husband, 2 beautiful children and we are all healthy and have food, clothing and shelter.  Every good thing that he gives us on top of those things are just icing on the cake.

So, while we will continue to work on things in our home (there is nothing wrong with want to make your place beautiful), I will be guarding my heart and mind from the comparison trap and enjoy the “icing on the cake” that the Lord has given us.

Praying that you all are enjoying it too.

 

Instant Pot Chili!

I love food.  Seriously.  And, while I enjoy cooking, sometimes it exhausts me.  True story.  We’re not a large family but feeding a husband and two teenage boys is not for the faint of heart.  Those of you with more teens to feed.. Jesus be with you.  Where do they put all the food???

After looking at the Instant Pot* for over a year, I took the plunge and bought one and let me tell you.  I do not regret this purchase at all!  I loved it so much and used it so much that I bought another because.. well, if I can make even more food in less time then, woo hoo!

Today, I’m going to share a chili recipe with you.

Instant Pot Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chili beans  (or any beans of choice)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped (I used peppered bacon)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jar salsa of your choice (16oz jar)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (also made in the Instant Pot.  I’ll share about that in another post)

Directions

chili collage

  1. Add 1 cup dry beans to the Instant Pot
  2. Add water until beans are covered by about an inch of liquid
  3. Press the bean/chili button on the Instant Pot and adjust time to 45 minutes
  4. Once the beans are done, perform a QR (Quick Release) and drain the beans. (the picture on the bottom right shows that 1 cup of dry beans will yield approximately 3 cups of cooked beans)chili collage 1
  5. Add ground beef, bacon and onion to liner of the pot and press saute
  6. When the meat of browned, press off and then add the salsa, jalapeno (pro tip on the jalapeno.. I buy a can and then freeze it in a tiny ice cube tray.  Toss a cube in frozen!) and the chicken broth.  Again, notice that it is frozen.
  7. Place the lid on the pot and press the manual button (you can use the chili/bean option too) and adjust to 15 minutes.    chili collage 3
  8. Perform a QR and serve with toppings of choice. We like cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

The flavors!  Oh the flavors that meld together are amazing.  You get a delightful, tasty chili that taste like it has been cooking all day in a crockpot!

oh Instant Pot*, how I love thee!

 

*this post does contain affiliate links.

The Dentist – Name that Smell and Taste Edition

Let me preface this by saying this… I’m old.  I try to deny it but the truth of the matter is evidenced in certain things that make it apparent.

When we moved here, we found a dentist (and he and the practice are wonderful).  He mentioned to me that my amalgam fillings are… yes, old. Probably older than some of you reading this. Fillings apparently don’t last forever.  Sometimes they will fracture or start to get some decay at the edges so eventually they need replaced.  That’s just the way it goes.  Not only are they old but the amalgam is pretty much a blend of mercury, silver, tin and copper and while they say that they are safe and have been used for years, I just felt like it was time to replace them with pearly white resin composite.

So, last month I had the 2 on the right side of my mouth replaced and today I spent my morning at the dentist getting the 2 on the left side replaced.

Now, I’ll be honest.  I am not a fan of the dentist but I’m not wimpy about it, either, but I have to say that replacing these has been an experience that has completely overwhelmed my senses.  It would seem like an easy process… pop out the old filling and put in the new.  Wham, bam and outta there.  But no, its basically getting a filling again.. complete with Novocaine, drilling, and prepping. Oh my!

So, he numbs the left side of my face, props my mouth open in an ungodly position and starts the process of drilling out the old filling.  Silver bits and water fly everywhere, water is shot in to my mouth (which I assume is to put out the fire that has started in my mouth because that is sure what it smells like it happening in there) and a small vacuum is attached to suck out said silver bits and water.

Once that is all out he used the drill at low speed which is a real treat. You know those ridges that they put in roads when you get close to an intersection to warn you of the upcoming intersection.. its like that, in your mouth.  I must have had some kind of reaction because the dentist says “I don’t think she likes the sounds and vibrations”.  Really???  Ya think????

So then, the composite fillings are put in and let me tell you… the taste.  Oh the taste!  They call the stuff that they put on to bond it “Etch”.  It tastes like I imagine poison would taste and it had a smell that honestly can be described as fart.  The “cost” of pearly white teeth is extreme y’all.

So, that was how I spent my morning.

My afternoon is being spent chewing on my own cheek.

dentist face

Happy Thursday!

Internal Monologue Can Bite Me

Internal Monologue – also known as inner voice, internal speech, or verbal stream of consciousness is thinking in words.

Fat. Ugly. Stupid. Unwanted. Unworthy. Why can’t you get it together? Get a friggin’ grip.  You NEVER do anything right.  If you had been better (smarter, thinner, prettier, etc.) this would not have happened.

These are just a few examples of the negative things that I have “said” to myself over the course of my life.  I’m not proud to admit it but there it is.. I’m a negative self talker and I think many others are too.  I beat myself up over mistakes I have made, things I should have done, things I didn’t do, things that are my fault and my personal favorite.. things that are not my fault.  I blame myself for everything.

Sometimes, on quiet nights, when the house is still and everyone else is asleep, I lie in bed awake.. thinking.  I think about the day, the week, the month, my whole life.  Please tell me that I’m not the only one that does this.  Its not only defeating, its emotionally exhausting.

But, for me, I have hope.  And my hope has a name… Jesus.  He is my hope.

Are the thoughts that sometimes run rampant in my mind true?  Not usually.  Do we all have things that we would change or do differently?  Of course we do!  That’s just part of life and learning to be a better person.  But overall, the thoughts that run through my mind at night are really just a bunch of junk… its the enemy, trying to get a foothold on me, and sometimes he does.

But, my hope is in Jesus and in His word and it tells me this..

Philippians 4:8New Living Translation (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Probably easier said than done but my hope, my Jesus who has overcome the world (John 16:33) gives me peace and through that peace, I can then “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable”.   When I am able to do this.. that’s when I can tell my inner voice to bite me and it finally shuts up.  

My Voice

Confession… I have blogged before.  Several times actually.  If you include this one, I think I have tried blogging four.. yes, FOUR times.

Maybe its five.

There are so many blogs on the wonderful world of the internet and I read a lot of them.  Reading good blogs has probably replaced reading a good book for me, sadly.  So, I read the homemaking blogs.  I read the gardening blogs.  I read the frugal living blogs.  I read the marriage blogs.  DIY blogs?  Absolutely!  I read them all!

And when I think about what I want to write about.. well, topics would cover pretty much what is mentioned above.  Then I think about it.  Can I write when there is honestly not much original content?  I mean, really, how many ways are there to clean your oven? (also, according to the interwebs there are about 2,865,325)  Everyone seems to have opinions, ideas and thoughts on just about everything.

But then I think.. who am I writing it for?  And I guess the answer comes back to this.. for me.  I’m writing for me.  I wanted to be a writer when I was in elementary school.  (I even had an article published in the local newspaper when I was in 6th grade. Aren’t you impressed now?).  But somehow, the dream of writing left me.  I think I realized the that I am NOT creative as a storyteller.  JK Rowling, I am NOT.

But there are a few areas that I can talk about, and so I will.  I have thoughts and ideas to share. Someone told me, “You have a voice. Write and worry later”, so that is what I will do. And if I am the only one that reads my musings, that is fine.  What matters is that I am finding my voice again.