Friday, June 26, 2015

Indoor Plants - HELP!

Okay I am not very good at growing things indoors.  I have a tendency to over water or never water LOL!!  I thought I was doing okay, but started noticing some were looking puny, so I did some research and realized I was doing everything wrong (not enough light, too much water, plastic pots, wrong soil, etc.), so I made a list to help me keep track, because I get easily confused (they are all so different!!) and I'm extremely forgetful.

Since my plants aren't looking their best I'm using images from Google and I will link the source below the image.

If you have experience with any of these plants feel free to offer any suggestions!  I can always use the help haha.

Aloe Vera

Lots of light
Do not over water, water when soil is dry
Prefers to be outside!
Acclimate to direct sunlight slowly
Air dry roots if needed.
Use cactus soil
Put rocks over drain holes

What I did wrong:
Too much water
Not enough light

How I'm fixing it:
Took it out of the soil, trimmed off mushy parts and roots, put back in dry soil, putting in good light on porch.  I'm also going to get cactus soil and perlite tomorrow to put all of my succulents in.

Jade Plant

LOTS of light (artificial is okay)
Do not overwater
Use cactus soil
Air dry roots if losing leaves and soggy stem
Yellow, shriveled leaves means not enough water
Healthy leaves that fall can be rooted do not throw away!
Water really well, empty tray after thirty minutes.  Don't water again until dry!
Put rocks over drain holes

What I did wrong:
I threw away the leaves... *cries*
Too much water
Not enough light

How I'm fixing it:
Air drying the roots because the stem is mushy on one.
Putting in terracotta pot with cactus soil and perlite once they dry (rocks over drain holes because it was plugged up).
Getting a plant light to provide better lighting.

Spider Plant

Use room temperature water.
Use distilled or purified water, if possible.  Or rain water.  Tap water can cause tip burn.
Let the pot surface feel dry to the touch before watering (two to three times a week - 1x wk in winter).
Water until water drains from the bottom (but don't make it soggy) and empty drained water from trays promptly.
If tips become brown or crack down the center it dried out too much.
Mist the spider plant once or twice daily during the growing season and twice weekly during the winter months in temperatures over 60 degrees F.
The root of the spider plant retains water for quite a while and can develop root rot if you don’t let it dry out a few inches down.
Any window year round except south window.
Bright florescent light.

What I did wrong:
Didn't water enough and when I did I didn't empty the drain tray.
Not enough light (or maybe it was too much because I had it on the porch until recently)

How I'm fixing it:
Getting a container to let our water sit so it can get to room temp and bleach can evaporate before watering.
Getting a misting bottle
Watering more frequently and must empty drain tray!
Getting a plant light so it gets adequate indoor lighting.
Need to put it in something other than the plastic pot it came in... considering hanging basket because pretty!

Hens and Chicks

Need lots of light
Cactus soil
Water well until established (if well draining can't really over water), then don't have to water as much
Terracotta pot

What I did wrong:
Left it in plastic pot
Left it in sun and didn't water enough

How I'm fixing it:
Put in terracotta pot with cactus soil and perlite.
Slowly acclimating it to sunlight and moving it outside onto the porch.
Watering more frequently until it's established.

I don't know if I can save this one.... it's really bad.  I suck at keeping these alive apparently.  I might have to start over if I can't save them.  Suggestions welcome!

Snake Plant/Mother-in-law's Tongue
(I have the short variety like in the above picture, not the tall ones... I want tall ones too!)

Do not overwater!
Do not put water in top of plant.
Prefers to be rootbound.
If in high light keep slightly moist, if in low light let it dry.

What I've done wrong:
NOTHING!  YAY!  Mine looks fabulous.  Actually I did pour water in the top, but I'll stop doing that.

Peace Lily/Drama Queen

Keep the soil moist at all times, but do not over water.
During the winter fertilize every 6 weeks or so.
If you want flowers to appear, but none have, move the plant to a darker room.
Brown leaf tips are common with excessive light or over fertilization.

What I did wrong:
Too much light, but it actually looks pretty good if you ignore the tips.

How I'm fixing it:
I moved it to a darker room because of the tips and I haven't had any blooms.

Assorted Succulents
(I recently got them from Kroger.  They aren't exactly like the ones in the picture.  I'll have to get a picture of mine.  It does have a Jade Plant in it though.  It still looks pretty good because I haven't had it long lol.)

Need a lot of light
Let soil dry before watering

What I did wrong:
Nothing yet

What I'm doing to fix it:
For now I'm just going to make sure it gets plenty of light and not water it until it dries out.  Fingers crossed that's enough.  If things start getting hairy I might have to separate them and pot them in cactus soil and perlite.

Well that's all of the indoor plants I've gotten in the last year.  My cactus that I've had for almost ten years is still doing great and I'll continue to totally neglect it lol.  It's so huge I can barely even move it anymore!  All of my other plants are on the porch for now and will get planted outside as soon as I get my flower beds fenced.  :)  I'll have more updates later.

P.S.  I totally should have put learn to grow houseplants on my 30 Before 30 list because this has been quite an adventure!!  I might do that yet....

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

30 Before 30 - #20 Complete

Yay!!  It's official today has been a full year of eating gluten free!!

For those who don't know, my twin sister was diagnosed with celiac disease.  Since I've had stomach problems for most of my life (same symptoms as her and being a twin made me 30% more likely to have it) I decided to go gluten free to see what would happen.  Within a week I was a totally different person!!

There are a lot of things that improved, but the most important one for me was going from having nausea 24/7 for years on end to never being nauseous at all!!!  The best thing ever!!  Anyone who has had chronic nausea for whatever reason knows how bad it is.  I feel a million times better than before I went gluten free.

Another side effect of going gluten free is that I lost fifteen to twenty pounds and here's the kicker... a full year later and I haven't gained a pound back!!  I was in no way overweight, but I wasn't my ideal weight either.  Now I'm back down to what I weighed as a teenager!  I never thought I would see that day again.  The crazy thing is I haven't increased my exercise and I don't exactly eat healthy either (trust me I eat candy like it's going out of style/still addicted to sugar).  So the weight loss was purely from going gluten free.  I've stayed at a consistent weight for an entire year.  I love it!

A lot of people feel deprived when they decide to try gluten free, but I never really did.  I felt so awful that I was willing to try anything.  When I started out I was eating meat, fruit, veggies, rice, potatoes and dairy.  That's it.  All home cooked meals so that I knew the ingredients were safe.  Eventually in time I started adding in gluten substitutes like gluten free rice pasta, gluten free flours for pancakes and birthday cakes, (even found gluten free soy sauce!) etc.  I still don't eat a lot of those, but it's nice to have them every now and then.  I think the main reason I was able to stick with it is because a lot of candy is naturally gluten free so I didn't have to cut those out... I don't know if I would have had the will power to go gluten free while also fighting a sugar addiction.  Now that I've been gluten free a year I'll probably try to break the sugar habit too, but we will see.

Now for proof that gluten free isn't torture here is an idea of some of our favorite meals/dishes.

White chicken chili (AMAZING!!)
Cream cheese black bean dip
Chicken salad or tuna salad with corn tortilla chips
Chicken and rice (my favorite meal ever)
Cheesy potato soup
Spinach artichoke dip
Chicken alfredo
Taco salad (or tacos, nachos, tostados, enchiladas, etc.)
Hungarian pork chops
Refried bean dip
Meatloaf (use rice) and asparagus
Sweet and sour chicken wings (homemade sweet and sour sauce using gluten free soy sauce is AMAZING!)
Spaghetti squash, butternut squash, acorn squash (we love squash)
Baked pasta dish with gluten free pasta
Chicken bacon ranch baked potato
Salads of all kinds
Blackened salmon
Stir fry veggies and rice
Sandwich wraps (be careful of gluten in lunchmeat!) in white corn soft tortillas
Taco soup

If you're interested in any of these recipes let me know.  I'm a picky eater, but I'm telling you all of this stuff is amazing!  So we by no means feel deprived at all!  The only thing that is difficult is finding gluten free restaurants to eat at, but we rarely eat out and when we do we found an amazing Mexican restaurant that uses cheese as a thickener in their meat so it's gluten free!  Yay!

P.S.  For anyone who has a sweet tooth, but is trying to stay away from processed foods, here is a quick snack that totally does it for me.  Put all natural peanut butter (you can find some with very few ingredients, it's great!), chocolate chips (there are some with a small ingredients list) and sugar in a bowl.  Microwave.  Stir.  Amazing!  It has protein, cuts the sweet tooth and doesn't have an ingredients list that is 5 miles long.  Enjoy!  :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Storm.... I miss you....

Back on February 24th was a year since Storm died.  I wanted to make a post... a really good post with a compilation video and all of my favorite pictures, but it hurt too much... every time I sat down to work on it I started crying so hard I couldn't see the computer screen (I'm crying even now, but not like I was then), so I gave up and didn't make the post.  Today however would have been Storm's fourteenth birthday so I can't not say something.  I am amazed that it still hurts this much and that I still miss her.  Most days I don't think about her anymore, but when I do it's still waterworks city.  I guess when you spend almost thirteen years with a dog... some of the most turbulent years (teenager and early twenties) it really leaves a hole when they are gone.  I sometimes feel like it can't be real that she's gone.  There are so many things that still remind me of her.  If I close my eyes I can still remember how her fur felt, the shape of her ears, the slope of her forehead between her eyes (she loved to be rubbed there), the longer, coarser fur of her tail, etc.  I still think she was the absolute most beautiful dog I have ever met in my entire life.  I never could believe she was mine.  She was so gorgeous.  So smart.  So sweet.  I miss her so much.  Anyway, I have to go to bed, so I'll just share some of my favorite pictures.  Maybe someday I'll be able to make that video...

This is still my favorite photo of the two of them together.

I love this one too from when Jackal was little!

 How cute is that???

 She was the cutest puppy!

 I miss that smile!

 So good at her wave trick.  Her half mast ears are so typical Stormy!

 I'm so glad I took so many photos of her.

 Another favorite of the two of them.

 The only photo taking fail was I didn't get many of me and her.

 Happy Birthday sweet girl.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Triple Crown WINNER!!!!!!! Bonus 30 Before 30!

I can't believe it!  American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!

Here is the race!

Click here to go directly to the video.

I never thought it would happen in my lifetime!!  It seemed so hopeless after so many close calls, but he did it!  He did it on the year I turn thirty, so I'm adding this as a bonus thirty before thirty goal.  If I'd thought it was possible I would have had it on the list lol.

I've been following the Triple Crown races since 1997 when Silver Charm lost the final leg of the Triple Crown by half a length.  I was hooked.  I've watched and waited ever since, hoping this day would happen.  I'm so excited!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

30 Before 30 - #27 Complete

Rocky is the newest member of the family.  He belonged to my best friend and she had to rehome some of her horses so I asked if I could have him and she said yes.  She is glad he went to me so she can still come see him and go riding with me.  Having Rocky also means my hubby can start riding with me!!  Rocky is small enough that he should be comfortable for hubby's sore back.  He is also a really laid back, lazy, dead head so we shouldn't have to worry about him spooking and causing hubby to torque his back.  I know there is no such thing as bombproof, but Rocky is a LOT less likely to spook than Chrome is!  You can see more about Rocky on my other blog here.

I caught him neighing hehe.

 Meeting Chrome for the first time.

I'm really excited about adding Rocky to the family.  I've ridden him a lot over the past few years, so I know him really well.  It's nice to get a horse that I already know what to expect.  :D