This past fall Nate sold his house (with a yard and a garden) and bought a downtown condo. While I miss being able to use his yard for my gardening purposes, he’s really loving the downtown life and the fact that he doesn’t have a yard to mow.
My apartment doesn’t have any outdoor space, so I’ve decided to make the most of his 5′ x 10′ balcony. I’ll post more on the balcony garden later. Today I’m excited about the plant markers I finished this past weekend.
I’m always pinning cute markers that I think I could make myself, but never get around to making them.
I usually draw a few pictures to remind myself where things are planted, and by the time things start coming up I can usually tell what’s what. Since this garden is on a balcony rather than tucked in the back corner of a yard I’m trying to keep things looking clean and organized. I’m probably a ways from the balcony being magazine worthy or anything like that, but the markers really help to unify everything.
While some of the example I pinned are pretty fantastic I decided to keep my investment low and the style simple. Here are the ones I made and how I made them.
Black and Gold Homemade Garden Markers
Craft sticks from Dollar Tree (I used wide ones)
Black paint (I already had some cheap chalkboard paint from Michael’s on hand)
Foam brush (also had on hand)
Gold (or whatever color you’d like) permanent marker (I found mine in the dollar section at Target a while back, but I think a sharpie style marker would be great)
Paint two coats of paint on each side of the craft stick also paint the edges. When they’re dry go crazy labeling them for all your plants. One note about your permanent marker. I tried several different paint pens and even a white grease pencil, but finally settled on my gold pen because it wasn’t too liquidy (which caused the paint to run in the groves of the wood) and had a fine enough point to look nice (I’d read some good things about the grease pencil, but decided against it in the end because the point was unreliable).
Now there’s no telling how well these will hold up outside, but I’m ok with that considering I spent $1 (even if I’d had to buy everything I still would’ve been under $5). I’ll report back at the end of the summer, but I also suspect someone in a traditional garden may experience more wear and tear on their markers than I will on a balcony.
Two summers ago I purchased an ice cream maker off of Craigs List and I’ve been trying out different recipes ever since. I keep a running Pinterest board of all the delicious recipes I find, and I try to add a comment to the ones I’ve made so I’ll remember if I liked the recipe or not.
A little girl I babysit (above) and I made the Chocolate recipe below and she dubbed it “chocola-fantastic.”
These are a few of my favorites:
The OKC YMCAs are doing an Ironman Triathlon during the month of March. They’re calling it the Idle Ironman, and you just have to complete the full Ironman distance (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run) over the 31 days of March. Having completed a sprint triathlon last fall I thought it might be kind of fun and a good challenge, so I signed up. It probably wasn’t my smartest plan since for the first two weeks of the month I was busy preparing to leave town and out of town. Sure I had grand plans of squeezing in some workouts while I was in Texas at SXSW (ya right), but that didn’t really happen.
So I returned from Texas with just over two weeks of March left and well over half of my distance to go. Eek!
I’ve been working hard these past two weeks, and as of last night I’m down to 2 miles of swimming, 39 miles of biking, and just 6 miles of running left. I’d feel a little better if I had a mile of swimming knocked out already, but I’ve got a plan and I’m determined to finish in the four days I’ve got left.
If you’re looking for me this weekend I’ll probably be at the gym.
28th: 1 mi swim, 13 mi bike, 3 mi run
29th: 3 mi run, 13 mi bike
30th: 1 mi swim, 13 mi bike
31st: Hopefully I’m done and can go home and relax after rowing practice! If I’m not I’ll just finish up.
My coworker Kathryn told me about this Bountiful Basket program. You pay around $20 and get a basket of produce. From what I understand they buy the produce (or the majority of it at least) in bulk from (I’m guessing) the same place restaurants do. So mostly Bountiful Baskets is a way to get a great amount of produce for a really good price.
I was a bit hesitant to sign up because I shop for produce when it’s in season and on sale, so I usually get a good deal. Kathryn signed up and reported back that she thought it was a good deal and liked the program, so I figured I should give it a try.
You sign up and pay for your basket on Monday-Tuesday and pick it up Saturday. The cost is $15 plus a fee or two (there’s a first time participant fee and a handling fee). They also offer an organic basket option for a bit more.
You only sign up for weeks you want which is great because it took me about four weeks to use all my produce up, and was out of town for a week. Now I’m back and looking forward to getting another basket.
I got lettuce, bananas, green apples, strawberries, blackberries, leeks, zucchini, cucumber, oranges, grapefruit, broccoli and asparagus. I’d never purchased leeks before, so I had to find a couple of recipes for those.
They do this all over the country, so if it sounds interesting definitely check and see if there’s a pick-up location near you!
One of my favorite events of the year is this weekend, the Friends of the Library Book Sale. Any type of media you can borrow from the library, and possibly some you can’t (VHS and cassette tapes?) is up for sale in one of the huge fair ground buildings. The best part, most things are .50 or a $1.
Nate and I walked away with two grocery sacks of books (nearly 30 books) for $16. They have all types of books but my three favorite things to look for every year are travel books, books I loved to read growing up, and all those suggested reading books from different high school and college literature classes.
It’s open for one more day, so if you have some free time after church definitely check it out!
I didn’t get quite as many fantastic lunches packed as I’d hoped to with my goal, but I got in a few solid ones in January and made use of my animal food cutters I got for Christmas.
Orange/blueberries/cherries/cucumber/turkey and avocado sandwich/honey roasted peanuts/chocolate SomerSaults/Bugles
Cherries/string cheese/orange/cucumber/avacado/almonds/chocolate SomerSaults/Special K popcorn chips/Sweet Potato and Kale Frittata with Goat Cheese
Orange/cherries/grape tomatoes/cucumber/carrots/wafer cookies/strawberries/cucumber/carrots/Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
Sometime last fall Nate, the lucky duck, won courtside tickets to a Thunder game through a work drawing. He got to pick which game and we ended up going to one against the Golden State Warriors on January 17. Another coworker also won a pair and ended up picking the same game, so we had a good time courtside with him and his wife.
Neither of us had sat courtside before, so we were both super excited. I didn’t know it but courtside comes with dinner at either of the two courtside restaurants (the Courtside Club or the Courtside Pub). I wanted to go to the Club because I’d heard it was fancier, but the line was long and not moving, so we checked out the Pub and got right in! The buffet line had lots of tasty pub food including bread pudding which is a recent favorite dessert of mine.
The game was fantastic. Nate couldn’t have picked a better one. Thunder won and KD scored an all time high 54 points. Nate was sitting on the edge and got a good 10 seconds of face time on tv during a free throw. I was not as famous, but my dad texted me a few pictures when he caught glimpses of us. All in all it was a super fun time, and anyone trying to get rid of courtside tickets let me know. I know some people who can put them to good use!
I’m not going to pretend like this is any sort of fashion blog, but I’d been planning my courtside appropriate Thunder outfit since back in November, and I’m pretty proud of the Thunder colored ensemble I put together. So if you’re in the market for something similar: H&M Short Blazer in blue and JCPenney Worthington Pleated Front tank top in Zydeco Red.
I returned from my family’s Christmas with leftover ham, so I made and froze these sandwiches to eat for quick lunches later.
Ham, Swiss & Mustard Sandwiches
8 hamburger buns
sliced Swiss cheese
1/4 cup softened butter
2T chopped onion
1t poppy seeds
1t dill seeds
- Mix butter, mustard, onion, poppy seeds, and dill seeds into a spread.
- Spread mustard mixture on both sides of 8 hamburger buns (use all the mustard).
- Add ham and 1/2 slice Swiss cheese to each bun.
- Wrap individually in foil and bake at 250 for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Sandwiches can then be consumed, or cooled and frozen in their foil in a plastic bag.
- To reheat a frozen sandwich bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or remove foil and cover and microwave until thawed and warm.
- I have also stored the mustard spread in the fridge and made fresh sandwiches for a few nights in a row.