Gardening Update #4: Rain & Harvests!

Welcome back to a long overdue Gardening update! It keeps getting bumped back and finally, now its time to report back after vacation.

Its been a rainy and gloomy summer. We can’t complain much because we live without the luxury of air conditioning in a bungalow so that means, when its hot, its boiling inside most of the time. Compared to last year, this is somewhat a heavenly situation especially on days where I need to record podcasts. However, plants and flowers aren’t like us and most of them need the sun and bees to pollinate in order to bear fruit aside from just water, which it also needs a lot of, of course. With that said, the garden is still doing pretty good. We started to have some harvests and the vegetables and flowers are all coming around.

In-Ground Garden

Gardening

Gardening

Gardening

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No blueberries or asparagus in these pictures as they are waiting for next year to have any harvest. However, they are so far doing quite well.

Here is the in-ground garden. Zucchinis are coming out now. The lettuce is actually doing worse than in the containers. You’ll see later. Cucumbers are also not doing as well as in the container however they are starting to form some cucumbers. Hopefully it’ll work out especially with all the rain. If only, there was more sun. One of the more solid plants are the Ground Cherry. The challenge so far is still actually getting it to ripen before it falls down. I had planted it two times before in containers with that same issue. Now I’m hoping planting it in-ground will do the trick so we can harvest some ground cherries soon. Its definitely looking strong.

Raspberry

On the other side is our trimmed but somehow still overgrowing raspberry shrub. Strawberries had their season and I would have shared the harvest but like a loser, I deleted all my pictures this past weekend off my phone when I was lining up for a Comiccon panel. Long story short, I don’t have it anymore and the season is over. We did have decent harvests but nothing as epic as what raspberry will be. We had two tupperware bowls already in the last two weeks, which is pretty impressive. As you see, there are still raspberries ripening so the rain and sun balance seems to work beautifully for it. Plus, raspberries are great to have as it also helps out the bees, which Canada has been acting on to encourage Canadians to plant more bee gardens. I got my bee garden kit, just trying to get the garden ready as it’ll be a raised garden that I’m trying to get ready.

Flower garden

In my flower patch, the flowers right now is my mini rose shrub and these yellow flowers. I have to remember to keep these in check as they spread really fast although they are super pretty. My cone flowers are also starting to bloom however, they are also super depressed because the rabbits now can’t access the vegetable garden and they decided that they’d snack on the cone flower leaves instead. They looked miserable for the longest time. And now there another one that I moved and suspect will have to move again. The flower garden needs to be restructured and organized. I’m pondering that at the moment.

Container Gardening

Herbs are doing fantastic. We’ve harvested some basil mostly and added it to our recipes. The others we keep fresh in the fridge. It gives us a reason to use fresh basil and make foods with it. As you may notice, my pineapple sage lost the fight with the storm and is not just one stem struggling to stay alive. At least it survived. I almost thought it was a total loss. The kale and cucumbers are doing great here. Pots do cucumbers miracles as they are growing well although, it won’t be successful until we actually get some cucumbers to harvest. Finally, there’s the eggplant. The over excessive rainfall and lack of sun seems to be affecting it the most as it gets more yellow everyday and its not really having anything yet.

Our lettuce harvests were probably the earliest. While they are growing slower now, they are still doing quite well. Especially since we have them in-ground and in two hanging baskets.

Finally, the last thing is our kale. Its been doing fantastic. We’ve really only been making kale chips out of them. I should really post up the recipes for it that we use. I promise I will soon. The kale has been treating us well. As this post goes up, I’ve been thinking of harvesting my next batch this evening and making some more chips.

That’s it for this gardening recap!
How are your gardens doing?

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Gardening #2: Garden Center Haul & Organization

Oh how things have changed after only a month! I still remember the update last month. Now, the garden has grown, the grass has been removed from the vegetable garden and we just finish the garden centre visits as well as almost everything being in ground as we wait for a garden project to reinforce the veggie garden. Things are starting to look like how they were last year. There will still be improvements after this first phase is done during the summer but for now, one step at a time.

To start, our haul looked a little like this. You may have seen some of these during previous posts.

First visit was for flowers and herbs as the front yard and containers was ready to go.

Herbs: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary and Pineapple Sage
Flowers: Marigolds, Violas and Dianthus

Then we went to a visit to pick up soil and ended up with more flowers at Walmart which is primarily being used for hanging baskets and patio planter boxes.

flowers

The big haul is for the vegetable garden which was this past weekend as well.

Lettuce, Kale, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Zucchinis, Ground Cherry

Lemon Mint

Blueberry plant

The results of this haul at the time I am writing this post is below as we find a hopefully happy medium between container gardening which is for plants that need a lot of sun or partial sun and vegetable gardens. The flower garden is in the front yard. Hanging baskets are also on the patio.

Plants that aren’t in ground yet are the ones below.

You will notice that Phoebe has also gifted me a second variety of blueberry to help with cross pollination to hopefully get more berries. However, anything not in ground right now is mostly because we only have a makeshift fence up right now from last year and we are waiting for better weather to pick up a big trellis backdrop and figuring out possibly a bigger fence. That will be for the next update as everything else gets settled hopefully by beginning of June. 🙂

That’s it for this Gardening update!
How are your gardens looking?

4 Essentials for Breakfast in Bed on Mother’s Day

Breakfast in Bed is a rather novel and strange idea to myself. Why eat dinner in bed and make it all dirty because I might be the one to have to clean the sheets however, it is one of those lazy Sunday concepts that just warm up our hearts when we have the opportunity.

Coming from a Chinese family, breakfast in bed was non-existent. My parents, especially my mom, is an energetic and proactive woman. Even today, she doesn’t like wasting time in bed doing nothing. I still remember being a little girl and when I hung out with my mom on the weekends in bed, the time wasn’t wasted because she would take the time to teach me how to recite Chinese poetry.

Every mother is different however my mom valued the little things and she particularly likes to be frugal. With that said, this essentials for breakfast in bed is tailored to my mother specifically. Who says we can’t make Mother’s Day memorable without breaking our bank, right?

A Big Warm Hug

No Mother’s Day (or any day) can be free of a hug or hugs. What better way to start the day with one. It costs nothing and comes from our heart. Words of thanks and kisses on cheeks, the whole deal of love and gratitude for everything my mom has done for me. We might not always see eye to eye but she still is my best friend because I can’t help telling her everything even when I don’t quite know if she understands all the stuff in my life, particularly this blogging and podcasting thing. Still hugs are warm and loving and the perfect way to start the day. As I get older, we learn that there is no greater luxury that being able to steal a moment or two of doing nothing but relaxing in a cozy spot like our bed and its comfy mattress. If you are looking for a luxury mattress, consider checking out Leesa.

Fresh Cut Flowers from the Garden

Frugal comes into this. My mom loves flowers. In fact she is quite the gardener. Some days I wish I had half the skills she has however she never stops to teach me more. However, Mother’s Day is never without any flowers. The garden usually is blossoming with daffodils and tulips and if we are lucky, sometimes peonies are starting as well. This year being an exception because the weather is still lingering in the single digits (Celsius). This year’s fresh cut flowers will for sure be a bouquet of tulips from my yard.

Healthy and Hearty Breakfast

My mom is a health nut. Which has its benefit because as my husband likes to say, she is one tough cookie. She travels and in many ways, much more active than I am and competent in everything. My mom is quite the superwoman in my heart even if age slows her down a little bit now. Breakfast for her is all about being healthy. Its feeds and cleanses our bodies and prepares us for the day. When I lived with her, no matter how old I was, she’d always have something ready for me in the morning. Her choice would probably be plain oatmeal with assorted dried fruits and almond milk. That would be frugal option as we’d have all the material at home. However, if we were to go a little more traditional Chinese breakfast, it’d be congee with some rice rolls (like above).

Handmade Gift

via Pinterest

Finally, a handmade gift! What is more frugal than something that you’ve put your heart into. One year, my best friend and I celebrated a collaborated Mother’s Day gift where we did a photo story video with our own singing and put it all together with pictures when we were kids till grown up and took our families to dinner. It was a pretty fantastic gift. Both our moms loved it a lot and it was to thank them for what they did. I can’t share that video of course and since that idea is used, I’ll resort to making something either decorative and useful or even better, my mom’s idea of a best gift is something you can eat. She loves eating healthy snacks so what better than putting together a trail mix, right? A jar of trail mix so she can enjoy it for days to come while reading the newspaper or binging TV dramas.

Here’s my frugal version of Breakfast in Bed on Mother’s Day with these four essential components! 

What are your essentials for breakfast in bed for mom?

Happy Rooster Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

After a week of overtimes and coming home to massive cleaning, its a day to celebrate and rest and dinner with my mom, of course. It will be a ton of fun and we are excited to go chat amd eat together.

This entire week consisted of a lot of tidying up and getting the house ready. Flowers somehow were quite hard to find. Although I did end up with three bouquets of them.

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Decorations are pretty much the same as previous years for the most part. If only my Chinese calligraphy was better, I’d make some myself.

Today’s just a short post to share some of the floral arrangements here. They are simple this year but believe it or not, it was actually pretty hard to put them all together.

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year! Its the Year of the Rooster! 🙂

Christmas Decorations!

Happy Wednesday, my lovelies! We’re only days away from Christmas and this year, its been much less holidays and Christmas focused than past years! However, it just doesn’t feel right to not share a little Christmas decor post!

Every year I try to change things around a little. We sometimes buy stuff on Boxing Day from the previous year to plan for this year. Most of the time, by the time its time to decorate, I already forgot the initial plan and just try to remember again, or just whip up something completely different. I think the most steady decorations are the wreaths. I haven’t wanted to change them yet or make a new one. Maybe next year. But I swapped them around. And as you see this post, I’ll only be missing the garland for the stairwell and finding that extension cord for the star.

A hint of Christmas in the office

A hint of Christmas in the office with Christmas Mickey

Christmas decorations

Our new LED trees that change colors

Added lights to another window

Added lights to another window

Homemade decorations by my mother in law

Homemade decorations by my mother in law

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Disney Winter plushies: Mickey, Minnie and Goofy

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Wreath moved to the den

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Added a little bit to the berries arrangement in the den along with the sign and candle holder and reindeer

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A new floral arrangement by the stairs

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Christmas seat covers and cushions

Christmas Tree (day and night)

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Do you decorate for Christmas?

 

Fall Decor!

Its a gloomy and windy Sunday! We have a few plans but Fall is among us and we’ve been preparing for winter’s arrival which is supposed to be incredibly harsh this year. Wood is stocked up and windows are cleaned (mostly).

Today’s post is simple! I’m slowly figuring out how to breathe some life into the house with just more colors. When I do make it all lively, it also keeps me motivated to keep it clean all the time! Plus, some of this isn’t exactly fall decor but more just closing the garden outside and bringing stuff back in.

A nice trip to Michael’s came up with some fall fake flowers (on sale!) and first bouquet we put together in the den is this cooler tone one. The pumpkin is actually a real decorative pumpkin that I bought at the Atwater market. A few more in the decor in the dining room.

A little shadowy but here, we got a new plant stand from IKEA. Very much needed since my cat is a plant eating monster and we need to prop plants up as much as possible. Below is a little experiment I’m trying with oregano to grow it in water since I read a few posts on it on Pinterest. So far, its doing pretty good. As of yesterday, it grew out roots already. Maybe I’ll try to do that with basil and have better luck. Its just with this, changing water regularly is going to be the hurdle to remember.

Next decor, is this fall bouquet that we put together from that Michael’s trip mentioned above. Also with decoration squashes from Atwater Market trip. My mom gave me some lovely apples and we’re working on eating those and making pies (recipe coming up).

In the yard,I took the picture a little late yesterday after some vicious rain that ended this morning so the flowers are not looking as good but very nice chrysanthemums! I bought this just a few weeks ago so they should be around for next season as well.

Finally, I cut in some fall flowers from the yard and put them next to the computer (aka my workstation). Its been my companion along with those cranes sitting on my light which was my first wedding anniversary gift from my husband. He made ten and that means a lot because he isn’t very good at origami so he added a cute note giving them a really creative name that I want to use for something. I’m working on figuring out how to put that either as a segment here or a change in the Youtube channel name is it has a lot of unboxing and gaming material mostly. I’ll see if it can come into use.

A simple post for today. It was supposed to go up yesterday but I took a day to just relax and catch up some movie watching and all that wonderful stuff as I face the reality that NaNoWriMo starts in a little over a week and I need to start not only getting ahead with posts for Halloween but start preparing for posts in November to not get in the way of trying to be on track or ahead with my word count.

Happy Sunday, my lovelies!
Hope you enjoyed this extremely random post! 🙂

Alaska Cruise on Norwegian Jewel [Day 4]: Juneau, Alaska

Other than the price being really worth it for the Alaska Cruise, it was also a nice route because there were only 2 days at sea and after that we were pretty much at port or circling the Glacier Bay National Park.  That’s coming up…but next up was Juneau.  If there’s anything you’ll notice, Alaska ports are pretty much all rainforest territories.  Vegetation grows on so little earth and it rains a lot, although not so apparent for us because we got only that one time where we were leaving port and it rained.  I just can’t remember if it was at Ketchikan or at Juneau.

Day 4: Juneau, Alaska

We’re here! Day 4! Juneau’s port isn’t right next to the city so we had a shuttle to go which we realized was actually a little silly because the walk back wasn’t too bad either.  It’s like a mile.  Still, we took advantage of the free service 😉

Juneau Alaska

Arriving into Juneau, Alaska

We also had a shore excursion booked for Juneau which included stopping at 3 locations. Let’s see them, shall we?

Shore Excursion: Mendenhall Glacier

This place to visit Mendenhall Glacier was stunningly beautiful.  Its a pity that we couldn’t stay longer because it had a few trails and there was the waterfall which was a decent distance to get to.  We did get there and have to run back to catch the bus on time.  There was some really nice scenery with water, glacier, icebergs, etc.  It was so peaceful and nice despite all the tourists around. There was also some really nice plants and flowers growing around the trail that we took.

Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier

 Shore Excursion: Macauley Salmon Hatchery

I’m from Canada so salmon is kind of a thing we know about. Hatcheries and all that stuff, I’ve visited a few of them in the past.  This place didn’t have so much value for me.  The facilities were really  nice though.  Inside there was some animals displays and had a little aquarium going with some marine life like shellfish and coral and some fishes.  It was a quick little stop for some coffee and to know a little more about the various types of salmons in the area and just how the hatching process works and the role of the hatchery.

Macauley Salmon Hatchery

Macauley Salmon Hatchery

Shore Excursion: Glacier Gardens

The last stop of the shore excursion was at the Glacier Gardens.  Its a 50 acre rainforest botanical garden that features Flower Towers which are using dead tree trunks overturned to fill with plants as decor.  It also includes a tour that elevates a good few hundred feet to a vantage point where we can get a beautiful view of the whole Juneau area. Its breathtaking and beautiful.  The ride up was fascinating as the guide tells us about the history of how the Gardens came to be and how the owner came to have the Gardens set in the Tongass National Forest.  Its a unique experience and a lot of fun.

Glacier Gardens

In the Gardens Gift Shop

Glacier Gardens

Gardens Gift Shop: A special Mother’s Day photo with my mom.

Glacier Gardens

The ride going up to the peak

Glacier Gardens

The view at the top

Glacier Gardens

The view at the top

Glacier Gardens

Flower Towers

Rest of the Day

The tour took up a good few hours, probably around 4 hours or so.  We went back to the ship for lunch and came back out to explore the city a little.  On the path there, I bought two t-shirts which were rather subtle tourist-y ones.  But they were really nice and made from bamboo so really comfortable. We also walked by this really tourist sort of restaurant called Red Dog Saloon.  We didn’t want to go in so we just took a picture outside.

Juneau Alaska

In the city of Juneau, tourist spot, Red Dog Saloon

As I mentioned before, this day was also Mother’s Day so the boat had some little decoration in the buffet area.

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The Moms in our group got to choose the location of dinner that night and we went back to Chin Chin Restaurant.  Unfortunately those pictures turned out a little fuzzy and I already showcased that restaurant before.  I think we might actually have another night there so there might be more pictures. I just can’t remember until we get there.  That night, it was also comedian and that didn’t work with my mom and her friends since they wouldn’t understand it so we skipped the show.  I did end up spending some time with my mom to walk around the ship and look at the decorations and take some pictures with my mom.  This trip overlapping Mother’s Day was one of the highlights so since I  moved out, its these moments that matter a lot.

I ended the evening after my mom headed back to rest since we had an early start the next day going to the lounge again.  There was some nice music and that’s when I met a few more very awesome people from southern part of the USA.  Very nice people and it was nice to chat with some younger groups of people.  We have no contact now but hey, it is a cool memory.  We did hang out a few more nights during the trip at the lounge and had some fun times. No pictures of these events since I was off duty with my DSLR and my phone was slowly dying during the trip.  I’ll tell you all about the debacle when it actually happens later on 😉

For now, this is the end of Day 4 of the Norwegian Alaska Cruise at our stop in Juneau! A really captivating shore excursion for the most part and a great evening making it a fantastic way to spend Mother’s Day with my mom! 🙂 Which reminds me, I should get that picture with my mom printed and framed.

Remember to check back for Day 5!
Easily one of the most memorable stops and the day we cross back and forth from Canada and USA over and over again 😉