Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

mavis-butterfield

mavis-butterfield

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I love to peruse through NPR articles.  Early this morning {you know, when most normal people are actually sleeping?}, I came across a new article about being overwhelmed by not having enough hours in the day.

The article was all about a journalist, Brigid Schulte, at the Washington Post and her experience juggling work, family, marriage, and life.  Her jam-packed days and overwhelming to-do list led her to write, Overwhelmed:  Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.  She discussed the pull of working and the guilt of not being able to do everything for the kids.  She also kind of touched on gender roles–how men and women have different demands and how it affects their leisure time.

She even went so far as to consult a sociologist who studies time.  She provided him a list of her day, he showed her where she had leisure time.  The total leisure time came out to 27 hours per week, but unfortunately, it was in bits and pieces, rather than satisfying chunks of time.  She decided she was going to set out to redefine her priorities and make space for the things that mattered.mavis butterfield garden blog

While I have always been a housewife {though, this little blog has turned into a full time gig, so maybe I need to redefine myself?},  I totally identified with making more space for things that mattered.  We’ve all said “yes” to things that maybe, in the end, took away from what mattered most {baking 8000 cupcakes for school functions comes to mind}.  I go through cycles where I feel like I have all my priorities squared away and I am spending my time exactly how I want, to then having so much on my plate I think that I would rather sit in a dark room and chew on my hair than tackle my to-do list.   I think that’s why I came up with my list of goals this year.  I wanted to take control of how I spend my time–and cut out the things that don’t matter or take away from what I love the most.

Is the feeling of being short on time a universal problem?  How do you manage your time?  Do you feel like there are enough hours in the day?  Are you over-scheduled?  Do you need to say “no” more often?  If you have enough, how do you spend your leisure time?  How would you spend it, if you could find the time?

~Mavis

Overwhelmed Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

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DIY Milk Jug Greenhouse – Winter Sowing

DIY Milk Jug Greenhouse , Winter Sowing

DIY Milk Jug Greenhouse , Winter Sowing

Winter Sowing – have you heard of it? Basically, for those in colder climates, it’s magic says my friend Heather from Massachusetts.

Here’s what she had to say about the winter sowing and the milk jug greenhouses she made:

Milk Jug Greenhouse

It works like this: around January through March it’s time to make little tiny greenhouses from see-through milk jugs. Place your moistened soil and little seeds in there and seal it up. Then simply put it outside {without a lid} and let nature with all of it’s rain, snow, ice and wind do it’s thang.

Come pre-springtime your seeds will freeze and thaw as if they were out in the wild outdoors but we get the benefit of plants getting a head start and protection from the crisp air. Come springtime during the day open the lids for sunshine and air, be careful to close at night. When it’s time to plant your seedlings, put them directly into the garden – Mother Nature has already hardened them off.

This is especially awesome for perennials that take a while to get started or plants that need scarring because the freezing and unfreezing action does the scarring for you.

Milk Jug Greenhouse

Step 1: I texted all my friends with three or more kids {I was impatient to get started} :) and asked them to save their milk jugs – no explanation needed, they’re used to my bizarre projects.
Step 2: Discard the lid and cut around the milk jug except where the label is – it’ll act like a hinge.Milk Jug Greenhouse
Step 3: Punch holes in the bottom for drainage. This is surprisingly harder than I thought – I tried a knife {too skinny}, heating a screwdriver with a lighter {didn’t work} and finally settled on my handy-dandy drill which worked great.Milk Jug Greenhouse
Step 4: Fill with a couple of inches of moistened potting soil {I used a mix of potting soil, vermiculite and peat moss} in the jugs and plant your seeds according to directions.Milk Jug Greenhouse
Step 5: Seal your little mini greenhouses up with duct tape and label them so you know what’s-what come spring.
Step 7: Ready for Mother Nature!

Like seedlings, when the plants emerge in early spring, you’ll want to open up the lids during the day, watch them closely so they don’t dry out, and feed them a light liquid fertilizer.

Mother Nature does all the timing – sweet!
~ Heather

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Free Kindle Books, Garden Deals, Extra Long Tees $5.99, Mattress Topper, Pizza Coupons and More

Horizon™ Mac & Cheese coupon

lucy the puggle dog

Yesterday 2 young woodpeckers stopped by for a visit and Lucy the puggle dog was totally mesmerized with them. She didn’t bark once. It was weird. Poor puggles, she wants to be friends with every living creature she sees and I think it breaks her little heart when she can’t run out and play with them.

young woodpeckers

Is your dog like this too?

Mavis

Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day – Norton 360 2014 – 1 User / 3 Licenses

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Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can.

4 Lucid® by LinenSpa Memory Foam Mattress Topper 3-Year Warranty

SUPER AWESOME DEAL

Amazon has the 4″ Lucid® by LinenSpa Memory Foam Mattress Topper with 3-Year Warranty {Queen} on sale for $24.99.  This deal will not last long so if you are interested, grab it now!

Clara Clark Premier 1800 Series Bed Sheet Collection

Need sheets? Amazon as Clara Clark Premier 1800 Series Bed Sheet Collection {White, King} starting at $22.

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Jane has Extra Long Tees back in stock for only $5.99. Choose from 12 different colors.

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Print a coupon good for $2.00 off any TWO (2) large DIGIORNO pizzas

strawberry plants

Groupon is offering a Bag O’Blooms Strawberry-Growing Kit with 30 Strawberry Plants and 3 Hanging Grower Bags for $16.99. Great fro growing strawberries on your deck or fence if you are limited on space.

Tricam GOR200B Gorilla Carts 600-PoundAmazon has the Gorilla Carts Garden Dump Cart with Steel Frame on sale for $69.98 shipped and the reviews are awesome.

seed starting supplies

Here are a few more gardening deals:

Jesse Janes Jewelry of Portland, Maine

Belle Chic has some beautiful necklaces and bracelets starting at $8.99 from Jesse Janes Jewelry of Portland, Maine on sale today.  I might have to get the bird necklace for The Girl.

zipbins

ZipBins are a fun alternative to an Easter Basket!

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Get Vegetarian Times Magazine for only $7.00 for a 1 year subscription. What a deal!

Vegetarian-Indian-Spiced-Lentils-with-Spinach-and-Rhubarb-recipe

Looking for something simple to make for dinner tonight? Try my recipe for Vegetarian Indian-Spiced Lentils with Spinach and Rhubarb. It’s good for you! 😉 Get the recipe HERE or Pin it for Later.

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Today is the last day to enter our Craftsy Bread Baking Class Giveaway. Have you entered yet?

exacto railing plantersIf you have a deck and are looking for some planting containers to hang on your railings Zulily is having a big Exaco Planters and Garden Accents sale. There are oodles of colors available too!

Horizon™ Mac & Cheese coupon

Print a coupon good for $1.00 off any Three (3) Horizon Mac & Cheese

Find More Printable Coupons

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Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

There was a totally awesome sale on broccoli so I snatched a bunch up. Then I sat there staring at it, wondering what I was going to do with all that broccoli. So I decided to whip up some broccoli cheddar soup. Holy cats it was good. Like so good I thought about making massive batches, bottling it and selling on the street corner. 😉

head of broccoli
Ingredients

1 large head of broccoli, stalk peeled and all cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken broth {can sub out water if preferred, but I like the richer flavor it gives}
1 cup water
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat oil in the bottom of a large pot. Saute onions in oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.  Place 2 cups of broccoli florets in a small bowl and set aside. Add the carrot, potato, chicken broth, water, and remaining broccoli florets and stalks to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until carrots, potatoes and broccoli are soft.

Remove soup from heat. Puree hot soup in small batches using a blender {I used my Blendtec}. If you don’t have a blender lid that has an opening, you might want to remove the lid and throw a towel over the blender while carefully pureeing, otherwise the steam from the hot soup can blow your lid off!

Return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the reserved broccoli florets and simmer on low for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the cheese and sour cream and heat until melted. Salt and pepper to taste and serve! Enjoy.

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How to Grow Strawberries {Start to Finish}

grow strawberries in gutters

tri-star strawberry plants

In case you haven’t noticed, bundles of strawberry crowns are popping up everywhere. Grocery stores, nurseries, The Home Depot, you name it, they are everywhere right now so I decided to repost this tutorial on how to grow strawberries for those you who are new to gardening or just need a quick refresher course.

If you have never grown your own strawberries before they are super easy to grow and totally worth the wait. Typically you will find them in bundles of 10 or 25 crowns. I say plant as many as you have room for, but keep in mind most strawberries multiply like crazy, so if you don’t have a lot of extra room, maybe just start off with a few plants the first year.

how to grow strawberries

Brief description:  Strawberries are a sweet red easy-to-grow fruit.  Their size, taste, and harvest time depend on the variety you choose, so a couple of varieties can ensure you have strawberries all summer long.  {I grow Seascape and TriStar}

pallet garden strawberries

Where to Plant Strawberries:  Strawberries can be planted in raised beds, garden beds, as a ground cover, in pallet gardens, containers, and even hanging baskets.  {See what I mean about easy to grow?}  Wherever you plant them, just make sure it is in a sunny location.

grow strawberries in gutters{strawberries grown in gutters}

Planting Seeds:  I recommend getting starter plants from your local nursery or online.  They usually come in bundles of 25, and it really is the easiest, most cost effective way to start a strawberry garden, shy of pinching some runners off of your neighbors.  To plant purchased strawberry roots, dip them in a bucket of water to give them a little drink.  Then, dig a small hole, spread out the roots, stick them in the hole and cover them completely with dirt.  In a few weeks, you’ll have little green leaves.

strawberries grown in gutters

Growing Tips:  Strawberry plants are not great producers the first year, but should give great yields by the second growing season.  Unless they are a wild variety, they typically have a lifespan of 3 years.  After that point, berry production goes way down.  Pinching off runners and then replanting them or gifting them to the neighbors will ensure you get the most berries, as runners take valuable nutrients and energy away from the berry production.  Water consistently and don’t over-fertilize.  

strawberries

How to Harvest:  Harvest strawberries when they are firm, bright red, and fragrant–they taste best if you pick them 1-2 days after they fully develop in color.  To pick, simply pluck them off the plant at the stem.

regional planting guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

Here are a few of my Favorite Strawberry recipes:

Strawberry Kiwi Jam Recipe

Strawberry Kiwi Jam strawberry-pie

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry and Nutella Crepes with Bananas

Strawberry and Nutella Crepes with Bananas

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How to Make Compost

How-to-Build-a-Compost-Bin-Out-of-Wood-Pallets

How to Make Compost

I’m pretty seriously diving into my job as a dirt farmer this year.  I have always composted, but I’m really turning it up a notch.  After watching The Greenhorns, I really identified with the farmer who said he wanted to leave his patch of earth better than he found it.  Yessirree Bob, I do.  If you plan on taking your dirt to the next level {cue the loud music and cheers}, here’s a couple of tips:

Compost is like the i-ching of healthy soil.  It’s totally worth the little tiny bit of effort–plus is reduces your overall footprint.  Seriously, you will be amazed at how little garbage you actually have after composting {especially if you recycle in your area too}.

There are literally a ton of different methods of composting.  You can start simple and just compost your kitchen scraps indoors.  This works great if you live in an apartment or in the city, where outdoor space is at a premium.

How-to-Build-a-Compost-Bin-Out-of-Wood-Pallets

 What to Make Compost In?

If you really want to turn it up a notch, then having a composting bin outside is the way to go.  You can cook larger batches this way.  If you don’t mind the unsightly aspect of composting, then your can just start yourself a compost pile just about anywhere.

Some people just keep a coffee can in the freezer, fill it, and then take it out to the garden, dig a hole, dump it in and let nature do the rest.  I prefer to keep mine somewhat contained at least.  This simple DIY pallet compost bin works great, and cost me only a few dollars to make.

There are tons of enclosed compost systems, that are nice because they keep the critters out.  My pal Lola has one that is a big barrel that she can spin each time she adds to it, so it is super low effort.  Whatever you choose to cook your compost in, make sure it is easy to get to, so you won’t be tempted to just throw stuff away.

Where Do I Put the Composter?

You can put your composter just about anywhere that has, either dirt already, or is in a sunny {or semi-sunny} location that is away from being over watered.

how to compost kitchen scraps

What Should I Compost?

  • Kitchen Scraps
  • Grass Clippings
  • Cardboard
  • Prunings {though wood should be cut down into 1″ pieces and be aware, they will take A LONG time to bread down}
  • Sawdust
  • Chicken, cow, horse, pig manure
  • Young weeds {don’t use the ones that have gone to seed!}

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that you get a more or less equal combo of “greens” and “browns” in  your compost.  Make sure to turn your compost frequently with a pitch fork or shovel to encourage faster cooking times.

How Do I Know When My Compost Is Ready?

Compost is ready when the ingredients all have turned a deep, dark brown color.  The mixture will have an earthy smell, as opposed to its previous rotting garbage smell.  It may not be perfectly dirt-like–bits of sticks or eggshell may not break down completely, and that’s okay, it’s still usable.  Remember, though, that compost can be EXTREMELY fertile {also referred to as “hot”}, so it’s best to spread it out in the beds 2-3 months prior to planting, or allow it to sit for several months before using.

Do you have any composting tips?

~Mavis

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How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month – Week 10 of 52

fresh produce

fresh produce

Local Produce Market $7.79

Whenever I’m on the other side of town, I make sure and stop by the local produce market to see what’s on sale. This time around cauliflower was $1 a head, organic lettuce $1 a bag, asparagus $1.99 a pound and everything else was a deal too.

A couple of years ago when I was at my friend Jane’s house she served pumpkin pasta for dinner and it was delicious. When I spotted the butternut squash I immediately remembered the recipe and thought I’d give it a whirl this week. I’m sure it will turn out great, because all her recipes rock.

smith brothers milk

Smith Brothers Milk Delivery $11.16

Yes, $5.08 a gallon for milk is a little crazy, but local milk just tastes better. 😉

fresh eggs

Fresh Eggs

Apparently getting rid of those roosters was a good move. Since the HH shipped them off we’ve been getting about 7-9 eggs a day from our 12 hens. Not to shabby if you ask me. Scrambled eggs are practically on the menu every morning for breakfast and I’ve been eating egg salad sandwiches {one of my favorite foods} for lunch almost everyday.

I never thought I’d say this, but Way to Go HH!!

target clearence

Target Clearance $6.88

Sparkling cider, gravy for chicken pot pies and marshmallows {I suddenly had the urge to make Rice Krispy Treats}.

panera

Panera, Panera, Panera. :)

Did I tell you  my parents gave my a gift card to Panera for my birthday? And Christmas too? I still have $32 credit on my Christmas gift card and have yet to touch my Panera b-day gift card so you can pretty much assume that when I’m near a Panera Bakery, I stop in for a treat. Yummm! Gift cards for food are the best gifts ever if you ask me.

How did you do with your spending this week? Did you buy anything exciting? Find anything good on clearance?

~Mavis

Total Spent This Week $25.83
Total Spent This Year $331.62
Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $11.50

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

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Free Kindle Books, Potting Bench, Vera Bradley, Scarves, Brawny, The North Face, Colgate Coupons and More

The North Face Oso Fleece Hoodie

yellow mums

Happy Monday everyone, how are you adjusting to daylight savings time? Holy canolies, springing forward is so much harder than falling back, isn’t it? I totally forgot to set my alarm yesterday and slept in… and then my whole day was in a total funk.

Hopefully today will be better! :)

Mavis

Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day – Up to 50% Off Select Logitech PC Gaming Mice, Keyboards, and Headsets

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Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can.

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Stock up Price!! Ball Regular-Mouth Mason Jars with Lids and Bands $6.29.

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Print a coupon good for $1.50 off two (2) FRESCHETTA Pizzas

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Amazon has the Merry Garden Potting Bench with Recessed Storage on sale for $109.99 shipped the reviews are AWESOME!!

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These scarves would make great thank you gifts.

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Get the 24 pack of Brawny Paper Towels for just $18.99 shipped when you use the subscribe and save option at checkout.

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Zulily is having a huge Vera Bradley Sale today with deals on purses, aprons, bedding and other accessories. New to Zulily? Go HERE to Sign Up.

The North Face Oso Fleece Hoodie

REI Outlet Deal of the Day – Women’s The North Face Oso Fleece Hoodie $69.73 Shipped.

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Here are a few Kitchen Deals

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Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Good Housekeeping Magazine for only $4.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 3/10/14 at midnight EST.

Peach Cobbler with Canned Peaches Recipe

If you have some canned peaches in your pantry, this recipe for Peach Cobbler with Canned Peaches is delish! Get the recipe HERE or Pin it for Later.

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If you do any shopping online you’ll want to make sure you are signed up for Ebates first.

Ebates offers cash back from any of 1,500 stores any time you start your shopping trip at Ebates.com. There are no points to redeem, no forms to mail in, and no fees {it’s awesome!}. Stores pay Ebates a sales commission for sending shoppers their way, and Ebates uses the commission to pay you cash back.

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Groupon has the Women’s Springtime Draped Cardigans available in multiple colors {and free returns} for just $16.99. There are tons of colors to choose from.

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Amazon Local is hot this week. Check out these deals:

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Got teeth? Print a coupon good for $2.00 off 2 Colgate products

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