Must-haves for organic gardens (and one you probably haven’t heard of!)

Must Haves for organic gardens

When we first started growing our veggie garden, several years ago– we did a TON of research because we really wanted our garden to thrive! (I mean, who doesn’t–you spend so much time on it!)

For the first garden we had–all we did was add soil and plant the seeds! LOL.. we generally think that is all there is too it–but we were most definitely wrong. Our first garden wasn’t very successful and we couldn’t even get our tomatoes to grow! :( We didn’t realize that is WASN’T about just putting the seeds in the ground and watching it grow.. you need to have the “right” tools to get them growing.

I’m happy to say that we’ve had a very successful garden each year after the first and after trial and error we’ve been able to find what helps our garden grow and be the most successful.

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Soil:

We use a organic soil– preferably the Amend Garden Soil (find it at Home depot or Lowe’s) it’s a little more expensive than most soil but it is totally worth it if you want a organic garden.

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Rock Dust or Azomite:

You might have not heard of this–but we’ve found it a MUST-have for our veggie garden. After doing a lot of research, we learned that most soil isn’t properly mineralized. Meaning, its missing a TON of nutrients for your plants and for your family when you eat the veggies. This is why most veggies are a lot smaller when you grow them yourself–because  they are lacking the proper minerals for growth.

Think of it this way: When you take supplements in the pill form, you are taking them to give your body the accurate dosage of nutrients that you wouldn’t get out of your normal consumption. This is exactly what you are doing for your plants! However, its all natural and organic.

We haven’t found this in most big box stores–so we have to order online. We get this Root Naturally Azomite Rock Dust – 10 Pounds and it is enough for our garden to last us three years! (you only need 1 pound per 10 sq. feet of soil) and you do not need to apply every season.

 

 

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Raised Garden Bed

This is great for those just starting out! They help keep snails and slugs out of your garden and If you rent a home, this makes the garden “not-so permanent”. I like this Raised Bed Connection Kit.

You don’t have to use a raised garden bed but be prepared to really fertilize your soil with Azomite and organic soils.

So what are your must haves for a organic garden?

How to replace your old mattress {without going broke}

how to replace your mattress

 

scroll down for to see how you can pay less than $400 for a Memory foam (queen) mattress!

When George and I first got married we inherited my family’s old guest bedroom mattress– We were so young and limber that we didn’t need a brand new mattress and slept great on the hand me down.

fast forward 8 years..

After two pregnancies, three kids and countless backaches later–we really needed a new mattress. I think when you are pregnant, you feel every single little imperfection with a old mattress. Everything hurts and you probably end up sleeping somewhere else in the house (at least, that was for me!) Then you have baby and you feel 100 x’s better then suddenly you can’t afford a brand spankin’ new mattress!

So here we are– we need a NEW mattress! I have to admit, I don’t want just any mattress either. I cherish my sleep and now I want one that will help me sleep better. We’ve looked into mattress stores– a lot of them are too expensive. I want to sleep well, not sleep broke!

When you are ready to replace your mattress– I HIGHLY suggest sitting down and making bullet points about what you want in a mattress. That way, you aren’t suckered into things you doing need.

Here is our wish list:

  • memory or gel layer
  • Queen or larger
  • less than $600
  • delivered for free

and since we are trying to be more natural – eco friendly would be awesome also!

George calls me the Google queen.. and there is a good reason for that. I usually almost find a solution with google– and you better bet that I found a solution. We found  GREAT affordable queen mattresses right HERE.

They are Gel/memory foam and most are LESS than $600 + FREE shipping!!

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Buy a mattress ONLINE? Yes, I know! It’s a scary thing.. but sales guys at mattress stores are just as scary. I really wanted to avoid the hassle of dealing with sales people.. It makes me feel like i’ll just be pressured to buy things. The thing that caught my eye was that these mattresses have gel or memory foam and are under $600! That is literally impossible to find at the furniture store.

Then, I noticed that their mattresses are warrantied against manufacturing defects for 10 years AND if you aren’t happy after 60 days they will refund your money and pay for the return shipping. No questions asked.

How could we NOT try this. I checked all of our wishlist items– including the Eco-friendly part! woot!

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So, we took the plunge and got THIS mattress.  Its only $389 + FREE shipping and is gel/memory foam! I won’t lie– I was pretty nervous to order online.. then about 4 days later, we got this huge box! (even the dogs were like “what the heck!)

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The mattress is vacuumed sealed and rolled– it fit perfectly in the box!

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It took about 3 hours for it to reach its FULL size. We just popped it right onto our existing box spring and waited for it to raise.

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It’s a 8 inch, so its on the short side. It is a Gel-Memory foam (if you want the normal height, I suggest the 12 inch memory-gel mattress HERE it is only $599 + FREE shipping)  and it is pretty dang awesome! The gel is great for “hot” sleepers… It help keep you cool and molds to your body. Sometimes memory foam stays MOLDED to your body and you get stuck with that permanent mold—but not this one. It goes back to a flat surface.

I’m pretty shocked but we LOVE it!

 

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Even better, this is eco friendly. So not only are we helping the environment–we’re saving money. Here are some great facts about these mattresses:

 

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I love our mattress so much that I reached out to the company to get you a couple of discounts if you want to replace your old mattress (one awesome advantage of being a blogger! ;) )

— Take $70 off ALL closeouts including the gel models use code Josie70 at check out (that makes the gel-memory foam 12 inch only $529 + FREE shipping!) code expires May 31st, 2015

— Take $140 off 8inch Memory Foam closeout model or the 12inch Memory Foam closeout model use code Josie140 at check out

— Take $50 off ALL closeouts use code Josie50 at checkout Never expires

Here are some of the prices on mattresses after codes:

So when you are looking to replace your old mattress without going broke:

1. Make a LIST of what you want before you do your research

2. only buy what you can afford–be careful in financing a mattress

3. NEVER pay for delivery. You are already giving them your money (just sayin…)

4. Buy a mattress that will last– you shouldn’t have to replace your mattress for another 10 years.

 

Disclosure: I was provided with a zzzsleep mattress to blog what I thought about it. I wasn’t compensated for it and would never blog about something I didn’t feel strongly about. :) We needed a affordable mattress and I wanted to let you know about an awesome one. 

10 Ways to start seedlings for your garden

10 Ways To Start Seedlings For Your Garden

 

Since I grew up around gardens every year, it isn’t surprising that I find myself with 10 Ways To Start Seedlings For Your Garden that are all useful, easy and varied enough to suit just about any need.

I have seen seeds put directly into the ground after watching it being tilled. I have taken part in afternoons planting seeds in cups, egg cartons and shoe boxes. There are numerous ways to start seedlings for your garden.

7 Ways To Start Seedlings For Your Garden
Paper Cup Method: We all grew up with Dixie cups in the bathroom. They are the perfect size to start seedlings for things like tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and other common vegetables grown in your garden. Simply add soil to each cup along with seeds. Mark the cup with what plant it is, and water. Make sure to put in sunlight and keep from freezing temperatures. In a few weeks you have a perfect seedling ready to plant in your garden just by shifting out of the cup.

Mini Greenhouse: There are various methods of creating a mini greenhouse. One of our favorites is to simply grab the inexpensive seed starter kits and use it. They come with a tray full of soil that you add seeds and water to. On top is a clear plastic lid that attaches and creates a greenhouse effect. Perfect for teaching kids all about plant life cycles! Check out all the options available on Amazon

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We opted to grow our organic seeds in a mini greenhouse this time around.. We’ve already planted them in the ground and they are doing wonderful (SO far!)

Egg Carton: Egg cartons have long been a great place to start seedlings. These work best for plants that you can plant a bit earlier since they won’t have as much support or be as deep for root growth.

Egg Shell: This is an even better method for small plant seedlings. Simply crack the egg leaving at least half the shell (preferably more). Add soil, seed and water. When it is time to plant them , you can easily crush the egg shell into the soil of your garden to act as added fertilizer. Easy and effective!

Window Box: Window boxes are great for creating herb gardens, but they are also a nice place to start your seedlings. It is a bit harder to transfer from these, but still a great choice and easy to manage.

Homemade Greenhouse: Whether you use one of the many tutorials online for using PVS and plastic to build your own large outdoor greenhouse, or you simply use clear plastic take out containers to create miniature greenhouse environments, you can easily whip up your own homemade greenhouse in no time.

Hydroponics: If you need to start seedlings and grow fast – you can invest in a hydrofarm or hydroponics system. This tends to get a bad rap because it is often associated with growing non vegetable substances, but it is a great choice for those who are serious about gardening but don’t have the climate to handle growth.

Recycle Plant Cups: If you purchased seedlings in the past, simply pull those plastic cups out and put them to use for your new seedlings. Keep them year to year and you can have a ready made seedling starter kit at no expense to you.

Styrofoam Cups: While we aren’t typically fans of Styrofoam for environmental reasons, if you already have them you might as well put them to use. They are sturdy enough to hold up to larger plant growth, and they are easy to reuse time and again.

Water Only Germination: There are a multitude of seeds that you can sprout in water only. While this is a bit messier method, it is still very popular. Check into the plants you plan on putting into your garden and see if any would fit this.

Building a garden this year doesn’t have to be tough when you have so many great ways to start seedlings for your garden!

How are you growing your garden this year?! 

Savings Challenge Update #5: How we are adding $1200 to our fund + Savings Goal!

savings challenge

 

Its week 6 of the 3 month savings challenge! This week, we were able to add $500 to our fund.. however, it is sitting in a money market account– I completely forgot about this account because we have it on “set it and forget it” mode and it simply withdrawals $50 a month from our bank account.

I will be including this in my weekly updates because we will be using it towards our savings goal. At the beginning of this challenge, I didn’t have a real goal. I wanted to save as much as we could and add it to our emergency fund. However, our emergency fund is sitting pretty at this point–so we’ve decided to save this money for a trip to Europe in August!

We’ve known about this trip for about 9 months now– it’s basically a family reunion and our entire extended family will be attending. We will be staying in Ireland for most of the time but we plan to also head to France or London. We are taking our kids and expect to spend around $6000 for our entire family… So, now we have a GOAL!

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I’m super, super excited about this trip– we’ve never been out of the country and we will be living on a cute little farm in Ireland. It’ll be exciting to have the kids live a slower pay of life for about two weeks with nothing but lush, green land around us!

This week, we were also able to add an extra $700 to our fund by selling things around the house. Which included our brand new carpet that we NEVER put in our house! :) We bought the carpet and then decided to lay wood tile instead. So, here is our break down:

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Digit: $641 in our account. Wondering about Digit? I LOVE it! Find more info HERE

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Money Market: $557

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Savings account: $1576

Total: $2774 

We will need to buy our plane tickets before right around June.. so I’m hoping to not have to take any money from our emergency fund to reach our goal.

How much did you put toward your savings fund? Do you have a particular goal in mind?

DIY Essential Oil Candle

essential oils candle

DIY Essential Oil Candle

Ever since I got my Essential Oil Starter kit– I’ve been making ALL sorts of natural items… and it is really exciting! (I plan to share more items in the future) I love all of the oils that I got with my starter kit but there are three in particular that really help me throughout the day– they lift my mood and are overall amazing!!

I like to burn this candle at my desk while I am working. Really helps to keep me motivated and energized.

Here are the three that I use:

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What you will need to get started:

  • Soy Wax Flakes — buy them HERE or at your local craft store
  • 5 drops Citrus Fresh Essential oil (I use these HERE)
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil (I use these HERE)
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil (I use these HERE)
  • Natural Candle Wicks (you can find these at the craft store as well)
  • Glass container

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1. Fill the Soy Flakes until you have enough wax to fill the container

2. Place the container in the microwave until melted (glass will be HOT!), keep filling with flakes until the melted wax reaches the top of the container.

3. put the essential oil drops in the wax while still hot

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4. set wick in the middle of the candle and let dry until solid

Enjoy!

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{BEST} DIY Carpet Cleaning Recipes

DIY Carpet Cleaning Recipes

DIY Carpet Cleaning Recipes 

Is your carpet looking a little down and out? Kids, pets, and day to day use can really wear carpets down, leaving unsightly stains and odor. If you want to freshen up your carpet, remove stains, and banish odor, take a look below at these 5 best DIY Carpet cleaning recipes. You will find that treating your own carpets is a great way to get the job done with less money and using less chemicals.

1. Machine Cleaning Solution #1
This solution is meant for your carpet cleaning machines in place of the over the counter solution. Since the container size of machines will vary, we are showing you this recipe in parts instead of actual measurements.

1/2 part of white vinegar
1/2 part of warm water
5-7 drops of lemon essential oil


Mix all of the ingredients in a bottle and pour into the machine compartment. Clean your carpets using the machine as you typically would. The vinegar will clean and deodorize, while the essential oil with freshen and disinfect the carpet.

2.  Machine Cleaning Solution #2
Like the recipe above, this solution is intended for your carpet cleaning machines. You can make a batch of this up anytime you need some quick carpet cleaning done.

½ gallon of hot water
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
½ tablespoon of Dawn dish soap
2 tablespoons of 3% peroxide

Combine ingredients and mix well. Put the mixture into the compartment as directed and clean as usual.

3. Spot Treatment
Do you have a small spot or stain that needs to be treated? A batch of this spot treatment will do the trick. It is perfect for loosening up stains prior to steaming as well. It can handle pet stains especially and is great for removing the odor.

1 cup clear ammonia
½ gallon hot water
1-3 drops essential oil of your choice (I LOVE Thieves essential oil for this)
Combine the ingredients and apply with a cloth (never spray the solution onto the fabric) and blot. You can rinse with warm water when done and soak up with a soft cloth.

4. Carpet Degreaser
Did you spill an oil based product on your carpet? Then give this recipe for carpet degreaser a try. It will help soak up the oil and allow you to treat the carpet further.

½ cup of corn starch
1 tablespoon hot water
1-2 drops of essential oil of your choice

Make a paste from the ingredients. Spread the paste over the stain and let it sit until dry. This might take several hours. When it dries a powder will form which you can then vacuum up, taking the stain along with it.

5. Carpet Deodorizer
When your carpet is nice and clean, you can now treat it for any underlying odor.

1 cup of baking soda
1 cup of borax
10-15 drops essential oil of your choice

Mix the ingredients well and sprinkle liberally onto your carpet. A sugar shaker is perfect for getting this job done! Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes and then vacuum up. It will absorb any odor, freshen the space, and get the carpet looking great!

I love essential oils for DIY cleaners–I use Young Living and they are 100% all natural and pure. I’m currently running a amazing promotion to get you all the essential oils you need to make your own cleaning supplies– click on the image below for more details

500 size

Savings Challenge Update — we are selling our iPhones!

savings challenge

 

It might sound crazy to you– but we are selling our iPhones! We are also ditching our cell phone bill– a whole $230 a MONTH! We are actually pretty lucky to be able to do this..

Have you joined us in the Savings Challenge? It’s not too late to join!

Long story short– George was able to get us both on a shared plan through his company– which they are paying 100%. This is saving us a LOT of money each month– which we will be stacking up in our savings account.

Speaking of savings accounts– Here is our balance.

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We haven’t added any money to this savings account but I DO have an extra $320 saved in my Digit account ready to be transferred (since my last update HERE)

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Since I signed up in February (feb 15th) Digit has found $27 on average (CASH) every TWO days and added it our Digit Savings account. The best part, is that digit is so awesome that it finds money that we don’t need– so we haven’t missed it one bit.

Total savings for our 3 month savings challenge: $745 and we are only 5 weeks in! 

 

 

 

Wondering what digit is? It’s pretty stickin’ awesome– you can check out the details HERE.