Crate Herb Garden 


DIY Crate Herb Garden

I wanted some container herbs near the house  so I can walk over and pluck easily.  I came up with this crate idea. The crate was salvaged for me by a coworker from a restaurant.  It was so easy, I ended up not needing to hammer or to nail! A 2×4 plank leftover from a project was simply placed in the middle of the crate as the middle piece.

My son and I painted it all teal and added Valspar Antique Glaze and it was done!  Since it’s outside a poly coat would be ideal, but I figure it will last a few years.  Avoiding extra chemicals is always a good thing!

The terra cotta pitcher for the basil plant was an amazing find at a flea market for just a few dollars!

The crate is very cute mixed in with our landscaping:


Garden Update 2016:

The herbs I’ve had the most success with this year are cilantro and basil (watch for bolting and pluck off flowers if they sprout). We had an unusually wet spring so I ended up with a black mold on my basil plants. I plucked off all affected leaves and they are now thriving with no signs of molding.

Oregano, chives, dill and parsley are also herbs that are easy to grow and maintain. We have potted planters on our porch with lemon balm, sweet mint (for tea), citronella, and lavender to keep mosquitos at bay.

I companion planted sage near the pole beans.  Basil and rosemary is planted throughout our garden to keep pests away. This year I planted these herbs very close to my plants and it seems to be deterring better.  Marigolds were also woven into the landscape at a higher rate this year and placed around the entire border.

A butterfly garden is also adjacent to attract Monarchs specifically (an endangered species) and pollinators like the honey bee. You must attract pollinators to your garden, so flowers are important. We have butterfly weed, sunflowers, bee balm,  zinnias and more planted nearby in our butterfly haven.


I did have to crack out some organic insect soap and peppermint essential oil on a few plants. We have ant issues with our strawberries and I’m starting to lose hope any will ripen without being attacked.

I’ve tried charcoal powder around the border of the container, the garden soap, and adding onions directly to the planter with no luck. There is also netting around them to keep the birds and bunnies out. I should try some different essential oils next, I need to research more about using essential oils in the garden, so far I’ve only tried peppermint.


This may not be our year for strawberries…but I’m excited for the pumpkin container garden. I need to remove a few plants, every seed I planted sprouted so it’s overrun.





I’m growing them up a trellis I made out of some scrap wood, quarter round, and twine I found in our garage. My little helper. She loves to get muddy and help mommy in the garden!



Happy Organic Planting everyone! Feel free to share your tips and tricks below. I’ll be working some of my organic compost in soon- it’s finally ready after about 3 months!

Garden Plot: Organic & Companion Planting


I wanted to outline our little garden plot this year.  We enriched our soil with organic soil, fertilizer, and earthworms.  My 4 year old had so much fun adding the worms and the kids enjoy helping us water it.

My husband tilled it up nicely (to our surprise wasps had nested there, so they were not too happy)! Of course, we don’t spray chemicals, so we let them swarm around for a few days… they have since moved on.  The honeybees are still around- so that is good!

Click here to see our 2016 Garden Plot! This is a simply PDF I created, don’t judge me too much I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time on it!   Garden Plot 2016 Final

img_0821 img_0820


We added a butterfly garden this year to attract bees, butterflies (Monarchs hopefully) and hummingbirds.  A garden needs pollinators! I try my best to companion plant and I’m sure I have a few mistakes here and there.

I like to find Heirloom Seed companies and University companion planting information and charts, figuring these are experts in their fields:

We worked in more chives, basil, and marigolds (inside the garden instead of just bordering it). I’ve added many more marigolds since these pictures were taken.

All of our seeds and plants are Non-GMO and organic- it is very important to avoid any genetically modified seeds that have been treated with chemicals!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so simply do some research, companion plant the best you can, and see what works or does not work in your garden. I worked in more fragrant herbs this year to detract pests and was less afraid to plant them close to my veggie crops.

I also avoided planting root vegetables, as our clay soil, even though well amended this year, seems too dense to properly allow root veggie growth.

We had squash vine borers last year, so I avoided planting squash-related plants this year. I will also recognize the larvae quicker this year- best to stop them sooner than later when they emerge in June.

Happy Gardening! What do you plant?

Plant dill, marigolds, chives, onions, parsley, basil and other flowers throughout the garden. Allow parsley, carrot and celery to remain in the ground over the winter. They will produce flowers the second season and attract beneficial insects. Also, plant strong smelling herbs among vegetable crops. [1]


I grew up believing the nonsensical was reserved for fairy tales and Lewis Carol books. That when something did not make any sense, it merely would not occur in the real world.

Well something nonsensical landed on the desks of the Senate and was just approved. It was a bill which approved banning local plastic bag restrictions. At first glance this IndyStar article sounded great. Read again.

The bill bans government from:

  1. Taxing plastic bags
  2. Restricting retailers’ use of plastic bags

What the bill being passed means:

  • It did  not change any existing policies- shoppers can still use plastic bags to their hearts content.
  • It’s worthy to note: It did not stop retailers  from choosing to ban plastic bags if they want to. Stores can still make their own decisions about banning plastics.

But will they?

It did nothing to encourage local businesses or consumers to stop plastic bag use. Of course, it protects plastic manufacturers and retailers from the burden of making changes. I don’t mean for any business to go under, more so, cannot these businesses make some changes to pollute less? There are green alternatives out there to the normal plastics being used. Why not start making those changes?

If the bill had NOT passed:

  • A bill could have eventually moved into place, similar to bills in CA banning plastic shopping bags from being used.
  • A bill could have eventually been moved into place, taxing plastic bags or offering incentives and/or discounts to those that use reusable bags.

Namely if the bill had NOT passed we in IN could be on our way to reducing a TON of plastic bag waste, or taxing the use of the little plastic monsters to discourage usage.

Did you know?

  • ” Only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled (BBC).
  •  The average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year (Natural Resources Defense Council).” [5]


  The Social Media Feeds and the Ban News

img_6415One commentary was that plastic is cheaper than paper bags. Yes, that is why retailers use them.

Cheap does not equal better. I’m not sure why we are so proud of cheaply made items in America? I like a good deal like anyone else, but typically quality lasts longer and wastes less.

One comment was that grocery prices would go up. My logic:  If people purchased their own reusable bags (from the store) the store would profit off those bag sales. If the store profits they would not have to raise prices on anything. The store would make money initially off reusable bag sales.

Let’s look at a statistic for CA law banning plastic bag use:

“If the contested legislation takes effect, retailers that operate in cities not already covered by local bag bans will save $150 million annually on the plastic grocery bags they no longer need to purchase and distribute to customers for free, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data shows.”

Those bags being provide for free to us are actually costing the retailer money. I’m sure the cost is affects the consumer somehow (nothing is free), but still we aren’t charged so the retailer is absorbing the costs somewhere. So if they no longer had to purchase plastic bags they would save money.

Why would the IN Senate ban future bills from being passed that WOULD be good for the environment? Worse case scenario if people throw an uproar over a complete ban. I guarantee if there were a tax or fee for bag usage, people would scramble to purchase a few reusable canvas totes of their own.

Yes, people would complain at first, people always complain. Personally, I have a “greater good” take, but I’m not naive to think others need to share that same mentality.  The great thing about people is… they are adaptable!

Other statements were Big Brother-ish in nature and how the government should not be making decisions for businesses. This sounds like white noise to me. Our government is supposed to enforce laws and rules for the common good.

I also noticed people stating a “Be the change you wish to see in the world” mentality. Namely, if the government doesn’t force it– we should be doing it ourselves anyway.  This is true, we are adults and we are responsible for our own actions. We should not be littering, we should be recycling, and we should be using reusable resources.

I am not perfect. I am a Semi-Super Mommy, remember? I forget my reusable bags sometimes. You can recycle the plastic bags at kiosks at the entrance of grocery stores or you can reuse them at least once as trash can liner. Donate to a local daycare for kids “blowout” clothing to be sent home in.

But WHY do NOTHING to discourage the use Indiana?

Since this blog is about DOING something, I present to you my new social media campaign.   #LessPlasticIndy


Submit pics of your reusable grocery bags with this hashtag. I will post on social media a few times a month on this topic.

To purchase reusable bags: Go to the Genbumom Amazon store ‘Reusable Grocery’ section.  Or better yet, to reduce packing and shipping waste, pick up a few bags at your local grocery or health foods stores.

I want to be proud of living in Indiana. We should be a step ahead, not behind on our environmental and sustainability views.


Below is what is going on in California and some SCARY FACTS about those pesky plastic bags.

California Leading the Way

In November of 2014 the SB270 law banned the use of plastic by retailers in CA.Many areas in California already locally banned the use of plastic bags.


“Under SB270, plastic bags will be phased out of checkout counters at large grocery stores and supermarkets such as Wal-Mart and Target starting next summer, and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016. The law does not apply to bags used for fruits, vegetables or meats, or to shopping bags used at other retailers.

It allows grocers to charge a fee of at least 10 cents for using paper bags.” [2]

The law was slated to take affect July 2015 but it’s been put on hold.

In a nutshell,

Legislation in California is still in a tricky interim period and outside interest groups (bag manufacturers and their suppliers) hotly debate the environmental groups data on how much negative impact plastic bags cause to the environment.

“Bag makers are promoting the Environmental Fee Protection Act in this business-versus-business fight to make Californians’ heads spin and perhaps entice grocers to spend money fighting the measure rather than opposing the referendum — not to help the environment, experts say.” [1]

They have spent more than $3 million gathering signatures to oppose the new law. Throwing money at their own interests and negating the impacts that plastics have in our environment.

The Bag Industry Argues

One argument is that plastics do not take as long to biodegrade in the ocean as sunlight speeds its decomposition rate. A 2009 study by Nihon University in Japan found it can take just under 1 year for a plastic bag in warm water exposed to sunlight to “photo degrade.”


However, this study does not take into account the toxicity released into local marine life and the long term effects on the food chain.

Plastic bags are typically made of polyethylene. In sunlight, “polyethylene’s polymer chains become brittle and crack, eventually turning what was a plastic bag into microscopic synthetic granules. Scientists aren’t sure whether these granules ever decompose fully…” [4]

If claims are made that consumers will recycle their plastic bags, the statistics are staggeringly low. I’ve read as low as 1% of bags get recycled and as high as 4%- not good numbers.

Environmental Impacts

So, the bags may photo-degrade fairly “quickly” in sunlight and warm water…

“This doesn’t sound so bad until you realize those small bits of plastic are toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer. These end up in the guts of animals or wash up on shorelines, where humans are most likely to come into direct contact with the toxins.” [3]

Also, these are ocean degradation rates. The rates in a landfill are approximated by different sources between 10-100 years. This also depends on several factors in the landfill itself. It could be longer.

  • “Scientists estimate that every square mile of ocean contains approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it (United Nations Environment Programme).
  • A single plastic bag can take up 500 years or more to degrade (Measuring biodegradability,” [5]

Paper degrades typically within a month and can be composted, so opt for paper bags and compost them when you can.

Better yet, purchase sturdy canvas reusable bags.  I have some listed on the Genbumom Amazon store.

Even better, save the waste generated by having items shipped to you and go to your local health food or grocery store and buy their reusable bags.

Some green manufacturers are producing bags that are compostable, they appear like their plastic polyethylene’s counterparts but are made from recycled materials and are supposedly biodegradable.  I’ll save that research for another day.


I’ve posted about guilt before as the perfect tool for changing our habits. If you FEEL GUILTY using plastic bags, STOP using them. You feel guilty with good reason! Let that guilt transcend into something new… Action.

It’s a very simple change.


  1. Calefati, Jessica. Next California plastic bag initiative is tricky strategy by out of state interests. November 2, 2015.
  2. Nirappil, Fenit. California becomes first to ban single use plastic bags. November 30, 2014.
  3.  Harris, William. Accessed February 23, 2016. How Long does it Take Plastics to Degrade?
  4.   Do Plastic Bags Ever Decompose? by Earth Talk. Accessed February 23, 2016.
  5. Facts about the Plastic Bag Pandemic.

Meatless Monday: Know your Iron Intake

“Meatless Monday is the concept of reducing our meat consumption. It’s a different approach for how we consume our protein sources. Meatless Mondays is not the stance that you need to become vegetarian or vegan either (but kudos if you are- it’s the most humane way to source your food).

Being mainly vegetarian, I am diligent about incorporating enough protein into my diet: beans, legumes, tofu, soy nut butter, almonds, walnuts and the like. I also eat eggs about twice a week.

However, I still fell into a vegetarian pitfall: a lack of iron in my diet and the end result was anemia.

I used to track my diet on My Fitness Pal and usually fell a little short on protein, so it really helped me track what I needed to consume more of (protein) and less of (carbohydrates).  These tracking apps are a helpful tools and I suggest using one for a month to see where you are at.  You can view if you are consuming excess sugar (proudly always very low on my sugar!), saturated fats, or salt.

 Iron is necessary for creating red blood cells that carry oxygen into your body.

“Iron is a component of a number of proteins… haemoglobin is important for transport of oxygen to tissues throughout the body.” [7]

Your body absorbs meat iron (heme iron) almost 3 times easier than it does from plant sources, so if you eat none-heme iron foods you need to incorporate absorption techniques.

Headaches, dizziness, difficulty exercising, and leg-muscle cramping I attributed to being a working mother, sinuses, the winter blahs, or  perhaps dehydration after exercise.

Turns out all of the above symptoms were interrelated.

I’ve been taking a multivitamin with iron and have been tackling my iron consumption head on. I’ve been using a cast iron skillet, incorporating vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta carotene along with any plant based iron consumption, and multivitamins.

I cannot believe how much better I feel! I should have gone to the doctor sooner. Do not put your health on hold.  I know we do this because of our busy schedules, but you have to take care of your health first! It makes us a better mother/wife, employee and friend if we are recharged and in optimal health.

If you suspect you have low iron ask your doctor for a blood test.  If you eat a plant based diet and have any symptoms, you need it checked.

You do not need to eat more meat to get plenty of iron, you just have to work iron into your diet appropriately.

Signs and symptoms of low iron can easily be dismissed as general fatigue or stress symptoms. Low iron can be the result of lack of iron in your diet or also absorption issues from an underlying disease, like Celiac disease. Do not ignore these symptoms:

 “Iron deficiency anemia symptoms may include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Frequent infections
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
  • Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia
  • An uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in your legs (restless legs syndrome)” [1]

However, some forms of anemia occur due to  B12 or folate lacking in your system or being absorbed improperly.

“Vitamin deficiency anemia (or megaloblastic [MEG-uh-loh-BLASS-tik] anemia). Low levels of vitamin B12 or folate are the most common causes of this type of anemia.

Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia (or pernicious [pur-NISH-us] anemia). This type of anemia happens due to a lack of vitamin B12 in the body. Your body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and to keep your nervous system working normally. This type of anemia occurs most often in people whose bodies are not able to absorb vitamin B12 from food because of an autoimmune disorder. It also can happen because of intestinal problems.

You also can get this type of anemia if the foods you eat don’t have enough vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found in foods that come from animals. Fortified breakfast cereals also have vitamin B12. ” [6]

The Good News? You can change this fairly easily if low intake is simply your issue.

If absorption is an issue or an underlying medicial condition, your doctor needs consulted for steps to take.

Chart Courtesy of Of course, if pregnant or nursing,  have an pre-existing health issues, or on any other medications please check with your doctor first!

Age Infants and children Women Pregnant Breastfeeding
7 to 12 months 11 mg n/a n/a n/a
1 to 3 years 7 mg n/a n/a n/a
4 to 8 years 10 mg n/a n/a n/a
9 to 13 years 8 mg n/a n/a n/a
14 to 18 years n/a 15 mg 27 mg 10mg
19 to 50 years n/a 18 mg 27 mg 9 mg
51+ years n/a 8 mg n/a n/a



Below are some tips to keep your Meatless Meal options but Increase Iron Intake:

You do NOT have to start consuming massive amounts of meat. Meat consumption equals more pollution. Of course, never self-diagnose, schedule a visit with your doctor as these symptoms can also be signs of other issues.

1. “Drink tea and coffee between meals, not with meals. The tannin can reduce iron absorption so drink tea between meals. Coffee contains less tannin than tea but still needs to be considered as it has other compounds that reduce iron absorption.” [2]

2. Avoid Iron absorption disrupting foods when consuming your meals.  Both calcium and tannins (found in tea and coffee) reduce iron absorption. Tea, coffee, and calcium supplements should be used several hours before a meal that is high in iron 5.” [4]    “Antacids can also inhibit the absorption of iron, as stomach acid is necessary for this process.” [3]

3. Add Vitamin C to your Iron meals: “Adding a vitamin C source to a meal increases non-heme iron absorption up to six-fold which makes the absorption of non-heme iron as good or better than that of heme iron.” [4]

4.  Increase your intake of Iron rich foods. Leafy Greens in particular, like spinach or swiss chard. Lentils, tofu, and chickpeas to name a few.

“Examples of iron-rich foods include meat, eggs, leafy green vegetables and iron-fortified foods.” [1]5

5. Cook with a cast-iron skillet. Tofu, tempeh, (or eggs) with spinach or kale and a glass of Orange juice would be a great iron rich breakfast.

6. Oatmeal and Cream of Wheat both contain a good dose of iron, choose low sugar options and add blueberries for vitamin C and flax seed for lignans and Omega-3’s. Also look for Iron fortified cereals.

image  Black Beans, Tofu, and Rice with Sweet Peppers

7.  Beans, Lentils, Legumes. Just one cup of black bean soup contains 26% of your Daily Iron. Pair it with vitamin C to enhance absorption. A salad topped with red and yellow bell peppers or broccoli should do the trick.

8.  When you do choose meat, always choose Grass-Fed beef. It contains more nutrients and vitamins than non-grass fed meat. Try to limit your consumption of meat for the environment. 

9. Multivitamin with Iron or Iron Supplement.


Did you Know YOU Can Help to Save our Earth by Limiting Meat Consumption?!

  • “Reduce Greenhouse Gases —Studies show that meat production produces significantly more greenhouse gases than vegetables, including carbon dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide – the three main contributing sources of greenhouse gas. [5]
  • Minimize Water Usage—The water needs of livestock are much greater than those of vegetables and grains.

– Approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef. – Approximately 39 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of vegetables.” [5]


Click here for a  link to The Vegetarian’s Resource Groups information on Iron. It contains a great table of iron-rich vegetarian foods:



Disclaimer: This article is not regulated or approved by the FDA.  Information is cited from sources below. As always, if pregnant or nursing, on any medications or under doctors care for any disease, illness, or condition consult your doctor before any dietary changes or prior to starting any vitamin supplement or regiment.



1.)  Mayo Clinic Staff: Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia. Accessed February 20, 2016.

2.) Iron Boosting Tips and Tricks. Accessed February 20, 2016. 

3.) Bruso, Jessica, Demand Media: Natural Ways to Boost Iron Levels In Your Body.

4. Mangels, Reed PhD, RD Iron in the Vegan Diet.

5. Meatless Monday Facts.  Accessed Feb. 2016.

6. Anemia Fact Sheet. Accessed February 22, 2016.

7. Australian Government Ministry of Health. Nutrient Reference Values. Accessed February 20, 2016.

Composting for Superb Gardening

Why Garden?

To be truly sustainable as a society, we all need to garden and compost to reduce waste and be more self sufficient. It helps us to appreciate nature’s pristine delicacy and get back to our roots.  Personally, I sit at a desk all day, I enjoy coming home and smelling the fresh outdoors to check on the garden.

It teaches our children where their food comes from. They may try more vegetables if grown in their own backyard. My 3 year old son tried parsley and lemon balm last year. We enjoyed going into the garden together, watering the plants, and smelling all the herbs.  My favorite memories last summer were from gardening with him.

Sustainability and Appreciation of Nature

Yard waste materials such as grass clippings, leaves, and yard trimmings make up approximately 10% (by volume) of the municipal waste stream, according to Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management. Yard waste can account for 50% or more of residential solid waste during the active growing season. [1]

Let your children help you pluck herbs or plant seeds. It’s a very enjoyable experience you can do together.

My son thought it was hilarious when our sweet potatoes ended up like this:


The sweet potato fiasco made me realize, our soil was not conducive to root vegetables (hard clay soil). The raised bed did awesome, we need to till a lot this year and add compost to work the soil looser and to provide it with the elements it needs to give nourishment to what we plant. Also to allow the root vegetables to grow properly and separate underground.

Our first real garden last year was flooded several times, we learned a lot, lost a lot, and truly appreciate more now how food is grown and ends up on our table. It’s why we are attempting to buy more locally and waste less.

Container Gardening if you lack space…

There is an explosion in container gardening ideas right now on the internet, you don’t need much space to garden (or compost!) You can create garden beds out of reusable (untreated) wood using ideas found on Pinterest, as well as ideas for making small compost bins.

Composting for Successful Gardening

Composting is a naturally occurring process that breaks down organic materials into a soil-like material. Finished compost is an excellent soil amendment that improves soil structure as well as adds some nutrients. All organic materials will break down eventually, if given the proper environmental conditions. [1]

imageWe used our raised garden bed for our compost “heap” this year.  We covered it with a think double layered tarp and anchored with metal pins. This spring,  I will build a covered bin to keep close to our home.

“The basic ingredients for successful composting include organic materials, microorganisms, and the proper balance of carbon to nitrogen, water, and oxygen.” [1]

There are items you can compost and items you should never add to your compost bin that could disrupt the breakdown of materials.

Composting DoDont

Below are the basics of layering your compost. These are basics and I’ve found resources that indicate more particulars, but here are the basics. I  used Purdue Universities Composting articles to obtain my information.  [1] and [2]

Compost Basics Best

We simply place our “green matter” (carrot tops, banana peels, washed egg shells, compostable coffee filter with coffee) in a large old coffee tub (covered) and every few days empty it into the compost heap.

A friend of mine who is composting remarked, “Our trash can doesn’t smell anymore since we have been composting.”  This same friend is using an old commercial soap bin that she washed thoroughly  for her outdoor compost bin. Her kids are old enough to take the compost trash (kept under her sink) out to the bin for a chore.


If you test your soil and have the correct ratios, tend to your plants accordingly, and keep it organic you should have a successful garden. Compost adds to reducing your household waste and providing extra nourishment to your soil.

“The smaller the particle size, the faster the organic materials will break down. Materials which have been chopped or shredded will compost more quickly. Kitchen wastes such as vegetable and fruit scraps, egg shells, and coffee or tea grounds can also be added. These materials should be buried in the center of the compost pile to avoid attracting insects, rodents, and neighborhood pets.” [1]

I’m personally planting more herbs this year than last and I’m going to attempt better freezing practices for saving some herbs for the winter months. I may try to dry herbs out myself and save in bundles.  I found myself using my herbs more than anything. Fresh basil, cilantro, and parsley were our staples last year.

This year I want to plant yarrow, rosemary, calendula, german chamomile, feverfew, and sage to name a few.

Organic Gardening

By all means, your garden must be organic, or else what is the point of it being healthy if sprayed with fertilizers and chemicals?! I am no expert yet, but this is what I’ve learned about organic gardening…

  • Companion Plant- Map out your garden before hand.  Certain plants repel bugs that harm other plants. You will have more success if you companion plant.

Examples: Garlic deters Japanese beetles, Tarragon is disliked by many pests so you may plant throughout your entire garden, Marigolds deter many bugs such as nematodes.

  • Say NO to Chemicals:  Do not use any treated soil, pesticides or bug sprays!
  • Use Essential Oils and organic gardening sprays to keep pests away. Spot test one area, wait overnight to see how it affects the plant.
  • ID pest problems early and treat immediately. I misdiagnosed my squash issues with a mold (we had heavy rains and I thought it was mold, but it was squash borer insects destroying and leaving behind a substance that looked like mold).
  • You WANT Bees and Butterflies to pollinate your garden! Check out this article on Attracting More Bees and Pollinators.
    • For example, plant native plants to attract native bees. Also plant some exotic plants to supplement… Think nectar and pollen. Choose several colors, plant flowers of different shapes/sizes in clumps. Bees favor sunny spots protected from winds and rain. [3]

  • Join an organic gardening forum for tips and tricks. Join a local group to obtain better information for your local climate and soil conditions.
  • Compost to enrich soil and consider adding worms.

How Compost will help your Organic Garden…

[Composts]unique physical and chemical properties provide a number of benefits to soil, including:

Improved soil fertility

Improved soil structure

Improved water-holding capacity

Reduced erosion

Reduced levels of plant pathogens, insects, and weeds [2]

What do I Do with the Compost When It is Ready?

Your compost is ready when the internal temperature remains at a level comparable to the current outdoor temperature. If it’s still biodegrading it will produce more internal heat, so wait until it’s done “heating” essentially.  You will no longer be able to discern plant or material items (i,e. you won’t see any distinct banana peels or apple cores). The compost will appear as a rich and dark soil, easily worked and crumbly.

If you apply  or use compost before it’s truly ready it could actually harm your plant growth.

If you want to work into your garden soil or into your containers:

“Apply at least 1/2 to 3 inches of compost to gardens before planting every year — this will improve soil fertility. Spread the compost on the surface (a practice called topdressing), or mix the compost with the upper 4 inches of soil.” [2]

You can also make a compost tea:

Another way of using compost is to extract the nutrients into water, then apply that tea-like, nutrient-containing water to plants about every two weeks.

“To “brew” compost tea, fill a burlap or cloth bag (like a pillowcase) with finished compost, then place it in a 5 gallon bucket of water for one to three days. Agitate the bag a few times each day, just like a tea bag. Compost can be reused several times in this process.” [2]

Final Thoughts from Genbumom

 Keep it simple your first year, try about 10 varieties of plants and herbs. Map out your garden  to help you companion plant prior to planting seeds.  Your first year, also try using starter plants. Starting from seeds is a little trickier.

Try a few containers near your home for easy to access to common cooking herbs, like parsley or chives.

Happy Gardening!





  1. Purdue Department of Horticulture. Managing Yard Waste: Clippings and Compost. Accessed February 2016.
  2. Home and Environment: Purdue University Extension. Household Composting: Methods and Uses for Compost. Accessed February 2016.
  3. Lannotti, Marie. Bee Plants: Attracting Nore Bees and Pollinators to your Garden.

The Minimalist Wardrobe


Guilt was getting the best of me. Guilt about my clothing and spending choices in the past. Sure, mom’s often have to “grab and buy” sometimes (and return later) but we need to start buying for practicality, sourcing, and taking the time to find pieces that bring us joy.

I listened to a How Stuff Works podcast recently that discussed whether material objects or experiences bring us more long-term joy. Which do you think proved more effective at long-term happiness?

We are a quick fix society- buying fast food in the same amount of time it would have taken to go home and make a sandwich or salad- and it’s killing us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If that sounds dramatic to you, I dare you to examine your habits more.

I had to do some major soul searching over the past year in regards to purchasing and what truly satisfies the lifestyle I wish my family to lead. We are not wearing burlap sacks either; I like a pretty top just as most women do! It’s healthy to feel beautiful, cute, or sexy in your clothing.

The temporary “shopping fix” is not healthy and as women it is important we don’t use shopping as a coping tool for a bad mood or a stressful day. Perhaps we should be doing something more constructive with our bad moods (a long jog or walk), journal, or scrapbook, anything except consuming for sport. It’s when we overspend and justify that we are “treating ourselves” and later the guilt- it’s not worth it ladies!

img_6610I don’t want to be an over consumer and use cleaning my closet as any excuse to start a brand new wardrobe.  I don’t want to contribute to the global catastrophes like Rana Plaza’s building collapse or turn a blind eye to manufacturers that outsource their labor and do not pair fair wages or manufacture in unsafe working conditions.

I will not be 100% fair trade, organic, or entirely made in the USA by the end of 2016 but I’m working on it for my own wardrobe anyway. It’s a start. I’ve found a few Etzy shops I wish to buy from for casual wear: Grow More, Nicandthenewfie, and Uzura. For now, I have all that I NEED and that makes me very satisfied and thankful. Cleaning my closet helped me realize this. My husband thought it appeared sparse, I felt… cleansed.

I want to put my dollars towards companies that source for clothing and materials where laborers are fairly treated and paid. Rana Plaza collapsed due to building structure failure and overcrowding; over 1,100 people lost their lives and another 2,500 pulled from the wreckage. [1] The footage is disturbing.

When you hear accounts that workers in the building had brought up concerns about safety prior to the collapse, it’s even more disturbing. Our culture of cheaper is better needs reinvented. We need to re-invest in quality.

You will pay more for quality.  I feel the same way about organic food.  I’m ecstatic to contribute more to causes and fair trade initiatives with my purchasing dollars.

How Do I Create My Minimalist Closet?

Remove all items from your closet. Sort into piles by category (casual tops, work blouse, work pants, jeans, dresses) on your bed. Start pulling items from each pile and ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Does this item bring me joy?
  2. Have I worn it in the past year? (more than once)
  3. Does it fit me properly?
  4. Is it too worn to wear to work? If not wearing to work will it be worn on the weekend?

Promptly toss into the donate pile and do not revisit.  I kept two items I will probably never wear again but due to sentimental value I kept them. However, I threw away plenty that did hold some nostalgia.

Below is a graphic to help you with your Minimalist Closet Makeover! Obviously, I have certain tastes and colors I prefer (mauve, blue, black, grey, and deep burgundy colors, floral and polka dot prints, classic cut dresses and silky blouses). You could replace floral prints with geometric prints or the plaid pants with striped pants.


You may choose to start putting your money towards products that will benefit your health and lifestyle. Shirts made from organic cotton or bamboo and shipped in recycled shipping boxes are a good start.

A few Amazon links are below to get you started online, or find a locally owned boutique or fair trade store like Global Gifts to visit. You may just find your new favorite necklace, shirt, or purse!

Shop Amazon Fashion – Top Women’s Fitness Bands

Eco cotton comfort casual tee, by Fishers Finery

Fishers Finery Ecofabric Women’s V-neck Tee – Comfort Fit – Light Heather Gray, L

Save the Bees Shirt, by Green Outfitters

100% Certified Organic Cotton and eco-friendly dyes. Free of pesticides and toxins, produced without the use of harsh chemical bleaches or dyes, and are allergy free.. Proudly made in the USA.

Save the Bees T-Shirts: One Honey Bee. Mens 100% Organic Cotton (X-Large)



April 23, 2014.  Kennedy, Bruce. The Bangladesh Factory Collapse one year later.