Monthly Archives: December 2011

Merry Christmas

Wanting to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We have a full house with Grandma and Poppy arriving from Florida. All the parties are scheduled and menus planned. Gifts are almost all bought and those that are bought have been laid out and looked at closely for equal and fairness. The wrapping of the gifts are the most difficult for me. I have no patience with bows and ribbons. I attempt to cut the paper to the proper length, but if I am short, I have no problem in patching it in. I really have no interest in putting any effort into something that will be ripped off and thrown away in a matter of seconds.
When packing my planters, I found a place online to purchase just plain brown bags (uline) in different sizes. I then went on “etsy” (a place were people can sell their handmade goods) and found someone who could make me a custom stamp.

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I think they turned out nice. The look simple and organic. I pack the plants in unprinted newsprint and tie it up with jute rope. The end product is a nice presentation and it keeps the plants safe during transport.
Getting back to our topic, I am ready for Christmas (to be over). Ha, ha, just kidding. Although, the day after, I will be packing everything up. I find that it is easier than dealing with the question “Is it Christmas again?”  Jolly, our shelf elf, is gearing up to leave us for the year.

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He is not a creative elf. He usually just moves from one shelf to another in our house.  Sometimes when mommy or daddy stay up to late, Jolly misses his time slot to go back to the North Pole to report.  He ends up frozen in the same spot for several days.  OOPS! If behavior gets out of hand, he does write a threatening note.  This does seem very effective for a short period of time.

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The kids and I did make cookies this week.  They did all the measuring, mixing, and sampling.

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Yes, chocolate chip! They aren’t Christmas cookies, we get tons of those sent or given to us. They were the choice of the kids. I don’t mind. They taste great and I didn’t have to frost. Have I mentioned how I don’t like to frost cookies. All that work and it gets eaten in a matter of seconds……Hum…..I am starting to see a trend.

Once again, have a safe and Merry Christmas!

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Weekend in NYC

This past weekend our family had a mini vacation to NYC. We had only planned one activity and left the rest of the time up in the air. This was a high anxiety time for me. Having my family in a crowded and strange city and having a very unstructured timeline to follow. However, I made it through the weekend and the family had fun.
We flew in early Friday afternoon and were able to catch a ride into the city with a limo.

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I was all for getting in line for a traditional taxi, but we were approached by a driver who was trying to get a fare back from the airport.   Hubby, who travels way more than me, said this was normal and safe to do.  I, of course, was nervous following a stranger into a parking deck. When I saw the limo, I felt a bit better and the driver pulled out all the stops for the kids. It was a great way to start our trip.
Since we arrived too early to check in, we dropped off our bags and headed out. Our first venture out was to Macy’s. We soon found out this was the busiest shopping weekend of the year. The store itself was huge and they carried a lot more high end products then our local Macy’s. We decided to eat at a cafe in the store and do some people watching. You would have thought they were giving things away based on the crowds.
We made it back to our hotel and checked into our home for the weekend. We had a corner room that had spectacular views.  (All the pictures of the trip were taken with my new I Phone.  I am super pleased with the results.)

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We headed back out to try to find FAO. The doorman was so kind and explained the subway to us. We jumped on the green line, it dumped us out somewhere near central park, and we managed to find FAO. The kids needed to hold tight because of the crowds, but they still found the one item they each wanted. Ms. A decided to make her very own Muppet. She was able to pick out the body, eyes, nose, hair, and outfit.   After she signed her contract (and paid $99) they built “Sally” right in front of us.  Mr. D wanted a cave full of stuffed spooky creatures. Both were excellent picks.

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The next day we planned to visit the natural history museum. We arrived a bit early so we went exploring central park for awhile.

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The museum was great. We could have spent the whole weekend there and still not have seen everything. At one point, we saw a presentation at the planetarium. It was very enjoyable (Hubby didn’t even fall asleep).
After lunch, we meet up with some old friends from high school who currently live in the city. They took us on a tour of the Brooklyn Bridge, Court District, Ground Zero, China Town, and Little Italy.

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Sunday morning we headed out to see the Rockettes. What a great show.  I was surprised that the show had such a religious ending.   Ms. A was in her element, but Mr. D had to be feed Gummmies to keep him still.

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We then went to meet up with some friends from Chicago who just were newly engaged the evening before. We had a lousy meal at a kosher deli, but a great time catching up.  We headed off to Time Square. They had heard that there was a place to buy leftover show tickets greatly discounted. They were able to get great tickets for Mary Poppins at half the price. This is great to remember for our next trip.

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Tons of people, lots of police everywhere, and overall a fun atmosphere. The kids went to the M&M store. They had fun picking out candy in every color imaginable. The Hersey store was across the street. We were disappointed with it. I would not recommend spending any time there. After looking around Time Square and saying goodbye to our friends, we headed to Fifth Avenue to do some grownup shopping. Took Ms. A into American Girl store while the boys waited outside. It was overwhelming! If it hadn’t been so crowded we would have enjoyed looking at the displays. Instead we did I quick look through and did one small purchase and got out of there. I then was able to treat myself to something from Tiffany. Every girl should get something in a little turquoise box with white ribbon. (Yes, that is a tattoo from a pervious girls only trip.)

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We had a great time in NYC. I found the people to be friendly and helpful. The city was busy and so different from home. The Green Thumb Family will go back to this wonderful place. I am glad and I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried this with my family.

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New York Gardens

The family went on a vacation to NY City and saw many wonderful things. I am just going to do a quick post about roof top gardens. Just from our hotel room these are the ones we could see.

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I can’t imagine the little treasures tucked in all over the city.

 

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Pony Tail Palm

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I purchased this “Pony Tail” Palm last year. It was meant to go in the sunroom, but the flowing nature of its fronds proved to tempting for Nala. I had to move it into the “Nala Free” living room and hope for the best. It only gets afternoon sun (western exposure) and seems to be doing well. I have moved it into a large pot and I supply it with palm fertilizer ever six months. ( I get my fertilizer from Grandpa who lives in Florida. )

It seem like a relatively easy house plant to care for and I was able to purchase it at our local Home Depot store. I give it water about every two weeks and at that time I peel away any dead fronds.

I always feel that when you purchase a plant, it is already fully grown into its container. If you plan on it thriving, plan on repotting. I have found that you can visual look at the plant greener and if there is more greener in comparison to the size of the container, time to repot. Different types of plants need different containers. Succulents are very shallow rooted and can be successful in a shallow garden dish.

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Where as a ficus tree needs some depth.

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This is a great example of more greener than container and in need of repotting. However, finding containers locally during the winter months are next to impossible. Mr. Ficus will have to stay cramped until spring. This ficus tree was my first indoor plant and was giving to me as a joke from my husband. It has moved homes with us and now gets seasonal room changes. It is a hardy little tree and it’s only downfall is the shedding of its leaves. I give it water every two weeks and prune any dead branches when needed.

Take a look at you indoor plant, are they in need of any TLC?

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Nala in her coat

I have one very cold dog.

 An African dog, used by people as protection from lions.

 Here she is in Ohio, waiting for the school bus to come.

You know it is getting cold outside when Nala leaves her coat alone.

I just love winter!

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Winter gardening

Even when it gets cold outside, there are always things that I can still do in the yard if I am motivated enough and dressed warmly enough. One thing that I always do when the fall holidays are over, is collect the pumpkins and gourds that I used for my decoration and put them aside for the wildlife. As you can see, the deer really enjoy eating pumpkins.  The kids love to watch them rot and they are very proud in showing off this gross experiment to everyone who comes and visits us.  We also had some luck this past year with growing a new plant with the seeds that were left out to rot.  No effort went into this and it was a wonderful surprise when we had a little pumpkin that grew out of the mess.


I also try to plant any potted mums that I have purchased. There are some mums that are more hardy than others, but I don’t let this have any weight in my decision making when I pick them out.  This year I chose all yellow for my planters.  I even have friends that drop off plants that they would normally throw away, but are giving them a second chance with me. Of course, this year I did wait a little past the prime planting time. We have had our first frost and I am not sure if the mums will live over, if I don’t get them in the ground soon. Normal about half  of the mums that I do plant come back and I would rather give them a chance, then just putting them in the compost pile.  I have found that if I bury them well with mulch and leaf litter they do better.  I also found certain spots in the yard that are protected from the elements have a higher success rate.   My biggest problem is remembering in the springtime were I planted them.


I also do not cut any plants, shrubs, or grasses back in the fall.  They give a great refuge to birds and wildlife during the winter months and some plants just look great even when they are dried up.

The only thing I might do, is tie up the tall ornamental grasses in bundles. They tend to flop over with wet snow and then they just look sloppy.  In the spring time you can just take hedge trimmers to these tied bundles and clean up is a snap.  I have learned that you can do some “damage” if you prune back  those plants that have spring flowers.  I never can remember which plant is which, so I just wait until spring and see the new growth and work off of that.   “Opa” has always told me nothing will die from a good haircut.  Some plants come back better and stronger after a good pruning.  I try to avoid and cutting and transplanting during the peak hot summer months, but spring is a big free fall for pruning, splitting, and transplanting.

I have a lot of work come spring time, but the results are worth it.  Happy winter planting!!!!

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