Archive for the ‘Home & Garden’ Category

My Favorite Lotions in the World

I have a confession to make.

My hands are so dry since I’ve gotten older! I mean, I used to put on lotion for the fragrance, but nowadays and especially when I’m in desperation mode, it’s a must to lather it on the top portion of my hands. And I do this several times a day or more, especially during the winter.

Which leads me to two of my most favorite lotions in the entire world:

1. For dryness – Nivea Creme.

The first time I found this creamy-sensation-of-a-lotion was near the checkouts at Wal-mart. It came in this cute little blue tin and I grabbed it for my purse (no I wasn’t shop-lifting – I bought it first). I was oblivious to the fact that I was about to experience the best lotion ever. When I finally ran out, which didn’t take long, I found this jar of it.

Mary Kay would probably slap me for this, but I even put this on my face (not recommended for the oily skinned). It works miracles as an eye cream and other problematic dry skin areas on your face. It’s also good for sunburns.

2. For fragrance – Jasmine Vanilla from Bath & Body.

This lotion smells like heaven.

It has Natural Soybean Oil and Glycerin.

I’m addicted to it.

Oh, and if you go to their website, it’s on sale for $6.50 a bottle.



To pinch or not to pinch. That is the question.

This was among my first try at growing from seed this year, and I’m happy to admit the result has been glorious and aromatic!


I sit on my patio and just look at it. It’s sad, because as much as I hate to admit it, I’m really afraid to touch it.


I’ve read that pinching it off is a good thing – that it makes it more prolific and beautiful, but I haven’t worked up the nerve to do it!

I guess I’m afraid I’ll break it. I am in serious need of some garden backbone!


I do take lot’s of pictures though! I’m a proud basil grower, aren’t I?

Ok, ok I’ll go pinch it already….even if it’s green.  Oh yea, it’s not St. Patrick’s Day.  Never mind.


Here are a few ideas for using basil I found on Pinterest. I love this site, because it’s full of great photos from the internet and very inspiring. You can follow me by clicking here.

Lemon Basil Chicken


Basil Vinaigrette


Corn, Tomato, Feta and Basil Salad



Talking Dirt 101

With all of the heat we’ve been having lately, I’ve noticed that some of my container plants aren’t doing so well, so I’ve become concerned and started doing some research on the internet. What I read the most is poor garden soil and improper drainage can make or break our plants in containers!

Crack pot

From my own experience, most bagged soil you buy is just horrible.

Longs Brand Sun & Soil

Here’s some things I’ve learned lately.

When you think your plant is in trouble, you must consider the soil.

I’ve learned that the roots of a plant need air as much as they need light and water. Most all soil we buy in a bag isn’t going to supply our plants with enough air – some will be okay for a while, but after a period of time, this bagged soil breaks down and compacts and compacted soil means no air circulation for the roots. Apparently, they need to breath. Then the soil ends up holding too much water, and when roots are in water for too long, they end up drowning or dying from root rot.

Douglas-fir failure due to laminated root rot

I’ve learned that the number one priority is to choose a soil that will give the plant proper drainage or air for the roots in our containers. Apparently if you are able to go for long periods of time without having to water one of your containers, although you may not known it yet, your plant is dying during the wet period and regenerating once the soil dries out so it never really goes anywhere and can eventually die altogether.

Root rot

I’ve also learned that a fast draining soil is better than one that stays wet, but you have to water and fertilize more frequently.

After doing my homework, I think I might have found a solution that I’m going to try:

3 gallons of composted pine bark
1/2 gallon sphagnum peat
1/2 gallon perlite
A small handful of lime and gypsum combined
1/2 cup Controlled Release Fertilizer (Osmocote, etc.)
1 tbsp micro-nutrient powder or a fertilizer that contains the minor elements (24-8-16 soluble blends)

Ok, so what is all of this stuff?

pine tree bark

Composted pine bark is a finely ground pine bark that is an excellent soil amendment, but you have be sure and buy the fine particles and not the big pieces of it. The size of it ranges from 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch. This stuff is supposed to hold water, air and nutrients together at correct percentages for the plant.

sphagnum moss and peat

Sphagnum peat is made up of decomposing sphagnum moss and is used in the soil to retain water. When added to a fast draining soil, it can slow the drainage down a bit and allow the plant to take root. It doesn’t really add any nutrient to the soil. It’s just for holding in some water for the plant. This is the stuff you buy when you start plants or seeds indoors.


Perlite is some type of rock and it’s white. I’ve actually bought this and used it, but had no idea why I was using it or if I was adding the right amount. Basically, it’s used to prevent compaction and improves the aeration and drainage of the soil. It also holds moisture, but doesn’t become soggy.

Lime raises the pH level so the soil is less acidic and gypsum helps correct compacted soil or soil with clay in it.


Osmocote is something I’ve used before, too. It’s plant food – an all in one solution that feeds your plant for up to six months and contains 12 essential mineral nutrients. It has a 15-9-12 soluble blend, and don’t ask me what that means, because honestly, I have no clue.

Miracle Shower

Ok, I googled 24-8-16 and found Miracle Grow All Purpose Water Soluble Plant Food. Easy enough.

I’ll let you know what happens! I feel like such a nerd tonight. LOL

Seedlings, Buds and Blooms

My newest efforts at growing from seed:

Sweet Pepper

Purple Coneflower

And here is some basil I grew from seed:


The Hosta finally bloomed – this was planted from a bulb:

Hosta bloomed!

The new Texas Star Hibiscus has several buds that will bloom soon. I found this at the local garden center yesterday. I can’t wait to see the show of red Hibiscus flowers.

Texas Star Hibiscus

Until next time, I’m staying inside and out of the heat!

In the Garden 06/04/11

I walked around and snapped a few close-ups in the garden today. It’s been so hot and dry lately I can barely keep up with watering all of my containers. Don’t get me wrong, I love containers, but lately I am overwhelmed by them, so I’ve decided to start planting them in the beds around the sprinkler system. It’s super hot outside now and I’m dreading the upcoming months ahead. I really hope we end up getting some rain soon! I think everyone’s yard needs it severely!

Mums starting to bloom, and although I'm not sure, I'm thinking this is early for them!

The water fountain we purchased from Garden Ridge for the patio!

Lavender grown from seed....smells like those lavender sachets you buy at the store!

One of our Crepe Myrtle blooms by the garden path on the side of our house!

A Hosta getting ready to bloom!

Crepe Myrtle next to the fence full of blooms!

Butterfly weed is blooming now...

Surprise! White petunias that decided to start growing from last year.

Coreopsis bloom, these are in the ground now.

The coreopsis are not as beautiful as they once were. I think they are still in shock from several things I did wrong to them, but at least they are still blooming, right? I’m hoping that planting them in the ground will help.

Pink double knock-out rose bloom planted in a bed by the stone path...

My orange moss rose! I love them!

Pink Impatiens

Garden Path Project

We love our patio so much that we decided to extend it by constructing our very own garden path between the beds on the side of our yard – between the house and privacy fence. Here’s the before picture.


And here it is once we got rid of the grass and weeds.


We wanted to extend the beds a bit on both sides, so we removed the brick and replaced it with stone for he borders. We are still in the process of cleaning up and finishing the grout work though.



All I can say is it was hot out there! But we repaired a few sprinkler heads, so the plants will have a much needed water supply throughout the hot summer months ahead!

I’ll post a picture of the finished project soon! I even have a couple of birdhouses on poles, and we’re planning on adding some landscape lighting soon!

A bloom for Memorial Day

A flower is an educated weed. ~Luther Burbank

I grabbed my iPhone this morning to take a picture of my Hummingbird Vine aka Cypress Vine bloom.


And here is the flag we ordered from the local Boy Scout troop. The flag was put up early this morning, then taken down before dark. This is in honor of those who have served and are serving our country! They will do this again on Independence and Labor Day, too.


Hope you had a happy and safe Memorial Day!