Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm a farmer, of a very small farm...

Guess what time it is again?? That's right, gardening, seeding and planting time!

 This year, I'm super excited to be, once again, growing my own food! It's very rewarding to know you took your time and dedication to care for it and the added bonus is that it saves you money AND you get even more nutrients as it's picked straight from the garden! I know I mentioned this last year when I took my canning class, but for those of you that didn't catch it, I posted a fact about our food. Food loses nearly HALF, read 50%!!!!! of it's nutrients just one week after it's picked! Think of all the produce that you eat that comes from different areas of the world. Makes you wonder how many nutrients are left in them, doesn't it? This is why it is so important for people to eat local foods that come from farmers markets! The freshest you can get! Also, it helps the environment by not having to travel so far. Of course, when you live in places like I do, the frozen tundra, you  have to eat the shipped produce during the winter months. However, when you are able to, during the spring, summer and fall months, local produce is the way to go!

There are some new developments with my garden. My landlord gave me an even BIGGER plot this year to garden, so I really have my work cut out for me! With hopefully getting busier with the business though, I knew that I wouldn't be able to get it all done by myself. So my new friend, Kate, whom I originally met at the gym, is going to be helping me out! I'm excited to have someone to help me grow and eat up these vegetables!

Kate and I modeling a car at a recent event. :)

Kate and I sat down not too long ago to go over just what exactly we wanted to plant. 
We came up with this list:

This weekend, we spent some time planting the seeds in my house. I wanted to get the seedlings started so that we could get them out as soon as the weather is consistently warm. 

We planted 2 types of tomatoes (cherry and beefsteak), parsley, squash (spaghetti and small yellow), 3 different varieties of lettuce, peppers, and we already have strawberries and chives outside! Kate said she would like to experiment with a row of carrots (I warned her about my results from last year) and I have yet to get basil planted too.

Seedlings sitting by my windows...

I also found this online recently and forgot that I would love to try this! It's a way to grow celery without even buying a seed!

I stole this picture from FARMER'S PAL. I couldn't find anything like it and they posted it on their Facebook page on April 18th. Find it HERE. And definitely like their page! A cute little page, it's interesting to look through! 

Turns out, you can grow celery from the end of the celery that you cut off! I'm going to by some organic celery and test this out! So fun! I'm so glad they posted that idea! 

I will also this year, be testing the soil at my place for lead. My landlord suggested it and said she would even pay for it if need be because she was curious. However, Minneapolis offers free lead testing. For anyone living in the are and wanting to test their soil, check out this site. It appears that the U of M offers a more extensive test though for a low cost which can be found here.

I'm proud that I'm continuing on even bigger this year with my goal! I have a new goal that I DIDN'T complete last year, that I'm going to work on for this year.  I will be telling you all a little about that goal sometime soon!

Happy Gardening Season Everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wear. And. Fare. Wednesday.

Another Wednesday post! Enjoy!


I put together this little number for work the other day! 

Jacket: SES - Australian Store
Striped shirt - Mossimo - Target
Skirt: Old Navy
Shoes - Goodwill

I love these wedged Mary Jane's! My sis found them for me for $3.00 at the Goodwill! Brand new! Gotta love sisters!


Clean Eating PB Cups!

I have to admit, I cannot claim to be the mastermind behind the idea for this clean eating treat, I have to credit DAMY Health with the idea. However, I did make up this recipe on my own. I LOVE DAMY's treats, but I thought that I could do this one a bit differently and enjoy it just as much. I am not a huge pumpkin puree fan all the time, so that's why I made this variation. You can also find DAMY's version HERE.

Here is what I did for my version:

In a small bowl, mix together:

1/4C PB
1/4C Non-fat Greek Yogurt
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Agave


In a double boiler, melt 70% cacao dark chocolate (I used 2 of these giant bars from Trader Joe's):

Poor enough of the melted dark chocolate into the bottom of a muffin cup (in a muffin tin) - enough to cover the bottom. Perhaps 1/4" thick. Do this with all of your muffin cups. I made about 6 with this recipe.

Put the muffin cups with the melted chocolate into the freezer for about 10 minutes to let the chocolate harden.

After the chocolate has hardened, pull out the muffin cups and put the PB/Greek Yogurt mixture over the chocolate. Once again, enough to cover the chocolate. I would say another 1/4". Then pour some more of the melted dark chocolate over the top of the PB mixture. 

Put this all in the freezer again in the muffin tin to harden. Once hardened, you can store them in an air tight container until you are ready to eat them. Let them thaw a bit before trying to bite into them - they get hard.


You can go crazy like I did! I made a PB Cup Blizzard one night with one PB cup and DAMY Health Ice Cream. Just blend them together! You can find the ice cream recipe I use HERE. is good stuff!

Happy eating and a happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A strange thing happened to me the other day...

As life has been rather busy lately with the business starting again and other life events, I have been checking my email inbox as well as receiving a lot more emails for my business. One of these emails was from a young man, I would guess about 6 years my junior, seeking employment with my bike tourism business. He indicated that he had read an article about my business and that at that time he was, "having pipe dreams of starting my own bike tour company, but (I) would not have the time to do the behind the scenes work."

Firstly, I thought it was a nice email but it also made me giggle. I had to laugh that people see a logo and get an idea in their head about what a company must be. Surely, he thought that my company already had employees. Little does he know, the company is all me.

Then, I got a really strange sensation. It hit me, here was a young man, not too unlike myself, who in all likelihood is even more qualified to do the job I'm doing (based on his resume and personal experience) yet I am the one with the business to whom he is sending a resume seeking employment. How is it that I am the one running a business as such and he isn't? Where does the difference lie?

Now, I know that it certainly can't be that I have more time than him. Between working out at the gym, blogging, working a full time job and the business, I know I don't have a lot of time. I make it work though and I make the time. I'm committed to the business and it's what I want.

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest

Then I thought, well...maybe it's money? It can't be the money though. I started my business with nothing...literally. No savings, no investors, just a small loan that I got from a bank and the willingness to get into debt to hopefully build my way out of it. Besides with school loans for a masters degree and working at a non-profit, I'm quite certain I wouldn't have much more money than most people.

With those two major things crossed off of the list, there were only a few more barriers to consider, fear, passion and support.

Is there fear when you start a business? YES! More than you can imagine! Fear of debt, failure, of jumping into it, of the unknown. I certainly had my moments and it took me a long time to be ready to make the leap of announcing my business and putting it out there. Even when it was "ready," I still was fearful. I remember making a call to my sister, before officially starting, just crying because  I was so scared and wanted this, but was afraid it wasn't going to work out. She had to talk me down from jumping off of my "emotional ledge." In the end, I wanted to have and work on the business more than I was scared, so I kept marching on.

A positive aspect that I also had on my side, one just mentioned, was that I had a great support group. My family and friends have been very supportive of my journey. Helping me with mock rides, handing out flyers, and just offering words of encouragement. Sure, I had people that expressed doubts and were negative about my leap of faith into the business world, but for every one negative person, I'd say I had at least 5-10 positive supporters. That made such a huge impact. Perhaps this young man had no support? Maybe no one was there to cheer him on and root for his dreams.

Source: via Darcey on Pinterest
Finally, I had passion. Writing this post reminded me of a scenario I had at the beginning of starting my business. A friend of mine had read that some other people were starting a bike tour business. I was a bit worried to be honest. But then I thought about it and said, "Well, there are tons of coffee shops out there and they are all pretty successful. Perhaps we will each offer something different. I might have some tours some people like and they might have something else that others like." I still felt a bit defeated. Afterwards, I talked to my friend, Mary. She had just seen a video where someone had addressed the the Wright Brothers and the first flight. Many of us know about the Wright Brothers, but do you know about a man named Samuel Pierpont Langley? Nope, I didn't think so. Mr. Langley was an educated gentleman (the Wright Brothers had no schooling past high school) who was given money by the Smithsonian Institution as well as other funds to create a plane that could carry a soldier. This was before the Wright Brothers made the first flight. Mr. Langley made 2 flight attempts, which failed. He then quit. Just 8 days later, the Wright brothers achieved this goal. The Wright Brothers weren't attempting to fly for the money or the fame, but because it was their passion. That is why they persisted, despite many failed attempts.

I had said early on in my business that people would see my passion and that's what shows. However, I can't say that this young man doesn't have passion for biking. He seems to love doing it. However, does he have enough passion to attempt a bike business, put in a lot of work hours and risk everything? At least for now, it appears he doesn't. However, it was so striking to me that he could have just as easily been doing what I am. Yet here I sit, the owner of a growing business - with applicants for jobs, much like himself.

The moral of this story?

If you want something, pursue it with passion. Surround yourself by people who will be your supporters through thick and thin, failure and success. Push past your fears. The best things in this life, are those that we work hard for and yet are the scariest to go after.

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I've been up and missing for the last week or two but for just cause. To my dismay, my grandmother unexpectedly passed away - Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 at 7:05pm. Grandma had an injury that wasn't caught at the hospital which caused her further damage and she was unable to sustain her own breathing. Her living will requested that she not be dependent on machines to live and that she may be allowed to pass quickly, peacefully and with dignity. My family honored my grandmother's request and she passed surrounded by at least 20 family members - all of whom had the opportunity to say their goodbyes and give grandma a hug and kiss. I wanted to write this post, to remember and honor my grandmother, however, it was a difficult post to write. Not because of grieving but because I simply felt that I didn't know if, in one blog post, I could do grandma justice. Nevertheless, I've decided to write this post to remember the strongest woman I think I have ever known in my life, my grandmother, Dorothy Katherine Gladys.

Grandma 2011 - A visit with grandpa. She wore her own crocheted headband.

Grandma, as I mentioned, was a strong woman. Strong in spirit, mind, body and will. Many of the qualities that I, as a woman, would like to possess, I saw portrayed in my grandmother. If I could attain at least 1/4 of the strength that she had, I would say that is a success. Grandma was very strong - some my call it "stubborn". Okay, we all called it stubborn, but it was a strong stubborn. A stubborn that didn't want help, a stubborn that persisted through surgeries, illnesses and injuries, a kind that got her through raising 5 boys on a farm, being a grandmother to 16 grandchildren and a great-grandmother to 17 and one that made her one of the most desirable seamstresses in her town.
Yes, my grandma was a stubborn German.

Underneath this stubborn exterior lied so many of the other characteristics that those close to grandma got to experience firsthand.

Grandma and I while visiting Grandpa - 2011

Grandma was a creative woman. As I mentioned, she was a seamstress in her and grandpa's town of dwelling and well-known for her sewing abilities. My father told us how once a popular chain store in my grandmother's town approached her to make them curtains. Grandma had a lot of orders backed up and told them that it would be a year and a half till their curtains could be completed. Guess what? They waited. Now if that doesn't speak to someone's reputation, I don't know what does.

Though grandma's curtain making skills were second to none, I don't believe this was what impressed us grandchildren the most. Instead, it was the manner in which she used her God-given talent to express her deep love and care for her grandchildren. This was most clearly witnessed in the mass production of Christmas ornaments - every year a unique and different one - from birth till we reached 18 years of age for every grandchild and I believe great-grandchild. Even though I knew every year that my ornament (with a gift of money) would be waiting for me at Christmas, it still didn't ruin the suspense. I couldn't wait to see what unique handcraft grandma had brainstormed for that particular year.  I can't imagine the countless hours that she likely spent in her easy chair every year preparing each of these hand-crafted treasures, not knowing their future destiny. Would the ornaments be kept and treasured, would they continue to hang on Christmas trees for years to come? It didn't matter. This was a labor of love and the ornaments would continue to make their annual appearance.

A family day at the park. Grandma and Grandpa at the head of the table.

Being born in another era altogether, many of the things some of us grandchildren did, I am quite certain were a shock to grandma. During grandma's funeral, we had pulled out a ton of different photos. My cousin posted one of her with my grandmother - her with her tongue sticking out with a giant bar piercing going through it and grandma happily smiling next to her. I thought that this was such a unique picture that demonstrated quite a juxtaposition. Though I'm sure grandma could not understand why anyone would put something metal through their tongue, there was grandma, sitting next to her granddaughter, still loving and accepting her as she is. This really captured the essence of grandma. My sister, during the reading of the eulogy piece she had written for grandma's funeral, mentioned that we all have had less than shining moments, but grandma stuck by our side in all of them. Though grandma didn't always approve of our decisions, her love and acceptance was unconditional. The one thing I know that we can all say is that we most certainly experienced her unconditional love.

Grandma, Grandpa and I - Grandpa's 92nd Birthday Celebration 2012

Something that really struck me during grandma's funeral and that I was reminded of by all of our pictures was that grandma had a real zest for life. As long as she was here, she was going to be living life. Grandma was adventurous - from a trip to Europe with grandpa in her younger years, card clubs, bowling leagues, dances with grandpa as a youngster, to being the grandma that you could take out for a giant glass of beer (sometimes in a glass boot). If opportunity for an adventure presented itself, grandma would take it. This was made even more clear to me by grandma's living will. Upon returning from the hospital after grandma had passed, I was looking at grandma's living will. Grandma made the statement in her will that, "life is about quality, not quantity." Grandma lived in the way that if she was going to be here on this earth, she wanted to LIVE. There probably isn't a woman more insistent upon living in her own home than my grandma. Grandpa recently has had some dementia problems so had to go into a rest home only a matter of blocks from their home. Grandma would visit every other day but wanted to stay at home because she said they couldn't afford for both of them to be in an assisted living facility. I don't think this was necessarily the case, I think grandma wanted to continue living life, on her terms, until it was impossible not to. Despite all of our concerns, grandma was going to be home alone and she was going to keep on doing what she had always done; going to card club, doing laundry, visiting grandpa, doing crafts, and simply living. Grandma wanted quality, not quantity. Till her day of passing, she lived and loved life.

Source: via Martha on Pinterest

There are so many other things that I could say about grandma, but blog posts can't go on forever. Some of the things I think I will miss most when I think about grandma is her indelible laugh, one that will always remain in my memory and that I loved to hear. The way she always played with my hair when I sat next to her. Understanding that only she could give and the belief that she expressed in my goals and dreams, even at the sacrifice of getting to spend time with her and grandpa. The bright pink colored lipstick she wore, that only a woman like her with a strong personality, could pull off. The way that, even though I speak of her as if she was perfect, she wasn't.  Yet she was  perfectly human and the perfect grandma.

Love you and miss you grandma!