First apple blossoms of spring
Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

The five little things that made my week…

1. Spring starts much earlier in Southern California than most parts of the country, but a sure sign of the change of seasons for me is when the apple blossoms on our tree begin to appear!

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Planting milkweed for the monarchs
Flowers & Herbs, Garden of Eatin', Insects & Worms

Planting Milkweed for the Monarchs

It’s one of the greatest migrations of the animal kingdom: Every spring, hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies sweep across the continent from Mexico to Canada and then back again in fall, a journey spanning nearly 3,000 miles and multiple generations. In fact, recent studies show that it takes up to four generations for monarchs to make it north out of Mexico and into Southern Canada!

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Nestling in bed on a cold day
House & Home

Keep Calm and Hygge On

Do you find pleasure in nestling deep in your blanket on cold days, or warming up the house with a slow-cooking stew? Do you feel content with sharing a simple meal with family and friends, or gathering around a campfire under a moonlit sky?

The Danes have a word for all these things: hygge. But hygge is not any one “thing,” per se. It’s a Scandinavian lifestyle concept that encompasses all things cozy (in its most simplistic definition) and the intimate connection one feels with others. While there’s no direct translation in English, hygge can be thought of as the pursuit of everyday happiness, or the art of creating a calming and comfortable atmosphere in and out of the home.

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Introducing my 10-month-old baby to snowboarding
Parenthood

Introducing My 10-Month-Old Baby to Snowboarding

Pre-parenthood, I always heard stories of babies that could swim before they crawled or run before they walked. It seemed that babies were built with instinctive reflexes that went beyond sucking or smiling — reflexes combined with a lack of fear and low center of gravity, two great advantages in the world of snowsports.

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Decoding your garden seed catalogs
Garden of Eatin', Seeds & Seedlings

Decoding Your Garden Seed Catalogs

Seed catalogs are starting to fill my mailbox with the imminent arrival of spring, and they’re one of my favorite ways to pass a rainy day. Parked on the couch, marker in hand, I can spend an entire afternoon circling seed choices and dogearing pages with the giddiness of a kid in a candy store. One of my Facebook followers put it best: it’s one of those times when the eyes are bigger than the stomach (or in my case, bigger than the garden).

I’ve been buying and starting seeds every year since I started gardening (a veteran or even an addict, you might say), but I remember those early days of trying to unravel the mysteries of the various terms and abbreviations in my seed catalogs. What was the difference between OP versus F1 seed? Or scarification versus stratification? What were all those weird letters listed in the tomato descriptions?

If you’re new to seed shopping, here’s the full rundown of what you might encounter in a seed catalog and what it all means.

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The first day of the new year at Joshua Tree National Park
Random Thoughts

Looking Forward

For the last several New Year’s Eves, our nights were spent somewhere far from home, usually with friends, and always with party poppers, glow sticks, and raucous dancing involved. But this New Year’s Eve was different. It was quiet. It was just the three of us, ringing in 2017 with a last-minute staycation in Palm Desert. We cranked up the heat in the pool of our rental house and took a midnight skinny dip together, passed out early (well, early for us) and started the first day of the new year with a leisurely stroll through Joshua Tree National Park.

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