Friday Wrap

What’s better than a Friday? A Friday that leads into a three-day weekend. Can I get a woot, woot? The Andersen Party of Five is heading to my brother’s farm to campout and enjoy some fresh air. Rain or shine, we’re destined for a good time. What are you up to? You’ll have to give me a shout and let me know. In the meantime, here are five wishes I have for you this week.

Here’s hoping you can…

{ONE} Find Time for Fun

Our family headed to Lewis & Clark Outfitters this week to get my bike tire fixed. While we were there, the kids asked if they could climb the rock wall. We were already in a bit of a hurry, but B and I decided to slow down and let the kids have some fun. I’m grateful for the experience and hope you find opportunities to be spontaneous, as well. Go climb something. The view is amazing.

rock climbing

{TWO} Create a Solution to Clutter

I finally ordered this book based on multiple recommendations. It’s based on a Japanese approach to organizing called the KonMari Method. I fully expect my life to change from this read. I promise to let you know how it goes. Here’s hoping you find some sanity-creating solutions in your life, as well!

book

{THREE} Enjoy the Garden Goodness

Everyone needs a taste of fresh herbs in their life. The lemon thyme is going crazy in my garden at the moment, so I wanted to share a few yummy recipes with you – like Roasted Greek Potatoes with Feta Cheese and Lemon Thyme. Enjoy the tasty goodness!

lemon thyme

{FOUR} Light Up a Campfire

Campfires are the perfect way to spend an almost-summer-night. I hope you find time to sit by some cozy flames – maybe even this weekend? Be sure you have a few fresh mosquito-repellent fire starters handy, though. Mosquitos do not = a good time. All you need are sprigs of lavender, sage and mint. Wrap them in bundles and you’re good to go.

{FIVE} Always Feel Thankful

This Memorial Day, as you’re enjoying some time off from work and relaxing with friends and family, take a moment to remember all of those who travelled before us and helped provide the life we have today.

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Have a great (long) weekend. See you next week!

-Kate

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How to Protect Your Garden Goodies

For the first time in my life I planted lettuce in my garden. I know, I’m gettin’ crazy. Well, I’m happy to report that it’s way easier than I thought, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised how quickly these seeds have sprouted. I’m talking just days ago I sprinkled seeds in the ground and now look at them!

lettuce crop

As I’ve been admiring my row crop, I’ve also noticed a few pesky critters starting to show up – like I’m going to be handing out forks and bibs. Um, no. I’m usually good about sharing, but I really don’t feel like giving up my tender lettuces to the wild rabbits, bugs and weeds.

What’s a gardener to do?

Well, this one called her one-and-only Mimi who knows a million things or two about gardening. She gave me a few ideas (all natural, of course) that I wanted to share. I also found a few ideas online to round out the list for us.

If you have wild rabbits, squirrels or other vermin:

Chicken wire placed carefully on top of your plants like a tent will physically keep animals away. They won’t be able to reach through the wires. The leafy greens can still grow through the holes, but at least you won’t lose an entire head of lettuce to an entire burrow of hungry bunnies.

chicken wire

Crushed red pepper…like the kind you find at pizza joints next to the sprinkle Parmesan. Spread this around the base of your plants to deter any nibbling animals. This spice is too hot for their little tongues.

Crushed-Red-Pepper01

If you have slugs or other bugs:

Beer traps. Yes, beer. Pour some into a plastic cup or Mason jar. Then tuck it down into the soil next to your plants. Slugs will be drawn to the yeasty smell and will crawl right into the container. Cheers!

beer trap

Crushed egg shells also work for slugs. Spread them around the edge of your garden and the slugs won’t cross the line, because it wouldn’t feel so good on their squishy bodies. “No shell up in here, baby.”

crushed egg shells

Liquid soap is the answer for aphids (those tiny whitish bugs you find under leaves and that make small webs). Simply put a drop of dish soap in a spray bottle with water. Wet the surface of all of your affected plants to get rid of these suckers.

liquid soap

Natural insecticide sprays can work well for pretty much any kind of bug in your garden. Here’s a recipe to try. To make homemade 2% insecticidal soap, mix together 5 tablespoons soap (like the Castile soap shown above) to 1 gallon of water. Then add one of the following items to enhance your solution:

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    • Cooking Oil: To help the solution stick, add two tablespoons of light cooking oil per gallon of water.
    • Vinegar: This also targets powdery mildew. Add a teaspoon of cider vinegar per gallon of water.
    • Garlic or Pepper: To repel chewing insects, add a teaspoon of ground red pepper or garlic per gallon of water.

Here’s another recipe…mix 1/2 cup brown sugar to one gallon of boiling water (to dissolve sugar). Let the solution cool and pour into a sprayer to apply on your plants. So simple. I haven’t tried this one, but it had raving reviews. Doesn’t hurt to try, right?

If you have rascally weeds:

Dig by hand right after a rain, when the soil is good and loose, to pull the invaders all the way to their roots.

hand-garden-tools-300x300Natural weed killer is also good if you’d rather take the “spray and pray” approach. A simple recipe is 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of table salt and 1 tablespoon of liquid soap. Mix together, pour into a bottle, and spray carefully onto your weeds. You don’t want to kill everything, including your prized petunias.

natural weed killer

That should cover most of your gardening nightmares. Let me know if I missed anything, or if you have other natural tips to try. Here’s hoping no matter what crawls, hops, or flies into your garden that you enjoy your time in the great outdoors!

-Kate

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Don’t Give Up!

Happy Tuesday, dear friends. I was cruising around Facebook this weekend catching up on all the news about my friends and family when I stumbled upon this beautiful verse in my feed. It stopped me in right my scrolling tracks, and I read every single word.

The message is about being yourself. You owe it to the world to do so.

So for this week’s creative tip, I bring you this note from the angels…

Cheering you on with the angels,

-Kate

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Let Go & Grow

Today’s post is a bit of a confession. I was recently working on a creative project and was so focused on having it look and sound amazing, that it became harder than it needed to be. I stressed about it, procrastinated as long as I could, and eventually felt guilty – for all of it. Have you ever done that? Put unnecessary pressure on yourself?

I finally (and thankfully) realized I was making myself crazy. No one else had such high expectations of me than, well, me. I took a deep breath and put on my favorite jams (as in music, not my jammies. Although, those would have been good, too.) Then I sat at the computer and started putting one word in front of the other. The next thing I knew, I was enjoying myself and the project was coming together.

The moment I let go of the outcome, I was able to experience more joy and creative freedom than I had felt in quite some time.

As I reflected on this experience, I came to the conclusion that I should apply this lesson to more things in life – not just in my creative projects, but in the way I raise my kids, love my husband, serve as a friend, look at my body, or organize the house. The moment I white-knuckle the steering wheel and drive in the direction I think we all need to go is when stress kicks in. When I allow room for things to unfold, get messy, or feel uncertain, I can be certain I will learn from the experience. It will be a gift – even if I don’t recognize it at first.

This past week I watched Chef’s Table, which is an amazing documentary-style show on Netflix. Massimo, who is the Italian chef featured in the first episode, was presented with a challenge. A member of his staff dropped the last lemon tart, and it shattered all over the plate. Instead of feeling frustrated or defeated, Massimo embraced the mess. He splattered more lemon sauce around the plate and called it “Oops! I dropped the lemon tart.” It became one of the most famous dishes on his menu. This was such a beautiful example of how a “mistake” can turn into a blessing if we have gentle and accepting eyes to see them for what they really are.

If we surrender to the universe with abundant faith, all will be well.

No matter what each of us is going through, and I know everyone has something crappy going on, let’s have the courage to lean back and let go. Know that all will be well.

Kate

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Happy May Day!

Hello, friends! Thanks for checking out today’s post and celebrating May Day with me. Here are five reasons why this week was worth talking about…

{ONE} A Spring Welcome

Isn’t this the sweetest print? I just found it on Etsy and the artist has tons of adorable watercolors that she turns into prints for sale. This would be perfect for a seasonal welcome to your home. Score.

{TWO} May Day Baskets

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I personally didn’t know about May Day baskets until I went to college in Nebraska. Maybe it’s a midwestern thing? All I know is that it’s a fun tradition to surprise your friends and neighbors with baskets of flowers or goodies each May 1st. The best part is that it has to be anonymous, so you keep people guessing. The girls and I made these paper cones yesterday and filled them with tissue paper flowers for their teachers. Shh!

{THREE} Blooming Tea

Some of you may remember my new found obsession with honey pearls from White Lion Tea. Well, as I was shopping around their site this week looking for a gift for my sweet momma, I discovered blooming teas. Have you ever seen such a thing? These are tea leaves that have been hand-tied with cotton threads by Chinese artisans to look like flowers. When you steep the blossom, you can watch it unfold. They’re only available for 2-3 weeks each year, so now is the time to order. Do it!

{FOUR} Backyard Fishin’

fishing

The bottom right pic shows Avery holding a fish. She even hooked her own worm. Thadda girl!!

So last weekend our family had an impromptu backyard campout complete with fishing, a campfire, s’mores, and a movie inside our tent (thanks to a veeeery long extension cord and the spare TV in our garage). Reflecting back on it all, I’m so glad my husband and I said “yes” to the idea. It would have been much easier to just stay in for the night, but the kids kept asking to do something fun, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a night under the stars. We opted for spontaneity, and now we have lifetime memories. It was a gentle reminder to say “yes” more often – especially to my kids.

{FIVE} First Ever Bentonville Film Festival

All of Northwest Arkansas has been buzzing with excitement about this incredible film festival that’s launching next week. Tons of movie stars are scheduled to attend (Robert De Niro, Rosie O’Donnell, Nick Cannon, and Emilio Estevez – just to name a few). And yes, it’s all happening in little ol’ Bentonville, Ark. What’s so fantastic about the event is that it’s chaired by Oscar winner Geena Davis who is a huge champion for women in film. So the focus of the festival is on diversity in filmmaking. The agency I work for is a sponsor of the event, so I’ll be taking part and tweeting and Instagramming like crazy. Be sure to follow #BFF – and I’m always @KateJAndersen.

Have an amazing weekend and most importantly, a sun-shiny first day of May!

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-Kate

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