Posted in gardening, gardens4u.ca

Seeds, Buy and Sow Them Early

Buying seeds of annuals, perennials, vines, vegetables and more is an easy way to brighten up your winter. Especially if you live in an area where winters are dismally cold as I do.

There is nothing I like better than to peruse garden magazines in the winter months looking for plants to spruce up my gardens. Catalogues are out there for seeds, plants and gardening products, just be sure to check that the company delivers to your area.

My favourite seeds are those that I can sprinkle directly on the soil when all signs of frost are gone in my gardens. That way I don’t have to worry about transplanting the tender shoots when they grow too big for their pots. Sometimes I will order those that must be started indoors, but only in a momentary surge of excitement if I am totally wowed by a picture of a gorgeous plant that I can’t resist. Like this cup and saucer vine…

cup and saucer vine

This year I ordered a whole bunch of flowering vines (some annual and some perennial) to scramble up my front porch, back deck and fences as well as the metal scaffolding of the shelf my son built me at the side of my yard. I also picked out some vegetable seeds that my grandchildren can plant on my back deck.

I ordered these seeds from Swallowtail Garden. I have never ordered from them before, but was intrigued by the hard to find “cup and saucer vine” and like the fact they deliver to Canada.

Before you check them out, please take a minute to check out my other blog on everything except for gardening.

Posted in health and wellness

Power naps

Research has shown that naps are beneficial for boosting energy, increasing creativity and even improving short term memory.  Parents know children that nap during the day can maintain better behaviour and energy levels until bed time at night.  Apparently adults can benefit from naps too; the question is how long should adults nap for maximum productivity…

 

lorieb 3

 

This diagram suggests that a mere 20-minute nap can boost energy levels without feeling groggy upon waking.   After 30 minutes grogginess is a factor when waking up.  At one hour grogginess is reduced but short term memory can improve.  One hour and thirty minutes of sleep allow for a full REM (rapid eye movement) cycle,  and improved creativity upon waking.

To sum it up, it appears that a 20 minutes power nap is the way to go for adults.  Almost everyone, including me, should be able to fit twenty minutes into their day. Children, on the other hand, probably benefit more from a minimum of 90 minutes of napping.   Parents probably benefit most from their children taking longer naps too, creating a win-win situation.

Humans and animals can nap just about anywhere as depicted by these pictures…

pictures from Google Search, labelled for reuse

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

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be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

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Posted in parenting

My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone

“My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone” is a popular line of lyrics in Justin Bieber’s latest hit entitled Love Yourself.  My youngest son pointed out these lyrics to me recently as we were driving somewhere together.  I’m not sure if this was meant to be a compliment or criticism…

I do tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, try not to judge, and look for the best in people.  I think that is a good way to be though and find it very unattractive and demoralizing when someone is judgemental, excessively negative or critical.

As a mother of three boys, I confess to not liking all of their previous choices in girlfriends. In truth, I would not say I didn’t like them as individuals but didn’t like them for my son.  I  felt it best not to share my opinion at the time, preferring to let the boys figure it out on their own.  I guess I am a better actor than I thought!

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

Posted in current events, Ottawa, weather

Digging out from record snowfall in Ottawa

We Canadians do like to talk about our weather, and we certainly have had lots of inspiration in the past 24 hours.  Today in Ottawa we are digging out from the record-breaking snowfall that hit us yesterday.  We got dumped with 50 cm (or 20 inches) of the white stuff, all within 12 hours…

0217pt10

 

I live in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, where our sidewalks, crosswalks, and even some roads are not a top priority for snow plows. Cars were buried, buses were stuck and stranded,  sidewalks, crosswalks and even lanes on the major highway through the city just disappeared…

 

Fortunately, the falling snow was light and fluffy, just lots of it. Shoveling was easy work, it just required several attempts over the span of the day.  In our yards and on our decks, fixtures like BBQs, hot tubs, and patio furniture are all buried, probably will be for a while. Even the rabbit that lives under our spruce tree has extra insulation on his home…

 

Well, my driveway is clear, but  guess what?  It’s snowing again!…

 

That darned groundhog that supposedly predicted an early spring is probably hiding  underneath all of the snow, laughing at us.

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

Posted in Canada, nature, Ottawa, weather

Do you have snow tires on your vehicle?

Do you have snow tires on your vehicle?  If you do not and happen to live in Eastern Ontario, you are in trouble today and will be wishing you did. These pictures were taken when I went out to shovel my driveway for the second time today…

 

Luckily for the several cars stuck on our street, a few people were home shoveling, able and willing to perform some RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS to help move the cars out to the nearest plowed road.   That last post was very timely; as the snow is showing no signs of letting up, I have a sneaking suspicion lots of RAKs will be happening in our neighborhood today.

I think the province of Quebec has it right on this issue; snow tires should be mandatory in this and many other regions of Canada and the USA.

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

Posted in health and wellness, parenting

Keep an eye on your poop

Although the title of this post is silly, it got your attention, so read on to learn what your bowel movements are trying to tell you.  In a previous post, I told you how when my sons were small and came to me complaining of a tummy ache, the first thing I would ask them was “have you had a good poop today?”  If they said no, I would cut up some apples, sprinkle them with cinnamon and serve up this healthy, nutritious, full of fiber snack with a large glass of water. This trick worked every time (except when one son actually had appendicitis, but that’s another story). More often than not, within an hour or two, they would have a good poop and would then feel much better…

Now that my sons are grown up and rarely tell me about their stomach (or other) ailments, I use the information for myself.  If you look at the chart below that categorizes poop with pictures, you will see shapes and consistency from one extreme (constipation) to the opposite (diarrhea) Stage three or four is ideal; your bowel movements should not cause pain, the poop should come out easily, without straining, and in the shape and firmness of a sausage (their words, not mine) or a snake. Regularity is the key, one of these bowel movements a day or every second day is normal.

If you do not fit into the “normal” category indicated in the chart, try increasing your daily intake of water by the glassful or from eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. Taking a pill or other forms of medication (laxatives) to soften your stools or increase their frequency is only a band-aid fix that can land you in more trouble by causing serious side effects and dependency on the medication. The same thing applies to diarrhea; medication should be a last resort, especially if you suspect the diarrhea is caused by something you have eaten or taken.

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Constipation can and does happen to anyone and everyone, young and old, but some people more readily than others. Too much sugar, too little water, too much fat, too much protein, and too little fiber all can cause problems or irregularity with your bowel movements. Medications, allergies and food sensitivities can also wreak havoc on your body, causing constipation or diarrhea. Constipation and diarrhea are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and a warning that you should change your habits. Of course, if either condition lasts longer than a day or too, you should see your doctor as it could be a sign of more serious problems.

 

If your children automatically look for a snack as soon as they come in the door, consider having cut up fresh fruit or vegetables readily available, with or without a dip. Fresh fruit and vegetables are loaded with fiber and contain a large amount of water, both great for keeping their bowel movements in the healthy zone. Another trick I used when my children were young was to add water to their juice cups. (half and half) They would probably tell you now that it tasted awful, but it worked.  Years later, I still encourage them to drink more water and eat more fiber to maintain their health.

Although I usually eat fairly well, I like everyone else, do like to indulge in things that are not so good for me.  It does not take long for my body to react to things like junk food, excess alcohol, and lack of exercise.  Adding fiber and water back into my diet works wonders in getting me back to the right category of the chart.

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at http://www.gardens4u.ca

Posted in food, health and wellness

Turmeric, curcumin, cumin and curry powder

If you, like me, are confused about the difference between turmeric, curcumin, cumin and curry powder, this post should help…

Let’s start with turmeric.  Turmeric, also known as Indian saffron, is a plant in the ginger family, native to southeast Asia and India.  It has a bitter but warm taste and is often used to color and flavor butters, cheeses, mustards and curry powders.  Although the leaves are used to wrap and cook food  in areas where it is grown, it is the rhizomes of the turmeric plant that are ground into a powder used around the world to color and flavor food.

The root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine to treat conditions such as heartburn, gallbladder disorders, diabetes, arthritis, stomach pain, headaches, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel disease, lung infections, menstrual problems, depression, water retention, bronchitis, kidney infections, colds, fibromyalgia, skin inflammations, as well as both fungal and bacterial infections.  Current research is hoping to prove that turmeric is also effective against cancer.

 

Curcumin is the main component of turmeric rhizomes that imparts the typical bright yellow color.

Cumin is the dried seeds of a herb in the parsley family, mainly grown in India as well as other tropical and subtropical, frost-free areas around the world.  The seeds are used ground or whole as a spice to give flavor and aroma to food.

 

Curry powder is a spice blend containing primarily turmeric, cumin, coriander and chili pepper.  A similar blend of spices is called garam masala in south Asia.  Some commercial blends of curry powder also contain ginger, garlic, fennel seed, mustard seed, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and or cinnamon.

250px-Curry_Ist

 

Well, I learned the difference between turmeric, curcumin, cumin and curry powder while researching this post.  I hope it was helpful.  Try some of theses spices soon to add flavor and color to your cooking while preventing or treating many health issues at the same time.

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

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be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

Posted in cottage life, technology

Stargazing…there’s an app for that

At a bonfire on the beach in Corpus Christi Texas recently, I discovered there is an app for identifying stars and constellations in the sky.  A friend of my niece showed me how his phone could pick out and label the constellations just by holding his phone up to the star lit sky…

 

I am not sure what app or type of phone he was using that night, but I found this free app SKY VIEW for Iphones, Ipads or Ipods.  Very cool, as I love to stargaze.  For the best viewing, be sure to go somewhere that light pollution does not interfere with viewing of the stars.

This is something we are able to do at our cottage where the night sky is pitch dark and it feels like you can reach up and touch the stars in the velvety sky.

Let me know if you download such an app and how it works for you…

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

Posted in parenting

Rebellious teens

I don’t think anyone will argue that raising rebellious teens is challenging for even the best parents.  I once told my eldest son that since there is no book available to tell parents how to react to every situation, the fact that we were winging it was something he would have to accept.   We were doing the best we could with the resources we had.  

My youngest son is now eighteen, almost out of the rebellious teen phase.  We have to patiently remind ourselves that our two oldest sons have made the transition into responsible adults, so the third son will probably get there too.  I am grateful that the rebellious stages we have encountered so far have been quite mild compared to stories I have heard from parents of other families.  

My sister was not so fortunate when her daughter was a teen.  Throughout this difficult time in my sister’s life she shared many of her worries for her daughter with me.  She wondered if she, as a mother, was doing everything that she could to prevent irreparable damage in her daughter’s life.    She learned from experience that the line between helping your children and enabling them is often blurred.  

The purpose of this post is to prove that rebelious teens can and do turn out to be responsible and successful adults.  Although I had heard that my niece had worked hard to get her life under control,  I was thrilled to see the evidence last month when visiting my sister in Texas for her BIRTHDAY.   That is thrilled and proud of both my niece and my sister for their resilience and perseverance.   Married with three children of her own, my niece, now 35 years old, appears to have her head on straight, and is doing a wonderful job of raising her children.

I hope my niece realizes the stress she put on her parents growing up, but also recognizes that her parents did the best they could.  No parent is perfect in their parenting skills.  No parent does the right thing all of the time because no parent knows the right thing to do all of the time.  The lines between helping and enabling do get blurred for parents everywhere.   I hope this knowledge and advice, as well as the fact that her well-experienced mother is a valuable resource, will help my niece when her children become rebellious teens…

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

 

 

Posted in business, gardening, Ottawa

Give the gift of time this Christmas with GARDENS4U gift certificates

christmas gift certificate 2015-16

 

GARDENS4U is offering gift certificates again this Christmas season.  Perfect for garden lovers with limited time or physical strength, these certificates can be custom made to suit your needs and budget.

Of course, I only work in the west end of Ottawa.  If you, or someone you know, can benefit from my services, please contact me to create a gift certificate for you.