Container Gardening Like a Pro

Hey Friends!  So, one of my favorite things to do late Spring is to begin planting all of my annuals for the Summer. We planted so many perennials through the years that I don’t have a lot of room in my flower beds now for annuals, so I go a little (okay, a lot) crazy with container gardening.  Ha!  Our youngest daughter, Amanda bought her flowers the other day and I teased her about it and she said that she had to get hers done before we started on mine.  She referred to mine as “Team Too Much”!  Well, there you have it!  Truer words have probably never been spoken.

Here’s  a photo of our patio a couple of summers ago once everything had really taken off.

Container Gardening 3

Don’t worry if you are new to gardening, they didn’t start out like that at all.  If you are a pro at this, you can probably find flaws.  I don’t claim to be a pro, by any means.  I’m just someone who loves playing around with my flowers as a hobby and it’s a great stress reliever and it’s so nice to sit and relax with friends and family on the patio when it looks like this does.

Since we live in Ohio, I typically plant around Memorial Day to make sure we are beyond frost warnings.  Again, I’m no expert, but I have a little system and it’s working for me.  To keep the cost down and because of the sheer volume that I plant, I usually buy flats of flowers now.

Containers ~ I recommend you find containers you love and that they will drain properly.  If not, you will have serious challenges and the roots of your flowers/plants will not survive.  If they don’t have holes in them, you can drill holes in them.

Soil ~ Make sure you have good soil.  I’m sure there are better options out there, but my favorite is Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix.  I know some may prefer not to use it because of the chemicals in it, but I’ve not made the switch.  I love it!  The moisture control was a little challenging for me to get accustomed to because it had a bit of a different texture, but it is so much lighter and it works so well with my flowers and plants as you can tell.

Feed ~ I put a tiny bit of feed (sometimes Miracle-Gro or the one I get from my local nursery) in the soil as I am preparing to place the plant into the hole.  I make sure I don’t pack the dirt around them too tight, but give them support, and I also make sure I don’t mound the dirt up around the base or stem of the plant.   I allow the dirt that came on the plant to suffice in that area.  We always water them immediately after planting everything.

Then we feed them once a week most of the summer except in July, we try to feed them twice a week when we water them.  It’s easy.  Really.  There are containers you can pick up at Lowe’s or Home Depot that will attach to your hose that make this super simple.  Or, you can just use a watering can and add a little feed to your water.  Just don’t over do it.  Follow the directions or you can burn your beautiful flowers.

Planting ~ I try to always plant a Filler, Thriller, and Spiller in my pots.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I try to plant something that is going to really fill the pot aka “Filler”.   Then a “Thriller” is that really colorful plant that is going to just make you go wow as you sit and enjoy it.  And, then the “Spiller”….the one that is going to flow over the side of the pot.

Watering ~ We try to water our plants just a few times a week.  We really just play it by ear really.  We place a finger in the soil and if it feels moist, we pass.  If it feels dry, we water.  Pretty simple, huh?

Deadheading ~ Once a week, usually early Saturday or Sunday mornings, I go out and get my little scissors and gloves out of my rusty mailbox that was given to me by a dear friend, Donnie.  The mailbox was from his Grandma’s home and she had passed away and he decided to gift it to me.  Blessed.  I’ll cherish it.  Then I go around and cut the deadheads off of my flowers and plants.  This is a great way to keep them looking nice and it also helps them continue to grow strong and healthy.

Rusty Mailbox

 Donnie’s Grandma’s Mailbox

If you’ve not started your own container garden, I encourage you to start and to have fun with it.  Express yourself.  If you are an old hand at this and have tips for me, I’d love for you to share them.  I also love learning.

So, you may be wondering what does this post have to do with health.  I find this to be so therapeutic.  It is so fun to figure out what I want to plant.  I sat down with my oldest granddaughter a few weeks ago and we decided what to do this year. Then there’s the planting, caring for them, and watching them grow.  Then sitting, relaxing, and enjoying them. Love, love, love it!  We have some special memories sitting on that patio as a family.

Yours in health ~


5 Amazing Fruit Desserts

Hey Friends!  With it being Memorial Day Weekend, it seemed like a good time to pull together some of my faves for you.  I thought you would like these creative works of art that others have made.  Desserts don’t always have to be loaded with calories and fat.  We all know that we eat with our eyes first, so check out these pictures and I’ve also provided the links for you.  Most of them also provide the recipe or show you how to make them.  Enjoy!

A Cupcake Love Affair ~ Fruit Cake for Summer Birthday

Edible Perspective ~ Watermelon, Strawberry, and Basil Salad

Cookie Cutter Fruit Salad

Wit and Whistle Cookie Cutter Fruit Salad

Fruit kabobs

Babble ~ Kids Help Make Fruit Kabobs

3 Tier Watermelon Cake Made by Judy Louangsaysonkham

Vegetable Fruit Carving ~ Watermelon Cakes Beginners

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am buying a watermelon tomorrow.  LOL!  These pictures make me hungry for one.  I’m going to try to be creative and make a few of these myself this summer.  The kabobs and the cookie cutters are simple enough and I can do those with my grandbabies.  But, I really want to try the cakes, too.

Let me know what you think and if you make come creative clean recipes, by all means, please share with me.  I love to hear from you.  You can email me at

Yours in health ~



I’ll Love You Forever, I’ll Like You For Always

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always…..” Hey Friends!  How are you?  Life gets so busy sometimes as women and if you are a mom and then if you work outside of the home it only adds to your busy lifestyle.  I just wanted to share my thoughts and just remind all of us to take the time to recognize those little moments that can mean so much to us and those we love.

First of all, try not to be too hard on yourself.  I think we expect too much from ourselves sometimes.  We think we have to have this perfect life.  We need to look perfect.  Be a perfect mom.  Keep a perfect home.  Do a perfect job.

Relax…… me…..I’m telling myself these things all of the time, too.

It really comes down to a few simple things…..REALLY.

~ How do we make others feel?

~ How do we treat others?

~ Do those we love and care about know it?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have goals or push ourselves.  I have a ton of goals.  Probably too many.  But, we also need to take the time to recognize those “little” moments that are precious and that we can never get back.

One year for Christmas I decided to do something really different.  Instead of just buying bigger gifts for our kids (who are all grown and married with their own families).  I bought each of the them the little paperback book, “Love You Forever”.  Then I wrote a personal message to each of them on the inside cover.

I'll love you forever

Our son looked at it and was like, “What’s this?”  Wondering why in the world I had given him a child’s book.  LOL! Well, of course that meant I wanted him to read it out loud to all of us.  SUCKERED!  Haha!  He read it out loud to us and he had to stop a few times because it got rather emotional for all of us.

In all honesty, those little books were the least expensive gifts under the tree, but they gave me one of the most priceless moments with my family.

My point in all of this is to just remind us that it’s not always the big things that mean so much and that we don’t have to be perfect.  Relax.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  And, don’t forget to let others know that you love them.

Thank you for being here and reading my post.  I hope it meant something to you.

Hugs ~


5 Tips on Taking Care of You, Too!

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~ Hey there!  Welcome!  I’m glad you are here.    Well, here’s my 5 tips for you….

  1. Realize that YOU are important, too!  No, seriously.  I genuinely mean this statement and I want you to let it sink in.  If you are like me, you’ve probably struggled with putting everything and everyone else first and find it incredibly difficult to squeeze in time to even think about taking care of YOU!  But, the problem with that mindset is that sooner or later, it will catch up with us.  And it most definitely did for me.  I found myself facing unexpected health issues related to my lack of taking proper care of myself.  And, that’s not where any of us want to be.  Right?  The good news is that we have a choice.  It just takes us realizing it and then doing something about it.
  2. Determine where you need to focus and set your goals.  Meal planning, prepping, fitness, personal development, etc. and think about what that looks like for you.  Is it as simple as planning out a meal plan for you and your family? Writing out your grocery list, getting your shopping done, and prepping ahead?  If so, then make it a priority. Don’t procrastinate.  If no one else in the house is willing to commit, that’s okay. Honest.  Do it for YOU!  You can make small changes in the meal plan by adding in a dish for you.  Save the leftovers.  Once you start learning how to cook healthy, but delicious meals, you’ll be amazed at how the family will begin to make some changes with you.  I share recipes on Here’s To A Healthier Us on Facebook and my Pinterest boards often. Here are the links.  “Here’s To A Healthier Us” Facebook Page  ~ “Here’s To A Healthier Us ~ Recipes” Pinterest Board ~ Clean Eating Recipes ~ Pinterest Board
  3. Tell those closest to you about your goals and priorities.  This helps you with accountability and support.  If you keep it to yourself, it is easy to fall off of the wagon because who knew but you?  Definitely tell those who will help you in your efforts and even perhaps join you.
  4. Overcome the guilt that tries to creep in. In my case,  I struggled with feeling guilty.  It would have been very easy to slip back in to old habits and run out the door without my healthy snacks for the day or to skip my superfood shake for breakfast.  Skip meals like I had done before or grab fast food because I was too busy to stop and eat.  Or, feel like I should eat what everyone else was eating. But, I purposed in my heart that it simply wasn’t an option.  If I wanted to feel, look, and perform better and most of all be healthier, I had to overcome the guilt and set myself up for success and you need to do so, too.  I recommend that you do the following:
    • Never Leave the House Hungry.
    • Plan Your Meals Ahead.
    • Keep Good Food in the House.
    • Eliminate the Junk Food (unless there’s someone in the house who is not on board.  If that’s the case, then make sure you keep your favorite healthy snacks available).
    • Learn How to Order When Dining Out. (I’ll share tips on this in a future post).
    • Always Keep Healthy Snacks Handy.  Click the photo for a list of 20 Healthy Snacks from from Skinny Ms.                                 20 Healthy Snacks
  5. Schedule time for your fitness routine.  It can be as simple as walking.  That’s where I started and I’ve lost 60 pounds.  Start where you are.  I got up earlier than normal and took a 20-30 minute walk each morning. I don’t park close to the door when I go to work or go shopping, I get extra steps in.  Take the stairs rather than use the elevator.  If you are ready to start an actual fitness routine, there are so many options available on DVD, online, classes, and at the gym. Find one you love…not one you dread.  The key is to find what works for you and your schedule.  Don’t over commit to something that you can’t maintain.  Sometimes we get overzealous and overextend ourselves and quit because we can’t maintain the schedule.  I really like what Chalene says, “You are far too amazing to be the only thing standing in your way”.

  You are far too amazing

You can listen to Chalene’s Podcast that I think will really help you if you’ll let it sink in.  Here’s the link….

Chalene’s Podcast from The Chalene Show on Motivation to Exercise ~ Get the Mojo to Move

I hope these tips are helpful and you will commit or recommit to making YOU a priority.  You deserve it and everyone who depends on you really needs for you to be at your best, too.  I’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to comment and if you get a chance, please subscribe.

Yours in health ~


Clean Eating Beginner’s Guide

Beginners Guide to Clean Eating

So, what is Clean Eating?  Trust me, when I started I had no idea what it meant.  Essentially, the way I’ve learned to look at it is the following:

  1. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Rather than keeping junk food in the house, keep fresh fruit and veggies as snacks.  I try to set us up for success and keep our favorites available all of the time.  So, instead of grabbing cookies and chips, we grab a banana, apple, or grapes.  We’re much more satisfied and don’t feel guilty afterwards. Organic is best.  If you can grow your own garden (even if it’s a little one) that’s great!  Farmer’s Markets are also a great option.
  2. Eat lean cuts of meat.  Of course, chicken, fish, turkey, and lean-grass fed beef are great options.  I’ll provide a shopping list option a little later.
  3. Learn to read nutrition labels and ingredients.  What’s amazing to me is that so many of the items in the grocery stores are “food-like” items and are not actually real food.  It’s pretty scary when you start reading what’s in the food you’ve been eating and feeding your family.  If the ingredients are not food items, avoid it.
  4. Breads and such….Ezekiel Bread, whole grain bread, Quinoa, brown rice, etc. are great options to use sparingly, if weight loss is your goal.
  5. Learn to be more creative in the kitchen and prep your meals ahead.  It actually makes food so much more enjoyable, you feel better, and you can make many meals faster than you can get a pizza delivered. Ha!

I’ll be adding Clean Eating Recipes over time, but I encourage you to be adventurous in the kitchen and play around with some of your favorite foods that I provide on the “Clean Eating Shopping List”. Speaking of which….here’s one of my go to lists.  I actually keep a lot of these items on “List Master” a google play app on my Galaxy Note 3 Android phone and I check off the items I don’t need.

The Gracious Pantry ~ Clean Eating Shopping List for Beginners

What we don’t realize is that food can either work for our body or against it and the choice is ours.  And, it is so much more than managing our weight.  Over time, our food choices really begin to impact our health. And, that certainly was the case for me.

Everytime you eat or drink

One of my favorite resources that I’ve learned so much from in terms of Clean Eating is “The Gracious Pantry”. Here’s the link to Tiffany’s website and she is a tremendous wealth of knowledge and has so many recipes available. Enjoy!

The Gracious Pantry ~ What Is Eating Clean?

Hope this is helpful! Please feel free to reach out to me at, if you have any questions.

Yours in health ~



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