Yesterday I started my seeds and I weeded and planted tulips today. I bought pink and purple tulips, yellow daffodils, and pink hyacinth. I planted them on the perennial side of the drive way. The hyacinth was planted closer to the door as it has a lovely scent.

When I bought the tulips, I also picked up Growums gardens for Ruben. They can be found here. I think they are very clever. You buy a themed garden kit and get a code to register it. They have games and videos with cartoon vegies to go with your garden. My sister compared it to "webkins, but better."  It is nothing new that getting children to help garden helps teach good eating habits, or that children love to grow things. It is almost magical. It also requires patience. A program that include video games with learning which bugs are bad for your garden, and progressive videos that teach you the next step needed, helps keep them interested.

I bought the taco garden as something familiar, and the stir-fry with mostly familiar items. The themes help incorporate the idea that eating vegetables are fun. My daughter wants a salad one for her apartment.
 
Over the years I have made or bought handmade items from etsy to personalize the kids looks for prom. Most successfully and in one instance, the dress for 2011, a fail. In the case of the dress, the picture looked lovely. The problem was both the fit and the color variation emphasizing the midsection in an unflattering way. We were able to find a nice second dress and already had the perfect accessories to match.

The little extras we have picked up have always made the look. Hopefully, this year is no different. This year is Charles' junior prom. We went with the traditional tux with black vest and bought red accents from etsy sellers. The red and white damask bow-tie is from Cloutseu. It add a sofisticated look for prom. We also went with the silk origami butterfly boutonniere. It replaces both the floral boutonniere and the pocket silk. It also adds personality and can be worn in other settings. I also bought a coordinating broach that can be added to a corsage if he chooses to go with someone after all. These were made by SewSmashing and she offers free swatches if you need to match a dress. To personalize the look even more, he chose the tardis cuff links. They were made by BohemianCraftsody.

Guys can put personality in their prom look too. Even if you are coordinating your look with your date, cuff links are a great way to express who you are. There has also been a debate on whether you should wear a boutonniere or corsage when going stag. Each of my kids have gone, or plan to, go stag at least once. They have all had a corsage or boutonniere to coordinate with their look. Yes, it is tradition to buy your dates flowers, but wearing them goes back further than the prom. A boutonniere finishes the look and can still be used to add style to an every day suit. 
 
Mixed pea sprouts for stirfry or salads and broccoli sprouts for salads, sandwiches, or pasta dishes. USDA recommends only eating cooked sprouts in case your seeds are contaminated. They also regulate growing and production of the seeds to reduce incidence. I rinse frequently when sprouting to discourage mold or  fungi. Also, it is recommended not to eat too much legumes sprouts in a day, like my mixed pea sprouts.

Sprouting grains helps increase their digestability and brewing relies on sprouted grains. Sprouted vegetables are high in vitamins and nutrients. They definitely have a benefit and it can be safer to sprout your own seeds. Controling the water they are sproted in and buying seeds from a reputable distributer can minimize your risks as well
 
I don't have a lot of space in my kitchen so my table doubles as a counter. This is where I brew/vint, ferment, sprout, and mix up my bread. Although it is crowded it is especially important to keep things clean. That keeps me busy and may be part of why I am losing weight. 
    After taking the plunge to finally start making my own wine, with the elderberries I had foraged last fall, I was introduced to a no knead bread dough. It is so easy and only takes minutes. Then I decided to start brewing beer. I wanted something faster. While looking for supplies, I came across sprouting seeds. Sprouts are a god way to add something green to your diet while you wait for the garden to get started.  need to start seeds today. 
    When I started the wine I started Preserved Lemons. They should be ready right about now. I will need to make a tagine or stew with them. Yesterday, I started saurkraut. Fermenting is a good way to preserve food when you don't have access to refridgeration. Like my current situation. I have had repairmen out twice to fix my new refridgerator. Now I am waiting for them to agree to replace it. It apparently has some manufacturing issues and cannot  be repaired. 
    Another good way to preseve food is home canning. I finally bought replacement parts for my pressure cooker, so I can preserve more items. I also bought a cereal mill so that  can grind the spent grains from brewing to use in other products. Some ideas are pasta, dog biscuits, cookies, and breads. Now if only the brewing supplies would arrive, I could start that too.
 
    I have been trying to cut out the pop/soda/soft drinks in my diet. They get expensive to drink regularly, use multiple temporary containers, and they just are not good for you. A couple years ago I got a soda stream. The syrups have no sodium and less sugar than regular commercial drinks. They have even come out with some "natural" versions. I like them, but still you have disposable containers that you have to go shopping specifically for. They are getting more readily available, but in limited selection and not in grocery stores. 
    The alternative is to make my own syrups in diet and regular and keep them in my reusable flip top bottles. Vanilla or Cream Soda went over very well. I also like to add fruit juice, citrus wedges, or any combination of those. Housemade sodas are the new trend in some restoraunts as well. I also use any of those creations as a cocktail base.
Iced teas and iced coffee are also a common soft drink alternative. When I want something special I like to make a bubble tea with tapioca. You can see a descriptiona and recipe here. http://whatscookingamerica.net/BubbleTea.htm 
    I like to make different versions. Peppermint seems to be our favorite. I use mint green tea and favor my pearls by adding extract and sugar when cooking them. Yesterday my son used a citrus tea and we flavored the pearls with homemade lemon extract. We could have used lemonade instead of milk, he wanted milk.
I made an earl grey tea with vanilla pearls from my homemade extract. 
    I do realise that water is best. I also drink water from my filtered pitcher, but sometimes you want a sparkle or flavor or both.