Posted in Diary of a Calla Lily

Calla Lily Week Four

My Calla Lily has hit the four week mark since sprouting, and is an impressive 16″ tall now! That’s an incredible average of 4″ of growth per week! Calla is definately getting her first bloom, as you can see! It is ever amazing for me to have the blessing of watching the beauty unfurl! Stay tuned next week for Calla’s next update (and hopefully a new flower!)

Posted in Vegan Blog

Bob’s Red Mill Veggie Soup Critique

Top o’ the breezy, more than likely, snowing- somewhere-if-you-live-in-the-Adirondacks noon to ya’! Today is an excellent day to hole up inside and try something new to cook. (The wind is a-howlin’ so fiercely that my curtains are swaying a bit as I write this)

Since I haven’t posted a recipe in some time, I thought today would be a perfect day to do my first ever critique about a product. I have had my eyes on various Bob’s Red Mill products lately, curious to try the veggie soup mix. I picked some up a couple days ago at my local grocery store.

As I was starting to make the soup this afternoon, I realized, just how on-the-thrift (I don’t like the word “cheap”, it implies improper quality) that this soup mix is to make a decent sized meal. I picked up up for less than $5, so I’ll just call it an even five. I used two cups of this:

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…and added it to 8 cups of water, as per the instructions (4 cups of water per 1 cup of mix) and brought to a simmer.

Now this is where I went wrong, not cooking the mix long enough. The instructions on the package suggest 30-50 minutes and while I cooked closer to the 30 minutes, I recommend cooking closer to the 50 minutes, so that some of the peas don’t come out crunchy like mine did today.

I also added a 28 oz. can of stewed tomatoes, a half a pound of dry macaroni elbows, and a 15 oz. can of black beans (slightly but not totally drained), which I added about ten minutes before the soup would be done. I also seasoned with curry powder, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, celery seed, nutritional yeast, and two teaspoons of Better than Bouillon (the veggie one). A little of this soup mix and what I added goes a long way as you can see here:

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I used a large pot to make this soup, and the two bowls taken out for lunch, hardly made a dent in it:

Let’s do a brief run-down of how thrifty this meal was to make. I used about half of the soup mix, so we’ll call that $2.50. Add $1 each for the can of tomatoes and the can of beans, and then 50 cents for the half a pound of macaroni. All together, that is about $5 for the cost of the whole pot of soup, which easily has 6-10 bowls of soup in it, depending on one’s appetite. It is a common misconception that eating a plant-based, cruelty free diet is expensive. I don’t know about any of you all, but I think $5 to make a whole pot of delicious, nutrient dense soup is worth every cruelty-free penny!

Speaking of healthy, this soup is packed with iron, 18 grams of protein combined per serving of the soup mix and macaroni, and 20% iron, not to mention the plethora of b-vitamins, antioxidents, and additional protein and iron of the tomatoes and the beans added.

Next time you are looking to make an easy soup that you can doctor up with your own veggie goodies, pick up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix, and see what soup delight you can concoct!



Posted in Diary of a Calla Lily

Growing FASTER than a Weed!

To say that my Calla Lilies are growing like a weed would be the  understatement of the week, literally! The pic on the left was taken just last week, only two weeks into growing, when the Callas were a mere 5″ tall. The pic on the left (and below to enjoy it in an expanded view) was taken this morning.

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Calla Lily Week 3: New Flower Forming?

The Callas measured in at 12 1/4″ this morning, more than DOUBLE their height in a week! Over the past couple days I have noticed some coloration, like maybe a flower starting to bloom, though I would doubt that being that they have only been growing for just over three weeks.

It’s AMAZING to have witnessed these Callas grown about 7″ in just over a week-that is almost a whole inch a day! Tune in next week to find out if they have grown taller than me! 🙂


Posted in Photography, Plant Life

Ginger Mint and Freelance Fortitude



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This morning when I woke and checked my email, I opened an email that will forever change my life: I got my first pay as a freelance writer for the online company, Zemandi! It has been slow going, getting going, but now that the ball is rolling, I’m well enough on my way to earn some bill money while I stay at home to take care of Baby Girl.

I was leary to try Zemandi at first, as there are a LOT of scammers out there! I took to Craigslist for some of my job search and there was a LOT of nonsense and spam to sift through. One site for writers sounded very promising, until I clicked on the “sign up” tab and they wanted $68 for membership! That wasn’t even for writing gigs, that was just a reference to sites that you could apply do, not even guaranteed work!

Since it was free, I decided to give Zemandi a try. What would I have to lose except the time that I might have gotten scammed out of for my writing? I couldn’t really find many reviews out there about it, except for disgruntled people looking to make a quick buck. If you are looking for a quick buck, writing is NOT the way to go!

Once you do the initial trial pieces (you get paid for them), Zemandi evaluates your performance, and if they like your work, they keep you on! You request and do assignments at your own convenience, which is why it is ideal for a stay at home parent like myself. Not only do I get to stay at home to work, I am less the stressed over worrying about daycare and transportation to get back and forth to work. I can literally wake up in the morning, make my coffee, and sit down for a little while and write. When Baby Girl naps, I take advantage of the quiet, and I write. When she goes to bed at night and I have the quiet time for the evening, I write. The pay is meager at first, but to have the convenience to be my own boss, and make some money doing what I love is a trade I am willing to make.

Oh ya, and, I got a new plant, the beautiful Ginger Mint above. I picked it out for a Mother’s Day present and I love it! I love how it smells and the variegated leaves make it such an attractive plant to have indoors. Best part is, I can make tea from the leaves. I haven’t yet, but when I do, I shall write about it!

Posted in Diary of a Calla Lily, Photography, Plant Life

Growing Like a Weed

Happy Friday all! I’m just killing some time with a blog post until I get more writing assignments (more on my freelancing efforts to be discussed in a future post!) and thought I’d write a little update on my Calla Lilies.

The first pic was taken this morning, just two short weeks after sprouting (shown in the second pic) and I just cannot believe how quickly they are growing. The stalks are already five inches tall, and there are a couple more little sproutlings growing  as well. I read that Calla Lilies are slow to grow and bloom, taking up to two years to mature and bloom. At the rate these Callas are going, I couldn’t imagine them taking that long to bloom, but we shall see.

A year ago, if you had told me that I would have 15 plants in my living room, I would have thought that a crazy notion, being that I’ve never had a green thumb. To be frank, I never really TRIED to be a green thumb. Sure, I loved plants, but I was happier watching others grow them.

Then last September while visiting my parents in Connecticut, my mom gave me a clipping that she had grown from her Ivy plant. I was so excited to have just that one plant, because it meant a lot to me that my mom thought of me enough to start me a plant.

My mom warned me that gardening is addictive and I laughed. I though, “ha ha, not ME, not THIS girl who has barely ever had a plant in her life!” Then winter happened, and I got caught up in the excitement of watching my Ivy grow, and I needed more. The more I was trapped inside and suffering cabin fever, the more I wanted plants to liven up my  living room to ease the winter blues, if even for a little.

Fast forward to now, and my fifteen plants. With each plant that I have brought home, I have researched to learn how to care for them. Plants are like people, that each have different needs. Some plants need more light and water than others. Some grow a lot faster than others, (speaking of which, I have also learned that jade trees take a long time to grow. While I can understand this, I am happy to report that Jade has been thriving being in the direct sunlight in the windows, and she has many new leaves that have been growing for the past few weeks) and some plants are just somewhere in the middle. All in all, no matter what plants need what care, I am very happy to have them all in my care! 🙂


Posted in Diary of a Coleus, Plant Life


Happy Thursday to all! I have been busy this week working on some freelancing work and have not had much time to blog. I planned to blog today and was not sure what about…and then, I woke this morning and saw these cute little sproutlings!

Last week at Aldi’s I picked up a couple of these Crayola Coleus grow kits, on sale for only $1.99! There were only two left, and, being the thrifty plant addict that I’ve become over the winter, I snagged them! I thought it would be a fun little project to help pass the time, and better yet, decorate my living room with!

Coleus is a colorful foliage that generally is treated as an annual, though pinching off the flowers to prevent seeds will prolong it’s growing cycle. Since I have two, I am going to let one grow it’s cycle naturally and attempt to harvest the seeds to grow more, and the other, I am going to prevent from seeding, to see how that grows. Coleus can also be propagated from a soft wood cutting, which I plan to do with my plant that I am going to just let grow.

The coleus is not only part of the nettle family (minus the stinging nettles), it is also a mint. It comes in a variety of colors and is easy to care for (which is right up my alley!)

These were very easy for me to start, requiring little care. All you need to be careful of when sowing, is to keep the seedlings moist and keep the pot covered with saran wrap or something clear of the like, (I used an empty glass jar to cover the top) and keep them in bright light, but not direct sun. We’ve got sproutlings already, about a week and a half after sowing the seeds. If you have a little one, I would recommend finding them a little kit like this that they can sow their own seeds, and watch the beauty and miracle of plant life as they grow!

Posted in Diary of a Rose

Roses for a Rainy Day

As I wrote about the other day, I am working on some mini roses that will be donated to a memorial garden. Today, I picked up the beautiful bi-colored roses above, because truthfully, they had caught my eye the other day when I picked up the purple roses.

I got an idea to separate the plants, and mix half of them into two pots (one for me, of course, because I have future experiments in mind with it) and one for the garden, in a nice sturdy, pot that it may be kept in outdoors in the garden. Winters are rough up here and rather than risk the roses not surviving next winter, I thought it a good idea to put them in a pot to keep in the garden (thank you Lisa!)

My garden is complete…for now! I finally have the roses that I have been yearning for all winter. I have my own roses to keep, and that makes me a very happy plant mama. The two colors compliment each other well, and maybe, but some stroke of extreme nature, they will hybrid themselves. If not, I plan to try my hand at learning how to graft and propagate roses, once I am more experienced at gardening.

Here’s some roses for you all, on this rainy day. May they bring smiles to your life like they do in mine! 🙂

Posted in Diary of a Rose


purple roses (1 of 1)
“Purple Mini Roses”

“Hi, I’m Jenn, and I’m a plant addict…I have been for several months now…” Actually, there’s a little story behind the reason why I picked up these purple beauties this afternoon.

Last summer, my boys’ great-gramma went to meet her maker. Earlier that year, I had seen purple mini roses like the ones above, but hadn’t the cash with me to get them. Purple happened to be great-gramma’s color. A few weeks later, I decided to get some yellow ones, because I couldn’t find purple ones again.

Not too long after I had gotten my roses, my boys’ great-gramma fell ill with that evil C-word and passed a few months later. When she passed, her ashes were used in one of those green urns that will grow into a tree. Their aunt planted the urn in a little spot in her yard to be dedicated as a memorial garden for her.

I nursed and loved those yellow roses all summer long, always chiding myself that I didn’t get the purple ones when I could. Nonetheless, at the beginning of fall, my yellow roses were dedicated to the memorial garden. I vowed to do the same this year, with purple, should I have the chance. Today, I had that chance and brought home some purple roses to nurture all summer long, until they join their yellow sisters in their forever home.


Posted in Uncategorized

Freelance, or not to Freelance?

As any writer will tell you, contrary to popular belief, writing is HARD to do, and especially to make a living doing so. It’s a cut-throat world out there and a lot of people are competing to be read, and to make their “bread”.

I have decided recently (not-so-impulsively) to try to give freelance writing a try. I say “not-so-impulsively” because I had decided to look into it a few years ago and was easily discouraged. I came across scam after scam and sites promising “free” info, only to have links to other sites that you had to pay. That was just to try to LOOK online for freelance writing jobs that were legit. Being that I had a job outside of the home at the time, I put it on the back burner for future reference, should I ever acquire the patience to sort through so many websites.

I researched a little today and came across a site with tips to blogs that would pay at least $50 per post. I have a lot more research to do on other sites and check out what is for real or not. There are freelance writers out their writing their freelance pieces, and they found out about calls for submissions from somewhere!

Once site intrigued my by not only offering $100 if your piece gets accepted, the content caught my attention as well. They want submissions of lists, consisting of at least ten items that must be at least 150 words each, writer’s choice of subject.

It got me to thinking: what would I make a list for, or of? What kind of random facts tied together by a unified subject would I care to research and write about? How could I turn this opportunity for a submission into something bigger down the road?

I have a lot of brainstorming and research to do to start on my venture to attempt freelance writing. I have always liked writing but feel I never put enough effort into it because it had no purpose. This venture could be a springboard to launch me into something bigger and better to make me MY bread!

Posted in Diary of a Calla Lily, Plant Life

Calla Lily: Week Two

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Purple Sensation Calla Lily: Two Weeks after Planting

Exactly two weeks ago, I planted my Calla Lily bulb that I got for Easter. I was nervous and apprehensive about them growing, as I have never planted any type of flowers like this before. Within nine short days it sprouted, just in time for Earth Day! The instructions had said that the bulb should sprout within two weeks, so they seem to be a little ahead of schedule.

See the recap of the first two weeks of my Purple Sensation Calla Lily and let me know what you think of the new Sway app from Office. I like it so far and thought my Callas would be a perfect test subject for my first Sway project.

Fun little fact about Calla Lilies: They are neither a Calla, OR a Lily, and they are native to South Africa. They make excellent houseplants and beautiful decoration for an outside garden, though considered to be a very invasive species. See more details about the Calla Lily here.