I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Two Great Resources

I love the internet and the information gathering and social connection capabilities that it provides. Two sites that have been particularly helpful to me over the past few months as I try to improve my sewing and crocheting skills:

Ravelry, is a site dedicated to yarn crafts of all kind. There a many free patterns, forums, technique articles, etc. to be found here. Really a wealth of information for anyone who loves to create things with yarn.

Pattern Review is chock full of pattern, sewing machine, and fabric reviews. The forums are incredibly helpful as well. Even better there are many online video tutorials that are available to download for those who cannot make it to face to face sewing classes.

It's Been Awhile

I've really let this blog languish. I just checked and my last post was in June! My goodness, since then our garden grew, produced and has now been prepared for winter. I will try and post a few photos of it when it was in full glory.

Our tomato crop was a little late to show up but once it did in mid-September we were in tomatoes for about 6 weeks, until the end of October. The forecast of the first hard frost had me outside picking the rest of the green tomatoes off the vine and they have finished ripening inside - I am still eating tomatoes from my garden and it is November 5th!

Here is the last bowlful with one Brandywine and a bunch of Green Zebras:

We learned some good lessons from the garden this year. First, I will start my tomatoes at least three weeks sooner in the early spring inside to try and get a longer season of produce. The weather here in Kansas seems to stay warm through October and the vines were still flowering when I pulled them out last weekend. We also have decided that Brandywine, Green Zebras and Dad's Sunsets will be staples in our garden in the future. We tried 7 varieties of heirlooms this year and those were the hands down winners for production and flavor. The Green Zebra is a prolific producer and the tomatoes are small and very tangy.

I also know to plant our beans outside earlier than I did this year. We had a good crop but I need more vines next year if I want to get enough to freeze for use in the cooler months. I will not plant bush beans next year, only vining varieties. Our beds are too small and having plants climb up actually is a better use of our space. Ella and the neighborhood kids loved walking right over to the plants and eating produce right off the vines, especially the beans and the cherry tomatoes. I had great luck with all my herbs this year: lavender, rosemary, basil (thai, lime and genovese), flat leaf parsley, feverfew, oregano, and peppermint. I will not bother with feverfew next year - it almost seems like a weed because it grows so quickly, easily and just takes over everything. I do not have any real use for it, I planted it for curiosities sake. The same goes for amaranth. I just wanted to see what it would do and look like and now I know. I can't mill it or use it in any way so next year those spots will be used for more practical plants. I will probably still plant something unusual and new to me again for fun next year, we'll see. The only other changes I will make are moving the sunflowers and zinnias out of the beds and into our front landscaping. They grew really easily and took up a lot of space. The zinnias especially produced beautiful flowers that my neighbor and I both enjoyed for a few months. What a great flower and so easy to grow!

Here are a few pics:

An unpleasant find!






Tomatoes and beans

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