Summer reading giveaway (eight great books)!

Life has gotten quite interesting around here with my boys. The littlest guy is climbing up onto things and then asserting his will/opinion/stubbornness to not get down. He’s saying single words all the time. That’s so fun. The bigger guy starts real kindergarten this fall and considering his sensitive personality, I’m a little nervous. Today he threw a huge temper tantrum at the library when I signed him up for the summer reading program. The kid was hysterical. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I even told him about the prizes that he could potentially win, but he was inconsolable. I didn’t back down because it’s just the library’s summer reading program for crying out loud! How harmless!

Finally my husband and I got out of him that he thought it was a camp where kids went on stage to read in front of other people. He is learning how to read little words so that would have been pretty scary. After we explained that he would be getting credit for daily reading he already does at home with his parents, he was immediately happy and wanted to get even more books at the library. But by then we were in the car and that was that. You should have seen the librarians’ faces when my son burst into tears about getting signed up for summer reading. They weren’t sure if someone as resistant to reading was a poster child for the program or if he had emotional problems. Fun times.

Are you reading this summer? I am, though it’s mostly magazines as I try to catch up on a backlog that normally builds up over the course of the school year. I really do save up a lot of activities and chores for the summer. We’ve been busy ’round here, doctors visits and seeing the dentist, and I’ve only been off for two weeks.

I’m giving away eight books related to food that I think you will LOVE:


From top to bottom:

  1. The Butcher and the Vegetarian
  2. The China Study
  3. The Lost Art of Real Cooking
  4. Compost
  5. Diet for a Hot Planet
  6. EcoMind
  7. You Grow Girl
  8. Sugar, Salt, Fat (not pictured)

To enter, please subscribe to my newsletter and then comment below letting me know you subscribed. If you are already subscribed, just say so in the comments.

Even though I set up my newsletter over a year ago I haven’t sent out one email yet. Mostly it’s because I value your time (and your inbox). But I have some exciting things to share over the next year and you’ll want to be the first to hear about them!

I’ll pick a winner on 7/15. Good luck!!


Plant Your Own Fail Garden: Meet My Rabbit-Proof Test Plot

I’ve spent most of my life trying not to make mistakes. Now that I’m in my thirty-sixth year, I realize that maybe that wasn’t the best approach. Being afraid to fail is no way to live life.

I’ve been intimidated by the idea of planting a garden. I decided to just go ahead and plant anything. I’m calling it my family’s “Test Plot.”


I let my son choose the plants and seeds. We built our test plot in April and we actually started planting then too. In our area that’s a huge gamble. Here’s a breakdown of the cost of a test plot:

  1. 4 pieces of reclaimed wood = Free
  2. 8-10 large bags of soil, $2.50 each = $20
  3. 4 metal stakes, $2.75 = $11*
  4. 2 rolls chicken wire, $2.50 = $5*
  5. Plants range from $3 to $5
  6. Seed packets range from $2 to $4
  7. Staple gun (to attach chicken wire to bottom and sides of wooden box)*

*only required if you have a rabbit problem, which we do!

The costs are not out of reach when you consider that once you set it up, you have the box itself for a long time. Also I should note that in general you should be careful with reclaimed wood because it might leech into your food.


So in April we went to Menards and bought whichever plants and seed packets my son wanted. If I was being a perfectionist, I would not have let him have such a big role. But this is our test plot so it doesn’t matter if it goes wrong.

He chose strawberries, brussel sprouts (he likes roasted brussel sprouts) , and cilantro. I picked out spinach, parsley, peppers, and tomatoes. We planted everything in April.

Are you laughing yet? I knew that our hard frost date is May 17. It was a huge risk. Luckily it did not drop below freezing from mid-April on. But it got awfully close. Ready to know what died first? The tomatoes were stone dead within two or three days. Then the peppers started to fade. As did the spinach.

But my son’s choices held steady. The brussel sprouts and the strawberries thrived. The spinach and the peppers hung in there.

Then we grew broccoli and carrots from seed in the little seed starters. I don’t even know if that was the right way to do it. Well, the broccoli immediately died. But the carrots are doing great.


I tried to label everything in the picture above. You can see that it’s sort of chaotic, but you know what? It’s okay. I’m just testing things out and next year we’ll construct a larger raised bed and plant our success stories. After the season is over I plan to experiment with other different plants next year in our test plot.

The most important thing is that we did SOMETHING, ANYTHING with dirt and trying to grow stuff. My son brought a little neighbor girl over to look in our test plot garden. He was so proud. Yep, my work is already done.

Getting to Yum Giveaway Winner!


Thanks for commenting to receive an entry into the Getting to Yum giveaway. I used random number generator, which picked #30:

And the 30th person to comment on the post was:


Laura! I’ll be emailing you shortly with information!

Do not worry if you did not win, because I’m putting together another book giveaway. I started a very little garden in our backyard and I think it has totally changed our lives. It sounds like a cliche to say it, but I think that my mindset has changed, which is really the most important think. The way I’m gardening is kind of unique and I’m going to share that with you and,while I’m at it, give away a bunch of gardening books! Stay tuned!