Blogger OC Garden Jen shares her secret on getting rid of pesky weeds for good!
June 20th, 2012 | 4:09 PM
“Judge every day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you sow.”
As a busy, working mother of two girls, I am constantly challenged with ways to sow the seeds of a healthy lifestyle and for our family that means growing our own food whenever possible. While I enjoy it, my daughter’s still regard gardening as somewhat of a chore. They certainly enjoy cutting flowers and arranging them for the house, picking vegetables, and playing with our flock of chickens — they don’t, however, seem to enjoy weeding. (I know, I know, my kids are the ONLY kids that don’t enjoy weeding, right?!)
So that’s why when I discovered the Lasagna Gardening Technique, also known as, Sheet Composting I was in LOVE! Lasagna Gardening doesn’t grow lasagna’s or even the ingredients for making lasagna (unless you want it to), rather, Lasagna Gardening is a technique of layering easily sourced organic materials, such as grass clippings, manure, and more until you have created a new no-dig planting bed! No digging, no weeding, seriously! It’s a very fun family activity and a great science lesson as well.
To begin, lay down a layer of cardboard or newspaper wherever you want your new planting bed to be. Let your kids help you ‘litter.’ I promise they’ll be interested for at least five minutes. Then, give them the hose and let them wet down the cardboard/newspaper layer. This important first step smothers the grass and weeds below and then breaks down after a year or so.
Next, start layering your ingredients (click here for a list of commonly available ingredients) and the kids can help with this as well. Let them help you find the ingredients around town, too! This is a great opportunity to explain how composting materials turns them into soil known in the garden world as ‘Black Gold’ and keeps them out of our landfills.
Once you have finished your Lasagna Garden, cover it with black plastic and let it bake in the sun for a few weeks or months, dependent upon your patience. Or just top off yours with a few inches of good quality soil and plant your new bed.
Purchase today’s deal from Armstrong Garden Centers and head on out to find a great selection of fruit trees, vegetables and flowers for your new bed all at a huge savings. Armstrong Garden Centers offers a great selection and their website is chock full of inspiration and information. Let your kids do this research if they’re old enough — it’s internet time for them and a secret learning session for you! Tell them it’s like playing a real life Farmville game!
OC Garden Jen started her blog as an online garden diary. She loves to talk all thinks flora and fauna on her blog www.ocgardenjen.com or you can follower her on Twitter, Pinterest, Innstagram and Facebook @OCGardenJen.
The Day of Dad is this Sunday (June 17) and the Plum District team can't wait to celebrate this special moment with their own families.
June 15th, 2012 | 5:04 PM
This Sunday it’s all about showing the dad(s) in your life how much you appreciate them! And nothing shows how much you care quite like whipping up his favorite meal and spending some quality family time together. Have the kids help you prepare a special meal that he won’t soon forget and enjoy!
Here’s what some of the Plum District team members are prepping for their own pops.
Regional site manager Brenna’s dad is all about Italian. “I’m doing the works: lasagna, garlic bread, and rounding it out with a beet and goat cheese salad,” she says. Bon appetit indeed!
Check out a super tasty lasagna menu to try with your family here.
When she’s not closing awesome deals in Orange County, sales extrodinaire and mom Stephanie Graney is making a delicious feast for her family. “I’m making baby back ribs, French potato salad and grilled artichokes. Yum!”
We’re in love with this take on baby back ribs from steamykitchen.com.
“My dad’s absolute favorite is leg of lamb with mint jelly,” says site manager Maggie. “It’s a family tradition. Top it off with a chocolate sundae and you have a perfect meal!”
Feeling ambitious? Make mint jelly from scratch with this recipe from food.com!
Stacy at the home office is all about grilling it up. “You can’t go wrong with anything from the grill, corn on the cob, and homemade potato salad,” she explains.
Need some tips before you fire up the grill? Grilling.com can help you make a mouthwatering meal.
Desiree in Seattle has her Father’s Day meal down to a science. “I’m making meatloaf!” she explains. “I am not a fan so I never make it, but this is always his request for holidays. Well, meatloaf or corned beef!”
We are totally in love with this idea: meatloaf cupcakes from firstlookthencook.com. Have the kiddos help you prepare this tasty meal!
Our Bay Area rep Lisa not only whips up her hubby’s favorite dish once a year, but also his favorite dessert. “I’m making Chicken Paprikash and black bottom banana cream pie — that’s his once-a-year request!” she smiles.
For those moms looking to spice things up in the kitchen. Simplyrecipes.com has a delicious (and easy) Chicken Paprikash recipe for you.
Cuddle up with your kids and share in the magic of a good book this summer!
June 11th, 2012 | 5:08 PM
FAMILY FAVES — Here’s our list of some tried-and-true classics and a few new books that will delight your kids all summer long.
Matilda, by Ronald Dahl
This classic children’s book about a little bookworm who overcomes bullies (including her own parents!) will not only have the entire family in stitches, but teaches children about perseverance and overcoming obstacles.
Junie B. Jones series, by Barbara Park
Your kids will fall in love with precocious first grader Junie B. Jones after reading the first page. Good thing there are dozens of other books in this beloved series to keep everyone entertained until school starts up again!
The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
Sure, we’re all familiar (and love) the 1939 film version starring Judy Garland, but the Hollywood flick just touches on all the magical creatures found in the land of Oz. See your child’s imagination soar as they are first introduced to Dorothy, Toto, and everyone else in this quintessential children’s book.
The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
This book about loving the planet recently got a big screen overhaul. Share the original story in all its vibrant glory this summer then brainstorm with your children ways you can help protect the environment. It will spark a spirited conversation and teach them the importance of preserving the earth’s resources.
Hattie and the Wild Waves, by Barbara Cooney
Barbara Cooney’s detailed illustrations have enchanted generations of boys and girls in more than 200 picture books. In this book, young Hattie dreams of being a painter, but has to overcome people’s disapproval to achieve her passion. This book inspires you to follow your dreams no matter what life presents you.
Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Introduce your family to life on the prairie with Laura, Mary, and their family. Learn about life on the range in the not-so-distant past as they face harsh winters, wild animals, and family tragedies. Rich in history, you will devour the entire series.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney
Modeled after a kid’s diary, this popular book series follows Greg Heffley as he deals with that confusing time in adolescence known as middle school. You and your kids will relate to his adventures, struggles, and triumphs.
Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
Harold lets his imagination run wild when he finds a purple crayon one day in this 1955 classic.
Monsters Eat Whiny Children, by Bruce Eric Kaplan
Show your kids what happens to kids who whine too much in this cautionary tale. Will the monsters get them before they can escape? Important life lessons can be found in this page-turner.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
Everyone will be laughing over the adventures of an unlikely, winged bus driver! It also teaches your kiddos the importance of following directions and not to give in to peer pressure.
Friday Fundraisers are making a difference and aren't just for Fridays anymore
June 7th, 2012 | 9:13 AM
Plum District is in the community every day. We live, work and play in the places we call home, and we’re dedicated to giving back and making a positive difference. Since we started Friday Fundraisers in February, we’ve been partnering with our amazing vendors to raise money for deserving causes all around the country.
Last week, we did a nationwide Friday Fundraiser for Locks Of Love. Salons participated in contributing 10% of every purchase to Locks of Love for wigs and hair pieces for children with medical hair loss.
This week, we’re expanding our efforts beyond a single day, and hosting a five-day fundraiser in Austin, TX for Food In Tummies. Food in Tummies or “FIT,” a project of The Junior League of Austin, is a unique program designed to provide weekend nourishment to children grades K – 5 who qualify for the National School Lunch Program. The FIT program, managed by JLA volunteers, helps these hungry Austin children by delivering backpacks of nutritious food each week to Austin area elementary schools – helping over 1,400 families a week!
Plum District is partnering with five prominent Austin companies this week, contributing 10% – 20% of all proceeds generated by offers to FIT:
Kendra Scott: $30 for $60 to Spend on Jewelry & 20% Benefits FIT
Bright Beginnings: $15 for $30 to Spend on Children’s Clothing & 10% Benefits FIT
Plush Fabric & Home Interiors: $50 for $150 Worth of Fabric and Trim & 20% Benefits FIT
In March, Plum District partnered with Newport Kids Consignment in Orange County, CA to benefit Sonora Elementary School in Costa Mesa. District Consultant Stephanie Graney said, “The school reported that they received more in one check from us than they did from two other programs. It felt so good to give back!”
In February, we partnered with Pump It Up in Raleigh to benefit Brier Creek Elementary School. District Consultant Leslie Pawlak shared a thank you note from the school, that said with the $800 raised, they were able to directly support the art classroom in their school.
Our efforts don’t stop there! Be on the look out every Friday for more offers that give back!
Easy ways to look chic while you're covered up poolside this summer!
June 6th, 2012 | 5:12 PM
Summer is upon us and that means there are all sorts of fun in the sun activities on the horizon that require a bathing suit. That’s why I’m always in search of the perfect beach cover-up to complete my summer wardrobe. What most people don’t realize is that cover-ups don’t have to cost much – if anything – and many can be altered from items already in your closet! Below are a few of my favorite creative and chic ways to cover all of your assets while lounging poolside this season.
- The Boyfriend Shirt: I use my hubby’s retired work shirts and they are perfect for an effortless and stylish look at the pool! Take an oversized, cotton flannel, button it halfway. roll up the sleeves three-quarters and voila! This is a fantastic way to look relaxed – covered – and most of us have a few of these lying around the house.
- Oversized Tee: An off-the-shoulder T-shirt, especially with a vintage feel, is a perfect cover for the mom who likes a little edge. Note: For people needing more bottom coverage, be sure to start with a T-shirt that is long enough to cover target areas.
- Cute Skirts: A skirt is a perfect cover-up for the hips, thighs, and butt. It looks especially great with a super-cute bikini top! Find one in a bright color that matches your suit or throw on a denim one. Jeans make everything look chic!
- Scarf Vest: The scarf vest is a fun way to incorporate your favorite scarf into your summer wardrobe. And, as an added bonus, the scarf vest can be used all year – synch it at the waist with a belt over a knit top with jeans for a great fall look! For step-by-step instructions on how to make your scarf vest coverup check out this link.
- Summer Dress: Your favorite sundress can also be your favorite cover-up! There are styles to fit all body types and tastes and it is perfect when you need to make a quick conversion if you have plans for dinner or something more formal post-beach.
Gigi G. is a district consultant in the San Francisco Bay area. When she’s not sourcing great deals, you’ll find her in a stylish cover-up enjoying the California sun.
You think the terrible twos are nerve-wracking? Just wait until your kid hits their teens. Lisa B. shares her story with fellow Plum moms.
June 4th, 2012 | 3:27 PM
My 14 year-old daughter is a hoarder. I am not sure where it came from because I am the complete OCD opposite, but when the mouse who had been surviving on four years worth of Halloween candy made a home in her UGGs, I decided it was time to go in and take control of the situation. Armed with black trash bags and Lysol, I went in.
I methodically made my way through her room. After filling four trash bags full of clothing, trash, and food that was beyond recognizable, I started toward her dresser drawers. She started going completely crazy, standing in front of them and forbidding me to look inside. As a mother, your first instinct is fear. Fear that your teenager has drugs, or other substances in her possession. I move her aside and force my way into her drawer.
What do I find? Drugs? Condoms? Inappropriate magazines? No. I find MY bras — four of them! Since I have lost track of most of my life since becoming a mother, I chalked four missing bras to just that – I had no idea she would have them. I look at her with a confused expression and she just shrugs her shoulders and responds: “They don’t fit me anyway.”
I am overwhelmed with more emotions than I have wits to sort out. I am angry, relieved, and so very humiliated. At 14, my daughter is more buxom than I was or ever will be without silicone. This is a parenting situation no book can ever prepare you for!
I stand up and try to appear taller than her, grab my bras, and say, “Nothing about this is okay. We do not share underwear. We will go shopping and buy you bras that fit.”
I then retreat out of her room and think to myself, “Thank goodness it was just bras. I wonder how much a boob job costs?”
Lisa B. is a district consultant in Marin, San Francisco, who has been working for Plum District for almost two years. She is mother to Mia (14), Kyra (11), and Wyatt (8), and has been married to her husband Kent for 16 years.
Celebrate Dad this summer with a cool $1,000 to use at Best Buy or Restaurant.com and StubHub.com!
June 3rd, 2012 | 11:00 PM
Take dad to dinner and a ballgame, or help him score a brand new TV and other electronic toys at Best Buy with Plum District’s Make Dad’s Day Sweepstakes! Enter to win $1,000 in Best Buy e-gift cards or a $250 Restaurant.com eGift card AND $750 in StubHub.com gift certificates.
Here’s how to enter:
- If you’re already a member:
Simply purchase one of our daily Plum Deals! We’re recording every single purchase made between June 4th and June 8th and automatically entering those purchasers into the sweepstakes.
- If you’re not yet a member:
It’s easy, all you have to do is join Plum District! The e-mail address you sign up with will automatically be entered into the sweepstakes as your chance to win. After that, get excited for our daily offers to hit your inbox – they’ll make your day, Mom, we’re sure of it.
It doesn’t make a difference which option you go through to enter – five winners will be randomly selected after the sweepstakes period. Good Luck!
*Note: No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase of any kind will not increase your chances of winning. Void where prohibited. For full contest rules and terms visit our Terms page: http://www.plumdistrict.com/p/terms
Beautify your tresses and help a child get the hair he or she deserves
May 31st, 2012 | 11:08 AM
You’ve heard of Locks of Love. It’s a not-for-profit organization that provides the highest quality wigs to children with medical hair loss. These children do not have the money to spend $3,500-$6,000 on a wig (the normal retail price), and Locks of Loves gives them custom-made, incredibly natural-looking hairpieces for free. The majority of recipients have hair loss due to an auto-immune condition known as Alopecia Areata, and others suffer from severe burns, radiation treatment, and other dermatological conditions. Locks of Love hairpieces are in high demand, and each takes four months to make.
Today, 10% of the proceeds from your purchase of our Friday Fundraiser offers will go to to Locks of Love to help a child in need. The following local and national deals have partnered with us to support this great cause. Be sure to buy in the next few days so that your $$ benefits a child who needs it.
NuMeStyle.com (online – available in all regions) – Plum District Offer: $30 for $130 Worth of Hair Styling Tools and Hair Extensions from NuMe
Elaine’s Salon, Fishers, IN — Plum District Offer: $35 for a Haircut from Expert Stylist Mark Starnes – $75 Value
Plum Studios Salon, Burlingame, CA – Plum District Offers: $50 for $100 Worth of Hair Services from Stylist Showkat Fallahi OR $70 for Full Highlights ($140 Value) or $150 for a Brazilian Blowout (a $300 Value) with Kate Lawson
Green Alley Salon, Austin, TX – Plum District Offer: $15 for a Blowout, $35 Deva Curl Cut, or $70 for Partial Highlights – Up to $170 Value
Studio 4 Salon, Newport Beach, CA – Plum District Offer: $45 for a Shampoo, Haircut, Kerastase Treatment, and a Blow + Style from Eddie- a $120 Value
Bang Salon, Denver, CO – Plum District Offer: $20 for $40 OR $35 for $70 Toward Salon Hair Services from Bang Salon
P2 Studios, Highlands Ranch, CO – Plum District Offer: 50% Off Hair Services for Men and Women (a great Father’s Day gift)
Keep Austin Gorgeous, Austin, TX — Plum District Offer: $30 for a Shampoo, Haircut and Style – a $60 Value
This recipe is easy, healthy, and is great for reheating!
May 31st, 2012 | 1:01 AM
Who doesn’t love a decadent quiche?! This recipe will help you cut calories without sacrificing on flavor. And for the girl on-the-go it is quick, easy, and can be your ready-made breakfast all week!
Here are a few other ideas for changing up this recipe:
- Like a little spice? Mix a teaspoon or two of hot sauce in the egg mixture.
- Give your quiche a little extra color and put a dollop of salsa on top.
- Add other veggies like zucchini, asparagus, or eggplant or try other cheeses like goat or feta to mix things up.
Boxes are for far more than just packing and organizing
May 30th, 2012 | 12:32 AM
Special occasion or not, I love giving my three nieces gifts, wrapped in a box with decorative paper and a big bow. Watching them unwrap presents, it’s never ceased to make me laugh at the way children sometimes like playing with the packaging more than the gift itself. But as I’ve watched them outgrow their curious toddler tendencies – now 4, 6, and 8 years old – their interest in playing with the boxes has dwindled, making me nostalgic for the days when I, too, used boxes to build my own Barbie dream houses. It’s inevitable that growing up leads to losing our youthfully active imaginations. When we’re faced with the real world and responsibilities, it becomes difficult to pretend. Which is why I cherish and encourage them to play in whatever make-believe world they can imagine as often as possible, and to build it with boxes.
With imagination, a box can become anything. Like the book, “Not a Box“ by Antoinette Portis, such a simple thing like a cardboard cube can make playtime a lot more exciting.
Some of our District Consultants shared the ways they or their kids utilize boxes:
Samantha Weld, Boston: ”When I get shipments, my kids get in the boxes with the packing peanuts and pretend they’re taking a bath!”
Shannon Vetter, Washington DC: ”My son made a road for his cars. We also made a cityscape for Lego creations. Their latest invention was box races. They would have to race one another, wearing a box, collecting various items from the ground. It was hilarious … they could hardly bend over to pick things up!”
Betsy Larson, San Diego: My daughter makes robots from old boxes.
Amy Rucker, Raleigh: We had an entire box birthday party one year. We got huge refrigerator and appliance boxes from the store and let the kids create a fort and maze out of them in our basement for a rainy party. We cut windows and doors, and gave them markers to decorate the outside and inside. They LOVED it!
Here are 32 more box ideas from Tip Junkie!