Easy Like Sunday Morning…

Easy Like Sunday Morning | Taylor Sneaking Pancake Batter | PepperDesignBlog.com

Someone was recently caught – mid bite – scooping raw pancake batter into their mouth by the fistful. Oh that look says it all!

If this picture shares anything it’s that I need more weekend pancake mornings in my life :). But this week/weekend I’m traveling for work with little M and have left the big girls behind with Kevin. I have already realized that I’ve forgotten a piece of my traveling pump back home (the hose) and a key hard drive. It’s always tricky for me to organize care with any baby that travels with me, but it’s always worth it after a long day (and for a Sunday work event 13 hours was a long day) to come back to so much delight. I love those late night snuggles even more.

Pancakes are special, the girls know it’s a special morning when I pull out the bin of pancake mix (always on hand) and a couple of eggs. We measure flour together, everyone takes a turn stirring and then that mixed, watery batter turns into the most delicious lazy breakfast. We’re partial to Bisquick. And to half cooked pancakes. My mom used to ‘scramble’ the pancake batter to create chicken scratches – those are my favorite! Is that a distinctly midwestern family thing (mom is from Omaha) or has anyone else heard of scrambled, half cooked pancakes? I think that maybe when I get home on Wednesday we’ll make some of those. Until then, I’m enjoying catching up with my team and to some one-on-one time with a very smiley baby.

A Garden Box Update: Summer 2015

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

The veggies garden has exploded since I last shared about it here. Those cute little quart-sized plants have spread out to fill every spare inch of space allotted and the tomatoes (oh the tomatoes!) are now clinging to anything and everything.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

A true jungle for the treasure hunter (aka Liv) in search of red tomatoes to pop into her mouth.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

It always amazes me that it takes just a couple of months for so much to happen.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

I love this garden! I never thought that I would love a garden so much. I don’t spend all that much time on it, but it’s one of those hobbies that I’m willing to make time for when it needs it (aka pruning once a month).

Despite the success in growth, we’ve run into a few problems this summer.

Problem 1: the technical term is ‘powdery mildew’ (it’s true) and it’s been slowly taking over the squash plants.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

This happened last year and a little internet research confirms that you can clean plants up with vinegar (and other household products) but as I did last year, I found the best solution was to prune out the bad leaves and to cut like crazy. The positive is that this sort of fungus doesn’t jump from variety to variety. It usually stays contained on just the plant it started on.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

Many gardeners would disagree – the purpose of the giant canopy leaves is to protect the growing fruit underneath from the sun and you can’t just remove those leaves. I don’t worry about too much direct sun right here though and since it was a problem that I didn’t want to monitor, I thought it best to remove the source and to encourage blossoms that were still protected by unaffected leaves.

Problem 2 has been getting those blossoms to produce veggies. Believe it or not, the zucchini and squash have each produced one massive veggie each (it was pretty odd looking!), and that’s it. Just one each.

Cool fact: the squash plant produces both male and female blossoms. The female blossoms grow with a baby fruit attached (see first arrow) and the male sans any produce (second arrow). But if the pollen from the male doesn’t reach the female, nothing happens.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

Previously my garden bed has been lined with flowers. Marigolds last year and nasturtiums this year. I had to pull the nasturtiums just a couple of weeks ago due to them not looking so great and I think that’s the problem! No bees, no veggies.

So I’m off to purchase some more flowers for the edges of this box soon.

Problem 3 has to do with water and nutrients. It is so challenging to figure out if you are supplying your garden with the right amount of nitrogen, oxygen and so forth. Some plants thrive in depleted environments, some will die. Short of sending a sample of dirt off to be tested, there’s not too much that can be done.

Or so I thought.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

A company called Edyn recently reached out to see if I’d like to test out a garden sensoring system. This little gadget is placed right into your veggie box and is connected via wifi to your smart phone.


Edyn started via Kickstarter and is now available at Home Depot (the explanation video on their homepage is awesome).

Here’s what I learned: the nutrients in my garden are actually right on (hence the overzealous growing, I think.) The moisture level is really too high though, I’m hurting my plants probably with root rot. In our drier climate, my go-to to solve ANY gardening problem has always been to water. I have a nifty little drip system set up within the box and it’s all connected to my hose:

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

We’re in a drought here in California and water conservation is really top priority. I’ve been pretty lean with our lawn out front (which is now mostly tinged brown and green) and the rest of the landscape is more mediterranean desert so it’s holding on well. The garden box is the only little plot of land that receives a decent dousing. But that’s completely not necessary.

I have been really watching water usage over the past few weeks and have cut back drastically. If Edyn tells me to water, I do, but it’s not often.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

I have been experimenting with the best placement for Edyn. Not surprisingly I’ll get slightly different results at different spots.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

Another cool feature of the tool is that you can ask the Edyn app if a particular fruit or veggie will do well in your space. You can virtually add it to your garden and read all about the light, moisture, nutrition and humidity that it requires.

A couple of notes: the sensor is SUPER EASY to use and to set up, but it does have to be connected via a 2.5ghz wifi network. That didn’t make any sense to me in the beginning, either, but my network is a 5ghz network. It’s possible to create a 2.5ghz network from your 5ghz network though and it’s a rather quick process (you probably won’t even have to). I’ll let Google answer any questions that you might have there.

My artichoke is reaching for the sun, my newly pruned squash is cleaned up, my tomatoes continue to climb up and over the wall.

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Update: Summer | Edyn | PepperDesignBlog.com

I did lose my beans this year (as I have every year before). Next year maybe I’ll try them with the Edyn sensor right at their roots.

Now it’s time for production! And to enjoy homegrown veggies at our dinner table come August. That’s the goal. (Here’s how we took full advantage of last year’s garden.)

I collaborated with Edyn on this post however thoughts and words are all my own. Thanks for letting me share about products that support this blog.

Wardrobe Style Board: A Work-From-Home Uniform

Wardrobe Style Board: A Stay-At-Home Mom Uniform | Cropped Light Jeans, Tan Sven Clogs, White Madewell V-Neck T-Shirt, Colorful Necklace, Gold Earrings | PepperDesignBlog.com

tan clogs | pocket tee | light jeans | gold disc earrings | colorful necklace

It’s not uncommon for people to come and go from our house all day long, even mid-week. Subs for the new remodel, our sitters for the girls, a neighbor who pops in to say hi, a colleague for a meeting. Occasionally during the week I’ll take a break from the home office to race to an appointment, attend an event or to meet a work partner for lunch. Almost all of these events require more than yoga pants + tank top, which I’m grateful for. I feel much more like a human being if I’m wearing a teensy bit of makeup and a clean t-shirt.

Decision-making requires brain juice and rather than be caught stressing over each day’s personal outfit, I really should be using that time to get breakfast made, children walked to preschool and electrician questions answered. And so I’ve sort of developed a little uniform that has served me well. (This started as a way to live off of a limited postpartum closet while our bedroom has been all packed up and has turned into a sort of awesome solution.)

These days I’m mostly sporting cotton v-neck t-shirts (this one is my favorite – even after a little A/B testing with a few other brands, I have it in grey and soon-to-be other colors), rolled or cropped jeans (shorts for around the house but jeans for a quick meeting. found the above jeans at a neighborhood garage sale of all places for $5. best find ever), comfortable flip flops or wooden clogs (I scooped a super comfy pair up over here for $25) and basic but fun jewelry (the top necklace in this collage is still one of my favorites).

Slightly oversized cotton tee + cropped jeans + clogs + fun jewelry.

Purchase in multiples or wash and repeat. But maybe with a different necklace or scarf.

I’m traveling this weekend for work and am also packing dark denim, clogs, shirts with scarves. I think that the work environment continues to allow for a more casual day and I love that.

PS tips for selling your clothes online (easy and totally possible), two more style staples.

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