Edible Gardens: 5 Plots to go from the Garden to the Table


Image credit: irrigationdirect.com

Winter is finally starting to wane and it’s time to think about what we want in your garden. A fun way to do that is to plan your garden around what you want to eat. It’s a simple idea and you’ll know exactly what to do with your vegetables once they’re harvested. Here are five edible gardens with vegetables that grow well together and taste great together, too.

American Garden:

What goes better with your barbecued chicken and ribs than creamy cole slaw? Not only is that grill in the backyard but so are the main ingredients for your slaw. All you need from the garden are cabbage, carrots and onions. The rest you can pick up from the store.


  • Carrots and Cabbage are both biennial plants and fall crops can be easily stored during colder months.
  • Onions are harvested in late summer and can also be stored during winter months.

Image credit: yankeemagazine.com

Mexican Garden:

Chips and salsa are a great no-cook snack that you can eat throughout the summer. Salsa is best when it’s made fresh, but imagine if the ingredients — tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and cilantro — were picked from out your back door – it can’t get more delicious or easier than that. The recipe for salsa or pico de gallo is straightforward and if you add a mashed avocado and a couple of squeezes of lemon to the mix, you’ve got guacamole.


  • Harvest cilantro weekly to keep the leaves growing and fresh.
  • Both tomatoes and jalapenos should be staked.
  • Tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro all work well as potted plants.

Italian Garden:

One of the best possible ways to taste fresh basil is in a caprese salad. It’s simple and tomatoes and basil love to grow together; they’re also the base for a margherita pizza. The recipe is easy (there’s no shame in using a store-bought crust!)  and if you have the other ingredients (onion, garlic, parsley and oregano) on hand or in the garden, you’ll be serving up Italian food all summer long.


  • Basil is an annual and grows best in warm weather and should be harvested if temperatures are expected to dip below 40°F.
  • Tomato plants can handle temperatures as low as 30°F, but a frost could kill a tomato plant, so keep an eye on the forecast.

French Garden:


Image credit: makebetterfood.com

If you’re feeling a little French, you don’t have to go to Paris to get fresh ratatouille. Though there is debate on how to make authentic ratatouille, it can certainly be made on the stove top so you don’t heat up the entire kitchen during hot summer months.


  • Zucchini (or squash), eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers all grow very well in hot weather.
  • Stagger your seedling start dates – start eggplant seedlings six weeks before your last frost date and give zucchini just a two week head start – will help you synchronize your harvest times and you can get your first summer dinner planned.

Spanish Garden:

For a cool soup in the summer, a cucumber, tomato, bell peppers, onions will deliver a good gazpacho. It requires little more than fresh vegetables and a good blender. And, if you’re feeling dangerous, you can steal a jalapeno from your pico de gallo garden to spice up your soup.


Image credit: sharpercut.com


  • Cucumbers should be picked every other day or so. Cucumbers left on the vine too long will make it harder for the plant to produce more cucumbers.
  • Both cucumbers and peppers love the sun and are thirsty  – as are onions – but water moderately and cover the soil around the plants with mulch to keep the moisture in.

Quick tip: Remember that most plants will probably need to be started indoors if you’re starting with a seed  and they shouldn’t be planted in the ground until after the last frost.

I have more ideas to share at LTD Commodities. Click here to find out more about me and the garden products I can’t do without.

Ideas to Make Your Garden Shed Unique

It’s time to think about spring home improvement projects to beautify your home for summer.


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jollyroberts


If you’re thinking about adding to your garden or improving it, a great way to dress up or create new focal points by adding a garden shed. Other than the small structure holding all your gardening tools, it can become a showpiece. It doesn’t take much time or money to create anything from a cute dollhouse or an eye-catching central point. 

By the addition of windows, window flower boxes and shrubbery, a garden shed can begin to look more elaborate. Go rustic by planting a climbing vine to cover part of your shed; it’ll add some country charm. To give your shed more class, use tastefully colored paints to create a very enchanting cottage.


Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24069019@N00

If you don’t want to put too much work into a shed you already have, a splash of paint can dress it up. With an earthy red and blue or green highlighted trim and a greenish yellow door, you can make it energetic or toned down. A new coat of paint can always create a new look without breaking the bank.  If you are the artistic type, start with a beige building and paint on vines or floral decorations. But if you don’t have the knack for free-hand painting, you can always use stencils and get the same result.

Adding a lean-to with inside access for a small greenhouse will make a garden shed both elegant and functional for your delicate plants. Or, if you organize the contents of the shed, your garden shed can also double as a playhouse for your kids.


Photo credit:
Found on sashanunez2ag.blogspot.com

Not only can a garden shed be a versatile and practical building but also can create an ambiance encompassing your gardens. Best of all, it does not have to cost a bundle!

4 Food Safety Tips


Although a great number of people are becoming concerned about their health and appearance and try to eat healthy. Admittedly, there is an abundance of foods at the supermarkets that are said to be organic and consequently good for your body but the truth is that we still need to be careful. Even if their products have gone thorough inspections by the authorities and they were neatly stored in accordance with all safety and health standards, you should be mindful about particular foods that need preparation. Here are four tips when preparing food for yourself and your family.

1. Clean Produce

Here is the golden rule called thorough cleaning. As far as the fruits and vegetables are concerned, most consumers think that putting them under cold running water for a couple of seconds but that may not be enough. Every fruit should be rinsed with warm water for more than a minute. If the fruits have been imported from another country they may have been treated with some chemicals in order to avoid damage and preserve their initial condition. Even if you picked up your fruits and vegetables from the “organic” shelf, do wash them carefully. The probability to be clean of any harmful substances is really slim.

2. Storage

The proper food storage is another important factor in food safety. As soon as you check out at the supermarket, the responsibility for appropriate storage of the food is yours. Meat, for example, can be really troublesome. If the store where you shop is a bit of a drive, you may want to bring a few insulated bags to transport your cold or frozen items back home. Be sure to use the items before the expiration date or place in the freezer for future use.

3. Clean surfaces

When preparing meals it is important to make sure your hands are absolutely clean. Washing your hands after coughing, smoking, sneezing, touching dirty surfaces such as the trash bin lid, is obligatory when preparing any kind of food.  As soon as you are done cutting the meat, put your cutting utensils under hot running water and vigorously scrub them with an appropriate detergent.

4. Preparation

Stick to the instructions at the recipe books and cook the meal as long as directed in order to make sure all the bacteria is eliminated. It is a well-known fact that a great number of foods contain bacteria before the thermal processing such as chicken.

Under no circumstances should you keep raw and cooked food together to avoid cross contamination

Don’t forget that your health should be your top priority. By handling and preparing your food with caution, you can greatly reduce the risk of any contaminates.

Author Bio: Connie Jameson loves to write about health and hygiene. As a leader of London cleaning services team she has to learn and read about new cleaning technologies.

Green Inspiration this St. Patrick’s Day

Fleece-Footed-pajamasDon’t know what you want to do this St. Patrick’s Day yet? Don’t worry, we’ve started a March into Green board on Pinterest to help you in your journey. Here are some of our favorite finds.

It doesn’t quite feel like spring yet, but you can keep warm with the luck of the Irish in these green footed pajamas for adults. They’re exactly like the fleece jammies you had when you were a kid – complete with elasticized ankles and rubber grips on the bottom. From neck to toe in green, you won’t have to be the size of a leprechaun to feel like a leprechaun!

In the grand tradition of St. Patrick’s Day, adult beverages are on the menu of most celebrations. While some revelers might be celebrating with green beer, Irish stout or Irish whiskey, a welcome break from the typical drinks might lead you to something greener.  The Shamrock Shooter and the Irish Frog are a sweeter treat than the typical drinks using green Midori as a base. If you’re ambitious, you can try to make the Irish Flag Shooter by layering crème de menthe, Baileys Irish Cream and Grand Marnier. However you decide to mix it, it’s sure to be a good time.

Your coffee doesn’t have to be Irish coffee to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. A green M&M mug will keep your Irish spirit awake as you take your coffee to go. The double wall will keep your beverage warm, and if you don’t have the luck of the Irish, the travel lid will work with you to keep you from spilling your drink.

If you’re celebrating with the underage Irish, a Shamrock Shake might be in order. This is a copycat recipe so you can make it at home.  It’s not magic, but with a little green food coloring and peppermint extract, it might taste like a pot of gold.

If you have an out-of-town destination for St. Patrick’s Day, you can be bold and be green with quilted luggage. There’s no way this will get lost on the sea of black suitcases at the baggage claim. The lightweight design allows you to move freely as you travel while the interior pockets and full-zip closure makes room for everything you need and keeps them intact.

It ain’t easy being green, but snuggling up with this frog pillow might just make being green softer.  Not only is this green guy adorable, but he’s filled with thousands of micro-beads to make him soft and squishy. For kids, he’s a stuffed frog. For adults, he’s a travel pillow.

And, finally, it just wouldn’t be a holiday if we didn’t throw in a “Keep Calm” poster, so have a happy St. Patrick’s Day and shamrock on!Keep-Calm

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks For The Week

magnetic clipboardsWe are officially one week into March, the month of green, Mardi Gras, and Irish pride! While you’re settling into the third month of the year, we’ve decided to list a few of our favorite tools for home organization. Check out these items we adore to help you organize your home before heading into spring-cleaning in the next couple of months.

Magnetic Clipboards

So here’s the thing: when you have kids, your life becomes a chaotic mess for eighteen plus years, and we get that. Despite stains on the hardwood floors and crayon all over the walls, we think these magnetic fridge clipboards can help you begin carving little pockets of organization in your home. Start with meal planning, to-do lists, grocery store lists, events, and weekday schedules. With this back of four, each family member can even have their own clipboard notepad for their own use. Just a little organization goes a lot way, and maybe this small success will permeate through the rest of your home.

Ladder Shelf Storage

Time to marry form and function in your living room or dining room design with this creative ladder shelf storage unit. You can display knick-knacks and books or store wine glasses and extra dinnerware in this stylish storage system. It’s a great place for organizing both attractive and unattractive home items, such as beautiful candles, or unsightly mail. Organize and conquer clutter!

Hanging Travel Organizer

Summer holidays and trips are right around the corner, and we absolutely love this hanging travel organizer. Perfect for keeping everything in one place and simultaneously saving space in small bathrooms, this organizer is a lifesaver! Imagine spending a few weeks in small hotels in Europe and looking around for counter space. Not even a thought with this great organizer that hangs on the towel hook, door knob, or right on the shower rod.

Neoprene Cable Sleeves

Cables are the bane of any home office organization, but with this clever zip-up neoprene cable sleeve, you never have to worry about loose cables again. You can use these sleeves to organize the cables in your home or work office, as well as those in your entertainment system, cables from your stereo system, or even your electronics chargers. And if you’ve got lots of chargers in your car, attach a piece of Velcro to the outside of the sleeve and secure it in place. So simple!

5 Ways Running Can Relieve Stress

trackWe all experience stress in our day to day lives. It’s normal. If left unchecked, however, stress can cause a number of problems, including depression, fatigue, and headaches. Cardiovascular exercises like running have been shown to be some of the most effective, if not the most effective, ways of relieving stress. As little as 20 minutes of running in fitness clothing has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels in the body, leaving both body and mind feeling

Kinesiologists, neurologists, and scientists have been spent thousands of hours exploring how exercises like running help to relieve stress. Through their research, they’ve discovered a number of ways that running helps to reduce stress levels in both the body and mind. This article will list 5 ways running can relieve stress.

1. Running releases endorphins
Endorphins are nature’s happy drug. When released into the brain, they make you feel happy, joyful, and excited about life.When running, the brain triggers the body to release large amounts of endorphins to counteract feelings of muscle tiredness and exhaustion. These endorphins, if released in large enough amounts, can trigger a ‘runner’s high’, making you feel happy and elated while reducing feelings of stress.

2. Running reduces stress hormone levels in the body
Stress causes the release of cortisol and other stress hormones into the body.
In small amounts, these stress hormones provide a number of useful health benefits, including increased energy, improved cognitive function, and improved pain suppression. In large amounts, however, they hinder more than they help. They impair thyroid function, increase blood pressure, and cause feelings of anxiety and despair. Running helps to purge the body of excess amounts of stress hormones. It signals the brain to stop releasing these hormones, thereby reducing stress levels overall.

3. Running improves sleep quality
Scientific research has found that the more active your body is during the day, the better your quality of sleep will be at night. Better quality of sleep comes with a number of important health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced amounts of stress hormones in the body, and a more relaxed body and mind. These health benefits, in turn, help to reduce stress levels, leaving the body feeling more refreshed and energized in the mornings.

4. Running relaxes the mind
Running gives you some alone time with your thoughts. It gives you time to connect with your mind and forget the difficulties that plague your life. This meditative effect has been shown to calm the mind, massively reducing levels of stress hormones in the body.

5. Running strengthens the mind against difficulty and adversity
Running is not easy. It’s mentally and physically demanding, and it requires a lot of mental fortitude to do well. Running trains your mind to better deal with adversity and difficult conditions. It makes your mind stronger and less resistant to life’s daily pressures, which reduces the amount of stress hormones being released into the body.

Summing Up
Running has been scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to combat stress. If you find yourself feeling stressed in your day to day life, start running a few times a week. It might just turn things around.

Aimee works in the city in a highly stressful job. She loves running and cannot emphasize enough the fantastic mental and physical benefits of exercise.

Spring Cleaning: Declutter Your Finances

clean-up-financesAs spring prepares to be sprung, it’s time to rid our lives of the gnarly winter blues that have accumulated over the last year. Clear out the dust bunnies from under the bed, rotate your closet so the warm weather clothes are near the front, and give the pup a haircut.

All of those things will help you get back into the swing of things and refresh everything. But on top of all that, it’s always good to give your finances a once-over as well. After all, money issues are a source of stress for many people. Here are a few ways to declutter your finances and reduce some of the headaches that can come along with them.

Declutter Your Papers

Let’s face it; it was a terrible winter. No one blames you for choosing to shovel your sidewalk instead of organizing your mail and prioritizing hot cocoa over balancing your checkbook. Now that it’s all behind you, you can focus on organizing your sensitive documents. If all your pay stubs and bills are filling up your junk drawer, go through them and put them all in a centralized place.

It very well may take a few sittings, but once you’ve categorized everything, managing your monthly budget shouldn’t seem like such a chore. Knowing where all your resources are will make paying your monthly bills seamless.

Purge the Extras

When you clean out your refrigerator, you probably pull out anything that looks questionable, wipe the inside of it out, and start with a crisp, clean slate. Indeed, one of the most effective parts of any spring cleaning regimen is purging your home of everything you don’t need or don’t use. Sure, picking up a nasty, moldy orange isn’t exactly a pleasant idea, but doing so is much needed if you want to clean. The same can essentially be said about how you approach your finances.

So start purging. Do you actually use your gym membership? If not, drop it or switch to a cheaper one closer to home that you’ll be more likely to use. Do you watch TV all the time, or did your favorite shows end? If you can swing it, drop it until next season.

Mop up the Rest

Of course, as with any spring cleaning binge, you’ll need to mop up the mess. Look for ways you’ll be able to to cut corners when it comes to your expenses:

  • Entertainment - Do you really need that super mega huge cable package, or can you make do with basic cable? Or better yet, do without and subscribe to Hulu or Netflix instead. You can find most shows online these days anyway, and you’ll probably end up being more productive with less TV to watch.
  • Utility bills - See if your utility companies have a budget billing program, and enroll in it. You’ll end up paying for what you use, but your bill will be the same each month.
  • Eating out and groceries - Get to know your inner couponer especially when it comes to groceries. You’ll probably be surprised how much money you can save by simply using coupons. There’s nothing ‘extreme’ about it; just subscribe to your local newspaper and start clipping.

Now, more than ever, is a good time to reevaluate your mobile plan too. T-Mobile is really shaking things up in the wireless world by changing some of its most archaic policies. See if any of these changes can benefit you and your financial situation and consider switching if it works for you and your family. There’s no reason to pay more for something that you can get for less.

Polish Your Credit

Once you’ve pulled all the nastiness out of your budget, you can really make it shine. You should be able to spot some questionable issues that could be resolved. Are you nearing your credit limit on your credit card? Move some money around so you can make a payment to pull the balance away from the limit.

If that’s not an option, consider opening another card to spread the balance out a bit. Contrary to popular belief, it’s better to have two cards nowhere near their limit than it is to have one card that’s maxed out all the time. The idea is to keep your utilization ratio (the credit you’re using vs. how much is available to you) as low as you can. Find a card that offers a special rate on balance transfers to save on interest charges while you’re at it.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to stop with the dirt on the kitchen floor. Take a look at every aspect of your life, and simplify wherever you can. What’s the most pressing thing on your spring cleaning to-do list?

Popular Pins: LTD’s Favorite Pins From February

It’s time for the end-of-month round up of February’s popular pins! We expected a lot of lovey-dovey pins, but there was more variation than anticipated! A surprising number of people were far too excited for the prospect of spring to get hung up in hearts and roses all month. There are also plenty of fun Irish-inspired pins for St. Patricks’ Day, which is always a fun time. Check out some of our favorite pins from February!

LOVE-Signed Wedding Frames

LOVE frame

We expect these kinds of pins throughout February, as lovers and spouses come up with ways to celebrate their love throughout the month. Well, these Wedding Frames by Marla Rae are a creative way to do just that. The most popular frame has each letter of the word “LOVE” shaped with hands and silhouetted against the distressed brick background. It’s the perfect frame for an 8×10 wedding or engagement photo, which is why everyone loved it last month! It is also available in red with hands shaping a heart instead.

Hot Dog Slicer Kitchen Gadget

hot dog sliverIt looks like our Pinterest followers are more than ready for barbecue season! Despite February being the month of love, this hot dog slicer was one of the most popular pins for the entire month! Perfect for quickly cutting up kids’ hotdogs this summer, you can even put these fun Dachshund-shaped gadgets out for a funny display. Simply place the hot dog in the base of the gadget, and slice down with the dog! Add ketchup to the condiment bowl and you’re done! Kids are happy.

Anger Management Novelty Mug

novelty mug anger management

Anger knows no season, which might be why this hilarious Anger Management Mug had a following all month long! These great novelty mugs come in four shapes and styles, all to add a little more humor to your morning brew. Got a grouchy coworker? We propose gifting this “I flunked anger management” mug to lighten the mood in the office and keep things fun. Maybe wait to fill it with hot coffee though.

St. Patrick’s Day Magnet Art

Shamrock Design Magnet

Everyone in the U.S. is gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day, since it’s one of the only holidays without too much drama. Everyone can celebrate it, whether you’re Irish or not, and it’s a holiday surrounded by parties, drinking, and green treats! This seasonal magnet art is always popular for March, and the shamrocks are perfect for decorating your dishwasher! This large one-piece magnet fits the front of most dishwashers, but can also be used to decorate the fridge or freezer, or cut into smaller squares and shamrocks to decorate all three!

Kids’ Owl Packs and Lunch Bags (Insulated)

kids' owl bags

How adorable is this owl design? These cute owl backpacks and insulated lunch bags are the perfect accessories to your kid’s day. Pinners love sending healthy lunches to school with their kids, especially at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, it’s hard to send much more than a sandwich unless you’ve got an insulated pack to keep it cool! We love these insulated bags and matching backpack in the adorable owl print. In fact, we like this print so much we’d understand if you got these bags for yourself!

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks For The Week

why limit happy to one hourAnother week is over and it is finally time for the weekend! We think Fridays should be reserved for fun and relaxation, which is why we’re highlighting the perfect happy hour essentials for Friday happy hour at home. You don’t have to get dressed up; you don’t have to worry about crowded bars, and you don’t even have to put on real pants! Change out of those uncomfortable shoes immediately and kick up your feet for a fun happy hour at home. Now’s the time to send the invitation around to your favorite happy hour crew and have them join you at home for a relaxing night with your favorite friends.

Frosted Fun Stem-Less Wine Glasses

Stems make your glass look classy and elegant, all while trying to disguise the fact that you’re going to down that Chardonnay long before it gets warm. Ditch the stem and opt for these fun stem-less wine glasses instead. They’ve got great phrases like, “Why limit happy to one hour?” and “Drinks well with others.” The frosted sheen is perfect for hiding drying water droplets so you don’t have to worry about polishing them before placing them out on the table. They’re also great for serving fruit juice on the rocks and soda for the drivers.

Prescription Bottle Kooler

We love these great novelty coolers for keeping your beer cold and the mood light. Perfect for hiding a cheap-o bottle of beer, or for enhancing the humor of any beer you’ve got! We love the Prescription Bottle cooler, because self-medicating is what happy hour is all about, but you can grab the whole set of four and let your guests decide.

Playing Card Set Tin

Start up a friendly game of cards with The King himself this weekend using these great playing cards. Go ahead and make up a drinking game, or just play a few rounds of everyone’s favorite poker game. You deserve the opportunity to unwind with a little interesting competition.

Can Dispenser Shelves

If things are getting really out of hand on Friday, you’re sure to run out of classy wine and bottled beer. You might want to grab a box of wine just in case, and you’re definitely going to need back-up cans of beer. Well, what better way to keep those cans of beer cold than nestled together in the fridge on these can dispenser shelves? And, if you’ve got a few designated drivers in the bunch, this is a good place to store the soft drinks for the sober ones.

Party Snacks Cookbook

No happy hour is complete without the right spread of delicious snacks, and we recommend checking out this Party Snacks Cookbook for some great ideas at a bargain! With great snack-attack selections like stuffed mushrooms and veggie quesadillas to BLT bites and sweet peanut butter cup popcorn, you’ll never want to leave the house for happy hour again! (And, if you’re a guest for an at-home happy hour, all of these Party Snacks recipes travel well!)

Hors D’oeuvres Baking Set

Last but not least, you can make anything into fun bite-sized happy hour snacks with this great hors d’oeuvres baking set. Make your own little brownies, mini muffins, baked Brie bites, or stuffed spinach-artichoke sliders for your happy hour get-together. Everyone will love the tiny hors d’oeuvres and this baking set makes preparation a breeze! Now get outta here and enjoy your Friday!

The Story Behind Your Favorite Gems

Gem-StonesColored gemstones are more than just pretty to look at. Some people have even assigned meanings and characteristics. If you believe in that sort of thing, you may want to check out your jewelry box and see what each piece says about you. Look at your most favorite gemstones. Does it surprise you that they match your personality so well? Or is it the exact opposite? Take a look at the meanings behind the most popular stones on the market and see how they relate to you.


It’s most common appearance is of the colorless kind, yet can also be found sporting hues of pink, green, blue, brown, and even black. Once believed to be “splinters of stars fallen to earth from the heavens” by the ancient Greeks, the diamond symbolizes love, beauty, and purity. It is thought to bring clarity of thought and has been used in intellectual pursuits as well as meditation.


These gems are beautiful green stones that are just as at home in a silver or platinum setting as they are in gold. It has been said it was the sacred stone favored by the goddess Venus and is associated with female fertility. Some say emeralds actually promote psychic insight and can help with memory and focus.


You might not realize that they are more than just blue stones. They also come in pink, green, and colorless varieties. Popular among those of the royal bloodline, they are associated with calmness, truthfulness, and devotion. They were called “celestial gems” by the ancients due to the varying colors matching the sky at any given time during the day from sunrise to sunset.


Pearls have often been associated with the moon thanks to their moonlike appearance. They come in a variety of colors and each has its own characteristic. White pearls, not surprisingly, give an air of purity and innocence while gold pearls are associated with prosperity and wealth, much like the precious metal gold.


These gems are a stunning neon or olive green stone that has been favored by many over the years. There are those that think some of Cleopatra’s emeralds were actually peridot. Napoleon even gave his mistress, Josephine, one as a token of his love and devotion. They are thought to help with sleep, strength, and positive attitude.


This stone has been called the “Hero’s Gemstone” as it is thought to provide the wearers with courage and help them to overcome difficulties. Athletes in Greece and Rome wore them as they thought they would help increase their endurance.

So, now that you’ve seen a little insight into the meanings and characteristics of some of the more popular gemstones, do they coincide with any of your own principles or personality? If not, it really doesn’t matter. If you truly love the stones you’ve chosen, just assign your own meaning to them and continue to wear them with pride. Just check out this online jewelry store and find a piece that speaks to you.