The first day of fall FINALLY came and Seattle got rain…oh how I’ve missed the rain!!! Anyway…one of the events I get most excited about during the fall is Halloween. I love Halloween!!! One of my favorite authors got behind a little campaign called All Hallows Read. The idea of it is that you send a “scary” book to people in your life and encourage them to start a tradition of reading on Halloween or the week of Halloween or JUST TO READ. What is not to like about this??? I love books, I love scary books, and I love the idea of getting people in my life reading scary books! I especially love the idea of encouraging children to read.

The first year this was started I sent books to my nephews. It can be difficult to find books for children that are scary without being TOO scary but Amazon will break out books based on the reader’s age so it makes things much easier. This year I might include a few other people on my “All Hallows Read” list. I just ordered Frankenstein and Dracula for my toddler niece. The BabyLit board books are SO GREAT!!!! If you are interested in doing this you can get more information from


Newbie Gardening Lessons Learned

Carrots need to be thinned early and aggressively. I didn’t do this early enough and my carrots grew twisted around each other. The few carrots that did manage to grow without being completely misshapen, didn’t taste very good. I have been most disappointed with my carrots.

Even Cherry tomatoes need a cage. I assumed the plants would be small enough not to require any special rig to hold it up. I could not have been more wrong. My tomato plants grew so large so quickly that by the time I realized they needed a cage to hold them up they were growing toward the ground and I was risking breaking them if I tried to get a cage around them.

Dogs will eat cherry tomatoes right off of the vine. My bassets seem to have developed a taste for cherry tomatoes. I can’t keep them away from my plants.
Don’t attempt to plant basil with tomatoes. I read a gardening blog that suggested planting basil with tomatoes would sweeten the flavor of the tomatoes so I attempted it. My sweet basil plants were dwarfed by my tomato plants and died very quickly. The purple basil I planted, however, thrived. I have discovered I do not like the texture or flavor of purple basil but it is beautiful in a pot, especially when it flowers. It has kept bees in my little container garden all through the summer.

Herbs left alone will grow like CRAZY. I planted a few types of Thyme, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena and Oregano together in a pot and I didn’t cut the plants a lot. I left them alone and picked whatever herbs I was going to use that particular day. These herbs have grown like weeds. I am going to harvest a lot of them before the end of summer and freeze them in olive oil for use throughout fall and winter.

Lettuce needs sun. My lettuce crop was great. I will definitely plant it again but likely in a pot to itself. I planted it with my carrots but the carrots blocked all of the sun from the lettuce and it died much sooner than expected.

All in all I think the herbs and tomatoes were my biggest hits of container gardening. I have definitely learned some lessons and I’ll be sure to plan earlier for 2015. I didn’t make plans for a fall or winter garden mostly because I am not supposed to be gardening with my arm in the state it is in but I hope to have some next year. I might make some adjustments and actually set aside some yard space for a garden rather than shoving everything into containers.

For the Love of Books – A letter to my niece

I recently wrote a letter to my niece. She’s not yet 2 years old but my sister-in-law set up an email address for her and sends her emails that she will share with her once she’s older and I thought it was an amazing idea so I too have begun sending her email. Below is a short little letter I sent to her because I was up early reading and thinking about her.

…It’s very quiet here in Seattle right now. It’s early morning, grey and overcast and all of the animals are sleeping. Its my favorite time & kind of day. I like to sit surrounded by the silence, it’s so peaceful. This is when I normally open a book and read. I can literally spend hours reading a good book. I’ve always loved books…for longer than I can remember. My mom told me my favorite things from the earliest of age were music, the ocean, and books.

When I was very little, about your age right now, I would grab several books and get my mom or dad to read them all to me. I began memorizing them long before I could actually read them and, as i got older, I would recite them out loud as I turned the pages.

Reading books with you, on my most recent visit, was one of my favorite things to do. You run scampering through the house and return with a book and give it to someone and then you want to sit on their lap to read. You seem to have some favorites. You have already memorized parts of one and love to participate in the reading of your favorite line in Chu’s Day Out, “AAAaaahhhhhh”. It truly makes my heart sing with delight!

I hope you always have a love for books! Books are so amazing! In my mind they are still unmatched in the exploration of the imagination. I think words, both spoken and written, have a bit of magic in them.
Books do not share the confines of visual media. The written word will put your mind to the task of imagining and building the worlds you’ll read about. I find there to be a bit of magic in that.

Books…I’ve spent my life reading them, gaining knowledge from them, finding adventure, finding escape, finding strength, finding friends in them and because of them.

A truly good book can change the way you see things, make you view the world through a new set of eyes, provide you with a perspective you might not have ever had before. Books / words really can change your life!

I hope you always love books! There are so many worlds and wonders for you to uncover! I can’t wait to share some of them with you!

I love you, Sweet Girl!