Thursday, May 27, 2010

May in the Garden

This year has been quirky in our Midwest garden, that's for sure.

We planted early -- spinach, radishes, and sugar snap peas. But the weather got so warm so fast that our early crops bolted. Our spinach harvest was about half it's usual bounty and our radishes had leafy tops but woody roots. The peas are long and leggy -- already as tall as I am. The hubs has trellised them twice already, and they are still growing!

On the upside, the peas are now in bloom and the bees are hard at work and plentiful. Our strawberries are going gangbusters and our roses are more gorgeous than they've ever been.

Yesterday, I took a little time in the garden to pull out the last of the non-performing crops to get ready for peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. Hopefully, summer in the garden will be more productive than Spring has been.

In the meantime, we're spending plenty of time enjoying our flowers.

This rose is 'Paradise' -- it makes me wish Midwest Moms had smell-o-vision. The fragrance is amazing!

On our arbor is a blend of 'Don Juan' and 'Joseph's Coat'. Both are taller than me now, with very little winter die-back this year. I think it won't be long until the arbor is completely covered.

A new addition to the wildflower garden this year is Lupine. It's flower stalks are striking. (I think it's my new favorite.)

And I found this little flower out in the garden, too! She sure is beautiful... but growing like a weed!

So tell me... how does your garden grow this year?

- Midwest Mom

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Last Chance for MaryJanes:

The Simplista by Earth Shoes

Not long ago my great bloggy friend, Amy Hatch of contacted me to ask whether I would be willing to do a few reviews for a sponsor, The deal was this: they would choose the shoes and I would put them through their paces and write about it. I agreed – as long as they weren’t Lady Gaga glow-in-the-dark platforms ...

The first shoe I received for review was a tasteful MaryJane, the Earth Shoes Simplista.

My first impression was positive. Everything that came from EarthShoes was designed to be re-usable with minimal packaging. The shoes came in little hemp bags with tags explaining the company’s use of environmentally-conscious alternative materials – from 70% recycled soles to water-based adhesive to reduce harmful chemical runoff. I thought, “Wow. A shoe company making an effort…” I was intrigued.

When I looked at the shoe itself, the styling was surprising. Earth Shoes’ design – with the heel slightly lower than the toe – engages more muscles in your leg as you walk, thereby burning more calories through everyday wear. At first, it was difficult to get used to the appearance of a higher toe than heel. Simplistas do have a chunky look, but when I tried them on the raised toe was less noticeable. The leather was soft and I liked the adjustable hook-and-loop closure on the strap. Better yet, the Simplistas were surprisingly supportive – especially in the arch. And unlike most of the shoes I own, they didn’t pinch my toes.

I decided to give them the preschool teacher workout. After singing and dancing my way through the morning, I found that my feet and legs felt great. Three hours after we returned home that first day, my daughter pointed out that I still had my pretty shoes on. I hadn’t even noticed. They are that comfortable. In the past month, these shoes have gotten their fair share of wear and are holding up great.

As for the calorie-burning claim, I won’t say ‘the pounds melt away like magic’ when I wear my EarthShoes Simplistas. But they do make my feet and legs feel great and would be a cute, fun addition to any Mom’s wardrobe.

Disclosure: I received the EarthShoes Simplista MaryJanes for free from sponsor, as part of a special promotion.