Hobbies: Taking Care of Temperamental House Plants

I started keeping plants as a sophomore in College. I really wanted to get a pet, but knew I just didn’t have the time or money to take care of one the way I would want. So instead, I bought myself a few plants that I could nurture, but also not feel too bad if they bit the dust. I started with a few herbs, Celosia, and a hibiscus plant. The hibiscus is still around, I’ve replaced the herbs a few times, and my celosia lasted a few years before a hard freeze took them out. I just recently replaced the celosia. In addition, I’ve added quite a few other plants to my collection. This season I added some of the most temperamental plants of them all including two orchids, and a Bonsai Tree.

Total I have 10 plants right now:pink-2146772_640

  • Baby Oak Tree
  • Hibiscus
  • Celosia
  • peppermint
  • lavender
  • 2 orchids
  • Aloe Vera
  • Bonsai Tree
  • Kalanchoe

What I love about Plants:

I love coming home to see my plants in bloom, its like coming home to a smile, every time I leave home. In addition, watering, pruning, and re-potting them is relaxing to me and provides me a feeling of tranquility. It is also fun to rearrange the plants around the patio.

flaming-kathchen-189547_640My Watering Schedule:

I do my best to water the outside plants once a week, sometimes I do it twice and sometimes I will skip a week especially if we get a lot of rain. I regularly will check their soil to determine if its wet or dry, though in some cases like with my oak tree I can tell by site. The orchids each get watered once a week usually on Thursdays. One requires ice cold water while the other is fine with just regular cool water. The Bonsai gets water more often because I have to use a squirt bottle to prevent the water from just going everywhere. Typically I water the Bonsai two or three times a week.

Plant food:

I feed my outside plants by adding Epsom salt to the water once every season. I have not started feeding my orchids yet, but have done some research on making my own food and plan to try my hand at it here soon.

I’m planning to use the following ingredients:

  • Used tea leaves
  • Epsom salt
  • Rice water
  • milk
  • molasses

I read that egg shells, and chicken bones work as well, but I don’t have the materials necessary to crush chicken bones, and from what I read the egg shells are more for fertilizer.

Trimming my Plants:bonsai-1269216_640

I try and trim my plants a couple of times a year, I clear off anything dead, or if its something like the bonsai that I am working to shape, I will trim off any access that I find to be unnecessary. During the big freeze I had that killed most of my plants, I thought I had lost my Hibiscus, I cut it all the way down to the base because everything was dead. I continued to water it and gave it a little Epsom Salt. I was so happy that it grew back. It did take a couple of years before it bloomed again though. However, the summer after the big freeze I also moved up here to Austin, which has a slightly different climate than Huntsville, TX.

blossom-1401810_640

One of my favorite College professors shared a great stat with me, he said the average potted plant grower will kill 70% of the things they plant. Before that terrible freeze a few years back I had a great track record of only killing about 20% of my plants. Since then winter has still managed to be a little tricky for me and I’m probably sitting around 60 or 70% failure rate over the entire 6 years that I’ve been doing this.

Do you keep any plants? What sort of plants have you tried your luck with and seen success? I’m interested in growing my own vegetables one of these days. I’m just not comfortable with the idea of doing it out of pots. Tell me about your planting success or failures in the comments below.

 

 

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Hobbies: For a Love of Cooking

You know the old saying the way to every man’s heart is through his stomach, well it is not just true with men it is also true with women. In a world where a woman can just as easily be the Breadwinner as the Homemaker, women are leaving the kitchen and starting jobs in the corporate world. In the corporate world, cooking skills are not exactly a need to know skill. The modern woman is just as likely as any man to be uncertain in traversing the culinary arts. As a result, anyone is likely to swoon for someone with at least basic culinary skill. After all, we all need to eat and for the mass majority of the worlds population food is something to be enjoyed.

Beyond simple nutritional value, food has many psychological effects. Smell and taste play a large part in memory development and if you can create a literal good taste in a person’s mouth, you have established a permanent connection and memory that is ultimately good. When my partner Daniel and I met, our relationship was for both of us mostly uncertain, but through cooking him and I found connection beyond any other I’d had before. Our first dates were not your typical dates, but rather involved me studying and putting together the finishing “Chapters” of my Honors Thesis while he cooked me dinner. I often look back on those days and wonder how I would have ever finished on time if it had not been for him feeding my brain with delicious food night after night. colorful-1187136_1280

It was on our first official date that he introduced me to sushi; of course, he was only able to convince me by having me try all veggie style rolls no fish or fish eggs involved. Considering I was beginning my fourth year as a vegetarian that was not a surprising requirement.

Daniel and I have spent the last two years learning the others preferences for food. Before Daniel my cooking skills were okay, I was able to feed myself, and I had developed a few recipes that were ultimately delicious. However, I had no comparable kitchen experience to what Daniel had up his sleeves. Cooking from a young age compared to me he was a master chef. It is because of him that I have grown into the cook I am today.

Cooking is not for everyone it is my belief however, that anyone can come to enjoy cooking. Everyone enjoys food, we all love to eat, and there is some kind of connection that forms when good food is shared between individuals. breakfast-1275776_640

Food is Poetry

Food is a Philosophy

Communication with no words

It’s international

Clean, Crisp, and Clear

Food is a Conversation

A work of art in constant change

It affects us all

Food is love

Cooking is a strength

A warmth which hugs the globe

The kitchen is a paradise

In all its shapes and forms

A cook does not fear it

A chef worships in it

Grow your relationships through food

And watch your Circle grow.

Hobbies: The Cursed Child Book Review

Harry Potter The Cursed Child was released November 18, 2015. I was busy having a baby that year, and learning to be a mom so it got past my book nerd radar.I was pleasantly surprised to get the book as a Christmas present (December 2016) and read it before bed over the course of three nights (January 2017). To be honest excluding Shakespeare I have never been a big fan of reading plays. (Ironic when you consider that I spent 4 years between middle school and high school taking Theater courses.) However, I really enjoyed reading the newest installment in the Harry Potter series.

Summary: (Spoiler warning)

The book is written in play format and the story of one of Harry Potters’ sons’ Albus Severus Potter. The book brings back episodes from the past as Albus and his best friend Scorpius (Malfoy’s Son) go back in time in an attempt to rescue “the spare” who died during the tri-wizard tournament. A surprise twist lands them both in the hands of an unknown relative of Lord Voldemort. The book or play seems to have been written as a means of summarizing the rest of the lives of Harry Potter and his friends. We learn what became of Malfoy, Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron.

Critical Assessment: (Spoiler for the ending)

I loved getting to read this story I felt just as attached to the characters as I was in reading the original seven books. However, I felt much was left out and as though some of the characters were down played. Ron’s roll irritated me, I disliked the way they turned him into his mother. I would have understood them doing that with Ginny, but I felt the way they turned Ron into this goofy house husband was a bit weird. Overall though I really got a kick out of the surprise twist ending. It was like seeing my teen girl fanfiction stories coming to life as I imagined Voldemort had a daughter, but in my version the daughter attended school with Harry and his friends. In the end, the book fulfilled all of my needs regarding an 8th tale even if I do wish they had given more attention to all of the children, vs. giving so much of the focus on the one child. I do see why they choose the route that they did, after all their is only so much you can say in a play or even a movie.

Audience Perspective:

I think any Harry Potter fan who reads the book will enjoy the story, they will of course have their own concerns as so much time has passed since the series ended we have begun to romanticize the futures of these characters. We have our own feelings about what would happen with each of them. We also have our wishes for how it ended, many of us did not get our wishful endings, but no matter how you look at it. Harry Potter has been the book series of the millennial generation. We will read these books with our children, we will show them the movies, and we will speak of the great J.K Rowling as the generations before us spoke of Tolkien.

Have you read the book? Where their things you didn’t like? Things that you had previously imagined? Tell me in the comments below?

Hobbies Post: Tortilla Soup Recipe

Once upon a time this blog was a food blog called Novice to Home Cook and I would do different recipe posts, party ideas, and grocery shopping advice. I wanted to write about more than just food so I changed it up and Questions of an Ageing Millennial was born. I recently made an amazing Tortilla Soup that was so amazing I just had to share it. So I’m adding this recipe to my Hobbies section of the blog I don’t want to say recipes will be a regular thing, but if I develop or find a good one I will be sure to share it with you all here.

Just a warning you may not want to read this while hungry.

Ingredients:

2 chicken thighs

1 can black beans

2 roma tomatoes

1 jalepeno

Sea Salt

Pepper

Chili powder

Garlic Powder

Toppings:

Avocado

Lime

Cheese

Cilantro

Tortilla Chips

Instructions:

Boil the two chicken thighs in about 4 quartz of water. Minimum of 2 hours to make a nice chicken broth. I like to boil mine for about 4 to 6 hours though so the meat is falling off the bones already. I then remove the chicken thighs and pull all of the meat off with a fork and place aside in a bowl.

I then add 2-3 tablespoons of sea salt, chili powder, garlic powder and black pepper.  (Honestly I do not measure, so you can use your own judgement.)

I dice the tomatoes and jalepeno and add it to the soup.

I drain the black beans and rinse them before adding them to the soup.

I cook the soup for about 20 minutes on medium.

The best way to serve the soup is pour it and add the chicken back into the soup. Add some fresh cilantro, place two strips of avocado on top, squeeze a quarter of a lime into the soup, and crumple up 3 or 4 tortilla chips on top.

If you try it out be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below.

Hobbies: Reading List

So I’ve spent the last two years or so reading nothing but parenting books, pregnancy books, and How to Make Money Blogging articles. You can say I’m ready to start reading some more fun stuff. My husband even bought me an awesome book to help me get started. Harry Potter The Lost Child screen play. In case my review of the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wasn’t enough of a hint I’m a big Harry Potter nerd. I also wrote a cool blog post about the Harry Potter Generation if you want to check that out. Since I have sort of put reading on the back burner I decided this year would be the perfect one to pick it back up. I have a pile of books that I had started reading prior to finding out I was pregnant and just never got back to. Here’s my reading list, hopefully I will get trough much more than just this list, but hey this is a good start.

Harry Potter: The Cursed Child (Completed)

Stephen King On Writing (Currently Reading)

How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell ( I have actually read this book before, but am re-reading it as part of a project I’m working on.)

The Soul’s Code By James Hillman (I have also read this book in the past, but am re-reading it for the same project.)

Strengths Quest by Dr. Donald O. Clifton, Dr. Edward “Chip” Anderson, with Dr. Laurie A. Schreiner (I have never read this book, but I did take the seminar in college and really enjoyed it. I am reading this book as part of my project as well.)

What to Expect the Second Year (Okay I know this is a baby book, but I’m 180 pages away from finishing it so…shouldn’t I finish it?)

Debt Cures They Don’t want you  know about by Kevin Trudeau (I picked this book up just before getting pregnant I figure I should finish it, it does have “some” interesting insights.)

Black Blood by John Meaney ( I started reading this book again before I became pregnant I’m going to give it another chance and start from the beginning reading it.)

A Passion for Books by Terry W. Glaspey (It’s a rather short book that I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time its been sitting on my night stand so I figured why not?)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them The Original Screenplay (I watched the movie might as well read the book too.)

Like I said I will probably be adding to this list later, but for now these are the books I hope to finish this year. I have been known to read multiple books at once so it is likely this will happen as well. I’m also considering re-reading Stephen Kings On Writing later this year and taking notes in order to help with my creative writing.

 

Hobbies: Creative Writing

Well, I told you this new section of my blog might be coming this year. Indeed, I have chosen to go through with it. I am a person who has many interests. Deep down I am an intellectual, creative, and spiritual minded person. I believe in finding balance in the chaos of life. I attempt to achieve balance in everything I do. It is important to have hobbies. We all need something that takes us away from the here and now of today. Reading and writing are long time hobbies of mine, which is why I felt it fitting for my first hobbies post to be centered upon writing.

Breastfeeding really got me into a bad habit of binge watching netflix shows. So much so that I’ve continued this habit despite having stopped breastfeeding five months ago. Recently I watched the entire 8 part series of the OA. It was fascinating. I loved the way you were unable to tell what was truth and what was fiction. (Of course the whole thing is fiction.) I loved that you couldn’t tell if she was making up the story of what happened to her and what she experienced.

The whole show got me thinking about how I can utilize my hobbies within my writing. The OA, held questions about psychology, spirituality, and it included dance as well as the already spoken of question is this fact or fiction. I wrote a short story for my creative writing class once, a story that I based off my own real life experiences. One of the criticisms I received was that it did not seem realistic. When I told the class it had really happened they then gave critique on the perspective. Suggesting I change it. When I did the story was accepted and perceived much better.

I have started writing creative fiction again, I’m trying to incorporate my interests beyond reading and writing into it. I have taken on many hobbies in the past, but non have withstood time as much or as well as writing. When I consider this and wonder about why that is, I only have one real response. Writing allows me to express myself with expression, because I can publish it or not publish it. If I do publish it they will click a button or not click a button. Who am I to care about whether someone choose to click a like button or not?

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to my hobbies section. Stay tuned for next weeks hobbies post where I reveal my reading list for the New Year.