If you’ve been avoiding the Gardening board because you’ve got a black thumb, then Gardening for the Hopelessly Incompetent may be more your speed.
How do I do this? If possible start with very small steps, e.g., “Drive to Home Depot. Park car. Walk inside. Verify location of gardening area.”
Ask questions, get tips on on what to grow (cherry tomatoes instead of larger tomatoes, basil, mint– but only in a pot, please, rosemary, oregano, and maybe even some lettuce), or pass on your own hard-earned knowledge.
Here are some of the tips on how to plant:
- Earthbox: expensive, but easy, if “you’re willing to throw money at the incompetence.”
- Feeling cheap? “There’s a cheaper version of the earthbox that you can make out of five gallon buckets (written, video)”
- Container gardens: cheaper, and still pretty easy
- Square Foot Gardening: “It’s a totally basics book and he gives you a fool proof system. It can totally be done with container gardening too, as others have suggested trying first.”
Check out the thread for more tips, including how to grow lettuce in gutters, which variety of cherry tomato to plant for the best chance of success, and which kind of potting soil is easiest to garden in.
Image credit: yellow pear tomatoes by emerson12
What’s on our “to read” list this month? Here are some suggestions from the discussion What are you reading NOW? (v3).
Want more ideas for books to read (or avoid)? Got some suggestions yourself? Need
the long-form reviews? Check out What are you reading NOW? (v3)
– it’s on the public part of the site, so you don’t even have to remember to log in first.
- Where Did You Go, Bernadette? (“I read the first 30 pages at the library and I kind of hated Bernadette and also most of the other characters. They’re all running around judging each other, and it’s kind of unpleasant; it made me decide not to read it. But the world is telling me I should.” and “I thought Where’d You Go Bernadette? was quite fun…Despite the fact that the whole thing is pretty farcical, I think that a lot of the characters show growth.”)
- Silver Linings Playbook (maybe just watch the movie?)
- Ada’s Rules by Alice Randall (“Ada’s Rules was about a black preacher’s wife who revamps her life and loses weight and it is kind of a novel/weight loss guide. It is just all over the place, switching tense, and for me was too preachy and not enough story.”)
- Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
- Heist Society
Merida Before and After the Disney Princess Makeover. Image Source: Inside the Magic, via A Mighty Girl
Have you been following A Mighty Girl’s campaign to Keep Merida Brave? If you’ve missed it so far, here’s a great interview with Brave writer/co-director Brenda Chapman on why it’s important. Believe it or not, she found out about the redesign from A Mighty Girl’s campaign!
This is my favorite part of the interview:
I’d also add that I don’t like the word “tomboy” because I don’t like strong girls being called a boy. It’s just my own little hangup — that’s a girl. That’s a real girl. And that’s the other thing that I told people on the film: Merida is not a tomboy. She’s a girl who’s just fine being a girl. I don’t want her being put in pants. That’s what they wore at that time so let her be in the dress, let her be comfortable, let her have figured out how to maneuver in it and it’s not like she hates being a girl.
If you’re interested in talking about it, check out our threads Rebrand Merida as sexy Disney princess? Hell no! or ADL powers activate, part two: Addressing sexism in Pixar movies? And don’t forget to sign the petition!
Wow! I knew Child of Mine was the coconut oil of books here on ADL, but I didn’t realize it was quite this popular until I compiled this list of topics where we’ve discussed it. Here are places we’ve talked about:
Raising Intuitive Eaters
Overweight Children: How to Help
Not Until You Eat Your Vegetables! Feeding Your Kid Your Way
Coping with begging
Raising a good eater
Instilling Good Eating Habits In Our Kids
And now introducing the definitive topic: Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense. Log in to the forum, and join the discussion.
Did you see the NYT article The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food this morning? How do you talk to your kids about advertising? Does every trip to the grocery store turn into a all-out-campaign for Trix? (It’s for kids, have you heard?) I don’t know if it makes me feel better or worse to know they really are out to get me. Or at least, to get my kids. My strategy is to avoid commercial TV– never has the $8.99 a month for Netflix seemed more worth it than when I am at the grocery store, and I only have to deal with the demand for Joe’s Os. Advertising seems to lose some of its steam when the demand for American Girl dolls or Monster High or chicken McNuggets filters through by word of mouth, instead of in full technicolor. So far, with my kids at almost five and seven and a half, lack of exposure seems to be enough to keep the worst at bay, and we haven’t had many Deep Discussions ™ about marketing. I’m not quite sure how I’d go about that discussion. Which is why I was glad to see the thread Who shall buy? On raising marketing-savvy kids pop up this morning.
If you want to know more about kids and advertising, you might also be interested in the Yale Rudd Center’s Food Marketing Facts, the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Food Marketing to Children, or Media Smart Youth’s Eat, Think, & Be Active campaign.
Or you might just be interested in joining the discussion Who shall buy? On raising marketing-savvy kids (log in to the forum first, it’s in the parenting section).
Image credit: pink madness by michale (Creative Commons license)
Happy New Year, everyone! Have you come up with any resolutions* yet? This year, instead of a list of resolutions for the year (so overwhelming!) I’ve come up with one or two for this month. If you’re writing your resolutions, you might want to check out the NY Resolution thread*– you might get some support. Or accountability, by cross-checking your list from last year. You might also check out all the threads tagged with “resolutions“* to get some ideas, no matter what your style:
Either way, don’t forget to keep your resolutions SMART (thanks, Wikipedia!):
* Links marked with an * go to non-public forum pages, and require a forum login. (What, you want everybody to know your job/financial/health plans next year?) It’s free; all you need is a username, password, and confirmation email. Not in the mood? Check out the non-starred links above for a preview!
Image credit: New Year Fireworks Birmingham 10 by ahisgett
One thing I’ve gotten better at over the last few years is using up food. We’re still by no means perfect, but I’ve got better strategies to deal with leftovers than I used to have:
- Prep veggies at the beginning of the week. I’ve become a total “food in jars” convert with respect to salad. I wash, chop, and prep salads into two pint jars, and then it’s so easy to grab them for lunch or whatever. I’ve found they actually pretty much do last a week, which sort of surprises me. But I tend to use spinach instead of lettuce, which may work better
- Which leads me to: buy ingredients that are multipurpose (for example, I prefer lettuce because I can put it in a salad, cook it, put it on a sandwich, put it in a omelet– lettuce would be just salads and sandwiches for me)
- Plan a day or two at he end of the week where you have a standard “use it all up” meal. For me, this is either chicken soup/stew or meatloaf. So we buy the (ack, SO expensive) free range chicken at Trader Joe’s, but get four or five meals out of it over the course of the week. And I make a very veggie heavy meatloaf where I put all of the slightly wilted veggies in my crisper (or a leftover spinach salad), and then I don’t even have to talk the kids into eating veggies that night.
- There’s the obvious “add more starches” strategy of stretching food (meatloaf turns into spaghetti and meatballs the next night, super easy).
- I like the website http://lovefoodhatewaste.com, which is awesome for stuff like “what can I do with those leftover limes that are almost dead? (answer: microwave lime curd!)
Other things I’ve done to help the grocery budget:
- Get friendly with frozen produce. (If I’m cooking it, might as well use frozen spinach or broccoli if it’s out of season.)
- Really strategic Costco trips. The jury is still out on this one. I used to go monthly, and I’d blow more than half of the grocery budget in one trip. Recently, I’ve been going every two or three months– I stock up on peanut butter, frozen fruit, bread, cheese, nuts, and so on.
And although I have a pretty black thumb, I grow most of my herbs fresh, just because they are so easy and SO much cheaper. (I started back when i was living in an apartment, but it is admittedly SO much easier out in the yard, where I pretty much ignore them except when picking them.)
Image credit: The grocery store is the great equalizer where mankind comes to grips with the facts of life like toilet tissue by katerha
Today is altdotlife’s SEVENTH birthday. Happy birthday, all! Continuing the tradition of rolling out new features on our birthday, I added a couple of feature enhancements late last night.
Context Sensitive Search for Smartphones
If you frequently browse altdotlife on your smart phone, you may have noticed what a PAIN in the ass it has been to search. Go to the bottom of the screen. Click Forum Tools. Click Search. Go to a search page. Enter your search term. Forget about searching inside a particular thread. It’s been driving me mad! So I updated the mobile interface to support context-sensitive search, just like the standard view you access on your computer.
Just scroll down to the bottom of the screen and type your search term in the search box. If you’re on a topic page, you’ll be searching that topic. If you’re on a board index, you’ll be searching that board. If you’re anywhere else, it will search the whole forum. YAY!
Improved subscription (bookmarks) and ignoring topics
Last year, we added the ability to ignore or subscribe to many topics at one time. Which was good. When all of the cohort threads rolled on the first of the month, you could ignore the ones you weren’t in, and subscribe to those you WERE in in just two quick clicks!
Except… the interface was clunky, and I’m not sure many people understood how to use the feature. It used a dropdown box instead of text buttons, which was a little confusing. And it was only available available from the Unread Topics pages. Bummer.
So this year, subscribe and ignore have been revamped to be available in more pages, and to work more intuitively. Yay!
Unread Topics View
Look right above the list of unread topics. You will see a link to Subscribe Selected and Ignore Selected. To subscribe to a lot of topics at once, check the checkbox at the right of each topic, then click Subscribe Selected.
To ignore a lot of topics at once, check the checkbox and click Ignore Selected. Once you ignore a topic, it will no longer show up in your Unread Topics, bookmarks/subscriptions (My Topics), or Replies. It’s still visible in the index of the board, but is grayed out.
From the index of any board, you can Subscribe or Ignore a group of topics, just as you do in the Unread Topics page described above.
Once you ignore a topic, it will no longer show up in your Unread Topics, bookmarks/subscriptions (My Topics), or Replies. It’s still visible in the index of the board, but is grayed out.
New: Previously, you could only unignore a topic from within the topic page itself. Now, you can Unignore several topics at once from the board index.
My Topics View
You could always unsubscribe multiple topics from the My Topics page, but now you can also ignore multiple topics. (This might be useful, say, if you were previously subscribed to a set of pregnancy topics, suffered a miscarriage, and needed to ignore them rather than just unsubscribe.)
The streamlined Ignore/Unignore/Subscribe links are available in the mobile/smartphone interface at the bottom of the topic list (in the same place as the existing text buttons have always been), so you will have full access to this feature on your phone as well as your computer.