Spring lawn care routine

 

Spring Garden Prep: getting our garden Ready for summer


Getting Your grass lawn Ready for Summer.

When all the life starts turning back in our garden and the grass lawn shoots up again, our fruit trees burst out in big fluffy “cotton candy like” balls of blossom. We take our boots and hit the garden. Feeling completely green-depraved after the long and cold winter months. So we are preparing the lawn for a wonderful summer filled with cuddles and playing and chilling in the thick and soft green grass!

Our garden has a few functions:

  1. Grow our own food
  2. Be a place of beauty and an oasis for us to relax and come together.
  3. Be a place for our kids to play,  learn, discover and have adventures.
  4. Create biodiversity and nurture all insects and animals that live here.

The green green grass

The first thing we do is we take care of our lawn. It’s the center of our garden and provides us a colorful bright green carpet on which we can play and relax the whole summer.  I like it when the grass is a bit longer so it can wave in the wind. So that it’s nice and thick and fluffy when you lye down on it. Taking care of the lawn is the number one thing we tend to.

Trim
First, we mow the lawn. We have a small lawn and the new hover mower we got from BLACK+DECKER is perfect for the job! I like it when the grass is about 10  long and really soft and wavy… But if you never maw it shorter the quality of the grass will go down, eventually it will get too long and when you mow it too late you will end up with a lumpy patch of yellow grass filled with dead brown spots. Not Ideal. So the first thing we do is trim it down after the long winter to give all the new grass straws that are coming up more light!  This used to be Michiel’s job, but it has become so much fun with our new hover that I wanted to do it. The whole spring and summer we will be mowing it at least once a week to keep healthy.

Scarify
After the winter the grass tends to look a bit unhealthy.
The build-up of dead and dying grassroots, shoots, runners, and other living and dead plant materials and moss which can accumulate at the roots of the grass can make the lawn look a bit Grimm. So we scratch the soil’s surface with a “Rake” to give the new coming up grass more air and room to grow.

Seed
Seed in new grass seeds to fill up the dead patches that may have arisen and that will make the grass overall full and thick in no time.

Aerate
Poke in little holes in the lawn using a pitchfork or a special roller with spikes.
This will give the soil more air and water witch will result in better root growth and a fuller thicker lawn to chill and play on. (plus the earthworms will thank you for it! and they are playing a vital part with their composting activities in keeping our soil (and therefore our plants) healthy!

Feed
Provide your lawn with plenty of nutrients to grow and flourish this upcoming summer season. Organic lawn fertilizer will improve the overall health of your lawn. Always use organic fertilizer and try and stay away from synthetic fertilizers. That way you are sure you are not poisoning your soil and water with chemical pest and weed control additives that are usually in the mix and the synthetic fertilizer runoff is really harmful to the environment. 

Water
Save rainwater in a rain barrel to water your lawn and give your grass the best start it could get to grow into a perfect green fluffy and thick carpet!

This is our lawn spring ritual we do every year and this way we get to enjoy our lawn every single day during the summer!

Enjoy the upcoming summer days!

Blog by: Jolanda Marti
Photography: Michiel Fook

Floating on air!

BLACK+DECKER send us this awesome lightweight hover mower, and its something I’ve never seen before! Normally this part is a job for Michiel since he is strong enough to handle a heavy lawnmower in the first place. But this friendly light powerful beasty is something I can handle with ease! It weighs just as much as an average folding chair. Plug & play!

The moment I turn on the power on it the mower is lifted and I can slide over the grass without putting any pressure on my arms. No more pushing and pulling like a madman. Just steering the gliding mower over the lawn effortlessly! Getting in and around all the fruit trees and borders without a hassle! This is actually so much fun to do! and when I’m done I just pull the plug and lift it up and store it away. Easy peasy!

Want to learn more? Read all about it here!

Thanks, Black+Decker we will never want anything else after this!

Instagram moments

We live on our lawn. It’s basically a living space for us and our kids to play, chill and cuddle on! Check out all of these moments that where on our lawn:

Self-care tips for moms.

self-care guide for mothers

Yes, you are a mom.
Yes, you are a partner to your other half.
Yes, you are a career woman
Yes, you are the woman of the house…
But YOUR “ME” needs to be taken care of too. That girl without kids, without stress and so many balls in the air… She is still in there! And she needs your love and attention!

Most moms put their family’s health before their own.  And I am such a mom on occasion. Self-sacrifice is a natural parenting/mom thing that happens instinctively. But Putting Your Family ALLWAYS First at expense of yourself Doesn’t Make You a Better Mom. Actually… It will make you a tired, grumpy, exhausted and stressed mother if you neglect yourself for a longer period. 

We as moms (have to) take on so many tasks, so many roles, so many faces, so many responsibilities that we tend to bury ourselves in it and carry on way too long.

And we can take a lot. We are strong woman, and we can carry on for a long time. But we all have our limits. so before hitting a wall and end us completely exhausted and burned up. Maybe try and find, no, MAKE space for your needs. so you can be the best mom they deserve! A lot of the times the other partner/parent does succeed in taking care of themselves. And that’s wonderful! Take note. Now you!

Some misbelieves that may hold you down:

  • You are NOT selfish for taking care of your mental needs first once in a while.
  • The world won’t crash and burn if you leave others with some responsibilities for a few hours.
  • It does’n have to cost a lot of money.
  • It doesnt have to cost a lot of time.
  • Self-care is not an indulgence, its necessity to stay balanced!
  • You are not neglecting your kids or work. You are actually taking up the responsibility for your own helath!

What is self-care?
The better question is: What is self-care to YOU? All the little things you do that will take your stress away, give you a more emotionally balanced, centered feeling and generally makes you feel happier and give you a more positive outlook on life will count as Self-care.

What makes you happy that you do just for YOU!?
Take a pen and paper and write down what kind of little fun of relaxing activities you would like to do if you had no responsibilities or stress in the world? (maybe even think back to the time you didn’t have children) There is no right or wrong answer here. Are there little things that need to be resolved that are bugging you? make a list. write down what you need to do to take care of your needs.

For some that may be taking a long hot bath and read a book or listen to music.
For others It would be doing Sports, Yoga, painting, or meeting up with your friends and talk, going on a date with your partner, sauna, massage, swimming, writing in a journal, painting your nails! Or maybe all the above! Whatever you can think of that will make you happy, that will make you re-charge. That will get you to exhale for a few seconds and stop rushing.

For moms of tiny little babies making time for self-care will mean relaxing while having your baby near you but in the care of another person. That way you will be “able” to relax without feeling anxious about leaving your baby or checking your phone every 3 minutes.
Never let anyone tell you “you need to be away from your baby to relax” if you feel in your heart and stomach that you just don’t want to leave him/her.

 

It is hard to create space for self-care as a mom

How to find/create the time

  • The little things
    Small little routines like journaling before going to sleep or cooking a fresh meal in peace. Making up your bed every day.
  • Ask for help.
    What do you need to make it happen? A lot of the times someone will need to take care of the kids for a little while! Your partner will need to pitch in! The other parent in your family can hold the fort while you exhale for a couple of hours. For single parents (SO much respect) that will mean you will have to look for help elsewhere. Your Parents, friends, neighbors, parents of your kid’s friends, anyone you may trust and dare to ask for help! Please, people may surprise you! Lovely mama…Take a deep breath… and just. ask. for. help.
  • Reserve a date and time
    Block a space in your agenda for your self-care moment… now block the 2 hours before that time as a buffer. Better yet, plan at least one moment every week as me-time! It will become easier if this turns in to a little weekly/bi-weekly routine.
  • No Bailing on yourself!
    Take away your biggest stress factors, distractions & excuses to bail on yourself in advanced. Make sure that whatever happens. you will take time for yourself!
    Clear the road!
  • Pick it up again!
    And if you fail to take the time for yourself anyway… no worries! Don’t stress about it. That’s actually the very thing we want to prevent! Life happens. Kids can get sick, plans can change. I fail at it all the time! Whatever. The important thing to remember is… just pick it up again as soon as possible. Re-schedule. You deserve to be happy! And your family deserves a happy mom! You matter!

Set the right example!

Want the best for your kids… And how would you like your kids treating themselves as adults later in life!? Lead by example! By showing them that self-care is an important part of life and demonstrating that we all should help each other create space for individual needs they will learn how to take care of themselves and others in a balanced way later in life. And be happier people for it.

 

Love,
Jolanda, Michiel
Miley, Haley & Quinn

33 Self care inspiration list ideas

  1. Go to yoga class once a week
  2. Take 40 minutes every day to journal and reflect.
  3. Go and have lunch with your best friend!
  4. Take a hot long bath and read a book every week!
  5. Take a nap without an alarm clock
  6. take a walk through nature
  7. Craft something
  8. Go swim for fun
  9. Make art
  10. Sing and Dance like nobody is watching!
  11. Go online and learn a new skill using tutorials!
  12. Listen to a podcast
  13. Go to the gym
  14. De-clutter and re-organise your wardrobe or beauty products
  15. Unplug from social media for a day (or at least a few hours).
  16. Go to the spa
  17. Feeling overwhelmed? Create a plan to create order in the chaos! Start with all the small things so the list gets shorter. Then order the tasks from most-pressing to least-pressing.
  18. Pick flowers
  19. Bake something
  20. Cook something delicious 
  21. Learn 4-8-7 breathing
  22. do some mindfulness exersizes
  23. Write down your life goals and dreams and create an inspirational collage to hang on the toilet! (“toilet” a.k.a. safe space for moms…the only place you can run to for some peace and quiet when the kids are around)Get a massage.
  24. Go hiking, camping, or backpacking and spend some time in nature
  25. Go S.U.B-ing (stand up paddle)
  26. Go on a date with your partner
  27. Sleep in
  28. Do some gardening
  29. Take care of your houseplants.
  30. Restyle a room in the house! Change some pillows rugs, blankets, wallhangings and plants. A little bit of styling can make a big change! (search on Instagram or pintrest for inspiration)
  31. Meditate
  32. Spend 1 on 1 time with one of your kids for some quality time!
  33. Plann your next vacation!

Shoot us mom!

Never let children pose… let them be themselves!

From the moment Miley was born until she was 4,5 years old we had a big photo studio. She grew up surrounded by camera’s, lights, makeup, fashion, and set styling… She occasionally watched the models getting ready and saw me shooting them in our photo studio. She saw them “pose” naturally and make subtle changes in their pose with fluid movements. changing expressions, taking directions from me and all of that without looking forced or unnatural. And she loved it.

As it comes to photo shooting kids, I like them to be interactive. give them something to do, something to engage with, something to play with. Anything but posing! I don’t like kids posing, because most kids (Really, I mean 99%) look forced and unnatural. That kind of photo’s with kids smiling those fake (almost creepy) smiles makes my hairs stand up. Not cool. Just fake.

So whenever I’m shooting kids (my one or any kids for that matter)… I let them play.
I have a strict NO POSING rule.

But… Tiny baby girls turn in to big baby girls! And then that day came, the day when Miley (8yrs) Came up to me dressed a bit much over the top and  Asked me “Mom? Can you shoot me? I’ve made everything ready!”
I looked over and there was my living room turned in to a complete styled set. With 3 different concepts, she wanted to work on!  I was like “What the….!?!? uuuh… Ok!? I guess?”

So we could proceed in peace. After every Klik, Miley made a tiny adjustment in pose, expression or looking direction. I didn’t have to give her any directions. She was totally in control.  Like she understood exactly what it was she wanted to reflect, express and what story she wanted to tell. I felt a warm proud glow in my heart for her. What a great way to express yourself.  There goes my “NO posing rule” for her… She has got this down.

 

Turned out she had a school project where they had to take their favorite piece of clothing, make a photo of it, and write a little poem about it. She wanted to create a photo she had pictured in her mind. (Creative little creature) So who am I to refuse such a brilliant initiative from my 8-year-old.

I grabbed my camera gear and as she stepped in front of the camera. Wow! She is actually doing a really good job posing! Not one Photo where she looked unnatural or overly posed. I guess she intensively studied the professional models in our studio! My little baby copy-cat. Loving this…

After a few minutes, her little baby sisters decided they wanted attention too, and started to jump on top of Miley… So I had to promise them that I would shoot them too tf they waited their turn. And If they would go and play a bit more I would call them and take their picture.


As for her sisters… The rule still stands. No posing! PLAY! Once I called them for their turn to shoot, I gave them something to keep busy! Singing a song,  playing peekaboo, giving them a ukelele or a watering can to play with. And as usual, that way I had a fun and playful shoot with my two babies. And my no posing strategy still worked out worked perfectly fine with them! Scroll all the way down to see the rest of all the photo’s we took!


How do you take pictures of your kids? I’m thinking of making a series of DIY video’s in photography toppics like “kids photography” .
Would you think that’s something you would like to see? Anny requests on specivic photography toppics!?


Love,

  Jolanda, Michiel,
Miley Haley & Quinn

VLOG: June 2018 – sunshine and blackberries

Month VLOG june 2018 – Get ready for another monthly overview of 2018

This throwback monthly overview we look back at a month filled with sunshine and day’s in the garden. 

We are changing our vlog-concept for 2019.
So there will be a monthly overview for every month of 2018 but for 2019 we are doing it a bit diverently. I will tell you all about it at the end of this vlog!

 

Check a month in the live of our family and be sure to subscribe to be updated on all new uploaded video’s!

Getting a greener home

Energy friendly home
Living in a small home of only 50 square meters (=538 square feet) is one of the choices we’ve made to be more sustainable as a family. But because this is a home build in 1952, the Insolation was not what we wanted it to be. So in the last couple of years, we made some big steps in improving the insolation of our home.

For instance, we got double glazing in our windows in 2014, we insolated the roof back in 2017 (watch this dutch vlog from back then), and Insolated the crawling space under our home in 2018 (see this Englisch vlog), and we have LED lighting in our home.

This whole process is really expensive so we are taking one step at the time and every single change is taking us a little bit closer to our eco-friendly home dream.

Next steps we hope to take very soon:
-Insolating the double brick outside walls.
-Energy management system to track how much we use.
-Solar panels.
-Floor insolation.
-Heat pump hybrid system. (And Floor heating to make it more effective)

Because we are just a bunch of hippies on an eco-friendly mission Eneco asked if we were interested in a collab with them. So we did! We visited another family who is a few steps ahead of us and already has a lot of the eco-friendly solutions we are dreaming of in their home! Oh my! We are loving it!

And they had such a great family with two lovely little boys and a playful dog. We had a great time with them.
We were invited to stay for dinner so we did! Tiny little bummer to see all those throw-away plastic take-out containers on the table, but I guess our eco-crazy hippie standard is next level for most people. And they were certainly more energy-friendly than us! We all do what we can. baby steps.  So we all enjoyed the food and the lovely company.

Eneco made a lovely video of our visit! (Sorry, it’s only in dutch) You can check it out down here:

We went back home feeling inspired! Hopefully some day in the near future we get to have that energy-green home we are dreaming of. Until then I’m just making it greener with all of my plants!

Love,
  Jolanda, Michiel,
Miley Haley & Quinn

Oh, and p.s. Thanks for the levely flowers Eneco! So thoughtfull love it!

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