volunteering – day 5

I’m back to volunteering and it feels so good.

Saturday I started out my day by heading to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. The photo above is one of the many awesome greenhouses on campus. As you know I have my own but it sure doesn’t look like these here!

They have almost an acre of gardens that produce vegetables for FeedMore’sΒ Community Kitchen. This year they hope to produce 10,000 pounds of crop. Last year they only missed the mark by about 80 pounds!

The garden depends heavily on volunteers to help with all tasks from tilling the land to harvesting at the end of the season. I enjoy gardening at my own house so I thought I’d help out.

We spent the morning moving through various tasks. The first thing we did was check squash plants for squash bug eggs. It’s a tedious but necessary task that helps prevent the bugs from killing the plants. To get rid of the eggs, we snapped off any leaves that held the tiny, copper-colored eggs. Pretty easy to do and rewarding.

The next thing we did was plant tomatoes. Many plants are grown from seed but others are often donated like the ones we dealt with. We planted about 30 plants in a very short amount of time. It’s amazing how much you can achieve with a good amount of volunteers!

After planting another 20 or so tomato plants, our last task was to do some weeding in the wheelchair accessible beds. Yet another task that seemed to go quickly. Did I mention that I love weeding? Not normal. πŸ™‚

I really enjoyed the morning – talking to the other volunteers and learning a little from the head gardener all while helping the community. I hope to visit again soon. It’ll be fun to see the results of our work!

Are you volunteering this summer?

i promised

Before we added Olivia and Belle to our family, I fell in love with a beagle named Heidi. If you haven’t read my earlier posts, my husband and I volunteer over at BARK once in a while. We help clean out the runs and walk the dogs. The daily ritual is to clean the runs and then take whatever dog you want on a nice, long walk through the trails.

The first time we did this, I chose Heidi. She was so little and too cute. She pulled like crazy, sniffing everything in her path.

After a couple of weekends, I told her I’d get her out of there. Like with Olivia, I had a gut feeling that I was supposed to help. I had to.

With the addition of Olivia and then Belle, the promise looked kinda dicey. Adding Heidi to the family would bring us to a total of FOUR DOGS!! That’s completely insane but I promised her freedom so I couldn’t bail on her!

This past weekend I fulfilled my promise. We picked her up and she’s been tiring us out every since.

Let me make this clear. We’re not adopting her, we’re fostering her (same with Belle but it’s hard to find someone who wants a 14 year old, deaf, chihuahua πŸ™‚ ). Knowing that we’re trying to find homes for two of them makes having four dogs a little more tolerable but honestly it hasn’t been bad at all. I can say that Heidi is better than my other dogs on the leash! She’s a little over a year old and therefore still puppy-like but she just needs a little discipline and some time. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said ‘Off!’ in the past week while teaching her that she’s not allowed on the couch! Haha.

So here’s a little info about her in case her future family is reading this!

The girls play all day long. After less than a week they are already getting along quite well.

The chihuahua is another story… but she’s crotchety and doesn’t like other dogs all up in her business. πŸ™‚

Like Olivia, she loves a good belly rub and will sit there calmly for a good while if you keep it up.

When her tails in the air, you can bet she’s on a scent trail. She loves to sniff around and explore every inch of the backyard.

I was told she’s an ‘escape artist’ but we haven’t had any issues with her trying to get out at all. We just make sure she knows that she can’t bolt when we open doors.

Believe it or not, she DOES rest once in a while. We walk her 2 or 3 times a day and soon we hope to start running with her. She needs her exercise for sure!

The bottom line is that it’s totally worth dealing with all that energy because she is the sweetest thing EVER. She just wants play and be loved on!

With her great looks, personality, and the training we’re putting her through, I hope to find her a great forever home very soon.

If you’re interested in Heidi or know of someone who might be (and you’re in the Richmond area), just shoot me an email! hippeitch {at} gmail {dot} com.

the big 5-0

No I’m not 50, I’m 26, but this is my FIFTIETH post people.

How in the world.

At the end of every week I think to myself, ‘What the HECK am I going to write about next week?’ and every week I think of something. I find this ridiculous, yet impressive.

Where am I going from here? You know, since I’ve had such a long blogging career so far. πŸ˜‰

I’ve written a lot of lists on this blog so instead of making a list of goals for my next 50 posts I thought I’d humor you with a limerick.

there once was a girl with a blog
who wrote often about her cute dog
now it’s time for a change
more variety and range
let’s hope there’s still time for a jog

πŸ™‚

Pretty much you’ll be hearing once again about my projects that I’ve fallen off track with (volunteering, DIY, etc.) along with the topics that I talk about regularly. A little more diversity and entertainment.

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I’m writing/posting at an odd time because for the past 44 hours I’ve been traveling (19 hours of flying!) to Australia. I’m sitting here at the luggage claim with a super sore butt and a completely lost sense of time but I’m excited! We’re here for a wedding but will be doing exploring as well. I’m sure I’ll do some recaps of the trip when I get back.

I’ll be gone for over a week but I hope to get you three posts per usual while I’m gone. I’m not sure if I’ll have internet but I know you’ll have at least one post to read since my sister agreed to write something for you. πŸ™‚

I hope to come back refreshed and renewed with no jet-lag. Ha.

I’ll leave you with dog photos because i miss the girls already.

It’s nice to know Aunt Lindsay is taking care of them…

…and that she’ll spoil them well. πŸ™‚

What warm-weather trips do you have planned?Β It’s so nice to get away!

community & the liebster

When you start a blog or even just start reading blogs, you become part of a huge community. This is one of the reasons why I love blogging. You make friends and support each other. Specifically, the healthy living (including food!) bloggers are awesome influences. They’re so positive and encouraging. You can read about some of their influence on me here.

About a month ago I received a comment from Nicole at Apples & Arteries informing me that she had given me a Liebster Award!

I had no idea what she was talking about so I had to google it. I found out that it’s just a sweet way to let a new blogger know how great they are! A little – I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. Since the blogging community has done a lot for me up until this point I thought I should spread the love too!

To quote Nicole:
The rules of this award state that you linkΒ your blog back to the person who gave it to you and you chose 5 other people with less than 200 followers to receive the award.Β  You let them know you have given them the award by commenting on their blog.

The winners… in no particular order ARE:

πŸ™‚

elisariva – Elisa mainly blogs about her workouts and training for upcoming races. She inspires me to get off my butt and do something. That ‘something’ might not be the 3000 meters she swam yesterday morning but maybe I’ll clean the whole house or go for a training run!

Cast Light – Kathie writes about how to ‘give your best to others’. If you’re in a slump and need a little boost, she’s your gal. A great read if you’re striving to be a positive person.

My Fascinating Life – Melinda has two kids and still finds time to eat healthy and exercise! She gives a good glimpse into her daily life which is helpful for people like me who are visual learners.

EatDrinkBreatheSweat – Jessica is another healthy living blogger. She is currently in training for a marathon! She gives great insights on her thoughts about running. It’s nice to know that other people have similar issues and successes!

food4theheart – Lauren is a college student who eats healthy and exercises. Very impressive! I especially like her posts on food and her daily eats.

Now I’m not sure if all of these bloggers have under 200 followers but I know they’re all pretty new like me!

Thank you to Nicole for spreading the love! She is a food blogger with a giant love for dogs too. πŸ™‚

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Today I also have to mention that it’s my husband’s birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AL! You’re my best bud.

Al with Roary when she was a little puppy. πŸ™‚

volunteering – day 4

Remember how I like to force my family to do art and crafts with me? I talked about it here. Well today I got my sister to join me in a little project!

We used our creativity to help brighten the day of sick and/or injured children. How you ask? By sending them fun cards!
I don’t know about you but I love getting cards. It makes my day, especially with a little personalized note inside.

We had to keep the cards pretty generic so they can be given to anyone but I’m sure the children enjoy them. I even added an ‘in Virginia’ to my signature so they know that the card was sent all the way across the country to them in California.

I broke out all the markers, pencils, and colored paper that I could find. Then we went to town.

my sister stenciling

It was a pretty quick project but fun!

Of course I wish we could go see the kids but a cross country trip isn’t possible. πŸ™‚ I actually looked into volunteering at one of the children’s hospitals here in Richmond but they require a one year commitment which I can’t give since I want to keep volunteering at different places. The good news is, I think there are special events where they need volunteers once in a while. I’ll be looking more into that soon.

the results

If you’d like to give this project a try, here’s the link! Instead of spending Sunday afternoon just staring at the TV why not throw it some coloring while you’re at it? That’s what we did! πŸ™‚

blogging – month 1 & resolutions update

This post is a little recap of my blogging adventure and a status report on my resolutions. Don’t you just love a good list or two? I sure do!

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When I was in school I always thought of writing as a horrible burden. Producing a mere two pages of text was the WORST. Writing, I thought, was done well by my dad (Dad, you need to start a blog ASAP) and my sister.Β Β Not by me!

Lo and behold, after a month of writing on this blog I like it! And some other people happen to like it too! Dang.

I’ve learned a good amount already. Here are some thoughts:

  1. Winging it either produces an awesome post or a long drawn out writing process. There is no in between for me.
  2. I should definitely be planning out posts because winging it keeps me up until the wee hours of the night (10 – 11 pm) and then the next day I struggle to live.
  3. I need to start using a thesaurus because I majorly overuse words like awesome, super, and excited.
  4. Blogging is helping me connect with new people like I had hoped and I’m so glad!
  5. It is now confirmed that changing careers is the right decision.
  6. More writing = better writing.
I am really looking forward to how this all progresses. I haven’t even touched my DIY, recipe, and ‘green’ projects yet. It’s going to be good!

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On to my second topic.

I wanted to do an update on my resolutions so that I can see where I stand. I need some regrouping for sure. Here’s the list of the resolutions for you to check out of you haven’t seen them already.

The update:

  1. Yoga – I’ve really only been stretching which isn’t doing enough for my 10k training (I often have IT band problems if I don’t do yoga). I’ll be planning out my blog posts and workouts better so I can keep up with my yoga classes.
  2. Food going bad – Up until this week I’ve failed at this one which is sad but as long as I stay on track I should be good.
  3. New recipes – Again, up until this week I hadn’t tried a new recipe. I finally did on Monday though! I’ll be writing about it soon. I really want to post once a week with each new recipe that I try. Maybe that’ll give me more motivation to actually do it.
  4. Volunteer – Psh. You know I’m doing this one! I’m keeping up with the volunteering once a week at different places either until I run out of places to go or things to say. Some places I’ll go to again and again but some I won’t. Either way they all have been great experiences so far!
  5. Write – Success again! As mentioned at the beginning of this post, things are going well with my writing and I’ll definitely be keeping it up. Organization is key though.

And that’s it! I’ve succeeded in some and semi-failed in others. That’s not too shabby for my first month. I’ll be writing a monthly recap of my resolutions to make sure I stay on track. If I’m doing all five of these challenges I really think I’ll be able to stay balanced and healthy.

Wait, you can’t have a post without an image! For Katie’s viewing pleasure – a picture of the girls after one of Roary’s dramatic fits that was talked about here:

roary & olivia

πŸ™‚

volunteering – day 2

Holy eye-opening experience batman.

I drove past the house of my most recent volunteer adventure twice before I saw another car pull up and decided that I should actually stop. I was alone in a somewhat scary part of town in front of a super old house that was painted all over with crazy sayings and colors. What in the…

Once I was inside I met everyone. The people running the show as well as the regulars were major characters – lots of piercings, tattoos, and expressive clothing. To prove all negative stereotyping wrong they were all SUPER nice and welcoming. Note that I was still a little uneasy so I decided not to take any photos while I was there just in case anyone objected.

Now the organization serves vegetarian meals to about 30-100 low-income families and the homeless every Sunday. I was there to help prepare the meals.

A man delivered some expired food from local grocery stores. We then sifted through the boxes and decided on what to make for dinner and dessert.

While prepping the food, everyone made small talk. Some people had regular jobs some had no jobs, some people couldn’t even afford Starbucks if they wanted to (this shocked me and my naive self). No matter what their troubles were in their own lives, they were still there working away to help people less fortunate than them. Amazing.

I interacted with people that I would never speak to or even really run into normally. It was a breath of fresh air. Again, an eye-opening experience.

I do have one regret from the day and it’s that I didn’t stay for the completion of the meals and the delivery. I’m not sure if I got the whole experience because I didn’t interact with the actual people that I was volunteering to help. Not to dish out excuses but my sister was alone with Olivia and since Olivia’s too scared of her she hadn’t gone to the bathroom all day. She ended up peeing in the house but I thought I should get back to take her out. Maybe next time I’ll stay for the whole thing. I’m hoping to bring along the family then too.

I am so so glad I didn’t chicken out. It was a wonderful experience.