Archive for May, 2011

Bolingbrook Park District Project

Earlier this year we were honored to work with the Bolingbrook Park District on a cork wall installation. They put up this beautiful wall in an area near the preschool, where lots of little ones are bouncing off the wall!

The installation was done by our friends Green Envelope Construction. Click on the photo below for more installation photos. Gorgeous!

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On Being a HAW Mom

Right now, I’m cramming to get as much work done as possible before the boss wakes up. I’m paying bills, waiting on customers, and trying to keep things moving forward. Meanwhile, the boss is snuggly tucked into his pack-n-play napping in our storage room.

When he wakes up he’ll be hungry. I’ll have to drop what I’m doing, feed him and change him. From there on he may want to play, rock in his swing or practice rolling over. Sometimes, he insists on being carried in his sling so I never get to put him down.

In between playing, changing, feeding and carrying, I try to run my business. My boss’ name is Oscar and he’s my 5 month-old son. You’ve heard of WAHMs (work at home moms) and SAHMs (stay at home moms). Well, I bring my home to work with me everyday. And like the moms who fit the other two categories, I’m always distracted and I’m always exhausted!

I’m very grateful to be able to bring Oscar to work with my every day. It’s a blessing for me to be able to do the two things I love the most at the same time–run my business and be with my kid. Then again, this blessing is exhausting. On any given day, you’ll find me taking orders over the phone while nursing Oscar, changing diapers while receiving deliveries, and rocking a sleeping baby while reviewing installation directions with a contractor.

Fortunately, I have a lot of help. My mom comes to the shop a couple times a week to relieve me. Taylor, my right-hand-man, is always willing to jump in and help. Any customer who offers to hold Oscar gets their wish granted. I’m using the whole darn village to raise this child.

So we’ll see how this experiment goes. I’m wondering how long I can keep him here until Oscar needs more than a distracted mommy to fill his days. Maybe we’ll need to make different plans when he starts walking. Maybe this can last until preschool. Maybe one day I’ll realize I just can’t do both anymore.

For now, I try to laugh at the times I feel like Lucy without her Ethel, shrug off the aggravation of never feeling like my work is done, and cherish the–oops, gotta go. The boss is yelling for me from his office.

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This Week’s Updates

Hi Friends!

This week I’ve seen mixed results in my garden. Some veggies seem to be thriving well–the root vegetables look good, my cauliflower is exploding and my lettuce is dotting my beds with beautiful greens and reds.

My tomatoes haven’t grown much and my carrots are looking a bit sad. Some of my pepper plants are looking dormant too. Hoping the warm weather on Monday gives everything a boost!

How’s it looking in your garden?

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Support Our Partners

Green Home Experts is proud to partner with the Forest Park Community Garden on our One Heirloom Project. To show your support for this amazing organization–and to have some fun with your neighbors–please join us this Thursday at Molly Malone’s in Forest Park.

Details about the fundraiser can be found here:

See ya there!

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How’s It Goin’?

Ok folks, most of you have had your German Pink plants for a week. How’s it going? Are they getting any bigger or has this cool week keep them stagnant? How is the rest of your garden faring? Inquiring minds want to know!

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About Seed Savers Exchange

Your One Heirloom Project German Pinks were grown from seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving heirloom seeds. In plain English, the good folks at Seed Savers are ensuring that we’re not left with nothing but homogeneous foods that have had all the flavor and interest genetically modified out of them. You can learn more about the organization–and order seeds and seedlings if you’d like–at

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My Victory Garden Part I

Last year was quite a year for me, in many ways. It started when I found out I was pregnant on April 29th. A few days after that, my garage was burned down with both cars inside it.

After we replaced both cars and got started on a new garage, our basement was flooded with sewage. At least when we flooded again in July clean-up was easier because everything had already been ruined!

What does this have to do with a victory garden, you ask? Everything. As the 4 fire departments who responded to our call were dousing our garage, I crumbled into my husband’s arms.

I realized my compost was gone! 3 years of work were literally up in smoke! Collecting scraps in the kitchen, mixing them in with weeds and grass clippings, turning the compost to aerate it–all gone.

As my husband calculated the money and aggravation spent on buying two new cars and a new building, I calculated the loss of my hummingbird and butterfly garden. He dealt with the Village on condemning the building and boarding it up. I memorialized all the hours I spent in my first real garden.

This was our first home with a yard. My garden is where I buried all my stress. I went there to cultivate my dreams, to nurture my soul. A fire wiped out these meaningful symbols in mere minutes. The rest of the garden season was a loss-no veggie garden, no perrenial garden, no more natives. I hardly saw any butterflies and the birds kept away from my charred yard.

Fast forward to this year. I have a wonderful, healthy son. The cars are replaced and garage built. We’ve recovered from the basement disasters. And I have my garden back! I spent my April mornings (before my little one woke up) clearing out the charred remains of my garage. Gone is the last of the nails, roof tiles and broken glass. I’ve replaced many of the hummingbird plants with new ones. A new composter and rain barrel are connected to my garage.

My husband and I built raised beds that total almost 80 square feet of organic vegetable plants. We are growing over a dozen different fruits and vegetables, many chosen with my son in mind. And I’m growing raspberries because I’m nostalgic about the bushes growing behind my garage as a kid. Brussels sprouts as homage to my husband’s grandfather. Hot peppers to replicate the salsa verde we enjoyed in New Mexico 6 years ago. Cucumbers for pickling. Asparagus to delight us next spring. Tomatoes for canning and making my great aunt’s secret sauce recipe.

My new garden is different than my previous one, yet it’s still a reflection of where I am in life. My pre-fire garden was much more random with little planning. Morning glories and I were constantly in battle. Transplants from my condo’s patio garden were starting to look anemic. This new garden has been landscaped with my rough-housing dogs in mind. I chose a lower-maintenance plan in anticipation of my little guy. A new lawn makes my husband happy. New bulbs and bright pinks make me smile.

On a rare, warm morning last week, I was in the garden getting some work done before it was time to open shop. I went through a mental list of what was left to get done, and then it struck me–my garden is about the journey, not the destination. It is the one (and only one!) place in my life where I’m glad that the work is never done. That, too, is a victory for me.

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