What to Know About Visiting Neuschwanstein with Kids

Visiting Neuschwanstein with kids is a must on your family vacation to Europe. This iconic German castle is a huge crowd pleaser. Here’s what you need to know as you plan your trip to visit Neuschwanstein!What you need to know about Visiting Neuschwanstein with Kids

*Many thanks to the Füssen Tourism & Marketing Department for providing tickets to facilitate this post.*

Visiting Neuschwanstein with Kids

During our two week family spring break trip to Europe, another town we made sure to visit was Füssen, Germany in the Bavarian region of Allgaü. We drove in from Paris late one night and spent two nights (basically a day and a half) in Füssen. We did not have enough time to see everything, but we really enjoyed touring Neuschwanstein Castle. I highly recommend that you make it here on your family vacation to Europe!


A brief history lesson

Neuschwanstein was built by Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria to look like a medieval fairy tale castle on old castle ruins. Construction started in 1869 was supposed to be finished in three years. However it was such a complex project that it still wasn’t finished when Ludwig died of suspicious causes in 1886. And sadly, it’s still not completely finished to this day. However, the parts that are finished more than make up for what isn’t! With over 1.3 million visitors a year, Neuschwanstein is the most visited castle in Germany! 

Compared to authentic medieval castles like the ruins in Heidelberg, Neuschwanstein is state of the art! Your kids might be interested in the flushing toilets and central heating the castle boasts. My kids were sad to learn of the planned bathtub / swimming pool that was never built. Do you see the resemblance between Neuschwanstein and Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World? If you didn’t know it already, Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for its famous Disney counterpart. My kids were thrilled to learn that they toured the REAL Cinderella’s Castle. 😀

Hohenschwangau and the Bavarian Alps

Getting to Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein is less than 2 hours away (on the A95 Autobahn) from Munich and about ten minutes from Füssen. Many visitors take a train in for the day. If you arrive via train, you’ll need to take the bus to Neuschwanstein. Get off at the Hohenschwangau stop.  If you drive, pay to park in any of the parking lots located in Hohenschwangau. {If you’re driving in Germany, make sure to read these tips!}

Visiting Neuschwanstein with kids

Neuschwanstein Tour

Once you get to the Hohenschwangau area, you’ll have to walk up the mountian to the castle. If you’d prefer to ride, you can buy a ticket for a horse-drawn wagon or a bus. However you decide to get to the top, make sure you buy castle tour tickets at the Ticket Center Hohenschwangau (at the bottom of the Hohenschwangau Castle) BEFORE climbing the mountain! You can only buy tickets on the day of your visit, and the Ticket Center is the only place to get them. This is an absolute must, because if you climb all the way to the castle without your tickets, you won’t get a tour.

Long walk to Neuschwanstein

I really recommend walking up to the castle despite any griping you may or may not hear from your children. Honestly, the walk was not as strenuous as my 13 year old would lead you to believe. But do make sure you pack snacks and water bottles to keep any griping kids moving. 😀 And let them explore! We found gorgeous flowers to admire, hills to climb, and obstacles to jump over. There are also waterfalls and stunning views of the Bavarian Alps on the path up to the castle.Waiting in the courtyard for a tour of Neuschwanstein

Only timed, guided tours are allowed at Neuschwanstein and your ticket will tell you what time your tour begins. Make sure to get to the castle in time for your tour. The tickets are non-refundable if you’re late! The tour lasts about 30 minutes, but you can spend a bit longer walking through the kitchens and admiring the view from the back balcony. We were in the castle for over an hour.
Marienbrücke at Neuschwanstein

The Marienbrucke (Mary’s Bridge)

Another thing you must do while you’re up at Neuschwanstein, is head on over to the Marienbrucke! It’s a great spot for pictures of the castle. While I did not like walking across this bridge because it’s REALLY HIGH, my kids thought it was awesome. I will admit to walking on it only for the pictures. 😀Food at Schloßrestaurant Neuschwanstein

Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein

On our way down from Neuschwanstein, we stopped in at the Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein for a bite to eat and a beer. When in Germany, right? Must drink all the beers. The kids enjoyed spaghetti bolognese and brats & pommes and I had a lovely salad plate. We enjoyed resting in the sun on the outdoor patio at this restaurant.

Pro Tip: Most German restaurants do not serve tap water. You can buy either sparking mineral water or still water, but they likely won’t give you tap water (Wasser vom Hahn) at all. Also, condiments like ketchup usually cost. And there’s no such thing as free refills on the soda. These are things we made sure to communicate to our US children who are used to guzzling both ketchup and soda (on the rare occasions they get soda). Because, well we’re cheap and didn’t want the added cost.

Schloss Hohenschwangau

Hohenschwangau Castle

Unlike Neuschwanstein which is owned by the Bavarian State, Hohenshwangau is a private castle still owned by the Wittelsbach royal family. It’s less crowded and doesn’t require the strenuous hike up the mountain. We didn’t have time to visit this castle on our family trip, unfortunately, but I have toured it before and think it’s worth a visit. You’ll also need to buy tickets for a timed, guided tour at the Ticket Center Hohenschwangau on the day of your visit.

Museum of Bavarian Kings

Museum of Bavarian Kings

Another interesting place to visit on the banks of the Alpsee is the Museum of Bavarian Kings. This museum chronicles the history of the royal Wittelsbach family and has an exhibit dedicated to Ludwig II. It might not be that interesting of a stop if you have small kids, but my older children did actually enjoy listening to the audio descriptions of the royals. They were interested to hear about connections to the French royals at Versailles and also the Heidelberg Castle. There are interactive exhibits for children, but only in German. Again, while I thought this was a really interesting museum, I wouldn’t recommend it if your kids are very young.

town of Fussen Germany

Don’t Miss the Town of Füssen, Germany

Finally, if you have time, I highly recommend staying in Füssen for a couple of days. There are more than enough fun things to keep your family busy in this city, the Romantic Soul of Bavaria. From boat trips on the Forggensee to a charming downtown pedestrian area, you will be glad to spend a few days Füssen! {more info on Füssen coming soon!}

Thanks again to the Füssen Tourism & Marketing Department for helping with this post. If you go to Füssen, definitely stop in their office and chat with them about your stay.

Have you visited Neuschwanstein with your kids? I’d love to hear what you thought!

Make your family vacation to Europe fantastic! Here's what you need to know about visiting Neuschwanstein with Kids!

Simple Blueberry Nice Cream Recipe {Vegan & Sugar Free!}

What better way to enjoy a tasty and guilt-free treat than this Blueberry Nice Cream Recipe! Vegan and sugar free, everyone loves this simple creamy summer treat!

Blueberry Nice Cream made with R.W. Knudsen Just blueberry juice

*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of R.W. Knudsen Family. The opinions and text are all mine.*

Simple Blueberry Nice Cream Recipe is Vegan & Sugar Free!

I don’t serve a lot of desserts in my house because I am very cognizant of the amount of sugar we eat. My own mother rarely made desserts and I have really followed in her footsteps. We’ll pull out the fruit bowl after dinner, and that’s usually the extent of dessert at my house.

But sometimes, a nice dessert is a real treat. Don’t you agree? I’m excited to share this simple, guilt-free blueberry nice cream recipe with you! It’s a great way to indulge and you don’t have to worry about any sugar, fat, gluten, or any other ingredient you may be trying to avoid.

Blueberry Nice Cream featured

You will thank me for this simple blueberry nice cream recipe during the beautiful spring days and in the dog days of summer too. You’re welcome! I hope you enjoy. 😀

A little bit about the R.W. Knudsen Family®

The R.W. Knudsen Family® Single Fruit Juice line is made up of single-fruit, unsweetened, and undiluted 100 percent fruit juice. (That sentence is pretty redundant, isn’t it? I wrote it so I can say that. :D) The juices are Non-GMO Project Verified and are sold in 32 oz. glass bottles. In addition to Just Blueberry™, they also sell Just Black Cherry™,  Just Cranberry™, Just Pomegranate™, Organic Just Concord Grape™, and Organic Just Tart Cherry™.

R.W. Knudsen Just Blueberry Juice

We love the Just Blueberry™ – it’s delicious on its own, and also makes a lovely Schorle (thirst quenching German drink comprised of fruit juice and mineral water). Of course, it’s also fabulous in my Nice Cream recipe.

Why blueberries?

I’m glad you asked! Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and phytonutrients. They’re also free of cholesterol and support heart health helping to lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. Drinking blueberry juice is supposed to promote mental sharpness, help keep your skin healthy, and studies have found that blueberry juice can protect against serious neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. But besides all of that, blueberries are just really delicious, don’t you think?

Blueberry Nice Cream Recipe

Are you ready to make this yummy treat that’s great for dessert or breakfast? Here’s the easy recipe!

Yields 1 large serving

Delicious Blueberry Nice Cream Recipe {Vegan & Sugar Free!}

A yummy vegan ice cream - guilt free dessert!

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

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Recipe Image


    Blueberry Nice Cream
  • 1/4 cup R. W. Knudsen Family Just Blueberry® juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3 ripe frozen bananas
  • Toppings:
  • Hemp hearts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Coconut nibs, toasted are great!
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sliced fruit
  • Berries
  • Edible flowers


  1. Combine the ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Mix on high until well blended and very creamy. Make sure you scrap the bowl at least once during the mixing process.
  2. Remove nice cream to a bowl. Top with your choice of toppings.
  3. Enjoy!

What better way to enjoy a tasty and guilt-free treat than this Blueberry Nice Cream Recipe! Vegan and sugar free, everyone loves this creamy summer treat!

R.W. Knudsen Family has produced quality, juice products since 1961. Its offerings include more than 100 types of organic fruit and vegetable juices and specialty items including Recharge® sports drinks. R.W. Knudsen Family products are made without artificial flavors and are exclusively fruit juice sweetened. Visit the R.W. Knudsen Family website for more information.

What’s your favorite guilt-free dessert?

R.W. Knudsen Family has produced quality, juice products since 1961. Its offerings include more than 100 types of organic fruit and vegetable juices and specialty items including Recharge® sports drinks. R.W. Knudsen Family products are made without artificial flavors and are exclusively fruit juice sweetened. Visit the R.W. Knudsen Family website for more information.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of R.W. Knudsen Family. The opinions and text are all mine.

Green Laundry Tips for Busy Families {and Giveaway!}

You don’t have to hang your clothes out on the line to green your laundry routine. If you’re a busy mom like me who wants to lessen your family’s exposure to chemicals and leave a lighter impact on the earth, but doesn’t have time to use a clothes line, these green laundry tips are for you.Green Laundry Tips for Busy Families - you don't have to use a clothes line to be green.

*This post, and the giveaway at the end, is sponsored by Grab Green. All opinions are mine. Use code Earth25  for 25% off all products purchased at GrabGreen – through May 31, 2017.

Green Laundry Tips for Busy Families

Oh laundry. You are the bane of my existence. Sometimes I think it would be easier to buy all new clothes than do the laundry, but alas, that is just not practical {or green} is it? While these tips won’t ensure that your laundry is finished and put away, they will help you reduce your family’s exposure to harsh chemicals and they might just save your some money in the process too.

Wash your Clothes in Cold Water

I’ve found cold water washes most of my laundry just fine. Occasionally I’ll have a dirtier load that needs hot water, but usually cold water is sufficient to keep our clothes clean. Approximately 90% of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating the water, so if you can switch to cold water for even half your loads, you’ll save a significant amount of energy!

Use Natural Laundry Detergent

Use a natural laundry detergent and stain fighter. Synthetic chemicals, petrochemicals, optical brighteners and more that are often found in commercial laundry detergents can all cause skin irritation and headaches. Instead of using a chemical nightmare, you can make your own laundry soap following my homemade laundry soap recipe here, or look for trusted brands like Grab Green which sell detergents made from naturally derived ingredients using non-toxic materials that are free of phosphates, chlorine, and artificial dyes. I probably don’t need to tell you that ALL NATURAL means nothing, so make sure that you read product ingredients to make sure you’re using good products. Grab Green rocks, by the way! I really like their laundry pods.

Forget the Bleach

Instead of using bleach, which is quite hard on the the environment, whiten your laundry with lemon juice instead. You can also harness the natural bleaching power of the sun if you hang laundry outside – but really, you don’t have to hang your laundry to green your routine. You can be like me, and switch to black instead of white. Black socks never look dirty and don’t need to be bleached. For real. I quit buying white socks years ago and haven’t looked back. 😉

Use Dryer Balls

Dryer sheets are a toxic waste of money. They are just full of bad chemicals and I don’t want them in my house. Instead, wool dryer balls  are a great alternative. They soften clothes and help them dry quicker too. Unfortunately, I can’t use wool dryer balls right now because I have these amazing all in one LG washer/dryer combo units, and dryer balls are only supposed to be used in the dryer. But I have used dryer balls quite happily in the past and highly recommend them. They really do reduce drying time and work as natural fabric softeners without polluting your indoor air quality.

Clean out the Lint Filter

Keeping your lint filter clean reduces the amount of energy it takes to dry your clothes. If your dryer doesn’t have to work as hard to dry your clothes, it uses less energy. Simple concept right? Clean your lint filter before or after every load to save money and energy!

And now, I’m excited to offer a Grab Green giveaway for products to green your laundry and also your kitchen! I first connect with Grab Green several years ago and an Eco-Wellness Conference called ShiftCon. I’ve been using their products quite happily since then.

Enter the Grab Green Giveaway!

Grab Green Giveaway on SimplifyLiveLove

Entry via the Rafflecopter widget. No purchase necessary. You must be a US resident, 18 years or older to enter. SimplifyLiveLove is not responsible for prize shipment. Winner will have 48 hours to confirm email address for prize fulfillment or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway ends at 12:00 am on 5/29/17. Good luck!

*Don’t forget that you can also save 25% on green cleaning supplies ordered directly from GrabGreen using code Earth25 through the end of May.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Two Favorite Money Saving Family Vacation Planning Tools

Planning a family vacation this summer? My two favorite money saving family vacation planning tools will help you save money and have an unforgettable and amazing family vacation!
Planning a family vacation this summer? My two favorite money saving family vacation planning tools will help you save money!

*This post is sponsored by HomeAway. All opinions are my own.*

Money Saving Family Vacation Planning Tools

We were ss lucky to be able to take our four children on a two week trip to Europe this past spring. The only reason we were able to go is because we found ways to make the trip affordable. Here are the top two tools that I used to make our trip possible.

Iceland Air to Europe

Hopper App

One of my favorite money saving family vacation tools is the Hopper App – which helps you know when to fly and when to buy. The only reason we were able to take our family to Europe this past March is because we found an amazing price on airline tickets. And the only reason I found the amazing price on the airline tickets is because of the Hopper App. I installed this app on my phone and peruse it from time to time just for fun. When I looked at it after Christmas and realized how inexpensive it would be to travel to Europe in March, and we booked the tickets right away. Without this app, we would not have gone to Europe.Versailles Hall of Mirrors

Vacation Rentals at HomeAway

Once we had affordable airline tickets, the next most important part of our travel planning was deciding where to stay. Traveling with four kids can be quite complicated and expensive since most hotels require two rooms or a large suite. To help keep the trip affordable, I chose a vacation rental apartment for our family in Paris from HomeAway. HomeAway is the world’s leading online vacation rental marketplace with more than 2 million unique places to stay. We were quite happy with the little vacation rental we booked there.paris home away flat

Our fun vacation rental (pictured above and below) is located right in the heart Paris. It’s actually two little studio apartments, one over the other. They were small, but they worked very well for our family because they’re close to Notre Dame and the Pompidou Center. We were able to walk to food, stores, metro, and a lot of places in the city. Since we also had a stocked kitchen, we were also able to save money by cooking as well!

Our HomeAway apartment in Paris!

The pictures above show the building our rental is located in, the outside door we had to walk through, and the stairwell we walked up. Parking was the biggest challenge, since we drove to Paris from Heidelberg, Germany, but there was parking offered through the rental and we did use it.

Vacation rental in South Dakota at HomeAway

This summer, we’re planning a road trip out west. Along the way, we hope to spend some time in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. I’m already looking into  vacation rental homes there too and have found a couple I like. This first one is in the Southern Black Hills.

rental #2 in South Dakota

And this one is a ridge-top home overlooking Box Canyon, also in the Black Hills. Vacation rental homes are handy because they sleep a lot of people and help you save money by cooking in the kitchen instead of eating out!

When you’re making your summer vacation, you’ll definitely want to head over to HomeAway!

Are you planning summer vacation with your family this year? What are your favorite money saving tools?



Grow a Beautiful & Colorful Cutting Flower Container Garden!

You don’t need a huge space to grow a beautiful and colorful flower cutting garden! All you need are the right flowers, some pots, and a little bit of inspiration, and you can have beautiful flower arrangements in your home from flowers you grow yourself.

Grow your own Cutting Flower Container Garden. You don't have to have a big space to grow your own flowers. These helpful tips will help you get started!

Grow a Beautiful & Colorful Cutting Flower Container Garden!

Happy Tuesday, my gardening Friends, and welcome back to Tuesdays in the Garden. Today, my friends and I are talking blooms. Beautiful, bright, pollinator attracting blooms. Who doesn’t love flowers in the garden? We have lots of beautiful posts for you to check out and I hope they inspire you to add some pops of color to your own outside decor this year.

Homemade flower arrangement

One thing I really love about gardening is being able to bring lovely blooms in my house. I always have irises, sunflowers, and zinnias in my garden to bring indoors, but I haven’t been great about establishing other blooms for cutting. This year I’m trying something new – a cutting flower container garden near my front door. I put this container garden together last week using beautiful and prolific blooms which I look forward to cutting for lovely indoor flower arrangements.

Monrovia flowers that grow well in containers

I’m excited to partner with Monrovia Plants for this post because I always love when the Monrovia flowers start showing up at my local Lowe’s stores. Do you remember the Butterfly Garden in a Pot that I made a couple years ago? I also partnered with Monrovia on that post as well. 🙂

Monrovia Flower displays at Lowes

I love this time of year when the flowers arrive at gardening nurseries. The colors, the scents, I love everything about the gorgeous displays of Monrovia flowers at the nurseries. Not only can you go to Lowe’s to buy Monrovia plants, but you can also head over to their website to do a bit of research as well. Plug your zip code in here and find out what will grow well in your area! See something you like? Have it shipped directly to your store with free shipping.

Colorful Cutting Flower Container Garden

Flowers that Grow Well in Containers

For my cutting flower container garden, I wanted prolific bloomers, preferably flowers that will do well in containers. I found so much beauty and information at the Monrovia Grow Beautifully Blog I encourage you to check it out too! Based on the information at Monrovia, I chose these blooms for my cutting flower container garden:

I looked for descriptions like masses of bright flowers, compact growth habit, perfect for mixed containers and cutting gardens, and amazing large blooms. I’ll be perfectly honest with you and let you know that I’ve never grown dahlias in containers before but I’m excited to see how it works. One thing I love about the beautiful dahlia is that as a perennial, they can come back each year. The downside is that my zone is too cold, and unless I did up the roots and bring them indoors to over winter, they won’t survive. That’s just not going to happen, but bringing a pot indoors is well within my abilities. We’ll see if it works! Call it a fun experiment. 😀

Cutting Flower Container Garden SLL

Container Garden Tips

Once I brought my plants home, I selected large, well draining pots and got to work planting my flowers. I placed them on the boardwalk patio outside our passive-aggressive house. I like having them close to the house because it will make them easier to water and cut to bring indoors. If you’d like to grow a cutting flower container garden, make sure to follow these tips:

  • Make sure to use a large container so there’s room for growth.
  • Use a high quality potting soil to give the plants better nutrients
  • Don’t forget mulch because it’s not just for traditional gardens. It also helps the plants maintain moisture in containers as well.
  • Find a high quality, natural fertilizer to keep your plants healthy.
  • Don’t forget to water!!

Tuesdays in the Garden 2017

Tuesdays in the Garden

And now it’s time to see what my gardening friends are up to. As promised, we’ve got a lot of great posts for you. I hope you’ll pop over and see what they’re up to!

Frugal Family Home

From Shelly at @FrugalFamilyHome – Favorite Spring Flowers

Hearth & Vine

From Patti at @Hearth & Vine – Favorite Scented Plants for the Garden

Angie the Freckled Rose

From Angie at @TheFreckledRose – Favorite Flowering Vines for Your Garden

An Oregon Cottage

From Jami at @AnOregonCottage – Favorite Plants for Gardening in the Shade

homemade food junkie

From Diane at @HomemadeFoodJunkie – 5 Bushes to Attract & Support Birds

Grow your own cutting flower container garden and enjoy fresh flowers in your home all summer.

Your Help Family Can Help the Global Water Crisis

We are lucky to live in an area where we take clean water for granted, but sadly, a lot of people around the world don’t. On Saturday, May 6, World Vision will sponsor the  Global 6K for clean water! This is great opportunity for your family to get active and help support the global water crisis.Your Help Family Can Help the Global Water Crisis

Photo credit: My blogging BFF, Nicky, from LittleFamilyAdventure took this picture. Isn’t it pretty? Also, you should know that this post is sponsored by World Vision, but the opinions here are all mine.

Your Help Family Can Help the Global Water Crisis

Did you know there is a global water crisis? According to the United Nations, 783 MILLION people do NOT have access to clean water and 2.5 BILLION people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. Clean water is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. We are lucky to live in a first world country, and have pretty easy access to safe water. But, if you follow my blog, you know that our water is so polluted from ag run-off that we can’t drink it without massive amounts of filtering.

But even though we have to jump few a few annoying hoops to get clean water, it’s still not as bad as the challenges other people around the world face. I can’t even imagine living in an area where I have to walk 6 km to find water. That’s why I’m happy to share information with you about World Vision’s Global 6K for water. I hope you can find it in your heart to support clean water. There are lots of ways you can help.

World Vision’s Global 6K for Water

  • Become a Global 6K Host Site: Register your community group as a host site (it’s free!) and gather a group to walk. World Vision will supply the marketing materials, race day signage and staff support for a successful race day no matter how big or small your! If you can’t become a host site, considering running or walking with other Global 6K for Water participants at a host site near you.
  • Start a Global 6K Virtual Team: If you’re not part of a community group, it’s still possible to gather a virtual team! You can walk outside or even on treadmill and still support the global clean water effort!

World Vision Global 6K for Water

Even if you can’t participate in the walk, you can still help!

  • Turn Coffee into Clean Water: Give up one drink or coffee a week and collect the money for a donation to support World Vision’s water programs.. Even small amounts of money can make a big difference for families around the world, and you might be surprised how much you can collect simply by saving a coins or a few dollars a week.
  • Change a Life Through Child Sponsorship: My parents sponsored a child all through my childhood. I remember the pictures we used to get and enjoyed knowing that we were helping kids somewhere have been access to medical care and education. You can help by sponsoring a child too, if you are so inclined.
  • Become a Part of Team World Vision: The Global 6K for Water is an example of only one event organized by Team World Vision. They many other active events to help children access clean water. Join Team World Vision for support in reaching your own fitness goals while helping others around the world.

World Vision's Global 6K for Water

Why support clean water through World Vision?

In 2015, World Vision provided access to clean water to 2.3 million people, and the organization’s goal is to provide clean water and sanitation to one new person every 10 seconds by 2020. With your help, World Vision believes we can solve the global water and sanitation crisis within our lifetime. Join World Vision and be proud of the fact that you will help a new person access clean water every 30 seconds!!

Thanks for your support! <3

What to Plant in Your Veggie Garden in May {Zone 5}

Wondering what to plant in your garden in May? This list of warm weather veggies to plant in May will help you stay on track in your garden.What to Plant in Your Veggie Garden in May - Zone 5

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

My area of Eastern Iowa has an average last frost date of May 15, and gardening gets really busy in May in Zone 5. The average last frost date is what determines the order of planting for your veggie garden. If your last frost date is around May 15, this list is perfect for you. If your last frost date is before or after mine, you will need to adjust accordingly. Not sure what gardening zone you live in? Use this handy tool to input your zip code and find out. This tool will tell you what your last frost date is based on your zip code.

{By May in Zone 5, you  could have planted cool weather crops already. Check out this list of plants that can be planted in April in Zone 5. Depending on the weather, it’s probably fine to plant these cool weather crops in May as well.} Our spring weather has been really cool this year so I’m still planting cool weather crops.

What to Plant in your Garden in May {Zone 5}

Hopefully, you are not bogged down with cold and rain, like we are in my neck of the woods. I can’t tell you how many times I have fallen for the warm weather trick and planted the wrong crops in mid to late April, only to have them killed or severally stunted by cold, dreary weather. I’m happy to report that I’ve learned and now wait until mid May to plant the following crops. Here’s what you should be planting in a Zone 5 garden in May.

  • Beans, after May 5, direct sow seeds
  • Beets, anytime during May, direct sow seeds
  • Cabbage, early May, plant seedlings
  • Carrots, early May, direct sow seeds
  • Lettuce, early May, direct sow seeds
  • Potatoes, early May, plant seed potatoes using the no-dig method
  • Radish, early May, direct sow seeds
  • Sweet corn, early May {as long as it’s not too cold and rainy}, direct sow seeds

The following seeds and seedlings need to be planted AFTER all danger of frost has passed:

  • Cucumber, mid May, direct sow seeds
  • Eggplant, mid May, plant seedlings
  • Pepper, mid May, plant seedlings
  • Pumpkins, mid May, direct sow seeds
  • Squash, mid May, direct sow seeds
  • Tomatoes, mid May, plant seedlings

Don’t forget Companion Plants!

A lot of companion flowers and herbs can be planted in May too. Companion plants help attract beneficial bugs and keep bad bugs at bay, so make sure you add some to your garden plan. You can also get a jump start on June Gardening Chores here if you’re curious what’s coming next.

Let's Garden! Printable Garden Planting Guide Zone 5

Want  a handy place to keep track of when to plant what? Sign up for my weekly newsletter and get access to my Free Printable Garden Planting Guide! It tells you when to plant what from April to August and helps you keep track of the details!

And finally, if you are new to vegetable gardening, make sure to check out my list of 10 practical tips for new gardeners! It’s sure to be a big help.

Happy Gardening!”

What to Do if You are Bitten by a Tick

Do you know what to do if you are bitten by a tick?  The following tips will help you know exactly what to do to minimize the risk of infection and also help you catch any potential infection early on for best treatment outcomes. Quick treatment is key to recovery!Do you know what to do if you are bitten by a tick? Quick treatment is key to recovery & these tips will tell you exactly what to do if you get a tick bite.

Photo Credit  Medical disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, nor do I want to be. Consult your doctor for any specific concerns you may have about ticks and tick bites.

What to Do if You are Bitten by a Tick

If you are hiking, camping, or just spending time outdoors, it is important to do tick checks on everyone in your family. Ticks can transmit devastating illnesses to humans and animals, so tick checks are important any time you spend time outdoors. If you do find a tick attached during your check, here are the steps you should take. (If you’re looking for natural ways to prevent tick bites, this post might help.)

First, it’s very important that you don’t panic! Not all types of ticks cause disease (primarily the very small deer tick). In fact, according to Science News, fewer than 5% of tick bites lead to any illness at all. Stay calm and understand that most tick bites are gross, but not necessarily dangerous. However, given the severity of many tick borne illnesses, it’s important to take the following precautions anyway.

Steps you should take if you are bitten by a tick.

Photo Credit

First, remove the tick properly.

Tick removal is not as simple as just grabbing it and pulling. In order to lessen the chances of the tick releasing more potential illness or parasites, get a pair of tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the head as possible. With a straight out and up motion, pull the tick out without twisting it. If you leave the head, that’s OK. You can try to grab it after, but if it won’t come out, don’t ‘fish’ for it as this can lead to infection. Your body will push it out on its own.

Next, clean the area well.

Once you’ve removed the tick, it’s important to clean the area properly. Using an antibacterial soap, clean the area well. This is important to ward off skin infections. Don’t listen to old wives tales about how to remove the tick. Trying to drown the tick with soap, rubbing alcohol, or lotion to get it to un-attach itself will not work. Also, it goes without saying that holding a match to burn the tick off your skin is a bad idea. Both of these methods are not only ineffective, but can actually make the tick spill more saliva into your body. Since saliva is what causes the infection in the first place, it’s important to minimize how much is transmitted into your blood stream.

Decide what to do with the tick: get rid of it or keep it.

To dispose of the tick

If you just want to get rid of the tick, it’s recommended to flush it down the toilet. After you flush it, verify that it goes down and keep flushing until it is GONE.

To keep the tick for testing

Instead of flushing the tick, though, I recommend keeping it as you might want to have it tested. This is especially important if your tick bite happens to develop the bull’s eye rash or you start feeling poorly shortly after the tick bite. Some places, like the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, will test your tick for free if you fill out their form and mail in the tick. You can find more free labs by Googling ‘free tick testing.’ If you decide to keep the tick, put it in a ziplock baggie and then put the baggie in your freezer. You might want to label the baggie.

Watch for signs of illness or infection.

Watch the area of the bite over the next couple of days for signs of infection or illness. Tick borne illnesses often carry symptoms such as fever, severe fatigue, headache and body aches. Often, but not always, there is a bulls-eye shaped rash at the site of the bite in Lyme disease. Watch for any signs of rash at all by drawing a circle around the bite spot so you will remember where it was. Unfortunately, the bulls-eye rash is not always totally obvious, so be vigilant when observing the body after a tick bite.

Be tested by a doctor if you are concerned.

If you are concerned, make sure to see your doctor right away and ask for the Elisa and Western Blot tests. These two tests are the most common tests used to determine tick borne illnesses. However, they can have false negatives and sometimes one might be positive when the other is negative. Most people think only Lyme Disease is caused by ticks, but there are other tick borne illnesses as well. It’s important that your doctor considers more than just Lyme when examining you.

Get a second opinion if you don’t feel you have been heard

Tick borne illnesses are not something every doctor is educated in and some doctors don’t take them as seriously as they could. Make sure to seek a second opinion if you feel your voice was not heard. You can look for a LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) to answer questions and for further testing. To find a LLMD in your area, visit the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society website.

Are you concerned about tick bites? Make sure you read this post on natural ways to prevent tick bites too.

How to Get Your Kids to Help You Weed Your Garden

If you’re looking for a fun way to get your kids to help you weed your garden, try out the Weed Zinger. This chemical-free weed killer is the only way I can get my kids to help me with smiles on their faces.It's not always easy to motivate them kids to help out, but these four tips will get your kids to help you weed your garden and have fun in the process!

*This post was sponsored by Weed Zinger. All opinions are my own.*

How to Get Your Kids to Help You Weed Your Garden

I’m mostly a vegetable gardener and I grow food to feed my family. While I’m always looking for ways to get my kids to help in the garden, quite often they simply aren’t interested. Weeding is quite often back-breaking work and no fun at all, but it is possible to involve them without fights. If you’re looking for ways to cheerfully involve your kids in the weeding process at your house, I hope these tips will help you.

Make it fun

In my experience, the only way to get my kids willing to cheerfully help me in the garden is to make the process fun. If I stress out while I’m weeding and give my kids a hard time if they accidentally pull a useful plant instead of a weed, they run far away. Getting them back to the garden is then really hard. It’s hard for me sometimes to stay calm, but really. How big of a deal is it if they accidentally pull a baby carrot or a radish? I do it myself. No yelling in the garden. The plants don’t like it.

Don’t use chemicals

You probably know this already, but chemicals shouldn’t be handled by your kids. In my opinion, they don’t belong in your garden at all, but at the very least, don’t let your kids apply them. If you use chemicals, I don’t think you can ask your kids to help at all, so that’s why I add no chemicals to this list.

Help your kids measure their success

Sound familiar? You talk your kids into helping you weed, they pull one weed and then leave. Tell me I’m not the only one who has had this problem? A great way I have found to motivate my kids to keep working, is to help them measure their success by giving them a container to fill. We have garden trugs and galvanized buckets for them to use. When the container is full, they’re done. Helping them measure success give them a reason to keep at it instead of quitting before they’re done.

Bribery does work. 😀

As long as we’re being perfectly honest, and I endeavor to be honest with you in my blogging, bribery is an awesome parenting tool. I might have been one of those parents who said they’d never have to resort to bribery with my own kids, but well, then life happened. I totally bribe my kids and I’ll be the first to admit it. 😀 After we weed the garden, we can get an ice cream or a make homemade lemonade or go to the pool. I don’t have have a problem with that at all. So yes, I’m a fan of bribery.

Try the Weed Zinger 

I’m honestly a pretty simple person. I don’t like a lot of frills when it comes to gardening tools. Give me a nice, sharp hoe and I’m happy. But watching my kids swing a hoe around makes me a little nervous honestly. I can just see them wacking a sibling accidentally or removing a toe. So tools that don’t seem as dangerous are very appealing to moms with kids.

A few weeks ago, I was a sent a Weed Zinger to try out. It’s an upright weed puller and requires no bending. When the Weed Zinger arrived at my house a few weeks ago, my kids went nuts. I was really surprised, because they usually run far away from gardening tasks. They were so excited to try out the Weed Zinger though, so I sent them out to my garden and told them to get busy. 😀

Using the Weed Zinger is pretty easy. Just wait for a nice rain so the ground is soft, insert the stand-up weeder in the middle of the plant you wish to remove, give it a good twist, and pull. Then, have fun launching the plant as far as you can. If you haven’t had a rain in a while, you can water the area to soften the ground as well. Above, you can see my son, Ben, in my garden boots!, demonstrate the Weed Zinger. You can also get a feel for how windy it is in Eastern Iowa when you watch the video.

Putting the Weed Zinger to Use

Now I have to be completely honest with you. I probably wouldn’t personally use this weeder in my garden. I think it’s great for people who have back problems and can’t bend easily. I also think it’s great for kids who want to help in the garden and have fun in the process. But as a utility weeder for my production garden, I will most likely stick to an old fashioned hoe.

Do you have problems motivating your kids to help you weed? Think you would try out the Weed Zinger? You can order it online at HomeDepot.com. At under $20 and with FREE shipping, it’s not too expensive either. Does it sound like a tool you would try?

Beautiful & Useful Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Moms Who Garden {& free printable!}

If you’re wondering what to give for Mother’s Day, make sure you check out this list of beautiful and useful Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Moms Who Garden!  We also made you free printable gardening coupons for gardening chores! Give them to your mom or have your kids give them to you {hint hint}…*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site and my Amazon Prime addiction.*

Beautiful & Useful Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Moms Who Garden

Today’s installment of Tuesdays in Garden is all about helping you find the right gift to celebrate your Mom. Whether you want to handcraft a beautiful Mother’s Day gift or buy one, we’ve got you covered. This post contains so many great ideas for Mother’s Day, you’re sure to find the perfect gift idea. And at the end of the post, you’ll also find the link to free printable garden coupons, my gift to you, loyal readers. Thank you for being here.

Free printable garden chore coupons. The perfect Gift Idea for Gardening Moms

Garden Harvest Baskets

A beautiful garden harvest basket is something I have wanted for a long time, but have never bought for myself. I know that any one of these baskets would make a great gift for a mom who loves gardening. These are the top three that caught my eye on Amazon, but there are certainly other beautiful options as well. If you’d like to make your mom an extra special garden themed gift, grab one of these baskets and then fill it up with a few of the other items on my list. I’m sure a garden bounty basket filled with useful garden items would be a huge hit!

 Pike’s Original Maine Garden Hod Set of 3 Sussex Trugs Metal Harvest Basket

Unique Garden Plant Markers

Garden plant markers are another fun gardening gift, and also something I never bother to buy for myself. I don’t have garden markers, but I really love the classic metal markers included in this list of ideas and would absolutely love it if someone gave them to me!

 Chalkboard Look Vegetable Markers Slate Artisan Plant Markers Classic Metal Garden Markers

Fun Indoor Gardening Kits

If your mom likes gardening kits, these kits might fit the bill! Not only are the lovely to look at, but they’re practical too! I think the cans of herbs or the indoor cilantro jar would look lovely on the kitchen window sill. I’ve never grown my own mushrooms, but have always thought it would be fun to try.

 Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Farm Back to the Roots Organic Herbs in a Can Indoor Cilantro Herb in Jar

Items that Help Attract Pollinators to the Garden

Every gardening mom knows that pollinators are essential to successful gardens. If you’d like to gift your mom something to help her attract pollinators to her garden, here are a few useful and beautiful items. I actually have the bee house and the hummingbird feeder and love them both.


 Bee House and Insect Home Mason Jar Hummingbird Feeder Pollinator Friendly Gardening

My Favorite Organic Gardening Books

Gardening books are not only useful, but fun as well. Make sure to add a gardening book to the harvest basket gift! Your favorite gardener would appreciate any of these gardening books. 😀

 The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening

Useful Gardening Tools

Beautiful and practical gardening tools are always a hit in my book. I love my steel watering cans and garden knife. They’re useful for so many reasons. Admittedly, I don’t wear my garden gloves as often as I should, but maybe this year will be the year I actually start. 🙂


 2-1/2-Gallon Steel Watering Can Leather Gardening Gloves Hori Hori Garden Knife

Fun Gardening T-Shirts

So these gifts aren’t necessarily practical, but they are awfully cute. If your mom loves gardening and t-shrits, maybe one of these fun t-shirts would be right up her alley.

 Work In My Garden & Drink Wine T-Shirt Crazy Garden Lady T-Shrit Women’s Worms Dig My Garden T-Shirt

Fun Gardening Signs

Also not practical, but a fun gift nonetheless, here are a few of my favorite garden related signs. 😀 These are decor, obviously, not for use in your garden. But they could make for cute displays in a gardening shed or on a front porch.

 Dirty Hoe Garden Vintage Metal Sign Pull Weeds Sign Funny Wooden Garden Sign

Tuesdays in the Garden

Tuesdays in the Garden 2017

I’ve shared a few beautiful and useful gift ideas you can buy, but my gardening friends also have a few DIY options today too! If you’d rather make your mom a homemade gift, check out these wonderful ideas from the Tuesdays in the Garden Gang. 🙂

frugal family homeFrom Shelly @Frugal Family Home – Mason Jar Herb Garden

hearth and vineFrom Patti @Hearth & Vine – How to Make an Herb Garden in a Burlap Sack

 An Oregon Cottage

From Jami @An Oregon Cottage – Easy DIY Gardener’s Hand Cream

Angie freckled rose

From Angie @The Freckled Rose – Gifts for Your Gardener

homemade food junkieFrom Diane @Homemade Food Junkie – Container Garden Tips 

Bren Haas

From Bren @Bren Hass – Kid Friendly Way to Say Happy Earth Day

6 Easy Mother's Day Planter Ideas

Also from me: 6 Easy Planter Ideas for Mother’s Day

 Printable Mother's Day Garden chore coupons

If you’d like to download the free printable coupons, just click the link and a PDF file will , Mother’s Day Coupons –  from Simplify Live Love. You can print the coupons on 8 1/2 x 11″ card stock, cut them out, and give to your beloved gardener. Or in my case, I’d print them out, cut them, and then beg my kids to give them to me. LOL!

Happy Mother’s Day to you!!