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!! 

What to do in Tübingen, Germany and the Surrounding Area

Another famous university town in Baden Württemberg, Tübingen, is a beautiful stop on a visit to Germany. Featuring one of the few completely intact old-style cities (Altstädte) as well one of the oldest universities in Central Europe, Eberhardt Karls Universität, Tubingen is well worth a visit!

Tübingen, Germany - A beautiful university town*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

Many thanks to the Tübingen Tourist Center for tickets to some of the destinations I mention in this post.

After starting in Heidelberg, Tübingen was the next stop on our recent spring break trip to Europe. Tübingen, like Heidelberg, was spared during World War II, and I was actually an exchange student there many years ago. Tübingen rivals Rothenburg in terms of beautiful old towns, honestly! I fell in love with the town during my year abroad and was excited to stop by with the kids. Who doesn’t enjoy showing off their former life to their children? I’m glad to raise my kids in the Iowa boonies, but I want them to know that it’s a great big world with a lot of possibilities too. I’d love it if one of them heads off to study in Tübingen some day.  That will give me an awesome excuse to get a little apartment and relive the glory days. <3

Tubingen, Germany. A beautiful town to visit on your vacation to Germany

Tübingen, located in a area of southwestern Germany called Swabia, is somewhat off the beaten path and isn’t even mentioned in Rick Steve’s Germany 2017 Guidebook at all. It’s about 2 hours southeast of Heidelberg, and 30 minutes south of Stuttgart. You can get there via train quite easily from Stuttgart if you don’t have a car.

We drove down for a day trip and were not in the area long enough, in my opinion. Two to three days would be the perfect amount of time to spend in the Tübingen area: one day to explore Tübingen and its museums, another day to visit Bebenhausen and Hohenzollern, and a few hours at the Rittersport Factory in Waldenbuch, especially if you have kids. 🙂 

Here’s how we spent our afternoon in Tübingen, as well as a few amazing things to do in the surrounding area!

Neckar Muller Tubingen

Neckar Müller Beer Garden

A favorite of the students and tourists, the Neckar Muller Beer Garden is very enjoyable, especially if the weather is nice and the patio is open. If you’re outside during nice weather, it’s fun to watch people in boats and the birds on the river. And beer! Ah yes, the beer. My favorites are the Helles (literal definition is “light,” pale lager beer) and the Radler (literal definition is “the Cylist,”  half beer / half lemonade). Make sure you try one if you like beer.A meal at the Neckar Muller in Tubingen GermanyWe started our day in Tübingen with a Schwäbisch lunch of Käsespätzle (cheesy noodles) and Maultaschen (sort of like pierogies). Sadly, the food didn’t really appeal to my kids, but the view of the Neckar River was beautiful and the grownups did enjoy the food. After promises of ice cream and crepes, we left the Neckar Müller, crossed the street, and headed down the stairs for a walk on the Neckar Island!

A walk on the Neckar Insel (Neckar Island) in Tubingen Germany

Take a walk on the Neckar Island (Neckarinsel)

The Neckar River (the same river that runs through Heidelberg) actually splits in two for a bit in Tübingen, forming an island in the center of town. It was a favorite hang-out-spot when I was a student there, and the kids loved it too!

exploring the Neckarinsel (neckar island) in Tubigen germany

They said chasing pigeons and swans, running,  jumping, and climbing was a highlight of their day in Tübingen. The Neckarinsel is also a great place to take in the beautiful and famous buildings on the river bank of the Altstadt.

Pedestrian tunnel to the Tubingen Altstadt

We walked the entire length of the Neckarinsel and climbed the stairs on the other side. From there we walked through the pedestrian tunnel and headed up the uneven cobblestoned streets to the Rathaus (City Hall) at the Marktplatz (Market Square).

Rathaus at Marktplatz in Tubingen Germany

Walk around the Altstadt’s uneven cobbled streets

Tübingen’s Altstadt is one of the most beautiful old cities I’ve walked through in Germany. It really is picturesque, with uneven cobblestones and buildings that reach out and almost touch each other from across the street. There are some very narrow walkways and steep inclines, so it’s not for the faint of heart. While you’re walking around the old city, you might want to stop in the Stadtmuseum Tübingen, located in the Kornhaus – a building that’s over 500 years old! We honestly did not stop in and I’m not sure if many of the exhibits, which include historical information about the area, include information in English. But the building is beautiful!

Marktplatz Tubingen GermanyA museum I think my kids would have enjoyed, specially the boy, is the Toy Museum Boxenstop. Located on Brunnenstr. behind the university building Brechtbau (where I spent a lot of time during my year abroad), the Boxenstop claims to have an impressive display of over 70 cars and 1500 different toys which everyone is encouraged to touch and feel!

sunset at the tubingen castle

Hike up to Hohentübingen Castle

Situated at the top of the Altstadt, Hohentübingen Castle is part of the University of Tübingen. It houses science faculty, museums, and beautiful views of the city below. We toured the Ancient Cultures Museum at the castle and were surprised by how much the kids enjoyed it. I didn’t think they’d like it that much, but they surprised us by really enjoying the ancient Egyptian artifacts, a prehistoric art collection, and plaster cast collection of famuos statues from classical archaeology.

Hohentubingen Castle, Tubingen Germany

Things to see within a 5-30 minute drive of Tübingen

Visit the Ritter Sport Chocolate Factory in Waldenbuch

Well, who doesn’t like Ritter Sport? My kid were thrilled when we told them we were heading the Ritter Sport Factory in Waldenbuch, a town about 25 km from Tubingen. We actually started our day there and had a great time, even though, apart from buying lots of cheap chocolate, there’s not all that much to do. We enjoyed the little museum and a movie  about the company (in English even). They also have an interactive chocolate workshop for kids (no parents allowed!) that could have been a lot of fun. You have to register in advance for that tour, and we did not, so the kids were not able to participate.

Ritter Sport Factory in Waldenbuch Germany 3

Bebenhausen Monastery

We didn’t make it here this trip, but I visited years ago when I was a student. The Bebenhausen Monastery is supposed to be one of the best-preserved Cistercian abbeys in southern Germany and was founded in 1180! It’s located in the Schönbuch nature preserve area and some of the buildings were turned into a royal hunting palace in the 19th century. At only 5 km from Tübingen, it makes a nice bike ride if you have the time and inclination!

Hohenzollern Castle

Another place I visited when I was a student is the Hohenzollern Castle, 35 km from Tübingen. It’s an easy drive or train ride away and is a beautiful castle to visit. With over 300,000 visitors a year, it’s one of the most visited castles in Germany. Hohenzollern Castle is still privately owned by the royal family and is definitely on my list of places to take the kids next time we make it to Germany.

No visit to southern Germany is complete without stopping in the Tubingen area! I hope you’ll add it to your list of must visit cities on your German vacation. 

No visit to southern Germany is complete without a visit to Tubingen., home of one of the most goregous, intact old cities in Germany. Here's what to do if you stop there and few suggestions for things to see in the surrounding area.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

If you’re trying to eat local, in-season food, make sure to include these top ten plants for early spring harvest. They will yield the first food in the spring so you can have farm fresh produce as soon as possible.

top 10 plants for early spring harvest

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One of my long term life dreams is to eat only locally grown and produced food, like Barbara Kingsolver did in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle {one of my most favorite books of all times}. At first thought, it sounds kind of doable, right? I mean, I have a big garden, and I have egg and meat chickens. I’ve also found a source for local pastured pork and organic, local, grassfed beef. But the logistics are really a lot more complicated than my pea-brain can handle. And it would take a REALLY REALLY REALLY big garden to produce enough food to feed my family of six. Maybe some day.

For now, I will be content to do what I can, and that means maximizing every growing season, and this post starts with spring! Enjoy my list of the top 10 plants to consider if you want to get the earliest possible harvest out of your garden.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest - strawberries and asparagus

Early Spring Perennials

I love perennials because I can plant them once, and reap the rewards for years! It’s also a bonus that a few garden perennials produce some of the earliest food in the spring, so make sure to include them in your garden.

Rhubarb – it seems a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with rhubarb, but I love it. It’s also ready for picking sooner than most other fruits and is delicious in crisps, scones, and made into syrup too!

Strawberries – strawberries are the first berries to ripen, usually late May or early June in my area. Nothing beats a fresh strawberry right out of the garden! And since conventionally grown strawberries are some of the most pesticide laden fruits grown, we prefer to grow our own.

asparagus

Asparagus – asparagus is ready for a full harvest the third year after it’s planted. It’s one of the earliest crops of spring – so delicious!! We look forward to fresh asparagus every year.

Spring Veggies to Plant before the Last Frost

Spring Onions / Potatoes – can be directly sown from seed six weeks before the last frost if the ground is workable. Onions grow quickly and the greens can be cut pretty soon after they start growing. If you leave the bulb in the ground and just cut the greens, they will even grow new greens for you!

Potatoes are generally ready for harvest a little later, but you can carefully collect new potatoes without disturbing the plant ten weeks after the potatoes were planted. We use the no-dig planting method to grow potatoes. Learn more here.

Spinach / Kohlrabi / Kale – can be directly sown from seed five weeks before the last frost date. It’s especially important to plant spinach early as it needs six cool weeks to reach maturity and bolts quickly in hot weather.

Peas / Radish / Carrots – can be directly sown from seed four weeks before last frost date. Peas also don’t do well in hot weather, so make sure to plant them as quickly as possible. Every year I have volunteer radish crops in my garden because I let some go to seed in the summer. They are some of the first fresh veggies we eat!

Forellensuss Lettuce

Lettuce / Swiss Chard – can be directly sown from seed two weeks before last frost date. I also have volunteer lettuce in my garden from time to time and love it! Fresh lettuce is just delicious.

Check your seed packets to see which varieties mature the quickest. Some radishes are ready within 25 days! And lettuce is very quick growing too.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

What plants do you look forward to most in spring?

3 Things 1.28.17: Rainbow Le Creuset; Family Read Alouds; Niagara Falls in the Winter

Happy Saturday, dear friends. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your lovely weekend to enter my world. In today’s post, I’m sharing pictures of my completed Rainbow Le Creuset Collection, our current family read aloud, and beautiful pictures of Niagara Falls in the Winter.

3-things-at-simplifylivelove

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

3 Things 1.28.17: Rainbow Le Creuset; Family Read Alouds; Niagara Falls in the Winter

le creuset

3-things-1Rainbow Le Creuset

My rainbow Le Creuset is complete with the addition of a 3 quart Soleil Balti cast iron dish! I’m so excited to see the complete rainbow, but part of me feels a bit bummed…because Lead Safe America recently found unsafe levels of cadmium and lead in the paint of some Le Creuset products. I heard this sad information a while ago, before I got the last yellow piece. I love cooking with my Le Creuset – I use my 7 1/4 quart cassis (purple) round French oven the most, but I do use them all.

So when I heard about the heavy metals in Le Creuset, I was sadden. I did a little research and couldn’t find any information on Le Creuset’s own website (go-figure). But I am encouraged by research conducted by The Soft Landing. They claim only two cookware companies address the issue of heavy metals in their cookware at all and say that Le Creuset strictly controls cadmium which they use in the paint that adorns the outside of the pots and uses agents to prevent it from flaking off. They also claim that Le Creuset is one of very few companies to subject their products to third party testy to verify safety.

The one thing that makes me squirm a little is that Le Creuset claims not to use lead at all, yet Lead Safe America found lead in their products. Hmmmm. All I say is I am struggling right now with my love for Le Creuset.  

story of the world

3-things-2Family Read Alouds

Do you read aloud to your family? I used to read a lot to the kids when they were younger, but I have gotten away from it since they went off to school. We just started a new read aloud, though, and it’s a lot of fun. We’re reading a chapter from the Story of the World, Volume 3 after dinner every night, or as often as we can. We’re all learning a bit about history before out trip to Europe in March. The kids are fascinated, and admittedly, so am I, because I either never learned a lot of the facts they discuss in this book, or have forgotten them. I even had the kids watch the hilarious Netherlands Second Spoof because it touched on topics from the book! It is possible to find modern connections to make learning history more interesting.

beautiful niagara falls in the winter

3-things-3Niagara Falls in the Winter

It turns our that Dan and I are on an impromptu trip to Niagara Falls this weekend to pick up supplies for the Passive House we’re currently building in Wilton. I guess we’ll find any excuse to take a road trip. At 10 hours away, it’ll save us quite a lot of money to go get this stuff ourselves, as opposed to having it shipped, so we’re off.

The kids and I actually went to Niagara Falls in the winter – January of 2013 – with my amazing friend Robin and her three boys. The funniest part of the trip were the Chinese tourists who were enamored with the nine of use – two women and their seven collective kids. They took a picture of our group even and I wish we would have thought to have them take a picture with one of our cameras, but we didn’t. I laugh every time I imagine the stories they told their Chinese friends about the two crazy American women with seven kids!

Niagara Falls lookout

Niagara Falls in the winter is really beautiful, but we were not properly prepared for the brutal cold we faced there, and I swore I would NEVER go back to  in January…yet here we are. I’ve been promised 40 degree temps and a balmy beach vacation. I’ll keep you updated on how that works out for me – lol. If you’d like to visit Niagara Falls in the winter, here are some of the amazing sights you might see!

Niagara Falls Frosty Trees

Niagara Falls in winter

Frost at Niagara Falls
And that’s it you guys. Another week at the Passive-Aggressive house has come to close. I look forward to catching up with you next week. What’s been going on in your world?

Niagara Falls in the Winter pin