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Moving on Up – Our First Shot at Vertical Gardening

If you’ve never heard of vertical gardening, two things are clear – you’ve never lived in a small space with little or no yard, and you’ve never done The Land boat ride at EPCOT.  Originally, vertical gardening was done out of necessity – with no real property on which to plant a proper garden, geniuses with green thumbs opted for containers that could somehow be stacked or hung, taking up minimal space for maximum produce.  We did it out of pure lazy.  Plus, it turned a blank wall into something almost artistic!


We’ve done traditional gardens before, and our first year in this house, we planted a huge bed in our backyard.  After battling bunnies and squirrels, neighbor’s cats and kids, we gave up.  It was so much work for so little return.  Discovering vertical gardening not only minimizes the risk of half the residents of the Enchanted Forest chowing down on your salad before you pick it, but it’s MUCH easier to plant!


You start your garden with a shoe organizer – the kind you can hang over your door.  You may luck into one at a thrift store or a dollar store, but we bought canvas organizers at the Container Store for less than $10 each.  If you can’t find canvas, you can absolutely use vinyl or plastic, but you’ll want to punch three or four holes in each pocket for drainage.

When thinking of what to plant, you’ll want to keep in mind that you won’t be able to stake things up very well – like tomato plants.  Lettuces work well in this type of garden, as does kale, some edible flowers, and anything you can think that will grow up or in a cascade as opposed to needing additional support.  We planted a lot of herbs – chocolate mint, two kinds of basil, oregano, and dill among them.  I also put in a couple of marigolds to act as a repellent for some animals and insects, and at the very bottom, we added a petunia, because I love them.


This is our first attempt, but the kids had a great time planting, and since it didn’t take a huge amount of effort to dig holes and plant the garden, we were finished before anyone got bored.  We used the over the door hooks to hang the organizers over our fence, but we added rope for additional support.


We’ll see how things go over the next few weeks.  We may lose everything, but for a minimal investment, we had some great family fun!


Disney Cruise Fish Extender Gifts – the Extra Stress Every Vacation Needs!

While cruising is one of my favorite vacations EVER, it is not without its stressful moments.  Does everyone have their passports?  How am I going to fit 3 outfit changes per day per person for a 7 night cruise into luggage that will fit in the overhead compartment of the plane?  Does my ass look big in this?  Okay, but bigger than it did before the last cruise?

As if there’s not enough pressure preparing for a cruise, I always like to go the extra mile, and that’s where Fish Extender gifts come in.

What the heck is a Fish Extender?  And why do we bring them gifts?

Fish Extender Fish

On the Disney Cruise Line ships, your “mailbox” is a sea creature – mostly fish, but I’ve also seen other animals, like a seahorse – where your cabin steward or someone else will put things like invitations to events, offers from the DVC desk, other envelopes holding information they want you to have.  Some amazingly pixie dusted person, who I’m sure came from the DISboards, came up with the idea of creating pouches that you could hang on your Fish Mail holder, and other DISboard members on your sailing could sneak by with little gifts to add an extra dose of magic to your cruise.  Oh my.  Who doesn’t want an extra dose of magic?  Who in their life is screaming, “No mas, no mas!” to more pixie dust?

So, my understanding of these Fish Extender gifts is that you just had to do a little something for each cabin signed up for the gift exchange – some little token or small surprise to make the people in the cabin all smiley and happy that you thought of them.  I gladly signed up, then poured over blogs – especially my Sister Disney Parks Moms Panel Mom Darcie’s at http://suchthespot.com/category/fish-extender/ – then joined the Facebook group.  Then wanted to die.  What had I gotten myself into?  These people were hand making stuff.  They were ordering engraved things online.  They were going on Etsy and having other people hand make and engrave things for them.  Kill me now, right?

Fish Extener

Here’s what it all boiled down to.  This really is meant to be just an extra sprinkle of pixie dust on what should already be an amazing vacation.  Whether your Fish Extender gift cost someone $1, $10, or $100, it should not define your choice of gift for your Fish Extender offering.  Little kids may want to pass out penny candy – and that’s fine!  It makes them feel good, and it should make you feel good.  It’s fun.

You should never give a gift with the expectation of what you will receive in return.  Just like pixie dust, the magic in the Fish Extender gifts is in the spirit in which they are given.

The greatest joy can be found in the simplest things.  If you let yourself seek.