Sunday, February 24, 2008

Moon Flower Magic In Your Night Garden

Moon Flower
Originally uploaded by longdistgramma
Moon Flower Magic
If you have seen moon flowers at night, you know they seem to have an eerie glow, and appear to float unattached to the earth.
It is great entertainment to watch a tightly furled moon flower unfold at night to its five to six inch across fully opened bloom, which takes two to three minutes.
Early spring is an ideal time to plant the seeds of the Moon Flower (Ipomoea alba), after the average last day of frost. For an early start, plant them in peat pots indoors, so they will transplant to the garden easily.
The seeds must be soaked for 24 hours before planting. The 10 foot vines need plenty of sun and moisture and don’t need to be tied to a support since they will hold on to it with tendrils.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The winner of Rattled is

February 23, 2008
Winners are …
Hi folks.
This is the first book blog tour I’ve done, plus I know how much readers will enjoy reading Rattled, so I am doubly excited to announce the two winners of the free copies (donated by Trish Berg and Multnomah Books):
Brenda K. and Blissful.
Please send your snail mail address to me at thekilns at (use the @ symbol, not the word “at”).
Cyber hugs to All.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

rattle and adorable baby

Originally uploaded by ssstok

Free copies of Rattled, by Trish Berg.
I am accepting comments until this Friday, February 22, and will announce the two winners of the free copies on Saturday.
This is fun hosting the first blog book tour I have done. Trish is a great gal and parenting writer, and I am happy to count her as my friend.

Photo from ssstok creativecommons

Sunday, February 17, 2008

the first blog book tour I'm hosting, for Rattled

For a chance to hear about a wonderful book that I read and recommend, written by my friend, Trish Berg, read on. This is her final stop on her book blog tour, and two people who leave a comment here, will be chosen to receive a free copy of "Rattled: Surviving Your Baby's First Year Without Losing Your Cool."
BLAST OUT Blog Tour for Trish Berg’s Latest Release… Rattled Surviving Your Baby’s First Year without Losing Your Cool!

Can you change a diaper faster than a rodeo cowboy ropes a calf? Need more sleep,
more laughter, and ten minutes in the bathroom – alone?

You must be a mom….Don’t let the clutter, chaos, exhaustion and Cheerio-dust get you Rattled.

With practical advice and scriptural reminders, author Trish Berg can help you not only survive the chaos and clutter of motherhood, but get back to the simple joy of being a mom.

I am excited to welcome Trish Berg, joining us today to talk about her new mom book, Rattled, Surviving Your Baby’s First Year without Losing Your Cool!

Trish is a national speaker for Hearts at Home, author of The Great American Supper Swap and Rattled. She has been published in Today’s Christian Woman, MOMSense,, P31 WOMAN, and numerous regional and national publications.

Trish earned her MBA before leaving the workforce for motherhood, then earned her Doctorate in Diaper Changing in Ohio where she and her husband, Mike, keep busy raising their four children on their family cattle farm.

Trish, welcome. Thanks for taking time to be with us today.

Thanks for having me.

So why is it so easy for moms to get rattled during their baby’s first year?

Motherhood is simply draining and exhausting. Hands down the toughest job I have ever had.

But moms are not alone, and I want moms to know that God walks with them through these exhausting years.

What stresses moms out the most?

I think moms put a lot of pressure on themselves to do it all by themselves, and to do it all the right way. They need to simplify, let go of many details, and ask for help, from their husbands, and from neighbors and friends.

Rattled actually begins by looking at the months of pregnancy. How can moms use this time to prepare to survive baby’s first year?

Nine months is not nearly enough time to fully prepare for motherhood. I am not sure there is enough time to fully prepare.

I remember when our first child, Hannah, was born, I felt that my world had been turned upside down. Hannah did not like to sleep, and so we spent many nights walking the floor, bouncing her up and down, trying desperately to settle her down. My husband, Mike, and I took turns walking laps around the house, like the Indy 500 with a lot more bouncing.

I am not sure I could have prepared for that.

But during your pregnancy, you can prepare in other ways. Like arranging for help. Ask your mom or mother-in-law if they can spend one day with you each week during the first few months. Just knowing someone is coming in the morning to help with the baby can make the being up all night not seem so terrible.

You talk about surviving motherhood. How do you help moms do that?

In Rattled, I talk about a mom’s survival kit. If you were thrown out into the wilderness, you would need FOOD, SHELTER, FIRE and WATER to survive.

Well, moms have been thrown out into the wilderness of motherhood, and to survive, they will need:

Water from the word (2 Samuel 22:3a) –To be in God’s Word.

A fire like desire for prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – Moms can pray their way through their day.

Nourishment body, mind and spirit (1 Corinthians 13:13) – Love on all levels nourishes us.

Shelter from life’s storms (Proverbs 17:17)-Friends to lean on, trust, and support us.

In Rattled, I spend some time talking about how moms can use that survival kit to get back to the joy of mothering.

You spent a lot of time listening to what other mothers had to say. Share with us your best advice for new moms.

I would tell moms to relax. No one does it right all the time. Let the laundry pile up. Leave the dishes in the sink, and just enjoy holding your baby today.

Don’t worry about doing “it” right, just enjoy the moments you have.

That is sound advice...

But what aboud dads? Give us a few tips into what dad is going through during the first year.

Dads are just as insecure as moms are about parenthood. Even more so in many cases.

Moms do much of the baby feeding, diaper changing, and baby care. So dads can sometimes feel left out, and incapable of caring for their own baby.

One thing moms can do is encourage dad to be involved. But in doing so, moms must let go of “their way” of doing things, and let dad discover his own way.

For example. When Hannah was a baby, every time Mike would change her diaper, I would criticize the way he changed it. I tried to teach him how to put his fingers under the leg elastic and make sure it wasn’t bunched up, preventing a future leak.

But every time I criticized him, he stepped back and became less involved. And you know what? Even when I did the diapers the “right way” they still sometimes leaked.

So I had to learn to let Mike change her diaper his own way. I let him put her to bed his way, bathe her his way, and be the dad God wanted him to be.

That can be difficult for moms who can tend to be slight control freaks when it comes to baby care.

But let me just encourage you that the help you will get from dad if you can let go of those details will bless you in more ways than you can imagine!

In Rattled you’re very open about the loss of your own pregnancy in 2002. How has that loss changed your outlook on motherhood?

I in the 2nd trimester of my fourth pregnancy when I went in for a regular check up. I was not having any problems at all, and went in alone.

My OB/GYN performed an ultrasound just to check for twins, and suddenly my world turned upside down when he could not find a heart beat.

I was completely devastated. Mike and I had two weeks of further testing before we had assurance that our baby had died. And through it all, I prayed for a miracle, my miracle, that my baby would be alive again.

But in the end, God’s miracle was not that my baby survived. God’s miracle was the reassurance that He used me as a vessel to bring a tiny soul to Heaven.

A year later, I lost another child to miscarriage.

Today, I have a greater sense of love and appreciation for my four children here on earth whom I hug with my arms, and a closer tie to Heaven where my two babies are waiting for me, whom I can only hug with my heart for now.

Today you’re the mom of 4 happy and healthy children. What do you see as the greatest blessing about being a mom?

I would say learning patience, but my husband would laugh out loud at that…since I am probably one of the most impatient people there is.

So I guess I would have to say enjoying the journey. I live Psalm 118:24 every day of my life.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Life is messy. Things break. Kids get sick. But moms need to remember to enjoy the journey no matter where the journey leads.

Today at the Berg house, our washing machine is broken. Our mini van needs new tires. We are hanging onto Mike’s 1986 Jeep on a wing and a prayer, hoping it makes it another year or so.

There is mud on my kitchen floor, crumbs on my carpet, and I can honestly say that I love my life. Just as it is.

Now, I certainly have moments where I get stressed and discouraged, and can even lose my temper (just ask my kids), but I am also learning to enjoy each moment of every day as a gift from God.

And thorough it all, my simple hope and prayer is that I can be the mom that God wants me to be.

Where can readers learn more about you,
Rattled, your other books, and your ministry to moms?

My website at offers tons of FREE resources, links and downloads for moms, as well as mor information on my books and ministry.

Moms can also purchase their own copy of
Rattled by clicking here.

And I will be speaking at all 3 Hearts at Home Conferences in 2008, I would LOVE for you to join me there. The National conference is in March in Illinois, and in the fall there is a conference in Michigan and Minnesota. You can get more information and register at

Thanks, Trish, for joining us today. What a joy to meet you and learn more about your new mom book

Thanks for having me. Blessings to you.

You can catch up with Trish all week long on her BLAST OUT BLOG TOUR by going to the following sites. There will be FREE book prizes, and great moms to connect with at each blog.











Two folks who leave a comment on this post will be selected to receive a free copy of the delightful and insightful Rattled.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Spring Fever, Tiger Lilies, Onions and more

Tiger Lily
Originally uploaded by zizzybaloobah

Do you have spring fever yet?

I think all gardeners get this feverish condition as soon as sunny days appear. When I lived in Wisconsin, all the snow had to melt before spring fever occurred.

Here in California, mid-February and cold sunny days means all the gardeners I know are quietly asking each other “Did you plant anything yet?” Actually that is a big topic at work. We all say “No not yet. But soon. Soon.”

Last week I told my green thumb buddies, I plan to plant sweet pea seeds, and onion sets and garlic sets.

Sure enough, today I went to my local nursery and bought 100 sets of Red Weatherfield Onions, and 3 bulbs of California Garlic. I added a giant bag of Cocoa Bean Hulls for mulch, and 3 bulbs of "Tiger Orange" Lily. The picture on the package shows bright orange petals with speckles, which is the signature plant that reminds me of my mom, so I had to buy that!

How do you handle this sweet malady called spring fever? I think the best cure is planting things that you love. What are you planting as the cure?

This photo is from zizzybaloobah at creativecommons

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Song Birds and Garden Plants

You can help song birds by planting trees, shrubs and flowers that give them food and shelter.
Great suggestions are fruit and nut trees, like pecan, walnut and mulberry (Cedar waxwings love these sweet berries). Wax Myrtle, blueberries, and California Hollyberry are beloved by your garden birds. Salvias or Sages provide colors including brilliant blue and flaming crimson for your garden palette, hummingbirds will discover them as food sources, and song birds birds will eat their seeds.
When you visit your favorite nursery, keep the birds’ needs in mind, buy extra plants or trees for them, and enjoy the ballets the birds will perform for you.
For San Diego gardeners my article “Flowers for your feathered friends” is in the February 2008 “San Diego Family Magazine”, and has lots of info.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Carbon Fast For Lent

The Church of England leaders are suggesting that people have a carbon fast, rather than a chocolate fast this year, for Lent.
The link below has a 40 day action plan that is easy to implement.
The first idea is to remove a light bulb for all 40 days, and on the 40th day, replace it with an energy efficient bub.
One thing that I already do is to carry canvas grocery bags with me! Another is to unplug battery chargers when you are not actually using them, since they drain electricity all the time when plugged in.
Let's be kind to our planet!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Black Squirrel Storing Up For Winter

I have a volunteer gardener. A black squirrel visits and plants peanuts in the shell, which have sprouted. Our neighbor feeds him/her raw peanuts in the shell.
Little Blackie scoots over to our house and buries extra peanuts in our vegie garden, and in flower pots.
Most recently he planted a walnut in the shell.
I think he is awfully cute.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Garden catalogs point toward spring

Garden catalogs are places where your creativity can run wild. I encourage you to use the website versions, rather than the paper, to be environmentally friendly.

Territorial Seed Company.
Their motto is “Seeds and plants for wherever you live” and they pay special attention to people with tiny gardens, and offer seeds, including Oriental greens and vegetables, Pole and bush beans, Popcorn, and Flower mixes. 800 626-0866

Victory Seed Company
Victory Seed sells open-pollinated and heirloom seeds. They offer theme gardens: 18th century kitchen garden, Bible-themed garden, Moon garden, World War II Victory garden. They prefer online or fax orders: 503 829-3126 or email

Wayside Gardens
Another well known company that offers perennials, roses, trees and shrubs, and has been in business since 1916 is found at 800 213-0379.

Brecks “Direct to you from Holland since 1818” specializes in the best bulbs, spring blooming like tulips, daffodils, crocus and alliums, summer blooming plants like dahlias, begonias, iris and perennials and collections of bulbs. 513 354-1511

Stokes Tropicals
For those of you truly dreaming of warm tropical isles and plants, visit where they offer banana plants, plumerias, hibiscus, bamboo and beyond. 1 866 478-2502