What To Plant In Your Keto Vegetable Garden

What To Plant In Your Keto Vegetable Garden

Okay, I admit it. I love seed catalogs. No, not looking at a website online but a REAL, paper printed seed catalog with 20 varieties of pumpkins, berry bushes of all sorts, and pages of suggestions on herbs and seasonings. Generally, they start arriving in the middle of January when we’ve been frozen in long enough to be craving Spring. There’s something immensely satisfying in planning out your garden if it’s three pots or an acre, in the middle of a deep freeze. But what should I plant in a keto vegetable garden?

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Keto vegetable garden pin, tomatoes

This year, the joyous magazines began to arrive, and I had to stop to think. Last year I was only exploring a ketogenic diet and had not yet started so it did not factor into my garden planting. This year now I’m thinking, okay, how can I best use my small garden space and grow the vegetables we’ll actually use while eating keto? What exactly is a keto vegetable garden?

Yes, I made that up. Keto vegetable garden. What I really mean is what vegetables and plants are eaten in the keto diet, and what should I plant and cultivate. I’ve come up with a list of ideal veggies for our garden, which is not huge, and am in the process of narrowing it down to exactly how many plants, packets of seeds, etc. we actually need. 

What should you plant in a keto vegetable garden?

Vegetables

Two cucumbers with vines and yellow flowers

  • Lettuce blends and individual varieties 
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes – Monsters, beefy, cherry, grape, jelly bean, Early Girl, Roma, hybrid, heirloom
  • Peppers – bells, Anaheim, sweet banana, jalapeño
  • Green onions – bunching onions
  • Garlic
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Zucchini squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Pie pumpkins. We don’t eat a lot of pumpkin on a keto diet, but I certainly love them in fall! Can we say pumpkin spice?! 
  • Cinderella pumpkins – Rouge Vif d’Etampes

Herbs

Overhead view of three pots in an herb garden

  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Tarragon
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Fruits

Some people on a low carb or keto diet feel like they have to avoid all fruits. That’s simply not true, and my sweet tooth often craves a good almond flour raspberry muffin. Berries are healthy and can be eaten in moderation just like anything on a keto diet.

Raspberries on a fence in the sun

What must-have kitchen gadgets do you have to prepare a keto diet?

What have I cut out this year?

I chose not to include some of my usual staples this year because they don’t aline with the keto diet. Most are high carb or high sugar content, and so not ones I want to tempt myself with or actually use.

  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Sweet peas
  • Carrots
  • Butternut squash
  • Sweet potatoes

What do kids love to plant for decoration?

  • Jack-be-little pumpkins
  • Gourds
  • Wee be little pumpkins

What are some of the flowers I love?

Aren’t lupins beautiful?! My love of lupins stems back to one of my favorite childhood books, Miss Rumphius, who spreads lupin seeds around town to “make the world more beautiful”. We adore flowers, and getting more in our yard this year is one of my big goals.

Purple lupins

  • Zinnias
  • Snapdragons
  • Lupins
  • Roses
  • Lantanas
  • Peonies
  • Phlox
  • Lilacs

Do you not have a garden, but an outside concrete space or balcony? 

No worries! You can have a garden too. There are so many options out there today and new methods of growing. First, take a look at these possibilities, and then enjoy a trip out to your local garden center or farm. Gardening is great for kids and an awesome way to teach responsibility and a love of nature. If you have an outdoor space, even a small one, you can get a few pots together to plant a few vegetables.

  • Pots
  • Tubs
  • Raised bed gardens
  • Tiered planters

Plan and prioritize your keto vegetable garden

What do you prefer to buy, and what do you love to see grow? If it’s easier to buy cauliflower but you’d like to plant a high yielding zucchini plant, do that. Make a plan, experiment a bit, and enjoy it! Take a look at the websites I use in planning my garden.

Resources:

Jung Seeds Garden Planner This garden planner is a great online way to map out your garden space. It’s easy to use and fun to work with and save from year to year. Of course, good old pencil and paper work well too, but we all love technology! Jung has some of the best seeds for our Colorado region.

Gurney’s Seed and Nursery Co. They send us some of my favorite seed catalogs!

Burpee More seed options.

Miss Rumphius 

by Barbara Cooney

This was one of my favorite childhood books with beautiful illustrations that inspired me to much of my planting. It would make a great gift for any young girl or even yourself!

 

Why should you plant a keto vegetable garden?

Why do I love gardens? So many reasons. I love to see my kids plant and take care of the vegetables to see where they come from and the work involved to grow our food. I have my own fond memories of following my dad around the garden picking little pumpkins and miniature blueberries I determined he planted just to keep me busy. Truly, there’s something spectacularly rewarding in tending to your garden, seeing it grow, and being able to pick and eat your results. Of course, it also gets us moving and outside in the beautiful sunshine!

My garden is never perfect but always fun and a new way to explore nature. One year all my tomatoes died, the next year bunnies burrowed and had baby bunnies in the center of the garden, you just never know what you’ll get! However, you always learn from it and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

What do you normally plant in your garden or what would you like to plant? Did you grow up with a garden or is it new to you? Oh! One more questions, what are your favorite books about gardening, fiction or non-fiction? I’d love some recommendations!

What to plant in your keto vegetable garden

Kids Airplane Activities: Airplane BINGO

Kids Airplane Activities: Airplane BINGO

Are you a list-maker and planner or a throw everything together at the last minute spontaneously and hope it works out type of person? Personally, I love my lists and planning, but hey sometimes with kids, life, work, etc. it just doesn’t get done. I have my go-tos for kids airplane activities, but sometimes you need to mix it up and do something new not involving a screen. This free printable is meant to do exactly that, offer something new and fun to do on the airplane that’s super easy for mom. All you have to do is print it out and throw it in a surprise folder for the trip.

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Kids airplane activities airplane BINGO printout on desk

What do you need?

Thanks to all of you out there who’ve reached out to me lately and responded to our newsletter and emails! If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up to get updates, tips, and news from www.explorermomma.com. I’ve heard from several of you that you’re loving the travel journal printable and are looking for other activities to keep the kids engaged and busy on trips, but don’t involve a tablet or other screen.

I totally get it. Currently, at our house, we’re having some major struggles with tablets, tv, and screen time. Everyone has their different ideas on the subject, but I’m struggling with the 5-year-old at setting limits and transitioning to our next activity. Let’s just say there’s been a lot of screaming and fits involved for a usually laid-back kid. Sound familiar? Work in progress.

How to prepare for a plane ride with kids

First of all, there is planning for the quick hour and a half airplane trip, and then there is planning for the long-haul, multiple flight trip. Although generally, we pack similar stuff to prepare, it’s just the amount of items that change for me. I consider all flights and airports as a potential for melt-down, although my kids are getting older and past some of those stages. Still, the question is, how to avoid the child, then you, losing it?

There are so many things that help if you allow yourself time to plan correctly. We start off with a well-stocked carry-on bag for each kid, and they’re responsible for it the entire way. If you’re interested, take a look at my posts on The Complete Kids’ Carry-On Packing List, 30 Nut-Free Snacks for a Long-Haul Flight, or 8 Ways to Survive a Long Layover With Kids.

The Complete Kids’ Carry-On Packing List

The Complete Kids' Carry-On with pictures of carry-on items

Travel entertainment

As a kid, I always loved the car trip scavenger hunt type games that made me look for things as we drove. For a while I even made books of Iowa Signs, Kansas Signs, Texas Signs, etc. and drew all the signs I saw because there was not a lot else to look at on some of those drives. No offense of course to example states! Also, I especially loved when we played a game as a family. I Spy, the ABC game (you know: A – My name is Andrew, I’m going to Alabama, and I’m taking Apples), and so on.

Naturally, when thinking about non-screen activities my thoughts went to okay, what can a family do together on an airplane? Well, we can’t make a lot of noise, but it should be entertaining and possibly even include prizes for the winners. Small erasers or toys work well for this, or a Dum-dum style sucker to help kids’ ears pop and adjust to the altitude.

Sunset view out airplane window

Airplane BINGO how-to

That train of thought gave me the idea for Airplane BINGO. What kid doesn’t like BINGO?! In this version, it’s a bit of a scavenger hunt as well. Hand out the free printable cards, and you’re ready to begin.

Tear up pieces of paper for markers. Actually, I always travel with Post-its and ripping the little ones in half with the sticky on them works amazingly well for airplanes because they don’t fall off and into the abyss of the airplane floor. In Kids Airplane Activities: Airplane BINGO, I’ve included 4 different BINGO cards. Although they do list many of the same items, they are not in the same locations on the cards.

Once you hear or see one of the items on the card, for example, you hear the woman in the next row discussing the weather, you place your sticky note or marker on that square. The center space with the airplane is the “FREE” space so it can help out when trying for a BINGO. We always play allowing a BINGO when you get five spaces in a row or all four corners.

Airplane BINGO, kids airplane activities printable close-up

You won!

When you win you say, “BINGO!” and go through your five squares and explain where you saw each. If indeed a winner, that person will receive a fabulous prize such as a pencil, exciting highlighter, or new dinosaur figure (depends on your kids). At that point, you can then start a new game.

This printable is made for kids who can already read, but an adult could easily pair up with a younger child. Or similarly, you could have everyone color their BINGO cards and draw pictures of what they’re searching for in the rectangles. Really, you can make it work for just about anyone.

Download Kids Airplane Activities: Airplane BINGO below

Airplane BINGO, kids airplane activities preview

What are your kids airplane activities?

So what do you do to keep kids happy and occupied on an airplane? Especially on those long and multiple-flight trips, once the novelty has worn off it can be difficult to keep up the positivity. As I said, we have our tried and true kids’ airplane activities, but what do you do to mix things up?

Also, if you download the Kids Airplane Activities: BINGO Cards let me know in the comments how it worked for you. This is an activity that could last a long time or a relatively short time depending on the family. Do you have any other ideas to make it better?

Thanks so much and have an amazing trip!

View out airplane window at sunset, airplane BINGO

What To Read Next For History Fans

What To Read Next For History Fans

When I created the title for this post I struggled with a term to pull these books altogether. Historical fiction? No. A Year in Provence is based on experience and considered non-fiction, even though it reads like fiction. Also, a couple of them are more of a blend of historical fiction and science fiction. If I boil it all down it’s simply what I’ve read lately and enjoyed so I decided to go with the general what to read next for history fans.

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When I pick out a book I tend to gravitate to anything that looks period, a good mystery, another culture, or another world. If the story is a mix of those things, even better. It’s not often I’m interested in a book about where I am now or my daily problems and experiences. With a book I like to be transported somewhere else, which I suppose in many ways all books do, but there you go.

So what to read next?

The War That Saved My Life

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Set on the British home front in World War II, this book was not what I expected from the description. Ada has been a prisoner in her mother’s third-floor apartment building for her entire life because her mother is embarrassed and does not want to deal with her. She has a club foot and can’t walk so she crawls around to do the chores. She flinches in fear she’ll be hit or locked in the dark cupboard every time her mother comes near. Often when alone, she stares out the window longing to be free to run around outside like her brother.

Ada and her brother sneak out to travel with the other children to the country as the threat of bombs become more real in town. Of course, they want to escape more than just the bombs.

This is a beautiful story with an amazingly honest heroine in Ada. She’s isolated and uneducated and makes mistakes. However she learns so much about herself, others, kindness, and love.

This is a Newberry Award-winning book for middle grade, but I think it’s one good for anyone to read. Whether you’re interested in history, human character, or whatever, there’s something in it for you. This is one I’ll gladly pass on to my daughter. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

Lilac Girls: A Novel

by Martha Hall Kelly

I came across this book after reading We Were the Lucky Ones, and once again the book is based on a real-life heroine.

Lilac Girls is told from three different female perspectives during World War II. Caroline is a New York socialite, Kasia is a Polish teenager sent to a concentration camp, and Herta is a German doctor trying to prove herself in a world of Nazi men. It’s amazing how the author follows these three viewpoints throughout the war experience and even after. 

The first half of the book I didn’t think there was any way these women’s lives could possibly intersect as we learn their loves, passions, and experiences. Magically, the threads of the story do come together, and I’ll not spoil it. However, it was powerfully written and especially effective to see the three drastically different points of view.

This is not a light summer read, but definitely worth your time. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: ****1/2  4 and 1/2 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

The Unkillable Kitty O’Kane

by Colin Falconer

Kitty O’Kane is a fierce Irish girl who’s made her way out of the tenements of Dublin. She’s determined no one should suffer like she did, and no man should have such power over others as her abusive father did. Youthful Kitty is determined to change the world.

This book is all over the place as we follow Kitty on the Titanic, the sinking of the Lusitania, and in the suffragette movement in New York. She becomes a journalist and travels to Russia, actually ending up in the Winter Palace as it’s stormed. Then, after several years of travel, she goes back to Ireland where she helps in the Irish Civil War.

There’s a lot more to it, including several love interests, and may seem like a lot to throw into one story for one person to experience.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, and I’d recommend it. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: **** 4 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

A Year In Provence

by Peter Mayle

When I sadly heard the news Peter Mayle died in hospital in January, I immediately became nostalgic for his brilliant book, A Year In Provence. I pulled it out after not having read it in over 10 years, then decided to try the audio version, and was not disappointed.

This book is popular for a reason. Peter Mayle has the uncanny knack of transporting you to another locale, pokes fun at his own culture, and embraces a new. He relates his experiences as he and his wife relocate from England to Provence. It made me want to jump on an airplane to Provence and immediately find a local restaurant. I then would dine on a simple 5-course lunch with a wine from rolling hills of beautiful lines of grapevines visible from the window. I’m currently planning a trip to Provence. At least in my head.

If you’re traveling to France or even thinking about it, I highly recommend reading this book. I loved it in high school, and I appreciate it in different ways today. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

Would you like some of my other book recommendations?

Spring book list book with a flower

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

by Theodora Goss

I picked up this book as a new mystery and flipped through to discover characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Mary Jekyll, Edward Hyde, Frankenstein, and more. Admittedly, I was hesitant, but a quick read of the first few pages pulled me in. How in the world Ms. Goss pulled all these characters together is still a mystery to me! 😉

Mary Jekyll is left penniless except for a huge, empty house when her parents pass away. She hears her father’s old associate Edward Hyde is in the neighborhood and meets up with his daughter Diana. They manage to consult Sherlock Holmes on some personal matters and end up helping to solve a series of murders all over London introducing literary characters right and left as the story moves along.

This was an interesting book, and I enjoyed the literary references. The development of so many characters did slow the story, which would be my only complaint. At any rate, it was diverting and really anything with a fairly accurate Sherlock has me hooked. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: **** 4 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

To Say Nothing of the Dog

by Connie Willis

This is my throwback book of the day and truly a trusted favorite close by on my bookshelf. I read it when it first came out in 1998, and every time I’ve read it since I can count on an intelligent, witty, time-traveling, jaunt to Victorian England and beyond. I’d call it a historical sci-fi, and it’s a lot of fun.

Ned Henry is sent back in time looking for the Bishop’s birdstump, an atrocity of a statue/vase? from Coventry Cathedral as a part of the cathedral’s restoration project. He can’t get back to the correct time and ends up picking through the rubble after the WWII Nazi bombing.

Another time traveler, Ned’s associate Verity Kindle, is working on another part of the restoration and somehow brings something from the past to the future. Boom! We have a classic ahh! we’ve changed something in the past and have to restore it storyline, but with oh so much more. There are so many things going on in this book you’ll wonder how they’ll all come together make any sort of sense, but it’s perfect. At least for me. And I love jumble sales. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

What are you reading lately?

What are your favorite books so far this year? Do you have suggestions what to read next? They can be old or new, classics, young adult, whatever. I love to read, and I hope you do too and encourage it with your kids, friends, relatives, or random strangers.

Until next time!

 

 

Georgian Language Phrases For Travelers

Georgian Language Phrases For Travelers

When you travel to other countries do you try to learn the basics in the native language? Even if it’s just a few words as an introduction, I’ve found it paves the way for a richer, fuller visit. In addition, it helps to ingratiate you with the local people and gives you a whole other view of the place and culture.

I’ve had many people ask me how in the world I learned Georgian, even after living there for several years. How? I studied. I interacted with people all over the country (and that done with me being an introvert). Was it always comfortable? No, of course not, and language learning is never perfect, but little by little you begin to understand and feel a part. Georgian language phrases

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Useful Georgian language phrases for travelers, free printable over Trinity Cathedral Tbilisi

Luckily for you, if you’re traveling to Tbilisi or any other part of Georgia soon, I’ve put together a handy printable list of useful Georgian language phrases for travelers.

Speaking foreign languages while traveling

I vividly remember the reaction of a woman I met in Baku, Azerbaijan when I attempted to speak to her in Azeri. This was a while ago now, but she was taking money for tickets or a tour at the Maiden Tower, an old Zoroastrian tower in Baku that’s now a local history museum. At first glance, she bore the no-nonsense, expressionless face I associate with former Soviet countries. They all feel Americans smile too much at strangers, as do many other countries. To me, she looked put out at having to be bothered with doing her job and giving out tickets.

Slowly, I stepped up and asked for the tickets in what I thought was correct Azeri. She did a little double-take and really looked at my face, and I was able to respond to whatever she asked me in return. Her face lit up, smiled, and she yelled over to her friend that these girls were actually trying to speak Azeri and NOT Russian. At least I think she said something to that effect. We ended up getting more attention, and a bit of a special tour.

Metekhi Church entrance

My foreign language teacher lecture

Indeed, it’s all about being polite and respectful when you go to someone else’s country, to speak their language. Even if you don’t get very far, or they speak English and cater to tourists, they will generally appreciate your attempt. Don’t be afraid of not getting everything perfect either! I do pretty well in Latin languages and Georgian; however, my German, Russian, Azeri, etc. are pretty horrendous. But don’t fear! Most of the time they don’t expect you to have perfect grammar and pronunciation. The point is to communicate and learn from your hosts.

Georgians are some of the most hospitable and welcoming people I’ve ever met. They take great pride in their hospitality and love to have guests. They, like the Azeri woman I mentioned, are super-excited when foreigners speak Georgian to them and not Russian or another language.

     

I first fell in love with the Georgian language through traditional Georgian music before I could speak a single word. Music so often communicates the history and passions of a place so I like to listen to what I can before and during my visit. Also, I encourage my kids to do the same thing and so makes travel a huge living lesson for us.

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.

Geoffrey Willans

English Author and Journalist

Need some ideas about things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia?

Narikala Fortress, Tbilisi

In my recent blog post, you can read all about awesome activities to do with kids in Tbilisi, Georgia. It’s an amazing city and so much fun to explore!

Georgian language phrases

The Georgian language is a beautiful language rich in history. What’s it related to? This is generally one of the first questions I get asked when speaking to someone about how I know it. Georgian is in its own family and branch, and therefore it’s not Slavic, Latin, Germanic or others. In addition, it has its own alphabet with 33 letters always pronounced the same way when read, similar to Spanish. Right now I’m not going to go into the alphabet but for our purposes use Latin letters to make it easier for travelers to get some words out!

When you speak in Georgian, do not stress syllables as in English, but read through them with the same level of stress throughout, if that makes sense.

Here are a few examples I’ve mentioned before:

gamarjoba (gah-mar-joh-bah) This means hello!

me lareni var (may lahren-ee var) My name is Lauren.

Tip here: You’ll want to insert your name instead of mine. 😉 In Georgian, you add an ee (long e) sound to the end of your name if it ends in a consonant sound, in this case. I’ll not trouble you with a bunch of grammar right now.

sasiamovnoa (sah-see-ah-mohv-noh-ah) It’s nice to meet you. (I love saying this word so had to add it in.)

didi madloba (dee-dee mahd-loh-bah) Thank you very much.

kargat (kar-gaht) Good-bye! (informal)

nakhvamdis (nahkh-vahm-dees) Good-bye!

Do you want some more? Get the free PDF printable, and practice to your heart’s content. Most Georgians are thrilled to help you with pronunciation and language so if you know someone who’s Georgian enlist their help.

Download your free Georgian language phrases for travelers printable below!

Georgian language phrases preview

Free Printable

A different language is a different vision of life.

Federico Fellini

Italian Film Director and Screenwriter

Travel and languages

Do you tremble with excitement when you learn a new word or piece of language? Well, maybe we won’t go that far, but it’s exciting! Just imagine how much you can learn about a culture with a few simple words, some good food and company, and a lot of observation.

I said it before, but let me stress again, don’t worry about getting it perfect! We are communicating, and a couple words are better than none to get a point across. Language is such an amazing part of a culture and helps form the identity of the people.

Good luck on your travels. I hope you enjoy learning a bit of Georgian today and have the opportunity to travel there someday!

Narikala Fortress and the Mother of Georgia overlooking Tbilisi

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