Tag: giveaway

Natural Plus Nursery Tour + Gardening Tips For People Who Treat Plants Like Tamagotchis

My mother and her mother grew beautiful roses. They loved to garden and my childhood home was surrounded by snapdragons and peonies. A magnolia tree grew beneath my bedroom window and I looked forward to spring when it would bloom. Back then, I had to stand on a little rock in the garden to sniff its blossoms.

I did not inherit my family’s green thumbs. When we lived in Fargo, I was determined to have a bountiful container garden on our apartment patio. In typical Jeni-style, I became extremely excited about my vision of a glorious container garden and moved forward with zeal.

To begin, I bought big garden pots, lots of dirt, and heirloom seeds which I started too early. The herbs sort of grew, but the vegetables didn’t. It became apparent that I just wasn’t going to grow beets and carrots in pots on my patio. When we went out-of-town for a weekend in July, everything died. The situation reminded me of that time I got tired of taking care of my Tomogatchi and threw it under my bed. This time, I felt way worse because the plants were real, living things. I call it the great container garden disaster of 2012. It was a lot of work to haul all that dirt back down the elevator. Now, we live in a condo development. The beets will have to wait, but I think I could bring out those containers again for an herb garden.

My friend and blogger Mary owns Natural Plus Nursery in Clear Lake, Iowa with her family. She and her husband recently bought it from her in-laws who started the business in 1978. The A-Frame house below is made from recycled barn wood. She invited us over for a tour and garden-themed snacks prepared by Beth.


For this post, I thought it would be fun to ask Mary for advice she’d give to hesitant gardeners like me. I wanted to know what’s her quintessential garden tool and what plants are easiest to grow.


Mary responded that her motto is:

 “Just plant it!”

She adds that gardening isn’t rocket science. If it grows, that’s great. If it doesn’t, that’s ok. You can always try again.


For plants that are easiest to grow, Mary recommends basil and any perennial (as long as they have enough sun). She explained how starter plants can be easier to begin with, since they are already established and you don’t have to begin them from seed.


She simplified gardening to plants needing two main things: Water and sun. “Don’t forget to make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot,” she added.


For new gardeners like me who are completely starting from scratch, she recommends obtaining gardening gloves. For planting a vegetable garden, she considers her tiller an essential tool, adding that they are sometimes available to rent.

More plants are arriving in time for their Open House during May 1st-9th. Learn more about Natural Plus by visiting their website or Facebook page. Mary gave the North Iowa Bloggers a $100 gift certificate to give away to one of our readers. The Rafflecopter entry form is located at the bottom of this post. Enter by selecting one option or multiple. It’s really up to you!

What advice would you give to a new gardener?


puppy chow

Dirt N Worms

Never too old to eat dirt and worms dessert.


Yes, this is a mini margarita.

Natural Plus Group Photo

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Iowa Blogger Love: $150 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

I don’t do many giveaways on my blog, but made this exception.

I’ve teamed-up with eight Iowa bloggers to give away a $150 Visa gift card.

We all appreciate our readers and contributed a little something to the pot. A little Iowa blogger love from us to you, no matter where you live.

My readers who already like my Facebook page & follow me on Twitter have two easy entries. You can also enter by leaving a comment below. I’d love to know what your favorite condiment or sauce is for dipping or cooking! I won’t turn down garlic aoli and could add a touch of Worcestershire sauce to most everything.

You can enter the giveaway by selecting any of the options on the Raffleopter form below. Select one option or all 19, it’s completely up to you.

Visa gift card graphic with logos

All of the participating bloggers are people who I’ve met in-person and consider friends. Although we write about food and lifestyle topics, we live in different of the states and spin stories in our own unique voices. You may read posts about canning, farming, new motherhood, city chickens, crafts, crock pot creations, beauty product reviews, and French home cooking.

Simply put, we blog because we love it. Thank you for your continued readership and support.

Participating Bloggers:
Ally of Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats
Amy of Modern Rural Living
Jeni of Jeni Eats
Jenny of In The Kitchen With Jenny
Kelli at The Sustainable Couple
Kristen of Make The Best Of Everything
Michele at Simply, Live, Love
Val at Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
Wini at Chez Bonne Femme

This giveaway is open between October 26th at 12am and November 1st at 12am.

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A “Thanks for Reading” Giveaway

Dear Readers,

Thank you for connecting with me through my blog and social media channels. I appreciate you for taking the time to read my posts and banter with me.

This blog has been my labor of love for all things food and writing. Since I began blogging in 2011, Jake and I have experienced a lot of life changes and lived in three different states. I’m honored you have joined me as we move around the Midwest. As a small gesture of gratitude, I am giving away two of my favorite things from my newish hometown of Mason City, IA where we’ve lived for almost one year.

One reader will win one 12 oz. bag of coffee beans (Alley Cat House Blend) from my favorite local coffee shop Coffee Cat and a mug made by the owner of Market 124, my favorite local gift shop that features Iowan products. I can have the coffee shop grind the beans upon request.

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Enter the giveaway below through the Rafflecopter box between today 06/27/14 and 07/05.2014 at noon.

The Rafflecopter box below will give you an entry for each action: Leaving a comment at the end of the blog post, following me on Twitter, and/or liking my Facebook page. Many of you have already done at least one of these things which gives you an easy entry or two. A random winner will be notified on Facebook or by email and must respond within 24 hours to claim prize or another winner will be chosen. I will ship the prize anywhere in the United States.

Thanks for reading and happy coffee-drinking (or tea),


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Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by jenieats.com and is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Coffee Cat or Market 124. The giveaway runs from 06/27/14 – 07/15/14 at noon. A random winner will be notified on Facebook or by email and must respond within 24 hours to claim prize or another winner will be chosen. Open to U.S. residents only.All entries will be verified.

Iowa Food & Lifestyle Bloggers Giveaway: $225 Visa Gift Card

I joined forces with ten of my favorite Iowa Food and Lifestyle bloggers to offer a giveaway for a $225 Visa gift card.

Giveaway Graphic

We come from all corners of Iowa and appreciate all of our readers so we personally contributed to this prize. I had the opportunity to connect with these bloggers in Iowa City last fall and at our local blogging get togethers in Mason City. I learn a lot from them about a wide range of topics and am glad I found this unique blogging community soon after moving to Mason City, IA. These women are generous in spirit and always take the time to share encouragement and advice.

Besides entering for a chance to win $225, I hope you find some new reading material that strikes your fancy. The Rafflecopter box lets you enter in many different ways and choose as many or few options as you’d like.

The giveaway starts now and ends on February 28th. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Visit the ten other participating bloggers at the links below. We enjoy interacting with our readers, so feel free to say hello or leave a comment. 

Ally at Ally’s Sweet and Savory Eats
Stephanie at Been There Baked That
Val at Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
Jenny at In the Kitchen With Jenny
Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats
Kristen at Make the Best of Everything
Diana at My Humble Kitchen
Monica at City Girl, Country Life
Michelle at Simplify, Live, Love
Kelli at The Sustainable Couple

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