To be honest, many of my tomato babies didn’t “make it”. The move was a little hard on them. I think perhaps three beefsteaks are happy in my mom’s garden, but as for me, only a couple of patio babies are still with me:

photo 1 photo 2[

[the weeds came free with the rent]

I added a few more babies to the bunch… I’m trying to make my basil plant into a tree, FYI. I’ve got my rosemary by the garden “gate”, my lavender for “luck”, spicy globe basil, sage, German thyme, and lemon thyme. My lemon balm is giving out on me…I’ve never seen it turn purple and wither away before. I must have done something wrong. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

photo 1 (1) photo 2 (1) photo 3 photo 4

I’ve thought about doing a wall planter with lettuces on it, but thinking I might invest in an Aerogarden instead just to make sure I’m encouraged to harvest daily.

Just wanted to share!

– Verbena



My family and I went to a jazz festival yesterday where they had a pie contest. At the last minute, I decided to submit my inside-out spaghetti pie with a sausage crust and…I won two awards! One for “Best Savory Pie” and the other for “Most Original Pie”. How exciting! Here are my awards (self-indulgent as that may be):


And here’s the pie:


I made it with heirloom tomatoes and a Cabernetย wine sauce. I’ll post the recipe soon!

– Verbena


Every so often, I need to watch this movie. I’m not sure what exactly it is that calls to me, so I’ll choose…everything. ๐Ÿ™‚ It strikes a particular mood, especially when I’m sad. [see: Planned Parenthood tapes]

So today is a Practical Magic kind of day!

Driving in to work today I had the soundtrack on full blast. Love me some Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell. This must mean I will break out some old-school Jewel later in the afternoon…

After moving, I decided to do my new townhouse in a Practical Magic theme. Granted, I don’t have this huge, winding Victorian house (they didn’t even really have that house in the movie), but I do understand the spirit of the movie enough to design with inspiration. Lavender has been planted for luck, and I have Rosemary by my garden “gate”, or porch enclosure rather. I can’t really entertain a Belladonna until my kids are grown… I think I’ll share some photos later of what I’ve done thus far. I’ve pinned some other ideas I might try on my “Practical Magic Apartment” board if you’re interested:

Pinterest: Verbena Stevens

That’s it for now! More to come.

– Verbena

On knowing one’s life purpose…

This post also could have been titled, “Spaceships, Fairy Tales, and Jane Austen.”

I wondered whether I had it in me to post a thousand-worded excuse for starting a blog so whole-heartedly, only to leave it so suddenly and without reason.

So I did nothing for a time. [obviously]

In the empty space of blog time, I studied programming and devised ways to democratize space travel. And I was head over heels for all sorts of micro-controllers, particle physics blogs, science audio books…everything. I was motivated.

Then I moved. It was not a stressful move. In fact, it was a move where I completed the “great cycle” of my life that has been chaos, and disappointment, and desperation, and misery, and conflict, and of course…depression.

I moved to a place that was where I wanted to be ten years ago. After the first success of having recently achieving a raise at work, I now lived in an adorable townhouse with my two beautiful daughters and my loving, wonderful husband. And…I could pay all my bills! That was a big first. Like, pay without stress…and with savings! Also…we were en route to becoming an annual Disney vacation family! This was what I’d wanted for so long, and here it was. Ten years I’d been after this. And I was also ready to finish that other ten year journey: college. Half way through calculus, primed to finish my science courses to endeavor for an engineering degree…

And crash. Continue reading


To say I’ve been busy lately would be a lame excuse because…well…I really haven’t been. I’ve just been a little lazy – including in my dinner making! So I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite quick-meal ideas for when I really really really don’t feel like making dinner. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nacho Casserole

Nacho Casserole

This one is, dare I say, self-explanatory. I couldn’t believe there was something easier than nachos, but I found it! It also helps distribute the meat and toppings better so no one’s fighting over the cheesier chips…

Ingredient Ideas

  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 tomatoes-on-the-vine, seeded and diced
  • handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 package of shredded cheese (or 2 cups)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Spices to taste: garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil


First, cook the ground beef with spices and 1/2 the onion. Next, in a baking dish, stir the ground beef, black beans, and 1/2 the bag of shredded cheese together. After everything is evenly stirred, top the meat mix with the rest of the shredded cheese and bake in a 425 degree oven until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Finally, top the dish with the sour cream, tomatoes, remaining (raw) onions, and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

Voila! Easy peasy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Latkes / Potato Pancakes


Wait…what?! That’s not an easy dinner! Why, it’s barely an easy breakfast!

Don’t fret! There’s actually a very easy way to accomplish these lovely latkes without so much a picking up a grater…. Hungry Jack Diner Style Hashbrowns – just add water! For only about $1.50 and a cup-ish of water, you’ll have all the potatoes you need for about 6-8 nice-sized patties. Just add the rehydrated potatoes, one egg, and some garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a bowl, mix well, and fry them up pancake-style on a skillet. Voila! Simple dinner, and tasty! Iย recommend serving these babies with sour cream and kielbasa for protein. ๐Ÿ™‚


– Verbena


My basil and lemon balm are doing just dandy (not referring to the lion…hehe). The lavender, unfortunately, made no progress. That’s always been my luck with lavender though, so no surprise there! Maybe I’m doomed to pay a fortune for all my wish list lavender goodies… Ha!

I’m thinking of trying them again using an elementary school technique of plastic baggie and damp paper towel… Today’s waxing Taurus moon should be good for that…unless there’s another moon lavender likes better! I’ll have to look into that.

I haven’t decided on the “mightiest” tomato seedlings for a few of the pots yet… I’ll let them spread their legs in their new pot a bit first. I know terra cotta is unusual for tomato plants so early in their growth, but since we are moving mid-season, I didn’t want to have to transplant them multiple times, and thought that giving them a hefty bit of room early on would give them some encouragement on maturity before they get to their final multi-gallon homes on my porch. My mom also offered me a backup plan! She has room in her garden for some babies, so I’m going to give her a few Black Krims to make sure I still get yummies if my porch experiment doesn’t work. ๐Ÿ˜„

Pics or it didn’t happen!



Just wanted to share!

– Verbena


I’ve been thinking of beginning a project that I’m hoping will both help my personal spiritual goals and possibly be useful to others down the road….

A personal tarot deck!

Now, why would I go and do something so time consuming when there are so many decks already available out there? Well, it’s personal. ๐Ÿ™‚

See, I already own several physical decks, several digital decks, and also visit several online reading sites on a regular basis to help me with a variety of…quests, shall we call them? I’m getting much better at hearing my guides on a more direct basis, but I have a very far way yet to go. Thus, I use my various decks frequently to help tune in to their messages.

No, I’m not OCD or in need of twenty different opinions in order to make a decision. The fact is, unfortunately, none of the decks I have provide symbolism for the guidance I need that will be meaningful enough to me to feel confident in what I think is being communicated. It’s not the fault of the decks; I just don’t connect with their intentions and further don’t think purchasing dozens of decks until I find the right one(s) is financially practical.

I see the creation of a tarot deck as something I can infuse with everything I need to have the communication tools I need when seeking advice and guidance; things that would resonate with me personally such as key words, key symbols, yes/no type certainties, and so forth. I wouldn’t just know the story behind the creation of the deck, I would be the author of that story.

I’d also be able to share the entire story with anyone that wished to use the deck themselves, a resource that I’ve found is often not the case with many/most of the decks out there. I keep finding that either the deck doesn’t speak to me and there’s plenty of information available, or I love the art and the book isn’t even available in English or something equally unsatisfying for my curiosity.

Therefore, I shall create a personal tarot deck!

Photoshop, sketching, and photography hobby-ism combined with the printing resources these days…why not?

Just wanted to share my vision. ๐Ÿ™‚

– Verbena