21615 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014

Jen Oh

Whole Mind. Whole Body. Whole Home.

Summer garden


It seems with the coming of Summer, our garden knew and bloomed! Everyday we’ve been seeing new flowers, veggies, and the signs of things to come. This is a lovely picture of our chamomile and nasturtiums blooming. I have started cutting and drying the chamomile for tea. Imagine how yummy!


This year, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about chamomile. I knew I wanted to grow an edible flower in my garden and chose chamomile because of all it’s medicinal purposes. There are 2 types of chamomile: English and German. The English (or common) Chamomile is a low growing, ground covering. The German (or wild) Chamomile is more of a floral bush. We are growing the German chamomile.

Got Termites?

I am writing this post because I’m the next door neighbor of someone who apparently has (or in our case, had) termites. We have a new neighbor. He hasn’t moved in yet and we only met him for 5 minutes the other day. I only wish that in those 5 minutes of talking to him (while he told us how much he loved the house and neighborhood), he would have mentioned that the next day we’d walk outside to see his house tented with warning signs informing us that a poisonous gas was in use.

For those that know me well, they know that I have been posting like crazy everywhere to obtain as much information as I can regarding the chemicals used in fumigating for termites. I decided I’d post what I discovered regarding termite extermination in CA.

Garden: Beginning of June

Our garden has been one of the best things we have done as a family. Who would have thought ripping out an ugly old lawn and replacing it with wonderful veggies and fruit could transform us so much?

Every evening – even if its only a few minutes – we take the time to check out our garden. We water our garden by hand. This gives us the chance to see how our garden is growing. I pull the few weeds that have made their way into the beds, see if I can spot any new veggies, and just enjoy. It has been a great way to unwind and relax. This month has been incredibly hectic: 2 birthdays, family visiting, a huge work event all within the span of 2 weeks! The garden has been our oasis and I absolutely love it.

The Wonder of the Clog Busters

We have lived in our house for almost 2 years and have had issues with our plumbing from the beginning. Within months of our moving in, we had to tear up our entire front yard to replace our sewage line. Since then, we have been pretty careful to not do anything that might cause further damage or clogs…unfortunately, there is my hair.

Apparently, my hair is a pipe’s nightmare and a clog waiting to happen. Sometime last winter, we had to call a plumber to use a super duper long snake to clear out a clog and it was my hair. I’ve used drain catchers and still, my hair gets through. This time, Marc was determined to figure it out and NOT call a plumber. Oh, and no chemicals. We have an 11 mo old and were not going to introduce toxic chemicals into our household.

All about Water Kefir

Let me just start by saying: Water Kefir is awesome! I love it. I am a carbonated drink girl. I used to drink tons of soda and wanted to stop. I tried tons of different options, but always missed soda. Even if you aren’t interested in the health benefits of water kefir, think about the expense. The cost of water kefir is a fraction of the cost for soda!

Water kefir is a probiotic, which means its full of healthy goodness. There are tons of whole food probiotics out there: yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and miso are just a few. Check out Wise Geek’s page for a complete description on what is a probiotic and what foods are probiotics. We try to eat at least one probiotic food a day (the more the better). When we feel run down, I amp that up to a few a day. It’s not hard for us to have yogurt in the morning, a pickle for lunch and miso or kimchi with dinner. If people around you are sick, one of the best preventatives is to eat probiotic foods. Yes, you can take a probiotic vitamin/pill, but usually those only contain 1 or 2 …

Mozzarella changed my life

Learning to make mozzarella was a huge turning point for me. For a long time, foods held a certain amount of mystery for me. I took for granted what went into making certain things. I was a Food TV junkie that was an observer not a participant. I’d seen at least a half dozen shows about making mozzarella, but never did I really consider making it. But, I found out it was EASY and it really did change my life.

I guess my turning point was when I read, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. If you haven’t read this book, go and get it! It’s worth it. It’s the memoirs of a family that works as a family, eats as a family, and lives as a family should. Here is where I learned that you don’t have to be a chef to make good food. Through her experiences, she taught me to believe I could make foods I never thought I’d try. She discusses her desire to make cheese. Her desire made me curious to see if it was really as simple as she made it seem.

Coming up strawberries

As we pulled out all of the roses to put in fruits and veggies, I thought it would be appropriate to kick start my garden posts with pics of what’s to come.

So far, my son has been able to have one strawberry from the garden this year…but just look how many more are on their way. He can hardly wait…but nature doesn’t take shortcuts and our garden is teaching us more than what was anticipated. I had imagined my kids learning about seeds, plants, growing cycles, etc…but patience…ah yes, the one thing that is elusive to a 4 year old…and yet, he is learning. Everyday, we come home and do a lap around the plants (mostly to play in the rocks, but hey – it’s a start)…and he asks, “are they ready yet?” Not yet, but when they are – they will be the yummiest strawberries he’s ever had…

Food Frugal

Food expenses are some of the most daunting areas to try to save. We eat ONLY organic. Even from the farmers market, etc – due to residual pesticides that can be in the soil, we have chosen to go only certified organic because of the extensive soil testing that occurs when farms are certified. Due to our choices, food expenses could be extremely high, but we have been able to keep our expenses low (at approx. $150 for a family of 3 -and a 1 yr old)

Most of us do not pre-plan meals or come up with extensive shopping lists before heading to the store. It takes extra planning at first, but once you get a system going – the amount you can save is significant.

Food Not Lawns

This year, we decided to get rid of our ugly front lawn. This was partly a response to the fact that we hate to mow. For the common homeowner – lawns often waste fuel for power mowers and toxic emissions, fertilizers and pesticides, water consumption and your weekend time!  We may have used a push mower and are pesticide free, but the wasted water and time made me just hate our front yard. So out with the lawn and in with the veggies!

We are following the square foot garden method (which for newbies like us is working awesome!) Essentially, it is a raised bed concept, where you mark off every square foot. This enables you to separate different plants easily and plant more per square foot. I got the book for Christmas and it is very easy to understand, has great pictures, and is very step by step (both with quick guides and in depth explanations).

We put in 4 raised beds. 3 of them are 4′ wide x 8′ long by 6″ tall and 1 of them is 4′ wide x 8′ long by 8″ tall (for root veggies). Though it is much more expensive, we used redwood …