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Fred Hoiberg’s Plans

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The Chicago Bulls fans were in awe when they heard previous coach Tom Thibodeau had been fired. They had a sense it was coming due to the tension built up between the front office and the coach, but still were sad to see him go after doing so much for the team as head coach. He was respected by all of his players as well as fans. He had turned the organization around and made them contenders for the world championship due to his defensive coaching. The Bulls had the best record they have ever had since the Michael Jordan era. He turned player such as Joakim Noah into an All Star, Defensive Player of the Year, and MVP candidate. It still wasn’t enough for the front office who wanted more out of him. In his tenure of 5 years as head coach, the organization and fans had something to believe in again which was in a hiatus ever since Michael Jordan had retired as a Bull and Phil Jackson left as a head coach. After Thibodeau had been let go, the Bulls front office had hired Fred Hoiberg who was a former Iowa State basketball head coach. He had a complete opposite approach to the game which was offense rather than Thibodeau’s way which was defense. It was an interesting switch the organization had made and excited the fans to see more offense in the games which made the game more fun to watch. There were many doubts that he would live up to the expectations of Tom but there was nothing that anybody could do expect wait until the season began. When the regular season began, the players and fans were enjoying the new switch up in rhythm.

Players were talking about how they enjoyed it since it gave them more freedom to shoot the ball when they had a clear view instead of running plays that Tom would normally run. It started off well then the Bulls hit a wall where they were losing games due to their lack of defense. Games where they were up by double digits at halftime turned on them and they would lose the second half costing them the game. After a few comments had come to surface between the leader of the team, Jimmy Butler, and head coach, the momentum shifted. They went on a six game winning streak then hit a wall again losing to teams below .500 but somehow beating teams above.500. Concerns were definitely coming to question about if Hoiberg was the coach to still make the team elite contenders for the championship or just an average team. There has to be something done in coaching to get the team back on track in going to the finals otherwise the Bulls won’t make it far in the playoffs when the time comes. They are on an up and down rollercoaster at the moment and will have to see how things turn out for the last three months left of the regular season. If the coach can continue to utilize his offensive coaching along with defensive pressure, there is no reason the Chicago Bulls can’t become an elite contender for the championship again.

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Will Today’s Quotations Become Tomorrows Gardening Proverbs?

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We are all able to quote one or two gardening proverbs, even if we don’t really understand what they mean. Most of these will have been handed down to us, by family members, of an older generation. No-one knows where most of these old sayings originated, or why they were first coined. But one can imagine the first time they were spoken, that they were meant more literally than they are today.

Compare if you will, the Chinese proverb “A thorn defends a rose, harming only those who would steal the blossom”, with the modern sayings, especially those from the youth culture, and imagine any of them being passed on to the next generation.

Many of the so called quotations from “celebrities” are nothing short of vulgarities, with coarse language and profanities. Will people who hang on their every word and action, really want to recall them in years to come?

As with all proverbs, those related to gardening are thought provoking and can in fact fit many situations. An African proverb says “knowledge is like a garden, if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested”. What a profound thought that really is.

Some garden proverbs such as “don’t make mountains out of molehills”,”you reap what you have sow” and “fresh as a daisy”, are well known all over the world. Despite television, the internet and other forms of the media, one cannot imagine the words of, for example Big Brother contestants, being remembered for a few weeks, let alone for hundreds of years, by people around the globe.

Perhaps as gardeners, we should be proud of these wonderful words of wisdom, and put a few of them in our gardens. What could be better, than something like “he that plants thorns must never expect to gather roses” in your rose bed? “Friends are flowers that never fade”, in your border, where your visitors are able to see them?

Yes, some of them mat be sentimental, but what is wrong with that? After all, you are probably very proud of your garden and enjoy showing it off to friends and family. Why not let them see that the reason for your beautiful garden, is that you have a romantic heart.

Or, perhaps you would rather have something more modern and catchy? What about something by John McEnroe – “you can’t see as well as those f*****g flowers, and they’re f*****g plastic”.

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The 3 Golden Rules of Decluttering Your Kitchen

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The kitchen is probably one of the hardest areas of the house to declutter and organize because it is one of the most used and has the most items. The key to successful decluttering is organization. And think about how worth it it’s going to be – don’t you want to walk into a clean and clutter-free kitchen? You’ll be more inspired to cook and prepare meals more!

Rule # 1 – Only display items you use most

It’s not practical to visit cupboards and drawers just to make a cup of coffee, while you have plenty of items you barely use sitting on your counter. To make your kitchen work for you and not the other way around, store infrequently used items in the cupboards/drawers (if you don’t use it at all, get rid of it) and only bring out the items you use regularly.

Rule # 2 – Get rid of your spares

Why do you have cutlery for a family of 15? Do you really need 12 mugs when there’s only 4 of you at home? How come you have 5 frying pans when you clearly use just your favorite one? Think about how many extra plates, glasses, cutlery etc. you have that no one ever really uses and are just taking up space in your kitchen.

Realistically, you only really need one of each per member of the family, plus a few spares (for visitors and in case of breakage). Of course, there’s also that special set you only use during special occasions and there’s nothing wrong with that. But other than that, get rid of spares you don’t actually use.

If you must keep spares (for parties or whatnot), put them in a storage box and store them in the attic. You can also opt to use disposable for parties, which won’t clutter your kitchen!

Rule # 3 – Organize food properly

Speaking of spares – have you experienced buying new spices for a recipe, only to find out that you have 2 more bottles in the cupboard? To save money, avoid food wastage and get rid of clutter, position food and cooking items where you can see and access them properly. Display herbs and spices in a rack, store pastas in jars and place snacks in one place. Labelling the containers will also help a great deal in keeping your food items organized.

You don’t need to do something drastic to keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free – just practice these golden rules of decluttering your kitchen and you’ll be good to go!

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Winter Gardening – Winter Activities to Cure the Gardening Blues

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Winter can be a hard time for us gardeners. Especially in the months after Christmas when the decorations and lights have been packed up and our gardens are covered in a thick layer of snow. But just because there’s nothing to do out in the garden doesn’t mean we can’t plan for this coming spring’s garden.

The winter is a great opportunity to plan for next year’s garden. As an avid gardener, I relish the chance to take stock of last year’s successes and failures and figure out how I can do things bigger or better. Just like a well built house starts from a set of plans, a fantastic garden requires forward thinking.

Towards the end of winter, when the warm days are starting to return, go out into your garden with a pen and notebook and take a survey of what needs to be done. Do perennials need to be moved or divided? Would you like to put in any new beds, and where? It’s a good idea to pay attention to how much light vs shade different spots in your garden receive.

Different plants prefer different amounts of light and this information can be found in most catalogs. If you’re planting veggies, draw a general diagram of what you want to plant and where. Don’t forget crop rotation!

Once the soil thaws it’s a good idea to get a soil test; especially before you start any new garden beds. You can usually send in a sample to your local extension office or university for a small fee.

Other activities to keep you busy in the winter months are:

Clean and repair your garden tools – Cleaning your hand tools of mud and rust, sharpening them up and then coating them in oil for protection will make them last for decades to come.

Take care of houseplants – My houseplants always seem to get neglected during the summer months, when I’d much rather be outside. Now is the time to give them some love. Take care of any pest issues. Divide or root prune the plants that have become pot-bound. The divisions you make can be used as gifts for Easter or Mother’s day.

Feed the birds – Build or buy a bird feeder. The wildlife that you attract can provide many hours of entertainment for the whole family.

Start sprouts – Sprouts are an easy way to keep growing your own nutritious greens through the winter. All you need is a mason jar and a window sill. Many healthfood stores carry seeds for sprouting and instructions are usually on the packaging.

Grow an indoor herb garden – If you have a large, south-facing window you’re all set. Otherwise you can buy high output grow lights that let you grow herbs and greens indoors all year. There are even kits online that come with everything you need to get an indoor herb garden going.

Visit a local greenhouse or nursery – Taking in all the colors and scenery can be cathartic when the winter blues got you down.

Attend gardening seminars and garden shows – Many seminars and shows are scheduled in the winter, when serious growers have time to attend.

Buy more books – I don’t know about you, but I can never have enough gardening books.

Whatever you do, don’t despair! I hope these activities can help keep you sane doing the winter months.

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