Starting a Garden – Planting Seeds

Starting a gardenIf it’s your first time planting a Garden or you have planted many, I hope this posts gives you some helpful tips.

Is it too late to start a Garden?  Nope.  I live in the Fraser Valley on the outskirts of Vancouver BC Canada and we are considered Zone 8.  We are in a rich area for growers and lots of gardening centers because of our great growing climate.

Truthfully, I’ve started mine even later then March and even had to restart some plants several times due to deer eating my stuff.  I still got a good harvest at the end of the season.

Buying/Organizing Seeds

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I see buying seeds like grocery shopping.  Find seeds that are similar to veggies you would buy or herbs.  Some are easy to grow, others can be picky.  I’ll be completely honest and have had many gardening fails.  But, that’s how we learn.

My seeds are a collection from seeds I have saved from Harvest or seeds from my mom’s garden or seeds I bought. I’ve gotten seeds in a gift exchange and even got seeds from church.

Easy DIY – Seed Markers

  • Re-purpose an empty plastic container and cut them into strips and use Permanent Marker to write your plant names on them. Shown in picture above and seen in video in this post.
  • Hopefully they don’t get destroyed and can be useful for years to come!

Prepping Seed Containers

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Use what you have.  Even if it’s a egg carton.  Get creative, seeds will grow in rich soil and they aren’t picky how fancy the container is that they grow in. I’ve re-purposed containers I saved from times.  I bought starter plants when I didn’t have time to start seeds and have saved the holders to use as seed starters.

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I grabbed soil from my Raised Garden Beds and filled up the containers. Something I forgot to do in this picture was moisten my soil.

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Yup, I’ll say it again, get the soil wet. FYI I bought my gardening gloves from the dollar store a couple years ago.

I made a hole with my finger to make a nice spot for the seeds to go in.

Planting Seeds

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I love this photo.  Popping open seeds pods that I let dry on the vine from last year is something that’s exciting to see what’s inside.

Pretty straight forward to drop the seed in the hole you made and cover it up with soil.

Not all seeds will grow, I usually drop at least 2 seeds per spot

Mini Greenhouses – Encouraging seeds to start

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Keeping it real and again, using what I have.  A plastic container, vacuum bag and my window. Anyway I can to encourage the seeds to grow. I usually put it in my greenhouse and check on them if they are watered.  This year the frost is still here in the mornings.

I can’t end this post here and just say “Happy Planting”.

Bonus Tip – Community Outreach

My heart has been heavy with the current world state.  I see bloggers I’ve connect with here online in full on Quarantine. My husband and I are blessed he’s still working and we are not affected by job loss. Many are loosing their jobs here in Canada with COVID 19 outbreak happening.

With having young kids and we are taking the government order very seriously to stay home. I would love to reach out and help my community in any way I can.

I created a Garden Swap Box.

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  • I took an old planter box that was made for a Garden Party a couple years ago.  I don’t have a fancy word making machine.
  • I used my stencils and pre-planned my words on paper.
  • Using a Foam Brush I painted the words on.

Here’s how it turned out.

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While the kids painted I painted too. I asked a neighbor if I could put it out on his corner of his yard.  I put a plastic container with some seeds in unopened seed packages that I won’t be using and some pots to get people started.  Not sure who will use it.

Have you started seeds?

What are you planning to plant in your garden this year?

 

 

Home School Transformation

how to transform a room forWell,  This should be the LAST of my shift from my regular content.  BUT, Everyone is going through uncertain times.  When I said I cried in my last post.  It was because of the school closure announcement here in Canada. It’s been heavy on my heart to home school and now I know why.

As a Home and Garden blogger a big part of my home is my family.  I do have an Education background, as I worked as an EA for 5 years. It’s definitely impacted how I do things at home especially for my family.

I have a kid in Grade 2, 4 year old whose registered for kindergarten next year and a almost 2 year old.

I noticed a MASSIVE shift online since the announcement. Everyone is sharing their best at home websites.  Lots of FREE content etc.

However, not everyone is set up for helping educate their kids at home!

Zones

Let’s be real here.  It’s NOT my goal to enforce what my son would be missing if he was at school.  It’s just to keep his mind active with the basics.  So yesterday we transformed our spare bedroom into a learning room with “zones”.

I made signs for each zone that my son colored and made with old picture frames. My son LOVES art and was hoping around and singing as he made these.  Fully in his happy place.

Here’s the FREE Home School Zones

Homework

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My son already has been playing Math games and writing in his Journal.  All on his own.  Without me prompting him. I hope this little “Homework is Awesome” sign keeps him in a positive place about homework for years to come.

The sign is in a picture frame that stays by our kitchen table.  Computer time is done in a public space in our home.

All OTHER activities are SCREEN FREE

Reading

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In our Spare Bedroom I pushed the Queen Sized bed into the corner.  My boys had a blast yesterday grabbing all the stuffed animals and blankets and books to add to this space.

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It’s also a great spot for all my kids to be in while the others are doing art or playing Lego.

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This is a BIG part of our home. This is MY art from Grade 8, I used to have all 3 in the kids nursery.

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I used to have a “Ready Set Go” Set up that I wrote about in my Spring Break Ideas for Kids last year. BUT my kitchen table was becoming a fight to get it cleaned up all the time.

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So I took out the dresser in this room and set up our outdoor camping table. Then I found a shelf in our house we weren’t really using and had installed.

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Lego

Yes, an important part of our kids lives, LEGO.

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We used to Host International Students for about 7 years. This was once their bedroom.  This desk got taken over by Lego in the past year.  It has been called “the Lego room” for months now.

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I’m still letting my kids have their freedom and treating “Spring Break” as much fun as possible EVEN THOUGH they can’t play with anyone else but family and be at home. We still walk our dog and get outside in our big backyard as much as the weather permits.

Now to go plant my seeds.

I love my kids, but my way of dealing with stress is Gardening!!!

Hope this little home school transformation was helpful!

 

Living on One Income

One IncomeI cried today.

I need to pause my regular home/garden content and talk about something important. 

Real day in the Life post for you today. Since this outbreak here in Canada and the mad scramble for the grocery store, we’ve been OK.

  • Store was out of wipes – I told my husband to buy cloth ones. 
  • Store was out of bread – I baked a batch.
  • Just recently I pulled out and organized my “home school” supplies. No, we don’t home school. BUT my son has missed SO many WEEKS of school this year. Plus homeschooling has been heavy on my heart and mind this year, as of today, now I know why.

Uncertain times have been a reality for my Husband and I.  I would be lying if I said life was a breeze. I can share all the cute pictures I want of our home and make my blog seem super attractive but there the real life realities that our family faces ALL the time.

Living on ONE income and how we did it!

We are not alone with the worldly reality of what’s happening and not sure about our financial future.  Thing is, I feel like to some degree because of our past experience with uncertain times it’s not hitting us like walking into a brick wall like it used to.

In 2014 we came to the realization I needed to stay home.  Prior to this in 2012 BOTH my husband and I dealt with uncertain Job positions and felt the biggest blow when he learned the shop he was working for was closing and the job I had worked at prior to my mat leave didn’t have a position for me to go back to.

We have a saying in our family “God Provides”

I’ll share more about how that situation ended.

I’m not a financial guru, just sharing how we KEEP living on ONE income. Writing this in no particular order. This is my own personal experience.

1: Family Haircuts – YES I cut EVERYONE’S hair in our family of 5. Our guess was saving us $800 a year doing this.   That figure is based on the most basic/ cheapest haircut we could all get in town.

2: I DON’T spend money on is my nails done, hair dyed, wax, spray tan…Whatever it is that most women treat themselves on I see as a waste of money and just don’t spend money on it.  Remember this is my own personal opinion, comment isn’t meant to offend anyone.

3: Hang Dry laundry – I did the math, $500 in savings on my mat leave (2012)  for the entire year.

4: Cloth Diapers – Even if you’re doing this 50% of the time, your still saving money.  Worth the time and energy that goes into it.

5: Vegetable Gardening – More to share about this in the coming weeks. Still eating fresh/frozen food from last year.

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6: Take a vehicle OFF the road.  If one of you can walk or bike to work, sell a vehicle or take the vehicle off the road.

7: Sell stuff – This past Sept we sold over $1,000 of stuff we had laying around our home.

8: Baking – Have you seen how expensive packaged snacks are for school?? Between this and cloth diapering is a HUGE savings on our grocery bill.

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9: Accept hand me down clothes.  I grew up with this as a kid. I was blessed pretty early on with hand me downs for my kids.  I make sure to pay it forward once my kids grow out the clothes. Friends and I do clothing swaps all the time since our kids are close in size. Notice I said “Accept”. I don’t focus on fashion, it’s not worth the cost.  From what we get for our kids I think they look pretty good all things considered.

10: Buy Local food.  With doing most of the above buying local meat and produce is affordable. We buy a lot more higher quality food. It comes down to healthier choices with what we put in our bodies.  I’m someone who struggles with my gut health.  Making this switch, not so many flair ups anymore.

11: DIY – This applies to ALL areas of our home. Vehicles – My husband is a mechanic. Home Decor, Plumbing, Drywall, Painting a room for example. Almost all of our construction stuff in our house we do. With the exception of needing professionals when it’s above what we can do. 

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12: Gardening and Lawn Maintenance.  This seems like a common sense item to me.  BUT, with the amount of small lawn companies that frequent our neighborhood I know lots of people get their properties cared for.

13: Rent Equipment: If we don’t own the equipment to do a small job, instead of hiring we rent it.

14: Date Night in – PUT THE PHONES DOWN…Play a game, invite another couple over to play a game night for example. 

15: Shop clearance, deals, sales or always look second hand.  This has saved us tons of money. My husband actually can’t stand that I’m a roadside picker upper. Yup, if it’s worth it, then I stop.  FYI – A chunk of my gardening pots I acquired this way.

16: Side Hustles: Direct Sales with Arbonne and THIS BLOG! I recently made the change to have ads.

I could keep going or expand more on any of these topics.  I’m not a financial blogger and there’s many great blogs or books to read.  This is just a list of how we do it. It is still tight to live on one income. 

Seeing as how much people ask me to be a part of stuff that costs money to do, tells me they think we got it figured out. 

It takes lots of communication between my husband and I and not giving in to our kids.  At the end of the day we lean on our Faith. God Provides. Doesn’t mean we don’t need to spring into action and get creative when your income gets cut in half. 

It’s happened a few times to us. Each time we’ve just gotten smarter.

Back to our story: In 2012, my husband legit walked back into his old job.  I scrambled to find work in a different school district and found childcare.  Our story keeps working out again and again. 

Hope seeing our list of what we do with living on one income is helpful. 

Share in the comments of other tips that are helpful to you! 

Staying Home – For longer then expected

Sounds like people are needing to stay home for longer then they expect lately.  If your not sick and bored, I’m sharing some ways I make the most of my time at home.

No, seriously, You can only binge your shows and social media for so long and your gonna need to do something to pass the time.

Since I’ve been in the “Staying Home” for my everyday living for the last 6 years I feel like I’ve gotten good at making the most of it. This is just a small sample of what I do.

Update Decor

Being a Home and Garden blogger I get the opportunity to share about our home.  Home for me as a kid was growing up in a true FARMHOUSE. Not a modern home with some country farm accents.

But, now that’s me living in a 40 year old home adding Farmhouse accents.

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I need to update the winter photo on my wall. Something I can do online from home without going out in public is ordering new a new picture to update that frame.  I will be putting in the Mexican sunrise.  Not a lot of money to do a simple update.

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I got out my simple Spring Decor the other day and put out my upcycled table runner from trimming my bedroom curtains. I still need to sew the one straight edge and it’s done.

Deep Cleaning

Once the flu hits your house at any time of the year we all hit cleaning mode.  It’s not just the “hey, we are getting company” kinda clean.

I mean lets dust and move furniture around and DEEP clean. I’ve been doing my oven, fridge, kids toys, borrowing a carpet shampooer.

My intense Carpet cleaning MIGHT have something to do with our new family addition.  Thankfully Potty training accidents are far and few between now. We made sure our carpet cleaner was specifically the kind that helps them not pee again and again in the same area.  Only happened twice that she went in the same spot.

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Purging and Organizing

If you follow me on Instagram I’ve been getting into my closest and putting away the winter gear.  There’s been thrift store drop offs and recycling.  I think you get the drift.  You know your home and what needs to be done.  If not there’s tons of great organizing videos online to get you motivated.

Anyone else binge watch organizing videos?

Yard Work

Something I’ve noticed is lots of new houses they do now is properties with less maintenance.  Not our place. I’ve been out in our yard getting it cleaned up since early February. I’ve made a HUGE dent and got our kids toys cleaned up so our puppy doesn’t get into something she shouldn’t.  Plus it looks so much better having a cleaned up backyard.

It looks SUPER different now.  Wait for the after photo…coming soon this spring.

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Baking

I’m a big homebody and making homemade food, especially if I have time is well appreciated.

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BUT….

Then baking goes sideways and I burnt the cookies.

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The upside to the burnt cookie moment.  Life was super busy at that moment. I came home for a girls night to find my husband rolling cookies and making them BETTER then I ever have.  I had too bake for 2 classes for the next day and when I burnt the cookies it derailed my day.

I’m not perfect and neither is our home.  I can share all the lovely photos I want.  Sometimes we burn the cookies. 

Last but not least.  I still attempt to make time for…

DIY

I sew or make home decor whenever I can get a free moment.  Which almost feels like never.  BUT, just like many other people in the world…We are supposed to be in social isolation. That means, my sewing machine is coming out. So is my paint brush.  I can’t wait to share more about that in upcoming posts.

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Oh yes,  can’t forget about Gardening.  But that’s gets it’s own posts on my blog.  More to come about that here soon.

How do you spend your days at home?

 

Easy DIY Dog Crate Bed

Easy DIYI have to pause from the Gardening posts.  I recently shared that we got a new puppy. You can see my Picking a puppy post here.  Sometimes I share Kona on my Instagram.

Truth is, owning a dog is expensive and my frugal side of who I am has gone full board since we got her.  We were super blessed a friend had an extra large crate for her and gave it to us. I knew right away I needed to get her a bed for it.

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Every time I saw them at the store my DIY brain was like “I can make that”.  I have everything at home.  These also fit in a crate super well. I had everything on hand so it was just my time.

Easy DIY Dog Crate Bed

This made 2 Beds: W26″ x L48″

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 double sided blanket.  Mine was a wedding gift from Costco that I had grown tired of. Got a new blanket for Christmas.
  • Scissors
  • Body pillow or pillows or stuffing. I used old pillows we didn’t use anymore.
  • Sewing machine – If you can thread a machine and sew in a straight line, your good to go.
  • Seam Ripper.

Step 1:

Fold double sided blanket in HALF and CUT the FOLDED side.

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It should look like this once you cut it.  The double sided blanket now splits apart.

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I had to use the seam ripper for my blanket as it had an extra stitch a couple inches in.

Step 2:

Stuff it with the pillows or stuffing.  Which ever option your going to fill it with.

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Step 3:

Fold the cut edge IN and pin it.  Then Sew away!  Your only sewing ONE edge.

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This blanket made 2 dog beds.  Now we have 2 crates for her in the house and both crates have a bed.  Or the crate has a bed and she has a bed by the fireplace.

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She wasn’t too sure about me taking pictures while she was in the crate.

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This is the second bed I just made. If you look you can see the 3 pillows it to make this one. Kona is not full size and expected to be roughly 60lbs.  So she still has lots of growing to do and needs what would be considered an Extra Large bed once fully grown.

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Here she is again on the first dog bed I made for her.  She was so small.  This one has a body pillow and quilt batting I had in the house.

If you have the supplies, go for it.  I grew up with a country dog, she lived outside. Dog’s are definitely pampered more now then when we had a dog as a kid. Life is expensive and we have a young family.  Anyway to save money I will.

Have you ever made your own dog bed?

What this helpful?

Comment below if you plan to make one of your own.

 

Vegetable Gardening

Vegetable GardeningIt’s March, the official day of spring is coming up very soon.  I hope my posts about my gardening is helpful to you in your own gardening projects.  As going into this new direction with my blog with my niche of Home and Garden I have so much to catch up on it feels like.

Vegetable Gardening!

Best part about growing your own Vegetable Garden is eating FRESH food! Here’s a picture of our own green beans and the lovely pork chops from the pig we bought this past year.

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However, if there is something that I share and post that you want me to expand on please comment below so I can get that information on my blog and share it with others.

Vegetable gardening is something my family and my husbands family for years. My mom is known for her front yard garden.  I hear about it lots from people who know my parents. Lots of what I have comes from my family and my mother in law.

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If you saw my Garden/Backyard Planning post you will see what used to be on our yard.

Before the Raised Garden beds went in last spring this was what my garden used to look like before I harvested in August.

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This was a lot of work to maintain.  I love how this looks, especially with the arch from our wedding.  I updated it and painted it years ago. It got twisted up in a storm and I had to get rid of it sadly.

I mentioned in my Raised Garden Beds post about one negative and that is not being able to grow squash.  In the picture above you can see how big the plants are in this picture.

I had an amazing harvest this particular year and plan to grow another squash garden again.  If your starting out vegetable gardening this is one easy vegetable to grow.

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For more ideas on easy vegetables to grow, check out Tara’s blog on 8 Easy Vegetables to grow. Thanks Tara for including me.

Here’s what I grow in my Garden:

  • Pole Beans – Family Favorite – Using seeds from my grandparents.
  • Snap Peas – Our kids eat these off the vine for a snack
  • Kale – Again – seeds I get from my mom.
  • Zucchini
  • Rhubarb
  • Herbs – Maggie, Chives, Parsley, Basil etc…
  • Radishes
  • Garlic
  • White onion

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I mentioned failing at things.  When we bought our place I got to take on the harvest of the previous owner.  She had LOADS of tomatoes in the greenhouse. I got, potatoes and so much more.  I was so overwhelmed with unpacking I gave LOTS away.

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I worked in a vegetable farm after high school and I knew right away these tomatoes never had their suckers pinched.

Since this abundant time I have only used this as a started house.  We have changed out the soil and I need to test it to find out what’s wrong with the soil.  I can only grow stuff in pots at this point.

Again, as I embark on this new direction as a Home and Garden Blogger, please let me know what you would like me to write more about. Comment below

 

 

 

 

 

Raised Garden Beds

If your considering Raised Garden Beds click on this post to see how we made ours and the how they work for our Garden.

Raised Garden BedsIn my last post I shared about Garden/Backyard Planning.  I mentioned how it takes time.

Planning also has to do with learning what works for your yard and how you want to do things.

I had a big problem on my hands.  I tried growing a garden the traditional way with just rotter tiling a section of our yard.  We had issue after issue with doing this.  Yes, I borrowed my parents machine from their acreage.

I was HOPING have the dirt rotated with a good machine would help. It didn’t.

My husband and I like to keep things fairly neat, tidy and organized.  I will admit not everything is, but when it came to the outside having clean lines it looks great. Considering invasive plants, potatoes growing rampant and loads of rocks we decided last year to put in Raised Garden Beds.

Worth all the hard work that went into making them.

Here’s a snapshot of the garden BEFORE we did the Raised Garden Beds.

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I shudder looking back at this. You can see if you zoom in, I have a few things planted BUT, the weeds and such would not stop persisting.

This decision was the best one we made for this area of our city lot.

Here’s the beginnings of the Raised Garden Beds.

IMG_7001These did not take long to make.  Our middle son jumped right into it and helped us out.  I have to admit, my husband did most of the work.  I helped load the wood. I don’t have the dimensions at this moment, I’ll edit this post and add it back in later.

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2 truck loads of a Garden Blend, filled the boxes up just right. I was off the start my planting for the season.

This was one project we didn’t research, and just went with it. Here’s a recap of how our Raised Garden did last year.

Here’s the list of positives for having Raised Beds:

  • Required less work – Beds has less weeds and where easy to reach to get the ones that did grow.
  • Needed less watering – They act like GIANT flower pots. I noticed our water bill went DOWN during the summer.  Saving money and growing our own food, yes please.
  • Easy to mow around – My husband loved this.
  • Look Great – Nice simple lines and when they were ready for harvest the looked full and amazing.
  • Kids didn’t run through and destroy the plants – this happened in the previous garden LOTS.  Now we have a puppy to train to just go into the boxes.

Negative:

  • It is great for just about all our growing needs for a Garden.  BUT, not running plants like zucchini or squash.
  • I missed growing certain plants that didn’t “fit” this style of gardening.

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I’m excited for another year with my Raised Garden Beds. Hoping the deer stay away from my pole beans.  I think our Dog might help keep them away this year.  I don’t like planting them 3 times. Somehow I need to keep the animals away from my strawberries too.

I honestly feel like I’m still a beginner gardener and have lots to learn.  I hope seeing that we built was helpful for your garden.  If you have any questions on what I shared feel free to comment below.

Happy Gardening.

 

Garden/Backyard Planning

Garden_Backyard PlanningToday I want to share with you about Garden/Backyard Planning.  We bought our home in 2014. This is our journey snapshot of what we started with and where we are now.

If there is something you see that you want me to go deeper into explaining please comment below.

Here I’m going to show you how our gardening/backyard planning took shape.  It would be great if we could have changed it all within that first year. BUT that costs A LOT of money.

To create a garden/backyard of your dreams it needs TIME.

When we bought this place we had one kid, now we have 3 and a puppy. Lots of changes.  The most reno work we have done has been to the outside.

The previous owner had a GREAT garden already going.  However things seemed to be in odd places and we had to re-work the yard how it fit for our dream for the property.

2014

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Here’s the LARGE garden box and a side garden. This garden where the trees are was super overgrown and I’m still fighting an aggressive plant in that area.

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Here’s the Greenhouse and the worn out old fence. I got to get a LOT of tomatoes out of that greenhouse.  Sadly I still have lots of learning to do and how to grow plants in there.  So far it’s been a starter house for me.

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We redid the fence, it was awful.

Remember I mentioned Garden Planning taking time?

Summer 2019

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The Wood was JUST getting weathered.

For our Daughters first birthday last year I tried doing a photo shoot.  It shows the new fence and memorial garden that I added.

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I really need to print and frame this one!

Here’s the current look at the Green House update we did.  My husband broke one of the windows with the lawnmower and we didn’t want to keep replacing the glass so we worked hard to make it more user friendly and to save money.

PLUS everything we did here was re-purposed.

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As you can see, we use it more for storage now. It’s tucked behind the house.

We still have more Garden/Backyard Planning to do. It takes time as I mentioned.  The kids get right into it as well.

I know I didn’t share any tips on this post, but I hope seeing the before and after it gives you some inspiration to work on your own garden and backyard.

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One last photo from last year.  There’s a HUGE Reno, that is still happening.  I’m hoping we get it DONE within the next 6 weeks and show you the reveal.  It’s a huge change for us,  We LOVE to entertain. This was when we served guests last year “in the garden”. That gives you a hint.

Have a great day and I would love to hear about your garden projects.

 

 

Schedules, and staying Organized

how to schdeule (1)Living a scheduled life is something I’ve learned the hard way is something we can all improve on and be better at.

I’ve always considered myself an organized person.  Along comes our 3 kids and technology explosion and I was pulling my hair out. I wasn’t as organized as I thought I was. I was missing IMPORTANT doctor appointments and missing key scheduled things in our kids life and so forth.

I looked back and had to ask myself where am I going wrong.  Why am I messing up so bad, what was working and what wasn’t?

I’ve written some basic tips that helped me, bonus I added a DIY!

There’s a TON of organization gurus out there. They offer great advice.  Yet, we are all made differently and have to figure out what works best for us.

I tried for over a year to keep up with switching to the free google calendar.  It’s free right, boy was a wrong.  I guess the writer in me needs to write it down. I had a bit of a meltdown last year realizing my loath for technology wasn’t helping trying to stay organized using something online.

1: Get a GOOD planner:

After posting a desperate outcry to friends on Facebook I was reminded of my other writing friends to use a teacher planner.

I got one and it’s made a big difference. IMG_1091

Having this cute spot in our kitchen with the writing desk makes it easy to layout.  The planner fits so perfectly.  As much as I love beautiful detailed planners and paper products, I got mine from staples and it’s made by Emily Ley 

My Husbands work uses the Google Calender so I still sometimes add things or he adds them.  It’s still kinda used, I’m still trying to adapt.  But for my sanity I went back to a paper planner.

2: DIY a Picture frame for Days of the Week:

Ready for an upcycle and a DIY?  I love a good repurpose project that’s fast and easy.

I originally made this for meal planning.  The paper planner I bought already has a slot for meal planning. This DIY became a “week at a glance” for the whole family and it’s been hugely helpful.

What you need:

  • Paper (larger needed if you have a bigger frame)
  • Permanent Marker
  • Ruler
  • Picture Frame
  • Paint

IMG_1092Paint the frame with 2 coats. Let it fully dry. Measure out your day slots and an extra space to write the month on top. Use your marker to mark out your lines. Then put the frame back together. Hang and use dry erase markers and your done!

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I use different color dry erase for different members of the family.  Or different events we have going on.  I update this every Saturday night.

I have it hanging in a central part of our home so we see it everyday.

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3: Use a 12 month Calendar

I got this idea from Jordan Page at Fun Cheap or Free. She uses google calendar, however I’ve already established that doesn’t work for me. Since I’m a visual person, we opted to buy a bigger white erase 12 month calendar.  We hung it up in our bedroom.

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This huge visual aid has all our core things that need to be on here.  All my husbands work schedule, on call and paydays.  Our holidays are on this calendar and most importantly birthdays. Kids school breaks and so forth.  I think you get the drift.

We seem to get caught off guard when birthdays come around or holidays sneak up and we didn’t budget. Sharing that to let you know we aren’t perfect.

Having a visual aid like this is already helping us budget and plan better. Now we can plan those “last minute” camping trips or what weekends are best to hammer out a much needed reno.

Here’s to a better planned, scheduled and organized 2020.

Hope these tips are helpful, they are for our family.

What are things you do to keep organized?

 

Christmas Time Preparations

Here’s our family Christmas Preparations.

Christmas PreperationsIt’s been a little quiet around here on my blog, at home not so much. I think we are finally passed all the big school concerts and church events. I had to keep my blog in hobby mode and take a brief pause with all the fullness since my last blog post.

If you follow me on Instagram I shared a few updates along the way.

December is pretty much 1/2 over now. For some reason the last couple of years since my son started school and a third little bundle of joy came into our family I’m actually not overly enjoying how overwhelming this time of the year is. IMG_1064

I’m becoming more into the idea to keep Christmas Decorations more simple.

Each year the tree goes up later and I try to make a conscious effort to get SOME decorations up sometime before December, as my kids are begging me too.

We LOVE a REAL Christmas Tree in our house.IMG_1016

We are blessed to live in the Fraser Valley and there’s lots of Christmas tree farms.  We finally found a good local one. IMG_1017

However with my husbands work schedule we stood in the dark field with 3 other families holding our cellphones up with the flashlight to cut one down this year.

We actually had to “schedule” the tree cutting or it would never have made it up this year._A real Christmas tree is worth all the love and attention it needs_

I absolutely LOVE this tree base that was passed along to us from my husbands parents. It’s so festive and crazy heavy (FYI).  We went to the “Olde Farmhouse Market” recently and I was reminded of the old metal tree stands, now they are plastic.  I don’t think this cast iron one is going anywhere anytime soon.

Never too late to DIY some Christmas Decor.

Remember the DIY Christmas book wreath?

I’ve been waiting to make one, just never have the time. IMG_1066

My son is helping me make this one. I really doesn’t bother me if this isn’t the pinterest craze anymore. This is my 4th one to make, the other ones I gifted them away.

I’m looking forward to having something music related this time.  I was singing the hymns as I recognized them and shared with my son how much things have changed with church music. Yes, I’m old enough to say I sung from the hymnals as a kid.

What about the Presents? Can’t forget about those right?

Just like the decor we have learned to keep that simple too. There once was a baby a long time ago that got 3 gifts, seems like enough for us too. Our kids know the story and so far don’t seem too upset if they didn’t got more.

We are still making time for Homemade Christmas Gifts!

I’m excited to see this rocking horse completed that my husband is making.

IMG_1070When our oldest was 3, we were super tight for gifts and money in general.  My husband scraped together a wooden airplane.  It’s been probably the MOST played with airplane in the house that’s had many repairs and is now resting with the other “need to be repaired” toys.

Homemade gifts once was all we could give.

Now, it’s something we know will be loved and appreciated.

We are on the home stretch for 2019. Also only 4 more car rides for school drop off and pick up (not that I’m counting). Best of all time with family just around the corner. I’m ready to have everyone home for a while.

We usually break out a puzzle, lots of game and family movie nights. I have Christmas baking I’m supposed to do and the kids will decorate the cookies. These are the years we can’t get back and spending time now while they are small and soaking it all up is worth all the effort that goes into December.IMG_1057

I know this time of the year isn’t easy for everyone and just like us there’s someone missing. Love it if this little ones big sister was in this picture with her.  She’s in our hearts. I’ve learned it’s better to choose joy then let the heartbreak weigh me down. We’ve learned to know who our community is and find ways to make new memories.

How about you?

What are things you do for Christmas?

Comment Below,  Love to hear from you!