Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to watch someone you love heading toward a storm and there’s nothing you can do to stop them. It’s like they are out there just dancing in the rain, and every once in a while the lightning strikes close enough to knock them down, but they just get up and keep dancing, believing they are safe because they feel good and happy and they think that nothing bad could possibly happen to them. No matter how long or loud you scream for them to watch out-the storm’s coming, seek shelter!-they just dance and dance, face upturned to the rain, smiling as the drops fall on their face. They look happy, they say they’re happy, yet you wonder how, how can you be happy all alone in the rain with a storm coming? Why don’t they look around and see all of the people in their warm, dry houses with their faces pressed to their windows; all of them offering a comfortable spot to stay filled with love? And the more you chase and yell, the further into the storm they dance not caring that you are hurt, sad, falling down in the rain, and all you want is for them to come back and TRY. Just TRY.
When it’s 106 degrees outside but feels like it is 120 degrees, what do you do to have fun and keep cool? Well, we went swimming at the indoor pool! It was lots of fun-the kids didn’t want to leave!!- and nobody got sunburned! I am truly looking forward to next week when it’s supposed to “cool down” to the 80’s…I’ll finally get to mow my jungle of a front yard!!
Today I spent the day cooking with the kids…we made cookies (snicker doodle AND chocolate chip), cupcakes and barbecue chicken…. Then, when the sun started going down, we headed up the road to this small town that has a fireworks show every year. We parked on the roadside, lit a citronella candle and waited for the show to begin… It was hot and the kids were grumpy and uninterested, but it was very pretty and I am glad we went…
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July!!
Today I had the day off work and, of course, I couldn’t dream of doing anything but spend the day with my kiddos. Mae and I had picked up some plain wooden bird houses at Hobby Lobby some time ago and we decided to paint them! I have to say, she is a fabulous artist!!
Then, the big boys brought down their huge tub of Legos and presented it to Graham…he is in Lego heaven!!!
I have to say, it was a great day!
I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I am still addicted to Pinterest in the worst way possible…so here are some fun things I have found there lately!
I hate camping and as a rule, refuse to go…but, these cute tents inside the house are awesome! I want to make one!
I would love to make my little boy a cake like this for his birthday!! He is so into Legos and this would just make his day! I may not be able to make that awesome cake, but I did find some Lego cake molds that may be doable!!
I’m excited to try some new DIY craft ideas for summer that I’ve found!!
There are also a lot of great ideas about repurposing old furniture items into plant homes!!
And there’s always the cute clothes we get to wear during the summer!! Dresses and sandals are my absolute favorite!!
If you’re interested in joining me on Pinterest my name is Lissa Dees and here is a link…if you don’t have Pinterest yet and are interested in joining, let me know and I’ll send you an invite!!
I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t believe how expensive some plants are at the nursery (and even at the big box stores). So, how do you get enough plants for your garden without breaking the bank? I like to use a lot of perennials, and those I am willing to spend a little more on; consider it an investment-you buy a good plant, take care of it, and it’ll reward you year after year. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend A LOT on them. Here are my tips for saving money when purchasing plants:
- Don’t buy a plant just because it has lots of flowers on it at the nursery. I like to look at the greenery and the roots as well. A lot of times you can tell the health of a plant-based on these two things. Sometimes the plant without flowers, but beautiful green foliage and a strong root system is the better choice. Always, always, check the roots; these are the lifeline of the plant, and without strong roots, a plant cannot survive.
- Buy clearance flowers. Most places will clearance out plants that have stopped blooming even though they are still perfectly wonderful plants. For instance, plants that bloom in early spring will be clearanced out mid to late spring because the flowers have dropped (think Asiatic lilies). If you follow tip #1 and make sure the roots and greenery are still healthy and plant it right away, it will bloom the following spring. Sure you won’t have the immediate gratification of the flowers, but you can sometimes get a plant for a great price that will reward you for years to come. Not only that, but you will be giving that plant plenty of time to develop a strong root system for the next season.
- Join the store garden clubs. Our local Home Depot has a garden club and it’s free to sign up. They send me emails with growing tips and coupons throughout the year (I just received one for $5 off of a $50 purchase). Also, always check the ads, especially around Memorial Day, because as planting seasons change, various plants will go on sale. I know I really wanted to buy a couple of boxwood for my front yard but they were $16 apiece, and that was just too much for me to spend!! But, I waited, and at the Memorial Day Sale I was able to pick them up for $2.50 each!!
- Shop farmers markets. They usually have great, healthy plants for a fraction of the cost of the nursery. I picked up a hydrangea bush at our local farmer’s market for $5.00-this same bush was $30.00 at the nursery! This is because they don’t have the overhead expenses that the stores do, however, they generally are on a cash-only basis and you don’t have the added benefit of the plant guarantee.
- Speaking of that plant guarantee-keep your receipts. If you buy a plant at Lowe’s or Home Depot and it doesn’t survive the first year, you can get your money back, but generally only if you have your receipt. That way you’re not out the money (or the plant) if it doesn’t make it.
- Divide your plants. If you have a plant that has gotten too big and no longer looks so healthy, divide it! Most plants need to be divided every 2-4 years in order to stay healthy. It’s really not that difficult, and you can double or even triple your investment by doing so. Daylilies, hostas, daisies, coneflowers; all of these like to be divided. If you’re unsure of what to do, the web is a great source of information! Here are some links I recommend: here, here, here.. **Keep in mind that there are some plants that do not like to be divided, so be sure to check before digging so as not to kill any plants!
- Buy plants that reseed. Some annuals (and perennials) will reseed; that is they drop seeds that will eventually create new plants. Gaillardia, coneflowers and coreopsis are examples of some perennials that do this. What I like to do is deadhead the plant by cutting off any flowers that have lost their petals or no longer flourish. I drop those on the ground in an area where I would like the plant to spread (doing this will also stimulate your plant to produce more flowers-win/win!!) As these dry up, the seeds germinate and more plants will grow! You can also dry out the heads and germinate the seeds yourself, but I’m lazy, so I allow Mother Nature to do all of the work for me!! Some reseeding annuals are alyssum, larkspur and petunias. Just let the flowers drop and the greenery wither at the end of its growth period, and next season you should have new ones grow!
- Trade plants with another gardener. Most gardeners like to share plants. This is a great way to try out new plants in your garden. It’s also a good way to get rid of plants that you thought you were going to like, but have ended up just not enjoying. There may be a local club or group in your area for gardeners that you can join, or maybe you have a neighbor, family member or friend you that you can trade with.
- Start plants from seeds. Seed packets are pretty inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of the same plant full-grown at the garden center! Here is a great article on how to prepare and grow these seeds into a beautiful flower. I have yet to be successful at this-mine always end up dying-but it’s still something I’m working toward!!
- Start plants from cuttings. Many plants can be propagated from cuttings. This takes some time and work, but if you have a healthy plant that you love, this provides the chance to “create” another one while spending very little money. You just need soil-less potting mix, a pot, rooting hormone (this can be found at most nurseries), a plastic bag, a healthy cutting and a little know how. Here are some links with step-by-step instructions; here, here, here.
**All photos from BHG.com.
I am by no means an expert gardener, but I do love it so much!! When we first moved into our house there wasn’t any landscaping at all, so I set out to see what I could do about that. During the past few years, I have created several flower beds and am pretty happy with how my back yard has turned out so far (though I would say it’s still a work in progress). I am now getting ready to tackle the front yard, but with four kids I have time and money constraints, so it is not something that will happen overnight! I will say that when I first started, it was a little overwhelming, but after some reading, some trial and error, and a lot of hard work, I feel like I have gained a little bit of knowledge. I wanted to share some of what I have learned in hopes that other novice gardeners may find it useful, so I have added a new category to hold these posts. I will give you my tips (and those tips that have been given to me that I have found useful!) on how I save money on plants and pots, what tools I use the most, flower care, and maybe some creative ideas. Please, I would love any tips or suggestions you guys have, as well, so leave comments or links.
**I do not have any shade in my yard, and the plants that I use are sun happy plants, so that is what I know the most about. Also, I defer to the experts; I read a lot of books, magazines, blogs and articles…so expect links and book suggestions as well!
With Mother’s Day just ending and Father’s Day coming up, I wanted to touch on how much I love my parents… This is going to be pretty personal (and mushy), so if you don’t want to read it, you can skip it…
Growing up I always adored my mom; I wanted to be just like her in every way. She was and is the strongest woman I know. She walked away from an abusive marriage after 18 years and 5 kids, not knowing what the future would hold or how she would get there. When she went on her first date with my dad (some would say “step-dad,” but, no, he is the only father I’ve ever known and has taken care of me my entire life-he is my DAD) she introduced us right off, deciding from the start that if we didn’t like him it wasn’t going to happen (in fact, she told him when he first asked her out that she had five kids in an effort to “scare him off”-but he just replied, “So?”). We, of course, loved him-that big, tough looking guy with the tender heart and m&m’s in his pockets-and we eventually became a family. Unfortunately I now live very far away from my family, and that is so hard. I would love to give my mom a hug, or look at her face when I talk to her, or just hang out with her. I’d love to bake cookies with my dad using his secret recipe, or go for a long walk with him or give him a huge hug. I don’t get down to visit quite as much as I’d like due to the fact that we have older vehicles, many kids, and it being such a long drive. (Last time we visited our van broke down on the way down, so we had to stop and get it fixed, then on the way back it wouldn’t shift so we ended up going 35 on the interstate the entire way home!! That’s over a 9 hour trip when the car works right!! We were honked at and flipped off a lot that trip, let me tell you!!)
Sometimes, in life, things happen that can pull the rug out from underneath you and make you feel like nothing is right anymore, and I am so thankful that I have my wonderful parents to rely on. My parents have been there for me through everything. If I need anything all I have to do is call. I don’t know what I would ever do without them. I just wish that I was better at letting them know how much I really love and appreciate them. I know that I am not the perfect daughter, I’m not always nice enough, or grateful enough, or happy enough. I know I’ve disappointed them and caused them pain. I know that I haven’t shown them enough how much I love them. It scares me to think that they aren’t going to be there forever; I am already 37, but I still need them so much. I think we take for granted that our parents will always be around until one day they aren’t, and we wonder where the time went. I wish I could go back and tell my 17-year-old self to stop being such a brat-instead of going out with your friends on Friday night, sit back and enjoy these wonderful people who take care of you because one day you’ll wish you had.
I am not crafty, or creative, or artistically inclined in any way…but that doesn’t stop me from trying sometimes!! Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be that person who can take pipe cleaner, duct tape and paperclips and make something fantastic out of them (besides just a pile of pipe cleaner, duct tape and paperclips!), but I am not. What I am is
cheap thrifty; I am always on the lookout for a way to take what I already have and turn it into what I want without spending a lot of money. So, I decided to try my hand at a flower/planting related project since it is spring and gardening time. I thought it would be great to take all of my old terra-cotta pots and transform them into a matching set for my patio! (These pots can also be picked up almost everywhere for pretty cheap, so even if you don’t have any sitting in your garage it won’t break the bank to go out and get some!)
You will need:
- Clean terra cotta pots
- Fine sand paper
- Damp cloth
- Clear urethane sealer spray
- Spray paint
Lightly sand the pot with fine sandpaper to smooth out any bumps.
Wipe dust off with a damp cloth and allow pot to dry.
Spray the inside of the pot with the clear urethane sealer (do 2-3 coats, allowing it to dry in between each one). Spray paint the outside and top inside 2″ of the pot; apply 1-2 more coats, drying completely between coats. At this point you can get as creative as you want and decorate the exterior of the pots with paint, or leave them one color. Once you’ve determined that you are done painting, spray the whole pot with the urethane sealer spray to protect the paint (2-3 coats drying between each one). Let the pot sit for at least 2 days before planting in it.
**You will need to clean all previously used terra-cotta pots in preparation for painting-here’s a link to a great page explaining how to do so: the-artistic-garden.com.
If you’re feeling creative, here are some ideas from Martha Stewart for other ways to dress up pots.
And here’s a great project you can do with your newly painted pots over at homestoriesatoz.com!