Easy DIY Mulch Garden that will Last for Years!

We have now been in our current family home for about 6 or 7 years, and I imagine that this home will be our home forever!

When we first moved in, the front of our house had a few bushes, but other than that, it was pretty sparse looking…

We decided that we wanted to do a large mulch flowerbed to give it a little more curb appeal. I’d never done a mulch garden before, but thought that I would like to give it a try.

Here we are, about 6 years later, and let me tell you, this mulch garden is still going strong! I only have to weed it about once, maybe twice a year, and maybe have to top it up with one or two new bags of mulch a year! (I actually only used half a bag this year!)

The first thing we did was layout the shape of our garden. Since the bushes were already planted before we moved in, we had to kind of work around/work them into our plan. We kind of ended up with a weird wavy shaped garden, but I think that kind of gives it a little more character. Continue reading

How to Plant a Seedling! (6 Steps for Success!)

For Earth Day, we decided to plant a tree! Our community came out with a program this year, where households could sign up to receive a free tree to plant. We signed up right away, and were lucky enough to get one!

They had several trees to choose from… Pin Oak, Ironwood, Kentucky Coffeetree or a Sugar Maple. We chose Sugar Maple, but my second choice definitely would have been the Kentucky Coffee tree! Continue reading

Asparagus – 5 Tips for Growing a Successful Patch!

5 Tips for Growing a Successful Asparagus Patch!

 

There is nothing better than picking fresh asparagus out of your own backyard on a daily basis! Check out these 5 tips for growing a successful asparagus patch! Learn which shoots to harvest, and when to harvest.

 

Did you know that asparagus is actually separated into male and female shoots?! The male shoots are the ones that you harvest and eat, while the female shoots are the ones that you let grow and go to seed, in order to expand your patch.

 

I definitely don’t have the greenest thumb in my family, but I certainly am proud of my first little asparagus patch! It is now three years old, meaning that next year, it will be ready to be harvested throughout the season! Continue reading

Top Ten Costco Buys for Shopping on a Budget!

Oh man… I get so excited when it’s time to go shopping at Costco!!! I have to be very, very careful though… I’m one of those people who buys everything that I see! And my husband, well he’s not even allowed to shop there anymore, ever since the instance where he bought over $500 worth in blue paper towels! What the what??!! (Yep – that happened!)

I’ve now managed to put together a pretty solid system so I can now very efficiently and effectively shop at Costco, without getting into trouble!

Continue reading

One quick trick for getting that sticky, way too tight lid, off of that darn jar!

Ok – so this little tid-bit of info is pretty tiny, but pretty impressive!

You know those super tight, super sticky lids that just don’t always come off of those darn jars very easily?!

Well maybe you have super big muscles and can open it yourself?! Or maybe you’re like me and you just get your husband to do it for you?!

But, what happens if your husband isn’t home?

Well, don’t panic! I’ve got the quickest and easiest little solution for you, right here!

All you need is a super knife. Sounds super scary, right?!

(Super, super, super, super, supper, oops… I mean super. I’m just so super excited for this trick! Can you tell?!)

Hehe, ok enough silliness… here’s what you do!

You really do need a knife…

You take this knife and very, very, very carefully stab, (yes, stab!), it into the top of the lid on your jar.

And – Poof! That’s it!

You’re done. You’re in. Pretty neat, right?!

*This post may contain affiliate links*

15 things to get rid of RIGHT NOW! (Clean, Organize, De-Clutter)

15 things to get rid of RIGHT NOW! (Clean, Organize, De-Clutter)For the last little while, I have really been trying to crack down on annoying, stuffy clutter. Every day when I’m going about my daily tasks around my home, I’m always looking for and thinking about different things that I can toss out. I have created this list of quick and easy things to get rid of right now, to help you clean, organize, and de-clutter your home!

I always say, it doesn’t matter how big your house or your garage is, you will always fill it! (So true in my case!)

My parents always referred to me as a “pack-rat” (yep – that happened!), when I was little because I collected literally everything!

If you are anything like me, you have a little bit of a hard time getting rid of things that have sentimental value, and if you toss something out, you feel a little bit of that pesky guilt or anxiety start to kick in…wa Continue reading

The Ultimate Hospital Baby Checklist!

1Anticipating the birth of your new baby is one of the most exciting times of your life! It can also be one of the most stressful, especially if it is your first born, and even if it’s not your first, no two pregnancies are exactly alike. Making sure that you are prepared for when baby comes can be such a fun, but also such a huge process! To help ease a little of the stress for your new baby’s arrival, use the below checklist to help you pack and be all ready for the big day!

Psst! Click here for the Printable Version: The Ultimate Hospital Baby Checklist

To help keep you super organized, I have broken down this checklist into 5 different sections:

  • Packing for Mommy
  • Packing for Partner
  • Packing for Siblings
    • Note: If the new baby is your first, just ignore this section!
  • Packing for Baby
  • If Bottle Feeding
    • Note: If you are planning to breastfeed, just ignore this section!

Packing for Mommy

Packing for Mommy is so important! Could you imagine if you didn’t have your bag packed in time and your husband or partner had to end up doing it for you?! Oh boy…. I can just imagine what my husband would pack for me, and it’s not a good thought! Of course, if he used this checklist, it might not be sooo bad….

The first item on the list is the Birthing Plan. A birthing plan is created in order for you to easily communicate your personal preferences to the medical professionals that will be assisting you. It should include things such as your pain management plan, labor/delivery and your “after delivery” preferences.

Just remember that although you have created a special birth plan just for you, you may need to be flexible since labor and delivery can be somewhat unpredictable. Personally, for my first, I did not create a birth plan…. All I knew was that I didn’t want any of that “oxytocin stuff”! And sure enough, as soon as I got there, the first thing they did was put me on it, (my luck in life, of course!). Long story, short…. everything turned out just fine!

If you don’t have your birthing plan created yet, check out this great template offered by the Baby Center: My Birth Preferences

The next items on the Packing for Mommy list include some key wardrobe pieces! You’ll of course want to pack some Comfy Jammies or a Nighty, because who really wants to wear one of those beautiful hospital gowns, anyways?! I would recommend packing at least 2 pairs, one being an old grubby pair to use during delivery, and the other to comfortably relax in after baby has been born.

You’ll also want to bring some Warm Socks because sometimes your feet can get really cold during labor and delivery, and let’s face it…. There’s nothing worse than having cold feet! You’ll also want to make sure that you bring a comfy pair of slip-resistant Slippers, in case you end up walking around pacing the halls to try and get your labor moving along!

You’ll also need to pack your regular “going-away” necessities such as your Hair Brush, Toothbrush and other Toiletries. Although I’m sure that brushed hair and clean teeth will be the last thing on your mind!

If you’re planning on breastfeeding, you’ll definitely want to make sure that you pack some comfortable Nursing Bras. These specially designed bras will just make your life a heck of a lot easier!

I would also recommend packing at least 4 pairs of old Comfy Underwear. Trust me, you’re at the hospital for the sole purpose of birthing your baby, and not to look pretty down there!

Although the hospital may provide these, you’ll want to bring your own Breast Pads and Maxi Pads. You may go through them quicker than you think and this way you will be able to change them at your own pace, and not wait for a medical professional to have to retrieve them for you.

To top off the wardrobe/fashion criteria, don’t forget your Going Home Outfit! I suggest packing something super comfy, and super stretchy! It’s really hard to say how much you will shrink right after having baby…. It could be a lot, or it could be barely noticeable depending on your body type.

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you pack a few things to help you keep relaxed and distracted during your stay! These things include, but are definitely not limited to, Music and Magazines, Phone and Phone Charger, and your Laptop or Tablet.

Also remember to pack some cash or Change for the vending machines! You never know how long you’ll be there for, and if you get a craving, you’ll want to quench it! The hospital that I go to actually has a Tim Horton’s in it…. Mmm, yummy!

Packing for Partner

The next section of the checklist covers Packing for Partner. Whether you take this task upon yourself or have them do it, there are definitely some essentials that they’ll be thankful to have with them.

Number one on the list is Comfy Shoes! Do you notice a theme here? Comfy, comfy, and super comfy! It’s true! There’s absolutely no telling how long this exciting process will take, and whether it be 2 hours or 2 days, I can guarantee that you’ll both be completely exhausted by the end of it! And since you both may be there for a while, your partner should also have an extra Change of Clothes.

 Also, make sure your partner packs their Camera! Whether you are planning on just taking photos, or planning on filming the entire thing, you’ll definitely need this! Some hospitals may have their own policy regarding videotaping, so be sure to check it out before you get there.

Your partner may also end up getting a little bored if your sweet little baby ends up taking their sweet little time coming out, therefore they should also bring their own Magazines, Phone and Charger, and other means of distraction.

They may also end up getting a little hungry too, so make sure that they bring a few Drinks and Snacks, as well as some Change for the vending machines!

Packing for Siblings

The third section is the Packing for Siblings section of the checklist…. And if you don’t yet have any other children, you can just browse on by this part – or, maybe you have pets! You could always pack a bag for them! J Which reminds me to remind you, that if you have pets, you’ll want to make prior arrangements for your pets to be looked after for when the big event happens!

Now back to siblings! Like pets, you’ll also need to make prior arrangements for your children to be looked after…. An aunt, grandparent, or even neighbor. I actually have all three lined up for when this baby arrives, because you never know what day or what time that it will happen, and who will be busy at that specific time!

Regardless of who your children/child stays with, you’ll definitely want to have their bag all ready and packed to go. I recommend packing at least 2 or 3 Outfits per child, one or two pairs of Pajamas, (just in case!), and a few pairs of Socks and Underwear or Diapers if they are still in that stage.

They will also need their Hair Brush and Toothbrush, as well as any other Toiletries they may use. Be sure to pack any daily medication that your child may need as well!

Packing their favorite Books or Toys may also be a good idea. This may help them feel a little more comfortable when being away from home! I also plan to pack a little surprise gift and a little note in my daughter’s suitcase for her…. Just for fun! J

And if it’s winter time, don’t forget their Boots, Jacket, and any other winter gear that they may need!

Packing for Baby

Awe, Packing for Baby…. Now we get to the special and fun part! Picking out new outfits for new baby is definitely fun! Knowing exactly what size your baby will be when born however, can be a little bit tricky. I recommend packing at least 2 or 3 Sleepers, with at least one being in the “newborn” range, and one being in the “0-3 months” range. This helps to ensure that baby will be nice and cozy in a comfy, proper fitting sleeper. Some sleepers have “footies”, and some don’t, so be sure to include Socks and Booties if you need to!

Hats and Mittens are also a must for keeping baby warm! Plus the mittens will also help to keep baby from scratching her delicate skin with her delicate and probably somewhat sharp nails.

The hospital will more than likely have their own blankets and be able to provide you with them, but I would recommend bringing along a few extras, just in case. One or two soft Cuddly Blankets to keep baby warm and snuggly in, and about 4 or 5 Receiving Blankets to use during feeding.

Bringing your own Diapers and Wipes is also important. The hospital will more than likely have some there for you to use, but they won’t necessarily be the same brand that you are planning to use…. Especially if you are planning to use cloth diapers! The hospital will also likely provide you with Vaseline only, so you might want to bring along your own Diaper Cream as well.

Most hospitals will also require you to bring your Infant Car Seat right into the hospital and show it to them, before they will let you leave. It’s also a good idea to have your car seat base installed before the big day and to know how it works. Each car seat is different, and they all seem to be tricky!

If it’s winter time, then you’ll also want to make sure that you pack a Jacket or Snowsuit for your baby. Just remember that there are some suggested guidelines regarding using snow suits in car seats. You can read more about it here: Car Seats & Snow Suits

Another optional item to remember to pack for baby are Soothers, if you are planning on using them. Soothers work great for some babies and not so great for others, so don’t be discouraged if your little one just isn’t into it…. It’s completely normal!

If Bottle-Feeding

If you are not planning on bottle-feeding, then please disregard this section! But if you are, definitely stay tuned!

This section is one of the main reasons that I wanted to create this “Ultimate Hospital Baby Checklist”. If you research this topic, there really doesn’t seem to be a lot out there for help, when it comes to what to pack for the hospital if you are a “bottle-feeding-mamma”, so if you are planning to bottle-feed, I really hope that you find this helpful!

Most hospitals will have disposable bottles and formula on hand, however, they usually only carry one brand. This means that you will want to bring your own Formula to use, since it’s not the best idea to start switching around your newborn’s type of formula if you really don’t have to. My hospital actually advised me to bring not only my own formula, but my own Sterilized Bottles and Sterilized Nipples as well. I also personally decided to use the Disposable Bottle Liners by Playtex as well. Trust me, your hospital stay will be much easier if you and your partner don’t have to worry about washing dishes!

Remember that you will also need Sterilized Water to mix your formula as well. You might want to check with your hospital ahead of time to see if they have an electric Tea Kettle that you can use, or if you should bring your own. And if you are premixing your formula ahead of time, remember that you will need some means to heat it up for baby. Unfortunately, microwaves are not the best option since they tend to heat the milk particles from the inside out, and can create “hidden” heat pockets that may be harmful to your baby. That is why I recommend that you also pack a Bottle Warmer, or even just a Mug that you can put hot water in to use to heat your bottles.

Remember that whether you decide to bottle-feed or breast-feed, that the decision is up to you, and what works well for one, may not work well for another!

How to Clean & Organize (When you really don’t want to!)

10This room is soooo messy and embarrassing, you aren’t even getting one tiney-tiny little shot of the disaster zone! My daughter went through this little phase where she would open all of the cupboards and drawers and pull EVEREYTHING out…. And after numerous attempts of piecing the room back together, I just finally gave up! This room is actually my “Zebra Dressing/Craft Room”…. Meaning it’s full of tiny little things, like make-up, nail polish, jewelry, paint, glue, beads, ribbon, etc…. all of the stuff that gets super messy, tangled up, and super unorganized! (Hey – that sounds a lot like my life, just in general! Lol)
Ok, so….. Where to start? Where to start?! Well after just standing there staring for awhile, I decided the best place to start was to clear off the countertop. I started by organizing everything into separate piles for general categories: Hair Stuff, Make-Up & Lotions, Nail Polish, Craft Stuff, Home Décor & of course, a miscellaneous/to-be-sorted-later pile. I also created a donation pile and of course, a garbage pile! Anything that I no longer use was put into either of these piles…. One major thing to remember is that all creams, lotions and even makeup have expiration dates! This helps a lot when deciding whether to keep or pitch something!1 Looking pretty good, right?! NOT! Still a super-long ways to go!!!!
Ok, so…. Next? Next, I wiped down all of the counter space, just to make it look like I was making a little more progress!

2Now, see these drawers and cupboards?! I am going to take full advantage of them! I am going to go through each one, one at a time, and sort all of the contents into the piles that I mentioned above, and then each pile will be transferred into one of the cupboards or drawers.

3Ok, so here they are! All emptied and wiped down! Looking good – for real this time!

4And my cupboards…. Empty and clean!

5By emptying and cleaning everything, I’ve sort of accomplished the feeling of starting with a clean slate! So now, it’s time to put everything back together…. Before just throwing everything all jumbled back into the cupboards and drawers, I made a plan of what is going to go where.

6As you can see in the photo above, I still decided to keep a miscellaneous or better known as a “junk drawer” – because let’s face it, you are always going to end up with some things that don’t fit into a dedicated category, or that you just don’t have the heart to throw out!
By following my above drawer layout plan, I was able to neatly put everything back into my drawers and cupboards! Also, if you feel that you are going to have a little bit of trouble keeping everything neat and organized, check out some of these great Drawer Organizer from Amazon.com!
I then gave the room a little vacuum, fussed a little with the décor, and voila! All finished!

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