Christmas Captures

This year, the only spending we chose to do for decorations was the purchase of two small, live potted spruce trees. The plan is to enjoy them this year, and with a little luck, keep them alive through future years! Otherwise, it was fun getting the pieces from the past few years out of the attic. I have so much respect for all the parents out there who do things like Elf on the Shelf… Especially and specifically, Elf on the Shelf. I cannot imagine ever having the patience or energy for that particular tradition. Hopefully I’m not the only … Continue reading Christmas Captures

Wildfire Scenario

Finally, the kids are staying in bed. Finally, the dishes are washed and put away. Finally, the tired adults go down the hall. Stan takes off his glasses. Mary sets her alarm and puts the phone down. The night is quiet. First one cell phone buzzes, then the other. Mary silences her phone. Stan’s phone keeps buzzing and he knocks it off the nightstand in the dark. On the floor it is much louder and he groggily picks it up. “Hello?… Phil? What’s going on? …Yes, we’re all fine here… What? No, I don’t think that’s near us… Geez, Phil, … Continue reading Wildfire Scenario

Indoor Clothesline

Easy project. I bought two different versions of this on Amazon, and ended up keeping both. If we ever move, I would certainly consider an outdoor clothesline or hanger. Not all neighborhoods allow outdoor clotheslines. Also, some climates are very humid and rainy in the summer. We use air conditioning and the indoor air stays quite dry for that reason. This particular project also helps the house stay cooler in summer because I am not running the dryer.  Then we are also not paying for the electricity to run the dryer. Both lines are retractable. So easy. Would you hang … Continue reading Indoor Clothesline

Growing Catnip

Catnip is in the mint family, but is NOT invasive like peppermint. It makes a small, hardy shrub that shows up fairly early in the springtime. It is perennial. The pet supply store is full of various toys, cat condos, and scratchers featuring dried catnip. Not all cats like catnip. Our cat does, but he is really interested in the catnip itself rather than the fancy accessories. If your cat is habitually unimpressed, or pointedly chooses your significant other over you, then this could be your new secret weapon. My cat loves it. I love to bring in a sprig … Continue reading Growing Catnip

Plenty of Peppermint!

Last year, I planted mint in my garden. ROOKIE MISTAKE. This plant spreads via long, stringy underground rhizomes. It grows like a weed. Super invasive. One of the first tasks this spring was eradicating the mint before it takes over. I picked a few of these rhizomes and put them in pots. I want mint. I just want it to be contained. As an invasive plant, it is perfect for containers. Mint is sturdy. Ripping these plants out and turning the whole area over, I have still been seeing one or two sprouts come up every few days. Mulch mulch … Continue reading Plenty of Peppermint!

Tinder and Kindling

Less of a project, more of a habit. This post is NOT in reference to the dating app, although that could be interesting. To start a fire: If you have a wood burning fireplace like me, or you just appreciate the fun of a campfire or backyard fire pit, here are a few free ideas for fire starters. Lintbox. Save lint from the clothes dryer and stuff it into an old Kleenex box. I did this growing up. We don’t really buy boxes of tissues very often but this idea gets one more use out of two useless things. (Reduce, … Continue reading Tinder and Kindling

Hypothermia Scenario

Road closed? Is this a joke? Sarah cranes her neck, trying to read the blinking sign. Not a great time for a detour, but it’s not like she was super excited about spending eight hours straight with all her crazy relatives anyway. Sorry, guys. At least benevolent dictator Google Maps always has an alternate route ready. GPS leading the way, she takes the next exit. If she’s super late, everyone will notice but only her mom will really give her a hard time. The two-lane road is plowed, but still slick, and she’s never driven it before. A deer appears. … Continue reading Hypothermia Scenario

Propagate Pothos Plant

Pothos is one of my favorite plants, both as a houseplant and outside in our planters during the summer! The best part is I haven’t had to buy a new plant in years because it is so easy to propagate from cuttings. Benefits: indoors, it purifies the air. Having houseplants in a room with musical instruments can help to naturally regulate the humidity in the room. Outdoors as far as I know it just looks pretty. Watch out for: if you have animals or kiddos that like to try tasting your plants then this one is safest out of reach. … Continue reading Propagate Pothos Plant

Paint the Laundry Room

It’s amazing what a difference a fresh coat of paint can make. I wish I had taken more before pictures of our home, in general. It started out pretty rough. Suffice to say, the laundry room started out as a deep pink or mauve color. I didn’t hate the color but it definitely was overpowering. Then last summer the AC broke resulting in a flood of water that took out a section of the ceiling which then had to be replaced. The ceiling had been painted gray and I knew matching the faded gray exactly would be almost impossible. Almost … Continue reading Paint the Laundry Room

Start Seedlings

This is so easy. Even I can do it! In temperate climates it is well worth starting tomatoes, peppers, and basil indoors to maximize the growing season. A packet of seeds is usually $1-3 and if the seedlings fail you can always buy seedlings, which are usually only $3-8 each. This year I decided on a couple of different tomato varieties, a mild jalapeño pepper, and of course summer basil. The basil will truly last all summer if you cut the tops before it flowers. It helps to have a grow light, but isn’t necessary. If the seedlings get too … Continue reading Start Seedlings