Go Get Yourself Some Flowers!

“A flowerless room is a soulless room, to my way of thinking; but even one solitary little vase of a living flower may redeem it.”  –  Vita Sackville-West

It’s been such a joy walking outside this last month and cutting fresh flowers from around my yard. Aren’t the lilacs above beautiful? I found them right outside my front door.

Before the lilacs bloomed, there were daffodils sprinkled throughout the woods in my backyard…

And for Easter Dinner I snipped branches off a tree in our side yard for our table…

What a difference fresh flowers make in a home! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get so busy I forget to really look at whats around me.

I’m betting that if you walk outside with a pair of scissors this weekend, there’s something you can snip to bring a little joy to your home!  No? Then go and buy yourself a fresh-cut bouquet today- It’s Friday!

Yesterday I was so excited to kick off this trip with a visit to Kati for a facial! Ahhh… My face feels like butter today! I love this quote on her wall…

Don’t let your moments slip away this weekend! Take a breath, hug someone you love, be a glass is half full kind of guy or gal and count your blessings – they really are all around you! Moments become memories… Make them count! xo Amy

Creative Seating Ideas for Your Garden

I have a few more landscape photos from our trip to Epcot earlier this month to share. There were so many great ideas there – it’s definitely worth a visit if you are in Orlando! Here’s a few garden seating ideas we saw plus a couple I found around the web…

We spotted these adorable table and chairs cut from logs…

I really love the burlap chair covers! Do you see those round discs on top of the table? Kids loved them! So simple, yet their imaginations ran wild with them!

GiGi had some trees taken down in her backyard a few years ago and made something very similar to the ones above…

Don’t you just love the naturally heart-shaped benches?

Then we saw these log chairs at Epcot…

And both of us said hmmmm… because we knew she had this in her backyard…

So when we got home, she had Tony break out the chainsaw…

And look what he did…

Doesn’t it look great with the grouping that was already there?

Don’t toss that old metal chair frame and leaky garden hose when you clean out the garage! Check out this creative idea…

I’m going to keep my eye out for an old chair frame and do a tutorial on it… it would be so easy to do!

Look who we spotted lounging around…

What a great conversation piece!

I really like using nature to create seating within a garden and love, love, love this chair I found…

And if you don’t happen to have a spare boulder lying around, you might want to look around at what you do have…

This simple chair mixed among the plants and pathway seems right at home, don’t you think?

What creative seating ideas have you seen? Have a great day! Amy xo

Fun Ideas for the “Kids” in your Yard

Ready for more landscaping ideas from Epcot last week? Some are for kids of the little version and others would are perfect for kids just like us!

The tent above is too cute, isn’t it? The frame is bamboo, but you could use branches from any tree. The greenery is also bamboo, but you could use all kinds of plants including jasmine, vining flowers and more. I found directions on how to build the one below using long bean seeds for the vine…

Click here for Directions!

I have a spot under my deck that I am planning on landscaping this year and have a great idea for an old window I bought from my friend crafty friend Sue who is opening up a shop called the Rusty Bucket at a local antique mall in a few weeks. I’m going to hang my white window frame from the bottom of my deck, add a window box and plant some flowers that love shade. I think it ‘ll be a great way to create a garden “room”. I’ll share the details when I do!

I love tunnels for kids in gardens and along pathways… it would be so simple to re-create the one below with some twine, stakes and chicken wire. This uses bamboo, but I’ve seen gorgeous garden tunnels with flowing vines or even pumpkin… how fun would it be to play in it all summer and then harvest pumpkins in the fall?

I discovered some directions for the larger tunnel below from Thrify Fun that is pretty cool…

      

Here’s an inexpensive and easy project… Two clay pots – one large, one medium, a draining tray and some paint = instant bird bath!

A playground at Epcot has these man-made steps leading up to the slide…

Look at what GiGi did last year with some logs she had from a tree that was cut down…

I love the look of an english garden with mazes, hedges and wildflowers. I’m pretty sure I cannot duplicate this…

BUT… I’m pretty sure a version of this is possible…

It’s possible, yes?  Don’t you just LOVE this? I am going to try my hand at hedges this spring. Love it.

I love layers of color and texture in a garden, don’t you? This was one of my favorite layers in the French City of Around the World

A bit of advice. Don’t go if on a strict diet. You will blow it. At least GiGi and I split one.. there are no words for how creamy yummy this Napoleon was, but I digress…

If you have a fence in your garden or want to add a section as a back drop for some of your plants, this is so fun! A few old garden tools, some cans of spray paint and voila…

Darling.

Speaking of darling… There was a Fairy area that was so whimsical. Tucked into the plants were little fairy houses perched on logs. I have some indoor birdhouses that I don’t use any more. I’m thinking I could decorate them, spray with varnish to protect and sprinkle them throughout my side yard. Would that be fun?

So what fun things are you doing in your garden this spring? xo Amy

Ready to Fly, a Goat Show and a Mystery

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend! I’m still down in Florida and watching the adorable baby owls get ready to leave their nest. They left a dusting of tiny owlette feathers under their nest over the weekend – apparently this means they are getting ready to fly. They are so darn cute. Their big round eyes just look down at me whenever I come to say hello. Last week they would peer out at us from inside the nest. Now they are venturing out onto the branch to see the world. Take a look…

I admit have to stop myself from walking outside every hour to see if they have taken their first flight!
Gigi and I did lots of things this weekend, one was a first for me – we went to a goat tailgate show to see her grandchildren Grayson and Loring show their goats. I love tailgating for Ohio State Football Games (O-H!), but had no idea people tailgated at Goat Shows – how fun! I will admit that I was pretty clueless about both 4-H and Goat Shows, but I left pretty impressed. What a great way for kids to get involved and grow!
My friend Lisa of Pick Me Yard – Grayson and Loring’s mom, will probably blog about it soon and give you all the details, but here are my observations…
Adorable is a word you could use all day. These kids get up in the morning to feed, clean and milk their goats – what a great way to teach responsibility! They adore the goats and the goats adore them. To see them interact is, well… adorable. Here is Loring with Pearl telling her to be a good girl and to follow her lead. According to Loring it’s easy to show a goat, you just have to show them who’s in charge.  P.S. I want pink cowboy boots just like hers…
This is Grayson with Daisy. He did such a great job showing his goat, guiding the little ones and helping out with the show. When you’re showing your goat, they should stand strong with legs stretched apart and a bit behind them with the tail out.
Here’s Grayson talking to the Judge. One of the most impressive things I saw is the judge talks to every single child. Kids share what they know about their goats and answer any questions the judge may have, the kids have to be prepared for this interview. They also have to ALWAYS keep their goat between the judge and themselves… it’s like an ongoing dance as the judge walks around the arena and the kids constantly change their positions.
Here’s the Judge talking to two of the PeeWee’s… This is some serious stuff for Loring and her friend Ty…
It’s a family affair at the Goat Show – even the babies come along for the day. This little guy is only a week or two old…
The coolest thing families with Milk Goats is they have fresh milk daily when the mom’s are finished nursing their young. They use it to make cheese, creamy fudge and soap.
Of course after a hard day’s work at the fairgrounds, you need some food!  We brought some yummy vegetable soup that Gigi made. I love to use mason jars to bring juice to work and this worked perfect for a tailgate. You can visit Krista and Jen who have some great recipes for Jar lunches.
Overall it was such a fun day!
So here is a mystery… Gigi ordered this amazing kitchen tool and put it away in a drawer. She re-discovered it the other day and we can’t figure out what it does. The “bolt” is not threaded, doesn’t come off one end, but comes off the other. We have no idea and can’t find it on the internet. It’s by a company called kuchenprofi. It’s driving us nuts! Check it out…
Have a Great Day! Tomorrow I’ll have some more landscape ideas. xo Amy

Fabulous Spring Ideas for Container Gardening

Wednesday was a really tough work day this week, but I suffered through it so I could share these really great ideas with you! In the name of creative exploration, Gigi and I decided to go to Epcot in search of new ideas and a little bit of fun! We took along our friend Loring who made it magical!

According to Loring, Disney is all about the Ball. I really hadn’t explored Epcot before, but quickly discovered it is an amazing mix of flowers, plants, science, rides, people and food. Truly an amazing place!

Well, okay…it’s all about the Ball AND the fashion. Loring of course, as anyone would know, is Rapunzel… note the fabulous hair she personally designed with a pair of scissors, colored hair bands and scissors. She sleeps in the hair. Every night. She also decided to add my terry cloth Tassi-like headband which she stole borrowed. I use it to hold my hair back when I wash my face or put on make-up. I had no idea how important it was for a princess to have the right “look”  at Disney… you should have seen those precious little girls checking each other out!

Meanwhile, this is what we were checking out….

I have an inexpensive black “treasure” chest that once housed dress-up costumes for my kids, in my storeroom. After seeing this, I think I’m going to dig it out and use in my backyard…

 I really like this wagon filled with pots of flowers. You also could fill it with dirt and plants directly!

 

And check this out….when your kids graduate to a larger bicycle, preserve the memories by adding a basket and filling with plants! Adorable, yes?

Go grab some old shoes. Add some dirt and a couple of pretty little flowers and looky what you can make…

Have a broken old metal chair frame? How cute is this for re-purposing?

I don’t have a lot of space in my yard for a traditional garden, but these metal tubs would be perfect for my first ever herb garden this summer, don’t you think?

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And speaking tubs… Do you spy what I spy?

And I love these flowers on top of a boulder…

If you have fountain that doesn’t work anymore, no worries! How about this fab idea?

Last, but not least, I found this amazing idea over at Pinterst… I’m going to try this in my yard too, I just adore it!

We have so many more photo’s of great ideas, but hopefully that got your imagination flowing! Gigi is going to get started on some ideas soon (she’s in Florida) and I will next month – it’s not warm enough for me to plant in Ohio yet! In the meantime, I’m going to hit some GoodWill stores for some unique and inexpensive containers for my deck. Stay tuned for some more fun landscape ideas in the next week! Got any cool ideas? We’d love to hear them! xo Amy

A Confession, Banana Smoothies and Baby Owls!

I’m just going to say it. I am was a compulsive eater. Binge-eater is probably the correct word, but I am winning the battle lately and I like the word compulsive better. Here’s the deal. I am really good during the day and into the evening, but at night… when all the little creatures are asleep… I become obsessed with wanting something sweet. Enter my newest love…

Smoothie

This is not just not your ordinary banana smoothie… it’s loaded with really good things and I choose to have this now whenever those pesky little cravings rear their ugly little heads. You really need to try one. Trust me, you will thank me! Here’s the scoop!

BANANA SMOOTHIE RECIPE

In a blender combine the following:

  • 1 cup of vanilla flax milk (you could also use soy milk, almond milk, goat milk or cow milk as well!)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 banana’s (try them frozen for a colder treat!)
  •  2-3 tsp of vanilla – make sure it’s not imitation!
  • up to a Tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • a Tbsp of Coconut Oil (in liquid form)
  • a Tbsp of Chia Seeds
  • a Tbsp of Flax Seeds

Flip the switch and blend till smooth! So why, you might be wondering, do I add all those things? Here’s why…

Flax Milk – vanilla or plain. I will tell you that I just don’t love milk. In fact, unless it was with a handful of Oreo cookies, I have never poured myself a glass of milk. Flax milk on the other hand is a different matter. I adore it. Flax milk is good for you – it has lot’s of Omega goodies, tastes great and is only 60 calories per cup. Sixty calories… I really can’t believe that, but there it is on the side of the carton – 60 calories. It’s low in sugar (7 grams) and lactose, dairy, gluten and soy free.  Some Wal-Marts are starting to carry it along with whole foods. Yum.

Banana’s – Mostly because they are good, less than  and a comfort food –  click here for 14 reasons why banana’s are good for you!

Vanilla – Tastes delicious and has some healthful benefits as well! For my smoothies I use pure vanilla extract – have you ever used a real bean? Here’s a great article on the vanilla bean

Cinnamon – Again, tastes delicious and is good for a range of things including high Cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes as well! You can click to this link for more about cinnamon!

Coconut Oil – I actually started adding this because I read it’s beneficial in the quest to slow down or even stop the onset of Alzheimer’s. It runs and my family and I thought to myself…why not? You really can’t taste it and an added bonus I find is it ensures that I am “regular” on a daily basis! I know… TMI. Sorry! Here’s a link to an article I read about coconut oil and Alzheimer’s. FYI… Coconut oil comes in a jar in a semi-solid state unless it’s warmer in your house or at the store and then becomes liquid. If it’s solid I melt on medium heat for less than minute to liquefy. Click  here and here  learn more about coconuts from my friend Lisa at PickMeYard!

Flax Seed and Chia SeedsDr Oz has been raving about them lately and when I looked into them further I decided to add them too! Here’s an article I read from Livestrong! They add a bit of a texture to the smoothie and it’s not bad at all! You can also sprinkle on salads, in soups and more!

So see… this smoothie tastes good AND is good for you! I love that!

LOOK WHOOOOO’S PEEKING DOWN AT ME!

I’m in Florida for a bit working with Gigi – my friend and business partner. She’s my inspiration for getting healthy, cooking clean and more. I’ll introduce her to you soon, I promise – she’s going to start blogging with me and I’m pretty sure between the two of us, you will be entertained, haha!

Two years ago when I was in Florida visiting, we discovered two Great Horned Owls had nested in a tree at Gigi’s house. You can read more about them here. Mom and Pop are back again for the third time (they mate for life) with new adorable little babies that hatched about 7 weeks ago and they are so stinking adorable! Here’s a few photo’s…

For the longest time Mom and Dad took turns sitting on the nest… Finally, the owlettes hatched and OMG… they are so adorable! The one peeping out above is a bit bolder. There is a second one in there, but he’s a little shy! That’s dad in the photo above – he’s a bit smaller than mom.

Once the babies hatched, momma and papa began to hunt together and sometimes watch from afar. See them above perched high on a nearby tree keeping watch?

I walked out today and saw both of them sitting in their nest! As you can see, the second one is getting a bit bolder!

And then tonight, we saw them being fed! They stopped eating when they saw me, but isn’t this a great shot? You can’t see it here, but mom is laying inside the nest watching them. So adorable!

Hope you had a great Monday! xo Amy