Top Tips For Keeping Your Garden Maintained

We all keep on top of the maintenance with our homes but how many of us remember that our gardens and outside living spaces are just as important. If we leave them they end up looking like a jungle but if we nurture them they become an extension of our home and provide us with a perfect relaxation zone. There are certain things that you can do to keep your garden maintained and looking it’s best throughout the whole year, let have a look at some of the things you can do season by season.

Fall

Although people tend to think that the start of Fall is the time to move away from any sort of garden maintenance there are still plenty of jobs that you can be getting on with. This could be the perfect time of the year to start looking over bigger jobs such as installing and maintaining pergolas or adding and repairing walkways, driveways and slabbed seating areas as the season changes it’s cooler allowing you to carry our more strenuous jobs. Of course, you don’t have to take of this yourself and you could always look into professionals such as ProActive Landscaping, they are able to help with all your needs throughout the year.

Winter

There won’t be much that you want to be carrying out in the winter however, you should still be making sure that you have the steps in place to be able to clear pathways and driveways, remove and ice problems or build up and look into the condition of your irrigation. It may be worth having a look at stocking up with salt and making sure you have an adequate spade. Then you are able to move onto festive jobs such as installing Christmas lights and enjoying the Holiday Season if you’re expecting snow why not try out a bit of tobogganing.

Spring

Spring is seen as the ultimate time to start your garden clear up and to start any planned projects that you’ve been thinking about over the winter months. You can pretty much get on with anything and everything in the spring months as long as you are lucky enough to avoid the April showers. You should start with the basics and clear and debris, cut back anything that needs it and do an overall check of the condition of all the items in the garden, this means you are able to prioritize what needs to be done before the summer months arrive.

Summer

You may want to just sit back and relax in the summer months and who can blame you! It’s a good idea to make sure you are keeping on top of your garden even if it just by pottering around. The summer months are a good time to watch your garden flourish with green grass, bright colored plants, and well lit evening walkways and seating areas. Just be careful not to water your lawn or plants in the height of the day as believe it or not they can actually burn.

Do you have any other ideal jobs for each season? Please share them in the comments section below.

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Checklist

A kitchen is the hub of every home. It’s actually one of those places that can’t go unnoticed. Since the materials that are used in the kitchen wear out with time, you should consider scheduling a kitchen renovation every decade or so. Doing so helps in ensuring that your kitchen maintains its appeal and functionality. Besides that, remodeling throws in a punch of elegance where it matters the most. Beauty is not the only driving force here. Seeing that your kitchen has more space gives you a sense of pride.

As a matter of fact, homes that have upgraded kitchens command a higher price in the property market than those that are outdated. However, kitchen remodeling is not for the faint hearted. This is because you have to pay attention to every detail and also prioritize your needs. That’s why majority of homeowners prefer to hire a kitchen remodeling contractor to help them with the planning. But it’s not rocket science. You too can do it as long as you are willing to burn some

midnight oil. Here is a list of the things that should not be left out when remodeling a kitchen.

  1. Flooring

If the floor of your kitchen is in a sorry state, you have no option but to install a new floor. But before that, you have to literally remove the old floor. Depending on the square foot of your kitchen, such a job might take two or three days. There are actually two common types of floors that are ideal for kitchens; ceramic tiles and wooden. Both of them are actually easy to clean. However, a ceramic floor remains cold most of the time, meaning you have to wear your slippers or shoes to avoid the cold. In addition to that, you have to budget for the materials regardless of whether you prefer a ceramic or wooden floor. This is because the flooring materials are sold on the basis of square foot. You should therefore measure the dimensions of your kitchen before buying the materials so that you can approximate and avoid buying excess tiles or wood panels.

  1. Countertops and Faucets

A kitchen looks incomplete without countertop finish. When your countertop is functional, you can be sure that you will have enough space when preparing meals or cleaning the dishes. Unlike in the past when countertops were made from concrete, nowadays they are made from either marble or ceramic. The good thing is that there are many designs to choose from. Besides that, these modern countertops are very durable when compared with their predecessors. And that’s not all. Cleaning them is like a walk in the park.

Since they don’t allow water or any liquid to penetrate through them, stains become a thing of the past. You can get rid of a spill in a single wipe. Countertops go hand in hand with faucet. You must therefore install a new faucet after upgrading the countertop. Modern faucets come with chrome finish and retractable shower head among other features. A faucet that’s flexible is much better because you can conveniently fill your pots and other containers without putting them into the sink.

  1. Cabinets and Shelves

Cabinets and shelves provide space for keeping utensils in the kitchen. Instead of repainting your cabinets, you should just demolish them and replace them with new ones. But there are instances when you might want to install new shelves alongside the old ones, especially when you have just bought more utensils. Besides that, you have to choose the variety of wood that you want to use. Hardwood is usually the best but it’s also expensive. If you are on a budget, you should opt for softwood. Fortunately, nowadays you can order for prefab shelves and cabinets and mount them yourself.

Easy Tricks to Keep Your Lawn and Garden Weed-Free

Weeds. When you’re trying to maintain an attractive and healthy lawn and garden, they are the bane of your existence. It always seems like when you get rid of one, a dozen more pop up in its place. Weed eradication can easily feel like a losing battle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few easy tricks gathered from the pros, you can stay ahead of the weeds and keep your lawn and garden healthy and thriving all season long.

Know Your Weeds

The first step to any effective lawn weed control plan is to understand what you’re dealing with. Getting rid of dandelions, for example, requires a different approach than eradicating crabgrass or plantain, quickgrass, or thistle. Identifying the weeds in your lawn allows you to create a more effective plan, as there is no one method that will kill all weeds. In some cases, pulling the weeds out is the best option, while others will respond better to herbicide application. If you spot weeds in your lawn, do some research to determine what you are dealing with and uncover the best methods of getting rid of them.

Be Proactive

The best way to deal with a weed issue to keep it from happening in the first place. There are two main ways of doing this. [Read more…]

Scooting Towards Independence

Just because you’re a little less mobile than you used to be, there’s no need to think that you can’t get around and enjoy an active, full and independent lifestyle.

If you use an electric wheelchair at home, you already know how useful they are to get around your house and local vicinity, plus the convenience of having in-home power wheelchair repair at your fingertips. But if you’re looking to go further afield and cover more of a variety of terrains you might be looking to transfer to a power scooter for longer distances.

We take a look at some of the best mobility scooters on the market to help you get the very best value for money and stay on the go.

Must Haves

Before you get stuck in to the task of picking your scooter, it’s worth spending some time deciding on which features are going to be must-haves and which you could do without.

Do you need it to be lightweight and foldable, have a lighter steering mechanism or have a lot of room to store groceries and carrier bags?

Make a list of everything you’re looking for and a budget that you’d like to stay within before you start your search, to help narrow down your search parameters.

The Buzzaround Ex

This is a tough cookie and can get across even rough terrain on its heavy-duty tyres. With great suspension, a roomy basket and the ability to be disassembled and reassembled with no tools, this scooter is a great option for packing on holiday if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing.

The Travel Pro Premium by Pride

This three-wheeler is mid-price in the range and is lightweight and easy to steer. It’s perfect for shorter distances over more even terrain and features great manoeuvrability in tight spaces.

It can be easily disassembled and even features a drinks holder for your coffee on the go.

Shoprider Echo 3 Wheeler

This extremely light scooter is perfect for taking with you in the car. It’s quick connect battery means it can be put together very easily and is super light to transport. At the lower end of the price range, it’s a great standby to have.

There are plenty of options out there for all manner of styles and budgets. It’s just a case of finding the scooter that gives you exactly what you need. Whether you’re planning on taking a holiday and need some mobility options or just need a little more power to get to the shops and back, just a little research will help you find exactly the model you need.

There’s no need to give up your independence just because you need a bit of extra support. Treat yourself to a device that gives you the freedom to roam and explore, whether that’s a lightweight three-wheeler or a heavy-duty all terrain scooter, get your scoot on and look forward to staying independent and free for many more years to come.

 

Are There Hidden Hazards Lurking In Your Home?

Whilst there are some obvious hazards in the home, others can go undetected. Knowing how to spot these hazards is important if you want to keep your home a safe environment. Generally speaking, modern homes tend to be free of most of the hazards listed below – it’s older homes that can often contain the most hidden hazards due to wear and tear and old construction methods which may now be deemed dangerous. Here are some of the biggest hidden hazards that could be lurking in your home as well as how to detect them and how to eradicate them.

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, highly toxic gas that claims 170 lives every year! This gas commonly escapes through vents in heating systems – usually as the result of a heating system being incorrectly fitted. Older homes that haven’t had their heating updated for a while may be more prone to carbon monoxide leaks (especially if you suspect it may have been DIYed by previous owner).

Humans cannot detect carbon monoxide with any of their senses – it’s called the ‘silent killer’ for a reason. Headaches, unusual drowsiness and nausea can be signs that your home may be poisoned. Your best defence is to get a carbon monoxide monitor fitted that can beep when a leak is detected. Most rented properties have to have these by law, whilst homeowners must take care of this responsibility themselves.

If your monitor starts beeping, you should open all the windows and leave the home immediately. You should then call an emergency gas engineer to take a look. If you can turn the gas off at the mains before leaving your home this could prevent the leak getting worse.

Radon

Radon is another invisible gas to watch out for in your home. It’s the number one cause of lung cancer in the world for non-smokers, often as the result of prolonged years of exposure. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that seeps up through the earth, usually entering homes through damaged foundations. Certain areas are more prone to radon – you can find maps online to determine if your live in a high risk area.

You can buy a radon test kit to check for this gas in your home – like carbon monoxide it cannot be detected by the human senses. If radon is detected in your home, you should take steps to install a radon reduction system in your home with the help of radon mitigation experts. Keeping your home well ventilated until this system is installed could help to lower radon levels by letting some of the gas escape.

Mold is a fungus that grows in wet and damp conditions. Many people assume that it is harmless, however breathing in spores has been linked to the development of asthma as well as more serious respiratory problems such as legionnaires disease. It’s common in older homes that may be less watertight or have less ventilation. Mold has a mossy appearance that makes it easy to detect. Whilst it can be easily cleaned off with a dry sponge, it will reappear unless measures taken to remove the cause.

Keeping your home well ventilated is the best defense against mold. This could include fitting extractor fans in rooms prone to build-ups of steam such as the kitchen and bathroom to help improve ventilation. If you have any leaks, repairing these could also help to reduce mold. A mold remediation contractor may be worth hiring for serious cases. Always wear gloves and be careful of breathing in spores when removing mold yourself.

Poor electrical wiring

In many parts of the world, certain electrical work in the home is banned unless you are licensed electrician. This is due to the many deaths caused by faulty DIY electrical wiring in homes. Just as dangerous is old wiring such as traditional knob and tube wiring, which can degrade over time. The main danger is exposed wires which can lead to fires and electrical shocks.

There are lots of danger signs of wiring problems to look out for including recurring circuit breaker trips, flickering lights, unusual buzzing sounds, burning smells from outlets and hot outlets. If you suspect any of these problems, turn off your home’s electricity at the mains and call and emergency electrician.

54313023 – close up of professional workman hand holding dirty paintroller

Lead paint

Lead was commonly used as an ingredient in old paint. It has long been banned in most parts of the world, however many older homes still have walls containing lead paint. Lead paint itself is not dangerous unless it starts to peel, at which point it’s possible that flecks could be breathed in or ingested (if you have pets or children it can be a serious concern). Lead is very poisonous and can lead to intellectual disability and even death.

You can buy lead test swabs to check if your walls contain lead paint. If you discover lead paint in your home, you’re best off hiring a professional to remove it.

Asbestos

Asbestos is another material that has been banned in construction due to its potential health dangers. At the time of its invention, it was heralded as a miracle material that was fire-proof, insulating and durable. Exposure to asbestos has since been linked to a deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. Asbestos generally isn’t dangerous unless disturbed – like lead paint, breathing in particles will cause poisoning, which may be the result of drilling a hole in a wall containing asbestos.

You can usually spot asbestos by its distinct fur-like appearance – it can come in many colours but is usually grey. If you suspect your home contains asbestos, you should hire an asbestos removal company to get rid of it. Never attempt to remove asbestos yourself.

Sewer gas

Blockages in sewer pipes can sometimes lead to sewer gas. This is largely made of methane and has a pungent smell that you’ll recognise instantly. Breathing in sewer gas generally won’t harm you unless it’s very concentrated levels (at which point you’re unlikely to be able to stand the smell). The main danger of sewer gas is its high flammability, which could lead to a fire.

Removing sewer gas from your home involves unblocking your sewerage pipe. There are DIY remedies to this, however you may prefer to hire a plumber or home sewerage specialist that can do this for you.

6 Tips to Keep Warm in Winter


I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started my holiday shopping!  When you have 2 boys who both need winter clothes, you HAVE to shop ahead!

This year, I’m actually hoping to get a little bit of clothes for the husband and me as well.  If you are in the market for a new coat or other warm clothes this winter, check out Chums.

Winter really is a season you can’t help but prepare for!  We have to keep our house warm, dress warm, and even eat warm foods.  Check out these 6 tips to keep warm in winter.

Fire Places and Space Heaters

If you aren’t lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, I suggest getting a couple of space heaters or fireplaces.  We bought an electric fireplace, entertainment center a couple of Christmas seasons ago and we LOVE it!  Not only does it help keep our living room warm, but we love the ambiance!  We also have an electric fire place in an add-on room in our room, and we keep a small space heater in our bathroom.

Wear Sweaters

I actually love the cooler weather, because I get to wear sweaters!  I LOVE sweaters…pullovers, cardigans, crew neck, v-neck, cowl neck, ribbed, cable knit….you get the point!  Sweaters and are so warm and cozy, and because they come in so many style choices, colors, and patterns, I think it is easy to find something for everyone.  And I personally love them because they are so versatile.  I can wear most of my sweaters with a pair of jeans and look great, or I can dress it up a bit with khakis or other colored pants, or dress it up even more with a pair of black dress pants.

Serve Hot Drinks

One of my favorite things about the fall and winter season is that I get to drink hot chocolate!  Whether I’m doing a homemade hot chocolate recipe or just heating up milk and adding a little Swiss Miss, it is a great way to start off a cold morning!

 

Throw Blankets

We keep throw blankets in our living room year round.  I use them as part of our decor and drape them on the back of our couch and chairs and then we cover up with them as needed.

Windows and Window Treatments

If you live in an older house like we do, you likely have windows that let in a LOT of cold in the winter, and it may be worth it to replace these.  If you cannot afford such an expense, you could look in to purchasing window insulation kits.  We also use black out, insulating curtains in our living room and all of our bedrooms.

 

Choose Warm Accessories

In the fall and winter, I can’t go anywhere without seeing a lady in boots.  Not only can you make a fashion statement, but it gives gives you an extra layer of warmth against the wind (especially if your jeans or leggings or a little on the thin side).  You can also add a lovely scarf of shawl scarf for a splash of color.  And of course, don’t forget your coat!

How will you keep warm this winter? I’d love to hear your tips!

Fall Cleaning in My Kitchen

Disclosure: This most contains affiliate links. The opinions are my own.

Since the baby was born last fall, I’ve struggled to catch up and keep up with everything, especially the housekeeping, but the fall season always tends to jumpstart my cleaning habits.  The last couple of months I’ve really been focusing on fall cleaning in my kitchen.  Here are a few areas and items I like to focus on when I’m doing a deep clean in my kitchen.

Decluttering and Organizing Your Cabinets.

My cabinets were getting a little out of hand.  I managed to throw away a few items and rearrange some things.  Now they are looking a lot better and my stuff is way more accessible.  (And I don’t have pots and pans falling out when I open the door!)

Items to consider decluttering – Lids without containers, containers without lids.  Gadgets, appliances, and dishes you never use. [Read more…]

Irish Cottage and Farmhouse Decor Ideas

I love farmhouse decor and I’m so excited about its current popularity. I was raised in a home full of antiques, so anytime I see farmhouse or cottage decor, it is like coming home for me.  A lot of farmhouse and country elements we see today originated in European countries like Ireland.  Let’s look at some of those elements.

Photo Credit

In a lot of Irish inspired homes, we see the farmhouse sink like the one above.  We also often see a lot of natural elements: wood, iron, stone, brick, and plant life.

Wood is obviously present in most all home, but in the case of the Irish cottage or farmhouse, we see very heavy and thick wood and wood with a very rustic or even old look. For example, in the above photo, we have the butcher block counter top.

Photo Credit

Wood elements are also seen quite often elsewhere in the home.  Wooden ceiling beams are a popular feature, especially in kitchens and living areas.  Other rustic wood elements to consider include shelving, a mantle, and kitchen table.

Stone is another example of a natural element that is seen quite a lot in Irish cottages.  This looks very rustic, sturdy, and classic looking.  You’ll often see the stone and brick around a fire place or an iron woodburning stove, as shown here.

Photo Credit

Another natural element is plants.  Whether you use fresh cut flowers and house plants or faux plants, a lot of green green throughout the home breathes life in to the home and makes it more homey with a country appeal.

To continue the Irish cottage look in your bedroom, you can start with a metal bed.  Brass and iron beds are very sturdy and have a modern rustic appeal.  To continue the Irish Cottage theme, add a heavy throw or homemade quilt.  Homemade quilts are very shabby chic.  A lot of old quilts are setting around in people’s attics just crying out to be used, but you can also find a lot of brand new store bought quilts with the same classic appeal.

For other home decor, visit your local antique shop or flea market.  Add classic but simple elements like glass bottles and jars, antique oil lamps and whiskey jugs, and old iron, porcelain, or enamel wear pieces.

The folks at Chill specialize in home insurance and they have an ebook on Ultimate Irish Homes. Check it out for more great ideas.

Mama’s New Helper: DEEBOT OZMO 610 – Robot Vacuum Review

Disclosure:  I received a free DEEBOT OZMO 610 for review.  Affiliate links may be contained herein.  The opinions are my own.

Over the years I’ve had the chance to review a LOT of great products, including cleaning products and tools, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a product review than I am about the ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO610 2-in-1 Multi-Surface Vacuuming and Mopping Robot.  This is robot vacuum has become a LIFE SAVER at my house!

A few months ago, I wrote a post about cleaning the floor, and I specifically talked about how having a baby, especially one who is now crawling around, multiplies your need to clean the floor a hundred times over.  (And yet, when you have a baby, your time for cleaning seems to be cut in half, or worse!)  But with the DEEBOT OZMO 610, I am able to clean the floor every day!

Here are a few features I love:

  • Remote control or automatic control.
  • Quiet when running.
  • Easy set up via your cell phone or mobile device.
  • Schedule your robot to clean on specific days and time.
  • Works on any hard surface or carpet.
  • Features a place to put liquid cleaner for mopping.
  • Easy to open.
  • Smart navigation and returns home.

The ability to schedule your cleaning is key for us.  Between 5pm and 6pm, I am always giving the baby his dinner, and so I’ve got the vacuum set up to run at 6pm.  It starts off in the kitchen; meanwhile I pick up Thaxton’s toys in the living room, so that it can clean in there and our hallway next.  (By the way, Thaxton loves the vacuum too.  He’s scared of other vacuums and appliances that make noise, but he loves to sit in his Pack n Play or his Jumperoo and watch the vacuum do its thing!)

I usually have the other rooms closed off, but once or twice a week, I make sure there’s no clutter in the floor of those rooms so that it may run in there as well, and I also try to use the mopping function about once a week.  It just takes a minute to put a little cleaner in DEEBOT, and I love being able to smell the fresh cleaner as he mops in our kitchen.

DEEBOT is also have easy to empty.  We have messy pets and people in our home, so I empty DEEBOT after each use, and I am always amazed at how much trash has been picked up.  When I see how much trash there is (especially if we let DEEBOT skip a day or two), it actually freaks me out a little bit, and I can’t believe we used to vacuum only once a week!

This is an amazing product!  I am so pleased with how much cleaner my floors are, and I am thrilled that it’s able to happen without me having to do a bunch of work or take a lot of time of my day!

This product is available at Target and other retailers, and I definitely recommend it!

 

 

 

Fall Decor on a Dime

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. The opinions are my own.

I absolutely love the fall season! And I love decorating for fall almost as much as I love decorating for Christmas.  As I shop I see so many cute finds at great prices.  There’s so many great deals out there that there’s really no good reason not to decorate for the season.  Today I’m going to show off some of my fall decor and tell you some of my favorite places to find fall decor on a dime!

I’ve had my scarecrows for several years, and I love setting up this porch so these guys can greet our guests.  Just add some faux leaves, pumpkins, and a few other pieces, and you’ve got a great scene for family photos.

My mom bought me this wreath.  It came from Home Depot.  I think if you don’t do any other decorating this fall, you should at least have a nice wreath in place.  (I LOVE wreaths!)

I also love wall signs.  I got this one at Target for a whopping $3.  I also saw a ton of awesome fall signs at Hobby Lobby.  (I only wish I had a place to hang more signs!)

The bird and flower stay on this shelf year round, but I originally bought them during the fall season.  Those, along with the pumpkin, in this photo came from Family Dollar, and the Hello Fall sign was another $3 Target find!  This wall shelf also came from Target.

I had no intention of decorating this bookshelf.  Most of the items shown here are there year round, including the birds which were another fall find at Family Dollar.  I believe the pumpkins on each side came from there as well.  The fall star in the back came from Oriental Trading, and the Happy Fall pumpkin is from the Dollar Tree!

I’m most excited about my new floating shelf.  I used to have a China cabinet and an entertainment center.  Both of these had shelves that I could put my decor on, and I miss that!  Finally I broke down and bought this shelf.

My favorite things on this shelf are the plaid pumpkins.  They came from Target.  The little black and white pumpkins and the subway art came from their as well.

The wooden pumpkins that say things like “grateful” and “give thanks” came from the Dollar Tree.  And most of the other decor came from Family Dollar.

This Thankful & Blessed sign also came from Dollar Tree.  (And it’s actually wooden! No flimsy plastic/poster material here!)

Where do you shop for fall decor?  Do you have a favorite decor item or trend?