Signs of Spring

It may not look or feel like spring outside, but inside our home, signs of spring are all around.

Even with the snow falling outside our window, these daffodils on our kitchen island make it feel like spring is finally here. Daffodils are often signs of new beginnings and that Easter is right around the corner.

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It will be a few more days before we see spring-like temperatures outside, but in the meantime we’ll keep celebrating the start of spring inside.
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Welcome spring!

Chrysanthemums: Take Two

In just under a month, our potted mums went from this:

To brown and dead looking. I’m not really sure what happened, but I’ll spare you a picture of the dead mums. I was so bummed that they turned brown so quickly.

I knew I couldn’t leave the brown mums on the porch if someone was going to look at our house for an appraisal. I went back to the Home Depot for new, blooming mums. I bought some of the last mums they put out for the season and this time I only bought one mum for each of the pots. The mums were on sale and I only spent around $15 dollars for three large mums, and two small mums.

It was $15 well spent because our front porch now looks like this:

In the process of giving our front porch a face lift, I busted out the trimmers and got busy cutting back the overgrown cherry bushes.
After some weeding and TLC, our gardens look less like a jungle and more like they are ready for winter.

We are still crossing items off of our “Show Your House Some Love for the Reappraisal To Do List.”

1. Weed the garden and replant the potted mums

2. Spruce up the loft so it looks like we use the space

3. Organize and clean the spare bedroom and BJ’s office

4. Finish the crown moulding and baseboard projects

Two down and two to go. More updates on our progress on the trim and organizing to come!

Chrysanthe-mums the word

Happy first official day of Autumn! The weather is beautiful here today. I hope it’s as beautiful where you are!

In preparation for the start of Autumn, I decorated our front porch with new pots full of beautiful chrysanthemums.

=-] <;— Quick side note: As Zoey walked across my keyboard she somehow entered that smiley face. So I guess she likes the new mums!

Ok, back to the task at hand. I decided to go with taller pots for our porch mums this year. And these were on clearance at Home Depot. Winning!

Last year, I had several small pots and two pumpkin pots for Halloween. Here is what our porch looked like last year:

This year, instead of planting the same color mums in the same pots, I decided that wasn’t exciting enough so I planted two colors in the larger pots and planted one color in the smaller pots. And after I finished throwing potting soil everywhere, the finished product of our pots looked like this:

Our porch is looking very festive for the first day of Autumn. I really like the larger pots. They are more visible on our porch.

That’s all for this post! I think I will celebrate Autumn with some hot apple cider on this chilly windy day. Have a great weekend!

Making it Rain Up In Here

So this crazy thing happened in August: it started raining again! In the past two weeks, we’ve seen more rain than we saw in the past two months combined. The watering bans starting lifting, the burn bans started lifting, and we finally have green grass again.

We are so blessed to have rain again. It’s been a rough summer for most of the United States.

Our grass might be a little patchy after baking in the sun for two months, but we’ll take it. It’s been a long drought and I’m so glad to see green grass and bright colorful flowers again. I was starting to wonder if we were going to stay brown until Autumn. I finally heard the sound of lawn mowers the other day. It was great. It was also wonderful to smell fresh-cut grass again.

Although I was diligent about watering my plants throughout the drought, I started to tire out in the end and fell a little behind once it started raining. Unfortunately, it didn’t rain enough in the first week to keep our potted plants really moist. I’m afraid they might not last much longer. I think it’s almost time to change the petunias for mums.

Despite our pitiful potted plants, the petunias in our garden are still growing strong. With a little mulch and some rain, they are getting just what they need.

It’s been a very hot and dry summer, but now that things are turning around, I’m looking forward to the start of Autumn and some crisp air and cooler temperatures.

How are your gardens doing this summer? Did you have to contend with drought conditions and  hand water your plants every day or every other day? Or did you let them go in hopes that it would rain again soon?

Hooray for Rain!

It rained here today, and I am so happy to see the damp soil in my plants’ pots. It’s been extremely dry for over a month now. During the drought, I’ve been patiently watering our flower pots by hand and since our voluntary watering ban was put in place a few weeks ago, I added hand watering our gardens to the list as well. We finally decided to call it quits on watering our lawn and its starting to suffer. Hopefully more rain is on its way soon.

Thankfully, our gardens are still going strong. Last week, it cooled down enough to mulch and the layer of mulch is helping keep the moisture in the flower beds.

Our Black-eyed Susan’s are also doing really well despite the drought. I think they are getting a decent amount of shade from the tree in our yard.

Stay cool everyone and if you are in a drought area, I hope it rains soon!

Giving the gladiolus a little lift

Do you remember the V8 commercials with the people walking around leaning to the side? Then everyone would drink a V8 and stand up straight again. Our gladiolus reminded me of that last night when I saw it leaning in our garden. It looked like it needed a V8. I also discovered that we had two gladiolus growing this year. However, after we came home from running errands this morning, one leaned over so much that it snapped and it is now in a vase in our kitchen.

But the other gladiolus got a little lift after we ran to Home Depot to get a stake to tie it to. We decided to get a shepherd’s crook and hang a plant basket to add something more to that area of the garden.

We couldn’t find any string, so we used a small piece of wire to tie the long stem to the shepherd’s crook.

Meanwhile, the other flower that snapped is hanging out in our kitchen. I love the way it looks in the bright green vase! BJ got me flowers for our two-year anniversary and they came in this vase. It looks perfect with the bright green we have in our kitchen.

While we were at Home Depot today, we also bought two new Adirondack chairs so we could move the teal chairs to the back patio. And we bought some fun contrasting pillows to make the chairs pop.

So no mulching yet, but I better get to it soon! I spotted some weeds trying to take over our garden. Not cool!

Dear weeds, I’m coming for you. Love, Jessica.

Have  a great weekend everyone! Stay cool!

Best Laid Plans

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t always go the way you expect. The goal this week was to mulch the front gardens. But on Sunday, I came home with a pretty intense sunburn on the back of my legs and it’s a little painful to bend down… so mulching is out for at least a few days.

But the good news is, our gardens are doing really well despite the dry weather. We’ve been watering regularly and our efforts are paying off. We have one of the most colorful gardens in the neighborhood! The petunias are doing great. My brother gave me some really great advice when I first planted them. He told me that I will need to make sure I water them every day for the first two weeks and not to water them in full sun because it will burn the leaves. I followed his advice and now our petunias look like this:

Thanks, big brother! 🙂

And now that our tropical and stargazer lilies are finished blooming, our day lily is taking its turn.


And the bee balm is blooming as well.

And our gladiolus starting peeking out. Last year it was red and this year it is white. I planted several bulbs and only one has come up a year since I planted them. Maybe this year we will get two!

Once my sunburn heals, I will be out there mulching. It’s supposed to cool down as the week goes on so maybe by the weekend it will be cooler and I will have some pictures of our mulched gardens to post!

Have a great week!

Raising the Bar

The patio looks a little different now than it did a few weeks ago. We went from this:

To this:

So how did we get here? It took a bit of work to put up the gazebo, especially since we ran into an issue pretty early on. The side post weren’t tall enough ro raise the top bar above our sliding glass door. It didn’t seem like that big of an issue at first, but we thought about how it would look with the canvas top on, and how it would look inside. So after we deliberated on how we would raise the gazebo, we landed on the idea of paver and off to Menards we went.

The selection of pavers was daunting, but after we narrowed down a few choices, we decided on the red Belgium rock pavers.

Before we could mount the post, we had to glue the pavers to the patio. That required some glue and some elbow grease (provided by BJ).

Another snag we ran into is our patio, which is supposed to be a 10 x 10, is actually more like 9 1/2 x 11. The gazebo is 10 x 10. Eventually, we will build some brick pedestals around the pavers to finish the look and not have pavers hanging off the edge of our deck.

Once the pavers were glued down and had 24 hours to set up, BJ drilled holes in the top pavers to mount the gazebo posts.

Then he used these crazy screws to anchor everything down.

After the posts were anchored down, we attached the canvas roof and the next night, we added lights.

And now we are finished!

And here is our view from the kitchen. A shady deck, calling for us to come sit outside and enjoy the summer days.

Have a great weekend!

Friday Night Lights

The gazebo is finished and the lights are up. It’s official, we now have a patio where we can relax and enjoy the summer days and nights.

I didn’t have my tripod out, but here is a (slightly blurry) nighttime photo of the finished patio. I will grab a better picture tomorrow with my tripod.

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I love the lights.

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Tomorrow I will have another post on how we installed the gazebo. Because the gazebo wasn’t tall enough to clear the sliding glass door, we decided to raise it up. But more on that tomorrow. 🙂

Have a great night!

Backyard Living

Ever since we added the backyard bistro set to our patio, BJ and I have been talking a lot more about our future plans for the backyard. For two years, we barely used the space. Other than grilling, we didn’t go out there for anything else. Now that we have the table and chairs, we hope to use the space more often.

After a few nights of eating outside last week, we discovered that it’s very warm on our patio. We have some nice shade from the neighboring trees, but because our house faces east, the sun sets right on our backyard, heating up the patio.

To keep from avoiding the backyard and the heat over the next few months, we decided to buy a gazebo to provide some additional shade… Oh and not to mention that the whole gazebo idea started when we found all these awesome led lights on sale and we needed somewhere to hang them in our backyard.

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We started building the gazebo tonight, but after looking at the weather and seeing that rain and wind are on their way here, we only put up the frame. We didn’t have a chance to anchor the gazebo down and we do not want the fabric top to act as parachute and carry everything away in the meantime.

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Tomorrow night, we are planning to anchor the whole thing down and add the fabric top. We are also looking at how we can raise the height of the gazebo because the frame at its current height, goes right across the top of our door.

More updates to come! Stay tuned!