Carb Counting Tableside Guacomole

Recently I started counting my carbs again. It is the easiest way for me to work on changing my lifestyle. I used my Evernote on my PC and phone to list different foods and their carbs. I also put a list of things that lie within my limit of carbs per meal on my app. It is a great way for me to be able to eat out without worrying about going over my daily carbs. I also feel less deprived when I am eating out with my friends.

If you are thinking about changing your lifestyle and reducing your carb counts I suggest looking at your favorite foods and marking your carbs in small amounts. This way you can easily still eat many of your favorite foods without feeling like you are being punished.

Many vegetables have no carbs or really low amounts even in large quantities, that’s the great thing about this diet, you don’t go hungry since you can always grab a handful of carrots, cashews or almonds, or any number of things to satisfy your hunger.

Since starting my carb counting I have lost 30 pounds. Yes! I am excited about that. I am also making my own homemade yogurt and loving that! I will post my new favorite recipe for homemade yogurt later.

Today I want to talk about my quick and easy tableside guacamole. It is soooo easy to make. To make this you will need: 1 t. lime juice (lemon juice can be substituted), an avocado, a medium tomato, ¼ of a large onion or half of a small, one clove of garlic (sorry, Mr. Garlic missed the photo shoot!) and I use some additional garlic salt and some pepper sprinkled in.

You want to cut the avocado in half and scoop out the meat with a teaspoon into a small bowl, mash it with your fork.

You will dice your tomato, your onion and your garlic clove and add to the bowl. I mix this well and add my lime juice and seasoning to taste. You will have roughly 32 grams of carbs in this mixture—which will give you 4 servings of this.

I put this my cheese quesadilla which I make with one tortilla (15 grams) and one ounce of grated cheddar, fold over and top with a teaspoon of sour cream, spread out with my guacamole on top. I really pile this on since the carbs are so low.

One quesadilla topped with sour cream and guacamole is only 23 carbs. Of course you can also eat this on a piece of whole wheat slim sliced bread or some ritz crackers. It’s a wonderful way to start your day or end it. The taste is luxurious, you will feel like you are pampering yourself without cheating!

I hope today’s post inspires you to eat well and eat healthy.  Now go mix up your guacomole, hurry! Blessings.

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Patio Chair Quick Fix

Sixteen years ago I purchased my patio set. It was beautiful! I remember sitting on my porch putting all the set together, thinking how much fun it would be to entertain on my patio…It was a wonderful set and really worked hard for us for 16 years. We had birthday parties, friends gathering for meals with us, family gatherings around our patio. But then…Ya. Now it has seen better days. Here you can see the faded seats, the dirt and algae on the metal. Ick!

As a single woman, there is no man around to help me put my summer items away, to protect them. I got tired of asking friends to come every fall to help me lug my table into the shed, or up on my covered porch to protect it from the snow and ice. I began covering my table and chairs with a tarp and living it on my patio all winter, but a few years back I even quit doing that.

The years of neglect has taken a toll on my set, along with its age. But lately I’d seen other sites that used spray paint on faded chairs like mine–Ya! Who knew??! “What genius thinking”, I thought! So I bought my own paint, to try it myself, what did I have to lose at $3/chair?

I decided to try a close match since I wasn’t really wanting to change the color. My close match was almost exact. What great luck. So this is what I purchased.

This will not be a long term fix by any means but at $3/can to extend my chairs a few more years might be worth it, right?

I waited for a sunny, clear day; free from any possibility of rain and began spray painting my chairs. I urge you to wear a mask especially on humid days, it wasn’t long before my asthma flared up. It took a full day to do this, extended slightly into the next morning…not bad for a quick fix.

The chairs were covered with dirt and algae. You will want to clean them well. I found plain water did well for me. Since this was only a temporary fix I wasn’t over-doing it. I did use a ‘scrubbie sponge’, you know the kind with a scrubber on the other side, and scrubbed away.

There was more damage to one of the chairs than the others. It may not last two more years but the others were fine.

The paint did quite well at covering the faded fabric and chipping plastic paint on the metal. There were a few places on the side edges of the seat where the extensive sun damage to the fabric prevented the paint from covering, but overall I was quite impressed. So if you even think you’d like to put off buying a new set for another year or two, this is a cheap, quick fix and looks really impressive.

I decided not to paint my table this time since it cleaned up with some scrubbing and water very well. You have to look close to see that I did not paint it. If you are looking to extend your patio set by refurbishing it, this is definitely an option!

Hope this was an inspiration to you, its definitely a cheap option. I am amazed at the things you can spray paint! Blessings.

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7 Things to Do When Your Child Is Ill

I am sorry that I don’t have a decorating post for today. After a hectic week I decided maybe this post was more appropriate and also fits our lifestyle theme for this blog. Last week my son came down with appendicitis and needed surgery. He had been complaining all day and the night before about his stomach hurting. Although he is older, he has Down syndrome and does not communicate as most older children. He also doesn’t complain about every ache and pain he has which makes it difficult to know just when he first began with his present pain.

July 4th we sat in our car watching the fireworks nearby, his side kicks are seen here enjoying the festivities. A short time later…less than 24 hours later we were sitting in the ER waiting to find out what was happening. A few hours earlier, he decided he couldn’t take the pain anymore and began not just crying but sobbing out of control. He never cries, but when he does it is uncontrollable.

You can see the pain on his face here. At this point he began gagging and coughing like he might be sick to his stomach.  But nothing more. They did blood tests and a CT scan before diagnosing it as appendicitis. Surgery would not be for a full 12 hours later. By this time his pain was no longer controlled by medications.

I am writing this post to help parents know how to be your child’s advocate. It is difficult to push the envelope with medical personnel sometimes especially when they have their own agenda. So here are some pointers that I hope will help:

  1. Know your child’s pain threshold. Know what is normal and what is not, for behavior AND for pain. This will allow you to decide when your child is in danger. My son never cries. When he started crying I knew we needed help. So off to the ER we went (the urgent care and his own family physician’s office were both closed).
  2. Before taking your child to the ER, do everything first. If there are easier ways to check for simpler solutions do this first. In other words you will save a lot of time and money if you give Tylenol or Advil, allow 30 minutes to see if this will take care of the pain. Take the child to his family doctor or urgent care if possible before taking him to ER unless there is a hemorrhaging issue or other dire emergency.
  3. Take along to the ER any current meds in their original bottles your child may be on, in a plastic bag. This will be an easy way for the ER staff to see what might be a severe side effect or could interfere with a treatment plan.
  4. Once your child is in ER, be his advocate. Brody does not talk clearly so I communicated to ER staff that he never cries, so his pain threshold is high and he is in extreme pain. They will not know your child to know this about them unless you share.
  5. ALWAYS be his advocate. If the staff is wanting your child to walk and he cannot, let them know he needs a wheelchair. If the child is clearly in pain and the hospital has not gotten the pain controlled; do not allow them to discharge. Any other indications that might be evident, make sure they address them before discharging. After Brody’s appendectomy, he was still complaining of trouble breathing, the staff ignored this and I allowed discharge to occur without looking into it. He was admitted through ER less than 24 hrs later, a second time that week with what was diagnosed as pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around the heart) a very painful condition. This could have been caught sooner if I’d been a better advocate.
  6. Don’t allow yourself to be labeled a difficult parent. Communicate no matter how you may be viewed. When Brody was in the hospital the second time, they were getting him ready for discharge. I called his Cardiologist with my objections. The amount of pain he was in was not being controlled by the narcotic and they wanted to take it away to use only a stronger anti-inflammation drug for the remainder of his pain. He was not yet on this drug and I could foresee similar problems at home if it didn’t work. The nurse on duty didn’t like me much, it was Friday and they don’t like to keep patients on the weekend. I stuck to my guns and his Cardiologist agreed.
  7. The hospital is the best place for really ill kids. Within a few hours, my son was running a temperature of 103 and was vomiting–no longer just gagging and coughing. By 6AM his tongue was so large he could not hold it in his mouth. It was a dark purple and had white spots on it. I requested an IV for hydration, he was no longer drinking anything and looked very dehydrated. The nurse was not sure he needed it. The Hospitalist came in and found out he was now having pain in his throat (I thought he was still pointing to his chest, but the Dr. asked him if it hurt to swallow and he nodded). They ran another CT scan of the throat this time. His diagnosis was tonsilitis, adnoiditis and laryngitis; an advanced case. They began treating him with IV therapy and antibiotics.Although he didn’t really want to leave all the attention he was given, we left before anything else surfaced! We celebrated with pizza that evening. I caught him ‘having church’ in the basement later that evening, praising as only Brody can with his singing and dancing (no doubt!).

Hope this blesses you in some way and helps you in your own child’s illness. Don’t ever doubt your heart when your kids are hanging in the balance. Blessings.

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How to Choose Your New Floors?

This week I’ve been trying to make up my mind about flooring. I have not really liked my vinyl flooring inside my home for a while. After all it is as old as my home, 16 years. It is white and it shows all the dirt being dragged in from the porch and patio when we venture out to those areas.

It also shows a lot of dirt at the entryways and any droppings in my kitchen seem to show up daily to the point of looking like I haven’t cleaned the floors in any way–for weeks after only one day. It’s yellowing in spite of only using water to clean it and there are black marks and brown streaks where my wicker chairs have slid under the table and desk.

So after much debate I started looking for new flooring. I found some carpet that was on sale and I liked a lot of them very much, but most were not in my price range—which wasn’t a lot. Now you might ask “What? Carpet? I thought you were looking for new vinyl?” At which point I will say this: “You cannot replace one in an area without the other looking even worse than it did before you started!” Which is actually not that far from the truth, lol. In my case, my flooring was butting up against each other and I knew that would bug me each time I sat in my sofa to watch tv or read. So I made the plunge.

What concerned me was this fact: when I built my house, the carpet I chose to have laid was a commercial berber. My thinking was that it would last longer than a residential choice. It was more, but I thought it was worth it. In pictures you really cannot see how the texture has been flattened by years of wear. If you look closer, lower part of this photo shows some of this…

Thinking back it’s been several years since I was really in love with this carpet—actually I settled—yes I did say “settled”. My former workplace had offered me a fantastic carpet at an unbelievable price when I was looking; but even though I was in love with it—it scared me. It was so light, I was afraid I would be paranoid about getting any dirt on it or allowing people to leave their shoes on while visiting. My pet peeve with hosts is just that, they buy carpet that they expect their guests to instinctively know to kick their shoes off as soon as they walk through your front door. I didn’t want to be that host. So I bought a more utilitarian carpet but never loved it. Yes I said it! I did not marry the right carpet for my home.

Here you can see the wear near the front of my chair. Yes, my living room is pretty small and I’ve had a chair or a sofa, sitting here the whole time I’ve lived here.

I was determined not to do this again. So now I am looking at a Stain Master carpet. It is warranted against soil for a lifetime (no I am not getting any thing for saying this) and many other things. It just makes sense now that I am in love with this carpet and have vowed “from this time forward, for better or worse (and it had better not be terribly worse)”. Ha! Okay so the carpet is chosen…onto the vinyl replacement in my kitchen, entryways and hallways…

I looked at sheet vinyl which I thought would be easiest and the cheapest to install…WRONG! The cost of installing it (they don’t glue it down anymore) was about twice the cost of the purchase PLUS hauling away or as they put it even just ripping out the carpet underneath (the old vinyl can be left in place).

Then I looked at self-sticking planks or tiles. My kind hearted sister-cousin offered to do this for me since the store does not install that type of flooring. Alas, my handy man, Don recommended against it. He had looked into it and believed it did not have a good track record as the salesman seemed to tell me. I did my own research prompted by his lack of enthusiasm and found Don’s recommendation was pretty right-on.

I made a phone call to the store to ask a question (which of course now I cannot remember) and the salesman who answered recommended laminate floors.

Years ago when I was looking at laminate floors, I vowed not to buy them if only for the monetary reasons. Back then the cost to install these floors was unattainable for me. Since then the cost has come down quite a lot.

Another question in my mind was how will it be in my kitchen? I was told they have been approved for kitchens. That being said, I have NOT found this in writing anywhere, but I have seen a lot of reviews from customers who have installed this in their own kitchens without problems. I looked up the warranty on laminate floors and guess what? It doesn’t say it is warranted against water of any kind.

That being said, I don’t know that vinyl floors are either if your kitchen floods, flooring underneath if not the vinyl would possibly need replacing. So after considering this, I decided to go for the laminate. The salesman gave me a quote and I was amazed at how inexpensive it is now. I was sold!

I decided to match my wall cabinet color which is a type of white. My base cabinets are a darker wood, like a cherry color. I think this will look great in my home. Plus I decided on an off-brand flooring after researching written reviews, and saved enough money to actually use the carpet in the living room, which was more costly even on sale. So it’s a win-win!

I will go through the steps I followed in choosing my own flooring so that it may help you if you are in the market. So here they are:

  1. Online research. I researched online so I would know the price range. I did not want to order anything sight unseen though. This gave me an idea for the cost of each item and the ‘add-ons’ that may not be known when first deciding. I didn’t want ANY surprises.
  2. Articles. I read articles to see the pros and cons of each type of flooring so I could make an educated decision. I also spoke with friends and family that might have installed those floors about their experiences.
  3. Local Stores. Visiting actual brick and mortar stores is the only way to buy such an expensive, life impacting investment. I want it to last for years, and not just a few. I don’t spend large amounts of money all the time or even easily, so this warrants hours of looking at prices, textures, colors and quality.
  4. Know your approximate square footage. It’s good to know about how much square footage you are looking to cover. If you have your house plans if you are building or have in recent years, take those with you when shopping for easy access to square foot measurements.
  5. Listen. I spoke to about a dozen sales people in several stores before I found the right prices, quality and the right item for purchase in both cases. The time spent on this is well worth it, you can never get too much information. Also read the store reviews of customer purchases of your item. Make sure they are legitimate. Lowes and Walmart both had the same ‘word for word’ reviews and it was hard to tell where they actually purchased their flooring. Because of this I didn’t put much weight into any of their reviews.
  6. Swatches and demo-boards. These are invaluable in matching to your wall colors, cabinets, furnishings, and each other. You don’t want colors to clash or textures to be to alike. You really don’t want your floors to perfectly match your kitchen cabinets, they should contrast each other.
  7. Write your questions down. When you speak with salespeople, you want to have your deepest questions answered.
    1. Ask about wear. What fibers or textures wear well?
    2. Know your floorings good points and lesser points
    3. Ask if you need to hire an independent installer or do they offer their own?
    4. What are the extra items you need to lay that flooring? Is it quiet or do you need a different underlayment for noise reduction or warranty? Do you need to buy a special kind of padding for the sale price or warranties?
    5. Last but not least: How long is the sale? This will help you organize your research with a target date.
    6. Ask if they will need to take off your base boards or if they will add quarter round trim or just float the floor.
    7. Ask about extra charges like pulling up old flooring and disposal, added installation materials, moving furniture etc. My sale included moving your furniture, pulling out old carpet and hauling it away—all free when you buy the carpet and padding from their company. A great deal from my point of view.
  8. Research your resale value based on what you are doing.  I looked for articles by Realtors about how much this might increase or decrease my current house value. If you are not planning on selling for several years this may not be needed. I’m not sure so I researched this fact. My articles were split as to the resale value of my home increasing if I laid laminate.
  9. Don’t be afraid to call the stores. Once I got home, more questions came to mind. I told a friend that each time I walked into the store the clerks would start greeting me like Norm on Cheers! Well almost. The bright side was I had all my questions answered until I felt confident about my purchase and choices.

So now…

My decision is made, can’t wait to get them installed. Blessings to all.

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How to Make an Upholstered Seat for a Wicker Chair

I ran across this set of wicker chairs at a garage sale. They came with a table which has since left our small home. It became less sturdy over the years and did not work any longer for our family. This summer I found a new table that is very stable and I want to make the chairs fit with the table I now have. Originally these chairs were very faded from being used to sitting in a sunroom. They had no protection and so I painted them a dark brown, but now I wanted them a lighter shade of another color.

So out came the spray paint in a beautiful sea glass color that I had previously painted a wicker chair in my living room. It turned out amazing and I decided to match my dining chairs with that beautiful piece. Our family loves to sit around our table when we entertain to savor the meal and have long conversations before slowly making our way to more comfortable chairs. So it is imperative for our dining chairs to be comfortable.

Originally these chairs came with some cheap loose cushions that were faded and ugly. I thought I could find some new cushions to fit them online or in local stores but I was s-o-o-o-o-o wrong. I had to re-think my plan for softer chairs. A friend of ours helped me with a plan he came up with but it was too complicated for me and probably for most of my readers so…I came up with this plan and will show it to you as I actually did the work. Also I was nervous about drilling through the wicker, thinking it might weaken the seats and nervous about drilling into the bamboo rattan also.

First I needed a piece of fiber board in a square about the size of the chair. I measured the seat and came up with front, back and side measurements and had the lumber mart cut the boards to squares matching the largest measurements (front and sides), I would later finish the cuts to make a custom fit.

I had this fabric sitting in a corner for a while and thought it would be perfect for the chairs. I fell in love with this fabric months ago and it’s been sitting around waiting for the perfect chair, curtain etc. It’s time has come! I am rediscovering yellow and orange in my home. I decided this would make the cushions look cheerful and add a light-hearted feeling in my small eat-in kitchen. The fabric also would match the mustard color on my new buffet, which was a huge plus in my book.

Now Joann’s Fabrics sells this foam in a roll and with a 50% off coupon that they offer every so often it becomes relatively cheap.

But I wanted a memory foam too and found this at Walmart that makes it equally cheap—or close to it—and possibly more comfortable so I went with this instead.

My plan for this was to cover the fiberboard seat with this fabric, but first I had to make a newspaper pattern for each seat as they are a little different from each other. I used a sharpie to trace the pattern onto my square board. I then cut the squares down from the measurements I had given the lumber mart so I had minimal cuts to make. Other than cutting the angled sides down, I only had to do the rounding of the front corners and in the back. Which doesn’t take long with a good jig saw which you can get for a small cost ($20), I would not spend more if you are not going to use it for a lot of projects. If this is the only one you will be using it for, borrow one from a friend or a family member and you are set to go!

Here’s what you will need:

a staple gun and staples

scissors

chair padding

memory foam (optional)

fabric

batting (also optional)

fiberboard or plywood cut to fit seat

After I cut the seats and found that they matched the chair seat well, I started to cover the seats with the foam and fabric. I like to use some batting over the foam to allow for any bumps to be hidden from view and for a more comfortable seating experience.

This technique I will be showing you is totally my own, I have never seen this anywhere online or in any book, it is my own hack and I thought this would be a genius way—yes I said ‘genius’, lol—for me to show you how easy it is to keep your seat on your chair, yes even as you scoot into the table. It allows me to do this without drilling through the wicker OR the rattan which I’ve heard is easily cracked which could make the chair unusable. This made the project so much easier and still is a stable way to keep the cushion onto the chair without risk of it falling off when someone moves in the chair or gets up from their seat.

If you share this, please link it back here so they can see exactly how to do this for themselves. It is utterly and undeniably easy for anyone with any skill level and that’s what is so great about it. You don’t need any special tools other than a staple gun (for the cushion), no drills, no clamps or even a screwdriver!

In case you’ve never done a simple chair seat re-cover watch this:

Once you’ve cut the foam and fabric, and batting if you use that, lay them face down on a flat surface. Layer them so the tops are turned down.

Lay your seat over top down-side-up and begin stapling in the middle of each side, pulling the fabric taut so that it lays flat without wrinkles when you are through.

When all the sides have the staple in the middle proceed to staple toward the corners, stopping just before the corner.

Pleat the corners like this with a staple in the middle before folding the sides over.

In the back I pleat the corners, in the front I knife pleated for a more attractive squared corner. Just looks more professional.

So once you get the fabric and foam stapled to the seat all you really need to do is ‘plop’ the seat into the chair. I’ve found that the weight of the seat itself will hold it in place without even stapling it onto the wicker chair. How simple is that?

And it is so-o-o-o-o comfortable with the memory foam. I love it!

And voila! You’ve got one handsome looking chair. The nice thing about just allowing the seat to sit in the chair unattached is the clean-up is simply easier, you can carry the seat to the sink to wet it down for a quick and neat clean up. You won’t need to carry the chair to the sink. Also I need to add my glaze to the wicker yet and add my sealer, which will happen when I have the time later. For now I can add all my beautiful cushions and enjoy sitting at the table once again without needing to wait to finish out the chairs.

I hope this made it worth joining us here at Butterflies on Our Porch. Blessings to you and yours.

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Summer Days

This week I thought it would be nice to talk gardens. My gardens are starting to bloom here in Indiana. I love my gardens. I love to sit on my porch and enjoy all the flowers blooming in each of my gardens. I enjoy drinking iced water while sitting on my porch swing in the summer. What I don’t enjoy is the heat that always comes in the summer, you know the kind, the unrelenting heat that lasts throughout the night. Waking up in the morning only to open the back door to be hit by the stifling heat as you step outside.

Snow in summer was given to me by a fellow garage sale hostess as I visited her sale and commented on her beautiful garden. She offered ALL her plants as they were re-planting the garden and the flowers would be tossed. So of course I jumped at the chance to dig some up and they have blossomed beautifully and generously in my garden.

My solace in the heat are my flowers. You can see that I am way behind with my weed control, I try to deal with this first in the spring. This year I am re-designing my garden and it is taking a while longer to get it whipped into shape. It will get there though.

My hardy Cranesbill geraniums are a wonderful addition to my gardens. This was also a gift from a co-worker. It was a 3″ plant in a rather large pot which I planted and it enjoyed its spot. Every year it gets about 30″ wide and about 18″ high, so pretty much every year I divide it up for friends or other areas in my many gardens. This year I have used them in my front garden as a new border since they bloom on and off pretty much from spring until fall. Aren’t they lovely?! I’ve even found a baby or two taking root nearby it’s mother plant that I can carry off to new bloom areas.

These are my yet to bloom Rose Campion that came to me free and expectantly one year. The wind or the birds dropped this wonderful flower into my front gardens. It is a beautiful, hot pink flower from the carnation family and blooms from about now until long into fall and winter. It is the best thing that I never planted in my gardens.

These small flowers by now are about 24″-30″ tall and will get all of four feet before they bloom. They are a version of Brown Eyed Susans and when they bloom are delicate, miniature versions of the more well known Black Eyed Susan plants. These plants re-seed, which means they will not come up in exactly the same spot in your gardens AND they will spread like wild fire too!

The last plant I will show you in my front garden is my Butterfly Weed.

This is actually coming to full bloom now. I started with one plant given to me, I added a few more for company. This year is the biggest yield ever with a huge patch of these beauties coming to life smack in the middle of my garden. Of course the milk weed pods spread them all through my garden and I will gather them up into bunches in other parts to color my garden in orange patches.

I planted some new shrubs this year and will show you these later, along with all my plants in bloom…but for now it is for our anticipation that makes gardening so much fun. Every year the plants re-plant themselves into new areas, some of them die out naturally but it is a new canvas every spring and summer–one I cannot wait to explore each year.

Until next week…blessings to all and I hope your gardens are a special blessing to each of you also.

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Apparently Even Butterfly Need Houses

I get a lot of butterflies fluttering around my gardens. I love to watch them and I always think of my Grandma who loved them so much her bathroom wallpaper had them printed on it. I found this butterfly house at a garage sale a few years back and haven’t yet finished it. It is on ‘the list’—yes my infamous list of to-do projects I keep adding things to each summer. It is bottomless, kind of like the chips at Chilis (please don’t ask my how I hear they are also bottomless)

This is the year my butterfly house will be finished and I thought you might like some ideas about how to paint your own and mount it in your garden. I will be using it for Monarch Butterflies here in Indiana.

  1. You want to add some host plants to grow in your garden click on this to see what plants you need for your area. My garden now has a rather large amount of butterfly weed aka milk weed the Monarch caterpillar’s growing in the center of it. This is the best crop ever this year! It not only gives the caterpillar something to munch on before finding a place to ‘cocoon’ into but also is a brightly colored plant to cheer up your garden.
  2. You will want a few caterpillars and you can order them here or wait for some to come when they find your host plants.
  3. Nectar plants will be needed to keep the butterflies nearby, this site will help you find just the right foods for the newly formed butterflies. I am planting butterfly bushes, I have one currently but plan on planting a few more, they are so pretty and easy to grow.
  4. Be patient. It may take a while for wild butterflies to find your garden, it won’t happen overnight but once they find it, they will return every season you provide food for them.
  5. Reducing and/or eliminating the use of pesticides, and providing water and shelter are the basic steps in making your garden an attractive home for many species of butterflies.
  6. Build a butterfly house. This site has plans you can get for free.
  7. Things to keep in mind when building or purchasing a butterfly house:

  • When shopping for a butterfly house, look for one that opens in the back for easy cleanout. You will also want to place a piece of bark or a small branch inside for butterflies to perch on. If you are a do-it-yourself person, a variety of butterfly house plans can be found on the Internet. Make sure you use untreated lumber; pine and cypress are preferred.

  • Butterflies are attracted to bright colors: pink, purple, red, and yellow. Try painting your house in a Caribbean color scheme, or cover it with big bright flowers. Seal your paint job with a clear coat to make it last longer.

  • Place your butterfly house approximately four feet high on a post, fence, or tree in an area sheltered from strong winds. Wind movement makes butterflies feel unsafe, so it is not a good idea to hang the house where it might sway. The edge of a wooded area is an ideal location; the trees provide a safety factor while the open area provides room for nectar plants.

  • Host plants should be planted nearby along with a variety of nectar plants around the butterfly house such as asters, milkweed, phlox, purple coneflower, and wild bergamot.

https://www.joyfulbutterfly.com/picking-the-perfect-butterfly-house/

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you for your summer enjoyment. Pictures will soon follow of my own new butterfly house! Blessings to all.

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The Elusive Storage Cabinet

Have you ever spent hours…days…months…years looking for just the right ‘pièces de ré·sis·tance’? Well for the last several months I have been scouring the city at garage sales, antique booths and thrift/resale shops for just the right piece that would give me the storage I’ve been needing for my kitchen. A piece that would stand out in the right way and be an asset to my real estate.

Last weekend, I dragged my son and a very accommodating friend along with me while I shopped all over town and through another town looking for my elusive cabinet. I knew what I had in mind, you see I am a collector of sorts. I collect pretty pieces of furniture or really ugly pieces that need a lot of love, but this weekend no one had what I considered to be the ideal candidate for my storage crisis refurbished or just plain ugly and waiting to be a Cinderella piece.

I had searched Craig’s list for cabinets, but the prices were so outrageous. I even made offers to one seller who was selling a much damaged cabinet with a large crack down the whole door front (not shown), for more than four times it’s worth, and that’s being generous. But after trying to negotiate with him for about a month, he was unwilling to go down at all. So I moved on.

I shopped a local store who specializes in custom painting new pieces they rework to look older. But alas, they could not accommodate me—which I thought was strange seeing that this is their specialty. Oh well.

In all honesty I did get a rather late response from one Craig’s list seller, this would have easily saved me hundreds of dollars and allowed me to choose the paint color and cabinet knobs I wanted on my own. Since the response was so late I had already purchased my new cabinet, already reworked and soon to be delivered to my door.

I grew up in a home that my grandparents built in the 1920’s. It had built in linen closets, walk-in closets and a real dining room with a built-in buffet. It was wonderful with its drawers and glass cupboard doors, along with its glass knobs on the doors to pull them open.

My mother had her prized dishes (a gift from a family friend) displayed behind the glass. It had a mirror just under high windows that went all the way across the buffet. She would decorate her buffet with her crystal candle holders and holiday decorations.

This was the room our family would use most often when company came to visit. All our meals with guests occurred in this room. She and Dad would host parties with their friends at the large dining table (which was the only item that survived a shipwreck when our family came from Switzerland). There they hosted all their card games. My sister and I were already tucked into our bed but there we could hear the loud voices and laughter as they played their games. It was a happy part of my childhood.

I found my piece online on Etsy.com., it was what you owned if you weren’t lucky enough to own a ‘built-in’. It is all the rage right now to re-work these buffets or servers into the chalk paint pieces that are so popular. Ideally I had really wanted to do this myself, but time was of the essence and I did not have the luxury of waiting much longer.

If you are not familiar with Etsy.com, you are really missing out. This is an artist site created just for people wanting to sell hand-made goods. You can find a plethora of items. Reworking antiques is now popular so I went to this site to see if they had what I wanted. There were a lot of sellers with items I would have loved to buy, but they were thousands of miles from me and therefore the shipping would be astronomical. I found one close by, I was thinking of going to pick it up but the fee was so small to deliver and carry into my house, that I just decided to pay the delivery fee.

For those of you thinking this was an extravagance for me to buy this already re-worked, it was. I wrestled a long time with this, but the time had come to do this. I now have three servers AKA buffets doing outstanding jobs of storage for me. Two of them store my DVD’s and game accessories for my son in two different tv locations. But now after moving one out of the kitchen years ago, I will replace the lost item with a much flashier member. I cannot wait to show you.

If you’ve refurbished one yourself, I would love it if you could share how you did it and of course show us pics! Have a blessed week.

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Garden Keeping

Even as a child I was fascinated by gardens. My grandfather used to plant flowers and bushes all around our large yard. He landscaped our yard over the years, putting in secret gardens and hedges to make curious gazers walk around just one more bend to see what awaited them. In the side yard he created two diamond shaped flower beds. The first had all peonies growing inside it. I’m sure he got the starts from friends and neighbors. The second was ‘Grandma’s Garden’ and everyone knew to keep out. Here she had her prize rose bushes. I never saw Grandma weed her garden, I’m sure Grandpa did all the work, but how she loved her roses. Pink was her favorite color and he planted a rose bud tree near her garden just for Grandma. Every spring Grandma would rave about the beauty of her rose bud tree.

Lilacs separated the front from the back yards on the side with apple trees planted for shade as well as for picking. All I remember was having to gather those little green apples into baskets to toss away throughout the summer. Grandpa was a genius at growing almost any plant. My favorite was his zinnias that lined the back garden just outside our back door. They were various colors and I loved how they sang with their bright colors.

My gardens are different and not nearly as well kept as Grandpa’s. I have Black Eyed Susans I bought,

Brown Eyed Susans from a fellow gardening friend, this little one is needing a new home since it planted itself in the middle of my pathway.

And Rose Campion that the birds dropped as if magic into my garden. I have May Night Salvia, Cransbill Geraniums and bee balm. I even have some day lilies that bloom all summer.

This year, after a few years of neglect due to caring for my elderly mother, I will be redesigning my garden. I am moving a brick pillar I built and will be white washing it for my country garden. A friend of mine will be putting in a hose holding post in the front and back gardens and soon I will finally be able to hang my butterfly house that I acquired a few years ago.

I bought some wave petunias, one of my favorite plants, for my front stoop’s planter, the color is black cherry.

I also purchased a trumpet vine in a passionate pink color and cannot wait to plant it near my garden shed and await the wonderful colors climbing up an old spring from a baby crib that I acquired from a neighbor for just this purpose. I have a wood trellis but this just screams trumpet vine.

I have plans for my gardens this year (as I do every year) and I am sure as I am every year that I will only get down a few inches on my mile long list of ‘to dos’. It’s okay though, dreaming is the most fun ever! And I am so very good at dreaming.

Blessing to each of you as you dream this spring too!

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Summertime

This week I am getting ready for a few simple carpentry projects to be done in my gardens. One is a hose holding post to which I am adding my butterfly house to. My butterfly house has been sitting vacant in my garage since I purchased it at a garage sale a few years ago. It’s been a project that I have to finish and, until this year I was not finding any good directions on how to finish it. Now I know and it will be finished soon to get mounted onto my post.

While I was looking for a hose holder post design, I found a lot of them of course on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites. This one is fairly simple to make and is also fairly plain. I like the hook but don’t know if I can find one, although it has to be cheaper than the regular hose holders.

The next picture is a bit fancier although not much. This is the hose holder I will probably use on my post.

Some of the holders are a less plain if you are looking at the hose holder itself. I like the flat type cap best I think.

I Am thinking of adding a shelf, I like that element for extra nozzles and such, would also look darling with a small potted plant sitting there.

This last one is my favorite since I was thinking of adding my butterfly house on top even before I spied this one–I DID! Honest!

My second project is a garbage can garage, not sure if that’s the right term, but it’s what I call it. There are many styles I found just browsing through Pinterest but I am thinking just a two-sided fixture with some pavers put into the ground about driveway height to make it easy for my son to do his garbage routine.

I plan on adding some post cap lights to it so it will be easily seen at night.

Here are a few examples of these I ran across. This one seems over the top for what my budget and possibly my handiman’s talents, sorry Don.  He also does not like to build entirely from scratch and I get that since that’s exactly how I like to cook, Ha! And since I don’t have a wall, that would not work.

This next picture is one that I would love, but again too complicated and expensive.

This last one is more like what I was wanting. But still too…much.

This is what I will be trying for, something easy for Brody to get to and slip the trash can inside, yet sheltered enough the wind can do little damage.

My last project is painting my trim this summer. After buying white paint and determined to use it, I was sat down and told that would just be boring, and since the last thing I want to be is ‘b-o-r-i-n-g’ I am now thinking I want to add some ‘pizazz’ to my house, give it a bit more personality. Right now I feel it is like a wallflower and I want to dress it up so it gets noticed more (silly me thinking white would do that). I’ve chosen a turquoise color but finding beige homes with turquoise trim in Pinterest is a bit difficult. We were outside looking at the different chips yesterday, I invited our neighbor from across the street to join in since they will be looking at it outside their windows.

Most of the examples I found were only front doors painted turquoise and I am painting the cedar trim around my windows and garage door…this on is pretty but looks more like a beach house.

I like this one but again it doesn’t have the trim painted turquoise and I don’t have shutters on my house.

This is more what I needed to see how my house would look.

Of course my house is smaller but it gives me a good idea of how it will look. So does this:

We stood outside looking at paint chips for quite a while. Today I go shopping for paint samples to try. Won’t be able to paint until maybe next week now, not enough sun and rain later this week. On the left you can see my paste-up of a garbage garage and I put in some pots with plants to see if I want that. My picture is from the winter so my beautiful garden is not even green.

So what do you think? Is turquoise a color you might use on your house? Does it perk up my beige house?

Blessings to everyone until we talk again.

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