*Sorry about the 3 posts on Friday, I'm still working on this new Blogger set up* 

If you haven't gotten on the trend of deal sites like Groupon you are missing out! 
Spring is in the air and planting is soon to come. 
When I saw a Groupon for $15 for $30 to our local nursery I wanted to snatch it up right away!

But see that $5 discount on the right under Purchase History? 
(you might have to click on it to enlarge) 

That's thanks to this little guy:

You click on him to go to a wheel you can spin to get discounts on your Groupons and gain access to even more deals! 

That made my Groupon $10 for $30 worth of plants!!! Whoot! 

And what did I get you ask?

2 Nonstop Yellow Begonias for planters.

2 Bleading Hearts to match the one I already have growing in the backyard.

....and 2 Mojito Mints! I can't wait to try out some virgin mojitos! 

We did go over the $30 by $2 and some change but that's still not bad at all. 

The official plant date for Anchorage Alaska is Memorial Day but our house is usually about 10 degrees warmer so I start sticking stuff in the ground on Mothers Day, kind of like a treat to myself. 


10 Mini Projects to Jump Start Your Spring Cleaning

Around here the sun is shining and most days it's above 40 degrees. It is so awesome to be able to go outside and not have to worry about the snow. We get out as fast as we can every morning and only come back in to change out wet clothes, grab a quick lunch, and a few bathroom breaks. That means that NOTHING is getting cleaned, organized, or anything else inside. Also I have NO incentive to actually BE inside but, it needs done. So if you are in a cleaning slump like I am here are 10 mini projects to get you started.
  1. Organize your cleaning supplies- If your cleaners are a mess, bottles are half empty and there's stuff covered in gunk take a few minutes and sort it all out. If you have 6 bottles of the same thing poor it all into one bottle instead of several. Make sure you have the appropriate cleaners where they will be used. Carpet cleaner is not going to do you a lot of good in the kitchen and drain cleaner would probably be more appropriate under a sink than the hall closet. How are you going to get into cleaning anything when your cleaners themselves are a mess?
  2. Patch it up- In our house it seems like holes show up every where. Took down a baby gate? Hole one. Replaced the towel bar with a different style? Hole two. Someone fell off the bed and hit the wall during a tickle fight? Hole 3. Moved the picture frames around? Holes 4-12 Pull out the spackle and fill those in. Even if you can't paint right away at least you are half way done, right?
  3. Touch it up- Pull out a can of paint and touch up those nicks, scratches, dings, and get it taken care of. It's quick, easy, and will make a world of difference. Take a sanding block with you in case anything needs smoothed out first. 
  4. Get it out- Through out the week set aside all the things that don't belong in your house. If it goes to the library, the donation drop off, a friends house, or anywhere else that's not your house put it all together. Designate a time to bring everything to it's rightful home. 
  5. Trash it- Get a big bag and go through any place in your home that you know trash accumulates. If you know you have a bunch of holey socks, over used tooth brushes, containers with missing lids, ruined non-stick pans, dried up nail polish, dishes that are chipped, empty shampoo bottles, chewed up children's books, decimated dog toys, expired food, or anything else trash-worthy just do a sweep. Clear out what you can, don't worry about organizing it all or labeling it all. Just get the trash OUT. 
  6. Project list- Write down all the projects that need done that you have the supplies for or that would be easy/cheap to acquire. Keep your list someplace where you have easy access to it so you can add to it or take it to the store so you know what you need when you get there.  Finish these projects before you get started on others. 
  7. Room by room- Find a source that you like and print out or copy a to-do list for cleaning each room or area of your house. This can come from a book, a blog, a shop, or even just from memory. Where ever you get your list from separate it into a list for each room. Place each room's list in that room so you can see it when you are there. 
  8. Plan ahead- If you know you are going to be needing a new item for a room start a little book or list  where you can keep all your measurements and specifics on what you are looking for. Need containers to fit under the sink? Write it down. Looking for a console table that's more proportional to your room? Write it down. There's not much more discouraging than proudly hauling home a find only to realize that it's not the right size, shape, or color. 
  9. Consolidate- Put all the same cleaners in one bottle, toss dvd cases and put movies in a binder or file system, properly stack bowl, pans, and containers. Store bough packaging can be a huge space waster. Get rid of the fluff that takes up so much unwanted space. This doesn't require any picking or choosing, just putting like with like. Pick one area and breath in your new found space. 
  10. Take it slow- Pat yourself on the back for each project you complete. Step back and really enjoy that light switch that is now finger print free. Look at your beautiful sink with no dishes inside. Smile to yourself when you think of how you are going to be the crazy lady at a yard sale that pulls out her measuring tape to scope out a perfect find as you check your handy measurements you've already taken. Think back at the end of the day to each little thing that you DID do and try to focus on that rather than what you did not get done. 


Guess what!!!! The snow next to the house is melted out!!! 

And guess what else!!! 
There's green stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These are my arctic poppies and I am SO excited to see them! 

They will be blooming any time now!

Around here we're getting out those gardening tools and starting the spring clean up. 

 The girls got sunglasses, rain boots, and gardening bags and tools in their Easter baskets this year. The warm days and sun shine are just begging us to put them to use! 

What a cutie!! 

Of course, the snow is still here too. It's said that in Alaska "Break-Up" is it's own season. 

Here's hoping it's over soon!!!


At a yard sale we stopped by in the middle of no where I found this garden rack for $5 I think. 
It has cute little finals and an ugly combination of mauve and gold. 

I washed it down and gave it a spray. 

This was the first time I had used my spray handle. It was amazing! No cramps or fingers covered in spray paint!

After it cured for a few days I drug it outside and dug some of the hubby's insulator collection out of the snow to decorate it with. 

It's going to look awesome with some little plants mixed in there. 
And once the shed is clear enough to open the doors we can load it up with even more insulators! 

For now check out how pretty the ones in there look:

Oh, and look who's saying hi while I was out there cleaning up. 

Indiana is pretty excited to be able to have his humans outside with him so much more now that it's warming up. 

Pretty soon that's all we'll do- just sit around eating watermelon and lazing about on the swing. 


Running out of pots?

I was. 

Every year I grow LOTS of starts indoors but this year is the most I have ever done. My garden is going to be great this year! Plus I'm not going to have to spend a small fortune since I started it all from seeds or bulbs indoors. BUT more starts=more containers. I already had to go out and buy dirt for my poor little tomatoes who were touching the light. 

I managed to pot them all with containers I had on hand but then I still wanted to get my dahlias started.
And I was out of containers. 
*insert dramatic doomed music here*
I started saving soup cans but then I thought of all that rust and they were definitely NOT big enough for the huge dahlias I had bought. So I kept searching until I found.....


I have had a package of them sitting in a drawer in my kitchen for years! They were easy to label and I can plant the whole thing in the ground when it finally thaws out! Win-Win!!!


A Gardening Experiment

A few weeks ago we planted a tomato in one of those upside-down planters. Like last year, the plant started turning up.  

I had an idea. 

I'm sure you all have seen those science projects where they manipulate the light source to get a plant to grow in a certain direction. I thought I'd try that same idea here by wrapping a trash bag around the planter. 

A few weeks later....

The sad little guy was  wilting and he wasn't any straighter than before. 

Well, ya win some, ya lose some. 

Any yes, those are squash blossoms you see there. :) 


My Tomatoes Have Been Struck By Cupid!

Well, it looks like it anyway.

Last summer one of Joel's yard sale finds was a bunch of arrows he was going to use with his bow. 
When he took them in to get tips the guy at the counter actually said, " You have some really expensive tomato stakes there." he explained that they don't make tips for them anymore because, as arrows, they weren't worth a anything. 
Well, just because they aren't great arrows doesn't mean that they aren't great tomato stakes!
I wonder if the guy thought I'd take him at his word? 

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Renew! 

On another note: This year Anchorage, Alaska broke the record for most snowfall. The last snow that pushed it over happened the day before Easter with big, fluffy snow flakes all day long. These tomatoes won't be going out any time soon. 

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and Renew!

I have been making some BIG changes in the entry closet and now that I am putting it back together I had a few extra parts. 

One of them was the crib railing we were using as a bench back.

See it nestled in there behind all those pillows?

As you can see the bench is making a temporary home here in the playroom/craft room too. The wall above it has always been kind of tricky to work with since it is right next to a door way on the right and a closet on the left.  I wanted it to be functional but not block the door way. This space has gone through bookcases and seats and all kinds of other things but it never felt quite right. 

Enter the crib railing. 

Yep, my lovely hubby screwed it right up there for me. 
Getting it out of his garage was a big incentive.

And WHAT is it?

Tada! A magazine rack!!!

Joel put "spacers" on the back made from a baby gate that was on it's last leg.
This makes it just far enough away from the wall for magazines to fit right inside but you hardly notice them since they mostly blend in with the wood paneling. 

I like that I can see all my current reads. Maybe this way they will actually end up read instead in the dreaded basket. 

Total cost: $0

Everything was up-cycled, some of it even up-cycled from an up-cycle!