Let the sunshine in–improve your mood!

Let sunshine in and brighten your mood at the same time!  These photos show how a little sunshine brightened my living room.

Before

After

After

When I moved into my little place, I wanted to cut down the drafts and darken the room.

Now, I want a more open feeling in the living room and more sunlight.  The drafts have been taken care of with the use of strapping tape put on the outside of the windows.  I also inserted bubble wrap on the inside of the windows and secured it again with strapping tape.  The mini blinds offer another layer of insulation and provide filtered light.  Finally, I added sheer curtains.  They add soft color and texture to the windows.

This wall faces due east and the morning sun really heats up the room!  Fortunately, the heat dissipates as the sun rises.  Cross ventilation occurs because I keep the kitchen and other living room windows open.  One of the cheap tricks to keeping a room cool in Florida is to use fans.  Having the ceiling fans (turned on the lowest speed) in both the kitchen and living room and small fans going keeps the air moving.

Last month my electric bill was $40.05.

I also have a small 6,000 BTU Sharp window air conditioner installed on the outside kitchen wall.  It is used on those hottest days and often in the afternoon.  The main purpose of turning it on in the afternoon is so it can cool down the kitchen and living room.

Watch Your Language!

Don’t say:  “I need to go to the store.”

Do say:  “I want to go to the store.”

The word need implys that you are “needy” and have no power.

The word want implys that you do have “power” and choices.

Practice switching out the word “need” for “want”.  You will automatically begin to feel better about yourself.  Life is full of choices.  You will be amazed how many times you can operate away from a wimpy position to one of power!  Start talking to yourself to get the hang of it.  That way you can quickly make the switch with none the wiser, but you!

For years, I have used aluminum http://amzn.to/2uueaQy ice trays.  You know those silver things that came with your mother’s new refrigerator?  So many of us thought the “new” plastic ice trays that came with our new refrigerators were the best.  Wrong.  I found my antique trays in a small antique store in Nebraska.  They produce large, solid, blocks of ice.  In the south, ice tea is often the beverage of choice.  I always have some spearmint in pots near the front door, so I can easily pinch off a sprig.  With a quick crunching of the mint, the fragrance permeates the kitchen.  That”s when I drop the sprig into a glass, filled with those cold ice cubes, pour in some freshly made sun tea and I am good to go!  Try it!  You will like it!

Thanks for dropping by.   Kathleen 

This store is open for business!

I never though I would have a storefront , when I created My Home Place.

That changed when I applied to become an Amazon Associate.

Disclaimer:

We are a participant in the Amazon LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to http://www.amazon.com and affiliated sites.

I will be sharing products with you that I have and use.

One of my favorite household tools is my orange, light weight, VonHaus, stick vacuum. It came with several hoses and nozzles, but I have never used any of the attachments.  I bought it was because a reviewer commented that “it worked great sucking up the sand on her floors”.  She must live in Florida like me!  I bought mine in March, 2015 and it is still going strong.  Another great feature is that it is EASY to remove dirt in the HEPA filter.

The VonHaus has 600 Watts, is a 2 in 1 Corded Lightweight Upright Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA Filtration.

I have to admit–having a storefront is NOT easy. This is as hard as vacuuming the whole house.  I know my little, 1966 travel trailer is not large (8’x29′), but I still like a clean house.  Did I mention that I constantly go through the process of decluttering?

My next product is a Sun Joe 14-inch, 12 Amp Electric Lawnmower http://amzn.to/2ui9Vpj with Grass Bag by Snow Joe.

I killed the first one right off the bat.  Fortunately, they are an excellent company and paid for return shipping.  I received new one a few days later.

The most important thing I learned about owning one of these small, light weight mowers is to FIRST raise the blade to 3″.  That way you don’t pick up so much sand.  Sand can kill any mower, no matter where you liv. The second thing to remember is to USE the detachable grass bag.  It is easy to attach and remove, so there is no reason not to use this handy tool.  The grass clippings caught in the bag can be scattered on your flower beds, providing a natural mulch.

One of the advantages of these mowers is that they are perfect for small yards.  Seniors also love them because they are easy to handle and you do not have to fight it while mowing.  To make it easier to mow farther out in the yard, I bought two, 50′ outdoor grade, electrical cords and connected them.

Alba Botanical Very Emollient, Midnight Tuberose Bath & Shower Gel  http://amzn.to/2tmMgTG is the last product I will discuss.

It comes in several sizes.  I chose the 32 Ounce bottle that fits nicely in a corner of the bath tub.

Little did I know how much I would enjoy using this gently Tuberose fragrant shower gel by Alba.  This is the first time I have used any of their products.  I highly recommend it to friends and family and will likely buy it again.

TIP:  Give yourself, friends and love ones GIFT CARDS!  My niece, Clare, gave me an electronic gift card for $25.  I used it to buy my Alba shower gel.

Thanks for dropping by.   Kathleen 

 

Add Music to Your Garden and Make it Your Own Special Place

How can you add music to your garden?

Most gardeners start with wind chimes.  They can be bought for just a few dollars and up.  Their notes cover the entire musical scale and can be made from sea shells, glass or metal chimes, handcrafted sterling silver flatware to wooden chimes.

I always keep an eye out for them while on vacation, scouring garden centers, thrift sores, yard sales and unique speciality shops.  Of course, you can make one yourself.

It’s a good idea to have different types and sizes through out your property.

I found this video on YouTube and loved it!  It was so much fun to watch.

Of course, you don’t have to make your own, but I think it would be fun.  Let me know how yours turns out!

Water fountains are another favorite way to create music.  Again, you can either diy your own or hunt around for one you love and buy it before someone else does.

The more I thought about water fountains, I honed in on birdbaths.  When checking the web, I was surprised to learn that solar birdbath water pumps are available and cheap to boot.

I found this water fountain on the web that is offered by WalMart.

Best Choice Products Bird Bath Garden Decor

It got good reviews (4.5 stars), was under$30, is made of resin, which makes it light weight, so it can be moved easily.

One reviewer commented that “they put it near their bird feeder and it was an instant success”.  That is a good idea.

While doing my research, I learned that solar pumps have to be kept in the sun all day.  I don’t think birds like hot water, except maybe during the winter.  So, I don’t think I will go that route.

As you can see, you have many things to consider, when it comes to adding music to your garden.

I have decided to simply keep my eye out for a larger, deeper, clay flower pot base.  I will put sea shells and flat rocks on the bottom, keep it filled with fresh water and place it in the shade.  That is cheap and easy.

They say that creativity is the mother of invention.  Put your thinking cap on and get busy, designing and creating ways to enhance your garden just the way you want it.

New canopy

New canopy for front entry for dining area under the shade.

My canopy is an example of what I have been talking about.  It was set up just this morning, so nothing is in place yet.  It was worth every cent I paid for it and it is a delight to sit under.  I ordered it using my Red Card, so I would get Free Shipping and a 5% discount from http://www.target.com Target.

I don’t get a commission or credit for pointing you to Target.  I just love that company!  I have been very satisfied with their service and products.  Plus, I pay by bill by phone.

When you have a comfortable place to sit and enjoy listening to the birds, their music makes your heart sing! Think about how you can create a seating and dining area outside.  Then you too can enjoy your garden, birdbath, wind chimes and even the sound of the sprinkler watering your lawn or garden.  You will be so glad you did!

Here is a one of my favorites.  Open your windows and let fresh breezes blow in.  It is so refreshing.  Right now, since it is after 9pm, I can hear the crickets.  Ah.  Summertime in Florida.  Crickets add music to your garden too.

There is always Music in the Garden but our Hearts must be Quiet to hear it.

It has started raining.  I love to hear the patter of rain drops on the porch metal roof.

Thanks for dropping by.     Kathleen ,

Practice makes perfect when learning new skills.

We all know that to improve any skill takes practice.  Not once, but many times.  That is what today’s post ai all about.

The first thing I want to practice is inserting a link–the easy way.  Wouldn’t you know–I have lost that little, yellow, post it note!

I am member of The Nature Conservancy https://www.nature.org/.  This link is not blue, like it should be.  Why?  Let me try inserting the link the old way http://www.nature.org

The old way seemed to work just fine, except that I cannot type a period at the end of the sentence without the period becoming part of the link.  Look closely and you will see there is no end to the sentence.

I will try inserting the link here https://www.nature.org and can see it came across, but it is in black versus blue.  So, it is not a good link.

http://www.nature.org

The above link works fine, just as long as you don’t type anything to the right of it.  That is crazy.

I guess the link button at the top of my post is good for something.

Okay.  Now, I will insert a photo.

Life is good

Life is good when you are at the beach!

At least that was a success.

let me try another link and see what happens.

http://www.swagbucks.com/.  It’s there, but it’s not blue.

http://www.swagbucks.com

Now, it’s blue and you can link to that website.

  • Sign up and have fun earning SwagBucks–no kidding.
  • Turn your SwagBucks into either cash or gift cards.
  • I love their Daily Poll–vote and see the poll results right then.
  • I started this blog from one of their Inbox offerings; earned points too!
  • Ocassionally, I watch their videos.
  • Surveys are another way to earn points.
  • Their shopping cash back points keep your points going up, up, up!

You may be truly glad you joined.  You earn points, which you can turn into cash with every 5000 SwagBucks you earn, by doing things you enjoy and would have done anyway.

You can shop from their site, which REALLY does pay off.  As an example, I have a Target Red Card.  I like to go to their Target link, where I earn cash back (TRUE) for each purchase.  The nice thing about using my Red Card is that I automatically also get FREE shipping.  How do you like that?  I love it!

You can also use their search engine and earn points–right then.  Sometimes a small pop up window appears telling you how many points you earned by doing your search.  When that happens, be sure to type the letters in the display box, exactly as shown, and hit enter and you are done.  Don’t expect this to happen with every search.  It is a nice surprise when it does.  See, those points do go up.

This is a 4th of July boat if there ever was.

God Bless America!     Happy 4th of July, 2017!

Thanks for dropping by.   Kathleen 

 

 

 

Do one thing at a time. Get more done–faster!

When you do one thing at a time, you will get more done–faster.  I know that sounds crazy.  By focusing on one activity, you will accomplish the task more quickly and have fewer errors.

Try it and see for yourself.

As an example, take balancing your checkbook.  It can be a tedious exercise, because you have to pay close attention to what you are doing.

At my bank, I simply call their 800 number, get logged into my account and go from there.  I get routed to my checking account.  Next, I listen to the latest five entries in my check register.  This automated system tells me if the entry is a withdrawal, deposit, or transfer of funds, etc.  With pen and paper in hand, I note each entry on a sheet of paper.  After I have written down as many entries as I want, I hang up the phone. Then, I compare my check register against my hand written list.  I put a check mark next to each entry that has cleared my account on both the check register and my hand written list.  My method IS a little cumbersome.  Most people would cringe at the thought of doing this!

For those of you who bank online, you may fine your process simpler than mine.

The object is to check your statement frequently, rather than waiting until the end of the month.  This way, it takes less time.  Plus, you can easily spot any errors and then quickly resolve any issues that arise.

Make it a habit to do one thing at a time.  Do the given task without trying to stir a pot of soup on the stove, help one of the kids with their homework or engage in a long distance telephone conversation..

Get it?

Are you one of those folks who always dream about living a simpler lifestyle?

When you find yourself running helter skelter–just stop and only do one thing.

When driving, turn OFF your cell phone.  Concentrate on driving.  Are your passengers talking a mile a minute, causing you to become distracted?  Ask them to keep the noise down.  So many automobile accidents could have been prevented had the driver been able to hone in on driving, rather than by being distracted by loud noises.  There is nothing wrong with asking your passengers BEFORE everyone gets in, to keep conversations quiet.

Think of ways you can start doing one thing at a time at home and the office.

If your schedule is already jam packed, just say no, the next time someone asks you to sign up for a committee or activity.  I promise you.  It may be quite hard to do at first.  But, as you get the hang of it, you will notice that you have more free time.

That simplifies your life.

Are you busy driving the kids from one after school activity to another?  Ask yourself and them how much pleasure they get from them.  Sometimes, nobody really likes the activity and are just doing it because their friends are doing it.  They don’t want to miss out on anything.  All of you discuss it.  Let them decide whether the activity is high up on their list of things they want to do.  If it is low, then ask them if they are willing to stop going.  Explain that you are feeling overwhelmed by driving them here, there and yonder.  By working as a family team, you may all create a simpler lifestyle.

 

The above photo is of Sparky, a Peregrine Falcon, rescued by The Avian Reconditioning Center, http://www.Arc4raptors.org, Apopa, FL and me.

All attendees, children and adults alike, enjoyed meeting Lucy, a four year old Eastern Screech Owl; Henry, a Barn Owl; Sable,a Short Tailed Hawk; and lastly, Sparky, who stole the show.

See what you can do with your newly found free time–when you do one thing at a time!

Thanks for dropping by.    Kathleen 

WiFi is down at the home place!

The WiFi is down at the home place, so I am creating this post at our local library.  Whenever it starts to rain very, very hard, you can bet that I have to come up to the library to get a good connection.

The question is, should I or should I not pay extra for my own WiFi?  I am already paying $82 a month for my smartphone and the thought of adding  more to that makes me sick.

What would you do?  You may send me an email at ksbills21@gmail.com and tell me what you think.  I would love to hear from you.

lets move on to something a little more positive.

Because of the weather, I have been stuck inside–decluttering.  That’s right.  I put a ratty quilt I bought at a yard sale, that I should have never bought, into the trunk of the car.  Next, I added a couple of faded and worn, blue striped seat covers I had on the kitchen chairs.  Yes, I have been reading one book after another on getting rid of clutter around the house.  You know, it creeps up on you.  One drawer gets cleaned out, the pantry gets reorganized and it goes on from there.  It is like having an itch that you just keep scratching.  In this case my little place is looking much better.

Did I mention the overflow of decluttering that works its way out to the yard?  Now, I find myself picking up stray twigs and leaves every time I head for the front door.  To stay sane, I keep a large, black, plastic, trash can where I stash all my unused flower pots.  That way, as I mosey around the garden, there is a place to drop all of the yard litter.  Once I have the trash can full to the brim, I drag it to the edge of the lawn, so the maintenance men can pick it up and haul it away.  I go through this entire process about once a week.  That way my yard looks neater and passersby have the pleasure of walking past a well maintained yard.

Now that summer is in full swing, I have been buying plants on the cheap wherever I can find them.  This morning, I stopped by Big Pines Hardware and came away with a couple of pots of coreopsis for 69 cents each.  I also got a prostrate lavender plant that I am unfamiliar with.  Right after I got back home, I gathered a garden knife and trowel to divide the yellow coreopsis.  Though the plants were small, I got about seven plants overall from the two pots.  I tucked a few in the empty spaces in a couple of cinder blocks, tucked a couple more in between the purple, Mexican Heather plants and finally planted two next to the miniature, pink rose near the walkway that goes under the rose arbor.  I have a red, fragrant, Don Juan rose climbing the arbor.

Remember to always take a close look at the plants you buy. Check to see just how many plants are in the pot.  Having a beautiful garden doesn’t come cheap.  That’s why other gardeners are always so happy to receive a “baby” plant from you!

 

Wild orchid.

Wild orchid. Bloom only lasts a day.

I was very lucky to get this shot of the wild orchid Don Zimmerman gave me. Some people know this plant as a walking iris.

When you care for your home by looking after it, you are loving and respecting yourself.  Karen Kingston

Thanks for stopping by.  Kathleen 

 

 

Book it baby, book it baby right down to your favorite book store!

Book it right down to your favorite book store, whether it be at the mall, online or your local library.  Summer is here and there are great books for you to discover for your enjoyment.

You, like me, have probably been outside digging in your latest garden bed creation.

Cottage gardens often combine flowers and vegetables in their colorful array.  The other day, I was introduced to a book, Foodscape Revolution, by Brie Arthur.  She uses a process called edging, where you plant grains, vegetables and flowers all along side each other, at the EDGE of your beds. Great idea!  It sure saves time, space and money.  I ordered my copy at http://www.target.com, where by using my RedCard, I got a discount, plus free shipping.

Another book I want to share with you is, 100 Plants to Feed The Bees, by the Xerces Society.  This book is well designed, with great plant photos, a map showing where each plant grows in the United States, and also provides both the Latin and common names for each plant.  You can check their website http://www.xerces.org or call them at 800-793-9396.  They will provide you with membership information and have a knowledgeable staff that will gladly answer your questions about bees, butterflies and the 100 plants it their book.

A couple of days ago, while checking out the flower beds, I came across the miniature rose above.  Clipped it I did and put it into one of my mini vases.  As you can see, it is now graces my kitchen table.  What an easy, colorful and fragrant reminder of nature’s beauty.  You may want to keep an eye out at your nearby thrift store or yard sale for tiny vases.  They are perfect for that one bloom you cannot resist bringing inside.

Please pass along that cutting or plant to me!  Pass alongs are such a nice way of sharing your bounty and introducing a friend or neighbor to plant they may not have.  Often, I take cuttings of plants that are escaping their planters.  This morning, I was busy replanting several verbenas and lime green coleus cuttings and tucked them in here and there.  If they live, then I will have a new look to several pots.  If they die, I will just pull them out and add them to the compost pile.  That way they complete the circle of life.

Continue reading

Verbena’s vibrant colors will make your garden glow!

I know that I am not the best with an iPad, let alone taking plant photos and then to also insert them into the text of a post.

Both of these plants were recently purchased at Lowe’s garden center http://www.lowes.com in their discounted plants section.  The coral plant on the left, cost a dollar.  The plant on the right is actually in a planter, containing tall grass in the center, with the blue and white verbena and an everbearing, petite white petunia interspersed with the verbena.  The planter only cost three dollars.  The other beautiful verbena that I bought for a dollar that day is a deep magenta color.  It truly is stunning to see.  It is planted in an old, black spare tire along with a bicolor, yellow and pink dahlia and purple queen.  The verbena is now overflowing the tire, as is the purple queen.

 I never planted verbenas until this spring.   All of mine are the spreading type.  There are also upright varieties available.  They really add a special glow to the flower beds.

It is very easy for things to get out of control with your garden, whether it be flowers or vegetables.  If possible, enlist help from friends and family of all ages.  Weeding can be a backbreaking chore.  Contact your local troop of Boy Scouts http://www.boyscoutsofamerica.com.  Those kids are always eager to earn a nature badge and your flower bed may be just the ticket to their success.  Mind you though–make sure the scout knows a weed from a flower, or you may wish you never asked for their help.

I can well remember the beautiful, red geraniums my grandmother replanted annually in her green, flower boxes on her front porch.  Her porch was close to the sidewalk, so, I am sure that many people walking by also enjoyed and looked forward to her colorful display every year.  Have you ever considered that your garden is a gift you share with others?  How many times have you gone and checked out your favorite secret garden?  Returning, not once, but again and again!  It is always even more fun to take a friend along to sneak a peek at nature’s beauty and the handiwork of someone with a green thumb.

Thanks for dropping by.    Kathleen 

 

A Smile is Happiness!

Milkweed

A  smile is happiness you will find right under your nose. 

— Tom Wilson

 

Have you ever noticed that when you smile at someone–they smile right back?  What an easy way to improve your day!  I don’t mean that you should smile all day long until your face hurts.  When you smile, it has been said that you use over a hundred facial muscles.  When you frown, that number drops way down.  Remember the last time you and others laughed until your side ached?  I do!  Laughter is what keeps the blues and the doctor away.  But then, it never hurts to enjoy a juicy apple daily either.

 

I finally was able to upload the milkweed photo that I tried to insert last week.  Don’t ask me how I did it.  Perhaps some day soon, I will figure out all the ins and outs of producing a top flight post.  Time will tell.  Just hang in there with me!

 

The past few days, I have been busy sprucing things up around the home place.  A couple of walls in the kitchen have received their second coat of light blue paint, used the a/c since a friend was so nice to check it out and have begun to clean out the small shed on the patio.  I guess I have a serious case of spring cleaning.  How about you?  Spring has sprung just about all over the US, so it is definitely time to hustle on those inside and outside “jobs”.

 

Monarch caterpiller

No, the above photo isn’t upside down.  The Monarch caterpillar is just grabbing a bite from the underside of the leaf on the milkweed plant.  Take a close look at the blossom.  It is pink unlike my yellow plants.  Now, is the time to check for milkweed plants at your local nursery.  Ask for milkweed plants specifically and the sales person will show you theirs.  Do not let them just point you in the right direction!  Ask them to walk with you over to the plants–that way you and they both know what you are looking at. Both HomeDepot and Lowe’s carry milkweed plants.  What I don’t know is when their stock will arrive in your area.  If they don’t have any, ask them kindly to order some.  Then, call them repeatedly to ensure they ordered them for you.  Finally, go buy some!  Give one to another plant lover, because that way you know they will grow and thrive.  Once the caterpillars appear, start knocking on your neighbors doors and take them to your house for a quick show and tell.  You will be amazed how glad they were that you went to the trouble to invite them over.

 

Be gentle with yourself today.

Don’t hurry too much or laugh too little.

Be patient with yourself.

Don’t expect to be perfect.  

Be good to yourself.  

Be happy with yourself.

Be a friend to yourself today.

  (by Hallmark)

Thanks for dropping by the home place.     Kathleen