Category Archives: outdoor


Ha you like what I did there?! There’s a reason I am not a comedian 🙂

Anyways…you guessed it. This post is about plants. Some old…Some new.

Lets start with the plant outside. Back in June my neighbor was nice enough to give us a few plants he purchased but didn’t have any more room in his yard to plant them. Wonderful!! I gladly accepted and placed them in a ceramic container.

What I should have done was ask how much sunlight they needed. Apparently, these plants like small amounts of light and mostly shade.

Just a few hours ago this is what it looked like. All the flowers had died due to WAY too much sun….lesson learned.

Thankfully, Home Depot has many of their plants on sale. So now it is looking more like this (Rat Dog insisted on being in the picture). Much Better!

Of course when I am at Home Depot I can never leave with just the one thing I came for. While I was there I passed the pots and thought to myself The Bean could really use a new pot (he has definitely outgrown the one was in). So I grabbed a new pot for the bean.

While I was headed to the cashier I noticed these cute little hydrangeas. They are the cutest things ever!! So I grabbed one of those too (but I might go back for another :-)).

This is what it looks like now….

And just for fun I added some penguins…I think it looks great. They may stay for a while!!!

Whose taken advantage of the great plant/flower sales at Home Depot?? I will definitely be headed back at some point this week to grab a few more plants…probably some perennials!


Hot Times in the Summer

Summer in Chicago is AMAZING! There is really no other time to visit the city than in the summer. There are always a number of things going on in the city on any given day (baseball games, shopping, eating, boating, swimming, festivals, concerts, movies in the park, etc).

When the opportunity arises to attend a free baseball game in one of the greatest cities…do you even have to ask. Here is the catch…it’s a Cubs game!

I am definitely a Sox fan and in this city you are typically one or the other. But when offered free tickets to see the Cubs play…count me in. I will never turn down free tickets!!

Anyone else all about taking free tickets even if you aren’t a fan of the team??

Dog Days of Summer

I don’t know about you but here in Chicago it has been H O T. It is so hot and dry I think there might be a forest fire in my own backyard.

With the past few days being slightly cooler the weatherman tells us to prepare again for more very hot days…in the 100’s.

This is pretty much what we have been doing to escape the heat 🙂

What are you doing to escape the heat?

Invasion of the lawn ornaments

I guess I never realized just how many lawn ornaments we have. We are far from becoming hoarders of lawn ornaments but it is enough to bring a little something to the back yard. It makes me want to get some more!

Did you think penguins could only be used during the holiday season? Wrong! Some penguins live in warm weather including the one in our backyard!

Unfortunately, his nose was injured during the great move of 2009. Nothing a little super glue can’t hold together!

Lets move on! These mushrooms are placed right by the garden where grass refuses to grow!  You can probably see the dirt from the picture!

Also by the garden we have a gnome who watches over the blueberry bush that refuses to produce blueberries. Seriously, we have had this plant at least 5 years and it has only produced one very sour blueberry.

Making our way around the garage you will see we have another gnome protecting the hostas with his Oh So Cute lantern (I admit this one is a little creepy!).

The newest member of the lawn ornament team is this cute dog I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics last summer! I guess you never know when a lawn ornament is going to strike your fancy!

No home or backyard is complete without a set of ducks. Yes, they are naked and yes, I do have clothes for them.

And finally protecting the yard and all other lawn ornaments is the big daddy of them all…the lion!

So there you have it…all of our current lawn ornaments. Hopefully I will be able to add a few more this summer!

So lets hear it. Who has a collection of lawn ornaments in their yard. Do you have a theme or is it all random like my yard?!

Quick and Easy

While at the thrift store this weekend I found this cute pair of lanterns (I think that is what they are?!).  I thought they would look great on the outdoor coffee table this summer.  So I snagged them before anyone else could!

When we were at Home Depot picking up our supplies for the border around the deck I picked up a can of spray paint. I originally wanted a teal color spray paint but apparently they don’t make that color! So I ended up with a fun bright green (In all honestly I am not really sure if I like this color…I will give it a try…but I have the feeling I will end up spray painting them again :-))

Nothing hard or complicated. Anyone can spray paint…it just takes a little practice. My small piece of advice is never get to close to the object you are spraying and always keep your hand moving (the one with the spray paint!).

As soon as we use them I will be sure to take a picture. The weather has been a bit chilly to sit outside at night!

The Weekend Project

Yep…it’s Tuesday. I was a little busy yesterday watching the Blackhawks lose their chance at the Stanley cup… I guess there always next year!

Any ways….It’s that time of year when I get antsy and think of hundreds of things to do around the house. With summer coming up (and no summer school to teach this year) I try to keep my days filled with things to do.

The hubs seems to hate this time of year because I have nothing but time on my hands and well….let’s just say he’s not a teacher! But don’t feel bad for him! I think he secretly loves my projects!

The first project on my list of things to do: put up a border around our deck. I had been thinking about large river rock but realized it wasn’t easy or cheap to find. So I resorted to my second choice which was just plain ol stone.

Here is a picture of our deck taken a few days after we moved in. Last year we replaced the trellace and restrained the deck. This year I want to make it look pretty! Starting with a border around the deck.

And here is a current picture of what it looked like just before we put in the brick. I doesn’t look bad but it didn’t look good either. There isn’t a lot sun in this area and so very little grass grows. It is one of the reasons we decided to plants hostas (since they require very little sunlight).

Before we went shipping we measured the area around the deck…approximately 30 feet. We end up with:

  • 40 stone bricks
  • 3 bags each of the step 1 (gavel)and step 2 (sand) but in the end we only ended up using 1 of each.
  • 8 bags of mulch
  • Mesh…we already had when we laid rock in the front of the house

We simply determined how we wanted to lay the brick, used a 2 x 4 to help form a nice straight time…then we used spray paint to mark where we would need to dig a small trench so we could place the step 1 and 2 before laying the brick. We used a level and right angle tool to make rue everything was even.

Several hours later we have this….

And since we had extra mulch we added some to the hostas along the back wall of the garage…looks a lot better than dirt!

Before and After

I thought it would be fun to show you a before and after of our yard. It has definitely come a long way since we first moved in back in November 2009. It seems the yard it the hardest to maintain, especially with 3 female dogs. The first picture was taken just a few days after we moved in and the “after” picture was taken last summer. We are hoping to have green grass again this year….as soon as it grows in!

We have definitely come a long way since then and it has not been easy…especially for me since I am incredibly impatient. Have you ever watched grass grow…me neither but it takes forever!

Hopefully, in about another month I will be able to show you current pictures of our yard. It’s still in the growing process! Anyone else have the trouble of growing grass with dogs? Any secretes?