Autumn decor on a Dime

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I am especially ready to get summer over with and move on to thick socks and scratchy sweaters. I know most of you are too. Despite the 90 degree heat that’s irritatingly stuck here like the shirt to my back, let’s get in the chilly weather mood with a little decorating. I know I am always on a strict budget so we’re going to decorate on a dime. You’ll be so inspired that you may find yourself in the local dollar store parking lot without knowing how you got there.

My favorite thing that I’ve seen lately is glass containers layered with kernels and lentils. You can get a large vase from your home or the store and gently pour in a layer of dry green lentils, then dry red kidney beans, and top with un-popped kernels. It is such a festive yet simple chic look for a centerpiece or entryway. You can also use etching cream to put letters and pictures on square glass candle holders. Words like “thanks,” “boo,” or “family” are popular themes for this route. Then fill your holders with kernels and top with a tea light for a nice festive glow.

It’s just not Autumn without some sort of pumpkin. Our pumpkin this year is going to be a planter for succulents. You can use real pumpkins, ceramic pumpkins containers, or foam core pumpkies. With a foam core planter, you can paint it or leave it white depending on the color scheme you want. Then you’ll take your pumpkin and cut a hole out of the top with a large knife. Line the hole with a plastic bag and cut away the excess. Fill with dirt and arrange your succulents. It will be so gourd-geous!

Now that you have a nifty centerpiece and planters, its time to make your home smell as good as it looks. This one is too easy; you’re going to wonder why you’ve never done this before. Gather pinecones from your yard or purchase a bag. Paint each one with craft glue, sprinkle with cinnamon powder. Once it’s finished drying you have a set of cinnamon scented pinecones to use for a basket or tray on your coffee table.

Now show off your trendy home and give ‘em pumpkin to talk about.

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Heat Proof Your House

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Every Oklahoma summer is brutal. Each day, starting even in Spring, is a dry hot beat down from the sun. All summer it consistently reaches upper 90’s and the particularly scorching days, the 100’s. It’s important to be prepared for this. The best way to beat the heat is to go back to the comfort of your chilly home at the end of a long sweaty day. Ways to keep your house heat free are simple and don’t have to be too drastic like moving to Alaska to live in an igloo despite that being a fantastic option to keep as a backup plan.

Watch out for windows. Windows let in large amounts of heat into the house, especially if they are facing the sun during peak hours of the day. In order to keep your bills low and your comfort levels high close your blinds or shutters every time you leave the house. You can take it one step further by hanging blackout or heavy curtains with white backing to deflect and absorb the incoming rays.

For a long-term fix, plant tall trees and full bushes to shield the house from the sun. It may not be helpful this summer but in a few years, if you plan on staying in the home a while, you will have a massive shade grove for the house and your backyard barbecues. You can also plant creeping vines to cover an area that needs extra cooling.

Many don’t realize this but you can set your fans to rotate in the opposite direction. What?! Since when?! That’s what I said. The thought process behind this is that cold air sinks just like heat rises, so rotating your fans direction will pick up the cold floor level air and disperse it evenly throughout the room and around your body since most of us don’t typically sit on the floor. If you do, then its probably because your fans are still going clockwise.

Insulate although it feels counterintuitive. Your home may need an update in insulation. Have an expert come check it out or if you’re a DIY gal or guy then watch some Youtube videos and investigate yourself. Just like insulation keeps hot air inside during the winter it keeps cold air indoors during summer. Good insulation means good summer vibes.

Search for cracks. Look at all the windows for cracks in caulking. These can leave massive air leaks into the home. Check all the doors to make sure there are no gaps between the floor and the door. If there are you can invest in a foam device that slides onto the door filling in the gap. Enjoy your newly heat proofed house.

Family Fun in the Sun (Or the Shade)

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Here’s a list of all the family fun that you MUST accomplish this summer. I dare you, double dog dare with no take backs. See how many items you can check off before the end of summer and make it a friendly competition with your neighbors. Kick boredom out the door.

  • Elevation Trampoline Park: the Best way for kids to spend some of that summertime energy. Let them jump it out until they get those naptime eyes. You know what I’m talking about.
  • Pick a fruit, any fruit: Let them pick their own produce at a local OK farm. Then after a long day’s haul, you can take home your goodies to bake something delicious. Or just eat it right then and there. No judgment.
  • Dem’ Bones: If your little Mikey or Mena is an aspiring Paleontologist then they’ll get a thrill at the Museum of Osteology. It features hundreds of skeletons from around the world and is the first and only bone museum in the USA.
  • African Safari (In OKLA): Tiger Safari is an exotic zoo park that provides an interactive experience with the little baby animals (Sigh). They’re so cute. Take a guided tour through the park and feel like you’re in an exotic faraway land.
  • Shade at the Arcade: When its extra miserable on those OK summer days, shoot for a day indoors at any of the family-friendly arcades offered. These can include, but aren’t limited to, Brickopolis, Dave and Buster’s, Main Event, Chuck E. Cheese (classic), Cactus Jacks, Celebration Station, HeyDay, and Andy Alligator’s. The possibilities are endless.
  • Beach Blues: Being in a landlocked state can have its downsides, one being no ocean front beaches. Fear no more because now you can have an outdoor blast at Bricktown Beach. This new venue has sand, lounge chairs, volleyball nets, and SUN. Beach blues obliterated.
  • Natural Beauty: Get natural in nature at Martin Nature Center. This reserve contains all the elements of a wildlife Reserve all in your own city. Rolling waters, prairie dog watch party, bird observatory, and easy hikes for the small feet.
  • Memory Lane: Take a trip down memory lane with a night at a nostalgic drive-in movie. The Winchester and the Beacon offer kids and adult films alike. Nothing is more fulfilling than homemade popcorn in a brown Crest bag popped by your parents. I can attest.

Don’t just survive summer, master it.

Celebrate Your Fabulous Father

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Father’s everywhere anticipate the day of the year where their children celebrate them, give them gifts from the heart, and spend quality time with the ones that taught them how to ride a bike and tie their shoes. On this day we will give them praise and reminisce about the good ol’ days. Here are ideas to kick off his day right.

If dad likes to grill, have a cookout for him. He will enjoy the time together and the kiddos can present him with a grilling plate complete with their handprints. If the kids are grown then a nice grill set of tongs and spatulas are a sweet surprise. If you are especially crafty, create a DIY hanger for his new grill tools with a dad joke or quote for his humorous side.

If you’re looking for an adventure with dad, take him ax throwing at Bad Ax Throwing. It is a great way to relieve stress and you get professional coaches that will train you for your game. You can bring lunch and refreshments to make it a party. They are open from 5pm-9pm.

Take dad to a relaxing concert in the park. Sunday evenings are the Twilight in the Park series at the Myriad Gardens. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket to sit out on the Great Lawn for a delightful musical experience. It may be his favorite Father’s Day event yet.

There is nothing more appetizing on Father’s Day than steak. If you don’t; want the mess of cleaning up after a cookout then WAGYU Japanese BBQ gives you the experience of a cookout without the mess. Yes, you cook your own meat on the grill at your table. This delicious multiple-meat course will leave your dad completely satisfied and a little plumper. It’s the perfect ending to the perfect day. Your dad may just consider you his favorite child. Only joking. We know favorites aren’t allowed.

 

Oklahoma Weekend Adventures

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You don’t have to sit at home all summer just to avoid the heat. Take a little getaway trip with your S.O. or the kiddos or even a zen solo trip. Get out of the house and explore your own state. These adventures aren’t that far and you can most likely make it there on one tank of gas. No excuses. Just hop in the car already and take off down the road. What’s more freeing than a weekend away to clear your head.

Talimena National Scenic Byway is beautiful no matter what season. It always has gorgeous scenery and interesting sites to visit. It is a 54 mile stretch where you can enjoy wildlife and foliage. There are historic cabins and train cars to check out along your drive. Of course, just driving down the byway is interesting enough in itself. You can camp and hike in the Ouachita National Forrest or rent a cabin for glamping. A mini road trip never seemed more exhilarating.

Spice up your weekend adventure with a trip to Meadowlake Ranch Bed and Breakfast. Here you can stay in authentic native American tipi for the night. Each tipi has a modern bathroom so don’t fret too much, we wouldn’t suggest you do your business in the woods. That may be a little too adventurous. The tipis are located near a lovely trickling brook and waterfall to soothe your worries away while you feel like you’re having a Western experience.

Maybe roughing it is a bit much for you this weekend. You want to be pampered and live in the lap of luxury for a while. Choose from a variety of suites and cottages for your stay. At Echo Canyon Spa and Resort, you will be treated to the full service five-star Aloha Spa and a five-star restaurant, The Baron of Beef. Here you will forget about the work week and completely be able to treat yourself. Although only an hour and 15 minutes outside of Oklahoma City, it will feel like you’re in another world.

Feel like you’re not even apart of this era at the Victorian Lady Bed and Breakfast in Jenks. Each room is decorated with vintage Victorian furniture so that you can truly feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Despite the lavish old décor, all suites have modern amenities. Lounge and converse in the parlor or take a walk in the perennial gardens and imagine yourself as Jane Eyre. Go “into town’ to enjoy shopping and various dining options.

Get lost in your own state and state of mind with these relaxing Oklahoma getaways.

Prep your Pool for Summer

MB-0184-Blog-052918-coverThis summer is going to be the hottest one yet. Don’t be left outside without your pool being ready to party. It’s already in the 90’s and spring isn’t technically over yet. Oklahoma sure does love its heat waves. Be prepared for the worst or best case scenario and have your pool ready for those in need of cooling down.

The first step is to clean your filtration system and baskets. Clear out any debris from filters. You want to make sure your pumps and filters are in working order before you take the plunge, figuratively and literally speaking.

After the pump is in functioning order then top off the water levels, if the water levels are too low then the pump won’t be able its work its magic. Fill it with the water hose until within about 6 to 12 inches of the top.

. If you don’t have a pool cover then think about investing in one. It will save you much hassle when reopening for the season. It keeps leaves and debris out and saves you from draining the pool, which you don’t want to do in case of the possibility of the pool popping out of the ground since it doesn’t have the water weight holding it down.

We all hope that we uncover the pool hoping that its clear and beautiful but this is never the case. Always keep a few bags of Shock on hand because you of all people know that often the pool is green from rainwater and bacteria growth. Yuck. Shock will instantly bring the chlorine levels up killing anything you don’t want living in your sacred summer water. It will be crystal clear in no time.

Wait until the water is clear to take your first dive. Although I agree that it is tempting, the chemicals have not completely done their job unless you can see the bottom and there is no murkiness. Once that’s finished then your summer is now set up for success.

Best Memorial Day Bash

MB-0181-Blog-052218-coverThe weather iswarm and the pools are starting to open. It is time for the spring and summer festivities to begin. Memorial Day is here and its time to gather with friends and family in the backyard as we remember those who have served to allow for us to have parties. We eat and drink well in their honor. Here are some ways to please the crowd that is celebrating with you this Memorial Day.

A party has to begin with the perfect appetizer. The most American pre-dinner delight is a Crack Dip. This easy dip takes only a few minutes to prepare. All you need is 16 ounces of sour cream, a package of Hidden Valley Ranch mix, 2 slices of bacon cooked crispy and finely chopped, and one cup shredded cheese. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and top with chopped scallions. Refrigerate for 24 hours and serve topped with scallions and a side of chips. What’s more patriotic than Ranch?

If you want to spice up your traditional kebab recipes, use smoked sausage instead of chicken or shrimp. Chop up zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and squash along with your sausage and place them on your skewers with small portabella mushrooms. Cook 10-15 minutes on the grill while coating with a lime vinaigrette and flipping every few minutes. When all cooked top them with chopped cilantro. This dinner will be sure to disappear quickly.

For a little fun entertainment for the little ones or the young at heart, have a station set up with containers filled with sparklers, snappers, and individual bubble bottles. Each jar is labeled snap, crackle, and pop accordingly with signs or chalk labels. The kiddoes will have a blast making noise and waving sparklers when the sun goes down.

For a sparkling light beverage combine sliced strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, lemon juice and a sparkling juice or clear soda. To create an adult experience you’ll use 2 bottles of white wine, 1/2 cup of berry vodka, 1 cup of triple sec and ½ cup simple syrup for refreshing sangria.

Take these terrific ideas and run to your local grocery store to throw the greatest Memorial Day par-tay yet.

Planting To Prevent Pests

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It is well into Spring and time for your garden to flourish. Despite all our best efforts oftentimes pests still come to call on our poor plants and can end up destroying all our hard work. This year we will play it smart and plant things that will prevent those bugs from biting. You don’t have to spend a small fortune on harsh chemicals. A few household plants may just do the trick.

Basil is common and easily tended to. Its fragrant leaves will deter a variety of flies and hornworms from tomato plants. It does well in moist soil with 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Space them around your tomato plant within 21 inches for best results.

Citronella grass is used in many ways to prevent bugs and mosquitoes. I bet that you’ve become extremely familiar with its pungent scent in the Summer while trying to get relief. It is often used in oils and candles to ward off the buzzing critters. You can place a small terra cotta pot planted with the grass on your table or use the clippings from your garden to place in a glass at the table for best prevention methods.

Petunia’s are a colorful addition to your outdoor space that doubles as a “nature’s pesticide.” They repel aphids, beetles, hornworms, squash bugs, and leafhoppers. They do best in lots of sun and can be planted in the ground or potted for convenience. They’re a great way to have color and protection in your garden.

Lavender is a beautiful and soft way to say “good riddance” to pests. They are a natural deterrent to mosquitoes. They have a gorgeous delicate purple bloom and the oil from it can be used on the skin for extra coverage. You can plant these in clusters to the entrance of your garden or around your seating area.

Rosemary is a perfect summer heat plant because it likes to stay dry. It will ward off offenders and add flavor to your dishes. That is a two for one deal I’d say. They can be planted in containers or as a full hedge.

Mint can repel winged beasts and be added to your beverage as a refreshing treat. Its scent is delightful to us but disgusting to small creatures. Keep your mint in a small pot and frequently tend its leaves to keep it maintained. It will keep flies out of the house. It also is great indoors all winter.

Have a chemical and pest free garden this year. All the fragrances will give your space a summer feel without the miserable winged visitors.

Get Your Home Ready For Market

 

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Selling your home can be a stressful experience if you are unprepared or unorganized. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the preparation and work that goes into it. Something you should keep in mind before selling is giving it a quick and tidy makeover. These are simple and quick ways to make your house more appealing to buyers.

Make a list of repairs in the home that need to be done. Then assign each task to a family member or hire a serviceman to come out to fix it. Repairs to look for should include caulking that needs replacing, all door hardware is working and not squeaky, ceiling and wall cracks, chipped and broken tiles, update light outlet covers and switches if needed, clean carpets. Those are the major items that need attention.

As for visual appeal, you want to neutralize the home as much as possible. You can remove distracting curtains and keep simple blinds or shutters. Keep furniture light and neutral colors. Move the furniture around so as to create a more wide-open space as well as arrange mirrors to brighten and create an open frame. If you have a ton of crammed furniture in the house, consider moving some to the garage while in the process of showing the house. Define each room with a purposeful space. Do not let buyers know you have a junk room. Each space should have a clear use such as craft room, living room, dining room, bedroom, or guest room.

Remove as much clutter from shelves and counter spaces as possible. You may even want to pack up personal items and pictures because the buyer wants to imagine it as their home. It is distracting to them if they are focusing on all the memories you have already made there. Keep what’s on the shelves to a minimum with cute accent items.

Make the front door and entry inviting with a sign and welcome mat, maybe even décor with the home’s numbers painted on… Place planters or a couple of flowers along the walkway. Don’t make it too personal such as your name or initials but just a little something to say that this place not stark and sterile and that it’s ready to become someone’s dream.

Moving and selling can be difficult but setting your home up for a successful sale doesn’t have to be. Start with these few items and you will be more prepared than anyone on the block to sell quickly and you may impress your realtor.

 

 

Memorable Mother’s Day Present

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Mother’s are anticipating the day of the year where their family comes together to be thankful for the one who raised them. This Mother’s Day give your favorite mama something that will make the occasion memorable. It doesn’t have to be expensive or a grand ordeal; just a little something to let them know you’re thinking of them and love them to pieces.

This year don’t just buy your loved one a bouquet, make it yourself. Will Roger’s Gardens is having a flower arrangement class on May 12th from 9am-11am. All ages are welcome so even the kiddos can get in on some arranging action. All the materials are provided to create one you can take home. Your mother will be shocked and awed when she learns you made that beautiful bouquet all by yourself.

Make a personalized book for mom on Love Book. Customize each page with illustrations, text, and characters. You choose the skin tone, hair and eyes to create your own mother and daughter or son characters. You can fill the pages with little cartoons and stories or quotes that remind you of her or tell your story. I challenge your mother not to cry.

A thoughtful gift that is priceless and meaningful is a gratitude jar. Decorate a mason jar of your choice and fill it with 365 slips of paper telling her why you are grateful for her as your mom. She will know you appreciate her every day of the year that she pulls out a slip to read before her day.

Buying her a plant doesn’t always have to mean flowers. Last year my mom wanted to decorate her garden for spring like she normally does every year but didn’t have the time or energy. So I brought the garden to her. I got her a few of her favorite potted plants like Boston Ferns and Elephant Ears. She was thrilled with her makeshift garden and it gave her house a little spruced curbside appeal before she could get around to completing her garden.

A precious gift that is a cute way to share your relationship is framed pebble art. If you are crafty then you can easily make your own with some hot glue and a few pebbles. The goal is to create portraiture out of them in the likeness of a mother and child. If you don’t have a crafting care in your body then you can find them on Etsy.

Mother’s don’t need a lot to be happy. All they need is a little affection and appreciation to make their day a little brighter. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way.