Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Sad Day

Our first two houses we had built.  They were in new subdivisions that had been corn fields until someone decided to sell lots and start building houses.  So, we didn't have trees.  At least not trees of any size.   Do you know how long it takes for a tree to grow?  Years.

We did have a couple young Maple trees in Wisconsin that were there when we built the house, so we let them grow.  They weren't huge, but they had gotten pretty tall, and then we lost them in the tornado.

Beginning on the tree out front
So we were excited when we moved here to finally have trees.  So excited to have trees that I took lots of pictures of our trees.  No, actually I didn't; I just spent quite a bit of time looking through all my pictures from the summer we moved here, and I can't find one picture of the trees I want to talk about now.  But they were here, and they were big, and they were beautiful and healthy.  That fall was the first time we had ever had to rake leaves.  And there were a lot of leaves.

It takes the right equipment
But apparently something very small can kill something very big and old in a very short time.  I had heard of the Emerald Ash Borer, but hadn't really paid attention.  It was something about not being able to take firewood from one area to another, but it didn't really seem to apply to us.  But when we got these trees, it did apply to us - only we didn't really think about it or realize it.  Until our trees died.  One summer they had leaves; the next they didn't.  Or not very many.  And this summer there was one small branch on one of the two Ash trees that had some leaves.  One.

The tree in the back yard

Multi-year studies have shown that if more than 50% of the canopy has been killed by EAB or if the canopy appears to be thin and carrying less than half as much foliage as it should, it is probably too late to save the tree.

Making progress

So, but the time we noticed anything was wrong (honestly, but the time I even knew they were Ash trees), it was too late to do anything.  Except have the trees removed.


Today we had the nice guys from Sutton's Tree, Lawn, Landscape come and begin the process of taking the trees out.  While it was interesting to watch them, I couldn't help thinking as I watched them come down, "Our poor trees."  It's just crazy that a little Asian bug can cause so much damage.

Tomorrow they come and take the rest
Yes, we do still have more trees than we had before, but it's really sad to see these two go.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Host an Unforgettable Graduation Party

Congratulations  ♥It's that time of year again, when students from high schools, colleges,  and universities graduate and enter the work force. Celebrate this momentous time in a young person's life by hosting a graduation party that they will never forget. With a good guest list, age appropriate music and entertainment, and high quality food and concessions, you can host the most amazing, epic graduation party of the year. These simple tips will help you plan a great party with only a little effort.

Start your party right by inviting the right people. All of your family should be invited to celebrate this important occasion and reward the hard work of the diligent student. Also, the student's friends, colleagues, and associates should be invited to partake in and enjoy the festivities. Maybe most importantly of all, consider inviting nearby neighbors to your graduation party, especially if you plan on making a lot of noise while you celebrate. Even if you don't invite them, be sure to let your neighbors know in advance that you'll be hosting so they are not taken by surprise.

Next, get great decorations with a graduation theme for your party. Get balloons, napkins, dinnnerware, and cutlery in colors that match your graduate's school colors. Hang up a wide banner that says "Congratulations Graduate," so everyone will be reminded of the occasion. You can up the ante with special effects, such as smoke machines, strobe lights, and bubble machines. Hire a reputable DJ, band, or singer to perform, and make sure you have good speakers to broadcast your tunes. Encourage your guests to dance and have a great time.

You have many options for feeding guests at a graduation party, so choose your food depending on your tastes, styles, and audience. Some choose a large buffet with lots of options for guests to choose from, in a number of culinary styles. Some people serve only appetizers, tapas, or canapes to their guests. For an extravagant touch, consider a having a carnival theme with real concession food, like that provided by M.R.S. Packaging Ltd. You can click here for more information and for other graduation party ideas. The most important thing to remember about food at a party is to make sure you have enough of it.

Toast your graduate's success with an unforgettable graduation party this year. After all, hard work deserves a great reward. Awesome friends, family, music, and food will guarantee a party that will leave your guests truly impressed.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Improve Water Capacity with Mini Dredges

If you're in need of waste water and dewatering services, consider Sandling Industrial Services. They offer water treatment rentals that can solve a number of problems, from waste stream processing to reduced capacity in holding basins.

Mini Dredges for Rent
mini dredge 073105
Perhaps you've discovered that capacity in a cooling pond or water pond has been minimized. Perhaps you've noticed a decrease in overall productivity and suspect waste water might be the source of the problem. Sandling Industrial Services has high-quality mini dredges for rent that can improve the storage capacity of your body of water.

Get Rid of Sediment

If sediment is clogging up your pit, pond, or canal, you may need the help of a mini dredge. These machines are portable, small, and easy to use, and they can get rid of sediment quickly and efficiently. They are not damaging to the body of water or the surrounding area. While many older machines do wreak havoc on shores, mini dredges are safe to use for sediment removal.

When you enlist the use of a mini dredge from Sandling Industrial Services, you'll receive all the rental equipment you need to solve your water capacity problems. Their rental equipment is affordable, and they will work hard until you have regained the full capacity of your pond or lake.

The Benefits of Mini Dredges

Mini dredges are a great solution when you need sediment removed from a body of water. They are very good at getting rid of sludge materials, mud, silt, and sand. Whatever kind of sediment is clogging up your lake, mini dredges from Sandling Industrial Services can help you to remove it in full.

High-Quality Equipment

When you choose Sandling Industrial Services for your water treatment equipment needs, you know that you're getting the best equipment available on the market. They pride themselves on keeping their equipment well maintained at all times, and their team members are all highly experienced. Whether you need mini dredges or belt presses, you can trust that Sandling Industrial Services has top notch equipment.

If you have a waste water problem, you need a skilled problem solver. Sandling Industrial Services has the equipment and staff you need to improve the capacity of your lake or pond. Contact them soon to learn more about the services they offer. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Summer Full of Free Audio Books

Once again Sync is giving away two free audio books every week all summer long.  The first two books are available now, and two new books become available on Thursdays all throughout the summer for a total of 30 titles.  Here's the complete list of Sync 2016 titles.


I haven't really looked through the list to see what the books are going to be, but you know how much I love books and free stuff, so you know I'll be downloading all of them.  It's a great way to discover new books.

The books are only available for one week, so be sure to grab them while you can.  I've found it very helpful to sign up for weekly reminders so I get a text when the new titles become available.

Download Details
  • Downloads are in MP3 format, hosted by OverDrive, and are Mac and Windows compatible.
  • Downloads will operate through the OverDrive app.
  • Most listening devices are supported.
  • Each SYNC audiobook will be available for download for a period of 7 days (only).
  • Titles, once downloaded, are yours to keep.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Tub Would Feel Nice About Now

We've taken on several projects since we moved to this house a couple years ago.  We took down the wallpaper in the dining room and repainted most of the downstairs.  We ripped out the carpet in the family room, living room, and dining room and put hardwood floors down.  On a side note - have you ever wondered why in the world people put carpet in the dining room?  Or put an area rug down under the table if they've got hardwood or tile in the dining room?  I'm of a mind that if food gets dropped on the floor, the hard surface is a lot easier to clean than a rug.

Another project that we think about is re-doing our bathroom.  Unfortunately, we haven't figured out how we would make that work yet.  The master bath was the one thing that worried Jeffrey when he looked at this house.  The rest of it was perfect - except for those things we wanted to change - but the master bath is quite small.  We'd looked at houses with larger bathrooms, with the double-bowl sinks that Jeffrey has always wanted, and some with large whirlpool tubs that would be so nice to soak in after a day like today.  I mowed the yard, and the warm jetted water would be great for my tired muscles.

But, for now we make do with a single sink and just a shower - no tub.  One suggestion for a small bathroom is to get a corner tub, but we don't have even that much room.  Of course, you can search by style and size online to pick the perfect one, so maybe I should go measure...

Our shower does have two shower heads, and both can be set to massage, so that's something.  Eventually we want to find a whirlpool tub we can put outside on the patio, where we have plenty of room.  It's not quite the same as having a luxurious bathroom, but it will be nice.

Do you have a whirlpool tub in your bathroom?  Do you like it and use it often?

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Bit of Luxury for Your Pooch

When we went on vacation, we used to take our dog to a nice little boarding facility just up the road from home.  It was run by a nice couple who had dogs of their own and treated our dog, and the other dogs that boarded there, practically like part of the family.  Our dog didn't get to stay in the house and sit on the furniture, but she did get more attention and time to run around in the yard than she would have at a regular kennel.Week 1/52 - 10 weeks She still missed us, but she was much happier there than she would have been otherwise.

Nowadays you can get luxury dog boarding for your favorite pet.  These facilities aren't just for vacation, either.  Some people drop their dogs off for "doggie daycare" while they are at work so their dog doesn't have to be bored at home.  Dogs are given snacks and naps and play time and socialization with others of their own size, or extra attention by the staff, which could even include a massage.  Extra time outside?  A game of fetch?  They will make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible.

Dogs are given plush beds, the best food, and sometimes even televisions.  Some facilities even have someone to read a story to the dogs before bed and tuck them in.  They get all the comforts of home, and then some!  And, if you want to check in on your dog during the day or while you're away, there is usually a video system that will enable you to do just that.

The only question I have is - will a dog want to go home after all that pampering?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Homemade Hairspray

In my last post I mentioned that a good way to save money is to make your own beauty supplies.  Here's one that I found on Pinterest and just recently started making and using.  It's a very inexpensive and easy-to-make hairspray.  I am very pleased with how well it works.  I really wasn't sure what to expect the first time I made it.
 
Homemade Alcohol-Free Hairspray
found on whole new mom

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 5-6 drops essential oils (I used a combination orange and peppermint oils)
Directions:
  1. Heat water to boiling
  2. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved
  3. Allow to cool and use a funnel to pour it into an empty hairspray bottle.  Add essential oils, screw lid on and shake well to combine.
  4. Use as you'd normally use hairspray.

That's it!  Simple, cheap, and I'm hoping that no longer using hairspray full of alcohol will be much better for my hair.  I'm not sure about that yet; I just made my second batch of this, and I'm still using regular shampoo and gel in my hair, so I know that's a factor.  I do have a couple recipes for hair gel pinned, but I haven't gotten around to trying them yet.

I'm really liking the scent of the orange and peppermint oils, but you can use the essential oils you like.  The scent is subtle but nice, and a huge improvement over the overpowering scents of most hairsprays you can buy, unless you buy the unscented.  Why do the people who make hairsprays, shampoos, conditioners and the like think they need to have a strong annoying scent? 

Ideally, this should also be stored in a glass bottle instead of any old hairspray bottle, but I am currently using what I had on hand.  Good thing I don't always throw empty bottles into the recycle bin because I 'might need them' someday!  If I continue to make this - and I see no reason not to - I will probably look for a glass spray bottle to use.

Are there any DIY beauty products you make and use?  Do they work as well or better than the products you used to buy?

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Frugal Living Tips For Improving Your Financial Situation Fast

It's not easy nowadays to be where you want to be financially. It seems there are always debts to pay, making it feel impossible to achieve your goals. However, there are several simple things that can be done to improve your situation considerably.  If you're willing to invest a little of your time to follow the tips mentioned below, you'll soon find you'll have more money than before.  With the same cash inflow. Save Money
  1. Start putting some money out of your reach
    It’s a proven fact that when you have easily accessible cash in your pocket or in the bank, you tend to spend more on unnecessary things. So it's high time you start putting some money in an account that you can access in case of emergency, but which would require you to jump through hoops to withdraw any. This will help you spend money only when absolutely necessary.
  2. Use Coupons
    Almost all businesses use coupons as a part of their marketing strategy. So, why not check for a coupon in the newspapers or on the Internet before you make your next purchase? Be it groceries, transportation, apparel, furniture or services like doctor’s appointment and electronics repair, coupons are available for anything nowadays. Just take a look at Discountrue.com and all the deals for such popular stores as Nordstrom or Target. If you are lucky enough, you might just hit the right coupon at the right time.  Combine a coupon with a sale price, and you're really saving money!
  3. Do It Yourself
    Start doing some simple things yourself, instead of paying others to do it. You can bake your own bread (here's one of my favorite recipes), grow some of your own food in a backyard garden, eat meals at home, and brew your own coffee instead of paying for that fancy coffee place. You can even make your own DIY beauty products! The possibilities are endless, as anyone who has ever visited Pinterest can tell you, and you'll be surprised how fast the savings add up.
  4. Join a Customer Rewards Program (or several)
    If you happen to shop fairly regularly at any one particular store, don't forget to sign up for their loyalty rewards program. They keep on giving back in the form of credits and promo codes, which help you in cutting down the costs on your future purchases. Whenever there's an opportunity you need to take advantage of it.
There are many other little things that you can do to improve your financial condition, like replacing light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs or adjusting your thermostat by a few degrees to save on energy costs, reviewing your insurance policies, using the library more often instead of buying new books, having your devices serviced on time, and the list goes on.

Helping Your Money Last... After Your Last Paycheck
It all boils down to this -
Whenever you spend, ask yourself if there’s an alternative which costs you less and provides the same benefits.  And then save that difference in cost or apply it to your debt, and you will soon see an improvement in your financial situation.  Just by doing these few simple things!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

You Waste Some; You Use Some

Right after I posted saying that I rarely throw away any of the food I buy, I ended up having to throw away a whole bunch of limes.  AND half of one of my home-grown butternut squashes.

That's almost as bad as having someone come into my garden and steal one.  Only this time it was completely my fault.  I just didn't get around to using it and expected it to wait around as long as I needed it to. 

Oh, well, I got to use half of it in a wonderful Butternut and Potato Bake.  I really need to update that recipe.  I usually end up stirring the canned tomatoes into the browned hamburger and cooking that for a bit while I cut up potatoes and squash, and then I add it all at once.  That probably doesn't make a huge difference, but the other night we were working in the garage - Jeffrey cleaning the cars and me cleaning out the freezer and refrigerator - so it ended up being in the oven at 400° for about 2 hours.  And it was so good.  The longer it cooks, the better it is.


The asparagus was pretty well done, too.  No, it wasn't in there the whole 2 hours; I just tossed it in at the end.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't know why I didn't just toss it on top of the squash and potato dish, but I used a separate baking dish.  The asparagus was kind of an after thought.  It was one of those things that was in my fridge and needed to be used.  So I used it before it went bad.  (WIN!)

Unlike those limes.  All I had to do was throw them in the freezer.  In the bag with those other two limes that are already in there.  I kept meaning to, but I just didn't get around to it.  So, yes, even with the best of intentions, things still do go to waste.