Ideas for Enhancing Your Backyard

Hello Spring! Ok, so spring officially started March 20th, but it’s really starting to feel like spring here. This means that it’s time for spring cleaning my home inside and out. I’m really looking forward to enjoying the outdoors, especially my backyard.

But before I can really enjoy the outdoors, the weather needs to warm up a bit more, and my backyard needs some enhancing to make it the oasis that I want to enjoy all summer long. I’m hoping to make it not only a relaxing sanctuary but also make it great for entertaining. I might also need some new tools for cleaning up my yard.

After looking through HeartlandAmerica.com, I have found some great things to make any backyard a beautiful and fun oasis that can be enjoyed all spring and summer. If you’ve got spring fever as well and hope to enhance your backyard, I hope this will inspire your backyard dreams.

The person who will be spending the most time in your backyard is you, so why not make it into your personal oasis?

Create a Tranquil Backyard Oasis
Portable Sprinkler System, Collapsible Rain Barrel, Coach Style Solar Lights – 2 pack, Green and White 15ft. Privacy Netting

Keep both your lawn and garden green with a portable sprinkler system. You can move it around to the places you need and each sprinkler head has an adjustable spray so you can water plants: from shrubs to tiny seedlings.

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Colorful Chocolate Covered Easter Mints

Easter is this weekend! I can hardly believe it. I have my table decorations planned (more or less). The main menu is set and the food is brought for Easter lunch. My family and friends are confirmed for Sunday. So what’s left? Well, I think I need a little something sweet to finish off lunch or even to enjoy while visiting with everyone. My oven will probably be working overtime on Sunday morning and the more I can get done before Sunday the better.

I began looking through my great grandmother’s recipe box again and found she was quite the candy maker. I have made cakes, pies, bars, and brownies, but I have never tried making candies before. Trying to make something as potentially disastrous as candy right before a holiday usually is not a wise idea, but I tend to jump into things head first. 😉

Fortunately for me, my great grandmother actually has an easy candy recipe: Chocolate Covered Mints.

Chocolate Covered Mints with Colorful Centers

Chocolate: yes please! Lots of sugar: why not? Mint: perfect for after lunch! This recipe is perfect find for my Easter table. To make them even more festive, I decided to dye the mint centers in fun Easter colors. It creates a cheerful surprize when they are bitten into.

Adorable and super yummy! I’m so glad that I found this recipe, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

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Mini Topiary DIY Place Card Holders

Spring has definitely come early to Minnesota, and I couldn’t be happier! March is usually the snowiest month here. Actually we could still have a big snow storm, but I’m savoring the early spring weather that we have been blessed with for the last couple of weeks. I just hope and pray that the weather will continue to be wonderful, especially through Easter. There have been a couple of years where Easter eggs have been put in sandwich bags before they’ve been hidden outside.

I’m so happy that I have a head start on Easter preparations this year (instead of just throwing some decorations together the night before). I have not started dyeing eggs for our Easter Egg hunt yet, but I still have a little over a week till Easter. So there is still time for that. Although this year, I believe that there will be more adults than children at my home for Easter. So I thought of making the Easter table more grownup with a bit of elegance. I hoping to bring the feel of spring inside. Instead of the dyed eggs with names written on them like I usually do, I came up with Mini Topiary Place Card Holders.

Mini Topiary Place Card Holder DIY

I love the garden feel that they bring to my table. Even if it does snow on Easter, there will be spring inside at least. If you have a grown-ups table that you need to decorate, I encourage you to try making these mini topiaries. They are really easy and you can make a bunch of them in an afternoon.

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Get Ready for St. Patrick’s Day with a Cute Shamrock Hair Clip DIY

St. Patrick’s Day is just one short week away, and people will be happily engaged in all sort of Irish themed fun whether they are actually Irish or not. New York boasts of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade, Chicago famously dyes the Chicago River a vibrant green, and Seattle has an entire Irish Week Festival right downtown. All across the US, there will great St. Patrick’s Day festivities to enjoy with family and friends.

Although my heritage is more Scottish than Irish, I still really enjoy the holiday. It’s fun to see people in green and some of my red headed friends joke about being constantly asked if they are Irish (but they aren’t). They do look awesome in green though. 🙂

I wanted to show my love for Ireland, but since it’s still early spring, coats are still required and cover up cute green fashion. So I thought of making a hair accessory. In true American fashion, I decided to blend different cultures to create something different and adorable: a Kanzashi Shamrock Hair Clip.

Kanzashi are Japanese hair ornaments made up of fabric folded flowers. I’ve been in awe of the beauty and variety of hair ornaments and flowers. After searching the internet and books, I found one of the more simple ways to create a petal and knew it would create an adorable shamrock.

Kanzashi Shamrock Hair Clip DIY

Isn’t it so cute?! I just loved how it turned out. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to create a bunch of petals while watching TV. Would you like to make one too?

Luckily, this week’s DIY is this adorable Shamrock Hair Clip!

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Unplug and Bake French Coffee Cake

The other day I forgot my cellphone at home when I went out to supper with my parents. It felt so strange being disconnected from…everything. My mom also forgot her cell phone as did my dad, and we all felt kinda odd. Granted we were just out for dinner, but still I actually wondered what I would do if I had some free time on my hands without my phone. Heaven forbid I just sit back and relax! 😉

March 4-5 is National Day of Unplugging, that means no cell phone for as long as you can hold out. I know my family has a hard time getting off their phones even to enjoy dinner together. I think I’m going to implement a sort of cell phone tower strategy.

The idea is that everyone piles their cell phones on top of each other on the table and the first one to cave and grab their cell phone has to clear the table and do the dishes. I’ve heard of something similar when going out to dinner with friends and the one who grabs their cell has to pay the bill. Both of those consequences seem like enough motivation to disconnect from a cell phone and reconnect with loved ones.

While participating in National Day of Unplugging, I think I’ll do some baking. And why not use a recipe from a nearly technology free era? I dug through my great grandmother’s recipe box and came across her recipe for French Coffee Cake. This will be a great reward for my family at the end of our day of unplugging.

French Coffee Cake Recipe

I did a trial bake and it turned out delicious! Everyone is going to need a reward for unplugging and this delightful coffee cake is perfect.

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