Tag Archives: garden

3 Ways To Keep Busy During Lock Down

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3 Ways To Keep Busy During Lock Down

As the days in lock down turn into weeks and the weeks roll into months, it can become increasingly difficult to know what else to do with all of this extra time on your hands. Well, most people always wished they had more time and now that it has come, we should put it to good use. Whether it’s spending more time with the children or learning something new, it’s safe to say that this opportunity will probably never become available again. Without a firm quarantine end date in sight, check out this list of three ways to keep busy during the lock down:

Learn a New Language:

The benefits of learning a new language go beyond being able to order food while on holiday. It also comes with both personal and professional advantages. On the personal side, it strengthens your IQ, and it is also a great workout for your brain. These cognitive benefits help to ward off dementia and enable you to be more decisive and focused on the task at hand. Did you know that learning a new language also sharpens your sensory perceptions in terms of touch, hearing, sight, speech, and movement? Not many other hobbies can attest to this claim.

On the professional side of things, having bilingual skills greatly opens up your job prospects and makes you more attractive to employers. For companies, it allows for a greater ability to reach new customers in new markets worldwide. Learning a foreign language also sharpens your communication skills making you a more rounded employee.

Take Up a New Hobby:

With most people working around the clock in today’s modern societies, not much time is left for extra-curricular activities and hobbies. Yet the advantages of having hobbies are priceless. For one thing, it keeps you present in that moment. A lot of time is spent regretting the past or planning for the future that most people never truly live in the ‘now’. Hobbies can be used for stress relief as it diverts your attention to something that creates pleasure. Hobbies help you connect with people or groups with similar interests. This encourages feelings of inclusion, support, and community, which is great for your mental health.

There are many hobbies that you can consider taking up, including writing, photography, cooking, and gardening. If you think that you have green fingers, why not get out of the house and into your backyard and try to grow something a bit different than the standard household vegetables. As summer is on the way, try growing some pineberries (white strawberries) or some achocha pods. If you’re really adventurous, you could look up how to grow a luffa gourd, then have the added benefits of organic sponges for your bath or kitchen. No matter what hobby you choose to take on, it will certainly help you while away the extra time on your hands.

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Give gardening a go!

Catch Up on Family Time:

Spending more time with your family can be done in multiple ways thanks to the technological advances in video calling. If you don’t have immediate family around you, then you could link up with them via Zoom, WhatsApp, and many more similar programs. Family time is probably the most important use of our time, yet hardly any time is committed to it. Why not jump in and play some fun games online with your kids or video call your aunt or grandparents – you’ll certainly be glad you did!

Dedicating your time to worthwhile hobbies will make your quarantine much more enjoyable. Choose something you’re interested in and watch a day go by as you immerse yourself in something new!

Featured Image By: Pexels

5 Tips For Preparing For Your Next Dinner Party (While Quarantined!)

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5 Tips For Preparing For Your Next Dinner Party (While Quarantined!)

As we move into warmer months ahead, you may be nostalgic for the days of sunshiny afternoons and barbecues with friends. While many of us are still in quarantine, we’re all hopeful that life can go back to resembling some form of normalcy in the coming months.

What are some of the things you could do now to prepare your home for friend get-togethers later when the world starts reopening? Let’s go over five easy tips to help you prepare for your next dinner party… all while you are quarantined:

Get your yard under control:

There’s no time like the present when it comes to doing yard work. Trim hedges and bushes. Power washing any exposed concrete, deck boards, or sidewalks is a great way to make your home really seem well taken care of. If weeds are starting to crowd out plants now, get on top of them since they will only get worse as the weather gets better.

Get those windows washed:

Better yet, consider hiring a monthly window cleaner to make sure your house windows shine like the top of the Chrysler building. Smudges from dirty fingers, dog and cat noses, and bugs make a home look messier than it is.

Speaking of bugs…

Call a local pest control to make sure you don’t have any potential critters coming. Yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps are best taken care of in late spring or early summer months, and nobody wants those bugging them at our friendly get-togethers. Mosquitoes, ticks, and other yard bugs can be controlled with a semi-annual pest control visit.

Do that deep cleaning you’ve been putting off:

You can check out an older blog that mentions the cleaning musts that many of us forget when doing deep or spring cleaning. If you’re not a fan of scrubbing floors and the weird crevices in your bathroom, do all the basic cleaning, then hire a company to do the deep cleaning for you. If the weather has turned beautiful in your neck of the woods, open up those doors after you’ve cleaned to get any of the cleaning product scents out of the home while bringing in some fresh air.

Planning makes perfect:

Plan the perfect dinner party ahead of time. When you throw a get-together, it always seems to take more time to organize than what you expect. Run down a list of things that you need to do before you would want people eating and chatting over a delicious dinner at your house. If you need extra utensils, cloth napkins, citronella candles, or tablescape items like tablecloths and vases, research affordable ones and order them online or place a curbside order for them.

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Lovely!

Quarantine life has been difficult, but making the most of it doesn’t have to be. As we transition into some form of new normal, many of us are craving social interaction that we took for granted before. Now is the time to get your home in a great place to host the get-together we’ve all been dreaming of for the past several months once it’s safe to do so!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Making The Most Of Spring When You’re Stuck Indoors

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Making The Most Of Spring When You’re Stuck Indoors

Hello! In an effort to keep everyone occupied, I have offered guest blogging opportunities on lifewithlilred during the lock down. Not only is it interesting and fun to hear from people all around the world but it also is a huge favor to me to keep content coming when there’s not much to write about!

In today’s post, you can find plenty of great tips to get you in touch with nature from your home from my friend, Helen, at The Feminist Gadabout. Her page is a wonderful treasure trove of cool content so do be sure to give it some love. Now, let’s get to it:

Making The Most Of Spring When You’re Stuck Indoors

With many of us around the world stuck indoors, the usually cheerful season of spring has taken on a frustrating note as we are unable to get outside and enjoy it. It is vitally important that we follow government advice about physical distancing, and do our best to avoid unnecessary contact with other people. But that doesn’t mean that we have to completely miss out on the joys of the season! Here are just a few ideas for how to make the most of spring, without having to leave your house:

Nature webcams:

Now is a time to take advantage of everything modern technology has to offer. From HouseParty to Zoom, we’re all even more reliant on our devices, and internet speed, than we were before. If you feel you’re missing out on your usual dose of nature because of the lock down, webcams are here to help! There are hundreds of different nature webcams to choose from all over the world. Yellowstone National Park, for instance, has its own full set of webcams, offering views of the Old Faithful Geyser, Mount Washburn, and Yellowstone Lake.

These are a great way to watch spring emerging in one of the US’s most stunning natural locations. For a close look at wildlife you can head over to the Explore website, where you can see everything from eagle chicks growing up in Iowa to a hummingbird nest in California. These cute little birds make remarkable parents! Watching nature go about its day is a nice way to feel in touch with the wild, even if you can’t get out in it.

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Grow Something:

Spring is the season of sprouting shoots and new leaves. Even if you don’t have access to a garden, you can still get in on the action. All you need is a bit of soil and a few dishes.  You can even use old toilet paper rolls or egg boxes to make pots! Growing plants from seeds is hugely therapeutic. It is a wonderfully positive reminder of the steady progress of life and the seasons when you see your first baby plants poking up through the compost. There are thousands of plants to choose from, but herbs like basil and cilantro are fun (and edible!) places to start. If you’re looking to add a little color to your indoor life, go for miniature sunflowers or sweet peas. Watching your little pants grow is enormously satisfying, and will provide you with interest for months to come.

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Nature Diary:

Lots of wildlife charities host annual animal and bird counts. All you have to do is note down what birds, animals, and sometimes butterflies and moths, you see in your local area in a given period. Having year-on-year information is really helpful for scientists and organizations tracking wildlife populations and the impact of human activity. You may think you’ll be left out of this is you live in an urban area, but it can be just as useful to know what creatures are thriving in our cities as in our countryside.

Sit out in the garden or at your window and take some time to chill out and watch the world – and all of its creatures – go by.  This is a great one to do with kids, as it offers a chance to teach them as you go. My grandfather used to tell me about the names and habits of all of the different birds, and gave me knowledge that I still cherish to this day.  So take a look at what your local groups are offering, and get involved! You may be surprised by the biodiversity of your area, and with spring progressing you’re sure to spot some cute baby birds and critters.

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Celebrate your personal growth:

Spring is all about renewal and rebirth. You don’t just have to turn to nature to get into this spirit. Spring offers an opportunity to look back and appreciate how far we’ve come, and think about where we want to go next. Why not try something as simple as taking a selfie of your lock down hairstyle, grow-out and all? Think about all you’ve managed to achieve, and thank yourself for your fortitude and perseverance. This is going to be a tough year for all of us, so why not indulge in a little springtime self-love, and take a moment to appreciate and celebrate yourself. We all deserve to be kind to ourselves, now more than ever.

Get Crafting:

Spring is a singularly creative season. The world is bursting with newness, all waiting to inspire you. Whether you craft all the time or rarely pick up a paintbrush, spring is a season for starting projects, and having a go at something new. There are lots of simple crafts, from origami and painting to crochet, which are easy to learn and require minimal equipment. The satisfaction of creating something new that you can proudly display in your home is its own reward, and you’ll also have mastered a new skill!

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What are you doing to keep busy and happy during these indoors spring days? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Helen runs The Feminist Gadabout, a culture, lifestyle, and travel blog that looks at the world through the lens of social awareness. It covers everything from product, film and book reviews, to social justice long-reads and travel recommendations. With the new indoor life tag there’s also plenty of material to help you stay healthy and happy indoors during lock down.

Thanks again to Helen of The Feminist Gadabout! If you are interested in guest posting on lifewithlilred, please email me at: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com !

Community Fun In Self-Isolation

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Community Fun In Self-Isolation

Hello! While all of us are basking in the boredom of self-isolation, I am sure that those who were active members in the community are itching to get back to planning and participating in events for all to enjoy. Although seeing each other from a distance is the standard now, there are still plenty of ways for us to come together as a community and make the best of a difficult situation. Perhaps with some of the following ideas:

Parking Lot Events:

The inspiration from this post actually came from a client’s mom who told me her family attended Easter mass from a broadcast in the church parking lot. What a great idea! Just like at the drive in movies, people filed in with their windows up and were instructed by signs to tune into a radio station for the mass. She said it was such an amazing, refreshing, safe community event and it sure sounds like it.

If attending a parking lot religious ceremony isn’t your thing, how about a neighborhood drive in movie night, instead? I could definitely go for that one!

Social Media Groups:

My city in Ohio has a Facebook “talk of the town” group where people can post news and chit chat with each other. If your area doesn’t have such a page, why not create one yourself? Have everyone vote on a different show to watch in unison from the comfort of their home so all of you can discuss it later. Or how about a neighborhood book club? As long as everyone is communicating with each other, that’s all that matters.

Neighborhood Games:

On your neighborhood social media group, you could post the rules for a neighborhood participation game. You could try something like I Spy for people to walk or drive around and find the clues. Maybe you could encourage everyone to put their dog in a Halloween costume if they are going out for a stroll. Or how about a quarantine edition of Bingo to play from the porch? There are tons of possibilities if you get creative!

Decorate Your Yard:

Something fun for your neighborhood to participate in could be a yard decorating extravaganza for everyone to enjoy. Perhaps you could plant beautiful flowers in your yard? Or what about putting some of your holiday themed inflatables or lights back on display? You could even do something totally random like a snowman made out of tires if you feel like it! Get inspired and create a lawn display for all of your neighbors to be proud of when they walk or drive by.

It’s hard not being able to see each other traditionally but it’s important to still enjoy your friends and neighborhood even if it is from a distance. Use the ideas above and have some fun!

How have you been interacting with people from a distance? Has your community done any social distancing activities like the ones above? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Outdoor Activities In Self-Isolation

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Outdoor Activities In Self-Isolation

Hello! Although I have been enjoying my time inside during Ohio’s stay at home order, I, like many of you, am looking forward to being able to go out and about like I used to. Despite most stores and restaurants not being open at the moment, there is still plenty to do in the great outdoors. Today, we are going to look at a few of those options in case you’re coming down with a case of cabin fever:

Go On A Walk:

Duh! I know this is an obvious one but it needs to be said. Take a stroll around your neighborhood or go for a brisk hike at a Metro Park – you’ll be amazed at how good you feel after a little exercise and fresh air! Turn on your favorite tunes, give a friend a call, immerse yourself in some social distance chats with your neighbors, or just take in the scenery as you take your walk. I think you’ll feel much better. 🙂

Start A Garden:

My dad has been working in his yard like a mad man now that the weather in Ohio is beginning to improve. He is busy preparing his garden for cool weather crops and I know how much he enjoys getting his hands in the dirt and helping something grow. Not ready for a full on garden? Start with some potted plants or herbs and go from there!

Eat Outdoors:

If you have a patio set or simply a few lawn chairs and the weather is nice, try eating outside. It will feel like a little private picnic! Make your favorite sandwiches and a pitcher of lemonade, bring out a good book, and spend an afternoon in the sun instead of sitting on your couch. Don’t forget to take your jigsaw puzzles, word searches, or even just the level of Candy Crush you can’t beat onto your porch, too!

There’s nothing like opening the doors to let some fresh air into your house or apartment, either.

Start A Tradition:

In Ohio, a lot of families have put teddy bears in their windows so parents can take their children on walks to the tune of the nursery rhyme “Going On A Bear Hunt”. Create your own fun tradition to get your neighbors involved like Where’s Waldo windows or a neighborhood game of I Spy. It will be nice to hear excited children participating in the game and it will sure feel good to spread a bit of joy in your neck of the woods, to boot!

Try Some Crafts:

There are plenty of great crafts you can make outside or create with materials you found on a walk so give it a shot! Create a self portrait with side walk chalk, pick some flowers and make a crown, or try your hand at painting or building a birdhouse. There’s nothing like a fun craft to pass the time and it will feel even better to have made something beautiful in your own backyard.

If you’re feeling increasingly bored during your stint with a stay at home order, get outside and participate in the ideas above!

What do you enjoy doing outside? What is the weather like in your area? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Pocket Park: 4 Strategies To Raise Funds In Your Area

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Pocket Park: 4 Strategies To Raise Funds In Your Area

People in areas with plenty of farmland may not need parks because they have lots of wide-open spaces and plenty of greenery. But if you live in the city, parks are important. That little bit of oasis can help you maintain your sanity in the middle of a fast-paced city.

Unfortunately, land does not come cheap. Reports show that Sydney, the most expensive city, has land prices to match – a square meter of land is $1000. And, while Perth is much cheaper compared to Sydney, the area will cost you $700 per square meter.

If you still want to create a park in a farming community, your location will determine how much you spend on land. Some farmlands are as cheap as $41 per hectare, while others can cost you as much as $21,999 per hectare.

But whenever the cost is a challenge, you need to think outside the box. One way to get the park of your dreams is by opting for a pocket-park design. Such a plan will enable you to create multiple park attractions within a limited amount of space. But what if you don’t have the funding? Read on to find out more:

Your local business community:

Members of your local business community may be willing to help you raise the funding that you need to see that pocket park design come to life. After all, they also live in the area. They and their loved ones would benefit from having a park nearby, too.

You can reach out to the local business community and ask them for financial support to help build a mini-park. Those who choose not to pay cash can provide the materials or labor required to create the park. What matters is that it gets made.

You can also think of providing free advertising opportunities for businesses that help you get the funding. It could be plaques or free marketing from professionals in the area who donate marketing services as their contribution to the park construction.

Your local media platforms:

Many media stations in your area may be willing to help you create awareness of your initiative if you reach out to them. It would be part of their corporate social responsibilities. The free marketing that they do as well as the influence they wield can get locals on board and inspire them to donate time, energy, and money towards building your pocket park.

Online fundraising:

The digital era has revolutionized fundraising. Platforms like Kickstarter allow you to raise monies for a cause by appealing to the online community. You can also sell branded merchandise as part of your strategy to raise money for your park.

Local NGOs:

Some NGOs may be willing to sponsor the construction of your park. But this depends on whether your goals are aligned to theirs. For example, if you would like to build a pocket park whose design is meant to provide playing and sensory therapy to kids with special kids, NGOs that work with children with disabilities may be willing to help you out financially.

The lack of space or funding should not deter you from realizing your dream of creating a pocket park. All you need to do is think outside the box and find creative ways of getting the funding that you need. Then your local community can enjoy the benefits of your park for a long time to come.

Combining Your Indoor And Outdoor Space Cohesively

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Combining Your Indoor And Outdoor Space Cohesively

Indoor-outdoor spaces have become much more popular in recent years. Homeowners have stopped seeing their interiors and exteriors as separate realms and now want to meld them together in a way that creates a sense of harmony.

Achieving this, however, is a little more complicated than you might think. It’s not just a matter of getting some sliding doors and removing the ledge (although that helps). You also have to consider a host of additional factors, many of which aren’t immediately apparent.

So what are the tricks for successfully linking your indoor and outdoor spaces in a way that makes sense? Read on to find out!

Keep The Same Flooring Inside And Out:

If you look at photographs of the homes that most successfully link their indoor and outdoor spaces, you immediately notice something – the flooring is the same. Choosing to use the same floors inside and out creates a sense of continuity that you don’t get if you have different options inside and outside the house. Ideally, you want the wall separating the two spaces to feel more like an optional screen than a barrier.

Add A Canopy:

When people think of outdoor spaces, they don’t necessarily mean areas where they go to expose themselves to wind and rain. Most of the time, they want somewhere that they can enjoy the outdoors but without any of the downsides.

Here is where a patio cover company can help. You can get a roof that keeps the sun and rain off of your head but, at the same time, allows you to feel more like a part of your outdoor space. After all, there’s no point letting your garden go to waste.

Get Rid Of The Wall:

Walls are barriers that separate your indoor and outdoor spaces irrevocably. When there’s a load of masonry in the way, no amount of matching flooring or canopies will bridge the gulf. Fortunately, while getting rid of the wall might sound like an extreme measure, it is actually quite achievable with modern approaches available today.

A lot of homeowners opt for bi-folding doors. These are doors that have several hinges and fold up against themselves as they fold away. When completely drawn, there is an ample space which connects the interior to the exterior, making the transition more seamless.

Of course, custom bi-folding doors connected to a steel surround are expensive, so you could choose French doors too. The trick here, though, is to raise your patio so that it is the same height as your interior floor AND get rid of any lip or threshold at the bottom of the door. When everything is the same height, it makes more visual sense and helps to bring the interior and exterior of your home together.

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Love this!

Design The Spaces As One:

When it comes to indoor-outdoor spaces, you want to banish the idea that they are separate right from the design phase. Creating a complex that spans both the interior and exterior of your home creates a mindset that allows you to generate greater integration automatically. When you use this method, the outcome is far more harmonious. Like in this Pixabay picture:

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Creating a cohesive transition from your indoor to outdoor space has never been easier with the tips above!