Spring Lawn Care Tips

spring lawn care tips

spring lawn care tips

As I mentioned last fall, taking care of the grass is totally my husbands department–but if watching him work counts for something, then I am a pro!  Ha.  Here’s a quick guide on spring lawn care, which we take very seriously here in suburbia:

If you didn’t aerate last fall, spring is another good time to do it.  With all of the spring rain, those annoying dirt clods will be gone in no time, and your grass will be the thick, lush envy of all of the neighbors.

Before you start mowing again, give your lawn mower the once over.  Sharpen the blades if they need it, change the oil, and give ‘er a good once over.  You can start out the spring with shorter grass, make sure to raise the blade as the weather gets warmer, though.  If you don’t mind the mess, taking the mower bag off and letting the grass clippings stay on the lawn is a great way to provide free food for the grass.

If you live in a rainy climate {like I do} let the weather do the work as far as watering.  If not, make sure to water less often, but in larger quantities {remember the good old days of flood irrigation?  Think about replicating them.}

Wait until it’s a bit warmer to apply fertilizer {at least 50-55 degrees soil temperature}, that will ensure that the grass is awake enough to receive a feeding.

That’s pretty much it for us around here.  What do you do to wake up your grass?

~Mavis

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Mavis Garden Blog – Spring Vegetables in My Garden

mavis butterfield garden lucy the puggle dog

mavis butterfield garden lucy the puggle dog

I’m hoping the rain will hold off until this afternoon so Lucy the puggle dog and I can finish cleaning up the raspberry patch. Clipping dead canes and pulling weeds takes a surprising long time when you have a dog helping you out.  But I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)raspberry canes

Have your raspberry plants started to leaf out yet? Our are looking really healthy this year. weeds in garlic

The garlic I planted last fall is doing really well too. Just a few weeds here and there but nothing I can’t keep up with. beet seedling

Beets! I planted beets seeds about a month ago and they finally decided to make their appearance. I planted 4 kinds of beets this year and let me tell you Bob, I can’t wait to harvest them this summer. brussels sprouts

I can however wait for the Brussel sprouts. 😉

mavis garden blog onions

While Lucy checked looked for hidden treasures I thinned the radish seedlings.radish seedlings

I suppose I could replant them somewhere else in the garden if I wanted to, but with only 10 garden boxes this year I’m already running low on space so I just tossed them onto the compost heap.

raised garden beds seattle garden

Now, if we could just get the weather to warm up {and stay warm} I could really get some work done. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to for heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil.

Ahhh summer… we need you.

~Mavis

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Free Kindle Books, Seed Bombs, Newman’s Own Coupons, Roses, Free Digital Cards and More

tiny prints

vinca minor

Is it Wednesday already? Sheesh! This week is flying by. 😉 Yesterday the puggle trouble and I were out in the garden when all the sudden I noticed our purple vinca plants were in full bloom on our hillside. I’m not sure how I missed all those gorgeous purple flowers before but man are they pretty or what?

The sky is looking pretty grey this morning but I’m hoping we’ll get some sunny weather a little later on so I can finish up the raspberry patch today.

Have a great day everyone,

Mavis

basketball hoop

Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day – SKLZ Pro Mini Basketball Hoop $14.99

free kindle books

Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can.

How-to-make-a-seed-bomb

Looking for something fun to do with the kiddos this week? Check out my easy How to Make Seed Bombs Tutorial. They are super fun to make and they make great garden gifts as well. Go HERE for the How to Make a Seed Bomb Tutorial, or Pin it for Later.

air dry clay

Amazon has the Crayola Air Dry Clay on sale for $5.27 and it ships for FREE with Amazon Prime.

 newman's own coupons

There are 6 Newman’s Own printable coupons available:

weeks roses

Zulily has Weeks Ready to Plant Roses on sale today {up to 55% off!}.

tiny prints

Today only Tiny Prints is offering unlimited personalized digital cards! There is no code required for this offer and the cards are already priced at $0.

Simply browse the available digital cards, select the category you want and then click the filter box labeled “Digital” under Card Type. It’s that easy. Plus you can schedule cards up to 1 year in advance. :)

prom dresses6pm has PROM DRESSES on sale starting at $45.99 shipped! Holy canolies some of them are so cute I think I should get one too and be a chaperone.  😉

dial soap

Check out these deals:

kiplingers journal

Discount Mags is offering a 1 year subscription to Kiplingers Personal Finance Magazine for $6.99 a year when you use code MAVIS at checkout. This deal will expire tonight 4/2/14 at midnight EST.

maxell batteries

Deals on batteries and chargers:

amazon local

Amazon Local is giving away a $5 credit to all new users. Simply create an account, select payment methods and enter in code SPRING05 and your account will be credited $5.00

Here are some of my favorite deals:

  • Customized Necklaces, Bracelets, and More From $35
  • Free Coupon for Two Months of Audiobooks from Audible {Grab this!!}
  • Free Coupon for 40% Off Select Tablet Accessories
  • Grass-Fed Organic Easter Holiday Packages $99

$2.00 off ARM & HAMMER™ Laundry Detergent coupon

Print a coupon good for $2.00 off ARM & HAMMER™ Laundry Detergent

Find More Printable Coupons

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Tips for Hosting a Pasta Feed in Your Home

Tips for Hosting a Pasta Feed in Your Home

Tips for Hosting a Pasta Feed in Your Home

A few times a year we host a huge pasta feed for my kids’ sports team. Sometimes we’ll end up with 50 hungry teenage mouths to feed. Sounds daunting, but it always turns out awesome. The kids love it and I love having them there. Through the years I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks through trial and error. I’m sharing them with you so you don’t have a pasta party disaster, although it really is much simpler than it seems.

Pasta Feed Tips:

1. Set a practical menu. If you don’t mind spending some time in the kitchen, prepare some fun Italian dishes {see recipes below} to go with your pasta, but stick to simple spaghetti if you’re in a time crunch or if the thought of catering to a group that size makes you want to break out in hives.

2. Recruit other parents to help you in the kitchen. I usually have a mom or two who will show up to help me serve, cook, etc. Try not to be a one man show and ask for help if you need it.

3. Be realistic with your budget. While pasta is a pretty cheap way to feed the masses, food for a group that size can get expensive. If you’re looking for a way to cut down costs, host with another family {or two} and split the cost. Or ask other parents to send some desserts or sides. They’ll probably be more than happy to pick up a loaf of french bread or make a quick salad if they know they don’t have a herd of kids coming to their house!

4. Cook enough food. I usually make about 8 pounds of pasta, 20 pounds of sauce and 8 pounds of hamburger or meatballs {if your budget is really tight, eliminate the meat}. I also serve up 2 huge bowls of Caesar salad, 4 loafs of garlic bread and a simple dessert like brownies or cookies {at least 1 brownie per kid or 2 cookies per kid}. I’ll always have a pot of boiling water ready and some uncooked pasta on hand just in case they have larger than expected appetites.

5. Basic drinks are best. You can always go super inexpensive and have pitchers of water, but I usually do milk and juice too, and that’s typically what they always go for. I never serve soda or high fructose anything. While I don’t mind feeding kids junk food every now and then, I try to avoid having them drink it. That way I can bake up a pan of brownies and not feel the least bit bad about it.

6. Don’t forget the little stuff.
Make sure you have plenty of plates, cups, utensils and napkins. Borrow coolers if you’ll need more than you have to keep drinks cold. Also, LOTS of trash cans and plenty of trash bags. Set out a recycling bin if you recycle. The kids are always great about cleaning up after themselves and even taking the trash out if I ask them {make sure they help take down tables and chairs if you borrow or rent them}.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce Recipe

Heirloom Tomato Sauce

Pasta Feed Recipes:

By far the easiest thing to serve at a pasta feed is noodles and a simple red or meat sauce. But sometimes I like get a little creative and add a dish or two. It’s also helpful if you have non-meat eaters attending.  if I don’t have time to slave away in the kitchen, I can always fall back the freezer meals I have already made!

Freezer Meals - Lasagna with Meat Sauce 4Freezer Meal Lasagna with Meat Sauce:

If I don’t have time to slave away in the kitchen, I can always fall back on the freezer meals I have already made!

Simple Caprese Lasagna Roll-UpsCaprese Lasagna Roll-Ups:

Very helpful if you have non-meat eaters attending.

And there you have a few simple tips and recipes to help you host a successful and stress-free pasta feed. Have you done this before? Have any great ideas to add?

~Mavis

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Personal Space – How Much Do YOU Need?

How Much Personal space Do YOU Need

How Much Personal space Do YOU Need

I was in the grocery store yesterday waiting in line at the checkout.  The guy that got in line behind me {with just a basket, not a cart} scooched in oddly close to me–like there is “I’m in a line close” and “I could feel this guy’s breath on my neck close.”  I was stuck too–I couldn’t create any distance between us because there was someone in front of me.  The longer I stood there, the more I wanted him out of my personal bubble.  I don’t think I have ever had anyone do that–which I am pretty sure is because there is some sort of unspoken rule about how much distance you put between yourself and the next person in line–like a personal bubble courtesy.

I high-tailed it out of the grocery store and when I was still thinking about it later that night, I decided to see if there actually ARE “rules” for personal space.  {Read:  I wanted to know if I should just chill out a bit, or if this guy was a weirdo.}  Guess what?  There actually are some standard rules of comfort as far as people’s personal bubbles go.

Here’s what I found:

Anthropologist Edward T. Hall studied personal space in the 1960’s and came up with four different levels for varying  situations:

“Intimate distance – 6 to 18 inches
This level of physical distance often indicates a closer relationship or greater comfort between individuals. It often occurs during intimate contact such as hugging, whispering, or touching.

Personal distance – 1.5 to 4 feet
Physical distance at this level usually occurs between people who are family members or close friends. The closer the people can comfortably stand while interacting can be an indicator of the intimacy of the relationship.

Social distance – 4 to 12 feet
This level of physical distance is often used with individuals who are acquaintances. With someone you know fairly well, such as a co-worker you see several times a week, you might feel more comfortable interacting at a closer distance. In cases where you do not know the other person well, such as a postal delivery driver you only see once a month, a distance of 10 to 12 feet may feel more comfortable.

Public distance – 12 to 25 feet
Physical distance at this level is often used in public speaking situations. Talking in front of a class full of students or giving a presentation at work are good examples of such situations.”

This guy was definitely teetering on being in my “intimate distance” category.  And while I did find out that different countries have varying degrees of spacial needs, I also decided that the bottom line is that I need a lot to feel comfortable.

How much personal space do you need?  Is it different depending on WHERE you are, say the grocery store versus baseball stands at your kids’ games?

~Mavis

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How to Infuse Oils for Cooking

How to Infuse Oils for Cooking

How to Infuse Oils for Cooking

I love getting emails from my readers, especially when they ask questions I know lots of people might be interested in.  Recently, Michele asked me how to infuse oils for more flavorful cooking, etc.  She wrote:

Hi Mavis!

I love your site and check in daily and comment.  I’m working on a garden and having failures and successes.  My best success is Basil (I have massive plants about 3ft high & wide I don’t know what to do with) along with other herbs and Serrano Peppers (Texas heat has great hot peppers).

I wanted to ask if you have ever tried to infuse olive oil with peppers or herbs and how you did that.  I searched online and see that they say to keep in the fridge, but I know you can buy it infused and leave on counters.  I have more herbs and peppers than I know what to do with right now and thought of infusing some oils for cooking.  Do you have suggestions?

rosemary

It’s actually pretty simple to infuse oils for cooking.  And no, they don’t necessarily have to be refrigerated {I’ll get to that in a minute}.  To start, you’ll need some mason jars, a nice quality oil {Zoe is my favorite}, herbs, spices, peppers, garlic, etc.  {whatever combination floats your boat} and a sunny location.

Start by washing and COMPLETELY drying all of your herbs.  Moisture is the enemy here, because it promotes mold and bacterial growth.  So, if you don’t want to store your oils in the refrigerator, it is best to dehydrate your herbs, peppers, etc.  first.  Fresh taste best, but they also make it so the oils don’t last as long, so fresh will need to be stored in the fridge.

If you want to speed up the flavor infusing process, you can heat the oil and herbs, garlic, spices, etc. in a pan on LOW heat for about five minutes first.

Put the herbs, spices, etc. into a clean mason jar.  Pour oil over the top of the herbs.  {If you heated your herbs in the oil, pour the whole mixture into the jar.}  Put on the lid, and store in a sunny location for about a week–this will allow the flavor to infuse into the oil.

After a week, open the jar and taste the oil.  If you are satisfied with the flavor, the infusing is done.  If not, put the lid back on and let it sit a bit longer.

When the flavor is satisfactory, grab a fine mesh sieve and pour the infused oil into a clean glass bottle.  If you like the look of the herbs and you dried them first, you can keep them in the oil.  Otherwise, you will want to strain them out, to prevent them from growing mold.  If you used fresh herbs, you can always add a sprig of dried herbs to your final bottle for the look of it.

I hope this helped, Michele.  And, as always, if YOU have any tips on infusing oils, let me know in the comments below.

~Mavis

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Monthly Garden Chores – April

april garden chores

april garden chores

Gardening season is here!  And I for one think I might set up a tent in the backyard just to keep from having to be indoors one more second.  I am going to live in my garden for the next 7 months.  Sure, it may get a little weird that the kids have to visit me in the backyard, but everyone has a little weird in their family, right?

organic gardening cucumber seedlings

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

See the full list of seeds I’ll be planting this year

celery

What I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

asparagus crowns

Plants and/or Bulbs I Plan to Purchase this Month

fenugreek seeds botanical interests

What I plan to Harvest This Month

houseplant

Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

If you forced bulbs, you probably have flowers now.  Enjoy the indoor color and water the flowers a little more regularly. Also now might be a good time to fertilize the houseplants.

how to plant raspberry canes

Trees and Shrubs

Rake up any fallen flowers from early blooming shrubs to avoid fungus problems. Prune trees and clean up raspberry canes and blueberry plants.

ortho home defense

Weed and Pest Control

Continue regular weeding.  You may start to see caterpillars and slugs in your garden.  {I use Sluggo to keep the slugs off, as an organic solution.} I also sprinkle Ortho Home Defense around the perimeter of the house to keep bugs away. It smells like bacon!

pressure washing

Lawn Care

The HH will be fertilizing the a lawn this weekend. It’s still a little too chilly to plant grass seed, but he can edge the driveway and back patio for me. :) Also, if you have a teenage son, now might be a good time to bribe him with a couple of sacks of Doritos so he will pressure wash the patio for you. 😉

These garden chores are based on my Zone 8a Seattle/Tacoma WA location. Find your garden zone HERE.

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Free Kindle Books, Grocery Deals, Golf Organizer, Office Supplies, Easter Basket Treats and More

crock pot

spring flowers

I don’t know what happened yesterday but the sun came out for like 7 hours. What a SHOCKER!!! I was even able to get my front flower pot replanted with some pretty violas, tiny primroses and English poppies. Yay!

Today Lucy Puggles and I are going on a mini adventure.

What are you plans for today? Doing anything cool?

Mavis

Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day – Burn Notice: The Complete Series

free kindle books

Available Kindle Books I think are cool…

The prices on Kindle Books can change quickly, so grab them while you can.

crock potIf you are looking for a new slow cooker… Get one with the clamps. They make all the difference, especially if you transport meals as much as I do. They rock!

easter treats

These would make great Easter Basket Stuffers:

uncle bens rice couponsTwo Uncle Ben’s Rice Coupons popped up overnight:

office supplies

Here are a few deals on office supplies:

Samsonite Golf Trunk Organizer  Standard

This Samsonite Golf Trunk Organizer would make a great Father’s Day gift for the golfer in your life. Amazon has it on sale right now for $39.75 shipped. The HH has one and he uses it all the time.
easter dresses

Gymboree is offering up to 60% off all Spring Dressy Styles + Free Shipping. That’s a sweet deal if you ask me!

sperry top-siders

Calling all prepsters!! 6pm has Sperry Top-Siders on sale for $32.99 shipped. Their like totally cool man. 😉

tank tops

Get a 12-Pack of Tank Tops for $29.99 shipped from Groupon.

Pyrex Easy Grab 8 piece Bake and Store set

Amazon currently has the Pyrex Easy Grab 8 piece Bake and Store Set on sale for $16.79. What a deal!

healthy snacks

Amazon Grocery Deals

Non-Drowsy Claritin Allergy coupon

If you suffer from allergies, here are a few printable coupons:

Find More Printable Coupons

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