Save Money and Have a Healthier Garden

Having a healthy organic garden doesn't have to cost a fortune. These frugal tips will help your garden be healthier and more productive.

picture of a garden walkway with garden tools with text overlay " How to Save Money and Have a Healthier Garden"

If your love for gardening is bigger than your budget, you are not alone. A quick trip to your local nursery or garden center for plants and other supplies can add up to hundreds of dollars before you know it.

Fortunately, you don’t need to sacrifice this month’s grocery budget in exchange for a bountiful harvest later. There are plenty of ways you can plant an amazing garden without breaking the bank.

Here are some money-saving organic gardening tips to help you get started:

Make Your Own Compost

Healthy soil is right up there with sunshine and water for organic gardening essentials, unless you go hydroponic (which can be expensive to start). Composting reduces kitchen and yard waste and enriches your soil for FREE!

Simply add your organic kitchen scraps, grass clippings, fall leaves, and other suitable material to your compost heap and turn it every two or three weeks to keep it aerated. Keep it moist while it “cooks” and let nature do the rest. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of rich, dark organic compost to use in your garden.

For more details on creating your own high-quality compost at home, check out my step by step guide to composting (it's easy I promise!)

Trowel applying compost to a grape vine.

Grow New Plants from Cuttings

Buying new plants can get expensive quickly. Fortunately, some garden favorites, such as tomatoes and peppers, can be propagated by taking cuttings from the mature plants and rooting them in loose potting medium. Then, once the cuttings establish roots, you can plant the rooted cutting in your garden just as you would any other plant.

Most of my house plants were grow from cuttings: spider plants, pothos, jade, begonias and more.

Split Your Plants

You can also get new plants from overcrowded pots and gardening beds. When potted plants outgrow their pot, they can no longer get the nutrients they need from the potting soil. And overcrowded gardening beds can look overgrown and be harder to tend.

90% of the plants in my front yard are transplanted from another part of my yard. I dug up some yarrow from the back yard and planted it in the front. This gave the existing yarrow room to expand again and I had new FREE plants in the front.

Collect and Grow from Seeds

Be sure to save seeds from your favorite organic heirloom vegetables from year to year. It’s easy to harvest seeds from many popular veggies, including cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Do some online research on each type of seed you collect to learn how to properly store and prepare them for planting the following year.

I accidentally did this with a potted oregano plant on my front porch. Unbeknownst to me, the seeds blew around in our Santa Ana winds and ended up landing in a nearby gardening bed and growing there. I decided to let it stay there, but I also could have moved it to another pot or area.

Swap seeds and plants with friends.

Another fun and easy way to save money on your organic garden is to host a seed swap with your garden-loving friends and family members.

Everyone brings their extra seeds and plant cuttings then trades them for something else they want. I have received some of my favorite plants this way.

With a little creativity you can have a lush organic gardening for little to no cost. It is better for the plants and for you and your family.

Pumpkin Shovels and More on #HappinessisHomemade

Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends!

The cabinets are finally here for my kitchen remodel. It won't be long now, hopefully, until I have a new intelligently designed kitchen. I will have posts of the process as well as how we manage without a kitchen once demo begins.

I spent this post week making some great chocolate treats to share for Choctoberfest, a week long blogger celebration of all things chocolate. Be sure to visit me over on That Recipe this week, or smarter still, follow me on social media, so you can get all of the great recipes plus enter to win the $400+ chocolate and cocoa prize package.

And with that let's get to the party.

Happiness is Homemade

Y'all are killing me. I swore there was no way I was hitting Halloween yet. I mean honestly it is the Canadian Thanksgiving today. Today was supposed to be about pie and turkey and brine and yes pumpkins too. The posts are all too amazing and quite possibly a Halloween party made its way into the features.

Happiness is Homemade says Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian Friends. To everyone else, don't be jealous that they are eating turkey today because I have some planning ready for you.

This weeks Happiness is Homemade Features

Let's start with Crystal's Apple Orange Spice Cake that had me drooling. Does it get any more delicious? the perfect recipe for Thanksgiving dinner.

Bird's Party Transylvania Movie Party is too cute for words. I swore Halloween would wait till next week but who could resist this?

Gluten free with Judee created the most amazing serving dishes. I pictured how fun the table setting would look and think of the easy clean up.

Fresh Vintage by Lisa turned a shovel into the cutest Pumpkin decor. I am getting my chalk out. The perfect Fall Decor when the temperature is not cooling down enough to make you think Fall.

and our own Lisa from Blogghetti captured my attention with this Vanilla Caramel Apple Latte. How delicious does this sound.

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.  Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade - be sure to give them a visit!

Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Viktoria @ Awesome Alice
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Cynthia @ Create with Cynthia
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess
Audrey @ Munofore
Audrey @ That Recipe

Let's get on with the party!

Velvet Pumpkins and Woodland Tablescapes on #HappinessisHomemade

I love this time of year. This weekend we set up our Halloween display out front and it makes me so happy to see our neighborhood getting festive. We have a block party in our cul-de-sac and cozy around the firepits visiting and passing out candy to the kids.

Here are some ideas for DIY outdoor Halloween decorations:

I have one more post I promise to write up this week about the Halloween gourds we decorated this year. Be sure to check back!

Happiness is Homemade #219

Hey Everyone, It’s my month to host Happiness is Homemade October woohoo. If you are joining from a blog other than mine I am Linda from A Labour of Life. And I am so happy I live in a World that has October’s.

I will be hosting all this month and that puts a full Pumpkin Smile on my face. October is Fall and Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween and did I mention Pumpkin Spice?

hih 291

Happiness is Homemade Features to Start October

This week I selected a little bit of everything Fall, some food, a craft, a diy firepit and even an awesome table. Enjoy and please let’s see what amazing Fall and Halloween ideas you have for Happiness is Homemade.

First up is Virginia Sweetpeas awesome Woodland Tablescape

woodland table

Today’s Lakeside Woodland Fall Tablescape is a result of a Pinterest challenge that Paula participates in. Apparently it is a monthly challenge hosted by Cindy from County Road 407. Each month Cindy picks a picture from Pinterest and challenges the group to recreate the look. I think I want to get involved with that challenge because y'all know how much I love my tablescapes.

Fresh Vintage by Lisa and Velvet No Sew Pumpkins

velvet no sew pumpkins

How beautiful are these Velvet no sew pumpkins? And so on point. I was at Michael's this weekend and the shelves were filled with amazing velvet pumpkins. Gone are the traditional Orange. Today's must haves are great colours with amazing textures.

The Lou Lou Girls and a Fun Pumpkin Pie Crisp

pumpkin pie crisp

Pumpkin Pie Crisp is an amazing twist on the traditional Apple Crisp. MY mouth was watering just seeing the picture. I could smell the warm hints of pumpkin through my screen. You can bet I have pinned this for a future dessert.

Simply Designing Porch's Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup in a bowl

Can it truly be October without an amazing soup recipe? This delicious dish from Simply Designing Porch is going to become a Fall Favourite. A Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup made in the crock pot.

A DIY Firepit and Walkway from Thrifty Diving

diy firepit

The final feature had me drooling in a whole different manner. A homemade Firepit anchored in the yard with a gravel walkway feature. DIY Firepit and walkway is on my list of must have's. Sadly it will mean moving out of the city but I would totally move to have this. I am not kidding you folks, picture this by the lake!Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.  Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade - be sure to give them a visit!

Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Viktoria @ Awesome Alice
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Cynthia @ Create with Cynthia
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess
Audrey @ Munofore
Audrey @ That Recipe

Let's get on with the party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Pumpkin Door Decor and Pallet Projects #HappinessisHomemade

Fall is here and that means pumpkin season! Lisa has some great pumpkin features for us this week. In the pumpkin spirit, here are a few fun pumpkin posts.

Happiness is Homemade Link Party

This week's Happiness is Homemade Link Party features are all about the pumpkins.  From pumpkin recipes to inexpensive pumpkin decor for the Fall.  Check out the ideas and recipes this week on the link party to help you along.

Happiness is Homemade Logo

Lisa from Blogghetti here again with this week's Happiness is Homemade features. Last week I mentioned that it was starting to cool off here in Middle Georgia. Well...it was a tease because since then it's been 100 or higher here STILL I'm really over this hot weather, so this week my features are in line with Fall again. 

Last week on the blog, I shared pumpkin recipes for #PumpkinWeek (check out that hashtag for more recipes on social media) and I thought I would share more recipes and home decor that features pumpkins. I hope you enjoy the features and browse the other links this week.  Those that you visit, be sure to drop a comment on the blogger's posts letting them know you love what you see. 

Happiness is Homemade Link Party Features Collage for September 29

Happiness is Homemade Features of the Week (Party #290)

I love inexpensive home projects like this one made from pallets.  This rustic pallet pumpkin DIY from Kippi at Home is easy to make and will be a great addition to your outdoor Fall decor.

rustic pallet pumpkins

Bake up a loaf of this pumpkin bread with pumpkin buttercream from NancyC this week for a sweet treat to have after dinner, for breakfast, or anytime.

pumpkin bread with pumpkin buttercream

I love the Dollar Tree for craft ideas and supplies and so does Olivia Ohern as she made this cute pumpkin trio door hanger with dollar store items.

pumpkin trio door hanger

Because we're still having summer here, this no bake triple layer pumpkin pie is going on my dessert menu this week.  Cincy Shopper's recipe is easy and that's my kind of recipe.

No-Bake-Triple-Layer-Pumpkin-Pie

Bonus feature this week because if you're going to make pumpkin recipes you may want to keep a jar of this DIY pumpkin spice blend on hand.

DIY-Pumpkin-Spice-Blend

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.  Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade - be sure to give them a visit!

Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Viktoria @ Awesome Alice
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Cynthia @ Create with Cynthia
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess
Audrey @ Munofore
Audrey @ That Recipe

 Let's get on with the party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Happiness is Homemade Ribbon Pumpkins and Fall Leaf Display

A little after midnight tonight, 12:50 am Monday, Autumn will officially be here. It is my favorite time of year and I am ready for cooler temperatures and pumpkins, scarecrows, colored leaves and more. Lisa has some great Fall features this week.

Make your home an indoor oasis, and source of healing with these indoor plants.

Happiness is Homemade Link Party

This week's Happiness is Homemade Link Party is keeping the Fall theme with delicious sweet treats and Autumn decor. Are you ready for Fall? Check out the ideas and recipes this week on the link party to help you along.

Happiness is Homemade Logo

 Lisa from Blogghetti here again with this week's Happiness is Homemade features. I'm excited that Fall temps are starting to arrive in my area so it's time to decorate for the season and bake!  Let's get on with Happiness is Homemade. This week I am featuring a fabulous cake (check out that drip), a sweet cookie, and two super easy Fall decor projects.  I hope you enjoy the features and browse the other links this week.  Those that you visit, be sure to drop a comment on the blogger's posts letting them know you love what you see. 

Happiness is Homemade Features of the Week (Party #289)

collage of features for this weeks Happiness is Homemade Link Party

Easily add Fall in your home with this great idea from The Boondocks.

Treat yourself and those you love to these Pumpkin Spice Marshmallow Whoppie Pies made by Curly Crafty Mom.

How cute is this dressed up pumpkin from Purple Hues and Me?

Birds Party never disappoints with her creations like this Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Drip.

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.  Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade - be sure to give them a visit!

Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Viktoria @ Awesome Alice
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Cynthia @ Create with Cynthia
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess
Audrey @ Munofore
Audrey @ That Recipe

 Let's get on with the party!

7 Indoor Plants to Heal You and Your Home

Enjoy tranquility, health, and fresh air with indoor plants in your home.

Adding indoor plants to your environment can reduce toxins and increase fresh air and create tranquility. These plants also provide added health benefits for you. #indoorplants #healthyplants #healingplants #medicinalplants #indoorgardening #muoforeblog

Life is hectic, period. These days adults and children alike are over-scheduled; constantly zipping from one commitment to the next and by the end of the week, everyone is exhausted and seeking refuge and recuperation for what seems like seconds before the vicious cycle resets.

But did you know that you can achieve Zen like restoration in the comfort of your own home? By adding a few therapeutic plants you will not only improve the aesthetic, but also the air quality while adding a few health and mood elevating benefits.

Houseplants are good for your health

Houseplants actually do the opposite of what we do when we breathe; they release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, freshening the air and eliminating the harmful toxins. NASA’s extensive research reveals that houseplants can remove up to 87% of toxins in the air within 24 hours.

A sense of wellbeing comes over you when you are exposed to plants. Studies show that indoor plants improve productivity and even concentration by up to 15%. They also reduce stress and boost mood.

  • Plants speed up the recovery rates of patients – this is according to researchers from the Kansas State University. When they compared the records of patients who had plants in their rooms to that of patients who did not have any in their rooms they founds that patients who had plants requested fewer pain medications, their heart rates and blood pressure were lower, they were less anxious, they experienced less fatigue and their average recovery rates were higher.
  • The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture reported that adding plants to office settings decreased fatigue, headaches, colds, coughs, flu-like symptoms and colds.
  • According to the Agricultural University of Norway, instances of illness fell by more than 60% among employee offices that had plants!

Healing Indoor Plant Suggestions

Any plant can help detoxify the air and provide a sense of calm, but here are some plants that offer a little something extra to your health.

Ferns

indoor fern plants

Ferns are well-loved and sought-after plants in the home because they are great at removing negative energy from a room. It’s because they purify the air and even absorb harmful toxins from the environment. Ferns can also create additional humidity in the air by pulling water from the soil and transpiring it back into the environment

Don’t put them in direct sunlight. For added humidity, place the fern on a pebble tray (a shallow tray with rocks and water).

Aloe Vera

The gel found on this plant has amazing healing properties; it’s a skin soother as well as a body detoxifier. This plant also maintains the air quality in your home, clearing the air of pollutants that are in your cleaning products, for example, and keeping your home beautiful and fresh. Aloe Vera plants love the sun and coming in various sizes and can blend into almost any décor.

Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis)

Maybe you already have this in your pantry, but Green Tea is a must-have in your home. Boosting digestion, alleviating colds, and giving your skin a glow of health green tea is a super food with a laundry list of internal and external benefits. It’s also wonderful as a healthy rinse for hair, keeping it smooth and shiny.

Green Tea can be planted in containers outdoors and moved indoors during winter, or kept indoors year round.

Catnip

Catnip is beneficial for humans and pets. A tea made from dried catnip leaves has a calming effect which can ease anxiety, insomnia, and headaches. According to WebMd, It can also create a high in our feline friends, or make them mellow, or have no effect.

Place catnip plants in a spot that gets at least 5 hours of direct sunlight and water when it is slightly dry.

Herbs

Create an Indoor Herb Garden: 3 easy to grow herbs and recipes to use them. #gardening #recipes #herbs

You can grow all kinds of herbs indoors to have ready access to them for cooking year round. Basil, rosemary, thyme, lavender, oregano, chives, mint and more all do well inside. You get the benefits of cleaner air as well as the flavor and health benefits of the herbs.

Read here for tips to get you started.

Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)

lemon balm potte plant

Mmmmmm – who doesn’t love the smell of lemon?! This gorgeous plant will enhance your indoor garden with its lovely aroma. If you get bitten by insects while enjoying a balmy evening, rub some lemon balm over the bite and it will instantly soothe it. Lemon Balm has ferulic acid in it, protecting the skin from damage, so it’s not surprising that it can be made into an ointment for sunburn and sores.

Chili Peppers

Chili peppers will add bright colors to your home as well as spicy and healthy flavors to your meals. Chili peppers are known to increase metabolism, alleviate arthritic pain as well as promote a healthy heart and digestive tract.

Choose a small edible variety. These plants love direct sunlight; water when slightly dry. (more information)

So, stop what you’re doing and head to your nearest nursery, you’ve got some plant shopping to do!

‘Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity’

~Lindley Karstens

Happiness is Homemade Apple Planter and Apple Pouches

This week I have been focused on my kitchen remodel both at home and on the blog. I share 5 questions to consider before deciding to DIY or hire a professional.

pictures of couple painting and workers remodeling a home

Lisa has some amazingly tasty and creative apple recipes and crafts as our features this week so let's jump right in.

Happiness is Homemade

This week's Happiness is Homemade Link Party has all things apples from delicious food to super cute DIY centerpieces.  It's also the beginning of #AppleWeek in the blogging world.  So, the features this week are a great start to a great week.

Happiness is Homemade Logo

 Lisa from Blogghetti here again with this week's Happiness is Homemade features. I mentioned it's #AppleWeek and with that comes a week of recipes from participating bloggers that all have one common element - APPLES. Be sure to check back on Blogghetti all week to get the recipes and to enter the nifty giveaway, too. 

For now, let's get on with Happiness is Homemade. This week I am featuring a yummy apple recipes, an adult apple drink, and three DIY apple themed projects. I hope you enjoy the features and browse the other links this week.  Those that you visit, be sure to drop a comment on the blogger's posts letting them know you love what you see. 

Happiness is Homemade Features of the Week (Party #287)

Happiness is Homemade Link Party Features Collage for September 15

Starting the features out with a scrumptious recipe from Cooking with Carlee.  This upside down caramel apple skillet cake is one sweet treat that I need to make right away.

UPSIDE DOWN APPLE CAKE

She's Crafty has this easy how-to project that is super cute.  Check out her tutorial on how to make a faux vintage can planter.

how to use a can for a planter

We can always count on Bird's Party for the cutest projects and this DIY Apple Shaped Zipper Pouch does not disappoint.

apple-shaped-purse-pencilcase-diy5

Apple Ginger Moscow Mules from Delightful E Made are perfect for adults to sip on while waiting for the Fall temps to arrive or while enjoying the cooler weather, if you're luck to have that!

Apple Ginger Moscow Mule

 Bonus feature this week because I "oohhed" and ahhhed" over this easy early Fall centerpiece featuring apples.  Find out how easy to make it  on StoneGable's blog.  

SIMPLE-AND-SWEET-EARLY-FALL-CENTERPIECE-kitchen-table-stonegableblog-3-2

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.  Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade - be sure to give them a visit!

Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Viktoria @ Awesome Alice
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Cynthia @ Create with Cynthia
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess
Audrey @ Munofore
Audrey @ That Recipe

 Let's get on with the party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Remodeling Your Home? Should you DIY or Hire a Pro?

Five questions to help you decide if you should hire a professional or do it yourself when remodeling your home.

pictures of couple painting and workers remodeling a home

We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen. We, okay I, have been debating for the past year as to whether I wanted to do a DIY renovation or hire someone to do a complete gut job.

My husband and I considered these questions before ultimately making our decision about DIY versus hiring a pro.

Do you have the time and money?

If you hire a professional, you will pay for the materials as well as the installation. You will also be on their time table instead of your own. So doing it your self is cheaper and faster, right?

Not exactly. Contractors can get better pricing on many materials and since they perform these tasks on a regular basis they can do the overall work faster. Plus it is their job to do it. You would be doing the work in addition to all of your other responsibilities.

OUR ANSWER: My husband works crazy hours and when he is home our son demands his constant attention. No, that is not an exaggeration. It is all Dad all the time.

Do you have the knowledge?

Some things, like repainting a room or hanging drapes, are relatively simple to accomplish and do not require any special knowledge.

Structural, electrical, and plumbing issues are all considerable more complex and could be hazardous if not done correctly. You could watch YouTube videos to gain some knowledge, the question is how confident are you that you know what you are doing to your home?

OUR ANSWER: I could research the best method to paint or stain the kitchen cabinets and have them look amazingly better than they do now. But to replace any cabinets or do anything electrical or plumbing? NO WAY!

Do you have the equipment?

Many DIY projects can be accomplished with basic inexpensive tools. However power tools can often make it easier and safer. If you know how to use them and have access to them.

I am the queen of accomplishing projects without the proper tools. I recently replaced damaged laminate flooring in my kitchen with a tool box saw and hammer. It doesn't look too bad, especially considering it will be replaced soon.

OUR ANSWER: Basic hand tools, power drill and sander ...that's all we got. We would have to borrow or rent if we needed more than that.

Do you have help?

Many hands make light work. Sometimes having an extra person makes the job faster, other jobs are nearly impossible to complete without help.

Painting a room can be done solo. But hanging upper cabinets pretty much requires at least one other person.

OUR ANSWER: We have each other <3 <3 ... when our son is at school or asleep. In other words, I am on my own for the most part.

Do you have the temperament?

Home improvement can be stressful when things do not go as planned. Can you get the job done without getting too frustrated?

For us, the sub heading to this question is "Do you want to hire a marriage counselor?" Chip and Joanna Gaines work wonderfully together without becoming the Bickersons. At least that's how it looks on Fixer Upper.

We once spent 2 hours hanging drapes in our bedroom snipping at each other through much of it.

OUR ANSWER: NOPE!!

DIY or Hire or ???

For us the answer was a pretty clear "hire someone else to do it". Actually we are going for a combination of the two. The cabinets, countertops and flooring will be done by pros. But painting, and perhaps the molding and backsplash and a few other minor jobs I can do myself.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to home improvements. Ask yourself the questions above, do your research about what the job really entails. If you aren't comfortable with your abilities and time commitments consider calling in the pros.

Fall Windowbox Planter and Refresh Old Baskets on #HappinessisHomemade

This week was going along wonderfully, with the release of my first cookbook on Kindle (you can read about that here) then at 3:57 pm Wednesday lightening struck about a mile from my house and started the Tenaja Wildfire.

hill on flames from Tenaja Fire in Murrieta, CA
Tenaja Fire 8pm Wednesday night before I went in to pack

It came within about a quarter mile of our home on Thursday afternoon, but we luckily stayed on voluntary evacuation orders. The street just south of us was on mandatory. Our bags were packed and we were ready to go if the winds kicked up again, but the fire fighting crews stood their ground and only two homes had minor fire damage.

Way too close for comfort! I'd breath a sigh of relief, but there is still too much smoke and ash around to breath normally, haha! *cough*cough*

I had plenty of time trapped inside to find some crafty inspiration, like these 10 DIY Fall Wreaths.

collage of fall wreaths


And with that I am going to hand you over to Lisa for our regularly scheduled party.

Happiness is Homemade

This week's Happiness is Homemade Link Party has DIY projects and recipes that will make your to-do list longer with fun projects and feed your family delicious foods.

Happiness is Homemade Logo

Lisa from Blogghetti here again with this week's Happiness is Homemade features. I hope if you were affected by Hurricane Dorian it was minor and you and your loved ones are well. This week I am featuring two DIY that will give new life to your baskets and outdoor window boxes plus two yummy sweet treats that kids of all ages will enjoy.  Can't wait to see what everyone links up this week!  I'm looking for easy Fall decor and easy meals for busy nights!

Happiness is Homemade Features of the Week (Party #287)

Happiness is Homemade Link Party Features Collage for September 8

My first feature for the week is from The Boondocks Blog and it's a perfect project to spruce up old baskets or ones you have found at the thrift stores.  Check out how to add a fun look baskets with paint and then go find some baskets to makeover.

How to add a fun look to baskets with paint

I am sure my Samoa cookie lovers will be overjoyed if I were to make these Samoas Rice Krispies for them.  Mommy Evolution's recipe for them couldn't be easier.

Samoas RIce Krispies

Sadly, I do not have much of a green thumb, but I love this Fall Window Box from Uncommon Designs and I think you will too.  Head over to their blog to learn how to plant a Fall Window Box and what thrillers, fillers, and spillers are!

how to plant a fall window box

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Sandwich Cookies from Salvage Sister and Mister complete my features for the week.  I am so craving these delicious cookies, so I go to make them!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Sandwich Cookies

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.

Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade - be sure to give them a visit!
Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Viktoria @ Awesome Alice
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Cynthia @ Create with Cynthia
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess
Audrey @ Munofore
Audrey @ That Recipe
 Let's get on with the party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

10 Easy DIY Fall Wreaths to Welcome Autumn

10 simple DIY Fall Wreaths to hang on your door to increase curb appeal and welcome visitors.

collage of fall wreaths with text overlay "10 easy DIY Fall Wreaths"

Fall is a great time to create a wreath for your door to help celebrate the season. Luckily, it’s not that hard to create wreaths. Most items you can buy online or at any local craft store. Or go shopping for items inside your own home or garden.

Below is a round-up of awesome fall do-it-yourself wreath ideas that don’t require a lot of skill to be successful.

Easy Rustic DIY Fall Wreath

This fall wreath idea from Consumer Crafts is beautiful in its simplicity and shows that with just a few well-placed items you can bring the spirit of fall to everyone who crosses your threshold.

All you need is a grapevine wreath form, vine, burlap ribbon, floral wire, pinecones (which you can get outside), a tag and a hot glue gun, and you’re on your way to making this simple wreath that is also beautiful to look at. It would make a great gift.

Punch Fabric Wreath

All you need for this wreath from 3 Crafting Angels is a straw wreath form that is covered in plastic, and about four yards of fabric cut into four-inch squares. You can use pinking shears to make different types of cuts and get frames in all shapes and sizes.

After the fabric is cut, use a Phillips-head screwdriver to carefully punch the fabric into the wreath form until it looks full and rich from the front. Add ribbon, and you have a beautiful fall punch fabric wreath.

Tied Fabric Wreath

Similar to the wreath above, this fall fabric wreath Quilty Therapy from strips of fabric that are tied to 12" wire wreath. Add some burlap or other decor to give it a rustic look if you want and voila!

Apple Wreath

Not much says fall like red delicious apples. Use this example from Wood Grain Cottage as your guide, but use your imagination to make it your own.

This calls for Styrofoam wreath forms, burlap strips, fake apples, moss, and hot glue gun and sticks. Instead of apples you could use mini pumpkins and other gourds.

Cookie Wreath

I would opt for salt dough instead of actual sugar cookies to make this wreath from Country Living, so that it can last longer and be used again and not attract BUGS. Ewww!

Whether you choose to color the dough or paint it, is up to you. But you simply make the cookies, and glue onto a cardboard wreath form.

Monogram Fall Wreath

This Monogram Wreath from Addicted to DIY is perfect for your front door or as a gift to someone else. You just need a grapevine wreath form, your initial form, paint and a few more things to make this gorgeous sunflower fall monogram wreath for your front door.

Pinecone Wreath

This pinecone wreath idea from The Whoot is genius. Use paint, pinecones you find outside (or buy at a craft store), a pool noodle, or another type of base to get started. If you can stick the pinecones to the form, that’s all you need.

Straw Hat Scarecrow Wreath

Forget the traditional wreath base and use an old straw hat to make this adorable scarecrow from Hip2Save. Rummage through your closet or hit up some thrift stores then decorate with buttons, raffia and ribbon.

Tied Twig Frame

12 on Main not only breaks free of the traditional wreath forms she ditches the round shape entirely and makes a simple square out of tied twigs. And best of all this project is really low cost if you get the twigs from your yard.

Decorated Picture Frame

My mother made some Christmas "wreaths" from gold picture frames, so of course I love this idea from Aubree Originals. Paint or cover the frame and add your decorations. Traditional with a twist.

Making fall wreaths is fun. They make great décor pieces as well as gifts for everyone in your family. You might even be able to make them for a fundraiser for your group or organization, just in time for the fall craft sale seasons.

Happiness is Homemade Fall Wreaths and DIY Wooden Tables

The heat is on here in Southern California which has me dreaming of Autumn with apples, pumpkins, sweaters and slow cookers. This week I shared some ideas for decorating your porch for Autumn with pumpkins.

cat and pumpkins on a porch with text overlay "Decorate Your POrch for Autumn with pumpkins"

And now let's party.

Happiness is Homemade

This week's Happiness is Homemade Link Party has DIY projects and recipes that will have you in the Fall frame-of-mind even if the weather is still warm where you are.

Happiness is Homemade Logo

Hey ya'll! It's Lisa from Blogghetti and I'll be your hostess this month.  I'm all about simple and delicious recipes that get dinner on the table fast but won't break the bank making them.  September is still quite warm here in Georgia but I'm already in Fall mode waiting for the cooler weather and dishing up Autumn foods. 

This week I am featuring two sweet Fall treats, two easy DIY projects, and one easy meal perfect for any night of the week, including Meatless Mondays.  I can't wait to see what wonderful posts are linked up this week.  Bring it on! 

Happiness is Homemade Features of the Week (Party #286)

Collage of Happiness is Homemade Link Party features for August 29

I love a good no-bake cookie recipe like these Nutter Butter Acorns from All Because She Saved.  So easy that the kids can even help make them.  Perfect for an after school snack or package them up to send in with the kids for a classroom snack.  Save a few for yourself! 

Nutter-Butter-with-Sprinkles

 Gather your craft supplies to make one or all of these 7 Fabulous Outdoor Fall Wreaths from Stone Gable.  I wish I had time to make them all but I think I am making the Green Apple Wreath for my door! 

Green apple wreath

 If it's Fall, then it's Pumpkin time! How cute are these Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes from Walking on Sunshine? I just love how easy it is to make them. 

Mini-Pumpkin-Bundt-Cakes-FEATURED-photo-from-Walking-on-Sunshine-Recipes

 Want to update a table but don't want to spend a lot of money doing so? Then this DIY project from Abbotts at Home is the perfect project for you.  Using 2x4's to create a one-of-a-kind table top will give your old table new life.  Make this DIY Wood Color Block Table Top and have fun with the colors. 

Wood-Color-Block-Table-Top-2

 Finally, one extra feature this week because we all need a quick meal in our recipe box.  I just love the flavors from roasting vegetables and this Lemon Butter Orzo with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes will make a tasty dish this week on my menu.  Get the recipe from TinselBox

Lemon butter orzo with roasted asparagus and tomatoes

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.  Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade - be sure to give them a visit!

Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Viktoria @ Awesome Alice
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Cynthia @ Create with Cynthia
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess
Audrey @ Munofore
Audrey @ That Recipe

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Decorate Your Porch for Autumn with Pumpkins

Pumpkins can be an essential, yet inexpensive way to decorate your porch for Autumn.

pumpkins and cat on a porch with text overlay

Pumpkins are now available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They also last quite a while if you don't cut in to them. Here are a few ideas to use them as an accent or a focal point to your Autumn porch decor.

Keep It Simple

Minimalists can decorate too. A couple of pumpkins and a planter of fall flowers, like in the photo above, can make all the difference in your fall décor. Add gourds and other interest to bring out more of the fall season, but keep it simple.

Vintage Country Fall Harvest Porch

If you have an old wagon laying around, or you can find one at a sale, you can make this look extra fun. Just fill the wagon with pumpkins, fall foliage etc., and you’re done.

Get creative with different colors and sizes of pumpkins and other rustic elements. I love the faded fence posts combined with the lanterns in this one from HomeTalk.

check out HomeTalk for more details

Blue is the New Orange

Typical fall colors not in your color wheel? That’s OK bring in fall elements with different colors (or paint them), and still end up with a wonderful fall feeling to your décor.

I love the colors in this blue and white porch from Home Stories A to Z. She has plenty of other ideas for Fall porch decorations so go check it out.

Get more Fall porch decor ideas on Home Stories A to Z

Painted Pumpkin Fun

Get several pumpkins (real or plastic), some spray paint, acrylic paint in a contrasting color and stencils. Spray paint the pumpkins and let dry. Then use the stencils and contrasting color for the lettering. You can put your name, Happy Holidays, Happy Fall, or even your house number on the pumpkins with the stencils.

Hint, dark paint on a lighter base requires less coats of pain than light colors on a dark base.

Get tips for white washing a pumpkin for a shabby chic look here.

Step it Up

If you have steps up to your porch then you can add pumpkins on each step, along with hay bales, apple baskets of fall plants, and more. The best way to make it look good is to use the different heights to your advantage, starting small at the bottom and getting bigger at the top.

Make Something to Last

No, you don't want pumpkins on your porch in April, but you can easily make decorations that you can reuse from year to year.

My pumpkin totem tower is reversible, jack o'lanterns on one side plain orange on the other. I spin it around in October and leave it like this in September and November.

porch with Autumn pumpkin totem with silk flowers

My son and I are also painting some dried gourds we got from my mom to reuse year after year. She got them online "somewhere" (if you have a good source, let me know).

Pumpkin display ideas for your porch are plentiful online. You can get a lot more tips to help you decorate your porch so that it stands out for the fall holidays. Add a holiday wreath and some holiday garland to your door to make it all come together or let the pumpkins stand out on their own.

Other Autumn Decorating Posts

Easy Fabric Pumpkins and Halloween Bottles on #HappinessIsHomemade

Summer is unofficially winding down with many schools already back in session (we just finished week 2) and Labor Day just around the corner. So, Bev from Electric Red Barn helped us out by choosing features that are a mix of Summer and Fall ideas for those that want the best of both.

We are about to begin a massive kitchen remodel, so I thought I'd blog along with the process. First up is 5 questions we asked ourselves before deciding if we should renovate or remodel.

Welcome to Happiness Is Homemade!

Before we get into the party I want to say goodbye to Susan from Crafting a Family. This will be her last week as a hostess, but she promises to keep sharing her creations with us every week.  

We have two new hostesses joining us beginning this week: Viktoria from Awesome Alice and Cynthia from Create with Cynthia. Be sure to head over to check out their blogs and follow them on social media.

Features for Happiness Is Homemade #285

Happiness is Homemade Link Party 284. Share NOW DIY, crafts, home decor, recipes with bloggers and readers. Sunday ~ Thursday. 9 hostesses. 5 features. #linkparty #linkparties #happinessishomemadelinkparty #eclecticredbarn

Features include:

Now these are not your ordinary Halloween Bottles. They look expensive and difficult to make but Anita makes it seem easy. Stop by Unique Creations by Anita to see how she created them.  You just might want to make a few of your own.

Happiness is Homemade Link Party 284. Share NOW DIY, crafts, home decor, recipes with bloggers and readers. Sunday ~ Thursday. 9 hostesses. 5 features. #linkparty #linkparties #happinessishomemadelinkparty #eclecticredbarn

How can you not be happy when you look at the tablescape? Amber, over at Follow the Yellow Brick Home, used sunflowers and lemons to create a sunny fall tablescape. I want to sit down and enjoy some of that yummy lemonade. 

Happiness is Homemade Link Party 284. Share NOW DIY, crafts, home decor, recipes with bloggers and readers. Sunday ~ Thursday. 9 hostesses. 5 features. #linkparty #linkparties #happinessishomemadelinkparty #eclecticredbarn

Are you thinking about fall? Then grab some old flannel shirts and whip up some Easy Sew Fabric Pumpkins. Kippi At Home has all the details for creating your special pumpkins.

Happiness is Homemade Link Party 284. Share NOW DIY, crafts, home decor, recipes with bloggers and readers. Sunday ~ Thursday. 9 hostesses. 5 features. #linkparty #linkparties #happinessishomemadelinkparty #eclecticredbarn

Maybe for labor Day you are thinking of a yummy breakfast. Wouldn't this red, white and french toast be a hit with the family. Everyone just enjoying a long weekend with a delicious but easy breakfast. head over to Marilyn's Treats for the complete recipe.

Happiness is Homemade Link Party 284. Share NOW DIY, crafts, home decor, recipes with bloggers and readers. Sunday ~ Thursday. 9 hostesses. 5 features. #linkparty #linkparties #happinessishomemadelinkparty #eclecticredbarn

With Labor Day right around the corner, why not create a Tex-Mex Summer Spread.  Is this cactus centerpiece made from zucchini and watermelon adorable. Check out the other creative ideas over at The Painted Apron.

Happiness is Homemade Link Party 284. Share NOW DIY, crafts, home decor, recipes with bloggers and readers. Sunday ~ Thursday. 9 hostesses. 5 features. #linkparty #linkparties #happinessishomemadelinkparty #eclecticredbarn

  Please check out my featured posts and leave a comment - bloggers love it when you leave feedback!  Be sure to also Pin, Share or bookmark any posts you are interested in so you can reference them later. 

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.  

Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade - be sure to give a visit!  

Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Viktoria @ Awesome Alice
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Cynthia @ Create with Cynthia
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess
Audrey @ Munofore
Audrey @ That Recipe

And now for the party.......click below to link up bloggers OR scroll down to see all the amazing posts our bloggers have to share!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Should You Remodel or Renovate Your Kitchen

Five questions to help you decide if you should remodel or renovate your kitchen.

Many homeowners dream of redoing their kitchen. Some may just want a fresh look while some may feel the need to add more functionality. The process involves a lot of mind boggling decisions, starting with should you remodel or renovate?

Difference between Remodeling and Renovating

No, they are not the same thing. The difference is in the amount of work involved as well as the cost.

Renovate means to "make new again". This usually means cosmetic changes to the existing floor plan such as painting, refacing the cabinets, new hardware, or even new flooring.

Remodel means to "change the structure". Out with the old and in with the new: cabinets, floors, lighting, etc. It can be minor or be all the way to the studs replacement.

Renovating involves less work, which means less time and cost. Remodeling lets you change what doesn't currently work in the space.

We faced this decision recently so we asked our selves these 5 questions to help us decide.

1: Are you planning to move within the next 2 years?

If you are planning on moving in a relatively short period of time a kitchen remodels and renovations have a poor return on investment. You will only get about 50-60% of the money back that you put into it.

If you are going to be moving within a few years it isn't too soon to consult a local real estate agent for advice on how best to spend your money before you do put your home up for sale.

But, if you are planning on living in your home as long as you are able to, like we are, then you want to seriously consider the next question.

OUR ANSWER: We want to stay in our home as long as possible.

2: Is the kitchen layout functional?

That big empty space in the middle of my kitchen made the room look so large when we first bought the house. Parties always end up in the kitchen and just look at how many people can fit in there. It's like a mini dance floor!

Which is completely wasted space that I trudge across countless times a day from the pantry to the sink to the oven to the countertop. UGH!

Plus, there is only one way in to my kitchen. If anyone is at the pantry or refrigerator no one else can get in or out. Two words: tween boy. If you ever need to find him, he is probably there blocking my path and complaining, "There is NOTHING to eat in here."

As I said above, we are planning on staying in our home until that darling tween carts us off to the retirement home. Having a mother with crippling arthritis for the last 30 years, I know in 10 or 20 years I will be struggling to reach the back of the bottom cabinets with things as they are.

OUR ANSWER: Give me that sledgehammer!

3: Are the cabinets in good shape?

Cabinets are one of the largest expenses in a complete kitchen remodel (along with new appliances). If your layout is good, and you have nice wood cabinets, painting or staining can do wonders for a new look.

Even if you don't like the style, you can replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts much more cheaply than installing all new cabinets.

OUR ANSWER: Even the cheapest cabinets at the big box home improvement store are better quality than ours.

Who puts cabinet hardware in the middle of the door?

4: Can you handle the disruption?

A full kitchen remodel can leave you without a completely functional kitchen for weeks. If you hire someone there will be people in and out of your home making noise and mess. If you DIY then you are the one making the noise and responsible to clean up when you are done.

Be prepared to set up a back up kitchen in another part of the house or you will be eating out every meal.

OUR ANSWER: Not really. The tween has ASD and does not like changes to his environment or routine. And I am not sure how I will be able to create recipes for the food blog with no kitchen.

5: Can you afford it?

According to Homeadvisor, the national average for a kitchen remodel in the United States is currently $23,800, about $150 per square foot. But, that figure can vary widely based on the materials used, where you live and who is doing the work.

The site does a great job of breaking down the costs so you can realistically set your budget and expectations, so head over there after you finish this article, of course.

OUR ANSWER: We were team DIY renovation until a few months ago. I was going to add an island to the dance floor, paint the cabinets, and add a back splash. I had bounced ideas of my mother for awhile, especially with regards to making it livable in 20 years. And then she passed away suddenly and now we have the money. And she would want us to do it right.

What's next?

We have already hired the contractor and our cabinets are being built. As we progress in the project I will update the blog so you can follow along before you make the decision to remodel or renovate.

If you are considering a renovation or remodel of your own, download this free printable kitchen budget planner to get started.

Faux Caramel Apples and Chicken Wire Planters on #HappinessisHomemade

We have now survived the first week of middle school. Our 6th grader was more than ready to start even if Mom and Dad weren’t. Now we can relax for a few minutes and start getting into our new fall routine.

In order to get more done in my limited alone time I am getting more organized. In case you need some help in this area you might want to check out these 10 simple organization strategies.

messy office with text overlay "10 Simple Strategies to a more organized YOU."

WELCOME TO HAPPINESS IS HOMEMADE!

We have a new hostess joining the Happiness is Homemade crew starting this week. Please join me in welcoming Viktoria from Awesome Alice! If you are looking to learn hand lettering or maybe try your hand at some DIY projects, head on over and check out her page, follow her on social media, you know the drill.

Welcome to another week at Happiness Is Homemade. Wow, it is the middle of August. Kids are back to school, fall ideas are appearing and soon we will be sharing Halloween posts (I did see a couple already). I even saw some Christmas things at JoAnn fabrics the other day. Yikes, I am not ready for all of that. What about you?

FEATURES FOR HAPPINESS IS HOMEMADE #284

 I love anything with lemons and especially Meyer lemons. These shortbread cookies would be so tasty with a cup of tea. They are calling my name. Stop byThe Curious Frugal for the recipe. 

Meyer lemon Shortbread Cookies

I love this vignette with sunflowers and lemons. So fresh and sunny.  You can find great tips on how to create An Uncontrived Vignette over at My Hubbard Home.

An Unconventional Vignette (Part 2)

Did you know that there is research about why having a creative hobby can actually be good for you? Stop by Sharing Life’s Moment to see The Importance of Creative Hobbies and How To Take Them To The Next Level

The Importance of Creative Hobbies and How To Take Them To The Next Level

Do you wish you could take a bite out of these yummy caramel apples? Well, you just might be fooled since these are faux caramel apples. Only Lisa, @Fresh Vintage by Lisa  could think of something so creative. 

Faux Caramel Apples

I am in love with these Chicken Wire Planters. How cute they look on her table! You can make your own, just head over to Farmhouse 40 for complete instructions.

Chicken Wire Planters

Please check out my featured posts and leave a comment – bloggers love it when you leave feedback!  Be sure to also Pin, Share or bookmark any posts you are interested in so you can reference them later. 

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade – be sure to give a visit!

Linda @ A Labour Of Life 
Lisa @ Blogghetti 
Carol @ Bluesky At Home 
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row 
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn 
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess 
Audrey @ Munofore 
Audrey @ That Recipe

And now for the party…….click below to link up bloggers OR scroll down to see all the amazing posts our bloggers have to share!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


10 Simple Strategies to a More Organized You

Being organized can increase your productivity and sense of well being. Don't wait for New Year's to start. Here are some simple strategies to get you started today.

messy office with text overlay "10 Simple Strategies to a more organized YOU."

Organization is a skill that takes time and effort. Most people wait for the New Year to try to get organized, but why wait?!

Whether it’s investing in a new planner or honing in on new habits, organization is needed to live an effective life.

1. Set a Goal

Goal setting is the first step to getting organized. By creating your own set of priorities, you’re eliminating what doesn’t serve you and welcoming positive energy.

The trick here is to start with small, attainable goals as opposed to one major one. If you have a major goal (organize my bedroom) break it into subgoals (organize my dresser). This will help you eliminate feeling overwhelmed and allow you to celebrate small victories.

2. Hold Yourself Accountable

It’s easy to miss the gym or slack off on your passion project when there aren’t any real consequences to your actions. Instead of leaving your progress up to chance, hold yourself accountable to actually doing what you set out to do. This will help you to stick to your schedule and stay organized.

Many people turn to social media these days as a way to encourage themselves to be accountable. Posting the dreaded "before" picture on Instagram with promises to follow up weekly. Others find support groups on Facebook.

3. Reward Yourself

In order to meet your goals and stay motivated, you have to reward yourself. Celebrate even the smallest of victories and reward yourself with self-care “treats” when you meet your goals. This will keep you excited about your goals and tempted to continue.

No, self care treats does not mean a dozen donuts or a shopping spree for cleaning out your closet. 🙂

4. Set Alarms

One of the best ways to stay on top of your to-do list is to set alarms. Whether it’s on your phone or setting traditional alarm clocks, having that little reminder will help you stay on track. Set your bill schedule, deadlines and other important information so you can always stay in the know.

Most of my life is in my Google calendar so I can access it on the phone or computer. It is easy to color code the different aspects of my life (room mom, blog, family, etc.) so I can mentally sort them at a glance.

5. Invest In a Planner

Planners have become all the rage. People use them as scrapbooks, journals and more. Keep your life organized by investing in a good planner. This will give you a visual of what you need to accomplish. You can write out your feelings, create monthly vision boards and keep track of your events. Writing out your responsibilities will give you clarity that’s unmatched.

While I love my digital planners, my physical planner has been my savior. Last summer when mom broke her hip right before school started, I bought a 3 inch binder and a hole punch and printed my own planners. It helped me to juggle all of the appointments and shopping lists and assignments that I had going at once.

This year, my son's summer planner went into a used 3 hole folder. Not only did he like the idea, he has actually been using it. High praise from an 11 year old.

Here are a few printable planners you may like:

6. Declutter

Trying to stay organized in a cluttered space is counterproductive. In fact, it can bring about more stress than you initially intended. Throw away old clothes, items and junk that’s simply holding you back. This will help you develop your mental strength and stay organized.

You don't have to dive completely into KonMari minimalism, but I promise you will be happier once you clean out your closets and cabinets of items you have been holding on to for too long.

7. Create a Monthly Goal

Each month provides an opportunity for a new start. Take advantage of this gift by setting goals you can meet. If you noticed that you struggled with productivity last month, make that a priority this month. It even helps to create vision boards with your monthly goals illustrated on them. This will help you to stay on track in the coming months.

8. Practice Saying No

One of the biggest hurdles to sticking to your personal schedule is getting caught up in other tasks. For example, Wednesdays are your designated gym days. However, your friends want to go out for drinks after work on Wednesday night. You haven’t been sticking to your schedule and it’s impacting your mental health.

What do you do? Well, start by learning how to put yourself first and say no. Distractions, whether positive or negative, can throw you off of your schedule. This can make you feel disorganized and anxious. Learn how to say no and not feel guilty about it.

9. Wake up Earlier

If you challenge yourself to wake up 15-30 minutes earlier each day, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish. Doing this will give you the opportunity to get done everything you intended and start the day with a fresh mind.

Unless you spawned a chronically early riser like I did. My son believes sleeping past 6 am is TORTURE! 5 am is the norm, including weekends and vacations. And once he is up the entire house is up. So for those of you in the same boat, have a good laugh at the idea and move on to the last tip.

10. Prepare for the Day the Night Before

We’ve all been there- rushing to get everything together while still trying to make appointments on time. The best way to alleviate those rushed feelings is to prepare for your days the night before. Lay your clothes out, pack your lunch and get your items ready before bed. This will make your morning routine seamless and enjoyable.

Getting organized is definitely a challenge, but a fulfilling one. As you make these simple changes you will find yourself less harried and better able to get things done.

Other posts that may be helpful:

Happiness is Homemade Lavender Soap, Sunflower Wreath and SheSheds

Summer Break is over in just a few more days for our district. I am excited for a few hours of quiet to be able to concentrate on my work. But I am not excited about the prospect of middle school. He is ready, mom is not. Oh well, there is no stopping time is there?

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out... Well, if you create a nice habitat for them, hopefully they won't crawl out but will stay in your garden to help keep your soil healthy and plants growing. Learn more in this post.

WELCOME TO HAPPINESS IS HOMEMADE!

I hope your weekend is going well. I love being the hostess for this month but choosing features is a difficult task. With so many amazing posts to choose from, it is not easy to only choose a few. I can hardly wait to see what you come up with this time around. 

 Check out this week’s features:

Features for Happiness Is Homemade #283

 Do you have a she shed? I have one but nothing compares to the one you will see over at Botanic Bleu. Her French Country garden is lovely and she saysFrench Country is all in the details. 

Need something special for dinner, or maybe to take to a party, then theseMeatloaf Cupcakes just might be for you. Stop by Cincy Shopper for the recipe. 

Wouldn’t these Easy Lavender Bee Soaps make lovely gifts – think Christmas.  Head on over to Celebrating Everyday Life for complete details.

  I hate to say it, but fall is around the corner and Kippi has a lovely Sunflower Wreath that welcomes fall. I love how she put a frame around it. 

Are you like me, do you love chocolate? Are you drooling over this chocolate brownie cake with chocolate ganache? Stop by Walking on Sunshine Recipesfor the easy recipe.

Fall reminds me of picking apples and make a luscious dessert like this one from Cooking with Carlee. You don’t have to wait for fall to make this Mini Apple Crisps Baked Apples.

Please check out my featured posts and leave a comment – bloggers love it when you leave feedback!  Be sure to also Pin, Share or bookmark any posts you are interested in so you can reference them later. 

Would you like to be a part of Happiness Is Homemade? We are looking for hostesses to join our team. If you are interested, please email any one of the Happiness Is Homemade hostesses and let them know. We would love to have you join our party.

Here are all of our hostesses at Happiness Is Homemade – be sure to give a visit!

Linda @ A Labour Of Life
Lisa @ Blogghetti
Carol @ Bluesky At Home
Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row
Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn
Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess 
Audrey @ Munofore 
Audrey @ That Recipe

And now for the party…….click below to link up bloggers OR scroll down to see all the amazing posts our bloggers have to share!


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Increase Productivity in Your Garden with Earthworms

Earthworms are one of a gardener's best friends. Luckily if you create the right environment for them they will come wiggling to your aid.

image of earthworms in garden soil with text overlay

Earthworms are among the most beneficial creatures you can have in your organic vegetable garden. They improve soil health by creating tunnels that allow air and water to penetrate. Plus, they consume decaying matter, bacteria, fungi, and nematodes in the soil, which can cause a host of problems in your garden if left unchecked. As an added bonus, worm castings also serve as an incredibly rich fertilizer for your plants.

In fact, a natural abundance of earthworms in your garden is a pretty good indicator of the overall health of your soil. But don’t despair if your garden isn’t already full of these helpful underground dwellers. Fortunately, there are several ways you can attract more of them to your property.

Avoid Toxic Pesticides and Weed Killers

This one is a no brainer for any type of organic gardener. The case against pesticide use in your garden continues to grow as multiple scientific studies show that their use has a detrimental impact on earthworms and the surrounding ecosystem.

Of course, most organic gardeners wouldn’t knowingly use these products in their own gardens. The challenge lies in protecting your planting area from pesticide drift from neighbors. Site selection and the strategic use of physical barriers can help reduce this risk in many cases.

Create a Hospitable Environment

Earthworms ask for very little in return for the many benefits they provide. They prefer to live in a cool, dark, and moist environment and they need plenty of organic matter to consume. Mulching your garden will help retain the moisture earthworms and your plants crave. Plus, adding lots of rich compost and organic matter to your soil will keep them well fed.

Leave Your Soil Undisturbed

Some gardening methods involve tilling the ground to work compost and other amendments into the existing soil. However, doing so disturbs the existing ecosystems within the soil. Earthworms and other beneficial creatures can be harmed in this process, which is one more reason to consider using raised garden beds or containers or adopting lasagna-style gardening methods.

Be Cautious About Purchasing Earthworms

Similar to the idea of buying ladybugs to help your garden, you may also want to consider buying earthworms once you have made a hospitable environment for them.

Earthworms will come to your garden when the conditions are right. While it may be tempting to purchase them to speed their arrival, do your research first. Talk to a local gardening store about the type that will be best in your environment and if you really need to do it at all.

If you garden with the earthworms in mind, they will end up doing much of the work for you without the need for soil amendments, fertilizers or pesticides. Better for them and better for you.