Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Camping Made (More) Awesome!

In honour of our first family camping trip coming up I was inspired to check out some camping gear online.  Hello Polyvore!  To be honest, I haven't looked at camping stuff in years.  I just have fabulous memories of those musty canvas tents and cold sleeping bags we used to camp out in as kids.  I don't know how my parent's did it....sleeping on the ground in the same leaky tent as us 3 grubby kids. So I thought it would be fun to scope out some totally cool gear that I will probably never own, but can daydream about every once in a while.

Camping Made Awesome

Camping Made Awesome by myhippiehome featuring an outdoor day bed

What's your must have camping item? Any suggestions for our inaugural family camp out? 


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Monday, 21 July 2014

All-Natural Bug Repellent #DIY

In just a few days we'll be packing up the kids and dogs and heading off the to great wilderness (read: campground 1hr away from home) to enjoy a little outdoor camping adventure.

Among many other things, we will need a good amount of bug spray.  I can't stand the thought of putting DEET on my kiddos or dogs so I've come up with my own concoction that works and is completely natural!

All-Natural Bug Repellent

What You'll Need:

1 spray bottle
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Witch Hazel
Citronella Essential Oil
Rosemary Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil
Clove Essential Oil


This couldn't be easier.  Pour your water and Witch Hazel into your spray bottle.  Next it's time for the essential oils.  The best part is you can tweak the recipe depending on your preference.  Here's what I used: 25 drops of Citronella, 20 drops Lavender, 7 drops of Rosemary and 7 drops of Clove essential oils.  Add to your bottle and shake well.  And PRESTO!  All-Natural Bug Repellent!

Both my husband and I tried this spray out over the weekend with great success.  It was easy to make and goes on great; nice and light and refreshing.  I sat out on the deck last night to test it and see if it did indeed repel the bugs.  I had been cleaning up the back yard and as the sun went down the mosquitoes came out.  After applying it to my arms and legs I was surprised how well it worked.  The mosquitoes came over to for a little nibble, but when they landed or got close they didn't seem to care for my scent anymore and left.

There will be more testing this weekend at the campground so stay tuned for an update. Remember, what works for me may not work for you, so mix up the recipe to suit your needs.  And don't forget to let me know if it worked for you or if you discovered an even better bug spray recipe!

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Friday, 18 July 2014

How I Survived My First Photo Shoot

I'm happy to report that after my photo shoot last night with Lainie Hird Photography that I'm still alive and well.  Yes, there was some concern on my part that I might spontaneously combust while having my picture taken.  Or maybe a giant asteroid would come down screaming from the sky and land on top of me while I was saying cheese.

OK, let me explain.  I DO NOT enjoy having my picture taken.  I'm a super shy, self-conscious introvert who's always the one behind the camera.  So needless to say, willing going to have my picture taken on my own was WAY out of my comfort zone.  I had no family or kids or pets as a buffer....just me & Lainie and her camera.  AHHHH!

After meeting Lainie, I immediately felt more relaxed.  She has this sweet & calming vibe that definitely helped ease my nerves.  I've always had this weird photo issue for as long as I can remember.  The moment someone says SMILE I get this stupid look on my face; a weird eye  thing and a crooked smile.  So I've always just stayed behind the camera to avoid those terrible pictures.

Luckily for me....and you, Lainie was able to keep me relaxed and distracted enough to get some fabulous photos.  From walking through farmer's fields to wading through a river, we explored some pretty amazing backdrops.  And yes there may have been some tiny furniture & kittens involved!

I have to say, waking up this morning and seeing a couple of Lainie's shots made me feel happy and empowered.  Working with her was a delight and I can't wait to get the opportunity again.  I know it's just a picture, but I highly recommend doing a little shoot just for you.  Whether it's just a portrait or head shot or maybe even a boudoir session; having a few moments of piece and beauty captured on film can really do wonders for your spirit.
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Disclaimer: A huge thanks to Lainie Hird Photography for my photo shoot.  I did not receive compensation for this post, I just really enjoyed my experience and wanted to share.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Awesome #Frugal #Garden Haul

So I just had to share this little story as I still can't believe my amazing gardening score! Last week I had stopped by the local garden centre at Strathroy's Great Canadian Superstore.   To my surprise practically everything was marked down by 40% - 60%!!  Woohoo!  I quickly grabbed a bunch of plants for my new garden I was putting in and headed home to tell my husband the awesome deal I had just got.

A few days later I was in the city doing some grocery shopping and stopped at a different Superstore location.  I decided to hit their Garden Centre to see if they had anything else that might be of interest.  There was this Hardy Fig Tree I had debated on purchasing that I was hoping might be there.  And to my surprise, there was a huge table of them!! On sale for $11!  Perfect.

I grabbed the Fig Tree and a couple other plants and headed to the cash register.  When the lady rang me through she said "That will be $4.40 please."

Huh? So silly me asked if that was right.  She then coldly replied "I can charge you more if you want."

That's when I saw the tiny sign and those people with huge carts full of plants finally made sense.  The garden centre had been put on notice that it was to close THAT day for the season and all the plants were being sold for $.50, $1.00 & $2.00!  I couldn't believe it!  I put my 4 little plants in the car and grabbed a cart and started to stock up!

Bushes, trees, perennials and annuals....you name it, I got it! The selection wasn't the best but it was more than enough for what I needed.  By the time I was done there was barely enough room in my car for me, let alone any groceries.  My husband was gonna kill me!  Luckily, when I showed him my huge flora haul and told him what I paid, he was AMAZED!

I had purchased over $250.00 worth of plants for......

wait for it....


 No seriously! $16.50!  21 plants for less than $20!  

I'm still kind of in shock!  Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is if you looking for a bargain it pays to wait for sales or the end of season.  They may not have the selection, but the price can't be beat!  Now to plant all these lovelies!

What's been your best summer sale score?
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

It's My 1 Year #Blogiversary

Happy Blogiversary to Me! 

 I can't believe it's been an entire year since I started this little page.  And what a year it's been!

I don't want to bore you with a synopsis of the past year on my blog (you can read it for yourself) but I would like to share a few things that I learned in the past 365 days.

5 Things I've Learned in my First Blog Year

1.  Blogging is Hard - for real. It takes time, dedication and drive to keep a blog going.  And I certainly didn't realize how much work it takes until just recently.

2. Sometimes You Need to Say No - this is something I have a hard time with, but it's completely necessary in the blogging world.  You need to say no to things that don't mesh with who you are and what your blog is about.  Yes, money and products are tempting, but some things are too much of a headache than what they are worth.  And besides, no one likes a sell out.

3.  Be You - for me, I need to stay me. And that means keeping control of my blog and my content.  I like being able to pick and choose what, how and when I write.

4.  Write and Then Write More - I have learned the hard way that consistent, quality writing is essential.  And the moment you slack off, so do your fans.  There have been a few times where I've lost my way, my will and the time to type and I've paid the price.

5. Enjoy & Embrace - this last one is something I try to remind myself of regularly.  If you don't enjoy what you're doing and embrace the process, you won't get anywhere.  You need to love your blog, show it some love, write with love and share your love.  Everything else will fall into place.

Thanks for a wonderful year! I'm grateful for all the wonderful people I've met and awesome experiences I've had and I look forward to sharing many more with you.

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Monday, 14 July 2014

#Thrifty Dining Chair #Makeover

You may remember from some previous posts that I purchased an dining room table, chairs and sideboard for our new home.  Best part; I only paid $150 for the entire set.  Worst part; they're pretty ugly.

So I gave the sideboard a fabulous Chalk Paint makeover.  It was now time to take the dining room chairs.  These antique chairs are solid wood and in good shape with a gorgeous natural patina.

 But the seats....OH THE SEATS!  

Nothing could bring these old girls down like the hideous brown vinyl they had been covered in.

I thought they deserved better and decided to give recovering chairs a go.  I had seen my mom do it when I was young but never attempted it myself.  How hard could it be?

Actually, not that hard at all.  Although, I will point out it is important to have a good staple gun (not the rusty one your husband left in the shed) and the proper staples for the job.  And that's all I'm going to say about that. Really the most difficult thing was deciding on the new fabric.  I opted for a faux crocodile vinyl in cream and silver.  I loved the look, but vinyl was the perfect choice with grubby kid fingers and messy dogs.

I did the easiest recovering possible.  I simply covered right over the old brown vinyl.  This was for two reasons. First, I didn't have the time or want the surprise of removing the old vinyl only to find I had to replace the padding too.  And second, in our house having an extra layer of protections from spills and stickiness is a always good idea.

I simply laid each chair seat over the material and cut out the proper size ensuring I had enough material to cover the sides and staple to the bottom.  Let the stapling begin!

Once I finished the first seat I was able to get into the groove and the other 5 finished much faster.  And in an afternoon I had transformed my ugly chairs into something I was excited to sit on.  And even better was the price tag....$25!  Yup, I bought $25 worth of material and ended up with enough leftover to recover one chair if it had an unfortunate accident.

I'm really pleased with how these chairs turned out.  Now I've got my sights set on our kitchen chairs!
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Sunday, 13 July 2014

#Glutenfree Muffins Made Easy with #Glutino

Everyone loves muffins, right?  There's just times when I don't have the desire or energy to make a batch from scratch.  Thankfully I had a box of Glutino Muffin Mix in the cupboard.  What better time to bust it open?!

I couldn't believe how simple this muffin mix was to make.  It's gluten-free and you can make just about any kind of muffin you like.  The mix is plain and all you need to do is add the wet ingredients and any flavours you like.  I opted for blueberry as I had a whole ton in my fridge I needed to use up.

After mixing  everything together I popped them in the oven and waited. Just a short time later these lovely bits of gluten-free goodness were ready.  And of course I had to eat one hot out of the oven to make sure they were acceptable for my family to eat.

I was completely impressed with how my muffins turned out. They actually rose and looked like regular muffins (something that isn't always the case with gluten-free ones).  Plus they were moist and fluffy and last but not least, they were YUMMY!  I'm certain if I didn't hide them from the kids we would have polished off the whole batch in a few minutes.

So the verdict...if you're looking for a quick and easy way to make a dozen gluten-free muffins keep a box of Glutino Muffin Mix in your pantry at all times.  You never know when that must-have-muffin feeling will happen!

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Disclaimer: A huge thank you to Glutino for providing the  free  Gluten-free Muffin Mix for this review. I did not receive compensation for this post, and all opinions expressed are my own.