Friends Around the World

Monday, July 10, 2017

Magnolia Tree We Planted for Rylie's 12th Birthday

When we  moved out from our first home, it was  bittersweet.  because  we made a lot of great memories from that home.  EJ is still having a hard time accepting the fact that we sold our first home.  He was  very attached to the  house where he  grew up and lived in for 9 years of his life.  
Another thing that we will always remember in our Park Avenue home  was the cherry tree that we planted when Rylie was 2 years old, she helped us plant it in the front lawn.  So to recreate those memories, we planted a Magnolia tree on her 12th birthday.  
 Planting a tree is not  a typical  thing to do on birthdays but I thought it would be memorable and symbolic to do that.  This tree would help  shield us from the business  part of our area.  Right now, the only thing that separate our home to the  business area is a fence which is  starting to fall apart.
 I can't wait to see this tree grow and  see  it's beautiful bloom in the Spring.  It would take probably a couple of years before this blooms, we will see.
 We planted  pines last year with the same reason, shielding our home to the business area.  Hopefully, the tree and the pines will grow  quickly and  give us shade and barrier from the  other side of our property.
 I wrote the message  on a piece of wood and  stained it.
 Right now, the tree is as almost as tall as the kids so we will see the growth each year.
 Even Bolt was very enthusiastic in helping out with the planting.
 You can learn more about the Magnolia tree here.
I love how Magnolia tree looks like when it blooms during Spring time.  I can't wait to see ours bloom in  few more years.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

How to Create a Family-Friendly Garden

During the summer months, there is nothing better than getting out in your garden to spend some time together as a family. And you will get even more enjoyment out of your outdoor space if you make it as family friendly as possible. It is very easy for everything to get taken over by the kids, but if you separate out the different areas, you can create a space that is great for everyone. Of course, what constitutes a family-friendly garden really varies from person to person, but here are a few general tips that will get you started.

Divide Your Garden into Zones

To start off with, you should make a plan of how you are going to divide up your garden. Check out some advice here http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/outdoors/dividing-outdoor-areas-by-function.  So, you may have an area where your kids’ play equipment is kept and a separate section where you have a flowerbed or vegetable patch. You may also want to create an area for entertaining where you put the chairs, table and barbecue. Ultimately, you want to have different areas depending on the various functions of your garden. Of course, it is nice for them all to overlap, but you may decide that there are some sections that are out of bounds for the kids. If you are a keen gardener, you don’t want all your hard work to end up getting trampled on! Depending on how old your kids are, you may want to put their equipment in view of the house so you can keep an eye on them on their own. However, if they are a little older, you may want to give them an area that is more shielded.
Choose Some Equipment for the Kids



One of the most exciting aspects of the garden for your kids is the equipment you choose for them. At the cheaper end of the scale are the bright and bold plastic items that you can pick up from various places. A swing set is high up on the list for many kids, so take a look at the stylish metal ones that are available at https://backyardville.com/flexible-flyer-metal-swing-sets/. Another great option that is fun for kids of all ages is a trampoline, and you may also find yourself enjoying it too! If you want to encourage them to try something a little more sporty, you could go for something like a badminton net or table tennis table. If you are particularly handy and good with your DIY tasks, another option is to make some play equipment yourself, though you need to make sure that everything is entirely safe for use.

Make Sure the Garden is Safe

You will find it much more difficult to get the maximum enjoyment out of your garden if you are constantly worried about the kids. Ultimately, it all depends on the age of your kids and also how much of a sense of personal safety that they have. First of all, be careful with any water features that you have in your garden. If you have a pond already, you may need to put some grids across so toddlers can’t fall in. A good way to help your kids avoid getting hurt when they fall over is to make sure that your lawn is well-kept so that it softens their fall. Watch out for plants that could cause them harm like nettles or brambles and any others that may cause some sort of skin reaction.
Encourage Wildlife into Your Garden





A great way to encourage enjoy the garden as a family is to attract different types of wildlife into the area. So, you could start by putting up some nesting boxes containing different types of seed to encourage birds to breed. You are also more likely to get them into your garden by putting up a birdbath so they have a water source to drink and wash. Planting trees and hedges is another good way to do this as they allow all types of wildlife to seek shelter in them including birds, squirrels and hedgehogs. We already talked about making sure that your pond is safe, but if you have one of these, you can keep fish in there as well as attracting all kinds of frogs and insects.

Do Some Gardening as a Family

There is nothing like getting together as a family to do some gardening together. Start off with something simple where you start seeing results quickly such as sunflowers, poppies and marigolds. A great way to generate some enthusiasm about gardening is by growing some vegetables. Not only do you get to see the results, you get to eat them as well and things always taste better when you have grown them yourself! With so much advice available online, there is plenty of information out there to help you get started.

Sprinklers, Water Pistols and Slides


When the weather starts getting warm, it is a great idea to have a water fight with the family. Sprinklers are a fantastic way to get wet while also making sure that the whole garden is well watered! And many people also set up their own DIY water slides using some plastic sheets. Otherwise, a classic water pistol fight is something that people of all ages can enjoy.

Don’t Worry About Trying to Make Everything Perfect

The whole point of having your garden is to give you a space that you can enjoy. If you have too many rules and regulations, it will be difficult for you to get the maximum fun out of your outdoor space. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take pride in your garden and have everything looking great, but just remember that you don’t want perfectionism to get in the way of your fun.   


These are just a few ways that you can create a fantastic family-friendly garden this summer. All you have to do then is enjoy the weather as long as it lasts and get outdoors as much as possible!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hot Weather, Fence Project, and a New Tower Fan

The weather is getting hotter each day although we had a  couple of days of rain but I thought it was a needed  shower for the plants before the  summer officially begins.   We have  5 more days  of Spring and  summer  will be here.  My kids have been in the  pool   for few times with their Dad and during those times, the  temperature is up to 90+ degrees.  
Between my husband's busy schedule at work, we managed to  work on our fence project  every now and then when he isn't too tired and during the weekends.  I feel bad for him but  so grateful that he  just keep on doing what he has to for his family.  Right now, our garage is a mess.  All of our fencing materials are stored there.  We started this project late in May.
We ordered the  panels  online and  assembled it  inside our garage.  The first panel took a long time as we were still figuring out how to  put it together but  it got easier as we  work on it over and over again.
We hired our two kiddos who are off from school already to stain the assembled panels and they were excited  to earn money on  their school break.  We have to keep these young fellas  busy.   

We don't have an AC  in the garage so it is  scorching hot when the temperature is above 90 degrees.  For me, I can tolerate it as  I am used to it growing up but not them.  I decided to assemble the  adjustable oscillating tower fan that Ozeri sent me for review.  We  were using a big fan there but  that one is steady and it only hit the panels which is good as it  dry it out quick.  
I thought we could use this in there while we work but  I read the instructions and it said not to use outdoors depending on the kind of  outlet you have so I did not bother plugging it there just to be safe.  
Anyway, this tower fan is very easy to put together.  I normally leave assembly job to my husband but this one I can do just fine.  The only  hard part  of this is the base as you have to  align it well to  for the other part to fit in there.  
You don't even need a tool  to do this.  I assembled it without any  screwdriver.  When you are attaching this  extension part, make sure that  the  wire  is inside it.
I love that they  also provide you with the batteries for the remote.  The remote is pretty cute too, my daughter called it a stub knob.
You don't have to  worry about  the remote being misplaced as you can store it on top of the fan.  There is a cover to the top too so   dust won't be able to  get it.
At the bottom, the wire is also  snugged in there  safely with the outlet they added onto it.  So that's about it, the Assembly is very easy and what I love about this fan is that it runs quietly unlike other fans out there.  You can get this via Amazon and it's   a great time to buy it now while it is on sale.  It is regularly priced at $129.95 but it is on 51% off sale so you will only pay $64.24 with free shipping. 
I put the tower fan at the  dining area so we could use it when we are hanging out in the dining  area.  We bought  a portable AC that cools down the  first floor but we don't turn it on  when it is not too hot so  having the fan there is great.  I have to admit, I miss having the central AC  at our old house but it is what it is, we have to sacrificed that to have a bigger house.  
Disclosure: The owner of this blog was NOT financially compensated to write this review.  I was provided with the product/s mentioned  to help me  facilitate this review but  opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

New Flag for Memorial Day

As a tribute to my father-in-law, we   fly a new fag to replace the  old one that we had in the flagpole.  This was the first  Memorial day that my FIL is not around since he passed this last March.
 Our Memorial  weekend was full of  activities that  were dedicated to our beloved WW2 Vet.  Remembering him on that special day was  emotional for us especially to my husband.  He tries to  suppress his  feelings  but it shows in his words and action.
 Aside from this flag, we also  put a small flag on  my FIL's  grave when we visited  him and other loved ones in the cemetery.
When the flag is in such condition where it is no longer  a fitting emblem for display, it should be  destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.  
June 14 is the Flag Day so this  post is perfect for that celebration too.  The especial holidays to fly a flag  includes Inauguration Day, President's Day, Armed Forces Day, Patriot Day, Pearl Harbor Day, Veteran's Day, Constitution Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day and other special holidays.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Carnation Bouquet and a Violin Teacher

One of our friends attended  our daughter's piano recital on the first week of June and she brought Rylie a carnation bouquet, thanks Tita Angie.  We put them in a vase and it still looking fresh till now.  The bouquet comes with a pill that makes  the flower last longer.

On another note, the music place where my daughter goes for her piano lessons   has now hired a violin teacher .  We are happy about the news because we have been looking for one so she could start taking lessons and use the violin that we got her last Christmas.  I am looking for some violin book guide at https://www.guitarcenter.com but hasn't found one yet.

Monday, June 12, 2017

No Rulebook: Give Your House A Fresh Look


Interior design doesn’t have to be a luxury reserved for the experts. If you’re taking a look at your house and thinking that it doesn’t quite ignite the passion and pride it did when you first laid eyes upon it then it might be time to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in with a proper makeover. There’s no rulebook when it comes to giving your house a fresh look, but there are certain things you should take on board if you want to give it the most professional, beautiful, and inviting look imaginable. Here are some tips and pieces of advice which might help you give your old, worn-out house a fresh look and a new lease of life.

Start with the exterior.
Interior design is the main thing on your mind, but the approach of tackling exterior design first is something you should take on board. The very first thing you see when you approach your home after a long day at work or a trip out with the family is the exterior of this humble abode. If the outside of your home doesn’t make a strong first impression then it’s unlikely that you’ll feel as inspired by whatever is inside the house.

It’s time to get a little unique with the outdoor space you have available and utilize it to create an attractive image for your house on the surface. Remember that the garden doesn’t have to be a normal garden; if you’ve always been put off designing because you didn’t have much free time and you wanted to use what little spare time you had to simply relax then filling your garden with manmade creature comforts, decking, and other non-natural things might help to create a space which requires very little maintenance. The exterior of your house is definitely the place to begin.

Work on the interior theme.
Consistency is crucial in a home makeover. Perhaps your house has become a jumbled mess of cluttered possessions, clashing colors, and an overwhelming sense of directionlessness. Starting off with a fresh coat of white paint in every room of the house could create a consistent blank canvas over the entire house which could not only brighten rooms by reflecting natural light from the windows but also serve as the foundations for a multitude of new ideas. Just keep the theme consistent. You could consider companies such as Richard Haworth for towels, bedding, and fresh linen; a new theme doesn’t have to stop with a new paint job. You can renew even the most basic of objects around your home to fit the new color pattern or organizational pattern.

Take the natural root.

There’s no better way to freshen up a home than by turning to Mother Nature. Putting some fresh flowers and exotic plants around your household could really add some character to a home which has become a little drab and plain in its modernity or old age. Either way, organic flourishes can add something enticing to any home.
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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Bad Reviews About USA Nursery Online and my Personal Experience

Sometime in April, I purchased a bunch of trees and other  plants from  a nursery online.  I am always looking for  ways to  save money in buying things so I figured I can find a better deal in buying plants online.  What  made me go with USA Nursery that they offer.  You can get to up to 12 free plants for a certain amount of order so  I  ordered a lot of  plants that I couldn't find here in the area or if they have it here, the price is  off the roof.  I thought I hit a jackpot and got  a great deal with them. 
 I ordered  it on April 21st and a box was delivered on May 11th.  I thought that was only a tree  but  there so many twigs inside and they were all dried out.  I inspected  the content and it wasn't even my order  so I emailed them twice but  they never replied to it.  I called them several times and  no luck, their voice mailbox is full but after multiple tries, I succeed in leaving a message.  A lady called me back and  said that they will  deliver the right orders.  
 The next shipment came and still the condition of the plants are dead but I keep my positive attitude and  plant them in pots as directed.  I am not sure  if any of these will come back to life but  if not I will be contacting them again.  I am so disappointed that I paid $145.30 for all of it and  all I got are dead twigs.  The only thing that I can use is the deer and rabbit spray that I ordered from them.  
 I ordered grapes,  raspberries,  redbud trees, cherry trees, and other things and  none of it  looks promising.  I should have red  the bad reviews  first before putting any orders from them.  And it turned out, I am not the only one that bought stuff from them  and all of them said the same things.  
 The  other bad part of it too is that, they don't offer refund for the money.  They guarantee to replace the plants  within a year and I don't think it would make a difference since they will  send the same  dead sticks anyway.   
I ordered  a pack of cannas and  what they sent me  is a pack of gladiola.  I love gladiolas but I ordered cannas because I have a specific   place for it.  It's so frustrating  to have to deal with this kind of companies.  Everything looks good in their website and  to receive the product  in such  lifeless condition is  devastating.  But anyway, I just want to write about it so I can warn  other gardeners out there not to buy from this company.

Update.  So far, the ones that  lives include a cherry tree, the pack of gladiolas, the rose, and the tomato seeds which doesn't look very promising.

Note to self.  Read  customer reviews first before buying anything from an online company such as USANursery.

Friday, June 2, 2017

What's Blooming and Growing in my Garden

Bloom, bloom, bloom.  Spring and Summer are my favorite  seasons because plants grow back and then they bloom.  It make summer a lot colorful and beautiful.   It's almost  one year when we first moved in into this house.  I planted flowers  before we moved  in  and I am so happy to see a lot of them are blooming this year.  Here are some of the plants that are growing and blooming in our garden.  

Roses... I love roses and if I can plant every kind there is available, I would.  However, I don't have a  huge space for it so I can only plant some.   I have  a lot of these pink roses at our old house so I took one before moving out and planted it here.  
On Mother's Day last year , we planted three different colors of these   big roses (yellow, pink, and orange).  They are blooming now except the orange, it died.
For Mother's day this year, my husband and kids got me some miniature roses and I planted them on the side of our house. 
 This magenta rose is from our old house too.  I took  one and planted  it here at the new house.  My FIL gave me this rose  so I didn't want to leave our old house without taking some.
My husband  bought these Dahlias so I put them in the pots  to add colors in our  front porch.  Below is a little  info about Dahlia.
Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native to Mexico. A member of the Asteraceae, dicotyledonous plants, related species include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum, and zinnia.
I bought this Salvia Merleau Blue perennial from Lowe's.  They grow  12 to 16 inches in height  and it blooms  in early summer to  late summer.  Flower blooms profusely on intense purplish-blue spikes. It  has a long-lasting display from early summer to fall. 
These tiny  bluish flowers below is  are called scorpion grass or Myosotis.  It is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae. In the northern hemisphere they are commonly called forget-me-nots or scorpion grasses. It is commonly regarded as an emblem of constancy and friendship.
A friend of mine from California sent me a bunch of  succulent cuttings last year but unfortunately some of them did not survive during the winter inside the house.  The ones that   survive are now planted on the ground and they are starting to  grow.
For some reason, succulents are very pricey so I am grateful that my friend gave me some.
I also have some  Gladiolas on the big planters by the garage.
For edible plants, we have some herbs growing  like oregano.  Oregano  is very easy to grow and they multiply rather quickly.  I started  this with just a small plant then it is now very thick.
 The former owner of the house  have a lot of  parsley and cilantro  when we first bought the house.  I thinned them out and transferred some of them in the small pots.
I get confused in determining whether its a cilantro or a parsley but I found an article at Better Recipes blog that explains the difference .  For those of you who wants to know the  difference, here it is:
  • “P is for Parsley because the leaves are Pointy” and 
  • “C is for Cilantro because the leaves are Curved!”
I have this thyme in a pot last year and it wasn't growing big so I transferred it on the ground and it is now getting thick too.  This evergreen shrub   has been used in medicinal and culinary applications for thousands of years.  Some of the most interesting health benefits of thyme includes:
  •  its ability to reduce respiratory issues, 
  • boost the strength of the immune system, 
  • protect against chronic diseases, 
  • stimulate blood flow, 
  • prevent fungal infections, 
  • improve heart health, 
  • and relieve stress.

I have some bokchoy growing from the scraps  in my kitchen.  Growing veggies from kitchen scrap is fun.  I always do it with  potato peels, celery, bokchoy and sweet potatoes.
We love eating apples and every time we eat some, I always  save the seeds.  I planted some of the seeds and  some grew so I will be planting this on the ground soon.
I haven't make an official vegetable garden yet  but I planted some  of these peas at the back of our house.  I am hoping that we can put up the fence before the deer discover them so we can have some fresh peas soon.
That is it for now.  I will have to post the   trees I have purchased online.  More to come about it  next time.

About Me

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A work-at-home-mom (WAHM) with  two  lovely kids and a loving husband.  Passionate in writing about  family, product reviews, and  other related articles.  A Mom, a Wife,  a Blogger/Writer, rolled into one.

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