Say it ain’t snow! Winter returns!

We already broke a record over the weekend, at least I believe so, of record high temperatures of 69 for the month of April. It was fantastic to finally be outside and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, doing a little yard work, and cleaning up from all the winter mess.

THE GARDEN FENCE INSTALLATION

I started erecting our garden fence, trying to think of a new way to make it higher to keep the deer out. Our fence last year was 6 feet tall and a deer got in – jumped right up and over the fence. This year, we are not going to let that happen again! I actually witnessed two deer jump over our neighbors chain link fence like it was nothing. They just walked up to the fence and apparently just levitated right over it with no effort at all. That shocked me, as I never witnessed this before. All I kept thinking was, that if I don’t make our fence higher this year, they will get in again and I am not going to allow that to happen.

RED FOUNTAIN

We got a new addition to our landscaping and picked up a beautiful red LED water fountain that we can’t wait to place out in the yard. We had our eye on it last year, but decided to get it this year.

APRIL 15TH SNOW

 

However, when we woke this morning, we found the ground covered in snow. Yes, I said snow!  We heard a rumor that it was coming, but we thought “yeah right”. What a surprise though to find that they were not kidding about the snows arrival, and actually seeing it for ourself. It’s 32 degrees here today, and I’m back into my winter coat, hat, gloves and boots, and I feel like we’re going backwards instead of springing forward into Spring.  If this is an late April Fools joke, I am not laughing!

APRIL 15TH SNOWFALL

NOTE: WE HAVE ONLY TWO WEEKS LEFT TO COLLECT DONATIONS FOR THE PLEDGE FOR PETS FUNDRAISER! IF YOU CAN FIND IT IN YOUR HEART TO MAKE A DONATION (IN ANY AMOUNT) IT WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED! 

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Cleaning Up After Old Man Winter

With fingers crossed, I think we have finally seen the last of Old Man Winter. This had to be one of the worst, longest, and coldest winter we have seen in years, and I am glad to finally say good-bye.

Now comes the all the work in repairing the damage that Old Man Winter has done to the yard. I gathered my supplies of garden gloves, my edging shovel, bags of topsoil, black mulch, and my rake. (and my camera too!)

Yard Recovery1

Our flower bed behind the house was created a few years ago. Once there was nothing there but grass, but I decided the backyard needed to be spruced up a bit, and now, it is a flourishing flower bed that has matured quite nicely. For starters, I wanted to remove the curve I had in the flower bed so the flowers have more room to grow & expand.

YARD RECOVERY2

I started off with temporarily placing my garden bricks in a straight line to see how the bricks laid out. They fit in place nicely, so I set them aside and started to cut out the grass that was in that little curve spot with my edging shovel. This is a MUST do for a flower bed – - remove the grass first before you fill with topsoil!

YARD RECOVERY3

Once all the grass was removed, I started laying the bricks to complete my straight line flower bed border. Brick by brick, I over-lapped each one until the border was complete. Then, I filled the flower bed with bags of topsoil, then mulched the area. Mulch is needed in a flower bed because it helps hold in moisture for your plants.

YARD RECOVERY4

I noticed that a lot of my perennials were starting to emerge from the soil from all the sun we were having lately. I was pleased to see this as it tells me that our nicer weather will soon be here.

The dogs enjoyed the day outside basking in the sun and kept a watchful eye on what I was doing, just in case they wanted to help Mommy out.

BELLA HEY WHATS UP MOMMY

Bella is always silly and has to stick her face right in the camera!

NIKITA OUTSIDE ENJOYING THE SUN

Nikita watches everything that is going on & sniffs everything in sight!

BELLA SOAKING UP THE SUN

Bella relaxing in the sun. She is probably wondering where it has been all this time!

NIKITA CHECKING OUT THE GARDEN FENCE

Nikita is checking out the garden fence, just to make sure it is safe. Sniff, sniff, sniff!

BELLA

Here’s my best side Mommy!

NIKITA

I love this photograph of Nikita posing!  She is so beautiful and loves spending time outside with Mommy.

We are so glad to see our weather finally coming together and even though we have lots of work to do, we are glad to do it. As for our raised garden, I got the first coat of polyurethane on the wood to help protect it from rotting, and we have our Miracle Gro garden soil & other nutrients ready to be emptied into the garden. I have already turned over the soil in the garden three times, so it is nice and ready for our plantings next month.  It is still not close to the time to take anything outside, as we have to wait for any last sneaky frost warnings in our zone 5 area to pass.

 

 

What Would You Give Up To Save An Animals Life?

All of us at Nikitaland take the welfare of animals very seriously. We cry when we watch the commercials on TV of all the abused and neglected animals in the world. We want to help. We want every animal to find a forever home & happiness that they deserve.

Please consider helping us today & make a donation to help change an animals life today.  Click HERE to make a donation!

YOUR GENEROSITY ADDS UP

To date, we have raised a total of $2,375 for the Animal Protective League and we could not be happier!  Each and every year we have collected more than the last year, as you can see from the graph above, and we are so glad to give back to the community to help those animals in need. We are doing our part to help, and we hope you can help too!

Without YOUR GENEROSITY we could have not made this possible! For the cost of a coffee at Starbucks, you could donate that money to helping the animals who need us. Each and every donation adds up, no matter how much you donate. Every donation helps feed the animals, it provides them with the medical care they need to heal from their abuse, it helps pay for the electricity to keep them warm at night, and in the end, it helps them to have the hopes that someone will walk in and rescue them today and give them a home to go home to.

Would you give up your Starbucks coffee today if you knew you could help save an animals life?

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How to Make A Clay Bunny Bowl

HOW TO MAKE A CLAY BUNNY BOWL

Some times I don’t have enough time to read all of my emails, and you know what I mean. You get busy. But, I am glad that I happened to open one email from Do It And How blog, who wrote about how another blogger made some adorable bunny bowls. Once I saw this post, I had to learn how to make one, and I was glad that I had all the supplies too!

If you head on over to Alice and Lois, you can see their tutorial on how they created a bunny bowl.  But I wanted to show you how I made my very own! I was just glad that I read this particular email post today!

I got out all of my supplies after reading their tutorial, and was glad that I had everything that I needed. Sculpey clay was used in creating my Bunny Bowl.

GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES

Gather your supplies of Sculpey clay in white and hot pink (for the nose). I also cut out a little template of an ear to trace on the clay for the ears.

CUT OUT A CHUNK OF SCULPEY CLAY

When you work with Sculpey Clay, it is somewhat solid, so you need to work it in your hands to soften it a bit to get it ready.

ROLL IT INTO A BALL

Once the clay is soft and in a nice ball, it is time to work with it.

ROLL YOUR CLAY NICE AND FLAT

Use a rolling pin and roll your clay out nice and flat.

USE SOMETHING TO CUT OUT A CIRCLE

If you have a circle cookie cutter you can use it to cutout your bunny, if not, just use something round like I did, by using this little metal bowl.

CUT OUT TWO EARS AND A NOSE

I used my little ear template to cutout two ears from the clay, and then I attached the ears to the bunny by smoothing the clay over the seams, then I added a pink little bunny nose that I cut out of the pink Sculpey Clay.

CAREFULLY PRESS BUNNY INTO SMALL BOWL

Now, carefully pick up your bunny and press it into a small oven safe bowl and press it into the bowl. The ears will want to flop over at this point since the clay is soft.

PLACE IN OVEN

Place in a 275 degree oven for about 15 minutes, but watch it carefully. I placed another pan behind the ears so it held them up a bit while it baked. I thought that the ears would look adorable if I flopped them over a bit too.

COMPLETED BUNNY BOWL

If you notice the tip of my bunny ears, you can see that they started to get a little burnt, but I can just lightly sand that off. I took the bunny bowl out of the oven and let it cool completely before I attempted to remove it from the little bowl. Sculpey Clay is not food safe, so please do not place any food on it!  But this is how you can make your own bunny bowl to hold perhaps your rings on your dresser! I will be adding a clear coating to the bowl too, so it will protect the clay from getting dirty.

So, what do you think? Do you have any Sculpey Clay to make your own Bunny Bowl? Just think of all the crafts projects you are missing too by not reading your emails! I am sure glad that I read mine today!  A great big thanks to Alice and Lois for showing me how to make this awesome Easter craft!

Our Gardening Adventure Has Begun

With the hopes that all of the snow is now behind us, and Mother Nature cooperates and allows Spring to finally arrive, we have started our adventure into the wonderful world of gardening.

GERMINATION 3-30-14

We are still in a thawing stage right now here in our area, and actually had a nice warm day yesterday that melted all of the snow we received over the weekend. I actually had the chance to head out to the garden and turn over the soil for the first time this year, in preparation for our 2014 gardening season.

RED PEPPERS 3-30-14

I am not sure if most of you know, but this will be our third gardening season. We learned a great deal of advice from our neighbor, Steve, who has grown the most incredible gardens that we have seen, and we have also learned a lot from trial and error. All the things we did wrong in our first garden season in 2012, we corrected going into season #2 in 2013, so we hope that this year we can once again produce lots of veggies.

RED PEPPER 3-30-14

We have started our seeds already in the basement under the warming grow lights, but we started them a few weeks later than we did last year. (this pertains to the trial and error part I was talking about) Last year, for instance, we started our tomato plants too early, and by the time they were ready to head outside, they were already too tall.  This year, we want a more manageable size heading out to the garden. This is all a process, but a process that teaches you all about gardening and what “works” for you.  Some people do things differently, and that’s fine, but we are finding our groove of what works for us.

CUCUMBERS SPROUTING 3-30-14

We know for a fact, and if you did not know this you’ll thank us later, but tomato and pepper plants need Magnesium. If you have ever grown a tomato plant and noticed your tomatoes splitting at the top, or had a dark color bottom that looked like it was rotting – - well, that is a sure sign that your tomato plants were lacking in Magnesium.  By sprinkling Epsom Salt around your tomato and pepper plants once a week, and watering regularly, you will provide your plants with the much needed Magnesium that they require. You will not see any more split tomatoes or bottom rot on them, and your pepper plants will grow bigger and produce nice sized peppers. (you’re welcome!)

CUCUMBERS 3-30-14

If you have followed along with our gardening adventure last year, then you know that we had a deer jump our fence and ate half of our garden one night. It was devastating to see. So, with the start of a new year of gardening, we have that high on our priority list to put up another high fence to keep them out.

CUCUMBERS 4-1-14

What I find truly fun and intriguing too, is watching our seeds germinate and grow each and every day. They have needs. They don’t complain. But they need tender loving care a few times a day. They make me smile. And, one day, I will be enjoying my tomato and cucumber salads for lunch every day. We actually picked over 1,200 Juliet Tomatoes last year alone! (and yes, I will be counting every tomato I pick this year too, just to see how it compares to last year)

BUSH LAKE BEANS 4-1-14

We are so happy to have started our journey and adventure again into gardening, and as you know, we always keep you up to date on what’s happening. We’re far from being experts, we’ll take any advice we can get, but we love the experience of gardening and working in the dirt.

BIG BOY TOMATOES 3-30-14

 

We hope you will enjoy following along with us and watch our progress on how we setup our garden and it’s growth.

We Need Your Generosity

PledgeForPetsRadiothon_SquareLogo-1024x1003Not a day has gone past that I am not working continuously on collecting donations for the 2014 Pledge For Pets Fundraiser since March 1st.

I email everyone in my contact list to update them on my progress and the total donations that have been collected. I stop people driving past our house and give them a donation slip with instructions on how to donate. I have placed many phone calls to organizations in our community. Every UPS or FedEx truck that passes our house, I talk to them too, and even the garbage man and I had a great conversation this week. To date, we have collected $845!

This is what one does when they are collecting donations for something that they truly believe in. Something that DOES make a difference. Something that I am passionate about. And in the end, what we get are happy animals who get the help they need, they get saved from a horrible life on the streets, a life of abuse & neglect, and they find the happiness that perhaps they never knew existed. These animals find a “forever home”. A place where someone gives them love and attention that every animal should have each and every day.

I AM PLEADING TO ALL OF YOU READING THIS RIGHT NOW…. PLEASE CLICK ON OUR DONATION LINK AND MAKE A DONATION!  EVEN IF YOUR DONATION IS $5 OR $10, IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  IT CHANGES AN ANIMALS LIFE FOR THE GOOD AND GETS THEM THE HELP THAT THEY NEED.

We would appreciate it a bunch too, if you can share our donation link with your friends, on FB, and anyone who is an animal lover, as we need your help to spread the word about this fundraiser!

PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION TODAY, AS YOUR DONATION DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. IT GIVES AN ANIMAL A CHANCE AT LIFE & HAPPINESS.

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Hello Spring

Welcoming the arrival of Spring is so much fun! And even though our weather has not yet started to cooperate, I came up with an idea to at least make me smile.

I purchased some really awesome “leather look” shelf liner contact paper at a great price at KMart for sprucing up some drawers, and I have been thinking that I could use this for something else, not sure as to what, but today I got an idea!

HELLO1

I opened up my Publisher and scrolled through all of my fonts, and finally chose the “Grand Hotel” font and sized my text box font to 300. Yeah, I know that sounds really large, but the Grand Hotel font is smaller in size than other fonts. Since I found the font I wanted, I typed the word “Hello” and then printed it out on a piece of card stock paper.

HELLO2

Next, I got my very sharp x-acto knife out and carefully cut out the “Hello”.  This card stock hello will now be used as my template for tracing it onto the leather look contact paper.

HELLO3

Make sure you have a steady hand and hold down your hello template onto the contact paper, then just trace around it with a black Sharpie marker.  (note: the piece of contact paper that I cut out kept trying to roll up, so I just laid something heavy on top of it to flatten it)

HELLO5

Once I traced the “Hello” onto the leather look contact paper, I used my x-acto knife again and cut out the “Hello”.

HELLO6

You’re almost ready to welcome the arrival of Spring… all you need to do is pull off the backing on the contact paper and carefully place your Hello on your door!  Make sure you line it up straight too, if not, you can just carefully pull off the contact paper and realign it.

HELLO7

Now, every time I head outside, I smile!  And, when your guests come over, they will be greeted with a nice friendly “Hello” even before you open the door!

HELLO8

You can make your own “Hello” greeting for your door today by printing out the HELLO PDF template I made for you!  I just hope you have some adorable contact paper to use!

The Red Baron Tug of War

Wednesday nights are when we watch American Idol and we usually have something fun for dinner like pizza. Red Baron pizza is our favorite. If you know us, we love Idol, but this year something is different. I usually would have blogged a few times about who we love in the competition, but we are not too happy with this seasons outcome. We are so glad, however, that we don’t have to sit and listen to Mariah and Nikki throw daggers at each other because that got really old last year to watch. We do in fact, love this seasons judging panel made up of Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and the dreamy Harry Connick Jr.  If any of you have been following along with American Idol this season – - what do you think so far?

Anyhow, you know that our dogs have a huge cardboard fetish and that goes without saying. Their eyes gloss over in anticipation of getting their paws on that cardboard box. They sit beside me patiently as I attempt to rip open the box and remove the frozen goodness that awaits me. Only 15 minutes to wait for pure joy.

RED BARON1

Nikita grabbed the box first. And, as she always does, she runs to her safe place, her bed. She looks around to make sure that no intruders are in the vicinity to steal her new found happiness. Nom nom nom, she starts to nibble.

RED BARON2

 

But wait! What’s that? She sees an intruder approaching. MUST TAKE ACTION NOW!

RED BARON3

She attempts to defend her new cardboard Heaven, but something went wrong! She lost her grip on that oh so glossy pizza box and saw it get snatched away from her.

RED BARON4

She paused for a moment in disbelief as she watched the Red Baron run down the hallway. “Ok, now you are going to get it you pizza box stealer!”, Nikita said. Here I come to claim what is “Mine!”

RED BARON5

Nikita ran down the hallway and barked at the intruder that was hiding in the bedroom. She blocked the doorway so they could not sneak past her. “Give me back MY box!” Nikita howled.

RED BARON6

The intruder did not heed any of Nikita’s warnings, and they ran, rather pranced, right by her…proudly displaying their new found joy.  Ooooh, the race was on!

RED BARON7

A scuffle broke out in the middle of the kitchen as Nikita and the intruder battled for that piece of pure joy. No one would let go of that box. The only way to settle this dispute, was for the referee to intervene and ripped the box in half. One half for Nikita, and the other half for the sneaky intruder who always seems to steal things around here.

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Wordless Wednesday

NIKITA FRONT DOOR

NIKITA NAPPING

BELLA IM ADORABLE

NIKITA SMILING

NIKITA BELLA NAPPING

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Here’s an update on our progress  for collecting donations for the APL. To date, we have collected $700 and we are 70% to our goal! We are so pleased with the donations that have come in to help the animals who need our help!

If you are reading this post today, please consider making a donation, even if it $5, as it all adds up!  I need my fellow bloggers help so we can get those animals in need into their “forever homes” and help them find happiness & love!  

 

The Snow That Won’t Go Away

We heard all about it. We heard it was coming. We prayed that it would pass us. It chose to stay around.

NIKITA LOOKING OUT SNOWY WINDOW

Yesterday, I worked a little bit out in the yard cleaning up all the debris that the snow plows left nicely for me in the lawn. It was a nice warm pleasant day that did not require my warm winter coat, hat or gloves. It was nice and truly welcomed.

3-12-14 MORNING RAIN

Today is a different story. I woke up to pouring rain and thought “oh great, it’s going to be one of those days”. A day where all I do is dry off the dogs every time they come inside the house. I got the towels ready. Bella dislikes puddles, so it was quite hilarious to watch her walk around the puddles in the backyard trying to find the right spot to well, er…go.

3-12-14 NOON

The rain changed to snow before the garbage man arrived. It was that thick heavy snow, and it has been snowing non-stop today. And, on top of the heavy snow, we have 30 mph winds blowing in your face when you are trying to shovel.  Today sucks.

GARBAGE MAN

Most of the day, I have seen pure white-outs while looking out the window. I feel that I can at any moment just spontaneously combust due to my frustration with all of the bad weather we have had. It would not surprise me if I did. LOL

3-13-14 FOUR O CLOCK

I need to head back out to clear the driveway so my Sweetie can make it into the drive, but I wanted to share with you my wonderful day. I have already opened up some wine to lesson my frustration with this white stuff. Bella just sits by the front door watching it all!

BELLA LOOKING OUT SNOWY DOOR

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