Heading to St Pete Beach to stay at a Tradewinds Resort in Florida

As a family, each of us has a different wish list when we’re planning a holiday. While I’d enjoy spending all of my time shopping and relaxing in the sun, my family has different interests. As you can imagine it can be quite a challenge to find a vacation which hits everyone’s wants and needs (sleep is a priority!).

In the past few years we have fallen in love with Florida, its warm climate, friendly people and fantastic customer service has never let us down. We are actually here in Orlando now, after spending a few days having our minds blown at Disney we are staying steps from the outlets which pleases me immensely! Tomorrow we are heading down to Island Grand, a Tradewinds Resort on St Pete Beach.

TradeWinds Entrance

We specifically chose Island Grand because it has something for everyone in our family at a resort that is not an all-inclusive located right on the beach.

TradeWinds Island Grand has completed all phases of a $20 million renovation project! Renovations include guest rooms, suites and specialty units; meetings space, lobby, Grand Palm Colonnade, and more!

A 20-acre beachfront playground, TradeWinds Island Grand was created with fun in mind. Bask beside one of five heated pools. Let the kids play at the KONK while you indulge in a massage or a romantic dinner. Explore our impeccably landscaped grounds by paddleboat along the meandering waterway. Give our concierge a call to arrange a fishing, golf or snorkeling excursion. At the Island Grand, your choices are limited only by your imagination. You pack your things, we’ll pack your stay.

Activities & Services at Guy Harvey Outpost

The choices here seem endless but each of us has made a wish list of activities which we can enjoy. Many are provided free of cost, and a few will be special treats.

On my list is the Body Works Spa, I’d love to see about getting a pedicure after doing so much walking. I also plan on making good use of the cabanas on the beach, I’m picturing myself utterly relaxed watching the kids play in the water.

CabanaHero3 (2)

Sydney cannot wait to check out Fish Tales with Captain Tim and the Splash Island Water Park. How amazing that there is fishing themed activities for our little angler, honestly this is rare to find located directly within the resort.

Watersports Hero 3

Chelsea is looking forward to having her hair braided on the beach and swooping down the High Tide Water Slide which is right on the beach.

HTS Hero Volleyball

My husband is easy to please. He wanted our own kitchen to prepare meals using local foods, shopping close by and a gorgeous beach. Guy Harvey Outpost has all of his requests and MORE, I cannot wait to see which activities he’ll choose to try.

You can find out more about Tradewinds Resorts on Twitter @TWResorts or FB on their Tradewinds Island Resorts page.

Keep an eye out for my updates over the next few days as we experience all they have to offer. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Disclosure: I was provided a stay at this resort for purposes of review; I was not compensated. All opinions are my own. 

Gardening DIY Project – Covering an Eyesore

With Spring has come one of my most cherished hobbies; gardening. I hadn’t realized how much I enjoy time in my garden until the very first summer after the car accident when my pain interfered. That summer I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t make enough effort to figure out how I could garden around my disabilities, instead I sat glumly watching my husband doing his best to pull weeds while my gorgeous plants called to me.

As time has gone by I’ve become stronger within myself. I’m learning to perform tasks in different manners, allowing myself to do some of the activities I used to enjoy and accept that I cannot do them as I had in the past. This is a long process which at times is depressing but when it came to gardening it has been worth it.

I CAN Garden

I think the course of acceptance began around April of 2011 when I wrote “Memories Which Live ON“. By writing this post I found my love for gardening again. I was reminded of that feeling of the soil and the gratification when I see my ideas come to life in a vibrant garden. My Grandfather’s love of gardening was stirring within me.

In June of 2011 I wrote “Plant A Seed And It Will Flourish” in response to my own inner musings around my life. Within this kindergarten project of a bean plant I found God’s love for me and others. Once again I was startled at the beauty which comes from a bit of soil, a seed and some tender caring.

These are just a few examples of how time and changing my thought process have allowed me to begin to feel the love of something I thought was gone. My inner dialogue once told me that I couldn’t garden anymore; how could I if I couldn’t bend and reach as I once had?

Thankfully my thought process has changed (with a ton of work) and I now realize that I can sit on a stool, use a planting bench and actually ask for HELP with the heavy lifting. My actual process for gardening isn’t what it once was but oh how I do love puttering around in my little yard.

Change Is Beautiful

As my life has slowed and changed the grief over past practices and sources of enjoyment is being replaced by appreciation of what I can actually participate in. These days I feel a sense of calm in my soul as I place my hands in the soil. No longer am I racing to pull the weeds, dig the symmetrical edges….these days my eyes roll over the imperfections, noticing the beauty within. With the change I’ve become more able to spot the beauty.

All of this means you’ll all be seeing my gardening activities online, if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts you’ve already had the pleasure of watching my planning. Planning is a very long process for me….so be aware that you’ll see me beginning a project and have to wait a long time to see the result! Hate to leave folks hanging but life in this lane is the epitome of the SLOW lane.

Our 1st Gardening DIY Project of the Year

When we moved into our home we had a rusting basketball net out front that the previous owners had cemented in. It was horrific to look at but SOLID, I swear they dug half way to China to secure the cement.

We cut the long post of the basketball net off but couldn’t possibly leave it looking like this, so we planted a cute little pot around it which worked well for 8 years.

This Spring it was obvious that our little project had reached the end of its life and it was time to fix it up again.

Garden eyesore

We began by removing all of the pot pieces and did our best to save the good soil in the wheelbarrow. Ah yes, there is the ugly post I remember.

For this project we went and got a new whiskey barrel (use whatever post you want), some potting soil and some pretty plants.

Garden DIY Collage

There it is, our first garden project of the year done in little time and I’m sure our neighbours are thanking us inwardly. I’m thankful my husband is willing to do all of the physical work while I get to enjoy the planning and actual planting!

Do you have a gardening question or dilemma?

 

 

 

House Sitter Checklist When Leaving Home For A Vacation

We are heading out for our Magical Christmas at Walt Disney World in just 6 days!! Much like anyone who is within a week of leaving home for a vacation I’m preparing as quickly as possible.

I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family at the most magical place on Earth but don’t want to end up half way there and remembering I’ve forgotten to inform our house sitter of something. In order to make sure I haven’t slipped up I’m creating a house sitter checklist which I’ll share with you all.

1. Make an Information Kit

Providing our house sitter with all the information she may need will save her time and energy should a situation arise. This is all information which we have on hand so it’s simple to put together, it includes:

  • Contact information – I prefer to have updates while away so she’ll have our cell numbers, email addresses and of course Facebook messaging.
  • Emergency contact information – My parents live nearby so they are the emergency contact for our house sitter. I’ll provide her with their phone number and ensure they can be reached at all times. Make sure you know your Emergency contact person’s schedule so that you can provide alternate contact info if necessary. We have discussed emergency situations with my parents and they are comfortable making snap decisions for us if necessary.
  • Communicate About Visitors – This is a big one for me, I totally trust our house sitter but believe it’s important to discuss who I would or wouldn’t want in my home. There’s nothing like coming home to a rip roaring party to turn a trip into a downer.

2. Inform People We’re Leaving

Over the years of using house sitters we’ve found it best to notify people when we will not be around. Making them aware that someone is living here while we’re away will keep them in the loop.

  • Neighbours – Letting our neighbours, friends and family know that we have a house sitter moving into your home will ensure that nobody phones the police when they see someone going in and out this close to Christmas.

3. Prepping Our Home

  • Stashing The Goods – Frankly this isn’t a big deal for us but my advice to those who have breakables which are valuable to them is to stash them away. We never know when accidents will happen so by putting things away you can be sure they’ll be in good condition when you return.
  • Cleaning the House & Yard – Our house sitter is amazing and I want her to want to come back. By leaving her a clean house chances are she’ll feel comfortable. This includes making sure the snowblower is primed to be used in the event of a snowfall and any other outdoor chores are done.

4. Preparing The Dog

Our house sitter knows Miss Coco quite well, we’ve taken the time to establish this relationship. We have left her vet’s information, stocked up on food and I’m leaving a list of the finer points of caring for her such as the importance of crating Coco when leaving the house.

5. Services

Our house sitter needs to know everything about our home’s usual services in order to keep everything sailing along.

  • Garbage Collection – We have noted garbage & recycling day for our house sitter and left garbage bags and blue bins in a noticeable location.
  • Internet access – We have wifi and have met with our house sitter to go over the passwords and ensured that she can indeed hook up her computer and phone.
  • Home deliveries – Being a blogger I do get delivers. For the time we’re away I’ve suspended deliveries so that our house sitter won’t have to deal with this.

6. The House Sitter’s Needs

House sitters are people too and they will need the facilities to live their own lives in your home as well as enough information to settle into your home and neighbourhood quickly and easily.

  • Spare keys – We are leaving one set of keys with our house sitter but another will be left with my parents. Hey our sitter is only human and if she’s like me she could end up losing a set.
  • Kitchen space – It’s important that I clean out our fridge as much as possible so our sitter has the room she may need. This also gives me a chance to get rid of the hundreds of bottles of salad dressings we manage to collect.
  • Clean linen – We are making sure we leave an abundance of clean bed linen and towels for our house sitter.

7. Utilities

While all the utilities are paid for and running in our house, our sitter needs to know everything about maintaining these critical elements.

  • Gas and electric – We have left instructions for the safe use of your electricity and gas services. We did take the time to show her where the fuse box is, how to replace a fuse if necessary and in case of a major issue my Dad will help.
  • Heating  – We learned this one the hard way one summer in the past when a house sitter cranked the air conditioning for a week and left us with a HUGE bill. This time when we did the walk through we showed the sitter how to adjust the temperatures and agreed that she keeps her home at approximately the same temperature we do so there won’t be any surprises.
  • Laundry appliances – I’ve written instructions for our house sitter on how to use our washing machine and dryer, we have a new fangled space aged set so I hardly know what every option does!

Well that looks like I’ve covered everything, the beauty of having someone house sit more than once is that she already knows so much of this I’m sure she’ll be fine.

Now I really must go, I have to pack!!!

DIY Countertop Paint~Giani Granite What a GREAT Makeover

We moved into our home 8 years ago knowing it was a fixer-upper, we didn’t realize quite how big of a project we had taken on. We’ve lived with kitchen counters we didn’t like for years, we just haven’t been in the financial position to gut the kitchen yet…funny how home improvements you can’t see like replacing the furnace, roof and windows take presidence.
 
Through another blogger I heard about Giani Granite, they have a countertop paint kit which transforms even the ugliest counters into a thing of beauty. Specifically, it is a pre-packaged, ‘paint-by-number’ granite paint kit that can be applied to laminates, solid surfaces and ceramic tile without pretreatment. Sounds good to me!
 
Giani Granite was kind enough to send me the Chocolate Brown Countertop Paint Kit to review here and share with you all. It retails for $69.95 and after using it I have to say it’s AMAZING!
This is our kitchen before the kitchen counter makeover, I know you’ll be loving the 90’s faux wood grain!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Step 1 of the process was to tape off the walls, counters, sink….clean the counters well with an SOS pad and paint black.
Giani Granite Counter PaintGiani Granite counter top paint step1
 
My husband’s face was classic when he came upstairs to this look!
 
 
I reassured him it would look different at the end and waited overnight for it to dry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Step 2 was to paint on the mineral layers.There are 3 different minerals in this kit, we poured them into paper plates and applied them ONE layer at a time.Step2 Giani Granit Counter top Paint
It says the step numbers right on the can so it’s super hard to mess up. Do a small section and then grab the next color and do over that section. We applied each color lightly as recommended, it made it easier to go back and add color as we wanted at the end.
Counter top paint like graniteAfter allowing the counter to dry again over night my husband sanded them down smooth with a 600 grit sandpaper.
Kitchen counter remodel
Step 3 – We applied the top-coat, allowed it to dry and then sanded and repainted another layer of top coat. We scored the tape with a knife, peeled the tape off and voila, we have beautiful new kitchen counters which look like granite. We have to let them cure properly for 2 weeks before heavy use but they’re so much better than before!
Counter top paint like graniteDIY kitchen counterGranite look counter    
Our kitchen looks fabulous, thank you Giani Granite for your fabulous product! I’d recommend this to everyone, how could I not with my kitchen looking like this?
DIY Kitchen makeoverYou can find Giani Granite on Facebook as well or see more photos on their online gallery.

Hosting a Christmas Party? Serving Alcohol? READ THIS

Last week I had an article featured on WonderMoms.ca titled Christmas Celebrations & Alcohol. I really feel the message is important and so I’ve decided to share it here today.

Beautiful Christmas Mocktail

Plans are being made to get together with family and friends and our calendar is filling up quickly. We are hosting Christmas dinner for 17 this year and my Mum and I are frantically planning the menu.

In past years I would have also planned the bar; ensuring that the beverages suited the meal and each person’s drink tastes and glass choice were available. Since I’ve gotten honest and admitted I’m an alcoholic all of that has changed, I no longer worry about matching the wine with the food or how I’ll get up with the kids the morning after.

This year my father has generously offered to take care of bar and I will prepare a gorgeous Mocktail Bar for my non-drinking guests.

Having non-alcoholic beverages available to guests is nothing new; the difference is that I am actually putting some thought into it. In past, the choices would have been quite limited; tea, coffee, pop, juice or water. Nowadays I love to have fancy schmancy bevvies for those who don’t partake in my drink choices of days gone by.

Listen friends, it’s time to get honest!

 If you are hosting an event over the holidays you need to be aware of your guests’ alcohol consumption and lack thereof.

Many of us are non-drinkers, for many different reasons and if you’re looking to provide a comfortable, welcoming environment where fond memories will be made you need to focus upon that.

If you’re from North America, you live in a culture where alcohol is ingrained within our culture as an accepted mainstay of the celebration.  The ever-written Facebook status updates “Is it beer o’clock” or “Cannot wait to uncork the bottle at 5pm” are testaments to that fact. We accept that alcoholic drinks are a token of a state of unwind. This is not necessarily a negative situation, but there are risks involved.

As a host you must be aware of the ramifications, the legal issues should something unexpected happen…guests becoming ill…behavioral issues…the list goes on.

Are you conscious of these as you make your purchases for the bar this year? Have you plans to provide for your non-drinkers this year?

The Holidays show statistically that alcohol related driving accidents rise, as do hospital visits associated with alcohol intake. Isn’t it time that we stop the madness and focus upon what our memories should be founded upon?

Today I challenge you, not to eliminate alcohol from your events, but to provide alternatives and to be open with your guests about this. Can you consider asking people who is driving openly when they arrive? Will you help take the stigma off of those who choose not to imbibe?

I certainly hope so.

It’s my opinion that if we speak openly about the risks associated with alcohol we’ll become more aware.

Having someone foolishly tipsy before dinner shouldn’t be acceptable and it’s time that we uphold a higher standard.

As you gaze around the room before the guests arrive, ask yourself what the focus is upon. If your bar takes up half of the space, perhaps you want to think about the message you’re sending.

From my family to yours, we wish you a safe and happy Christmas!

 Great sites for Mocktail recipes:

AllRecipes.com Canada

 LCBO Social Responsibility Mocktail Page

Kraft Canada Mocktail Recipes

 

Christmas Celebrations & Alcohol ~ WonderMoms.ca

Today I have an article up on WonderMoms.ca!

“Our forum is a family lifestyle site with a focus on healthy living, family-friendly events, and parenting life in the Toronto area.
Membership is free, registration is required. WonderMoms.ca is an interactive site focusing on families serving Burlington, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville the GTA and surrounding regions. Created to reach out to other Moms and families to offer support, it has become a community of encouragement, friendship and strength for parents and families. We also strive to make a difference in the
community.”

When WonderMoms.ca approached me for an article I was honored but hesitant, I didn’t want to frighten off their readership with my openess towards alcoholic. Then it occurred to me that this is EXACTLY the demographic I want to speak to to raise awareness and so I drafted up a piece titled Christmas Celebrations & Alcohol.

I’d love it if you head on over and leave a comment.

 

Saying goodbye to my enemy

“Julie, you are your own worst enemy!”
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that in my life…..OK I wouldn’t be rich but I would certainly have a healthier bank account balance.
This morning I was reading a post over at Being Sober where the author spoke about feeling like she was slacking. If you read the post you’ll see she was going to begin work a bit later than she normally would, and that her bosses would have no problem with it.
I immediately understood what she meant, I truly am my worst enemy. This self-depreciating trait is certainly one of my worst behavior patterns and one of the most difficult to change.
As you may be aware, I’m one who loves analogies and examples so here we go!!
When hubby and I purchased our home we knew it was a fixer-upper.
I shared a bit about our renovations here with Thinking of Home Renovation? 
We were aware that the house would need updating, to be polite I’ll just say that their love of pink carpeting, borders and balloon valances differed from my preferences……exhibit A:
Cough.
In order to give you the full picture of the renos I must post the next photo, please be gentle! Thank goodness my early pregnancy fashion challenges didn’t last long! Seriously why didn’t someone let me know I was wearing Grandma jeans??
We had of course budgeted for this but life got in the way via an unexpected pregnancy (yeah!!!), a leaky roof (boo), a broken furnace (are you freaking serious?), a water softener on the fritz(figures) ….the list goes on.
The day finally came…YEARS later when we could afford to begin our decorative renos and off we went!
Walls were removed, painted, new windows installed, an island built and flooring laid!!
It was seriously hard work, there was lots of research to do, frugal purchases to be made and ultimately it was one of the most rewarding projects Hubby and I have taken on.
This was the living room result….a bit empty but a huge improvement!
This was the view into the dining room….I’ll be asking you to return to this photo in a minute to make my point…
But first, here is a photo taken this Easter which shows the view from the living room into the kitchen now that there are no walls.
I’m sure you’ll agree the changes are drastic, we love them and are proud of our efforts.
So where does my self-deprecation come in?
Scroll above again to that photo of the renovated dining room, move your gaze to the upper right of the photo and you will notice that the crown molding doesn’t continue onto the wall on the right. We didn’t finish it …..total flaw! There are also a few spots where the gaps in the flooring aren’t exactly even, that also drives me nuts at times.
So even thought we managed to update our home to suit our tastes, made cleaning so much easier and replaced leaky windows I wasn’t satisfied.
Can you imagine how frustrating it must be being married to me?
So what should my newly established sassy self do?
GET OVER IT.
Period.
I’ve written often about my perspective change and this is one of the most dramatic ones.
 It’s not really noticeable, unless you’re in my immediate vicinity often.
It occurs in my head.
Nowadays I can see my faults and I can make changes when possible and live with others.
So as for the bloody crown molding, it will have to wait for another day when we’re in the mood and until that day I keep my chin tilted down!
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
 and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Funny how it ALWAYS applies.

Keurig Single Cup Brewer Review – Frugal Hubby

When I think of spending time with friends and family I picture us enjoying a beverage of choice, whether it’s coffee, tea, lemonade or something else in my vision there’s generally a drink involved.
For a long time my beverage of choice was wine. I had researched, taste tested and established my list of favorites to enjoy with friends and family. It wasn’t often that I had a stocked cellar, frankly it was hard to keep a bottle in any house while I was there, but I did know my wines, how they were created and which would compliment the meal of the evening.
Times have changed, I’m not looking for a replacement for the alcohol and yet I still reach out for something wonderful to serve while enjoying time with special friends.
I have had a true love for the scent of brewing coffee all of my life, many of my childhood memories were of my father sipping coffee surrounded by the scent when I awoke in the mornings. My love for the taste of coffee came later in life, after I met Hubby and we enjoyed quiet mornings together over a cup.
Over the years we’ve managed to kill off countless Coffee Makers with overuse and we’ve spent too much money at the local Coffee Shop Drive Thru window. For the past few years we’ve toyed with purchasing a Single Cup Brewer for ourselves. For me the only dilemma was which one, for Frugal Hubby it was all cost/usage.
Sometimes a logical financial argument tires against the emotional need of the coffee drinker, I couldn’t see facing another year of reheating a cup of stale coffee.
And so the research began, we watched the local sales, browsed websites and discussed the many brands and models. In saying we “discussed” I mean heatedly, since the accident it’s difficult for me to complete steps with more than a few steps and making a pot of coffee is beyond me because of this.
It wasn’t until we recently received some amazing information regarding the Keurig Single Cup Brewers that our decision was made. I will share this information in a little bit once I’ve told you all about my new baby.
We decided upon this beauty:
Isn’t she lovely??
I’m seriously considering upgrading the counter and back splash to compliment her.
This my friends is the Keurig B60 Special Edition Brewer, her beauty is only outdone by her performance.I had faith that this would be the case, however Frugal Mr Sober wasn’t so happy to part with his..ahem…money.
Remind me to tell you about the $1.00 pack of ice trays which he felt “we didn’t need”.
This is the official description from the Keurig website:
The Special Edition Brewing System brews a perfect cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa or iced beverage in under one minute at the touch of a button. Featuring chrome accents and a blue, back lit LCD display, the Special Edition brewer allows you to program water temperature, set the digital clock and Auto On/Off. With the choice of three cup sizes, the Special Edition brewer offers a removable drip tray to accommodate travel mugs. Includes a bonus variety box of 12 K-Cups®.
  • Programmable
  • Choice of 3 cup sizes (6 oz., 8 oz. and 10 oz.)
  • Removable 48 oz. water reservoir
  • Quiet-Brew Technology®
  • Energy Savings Mode – Auto On/Off
For us it’s been amazing, the girls LOVE the hot chocolate and I love the ease and speed of making a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I was very thankful that Keurig provided a sample pack of K-Cup varieties to try….especially since the K-Cups Frugal Hubby purchased were decaffeinated!
He’s sooo lucky we had those samples that morning.
What is Frugal Hubby’s opinion you ask?
This is where I’m sharing the “amazing information”.
There is a fantastic accessory available for purchase which will satisfy the most frugal of shoppers!
Keurig’s My K-Cup allows you to brew your own choice of coffee with single-cup convenience!
This means that Frugal Hubby could use up the 2 giant containers of coffee he bought on sale and could continue to boycott my lovely K-Cups in quiet rebellion.
Frugal Hubby is converted, he LOVES the convenience, the flavor and the cost!
As for me, for the first time in over a year I’m able to brew coffee, tea, hot chocolate and even cold drinks for myself and others without stressing about the process.
I would highly recommend this product to anyone.
I am not being paid by Keurig, this purchase was one we paid for ourselves and the review is independent.
I did contact Keurig’s PR company with thoughts of a giveaway but they were unable to provide a brewer at this time but I am linking this post to them hoping that could change in future.

Thinking of a Home Renovation?

We are Renovators!!
Hubby has an eye for seeing what isn’t there and how to make it happen.
I have many desires for a plush life surrounded by beautiful sights.
Now I am going to share some of these sights with you.

As the days get longer and the grass becomes greener I begin planning.
 It’s an annual event for our family, Hubby and I plan individually and then meet to negotiate what our Spring/Summer projects will be. This is never a simple matter, when we bought this home we realized it was a fixer upper and yet we often have conflicting choices for the project of choice. These negations aren’t solely based upon budget, time involved is a factor as well because we usually do the work ourselves.

Discussions ensue, we carefully tread around one another gauging the importance of each project in each other’s mind. How badly does He want it? What will I have to give up to achieve what I really want?
Let’s be real peeps, I always pad my list with projects I don’t really care about.
Shocker…dishonesty? Moi?
Me thinks not.
It’s a simple strategy which any negotiator worth their salt is aware of and implements where possible.
How many times have I gone out and made a purchase only to return and justify it by saying it was on sale and I really wanted to buy more but held myself back?
I would never do such a thing!
Cough.
Moving along….I thought to share with you all some of our past projects to help you see my perspective on the day you open my blog to find my post on this year’s project of choice.
I may require sympathy or a knock on the noggin so I’ll try and present the house Reno history succinctly.
In this photo I had rebuilt the front garden, planting perennials, shrubs and a tree.
We had already replaced the front door and the roof demo was about to begin. That brown roof was the bane of my existance, it was performing poorly at the basicis of its requirements. Leaky and fugly it had to go! I don’t feel the need to explain why the bad ’70’s windows had to go.
When I looked at the front of my house I always heard…bow chicka wow wow in my head.
Oh look! A spanking new black roof and oh what’s that….why yes it’s new windows!
Look how happy the children are.
What a great picture but a sprinkler wasn’t enough, I’d always dreamed of having a pool….now that was a HUGE undertaking!
We found a fantastic reputable Pool install company, got the permits and away we went.
This is one shot of me fantasizing on a warm day, notice all the construction junk in the rear right and the chain link fence which had to go. 
And here it was, notice the fence? Hubby put in each 4×4 and I screwed in EVERY board.
Pride much?
This is how the yard looked for a year, we had a lovely pool and no landscaping which meant alot of sandy feet trapsing from the deck to the pool.
I’d like to point out that Hubby and I are Reno risk takers, we research everything and get quotes of course but we figure what the heck, how bad can we do?
Most often we take the risk and although there’s always hiccups we end up with success.
The following year we began landscaping, installed a patio around the deck and gardens.
The area above looks somewhat like this now:
At the back of the yard I’ve planted vines which I hope will add greenery to the fence, the Spruce trees were trimmed from the bootom and I’ve planted 3 gardens at the edge of the pool with Tiger Lilies, Dogwood bushes and I plant a few showy annuals. We placed river rock between and around the gardens to frame them.
Oh and Hubby put up a hammock for himself for a rest after alot of digging.
And finally here’s a view from the back of the yard to the house:

There is still so much to be done back there in our Oasis, but like me it’s progressed and I love seeing the difference.
As we go through our work this year I am planning on blogging about it, why not? It’s interesting seeing what others can achieve right???
Seriously if you’re thinking Reno and your mind immediately groans….it’s often not as bad as you think, just ensure that your spouse/partner is well fortified with sugar and all will be well.