Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mean Green 101

Keeping my home tidy has always been a never-ending, tedious chore.  Having a husband who loves to cook, children wreaking havoc in the bathrooms, dogs who track in dirt and myself creating tiny messes, things can quickly get out of control. 


Finding cleaners to knock my house back into shape was a hassle, until I came across Mean Green- a household cleaning brand that delivers spotless results every time.  

Are you familiar with their brand?   "Mean Green is known as a national and international, superior all-purpose cleaner for the toughest jobs around your house, your garage or your work.  The iconic "Super Strength" formula is made with a unique blend of detergents and solvents that form a powerful heavy duty cleaner and degreaser.  Lab tests prove it beats nearly every other cleaner on nearly every stain.   And because it’s biodegradable, non-toxic and contains no acid, ammonia, or bleach, you can feel safe using it just about anywhere, inside and out." 


I've been doing lots of spring cleaning and reorganizing around the house.  I've used the Mean Green Products in every area of my home as well as outdoor grime.  Their products are definitely worth trying.  With little elbow grease, they work better than I expected.


I was given the opportunity to become a member of the Mean Green Ambassador Program.  Throughout the year I will be showcasing tips and tricks to help keep your home pristine.  So please stay tuned for a product giveaway and my first demonstration video!!   


*To learn more about Mean Green and their products, visit meangreendegreaser.com.  You can also follow along with the Mean Green Social Hub.  Check them out on Facebook-facebook.com/meangreendegreaser and Twitter- twitter.com/meangreen_clean.

**This post was made possible through a partnership with Mean Green.  All opinions expressed and experiences are my own words.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Week With Friends

I met my friend Marla 12 years ago.  We were introduced for the first time after chaperoning our daughters' first grade field trip.  We spent a lot of time together.  Our families ate meals together, confided in each other, looked after each others kids, went on picnics and long car rides.  We all got along so very well.  They always felt like family.  When they moved back to Ohio it was hard.

Over the years we always kept in touch.  They made plans to stay the week with us over spring break.  

Here are a few of my favorite moments from their visit...
 
My friends are good cooks.  We ate well while they were here.  Marla makes her own homemade tortillas.  They came out perfect.  I may never want to buy store bought tortillas again!

Meet the bean pie!  An unique, sweet potato-like dessert made from navy beans.  Once we had it, we begged Sean to make it for us again.  We fought over the last piece! LOL!

We had lots of fun arranging and rearranging flowers in the kitchen too.

Their teenage daughter is quite the baker.  We indulged in homemade pretzel bites and cheese sauce.
  
After a few belly rubs Bella always wanted to be by Marla's side.

Our husbands have always got along really well.  They loved hanging out and playing chess several. times. a. day.  

On a sunny morning, we explored Stone Mountain Park.  We took the cable car to the top.

We were rewarded with the most beautiful views.

Can you spot the men hanging from the ropes?  We were told they were doing regular maintenance; checking for cracks etc.


The girls enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere.

The cherry blossom trees were blooming beautiful pink flowers.


Take time to smell the roses cherry blossoms! 


We had such a great time together.  They were the most gracious house guests.  They bought along gifts.  They were always cleaning up and offering to help.  We laughed, cooked together, shopped and stayed up late talking.  I'm so thankful for their friendship.  We miss them and the great moments we shared.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Is an Electronic Dog Fence Right for Your Yard?

Even with a fence, our dogs have managed to escaped the yard.  If the gate is accidentally left open, they will bolt out the yard.  It's nerve wracking trying to find them.  I'm always afraid a car would come along and hit them.  After a drive around the neighborhood, we usually find them running down the street without a care in the world.  If your dog escapes too, there are many ways to keep them safe.  I've always been curious about how effective electronic dog fences really are.  Maybe they're an option for us to consider?  If you're curious too, you can learn more in the article below.


Dogs are members of the family, and keeping them safe is a top priority. If your dog’s ever escaped from your property, you know the fear that ensues while you try to find them, hoping that they haven’t run into trouble before you do. Most dogs require a leash, barrier, or fence to prevent them from wandering out of the yard. There are many different types of fence, however, so how do you know what type is the right choice for you? When choosing between a standard fence and and invisible dog fence, here are some of the questions to ask yourself.

What Breed of Dog Do You Have?
Most dogs can wear an e-collar and be trained to use a wired dog fence or wireless dog fence. Some dogs, in fact, do better with an electronic dog fence. Terriers, beagles, and other dogs that like to dig, as well as hunting dogs and breeds who like to chase, are particularly suited for an electronic dog fence. These types of dogs can often find a way to escape from a traditional fence, whether it be digging under it or jumping over top, for example. If your dog is determined to get past a fence no matter what, an electronic dog fence may be the answer you need. If your dog is a young puppy, you should wait until they’re at least six-months-old to begin training them with an electronic dog fence. Pregnant and infirm dogs should not be trained with e-collars, either, until they’ve given birth or they’re healthy again. If you have an aggressive dog, you must be careful when using an electric dog fence. Dogs that are aggressive may ignore the corrective shock of the e-collar if their adrenaline is pumping, so it’s best to pair an electric dog fence with a traditional dog fence for maximum protection. Since an electronic dog fence only keeps your dog inside the yard, you don’t want to risk someone accidentally wandering into your yard, which may make your dog feel threatened.

What are the Features of Your Yard?
An electric dog fence can be installed almost anywhere, which makes it a very versatile choice. When installing a traditional fence, your ground must be leveled and cleared. On the other hand,an invisible dog fence requires minimal ground preparation, as the wire can be buried almost anywhere. Traditional fences are limited to straight lines and right angles, which make them difficult to place is odd-shaped or circular spaces. The customization boundaries of a wired dog fence make it easy to conform to any space, and a wireless dog fence offers even more options for placement and shape, including radial boundaries. For large properties like farms, homesteads, and ranches, an invisible dog fence is easier and less expensive to install. Electronic dog fence systems can contain more than 25 acres on one system. If you don’t want to obstruct the view or function of your property, an invisible dog fence will be completely unnoticeable and convenient for everyone except your dog, who will be kept safely within the yard no matter what - no need to remember to lock a gate, for example.

 
How Big or Small is Your Budget?
Unfortunately, for most people, cost is always a factor. Oftentimes when our budget is small, the quality we can afford is lower, too. If your budget is modest, a traditional fence may be too expensive for you, as it can cost thousands of dollars. An underground dog fence, however, is generally about 80 percent cheaper. If you can spend the weekend installing your own electronic fence system - which is relatively easy, even for beginners - you can save even more.A DIY electric fence will allow you to save a great deal of money without sacrificing quality, since safety is not something you should skimp on anyway. Over the years, the maintenance of an electric dog fence should be very minimal. Storms, falling trees, etc. do not often damage an underground dog fence as they would a traditional fence. But if you install your own electric dog fence, you’ll also be able to make any necessary repairs on your own, too, rather than calling in a service professional. With a DIY electric fence, your dog won’t be left vulnerable while you wait for professionals to arrive - you can fix breaks immediately.

Will You Commit to Dog Training?
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is whether or not you can commit to the training required with an electric dog fence. Before you purchase a system, be sure you thoroughly understand the training process, because protocols must be followed exactly in order to be effective with your dog. You must be able to spend at least 30 minutes per day for up to two weeks to train your dog. Proper training will ensure your dog doesn’t experience stress or discomfort with the electronic system. If a dog isn’t properly trained, they will feel the corrective shock of the e-collar on a regular basis (as opposed to only during the training phase), and this will lead them to become afraid, distressed, or aggressive when going in the yard. The vast majority of dog owners who properly train their dogs end up being very happy with the system, and it’s clear to them that their dogs appreciate the system, too. If it sounds like an electronic dog fence might be right for your dog, your next step is to check out invisible dog fence reviews and recommendations, so that you can pick out a fence model. Different electronic containment systems have different features. For example, some fences have a limited number of e-collars that can be supported (not ideal for people with more than 2-3 dogs), and some fences cannot enclose more than one acre at a time. There are many different invisible dog fence systems, however, so you’ll be able to find the one that fits your situation best.

*This sponsored post was written on behalf of our dog safety partners www.dogfencediy.com. Please share your experiences with dog containment systems in the comments section!


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy First Day of Spring

Happy first day of spring, friends!  Spring break is almost here!  We have friends visiting next week so our spring cleanup ritual started earlier than normal.  We started getting better organized, donating to Goodwill and tidying up the yard.

I believe your front porch should be welcoming; an inviting entrance to your home.  To spruce up my front porch, last spring I purchased an outdoor bistro set online from Walmart(now discontinued).  It's held up great and I love that the color is very similar to our house.  But it was missing something, so I added an accent pillow.  There's just something so sweet about a bicycle basket filled with fresh flowers.  The design adds just the right amount of color.  I love this pillow.

Perfect for a lazy afternoon of sipping lemonade on the porch!

My Pink Bicycle Pillow Cover is from SoVintageChic, an online Etsy shop.  You'll love her affordable pillow covers too.  Save 20% with code GROOVEBLOG until March 24th.  Have fun shopping!


*No financial compensation was received, however I did receive a pillow cover to review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Decorating our Garage Bedroom

We've been slowly adding furniture and decor to our bedroom since converting our garage into a living space.  One by one our bedroom is coming together.
    
As much as I love pretty things, how we function in the room is important too!  Based on our needs we carved out a little space for sleeping, relaxing and eating.  Eventually I want to add a desk for computer work.

We enjoy sitting here watching television or just talking.  I love being able to sit here with my kids and hear about their day.

Since we no longer have a room for storage, it was important for us to create a spot to keep our home improvement things(paint cans, tools, etc).  A window seat with storage solved our dilemma.  I plan to cozy it up by adding more pillows and a seat cushion to create a reading nook.

We especially love our eating area.  It's a nice place to have coffee in the morning while enjoying the peace and quiet.


I purchased a bookcase (Birch Lane) to display some of my favorite things.
  
Framed art, family pictures and decor books are just a few things I have on the shelves.

I'm constantly moving things around to get them just right.  The bottom shelf has been hard for me.  I'll figure it out.  I'm up for the challenge! LOL!!

I'm taking my time choosing more artwork.

For the nightstands I kept things clean and simple.

A small dish for jewelry and my glasses.  A candle and fresh flowers add in more color.  My husband's side isn't as pretty! 

So there you have it, our progress so far!!  I'll continue to update you as our room takes shape.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hello!

Hello friends!  It's been awhile since my last blog post.  There really isn't a good reason why I haven't blogged much.  Just been busy doing other things, I guess.  I hope to do better!  Here's a mini roundup of what I've been up to...
  
We had so much fun celebrating Valentine's Day this year.


No big bucks on fancy restaurant dinners.  

We enjoyed quiet evenings at home preparing our favorite snacks and beverages.

Silky-smooth hot chocolate, with heart-shaped marshmallows

Frozen hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and sprinkles

Browned butter in a cherry-vanilla milkshake?  Yes please!  I tried it for the first time last summer.  Bobby Flay introduced me to the idea.  Can't wait to try this recipe next.

 If you want to make your loved ones feel extra special, serving them breakfast in bed is always a good idea.


I treated my husband to simple heart-shaped pancakes topped with fresh fruit and whipped topping.  Such a sweet way to start the day!

Who else is ready for spring?  Only a few more weeks to go.  I'm excited for trips to our farmer's market for fresh herbs, produce and beautiful flowers.

I'm ready to fill my home with plants and trips to Home Depot for flowers this spring.

I love dressing up the deck with container gardens.  I love the variety and they stay healthy all summer long.

Last year we said goodbye to our dog, Princess.  After 10 years, it was heartbreaking and sad.
  
Sasha and Bella have always got along so well. 

 Thankful for quiet moments.

They're truly well behaved and comfortable with everyone.
  
My kids are growing up(insert sad face).  As they grow more independent it makes me want to cry.
  
Caleb's 14 and will start high school in August.

Jade's 19 and started her first year of college.

I spend my quiet time reading, doing housework and enjoying breakfast alone.



Taking time to enjoy a cup of coffee is such a simple pleasure.

I still use my cheap, drip coffee maker.  Maybe one day I'll invest in a Keurig?  One day...

Lastly, I love trying new recipes.  We eat a lot of pizza and enjoy making our own.  My husband found a great, no dough-low carb crust recipe.  It was delicious and really satisfied our craving.  You can find the video recipe here, if you'd like to try it too.

Thank you for sticking around, friends.  I'll be back in few with our garage bedroom update!