Suburban Vegetable Gardening

Spring is absolutely, hands-down, my favorite time to get out in the yard and garden.  After a particularly wet winter in Northern California, our landscaping is looking especially vibrant and lush.  I love seeing all of the bright green, new growth covering all of the plants.

The arrival of warmer days also mean that it’s time to get our vegetable garden planted.  We have a fairly typical, suburban backyard, about three-quarters of which are occupied by our patio and pool.  We have limited space left for a garden, so I rely on container gardening and a small, raised bed garden.

Garden_raised bed_containers

When planning our garden each spring, I always start with the tomato plants.  Not only do we eat a LOT of  tomatoes throughout the year, but with the abundant sunshine and HOT weather that we get during the summer, tomatoes are some of the easiest veggies to grow in our area.

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How to Install Wrought Iron Spindles

This is Part Two of my staircase makeover – How to Install Wrought Iron Stair Spindles. Part One – How to Gel Stain an Oak Handrail – can be found HERE.

How to Install Wrought Iron Stair Spindles

If you’ve read Part One of my staircase makeover, you’ll know that our house was drowning in golden oak. It was EVERYWHERE, and I couldn’t wait to see it all gone. Ever since we had moved into the house five years before, I was itching to say goodbye to that golden oak bannister. But, the amount of time that would be needed to paint and/or stain the handrails and spindles held me back from getting started. Read More


Easy Closet Organization

Organize Your Hall Closet Fast!

(With one simple organizing tool)

If you have small children, you have small accessories.  A LOT of them.  Depending on where you live, that can include mittens, beanies, scarves, umbrellas, sunglasses, hats to protect from the sun, flip-flops – you name it.  If you’re lucky, like me, you live somewhere that gets seasonable weather and calls for both cold and warm-weather accessories – double the “stuff.”

DIY Easy Closet Organization

I think it was somewhere between the arrival of Kid #2 and Kid #3, that I had finally had enough of trying to keep track of all of those teeny, tiny things.  (You can only deal with so many meltdowns as a result of your three-year old not finding his absolute-favorite-can’t-live-without-it pair of sunglasses.)  I needed to figure out some sort of easy closet organization system.  We didn’t have any place for one of those cute, locker room-style mud rooms that have become so popular.  I was stuck trying to make the most of a standard coat closet. Read More


Easy-to-Install Programmable Timer

DIY and Easy-To-Install Programmable Timer – really!!!

I consider myself fairly adventurous when it comes to home improvement and DIY projects.  I’ve tackled some pretty big projects, such as pulling out the wood spindles on our staircase bannister and replacing them with wrought iron.  I’m pretty comfortable using saws and power tools.  I don’t even mind getting dirty, when the situation calls for it.  But, my adventurous nature goes out the window when it comes to installing anything electrical.

Easy DIY Programmable Timer

Even though I know that I can check (and double-check) that there is no power left going to the wires on which I’m working, the (totally improbable and quite possibly crazy) idea that somehow, someway, the power MIGHT come back on really freaks me out.  Like any wise woman, I save all electrical-wiring projects for my husband.  Read More


Gift Wrap Storage

Our office tends to be the dumping ground for our family.

Anything that doesn’t have a home seems to wind up getting stored in the office, leading to a large accumulation of crap stuff-I’m-sure-I’ll-need-some-day-and-can’t-possibly-throw-away.

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Clutter-free Kitchen Counters


My kitchen counters tend to be a magnet for clutter.  

Mail that needs to be opened and sorted.  Paperwork coming home from school.  Random odds and ends that are going to some other final destination.  During baseball season, I probably remove at least three baseballs per week from the counter.  (I’m pretty sure that baseballs are breeding and reproducing somewhere nearby – that is the only explanation for their seemingly ever-increasing numbers.)

My boys come home from school and my kitchen island is instantly full of binders, books, reading logs, lunch boxes, water bottles and whatever else they pull out of their clown-car-esque backpacks.  Read More

Leprechaun Garden


I’ve loved miniatures since I was a kid.  

One of my earliest DIY projects was building a dollhouse from a kit.  I spent hours and hours painting, assembling, and crafting tiny, little accessories.  I still have that dollhouse; in true DIY style, it’s still a work in progress.

My love of gardening also started when I was young.  I loved helping my mom put new plants in the ground each spring, and watching how they grew.  We had lots of edibles in our garden (including my absolute favorites, raspberries); even as a child, I could appreciate the satisfaction of eating something that I had planted.  (And to this day, there is very little that compares to eating fresh raspberries that are still warm from the sun.) Read More



How to Gel Stain an Oak Banister

This is Part One of my staircase makeover.  Part Two – How to Install Wrought Iron Spindles – can be found HERE.


We moved out of our starter home in November of 2011, and bought a house one street over.   Literally. Our new home was less than a mile away from our first house.

I loved everything about the new house. The floor plan was perfect for our family. My kids would continue to attend the same elementary school, and our “commute” to school dropped from a mile to about a quarter of a mile. The street was full of my kids’ friends, and the backyard had room for a pool.

I loved everything about the house, except for the VAST amount of golden oak. It was EVERYWHERE. Golden oak kitchen cabinets, golden oak bathroom cabinets, golden oak laundry room cabinets. Golden oak staircase banister and spindles. The hardwood floor that covered almost the entire downstairs? Yep…golden oak.  Read More

How to Set Up a Family Command Center


I have a confession to make:  I don’t consider myself particularly organized.

I am a bit of a hoarder and I have a hard time letting go of STUFF.  I get emotionally attached to things.  I worry that if I get rid of some piece of clothing/home decor/furniture/whatever, I’ll need it sometime in the future.  I actually have a physical reaction when I donate items or have a  garage sale.  When it’s time to let things go, I just feel…off.

While I’m not as organized as I’d like to be with our “stuff,” I might be *slightly* uptight when it comes to our family’s schedule.  Read More

Christmas Wishes Ornaments

In an unexpected series of a events, I went from a being a stay-at-home mom who enjoys DIY projects to doing a few segments as a “DIY Expert” on a local news’ morning show.  (You can watch the first segment HERE.)   The whole thing is still quite surreal – I watch the segments and think, “Is that really ME on TV???”  I find the title of “DIY Expert” to be especially hilarious.  (I guess “stay-at-home-mom-DIYer” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it in the news industry.)  But, I’m enjoying the unexpected change of direction my path has taken.  Probably not ironically, it all began with a Pinterest project. Read more