Keeping Track of Gift Cards, Rebates and Warranties For the Holidays

by Count On Me 4 All – Lisa Thompson

If holiday gift exchange is on the horizon for you, then you may have to deal with gift cards, rebates and warranties. This can create more paperwork and a need to stay organized so that you don’t lose money through rebates that you fail to send in, gift cards that get lost, or warranties that are forgotten. Eric Ravenscraft has written a beneficial blog that helps us stay on top of those gifts that involve rebates, warranties and gift cards so that we can get the most out of our holidays this year.

 

 

Shopping Smart For the Holidays

By Count On Me 4 All

 I have friends who are great planners and they continuously think ahead and pick up gifts for the holidays during the course of the entire year. Each year I promise myself that I will shop like they do, or get started early on my holiday shopping. Yet, more often than not, you will find me racing around the week before the big event, madly picking up those last minute items.

Shopping for the holidays is either something you love to do or avoid until the last minute. Yet as an adult, I know that however it is that one feels about shopping, what is most important is to shop smart. Smart shopping saves both money and time.

To learn more about how to save money and time read Ellie Kay ‘s blog 10 Easy Tips to Save Big and Simplify Your Holiday Shopping.

Organizing Your Garage

by Count On Me 4 All
Messy abandoned garage full of stuffCan’t fit something into your closet? Stick it out in the garage. Not enough room in the basement? Put it in the garage. No time to find a place to store it? Unload it into the garage.

Our garage can be the easiest place to dump things, yet it is also an area of our home most often seen by others. People can get their first impression of us by the state of our garage. Each time we open the garage door to drive in and out, or even when we leave it open for an extended period of time, people walking or driving by can judge us upon the state of our garage.

Cleaning and organizing our garage does not have to be expensive or impossible. Lilly of Listotic, wrote a blog 28 Brilliant Organization Garage Ideas. It is a filled with great tips that will inspire you to take on your own garage and complete a garage makeover!

Preparing Our Perennial Garden For Winter

by Count On Me 4 All
Perennials are starting to shut down as the weather gets cooler and snowy winter months draw near. Our garden’s work may be almost complete for the season, yet OUR work as gardeners is not done. We have work to do in our perennial gardens this autumn to ensure a healthy start for our flowers in the spring.

Debra Anchors, from the website Gardens Inspired, wrote Prune Your Perennial Flower Garden, to help us understand what each of our perennials need at the end of the season, so to as to insure a vigorous start to their growing season once warm weather arrives again.

Saving Time by Running Errands Efficiently

by Count On Me 4 All

Our home has become an empty nest with our youngest of two kids having headed off to college this past fall. We miss them both of our kids dreadfully yet it has also become obvious what a help they were when they were living at home. The place we see it the most is in the number of errands one or both of them would run for us on a daily basis. Continue reading

Caring For Your Flower Bulbs After They Bloom

by Count On Me 4 All

Colorful tulipsWhen I look out my kitchen window, it’s such a treat to see the bright yellow of the daffodils and pink of the tulips blooming in my flower garden. Along the south side of my house the crocus and hyacinths are in full bloom, with their purple hew. I cherish the days that my spring flowers are at the height of their color, for I know that the blossoms won’t last forever. To ensure that I can enjoy them for years to come, I need to keep my flower bulbs healthy by taking specific steps after the blooms are gone.

The following is a good article from the My Garden Supplies website concerning what to do with your flower bulbs after they bloom, to ensure that they stay strong and healthy for many years.

Flower Bulbs – After bloom care

After your spring flower bulbs have bloomed do you leave them in the ground or is it best to dig them up?  There is always some debate amongst gardeners as to what to do with your flower bulbs after they have bloomed.  Here are some tips on after bloom care for your spring flowering bulbs.

What should be done after the flower bulbs have bloomed?

After the blooms from the flower bulbs have faded, “dead-head” them by clipping off the spent blooms so that they won’t go to seed.  Some gardeners say this isn’t necessary for daffodils, but your garden will look neater by cutting off each bloom when it is finished.

Don’t touch those leaves!

The main requirement for bulb flowers after they have bloomed is to keep their leaves so that the plant can put its energy back into its bulb for next spring’s blooming. The leaves give an energy charge to the bulb through photosynthesis and for this they need to keep their leaves! This energy or food is stored in the white fleshy part of the bulb for use next spring.

Since each leaf needs to be exposed to the sun, it is important not to bunch, tie, braid or cut the bulb’s leaves during this six to eight week period. The bulb’s leaves can be unsightly but it is vital to your bulb’s health to leave them until they are completely brown and dead at which time they can be trimmed off.

Try planting other annuals or perennials in amongst your bulbs so that these will grow up and hide the yellowing leaves of your bulbs.

Fertilizing

If you feel you want to fertilize your bulbs, this should only be done about six weeks before they bloom. A fast release nitrogen fertilizer is the best thing to feed the bulbs with (see our article How to Choose the right Fertilizer). Some gardeners like to throw in a handful of bone meal when they first plant their bulbs as this can help the roots get off to a good start.

Lifting Bulbs

Some gardeners go through the bother of lifting the flower bulbs out of the ground every year, storing them for summer and then replanting again in the fall. For all the bother it really doesn’t improve the bulbs performance at all. As well, leaving your bulbs in the ground will cause most varieties to naturalize, that is, multiply giving you even more bulbs next spring. Does size matter? Generally within the same species of bulb, a bigger bulb will produce a bigger flower. However you can’t compare one species of tulip with another as their sizes may differ greatly according to its variety. Once properly planted and cared for, your bulbs can increase in size every season bringing a better display every spring.

Most bulb merchants will stop shipping bulbs when the planting season for them has ended. Gardeners can still order however and the bulbs are shipped as soon as planting time is optimal.

Efficient and Effective Window Washing

by Count On Me 4 All

washing windows image
It was a long winter, and looking out the windows in the spring shows how dirty our windows have become. The ice and snow of winter and the winds of spring have left the windows spotted and grimy.

Early summer is the perfect time to clean windows. Getting this task completed before the mosquitoes and insects of summer arrive make opening the windows for cleaning a less hectic task.

Washing windows can be a tough job, yet it can be made easier if we follow the suggestions of professional window washers. They have ideas and tricks to make the task more efficient and effective. Joe D’Agnese from This Old House Magazine has written an article on how to wash windows easily and effectively. Continue reading

Mulching Your Garden

By Count On Me 4 All

Pretty manicured flower garden with colorful azaleas.Every spring I clean out my perennial garden, and it is weed free and beautiful! I then tell myself that this would be a PERFECT time to mulch, which would save me time and energy throughout the summer. Mulching also helps to suppress weed growth, conserve moisture in the soil, help prevent soil compaction and make my flowers healthier and happier as well. Yet, truth be told, I get busy and forget my own advice, and before I know it, July is here. I then kick myself in the midst of the heat of summer, as the weeds are growing like crazy and the ground is dry and hard. Continue reading

Setting Up a Filing System to Save Time

by Count On Me 4 All

Financial documents in foldersMom, where is the letter of recommendation that my science teacher wrote for me? Honey, where is last month’s phone bill? Kids, where are your report cards that you brought home last week? If you can lay your hands on these items quickly, then you are in good shape. But if like some of us, the search for these items becomes an endless hunt, then you know something needs to be done to prevent you from wasting your valuable time in the future. The answer to this problem is a workable filing system.

When helping a family organize their home, one of the most essential things I do is help them set up a filing system. An efficient filing system must be one that works for the user and is easy to manage. It needs to have categories and subcategories that fit in with your families needs. It helps to have it color-coded as well. Continue reading

Cleaning Your Refrigerator – It is That Time Again!

by Count On Me 4 All

Refrigerator full of foodMy daughter announces that the mayonnaise she has pulled from the refrigerator shelf expired two months ago. When searching for mustard in the fridge, my husband finds three jars, two hidden in the back behind the container of soup that we were eating two weeks ago. My sister visits and I find myself avoiding having her look in the refrigerator, for I know what shape it is in. All three of these events lead me to the conclusion that it is time to clean the refrigerator.

Cleaning out the refrigerator is one of those projects that we tend to put off for a later date. Why? It takes a lot of time. It takes counter space to place the containers as we wash out the shelves. It also takes persistence to keep it clean, once the job is done. Continue reading