Wednesday, April 17, 2013

10 tips to prevent over-watering your lawn/garden & a giveaway

lawn care, gardening, tips
*This post is sponsored by Pennington Seed*

Are you over-watering your lawn? I did for a long time, until I went to Portland last year and met the folks at Pennington Seed and learned all about how grass works. I was shocked to learn that most people over-water - which is bad for the lawn, wastes money and is bad for the environment. Did you know that in 2012, the U.S. experienced the hottest year on record and two-thirds of the country faced drought— the most ever experienced? Now is the time of year to start to think about your lawn, and taking care of it. Because I'm all about making life easy for you (and me!), I'm sharing 10 ways to re-think watering your lawn and garden. 

  1. Choose the right plants - including the proper grass seed. Look at your zone, how much shade you have to decide what works best where. Don't use a shade variety grass seed in all sun areas, and don't use all sun type plants in the shade. They are engineered over years and years of research to make them the most effective. All the tags & packaging that comes with the product will be your guide.  Using high-quality seed that requires less water and contains no filler means that lawns grow to be more resilient and easier to maintain. Each seed in Pennington Smart Seed is further enhanced with Pennington's exclusive MYCO Advantage seed technology. 
  2. One inch in one week. Lawns require approximately 1 inch of water per week to stay green in the summer, which equates to about 2,500 gallons of water per week to keep an average-sized lawn green. If you're watering more than that you're wasting water - and money.
  3. Use the right equipment in the right areas. Drip irrigation system around trees and shrubs in your landscape to improve water efficiency, watering only when needed, minimizing water loss due to evaporation and preventing moisture from reaching spaces between plants. It also helps to prevent weeds in open areas because just like the plants you want to keep, they need water to grow, too.
  4. Sprinklers in the right spaces. Place sprinkler systems so they are only watering your lawn, not the driveway or street. If you still see water running out onto flat areas, that means you're watering too much. 
  5. Water in the coolest time of day. Reduce the amount of water lost in evaporation by watering when it's cool. This timing allows grass to retain moisture but still dry in enough time to prevent diseases that are more likely to develop in a wet lawn. It will take less water, which is important since 36 states anticipate on-going local, regional or statewide water shortages, even under non-drought conditions. 
  6. Don't throw water into the wind. Wind acts like a natural blow dryer, keeping water from soaking in where it's needed. If you have a particularly windy day, avoid watering that day to prevent this problem.
  7. Make the most of mulch. Spread mulch when seeding new areas to add a protective layer over soil. The mulch will help your soil retain moisture during the critical seed germination and establishment stages. The clippings from mulching mowers also serve the same purpose—preserving soil moisture and nutrients for growing grass.
  8. Don't water until needed. Lawns tend to be overwatered, often with entire lawns being watered to avoid a few dry spots. Overwatering can cause lots of problems, which will only add to your issues. A lawn does not need water until the color falls by 50 percent, then remember the one inch rule.
  9. Fertilize cautiously. Fertilization supplies plants with essential nutrients for strength, uniform growth and a healthy, fibrous root system. When a plant is healthy it takes less water. There also is less chance of the plant being “burned” or dried out to a point beyond recovery. Fertilizers should not be applied during periods of drought.
  10. Sweep away the debris. Don't use your water hose to clean off sidewalks or walkways, instead use a broom. The run off water will add to over-watering issues and drought problems, too.

To help you get a jump start on your lawn care, Pennington Seed is giving away a $50 American Express gift card to one of my readers!  To enter, leave a comment below sharing your tip on taking care of your lawn.

Winner will be contacted via email - so if you do not have your account linked to your comment profile, please leave your email address in the links. Must be a US resident 18+, void where prohibited. Giveaway ends Monday, April 22nd at midnight central time.

Want more ideas on taking care of your lawn? Be sure to follow Pennington Seed on Facebook or Twitter.

Disclosure Statement
Central Garden & Pet partnered with bloggers such as me to help educate us all about their Pennington products. As part of this program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the use of the products. Central Garden & Pet believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Central Garden & Pet’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. A winner will be chosen by random and gift card fulfillment will be handled by a third party.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beating the Paint Chip Blues

Confession: I have had a row of paint swatches taped to the side of my kitchen cabinets for well over 6 months. Have you ever done that? Taping up little swatches of color was my idea to try and inspire me to pick a color. It hasn't really worked. I mean, it's really hard to visualize exactly what the color will look like when it's all up - and if you hate it then you have to start all over again. Which is exactly why they're still there, waiting for me to just pick a color already! Since I can paint it all in about 2 hours (maybe less) with a quart of paint (that's like $10?), you'd think that I could just jump in. But the weird part of my brain that craves perfection (and is never properly fed) just won't let me take that leap.

I know I'm not alone here. I'm guessing that somewhere tucked away in your stash of decorating awesomeness, you've got paint chips waiting to have their number called. As you're reading this, you are struggling with the same, dang issue. I hear ya.

And My Colortopia must have heard us, too, because they just introduced a new color tool that may be the answer to your color cries for help. It's a nifty little tool called Color My Room. It's like they read my mind!

First, play around with other tools on the site, like My Color Inspiration or My Life My Colors and gather your own batch of color ideas. Then, you upload your photo, trace out what you want to color, then change it up by clicking on the different swatches.
You can go from black to white and every shade in between, all by clicking the button. That's a whole lot faster than painting them all out and realizing that you've picked a bad paint color.

I love that it gives you the freedom to play around, because although I thought I wanted more color, I may end up going with something more neutral. (But I really am crushing on that deep teal!)

Find something you fall in love with? My Colortopia makes it easy to go and get it, by offering a print out that you can take to any retailer and buy the paint. I love it when they make it so easy!

So 'fess up.... are you hoarding paint chips waiting for that perfect color to speak to you?

*This post is partnered with My Colortopia, as always all opinions & ideas are my own*

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Surviving the Holidays

Can you believe the year is almost over? We've all made it through the bulk of the holidays (though the Facebook discussion might offer a different opinion.) The main relief for me that was it was a lovely holiday, and we stayed on budget - because there's no fun in being stressed over the budget while trying to enjoy the happiest time of year. This year, I partnered with Bluebird to help me stay on track.

I started off my holiday by figuring finding lots of budget friendly gift wrap ideas. It was a lot of fun to gather the inspiration (although Lala did the bulk of our gift wrapping this year.)

The girls and I found time during the hectic holiday season to slow down for dinner and a movie - a tradition that I hope repeats itself next year!

The girls also hosted a holiday party this year. Most folks would think I was crazy for hosting a sleepover for 12 teenagers - but it was a blast!

It wasn't all about the kids this season, though! Bluebird encouraged me to splurge on something, which I happily did :)

So, it was a great holiday! And I'm so grateful to Bluebird for helping me make it a magical season.

*this post is sponsored by Bluebird*

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Splurge on Something

There's a long standing morning date at my house: Me, the Mr. & some coffee. Every single day we talk about what's on the agenda for the day, hash out ideas for projects, and sometimes just gab about absolutely nothing. It's that time each morning we spend keeping everything flowing smoothly around our home. So when I signed on to do a series with Bluebird, they asked me to splurge on one thing we normally wouldn't buy... and I had no problems coming up with the perfect thing.

Since we love our coffee as much as the time we spend together, it made sense to finally upgrade our basic coffee maker to something a little more special, so we splurged on a fancy new, k-cup using, one cup at a time maker of awesomeness. Yeah.... I'm kind of in love. 

What's the point of this post? Well it's all about treating yourself as well as you treat others. When guest come into your home, you set the best China, pull out all the stops with your very best recipes, light candles and clean like HGTV is showing up next week. Even if you don't do all of that every day for your own family, you can do something a little more special that affects your every day life. That's why we chose coffee. Funny how something so small can actually mean so much. 

Now... if you'll excuse me, I hear the sweet sounds of another cup calling my name :) Well, that and the apple fritter bread from Tarjay - it's delish!

*I partnered with Bluebird Financial for this post*

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Entertaining Teenagers

Every year we have a Christmas party here at the cottage. Sometimes it's an adult affair, but this year we decided to let the kids have a turn by inviting their friends over. Of course, when girls get together, a sleep over is always their idea of a good time. Although it might seem a bit old-fashioned, we went back to traditional fun when coming up with our agenda.

Between many, many Just Dance battles, we took time to decorate cookies. It was no-stress for me to set up, since I went to the grocery store, armed with my Bluebird card, and bought every day ingredients. I baked the cookies the day before, and they had a blast decorating and eating them.
 My Bre wasn't sure if her friends would like such a "boring" idea - but they loved it! 

Another old fashioned idea that was a huge hit: Christmas Charades. They had a blast acting silly and playing out things like "Catching a Snowflake on your Tongue." Wanna join in the fun? I provided a free printable :)

Lots of laughs, good food & a ton of fun times later, they were all exhausted and fell asleep long before midnight.... thank goodness for small miracles, huh?

*This post is sponsored by Bluebird*

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Night with the Girls

Every year it becomes more and more apparent that my days of spending nearly every day with my girls is rapidly nearing it's end. With one in college and one in junior high, I take every chance I can to just unwind and soak up their awesomeness, even during the busy holiday season.

We decided on dinner and a movie. Their choice? Chinese. Yum!

We even squeezed in a little Christmas shopping. I've been good with my budget this year, so it was easy to let them splurge a little on gifts for their friends. My Bluebird account has made it so simple to keep it all sorted this year!

With full bellies & tired toes, we laughed & cried at Rise of the Guardians. Have you seen it yet? We loveeeeeed it! {Of course, it kinda helps that Jude Law is "in" it... even if he is a bad guy!}

I'm so glad I could squeeze this trip out of my budget with my girls, it was the perfect mid-week get away.

Thanks to Bluebird for helping me budget a night out with my girls.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

beautiful {budget friendly} wrapping ideas

Earlier this week, I shared that I've keeping my holiday shopping in check. By using my Bluebird account, I've learned to pull the reigns to keep my holiday finances within my budget. It's not just about the gifts, though. Sometimes it's the sneaky stuff like wrapping paper/supplies that get ya.

I've been keeping all those little things in check this season by finding budget friendly, yet beautiful options for wrapping all those pretty packages.

Stop by and see what inspires me this season.

*This post is sponsored by Bluebird*