Friday Wrap: Is October Really Over?

It’s been a wild week at the Andersen house. We closed out the month with plenty of fanfare. Can it really be time to roll into November, though?

Before we do, here are a few of our favorite moments from the week. >>

{ONE} Halloween Shenanigans

The girls had two costumes this year, which I guess makes up for no costume for my teenage son. Haha. Actually, he and his friends were super sweet and took the littles out for trick-or-treating before they did their own thing.

First up were The Little Hungry Caterpillar and Rainbow Fish, which the girls wore to school for book character day. {It was a creative way for their school to let the kids dress up, but not really make it be about Halloween. I guess schools aren’t doing Halloween anymore??}

The “official” Halloween costume of the year were these bear outfits. It turned out to be a pretty cold night, so they were pumped to be walking around in these cozy, fuzzy onesies.

To make them look like Beanie Babies, we just made tags that hung around their neck with ribbon. So simple. My kinda outfit.

Brandon and I made a last-minute decision to dress up. I’m talkin’ 20 minutes before we went to our friend’s house for dinner.

Once Brandon found the red, white, and blue hat in the attic, we scrounged around for anything we could wear with those colors (including the red plastic glasses from the dress-up bin) and just went with it. Go ‘Merica!!

We had such a fun night chillin’ with friends – especially these sweet ladies (even if they did talk me into drinking a “beer” from Bolivia that tasted like black licorice and burned my throat.) I swear I still have indigestion from it.   

Oh, and I made the pumpkin-shaped cheeseball again. The tradition continues…three years and running!!!

{TWO}  Chai Love You

I’m a seasonal sipper when it comes to coffee and tea, but I’m not a huge fan of PSL (I know, I know). What I do love, though, is the touch of spice in a chai latte this time of year. So I stocked my pantry full of some yummy K-cups.

+ This drink reminds me of my sister, KJ. It’s her favorite, too. And she warms my heart. Cheers to more chai!

{THREE} Black & White Photo Challenge

Have you seen the black and white photo challenge circulating on Facebook these days? It’s actually pretty cool, and I have no idea how it all started. Do you??

I was nominated by a co-worker and am currently on day two. My first post included Leo (above). I bribed him with a treat to sit next to me while I did yoga that morning. Lol.

It has only been a couple of days, but so far I feel like it’s great practice for mindfulness. I’m spending the day being more aware of what’s going on around me as I look for the right shot.

Want to join me? Here’s the wording for the challenge. Feel free to use my name as the person who challenged you. Because I am!! Copy and paste this into your next Facebook post – with a photo of your day.

I was nominated by Kate Clark Andersen
Seven days, seven photos in black and white of your everyday life. No explanation, no people, challenge a friend to join every day.
Day 1/7
Today, I challenge {you get to choose!}

{FOUR} Becoming Buzz Worthy?

Y’all, The Neat Nook was mentioned in a BuzzFeed Nifty article! Here’s a link to the post, and here’s a post about the link. Haha! There are so many great tips in here, too. Check it out!

{FIVE} Transitioning to Thanksgiving

In addition to some pumpkin makeovers, I’ve started back up with Thankful Thursdays. I’d love to hear from you each week and share in your thanksgivings. Yesterday was the first post, so be sure to check it out.

That’s a wrap, my friends!

Many blessings,

Kate

PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out. >>

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Friday Wrap: Celebration Edition

With the blog officially turning two years old this week, I’m in celebration mode.

I thought it would be fun to share a few party ideas. And if you’re throwing a fall party any time soon, or just want to celebrate because it’s the weekend, here are five super easy ideas. Hurrah!

{ONE} Candy Corn Centerpieces

It’s not an official party at my house until there are fresh flowers on the table. And I love this playful and colorful centerpiece for fall. The candy corn makes it feel like Halloween, so it’s like a fall-oween decoration.

candy-corn-centerpiece-full

It was super simple to pull together, too. Here’s what you need:

  • Two vases (one smaller than the other)
  • One bag of candy corn
  • Flowers of your choice

To assemble, place the smaller vase inside the larger vase. Next, fill the outer edge with candy. Once that’s done, fill the middle vase with water and your fresh cut flowers. Easy, right?!

See the steps in more detail below >>

candy-corn-centerpiece

You’ll notice I used a large mason jar for the outside. My smaller vase was actually a little taller. (You can see it sticking up in the upper right and lower left pics.) Not to worry. I tied a pretty ribbon around the center vase where it was “exposed” and you can’t even tell!

{TWO} No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bites

Okay, so the secret to this “no-bake” pie is to purchase it from the store – like from Sam’s Club. Lol! That’s actually where I saw this brilliant idea. Check it out >>

mini-pumpkin-pie

What just happened? Well, you take a pie (that you personally did not bake), cut it into smaller circles with a cookie cutter, and then top each with fresh whip cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving.

They’re so pretty, not to mention much easier to eat at a party. And for all of the delicious scraps that didn’t quite make it into a mini pie? Well, consider those your reward for working so hard on these desserts.

{THREE} Bushels of Snacks

Okay, so here’s a fun idea for serving snacks on a seasonally themed table. Put your chips and popcorn in these adorable apple baskets. I could even see mini pumpkins arranged around the base.

baskets-of-snacks

{FOUR} Beautiful Blanket Scarves

Now that we have a few ideas for the food and decorations, here’s something cute to dress up a plain tee and jeans.

I’m so in love with these blanket scarves from Target. They’re only $25 and have such pretty choices of plaid. These are my two faves. I can’t decide which one I like better. What do you think?

{FIVE} Visa Gift Card Giveaway!!

Finally, how about a party favor? Woot! Woot!

Enter to win one of two $25 Visa Gift Cards in honor of The Neat Nook’s second blogiversary. Winners will be announced on Monday, 10/17/16, so click away today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and here’s to a celebratory weekend all around!

XoXoXo,

-Kate

P.S. I’m linking up with all of these fabulous bloggers today, so be sure to check them out!

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5 Ways to “Fall Up” Your Home

Happy Fall-riday!! I hope you live in a spot where the air is cooling off and you’re able to really get into the spirit of the season.

We’re finally dipping into the 60s here in Northwest Arkansas. So this weekend, I plan to do the seasonal clothes swap, where I put my summer dresses and blouses away and pull out the sweaters and boots.

I also plan to spruce up the house with some fall flair. I’ve found that it doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to transition your home into a warm and cozy spot.

Focus on these five things to seasonalize your space in a snap!

{ONE} The Entryway

The front door and entryway help set the tone for your home. So this is a great place to showcase seasonal decorations, and even messages. Look at this cute chalkboard that has been decked out with leaves and berries. I could see this updated with holly in the winter and even daisies in the spring/summer >>

Here’s a fun twist. This wreath includes cotton bolls tucked among the greens. I found some real cotton stems on this site if you’re interested in making something like this for yourself. You can also buy this wreath online >>

If you want to go for simplicity, here’s a wreath made with corn husks. Doesn’t it remind you of a white sunflower? You could hot glue strips of corn husks (from a craft store) onto a foam wreath to make this lovely display. And you can make homemade tamales with any left over husks. Lol >>

This would be another DIY project. It’s a repurposed frame with fall flowers and greenery glued to the edges. I also love the personalization with the initial in the center. >>

{TWO} Framed Artwork & Photos

You can easily freshen up your walls with signs of fall, like colorful leaves that have been framed >>

How pretty is this? I love the idea of having a large chalkboard as the focal point in a room. That way you can sketch out a new message each season >>

Find little nooks in your home, like a bookshelf or side table to display a framed seasonal message. This is simply a piece of burlap that has been colored with a Sharpie >>

If you have a gallery wall in your home, swap out a few photos or objects for one of these cool fall prints >>

{THREE} Seasonal Centerpieces

Flowers and even gourds are a great way to bring the fall season indoors. Here’s a cornucopia-like basket that’s overflowing with silk greens and fabric pumpkins, so it will easily last through Thanksgiving >>

Fill the middle of your dining room table or even coffee table with a planter of herbs and small pumpkins. If you can’t find mini white pumpkins, you can buy orange ones and spray paint them white – or even silver or gold >>

If you can’t tell, I love white pumpkins!! Here’s a pretty centerpiece that uses one as a vase. Just hollow out the inside, fill it with oasis floral foam and then you can insert flowers of your choice. This has tulips with seeded eucalyptus. I don’t usually think of tulips this time of year, so that makes this arrangement a tad unique >>

For another pumpkin-turned-vase idea, these beauties have succulents planted inside >>

And speaking of succulents, I think they’re great for fall (and even winter). They add life to your decor, come in beautiful colors and don’t require much sun or water. This makes them happy additions to any home. This pretty mix is planted inside of a wooden box >>

{FOUR} Pillows & Throws

As soon as the temperatures drop, I love making cozy spots throughout the house with blankets and soft pillows. “Sweater” pillows, like the one below, are my favorites to snuggle with while reading a book, sitting next to the fire with a hot cup of apple cider…pardon me while I daydeam for a minute.

It’s also fun to use decorative pillows to really make the house feel “in season” >>

Here’s a fun assortment of pillows that would be darling on a couch. I even like that plaid throw tucked in the left corner >>

If you’re feeling like an easy DIY project, here’s a pillow you can make! >>

Here are a few more plaid throws that I love. These are from Pottery Barn. You may remember I mentioned them in a previous post? Well, they’re still on sale!!

PS. I ended up buying the second one down (neutral) >>

{FIVE} Soaps & Candles

For the final touches, I plan to pick up some of these yummy candles from Bath & Body Works. They have such great fragrances each season. I’m a little more partial to Cranberry Woods than the Pumpkin Pecan Waffles. The pumpkin-scents are a little too sweet or pumpkiny for me.

Here are a few stars in this season’s line up >>

I like having seasonal soaps in all of our bathrooms. So I plan to check out these interesting choices this weekend. Have you shopped any of these? If so, what’s your favorite?! >>

That’s a wrap, my friends. Have a beautiful weekend. How are you celebrating fall, so far?

-Kate

PS. I’m continuing my series of posts on how to clean and organize a few special places in our homes. Yesterday I started with the heart of the home (the kitchen). Join me this weekend for some laundry room ideas!

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Friday Wrap: A Few Good Things

fallelujahHello, friends! It’s not only Friday, but also the first official weekend of fall. Yay!!! I hope you have tons of exciting things on your plate.

We plan to celebrate my sweet husband’s birthday!! That means we’ll have a weekend filled with friends, family, football and plate loads of delicious food. No complaints on my end.

As I’ve been prepping for the festivities, I came across some fun things I wanted to share. Here’s my top five list:

{ONE} Easiest-Ever Pumpkin Spice & Chocolate Muffins

A coworker shared some of these delicious and ridiculously easy-to-make muffins. And now I’m sharing with you. Here’s how easy they are…

When I asked for the recipe, my friend laughed. She said it’s too easy to call a “recipe.” It’s literally a box of spice cake mix, a can of pumpkin and as many chocolate chips as you love. No extra water, eggs, oil, etc. Nada. Just three ingredients poured in a bowl, mixed around and scooped into muffin tins. You bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, and then you have yourself some perfectly spiced pumpkin muffins.

I made a batch earlier in the week and they’re already gone! So I’m making more today for the birthday boy.

{TWO}  Play-Doh Cake Party

Muffins are good, but it’s not a proper party without cupcakes. Am I right?

My girls are obsessed with all things cupcake at the moment. I think it started when they discovered the TV show Cupcake Wars. This week I bought them this Play-Doh set so they can make cute (and sugar-free) treats for when we don’t have time to crack real eggs and fire up the oven.

They were super excited about this purchase and plan to make all kinds of goodies for their daddy bear’s birthday! I mean, look how cute. >>

playdoh-cake

{THREE} Truly Spiked & Sparkling

truly-spiked-and-sparkling

When we visited our friends in Kansas City recently, I was introduced to Truly. It’s an adult beverage that’s just like a flavored, sparkling water. Think of it as a LaCroix with a kick. It’s only 100 calories per can and 2 grams of carbs. So it fits into my Whole30ish diet. Lol!

Anyway, if you’re looking for a light and refreshing drink to sip on during parties or football games, you may want to give this a try. I like the grapefruit pomelo, but they have other flavors – like pomegranate and colima lime. I have stocked up on all three.

{FOUR} Aromatherapy Oils To Go

aromatherapy-roll-on

When I was stocking up on a few bathroom essentials at Walgreens, I stumbled upon these aromatherapy oils. They’re packaged in small bottles with a roll-on tip. So they’re easy to toss into your purse and use at a moment’s notice.

I bought two of them because at the time I wasn’t sure if I needed to chill out or buckle down and focus. What’s funny about this, and I didn’t realize it until just now, is that it sums up my personality to a tee. I’m actually a calm person, and when I’m involved in a project I’m super focused. I’ve heard I get this look on my face that says, “Don’t talk. I’m busy thinking.” Is that why I picked them? Did I somehow relate to them?!

{FIVE} Barre3 Class

barre3

Even with such a busy week, my friend, Julie, and I carved out some time for ourselves. #personalwin

We attended a Barre class!! I’ve never been to one and didn’t even know what to wear. I literally had to Google it. These showed up and I almost freaked. Good news is that this place was barefoot friendly.

Anyway, the class was pretty challenging. And by challenging, I mean hard. Really hard. I’ve never done so many sumo squats in my life. And I’ve given birth to three children. Within the first five minutes all of my muscles were on fire.

Our picture above is probably blurry because we were shaking and could barely hold our arms above our heads. Julie posted this video on Facebook to describe how we felt and looked after class >>

baby-fawn

Click to watch. Lol!

I’m sure we were a sight, but we didn’t care. We were just proud that we did it! And we might even go back.

That’s a wrap. Be sure to swing by next week. I’m doing another series. This time it’s about simple ways to clean and organize the most important spaces in your home, like your kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room.

For now, I wish you a beautiful weekend – and give a special shout out to my Sweet B for the best birthday, yet!

XoXoXo,

Kate

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10 Beautiful Quotes for Welcoming Fall

You’ve seen me profess my love of the fall season, so this should come to no surprise that I’m truly and officially excited for today. I can finally say, “Happy Fall!”

In fact, I found ten different ways to say it. Feel free to share any of these on Facebook, Instagram or wherever you want to spread seasonal cheer.

{via}

And finally, as I mentioned on my personal Facebook page…”Here’s to turning new leaves, opening more doors, and seeing the beauty in all colors.” #findingreasonwithintheseason 

My love to you all this fall!

Kate

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Friday Wrap: Feelin’ a Little Like Fall

As the days turn cool and crisp, my excitement for fall quickly builds. I want to bust open the windows and let the breeze fill and clean each room of the house. I also look forward to pulling out cozy blankets, baking recipes, and anything else that screams “fall.”

The official first day is next Thursday, so here are five ways we can gear up for a grand entrance into this fresh season.

{ONE} Seasonal Planters

I shared a post yesterday that went into more detail about fall planters. So be sure to check that out for lots of inspiration.

In the meantime, I think this might be my favorite (below). I have a pair of urns just like this in front of our house, so I want to try and pull this off. That purple fountain grass is gorgeous with the yellow mums and orange peppers. As we get closer to Halloween, I could stack some cute punkin’s around the base.

{TWO} Cozy Blankets

I’m a big fan of snuggle time. I’ll even make the house a tad colder in the summer just so I can wrap up in a blanket. Crazy, I know. Now that it’s actually getting chilly, I feel good about having them out on display.

Our mini Goldendoodle chewed through a few of my favorites when he was in full-on puppy stage, so I’m in the market for blankets. I love this plaid number from Pottery Barn. And it’s on sale?! Yes, please.

{THREE} Soul Food

I heard through the vine that Pecan Pumpkin Butter is back at Williams-Sonoma. Yay! That means it’s time to whip up a batch of warm pumpkin dessert squares.

Recipe:

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
1 jar Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Flour
3 Eggs
3/4 cup Butter
3 Tbsp Milk
1 tsp Cinnamon

Reserve 1 cup of the cake mix, set aside. Mix remaining cake mix with 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 egg. Press mixture lightly into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan. Mix 1 jar of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter with 2 large eggs and 3 tbsp of milk. Pour over cake mixture in pan.

Mix the reserved cake mix with 1 tbsp flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup of soft butter and 1 tsp cinnamon. Crumble over top of pumpkin layer. Bake 35-40 min. @ 350 degrees or until golden. Cool and serve.

{FOUR} Simmering Scents

As you may know, I’ve always had a “thing” for smells. Nothing makes our house feel more like fall than a big batch of simmering spices on the stove. Here’s my favorite combination. Mmm…

{FIVE} Fresh Colors

Every season Pantone Color Institute develops a palette that helps summarize the hottest colors worn during New York Fashion Week. And here are your beautiful, jewel-like colors for Fall 2015. >>

This year’s line up is heavy on blues. And beautiful, soft blues at that. Below shows you each color in more detail and what their exact number and names are in the Pantone Color system. (This is especially helpful if you’re a designer.) Have fun styling your outfits, accessories or even your house with these trendy hues.

color3color1 color2

That’s a wrap! Have a great weekend and let me know what you’re up to. How are you flirting with fall?

XoXoXo,

Kate

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Giveaway Winner & Weekend Update

This quote made me laugh, because I’m totally wearing my Sunday outfit to work today. Anyone else with me on this? Here’s to having one decision already made before I even woke up!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Before I go any further, though, I’d like to announce the winner of the coaster giveaway. Debbie Ray is the lucky recipient of a set of designer black and gold ampersand coasters from Qostr. Yay, Debbie!

qostr

A special thank you to everyone who participated. The 20% discount for Neat Nook readers is still valid through October, so head over to Qostr and use promo code OCTOBER20 at checkout. Maybe grab some Halloween party coasters?

The next Qostr giveaway will be in November – just in time for Thanksgiving. We’ll be unveiling a custom design just for Neat Nook!

Now back to the weekend for a moment, because I’m still relishing in its joy. It was such perfect fall weather here in Northwest Arkansas. Our family spent as much time as we could outdoors.

The leaves are starting to turn bright orange and red, and the air is so crisp it cools your skin and paints your cheeks the perfect shade of pink.

We had friends visit from out of town on Friday night, so we lit an outdoor fire, cooked s’mores and sipped on wine while we visited on the back porch. It was such a happy night.

PS. I highly recommend using Nutella instead of Hershey’s chocolate bars for your next s’mores experience. The chocolate melts right into the gooey marshmallow goodness.

Saturday’s plans took us to the soccer fields to cheer for Evan, then we walked with Leo all over the neighborhood. Now that he has all of his puppy shots, we can take him out on the town. He LOVES exploring the ‘hood more than anything. So far he hasn’t tried chasing the ducks in the lake behind our house. I’m sure that’s a matter of time.

leo morning

The biggest accomplishment of the weekend, though, was pulling down all of our fall clothes from the attic. It was like a mini Christmas. I finally have boots, scarves and sweaters to snuggle in this cool air.

I promise to share some organizational tips this week on how to store your fall clothes.

All in all, I’d say it was a successful weekend. The Nebraska Huskers even won their football game. Finally. And that made Brandon a happy camper to be around!

Now that Monday has officially kicked off, here’s to a brilliant week ahead with plenty of coffee and a shortage of drama.

Oh, and tomorrow is my first blogiversary, which is hard to believe. One year?! I’ll have some fun news to share, so be sure to swing back by.

Until tomorrow, my sweet friends…

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Feelin’ Like Fall

The calendar just rolled to October, the weather dipped into the 50s, and Pinterest is blowing up with Halloween crafts and goodies. It finally feels like fall, y’all. I officially love this season and all it has to hold. Here are five things on my current “must have, make or do right now” list:

Blogged while smelling a marshmallow fireside and sipping a Starbucks house blend.

{ONE} Lion Costume

This made me burst into laughter thinking about little Leo being a lion for his very first Halloween. What do you think? Should we do it?

{TWO} Fayetteville Ale Trail

There are some cool little breweries cropping up all over Northwest Arkansas. Someone was smart to organize an Ale Trail that allows you to drive around the area and sample a few flights of brewed beer. It’s complete with a ride so you don’t have to worry about driving and passports that you get stamped at each location. This month seems like the perfect time to organize this with friends. Octoberfest, anyone?

{THREE} Beautiful Pumpkins

This is such a beautiful look. And I adore white pumpkins. All you have to do is take a small tube of caulk to decorate a pumpkin. You could use plastic or the real deal. Once the caulk has dried, spray paint the entire thing for a lovely, dimensional effect. I’m totally doing this tomorrow for a crafternoon project.

{FOUR} Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Speaking of pumpkins…I want this double layer pumpkin cheesecake in my belly right now. Doesn’t this look like a little slice of heaven?

{FIVE} Simmer Down Now

This is such a busy time of year with school activities, sports and whatnot. If you don’t have time to totally clean or organize the house, it’s totes okay. You can at least make it smell good until you have a chance to pull out those cute rubber gloves of yours.

Cheers to a wonderful fall weekend, my friends!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap (with Five Faves)

Happy Friday! I’m attempting to link into “Five on Friday” for the first time, so hopefully I’ll meet a few new friends today!

Here we go:

  1. If I had to wrap the week in a word, it would be joyful. Even though I attended a funeral for my friend’s father, it was such a beautiful experience that left everyone feeling inspired. His nickname was “Brownie” and was one of those guys who loved life, was never short on a joke (or prank), and knew how to appreciate a good beer. The stories shared at his service were both heartwarming and hilarious. As I was listening, I made a quiet vow to myself: don’t take life too seriously. Our time here is a quick breath of air in the grand scheme of things. I want to enjoy every second of it – while laughing as often as I can.
  2. I was proud to wish my own dad a happy Veteran’s Day on Tuesday. He was in the Air Force for many years and retired as a Lt. Colonel. He served our country with great pride, and I’m a better American because of him. Love you, Pappa Joe!
    Pappa Joe

    My sweet dad, Pappa Joe!

  3. I saw my first snowflake of the season this morning. And it’s only November! That’s a rare treat in Arkansas. It didn’t stick to anything, but it was alive for all of five seconds. Some may dispute, but I saw it. I hear more is on the way this weekend. Brrr and bring on the cocoa. Or maybe another Chestnut Praline Latte from the ‘Bucks?
    Chestnut Praline Latte

    I tried one this week, and they are sugary goodness in a cup.

  4. The girls started a new thing this week where they put their favorite blanket in the dryer while they’re taking a bath. After they dry off, they literally wrap in a blanket of warmth. Why haven’t we done this sooner?!
    Avery & Clara

    Look at those snuggly little peanuts.

  5. I just pulled out my Hip Hop Abs DVD. Not to get all Bridget Jones’ Diary on you (remember that funny book?) but I’ve been feeling a bit “swollen” lately. I don’t know if I’ve overdone the salt, sweets, carbs or all of the above, but I was prompted to workout. I try to do yoga once a day to get some form of exercise. I just don’t usually do sweaty workouts – unless they’re fun and have good music and make me forget I’m actually working out. That’s where Hip Hop Abs enters the picture. Even though I feel like a total dork doing my “tilt, tuck and tighten” with Shaun T, I pump up the volume and stomp it out in my garage every now and again. Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty fun.

What I feel like:Hip Hop DancerWhat I probably look like:bad-dancerHave a great weekend and I’ll catch you on Monday with some gorgeous DIY ornaments inspired by Pottery Barn. Here’s a sneak peek:

Let's make these glittery initial ornaments!

Let’s make these glittery initial ornaments!

Feather Ornament

Let’s make these gorgeous glass and feather ornaments, too!

Thanks to Liz, DarciChristina, and Natasha for letting me join your fun Friday adventure. I hope to catch you all again next week!Fiveonfriday

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It’s Not Too Late: Planting Fall Bulbs

Hyacinth bulbs with pots to plant

Hyacinth Bulbs Ready to Plant

I was watching Weatherman Dan (my favorite local meteorologist) the other day, and he was talking about a looming polar vortex that will hit most of the U.S. with a wintry vengeance this week. My initial thought after “wait, what?!” was “coat shopping!” The kids grow so fast, there’s no way they’ll zip into last year’s coats without having a Chris Farley moment. I also realized I haven’t planted my fall bulbs, yet. Good gracious, girl!

Needless to say, I need to take a knee and get to planting ASAP. If you’re like me and let the middle of November sneak up on you, let’s do this thing together. You’ll thank me come spring when your garden is exploding with color.

It always feels like a surprise party when the flowers burst out of the cold ground. Even though I carefully and lovingly buried each bulb, I somehow develop gardening amnesia come March. I’m like, “Oh, yay! Look at those little crocus in the corner! I love crocus!”

If you’re not sold on planting bulbs, let me elaborate. Bulbs are awesome. They’re low-maintenance, not too expensive, and make your heart absolutely happy when they bloom at the tail end of a dreary, gray winter. What more could you ask for?

You can find bulbs anywhere this time of year. Be sure to buy them from a reputable nursery, though. Cheap bulbs equal cheap blooms – if at all. Boo. I really like shopping at Westwood Gardens in my area or ordering online from Burpee.

Five great flowers to try:

  1. Tulips: Tulips are probably one of the first choices you think of when it comes to spring flowers – and for good reason. Tulips are classic. There are so many varieties you can have a garden packed with these beauties, while still keeping things extremely interesting. For a unique flair, try ‘Parrot’ tulips!
    ParrotTulip

    ‘Parrot’ Tulip

  2. Daffodils: Another classic spring flower is the beloved daffodil. They’re one of the easiest to grow, too. I love the layers of a double-flowered daffodil. If you want a unique color combo try the ‘Romance.’ It has rose-pink cups with gorgeous white petals. It won’t disappoint.
    RomanceDaff

    ‘Romance’ Daffodil

    DoubleDaff

    Mix of Double-flowered Daffodils

  3. Hyacinths: There are two basic types. The common hyacinth has short stalks of amazingly fragrant flowers that look like little starfish. Grape hyacinths are even smaller and have tight blooms that look like clusters of mini grapes. So cute!
    BlueGrapeHyacinth

    Blue Grape Hyacinth

    hyacinth

    Common Hyacinth

  4. Iris: These are a great addition to a garden because they’re hardy and look amazing. They’re tall and regal and remind me of an exotic orchid – minus the temperament.
    Iris

    ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ Iris

  5. Crocus: I like planting a mix of colors with these adorable flowers. Since they grow low to the ground, they make a pretty accent at the base of any other flower. And you know it’s all about that base.
    Crocus

    Crocus {Hey, there!}

Once you feel ready, here’s a quick primer for planting:

  • When: Plant anytime before the ground freezes (pretty much now)
  • Where: Pick a spot that gets full sun and has well-drained soil.
  • How many: Plant lots of bulbs just in case some don’t sprout. If you want a more natural look, plant them in random order and spacing. If you want to create groves of daffodils or tulips, you’ll need to buy and plant lots of bulbs.
  • How deep: Plant at a depth of three times the width of the bulb. If your soil’s sandy, plant bulbs slightly deeper; in clay soils, slightly shallower.
  • What now: After planting, apply fertilizer low in nitrogen and water well. Apply mulch to keep the weeds down and hold in moisture.

 You’re good to go! Have fun digging in the dirt – and try to stay warm out there!

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