Ideas on Landscaping with Gravel/Rocks as a Ground Cover.

Hi Friends, I thought I'd write an update on our landscape and sports court.  

The company we ordered the court from is running a MONTH behind (we ordered it in March!!) so it's been a bit frustrating but it "should" be here next week.  /-:

As much as I know a lot about interior design, I will honestly tell you landscape design is new to me!

The next step in our landscape is picking out the ground cover we want to use whether it be bark chips, rocks, pebbles, gravel, slate, shale or weeds ;-) .....OH the choices!  

Really, I just can't wait to get some landscape help dealing with all the WEEDS! :-) Landscape fabric will be plentiful under whatever choice of covering I use!
weed fabric

For our landscape, I'm thinking on some sort of slate chip - I believe in the industry this kind of landscape rock is called "Woodstone".  

As much as I LOVE the natural look of bark, it is something that needs to be replaced every few years as it deteriorates and fades.  I am all for doing it once, and not having to do it again.  :-)

Bark Chips

Shredded Bark Mulch

I'll post some other beautiful landscape ideas to stir your own Creative Juices :-)

This beautiful garden below used small pea size gravel.  That look reminds me of a beach feel.

Pictures from Better Home and Garden

Ah, I love this Mediterranean vignette!  Crushed granite is a VERY popular ground-cover used in Mediterranean style homes.

This pond has such a wonderful natural feel as the homeowners used a mixture of the flat slate along with the gravel.  BEAUTIFUL!

My landscape architect friend told me that for the best landscape design, it is nice to match your pavers (or brick) with your choice of rock ground-covering.  This garden terrace is LOVELY with the tan bricks and neutral earth-tone gravel.  For me personally, I would pick the tan colored gravel over the standard grey due to how warm and inviting that color feels.

Notice how the rocks in our fountain area match the pavers.

I love sitting outside listening to the sound of the fountain!  You can see how to install a fountain in your own home by clicking over to my fountain post.

I am REALLY HOPING that by my next post (or 2) I'll have the final sports court finished and ready to show you guys!  The big question is will I add an YouTube of me PLAYING pickleball!? :-)  I'll see if I can make a pickleball convert of you guys yet- hee,hee.

I'd love to hear what ground cover is your favorite - just leave me a comment!

Enjoy your week my friends!!

*EDIT:  You can go over to the Completed Pickleball Sports Court post to see it all complete, landscape and all :-)creativejuicesdecor

Easy Do It Yourself Frosted Birthday Cake Ideas

Happy Friday!

This post is for all my wonderful frugal baking moms (or dads) that dislikes spending lots of money on  birthday cakes from the store. :-)  This is an EASY, non fondant birthday cake idea.

 PRESENT and BOW cake!

My youngest daughter's birthday was yesterday. :-) 
She had a blast jumping for HOURS at a bounce house with her friends. 

 Last year, I was caught off guard by how fast her birthday came up that I didn't bake her a cake but spent nearly $40.00 on a dumb :-)  unicorn cake from the store.  I told myself I was NEVER going to buy a store bought cake again.   

 Last years expensive store bought cake. /-:

I am happy to say, that I like this cake a lot better AND it cost me under 10 bucks!

The funny thing is, I let my daughter look on Pinterest with me in attempt to find the perfect birthday cake idea.  When we came to this one, I said, "HEY, what do you think of this?!?"

Yes, it's a cake I made for one of my other kids that came up on Pinterest :-) I'll admit, I did talk it up a bit and convinced her it outdid all the crazy hard fondant cakes that were also showing up!  I made a partial fondant cake for her FIRST birthday and that was the LAST time - hahahaha!

So my friends, 

1.) Bake your standard cake in a 9x 13 pan and after you frost it 

2.) add Fruit by the Foot fruit leather as the bow.  

3.) Pick whatever fun round candies you want as the polka dots.  

I have used Spree candy, M&M's and Smarties.  I added a few gummy butterflies to make this girly girl daughter extra happy.

By the way, you can easily turn this into a BOY CAKE by using blue frosting and brown/orange M&M's.

At the end I let her finish off the decorating with mini M&M's. :-)

She LOVED the cake, and I LOVED that it only took me a LITTLE bit of time and a LOT less money!

You can check out my other post on Easy Birthday and Cupcake ideas or my post on fun kid birthday games.

ENJOY my friends!! 

As always, I hope to stir your Creative Juices and if possible, do that frugally! 


Father's Day Weekend Camping Trip - Best Hammocks and Decorated Beer Tables

I hope you all had a great Father's Day weekend.  I thought I'd do a quick mid week post on how our Father's Day weekend camping trip went.

It was drizzling rain most the time but when you have 5 silly kids (2 belonged to the friends we went with) a tennis racket/ball and 2 dogs how can you NOT have tons of fun? :-)

OH, and the most gorgeous location ever!

Seriously, this was a FREE camping spot located on forestry property.  Of course, being that it was a area just off the side of the road we had to "dry" camp which means there are NO bathrooms/showers etc.  For those that have read my blog for a while, you know that if I can catch and stab a crab while it's still alive I can handle not taking a shower for a few days - hee,hee.

Since it was drizzly most the days, we had a big warm fire from morning till night - I loved that!  The fire pit was huge!

In the picture below, I am proud to say my daughter was officially thinking with her head by bringing her umbrella so she could eat around the fire without getting rained on. :-)

And in this other picture I'm pretty sure she was thinking with her foot......I'll let you insert whatever mischievous little 6 year old thoughts that might have been going on - hee,hee.

We got my husband a  XXL Hand Woven Hammock for Father's Day, a good friend recommended this hammock and I have to say it's simply AWESOME! :-)

It's super comfortable and I love that it's easy to take with us camping and so easy to store.

It can fit ONE person - 
(No, I was not reminded of the Hobbit and the spiders wrapping up their prey - hee,hee)

TWO people

Or FOUR :-)

Seriously, what a fun hammock!  I had to laugh at the comment review someone left for this hammock:

"Sturdy and big, have used it daily in place of a couch/chair and occasionally for sleeping for 5 months with no frayed strings."

Ummmm.....well, need I say more? - hahahahaha! Who needs a couch when you could just set this up in front of your TV and have the whole family enjoy swaying and snuggling together watching the evening shows! AND I know you guys have always wanted a comfortable new bed for under 100 bucks (I hope you guys are laughing as I sure crack MYSELF up!)  :-)

And for those that are desperate for me to give you some interior design advice :-)  Here is my best tip for making the perfect camping end table. :-)  

1.)  First, drink good beer  :-)
(Rest assured, I did not drink any beer while writing this post - only coffee - promise)

2.)  Hammer in all your beer bottle caps in a leftover wood stump.  

3.)  Next, put a fern on top to create the right homey environment for your camping adventures - hee,hee.

VOILA, the perfect decorated camping table! ;-)

(If you are not a beer drinker but a wine drinker you can check out my painted wine bottle post for more design tips!)

Enjoy my friends!  


Fess Up Friday - What's Really Been Going On in MY Life

I haven't written a Fess Up Friday post on my blog for a very long time....... I believe it is very long overdue. :-)

For those that are new to my blog, please do not let this scare you away - hee,hee  I promise to be back to my regular design posts soon. :-)

I'll start off with a quote of the day from my youngest daughter, and yes, she wears those classy pink goggles for many daily activities.

“Sometimes I think with my head, and sometimes with my feet.

Good things are in my head and bad things are in my feet......

I try to think from my head.”  :-)


Before I start all my fess ups - I need to remind you that I live in a town where people find it normal to put large concrete Godzilla apes in their front yard as decorations.  I am sure they paid plenty, and yes, I do believe they put an eye patch and hula bracelet on him in that picture.

So.....when I post this next shot, just know, it's also "normal" that I would let my kids watch a movie with 3D glasses at Costco while I shopped.

Yep, they were still there when I was done shopping (Shall I also fess up that I ate my entire lunch with their free samples?  Sure did.)

My other fess up is that our dog shaver broke after I had shaved exactly half of him.  I sent the shaver back to the company and with a very kind ending:

 "PS,  please send this back ASAP as my dog will remain half shaved until it arrives" . :-)
About 3 weeks later the other half of him was shaved!

I had to laugh though as the leftover hair that I bagged up looks like a whole other puppy :-)

Onward and Upward!

I will admit that I have cooking issues.....the smoke alarm goes off quite regularly (although this is getting better lately) but somehow I created a FLASH GREASE FIRE trying to whip up some delicious chicken.  I just STARED at the fire thinking SHOOT....... this is BAD!....while my husband went into ninja action and threw a lid over the fire to stop the flames.  The flames completely melted our rather new microwave.  Luckily, my husband said I've done a lot worse things and wasn't that upset  (ha, not sure if that is good or bad!)

Just the other morning I was making my AMAZING AeroPress Coffee and as I was pouring in my cream I began to wonder why in the world it wasn't turning a delicious caramel color......that's when I realized something was seriously wrong and slowly looked at the carton only to realize I was pouring in liquid egg whites - YEP, it was early.

Egg White Creamer Anyone?

But here is where the REAL fess up comes in......I totally drank it anyway and it wasn't all that bad.  Ya, I took out the little bit of scrambled egg forming on the top but I actually thought, WOW, I could get added protein in my coffee this way!  :-)

Do you guys still like me or have you hit "unsubscribe"  :-)

I will also admit that when I dropped my phone and it shattered, I  casually mentioned to my husband that it cracked just a little bit and continued CAREFULLY using it.  It wasn't until he got a glimpse of what I had done that he just looked at me and said "That is NOT just a tiny crack!"

Ya, I guess it was a little more than a tiny crack - Sigh...I guess half truths just don't work well on spouses!? :-)

I am not sure I even want to mention that I dented my car  by bumping into a small tree OR that I dented HIS truck by backing into a large rock.  I seriously feel I should not EVER have nice things.....but for some reason my husband still went out and bought me a new car.  (I really did NOT deserve it!)

I know, SHOCKING that all this mayhem can come from someone who looks so "irreproachable" :-)......ummmmmm ya, reality check, I'm a mess!

Unfortunately, I could continue with MORE fess ups but after re-reading what I just wrote, I think it's enough LIGHT to shed onto my lovely readers about the REAL me  :-)
I just like to smile and laugh at myself and remember.........

“Sometimes I think with my head, and sometimes with my feet.

Good things are in my head and bad things are in my feet......

I try to think from my head.”  :-)

 I am pretty sure my daughter was thinking with her FOOT in this picture - hee,hee!

 Have a GREAT week my friends and just remember, when you think you are the only one losing your mind, it's not true.....I'm right here losing my mind with you!  Ha!!

Click FESS UPS if you want to see more of my Fess Up Friday Series.

Landscaping the Sports Court Continues and our Family Trip

Hi Friends!

Summer has officially hit!  Well, not officially, as I believe June 21st is the official day but it's been hot and feels quite summery over here in Idaho. Oh, and today is the last day of school for my kids! I'm actually thrilled for the school commute to be over with. :-)  Three kids in three different schools.....driving them to and from has been challenging!

The sports court is coming right along......we got a few more trees planted. :-)

I told our landscape friend that I have always wanted fruit trees in my yard.  Growing up we had this odd, lonely plum tree that I had SO much fun eating from.  (yes, it is the little things in life that make me happy!) Well our friend just informed me that he had a nice big plum tree to plant.  We have a lot of deer though so he had to completely net the yummy tree.  ;-)

I hope is now, MY kids can have the great memories of picking fresh fruit off OUR trees!  I'm aiming to have a few apple trees too so I can easily make this delicious healthy crock pot Apple Butter recipe every year. (hummmm....I just had the thought, is there such thing as plum butter? I'm sure there is. :-)

I did plant a few blueberry bushes last year and was going to take a picture for you guys but I accidentally sprayed one with weed killer......yep, that plant is NOT doing so well right now - ha!  I'm just hoping the song lyrics might apply to this bush "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger"- right?  :-)

I also want to plant some raspberry bushes. 

Can anyone tell I LOVE fresh fruit?  
(and chocolate, but that is a completely different story) hee,hee

Our landscape friend planted a bunch of ornamental strawberries as a ground cover on the sports court hill.  Amazingly, ornamental strawberries are deer resistant.  So now I'll have strawberries, blueberries and plums every night. :-)  Well, maybe not every night - but a lot. :-)

On a little side note - last weekend we had a great time in Eastern Washington at a small family reunion. 

  Here are all the cousins hanging out together at the park.

The kids fished every night.  My son is a true fisherman.....everyone else get's a bit antsy if they don't catch anything within 30 minutes.

The last day we went to a water park and had a ton of fun.  This picture collage makes me laugh....there is my daughter (left) and my nephew (right) enjoying the jump off the high dive and then there is me, completely focused and just hoping to make it down to the water in one piece. :-)

Here's to a GREAT summer for everyone!  It's just so nice when the weather warms up and the kids can enjoy the great outdoors.  I know we have quite a few camping trips coming up - it will be fun.
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