Monday, August 22, 2016

Garden Blooms August 2016

Happy Monday! I've been a little absent from the blog lately because my youngest son had his wisdom teeth out last week. Needless to say, I've been very busy taking care of him. My last week consisted of changing out gauze pads, ice packs, pain pills, antibiotics, and mouth rinses. Fun. Fun. Fun. Oh, and ice cream...lots and lots of ice cream...for him, not me. Ha! He was pretty much completely back to normal after a few days, thank goodness. Glad that's over with and now we start back to school this week, so hopefully I can get back to blogging more regularly. 

I took some garden pics that I was going to include in my pergola cover post, but that post got to be so long, I decided to give these a post of their own. 

August is probably the hottest month in the Houston area, but thankfully there are some show stoppers that continue to bloom, despite the heat. 

First up, I'd like to talk about this beauty, Angelonia...

I have it in white (above) and purple (below)

My goodness, this one deserves a gold star. I totally forgot I even had them out front and because of that, they went without water for probably weeks and we didn't have a lick of rain during that time either. But they still continued to bloom, bless their hearts. ;) 

Below are three white Angelonia plants in front of some miniature Bottle Brush bushes. You should see when the red Bottle Brush is in bloom behind the white Angelonia. It's so pretty! Gotta love something that can take the heat (and drought, apparently) and still thrive and bloom. 

Below you get a glimpse of another white Angelonia beside some orange and yellow Lantana. 

Here are some purple Vincas I planted in a pot on the patio. As you can see, some purple Gomphrena decided to make a reappearance in this pot as well. I haven't had Gomphrena in this pot for a long time, but I guess there were some seeds in there somewhere. 

I think they look really pretty together. 

It was really bright and sunny when I snapped this pic, but you can see the Moss Rose on the coffee table is still doing fine. 

The Vincas are a little stressed, but the Star Pentas are doing fine.

Just look at this pretty pink Penta...

Blue Plumbago always does well. This is two bushes planted close together and it blooms all summer long...

The yellow Esparanza had a slow start, but is blooming non stop now. 

More Lantana and white Angelonia... 

Of course, I had to include one of my Crepe Myrtle trees...

Now here's where the prettiness stops. At the beginning of the season, I bought three Turk's Cap plants. They are supposed to be great bloomers and are native to our area, so I had high hopes. 

Well, just look at them now...

Suspect #1

Suspect #2


Oh my. None of them did very well and do you see how scraggly they are? I hate when a plant gets all tall and lanky and doesn't fill in like that. I decided to pull them up and replace them with some Angelonia.  

Here's another example of how two plants side by side can turn out very differently. Below you see two Lantana plants and they couldn't be more different...

The one on the left was in between blooming cycles when I took this pic.

They're different varieties and apparently the purple one on the right wasn't happy living here. This is just to remind you that gardening is an ongoing process. Sometimes things don't fit in with your landscape, get too big, or not big enough, don't bloom, or you're just not happy with them. If I'm not happy with a plant or flower, I always pull it up and start over. No sense in continuing to be dismayed every time you look at something.

That Lantana above also got replaced with some Angelonia. Houston Garden Center had them for $1, so I bought 15 and planted them all around my backyard. I'll try to share pics soon.

I have a couple of posts in the works like a blueberry muffin recipe with my mom's special kolache topping, and how we added a backup camera to my son's car for about $40. It's so neat!

What's blooming in your area? Are you still getting hot summer weather?


Friday, August 12, 2016

Mint Julep Cup Under $4 and This and That

This post is going to be all over the place with lots of little tidbits, so consider yourself warned. :) Remember when I told y'all about the Whoa Wait Walmart blog and instagram account? Well, I've been faithfully following them ever since and boy, have I gotten some sweet deals! Bethany and Amanda are the people behind the blog and they share lots of unadvertised deals at Walmart almost daily. I've gotten things like $5 tassel necklaces to $5 sunglasses, to this beautiful mint julep cup and I never would have known about any of it if not for their blog. 

Take a look at my new mint julep cup I scored at Walmart for only $3.76. I immediately filled it with some of my blue plumbago blooms. 

Here it is looking pretty with some yellow Esparanza blooms I clipped one morning.

When I saw it pop up on their feed, I HAD to have it. And I've had fun styling it all over my house. Here's a few snaps I shared on Instagram...

Holly checking out the new blooms...

Again with my little photo bomber...

So in other news, I've been wanting to try Bumble and Bumble Straight creme for a long time now. It's a straightening creme you apply to damp hair before blow drying and it's supposed to be a miracle worker for frizzy hair (like mine) The only thing holding me back was the price. It's about $32 for 5 ounces. But, I had some Amazon points, so I used those and only had to pay about $14.

I also ordered a paddle brush (something I've been meaning to do for a long time) I have long hair and keep hearing how good they are for tangles, etc. 

So, here's my verdict. The BB Straight was okay, but honestly, I'm just as happy with my old standby I've used for years...

I hate to say it, but this Suave straightening cream did just as well for me. Maybe it's the texture of my hair or something, but I didn't notice a difference between the two. So for now, I'm sticking with my $2.75 Suave product. The paddle brush however, was a hit! I am very happy with it and I think it was only around $6. 

Since this post is so random, I thought I'd share my new sunnies too. You can't beat a $5 pair of sunglasses at Walmart...

How cute are they? I love them!

My son had a 17th birthday party a couple of weeks ago and one of his friends not only brought him a gift, but one for Holly as well. It was a sweet gesture and let me show you how happy Holly is with her new things...

She loves the crinkly sound her new toys make. 

She's coming up on her 4th birthday, but still has A LOT of kitten left in her. Girl can chase a string or bat around a toy like nobody's business. ;) 

Okay, one last thing. Did y'all know you can order Subway sandwiches online and pick it up in the store? Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I just became privy to this last week. You see, we used to get Subway a lot for dinner, but then it became cumbersome with everyone wanting something entirely different with different toppings, breads, cheeses, etc. The poor soul who picked up dinner that night was stuck with a long and confusing list of orders. Not to mention that it's kind of hard to order four things at one time with usually two different people taking your order while you make your way down the line.

But fear no can now place your order online, pay for it online as well, and then it's magically ready for you to pick up in less than 15 minutes! Oh happy day! Just go to their website HERE and click on "order online" in the upper right hand corner. 

It'll take you through your entire order, letting you click on everything you want to add to your sandwich. Then just enter your credit card info. and it'll be ready when you get there. It was so easy to have everyone build their own on the iPad, then just waltz into the store, grab the bag and go. No waiting in line or anything. You're in and out in seconds. The website also remembers what you order, so if you get the same thing all the time, you can just click on "order this again" and it'll automatically send your order to the store. I love it because I can get my favorite sandwich and it's only 280 calories. 

Y'all may remember me saying how I really don't cook much anymore so it's nice to finally have Subway back on the regular dinner rotation. 

I guess that's all I've got for now. Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

$18 DIY Pergola Cover Tutorial and Pics

I'm finally back with our DIY pergola cover tutorial! Before I get started, let me show you an "after" picture...

diy cover for target pergola

We're so happy with how it turned out!

Now that I've shown you something pretty, let me refresh your memory with what our old cover looked like...

Yikes! That was less than a year's worth of rain, heat and humidity. 

We purchased our pergola about 6-7 years ago at Target. It came with a cover that lasted less than a year. We paid $100 at least twice to replace it again and again since then. We purchased the replacement covers directly from the manufacturer. The covers never lasted more than one season with our extreme heat and humidity. 

So when this last one bit the dust, we decided to try a little diy and make a cover with a canvas drop cloth. I've seen numerous bloggers use drop cloths (purchased at local home improvement stores in the paint section) for outdoor curtains, etc. so that's the route we took. Our pergola is roughly 9'x9' so one drop cloth would fit over the top perfectly. 

Here are the supplies we used.

We purchased this cotton canvas 9x12 drop cloth at Harbor Freight for $18.

And we bought this rope at Home Depot for $4. This package contains enough rope to replace the cover multiple times, if necessary. Since we can use this rope for several covers, I didn't include it in the total cost. 

We already had the grommet kit, but this is the one we used...

Grommet kit available on Amazon

And just so you know what I'm talking about, I made this cute key, explaining what the parts of the kit are called...

So, basically we folded over each corner of the drop cloth a couple of times, punched a hole in it, and installed a grommet. It's not necessary to fold the corners over, but we thought it might make the grommets a little stronger and keep it from tearing in the wind as it might do with a single layer of material.

Here's how we folded the corners over...

Next, we used this tool that comes in the grommet kit to punch a hole in the cloth. First place the cloth over a piece of scrap wood. Then just place the hole punch where you want the hole and hammer in. 

Then we put the base under the grommet...

And pushed it up through the hole in the cloth, keeping the base piece under the grommet.

 Then put the washer on top...

Cover with the flaring tool and hammer in. Make sure everything is still on a piece of scrap wood before hammering in.

And now you have a grommet installed!

We installed a grommet on all four corners, then draped it over the pergola, ran a piece of rope through the grommet and tied it to each corner. The entire process only took about 15 minutes. 

We weaved the cover in and out through the bars on top of the pergola. You can see in the pic below how we went over one bar, then under the next.

Here's how we tied it to the corners of the pergola. 

Definitely nothing fancy, but it works for us. 

It provides much needed shade during our hot summers. 

We've had it up for almost a month now and so far, so good. It's not a solid cover, so the rain filters through, but doesn't collect in it, so that's good. Our old cover wasn't solid either, but would always collect rain water in the grooves, which contributed to the mold and mildew. We're a lot happier with this version, not to mention the price. For only $18, we can make about 5 of these for the price of one from the manufacturer. I'll keep you posted on how long this one lasts. 

Thanks for stopping by! 


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