Homemade Air Freshener Methods

You’re spending more time indoors. You might be turning the heat on and enjoying cozy evenings. Chances are you’re probably also enduring some unwanted smells. From the trash, to getting behind on cleaning, to the effect of closed doors – this season is strong on the senses. Why not make it smell great? Make your home rich with inviting, company worthy scents!

Below are some homemade remedies to get you started! Your nose is going to thank you! Make your house smell amazing with some of these methods!

Stove top – Quick and easy! All you have to do is grab a pot, fill it with water and add something fragrant. Fruits and spices make a great combination! Cinnamon, cranberry, and lemon make for a great holiday blend! Create your own combination – perfect for your home!

Spray – Homemade air fresheners are a great gift for Christmas or to take to your family at Thanksgiving. Most sites suggest a bottle with a spray nozzle, water, some type of rubbing alcohol agent, and drops of your favorite scented oil.

Spray bottle with essential oils and fruit slices in view.

Deodorizer – If you’re more interested in getting rid of a smell instead of adding a scent – try a deodorizing technique. Setting out baking soda or a dish of vinegar will do the trick.

Gel – This is the same method as making the spray air freshener, but you use gel. Gel candles are also great fresheners as they last a while.

Natural remedies – Coffee beans, fresh rosemary, and plants in general seem to clean the air around you and purify the senses. Try them out! Rosemary works great if you put it in the shower and let it release its perfume!

BAKE COOKIES!

Freshen Up Your Walls With New Paint!

We hope these ideas have been easy and cost efficient! Take these ideas to your family for Thanksgiving and give the kids or adults something fun to do while some people are cooking!

Giving Back this Thanksgiving without Spending a Dime

It’s easy to get lost in the bustle of life. Holidays are great, but for many they are a time of financial stress, reflecting on loss, or feeling alone. Maybe you fall into one of these categories yourself. If so, it’s all the more reason to give back. In a time of year where we look to our families, travel, and gifts, let us not forget our neighbors.

Giving to those around us doesn’t mean giving a lot of money, or any money really. It’s more about resources, time, and thoughtfulness. We encourage you to give this Thanksgiving. Below we’ve got some ideas to help you get started.

  • Check your pantry Do you have some canned goods, dry foods, or supplies you don’t need or use that are in date? Consider donating some to a local food bank. You could also organize a neighborhood or street-wide food drive and ask people to donate along with you!
  • Make baked goods for community workers Are you thankful for firefighters, police, librarians, teachers, etc.? Make them some cookies with a card and thank them for what they do to better your community.
  • Volunteer Help with a marathon, visit a nursing home, or a hospital. Your time and effort are the best gift you can give.
  • Become a tutor or mentor Do you know a child who needs some help with reading? Ask area non-profits in your city if they have a program you can help in tutoring kids or volunteer your time at a local school. Do you know someone who needs support or guidance or do you just feel you have skills you could offer? Consider becoming a mentor.
Man cleaning sink in a mobile home.
  • Clean someone’s house/car Do you know someone who just had a baby? Do you have a friend that needs a break? Offer to clean their house or help them do so.
  • Invite someone over for dinner You’re already making dinner. Why not everyone eat a little less or skip the leftovers so a friend in need can feel loved and supported?
  • Offer to babysit or dog sit for someone Everyone needs a break or a night out! Have a friend going a way for a while? Offer to watch their dog so they don’t have to pay money to board them.

Does all this giving back have you feeling thankful?

Try a Gratitude Journal!

7 Ways to Use Pumpkins this Harvest Season

Late every September, we welcome a season of cooler weather, changing colors, and a time of plenty. For centuries across the world – cultures have celebrated the fall season as a time of harvest. During this time, we reflect on the year we have enjoyed thus far and all the reasons we have to be thankful. So it makes sense that we use vibrant colors, various plants, and wonderful foods to celebrate the harvest.

One of the most popular signs of harvest time is the pumpkin! Bright, versatile, and delicious – the pumpkin is often the center of attention. From classic carving, to the unusual – these ideas are sure to help you celebrate!

 1. Cooking

Pumpkin seeds make for a great snack and all you have to do is bake them! Plus, you can make pie. But it doesn’t stop there. Try making a soup! Check out these great ideas!

2. Carving

Carve a scary face, the letter your last name starts with, or a super hero for the kids! Get some inspiration here.

 3. Painting

Don’t want all the mess of carving? Simply paint a design, stripes, or anything you want for a finished look!

Painting a pumpkin
Make a party or event around decorating your pumpkin!

 4. Bowl/ Container

Need a festive punch bowl or container for candy? Cut out a pumpkin and line it with a plastic bag or find a clear bowl to fit in it. Here’s a great “how to”.

 5. Luminary

You can either use pumpkins to light your walkway or cut out the center and put a candle holder with candle in it!

6. Embellishing/ Decorating

Many sites use lace, push pins, and stickers to make a unique pumpkin with modern flair.

 7. Door stopper

Keep the doors open this year by placing a small pumpkin in front of the door.

Give Me Decorating Ideas!

Happy Harvest! We hope you and your family can have some fun with these ideas!

Halloween Trick or Treat Bags for Your Kids

How many orange pumpkins have you bought over the years for Halloween? Come on, there’s no shame, we’ve all been there. Oh, and I haven’t forgotten you, pillow sheets! You are creative and so is your child – let’s make a fun treat bag that celebrates that! It will give you an easy project you can enjoy with your kids, and their friends may just call you the “cool” parents, even though we know you already are!

Kids sitting on stoop in Halloween costumes with trick or treat bags.
  1. Sew one! A simple pattern can make for a super cute bag for Halloween. For most projects, all you need is different colored felt and a pattern! You could also reuse the fabric for other seasons depending on what you choose!
  2. Repurpose a shirt/ sew a patch on. Have an old spooky shirt? Cut it with a simple tutorial and you’ve got a great bag! You also can sew or iron patches of a canvas bag for a well-traveled look!
  3. Stencil on a canvas bag! Use paint, spray paint or whatever you like to make your own unique saying on your kiddo’s bag, or go classic and put their name on it!
  4. Line your bag in ribbon. You can line the top by gluing the ribbon along the edges of the bag. You can also cut two little holes in the top of the bag and wrap the ribbon around the bag and to the top and through the holes.
  5. Use bandanas! Get a few different colored bandanas and tie them together or sew them up to make your own unique bag!

Keep Crafting with Your Kids!

Ask your kiddo what theme they’d like to do, or make something to go with their costume. Ask some of their friends to join and make a party out of it! Come up with your own idea if you like!

Family outside in the mountains

10 Spend Free Fall Weekend Ideas

It’s my opinion, but I wear it proudly – Autumn is worth the whole year. In other words, I seriously love fall and wait for it each year with expectation. I enjoy the other seasons as they come, but there’s nothing like the season of fall to me. If I had to peg the one underlying reason I love this time of year it’d have to be that the outdoors turn into the perfect playground, from gorgeous colors, to perfect temperatures, football games, etc. it’s all so inviting!

So since the outdoors are gearing up to create the ideal backdrop for all your family fun, why not enjoy it all without the cost? That’s right, here’s how to have the best fall weekend without breaking the bank!

  • Go hiking: If you need an all-day event, or your looking to spend some energy with your older kids or your pets this option is made for you! You can stay active and enjoy the scenery – talk about the best of both worlds!
  • Host a scary viewing party! Get your favorite spooky show or movie and invite your friends over! Borrow a projector and take it outside or watch on your deck or screened in porch.
  • Use fall foliage for décor: Acorns, pinecones, and leaves make for beautiful décor pieces! No need to go out and buy what you can find in your backyard. If you are nervous they are filled with bugs, dry them out or try one of the many cleaning options on Pinterest!
  • Take lunch to the park: Instead of staying inside, take lunch outside! Heck, it can be your own backyard!
  • Have a candlelit story time: Put the phones and electronics away. Light some candles and turn the lights off. Read the kids a book by candle light. You’ll feel like your back in the day and get to focus on one thing at a time for change! 

Cup of coffee with whip cream and caramel on a table next to fall leaves.
Enjoy a cup with a friend!
  • Make tea or coffee and invite a friend over: Enjoy a low-key chat without having to go out and spend money. A warm cup of hospitality is just as sweet as friendship.
  • Volunteer: Easy, free, and it helps someone else! This is the best one on the list. It’s never too early to teach your kids to put others’ and their needs first. It is the season of gratefulness after all!
  • Clean/Organize: Open the windows and freshen up the house for the season! Organize the kids’ toys, the kitchen, or make a box to donate. Does a room in your home need a good scrub, too? Get some kitchen cleaning inspiration!
  • Break out the board games: Work together or enjoy a little friendly competition playing some games. This is great for those kiddos that need a little break from technology.
  • Go outside and draw what you see: Take another look at your backyard or your front yard. Draw your best rendition! Be sure to include all the color you see!

Get More Frugal Ideas!

Enjoy the best season of all! Remember, fun can be free!

Oakbur Quill Co.
Woman organizing dishes in the kitchen cabinet.

Organizing Your Home with a Monthly Walk Through

The best remedy for a busy household is a routine that sticks. You might be thinking of your morning or nightly routine, and that is definitely part of it. However, the routine I’m thinking of is when it comes to your home. That’s right – I’m talking about home organization. It’s amazing what a monthly check in can do for your home and your sanity!

So, let’s break this down and discover some great options for keeping your home in order.

The monthly walk through can sound intimidating, I get it. Bear with me. If you can find a few hours toward to beginning or the end of the month to walk through your home and process the items – you’ve won half the battle. Schedule this in advance if you have kids or a busy schedule to where someone helps you or watches your kids for a bit. It can change as the months do – make it work for you.

How to get the most out of your walk through:

  • Set a couple boxes out for donation or sale (depends on how much you must sort through)
  • Set out a trash bag
  • Use a designated area for items in the wrong place or that need to be relocated
  • Grab some post its (To label or write out where you want something to go later)
  • Motivation: caffeine, music, having guests at your home, clearing more space for family, etc.
  • Focus on the room you’re in until your done with it
  • Ask yourself: “Have this been used or worn in a year?” “Is this in the most practical place it could be?” “Do I need this or really want it?” Etc.

As you go through each room you don’t have to pull things out of closets, drawers, or under the bed. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start with clutter or items sitting out. Then after you’ve done this system for a while you can dig deeper into the details, or you may already have things pretty organized. Start where you’re at and let yourself progress. You’ll find not only will your home become more organized, but you’ll be downsizing some of your stuff.

Once you’re able to go through your home fully you should have 3 areas/ bins/ boxes. One for donations/sale, one for items that can relocate to another room or place, and trash items. Follow up after your monthly organization by going ahead and putting these items in their new place.

Click For Cleaning Tips!

I hope that you can implement this strategy and that it serves you and your family well.  Happy organizing!

6 Shade Ideas for Your Yard This Summer

We’ve entered the part of summer that is just hot no matter what you do. You may have spent the season hoping for some relief, but it’s not too late to make a dream relaxation spot in your yard! I’ll be looking at some shade ideas that you can do yourself or purchase. Not only can shades be great for you and your family outside, but they can also potentially save energy if they cover part of your home, too!

Let’s check out some cool ways to stay shaded!

Sun sailSun sails are a cute, modern way to protect an area from the sun. They are rather inexpensive but offer decent protection. Check out some options here. The trick to making one is getting your measurements right for the area that needs fabric and researching what fabric would do best. Here’s a sun sail how to you might be interested in.

Sun sails add a touch of relaxation!
Sun sails add a touch of relaxation!

Palapa – If you’re in a coastal area, this is perfect –  Palapa has that island vibe. You can find it at most home improvement stores. Palapas umbrellas are popular. You could make your own, or add palapas to whatever shade project you’re interested in.

Trees – Obviously these take time to grow, but you can choose something that grows fast or purchase something that’s already grown to a certain size. This can provide some good shade that will only grow.

Plants with trellis – A trellis is a great idea for gardeners. The trellis itself will block some of the sunlight, but you can look up vines or plans that climb so that it will cover them well. Here are some great options for climbing plants! Be careful not to put the trellis too close to your home, as it may encourage the vine/ plant to grow onto your home. Though vines look lovely on a home, they are actually bad for the siding on your home and can attract bugs to your home.

Patio curtains – There are many ways to implement curtain shades. You can hang them from anywhere vertically to help the angle of the sun. You can hang them from a deck, a pergola, or install your own base and hang them from there.

Pergola – Thesecan be expensive but make a great atmosphere in your yard. Though they are a little bit more involved, they can make a great project! Try on of these free pergola plans!

Keep Cool With This Post!

I hope these ideas inspire you to choose an option and maybe even make it a project for you and your family! Stay cool!

Back to School Tips for Your Family

School has started for many kids or is soon to start, and I want to help you dream of all the ways to get organized. After a year and a half of different/flexible home and school schedules – most are back to regular pacing at school. I want to help you return easily to the swing of things. I hope these tips help you and your family have a smooth transition and help you all succeed.

Let’s get started!

Set up a drop station

Organization is such a powerful discipline. It takes a little time on the front end but saves you time in the long run. Drop stations can be a variety of things, but mostly they have:

  • Area for shoes, backpack, jacket
  • A whiteboard/paper with a calendar and/or schedule for the family
  • Place for the mail
  • Small place to sit
  • Charging station for school laptops/ tablets

You can set up the area for what fits your situation best. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just make it practical for you. The aim is to have an area that reduces clutter, keeps everyday items in one place, and reminds everyone what’s planned for the day/week/month.

This is a great drop station!

Lunches

It can be tough to stay consistent and creative with meals. For packing lunches, try packing for two or three days at a time. That way it will still be fresh, but you’re not having to do it every night.

Also, you can get your child to help you pack their lunch if they aren’t old enough to do it all themselves. Let your kids get a fun lunch box or two to help them get excited to help you pack! For older kids, encourage them to write out healthy things they’d be interested in for the week so you can ensure you have those items, and they can ready themselves to pack it.

For a quick planning tip, try a combo of the following:

  • Protein (meat, peanut butter, protein bar, etc..)
  • Fruit/ veggie (tangerines, apples, banana, etc.)
  • Drink
  • Healthy side item (nuts, popcorn, yogurt, baked chips, etc..)
  • Possible dessert
  • Don’t forget the ice pack!

Homework

Many people suggest doing homework in increments to help your child stay on task. You can do 15 – 30-minute increments and encourage breaks based on age and what feels best for your child.

It’s quite beneficial if your child uses a planner – that way you both can keep up on what needs to be done. Plus, you can help show them study skills and how to take notes in a way that caters to how they learn.

Lastly, if a particular subject is hard for your kid or kids – try rewarding them for it. You can also try starting with that homework, so the hard work is done first. Get more ideas on how to help your kids with homework here.

Reading with your child can help keep them engaged.
Reading with your child can help keep them engaged.

Supplies

Supply lists usually are specific to your child’s school, but you can also pick up items that apply to their interests. Try to nurture their favorite subject or hobby with some extra supplies that allow them to practice whatever it is.

When picking up items, try bargain stores as they often put out good deals for the season. You might also go in with some friends a get bulk items online to save some of bigger cost items. Check out more money saving tips here.

Routine

A lot of people have some type of routine with their kids, but adding to it, or giving it an adjustment can help during the school year.

Only you can decide what works best in your home as far as routines. It really depends on your life, resources, and children. When it comes to routines think about what your goals are, what your children are motivated by, and what adds fun and lessens stress to your morning/evening.  Then think of practical ways you can implement those things.

Ex: Maybe your kids have the opportunity to get up on their own to an alarm clock 20 minutes before you check on them, and if they are up and onto eating breakfast, dressing, going to the bathroom etc. they get a reward after doing so for 5 days in a row.

More Back to School Tips!

I hope that this gets your wheels turning and aids you in preparing your child or children for the year. Remember, it doesn’t have to be strict or perfect implementation and it won’t be, but having that aim makes everyone more productive regardless.

Gravel Driveway Repair and Preventative Care

Gravel driveways are a great, budget friendly option. Like everything else, they’ll need some maintenance and upkeep. There are plenty of things you can do to both avoid and fix problems as they arise. I’ll be looking at some of the options.

Drainage is the most important component of a gravel driveway. If your driveway has major drainage issues – you may need to do some back tracking. It could be that your driveway wasn’t put together correctly. More than likely though, the repair and upkeep addressed in this post will help you fix most issues.

Preventative –

  • Making a crownmost expert sites recommend this strategy to keep drainage moving downward. All you have to do is rake gravel to a peak in the center of your driveway. It doesn’t need to be super high, just enough to encourage the water to flow down the middle instead of down the sides.
  • Trenches and edging – These are great ideas that will give water a safe place to go. You can try digging shallow trenches on both sides of your driveway. You may also try doing a little rain garden or any type of edging that will keep your gravel in place and move the water to the end of your driveway.
  • Drains – Some people also put drains on either side of their driveway, these are more involved, but may be a perfect solution for you. Some people will install them on the sides as edging with metal or plastic grids overtop the thin drains. The most common drains are culvert pipes or French drains which are both dug underground (usually) to redistribute water.

Problem areas – 

  • Potholes – These can be tricky. Essentially, they are an issue of trapped water. A great do it yourself site, suggests a helpful process.
    • First, they recommend digging the hole out wide and deep enough, so the edges are solid. This way the gravel hole will hold for the filler.
    • Once it’s clear, you can fill with thinner/ crushed gravel.
    • Next, tamp/push down the gravel with a steel or wooden tool.
    • To finish, fill the remaining area with regular gravel to the top off the hole, plus some extra to blend it out.
    • Lastly, smooth out the gravel so everything blends well.
  • Clogged culverts– Sometimes debris and rocks can clog your pipes which prevent its whole process. There are plenty of tools you can purchase for this, or you can rig your own system. This home site recommends using something to push the debris while also spraying water down the pipe. 

Start Your Gravel Driveway Today!

I hope this helps get you started in planning how to maintain and take care of your gravel driveway. Ask a professional for help if you find a big issue or just want help making sure you do things well. May your driveway stay in good shape with this information!