Delicious Veggies and Herbs You Can Plant in Your Garden this Spring

Spring is quickly approaching. Though flowers are usually planted in fall, and you might think spring is a time of blooming only, there are some items you can plant starting in March! You can plant a good deal of your summer veggies and herbs in spring. Roll up your sleeves and we’ll explore what you can plant. Don’t have tons of space for a garden? These ideas lend themselves perfectly to container gardens as well.

The best place to start is to find out when the last frost in your area occurs, or the average temps in your area. The USDA and The Old Farmer’s Almanac usually have maps that portray this info and will help you find the best time to plant based on where you live. Some plants can handle certain temps, and others can’t.

A consumer-help magazine recommends planting veggies that don’t have to be repotted – so the hardy varieties. Get started with:

  • Beans
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus (come back)
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Kale
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Herbs are beautiful, fragrant, and easy to care for!

These are the major players and the most low-maintenance veggies you can add to your garden in spring. Let’s see what herbs the best are:

  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Basil (late spring)
  • Chives
  • Sage

We hope your kitchen is filled with fresh ingredients now, due to spring planting. Now go on and check out some recipes to use up those herbs and veggies! Make some marinades, dressing, and sauces to share with your friends.

Learn More!

Beat the Winter Blues and Get Ahead with These 5 Ideas

Winter is hard for a lot of people. While I personally love it, I know myself to be in the minority. Winter is a time of sickness, being stuck in the house, and early nights for many people. Many experience seasonal depression, weight gain, or overall feelings of boredom and sadness. To remedy this, or perhaps in spite of this – let’s focus our efforts on warmer days, literally and metaphorically.

While you’re getting snowed in and relaxing, start doing these things and see how much easier the rest of your year runs.

  1. Plan and decide what you’re doing with your potential tax return. If you’ve got debt, say a medical bill, loans, etc. Why not put it towards those, or paying off one with the most interest? Sounds like getting ahead to me! At a different place financially? What about splitting it up between your kids for future education expenses? You get the idea.
  2. Donate and organize. It’s too cold outside to do much so work up a sweat inside! After Christmas it’s good to replace old with new and also get rid of things you don’t use or you’re not going to use. Organizing is a great way to take inventory of what you have. You might realize you can donate half your clutter and have more space and better efficiency.
  3. Try a new hobby. Hobbies can be hard to start because we’re always looking for the time to learn about them initially. Now is the perfect time to research, go to workshops, and get comfortable with a new hobby before the business starts back up.
  4. Plan a summer vacation that will cost way less. If you book things far in advance they are usually cheaper. Plus, if you plan what you’re doing, rental cars, and the like early you can look around for deals and do the best research for the cheapest rate. All of this will also help you get excited for sunshine! P. S. if you love winter you could also plan a vacation now and save because it’s off season!
  5. Start a fitness plan from home! There are so many video tutorials online you hardly have to go to a gym or have equipment anymore. As long as you have a little space that’s all you need. Burn some calories, get fit, and enjoy the extra energy. Then you can enter the warmer days already fired up!

We hope these ideas help you bust the blues and give you less to do during the busy times! Remember, down time is the best time to get ahead. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed each summer, try these things today. That way you’ll be ready, and you won’t be bored in the winter!

Get Ahead With Your Finances!

7 Easy Ways to Protect Your Mobile Home During the Holidays

It’s a true, but unfortunate thing – the brightness of the holidays can also mean elevated theft in many areas across the country. With people leaving their homes to see loved ones and new items entering the home it opens up opportunity for theft.  The good news is you can do a few things without spending any more money to make your home less of a target. Nothing is guaranteed, but why not do your best to protect the place you call home? Below are some smart ways to keep your home looking lived in and help keep burglars away.

  1. If you’re an online shopper you want to be sure your packages are delivered to you and not to someone walking by. Have mail delivery place packages on a closed in porch, at a back door, or somewhere more concealed than your front stoop if possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a stuffed snowman in the box, thieves will just grab the package and find out what’s in it later.
  2. Keep trash and recycling concealed. If you just got a flat screen, don’t put the box by the road. Empty boxes let people know what you’ve got or that you’re moving in. Break down boxes and throw them in the recycling or trash bin.
  3. Leave some lights on or the tv when you’re gone during the day or evening. With apps or timers, this can be automatic. Leaving an interior overhead light on and outdoor lights on is a good way to ward off burglars. Having your tv on is also a good theft deterrent because potential burglars will assume you’re home and that may thwart them from breaking in.
  4. Keep windows locked. This seems easy, but you’d be amazed how many windows you “thought you had locked” but didn’t. Burglars don’t want to leave a mess or a trace – they’ll always look for the simplest way in. If it’s hard to enter your home, it may scare off thieves.
  5. Maintain your yard/exterior. Nothing tells an outsider you’re out of town or inattentive like a yard left in a mess. Keep up with seasonal maintenance and don’t leave broken items to rot. Give your home some love and attention.
  6. Don’t share your travel plans on social, or wait till you get back home to share. Sharing that you’re on vacation on social media is an easy way for someone to plan to steal from your home. They don’t have to be your friend or follow you either – the internet is an open place. Think before you post.
  7. Befriend your neighbors. A good neighbor will watch out for your home and you can return the favor.  Neighbors can be great people to help get your mail or turn lights on and off at your home while you’re gone. It may be smart to start a neighborhood watch or participate in it.

Don’t just protect your home, protect your finances, too! We’ll help you get started!

 

Protect Your Finances!

 

Protecting the Outside of Your Mobile Home from Cold Temperatures

Snow and cold weather can really take it out on your home. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the outside of your home needs attention, too! If you live farther out this is important because the city may not sweep or clear out your area. Once snow hardens it’s quite tough to remove, so removing snow as soon as it falls is your best bet. Doing some preliminary things to help the exterior of your home will make for a cheery winter!

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Freezing can be detrimental to the exterior of your  home if left untreated.

Try these things before and after snow as needed –

  • To start clean out your gutters! Leaves and other debris can make an area for pooling water. They also can freeze and crack your gutters.
  • Place doormats outside of doors or at the beginning of stairways. Use mats with industrial tops, such as rubber or thick straw.
  • Turn off outside water sources. There are also covers made for them which can be helpful, too.
  • Be sure to pour out water in bird baths or any pooling water. Water can freeze and break feeders or areas near where people are walking can freeze.
  • If you’re worried about slipping on stairs or leaving your home, you may want use rock salt or sand on your walkway, especially for the elderly. This can save you from having to shovel your driveway as well.
  • In the winter it can get dark as early as 4 p.m., so add outdoor lighting to help light the way and prevent falls. This can also help with seeing slippery spots as you approach your home.
  • Once a snow falls, clear off your dyer vent as it can cause a fire if blocked while dryer is running.
  • Check your siding for cracks as well as windows. Seal these up to help keep your home warm and energy efficient.
  • If snow falls and covers your driveway or walkway, try shoveling the snow, only shovel fresh snow, and pay attention to how you feel. Do not shovel if you feel short of breath or dizzy, it’s also not wise for the elderly or sick to do this as it is a demanding cardio workout.
  • Lastly, but not when it comes to importance, consult a professional about clearing the roof. You may only need to do this if the roof is damaged or if the snow falls for many days without melting.

Keep Your Home Warm!

Reference: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-protect-your-home-from-freezing-temperatures-1388721 

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Some of the most sentimental and meaningful items I have are gifts that friends have made for me over the years. Sure, fancy gifts are fun sometimes, but homemade gifts endure through time. It’s also nice to be able to pick one idea and make it in bulk for a lot of people. It also is a good way for you to stay in budget! Make something your family can join in on and enjoy less stress, and less useless spending this holiday. Below are ideas you’ll be sure to enjoy giving!

Make a holiday blend! Place a small blend of each of the below in small glass jars, baggies, or decorative wrap. Then you can boil it with some water on your stove top for a great smell all day! Water will evaporate so keep adding water. There are also other options, such as wax warmers, that can fill your house with holiday smells too!

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  • orange slice
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cloves
  • bay leaves
  • cranberries
  • lemon slice

Make a round of candles! Who doesn’t love getting a candle? Especially, one you make. We recommend using soy wax that can be melted down. Soy takes the longest to burn of most common candle ingredients. All you need are few ingredients!

  • soy wax
  • container for candle
  • wicks
  • something to melt the wax in (microwave)
  • candle scent/natural oil

Make a keychain! Everyone needs their keys, why not add some personality to them! You know your friends. Make a keychain in the theme they’d like. Getting creative is easy! Choose your style are get started with these great ideas!

Make magnets! All you need is some magnet tape or rounds, your favorite cut out items, and clear overlay stickers. You can also use bottle lids, stickers, or anything you think of really!

Make a set of coasters. Grab some thick cork and cut into whatever shape you want and seal it with mod podge for an easy seal. If your good at sewing you can make your own pattern, or you might even use felt and cut out fun patterns and layer it to reinforce it.

Wrap That Gift in Style!

7 Ways to Open Up Your Home around Thanksgiving Time

Hospitality goes a long way. You might think it’s an art lost on your parent’s generation, but it’s not. It always seems a little sweeter around the holidays as well. Sometimes it feels hard to reach out, and we don’t know where to start. We often make it harder than it really is. It starts at home, open your doors and see how easy it is to offer support and care to someone.

We’re going to check out some ways that we can offer the most by simply opening a door.

  1. Invite someone over for Thanksgiving without close family or friends. Give someone, or a family a place to go on this holiday. Being alone during this time can be quite disheartening. Preparing a huge meal can be financially undertaking for some as well, offer someone the chance to be a guest and to not have to  worry about it.
  2. Host a craft party. Get supplies and invite friends over to make some homemade Christmas gifts. They can check something off their list and you can have a great time. We recommend holiday drink mixes!
  3. Give someone a venue. Know someone that wants to have a party or celebration but doesn’t have the space of the area their looking for? Offer you home for the space. This may alleviate their planning as well!
  4. Teach what you know. Do you have a special skill? Ever think of teaching it to people? A fun little workshop may be a great way to make new friends and share one of your gifts with others so they can learn, too!
  5. Bake cookies for your neighbors. It’s timeless for a reason! Go for it!
  6. Have a monthly movie night. It takes little planning and is free but everyone loves a good movie. You can have a different person bring their favorite movie and change it to someone new each week.
  7. Have a thank you note party. Have everyone bring some of their favorite cards or you can make some, too. Take some time to write and listen to music. We often forget to express our thanks – now is a great time!

Have some ideas or traditions of your own? Drop them to us at mediacontent@vmf.com. We’d love to hear from you!

6 No Carve Pumpkin Ideas

I love making messes. Carving pumpkins is a blast, but sometimes you need a lower-maintenance option. Especially if you’re having a party. Less mess can mean an easier clean up. If you’ve got kids these options can save you a lot of hassle, too! Let’s check out some no carve options that still make for a super spooky pumpkin!

There are so many cool things you can make without even having to carve a pumpkin!

  1. Glitter – Obviously a favorite for kids! Simple! Just apply some glue anywhere on the pumpkin and either shake glitter onto the pumpkin or roll it in the glitter.
  2. Paint – You can have to exactness of carving without the hassle. Plus, there’s so much detail you can add. Keep in mind you may have to paint some things in layers.
  3. Buttons – Making a fun face is super easy with buttons, or just make a design. Most of us have a junk drawer with far too many buttons in it anyhow. Don’t throw them away, repurpose them!
  4. Bits of foliage – Nature is filled with all the fun things you could want to decorate a pumpkin with. Pinecones, twigs, acorns, and leaves are just a few of the beautiful accessories you can add to make for a unique look.
  5. Chalk – Paint your pumpkin with chalkboard paint and update your saying daily, or you can just use a chalk based paint for a muted look.
  6. Glue on some flowers – Get some fake flowers and glue them on to your pumpkin for a sweet look!

Skip the mess and keep all the fun! These no mess or less mess ideas may just become your favorite year after year!

Keep it Pumpkin!

Halloween Trick or Treat Bags for Your Kids

How many orange pumpkins have you bought over the years? 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!

  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!

Fall Mobile Home Maintenance Checklist

We’ve now arrived at fall and life just got a little more beautiful. With the change of the seasons, we want to check in with our homes and see how they fared the previous season as well as prepare them for the next. Fall is the time we want to make sure our homes are properly sealed for the coming colder air. We also want to ensure our home is ready to handle more heat inside.

Let’s unpack some easy maintenance items and get your mobile home ready for fall!

  • Clean gutters. This is the most common tip for fall! You may want to wait until the leaves start to drop, but you could start now! Make sure they are hooked up correctly, and if your gutter drain has any damage, be sure to repair it.
  • Add caulking. Checking to ensure your windows are sealed is a good place to start. Then you can move to the bathroom and check around faucets and shower heads. Then you can check other problem spots you may notice.
  • Check smoke alarms. Change those batteries! Be sure all your alarms are wired and working properly. You’re going to be lighting candles, using the oven more, and probably adding light and warmth to your home.
  • Put the garden hose away. If you leave it out, it may make a ring of dead grass for next year. Most importantly, you don’t want it to freeze and bust the pipe.
  • Clean your fireplace. It’s good to make sure your fireplace is ready to be used if you have electric or gas, but even more so if you have a log burning fireplace. If you have a damper, you want to properly remove it and check the structure of your fireplace as well as check for creosote. Creosote should be removed during a chimney cleaning.  Consider consulting a professional.
  • Repair/ replace skirting damage. Did you accidentally hit your skirting while weed eating? Are there some holes in your skirting? Repair that with skirting tape or get a new panel!
  • Gaps around/under doors. As heat is generated in your home, it may cause your doors to swell or your doors may just have never been level. Try placing a door snake underneath to fix the gap.

Keep Your Home Energy Efficient!

Happy fall! We hope these tips help you prep your home for the season! Now that your home is ready, it’s time to decorate!

 

Oakbur Quill Co.