Monthly Archives: May 2023

Patio Finds on Amazon

If there is one thing I have embraced as I became an adult, it was enjoying outside. This has become particularly true when we finally bought out forever home and it has a large deck on the back covering the entire length of the house.

Photo by Min An on

Spending some time at my uncles while we lived in a new province I really wanted our outdoor space to feel like his. He has plants everywhere, a pool (which is obviously coming later in life too!) and it is such a little oasis that I wanted too to create this type of space when we ended up moving to our new home. Keep in mind too, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you don’t need to spend hundreds of hundreds of dollars in order to have a space that you are comfortable being in. I know for us, with smaller kids and me also being very pregnant this year for the first part of the summer, hanging out on the deck will be a really big saver for sanity! Half of our deck is covered so it’s nice for being able to take some shade if the sun is very hot. Especially when we put the kids little pool up there and in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest it is typically covered by shade so the boys can play without being in direct sun too. I am really excited to get things going outside and spend some time with the boys out there. Right now it is far too cold to be out there and we need to fix a few deck boards. But let’s jump in to some solid things that I have out there to make out deck a spacious relaxing environment.

First things first, Get yourself some table and chairs so you can actually enjoy the summer. Whether or not you want to eat out there or want to enjoy some company from friends, having a nice table and chairs is a great idea. These are normally one of the most expensive items you will have but remember, if you do have a solid set it will last for as long as you need it to. Sometimes cheaper is not always the best. The same goes for tables, if you get the cheap plastic ones, chances are you will have a tough time having them last a long time if they aren’t made with at least a bit of quality.

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Next, depending on where you live and what conditions that you have, I would recommend plants. Which sounds wild because if you would have asked me this before we had moved I would have said I hated plants and don’t want them anywhere near me. Only now that I have grown up a bit, I love having them around. I even wrote a blog about how I became a plant person here! Having plants on the deck is such a nice feeling. It feels like you are really welcome people into the space. It is however important to place them properly. Some plants like indirect light, others direct, some just shade, there is really a method to the madness finding the right spot to put plants so that they thrive. While these you could maybe get from amazon, I would suggest a local nursery because that way you are able to see them before they are bought. Checking for bugs or the health of the plant is important before purchasing. A big thing that held me personally back from getting plants is I didn’t know anything about the light, I assumed all plants needed direct light which is so not the case at all!

Another thing that I have on my deck that I love having is some sort of lighting. While the major lighting that I have is patio lights that I have made myself, I also love having a few sets of some solar lights too. They really put a nice glow as they begin to light up. For me, I have a few strings of solar lights that hang a bit higher. I also have a few solar lights that I tend to tuck into plants because I think it really makes some darker corners of the deck light up at night too. Especially when the evenings grows darker and they too produce a nice glow. We mainly have a lot of things on our deck where the over hang is, the other side is a work in progress. That being said though, having these lights make the other side look like we do in fact have things happening on that end even if they are not that lived in there. Ideally we would love to have an outdoor sectional there however that will come in time.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on

I also love to have different things like wind-chimes, or spiral wind toys. These are really nice to have. I even have a glow wind chime that while it doesn’t make noise it still looks beautiful once the evening comes and it too glows. Which is super huge. Having spirals that sparkle in the wind is a really nice thing to have when you are relaxing and taking things in.

For my kids, we have a few things too. One thing we have is a water/sand table. This is something that my son loves and we even have one inside the house that he can play with. Another thing that we were given though you can get on amazon was a little circus like tent. That way he can hang out there if he needs to. It’s a cool spot to relax and have a bit of shade or even use it as a hiding spot when we are relaxing. A solid kiddy pool is also key. Where this is on the deck, we just have a hard plastic one because an inflatable one may be more challenging to use if a splinter or a nail was sticking up it could really pop your pool and it be wasted. We also have different toys outside for the pool that can be used too.

Think of your patio as an extension of your home. Whatever you want to make yourself comfortable is something that you should put out there. For me, I love glow and lights, lots of colors, and plants (now that is!).

Camping Hacks For Anyone Looking for Adventure

If there is one thing I love, it’s camping. When I was younger I would go camping in a fifth wheel with my grandparents, but when we went as a family with my dad (my mom HATED camping) we would sleep in a tent. Regardless of method there is some planning that is required for going camping. From pre-booking a camp site, to planning meals and activities. Even checking the weather. It’s not very fun to camp in the rain! Here are some camping hacks to ensure you have a great time away, no matter how much you are “roughing it”.

Photo by Xue Guangjian on

First is location. Depending when you want to go, you may more than likely need to book a site in advance. Whether it has power or water, if you have a trailer maybe sewer too. Booking in advance is important for holiday weekends and long weekends because a lot of people like to book as soon as campground bookings open. That being said, activities are also key. Do you have kids and want a campground that puts on a lot of activities for kids? Maybe you just want a pool and or a lake or stream and make your own fun. Do you want a campground where you can be in a wooded area or more of an open field? There is a lot to consider before even leaving home when it comes to camping. even distance, do you want to be driving an hour from home? a few hours? Maybe a different province or state? Planning a camping trip should be seen as a mini-vacation of sorts.

Another big thing is food. Planning out meals and snacks is key for not running out and also planning space. Keep it simple. Ain’t nobody bringing steaks and 4 course meals camping. Basics are totally fine too. Also do you have a camp stove to cook on or are you just using a fire pit? If a fire pit make sure you know the local fire index or bans. A lot of times depending on the amount of rain there may be a ban on when you can light. Here, some times you are unable to light a fire until after 2pm. Other times there is no fires what so ever because there has been no rain and everything is far too dry. Hot dogs, s’mores and marshmallows are all great, but so are meals like eggs and sandwiches too. Which is also important to plan ahead and freeze some blocks of ice to keep your cooler cold too. Instead of having to buy ice from a local store or canteen too becasue we know the price of ice is never normally cheap. Even utensils are a great thing to bring. A local Dollarama also has some that I am sure would be worth checking into too. That way you can wash them (don’t forget the wash basin too!) And reuse them instead of throwing them in the trash after a use. Even different containers and things can be found in the spring as the weather begins to warm up too.

If you planning using the fire pit a lot, perhaps bringing your own firewood if possible instead of buying from the campground will save some more money too. Campgrounds typically have wet/dry/hard/soft woods. And never does it last a long time either. Bringing your own will save you from having to purchase it from the main office there too. the only down side is that wood does in fact take up some space, so you may need to play a bit of Tetris with your vehicles in order to make sure you have space for everything, if you don’t it may be something you might need to just get at the campground!

Basics are important. Here is a quick list of basics to not forget that are typically hard to remember.
– Tend
– Bug Tent (For eating, not necessary however a really nice thing if you can have one!)
– Clothing line
– Cooler
– Firewood
– Swimming toys, towels, floats, etc
– Secure location for food at night (Trunk of a vehicle also works)
– Tarps in case of rain and covering a tent
– Food
– Change of clothes
– Layers, Blankets, sweaters, slippers, socks, shoes
– Sleeping things, Sleeping bag, mattress, etc.
– Yard games

Activities!! Is it a bunch of adults going? Maybe some drinks or special foods? Maybe kids and you want snacks. Are you bringing glow sticks or sparklers for the kids? Yard games? Swimming? Board games? All of these things do not need to be expensive. You can totally get them from a dollar store. And keep them together for future trips. Keeping busy maybe with a few books? Also remember, even if it calls for no rain sometimes there are quick showers that you may need to keep busy for an hour or two! Planning for this time especially with kids will save a lot of headache when they ask what your doing while it rains every 5 minutes until it stops. Even having something as simple as a deck of cards or coloring books is a great way to pass the time if there is a temporary shower passing by.

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on

And finally, fast forward to after camping. Once you empty the cooler from food and ice, dry it out and store everything you need to be able to go back camping. That way next time you go, you aren’t trying to find every little piece you need. Everything is in one place. Sure you will need to have a box to put the contents of the cooler into but it still saves time! I know for our family, with our children being so little, we may not take the plunge into camping just yet, however my husband and I are very excited to finally be able to take out boys camping and sharing memories that we also had when we were younger too.