For All First-time Homeowners: The Basics of Yard Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining the household for the first time, you will need all the help you can get. At first, managing a household on your own can be overwhelming because there are just too many aspects to focus on, but through time, the task may become easier. Emphasis on "may."


Of course, everything is hard in the beginning because you're still clueless about what approach is best used under different circumstances. Finding yourself at a loss is normal; don't be too hard on yourself if you feel like you're a fish out of water. Instead of fixating on your mistakes, you should focus your energy on getting more information so you won't make the same mistake twice.


This will apply to the entire process of learning how to maintain your household. From the bedroom to the bathroom, and even to your yard, there will be distinct nuances for each aspect of your home. Give yourself time to adjust to your newfound responsibilities and soon enough, you'll be doing everything like a pro.


But to get to that point, you will have to endure through the rough patches of trying and failing multiple times. Lucky for you, many have ventured that path before you did, which means that you can learn from their experiences. Here are some things you should know when it comes to maintaining your yard:


It's Normal for Soil to Erode, but Watch out for Slopes

Healthy soil is 50% solid, 25% water, and 25% air; but of course, that's not something that you can keep track of all the time especially if you're unfamiliar with the basics of landscaping. However, what you might be able to notice is that it's normal for soil to erode over time and it can also get too compacted.


If your soil appears too solid and therefore, not absorbing any water, it might be time to breathe some air into the land. For this, you will need an aerator that can punch tiny holes in your soil so that it can breathe. But it's also possible for the soil to erode too much that it creates slopes in your yard.


When this happens without your knowledge, it can become a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes because they are attracted to stagnant water. This is especially common during rainy seasons or when you over-water your soil, and it can snowball into a big problem.


Mosquitoes are incredibly difficult to handle on your own because they breed fast and are impossible to contain. Fortunately, there are many home services devoted to helping homeowners deal with their mosquito problems. For this, you will want to seek the help of mosquito treatment experts.


Weeds Are Pesky Annoyances That You Can't Ignore

As you were growing up, you may have been told to mow the lawn at least once or a few hundred times to keep the height of the grass at bay. But what you might not have realized is that mowing the lawn can also keep the pesky weeds from taking over your lawn.


The reasoning behind this is that weeds tend to grow in unmaintained environments. By regularly mowing your yard, you can keep the height of your grass in control while also making sure that the weeds aren't hell-bent on dominating the outside of your house.


Keep Your Grass Green, but Don't Drown Them

Most yards are usually low-maintenance in a way that you won't have to water them every day. The average yard will require one to two inches of water a week, which can be done through a thorough watering session at least once a week. However, that still depends on your local weather conditions.


For your grass to stay green and healthy, you need to encourage the grass to develop a deep rooting system that can be achieved through the watering method above. You must also consider the amount of rainfall that your yard receives because there could be a chance of you over-watering the grass.


That's because if you drown your grass with too much water, you might just kill it. The soil could also experience difficulties with absorbing the water, which can lead to stagnant water accumulating in the slopes that are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Being mindful of these things can help you become a more responsible homeowner.


If you don't know where to begin with maintaining your yard, you can always hire professional landscapers to do the job for you. But at some point, you're going to have to learn how to do basic yard maintenance because that's just the more practical and responsible thing to do as a homeowner.


Amal the Thirsty Gamal Book Review and Book Tour Giveaway

 I love finding children's books with great messages for children--and stories for Christmas too.  This morning, I have Amal the Thirsty Gamal in our book review spotlight.  Check out the book, learn about author Robert Schorr--and enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Book Title:  Amal the Thirsty Gamal: A Christmas Tale by Robert Schorr
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  38 pages
GenreChildren's Picture Book 
Publisher:  Mascot 
Release date:  July, 2021
Content Rating:  G.
Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner. 

About the Book
The charming tale told in Amal the Thirsty Gamal is for every young person who might be anxious about how they are viewed by those around them (and yes, camels care about that too!). For so long, our little hero has been hearing taunts and jeers and thinking negative things about himself, his looks, and especially his little hump. But—oh, brace yourselves! — because Wise Men are traveling with Amal’s special caravan, and when one of them speaks up around the campfire one night, everything changes for little Amal!
My Review
Wonderful Lessons with a Christmas Story.  The author shares another view of the story of Christmas through Amal the Gamal's story.  Amal looked differently than the others--and grew up feeling anxious and worried that he would not be able to manage a long caravan trip as well as "normal", humped camels.  As the story moved on, we learned a little more about camels and their humps--some facts and fiction--and watch Amal learn about himself and his abilities along the way.  Amal the Thirsty Gamal teaches some life lessons while placing Amal in the heart of a Christmas story too.

Lovely Illustrations Fill the Pages. Readers will find soft, simply illustrations that bring Amal's story to life.  Amal's expressive eyes show his emotions throughout the story.  

Would I Recommend Amal the Thirsty Gamal by Robert A. Schorr?  This would make the perfect book for families who enjoy reading a variety of Christmas themed stories.  Amal has some wonderful lessons to share with growing elementary readers--as it is often easy to dwell on shortcomings and fail to see those greater purposes within.  I definitely recommend it to Christian families seeking a new story for the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Buy the Book

Meet the Author
Robert Schorr resides in San Clemente, California, with his wife Sharilyn and their family nearby. For 26 years, he served as Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel Old Towne in Orange, California. Prior to that, they lived in Asia for 17 years. He is devoted to his Savior, to Sharilyn, his children, flying, hiking, fly-fishing, Chinese, and writing. He loves any story that makes someone special, and he knew, a long time ago, that little Amal had one to tell.

Connect with the Author: website ~ facebook 

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Enter the Giveaway



I Miss School Children's Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

This morning, I have a children's book about missing the normal school day during the pandemic--written by an expert--a six-year old little girl. Check out I Miss School, learn about young author Ryan Reaves and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Book Title:  I Miss School by Ryan Reaves
CategoryChildren's Non-Fiction (Ages 3-7),  24 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
PublisherDawn Reaves
Release date:   Feb 2021
Content Rating:  G for everyone.
Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner. 

About the Book

“I Miss School” is written by a child, for a child. In this heartwarming and honest story, kids will understand that their feelings about the pandemic are normal and it is perfectly acceptable to feel a range of emotions related to not going to in-person school. The book instills hope for kids that brighter days are ahead.


My Review

“I Miss School” is heartwarming and relatable.  Because this book is written by a child for other children--it is written in the perfect style and voice.  The author shares her feelings about missing her school, friend, teachers and "pre-Covid-normal" in a way that other little ones will definitely identify and that parents and caregivers will find touching.

The illustrations are perfect for readers experiencing remote learning.  Each sentence is accompanied by an illustration of the little girl in her room, at her desk with her computer--with an inset illustration bubble with her memories of school.  For so many families, this was the scene for so many months.  Her room doesn't change--but, her smiles and memories from each of the aspects she was missing highlight each page.  I watched my own daughters spend 6-8 hours a day in their rooms for "school" for months and months.  I love the way the author tells her story--and shows it to readers as well.


Would I recommend “I Miss School” by Ryan Reaves?  This book is perfect for young elementary, kindergarten readers--even for older pre-school readers too.  I think it is a great book to help readers remember the things they missed about school and life before being impacted by COVID--but, I think it's also the perfect book to store away as a simple visual reminder of the very challenging time children faced during the pandemic!  I definitely recommend it to families with young children--and I look forward to seeing Ryan and her work grow in the future!


About the Book 

Amazon ~ Etsy
add to goodreads



About the Author

Six-year-old Ryan Reaves began writing her debut story “I Miss School” at five years old after yearning to return to her brick-and-mortar school during the covid 19 pandemic. She wanted to write the book for other kids, so they knew they weren’t alone in their thoughts and feelings and that we are all in this together.

connect with the author: instagram

Enter the Book Tour Giveaway

 I MISS SCHOOL Book Tour Giveaway




Alicia Connected: The Big Gift Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

 With three daughters growing up attached to the internet and social media--internet safety has been a frequent conversation topic in our house.  This morning, I have a middle grade fiction book to share that is certainly relevant to our older elementary and young middle school readers!  Learn about Alicia Connected:  The Big Gift and author Derek Fisher, read my thoughts on the book and enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Book Title:  Alicia Connected: The Big Gift by Derek Fisher
CategoryMiddle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  86 pages
Genre:  Middle Grade Fiction
PublisherSecurely Built
Release date:   May 2020
Content Rating:  G for everyone.

Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner. 

About the Book

Alicia has finally entered a new world of technology when her parents give her a tablet for her birthday. She has watched and listened to her friends who have already been enjoying the games and apps in a connected world that Alicia has yet to experience. Until now. But using technology can bring a set of challenges that are new to both Alicia and her parents. Understanding the different apps and games and how to use them properly can be tricky. Will Alicia know how to use it in a way that is fun and allows her to connect with her friends while being safe and secure? Both her and her parents will face the excitement and challenges together as she jumps headfirst into using her new tablet.


My Review


Great Launch to a Middle Grade Series.  Readers will learn a variety of lessons related to playing it safe in online interactions as they read the first book in the Alicia Connected series.  Alicia knows that she has a lot to learn about technology and internet safety--but, this book also shows that even "tech savvy" tweens and teens may make some mistakes in judgement when using technology.  


Alicia and Friends Are Relatable to Tweens--and Caregivers.  As parents, we give our kiddos a lot of advice and try to do so many things to protect them online while letting them learn and grow--and join their real-world friends in online adventures.  I love that this book begins at the beginning with Alicia's journey into apps and technology.  From setting up usernames safely to navigating friend requests and managing screen time appropriately--the author gives a lot of reinforcement to what many readers may have heard from parents and caregivers.  The book gives them a bit of a role model in Alicia as she tries to follow her parents guidance and the "rules" around her tablet.    I do wish that the book had characters who were a little more realistic and less after-school-special like--but, I think the parallels from fiction to real world are still present and valid.


Would I Recommend Alicia Connected:  The Big Gift by Derek Fisher?  I enjoyed reading Alicia's introduction to her very first tablet--and I do look forward to reading more of the series as Alicia and her friends learn more about online safety and technology habits.  This would be a fun story to share as a family or as a mom/daughter book club read for discussion. I would definitely recommend it to parents of elementary aged students ready for those first phones/tablets/laptops.   

Buy the Book

Amazon ~ B&N ~ IndieBound
Author Website

Meet the Author

Derek Fisher has spent decades in the computer engineering field with the last decade in cybersecurity as a leader, speaker, and instructor. His passion has been to take complex security topics and make them simple and easy to understand. He holds several security certifications and teaches cybersecurity at Temple University where he is also an external advisory board member to the cybersecurity program.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads

Follow the Book Tour

Enter the Giveaway


Toddler Mom Hacks to Simplify your Everyday Life

From a messy house to soiled diapers - parenting a toddler can be really overwhelming. In order to overcome the challenges of motherhood you should make the most out of the life hacks you find online. Here are the best ones we could gather that are bound to make your life as a mother more rewarding and less stressful in turn.



  1. Learn to live with the mess

Toddlers are like little piglets - it seems like their favourite thing in the world is to make a mess out of everything. Some mishaps are easy to clean and they should be done with immediately, for example if they spill some lunch on the floor. When it comes to the less unhygienic type of mess such as toy clutter - just let it be. Designate a day or two in the week for cleaning that up, maybe even with some help from your little one if they’re interested, but don’t lose sleep over a plushie on your living room floor. Another idea is to clean while your toddler is napping. Entertaining your kid while trying to do some household work can be very tiresome.
  1. Mix feed your toddler

During toddlerhood most kids stop being completely dependent on the bottle for their nutritional needs. Alongside this, it is completely normal that you produce less breast milk. However, if you have a toddler that needs that extra nourishment from milk it may be a good idea to introduce formula even though you may have fed them exclusively your milk. Finding the right type of formula for your child can be quite challenging so you need to do a bit of research and read through others' experience to find something suitable. A great start would be to dig through the reviews of milk supplements. Check out this Friso 3 review and see whether this milk formula is a right fit for you and your toddler.
  1. Stick to the sleep schedule

You should start establishing the sleeping schedule for your child in early toddlerhood. This includes both the night’s shut eye and the daily naps. In order to make the schedule become second nature to your kid, you should be very persistent with it without making excuses. Toddlers need from 11 to 14 hours of sleep a day so it’s very important they get enough rest in order to grow healthily.
  1.  Dealing with picky eaters

Being a mother to a picky eater can be infuriating at times. Offering them a lot of different foods they ultimately refuse is quite strenuous. Getting your child to eat a wider variety of healthy food may be a challenge at first but there’s one hack that has helped many parents. Kids are proud of their achievements and by utilizing this characteristic you can help them eat more veggies and fruit. By getting your toddler involved in the process of meal prepping they will be more likely to eat the food! They will feel like they’ve made their dinner themselves so they will be more eager to empty the plate.
  1. Toothpaste isn’t just for teeth

Toddlers love playing around with colouring pens and markers and it’s all fun and games until they mess up your furniture. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for this. You can use toothpaste to scrub away their works of art from almost everything. Though this hack will help you in the time of need you don’t need to rely on it too often if you invest in good quality magic markers. Another idea is to paint one of your walls with black chalkboard paint. This is a very cute way to let your kids have a lot of fun by drawing on the wall. 



How to Wash Your Clothes While Traveling

Doing your laundry is a loathsome ordeal but running out of clean clothes while traveling is even scarier. Sometimes doing laundry while on a trip is unavoidable because it’s frankly unrealistic to pack fresh outfits for a month-long voyage. Even if your trip isn’t that long, if you know how to properly wash your clothes while traveling, you wouldn’t have to pack so many extra items. By following our tips you may even save some money because you’ll be able to fit everything into a carry-on baggage.


  1. Make use of your hotel’s services

If you’re staying in a hotel, chances are that you don’t have to be the one to physically wash your own clothes. Hurray! Ask at the front desk if your hotel offers laundry services. If it does you will get the full treatment - your clothes will be washed, dried, ironed and neatly folded. However, these services may sometimes be quite expensive depending on where you’re staying.
  1. Research dry cleaning options

Sometimes you’ll find yourself packing clothes which will have to be dry cleaned if you get them dirty. There’s no need to freak out about it since dry cleaning services can be found in most of the cities in the world. In some places this has been made even easier, for example dry cleaning in Chicago is like a walk in the park. Through a service called DriveCleaning, your freshly cleaned garments can be delivered to your doorstep. This way you may spend your time on sightseeing and doing other touristy things while someone else is taking care of your clothes.
  1. Use a sink or a bathtub

Hand washing clothes may be tiring but if you need some fresh undies or to take care of a small stain using a hotel sink or a bathtub will do the trick. The best way to do this would be to first plug the drain and fill your sink up with lukewarm tap water. Add some laundry detergent to the water and soak your clothes for some time in it. If after an hour of soaking there are still some stubborn stains, you should try scrubbing them out. After rinsing and squeezing out the excess water you can find a spare clothes hanger in your hotel room and hang your clothes to air dry in the shower.
  1. Find a laundromat

If you’re visiting a bigger city in the United States you are bound to stumble upon a laundromat service. These facilities store a large amount of washing machines and dryers which can be used by anyone for a dollar or a bit more. Laundromats are great if you’re on a longer trip and you need to wash a lot of clothes, since the machines in there tend to be quite large in size. Keep in mind that in most of these places you’ll have to bring your own laundry soap and softener. Also, laundromats are quite uncommon in most European cities and smaller towns in the United States, so ask around before you take off to town with a bag full of dirty clothes.
  1. Outdoor wash

If you’re more of an outdoorsy type and you like to go camping most of our previous advice is unusable for you. However, don’t fret! There is a way to hand wash your clothes while being in nature too - most of our ancestors had to make do without washing machines anyway. If you have to wash your clothes in a river or a lake make sure to use eco-friendly soap since the waste will be going straight into that body of water. Add some soap directly to the stain, scrub and rinse. You can hang your clothes to dry on your tent but make sure to clean the sides of your tent first so you don’t wash your clothes in vain.