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15 Tips For A Fall Clean Up

Fall Cleanup

The weather is getting cooler and the beautiful autumn colours are coming out.  You can smell the pumpkin spice lattes in the air.  Can you believe that the fall season is here?  When did that happen?  The weather has been up and down for a few weeks now.  Is it still summer or has autumn begun.

Unfortunately, the cold weather is soon upon us. With the autumn season upon us brings the need to start our outdoor cleanup of our lawns and gardens.  While the weather is still somewhat decent, now would be the time to start our “Fall Cleanup”.  It will be a lot more comfortable for you to get things cleaned up around the house while the temperatures outside are still a little warmer than usual.

Here are a few things you might need to cleanup . . .

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Things you will need to start your cleanup:
  • heavy duty paper bags
  • rake
  • lawn mower
  • leaf blower
  • hedge trimmer
  • garden gloves
  • shovels

15 Tips To Start Your Fall Cleanup:

1.  Lawn Care:

Collect all dried up leaves and put in paper bags for garbage collection or if you have composting.  Cut grass one more time before the cold weather hits us hard 🙂  and throw fertilizer to keep lawn in good shape

2.  Dead Plants:

Clean up all dead plants in the garden and pull the stakes out of the ground, wash them, dry them and store them in a dry place (tool shed)

3.  Cultivate the Soil:

Turn the soil roughly so it is loose when first frost hits

4.  Trees and Shrubs:

Prune dry and extra branches on all trees.  Then cover trees with burlap – sensitive to cold weather and north wind

5.  Patio and Deck:

Clean patio, deck and store patio furniture, umbrella, cushions, etc. in a dry place

6.  Garden Lights:

Remove all decorative lighting from your lawn and garden

7.  Water Hose and Sprinklers:

Close all outside water valves, drain them and wrap in foam insulator, coil hoses and store them in a dry place

8.  Air Conditioner:

Cover air conditioning unit with appropriate cover

9.  Furnace Care:

Check all exhaust pipes outside house (ex: furnace, water heater) so they are not plugged with any debris.   Inspect and check furnace before cold weather hits, replace filter (if replaceable) or wash permanent one

10. Roof:

Check, visually, roof shingles for any damage or irregularity, clean gutters, check vertical pipes and make sure all water coming from roof is directed away from house (foundation)

11. Windows and Doors:

Check window wells of basement windows. Check to see if they close properly and that there is no drafts.  Check all doors, make sure they close nice and tight, no draft (replace seal if needed)

12. Garage Doors:

It is beneficial if garage doors are sealed properly so temperature in garage is above freezing point

13. Lawn Ornaments:

Any other items (statues, decorations, benches, pots, urns, etc.) that are heavy and not easy to move – wrap and tie in plastic (heavier grade). Make sure everything is dry first before covering.

14. Humidifier: 

Replace filter on humidifier and make sure it works

15. Pest Control:

Make sure that there are no pests and rodents around the house, since this is the time when the temperature drops, they will try to find refuge in warm garbage or house

Dyson Canada Limited

I hope I was able to help with these simple tips on preparing your lawn for the cold winter months ahead.  You will be happy you did it now.  So when the spring season comes, you will be ready to start fresh and plant all your beautiful flower beds.

To help you out even further, I have created a check list for you to follow and check off each tip as you begin your clean up.  I also, left enough room so you can add more items of your own.


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10 Side Hustles to Monetize

Side Hustle

Did You Have A Hobby Growing Up?

keep calm and get a hobby

Did you ever think you would be able to make money from something you thought was just a hobby back in the day?

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When we were younger, our parents put us in many extra-curricular activities. Some we loved, others we hated. My parents put me in dance (tap and jazz) and then I unfortunately had to give that up to be put into folklore dance. That’s where I found some of my closest friends. I wouldn’t have give that up for the world.

But there are times that I often wonder what would have become of my life if I continued with dance. Would I have gone on to become a “dancer”? (chuckle, chuckle) You never know, right? Like I said, I don’t regret anything about my childhood.

What if you had a hobby, a passion, a childhood activity you gave up and wish you could go there again. Well what’s stopping you? Maybe from these extra-curricular activities your parents put you in, it developed into a passion of yours.

Like myself. My parents bought me a pocket camera for Christmas one year and over the years it developed into a passion of mine. The only regret I have is that I realized it was something that I could turn into a business later in life. My husband always tells me it doesn’t matter how old I am. If I love it, pursue it. And that’s what I want to share with you.

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If you have had enough of the 9 to 5 chaos of fighting traffic going to work everyday and wish there was something else you could do, there is. There must be something that you loved doing as a hobby when you were younger, when you were single before the kiddos came into your life. Let’s explore the different possibilities that could lead you to your new beginning:

10 Side Hustles That Can Make You Money:

  1. Painter/Sculpting
  2. Interior Designer
  3. Party Planner
  4. Seamstress
  5. Fitness Coach
  6. Music Teacher
  7. Baker/Chef
  8. Make Up Artist
  9. Writer/Blogger
  10. Photographer

1. Painter

I don’t mean the ‘house painter” kinda painting (but that could be a hobby that turns into a business as well). I mean the kind of person who was gifted since birth who had a knack for creating real people on paper instead of stick figures that some of us were only able to achieve.  People who would doodle all through classes and enjoy sitting for hours drawing on their special pads of artist paper.  If they kept that kind of talent hidden is a shame.  That’s not just a hobby.  That’s a God-given talent.

Many things can be developed from this hobby.  Why not take it up again?  Maybe part-time. You can sell some paintings to art galleries.  Perhaps create a collection and have a showing of your own.  You could even teach young ones just recognizing the art and mould these talented minds into becoming a fine artist.

2. Interior Designer

Did you have a knack for designing your own home.  Did you enjoy matching colours and textures and fabrics.  If you enjoyed all those things, why not help others design their own home.  Make it into a part-time job if anything.  A lot of people need help with creating an ambiance for their new home.  Some people are not artistic and need advice for what colour to put on the walls of each room or what drapes match with the colours of the walls . . . or what textures or fabrics to use for sofas.

3. Party Planner

Did you have a creative mind in your youth.  Were you handy with planning or organizing celebrations.  Were you the go-to person to plan surprise or themed birthday parties.  People need someone like you.  If planning and organizing events comes natural to you why not take it from a hobby or passion into a small part-time or full-time job.  You know where to find props and know how to research to get party products.  Don’t just give away your talent.  Charge for it!

4. Seamstress

I wish I knew how to sew.  That is such a beautiful craft.  But many took it as a hobby or even necessity.  My mother knew how to sew (she knew how to do everything 🙂 ). She created beautiful clothing for us as kids.  Why do you have to buy things when you can just create it with your own hands.  Thank goodness there are still people who create wardrobes.  I’m not talking about you’re top designers.

There are people out there who create clothes for themselves.  Perhaps they create for their children or their grandchildren.  Why not make it into a small business from your own home.  There are always people looking for custom-made suits or dresses or business attire, prom dresses.  It’s limitless.

5. Fitness Trainer

For those of us who have remained in outstanding shape 🙁  what better path to take then train others to follow the same regime.  What’s more satisfying than to train others to stay healthy.  This is something that you have educated yourself for years.  Now you have a chance to share that valuable knowledge with others.

6. Music Teacher

Like most parents, who want to live vicariously through their kids, put them in all kinds of extra-curricular activities such as sports, swimming, art and music.  We too put our kids in sports and music.  The sports stuck but the music, unfortunately for us parents, did not stick.

If you have had the passion for musical instruments throughout your life and have stuck with it then why not try teaching it to young children.  Shape their minds with the art of music.  Educate them how music is a facet of our society.  It doesn’t take much to set up a part-time business of music.  You can even go to the clients’ home.

7. Baker

I’m sure as little girls, we have all dabbled a little in cooking or better yet baking.  I know my earliest recollection of my experiences in the kitchen was baking peanut butter cookies . . . yum.  In no way could I have gone down that path but I do love to make cakes and cake pops.  Never ever for display for the world to see. 😉  But I have seen so many beautiful cakes and cookies.  It could be such a lucrative job.

8. Makeup Artist

Have you enjoyed putting on make up.  I know . . . some of us hate it.  But I have always loved it, ever since I was introduced to it all those years ago.  But it wasn’t until high school graduation.  We were told to wear a little blush for school photos. And so started my appreciation for makeup.

When my kids were very young I took a course in makeup thinking it was something that I could develop into a part-time job.  But there just wasn’t enough hours in the day to fulfil that dream.  My kids always took precedence.

But now the kids are all grown and I could afford the time to delve into this industry.  I still love make up and apply it everyday.  What’s stopping you?

9. Writer/Blogger

Well I have always loved reading books, novels. Lately, I have been reading a lot of photography material.  I love learning and reading about different things all the time.  Then I thought how great it would be if I could write my own novel.  I started writing.   I am determined to finish my novel.

Since I love writing all the time and love to create, the thought came to me to start a blog.  Why not?  I love to share all my crafts and creative things I have done over the years.  There is nothing wrong with you starting a blog also.  It has extremely great potential.  This too may be lucrative.

10.  Photography

What more can I say about photography.  It has been a passion of mine for what seems like forever.  If you too have a passion for photography and you love photographing your own family then maybe you too can develop this into a part-time job.  If you have a camera and the passion, you are on your way to becoming a photographer.  I can also help you on your journey.

Etsy (Canada)

So, these are only 10 hobbies that could be turned into a money-maker.  But there may be so much more that I haven’t covered.  There is nothing to be afraid.  Take that leap.  And do what you love.

Other jobs that you could achieve but maybe not monetize:

  • volunteer in hospitals, schools, daycare
  • Secretary (part-time) in schools
  • participate in a book club or start one of your own in your area
  • Guidance Councillor for your local high school
  • Dance Teacher

The list can go on.  I hope this has helped you realize that your options are endless.

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5 Ways to Entertain With Less Stress

entertain with less stress

Do you love entertaining?

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I love entertaining. But do you ever get to the point in your preparations where you become so stressed out from planning that you wish your guests would call to cancel. There are times, in the beginning, you have everything planned

coffee bar, entertaining, simple entertaining

out in your head and you see how nicely the evening will flow.   You have the hors d’oeuvres (I never know how to spell this 😊) planned out and the exact time you will serve them. You have the first course planned out perhaps earlier on in the day and the exact time you will serve that. Then the main course comes out.

And while all this is happening, you don’t want to ignore your guests. You want to sit to dinner with them as well. After all you are not the hired help. These are your guests . . . your closest friends.

It’s nice to think and dream your evening will go this smoothly . . . but does it really? Heck nah!!

I pride myself in being a very organized person, but I tend to always go overboard when I entertain. I don’t get a chance to do it often. So, when I do see my friends and family, I want to splurge on them because I love them so much.

My day goes something like this:

  • Last minute touch ups cleaning house
  • I figure I have enough time . . . I have my wonderful teenage kids to help, right?  Hmff !!
  • Kids are doing their own thing and they are pretty much a no-show . . . lovely!!
  • Start preparing appetizers (on my own) – 3 or 4 different appetizers  (REALLY . . . 3?)
  • I realize (too late) 3 or 4 appetizers is way too much (who’s going to eat dinner?)
  • Also, I have the stove and oven going just for these (darn) appetizers and I’m trying to quickly plan out in my head when am I going to start cooking dinner with only one stove (yikes!!) All the while fixating on the huge clock in my kitchen counting down the hours to my guests’ arrival
  • As the hour hand whittles away to showtime, I am now trying to figure out how to bake my potatoes while the roast is still in the oven and make sure that everyone’s meal isn’t totally cold – yikes!!
  • By this time, the kitchen is full (kids finally showed up ☹) (husband too – sort of) and everyone is helping.
  • By this time, I am stressed and dictating orders to everyone 🙁
  • Guests have arrived on time (darn it)
  • Table is set – thank heavens
  • Serving plates washed, dried and ready to be filled with the beautiful roast that has come out of the oven
  • Can I pull this off?
  • It’s a touchdown 😊

Everything in the end turns out wonderfully. I think I care more about the fluff than my friends do. All they care (as do I) is that you are with friends you adore and spending an eventful evening talking about old times and catching up.

I don’t entertain as much as I would love to but when I do, I don’t hold back . . . as you can see. But it doesn’t always have to be this elaborate and cumbersome. Because if it always is, then you might not visit with your friends as much. There is nothing wrong in toning it down a bit. If you like entertaining, you can always do it on a lighter note – something less stressful.

Here are ways you can entertain with less stress:

  • Pool Party – this is super casual and perfect for kids and the kids-at-heart
    • Put some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill
    • Beverages for the kids
    • Beverages for the adults – some alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails
    • Dessert can be as simple as a tray of fruit or even some frozen yogurt keeping it light and healthy
  • Backyard BBQ – same idea as the pool party but if you don’t have a pool . . .
    • Start with simple apps – spaducci
    • Instead of hotdogs and hamburgers, put some chicken or steak on the grill if you are serving adults only
    • Drinks – have a mini fridge or huge cooler filled with ice and have different kinds of beverages – alcoholic or non-alcoholic
    • Dessert – keeping it simple again with fruits or berries with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream (yummy)
  • Picnic – who says it must be in your home. Go to a picnic ground or park that allows for bbq. And host a friends and family celebration/reunion. There are so many conservation parks around your city to choose from that are used for such events
    • You can make it potluck – everyone brings a dish – plan out who brings what
    • Bring a cooler filled with beverages on ice
    • Bring games and balls – football, soccer ball, baseball
    • No one will want to go home
  • Potluck Dinner – super simple and
    • Everyone brings a fav dish of their own
    • Plan out who will bring what
    • Evening is very informal
  • Coffee Bar – this is my favourite. So simple but you can dress it up
    • You could set up a small area either in the kitchen at the extended peninsula or the dining-room hutch/sideboard
    • Display your coffee maker
    • Display different kinds of coffee – flavoured, regular, dark roast, etc.
    • Have enough coffee mugs and saucers displayed
    • Milk/creamer and sugar containers (fancier than your everyday) on a decorative small tray
      Sylvia's cupcakes
    • Dessert plates | Spoons | Forks | Serving set
    • Napkins in a certain colour theme
    • Perhaps a few shot glasses for before or after aperitif –  a sweet liqueur (ex. Baileys-my fav) or a special whiskey, etc.
    • Few trays of simple treats: cookies, coffee cake, cake pops, muffins, cupcakes, scones, etc.

So the next time you are planning a dinner party … don’t stress over it.  There are more simple ways to entertain.  Try using my ideas and you’ll end up enjoying your evening just as much as your guests.

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A Heartfelt Tribute

Strong woman


What is family? To me “family” is an important word. It has an important meaning. To me, family, means someone you can go to, to find comfort and love. Family can be a combination of 2 or more members. As long as it’s a place where you can find love and happiness and support.

In times of great accomplishments, you want to share your happiness; in times of fear, you want to feel you are protected; in times of illness, no matter how small or severe, you want to feel comfort and healing and most of all, in times of grief and great loss, you want to feel your family’s heartbeat around you like an embrace that keeps you secure from sorrow.

Loss of A Strong Woman

A year ago, today, we lost an integral part of our family. My mother. She passed away suddenly 1 year ago today and we all stood in shock as the news ripped through our hearts. At times it was unbearable to contemplate that I would never be able to go to her for advice, to talk to her, to share news of my kids’ educational accomplishments or extracurricular accomplishments. And it was hard to attend each of their milestone graduations last year without her presence. She was so looking forward to it.

Family is what kept me together.  I wanted to stay strong for my kids. But little did they know, they kept me from falling apart. As a family unit, we stick together in good times and in extraordinarily tough times like this. Family is there for one another.

Although it was difficult to bear, I know my mom is at peace because she had finally joined the love of her life, my dad, up in heaven. I know she is finally at peace, after battling so much loss and illnesses and struggles. And I know they are both looking down on us all and I can only hope that they are proud of all our accomplishments.

Whatever my accomplishments are, it is highly due to my mother. She steered me on the path of creativity. We went together to my first paper tolle class when I was a teenager. And that put me on the path to scrapbooking, creating topiary trees and centerpieces, creating jewelry collections, baking, knitting, crocheting.

She bought me my first pocket camera when I was a mere 12 years old. And that became a lifelong passion of mine that lead me to start my photography business.

So, I dedicate my accomplishments to the strongest woman I have ever known and loved – my beautiful mother.  You will be in my heart forever and I hope I can be half the mother you were to me, to my own daughter.

May is for . . .

And as we near Mother’s Day, let us all truly embrace our mothers and remember all that they have done for us throughout our lives. I never take one day with my loved ones for granted. In these days and times, you never know how much time we have to be together.  Do not put off what you want to do for another time because life gets too busy.

Truly enjoy your family.


One of my favourite quotes, from a very special movie when my kids were young . . .

OHANA means Family.

I’m so proud to have called this great woman my mother.