close-up of Fresh bright green grass is growing


What I Can’t Let Go Of:

The wonder of new life!

It’s all around us. Spring has always been my favorite season.

Watching all the seeds sprout from the dirt and magically unfurl.

It’s downright thrilling to see! And the buds on the trees — branches that look bleak and barren are suddenly dotted with little buds breaking through the bark and soon bursting with the most enlivening color of green.

How do those little snippets of life do it?

And now, 36 years after I marveled at my own body, I get to marvel at our daughter as her body and heart nurture and grow a little daughter of her own!!!!

Live is wonderful and I am awestruck!

woman in winter garb kneeling on a grey sand beach close to a penguin

Yes, come early August, I’ll be a Grandma!

(Wow! That’s the most thrilling sentence I’ve ever typed for this newsletter)

I’m so very, very happy to share it with YOU first!

That picture? That’s our little momma-in-the-making with one of her new friends

(she was in The Falkland Islands last week — for business).

On the Blog This Week

dog bowl placemat on a brick floor with a bowl of water and a bowl of food on top

I decided Grittles, our little ol’ man pooch, needed a bright Spring placemat.

This is so easy, it’s kinda crazy. And what a difference it makes (especially on our dark red brick floors).

If you have even a modest crafting stash, a doggie placemat will probably only cost you $1 — the price of the plain mat.

Don’t believe me? The bog post has all the details.

I’ve been using these $1 mats for years!

Sadly, I’ve been using them plain until fairly recently. I didn’t; realize all the potential they held.

This chinoiserie-inspired mat was the first one I shared. Again, very simple! It’s just a Sharpie and a stencil that I made.

The stencil svg file is in the House Mates Free Library available to all subscribers.

finished decorative dog food mat in place under the bowls on a red brick floor

Plus I’ve been working on a blog post and video to help you Shop With the LTK app

to save time, money and stress!

Hopefully both will be live later this weekend. Watch for an email alert.

six women's headshots with their signatures under the title: Shopping With Friends -- so much better than alone

It’s the first Saturday of the month, so that means “The Girls” have gathered together to share their favorite finds with you.

WoW! Spring is hitting hard here — in fits and starts! It’s left me, and my hydrangeas and dogwoods — so confused. But I am ready and jumping in to get ahead of the Spring gardening chores and the outdoor fun that lies ahead!

a folding garden kneeler or seat with bags on the side to carry supplies

Okay, I’ll admit it, my knees and back aren’t quite like they used to be.

I’m treating myself to this baby. There are many versions, but this issue mine mainly because it’s the best value of the ones with the deeper seat/kneeler. Most are just 6-8 inches deep (that’s like a kneeler in church). This one is over 10-inches.

It also comes with two bags. Perfect for bug spray, phone and water bottle in one. Garden tools ini the other.

I was spoiled by some garden irrigation in our last house. Time to add it to this house!

This top irrigation kit is the one I’ve picked out for our large balcony across the back of the house.

And this larger set is for the large bed we have installed around the crushed granite patio we added. It has all the different components for trees, shrubs, and ground cover.

No irrigation setup is complete without a timer. This one is perfect to control the two irrigation systems independently.

photo of all the components of a larger irrigation kit
photo of all the components of a smaller irrigation kit
closeup of timer for a two-hose irrigation setup

a pair of garden clippers
a pair of garden clippers

Next on my must-have list, is a good pair of clippers!

This pair is designed for ease of use, specifically for arthritis sufferers. Fortunately, I am not there, yet anyway. But I’m not one to turn down “ease of use”

They are at a good price (at the time of this writing)!!!

But if you are just getting started gardening, or don’t have that much to clip, this pair is a good pair and a more budget-friendly price.

Now that the yard work is done . . . for today. It’s time to celebrate. Cold beverages, anyone?

Loving these rolling cooler patio carts! Genius!!

This is my hands-down favorite. It has heavy duty fold out shelves on each side. A built in place to mix, pour and offer nibbles. There is even a glass shelf on the open lid to hold glasses, garnishes, etc.

The tub is even divided so you can optionally offer cold, but dry food, or devote the whole thing to beverages.

If this is a budget buster for you, then this is my next favorite. I chose this one because the bottom shelf will be much easier to clean than the lipped shelves that most of the others have.

a large cooler/bar cart for patio parties with extra shelves that fold out
A rolling cooler patio cart with shelf below open showing filled with ice and beverage bottles inside

three fly fans in front of the box

Here in the Central US, warm weather means flies and mosquitoes.

I discovered fly fans in Dallas where all the restaurants had them on their outdoor tables. They really work!!!!!

TIP: Use one under the table too around your ankles. And they’re great for camping. Plus they collapse, so they’re easy to take with you to picnics, outdoor concerts and such.

These use batteries or USB.

I don’t know about where you live but it’s been unseasonably warm here in Illinois (with a few days of snow sprinkled in).

Between the weather and the refresh we did by painting our great room area with Sherwin Williams Color of the Year, I have nothing but spring on my mind.

I pulled my spring/Easter decor down this past weekend and everything is looking pretty worse for wear. I really need a new wreath for my front door. Here are the ones that I have my eye on.

  • Recently I went to our local Arboretum Spring flower show and picked up these beautiful resin earrings from a vendor. They’re so pretty! I gave a pair to Happy Girl for her birthday, too. I think they’d be perfect bridesmaid or Mother’s day gifts. Some crafters will custom make them, also. Check HERE for an amazing collection of styles and artistry. Perfect for Spring!
  • With Easter coming up, I love to pull out my few pieces of cabbageware. This bowl was my mother-in-laws, but I found the 2 cute bowls thrifting. Vintage pieces can be found HERE. You can find beautiful newly made cabbage dishes HERE and HERE. Such fun tableware to collect (or register for;)
  • Our mattress is old and I’ve not been sleeping good. Someone suggested we try a memory foam mattress topper and it has made such a difference! Every night I feel like I’m crawling into a hotel bed, it’s so comfy and cushy. So much more inexpensive than getting a whole new mattress. You can find the one we have HERE.
  • One of the best purchases I made through the years was a pair of green glass lamps. I swap them back and forth from our bedside tables to the living room depending on the season. Green is such a neutral. I still love these lamps years later. I can’t find my exact pair, but I rounded up a beautiful collection of green lamps HERE.

  • Spring is my favorite season and I like to switch things up in our home to reflect the season. I love using the mint scented Mrs Meyers dish soap. It (almost) makes doing dishes enjoyable.
  • I also like to switch up our bedding. Now that the temperatures are in the 40s, we don’t need our heavy down comforter. This block print quilt by Studio McGee is perfect at the end of our bed. It is just warm enough to keep you comfortable during spring nights.
  • Now that March is here, I am so excited to start growing plants from seeds. Most notably, Zinnias and Celosias. I plan on using these seed starting kits from Burpee. Each kit is less than $12 for a tray of 36 cells!
  • If you like to grow your own veggies or flowers, this raised garden bed is fabulous. A raised bed is a great way to protect your plants from animals and you can place it in an area that gets a lot of sun.
  • I finally decided to replace my tupperware and love this set by Rubbermaid. Also, just between you and I, the teal color lids are what sold me. It’s also BPA free, dishwasher safe and microwave safe. Oh – and all the containers nest in one another so your tupperware is always org anized.

  • I’ve been on a copper cleaning binge lately. My handmade copper pots needed a little help and Earth Brite is the best copper cleaner I have found. It’s all-natural and easy to use. It works great on thrift store brass candlesticks too!
  • One of my good friends bought me warming slippers and I love them! As I age, my feet get cold while we are watching TV at night. Thirty seconds in the microwave and these cozy slippers warm my feet to the perfect temp!
  • Usually, I wear contacts but I still like to have readers around when I need them. I found these reading glasses on Amazon and I love them because they don’t look like drugstore readers. Let’s stay in fashion ladies! BTW, I just moved up to 2.5 🤓
  • My friend convinced me to get a wobble balance board. It’s a great tool to strengthen my core and my balance and that’s especially important as I get a few years older. I want to be steady on my feet for my grandkids!

Sadly, this Cindy was not able to be with us today. Hoping she’ll be able to join us ini April.

But am so glad you joined us. I hope we were able to help you with snippets of shopping inspiration, and maybe even helped to stretch your budget a bit with some good deals.

Please let me know if YOU found something special this week. Send me a link and I just might share it with everyone next week.

round image of Diane smiling next to a Signature that reads: With Joy, Diane


  1. Cindy Rust

    Congratulations on your exciting news Diane! I know you must be on cloud nine!! Grands are the best 😄 Those clipper for arthritic hands are just what I need. Thanks for sharing them! happy weekend my friend!

    • Diane

      Thanks so much Cindy! We are beyond thrilled!!!

      Glad I could help with those clippers. You’ll love them,

  2. Debbie


    • Diane

      Thanks Debbie! We are so excited for this next wonderful journey.

  3. Lynn

    Such exciting news. It’s the best thing. What a lucky baby to have you as a grandma.

  4. Lora Bloomquist

    How exciting to be expecting your 1st grandbaby; congratulations! Our daughter is getting married that month. Thanks for all the gardening recommendations; definitely anticipating flower season!

    • Diane

      Thanks Lora! We are beyond excited. Congrats to you too! Sounds like we will both have a very busy and wonderful August!


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