Front yard makeover reveal.

We have lived in our home for almost three years now. When we first moved in, the front yard was super plain and no color. The yard consisted of lots of pine trees, boxwood bushes, and a ginormous ivy like bush. Don’t get me wrong, it was super low maintenance and all we had to do was trim some of it down occasionally. My husband and I wanted lots and lots of color, flowers, etc. Well, after almost three years, we finally got the front yard we’ve always wanted!

The before photo above was taken about a year ago, look at those huge pine trees, all the shrubbery by the front porch, and the gigantic bush on the side of the garage. You can barely see the house!

The after photo above is our dream front yard! It looks amazing! No more pine trees, and all those pine needles that fall into the mulch. And all of that shrubbery that was blocking the house is gone. It opens up the house soo much!

It took a lot of work to get the yard where it is now. We dug all of the old stuff out by hand, we had some helpers which made it easier. But it took lots and lots of work digging up thirty year old roots, and trust me when I say there were so many roots it was insane!

Next on our list was to remove the pine trees! Some people ask why did we get rid of them? We were just not fans, the pine needles that fell into the mulch, and how much the trees covered our house. These guys did four trees in one day, it was very cool to watch!

My husband put in the paver wall himself. It took many trips to Lowes, because you can never really be sure how many pavers you are going to need right? It took us awhile to decide how high to make the wall, and I’m glad we went with the curvy design versus a straight wall, things like that, but we are so happy with how it turned out.

Lots and lots of work with this wall. Some pieces he had to chip off to fit right, kept calling him Jesus with his carpentry tools!

Here’s a closer view of the flowers. The only pieces we kept was the three boxwoods on the far top. Everything else was all planted by yours truly! It was a chore to plant everything, because as I dug into the ground there were roots in every hole. Soo so many roots! We weren’t expecting the hyrangeas to bloom so fast, but they are huge and so pretty!

Vinca’s are my favorite, they do very well in direct sunlight.

Here’s the front view of the flowers. The tiny tuff stuff hydrangeas are smaller than the lime ones closer to the porch. I’m glad we went with the smaller ones in front so they didn’t takeover the view from the front of the house.

We have another hydrangea lime light bush on the other side of the garage. There used to be a huge bush here that took over the entire space. Hydrangeas are so much nicer!

The front porch is a large variety!

These need to be desperately trimmed down, they are growing so fast! I love the Vinca’s, and the shade combos by the front door. They are a mixture of ferns, coleus, and I’m not sure what the pink flowers are in there.

I’m not sure what the hanging basket flowers are, I’m so bummed I didn’t save the tag! I love how the greenery cascades down from the basket, and the yellow flowers are so bright!

And three months later, it’s so awesome to say everything is still alive and well. Nothing that we planted from scratch has died. It’s all doing so great! The front yard was a labor of love, lots of hard work, and lots of hours spent sweating and working very hard. I’m glad our vision came together, and so very happy with the end result.

From the past few weekends…

Happy Monday everyone! Catching back up from the last few weeks. We’ve been busy enjoying summer, going to the lake, marking off our Summer Bucket List, and so many other things. I can’t believe July is almost over, this Summer is just flying by soo fast. Love it, but also hate it. Here are some different collages of photos from what we’ve been up to…

Part of our Summer Bucket List was to visit the Mt. Airy Forest Treehouse. We didn’t even know this place existed until I started looking up things to do this Summer. We had the whole place to ourselves, it was so cute. Hadley couldn’t believe how big it was! Afterwards, we stopped at a picnic bench and she drew the treehouse in her journal. And then we played at the playground for a little bit, it was a great day!

We went over to Kevin’s friends pool and swam with him and his family. The pool felt amazing! Afterwards we grilled out, dodging the super fast storm that rolled in. His wife made homemade ice cream, so so good! The Thursday of July 4th weekend, I went to Kroger in the morning and so glad I did. It was already crowded, and going to the store for our family for 10 days at the lake should count as a workout in itself. The cart was so full I could barely push it! We went out to dinner after work that day, and Hadley wearing Dad’s hat at dinner.

Friday of July 4th weekend, we went to a graduation pool party! The kids had a blast, and being around this pool brought back so many memories of our old house and our pool. It was great to see everyone, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!

July 4th weekend at the lake, started off with the cove party! The house at the end of our cove puts on a band every year, and half the lake anchors in our cove, swims, hangs out, it’s a great time. Our dock was a hot spot, we had so many kids we didn’t know jumping off our high jump!

Sunday was the golf tournament! We came in second place, it was a scramble so pretty easy and fun! It was hot hot hot though, we were sweating our butts off by the end of the tourney. Brady showing off with the winners cape / hat afterwards. Came back to the lake and swam, it felt so good to cool off.

Grandma took the girls to the Ark Encounter for the day. I drove back home for a few days for work, and then came back for the weekend. Everyone else stayed all week long. The big kids took the pontoon boat out by themselves time, and the battery died (because nobody uses it anymore!), and they had to get a tow back to the dock. The pictures the kids took on their phones were hysterical.

Bonfire night! Hadleys first time roasting s’mores. She liked it, so she says. S’mores are so delicious, yet so filling. It was a gorgeous night for a bonfire!

Thursday of last week, we went to the West Chester Clock Tower, for a concert outside. It was nice to just sit, chill, talk, and enjoy live music. Hadley loved the snow cones, people watching, looking at all the different dogs people brought, and playing hangman with Grandma.

Another Summer Bucket List item marked off the list, watch the Parent Trap movie under a fort! I printed off a few “camp” like things, taped them to the TV stand, made a fort with old sheets, and Hadley was in heaven. Super simple things like this, makes her so so happy.

Well there you have it, just a few photos of what we’ve been up too! It’s been a pretty great Summer so far. As always, thanks for reading!

DIY softball treat bags.

Hadley’s softball season ended last week, and I made these easy and fun treat bags for all the girls on the team. These would be great for an end of season gift or team mom gift for softball girls. Since my husband was the coach, I wanted to do a little something for their first softball season!

All of the supplies and items were all purchased at the Dollar Store. Yellow paper bags, bag of mini suckers, temporary tattoos, fun pens, and rainbow nail polish.

For each bag, I used a half circle stencil I cut out from a plain piece of paper, traced it onto each bag with a red sharpie and then drew lines down each side. And then wrote each of the girls’ names with a black sharpie in the middle and that’s it!

Also made a small gift for the assistant coaches that helped out. Sunflower seeds, a slim jim, and a mini bottle of fireball. I used the same yellow paper bags as the girls, and created a little tag in Photoshop.

I tied them all together with a red/white piece of twine before placing them in the yellow paper bags.

Something super simple, but also meaningful to let them know we appreciated their help this season!

I was very happy with how these treat bags turned out! You can always use any colored paper bag for your team color, etc. I hope you loved these treat bags, and would love to know what other softball / baseball ideas you have too! Feel free to comment below to share your idea.

From the weekend.

Friday started out with a movie night in the dining room. Sometimes we watch movies on the computer monitor, and put a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor and snuggle up. After the movie, Hadley went to bed around eight o’clock. Around 9:15pm or so, we started getting heavy winds, thunderstorms, and the local sirens started going off for tornado warnings! I had to wake up poor Hadley, and we went to the basement. Luckily, she fell back asleep when we got to the basement. I lit some candles in case the power went out, and about 45 minutes later the warnings were gone. Woke Hadley back up, walked her back upstairs to her room, and she went right back to sleep again. I’m so so thankful for such a great kiddo that sleeps so good. Saturday morning, she didn’t remember a thing from this!

Saturday morning we went to Bob Evans for breakfast to celebrate my Dad, brother, and Kevin for Father’s Day. Poor Kevin had just two hours of sleep from working the night before. It was nice to see the whole fam, and the breakfast was so good! Haven’t had an omelet there in forever, I got the bacon and cheddar cheese omelet, so so good!

Saturday afternoon we went to the lake to celebrate Father’s Day with my father-in-law. We all ventured out on the new gator, it drives like a car and is so smooth!

Saturday had some boat rides, tossed some baseball, and just hung out. Hadley made this little wooden block with a photo of her holding a sign “I love you” up, they made these at her daycare. Soo cute!

Sunday, Brady did some wakeboarding before it got too crowded. And by Sunday night when we got home, little Miss Hadley was out. And I mean out. She probably fell asleep in less than a minute.

It was a great weekend spent with family, and really great weather after the tornado / thunderstorms went away on Friday!

Weekly recap.

Monday we went to a restaurant on the river called The Cabana. Hadley has been here before when she was two or three, so she doesn’t really remember. But she loved it! She’s currently obsessed with the pop-its, we all took turns timing ourselves to see how fast we can pop them all. After dinner, we walked over to the sand volleyball courts and watched them play. She could’ve played in the sand for hours.

Tuesday we had a baby deer badly hurt in our front yard. If you missed it earlier this week, you can read all about the baby deer in this post.

Wednesday we went to a comedy club with my brother and sister-in-law. The comedian we saw was Rocky Dale Davis, he was pretty funny, my face hurt from laughing so much. My favorite skit he did was about a four way stop sign, I couldn’t stop laughing it was soo right on!

Thursday morning while watering the flowers, I noticed a little frog behind the big pot. No matter how much I watered, or moved around on the porch, the frog stayed still the entire time.

Friday made some end of the year softball goodie bags for Hadley’s team. She has her last softball game tomorrow morning, but after all of these tornado warnings, and severe thunderstorm warnings tonight, I’m not sure she’ll play after all this rain.

Friday night we had a movie night in the dining room! Sometimes for a change of scenery, we bring my computer monitor over by the table, put a bunch of blankets on the floor, grab some snacks and get comfy for a movie. We started early after dinner which is why it’s still light out, she was super tired so it was an early movie night for us. We watched the movie Luca on Disney Plus, it was super cute!

Friday night After about two hours of Hadley being fast asleep, we had a tornado warning and sirens going off by our home. Had to wake her up to go to the basement until the warning was over, hated waking her up, but better to be safe than sorry. The warning lasted for only 40 minutes or so, woke her back up, and she went right to sleep in her bed. Thank goodness! Tornados are always so scary, even as an adult! I’m glad she managed to sleep right through it for the most part.

T.G.I.F.

Have a great weekend, and happy Father’s day to all the Dad’s, father figures, and step-dad’s out there!

Baby deer.

Have you ever had a baby deer, that’s injured, just appear in your front yard all by itself? No? Just me?

Well, that’s what happened to us tonight and it was a little bit crazy. My daughter Hadley and I were outside on the driveway blowing up water balloons because it was soo nice out. Suddenly, we see a baby deer slowly walking along side the front of our house in the mulch. It was bleeding from the mouth, and had blood all over it’s head. Clearly, it had been injured but no Mama deer was around. So Hadley and I moved to the end of our driveway, and watched what the baby deer did. She or he, I think it was a she, slowly walked up onto our porch and just stood there. Since Kevin wasn’t home, I always freak out at things like this that are semi-emergency like. What do you do with a wild baby deer that is bleeding from it’s mouth on your porch? I mean, these things are not very likely scenarios!

We went over to our neighbors house and told them what was going on. It’s an older couple and super super nice. The older guy immediately goes into his garage, grabs some work gloves, and heads on over to check out the scene. He recommended to call the SPCA, they had us call animal control, and they said someone will be out within the hour.

Meanwhile, while we are waiting for animal control to arrive, the baby deer manages to nestle herself into the corner of our porch, behind all of the flower pots. She looked soo scared. My neighbor suggests I get her a bowl of water, and I hesitated because she IS a wild animal but I did it anyway. She managed to put her mouth in the water bowl a few times making the water bowl a bowl full of blood! So fun!

She did not move. She stayed nestled in the corner, most probably because she felt safe. We were wondering where Mama deer was, we even looked in the backyard and nothing was out of the ordinary. I did not get a photo of the bloody water bowl because I couldn’t stand to see it let alone take a photo of it. I don’t do blood very well, or wild animals!

Animal control arrived, and it was a very fast process. The thing that I didn’t fully understand, is the chick was picking up a wild animal without gloves on! I could not get past that part, but she’s the professional not me! She calmly picked up the baby deer, and put her in a cage in the van. I hope the baby deer heals okay. She looked pretty rough! Cleaning up the blood droppings on the front porch was a task in itself, I had my surgical gloves on and everything. Let’s just say, I was not meant to be in the medical field!

Hadley and I had quite an adventure tonight, and so thankful for our neighbors to come over and help us out when we weren’t sure what to do. Never had to deal with a wild animal, especially in the burbs!

The 2021 Summer Bucket List.

The summer bucket list is here! I’ve spent a few days thinking of new ideas for this summer and I couldn’t wait to share. We’ve done a few bucket lists for each season here and there. Summer, Fall, Christmas, etc. My most favorite is definately the summer list. I don’t think I’ve ever looked more forward to Summer than this year. As we all know it’s been one crazy year, and having things to look forward to this summer has been heavily on my mind. I’m so happy the summer season is finally here. There is just something about Summer that is so nostaglic for me, creating memories, being outside in the sunshine, and just being in the moment.

We hang our bucket list in the kitchen where everyone frequents the most, so it’s always a constant visual for everyone and something pretty to look at as well. Hadley has looked at this I don’t know how many times since I hung it up this weekend. Her top four things she wants to do the most is #1 trampoline park, #2 lemonade stand, #3 go to a pool, and #4 tie-dye something. So in my head, I try to plan out those things first if it works for our schedule. What I also do is if I don’t already have the items, is buy or find these things so they are all easily ready when it’s time to do each one. The whole point of a bucket list is to have fun, not things that cost a lot of money, or take a lot to plan, just a little thought and effort can go a long way.

Feel free to download and print yours here. I invite you to follow along with us, use some of our ideas, or create some new ones, however you see it working for you and your family or loved ones. I’d love to see what you come up with! I’ll be posting a lot on Instagram, if you don’t already follow, my handle is @lifewithmandyjoy.

Happy Summer folks!

Birthday project – Week 8/52.

This is my birthday project for the next 52 weeks. You can read more about it here!

Week eight! Taking vitamins.

Everyday, for a few months now, I’ve been taking these four vitamins in addition to a multi-vitamin (not pictured). I’m not too sure I can notice a difference with anything except my hair has been growing like a weed! I think a big part of the hair growth is taking the Biotin. I’ve also heard of women taking pre-natal vitamins for hair and nail growth alone!

I have a routine every morning, after I wake up I go to the bathroom, weigh myself, write down my weight on a calendar we have in the bathroom cabinet, and then I take all the vitamins. I write a “v” after I’ve taken them so I know I took them that day.

Some people have different opinions on taking vitamins, which ones to take, and taking a multi-vitamin too even. My thoughts are it can’t hurt right? Taking vitamins to help my body? Why not?

What type of vitamins do you take?

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This is week 8 of 52.

I am attempting to tackle 52 weeks of self care projects for the next year.
You can follow along here on the blog, or on Pinterest.

Happy planner weekly layout.

For the past month, I’ve been decorating my Happy Planner each week with stickers, markers, etc. It’s been more exciting to update the planner each week with all these pretty stickers and all. The planner I have been using going on three years now is the Classic planner. I love the plastic rings in the middle, and the customizations you can do also.

I’ve been using paper planners my entire life, just something about writing things down, crossing things off, and having a record of things. I also color code things, each of us in our family have their own colors. Makes it easier for me to keep track of what’s going on, on each day.

This planner works so well for me, and the fun stickers that you can buy on the side are just awesome.

Paper planner forever!

Memorial Day Weekend 2021.

Saturday. This was the only photo I took all day! We were frozen, and didn’t even make it to the dock. After Hadley went to sleep we went down to our cousins for a bonfire.

Sunday. In the morning I worked out in the basement, and then edged the pathway we use for the gator to go up and down the hill to the dock.

Sunday. The girls were absolutely crazy for swimming while it was 60 degrees outside! The water was warmer than it was outside though. We were in jackets, pants, and socks/shoes!

Sunday. My nephew Max playing with their dog Buckley. And these two little ones put on sweatshirts over their wet bathing suits to go on the boat. I don’t know how they weren’t totally frozen!

Sunday. Meanwhile, the adults in the back of the boat bundled up!

Sunday. We went on a golf cart ride to feed the horses, since the gator is currently broken.

Sunday. My niece Maisie has a tiny dog that has the longest tongue! I bought all the kids pop-its, and only the girls were really interested. They popped them in the garage and Papa came out to watch.

Monday. My nephew Max and his lovely little kid smiles with his friends.

Monday. Out of the entire weekend, this was the best weather day we had! I never put on my bathing suit, I just couldn’t with how chilly it was. After lunch time, it was starting to get warm but I still just kept on what I had. Selfies with my niece Maisie, lots of boat rides, chilling on the dock, and just hanging out. It was a great start to the summer!

Little miss Hadley was exhausted, she has so much fun but will take a few weekends to get used to all the fun!

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend, and remember what Memorial Day really means.