Overwhelmed by Your Messy House? 4 Things To Do

overwhelmed by your messy house

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What to do when you’re overwhelmed by your messy house

At this moment, my house is not in tip top shape. In fact it feels quite chaotic to me. In some sense, I’ve come to terms with the state of my home because of the season I’m in with young kids at home. However, there are days when I find my home quite overwhelming and something needs to be done before my sanity is jeopardized. 🙂 A clean and tidy space makes for a happier mom.

So today I give you four QUICK things that you can do when you’re overwhelmed by your messy house:

overwhelmed by your messy house

Make the beds

Fluff the pillows, throw the covers back on. Doesn’t have to be perfect, but having the beds made makes me breathe easier. Even when there are piles of laundry on the floor! The bed is the biggest visual surface in a bedroom, so having the bed made creates calm for your eyes.

Clear off the outside of the fridge

Art work, shopping lists and magnets galore. I love displaying my daughters’ art work from school and the fridge is just so convenient for having my grocery list. But once in a while, a good wipe down is necessary and I don’t bother to put anything back up for a while afterwards.

Sweep the floors

One word. Crumbs. Everywhere! Nothing irritates me quite as much as stepping on some crumbs and having them stick to my bare feet. Ewww! Because of this, I try to sweep the floor every day and vacuum at least once a week. I’m amazed at how much better I feel after the floors have been swept.

Clear the kitchen counters

This is a constant battle of mine. Our kitchen doesn’t have a lot of counter space so anything extra on it makes it more difficult to do every day tasks. Needless to say, our kitchen counters are a drop zone for school papers, mail and dirty dishes. While it’s a never ending battle, I try to clear off as much “extras” as I can on a daily basis. Getting the dishes done (with my favourite dish soap) is also key!

printable cleaning planner

Another thing that really helps me when I’m overwhelmed or paralyzed by my messy house? I create a plan to stay focused! Check out this fun HOME CLEANING PLANNER – with room by room checklists, daily + weekly task lists, and seasonal cleaning checklists to make sure it all gets DONE in a systematic way!

What sort of things do you like to do when you’re overwhelmed by your messy house?

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How to Easily Get Started Container Gardening

How to get started container gardening

How to Get Started Container Gardening

Not everyone has access to plantable land, so container gardening is a great way to enjoy fresh, healthy produce all summer long!  Growing produce in pots is perfect for where I’m currently at in life.  It’s more manageable since there’s hardly any need to pull weeds and there’s no need to till the land.  The only maintenance is regular watering!

Not only does a container garden save space, it saves money as well. Something that is important with the cost of food forever increasing!

While I’m not an expert, there are some tips I’ve learned that I’d love to share, to help you get started container gardening.

Start small

The first year I decided to try my hand at container gardening, I went a bit crazy.  Rather than trying out a couple of different plants, I decided to try almost every plant that claimed to be for small spaces.  As the summer went on, I lost my enthusiasm and most of the plants ended up being neglected. I’ve since learned to assess where I’m at in life to determine just how much time I’ll have to maintain my garden, which helps me decide how many plants/seeds to buy.

Buy your seeds and plants

Container or urban gardening is becoming quite popular these days.  It’s quite easy to find plant and seed varieties that are produced especially for growing in compact situations. In fact, I picked up a couple of different seeds that were from an “Urban Garden Collection” line of seeds by Thompson & Morgan. Did you know, Amazon also sells seeds?

For the types of plants that do best in containers, see my post The Best Vegetables for Container Gardening.

how to get started container gardening

Get the right pots

Don’t think you have to spend a lot of money to build up a container collection. In fact, I got all my pots (black 5 gallon buckets that trees or big shrubs come in) from the golf course that I used to work at. I didn’t pay a cent! While this is not an option for most of you, many greenhouses sell 5 gallon tree buckets at an affordable price. You could also keep your eyes open on sites like Kijiji, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for any suitable container. There’s no need to break the bank, especially when you’re just getting started container gardening.

These Grow Bags are also great!

In choosing the size of your pots, take a look at the packages or labels on the plants that you have purchased.  If they’re especially meant for containers, the packages or labels will usually tell you if you need a big pot or if a small one will suffice. Tomatoes, beans, peas, carrots, potatoes, and peppers generally need large containers, while lettuce, radishes, herbs, and onions are suitable for shallower containers.

Find the light

When determining where to put your containers, sunlight is a very important thing to factor in.  Most vegetables need a lot of sunlight so I placed most of my containers on our back patio where they get all the afternoon sun. I put my lettuce containers in the front where the morning sun only hits for a couple of hours; lettuce doesn’t like to get too hot. Your seed packs and plant labels will tell you how much sun each plant prefers.

Buy good potting soil

Once your containers are in place, you’ll want to fill them with a good quality potting soil. Not top soil and not regular garden soil.  Potting soil is always modified to ensure proper drainage and aeration which is important to the health of your plants.

Filling large containers can be costly. To reduce the cost and also the weight of the container consider adding a filler to the bottom of the container to take up space. Crushed pop cans, plastic milk jugs, packing peanuts and even those empty black/green plastic flower pots you just used are all great options.

Plant, Water, Wait

Finally, it’s time to plant your seeds or starter plants!  Plant each fruit and vegetable according to the directions found on the label or packaging.  Water everything well.  (You may want to use a spray bottle for little seeds, like lettuce, so they don’t get washed away.)  Now, sit back and watch for everything to start growing!

Book Recommendation

I always like to have a good garden book at home to reference. Google is great, but there can be a lot of differing information out there! Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots is a great reference book that I look to time and time again!

I hope these easy tips will help you gain confidence to get started container gardening! Have you ever done any container gardening? What will you be planting this year?

You might also enjoy:

How to Start Seeds Indoors

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How to Start Seeds Indoors

You might be itching to get your garden going, but chances are the outdoor sowing season is still a few weeks away. Well no worries, you can start your seeds indoors several weeks before the final frost of the season!

By starting your seeds indoors, you can get a jump on the growing season while saving some money in the process. Here is what you need to know to start seeds indoors.

First, let’s take a look at what you will need:

I’ve linked to some items on Amazon for convenience, but you can gather supplies from anywhere to fit your budget.

A good rule of thumb for when to start your seeds is 4 weeks before the last frost of the season. This will vary depending where you live, so consult The Farmer’s Almanac to find out when the perfect planting time is for you.


  1. Begin by placing the seed starter cups on the cookie sheet or tray. This way, the surface under the cups is protected and you can easily move them if you need to. Also, make sure the containers you choose have drainage holes.
  2. Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full with nutrient rich potting soil. Seedlings need a light, airy soil mix that drains well. You can buy a seed starting mix at a garden center or make your own by mixing equal parts peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite.
  3. Plant the seeds: Follow the instructions on the seed packet for planting depth and spacing. In general, plant the seeds twice as deep as their diameter.
  4. Cover the seeds with soil and mist the area with your spray bottle. Misting is easier and cleaner than a watering can, plus it will keep you from over watering.
  5. Use the wood craft sticks and marker to make plant markers for the seedlings so you know what they are once they start growing.
  6. Pull a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the seed starters. This will allow light in but will help the plants retain heat. NOTE: You will need to remove the plastic wrap every few days to mist the soil to keep it moist. Just be sure to return the plastic when you are done.
  7. Place your seed starters in a window where they will get at least 6 hours of sun per day. If you don’t have an area where this is possible, a sun lamp will work.
  8. As soon as you see sprouting, remove the plastic wrap. Continue to water every few days and keep the soil moist at all times.

In just a few weeks, your seeds will be seedlings and soon they will be ready to get transplanted outside. Be sure the threat of frost has passed and you follow package directions when transplanting.

See how simple starting seeds indoors can be? Give these tips a try and get a jump on the growing season now!

10 Best Vegetable Gardening Books

best vegetable gardening books

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The Best Vegetable Gardening Books

Are you hoping to add some new vegetable gardening books to your library this year? If you are, I’ve rounded up a great selection of the best vegetable gardening books for those of us in Canada! These are must-haves if you are looking for inspiration for growing the best vegetable garden, no matter what size of space you are working with!

10 of the Best Vegetable Gardening Books

guide to Canadian vegetable gardening

This book by veteran Canadian garden writer Doug Green is full of information that will educate Canadian gardeners in all aspects of planning, installing, planting, and caring for their new garden. Gardeners will learn how to ensure their garden is eco-friendly and how to save money by storing, canning, or freezing the bounty of the garden.  With hundreds of full colour pictures, Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening is sure to be the standard for Canadian gardeners for years to come.

square foot gardening

When he created the “square foot gardening” method, Mel Bartholomew, a retired engineer and efficiency expert, found the solution to the frustrations of most gardeners. His revolutionary system is simple: it’s an ingenious planting method based on using square foot blocks of garden space instead of rows. Gardeners build up, not down, so there’s no digging and no tilling after the first year. And the method requires less thinning, less weeding, and less watering.

year round vegetable gardener

The first frost used to be the end of the vegetable gardening season — but not anymore! In The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, Nova Scotia–based gardener and writer Niki Jabbour shares her secrets for growing food during every month of the year. Her season-defying techniques, developed in her own home garden where short summers and low levels of winter sunlight create the ultimate challenge, are doable, affordable, and rewarding for gardeners in any location where frost has traditionally ended the growing season.

vegetable gardener's bible

Smith’s legendary high-yield gardening method emphasizes wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, and deep soil. Succeed with fussy plants, try new and unusual varieties, and learn how to innovatively extend your growing season. With thorough profiles of hundreds of popular varieties, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible provides expert information and an inspiring roadmap for gardeners of all skill levels to enjoy abundant homegrown vegetables.

small space vegetable gardens

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens explains the basics of growing a bounty of edibles in a minimal amount of space. Andrea Bellamy shares all the knowledge she’s gained from years of gardening small. You’ll learn how to find and assess a space, how to plan and build a garden, and how to sow, grow, and harvest the 60 best edible plants. This hardworking and enthusiastic guide will help you take advantage of the space you have—whether it’s a balcony, a patio, a plot in a community garden, or even a small yard—to create the food garden of your dreams.

Vertical solutions deliver more yield in fewer square feet, especially perfect for the urban gardener. They’re less work, too, so you can forget all-day weeding and watering. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes and pole beans, have been grown vertically for a very long time, but those who need to maximize space can grow almost any type of plant vertically—from melons and squash to carrots, peppers, and pears. Vertical Vegetable Gardening is your thorough guide for growing all types of leafy, root, and other vegetables vertically.

grow great grub

Your patio, balcony, rooftop, front stoop, boulevard, windowsill, planter box, or fire escape is a potential fresh food garden waiting to happen. In Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail, the founder of the leading online gardening community (YouGrowGirl.com), shows you how to grow your own delicious, affordable, organic edibles virtually anywhere.  Whether you’re looking to eat on a budget or simply experience the pleasure of picking tonight’s meal from right outside your door, this is the must-have book for small-space gardeners—no backyard required.

Savor your best tomato harvest ever! Craig LeHoullier provides everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes, from planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season. He also offers a comprehensive guide to various pests and tomato diseases, explaining how best to avoid them. With beautiful photographs and intriguing tomato profiles throughout, Epic Tomatoes celebrates one of the most versatile and delicious crops in your garden.

With Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces – you can create the garden of your dreams, no matter how limited your growing space is. Pat Lanza’s proven lasagna gardening method produces amazing results in pots and small plots. Even in beds just 4 inches wide, you can grow bountiful, beautiful gardens with no digging, no weeding– no kidding!

Homegrown Pantry picks up where beginning gardening books leave off, with in-depth profiles of the 55 most popular crops — including beans, beets, squash, tomatoes, and much more — to keep your pantry stocked throughout the year. Each vegetable profile highlights how many plants to grow for a year’s worth of eating, and which storage methods work best for specific varieties. Author Barbara Pleasant culls tips from decades of her own gardening experience and from growers across North America to offer planting, care, and harvesting refreshers for every region and each vegetable.

What are the best vegetable gardening books that you can recommend?

Related Vegetable Gardening Articles:

40 of the Best Planners for 2023 in Canada

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40 of the Best Planners to get you organized

I’m must confess. If I could, I would buy all the pretty planners out there. Just the idea of having all my to-do’s and ideas in one place gets practical old me really excited. Now don’t get me wrong, I do actually own a planner of my own and I love it. In fact I buy the same one year after year. It’s a Brownline Daily planner like this one, but it doesn’t have time slots and I purchase it in-store at Staples. I love that I have an entire page devoted to one day. I can jot down my to-dos, appointments, reminders, menu plan, shopping list and even my ideas!

If you’re a planner geek but haven’t quite found “the one” yet, this round up is sure to help you find one of the best planners that will work for you!

First of all, let’s take a look at some things to think about before purchasing a planner:

How to Pick the Best Planner

Purpose: Knowing what you wish to keep track of in your planner is key to finding the right one for your needs. Do you simply want to keep track of appointments? A monthly calendar might be great for you. If you want to keep a to-do list and appointments easily accessible, then a weekly planner could be the right fit. If you intend on keeping a to-do list, appointments, a meal plan, a shopping list and some thoughts or ideas, then a daily planner would be perfect!

Portability: Will you be carrying your planner around with you or will it just be sitting on your desk or counter? If you will be carrying it around, then the size of the planner matters. Make sure the size you choose fits into the bag or purse you will be using. I personally like the 8″ by 5″ size best.

The Best Monthly Planners:

WSBL Grow Wild 2023 Monthly Planner – This one is pretty, a great price and includes some extra features like a back pocket, to-do lists, address and phone number pages, and travel planning pages.

Brownline 2023 DuraFlex Monthly Planner – This is a great basic 11″ by 8.5″ planner that would be great for leaving on a desk.

At-A-Glance 2023 Monthly Planner – Another great basic, monthly planner that includes thick pages so you don’t get ink bleed.

5 Year Monthly Planner – Because this is a 5 year planner, I think this would be great to use as a personal notebook, journal, or diary! Or, you can use it to set goals, important dates, or deadlines, as well as jotting down notes and ideas.

Orange Circle Studio Just Right 2023 Monthly Planner – This is a smaller monthly calendar that is perfect for carrying around. This one has tear out shopping or to-do lists and a storage pocket.

Staples 2023 Monthly Planner – This is a smaller 6-7/8″ x 8-3/4″ basic monthly planner that includes telephone and address pages, dates to remember page and more.

2023-2024 Monthly Planner – This is a large, two year monthly planner with lots of space to write!

Rae Dunn 2023 Just Right Monthly Planner – This monthly planner includes a storage pocket and elastic closure.

The Best Weekly Planners

High Note 2023 Weekly Planner – This one is so pretty! It is slightly larger than a typical weekly planner at 9″ x 10″. It includes some goal setting and project planning pages for every month. Also includes monthly tab dividers, a handy pocket and some stickers.

Ukkie 2023 Weekly Planner – This planner includes a monthly tabs, lots of writting space and 4 sheets of stickers.

Maalbok Weekly Planner – With lots of room for planning, this portable sized planner might be perfect for you!

Blueline 2023 Weekly Planner – Perhaps the perfect simple weekly planner that will suit your needs.

Blueline 2023 DoodlePlan Weekly Planner – This planner is like the above planner, but it includes colouring areas!

Planberry Weekly Planner – This is a great undated weekly planner if you really want to hit some goals this year. Also unique to this planner, you will find built in budget planner sheets!

Clever Fox Weekly Planner – Another undated planner great for hitting goals and reflecting on life.

Leuchtturm1917 2023 Weekly Planner – This one is unique in the way that it features an entire week on the left and an entire page for notes on the right. Perfect if you love a lot of room for thoughts and ideas or note taking.

Action Day Weekly Planner – Each day offers hourly scheduling from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Also includes a 12-page teaching tool to see yourself as the person you want to be, what values you want to live by, your goals and actions. 

Blue Sky Laila Weekly Planner – This beautiful simple weekly planner is perfect for a clean look at your week or adding fun doodles or stickers!

Mead 2023 Tropical Escape Weekly Planner – This affordable weekly planner is simple in its design and includes handy tabs to easily flip between months.

Amy Knapp’s Family Organizer – A planner especially for moms! Includes a big space for a weekly to-do list, tear off grocery and menu plans, motivational quotes and stickers!

Polestar Family Weekly Planner – This one is unique and especially great for the person who wants to track appointments, meal plans and home tasks all in one spot!

Passion Planner – This one looks great for goal setting as well as keeping track of your weekly to-dos. Their Instagram page looks like it’s full of inspiration on how to use it.

Emily Ley Simplified Weekly Planner – This is the one I’m currently using! I love the colours and simplicity of it. I also like how each day is separated into two parts: My Day and To-Do.

Legend Undated Weekly Planner – This one is on the pricier side, but looks amazing. This one is great for the working person that wants to track work to-dos and personal to-dos. Looks fantastic for goal setting and creating a better you.

Wordsworth Undated Weekly Planner This one reminds me of the Simplified planner, but with a heavy dose of goal setting pages that look helpful!

Poprun 2023 Agenda – Includes Hourly Schedule & Vertical Weekly Layout!

The Best Daily Planners

Blueline 2023 Daily planner – This is the one I used for years, but then they added the times in 30 minute increments. I am personally not a fan of the times added, but that doesn’t mean it’s not perfect for you!

2023 Daily Simplified Planner – This is like the Weekly Planner that I have, but a daily version that includes time slots for each day.

Day Designer Daily Planner – The daily calendar view page contains hourly schedule in 30-minute increments, top 3 priority items, to-do list, notes section and an inspirational quote, as well as a dedicated gratitude section.

To Do List Undated Daily Planner – If you are looking for a way to track your daily to-dos, fitness, meal plan, and top priorities for each day, then this planner is worth looking at!

Clever Fox Daily Planner PRO – This undated planner is unique in the sense that it lasts just 3 months if used consistently. Perhaps a great way to test drive a planner! This planner has everything though: create a vision for your life, define and break down your goals, and incorporate these goals into your schedule. It has a separate page for each day of the week, with an hourly schedule, daily goal, priorities, to-do list, daily reflection, and plenty of space for extra notes.

Blueline NotePro Undated Daily Planner – This planner has an undated daily planner on left side and is ruled with margin on the right side for note taking.

Poprun 2023 Daily Planner – This daily planner presents spacious everyday planning with hourly schedules for your appointments, which makes your busy daily routines organized.

The Best Specialty Planners

Horizon STMT Planner – I think that this planner would be fun for a teen! It’s a DIY planner that includes colourful gel pens, fun-shaped paper clips, stickers, punch-outs, frames, and more.

52 Week Meal Planner – This planner contains space to plan a year’s worth of meal’s and grocery lists. 

Meal Planner – This is like the meal planner above but has dedicated spaces for breakfast and lunch ideas too.

Weekly Budget Planner – Keep track of your spending, plan monthly budgets and set savings goals with this planner!

Teacher’s Planner – This planner will help you keep track of weekly lessons, seating plans, attendance, and grades!

CREATE Blog and Editorial Calendar – A planning and editorial system designed for
ambitious bloggers and biz owners to create intentional content, grow and nurture an audience, and build a business around their blog

Mega Homeschool Planner – Whether you homeschool 1 child or many, this planner will keep you organized, hold your important records, make planning a breeze, track anything, is portable and conveniently stores away.

Coupon Planner – 52 Weekly (undated) shopping pages to plan which stores to hit, keep track of sales, and organize your coupons to make the trip as smooth as possible.

There you have it, the best planners you can get in Canada. If you use a planner, do you purchase the same one year after year or do you like to switch it up?

best planners in Canada

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Printable 2023 Weekly Household Planner

Printable 2023 Weekly Household Planner

Here’s a GREAT printable planner from The Confident Mom! It’s a printable 2023 weekly household planner!  If you are looking for help with getting household tasks completed, check out this planner and support a Mom working from home! 

Here is why the 2023 Weekly Household Planner is so amazing:

The Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner breaks down household tasks into manageable daily and weekly bite-size pieces, utilizing smaller increments of time to keep the tasks from becoming too large and overwhelming. Most of the items can be easily completed in 3 to 30 minutes, and you can select appropriate items to delegate to family members (after all, even with the household planner, you still can’t be “super mom”).

No stone is left unturned because the household planner has a variety of suggested tasks staggered at appropriate intervals and includes everything from meal planning to items often forgotten such as checking your credit report to school shopping. Taking care of yourself should also be a priority, so there’s even “you” time on the list! You’ll be able to efficiently keep up with the tasks that can often be forgotten and feel prepared each morning with a realistic “to-do” list.

Don’t like one of the suggested tasks already filled out for you? Then simply digitally edit the file to remove or add your own task to create your own completely customized list.

The printable 2023 planner is only $19, but you can try a sample week for free!