Planting the seeds

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Anyone who has been stuck in a conversation with me as of late, has heard about me going on and on about the backyard reno in our new house.

This is who I have become, my friends. Since we’ve bought this old house, my husband and I have been obsessed with making changes, fixing, and renovating it. I barely recognize me anymore. I can’t remember the last time I felt so grounded, so happily settled in one place. For the longest time I’ve lived on this cloud of wanderlust, daydreaming of the many places around the world I would want to live, for a bit, and explore and write about.

When we were thinking of moving (not even considering buying a house, mind you), I kept contemplating going far away – like other continents. But it wasn’t until I was faced with the reality that my oldest didn’t want to move overseas and that our leaving would leave him without family near him, that my mama bear instincts kicked in. No way, I learned, was I capable of leaving my son without an easy way to reach us. To come home quickly, if he needed to. Maybe it’s because I spent my college years without family that I couldn’t imagine my son having to go through the same thing. So we stayed, and we bought a house, and he will be going to college only 20 minutes away from us.

It’s crazy to say, but I am giddy about our house and this new life and I couldn’t wait to get home and get moving on our DIY projects.

Starting with our yard. Our entire backyard is a hot mess. The house was rented for years before we moved in and the tenants didn’t do a thing to take care of the grass or grounds around it.

I have made this my main project. The goal is to have it complete by late June, 2015, in time for my son’s high school graduation party.

We’ve already put up a cedar fence. That alone made a huge difference as it defined our space and allowed me to picture what I want to do there.

Next, we laid out landscaping plans and contracted someone to put down a tile deck, as well as plant some trees for added privacy.

In the meantime while we wait for that project to start, I’ve planted the seeds for our vegetable and herb garden. This is a big deal as I don’t have a green thumb, nor have I ever planted a garden, but I am hoping that my meticulous care and devoted attention, combined with the knowledge from the many hours of watching HGTV and the DIY channel will change all of that. Of course, I got the boys involved because I feel that everyone should have a sense of investment in any thing we do in the house.


Our yard is what one would call dead. We’re trying to bring it back to life, but the terrain is weird (sandy) and seeds aren’t germinating. We might have to re-soil and start over. These things definitely require patience. Lots of patience.

We bought the vegetable bed from Home Depot. The boys and I put it together in about an hour with very little effort. Because we’re already late in the season, I bought plants that were already in the early stages of growth.


I learned that when faced with difficult-to-work-with terrain, in my case rocky and sandy, that flower boxes are a safer bet in getting flowers to bloom. For more difficult areas, I’m calling in the experts, cause ain’t nobody got time for all that!


My youngest made it through the project, while his brothers gave up half way into it. For his dedication to the task, he got to choose where to plant each pot and was very proud of his work. One out of three isn’t too bad, I think.



We have tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, strawberries, dill, green bell peppers, cilantro, oregano, and several types of chili peppers. The marigolds are to help against the bugs, and the lavender are to attract bees. I learned that you need to fertilize your garden (you can find organic fertilizer in your local nursery) and though you don’t want to over water, you should water often when the weather is hot and dry. The sunnier the spot, the better (I had my landscaper show me the best place for my garden).

So far, so good. Nothing has dried out or died. Fingers gross we pull this off and can see some veggies soon. Taking on a gardening project in between travel is not the easiest thing to do. I have to rely on others to care for it while I am away, so there’s a lot of working together and trusting each other in the process. But I think we’re up to the task.

This is one of the few projects I am working on and will be sharing them sporadically here on the site so you can see what’s happening on the home front too. Will keep you posted via Instagram, so stay tuned! You can also find some of my home design photos on Pinterest.

I feel like I am living the dream. A great family, in a beautiful home, while often experiencing new adventures around the world. Life has a way of taking weird twists and turns and I’ve experienced a lot of those not so happy moments already, so I am taking it all in one day at a time and am excited to take you all along for the ride, whether on the road or here at home. Thanks for reading!



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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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