Fall Gardening

Greetings from our family to yours!

I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the summer weather and all that our community has to offer. For many of our families the arrival of September means a return to routine after less-structured summer days. Mornings can be busy getting everyone out the door to work and school. Making lunches is a task many of us dread. I have shared some things that we do in our family to make the transition back to school a smooth one. We all know that a home is more than just shelter from the outside world. It is the place where we live, nurture our families and rest from the busyness of everyday life. I hope this sea-son brings you a new sense of purpose and joy!

-Heather Lane

Grab ‘n’ Go Lunch and Breakfast Prep for Kids

Get the whole family involved in preparing for the next day. Encourage the family to choose their outfits the night before. In the morning they can get up and get dressed quickly without taking the time to think about what to wear. Getting lunches ready the night before also helps relieve the business of the morning and kids can help. Here is one idea we love in our family. ❤

The night before we prepare a lunch kit with a hot dog bun and a small container of ketchup or other condiments. In the morning, we heat up a hot dog and put it in a thermos filled with boiling water. It stays warm until lunch time when the hot dog can be assembled at school. Serve with some veggies like cucumbers, carrots or baby tomatoes.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Eating a healthy breakfast improves concentration and helps everyone do their best at school and work. With this easy recipe, kids can make their own delicious breakfast the night before. Just put it in the fridge and in the morning , “grab and go!”

Getting Your Garden Ready for Fall

We don’t want to talk about summer ending. Not yet, anyway! Cooler weather doesn’t mean the end of gardening season. Here are some ways you can get your garden ready for the winter so that it has the best start next spring.

  • Collect seeds and herbs for drying and propagating
  • Add compost or manure to garden beds
  • Transplant or plant new trees or shrubs at least 6 weeks before the first frost
  • Fertilize your lawn
  • Remove any dead annual flowers and pull weeds
  • Divide and transplant flowering perennial plants
  • Clean up fallen leaves including those in the down-spouts and gutters

Curb Appeal

The Spring Real Estate market is picking up speed. The warmer weather and spring rains are also bringing our yards and gardens back to life. This is the perfect time to get outside and easily add some great curb appeal to your property. First impressions are important as our lawns and front gardens are often the first thing that prospective buyers see. Here are simple and inexpensive things you can do to help your home look its best.

Garden Tidy Up.

After the long winter, your lawn and gardens need a little TLC. Pick up any garbage or debris, rake the grass and remove last year’s dead plants and branches. This is also a good time to fertilize your lawn and prune any branches or overgrown shrubs. To give your flow-er beds a “clean and new look” add some mulch.

This will instantly improve the look of your garden while helping to conserve water and deter weeds later in the season.

Paint it.

If time and budget allow, give your front doors, garage door and any painted window trim a fresh coat of paint. You can also paint the patio furniture, planters and window boxes. Painting or re-staining a front porch or deck can add value to your home.

Add Some Colour.

You can buy annual plants in an array of colours at local garden or home renovation centres. You might even find some at a farmer’s market or a local shop. To make the most impact, plant them in groups of 3 or 5 plants. Don’t space them out too much with single flowers here and there. You can also plant them in containers or pots and set them where they will be noticed such as along a walkway or by the front door. If you don’t feel like you’re up to the challenge of choosing and planting the flowers yourself, buy a ready-made planter from a local nursery or garden centre. It is sure to make your home feel welcoming.

Walkways and Driveways.

We often forget about these elements when we think of the lawn and flower beds. Walkways and driveways are the “hardscape” of our property. If possible find and repair any winter damage that might have occurred. Fix loose stones, add some more gravel, or patch holes that might have developed. These measures also make your walkways and driveways safer for everyone to walk on. Use a power washer to clean these up. At the very least get out the broom and be sure to sweep up all the dirt, gravel, leaves and debris left over from the winter. To remove weeds that have grown in the cracks use a power washer or dig them out with a flat screwdriver.

Dress it Up.

Think about adding some fixtures that add interest to your front yard. Add a new mail box or new numbers to your house. You can also add lighting to walkways or as accents to your flower beds. Solar lighting can be installed easily without the need for cords or proximity to an electrical out-let.

Did you Know? You can paint plastic garden furniture!

Do you have a plastic patio table or lawn chairs? Are they looking a little tired, worn or discoloured? Instead of throwing them out and replacing them you can give them a fresh look by applying a new coat of paint. Make sure you use a spray paint that will adhere to plastic such as Krylon. Here are the step-by-step instructions from


1. Using an all purpose cleaner/degreaser, wipe down chairs to remove all dirt and grime. (If the plastic is new, wipe down with paint thinner for best results.) Rinse thor-oughly with water and allow to dry.
2. We painted one chair in Gloss Mandarin and the other in Gloss True Blue. If you would prefer to create a pattern using both colors on a chair, use painters tape to mask off your design.
3. Turn chairs upside down and begin painting the bottoms first.
4. Applying in a well-ventilated area, hold can 6-8 inches from the surface and paint using a sweeping side-to-side motion with slight overlap.
5. Allow paint to dry for 30-60 seconds.
6. Continue to apply light, multiple coats, waiting 30-60 seconds between each, until you are satisfied with the ap-pearance.
7. Krylon® Dual® Superbond® dries in 25 minutes or less, and can be handled in about one hour.
8. Once dried, turn the chairs right side up and finish painting them.


Home Organization Part 2


Last month we began our journey to a more organized home by addressing the issue of clutter. This month I would like to share with you some tips for using some simple tools to make your space more functional and beautiful.

Command Hooks

Maybe you’ve used a command hook to hang up a seasonal wreath on your door. They are great because you don’t have to make holes in your walls to use them. The sticky strip technology has improved over the years and now comes in a wide range of sizes, designs and strengths. Place a few hooks under your sink cabinet to hang up cleaning tools, or inside your kitchen cabinets to hang a tea towel or pot holders. Command strips can even be used to hang framed photos or other artwork. Use these hooks as a place to hang a hand towel or your keys by the back door. They make great hangers for kids’ backpacks or jackets and can be placed at their level. The best thing about these hooks is that if you want to move them or remove them altogether, they just peel away—no hole, no mess!

Wall-mounted Shelves

If you want to increase your available space for storage, think of all the vertical space that is currently unused in your home. You can put a shelf anywhere, even above the TV. Add open shelves to your kitchen or bathroom or in the bedroom. A tall shelf added to a corner can double as a night stand while providing storage space.


Storage containers can be beautiful—works of art in themselves. A hand-made basket or a colourful box set on a shelf or under a table can provide a space to hold items. Use containers creatively. Magazine or file holders can be used in the kitchen to corral stray plastic ware, lids, utensils, spice packets or anything else you can think of. Clear plastic bins or large glass jars are great because you can see what is inside. You can add a pretty label or tag if you want.

Use Space Creatively

Do you have space that is currently under utilized in your home? Think about storage or an office space under a set of stairs. Or how about using an existing closet as a craft cupboard or home office space? Don’t forget about space on the backs of doors. By simply adding a hook or an over-the-door hanging organizer you can add valuable storage space to your home.

Farm Fresh Ideas for Spring

The sun is shining today and the air is warm. The snow is gone and the ice is melting in the pond. Signs of spring are appearing and we are getting ready for a new season. Yesterday we welcomed 3 new piglets to our little farm. In a couple of weeks our new chicks will arrive. I am already dreaming about those farm-fresh eggs! There is new life all around us. It reminds me that each season brings a new beginning. Now is the perfect time to start planning for a summer crop of fresh vegetables. Did you know that you don’t need a lot of land to grow food? A pot of tomatoes on the balcony or fresh herbs and micro-greens growing on a windowsill will supply you with fresh, organic food all summer long. And who doesn’t like to say, “I did this with my own hands?” Whether you live in the country, city, or somewhere in between, enjoy a new beginning by trying your hand at growing something delicious this spring. We might not all have the space to raise animals and plant a huge garden, but any sunny window will provide you farm fresh food for the months to come.

It’s Time to Get Organized! Part 1

We have made it through January, but the weather is still too cold for outdoor projects. Now is the perfect time to get organized. This is especially true if you are preparing for a spring move. This letter includes Part 1 of the journey towards an organized home. When organizing, most of us are tempted to go out and buy new bins, shelves, boxes, and baskets. While these can be necessary to provide needed storage space, sometimes buying expensive organizers only makes the problem worse. We tend to juggle things around without addressing the root problem—most of us have too much stuff. Instead, decrease clutter before you even think about where to put it. This will give you the room you need to keep the things you really Love.

Paper and Books — Go around and collect all the paper items that can be immediately recycled—newspapers, magazines, flyers, old letters, cards. Keep important documents in a safe place. Shred and recycle bills and papers from longer than 7 years ago. Make it a daily habit to deal with the paper that comes into your home immediately. If you need to keep it or deal with it at a later time, put it in a dedicated space—where it won’t get lost or forgotten. Did you know you can recycle books? Just remove and throw away the hard cover and place the rest in the recycle bin. Donate books to a second hand store where others can enjoy the things your family no longer needs.

Bedding and Linens — If you have a linen closet, keep it organized by storing only what you actually use. Most of us can pare down the amount of bedding and linens we store. Think about donating items you never use to a homeless shelter or some-where that helps families set up households. Old towels can be donated to the Humane Society.

Games, Toys, Electronics — Decide what needs to be thrown away or given away. Broken items, or games and puzzles with missing pieces can be tossed. Donate items in good condition to charity.

Furniture, Dishes, Decorations — If you have furniture or other large items taking up precious storage space in your home, decide if you really need to keep them. In the kitchen sort through all your dishes, cutlery and kitchen gadgets. Get rid of anything that is broken, that you haven’t used in the last year, or that you have duplicates of.
Once you have decided what you are actually keeping, find a dedicated space for each item. Not having enough space to put things away contributes to clutter. More about organizing next time!

House porch with wicker furniture and flowers

Make Your Home Market – Ready

It seems like winter has hardly begun and yet here we are; spring is just around the corner. The brighter and longer days bring a new sense of energy and optimism. Traditionally, springtime is a hot time for the real estate market. The largest number of buyers are actively searching for a new home in the months of April, May and June. If you are thinking of listing your home this spring, don’t wait too long. Get prepared for the busy spring market now.

Here are some tips for making sure you have your home ready for the spring market.

Start Packing.

If it seems too early to start packing remember that you are going to have to do it later anyway. Take advantage of the opportunity to get organized while you declutter and depersonalize your home for sale. Put things away in labelled boxes so that when it comes time to move you will already have some of the hard work done. Not only will this lighten your packing load later, your home will be ready to show to potential buyers.

Make improvements to your home.

Making even small changes such as painting walls in a light, neutral colour can add value to your home. Cleaning or replacing the caulking or grout in your shower and replacing tired fixtures can also help your home to feel clean and well-maintained without spending a fortune.

Clean your home.

It is important to understand what buyers want. Most people want to find a home that is move-in ready. A home that is clean will make buyers feel like they can move right in. Make sure you clean windows, blinds, ceiling fans, base-boards, and the insides of cupboards and closets. Polish the floors and deep clean the carpets. Clean all appliances and, of course make sure your kitchen and bathrooms are spot-less! Let me know if you need any other ideas for making your home look its best.

Do your research.

Know the current trends in home sales in your area. As a professional realtor I can help you navigate the market. It is important to know your market so that you can price your home appropriately. Listing your home at the right price and at the right time is critical to get-ting the best sale possible.


Purchasing Rural Property

What You Need to Know About Purchasing Rural Property

I was born and raised in Pelham. I have a great appreciation for the beauty and rural heritage of my community. Living in the country seems idyllic: It is quiet, private, and close to nature. Certainly, all these things are true! How-ever, when it comes time to buying a property in the country there are critical things to consider that you would not even think of when buying a home in a town or city. Don’t wait for unpleasant surprises or extra cost and work. By doing your homework, you can make buying a home in the country a dream come true!


What is the source of water for this property? Well or cistern? Is there a filtration system in place? Is the water safe to drink? Just this week I sent a well water sample to the Region of Niagara for testing. This is common practice when purchasing a rural property.

Septic System

When buying a property in the country it is most likely not connected to the city sewer system. It is important to consider the condition of the existing septic system and whether it will meet the demands of your family and lifestyle. If the system is old or you want to increase the number of fixtures in your home you may need to budget for maintenance or upgrade.


What is the road like getting to the property? Is it a private road? Who clears the snow in the winter? What are conditions like in the winter? All of these questions point to extra work you may have to take on yourself in order to have good road access.


There may be special zoning or restrictions on what you can do with the land you purchase. Are there any restrictions to building? Is land on your property protected for any reason such as for conservation? In our region, the Niagara Escarpment, the Green Belt and local zoning often impacts land use. It is important to have someone who is knowledgeable about what the zoning codes and restrictions mean.


As a licensed real estate professional I make it my business to understand the rules, regulations and special considerations for any home purchase or sale. I know that purchasing rural property comes with special considerations. I have the knowledge and expertise to navigate the challenges and help my clients find the perfect forever home.