Backyard Project – Ugly Tree Stump

Here’s how things work in our house:  I have a random proposal/idea/project vision.  I tell my husband about it, who then has the sole responsibility to figure out how to actually make it happen.

Last fall my husband took down a tree in our backyard.  To be clear, this was not one of my brilliant ideas.  I was rather opposed, but the story ends happily with extra open yard space, a pile of firewood and pieces of wood we used for our kitchen cabinets and no loss of life or property.  It also ended with an ugly stump in our backyard.

“Babe!  I want you to figure out some way to put a metal post thingy with a loop on the top so we can have like a hangy-basket and flowers or something for it to be pretty!”

And, as usual, he stopped what he was doing and looked at me for a few moments without saying a word.  Then, the confused look cleared and he said, “I’m sure I can figure something out.”

Brilliance, meet practicality.

After buying the supplies, the whole project was done in less than half an hour.

Post Plant Hanger – Tree Stump Decoration


  • 1 fence post or deck post
  • 2 hanging basket hangers
  • 4 shelf brackets


  • drill
  • chainsaw, reciprocating saw, or circular saw


1.  Attach the planter hangers to the top of the post at your desired height.

2.  Attach the shelf brackets to the bottom of the post, making sure it is flush with the bottom.  More importantly, take a photo of the process and make sure your 5-year-old photobombs your efforts.

3.  Use a saw to cut grooves in the stump so your post will sit level on the stump.

DSC_10214.  Set the post on the stump and ensure it is level.

DSC_10405.  Affix the post to the stump.

DSC_1044I absolutely love the finished product.  It provides color and height in a previously ugly corner of the yard, and better yet, my Mother’s Day flowers came in hanging baskets this year!

Last-Minute Christmas Gifts for Co-Workers: DIY Spice Blends

Last Minute Christmas Gifts for Co-WorkersThis is totally not a guilt trip.  If you don’t give holiday gifts to your co-workers, that’s totally fine with me.  I never did, either, until this year when I got a little breathing room in my schedule.

See, my love language isn’t gifts.  And I think Dr. Chapman said that you expend a lot of your own energy naturally focusing on trying to speak your own love language to others because that’s just the way you were made.  So since my love language isn’t receiving gifts, gift-giving isn’t necessarily my strong suit, and when cute little packages or envelopes or chocolates show up on my desk on that final working day before the holiday reprieve, I usually think, “Oh, crap.  I’m so thoughtless.  I can’t believe I didn’t do anything this year, either.” but you can always give your wife gift of new painted kitchen as gift.

So just in case you want to pull a little something off for your co-workers, here’s a simple, inexpensive, and practical idea that you can throw together this weekend – just in time to give them out next week.

Give the gift of time!  Surprise your co-workers with pre-mixed spice blends to give them an easy night of cooking.  I’m even sending one of these off to my son’s teacher.

spice blend

Christmas Gift Spice Blends

I scaled up the spices to two of my fave easy weeknight recipes, bought small storage containers, packaged them in inexpensive holiday gift bags, and included recipe instructions.  Each little container contains enough spices for two meals for a total of four no-fuss dinners for my colleagues.  Some are working moms, some aren’t, but everybody appreciates a little cooking shortcut!

Fajita Spice Blend (makes 16 servings/8 gifts)

  • 24 tsp. cumin
  • 8 tsp. oregano
  • 4 tsp. each salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper
  • 2 tsp. each garlic powder and onion powder

Crock Pot Chicken Spice Blend (makes blend for 16 chickens/8 gifts)

  • 32 tsp. paprika
  • 16 tsp. each salt, onion powder, and thyme
  • 8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tsp. each cayenne pepper and black pepper

Combine spices for each recipe in a large bowl.  Portion them out among 8 small storage containers.  Include cooking instructions (click photo for a PDF printable which includes 5 recipe cards on one sheet).

spice blend giftsDo you exchange gifts with your co-workers?  If so, what are you planning to give them this year?