5 Easy Backyard Projects to Complete This Summer

Travel plans and vacation may be cancelled this summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create an outdoor oasis at home! While it’s a bummer that we’re not jetsetting to our next adventure, we can’t wait to make incredible memories at home this summer. Here are 5 easy backyard improvements to get your home staycation ready. 

1. Give Your Furniture a Makeover

Re-sand, paint, or stain your outdoor furniture! Whether you want to spruce up an old table or you’re getting a little tired of your current patio set, this is a super affordable option to make your furniture feel brand new. Pro Tips: be sure to sand off any rust, remove loose paint, and consider your climate when choosing new paint. 

2. Upgrade Your Light Fixtures 

Light fixtures may seem like a small detail, but they can make a big statement. Swap your old fixtures for new ones, or paint them along with your furniture to give them a new look. We love this tutorial from Confessions of a DIYer! If you’re feeling fancy, you can even automate your lighting so it’s on a timer schedule. 

3. Start a Garden

Is “backyard to table” the new “farm to table?” We think so! If you’re a beginner gardener, we recommend starting with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and green beans. Not ready to take on fruits and veggies yet? Start an herb garden and use your herbs in summer cocktails! We recommend trying this Cucumber Basil Gimlet with your homegrown basil and cucumbers. 

4. Power Wash 

Is it just us or is there something insanely satisfying about watching buildup on your outdoor spaces be washed away? Plus, power washing can make any sidewalk, patio, or piece of furniture look brand new! You can opt to rent a pressure washer from most improvement stores, or you can invest in one to always have on hand for any cleaning needs. 

5. Add Solar Lighting 

Outdoor lighting will allow you to enjoy your outdoor oasis long after the sun has gone down. Solar lighting is a win because a) you don’t need to worry about finding an outlet and b) no electricity needed! Your electric bill will thank you. We love these blown glass solar lanterns from Home Depot and this path lighting from Lowe’s! 

There you have it! 5 simple projects to create the ultimate backyard haven this summer. Don’t forget that you’ll earn kicks with every dollar spent online at Home Depot and Lowe’s through your Shopkick app!

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden

After talking about easy indoor plants to care for inside your home on Monday, we thought we would step outside once more to explore flowers for your garden. Growing a garden is a summertime ritual many of us at Shopkick greatly look forward to each year. It’s a chance to embrace spending time outside, exploring a hobby for a complete season, and adding plenty of color to decks, porches, and balconies. But, where to start if you’ve never planted flowers before may give you pause. So, today we thought we would share 10 of the easiest flowers to plant in your garden or simply in a few pots outside. Take a look!

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden:

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

1. Begonias:

Begonias are a classic flower to grow during the late spring and throughout the summer. We often spot them in red, which is sure to brighten up your outdoor space. If you have a spot that offers some shade, begonias will do well there. An important thing to note: Begonias thrive most when pruned, which means popping flowers that have died off of the stem in order to encourage the new growth underneath to flourish.

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

2. Dusty Miller:

Dusty Miller is often included in wedding bouquets because it resembles greenery. For that reason, it’s also popular to add to pots and flower boxes to act as a “filler” of sorts. Think about placing Dusty Miller in between flower groupings to add texture and fullness.

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

3. Geraniums:

If you’re considering making your own hanging pots, look no further than geraniums! These flowers easily cascade over the side of pots, which looks lovely when hanging. Plus, they are one of the more fragrant summer annuals, but their scent is always fresh rather than overpowering. Geraniums also do well in pots if you don’t have a spot to hang them!

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

4. Gerbera Daisies:

If your kids will be involved in your garden, consider planting gerbera daisies. The flowers can be found in a variety of colors, and many of them are bright and fun. Like other flowers, gerbera daisies do like both water and sun, so if you have both available, you will be all set!

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

5. Lantana:

If you’re hoping to attract butterflies to your garden, add lantana! It’s available in several different colors, but one we always enjoy seeing is yellow. It does tend to grow taller than some other flowers, and it looks wonderful when paired with petunias and vincas in the same pot.

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

6. Marigolds:

Marigolds are one of the easiest flowers to grow on a list that’s already filled with easy options! They do like sun and drained soil, so you will want to make sure they don’t become over watered. Marigolds are also known to keep critters, including bugs and deer, away from gardens, which makes them an excellent choice to add to vegetable patch exteriors.

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

7. Petunias:

Similar to vincas, which we’ll talk more about below, petunias are relatively easy to care for. They do well in full sun and definitely thrive when watered regularly. In order to encourage new growth, make sure to pop off flowers that have died from the stems. New growth is likely well underway underneath!

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

8. Salvias:

If you live in an area that experiences high heat, salvias will thrive in your conditions. These red flowers love warm temperatures and water, so if you can combine both you will see great results. Salvia also grows taller, which means it’s a great flower to include if you’re looking to add height to your garden.

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

9. Vincas:

If we could only choose one flower to suggest for you to grow, it would be vincas. These flowers are hearty and beautiful, and they love being in the sun. They tend to spread to fill pots throughout the summer, and while they do thrive when watered regularly they can also survive well on less. Another perk? Depending on your climate, your vincas may last through early fall.

10 Easy Flowers to Grow in Your Garden | www.shopkick.com

10. Zinnias:

Similar to gerbera daisies, zinnias are also known for their rich and bright colors! Consider pairing zinnias with vincas or petunias for a vibrant flower box, and make sure to remove flowers that have died. As long as you maintain them, zinnias will keep blooming throughout the summer season and into early fall.

What flowers will you grow in your garden? Chime in on Facebook!

*All photos via The Home Depot.

15 Things to Do in Quarantine This Weekend

Welcome to the weekend! Saturdays and Sundays have definitely felt different for the past few weeks while we have been practicing social distancing. Going out to run errands, meeting up with friends, attending a game, or enjoying a meal out at a restaurant are off of the table, and our sole options have become things we can do at home. It’s very easy for overwhelm to take over as you try to think of new activities to do over the weekend, and you’re likely also battling feeling a bit stir-crazy. So, we thought we would share 15 things you can do this weekend while quarantined at home! 

1. Bake or Cook a New Recipe

If you have new recipes on your list that you’ve been wanting to try, now is a great time to jump in and try something new. Source a new recipe (or many!) and piece it together. If you really want to challenge yourself, try making a new breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe. You might find new options to add to your weekly rotation! P.S: If you want to try to bake bread for the first time, this focaccia recipe from Bon Appetit is excellent and easy to make.

2. Read Outside

Do exactly as it says – take your magazine, book, or newspaper outside! Sometimes a simple change of scenery can make an activity you have been turning to frequently feel completely new.

3. Dine Outside

Support a local business and order takeout from a restaurant to mix up your cooking routine. Then set up a table and chairs outside or take this as your sign to get your backyard furniture ready for the season. Fresh air is needed, especially now!

4. Get Crafty

We have been sharing great crafts to do with kids or on your own, so take a peek at some of our past posts (here + here). Crafts can feel relaxing, and they almost always take your mind off of the present.

5. Garden

Continue to practice social distancing as you pick up flowers, pots, and potting soil from Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or your local gardening store. Then get busy outside and plant everything! You could also opt to plant your first fruit, vegetable, or herb garden if you’re looking to try something new.  

6. Do a Puzzle

There are plenty of puzzles available for you to purchase online to pick up curbside, and they’re something you can complete at your leisure rather than piecing the entire puzzle together in one sitting. Also, think about completing a crossword puzzle or download Sudoku pages online.

7. Learn Something New

If you have been wanting to try a new craft, learn how to sew, try your hand at guitar, learn a new language, or take up another new-to-you hobby, purchase the supplies you will need and give it a try!

8. Try a New Workout

There are plenty of fitness classes that are currently available online, and many companies are waiving fees for a month or even three for you to join. One that we have been enjoying is the Peloton app. There are yoga, stretching, HIIT, running, and cycling classes, plus many more available, and the majority you can do from home without purchasing anything new.

9. Build a Fort

Gather pillows, sheets, and blankets together and turn a space in your home into a fort! Utilizing your living room, family room, or basement is always fun, especially if the space has a TV where you can watch shows and movies while in your fort. This is definitely a family favorite activity, and one your kids will surely appreciate!

10. Watch a Performance

From city orchestras to ballet companies and Broadway shows, there are nearly countless opportunities to take in a performance from home. This article from Town & Country magazine is a great resource for Broadway shows, and a quick Google search for your local arts groups will likely help you to uncover more options for your city.

11. Print Your Photos

Simply put, get your photos off of your phone or computer! Walmart has great options to print your photos, and you can also turn to a company like Artifact Uprising if you’re hoping to house your photos in a modern album. Consider creating yearbooks of your family’s memories. It does take time to organize and print your photos, but it’s a process that offers a fun way to remember past moments.

12. Hang New Art

If you would like to update your space with minimal modifications or if you’ve been wanting to hang a gallery wall, switch up the art on your walls! This small change has the ability to make any room feel completely different, which is a feeling we could all use at this point.

13. Have a Spa Day

We recommend you leave cutting your hair to an expert, but you can definitely paint your nails, take a bath, or do a face mask this weekend! A day of self-care is sure to help any anxiety you may be battling.

14. Take a Ride

You might not have a specific destination in mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a ride! Get in your car, roll down the windows, and turn on a great playlist while you drive around town. You can even pop by to see family, friends, or neighbors to say “hi” from a very safe distance. A change of scenery can offer plenty of refreshed energy!

15. Organize

When all else fails, organize! Think about tackling a closet, kitchen, bathroom (check for expired makeup, clean your makeup brushes), playroom (are your kids playing with all of their toys?), basement, or garage. It will take time, and the results are definitely worth it!

How have you been spending your weekends? Let us know on Facebook!

Family Fun Themed Easter Basket

This weekend, we’re welcoming a chance to celebrate because Sunday is Easter! Since families are spending more time together than ever before, we thought we would curate an Easter basket with a family fun theme. From LED Easter eggs for a fun nighttime egg hunt to corn hole, a book, and even something for your pup, all of the items we’ve included below are budget-friendly (for the most part!), wonderful to enjoy together, perfect for many ages, and completely available online so you can shop with your Shopkick app and earn kicks. Let’s fill your Easter basket! 

Family Fun Easter Basket | www.shopkick.com

1. DIY Birdhouse

If you and your kids are looking for a new activity to enjoy together, consider building a birdhouse. The Home Depot has a complete tutorial available online, and their stores are still open for you to purchase all of your supplies. Once complete, your family will be able to enjoy the new animals that stop by to visit your birdhouse!

2. Corn Hole

Corn hole is a classic outdoor game, and it’s perfect for all ages to enjoy. This set from Dick’s Sporting Goods arrives with two boards and eight beanbags – four for each team – ready for you to play. Corn hole is a game you will enjoy long after our quarantine ends, and it’s the perfect addition to barbecues if you’re looking to up your gathering (once we can gather again!) with a little friendly competition.

3. Giant Jenga

Like corn hole, Jenga is another great family game! This Jenga set from Dick’s Sporting Goods takes the fun of the classic game to the next level thanks to its giant size. Add this set to your backyard collection to encourage you and your family to spend more time outside together on Easter and beyond.

4. Easter Book

Get ready to read along as Pete the Cat helps the Easter Bunny in “Pet the Cat: Big Easter Adventure”! Pete the Cat is already beloved by many kids, so whether your kids are fans or you’re hoping to find a new book for them to enjoy, this New York Times Bestseller is definitely the way to go. Find it online with Walmart.

5. Rainbow Kite

Bright colors are such a source of fun and joy, especially now when we’re all looking to find happy details. Fly this kite into the sky on Easter in your backyard and make sure to save it for summer beach trips that will start happening soon. You can add this rainbow kite to your Easter basket when you shop online with Walmart!

6. LED Easter Eggs

One of the highlights of any Easter holiday is an egg hunt with family, and these LED Easter Eggs from Walmart are about to make your hunt even more interesting! You can definitely still enjoy a classic egg hunt during the day, but make your Easter evening more fun when you hide this set of eggs in the dark. The glow is sure to make sure kids smile!

7. Disney Theme Park Edition Candyland Game

If you were supposed to spend your spring break at Disney World or Disneyland, you can still pay the parks a virtual visit. We found Candyland online with shopDisney, and this version might be even more fun than the original. It’s based off of Walt Disney World’s theme parks!

8. “Frozen II”

Once your Easter evening is underway, gather your family together for a movie night. It’s always more fun when you’re watching a new-to-you movie, so add the newly released “Frozen II” to your family fun Easter basket. You can shop this movie and many more on shopDisney’s website!

9. Pet Ball Thrower

It’s safe to say our pets are enjoying having us home the most! If you’ve been playing more fetch than ever before, make your job as Official Thrower even easier with this Hyper Pet Throw-N-Go Tennis Ball Launcher Dog Toy from Pet Care Supplies. There’s room for two tennis balls – one to toss and an extra, just in case – so you will be set for a long game of fetch.

10. Bunny Dog Toy

Your pup needs to join in on the festivities, so purchase a bunny dog toy from Pet Care Supplies! Available in three sizes, this Kong Wubba Ballistic Friends Dog Toy is durable and ready for play.

How are you and your family celebrating Easter? What items are you thinking about adding to your own family-fun themed Easter basket? Let’s keep the conversation going on Facebook!