Summer Bursts of Color

After such a horrible winter and a pretty chilly and wet early Spring, we are LOVING the bursts of summer weather here in Minnesota!  About the third week of May things took a turn and Spring began showing up.  The grass turned bright green and the trees began budding again.  
We have some gorgeous trees right outside our porch that usually bloom around my birthday at the end of April, but this year they opened up during the last week of May.  Not only did they look amazing but they smelled pretty great too, which was great for the ambiance and not so great for my allergies.  
Our porch was looking pretty bad from a long winter and I wasn't sure if I wanted to do much with it this year, due to the baby coming.
 But as the weather turned gorgeous and we began opening up our sliders to enjoy it, I could only look at these brown, empty pots for so long!
I still had remnants of my plants from last year that I never cleaned up, so I had some work cut out for me, but when my neighbor cleaned up her porch and brought out some gorgeous summer color, I knew that was all the motivation I needed! 
We had some teary kids on the morning that Trav's Mom flew home to Texas so I decided we needed a fun outing and something to brighten our day.  I was itching to do a little "refreshing" on the porch this year after I finally convinced the kids to let me move the cozy coupes out of there!  We started looking for a some new accessories before we hit the garden store for plants.  I don't know what I was thinking because it was a Wednesday and I didn't have any help from Trav, but I was motivated so I pressed on from one stop to another and then got home and wanted to cry when I realized I was going to be doing all the cleaning, planting and rearranging myself!  I paid for it dearly the next day but it was so worth it!
 One thing I knew I wanted to do with the kids was create some little fairy gardens with them.  They both came home from Church and pre-school this year with little seeds in tiny pots and plastic cups.  They were very proud but judging by the amounts of water they poured in them, I knew they wouldn't last too long!  Ava was fascinated by the fairy gardens she saw last year so I asked her if she wanted to do a small one together?  She could not have been more excited!  
I didn't have the energy for complicated or anything large in scale, but we came up with this for her!  She picked out her favorite fairy, a little table and chairs set, and an umbrella that looked like a big flower.  It is darling and she is TOTALLY into it.  They had a fairy garden section at the garden store with tiny little plants and we picked some that we thought would look good together.  
 I also decided we needed to keep these smaller because I knew Carter would want in on the action too!  Although I can't bring myself to call his a fairy garden.  I don't really have a name for it, but here's what we came up with...
He wasn't into the little Gnomes they had or any of the fairies, but we did see some little animals that he liked so after some digging through the baskets and a little creativity we decided on a little dog theme.
 I found that little rusty house and told Carter it could be the dog kennel and then we chose two sleepy puppies and a blue bucket for their food!  He loved it and I thought it turned out totally cute too.  
I usually do lots of shade plants and not many things that bloom because of all the filtered sunlight on our porch from the screens, but I couldn't resist these begonias and I'm hoping they do well!  I just loved all the color! 
I also picked a few herbs to have out here for cooking this summer.  We chose basil, chives and cilantro.  I was looking for rosemary but they were all out so I just went with these.  I love having fresh herbs to choose from! 
 I bought those cushions for my bench 7 years ago and they've held up very well considering they've weathered all kinds of storms.  I still like them because they go well with my living room and you can see them all the time out there.  BUT I wanted some color this year so I added the lime green and orange pillows that I found at Homegoods!  And I loved the pop of color immediately!
 It's amazing what color can do!  Suddenly this little porch gained some new life again.
 One of my two helpers, so eager to see this all come together and VERY proud of his doggies!  
Since we refreshed everything we've all been out here more and more and I decided I wanted Trav to bring up the stools that we've been storing in the garage for the last few years.  I had a feeling these two might enjoy some alfresco dining out here...
 And I was right!  But I also knew I needed to find some more permanent cushions for them to sit on that tied to the stools so nobody slipped off trying to get on and off.  I love to see them out there for breakfast every day.  I especially love the various types of dress that show up for their reservation.  On this particular morning, Israeli attire was preferred by a certain little girl I know! 
On a whim last week, we popped into Pier One just to see what they had and right inside the front door they had a patio display with the perfect cushions, on sale even! 
 I grabbed a matching lumbar pillow and just like that, it was perfect!  Sometimes I just know the Lord makes those things work out for me :) 
 I often mourn not having a yard to plant in or gardens to tend, but honestly, this little porch has been just the medicine I need every year.  It's enough to keep me busy and bring life to our view, but not something we have to labor over or keep up with.  And I know that's a blessing too! 
Makes me happy to see bright colors out here again...
And yes, the slide and the basketball hoop remain :) At least I can tuck them away when not in use!  Actually it's great to have them out there, the kids play for hours on this little porch and they never complain about it. 
 We read books out here, play games on the floor, I drink my coffee and they are forever saying "hi" to all the neighbors who walk by! 
And yes, breakfast and lunch are often served out here now too!  And you can count on Carter in Jammies and Ava in some sort of dress-up attire.  Occasionally I catch Carter out here in his undies only and I have to drag him back in for some clothes and for the sake of our neighbors!  Ha!  

I'm grateful for this little screened-in oasis and for the way it's brightened all of our moods.  Can't wait to have little Walker in the fresh air too, I'm sure he will want to join the party with his big sister and brother!  New life comes in all forms, doesn't it??  Cheers to summer, bright colors, and fresh air!  
I love the gifts God gives us!

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