Things I Love About My Backyard {Thankful Tuesday} | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

May 8, 2012

Things I Love About My Backyard {Thankful Tuesday}

If you've been around these parts at all, you know I tend to be a bit negative about our living situation.  For the past two years, we've been a little overwhelmed as homeowners, moving out of our hometown, and dealing with some other issues that have been thrown our way.

Being negative, though, can be a real downer.

I've realized recently that sometimes I can act quite like the 3 year old throwing a tantrum when I don't get what I want.  Part of being an adult is handling the things life brings your way.  Part of being a happy adult is seeing the good in all things.

I need to work on this.

So taking cue from one of my more inspiring friends, Mama:Monk, I'm hijacking this Tuesday and having an impromptu Thankful Tuesday.

Because let's face it: no matter how bad life is, there is always something to be thankful for. I am saying this loud enough so I hear it. And start living it.

Spring has brought with it warmer temperatures, beautiful flowers, longer days, and more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.  As my family has spent more time outside, I'd realized I have a fun little backyard. Sometimes I glance out my kitchen window, and the scene gives me butterflies. While Hubby and I may not have the greenest thumbs, we're taking better care of our outdoor living spaces this year.  We intend to enjoy every moment of the yard (before the mosquitos and mole crickets take it hostage for the better part of the Summer).  We want to make memories at this place, for however much longer we are here.

I spent some time the other night cherishing different aspects of my little plot of creation, and thought I'd share my discoveries with you today.

I love the size.

My yard, front and back, is roughly .25 acres.  We've found it to be the perfect size.  It's not too much to mow or take care of.  Our backyard, though, is fenced in.  So the space is great to let the kids run around in, isn't a lot to manage, and feels like a little haven despite the fact that we live in a bustling borough.


I love the little potted plants.

This little guy is called a Clematis.  I didn't plant it (because if I did, it'd probably be dead).  When we bought the house, it hadn't bloomed yet. It looked like a random green leafy vine that climbed the lattice just inside the backyard gate.  We quickly learned how beautiful it was when it bloomed: Big, purple flowers.  Whenever I head to the backyard, my little Clematis greets me. 


I love the swing set.

I had a swing set growing up, as did most kids.  It was an aluminum thing with a slide, a glider and 2 swings.  There are tons of pictures filling photo albums at my mom's house of my sisters and I climbing all over the set.  While I loved having a structure to adventure on, nothing compares to the swing set that sits catty-corner in the back of our yard.  It's a swing set Hubby and my Father-in-Law built for Little Chica this Fall.  The wooden gift was a belated birthday present, and they spent a lot of time planning, buying, measuring, cutting, (cursing), and nailing.  The end result was a simple, sturdy wooden swing set that both my daughters enjoy.  Every time I look out into the yard, I see a beautiful labor of love.  


I love the Flowers.

We were lucky that the previous owners of our home planted a great multitude of easy-to-care-for perennials.  Otherwise our yard would be desolate.  Without lifting a finger, our yard has a rebirth every Spring.  The leaves start to bud, the grass comes to life, and beautiful flowers rise from what seems like dead twigs.  Each year I've lived here, the hidden beauty of my flower beds never cease to amaze me.  And I feel sheepish, as I can take no credit. My recent favorite plants are my Azaleas.  They are so robust and full of life. I wish my entire perimeter was decked out in various colors of Azaleas. I love happy plants.


I love the personal touches.

When we first got married and had a tiny little apartment with a tiny little balcony, I did my best to find fun accents to make our apartment feel like home.  We've acquired a few trinkets throughout the years, which we've carried through more than 7 moves (yes, in 5 years. Don't ask).  One piece that we've kept with us is a little iron bistro set that I bought to put on that first little apartment balcony more than 5 years ago.  At one time, Hubby and I enjoyed sitting at the table for dinner al fresco under the stars.  As years passed, the set became more weathered. After many moves, it broke down.  The chairs are no longer safe to sit on, and rust has taken over the exterior. But I found a nice spot for it under a maple tree in the backyard.  It makes the back look inviting. It's fun to pretend who the table and chairs might be waiting for. Maybe a young couple on their first date is on their way to dine under the evening sunset. Perhaps long lost lovers are rendezvousing after being apart for decades. Someday, I may add a rustic outdoor candle chandelier, or perhaps some christmas lights to the tree to fancy it up.  For now, I just enjoy the stories I create of who might be coming to use it next.


I love the nooks and crannies.

Due to the shape of our house, there are a few fun nooks and crannies around our yard.  The one on the side of our house includes our kayaks and a woodpile.  Hiding the little patch of land is the most precious miniature weeping Japanese Maple tree.  I think we could do a lot more with this part of the yard.  We'll see what the Spring will hold in terms of inspiration!


I love the Sunroom.

At some point in history, there was a three-season room added to our house.  It's a nice room that we use in Spring, Summer and Fall.  There is no heat, so the Winter gets somewhat frigid.  But when the outside temperature is reasonable, this porch is one of our favorite spots to hang out.  Protected from the elements, but with several windows that bring the outdoors inside.  When the Winter months are grey and dark, I make sure the window blinds are open, allowing more light into the house.  In October, we host a big party for the Kennett Square Brewfest.  We set up all the food in the sunroom, and it makes for the perfect path to and from the backyard.  In the Summers, we put most of the kid toys out there, and we spend many an afternoon and evening enjoying each other's company.  My favorite time of day to enjoy it is in the morning, with a fresh cup of coffee.  It's a great spot to admire the backyard.


I love the grass.

I don't know what type of grass we have, but we get a lot of compliments on our lawn. The grass is lush and thick, like a carpet under your feet.  As the Spring transitions to Summer, the color turns from the Winter brown to a vibrant green. No wonder all the bugs want to hang out in it!  Some people have to work hard to get their grass to come in full, so I feel very lucky that our lawn naturally fills out so nicely.


There are so many things to be thankful for in life, and I want to spend more time focusing on those things  as opposed to the bad things.  Because it's the little things - the soft lawn under my feet, the sweet flora growing around the yard, the beautiful little girls giggling as they fly on the swings, and the romantic evenings enjoyed under the stars with my husband - that makes life worth living.  

We can find those blessings everywhere - we just need to be open to seeing them.  More posts to come on the things in my life (and home) that I love, that I'm thankful for, that make life beautiful.

Here are a few more bloggers who spent some time finding the things they loved about their backyards.  If you have time today, write a post - I'm happy to share!  Seeing all these beautiful places make me all the more thankful!

What are you thankful for today?

(Thanks again to Micha for always challenging her readers to have a heart full of thankfulness).


  1. LOVE IT!! You are inspiring me to make my husband plant some more color around...My thumb is brown but his is very green!

  2. oh my goodness, i wanna come over for a playdate and play on the swings!! And run around your garden, and drink wine. I love it!! xxx

  3. Oh, Steph, I love seeing a Philadelphia yard in the spring! The rest of the country just does not look so green and beautiful. (At least my rest of the country.) Thanks for sharing today. And I'm honored to have inspired a little gratefulness. :) Happy Thankful Tuesday!

  4. Look at all the wonderful things you have! You've taken your little part of the Mushroom Capital and made it a home...See, it's not all bad down here. :-) I love your back yard, it looks so much bigger than it actually is.

  5. Such a beautiful space for a beautiful family!! It looks great Steph, we'll have to come visit it some time this summer.

  6. So many things to love about it! My personal fave are the kayaks, but I LOVE kayaking so I'm envious. That weeping Japanese maple is wonderful, too. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Your yard looks gorgeous and I love the concept of a "Thankful Tuesday"--go you for having some great perspective!


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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