How to Get Your Outdoors Ready for Winter


It always feels like the official end of summer when the time comes to dismantle the outdoor living space I’ve created on my porch for the season. It’s a bittersweet time; on the one hand, I’m sad to watch the days grow shorter and colder but on the other hand it gives me the opportunity to reflect on how much I’ve enjoyed my time out there this past summer.

Autumn is usually the time when I update my garden notes, paying attention to what worked for me during the growing season and what didn’t. I start brainstorming improvements too so that I can continue to develop these plans over the winter when I’m stuck indoors.

It’s also a good opportunity to do a little research on how to best care for your garden and/or outdoor space over the winter. Don’t limit yourself to just plants. Patio furniture, planters, pots, urns and other outdoor décor and accessories all need to be properly cleaned and stored for the winter as well. You may wish to clean and take inventory of all of your gardening tools at this time of year as well, and make any repairs or replacements accordingly.

Additionally, there are certain house maintenance issues that may require attention. Gutters and eaves should be cleaned and inspected, as should the screens and windows of your house. (Some people have storm windows that should be installed at this time of year as well.)

Getting my outdoors ready for winter is a unique experience for me because I live in an apartment building. Many potted plants will not last the winter; those I can save I bring inside or winterize in their pots. This I do by spreading mulch over the soil, wrapping them with burlap and twine, and stashing them in a sheltered area that will protect them from windy and damp conditions. Plants that find their homes inside often get cut back and repotted in order to stay strong and healthy during the period of hibernation.

In a way, I’m preparing to hibernate as well. Winter is a gloomy time for me (I’m a fresh air and sunshine kind of gal) and I like to get ready for the season indoors as well by giving my house a good clean to clear out all of the dirt and grit that the summer brought in. I usually take a look through my pantry to reorganize and purge unwanted or expired food. All that extra room gives me the opportunity to stock up on ingredients for homemade soups and stews.

You better my quest for cozy doesn’t stop there either. This is the perfect time of year to wash all of your quilts, blankets and pillows in preparation for some serious snuggle time, or at least a lot of hours catching up on Netflix. I do a ton of reading over the winter as well, so fall is the perfect time for me to dust and re-organize my ever-evolving bookshelf (more about that here) and amass my reading material for the season. (I know you wouldn’t expect any less of me.)

Yes, the end of summer is a sad time for summer babies and garden lovers like myself, but for those of you who feel the same way, take heart: there are still other outdoor holiday decorating opportunities coming our way.

KBwB-BFlower-50It feels like yesterday I was just telling you guys about how I get ready for spring. How has all of that time flown by? I want to know how your gardens did over the summer. What do you include as part of your autumn cleaning ritual? Comment below or email your suggestions to Pictures of fall colors are definitely encouraged.

Looking for other autumn-type stuff to celebrate the season? Click here to read why fall is still an opportunity to make a fresh start, get advice on how to store your summer shoes, or bake something seasonal here.


Baking with B: Homemade Applesauce

KBB_baking_homemade_applesauceWhat is it about apples that make it seem like autumn has arrived? I know for most people the all of quintessential fall foods have something to do with pumpkin spice, but for me it’s the smell of apples baking in the oven in a pie, or simmering on a stovetop that brings me back to my childhood when my parents used to drive my sister and I out of the city to pick our own apples.

And nothing says childhood more than making your own homemade applesauce which is (somewhat) nutritious, delicious and easy as pie…except that it’s applesauce.

Homemade Applesauce (makes 6 cups)

4 lbs. apples (my favorite is Gala)

¼ c. lemon juice

3 tbsp dark brown sugar

This recipe is so simple you’re not even going to think it’s real but it is: just peel, core and slice your apples. Pop them in a large pot with lemon juice and 1 ½ c. water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until apples are very soft and falling apart. Mash with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor. Add sugar. If you’re feeling super fancy, you may want to add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, or both! Let cool and transfer to an airtight container. It keeps for 5 days in the fridge or you can freeze the leftovers for later, up to 2 months.

Happy baking!



Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.


Why Fall is the New Spring

KBB_nothing_can_stop_me_nowAlthough we still have a couple more weeks of summer left (first day of fall is the 22nd, people!) a lot of people consider the arrival of Labor Day weekend to signify the end of summer. For many, this is true: the so-called “back-to-school” season means a lot of changes in lifestyle, at the workplace, in the retail world and sometimes even in the financial sector.

I haven’t been in school for a good few years now, but something about the arrival of September makes me feel as if I’m being given an opportunity to refresh. Recharge. Renew. Although the year is already halfway through, I find September is often my busiest time as I help people take on new projects, and start on a few new ones myself.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the summer. Summer means my birthday, long walks with the dog, and seemingly endless days of sunshine. But I always enjoy the opportunity to get excited about something new, too.

For those of you disappointed about the summer ending, why not take the opportunity to try something new? Press the reset button. For me, I’ll be trying to blog a lot more (something I love, but which I don’t always make the time to do), introduce some new routines in my lifestyle (I’ll be blogging about those a little bit later) and finally, I’ll be spending some time fixing things up around my apartment so I can better enjoy my time inside when the weather gets colder.

It doesn’t have to be a big project to get you going. Today, I felt refreshed and renewed by giving my hardwood floors a good deep clean to get rid of all the dirt and grime my dog and I have tracked in from the park and the beach. All the scrubbing started to get the wheels turning as I thought of a few cleaning tasks that will give my home that extra sparkle after being neglected in favor of my patio all summer.

So I’m officially declaring that fall is the new spring! Don’t wait until 2015 to clean your apartment, start that new project, organize your life, etc. Start now! Enjoy the feeling of productivity and organization so the winter months ahead can bring time to relax, to rejoice in family and friends, and maybe even a good cup of hot chocolate. (Too soon?)


What do you have planned for the month of September? Comment below or drop me a line at I’d love to hear from you!