Courtesy of Alex and Gai Michie

Alex & Gai's Newsletter


Volume 36 Number 8


• Clover lawn. Clover is another go-to for a mow-free lawn. It’s extremely affordable and acts as a natural soil conditioner due to its nitrogen fixing properties. Micro-clover is one of the best options as it has smaller leaves and spreads quickly. Just make sure you don’t add any “weed and feed” fertilizer as it may kill your clover off. • Mint lawn. Corsican mint is the lowest growing of all the mint varieties. It can tolerate dryer conditions and medium to full sun. It also doesn’t mind being walked on and will give off a pleasant minty smell with each step.

By this time of the summer, you’re likely getting tired of mowing your lawn. If so, it might be time to consider an alternative to grass– such as thyme, clover and mint. Curious about how these three plants can go from flowerbed to front– or back–yard? Read on! • Thyme lawn. Red creeping thyme is a popular alternative lawn choice because it’s beautiful, low maintenance, and can be walked on. This type of thyme is drought-tolerant and doesn’t need to be watered. It also does not need to be mowed as it grows low to the ground, creating a soft, full cover. If you already have a grassed area, you’ll need to kill it off or remove it before you can plant the thyme.


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DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the bell peppers, scoop out the seeds, and white pith with a spoon. Place the bell peppers in a large casserole dish. Drizzle oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The longer you pre-bake the peppers, the softer they will be. Combine the Greek yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Add the tuna to a large bowl. Add the garlic, onion, celery, rice, parsley and yogurt mixture. Stir until the ingredients are combined. 3. Pack the tuna mixture into the bell pepper halves. Top the peppers with shredded cheddar cheese. 4. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the peppers are as soft as you'd like. Top with chives and serve immediately.

INGREDIENTS: 4 large bell peppers Olive oil 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 cup Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons lemon juice 4 (5-ounce) cans of tuna, drained 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 small red onion, minced 1 celery stalk, minced 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked (optional) 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded 1 tablespoon chives, minced


7 SILLY SUMMER JOKES 1. What kind of tree fits in your hand?

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2. What did the little corn say to the mama corn? 3. How do we know that the ocean is friendly? 4. What do you do if you get rejected at the sunscreen company? 5. What is brown, hairy, and wears sunglasses?

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Did you know that August was named to honour the first Roman emperor (and grandnephew of Julius Caesar), Augustus Caesar? If you were born in August, your flowers are the gladiolus and the poppy. The gladiolus symbolizes strength of character, sincerity, and generosity, while the poppy symbolizes eternal sleep, oblivion, and imagination. Also, according to some, the first date in August that has a heavy fog will have a heavy frost on the same date in October.

6. Where do goldfish go on vacation? 7. Where do sheep go on vacation?

The Baa-hamas.

5. A coconut on vacation. / 6. Around the globe. / 7.

Answers: 1.A palm tree. / 2. Where is pop corn? / 3. It waves. / 4. Reapply. /

There are a lot of commonsense tips for saving to buy a home. Don’t eat out as much, shop frugally, put a good chunk of your paycheque into savings. Real estate experts say you can do more if you want to become a homeowner before the age of 40. These guidelines become even more important if you live in a super-competitive real estate market. • Plan for a rental suite. Sometimes homeowners add a rental suite after they’ve moved in, but experts are advising potential buyers to plan for one right from the beginning. Designating a part of your home as a rental from the outset means you can plan for the rental income to offset your mortgage. The great thing about rentals is they don’t have to be forever. There’s always the potential that one day you can close the chapter on being a landlord and expand your living space. • Turn your parents into investors. However, experts suggest that instead of your parents acting as piggybank, you turn them into investors. This means that whatever they lend you gets paid back – and then some. For example, if you combine this tip with planning for a rental suite, your parents will get a portion of the rental income. Just make sure that whatever you decide you put into writing. • Use the stepping stone approach. Often when we think of buying our first home, we imagine our dream home. Who said you have to live in your dream home right from the start? Consider your first real estate purchase as the first step toward the home you want to own one day. Not only is this financially smart, it also helps to take the pressure off your home hunt as you begin to think of it more as an investment in your future than your forever home. TIPS ON BECOMING A HOMEOWNER BEFORE 40

UP THE STYLE OF YOUR KITCHEN WITH THESE 3 FEATURES We all know the basics of what goes into a kitchen – cabinets, counters, appliances, lighting. But what is it exactly that makes a kitchen go from basic to beautiful? According to designers, it’s all in the details. And while some of these recommended features are more expensive, it definitely is a case of you get what you pay for. Here are three upgrades pros often incorporate into a kitchen design. 1. A stylish range. Whether you’re a gourmet chef or just really good at making grilled cheese sandwiches, there’s more than one reason to spend a bit more on your range. Aside from having more cooking options, designer ranges also come in a variety of colours and finishes and create a natural focal point. 2. Statement light fixtures. A high-style kitchen needs eye-catching fixtures. If your kitchen has an island, place two or three pendant lights above it to draw the eye up. Also, lighting can either compliment or contrast the rest of your kitchen’s aesthetic. Have a lot of warm woods? Elevate their tone with brass light fixtures. Is your kitchen quite simple and minimalist? Adding in a sculptural fixture will bring in an unexpected touch. 3. A pot filler. A home feature that’s trendy and functional, pot fillers are a super convenient way to get a big pot of water boiling stat. Many designers consider including a pot filler as the tell-tale sign of a well-planned kitchen.


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was taken in, was re-homed by Mrs Tilley. 4. The alsatian was taken to the dog's home on an earlier day of the week than the day in the following week when a lady re-homed the retriever. 5. Miss Kirby re-homed one of the dogs two days earlier than the day in the previous week when Barney was taken into the dog's home. 6. Dandy was taken into the home a day later in the week than the day in the following week when Mr Morgan re-homed a dog. 7. Yorkie the terrier was taken to the dog's home earlier in the week than the alsatian.


Five stray dogs were picked up by animal welfare officers on different days of the week (Monday-Friday) and taken to the Kennelmore Dog's Home. All five dogs were re-homed on different days of the following week (Monday-Friday). No dog was taken to the dog's home on the same day of the week it was re-homed. (egThe dog picked up on Monday wasn't re-homed on the following Monday). Can you match each breed of dog with its name, the day of the week it was first picked up, the day it was re-homed and the name of its new owner? 1. The collie (who isn't called Marty) was taken to the dog's home on Tuesday. Mrs.O'Keefe re-homed one of the dogs on Thursday. 2. The dalmatian was re-homed the day before the dog Mr Morgan re-homed and earlier in the week than the dog Mr Perry re-homed but later in the week than Geordie was re-homed. 3. The dog which was taken to the dog's home the day before Marty


Mrs O'Keefe Mr Morgan



Dandy Marty Yorkie





Miss Kirby Mrs Tilley

Monday Tuesday






Mr Perry



Alex & Gai Michie


TIPS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR KID’S BEDROOM It isn’t always easy to keep a kid’s room clean. Sometimes it feels like it’s going to overflow with stuffed animals, toys and artwork. But with a few smart organizational solutions you can help your child keep their room neat and tidy – without making them get rid of all their toys! First, invest in some trays with a tall lip around the edge. Unlike baskets, trays allow kids to still see their stuff, but they keep things contained. Trays are great for smaller items like lego, blocks and art supplies. Next, install picture shelves along the walls, which can be used for framed artwork as well as to display favourite books. It also makes the books easy to access for when the mood to read strikes. Another great idea is to get a few rolling carts. Rolling carts have become quite popular for those who work from home because they’re so easy to move. Your kid may not have a job – yet, but they most likely have crafty things that would fit perfectly in a cart. Another fun idea from the realm of office work – a bulletin board. Get a corkboard and wrap it in colourful fabric, then pin up photos and other treasures your kid loves. Last up, don’t just install a coat hook on the back of their bedroom door. Instead, get hooks in fun shapes and colours and install them at different heights across one of the bedroom walls. Your child can hang up their sweaters, bags, dress-up clothes – and anything else they like!


No natural light in your loo? No problem! There are ways to make the absence of windows far less noticeable. For example, white or off-white walls keep the space feeling open, while dark walls will make it feel far smaller. If you’re not a fan of plain walls, opt for a very soft green or blue and then bring white in via accessories like towels, art and a rug. Another great way to deceive the eye into seeing more light is by adding reflective surfaces. A wall mirror is a must, but also consider installing a reflective vanity or mirrored accessories like silver picture frames or vases. Speaking of vanities, instead of a vanity with a full cabinet, choose one with thin legs and a small drawer. Sure, you lose out on a bit of storage space, but you gain a feeling of openness that can’t be beat.

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