Monthly Archives: May 2014

Easy Fire Pit

When we moved in there was already a short, strange little fire pit in the backyard. I have a feeling they had a metal fire bowl over it because the rocks were sparkling clean and showed no signs of burning. We considered getting a fire bowl but the kids really enjoy taking the rocks out and throwing them around the yard, which sure makes mowing interesting.

Here they are in action. See how short the rim of the circle is?

So we went to Home Depot (and forgot out 10% off coupon) and and bought some more bricks almost exactly like what was already in our yard but in a different color. Brown. Pretty wild.

We just added two more layers around the fire pit to make it more substantial.

When you make your fire pit make sure the ground is LEVEL. It will save you the grief of realizing it’s all wonky and you won’t have to re-do it. It may not look like a big deal, but those blocks are heavy! Plus it started to rain so we were trying to hurry.

I am so excited to get some wood and have our kids roast their marshmallows for the first time!

This picture was taken before it was 100% finished, oops. You still get the idea.

Next we need to replace the chair that broke the other day and get the kids some little chairs and we can all sit out and enjoy a fire!


Monday Pick Me Up

It’s May, and it’s the beginning of wedding season in my group of friends. So far I’ve seen three couples tie the knot in the past month or so. I could not be more happy for them! And I’m extremely excited for the weddings still to come this year.

In honor of wedding season, here is a fantastic picture I wish I could’ve thought of back when I was engaged or getting married. Lesson to my friend: you must do this. There is no choice. It is too amazing.


Congratulations to all my “precious” friends!

Free Americana Decor!

I was in the mood to make something but was home with the kids, so that limited what I could do. I remembered I had a bunch of paint stirring sticks in my trunk so I brought those inside. Why I had so many I do not know but it worked out well for me. I think it’s from when I would get a can of paint and they’d give me 2 sticks when I only needed one…then I slowly stocked up.


I counted seven sticks, laid them out, and thought they looked like a good flag shape. I got some old acrylic craft paint I have had for years, red, white, and brown. By the end of the project I used 9 sticks total, FYI.


I eye-balled how much red I thought I’d need to cover the front of half of the sticks then mixed some brown in it. I didn’t want it to be primary red and thought the brown would vintage it up a bit. You can change the amount of brown you put in for the look you are going for.


Then I painted the sides and top of four of the sticks. I painted the side without any writing on it from the store so it wouldn’t show through. I also didn’t put a SUPER thick coat on because I wanted to see a little of the wood grain through the paint.

Once the red was done I did the same thing with white. Added a little brown, but much less brown than I added to the red because a little goes a long way here. Then I painted the remaining three sticks in the same manner. Some parts needed a second coat but not much.

After they have dried (only about 10 minutes for me because the coats were so thin) lay them in alternating colors to make your flag. Sand the edges if you want them to be distressed. I did this step after I already stuck them all together so I could only distress the outside edges of the flag.


You can line the ends up exactly but I made them a little mis-matched. Then, carefully flip them all over so they are paint side down. Adjust as needed if they slipped.

Get your adhesive. You can use Elmer’s glue, hot glue, or any kind of adhesive that would work on a lightweight project. I had some foam adhesive thingys leftover from hanging wood letters of my kids’ names in their rooms. (Note: they are so sticky they took wall paint off when I removed them!)


I cut them into tiny squares because I knew they wouldn’t need much to hold it together.


Remove one side of the adhesive and stick them all in a line.


The next part is pretty funny, I can tell you my method is not the best. I got two more paint sticks from my painting supplies that already had been used to mix paint. The. I measured how long they needed to be to attach to all the painted sticks together without showing from behind. I then snapped the stick end off that I didn’t need on the edge of my kitchen counter. Sand the raw edge. (Another note: I scraped my hand pretty well doing this, so if you have a small saw or even strong clippers I would suggest you try that!) Now attach the ghetto stick to the line of sticky pads. Or glue.


Repeat for the other side of the flag. Make sure your sticks are parallel with each other before you finish up.


There is the base of your flag. Pretty cute so far. But I hated how you could tell that they were paint sticks from the “handle” ends and wanted to cover that while adding some form of stars or blue.

At the beginning of this project I had planned on either making some stars out of burlap or going to the craft store for small wood stars. But in the essence of free, I went into my fabric scrap pile and got some of my husband’s retired jeans. I drew a star by hand, then held it onto a window and traced the outline of that star on the other side then cut out the star. I used that star to trace with a pen on the back of the denim and cut out enough stars to cover the holes in the flag then glued them down with Elmer’s glue.


There you have it! Now I just need to find my twine or some wire and then I can hang it outside for Memorial Day weekend.

I wouldn’t recommend making oodles of these because that would be taking advantage of paint store sticks. But if you already had them like I did, then go for it!

Monday Pick Me Up

Mondays are really hard. Whether your Monday falls on an actual Monday or another day of the week, it’s always hard. So I thought I’d offer you a Monday Pick Me Up of something fun or funny to make your day a little less “ugh.”


I know we are on a break from BBC’s Downton Abbey but this meme could apply to any show you try to sneak in during nap time. I sure love Downton Abbey!

Not often do I watch Downton (or any tv, for that matter) during nap time, but when I do I love it.

Coming soon: A fix to my internet router problem and a *free* 4th of July decoration! Yes, it’s May and it’s early but I got the inspiration and didn’t want to wait or forget!

Bookshelf or No Bookshelf?

I have recently moved into our second home ever but our first home in Washington. We love it. It’s two stories and has 4 bedrooms, great open concept, and the layout is great for our family. We have the basics unpacked but still have our loft and garage filled with things we need to organize or finish taking out of boxes.

One corner in my living room is bothering me. As you see we have a massive sectional couch that we bought with comfort in mind more than looks. It’s microfiber, tan, and luxuriously comfortable. With all our belongings in storage for almost a year it’s been this couch that we missed the most. So with this large couch we really only have one place to put it in our family room. It’s working as a great room divider but it does fill up most of the room.

It’s aiming at our fireplace which has a built in shelf above it for a tv. Now, keep in mind, I have not been able to decorate hardly at all since moving in, but let me show you the cluttered area I’ll be talking about. (Pretty certain this photo was taken a day or two after moving day.)




We have those two cubby-like areas that eventually I’d like to build floating shelves into. And see the beautiful extension cord off to the right? I’d like to thank whoever built the house for NOT putting an electrical outlet up on the shelf so I can hide the electronic cords(sarcasm).

And what you can’t see is on the floor in the corner where the cords lead is our wifi router. So I need some kind of shelf or something to put the router up higher so my kids don’t mess with it or stand on it. Or my puppy chews on it.

Any ideas on what I can do? I’m mainly hung up on the router/shelf need and the cluttered chaos of the TV ledge. Do you have any problem areas in your house that you get stuck on?


The Blur of Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day weekend was quite the whirlwind! On Saturday I took my mom out to do a little shopping, lunch at Panera (hello Fuji Apple Chicken Salad!), and then we spent a few hours digging through every corner of our favorite antique store in downtown Puyallup.

I finally found a washboard that I have been wanting for a year and a cute little milk glass stem vase. I found something else that was love at first sight that I’ll tell you about in another post. Anyway, it was perfect timing getting a single stem vase because at church the next morning they handed out a flower to every mother.

Then, after my antiquing and a quick hour long trip to Joann Fabrics, I went home. when I came to the front door my husband opened the door with the video camera filming. Uh oh. What is he up to??? Turns out this is what he was up to!!

He got us a precious labradoodle! My 3rd baby. She’s a sweet little ball of fluffy curls and kisses, it was instant love. So far my daughter has taken to naming her Elsa Puppy (thanks, Disney) and that’s the best name idea we have so far.

The rest of the day was spent playing with Elsa puppy inside and outside. Forgive the extremely un-mowed grass.


And yes, my kids playing in that rock/fire pit more than with the new puppy. Figures.

See that cute dress she’s wearing? Got that a JCP’s on clearance. Score!


Look at that face. After the first night being rough we are now doing much better with potty training. We need to get her some more toys so she isn’t going after my kids toys. And we should probably pick up or make some of that anti-teething spray. Off to Pinterest I go to look for a DIY recipe!

Has your significant other ever surprised you like this? And remember my post about how my husband is awesome at surprises?? I wasn’t kidding. He has also come home with a car for me.

Disclaimer though: In all these surprises we have both talked seriously about the purchase beforehand. The surprise is the arrival time. We had money saved for a car and we both agreed on exactly what we wanted. With this puppy we both agreed on getting a laboradoodle sometime this year. The TIMING and ARRIVAL is the surprise. 😉

Homemade White Mocha

This morning I tried to have some coffee before both kids woke up, but that didn’t  happen. Hours later I noticed my mostly full mug of coffee was cold. No wonder I was still dragging! Today is a rare day where both kids are napping at the same time, so I decided to make myself a “fancy” cup of coffee. I wanted Starbucks, but I hate to spend so much on coffee every time I get the craving (Which, let’s be honest, is daily- almost multiple times a day). I got the idea here, it’s a copy cat white mocha that doesn’t involve an espresso machine. It’s not exactly the same but it sure hit the spot today.

You will need:

  • Strong coffee, freshly brewed
  • 2/3 C milk (The original post-er used whole but I used 1%)
  • 1/2 C white chocolate baking chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon (garnish)
  • White chocolate shavings (garnish)

by: Babies&Birks


  1. Add milk and chocolate chips to saucepan or double boiler and heat until the chips are melted and milk is hot.
  2. While that is melting, start your coffee. (I used my Keurig)
  3. Add your melted mixture into your coffee until it reaches the top of your mug. Add whip cream.
  4. If desired, add a sprinkle of cinnamon or chocolate shavings.

Makes enough for two lattes or one large latte. And yes, I put mine in a Starbucks mug. 😉

You can always use other flavors of chocolate chips, there are all kinds out there to customize for your preferences! I’m thinking peppermint around Christmas? Caramel? Milk chocolate? Mmmm….