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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Weekend Wander #87

Before I forget... If you haven't entered the Scentsy giveaway yet, hurry over and get your name in!  Giveaway closes 6/29/12 at 9:01pm PST.

Hey there, all!  Hope your week has been fabulous.  We've be able to see some old friends that we don't get to see nearly enough.  We're spending the weekend crossing off one of our 2012 Summer Bucket List items.  Family reunions are fun and I love that some of my other cousins are starting to have kiddos too so Little Monkey has someone to play with!  I'm the oldest grandchild on my dad's side, so there is kind of a gap between my youngest cousins and my kids.  My youngest cousins are just the right age to be bad examples and influences...  Sometimes it seems to be a game of how long it takes them to get Little Monkey in trouble.  Usually I get my 6-foot-three hubby to play policeman and fuss at them.  He's a bit more intimidating than me - the five-foot mama that can barely pick up her thirty pound toddler.  =)  In any case, we should at least get some delicious and tasty food...

You should share your awesome goodness so I can check it all out while I'm waiting impatiently for my turn on the boat...  link 'em up!  Oh, and this will be the first post on the page through Monday, as I'll be spending the day with family and eating birthday cake.  If I'm lucky, maybe I'll get a card or two.  =) Photobucket Photobucket

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our Dad Loves... Plaque

So, originally the title of this post was Our Dad Loves Plaque.  Then I realized that my hubby doesn't actually love that icky gunk that's on your teeth at the end of the day.  And then I changed the title.  Little side note there.  Anyways...

The week before Father's Day, my hubby was out of town.  That was also the worst week ever.  Ok, maybe a bit dramatic, but it was traumatizing nonetheless.  Dealing with everything from the cops, nosy neighbors, the ex-landlord from h-e-double hockey sticks (hehe), no tenants in our rental,  immunizations and sick kids by myself gave me a renewed respect for single parents.  You guys are AMAZING!  But, again, I digress.  So, I had to come up with something for Father's Day...

One night I sat bolt-up in bed with an image in my head.  I knew what to do.

This wasn't it.  But, actually, I ended up liking this better.
Want to make your own?  Here's the How:

- 1"x6" cut to 7.5 inches.  The guys at Home Depot or Lowe's can cut it for you.
- Vinyl subway art
- Transfer tape
- Wood stain
- Polyurethane

1.  Paint the stain on your wood plaque and let it dry completely.
2.  Design your subway art and cut it out of the vinyl with your craft cutter
3.  Weed out the extra vinyl.
4.  Cover with your transfer tape and rub over the tape firmly with a credit card, craft stick, scissor handles, whatever.  Pull the transfer tape up, making sure all the pieces stick to the tape.
5.  Position your vinyl over the plaque and then lay it gently down.  Rub over all the vinyl pieces again.  Firmly.
6.  Carefully, pull the transfer tape up, leaving the vinyl stuck to the wood.  If a piece sticks to the tape, lay it back down and rub over the spot again.  It seems to work best if you pull the transfer tape back at a 180 degree angle.
7.  Apply a thin coat of polyurethane sealant over the plaque to protect it.
8.  Install a sawtooth hanger on the back of the plaque and hang.

Love this, but hate the idea of all that work?  Don't have access to a craft cutter?  Not sure you trust yourself to design your subway art?  Let me take all the work out of this project.  Let me help you with any part of this project or get a completed, personalized version at your doorstep in about a week.  A heartfelt and awesome gift.  Not just for dad, adjust your subway art theme and the possibilities are endless.  See the details in my Etsy Shop. Photobucket Photobucket

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Outdoor Lighting

We just recently moved into a new house.  Woohoo.  It's super cute, the kitchen is huge, it has a garage (the hubby is totally stoked about that!) and a backyard.  A backyard with zero landscaping... not zeroscaping, but it's basically desert outside our sliding glass door.  There are a couple of raised planters on one side of the house, but other than that... nothing.  So, we've been trying to decide how to landscape the backyard.

I was contacted about hosting a guest post and when I read the topic of outdoor lighting, I knew I wanted to read it... so maybe you might too?  Well, here it is:

Outdoor Lighting
By Augie Bering, Bering's Hardware

Professional (and amateur) interior designers know how critical lighting design is for their clients. A well thought out lighting plan often makes the difference between a room that has a collection of nice furniture in it and one that appears as a well-designed whole, bringing together disparate elements into a space that seems to be cut from a single inspiration. Outdoor spaces deserve this same treatment, especially if you hope to use the outdoor room often.
Placement and Usage
The first question you must answer when deciding how to light your yard, patio or outdoor room is how the space will be used at night (or dusk). Some areas require area lighting that illuminates the faces of people sitting around a patio table or a set of benches. Other areas call for spot lighting to provide islands of light in an isolated nook or near an installed barbeque grill. Most commonly, outdoor spaces with any kind of steps or elevation need pathway lighting for safety and to outline flower gardens at night. First, you need to spend some time in the space with your current lighting (or lack thereof). Ask what areas need special attention and which areas maybe barely need additional lighting at all. Are there areas with spillover lighting from neighbors or streetlamps?

When you are using the space, will lights be on in the kitchen, shining out onto the patio? As with indoor decoration, it is almost always worth your time to use newspaper cutouts to simulate the placement of furniture as an aid to help you visualize results. Another surprisingly helpful exercise is to map out the area on paper and highlight the areas of light and darkness. This often identifies dark corners that can change the mood of your patio.

Lighting types
Outdoor lighting is a huge marketing category and there are many options for the potential customer at your local hardware store as well as specialized lighting dealers. Security lamps are generally high-output bulbs designed to bathe a large area in bright light without regard to the quality of light. If you are counting on a security light to provide all or part of your lighting, consider carefully how the light will seem over time. Much like industrial fluorescent lamps, security lights can grate on your sensibilities over time. Good lighting stores will have working models on site so that you can see how orange or blue a particular bulb will appear when working.

On the other end of the spectrum are small solar lamps that charge throughout the day and provide dim light for the first few hours of darkness. These are ideal for lighting steps or pathways. Although the light they provide is not the brightest, it suffices to warn pedestrians of trip hazards and is generally very pretty from the street at night. Solar lights don't necessarily have any external wiring and can therefore be moved around easily. For a more reliable string of low lights, consider a low voltage system. These plug into house current, but provide a transformer to step the voltage down to a safe level. Although these lights are more permanent than solar lights, the low voltage ensures that amateurs can install the lights easily.

At the top end of the walkway-type lighting systems are installed lighting. A system like this generally requires a contractor to set up well, as well as knowledge of your local electrical and building codes. On the other hand, using lights that can be dimmed or brightly illuminated is sometimes worth this extra expense. For spot lighting, one can rely on the same kind of lighting you might in an indoor room. Pendant lights are economical, environmentally friendly and very modern. Outdoor lamps that look nice enough to display in the living room are more common today than ever before. Never forget that old standby, the sconce. Since overhead lighting is rarely an option, many builders and decorators rely on installed lighting sconces to provide ambient lighting outdoors. If your outdoor room shares a wall with your house, it can be foolish not to take advantage of that electrical source and structure to mount lighting. For a traditional setting, a gas lamp is hard to beat. The cost of installing gas lighting can vary greatly depending on your house's gas line layout, so seek out several bids if you decide to follow that route.

Just Like Indoor Lighting, Except When It's Not
An outdoor room is called that because it is intended to be used the same as an addition to your house would be. When you decide to light that area, you must think about what is required and what you want to highlight when you turn the lights on, just as you would with new construction. On the other hand, outdoor lighting must be robust to stand up to the elements. Changes in temperature and humidity are hard on electronics generally and especially tough on lighting systems that have the additional heat of light bulbs to contend with. Enclosed fixtures build up heat inside them every day they are used and every time it rains moisture attempts to penetrate into the wiring and electrical contacts inside. Always use products rated for outdoor use and consider the environmental factors when you are planning in order to avoid long term disappointment. Also be aware that, as with any construction project, there may be legal and safety issues that should be addressed at the outset.

About the Author
August Bering V, "Augie" to his friends, is President of Bering's Hardware in Houston, TX. Bering's is well known for a broad range of carefully selected home goods such as outdoor living products to pet products, and red carpet service that has delighted customers for generations since 1940. From your bridal registry, decorating your first home, to your first baby registry, Bering's has special gifts for special occasions and the right tools for the right job. Augie enjoys spending time with his family and friends, grilling and cooking, playing hard outside, travelling, design, art, live music, and spending as much time as he can with his family.


What great information!  This is definitely something I will keep in mind while we are designing and building our backyard.  Thanks so much for sharing! Photobucket Photobucket

Monday, June 25, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade

What screams summer more than lemonade?  Maybe s'mores and a campfire...?  All good things in my book.  We've been doing Bountiful Baskets the last few months and have really enjoyed it.  It's been interesting and we've discovered that we're not super fond of plantains... but my sister-in-law is from Venezuela and luckily knows how to eat fix them.  She probably only eats one or two every time she makes them up.  The rest of us gobble them down.  Anyway.  We got lemons one time and I was super stoked... until they sat in our fridge for like three weeks.  My plans for them just never got done: lemon-herb chicken, lemon bars and even more lemony goodness.  They started to get a little mushy and it was then I knew the time had come... for some fresh lemonade.  However, we'd also gotten 8 lbs of strawberries one week so we have strawberries in the freezer and I definitely love me some strawberry lemonade.  It was decided.


4 large lemons
2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs vanilla extract
6-8 cups water

1.  Cut the lemons in half right through the middle.  Squeeze each lemon half into a gallon pitcher.  Squeeze as much juice out as you can.  You can use a juicer, but I just did it the old fashioned way and put my biceps to work.
2.  Puree the strawberries in the blender.  Mine were frozen so they were more slushy than liquid in consistency.  Pour into the pitcher with the lemon juice.
3.  Add the cup of sugar.
4.  Add water to the pitcher and mix well.  I'd suggest starting with 4 cups and then adding a cup at a time until you get the flavor you desire.  Add the vanilla and stir.
5.  Chill and serve.  Enjoy! Photobucket Photobucket

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weekend Wander #86

Welcome, welcome my friends.  I am trying to get all four of us packed for a family reunion all by my lonesome... and my boys have their schedules all mixed up.  I'm not usually one that demands routine, or even really likes it, but with kids... It sure makes life a whole lot easier!

Ok, let's do some fun stuff and announce the winners for the Say It On The Wall giveaway... are you ready? Drum roll, please........

And the winning entries are #23 and #10!  Congrats Kyra & Lori!  You've been emailed and Laura has sent instructions your way!

Didn't win the vinyl?  That's ok.  Right now you can enter for a Scentsy Plug-In and two scent bars!  Already have one or don't want one?  Enter and, if you win, you can give it to me for my birthday in a week and a half... =)  That giveaway is open now and will be until next week.

Ah, well, back to the laundry for me.  As for you, link 'em up! Photobucket Photobucket

{Giveaway!} Scentsy Warmer

Hey guys, I want to introduce you to Stephanie!  She is a wife, a mom to four boys (ranging in ages from one to 18) and an Independant Scentsy Consultant.  A houseful of five boys, two of them teenagers... Can you smell it?  Well, that's where Stephanie brings out her defense: Scentsy.  This is what she has to say about Scentsy:

"I love that Scentsy is safe for the kids, and dog, and I love what Scentsy is providing for my family.  I love Scentsy products and I can't wait to share it all with my current friends and future friends."

She sounds fabulous, doesn't she?!  And she wants to set one of you up with a plug-in warmer and two scent bars!  Told you she is awesome...  =)

Visit Stephanie's site and check out all the cool stuff she has available for you!
   Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter this awesome giveaway.  Good luck!

If the link to Stephanie's Facebook page isn't working in the widget, CLICK HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Photobucket Photobucket
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