The 4th of July weekend is a busy camping weekend. Yep, made plans with a friend of mine to take our kids camping for the weekend.
This is just another reason that I love our club camp-site... I didn't have to worry about making reservations or finding a decent campsite over a holiday weekend. We just decided we wanted to go and off we went. No making reservations months in advance. Plus, very little packing since we keep all of our stuff at our camp-site.
I'm not gonna post a bunch of pics, but the kids had fun riding bikes, swimming, and exploring together. Of course, we had a campfire and made some s'mores. I got eaten by a few mosquitos and so did one or two of the kids, but we all survived. LOL
The fourth of July happens to be my birthday. I never know quite what to do... Families go on vacation, camping, to family parties, etc., etc. The point is that it's a great day for a get-together, but often people tend to be busy with their own families. Unfortunately, all our family lives out-of-state, so we have gotten used to doing smaller-scale get-togethers. So, when I find out a few friends are available on the 4th - I tell 'em to come on over!
I like my birthday, so I am really not complaining. However, birthdays on or around any holiday can make parties a bit more difficult. My daughter has it much worse...her birthday is Christmas Eve. No slumber party for her on her actual birthday...probably EVER. My other daughter isn't much better off, either. Her birthday falls the week of Thanksgiving... sometimes on Thanksgiving Day. Yep, we usually have to celebrate her birthday with her friends before or after that week. So, we might not have huge birthday bashes here, but we sure do enjoy our little parties!
I decided not to buy a regular table-cloth. Instead, I bought some cute material at JoAnn's Fabric & Craft Store. I bought a couple yards of Fabric Central's Honeydew Collection (which matches a bundle or two I already have). I simply cut it (with pinking shears) to fit over my folding tables. Since I am planning to re-use this fabric for something in the future, I wanted to protect it from food/beverage spills. So, I bought a cheap clear shower curtain, cut off the edges, threw on a disposable table runner, and voilà! Boring card tables transformed into cuteness!
What party is complete without some dessert? Who needs cake? We do! So how about some festive, summer-time cupcakes!?! I used Pillsbury's Orangesicle and Key Lime cake mixes and corresponding seasonal flavored tubs of frosting. Mmm... Of course, I had to add sugar sprinkles, choose some cute-polk-a-dot wrappers and festive picks to put in them. Nope, I didn't stick with just the traditional patriotic colors. Since it's also my birthday, so I opted for some aqua blues and some reds (and some pinks, too!)
Backyard Party Prep...
Opened the umbrellas, put out some Tiki torches, a Tiki globe, some candles, and mini-paper lanterns. Made sure everything was swept and cleaned off before bringing out the snacks, too!
We chatted and enjoyed some snacks and drinks. A little while later we threw some burgers and hotdogs on the grill. After dinner, we let the kids play with some little things like poppers, smoke bombs, sparklers, and what-not. As it got darker, we got our fireworks all ready and watched our own little show. While we watched fireworks, I dished everyone up some birthday (cup) cake and ice-cream. It wasn't a big party or anything, but I enjoyed the company! It was a great birthday and 4th of July for me!
Have a wonderful July!
Around the 4th of July, we like to let our red, white, & blue shine. So, we painted out nails with our own version of stars (dots) and stripes!
You can start with a clear base coat if you would like. I painted the fingers on each hand the same way...3 blue nails and 2 red ones. For the red, I used OPI's Chick Flick Cherry on myself and used Big Apple Red on my daughter. I painted every-other nail red and the other ones Sally Hansen's Co-Bolt Blue. After the solid colors were painted, I used a white Sally Hansen nail art pen to make the stripes on red nails and dots (stars) on the blue ones. A manicure always looks great with a top coat. Plus, even better is a quick-drying one! I like to use INM's Out The Door for that. Of course, Seche Vite makes a top coat that one of my friends swears by. Whatever products you like to use - have fun with your nail art!
After re-painting the decks and cleaning up our yard, it was time to improve the view. By that, I mean it was time to replace our back sliding-door that had become all foggy. Functionally, it worked, although the lock had always been "iffy" and didn't work quite right. So, we got a new slider installed. WOW! Right away, it made a difference looking outside and the room even seemed brighter! Seems silly that some new panes of glass can improve the view, but they sure can!
Basic idea...sorry it's a little blurred
Today was my last art/craft project of the school year with my daughter's 6th grade class. The kids were all great & I enjoyed being able to share some time with them.
Since it is Father's Day on Sunday, I had opted to have the students make cards for their dads rather than have a more formal art "lesson". Besides, it's only fair since we made cards for Mother's Day, right? With the time I'm allotted, something simple seemed the best route. My idea was to do a basic no-fold card with an envelope that the kids would personalize with a drawn & cut-out fish, some stamps, hand-written messages, & glitter glue. My quick cut-out example (I didn't even draw it first, so hopefully it looks fish-like) is in the pic. LOL. Just the basic idea to show the class. Time was flying & I was busy, so I forgot to take pics of the students cards when we were through.
Previously, I had given them a lesson on hand-stamping for another project, so just some verbal instructions & stamp-cleaning reminders were really all that were needed this time. Of course, I helped them draw or cut their fish out if they needed any assistance, but I told them it was their project & to go for it. Some of their fish were big, some were little, some had eyes & mouths, some had lines drawn on the fins. It was fun to see all the different fish the kids cut out. Plus, they all seem to really like using the stamps. ;o)
Hopefully, they learned a few things during our short time together this year, but most of all I hope they had fun and continue to use their creativity throughout their lives. ART is AWESOME!
Ok, so we have been using a power washer a lot this spring. My husband did the driveway and all of our sidewalk. Then he showed me how to use it. I cleaned off both our decks with the power washer before I repainted them. We took it to our campsite and my husband cleaned the deck off (so I could repaint that one, too) and he cleaned the wintery muck off of our trailer, too.
What I didn't realize before he cleaned the driveway and sidewalk, is that they were really dark & dirty. I never thought anything of it since most everyone's around here look that way. Seriously, they are not like everyone else's now. They are cleaner!
The biggest difference is the fence! It was so dingy and faded looking. Really, I thought it needed to just be replaced. I had no idea that it could look so different just by using a power washer on it.
It's nice to get away, even if it is just to a relaxing corner of the yard. I think everyone needs a little place to escape to. I feel pretty lucky we have a little home away from home where we like to spend time. We became members of a camping club of sorts a few years ago. Being able to spend family time close to my home, but not too close is great.
It was much bigger than the trailer that had been on our site. This one actually fits our family with some room to spare. We love it. Our site is pretty good, too. Unfortunately, the covered deck prevented us from being able to use the trailer's larger awning. Which would be nice for extra shade or when it's raining. We live in Washington, so rain is not that surprising even in the summer months. Plus, as pretty as the moss is when the ground is wet, it's rather soggy. When the moss is all dry, it gets EVERYWHERE. After a few years of it being tracked into cars, tents, trailers, and on clothing - we'd had enough of it. So, we decided to gravel our site like many other members have done. We had it delivered, but it was still a lot of work to finish spreading the gravel around.
We decided to remove the roof from the deck & open it up more in order to use it with our new larger trailer. While we were at it, we did some more painting. Now it matches our shed & wood furniture up there. Plus, all the wood furniture got some touch ups. The table & benches really needed a fresh coat of paint. We also hung some new wind chimes and some pretty string lights that I already had.
Seriously, I can't wait to go up there to relax. We've worked so hard the past two trips there to get things done. I think it has been worth it, though! So, if I'm MIA, I'm probably hanging out & enjoying my little retreat.
While I was painting the decks, my sweet husband was working on another project. We have a little pond in our backyard. It pretty much looks like it is sitting atop a mound from my house. We like our yard enough, but every year the dirt & bark/mulch slide down the hill. It's a silly & repetitive battle that I had grown tired of. So, I asked my husband if he could make tiers there. WooHoo - he got it all done!
It was important to have him finish the tiers, so we could get the rest of the bark/mulch unloaded from the bed of the truck. We did that and spread it in our backyard. (We had already spread the other half in our front yard last week.) We finished just in time, too, since we need to use the truck for hauling a few things around this weekend. :)
Have a great weekend everyone!
Feeling a little dingy
Even with all the plants I potted and had sitting on my front porch (which is a small deck), it looked a little beat up. The lovely plants and wonderful weather overwhelmed me and made me want to continue to freshen up the entry area to my home. So, first I had to clear off the deck and then it was time to use a pressure washer. I had never used one before, but my husband was kind enough to get me set up and started with a quick run through. The front porch looked very dingy to me even after cleaning it with a deck & fence cleaner we picked up at Home Depot.
I had originally picked "wood chip" but once the store mixed it, I ended up with "padre brown" since their mixer had been making everything a shade darker than they intended. I told them it would work fine for me, that I would just pay for it & use it anyway.
Before I cleaned the deck off, I had made a trip to pick up some new paint for it. Since, the decks had always been painted a natural cedar (orangey) color, I thought it was time to change things up a bit. Considering that dirt & scuff marks might not be as noticeable if the deck were a darker color, I opted for a darker brown. I wanted a full-coverage, opaque stain, so BEHR's Deckover product would be great.
After a fresh coat of white on the railing.
With just a paintbrush, an old can of acrylic outdoor white for the railing, and a can of the Deckover for the floor, I was ready to get to work. It took me all of last Saturday, but I got the front porch (deck) finished. No insects claimed my life even though they scared me a few times.
Before & After Shots
So, then Sunday I moved on to the back deck. Seriously, it took me the whole day to power wash and then repaint/touch-up the white railing around it. I only re-painted where it really needed it.
Painting continued on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and I just finished up this morning (Thursday). Yes, it took a lot of time, but I did it all by hand with just a paintbrush. Why, you might ask? Because, I wanted to really get in all the cracks and along all the edges with paint. A roller wouldn't have done as good of a job or put the paint on quite as smoothly. How do I know? I've tried before. Are my paint-jobs perfect? No, but I think my projects look 100% better than they did before I started. :)
Now, I'm feeling a bit more experienced with exterior paint projects...yep, I've painted these decks at least twice by myself since we moved here. Would I want to paint the exterior of my home? No way! Heights kinda freak me out and it seems worse the older I get. We paid someone to do that a couple years ago and I would gladly pay someone to paint my house again the next time, too. LOL
Just because it's not Earth Day doesn't mean we can't talk about re-ducing, re-using and re-cycling a bit more...
So, you might already be doing this or maybe you could just use some ideas. So, this post is just a friendly reminder about how useful some items can be when re-purposed around our own homes. Then, when you no longer need an item or it gets too worn out, (if applicable) recycle the old item and you can just make/use a newer one. Something to think about as you do some spring cleaning...out with the old & in with the new (or renewed in this case)!
Need a place to store plastic grocery bags? Well, my friend did. She had re-puposed this large plastic (cheese ball) container into a terrarium first, but when she was through with that...she realized it would hold plenty of grocery sacks that they could use for bathroom garbage-can liners and for pet clean-up. Her hand/arm fits into the mouth easily to put in or take out sacks. Any bags that don't fit, she takes to the recycling receptacle at the grocery store. Simple!
Have pets? These kitty litter containers have been washed and re-used. Why didn't I think about cutting the lid off a container to use as a large funnel? Or even using a simple plastic bottle to make a small funnel!?!
Using the same size containers - one for a funnel and & one for pet food storage makes re-filling easy. Just hold the "mouths" together while pouring the bagged food into the funnel & watch it slide easily into the storage container. Thanks Karen, for sharing with me & letting me take a few pictures, too! :)
Not only can they be made into funnels, but you can cut the top of the container off a little differently to make a handy scoop.
Think about all the ways you could re-use different containers just for storing things like...
bulk bird seed
rock-salt/water softener pellets
Milk jugs, laundry detergent & bleach containers can be re-purposed, too. For a quick list of ideas, click the button below.
Just because it's not a jug or regular shaped container doesn't mean it's not useful...
Egg-cartons are great for making fire-starters (paper egg-cartons only), growing plant starts (any type egg-carton), and organizing small items especially in drawers (any type of egg-carton). (i.e. push pins, paperclips, safety pins, small elastics, tiny batteries, little binder clips, barrettes, bobby pins, earrings, other jewelry, etc.)
My name is Candie. Many labels describe me including wife, mom, friend, and independent consultant. However, alone, none of them capture all that I am or love and there are too many to list. Some of my likes include cooking, crafting, and creating. Reading, camping, and spending time with my family also bring me joy. I love my life...