DIY Fire Pit

July 29, 2014

DIY Fire Pit

Earlier in the spring I came across a DIY fire pit post from another blogger.  I pinned it and convinced Dear Husband that this fire pit would make a perfect addition to our back yard.  

I’m happy to announce that our DIY fire pit is a success!  We have had a few fires and many s’mores.  

My original idea was to fill in the seating area with pea gravel.  But after some calls to local dirt and gravel suppliers I realized pea gravel delivery is no small task.  Plus, we would have had to dig out the grass or kill it and after seeing how hard the dirt was just from digging out the small pit, I wasn’t willing to go to that much work.  Grassy seating area it is!

DIY Fire Pit Instructions 

These instructions are for a pit approximately 4 feet in diameter.  I say “approximately” because we bought enough stones to make it 4 ft pit but after digging and setting the first layer of stones, we realized we should have dug just a few inches wider.  Each layer is one stone smaller than it should be.  By the time we realized not all of the stones would fit we were too far in and tired to remove the first layer of stones and dig out some more dirt.  I’ve never been much for precision anyway.  I bet the guys who built Stone Heng missed the mark by a few inches and were like…”awww…f-it.  Who ordered these blocks so huge?  Their effing heavy! Just leave it; no one will notice anyway”

Supplies:

52 Retaining Wall stones  $2.25/ea

3 tubes Loctite Landscape Adhesive $4.97/ea

3 bags .5 cu ft pea gravel  $3.48/ea

bricks (optional)

spray paint

shovel

DIY Fire Pit

 

 Step 1:  Pick a spot that isn’t too close to any trees or have any branches hanging near it.  Pick a spot that is level (mostly).  Once you have found the perfect spot measure 4 feet across and mark both ends with spay paint.  Put a stick in the ground in the center of the two marks you just made.  Use a string tied to the center stick to help guide you around your circle, connecting the two dots with spray paint.

Step 2:  Start digging.  A sharp shooter shovel works really well to make a nice clean cut into the dirt along your line.  Dig down about 6-8 inches and remove all the dirt.  Make the bottom of your pit as smooth and level as you can by using a board to scrape away the bumps and clods of dirt.

DIY Fire Pit

Step 3:  Lay your first layer of stones around the edge of your pit.  You may have to add or take away a little dirt under the stones to make sure they are level.  There will be space between the stones and the wall of dirt.  That’s okay.

So here’s how this played out for us.  We put down the first circle and wondered why we could only fit 12 stones.  We knew that the size of these stones made a 4 ft. circle with 13 stones.  Well, when I dug out my pit I dug on the inside of my spray paint mark.  I should have dug on the outside of the mark.  Just those few inches all the way around made it so we could only fit 12 stones.  At that point I was getting tired and not willing to pull out the stones and dig out a few inches all the way around.  We adjusted the stones little by little until 12 made a circle and they were all touching.

DIY Fire Pit

Step 4:  It’s time to stack the next layer of stones.  Before you place the first stone, apply a few generous dollops of landscape adhesive (you will need a caulk gun).  Stagger the blocks so that one block is on top of the joint where two blocks come together.  Glue, stack, glue, stack, glue, stack.  This process goes faster if you have a partner.

Continue until you have stacked 4 levels of stones.  We had enough stones to make 5 layers.  After making a fire, making s’mores and staring at it with my head cocked to one side, we decided 4 levels of stones is the perfect amount.

Step 5 (optional): Line the bottom with bricks.  We had bricks left over from when we put up a fence that needed brick columns.  Having a smooth, hard surface will make it a little bit easier to shovel out the ashes.

Step 6:  Fill in the space between the stones and the inside of wall of dirt with pea gravel.  Put down enough pea gravel to create a little border all around the bottom of your fire pit.  It just looks nice and keeps grass in check.

DIY Fire Pit

You may be wondering…where did you find those cute red chairs?  And where did you get those cool tree stumps that make perfect side tables? The chairs are from Lowes and were only $19 each.  The tree stumps are from a friend who lost a big oak tree in the last ice storm and had to chop it down.  Next time you have a huge ice storm, drive around town a week or so later and you will see these awesome logs sitting out in front of houses waiting for the city to pick them up.  

DIY Fire Pit

This photo was taken before we decided 5 layers of stone was too much.  Thankfully we didn’t glue down the top layer.  

DIY Fire Pit

 

DIY Fire Pit

 

We have loved using our fire pit this summer.  Roasting s’mores or relaxing with my sweetie; either way it was completely worth the effort.

 

 

 

70s Playlist

July 25, 2014

Earlier this month we threw a 1970s themed party.  Among the polyester, platforms and mustaches was an amazing 70s playlist.

Dear Husband took it upon himself to create the perfect 70s playlist.  He worked on this bad boy for weeks, possibly months.  All the music had to be from 1974 or earlier and was a perfect mixture of soul, funk, rock and very early punk.  

He had 4 hours of music plus an alternate list for the late night guests.  This is just a sampling of his master list:

Carl Davis – Kung Fu Fighting

Barry White – Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Babe

Love Unlimited Orchestra – Love’s Theme

Stevie Wonder – You Haven’t Done Nothin’

Kool & The Gang – Jungle Boogie

Jackson 5 – Dancing Machine

Neil Diamond – Cracklin’ Rose

Hall & Oats – Rich Girl

Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds

Bill Donaldson & The Haywoods – Billy Don’t Be A Hero

Andy Kim – Rock Me Gently

The Isley Brothers – That Lady

Friends of Distinction – Grazing In The Grass

Isaac Hayes – Theme from Shaft

David Bowie – Rebel Rebel

Chicago – 25 or 6 to 4

The Commodores – Machine Gun

Bay City Rollers – Saturday Night

Sweet – Ballroom Blitz

B.J. Thomas – Hooked On A Feeling

Billy Preston – Nothing From Nothing

The Kiki Dee Band – I’ve Got The Music In Me

Led Zeppelin – Over The Hills And Far Away

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a listen and let me know what you think of our super 70s playlist.

 

This month my friend Mari from Mari, Quite Contrary is hosting a mixed tape link up.  Got a mixed tape of your own?  Check it out and link it up.
Mari, Quite Contrary

 

Washing Machine Woes

July 24, 2014

maytag washing machine

36 – Facebook conversations about washing machine brands and how they just don’t last like they used to 

32 – washing machine reviews I read online

12 – phone calls with my repairman discussing what I should do

10 – Days my washing machine was been broken

9 – Facebook friends who made repairman recommendations

6 – loads of laundry ready and waiting for the new washer

3 – tweets with Maytag hoping they would throw me a bone

2 – loads of laundry that I did at my mother-in-law’s house

1 – underwear left until I would have to hand wash or go commando

 

 

1970s Themed Party

July 22, 2014

This summer Dear Husband turned…ahem…40.  To celebrate this momentous occasion we threw a 1970s themed party.  Themed dress required.

1970s themed party

Right now you may be wondering several things…Where can I get a kick-ass terry cloth jumpsuit like that?  Is that a wig you’re wearing?  How can you guys possibly be so awesome?

Lets start with the kick-ass terry cloth jumpsuit.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find one in any store or online.  My jill-of-all-traits friend made it for Dear Husband.  The inspiration came from Goldfinger.  I know, Goldfinger is 1964, but you still wear clothes you’ve had for 10 years.  Right?  We just showed her a picture and she replicated it.  She is ah-maze-ing.

Next, the hair.  

Dear Husband suggested I make my hair look like Bernadette Peters from The Jerk.  Because I love him very much I was happy to turn my normally straight hair into a ’70s white girl fro.  

Here’s how this went down…The morning of the party I went to a salon and had them roll it like I was getting a perm.  I made sure to emphasize that I was NOT getting a perm and under no circumstances should she put the perm solution on my hair.  I left the rollers in all. day. long.  I even had to go out in public with rollers in my hair.  By 5:30 I couldn’t take it any more and had to get them out of my hair.  BFF helped me get the most lift possible with lots of back combing and three different types of hair spray.  

1970s themed party

True love says I will get a perm for a day

Speaking of hair…that is a real mustache on Dear Husband.  He has sported a beard for over 3 years and shaved it off just so he could have a sweet stash and chops.  I think he is going to start working on his beard tomorrow.

It take a lot of work to be this awesome.  We worked on the yard for months and Dear Husband worked on his playlist for weeks.  Since food was relatively easy (pizza rolls, jell-o salad, pretzel dogs, chip/dips & pie) we got all fancy with the drinks.  The Clinton Cooler is a drink that Dear Husband’s dad made up a long time ago and has been serving pool side to keep things refreshing.  Cap’n & Ging is a drink we made up with our dear friends when we lived in LA.  Amazingly it tastes like a cream soda.  Hurricane Carmen (named after the major tropical storm of 1974) I made up on the fly in the liquor store.

1970s themed party

 

 I was so impressed with our guests.  They all really put thought into their costumes and came ready to party like it was 1974.  Hello double knit and polyester.

1970s themed party

 

1970s themed party

 

1970s themed party

 

1970s themed party

 

1970s themed party

 

Happy birthday Dear Husband.  You’re a keeper…with or without the mustache.

Finding Family Activities

July 18, 2014

I’m constantly on the look out for fun activities for the kiddos in our area.  Most of the time I rely on word of mouth and FB but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go to a website and find all sorts of family activities near you?  

family activities

 

Enter Chatter Block.  Chatter Block is a new site that gives you a list of all the family activities in your area.  They currently have 13 US cities and 10 cities in Canada you can search to find all the fun stuff to do.  Once they get the word out about how awesome their site is they will be adding more cities.  A quick search of the OKC area brought up tons of kid and family activities.  You can also narrow the search to a certain date, teens, kids, concerts, weekends, free, and libraries/museums.

Right now Chatter Block has a $500 Toys R Us giveaway going on.  What?  $500 smackers?! Yes, sign up for their newsletter to enter.  Click here.

So, what is your favorite family activities in your area?

How to Install a Little Free Library

July 14, 2014

install a little free library

This post should really be titled: How to Install a Little Free Library for the Carpentry Challenged

Have you seen my Little Free Library?  It’s so cute and my neighbors are starting to catch on.  I’ve noticed that a few books have been borrowed and some new books have been left in it.

One thing my LFL didn’t come with was instructions on how to secure it in the ground.  Dear Husband and I are creative but not exactly carpenters.  Thankfully my awesome-possum blogging friend, Heather a.k.a. Minivan-Mamma, also has a LFL and had figured out a stress free way to get that baby up and running.

Everything you need can be found at Home Depot.  (But then again, what can’t be found at Home Depot or Lowes when it comes to home projects?)

install a little free library

How to Install a Little Free Library Supplies and Instructions:

What you need:

2 mail box posts ($24 each)
2 50 lb. bags of quick-setting Quikrete ($5 each)
level
3 inch screws
1 quart wood stain ($7)
paint 
long stick i.e. broom stick, to stir Quikrete
measuring tape
painters tape
2 paint brushes (one for the stain and one for paint.  Use a synthetic brush.  Natural bristles are a mess)

You can find the basic mail box post in the lumber section at the hardware store.  These are about $24 each.  If you want something a little more fancy there is a bigger selection on Home Depot website.  However, it was a stroke of luck that the depth of the post where you would normally secure the mailbox is the exact depth of the basic LFL.  Score.

Warning: this is a two person job.  Do not try to do this by yourself or you will curse the day you ever learned what quikcrete was.

Thoughts on paint:  If you only want to paint the panels of your LFL you just need a smidge of outdoor paint and buying a quart is a waste of money.  Problem solved…There is a display of Behr sample paint at the paint counter.  Pick out the color you want from the Behr paint chips then pick the paint sample type you want, i.e. indoor, outdoor, eggshell, satin, etc.  The paint guy will mix just that little bit and it’s only a couple of bucks as opposed to spending $15 on a quart.  Genius!

Thoughts on stain:  I found out the hard way that the small, 8 oz. can of stain is not quit enough to stain the posts and LFL.  1 quart is more than enough but cheaper than buying two small cans.

install a little free library

1.  Before you leave the store have an employee cut 4-6 inches off the bottom of the mail box posts.  These bad boys are pretty tall and this will save you the trouble of having to dig a super deep hole.

2.  Once you have decided on the perfect location for your LFL; dig a hole 18 inches deep and about 3 times as wide as the post width.

3.  While one person holds the post in place in the hole (while keeping it level…by using a level), the stronger person needs to pour about half of the bag of Quikrete into the hole.  Add water, stir, add water, stir.  The consistency should be like pancake batter.  Add the other half of the bag and repeat. This stuff sets up super fast so stir like the wind.

4.  Give yourself a breather and let it set up before digging the next hole.  A couple hours or overnight, depending on your level of exhaustion.

5.  Measure the width of your LFL.  Use that measurement to figure out how far apart the two posts should be.  Mark that spot and dig the second hole.  Use a piece of board and level to make sure the posts are lined up.  You may have to add or take away a little dirt until you get the two posts horizontally level with each other.

6.  Once you have the second post right where you want it repeat step 3.

7.  Allow the set up, 1-2 hours.  Secure the LFL to the posts with the 3 inch screws.  We used 6 screws; 3 through the bottom of the LFL down into the horizontal arm of the post.

8.  Stain and paint.

Little Free Library

Little Free Library

Install a Little Free Library

Done!  This process took us two days but could be done in one day if you started first thing in the morning.  After all the supplies and two trips to Home Depot we spent about $70.

Do you have a LFL?  How easy/hard was your installation process?

LTYM The Wait Is Over

July 9, 2014

LTYM

Finally!  Finally, the wait is over.  Way back in May I was so proud to be part of the Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) Oklahoma City cast. Everybody wanted to see a video and I had to keep telling them…”This summer.  The official videos will come out this summer.”

Well, it’s summer and the official LTYM videos are here! Squeeeeeeeee!

First thing your going to want to do is set aside an entire afternoon and evening.  There are A LOT of shows to watch and once you start watching one you just keep clicking to watch the next.  Kinda like when you get the first season of Breaking Bad from Netflix and think I’ll just watch the pilot to see what this is about and then before you know it the sun is coming up and you have watched the entire series.

Subscribe to the LTYM YouTube channel so you can watch and watch.

Next, you’re going to want to watch this.  Here is yours truly reading my essay on defining motherhood.

Now, go to the Oklahoma City LTYM YouTube page.  Here you will find an amazing cast telling their story.  Stories of how a burn victim became a beautiful, strong woman thanks to her mother’s fierce love.  How a mother who was scared of everything found strength within herself to face all of our biggest fears; cancer.  You will find an amazing woman give her mother’s long overdue eulogy.  You will hear the struggle of what it’s like when mother and daughter switch places and the daughter finds herself having to be the responsible one.  You will nod along when you hear how the world can define you as just a stay at home mom…but being just that is more than enough.  

That is just the tip of the iceberg.  I promise you will laugh and cry and nod in agreement.  You will love this show with all your heart and want to know how to be a part of next year’s show.  

 

 

DIY Jar Lanterns

July 9, 2014

DIY Jar Lanterns

Dear Husband and I love our back yard.  We get a lot of compliments on it and I always tell people that it takes a lot of time, hard work and sweat (mostly Dear Husband’s hard work and sweat).  5 years ago we planted red tipped photinia along our back fence to create a privacy wall.  At that time they were 3 feet tall and I remember thinking it would be forever before these dang things provided any sort of privacy.  Now they are over 8 feet tall and have given us a secret garden type of hedge.

While Dear Husband contributes all the brawn in the yard I try to contribute the whimsy.  

Enter DIY Jar Lanters.

DIY Jar Lanterns

DIY Jar Lanterns

 

DIY Jar Lanterns Method 1

Here’s what you need:

DIY jar lanterns

Canning jars…Bell or Mason jars work great
16 guage wire
needle nose pliers/wire cutters
sand box sand
votive candles

These could not be easier.  Cut approximately 36 inches of wire.  Wrap the wire around the jar twice then twist the ends together.

DIY Jar Lanterns

 

DIY Jar Lanterns

The twist will be the handle.  Form it into a handle and push the end through the wire that is wrapped around the jar.  Use the needle nose pliers to wrap the lose end around itself to secure it.

DIY Jar Lanterns

 

DIY Jar lanterns

 

DIY Jar Lanterns

 

DIY Jar Lanterns Method 2

Cut two pieces of wire.  Wrap one end of the first wire around the jar and twist to secure.  Do the same with the second wire.  The excess of each wire should be opposite each other.

DIY Jar Lanterns

 

DIY Jar lanterns

 

Bring the two loose ends together and twist to create a handle.  Use the needle nose pliers to create a spiral with the ends.

DIY Jar Lanterns

 

Fill the bottom with about two inches of sand.  Add the votive and you’re done.  Perfect for a mid-summer night party.

DIY Jar Lanterns

Creative

Alpha-Bits Crispy Bars

July 5, 2014

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Alpha-Bits cereal.  They provided the cereal and my Little Free Library.

Alpha-Bits

 

Everybody knows and loves Rice Crispy Treats.  Have you ever tried making them with a different cereal?  What about a Alpha-Bits cereal?  That’s exactly what we tried this week.  Alpha-Bits provided the box of cereal and the recipe to try their version of crispy treats.  

The recipe calls for “sugar-sweetened soft drink mix”.  I have no idea what that is.  When I hear the words soft drink I think Coke.  Is there a mix to make your own soda?  Are they talking about Kool-Aid?  I was confused.  I didn’t have any Kool-Aid on hand…but I did have Tang.  Tang it would be in the recipe.  

Alpha-Bits Crispy Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  2. 1 package (10.5 oz.) miniature marshmallows
  3. 1/3 cup sugar-sweetened soft drink mix
  4. 8 cups Post Alpha-Bits cereal
Instructions
  1. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil; lightly grease foil
  2. Microwave butter in large microwavable bowl for 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows and soft drink mix; mix well.
  3. Microwave on hight for 1-1/2 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 45 seconds. Stir in cereal.
  4. Press cereal mixtrue firmly into prepared pan. Cool. Cut into 12-15 squares.
  5. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
Hugs, Kisses and Snot http://hugskissesandsnot.com/

Baby Essentials on Oklahoma Live!

July 1, 2014

Baby products on Oklahoma Live

If you are here because you saw me on Oklahoma LIVE! and decided to actually find me online…I’m shocked.  Oh, and thank you for stopping by.  If you’re one of my 6 regular readers…you’re the best.  You know who you are.  If you want to join the exclusive club of regular readers you can do so by signing up for an email subscription…right over there in the right hand side bar.  You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

This week I did another guest segment featuring baby essentials on Oklahoma LIVE! (I always feel like I have to shout the “live” since it’s all caps and has an exclamation point)   You can click here to see the Baby Essentials on Oklahoma LIVE! segment.

 

These were actually some really great products and I thought I would share them here too.  No, I didn’t get paid for this but I got to keep the products.  Since I no longer have infants, all of these products are going to a friend who has an itty-bity.

 

 

 

Mommy’s Bliss Double Pack Gripe Water, 8 Ounce

I’ve never used Mommy’s Bliss but the co-host on the show has and he seemed to think it was awesome.  And he’s on TV so you know you can trust him.  However, there is an adult dosage on the bottle and I plan to try it next time I get hit w/ my semi-regular bouts of indigestion.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.

 


Kids Relief Teething Oral Solution – Orange – .85 oz

When baby is teething you’re willing to try anything.  In fact, you start to wonder if your grandmother’s advice to put whisky on their gums isn’t really all that bad.  This is probably a better choice.  

 

Baby Banana Brush And Tooth Gel Combo Pack

Okay, I have to admit that this little toothbrush is really great.  It’s soft and bendable and prefect for little hands learning how to brush.  It says it’s dishwasher safe…it never occurred to me to put a toothbrush in the dishwasher.  Is that a thing people do? 

 

baby essentials on oklahoma live

 

Blooming Bath Baby Bath – Turquoise

This thing is so stinking cute.  I seriously wish I had this when my boys were infants.  Instead I used that little mauve bucket you get from the hospital…after you have given birth…the one they give you to throw up in after the meds they gave you to “take the edge off” start wearing off.  Yes, that little bucket was our wash basin.  Now Harry uses it as a throw up bucket when he is sick.  It has come full circle.