Wednesday, July 29, 2015

DIY Barn Lights...

Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
Hunter's room is a work in progress and it's been in progress since...we moved in. Even after painting and decorating it (with stuff from his old bedroom) I just never loved it. But rearranging his room, planking the wall and hanging these lights are making me love his room.

Lighting makes a space and it always seems to be the budget breaker as well. I had my heart set on some beautiful, kelly green barn lights from an online store. They were also ridiculously overpriced at $340 a piece. I was determined to get the look for less.

Here’s how I did it. I found some outdoor lights at Lowes for $40 a piece. The lights were meant to be hard-wired – but I didn’t want permanent wires ran to these lights. So I opted to convert them to plug-in lights after talking with an electrician. Before painting, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the lights using a metal drill bit.

Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
I could’ve painted the entire light green, but I wanted to preserve some of the aluminum color. I used painters tape to mask off the areas I didn’t want painted and sprayed it with Rustoleum glossy paint.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
With the paint dry – I converted it to a plug-in light. I purchased a wire kit and connected it to the hard-wired wires found in the light.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
I used the bracket that came with the light and modified it slightly so it would hang on my wall and in no time I had two lights hanging above his two beds in the room.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Barn Light using outdoor lights from Lowes
They were just what I was hoping for and they didn’t break the bank. No need to pay for high-end, create your own cheap custom barn lights!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mall Pretzels...

While passing through Utah on our way to Idaho - we stopped by to see some old friends from our Milwaukee days. We gathered for a play date and my loving and ambitious friend Leslie thought ahead and made pretzel dough. So by the time we showed up to play and catch up - the kids were busy making pretzels. They may not have been the most beautiful pretzels. In fact, some weren't considered pretzels at all - there were swords, balls, braids - the pretzel dough pretty much became play dough that we cooked. And as unappetizing as some of them looked, they were all delicious. I'm a sucker for just about any bread.
Life with Fingerprings: Mall Pretzels

The kids took about 30 minutes to become reacquainted and then they were pretty much best friends that couldn't stand to say goodbye to each other. There was beauty salon and nerf gun wars and cars outside on the patio. They played for hours. We laughed about how much our families have grown since our babysitting coop days years ago. Here's a picture of our two families all grown up (another friend had already left with her four girls). We'll continue to snap a picture like this every year!
Life with Fingerprings: Mall Pretzels

And it seems as though every other year or so we're introducing soon-to-be friends.
Life with Fingerprings: Mall Pretzels

And because I really did love the pretzels, I snagged the recipe off the counter.

Mall Pretzels
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter melted
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour.

Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. Line 6 baking sheets with parchment paper.
After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner. Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place onto parchment covered baking sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt, garlic salt or cinnamon sugar.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday...

Happy Birthday to my better half. The man who gets up early with the kids so I don't have to. The man that always caves when the kids ask for one more song before bed. The man who is constantly looking to serve others. The man who recognizes people that are hurting and struggling. The man with the contagious laugh. The man who doesn't believe that anyone should have to work on their birthday...yet went to work today because things had to get done. The man who gets cards like this from his co-workers working in a pet friendly environment:
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Although plans of an evening at the lake were high on our priority list - we just couldn't pull it off with his work schedule - so we're post-poning that fun until the weekend. We like to stretch birthdays out! The kids decorated the kitchen with the birthday bucket and Steve requested spicy chicken avocado enchiladas for dinner and our friend who is wifeless this week joined for the fun.
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Steve busted out his new spikeball game (that my brother introduced to us in Idaho) in the living room just to break it in. The weather will need to cool before we will want to play outside. Between spikeball and his new ladder ball game we are ready for backyard lawn three months!

Having the oven on for the enchiladas was torture enough - we skipped baking a cake and instead had rootbeer floats.
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He's older and wiser and I love him so.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Birthday fun...

Before we talk about Steve's birthday tomorrow - I'll address my *half* birthday - which is celebrated as if it's my real birthday. (My birthday is around the holidays along with our anniversary and it became too stressful for Steve, my half birthday has become far more enjoyable to receive gifts and for Steve to give gifts!)

My half birthday was while we were gone, and I came home to a fully decorated kitchen and presents. Steve is awesome.
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We didn't actually open the presents until two days after we got home - we like to stretch birthdays out around here - and we were busy with family gatherings. And it was killing the kids to see those presents sitting there not being opened. I'm actually surprised that Cannon didn't open one with all the time he sat at the table playing with them.
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Just for a glimpse of real life - this picture was taken just after breakfast one morning. There was milk spilled on the table and Cannon is just outside this shot with just a diaper on screaming at the top of his lungs. Steve was laughing while he took this picture, "It's a good thing this is a photo and not video!" Such is real life!

Steve is a smart and resourceful man. I'm not sure if anyone is like me but I have pages and pages of my Amazon cart. Anytime someone mentions a product I want to check out or I come across something interesting, I add it to my cart so I can take a look at it later and then Amazon lets me know when the price goes up and down. Steve got into my Amazon account and sorted through my cart and shopped it for my birthday. It was a complete surprise to me - love him for that. Not to mention the Home Depot gift card which I will never turn down and it always gets put to good use!

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It was a lovely morning. And although I fully planned to share the cotton candy with the kids, I selfishly snuck a little bit at a time and before long the whole bag was gone. When Hallie saw the empty bag she was convinced Hunter had eaten it and she was quick to point fingers. I finally confessed to eating it myself and she looked at my with eyes of betrayal. "You ate the whole bag by yourself?" Why yes I did. It's my birthday and I'll eat cotton candy if I want to.
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