Disclosure Statement

This policy is valid from 06 April 2014

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements.

The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org

A few of my favorite things…

Today I’m joining up with Melissa at 320 Sycamore to share a few of my favorites things. Now this may seem like an ecclectic bunch of items…and it is. But my favorite things span all my hobbies and interests including my family’s hobbies and interests. These are items that we’ve used and have used and loved for a while. Tried and true. The best kind of recommendation. (This post contains affiliate links, disclosure here)


A couple years back I took an online modern calligraphy class. In that class I was introduced to so many different styles of brush pens. I cannot be more clear – all brush pens are not created equally and if you don’t have a quality pen, it will be hard to be consistent. My very favorite brush pen is made by Tombow and they come in all sorts of fun colors. Because they are a brush pen, over time they brush will start to fray just a bit and then its time to replace them. It helps to only use the pens on really smooth paper (my favorite marker paper is made by Canson).


I have a love hate relationship with toys. With 5 kids we’ve had so many toys come and go. Some toys I think are going to be a hit and they end up sitting on the shelf collecting dust, while other toys are used over and over again with every kid. Magformers are the favorite toy in our house. We were originally given a set as a gift and we’ve added to the set over the years. Unfortunately, they are pricey. In fact the price might deter you from purchasing – but I’m telling you – the kids love them. And the more you have, the more they can build with them. They can stick to your fridge and make patterns. At times I’ve had them in my church bag and they would stick them to the metal chairs in front of us. Bottom line: We’ve had them for 5 years and they’re still played with just as much today as they were 5 years ago.


 If you’re up for some cheap holiday fun – pick up some of these Holiday Specs. They are paper glasses that transform Christmas lights into fun holiday shapes. It is such a simple idea, but it’s really quite magical and entertaining. They have all sorts of shapes, and it’s fun to experience all of them. Whether you’re driving the neighborhood or enjoying the tree in your living room – this will add some fun. The best way is to buy a variety pack so you can see several shapes. Buy some for you, drop some off at a neighbors house, buy a few more for you so your kids stop fighting over them!


If you know my husband Steve, you know he’s as traditional as they come. Black suit, with black socks, with black shoes. About a year ago he decided to go “wild” and start wearing colored/patterned socks with his suits. This was a big leap for him! But he hasn’t turned back. My favorite men’s sock is Stance. They have some crazy wild patterns but they also have some moderately wild socks and that’s where we’ve landed. 🙂 They have different fits for their socks but they all seem to be a little heavier and more cushion than typical dress socks.


I get asked this question all the time – my favorite place to print books (blog, photo, special event, etc) is blurb. I’ve printed with a lot of companies and Blurb.com is the best quality for the money. They often have promotions so I typically finish a book and then sit on it until they have a good promotion – which has been about monthly. As it gets closer to Christmas they’ll have some 40% off and even a 50% off.


I typically don’t like any books that have moving pieces/pop ups that my child will ultimately rip and ruin. Robert Sabuda books are the exception – and for our family they’re special occasion books which are supervised. I was introduced to Robert’s work while studying graphic design in college and his use of white and negative space in his pop-ups is mind blowing. I marvel as to how he designed these books. We have a couple of his books but every Christmas eve you’ll find us reading Twas the Night Before Christmas (Steve’s family tradition) with our Robert Sabuda pop-up. Really, any of his work is amazing. You won’t be disappointed.


This is a staple for the church bag and roadtrips. Each kid as their own board and everyone is happy that way. We have multiple versions but my favorite is the scribble and play version – we have three of them. It comes with some extra writing tools and when you write on it it’s rainbow. I suppose I should admit that I often steal my kid’s board at church and practice my handwriting with quotes from the lessons and talks!


I bought these for Steve as a gift a couple years back and he fell in love. So much so when I wanted to borrow them earlier this year for a three day school field trip with Hallie – he kindly declined my request and he got me some for mother’s day. I loved them on the school field trip, I loved them even more on our long summer road trip. I use them all the time. Steve has the wireless, I have the wired because they were cheaper. You can imagine my disappointment when I got a new phone with the lightning port and no headphones jack! I tried the little lightning port adaptor and it didn’t work consistently and I lost control of adjusting volume and pausing from the headphones itself. Luckily, Bose is willing to exchange them (for a cost), which is better than having a pair of fairly new, expensive headphones that are no longer compatible.


Woodworking is in my blood and although I have many tools that are near and dear to my heart and could write a whole favorites post on that alone – this little tool packs a might punch. It’s used on every project. Literally. You may think you have no need for this, but you do! It’s an accurate way to measure small areas and it locks into place to make sure measurements stay even. And it has a little built-in level which comes in handy.


This is a book I read a while ago – then read it again and it’s one I think about often. The pursuit of finding what’s most important in daily life and making that the priority. Of course, I have to keep reading and referencing it because life gets jumbled and busy in no time, but this book will make you think. It’s makes you evaluate what’s working and what’s not working. Love it.


We love playing spikeball – and we think we’re way better than we are. When my family gathers we log so many hours playing this game. We’ve ruined countless patches of grass in the process and we’ve learned it’s best played at the park!


That’s my favorites list! There’s a whole line up of blogs sharing their favorite things with 320 Sycamore. Go check it out and see what else needs to be added to your Christmas list! 😉

Monday, 11/12:
12 on Main
Finding Lovely

Tuesday, 11/13
Lil’ Luna
Hello Allison
Creations by Kara

Wednesday, 11/14
Lolly Jane
Melody Warnick


Life with Fingerprints is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Visit here to see a complete disclosure statement.

Family snapshot…

This post may contain my affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclosure policy: Thanks! 

Every now and again I like to take a snapshot of what is current with our family. Here’s our list:

LOVING: Evening walks. Most nights we make our way outside. The three older kids ride their bikes and Steve and I walk the stroller with the two youngers. It gets us out of the house before bedtime which is a relief. We often run into neighbors which means our kids end up playing. And the weather is beautiful and we know it’s not going to last much longer. Sometimes it’s’ shoes optional. Other times it’s pants optional!

DREAMING: Remodeling our kitchen. It’s been on my wish list for a while – perhaps since we moved into the house. I understand its not going to be cheap so I’ve been saving for years. And then something comes along that requires using those funds. So it gets spent and then I keep saving. Its a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of process. But I’ll get there someday and in the meantime I dream of how awesome and amazing I’m going to make it. The problem is the longer I dream, the larger the project becomes!

WEARING: Flip flops. I’m tired of stinky socks and sand coming home from school. Unless it’s PE day – they’re in flip flops. Me too. And I’ve become the mom that buys 4 pairs of black flip flops from Old navy so as a kid loses a shoe or two, we can still find a match!

READING: I just finished reading the More of Less and I’m moving on to Essentialism. Steve is reading Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Hallie is reading the Diary of Anne Frank. Hunter is reading one of the series of “Stink” books.

WATCHING: TV is sparse here but we make the exception for Survivor. While I’m working on the computer I like to have something playing in the background, I just started the Gilmore Girls series again. I’m embarrassed to admit to how many times I’ve seen it, but it gives me warm fuzzies. The kids love watching episodes of Studio C. Also Moana and Trolls have been on repeat for two months.

LISTENING TO: Because the kids are obsessed with Moana and Trolls – it’s also the only thing we listen to. When Briggs hears the Trolls soundtrack, his body starts moving and it just won’t stop.

PRACTICING: Handwriting. I’ve taken an online calligraphy class and I loved it, but it takes practice. Tons of practice. I find myself without paper or pens practicing with my finger every where I go. Like mother, like daughter – Hallie has also been practicing calligraphy and I have no doubt she’ll pass me up in no time.

modern calligraphy

DOING: Purging the house. It’s a daily activity for me. Usually it’s something small like a closet shelf or drawer, but I try to make a daily effort. We’ve also been working on the yard and outdoor projects before we hibernate for summer.

NEEDING: More sleep. Everyone in the house needs more sleep. I go to bed too late. Steve gets up too early. And although we stick to strict bedtime schedules the kids seem to be getting up earlier and earlier as the sun rises. And Briggs is often only taking one nap a day. Let there be sleep.

PLANNING: Our summer vacation. It is going to be long with a lot of time in the car and we’ve been planning it for a while. Trying to coordinate with siblings and family reunions and mission farewells and mission homecomings and friends…it took some serious planning. But we’ve got a plan and it’s been several weeks since anything has changed so I think it’s set.

EATING: Red Roasted Pepper Hummus dip from Costco with Pita chips. We all love it. And we finally found a greek yogurt we really like – Oikos triple berry.

EXCITED ABOUT: After all of our planning – we’re pretty excited for our summer vacation. I always look forward to my Idaho time every year and this year is no exception.

SHOPPING FOR: Kid’s tennis shoes. Their shoes made it through the school year, barely, and now they’re in need. I hate buying new shoes going into summer, but they’re definitely going to need them before school starts. I’ve been scouring Last Chance hoping to score a deal. No luck. I’ll keep trying!

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

This post may contain my affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclosure policy: Thanks! 

I was at a DownEast Home one day when I found these plank shelves from West Elm for $10 a piece. I snatched up the three shelves they had and knew exactly how I wanted to use them.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

I tend to like the industrial look -I like when metals mix with wood. Several years back I opted for industrial pipe for our curtain rods and I’ve loved the look and feel. Using the same material as the curtain rods, I made shelf brackets.

I used 1/2″ pipe and it comes precut in 8″, 10″ or 12″ lengths. You’ll also need a flange and a cap and spray paint in the color of your choice. I like the hammered spray paint by Rustoleum – it gives a durable finish.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

My shelves aren’t very wide, so I only needed two brackets per shelf. I screwed the pipe directly into the wall through the flange. It would’ve been ideal to screw them into a stud – but there never seems to be a stud where I need it. So I used some strong mollies in the drywall to screw into to prevent them from ripping out.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

The shelves are just sitting on the brackets. For safety, you can add a pipe bracket underneath that would screw into the wood to keep it in place.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

I really don’t like the staging part of these projects, but after a year we finally have items sitting on the shelves. I ended up using his toys/books as the decorations. Not toys that were purchased to be cute on a shelf, but the toys he actually plays with, the robots, cars, wooden dinosaur and Baby Lit books. So it really only looks like this every week when I tidy up the room and put everything back in its place. The shelves ended up being more functional than decorative and they fit the space perfectly.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Favorite Games…

This post may contain my affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclosure policy: Thanks! 

We play a lot of games. When we were first married, we would gather with other newlyweds and play Settlers of Catan – the first game we owned.

Over the years, our collection of games has expanded considerably. Friends and family have introduced games to us and many have become favorites.

Here are some current favorite games that are pulled out to play more than the others.

Favorite Games

Coloretto – This is a quick card game even the kids can play with us. You can play with up to 5 people – although we’ve never played with more than 4. We’ve also played this with friends in teams as couples, it’s fun to listen to couples strategize together. You work to collect colored chameleon cards – your three largest piles add to your score – the rest of the cards deduct from your score. This is a game that you can talk and discuss and have a good time while still playing the game.

Reverse Charades – This is a great party game. Kids or no kids – you can’t help but laugh and have a good time. As the name of the game suggests – this is just like charades, except you have one person sitting in a chair with a card on the forehead and the rest of the team is acting it out trying to get the person in the chair to guess. Every age enjoys this game.

Machi Koro – I purchased this game off of some good reviews and then never opened it. My brother was so excited to teach us a new game over spring break and it happened to be Machi Koro. This game is for 2-4 players where each player works to develop their city on their own terms in order to complete the construction of certain landmarks faster than everyone else. This game takes some time to generate a strategy that works, but every game you could have a new strategy. We learned to play this game with the expansion harbor pack which I hear is a must.

Ticket to Ride – We were first introduced to this game back in college. Again in Milwaukee we had friends who loved it and we often played with them. It wasn’t until recently that this game made it’s way into our game closet and Hallie and Hunter have picked it up and enjoy playing it with us. In this game you work to complete railway routes with train cars – sometimes your routes are complete, other times your opponents block your attempt. There are different versions – we chose the original United States board which helps when kids are learning because they’re a little more familiar with basic US geography.

Wits and Wagers – A great party game for all sizes. A question is read – all teams write their best answer (you in now way need to know the actual answer to the completely random question). You then place bidding chips on the answer you believe to be the most correct answer. You win points accordingly. We’ve played this game for couples game night with 6 people, we’ve played it on New Years Eve with the Pothiers with over 40 people playing. Kids can play along as well because they can be part of the discussion as to what the correct answer should be.

Favorite Games

Acquire – This game is a little bit more time consuming and less social of a game. It originally came out in 1962 and has floated around to different game companies since then. There are many versions of this game, but they vary a little. You work as a real estate tycoon developing hotel chains – buying, trading and selling stock in each hotel. You work to be the majority share holder and then hope to have your hotel chain acquired. This is not a game I like to start late in the night – too much thinking and strategy – at other times I love it – it’s a challenge.

Favorite Games

Splendor – We learned this last summer and it became and instant favorite. It is a game of chip-collecting and card development – working to buy gems and earn points. It was a fast learning game – and we can play it there times in a row and still enjoy it. A couple months back, Steve taught Hallie and Hunter to play and I was surprised how quickly they were able to pick it up and even more impressed how quickly they learned strategies enabling them to win the game. We’ve taught many friends the joy of Splendor.

Tic Stac Toe – Our friend from Milwaukee was over toy purchases for Kohls and he brought this game for us during one of his visits. It is a 3d version of tic tac toe or even connect four in either a 3×3 or 4×4 game. Kids can play this without any adult supervision and the pieces are large so they’re not easily lost.