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Family snapshot…

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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

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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…

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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.

Pocket-size tool you need in your drawer…

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

I’m often asked about the tools I use in my projects. I have accumulated quite the collection of tools over the years and every Christmas/Birthday/Mother’s day brings something new.

As I was working with my dad a few weeks back, I was reminded that there are a small number of tools I end up using on every single project. Most are real basic – tape measure, square, electric drill and my trusty miter saw. But there is a tool I use regularly that is not so well known: the Kreg Multi-Mark Measuring Tool.

Kreg Multi-Mark Measuring Tool

During every project this thing is in my pocket. I have many pictures showing the use of this little tool on a wide variety of projects. I first got it when we were building the entertainment center. I haven’t stopped using it since. While we were building the bookcases it went from my hands to my dad’s hands and back to my hands. It was used every step of the way. It makes measuring simple. Tape measures are great for certain type of measurements, but this tool works best in hard to measure areas and its easy to read.

Kreg Multi-Mark Measuring Tool

Kreg Multi-Mark Measuring Tool

After working with my dad for the week I’m convinced he needs to start bringing his down when he comes to help or I need another one!

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