Outdoor Lighting

This month, my challenge as a Lowes Creative Blogger , I decided to add some ambiance to our yard by adding some Outdoor Lighting. I have ALWAYS loved Yard Lanterns and wanted to add just a few to our landscape to add some interesting detail and charm.  I feel like these lanterns are for the outdoors what a lamp is for the indoors.

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I would so much rather have a lamp on in a room rather than a glaring overhead light.  For some reason the lamp (or lantern light) gives off a cozy, relaxed atmosphere, which is exactly how I want to feel when I am relaxing at night after a busy day whether I am inside or outside.

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We picked up a couple of the following packages of Outdoor Landscape Lanterns from our local Lowes.  After doing a lot of research on which ones were the brightest and reading several reviews, we decided these were the Lanterns we wanted to go with.  I LOVE them. I love how they look in the yard and I love driving up to the house at night when they are light up. lowes landscape lighting

Portfolio 8-Pack Black Solar-Powered LED Path Lights

Item #: 484688 |  Model #: 00626

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They have now been in our yard for two months and even though they were such an easy install in our yard, they remain one of our favorite “DIY” projects for adding “aesthetically” to our home.

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I especially love the light pattern the spread on the sidewalk and driveway! I was surprised at how much light they give off too! And if you are looking for a super easy project to do that literally takes minutes…this one is it.

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All you have to do is take them out of the box (which is probably the most difficult part) and then screw the lantern onto the stake and space them evenly around the edges of your yard. We didn’t measure exactly. We just eyeballed it and made a choice where to place them based on the layout of the yard and our flower beds.

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Have you had a chance to sign up for Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine. It’s FREE and offers a bunch of DIY inspiration. Go ahead and connect with Lowes Creative Ideas to find a lot more fun and creative ideas.

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*Disclosure–In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from Lowe’s for my time and participation in the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Influencer Network. However, all opinions and statements are mine and mine alone.

 

Outdoor Gazebo Project

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lowes.

I LOVE being a Lowes Creative Blogger for a lot of different reasons.  One of those reasons is that I feel motivated to get some of the bigger projects off of my to do list!  The deadline helps motivate my husband and I to just do it instead of procrastinating.  As I have mentioned earlier, we are really pushing ourselves to get these last few projects done.  We want to be done so we can just enjoy things with the kids.

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This Gazebo in our backyard needed some serious work and paint when we moved in 11 years ago.  But it was so low down on our list of important things to do, we just kept putting it off.  It was more of a “fort” for the boys to make mud pies in and store their stick collection when they were younger.  Then it became a “playhouse” for the girls.

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When we were challenged to do an outdoor patio makeover, I knew that it was time to finally turn this into a nice area that we could enjoy.  The kids are getting older and are starting to host their friends at our home for get togethers.  We wanted it to be an area they (and the family) could sit in and enjoy.

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So we scrapped off all the old paint with a wire brush and then painted it with some Stain Paint that we picked up from Lowes.  It is great for outdoor areas and lasts so much longer than an outdoor paint as it penetrates into the wood like a stain.  The roof needs new shingles and someone to get up there and fix that crooked weather vane…but that is going to have to be another day ;)!

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The kids were great helpers and actually begged us to let them paint.  That lasted about 30 minutes…haha!  But the two older boys stayed and helped us finish almost to the end.  I tell you…painting lattice is not my favorite.  That is some tedious work!

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We picked up some black patio chairs from Lowes (four of them) and this bench and added some green and gray striped pillows just like the ones we used on our Front Porch Makeover.  I LOVE them and was so happy when they still had some in stock.

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We picked up this wood burning fire pit last year from Lowe’s and will now keep it in the Gazebo and out of the elements until we are ready to use it.  Then we can move it out onto the patio when we want to use it to make ‘smores!

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We also picked up a couple of green flower pots and planted some colorful Petunia’s to bring so me color to the Gazebo and patio area!

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I am loving how it has really improved that whole area.  Now I just need to keep it free of mud pies and sticks :)!  But who am I kidding…they will still happen and I am okay with that.  The kids are growing up way to fast.

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Have you had a chance to sign up for Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine. It’s FREE and offers a bunch of DIY inspiration. Go ahead and connect with Lowes Creative Ideas to find a lot more fun and creative ideas.

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lowes creative ideas

*Disclosure–In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from Lowe’s for my time and participation in the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Influencer Network. However, all opinions and statements are mine and mine alone.



DIY Vertical Flower Bed

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lowe’s.

As a Lowe’s Creative Blogger, I was given the challenge of coming up with some Outdoor Décor for our August Challenge.  I have been wanting to “hide” the large and ugly retaining wall that is right by outside entrance to our back deck.

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We had tried to grow a couple of different plants to hide the wall without a lot of success and I just wasn’t happy with the overall look of the whole area.  I knew I wanted something “growing” on the wall but I was not sure how to go about it.

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I had seen some grass walls but many of the ones I had seen required drilling into the concrete and we didn’t want to get that involved with this project.  I thought about doing a pallet garden, but after a bit of research we decided to come up with our own design :)!

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We made it so that it was free standing and did not have to hang on the wall.  We have secured it and buried it deep into the dirt so that it is stable and will not blow over in the wind.  We plan to store it in the garage during the winter months.

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I will be sharing our tutorial here in a later post in case any of you are interested in making your own or making something similar.  If you are interested in how we made the large redwood flower planter that is sitting on top of the retaining wall, you can find the tutorial here:

DIY Flower Planter

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I am really happy with how it turned out.  I was worried that the dirt would spill out once we stood it up and that the flowers would be unable to grow in the planter.  This is a south facing wall and gets about 8 hours of full sun every day.  The only thing is that you have to be pretty careful when you water it and just use a light sprinkling of water otherwise it is easy to wash out some dirt.  I learned this the hard way :)!

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I love how it brings a ton of color and visual interest to the area now.  It is actually a nice focal point rather than being a big ugly eye-sore…well…that is…it was.  It grew nicely for about 2 months and was filling out rather nicely…(we work 3 months ahead with Lowe’s so we actually made this in early May and had to wait till August to post it) then we went on vacation for a week.  Our automatic sprinkler that we had specifically set to water both the vertical garden and the DIY Flower Planter on top of the wall (a tall pop up sprinkler) somehow stopped working.  A week of 90-100 degree temps without water killed all of the flowers.  :/  I will share a picture of the deadness when I share the tutorial.  (#keepingitreal)

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Ugh!  I thought about replacing them but decided it wasn’t worth the time and efforts this late in the summer and the flower selection was pretty slim this late in the summer.  So…we will have to wait for next Spring and replant.  But it was really great while it lasted!!

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For more great ideas, you’ll love browsing through:

Creative Ideas Website – This is one of my favorite DIY Magazines, and it’s free!

Creative Ideas App- Download for quick inspiration.

Lowe’s Creative Ideas Pinterest Boards

Lowe’s Home Improvement on Instagram

Lowe’s Home Improvement on Facebook

lowes creative ideas

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*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  Lowe’s provided me with a gift card to showcase a project this month as part of their Lowe’s Creative Ideas Bloggers team.  However all opinions and statements are mine.

Flower pot bird house

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This month as part of the Lowe’s Creative Challenge of which I am a team member of, we were challenged to make a DIY Bird Retreat.  I personally did not want a “normal” birdhouse and needed something a bit more practical and realistic for my own personal preferences.  So I decide to make a Flower Planter Bird House…sort of a two in one combo.

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I had a few different designs floating around in my head and headed to Lowe’s to see just what I could actually turn into a reality.  I knew I wanted a WHITE planter but was looking for just the right style.

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I picked up this almond colored flower plantar, some plastic moldings, potting soil, white silicon, bird seed and some flowers.

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We used some scrap wood from previous projects at home to build the square base which became our birdhouse.  Then we added some moldings at the top and bottom to give it a little bit of a customized look.  We drilled a hole for the birds and added a little tray to hold some bird seed for our feathered friends to enjoy.

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We painted the birdhouse box with some exterior paint and spray painted the plantar box white to match.  I am really pleased with how it turned out and love having a nice pop of color out on the back porch.  I think I may make a matching set so that they can be on either side of the stairs that you can see to the left of the photo.

Be sure to stop back by if you would like to see how we made this.  I will be sharing the full tutorial later.

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Thanks to Lowe’s for helping us get motivated to get this project done! You can find Lowe’s Creative Ideas on FB for more great ideas.  They also have a Lowe’s Creative Ideas blog…and you might recognize one or more faces there now…Smile

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And…just in case you missed last month’s Lowes Challenge…you can find it here.

Disclosure: Lowe’s provided me with a gift card to showcase this project this month as part of their Lowe’s Creative ideas Bloggers team.

Snow Paint

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We are in full blown winter over here…are you? Here is a super simple activity that you could make right now to entertain the kids with…Snow Paint!

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Simply take some water bottles and fill with water and food coloring. The more food coloring, the darker the paint. Super simple concept and idea. My kids were able to play with some this past weekend after church and actually spent quite a bit of time outside painting their “masterpieces”.

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The only thing I would caution you on is that I am not sure if the food coloring will stain the kids clothing. So with that said, make sure you don’t send them out in that cute white coat they just got for Christmas!

*edit–One reader Stephanie has done this with her kids and cautioned to keep the spray away from vinyl fences! Thanks for the tip Stephanie!

Anyone else out there enjoying the snowy weather?

★Amy  

www.FlirtyAprons.com

Make Some Bird Feeders

Make some easy bird feeders to invite birds into your yard this summer. We made one out of an old milk carton.

After washing it out thoroughly and letting it dry, we cut out two squares opposite from one another. Then we painted it and cut two small slices under the squares to allow for a perch. For the perch we used a small dowel that we had laying around. You could also use a small but sturdy tree branch. Then we poked two holes at the top of the milk carton and attached a wire to hang it from a tree branch. Then we filled it with wild bird seed. We hung ours in a tree so we could see it from a window inside. This way we can see the birds when they come to eat the bird seed.

Or if the above bird house is a bit too complicated you can always make this easier version. My kids have made one of these almost every year since my oldest made one with his pre-school class years ago.

All you do is take a pine cone and smother it with peanut butter. After it is completely covered (except for a small area on top), roll the cone in wild bird seed. Tie a string on the top of the pine cone and tie it in a tree. It can’t get any easier than that. The birds around our house love it and we are usually left with a small, shredded non-recognizable pine cone.

You can also make bird seed feeders out of 2 liter bottles, water bottles or milk cartons.

Camping Trip

Summer is in full swing around here. The rain has finally let up and the hubby has been dying to get out and go camping, so we begrudgingly complied :), especially because it was on his Father’s Day wish list.

We headed out Sunday afternoon, after attending our church meetings. We had gotten all ready to go on Saturday night so it was just a matter of hooking up the tent trailer and heading out.

We stayed in a beautiful campground and the next day hiked up 1,000 vertical feet over 1.5 miles one way to go through the Timpanogos Caves. The kids were great troopers and climbed the whole way without any help. I only had a couple of heart attacks and one panic attack when I let my mind envision one of the kids going over one of the many steep cliffs on the way up. But we made it up and back without any major incidents. Except for the shoe that went awol from the baby’s foot while she was riding in the back pack.

The cave was as good as I had remembered it being when we hiked it about a decade ago. There are some amazing stalagtites and cave formations inside the 1/2 mile long cave. If you have not been and get a chance to go here in Utah, I would highly recommend it!

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at a lake while the kids collected moss and fishing line.

We ate way too much junk food and spent some time exploring every stick and rock around our campsite.

But now it is back to reality: piles of laundry, unpacking, a dirty, neglected house and yard and trying to get rid of smelly campfire smoke in long hair.

As a side note I just wanted to thank all of you for your kind words! I am overwhelmed. Considering that a couple of months ago, for my last giveaway I had a total of 15 comments. Three of which were my sister and a couple of close friends.

You guys are the reason my little blog here has grown so quickly! Thank you for spreading the word. I hope I can keep you all interested in coming back for more! And, mom…commenter #54 or so, I am embarrased to think you thought the only way you might get one of these pendants was to win a giveaway! Yours will be available shortly :).

Picture Collections

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This summer start a bug collection, or a collection of something your kids are interested in. My son loves animals and creatures of all kinds. He spends most of his summer days collecting little critters in old peanut butter jars. His rule is that if he catches something, it will stay in the jar until that evening then he will release it back into the wild. Sort of like the fishing Catch and Release program.

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So, I thought it would be fun to make a photo album of the kids “critter collection”. When the kids catch a new bug, especially one we have no picture of, I will take a photo of it.

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We have even taken the camera and gone on a bug hunting expedition. Sometimes we just search the backyard, and sometimes we head out to a trail or a park. Instead of catching and putting the bug in a jar, we capture the bug in a picture and put it in our critter collection photo album.

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After we get the pictures printed, the kids get on this website or this one and identify what type of bug we have captured. We type up a label that includes the scientific name of the bug and the classification class the bug belongs to.

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Now, I know some of you are thinking that this might be a little nerdy, but if you knew my background, it wouldn’t surprise you. See, before most of my little kiddies came along, I was a high school science teacher. This stuff is right up my alley. I LOVE it. And my son seems to be following in my footsteps. We have learned that lady bugs are really called lady birds and that our “roly poly’s” (or potato bugs) are really wood lice. Interesting huh?! We have also learned some really interesting facts about some of our favorite bugs.

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We have recently started a leaf collection, which we started when my son had a school assignment. We have plans for starting our animal picture collection this summer. We are planning a trip to the zoo soon and look forward to getting some great animal photos.

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You could do this sort of collection photo album for anything your little one has an obsession with: construction vehicles, airplanes, flowers, etc. What are some things your little ones are obsessed with?

Geocaching

Have you ever been Geocaching? Or even heard of it? Well, if you haven’t and are looking for something fun for your family to do together during the summer, you might want to check it out.

“Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called “geocaches” or “caches”) anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware or ammo box) containing a logbook and “treasure,” usually toys or trinkets of little value”.–Wikipedia

When we took a trip over Spring Break, we were able to go geocaching with some family members who have a GPS unit and had been before. We loved it.

All you need is a GPS unit, the internet, some small treasures (it is based on a take something/leave something trading system ), a pen, and some good walking shoes.

Before you begin your treasure hunt, you will need to log on to the official Geocaching website which can be found here. Then you need to identify what area you are going to be and see if there are any caches for you to hunt. We found several within walking distance from where we were based.

After determining which hunts you will go on you simply enter the coordinates into your GPS system and head out to find your treasure. Some caches are really small and are quite challenging to find. Like this one we finally discovered up in a tree. This particular one had no treasure but we did sign our names as a token of our great hunting skills and found many others listed who were also sucessful.

Some caches are alot more kid friendly. The kids were overjoyed when we found some full of fun trinkets and treasures. They each took one and left something different behind.

We did a LOT of walking that day and I can not remember hearing once about how tired someone was! We had a great time and only had one major mishap on our whole adventure!


Make a Miniature Marshmallow Gun

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Finally…I have a fun project you can make for and with your boys. This blog has leaned a bit toward girls lately, so I am excited to have a fun idea for the other half of the population (although I know plenty of girls who would love these too).

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These minature marshmallows guns are so much fun. If your boys are like mine EVERYTHING becomes a gun.

My SIL threw a birthday party for my nephew and they made all the boys their own marshmallow gun. My son loves it!

You place a mini marshmallow into the end of the gun, blow on the other end and shoot the marshmallow at your target. They are amazingly accurate!

It is ALWAYS a good idea to have your kids wear safety goggles when using these guns, because everyone knows that it is only fun until someone gets an eye shot out!

I did a little searching on the internet about making these marshmallow guns and found this great idea for making a pair of safety goggles out of a 2-liter soda pop bottle. I followed these directions but used duct tape to line the sharp edges and make the head strap.

To make the head strap, I simply folded about 20 inches of duct tape in half length-wise and then put another 20 inch peice on the folded peice and folded it in half also. So it was 2 layers thick. Then I just cut it to fit with a little extra on each end of the mask so it can be adjusted for different size heads, after I threaded it through the 2 slits I made on each side of the mask.

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You will need:
a 12 inch length of 1/2 inch PVC pipe (sprinkler pipe)
1-1/2 inch end cap
2-1/2 inch elbows
1-1/2 inch T joint

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Take your 12 inch length of pipe and with a hacksaw, cut off three peices of pipe that measure 2 inches each and then cut two peices of pipe that measure 3 inches in length.

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Take your parts and use the above picture to put them together to make your gun. This is a very simple gun style. If you want a different style, all you would need to do is buy a longer length of PVC pipe and some more joints depending on what shape you are trying to achieve.

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I ended up making a gun for my other boy and they spend a lot of time in the backyard having marshmallow wars. They played with them so often that I never had any marshmallows left when I needed them. They buy their own marshmallows now!

So if you have a birthday party coming up, these might be something you would like to make as a party favor, or as a gift for the birthday boy. I was also thinking how much fun these would be at your next family party with Grandma and Grandpa and that pesky brother-in-law!

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