Category Archives: Family

*This post was sponsored by Sudio Sweden

3 Podcasts To Listen To This Summer

Have you given podcasts a try yet? It took me a little longer ‘than the average bear’ to get into the idea of tuning in to talk radio, but now that I have, I’m pretty much dependent on it. It’s rare for me to go a day without pressing play on a favorite show and the idea of taking a road trip without plugging my phone up to my car’s speakers is just unheard of.

Since I know a lot of you still have summer travel plans in the works and maybe even a few extra “you time” hours in the day during this lazy season, I wanted to share my go-to podcasts of late. Whether you’re looking to get inspired with home décor ideas or want to learn about the history of, say…dentistry, these three shows should keep your mind occupied all summer (or year!) long.

3 Podcasts To Listen To This Summer

And since we’re talking about podcasting, I wanted to also quickly mention how I’m tuning in. I recently added these Regent headphones from Sudio Sweden to the collection of techie gadgets in my desk drawer, and I love them. I rarely use earbuds because they tend to hurt my ears, but these ultra cushy bluetooth headphones are comfortable enough to last through hours of listening. I’m kind of a little bit obsessed with the sleek white and gold design, too…But now let’s talk podcasts!

3 Podcasts To Listen To This Summer

3 Podcasts To Listen To This Summer

3 Podcasts To Listen To This Summer

  1. Young House Love Has A Podcast: If you’ve been a fan of Sherry and John Petersik from their regular blogging days, then you’ll love their podcast. The pro DIY duo comes off just as approachable and down-to-earth as they did on Young House Love, the blog, and I’ve been so inspired by the interviews, tips, and personal home renovation stories they’ve shared.
  2. Fresh Air by NPR: I’ve been ‘engrossed’ with Terry Gross (sorry, had to!) for years, but sometimes it’s tough for me to get to a radio when her show actually goes on air. So, when I found out that Fresh Air had a podcast, I was all over it. From celebrity interviews (favorites being Seth Meyers, Billy Bragg, and Aziz Ansari) to conversations revolving around things like wildlife photography, the making of Wonder Woman, and what goes into choosing words for the dictionary, Terry always spotlights fresh perspectives on interesting topics.
  3. Style Matters By Little Yellow Couch: I was just recently introduced to this podcast, so I’m a bit of a newbie, but I’m already turning into a loyal listener. The archives are packed with creative interviews focusing on artisans, stylists, and designers from around the world. As their iTunes page touts, their weekly episodes “inspire us creatively, and give us insight into why the art of home making is so powerful.” I’m hooked!

3 Podcasts To Listen To This Summer

3 Podcasts To Listen To This Summer

A couple of other podcasts of note if you’re looking to fill your feed with goodies: Monocycle with Leandra Medine By Man Repeller, The Lively Show by Jess Lively, and, although there aren’t any new episodes, I’m still a huge fan of the archives from After the Jump by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. Got a podcast recommendation of your own to share? Do tell in the comments below.

3 Podcasts To Listen To This Summer

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DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

Remember that time I covered a clearance grocery store cake with edible flowers? And how I mentioned that I wanted to find a couple of other ways to put those flowers to use? Well, this post is the first of two extra crafts that I came up with to make those pretty blooms last. And since it’s a Friday morning, I’m going to keep this short and sweet. The goal? To create simple flower-embellished wine bottle labels fit for your next gathering.

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

The first step in this process is to dry a handful of blooms. Grab a heavy hardback book, like a nearby coffee table book or encyclopedia, and open it up to a random page toward the back. Lay wax paper on either page of the open book, and then place the blooms face-down on one of the pieces of wax paper.

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

Lay the opposite piece of wax paper on top of the flowers, and gently shut the book over the blooms. Place the book in a cool dry place (just put it back on the coffee table or bookshelf), and allow the flowers to dry for at least a week in the closed book.

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

After a week’s time, download one (or both!) of the free printable wine bottle labels I created—“Welcome Home” (for a housewarming gift) or “Thanks For Having Us” (for a hostess gift) —depending on your needs, and print them onto heavy cardstock paper.

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

Use a ruler to figure out how big your label needs to be in order to cover the wine bottle’s original label, and trace light lines onto the cardstock using a pencil. Cut the label out, and lay it across your wine bottle so that it covers the old label.

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

Now it’s time to retrieve your dried flowers. Grab the book they’re drying in, and choose a few favorites. They should easily peel off of the wax paper if you do so slowly. Gently lay them on the label to test different arrangements, and when satisfied, attach them to the paper using a small dot of tacky glue. Finish by using clear packaging tape to firmly attach the flower-embellished label to the wine bottle.

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

Although this project requires a bit of preparation and hands-off time to complete while you wait on the dried flowers, the label prep and finishing phase take just 20 minutes or so. Stay tuned later this month for the third and final DIY flowers project—I think it’s my favorite of the bunch.

DIY Pressed Flower Wine Bottle Label (With Free Printables!)

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Everything You Need For Your Summer Cookout | dreamgreendiy.com

There are so many things that I love about summer—driving with the windows down, picnicking, sundresses—but probably my absolute favorite thing about the season is the food. John and I love paying homage to summer with cookout style food, and tend to pop the top on our grill weekly this time of year, so I thought it would be fun to share a collection of cookout-inspired goodies to get you thinking ahead to your own outdoor dinner party.

  1. Apron ($7.99)
  2. Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill ($29.99)
  3. Patio Pizzeria: Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads on the Grill, by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig ($17.26)
  4. Slotted Turner ($15.69)
  5. Professional Spatula Set ($25.55)
  6. 16-Jar Revolving Spice Rack with Free Spice Refills for 5 Years ($25.65)
  7. Grilling Plank Variety Pack + Recipe eBook ($19.99)
  8. Grill Master Platter Set ($49.90)
  9. Grill Master: The Ultimate Arsenal of Back-to-Basics Recipes for the Grill, by Fred Thompson ($18.46)
  10. Turning Tongs ($14.18)
  11. Grate Cleaning Brush ($17.15)
  12. Meat Shredder Claws ($7.99)

Another accessory not to be missed (and one that gets used over and over again in our house) is a Stainless Steel Vegetable Basket. John and I are big fans of roasted veggies, and tend to stock way, way up at the Farmers Market in nearby Staunton, Virginia. We love grilling corn, asparagus, zucchini—you name it!

What are a few of your favorite grilling recipes? We’d love to add some newbies to our list, so if you have any simple cookout meal ideas—aside from the requisite hot-dogs-and-hamburgers go-to—please do tell in the comments below.

*My promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.
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The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

In the grand scheme of things, hunting for a new used car isn’t all that big of a deal. I know that, despite the six long months it has taken us, dealing with car buying woes is hardly a drop in the hat compared with the struggles so many people are facing worldwide these days, but it has completely eclipsed everything in my own life since January, and I would be lying to you if I said that the process hasn’t torn me apart.

I’ll do my best to give you the abbreviated version. It all began this past January when I decided on a whim to sell my 2001 Honda Civic. The car wasn’t giving me any trouble, but I just thought it would be fun to trade up and get something newer. Of course, the moment we decided to list it, the car started making funny sounds.

We had it checked out by a mechanic before showing the vehicle to some interested buyers from Craigslist, and ultimately had a minor problem fixed thinking we were all set. Then we went to the showing and the car made a terrible noise right in the middle of the test drive. Miraculously, the people who were considering buying the car said the noise sounded familiar to them (an axel issue) and said that they’d still be willing to purchase the car. We accepted their slightly lower offer immediately and thought the worst was behind us. We were wrong.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

At that point, we were down to just one car—John’s older Toyota Land Cruiser—so we had to get extra creative with mobility. Thankfully, I work from home so it wasn’t too big of a deal. But soon after selling the Civic, John’s Toyota failed a routine state inspection because of frame rust and a few other things. We found out that, not only would the car need to be seen by a couple of different professionals to fix the issues, but it would also cost well over $1,000 to get there. Oh, and with John’s car in the shop for a week, we would be completely car-less.

Thank God (truly) for generous friends and family, without whom we never would have gotten through this ultra expensive game of musical cars. Some friends here in town lent us their own Civic, and my dad lent us his extra truck so that John and I weren’t left stranded, we made sure we were cover with the road risks insurance in case anything would happen.

Laughably, after spending several days at the welder, the Land Cruiser failed a second inspection, and a replacement emergency brake was installed incorrectly by the other mechanic so we had to deal with taking the car back to both shops second times to get everything worked out. Finally, on the third trip to the state inspector, the Land Cruiser received its “PASS” sticker and we could breath a sigh of relief (not to mention, we were finally able to return our friends’ Civic).

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

If you’re keeping count, we’re now in early March, more than a month after selling my old Civic. At this point, I claimed temporary ownership of the Land Cruiser since it’s automatic (I can’t drive stick), and John held on to my dad’s manual truck. It was beyond time to find me a new car.

We looked all over Waynesboro and surrounding areas for options. My sights were set on a Subaru Outback, and we looked at several before finding a beautiful 2009 Outback in Lexington, Virginia, which is about 40 minutes away from our house. We test-drove the car and really liked it, and, seeing as I was pretty anxious to get our car situation worked out, I signed on the dotted line.

It was a great ride home and after giving the new-to-us Subaru another thorough look-over in our own driveway, we filled the new car up with reusable grocery bags and rode out to get dinner at the market. I was giddy to be done with our car hunt, and as we pulled out of the grocery store parking lot, I felt like a weight had been lifted.

Then the car suddenly stalled out.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

John and I sort of laughed it off as we restarted the engine and hit the road again, telling ourselves that it was just because the Subaru had been sitting in a lot for a while. Then it shut off again as we pulled onto Main Street.

After managing to restart a second time and getting home soon after, John spent about four hours pulling things apart in our driveway. He replaced spark plugs and cleaned a few grimy areas to see if it would fix the starter issue. Every time I heard him try and fail to turn the engine over in the driveway, my heart crumbled a little more. My brand new (to me) car wasn’t working, and our time with musical cars wasn’t over like I had thought.

It turns out that it was really just beginning. The dealer whom we bought the car from was an absolute saint about the issue, and had the car towed away to his mechanic at his own expense. Long story very long, the car was diagnosed, fixed, and we were called to come pick it up out of town on, not one, but two separate occasions. Both times, the car would turn on but start shuddering and die once we hit the highway.

Finally (several mechanics and multiple weeks later) we thought we had the problem licked and I gathered my courage to go to the grocery store on my own. The car stalled out in the middle of an intersection and I just started sobbing, uncontrollably shaken from the stress and anxiety of it all. It had been almost four months by this point since we had sold my Civic, and I was just done. Completely, utterly spent and done.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

After the last stall-out, we took the car to our own mechanic in town and gave him full reign to do whatever he needed. A week later, he gave the car a clean bill of health, and the car never gave us another problem after that, but I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. Every single shudder or sound in the car left me with my heart in my throat and I couldn’t trust it anymore. We listed the car and sold it a month later, which left us once again with my parent’s truck and John’s Land Cruiser.

It honestly took me quite a while to feel ready to look for another used car. Had it been realistic, I would have just taken official ownership of the Land Cruiser, but the poor gas mileage was a problem and John was anxious to get rid of the car because of all the issues it had given us and the money it had cost us earlier in the year, so I tentatively went on the hunt.

In the end, I decided to look for an older vehicle and went back to Honda since I had never had any issues with them in the past other than minor ones. We happened upon an orange 2003 Element parked at another used dealership on our way out of town to test-drive a Civic, and after the latter didn’t work out, we decided to take a closer look at the Element.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

This time, we did things right and had our mechanic (the one who was finally able to fix the Subaru) do a pre-purchase inspection. A few things popped up in the inspection, but we were able to use the list to negotiate a better price on the Element, and we eventually brought it home—after we had all those inspection issues fixed by our mechanic, of course.

As of today, John has since sold his Land Cruiser (it took just three days!) and he decided to purchase my dad’s truck for keeps. It took six long months, but he and I each have cars in our names and things seem to be settling down. Unfortunately, the entire episode with the Subaru has left me feeling jittery and anxious, and I’m overanalyzing every little sound the Element makes, but so far the car has taken good care of me.

Of course, this horror story isn’t meant to scare you off of buying a used car. Instead, the process has taught me so much about the importance of responsibly purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, and I wanted to make sure I shared those lessons with all of you so that you can hopefully avoid the hassle and trouble of buying badly. You can’t always control how things turn out (the Subaru drove like a dream until we got it home!), but following a few of these dos and don’ts below may save you from the anxiety I’ve felt since January—and will likely continue to feel for quite some time.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

Do Your Research

First, you need to decide what car you want. Had I done a little more research on 2009 Subaru Outbacks, I might have seen reviews for mechanical issues and other electrical things that would have likely turned me off from even looking at them in the first place. After selling the Subaru, I popped online to research newer Honda Civics and noticed that consumer reviews showed a few similar issues mechanically. When I researched older Elements, though, the laundry list of complaints was much shorter. Take user reviews with a grain of salt, but DO start by researching the different makes and models that interest you before heading out to test drive.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

Don’t Rush Things

I know it’s frustrating to have to borrow or rent a temporary car when searching for a replacement, but it’s important to take your time and not rush. Be diligent and set up multiple appointments if you can to test drive lots of different cars, but don’t feel pressured to buy right away. New used cars pop up all the time, so if you feel like something’s holding you back about any one particular car, by all means, sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

Do Test Drive

Always, always, always test drive a vehicle first. I know some people are willing to purchase used cars from a couple states over sight unseen, but I’m not one of those people. I need to feel a car as it accelerates, how it shifts gears, and the way it handles hard brakes. Take it on the highway—most used dealers and private sellers understand that you want to run the car through all sorts of environments, so they should be fine with you taking it on a reasonable joy ride around town, on the highway, and in a parking lot, too.

Don’t Underestimate Private Sellers

Speaking of private sellers, don’t write these folks off just because they don’t sell used cars all the time. We met with several private sellers through Craigslist. For some reason, I feel like private sellers are more honest then used car dealers since they aren’t necessarily trained to sell products. In other words, they won’t give you the run-around like some dealers will. My biggest tip? One of the first things you should ask a private seller is, “Why are you selling this vehicle?” The answer could be very telling.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

Do A Pre-Purchase Inspection

A pre-purchase inspection (also known as a PPI) is something I never would have thought to have done before this whole experience, but now I will never ever buy another used car without doing so first. The dealer we bought the Element from was very understanding when we mentioned we wanted our personal mechanic to give it a look-over, so don’t feel shy about requesting it. The dealer gave us 24 hours to get it done, and we knocked it out without too much trouble. I urge you to do the same.

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

Buying a used car comes with a lot of uncertainty. Often times, the car has changed many hands and maintenance records could have been lost years before, leaving you wondering how the vehicle has been maintained. Although you can do things like order a Carfax (which we did) and have an inspection, sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Really take your time and feel how a used car handles. If you have any reservations, give yourself time to think things over.

The good news is that cars are machines, and practically anything that goes “wrong” can be fixed by a good mechanic. But if you make a responsible, well-thought-out choice, you could skip the hassle from the get-go. Best of luck in your own used car search and here’s to many, many years with our new-to-us pumpkin-colored Element!

The Dos & Don'ts Of Buying A Used Car

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*This post was sponsored by Duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

Okay, so technically summer doesn’t officially commence for another week, but it sure feels like we’re ‘in the heat of things’ now. Our AC units have already been turned way up, we’re chugging fresh citrus-infused water daily, and outdoor activities have become the weekly norm.

Our fire pit, for example, has been working especially hard for our benefit as of late. Since kicking off a range of partnerships with the team over at Duraflame last year, we’ve become die-hard fans of the brands’ product line. Sure, it’s a professional collaboration, but that relationship has organically turned us into life-long users. Now every time we have a slightly overcast day, we race to the back yard to fire up our little DIY flagstone fire pit, and luckily, our stockpile of  Duraflame logs allows us to pull off these on-a-whim fire fancies whenever the mood strikes—in less than 10 minutes flat.

All this to say that, sponsorship aside, we really couldn’t recommend their stuff more, and to inspire your own spontaneous fire pit fête, John and I spent a little extra time around the fire last week to come up with a list of activities to do around a summer campfire. Read on for our top five takeaways and please weigh in with your own ideas in the comments after the story!

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

1. Roast Marshmallows

This one, of course, is a given, but don’t feel like you need to stop there. John and I keep skewers handy in a kitchen drawer by the front door so that we can grab those and our favorite fire pit foods whenever the weather allows for a campfire. We’ve cooked hot dogs, bacon, shrimp, pineapple, and even grilled cheese sandwiches over our flaming Campfire Roasting Logs, so feel free to get creative and go beyond the standard s’more. If you want to stick with marshmallows though, at least consider giving our recipe for Rice Krispie Treat S’mores a try!

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

2. Host A Tasting

Our home is always stocked with wine and beer, and if your fridge sports the same type of inventory, you got to make sure to keep dry during a campfire, so make sure to contact a plumber near me if your are having any pipe issues. A campfire gathering is the perfect time to host an impromptu tasting. Gather some friends over and ask them to bring a bottle of their favorite wine or a 6-pack of their go-to beer. Then allow everyone to try a taste while comparing notes around a roaring fire.

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

3. Have A Jam Session

This one might sound a little cheesy, but summer is the perfect time to embrace the ‘cheese’ and pretend like you’re in a music video—so go old school and break out the acoustic guitar, this is guitar in particular is one of the best ones because it is from The Box Tiger Music department. There’s something extra magical about the sounds of a summer night accented by strumming guitar strings and murmurings around a crackling fire. Go ahead and act like you’re 16 again! We won’t tell.

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

4. Exchange Ghost Stories

Another blast-from-the-past activity that’s practically required for a bonfire gathering, whether you’re young or old, is a round of ghost stories. Pull up a list of tales on your phone or tablet, and take story-telling turns around the fire. They don’t need to be long—even the short ones garner the desired effect. If reading isn’t your thing, pull up spooky YouTube clips instead, or go all out and set up a screen and projector outfitted with a full-length scary film for everyone’s viewing pleasure around a campfire.

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5. Game Night Challenge

Instead of gathering around the same dining room table you have been for the past 12 years, go ahead and take things outside for your next family game night. Play charades while the audience kicks back in camp chairs around a low fire. Or allow the fire to be a backdrop for games like Taboo, The Mouth Game, or DIY giant Jenga.

Although you don’t really need an excuse to gather around a campfire (watching those curly, crackling flames is often all the activity I need!), the idea of building and maintaining a fire can seem like it just isn’t worth the effort. So start the season right with our list of fun motivators that will have you just going for it rather than giving in to those excuses. If all else fails, you’ll get a cool Boomerang out of it!

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

5 Activities To Do Around A Summer Campfire | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

P.S. For more inspiration, check out our breakdown of 5 precautions to take at your next fire pit party and my recipe for Rice Krispie Treat S’mores here.

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Everything You Need For Your Date Night In | dreamgreendiy.com

Lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to save more and set more aside for my retirement, which means that, ultimately, I have a little less to spend on things like weekly date nights. Instead of going to the movies or popping in to our favorite fancy restaurants, John and I have tried to think more intentionally about things we can do at home that translate into quality time.

It has actually been a really fun challenge trying to come up with things to do at home versus out on the town. We’ve had picnic dinners in our living room, kicked off board game championships, instituted homemade pizza night, dabbled in wine tastings (with a $5-per-bottle limit, of course), snapped instant photos of our pets doing funny things for scrap-booking later on, made our own dairy-free ice cream, and watched countless movies in our PJs. Turns out that you really don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun, so I put together a list of the top 12 pieces we’ve added to our collection that can be used over and over again versus splurging on just one date night out.

  1. The Elements of Pizza, by Ken Forkish ($18)
  2. Picnic Blanket ($35)
  3. 3-pc Pizza Stone Set ($17.67)
  4. Set of 4 Red Wine Glasses ($36.17)
  5. Bluetooth speaker ($116)
  6. Men’s Camper Moccasin ($33.31)
  7. Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote ($39.99)
  8. Knit Leggings ($19.99)
  9. Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker with Extra Freezer Bowl ($69.95)
  10. Instant Film Camera ($109.95)
  11. Textural hooded jacket ($79.50)
  12. 6-in-1 Game Set ($14.46)

If you’re looking for other 2-person games to play at home, another big favorite of ours is Spot it! There are tons of different versions of this fast-paced game to enjoy (including a water-proof option that you can take to the pool), and it can be played between two people or an entire family. Got any at-home date night ideas of your own? Shout them out below so that we can even more creative.

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Oh, and, as always, my promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.

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*This post was sponsored by Duraflame
A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

When we first toured our current home as prospective buyers back in 2015, it was pretty clear that the biggest compromise was going to be the yard. Our lot is undeniably tiny, and we’re awfully cozy with our side, back, and diagonal neighbors. That said, John and I were moving from a townhouse to a single family home back then, so even the tiniest patch of grass was going to be an upgrade from the paved parking lot we were used to.

We’ve worked really hard to maximize the potential of our small back yard in the past year and a half since moving in, and I’m happy to report that John and I have enjoyed every minute of it. With the help of generous family members, we’ve excavated overgrown gardens and added in serene zen-like landscaping that better suits our style, and we’ve planted a few trees in hopes that we can gain back a bit more privacy over the next decade.

Another big thing that we added ourselves to help give our tiny outdoor living space usability is a fire pit. This was such a simple project to pull off (really!), and it has been a blast firing up the flagstone pit whenever the mood strikes. This season, I’m teaming up with Duraflame again to share a recent new recipe that has given fresh joy to the thought of hosting a fire pit party: homemade Rice Krispies Treat™ S’mores.

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

Rice Krispies Treat S’mores

*Makes about 12 s’mores sandwiches
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies™ cereal
  • 2 10 oz. bags marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 Hershey’s chocolate bars

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Once melted, dump in 1 bag of marshmallows and stir into the melted butter. Continue stirring the marshmallows until completely dissolved, then remove from the heat. Pour in the Rice Krispies cereal, 2 cups at a time. Stir to combine until all 6 cups of cereal have been incorporated.

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

Dump the mixture into a bread pan lined with wax paper. Press the top down with more wax paper (or your finger tips) to form the shape, and then allow to cool. Once completely cooled, flip the “loaf” of Rice Krispies Treats™ onto a cutting board, and slice into thin squares like bread. Refrigerate the squares for one hour to stiffen them up a bit.

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

Roast a plain marshmallow over your campfire, then layer the toasted marshmallow on one “slice” of Rice Krispies Treat along with a Hershey’s chocolate square. Top with a second slice, and enjoy immediately.

I’ll personally take any excuse I can get to roast a marshmallow over open flames, and this new ‘Krispie’ concept makes the quintessential summertime treat even more delicious. We actually pulled this off very spontaneously in between breaks in rain showers over the Memorial Day weekend, so it’s also one of those activities that can be spur-of-the-moment.

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

Lighting up a 4-pack of our favorite food-safe Duraflame Campfire Roasting Logs took no more than 10 minutes, and our Rice Krispies Treat S’mores were ready to go within practically the same timeline, so the next free evening you get this spring-to-summer season, I definitely recommend trying this recipe out for yourself. It couldn’t be easier or tastier, and pulling it all off is really a cinch. Happy unofficial summer, everyone!

A Recipe For Rice Krispies Treat S'mores | dreamgreendiy.com + @Duraflame #ad #duraflame

P.S. For more inspiration, check out our breakdown of 5 precautions to take at your next fire pit party.
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A Summer To-Do List

Happy Memorial Day, folks! I’m taking the day off to spend time with family (including my sister’s brand new puppy, Rory), and I hope you’re getting some much-deserved time off with loved ones, too. In the off chance that you’ve set aside a bit of your down time to catch up online, I wanted to share a quick breakdown of all the things we have planned for the upcoming season. We probably won’t get to everything, but dreaming is half the fun, right?

Our Summer To-Do List:

  • Read more books
  • Go to a concert or two
  • Travel to a big city
  • Visit with family more often
  • Brunch!
  • Spend time by the water
  • Enjoy weekend wine tastings
  • Listen to more music
  • Spend a long weekend at the beach
  • Drive with the windows down
  • Volunteer for the local symphony or SPCA
  • See an old movie at Wayne Theater
  • Host a cookout
  • Paint the sunroom
  • Light up the fire pit more often
  • Eat more fresh produce
  • Plant a garden
  • Send more snail mail
  • Go antiquing just for fun

Another thing I’d love to add (which, of course, sounds a little counterintuitive) is to relax. I’m anxious to learn how to get just as much out of doing nothing as I do from being on the go, so that’s something I’m planning to work on this summer 2017. What’s on your summer to-do list?

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Each vote enters you for a chance to win $15,000 to put towards a room of your OWN, so don’t wait!
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A Spontaneous Day Trip To Sherando Lake

With Memorial Day coming up this weekend (how is it that time already?!) I’ve noticed that summer has been invading my brain more often than not the last few days. I usually don’t love this mid-year season, mostly because of the stifling heat, but for some reason I feel so ready to embrace the traditional summer mentality.

I think a lot of it comes down to entering my 30s. It’s as though, as soon as I turned the big 3-0 back in 2016, my mind and body decided to go absolutely berserk. These days I overanalyze every little freckle on my skin, fixate on every strand of gray hair (of which I already have dozens), and I’m starting to panic about retirement, too. Trust me—I know 30 isn’t old by any stretch of the word, but ever since reaching the milestone, I think something inside me clicked, and I realized that I just can’t goof off anymore like I did when I was a 20-something. Does anyone else feel this way?

Anyway, one part of my youth that I’m particularly sad about losing is summer break. Sure, it’s been 10 years since I enjoyed a real months-long summer vacation, but for some reason it just hit me that I’ll probably never get to experience that blissful time off ever again. That sucks! So this year I’ve decided to do everything I can to cut myself some slack, and I plan to embrace summer and all that goes along with it—sleeping in (even just for an extra 10 minutes), weekly cook-outs, reading a cheesy novel on the porch, and so much more time spent by the water.

A Spontaneous Day Trip To Sherando Lake

A Spontaneous Day Trip To Sherando Lake

Speaking of, by way of a kick-off to the unofficial start of the season, John and I recently made the 20-minute trek out to Sherando Lake just outside town in Lyndhurst, Virginia in order to soak up that spring-to-summer sun, and I thought I’d document our day here for you. It was our first time visiting this part of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest, but it most certainly won’t be the last.

A Spontaneous Day Trip To Sherando Lake

A Spontaneous Day Trip To Sherando Lake

A Spontaneous Day Trip To Sherando Lake

This 2-lake recreation area and campground was absolutely bursting with life that day. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen so much green in my whole life, and the fresh air was just heavenly. Between the spring flowers blooming along the paths, the grilling hot dogs and hamburgers that we wandered (extra slowly!) by in the picnic area, and the suntan-lotion-lathered bathers we passed on the beach, it was pretty near perfect and such a great ode to what’s to come this summer.

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Everything You Need For Your Retro-Inspired Music Lounge | dreamgreendiy.com

Since the day John and I started dating (or, really, since the day we met through friends in high school before ever dreaming that we’d get hitched) music has bonded us. We used to listen to albums on repeat for hours when we first reconnected, and while adulthood responsibilities have seemed to get in the way of more frequent musical moments these days, we still make time for it as often as we can. There’s just something really relaxing about flopping onto the couch and chatting about anything and everything as a good album turns in the background.

Because of this penchant for music we have music-friendly lounge areas all over our house. We have three record players—one in each living room (one upstairs and one downstairs), and the third lives on our sunporch. I made sure to situate all of our comfiest furniture around our record players to invite easy listening whenever the mood strikes. Good lighting, retro decor, and ample vinyl storage options helps keep our collection straight, and it recently occurred to me that maybe you’d like to follow suit.

  1. Greendale Home Fashions 20-Inch Square Floor Pillow ($38.28)
  2. Crosley CR6232A-BR Nomad Portable USB Turntable ($139.99)
  3. Simpli Home Draper Mid-Century Media Stand ($271.82)
  4. Set of 2 Steel Droplet Orange Small Accent Lamps ($49.99)
  5. U-Turn Audio, Orbit Plus Turntable ($309)
  6. Eisley, I’m Only Dreaming Vinyl ($17.99)
  7. Mid-Century Chair Wood with Linen Upholstery ($240)
  8. Crosley AC20 Record Cleaning Kit ($17.27)
  9. Everything I Know About Music Log Book ($24.99)
  10. Crosley AC1004A-NA Record Storage Crate ($29)
  11. Audioengine A2+ White (Pr.) 2-way Powered Speaker System ($249)
  12. La La Land: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ($22.98)

That shopable list above should set you up with a mod music lounge all your own in just a dozen pieces (or less since I’ve given you two options for players—one inexpensive all-in-one type deal and one that’s more of an investment).

What are some of your favorite albums to listen to? Another recent favorite is the Awake And Pretty Much Sober Vinyl from Violents & Monica Martin. Leave your top picks—both new and old—in the comments below!

Everything You Need For Your Retro-Inspired Music Lounge | dreamgreendiy.com

Image via Urban Outfitters
P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Oh, and, as always, my promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.
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