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DIY: Make a Fire Pit out of a Washing Machine

Posted by Michael on June 26, 2014

Summer nights spent roasting hot dogs & marshmallows over a campfire are the best.  Don't you think?  There really is something magical about a crackling fire- whether it's up in the mountains or in your own backyard.  The only downside is the nasty, smoky campfire smell that without fail permeates every single item of clothing and pore on your body. This is especially annoying if you've just washed your hair, don't you think?

The other night we got invited over to a friend's backyard to roast s'mores and have a fire.  I threw on some grubby clothes, knowing by the end of the night they would just end up in the washing machine.  Bring on the laundry!  When we got there, I was shocked to see a cool looking "fire pit" like this....


via pinterest


 And I was even more shocked when I walked away unscathed from the smoke smell after sitting around this ditty for 2 hours!  Incredible, right?!  Honestly, you couldn't even smell a hint of smoke on any of us.  

Have you seen these?  Get the drum of an old washing machine and you've got yourself an awesome fire pit!  I'm not sure how it works, but really the smoke output is so minimal it's awesome!  So if you're in the market for a new washing machine, put your old one to good use and make yourself a fire pit this summer!  There's a great tutorial here.  


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Fruits and Vegetables in Season

Posted by Andie on June 24, 2014

One of my favorite ways to spend Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings in the summer months is visiting the outdoor farmer's market near my home.  Fresh, locally grown produce is seriously HEAVEN ON EARTH!  There is nothing tastier than a perfect, ripe tomato, a flavorful plump peach, or a huge, juicy watermelon grown practically right in your backyard!  Don't you agree?  For me, some of the things I love most about summer are the delicious fresh fruit & veggies (and homemade ice cream- but that's another post).  

The only problem with buying lots and lots of fruits and vegetables is that it gets expensive!  Why does it cost so much more money to eat healthy than not?!  I've always heard that it's cheaper to buy produce that is "in season"-- but besides the obvious answers, how do you know what's actually in season?  Recently I found this little ditty from And Then We Saved that tells you!  It's a great resource to use if you want to branch out and experiement with produce you typically don't use.  Let's go save money and eat healthy this summer!    


And Then We Saved via Pinterest



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I Had My Baby!

Posted by Andie on June 18, 2014

Hi guys!  You probably didn't even realize I was away on maternity leave for the past two months (thanks to my awesome co-workers for posting all of the blogs I had written in advance)....but I had my baby!  She was born April 2nd and is an absolute dream.  We are so in love!!

Between chasing my barely 2 year old little boy around and snuggling my 2 month old daughter, it's pretty crazy around our house!  I'm back to blogging for a few hours a week though, so if you have any topics you'd like to see covered this summer, please shoot me an email (  I'm always up for ideas from you readers.  

And now, just so you can see how adorable she is, here are a few photos of my baby girl that were taken when she was a week old.  (P.S. A newborn photography session is such a great investment if you are having a baby, or a great gift to give a loved one that's expecting.) 







* All photos by Jen Herem Photography 


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Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Posted by Andie on June 11, 2014

It's Father's day this Sunday!  Still looking for the right gift to show your dad just how much he means to you?  If your dad is as hard to shop for as my dad, the answer is YES.  Why is picking out gifts for men so difficult?

One year in high school I was totally stumped (as usual) in my search for a Father's day present.  I'm embarassed to admit that I ended up gifting my dad a chip clip.  Yes, a $2.00 plastic clip to help keep your potato chips fresh.  At the time it made so much sense.  I even thought I was being creative!  I'm such an idiot. I have the very best dad in the world who graciously accepted my cheapo chip clip, but my siblings still make fun of me for it to this day.  Total BOMB. 

So, here are a few Father's day gift ideas you might want to check out if you're still looking for a gift.  Just remember- stay away from the chip clips....


Traeger Wood Pellet Grill



Swimsuit (what dad couldn't use an updated suit for summer?) via J. Crew



Apple iPad Mini



Weber BBQ Tool Set



Appointment for a massage at a spa (image via pinterest)




Fit Bit




Zero Gravity Chair



luggage tags (image via pinterest)



Subscription to Travel & Leisure Magazine (or any magazine for that matter)



Canon Digital Camera




Movie Theater Tickets and Popcorn (image via pinterest)


What are you doing for your dad this Father's day??


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Turkey Burger Recipe

Posted by Andie on June 6, 2014

Today's guest Post is by my friend & sister-in-law Allie!  She is one talented woman and mama to the cutest baby girl!  Lucky for all of us, today she is sharing one of her secrets when it comes to having delicious dinners on a nightly basis! I definitely need this!  Thanks Allie!

As the weather starts to heat up, so do our kitchens, and even turning on the stove can feel like the absolute last thing you want to do.  Pile on longer days filled with more activities and by the time dinner rolls around, this equation equals cold cereal (again) at our house.  Recently, I have decided to break the cycle of lame dinner offerings by stocking up on freezer meals.  Let me tell you, it has been revolutionary.  Just one day of work gives me multiple delicious, time saving options.  Not only can I feed my family an appetizing meal in way less time, but we have saved tons of money by buying in bulk and cutting out trips to fast food. (Also helping us eat healthier and lose weight!...Can you tell I'm a believer?!)

Here is a super easy recipe to get you started on your own freezer stash, but I will warn you, once you start, you may need to buy a bigger freezer!
Turkey Burgers
2 oz. Feta Cheese
10 oz. Frozen Spinach
2 lbs. Ground Turkey
Salt and Pepper to taste
Swiss Cheese
Whole Wheat Buns
Mix ground turkey with spinach that has been drained well, feta cheese, and salt and pepper.  Patty out into burgers.  Place between sheets of wax paper and freeze in gallon size zipper bag.  When ready to serve, thaw and grill until desired doneness.  Serve with Swiss cheese and condiments on a whole wheat bun.  Great for warm evenings!    
*It's also a great idea to freeze bags full of prepared ground turkey or beef.  They don't take up much space and can be thawed quickly for use in spaghetti sauce or tacos.  Get creative!  Many of your family's favorites will probably freeze well in bags or aluminum containers.  Share your favorite recipes below!
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How to Arrange Your Furniture

Posted by Michael on June 3, 2014

It's happened to all of us.  You attend a dinner party where you can barely squeeze into your chair because you're basically sitting on top of the person next to you (which results in you being afraid you might accidentally stab your neighbor if you aren't careful enough when cutting your steak).  

You sit down on someone's sofa, only to realize that there isn't enough room for your feet between the coffee table and the edge of the sofa.  

You have to suck in with all of your might to create enough clearance to actually close and lock your friend's bathroom door.  

These types of situations can be awkward, and uncomfortable to say the least.  Anthropometrics, or the dimensions of the human form, are important to consider when arranging furniture and spaces in your home.  Just because something will "fit" doesn't mean that it will be condusive to comfortably entertaining people in the room!


via houzz

According to "Interiors: An Introduction" there are some standard clearances in The United States (based largely on our culture's personal space preferences) that you should be aware of when considering where and how to place and arrange furniture in your home:

- Major traffic paths should be 3 feet or wider.
- Minimal clearance for traffic is 1.5 feet.
- Seating pieces used with coffee table need slightly over 1 foot of clearance between the table and the front of the seat.
- For a user to be able to extend his or her legs in front of a seating piece, about 3 feet of space is required, depending on leg length and the degree of extension.
- Desks and pianos require a minimum of 3 feet of clearance for chairs, benches, and users.
- Comfortable dining requires slightly more than 2 feet of space per user along the perimeter of the table.
- In order to accommodate a seated diner and space behind for passage and serving, 3 feet of space should be planned.
- Three feet is considered good clearance between a bed and dresser.
- Space between two beds should be from 2.5 feet to 3 feet.
- Minimal clearance to facilitate bed making is 1.5 feet between the bed and the wall.
- In a bathroom, clearance of 2.5 to 3.5 feet in front of the toilet provides adequate space for most functions.

These rules of thumb are great to have in your back pocket to help you in the future! 


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