Summer Recipe – Portuguese Style Clam Boil

You know how foods can evoke memories?  This summer recipe – Portuguese Style Clam Boil, does that for me.  Growing up, once or twice during the summer, my dad and I would split 5 lbs of steamers while lying on the family room rug watching tv.  It is one of those little things that only my dad and I shared.  Not only would no one else in the house eat the little clams; they didn’t even want to smell them!  My mom made us put the shells into plastic bags and freeze them until trash day.  So, yeah, steamers aren’t for everyone.  But if you like them, this is the way you should be cooking them!

Summertime Favorite Portuguese Style Clam Boil

When my dad and I made these, we simply boiled the steamers until the shells opened then dipped them in melted butter and they are absolutely delicious just like that.  However, when I met my husband and had steamers Portuguese style for the first time, I realized we were missing out on some serious flavor.  My mother-in-laws recipe includes chunks of red onion, chorizo, red potatoes and even hot dogs.  Not only do these ingredients add some flavor to the steamers themselves, they also make a delicious broth that you can dip the steamers in.  Actually, my husband drinks the broth right out of a bowl while he is eating the steamers.  I don’t know if I want to admit that out loud, but there it is.


Does anyone want to hear a funny steamer story?  When my husband and I were dating, we deciding to try making steamers ourselves at his apartment.  I had helped my dad make them since I could remember, so I was well aware of the process.  We bought a couple of pounds from a fish market.  When we got them home and started to clean them, it dawned on my husband that the steamers are alive until you boil them.  He COULD NOT bring himself to cook the little guys!  We drove them to the Seekonk River and set them free.  I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have lived too long in that fresh water, but it made future husband happy.  It was many years before we could actually go through with cooking the little clams.

There are some things you should look out for when buying steamers. First of all, here in the Northeast, you can buy them at pretty much any supermarket.  I’ve bought them at supermarkets and they are ok.  I prefer to get them from a fish market, which can be a bit of a process if you don’t have one local.  And I don’t.  However, I was at a Farmer’s Market this past weekend and there was a fish vendor!  I was slightly grossed out at the thought of buying fish from a farmers market because I was imagining fish on ice in the heat, but that was not the case.  The fish guy literally had a little table, empty, in front of a van and all of the fish were packed inside the van on ice and air conditioned.  That worked for me.  I made sure to take a look at the steamers.  The one’s I bought were already packaged in netting, so I could tell that they were all mostly on the smaller side.  When it comes to steamers, smaller is better.  The smaller the steamer, the sweeter.  Plus, even this die hard steamer lover doesn’t like to eat a gigantic steamer belly.  So, definitely look for the smaller steamers.  Finally, you want to check for broken shells.  Because the steamers I bought were already packaged in netting, I couldn’t tell if there were any broken ones jammed into the pack.  Sadly, there were.  Sad because you can’t cook the broken shell ones.  If the steamers shell is broken, it is probably dead and may have been dead for a while and that’s just gross. So throw away any broken shell steamers.

Ok, ready to cook these suckers?

Summer Recipe – Portuguese Style Clam Boil

2lbs Steamer clams, thoroughly rinsed

2-3 Red Potatoes, cut into large chunks

1 lb. Chorizo sausage cut into large chunks

1 Red Onion cut into large chunks

2-3 Hot Dogs cut into large chunks

1/2 stick of melted butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1.  Bring about a quart of water to a boil.  You will need enough water to cover all of the ingredients, except the steamers.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, rinse the steamers thoroughly.  Several times. Once you think they are totally clean and free of any sand, rinse them a couple more times.
  3. Add the potatoes to the water and boil until almost tender
  4. Add the sausage, onion, hot dogs and salt and pepper.  Allow to cook about 5-10 minutes until sausage and hot dogs are heated through.
  5. If necessary, pour out some of the boiling water so that when you add the clams to the pot they are sort of sitting on top of the other ingredients and not completely covered in water.  You really want to steam the steamers, not boil them.
  6. Add the steamers to the pot and cover. Allow to steam about 5 minutes or until all of the steamer shells have opened.  Check carefully that all of the shells have opened.  It shouldn’t take more than 5-7 minutes.  If any of the shells fail to open, toss those clams out.
  7. Place a bowl under a collander and strain the mixture into the collander.  You will want to reserve this broth for dipping the clams
  8. Serve the steamers with melted butter and broth for dipping.  Peel off the weird neck thingy before eating the clams (see the picture below of the steamers in butter for a visual of the naked neck. The picture below that one shows the steamers before the neck thing has been removed).  The melted butter for dipping is my favorite!

Steamers in Butter

Clam Boil


Easy Art – Tissue Paper Collage

***This post contains affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.***        A few posts back I wrote about upcoming projects I wanted to tackle.  This was one of them:

I love that pixelated, colorful wall.  I thought it would be cool to use that as inspiration for some DIY artwork.  I don’t have the skills to paint something like that, but I thought I could probably do something similar with tissue paper cut into geometric pieces.  And, of course, a bit of Mod Podge. Scratch that, a whole lot of Mod Podge.

Here are my finished products:

dr not painting

not painting

The first one is inspired by my dining room wall, which looks like this:


I think it’s a pretty cool interpretation of the wall.  I’ve often said that that wall is one of my proudest DIY moments, so it was a lot fun to replicate it.  PS, the wall is wall papered, not painted.  I don’t have mad painting skills, remember?  Click the pic (affiliate link) below if you are interested in purchasing the wallpaper for yourself.  I did hang it myself, with a lot of help from my super handy and patient mom.

Ok, but back to what I was talking about before I got totally distracted by my crazy awesome wallpaper.

The Easy Art.  My second try at the tissue paper/geometric mod podged art is more directly inspired from the wall in that cool work space above.  Just a series of overlapping colors that are translucent.  As you layer the pieces of the tissue paper, you create new variations of the color.  It was really a lot of fun to make and definitely satisfies the struggling artist inside of you.


Fiskars Hexagon Squeeze Punch 

Hygloss 100 Tissue Assortment Bleeding Sheets

Stretched Canvas

Mod Podge

Small paint brush

Note:  I was in struggling artist mode while making these and didn’t take any pictures of the process.  But, I’m kind of glad, because there really is no method to the madness.

Step 1:

Cut out a variety of colors of tissue paper with the hexagon squeeze punch. I found it to be much easier to keep the little hexagons sorted by color, until one day I left the windows open in the dining room and my little hexagons blew all over the place.  I’m still finding hexagons in random places

Step 2: Choose an inspiration picture or graphic (as I did with the dining room wall inspired piece) or, don’t, and just follow your inner artist.

Step 3:  Apply about a couple of square inches of mod podge to the canvas at whatever part of the canvas you have decided to start with.  With both of my pieces I started at the top left hand corner. I have no idea why.  Start in the middle, if you want, you rebel!

Step 4:  Place your hexagon tissue pieces on the mod podged areas, overlapping each piece a little bit.

Step 5:  Repeat steps 4&5 until your inner artist is satisfied!

I loved this craft because it was fairly simple, but also time consuming.  It did take several hours spread out over the course of a few days to get these two completed.  But I like having a project to work on.  It was sort of like leaving a puzzle laid out on the dining room table.  Except if anyone tried to work on it, they were in for a world of hurt.   Just kidding.  (No I’m not).

I hope you give this a try and please, please, please, share your results!!

Easy Art - Tissue Paper Collage

I Tried It – Salad in a Cup

***This post contains an affiliate link.  If you click on it and purchase something, I may receive a small commission.***    I have discovered the best beach/ball game/travelling food.  It is healthy.  It is easy to make.  It is easy to eat on the go.  What is this amazing discovery?  A Salad in a Cup.

Salad in a Cup - Perfect Beach Food!

It is so special that I had to present it to you in the classic pyramid style.  It is basically the 8th wonder of the world.  And I made it in my kitchen.  Actually, the first time I made it was in a tiny motel room during our trip to Old Orchard Beach, ME. This beautiful beach below is where I tested the beach-worthiness of this discovery.

Another beautiful sunset at #oldorchardbeach:

I’ve seen many salads in mason jars, and this is basically the same idea.  But, really, a mason jar is not something I want to bring to the beach.  Or to one of the 40 softball games I will have attended before this summer is over.  No exaggeration.  40 softball games.  But a plastic cup that you might use for a smoothie?  That has a lid?  And the perfect spot to stick a plastic fork in?  That I can get on board with.

These are the cups that I bought from Amazon:

A World Of Deals Plastic Clear Cup Set with Flat Lids, 100 Sets, 16 oz.


They were $17.49 for 100 cups and lids.

Making the salads is pretty simple.  The amounts listed below are eyeballed!

Salad in A Cup

Ingredients:Ingredients for Salad in a Cup

The ingredient list is whatever you love in your salad.  I like some lettuce, something crunchy, something sweet, some cheese and something with some protein.  When I made these on vacation, I made a Chicken Ceasar Salad version that was delicious.

1-2 T of your favorite salad dressing

3 Sweet Peas cut into bite size pieces

3-4 Mini Bell Peppers cut into bit size pieces

1 T black olives

2 T Chick Peas

1 T Goat Cheese, crumbled

2 T Dried Cranberries

2 T Slivered Almonds

1 c of your favorite salad Lettuce (or spinach or other leafy green!)

Salad in a Cup Collage

  1.  Pour your salad dressing into the bottom of the cup.
  2. Add the denser vegetables, like Sweet Peas and Mini Bell Peppers, first.
  3. Add the cheese.
  4. Add the olives, chick peas, dried cranberries and slivered almonds.
  5. Add the lettuce last.  Do not over pack the salad.  You need a little room for the ingredients to move around in the next step.
  6. When you are ready to eat the salad, shake it until the dressing is evenly distributed.

There is a method to my ingredient order madness.  You definitely do not want to add the lettuce in directly after the dressing because it will get wilty and gross.  The denser veggies like the bell peppers and sweet peas can handle the dressing.  I think alternating the heavier veggies with things like the cheese crumbles is also important because it helps when you are shaking and trying to distribute the dressing.  There is no actual science to back that up, but I’m going with it anyway.  It does take a bit of shaking to get the dressing distributed.  Speaking of distributing salad dressing, did you know that the greatest contribution the Kardashians have made to human kind is the genius idea of shaking your plastic take out salad container after adding your dressing to distribute it?  True story.

So, there you have it people.  The Salad in a Cup!  Pack a bunch in your cooler for your next beach trip!  Ooh, and let me know your favorite flavor combos!!

The Kids View:

 The Salad Cup is like a salad but in a cup lol it tastes great with a crunchy leaf on the top. My mom cooked okay but kinda of overcooked the leaf  but a fresh taste. I thought i was going to hate it but it was good and healthy this might be the only healthy option for me jk.            ~ WILL THE THRILL RIDE.


Thanks, kid.

I Tried It – Gluten Free Crispy Coconut Chicken Nuggets

The summer is such a weird food time.  Weird, but good.  I find myself not really wanting to eat meals so much as wanting to gnaw on pieces of steak or other protein and raw vegetables.  It’s a simpler time, I guess.  Like, caveman simple.  I was researching gluten free summer foods and came across a recipe for Crispy Coconut Chicken Nuggets.  So, I tried it.  Naturally.

Gluten Free Crispy Coconut Chicken Nuggets

These little nuggets came out delicious!  They were easy to make, although I do find frying things to be tedious work.  I’m sort of a multi-tasker and when you are frying, you really ought to only do one thing at a time.  Cause, ya know, fires.  I found this amazing recipe from Num’s The Word, which is my new favorite blog name.

I like this nugget size food because it is so easy to transport. I could pop these in a plastic cup and bring them to the ball field and munch on them.  Or, I could add a few to a salad.  Watch for an upcoming post on summer food, where I explain why you should be making salads in large, lidded coffee cups and taking them to the beach.  Best thing ever.  That’s an exaggeration.  Salads in coffee cups can’t compete with espresso fudge.  But, as far as healthy beach going fare, salads in coffee cups are pretty darn awesome.

Speaking of summer, this one is shaping up to be one of the best yet for my family!  We have already had a couple of weekend trips, including one to Old Orchard Beach, ME.  The beach there is truly spectacular.

Another beautiful sunset at #oldorchardbeach:

#oob old orchard beach me:

And we still have our annual trip to Lake Winnipesaukee to look forward to.  We’ll be spending one long, full week there and I’m excited to relax and stare at the lake for several days.  In between visits to Fun Spot.  If you want to read more about Lake Winni, you can check out this post.


DIY Bleach Pen T Shirts for 4th of July

I’m coming to you from beautiful Old Orchard Beach in Maine!  This post is entirely done on my phone,  so bear with me!

I really wanted to make t-shirts for the kids and I had seen some cute ones on Pinterest made with bleach pens.



That’s Mr. USA on the left and Miss Independent on the right!

These were super easy to make.   Here’s a mostly pictorial tutorial.


You’ll need a T shirt,  some chalk,  a bleach pen or two and some type of flat cardboard to insert into the shirt so that you’re bleach doesn’t bleed through to the opposite side of the shirt.

Step 1.  Insert a piece of cardboard into the shirt.   Lay the shirt on a flat surface.


Step 2: Use the chalk to make a rough draft of your design.   Do not skip this step and go straight to the bleach.  Trust me. I erased my chalk renderings a couple of times before I was happy with the way things looked.


Step 4:  Trace over your chalk outline with the bleach pen.   This part is way easier than I thought it would be.

Step 5:  Allow the bleach to dry for about an hour.

Step 6:  Rinse the bleach from the shirt in cold water.   After rinsing you may decide to go over your design with the bleach again.   I did this on the red t shirt.   The blue one didn’t need it.

Step 7:  Wash your shirt as you normally would,  but you may want to wash it alone or with whites only.


And that’s it!   Easy as pie!

DIY Sticker Mandalas

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and buy something, I may receive a small commission***        I have a fun rainy summer day craft for you to share with your kids!  I made DIY Sticker Mandalas.  I would say your early tween to tween age kids will like this, but a focused little one could probably do this, too.  Do they make focused little ones?

DIY Sticker Mandalas

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know I was inspired by this project from Honestly WTF.  That one is a lot larger than what I made and infinitely more intricate, but I think I’ve captured the idea in a scaled down version that should be fun for kids to make while not taking a super long time to complete.  I would set aside 30-45 minutes to make one of these guys.

DIY Sticker Mandalas


Stickers – a couple of things to note: 1.  Don’t buy puffy stickers  2.  You will need multiples of each sticker you intend to use.  If you choose to do something larger scale, you may need several multiples of each sticker.  For my small Mandalas, I used stickers from this book from Amazon and it worked well for this project.  Bugs happens to be the theme I chose, but there are lots of others to pick from!

5×5 Canvases

Mod Podge



Step 1:

Draw an X from corner to corner of your canvas in order to find the center.  Make it as faint as possible so you don’t have much to erase at the end.

x for center

2.  Starting from the middle point, start placing your stickers.  The idea is to make a symmetrical graphic.  You’re sort of making each side a mirror image of the opposite.  I think the pictures will explain better than my words can.

apply stickers

3.  Be an artist.  The canvas is forgiving and you will be able to pick up  and replace your stickers.  I placed and replaced and swapped out stickers several times before I got it the way I wanted it.  Also, don’t be afraid to trim your stickers.  Notice that none of my bugs have legs or antennae?  Yea, I chopped them off.  They just didn’t look right, so after finishing the 1st pass at the 1st Mandala, I removed every sticker and cut off all of their legs and then replaced the stickers and was much happier with the results.  That’s called art, people.

4.  Erase any hint of your pencil lines that might still be peaking through.

5.  Seal with a nice thin layer of Mod Podge.  My stickers actually didn’t like sticking to the canvas by themselves, so the Mod Podge forced them to stick and gave them a nice clear protective coat.

And here they are in their natural habitat (read in your best Steve Irwin (RIP) voice):

sticker mandala 1

Sticker Mandala 2



I Tried It – Cake Batter Cookies – Gluten Free!

I have a small obsession with Life Hacks.  I can’t not read them and think, whose idea was this??  I need to know the brilliant person behind using a dustpan to fill a bucket from a shallow sink.  Why are they not working for NASA or trying to cure cancer?  That persons intellect needs to be tapped.

There are of course the Life Hacks that sadly don’t work, however.  Like killing ants with Febreze.  Check out my totally non-scientific test of that one here.  It will save you the trouble of wasting a lot of Febreze.

I came across a Life Hack on Pinterest this weekend for cookies made from cake batter.

Now, this is not usually something I would give more than a moment’s thought to, however, I happened to have just finished cleaning out my pantry and found a box of gluten free cake mix.  Don’t get me wrong, I like cake and I could have saved the box for cupcakes, but I REALLY love cookies.  A LOT.  So, I put this Life Hack to the test.

Double Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies

Life Hack approved!  The cookies were so easy to make, they were delicious and they are gluten free.  That is a win, win, win in my book.

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies

1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1/2 c Vegetable Oil

2 Eggs

1/2 c of Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix  together the cake mix, oil and eggs
  3. Fold in Chocolate Chips
  4. Scoop batter into 1 T balls and place on cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 9-12 minutes

For the sake of the photographs, I sprinkled the cookies with some powdered sugar.  Only because it is very hard to get a picture of a chocolate cookie and have it not look completely like a, well, a turd. I promise, these taste delicious!  Super chocolatey and gooey.  They will be a hit for you and all of your gluten free friends.  And that recipe cannot get much easier.  Enjoy!


Life Planning with Anthropologie

I love Anthropologie, but I don’t really have an Anthropologie sized wallet, sadly.  In circumstances like this, I like to focus on little things I can afford so that I can have a little taste of that style that might motivate me to save some pennies for the big things I love.  For some of my favorites from Anthropologie, you can look here  or here or here or here.

Planners are one of the smaller things that I can afford and that do have that signature Anthropologie style AND are even super useful.  I’ve picked a few favorites to share with you!

Life Planning with Anthropologie


Ok, so confession, first.  I’m not a “Planner” person.  I’m more of a fly by the seat of your pants and live to regret it later type of lady.  Not the best way to go when you have two kids, a part time job, a small blog, 3 animals and a house to care for.  It’s a lot of responsibility, people!  I can’t just wing it, really.  But planners kind of overwhelm me.  I’m not totally sure how to use them and I think I’m actually frightened of writing down all of my responsibilities.  It’s a little scary.  My plan, therefore, is to find a simple planner with a really beautiful design that will make me want to write in it and read from it everyday.  Makes sense, no?


This first one meets the beautiful design criteria.  I love the colorful cover and I’ve always loved things that have those built in bookmarks.  It also has a spiral binding when you open it, so it lays flat. Unfortunately, for this guy, the second I looked at the inside pages I got a little queasy feeling of dread. I don’t know why, but it overwhelmed me.  A little to structured for me, I think.

The Happiness 100-Day Planner -

To rid myself of the queasy anxious feeling, I moved on to this Happiness Planner.  Ok, heart rate coming down, relaxation setting in.  The insides of this planner are more freeform.  There is a weekly plan, but also questions like, “What am I excited about today?”.  There are also some inspirational quotes.


I love the simple graphic cover of this one.  The inside is manageable.  A goals section, a spot where the months are listed so you can jot down the highlights and then it’s broken down weekly.  I think that is just right for me.  It’s the Mama bear porridge of planners.  Wait, is it the Mama’s porridge that Goldilocks ate?  How do I not know that?  Anyway, this one is a contender.


This little guy is lovely.  Minimal, but chic  Also, there is a built in bookmark. This is small, so would easily fit in a purse of almost any size.  But, on the inside, the dreaded daily, weekly and monthly sections that make me scared.  What are you supposed to do?  Fill in ALL THREE SECTIONS?  Sorry, dude, you’re cute and everything, but too much baggage for me.  Not happening.

Year-Less Planner #anthropologie:

This one is pretty.  I like the deep colors.  It has weekly and monthly sections, which still has me slightly on edge, and it also has some blank and graph lined pages for doodles and notes.  I like graph paper, so that’s kind of cool.  All in all, I’m not *feeling* this one, ya know?  I’m not going to fall in love with this one and want to look at it every day for the next year.

So, top two contenders, the graphic navy and white or the Happiness planner?  Any planner pros out there have any suggestions for a non-planner person??

Crafts to be Mastered – What I Plan to Make Next!

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission***   Does anyone else find this to be a super hectic time of year?  Right as school is about to end it seems like every sport/instrument/otherkidthing plans a big hurrah, which is awesome and fun but a lot of running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.  If I may mom brag for a moment, two of those end of the year events were my daughter’s first solo violin concert (!) and my son’s field day, where he was the fastest in his class!  Actually, I’m really not bragging.  I’m proud, but I’m not taking credit for their accomplishments.  Those are all their own!  I can push and prod them into things, but in the end, it’s really their own skill or hard work that gets them across the finish line, literally or figuratively.

Anyway, that went way off on a crazy tangent, didn’t it?  My point is, I’ve been crazy busy so I didn’t make anything cool this week.  But I did make plans for making some cool things in the next few weeks.  Here’s what’s on my craft play list:

Since WeWork was started, its intent was to be more than just beautiful, shared office spaces. It was meant to build a community - a place you join as an individual, but become part of something bigger. At WeWork, we are redefining success measured by personal fulfillment - not just the bottom line. See how you can be a part of the community at

No, I’m not building booths, but I am going to try to replicate those super cool pixelated pieces of art.  Aren’t they crazy cool?

Use a Clorox Bleach Pen to make your own shirt designs!:

For the Fourth of July, I am going to use this tutorial from Craft By Photo to make custom t-shirts for my kiddos.  I’ll be sure to have this one posted in the next week or so so you can copy!


These pretty watercolors from Burlap and Blue have been on my to do list for a long time, and they are about to get a big ole check mark next to them.

I first discovered Lauren Vardell's sticker art by total happenstance. While perusing the web,  I stumbled across a giant sticker mandala that Mrs Grossman's sticker factory had commissioned the artist to make for them. Honestly, WTF - this thing blew my socks off! The inspiration to make my:

And, last, but not least, how awesome is this Sticker Mandala from Honestly WTF?  I’ve been wanting to make some of these with my kids for ages and I’m finally going to do it!

So, you might be wondering, how are you suddenly so organized and have four craft projects already planned?  Ok, you might not be wondering that, because you are probably organized and think it’s no biggie to have four projects planned and materials purchased.  Like, in advance.  For me, this is actually a big deal.  I’ve always been more of a buy all of the things, craft all of the things, photograph all of the things and post all of the things at the VERY LAST possible moment kind of gal. But I thought I would branch out a little this time and maybe try being a little less headless chicken for once.

So how did I achieve this feat?  Did I have to shop at 57 stores and spend hundreds of dollars?  Nope.  I hit up my homey Amazon and took care of everything, on the cheap, with just a few clicks.  And because I have Amazon Prime, all of my stuff will be here in 2 days.  And, yes, they will ship free.  Here is what was in my virtual shopping cart.  If you would like to craft along with me over the next few weeks, feel free to add them to your cart, too, but, be advised, these are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you purchase something!

Pixelated Art Supplies: : Fiskars Hexagon Squeeze Punch, Medium (159070-1001) : Paper Punches : Office Products:

Hygloss 100 Tissue Assortment Bleeding Sheets, 12" x 18" ...:

Darice11-Inch-by-14-Inch Stretched Canvas, 2-Pack Darice:

Fourth of July T Shirt Supplies

Soffe Big Boys' Short Sleeve T-Shirt,Red,M (10/12) Soffe

Clorox Bleach Pen Gel, 2 oz (56 g) Clorox:

Watercolor Paintings (I already have watercolors and brushes):

US Art Supply 5 X 5 inch Professional Artist Quality Acid...:

Sticker Mandala:

Eyelike Stickers: Bugs by Workman Publishing:

(I’ll use some of the 5×5 canvases for the Mandalas, too!)

In total, the items above come to about $66.  Do you want to know what is the best part of this story? I used $40 of the rebates I have earned through iBotta (if you haven’t signed up, you must!  For the love of money, sign up!  To make grocery shopping fun again, sign up!) to purchase an Amazon gift card, which dropped the price down to about $26!  For all of those wonderful craft supplies.  Life is good, friends.

Crafting Inspiration



DIY Patio Update On a Budget

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and buy something I may receive a small commission***   We had some super big expenses this year when it comes to the house.  Big as in, new roof and new siding.  Ouch.  That means all of our other projects have to be on a smaller scale.  I would have loved to have had a new deck built, but since it’s not in the cards this year, I have decided to do a DIY Patio Update on a Budget.  And I’m talking real low budget, people.

Here’s what I have to start with:

Welcome To Our Fire Pit!

Ugh, pardon that font please.  I didn’t take a new before shot this year because I knew I had this one, but I forgot about the font choice.  Anyway, I love the Adirondack chairs and the fire pit, so the furniture pieces are already set.  What you can’t see from this view is the door to our garage which lost a battle with a raccoon this year and we repaired it with some ugly plywood.   In the doors defense, this is a monster raccoon that it lost to.  I think it might be half yeti half raccoon.  The door is an eyesore and I needed a way to cover it up.  But how do you cover up an entire door that is out in the elements?  I would need some type of magical material that would stand up to rain and wind.  It would also have to be cool and funky and a worthy chill hang out space for my 6th grader.  What could I possibly come up with to solve this dilemma?

DIY Patio Update on a Budget

Can you guess what that is?  A shower curtain!  Brilliant, right?  It’s waterproof.  It won’t easily tear.  It’s super cool and chill.  I might be the smartest person on earth.

Tropical Decor Good Vibes Only Inspirational Funny Quote Palms Ocean Purple Blue Orange Sunset Island Beach Home Decor Bathroom Art Prints Quotes Print Fabric Aqua Shower Curtain Machine Washable:

I bought the shower curtain on Amazon for less than $15 AND I got it shipped free in two days because I have Amazon Prime, which I highly recommend.  I’ll have to do a top ten reasons to sign up for Amazon Prime post some day. The shower curtain even came with handy plastic hooks that I was able to attach to the trim of the house to hang.  Best $15 I have spent in a long time.

I’ve also been trying to decide on a cheap way to DIY some planters and I finally decided on making marbled planters from dollar store trash buckets.

DIY Marbled Planter for $3

Not bad for $3, am I right?  The flowers are impatiens and they  were also $3 and will grow into nice full blooms as the summer goes on.  Or they will wither and die because I forgot to water them.  The planters are super simple to make.  I bought $1 mini trash buckets and 2 different shades of blue nail polish, all from the dollar store, for this project.  You’ll need some type of a basin that is bigger than your trash bucket as well.  I used a plastic toy bin I had from Ikea.  You fill the basin with hot water, drip in your shades of nail polish, then dunk the trash cans in and pull them back out.  I actually dunked mine a couple of times, rotating them with each dunk to get better coverage.  If you need full instructions for nail polish marbling, you can find them in this post where I marbled some vases which came out way better than the pictures show.  They are still one of my favorite DIYS.

I have more plans for this little area. I want to add some string lights and I would really like to strategically add some more flowers on the cheap.  I’ll be brainstorming how to do that all week and hopefully I will have another brilliant idea to share with you!

Sincerely, the smartest person on earth.  Because of the shower curtain idea.