Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Outdoor Yard Lights for under $150!

Let's talk about outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting creates the perfect ambiance. It brings a little magic into your evening. It makes you want to stay a little longer, and is the perfect touch to any yard. I might even go as far as to say it's a necessity! 

I liked my patio, but it wasn't really a place I wanted to spend any time, and I wanted a place where my kids would want to hang out with their friends all summer. The lights were just what we needed to make our patio feel like an outdoor room.

I researched so many ways to do this on Pinterest. I even talked to our contractor about building a simple frame pergola out of 4x4's. We didn't want to spend that much. This DIY project came in under $150, including 2 sets of lights.

First, you'll decide how many poles you need to support your lights. We needed 8 total, 4 on each side of the patio.


8 - 3/4" galvanized electrical tubes. We paid $4.25 for each 10 foot section at Home Depot.

8 - 5 foot pieces of rebar. We bought 4, 10 foot pieces and cut them in half. They are $1/foot at Home Depot. So, they were basically $5/piece. My husband cut them in half with his multi-tool.

8 machine screw hooks. These were also from Home Depot, and worked well because they come with a washer that tightens to hold the hook in place.

Outdoor string lights. We got ours at Costco for $29/each. We used 2 sets. I recommend getting them at Costco because they are a great price, but also because they are long, 48" compared to the 12" kind you length you find in many stores.

We measured where we wanted everything to be, and my hunky husband pounded the rebar into the ground. He pounded it in about 2.5 feet deep.

Then we simply slipped the metal poles over the rebar. 

The outdoor room was beginning to take shape.

We, and when I say we, I mean, he... My husband drilled holes int the top of each pole, and put a hook in the top. These were from Home Depot. 

We tried multiple types. They are not listed online, or I would provide a link. They are machine screw hooks, sold individually, just like the one in his hand. 

We did this on Memorial Day, and Costco was closed, so we had to wait to pick up lights. I hate waiting! We put them up after work the next day. Who needs daylight?

The lights attached to the hooks so easily, because they have a little loop on top of each one.

We ended up moving the pole next to my stairs closer to the stairs because we had more cord left on that side and it was droopy. 



I don't think anyone would notice that the pole is not perfectly lined up.

 We did run an extension cord up to the lights. I don't really see it at night.

It's pretty at night. It's pretty in the evening. I even like it in the day time!

It's my new favorite place to be. I find myself looking for excuses to hang out on the patio at night now. The lights are bright enough, that we canst out on the table and play a game without and additional lights needed.

My daughter had some friends over the next night, and they all ohhed and awed over the lights as soon as they saw them. The girls even wanted to take selfies with the lights.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Host a Homeland Heritage Dinner

Every year, I have a St Patricks Dinner for my family. I usually make rainbow food, or green food. This year, the holiday took on a little more meaning to me. I was searching my family tree on, and found that I had an ancestor from Ireland! A grandmother, whose name is Mary Ann Moore. Her whole line is Irish! I always wanted a, "Kiss me, I'm Irish," shirt! Next year, I can buy one and wear it for real.


I started wondering what it was like to live in Ireland when she was there. I also wondered what brought her to the US.  I really wish I had a way to interview these grandparents in person. I have so many questions!  This is a screen shot. I love having ancestral info right on my phone! The Family Search app makes it so easy!

Since I was making a St. Patricks Day dinner for my family anyway, I decided I would turn it into an Irish dinner. I wondered what kind of food she would have eaten, and what recipes came with her from Ireland to Utah. She was seven when she sailed from Ireland to Philadelphia, PA in 1819. She sailed with her father and younger sister. What happened to her mother? Did she die giving birth to her younger sister? So many questions! I had no idea before that week, that I had Irish heritage. So, I started from zero. I researched what kind of meal to make for my family, that would be more traditional Irish. Pinterest was a fantastic resource, my only resource, really. This is my St Patrick's Board. You can have a look around. I have all the recipes from this post, as well as lots of other fun ideas.

I wanted to make Irish Soda Bread. It was SO easy. While we were eating, my husband pointed out that this grandmother likely would have made and eaten this type of bread. It's made with baking soda instead of yeast. It's almost like making biscuits. It is dense and delicious!

I made baked reuben for my family all the time. I was in the store, and saw these rye buns, and thought I would make the rueben using them instead. I just cut the whole sheet of ready made rolls in half, and added the salad dressing, corned beef, swiss cheese, and sour kraut inside, and baked it until warm. I thought it was extra pretty!

These next pics are from my insta stories. Do you follow me on Instagram? I'm @restlessrisa_risabaker

These potato pancakes were the hit of the night! They were the most time consuming, (you have to make your mashed potatoes in advance, and put in the fridge for a few hours before) but SOOO yummy and delicious! It doesn't hurt that they are fried in oil! We had left overs for a few days. Everyone loved them!

This Irish cabbage was surprisingly easy to make and good! I accidentally got a small head of cabbage. I should have gotten large because it cooked down so small. I also used turkey bacon, so it didn't have the grease of regular bacon, but it was still really good, and everyone had seconds!

Setting the table is a favorite part for me! I made a place card for each person. This is one of my favorite things to do! I love to make my family members feel like they are part of the group! I got the tiny easels from Michael's dollar bins. I plan to use them over and over! They were the perfect place to put a place card! They are chalkboard, and I could have easily handwritten each person's name, but I want to do something a little more fancy! You can learn to make your own with this tutorial.

I collect colored glass, and have so many colors. I was happy to use the green for this. I own the gold chargers, but the center plate is a paper, salad sized plate. The polkadot motif reminds me of gold coins. I love using paper plates for accents whenever I have a fun dinner. Plus paper plates equal less dishes to clean and store!

I set my table in rainbow colors with gold accents. I got pretty fabric from Hobby Lobby to use for a table cloth. It's been on my table as a table cloth ever since St. Patricks Day! I love it!

I made lucky charm treats earlier that day. Not traditional Irish, but a tradition for our family to eat, Lucky Charms, on St. Patricks Day!

Before dinner, I googled, "Life in Ireland in the early 1800's." It pulled up a bunch of information about the political climate, and general life, even some photos of what homes may have looked like. I talked to my kids a little bit about that, and showed them pics from the internet. This is an example of what an Irish home may have looked like around 1800.

 While we were eating dinner, I read my kids the little bit of info I had about this Grandma, Mary Ann Moore. I love having this info right at my finger tips (on my cell phone), and am so thankful for the person that entered it into Family Search!

This cute  grandma was very frugal, and used to sew gold coins into the hems of her skirts and hide them in her mattress. Well, I just happened to have chocolate gold coins on hand! I always give these to my kids on St. Patricks Day! 

We played, "Button button, whose got the button?" with the coins. It was a fun and easy way to incorporate a game, with the item from the story. You could also do something like play hot and cold, with an item that relates to your family history story. It doesn't have to be complicated. 

We had Irish music playing in the background. I just searched it on Apple Music. It added to a great atmosphere. 

Bringing in the family history aspect made it much more meaningful. I'm already looking forward to doing it again next year. 

My daughter told me that she liked this night better than our typical family history stories, because of the food and the game. I'm glad it was meaningful to them. 

The following is a, "recipe," for a, Homeland Heritage Night, in your home. You could use it for anything from a family night, to a family reunion.

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


Saturday, January 7, 2017


We had a lumberjack and lumberjill party for for our youngest, and it was the sweetest!

He didn't even know what a lumberjack is when we started planning his party, but now, he's convinced he wants to be one when he grows up!

I had planned to only have one main table for decor, but the games really started to come together, and were so daring, that it kind of took over the entire family room!

Back to the main table for a minute. My son had fun getting on my lumberjack pinterest board. He figured out to find related pins, and started pinning his own ideas. Heaven help us all! The pretzel bobbers were his Pinterest find and request. They are simply fishing bobbers tied to the end of a pretzel, with a string. The kids loved them!

I'm really not huge on food at parties because of picky eaters, mess and prep. I know, I know... bad words in the blogging world! But, this party fell during the evening and dinner time. We served pancakes and eggs. Who doesn't like pancakes? In place of cake, I got these chocolate rolls, and used left over deer and trees, from my Christmas stash, on top. I gave each kid a knife when it was time to eat them, and they got to, "saw the log." They loved it!

I purchased a few sets of clipart from this etsy shop. I used the clipart on everything from the invitations to the party games. It made for a darling party, that felt cohesive.

The decor was so fun to create and display, and I always try to have it be functional. This object of this game was to feed berries to the Sasquatch. I got blue and purple pom poms and lumberjack cups from the Hobby Lobby. The kids had to throw the berries in the Sasquatch's mouth. I was trying to figure out how to add height to the display, and so I used a straight pen, and stuck it through each cup, into a foam board, and stood it up! It added height, and was a fun and unexpected way to display the berry cups.

The kids really liked it. I created the Sasquatch printable on my computer. I cut the mouth out, and attached the back to dowels that were stuck in 4x4's. I drilled holes in the 4x4's first. It stood up perfectly!

I created the axe toss poster with the same clipart. The axes were from Oriental Trading. 

The kids got to toss them at the target. They were a huge hit! Not just for this game, but in general. They played and pretended all night!

This next thing was my favorite! I got $4 worth of nubby black fabric from Walmart. I held it up to my son's face to measure. (I don't have a template, because kids are all different sizes) I went from ear to ear, and cut off the right length.

 I then cut out the beard shape, a mouth hole, and a mustache to go with it. I hot glued the mustaches in place, with a single daube in the middle, so they would flop a bit. I had some moustaches facing up, and some facing down. They were darling! After I got them all made, I tried one on my son, and it was too long, so I had to cut the bottom off all of them. I then attached them to hats (Walmart, $.97, kids section) with safety pins. I did't want to do anything permanent, incase I needed to adjust for head sizes at the party.

I used the same method to display the hats. I stuck them to the foam board with straight pins. It worked perfectly! The kids were excited to wear them (even the girls), but said they were itchy.

My cute husband tells us campfire stories when we go camping as a family. He has a very vivid imagination! He agreed to tell the kids a story, and it was the cutest! It was basically all about what lumberjacks do. 

The kids sat around the campfire and listened intently. They got beards and axes as part of the story. It was so cute. The last part of their travels took them to the tent. He had them all pile in as he finished up his story. They ate it up!

 I had a couple more games planned, including axe golf/croquet. I used the same clipart, and sent the images to my favorite local print shop, Print & Main, where they have this awesome thick paper that is 12"x18". They printed the images off, and I cut them out and taped them to paper cups, using plastic straws for stability where it was needed.

The pics from the night of the party didn't photograph very well, but the game was darling! The object was to use the axe to hit the ball under the legs of the characters, and around the other objects. The kids thought it was SO fun!

They pounded nails into wood, and pulled them out, with the help of my husband. 

They also played Lincoln Logs.

It was such a great night, and fun memory for me. I'm glad I got to plan this party, and glad I get to be a mom.

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


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