Holiday Gift Guide 2019

I know, I know…the very few of you that actually read my blog are probably wondering where the heck I’ve been! I haven’t written a post since August! Can anyone say “slacker?” Writing blog posts takes so much time between the documenting, writing and photo editing. I really felt like no one was reading them, so I have been more focused on keeping up with my Instagram and Facebook! I am in complete awe of bloggers that put out content everyday!!

Here and there I get comments from readers about something they saw in one of my blog posts and it is THE.BEST.FEELING!!! I have gotten some questions and comments lately from people that bought gifts last year after reading my gift guides. So, I figured I would get myself back into the writing game by putting a gift guide together!

This guide is chock full of ideas that I either own already or that I want to purchase. I hope it is helpful for you and PLEASE, if it is, or if you have ANY comments, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go all the way to the end and let me know in the comment section. Also, SIGN UP FOR MY EMAIL LIST!!!

Here we go…

I have been know to call this vacuum my best friend. If you get one you will understand why!!! Cordless and so easy to use. Easy to empty and no more vacuum bags! This price is unbelievable! I paid almost $200 more for mine and I still think it was worth it!

(Note: You can click on the links under each picture to take you right to the items, that is, if I’ve set the links up correctly! If the items are from Amazon and you purchase directly from my link I MAY receive a small commission. This is only for Amazon items. I do not receive anything for items from other sellers, but if they’re in this gift guide I think they’re THAT good!)

If you follow me at all you are probably so sick of me talking about my love of Dudley Stephens fleece products! Head to their website and find out about this small company that produces fleece made in the USA. Two sisters run it and the fleece is made out of recycled water bottles. Sustainability for the win!! If you click on the link above you will receive $25 off your first purchase!!!

Another sustainable product, the uppers of these shoes are made from recycled water bottles. They can be thrown in the wash and they’re actually comfortable!! Click on the link above to check out the website and look for discounts for teachers and students!

Our family loves to do puzzles! Amazon has a huge variety to choose from. Not going to lie, I stayed up a few late nights working on this one, along with my kids! Great for family bonding!!

YETI products never disappoint and this bag is perfect for day to day use!

These shoes are an amazing Gucci dupe! So comfortable and super affordable! I walked all over Paris in them in total comfort!

This game is the best! One of our favorites at family gatherings. Hilarious laughter is inevitable and good times will be had by all!!

Those of you that know me personally know that I don’t wear make up that often. One reason for that is because I despise the feel of foundation on my skin! I have tried several different brands that claim to be light but I still feel like I have a ‘mask’ on! This one I love! It’s light and easy to blend!

My eyebrows are disappearing by the second!! Anybody else with me? I love this ‘Brow Set.’ The color I use is ‘Beguile’ but it comes in a variety of colors ,or clear if you prefer!

I have been sharing my new coffee maker on my IG stories lately. Some bloggers that I follow swear by it and I can see why! It is fully automatic and makes just about every kind of coffee and espresso drink you can think of! Our whole family is obsessed with it! It froths milk on it’s own for your coffee or cappuccino or hot chocolate, and dispenses hot water for your tea or americano. You keep the milk pitcher in the fridge and attach it when you want a beverage with frothed milk!! You keep the top of the machine filled with water and fresh coffee beans and it grinds the beans for each beverage. That means no waste from coffee pods like some other machines! Yes, it’s an investment, but it’s getting quite a lot of use in our house! It’s so easy to use and a hot, fresh cup of coffee at the push of a button is divine!! Right now it’s $600 off!

These blankets are beautiful and super cozy! They offer a large variety of patterns and wash like a dream. They are a small company run by a mother/daughter duo. I love the story on their website about how they started their company based on a favorite blanket from years ago. Your family will be fighting over this one!!

This cute set of headbands are a great idea for stocking stuffers! Perfect for face washing or makeup application to keep your hair held back and look adorable at the same time!!

Do you have a hockey or lacrosse player or a kick boxer in your house? If so, do you enjoy coexisting with their stinky gloves? Yeah, I didn’t think so! These sticks are designed to help dry out and eliminate odor in athletic gloves, or shoes or whatever else your loved ones may stink up! Definitely getting these for my boxing gloves and quite possibly for some other people in my life!!! (WINK! WINK!)

I think this gadget looks perfect for keeping your phone in place while driving and easily accessible for all those business calls!

Many are claiming that a weighted gravity blanket has helped them in so many ways , including calming their anxiety and helping with sleep!

I have my S’well water bottle with me at all times, but I have alway wanted an easier way to carry it! These straw topper lids are so convenient with the attached handle. So much easier to get a sip of water at the gym with my boxing gloves on! Great stocking stuffer for the S’well bottle lovers in your life!

I ordered this charger before we went to Europe in October and it really came in handy! We also used it a lot on our trip to London last month! It comes with a light and it charges your devices in a jiffy!

These pans are so awesome!! Great non-stick surface, even-cooking and they can go in the dishwasher!!! On sale for a great price for this kind of quality cookware!! We use them constantly!

Here is another stocking stuffer idea. I am a stickler for getting every last drop out of my beauty and skincare containers! My Mom got me one of these and they work so well. They also come in handy for filling your travel toiletry containers!

Anyone else have this?? I’m seeing it everywhere and think its hysterical! I really want one, but will Teddy just stand and stare at it the entire time we’re gone? Thinking about going for it!

So there you have it, my gift buying ideas for the season! Please let me know if you make any of these purchases and what you think! Again, if you click on the descriptions under each picture it should take you directly to the links.

Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to sign up for my email list and to leave me some comments!!! Happy shopping everyone and Happy Holidays!!! I truly appreciate you visiting my blog!!!

Easy Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I posted this pizza to my insta stories last night and had many requests for a blog post with the recipe, so here goes! One of my biggest pet peeves about Pinterest is the ridiculously long, extremely wordy recipe posts that take a month of scrolling through to actually get to the recipe!!!

I’m going to attempt to make this as short and to the point as possible! After all, no one’s got any extra time on their hands these days, am I right? I think you will find it super easy and very delicious, whether you are following a low-carb lifestyle or not!

After reading (actually just scrolling quickly and impatiently) through several Pinterest recipe ideas, I kind of just made it up and, you should note, I rarely measure things accurately unless I’m baking! Sometimes my cooking is a bit of a crap-shoot as I go along, but this turned out so well you need to try it!

You will need:

2 – 12 oz. packages riced cauliflower

Olive oil

I tbsp butter

1 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)

1 tsp black pepper (optional)

1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

2 eggs

2 cups grated parmesan cheese

pizza sauce

Alfredo sauce (if doing a ‘white’ pizza)

shredded pizza cheese

pepperoni (optional)

crumbled sausage and/or bacon (optional)

You can totally play around and use whatever ingredients you like on your pizza. I forgot to buy a red pepper, which I usually top our pizzas with, and also forgot the crumbled bacon that I planned on using, too!

I was making this a Keto-friendly meal, so I shopped for toppings with higher fat and low sugars and carbs. Buy whatever suits your fancy!

We like pizzas with red sauce and white pizzas, so instead of making one of each, like I usually do, I just made a half and half kind of situation! Worked just fine!

Here is a recipe from Pinterest that I probably followed the most. What I liked the most about it was the suggestion to stir-fry the cauliflower first! So much more flavor and better texture for the crust.

Here’s what I did:

I stir-fried the cauliflower in a non-stick pan with about two TBSPs of olive oil and a TBSP of butter. If not doing Keto you could use less. I sprinkled the pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in while cooking. Didn’t time it but let it get soft and browned a bit. Then I burnt the crap out of my hands because I wouldn’t wait until it cooled to squeeze all of the water out in a kitchen towel over the sink!!! If you are smarter than me, or not in such a hurry, I would recommend letting it cool!

In a medium bowl I whisked the two eggs and added the grated parmesan. Then I poured the cooked, drained cauliflower into the bowl and stirred gently to mix. I just smoothed it into a semi-pizza-ish looking shape on a large baking sheet covered in parchment paper. If you cook with a pizza stone I bet this would be even better!!

I preheated the oven to 400. Halfway through the 20-ish minute cooking time I turned the heat up to 425. Why, do you ask? It is because, at this point, I decided to scroll back through the recipe and read to THE END, where it states you have to cook the crust BEFORE topping it! GRRRRR!! Impatience does not pay off!! (hee-hee!)

As I said before, I made a half red/half white pizza. Spread the sauce on top of the crust (which, if you’re smarter than me, you will have already cooked for 20 minutes!) Then add whatever toppings you like and bake for 15-20 minutes or til everything looks nice and melted and bubbly!

I let the pizza sit for about ten minutes after removing from the oven. Then I cut it with a pizza cutter and we dug in!

We had to eat it with a fork because, although it did hold together, the crust wasn’t super crispy. I think if you cooked the crust before topping it would eliminate this problem!

Here is a very boring picture of my plate because I decided not to make a salad to go with it! After all, a cauliflower crust is a built-in salad, right??

You’ve GOT to make this pizza! It was so delicious, even without a flaky crust! Let me know if you try it!

Amazing Zucchini Bread

Last week at the Farmer’s Market it was evident that zucchini season is upon us!!! I jumped at the chance to grab some to make our favorite, easy, delicious zucchini bread!

We grabbed three of the biggest ones from one of our favorite vendors and I got to work right when I got home. I just wash the zucchini and cut off both ends. Then I do a large dice, just small enough for several pieces to fit into my food processor at a time. If you don’t have a food processor you could use a grater!



As you can see I set my food processor to a smaller dice setting and just pulse until it is sufficiently shredded. I dump each batch of shredded zucchini in to a bowl and then set about portioning.

The two things that I make when I have zucchini are zucchini bread and turkey burgers. My zucchini bread recipe uses three cups of zucchini. My turkey burgers usually use about a cup, depending on how many I am making. The zucchini, along with other fresh herbs, make the juiciest, flavor-filled burgers!

I got ten cups of grated zucchini out of the three I bought this weekend, so I bagged three cups at a time and then did the last cup separately for burgers. I just stick the bags in the freezer and I’m all set when I need them! When I pull them out I just set them on the counter and they defrost in no time. If you’re in a hurry you can defrost in the microwave.

Chuck and Grace both love my zucchini bread, so I had to make some right away! Three cups of zucchini make two loaves with my recipe. It only calls for 1.5 cups of sugar, which, in my opinion, is not a lot compared to most recipes! It is so easy to make and truly delicious!

Zucchini Bread

3 C Flour

3 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda

3 Eggs

1/3 C Canola Oil

1 tsp Grated Lemon Zest (or more, the flavor makes such a difference!)

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 C Sugar

3 C Grated Zucchini

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk together.

Lightly beat or whisk the three eggs in a separate bowl. Add oil, vanilla, lemon zest and sugar. Stir until mixed. Add grated zucchini and stir until just combined.

Gently mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Spray two bread pans with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly between the pans.

Bake 65 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into center is clean. Let cool on racks for ten minutes or more. Then remove loaves from pans and let completely cool before slicing. Full disclosure… we usually can’t wait and slice right into it!!!

It’s so good! Please leave me a comment here on the blog if you make it by scrolling down all the way! I hope you like it! Have a great weekend!

Welcome to Our Back Porch!

Our back porch is, by far, one of my favorite places on earth! It is the perfect little sanctuary for summer entertaining, reading, relaxing, playing games and just hanging out in general.

It spans the length of our house and we have perfect views of our yard and swimming pool. Starting a summer day with a cup of coffee on the porch sets you off on the right foot!

When we designed it, my goal was to give it the look of a big southern porch, with pillars and railings all around. I also knew that, to really be able to enjoy it, it needed to be screened in! We do live in upstate New York after all, and swatting mosquitoes in the summer could be a sport!

We have added and taken away through the years, upgrading furniture, knick-knacks and decor here and there, but no matter what, it is always a great place to hang out!

My husband and I have been together for 25 years, and he has never been a napper. That changes when we get the porch put together for the summer. One of his goals every weekend, after all the chores are done, is to take a nap on the back porch!

Recently, my friend Kelly and I had the idea to do a photoshoot on the porch so that I could share it with all of you here on the blog. We are shopping partners-in-crime! She has recently upgraded her kitchen collection, changing out her dishes and kitchen/dining room decor.

Last year we did a big upgrade on our porch by adding a beautiful teak dining set by Royal Teak. We had talked about purchasing a teak set for years but just never got around to it.

I went to our favorite local porch and patio store, Sports Page Ski and Patio. As always, they were so knowledgeable and super helpful! I was planning on something pretty traditional, but when I found this set that easily converts from an eight-seater to a twelve-seater, with navy blue sling chairs, well, I was sold!!! The chairs fold up for winter storage and the conversion of the table, with hidden leaves, is so convenient!

Kelly and I decided to showcase her new kitchen table decor, along with some other fun, new purchases from our annual trip to the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY, so that we could feature both my teak set and her new purchases!

Once we got everything set up I wished we’d planned a luncheon! She started out her design choices with THESE dishes. After she received them she set off to create around them!

As luck would have it, she found the cream floral polish pottery at another one of our favorite places, TJMaxx. That is also where I purchased the woven chargers.

The navy and white striped runner, which I would have liked to steal, was from Pier 1. It was a great price, on sale, so I’m definitely going to try and snag one!

The beautiful green glasses, and all of the rest of the table decor were from one of our new, favorite stores! We first discovered Blue Bird Home Decor at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY. I bought the bark plant holders and some of the faux plants and Kelly bought the green glasses.

When we discovered that their store was pretty close to home, in Schenectady, NY, we made a road trip down to shop and have lunch. It was then that we purchased the rest of the items on the table. This store is amazing! We were so surprised how big it was and the variety of items, from home decor, jewelry and gift ideas was awesome! You’ve got to check them out!

The white wicker furniture on my porch, also from Sports Page Patio, was purchased several years ago. I can tell you that they made several calls to scrounge together enough of this fabulous Ralph Lauren blue and white fabric to cover all of my cushions, as it was being discontinued! Sorry! I love it so much!

Rug from Tuesday Morning

As we were finishing up our fun photoshoot, I picked up Kelly’s Draper James bag and just HAD to get it in the shot. It looked like it was designed to go with the porch!

I hope you enjoyed seeing my sweet little back porch sanctuary, because we had so much fun staging it!! Here’s to many relaxing summer nights for you all, wherever your “happy place” may be!

Sofa Table Makeover

Recently I decided to paint this old sofa table that we bought with our first house. It has been in our upstairs hallway for the past few years and I am so over it!

We bought our first house in 1996 and back then I was all about the country colors of burgundy and hunter green. EVERYTHING we had was some version of those colors!

These days I am embracing lighter, brighter colors in our home. I love a good DIY project so I thought I’d paint it, and I’m now so in love with it! I was in our local Ace Hardware perusing color ideas for another project and I bought one of their sample cans to try.

As always, I got too excited to start this project so I forgot to take a before pic!! I had already started sanding it when I remembered to take a picture!

I ran my sander over the surface and cleaned off the dust before starting to paint. Then I removed the drawers and the wooden knobs. After turning the table upside down on a drop cloth in my garage, I set out to work!

There are no pictures of my next step. Again, I get too eager, but I used a primer to cover all the knots in the wood that were bleeding through the paint. I did a couple coats of my favorite primer, with plenty of drying time in between, just on the knots.

Remember my last DIY paint job? (scroll down to find this post!) It was a cabinet that is also located in this same hallway. I didn’t want to paint the table the same color but wanted them to look nice together.

Ace Hardware is one of my favorite places to pick up supplies for my many projects. They are super helpful and very knowledgeable about paint! When I was at Ace buying the green for this cabinet I decided to buy one of their sample cans to paint the table, too!

The paint was actually made by Valspar but the color I chose was Heirloom China by Clark+Kensington. One mistake I made was not noticing that this was a satin finish. I painted the green cabinet with a semi-gloss finish, which is what I meant to buy!

Here is my finished table! I love it! It looks like a completely new piece of furniture. Brightened up the hallway and goes perfectly with my decor!

Did I mention that I get over eager? Realized I also forgot to take a picture of painting the drawer pulls. I just spray painted them with the same paint I used for the green cabinet!

Here is a pic of the paint I used. These are the knobs and hinges from the green cabinet.

How about you guys? Do you love to tackle projects around your home? I’d love for you to share some of your DIY’s with me!!! Let’s inspire each other!

Best Corn Dip Ever!

I want to share one of my absolute favorite party recipes with you that is ALWAYS a huge hit wherever I bring it!! If you have an upcoming party or picnic then you’ll want to make this!

Hot Corn Dip

I found this recipe on Pinterest (click on link above) years ago and I have made it A LOT! It’s super simple, you just dump everything in a bowl and bake!

This recipe only has ten ingredients and it’s vegetarian, so it’s a win-win for everyone!! Now, for the recipe…

Hot Corn Dip

From ginamarieskitchen.com

2 tsp cilantro

1 (11 oz.) can of corn, drained

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 small can (4 oz.) diced green chiles, undrained

2 tbsp green onion, sliced thin

1 small tomato or 8-10 cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I usually use one whole pepper from the can, diced small and about a teaspoon or so of the sauce. Depends on how spicy you want it.)

1/2 cup mayo

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix both shredded cheeses, chipotles and green chiles, mayo, garlic powder and corn in a bowl.
  3. Spray a baking dish (I use a pie plate) with cooking spray and pour mixture in.
  4. Bake about 20 minutes until it’s golden brown on top and bubbly.
  5. Top with diced tomatoes, sliced green onions and chopped cilantro.
  6. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and fresh veggies.

What to do next

Sit back, relax and enjoy all the compliments you’re going to get!! Believe me, there will be many!!

My favorite chips for this dip are multi-grain scoops; they are perfect for scooping up this gooey deliciousness! You can also serve fresh veggies for a lighter choice. Celery stalks are great and I like to buy large carrots and cut them into wedges that are perfect for scooping!

Go ahead and make this dip and then let me know what people think! I know you, and they, are going to love it!!

Easy Cabinet Makeover

We bought this small, two-door cabinet several years ago. It was originally hunter green and we had it in our bathroom in our first home. It was a sweet, small little house with a rather good-sized bathroom that had zero storage.

This little cabinet held it all! A family of five with three small children has A LOT of ‘stuff’ from toiletries, tub toys, hair accessories, etc. When we redecorated that bathroom I painted it black to better match the new decor.

When we moved to our new home 17 years ago, we placed it in our upstairs hallway, and there it has sat for all this time. It acts as a catch-all to various items and is the perfect place for a night light and whatever else finds itself landing there.

I have wanted to paint it for years, its just boring and blah and kind of just stuck there because it happens to fit the space. This spring I decided to go for it and boy, does it look different now!

I removed the doors and all of the hardware and lightly sanded it all over. The metal hinges and wooden knobs were painted black. I had seen on a DIY show years ago that you could soak old metal hardware in a crockpot to remove years of paint and build-up. I boiled some water in a pyrex bowl in the microwave then placed all the metal hinges in the hot water to soak for a while. The paint just rubbed right off of them!

I decided to prime the cabinet because I was using such a bright paint I was afraid of the knots in the wood bleeding through. Not really sure if this step was necessary but I didn’t want to find out the hard way after it was all finished!

In between coats of primer I worked on the hardware. I knew I wanted them to be gold so I decided to just spray paint them with a gold I had on hand.

I poked holes in this cardboard left-over from an old ski-goggle box for all of the screws and knobs and just laid the hinges flat on top of old cardboard . Then I spray painted them all.

I was so happy with how they turned out! Next up I started to paint with my bright, crazy green!!!

Needless to say, I was going for a very different look! Anyone who knows me can tell you I don’t usually decorate with a lot of bright color. My home is mostly whites, grays, beiges and blues.

As it was getting brighter and brighter I was getting so excited! I found it really hard to be patient and wait for it to dry! Finally, it was time to re-attach all of the hardware and hang the doors.

Voila! Here is my finished product. It sure stands out now and honestly makes me happy every time I see it! Big difference form before, right?

Do you have any fun DIY projects that you’ve done around your house? Or maybe one that you’ve wanted to do but have put it off? I’d love for you to share them with me! I get so inspired when I see other people’s projects!

This week I also transformed an old sofa table. I hope to share that with you soon! The spring weather has me super-psyched to get back to all the projects I’ve put off during the long, never-ending winter!

Scroll down to comments and let me know about your DIY projects or if you’re planning on doing any in the future! I hope this project will inspire you to go for it! Don’t forget to sign-up for my email list!

Easy Fruit Salsa

My family LOVES fruit salsa. Now that spring is here and summer isn’t too far behind, I’m sure I will be making this a lot! It usually doesn’t last very long when I do.

Years ago, when my kids were really little, I learned about fruit salsa at a Pampered Chef party. I believe they called it Apple Berry Salsa, and it was sweetened with jam and sugar. I loved it and started making it for my family quite a few times a year!

Typically, this salsa is served with cinnamon chips for scooping. To be honest, my family members tend to serve themselves a small bowl and eat it with a spoon! I will share my family’s version with you!

Fruit Salsa

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • container of strawberries
  • 3 kiwis
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar or sweetener of your choice

Let’s make it!

Wash all of your fruit. Peel the kiwi and apples and dice into similar sizes. Then, if you’re like me, eat the apple peels while you’re finishing the prep! Hull the strawberries and dice. Next I like to zest a bit of the orange peel over the top because I just think zest adds such a refreshing flavor! Cut orange in half and squeeze all the juice over the top of the diced fruit. I usually add a tbsp of brown sugar or coconut sugar or whatever strikes my fancy that day!

You don’t have to add any sweetener if you’d rather not. It will still be delicious!

Cinnamon Chips

  • 4-6 tortillas
  • cinnamon
  • sugar
  • water

I buy the small to medium sized tortillas and cut them into eight or more wedges with a pizza cutter. Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment (for easier clean-up!) You can either lightly spritz them with water or use a pastry brush to brush water on them.

We always keep a shaker container of cinnamon sugar in our spice cabinet to put on toast, so I just sprinkle this over the wedges. If you’re looking to use less sugar you can just sprinkle cinnamon on them.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Ovens vary so keep a close eye on them! Let cool and dig in to your yummy salsa!!

This recipe is very easy and always a hit wherever I bring it! It can be served as an appetizer OR as a dessert. It is delicious over vanilla ice cream or for breakfast mixed with your favorite yogurt. I found Gracie using it the other morning to add to her breakfast smoothie.

I hope you will try out this recipe because I know you will love it! Scroll down to the comment section and let me know how it goes!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is coming soon! Sunday, June 16th is the day to celebrate the special guy in your life, whether it be your dad, husband, uncle, brother, cousin or friend.

I thought I would compile a list of Amazon finds that you can shop for now to be ready for that special day! What’s better than shopping from your couch, right?

1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10

You can click on these corresponding numbers above to go directly to the Amazon link for each item. Easy, peasy! Full disclosure…I may receive a small commission if you buy through my links, at no additional expense to you!

  1. Amerigo Whiskey Stone Set: Keep these in the freezer to COOL down, not WATER down, your favorite beverage.
  2. YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler: The best cooler ever! Easy to carry, lightweight and keeps things cold so long!
  3. Echo Show: Your new best friend “Alexa” but with a small screen and better speakers. Great for listening to your favorite tunes, podcasts, watching your favorite sports, video calls, reading recipes in the kitchen and more…
  4. YETI Loadout Bucket: This utility bucket has so many uses! You can use it for fishing, toting your tools, icing down your fave beverages, washing down your boat, storing kindling, etc. There are various accessories available to enhance its use!
  5. O’Neill Men’s Hybrid UPF 50+ Sun Shirt: Great sun protection for your guy for boating, paddle boarding, lawn mowing, etc.
  6. Heavy duty garage storage hooks: We just did a major power clean-out of our garage and we definitely need more places to hang up our lawn tools, skis and bikes!
  7. Leaf Scoops: This may seem like a silly gift, but let me tell you…we have a huge lawn and my husband spends a ridiculous number of hours mowing, raking and taking care of it all! Not to mention fall leaves!!! Silly…maybe. Practical…YES!
  8. Reynolds HOT Bags for Grilling: We use these all year long! If you like to grill lots of your favorite veggies, potatoes etc. you will love these!!! Just toss everything in, by itself or with your favorite seasonings, place it on the grill and it’s all cooked in a nice, neat little package.
  9. Feetures Running Socks: Favorite running socks in our household!
  10. Cornhole Set: I don’t know about you guys but we LOVE cornhole!!! This set comes with a carrying/storage bag and the ability to choose colors for the bean bags. Such a fun game for the whole family!

I hope these ideas help you find some great gifts for Father’s Day! Let me know if you try any of them and what you think! Enjoy!

DIY Garage Door Upgrade

Years ago, when we replaced our garage doors, we were at the end of a very long home remodeling project. The doors that I wanted, with windows and fancy hardware, were not in the budget.

Our garage is set back in our yard, not attached to the house but a direct visual for me, day in and day out, from my laundry/sewing/craft room. For many years it drove me crazy because the doors were so plain and boring!

A little more than four years ago I decided to look into upgrading the doors. My son’s high school graduation was going to be the following June and I wanted the appearance of the garage to be better for an outdoor graduation party.

I searched online and at local garage door companies for options to either replace the doors or to have windows installed. I was so shocked at how much it would cost for new doors. Ours were in perfect condition so I definitely couldn’t justify that expense! The cost to just have window panels put in was almost as much as new doors.

Being a DIY-er at heart, I began to search for solutions on the internet and found that some people actually painted faux windows on their garage doors! Since I really wasn’t looking for windows for the purpose of actually seeing IN TO the garage, but for aesthetics only, I had found my answer!

I set out to my local Ace Hardware for all of my supplies! I used a good primer that was tinted gray and then a black paint in high-gloss enamel. I wanted there to be a bit of sheen to the color like a window would have.

My supplies:

  • stepladder
  • spray cleaner
  • paper towels
  • level
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • Frogtape
  • small paint rollers
  • paint tray
  • gray tinted exterior primer
  • high gloss exterior black paint

What I did:

I washed the areas to be painted with a spray cleaner and paper towels and let dry. Then I taped off the perimeter of the window shape with Frogtape. This was pretty simple to do because the doors already had four rectangular shaped areas molded into them!

In order to tape off the window panes I used a measuring tape and a pencil to mark the center of the rectangle on top and bottom and on the right and left-hand sides. I then double checked these markings by using a level. I used the thinnest Frogtape I could find to then tape the lines for the window panes.

After everything was taped off I was ready to prime. It was easy to just roll the primer on with a small paint roller! I let the primer dry for a couple of hours.

Next up was the paint! I used a clean roller and just rolled it right on over the primer. I honestly can’t remember if I did more than one coat or not? If it seems like you need more than one then be sure to allow drying time! The tinted primer helps with the coverage so one may be sufficient!

I removed the tape shortly thereafter and stood back and admired my finished product. I couldn’t believe it looked like real windows!

I found inexpensive decorative hardware at my local Home Depot. At the time I think it cost around $25 per door. There were easy to follow instructions and it didn’t take me long to install!

All in all I think this entire project took me about six hours, mostly because of drying time. I know I started after the kids went to school and was done by the time they got home.

Since the time I refinished these doors I have seen kits that have window decals and hardware that are magnetic. What a genius idea, IF your garage doors are metal! They would be great for a rental property, also!

In recent years we have repaved our driveway, added exterior lighting, re-shingled the garage roof and added a cupola, and purchased this metal awning for the side door. It looks a lot different than it did four years ago!

I would highly recommend taking on this project if you, too, are bored with your garage doors! If you’re lucky and are not a DIY-er, you could try the new adhesive versions!

Let me know what you think about my project, and I’d love to hear if you decide to take one on ourself!