DIY Chalkboard

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We made a fun chalkboard for the kids playroom last weekend and it was so simple and easy to make!

Have you been wanting a chalkboard for your kids, but didn’t want to pay the crazy high prices for the dinky pre made ones?  Same here, friends!  This board was so easy and inexpensive, it just doesn’t make sense to even bother with the high priced store bought ones.  Trust me, even a beginner DIYer could tackle this!

Materials needed:

  • Sheet of metal from plumbing department in hardware store (you could also use a board, but we used metal so it would also be magnetic for the kids to use their letter magnets and other fun magnets on)
  • Trim pieces (they can even cut them for you at the hardware store if you don’t have a saw!)
  • Blackboard paint
  • Screws

To start with, you will want to put several coats of blackboard paint on the metal sheet.  Let the coats dry in between.  We ended up doing about 4-5 coats.  If you want, paint the trim.  The trim pieces we grabbed were pre painted, how easy is that?  You can get fancy and do mitered corners and what not, but we went super simple and quick for our assembly.

When the chalkboard paint is dry, lay out the trim and attach.  Abe just used short screws and screwed them on from behind the board.

To attach to the wall, we used anchors and screws directly through the four corners of the chalkboard.

That is it, friends!

Before you throw the chalk at the kids and tell them to have at it, prime the board by taking the side of a piece of chalk and covering the whole board with a thin layer of chalk.  Then erase and let the kids go wild.

Our kiddos love the new addition to the playroom!  Everyday there is a new masterpiece created.  So fun!

Happy crafting, friends!

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Shark Friends

I have been supersizing lots of patterns lately by using fun and fluffy mega yarns.  In the spirit of Shark Week, and because we love the misunderstood fish so much, I couldn’t help but whip up a few shark friends for the kids.

This little, or should I say big, guy grew from ping pong ball size to softball size, simply by changing the yarn.  And the chenille yarn is so fluffy and soft, it makes him extra fun to snuggle!

 

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This fun hammer head shark turned out even bigger than I anticipated!  Noah claimed him right away.  Notice his shark themed pjs!  Hehe!  He is super cuddly and soft, and I think he will go nicely with his shark snuggle sack!

Get the pattern for the Hammerhead Shark by visiting Jillian over at Spin A Yarn Crochet or click HERE.

I hope you have had an awesome Shark Week!

Fish Stick Snack!

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Guys!  How cute are these “fish sticks”?!

I saw this adorable idea on Pinterest and made them for a recent playdate we had.  They are so incredibly simple to make and they are so impressive looking when they are finished!  And not to mention what a hit they are with the kids!

To make these is pretty self explanatory.  It’s just pretzel rods dipped in melting chocolate and then decorated with Goldfish Crackers and sprinkles.  I used the little mini pearls for the bubbles, and mixed pink and blue colored sugar for the aquarium gravel.

This would be a great Shark Week snack!  Sure, they aren’t Great Whites, but they are awfully cute and it’s an underwater theme, so that counts, right?

Happy snacking, friends!

Happy Shark Week!

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Are you huge fans of Shark Week like my family is?  We just love it, even if all the shows make the ocean a wee bit scary!  *cue Jaws theme*

I made this fun snuggle sack for Noah last summer, it was the perfect project for summer time, and it kept him warm all fall and winter.  It is made with Bernat Blanket yarn, so it is super plush and cuddly!

Every night when I tuck him in, I tell him to “Feed the shark!”  He giggles and then climbs right in.

You can find the pattern for the Shark Snuggle Sack from Yarnspirations by clicking HERE.

Enjoy Shark Week, and don’t feed the sharks!  Unless they are made with fluffy yarn!  😉

 

Thankful Thursday 7/13/17

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I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed by life and forget to appreciate the small things we have in our lives that are true blessings.  Sometimes, just being mindful of what you have can help you to take a breath and reset your entire way of thinking.  With that said, I thought I would share a few things that I am thankful for today.

1. Air Conditioning.  It is hot, friends.  Over 100 degrees with heat index well above that.  I am so lucky to have a home with air conditioning, and the ability to pay the electric bill to run it.  I won’t lie.  There have been times in my past when I had air conditioning and simply couldn’t afford to run it.  I have also had a broken air conditioner with a house full of pets and babies that suffered from the sweltering heat.  Today I sit in a beautiful home with a brand new air conditioner and I feel very blessed.

2. Tomatoes.  This year, being back in our home, we were able to plant tomatoes again!  What a luxury, being able to step outside and pick fresh fruit to eat!  And how delicious they are!  So flavorful and sweet!  And the accomplishment of growing them ourselves, well, that is pretty awesome too.

3. Summer Vacation.  I love having my kids home for the summer.  The school year is so busy with dance and sports and scouts, you name it.  To have them home, without having anywhere to rush to, is simply lovely.  We do crafts and read books and even do workbooks to be ready for the new school year, but we are all together.  We can wear jammies all day, play outside and make sand castles all morning and stay up late playing board games.  It is relaxed and precious to me.  And it goes by too quickly!

I hope you all have a fabulous day, and that you can take some time to reflect on the things you have to be thankful for.  Until next time, my friends!

Back to School Times Four

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I knew it was coming, that I could not escape it.  It was inevitable, but it still took my breath away and has me typing this at one in the morning.

This year, our youngest baby starts kindergarten.  For the very first time, in the history of sending our babies off to their first day of school, I will be coming home alone.  No little hand in mine, walking home together, collecting leaves and planning our day.  No little voice singing along to the radio as we drive the older kids to school.  No kids shows as background noise.  No little shadow following me around the house.

Just me.  And the fur babies.

Every single last piece of my heart will be leaving me at home by myself all day.  Just the thought has me sobbing and in tears.

For over fourteen years, my life has been my children.  I went on maternity leave with my eldest and once he was born, I never looked back.  My entire day centered around my babies, it’s all I’ve known for so long, I feel lost knowing this chapter of my life is closing.

Sara still feels like a little baby to me, not ready to be sent away all day.  She still says words that take us several minutes, to her great frustration, for us to understand.  She just barely turned 5 a little over a month ago, and already, she has been stamped as ready for school and will be starting her journey outside of our home.  Away from me.

This all feels greatly rushed, especially not being in our own home, still living in a rental house as our place is in the process of being put back together from the fire.  I feel cheated out of our last summer.  I had so many plans, so many dreams of the perfect summer vacation with my babies before school started.  I allowed our circumstances to steal that away from us.  Shame on me.

Already, the hectic school year schedule has started, with dance and marching band kicking off earlier this month.  The days are flying by, I am running out of summer, and there is nothing I can do.

So I cry.  And I type at 1 in the morning, trying to make some sense of my sadness until my brain is too tired, too exhausted to think one more sad thing, and I finally drift off to sleep.

Tomorrow, I will hold my babies.  I will kiss their sweet, chubby, little baby hands, and I will cherish every last glorious minute I have with them before the school year steals them away from me.

I don’t know how moms survive this.  It feels unbearable to me, watching my babies grow up so quickly right before my eyes.

Teacher Gifts

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Can you believe that December is already here?!  Craziness!!  I like to get all the grunt work done as early in the month as possible, so I can try and enjoy the fun and traditions with the kiddos without worrying about last minute shopping, baking, etc.

Yesterday, between our water being turned off accidentally by the water company (new computer system apparently, but holyhell was that a major headache!!), a sick baby coughing her cute little head off, and our internet not working for most of the day…….I happened to hop online and quickly had my holiday spirit squashed like a bug.

I’m not sure exactly what I had searched, but I happened upon a blog with a list of items teachers really want for Christmas, along with a very long list of things they apparently hate getting for Christmas.  Basically, it boiled down to giving them cash or gift cards because they hate anything teacher related, handmade, or simply bought out of the goodness of your heart.  The post had soooooooo many comments from real teachers, agreeing with the list and groaning and moaning about all the tacky stuff they get each year.

Wow.

It got real ugly real quick, and the overwhelming vibe was how ungrateful the list and the people replying to it really were.

Now, valid points were made.  I guess.  Of course, the teacher won’t like every single lotion or candle or goodie that they receive.  But shouldn’t they love the thought behind it??  The love and the intention of someone carving out precious time and money during the holiday season to show their appreciation??

If I were swimming in money, oh the gifts I would give!!!  I would spoil every single person around me!  Being without oodles of cash, I still make a point to try and show our love and appreciation to our loved ones and the amazing teachers we have in our lives.  Isn’t that enough?  Shouldn’t the recipient of any gift at all just be grateful that you thought of them and made sure to include them?

This one little post soured my mood and filled me with more bah humbug than I care to admit.  Of course, I want to believe that we are the exception, and that anything we ever give is greatly received and appreciated, but now I am filled with doubt.  One thing this girl can’t stand to be is unappreciated.

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For the most part, each year, we give a gift to the main teacher, and then I have my kids make hand drawn cards for all the extra awesome people they encounter daily, like the special area teachers, the lunch ladies, the bus driver, janitor, school nurse, everyone we can think of that is a part of making each day awesome.  Along with the homemade cards, we usually attach a piece of candy or something of the like.

The response from all of the usually forgotten people has always been amazing, and we will continue that tradition for sure.  But I find myself on the fence now with the teacher gift because, well, I want to be appreciated for appreciating!  Is that so crazy?  I have four kids who are all very busy with school, scouting, dance, band, etc.  For me to carve precious time and money from our already overstretched schedule and pocketbook is a big deal to us.  I want to give a gift that is appreciated and makes the teacher feel loved and cherished.  I don’t want to imagine them rolling their eyes and throwing our gift in a pile of perceived crappy gifts.

I guess really, I will give them whatever the heck I want to, try and forget that crappy blog post I read, and just hope that the people in our lives are not as ungrateful and awful as the people that felt the need to trash the things they get for Christmas each year.  It’s hard to feel sorry for people who are showered with gifts, whether they are up to their snooty standards or not.

I choose to believe that we put good thought and intentions with our gift giving, and if the people want to be jerks about it, so long as I don’t hear about it, I don’t care!  Pffffffffft!!!

I guess I should get off this soap box before it splinters…….

Last thought, and something I am constantly saying to my kids since they were teeny tiny:

You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

Rant over.  🙂

 

Little Box Play Things

As we are oh so quickly approaching the holidays, it seems to always bring on the panic of gift hunting.  We are constantly bombarded by ads for the latest, greatest technology, or this fad toy, or this awesome gadget, it’s easy to overlook the beauty in simplicity.  This is where my awesomely talented cousin comes in and I tell you about her gorgeous gifts that can be custom tailored for any kid, big or small!

Please meet Little Box Play Things, artfully crafted by my cousin, Ashley.

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She creates these amazing, personalized treasure boxes, perfect for keeping all kinds of goodies in!  You have the ability to choose colors, names, themes, whatever your little heart desires!  Princesses, Mickey Mouse, Avengers, Game of Thrones even! If you have an idea, I guarantee you that she can run with it and leave you amazed. What a great gift idea for the hard to shop for guy!  Or girl!  She has lots of themes to choose from, and an amazing knack for really getting even the tiniest details in.  My girls keep all sorts of fun things in their boxes, anything from jewelry, lip gloss, pretty rocks, you name it!

After you pick out your amazing treasure boxes, how about fill it with imagination building toys?  She also custom makes gorgeous magnet play sets with lots of fun themes including big Disney favorites!  My kids have had hours of fun with the magnet sets, playing out favorite stories or episodes or even making up their very own stories to go along with their favorite characters!  So cute, so fun, and no batteries required!!

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To round out the fun themes, you can even have a mini bowling set created to match everything and provide lots of fun and giggles with the little ones.  Everything is gorgeous, and made with love!

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So many cute things to choose from!  Make sure you stop by and say hi and tell her what kinds of fun themes would make the perfect gift for your loved ones this holiday season or any time at all!  Nothing beats handmade with love!

Check out Little Box Play Things Etsy shop by clicking HERE.

Check out Little Shop Play Things Theme Ideas by clicking HERE.

Follow Little Shop Play Things on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Citrus Lane September 2014 Review!

We just got our September Citrus Lane box and I am happy to share with you all the fun little goodies we received!!  Let’s jump in!

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This month’s box was quite heavy, and no wonder, because it has a big, chunky, wodden Melissa and Doug item included!!  This month’s box contained:

Red Shape Sorting Clock from Melissa and Doug

This is an awesome addition to the box, I am always so excited to get Melissa and Doug anything!!  This is a very substantial toy, serving double duty as a tool to learn shapes when the little ones are smaller, and to help establish time telling skills when they are a bit older!  I love the bright colors and am very excited to add this to our daily home school routine for my two little ones!

Pieces Foam Bath Puzzle from Boon

A bath toy that doesn’t squirt or hold icky water, woo hoo!!  This will be a very welcome addition to splash time, a fun, bright jellyfish design in a puzzle that sticks directly to the tub wall for bathtime problem solving!  This is very cool and Sara is huge into puzzles right now, so I know she will definitely enjoy this toy!

Little Red Hen Book & CD Set from Barefoot Books

We are book hoarders in our house, so I am always super excited when we receive a book in our box!  This one is no exception, and has the fun bonus of a story cd read by Debra Messing and even a bread recipe to add a super fun activity to go along with the well loved children’s classic!  Love, love, love!

Cinnamon Crunch from Somersault Snacks

Snack time!  This month’s box included a new treat I had never heard of, a healthy new snack that is nut free and made from sunflower and sesame seeds.  Crunchy, sweet, yummy….was I supposed to share these with my kids?  Oops!!  Hehe!  They are a very yummy addition to snack time, and definitely something I am looking forward to having again!

Free Box for a Friend!

We also got a coupon to receive a free box for a friend, a nice way to introduce someone to the awesomeness of Citrus Lane!

 

So ends another awesome month of Citrus Lane!  If you are totally jelly and wishing you had your very own box of goodies delivered right to your door each month, carefully curated just for your child, then click HERE and give Citrus Lane a try!  Shipping is always free, and you get an awesome array of goodies each month specifically for your child’s age.

 

There is also a great promotion going on right now, but ending soon!  Click HERE and be sure to enter code HALFOFF to get 50% off your first box!!

March 2014 Nerd Block Jr Girls Review!

Woo hoo!  We got TWO Nerd Blocks at our house this month!!  As you have heard me gripe before, the regular Nerd Block, while definitely awesome and highly loved by all the stinky boys in my family, does not have enough girly stuff!!!  Like, we don’t need tampons or makeup or anything, but how about some awesome Disney Villains, or even women super heroes??!  Just sayin’.  It definitely seems geared towards the boys.

That said, when I saw that they were now offering Nerd Block Jr for Boys and Girls, I was excited to give it a try!  Of course, I opted for the Girls version, and it had some super cool stuff inside!  I have high hopes for this box, I hope it continues in it’s awesomeness!  Take a look!

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*Mega Blocks Moshi Monsters 73 Piece Katsuma estimated value $8.00

*Disney Pixar Brave Triplet Bear estimated value $10.00

*Funko My Little Pony Tin-Tastic Creative Activity Set estimate value $15.00

*My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Slap Band estimated value $5.00

*Mega Blocks Hello Kitty Series 2 Collectible Figure estimated value $3.00

Lot’s of awesome, right?!  Admittedly, more for my girls than me, but so much fun and what a value!  Nerd Block Jr, both for boys and girls is only $13.99 plus shipping!  You can see by the estimated values, taken from Amazon.com searches, that the products value far exceeds the monthly subscription price!  I am very happy with this month’s Nerd Block Jr for Girls and am definitely looking forward to more!

Wanna get your paws on your very own awesome Nerd Block Jr?  CLICK HERE! You can choose between a Boys block or a Girls block, each catered especially for kids between ages 6-11 (and their parents, if they so choose….).  Each box is filled with fun toys and collectibles from some pretty awesome brands like Disney, Nintendo, My Little Pony, Adventure Time, etc.  Win/Win!