Friday, July 27, 2018

Frugal Summer Activities with Your Kids

Summer is quickly disappearing...In some ways it makes me sad and in some ways it makes me expectant about what is on the horizon.  This for me, is always that time of the Summer when my son starts getting a little antsy and really needs activity and even a change of pace.  We all want our kids to be entertained but two problems can usually creep in - the costs can add up and you want to make sure that they aren't just mindlessly glued to a tablet or phone to keep them busy,  so I thought a lot about how to battle that this summer.  I have gotten a ton of questions about our little summer project so I thought I would write here on the blog a little bit about what we have been up to.  It may be a great way for you to spend the next several weeks with your kids before school kicks back into gear.  I have also added a few other inexpensive and enriching ideas throughout the post too! what have we been up to?  If you follow me on Instagram then you know (and if you don't you should go follow me!).  I wanted to come up with a way this summer for him to stay excited about reading and writing without pulling my hair out.

Recently we came across the NC Parks Passport and thought it was such a cool idea.  Essentially you receive a stamp in your passport every time you visit a state park by visiting the welcome center and for every 10 stamps you get prizes.  Bonus - this is also a great frugal and fun activity to do with your kids during the summer (or on weekends during the year).  We have discovered so many cool places and parks in our state that we would have never have seen otherwise. We have done everything from hiking up to amazing lookouts, simple nature walks, canoeing and visiting the beach for a day to see the dunes.  PS - there is also a National Parks Passport!

So that and our love for travel kind of sparked my idea for our summer project.

We took our love for travel and learning about other cultures and nations and made it into a daily learning activity.  First thing we needed to do was make a "passport" book.  This really could be anything, a spiral notebook would work fine.  I just had an old smashbook (is that still a thing?) that I had never used so we just used that.  I let him decorate the front however he wanted and we were set.

Here is the lowdown -

1. We pick a country we want to "travel" to each week.
2. Visit the Library on Monday and find every book we can about that country - also we find books about animals in that country because my son has a deep love for animals.
3. Spend time reading and researching through our books.

4. Create a page or pages in our "passport" book with facts and information we have learned.

Then depending on the week, we spend time doing different activities from below-

5. Try and eat one food from that country -either something we have made or bought.
6. We listen to traditional music from that country. (lots of the time that's during cooking or eating)
7. Do something crafty..for example we made paper giant hissing cockroaches when we studied Madagascar.
8. Draw a mural on our chalkboard door.
9. Decorate our house or his room with the countries flag colors or other fun holidays we learned about.
10. Watch a movie that reminds us of that country.  There are so many fun ways you can incorporate a movie into your summer.  It doesn't have to be something that just entertains them for a few hours.  Our son loves having a family movie night and for us to watch something he really enjoys.  I have seen people also project movies outside on a simple white sheet for a movie under the stars - so fun!  Also just a tip, sometimes its hard choosing a Christian or family friendly movie but Pure Flix has a great selection for the whole family...and you don't ever need to worry about if its appropriate for everyone or not.
11. Learn some different phrases in their language...we found some cool apps for that!
12. Learn about missionaries in that country and pray for them.
13. At the end of the "trip" we stamp our book with the date so we will remember when we visited :)

There really are endless ideas with this!  Mainly I just wanted it to be fun and I wanted him to keep his mind going this summer.

Honestly, I think I have learned just as much if not more this summer doing this with him.  I love how he gets excited to show other people his passport book and that its something he can hold onto for a while.  I read something earlier this summer about how few of these seasons we actually get with them. I pray I can cherish these moments and spend it with intention with him.  Full discloser - some days we derailed and we get nothing done! That's life and its never perfect.  But you give yourself grace on those days and keep going.

Let me know what you have been up to this summer!  Any other fun and frugal activities or ideas? Share with me!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Simple Easter Table

Wow, there has been a lot going on for us this last month! I'm happy to be sitting down to write up a little blog post for today.  Easter is coming tomorrow so I thought I would share a little snapshot of our kitchen and some simple decor ideas anyone can whip up last minute.  I love using things I already have, usually by browsing around the house I can find things to use and then add in a little handmade touch to make it feel new.  

I have always loved dying eggs for easter so I try and sit down to do it with Silas every year.  Also a bonus is how pretty the eggs are for decorating.  This year I didn't buy any extra we were left with orange, yellow and green.  They still turned out super pretty. 

My favorite part is that Silas has about 5 seconds of wait time for the eggs so they are very pastel....which I like.  So this took like 2 minutes haha.

I just looked around the house for white or light blue colored items to use together and went to the yard to trim some flowers and greenery for the table.  Its always pretty to group various items on the table for your centerpiece.  Mix it up!!

I love all of the light and airy pastel goodness.

Recently I have been reading through Exodus in leading up to Easter.  I have read Exodus several times in my life but for some reason this time I am overwhelmed with the beauty of it.  All I can see is Jesus all over the pages.  Its amazing how much the Bible points to the coming Savior.  

 I hope you can see Jesus all over your life.  He is all we need.  He has come, He has saved and He continues to provide all we need.  

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

DIY Basics - Recovering a Thrift Store Chair

I am a big fan of thrift store shopping...for furniture and things for the house.  I'm not the biggest fan of shopping for clothes at thrift stores only because I get overwhelmed (am I the one one?).  There is something really fun about scoring a great piece at thrift store for next to nothing and seeing the potential it has to be something great.  One of my favorite places to shop for things for the home is Habitat Restore...if you have never been to one you need to check it out.  I have found some really great things there for amazing prices.  There are a few keys to shopping at thrift stores...know when they restock, know when they mark down and go frequently.  

So I came across this chair at the Restore for $10 and loved it..I am a big chair fan.  This one though is in really great shape (it also folds up for storing), sturdy and I decided I didn't even want to paint it (super shocking I know).  All it needed in my opinion was a seat recovering.  

This is actually not the fabric above that was on the chair when I bought it...I had this laying around and covered it really quickly until I got something I liked.  This fabric was not really my favorite and didn't quite work in our space.

After thinking about it I decided I wanted something simple and basic that would go with anything.  This! This check fabric is like my most favorite thing ever.  After I covered the chair I made cafe curtains and a pillow too...with hot glue, haha.  They are still holding up great too...I need to make a post on that.

Ok, so covering a chair seat is really simple.  You need a staple gun (they are inexpensive) and that's pretty much it.  The hardest part is folding the corners in so it sits right.

Honestly I probably do it a little differently each time. I just make sure its really tight and folded in on the corners and then staple like crazy.  This seat just screwed right back in to the chair base, its was simple.

I love the simple and classic look of this chair.  Don't be intimidated by thrift store finds, there is a treasure of good stuff out there waiting for you to make it beautiful again.

How about you guys...are you thrift shopping people?  What are some of your best finds?

PS - Here are some other thrift store makeovers from the blog -

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Encouragement for Today

Just a really beautiful reminder today.  God is for you, He is with you and He is working inside and all around you.  I love this analogy of Jesus building a home inside of us - remodeling our lives into something more than we could ever imagine.  Jesus came to give us life...and life abundantly! (John 10:10).  I need this reminder today and everyday - 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!...  1 John 3:1a

God's love is lavished on us that we are His children and He is our Father.  He spared no expense pouring out the most precious commodity ever known - the blood of Christ - to redeem us back to Him.  

Remember today what God has done for you...what He is doing right now for you and what He intends to do for you for all eternity.  Hold tight to His truth and promises!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Super Easy Painted Glass Jars (Dollar Store Craft)

I have spring fever.  I am so ready for warmer days, sunshine and color.  Until then, I am making due with bringing some life inside and adding some spring touches here and there around the house.  I have a super easy diy for you today for adding some color to your homes - using chalk paint on glass!  Have you guys used chalk paint yet?  I absolutely love it..and now there are so many options available.  I know there is sometimes confusion about to clarify this isn't chalkboard paint but chalk paint - two different things.  Chalk paint adheres really well to surfaces without the need of primer and leaves a very matte/flat almost chalky finish.  Recently I came across some craft chalk paint and wanted to give it a try.

At first I was going to use mason jars for this project but then I found these glass milk bottles at the dollar store...yes! --at the dollar store and had to grab them.  If you can't find them at your local dollar store (specifically these were at the Dollar Tree) then I have seen them also at crafts stores like AC Moore or Michaels for a few dollars each.  How cute are these? Honestly I like them even unpainted as well to use for little parties.  Just think of how cute a little paper striped straw would be with these.

Here is the chalk paint I used...I found this at AC Moore for $ a coupon for 50%.  I love those coupons, don't ever enter a craft store without scoping those out first. They have other colors as well..not a huge selection but I think a pretty selection.  If you haven't used chalk paint yet this paint is a great way to try it out without investing $$ on some of the fancier brands and supplies.

When you use chalk paint the best approach is several thin layers.  Your first layer will feel like its not going to cover and will look awful.  I did 3 thin layers on these bottles to get the coverage I liked. I just used a craft sponge brush to apply worked well for this project. And leftover birthday plates :)

After the paint has dried completely you can add some distressing if you want...I waited a good 24 hours before doing this step.  I just lightly sanded with a sanding block to give it a little character. That's really it!  I didn't need to prime or use any kind of sealer on this project. Super easy.

These are so cute for greenery or florals, I love using unexpected things.  And this minty color is one of my favorites..I love the vintage feel of it.

I also used these for candle holders as well!  One thing though I would never use these for drinking out of now that they are painted..just decoration haha. 

Are you guys feeling the spring fever too?  What are some ways you like to add pops of spring to your home?  And...what do you think of chalk paint?  I'd love to hear!

Make something new this week!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Valentine's Day Gift Guide For Men

I am a big fan of giving gifts, its just something I enjoy doing. Let's be honest, its hard to shop for men sometimes. So today is just a fun little post with some ideas for gifts for the men in your life.  I had some help from Justin with this one.  These are either things he already has and loves, or things he has on his wish list.  We jokingly call this the "Justin starter kit". Also, I was informed I left out beard that's an idea too.

Ok, so there is some variety here...I have everything from wireless earbuds to a book on Theology.  Justin states that everyone should have a good theology book and the one we included is a good one to start with because of the easy way it reads.  Highlights - handmade leather wallet, stainless steel mugs (with lids for traveling) and the best men's belt ever.


I'm so excited to mention True to Seam goods here...Sam who owns and makes every item by hand is a former student of ours.  We love his handiwork!  He has more than just wallets too- so go over and check out his online shop!!

Gifts don't always have to be things we buy either.  Sometimes the sweetest and most meaningful things are notes written to our loved ones or time spent together.  Cherish your loved ones and enjoy each moment you have.  That in itself is a beautiful gift from God.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 5, 2018

DIY Yarn Pom Pom Garland

Do you decorate for the little holidays? I'm a big fan of having at least a little something out to change our home up for a bit.  Valentine's Day is one that I enjoy adding a little color around the house for.  Nothing crazy for fancy.  I made a little yarn pom pom garland to use for Valentine's that I'm sharing with you today...its so so simple anyone can do it and its a fun and easy craft to do with your kids too!

Materials Needed - 
1. Yarn
4. Some sort of card or cardboard to wrap yarn around

The hardest part about this craft is wrapping your yarn many many times around your card.  The number of times you wrap  will determine the fluffiness of your pom pom.  This is a great craft to do while watching a Disney movie or favorite Disney Vlogger (shout out Tim Tracker).  After you have wrapped your yarn, cut off an extra piece and tie a knot around the middle of the yarn you  just wrapped.  Cut through the looped yarn on both sides.  Finally, you just fluff and trim the edges and that's it!

After you have your yarn pom poms made just line them up along your twine and hot clue them into place. 

Done! Super simple, and really cute.  And also for a fraction of the cost something like this would cost in a store.

The top of this cabinet gets changed up a lot over the year, right now I all about adding pink candles everywhere.  If you like the square boxwood wreath, I made that too! I have an easy diy tutorial on how to make a faux square boxwood wreath, I made this wreath years ago and still use it all of the time.

Let me know what kind of decorating you guys like to do for the little holidays or seasons! I love to hear ideas.  

Don't forget,  Only 6 days left to grab a Remodeled Tee! You can order one here.

Have a great week!