Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pantry-Laundry Room Makeover

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We have almost lived in our home for 3 years, and I am finally getting to this room...I have hit the nesting stage in my pregnancy and I was losing sleep over this project. I knew it finally needed to be done. 
Some before pics of our Pantry-Laundry Room.
We used a utility shelf before, and there was a bunch of space wasted...not to mention it constantly looked unorganized.
I headed to Home Depot and bought a cute stencil in the Martha Stewart section by the paints... 
Then when I was halfway done...I was thinking...WHY am I doing this again???!!! aahh!! 

5 hours later I finished. I kept the walls white and used a beige color (that matches the rest of our house) for the stencil. 
Then we put some nice shelving in to utilize all that wonderful wall space. :)
The whole project cost $100. The shelving was what added up...
I love it! Now I want to do cook and do laundry!! haha

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chair Re-do!

4-5 hour project...if you don't have to re-paint the chairs...
I found the table, chairs and matching china hutch on a craigslist add.
They were very well taken care of and freshly painted...
It took me about 4 years to decide what I wanted to do with them-lame, I know!

The fabric is from JoAnns...totally on sale and with my JoAnn's App (download now!) I also got 40% off.
I ended up paying $19 for 3 yards, 45'' wide- it is an upholstery fabric, so this was a heck of a deal! 

Unscrew the pad, right off the chair- very easy, just time consuming.
Once the pad is off, I took off the previous fabric from one of the pads to use as a fabric stencil for the six other pads. I left the fabric on the others and then covered it with the new.

Staple gun is all you need!
Tuck the fabric as tight as you can.
It doesn't matter what it looks like on the bottom...
& who cares if you use a hundred staples! :)

My 6 bumless chairs!
I washed these girls really well-top to bottom!

The details in the chairs are amazing, but the more detail, the more work...


My most favorite toy in all the land!
Life is better with a sander!

Especially for all this detail on front and back of the chairs!
Don't you love the difference?!?

You want to hit every line to make it stand out- 
One chair sanded by hand: 1.5 hours
One chair sanded by device: 20 minutes

Love the legs...the details are amazing!

I love love love love them!

Hope you do to!

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Fun Friday

Heres a little more summer fun for you!

I have girls camp in a week and a half (all that fun coming soon) so I've had to start cracking down on preparations.  This week was a little more low key for us.  Okay, maybe only a very little.  We did have two birthdays to celebrate.

At Home Activities

- The kids spent some time playing legos.  They each built houses then got creative with the remaining pieces.  Some of the sizes were pulled out and split up for money and with the rest they created things to 'sell' to everyone else.  Flower pots, tables, cars etc.  They had so much fun with it - and it entertained them for hours!

 - We washed the cars
 - We made chocolate no-bake cookies.  My kids call them Gorilla Poops (insert eye roll and a crooked smile)  I love these because they are peanut free without having to buy any special ingredients!  Oh, and I don't have to turn on the oven in the middle of the summer.  No one in my family has peanut allergies, but the 2 kiddos I babysit do.  This recipe fit the bill this week - being able to make cookies with them without having to plan ahead! Scroll down for the recipe
- We tie-dye'd t-shirts!  We used the sharpie tie-dye method I found over at Obsessed With Paper Art.  I love the flowers she made.  I'm starting to think I should make me one!  I loved that it was SO easy.  No mess at all, my kids could create whatever they wanted with only a little supervision, and they loved the shirts that they made themselves!

Away From Home Activities

- We spent a couple of afternoons at the park.  On one of the days my girls got this 'imaginary baseball' game going.  It was adorable.  I was amazed at how positive all the kids were in their encouragement with eachother and what good sports they were when whoever had the ball decided they were out.  They were stealing bases, hitting home runs - the teams were completely mixed up and no one kept score, but they had a blast!  If you use your imagination, anything can be fun!

- We took advantage of the twilight hours at one of the pools close to us.  From 5pm-close it is only $3/person.  AND you can use their BOGO coupon, so for all 6 of us it was $9.  Sweet!  


Chocolate No Bake Cookies
2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Milk
1/2 c. Shortening
3 Tbs Cocoa
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 c. Quick Oats

Combine all but vanilla and oats in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Take off the heat and add vanilla, stirring constantly.  Add oats and drop by spoon onto tin foil or wax paper.  They will harden as they cool.  You may increase oatmeal if thickening is necessary - too much oatmeal will make them dry.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Fun Friday

I can't believe another week of summer has already flown by!!

Here's some of the fun we've had 
(Again, please excuse the pictures.  My replace the stolen camera fund is severely lacking)

Daddy Dates

My husband has had some extra time off this week with the holiday so he took each of the kids on a date.  With my 10 year old they went to Barnes and Noble and looked through all kinds of books and she got to pick one to bring home.  My 8 year old wanted to go to the local pet store and they played with all the puppies and kitties for about 2 hours then picked up a slurpee.  He took my 6 year old to the gym at his school and they spent an hour or two playing racquetball and basketball and stopped for ice cream on the way home.  My baby (4 yrs old) just wanted to go to the zoo!  So thats what they did.  He didn't spend more than $10 on any one date (we have a zoo pass) and all of the kids felt so special!

At Home Activities

This week we had one day that was a "friend day".  I had been asked to watch a couple of friends kids at different times and we just turned it into a day of fun.  We started off with 3 friends in the morning (and one that joined us with her mom) that stayed for lunch when their mom came, then we took a little break and had 2 friends in the afternoon until just before dinner, then 3 more that joined us for dinner and fun afterwards.  I used a lot of paper plates that day!  But my kids had so much fun!  And honestly, it was much easier than having the same extra kids all day long.

Here are some of the things we did that day and throughout the week
Sidewalk Murals
I guess this is pretty self explanatory.  We used a ton of chalk, but its so cheap!

Milk Art from Flutter Flutter

These fun homemade Lava Lamps were a huge hit.  You can find the tutorial here.

And we had a dance party, of course.  It really seems like one of my kids favorite things to do.  Just crank up the tunes and dance!

Away from Home Activities

Library Day!
My kids were fascinated by the "kids" that were putting on a concert at the library when we went to claim their reading rewards.  I'm pretty sure they all want to play the violin now!
Monday was a free day at a "farm" near us.  Its run by the park district and is more a super fun place that happens to have farm animals than an actual farm, but its really cool!  They have one of the coolest playgrounds ever, a carousel, and pony and tractor rides.  They also have a historic schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and pottery shop where staff dressed in period clothing give demonstrations.  Like I said, super fun.  

And it was free!  I know in our area all the museums and such have multiple free days a year.  The biggest key is to go EARLY and choose your battles.  For some places like the Shedd Aquarium in downtown Chicago - no amount of free is worth the headache.  But, for instance, the Museum of Science and Industry - in January - is practically empty.  The suburb free days are much more doable.  Check out your local places!

Our fun this week also included some major 4th of July celebrating!

Some Fun Food

Being the 4th of July week, most of our desserts and fun were centered around red, white, and blue.  On Thursday (the 4th) we had Patriotic Pancakes for breakfast, and had a picnic for lunch.  Dinner was BBQ, of course, with a red white and blue fruit salad (yogurt, fruit and a dollop of whipped cream) and corn on the cob.

My girls would bake every day if they could.  So I limit them to 2 desserts a week.  This week they picked
Tie-Dye Fudge from Taste and Tell

and our very own Firecracker Bundt Cake posted earlier this week by Jana

I'd say another successfully fun week of summer.  And as always - we'd love your ideas to add to our fun!
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

4th of July Menu

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This was taken last year, but were so delicious, I've decided they need to grace our table every 4th of July. :)
Here is how to make Stained Glass Jello. Yum.
I love this relish! I could eat a whole jar all by myself. Tastes great on everything!!
Click here for the recipe! 
Firecracker Bundt Cake
When you cut into this, you also get red white and blue cake. Very patriotic...
When you make the batter, split into three bowls, leave one white, and the other two add blue and red food coloring. In the bundt pan, alternate adding 1 cup from each color, red white white get the idea. ;)
For the frosting, do the same thing dividing the can into three equal parts, leaving one white, and making a red and blue...Microwave for a few seconds so the frosting is easier to drizzle.
Then sprinkle with some festive sprinkles!
Happy 4th of July everyone!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Fun Friday

How was your week?

We had lots of fun - maybe too much.  I'm exhausted!!  But in a good way.

Since this is the first post of the series I'm going to preface it a little bit.  There are a few things that we do almost every day that I'm not always going to write down.  We usually start our day with a bike ride right after breakfast.  It can be anywhere from 3 to 6 miles depending on the day.  That is our favorite way to get in our exercise.  Sometimes we toss it up with some roller blading or tae bo or something (watching a 6 yr old boy do tae bo is awesome!).

We also have some reading time every day.  Sometimes its morning, sometimes right after dinner.  Sometimes I throw it in whenever the kids stop being able to get along.  I kind of feel like its a necessary down time and it keeps their reading up while they are away from school!

So here is our week in a nutshell:

Friday and the Weekend
I'm just lumping that all together because it was all pretty much absorbed in one big activity. 
We spent last weekend camping with friends.  We braved the rain, and I'm so glad we did!  Once we got all set up it only rained on us for about an hour and a half of the whole 2 1/2 days we were there.
One of the big differences between mountain camping and midwest camping is the temperature.  There isn't anywhere (higher elevation) to go to get out of the heat here.  So Saturday afternoon we spent a few hours at the splash pad.   Which brings up another big difference.  The campground we went to is on a forest preserve smack in the middle of the Chicago suburbs.  The splash pad was just down the street!  Back home it would have been a good hour away.

Monday morning we were wading through all the camping aftermath - and it was pouring rain.  Art camp was cancelled, but we got lots done!  That afternoon my hubs took the girls on a daddy daughter date to Sky High Sports - an indoor trampoline fun center in our area.  They had an awesome groupon - we just couldn't resist!  And the girls had a blast!  While they were gone I put in some wii time with the boys and we made ice cream sundaes.

Tuesday we had to take my sister to the airport in the morning so we decided to stop by the zoo on the way home.  We decided that would be our 'membership' this year.  Last year was the children's museum.  I like to change it up each year - it seems like if we get the same membership multiple years in a row my kids get used to it and don't want to go there anymore.  A year at a time seems to work well.
Sometimes you just have to let them be.  That is where some of the best memories are made.  I know all the thoughts running through your head when your kid wants so badly to grab those special crayons and paint his very own animal face!  Just remember that soap was invented for a reason and their clothes can be washed and really, they will love every second of it.

On wednesdays I have piano lessons in the morning so my oldest 'babysits' for me.  They usually read and then get in a little movie time.  Wednesday is also park day!  As soon as my lessons are done we pack a quick lunch and head to the park that is scheduled for that week.  I have a friend that puts together the schedule at the beginning of the warmer season rotating to a different park each week, and everyone just passes it along to whomever might be interested.  It makes for lots of fun friends at the park - for kids and mom!  If you don't have something like that in your area - start one!  Chances are most of the moms you know would LOVE someone to hand them a schedule for playdates at all the fun parks in the area.

Before dinner we spent a little time painting toenails and my daughter made us all elastic hairband bracelets - then taught us how to make them!  I thought it was pretty creative, and I hardly ever use the colored bands anyway!
(I apologize for the awful quality pictures.  My camera was stolen last week so my phone is all I've got for the time being!)
You just make a chain of elastics.  Easy peasy.

Yesterday morning we started one of the girls chosen desserts for the week (then finished it up this morning).  It was called Tropical Island Dessert.
Haha!  It was a little bit of a fail.  The fish totally turned all white and squishy and the ring broke as we were taking it out of the pan.  My daughter was really upset at first but it was the perfect opportunity to teach her about how the fun was in the making, and it still tastes the same.  We had a good laugh about it and then stopped with one lime.

In the afternoon we went to a friends house and played in the water in their back yard.  There were probably 15 kids there ranging from 4 months to 10 yrs old and between the water, the swing set and the popsicles they were in heaven!

That evening we got together with friends for a BBQ and played a little kickball and frisbee.  It was a beautiful summer evening!

And that was our week in a nutshell.
What fun things did you do this week?  We'd love to hear about them!

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