Friday, March 13, 2015

A Little Rant

You know that moment when you feel like you've had an amazing idea, and you work really hard on that idea, and it turns out better than expected?
Then you decide to share it with others because you want everyone else in on the fun?
What you didn't realize was that eventually, no one would know that it was your idea in the first place, and your feelings are just a little bit hurt.
This is where I am right feelings are just a smidge hurt.
Almost 2 years ago, I turned a little old $5 yard sale table into this LEGO Table.
And for those of you who may be concerned...the table had been sanded down by the previous owner, and it wasn't a priceless antique that I decided to butcher and then paint;-)
It was cheaply made, and thus, I felt completely justified in giving it new life.
Since then, I have seen this table EVERYWHERE!
At least weekly, I see it on a blog, Facebook or Pinterest.
When you search "Lego Table" on Pinterest or Google, it's one of the first images to appear.
I find this truly mind-boggling...especially since my blog only gets a little over a thousand page views a day.
What bothers me, is when my images are taken from my blog without permission...altered...and then sent across the internet with no recognition of who the owner is. This is a common thing, I know, and comes with the blogging territory, but it's still slightly irritating.
Case in point.
I have seen this picture over and over again on Facebook.
It's exciting to see at first because I see how many "likes" and "shares" it has under the picture(sometimes a few, sometimes hundreds of thousands).
But then, I notice that something is missing.
My water mark.
Big thumbs down.

Now obviously, if someone really wanted the complete tutorial, all they would have to do is type "Lego table" in any search engine, and they would come across it in no time.
But that's not the point.
It's my work, and I'd like for people to be directed to my blog...plain and simple.
Like I said before, I realize that's the nature of the it.
I will say this...for those of you who have found me, whether it be from Google, Facebook, Pinterest, or any other search engine, and have commented on the post, shared the post, sent emails asking for permission to use my photos, or sent words of encouragement, I thank you for that.
It means so much to me to know that I am inspiring others to turn "trash into treasure", to give new life to an old piece, to be creative when you start with something small.
That is what I love to do, and if I can help someone else develop that same love, then it's been a good day.
And for those of you who say that this table obviously belongs to someone who doesn't have "a real Lego collection," you'll be happy to know that all of our Legos do not fit in this table, but we don't have a huge collection either. We have enough, and the kiddos seem to be completely content with what they do have:-)
Rant over. :-)


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mulan Themed Family Night

In January, I reinstated our family nights, and I am so glad I did.
Since last August, our evenings had been filled with soccer, American Heritage Girls, chess club, basketball, church, and all sorts of other functions.
It was so nice to finally slow down and spend more than one night at home.
The kids begged me to start doing family nights again, and I was happy to oblige.
We listen to a Disney station on Pandora quite a bit...because I'm kind of a Disney freak...and we kept hearing the songs from Mulan over and over again, so I took my cue, and ran with a Mulan theme.
Fortunate for me, Party City had a few things for Chinese New Year, so I grabbed some paper dragons, two hats and two fans.
All of the other items I used to decorate with were leftovers from parties that I have hosted in the past.
In fact, you may even recognize a few ;-)
 The kids loved the hats and the dragons.
When needing help in the inspiration department, I usually turn to Pinterest(I mean, who doesn't, right?) and almost all of the parties I came across had Chinese paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
My paper lanterns have just about bitten the dust...they are so OLD, but they got the job done. A few of them are barely hanging on. Thank goodness the Dollar Tree carries them frequently! Where would we be without the Dollar Tree?!?
The paper umbrella was a new addition from Hobby Lobby, but has since met an untimely death due to over extension :-( It was definitely fun to use while it lasted though!!
 For seating, I used some old outdoor cushions I had up in the attic, and I covered them with table cloths and table runners to make floor cushions.
In theory, this was a great idea...but when you have a husband who is 6'3", chairs really are the more practical solution;-)
I relied on Pandora once again to help set the mood, and we listened to Chinese Flute music(the kids love listening to this station while doing school...they say it relaxes them!).
On the menu was obviously Chinese. We were in the middle of our Whole 30 journey, so ordering take out wasn't an option. Here again is where Pinterest came through for us.
You can check out my Whole 30 Pinterest Board, to find some great recipes! Especially the Sunshine Sauce....YUMMM!
Once we finished dinner and dessert, we blew out the candles, piled onto the couch and watched Mulan. I had forgotten what a good movie that was.
I hope I can inspire you to take the time to slow down and spend time with your family. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but your kids will definitely appreciate the time that you spend together, when it's just you, alone, doing something that you love.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ballard 'Burlap Message Board' Knock-Off Tutorial

 I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday. 
Ours was filled with family, friends, and lots of travel. We had a wonderful time, but we are definitely glad to be back on a schedule. 
We started school yesterday, and it's nice to have the whole day planned out. 
We took the entire month of December off because we started school so early, so there wasn't any rhyme or reason to most days before Christmas...just maxin' and relaxin'. 
Since I had so much time on my hands, I was able to get a few projects knocked out.
Outside of being a full-time stay at home mom, I am also a licensed hair stylist. I have a little spot set up in the laundry room with a shampoo sink, and I occasionally get to use my stylist skills.
I am in the process of getting my laundry room turned into an "at-home" salon. My goal is to make it look less like a laundry room and more like a salon...however, the big fat washer and dryer still make it look like one;-)
Budget and time are big factors right now, so I can't do the major renovations I want to do, so I have been doing small projects to make the space a little more decorated.
I am really excited to share with you one of my latest projects. 
It's a Burlap Message Board.
I found my inspiration from the Ballard Designs catalog.

This project took around an hour, and I will have to say, I couldn't believe how easy it was.
And, it was super cheap!

Are you interested in making one for yourself?
Here are the supplies you need:
Cork board(found mine at a yard sale for $2)
Quilt batting(had some on hand)
Burlap(purchased mine from Hobby Lobby with 40% off coupon)
Brass Tacks(they were $1.99 at Hobby Lobby)
low temp glue gun(a must!!)
glue sticks
picture hanger for back

I loved the little gold flecks in this burlap. 
If I spot something sparkly, it usually ends up in the cart:-)
Let's get started!
You want to wrap the batting along the front of the cork board.
You'll flip it over, and glue the batting to the sides of the frame.
 It should look a little something like this when you are finished.
 Trim the excess batting all the way down to the frame. You won't want the extra bulk when wrapping the burlap.
 Next, lay the board on top of the burlap. 
 This process is similar to recovering a cushion on a chair. You will start on one side and glue the burlap down to the back of the frame(not the sides, like the batting). This is why you definitely want a low temp glue gun. Your fingers will thank you!!
Once you have one side glued down, then you will glue the opposite side, making sure to pull tightly.
Repeat on all sides.
 Your corners will be sticking up, so just put a glob of glue in the corner and mash.
Make sure it's LOW TEMP or you will burn your fingers to bits.
 When all sides and corners are glued down, you should have something that looks like this.
 Next come the tacks. I measured here and there, but they are by no means perfect.
 I measured just enough so that they wouldn't be too wonky.
Just start hammering away until you get the desired look.
 The last step is to add the picture hanger on the back. You will definitely want a more precise measurement for this step so that it will hang level.
And this is the end result!
I love the result, and it does a great job in covering two massive holes in the wall that will be fixed...someday:-)
Let me know if you decide to make one too. I'd love to see what you come up with!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cookie Monster Mug Tutorial

It's crunch time, y'all. Christmas is in 10 days!!! I am working like a crazy person trying to get all of my last minute gifts together. I hadn't planned on it, but most of my gifts are handmade.
Which is really fun!!
One of my gifts I am giving is a Cookie Monster Mug.
This little mug was so much fun to make, and really cute, I think!
I was going to purchase one, but decided I could do it myself.
All of the supplies were purchased from Walmart.

You need:
-One blue mug
-White Oil Based Sharpie
-Black Oil Based Sharpie
-Circle stickers for template
-Rubbing Alcohol
-Paper Towels
Absolutely make sure you have OIL BASED paint pens. The oil based paint sticks better.
Hand wash your mug, dry it, and then wipe it down with rubbing alcohol. 
Then, use two large'ish circle stickers and place them where you want the eyes. (Can you tell we homeschool? Never can have too many stickers!!!)
Trace around the circles with the black paint pen. Remove stickers, and realize that stickers were placed in the wrong spot. Use rubbing alcohol and paper towels to remove said mistake. If you'd like, you can skip this step altogether :-)
Over lap the stickers like the picture below. Trace around the stickers with the black paint pen.
Allow the paint to dry just a few minutes and then remove the stickers. 
You can draw the mouth on next if you'd like.
Fill in the black circles with the white paint pen. It will take several coats of the white, so color in, and then give it a break. Come back in about 10 minutes or so, and reapply the paint. It's sort of like painting your nails. You can't reapply immediately.
Fill in the little pupils, and place in a cold oven on a sheet pan. With mug in the oven, turn it on to 350 degrees and let it bake for 30 minutes. 
Turn the oven off and let it cool to room temperature.
Once it cools, it's ready to gift, or use!

This mug was my inspiration. If you don't have the time to work on a mug of your own, you can click on the photo below and order one for yourself!

***This post contains affiliate links***

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elf on the Shelf

I was bound and determined that Snarf the Elf was not coming back to our house. But things never seem to go how you plan them where children are concerned. Our neighbor, a.k.a. E's best friend, busted through our doors December 1st wanting to know where our elf was.
My plans were foiled. The kids started freaking out because they couldn't find that Curs-ed Elf, and I wanted to scream. That was one more thing I had to remember, and I am truly running out of room in my brain at this point.
So Snarf made his debut a day late. The kids were so excited, and it really has been fun finding new things for Snarf to get into every day. I see a smile every morning, and sometimes hysterical laughter when they see what Snarf has done...especially when he drew on the kids' faces with a dry erase marker.

S.R. talks to him just about every day. 
She loves him, and even made a special cupcake for him, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Snarf became the Amazing Spiderman one day. 
And he was caught roasting marshmallows over a battery operated tea light. 
(E kept asking if he could eat the marshmallow.)
I'll keep you posted on what else Snarf gets into on Facebook

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Decor 2014

This year I decided to do things a little different when it came to decorating for Christmas. Not only did I change the color scheme, but I didn't put nearly as much out.
Mainly because I am lazy. 
I have found that with homeschooling, I just don't have the time to do what I used to do. My priorities have changed drastically, and the things I used to think were important, aren't as important now.
 So we have the main tree in the living room, and the kids have their trees in the bedrooms.
The hubs wanted some color on the Christmas tree this year, and color he got.
This is definitely much different from our tree in the past.
Our Home in 2012

And now our tree in 2014.

 I really like it. It's fun, and cheerful. 
It sort of reminds me of Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss. 
We had a little red from last year, so all I needed to do was add a little turquoise.
We have had so many compliments on our tree.

I made this wreath two years ago, and have slowly added more items to it. Last year, I had it on the front door. I didn't want to spend any more money on Christmas decor, but I needed something on the mantel, so I moved the wreath inside. I think it finishes off the whole look. 
I didn't do any greenery on the mantel this year because it felt a little cluttered. 

I did a little decorating to the front entry table, but again, it's very minimal.
 We have been doing a Christmas craft a day in December, and the kids made stained glass ornaments the other day. I found this craft kit in the clearance section at Target after Christmas last year. They had fun making them, and I think they turned out beautiful.
We are focusing on service projects for the month of December. We are going to be sewing and baking, and visiting. 
The kids are really excited about all of it.

In my next post, I'll share what our sneaky elf, Snarf, has been up to.
Thanks for stopping by!

Participating in:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hey There!

So, I thought I had hung my blogging hat, and wasn't going to do it anymore, but I had a change of heart. 
I have missed you guys!
We have been so busy since I last posted, which was all the way back in May, I believe. 
So much has happened since then.

We started the homeschooling journey in July, and what a journey it has been so far. The kids and I have learned a lot....whether it be school related, or about one another. 
Most days are great and we move right along, and then there are other days....yeeaahh...those other days are something else.
There are days when my children couldn't be any sweeter. They get their work done, they are kind to one another, they offer to do their chores without being asked, and I think to myself, this was the best decision EVER!
Then there are the "other" days when demon possession has riddled our home, and I am hunting the internet on how to perform an exorcism (not really, but I have come close a few times). Those days I really have to step back, breathe, and say a little prayer and remind myself that my precious babies are in there somewhere, and they are fighting a battle themselves.
They are learning what it means to take control of their emotions. Some days they are great at it, and other days, not so much.
But the same goes for me as well....some days I feel like I am very mature and wise in how I handle situations, and then there are times when I look back and think, "wow, you really screwed that one up. Better start setting money aside for therapy."
Thankfully the good days far outweigh the bad days.

  There are a ba-jillion homeschooling blogs out there right now, and I am going to be the ba-jillion + one homeschooling blog. I'll still talk decorating and crafts, but I am going to throw in a little school too.
I'll have links to websites I am using as well as the curriculum that we are going through.
I have a Homeschooling Pinterest Board and a Homeschool Crafts Pinterest Board that I pin to frequently...sometimes hourly.
If you are interested in those types of things, make sure to follow those boards.

Like I said earlier, we started school in mid-July. I wanted to get a head start on school because we were surprising the kids with a trip to Disney. 
I can't believe how much the kids have changed since summer...especially E.
 We had the most amazing time at Disney. By far the best family vacation we have been on. The kids were big enough to ride everything, and were real troopers, riding everything at least once. A few of the rides scared them, i.e. the Hollywood Tower of Terror, duh! 
Their most favorite ride was Splash Mountain. I lost count how many times they rode that one.
We went at a perfect time too. NO ONE was there! Don't believe me? Look at the picture one else is in the picture but us.
 We planned the Disney trip to celebrate the Hubs 40th birthday and E's 8th birthday, so we didn't do any special parties. E did have a few friends over to play on his actual birthday, but it wasn't anything but cupcakes and hot dogs, and lots of running around shooting Nerf guns.
 We also survived another soccer season. S.R.'s team didn't win very many games, but it definitely served it's purpose for P.E.
E's team was awesome, and they kicked booty every single game, except for one. He had a great time, and got plenty of exercise.
 Basketball season has started now, so there hasn't been any break between seasons. But that's ok because they need the exercise.

I have tried to be aware of all important holidays and work them in the curriculum when I can. Here is one of the crafts they did along with a story book we read.
This particular craft came from a website I use often called Teachers Pay Teachers. It is an excellent resource for printables and for inspiration. There are a lot of free printables on there as well. 

Here is one of the kids' first art projects. They had a lot of fun with these, using straws to blow the hair on. S.R. decided that crazy hair wasn't pretty, so she smoothed hers out:-)

S.R. joined the American Heritage Girls.
 It's similar to Girl Scouts, but more service/Christian based.
She loves it and I love that she loves it. She got to march in the Veterans Day parade in November. 

 She also got to be the flower girl in this sweet bride's wedding.
 She had an amazing time.

On a side note, I finally took the time to set up my Etsy Shop

If you look on the right side bar, it will take you directly to my shop page. I will be adding to it as often as I can. 
It's definitely my way to decompress and do something for me.

We are having so much fun spending time together. I am getting to witness these two precious faces hit every new milestone. There has been lots of laughter, a few tears, but our family has become so much closer as a result of homeschooling. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us in the future.