Refreshing Around the House

I have decided April is my month of makeovers, making a decision to fix up and fall in love again with the stuff we have! We have hit that sweet spot where all the stuff we bought 7-8 years ago when we first got married is starting to fall apart. After some pricing around town and consideration that we still have 4 small children prone to sharpie (and super glue thanks Five!) accidents I decided to try and REFRESH our stuff instead of getting something new. I chose projects based on googling solutions that seemed easy enough that my non handy self could do it, since the hubs is tied up with work these days.
First up: Our couch Cost: $7
I LOVE our couch, sorta. It’s this huge sectional which is great for our big family and having guests over. It’s also a microfiber which is easy to clean but also tends to show every little spot. If the kids spill a glass of water on the couch it looks like a huge stain until I pull out our cleaner and fix it. We ended up hosting an impromptu party the other weekend and felt so embarrassed about how the couch looked and it’s an over night drying to clean it. So I ordered a very cheap furniture repair kit from Amazon that has some crayons and markers and spent the day basically coloring the couch and then spent a good hour cleaning the cushions.

Before:

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After: You can see here where I had started but not finished yet. I ended up doing these mostly using the marker all the way around.

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I am seriously so pleased with the way this turned out! For just a few bucks these markers worked so easily and it’s not perfect but at a glance (which is what I assume most visitors give the trim of my couch) it looks really nice!
Second project: The Fire Pit $7-14

I won this fire pit in a scavenger hunt several years ago in GA, and since then its basically just been sitting outside. We wanted to get together with our friends for a s’mores roasting and this pit just wouldn’t do! After a few youtube videos, I felt like I could probably do this myself (although the hubs joined in and took all the fun parts because he was so excited too).

Before: (Sorry about the quality, hubs took it with his phone!) IMG_7264

Sanded:IMG_7256

After:IMG_7284

 

So the key to this makeover is preparation! Start by sanding off as much of the rust as you can or the paint will have a hard time sticking. A few tutorials I saw online used an electric sander but I opted just for a regular sanding block. After that I went to Lowes and got some 2000 degree spray paint, I got one can but to finish the whole job it will need two. Make sure you do this in a well ventilated area and use a drop cloth/tarp underneath. If it is particularly windy, make sure the paint isn’t flying onto a nearby wall or fence. Also don’t wear anything you don’t mind having spray paint on!

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Third makeover: Outdoor Rack Cost: $7-14

I got this rack for outside about 7 years ago at a yard sale and was totally going to redo it then…. and then I didn’t… and then we moved it like 5 times and still I didn’t touch it but since I’m on a roll this month I decided to tackle it! This project is very similar to the fire pit, with just a different kind of spray paint. I chose one for outdoor metal from Lowes in a Peacock Blue color. The rack needed a little bit more sanding, as the paint was coming over pretty much over the entire thing and I did end up using two full cans of paint.

Before:IMG_7287

After: IMG_7387

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So that’s my round up for the month! I have tacked a few other organization projects including the garage and the closet in the kids play room. What have you been up to? Do you get into the Spring cleaning fever? Post your projects on our Facebook Page!

 

Cardboard Creations

One of my favorite mediums to play with is cardboard! It’s strong, but easily cut, cheap and easy to find, and is held together with the relatively mess free tape!  Here are some of my favorite cardboard creations and ideas for future projects:

  1. Over the holiday season the first cardboard creation I did was the lights in a box, basically you cut the flaps off a box of medium size, tip it on it’s side, punch a bunch of holes (I used a pair of closed scissors) and stick one light from a strand of Christmas lights in each hole. The kids ended up drawing a road and scene inside the box as well and this creation hung around for several weeks before being recycled. lights
  2. A solution to a problem I have been having can be found HERE! Which is my review on the Pinterest idea of putting a cardboard box around the bottom of the Christmas tree to keep the tree skirt put. My cats are often running around/lounging on the skirt and it totally solved this issue! I didn’t have to adjust the tree skirt once! IMG_9600
  3. SLIDE!!! I have seen the cardboard slide many times but hadn’t yet attempted it, but when the perfect box ended up at the house this December I decided to give it a go! I had trouble getting the tape to stick to our textured walls and ended up sitting at the top to weigh down the slide. Surfer and Cinderella loved it! I only ended up putting it up the one day but they spent at least an hour going down over and over. slide.jpg
  4. Cardboard Fireplace: This is one I haven’t posted about before, when we lived in Hawaii we did not have a fireplace (haha) and the kids were incredibly worried Santa wouldn’t be able to find us and there was no spot for their stockings! We solved this with a cardboard fireplace and Santa’s key, a wooden decoration with a key that we hang outside by the front door (Santa uses it to get in and then leaves it by his cookies when he leaves). Since I did this, I have seen a lot of different postings online, some very basic and some really impressive! The basic structure is just boxes cut to the width and height you desire, and I opted to paint ours. fireplace

There’s so much you can do with cardboard, let us know on Facebook what kind of awesome creations you’ve made!

 

Let the Girl Go

“We are all just beginners here, and we shall all die beginners.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

“I don’t really do creativity.”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that. I’m not sure where that belief began, but I have never considered myself as a “creative.” I have always longed for a way to be creative. I had a teacher tell me once, “You’re one of those people who is sort of good at everything, but isn’t REALLY good at anything.” Thank you? Although, he isn’t too far off. I can dabble in just about anything, but there isn’t a specific thing in which I am really in my element.

For years I have consumed other’s creativity. Music, books, paintings, I love art in all its many forms. But who am I to attempt to create anything? Me, the sort of good at everything but not really good at anything, girl? What could I possibly have to add to the creative world?  In her new book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes:

“Who the hell do you think you are?” your darkest interior voices will demand.

“It’s funny you should ask,” you can reply. “I’ll tell you who I am. I am a child of God. Just like anyone else. I am a constituent of this universe. I have invisible spirit benefactors who believe in me and who labor alongside me. The fact that I am here at all is evidence that I have the right to be here. I have a right to own my voice and a right to my own vision. I have a right to collaborate with creativity, because I myself am a product and a consequence of Creation. I’m on a mission of artistic liberation, so let the girl go!”

Well now, who can argue with that? So this year, although I’m not one for resolutions, I have decided to dabble in my creativity. It will probably look mismatched and sporadic, as my talents are vast but shallow, but maybe I will stumble upon what it is that opens the creative space within me.

So far, I have been being deliberate with my writing. I have sat down to write for at least 15 minutes a day. Many days it is rambling, some days wisdom seeps through. Regardless, I am creating. I am also being more intentional about creating art with my daughter. Who better to teach you to unleash your creativity than a 4 year old? My daughter, my forever teacher.

Last but certainly not least, I am paying close attention to the beauty that surrounds me. Although I may not have been the author of such beauty, some define creativity as the ability to put together seemingly unrelated things. The light shining through the window and dancing in the water spilled on the table at breakfast. The marker ink staining 4 year old hands. The penguin-like waddle of a newly walking toddler. All unrelated, all somehow smashed together in this life I’m creating.

So here’s to rambling words, messy hands, and the open eyes with which I will create.

Turning Pages

I have always been a lover of books. In my small Ohio hometown, my mom would drop me off at the library early Saturday morning, and I would explore the pages of books for hours. I would leave with a huge stack, anything that had caught my eye. In 2015, I read 44 books including novels, self-help, spiritual memoirs, everything I could get my hands on. Looking back over the books I read, I can see the journey I have taken this year. Here are a few of my favorite stops along the way:

1.) Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

2.) The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne

3.) 7 by Jen Hatmaker

4.) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

5.) Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

6.) Rising Strong by Brene Brown

7.) Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

I could write an entire post on each of these books, but I’ll suffice it to say, they each changed my worldview in some way. So if you’re looking for a good read that may challenge any or all of your habits, beliefs, and routines… Dig In!

Happy Reading!

-K

 

Deals of the Day

Amazon is having a great sale on Learning Resource educational toys. Here are the toys I just bought for Christmas! Click the pictures to go directly to the listing (affiliate link), Thanks for your support!

1. Learning Resources Pizza Fraction Fun
– this toy looks amazing! I like to find things that combine learning but can be fun without a lot of work. I know the kids will love to put the pizza together and I can sneak in some fun math too! On sale for less than $9!

2. Learning Resources New Sprouts Fix It! Tool Set
– Over the years I have bought many tool sets, but they always seem to just walk away. I love the colors and size of this one and picked this up for the baby, but really I know the big kids will have a go with it as well. So cute!

3. Learning Resources Pretend & Play Fishing Set
– This set is adorable! I love the dress up option as well! We have a home made version of fishing in our busy bags but they are a bit delicate and get played with infrequently. I think this set would get used all the time as the kids love to pretend to fish.

4. Little Tikes Count ‘n Play Cash Register
– This last one is Little Tikes not Learning Resource but also a great deal for the day! This one reminds me of one I used to play with as a child and I love the big coins for little fingers to place in and money to push. Love the price as well!

Click this link to find more items on sale for 50% off Learning Resource Toys today! There’s only 35 days until Christmas! Sound off on our Facebook page what on your list!

5 Reasons Why I’m Done Having Kids (probably, don’t hold me to this)

We just had our 4th earlier this year and now the number 1 question I get is: Are you done having kids?! … Most of the time I just smile and don’t commit either way because the only people who really need to be in this discussion are my husband and myself, but I’ll let you guys in on where we are right now. I’ve been thinking about this question a lot as our children get older, start school, and the reality of having four settles in. So here are the 5 reasons right now that tells me we are done having kids:

5. The Van: We have a Honda Odyssey which I ADORE. I know some people hate mini vans but I really love mine! The tv, the heated seats, the turn radius, it makes me happy, but the truth is I don’t know if it could hold another car seat comfortably. We have three across in the back row and the second row has one seat folded down, I sit in one, and the baby sits in the last. Yes we could probably squeeze in two more car seats in a bind but I really like being able to sit in the back sometimes, especially on road trips! I get to watch some toons, we don’t have to pull over to help a kid grab something off the floor, ect.
pic circa 2011 when we first got this beauty!
van

4. Hotel rooms: Oh hotel rooms! When we were moving this summer this was the worst! If you’re trying to book a hotel room for 6 people (and can’t afford the penthouse suite) you will have to lie online or there will be NO rooms available anywhere. Sometimes I have luck calling and telling them the situation that we have young children and can book a room, but other times I get the run around “Miss you need to book two rooms, no I can’t guarantee they will be adjoining” What?! So we have to spend twice as much, split up, and we can’t even quarantine the kids with shared doors? No way. Usually we just end up sneaking them up. Shhhhh!
MOTEL-SIGN

3. Energy: Guys I’m tired. I’m so so tired. I average about 6 hours of sleep a night (which is a lot compared to some people I know but I personally need like 10 hours). Even when the kids go to bed on time and don’t hound me for hours on end one after another… I’m up sweeping or preparing for the next day, throwing a quick load in the wash, or trying to spend a little time for myself reading or knitting. I can’t have caffeine due to my nursling and it just feels like every additional child draws more and more energy away from me. I’m pretty sure if we had anymore I would have to transform the entire house into a giant bed just to catch some shut eye.

2. Money: Kids are expensive and cheap. I never spend as much money on the things I thought I would. I can make a relatively inexpensive meals for the entire family no problem, we often buy clothes used and pass them down (or buy on the off season at a serious discount!) and yes shoes are pricey but what really shocked me was all the little things. Only two of my kids are in school but they go to different schools and so we have two year books, school pictures, field trips, supplies, ect. Then there are extra activities: soccer, swim lessons, tumbling, Cub Scouts… When only one of the kids are participating it’s not so bad but if you multiply it by 3 (and soon 4!) I have to make some tough decisions. I would love the kids to be taking swim lessons right now but it’s just not something I can work out for all of them with the other activities they are doing.

piggy bank
1. We Feel Complete: All those other reasons aside (there are a lot of things we could do to combat those) we FEEL whole. Our children get along so well, there is a great dynamic between them, playing together, sharing interests, everyone pitches in for a quick peek-a-boo game with the baby while I cook. Right now, I just love where we are at.

The reality is I don’t know what the future holds, maybe we will have more some day (although I REALLY doubt it!) but for right now this is just right.

How did you know you were done or not? Are you still looking for a sign?

Weekend Wrap-Up: Pumpkins!

“Pumpkin, Pumpkin,

Round and fat,

Turn into a Jack-o-lantern

Just like that!”

What better time to study pumpkins than the week before Halloween? Our penguin unit stretched longer than I had anticipated, so to fill up the rest of the week to took advantage of our fall decor.  Last weekend we visited a local pumpkin patch and picked out our perfect pumpkins. To follow-up, we dug into a few pumpkin related activities.

Beaded Pumpkin

Monkey laced orange craft beads onto a green pipe cleaner to make this super simple and quick craft by Blissfully Domestic. Simply bring the ends of the pipe cleaner together and twist them into a stem.
  
Pumpkin Investigation

Obviously, we had to dig our fingers into some pumpkin guts. We discussed the parts of the pumpkin, estimated how many ribs and seeds the pumpkin would have, counted the seeds by putting them all in groups of ten, and came up with as many words as we could to describe what we saw and felt in the pumpkin. We saved our seeds to roast later, but Monkey was adamant we needed to keep a few to plant next spring.
Picasso Pumpkins

Monkey is an artist. I am working on putting together an artist study where we can explore in greater detail the methods of the greats. Until then, these Picasso Pumpkins based off of a craft by Reading Confetti will have to do. We looked at some of Pablo Picasso’s most famous pieces and discussed the way he presented faces. Using our new knowledge, Monkey scoured through magazines to find these pumpkins’ perfect faces.

Wall of Fame

Every week we hang all our work on the wall to decorate our school room and to refer back to as we continue our learning. Here are a few more activities we did throughout the week that made the Wall of Fame:

Roll a Jack-o-lantern

Upcycled Pumpkin

Pumpkin Life Cycle
Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!