Beachy Memories

If your kids are like mine, they are always trying to keep every little rock, bucket of sand, broken shell and sea tumbled piece of trash that they find on the beach. Or in a creek. Or just walking down the road. Sure you can bring it home in the name of preserving your sanity, but then what do you do with it?!

I let everyone collect all the shells and sand that they want and then sometime things “blow” out of the car on the way home. What are you gonna do? With a paired down set of shells, rocks and sand, we create little jars. They are cheap at Michael’s and we try to get the same size each time – or at least the same style. Then we fill them, label them and put them on a shelf. Easy to dust and no beach memories on the floor!

And if glass scares you, grab a plastic jar instead and hot glue the lid on for a toddler / hands on friendly version.

Easy way to control the amount of crap that comes home and keep it in one place is to use a drink cup with lid. If you’re extra fancy, remember to pack some ziplock bags

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Our sand dollars were purple and hairy. We put them in a bleach bath over night and voila! White and smooth.

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Ta da! A sweet little mess free collection of our vacation!

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Also works with creek rocks:

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Book Nook

When we were dreaming of what we wanted in a new house, one of the things on my long list was enough space to make a reading nook for each kiddo. A little spot that they could snuggle up and enjoy their books.

In the long list of projects for this house, I had kind of forgotten about it. In our ongoing effort of adding to and then checking off a house to do list, Peter built and put up amazing book shelves in the kids’ room. And then I remembered – book nook! A few Ikea lamps later and relocating the PB Kids chairs and voila!

The best part? B LOVED it. She said over and over as I was hanging their lights “this is so cool. I just love this space!!”. Music to a momma’s ears. A few days later, our house was unusually quiet. I frantically searched for the animals as nothing good is happening when it’s quiet- only to find them snuggled up in Baylor’s chair. She was “reading” (she’s memorized a few of his board books) and he was happily hung on every word.


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Lemonade Like Grandma Made

On a particularly slow Friday afternoon, I had the ingenious idea to set up a lemonade stand with the kids. Our neighbors were having their biannual enormous yard sale (wooo….) so there was lots of foot traffic on our street.

Baylor kills me. She insisted on tongs for the food and asked if we had plastic gloves for “safe food handling”.

We were doing well, until Peter got a look at our stand. “I can build them something better” he said. And build he did.

In one day we went from this:

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To this:

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Complete with a hidden shelf for extra supplies and their money box. Between the foot traffic to the yard sale and the social media outreach, they made about $5! But the fun of decorating and using their new stand was priceless.

I snapped this picture during the building process…

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I always get the credit for the kids. I’ve had parents I don’t know spot Baylor across the playground and know she was mine just by looking at her. But this picture is so perfect because Auggie is a dead ringer for a little PW. Peter’s a little older in this picture, but those cheeks are the giveaway.

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Toilet Talk

A few years ago our  bathroom toilet was making sputtering sounds every time it flushed. It wasn’t horrible during the day, but at night, it was super annoying and woke up the entire house when it caused the pipes to bang with each sputter.

I was dreading a plumbing bill so my mom suggested I go to the plumbing supply store and ask them to show me how to fix it. I was so not in the mood to be talked down to or confused so I put it off…until no one could sleep. I buckled. I snapped pictures of the inside of the tank and ventured out to be belittled.

To my shock, the guy I talked to was incredibly nice! He diagnosed the problem quickly and then got me the parts to fix it. He even went as far to do some of the assembly of the fill valve in the store and then give me step by step instructions on how to install it. A half hour of time and I had successfully installed the new part for $20 vs a $200 plumbing bill. I’ve also fixed 3 other toilets at my house and some of the rental houses.

This week, I walked in from taking out the trash to a loud, strange noise. I began to scour the house for the source and found water blasting out of the toilet area and quickly flooding the joint. I quickly turned off the water and realized that the supply line nut had cracked (it’s worth noting that this is not the same thing I fixed prior). I took the tag off the line, shuttled the kids to the plumbing supply store for new lines for all the toilets in the house. $8, a wrench and towel later, problem solved.

As I relayed the story to my mom, I realized how nice it is to know how to fix your house. Not only is it annoying to have to pay someone to fix issues, waiting around for them to show up (which is ALWAYS during nap time) is the part I have the hardest time swallowing.

So the lesson for today is; go to a small specialty store and ask for help when you have a problem…. And also to replace your supply lines if the nut is plastic. You’ll thank me when your house doesn’t flood.

 

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Ta da!!

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When we I thought our living room needed an update, I thought we needed a mirror over the side board. We went round and round on what size, what kind, what shape…and then it hit me. I wanted a barn wood mirror. Specifically old barn wood that we found ourselves in Montana. And because I’m married to a carpenter, I get what I want (well that and I’m pushy…).

We got the barn wood this summer and PW and compromised on a taller, horizontal rectangle. He spent an entire day plotting out how to cut the wood that we had which was all different depths, slightly different lengths and with a lot of character to be preserved. He is most proud of the little dowel that was stuck in one of the pieces.

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One thing we didn’t account for is how freaking heavy it is. Thankfully with several different heavy weight hooks, a lot of swearing and some luck, we made it happen. Thank you for being so good at this stuff PW!

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DIY Magnet Board

I think I might be on a roll.

Ok, I’m hoping I’m on a roll. I say this because I’ve just completed a project that I started before Auggie was born.

Yeah, that’d be 2 years for everyone doing the math.

Prior to moving home to AZ, our cute little hood in DC had curbside trash pick up. While out walking the dogs one afternoon, I saw our neighbors had thrown out a HUGE picture frame. Like huge. So I wrangled my hairy beasts and dumpster pile dove and took the frame home. I had visions of turning it into a damask fabric covered cork board that would hold hundreds of pictures in a casual yet totally planned way. It would look expensive and fabulous and I would looove to tell people that I made it for practically nothing!

Sadly because everything on HGTV always looks easier than it, my cork board didn’t come out quite right. It turns out that cork tiles are  little pricey. And I needed a ton. And even though I broke down and bought them, they didn’t have enough body to hold their shape on the fabric. And they were thin so when I finally got them to stay in place, the thumb tacks when right through the cork and into the wall. And when the door in the office was open and a breeze blew in, it blew down all my pictures because they weren’t really on the cork securely because the cork wasn’t really secure.

So after putting up with this for fourish years, I took it all apart with the idea that I would get sheet metal instead and use it as a magnet board.

I never learn my lesson.

It turns out that the metal they sell at Lowes and Home Depot is A. not magnetic and B. they won’t custom cut it for you. Then Auggie came and I got tired so my frame has been hanging on the wall of my office totally empty except for a few pictures Baylor taped to the wall because she thought it looked sad.

That is until this week. Well, last month. I decided that it was time to get it done. I had a vision of adding a few more frames to the wall and giving Bay a safe place to store her markers and crayons so that Auggie and Mason can’t get to them. And to be able to hang artwork and pictures that was breeze proof. Auggie and I took off to Hobby Lobby. I found their empty frames were half off. The fabric had a coupon and I found hooks on sale too. It was a sign. I’m not a fan of Hobby Lobby’s politics, but I can get behind a sale. Next I found a sheet metal company that would custom cut metal and it didn’t cost a fortune. And last night I was feeling ambitious so I got everything assembled – even with a few measurements that weren’t perfect, it came out pretty good!

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Here’s how I did it –

What you need:

Empty frame(s)

Fabric

Magnetic metal

Glue gun

Iron

Instructions:

1. Measure the inside of the frame (like where the glass would go). Go on the smaller side – you can always add fabric to fill it out but having to have a millimeter cut off would be annoying.

2. Call around to get a price on sheet metal. I used 20 gauge (because that’s what the guy said I should use) but I think it could have been a little thinner and have been just fine. Just make sure it’s magnetic. I also ordered mine unhemmed because it was cheaper and because I didn’t need a fancier edge.

3. Layout the metal on the fabric and line up the edges so the pattern of the fabric is straight. Cut leaving a 2-3 inch border to fold over.

4. Press the cut piece.

5. Laying the fabric pattern side down, line up the metal in the center again. Start folding over the edges and gluing into place in small sections (the metal is cold so the hot glue hardens really fast). Be sure that the metal is staying in place (I stood on mine) so the pattern is straight. Pull tightly so there are no creases.

6. Run a small amount of glue around the edge of the inside of the frame and place fabric and metal inside.

7. Hang on the wall and admire your work!

Other variations…paint the metal in bright color or with stripes. Paint with chalkboard paint (oooh). Create sections with paint and or fabric for each person in the family. Have the metal cut with two holes at the top to loop ribbon through as an alternative to the frame.

So now that my two year old project is done, I’m feeling motivated to tackle the ornament wreath I started making THREE years ago. Those assholes on Pinterest don’t tell you to paint the damn styrofoam ring before you start hot gluing ornaments to it. They also don’t tell you to use a much smaller ring than you think because it requires a ridiculous amount of ornaments and the thing is going to be 4 feet across and weigh 100 pounds if you use a big ring. I’m too far down the road to give up…so I’m going to go back and try to A. paint between the ornaments and B. add greenery where I can’t get paint. Wish me luck! Or wish me to have the guts to give up on the stupid thing. Either one works!