Do it Yourself

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Do It Yourself lunchable. An inexpensive, and fun alternative to processed store bought lunches. As a mother, new to having a school aged child I wanted an alternative to the same old boring lunch. So I decided to create my own lunchables. I went in search of a 4 compartment reusable box that would fit in my child’s vintage lunch box. I had no luck in any of the stores I went to. Luckily Amazon to the rescue! I purchased the lunchbot and a set of to-go silverware. I also purchased some small cookie cutters at Willowstone Antique Marketplace, all of which easily obtainable, and inexpensive.pic

I was now ready to create lunchables for my kindergartener, but what about ingredients? I have a peanut butter and nutella loving child, so that’s one option. Then I thought, what if he wants lunchmeat and crackers like a typical store bought lunchable. So I took a visit to the grocery store deli counter and had a chunk of ham sliced 1/2-1 inch thick. The other option is leftovers from his favorite dinners and of course some sort of sweet treat. I rotate between water and capri suns for his beverage.

Some of the combos I created were:

Ham, Crackers, Pickles and Mini Cookies

Macaroni & Cheese, Ham and Mini Cookies

1 Yoda Peanut Butter sandwich, 1 Darth Vader Nutella sandwich, Chips and a Chocolate and Peanut Trail Mix

2 Yoda Peanut Butter sandwiches, Chips and M&M’s

Deli Ham rolled with Pretzel stick skewer, Pickles and Nerds

Peanut Butter and Nutella “Sushi”, Pretzels, Pickles and Mini Candy Bar

Chicken Tacos & Mini Oreos (cilantro lime chicken, mini flour tortillas I cut with a small round cookie cutter and shredded cheese)

If you’re looking for a unique and simple piece to add to your Valentine’s Day decor, this pallet wood craft is for you!

 

 

 

 

 

There are four pieces that make up the interior of the sign- two front pieces (20 inches) and two back pieces for structure.  You don’t need to measure exactly for the two smaller pieces, they just need to mount to the back for support.

I used wood glue and 3/4 inch staples to adhere the structure pieces.

For the sides of the trim, I cut two pieces that are exactly the width of the sign- (the measurement for the trim pieces will be different depending on the pallet slats you are using).  I measured for the top and bottom trim pieces once the side trim was attached to get a perfect fit.  Then I glued and stapled with 3/4 inch nails.  Once the glue was dry, I sanded and used an exterior wood stain.

I found these pre-assembled pearl letters at Michael’s for $1.50 each.

I also found these stamped doilies at Michael’s in the Valentine’s aisle, and they were 40% off!

I hot-glued the letters and doily and before I knew it, I had a romantic sign to add a little love to my home during the month of February.  And it was so easy, I’m tempted to make another that says, “XOXO.”  By the way, if you’re not interested in building a sign, or you don’t have the tools, the craft stores are full of pre-made pallet signs that you can personalize.  The point is- get creative and have fun.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

By Janet Schlosser @ forgetthefinishline.blogspot.com

 

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Michelle here from www.shellyhomemaker.com – I love chalk art, and my guess is you will too!  Here’s an easy tutorial to add some DIY chalkboard art to your home.
 
What I love about chalkboard art, is that I’m never stuck with it!
 
In my front entry I have a chalkboard that I change for every season or holiday!  It’s a way to decorate and not spend any extra money or have to find a place to store it until the next year!
 
I also like to reuse the board for birthday decor, dinner party menu signs and more… really the options are limitless.  Lets get going. 
Find or create and print the sign you’d like to transfer onto regular printer paper.  You can search clipart, pinterest, blogs, or use programs like the Silhouette studio to find some great stuff.   If you are going to sell it, make sure you have permission… nothing irritates a creator more than being copied, especially without credit.
This design comes from The silhouette studio program.  I purchased personal use rights, so I can’t sell it,  but can make for myself.  If I wanted to sell it I could purchase commercial rights there as well.
Rub some plain ol’ classic chalk all over your work space.  Use it liberally.  Trust me you want it covered.
Tape down your design. 
Using a capped pen, trace all the letters and embellishments.  You can rest your hand lightly, but be careful not to put to much weight down, you can mess up the transfer underneath.
 
Once you’ve traced everywhere, remove the paper.  You’ll see a light impression where you pressed the pen cap down.  
 
What happens is the paper absorbs the chalk that you pushed into it, leaving a reverse of the chalk drawing.
 
Now it’s as simple as coloring in the impression.  
Use a Chalk Marker for this part – it is so much easier and looks fuller than classic chalk.
Really make sure you hand doesn’t touch now, as it will smudge the chalk and you won’t be able to see the impression anymore.
 
Once your done and it is completely dry, use a chalk eraser or some old fabric scrap, to dust off the excess chalk powder.  
 
That’s it!  To remove the chalk marker use a damp paper towel and redo for the new year!

 
Be sure to check out other fun tutorials and crafts at http://www.shellyhomemaker.com
 

 

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When you’re a mom you spend a lot of time in the car. We are constantly taking someone to practice or school or running to the grocery store or to pick up the dry cleaning. Many of us not only shuttle the kids around, but pets and that means twice as much dirt, hair, and nasty.  Here are some helpful tips and tricks we found on Pinterest to get your car clean and help it stay that way.

 

 

 

1. Cleaning Slime – This cleaning slime will get gunk out of hard to reach places like vents and crevices in your car. cleaning-slime

2. Use Muffin Cup Liners in your cup holders for easy clean up.  

muffinholder

3. Use Scent Boosters in linen bags to keep your car smelling great. 

1cleancar

4. Use a cereal container as a trash can and grocery bags as liners.

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5. Use a dryer sheet to get rid of bugs.

dryersheets6. Use a shoe organizer to keep your car tidy and organized.

shoe organizer

7. Clean grimy car seats with laundry soap, hot water, and a hard bristle brush. Keep those car seats clean with this DIY tutorial on a car seat cover.

cleancarseats

 

8. Clean your car ceiling. If you are anything like me you have mystery stains on the ceiling of your car.

carceiling

 

9. Vacuum your car regularly. Chances are you’ve got a vacuum with attachments. Use this to get your car good and clean.  You can also head over to a local car wash that has vacuum cleaners.  Many offer a free vacuum with wash.

vacuum

10. When you are pumping gas, clean out trash.  If you do this, it will help keep the trash and clutter down. You can even get the kids in on the action by letting them gather the trash from around the car. Fill her up and clean her out.

gaspump

 

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It’s pumpkin time! The time of the year when we head out to the pumpkin patch, or the front of a grocery store, and pick out the perfect pumpkin to place by our front door to keep the scary things away.  The time honored tradition of carving out a pumpkin is wonderful, in theory, but honestly not fun for everyone. Who wants to deal with all the digging and tough carving? Here are 10 alternatives to carving that are sure to make any pumpkin Halloween ready.

 

Mummy Pumpkin – How much easier does it get? Paste on two google eyes, wrap with gauze, and mums the word!

1pumpkin

Glitter  – Who doesn’t love glitter, the craft material that never stops giving. Our advice is to do this one outside. 

2pumpkin
Frozen  – It might take a little work, but your Elsa fan will love this Frozen themed pumpkin so much they won’t be able to let it go.

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Candy Corn  – A few cans of spray paint and you’ve got some spooky sweet pumpkins.

3pumpkin

 

Spider Web  – Wrap with yarn or string and put a few spiders on and you’ve got a spooky pumpkin. 

6pumpkinCrayon Melt  – No matter how this turns out it will look awesome. Use any color combinations you want on orange or white pumpkins.  You can even paint the pumpkin before melting the crayons.

1crayonpumpkin

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – You’ll have turtle power with these super cute and easy to paint pumpkins. If the turtles aren’t your speed try other super hero favorites. 

1turtlepumpkin

 

Thumbtack Monogram  – Oh, you’re so fancy with this monogrammed pumpkin. So easy to do you can make one for every family member.

Thumbtack Monogram Pumpkin

 

Glow in the Dark  – These are perfect for lighting the way to your front door for Trick-or-treaters. 

glowpumpkin

 

Pumpkin Man – Forget Mr. Potato, try Mr. or Mrs. Pumpkin depending on how you want to decorate and dress your pumpkin person.

1pumpkinman

Kids love playing with LEGOs, so why not use them to help your kids learn? Here are five LEGO oriented Learning ideas we found on Pinterest.  These were some of our favorite ideas, but there are tons more where these came from. For more ideas check out:

HomeSchoolEncouragement.com – Ideas for learning and the only thing you need are LEGO blocks.

Learning With LEGOS – MIT Videos – MIT explains DNA, molecules, and more with LEGO.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – LEGO encourages STEM oriented learning. Go beyond the basic LEGO blocks with these awesome sets.

 

 

Do you have any favorite ways to use LEGOs to help enhance your kid’s learning experience?

 

 

 

Build Stories with LEGO – This example from Pinterest uses a kid favorite, Good Night Gorilla, but you can build almost any story. Instead of a diorama, try using mini-figures and basic blocks to recreate favorite scenes and stories.

Learning With LEGOS
Retell stories with LEGO scenes

Add and Subtract With LEGO – This is probably one of the easiest and most simple ways to use blocks to learn. While they are at it, maybe they can sort the thousands of blocks all mixed together in that large bin.

LEGOS
Add, subtract, multiply, and divide using LEGOS.

 

LEGO Marble Run – Learn about speed and angles by building a marble run.

Learn with LEGOS
Make a marble run with LEGOS. They don’t even realize how much they are learning.

 

Letters, Counting, and Measuring with LEGO – This LEGO lap book is perfect for Pre-K and Kindergarten learners.  It’s all in one place and simple to use.  The best part is that it is FREE thanks to the amazing mom at Walking by the Way.

LEGO worksheets
LEGO worksheets are a great way to stick with the LEGO oriented theme.

 

Learn Fractions With LEGO – Fractions can be difficult to understand, but use a few LEGO bricks for a visual concept that most people instantly understand. My kids are in 4th and 7th grade and we still pull out LEGO bricks to help understand math concepts.

 

LEGO Learning
LEGOS make learning fractions super easy.

Don’t you love the delicate and fancy bows and headbands that you find in boutique stores?  But if you’re anything like me, you suffer from sticker shock when you realize how much they cost.  So my theory is…make your own!  In this video I show you how to make two basic fabric flowers that can be used for anything from accessorizing an outfit to home decorating.  The most important thing is that you have fun!

 

 

Janet Schlosser @ forgetthefinishline.blogspot.com
Video credit- Stephen Foote @ Broad Leaf Photography

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You probably use your dishwasher every single day, but how often have you cleaned your dishwasher?

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that your dishwasher needs to be cleaned out every single month? That’s right, germs and gunk accumulate along the seal of your dishwasher and in the trap.  All you need is a toothbrush and white vinegar to get your dishwasher smelling good and germ free.

Check out this short video on how to clean your dishwasher.

Your trap may be in the back corner or in the middle.

886a9b0eeb04f54cb9d869e07eacc590 dishwasher-001

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My husband, Trenton and I were given the keys to our new home at the beginning of June 2014.  Through the weirdest and most wonderful twist of fate, our new home ended up being the house my sister Heather and brother-in-law, Tim built when Trenton and I had just started dating. I actually lived in the house during our entire courtship. I did my hair on my wedding day in that house. My bridal shower and a couple of my baby showers were held there. I spent a good majority of my pregnancies on my sister’s couch while she took care of me during the worst of my morning sickness, and we enjoyed so many Halloween nights and Christmas mornings in the home.  When my brother-in-law ended up taking a job in Kansas, the opportunity presented itself for us to make that house our home. The first time I stepped in the empty house on the day we got the keys, I was filled with such a mix of emotions.  I was mostly ecstatic to have such a beautiful home.  How wonderful to raise my family where so many memories thrive.  But I was also immediately hit with sadness- The only reason we were moving into this house was because my sister was moving out of state.
It became clear to us that it was time to make this house our home…a place where we could make our own, new memories.  We started thinking about little things we’d like to change and ways we could make the place feel more like ours.  Before we knew it, we had plans in the works for an almost complete renovation.  The home is in excellent condition, so everything we did was more for personal aesthetics.  It’s been over a year since we finished this transformation, and our fingers are still recovering from working them to the bloody bone. 
 
This is what we started with.  As I had mentioned earlier, the kitchen was in great shape, it was just time to update the look to our liking.  The cabinets are solid oak, with raised panel doors.  We removed all the doors and hinges, making sure to number them for reassembly.  Since we don’t have a finished basement, and the garage was being used for other projects, we set up a paint station in the basement.  Thankfully, a good friend of ours loaned us his industrial paint sprayer, which helped us get the smoother finish without the worry of paintbrush streaks.  It also cut our painting time down considerably.      
Since we had already planned on replacing the flooring throughout the main level, we removed and rebuilt the island, and also removed the pony wall dividing the kitchen from the family room.

 

Before painting, we added custom touches, including bead-boarding, and toe molding underneath the upper cabinets.  We also added crown molding above the upper cabinets to increase the height and aesthetic.  Once this was done, we were finally ready for prepping and painting.

 

 

 

 

For flooring, we used Home Depot Saratoga Distressed Hickory.

 

Trenton built the island after flooring was laid.  He used the existing cabinet, but extended it for a custom look and to support a larger counter.  It took me months to track down the perfect piece of carrera marble to top the island.  Miraculously, I found a remnant from a bathroom vanity that had all the beautiful veining I had been searching for.

 

This project was not without its hiccups.

After the granite was placed, Trenton put in a clean and simple white glass tile back-splash.

 

I couldn’t wait for the bulk of the project to be done so I could add my final little touches.  We added new lighting and plumbing fixtures, a medallion above the chandelier (which I’m happy to report I found at a garage sale for $10), my favorite wall paint color (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter), and oil-rubbed bronze hardware.

 

 

 

 

 

Janet Schlosser- forgetthefinishline.blogspot.com

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I endured three of my pregnancies in a home with a very limited backyard.  We had a large deck for entertaining, but the patch of grass to the right of the deck was about the size of my big toe.  This was fine for the first pregnancy, of course, because the only person that needed entertaining during those 9 long months was myself.  And since sleeping was my pastime of choice, I didn’t think much about the lack of grassy area in our yard.  As soon as I was waylaid by morning sickness with my second child, it occurred to me just how inconvenient it was to not have a safe, fenced-in play space to send my 2 year old.  By the time I was pregnant with my third baby, I was seriously irritated.  Irritated that they hadn’t found a cure for morning sickness yet.  Irritated that on some days, I only had enough energy to lay on the couch and toss goldfish crackers at my kids for lunch. And very irritated that while I was trying to grow an entire human being from scratch, I didn’t have a proper place to send my babies to play when I didn’t have the strength to walk them to the park.  Which is why- when we moved into our new home a little over a year ago, the thing I appreciated the most about it was the big back yard with its fort and swing-set. My kids (and nieces and nephews, and neighbor kids) couldn’t get enough of the climbing wall, clubhouse, and sandbox.  So why, you ask, did we feel the need to rip this thing down?  Well- on a particularly warm day in March, my husband was doing a few things in the backyard when he realized the fort appeared to be leaning to one side.  So he gave it a little nudge to see how much give it had, and it shifted about a foot.  He pushed a tiny bit harder, and the whole play-set groaned like an exhausted waitress after she’d been on her feet all day.

I immediately demanded that the entire structure come down.  I couldn’t bare the thought of a child getting buried under a massive pile of wood. Even more, the exhausted-mother-of-3 part of me felt a little empathetic toward the tired play-set.  Like me, maybe it needed a vacation after years of standing as a fortress to so many kids.  Our initial intention was to take it apart and make the necessary improvements and put it back together.  I was standing in my daughter’s second story room looking out the window as my husband disassembled the fort, when suddenly, I was struck with the idea to re-purpose the haggard old wood and transform it all into a traditional playhouse. I’m pretty sure my husband could see the giddiness in my expression, because it was that moment when he realized his weekends had become very busy.  We began drawing up the plans that day.

-Before-

 

 

We did our best to repurpose as much of the old wood as possible.  We used the rails of the existing fort to make the garden fence, and old lumber from the second floor to build the windows, trim, and casing.  To do this, a lot of time was spent cutting each piece to size and sanding. The rest of the house was built using 2 x 4 construction on a pressure treated base, which was set on cinder blocks that were leveled into the ground.  The house has a 3/4 inch sub-floor, OSV sheeting for the roof and 3D asphalt shingles.  We recycled and restored a velux skylight to allow more natural light to shine in.  All the windows and the door are handmade with standard 3 inch hinges, which were customized to use a ball catch.  We have a GFI in our garage for the electrical, and then we used direct bury UF cable in a 12 inch trench to meet code.  We used a 20 A circuit and 12-2 with ground to wire the inside. Thankfully we have a neighbor and good friend that is a professional electrition, and we was so kind in offering his help and knowledge.  Don’t you just love wonderful people?  Because really, what’s a house without light?  For the interior we used 1/2 inch drywall and fiberglass insulation, and knock-down texture right out of the can.  The kids were so helpful along the way, and Trenton was good to pass his carpentry knowledge on to them.  I had fun searching thrift stores and garage sales for items to fix up and decorate with.  This house truly was a labor of love- as friends stepped up and offered help, supplies, and even flowers to contribute to the garden. We made some new friends through the process, which is the ultimate perk of taking on a project like this.  I hope we live here long enough for our grandbabies to play in it.

 

 

 

 

 

-After- 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This miniature version of our home truly does set the sweetest backdrop for a fun childhood, and I feel warmth in my heart each time I see my babies playing in something we all worked so hard together to create.

Janet Schlosser- Forgetthefinishline.blogspot.com