Archive for the ‘Home & Organization’ Category

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

I love adding a few homemade touches to our home each year for the holidays and especially those items that can be repurposed in a variety of ways.  For example, one year for Valentine’s Day I made a festive tree from cupcake liners and it got lots of love during that season. Perhaps, a bit TOO MUCH love (ahem!) as they began to wilt and wrinkle.  The beauty in that project though,  and in today’s project,  is that the materials were pinned to the same styrofoam base which allows you the opportunity to reuse this same tree year after year in brand new ways.

I wanted to create some festive holiday fabric trees to fill an empty space in one of our corners so I created this easy 15-minute fabric tree that is so simple that you could have your kids even do it for a holiday craft.  I just know you are going to love these fabric trees as much as I do and I’m really loving the finishing touches on this one with a fabric pom-pom and a touch of shimmer on the edges.

How to Make a Scrappy Fabric Tree

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

2 kinds of Waverly Inspirations Fabric in coordinating fabrics (I used the 100% cotton duck fabric available at the store)- this craft does not require a lot of fabric so even 1/4 yard should be plenty!

Small or Large Clover Pom Pom Maker (I used the large option for my trees)

Styrofoam Cones (any size!)

Straight Pins

Waverly Glitter Paint (in stores)

Paint Brush

Directions for Scrappy Fabric Trees

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

1. Begin by cutting into the long-side of your fabric by an inch or an inch and half. Once you have your cut, begin pulling the fabric with your own bare hands (ROAR!!! TAKE OUT THOSE HOLIDAY FRUSTRATIONS HERE AND IMPRESS YOUR KIDS WITH YOUR HULK STRENGTH!) and ripping it all the way down until this strip of fabric is completely separated from the fabric. If you have any loose strings (and you will!) pull them off the strip before beginning the next step.

2. Take this strip and pin it along the bottom edge of the cone to cover the styrofoam core.

3. With the remainder of your fabric strip, begin cutting notches into it, as evenly as possible, as I have shown above in the picture. Do this down the entire length of your fabric.

4. Starting at the very bottom, and layering over that first layer we laid, begin wrapping the tree, cutting once it has met the other side, and pinning into place.

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

4. Continue doing this layering over each layer to cover those pins and also staggering the pieces so that each layer has a little leaf peeking through. Do this until you get to almost the top of the tree. You may need to cut and repeat this process again if you have run out of material to work with. REPEAT HULK MOVES.

5. Once you get close to the top of tree, rip another strip of fabric and use that to cover the top of the tree as I have shown you in the picture. You want to criss-cross the material so that you don’t have any of that styrofoam cone showing. Now wrap more of your layers over that to disguise the pins and to continue the ruffling on the tree.

6. In your other fabric, tear a 1/2″ strip just as you did with the tree, but this time we are going to be making a pom-pom out of it. If you have not used the Clover Pom-Pom Maker before you are going to love it. It’s very easy to use and I have a great step-by-step tutorial if you are new to pom-pom making. When making this, take care to not wrap numerous times or get the material so thick that you are unable to cut it. Just a nice even layer down each side should work. Cut the pom pom out and then use another fabric strip to tie it tight to secure.

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

7. Pin your pom-pm to the top and check to see if you need one more layer underneath to complete the tree. I liked adding just one more ruffle to finish.

8. Using your Waverly glitter paint and a tiny paintbrush, dip the paintbrush in the glitter paint and paint just the edges of the torn fabric on the pom-pom and on the tree to add a finishing shimmer.

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

Scrappy Fabric Trees in Just 15 Minutes from MomAdvice.com

Why make one when you can make three?

I’m in love!

The best part is that you can switch these materials out with the seasons and make this same object look different from season to season. Who knows? You just might see these out again around Valentine’s Day with a brand new look on the site!

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

Monday, November 14th, 2016

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

The holidays are upon us and with that means lots of entertaining. I frequently host large holiday and family meals, but our home lacks the space to always seat everyone at the same table. I thought a DIY was in order to transform a neglected ottoman in our home into an additional table for our guests. This DIY Ottoman Serving Tray craft is easy to do and a great way to make the most of one of those storage ottomans that many of us have in our home. Sandwiched between two chairs, guests have a place to prop their drinks or the ottoman can be placed in front of a guest like a television tray would.

Table for one or two? Right this way!

How to Make a DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

2 kinds of Waverly Inspirations Fabric in coordinating fabrics (I used the 100% cotton duck fabric available at the store)- measure your ottoman to get the correct amount of fabric

Upholstery Stapler

Upholstery Staples

Hot Glue Gun

Hot Glue Sticks

Scissors

10x13 Diploma Frame

Waverly Chalk Paint

Paint Brush

1 1/2 Waverly Ribbon (I needed 3 yards, but it will depend upon your ottoman sizing)

2 drawer pulls

Note- Please ignore the Command Strips- that didn’t work out so well! Always an experiment- ha!

Directions for DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

Just a few weeks after purchasing this ottoman, my daughter came to tell me that she had found the perfect “fairy wand holder,” in our living room. Proudly, she showed a wand standing straight to attention in the top of our brand new ottoman.

It became a regular joke when buying furniture, after that moment, to ask the salespeople things like, “Do you have any insurance to protect this couch if your child STABS IT? I mean, just takes something and plunges it through?!”

Oh, the fear and bewilderment in their eyes.

They clearly do not have children and we have learned, moving forward, that furniture insurance is worth its weight in gold.

Now that my daughter is ten, I’m both 1) embarassed that I have thought of repairing this for ten years, but did not do anything and 2) a little misty-eyed covering up our fairy wand days. They grow up so fast!

There are ottomans now that can be bought with a built-in tray, but what if you already bought one and want to make the most of it? This DIY is for you!

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

1. Begin by removing any hardware on the bottom of the top of your ottoman and any buttons from the top. Using this as a guide, cut a piece of fabric, making sure to give room around each side for covering and stapling.

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

2. Folding under the raw edge of the fabric, begin stapling the fabric down the two shorter sides. Two words- PULL TIGHT. You want a nice smooth surface and no loose fabric. Folding the corners like a package, repeat the process on the two longer sides.

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

3. Remove the glass and any materials inside the diploma frame. We are using this type of frame because it is very lightweight and has no hardware on the back. Using a paint brush, paint the entire frame in chalk paint and let dry. Repeat with one more additional coat.

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

4. To give the ottoman a clean finish, grab your ribbon and outline the bottom of the stapled fabric, folding down the raw edges with a dab of glue, and hot gluing this ribbon all the way down the four sides. This helps cover up the majority of the bottom when the tray is mounted on top.

5. Using the paper from inside your frame as a guide, cut your second fabric to size and then tuck inside the frame.

6. Hot glue drawer handles on the top of the frame to finish.

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

DIY Ottoman Serving Tray from MomAdvice.com

How cute is that? The perfect tabletop for your guests! Store the tray on the inside of the storage ottoman and place the top back on as you usually would. With this small addition it’s like you have a brand new table!

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Have you ever painted pumpkins with acrylic paints before? This was my first time painting our pumpkins this way and it could not be easier. I wanted to create a pumpkin display that would be perfect for the entire fall season and wanted to show you a cute way to display your pumpkins this year!

I am not big on decorating for Halloween and would prefer to skip right on over that part of the fall decorating. This month’s challenge was to create a Halloween display so I wanted to create a minimalistic display that would give a nod to the season, but complement our decor until it is time to deck the halls.

Let’s get painting!

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

Any size you like of their faux pumpkins- the small ones are just $.98!! (you could also do real pumpkins!)

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Elephant, Plaster, Pool, & White

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting

Wooden Crate (I got this one with a chalkboard on the side)

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Directions for Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

1. Remove the labels from the pumpkins and protect your surface with cardboard while painting.

2. With a clean wide brush, begin painting your pumpkins,using the stalk of the pumpkin as a handle to work around the surface. Paint the entire pumpkin and then set it aside to dry. Drying time can take anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour, depending on how thickly you applied the paint. Repeat this process as many times as you like to achieve the hue you are going for. I found the gray pumpkins only required a single coat, while the white pumpkins required two coats. Once dry,sprinkle these pumpkins throughout your house or create a crate display like I have done.
Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads. The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

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Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I am so excited to be sharing another tutorial for how to make a burlap wreath today! I can’t begin to tell you how happy this wreath makes me hanging our front door. The pop of orange is just what our door needs for the holidays and this wreath is perfect for all fall through Halloween and Thanksgiving.

If you haven’t made a burlap wreath before, this tutorial is for you! It outlines step-by-step how to recreate this wreath with my picture tutorial.

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

The crisp coolness of fall is moving in here in the Midwest and with it comes the urge to decorate every square inch of my home to honor it. Dare I say that we do more fall decorating than we do Christmas decorating? With simplifying as our goal, though, instead of decorating for Halloween and decorating for Thanksgiving, I am trying to create pieces that can double for both holidays and be appreciated until it’s time to break out the Christmas decorations.

The best part is that this burlap wreath requires no crafting skills, no cutting, and is very inexpensive to create.The one thing I will say with making burlap wreaths is that you need to have a little patience with yourself in the beginning. My first wreath, I took apart three times before I got the hang of it. Once you get the bubbling of the burlap down though, this really is a quick and easy craft and such a great way to dress up a door. (Note: affiliate links are included)

How to Make a Burlap Autumn Wreath

Fall-Burlap-Wreath-Tutorial-Supplies

Supplies Needed:

fall-burlap-wreath-tutorial

Directions:

1. Begin by folding your burlap in half, like I have shown above, and keep the fold going as we go along. Select one section of the wire wreath to start in. Feed the beginning end through the wreath as shown above: over the outer ring, under the next, over the next, and under to finish. Leave a little loose end to tuck in or you can wire it to the wreath with a little floral wire in the back. Now you have started your wreath- super easy!  This is the technique we are using throughout.

Note: I am showing it to you tightly so you can see how this will work, when you do this, you will actually be pulling out the burlap a bit to give it to that bubble effect that we are going for. 

2. Using the working end of the burlap (the working end is the side that isn’t the final end of the burlap, but the end you are working with), we are going to begin making the bubbled burlap right next to this row, within the same section of that metal wreath, but we will begin weaving in the opposite direction, continuing to pull out and bubble the burlap as we go, moving the working burlap into each section, weaving one direction than weaving the other direction.

4. When you run out of burlap (it should be when you are about halfway through covering the wreath), tuck the end towards the back and pick up where you left off. Again, you can wire these ends with a little floral wire on the back.

5. Once the entire wreath is covered, secure the final end with floral wire on the back of the wreath to make sure everything is held into place, twisted around one of the metal strands of the wreath.

6. Now you can fluff your burlap out to create that bubbly effect and to cover any of the metal you can see peeking out..

7. Clip small stems of your greenery to weave into your wreath. Starting with the front, add bits here and there, but not in a pattern, to make it look natural. Repeat this process with the middle layer and then finally attach a few towards the back to add texture to this wreath.

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I don’t want to brag, but doesn’t this look like something out of a magazine? Weaving in the texture of the greenery really makes this wreath pop and looks professional. Thanks to catching some half-off sales at our local craft store, I was able to make this beauty for less than $20 which also makes me very happy!

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I hope you can dress your home up simply and beautifully for the fall holidays with this fun idea!

 Disclosure: affiliate links are included in this article, if you use them, thank you -they help support the site!

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DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

I am so excited to share with you these DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions I made today for our kitchen. While we have loved the aesthetics of our metal chairs in our kitchen, some of the bony bottoms in this house haven’t wanted to spend too much time in them. Lest you feel lead astray, it is not my rear that is struggling, thanks to a healthy dose of Sir Mix-A-Lot genes. I just get to hear from other people in my house about their discomforts.

Since I don’t sew (and struggle with exactness and measuring of materials) I wanted to create a DIY chair cushion to comfy up your metal chairs AND I wanted that chair cushion to be able to have two prints so we could switch them around. Not only does this give you two choices, but if you get tired of the print, you can reuse your cushion materials inside and recover them again with a fresh print.

I don’t want to brag, but I also think these are SUPER cute too!

Grab your glue guns and let’s get to work!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (everything including these gorgeous fabrics are found at Walmart!!)

Your choice of matching Waverly Inspirations Fabric (measure the dimensions of your chairs to figure out your yardage)

Trim (I purchased two yards for each chair, but this will also depend on your own chair size!)

Fabric Glue

Fabric Rotary Cutter

Rotary Mat

Hot Glue Gun & glue sticks

Foam Cushion

Scissors

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

Directions for No-Sew Chair Cushions

1. Begin by place a large piece of parchment over your chair seat to create a template of the sizing of the seat of your chair. Mine had a lip that outlined around it that I followed for tracing. Cut this out and use this as your guide for cutting your foam. Using scissors, cut to the size of your template (Note- if you are worried about your template holding up, you can trace it on heavier paper and then use that as your guide).

2. Grab one of your fabrics and place the foam cushion on top. Cut (with your rotary cutter and on your mat) around the cushion, giving yourself 2″ of wiggle room around the cushioning. Repeat this same step with your second piece of fabric.

3.  Now it is time to glue your pieces. You want one fabric with the print out and one fabric on top with the print in. We will be turning these inside out once they are dry so you want to be sure your fabric is facing the correct direction. Also be mindful what direction your print is going so you can repeat that on each cushion.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

4. Using your fabric glue, glue around the entire square, leaving an opening to slide in your cushion on one side. Repeat this on all of your cushions. Set the cushions aside and let them dry for 24 hours.

5. The next day, carefully open up and turn the cushion covers to the right side. Slide your foam cushion in and then either sew the opening with a needle and thread or (this is my lazy girl way!) line up the fabrics folding it in to match and hot glue that seam shut.

6. Grab your trim and carefully apply your hot glue and then secure your trim. Do this all the way around your cushion. If you have any excess, line the cushion up and figure out where to secure a tie (or two!) for it. You can either secure this to the cushion with a bit of hot glue or you can grab a heavy thread and needle and stitch it to the back.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions from MomAdvice.com

I hope these fun cushions bring your bony butts as much joy as they have to our house. We all agree that this also warms up the space a bit and makes it feel a little more homey. I added these coordinating pillows to the end chairs to add a little more warmth to them.

Do you want more fabric craft inspiration? Try these!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

 

5 Ways to Calm the Chaos This School Year

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

5 Ways to Calm the Chaos This School Year

For the past several weeks my mantra has been, “I can’t wait until school starts.” As my family and I have struggled with a perfect storm of change, uncertainty and chaos, the beginning of the school year has become something of a Holy Grail to me. I’ve told myself (and my husband and everyone who will listen) that when school starts…

…I’ll be more organized.
…I’ll GET IT TOGETHER.
…I’ll start eating – and feeding them – more healthy foods.
…I’ll put them to bed earlier (and go to bed earlier).
…I’ll plan meals and make a grocery list.
…I’ll move the laundry from the washer to dryer before it mildews.
…I’ll stop ordering pizza once a week.
…I’ll get more work done.
…I’ll miss fewer deadlines.
…I’ll GET IT TOGETHER.

It’s a long list of things I think I’m going to accomplish when the school year begins and I reclaim some of my precious order and organization. But though I’m tempted to just stare at the circled date on my calendar (the one that has hearts and smiley faces and blinking lights around it…at least in my mind), the one that says, “FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL,” and daydream about chore charts and folded laundry and deadlines met and boxes checked, I know better.

I know that with the commencement of the school year also comes the PTA, the school activities, the lessons and practices, the homework and tests. I know that the cleaning schedule and the snack shelf and the color-coordinated to-do list will all fall apart — and probably before we hit Labor Day. It’s just the nature of this busy season of life, and turning a new page on the calendar isn’t what makes it less chaotic and more manageable.

No, rather than dream of a chaos-free life (SERIOUSLY. Can you even imagine? We’d just get bored, right? … RIGHT???), I know from past changing of the seasons or school years that it’s better to deal with the chaos than to pretend it doesn’t exist. So, here’s my plan:

5 Ways to Calm the Chaos

5 Ways to Calm the Chaos This School Year

1. Make Meals Easier. Last year I wrote about three challenges and solutions to meal planning that my family has struggled with. I’m going to be honest: not a whole lot has changed since then. Getting food on the table for THESE PEOPLE who want to eat three times a day, every day of their lives, while also dictating how many sweets and how few vegetables they desire IS HARD WORK. But it’s work that has to be done — and that makes a world of difference.

I don’t anticipate turning into a different person between now and the start of the school year. So I’m not going to pin a whole bunch of casserole recipes for a day-long cooking session that will fill up my freezer. (I actually have about a dozen freezer meals in my freezer right now that I FORGOT I EVEN HAD until just recently. Oops.)

Instead, I’m going to take an hour to chop onions and peppers, grill and slice chicken, and brown hamburger. Then I’m going to take another hour to make baked oatmeal and banana muffins. And then? (After I stick all that food in the freezer?) If I’m still feeling industrious, I’ll prep all our lunch and snack food for the first few weeks. (And if not, I’ll recruit my third-grader to do it. After all, she’s the one who will be eating those individual servings of crackers and pepperoni and grapes!)

2. Pick Out Clothes. Now that we’ve moved, our washer and dryer no longer live in our garage. I have an actual laundry room, and it’s on the same level as our bedrooms. But while this is the ideal layout according to moms everywhere, I’m still struggling to implement a system — a system that doesn’t result in mountains of dirty laundry outside the laundry room door and mountains of clean laundry on top of the dryer.

It may still take a while for me to figure out our new laundry system, but my first step to mastering this mess is to pick out my kids’ clothes a week at a time. I was just lamenting the lack of school uniforms at my daughter’s public school, because OH THE GNASHING OF TEETH about what she’s going to wear. Every. Single. Day of my life. I’m hopeful that if she and I take a little bit of time each Sunday afternoon to pick out five outfits, a lot of those fights will be eliminated. We’ll see…

5 Ways to Calm the Chaos

3. Set My Alarm. My oldest daughter’s new school starts earlier than her old one, plus I’m changing my work schedule (read: adding more work, plus leaving the house to get it done). That means our leisurely mornings spent lounging while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (them), scrolling through Facebook (me), and inhaling granola bars at the last minute (um, all of us) ARE OVER.

There’s no getting around it. We have to get up earlier. And that means, if I am serious about calming the chaos, I need to get up even earlier than my kids. Since I wrote all about the struggles night owls like me face when trying to create better mornings for their families, I know the steps I need to take. It’s just a matter of doing it. And it starts with setting my alarm.

4. Buy a New Calendar. When we moved, I tossed our old white-board calendar that hung on the side of our refrigerator. It had seen better days (the middle few squares were completely gray), but the reason I threw it away was because our fridge in the new house is between two cabinets. And the doors are too narrow for the calendar. So it didn’t work anymore.

But you know what else doesn’t work? NOT HAVING A FAMILY CALENDAR! Yikes. This summer has been full of chaos and irregular schedules, and in hindsight I realize getting a new calendar right away might have prevented some of that. So before we dive into the school year, with its activities and schedules and meetings and appointments, I’m buying a new calendar for the kitchen wall and putting it to use! (I also use a calendar app that my husband and I share, because sometimes I am away from home when I need to schedule something and that’s what works for us.)

5. Just Say No. You guys? I really hate missing out on stuff. I do. And I hate it when my kids miss out on stuff, too. And you know what? Even in our new, small town, we have SO MANY FUN OPPORTUNITIES. Teams and lessons and shows and festivals and movie nights and play dates — and then there’s homework and read-to-self and screen time and free play and GO OUTSIDE ALREADY and church and school (oh yeah, that!) and meetings and orthodontist appointments and Bible study and book club and…

If I let it, the world and all of its many amazing, fun, educational, interesting, entertaining, just great in general opportunities will take over my life. And it will drive me crazy. I know, because I’ve done it before (many times).

Last fall my daughter played on a basketball team and took piano lessons. And just that amount of activity, in that season, was TOO MUCH for my family. The stress of two activities, two nights in a row, every week just about did us in. I know! So many families do so much more! And that’s okay. We will someday (maybe even this fall, I don’t know yet) be able to do more. Each family has to figure out their own balance, avoid their own tipping point, and say no to what is too much for them.

So, there it is: my master plan for calming the chaos this school year. I could list another dozen ideas for organization, another handful of tips for running a household well, another bunch of suggestions for turning my crew into a well-oiled machine. But a) I figure we’ll be doing good if we can manage these five, and b) I think any family will be on their way to more peace if they can work on any one of these things!

How will you calm the chaos in your house this school year?

 

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DIY Car Organizing Tips (Giveaway with Big Fat Notebooks!)

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

You know that mom that always has bandages, always has a snack and drink on hand, can pull a pen out at a moment’s notice, has tissues, never forgets an umbrella, utilizes time well between running kids, and keeps a tidy car?

That’s not me.

In fact, I have been pretty embarrassed about just how bad things have gotten. No one really wanted to ride in my car including myself (insert scared face emoji).

It was on my organizing bucket list to tackle this since a good portion of my day is now spent in the car running kids from activity to activity. I spent an afternoon getting us organized for this school year and I wanted to show you how I did that.

Big Fat Notebooks Big Fat Notebooks

The inspiration came from today’s partner, The Big Fat Notebook series. If your kids love Diary of a Wimpy Kid, they will LOVE this new way of learning. When my kids were younger, they were hooked on Brain Quest, but once they hit middle school age, I felt like everything just felt like…Well, work. After a long day at school, the last thing they want to do is browse another textbook. That is why these are so genius. They look fun and teach you something in the process.

There are five books in all, and each is the only book you need for each main subject taught in middle school: Math, Science, American History, English Language Arts, and World History.

They also happen to meet Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and state history standards, and are vetted by National and State Teacher of the Year Award–winning teachers. If you are a homeschooling mama, this would make an excellent addition to your curriculum.

You can find these fantastic books at AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound, or Workman.

Big Fat Notebooks

I am not lying when I say that my daughter has become OBSESSED with these. There has been a lot of fact reciting at the dinner table!

We REALLY want to share them with you so please scroll to the end to catch this giveaway!!

I also wanted to figure out a way that we could keep these books on hand for busy days so I used this as an excuse to get my car organized and create caddies for each kid with the things they need. With school supplies on sale right now, it also happens to be quite an affordable time to create these little kits!

DIY Car Organizing Ideas

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

After browsing every type of organizer available, I ended up using these shower caddy organizers for each of my kids because they had great pockets and a wipeable surface in case they get dirty or muddy. I also slipped a plastic cup for each to hold pencils/pens so it would make it easier for them to grab. In each one, I have an umbrella, snacks (that can withstand the hot car),  a water, a couple of Big Fat Notebooks (strategically chosen for the subjects we need to work on!!), and packages of tissues.

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I had planned to hang them from the backs of the seats, but the width was too deep on our car. I actually think it will be easier to have them on the floor and they can also be moved to the center when they are being used.

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

Backpacks can also pile up on the floor so I got these hooks to give these guys a home. It can also be a great place to hang a jacket, hat, or purse. Our backpacks often get dirty and thrown on the floor so I am hoping it helps with that too!

Now that the kids are in better shape, I wanted to work on some problem areas for me. My biggest issue is carrying around gym equipment so I wanted to make that an organizing priority.

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DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

In my gym equipment stash I have two pairs of shoes (one for dance class and one for cardio), a spare pair of socks, yoga socks, tissues, water, facial cleansing wipes, hair ties, travel brush, and a towel. These are things that I am always forgetting and that I sometimes end up having to buy at the gym.

All of these fit perfectly in this container.

Again, plastic, wipeable, AND breathable.

Not that my feet sweat AT ALL, but I wanted you to know for you. It’s okay. It happens to a lot of people.

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

My yoga mat takes up valuable space and I hate that it is always rolling around in our trunk. Again, using those utility hooks to keep it in place along with my hot yoga towel and umbrella.

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

To finish up the tour, I wanted to show you just a couple of other things that are helping.

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

removable hook for hanging the trash bag- we will see how long this holds!

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

tiny totes for random things- one has receipts and pens, one has snacks for me, one has a mini first aid kit (for a legit one check here!), and the last one has tissues.

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

utilizing the gaps for my phone to save space in my drink holder (similar idea here!)

It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty proud. I feel like I *might* be able to be that mom this year AND my kids will be learning between activities too. High fives all around, friends!

Giveaway Time

Big Fat Notebook

I can’t wait to give someone this whole collection. We are so excited to share this with you! The books included in this giveaway are:

Everything You Need to Ace Math . . . covers everything to get you over any math hump: fractions, decimals, and how to multiply and divide them; ratios, proportions, and percentages; geometry; statistics and probability; expressions and equations; and the coordinate plane and functions.

Everything You Need to Ace Science . . . takes readers from scientific investigation and the engineering design process to the Periodic Table; forces and motion; forms of energy; outer space and the solar system; to earth sciences, biology, body systems, ecology, and more.

Everything You Need to Ace American History . . . covers Native Americans to the war in Iraq. There are units on Colonial America; the Revolutionary War and the founding of a new nation; Jefferson and the expansion west; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and all of the notable events of the 20th century—World Wars, the Depression, the Civil Rights movement, and much more.

Everything You Need to Ace World History . . . kicks off with the Paleolithic Era and  transports the reader to ancient civilizations—in Egypt, Greece, India, China, Africa, Rome; the middle ages across the world; the Renaissance; the age of exploration and colonialization, revolution and imperialism, and the modern world and the wars and movements that shaped it.

Everything You Need to Ace English Language Arts . . . covers everything to get you your best marks: grammar, including parts of speech, active and passive verbs, Greek and Latin roots and affixes; nuances in word meanings; textual analysis, authorship, structure, and other skills for reading fiction and nonfiction; and writing arguments, informative texts, and narratives.

One (1) lucky winner will receive:

  • Copies of all 5 titles in the Big Fat Notebooks series
  • Branded school supplies including highlighter/pen combos, a notepad, and jigsaw sticky notes.

Please follow the widget below to enter to win! I hope this post inspires you to get organized. As always, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY Car Organizing Tips from MomAdvice.com

This post was sponsored by Workman Publishing and Big Fat Notebooks. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

 

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DIY Snack Station

Monday, August 15th, 2016

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This post has been sponsored by Jack Link’s in partnership with Ahalogy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I became a mom, I began to realize the beauty in one-handed snacks. When my babies were small, I had a hard time holding a baby and feeding myself so I created a basket of one-handed snacks that would keep me fueled throughout the day.

Now that my kids are older, you would think that I would have loads more time to care for myself.  I have found though that although my children aren’t necessarily as demanding as they were, their activity schedule certainly is. I am still struggling to keep myself fueled as we run from activity to activity.

If you struggle with keeping yourself AND your kids fueled, I wanted to share with you a fun snack station we created to encourage ALL of us to grab healthy snacks more regularly. This diy snack station was made with a basic small bar cart and is fully stocked for our whole family.

DIY Snack Station Tutorial

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I headed to my local superstore to gather up four metal pails that had chalkboard labels on front for our little diy snack station and found this sweet little bar cart on summer clearance for 75% off. This is the perfect time to stock up on this summer entertaining accessory and keep it on budget for your family.

We then headed on over to Kroger  (check out the store locator to find one near you!) to grab some healthy options for our snack cart. The beauty in the chalkboard labeling is that you can switch snacks based on what’s in season, what’s on sale, or what you are craving that week. Have your kids be in charge of the labeling to work on mastering their spelling!

Our four pails had bananas (separated for easy grabbing), raisins/nut mixes, Jack Link’s in a few varieties, and crackers with peanut butter. On the bottom tier, I added apples and oranges, a variety of flavored waters, and some fun straws for sipping.

diy-snack-station (2)

Snacks with lots of protein are my favorite because they stop the HANGRY from coming on.

Tell me that you know a little about hangry moments too please! I need to know I’m not alone in this!

As someone who fights low blood sugar (as do my children), I have found that protein keeps me from fighting those sugar highs and lows.

Beef jerky can be a great protein-filled option and Jack Link’s is protein-packed with a whopping 12 grams of protein.  I like that you don’t have to be limited to just one flavor because it comes in tons of varieties. From the soy and ginger combo in Teriyaki, to a layer of coarse pepper in their Peppered option, to the smoky mesquite flavoring of their Original turkey, to the bold and savory offerings of their Jack Link’s Original. We are big fans of these options for keeping the hangry at bay.

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For a sweet and savory combo, pair your jerky with fresh fruit for a balanced snack. Bananas always offer a good bang for your buck, apples can be sliced for eating on-the-go, and easy-to-peel clementine’s are always a big favorite in our house. Be sure to look for fruit that is on season for the most affordable (and freshest) options.

We are also really big fans of flavored waters in our house. It makes drinking water a little bit more fun.

A pretty papered straw doesn’t hurt either. What can I say? I am a blogger and paper straws are kind of a requirement over here.

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We hope this post inspires you to create a snack station for your own family! We are thankful to have one at our house as we head back to the grind of school and activities. It is so nice to know that one-handed snacks are on hand for life’s busy moments!

This post has been sponsored by Jack Link’s in partnership with Ahalogy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Easy Hostess Gift: How to Make Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

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With summer comes many fun parties and opportunities to share these warm days with friends. This tutorial for a paint-dipped spoon set – and the packaging – makes a colorful and useful hostess gift that you can easily create to show your appreciation for those hosting your family at their next party.

Paint-dipped anything is quite a trend and so are these vibrant shades of neon I used. It was with those color trends in mind that I created this easy paint-dipped spoon set that embraces those fun colors and I also have found a unique way to package it that any hostess would flip for.

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Supplies

(affiliate links*)

Making Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

Directions

1) Mark off the ends of your wooden spoons with tape. I choose to do them at different levels, instead of all matching, to give it more of that “paint-dipped” look I was going for.

2) Pour small dots of paint into a disposable bowl or plate. Using a slightly damp paint brush, brush on a layer of neon paint around the top of your spoon. Remember to go with the grain of your wood when painting these.

3) Prop the painted spoons on a surface where they can dry. Allow the paint to dry for one hour.

4) Next, add a layer of the Triple Thick Glaze to the ends of your spoons, to protect the surface as well as to add a layer of gloss. Allow this to dry for one hour or until hardened before moving your spoons.

*Note that directions state that these paint-dipped spoons will not be fully cured for 21 days before you want to wash them.

Wrapping Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

5) While your spoons are drying, you can create the dishtowel bow for your oven mitt. Fold your towel until you get the desired narrowness on it.

6) Fold each side in to create your bow shape and then tie it securely with a strip of grosgrain ribbon. Tie the ribbon into a bow as well.

7) Finish by securing your dishtowel bow to your oven mitt with a paper clip or clothespin. Stuff the end of your mitt with a piece of tissue paper and then rest your spoons inside the mitt. Add a note of thanks and tie or clip it to your gift as well.

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How easy was that? What hostess wouldn’t love a gift as cute and as useful as this? I hope this inspires you to share the love with your favorite hostess this summer and keep this cute gift in mind for your next housewarming party or bridal shower too!

What kind of host or hostess gift would you like to make or receive?

*this post contains affiliate links- thank you for your support!

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How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Making a fabric wreath has been on my crafting bucket list for a long time and I finally had the perfect excuse to execute it. I joined the Waverly Inspirations Network this month and am showcasing all the fun craft goodies you can find now at your local Walmart stores- YAY!

Each month I am challenged to make a project out of a surprise box of materials and the team gives me a theme to work with. This month’s theme was BEACH so I went with a nautical spin to show you how to make a fabric wreath and rope garland for your home.

Best of all, no sewing skills required!

Let’s get crafting.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed To Make a Fabric Wreath

12″ or 20″ wire wreath frame

2 1/2 yards Waverly Inspirations Fabric (for 12″) or 3 yards Waverly Inspirations Fabric (for 20″). Be sure to select two or more patterns or solids that compliment each other. Have fun with this!

6 yards Waverly Inspirations Grosgrain or Satin Ribbon (select 2 3-yard packages in complementary colors)

Fabric Rotary Cutter

Rotary Cutting Mat

(Note- if making matching garland, be sure to pick up some rope (like this) over in the home improvement section of the store)

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Making a Fabric Wreath

1. Taking your fabric lengthwise, cut at the 1″ mark on your rotary cutter.

2. From this starting point, begin tearing down until you get to the bottom of your fabric to create strips. There will be loose threads. Pull any that are particularly bothersome, but this project is meant to have rough edges to it.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

3. Begin cutting this torn fabric into 6″ strips. Repeat these same 3 steps over and over again with your two fabrics.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

4. The same length strips will need to be cut out of your two ribbon options so begin cutting those, utilizing all of the ribbon that you have purchased..

5. Starting from the outer edge of the wire wreath frame, begin tying the fabric, making sure to keep your printed side turned out, and then slide the tied fabric down to the nearest crossbar. Repeat until you have filled the section, alternating fabrics and sprinkling a tie of ribbon in throughout. In the picture above, you can see that ALL of these have a fabric loop- this is to demonstrate your starting point for each row.  Continue doing this until you get all the way around the outside edge. Then repeat this same process on the remaining 3 wires until you have filled your entire wreath.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

I added a little pom-pom trim that I had in my crafting cart and clipped it with two tiny clothespins to finish this.  I had so much fun making this that I wanted to add a garland to match.

How to Make a Fabric Rope Garland from MomAdvice.com

Utilizing the same technique for ripping your fabrics, cut 2″ strips this time and then cut these into 8″ pieces. Repeat this step with both fabric selections (or more if you have them!). Tie them onto your rope, making sure to have that printed side facing out. I love that you can make this as long or as short as you need for your space!

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

My little painted laminate fireplace, in our basement, gets so much love and I love decorating it for the different seasons. I finished our beachy look with two rope handled lanterns. I, honestly, loved making this so much that I now have plans to make another smaller one for my fancy little she shed in yellows and polka dots.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to get out there and craft today!

Making brings me so much joy and I love sharing that with you!

 

How to Make a Fabric Wreath And Garland from MomAdvice.com

 

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site!