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Saturday, April 18, 2015

DIY Eclectic Kitchen Counter (Our first wood working project)

You just have to learn to be handy in a house that is almost a hundred years old. Sometimes I think this house is falling apart faster than we can put it back together. We have to remind ourselves constantly why we love this place. This is our latest project to fix one of the many quirks and problems this old gem is giving us. 

At the end of our counter there is a huge blank space that we needed to figure out how to utilize to our best advantage. The previous owners had a portable dishwasher there but we only used the space to set our garbage can. Our pets would get into it constantly. So we came up with this design to not only add much needed counter space but give our garbage can a little home that isn't as easily accessible to the cats. Plus I like that its a little tucked away and is not the first thing you see when you walk in the back door. 

This is an easy project that anyone can do. The only tools we used was a chop saw and a drill. We had a lot of wood lying around so the only money we spent was on the screws and wood stain. We just measured everything out on a paper and started chopping things up. This only took us beginners about five hours plus paint drying time on this project. 

As you can see we just built this in our garage. Any beginner can do a project like this. 

Next project: Benches. :)


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Simple DIY Calendar Frame (All Under $10)

"Getting organized" and/or mentioning the word "schedule" is almost painful to someone like me who thrives on creativity and living life in the moment. However, I am now a recent convert to this new idea of planning things out. It has saved my mommy sanity in so many ways. I never realized how important getting organized was in keeping the family happy and healthy until I decided something had to change about a month ago. I am a full time mom with two boys in elementary and a ten month old baby and recently Ive been struggling with waking up and looking forward to my day or even my life. I had no real direction for myself except for keeping the baby alive. Over time that is just not enough for someone like me and I couldn't figure out how to keep my spirits up. Its hard to say this but I felt like my spirit and zest for life were being drained. Why wasn't just being a mom good enough to keep me happy? Its because I am many different roles and without nurturing all of them I was not getting the balance that I needed. On the flip side of that without my amazing husband and children I wouldn't be as happy either but I needed to start making time for more areas in my life and to do that I needed to get some schedules going. 

While I was planning how I was going to make some changes around the house I got to thinking about some of my habits and noticed I did really well and felt good with a daily to-do list and it dawned on me that my free spirited self really needed to get organized so that I didn't feel so chaotic and lost all the time. So if I was going to get organized and stick to it I had to make it easy, simple, functional, and pretty. lol! Then I spent the afternoon putting together a "Comand Center" which consisted of a Large Calendar, a weekly to-do list and a two week menu planner (Plus a huge cute chalkboard). The weekly to-do list is very important because when you only make up daily to-do list you try to get it all done in a day instead of delegating things to be done throughout the week (again, for balance). Getting burned out is not good for anyone. I try and only give myself three to five tasks a day because I need to be spending time with my family and playing with my daughter. But If I accomplish those few things in that day it makes a huge difference in my mood and outlook on life.

I highly recommend either getting a big calendar so there is room enough for you to write all the activities down on. Or you can print your own big calendar at your local printshop for only $3-$4. Thats what I did. 

To make a simple and fast frame for your calendar just find one of those old looking framed fake paintings without the glass and spray paint the whole thing a fun bold color. Then you can add two clips, or clothes pins with some gorilla glue to hold up your calendar. 

Please leave a comment and let me know your tips and tricks to add some organization to your family. 


Monday, March 16, 2015

A Two Week Dinner Menu You Can Actually Stick To (FREE Printable)

We like to keep meal planning as simple as possible at our house and I needed to create 
a menu planner to help us do that.

My husband and I have been planning out our weekly meals for years now because we noticed it saved us not only money but time and frustrations. But there is one key difference from the way we do it ... We don't assign days to each meal. We just plan out 14 dinners. We do this because we noticed even when we had a meal planned for each specific day sometimes we skipped around depending on our mood or how hectic the day went.  We try to make at least half of the dinners super quick and easy meals and the other half meals that need a little extra time spent on them. We also don't plan out breakfast and lunch because we usually don't spend lunch together and breakfast is usually the same five different options unless its a special occasion.

You will also notice on this Two Week Meal Planner that there is a section for something extra special. This is where I put a desert or something I would like to make during the two week that we don't usually have like cookies, a cake, or some other yummy treat. Ive also made a space where you can write down where to find the recipe you are going to make. There have been so many times we wrote down a new dinner we wanted to try and couldn't remember where to locate the recipe. I did not include a grocery list because we just write that down on line paper to take to the store. This meal planner is up on our kitchen wall for easy access and adding a grocery list would make it less accessible.

So there you go. Meal planning doesn't have to be labor intense and a hassle. Try to keep it as simple as possible and you will see so many benefits from eating better, not spending as much on eating out, and its nice to be able to just scroll down a list of meals you already have all the ingredients to and just pick which one you want to make that night.

Just click on the image above to go to google docs and access this printable.