Tag Archives: fun

Easy Succulent Centerpieces for a Marriage Conference

Easy Succulent Centerpieces

I’m quite deficient in the crafting department. Notice that all of the kids’ crafts that I use to have gospel conversations with my kids are simple and truly kid-friendly! Or should I say mama friendly?

My husband asked for my advice and help with centerpieces for our marriage conference. (But he made sure I got help haha!) He wanted something that “the guys” would like as much as the ladies, and I instantly thought of wood grain and succulents.

I asked a good designer friend of mine to help me pick out containers so that I didn’t pick something that would be hideous. 😉

We found some great wooden boxes and white glass square candle holders at Hobby Lobby that we planned to use for the planters. The white glass containers were my favorite – we bought every one that they had and placed those on wooden planks so that all of the centerpieces coordinated in some way.

If you’re wondering how to make succulent centerpieces, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Er… 4.

  • I used a Walnut stain for the wood (staining is something that is so easy to me – very quick and painless).
  • I lined the wooden boxes with black plastic from a trash bag so that the water wouldn’t damage the wood too much. You can also seal the wood with a polyurethane coat, but I chose not to.
  • At the nursery, I laid all of the plants out in groups and took pictures on my phone. This is so that I would remember later which ones I thought went well together. This was a lifesaver for me!
  • After planting them, I took pictures again to make sure everything made sense. I used this at the venue to place them on the tables.

planning centerpieces

Now it’s time to feast our eyes on some beautiful succulents!

succulent centerpieces 2 succulent centerpieces succulent centerpieces 4 succulent centerpieces 3

 

 

How to Make a Summer Plan for Kids

School is rapidly winding down – what is your summer plan for your kids?

I work part-time and am home with my kids for the most part. As a planner myself, I don’t do well with much unstructured time. In fact, might be the one lousing around the house saying “I’m bored!”

OK, maybe not.

I think it’s healthy for kids to have a break – they have a recovering perfectionist as a mom, so they need to see me resting and set a good pattern of rest for themselves.

However, I believe a loose plan sets us all up for happier, more engaged days. Less boredom equals less fighting (I hope!), more brain activity, more fun, and more relational capital.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV)

How to make a summer plan for kids

How to make a summer plan for kids

1. Plan vacations, camps, and VBSs first.

We have a staycation planned for this year since we took a large vacation last year and also had to replace our van. We’ve set events for each day and a budget for the week. That was the first thing on the summer calendar.

Plan vacations first - summer plan

We’re hosting a front yard Bible club this year through our church, and they all happen the same week. Now that we have a kiddo in school, I’m really excited to see this pulled off!

I have already planned for each of my kids to attend one summer camp – using budgeted money that won’t be spent on preschool. I decided to not have their camps on the same weeks so that the big kids get a little more of their own time with me. Well, with me and baby Katherine that is. 🙂

2. Plan adventure days and bucket list items next.

Is anyone else as excited as I am about Finding Dory coming out?? That might have gotten on my summer calendar ahead of the kids’ summer camps.

Look at all of the possible adventures in your city. Check out that local Pinterest board you’ve pinned to but never thought about again. Search your city’s blog for fun things to do.

We’ve lived in our city for 8 years, and there are still many things we haven’t done yet. Some of those are on our summer plan list. A few have hard and fast dates; others are just on “the list” for those free days.

There are also so many fun backyard adventures to have – I have a ton pinned here:

 

3. Plan the “standard” day last.

Once you have the big items on the calendar and a few of the one-off adventure days planned, think about what each “regular” day should look like.

Things I considered when making my loose, daily plan:

  • Spiritual goals: Evaluate where your kiddo is spiritually and choose some things that might enrich them spiritually. For the older teen, this might be your summer camp. For the grade-schooler, VBS might be your go-to. I encourage you to also think of a few things you can guide them in.
    • Maybe memorize 1 scripture applicable to them each month with a celebration at the end of the month (Fighter verses is a great app for memorizing.)
    • Perhaps the great reader can check out the Adventure Bible.
    • Your preschooler might be mastering the ideas of the gospel through loving conversation and discipline.
  • Educational goals: Our grade school teacher was great about giving me the growth areas for our kiddo as well as some great summer tools. For my kindergartner, I’m making goals for
    • reading
    • writing
    • math
  • Physical goals: Summer means water! Swim lessons or just having water time for familiarity is a big deal in our family. Maybe your child has a sport they regularly play and can incorporate some extra drills in a regular day.
  • Fun goals: What’s something fun your kid can’t always enjoy during the school year? Here are some ideas:
    • Video games (ours are off-limits on school days).
    • Play dates
    • Park days and picnics
    • Cooking kid-friendly recipes
    • Leisurely imagination or dress up play
    • Challenges (such as summer reading, music, or engineering)

Whew! That’s a lot, and really there’s more you can consider – in fact, I’d love it if you would share ideas in the comments or on the Facebook page!

4. Structure the day, but keep it loose.

Our regular day is going to look something like this:

Breakfast and get dressed

School activities, about 30 minutes. I will use a handful of on-level tasks plus a challenge task each day.

  • Kindergartner:
    • Handwriting – Name and Title case practice, Proverb a Day, Sentence structure practice
    • Puzzle worksheets – crack the codes/word search/crosswords (math and reading)
  • Preschooler:
      • Letter writing and sounds – I really like the School Zone books

Guided craft or free craft time with bin of supplies. Incorporate Scripture.

Physical Time! Kid yoga, tag, trampoline, play date, going on a walk or pool time

backyard fun - summer plan

Lunch, kid cooking when time/interest allows

Reading: 2 books or Smarty Pants cards as a group. 2 chapters of reading each day for the Kindergartner

Quiet Rest Time – I will have separate areas for the kids to have quiet play time with toys/books for a set time

Video game time – We love the educational app Starfall! My child who is not as interested in learning loves it, and I’ve seen her improve in letter sounds yay! It’s a steal for $35/year.

If there’s time left in the day, we will have more free play, which my kids love: legos, dolls, puzzles, board games, science experiments, backyard digging and play, etc.

This looks a little too structured, but I guarantee you, there’s time for it all plus some. Once I’ve made a plan, I stick to it generally and don’t feel any guilt whatsoever if I decide to change it later! After all,

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21, NIV)

As always, I will continue to re-evaluate my kids’ needs against the existing plan and modify as necessary. I’m looking forward to a (semi-planned) summer of fun!

 

 

Year of Fun Pledge – Free Printable!

Since the previous 2 years were rough, we’ve declared 2016 the year of fun! I decided to make a list of vows for the year. Some of these were really hard to write. Some of them might not make sense to everyone, but I still think we should all have something like this on our radar.

I’ve made a free printable of these vows, too! However, they are simplified so that they could work for most couples. 😀

year of fun pledge

 

All you have to do to get the free printable is sign up for my email list here.

And now, my own personal vows for fun!

1. I vow to laugh, especially at myself, with every opportunity.

2. I vow to say “Yes!” to spontaneous plans, rather than be my boring, comfortable, No-saying self.

3. I vow to teach our children that life can be enjoyable, regardless of our circumstances.

4. I vow to not get frustrated when I do something poorly, casting off perfectionism.

5. I vow to have more sex…because covenantal marriage is fun.

6. I vow to nurture our friendship by holding hands, looking into your eyes, and letting you in on my elusive thoughts.

7. I vow to pull as many pranks as I can think of. Be ready.

8. I vow to quit convincing myself you’re judging me for my performance and just be who I am.

9. I vow to let the wind mess up my hair.

10. I vow to kiss you every day until we fall off a mountain together.

That last one may seem strange – it’s an inside joke and totally appropriate for us. Don’t worry – the printable doesn’t include that part. 😉

April Fools Pranks for Your Husband and Kids

April Fools Pranks for Husband and Kids

This year has been declared the year of fun in our house, so I decided to gang up on my family with some April Fool’s Day pranks.

Watch the videos to see what fun we’re going to have!


I thought he might have figured out what was up, so I upped my game with this:

And then sweet Em and I got ready for Samuel:

I haven’t thought of a great one for my 3-year old daughter yet. Do you have any ideas?

How to Make a Cheap Flannel Board

MommyMondayI have some preschool posts coming up – I hope you don’t mind!

The first one is how to make a (cheap) flannel board!

I didn’t grow up in Sunday School, so I had never seen a flannel board until I started teaching preschoolers. My mind was blown, y’all!

I love it as much as the kids, and I finally got around to making one for my preschooler Samuel.

I will mostly be using ours for imagination play rather than educational use, so I wanted one that could be made cheaply. However, my Sammy is very destructive, so I did make sure it was durable!

What You Need

  • large cardboard (I used a large box that I cut down to size)
  • flannel (I bought 1 yard and actually had enough to make 2 flannel boards, so you could get away with a half-yard)
  • felt pieces
  • stapler
  • glue (This probably makes me not cool, but I used Elmer’s. Hot glue is probably a little better, but mine is holding fine!)

My cardboard was free, and the flannel I bought was $5.99/yard. The felt pieces are about 25 cents a piece, and I bought a bunch of colors. So I have two flannel boards and tons of felt pieces for about $10. I know JoAnn puts their flannel on sale for $2.50, so you could easily do this for only $5 if you wait for the sale!

How to Build a Flannel Board

(Note, my site was majorly hacked, and I lost most images. I hope the text below and pics at the bottom are still helpful!)

1. Cut out a piece of cardboard to the size flannel board you want. Mine turned out to be close to 16×20, but I just eye-balled it. (Note: If you need a sturdier flannel board, I would purchase a canvas and simply staple-gun your flannel on. It’s not the cheapest option, but much more professional.)

2. Lay your cardboard on top of the flannel and cut the flannel so that it has around a 2″+ border. Again, I didn’t measure this.

3. Fold one of the long edges of fabric over the board. Now, make a cut in the flannel at the edge of the cardboard so that you have a “hinge” in the fabric (see pic).

4. Repeat step 3 with the opposite side of the fabric and board. Then, on the width of the board, fold the flannel as though you are wrapping a present.

5. At each gift wrap seam, put a couple of staples.

6. Now, repeat on the other side. The trick to this side is keeping the flannel taut on the cardboard. I placed an intermediate staple on this side to help hold it in place.

7. Glue! Now, many people would have probably pulled out the hot glue from the beginning and not used any staples or Elmer’s. Well, I’m kind of the elementary school crafter that hasn’t graduated yet! So, take your Elmer’s 🙂 and you will lift each pocket of fabric on the back and set out glue on as much surface area as you can. Once it dries, you might have this:

Notice I didn’t iron the flannel beforehand. Yeah, I don’t care that much. Also, a thought I had later – if you want it really super taught and pretty – is to use Elmers Spray Adhesive on the cardboard before laying it on the flannel and folding all the seams over. If you don’t own any, this will up your cost by about $4.

Play!

What can you do with a flannel board? Really a lot! We decided to play weather one day, so we just cut out a bunch of weather shapes from the felt. Felt sticks right to the board! It’s so great!

How to Make a Cheap Flannel Board

 

I am also using my second one to post our daily schedules:

DIY Flannel Board for Daily Schedule

Is this dorky? Now that I shared this, I feel a little self-conscious about my ghetto crafting! What would you put on your flannel board?

Kitchen Remodel: Transforming a Bisque Kitchen and Adding an Office Nook

For over 6 months now, we have been working on a partly DIY kitchen remodel. I have proof that you can survive such a thing: you can see the pictures below – and my husband has not divorced me. Yippee!

When we bought our home, we weren’t sure we would be able to have children. Little did we know, we were pregnant when we signed on the house! And now we have baby #2 (a girl – squeel!) due in June.

Our home has a great layout and a greenbelt past the backyard. The kitchen is open and spacious and well-organized. All reasons we bought the home. But, our home only has 3 bedrooms, and I work partly from home.

Enter a solution!! While our kitchen is open and spacious, there is a “breakfast room” that is really a continuation of the kitchen between the island and the sliding glass door. We have never used it as a breakfast room because we would have to move to either side to put a table without blocking the door to the backyard.

On one side of the “breakfast room,” we have Samuel’s play area – foam mats on the floor and a grid bookshelf for toys. The other side of the room has just been empty.

We thought it would be a perfect spot for a built-in office nook. This could replace the “office” that currently was the third bedroom. (I basically had shelves in a closet as a “desk,” and we had a futon, bookshelves, filing cabinets, junk, etc.

I was negligent and didn’t take good “before” pictures, and I’ve lost track of the pictures we had from purchasing the home. So here are a couple of pictures to show you what the kitchen cabinets and countertops looked like before. The cabinets were a medium-stained oak, the countertops were a bisque formica, and the backsplash were bisque tiles with a cobalt-blue stripe.

In fact, when we moved in, pretty much the whole kitchen was bisque except for the cabinets. The walls were unpainted, so the yellow we chose was already a bright improvement!

Even though the cabinets are only 13 years old, the finish on them was pretty beat up already. The previous owners and their children and pets really lived in the house. 🙂

This was at Samuel’s 1-year birthday party! Check out the cabinets and bisque countertops. See the cobalt blue stripe in the backsplash? That had to already be dated in ’99 when the house was built!

And besides this showing how cute my little man was with a bald head, you can see how the cabinets looked off to the right.

Here was our plan:

  • Purchase remnant cabinets for the office nook. We found 4 units for only $45 a pop. Sweet!
  • Paint all cabinets to match. This is why the project took so long. We painted all of the existing cabinets (off-white – bisque in fact!), the island (chocolate brown), and then months later painted the new cabinets. Although this was a lot of work, we saved a ton of money not having to gut cabinets and buy all new ones.
  • Add brushed nickel hardware. We found everything we wanted at Target of all places! And the price was right. Maybe $80 total.
  • Get new cabinets for the office nook installed. We were going to do this ourselves, but I contracted a cabinet wholesaler to install them for $250. I’m so glad I did – it was a TON of work!
  • Have granite installed – and the same company removed and re-installed a new travertine backsplash. I got 2 bids, one of which was hundreds lower than the rest. They did an outstanding job. Free sink, too! About $3K for everything.

Here is the finished product! We still want to update the stove and microwave in the next year, and we still have curtains and some other little things to change out.

BTW, I didn’t clean anything up before taking this, so don’t mind the doodads. You’re lucky there isn’t more on my counters!

And the office nook! Now we have a third room for little Emma Nichole, who is coming in June, and this office nook looks better than we imagined it!
Now we’re just saying, Thank the Lord it’s done and we’re still a team!! 😉

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