Sunday, April 29, 2012

Making Cheap Frames look Great.

I looked everywhere for a gray frame for Parks' cute picture to complete his room (was even willing to spend a little money) but couldn't find one I really liked.  I found a wooden one at the dollar store.  I found some black 8 x 10s with an ugly gold strip around it there too.  With a little tlc, they all turned out great.

How to fix up frames:

1.  Buy a cheap frame from the dollar store...thrift store...garage sale...or use one you have in your house you can fix up.  I took out some pictures from frames of the Twilight cast I had put in months ago for a Twilight party.

 2.  Take out the glass and sand the frame.  Even if it's not wood-just rough up the frame so the paint can stick to it...ceramic, metal, what ever.

3.  Prime. I used a spray primer on all my frames.  I had gray so used it on all of them (even though four of them were going to be painted orange).  I like the Rustolium brand and am not a fan of Krylon.  They have Rustolium that sticks to plastic so buy that if you're working with plastic.  I'm always asking the Home Depot workers for help and they've always given me good advice.

Make sure you do light sprays (otherwise you'll see drips if you spray it on too heavy) and give them time to dry in between coats-I did two coats.  The can gives you directions for each brand.

 4.   Paint.  I did a couple coats of spray paint.

5.  Glossy Sealant.  I got a clear gloss spray to make them shiny and seal in the paint.  If you skip this step, the paint will chip easier.  I like the shiny look.

Here's how Apollo's orange (I don't even know what the material was) and Parks' gray frames (was just a plain wooden frame) turned out:




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Campfire Smore Cones

The kids (and adults) looooved putting the cones together and they turned out delicious.  It's a fun (and much cleaner) take on regular smores.  This was my mom's great idea...from Pinterest.

Butterscotch chocolate chips
White chocolate chips
Milk chocolate chips
Ice cream cones

You can add strawberry or other fruit slices or anything else that sounds good.

1.  Fill up cones with goodies of your choice.

2.  Wrap the cone and stuffings in tinfoil and put on the coals for a minute to get the ingredients hot enough to melt.


3.  Unwrap and enjoy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Enjoy this post by guest blogger Katie Moore:

Pregnancy and Birth Plans for Healthy Childbirth

A new baby is an awesome responsibility that is capable of bringing untold joy to life, as well as bringing some nerves to the expecting mother. Several strategies can actually help relieve the nerves of pregnancy and also help in preparing for delivery day. The primary goal early on should be to develop a plan that addresses every aspect of pregnancy and childbirth. It’s impossible to foresee every possibility, but talking with the doctor or other providers about the plan can help.

Attending your doctor’s appointment can help relieve much of the anxiety. The value of these appointments can be enhanced when you remember and share the symptoms being experienced with the doctor. Keeping a record of symptoms in a daily journal will allow recurring problems to be identified more easily, and it will help the memory.

Pregnancy hormones can also result in changing moods, and some new moms will find themselves dealing with emotional disturbances more than others. Keeping a journal can help with putting emotions into the proper context. It is a great way to explore thoughts and feelings without worry of external judgment.

Learning for the Future
Classes for pregnancy are a major benefit that moms can learn a lot from. There are now yoga for pregnancy classes that teach a combination of meditation and exercise, Lamaze classes that specialize in breathing and becoming familiar with the process of childbirth, and other types of classes that emphasize natural pain reduction methods and alternative birthing options. Taking two or more classes is a substantial time investment, but this can pay off in reducing the risk of complications.

Being Ready for Delivery
Childbirth preparation begins with learning about the procedures employed at the hospital. Speaking with the doctor about this will offer some insight, but a childbirth class can be especially helpful. There are a number of new options that many moms are not aware of, and knowing about these can provide added assurance. For instance, cord blood banking can expand potential treatment options for a family, should the baby, or possibly a sibling become ill with certain a medical condition later on that requires a stem cell transplant. By collecting and storing your baby’s cord blood immediately following delivery, you will be making an investment in your child’s future health. Diet and delivery bag checklists are also routinely discussed in childbirth classes.

A healthy delivery is made more possible with the right information and ability to process it. Keeping a journal and attending classes can help reduce worries and increase success on delivery day.

"This article was written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the blogging community who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche.  If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact her via twitter @moorekm26."

Monday, April 16, 2012


I thought about my kids' chores for a year before implementing them and we've been doing the system for almost a year with great success.  I and the kids have a daily chore chart-we love it (my kids are 3 and 4 now)!!  If you're looking to start family chores or looking for some fun ideas here's a step by step guide:

1.  Decide Daily Jobs.  

My kids:
clean their rooms
tidy the toy room
and do a mom's choice chore every day.

To remind them I:
googled pictures of the chores
printed them out
and put tape to kind of laminate them.
We then taped them inside a lower (so the kids can reach) kitchen cupboard on the left side (leaving room to change out the monthly calendar).



 We wondered what the kids (3 and 2 at the time) could possibly do for the extra chore...maybe weed?  But I have found that the kids can do so so much.  I now just look at what needs to be done.  Some ideas for chores for small kids:
sort, do, or put away laundry
wipe down blinds, couches, tables, etc.
unload the dishwasher
clean the bathrooms (they really can clean the bathrooms!)
 empty garbage


My daily chores (mine are different every day):
Mon-vacuum and mop all the floors
Sat-tidy all

 I googled vintage pictures...this, like the kids', is taped above my monthly calendars to a kitchen cupboard.

2.  Print monthly calendar.  Click on the April below to go to the website I use to print out my calendars.  You can tell from the old pics, I used to have plain calendars until I found these cute ones.

3.  Decorate monthly calendar.  We go to the dollar store to get a ton of seasonal stickers for cheap.  The kids love doing this-it sets a fun tone for the month's jobs.


4.  Do chores.  After finishing their daily chores, the kids put a sticker (again from the Dollar Store) on their calendar day and get a coin to put in their piggy banks.  Annie painted and decorated and painted her piggy bank and I painted a monster truck bank for Apollo.

 5.  Spending Money.  After the kids have been collecting their money for awhile, we put their coins in a ziplock (after giving some money to our church that goes to helping people) and go to the dollar or thrift stores (or a normal store if their is something they want).  They learn they can spend their money on little things or save for a big toy.

 6.  Monthly Reward.  The kids weren't always excited about doing their chores every day or didn't always want to finish them in the morning.  We started giving them a monthly reward if they do their jobs every single day.  This month we decided as a family to go to Pump it Up (like a big bounce house with slides and activities) as a family if they do their jobs every day in April.  I googled and printed off a picture of a bounce house and put it by their calendars as a reminder.  They are so so excited.  This monthly reward is what makes the whole system go so smoothly.

The "why" behind it all.  I'm very thoughtful about motherhood (maybe it's the physics/chemistry teacher background).  I thought a lot about how I would implement chores in my house.  I knew this would set the tone for how the kids view money, working, and chores. So here are the reasons I set up the chores like I did:
-Rewards.  Some people reward their kids with tv, computer time, etc.  What ever we reward our kids with is what they look at as important or we make it desirable.  I really didn't want to reward my kids with candy, tv, computer time, etc.  I want them to desire an active lifestyle and things like family time. 
-Money.  I love that I can be at a store and the kids will be asking for things and they really have to think twice before they spend their money on it.  They take ownership.  They can be shortsighted (which is sometimes fine for the little ones) or they can save longer for something they really want.  They are also learning about money and counting.
-Calendar.  I tell them as they put their stickers on what the day and date is.  They are learning their numbers.  Sometimes we'll put extra stickers on special days (birthdays and holidays). 
-Some people reward their kids for every little job their kids do.  I chose to have a set list of jobs so it would stay consistent.  I didn't want to have to give them a coin or give them something every time they did a job because I knew I wouldn't have the time to follow through.  They get asked throughout the day to do extra jobs and are not rewarded.  They are part of a family and as part of a team, they need to do extra outside of their jobsto help out just because.
-Celebrate.  The kids take pride in doing their jobs and are thrilled when they finish.  We do high fives and celebrate.  Everything about this system is a celebration.
-Keeping it clean.  The kids' rooms and toy room are clean every day (it's the entrance to our home).
-No hassle.  We are an on the go family.   With a lot of things that fizzle out after the thrill of starting it, this system is super easy to carry out.