We have found that having an Art Gallery dedicated solely to the children's art work helps them to feel proud of their work and also makes a fun focal point for a family room or play room. I've got all the details on how you can make your own living art gallery in our post today.
I love pinning ideas for things to do with my kids, organizing our home, and meal ideas (don't we all?). I realized recently, though, that I was not actually TRYING many of these ideas so I've decided to do some test drives on my pins to see how well they really work.
My daughter's stuffed animal situation is out of control so I decided to start with figuring out how to wrangle them. I've tried some of my own ideas in the past but her beloved collection has outgrown all of my efforts...
Mornings, especially once you're thrown back in the routine of school and day care, often become crazy and chaotic trying to make sure everyone has everything they need and gets out the door on time. I've gathered up five easy-to-implement morning and after school hacks to make your life easier...and you might even have time to sit down and drink a whole cup of (HOT) coffee or tea.
Sewing with my oldest granddaughter started when she was 3 and now at 4 1/2, she loves to do her part. This project is quick, easy and perfect for little helpers.
Meal planning is a challenge for even the most organized person (I speak from experience here). Once you throw in jobs and kids and other responsibilities it gets even harder to find the time to plan your weekly meals and create a shopping list that ensures you have everything you need for the week. Then I figured out a system that simplified this process and the task became a BREEZE.
I searched high and low for a big family calendar that we could see the whole month for that had both words and pictures for my pre-readers. I wanted something that would be able to be adapted as they got older.
Not finding anything that had the option to personalize it with images and words, I finally decided to cobble together my own version
It's a classic case of second child syndrome. Miss M had a darling nursery and, when we moved house when she was almost two, I spent ages designing the perfect little girl room for her to grow up in. Mr M got a sweet frog pond themed nursery for himself, but around age one I started adjusting it to suit his interests (cars, cars, and CARS) but it just never felt like it was coming together right.
I had a mishmash of furniture and decor that I kept trying to put together to make work but I couldn't settle on a colour scheme or a way to make his room cute and car-themed without it looking like a garage. I made him some sweet (and easy!) curtain tie-backs (tutorial here) with a car and bus, and a name art sign with cars (tutorial here) but otherwise it just felt thrown together; I think mainly because there was pretty much every colour in the rainbow in there and it came off as very haphazard.
Then, for Miss M's birthday, we surprised her with a (new-to-us) big girl matching bedroom set. She upgraded from her toddler bed, random night stand, and the purple dresser that used to be her Dad's that I updated last summer (check out that tutorial here).
As a result Mr M was now the proud owner of a purple dresser to add to his multiple personality room theme.
I finally took pity on our poor second child and decided to refresh the dresser again and, in turn, commit to a colour scheme for his room. After much waffling I decided to go with a bright green (Behr's Springview Green) to act as an accent to the navy blue rug with tiny multi-coloured polka dots that we nabbed at Target's going-out-of-business sale ("Target! Come back to Canada! I miss yoooouuuu!").
I pulled all the drawers out and took them to the garage, along with a little red table I'd scored at Value Village. They were all getting the green treatment. First thing was to unscrew the new handles we'd put on the drawers and then each surface got a good scrub down with the sandpaper. The little Ms were very (un)helpful with this part. I may have spent most of the sanding time diving after various pieces of sandpaper that kept heading for Daddy's car in the garage. Last thing was a quick wipe-down with a damp paper towel to remove any sanding dust and they were all prepped.
When I got the kids down for nap/quiet time, it was time to paint (squee!). The helpful folks at the home improvement store suggested I get paint with primer already in it (best invention ever - that coat of white primer is the boring-est coat to do).
I slapped a coat on each drawer and the table, then a second one the next day and they were done. Easy peasy. Hubby helped screw all the handles back in and I set them up in Mr M's room.
I am really digging the green against the white. The photo makes it look a little darker than it is but you get the idea.
I'm so pleased with how the colours all look together - bright and fun - and now his room is starting to feel like it's actually intentional and not just the random leftovers from his big sister. Plus it only cost me the price of a small can of paint to give him a quality, custom piece of furniture - double bonus in my books!
Both of my kids have those room darkening curtains which work great at night-time. In the daytime, however, I find because they're so snug, they're hard to slide along the curtain rod to open them straight across. I decided tie-backs would work better than inching them open each morning, and then inching them closed at night.
I didn't want to spend much money and I wanted something cute that fit the room themes so I came up with this little hack that's worked perfectly and cost about $5 each set - all you need are medium to large Command hooks (depending on the thickness of your curtains), a glue gun, and little wooden decorations.
I found the decorations at Michael's Craft Supplies with all their wooden things. I don't know technically what they're for but they have tons of shapes and designs and even blank ones you can paint yourself if you're so fancy. They cost less than a dollar each.
I did Miss M's first and got her a couple dragonflies to go with her nature themed bedroom. I finally found ones for Mr M's room this week as I'm in the process of updating his space to a big boy car themed room so I got a car and a bus for him.
It's so simple to do and takes all of five minutes. Stick your Command hook up on the wall where you want the curtain to open. I eyeballed it but measuring would probably be more sensible. Make sure the open part is facing away from the window (as shown below).
Then fire up that glue gun and get your little decorations ready (peel off any price tags or other stickers on them).
Generously glob some glue on the hook part.
Then press the decoration on the hook, making sure it sticks out a little past the end of the hook to give you more length to hold the curtain with. Press down for about thirty seconds to make sure it's secure.
Then do the same on the other side. Let them sit for a couple hours before trying them with the curtain to be sure the glue is fully dry. And then you're done!
Miss M, has had hers up for almost two years (*update they've been up for almost five years now!) and we use it daily. One came off a few months after the initial application, but a quick dab more glue and it's never come off since.
So there you go - custom curtain tie backs that take very little time and money. Plus the kids both love them!