Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sherlock Holmes Date from Dating Divas

Hi, my name is Cami, and I am one of The Dating Divas. We are dedicated to strengthening marriages, one DATE at a time! I am SO excited to be doing this blog swap with A Little Tipsy. Michelle is just AH-MA-ZING!!!! Anyway, I planned this fun date for my cute hubby, the movie buff. Hope you enjoy!

Is it just me, or did anyone else marry into a TOTAL movie buff family? I'm talking all family functions everyone is quoting movies, watching movie trailers, and we HAVE to go see the latest movie that just came out! After 7 years, I am still lost as to what everyone is laughing about (because I have NO clue what movie they are quoting), inside jokes, etc. I can't be the only Diva that is in this situation :)! We love the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. so I thought it would be fun to build a date night around this theme.

Here's what you'll need to make this date outstanding - invite (provided below), Sherlock Holmes' attire, candles (optional), and a computer. If you need some help with the attire, I found some amazing items for very little money! I found a Detective Kit for under $9 that includes a hat, magnifying glass, and pipe. If you are just wanting a magnifying glass or pipe I found those, too! If you want to spice this up even more, check out Stephanie's Clue date where they had SO much mystery fun for a night!


I started by leaving my hubby this cute invite with some awesome Sherlock Holmes' attire as he left for work. If you want to spice your invite up like I did, feel free to add some color to the detective with markers, and then glue the invite to some cute scrapbook paper. It's super easy with great results to make it that much better! 

 The invite reads:
"My Dearest Watson,
We have come upon yet another case that needs our attention.
Meet me tonight at 6:30 in our "thinking room".
We must make great haste! A life depends on it!
But as always...
"It's elementary, my dear Watson, elementary".
Sincerely,
Sherlock Holmes"


I was so excited! Now, you might be wondering what I meant by "thinking room". I tried to make the invite as generic as possible for all you readers, and this was my solution. For MY date the "thinking room" was going to be our bedroom. I was able to 'quarantine' it off from the kids, and had everything ready for our date once our kiddos went to sleep. However, you can make your "thinking room" whatever you might want: family room, bedroom, living room, TV room, etc. Anywhere you will be comfortable and have everything ready.

Before your date starts, you will need to prepare a few things. You will need to download a video game which will be your first activity of the night (see below), and a Sherlock Holmes recording (see below). You might want to get 'the mood' ready by lighting candles around your room as you are listening to the story.

When we were ready for our date (once our kids were asleep) we went to our "thinking room". I found an interactive Sherlock Holmes video game that we downloaded and played for a while. We had a lot of fun trying to figure out the mystery as we were going through the game, and it was great to be able to bounce ideas off each other as we were going.

After the game, we listened to a recording of a Sherlock Holmes story. I absolutely love listening to old radio recordings and feel they give such great authenticity to the story! I found a list of different stories and recordings to choose from and then checked on my local library site to see which ones were available to download and listen to. My library has on-line books/stories on 'cd' where you can download to your computer, ipod, MP3 player, or whatever you wish. It's great and I love that it's FREE! I chose to light candles and dressed up in my Sherlock Holmes attire so I could channel the Holmes inside me! ;-) I even pretended to solve a real crime while wearing my outfit! It was fun!


While you are listening it would be fun to have some yummy strawberries or other kind of fruit that you can snack on. Of course popcorn is always great, too.

We of course finished off the night by watching the original Sherlock Holmes. We had a BLAST being Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson for the night. I hope you have fun recreating this date, too!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What a fun idea! Thanks Cami, I love creative dates you can do at home!



Monday, September 24, 2012

Clipboard Art Frame

I have a budding artist at my house. My little guy can crank out a good number of pictures in a day and they are totally precious and surprisingly good for a not yet five year old. When putting together my craft room, I knew I wanted a place to display his latest masterpiece but being that there is quite a bit of turnover it needed to be something easily switchable. A clipboard was the perfect solution.


This way he feels special that his art is important to show off, but I am not constantly fiddling with a frame of some sort.

CLIPBOARD ART FRAME

SUPPLIES:

Clipboard (thrifted 75 cents)
Wrapping paper
Scissors
Elmer's tape runner
Xacto knife

Project Time: 15 minutes

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut a square of wrapping paper about two inches larger than your clipboard.
2. Line the edges of the clipboard with the tape runner.
3. Place the square of wrapping paper as close to the top as you can get it sliding it under the clamp as much as possible and secure on the tape.


4. Cut out some rectangles of paper to cover the top corners of the clipboard where the square of paper could not reach. Lay them on the board aligning the design. Secure with the tape runner.
5. Score the paper along the edge of the clamp with a fingernail to give you a line to trace with your Xacto. Trim the paper to the edge of the clamp and if possible tuck under the clamp slightly.



6. With the front secured, tape around the back edge of the clipboard. Fold the paper around the edge and secure. Fold corners like wrapping a present so they lay flat and look nice from the front.


I didn't worry about covering the back of the clipboard because I was hanging it on a wall.


Add some art or a photo and hang. A clipboard frame would be great for a command center, bedroom, or playroom too!


I love the pattern and color it adds to my craft room gallery wall!



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Sunday, September 23, 2012

General Conference Coloring Page

LDS General Conference is almost here! I love hearing the uplifting words from our leaders and look forward to their messages. Our kiddos are small so unless I have some arsenal under my belt to keep them entertained and quiet there is little to no chance I will be hearing anything. My kids LOVE to color so I created this little fall themed general conference coloring page to keep them busy so mommy can watch.



Little kids can just color it, but those who can read can color it when they hear the keywords or scriptures from the books listed.

Feel free to use it for your kiddos!

Reference pages: Books of Book of Mormon, Scarecrow/pumpkins, Corn Stalks

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

5 Tips for Getting Kids to Drink Water

Water is awesome. It's cost free, calorie free, sugar free, and life sustaining. Now how do we convince reluctant kiddos to dive in and drink? Here are 5 tips to help get your kids to drink water instead of their sugary counterparts.


1. Make it fun!

Let kids choose a fun water bottle or cup with a favorite color or character. They will drink more if it has a cool container. You tend to drink more with a straw so buy a big pack of disposable or a few funky re-usable and get to sipping! Adding a slice of lemon or orange can make flavor it without loads of sugar. Teach kids fun facts about water.

2. Make it easy!

Have water easily available at all times. If you fridge does not have a dispenser, put a dispenser in the fridge so it's always ready to go. Have a stash of water bottles ready to grab on the go for practices or school.

3. Make it cold!

Kids tend to like water better when it's cold. Keep water in the fridge and have fun shaped ice cubes to add in. Consider freezing fun non-toxic toys (small enough to fit but not to swallow) inside so they get a little reward when they finish their bottle. 

4. Make it clear!

As much as we don't like to admit it, kids love to talk about pee. Take advantage of it and tell them about the pee test. Dark needs more water and near clear is good to go. Make it seem like a game.

5. Make it happen!

Kids learn by example. If they don't see you drinking water they are not likely to. We can't drink soda all day and expect them to be content with water. Show them the importance by being a fan of water yourself. 

We had a chat about water and shared some fun facts:


I polled our Tipsy Facebook fans and they had some fabulous ideas:


  • Our kids are allowed 1 glass of juice at breakfast and 1 glass of milk with supper - the rest of the day the only option is water. 
  • Crystal lite. Start with a full pack then gradually do less! Eventually you'll need none.
  • I have a mug of ice water that I carry around the house and my kids see it and always want to share it with me. They think it is fun to drink "mommy's water!"
  • I add one drop lemon, grapefruit, tangerine or lime essential oil. Not only are the as natural as can be, but they are also natural antioxidants and natural detoxers. Oh and they taste yummy. (so say my kids).
  • Juice is a special and rare treat and I still mix it with water for her anyway! She's just grown up loving it.
  • She does love to drink from my water bottle though and thinks its somehow more special than her own water! So sometimes I give her my bottle as a treat! Lol
  • My kids like it REALLY cold. So I freeze half a bottle and then add water. That way the cold lasts :)


  • That's how we helped we kids discover the wonders of water. Brita’s new product, the Brita Bottle for Kids, now provides an easy and fun way to have clean, filtered H2O on the go.
    Now I’m curious... 
    How do you encourage your kids to drink more water? 
    Reply below and one of my readers will win a $50 Visa gift card!


    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Brita. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.>

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Creative Picture Frames

    Picture frames are a great way to add pops of color without committing to a large expensive piece. I used three chunky frames in my new office/craft room to house quotes that I love. 


    I started with these thrift store frames...


    and with a few coats of Valspar gloss spray paint in Exotic Sea, a little vinyl, cork, and creativity ended up with these fun additions to my craft space.


    I love this reminder to simply Make Something Today. That's really what this space is all about. Creating something whatever it may be.



    I think as women we sometimes have a hard time saying "NO." This quote reminds me to fill my time with things that better my life and clear it of what may be good, but is just cluttering my life from what is best. It reads, "respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy."



    This last one is my favorite of the creative picture frames in my space. I simply inserted a piece of cork and added a printed quote with a push pin. I love the dimension and texture it adds to the space. The quote says, "Be you. Be true. Love what you do."



    What do you think? Have you used creative picture frames to update or add color to a space?



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    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    EasyMake Bedding for Kiddos

     You know where I find my son's comforter every morning? In a pile next to his bed. We long ago discarded the flat sheet. It was more of a tangle hazard than anything. What if I told you that your five year old could make his bed by himself every day? Comforter sheets and all. Sounds like a myth right?

    That's what I thought too...


    I was contacted by Easymake to try out their bedding that makes it super easy for kids to make their beds. How does it do that you may ask? Zippers. Zip the comforter to the flat sheet and the flat sheet to some panels on the fitted sheet and voila. Genius.

    The panel holds the blanket and sheet in place as to avoid the aforementioned bedside pile in the morning. I don't know who was more excited to try it out me or my son. We put it through the ringer. Night after night of ninja sleeper. I swear I don't know what that kid does in his sleep, but it is crazy. 

    The first few nights the zipper was unzipping while he slept and the blanket would be disheveled or even off by morning. I was frustrated and even tried safety pinning it until I realized just today as I checked their site that we had put the bedding on upside down. The panels were supposed to be by his feet. Whoops! I felt a little better when I saw that the instructions on the website are more clear than those on the packaging.


    As a sidenote there was also a flaw (shown above) on one of the panel zippers when it came out of the packaging.

    So let's review...

    Cons:
    Directions on packaging should be clearer like those on website
    Quality control needs improvement (small tears in product)
    Currently only comes in two colors

    Pros:
    Machine washable
    Comes apart easily for washing
    Classic look (goes with lots of decor and age groups)
    Kids can make their own beds!!!
    Saves time
    Keeps blankets on the bed so they don't get cold in the middle of the night
    If I do end up making it, it looks like this in less than a minute...



    Now that I figured out what was going on I really do love it. It's fluffy and cozy for my little guy and sooo easy for me. It keeps the sheet and blanket together which is something I had given up on long ago.  Hurrah for chore time slashed!

    I received product and a stipend from Easymake for my time. The opinions are obviously mine.

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    File Cabinet Makeover

    Now that you saw the overview of my craft room, it's time to dig in to the details about how it all went down. Being that it is the first thing you see when you step in the room let's start with the file cabinet makeover shall we?


    She was well loved and frankly a bit gloomy when we started out, but a few coats of paint and some creative use of wrapping supplies and she's a downright diva. 


    You won't believe how easy it is to take your file cabinet from blah to aah!




    SUPER EASY FILE 
    CABINET MAKEOVER

    SUPPLIES:
    • Metal file cabinet
    • White Spray Paint
    • Wrapping Paper
    • Poster Tape
    • Xacto Knife




    HOW-TO:

    1. Wipe down the cabinet and make sure it is free from dust.

    2. Spray paint the cabinet using lots of thin coats spraying off the edge as you go back and forth. I used a paint and primer in one so it would get a great finish fast. Let the paint dry.

    3. Pull the drawers out and lay them with the drawer front up.

    4. Cut a piece of wrapping paper a few inches larger than the face of your cabinet drawer.

    5. Tape around the edges of your handle. Tape around the edge of the front of the drawer and on all the lips around the edge to wrap the paper around.

    6. Carefully, from the middle to the edges, lay your paper on flat on the face of the drawer and wrap it around each edge folding down corners to make them flat like you would a present.

    7. Trim the excess paper from the edges.

    8. With your fingers lightly feel for the edges of the handle. Score the edges with a fingernail so you know where to cut then follow with an Xacto. 

    9. Put the drawers back in place.

    10. Move the cabinet in and let your files ride in style!


    I love that with this method using the poster tape the paper is totally removable. If I decide in 6 months that I am over this pattern I am not committed. I can rip it off and replace with whatever new style I love. I can totally change the look with 10 minutes and a $3 roll of wrapping paper! Oh the joy of options!


    What do you think? 
    Would you paper your file cabinet?



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    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Craft Room Reveal

    I can't believe it's finally time! I have been working on my craft room/office for an embarrassing amount of time and I'm thrilled that it is finally finished and ready to share! Today I'll give you the grand overall tour and then break things down with how-to's for many of the different pieces. Let's get right to it!

    My space is small (8.5' x 8') in a basement with crazy low ceilings (just short of 7 ft) and next to no natural light because a bay window blocks all but about an 8 inch gap above the window well. Exciting right?! But really, I am lucky to be able to have this space all for myself.

    When you walk in and turn around this is your view. Imagine a door next to that file cabinet that leads to the playroom. I love that my craft room is right next to my kiddos.

    I updated an existing file cabinet which makes the perfect place for our printer. Being that I have a small space I really needed to maximize storage. I measured and shopped and shopped and mapped out the room and finally got all the puzzle pieces to work with some great Ikea items. Those are the 5x5 Expedit cubbies. Lucky for me, the Target dollar spot used the exact colors I wanted in my office so I got all those pink/turquoise/gray fabric bins for $2.50 each! I die. They are usually at least $7. The other stuff was upcycled, thrifted, or on hand for the most part. I will go in to more detail in a later post.


    Above is the view from the door. You can see I literally have storage to the ceiling. I am not a space waster. These shelves hold most of my craft supplies as well as office items in the bottom right. The bins on top of the shelves are also from Target for $2.50. I'm telling you, their dorm organization supplies were my best friend. People thought I was nuts walking out with stacks of them.

    Continuing around, you can see my little wrapping paper peeking out in the corner. Then, comes my L-shaped desk made with Ikea items (mixture of Galant tops with Vika Alex drawer and storage units). I love that there is storage everywhere!

    You also get a peek at my light here as well. I would have loved to have one of those pretty chandeliers you see everywhere, but with 81 inch ceilings even at 5'6" I would bonk my head on it. I opted for fluorescent lighting to mimic natural light. It has a huge round diffuser (like 2 ft) and makes me feel like I am in a casino because I can never tell what time it is. It always seems like the middle of the day. I usually have the blinds open to let what little natural light there is in, but opted to shut them for pics because really who needs a view of the window well?





    I love having my cutting machine out and accessible at all times. I have literally used it more in the time I set it there than in the whole time I owned it previous. I just plug and go. I did all the labels with it. I just noticed that in some of the pics some of the labels are missing and then they magically appear in another. Ha, go figure.


    You can see in this desk pic that I even snuck some storage and a laser printer (thus the random cord) under the desk. There was so much room under that corner how could I not? My boys love hiding in the very back corner. 

    On the wall I have cork boards for inspiration pics, a whiteboard to keep track of accounting. I also included some quotes that I love and a clipboard for my son's latest artwork.


    In this last pic, you get a glimpse of my little closet nook. It is fairly deep and I decided it was the perfect place to store non-seasonal home decor not currently in use. It was hidden away in about five different places and I had forgotten about most of it. I upcycled two existing bookcases to have it out in the open where I could easily see what I have to swap out on occasion.

    And that takes us to the door where we end our tour. I almost feel like this is just a sneak peek at what is to come. It really doesn't do it justice because I saved the close ups, tips and how-to's for posts to come. But, don't worry they are on their way down the pipeline.

    Craft room tutorials:
    DIY Bookshelf
    Clipboard Art Frame
    File Cabinet Makeover
    Creative Picture Frames
    Updating Office Accessories with Paint
    Giving Your Office a Little Personality

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    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    September Visiting Teaching Message

    The September Visiting Teaching Message is all about getting to know our sisters and serving them with love. President Monson is such a great example of service and I loved his quote from this message.


    Visiting Teaching Message Handout





    “The needs of others are ever present,” said President Thomas S. Monson, “and each of us can do something to help someone. … Unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives.” 


    This is such a great reminder when our lives get busy with the little day to day things. Service can lift us up when we seem to be bogged down.

    You are welcome to share the quote I chose for the September visiting teaching message with your sisters and use this handout if you like.

    Please show a little love and leave a comment if you download and use the handout. Thanks!


    I made the handout using my memories suite software. If you need scrapbooking software, use the coupon code:STMMMS97077 for $10 off, making it $29.97, and get a $10 code to spend in the MyMemories.com Design Shop!

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    How to Refinish a Deck in One Day

    Refinish a deck in one day? Seems like a myth right. Not so, you can for reals. You just need the right tools, the right weather and the right help. Two of us completed this project in about 11 hours including 4 hours of wait time between steps.


    We actually split it up and did two hours of the work with the deck cleaner (and the two hour wait time) the night before so that we could make use of the cooler hours. The next morning we started at 7:30 am and were done at 2:30 pm (that's counting one of us driving/feeding kids for couple of hours) so you could still easily do it all in one day. We also knew that with both my husband and I having strong personalities in tiring situations it might be good to break it up a bit. ;)

    Keep in mind that most of our deck stain had worn off. If your deck is painted or has thick stain this process may be different for you and you may want to refer to our other deck tutorial when we stripped awful cracked barn red paint.
    First off, research what deck cleaner and stain/waterproofer will be best for the look you want. Thompson's has a fantastic project planner guide that will help you find what is right for you based on your deck's existing condition and how you want it to look.

    Since the stain on my deck was mostly gone I used Thompson's Heavy Duty Deck Cleaner to strip and clean without sanding. I wanted a semi-transparent look with good wear that could be done the same day as cleaning so I chose Thompson's WaterSeal Advanced Tinted Wood Protector.


    SUPPLIES:

    Read the instructions on your bottles thoroughly and decide what tools will work best for you:
    • Long sleeves, pants and shoes (cover as much skin as possible)
    • Eye protection
    • Rubber Gloves
    • Masks (for spraying cleaner)
    • Deck sprayer (designed for decks with multiple sized nozzles for cleaner and stain, mine was about $13 at Lowe's)
    • Synthetic bristle brush
    • Thompson's Heavy Duty Deck Cleaner
    • Hose with spray nozzle head
    • Plastic drop cloths (dollar store ones are fine, I used about 5)
    • Painter's tape
    • Thompson's WaterSeal Advanced Tinted Wood Protector
    • Paint pads (thought I'd use the pole & handle, but just used the pad itself)
    • Paint brush meant for stain
    • Small plastic container
    • Knee pads (optional)
    • Babysitter (easier with small kiddos gone and away from hazardous items)



    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Check the weather and make sure there is no rain planned for the next 2 or 3 days.
    2. Start as early in the morning as possible so you can make use of the cooler temperatures. 
    3. Gather all your supplies and put the cleaner nozzle on the sprayer.
    4. Clear everything off the deck and sweep off large debris. Drench surrounding plants and grass with water and cover with plastic drop cloths. It will kill your grass if you aren't careful. Trust.
    5. Don your eye protection, gloves, mask, etc. and pour the cleaner in to the sprayer.


    Aren't you loving my white socks with these shoes? Grubbies + Safety = Awesomeness



    6. Start spraying in small sections. Let the cleaner work its magic for about 10 minutes and scrub with the synthetic bristle brush if needed to get any residue loose. Only spray as much as you can keep up with without letting it dry completely. It dries fast when it is hot, so start small.


    7. Once it has soaked and been scrubbed if necessary, spray off all the residue. Rinse it really well.


    8. Once it dries a bit you can see if places need more work. You can see we had a spot where a storage bin sat that needed some extra care. Also, the railing on the left got scrubbed really well, but those on the right did not. They were the last to be done and we got lazy. Don't get lazy. We did the cleaning process on the storage bin spot and half of the railings a second time. 


    9. Let the cleaner dry for two hours. While it is drying, rinse your tools and tape up your plastic drop cloths to protect the house and anything else from the tinted waterproofer.


    10. Change the sprayer nozzle to the largest one and pour the waterproofer in to the sprayer.


    There is a lack of waterproofer application pics because it dried so fast there was literally no time for pictures.

    11. Start with the railings so you don't have to walk over wet stain later. Putting the stain directly on the paint pads to smooth it on worked best for this part. Work fast over small areas because the hotter it is, the faster it dries. Use the brush to get in the corners and nooks. Watch for drips and wipe them up quickly.

    12. Now begin the floor area. Work in a pattern that will have you finishing where you can step off the deck. We tried to use the paint pads with the handle and the pole so we could do it standing but it broke on me three times in the first two minutes so we gave up and used the pad on our hands and knees without the attachments. If it isn't 90 degrees out so it dries almost instantly you may be able to use them. We found that working so that your shadow is shading the part you are working on was massively helpful. If you have a big canopy you can put over the deck for shade, even better! Spray a small about 2' x 1' section and wipe smooth with the paint pad. Do not leave it too thick or it will end up sticky. Also, more coats will not darken the color it will just make it sticky. 

    13. Let it dry for at least a day without traffic praying it doesn't rain. Remember to turn off auto sprinklers. Clean up all tools and dispose of hazardous leftovers properly. Be sure to carefully drench your grass and plants surrounding with a hose to rinse. Once the deck is dry, move everything back in to place and enjoy!
    We used Nutmeg Brown waterproofer and I will admit I was nervous when we got it on. It was WAY more orange than I expected. Luckily, once I got the furniture back on and it sat for a few days the color toned down and so did my nerves.
     
    It looks sooo much better and I am happy that it is protected from the looming Utah weather this fall and winter. 
    I can tell you it doesn't lie when it says waterproofer. It rained nearly every day the week after we put it on and it proved itself right away. We have hard water so you could even see water marks in the spots where big puddles dried.


    One of my kids new favorite activities is to push water off the deck with the rubber squeegee broom.


    I am loving my "new" deck!


    Do have a project looming before fall and winter come?


    Thompson's provided the product for use and a stipend to cover my costs and time. The work, comments, and sweat were all my own.


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