• Family, Kids, Pets,  Kids,  Life & Family

    Our Favorite Children’s Picture Books

    There is just something so magical about books. The way they can take you on a journey you never imagined or help you learn or make you feel the feels is so amazingly awesome. And children’s books are where it all starts. I’m sure you can remember a beloved book from your childhood. Maybe you had your parents read it over and over. Today, I’m sharing some of our family’s favorite children’s picture books. You may have heard of a few of these before and others may be new to you. So, let’s get started!

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

    1. Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
    This sweet and short little board book, with it’s sing-songy wording, is the perfect quick bedtime story. You can see our copy is pretty banged up due to excessive use!

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    2. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
    Is there anything sweeter than a story about a parent’s unconditional love for their child? I remember my Mom reading this to me as a child with tears streaming down her face and now I read to my kids too (with tears streaming down my face).

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    3. Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
    This book is a bunch of fun with a cuddly wombat and her simple adventures. The illustrations are adorable and the story will surely leave you smiling.

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    4. Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger
    We love this book so much! It tells the magical story of how Grandfather Twilight faithfully places the moon in the sky every evening. The images are soft/calming and this one is great for bedtime.

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    5. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
    My personal favorite children’s book with lessons on love and what being “real” really is! This is a timeless story with a beautiful meaning and definitely one that stays with you through the years.

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    6. The Magic Rabbit by Annette LeBlanc Cate
    This is an amazing story about a magician and his rabbit. A mishap separates the two best friends, but of course there is the perfect happy ending.

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    7. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
    The Giving Tree is such a wonderful book. The story is about unconditional love and learning to give. I really like that this book can open up a discussion with kids about taking and giving.

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    8. There’s a Nightmare In My Closet by Mercer Mayer
    My kids love scary things and I think that this book is partially responsible for that. Reading this to them at a young age helped them to overcome fears of monsters in their bedrooms at night and taught them that just because something seems scary, doesn’t always mean it is.

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    9. The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name
    We purchased this book for my son for Christmas and it is awesome! It is a totally personalized book for your child. The character in the story goes on an adventure to find his/her name, meeting fun friends along the way. So cute! (Get 15% off of your first book by clicking here.)

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    So, those are some of our favorite children’s picture books. Some of them are classics and others just have that little something that makes them extra special to us!

    Our Favorite Children's Picture Books

    Are any of these your favorites too? Or do you have another favorite not listed that you would like to share? We are always on the hunt for new good books and would love any recommendations you may have!

  • Blogging,  Family, Kids, Pets,  Life & Family

    2016 New Year’s Resolutions

    It’s a new year, which means everyone is sharing their latest resolutions and I am no different. There is something about putting away all of those holiday decorations and recovering from excessive delicious food consumption that really motivates people to want to make changes. Without further ado, here are my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions.

    2016 New Year's Resolutions

    Blog Resolutions

    1. Try To Successfully Do This DIY Blog Thing On My Own – When you are used to sharing all of the responsibilities of blogging equally with someone else, it can be a little intimidating to think of doing it all on your own. I know most of the bloggers out there are running everything solo, so it is totally doable. Wish me luck!

    Painting with Paint Brush

    2. Share More – Though things may a bit sporadic and sparse around here while I try to get this solo blogging gig under control, one thing that is important to me is to share more of the personal stuff on the blog. Sure, step by step tutorials are great (there will still be plenty of DIYing going on around here), but throwing a little of the life material in with it all will hopefully make things more fun.

    Kids Having Fun

    3. Be More Intentional – There may have been a time or two (or ten) that I have created something just so I would have a project to share on the blog. As fun as it is to put together most projects I work on, it can be frustrating to have put time into something that ends up in the trash or being donated because I don’t have a use/place for it. In 2016, I hope to be more intentional and create/work on projects that our family will love and use.

    Cable Spool Clock

    Personal Resolutions

    1. Spend More Time With Family – This is kind of self explanatory. I find that I tend to keep piling stuff on my plate just to try to please everyone, which in turn takes me away from the people I care about. Learning to say “no” is OK and something I hope will allow me to be present in the lives of my husband and kids. Because they are what matters the most!

    Chutes and Ladders

    2. Get Organized – I am finally reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and so far, I really like it. I have rounded up 3 garbage bags of clothing to donate and it is such a freeing feeling. By letting go of the things that I don’t love, I will be able to really enjoy our home. I’m tired of not being able to find things I need because they are hidden underneath all of the extra clutter we have.

    KonMari

    3. A Healthier Me – Of course, this wouldn’t be a good resolution list without a little health talk, right? I’m doing the typical stuff… trying to eat clean, exercising, and drinking more water.

    Nike Running Shoes

    So, did you make any resolutions for 2016? What sort of things are you working on? I would love to hear what you want to accomplish this year!

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  • Family, Kids, Pets,  Home Decor

    How To Build A Wine Bottle Bird Feeder

    September has been a crazy month. However, with the kids in school now, it’s time to get back to business. And since it’s the 15th, that means it’s time for another installment of The Home Depot Gift Challenge. Today, I am sharing How To Build A Wine Bottle Bird Feeder and the best part is that it isn’t ridiculously hard to make if you have a few tools on hand!

    Check out the other fun projects in the challenge at the end of this post and let us know what you think of our bird feeder!

    Build A Wine Bottle Bird Feeder

    In the past, we’ve shared 10 Minute Rope Curtain Ties, 2×4 Artwork, a Pegboard Luminary, Wood Box Caddy, and an Industrial Book Rack. If you remember, a different item is chosen from The Home Depot by one of our group members and then we each make a gift to be given to a different recipient each month. Luckily for me, this month’s gift is for ourselves. Woohoo!

    This challenge is in no way associated with The Home Depot. We just love their stuff!

    New graphic

    Affiliate links are included for convenience. Click here to view my disclosure policy.

    I was inspired to create a wine bottle bird feeder from a pin I saw on Pinterest (How to Make a Wine Bottle Bird Feeder from Down Home Inspiration) and modified the design to my liking.

    Supplies List:

    8 foot 1″x2″ pine furring strip
    4″x6″ 4 Ft Poplar Hobby Board
    3″-5″ Stainless-Steel Hose Clamp
    750 ML Wine Bottle
    Table Saw (Or have the nice people at The Home Depot make the cuts for you!)
    Miter Saw or Miter Box (and Hand Saw)
    Drill (This is our favorite!)
    Clamps (Optional)
    Wood Glue (Or nails/screws if the feeder will get wet)
    Paint
    Birdseed

    Cut List (from left to right below):

    2 – 1″×2″ Furring Strips at 3 5/8″ (the sides)
    1 – 1″×2″ Furring Strip at 4 5/8″ (the back)
    1 – 1″×2″ Furring Strip at 6″ (the front)
    2 – 1″x2″ Furring Strips at 6″ (the roof) with a 45° cut at one end of each
    2 – 1″x2″ Furring Strips at 12″ (the vertical sides) with a 45° cut at one end of each

    Also:
    1 – Poplar Hobby Board at 6″×6″
    1 – Poplar Hobby Board at 6″×13 1/2″ with a 45° cuts on both sides of one end

    Wood Cuts

    Ok, I’m sure reading all of those supplies and cuts may have you feeling overwhelmed, but trust me, you can do this and it won’t be that bad. Here are the furring strips and a view of how they will be glued together.

    Bird Feeder Layout

    If you are using clamps, this will go faster, but I opted not to. Everything still stuck together just fine. (If you are worried about things holding up, feel free to screw/nail your pieces together after they are glued.)

    To begin, place the 4 5/8″ furring strip between the bottom back of the two 12″ furring strips and glue. After that, continue to glue piece by piece, next attaching the two 6″ strips to each other on the angle, then to the top of the 12″ pieces. Finish up with the two 3 5/8″ side pieces glued to the 12″ furring strips and the 6″ piece added to the front of the 3 5/8″ strips. Sound confusing? Yes, the wording probably is, but please refer back to the photos above or below.

    Wood Glue

    Next, glue the cut poplar hobby board pieces to the back and bottom of the frame.

    Wood Pieces

    Lookin’ pretty good!

    Bird Feeder Assembly

    Then, use the drill with a small drill bit to create two slits (I did 3 holes in a line for each) in the back of the feeder for the hose clamp to go through. The clamp will go around the wine bottle and through the back where you will be able to adjust the tightness.

    Hose Clamp Attachment

    After that, paint or stain your feeder. I chose white paint (shocker) and once everything was dry, I added the wine bottle with birdseed. To place it, turn the feeder upside down insert the bottle through the hose clamp and tighten it on the back, leaving just a few centimeters between neck of the bottle and the bottom of the bird feeder.

    Bird Feeder Food

    Doesn’t it look cool!?! I placed ours on top of an outdoor shelf on our fence, but you could easily add some hardware to hang it or attach a stake to the back and place it in the ground. Hopefully, we get some sweet birdies to come and visit, however, I’m sure the squirrels are plotting their bird feed takeover.

    Wine Bottle Bird Feeder

    Check out the other super fun projects in this challenge by clicking on the images below!

    Image Map

     

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  • Family, Kids, Pets

    Beat the Summer Heat with an Ice Block Treasure Hunt

    My kids will start their new school year in about three weeks. But until then, we are doing whatever we can to stay cool in this 90 degree weather we’ve been having. I have been sneaking my kids’ toys and freezing them in a bowl of water to beat the summer heat with an ice block treasure hunt. I have seen this project done a few different places across the web and my kids have enjoyed it so much that I wanted to spread the joy.

    Beat the Summer Heat with an Ice Treasure Hunt

    Supplies

    Plastic toys
    Freezer safe bowls
    Water
    Wooden Hammer
    Bowl of warm water
    Scoop

    Step 1:
    Place the plastic toy in a freezer safe container.

    Fun Kid Outdoor Activity

    Step 2:
    Add enough water to the bowl to cover toy completely.

    Freeze and Thaw Toys

    Step 3:
    Place the bowl in the freezer. I usually do more than one at a time and let them freeze overnight.

    Ice Treasure Hunt

    Step 4:
    Take the bowl out of the freezer and gently remove the ice block from the container. If you are having a hard time releasing the ice from the bowl, scoop a little Luke-warm water on the bottom. My kids work in their water table. I find that it is a lot less mess this way. If you do not have a water table, I am sure a plastic container would do just fine too.

    *Do not hit glass container with hammer. That never turns out good. Trust me.

    Water Table Ideas

    Step 5:
    Use hammer, Luke-warm water, and scoop to thaw the ice and free the toy.

    Science Activity for Kids

    Freeze Toys in Ice

    Well, that’s all there is to it. Pretty simple huh? My kids LOVE this so much that they can get hours of enjoyment out of it each time we do it.

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