I’m in the House and I’m Saving Astronauts!

May 25, 2020 at 7:53 pm (Family Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Me may be in the house, but we aren’t bored! We have been saving astronauts around here!

Yes, astronauts. We found a new family fun activity and had to share!

It’s interactive and had us all using our brains!

We recieved a packet with a map, puzzles, and clues. You get started by texting the abandoned astronaut lost in another dimension. She texts back and asks for you help. She gives you clues, helping your family work through the puzzles and brain teasers in order to find the information that will help to return her to Earth.

Through communicating with the astronaut via text, we were able to figure out the puzzles and find the clues to return her home safely! It was like we were really in this with her!

We all played together (while the 2 year old napped) and it definitely was fun for all ages! The puzzles even had the teen and adults wracking our brains. The 7 year old loved helping and setting up our clue station. He was super amused with how you figure out some of the clues!

Overall, we all had a blast! What a fun way to get in some family time and do something totally different during these times where we are cooped up a little too much! We highly recommend!

Right now you can use code jessimariel for 10% off at Adventurous.co. Also, go give them a follow on IG at @adventurousco

I hope you all enjoy! Let me know what you think! πŸ˜‰

Xx,

Jess

*I have been gifted the game and compensated for the post, but all opinions are my own!*

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Quarantine Ideas

April 28, 2020 at 6:36 am (Family Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We remind the kids every day that we are “safe at home”, not “stuck at home”. And truly, we are blessed. But, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming having everyone here full time. I want to keep them all entertained, educated, occupied, happy…

Here are just a few ideas that may help during this time!

1. Follow my craft idea board on Pinterest! I add ideas to it as I see them, so check it out for some of the things we have tried and some we still hope to try!

We have loved some of these! One true favorite was shaving cream art! Smear down shaving cream in a pan, add drops of food coloring and swirl them in any pattern with the end of a paintbrush. Lay a thick piece of paper on the colored cream and press. Lift up and scrape cream off the paper with a spatula. Look what it leaves behind!

2. Educational apps that make learning fun! I know we all try to limit screen time. But we all need a break and a little help too! There are several we love, but one that the 6 year old can use by himself is Book Prunelle. It’s an ebook platform for kids , featuring powerful stories to inspire them to become the next generation of conscious kids. They tackle challenging topics in an entertaining and child-friendly way to help kids grown mindful and kind-hearted. Cool, right?!

You pay for a subscription by month or year, but right now you can try the first month for free! And you can use the code JESSIMARIEL5 off of either subscription too!

They have books like this one explaining the Corona Virus in terms kids understand!

3. Read with Dolly on Thursdays! The boys both loved this for some reason! Dolly Parton reads a story live on YouTube every Thursday and saves it to her channel to watch anytime. The boys were glued. And mom cleaned the kitchen! πŸ˜‰

4. Duo appto facetime anyone. Maybe you knew about this? I did not, but was so happy to learn! With this app, any type of phone can video call one another. Now the kids can video call with grandma and grandpa!

5. Neveo journal making! Neveo lets you add photos all month to an app and at the end of the month they put together your pictures and captions into a journal to be send to grandparents, friends, etc. So helpful for keeping up with some of those seniors that can’t get out right now! Use the code SUPPORT for two free months of 50 photo journals!

I hope these little ideas help even a tad bit. Hang in there. Give yourself grace. We’ve got this.

XX,

Jess

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The Landing Strip

April 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A landing strip, a command center, the drop spot. No matter what you call it, every house should have one. It’s a place for all the family “stuff”.

I call it a landing strip. In this house we actually have it split up a little, but it’s whatever works for you! When you come in our backdoor, we have hooks for each family member. Bag and coat go there. There’s a little hook station for car keys. And we have a small rack holding bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, wireless speaker, etc. But there’s still other “stuff” that accumulates. What do you do with it?! Enter our landing strip.

He we have a stash spot for everything else so that we stay organized and don’t lose important things! We use the chalk board for calendar notes and grocery lists. And each of the boys and mom and dad have a basket. We put bills in ours. The boys put homework and such in theirs. I keep a pen jar on the shelf. Here is stash stamps, a candle lighter, a marker, and pens. If you need more than that they you have to go upstairs to the office. πŸ˜†

The antique mirror got a metal insert painted with chalk paint. The little chalk marker tray below it is an antique door stop out of an old barn. The baskets are from Hobby Lobby. The shelf is a custom design I requested from Jason. He added and welded the flourish at the top of the brackets.

Here’s my tid bit of advice. Have a place for the “stuff”, whatever you may call it. I truly believe in “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Even if you don’t organize that far, at least set up a zone with a calendar and pens and notepad. Have a spot where you put mail and homework. Always put your keys in the same location. I promise you that these tricks will prevent you from losing important things or searching frantically for the lost items!

And just for fun, here’s a shot of what it looks like more often than not. πŸ˜‰

Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Frame Hanger Project

April 15, 2020 at 12:09 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I love old picture frames. All kinds. I’ve got a hallway of empty ones upstairs. Sometimes I fill them. Sometimes I paint them. And sometimes I do something fun with them…

This frame I once painted black with a silver line. Years ago. I was over it. (Ignore the ugly paneling in the upstairs hall we hope to rip out soon)

I wanted something lighter and brighter for my office. And I needed a place to hang some of my beautiful Parabo Press photos. (If you haven’t ordered from them, you must. They are gorgeous)

So first I lightly sanded the frame. Then I painted it white. I used wall paint for this project because it’s what I had. And its quarantine. And this step wasn’t super important for this project. It took 2-3 coats, but doesn’t need to be perfect.

Then I sanded with a foam sanding block. I scraped the edges and roughed up the centers. Go slowly and start lightly. Keep going until you love it.

Then, because I wanted just a little something more for this one, I used a small brush and “dry brushed” on some charcoal gray paint. This means I dipped a tiny amount on the brush and then swiped most of it off onto a paper plate. When the brush is almost dry, wipe it on the frame. It will give you just a tiny bit of paint and give a smudge-y look. I used a paper towel to rub this in as I added it too. It came out nice and weathered.

Then to add some wire. You could use twine or ribbon, or whatever you have. I had some picture hanging wire from a hanging kit. I cut it slightly longer than the width of the frame, maybe a half inch extra on each side. Then I pulled it tight across the frame and used a staple fun to staple it in place. I twisted the extra ends into a little ball to help keep it in place.

You can get tiny clothes pins on Amazon.

And viola!

I’ve also done this before with chicken wire…

What do you think?

Doing any quarantine projects?!

XX,

Jess

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Bathroom Update

March 25, 2020 at 6:47 am (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I thought we were going to live with the 85% bathroom update for a while. But we got a little shove to take it to 98% done now. 🀣 What this means is that we redid the flooring! Yay! And we added a mirror and a couple more custom shelves in the laundry room.

We used snap-in wood and vinyl flooring and it was super easy! Except for dealing with the uniqueness of an antique house with crooked walls and missing trim, etc, but we managed and it’s been amazing and seems super durable already. We ended up going with large quarter round as trim because we need to hide some of those flaws from a very old house. But I love the look here!

The ONLY thing left is to replace the faucet. Soon. We are going to live with the sink and counter top for a while, but I can deal with that.

How cute are the little shelves holding laundry items?! We made them the same way, with plumbing pipes and hand whitewashed boards.

Remember, this is a mini refresh, (see the before shots, yikes, 2 posts back!) not a total overhaul, so this girl will still have to dream of one day having a stacking washer and dryer and wall cabinetry. This is gorgeous to me for now! πŸ˜‰

Xx,

Jess

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Best For Baby And The Environment

March 18, 2020 at 6:53 am (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Two kids in and we’ve tried them all. Diapers. A must have. But they also must work. And I’ve found the ones!

NEST BABY DIAPERS!

First of all, these work. They do their job. I know that every kiddo is different and different things work best for each, but these are universally amazing. They have a slightly bigger fit, which seems helpful in preventing leaks! Daytime, and even all night, we have yet to experience a leak!

Next, they are easy on sensitive skin. Second babe gets rashy easily and diapers usually seem to add moisture and make this worse. Not these. Nest’s diapers are hypoallergenic, with skin-safe materials throughout. They are free of harmful chemicals and known allergens. Soft, super absorbent, and easy on all skin types.

Third, I want to use a brand that is more eco friendly. Nest’s diapers are made of all plant based materials- wood, bamboo cane, and are completely compostable.

Lastly, I don’t want to break the bank for something that ultimately is a toilet. These diapers are competitively priced! And that combined with how well they work and their benefits makes them the ultimate win!

Eco-friendly, sustainable materials, soft, absorbent, gentle on sensitive skin, affordable and mailed right to you…what else could you want in a diaper?!

Find them in select Meijer stores now. Or here on Amazon too!

XX,

Jess

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Saving a Little Fun Money

March 5, 2020 at 5:53 am (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Money is tight, I’m right there with you. But I want to show my kids things and have fun too. Here are a few simple ways that I have found to grow a little bit of a “fun money” fund and set aside to do some family things, or whatever your heart desires!

Ibotta– (referral code irrqbz) This app really is legit. When I shop, just as I normally would for everyday items and necessities, I search the app for deals on things I got. If I I some, I scan my receipt and get money back. They add it to your account and you can cash out via paypal or other gift cards once you hit $20. It’s a little slow, but free money! Sometimes I check the app before I shop to see if there’s a good deal going on for something we use anyway even if it wasn’t on my list, but in general just shop as normal then scan. If you use my code we can help each other as a team to earn bonuses. Score! See below for how much I’ve earned this way!

Ebates– Same idea, but use when shopping online. You start through the app and then search for the store you want to shop at. Money is added up and a check is sent out to you quarterly. I have cashed the checks and they are legit too! See below!

Receipt Hog– This one you just scan any receipts you get into the app. They give you points for each one. Once you add up to so many points you can cash out via PayPal or other methods. Super easy and I scan I receipts I’m already getting, gas, groceries, etc. I’ve made a little cash so far.

My big tip when doing this is to take the cash out directly and immediately add it to an envelope or jar and stash it away. Why? So that it doesn’t get spent on everyday stuff. This helps me to really keep it “extra” money and see it add up. I add money to this envelope that I get from anything extra, maybe selling some clothes or a furniture project I do.

A couple more to possibly try:

Door Dash- I’ve signed up to be a delivery driver just for some pocket cash, and since I’m always out and about anyway, but haven’t found any jobs in my area yet. Keep you posted!

Amazon Product testing- there are several sites you can do this through. But beware that you may eventually add up enough “income” that taxes may need to be filed. I’ve been told that the expenses would outweigh the income, so this may not be an issue. I’ve used PPOC before and made a little cash.

I also sell our clothes and items that we outgrow, especially baby things, through local resale shops or Stuff, Etc.

Good luck saving for something fun! What are you hoping to save up for?!

XX,

Jess

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Must Have Baby Items You Didn’t Know You Needed

February 24, 2020 at 7:55 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So many options when it comes to baby items now days! Its confusing and overwhelming. And some of those things you just plain don’t need to waste your money on. Here’s a list of things that you probably didn’t know you needed, but that I’ve found to be so helpful! Honestly!

Travel Plate- This has been one of the most handy inventions I’ve used with both the boys! Since it’s got it’s own case, I just fold up the dirty mat when we are out and put it back in the case to clean when we get home. So simple!

Travel Spoon– Handy when they are using purees and soft baby food still. You can fill this guy with food and there’s so much less mess! It’s even got a cover for the end.

Rubber Changing Pad– This one by Ubbi is so handy. Easy to wipe, roll, fold, it makes diapering on the go so much easier.

Roll-up Changing Clutch– I adore my diaper bag, but sometimes I don’t want to haul the whole thing if I’m just running in somewhere. This clutch can fit in my purse and get even smaller if I unzip the pad portion. Just the necessities for quick jonts!

Dream Egg Sound Machine– This is the most portable sound machine I’ve seen. Lots of noise and volume options, plus its wireless. Charge it and go. It can even be used in the car or stroller, etc. So handy for anyone, not just babies!

Baby Nest- There are lots of options out there, but we love ours from Doreen’s Bibs and Bobs. It’s cute, handy, and portable. We still use ours at almost age 2 and take it on trips too! It seems to keep kiddo nice and cozy.

Convertible High Chair– Seriously, if you going to use a high chair, make sure it’s convertible. I had an older Graco version for the oldest and this new model does so much more and therefore is so much more handy. It can be attached to a chair as a booster, the back can be removed for more space, the base itself can be a stool seat for older kids. It really has all the features we need, including folding up and the tray hangs on the back!

Tush Baby- One of the things I found with kiddo #2 is the Tush Baby and I love it! He always wants to be carried, but also get down and look. I’m sure you can all relate! This thing saves my hips and makes it easy to carry forward or backward, front or hip, and he can go up and down to his heart’s desire. So handy!

A Great Looking Diaper Bag- Ok, it’s not a necessity, but it sure does make momming a lot more fun. I’ve had many, loved several, but this Lily Jade bag takes the cake. Its gorgeous. Plus it can be a backpack, or the straps stow away to be a should or cross-body bag. It’s so spacious without being too big or heavy to carry too. I carry everything but the kitchen sink I’m here with me. Its officially my purse/ diaper bag. I just call that the mom bag. ❀

Hope these ideas help you too! Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Bath/Laundry Room Update

February 11, 2020 at 8:38 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We knew we wanted a fixer-upper, and we sure got it with this one! But we are enjoying putting in the work and making it into what we want for a home. The bathroom was no exception. We can’t afford a complete gut and overhaul of every room (I wish!), so this is a little refresh.

Before:

After:

We will put a new faucet in soon and plan to redo the bath and laundry room floors in a few months. But for now, wow. Its clean. Its peaceful. I’m in love.

We made the bathroom hook boards because in old houses you are at the mercy of where the studs may or may not be when hanging things. Attach the hooks in the spacing you want and then attach the boards to the wall where the studs allow.

We also made the shelves ourselves and hand “grayed” the boards by smearing white paint with fingers. Tedious but so worth it. The brackets are plumbing hardware and can be found at Mendards. We painted the parts with a light oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

We made the jar light fixture by painting the old silver fixture with oil rubbed bronze paint and adding the jars. We took solid jar lids and made holes in them to fix the jars to the fixture. Once it’s all painted you can’t see what method you used to attach them.

All on a budget for a quick fix up. We did add a new shower, as ours was a walk in when we bought the house and we needed a tub for the kids. Paint and curtains, and especially shelving, make a huge, but affordable difference!

Here are some fun detail shots.

A few detail links:

Curtains

Towels

Light fixtures

Amber jars

Wood laundry sign

Laundry rack

What do you think? Any recommendations?

Xx,

Jess

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Quick and Easy Valentine’s DIY

February 6, 2020 at 8:53 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I made these fabric hearts last year and loved them so much I put them out again this year!

It’s so simple that it doesn’t require much instruction, but a fun project for anyone because there are so many possibilities! I used scrap fabric that I had on hand, making this super inexpensive too! I picked a couple fabrics that complimented one another and had a rustic vibe. You could use anything at all! The only other supplies you need are liquid stitch (always handy to have a tube on hand!) and some stuffing. You can get both of these at your local craft store or a Walmart. The stuffing sold here at our Walmart was in too large of a bag and I knew I didn’t want a ton. So, quick fix was to buy a small pillow insert at Walmart. This was about $4 and I have plenty left for more projects.

Start by drawing a heart on cardboard. Try a cereal or cracker box! Then trace this heart onto the backside of your fabric. Do sets of two hearts in matching fabric. Then run a bead of the fabric glue around the heart. Leave a few inches unglued. I left a quarter inch or so around the edge. I used a few binder clips to hold these while drying. You could also set a book on them. When they are dry, stuff fabric into them. Doing it in this order allows you to fill them full and puffy without ungluing. Now add glue to the last few inches and clip to dry. You could always add sequins, embellishments, ribbon, or any extras too.

The other little white heart was super simple too. I used a cardboard hear, made little cuts around the outside, and wrapped yard around the heart. The cuts helps hold the yarn in place for the first layer of wrapping. Wrap all different directions. Glue with the fabric glue. Simple!

Viola! Hope you enjoy this quick and easy project!

Xx,

Jess

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