Frugal momma strikes again!

imageI love having my littles ones help me in the kitchen. Especially now that my 5 year old has appointed herself head dishwasher! ( We will see how long that lasts.) What I don’t love is having my kitchen chairs pulled all over the kitchen and having multiple children trying to climb on one stool so they can see what moms doing and lend a helping hand. Some time ago in an effort to combat this problem I started looking for solutions and I came across The Learning Tower. While I was very impressed with the reviews I read, there was no way I was going to part with $199 to buy one. Fast forward 6 months…,imagine my surprise this evening when I popped into one of our local thrift store and saw this pushed into a corner with a sticker that read $3.99! Oh yeah! For $4.24 (including tax) this lovely stool is in my kitchen. Granted it has some wear and could benefit from a fresh coat of paint but for now, I’m just tickled with this thrift store surprise!


DIY Lego Trays

One of the gifts The Handyman made for the children for Christmas was Lego building trays with storage.  I  was inspired by Somewhat Simples Plan.  Each of the children got Legos this Christmas.  Sunshine got Legos from the Girls Lego Friends line.  Rose got pink Duplo Princess Sets and Mowgli got a Duplo Zoo set and Dinosaur Train Mega Bloks. That doesn’t include the sets they got from grandparents! I was more than a little concerned about storage for all of these block.  If you have never stepped on a Lego with bare feet, let me assure you that it is not fun!

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The Handyman used the gray Lego baseplate for Sunshines tray and the Duplo baseplates for the little ones trays. It occurred to me that by adjusting the size of the tray just a little, they would sit on top of the IKEA VESSLA rolling storage crates, which would be a great place to store Legos.

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The other great thing about these trays is that the  children can keep their creations together when its time to put Legos away.  To make the trays a little more versatile and to sit down on the crate, The Handyman dadoed the plywood base into the frame. He then added an outdoor carpet to the other side of the tray, making it a great place to play a hundred other games, blocks and puzzles. 

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One of the things I need to do yet is add the felt circles.  I can see that they will be critical to protecting both trays and floors.

The kids all love their new Legos and trays!  I love that they have a quick easy way to keep them cleaned up!


Winter Evergreen Decorations

All of the Chistmas decorations have now been safely packed away. I was going to throw out the evergreen arrangements we made in early December but I decided they still look too good to toss. So, I have deemed them “Winter” decorations and they will be staying for awhile. My favorite thing about these arrangements was that all of the plant material came from our home farm.  The antique skates and sled we found at moms, we used them both when we were kids.  Yeah… think these arrangements will be hanging around for awhile….they make me smile!




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DIY Canopy Doll Bed

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I thought I would share with you some of the projects we made for the kids for Christmas this year. This year The Handyman made Lego trays and and a canopy bed for Sunshines American Girl Doll. Some of the projects I worked on included the bedding for her AG doll bed, sleeping bags for all the kids (and dolls) and lots of doll clothes for Sunshine and Roses AG dolls.

Sunshine put a bed for her AG doll, Miracle, on her Santa list this year. Carolines Canopy bed from AG is very pretty but I wasnt feeling the $125.00 price tag. I also really like the Madeline bed from Pottery Barn Kids but it was still $108.00 with bedding and honestly, it didnt get that great of reviews. So I enlisted the help of the Handyman. I found this plan for a doll canopy bed on Ana Whites website which I loved and it looked alot like the PBK bed.


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The Handy man had some help from his friend Ron who has a wonderful woodshop that he has been so gracious to share on several occasions. They ended up making some modifications to the plan. (As is usually the case) I decided not to add the finials on top of the posts but they did add some detailing on the posts. They also changed the shape of the headboard and footboard some and I think it turned out beautifully.

I made the mattress with a piece of 2 inch foam from Joanne’s. The drapes were made from an unused sheer panel I had hanging around in the basement. Actually it was from our old house and I only had the scarf but not the panels for some reason. I finished the edges and used adhesive Velcro dots to attach them so she can remove them if she wants to. The pillowcase and bedspread were made from a piece of silver silk I had in my sewing room. I originally was going to make a comforter with a removable duvet cover but it ended us just being a one piece comforter instead. Maybe I can talk grandma into making her an actual quilt for her bed.

Needless to say, Sunshine was thrilled Christmas morning with Miracles new bed! The first thing she said was how much she loved it. The second thing she said was, “Could you make one just like this for me?” Ohhhh honey……….

New life for an old crib rail

While we were cleaning out the barn at moms a few weeks ago we found 2 old drop side cribs. As soon as I saw them I knew what I wanted to do with them. 

Several years ago we put in a wooden burning stove in our basement.  As our outdoor activities have increased we have made a habit of coming in and out the basement door near the stove. Consequently, lots of wet boots, coats and gloves also get deposited there. They end up hanging over chairs and wood piles, which isn’t the best for drying. So, I asked the Handyman to hang one of the side rails from the ceiling to allow clothes to be hung up near the stove. 

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The only hardware the Handyman had to buy was 4 eyebolts and 4 large hooks.  He put an eyebolt through each of the 4 corners of the crib rails and used chain we had to attach the rail to hooks he screwed into the floor joists.  This way during warmer and drier weather the rack can be moved up if we want. The hooks we are using are actually meant for hanging baskets but they work quite well.  Voila!  $10.00 in hardware and in less than an hour, you’ve got a super efficient drying rack while saving one more thing from the landfill. Yeah!

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A new use (or shape anyway) for old crayons/ Valentines Day Craft

Last summer Sunshine left multiple boxes of crayons in the car for several weeks. Of course they melted together in a big lump. However being the pack rat that I am, I was certain we would use them for something ( maybe firestarters?) so I held on to them. Instead they have been reborn as cute valentine shaped crayons for her schoolmates.

Valentines Day Crayons
Turn oven on to 250 degrees.
Start by removing all paper from old, broken, or melted crayons.
Break crayons into smaller peices.
Place pieces of crayon into heart shaped cake pans. Pile each one up since they will shrink as they melt.
We used a silcone pan for mini X and O shaped cakes, but any shape would work. You could also use cupcake tins.

Place the pan in the oven to melt the crayons (about 10 – 15 minutes)
Remove pan from oven and allow crayons to cool completely before removing from pan.

We printed out cards on the computer to accompany our Valentine Crayons . “You color my world” You could also tie them on a ribbon for a cute necklace.

We had fun making them and Sunshine is very excited to share them with her friends. So dont throw those old crayons away yet.