Limiting your child’s TV and Computer time

This post is more about the great idea than the actual craft…

Recently in our family we had set a goal to watch less TV.  I just got lazy over the summer by turning on the TV or a computer game for the kids instead of encouraging them to go play outside, or better yet get on the floor and play with them.  My friend was having the same experience at her house and had turned off the television and said that she had loved the results, so we decided to give it a try.  Now that the TV has been off for a whole month I would ike to transition back to a limited healthy amount of TV.  I just feel like no TV all the time, for us, is unrealistic.  So I came up with this Computer and TV Token Jar.

I went to the dollar store and bought a bag of pirate play money and quickly put this jar and bag together.

First I cut a hole in the top of the lid.  I wish I had some great way to do it but I just used a hammer and nail to get it started and then some wire cutters and needle nose pliers to open up the hole.  I then covered it with some fabric using the hot glue gun.  I quickly sewed a mini draw-string bag and threaded some elastic through to keep the bag shut and to keep it attached to the jar.  Printed off some vinyl to label the jar and we were done.

Now the whole idea is that my son gets 10 tokens per week.  Each token is worth 30 minutes.  So he choses when we wants to use them and takes them out of the bag and puts them into the jar.  I then set the kitchen timer for 30 min and he can watch TV or play a computer game.  The first week he used all 10 tokens in 3 days.  He soon realized what a mistake that was and this week he has been more conservative in using his tokens.  It also makes me more aware of how much he is watching and playing instead of just turning it on and leaving it on.

This has been a very positive thing for our family to limit the amount of time in front of the screen.  My boys play together more, they are more creative and have been reading lots of books.

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Craft Fail? Blue Mason Jars

I hesitated sharing this project with you because I am not sure I loved how it turned out in the end.  But maybe you can learn from my mistakes and use some of the information I give you.

I had seen many tutorials online about creating your own antique blue tinted mason jars, so I thought I would try and make my own for more organization in my office.

I bought some glass paint at my local craft store.  (With a 50% off coupon it was only a couple dollars.) I then painted some mason jars that I had lying around.  At first the paint was too thick and I was not achieving the opaque look I was going for.  So I added some water to the paint and the brush and gave it a more tinted look, instead of the painted affect.

The paint bottle then says to put the glass in the oven, on your lowest setting for 30 minutes or so.  This supposedly sets the paint color.  While they were in the oven I spray painted the rings black.  There are not many things I like that are gold.  I do have a pair of gold sandals and one gold necklace and earrings to go with my sandals when I wear them.  But, other than that not much gold around here.

The jars turned out pretty well.  The paint did pool in a couple places and it looks like dry drops of paint in other spots instead of the blue tint I was going for.  But hey only a few dollars for something that is going for $25.00 on ebay.

I then took them down to my office to adhere them under the shelf for more storage.  I have quickly realized that hot glue is not as permanent as I thought it would be.  One jar has already fallen down, but it did not break.

I quickly found some crafting supplies to fill the jars and voila, More organization for the office!

Organizing toys so the kids know how to clean up!

I do not know why, but my kids toys need to be organized!  I guess I figure if they can’t find the pieces and toys are all over the place they will not go play with them.  Or maybe I just do not function well in chaos…

I am sure some of you are OK with just throwing all the toys into the same toy chest, out of sight out of mind right?  Not for me I have nightmares about those toys coming to life, like in Toy Story.

So the first thing I did was clean up and go through all the toys.  I do not keep toys that come from McDonald’s or that are broken.  I figure there are enough toys around that I do  not need to keep the random broken toys around.

I then went around and took over 50 pictures of the toys in their nice and organized bins and shelves.

Next I added words to the pictures using Picnic.  Like “blocks”, “Babies”, “Play Food” etc… to help my kids start to recognize words and learn to read.

I then printed the photos off at Costco for only a few dollars.

I brought the pictures home and taped them up around the room, on the shelves and coordinating boxes.

I have mentioned before how I run a preschool out of my home.  You would be amazed at how messy 15 preschoolers can make a room in a 45 minute play time (or maybe you would not!)  But I know you would be impressed to see how quickly these same preschoolers clean up.

On the first day of preschool I explained to them about matching the toys with the pictures and the first clean up time went amazingly well.  I was so impressed!

So if you are looking for a way to save a lot of your time and alleviate all of your frustrations, label and organize your toys.  I am so glad I did!

Home Tour-My House

So it dawned on me that if I am showing off other homes, that you guys might be interested in seeing my home.  Let me preface by saying when we bought our home 4 years ago it was a foreclosure and we had to put on rose-colored glasses to really see its potential.  Our home needed a lot of work, and although we have done a lot, they are still many more projects on the “to-do list”.

So with that said let’s start with the Master Bedroom:

Although our room is small, it is all we need.  I mean all we do is sleep in here…well, I guess some other stuff too. 🙂  The glass antique door leads to our closet.

Next up the Master Bathroom:

This has been our largest home project yet.  We gutted the whole room took out the closet and added a walk in shower and bathtub.  I absolutely love the spa feel.  There are no windows in this room so I knew I needed to make it light and bright, success!

Onto my Little Boys Room:

Lots of color and books and space to read.  We do not keep toys in their room because they would never go to sleep.  But they do love to look at books so we keep plenty of those around!

Now the Family Room:

This is where we spend most of our time.  Of course I look at this and think about how I want to paint the walls and the entertainment center a lighter color, but that would be a lot of work!  My husband built the shelves.

Next up the Timeout Hallway:

I did paint the “Be Kind to Others” canvas.  I copied it from one I found online…don’t tell.

The Main Bathroom off of the family room:

We tiled, painted, new light, and redid the cupboards and frame around the mirror.  I also painted this painting as well.

Then onto the Kitchen:

You would never guess but in this kitchen I can cook, get things out of the fridge, and clean the dishes without ever moving my feet.  It is fantastic 🙂

The Living Room:

It is nice to have a room set apart from the main part of the house that is usually kept clean.  This way when visitors come over they is at least one room that is presentable.  And you might sense a theme here, but I painted the one over the fireplace…art work is just too expensive, so I do my own!

Entryway:

I guess I could have started here since this is what you see when you first come into my home.  But it is not one of my favorites.  It is pretty small and therefore makes it difficult to greet and say farewell to our visitors, but we make it work.  (Yes, I am a quilter as well.)

Down to the Basement:

I teach preschool out of my home, so this part of the house is taken over by my kids and lots of others 3 and 4 year olds.  It is nice to have this big space for children to play, especially in the winter when we never see the sun!

Downstairs Bathroom:

Not my favorite part of the house.  I think this was a last minute addition of those who finished the basement.  But it works and someday we will do something more with it.

Almost done, stick with me…The Guest Room:

It is great to have a guest room for family and friends to stay.  This room has been used many times and we love when it is.  Come visit anytime!

Last room is the Office/Craft Room:

This has been my current project for a while now and it still is in the works.  To see more of the office go here, here and here.

So that is it, our home.  If there is anything you want to see more of or hear more about please let me know in the comments.  I would love to do more posts on things you guys are interested in.  Thanks for coming to visit!

A Wreath for Every Season…Well almost!

One of the first things I noticed when we were looking to buy our home was the large empty space that connected our living room to the basement stairwell.  Right away it beckoned to me to fill it with something.  At first I thought I could find a cool stained glass window to add some color.  But then I spotted these old 3 pained windows that I knew would be perfect.  The first step was a new coat of white paint on these beauties  The next step was to find wreaths to hang.

Over the past 4 years I have collected 3 sets of wreaths.  You would be surprised how hard it is to find a pair of inexpensive wreaths.  It is easy to find one on clearance or at a garage sale, but not two!

First up is the Fall/ Autumn Wreaths

I bought these ones at Robert Arts and Crafts at an end of season clearance.  I have a long garland that goes with them that I hang on the fireplace.  I just added ribbon to hang them and they were ready to go.

The other thing I have to be careful of, is that the wreaths look OK through the back of the windows.  Since this is the view that you see when you fist come in my house.  No ugly styrofoam peeking out the back.

Then there is the Christmas Wreaths:

I know apples are not necessarily Christmasy, but with the evergreen branches, pine cones and the ribbon I wrapped around, it makes it look like the holidays to me.  I use this same ribbon in my tree as well to pull it all together.

Lastly there is the spring/summer wreaths.

When I bought these ones I added the red and yellow flowers to go with the rest of the colors in my living room.So my dilemma every year has been what wreath do I hang up after Christmas until Spring?  I have been pinning some wreaths on Pinterest to see if I can get inspired to create a 4th set of wreaths.  Have you seen anything around that would work for that time of year?

Craft Space Peg Board-Tutorial

I have seen a few peg boards used in craft spaces around blog-land. Including this one by Nest of Posies:
Before I thought that peg boards were only for husbands in the garage who wanted to organize their tools.  Once I saw these I realized it was a great way to organize craft tools as well.  So I bought some materials and got to work.

I first laid out my materials:  The peg board I found at Home Depot for under $10. (They sell them cut there, at Lowes they only sell the whole sheet.)

Then call on your husbands help to cut some wood for you with the chop saw.  My husband thinks it is great that I require the power tools just as much as he does.Then pull out the hand sander and give it a once or twice over to make the boards smooth.

Then onto painting.  I pulled out the Glidden free quart of paint I got in the mail.

Color: True Tourquoise

Next sand and ink the boards to give it more of a distressed and worn look.

Then call back the trusty helping and husband to pull out and help with the nail gun.

And the peg board is done!

Well almost, the best part is the organizing.

I got the baskets pegs and hooks for around $20.  This was the most expensive part of the project, but so worth it.  There is such a variety for hanging everything you own.

I love how it turned out and how everything I use most often is right at my fingertips.

Now that stool really needs a new paint job!

Fancy Framed Burlap Cork Board

This was a guest post that I shared over at Family Ever After a couple of weeks ago.  I thought you would want to see it here as well!

Today I wanted to share with you a frame that I gave a second chance at life as a bulletin board.

I think the frame used to be a mirror.  I got it for free from my step mom who was cleaning out her home.  Who could pass that up?  For sure not me!

First grab some materials:

Then a couple coats of white spray paint.Can I quickly confess my love for spray paint!  Such a quick cheap fix to anything.  Here and here are a couple more things I have spray painted recently.

While it was drying I worked on the insert.It already had a piece of cardboard inside the frame so I covered that in cork board.  This came in a roll from Hobby Lobby for around $7.  (Don’t forget to take your 40% off coupon!)  You can see the arrow is where I had to piece it together a bit.  You will not see this later when I cover it.

I then pulled out my can of spray adhesive and some left over burlap.  (I was surprised how inexpensive burlap is!  I may have to use this more often.)  I attached the burlap to the card/cork board and even used the spray adhesive to wrap it around the back.

I then sandwiched it all together.  (If you look close you will notice I screwed in the back upside down.  But of course I did not notice until I went to hang it!)

Now before I show you the finished product let me show you the cute pins I made to hand the pictures.  Any cute bulletin board needs fancy pins too right?

This pack of 6 bottle caps came with round double-sided foam circles.  I stuck those on the back and then hot glued thumb tacks on.  Quick, easy and so fun!

So this is what we ended up with:

I think it goes great with my current office remodel.  Go here and here if you want to see more of what is going on the new office/craft/sewing room.