Side yard hopscotch with DIY stepping stones

Sponsored post Hopscotch in side yardI've been debating for years about what I wanted to do with our skinny side yard. We need to leave it unobstructed because it's the main pathway to our backyard, but I hated that it would turn into a wet and muddy mess every time it rains. Doing stones of some sort that you could walk over, wheel barrow over, and also keep the side yard from getting swampy made a whole lot of sense, but I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. That was until I visited Swansons Nursery in Seattle and started talking to their team about what made sense for a marshy yard. WP_20160521_16_45_24_RichWe decided we needed to dig the side yard down, add a weed barrier, and then add sand and fill dirt along with some stepping stones. After that was complete, we could add some ground cover plants that would help with drainage and keep the side yard from turning into a mud pit.WP_20160521_14_16_52_RichInspiration really struck when I started filling up Swansons` boxes with plants and ground covers and realized that the box I was loading them in was the perfect stepping stone size.WP_20160521_16_36_49_RichMore specifically, they were perfect hopscotch size. If we made our own hopscotch stones and laid them in our skinny side yard, we could actually utilize the space better to make it a play space as well as a pathway. With a smaller, urban yard I'm always looking for ways of maximizing space, and making it dual purpose is always a win. Plants ftom Swansons

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Alice in Wonderland inspired wall art on photo canvas

Do You Suppose She's a WildflowerWe love Alice in Wonderland around here. Like, really, really love it. In honor of the release of the new movie, Alice Through The Looking Glass, we're sharing one of our favorite Alice-inspired pieces.

A few years ago, I went down the rabbit hole of Etsy {no pun intended} looking for Alice art. In my search, I was reminded of one of my favorite lines of the Disney animated Alice In Wonderland film: "Do You Suppose She's A Wildflower?" Alice canvas beforeI got the idea to put the quote on a picture I took of my baby {who clearly is a wildflower}, and print it on a canvas for her. I used basic clip art shapes to designate wildflowers, and used a fun Mad Hatter-style script to play up the theme.

 

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The complete guide to storing and organizing children’s clothing: hand-me-downs, outgrown clothing, and long term storage

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ZiplocSavesSpace #CollectiveBias The Complete Guide to Organizing and Storing Children's ClothingI love the spread of ages of my children in most instances. I love that the three of them are incredibly close friends, but just enough apart in age so that they each have their own time to shine in their different stages. Really, the only time the age difference bothers me is when I’m packing, storing, and then keeping track of all these different sized clothes, blankets, and seasonal gear. Space Bags organizing messBut, as miserable as running my own personal small children’s boutique can be at times, there is nothing sweeter than knowing that all of my children wore a beloved item, or when I realize how many memories are in those tiny clothes they are handing down. Stories of places we’ve been together, people that gave us the clothes who are no longer with us, or simply amazing memories we’ve made while the kids were wearing the items. That makes it all worth it in the end.

Ready to get started organizing all your little ones’ clothing? Great!

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For the DIY master: Craftsman Extreme GRIP tools

Sponsored postDo you have a handy man/woman on your list? If so, you will want to head into a Sears store to see their awesome deals on Craftsman tools just in time for holiday gifting.

When picking tools, I’m always thinking of our next DIY projects. We always have a few projects we’d like to complete, and 2016 is shaping up to have a pretty long to-do list, so I thought new tools would make the prospect of house repairs a little bit more exciting. Craftsman Extreme Grip 5pc socket set

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Upgrade your walls with photo art from AdoramaPix

Sponsored postOh, AdoramaPix, where have you been my whole life? My walls have never been happier. Adorama happy wallsEver since I was little, I have loved photography and have taken way too many pictures. But the problem has always been getting those pictures printed. Back when film was my medium, I would save up money to get rolls of film developed at the drug store and whatever teenager that was on duty would process them, which was mostly awful. Then, once everything went digital, I would order prints either from kiosks or online, but either way, the quality was always subpar.

Other labs, pay attention. This is how you do it. AdoramaPix prints and art

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Neposmart: the customizable and wireless camera system that grows with you

Sponsored post Control and monitor your home with NeposmartThe sound of little feet running around the house can be quite comforting, but it’s pretty awful when those sounds are followed by a loud thump or crash. This is why as soon as our kids were mobile we started looking into cameras to use throughout the house to better keep an eye on the kids – day and night.

What started off as a baby monitor search has morphed into a search for a camera system that can be used well after the baby stage to keep our whole house secure. With break-ins becoming more and more commonplace, we wanted something that would allow us to watch our home, even when we were across the country.

Our search led us to the Neposmart IP camera system, which was the only system we found that had everything we were looking for and more. This is far more than just a wireless home security camera; the Neposmart is an intelligently designed system you can operate remotely via your smartphone to survey and interact with your home.

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Laundry room re-do with Blinds.com

Sponsored post basic disclosure Laundry room storage solutionWhen we moved into our house almost 7 years ago, I was so excited to finally have a laundry room. It seemed like a pretty nice upgrade from our “laundry closet” of our rental house and an awesome improvement over our “laundry kitchen” at our past house.

But, then I didn’t quite know what to do with the room once I had it. It was an awkward, L-shaped space that came complete with an ugly Utilitub, a useless wire shelf, and no good place to put the washer and dryer. Thank goodness I found Blinds.com, because it gave me the inspiration I needed to finish the space and create a separate and functional room that is truly fun to enter.

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How to host your own upcycling party {Singer VIVO Repair & Create machine}

Upcycling party with Singer
You know those times when everything in your closet just seems so boring? Whether you haven’t been shopping since you were in high school or your body has changed and you’re still wearing your old clothing, chances are you have a stack of clothes in your closet taking up space that you really don’t want to be wearing anymore. 

I know I did, as did my friends, so we decided to get together to make a negative into a very big positive. Instead of going shopping together and blowing a few hundred dollars between us while we updated our wardrobes, we did something a whole lot more fun and cost effective – we upcycled our clothing. 

For those not familiar with the term “upcycle”, the basic idea is that you use what you already have and are not using to create something new and fabulous that you would have otherwise had to buy. Think of it as the greener way to recycle.   

So, to start my party off, I had all of the guests create two bags full of stuff beforehand – stuff they like but want to make amazing in one bag and stuff they really don’t want any more but can still be used for parts in the second.

Welcome to Upcycling partyImmediately upon walking into the party, they were greeted with two felt bins – one to dump their discards into for everyone to use as material, and one for the clothing they would like to upcycle. Once everyone had arrived, we went through the contents of the first bin together so everyone could see what materials they had to work with.

The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” comes to mind as digging through the discard bin quickly turned into a clothing swap where everyone grabbed a few new-to-them items. Hey, it's green and resourceful. 

But, our purpose wasn't just to swap clothing, we were here to make our clothing awesome, which is why we had this little baby by our side:

Singer Vivo

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DIY home photography studio with a mini roller shade


Sponsored post basic disclosure
One of the biggest surprises I had after becoming a blogger was how much photography would consume my life. Now, instead of just making meals for my family, I photograph every step up until the food goes onto our plates. Instead of just reviewing things, I also take pictures of every single angle and set up scenes in my home. 

With my photography degree and the fact that I always have a camera handy, I was actually happy when I realized how blogging would force me to use the more technical information I learned back in the studio in college. I love taking pictures of my kids as much as the next person, but sometimes it's fun to play around with light a little bit to see what you come up with and studio shots give me a chance to do just that.

But, what has changed is the format I use when shooting. I used to shoot all in film, and I photographed subjects on a seamless room painted a matte white. Now, I shoot all digital and my subjects range from face creams to apple pie, usually quickly snapped before we all dig into whatever food or package I was photographing. Obviously, I didn't need a huge studio anymore, but I still needed… something.

A mini roller shade from Blinds.com is what I came up with, situated right by my biggest source of light – the sliding glass window.DIY photography background

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Secure your TV with SANUS {tilting TV wall mount}

I’m sure everyone out there has read the horrifying stories about little kids climbing furniture and pulling it down on themselves, but I’ve got one more for you.  About ten years ago, my little niece climbed the drawers on a dresser in her older brother’s room to change the channel on his TV.  Since the … Read more