Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer Sit-Upon {DIY}

It's summer time! Even if the weather has been pretty mild lately, it's still time to get out and enjoy the out of doors. Whether you are a regular picnicker or an occasional ballgame watcher, you'll want something to sit on while you're out.

This DIY Summer Sit-Upon is the perfect solution.

For this easy project you'll need:
  • a flannel-baked vinyl tablecloth
  • a newspaper
  • colorful duct tape
  • two plastic grocery bags
  • a pair of scissors

 Step 1:

Place the newspapers inside the plastic bags. I like to do one bag going one way and then the other going the opposite way. You can add as many papers as you like, the thicker it is the softer it is to sit on, but it also gets heavy to carry. You want the plastic bags to cover the newspapers completely to help waterproof the final project. Tape the bags to secure them.

Step 2:

Place your plastic covered newspapers on the wrong side of the tablecloth and cut the tablecloth large enough to cover it completely. You don't want too much extra because that will make the wrapping and taping awkward in the next step.

Step 3: 

Fold the tablecloth to cover the newspapers. I like to make the seams on the sides, but you can make them in the middle if you'd like.  Use your decorative tape to seal the edges (or seams). You can also use the tape to create a design on the seat if you'd like.

In my example, I left some extra tablecloth at the top and cut a hole to make a handle. I sealed all around the cut-out so that it would not come apart.

That's it! You're done! You can easily carry this with you to any picnics or ballgames you attend this summer. We took ours to watch fireworks for the 4th of July. They are small enough to store in the van and carry with us most places. Even Benjamin can carry his without complaint. And the whole project cost less than $4!!

You can see more summer themed projects at the fellow Blog with Friends contributors:

Karen of Baking in a Tornado is sharing her Neapolitan Sundae Cake with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry sundae flavors all in a cake. With a cherry on top, of course!:
Robin of Someone Else's Genius has a tutorial for making this fun Pineapple Paradise Memory Wire bracelet:
Melissa of Home on Deranged has some tips for How to Choose an eReader so you can get some more summer reading done!
and Lydia of Cluttered Genius has some great ideas for Summer Activities to Keep the Kids Busy During Break:




Me and My Place in Space

Confession: I like where I live, but I don't like my house or my neighborhood. Does that make sense? My house is smaller than I'd like, with one bathroom and two bedrooms for five people. We are working on getting an upstairs room ready for Frances, but it's not a great bedroom. She'll be happy there, but I wouldn't want to sleep up there (it's hot in the summer/cool in the winter).

My neighborhood is in a nice location, but the neighbors are not great. To the right up the street are the "constantly working on their cars at all hours of the night" neighbors. To the left are the "we're in a band, but we only know one riff" neighbors. The neighbors on either side of us are fine, but they don't have kids, and don't seem to understand them. There are some kids down the street, but they have absolutely no parental supervision whatsoever. I cannot tell you how many times I have almost run them over when they dart out into the street on their bikes. I don't mind them coming over, but there's no room in the house and they disregard all my rules outside. That, or they try to lure my kids out into the road, which according to them is a perfectly safe place to play!

If I had a bigger house and a few different neighbors, though, I'd really love where we live. Why? Let's start from smallest to biggest:

1. My House: It may be less than ideal, but it's the first house Ken and I bought together. Our kids were born here and have spent their whole lives there. I do hope we'll be able to move at some point, but it will be sad to leave all our memories behind.

2. The Neighborhood: We are within walking distance of our schools, jobs, church, and grocery store. Ken frequently walks to and from work. We have walk and biked to school and church, and even the grocery store if we're not buying much. My commute is so short, the van doesn't really heat up in the winter or cool off in the summer before I get where I'm going!

2. The City: Harrisonburg is a great city. It's not too big or too small. It's a college town, so that attracts a wide variety of cultural activities. We also have lots of kid friendly events and venues to explore.

3. The Valley: The Shenandoah Valley region is gorgeous. If you come through this area, you'll want to check out this list of things to do.

4: The State: Virginia is a beautiful state, plus it is so much history! My kids have been able to participate in field trips Historic Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and the like. We're also close to the nation's capitol of Washington D. C. which has even more historically significant sites to visit.

5. The Coast: The East Coast is a good place to be. We are the dominant time zone when it comes to most TV viewing, so we are not usually subjected to time delays or spoilers. We've got lots of beaches to visit up and down the coast, and if you want to visit more states in less time, the East Coast is the place to be!

6: The Country: I don't know how to say this without privilege, but I'm thankful every day that I live in this country. We aren't a perfect country, by any means, but I think we have the potential to be amazing. I don't enjoy the constant fighting that seems to go on over different issues, but I do recognize the fact that there would be no fighting if we lived in a more dictatorial location where people are persecuted for speaking their minds.

7. The Western Hemisphere:  This is one I hadn't thought of until I was stretching to fill out ten items, but I think the Western Hemisphere is pretty cool! Home to North and South America, as well as the Caribbean, we've got a lot to talk about over here!

8. The Northern Hemisphere: As much as I'd love to visit Antarctica to visit some penguins and Australia for all the reasons mentioned in this post, I really prefer living in the Northern Hemisphere. I don't think I could adjust to wearing parkas in June or celebrating Christmas in my bathing suit!

9: The planet: I don't think I'll hear any arguments about this one! The planet Earth is just the best planet you could live on, hands down! It's not too close to the sun where you;d get burnt to a crisp. The atmosphere consists of almost 95% breathable air, and the gravity is just perfect for keeping us grounded.

10: The Solar System: Again, like Earth, this solar system is just perfect for sustaining life. Sure the sun may explode in about 5 billion years, but until then: this is the place to be!

Do you live in a cool place? Tell me about it!



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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Starting Off on the Right Foot

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. 

Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? I physically can't because my side of the bed is flush against the wall.  So are the kids', now that I think of it. Technically none of us can wake up on the wrong side of the bed because that would mean slamming your head into the wall first thing in the morning. Or maybe that's the whole idea behind the saying...

I digress. Whatever your feelings about mornings, we all have to wake up at some point. And we make a lot of choices immediately afterwards. We choose what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, what to pack for lunch, etc. In my house, we're also working at choosing our attitude for the day.


As a teen and young adult, one thing I remember hearing from my mom was to always dress nicely, especially when you don't feel well. You can trick yourself into feeling better if you choose to look better. There's actually lots of research into the science of happiness and it tells us that we really can "fake it til we make it."

Besides dressing nicely, another good way to trick your brain into happiness is with some positive thoughts first thing in the morning. Some people use prayer or meditation in this way. We also use the bathroom mirror!

I initially bought it so the kids could see their faces better when washing up or brushing teeth. It's actually the only full length mirror in the house, but we still don't use the top half that often. Instead of thinking of it as wasted space, I turned it into our positive thought for the day.

I was recently offered some liquid chalk markers to test out and they were perfect for updating my morning message! Stardom Craft's Liquid Chalk Markers come in a box of 18 assorted colors. They are perfect for writing on most non-porous surfaces: windows, mirrors, white board, metal, etc. They don't drip and they clean up easily (which I know for sure because it took me three tries to write the word "awesome"). They are non-toxic and safe for kids older than three to use. These markers have a chisel tip which is great for making thick, broad strokes as well as thin, detailed lines.

I try to update this mirror message at least once a month to keep it fresh and not let it become monotonous or something they ignore. I've used bible verses, seasonal song lyrics, or other quotes. My goal is to put positive thoughts into their heads as early as possible in the morning to remind them to choose a good attitude for the day. The bright colors and happy stripes and polka dots help too.

Stardom Crafts Liquid Chalk Markers are available for purchase on Amazon. You can also find them at StardomCrafts.com.

How do you start your day?


This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.  Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. Thanks for helping me support my family.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Going Through The Emotions

Funny things happen sometimes. I was trying to title this post "Going Through the Motions" as a shout out to one of my favorite Buffy episodes of all time, "Once More With Feeling." Buffy is feeling kinda blah with life. Directionless and wandering, she sings "Will I stay this way forever; sleepwalk through my life's endeavor?" That's how I've been feeling the past two weeks. Not bad, but not good either. Mostly just a blah. I'm in a funk. I'm perfectly willing to chalk this one up to hormones, which made it even more funny when I had a typo in the title field and wrote "Going Through the Emotions." I'll stick with that.



I've not been sleeping or eating well, and I know all those things are tied into my mental health as well. I'm not worried, I'm just waiting it out. I spent a good deal of time relaxing this weekend. I read a few books and watched some TV with the kids.

This week has been a good one. Frances has violin camp and she's doing really well with it. I got to listen to her group practicing yesterday and I teared up with how wonderful they sound. They will get to perform with a local band at a music festival next weekend and she's very excited about it. I love watching her grow her talent and blossom.

Henry has been spending the week with my friend Julie. He actually spent the night Monday night, in a last minute decision. He was fine with being away from home and I got really good reports about his attitude and behavior while he was gone. He's had a great time and I"m so thankful to Julie for being able to help me out.

Benjamin and I had a talk this week about not crying all the time. Usually when he doesn't get his way, his immediate response has been to turn on the waterworks. I kindly explained to him that he's getting to old for that sort of thing and it doesn't really work to get him his way anyway. I won't say the tears are over, but they aren't lasting as long lately.

Last night we went for a walk in the cemetery. Actually, the kids took their bikes/scooters and Ken and I walked. It was nice to watch them going in circles around us as we held hands and talked. They stopped at the "gas station" every few circuits to share some Gatorade from Ken's backpack. They laughed and giggled as they rode past each other. They lined up with no arguments when we said it was time to go home.

Life is good. I have nothing to complain about. It just seems that I'm going through lots of motions and emotions right now. I don't know the solution and I don't know that I necessarily need one. I think I can just wait this out. I'm giving it until this weekend before I start to worry, and maybe not even then.

Do you ever feel like you're going through motions or emotions? How long does it last? Can you pinpoint any causes?
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