Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fall List :: Good Deed Jar and a Freebie Friday

I don't know about you, but I am super excited for this Friday! Jason actually has the weekend off and we will *hopefully* be putting together the desks in our family room- the biggest project in there {so, naturally, the part that we have been putting off the most!}
For those of you sticking around to see me tackle off my little self-made Fall to-do list, THANKS! I plan to show off a few more next week as well as some of the other projects we have been working on over here.
So, we last left off with my little list looking like this:
{check out our new systems for our snacks, homework, and kitchen command center}

Next up, was to revamp our good deed system.
Awhile back, I had pinned these good deed cards and printed them up.
They worked out great, and our kids loved them. Every time they did something nice, they were given a hole punch. Once the card was full, they got to pick out something from our good deed box.
{the box is filled with candy and small toys.....they are only interested in the candy!}
The problem? The cards were often out of sight, and I had to do the punching-which meant that there were often times that I was in the other room, and would "owe" the kids a hole punch.
With the new school year coming, I really wanted to amp up this idea and get them excited again.
Then, in one of our gazillion trips to the thrift store, I ran across this object for only 99cents.

I have no clue what it is, or what it does (there are small hole in the bottom, so it's not a bud vase...), but it had three tubes (and we have three kiddos!), so it came home with me ;)
I gave it a quick coat of paint, added some scrapbook letters I already had. Already prettier! Our plan is to keep it on the counter where it is always in sight.

We purchased the glass rocks at our dollar store. Every time one of the kids do something nice, they get to grab a rock and put it in their tube. They can do this themselves!

Another fabulous thing?? When the do something BAD, I can now take a rock back. {or, as the mean mommy I am, I can opt to give it to the other child they were being mean to! ha!}

I also wanted them to work as a team towards a common goal. This summer, we held tons of movie nights, where the kids got to stay up past their bed time, watch a rented movie with popcorn and milk with silly straws. They LOVED this. I wanted to continue with this in our good deed system, so I created some punch cards (like the previous good deed ones). Every time one of our kids fills up their jar, they pick out something from our good deed box and I punch a hole in our new Movie Night card. Ten punches =  a movie night (on a weekend, of course!). The fourth movie night will actually be to go to the theaters.

They are already excited about it! And as you can tell, we are well on our way to our first and second punches :)

Like the card? Well, I am posting it for a

I left the cards blank, so you can use them however you like.

Just CLICK HERE to download the free sheet of four cards. 

sooooooooo, remember  how I said we were super close to two hole punches? Well, I gave them out this morning and realized {:::sigh:::} that the card is to big to fully punch all across the line. Ooops! I am going to revamp this card in the future, but am leaving this one up as well, because you can still use it to cross off, put stickers on, or put in a small frame and use it with dry erase markers. See how mistakes always make you more creative :)

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall List :: A Place for Homework

Well, we officially have a first grader :)
Adorable, right??
Well, don't be fooled....this adorable little guy will be bringing no less than 3545652 pieces of paper/homework/artwork into this house this year alone :)
So. Onto the next thing on my list, and not a moment too soon!
I left you yesterday with this list:

{Check out how I redid our snacks and kitchen command center}
This is how our new system is going to work{that said, I am fully aware that as the year goes on, this may change}:
Once they get home from school {since our daughter is only starting part time preK, they will be coming home at different times}, they will hand me all the papers from their "take home folders". They do this anyway, so really it's just a matter of me not throwing the papers on our kitchen cabinet and forgetting about them. From there, they are separated into three piles:
The completed work/art is taken (and, of course, 'ooohed and ahhhed over') then clipped up into the magnet board we have in our hallway for their art.

That day's art and completed school work is hung by a clip, so that when daddy comes home, he knows where to look for their most current work. Each child has their own clip. Older work is moved to the rest of the magnet board, like this:

The forms that are meant for me, are divided into 2 catagories: stuff that needs action (fundraisers, etc) and information. I hold the places of both of these things in one of the hanging files I just added to our kitchen command center:

Things that need action or need to be returned to the school are placed in these folders:

{make these chalkboard labels with this tutorial}

Home work that still needs to be done will be placed on our magnet board until we sit down to do it together {soon, in our new and improved family room!!}
All the information (like the student handbook with numbers, etc) are placed in the binder that I keep in the file holder as well:

The rest of that binder is a whooooole other post in itself :)
Hope everyone is having a great week so far!
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Fall List :: Kitchen Command Center

Happy Monday!
I am so excited to show you our new and improved "Kitchen Command Center".
Last week, I left you off with my fall list looking like this:
{you can see how I got our snacking situation under control here }
To me, one of the most important things to get under control was the place in our kitchen that holds all the stuff that comes into this house. The bills, the homework, the shopping lists, the receipts....the list goes on and on!
Our previous system was not really functioning well, and was {in short} UGLY.
Ready to see what I did?
The first thing I did was redo our chalkboard.

I rearranged the things that were working for us, and added additional storage on the wall to the right, to help with what wasn't working. {Big help--having a spot dedicated completely to our "needs to be filed" stuff (manuals, bills, etc) Yes, I have a file of things to file. No, I cannot believe this is my life!}

Things that were ugly, I redid. The square fabric piece on the top (middle) is our original black magnet board that we had. I reupholstered it in extra fabric from our dining banquette.  The purple hanging file is actually our cheap, plastic one recovered in fabric.

How perfect is that print on the right??? I just HAD to get it once I saw it :)
Much better!
 Better yet? With this little redo of ours, I have brought in our old kitchen cart from the garage {seen above}...which means even more projects are ahead! We are in the middle of so much family room stuff, I don't even know if that is a good thing or bad thing at this point. ha!
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

DIY Fabric File

Before I show off my {yay!} completed kitchen command center tomorrow, I wanted to share one of the simple DIY projects that went into it.
You may remember how I shared with you our old system.
Blah. I kept telling myself that when I bought the two cheap, black hanging files {on the bottom of the photo} that I would cover them in day :)
Well, one day has finally ARRIVED.
I originally planned on covering these with some of the left over fabric from our banquette redo, but in the end decided to do a solid color since I already had other patterns going on. This project was super simple.

1. Supplies: our cheap, plastic file holder (Target, a few dollars), all purpose spray, fabric, and stick on label holders (Staples, Martha Stewart Collection) Not shown: hot glue gun
2. Spray front and sides of file holder and place fabric on it. Smooth out any bubbles. Cut excess
fabric around file (leave about 1/2") and glue (using hot glue gun) the extra inside the box.
3. Add label and hang!
{and ps, this file is holding all our financial stuff-bills, etc. Jason thought "the biz" would be a cute name :) }
Loved this project!
Be back tomorrow for the rest :)

Happy Weekend!

More family room progress!!
Hope you had a happy weekend as well :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fall List :: Kitchen Command Center & and Ikea Hack

Hi there!
Yesterday I showed you my little "Fall List" and even got to cross of an item:
Next up, was our Kitchen "Command Center". We moved into this house in the middle of a school year, and things were ca-razy. Paper work all over the place. Case in point: a week after our son began his new school, we received a packet for registration for this school year, due back by the end of that week. I placed it aside to look over 'later'. ...I found it again a month after it's due date :)
Needless to say, I made it a priority to come up with a system. So, I bought some cheap hanging baskets {with the intention to fix them up}, and hung up a chalkboard we had bought months before {and never hung} at a Goodwill for $2.99.
The problem? Besides being BORING and UGLY, the system just was not working!
Obviously :) 
In theory it had everything we needed: storage, magnetic board, pin board, files....but it's boring "office-y" look drove me crazy. Then one day, I ran across this image on a link party I linked up to {gotta love blogs!!}:
And it suddenly dawned on me. Gallery wall. Part pretty, part functional. Duh...why didn't I think of that???
Now that I had a plan, I knew the first thing I had to do was redo that chalkboard of ours.
{if anyone is wondering, that rambling on the right has to do with our son's speech therapy :)}
I loved the purpose of it (and definitely the price!), but hated this odd, empty space below. It never seemed to serve a purpose except to act as a dropping ground for random things. Plus, it is angled.

For the past year, I have thought it was clearly just missing the bottom part. Then, this past month, I walked into Ikea and found this same chalkboard....still with nothing on the bottom!! What.the.heck.
I began this project with absolutely NO idea with what I would do for the bottom. I just knew that I at least had the inspiration for the chalkboard: 

This is a board I found at HomeGoods, for $30. I loved the details with the days on it:

And for the size, the price wasn't too bad. But I had this other piece waiting at home, and I could just hear Jason's voice if I brought home a new one! Know what I mean?
So, painting it was! I used some cream colored paint we had leftover from some other projects {read: free!}, and covered over the chalkboard part with cereal boxes and painters tape.

I bought a pack of cheap, small letter stencils at Michael's. I used painters tape to create a straight line to measure where the top of all my letters should start.

Using a small foam brush, I dabbed on some of the paint I had leftover from a sample of paint we had.

Since I am impatient (and you need to wait for the paint to dry before you can do the next letter), I jumped around a bit.

I have stenciled quite a few things, and this one turned out the worst (true story). It was really hard to keep the small stencils flush against the board. And even though I measured equal distances between all the days, I was still left with a gap between Friday and Saturday.
So, in an attempt to make it look intentional, I added a heart between the days by cutting one out of tape:
And, you know what? I kinda like it.
I then used some of the leftover fabric I had from our banquette, and glued it to some poster board (with all purpose adhesive spray) and then glued that into the spot below.

This I LOVED. Already better, right???
I wanted to do something more with the space, something functional. So I took four of our smaller mason jars and filled them up with the supplies that we use for this area all the time- thumb tacks, paper clips, magnets, and clips.

They fit in the spot perfectly, but I wanted to make sure there was no way that one could just fall out (say when a certain small person is having a tantrum and kicking the wall below it....not that any of my kids would do that!), so I glued on magnets to the fabric and then onto the jars with hot glue. 

Although, I love the look better without the jars, I love the functionality they bring to this area.

I love how this little project turned out! I can barely remember how ugly it was to begin with:

Of course, that was only step one in this kitchen command center redo- be sure to come back next week so you see what I did with the rest!
Have a great weekend
-it's our last week of summer vacation over here :)
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