DIY Items for Little Ones, Upcycled DIY

Weekend Recap & Part 2 of DIY Kids’ Chalkboard Table

Sometimes you need a good Sunday outing to get yourself back into high spirits. With the passing of Hurricane Irma life has been chaotic and nerve-racking. The built up of anticipation and preparation drained everything out of us (especially me). I am thankful that we didn’t endure any significant damage as I know so many people have (continually praying for them everyday). We were without power for a few days, but that was nothing compared to what other went through.

Now we are s l o w l y  trying to get our lives back into the groove of things. This past Sunday was a much needed time to get away for a bit. Little Johnny just got over being sick and he was restless (as was I). While Big John was at work for most of the day I decided to treat Little Johnny and myself to a day out in Mount Dora, FL (the cutest little town I have yet to come across here in FL).

My intention was to attend an event held by Renninger’s Florida Twin Markets, although it ended up getting cancelled due to the damage from the hurricane. So, instead I discovered the best Antique Market and spent some time strolling down the Marketplace and soaking in all the beauty from the old treasures. I did not end up buying anything, but I sure wanted to! 🙂

After a while Little Johnny was getting antsy, which what better way to fix that than ice cream, right?! 😉 So, we ventured over to an ice cream shop and found an amazing park for him to play at. In my terms that was a Sunday Funday  for us! We even found time in the evening when Big John got off work to fish over at Lake Ivanhoe. Little Johnny is becoming a pro as casting! I loved seeing his little hands “reel” in the fish (lots of support by daddy). 🙂 It’s truly the small joys in life that help to lift up your spirits up nowadays.

Onto the DIY Kids’ Chalkboard Table…

A while back I started this project and all that needed to be done was painting the pallets (which are used for the legs) along with attaching the table top. Well..it’s been a few weeks now and I have yet to post about my “part 2”. (Here’s the link for “part 1” if you missed reading it!) They say that completing a project in “mom time” takes you double the time, I can attest to this! Most days it’s hard to find moments for my DIY projects, but I’m not letting that stop me from actually completing them. I have come to terms that it’s just going to take me a bit longer, and that’s okay.

Here’s a secret…I’m still not actually done, but it’s “done enough” where Little Johnny can use it and I can share with you all about it. What’s missing is I need to fill the holes on the table top where Big John helped me attach it to the pallets. Not sure why I’m holding off on this, but eventually it will get done.

On my social media accounts I had people vote for the paint color of the pallets, which butterfly wings was the winner! I’m glad it was because I was leaning toward that choice too! This paint was leftover from Little Johnny’s nursery, which painting the pallets with a traditional brush  would have taken much longer (and like I said I’m in “mom time” mode), so instead I was given this amazing gift by my Aunt…a paint sprayer! Best thing out there, hands down! If you’re a DIYer like me, please but this on your list of tools to purchase (no, this is not sponsored…I just really like it!)

What do you think? Is this something you could see yourself making?

Here’s to the week ahead!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

DIY Home Decor, DIY Seasonal Decor

DIY Friday~ $6 DIY Fall Wreath

What better way to start off the Fall season than hanging a Fall inspired wreath right on your own front door. I figured since today officially marks the beginning of September, it’s a perfect time to pull out those Fall decorations. Although as I write this to you, it’s 93 degrees outside! Definitely not “feeling” that Fall weather, but no worries I’m making my own vibes over here.

Fall is my absolute favorite season, it’s the time of year that I truly wish we were living back up in the Midwest. I miss the feeling of that crisp breeze, the smell of bonfires & burning leaves, and being able to see the “changing of colors”.  Oh yeah, don’t forget about the taste buds with pumpkin spice everything! 😉

You’re probably expecting the “Part 2” of my DIY Kids’ Table…well I sort of got side tracked and still have to write up the post along with finishing the top part (wood fill and another coat of chalkboard paint)…squirrel anyone…my mind is sometimes on a million things at once and I tend to be scattered brained, but that’s okay I’m enjoying all these projects so much!

Speaking of scattered brained…back to the actual post. You all know I’m a big fan of the Dollar Tree and you know what section is my absolute favorite? Their flower arrangements! There are so many great supplies at such a low price where you can make your own wreath. I have been wanting to make one for a while and what better way to start with a new season. By the way, I could totally see this for sale at your local Hobby Lobby. 🙂

$6 DIY Fall Wreath


{Supplies}

  • 4 of your favorite flowers/fall decor. (try to go within the same “hue” of colors)
  • wreath
  • small picture frame
  • hot glue gun

**NOTE: At a last minute decision I added burlap and adhesive letters to the supplies.

{Steps}

1.I actually used burlap to wrap the flower arrangements into a bouquet and then hot glued it to the wreath.

2. I pulled apart the pumpkins and cut off the excess stem.

3. Then I hot glued the pumpkin arrangement to the opposite side of the flower arrangement.

4. I used the small frame and letter adhesive stickers that I placed on the cardboard found within the frame. I chose to use the word “Fall”.

5. I used hot glue and attached the frame to the wreath.

That’s it! So easy and I love how I could personalize it to my own style! If you’re more of a “bling” person, the Dollar Tree has sunflowers with gems, which I thought would be beautiful on a wreath!

Happy Fall,friends! Hopefully it’s starting to cool off a bit where you are! If so, blow that breeze down to Florida…I can’t wait to share more fun Fall projects! Enjoy your labor day weekend!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

Life Challenges, Motherhood

When life gets you down “just keep swimming”.

Leave it to a fish with short term memory loss to be brilliant with reciting a famous line, over and over and over again. Words of such simplicity, but so much meaning behind them.
Have you ever been in what I call “a funk” and it seems like life is out to get you? Well, that’s where Dory’s famous words come in handy, especially when it’s on continuous repeat in our mind “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming“. It gives us the opportunity to shift our mindset and swim out of that deep dark tunnel (where all the bad fish are).  Someone wise once told me it’s called tunnel vision (if you’re reading this, you know who you are.)
I have interpreted this into NOT “running away from problems” but dealing with them full force with a different attitude. (Because I’ve been the type to think even the smallest of problems my world was shutting down.)
Warning: This post is not recipe related, diy related, or any parenting hacks…simply just words related to emotions…proceed at your own risk… (seriously though at least scroll to the bottom for an amazing book review)
I’m not one to hide the fact that I too have my own life struggles, just like anyone else, it’s simply human nature. Recently there have been moments where I have wanted to hide under a blanket and just be in my own “mom fort” for a little while (long enough to BREATHE). Have you ever tried it? Imagine being in a quiet and calm place where no one can find you… Sounds so peaceful, right?!
Life is complicated, messy, and hard. PERIOD. but the good news is there’s usually always something good waiting for you (that’s the “just keep swimming part”). Bottom line is, when you recognize that this is LIFE and although the hard times aren’t necessarily going away, a little twist on your perspective can make those problems not seem as big.
Always, always, ALWAYS think about the good happenings in your life. Big John is actually really good at reminding me of this. It’s definitely difficult at times to “see” that good, but that’s where the change in perspective helps you to put on your “goggles” so you can actually see where you’re swimming.
No one needs to know your struggles, we all have them, but in different ways (sometimes it just shows in our face)…what people do need to see is how you’re perceiving life. Be kind, jubilant, grateful, and humble throughout the day. Something I’m striving for when I drag myself out of bed and rise to a new day.
I needed a moment to write this to you because I had my “mommy melt down” recently where stress was just built up, and it exploded inside of me. (We have all been there, I’m sure!) I won’t go into details about the underlying factors, but let’s just say I’m overworking myself. I also came to realize my perspective on things was a bit off
I’m tired too (which I know many readers can relate) and a voice inside my head was calling for me to slow down my swim strokes, but keep going. Slow isn’t a bad thing…remember the Tortoise and the Hare story?! My point is, don’t get distracted by negativity in life, or anxious thoughts that keep swirling around in your head. Let the water guide you through the current and set ease on a new perspective. (I’m pretty sure I’m just giving myself a pep talk!)
My sister recently sent me a book (can’t thank you enough, sissy!)  Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton. It’s a read that every mama should have on her list! They’re short essays about finding that balance between messy and beautiful within life situations. Along with accepting that life isn’t always “peachy”, and you know what it’s okay. She’s an authentic writer who helps you to build connections, understand that you can “do hard things”, and even gives you moments of laughter. Glennon takes you through scenarios in her everyday life where her perspective on things started to change, and guess what? She’s living a much happier lifestyle. She kept swimming.

Today my friends, take these thoughts with you…


  • keep swimming through life, but with a new perspective…meaning-be grateful for what you have, stop comparing to others, and hold your head high to find the beauty in your daily grind. (I know… easier said than done, but it’s definitely an achievable thing with persistence and the right mindset.)
  • everyday see what you have to be thankful for, maybe even make a mental list
  • see the good out of those messy situations (trust me there usually is at least 1 good thing)
  • it’s okay that life is messy sometimes,  you will survive (you may start to become the best swimmer yet!)
  • self care-slow down and take care of yourself
I write off here leaving you with a gift of reading. I’ll pause here so you can look this book up on Amazon and purchase this as a present for yourself (consider it from me;) )
Remember when life gets you down, let the wise words of Dory whisper to you on repeat “just keep swimming”, and you’ll whisper back to yourself…

“Be grateful, Be humble, Be calm. AND Remember who controls the winds and the waves.”

A bit of a deeper post for me, but a much needed one.

Wishing you well,

~Amanda
DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday~ Kids’ Chalkboard Table with Pallets as legs (Part 1)

Not sure if it’s because we’re already in the back to school month, but right now I’m on a “chalkboard kick” mainly because it’s so fun to have within the house! I tend to really focus in on certain DIY materials, so this “month” it’s chalkboard paint! 🙂 (Previously it has been mason jars, spray paint, and weathered wood.) I have always wanted to make a chalkboard table! I just never knew what I could use for the legs that would make it unique. Over the past weekend I was outside trying to figure out my next project, and then I saw it… the pallets I had stored away for a while in the corner were just calling me to use them!

I’m all about “using what you have”, especially when it’s free! So far this project has cost me $5, not bad for a kid’s table!

I’m dividing this post into 2 series, mainly because it’s taking a lot of “elbow work” (I’m hand sanding) to get the pallets to where I can paint them, and also I just haven’t had time. But, I did get the first step done, which is painting the table top with chalkboard paint! So this Friday I’m taking you through my easy tips and steps, which you’ll probably walkaway wanting to chalkboard paint everything! 😉

DIY Chalkboard Table Top 

So the big question is what did I use for the table top? I actually ended up using a shelf from our old entertainment center. It was the perfect size and fits so nicely right on top of the pallet legs!

Tips

  • Always, always, always us a base primer, it helps the chalkboard paint to stick much better and doesn’t end up peeling off.
  • Make sure to really wipe down any residue or dust particles as they will show up once you paint if you don’t have a clean top.
  • Use a roller instead of spray paint or a paint brush. It helps the chalkboard paint to go on smoother.
  • Apply at least 2 coats. I actually went with 3 this time, but you want to make sure you
  • “Season” the chalkboard before writing on it. Simply take a piece of chalk and rub the entire top with chalk dust. This helps so that once you write on it the writing will actually come off and there isn’t any imprints. Here’s a great resource with step by step instructions- how to season your chalkboard.

Steps 

  1. Wipe down table top
  2. Apply primer (make sure to let it dry within the appropriate time)
  3. Use a roller and apply the chalkboard paint with at least 2 coats (make sure it dries in between coats)
  4. Season your chalkboard
  5. Have fun drawing with chalk!

I always like to plan out my DIY projects and set it up within the room I’ll be using it in. It helps to avoid most DIY fails, and gives me a sense of the look I’m going for. While I’m not finished with the project yet, I did end up bringing everything into my living room and staging it. I love the result and now all I have to do is sand, paint, and screw! Next Friday I will reveal the end result, so stay tuned!

(While writing this post I realized I need an apostrophe within “kids’ table” oops, mistakes happen even with bloggers! )

 

 

In the meantime, help me choose the color for the pallet legs! I posted this image on my social media accounts and had great feedback! The most votes win! Reply with your favorite color within the comments below!

Happy DIYing! 

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

 

Reviews of Products & Places, Uncategorized

5 Reasons why we LOVE Goldfish Swim School

We’re still swimming away at Goldfish Swim School and loving every minute of it! Little Johnny has been learning so much (and so have my husband and I!) 😉 We have been attending every Thursday for the past 2 months and it has adapted into our weekly routine very nicely! We even attended their Grand Opening event, which we really enjoyed our  “family swim time” along with meeting the famous “Bubbles”!

So far Little Johnny is learning to: 

  • become comfortable in the water
  • kicking with barbell (unassisted)
  • pulling paddle swim with face in (unassisted)
  • conditioning with water in face
  • breath control in underwater dip (5 seconds with assistance)
  • superman glide (unassisted)
  • wall hold (assisted)
  • crab walk (assisted)
  • climb out of water (assisted)
  • underwater jump and turn back to wall (assisted)
  • underwater dip and rollover, front to back (assisted)
  • relaxed in back float position (assisted)
(This is a sponsored post, but as always my opinions are my own.)

Mostly right now Little Johnny is learning about safety skills, especially how to easily get out of the water. (elbow, elbow, tummy, knee, knee) He is still in the Mini 2 lessons and it has been so nice to be able to attend as a family. My husband and I switch off with participating with Little Johnny in the pool. I look forward to our Thursday morning swim classes! Every time we walk into the building we are always greeted with smiles and a very warm welcoming! They even know Little Johnny by name and immediately interact with him, which is so comforting as parents!

Let’s “dive into” our 5 Reasons we LOVE

Goldfish Swim School! 

  1. They are always concerned about safety 1st! (especially with the infant/toddler classes)
  2. Friendly Environment– ALWAYS greeted with smiles
  3. Swim Instructors are very supportive– If you’re child seems to be struggling with a specific skill they instructors are right there to provide assistance and tools in order for them to advance in that area
  4. We LOVE the songs that are incorporated– It’s a fun environment when we are learning skills to the tune of children’s songs.
  5. They teach the parents too! – Every lesson my husband and I learn something new we can incorporate with Little Johnny when he is in contact with water. Also, for older kids at the end of each lesson they bring the parents in and have the kids show them what skills were taught! I love the collaboration involved with all the adults!

A snippet about our most recent experience… 

Last swim class Little Johnny had a hard time floating on his back. The swim instructors stepped right in and adapted to the situation with providing “tools” to help make him more comfortable. They gave him a mirror that we held up so he could see himself floating, which seemed to help. The instructor also took over to see if Johnny would do better with them. It was so comforting as a parent to see the support offered by the instructors.

My husband and I made a short video to document Little Johnny’s first experience with swim lessons, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share it with you!

Having FUN while learning to swim! 

If you’re like me and enjoy kids activities that have “themes” to them, you’ll really like the fact that Goldfish Swim School has monthly celebrations that they incorporate into the lessons along with the kiddos getting a “prize” for the month.

Here’s a fun article about their monthly celebrations!

Goldfish Swim School Monthly Celebrations 

Just this past month the theme was “Celebrate Animals” and all the swimmers received a float toy which was the Goldfish Swim School mascot, “Bubbles”. Little Johnny loved it and actually started saying “bubbles” for the first time!

The BIG question…Is it really worth the money? 

We all know that as parents we have to closely watch where we spend our money related to lessons or kids activities, especially since there are so many out there! I mean we work hard for it, right? So, I’m sure we can all agree that we want validation that the money we are spending is actually going to benefit our children. Are you still unsure about the cost, and wondering if it’s “really worth spending the money for swim lessons?” Well, I honestly believe that this is an investment in your child’s future. They will truly “thank you” for providing them with this type of learning opportunity where they won’t grow up afraid of water, and as they get older they will have more confidence in knowing that they can swim. Below you will find a short post I found helpful that provides more details about the Top 5 Reasons Goldfish Swim School is worth the money.

Top 5 Reasons Goldfish Swim School is Worth the Money

We enjoy our experiences at Goldfish Swim School and would love for others to join us! Remember they specialize in infant & children’s swim lessons. If you want more information you can visit my two previous posts listed below!

“Splish, Splash” Goldfish Swim School is Opening in Florida! 

We’re Splishin’ and Splashin’ at Goldfish Swim School (Our 1st Swim Lesson Experience)

And of course, make sure to visit their social media accounts and show some love by following them for updates! 🙂

facebook

instagram

twitter

Happy swimming! 

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

Family Adventures, Recipes

Weekend Recap & Crock-Pot Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

It was quite an eventful weekend with the Florida Morehouse family! Little Johnny and I enjoyed a fun Saturday afternoon with our friends at the Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge and Big John competed in an MMA fight. Thanks for all the support from friends and family!  I was also busy packing for our trip up to Wisconsin (first time flying alone with Little Johnny!)

Let’s talk about a yummy crock-pot recipe…

I am enjoying sharing easy recipes that I’ve been trying out.  This past week I made a yummy chicken quesadilla where I cooked the chicken in the crock-pot! It was so yummy and easy, plus we had leftovers to use for other meals. I shared the steps on my instastories, so feel free to follow me on instagram for more inspiration! 🙂

love crock-pots, probably more so now that I am a mom. The fact that I can prepare it ahead of time and try to avoid the evening “witching hour” as much as possible is a lifesaver! Big John doesn’t get home from work until 9pm, so I need all the help I can get! Once Johnny gets to a certain hour of the day, it’s difficult to get any tasks done…especially dinner! Here’s to crock pots making dinner time easier! 🙂

(P.S. If there are any other easy recipes you have made using the crock-pot, feel free to share within the comments!Also, I’m still learning on how to take pictures of food, so bare with me)

Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Quesadillas 


Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts

1 can of corn

1 can of black beans (I usually rinse mine)

1/2 tablespoon of cumin

1 tablespoon of chili powder

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of oil

(This is an estimate of the amount of spices I use as I tend to just eyeball it.)

Steps:

  1. Place a tablespoon of oil into the crock-pot
  2. Add chicken, corn, beans, cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt
  3. place on low for 3 hours and it should become “pulled” chicken when it’s done
  4. place the mixture on tortilla shells and top with cheese
  5. Use a skillet on medium heat and grill the quesadillas

It was so yummy! I had to add homemade guacamole of course, which you can find my recipe below.

>>Homemade Guacamole <<

This mixture would even be good as regular tacos, rice bowls, or just “as is”.

Here’s to a wonderful week ahead!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

DIY Items for Little Ones

DIY Friday~ turning your fridge into a learning center

This week I’m bringing you another fun activity for toddlers! The season of back to school has approached here in Florida, and not sure if I’m missing that feeling of getting a classroom ready, but I thought it would be so much fun to incorporate an interactive learning center for Little Johnny!

We live in a small place so I’m always making use of every square foot! This leads me to our fridge… We have open space there and it’s a great place for a learning area because it’s a huge magnetic board, so that’s a plus to start with! We also always seem to be in the kitchen, anyone else feel that way?! Another bonus is it’s very easy to hang things on the fridge. I’m a big fan of command hooks, so I totally used them within this project.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “Will this last after “rough” toddler hands play with it?” The answer is, not sure…but I’m willing to find out. Even if it just lasts a couple months it’s totally worth the “little” effort that went into making the area.

Exposure is great at this age and even though Little Johnny isn’t the biggest talker I can tell he is definitely soaking everything in, consistency is key (along with a ton of patience). So I’m hoping this exposure will help to boost those language skills! 🙂

Most things I already had at home, but we did recently go on a “Target Dollar Section” run, and oh my! So many fun educational things, especially since it’s back to school time! I could get lost in that section!

DIY Fridge Learning Center 


Before going into detail about the items, please excuse our old fridge! Not very pretty for pictures, but it does the job. 🙂

This area is our “water painting” and dry erase board. Little Johnny loves paint brushes and the idea of just using water to paint indoor is genius! Sometimes we draw on our chalkboard paper and then water paint over it. You can see the chalk disappear and it’s a neat reaction for little ones. I used a mason jar with velcro on the back to store our paintbrushes and dry erase marker. So far Little Johnny hasn’t taken it off yet, but we’ll see how long that lasts. 😉 Doesn’t hurt trying, right? As for the dry erase board, I had a picture frame that I bought from the Dollar Tree a few months ago. I placed bright green construction paper in there to give it more color. I used an adhesive tape that holds up to 10 pounds and stuck it on the fridge, so far so good! This is probably Little Johnny’s favorite activity!

These were our fun finds at the Target Dollar Section! The letter board is great exposure in learning vocabulary terms and when Little Johnny gets older we can use it for blending cvc words. I used velcro to attach it onto the fridge, that way if we wanted to we can take it off and use it else where. The small storage bin was something I bought at the Dollar Tree a while ago and just spray painted it a pretty slate blue color. As for the chalkboard paper, it’s another Target Dollar Section find! I used a white bucket to store the chalk and command hooks to hang the items.

I made this easy shape activity a while back and it’s been tucked into a bin, which we haven’t used in a while.(By the way, excuse my “chicken scratch” handwriting!)  I wanted to bring it back out and when it’s exposed the more use we’ll get out of it. I added songs on the back so we can sing about the shapes and build the shape using popsicle sticks. It’s a fun interactive activity. Command hooks along with a binder clip came in handy when attaching it to the fridge.

Little Johnny received a leap frog magnetic number learning activity for Christmas that we still use to this day! I love the one-to-one correspondence with the numbers, so this is our “numbers” area. I have always wanted to make him  a felt board and instead of going out and buying felt material I actually had a felt blanket that we don’t use and just re-purposed it into a felt board. The transportation felt set was another Target Dollar Section find.

Little Johnny in Action! 

This was an exciting project for me! My hope is that I will instill in Little Johnny that learning is fun because “the best type of learning happens when you’re having fun!” I don’t have a checklist and I haven’t isolated any numbers, shapes, or colors we’re simply just enjoying the exposure to these educational items! Little Johnny leads in his play and sometimes it lasts for 5 minutes, other times it can last longer, and as well all know it definitely depends on the day.

We’re making learning interactive and fun in our household!

What are some activities you have incorporated into your home? Please share! It makes me so happy to hear others share their creativity or just ideas they hear of. Even the simplest ideas are much appreciated! I will say that if you share a suggestion I usually end up doing it because I’m all about trying out new things.

Wishing you well,

~Amanda