Make It Yourself! Lunchables

How easy is this?!  

Prepping for our two week road trip out east I have been writing down ideas for homemade pre packaged food for us to eat on the road.  

Here's one idea of what I had for some quick and easy lunches for the kids.  I used pre sliced tilmock cheese and cut them into 4 squares.  I reused the wax paper to hold 6 slices of cheese together.  

Using snack sized zip loc bags I filled each with 10 slices of pepperoni and 6 squares of cheese.  That's it!  Hardly any prep time and an alternative to sandwiches while we are on the road.  I have two sleeves of ritz crackers as well that I'll add in when its time to eat.  


Train Table Redo - Goodwill find

I picked up this train table from the goodwill for $20!  My husband thought I was crazy since it was a bit banged up and not real wood.  I thought it was a great deal considering the $100+ price tag I've seen on new train tables!  Plus I knew our kids would love it and with a little bit of work it would be almost like new.

First, I cleaned it off all over with a rag and some soap and water.  Then I took it all apart.  Once it was all laid out I gave it a light sanding where the edges were roughed up.

Here are some before pictures:

I painted the main parts of the table with white chalk paint.  Then I painted the drawers with teal chalkboard paint.  Next, for the tops, I used a chalkboard spray paint and the other side with leftover home made teal chalk paint.  I left everything to dry and that evening I did a second coat.  Then let it all dry overnight.  

The next morning, I used the rustoleum spray paint clear coat on all the outside/front pieces of the table and on top with the teal chalk paint.  I let that wire out/dry overnight in the garage.  This project cost me only the table since I had everything else at home but if you needed to buy paint I still think the cost would be minimal and worth the effort.

The next morning, I reassembled it upstairs in their playroom.  I put all their duplo legos in one drawer and their thomas the train stuff in the other drawer.  They were so excited to see their new train table that they set up their train set right away!


Diy wooden growth chart

Here is another pottery barn knock off ..... Or another pottery barn inspired DIY project!

We have a paper growth chart in my daughters room but it is starting to fall apart after our many moves!  I saw this wooden growth chart on the pottery barn kids website and loved it but with the hefty price tag of $99, I figured I could make one myself.   

My husband picked up a wooden fence post from lowes.  It was perfect since it was only $2.50 and measured about 6" wide by 6.5' tall.  

I cut off the top to make it square and then sanded it all over.  Then I stained it with min wax red oak (215) and left it to dry overnight.

This is how to I made it and how you can make your own!

Using my computer I printed out large numbers 1 - 6 and cut them out to create my own stencils.  I took my measuring tape and started at 6" to mark the 1', 6" and 1" increments along the whole board.

Using white paint and a sponge brush I stenciled in the numbers 1 - 6 at each 1' mark.  Next taking a small brush I drew a small line at the 6" marks and finally an even smaller line to mark each 1".

Now I need to hang it 6" off the ground and start recording!  I've saved all my kids doctors visit papers so my next step is to mark, date, and write each of their names next to their corresponding heights.  My goal is to keep it up throughout the years.  

For $2.50 (or a bit extra if you don't have stain, sandpaper or paint on hand) it's definitely more reasonable/affordable than the pottery barn $99 price tag!  I love it since we have 3 kids and all of their heights can be recorded on this one beautiful wooden growth chart.  I also think this will make an inexpensive yet meaningful baby shower gift!


Diy Baby Gift - Minky quilt, bib and burp cloth

Recently I made a mink quilt blanket for my dear friend Andrea.  She had her baby boy a few months ago so I was a bit late in sending these little home hand made gifts but I'm pretty sure she will forgive me!

I picked out some flannel and matching minky colors then cut out 6" squares.  Then I laid out all my pieces to create diagonal lines and pinned the pieces in rows.

I sewed each square RST together as a row then connected them to create the blanket.

For the back, I measured out a piece of blue minky and used bias tape to cover the raw edges.  I think it turned out pretty good and I hope her little baby boy likes it!

I also made a matching bib with the leftover flannel and minky fabric.  I used bias tape around the bib to use as the string to tie behind the neck and to cover the raw edges.  Then I made a couple burp cloths with the leftover flannel and new Gerber cloth diapers that I had pre washed.


Greek Chicken Souvlaki and Greek beef meatballs

This is one of the best chicken recipes I have made.  It's quick, easy and tastes delicious!  I found the recipe on a blog called Closet Cooking and it can be found here.  I used boneless skinless chicken breasts from costco and cut them up into bite pieces.

To marinate the chicken breasts I basically used her recipe:
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp yogurt
1/4c olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Mix all of the ingredients and put them into sealed container and marinate overnight.
The next day I took out the meat and grilled it until cooked.

I also decided I wanted to make greek beef meatballs since I had ground beef on hand.  I found a recipe on a blog called Kayln's Kitchen and the recipe can be found here.  I used ground beef from costco that I had previously separated and frozen.

For the beef meatballs I used her recipe and did the following:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped in food processor
1 tbsp greek seasoning (1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp lemon zest)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Put onion in food processor and pulse until onion is finely chopped.  Add seasonings and pulse until blended.

In a separate bowl mix onion-seasonings with ground beef.  Once mixed together scoop out and form meatballs.  Bake meatballs in the oven or cook them in a pan over medium high heat.  Turning them to brown evenly.

Serve the chicken souvlaki and greek meatballs with pitas or iceberg lettuce cups, sliced cherry tomatoes, olives, sliced onions, and top tzatziki sauce.  Enjoy!!


Diy Cars themed birthday party!

My son just turned 3 and is in love with all things cars especially Disney's lightening McQueen.  This year we threw him a birthday party at a local gymnastics place and invited his daycare/preschool class.  With a little bit of work this turned out to be a budget friendly party and he loved it!

I wanted to make it cars themed and looked online for ideas.  There are so many out there it was hard to choose!!  I downloaded a few free templates and printed out a few road signs 'Speed Limit 3', stop sign and 'Route 66'.  I also made him a 3 year old tshirt with racing flags on it.  For my first applique I think it turned out great!  If you want to see how I did this, step by step can be found

I made a happy birthday banner using the black and white racing checkered pattern for the background and red letters using adobe illustrator.  I printed the letters out onto regular paper and cut out the circles.  I used the triangle template from sweetbeanz blog to cut black, red and yellow card stock and that template can be found here.  Then I glued the circles onto the triangles, used a 2 hole punch for the tops of each triangle and threaded a white ribbon through the top part of it.

I downloaded a water bottle wrapper template for free here and used adobe illustrator to remove the nutrition label and qr logo.  Then I added in the text to personalize it with 'Aiden's 3rd Birthday'.  The other label already had the lightening McQueen image on it.  I printed this on regular paper and cut them out.  Then I ripped off the Costco label from the water bottles and taped my labels onto them.

I printed out a lightening bolt that I found here on regular paper then used a glue stick to place it onto red card stock.  Then cut the red card stock paper just a tad bigger than the lightening bolt to create a border.  I covered a small card board box with white tissue paper and taped on the lightening bolt.  I used this box to hold the snack sized packs of chips I had purchased from costco.

I found road sign cupcake toppers here and printed two of the same ones out.  Cut them all out, added a toothpick and used a glue stick as well as a piece of tape in the middle to stick the matching cupcake toppers together.  These I used to on top of the sandwich triangles to keep them together.

For party favors I made sugar cookies with royal icing.  Directions & recipes can be found here.  I decorated half of the tops with black and drew a rectangle with white icing then added m&m's to create a stop light.  The other half I decorated with white icing and drew the number 3 with black icing then added little white marks to look them look like a road.  I placed one of each into a clear favor bag and stapled on a tag.  I personalized the tags with a black and white checkered background, lightening McQueen logo and a message saying 'Thanks For Coming To Aiden's 3rd Birthday!'

Overall it turned out to be a great Cars themed birthday party and it didn't break the bank.  Not pictured, I decided to buy a Cars plastic table cover and two plain black table covers,  Cars themed napkins, and a few packs of paper plates for the food and cake.  I already had most of the items needed for the party on hand such as the card stock paper, baking ingredients for the royal icing sugar cookies, water bottles, plastic utensils, fabric, etc.  If you decided to do something similar and had to pick up those items in order to do it yourself it is definitely still cheaper than ordering all the decorations and the personalized t shirt from Etsy!  


Diy 3 year old birthday applique

I upcycled a white t shirt from my husbands donate pile to make one for Aiden.  I wanted him to have a personalized 3rd birthday tshirt and rather than buying/ordering one, I decided to make one.    

I used the free pattern from MADE to make him the white t shirt.  I used adobe illustrator to find a font I liked and printed out the number 3 as well as racing flags to use as a pattern.  

This is how I made his shirt:
I laid out black and white checkered fabric, pinned on my pattern and cut out the number 3 and two racing flags.  Then I pinned and cut out the number 3 and two racing flags of interfacing.  

I pinned the fabric and interfacing onto the front of the tshirt.  I loaded up red thread, chose zig zag stitch and shortened the length and width settings on my sewing machine.  Then I slowly went around the number 3. I switched to black thread for the racing flags and free handed the flag poles.  

This was my first time and I think it turned out pretty good.  Next time I think I'll add a piece of fabric or interfacing unerneath the shirt to make the appliqué/stitching smoother.  


Diy Personalized Pallet Sign

After my pallet bookshelf project I had a few pallet boards leftover and decided to make a sign.  My friend had mentioned wanting one for her little girls room with the state of Texas and personalized with her name and birth date.  I offered to make her one so she wouldn't have to buy it and it actually turned out nice!  I'm always pleasantly surprised when my first try turns out well!  My stencil spacing needs a little work but that should come with more practice.  I'm hooked.....I want to make more signs and can't wait to try out new ideas!  

Here's what I did:
First, I matched up a few pallet boards to make sure they matched up flat and relatively even.  Then, I sanded it all over to make sure there were no sharp edges or pieces of wood sticking out.   After the boards were prepped, I stained them and left them to dry.  

Once the stain was set I flipped them all over and secured two scrap strips of wood with my brad nailer to connect it all together.  

Next, I flipped it back around and stenciled the state of Texas, her name and her birth date with white chalk paint.

I left the back unfinished.  If she wants to hang it then I'll add two hooks and secure a wire but all in all this was another quick nap time project for me to do.


Quick & Easy Cheese Biscuits

I constantly hear people rave about Red Lobsters cheesy biscuits and I've even seen the mix on sale at Costco but I'm not driving all the way there for biscuits and I don't really want to fork out the money to buy a box of biscuit mix.  I would much rather make it myself especially when I already have the ingredients needed for the recipe!  It may be a bit more work but I think it's worth the effort.  I searched around online and finally found a recipe that is so so yummy!!  These are so easy my 5 year could almost make them all by herself!  (I had to mix some of it since it has cold butter you cut into the mix and I don't think she's old enough to put them in the hot oven)

Here's the recipe I used from a link I found on abcnews.com.

For the biscuits you will need only these ingredients:
2 1/2 c biscuik
3/4 c cold milk
4 tbsp cold butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

For the topping you will need (you could choose to skip this step but I think it tastes better with it):
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt (optional since I used salted butter)

Measure out biscuik in large bowl then cut in butter with pastry cutter or large fork.  It's ok the leave small chunks of butter!  Add in cheese, milk and garlic powder.  You can mix by hand or continue with large fork but don't over mix!

Preheat oven to 400f and place large spoonfuls onto baking sheet.  They don't need to be rolled and shaped.  Bake for 15 mins or until golden.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in microwave safe bowl then mix in parsley and garlic powder.  Brush on top of the biscuits either before or after baking them.  (I have done it both ways and they are great either way)

Pretty easy right?!  They are delish and the kiddos liked them too!


Easy Diy chalkboard using a cabinet door!

This was by far the easiest DIY project I've done!  Plus it was all free!

There was a damaged new bathroom vanity on the sidewalk that was being discarded in front of a new house in my neighborhood.  I couldn't leave well enough alone so I asked and the workers said I could take the doors off.  I'm sure they thought I was a bit crazy but it was free and I knew I could find something to do with it!

I took it home and put on a coat of valspars black chalkboard paint.  I still had the can from my neighbor!  Plus she was with me when I got the door and told me I could use it for this project as well.  Let me tell you, that small can goes a long way!   Then, I let it dry overnight and put on a second coat.  That's it!  In retrospect the chalkboard paint would be smoother if I used a roller but I was just too excited and slapped it on with a sponge brush.  I could also paint the trim but I like the way it looks as is.  What do you think?