Low Budget Summer Porch Decor

frontporch3A friend of mine just sent me an amazing book by Myquillin Smith, aka TheNester! (Go here to order and get your own copy.) It is called The Nesting Place – It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! I have been so encouraged and spurred on in my quest to make our home… OUR home sweet home.
I mean, she’s right. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! I have thought about this a bunch over the past week as I’ve been spring cleaning and re-decorating outside.

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I’m not trying to put out the vibe that I’d rather have my own hand-made pallet furniture on my front porch than a bright new set from West Elm. But, it does make me happy when I can create something useful, pretty and cozy to make our home feel relaxed and inviting for only a few dollars!

– Pallet Benches: I purchased 6 pallets from a tractor supply place for $2 each last spring. After trying out my own design (which was a big fail), I followed this tutorial and made two benches for the corner of our porch.
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– Quilted Seating: For the quilted seating I actually cut up an old quilt and sewed together these cases and stuffed them. To make sure the quilt pattern was enough for the project, I used a brown sheet as the underneath side of one and an airplane blanket for the underneath of the other. Luckily, I had enough to make two pillow cases as well!
– Side tables: Recently I moved my poppy red side table from the porch to another part of the house. I am in love with stumps as side tables (which The Nester uses in her book as well). Walking to camp everyday we pass a huge pile of tree stumps. So, I piled some in my truck and gave them a new home!
These sell between $159 and $199 on West Elm’s website, so… score!
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– Christmas lights: I tied Christmas lights to the ceiling of our little corner to make it nice to visit once the little’s are in bed. It really is a cozy spot and I only spent about $15 total!
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One last little tip I wanted to share had to do with my entry way to our home. Last summer a group came to pressure wash and re-stain our porch. One gal asked if I wanted to keep the 5 gallon buckets they used to do something artsy with them one day. As it turned out, she was brilliant. I chalk painted them white and used them as flower pots for these hostas! Grouped with some fire wood, poppy’s and a hand-made wreath… I’m happy I went with the blue door… maybe I’ll do the backdoor this summer!
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There IS beauty in the imperfection. – Myquillin Smith

Myquillin’s perspective and insight on decorating our homes, is refreshing and enjoyable. I’m thankful for this reminder as my family opens our home for guests and visitors over the next 10 weeks.

3 Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day

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We have entered the season of Love. Sitcoms air their Valentine’s special. Commercials promote diamonds and kissing. The entry way at Target is buzzing with heart prints and chocolate candy as you walk thru the doors. Pinterest is alive with party ideas, clever Valentine prints, DIY Valentine projects and thousands (if not millions) of photo inspiration boards of people kissing, holding hands and children holding up sweet sayings on homemade signs. For the single gal and married gal, this is an expectation-building week that can rob us of our focus on Jesus quickly!

I am not a hater! I am a big time lover of Valentine’s Day! The story of St. Valentine is great and should be challenging and inspiring to every believer. But, it can easily be blown out of proportion and we spend the whole season thinking of ourselves.

Here are 3 ways we can enjoy Valentine’s Day this year:
1. Read the story of St. Valentine and lets ask ourselves what we are prepared to do for The Gospel.


2. Put away the stero-typical Valentine’s Day expectations and cut your man some slack! Most men just don’t think about Valentine’s Day as being the one single day when the entire country stops to recognize February 14th as “Day of Love”. And… while I’m still trying to figure that one out, it’s ok! Babysitters get sick and cancel, dinner reservations fall thru, movies sell out and plans just don’t always come together. You are still loved whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with strawberry cheesecake or not.

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3. If you have a Valentine’s Day Date or not, don’t be sad! Enjoy the day! Go for the heart latte art in your white chocolate mocha and pick up some heart shaped cookies to celebrate with your friends and family. Wear those funky heart leggings and pass out the Hershey Kisses. Don’t hate! Enjoy the celebration and show others how much you love them!

Tip #39: Get Well Soon

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Everyone dreads the stomach bug, the flu and the occasional unidentified sickness that barges in your home and takes over! The week before Christmas, my husband was in bed for 5 days straight with “a virus”. One by one the rest of us came down with it too. I thought it might be nice to share a few tips to make your family a bit more comfortable during sick days. Depending on the sickness, the longevity of the sickness and the overall moral of the Davis Nation, I pretty much stick to these basic things:

1. Attitude: Sick or well, your attitude, as the mama, will always help set the mood for your family, even when everyone is sick (including you!). We teach our children how to behave by how we live our lives. So, if I am a big baby when I get sick, I am teaching my kids that it’s ok to be a big baby when they get sick. So, keep that in mind the next time you get the sniffles.

2. Deal With It: I try not to freak my kids out with the fact that they are sick. Quarantine is important for some types of sickness, but most times when symptoms of sickness begin to show in one child, the others have already been exposed. So, google that if you like, but I try not to make a ton more work for myself by trying to keep one away from the other. I just prepare for a storm, hopefully it passes without infecting everyone.

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3. Get Your Stuff Together: I make a temperature/dosage sheet and keep track of who had what temperature when, and what I gave them with the time. Not keeping track could get dangerous. So try putting together a little tray of children/infant Tylenol and Motrin, measurement tool, a temperature/dosage sheet, pen and the thermometer. Keep it in one spot so you are not running all over the house trying to find the thermometer every hour.
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4. Keep them hydrated: Pushing fluids will help in most any sickness. We give some Pedialyte and the Pedialyte popcycles. Watery apple juice and some water. It’s important that they stay hydrated so I just keep the sippy cups full on the hour.

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4. Movies/Games: Depending on the child and how sick they are I adjust the entertainment props during this time. But, I try to remember what I feel like when I am sick. One of my kids enjoyed coloring and playing on the couch. My oldest rests best while she watches a movie. How about the toddler, you ask? Well, when he had a fever he was snuggled up to me. As soon as it broke, he was on the move again. I had to be intentional with keeping him occupied so the other two could rest without getting body slammed on the couch.

5. Trips to the toilet: Finding a system that works with the stomach bug can be frustrating when you have a little baby who keeps throwing up. They cannot walk, can’t make it to the toilet on time or whatever. One trick I use is to take about 5 unfolded towels, stacked up on top of each other and lay my kids head on it like their pillow. That way if while throwing up their head rolls one way or the other, it is on a towel and not the fitted sheet, carpet or blanket. I also add a brightly colored bucket with a handle beside their bed/couch wherever they are laying. I try to keep them still (using the bucket) instead of trying to race them to the toilet in mid spew. Contained messes can be less messy and easier to clean up when babies are sick.

* Just to be clear,I am just a mom, blogging about how we deal with kids being sick in our house. Always contact your pediatricians office for actual medical advice, dosages for meds and the like.

I hope these little tips help when your tiny tots are struck with the sickness bug.

Tip #38: Theme Days

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Winter days can get long. Especially when your family gets “flooded” in, “iced” in and “snowed” in all in one week. This week I created “Beach Week” inspired by a bag of clothes someone gave to us that included 5 new swim suits that fit my little girls. They have spent most of the week in their bathing suits and lounging on their beach towels. We played beach style music from Pandora.com and ate ice cream about every day! I am sure there are tons of easy crafts and more to go along with this theme, but we just kept it simple and pretended we were at the beach all week. They loved it!
Keep this in mind when you are stuck in the house for a long time. Try it out and see how creative you can get with bringing the beach indoors.

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Tip #37: Play Garden Discovery



While the little one’s nap, my oldest spends much of the time walking around the yard exploring, singing, playing and cutting up random plants and limbs with her outdoor scissors. Since digging up the box garden after our small harvest, she has collected random back-porch finds to use in her digging, exploring and creative play. So, naturally I was exited when I found a blog post about creative outdoor play on an early morning blog-hopping warp.

Landing on this website has been super inspiring this morning. I am so excited to see how creative I can get with our yard! I will take before and after photos and share them soon!

Check out the link and more ideas here!

5 Days of Pinterest: Day 5

Knox’s HelloKitty Birthday cake and decorations

Knoxy turned 3 last week and celebrated her birthday “Hello Kitty” style! Isabella pinned Hello Kitty cookie cake photos, then we recreated our own design for Knox’s cake. I literally rolled out the cookie dough in a circle and baked it for 12 min. EASIEST cake I have ever made:) Then I mixed up pre-made vanilla icing from the store and I added my own food coloring to make it “Hello Kitty” pink.

Another neat thing we found on Pinterest was an idea for balloons in the sky. We blew up balloons, attached them to strings and taped them to the ceiling. It was cheap and easy!

It was super sad to have Isabella go home. We enjoyed spending time with her so much! We love you Isabella!

5 Days of Pinterest: Day 4

Homemade Salsa & Name Paintings

It is a pretty simple recipe.

Ingredients:
4 large tomatoes diced
1 green pepper
1 onion
1 pack of taco seasoning
1 tsp cumin
5 tsp chopped garlic (5 cloves)
lemon/lime
cilantro

We piled all the ingredients in the food processor and pulsed it until we liked the texture. EASY!




We found this DIY on Pinterest, too! I will just post the photos, it’s pretty self explanatory:)

Tape up a blank (or used) canvas with their name
*photo taken from my phone:)


Paint away…


Pull up the paint while still wet.
This photo was the used canvas, so their is color beneath the tape on hers.

5 Days of Pinterest: Day 3

T-shirts (Part 2)
HEADBANDS!!!

Yep, you can find tons of tutorials on Pinterest from hipster to preppy headbands and hair clips! They are super easy! Recycle T-shirts, scarves, blouses… Enjoy the pics.



5 Days of Pinterest: Day 2

T-Shirts (Part 1)

Yep, we made tons of stuff out of T-shirts.

This skirt was a fifty cent bargain buy XL T-shirt from a thrift store. We WASHED it, cut it up and sewed in a drawstring! FAB!!


This was inspired by the pillow case dresses I have seen on Pinterest. However, the pillowcases I purchased for my little girls are still too big, so I cut up an old SWO T I never wear:) Fun!!



They both love wearing it!

Tip #36: The Treasure Box


Being a stay at home mom, obviously I spend a lot of time with my children. So, we have to get creative to keep up the momentum throughout the day.

A friend of mine told me about her treasure box she used with her kids. I was not sure how my own kids would respond, but the first time they lifted the top of the treasure box and discovered the wonderful treasures inside, they were hooked!

It’s simple really. I pass out stars for various accomplishments or acts of obedience. After they have collected 8, then they get to choose one treat from the treasure box.

I vary the prizes each month. I keep our treasure box in view, but out of reach, until enough stars have been accumulated to pull it out and let the girls grab a prize from the stash. It is filled with candy, $1 toys, pencils and stickers. This summer I will add special cards for specific frozen treats and other fun coupons like “Go to the playground for an hour”. The treasure box is a huge success in our home. My girls love it!