How a few hours on a Saturday can lead to hours of fun
We have an aging redwood playset that my kids have had since my nine year old was two and a half. It’s been a lot of fun, but it is badly aged, and both kids are too big for it. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a new swingset, since both kids will likely age out of it in the not-too-distant future. But with Covid still on the rise, and the parks being too risky, we decided to DIY a simple yet sturdy swingset they would enjoy.
First, we bought four treated lumber 4X4x8 posts, a treated lumber 2x6x10 board and one treated lumber 4x6x10 post. We also bought metal swing set hardware from Amazon.
We started by inserting the 4X6 posts into the brackets to create both A-frames.
No matter what, winter is always a challenging time for parents. It’s cold out, there’s not a ton to do, and kids and parents alike start to get pretty stir crazy. However, this year promises to be an even tougher time for many. Lots of families aren’t going to be comfortable with the sort of indoor activities and gatherings that have been winter-weather go-tos in previous years.
We want to help you come up with ways to make this winter fun, despite the difficulties. To that end, we’ve come up with this 2020 Winter Survival Kit. We know money is tight for many families right now, so we’ve gone out of our way to make sure the list includes tips to keep these items budget-friendly. We hope it inspires you to have a safe, healthy, enjoyable winter:
If you plan to meet up with people this winter, odds are it’s going to be outdoors. Since indoor gatherings are far higher risk than the alternative, it only makes sense to get out in the fresh air to see the people we love. If you want to meet outside in winter, however, you need good, comfortable, and most importantly, warm gear so it’s actually pleasant to be outside.
Start with warm winter coats for the whole family. Grown-ups might be able to keep using their coat from last year, but kids tend to grow out of seasonal items before the next cold snap comes around. Outlet malls and shops like Nordstrom Rack are great options when buying for kids. You’ll get high-quality items without the sticker shock. Consider donating the coats your kids have grown out of to a local coat drive to help kids in need stay warm.
Using virtual means of connection, such as Zoom calls or video games, allow your family to stay in touch with non-household loved ones without risking catching or spreading COVID-19. If you don’t have a video game console, however, it’s easy to feel left out of the virtual fun. The good news is, there are tons of ways to play games with people virtually, no console required.
There are plenty of online board games that only need a laptop, phone, or tablet for players to join. You can also check out hidden identity games such as Spyfall. Since this kind of game is based more on conversation and interaction than pieces or movement, it naturally lends itself to the video chat experience. Even party games like charades work surprisingly well over video chat! Stay creative and keep an open mind, and you’ll find tons of fun ways to connect online.
Finally, we recommend picking up art supplies and embracing creative play over the coming months. Studies have shown that, while the pandemic has made creativity harder, it’s also made it far more important. Art and other creative tasks go a long way toward working out the stress and anxiety the pandemic causes. Moreover, arts are notoriously underfunded in schools, so it might introduce your child to a passion they might not have discovered otherwise.
A great way to find affordable art supplies is to look for a local second-hand craft shop. These are becoming more and more popular as people become more focused on reducing waste. If you can’t find one near you, you can also check out sales and coupons for local art and office supply stores.
This winter, focus on finding low-cost ways to keep the whole family connected and entertained. Go gentle on yourself if the stress starts to wear on you, and give yourself space to mourn the winter you might have had. It’s always a challenge to be stuck inside, but creative thought (and lots of self-compassion) can make it easier.
I don’t know about you, but we fight two frequent battles at my home: my kids wanting to wear things that don’t match, and my kids having a closet full of clothes they don’t wear. Each year, we seem to buy so many items of clothing, and some of them are outgrown before they are even worn. This causes us to waste money and waste space, as you are storing clothes you clearly didn’t need.
Enter the capsule wardrobe.
Capsule wardrobes are not new. If you do a Pinterest search, you will find hundreds of blog posts and graphics about capsule wardrobes. Since kids outgrow clothing at an alarming rate, it makes sense to spend less on more versatile pieces. Capsule wardrobes involve spending less, less clutter, and more outfit choices. So how do you create a capsule wardrobe?
1. Take stock of what you have.
Clear out your child’s dresser and closet. Make three piles- one to keep, one to donate, and one to throw away. If clothes are stained or too worn, throw them away. Don’t donate anything you wouldn’t buy from the thrift store yourself. Once you have finalized your “keep” pile, look at what items you have, what items you need, and what colors you have.
2. Decide what you need
Think about your lives, your kids’ activities, and the climate where you live. We are in the mid-atlantic, and it gets hot here in the summer. We go to school and church and are in dance class. Therefore, they will need church clothes, work out clothes and enough outfits for the school week. We try to follow the 4-6 rule: have four to six pairs of pants- two pairs of jeans, one pair of dark colored pants and one pair of light colored pants; four to six dresses (sundresses are OK because you can wear a jacket or sweater over them); two skirts, four pairs of shorts, two swimsuits, 4 to 6 long sleeve shirts, 4 to 6 short sleeved shirts, three sweaters, one casual jacket and one dressy jacket. Don’t forget about underwear and socks.
3. Choose a color scheme
What colors do you already have? What colors do your kids absolutely love? What colors look best on them? My little blonde, blue eyed girls look great in blue, green, and hot pink. They also love wearing these colors. I make sure to include plenty of neutral colored pieces to tie the wardrobe together. Children’s boutiques often stick with a color scheme when they release new seasonal lines. This makes color scheming your child’s capsule wardrobe easy! Retailers like Gymboree and Carter’s are known for this.
4. Hand-me-downs and thrift stores are your friend!
I have two daughters and while I don’t save everything from my older child’s wardrobe, I do save gently worn items and big items like coats. If you don’t mind second hand items, you can save some big bucks reusing items from other children, or thrift shopping. We love ThredUp online consignment shop!
I’ve created an infographic for you. Feel free to print this off and use it as a checklist.
Here is a sample capsule wardrobe for my littlest child:
The above clothing items are all from OshKosh. Except for the romper, do you see how each piece coordinates and can be worn together? You only have a few clothing pieces, but you can create several different outfits from the pieces. All of the items go together so there is little chance of her creating a “Tacky Day” outfit that doesn’t match. How many different combinations do you see that will go together and be cute?
Feel free to hop online and start creating your own capsule wardrobe! Have fun and happy shopping!
We had a Target version of an Intex family pool at the start of summer. It was 7 feet in diameter with a bench and it held 200 gallons of water. It was great.
Until we came outside one morning to find it leaking badly and partially deflated. I tried to patch it and make it last but to not avail.
Due to the quarantine, kiddie pools are hard to come by. I had heard good things about the Intex Easy Set pools and found a smaller sized model for a reasonable price.
I knew where I wanted the pool but the spot wasn’t level. I used our garden tiller to level up the spot.
I raked out the dirt so it would be level and I used stall mats to ensure the kids could hop out of the pool onto a dry, non muddy surface.
Set up is super easy. Take it out of the box and spread it out on a level surface. Inflate the top ring with a hand pump. If you’re using a filter, follow the directions and assemble and connect the filter. If you aren’t using a filter, insert the plugs into the holes.
Then, after you have put the plugs in the filter hose holes and made sure the drain is closed, begin filling your pool. As your pool fills, your sides will rise. Be careful not to overfill it.
Finally, when your pool is filled, enjoy it with your family!
There are a lot of things I like about this pool. If we had a little bit larger of a pool we would have gotten the pump and filter. This pool is only 294 gallons so we are doing fine with our chlorine dispenser and our pool vacuum. I like the fact that is durable and easy to set up- it also is really easy to clean.
If I were to reorder this, I’d get the eight foot instead of the six foot. I don’t really consider that a con, since that was my mistake and no fault of the pool. Even at six feet, the four of us can sit together comfortably.
In short, if you are looking for a small pool for you and your small children with low maintenance, look no further than an Intex Easy Set.
Enjoy and we will see you again tomorrow for a furniture re-do.
Happy Friday to all you beautiful people! I am lagging a little in my blog entries this week, but I have some really cool things planned for you next week. Today I’d like to share a free printable with you. A few years ago, I began designing printables featuring my favorite Bible verses. If you know me, you know all about my love for typographical art. We have some sort of print or sign in every room of the house. These two printables I am sharing today came about because Esther is one of my favorite books of the Bible, and this verse is one of my favorite verses. I also really needed something to hang in my daughter’s room.
As always, to download the print, right click on the picture and save it to your device. For best results, do not print larger than 10×13. You can print these at home but I prefer to use a print shop like Staples Copy + Print.
I hope you enjoy these free printables! Join us tomorrow for a special feature.