Thursday, July 26, 2012

Painting Rocks...

One of the things we wanted to do this summer was to paint rocks.  Just for fun really.  And living in the desert we have lots of rocks right outside our door.  So today was the day.  LM headed out after lunch to pick out a few rocks and I gathered up the paint and brushes.

Paint supplies & rocks.  And the rabbit from "Hop".  Wonder how he got there?

I painted one rock for us to keep.  I used rubber stamps and ink to make a little design.  I kind of like it!


LM painted a rock for her Grandma who just had open heart surgery in June.  Luckily she picked a small one so it won't cost an arm and leg to mail it.


I packaged it up in a cellophane bag with some shredded paper.   I think Grandma will love it!


This activity is really fun, creative and very frugal.  Here's what we used:

  • Rocks from the yard
  • Craft paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Rubber stamps 
  • Stamp pad
I keep old yogurt containers and the like to put paint in when we do these types of crafts.

We had all of these things on hand so the cost was $0.  

And you know I love that!

Linking up to:

The Shabby Nest


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Fun...

We have two weeks left of summer vacation here.  This summer has flown by faster than any I have remembered.  I guess it's because we've been so busy and have hardly been home.  I really long for the lazy days of summer that I remember as a child.


My mom found this free printable called 101 days of summer fun @ Laura Winslow Photography.  We had big plans for these ideas at the beginning of the summer and then life happened: a quickie trip to St Louis, babysitting class, golf camp, a planned trip to Disneyland with LM's girl scout trip for four days, dentist & hairdresser appointments, a planned road tour of California and the usual household things-like laundry & grocery shopping.  We have also found time to do some of the things on this list.  Like:
  • Family Movie Night (when the McKenna 'American Girl' movie was on NBC)
  • Visit a Museum
  • Staying up late (too many nights)
  • Dance in the rain
  • Make a fort
  • Take a class 
  • Eat Breakfast for dinner
And I think we can still make time for a few things before school starts:
  • Bake cupcakes
  • Water balloons
  • Make a book nook
  • Paint with pudding
  • Make a nature rubbing
  • Make greeting cards for the year
  • Paint rocks
  • Have a sleepover
What kinds of things have you done with your kids this summer?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Disney Do's & Don't's

I just spent four days with LM and her girl scout troop at Disneyland so I thought I'd share some do's and don't's with you.  These tips aren't necessarily specific to Disneyland so use them as needed. 

I'll spare you the usual 'wear comfortable shoes' & 'don't forget the sunscreen' because I believe these are just common sense.  I won't even mention that I personally think four days is too long to spend at any theme park.  Oops, I just did.  Sorry about that.



  • DO get a park hopper ticket. This is Disneyland specific, obviously.  Even if you think you only want to go to Disneyland, get the park hopper.  You will likely regret being stuck in one park.  And your kids will want to go to 'Carsland' (more on that later), which is in the Disney California Adventure park (also referred to as 'DCA'-see what you learn in four days?)
  • DON'T eat breakfast at the park.  Unless that's the meal you want to splurge on, bring breakfast items with you and eat in your room.  You may have a mini fridge, depending on your hotel.  If not, keep a cooler on hand for fruit and yogurts.  Pack mini muffins and granola bars for your morning meals. Also, many hotels offer a breakfast included in the price of the rooms - some are pretty hearty (Residence Inn) & some are a bit more 'continental' (La Quinta).  But they can be a big money saver especially if you have a large family or group.
  • DO get an early start.  We were out each morning around 8:30 and to the park before 9.  It made hopping on some of the more popular rides a breeze.


  • DO get a park map when you enter the park.  They are available where the 'cast member' scans your ticket and will prove invaluable as you search for rides and restrooms.
  • DO take advantage of the Fast Pass. We got several each day which kept waiting in line to a minimum.  Don't get me wrong, we still waited in lines but the fast pass cuts down on that a bit.  
  • DO consider an app called Mouse Wait.  It gives you real time wait times on the popular rides.  It's available for Disneyland and DisneyWorld - for the iphone and Android.



  • DO utilize a 'buddy system' for your kids.  
  • DO take a picture of the kids each day as you are entering the park.  If anyone gets separated from the group you will have a picture to show anyone looking for the lost person - and you don't have to remember what they're wearing - the photo does that for you.  I do this anytime we're out in a large group: zoo, water park, Vegas, etc.


  • DON'T leave popular or new rides/exhibits until the end of the day.  For example, Cars Land opened not too long ago and it's still the hottest ticket at DCA so it's wall to wall people and the lines are crazy long (2 hours, anyone?) for the rides. Hit this spot first thing and consider the fast pass.
  • DO alternate more physical rides with 'calmer' ones.  Don't ride 5 roller coasters in a row.  Do a couple and then do something like the Zephyr (in DCA) or The Jungle Cruise.  I could see a difference in the kids when they had the chance to sit and look after a few hours of walking/standing.  They perked right up!



  • DO bring a refillable water bottle  for each person.  There are water fountains and filling areas throughout the park.  We brought a few gallon jugs of water we used to fill up the bottles each morning and then used the water fountains as needed throughout the day.  
  • DON'T forget snacks for the day.  You can bring healthier things than you'll generally find in the park and save some $$ to boot.  


  • DON'T dismiss the idea of staying at one of the resort hotels.  Yes, they are expensive but they may be worth the extra money to you and your family.  If you have a group and some may need a break during the day (babies, older family members) it sure is nice to be able to walk back to your room for a bit without having to get into the car.  We have had good luck with senior discounts at the hotels.  Definitely consider this if grandparents are joining you.
  • DON'T forget your camera. This probably falls in the sunscreen and shoe category but I can always use a reminder on this one!



  • DON'T forget to take in a show.  On a hot day there is nothing like spending a few minutes in the A/C to revive everyone. Disney Junior offers a fun one geared toward the smaller guests but I'll admit I loved it too!
  • DO pack your patience.  Lines are long, kids are too short to ride some rides, hunger hits too soon, feet get tired, rides break down.  Some extra patience will go a long way toward making your Disney experience a good one.
I know there are a million more tips but these are top ones.  Did I miss anything you would put on your list?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shades of Grey...

I finally painted our guest bath over the weekend.  After much deliberation over which shade of grey to use , I ended up with 'Silver Leaf' by Valspar.  It's a bit lighter than the 4 original shades I was considering but I really like how it turned out.  It's actually the same color my husband used for his work office.  There was quite a bit leftover from that so I decided to use it and hope for the best.  You know me, always looking for a chance to save $$$! It turned out to be a good decision.


Here's a look at the finished room:


I wasn't sure how this print, with it's green mat and frame, would look on the wall but it looks really nice.  Actually, it looks better in real life than in this picture.  The grey-ish white of the rocking chairs ties in with the wall color quite nicely.








The galvanized, numbered pots work well with the grey walls.


This little bath was the last room in the house to be painted.  Not sure why it took me so long as it's such a small room with very little wall space.  I am thrilled with the results.

And here's a little tip: After I finish a room I keep a little bit of paint out for any touch ups I need to do after the paint can and supplies have been put away.  It's inevitable that I find a little corner that needs just a dab of paint.  I avoid hauling everything back out by putting a little bit of paint in a glass jar or plastic tub that I can use as needed.  Of course, make sure both have tops to keep the paint from drying up.  Apply with a foam brush (the best invention ever!)

Linking up to Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest, Sizzle into Summer by DIY by Design,  Fridays on Remodelaholic Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Weekend Bloggy Reading @ Serenity Now, Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch &


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