Let’s Party Back to School Style

My sweet kiddos (including puppy dog) and hubby the morning school started…all smiles. My son can never look at the camera, I am doing good to get 2 out of 3 smiling with eyes on the camera.

Hooray!!  I made it through summer and I am still alive (how alive is debatable).  My kids started school yesterday and I believe they were excited to go!!  Sure there were first day jitters and worries of who will be in my class but as a whole, I believe they were pumped for the new school year.  I would like to take all the credit for that… haha, maybe not all the credit but some credit is due.  Why is this you ask?  Well, I believe it is because I have an awesome party every year the day before school starts that gets them jazzed and excited for the school year to begin.  It is something we all look forward to, just a little something to take care of the nervous nellies.  It also sets the mood for the beginning of the year entering the new grade with optimism and enthusiasm.  Having the day before school starts party helps them to set up for a great first day (and honestly first morning as there are no tears or complaints).  To sum it all up it makes the first-day run smooth as they are prepped and ready thanks to my party!!  Let me share with you the rundown of my party so that you can start a new tradition by throwing your own day before school starts party.  You will find this simple act will help your kids prepare themselves for their first day.

Photo cred: recreoviral.com

First off I ask each kid what they would like for dinner.  This is special because they pick anything I can cook for their “last meal” of summer.  They never really get this choice so it is fun and special for them to choose.  Yes, this means I may be making three different meals but I feel that for one day out of the year I can make that happen (but only one day).

Photo cred: Adventuresofadiymom.blogspot.com


I also plan a fun and school-related dessert.  This year we had homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream.  Another fun and easier option would be sliced apples with warm caramel.  So many sweet tooth options!!

We play some fun “school themed” games to get us in the mood.  I found these amazing ideas on Pinterest (where else?).  All of the games work pretty well for all three of my kid’s age range (4-9) except for the word search.  My older two really like the word search (it is more challenging) so I just have to help my little play by showing her what to circle and she follows along feeling as though she were a big kid.  Everything else they can all play together keeping in school theme and loving every minute.  I usually buy a big bag of skittles to use as bingo markers and prizes for winning but the real reason I use skittles is because of this game…


This is probably my favorite game to play.  I love to relate the questions in round one to those of summer past.  In round two I like to relate the questions to more of what they hope for and/or fear for in the new school year.  This allows for closure of summer and an open conversation of what lies ahead in the new school year.  We are able to talk through everything as a family while eating yummy skittles which if I am being honest helps in any situation.  You can really use this idea to create any questions or riddles to your desire or your kid’s needs.  This game is truly amazing as I learned some things about my daughter I never really knew before and not sure if she would have shared if it weren’t for the delicious skittles to provoke her.


Well, there you have it, my simple day before school starts party.  Super simple (maybe not super simple as I made three dinners) and fun way to get your kids on board with the new school year ahead.  Can you share any ideas that you and your family use to prepare your sweet kiddos for school?  If so let me know as I am always looking for new ways to switch up our party a bit.

Have a Terrific Tuesday everyone.



Total Tree-house Thursday

Hey hey!! Happy Thursday everyone!!  I just wanted to share with you how fun our rooftop tree-house turned out.  We have had so much fun playing in our tree sanctuary that we don’t ever want to leave.  It was about 100 degrees this week in Boise and we didn’t even notice because of the amazing shade and breeze our tree provides.  Now, I can’t take credit for the build-out of the structure… that award goes to my husband but the layout and design are all my doing (with amazing ideas from my kids).  First off, let me just say how helpful this treehouse has been for us staying off-screens this summer!  It has been fun watching the kids playing card/board games or coloring in the treehouse because this is way cooler than doing it on the patio or indoors.  Sometimes they will even eat and FINISH their dinner on the rooftop. Honestly, I am starting to think this rooftop treehouse is magical.   Placing a snack corner loaded with healthy snacks is a must, along with a few activities and my kids will disappear for hours.  Sometimes I forget I even have kids (ok not really).  Bottom line is while this treehouse endeavor has been a big undertaking for my husband physically as well as a hit to our wallets, I couldn’t be happier with the decision to go forward with this project.  Best of all this project isn’t even finished, and when the last screw is screwed it might just be the most epic treehouse ever created.  I will walk you through our rooftop treehouse including a fun gadget pully system totally created on the whim by my amazing husband, who can think out of the box and work with nothing to make everything.  When we have toured the rooftop I will explain as best I can what the plans are for the first floor to be completed late fall or early spring (depending on the hubs work schedule).  Shall we get started…

Here are my munchkins having fun coloring and playing, it was so hot this day but we never even noticed due to the shade and breeze created by being up in the tree!!

The snack corner was a huge hit!!  My kids are always asking for a snack, (seriously they ask for snacks every 10 minutes, is this normal?) when I offer up veggies or fruit they reluctantly accept.  But I am telling you guys this treehouse is magic because when they are up there they will eat whatever I put in the bowl without one complaint.  I placed an outdoor-friendly teak bowl on a metal side table that can endure the outdoor elements.  It was as easy as that to create and works like a charm.  I also want to point out the black and white flags strung on black yarn that my kids and I made together.  We cut triangles out of fabric, the best part is they are all mismatched in shape and layout, (that’s what you get with kids but that is the vibe I wanted) then we used a hole punch to punch holes into the fabric to string our black yarn through.  Next, we hung our flags along the banister of our rooftop treehouse.  It was a great way to use up some scrap fabric and bring in a little style to our space.

I also wanted to point out the black and white color scheme I chose for this rooftop space.  I went with black and white as this is a gender-neutral color scheme (I also happen to have so many black and white items on hand to use, if you can’t tell, black and white is my jam).  So keeping in theme this rug that is roughly a 3×5 was perfect for this space.  The rug has a rubber backing that allows it to stay put, which is important for a rooftop space.  Now this rug wasn’t made for outdoor use, however, it is made from a synthetic polyester that will wick away moisture.  The rug also spends all day shaded so shouldn’t fade at a rapid rate.  I will one day replace this rug with an outdoor rug, but for now, this rug works as I had it on hand, used from our entryway, where it took a beating.  Winters and springs are wet here in the northwest and the rug spent many days underneath wet snow/rain boots and held up superbly.  This table I found at a thrift store last year for only $8, I didn’t know why I needed it but I thought for $8 I just did.  I hoarded it for a while and this summer I found the perfect use for it.  Again, with the amount of cover and shade provided by the tree as well as the finish on this table, it works well for this space until the weather changes.  In the winter season, I usually store patio furniture and outdoor objects in our garage to preserve the life of said object, most things on the rooftop will be stored alongside my patio furniture.

Now for the highlight of this treehouse… the pulley system created from a training wheel and paint can lids.  Seriously, I don’t know how my husband can come up with these ideas but when he does they blow me away.

With the actual wheel part of the training wheel used as the turning cylinder, and two paint can lids (screwed together and secured to the training wheel arm) used on each side of the wheel to guide and keep the rope in place, we placed a durable rope looped around the wheel twice.  Screwing and bolting the arm of the training wheel to the banister secures this pulley system.  Tieing the other end of the rope to a bucket with a handle, making sure the bucket is somewhat strong enough to pull up all sorts of random objects.  The kids love to pull things up using this pulley system and it is honestly the best part of this treehouse.  They put anything and everything in the bucket to be pulled up, sometimes not even needing to but finding a reason to use it is the best part of the day.

This is my daughter pulling up some cool beverages for the day.  Look at that smile, it says it all!!

So not only did my husband create the pulley and build the structure, he also built this cute bench.  It is the perfect size for the little’s and is really quite ergonomically comfy!!  It was mostly built out of 2×4’s and love, really what else do you need??  I made a bench pad for added comfort, using foam from the craft store as well as outdoor fabric in black canvas.  Tip: if you head to your local craft store now you will find most outdoor fabrics up to 60% off!!  The lumbar pillow, however, is not made out of outdoor fabric and will come indoors as soon as the weather shifts.  I just thought the bench needed a little touch of style and this pillow matched the colors splendidly!!

Just to give you some perspective as to how high our rooftop is and what it is like to be “in the trees” I added this photo.  When you are on the rooftop you really do feel like you are sitting up in the trees (how perfect since we live in the city of trees).  Now the kicker here is, there is an awesome platform from the rooftop to then climb up into the tree further if desired.  As a mother, it terrifies me but as a kid at heart, I am dying to try it.  The tree is perfect for climbing as it has strong limbs that are perfectly spaced.   It was always just so hard to get to the limbs as they were so far up from the ground before the treehouse was built.  Now with the perfect step stool a.k.a. the rooftop treehouse it is totally achievable.  Fingers crossed we don’t become a regular at the local urgent care.

Now let’s talk about finishing this project.  I will describe my vision for the first floor and as always I welcome any feedback or opinions.  So for the first floor, I am thinking we will finish off at least three walls leaving one open so to speak.  By open, I mean possibly using a lattice wall or something similar so that the first floor can “breathe”.  Having built-in treehouse structures before, by finishing all four walls, I have come to learn that by doing so its basically a sauna in the summer months!  By leaving the west-facing wall open, using a lattice wall on the first floor, which will allow airflow, results in the structure not baking in the sun.  With the sun setting in the west and our two-story house being on the west side of the structure, our house provides shade to the “open” wall. Hence the reason of the lattice wall being on the west side, if I flipped the lattice wall to the east side it would get full morning sun.  The other three walls will be finished in 2×4’s placed horizontally.  They will be stained the same brown as the rest of the stained brown throughout the structure.  I am thinking the lattice wall will either be painted white like the banisters or possibly black, I haven’t fully decided yet.  Now the front of the first floor, the north wall, will be enclosed with horizontal 2×4’s.  Once enclosed, I would like to create a circular door that will be a rotating swing open door, cutting out from the finished wall.  I also would like to create a circular window alongside the circular door that will rotate swing open as well.  When the door and window are closed they are flush with the remaining north wall.  I want to paint the circular door and window white to match the banisters up top balancing the wood tones with the white tones.  From there, creating a small porch deck extending from the north-facing wall by about 3-4 feet, enough room to place planted pots and small Adirondack chairs ( my husband will also build these, tutorial on this when we get there).  Inside the first floor, I want the east wall to house bunk beds, obviously on the miniature side, not expecting the kids to actually sleep out there, just to imagine and play.  I would also like to create a counter of sorts with cupboards underneath for storage, this would have to be placed on the west wall, as this would be the only wall left with enough space.  So the lattice wall will actually be only half-open lattice and half counter/cupboard.  Hard to envision, but I promise I do see this and when it all comes together I promise you it will be amazing!!  Can’t wait to show you!!

Happy Thursday everyone….hope it is a terrific day!








A quick quirky gift for your kiddos classmates at year end

Hey there!! Happy Summer which officially starts for us in two days.  That’s right two days and fretting.  Things have been crazy busy around here, and just when you feel you can’t possibly stack one more thing on your plate, your kids ask what they can give their classmates as an end of the year parting gift…WHAT?!  I wanted to panic until I remembered I had some leftover party favors from birthdays past.  I took a few breaths and told myself not to worry, I had this, and then this great idea hit me.  So if you are unprepared with no time, (story of my life) I’ve got your back.  If you have any leftover party favors, take inventory and head over to Pinterest to try and find a fun “saying” to go along with what you have.  What I happened to have on hand were those sticky hand slingshot novelties, so I headed over to Pinterest to find a snazzy jingle and had no luck.  Believe it or not, my husband came up with our saying and it rocked my world!!  If you don’t have a storage closet of past party favors and decor, (a.k.a. junk) and actually came to the table prepared to plan, you can find the party favors on Oriental Trading Company or any party store such as Zurchers for really cheap!  Check out my year-end classmate’s gifts that my kids are so excited to pass out!

With a saying of “High five we survived!  Have a good summer!” printed at home on cardstock paper, I got to work.  We cut them out and hole punched the paper and plastic baggies containing the sticky hands tying them together with some fun twine.  This really took no time at all and was really inexpensive, best of all it was unique!

Pretty good for on the spot, out of time, panicked idea, right?!  Do you have any fun year-end gifts that your kids pass out? I am always looking for new ideas to archive for situations like these so please share!

Here’s to hoping we all survive the summer!



Summer Boredom Jar

Hey there!  So today I wanted to switch gears and talk about something a little different than design and remodels, (although I LOVE those topics).  I want to share a parenting hack because let’s face it, I am a parent of three wild children who are all about to be out of school for summer.  Like most parents nationwide, I am dreading it!!  The first few days of summer vacation are pretty easy going, but soon enough the boredom arises which quickly escalates to arguments.  So I have come prepared with a secret weapon, wait for it… a Summer Boredom Jar.  Genius!!   Anytime my kids come to me throughout summer with “I am bored, what can I do” I will have a few options to give them.  Option 1- Do homework/reading to stay ahead academically this summer, Option 2- Do some household chores, and Option 3- Pull an idea out of the Summer Boredom Jar.  I already know which one they will choose.  That’s right, the jar.  The jar is actually fun-filled activities that aren’t chores or homework, so this is a no brainer.

So let’s break down the jar.  There are countless lists on Pinterest of activities to keep any aged child entertained.  I skimmed through many and compiled a list that will work for my family.  Most activities are things you can do around the house with little or no extra supplies.  If you have a somewhat well-stocked craft room, you will have most of what you need.  Some activities are out and about adventures in your city or town that cost money, but those can be splurge days.  Another positive of having this jar is it gives you a chance to get organized and prepared for what your summer may look like.  So if you do need to buy extra craft supplies you can do so before the kiddos are at your heels complaining of boredom.  Some of the activities can be planned out in advance possibly saving you some $$.  For example, if you choose to take everyone to the zoo you may find there are some half-priced times and days that work for your schedule, so plan ahead and save.

Let me share with you our list of activities from our jar keeping in mind you may need to alter some outdoor activities suitable to where you live.  Such as a river outing may look a beach outing for you.

  • Fly a kite
  • Make paper airplanes/boats
  • Fill a trampoline with water balloons
  • Go for a hike
  • Feed the ducks
  • Board games/card games
  • Learn a dance/ dance contest
  • Make homemade popsicles
  • Hopscotch
  • Go to the library
  • Play charades
  • Bake
  • Make puppets/ puppet show
  • Dry and press flowers
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Wash a car
  • Bike/scooter
  • Write a story
  • Go to the park
  • Go to the river
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the nature center
  • Go to the aquarium
  • Have a picnic
  • Backyard camping
  • Go to the splash pad
  • Go swimming
  • Go to the water park
  • Float the river
  • Tie dye shirts
  • Go bowling
  • Go to a movie
  • Paint a picture
  • Play mini golf
  • Spa day
  • Movie marathon/ scary?
  • Go fishing
  • Make a movie, play or music video
  • Make a time capsule
  • Make snow cones
  • Go geocaching
  • Flashlight tag
  • Run through the sprinklers
  • Chalk art
  • Play Legos
  • Science experiments
  • Water balloon/squirt gun fight
  • Lemonade stand
  • Balloon volleyball/ tennis
  • Model clay building
  • Origami
  • Play kickball
  • Activity sheets found on Pinterest
  • Make a craft
  • Build a fort
  • Make playdough: 1 part conditioner 2 parts cornstarch
  • Finger knit
  • Make stuffed animals
  • Tell ghost stories
  • Hide and seek
  • Stargaze
  • DIY birdfeeder

As summer progresses I am sure we will find more things to add and do but for now, this is a good solid list of 60 activities.  I figure with roughly 85 days of summer vacation this was a good platform to start from.  You may not need as much if you will be traveling this summer.

I hope this can help ease any anxiety and stress you may be feeling as summer fastly approaches.  I know I feel better equipped with a plan and time to put it into action.  Do you have more activities I can add to this list?  Would love any and all help in this critical matter, haha!!

Happy summer planning!!





So in full disclosure, I don’t watch football.  I really don’t like football (I know, I know how could I say this?).  However, my husband loves football and his team has a shot this year.  So because I love him so much (also, I can’t sit and watch football without having something else to do) I am throwing a Superbowl Super Party.  This really allows the kids and I to get excited about something my husband is just so passionate about.  Look no further for I have found the best of the best Superbowl foods, games, and decor around.  Sit back, grab your fat pants, (my sweat pants) and lets get this party started.

Holy Mama!! This looks delicious and awesome!  Impress your guests or family with this ultimate snack stadium.  Get the full idea here.

Football or not, chocolate covered strawberries are always a good idea in my playbook. Check out the recipe and source here


This is my kind of pigskin.  Check out this football recipe here.  I may need to make two as the pigs in a blanket never last long at my house.

No Superbowl party is complete without pizza.  This pizza takes the win. Source; Babble

FOOTBALL PARTY Idea Gameday recipe, Football Bean Dip Cups. Easy to make and oh so cute

OMG, we have to have these.  Almost too fun to eat.  Thanks AThriftyMom.Com

Okay we all know how tiring cheering for your favorite team can be.  So take a water break and chat stats at the water cooler.  Source, Evite.com.



Score these festive cups on the cheap.  Thanks Fabeveryday.com.


Great way to display key players i.e. utensil.  Source: Masonjarcraftslove.com.


What a great way to jazz up the beverages, all you need is white duct tape! Source: Prudent Penny Pincher.

What a unique way to hand out snacks! Source: Prudent Penny Pincher


Such amazing ideas you can easily accomplish with a quick trip to your hardware store to purchase astro turf.  I especially love the table place mats!!! Source: SaltyCanary.com and SugarandCloth.com

It will definitely be a penalty in my house if you don’t use one of these with all that greasy but oh so delicious menu.  Source: KarasPartyIdeas.com.

Balloons always “make” the party.  Have the kiddos help you create some fun sayings on balloons with your favorite teams colors.  Source: StudioDIY.com


Rate the Superbowl commercials.  Honestly this is the real reason I watch.  Thanks Studio DIY!


You never know what you can use with an old box.  What a fun way for the kids to play along as well (heck even the adults)! Thank you Playtimewithmommy.com for this fun idea.


Paper plate football

Felt football pennants

Learn how to make these fun crafts and the items needed here.  Kids and crafts = you can watch the game in peace, even if for only a few minutes.

Last but certainly not least.  Football Bingo, is so fun to play but also keeps me involved in the game with the rest of the crowd.  Source: SunnyDayFamily.com.


What do you all have planned for Superbowl?  What team are you cheering for (of if your like me, what’s your favorite commercial), any score predictions?  GAME ON!