Thursday, July 18, 2013


At Christmas, my mom gave me the most adorable welcome mat. It was a winter scene, with owls on a branch, dressed in winter hats and scarves. Flippin' cute as heck. But...winter is the season during which doormats really get {used}...and by spring it was pretty clear that my owls weren't going to last through more than one winter. It didn't make sense to me to store it for use next winter when it was looking so sad...and I couldn't justify going out and purchasing a new doormat when, aside from the decoration, the winter doormat was still in pretty decent shape. So I did what any DIYer would do. I busted out the spray paint!

I apologize for the sad lack of in-project photos. It's been a while since I've done anything crafty, and I'm out of practice with the whole "Hey! You should take pictures of every step!" thing. First, I painted the entire doormat brown. I then made a stencil out of poster board by tracing a template I found for free online. I cut out 2 stencils so that I could spray paint the orange stripes in the uncovered areas *between* the poster board lines. Did that make sense? Here's the end result...

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Admittedly, the brown is looking a little black-er than I'd like - but with time & use it's sure to fade and weather and look perfect relatively soon. 

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I have to say, I love the pop of color it adds to the porch, and it just makes me happy! YAY!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Road Trip Fun!

Ahhh, Summer.... The time of year when many of us are loading into the car & heading out on seemingly endless drives for "vacation". I use the quotation marks because, let's face it, vacation with kids isn't much of a break for us moms. Technological advancements have made some aspects of car travel easier...but if you're like me, you're not a fan of just plopping in DVD after DVD and allowing your kids to numb their brains while you're passing through the countryside.

My family is spread out all over the place, with my sister living in Kansas City, and my brother living in Philadelphia, and me being pretty much dead center in Metro Detroit. My family has made a couple of trips in recent years for visits, and this is one of the tiny people's favorite things to do on the trip.

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Obviously, I'm not the best artist, but I found it much easier to whip together a plain grid and draw in the items rather than dig through clip art galleries online looking for what I wanted. Here's the grid itself...

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You can download the grid here:

The nice thing about doing it this way is that you can customize the game for your specific trip, and your kids. For a trip through PA, I added tunnels to the game because I knew we'd be driving through some. If we were traveling from our home in Michigan and heading West to Chicago or Kansas City, we wouldn't be passing through any tunnels, but we might add more farm-related items instead - like tractors, or barns with advertisements painted on them. And if we were traveling North from home to Canada, I would probably add islands to the grid, knowing that we would pass Mackinaw Island when going into the Upper Peninsula.  I filled out a few of the grids, and took along some blank ones, too, so that I could change some of the items for the trip home. 

My kids didn't stop when they got a "BINGO" - instead they tried to find everything on the grid, and colored the items in as they found them, which made it more fun. For this part of the game, I strongly suggest giving each kid a cup to hold their crayons. Why? Cars have cupholders! ;) In fact, that's another of my favorite road trip tips. Cups. Put everything - food, pencils/crayons, etc. - in cups. It definitely cuts down on the mess.

Some of the other games we enjoy on road trips are: 

Zit - This is an old family favorite from my youth. Kids get points for spotting farm animals.  Only 1 animal per seeing a herd of cattle won't win you the game...and someone else in the car has to see the animal, no cheating.  ;)  Wild animals don't count. First person to 21 points wins!
Chickens / Ducks / Geese - 1 Pt.
Cats / Dogs - 2 Pts.
Goats / Sheep / Pigs - 3 Pts.
Cows - 4 Pts.
Horses - 5 Pts.
White Horse - 10 Pts.
Old Man with a long white beard wins the game.

The great thing about this game? The kids are using Math! ;)

Name That Person - Each player takes turns picking a famous person. It can be anyone - a historical figure, a celebrity, an athlete, etc.  They give the other players the person's initials, and then the other players in the car take turns asking yes or no questions until someone can correctly guess the person's identity. For example - someone might say "I've got a person, and their initials are A.L." Good questions would be: Is this person alive? Is this person a man? Is this person from the United States?, etc. Eventually someone will figure out that "A.L" is Abraham Lincoln. :)

And then there are the well-known stand-by games that you've probably already been playing!

The Alphabet Game - Find letters A-Z, IN ORDER. Only 1 letter per sign.

The License Plate game - Finding license plates from each of the 50 states (you could add Canadian Provinces, too). Here's a link to a free printable to help with the game!

I hope some of these games are helpful to you and your family. Enjoy & safe travels!



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