How to Make Your Own Large Picture Frame

Thursday, September 29, 2016

One thing I've learned since owning a home is that everything costs a lot more than you thought it would. As we've begun the decorating/remodeling process in our home, we've tried to do as much of it on our own as possible to save money. Luckily, Derek built log cabins in southeast Idaho after high school to help pay for his church service mission in France, so he's pretty handy and is able to fulfill most of the handy man tasks I ask of him.

When I got some engineer size prints in the mail last week, I knew I wanted to get frames to go around them, and then almost peed my pants when I found out frames that size would cost hundreds of dollars. Considering we had three large prints to frame, coughing out upwards of a thousand dollars wasn't exactly an option. Would I buy frames for a really expensive piece of art? Yes. For digital prints that I bought off Etsy? Absolutely not. 

I then had the idea to just make the frames myself, and after a quick google search, I realized they weren't hard at all. The tutorial that I based my project off of can be found here, but I decided to simplify our frames even more by not putting them under glass, and decided to just tape my picture to the back of the frame. 

I will say that the wood we bought from Home Depot was not the greatest quality of wood out there, but each 8' board was only $1.25. Definitely dig around to find the straightest pieces in the batch that they have. Some of ours had split parts, or parts that looked pretty roughed up, but we spray painted them anyway, and loved the "rustic" look that it gave. 

supplies make one 4'x3' frame
(2) 1"x 3" x 8' KD Premium boards from Home Depot
(1) 4 Pack 2 1/2" Flat Corner Braces
Sawtooth Hangers (for hanging if needed)
Wood Glue
Miter Box w/ Saw
Spray Paint

Measure your boards out for the length and width that you need. We were doing 4'x3' frames, and so we needed two pieces of wood to complete one frame. Once you have your measurements marked, place your wood into the miter box, and at a 45° angle, and cut your wood on the marks.

Once you've made all your cuts, lay them out on the ground to make sure they fit together, and that you don't need to correct or fix anything. When your boards are where you want them, wood glue all the seams together, and then screw your flat corner brackets into place. We didn't pre-drill holes for the screws that hold the brackets in place, and did not personally have any splitting on all three frames.

Once all your corner brackets are screwed in place, then spray paint your frame to the color of your choice, and let dry for the allotted time that it states on your paint can.

Once your frames are painted and dried, tape your picture to the back of the frame. If you're going to be hanging this on a wall, be sure to add the sawtooth hanger after the paint dries, or if it's just sitting on your mantle, stick it up there, and be done!

Have you ever made your own picture frames before? Do you love large engineer size prints? I have a feeling these are going to be staples in my house all year long. 

7 Things That Have Made Special Needs Parenting Easier

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

We've been on our journey of being "parents-of-a-child-with-special-needs" for over two years now. The first year didn't seem that much different than raising any other child, but for months 13-24, we definitely started to feel the stretch. The first year was so easy because raising a baby is raising a baby. For us, Em was never on feeding tubes, or oxygen, so aside from the fact we did physical therapy weekly, there really wasn't anything different. 

After that first year though, Em got bigger, her physical disabilities started to become more noticeable for strangers, and the fact that she's so big (tall), started to make it a little draining and taxing when we had or wanted to do things. All that paired with the fact that it felt like she was never sleeping meant that we were practically avoiding the outside world as much as possible. However, after living like a hermit for a solid 10 months, I realized it wasn't fair to her, Jay, or our entire family to avoid doing fun adventures, or going to fun activities just because things would be more difficult. So today I'm going to share with you a few things that have made all of this just a little bit easier for us over the last few months. 

A Portable Sleeping Tent: Because Em is so tall, she fully outgrew being able to sleep in a pack n play at about 20 months. This meant that if we traveled anywhere, we didn't really have a place for her to sleep because beds aren't safe for her, and she would just roll all over the floor all night and never sleep if we tried that, so we needed something that could confine her a little more. We've been loving our PeaPod Plus tent that we got from Sear's in May. I love that it's super compact, so when we're not using it, it folds up into a small disc, but that the actual tent is 52'' in length meaning that it should be long enough for Em for a few more years. It's significantly less bulky than a pack n play, and there is a padded mat on it that makes it just as comfortable. 

Bigger Hotel Rooms: This last year we've kissed goodbye the idea that we can all sleep in one room together and have it work out. We have officially moved into the realm of two bedroom suites which seems so unnecessary, but because Em has such a hard time falling asleep, and she's often pretty noisy until she falls asleep, it's nice that we can stick her in her own room, and then Jay can sleep on the pull out couch, and Derek and I can have a room to ourselves, where we hopefully can't hear anything that our kids are doing. To me, it's worth the extra money while traveling to be able to get a good nights sleep and not hate everyone during the day when we're trying to go places and do things. Plus, we just reserved a room for $149/night at a Marriot for when we're in NC in a couple weeks, which is almost what you'd pay for a normal room in some places... so... worth it. 

A Good Stroller: When Em was born we bought the Baby Trend Sit and Stand Stroller on Amazon and it was horrible for us. I know a lot of people love their sit and stands, but I'm pretty small, and not incredibly strong, and it was so large and bulky to push that it was really straining my wrists every time I used it. I wound up giving that one away, and used a $20 umbrella stroller from Target for about a year. Then finally when we went to Florida this year, I wanted to get a stroller that could convert from a single, to a double, in case Jay wanted to ride, and then when Jay no longer wanted to be in a stroller, I could have it as just a single for Em. I found a 10 month old Phil and Teds double stroller on craigslist for $300, which is more than half off the original price, and jumped on the deal. It's been one of the best parenting purchases I've ever made, and and I love that it will work for us for years and years to come. Em is in our stroller 90% of the time when we go places, so it was really important to get one that would last, and that would function for our needs. 

Babysitters: You have to tell yourself that you're not the only person who is capable of taking care of your child. When we lived in NC and Em was a newborn, we left her with young women from church all the time because they were all obsessed with her, and enjoyed watching her. When we moved to Georgia and didn't know anyone, it was hard to feel comfortable leaving her with other people because she was so limited in her mobility, and I thought that the sitters would accidentally hurt her, or try and have her sit and she would fall over... but then this summer I just got over myself and started ditching her with every babysitter I possibly could, and you know what? She was fine every time. She would cry for five minutes, get over it, and then happily play until whoever was watching her put her down for a nap, or put her in bed. After going from zero dates in an entire year, to more than 10 in the last three months, I can say Derek and I like each other ten times more than we did during our non-dating period. I realized in some cases, some kids may have more needs, like oxygen, or a feeding tube, but I really can't stress how important it is to train/teach at least 2-3 other people how to care for your child so that you can have a break. 

Get a Gym Membership: This kind of goes in the same vain as the babysitter, but we recently got a gym membership at the YMCA, which means I can drop my kids off at the daycare for up to two hours (though I never go more than one hour) each day, and get a well needed break from my kids. Not that I don't love them, but being the primary care taker, and having no other family around... it can feel daunting at times. I love that my kids will happily go do something fun for themselves while I work out and have a peaceful shower when I'm done. Also, if you can't afford a Y membership, look into their financial assistance program like we did. We wound up getting our membership fees waved due to Derek's income and the high amount of medical bills that we pay for Em. 

Have a Friend Who Really Gets It: All your friends with typical children are great, and they're supportive, and loving, and we need those friends too, but having a friend who is going through the same things as you on a daily basis is invaluable. We met a family when we moved to our new house who has a son with autism, and they've literally been through pretty much every single thing that we've been through with Em. I've loved being able to bounce thoughts and ideas off of her, especially since her son is older than Em, so she likely has all the good answers for things before I get to that next phase in our lives. 

A Sensory Blanket: I've talked about how much I love our sensory blanket in this post here. But it really has been life changing for us, and if you're on the fence about making one, all I really have to say is just do it! You're 4 hours of moderate labor away from the most joyful nights sleep you've ever had in your child's life. 

Fall Mantle Decor 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One of the things I was most excited about for our new house was having a fireplace. After not having one in the six other homes we've lived in, I was super excited to finally have a place to hang Christmas stockings, and a place to swap out decor on a seasonal basis. It's definitely been a process finding pieces that work for our home, and finding things that we're still going to like five years from now, and not just for this season. 

I don't really love the idea of Halloween decorations because the holiday is so short lived. I'd rather buy decorations for just the fall, and then be able to use them throughout the entire season, instead of having to swap them out for a couple weeks when everyone is in the Halloween buzz. As much as I love having my home decorated, the less I actually have to do it, the better. 

The main focal point of this mantle was our new engineer size print that we recently got in the mail. I was wasting time on Etsy a couple weeks ago and found a digital download for the picture and decided it would be perfect for right above our fireplace. I bought the file, and then had it printed, and then Derek built the frame for me out of super cheap wood from Home Depot (tutorial coming tomorrow!). 

After the picture was up, I ran around my house trying to find all our fall decor from last year, which I realized was basically non-existent. We had these white milk bottles, and orange flower arrangements that we had in our last house, and figured they would work just as well here. I had to make a run to a couple stores for the rest of the items though. 

I lucked out last Friday when I went to Michael's and found out that their entire store was basically 50% off, and I had a mobile coupon for 25% off my entire purchase (including sale items), so I was able to get the rest of my decor for super cheap. The two large pumpkins were $8,25 each after the sale and coupons, and the large wooden garland (which I happen to think is super cute and woodsy), was less than $10. I bought a bag of plastic mini pumpkins from Target for $4, and the candle was left over from last year... and then my fireplace was complete. It's not very often I look at something in my own home and think, "Well that's dreamy..." But when I finished putting this together over the weekend, those were my exact thoughts. 

For more fall decor inspiration, be sure to check out last year's post on how we decorated our dining room table!


30 Minute Dinner Rolls

Monday, September 26, 2016

I've had this idea for the last few months where I should start going a throw back Thursday post each week on my blog. The idea would be I take a post that I wrote five years ago, that has a terrible picture, and recreate it, and make it better, and then republish it here on the blog. There are lots of recipes that I've posted here, that we really do eat all the time, but the pictures look so awful that no one ever looks at those posts. I've also been wanting to make a small cookbook/recipe binder for my kitchen that has all our favorite recipes in one spot, with a picture of it included, and I feel like this would be an awesome way to get the new and improved pictures taken. 

I've apparently posted this twice on the blog already. Once in 2011, and then a hilariously "improved" addition in 2012. This time though, round three in 2016, I've got the recipe down, and the picture to go with it. 

1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp active dry yeast
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 1/2 cups flour

Mix the water, yeast, oil, and sugar together, and let proof for 15 minutes. Add in the flour and knead until dough forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray, and place one dough ball into each cavity. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes, and then bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown. 

The Power of Small Changes

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

In March I read Gretchen Ruben's book, Better Than Before. I talked at length in my review about how impactful it's been for me, and how much my life really has improved since then. A lot of the book talks about small changes that you can make in your everyday life that will ultimately better you in the long run. 

After reading the book I evaluated a couple ares of my life. One of them being how much sugar I was eating on a daily basis. Not that I was eating a dozen donuts everyday, but around 4pm when my kids would start driving me crazy, I would shove down a handful of chocolate chips to make it through until Derek came home from work. As you can imagine, one handful turns into another, and then another, and then all of a sudden, you've eaten half the bag in one sitting. 

Once I evaluated that situation, I mentally told myself, "I will no longer eat chocolate chips". You want to know what happened? I was really awesome at not eating them for three weeks, and then one day I caved, and had some before Derek got home, and I didn't even like them plain anymore. I've now gone six months without having a chocolate chip snack and I've saved myself thousands of calories and grams of fat. This doesn't mean I deprive myself of all sweets (I have had nine donuts this week thanks to Krispy Kreme's talk like a pirate day), but since we don't buy cookies and ice cream at the store, whatever treats we have, I usually make, which means they're once in a while, and a lot more intentional. 

Another issue we were having was with laundry. All our clothes are upstairs, but the laundry room and ironing things are down two flights of stairs in the basement. It was such a hassle to bring a wrinkled shirt downstairs to iron that Derek and I were starting to avoid wearing half of our clothes because it was so inconvenient to go and iron them. Then I had the genius idea to bring the ironing board and iron into the master closet, and now all of our clothes are happily being worn again.

One lifesaving hack was when I was desperate to stop losing all my hair ties all over the house. I stuck a little three inch makeup bag in the drawer of my bathroom, and now when I take my hair tie out, it goes on my wrist until I make my way to the bathroom again, and then it promptly goes back into the little bag tucked neatly away in my drawer. I haven't bought a new pack of hair ties in over a year now, and I still have most, if not all from the last pack. 

When we bought our house, we were so busy and go, go, go, for so long that we fell out of the habit of doing PT at home with Em everyday, that paired with the fact that she doesn't use her legs very much resulted in her developing really tight hamstrings. We were given stretches to do with her each day on top of our other at home PT stuff and it felt like one more thing we "had to do". Then I decided that I would just do her stretches every time I changed her diaper, and now she's getting them done (and screaming her face off), three-four times per day. 

As a blogger I get emails all day long. Emails about potential sponsored posts, from advertisers, other blogging friends, and then there is church, doctor appointments, spam, neighbors... it all adds up over the course of the day. I'm usually pretty good about sifting through and deleting the junk as it comes in, but then I'll hoard 10 or so e-mails that require action in my inbox for weeks at a time thinking, "I'll get to it when I have time". After living like this for a year, I finally made the decision to not go to bed each night until my inbox is back to zero, and it's been amazing. All my emails that need response, only really take two minutes each at the most, so 10 minutes before bed, or throughout the day as they come in, I deal with them, and then I don't have that added stress for the next week and a half. 

Something else that's been mind-blowingly (yes, making new words here), life changing is Janssen's One Minute Rule. Which basically means, if you can get a chore or task done in one minute from the second you think about it, to just buckle down and do it. So if I'm downstairs cleaning and remember I have laundry that needs to go in the dryer? Do it now instead of waiting until 10 at night before bed. If the kids are eating breakfast and I'm not doing anything? Unload the dishwasher. I've actually been blown away by how many more things I get done by doing the one minute rule. Once I start doing one thing, I think, "well I might as well take out the trash... and now I should pick up the toys... and wow, now I can see the carpet,  I should vacuum too...", basically, our house has never been cleaner because once I get going, I can't stop.

I hope this was helpful for you to see some of the areas in my life that  I've switched up a little bit to make my life easier. What are some things you're doing to improve your life, and make your days smoother? Let me know in the comments below!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...