Simplify the Season : Put Together a Sick Kit

Get Ready...Put Together a Sick Kit via Clean Mama

If you have little ones, there’s a pretty good chance that at some point in the next few months someone’s going to get sick.  And for whatever reason it seems to always comes at the busiest most inopportune time.  Am I right?  I always put together a little sick kit in the fall just in case.  (For the record, I am ALL about prevention: vitamins, eating lots of fruits and veggies, hand washing, frequent cleaning….but we still get sick.)

Some things you might include (these are all items that are readily available at most stores – I didn’t include other natural items (like probiotics and essential oils) that we have in our medicine cabinet):

  • soup
  • ginger ale/ gatorade/
  • crackers
  • tylenol/motrin
  • cough syrup/cough drops/cold tablets
  • jell-0
  • applesauce
  • charcoal tablets
  • activity books

Put Together a Sick Kit via Clean Mama

What would you add to the kit?  Do you plan ahead for illness to strike or just wait and see?



This post is part of a series designed to help you Simplify the Season. You can see all the posts here.

Simplify the Season via Clean Mama


Handmade Walls

Today I’m introducing you to an amazing ebook from Jamin and Ashley Mills of the blog The Handmade Home.  Their new ebook is called Handmade Walls: 22 Inspiring Ideas on Bringing Your Walls to Life and I must say that is unlike any ebook I’ve ever read.  The ideas jump off the page and every page of this over 250 page book is inspiring and beautiful.  Beyond the pretty pages are practical and inexpensive ways to bring ‘your walls to life’.  I especially love the project reference guide – it dares you to dig in and transform your home.
To see what Jamin and Ashley have to say about their book, keep reading…..


In the process of creating pieces for your home, a transformation occurs. In both you, and your lovely abode. You leave a personal impression…a mark if you will, on each project. With each piece, you lose a little fear. And gain a little bravery. Each creation is an extension of you. With every piece you create, you make your home yours. If your home is literally a piece of you… uniquely yours, how can you not help but love it? 
Handmade Walls: 22 Inspiring Ideas on Bringing Your Walls to Life


• Have you ever struggled with your home? Struggled to make it feel more genuine… more like you? Have you ever felt inhibited from what you really wanted by ‘the rules’? What about your own fears? Have you ever been frustrated by the overpriced, overused selections in big box stores? Jamin and Ashley Mills of The Handmade Home have been there. They had a desire to explore options beyond the limited and expected. Handmade Walls is a simple, inspiring, and realistically approachable springboard for making your home your own. Everything you see in this book was created with the hope that you’ll learn to shake off those fears and love your sanctuary as you create it. Just for you.
 Handmade Walls contains 22 projects, at over 250 pages chock-full of inspiration, creations, and plans for making it happen in your own homes. It’s a realistic, user-friendly fun approach on creating beautiful handmade pieces for your spaces. It’s available for $9.95 in a simple easy-to-use PDF format with an accessible and affordable approach for all. Just click, download, and read. It’s that simple, and if you have any questions, they’ll be there to help you.
Breaking it down:
• More bang for your buck: The price for each project in this book averages at about 35 dollars. Compared to those big box store prices this definitely puts you ahead in the pocket book department. Each project can also be adjusted for your own individual needs.
• Divided into three main sections: Frames, Art, and Functional:  Handmade Walls builds on your personal skill level and it has an easy breezy learning curve. This means there’s something for everyone in this book. So whether you’re a DIY novice, weekend warrior, or just someone who appreciates a fun read, it’s Jamin and Ashley’s deepest hope that you’ll enjoy something they’ve created just for you.
• Every plan in this book comes complete with step by step illustrations, photography, tips, and tricks. These are to help with those little known, frequently asked questions. Each one is even completed with a cut and supplies list, price bracket, difficulty level, and time required for each project. So you know exactly what you’re diving into before you even begin.
• Beyond the basics: Handmade Walls includes a project reference guide and supplies glossary where you’ll find ideas for finishing off those projects. From advice on their favorite tools, to paint colors and step-by-step techniques to help you out as you create. It’s a great go-to for making your own works of art in your home. And in turn, making it your own.


Beautiful homes aren’t purchased in one day. They aren’t bought ‘as a room’, and they aren’t thrown together overnight. They probably aren’t even held in a collective grandiose round of applause, given their one of a kind unique nature based on who put them together. Maybe, one of a kind homes are only appreciated by the creator and those who dwell there. Truly beautiful homes are created over time. They’re crafted carefully by an artist who loves to tweak a canvas. They are an honest, illuminating reflection of those who live there. We hope you feel inspired to create a home of your own, and leave your stamp.
This post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own and I received an advance copy of Handmade Walls with the hopes that I would love it and promote it.  I love it, it’s a wonderful book and I am happy to talk about it here on my blog.

Have You Tried This?

A couple weekends ago, I was at a furniture store buying a floor model bed.  There were a couple scratches in the wood and I asked the clerk if she had anything to cover the scratches up. 
She went in the back and came back with this:
Have you tried it?  Seen it?  I couldn’t believe how well it covered up the scratches on the bed.  I was so impressed that I went home and picked up a bottle at Target (under $5) to use around my home.  I’ve tried it on a couple spots – and it works amazingly well. 
It also comes in a light wood variation as well.
Have you tried this stuff?  What do you use to cover scratches in wood around your home?


Cute Soap Dispenser Solution

Blogland really needs another tutorial of how to convert a canning jar into a soap dispenser, so here’s how I made a cute soap dispenser out of an old Ball quart size jar. 

I used the small mouth variety to keep the soap drips down the side to a minimum. 
Couldn’t bear to drill into the original lid, so I used a pasta sauce lid.

I drew a circle of where I should aim my tools.
Used a “punch a bunch of holes with a nail because the drill wasn’t charged” technique.

Spray painted the lid.

Pushed the ring into the hole – went the wrong way the first time, figured it out with only a couple dings – spray painted again.

Screwed the fancy soap pump top into the ring.
Took a picture in the grass.

Here it is on the counter – serving its mission of making my counter cuter.

Acrylic Paint Storage

I saw this idea over at Funky Junk Interiors a while ago and finally got around to carrying it out in my craft room.  I had an old Coca-Cola crate in the basement that I’ve been wanting to do something clever with and this fits the clever criteria for me.  I cleaned it up with the hose outside and it gave it a light coat of clear polyurethane.

I grouped my acrylic paint colors by color family in the little cubbies and now I have a great acrylic craft paint storage solution.   So much better than the plastic shoe boxes that my paints used to be stored in – I love it!

Easy Labels

I have a mommy turntable in the craft room with some of my supplies in it.  It needed labels, so I typed some up in cute fonts, printed them on craft paper and now my supplies have little labels.  
Wanna make some too?  
Here’s how I did it – easy peasy:
Measure space that will be filled with a label – use the ruler on your computer as you’re typing so you don’t go over that size.  Type words into a word processing document.
Cut a 12×12 inch square of craft paper down to 8.5×11 inches.
Send craft paper through the printer – print word document.
Cut labels down to size.
Insert in little spot for label.
And I’m all labeled up!
I’m linking this up to some fun parties this week – check them out!

Craft Room Shelves – Part 2

Last week I went from this:
 and this:
to this:

This week I’m going to show you how I added craft supplies to the shelves so they would serve a purpose and function in my craft room while adding some decorative appeal.

I placed them on either side of the door that leads into the guest bathroom.  Perfect fit.

I started by deciding what needed to be stashed in a different place.  First, it was the glitter.  On the craft table, it’s just too tempting for littles.  My glitter “collection” fits perfectly on the shelf. 

I also wanted some closed storage so I decorated a couple jam jars with ribbon and craft paper (attached with a hot glue gun) and now I have closed storage.  I put decorative paper rolls in one, some antique sewing supplies in another, and little chipboard animals in the last one.  
I also needed a place for stamps and stamp pads – I put the stamp pads on the shelf and some additional stamp pads and stamps in the drawer. 
My favorite part of the little display?  The antique ivory wool jacket and children’s hangers.  All three are my mom’s garage sale finds (thanks, mom!) from years ago – aren’t they sweet?
I don’t know if you can tell, but the guest bathroom is a soft butter yellow color – I love how the little ivory jacket connects the two rooms together.

I re-did these two shelves for the cost of two cans of spray paint – everything else was stuff that I already had – it totally “paid” to look a little harder in my basement.
I’m linking this up to some fun parties this week!

Craft Room Shelves

This week I’m re-doing a couple of cute shelves that didn’t sell in my last garage sale.  So I guess you could say that I shopped my own sale.  They fit in nicely in our last house, but the color and style is a bit off for my kitchen in this house.  I got to thinking that I need some shelving in my craft room, so what better place to make them for, right?  
Here are the two little shelves: 
This off-white one has herb labels on it – I saved them for something else, someday.
I removed the hardware.
Filled the holes with spackle/wood filler.
Lightly sanded them down to smooth out the spackle/wood filler and to “rough up” the surface to prepare it for the spray paint.

Sprayed away with my new favorite spray paint.  I needed two cans – totally worth it.
I sanded in-between the 4 layers of paint. 

I decided the white shelves needed a little sprucing up so I got out my craft paint and paint brushes.
I painted the knobs on the vertical shelf the two colors that I’ve accented the craft room with.  I also painted the little cracks in the larger shelf green.
I added some dots to the knobs of the vertical shelf.
Here’s a great art teacher tip for painting perfect dots: dip the non-bristle end of the paintbrush in your paint and make your dots.  Works perfectly every time.
Here are the shelves ready for a new spot in the craft room.  Next week I’ll show you how I arranged them, added crafty supplies and labels.  
Do you have any shelves you could re-purpose and paint?
I’m linking this post up to some great parties!

Summer Fun Container

My preschooler and I have been talking about different things we want to do this summer.  I wanted to turn our list into a visual representation of what we want the summer to look like.  Preschoolers love to see accomplishment and have things to look forward to – at least mine do!  I came up with this idea as a way to “choose” activities for the summer.  Most activities are free, some cost a little bit, but the idea is to have a bucket of ideas – and to do every single one before Labor Day.  Some will be used as a reward and others will go into the “What are we going to do today?” category.  Here’s how we made our Summer Fun Container.  
We started by writing down all the fun things we want to do on a summer fun list (in the shop) like this:
 I typed out our list:
Cut each event into strips:
We covered another Trader Joe’s coffee container with summery scrapbook paper, glue, stickers, and paper ribbon.
We used border stickers to cover the fronts and backs of clothespins.
We put the clothespins in the container with the strips of paper.
We’ll choose activities between Memorial Day and Labor Day and hopefully at the end of the summer, our Summer Fun Container will look like this:
Have you started making plans for the summer?  
How do you plan?  No planning, make a list, or something visual and tactile?
I’m linking this up to some parties – check them out!

Make a Paint Chip/Fabric Swatch Idea Folder

Today’s post is a great way to wrap up Decorating Week.  I love home decorating and re-decorating and have finally realized that it’s a process and not something that happens overnight.  For me, it’s more fun to hunt down good deals and the perfect piece for a room rather than buying everything at once so that the room is decorated.  Let me give you a real-life example:  We have been in our home for over a year and we still don’t have a dining room set.  Right now there’s a kid play kitchen and a hockey net in the dining room.  And, I’m okay with it.  We’re looking for a bargain and the perfect set for the room.  If it takes 3 years to save up the money and find the set, so be it.  My kids get to have a big run-around room for now and it’s worth it to find the right pieces.  I also haven’t painted the entire house because we’re still deciding on paint colors and window treatments, etc.  To keep all my ideas together, I started putting putting all of my collected swatches in a little mini photo album so I could toss my ideas into my purse and go looking for goods.  I wrote a blog post about it a few months ago here.  
Today, I’m going to show you how I’ve “decorated” my Paint and Fabric Swatch Folder.
For supplies, I used a 4×6 photo album (cheap), a paper cutter, white card stock, two-sided tape, and my label maker. 
I cut the paper into 4×6 pieces and printed out labels for every room (printed vertically).
I trimmed the holes from my paint chip collection (but made sure that the color name and number remained).
Then I started to assemble each “room” on a separate 4×6 sheet.
Then I put the pages in the little  book in the order of the rooms in the house – front door, living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, etc.
Here’s what they look like in the “book”.  The front cover is a photograph of the front of our house and the back cover is looking out the back window.
I’m linking this post up to some parties – check them out!

Coffee Containers Make Great Art Supply Containers

Trader Joe’s has great, cheap coffee.  Here are the last two selections we tried:
My kids got some longer markers that were annoying to keep on trying to fit into the plastic-sleeve package.  I decided to see if they’d work in the coffee containers and they did.  I carefully rinsed them out (inside only) and dried them on a sunny windowsill and we started storing our markers in the containers.  
They are the perfect height and size to hold this big pack of markers and because they are paper on the outside and aluminum on the inside, they are are a great candidate to cover with paper.  So this is what we did:
Cut paper (not card stock) to fit the height of the container.
Apply glue (I used Elmer’s Glue-All) to the back – spread it around with a piece of cardboard.
Carefully apply to the container, making sure to smooth it out as you go so there aren’t any bumps.
There was a gap, so I applied a strip of coordinating paper.
Then to label the marker containers, we added letter stickers –   one is for warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) and one is cool colors (blues, greens, purples).
I’m linking this up to some of my favorite parties this week – check them out!

Bathrooms Week! FANS

This week I’m focusing on bathrooms and doing a little deep cleaning in each of my bathrooms.  In case you missed it, this is how I clean bathrooms every Monday.  So I’ll clean my bathrooms today and also start on a  little bathroom project.  This week I’m focusing on some areas that don’t get cleaned every week (hopefully they get cleaned a couple times a year) – I’m breaking it down and tackling one each day of this week.  Hence, it’s Bathrooms Week at the Clean Mama Blog.  I have a lot planned this week, so I made a special Weekly Docket (this is something that I can do for any docket that’s ordered – they are totally custom!) to help me out – I added Bathrooms and Baking.  Check it out:
So Monday-Friday of this week, I’ll detail the extra bathroom cleaning that I’m doing and later in the week, I’ll do a post on my freezer baking (with recipes) for anyone that’s interested.  So it’ll be a fun and busy week here and hopefully I’ll get a lot accomplished.  Care to join in?  I’m going to Twitter a bit about it – hop on my branch and stay informed.  There will be a docket giveaway for those that hop on this week, so don’t delay.
Today’s bathroom task?  FANS!  This is a quick and easy task to start with.
  Remove the fan cover – this has visible dust and dirt – can you see it?
Wash off in sink or outside – let air dry.
Vacuum fan mechanism (and other high up areas while you’re on a ladder).  Look at all that dust!
 Much better.
Put fan cover back (this was a bit tricky).
Much better.
Tomorrow I’ll be talking about bathtub toys and giving you some ideas for cleaning them.  Have you ever cleaned your bathroom fans?  After seeing how icky they get without cleaning, I think I’ll need to put this on a list of some sort.

How to Make a Recipe Binder

update: check out this post to see my updated recipe binders

There are lots of ways to make recipe binders, but I’m going to show you how I made mine.  I love to cook and bake and peruse cooking magazines and online cooking sites.  Combining all of these things into an easy, accessible personal cookbook is fun for me and super helpful in the kitchen.  I have two Recipe Binders – one for Cooking and one for Baking/Desserts.  Here’s what you need to make a binder:

  • 3-Ring notebook (2 if you want to make a Cooking and a Baking/Desserts binder – I started with one and morphed into 2)
  • Clear Plastic Sleeves – look at an office supply store or Costco and buy a big box of them – you’ll save money in the long run
  • Cute 12×12 inch scrapbook paper – I bought a food-related pack at Joanne’s
  • cardstock to back the labels for the subject dividers
  • Paper cutter to cut down the scrapbook paper and to trim edges of recipes (if necessary)
  • label maker to make labels for subject dividers
  • packing tape (I like the Scotch Tear-by-Hand packing tape)

Here’s how to get started:

Decide on what sections you want in your binder(s) .  In my Cooking Binder I have – appetizers, salads, breads, vegetables, soups, pastas, pizzas, poutry, beef, holiday recipes, canning recipes.  In  my Baking/Dessert Binder I have – candies and snacks, cakes and frostings, desserts, pies and tarts, cookies and bars, holiday desserts, muffins and quick breads.  Start pulling out favorite recipes from magazines, printing from websites, and copying favorite recipe cards.  Maybe you have a stack already – here’s a perfect way to organize them!

Cut scrapbook paper to fit the binder cover and page protectors for the different sections.
     Using a label maker (you could also write these out or print from computer and cut to fit) print out different sections vertically.
    Cut small strips of cardstock (3/4inch wide) and attach labels to cardstock – trim excess cardstock.
    Place cardstock on packing tape and attach to page protectors.
    Start organizing your recipes and start cooking!
    I’m linking this up to some of my favorite parties this week, go check them out!

        Messy Monday: How to Make a Notepad

        Here’s a fun notepad tutorial for you – super easy and you probably have all the supplies in your house.  I’m going to show you how to make your own notepads.  Why would you want to make a notepad?  You can recycle your computer paper – keep a stack of paper that you would normally recycle or toss – when you have a stack of about 10-20 sheets, you can make a notepad using the clean side of the paper to use by the phone or for your kids to doodle on.   You can print out lists multiple times and turn that stack of lists into a notepad.  Print multiple shopping lists, make them into a notepad, glue a magnet strip on the back and you have a refrigerator shopping list.  Make mini-notepads as birthday gifts for your child’s friends or as party favors.  How about  mommy notepads for your friends as gifts?  Really, the ideas are endless, but I’m sure you’d rather just get to the tutorial.
        Here are the supplies that you’ll need:
        • sheets of paper that you want to turn into a notepad 
        • paper cutter (or your local print shop – have the copies printed and cut there)
        • Elmer’s Glue-All, rubber cement, or padding compound (what the pro’s use, but really Elmer’s works great)
        • a piece of cardboard or cardstock for the back
        • I like to use a drop of food coloring to dye the binding and make it a bit more funky, but not necessary
        • paintbrush
        • clips to hold the paper together while you are adding the glue
        • something heavy to weigh it all down
        Ready?  I’m going to demonstrate making a notepad with a chart that I made for my daughter (they are in the CleanMamaPrintables Shop if you are interested and want to make your own Chore Chart Notepad). 

        I printed out 10 charts which will make a 40 sheet notepad.
        Cut all of these sheets of paper in half (my chore charts have a line on them so they are easy to cut in half).
        Then cut these sheets in half again  – if you are starting with an 8.5 x 11 inch  sheet of paper this notepad will be  4.25 x 5.5 inches.
        Cut a piece of cardstock of cardboard to fit the back of the pad of paper – 4.25 x 5.5 inches in this case.
        Use some type of clip (like a bulldog clip) to hold both sides of the paper in place while you are applying the glue.  I used these clips that I had (my bulldog clips were too small).
        Pour a little bit of glue into a disposable or washable cup.  I added a drop of food coloring to mine so, a.) you can see it in the pictures and, b.) it looks a bit funkier.  Wet a paintbrush a bit and mix the glue up with the food coloring.  
        Carefully paint the binding on the top of your notepad(s).  Paint a couple coats until it looks a notepad.  Don’t worry if you get the glue on the top sheet because you can take that off when it’s dry.
        Carefully take off the clips and put a sheet of paper or waxed paper over the top and place something heavy on the top to weigh it down for an hour or two.
        My daughter and I got a little carried away with clips and embellishments and decided to cover some clothespins and dress up the metal clip.  A little glue gun and some craft supplies and we lose track of the objective of the project.  Here’s the same notepad with a metal clip (magnet attached to the back so it’ll hang on the ‘fridge) and some clothespins with ribbon, fabric and paper ribbon.  Fun things to add if you are giving these notepads as a gift.  You could also decoupage a clipboard and  make a notepad for it – fun for you, fun for a gift!  Maybe a little clipboard for the smaller lists and chore charts and a larger one for weekly stuff. 
        I’m linking this post up to my favorite linky parties this week.  Stop by and check them out!

        Messy Monday – New/Old Crayons you melted down crayons with your kids?  There are a million ways to do it, it’s easy and it’s all over the place.  Try it.  You and your kids will love it.  Here’s how I make them with my kids.  The way that I make them has an art teacher twist.

        Separate broken, worn down crayons into three categories (warm colors, cool colors, neutrals) – this in and of itself is a great learning opportunity for preschoolers.  Learning to differentiate warm, cool, and neutral colors is a great sorting activity.  Try the color sorting with markers and colored pencils too – it can be a fun clean-up activity.
        Peel papers from crayons – I used my utility knife and made a cut on each crayon and then my kiddos peeled the paper off – this was a very quiet and concentrated activity.  I might have to have them peel crayons more often.  The only downfall is that my two year old thinks that all crayons need to be peeled now.

        Break the crayons into pieces, keeping them in the three piles – warm (reds, oranges, yellows), cool (greens, blues, violets), and neutral (browns, black and greys and whites) colors.

        Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick vegetable spray and put the crayons in the muffin cups.

        Place the muffin tin in a 275 degree oven for 7 or 8 minutes.  Cool on the counter for a couple of minutes and then put the muffin tin in the freezer to ease them out of the pan.

        Color away!
        I am linking this post up to DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land and Get Your Craft On Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog.

        Overwhelmed? Find success in your homekeeping with my latest book, Simply Clean! Dismiss