Summer Activity: Ice Cream in a bag

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Now that it is summer, I try my best (and this doesn’t always work out) to do some sort of craft or activity with the kids. I’m always looking for fun ways to occupy their time outside of a screen.

A couple years ago we made ice cream in a bag, and I had pinned the recipe and did it again today and it was so fun and delicious! Credit to Scatteredmom and her blog for the recipe.

We made both the vanilla AND strawberry flavor and honestly you could double each recipe because its so good!

Next up I want to make blueberry ice cream instead of a strawberry.

You will work hard for this ice-cream shaking it for 5-10 minutes, but its worth it, and like I said it occupied the kids!

** If you have multiple kids, and/or extra hungry adults double the recipe.

Here is what you will need.

Ice Cream In A Bag

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or milk ( I used whole milk I had on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs of pureed strawberries (to make plain vanilla, leave out the strawberries)
  • 3 tbsp of sugar  (less if you want your ice cream less sweet)
  • ice
  • rock salt for ice cream
  • gallon size Ziploc bag
  • quart size Ziploc bag
  • kitchen towel

Instructions

  1. Mix together the milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and strawberries in the quart size bag.  Close the bag and make sure it is completely sealed.
  2. Fill the gallon-size bag 3/4 the way full with ice, then add 1/4 cup of rock salt to the bag of ice.
  3. Place the smaller (sealed) quart size bag of ice cream into the larger gallon bag and seal the bag. (you will have a bag inside a bag)
  4. Wrap the kitchen towel around the bag and start shaking the bag! Enlist your kids to do some crazy shaking and get some of their energy out.
  5. Open the bags carefully, be careful to make sure water doesn’t get inside the ice cream. You don’t want any ice water in your ice cream!

Add any toppings you want, one of mine added chocolate sauce.

Serve immediately and enjoy.



 

I’d love to see if you you try this out, be sure to tag @chaoswithmycoffee on Instagram and hashtag #chaoswithmycoffee

-Hannah (1)

DIY Vintage Love Blocks

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, if you are looking for a cute gift to make someone, or just would like to make something cute for your home- this is the post for you!!

Vintage Love Blocks

I was inspired by this blog, and got to thinking about what I wanted the blocks to have as background text paper- and the bible came to mind. Love, to me isn’t just love between a couple; its about God’s love for us. So I thought it would be SO cool, to use scriptures from the bible that talked about love!! Before anyone hyperventilates, I did NOT use an actual bible. I typed out the verses I liked, and then formatted it to fit my blocks and aged the paper! (no bibles were harmed in the making of these blocks)

You could always use book pages, newspaper etc. if you don’t necessarily care about what is printed on the background of the blocks too.

Here is how you do this & what you will need:

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– 4 blocks that have been sanded, and cut to be 4″ squares. I used a 2×4

– paper for your background, you can use my scriptures if you want ->Love Blocks

– mod podge, glossy or matte and foam brush

– tea bag steeped in water (if you want to age printed paper)

– fine tip black sharpie, red and black regular point sharpie

Directions:

1. If you are printing paper (not using book paper) print that out and age it if you want with tea bags. You steep a tea bag in water for a few minutes for it to get to a darker color, then take the tea bag out of the water and lightly rub it over the pages so the color transfers onto the sheets of paper.

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2. You are going to take a thin layer of mod podge and cover the front of your block, and place and smooth out your first sheet of paper. Leave it to dry face down and stack them so they will adhere well.

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3. Once dry, you can sand the excess edges of the paper off to get a distressed look to the blocks. Its ok for it to have an uneven texture and look messy.

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and after they will look like this

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4. NOW, you have a choice. You can either trace the letters on if you want with a sharpie (by a stencil, freehand if you’re that gifted, or by printing if off of your computer and using an exacto knife to cut out the letters and be left with a stencil letter to use on the blocks) or you can use a cricut, silhouette or any other kind of crazy vinyl device I may not know about to adhere your letters onto the blocks.

I chose to trace my letters on, so I took the fine tipped sharpie and outlined the letters, and then filled them in with the thicker (regular point) sharpie.

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5. If you want to leave them natural, go right ahead and your done! If you want to seal the blocks go ahead and put another layer of mod podge over all of the sides of the blocks. I did this in a gloss finish and it didnt distract or take away from the distressed look of the blocks, and I know they are all sealed and will last a long time.

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press.com/2015/01/img_6071.jpg”> I love that the words show through the red heart.

I loved the result- and the

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I loved the result- and the possibilities of how you can make these your own! Stack them to have a cute effect as well.

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2015/01/img_6076.jpg”> far away shot, on my mantle.

Now, every time I look at these I am

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Now, every time I look at these I am reminded of His love. Its perfect!

Entryway Revamp

 

One of the things I love about home decor and design, is that you can always change it up.

I don’t mean collect frivolous clutter, but repurpose and reuse things in different ways or places in your home for your needs as they change.

Our entry way was one of my favorite things to change.

For my family, it serves as a hub for shoes as we enter and exit the home. We don’t wear shoes in the house, so it’s a good way to store them and grab them as we leave.

With that being said, I had gotten this bench from Kirkland’s on sale to replace the console table that was calling me. Truly, is serves a better purpose then the console table which was in a totally different place in our old house before we remodeled and moved to the farm. This table was moved into our master bedroom, I of course chalk painted it to match the dressers and end table. So I didn’t waste it! I’ll link the post that’s coming with how that looks there and how I painted it when I write it.

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It ended up leaving me with the dilemma that my faux boxwoods had less room in the space. The plastic pots I had gotten from Amazon didn’t fit anymore.

So I removed the pots and was left with an exposed black base, it was clearly not decorative. That may not bother some people, it wasn’t exactly hideous but I didn’t like seeing the exposed black pot that was really meant to be covered.

I was at Hobby Lobby, and got some burlap fabric that was on sale, it literally cost me under $5. We cut it in half, gathered it up around the base and tied it with twine we had here and voila- fancy and easy!

White Washing Brick With Chalk Paint

I love using chalk paint, it is no secret. Its really versatile, easy to use, and one can will last for so many projects!

Did you know that you can use chalk paint to WHITE WASH brick? Yep! Regular chalk paint you already use can be watered down and applied to brick to create a modern farmhouse look!

Here is what you do:

Clean your brick, and take off any existing soot, dirt, or dust. Just use a damp rag and wipe it down.

Grab your chalk paint, paint brush, and bowl to dilute it.

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Water it down in a 3:1 ratio. 3 parts chalk paint, 1 part water.  Stir that all together.

When its all mixed, take your brush and dip it into the mixture just like you would regular paint. Just be prepared for it to be more drippy (thats totally a word, right?) so have a drop cloth or some sheets spread out to catch the drips.

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Apply it and brush it on like you would any regular paint. This will be more opaque than paint obviously because it is watered down.

This is where it gets fun, depending on the look you are going for, you can apply it more lightly all over, or in some of the areas for a varied look. You can apply it and wipe it off on some of the bricks for variation, or you could totally keep it a consistent level of coverage and not wipe it down at all.

It all depends on what you’re looking for. For my scenario, the brick started as an ugly brown grey brick and I didn’t really want to see any of it. So I did NOT wipe any parts of the brick to reveal any exposed color.

I applied two coats of chalk paint white wash, and the beauty of using the Annie Sloan brush because of its design, it really got into the grooves of the grout and covered the area of brick nicely.

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I didn’t want it to appear to be PAINTED brick, I wanted it to look vintage or shabby chic, and to brighten up. By doing two coats of pure white it was just a subtle enough change to be noticeable and really clean up the old dingy brick.

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You can really achieve all kinds of different looks and finishes depending on what brick you are starting with, and how you apply it. This is my favorite part of doing projects like this, you totally see an area take new life and its not complicated to do!

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Hopefully this gives you some inspiration for projects in your home!

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Boys Bathroom Mini Makeover

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I’m all about farmhouse, industrial, rustic style. After-all, we do live out in the country on a ranch.

Naturally, I was getting an itch that just couldn’t be scratched without some DIY.

I wanted to make the boy’s bathroom a little more masculine looking.

With a few minor changes, and of course some chalk paint, we had a whole new look for their bathroom.  By swapping existing light fixtures, getting new mirrors that I chalk painted, we were able to achieve a totally different feel!

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The new mirrors were a chunky wood framed mirror from Lowes that I was able to chalk paint using Graphite from Annie Sloan Chalk paint. (read more about chalk paint here) 

 

Link to Mirrors We Used

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The new light fixtures also came from Lowes, click to view them

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Here is how it looked with the light fixtures changed and the new mirrors as they came, not chalkpainted.

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I really wanted a dark framed mirror but couldn’t find one that I liked. So out came the good ol’ chalk paint to achieve the look I wanted. The graphite really pulled in the grey tones in the granite and hardware finish color.. AS WELL AS take care of me not obsessing about clashing wood colors between our cabinets and the wood tile floor.

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After Chalk painting with Graphite

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All done!

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Teacher Mason Jar Craft

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FullSizeRenderI love making handmade gifts. If there is a holiday, you can pretty much guarantee I will want to make something to give someone. Call me crazy, or just resourceful because the nearest store with craft supplies (besides a dollar general) is more than 30 miles away; its just easier to make something sometimes!

 

Having some basic craft supplies that you buy for a project once will last for multiple projects. With that being said, I had all of the materials on hand to make these cute little mason jars for the kiddo’s teachers as a beginning of the year gift. This would be perfect to give a teacher anytime! Christmas, Teacher appreciation day, you name it!

 

Materials You Will Need:

  • Acrylic paint in red, pink, yellow, brown, grey, black and green.  Feel free to mix red and white for pink and black and white for grey, if you don’t want to buy all of them. I didn’t have black so I mixed blue red and brown til I got a deep enough color to pass for black
  • Paint brushes, foam brushes are my fave. They always come in a pack and you can just toss them when you are done since they are so cheap.
  • Paint pens if you want to trace the zig zag pattern on the pencil or write No. 2 on it in black or the teachers name
  • Painters tape if you want to have super clean lines by the rim or any areas on the pencil you want to be crisp.
  • Mason jars, I used 16oz
  • Twine
  • Pencils or candy to fill up the cups

I used this image (that had no instructions) from Pinterest, it was a craft I think they did at Michael’s. (its not the best quality, but you get the idea)

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Directions:

For the pencil I used, black, pink, grey, yellow acrylic paint. I actually didn’t have some of the colors, so I mixed red and white to make pink. I didnt have the black either and mixed some blue red and brown to make a deep enough color to pass for black since it was just a small spot on the pencil. You have to be resourceful sometimes

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It took my mason jar and and used some paint pens I already had.

I painted the pink eraser part first, then I moved on and and grabbed some painters tape to make a clean line for the metal part of the pencil and used a sharpie paint pen because I didn’t have a grey paint or colors to make grey.FullSizeRender-2

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FullSizeRender-1Then I just freehand traced an outline of the zigzag pattern on pencils with another paint pen (bought them for a previous project and had all the colors) and outlined where the yellow would go and painted that area. I let each section dry in front of the fan before I moved on to the next area. I painted the wood part brown and then I took the mixed colors (purple,blue and brown) to paint the black part of the pencil on the rim of the cup.

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My biggest tip for crafts like this is to let things dry in front of a fan, it will make things dry so much faster! 

 

For the apple, I painted the mason jar red then waited until that was dry and painted the rim brown. I took some of my green paint and painted on a leaf. You could tie some twine or ribbon and cut out a leaf shape from paper or felt if you have it and hole punch it and attach to the twine and tie that on the rim too!

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I popped some pencils in them from Dollar General, and spent under $5 for each jar!

I hope you try these out and give them to the teachers in your life and it makes them smile.

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All About Chalk Paint

I have been using Chalk Paint for over 5 years now and its hands down, the best way to refinish projects! I honestly can’t even count how many pieces of furniture I have used chalk paint on, but its A LOT!

When I first picked up Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I was intrigued by the ease of the whole chalk paint process. Five years later I still love it and will only use it!

I love Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Because…

  • There is NO SANDING
  • NO STRIPPING
  • There’s virtually NO PREP work
  • There is NO ODOR, and its NON TOXIC
  • Cleanup is done with soap and water and is so fast
  • You paint INDOORS (no more messy outside projects)
  • Super FAST DRY TIME. You can legit finish a whole piece in one day!
  • Its Multi Surface, you can use it on wood, metal, brick, tile and a lot more!

With all of this being said, at some point I want to make separate posts for different projects I have done with all of their specifics. For now I will give you general Chalk Paint 411 and what you need to know about beginning a chalk paint project. I’ll be sure to link any pictures used in this to those posts when I do do them.

I want to stress, the quality of Annie Sloan paint and how it relates to the projects you take on. If you have a super sentimental piece of furniture you are redoing that’s been in your family or something like that DON’T go the cheap route and make your own chalk paint or buy some from for example, Michael’s. Its NOT worth it to ruin a piece and save $10. In the long run Annie Sloan is AMAZING quality and will be durable and last. You will never achieve the same quality with a cheaper product and its not worth it for good pieces of furniture to go that route. To me its like comparing different car manufacturers. Sure, a Mercedes and a Mitsubishi will get you from point A to point B; but the ride will be completely different! Yes, there are other chalk paint brands and other DIY things you can do to MAKE chalk paint, but I don’t recommend them. You wont achieve the same results as you would with Annie Sloan with another inferior product. Annie Sloan is the best and one quart of paint will last you for MULTIPLE projects. I can get at least 3 big projects out of one can, and with it being $38 thats a little over $10 a piece in paint. Can you imagine painting a dresser for $10?!

I’ll talk about my most recent redo for instructions on how to chalk paint, my old dresser. I got this when I graduated high school and it is just dated and needed to be revived.

Supply List

  • Chalk Paint (you can mix two or more colors to get a more specific color)
  • Paint brushes
  • Tarp, sheet, or construction paper
  • Painters tape if you need to tape off any edges depending on your piece
  • Clear Wax
  • Sand Paper (optional) if you are adding distressing
  • Dark or Black Wax (optional) if you are wanting to add shadowing and age the piece

Directions:

  1. If your piece is grimy, really dusty or has any kind of film take some mineral spirits and lightly wipe off the piece. You can even use water and a damp cloth to just take off any residue before you paint.
  2. Remove the hardware. You can spray paint, chalk paint, or even replace hardware. For this piece, I removed, and just replaced it. I have done other pieces where I bought new hardware, and where I used a spray paint that had paint and primer in it and sprayed existing hardware and then put it back on. Tape any edges you want protected. I was lazy and free-handed it, and could have taped around the edges of the drawers so paint wouldn’t get on the sides of the drawers.
  3. Lay down a tarp, an old sheet, or in my case, some craft paper. I didn’t move this, and just painted it right in my room. Its super easy! I took some old pieces of wood to list up the dresser and paint the feet.
  4. Take your paint and paint brush and begin to apply your first coat of paint. You will want to use a good quality brush like Purdy or Annie Sloan (if you’re buying the paint from a stockist, odds are you can pick up a brush there too). You can find a stockist here. When you’re applying the first coat, don’t worry so much about how it looks but getting a good even coverage on your piece and not applying it too thick. I promise you that your first coat will look awful! It is kind of thin and you’ll probably think you made a horrible mistake. But trust me, proceed and it will get better! Here is the first coat of paint on my dresser.
  5. Let the first coat dry. Honestly it will be dry on the side you started on by the time you get to the opposite side and start and you might not even really need to wait. Waiting 30 mins to give yourself a break would be fine and it would be ready for the second coat.
  6. Apply your second coat. Now you will see it all blending together, and not looking so messy. Apply an even and thin coat. You will be able to see if its not enough to add a little more. Chalk paint is so forgiving and really easy. You just have to try it to know what I mean. Depending on the color you chose, and the color of the piece you could be done after two coats. For this piece I went ahead and did 3 coats of Old White, since its such a light color and it was going over such a dark dresser to begin with.
  7. When its all dry, you will use Annie Sloan Clear wax. Its a really neat process, you just take a lint free rag (like a shop cloth or old sheet) and rub it into the piece like rubbing lotion on your skin. You will rub it on and then LIGHTLY wipe off the excess if it feels tacky. You can wait 24 hours and then go back and buff the piece and it will give it a slight shine to it, or leave it as it is!

8. If you want to do any distressing, you can do it one of two ways. Take a fine grit sandpaper (220) and rub it along the edges you want to be distressed AFTER you wax, or before. I have done it both ways, and its just kind of a personal preference. All roads lead to Rome. If you distress after you apply the clear wax, then there is a little less mess in my opinion because the chalk paint isn’t flaking off as much onto the floor as you rub the sand paper of the piece. The wax seals it in, but its still workable and you can distress after the wax. You can choose how you want to do it.

Additional or Optional Steps

If you want to add dimension and age the piece, Annie Sloan sells Dark Wax (which is brown) and Black Wax. Both of these should be applied AFTER you apply the clear wax. I repeat, apply the black or dark AFTER the clear has gone on. This is simply because it can be spread around once there is that clear layer to protect the piece, if you did it directly on the paint it would essentially stain it and you couldn’t manipulate it to be lighter or darker. So apply dark or black wax in areas where there are crevices and would be shadowed from again and then apply a little clear wax over those areas to blend it in. It should create a seamless look and look like it was natural.

So step 1, apply clear wax. Step 2, apply dark or black wax. Step 3, apply a little more clear wax to blend it in if its not blending well when you first apply it. This will obviously darken the piece when you apply these and will change the paint color a little bit.

Here is a nightstand I redid, with Old White, and applied dark wax into the crevices and blended it all together with a little more clear wax. You can see its darker and has an aged look. Gel stain is applied to the top of the dresser for a different look, and I The hardware on it was originally brass, and I removed it and spray painted the handles with a Rustoleum flat black and put them back on. I plan on posting about these processes and will link that when I do. Its amazing as well. You can always add more if you want it darker, or remove it like an eraser with clear wax if its too dark. Its all preference based so just step back and look at it as you go adjust it if you need to. Doing this over that first layer or clear wax makes this possible.

I hope this answers some chalk paint questions you may have had. It really is such an easy process with great results so give it a try. I’ve refinished bookcases, tables, desks, dressers, nightstands, mirrors, shelves, and even brick with chalk paint. Its AMAZING. I’ll be sure to make more posts soon about other chalk paint projects!

Share this with your friends if they’d love to learn more about chalk paint and tag Doing It Like Martha on FB or IG!

If you want to check out Annie Sloan’s website to see the products or learn more about the techniques its a great resource!

DIY Color Me Mine Project At Home

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It’s secret that I’m obsessed with doing crafts at home, and I love the idea of Color Me Mine… but its kind of far from my house and I have done a couple projects where I paint a ceramic piece and bake it in the oven and I don’t have to leave my house to do it!

So if your kids are misbehaving you didn’t expend energy getting out of the house to go to color me mine and come pick up your finished piece a couple days after you leave.

All you need is a ceramic piece, and enamel paint!

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I found these ceramic pumpkins at Hobby Lobby when I was getting some fall decorations and HAD to buy them. I like doing crafts with the kids, as well as alone. This was perfect because I would display their work with my fall decor.

 

You take your paint and paint the piece,

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and when you’re done just pop it in the oven on a cookie sheet.

When you finish let it sit inside while it preheats to 350.  

Let it bake for 30 mins and take it out to cool.

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If you have paint pens from another project have your kiddo sign the bottom or back and  write the year its made before you put it in the oven to cure.

You can do this for so many holidays and occasions. Hopefully you do this and have some fun with your kids!

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Front Door Makeover Tutorial

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Typically, all I use to refinish things now is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (ASCP). It is amazing and goes on so many different finishes but this time I ventured away from it to makeover our front door.

Technically ASCP can be used on a front door, I really debated back and forth if I should use it. However, I did not want to have to deal with putting some kind of sealant on the front door as well which I would have needed to with ASCP. That would just double the work load for me. I knew I needed a paint and primer in one, so I would eliminate any priming step and would not have to add a sealer at the end. So we took a trip down to our local (and only option- ha ha) Ace Hardware to choose a paint. We grabbed some paint swatches, brought them home and went back to get samples of the ones we liked best. We then painted the samples in small spots on the door and then picked our winner.

Now, depending what type of and finish your door has and what type of condition it is in determines the steps you will take to paint and prep your door.

Our door was fairly new, it was painted about 3 years ago with a gel stain. It is a fiberglass exterior door, and we are assuming since it was a gel stain that it is oil based. You do NOT want to mix oil with latex or vice versa. Figure out what you have and then stick with that base. If you have an oil based paint on your door, continue to use oil based paint and primer as you refinish your door, and same with latex. There are all sorts of technical reasons about proper adhesion… just trust me.

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If you are like me and are in a situation where you want to switch finishes, you can. But it takes a few more steps. We wanted to replace the paint with an EXTERIOR, Semi-gloss, latex paint. After googling and doing some research, we kept seeing that latex just had a better application and seemed to last better than oil. I think oil would have worked just as well to, but we went with this paint from Ace, simply because it was all they had that would mix with our paint and we were assured we would like it. So make sure to talk to a knowledgable paint representative.   The color we chose was Royal Navy by Valspar and the paint we mixed the color in was Clark + Kensington Exterior Semi-Gloss Enamel Acyrlic Latex Paint  they have this awesome how-to guide on their website about prep and painting too if you need some more info.

We got home and here is what we did.

  1. Prep your door,  to remove any dust, oil or sheen. We lightly sanded the door, to remove any existing sheen, since we were changing paint bases from oil to latex and wanted it to have better adhesion. Just sand off most of any existing shine if you’re switching. If you’re not just wipe down the door, with a damp rag to remove any dust and then once with mineral spirits (this is something I use all the time in painting and its like a staple you have in  your pantry- you need to pick up a can if you don’t have it).  Let it dry and then proceed. IMG_0220.JPG
  2. Tape off all windows panes, or hardware. We removed the main handle and just painted and taped off the hinges. We did NOT want to remove the door off the hinges. If we had, we would have had to fully cover the front door opening until it went back up, and painting would have taken longer. We would have had to paint and finish one side, and wait for it to be all done and THEN flip it and do the other side. I wanted this to be a quick project to do on a cool day (before the summer heat hits) and it worked out great. We had a lot to tape off since we have 6 window panes on each side, and the trick to a good tape job is using an EXACTO KNIFE!! Put your tape on, and then take your exacto knife, and run it along the edges and it’ll remove tiny pieces of tape and ensure the tape is good and close to the edges.
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  3. Start Painting, I did two coats of paint. I did not use a roller, but you could if you have several smooth areas on your door. Our door had wood grain all over it and I didnt think it was necessary to have a roller. I just made sure to use a good quality brush (I always use Purdy) and the one I used was 2.5″ and I used it for the whole door. Wait for your first coat to dry, at least 30 minutes before proceeding to the next one and ALWAYS check the label of your paint to see what it specifies. Paint drying time obviously has tons of variables, based on the temperature and humidity outside, the surface its going over, and how thick or thin paint was applied. ** This is super important- REMOVE YOUR TAPE BEFORE the paint dries! If it is pulled off when its totally dry, then paint sticks to the tape and will pull off paint as you go– and you will have to do touchups! You can remove almost immediately. **IMG_0223
  4. Let It Dry. We left the door partially open because it was a nice cool day and then closed it when we got ready for bed. Check your paint can for specific drying instructions. I waited two days and then put our cute wreath from Kirkland’s back on it.IMG_0226

That’s all! Took a couple hours, since we painted the front AND back (because the stain was on our inside as well) and we were done. This cost under $40 to do it! IMG_0385-1

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to share on any of your social media pages with the buttons below!

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XoXo

-Hannah

NERF BIRTHDAY PARTY

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WOW! Its been a while. A LOT HAS CHANGED, more blog posts to come on that soon!  But for now I wanted to talk about the epic Nerf Party I had for the boys. It was fun without being crazy complicated (in my opinion).

As the years have gone by, I have always LOVED throwing my boy’s birthday parties jointly. Their birthdays are just 7 days apart, and they for the most part like the same things.  This year, the nerf idea surfaced and they both were super excited about it. So naturally, I ran with it.

For me, throwing a “cute” party or well designed party is what excites me. So I thought of how I could keep this fun,  uncomplicated, while seeming well planned out (when in reality it wasn’t a hassle at all). Here is how I did it.

My BIGGEST TIP for throwing any party is to TO THINGS IN STAGES! Make a plan, well beforehand and follow it! Don’t, I repeat DON’T try to do all of the cooking, prep, setup, on the day of the party. Just don’t.

When I plan parties I typically:

  1. Pick a date (ideally 4 weeks in advance for myself and guests)
  2. Pick a theme (think of the colors you will be using for invites, decorations, etc)
  3. Create or buy invitations and mail them out with the 4 week advance notice for guests
  4. Once invites have gone out, plan what you want to do, how you want to decorate, think of food you want to serve, where things are going to go and be setup, plan party favors you may or may not have.
  5. As it nears the 2 week mark, start shopping. If you are closer to stores than I am, you have the luxury of pushing this out, but it stresses me out to not have all of the things I need in advance, in case some stores don’t have what I’m envisioning then I have a time cushion to look around.
  6. One week out- do a little something EACH DAY. Small tasks done over the week really help ease the burden of throwing a party, versus a ton of work in one day.     So look at what you planned in step 4. What did you buy, what are you making, what are you cooking or picking up, what are you setting up?                                    Then look at your schedule- what can you accomplish EACH day.                            Leaving very little to do on the day of the party, and allowing yourself time to shower and get ready!
  7. Day before party- Set out as much of the things you can BEFORE the party. This would be tables, chairs, anything that isn’t perishable or won’t get messed up. Do the bulk of the sweaty work before the morning/day of.  Prep any food you can and have it either done, or almost finished so the day of you don’t need to be doing any heavy cooking. I picked up my pizzas the day before. I set out all of my tables, did the streamer wall and got all my supplies (table cloths, napkins etc) in boxes set out where I would be setting them up
  8. Party day- I like just putting finishing touches on things the day of, because when I did NOT do this, it makes things so crazy!  I just laid out table cloths, set out center pieces, and hung up balloons. (if my party wasn’t outdoors and wouldn’t get blown away I could have done the balloons the day before as well).

Now that I had my Nerf theme, I picked the colors I wanted to use throughout the party. This will be used in balloon, table cloths, napkins, flatware, and any other decorating elements. I used nerf colors since that was the theme of the party- blue and orange.          So when picking out all those things I wanted to use a mix of both blue and orange.

Second, I made the invitations to coordinate with the Nerf theme.                                            I saw a design of a digital invitation on Etsy that was nerf themed, and I went on Canva to create a similar invitation. Here is a link to that file that is blank that you can personalize and add your own info to. Nerf Party Invitation

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I printed them at Walgreens, on photo paper, because they are so cheap and I never have to waste my ink at home– because lets face it, the ink is always low. PLUS, there are usually coupons all the time for photo prints. I printed the invitations for under $5!

Third, I planned out what I wanted to do at the party and how I wanted to set things up. I’m old school, I like to write down on paper, and see what I wanted to do as the list grew and evolved I’m able to cross out, scratch off or erase what I don’t want. I wrote down what games I wanted to do, what I needed to actually MAKE for the party (both food and decorations). Pinterest was my best friend for ideas on this. So I typed Nerf Birthday Party into Pinterest and got some inspiration.  This is my board if you want to take a look at what I had pinned  Nerf Party Pinterest Board

At our home, we have this great existing pole barn structure that we have used for a couple of years now to set tables out and use for our parties and I LOVE it. I have lots of ideas of stream lights, old chandeliers and more down the road I’ll add. So I knew thats WHERE I would be setting up my tables, food, etc. This year, I wanted to play around with streamers (also from the dollar store) and make sort of a backdrop wall where I knew I would be putting the food table, and setting the cakes out when it was time to sing happy birthday and it would make for a nice picture backdrop.

This, surprisingly was something my oldest helped me the WHOLE time with! I got a ladder, picked where I wanted this to go, took packing tape and stretching it the length of where I wanted it with the sticky side FACING out, then took two more pieces of tape and secured each end of the tape (sticky side down) to the wall. So I was left with two taped down ends and a long stretch of sticky side out tape for my streamers. I took my streamers in coordinating blue and orange and stuck it to the tape that was sticky and just dropped it to the ground, my oldest was there, and he cut the streamer, and handed me the other color, and we kept going. THEN we took another LONG piece of tape and taped over all of the streamers we had just stuck down. So this created a sandwich, the streamers were first attached to the sticky side, then taped over and secured. We then came to each piece and gently turned them to give them that spiral look, then we taped the bottom of all of the streamers so that they weren’t flapping around. We did this on all the streamers and left it overnight. You could also just tape them straight too. The next morning we came and attached balloons to the top of the streamers to cover up the tape. (Did you notice there is one balloon missing in the picture, it was super small so we had swapped it and apparently I took this before I had fixed it!)

I saw cute centerpiece ideas on Pinterest for this theme and just mimicked them.

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The places I knew I would be stopping for Decorations were: Dollar Tree, Target, Joann’s, Hobby Lobby and potentially Party City depending who did or didn’t have what I wanted. I found metal buckets (I looked at all the places) at Joann’s, I got those, and found some 50% off wooden numbers at Hobby Lobby that I hot glued to wooden dowels, spray painted with the blue spray paint I was already going to be using to the shooting can game, stuck that into some floral foam I placed inside the buckets, topped with dollar tree orange crinkle paper, and used some wire to stick into extra nerf bullets and stick that into the foam too. Voila!

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The other thing I saw that was cute, were pool noodles (also bought at Dollar Tree) that looked like nerf bullets! I got some to use scattered across the tables, but ended up having to tape them down since it was kind of windy the day of the party. I took the pool noodle, cut each one into 4 pieces, and then attached with double sided tape some orange construction paper to look like bullets. Another idea, if you see orange duct tape, you could skip the construction paper step and use that, and can cover the hole on the noodle. I didn’t see that or think of that until after. But this was still super cute and easy! Now we will have a bunch of random pool noodle pieces to play with this summer too, maybe I could even use them for fourth of July!

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I saw that a cute idea with cans- that were spray painted that kids could shoot with their nerf guns. I got some blue rustoleum spray paint from Lowe’s (because its multi finish, you can spray over just about anything) that was paint and primer, and I just used old cans we had here. The orange was a little too sheer, and it bugged me to see the logos, so I took the leftover blue and made them cammo. Now no one knows except you!

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IMG_9905First activity, check!

I saw several (no real ingenuity here) ideas for barricade type areas where kids and adults can literally shoot it out. With my husband being a farmer, we have an abundance of pallets we could use. So we (he) took about 7 of them and set them up in different formations and threw some camo I got from Amazon (in coordinating blue, I might add) over them as he staked them into our grass. He drew a line in the grass with some left over orange spray paint from the cans so there were divided sides and teams- ALL his ideas.

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Second activity, check! The other thing I saw and loved was this idea of making cups with prizes inside. You hot glue plastic party cups to a foam board, I got mine at Dollar Tree, and you put tissue paper over it and attach with a rubber band or more hot glue. They stand behind and shoot the board, and if it didn’t puncture the cup enough, they went up and just punched the cup and grabbed their prize! I grabbed little things from the dollar section at Target, and used 15 cups.

Third activity, check!

For all of the activities planned, we had an grab bag/ammo station set up and all the games right by each other. The kids grabbed camo bags filled with nerf bullets, nerf glasses, and a nerf gun off of the ammo table. The kids each got one of these and it REPLACED doing a traditional favor bag.

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I ordered the Disruptor gun from Target, I was checking prices on Amazon, Kohls, Target etc. and this one was 39% off so it was a pretty good deal since we only have to buy a handful of them for the bigger kids. For the littler kids I got this one from Amazon, and like I said, these would be their favors along with the bag, bullets, glasses.

I ordered a 300 pack of bullets on  Amazon for the cake decorations, and for the kids to go wild with. You know how nerf bullets go, they’re kind of like laundry socks and go missing.

They each grabbed a bunch of water balloons to take home as well.  I got this printable from the East Coast Mommy Blog  and she had a great post about their nerf party. I ordered coordinating blue water balloons off of Amazon because I like to stick to the theme colors AND because I live so far from stores, ordering and planning in advance saves me SO much time and money. I may take the drive to target and not be able to find only blue water balloons! I printed them on card stock I had at home and attached them to the balloons. IMG_9903

Now that we have talked invitations, colors, activities, favors, lets talk FOOD!

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I really enjoy throwing parties, and preparing fun food menus, but lets face it. There are only 24 hours in each day. So, I would rather the party be really cute than have fancy food at the end of the day. Since we now live on the farm, in a small town where I cant just run to a regular store to grab food my options are way more limited than they used to be. My boys both really love pizza, and I feel like most people do! So I wanted to have pizza, but again, with a small pizza chain here as my only option and not wanting to spend a fortune on a couple pizzas (they have the pizza market cornered here and can basically charge what they want) I decided to do take and bake pizzas from Papa Murphy’s. There is one 20 minutes from me, and I picked those up the day before. I ordered some and used a coupon and ended up sending $30 for 4 pizzas! This fed 30 adults and 8 children! I took my pizza cutter and made the slices even smaller, and more snack size since my party wasn’t at a real meal time.

I threw together a quick strawberry salad with candied pecans, crumbled feta, and creamy balsamic dressing from Sprouts, and had popcorn in cute little blue boxes and chips. I put some gatorades (blue and white, I try to stay away from dyes for my kiddos as much as I can) and waters in an ice bucket and thats it! IMG_9871IMG_9796

I REALLY got into baking a few years back when my oldest was about 1, not sure HOW I did this.. but I did. I normally made some really cute, elaborate and fancy decorated sugar cookies but this year I didn’t! I wanted to keep it simple, and low key, while still being festive but didn’t want to completely lose my mind in the process.

I posted a tutorial how to make the nerf cakes I made for the boys.

I have been baking on and off for 7 years (and started a small business doing it), I feel comfortable tackling some things when I know some people would completely balk at the thought. Like I said, I did NOT want to spend a ton of time making absolutely adorable decorated sugar cookies, only to be devoured in 5 minutes. SO this year, I did NOT do cookies, but did simple cakes decorated with nerf bullets instead!

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I could have made these way more elaborate, busted out some fondant, watched some crazy youtube tutorials.. but I DIDN’T! I will create a blog post about how to make these cakes. It was really simple, and since I was basically covering ninety percent of the cake with nerf bullets it was actually pretty forgiving and simple. I used doctored box cake mixes as well. So stay tuned for a post about my FAVORITE buttercream frosting recipe and how to assemble a simple cake like this. Having some basic baking skills can carry you a long way, and if you never try, you will never get better. Plus, I know I saved at least $100 versus going to a bakery and asking for them to create two nerf cakes.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and got some fun ideas to use for your own parties whether it is nerf themed or not. Be sure to subscribe to see my new blog posts, and feel free to share this blog on any of your social media platforms with your friends.

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XoXo

– Hannah