Guest/Play Room Transformation

March 2, 2021 at 7:15 am (Family Stuff, Home Changes and Additions, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

When we moved in a few years ago the rooms were all boring and ugly…

Then we painted and added some fun flair to make this one a bright teen room…

Then, the teen grew up and moved out, so we had an empty space. ๐Ÿ’ก We had an idea! A play room. But also make it a guest room, so that we still have a space for company to sleep…

And so the room became a guest/play room.

Paint again. Tone down those walls. New floors. New furniture. Make it fun, but grown up enough for guests… viola!

We went gray on the walls, but a touch darker than normal since we have lots of sunshine in here. We did snap in wood floor, since they are durable and easy to clean. Then the fun part…

We added a wall mural from PhotoWall! What better way to keep it fun for play and interesting but adult for guests?!

How cool is that?! It was actually super easy to install, just wallpaper in vertical strips, and it even comes with the paste. The boys are in LOVE with their new space!

You can head to PhotoWall too and use code ‘makemineeclectic25’ for 25% off any of their art, canvases, or wallpapers!

Next we will add furniture, so stay tuned…

XX,

Jess

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School At Home

November 10, 2020 at 8:07 am (Home Changes and Additions, Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This year has been a wild one, that’s for sure. It’s been so different from the norm for many of us. But, one things remains the same. We want our kids to learn, and we want them to have the best opportunities possible. So, no matter what type of schooling you are doing, these ideas can be for you!

We are doing online schooling this year. Classes are via computer, but mom facilitates. Optimal? No. But we are making the best of it. My best tip so far? Find a space and make it for learning. Boundaries and expectations help learning go well!

You don’t need a whole room, maybe a corner, or a table, or even a certain table cloth, and when it comes out, its time to learn. I had always worked from home a lot and happen to have space in my office that I was able to convert to a learning space. Don’t worry, even if your space is much smaller, these ideas can help you too!

I have several tips for routine, but this will just be about supplies for today.

My second?! Keep it fun!! Third tip?! Get a map!

Look at how we combined both with this animal map canvas from Photo Wall! How cute is this thing?!

Photo Wall is amazing for any Wall decor really. They make wall decals, framed prints, posters, and canvases. You choose the art, the size, the material, and can even customize it! These would be amazing in kids’ rooms and nurseries, or even as an awesome accent wall!

Its details like this that really make your learning space fun and keep kids engaged. We knew Brantley needed a map for a lot of his Social Studies work, and looking things up on the computer really wasn’t cutting it. This map not only shows what he needs, but keeps his interest with the animals and details. He’s taken such an interest now! I plan to add a few more maps like this now too! And of course, you can fit them to your space.

Human anatomy? Plants or leaves? Turn them into a fun canvas or poster to make the learning fun!

Tip 4 & 5- Have your supplies accessible, and keep them organized. Again, your space doesn’t need to be huge, but if you can find your supplies and access them easily, you will be more likely to do so. Hands on activities teach concepts so much better. Like using the scissors, ruler, markers, paints… engages and sinks in. It could even be a tote of supplies that comes out with the table cloth when learning time is happening!

I’m no pro yet, but I can tell you that I’m learning right along with the kids. You can do it, and even better with some simple tweaks!

And back to my gushing about this map canvas, because it really is my pride of decorating the classroom. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here is my map link. And use code makemineeclectic25 on your purchase from Photo Wall too! Your walls will truly thank you, in a classroom or not!

What tips would you add for schooling at home?!

XX,

Jess

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Deck Reveal

August 31, 2020 at 6:22 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Its been a two year wait since moving into this house and several weeks of work this summer… but she’s finally done! We have a deck!!

Now mom has a spot to relax and watch the family magic happen! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yes, its huge! The land directly behind the house used to be another house attached. This left the ground hilly, dead, full of bricks and glass, and in general, useless. So, cover it up we did. We filled in two giant cisterns and started a deck slab. Next year we will add a pergola to the blank spot of house where the table is now. We will put a pool in down below and then the following year add another piece of deck to half wrap around the pool. It will be the ultimate dream area when we are finished.

We do still want to add trellis to the bottom to keep everything out, but that will happen this fall.

One thing that was super important to us when adding the deck was having some shade, as we have very little from the one small existing tree.

My favorite umbrellas?! From Abba Patio! (You can use code La10 on your order with them too!) The 11 foot red stripe is gorgeous! And so easy to use. We custom installed it with brackets we made, but it can go on a table or a base as well. This keep it so much cooler in the shaded areas!!

Next I need to find some outdoor rugs to tie in the different areas. Suggestions?? I’m being so indecisive!

Also, looking for an outdoor sectional. Maybe a hot tub?! ๐Ÿ˜œ

The table and chairs are from Menards. The wood lantern is from Walmart, along with the orange striped pillow and turquoise planters. The beach bag below is from Amazon.

The kids table is Step 2 and an awesome thing to have if you have littles. We use it all the time!

Tip- use a beach bag or tote like the one below to hold your deck or patio essentials. We take it in at night and bring out each day. Super helpful to keep things corralled while not getting ruined being left outside. We keep sunscreen, bug spray, santizer, sunglasses, beach towels, a speaker, and anything we want for the day inside. So handy!!

XX,

Jess

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Muscatine Iowa Area Sightseeing

July 13, 2020 at 8:12 pm (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Summer is here! We’ve been quarantined long enough, so we are off to see all the sights, but distantly! So, we thought we would round up some of the things to do and see outside and at a distance, here in Muscatine area, Iowa. Enjoy!

1. Wilcat Den and Saw Mill- this is one of my family’s favorites in the area. Its historic and beautiful and there is plenty to do here! You can camp or stop for the day, hike the many trails, and explore the historic buildings. There is a school and an old church and even a mill. The old bridge over the stream at the mill is a gorgeous sight to behold. PLUS… you can swim in the stream and go up to the waterfall! Its an amazing experience and the whole family loves doing it!

2. Weed Park- one of the best parks I’ve found, anywhere. Picnic areas, pavilions, historical plaques and sights, gorgeous views of the Mississippi, beautiful landscaping, and a pond with ducks, geese, and fishing for kids. Plus, they have two playgrounds that are awesome. And once back to normal they have a waterpark. Totally worth a visit for everyone in the family.

3. Discovery Park- during normal times, they have an indoor center to see interactive wildlife features and even take classes. Currently, you can still see all they have to offer outside. There are numerous trails to walk, most paved, through gorgeous views, wildflower patches and even see wild animals. They have a butterfly garden and owls outside to view too. They also have a pond where you can fish!

4. Muscatine River Front- plenty to do down here, even distantly! You may not be visiting the pearl button factory museum right now, and even the splash pad is not turned on yet, but it’s still a beautiful, relaxing, and even entertaining area of Muscatine. You can walk the gorgeous river front, even stopping to read the plaques about the city history. You can play at the play ground. You can even take photos with the clam digger statue. And there are a few downtown restaurants up the block that offer outside dining!

5. Swinging Bridge- you have to drive about 15 minutes out of town for this one, but worth the drive. The Swinging Bridge in Columbus Junction is a sight to not miss. We visit each year for the views and a photo. Read about the bridge’s history, walk across if you dare, snap some photos, and even hike the lower trails. You will love this one!!

While you are out in the Columbus Junction area, you can see the historical marker for Convict Highway! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just a super old road, but you can read about how the convicts of the time built it!

Muscatine also offers several parks with awesome playgrounds, a skate park, and a disk golf course. Plus plenty of sites indoors once that is safe again!

We also love to camp and boat. I can recommend places for that too! Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

XX,

Jess

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I’m in the House and I’m Saving Astronauts!

May 25, 2020 at 7:53 pm (Family Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Me may be in the house, but we aren’t bored! We have been saving astronauts around here!

Yes, astronauts. We found a new family fun activity and had to share!

It’s interactive and had us all using our brains!

We recieved a packet with a map, puzzles, and clues. You get started by texting the abandoned astronaut lost in another dimension. She texts back and asks for you help. She gives you clues, helping your family work through the puzzles and brain teasers in order to find the information that will help to return her to Earth.

Through communicating with the astronaut via text, we were able to figure out the puzzles and find the clues to return her home safely! It was like we were really in this with her!

We all played together (while the 2 year old napped) and it definitely was fun for all ages! The puzzles even had the teen and adults wracking our brains. The 7 year old loved helping and setting up our clue station. He was super amused with how you figure out some of the clues!

Overall, we all had a blast! What a fun way to get in some family time and do something totally different during these times where we are cooped up a little too much! We highly recommend!

Right now you can use code jessimariel for 10% off at Adventurous.co. Also, go give them a follow on IG at @adventurousco

I hope you all enjoy! Let me know what you think! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Xx,

Jess

*I have been gifted the game and compensated for the post, but all opinions are my own!*

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Quarantine Ideas

April 28, 2020 at 6:36 am (Family Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We remind the kids every day that we are “safe at home”, not “stuck at home”. And truly, we are blessed. But, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming having everyone here full time. I want to keep them all entertained, educated, occupied, happy…

Here are just a few ideas that may help during this time!

1. Follow my craft idea board on Pinterest! I add ideas to it as I see them, so check it out for some of the things we have tried and some we still hope to try!

We have loved some of these! One true favorite was shaving cream art! Smear down shaving cream in a pan, add drops of food coloring and swirl them in any pattern with the end of a paintbrush. Lay a thick piece of paper on the colored cream and press. Lift up and scrape cream off the paper with a spatula. Look what it leaves behind!

2. Educational apps that make learning fun! I know we all try to limit screen time. But we all need a break and a little help too! There are several we love, but one that the 6 year old can use by himself is Book Prunelle. It’s an ebook platform for kids , featuring powerful stories to inspire them to become the next generation of conscious kids. They tackle challenging topics in an entertaining and child-friendly way to help kids grown mindful and kind-hearted. Cool, right?!

You pay for a subscription by month or year, but right now you can try the first month for free! And you can use the code JESSIMARIEL5 off of either subscription too!

They have books like this one explaining the Corona Virus in terms kids understand!

3. Read with Dolly on Thursdays! The boys both loved this for some reason! Dolly Parton reads a story live on YouTube every Thursday and saves it to her channel to watch anytime. The boys were glued. And mom cleaned the kitchen! ๐Ÿ˜‰

4. Duo appto facetime anyone. Maybe you knew about this? I did not, but was so happy to learn! With this app, any type of phone can video call one another. Now the kids can video call with grandma and grandpa!

5. Neveo journal making! Neveo lets you add photos all month to an app and at the end of the month they put together your pictures and captions into a journal to be send to grandparents, friends, etc. So helpful for keeping up with some of those seniors that can’t get out right now! Use the code SUPPORT for two free months of 50 photo journals!

I hope these little ideas help even a tad bit. Hang in there. Give yourself grace. We’ve got this.

XX,

Jess

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Saving a Little Fun Money

March 5, 2020 at 5:53 am (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Money is tight, I’m right there with you. But I want to show my kids things and have fun too. Here are a few simple ways that I have found to grow a little bit of a “fun money” fund and set aside to do some family things, or whatever your heart desires!

Ibotta– (referral code irrqbz) This app really is legit. When I shop, just as I normally would for everyday items and necessities, I search the app for deals on things I got. If I I some, I scan my receipt and get money back. They add it to your account and you can cash out via paypal or other gift cards once you hit $20. It’s a little slow, but free money! Sometimes I check the app before I shop to see if there’s a good deal going on for something we use anyway even if it wasn’t on my list, but in general just shop as normal then scan. If you use my code we can help each other as a team to earn bonuses. Score! See below for how much I’ve earned this way!

Ebates– Same idea, but use when shopping online. You start through the app and then search for the store you want to shop at. Money is added up and a check is sent out to you quarterly. I have cashed the checks and they are legit too! See below!

Receipt Hog– This one you just scan any receipts you get into the app. They give you points for each one. Once you add up to so many points you can cash out via PayPal or other methods. Super easy and I scan I receipts I’m already getting, gas, groceries, etc. I’ve made a little cash so far.

My big tip when doing this is to take the cash out directly and immediately add it to an envelope or jar and stash it away. Why? So that it doesn’t get spent on everyday stuff. This helps me to really keep it “extra” money and see it add up. I add money to this envelope that I get from anything extra, maybe selling some clothes or a furniture project I do.

A couple more to possibly try:

Door Dash- I’ve signed up to be a delivery driver just for some pocket cash, and since I’m always out and about anyway, but haven’t found any jobs in my area yet. Keep you posted!

Amazon Product testing- there are several sites you can do this through. But beware that you may eventually add up enough “income” that taxes may need to be filed. I’ve been told that the expenses would outweigh the income, so this may not be an issue. I’ve used PPOC before and made a little cash.

I also sell our clothes and items that we outgrow, especially baby things, through local resale shops or Stuff, Etc.

Good luck saving for something fun! What are you hoping to save up for?!

XX,

Jess

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Must Have Baby Items You Didn’t Know You Needed

February 24, 2020 at 7:55 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So many options when it comes to baby items now days! Its confusing and overwhelming. And some of those things you just plain don’t need to waste your money on. Here’s a list of things that you probably didn’t know you needed, but that I’ve found to be so helpful! Honestly!

Travel Plate- This has been one of the most handy inventions I’ve used with both the boys! Since it’s got it’s own case, I just fold up the dirty mat when we are out and put it back in the case to clean when we get home. So simple!

Travel Spoon– Handy when they are using purees and soft baby food still. You can fill this guy with food and there’s so much less mess! It’s even got a cover for the end.

Rubber Changing Pad– This one by Ubbi is so handy. Easy to wipe, roll, fold, it makes diapering on the go so much easier.

Roll-up Changing Clutch– I adore my diaper bag, but sometimes I don’t want to haul the whole thing if I’m just running in somewhere. This clutch can fit in my purse and get even smaller if I unzip the pad portion. Just the necessities for quick jonts!

Dream Egg Sound Machine– This is the most portable sound machine I’ve seen. Lots of noise and volume options, plus its wireless. Charge it and go. It can even be used in the car or stroller, etc. So handy for anyone, not just babies!

Baby Nest- There are lots of options out there, but we love ours from Doreen’s Bibs and Bobs. It’s cute, handy, and portable. We still use ours at almost age 2 and take it on trips too! It seems to keep kiddo nice and cozy.

Convertible High Chair– Seriously, if you going to use a high chair, make sure it’s convertible. I had an older Graco version for the oldest and this new model does so much more and therefore is so much more handy. It can be attached to a chair as a booster, the back can be removed for more space, the base itself can be a stool seat for older kids. It really has all the features we need, including folding up and the tray hangs on the back!

Tush Baby- One of the things I found with kiddo #2 is the Tush Baby and I love it! He always wants to be carried, but also get down and look. I’m sure you can all relate! This thing saves my hips and makes it easy to carry forward or backward, front or hip, and he can go up and down to his heart’s desire. So handy!

A Great Looking Diaper Bag- Ok, it’s not a necessity, but it sure does make momming a lot more fun. I’ve had many, loved several, but this Lily Jade bag takes the cake. Its gorgeous. Plus it can be a backpack, or the straps stow away to be a should or cross-body bag. It’s so spacious without being too big or heavy to carry too. I carry everything but the kitchen sink I’m here with me. Its officially my purse/ diaper bag. I just call that the mom bag. โค

Hope these ideas help you too! Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Bath/Laundry Room Update

February 11, 2020 at 8:38 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We knew we wanted a fixer-upper, and we sure got it with this one! But we are enjoying putting in the work and making it into what we want for a home. The bathroom was no exception. We can’t afford a complete gut and overhaul of every room (I wish!), so this is a little refresh.

Before:

After:

We will put a new faucet in soon and plan to redo the bath and laundry room floors in a few months. But for now, wow. Its clean. Its peaceful. I’m in love.

We made the bathroom hook boards because in old houses you are at the mercy of where the studs may or may not be when hanging things. Attach the hooks in the spacing you want and then attach the boards to the wall where the studs allow.

We also made the shelves ourselves and hand “grayed” the boards by smearing white paint with fingers. Tedious but so worth it. The brackets are plumbing hardware and can be found at Mendards. We painted the parts with a light oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

We made the jar light fixture by painting the old silver fixture with oil rubbed bronze paint and adding the jars. We took solid jar lids and made holes in them to fix the jars to the fixture. Once it’s all painted you can’t see what method you used to attach them.

All on a budget for a quick fix up. We did add a new shower, as ours was a walk in when we bought the house and we needed a tub for the kids. Paint and curtains, and especially shelving, make a huge, but affordable difference!

Here are some fun detail shots.

A few detail links:

Curtains

Towels

Light fixtures

Amber jars

Wood laundry sign

Laundry rack

What do you think? Any recommendations?

Xx,

Jess

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Quick and Easy Valentine’s DIY

February 6, 2020 at 8:53 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I made these fabric hearts last year and loved them so much I put them out again this year!

It’s so simple that it doesn’t require much instruction, but a fun project for anyone because there are so many possibilities! I used scrap fabric that I had on hand, making this super inexpensive too! I picked a couple fabrics that complimented one another and had a rustic vibe. You could use anything at all! The only other supplies you need are liquid stitch (always handy to have a tube on hand!) and some stuffing. You can get both of these at your local craft store or a Walmart. The stuffing sold here at our Walmart was in too large of a bag and I knew I didn’t want a ton. So, quick fix was to buy a small pillow insert at Walmart. This was about $4 and I have plenty left for more projects.

Start by drawing a heart on cardboard. Try a cereal or cracker box! Then trace this heart onto the backside of your fabric. Do sets of two hearts in matching fabric. Then run a bead of the fabric glue around the heart. Leave a few inches unglued. I left a quarter inch or so around the edge. I used a few binder clips to hold these while drying. You could also set a book on them. When they are dry, stuff fabric into them. Doing it in this order allows you to fill them full and puffy without ungluing. Now add glue to the last few inches and clip to dry. You could always add sequins, embellishments, ribbon, or any extras too.

The other little white heart was super simple too. I used a cardboard hear, made little cuts around the outside, and wrapped yard around the heart. The cuts helps hold the yarn in place for the first layer of wrapping. Wrap all different directions. Glue with the fabric glue. Simple!

Viola! Hope you enjoy this quick and easy project!

Xx,

Jess

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