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    Art Display Wall

    Art Display Wall

    I am a mom of two little boys who both love creating and if yours is anything like our home your kids come home with 5 billion pieces of paper and or paper plates that they have cut, colored, glued and smashed. Of course, each one is a masterpiece to them and they just cannot wait for you to display their work all over your home! Let's be honest a fridge can only hold so much. 

    Don’t get me wrong. I Ooh and Aah over each one and then I secretly sneak it into the trash after they have gone to bed and hope they don’t ask for that particular paper plate craft again. I kept up these game until I created a designated space just for all their work.

    This space has been a game changer! I now hang any and all items they want up on the wall until it is too full and then I just slowly start pulling the “art” that is towards the back and throwing it away.

    I came up with this concept when I wanted to have an advent calendar for the kiddos as well. So I strategically placed 24 hooks on three different boards. Super simple!

    Y’all this is an easy-peasy weekend project that is a game changer for your home.

     

    Supply list:

    3 boards (size to fit your space. My boards are 6 feet long by 7 inches tall.)

    Stain (I used Jacobean) You could totally paint too if you want them to blend in more with your wall or even pop with a bright color.

    24 clips (I got a huge roll from Michaels on clearance)

    option 1, option 2

    Some kind of glue

    A few random screws

     

    Please keep in mind you can literally use and change any of these directions to make something that best fits your space.

    I went and bought three boards knowing I wanted to fill a huge chunk of our hallway. I then used stain I already had to stain the sides and front of each board.

    After they dry for 24 hours I measured out where I wanted each of the clips to be. Because I wanted 24 for my advent calendar that meant I needed eight on each board. If you don’t necessarily want it to be an advent calendar you could put as few or as many clips as you like.

    I initially used hot glue to put each clip in place but they have slowly fallen off over time and I have since used gorilla glue to keep each clip in place. You could also run a little screw or nail through your clips depending on how they are shaped.

    Lastly, I measured my wall space, centered the boards on the space I wanted them and then just drilled straight into the wall. Please keep in mind I don’t plan anything so I didn’t find studs or anchor them in any way. I am sure you perfectionist, math minds are screaming right now but it works for me. Imagine an ashamed face emoji here. Ha.  It has stayed fine in the wall. If you think your kids will pull on it find the studs but neither of my kids mess with the boards at all. They literally come home and either hang their creations themselves or ask me to put their artwork up for them.

    There you have it! For 11 months out of the year these boards are bursting with paintings, plates, glitter, and crayons and then in December I put it all of that in the trash, ha, or save some of their favorites for next year.

    I got my advent bags at the dollar spot two years ago but there are some other great options online. You can determine the size you need. We do very small items, candy, and letters so mine didn’t need to be big at all. This year I actually did more notes than anything so I could have gone even smaller on the bags. Another change we made this year is that I actually had the boys open the last bag on Christmas morning and it had the baby Jesus that goes in our nativity set. So we started the day by putting Jesus in the manger and talking about His birth. It was a very sweet time that I look forward to next year.

    I know twenty years from now I will miss all the many many children’s crafts that line these walls, my floor and countertops but for now I keep them as contained as possible so that I am truly able to enjoy them rather than loathing when they walk in the door with yet another ten pieces of paper with one line of marker on each, claiming that they are of course all their favorites and said line on the paper is actually a beautiful drawing of our family. 

    If you don't have a space this large but still want a way to display your child's artwork I have a few other options in the shop. They are found here and here. They are great alone or even as a part of a gallery wall. I am happy to customize with a name or quote as well. 

    Do you store and keep your kids art in any special way?

    Wallpaper...Never...OK SOLD!

    Wallpaper...Never...OK SOLD!

    Oh My Gosh! Y'all, if you need me I will be sitting here sitting on the floor staring at my new buffalo print wall!

    So if you follow along on Instagram you probably remember my post about Jillian Harris and Janna Allbritton. They both featured a buffalo plaid wall and y'all...my heart filled to bursting! I love all things that include mixing patterns (I mean I wear stripes, polka dots and leopard all in one outfit!) and if it includes buffalo plaid all the better! 

    I waited a bit to pull the trigger but I wish I had done it weeks ago. It took me approximately five minutes to unbox, move the furniture and get to hanging. Ha. My seven year old snapped this quick photo. It was done so quick I am glad to have one in process picture. 

     

    You all need to do this! It is around $30 for the roll and it is removable if you decide against it. That was my main selling feature. I loathe removing wallpaper so knowing that I can easily just pull it off was just another reason I couldn't wait to get this in the mail and hung! 

    You may not know this about me but I am not a girl who never measures or overthinks much when it comes to decorating. I literally just dive in! In total this whole project took me ten minutes! I am not even kidding!

    For the bottom cuts and even around the outlet I used a normal old steak knife to cut the length and did a total hack job around the outlet but it was covered by the outlet cover. There you have it! Easy Peasy! That isn't a word, I don't think, but you get the point. 

    it was so fast and turned out better than I thought. Target also has black and cream wallpaper, so if grey isn't your jam, no problem!

    I plan to put it in my laundry room as well?

    Where would you want to put it in your house? 

    BEFORE...(sorry, only shot I can find)

    And AFTER...yes, please! I plan to paint a sign to fit perfectly above the shelf space as well. What quote do you think I should paint?

    Mom Guilt!

    Mom Guilt!

    Holy Mother! I love being a working Mom! So so so very much! It is my favorite! Being able to do something I love and care for my kiddos equals living my best life but Y'all...mom guilt stinks! 

    I am traveling this week and it is going to be the best time ever. I cannot wait to get on that plane, kid free with a HOT coffee and a People magazine but getting to the flight feels like all of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in a single morning. I don't think Frodo had near the pressure I do on a morning that I am trying to finish all the things to perfection and get out the door. 

    My list is a mile long and all I want to do is sit and hold my kids while I read them a book that will, of course, make them brilliantly smart, kind, and perfectly well behaved. Ha. 

    I actually started giggling thinking about when my hubby travels. His only thing to check on..."Hey Abby, are all my clothes clean?"

    Literally, he packs his bag, gives kisses and hugs and is out the door. Hear me very clearly! My hubs is the best! He is a great dad, amazing husband, very helpful and very competent. But dudes just don't get what all we women do! 

    As I fought tear after tear after tear this morning I actually texted my girlfriends and asked for prayer. My list kept getting put off because I couldn't stop crying. I felt guilt over leaving, guilt over having to get others to pick my kids up from school, guilt for not having the dishes all done and put away, guilt for my youngest having a runny nose and guilt for asking my husband to man the fort while I was gone for three days! Three days Y'all! Three stinking days. It is not like I am leaving for a month or even a full week. 

    I am just sharing this to encourage any others out there today or next week or next year who read this and need to know they aren't crazy. We all experience it and it is ok. We are normal for wanting to follow God's call to be a great mom as well as a great working woman!

    I am leaving my home pretty clean, a fridge stocked with a week full of food so my family is fed, medicine to care for my sick kid and a note on my husband's pillow thanking him for being so supportive of this working life I love!

     

    We can do hard and wonderful things ladies! Let's go love those around us today. Looking forward to what we are going to and not guilty over what we are leaving behind because my kids will be fine. My house will be fine. Hy husband will be fine and my business will be fine when I come back. 

    So if you need me in the next few days, I will be fighting back tears, drinking my coffee, reading my magazine and enjoying being away for work but also looking forward to coming back home to this life I love. 

     

    SUPER Easy Valentine's!

    SUPER Easy Valentine's!

    Super Easy...get it? Oh, I crack myself up sometimes. Ha. Sorry I digressed in the first sentence. I cannot believe that next week is February and, more importantly, Whole 30 will be over! Just kidding. But for real, bring on the wine! Not that any of you care about my Whole 30 journey. You are here for the Valentine’s Day fun!

    I have always been a lover of Valentine’s Day. With or without a guy, it was just always a day to celebrate the people I loved. I will say it is all the more fun with kids. We don’t do a whole lot in our house in terms of gifts since neither my hubs or I really care, but since having the boys I have loved including them in making their valentines.

    These are my kiddos by the way. At 7 and 3 they are both all boy and love everything wild and adventurous! 

    Meet my boys! They are 7 and 3 and love all things wild!

    I have gone candy free the last two years and wanted to try again this year. I knew I couldn’t bake anything since the whole world is allergic to everything and there are, like, four million laws prohibiting you bringing anything you even pretend is homemade into a public school. So I took to the internet to help inspire me. There were so many cute ideas on Pinterest and you can see some of my faves here and even follow along with everything else I am loving if you are interested. After scrolling and scrolling, I decided my criteria would be…

    1. I didn’t have to make anything.
    2. My kids could help.
    3. No candy.
    4. Did I say I didn’t want to have to make anything?!

    So I narrowed down a few of my inspiration pics and ultimately decided I wanted to go with a “super” theme since both my boys love all things superhero, battling and now He-Man. (Not that he wears a mask. But thank you Netflix for letting me relive my youth.) I then decided I wanted to try and make my own design on my iPad and Y'all…I love playing on my iPad. It is like adult coloring on steroids! It is totally fun and the boys actually helped with some of the coloring as well. More than I liked if I am honest, but alas it was their project and it was more about fun than perfection.

    I hopped on Amazon and ordered these since it included enough for both my boys’ classes and thanks to our bestie, Amazon Prime, they arrived two days later and I am now way ahead of the Valentine’s game and I couldn’t be happier. There are obviously several different mask options and combinations. I picked mine, again, because of quantity. If you are super mom you could totally make these with felt yourself but that fell WAY OUTSIDE my criteria of NOT MAKING ANYTHING!

    You don’t probably care about all this but I fit as many cards as I could on a page, printed them on cardstock, let the boys hole punch them and then tied these little cuties to every mask. Easy peasy and the boys loved it! If you follow along on Insta Stories you can see my oldest cutting them all out. He was obsessed with the hole punch as well which was a win win. He worked for me, improved his fine motor skills and his grip strength! 

    Now I just need to keep them hidden till it is actually time to take them to school in a few weeks.

    I hope this has inspired you to have a little fun with your kiddos and I would love to gift you the free printable to use yourself if you want to.

    I would love to see your pictures if you choose to use the idea or printable so make sure you tag me on Insta or Facebook so I can see your amazing work! Feel free to share this printable with anyone you like!

    Here is your Super Hero Download! Enjoy! 

     Happy creating with your kiddos and let me know what your Valentine's Day plans are! We will have a quiet dinner in with the boys on the day but I am hosting my first Murder Mystery Dinner the weekend following which is what I am considering my Valentine’s Day plans so I don’t sound lame to all you cool kids.

    Love,

    Abby

    I am an Average Mom Too!

    I am an Average Mom Too!

    I cannot believe that we are just outside a month until Valentine’s Day! Ah! We are not huge Valentine’s day celebrators but I do love making cookies with my boys.

    They love the whole process. The mess, the sneaking bites, the mess, time with me, being creative, did I mention the mess?! Truly, they both love being in the kitchen but I rarely make time or have the patience to enjoy creating food with them but this is a tradition I try to keep every few months. Starting with

    Valentine's Day, then Easter, usually Halloween, and for sure Christmas.


    I shared back in October that I would show you all a simple way to look like you are super mom while actually being incredibly average just like me. Then guess what, life happened and I forgot all about posting my little secret. So here I am three and a half months later ready to spill the beans on how I make average look fancy.

    I started baking cookies with my boys in the last year and a half when my boys were both old enough to help or at least halfway enjoy making a mess. Ha.

    You start with whatever your favorite sugar cookie recipe is. I love this one by Katrina at Katrina’s Kitchen. I have included the link as well as Katrina’s full instructions. She has FAQ’s on the link which may be helpful to those of you who have never made sugar cookies.

    Best Sugar Cookie Recipe
    YIELD: 3 dozen cookies
    PREP TIME: 30 minutes
    COOK TIME: 6-8 minutes
    TOTAL TIME: 38 minutes
    Soft cut out sugar cookie recipe that keeps its shape and dough does not need to be chilled before baking- perfect edges every time!
    INGREDIENTS:
    1 Cup unsalted butter
    1 Cup granulated white sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 cups all purpose flour
     
    DIRECTIONS:
    Preheat oven to 350° F.
    In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth, at least 3 minutes
    Beat in extracts and egg.
    In a separate bowl combine baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.
    DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).
    Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
    Original recipe © In Katrina's Kitchen

     

    I have used this recipe more times than I can count and I really love it. So now on to my secret little mom trick. All of you are always so impressed with my royal icing skills. DON’T BE! Y’all for real, I have no clue what I am doing and if I can do it you can too! I make cookies the boys probably 3 to 4 times a year, as I mentioned earlier, so I am no expert. Of course, if you make cookies all the time I would recommend making your own but I did that one time and then found this little-boxed gem! It saves time and thinking which is worth its weight in gold to me.

    I will say that I don’t actually follow it’s measurements. I put a couple tablespoons of water in and then just add more water till I get to the consistency I want. Easy peasy friends! I buy mine at our local Meijer like I said with the cookie cutters but you can obviously get it online as well. 

    Here are a few of my tips for beautiful cookies.

    • I use various sizes and shapes to add texture and fun for your eyes. It just adds a more dynamic look which makes them look more impressive than they actually are. For example, use several sizes of stars or for Valentine’s Day, I always use different size and shape variations of hearts. Like short fat one, tall skinny ones, or the more traditional looking heart. I hope that makes sense. For Halloween, I do various shaped pumpkins, bats, candy corn, etc. Hopefully, you get the idea.
    • Wilton sells these tubs of cookie cutters that are great if you are looking for variety. Our local Meijer store carries them but you can find them on Amazon as well.
    • Use a few colors to keep it simple. You want variety but every color you add is just more work for you. Not only in decorating but in the clean up. Who likes doing more dishes? Not me!
    • I generally start with a thicker outline to hold the interior design as that frosting will be a bit runnier till it sets up.

    Have so much fun with decorating! I put out all manner of sprinkles for the kids to get bonkers with. I will shoot you real straight here…I struggle with releasing control to let them just have fun so I always sit half aside for me to decorate myself after they are done. That way it limits my yelling at them and takes away my desire to control what every cookie looks like. All you super moms who are chill and your children are perfect don’t understand this side of the process but for all you normal moms can I get an AMEN?!?!?

    There you have it. The easy way to look like super mom! Buy the icing in a box, let your kids go crazy and then pour yourself a glass or wine, coffee, water, milk (whatever suits your fancy), crank the new “Greatest Showman Soundtrack” and ice your picture-perfect cookies.

    We will take them to friends, as well as flowers to some ladies we know who no longer have husbands living. This is actually my favorite thing to do. We go to my favorite local florist and get fresh bouquets and then just spend the afternoon driving around and delivering them to each woman and telling them we were thinking of them. It makes me proud to see my boys learning to love and serve others.

    Do you have any little traditions you keep each year that don’t revolve around Christmas? I am all for traditions year round and would love to hear about yours!