Monday, August 22, 2016

An organized art station for kids

If you saw my post 2 weeks ago on beautifully organized art stations for kids, then you know that I've had art supply organization on the brain.

Even as a one-year-old, Emma has accumulated quite the art supply collection, and I had absolutely no system to keep it organized. Everything was just in piles on our basement bar. So I finally got my act together and decided to transform a corner of our basement into a super-organized art supply station. I absolutely love the way it turned out. Take a look!

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Hobby Lobby antique wooden brown shelf with 12 slots

Ah... a place for everything, and everything in its (neatly labeled) place!

One of my big goals with this art station was to keep certain art supplies out of Emma's reach... and to have others that she would be able to access whenever she wanted to. I don't want her getting into the paint without supervision, for example. Crayons? Fair game. To solve this problem, enter: the adorable tin buckets!

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Hang metal buckets to easily store supplies such as crayons and markers

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Hang metal buckets for easy art supply storage

I found these gems at Target. (Skip to the bottom of the article to see a full source list of where I got everything.)

At her current height, Emma can't reach any of the buckets that are hanging up. I just unhook the buckets that I don't mind her using whenever she wants. Right now I keep the crayons, colored pencils, and magnetic alphabet letters on the desk at all times. Everything else, she has to ask my permission to use.

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use tin buckets to easily label and store crayons and other art supplies

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use metal buckets to easily store crayons and other supplies

The buckets fit perfectly on the top shelf of the desk, which was a $2 yard sale find. I don't have any before pictures because my enthusiastic husband sanded and repainted it the same day we bought it.(Hey... no complaints here!)

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use metal buckets to easily label and store supplies

Emma LOVES her desk She can crawl up on the chair all by herself, which makes her feel really independent.

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use metal buckets for easy supply storage

Right above the hanging buckets, I hung an organizer with two wire baskets. I labeled one for paper, and the other is for coloring books. 

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use hanging metal buckets for easy pencil, crayon and marker storage

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use tin buckets for easy supply storage

I kind of love this organizer. I found it at Hobby Lobby, and knew immediately that it would be perfect. 

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use metal buckets for easy supply storage

Above the paper and coloring book folders is the 12-slot wooden shelf, where every other art supply fits quite comfortably. I love how easy it is to see exactly what we have. All the little cubbies also keep everything nice and neat.

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Hobby Lobby antique brown shelf with 12 wooden slots

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Hobby lobby antique brown wooden shelf with 12 slots

I love being able to take down one or two things at a time, which means that I never have to clean up EVERYTHING all at once. Once Emma can reach a little higher on her own, things might look a little different. ;) 

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use tin buckets to store materials

Finally, to the right of the desk, we put Emma's easel.

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Desk, chair, easel, and hanging supply storage

The easel was a hand-me-down from a generous friend, and Emma is super into it right now. I love how versatile it is. The whiteboard side is great for dry erase and magnetic letters, but it also has a clip, which is perfect for hanging paper or giant coloring pages.

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Easel

The back is a chalkboard. Do you like my husband's artwork? ;)

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: easel

And probably the best part of the easel is... the painting! Emma and I paint about once a day, on average. It's so easy the way we have everything set up, and she loves it so much. Every time she asks, I think, "Why not?" :)

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Painting tips

I do have a little secret to make painting setup and cleanup a ton easier. I found a small metal trashcan at Ikea, and I keep an old sheet and a painting smock (one of my old Tshirts) along with a pack of wipes and some paper plates in there all the time.

Organized art station for kid's art and craft supplies: Use a small Ikea trash can to store a sheet and smock for easy painting setup and cleanup

When it's time to paint, I just spread out the sheet under our workspace, throw the smock on Emma, and we're all set.

An organized kids art station including a painting station with a trash can with sheet and smock for easy setup and cleanup

When we're done, I throw everything back in the trash can and tuck it off to the side.

I can't explain how good it feels to have all of Emma's art supplies cleaned up and off the bar. Well... except that now the bar is filled with the entire contents of our pantry because- surprise! we're already working on the next big organizing project. But that's another post for another day. For now- here's the source list- where I got everything for Emma's art station. If I forgot anything, just let me know.  And be sure to let me know what you think in the comments!

Source list 

Note: This list contains affiliate links

  • Desk: Repainted yard sale find
  • Paper/book holder: Hobby Lobby (I couldn't find the exact one I bought online, but it is similar to this one.)
  • Antique brown wooden shelf with 12 slots: Hobby Lobby
  • Crayola magnetic double-sided easel: Ours was given to us, but you can find them on Amazon.
  • Metal trash can with lid (4 gallon): Ikea
  • Metal pails with chalk labels: Target
  • Children's Chair: Ikea

Love it? Pin it! 

A perfectly organized art station for kids- great way to organized art supplies for easy set up and clean up of art or craft projects from toddler to elementary schoool age

Monday, August 15, 2016

10 classy pregnancy announcement ideas

10 classy and creative pregnancy photo announcement ideas. Want to let everyone know you're expecting a baby? Here's some great inspiration for you!
Most of you already saw my exciting baby news last week... so today I decided to share some of the great baby announcement photo ideas that inspired my own photo announcement. These are all classy and (fairly) simple ideas, so feel free to take one or two of them and try them out for your own pregnancy announcement. Have fun!


How fun is this photo? I love how sweet and simple it is. If you like this photo announcement idea, you can make your own onesie, or buy one here and save yourself the trouble.


Katie and Kurtis did a whole pregnancy announcement photo shoot- with some really adorable results. (Think little tiny winter boots in the snow.) This one is my absolute favorite, though. And take a second to read their story, while you're at it. It's a good one. :) 


Ashley and Mike used this photo to announce their pregnancy on Instagram over a year ago. This is probably my favorite version of the shoes + calendar photo announcement idea. I just think it's so elegant and classy. Nice job, guys. 


As Ashley says about this photo shoot, "Pinterest makes projects look one hundred thousand times easier {most of the time} than they actually are, and this balloon photo shoot was no exception." So be sure to check out her post for the details if you're going to try it yourself. These pictures had to have been worth the challenges, though. They turned out to be absolutely gorgeous! 


Holly was brave enough to let her one-year-old play with her own childhood china set for this photo announcement. Kudos to her- I have a little experience with photographing one-year-olds, and they're not always the most willing models. ;) The final photo announcement turned out great!


Isn't this sign adorable? You can make your own or buy a printable version here for your own photo shoot with big brother or sister. 


Ah, more balloons. I just can't get enough. Krupa and Varun also created a little video using these balloons to announce their pregnancy, so be sure to check that out as well! 


I love coat/hat/mitten pictures, and this one is no exception. The onesies and the date tell us everything we need to know. :) I love how well the white onesies contrast with the dark background. Picture-perfect!



It's simple. It's sweet. It includes tiny, little baby shoes: I love it! 


And of course I just had to re-share my own pregnancy announcement from last week! I knew I wanted to feature Emma in our announcement photo. (Let's face it, she's a whole lot cuter than I am!) I also wanted to keep it simple. So I took her out in the backyard and gave her the sonogram pictures to hold. And when she promptly threw them on the ground and ran away, I bribed her with Skittles. ;) After a couple dozen shots, we finally got this winner! 

Well, that's it! Which one is your favorite? Any that you'd be willing to try out yourself? Or do you have another photo idea that turned out phenomenally? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, August 8, 2016

An exciting announcement!

I am so excited to share with you guys that Kevin, Emma and I are expecting a BABY this December!!!

Baby announcement photo idea: big sister holding sonogram pictures with caption: baby brother or sister due this December

I'm about 18 weeks pregnant right now, and I feel great. Partially because I'm well into the 2nd trimester by now... but more likely because it's summer and my husband and I haven't worked in over a month (teacher perks...) It's amazing how good you feel when your #1 priority every day is to relax and have fun with your family.

Baby announcement photo idea: big sister looking at sonogram pictures with Daddy

Emma is very excited. She knows there's a baby in Mommy's tummy, and that the baby is kicking me (which she tries to demonstrate with her own little feet!) She likes to kiss my belly and tell me that she's kissing the baby. She also occasionally will tell me whether the baby is happy or sad- haha!

I hesitate to say that Emma will be a new big sister, because I still consider the baby that we lost to a miscarriage in February to be Baby #2. But since Emma won't actually get to meet that sibling until heaven, I cannot wait to see how she interacts with Baby #3 when he or she makes their arrival this winter.

Baby announcement photo idea: big sister holding sonogram pictures

My due date is December 29th, which I think is so fun. I asked Kevin if he would rather have the last baby in 2016 (for that tax break!) or have the first baby of 2017. He said, "First baby of 2017, no question. We'd be in the news!"

Which one would you prefer? :)

So, that's our big news- thanks for reading. And make sure that you follow me on Instagram, because I'll be posting lots of pictures of the new nursery (and, of course, the obligatory baby bump photo or two!) in the next few months. I'd love to have you join me along the journey. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Your cloth diapering questions answered by real moms: What would you say to a new mom who is trying to decide between cloth and disposable diapers?

Today's post is the last one in my cloth diaper series, and it's for anyone who is trying to decide whether to use cloth diapers or disposables for their next baby.

You probably already know that I'm a huge fan of cloth, but you don't have to hear it from me today. I asked 20+ moms who are already using cloth diapers what they would say to someone who is trying to decide whether it's worth it. And they had some great answers. I can't wait for you to hear what they had to say!

cloth diapers vs disposable diapers- real answers from real moms- what should you know before you decide? Survey answers

Today's question:

What would you say to a new mom who is trying to decide between cloth and disposable?  

Click here to see all the other posts in this series, or better yet- sign up for my email newsletter so you don't miss anything from now on.
Elise from
It's really not as scary as it seems! I was worried about cleaning poopy diapers, but they usually clean really easily over the toilet!
Carolina from  
Make sure you and your husband are in it together. It turned out to be easier than I expected which was a plus but we still had times where if my husband wasn't on board then I would have been ready to toss them all out in a fit of rage. Just as you would with disposables when you have had that millionth poop explosion. 
cloth diapers vs disposable diapers- real answers from real moms- what should you know before you decide? Survey answers
Don't be afraid of it! You will touch poop.
Becca from
Get a couple of cloth diapers and see how it goes. Ask around to friends about their experiences.
cloth diapers vs disposable diapers- real answers from real moms- what should you know before you decide? Survey answers
Sarah from   
Consider how many kids you are hoping to have and what your budget looks like. Cloth diapers aren't that much different than disposable besides you wash them. Its also nice not having to run to town when you get low, just throw a load in the washer.
Make sure you're really committed. They save a lot of money if you stick with it, but there is no doubt that it's way easier to just use disposables, so it would be easy to get frustrated and go back to disposables if you're not committed. And that's just a big waste of money!
It's really not as bad as it sounds. You NEVER have poop blowouts in cloth like you do in disposables. And it's really not as much work as people think. You just have to get used to a wash pattern.
Bethany from 
I always say do the math. Figure out how many times you'd have to use whatever diapers you buy to make it worth it. Even if you only cloth diaper part time (usually disposables at night, at day care or overnight) you usually still save money and you baby will still get some of the benefits.
cloth diapers vs disposable diapers- real answers from real moms- what should you know before you decide? Survey answers- Bumgenius diapers drying in the sun
Jessica from 
It's not as bad as you think it's going to be. I expected cloth diapering to be really gross, but once I started doing it, I realized that it isn't really that bad.
It does involve extra time and energy but we loved the cost savings and sparing the environment another ton of diapers in a landfill.
Do it! It's worth knowing exactly what you are putting on your baby's bum, plus you're saving the environment. The upfront cost is a bit overwhelming, but well worth the money because the pros easily outweigh the cons.
Darci from 
Definitely do it! It's not as hard as you think. Combine the cost savings with the peace of mind that you are not putting harsh chemicals next to your baby's skin... why wouldn't you cloth diaper? It's actually fun and can be a bit addicting. There are so many different dipes and colors and patterns to choose from.
Julie from 
You don't necessarily need fancy, expensive cloth diapers. A few prefolds, a snappi or two, and 3 covers will really take you a long way. If your budget does allow for a few splurges, try out a variety of diapers before investing in a dozen of a high-end brand only to learn that they don't work well with your baby.
What's the harm in trying? Buy a few and if you don't like it, you can always stop! Also, a few cloth diapering websites give special deals to those trying for the first time and will send you a variety at a lower cost.
It doesn't have to be all one way or the other; there are a lot of people who do a mix, and that's fine.
Beth from 
Just try it!! Start with a few and ease yourself into it.
Raye from 
Do it. It seems overwhelming, but it will save you so much money. For me, it was an extra 2 loads of laundry a week and it was not a big deal. Also, keep in mind that you don't have to EXCLUSIVELY cloth diaper either. I know many people who only cloth diaper when they're home (use disposables for day care, church nursery and trips) or only cloth diaper during the day (use disposables at night or for naps). Do what works for you. You CAN do it!
cloth diapers vs disposable diapers- real answers from real moms- what should you know before you decide? Survey answers
Cloth diapering may not be the best option for every family (I have no experience with using cloth at day care or keeping up with laundry while working full time). But if you think it's something you'd be interested in, I say just go for it! Don't go overkill with research (there are so many options and opinions out there, for me it was almost paralyzing). I simply found someone who had a positive experience, copied their system, and committed to make it work. We were all about saving money, so we didn't really let "giving up" be an option. By all means, once you've started, ask other cloth diaper mamas for help and tips as you have questions! Finally, I am a "lazy homemaker" at best ;) So trust me, if I can cloth diaper twins, I think anyone who wants to can do it! 
Invest in a small stash of flats or prefolds and covers, and try it out for a day. If you don't like it, you can always resell them. But chances are, if you're thinking about it, you won't regret cloth diapering at all!
Get a small stash and try it out! Try different types - all-in-ones, pockets, prefolds - because different things work for different families. If you decide you don't like cloth diapers, you can always resell, but if you like it, you can start building a stash a little at a time.
 And my answer?  
Go for it! But don't stress about it. There is no one right way to cloth diaper your baby, and you'll figure it out as you go. Don't spend hours researching- just buy a couple and see if you like it. Chances are, it won't be nearly as scary as you think it is. 

And if you still have questions, feel free to email me. I'd love to hear from you. ;) 

Monday, July 11, 2016

10 Beautiful, Organized Art Stations for Kids

I miss our bar.

The one in our basement. It has been completely taken over by my one-year-old's art supplies.

It started out small: a bag of markers, a few crafts brought home from daycare, a set of finger paints. Then things escalated. Quickly. And now our entire bar is filled with all of Emma's art supplies.

We're working on a solution: we bought a little table at a yard sale for $2 which we're going to to repaint and repurpose as an art station. Now I just need to figure out a good system to store and organize all of the art supplies, mostly by using the wall space above the table.
10 beautiful organized art stations for kids: Includes 10 different ideas for art tables and art supply storage

So of course, I decided to turn to Pinterest for some inspiration. And I found some great ideas! In today's post, I'm sharing my favorite kids' art stations and art supply organization ideas. Click on any picture to be redirected the original source. Ready? Let's go!


Charlotte had three goals when creating this art station: storage space, gallery space, and surface space. I'd say she nailed it. Every little bit of space in this art station is super functional.


This entire space only cost $70 to create. My favorite part is the shelf up top- high enough that kids would need help to access certain supplies. :)


So much storage! This is fantastic if you have a lot of space. . . and a lot of supplies to store.


This art station was created during a big girl bedroom transformation. I love the simple, clean design, and the accessibility of the art supply buckets.


Woah, check out all of this storage space! I love how this art station overlooks a huge window. It makes the whole thing seem so bright and open.


This article provides an excellent tutorial on how to build your own children's secretary desk. The end result is super space-efficient, not to mention adorable.


This looks like a little girl's dream to me. This table is so long, it could easily accommodate two of three artistic friends at a time. 


I think this art station is one of my favorites, because it is so simple, doesn't take up a lot of space, and still includes everything you could need.


This pegboard is amazing. The frame around it makes it look really classy, and matching hook board below ties everything together perfectly.


What a great idea to put a little ledge right above this art table! Perfect for tiny little arms and hands to reach. :)

Well, that's it! What do you think? These beautiful art stations have got my wheels turning. I can't wait to start working on my own. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments.

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