Get Creative: DIY Magnetic Chalkboard

 DIY Magnetic Chalkboard

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If you’ve been on Pinterest very long, you’ve probably seen some magnetic and/or chalk board crafts. I saw several different ones and decided to try my hand at creating a magnetic chalkboard!
Inspired by Little Lucy Lu

Supplies for DIY Magnetic Chalkboard:

  • Frame of your choice
  • Ply board or cork board to fit
  • Magnetic primer–I used Rust-Oleum Magnetic Primer, $20/quart at Walmart
  • Chalk board paint–I used Rust-Oleum Chalk Board paint, $10/quart at Walmart
  • Foam paint brush or roller
  • Chalk & magnets

I had several of the needed supplies on hand. The frame and backboard were already part of a memory board that was in my daughter’s nursery. When we moved and she got a new room, the memory board no longer matched her decor, so I stuck it in the closet, hoping to use it for another craft. Here was my opportunity to create something cute and useful!

I repainted the frame white (it was an off-white color before), using leftover trim paint that I had in my utility room. I popped the back board off and removed the fabric & ribbons off. To my surprise, it was a cork board underneath. I was hoping it would just be a solid piece of board. I wasn’t sure if you could even paint cork board with magnetic and chalk paint, but I thought I’d give it a try (the answer is YES, you can!).

Don’t have a frame? Check your local consignment and second hand stores for a frame! You can always spray paint it to match your decor.

Here’s how to create your DIY Magnetic Chalkboard!

  1. Paint your board using the magnetic primer, then chalk board paint, according to the directions on the paint cans. *I applied 2 coats of magnetic primer, then 2 coats of chalkboard paint. Be sure to use the magnetic primer in a well ventilated area. The smell is pretty strong!
  2. After each layer has dried, allow to sit for 3 days before drawing with chalk. Rub the entire board with chalk, then erase.
  3. Secure the board into your frame and now you are ready to use your magnetic chalkboard!

These would be great for a variety of functions: to-do lists, grocery lists, chore chart, and more! Now that you know how to make a DIY Magnetic Chalkboard, get creative!

How To Sew Pants: Basic Wide Leg Pants Tutorial | Basic Sewing

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How to Sew Pants Tutorial

Want to learn how to sew pants?

When you are first learning how to sew, it helps to have a few projects in your arsenal that are super easy and build your confidence.

These easy wide leg pants are perfect for that!

All you need to complete this “How To Sew Pants” tutorial is basic sewing skills.

If you know how to:

  • Sew in a straight line
  • Fold and stitch a hem
  • Use the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or own a serger (this is optional, but will keep your seams from unraveling)

you can totally manage this basic sewing “How To Make Pants” Tutorial!

How to Sew Pants Tutorial:  Supplies Needed

First off, here are the supplies you’ll need on hand to learn how to sew pants (please keep in mind this is a sewing machine based tutorial. So you’ll need: a sewing machine, bobbin, sewing machine needle, etc):

  • Fabric of your choice (yardage will vary). I used leftover fabric that worked well as comfy pajama pant fabric
  • A pair of comfy pants that currently fit your model (I recommend making kids pants first!)
  • Thread to match
  • Several pieces of cardstock or plain paper (cardstock will work better…poster board, if you have it, will work best) and tape
  • Pen or pencil
  • Ruler
  • Elastic (I used 3/4 inch elastic…look for NO ROLL elastic!)
  • Safety Pin
  • Scissors

That’s it! You can totally learn how to sew pants!

I can whip a pair of these pants from start to finish in about 15-20 minutes. Don’t feel bad if it takes you a few hours the first time through though. I think I took about 3 hours when I first learned how to make pants. Sadly, I’m not joking at all.
Continue reading How To Sew Pants: Basic Wide Leg Pants Tutorial | Basic Sewing

Tot Tuesday: Boredom Busting Busy Bags

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My son has started the dreaded, “…but what am I supposed to do!” when we turn off the TV, his video game, basically stop him from doing whatever fun thing he was doing that needed a time limit he didn’t agree with.

It’s frustrating because we have a playroom FILLED with toys. Too many toys.

Now, I know part of this is my payback for MY OWN “I’m bored” whining when I was a kid.

I can now relate to my parents incredulous looks and eye rolls when I’d lament that I had absolutely NOTHING to do.

The thing is, it’s not that my kids don’t have enough to do. Most likely they have TOO much. Sensory overload, so they just don’t try! Not only that, but having their toys all so readily accessible for them at all times means that they actually do play with all of their toys a lot.

I read about busy bags about a year ago and thought it was a really cool idea. Only problem was that I made the busy bags and then I made them readily available to my kids!

Plan backfired.

The secret to busy bags is to hide them away and ONLY pull them out when you truly need your kids to be “busy” (important phone call, long car ride, etc). Otherwise, you keep these bags out of sight and out of mind!

Pretty much anything goes when it comes to building your busy bags.

Here are just a few of the busy bags I have made up currently (keep in mind I have a 3 and 4 year old):

Flash cards w/ magnet letters
Sorting cups with pom pom balls
Pipe Cleaners (hooked on the end) and beads for stringing
Book of site words with flashcards to match

Make sure your bags are age appropriate and make sure everything needed to enjoy the activity is in 1 bag.

It’s okay to make some busy bags that involve parent involvement, but be sure you have some for independent play as well. In addition, expect that each child will want their own busy bag, but plan that they might want to play together. So throw in a few extra pipe cleaners, pens, beads, etc if you can.

I love busy bags! Do you use busy bags? What do you have in your busy bags? In the comments tell me your ideas for fun busy bags!

Tot Tuesday: Face Masks & Reminding My Kids I Am Pretty Awesome

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Tot Tuesday is a (mostly) weekly feature where I highlight a special kids activity, frugal recipe for kids, kids tutorial, etc. Want to contribute? Email me heather @

Last week, my son made a dragon face mask to celebrate the Chinese New Year and my daughter made a dinosaur mask because she’s learning about dinosaurs.

I was feeling a bit left out, so I told the kids that I was going to make my own mask.

They thought that was silly, and for some reason they seemed to have little faith that I could make my own mask (seriously? I’ve been working with 2-4 year olds LONG before these kids were born. I know my way around a paper plate and glue! Plus, I mean…who made them homemade play dough, homemade paint, sponge painting, etc…).

I sat down with a paper plate, a craft stick, some spray glue, pom poms and a pair of scissors and I made myself an awesome mask. (We like to do crafty stuff. Here’s a post about what I try to keep on hand for crafting.)

After I made my mask, we ran around and hid and acted silly for a bit before I decided we should really take a picture of how awesome we looked with our cool masks. 

Having fun with our face masks reminded me that sometimes our kids need to know that we can be just as silly as them. Also, that it’s easy to take for granted that our kids know how awesome we are (and that we can in fact make our own face masks), but sometimes we need to show them just to be sure they remember. 😉

Go make a face mask and run around with your kids. Remind them that you are awesome AND fun. They probably don’t need the reminder, but maybe you do.

The simpler things in life are always the best. 


Just in case you aren’t quite sure how to make a face mask:

1. Cut a paper plate in half

2. Cut out some eye holes

3. Glue a tongue depresser/craft stick to one side

4. Decorate!

There are many variations of face masks, so get creative!

 A big thanks to my kids teachers for making such awesome masks with my kids 🙂 . The inspiration to make my own and join in the fun with my kids is because of their commitment to helping my kids learn all kinds of awesome stuff. You ladies know who you are. Thank you!


Help Me Re-Create Fun Dino Excavation Activity At Home?

Today, my husband and son excavated and assembled a T-Rex from this fun little “fossil” we purchased at Cracker Barrel. It wasn’t terribly expensive ($9.99), but I’ve got to think you could recreate this at home with some plaster of paris and some plastic dino bones?

The tool they used looked a bit like a plastic knife on one end and a hammer on the other end. The other tool was just a basic paintbrush.

They had SO much fun!

I’d love to recreate this project again so it’s not just a one time thing. Obviously I don’t want to keep buying $9.99 kits!

I’d love your advice:  How would you recreate this craft at home? 

Easy Cake Batter Pancake Recipe

Easy Cake Batter Pancake Recipe

This super easy cake batter pancake recipe is the perfect special celebration breakfast! Use a box mix of cake mix to make these cake batter pancakes a breeze. My kids would argue that the delicious icing makes these cake batter pancakes next level AWESOME! #cakebatterpancakes #breakfastcelebration #pancakerecipe #homemadepancakes


3 years ago today, I met my little girl face to face for the first time. I remember my eyes filling with tears as I gasped when I saw her sweet face. The emotions overwhelmed me and I instantly felt a rush of love and affection towards this tiny stranger who I’d felt kicking and squirming inside me just moments earlier.

It was a radically different experience in comparison with the birth of my son. When he was born, I loved him instantly, but I didn’t know what was to come, it was all a mystery.

My sweet boy taught me to be a mom and taught me what it felt like to earn and receive the love of a child. When Elizabeth came into this world, I knew the love and the laughter that awaited. I felt joy and elation at what the next years of our lives together would bring.

Today she’s 3 and I have not been disappointed for one minute. God could not have blessed me with a daughter that was more perfect and more perfectly imperfect in all the right ways. I’m honored to be her mom every single day. 

I love you Princess Peach!


In honor of my sweet girl’s birthday, I decided she needed a special breakfast! I saw these pancakes a few weeks back and I just knew I had to make them!

I woke up early to get them prepared (I actually mixed the dry ingredients the night before since I don’t trust myself with flour and other powdery ingredients first thing in the morning!) and was taking the very last picture (Hey I’m a blogger, it’s a requirement) as the kids walked out of their room and were greeted by Lizzie’s new pink scooter (pulled out of our gift closet. Both the scooter and the LaLaLoopsy doll were bought for under $20 combined!)  😉

These were tasty, and the kids LOVED them. I’m not a sweet breakfast eater, but the bit I did have was very tasty and enjoyable.

Definitely make these for the next birthday in your family! Any excuse to be a Rockstar Mommy, right? 😉

Cake Batter Pancakes

Source: How Sweet It Is

Ingredients for Pancakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup yellow cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups milk (mine needed closer to 2, but I started at 1 and added little by little)
  • rainbow sprinkles

Pancake Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients (flour, cake mix, sugar, baking powder & salt…you can do this the night before if you can’t be trusted with flour in the morning 😉 )

2. Add wet ingredients and mix until fully combined. Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if necessary. I needed close to 2 cups. You want the batter to be a bit on the thin side but not watery at all. Just like typical pancake batter. According to How Sweet It Is, it seems to depend on what cake mix you buy how much milk you need.

3. Fold in sprinkles

4. Cook the pancakes like normal on a hot griddle or pan.

Ingredients for Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk (to start)
  • sprinkles

Directions for Glaze:

1. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla & milk together until it forms a glaze. You might need to add more milk.

2. Add sprinkles

3. Pour over pancakes!

This recipe made us 10 pancakes but some of my earlier pancakes were too big, so it could probably easily make 12.

What a special treat for a birthday breakfast!

Be sure to check out all the frugal recipes here on Family Friendly Frugality!

How to Display Artwork Made Lovingly By Your Kids On the Wall

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One day recently my son came home with a colorful picture he had worked on at school.

Mommy, I want to hang this on the wall.he said proudly.

Well, I can hang it on the refrigerator!I told him. 

He hung his head and muttered something that sounded agreeable. We always put their best artwork on the refrigerator and it’s always been a spot of honor.

With a bit more prodding, I realized that he was upset because ever since I’d put our magnetic calendar on the fridge:

There was less space for artwork.

He also expressed that he really wanted to hang some things on the wall. He knew that the best pictures in the house don’t go on the fridge, they go on the wall (smart kid).

Now, if you have young children, you know they come home with BUCKETS of artwork everyday they go to school. 

I can’t possibly display every little piece, and our kids definitely know that.

However, I knew there must be some way for me to display the kid’s artwork a bit more prominently and tastefully without putting a new nail into the wall every time they came home with something they were proud of.

Totally by accident one day, I came across a blogger that had displayed her children’s artwork in such a simple and effortless way that I knew I had to do it too!

The concept is simple:

1.  Screw 2 eye hooks into the wall. One on either side of where you intend to string your picture wire.

2. Thread the picture wire through the hoops, looping it back through and twisting it around itself to secure.

You want the wire to droop down just a bit. So make sure there is a bit of slack. My wire was kinky looking and making funky spirals, so I let the hammer hang from it overnight (hanging from the nail remover part) and it smoothed itself out.

Right now, my clothespins are just normal ordinary wood colored. I think I’m going to try to paint them though to brighten it up!

I also might try to put a fun quote on the wall with vinyl lettering, but that requires me mastering the Cricut that I’m currently borrowing from 20 Something Saver, and I’m not quite there yet! 😉

Oh and the picture up top is kind of oddly lit because there’s no natural light in this room. Just light from a chandelier with lots of individual crystals 😉 

The kids woke up this  morning and were SO excited! They enjoyed seeing their artwork displayed on the wall, where the BEST pictures in the house go 😉

The Rice Box Activity: How A Box of Rice Turned This Mom Into a Rockstar

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Tot Tuesday is a (mostly) weekly feature where I highlight a special kids activity, frugal recipe for kids, kids tutorial, etc. Want to contribute? Email me heather @

Have you ever noticed that the simplest activities tend to be the most thrilling for children? 

Today I went to pick up my daughter from school. Full of anticipation for my “Rockstar Mommy” moment of the day (those of you with kids totally know what I’m talking about), I walked into her class expecting a beaming smile and a big comfy hug.

Look at that sweet face!


My daughter looked at me, smiled and then quickly turned around to continue playing with her friends.

I was crushed! What could possibly be stealing away one of my favorite moments of the day from me?

Did I forget something important in her lunch? Did my 2 year old decide that the outfit I chose for her this morning wasn’t fashionable enough?

What was wrong!?

At this point, I realize her and her friends are gathered around a bin of rice. In that rice, the kids were riding around toy cars, using spoons & funnels to scoop and pour handfuls of rice. They were hiding fun toys for their friends to treasure seek. In short, they were playing in a sandbox filled with rice. 

Now this concept was not new to me. I’ve played the good ol’ rice box game at home with the kids many times. 

However, it had been awhile and my 2 year old has a short memory.

Finally, I coaxed her out of the classroom by telling her that I had a box at home filled with rice and toys with her name on it!

When we got home, I pulled out the box and set it on the table. For the next HOUR, my son (age 4) and my daughter played in this box. Not one argument. Not one bit of fussing.

Sure I had some rice to clean up on the floor when they were done, but it’s a great reminder that the simplest things in life are generally the best. 

Oh I’m sure my son will want to play Skylanders when he wakes up, and my daughter will beg me to play barbies.

For just a moment though, I was Rockstar Mommy simply because of a bucket of rice and a few plastic spoons.

Not bad 😉

The Rice Box

  • Rice (any kind, dry and uncooked of course)
  • Cars, Spoons, Funnels, Cups, Shiny stuff to hide, etc
  • Box of some sort (if you have one with a lid, that’s preferrable)

Combine and let your kids go to town! 

Disclaimer: I hardly thought up the rice box on my own, so credit for this wonderful activity is not mine.  Also, remember that dry rice is a choking hazard. Monitor your children and if you have younger babies that like to put everything in their mouth, this  probably isn’t the activity for them just yet.

Quick and Affordable DIY Coasters

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Think you aren’t “crafty” enough to make a nice gift for someone? Think again! Check out these quick and affordable DIY coasters! I made these photo coasters for my Mom for Christmas using leftover tiles from their kitchen remodel (don’t tell her I stole them!). Do you think I thought to take pictures as I made them for this tutorial? No.

So, I decided to make a quick set of Christmas themed coasters!

Here are the supplies you need:

  • Tiles–I used the cheapest white tiles from my home improvement store for this set
  • Mod Podge–I like the matte look, but they also make a glossy sheen Mod Podge
  • Scrapbook paper–I chose 2 different ones, but I could have easily made a set of 4 out of one sheet of paper
  • Small felt pads for bottom of coasters
  • Protective sealant–I used the Krylon Matte finish sealant
  • Small Foam brush–not pictured, oops!

Here’s what you do!

  • Cut the paper to fit the tiles. I like to leave a little tile showing around the paper.
  • Apply Mod Podge to tile and place paper on tile. You wll be able to slide the paper a bit to get it centered how you want it. This is important, be sure to smooth it out and get all the air bubbles out! Let dry about 20 minutes.
  • Next, paint the Mod Podge over the paper. Be sure to get an even coat. The Mod Podge will paint on white, but it dries clear, so don’t worry! You can see below that it looks a little white still. This is just after applying a thin layer.

  • Let the Mod Podge dry at least 20 minutes between coats and apply 3-4 coats to the paper. Let dry overnight.
  • Then spray with the protective sealant according to the directions on the product you choose. I applied 2 layers of sealant to ensure a good seal.
  • Finally, apply felt pads to bottom of tiles.
And here is the finished product! Hopefully you can see a little bit of the texturing it gives from the brush strokes. I love them!
These DIY coasters make a great gift! So, get creative and make photo coasters, holiday coasters, or decorative coasters for you or your loved ones! I am SO excited to gift my Mom the photo DIY coasters for Christmas!
Enjoy these DIY coasters!
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