21 Car Games for Kids

Holiday travel is upon us and it’s time to share some car games for kids!  If you’re like us, you don’t want your children to be glued to the DVD player or gaming devices the entire trek over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house.

What’s a parent to do?

I’m so happy to tell you there is an overabundance of options!  Win!!!

21 Car Games for Kids from the New Lighter Life

Some of the ideas below are crafty and some need to be purchased.  The age range on these games varies considerably.  Maybe it’s just my kids, but my older children liked to the younger children activities too…so I didn’t even to attempt to separate out by age-appropriateness.

I’m sure you’ll find some great ideas to ease the boredom!

Games to Make

1.  Button Snake

Simply cut some felt squares and put a slit in the middle of each one, (except for one of them).  Sew some webbing or wide rick rack to the square that doesn’t have the slit.  Next sew a button to the other end of the webbing/rick rack.  Voila!

DIY Felt Button Snake Travel Toy

 

2.  Velcro Building Sticks

This is super easy to make.  Just buy some popsicles (you can purchase them dyed or dye them yourself) and add sticky-backed velcro to the ends.  My kids LOVED this.

Beware.  If you have a little guy that likes to make swords, he will make swords out of these sticks.

Velcro Popsicle Sticks Travel Game

 

3.  Color Swatch Matchup

Again, very easy to make.  This was a bit challenging for my 3 year old to match up.

Color Swatch Matchup Game

 

4.  Keep the Coins by The Vintage Mother

I love this idea!  My children are always looking for gum money and the idea of keeping your change is motivating!

Keep the Coins Travel Game

 

 

5.  Pipe Cleaner and Pony Beads

Yep…for real.  Just some pipe cleaners and Pony Beads and my 2 younger kids were entertained for at least 20 minutes.

Pipe Cleaners and Pony Beads Travel Game

 

6.  Homemade Color (or Colour) Book by Craftulate

I LOVE this idea from Craftulate!!!  We are road-tripping soon and this is on my to-do list!

Homemade Color Book from Craftulate

 

7.  Crayon Roll

There are so many different options for making a crayon roll to hold a notepad.  I whipped this puppy up in about a half an hour, but you can find some inspiration and ideas to make your very own, here.

Crayon Roll for Traveling

 

 

 

8.  DIY Travel Geoboard by Left Brain Craft Brain

Wow!!!  Seriously, this is so smart!!

DIY Travel Geoboard

 

9.  Magnetic Tangram Puzzle by Delia Creates

Travel Tangram Game

 

10.  Tic Tac Toe photocredit Canadian Family

Travel Tic Tac Toe

 

 

11.  Portable Lego Box by Fun at Home with Kids

Head over to Fun at Home with Kids and print the cards out!  If you need some random lego pieces to be able to complete the puzzles, Bricks and Minifigs has loose legos you can buy!  If you don’t have a store near you, make up your own puzzle cards, buy more legos, or beg and borrow from friends.

Portable Lego Kit

 

12.  Magnetic Peg People

This was such a fun little project!  I used a left over tin to house our family.  Once I was done painting the people and spraying with sealer, I added pieces of magnet to the bottom of them so they could stand on the tin during play. Sew a pillow and throw in a piece of fabric, you have a bed for the family.

Portable & Magnetic Peg Family

 

13.  Friendship Bracelets

There are a whole bunch of instructions on how to make different friendship bracelet patterns, here.  You can also search for printable friendship bracelet patterns and gather supplies for your little crafter.

Friendship Bracelet Kit

Games to Buy

14.  Magnatab

This little board is mesmerizing!!  As you “draw” the pen over the board, the beads come to the front.  Love it!

Magnatab a Great Travel Game

15.  Mad Libs

Totally fun for the kiddos and they get to brush up on their grammar.

Mad Libs

 

16.  These Water Wow books were a HUGE hit!!

You can buy them on Amazon and they have a whole variety of themes.  Individually they are only about $5 so they are a great deal.

Water Wow Books for Kids Traveling

17.  Lacing Cards

Take a few of these out and have a nice little travel size project for the kids.  We used different lacing cards but my kids enjoy doing this and it doesn’t make a mess. Okay, truth be told – I attempted to make lacing photo frames but the laces kept getting snagged on the finish project so I now opt for the store-bought versions.

Lacing Cards for Travel

 

18.  Doodle Pro is a classic travel toy.  Bonus is that there is no mess.

Doodle Pro Trip

 

19.  Spot It! on the Road

I Spy but with cards.

spot it

 

20.  Travel Memory

Since this is completely contained, there is no worry of losing pieces.

Travel Memory

 

21.  DryErase Dot to Dot

I also love games that are reusable.

DryErase Dot to Dot

So those are some of our favorite car games for kids.  We ration out the games so they do not get bored as easily.  Also on a round trip trek, we save some of the games for the return ride

How about you?  Do you have a particular game that you absolutely love for road trips?

 

How to DIY a Twig Christmas Tree

I’ve been swooning over a twig Christmas tree for a couple years now.  In all fairness, I think it’s actually more adequately called a driftwood tree…but tomato tomata.

Today I’m going to share with you how how you can DIY your very own Twig Christmas Tree for less than $5 in materials.

How we remade the Twig Tree

First, here is the original inspiration.  I saw this photo probably a hundred times on Pinterest.  I fell in love.
christmas tree

(I’d love to give proper credit to whoever made this beauty but I’m unable to find the original source)

Isn’t it GORGEOUS!!!  I mean really.  I LOVE it!!

Why this kind of tree for Christmas?

Last year was our first Christmas in a home after full-time RVing, we were sparse on the Christmas decorations!  Meaning, we had Christmas stockings – that is it.  In the past, artificial trees have been our tree of choice because of how easy cleanup is with them.

We decided to keep our spending to a minimum last year…

Enter our very own Twig Christmas Tree.

This beauty was so easy to make, I’m kicking myself for not making one while we lived in an RV!

So here is how we did it!

How to DIY a Twig Christmas Tree

Materials:
  • branches
  • jute string or twine
  • staple gun and staples
  • two angle aids:  scrap wood, string, or tape measurer long enough to lay along the side.
  • saw (circular or scroll)
Directions:
  1. Find the stud on the wall you plan to hang your twig tree.  Measure to figure out what the optimal width your tree should be.
  2. Gather twigs that are a similar diameter and are fairly straight.
  3. Lie them out on the ground to get them to the desired graduated pattern. (See that stump at the bottom? We were winging it and ended up NOT using it so let’s just pretend it’s not there.)twig tree how to
  4. Using one of your angle aids, lie the aid on the side of your “tree” to get the desired angle of  your tree.twig tree ~ lining up angels
  5. Move the twigs flush up against your chosen angle aid.
  6. Take another similar angle aid and lie it on the other side of your “tree”.twig tree with angles on both sides
  7. Following the 2nd angle aid, mark a line on your twigs to be cut.
  8. Using a saw, cut along the mark to shorten your twigs. Cutting twigs down to size - twig tree
  9. Remove and small branches from your twigs.
  10. Make sure your tree branches are positioned how you want them to be as a finished project.
  11. Tie your jute to one end of the bottom twig (the longest one), then staple it in place.  Wrap the jute once and staple in place again.jute wrapped twig tree
  12. Bringing the same piece of jute up to the next rung, wrap it around the twig 2 times, (the jute should be positioned slightly angled in), staple the jute in place.Wrapping twig tree with jute
  13. Continue this process until you get to the top rung.  Finish this angled side of by wrapping the jute a couple of times around the rung and tieing the end off.  Staple in place one last time.
  14. Repeat the jute tieing, stapling, and wrapping process on the others angle of the tree.
  15. Holding you tree up agains the wall, check to make sure it is positioned as you’d like.
    NOTE:  When we put our twig tree on our wall, we noticed we put some of the rungs too far apart so we wrapped the jute one more time around some of the branches.
  16. When you are happy with your tree, lay the twig tree down on the floor again and reienforce with staples again.Twig Tree DIY Almost Finished
  17. Wrap your Twig Christmas Tree with lights.twig tree wrapped with lights
  18. Hang the tree with the staples hidden against the wall. (we simply drilled a hole through the top run of our tree and screwed a large screw through it and into the stud)
To Hang:
  1. Hold the tree up against the wall (it’s heavy), drill a hole through the horizontal center of the top rung.
  2. Find the stud again and screw a 3 inch screw in through the drilled hole in the rung and into the stud.
  3. Have fun decorating!

So this is what we did last year and that time of year is just around the corner!  (can you believe it?!?!?)

Admittedly,  I regret not taking better pictures last year.  I will totally update with better pics once we pull this puppy out of the decorations.

This was such a fun little project for us.  Okay…I’ll be real and tell you that Mark and I didn’t see eye to eye on different aspects of the project, but once it was finished we gave each other a high five and a kiss.  Success!!

diy driftwood twig christmas tree

8 Unique Window Treatment Ideas

Nothing finishes a room or adds charm like custom window treatments.  So today I’m sharing 8 of my favorite unique window treatment ideas gathered from around the web.8 Unique and Affordable Window Treatment Ideas

Back to what seems like ages ago, I posted about our custom made RV curtains for our Class A.  Okay, y’all…there are some limitations with an RV.

But we stopped RVing almost 2 years ago and I’m oohing and aahing over the options out there!  I may need to have an intervention done on me! You see for simplicity sake, I bought premade curtains from Target, but wow…the inspiration here is mighty tempting.  Help!?!  I’m so so tempted to make some changes.

Please check out the linked websites to see how these beauties were made.

Anthropologie-inspired lace curtains from Upcycled Treasures:
377cc4290327c85d326323136f79217c

 

$7 Burlap Sack Valance from Funky Junk Interiors:

coffee-bean-sack-window-shades-0329

Burlap Window Treatment by Plum Doodles:

Booth-Displays-wm_thumb

I can’t find the source for this as a DIY project but Hobby Lobby has metal corner brackets that would be gorgeous for a unique window treatment similar to this look.

tumblr_mvx17muzim1rjp1q9o1_500

Rustic burlap curtains with adorable pom-poms from The Little Umbrella:

img_5868-0x600

 

A DIY Window Valance from I Heart Naptime:

DIY-Window-Valance-copy

 

This one isn’t so much a window treatment as it is a gorgeous way to add elegance to a room through your curtain hardware.  Use a curved shower curtain rod to hang floor-length curtains.  Stunning!!

(curtains in image below come from Soft Surroundings)

f670d7039e8369798166b116830ece88

 

This adorable twig curtain rod from Primitive and Proper:IMG_0727

 

Anybody else get lost in window treatment ideas??  Please tell me I’m not alone!

 

Tin Whistle Case Tutorial

We are venturing into the land of Tin Whistle with Classical Conversations.  Today I’m sharing my tin whistle case tutorial. This pattern is super easy and fast if you have more than one to make.  The cases are just the right length for your tin whistle and have fleece for added cushioning.

Tin Whistle Case Tutorial

Supplies:

  • 1/8 yard fleece
  • 1/8 yard cotton fabric
  • thread
  • button
  • elastic cord **See my note below**

 

**NOTE: I originally used the elastic cord but due to the fact that the cord is so narrow, it’s difficult for the stitches to “grab” the cord.  I repaired a couple of cases with thicker, (but still narrow elastic).  The pictures below show the elastic cord but I highly recommend you use 1/8″ wide elastic instead.

Directions:

  1. Cut both the fleece and cotton fabric to a 3 1/2 inch strip the long way of the fabric.
  2. Trim both fleece and cotton to be 27 inches long.
  3. Cut 3 inches of elastic cord, set aside.3 inch elastic cord for tin whistle case
  4. Layer fleece on bottom and place cotton on top of fleece strip with the right side of the cotton facing the fleece.
  5. Mark one end of fabric layers with a semi-circle. (I used a mason jar to outline.)Flap marking for tin whistle case
  6. Take your cut elastic and fold it in half.  Place the looped end inside the fabric layers.  Secure it in place with 2 pins, one on each side of the elastic. Sidenote:  I NEVER pin, but in this case it’s important to pin in order to stop the elastic from shifting during the next step.
  7. Leave the unmarked 3 1/2″ end open and sew a 1/4″ seam allowance. When you reach the semi-circle marked end, curve around using your marking as a guide.  Reinforce the elastic by sewing back and forth directly over the elastic like a crazy person.  Seriously. *smile* This is very important for making sure it is secure.1/4 inch seam allowance for tin whistle case
  8. Trim the curved end of fabric, leaving the excess cording, (just in case any repairs need to be made to cording).Elastic end and flap on tin whistle case
  9. Turn your fabric right side out and iron (I also NEVER iron unless it’s absolutely necessary…it is in this case).
  10. Tuck fabric ends under and sew a 1/4 inch seam to secure the open end closed.Tin Whistle Case Sewing Ends
  11. Lay your case down and fold it so that the pocket opening to the end measures 12 inches.12 inch length on tin whistle case
  12. Turn top flap over and mark where your button will be fastened.  You want to mark for your button hole just a little past where your elastic loop falls.Button hole placement on tin whistle case
  13. Sew on your button by hand.
  14. Line your case up so that it is 12 inches long (for the pocket) again.
  15. Starting at the pocket opening, sew at 1/4″ (make sure to backstitch at both left and right openings) all the way around the case including the opening flap.  Your stitch should stop where you started to sew.Sewing Start Point for Tin Whistle Case

That’s it!  You’ve finished.

I tried to be very detailed in how I made these.  I made about 30 of these for a fundraiser in our community and this was fastest and easiest way I came up with.

You could add a tag to write a name…customizations are endless on these!

Sheet Sets ~ How to Save Money

We’re stocking up on necessitates for the move into our stick-n-brick home.  One of our necessities is sheet sets.

So I set out to figure out how to save money on them…

Sheet Sets - How to Save Money When Buying Them

Black Friday

I’m not a fan of Black Friday (and I know this should have been posted before Thanksgiving) but I was able to score some afternoon deals at Macy’s for some sheet sets for the kids for $12.00.  They aren’t 100% cotton but they are soft and they were a bargain!

January White Sales

Most stores offer large sales on sheet sets (and towel) in January.

February Clearance

Target is my favorite place to scrounge for clearance and their linens will be clearanced in February.  Oh yeah inside end caps…come to mama!

IKEA – Everyday

Sheet sets here start out at $19.99.  This is the normal everyday price and the price doesn’t beat my Black Friday sale, still they’re pretty economical.  You could even save more if catch a sale or join IKEA Family.

Get Crafty – Sew a Fitted Sheet

My kids refuse to use a top flat sheet and previously I showed you how to sew a fitted sheet from a flat.  It’s come in handy.  Instead of cutting the corners out, I left them completely intact.  At some point, they may learn to use a flat sheet and all I will need to do is take out the elastic with a seam ripper and I have a complete set again.

Figure Out What’s Important

Thread count.  Fibers.  Weave-type.  It get’s confusing fast!  Figure out what matters to you.  If you’re a little more particular about your sheets the best value for you is to spend more money for the right quality set.  This post from Get Rich Slowly is very helpful for deciphering the different quality of sheets.

 

So that’s how we save money on this necessity.

I hate jersey cotton sheets, like really hate them.  They are WAY too clingy.  If you have a particular brand/type you’re loyal to or love, I wanna know.  And if you love jersey cotton sheets…sorry to rain on your parade.

 

Spice Organization Solutions

Preparing meals for 6 people in a tiny kitchen is a challenge!  Fitting all that you need to prepare those meals is interesting.  Today I’m sharing with you my spice organization solutions for my tiny kitchen. Every little bit of space you can save is huge!

Spice Organization Solutions

Spice Organization Solutions

Previously I shared about our zero gravity wall-mount spice rack.  It worked great and I loved it but we have so much less wall space in our remodeled ’96 Winnebago, I needed to find other spice organization solutions.

Stamped Spice Jars

Stamped Spice Jars

I buy bulk spices, even with my limited space.  But what to do with such big quantities of spices?

I bought smaller glass jars for spices I use more frequently.  The large plastic containers I bought the bulk spices in are stored in the back of very inaccessible, deep, narrow cabinet for refilling as needed.

But back to those glass jars…

If you decide to buy jars at Hobby Lobby, wait till glass is 50% off to save quite a bit of money.

The metal punch set came from Pick Your Plum. The deal is over but they do repeat their offerings from time to time. You can also buy a punch kit from Amazon. Mine is 1/8″ tall, to do over, I’d get a bigger punch kit to make the wording more readable.

metal-punches

To stamp the lid, I used a block of wood and set the lid on top and firmly pressing it against the wood block. Then I gave 2 HARD taps on the punch with my hammer for each letter.

Some of my lids are not the prettiest for 2 reasons:

  1. I didn’t start out using the block to keep the metal surrounding the punched letter from warping.
  2. I didn’t hammer hard enough and had to use the punch several more times to get the impression.

Basil turned out the best and that was toward the end of my learning curve on figuring the metal punch process out on my own.

spice-drawer

After I punched the name on the lid, I colored the lettering in with sharpie. I let the marker dry and then wiped away the excess with a paper towel. I store these spices snug in a drawer in the kitchen.  I have my other odds and ends spices that fill in the empty space.

On the smaller jars that are not metal, I write the name of the spice on the lid with a sharpie. I tell you, anything to save me from having to search around for the right spice.

Clearly I need to buy several more jars for spices.  But the nearest Hobby Lobby is in Pensacola and we rarely get there But just like every other unfinished project in the camper, it will get done someday. 🙂

Recipe Box Spices

Recipe Box Spices

There are spices that I rarely use but I still want to keep. For instance, I had some sprinkles for cookie and cake decorating with the kids. I don’t want to take up a bunch of space because I rarely use them and don’t need large quantities. I found the most compact way to store these spices was to use a recipe card box and empty TicTac boxes.

To make my Recipe Box Spice organizer, I bought the value pack of TicTacs from the local warehouse store (Sam’s Club).

For the labels, I sprayed a sheet of Avery labels (they are the smallest return address labels you can buy # 5267/8167) with chalkboard spray paint.

Labels for Recipe Box Spices

I’m a sloppy DIYer and the package still has remnants of the chalkboard spray.

To mark my chalk labels, I used a chalk pen which is way less mess than regular chalk.  Bonus on the chalk pen is that the writing doesn’t rub off unless it gets wet.

With this recipe box spice organizer, I can fit 12 spices in a very compact space.

 

That is it friends, the two best spice storage solutions I’ve found our tiny kitchen.

DIY Magnet Backed U.S. Puzzle

It’s a beautiful thing when you can combine learning and play.

I saw a picture of a puzzle magnetized a few months ago.  I thought it was a great idea but our RV fridge was not magnetized so I filed away in my brain for a project to complete someday when we are living more *normal*.

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