Working Mom to Homemaker

Embracing The Change

School Work Yearbook

Screenshot 2014-11-06 08.44.36

I’m one of those people who hoard home videos, photographs and my kid’s school work. But I’ve also got the issue of hating clutter and unorganized things. I had to figure out what to do with all these memories and keep it under control. The digital age really makes this type of thing much easier. I’ve already got all of my digital photos and videos filed by year and month on my computer, as well as backups on those portable USB drives. One of these days, I’ll get around to scanning all the old family photos and getting those organized onto the USB drives and my computer as well. But just thinking about that project makes me exhausted.

Anyway, onto the problem of the kid’s school work. When I was younger, my mom saved quite a bit of my stuff and had all those papers and projects stored in plastic tubs. It’s fun to dig through those every now and then, but really, how convenient is it to struggle with pulling out a buried storage tub and then sort through a mess of papers and artwork? Those old memories rarely get looked at. I’m an only child and over my school years, more so the younger ones, I accumulated A LOT of school work. My husband and I have 2 kids, and I can’t imagine how we’d display or store all that work from both of our kids, without living in a palace.

A couple years ago, I had made each of my kids their own little family story about when they were born through their first year of life. They both enjoy reading those from time to time and it gave me an idea for the school work problem. I’d take pictures of everything, or nearly everything they brought home from school. This way I could have the photos filed accordingly on my computer and the back up USB drives. I’d have a designated bins for the actual paperwork and projects, that I could store in the basement, but I wanted to go slightly further with the photos I took. So I created a Yearbook. The book could easily fit on a shelf and the kids or anyone visiting could easily look through it and see the cool things they did during that school year.

Screenshot 2014-11-06 08.45.00

I used Shutterfly and made a Photobook. This is my son’s PRE-K book, and it had quite a few pages in it. I’m glad that Shutterfly always has online coupon codes and deals, otherwise this probably wouldn’t be very budget friendly. It’s not the cheapest route to go, but I just love the look of it and how well their books turn out. For me, it’s worth it.

Screenshot 2014-11-06 08.45.33

I used the 10×10 size book because I thought that would fit better on a book shelf. I tried to maximize as much of the page space as possible, but I have a funny feeling after the pictures I’ve already accumulated so far during Kindergarten, I may need to do the 12×12 book!

Screenshot 2014-11-06 08.46.23

The cool thing about this idea, you can get as crazy as you want with it. I like to preserve all those memories, so I incorporated ALL of his work. If you’re on more of a budget or just don’t think the worksheets are as important, then just take pictures of the art projects that are awkward to store or display for too long. Maybe you’d just rather take pictures, print them and put them in a separate photo album. However you decide to do it, just remember, you don’t have to throw those precious memories away and never see them again. Take advantage of the digital age and at least take pictures of their work. After you have the photos, the possibilities are endless!


November 6, 2014 Posted by | ALL THINGS KIDS | Leave a comment

Kid’s Christmas Tree



Naturally, I stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest but I made mine slightly differently. I needed something to keep my four-year old from messing with the few “untouchable” Christmas decorations in our living room and this seemed easy and cheap enough to pull off.

This original post I found uses felt, but where I was shopping, there were no felt pieces large enough to make the tree the size I wanted so I opted for that foam board or whatever it’s called. (It’s clear I’m not familiar with craft supplies) It was right next to the felt and I bought a package of assorted colors in the largest sized sheets they offered. I got a package of assorted color glitter foam board as well, and I purchased a package of Velcro dots. The rest is all preference on how fancy you want to make the ornaments, presents, lights, etc… But I had left over foam so I folded up a section to make a little pocket to hold the pieces. The glitter foam had a sticker backing so I used a couple pieces of that to seal the sides of my pocket I made.

All in all this has been a pretty nifty idea that my son likes and I’m sure once my daughter gets a little older she’ll enjoy it too. I think this cost me roughly $12.00 – $15.00 to make, but I also had enough sheets of foam board to make another simple project I found on pinterest. Check out the Snowman Fridge!

November 22, 2013 Posted by | ALL THINGS KIDS, Holidays | Leave a comment

Personalized Family Stories




I got this random idea when my son was about a year old. I thought it would be cool and something special for him to have growing up and then he could keep it as a keepsake when he was older. It’s sort of like a scrapbook but it tells a story. We have used it as a bedtime story at times as well. He really liked it. Then when we had our daughter, I couldn’t leave her out to dry, so I made one for her as well.

I used Shutterfly, to make these and they do get pricey the more pages you have. I was lucky enough to find online coupon codes and take advantage of some of their promotions. The books I chose are the 12×12 hardcover photo books. All of my left hand pages are the words and the right hand pages are the pictures.


Sample of Jared’s Book:

20130808_123705 20130808_123721 20130808_123807 20130808_123825


Sample of Alexis’ Book:

(78) (77) (76)


August 8, 2013 Posted by | ALL THINGS KIDS | 1 Comment

Dirt Box


My son LOVES dirt! As I’m sure tons of other boys do also. We had built one of those wooden swing sets a couple years ago, and weighed the idea of purchasing a sandbox to put in the empty spot under the “fort” section. The longer I thought about this, and the more research I did, I realized, sandboxes are expensive and there aren’t many size options to choose from either. Not to mention our little section under the “fort” is not really big and not perfectly square either.

So, I thought about it and came up with this VERY SIMPLE and really INEXPENSIVE idea. It’s a hit with my son and low maintenance. That’s all I need to call it a success! We basically used the whole underside of the “fort” area as his dirt box. We used screening to enclose it and keep the animals out at night. 2 of the sides roll up for easy play! Fill it with dirt and it’s good to go!


1. Landscaping tarp or underlay. (Enough to lay over the space you are filling with dirt.)

2. Fiberclass screening. (We bought 4 rolls at Menards for about $3.00 a piece)

3. A box of Nails. (Get any kind that have larger heads and are a shorter length)

4. Grommet Kit (These are sold at Menards for around $5.00) we bought the 1/2″ kit

5. 4 12″ bungee cords or however many you think you’ll need

6. 6 1-1/4″ brass mug hooks or however many you think you’ll need

7. Tarp Tape


1. Lay out the landscaping tarp or underlay inside the area you’re using and secure it with the push pins it came with.

2. Choose which sides you want to remain permanently covered with the screen and measure and cut the screening to fit.

3. Nail in all sides of the screen with as many nails as  you need. Keep the screen tight.

4. Choose which sides you want to use as the retractable sides

5. Measure and cut the screening for the retractable sides, but only nail in the top half of the screen. Leave enough length at the bottom to fold up the bottom of the screen a couple inches. Use the tarp tape to secure the folded section of the screen to make using the grommet tool easier. (The tarp tape eventually comes undone, but the rings from the grommet tool hold the fold together. For this reason, you can choose the add more rings or if you know of a better tape to use, feel free.

6. Use the grommet tool to put how ever many rings you would like into the bottom folded over part of the screening.

7. Line up the mug hooks to match the rings from the grommet tool and place those on the bottom boards

8. Repeat steps 4-6 for all sides that you make retractable

9. The bungee cords fit into little parts of the swing set to hold up the rolled screen, but if you would rather use more mug hooks for that purpose, feel free.

Below are some close up pictures to help understand my instructions a little better.

(215) (214) (212) (213)

August 8, 2013 Posted by | ALL THINGS KIDS | Leave a comment

Portable Homework Station


I know Jared is too young for homework just yet, and he doesn’t start pre-school until the fall, but I wanted to get him used to doing pre-school type activities with real books and paper instead of always using ABCMOUSE on the computer. I needed something that could block out distractions for him and keep him focused and motivated. I also wanted something that can grow with him and he gets older. So here is the portable homework station or work station.

I have a large file folder that has all the activity books, extra print outs and other paperwork. I just take pieces from that file folder and fill up the folders on my station. I don’t want to put too much up there at once. The tickets are his reward, just like in ABCMOUSE. If he completes a task, he gets tickets. When he gets so many tickets, he can get something special. There is also a pencil-case that I can keep a few pencils and markers for him to use.

I have only used this once since I recently made this, but it passed the Jared test so far!

January 15, 2013 Posted by | ALL THINGS KIDS | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: