Friday Freebie: DIY Sports Room Poster

I'm still playing around a bit with decorating in Dylan's "big boy" room. Thus, I keep failing to share the after photos to follow up the toddler room post. But, I did want to go ahead and share the latest artwork creation I made for it. I wanted to add a little bit of personalization and goodness knows I take a LOT of photos so a large photo collage made sense.

I used 16 photos and left the bottom blank for a few ticket stubs. Three shown are currently under the glass. I'm searching out a couple more to add (one of those things I know I save too many of and, of course, am now struggling to find!) and then will rework it under the glass.

I created a similar poster using his artwork. Still need to choose a frame and location for that one.

Feeling inspired? I'm sharing the template I made to create the collage pictured above. It's 11x14 and contains masking for 20 photos so you can choose to leave a blank row as I did or fill it full. The template is free for personal use only.

Click here to download 11x14 Poster Template

Enjoy! And, please, feel free to link up your creation. I would love to see.

Have you missed one of my previous digital freebies? Click HERE to find them. And, don't forget to subscribe to my feeds so you won't miss future freebies!


An Open Letter ...

to the window treatment salesman,

I wanted to be so excited about the options you offered that I would struggle to hold off on an order. Instead, you destroyed the sale. Now, admittedly, I've never been in sales and I'm sure it is challenging, but here is where you made missteps that killed the deal and, I think, are things you should know:

Taking Measurements
One of the windows I want to add blinds to is at the second story level of our two-story foyer which, truthfully, makes it a challenge to measure. We walked up to the second floor and got as close to the window as possible. I leaned over the rail to attempt to measure it. You told me it wouldn't work. It took me two tries and I had the tape measure cleanly grabbing the top of the frame and pulled the measurement. Okay so this is part of my job when I'm in the construction field, but it's also part of yours. You doubted me, and you couldn't do this. Even on the windows at floor level you struggled to read the tape measure. You also kept asking me what the measurements were again. This is part of your job. You should be able to do this.

Knowing the Deals
What led us to scheduling the appointment was a Living Social deal. I presented the printout to you at the start of the meeting. This led to a multi-part issue. First, you had never even heard Living Social. Groupon you had so I made that comparison. You still struggled to understand what the specifics of the deal were and proceeded to show me and price a line that didn't meet the requirements. What infuriated me the most here was when you insulted me by saying sarcastically, "you buy these for golf. Things like that." Um, you didn't even know what it was before our appointment.

Think Before You Speak
Perhaps it was careless moment when you made the "golf" comment and later when you referred to the existing 2" faux wood blinds in one part of my house as "cheap." They came with the home and, honestly, I think look fine. I don't have an issue with them. I did have an issue with your comment - it was an insult to my taste and my home.

During the course of our discussion, you mentioned the options include a "free liner" or I could add an upgraded liner. I said no upgrade would be necessary. The windows were discussing faced northwest and, thus, don't get direct light. You completely ignored this statement and repeatedly commented about the "free liner" I would get. Frankly, this got more than a little frustrating. Better than pushing an upgrade, but it was simple evidence that you weren't listening to me and my needs.

Window Treatment Samples

I made the appointment with your company in person while at a home show a few days before. I completed a form with questions about what types of products I was interested in. You arrived with 3 sample books in hand and only one matched any of my requests. Luckily you at least had other books in your car, but it took 3 trips to bring in what I needed to both meet my product requests and, finally, try to meet the requirements of the Living Social deal. This meant that the appointment took far longer than necessary.

So, yes, these items along with the price (sorry, my new kitchen counters are taking priority in the budget) are why you won't be getting my order. Best of luck in your future sales. I hope you'll consider my two cents.


Have you dealt with a terrible or pushy salesman? How did you handle it? 


Mabel's Labels: Hockey Labels Sale

If you have kids, then you also have lost items. Especially when it comes to items they carry to school or sporting events. Mabel's Labels helps you get those items back with their large selection of fun labels for everything from bottles to clothing to gear and everything else you can think of.

As the Olympics wind down this week, Mabel's Labels is offering a 25% discount on their hockey Personalized Sticky Labels. Use code HOCKEY25 during checkout. This offer is only good until February 23rd.

Find my past review on Mabel's Labels here and here.

FTC Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.


Wordless Wednesday: Snow Jabba

Linking up to Wordless Wednesday


Project Kitchen: Before

When we were looking to move a couple years ago, one similarity occurred in every house we looked at - I didn't like the kitchen. And that's ok. I knew I could eventually turn one of them into my dream kitchen. Now, we're far from "dream kitchen" status, but we're on our way.

When we first walked into the house, the kitchen looked like this:

I know, stop the presses. That's gorgeous, right? (That last sentence was sarcasm, of course.) What didn't I like? Pretty much everything except the height of those upper cabinets. Oh how I longed for 42" high upper cabinets in my last kitchen.

The cabinets are, thankfully, in good condition so we are keeping those. The doors need help. The laminate is peeling and a few have white duct tape holding it on. No joke. Thank you, previous residents. My current plan to keep on budget is to strip the laminate off, prime and paint. I saw the idea on Pinterest so expect a follow up post on how well the idea actually works.

Using the island for our experiment - the laminate striped off completely

The flooring? I had fully planned to replace it, but before we did our pre-inspection walk through, it was already replaced with new, neutral up to date laminate seen in the above photos as part of the foreclosure process.

We've already replaced 2 of the appliances. The refrigerator was first as the one that came with the house was FULL of mold and nastiness thanks to lack of cleaning from previous residents and sitting turned off for months during the foreclosure process. It was beyond gross. Be thankful I'm not sharing photos. It was that bad.

Dishwasher before & after: from old, white & rusty to sleek, stainless

Next we replaced the dishwasher as the rusty prongs were ruining our white china. Trent took care of that installation and, during the process, we broke the kitchen faucet. No kidding. Turns out there is a small washer at the valve that eventually does dry up and break. When we turned off the hot water under the kitchen sink to attach the dishwasher, the washer shattered. When we turned the water back on, it shot the bits of the washer up the line into the faucet. When the plumber explained and told me it was unfixable, I laughed. I didn't like that faucet anyway and was happy for an excuse to replace it!

New faucet and soap dispenser

Now, we are starting on the next big project in the kitchen - the counter tops. I really, really don't like the blue laminate. The backsplash to wall was recaulked before we bought the house. In the last year and a half, it's been slowly cracking and splitting back apart. I just laugh. Easier to pull it out later!

Over the weekend we visited a home show and started talking to a couple of companies to get estimates on new counters. Thinking either granite or quartz. Leaning more toward the latter. We'll be replacing everything but the island. It's something else I don't like. Another plan there altogether and will have to be delayed until we're ready to replace the floor too.

Have you ever replaced counter tops in a home or done a kitchen remodel? Any tips for me?


Valentine's Day 2014

One of the fabulous things about being 4? Dylan woke up excited just to have another snow day at home. No realization there was a small surprise awaiting him for Valentine's Day.

He was so excited about the Minion card and robot t-shirt I made for him as well as the heart shaped box of chocolates. And, since the snow equaled a slow start to a weekday, we also had homemade Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast, of course.

Hope you are having a wonderful Valentine's day! What's your favorite way to celebrate?

Supplies: Celebrate white cards; Minion printable from HaleGrafx; corner rounder punch.


Peanut Butter & Banana Stuffed French Toast

More than once I've shared photos on Instagram of a weekend breakfast favorite in our house - Peanut Butter & Banana French Toast. Today I'm sharing the recipe to go along with the photos just in time to have it for Valentine's Day or on a future weekend.

1 Banana
Harris Teeter Take & Bake Club Rolls
Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup of Milk
2 Eggs
1/4 tsp of Cinnamon
1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar (optional)
Slice a banana into about 1/4" pieces and set aside.

Slice the rolls into 1" thick pieces. Slice the center of each (longways) almost all the way through.

Photo credits: Dylan (age 4) - ie, "Mama's helper"

Open each and spread with peanut butter. Add 2-3 banana slices. Set aside. Repeat for all.

In a bowl, beat one egg. Mix in milk, cinnamon and vanilla.

Heat pan or skillet and melt enough butter to lightly coat. Dip peanut butter/banana/roll into the mixture fully coating and then place it in hot pan. Cook until browned on each side.

Plate and top with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.


** This recipe makes enough for our family of 3. At the rate my 4 year old's appetite is increasing, I'm sure I'll be doubling this soon! **


ModCloth Make The Cut Contest: 'Prints Charming'

Have you always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer? Well now that dream can come true! The ModCloth Make The Cut program is a recurring design contest that invites the ModCloth Community to design garments, graphics, or fabric prints. Its main purpose is to further their mission of democratizing fashion by producing clothing designed by community members. YOU can become a designer at ModCloth!

How does the contest work?
Entrants will design a new print for a private label dress silhouette that is already being produced! Contestants have two weeks to submit designs. After the submission period, the ModCloth Creative Team will narrow down the submissions to 20, which will be sent to the guest judge, Amanda Needham, Costume Designer for Portlandia. After Amanda has chosen the 10 finalists, they will be posted on the Be The Buyer page for voting. There will be a week for the Community to vote, then ModCloth will contact the winner and update the contest announcement with the big news!

• Contest is Live Now!
• End of Submission Period: Friday 02/14/14
• Launch voting on Be The Buyer: Monday 03/03/14
• End voting on Be The Buyer: Monday 03/10/14
• Winner announced on ModCloth Blog (winner will be contacted personally): Wednesday 3/12/14

Send your entry in now and good luck!

This post was sponsored by ModCloth. It contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.


Disney All-Star Music: Resort Fun

The cold weather and household conversation about our next Walt Disney World trip (nothing planned ... yet ;) ), have me Disney dreaming. And what better to daydream about than enjoying the pool and other fun entertainment at a Disney resort?

I put together this page for our photo book last year to give a snapshot of the fun we had swimming in the guitar pool and playing in the arcade at All-Star Music Resort:

On previous visits, Trent & I stayed at Port Orleans - Riverside. I'm still a bit partial to it and thinking that might be what we do next time. What's your favorite resort?

Supplies: Dude mini kit and Clearly Simple Sans alpha by Robyn Meierotto; Inspire papers by Sarah Sullivan.


Valentine's Robot T-Shirt

I have a small surprise for Dylan next week - a fun Valentine's Robot T-Shirt. He knew I was going to make him a shirt and I asked for his preference between a dinosaur or a robot. He chose a robot. While the boys were out on Saturday morning, I quickly sketched up a design, cut it out of freezer paper using my X-acto knife (those design school skills pay off when you don't have an electric cutter!) and painted it in using fabric paint.

I kept the design simple and not too "Valentine's" minus the red paint and little heart so he can wear it beyond this month. I also bought the shirt a size larger with hopes that he'll be able to wear it next year too. Now to keep it a secret for another week. I can't wait to show him.

Do you have a special Valentine's shirt or outfit?

Supplies: Old Navy shirt - clearance $2.54; Tulip fabric paint; freezer paper


Little Passports Fundraising For Your School

Planning a fundraiser at your child's school? Little Passports is the perfect partner, with an award-winning educational product that kids and parents love.

Here's how it works: your community shops at Little Passports and we donate 15% back to your school. They even have a flyer to help you spread the word. Get more information here: www.littlepassports.com/schools

This post was sponsored by Little Passports. It contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.