No worries. With the help of a little duct tape, an old t shirt, and a couple of iron on’s … an adorable little helper is on the way.
Do your kids’ have Career Day at school? The sons’ elementary school hosts one every year, and you can literally be anything you want when you grow up. Well, besides a Ghost ‘Butter’, much to our honey nugget’s initial disappointment. The school does require they be legitimate ‘carrier’ choices, and since I haven’t heard that the cast of Ghost Adventures is looking to hand over the reigns anytime soon (or in the future), we went with the youngest son’s second choice.
If he can’t be a hunter of wayward souls, he’s perfectly content spending his adult hood ‘saving people’. He couldn’t have pickled a nobler profession.
Whether it’s for Career Day, Halloween, or just creative play where we encourage them to ditch the batteries for a few and stretch their imaginations, this DIY costume is too easy not to make. The whole get up cost me less than $10 (it could be significantly less depending on what supplies you have on hand, too).
yellow duct tape
smaller silver duct tape
American Flag iron on patch
iron-on letters that spell FIRE DEPT
over-sized, black long-sleeved t-shirt
black or yellow galoshes, optional
1. We used a hand me down black t that had a graphic design on it and just turned it inside out. Take the standard size yellow duct tape and wrap it in a complete circle about 1/2 inch above the bottom of the t shirt. Do another under the armpits at ‘chest’ level. Then do two more yellow circles on the sleeves, one towards the bottom and one up towards the shoulder. Go over each yellow circle with a strip of the smaller silver tape creating another band right down the middle.
2. Have a heated iron ready. Follow the directions on the patches. Iron the flag patch above the upper band on the right sleeve of the outfit. Iron the letters for ‘Fire Dept’ above the top/chest band on the back of the outfit.
3. Complete your child’s fireman costume by wearing the shirt with black pants, a fireman hat, and rain galoshes for ‘boots’.
Anybody else here live off of coffee? For the hubs and I, it’s just part of our morning routine, and as integral and necessary as say brushing our teeth or getting dressed. Don’t expect me to function if I haven’t had my coffee. But speaking of coffee, as you stumble your way into the kitchen, wiping the sleep from your eyes, how much thought have you given to the coffee grounds when you add them to your Keurig or coffee pot’s filter? If you’re like the hubs and I, of course you didn’t give them a second thought, before you used them OR after you threw them away. They’d served their only purpose in life, creating the lifeblood of our people. But if you’re also like us, one day you’re going to have a friend over and offer to make them coffee. Then you’re going to react with confusion and dismay when you toss the used coffee grounds out and they react like you’ve just thrown dollar bills down the disposal. And then you’ll be thanking the dear sweet Lord for the sweet sweet nectar of the gods while you’re lectured educated on the many, many, many used for coffee grounds. And then you’re not going to be able to forget. And then it’s going to click that you could be saving some money, and since you’re not above being cheap to do so, you’ll do some research and before you know it you’ll see coffee grounds floating down the drain as money washing away or it spilled on the counter as loose change to be scraped together. And pennies make dollars, people.
Remember when Scentsy was all the rage? Then wax warmers and wax cubes started popping up everywhere, including Walmart and Target when Better Home & Garden got in on the idea? Now, even Glade is putting out their own version. I love the way the scented wax keeps my heavily traffic-ed and/or ‘smelly’ areas such as recently used bathrooms constantly smelling awesome. A pack of six cubes, which each last about 3 days, costs $2 so I never really felt bad for buying something that I’ d be throwing out just a few days later. It never even dawned on me to consider recycling/ upcycling the old wax.
Then we took a camping trip and the fire starters the hubs had brought got rained on. Wet thing don’t start fires. This was the genius idea that came out of that unpleasant camping sccenario. The wax protects the highly flammable cotton, if coated completely. Just light, and add one or two to your kindling and you’ve got an up and coming campfire. Just make sure you have the smore ingredients handy.
Since this we’ve also begun using the old wax (now that we have a nice stock pile of starters) to make emergency candles for power outages. $2/pack really doesn’t seem bad now that I know all the things I can continue to use those cubes of wax for.
DIY Campfire Starters
used wax, melted
cotton pads, cosmetic variety
1. Dip one half of the cotton pad into melted wax. Hold until dry (doesn’t even take a minute).
2. Holding the end covered in dry wax, dip the other side into melted wax covering completely.
3. Allow to dry.
4. Store in a ziplocking bag or other container.
For the best results make sure the cotton pads is completely covered in wax as this makes the water proof and will allow the to catch fire in any inclement weather conditions.
What is about hotwheels/matchbox cars and boys? It’s like love at first sight. In an instant they’ve formed a long-lasting, unbreakable bond. I can always be sure son # 4 has at least one of his little metal cars tucked in a pocket of his dirty, discarded jeans. Despite numerous pocket checks, there is always one waiting for me in the washer and/or the dryer. I’ve always loved those cute little carpets covered in roads and scenery just for pushing their little cars along, but they are ridiculously expensive. Out of my frugal budget, by far. Also, while the cars go everywhere with us, a big bulky rug isn’t portable or practical for on-the-go entertainment. These easy DIY fabric roads were a perfect solution, and with 4 sons there’s always a pile of old, holey jeans ready to serve as scraps of denim. After a few weeks of the youngest son playing with them at home, I rolled them up and stuffed them in a leftover zippered pouch from a twin sheet set, added a few cars, and have it tucked in the glove compartment for easy access on the go.
1. Take any old pair of jeans and cut out whatever road shaped pieces you’d like. I made several long straight roads, turn arounds, curvy roads, an intersection, and even a round-about.
2. If you’re worried about fraying, use a sewing machine and do a quick zig-zag stich around the outer edges.
3. Using the yellow paint add road marks. Let dry and then let the creative fun begin!
During the summer months, I love being able to sit out on my porch in the evenings and enjoy a good book, watch the kids play, and just take in the beautiful weather. I’ve always loved the look and feel of lit tiki torches on summer evenings. Something about it just totally sets the scene for me. There prices, however, horrified me.
I was so excited last summer, when I came across little globular tabletop torches in the store. For a great price!! I could totally envision the queenly atmosphere they would create. The part of my brain that logically rationed as Queen of my Castle I deserved to stoke my fairy-tale inspired fire, demanded their immediate purchase. I automatically saw my little piece of far, far away where I could decompress, and just lose myself for a few minutes each evening.
Naturally, I came home with a matching pair, assuming we’d live out the rest of our days creating beautiful, enchanted Summer memories together. Unfortunately, my happily ever after just wasn’t meant to be. Both pots (let’s face it, at this point their ambiance setting fairy God mother had abandoned them and, in my eyes, their clock had already struck twelve) leaked horribly. Despite my valiant husband’s best efforts, they just weren’t salvageable. For me, the whole affair was quite tragic. So much for my illusions of grandeur.
Ever my knight in shining armor, my husband came to my rescue! If I couldn’t buy the perfect table top torch, then he would make me one! This was his brain child.
This easy to make tiki torch was a roaring success. Using citronella infused torch fuel I’m able to keep the mosquitoes at bay, all while adding a little ‘enchantment’ to my evenings. My still full wallet was feeling pretty enchanted too!
DIY Tiki Torch
old, sturdy glass bottle
2 washers that fit the lip of your bottle
rubber grommet (make sure it will fit tightly down into your bottle creating an airtight seal that prevents the wick from moving around)
tiki torch fuel (I used one with citronella to keep the mosquitoes away)
tiki torch wicks
Add fuel to your bottle. Be careful not to over fill.
Place a wick into the bottle. Leave about 2 inches exposed above the lip of the bottle.
Thread the end of the wick through the grommet, pushing the grommet towards the bottle opening. Force grommet down into the neck of the bottle, leaving it flush on top with the lip. Make sure to hold onto the end of the wick so it doesn’t also get pushed down into the bottle.
Take one washer and thread it onto the wick, pushing it down until it rests on the top of the bottle. Make sure there’s not gap between the bottle and washer # 1.
Thread a spacer onto the wick and push it down until it’s resting flush against washer # 1.
Thread washer # 2 onto the wick, pushing down until it is resting firmly against the spacer. The washers will keep the flame away from the glass preventing it from getting hot, at all.
Push the exposed wick down into the bottle, leaving only about 3/4 of an inch of wick exposed and ready to light.
Allow the wick time to completely saturate with tiki torch fuel before lighting.