Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday’s Tips and Tricks: Kids’ Chore Wheel

I originally posted about my kids’ chore wheel over two years ago.  That post still gets a significant number of hits, and since we’re still using it, I thought it was time for an update.

This is the original chore wheel.  Each day had a morning and evening chore; one pretty easy, and one a little more involved or unpleasant.  As I said in that post, this did not include things they were supposed to do everyday, like make their beds, and it did not imply that I couldn’t ask them to do something additional on occasion. 


chore wheel 002


The kids are older now, and several months ago I made some changes based on age and our daily needs.  Here is our current chore wheel.


There are still two chores per day, morning and evening.  I’d say they’re pretty evenly matched now, not so much and “easy” and “hard”.  You can see that two of the evening chores (set/clear table and dishes) have an alternate chore.  That’s for evenings when we eat out or for some other reason do not sit down at the table for dinner; on those evenings the designated child does the alternate chore.

There has also been some debate that the person on Pets/Trash has an unfair load for the day.  There is some truth to that, as Pets must be done morning and evening, and Trash is done in the evening and includes gathering all the trash, taking it and the recycling out to the garage, and replacing all the trash bags.  Yet it’s not totally unfair, as each child gets a turn at Pets/Trash every third day.

They are still expected to make their beds, tidy their room, etc. everyday, and sometimes they get asked to do something that is not on the wheel.  This applies especially (but not solely) to Firstborn, who not only is older, but is homeschooled and therefore has more free time.

For those of you with younger children, if you want to get them into the habit of being expected to help around the house, you can start with some really simple things that you assist them with, like making their bed and picking up toys.  As they get older, the chores can “grow” with them, and require less of your involvement.

This has by far been our most successful chore system.  I’m sure it will continue to evolve over time. My children are expected to do their chores on their own (we’re still working on not having to be reminded), with one exception.  “Help with dishes” involves me, because I’m still teaching them to load the dishwasher correctly and all that.


I’d love for  you to link up to my party.  I know that everybody out there has some tips and tricks that they use, and somebody else may find it helpful.  Pretty much anything goes; this is your chance to share.  The post can be old or new (just please add my link if it’s an old one).

  • share a tip that makes your life easier
  • you must link back to me in your post
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment
  • I will delete entries that don’t link back to me or do not fit the party theme

Friday, February 25, 2011

Party Shout Outs

It was a fun party yesterday!  Thanks to those of you who joined.  The linky is open through the weekend, so there’s still time to share your handmade knock-offs.  I debated about how to do today’s post; there were too few participants to single out only a few, and too many to go into detail about each one.

So, I’m just going to list them all, tantalize you with a glimpse of the goodness, and encourage you to visit them if you haven’t already.  Please leave a comment for these ladies, especially if you’re one of the other party participants!  Mingle, mingle, mingle!

(One other note:  one of the links was a PB knock-off purchased at the store, so it didn’t technically qualify for the party.  However, this is a new blogger, and rather than throw the rule book at her, I’d like to be encouraging.  Why don’t you visit Julie and say hello?)


Awesome knock-offs:


A Diamond in the Stuff

The House Creative

Just as Pleased as Punch

Binkies and Briefcases

LDS Mom to Many

The Country Chic Cottage

Little House of Projects

Girl in Air

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Knock-Off Party!

Time to link up your Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, and Restoration Hardware knock-offs.  Guidelines here.

My project this time around is from the current PB spring catalog.  It’s not actually for sale, and is just part of the room styling for the photo, but it immediately caught my eye.



It got my attention because I like old signs, but also because one of the area suburbs (which is really more like a quaint old town than a suburb, and I would consider doing something illegal to be able to live in one of the big old Victorians there) has a hatchery.  It has been in business since 1927 and is now a feed and garden store.  So, I recreated this sign with the local store’s name and address.

I went to the ReStore to find some reclaimed wood, hoping for barn wood, but what I got was a piece of baseboard ($3), which turned out to work very well for this project.  It was stained a reddish/cherry color, and I painted over it with watered-down black acrylic.  When it was dry, I sanded it, and the grain of the wood, which was quite pronounced, showed through with some of the reddish color.





Next, I printed out my lettering and played around with the layout.  I used Arial font and experimented with the size until it fit the board.




Then I had to figure out how to transfer the lettering to the board.  Graphite paper wouldn’t work because it didn’t show up on the black, and the wood was too hard to just press the outline with a pencil.  Here’s what I came up with:  I rubbed white chalk across the back of the paper…




…then I used a stylus I had (from back when I did some brass stencil embossing) to outline the letters.  A pencil would probably work fine, but I found that this glided over the bumpy wood grain more easily.




That left a good outline on the board.




The next step was painting.  I knew I didn’t want stark white paint, because I wanted it to look like it had some age, so I mixed up some light gray acrylic.  Using a paintbrush, I painted in the letters.  I was careful as possible about staying in the lines, but didn’t worry too much about perfection or getting full coverage, since I was going to sand it again anyway.





The address was trickier, because the letters were too small for any paintbrush that I had.  I tried several different things, but finally ended up using an old dried out marker to apply the paint.




When it was all dry, I sanded over it again to distress the lettering.




I am thrilled with the final product!




I think a local person might wonder if it really is an old sign from the store.



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Your turn!

Linky rules (for full details see this post):

  • your knock-off entry must be made by you
  • it must inspired by Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, or Restoration Hardware
  • you must include a picture of the original item from the catalog so we can compare
  • it must be a specific comparable item, like my lamp shade, and not just a “this kind of has the PB look to it”
  • you must link back to me in your post, preferably using my button code, which you can get in my right side column
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment

I’m going to leave this open until Sunday night, but will do a highlight post on Friday. 

{I’m also joining Amanda’s Weekend Bloggy Reading.}

Spotlight on My Sponsors

PB, Ballard, RH Knock-Off Party is tomorrow!  Are you ready?  Have you seen some knock-offs around the blogs that would be good candidates?  Invite them to party with us!


If you haven’t visited my sponsors recently, you’re missing out.  They’ve got some cool stuff going on!  Go check ’em out…

Gina from Moneywise Moms is the money saving queen!  She posts current deals, how to make money with your blog, various ways to spend less and save, and has frequent giveaways. (Her current giveaway is for $20 in Starbucks giftcards.)  Last week I was able to order a free photo book from Walgreens ($20 value) for just the cost of shipping, thanks to Gina’s post.  I’m now anxiously awaiting its arrival.



Michelle has created a plan to Make 5 Dinners in One Hour.  You can subscribe (just $15/3 mos) and she will email you the menu, shopping list, and procedure for putting together a whole week’s worth of family-friendly meals in just one hour.  Imagine not having to think about what to make for supper!  Just open your fridge, pull out a dinner, and pop it in the oven.  Perfect for busy moms!  She also posts lots of recipes on her blog.


Amanda is the mommy behind Serenity Now- a Mommy’s Solution to Staying Sane.  She posts funny stories about her life with her husband, two little girls and two pomeranians, along with yummy recipes, cute projects, and frequent linky parties.  Every Friday you can link your best post of the week to Weekend Bloggy Reading.  This week she’s also hosting an I {Heart} My Crafty Cutter party for you to link up your projects using your Silhouette, Cricut, Sizzix, etc. (it’s open through Friday, and one participant will win a Starbucks gc).  BTW, Amanda is an awesome hostess, and makes a point of visiting every link!

Serenity Now Crafty Cutter Party


My newest sponsor is Simply Bags.  Owned by a husband and wife team, Simply Bags has a huge selection of tote-, lunch-, laptop-, diaper-…pretty much any type of bag you can think of.  All are personalized with your choice of name or monogram, and your pick of several thread colors.



{For more information about advertising on Homebody, visit my Advertising page.  There are several options available, and rates are affordable!}

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to Hem Jeans So It Doesn’t Look Like You Hemmed Them

I’m short.  There’s no getting around it, and I came by it honestly.  I’m 5ft even, and that’s just a wee bit taller than either my mom or my grandma was. 

One of the repercussions of being vertically challenged is that virtually every pair of pants I ever put on is too long, even the petite length.  So, I hem them.  Usually that’s not a big deal, except for jeans.  If you hem jeans like a regular pair of pants, you lose the original hem and the fading that came with it, and it just doesn’t look right.  When I was a teenager, I used to just cut the bottoms off and let them fray.  During some phases, I tight-rolled them.  Neither one is a look I want now.

Some time ago I got looking online and found an ingenious and quite simple solution to this problem.  I don’t know who originally figured this out, or even where I first found it, so I can’t give credit to any one person.  However, I found another tutorial here in case you would find it helpful to have more than one voice explaining it.

First, determine how much length you want to take off.  You can do this by putting on the jeans and putting a pin or chalk mark at the desired length.  (I like my jeans to hit just above the floor at the back of my heel; that gives me enough leeway that they aren’t dragging the ground if I’m wearing flip flops, and they aren’t riding high when I wear shoes with more height to them.)  Next, take them off and measure from the mark to the bottom edge.

Divide that measurement in half.  I needed to take 1.5” off, so my number was 3/4”.  Cuff the jeans and pin all the way around, measuring as you go.  Do not count the existing hem in your measurement!


As you pin, be sure to line up the vertical seams. 


Next, you’re going to sew the fold.  The needle should run right alongside of the manufacturer’s hem, without sewing through it.



Once you have sewn all the way around, you will have created a fold of fabric on the inside of the leg.


Press this fold up into the leg.  You will most likely have to iron this every time you wash the jeans.  You could try tacking it up with a couple of hand-stitches and see if that helps.  I haven’t done that, so I can’t say whether that would eliminate the need for pressing or not.



Now your jeans are the right length, and unless you show them, nobody will be able to tell that you hemmed them yourself!



If you are a tall person who never has any trouble finding jeans that are the right length, you will not be able to appreciate how awesome this is.  If you are taller than the average woman, and can’t find jeans that are long enough, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.  If you are shorter than average, I think I may have just rocked your world!  I know I’m still geeking out about it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Monday’s Tips and Tricks

{Knock-Off Party this Thursday!  Details here.}

The credit for today’s tip goes to my mom.  She was extremely frugal and resourceful.  I guess that’s where I got it from, though I’m not quite in her league.

So, are you ever annoyed by small appliance cords hanging down from the shelf, or getting all tangled in the drawer?  My mom solved that issue with a toilet paper tube.  To make a cord wrap, all you need is the cardboard tube and some contact paper. 


I only had white contact paper on hand, but of course you could use one with a cute pattern.   Probably some of you would be able to figure out a way to use scrapbook paper, but I really think the contact paper is a better choice, because it’s more flexible, it’s already adhesive, and it’s moisture resistant.

Anyway, cut a piece of contact paper about an inch wider than the tp tube, and wrap it around the tube with about 1/2 inch hanging over on either end.  Then snip the overhang several times around, just to the edge of the cardboard.  Fold those pieces over to the inside of the tube and stick them down.



Now just fold the cord up and slip the tube over it.  Easy peasy, and neat and tidy! 



Okay, time to link up!  Any kind of tip or trick is welcome…stain removal, a good recipe, how to sneak veggies into your child’s menu, how to save money on (?), you name it.

  • share a tip that makes your life easier
  • you must link back to me in your post
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment
  • I will delete entries that don’t link back to me or do not fit the party theme

Friday, February 18, 2011

Guest Blogger: Shannon from The House Creative

Hello to all of you wonderful Homebody Readers! I am thrilled to be a guest here today. My name is Shannon, I blog over at the House Creative.
I am a crafty, creative, DIY'er who loves to thrift and create new things. I am also your typical stay at home mom trying to survive the day to day with a 7 year old girl, and a 3 year old boy.
I am neurotic, obsessive, and in love with beautiful things. :-)
Here is a taste of what you will find on my site.
I get a thrill out of Holly's Knock off party, because I LOVE making a PB knock off.
I made this Knock Off Nest pillow, inspired by Pottery Barn.
I have a lot of fun giving an old piece of furniture a new look. I got both of these tables for FREE from Craigslist, and I gave them a little face-lift.
Hard to believe these were free right? Read more about it, and see more pictures here.
I have fun building furniture too.
My husband and I built this window seat.
Then we built a bed for our daughter.
Every Monday at The House Creative is a Meet-up Monday Party. Link your blog, and meet new bloggers.
I am in the process of a complete overhaul of my daughters room, and  I have another fabulous piece furniture I got for FREE off CL that I am renovating.  Both of these projects will be finished this month. I hope you will pay me a visit and see what’s to come.
Thanks for letting me crash your site today Holly. :-)


Thanks for swapping with me today, Shannon! 

Head on over to The House Creative and see more of Shannon’s awesome projects there!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blog Happenings

  • Tomorrow, I am excited to be swapping guest posts with Shannon at The House Creative!  Be sure to read Shannon’s post here, and visit me there and check out her blog.







  • My next Knock-Off Party is coming up on Thursday, February 24 (that’s one week from today!).  You can do something new, or link up an older post.  We’ve all done it!  Copied PB, Ballard, or Restoration Hardware, that is.  Here’s your chance to show it off!

I have compiled the party rules into one complete post; find it here.



I’d really like some help with this one!

  • I’d love to get some feedback on my Monday’s Tips and Tricks party (tell me the truth; I can handle it!).  There aren’t a lot of restrictions on what you can post, so I thought it would be an easy one to in which to participate.  But it just doesn’t seem to be happening.  Do I need to change something?  Is Monday a bad day?  Is it just a boring premise?  Is there something that would make it easier for you to participate?  I’ll give it a little while longer, but I may have to pull the plug if it doesn’t pick up the pace soon.


  • I don’t normally talk about this in a blog post, but I’m just going to throw in a little plug for my advertising spots.  My rates are reasonable, and there are lots of options.  Visit my advertising page for info and stats.  And if you don’t see an option you’re interested in, I’m willing to talk about other ideas!


  • One more thing:  will you please pray for my blog friend Mary Joy, her husband, and their children?  Mary Joy is a beautiful woman of God, always there to encourage everyone else.  This weekend her husband had a seizure and was diagnosed with a type of epilepsy, and they are scared and apprehensive about what this means for their family.  They need our encouragement now.  Visit her blog and read Sunday’s post for more information.