Sunday, September 29, 2013

Free Printable | God Blesses


About a year ago, we started formally giving our son a list of "contributions" to make around the house because he is part of our family. Some people call these contributions "chores." Each week, as he completes his contributions, we give him money, which is distributed to his Spend, Save, and Share jars. 

The hearts of these parents just about burst when D decided on his own to offer up all the money in both his share and spend jars to help with our church's service project to send medical supplies to Haiti. He's been adding more money over the last month, and today was the big day when he brought his contribution to church.

As we head into the holiday season, we'll be looking for more opportunities to share. I made the printable at the top of this post to help our son remember the virtue of generosity. 

What do you do to teach your children to share?

Linked to:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Printable | Project Box Labels

Hi. My name is Jen, and I am addicted to quilting. Seven months ago, I touched a sewing machine for the first time since high school. In April, I completed my first quilt. I'm currently working on my ninth quilt!

My DIY craft table has a ton of storage to help me rationalize my growing fabric addiction. There are eight cubbies on each side, and four on the end. Each cubby holds two Sterilite deep clip boxes (<--affiliate link). I store fabric sorted by color and type on one side and on the end.

On the other side of the table (close to my sewing machine), I store my project boxes. I started off with purple index cards, like this.

But I wanted something a little prettier that could be re-used as I finish one project and get ready for the next. I made a quick form with PowerPoint. 

I sent the file to Staples to be printed and laminated. 

Pretty AND re-usable. Check!

The laminated card fits perfectly in the front of the box. 

Inside the box, I keep all the fabric I need for a specific project, the pattern or inspiration, as well as thread and any notions. This is a really convenient way to have everything together when I need to run into a fabric store as I'm selecting fabric or looking for a complementary pattern for the backing or binding. 

Looks like I'll be busy for awhile. 

If you'd like to make your own labels, click on the link below the photo to download the file from

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Organized Med Shelf

Welcome to my medicine display. Living with a brain injury means I will always need to take meds. And, living with brain injury--even for nearly ten years now--means that I will always forgot to take said meds unless I can see them every night when I'm getting ready for bed. 

I've been trying to figure out a way to keep my meds out in the open in a relatively neat way. I take too many pills each day to use a cute little pill box. 

I've had a bad string of luck lately, so this e-card sums up my summer fitness routine pretty well.
Photo: Hah!! How are you racking up the fitness minutes today? And no, diddly squats don't count ;).
A few weeks before our trip to Europe, I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. I was told to stop exercising and just do stretches so I'd be able to do all the walking we planned to do on vacation. When we came back from the Netherlands, I was looking forward to getting back into my routine at our fitness center. First, I had a horrible time getting over my jet lag. (It always takes me a little longer). Then I had an infection on my finger and couldn't stand anything to touch it, let along use it to bear weight. When I finally went to the doctor to get it checked out and get an antibiotic, I found out I was allergic to that particular med. That was my first trip to the ER. They switched my meds, and I still had an allergic reaction. Ten days later, the reaction started to clear, but my brain was a mess from dealing with the infection and fighting the allergic reaction. I had a killer headache for almost two weeks. After talking to my doctor and neurologist, we decided that running is not going to be my thing, and it might be better to trade my treadmill for a recumbent bike. I still love my fitness center, but on days when I might not be able to drive, I can still use the bike safely. In theory.

Would you believe I tore my meniscus on my very.first.workout on my new bike? Sheesh. So, I'm back to resting my leg and looking forward to a lot of pool time in the next few weeks as I rehab. It's a good thing I have a pretty med display to help me keep my drugs straight!

A few weeks ago, I did a bunch of spray painting. Including two sets of square shelves I found at Goodwill. I bought them for $5 cheap and they are the exact same ones that are sold at Target for $15. On the left, you can see what was to become my spool and bobbin holder. 

This is what the wall looked like before the shelves went up...and after I removed my pile of pills.

After the shelves were painted silver, Niels got to work placing them on the wall. (You can see the tile we are considering putting up under the mirrors).

I love how Niels lined up the shelves, especially as they are reflected in the mirror. 

Don't look too closely, or you'll see that I have yet to master the art of spray painting. What you can see is that I added all my meds and have room for more...yay? I put my daily prescriptions on the left. I take these at night. In the middle, I have the supplements I take each morning. On the right, I have my heavy hitters for when my headache is especially bad. I haven't yet labeled the shelves, but I'm sure I will at some point.

Lastly I added some photos to remind me why I take my meds. I love my family and I am blessed. I want to enjoy each day as fully as I can.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our Flex Room Feature on Remodelaholic!

3-in-1 Flex Room: Guest Suite, Play Room, and Room for Two | featured at #flexroom #guestroom #playroom @Remodelaholic

It's a pretty big day for us here at the de Jong Dream House! Our flex room is being featured at Remodelaholic!

If you aren't following this amazing home decor blog, you really should. Here's how: Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | BlogLovin'

If you are visiting our site for the first time, a big welcome to you! I hope you poke around and see what we've been up to since we've moved into our dream house.

A few of our most popular posts are featured below.

DIY Craft Table

Organizing with Tension Rods
Kitchen Tour
Seeking Sole Mates Missing Sock Holder
Of course, we'd love to have you follow us, too. Here's how: Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Google+ | HomeTalk | BlogLovin'

Friday, September 13, 2013

Back to School Traditions

1. Celebrate Plate. 2. Annual "Class of" Shirt. 3. Lunch Box Note. 4. First Day Photo. 5. Growing Up Gallery. 6. Lunch List. 7. Driveway Message. 8. First Day Interview
Our son just finished his second week back at school. We're still getting into the swing of things. All day school is pretty rough on a four-year-old who still needs a nap, but we'll get there. 

Since he is currently taking his much-needed post-school nap right now, I thought I better round up the school traditions we started this year, so I can remember to keep up with them next year!

1. Celebrate Plate. We kicked off a new family tradition last week with our "Celebrate Plate." It's a way of marking special days and milestones.

2. Annual "Class of" ShirtTake a picture of your child at the beginning of each school year to see how he (or she) grows into the shirt.

3. Lunch Box Note. I wrote a pretty basic note, but these free printables from A Little Clairification are adorable.

4. First Day Photo. I took the obligatory first day of school photo in front of our new purple door with D holding a free printable from Yellow Bliss Road.

5. Growing Up GalleryI made a special photo gallery to showcase D's school photos. I actually started with a photo of myself a few weeks before D was born. I put up all the frames when I designed the layout so that it is a piece of art in progress.

6. Lunch List. One of our son's responsibilities is to pack his own school lunch. I made this free printable as a guide for him to make sure he packs everything he needs.

7. Driveway Message. Art is not my strong suit, but it was fun to write a welcome home message for D to see when he arrived home that first day.

8. New Year Interview. Each year we do a written and video interview on D's birthday. This year we started using these slightly different questions from Precious Designs for the new school year. The written version of D's back to school interview goes in the frame behind his school picture in his growing up gallery.

Thanks to Pinterest, there are a ton of great back to school ideas out there. How to you celebrate back to school with your family?

Linked to:
Craft-o-Matic * Creative Muster * DIY Showoff  * Girl Creative * Hope Studios *  Mums Make ListsNifty Thrifty Things * Sew Can Do Sugar Bee Crafts * Tatertots & Jello

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Celebrate Plate

One last back to school tradition to share as we kick off the new year. Actually, this isn't just a back to school tradition, although we will certainly be using it. I'm talking about the Celebrate Plate. 

Many moons ago...pre-kiddo, pre-hubby, pre-Ohio, pre-brain injury, I worked for a Christian bookstore. One of my friends was a buyer and came up with a custom "You are Special" plate based on the German original
Waechtersbach Plate (<--Affiliate link)

It stuck with me because I was writing my first book (<--Affiliate link) at the time, and was researching family traditions. While I loved the idea of having a special plate to celebrate birthdays and other milestones, I wasn't crazy about the verbage, "You are special today." I like to think my family is special every day. I looked on Pinterest for ideas and found both "the Happy Place" and "Celebration Plate." I liked the way "Celebrate Plate" sounded so I had my phrase.

I used the tutorial from Darling Doodles Design, who made a super fun set of dinnerware using a Sharpie instead of a special pen. (Seriously, I'm not posting a photo here so you'll go check it out on her page).

I bought a square white ceramic plate from Target (from the Threshold collection). Then used Sharpies to freehand the design.

I had fun with the word "celebrate."

To "seal" the ink, I turned the oven to 425 degrees and put in the plate while it was still cold, set the timer for 30 minutes after the oven was preheated, and kept the plate in until the oven was completely cool

Here's the plate after cooling in the oven.

Our son was very excited to be the first recipient of our celebrate plate, as we commemorated the completion of his first week of school. (Because a certain mama didn't have the plate done by the first day of school!)

We had our own version of bubble & squeak for dinner, which was just begging to be shaped into a heart.

I've always loved to watch D eat. He makes the best facial expressions. Look at those eyebrows!

On ordinary days, we keep the plate in the window sill above our hutch.

Linked to:
The  36th Avenue * Cherished Bliss  * The Dedicated HouseDIY Showoff *  Life After Laundry Serenity NowTatertots & Jello 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Use Cucumbers to Silence a Squeaky Door

Several months ago, I came across an article that mentioned a chemical-free way to fix a squeaky door. I thought I pinned it, but the day my son's squeaky door was driving me nuts...I couldn't find it. Once I remembered that cucumber was the magic ingredient, I was able to re-locate the tip at

I was skeptical, but desperate, so I dug into my son's lunch stash and grabbed a few slices and found the worst offender, our pantry door.

First I rubbed on the inside of the hinge. 

Then I rubbed on the outside hinge.

I opened and closed the door a few times and voila! The squeak was gone! I couldn't believe it! I then ran around and checked all the other doors in our house. Only four had any squeak at all, and now every door is blissfully silent!

You'll want to bring a rag with you because the cucumber will drip. If you have crisp white doors like ours, you'll want to avoid cucumber grime spot marks. You can see what I mean in the above photo.

I really wish I would have taken a video because you will have to try this yourself to hear how well it works!

So the next time you have some cucumbers to spare--or want to use them up before they go bad--make a quick pass around your house and enjoy the sound of squeak-free silence.

Linked to:
The 36th AvenueBowl Full of Lemons * Cherished Bliss * The Dedicated HouseDIY ShowoffMemories By the MileNaptime Creations  * And Sew We Craft  * Tatertos & Jello

Friday, September 6, 2013

Annual "Class of" Shirt

One of the reasons we chose to build on our particular street is that it is positively teeming with kids our son's age. We aren't able to give him a sibling, or even a dog due to his allergies, so we gave him the next best thing, a street full of adopted brothers and sisters. Our street is pretty amazing, actually, with parents and kids out nearly every night playing together and socializing. Two of the kids on the street started kindergarten this year and D and I had a lot of fun watching A and O board the bus on that first exciting morning. 

All our summer talk of our kids starting their school careers got me thinking about school traditions. When I first bought my Silhouette Cameo (<--Amazon affiliate link), I searched Pinterest for ideas. I feel in love with this "class of" annual shirt tradition. 
Put the child's graduation year on a large t-shirt. Take a picture each year with same shirt to watch the kid grow into the shirt.
The original source of this pin is an online message board that I can't view. 
Alas, I'm still having trouble getting the hang of my Silhouette, and since the school year was starting, I took an iron-on short cut.

Supplies needed:
  • a t-shirt in a size that your child may wear when he or she is a high school senior. Our son is very tall, so I bought an XL.
  • iron-on letters
  • iron and ironing board
  • cotton cloth. I used a fabric remnant, but a pillowcase would work as well.
I bought the shirt for $3.99 (before a coupon!) at Hobby Lobby. To give you an idea of how long I've been thinking of doing this, I bought this shirt in Florida when I first met Lauren from The Thinking Closet. 

Clearly, it needed a little ironing after all this time. I was excited to try out my new magnetic ironing mat (<--Amazon affiliate link). We have a cool ironing board drawer in our laundry room, but I wanted a large flat surface for ironing fabric for my quilts.

I bought my iron-ons from Walmart. I chose two styles from Next Style for the letters and numbers

First I cut out the letters I needed. I trimmed them pretty close to the edge and took care for the bottom to be straight so I could line them up well. 

I used my ruler to line up the letters and numbers.

I used a fabric scrap to protect the iron-ons. 

I ironed for about a minute before turning the shirt inside out and ironing again for another minute. 

After ironing the top side again, I slowly peeled the plastic away. 

I found that the flocked letters secured more easily than the vinyl numbers. I had to iron the latter for an extra minute or so. 

All ready for the first photo shoot!

So, I'm really happy with how it it turned out. With one exception. Here's a hint: When I was cutting out the numbers, I looked at the growing up gallery

Can you figure out my mistake?

The growing up gallery has fall photos in it. D will graduate in the spring. So, instead of 2026, I just have put 2027. So, it's a good thing I made this tutorial because it looks like I will be making another shirt!

I made a second shirt with the correct year. I bought another shirt at Hobby Lobby, this time I went with a size large. I also bought individual iron on letters and numbers for $.69 (small) and $.99 (large) each.

I'm thinking that on the back, I'll print his class picture onto fabric and iron it on. He'll end up of with his own mini-growing up gallery.

Linked to:
30 Handmade Days * The 36th Avenue * Cherished Bliss *  Craft-o-Matic * DIY ShowoffGirl Creative * Keep It Simple CraftsHouse of Hepworths * Liz Marie Blog * Memories By the Mile Naptime Creations Serenity NowTatertots & Jello * Uncommon Designs

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