S'MORES FAMILY COSTUMES

Leaking our costumes early this year! Wanted to share this idea in case you’re looking for an easy, affordable ($11 total!), one-hour, family Halloween costume from things you probably already have on hand.

Trey had his first s’more this summer when we were camping and he was hooked, which inspired this costume idea. His dentist asked him at his checkup in July, “Have you gone camping yet this summer?” And Trey said “Yes and actually I’ve been eating lots of s’mores!” What a thing to disclose to your dentist, ha! Thankfully no cavities yet. ;) Here’s how we did it:

The Hershey’s bar is felt, I bought one yard ($4), but you could get away with so much less, especially for a pint-sized person. We measured to his knees and cut one rectangle, there is a square opening at the neck. We glued two small fabric panels at the sides with stick on velcro to make it more “fitted,” but those aren’t necessary. I bought two packs of iron-on letters ($3 each) and attached those to the front.

Trey’s pants and top are pjs that he can get use out of long past Halloween. (He’s also wearing this hoodie because our Halloween night is really chilly here in the PNW.) Love these pjs! Like most non-flammable organic ones, they are meant to be worn fitted. I like to size up one size to get the most wear.

Blaire’s marshmallow is a zippered footie stuffed with baby blankets and she is also wearing this hat.

My graham cracker is a piece of cardboard we had, cut to a square, with added dots and a dash down the center in permanent marker. I used gorilla glue to attach one long strip of extra brown felt so that it would hang around the back of my neck. Add black pants and a black top and you’re set (Pro tip: if you can fit an adult XS you can sometimes fit a youth 14! I do this often with organic pjs because they are often much cheaper than the adult sizes.)

This is my favorite family costume we’ve done yet because this year we grew by one! Still hard to believe. So excited for Thursday.

Thank you primary for partnering with us on this post. A great economical way to stretch your Halloween costumes to get use year-round.

ON MAKING DESIGN MISTAKES

This is the first house we've owned, and probably not the last, so I'm trying to think of it as our "mistakes" house. I get to try out different designs, and see what makes sense for us versus what I see on Pinterest. I've already had a few "teachable moments" of design decisions that I would have done differently.

Take, for instance, that shelf on the mantel. It was wood before we moved in, and in an effort to get away from all the 90s wood trim and doors, everything was going either white (all walls and doors ) or black (hardware). So, white it went. It looked good against the then grey/blue walls, but once everything else was white, I realized I needed to add a little warmth back in. I assumed it was a done deal but Daniel knew of a way to get it back, by heating it, scraping it, and sanding it. He did it over the course of two nights, and the cost? Zero dollars, since we already had the tools. It was a little painful seeing all those layers of paint come off, but I knew that this time, I had the space to consider all my options and I knew that I was making the right decision. As a bonus, I didn't love the tone of the wood pre-paint (which is why maybe I was motivated to change it), but now that it's sanded to a lighter color, I love it. It's the shade my wood mantel dreams are made of. Had I not mistakenly painted it I wouldn't have known about this amazing color underneath.

My second design mistake here was that I have clear, glass sconces which I assumed only Edison bulbs would look good in. Went for it. Decided I didn't like the orange-y hued lighting. So I researched all my options, and I didn't think this was possible, but I am crazy about these light bulbs. I can control them from my smart phone and the color temperature is completely custom, meaning I can make it cooler or warmer depending on the season/time of day/mood etc. So happy with them. They even look great in the clear glass which I was concerned about. Welcome to 2018 - when you can order anything online to be delivered to your house in 2 days and control the temperature shade of your light bulbs from your smart phone.

So, my lessons learned: try everything. You sometimes don't know if you like something until you see it in your own house, in your unique lighting, with your unique family. And, secondly, if you don't like it, it's probably changeable. Thankfully, home decor is not open heart surgery. If the stakes feel high, it's because we've placed that unnecessary pressure on ourselves to have these Pinteresty-perfect homes, when in reality, there really isn't a lot at stake here. It's home decor! If you try and it and don't like it, change it. This is our first house. I get to "try on" everything here, and the mistakes just mean I'm closer to finding my style and what works best for my taste and my family.

BEFORE: Beautiful, but stark and not enough contrast.

AFTER: Warmth! Texture! Variation! Love the change.

Shared in partnership with Poly and Bark, who makes the Camberly sconces, and Hue Bulbs, who makes the light bulbs.

MODERN FARMHOUSE PLAYSET DIY

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A playset has been on my wish list for a while now, but even the ones at Costco run about $1,000, so when our friends were giving away their well loved set for free, we jumped on the opportunity. Getting it was probably the hardest part. Daniel spent a couple days dissembling it into a few main pieces with our friends, and then rented a huge u-haul truck to transport it still mostly in tact.

When we reassembled it it looked like this:

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The bones were in great shape but the stain was peeling in lots of places. We pressure washed it and transformed it with paint in one afternoon.

This paint sprayer is one of my favorite tools for big DIY projects. We used it previously to spray all the doors in our house, and if we ever do walls again, I'd use this instead of rolling. It makes big project go so incredibly fast. They are pricey, but you might be able to rent one or borrow one.

It has a bit of a learning curve - there is a lot of paint loading, getting the air out, priming the pump, and troubleshooting throughout. But it really is a game changer for a project like this one.

We used two gallons of Behr Exterior Satin paint in Simply White by Benjamin Moore and a quart of the black. I can't remember the name of the black but I think it's something standard by Behr.

We debated priming but decided to just go for it without it. This is a playhouse, not Pinterest. It doesn't need to be perfect and we really wanted this project to go as fast as possible since we were racing against the weather and naptime. We just sprayed white paint all over the interior and exterior, on the already assembled play set (we did remove the swings, door, and rock climbing holds - on the back, not pictured).  It didn't matter than some paint got on the grass because it will grow and get mowed, and the slide we kept yellow and I didn't care about the over spray there. We only did one coat of white and it took almost exactly two gallons for interior and exterior. Once that was dry Daniel hand painted the roof in black and I did the windows with a small brush.

This playset is literally the playset of my dreams and I can't believe we got it for free. The total cost for us was about $72 - just the cost of paint. While not very much money, the difference it makes it absolutely incredible. Hopefully this inspires someone to scour Craigslist and OfferUp to find a great deal and then refinish it inexpensively. The hours of outside play and entertainment this has already provided has been well worth it. And the summer is only just beginning.

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Trey likes to come up to this window and pretend play. He'll ask me, "Mama order a coffee? Mama order a taco?" Yes please to both.

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So happy with this! We're calling it Trey's second birthday gift - just a few weeks early. This will be a gift that literally keeps on giving.