How did I ever get along without Alexa?!! This voice-activated, connected home assistant, weather-tellin’, homework helpin’, bingo playin’, joke-tellin’, music streaming bluetooth speaker from Amazon is nothing short of AWESOME! The Amazon Echo connects my home’s tech like no other device has. It links up with my Philips Hue bulbs & even allows me to create groups of connected devices in the Amazon Alexa app for different tasks or moods. For example, I set up my living room lights individually as lamp and fan, but made a group including both bulbs, which I named ‘Lights’. No longer does my family use a phone or touch a wall switch to control our home automation… we just simply say, “Hey, Alexa! Turn on the lights!” The Echo also links up with my WeMo switches from Belkin, so that whatever device you have plugged into the WeMo can be controlled by simply asking Alexa to turn it on. A feature that is particularly fun for the holidays… a fog machine for your Halloween party, for instance! I could go on & on, but it’s much more fun to see this tech in action! I made this little Halloween video to give you a taste of how you can really turn your holidays on with Alexa!
*WARNING: extreme amount of Halloween dorkiness shown*
P.S. Amazon was generous enough to give me these amazing products in exchange for my honest review, but you can snag yourself these items from the links I provided above! ;D
Hello there! Hope you had a wonderful holiday!!! Mine was perfect, well, besides being sick the whole time my little guys were out of school! *achoo* Other than that, my Christmas was beautiful because of my boys! We decked the halls, made cookies, wrapped gifts, opened presents, and went Christmas light viewing! These are times that I want my sons to always remember… for this reason I decorate our home in a candy-cane theme, using the festive candy pattern with red, green, and white for our decor. I do this not only because it fills our family with cheer & holiday spirit, I do it in hopes that when my little guys are all grown up & they happen to see a candy cane, they will think of their loving childhood and maybe even give their dear old Mom a call!
Ahhhh, Christmas!! *insert pine scent here* That time of year when everyone is just a tad more cheery. My family is especially so. We love to get into the holiday spirit by deckin’ the halls, viewing Christmas lights, and feeding our pet reindeer super-sugary oat cookies… ok, maybe we don’t do that last one, but we do enjoy being festive together! That’s why I wanted to create some holiday traditions for my family, memories that will last my little guys a lifetime! In comes my latest do-it-yourself project, our Christmas Wishing Ball! The concept was this… each of us thought of a dream for our family, no materialistic wishes in the Christmas Wishing Ball, we saved the toys & candy for Santa’s List! For example, my five year-old wishes for me to ride a unicorn! Hey, it could happen! We then put the wishes to paper, folded them into origami snowflake parts, and placed ’em inside a fillable glass ornament. We also added crystal strands and a candy cane ornament since the red & white canes are a recurring theme in our holiday decor. You could of course add ingredients to match your own festive interior! Oh, the best part is, next year we can break open the ornament & read the wishes to find out if they came true… I’ll obviously be riding a horned pony at this point, hehe! Then we can take the origami snowflake sections and form them together to make a Christmas tree ornament! More than a tad on the cheesy side, I know, but just think of the happy thoughts that this crafty project will bring to your little ones!
Now you have the inspiration, so here’s the how-to! Simply buy some bamboo needlepoint loops, stain ’em, poly ’em, or paint ’em, and drill a single hole in each one. Then, take your trusty fishin’ line (seen as wire in photo so that it’s visible) and loop it through the ornament, make a knot, and thread it through the smallest loop’s drilled hole so that the loop sits on the knot just above the ornament… continue knotting and threading through the other two loops. Easy peasy! We finished our Christmas Wishing Ball off by hittin’ it with some Elmer’s glue and sprinkling some fake snow & diamond dust onto it. There ya have it! Every time I look at ours it puts a smile on my face & I’m sure yours will do the same!
Do you & your family have any time-honored holiday traditions? Please share!
This built-in was a blast to design and build! My family needed seating for our teeny tiny kitchen so creating a board and batten banquette was at the top of my to-do list. Clocking in at two weeks (worked on it intermittently while watching my adorable toddlers) & costing $150 bucks (would’ve been higher had it not been for an electrician friend that ran an outlet into it, which I built the little door for). This project was well worth the time and money spent + my family loves it which makes me over-the-moon happy!
Here’s a quick photographic step-by-step in case this project is also on your to-do list!
I built the bench frame just as you would a freestanding wall… over-killing it a tad since I wanted it to be super sturdy for my little guys. I used #8 wood screws, wood glue, and 2 x 4’s from pallets. The top of the bench is 3/4 oak plywood (oak is stronger than pine), covered with two coats of Behr latex paint in Polar Bear. I implemented a board and batten style on the exterior of the frame… battens built from 1 x 3’s & 1 x 4’s & boards are 1/4″ hardboard with finish trim on the top and bottom, all caulked then painted with two coats of semi-gloss latex. I added a small door on the end in order to plug our electronics into the outlet inside the banquette. The simple H hinges, bling knob, and pop of chartreuse paint accent the bench beautifully & I hope to have an aqua-colored cushion made for my family’s nook soon!
Nothing turns a house into a home quite like built-ins! I am ecstatic about how it turned out & you will not regret tackling a project like this yourself! Happy DIY’ing to you!!