Friday, December 7, 2012

Introducing...the buffet

I know I have stretched out the dining room update series but let me tell you, this is the pièce de résistance. Through a series of unexpected events, this year has seemed to be the year of the dining room.  Many of the changes at our house this year have involved the two eating areas - the kitchen table and the formal dining room.  This series came to be when I found the most amazing piece of furniture at a flea market.

About a month ago, my friend Heather from No Business Like Sew Business and I got the hubbies to drop the kids at school so we could hit a big flea market like sale that a local church hosts each November.  They always have a TON of stuff from furniture to housewares to cars and more!  Their prices are amazing which makes it doubly awesome.  You never know what you might find.

For a while now, I have been looking for a dresser or buffet to offer some more storage.  Well this year, I found this ...

Isn't she lovely.  Let me tell you, the picture is VERY deceiving.  It was an "interesting" cream colored piece that has, over time, yellowed into a splotchy, nastiness.  Additionally, it was covered with a thick coat of dust, grime and a few stickers.

The lines were amazing, the craftsmanship was awesome (dove-tail joints) and it was wonderful solid wood - no particle board here!  It is 6 feet long and heavy as sin!  The best part, it was a mere $35!  It was meant to be.  Yikes, now to get it home!  It was super heavy and while we had a van, there was no way my friend and I were doing it ourselves.  Fortunately, my husband called as we were having the guys at the sale were loading up so he met us at the house to help get it out.  Ah, timing!

Admittedly, I was a bit nervous for him to see it, but in true hubby fashion, he was able to see the vision.  Clean it up, a wonderful coat of paint, some new hardware and it would be amazing.  Thanks for staying with me on this darling!

I was so excited, I got started almost right away.  I decided black would look amazing and rich.  There are some awesome tutorials out there for how to repaint furniture.  I am know expert in this area so I read a few methods and decided upon a very light sanding, Zinsser primer, satin paint and a couple coats of polyacrylic.  I removed the hardware and filled in the holes with wood filler

After the first coat of primer I realized how amazing this project was going to be.  The lines were even more beautiful than I realized.  I had removed the center door in order to spray paint the hinges and better paint the complete piece.  Next came the final coat and new hardware.

Seriously, I am in love with this piece.  I just can't believe how wonderful it looks.  The hubby suggested the hardware - a combo of cup pulls and a simple long bar all in a brushed nickel.  I can't stop smiling!

I still have some styling to do.  I am trying to determine what to hang above it.  I am debating between some family photos (aren't our new family photos amazing - thanks Carrie Ord Photography, you are amazing) or a picture or mirror.  Until then, I went with a simple display on top.

This has been a really fun project and has further shown us the pride in taking a piece from sad to fab!  The total project cost was just over $100 with paint and hardware.  Trust me, we NEVER would have found a piece this amazing for that price.  Maybe 10x that price.  Plus, we get the joy in saying we did it ourselves!

Thanksgiving this year was so fun in our new dining room.  My beautiful chairs, the perfect sideboard, great food and family.  I couldn't have been more thankful for another great year.

Thanks for stopping by.  I have many more projects I have been working on and can't wait to share them with you.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Recovered Dining Chairs

Thanksgiving was a couple days ago and we were so excited to utilize our newly updated formal dining area.  I am so happy that this random series of events has allowed us to bring a fresh look to our dining areas.  Today in the series, I am sharing our newly reupholstered dining chairs.

Last week I shared our new kitchen dining chairs, the leather parsons chairs.  Oh how I love them.  However, I recently fell back in love with our larger, formal dining table too!  The upholstered seats were boring, uninspired and nasty dirty.  Not anymore.

Over a year ago, I was perusing the mounds of fabric in my favorite local discount fabric store and came across this beautiful gray and white graphic upholstery fabric.  I literally scrounged through the mounds of fabric to find a couple of pieces that were reasonably good sized. 

The difficulty of the discount fabric store is they buy left-overs, end cuts, etc. so the pieces are generally not real large or can have damaged areas and flaws.  Any piece under 2 yards you must take the entire piece.  I didn't care because I payed $3.99 a yard for this designer fabric that is available at Jo Ann's for almost $30 a yard.  I was ecstatic.

While I have wanted to redo these chairs for quite some time, I feared ruining this beautiful fabric since we were still using these chairs on a daily basis.  Now that we were moving these back to the formal dining room, I was free to proceed.

Here is the dining table before.  As you can see, the fabric on the chairs was neutral and uninspiring.  (Never mind that it was snagged, stained and disgusting.)

And now with the beautiful new chair covers.  The subtle print and neutral gray brings some character and style to the seats.

I am absolutely loving the chairs. The table itself got small makeover too.  In our previous home, this was our only table and we used it everyday.  The finish was beginning to look dull and scratched.  After cleaning it thoroughly to remove any grease or food residue I used a 220 grit sandpaper and gave the top a very light sanding.  I followed this up with a couple of layers of fresh polyurethane.  I then declared this table off limits for a week in order to make sure that the finish had plenty of time to cure.  This simple one day project gave the table a bright and beautiful new life.

Finally, in order to add some accent to the head chairs, I made a simple lumbar pillow out a gray velvet I bought at the same time I bought the chair fabric.  With an elegant silver fringe, the pillows add a touch of glam.

Come back later this week when I share my favorite addition to this room, a new sideboard that has undergone an amazing transformation in the past couple of weeks.

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Chairs in the Nook

As I mentioned last week, we have experienced an unintentional updating of the dining areas in our home.  Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of the updates.  Expect to hear about some fun purchases, makeovers, sewing projects, art projects and simple styling.

It all started at the kitchen table.

We found an amazing like new Pottery Barn table on Craigslist when we bought our house a couple of years ago.  It is a beautiful round pedestal table that allows us to add a leaf when we have guests.  The table came with a wonderful piece of glass to protect the table top.  Unfortunately, the table did not come with chairs.  Bummer.

In the interim, we have used 4 of the chairs from our larger dining table.  This has worked fine but has never been our long term goal.  These chairs have cloth seats and after 2 kids, the seats were beyond nasty.

The series of updates was originally supposed to start with me recovering the chairs to give them a fresh, clean look.  I even purchased some fabric.  Well, the fabric sat here for a long time.  Then this summer the plan took a sudden change.

We happened upon a really nice chair for this table at the most amazing price.  As my husband wandered the aisles of Costco he found a simple brown leather parsons chair.  We went back over the weekend and in true Costco fashion, they were gone!  Bummer.  Fortunately, we returned from vacation and found that they had been restocked!  Yahoo.

These new chairs are awesome.  The rich chocolate color of the leather looks amazing with the dark wood tone of the table.  I love that we can wipe down these chairs after meals.

Just prior to finding these chairs, we had a slight problem with the table...

Our daughter was counting the money in her piggy bank and managed to not only break open the pig (not the intention) but crack the glass table top too!  She was so sad, but honestly, I should have known better than letting a 7 year shake a giant ceramic pig over the top of a glass table.  Life happens.  We have not replaced the glass yet because well, it is not cheap.  Soon though, I am tired of the lovely vinyl table cloth we have been using to protect the wood.

Isn't she beautiful.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dining Room Updates: a series

It has dawned on me over the last several months, that without even knowing it, we have been updating the dining areas in our home.  We have two dining areas in this house, a combined formal dining/living room and our kitchen nook.

As my blog implies, this is our forever home, the house we plan to grow old in and it is and always will be, a work in progress.  While we have a long wish list of projects for our home, sometimes you just "happen upon" a great deal and then that item jumps to the top of the list.  Ironically, the dining areas have been the focus of these perfect finds and projects recently.

Over the next few weeks, I will share a series of posts on the updates we have made (and still working on) to these rooms in our home.  This series involves new chairs, broken glass, upholstery, refinishing, sewing, styling, savvy shopping and more.

Let me start by sharing the "before" of these two areas in our home.

Kitchen Nook
The majority of our meals happen at the kitchen dining table. This nook located just off the kitchen screamed for a small round table, perfect for our family of four and our everyday meals.

We were fortunate enough to find a beautiful Pottery Barn wood pedestal table on Craigslist when we bought the house 2 years ago.  It came with a glass top to protect the wood which is awesome. Unfortunately, the table did not come with chairs.  Chairs has been our wish list ever since.  For the past 2 years, we have been using 4 of the chairs from our large dining table until we found the perfect chairs for this room.

Formal Dining Room
As you enter our home you are greeted by a large open concept "formal" dining and living room.  I use formal in quotes because we are so NOT formal people.  Even when we have dinner guests, we are more likely to put the leaf in the kitchen table than use the dining space designated for this.

The formal living area was a new space to us, therefore we did not have any furniture for this room and it has not been a priority.  I know, we have lived here for 2 years and it still largely sits empty.  The only thing in this room is our large dining table from our other house.  The "nook" area in our other home was huge so we purchased a large table for this space.  This is what it looked like for the past couple years.

As a reference point, I wanted to share what our dining area/kitchen nook looked like in our previous home.  As you can see, the "nook" allowed us to have a dining table that seated 8 people comfortably.  That always baffled me but I loved that it freed up a space in our great room for other family needs.

I can't wait to share with you some of the amazing projects I have been working on.  Let me just say, I can't wait to host Thanksgiving this year in our new formal dining area.  I still have a lot of work to do but it is great to have a deadline!  We have so many blessings in our life and this year is not any different.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Glitzy Book Rack

Hey everyone!  I know I have been off the grid for a long time, but I am going to try to get back at the blogging thing.  A month ago or so, I shared this project on The CSI Project.  My daughter loves her new book rack which sits on her desk with her journals and diaries.

This weekly challenge that week was "glitter" and I must admit, when Dee challenged me with this I was more than a bit scared.  I like glitz and glam and all (and so does my seven year old), however I have never really tackled any "glitter" projects.  I had visions of glitter EVERYWHERE, and not where it was supposed to be.

Immediately, I had an idea to make a book rack for on my daughters dresser to hold her journals, doodle books, etc.  Perfect - complete a fun challenge and fulfill a need in my home!  Bonus!

My plan was to find a couple figurines at the thrift store, glue them to a board, paint them and glitter them up using Glitter Blast spray paint!  Well, I tested the Glitter Blast spray paint and it was a huge fail.  It was splotchy and messy and really not the effect I was going for.

So plan "B" was to use Modge Podge and glitter.  I walked around the craft store for nearly an hour holding a large container of glitter and the glue.  I was not looking forward to this project.  Honestly, I was PRAYING that I could find another solution.  I knew I still had to find the figurines and my thrift store visits thus far had not been successful.  It's THURSDAY!  This project is due and I am frozen!

After walking up and down EVERY aisle, there it was, in the dollar bins by the check-out.  I found two wooden peace signs - just the right size and they even had a flat bottom which meant they would adhere easily to my board.  Wrong color but who cares.  I would paint them.  For the glitter, I saw some fun glitter ribbon in the back of the store.  Perfect.  I would wrap the peace signs and get the effect of glue and glitter without the mess.

I headed home and immediately go to work.  I quickly painted my board and the peace signs blue.  I decided to go with blue because my daughters room is mostly pink and green and we are trying to introduce a few more accent colors to tone down the pink.

Then, using some craft glue, I glued the glitter ribbon along the outside of the peace signs (not the bottoms) and around the base of the board.  The ribbon was porous which surprised me a bit.  It allowed the glue to bleed through which was okay because I had planned to use a layer of Modge Podge to contain some of the glitter loss.  To add some more glitz I added some ribbon to the inside of the peace sign as well.  It was just the right amount of glitter.

I then glued the peace signs to opposite ends of the board.  My plan is to screw these in with a couple of small wood screws from the bottom, however my husband took the drill to his office a couple of days ago to work on a project so I couldn't complete the project.  It will definitely need to be secured as the glue is not very strong.

Overall, I love how this project turned out!  And I learned that glitter does not have to mean containers of loose glitter and sparkly dust all over your home.  There are a variety of products out there that give you glitter, without actually spilling 2 ounces of loose glitter.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pineapple & Habanero Sauce Knock-Off

I can not even tell you how excited I am to share this recipe with you today.  Recently we tried the Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple Habanero Sauce from Costco and it is amazing.  Looking at the ingredients, I knew it was something we could totally recreate.  And if you know Costco, just when you fall in love with something, they stop carrying it so I was totally on a mission.  (Note:  They still carry it, however it was so easy to make it doesn't matter.)

We LOVE Costco at our house and sometimes you can find the most amazing foods there that you can not find anywhere else (well, maybe online but I am not a big online shopper).

This sauce is absolutely amazing!  So far we have tried it on grilled chicken, pork chops, shrimp tacos, poured over a brick of cream cheese as a dip and straight up salsa with chips.  I swear, if you like sweet and spicy - this sauce is the bomb!

The bottle from Costco, while large (37 oz), is around $8.  Not a cheap condiment.  Looking at the ingredient list, I knew it was very doable.  There is absolutely nothing I wasn't familiar with so I headed to the store.  Grabbed my ingredients and set out to develop my recipe.  I don't have an exact breakdown of cost, but I am certain I spent no more than $8 and I was able to get over 4 pints of sauce.

Honestly, I thought it would take me a couple tries but it turned out amazing, right out the gate!  So here it is.

Pineapple Habanero Sauce

4 cups sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup pineapple juice
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp cornstarch (mixed with a bit of water to create slurry)
1 medium to large pineapple, roasted, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 mango, finely chopped
5-6 habanero peppers, roasted, finely chopped

Create a simple syrup in a large pot by whisking the sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice and lemon juice over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let sit while you prep the remaining ingredients.

Roasting the pineapple and habaneros will bring out their inherent sweetness and richness.  This can be done on your grill outside or using a grill pan on your cook-top.  (I chose to use my George Foreman since it was pouring rain outside when I was working on this recipe.)  Slice the pineapple in rings and grill until the sugars begin to caramelize and creates grill marks on both sides.

Note:  Before finely chopping my pineapple I trimmed away the outer rind.

Lightly char the skins of the habanero peppers over an open flame or on a searing hot grill pan.  Do not grill your red and yellow bell peppers in order to maintain some crunch and texture in the sauce.

Make sure the habaneros are super finely chopped. If you want to tone down the heat slightly carefully remove the seeds.  (I used my chopper so that I would not have to touch the peppers - I have a habit of getting hot pepper oils on my fingers and touching my eyes.  The pepper oils not only make your hand tingle but burns like crazy on your face.  NOT FUN! Additionally, the chopper allowed me to make sure the peppers were in super tiny pieces so no one bites into a large piece of super hot pepper.)

Next, finely chop all fruit, peppers and onion into 1/4" pieces (or smaller).  Stir the remaining ingredients into the simple syrup you prepared earlier.  Stir in the cornstarch (mixing with a few tablespoons of water first to create a slurry).  Bring the mixture to a boil and the turn down the heat to simmer for 5-10 minutes.  The consistency should be syrupy and chunky.

This recipe makes 4-5 pints of sauce.  The sauce may be canned using a water bath for 15 minutes. Or placed in jars and frozen.  Sauce should remain fresh in the fridge for approximately 2-3 weeks (if it lasts that long).

As with the store bought sauce, it is the perfect pairing with so many things including chicken, pork, fish and seafood.  It makes a great appetizer when partnered with cream cheese or goat cheese and used as a dip or a topping on crackers or croutons.  We love it to just dip tortilla chips (alongside a margarita and life is good).

I am going to take a small jar and pour it over a few pieces of chicken in the crock pot for dinner tonight.

I just love the versatility of this sauce.  The sweetness is awesome when paired with the heat of the habanero.  Plus, the vinegar offers just enough tang to help cut some of the heat as well.

I hope you enjoy!

Linked up with:  House of Hepworths, Somewhat Simple, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, The Frugal Girls, Nap Time Crafters, eighteen25, Tatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, I Heart Naptime, A Crafty Cook, Under the Table and Dreaming

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Girly Spa Party

My baby girl turns 7 in a couple of weeks.  With summer birthday around a holiday, we have chosen to hold her party a couple of weeks early.  This works great for being able to pass invites out at school and catching friends before the frenzy of summer travel and activities.

This year we did a spa party.  Back in February a local spa had a half-price deal on one of the local deal sites for a party for 6 girls.  The price was right and the wheels were in motion for a fun party.

With such a fun inspiration and theme we set out to create a fun day for the girls.  Given that the party was limited to my daughter and just 5 of her besties, it was easy to go all out.  Couple that with some amazing clearance deals from the dollar section at Michael's and a few craft projects it was an amazing party!

To start, I searched Pinterest and created an inspiration board.  We loved these nail polish invitations so that is what we started with.  They were a definite hit!

This was our starting off point.  We next started going crazy with the pink, black and zebra theme.

The party started at the spa with painted nails, edible chocolate facials, up-dos, face paint, body glitter art and making their own bath salts.  If you have a spa near you, I would totally look into doing this.  The girls had a ball being pampered!

Then we headed home for a fun photo shoot. I scoured my daughters room for hats, boas, sunglasses and more. The girls glammed up and I took their pictures - the entire group, BFF's and individuals. The back drop was simply a dollar store pink plastic table cloth stapled to the wall and embellished with some black & pink crepe paper. I quickly edited a few photos using PicMonkey and sent them off to Walgreen's. Each of the girls got to take their photos home with them.

Pizza and cake were a big hit.  The girls loved the nail polish cake.  I used 4 6" cake rounds, stacked up and topped with a stack of 3 cupcakes for the wand lid. The surprise for the cake was in the layers.  I did 2 layers of zebra stripes using rings of chocolate and strawberry cake sandwiched between a pure chocolate and pure strawberry layer.  The girls loved this.

Decorations were kept simple but the highlight was the handmade nail polish pinata.  I had seen a similar one online for approximately $23 (after shipping) and knew I could make one for way less.  Using a structure made out of a single sheet of poster board, I taped it together, added a couple layers of paper mache and covered with strips of tissue paper that had been cut to look like fringe.  Easy 2 hour project (over the course of 2-days due to drying time) for less that $4.  Technically it was free because I already had everything in my craft room to make this!

We didn't end up using the pinata since we simply ran out of time with all of the other activities.  My daughter is excited to use it as a decoration in her room.

One of the first gift bag projects I came up with was a hand mirror.  Hoping to find a pink mirror at the dollar store with no luck I found these great black ones.  I simply used some pink zebra scrapbook paper cut to the shape of the mirror and applied with a couple layers of decoupage.  The girls loved these (and so did I).

I lucked out one afternoon at Michael's when I found a variety of items including bath fizzies, bath poufs, small pink frames and these great journals for 25 cents each.  Using some zebra scrapbook paper, I simply cut a new cover to size and used spray glue to adhere them to the journal to fit the theme.  Total cost of the gift bags was under $3 each.

This left room to do a couple of craft projects to help fill the time.  This was a sleep over party and our spa appointment was at noon so we had a lot of time to fill.  The girls made ribbon flip flops using some ribbon I found at the discount fabric store in town (3 rolls for $1 - score) and pink flip flops I found on sale at Michael's for $1.25 each.  I also bought some $1 wood picture frames and 50 cent craft paint to make a photo frame for one of the photo booth pics!

Finally, since no party is complete with out thank you cards, I took one of my daughters photos and created a thank you card using PicMonkey.  (Have I said how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE PicMonkey - well I really do!)

How fun is the posterize effect with one of the newest features - sketchedy mats.  So fun!  Any who, we sent these to Walgreen's and will be mailing them out this week!

Now that the party is over, it is time to actually get ready for her actual birthday! AND I NEED A SPA DAY!!!

Linked up to...
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Somewhat Simple
House of Hepworths
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A Little Knick Knack
Chic on a Shoestring
My Romantic Home
Nap Time Crafters
Tatertots and Jello
Funky Junk Interiors
I Heart Naptime

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dive-In Theater

Summer is in full swing and we could NOT wait to start the pool party season.  This year we decided to put a huge twist on our pool party...our very own dive-in movie theater.  This project got my husband very excited and before I knew it, he had hit the hardware store for all of the supplies.

The beauty of this fun addition to our was under $40!!!!  A few PVC pipes, connectors, grommets, zip ties and a simple canvas drop cloth.  We were in business.

Now, the process was quite simple but the design could use some fine tuning.  As you can see from the photo, we placed a few grommets around the edge of the canvas painters tarp and created a frame using PVC pipe.  We placed a support down the middle to help with stability.  The bottom of the legs has a T-bar connector.  Since we placed it against the wall, we only used one pipe pointing away from the wall.

This screen and design is most definitely a work in progress.  It works and we are having a blast but it is amateur for sure.  Here is what we have learned (so far)...

It must be almost completely dark before we start the movie.  We have a pretty good, professional projector but it still needs to be dark.  You also do not want bright light behind your screen.  It is probably best against the house or a large wall or hedge.

Stability is a concern with our design.  With even the slightest wind, the screen is not self supporting and would likely take flight with a strong gust.  To deal with this, we placed the screen against our back wall and used cement pavers to hold the base.  We also utilized bungee cords to hold the screen against the wall.

The bungee cords have created another issue due to the flexibility of the 3/4" PVC pipe.  We are still working to address this issue.  Our plan is to put a metal pipe "inside" the PVC pike to create more stability.  As the bungee pulled on the PVC pipe, it began to rip the canvas where the grommets were placed.  I will update following our next dive-in movie to see if this added stability worked.

The movie set-up is quite easy as long as you have access to a projector.  Our set-up includes a projector, a DVD player, and a stereo receiver with speakers.  The projector is something that my husband purchased several years ago to do seminars for work - he normally is using it attached to his computer for PowerPoint presentations.  Eventually, we would like to place permanent wires/speakers around our pool but for now, we run wires and place speakers on each side of the pool.

We have had a couple of parties so far and are having a blast.  With guests watching the movie both in the water and on deck, everyone has had a blast.  So far all of our movies have been family friendly but we look forward to a few action films too!

What are your movie suggestions for our Dive-In Movie Theater?

Linked up to...
Skip to My Lou Made by You Monday
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Today's Creative Blog Get Your Craft On
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I Gotta Try That
52 Mantels
Not Just a Housewife
The Frugal Girls
House of Hepworths
Somewhat Simple
Nap Time Crafters
My Romantic Home
Chic on a Shoestring
A Little Knick Knack
Midwestern Girl DIY
Tatertots and Jello
Funky Junk Interiors
I Heart Naptime

Monday, June 4, 2012

Our Not So Bummer Summer!

We have had a full week of summer vacation and I can't believe everything we have done already!  Granted, we counted and while Phineas and Ferb tell us there are 104 days of summer vacation - we only have 74!  Not that many when you make a huge list of everything you want to accomplish.  Then throw in swim team which has daily practice and 2-3 meets a week and the time flies!

My 5 and almost 7 year old are very visual and want to SEE that they have actually been doing a lot of things.  So I decided to make a chalk board sign to list and mark off our summer fun activities.

Awhile back I had picked up a can of chalkboard spray paint on sale and was waiting for the right project to use it.  Then it hit me, our Summer Fun List!  Perfect!  Of course, I did not have an appropriate size piece of wood in the garage so I headed to Home Depot. 

I immediately went to the back to check out the "cull lumber" bin.  Cull lumber is cut-offs of boards that a customer does not want.  The best part - they are 51 cents a piece at our store - no matter the size.  You often need to inspect these boards as they may be warped, have a lot of knots or other flaws.  But generally speaking, you can find some great bargains. 

On this particular day, I found a beautiful piece of culled 1x12 that was 35" long - perfect for our Summer Fun chalkboard.  Another thing to note, they generally spray paint the end of the lumber to designate it as culled.  This was fine since I was planning to paint it anyway.

I love a project that ends up to be under $7 - chalkboard paint $4.97, board $.51 and colored chalk 1.99.

I took my list that I had put together and started to write them on the board.  As you can see, we have already checked off a number of items.

Here are a few pictures of some of our fun.  Most of this happened in just one day of "staying home".  I actually love a day when we can just hang out inside, avoid the insane desert heat here in Arizona and have some good old fashion creative play fun!

What have you been doing this summer?

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