Homemade Afterbite (anti-itch salve for mosquito bites)

Homemade Afterbite

  I do not always remember to put mosquito repellent on the boys every time they step outside, so we inevitably have some mosquito bites around here.  After Bite has been a lifesaver this summer.  Unfortunately, however, I left ours at the lake on our recent trip and didn’t want to make a special trip to the store.  So we made our own homemade afterbite (based on the ingredients listed)! Much to my surprise, this stuff really does work!  It has been used and approved by everyone in the household as a remedy for helping to ease the irritating itch of a pesky mosquito bite.  :)   Here’s what you’ll need:  baking soda, tea tree oil, and water.   IMG_9150 IMG_9157

 1.  Mix baking soda and water until it is the preferred consistency.  I used 5 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of water.


2.  Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the mixture (I used 1/8 teaspoon and it is a little bit too strong).  Store in a closed container.


 3.  Rub a little bit of the salve onto your child’s mosquito bites to help relieve the itch!


 And there you have it!  Be sure to check out our homemade mosquito spray as well!  


DIY Dollhouse Bookcase

DIY Pottery Barn Kids Dollhouse Bookcase


Last week I shared our baby girl’s nursery and promised a tutorial for building a dollhouse bookcase.  When I was on bed rest and browsing Pinterest to plan a nursery, I found this adorable dollhouse bookcase (inspired by Pottery Barn’s version) that I quickly fell in love with.  Once we found out we were having a little girl, I begged Prince Charming to a DIY version of the Dollhouse Bookcase.  I found plans on Ana White, which we modified slightly.  In total, we spent around $150 on wood and other materials.  This is less than half of the Pottery Barn price!  We chose to buy real wood for the entire bookcase, but you could easily save much more by using MDF.

Want to make your own dollhouse bookcase?  This version is even better than the Pottery Barn version because it is made with REAL wood and all the edges are capped, giving it a more finished look.  We used a beadboard wainscoting for the back, which I prefer.

Okay, let’s get started…

First of all, download the plans for the Dollhouse Bookcase from Ana-White.com.

Next, you’ll need to gather your supplies.  In addition to all of the supplies on the shopping list for the plans, you’ll also need:




1.   Set out all of your lumber.




 2.  You may want to use a framing square to mark your board prior to cutting.




 3.  After cutting your lumber, use the plans to outline where to cut the windows. You will use a jigsaw for this.



4.  Match the boards together so that the windows are cut out evenly.




5.  While using the jigsaw, you may want to drill pilot holes for the sawblade to enter.




6.  This view shows you how the front baseboard should overlap the side baseboards.





 7.  You will use a miter saw, much like this DeWalt version, for the majority of your cuts on this project.



8.  Use a circular saw to cut out the wainscoting backboard. This will allow for a nice straight cut.




9.  After the wainscoting backboard has been cut, apply glue to the backside of each shelf.  Then use your nail gun to tack it together.




10.  Building the windows can be a bit more tricky. You will want to make sure that these windows fit just right.




11.  As you can see, two nails per side were used to fasten the windows. Once they were nailed together, install them using a nail gun


capping on shelves

**This is where our version deviates from Ana White’s plans.  To make it appear more finished, we capped all the edges with 1 x 2 moulding.  You’ll need to measure each edge to get it exact and then use your nail gun to attach the capping onto each edge.



12.  Once you’re done using your nail gun, you will want to go back and set the nails that did not sink below the surface of the wood. Once you’ve countersunk, then you are ready to fill the holes with wood filler.  I used regular Elmer’s Carpenter Wood Filler.




13.  Once you have sanded all of the areas that you filled with wood filler, you are ready to prime. Using a roller, prime all the surfaces with an oil-based primer, since you are priming bare wood.  You will definitely want to do this in an area that is well-ventilated, as oil-based primer puts off a strong odor.




 14.  Lightly sand all areas after the primer is dry.



15.  Use molding and trim caulking on all edges to provide a clean look.




 16.  Apply the first coat of paint. Let dry, sand and apply a second coat of paint.




 17.  Apply painters tape to the areas around the windows and doors.




 18.  Then you’ll be able to provide a different color on the windows and rooftop.




19.  Allow to dry and enjoy the finished product!  :)







I am in love.  I wish I had one of these.  :)












Horizontal bookcase



Be sure and check out the rest of our baby girl’s nursery!   



DIY Sensory Table that looks like a Manger

Make your own sensory table that looks like a manger


This past summer our church adopted a new curriculum and completely (and permanently) transformed an entire wing of the church to look like Ancient Judea.  It is incredible.   Our small group was assigned the two and three-year old classroom with the theme “Away in a Manger”.  My very talented friend Kristen came up with the room design and the rest of us just pitched in here and there.

Our family signed up to provide the sensory table (which was supposed to look like a manger) along with a few other things.  We debated purchasing a pre-made table and then altering it to look like a manger, but ultimately decided to make our own using some weathered wood and two restaurant busing tubs.


  • 2 — 4 x 4 x 6 pieces of lumber
  • 2– 2 x 4’s
  • Miter Saw (for angled cutting)
  • Circular Saw (to cut out notches in 4 x 4’s)
  • Package of 2 1/2″ screws
  • Drill
  • 2 Plastic Heavy Duty Bus Boxes (we purchased ours at Sam’s Club near the restaurant supplies–they were $12 for a package of two)
  • Sandpaper (for sanding rough edges)






1.  Determine the desired height of your table.  Based on these measurements, cut the 4 x 4 posts using a miter saw at a 45-degree angle to create 4 angled pieces of equal length.







 2.  Determine the center of your “x” and set the depth on the circular saw to cut half the depth of the 4 x 4 post for each of your four pieces.  Once the cuts are made, take your hammer and tap the loose pieces out.




3.  After this is complete, you may need to sand or file to make a surface that can be interlocked with the identical piece.







IMG_2228 4.  Create a frame using the dimensions of your tub(s) and attach using screws and/or nails.  Once complete, screw the frame onto the interlocking “x” legs.












5.  To make the divider, measure the inside width of the tub and cut the board to fit.  This board will act merely as a spacer.  Below the board, screw a longer board to it, allowing an area to screw the board to the frame from the underside.






IMG_2233 6.  Insert your tubs and your manger sensory tub is ready!













Here is another area in the classroom (an obvious favorite).  :)




Of course, a barn wouldn’t be complete without wheelyCOWS (which Prince Lionheart graciously allowed us to purchase at cost).









Convert Your Train Table into a LEGO Table

Convert Your Train Table into a LEGO table


Little Brother has recently discovered a love for LEGOs, which has rubbed off on Big Brother as well.  For his birthday this week, we got Little Brother a large set of LEGOs (since the ones were mismatched pieces bought at a garage sale the summer before I started teaching to use for indoor recess).  As part of his gift, we also decided to convert the boy’s train table into a LEGO table.  They don’t play with the train table very much, but we weren’t ready to part with it entirely.  The best part about this upgrade is that the insert sits on top of the table, so it can be removed and used as a train table again whenever we want!

My parents gave the boys their train table for Christmas four years ago, so they don’t sell the exact table we have.  It is an Imaginarium Train Table (bought at Toys ‘R Us) and is very similar to this one.  We purchased a wooden board at a home improvement store and had them cut if for us, making this a relatively simple project.  If you’re looking for just a LEGO table, this won’t save you very much money.  But if you want to dual functionality of trains AND LEGOs, this upgrade is definitely worth it!  I think we spent about $70 total on this project.


Here’s what you’ll need:  a piece of MDF or other board cut to the specifications of your table (ours was 1/8″ wainscot marker board and measured 47 1/2″ x 31 1/2″),  Gray 15″ x 15″ LEGO building plates OR  10″ x 10″ LEGO building plates, a tarp, packing tape, and high-strength spray adhesive.  You’ll also want some LEGO pieces to help as you’re putting it together.



 1.  Remove all of the train tracks, buildings, bridges, etc. from your train table.  Store them in a plastic bucket and pull them out whenever your child tires of the LEGO table.  Measure your table and figure out how many LEGO building plates you will need.  We ended up using 7 total because we wanted to cover every inch of our train table.




2.  Purchase your board (most home improvement stores will cut it to your specifications for you, if you ask nicely).  :)




 3.  Place the board over the top of your train table.




4.  Lay out all of the building plates and start securing them together.




 DO NOT put the building plates flush up against each other!  Otherwise the LEGO pieces themselves will not attach at the joints.  Instead, you’ll want to use individual LEGO pieces to join 2 of the building plates together to see how they will accurately fit together.  As you can see in the picture above, there is a very small gap between the pieces.




5.  Cut the LEGO building plates, if necessary, to cover the entire surface of your LEGO table.  Believe it or not, regular scissors work just fine!




 Once again, piece the plates together by interlocking the LEGOs, especially on the corners.




6.  Use packing tape to secure the pieces together.









7.  Carefully flip the entire piece over (you’ll need two people for this step).




8.  Grab your adhesive spray.  We used 3M High-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive.




9.  Lay down a tarp or sheet and spray the entire backside of your LEGO board.









10.  Spray the entire surface of your MDF board as well.  Let the adhesive sit until it is tacky, according to the directions on the bottle.




11.  Very carefully lift the LEGO piece and place on top of your MDF board.  Use a rolling pin to press the board against the board and secure the adhesive.




12.  Let the table sit for a couple hours before attempting to use it.





Until now, I had no idea that LEGO Duplos will fit on top of the regular LEGO building plates!  Awesome!



This is my favorite feature…just clear off all the extra LEGOs into the drawer!



 Do you have a train table?  A LEGO table?

Shiny Spider Web Art

Shiny Spider Web Art



This shiny spider web art activity is so simple!  Big Brother had tons of fun creating various “webs”, especially after we looked at several online.   I was inspired by our shiny fishbowls we made back when we celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

I can’t stand spiders, but I definitely have an appreciation and fascination for their beautifully intricate webs.  This would be a fun project to do after investigating spider webs around your house…especially if the webs have dew on them since that is what the art looks like!


We found this little guy outside on our deck!


Here’s what you’ll need:  Light Corn Syrup, black construction paper, and a squeeze bottle of some sort.



1.  Carefully pour your corn syrup into the squeeze bottle (or use a funnel).




2.  Give your child the squeeze bottle and let him/her get started making their webs.














Allow the corn syrup to dry for at least 12-24 hours.










 I cut a few pieces of pipe cleaner and quickly created a makeshift spider to add to our webs.

Literature Link:

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Spiders by Gail Gibbons