Category Archives: DIY & Repurposing

DIY Unique Built-In Bunk Beds!

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DIY Unique Built-In Bunk Beds!

Pregnant with #4 in a three bedroom house, we find it’s time to start stacking kids! ¬†So, this weekend, we built one of two bunks! ūüôā ¬†Here’s the process… not tutorial, sorry. ¬†We had to jump through some pretty unique hoops to build these beds, but if you have a handy husband, maybe you can figure it out too!

The inspiration for this project came from Pinterest – where else!?! Here’s some photos.

Photo Credit

Photo Credit – not sure where the photo is on this site… it’s where Pinterst brought me.

For our “Blueprints” we used Microsoft Publisher. ¬†Did you know that you can zoom waaaaay out in Publisher and create actual life-size to scale “blueprints” of sorts? ¬†You’ll get all your measurements just the way you want them!

Here’s a shot of the empty closet. ¬†I have the top section of a desk stuck up on the shelf for extra shelving. ¬†It’s screwed to the wall.

The kids a re fairly excited for this project to begin! ¬†We’ve been collecting supplies for quite a while & they are more than ready for their “bunk beds”!

Phase 1

Demolition. ¬†The closet was 4 inches too short for the toddler mattresses, so we dug into the wall for the extra space. ¬†On the other side of this wall is a tiny hall coat closet. ¬†We (“we” being my husband with the power tools, and me behind the camera!)… we had to cut through the first layer of drywall, remove the studs, rebuild the wall’s structure, and build the bunks. ¬†Thank God I have a handy husband!

The completed “hole in the wall”… now to remove the studs and rebuild the structure of the wall.

Phase 2:

Construction! ¬†Here’s the bottom bunk frame… about 12″ off the floor to make room for some “drawers” and other storage underneath.

Measuring for the top frame

Installing the top bunk platform… about 30″ from the bottom one.

And then Gramma showed up for a visit and was more than excited to help!  Yeah!

Phase 3:

Shelving

We scavenged these headboard style shelves out of another shelf I’d found in the thrift store free pile! ¬†This wasn’t in the original “plans” but I’m glad we added them!

Phase 4:

Ladder & Railing

While I was at the store buying some “Hot Mud” (Fast drying drywall mud for all the dents in the wall from the demo part), Jesse built all this for the ladder & railing!

Finished Ladder & Railing

A view of the shelves

Phase 5:

Sanding.  Thankfully a neighbor had an electric sander we could borrow!

Phase 6:

Painting… Almost done!!!

Color #1 Finished

Color #2

Color #2 Done… That means the painting is done!!!!

Phase 7:

Toyboxes… we had two but they were too tall, so Jesse cut them down about 4 inches allowing them to be “drawers” under the bottom bed.

Phase 8:

Bedding and a final photo shoot… and two proud parents! ūüôā ¬†Yeah.

Here’s a view with the entertainment center turned play kitchen (which a friend of mine blogged about in case you’re interested).

BTW:  Test subject #1 says the beds turned out perfect!

We don’t yet have a toddler mattress¬†or bedding set¬†(I love this frog one and this train one!)¬†for the bottom bunk (working on that), so I stole a patio chair cushion from the back yard. ¬†It’ll do as a “reading nook” space until we get a mattress & move LaLa in here! ūüôā

Unconventional Cooking

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I have a confession to make… until this week, I’d never started a campfire by myself! ¬†I know… crazy. ¬†Well, I’ve made some improvements, and to date I have started THREE fires… and not just fires… COOKING fires!

Back in April my husband built us a lovely fire pit in our back yard.  If we wanted barbecue, this is how we did it.  Traditionally, I would have a meal ready, he would come home from work, start the fire, wait for coals, cook dinner.  Not exactly my favorite thing ever since I like having dinner ready when he gets home so he can relax.

The fire pit started out as an occasional way to have a BBQ treat, since we don’t often¬†barbecue.¬† ¬†As the temperature increased, we became less and less thrilled with cooking indoors in a home with no AC! ¬†You can imagine why! ¬†So, we started grilling a lot more often. ¬†Which meant more late dinners, more hubby having to cook after arriving home from work. ¬†Not ideal. ¬†But, at the same time, we were becoming better and better at cooking over a fire! ¬†Yea!

So! ¬†The beginning of this week I had a meal planned that would take a little too long to wait for my Mr. to come home. ¬†So… I mustered up as much courage as I had, built a wood tee-pee in the fire pit over some torn up egg carton, and lit a match! ¬†Eeek. ¬†But, check it out! ¬†It’s a pretty good first fire! ¬†And it was reduced to perfect coals by the time Mr. got home! ¬†I was so proud! ¬† And, yes, that’s a snow sled in the background… we use it to haul wood!

Even after building such a beautiful fire, I still wasn’t brave enough to cook with it. ¬†So, I left the grilling to the pro.

Fast forward a couple days, and I did it again.  Built a fire, Mr. cooked dinner.

Fast forward to last night… I built a fire… AND I cooked dinner! ¬†This is where things get interesting! ¬†Dinner HAD to be¬†Craveable Taco Dip, from the Costco cookbook. ¬†I was craving it. ¬†However… it was H.O.T outside… which, of course, meant it was around 84 in our house. ¬†Oven? ¬†Yeah, not a chance!

Okay, so we don’t have a dutch oven¬†… technically (Update: Now we do and I Love it!). ¬†But, in case you don’t have one, if you have two cast iron skillets, one somewhat larger than the other you can make a “dutch oven”! ¬†Since we’ve been campfire cooking all week anyway, I figured why not branch out & do something other than grilling? ¬†Experiment a little… I experiment for a living (mom’s do that), and dinner is no exception in this home! ¬†Here’s what I came up with as a “dutch oven”…

Yep… it is actually two skillets one stacked on the other!

I set a few rocks up beside the fire, spread the coals around, stabilized the grill on the rocks, laid some foil out on the grill so as not to smokify my marvelous cast iron, and put the smaller pan on the grill on top of the foil.  Then I stacked the larger pan on top, lined it with foil, filled it with coals, and timed it for 20 minutes!  I looked at the clock seriously every 3-5 minutes, I was so anxious to see if it worked!

The whole time we were waiting for dinner, the kids were riding on their little outside cars. ¬†They’d come up to me every thirty seconds giving me pretend money and asking the “gas lady” to fill up their car with gas! ¬†So, I took imaginary money, and “Ffffffssssshhhhhh”ed my way all the way till the timer went off!

Finally it went off! I got some pot holders and practically ran to the pit. ¬†When I lifted my giant pan off the top of my “dutch oven”, I saw bubbling cheese all around the edges! ¬†Oooooo, was I excited… not just because I LOVE this meal, but mostly because I COOKED ON THE FIRE ALL BY MYSELF!!!!! ¬†Okay, I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but to me, this is a huge milestone! ¬†I’m so excited!

So, here’s the final product. ¬†I give it to the littlest in a bowl with a spoon, and to the bigger two in a tortilla shell. ¬†Can you believe I cooked this in such a fashion!? Next time I’m trying pizza!

I just gotta say, I know this post is a little strange, but I’m just so proud of myself I had to share it somewhere. ¬†It makes me happy to know that I’m saving money by cooking outdoors, and it’s kind of empowering, in a weird sort of way, to know that I can cook the same outside as I can inside! ¬†With some creativity and improvisation, anything is possible! ¬†I only wish I had a¬†real Dutch Oven so I could cook a cobbler! (We just planted our very own berry patch, so I have cobbler on the mind!).

One of my favorite bloggers is Kelly over at The Morris Tribe. ¬†She’s been blogging a lot lately about sustainable living, cooking outside, raising your own food, breadmaking!, and many other things relating to living more simply. ¬†We started our fire pit as a way to just have fun… but Kelly’s influence, and my own desire to spend less and not heat up the house, has made me think a lot more about the things we take for granted. ¬†What if my stove broke? ¬†What if natural gas was rationed in our country? ¬†What if the power went down & I hadn’t cooked dinner yet? ¬†It’s not only fun to explore other options, but now I’m seeing that it’s actually practical. ¬†It’s good for me to know that I don’t have to depend on someone or something else to prepare food for my family. ¬†I can do it with a fire pit and some scrap wood scavenged from construction site dumpsters! ¬†I can cook for free!

Summertime Treat: Popsicles

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I’m a sucker for not wasting anything… call me cheap, call me frugal, whatever… I can’t throw stuff away if I find that it still has use left in it, even if that use is not what it was intended for in the first place!

So, I have TONS of leftover Playtex Drop-In Disposable Bottle Liners that just never got used when my kids were taking bottles… I couldn’t return them to the store, so I had to figure out a way to re-purpose them. I also have a bunch of wooden Popsicle sticks!

My kids eat smoothies in the summer… A LOT OF SMOOTHIES! ¬†Ever since we burnt out two blenders making baby food & my husband got me a Vitamix (Heaven I tell you!), I’ve been blending like a maniac! ¬†I never add sugar to my smoothies (a banana or two does the trick just fine!), so I am not opposed to giving them to my kids as often as they want! ¬†We have smoothies for snacks, smoothies with meals, smoothies as Popsicles! ¬†Yeah! ¬†I really want to try this Sweet Potato Smoothie from Money Saving Mom! ¬†Doesn’t that sound delicious!

RE-PURPOSING TIP :

Whenever I make a smoothie there is usually some leftover. ¬†So, I press a popsicle stick into a chunk of fruit (banana, apple, pear, watermelon…), put that into the bottom of a liner so the stick stands straight up, then fill the liner half full (or full… as my kids will eat a LARGE Popsicle with no hesitation)! Then I stand those up in a container & put them in the freezer. ¬†After they are frozen, I take them out & put them in a ziplock, or just on a shelf – they’ll get eaten fast enough! ¬†I have three eating popsicles now, and having a shelf full is a must for us!

In this way, I always have a supply of nutritious popsicles during the summer! ¬†And they often have spinach, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli! ¬†You can put soooo many veggies in a smoothie, disguise it with fruit, and vwalla… a¬†nutritious¬†treat for everyone!

The best part for my frugal-lishious self, the liners are reusable since there is no heating involved. I put them in the top rack of the dishwasher or just rinse by hand for the next time!

What is your favorite smoothie concoction?