School lunch container tips & tricks

Our kids head back to school in 15 days. (But who’s counting?)

Oh right. ME. I’m counting!

I can tell they’re ready for it because yesterday they actually argued over who got to wash the new Tupperware lunch containers. Once I stopped laughing at the fact that they were FIGHTING TO WASH THE DISHES, I told them one person could scrub while the other rinsed, and then they’d trade.

School lunch container tips & tricks {Heather's Handmade Life}

They did, and they were very pleased with their work.

School lunch container tips & tricks {Heather's Handmade Life}

I dried them off and started to label them, and then I realized I’d need to clean out our “school lunch container bin” before I added our pretty new pieces.

YUCK. We’d gotten lazy over the summer and kept randomly tossing in ANY lunch container, so it was a disaster.

School lunch container tips & tricks {Heather's Handmade Life}
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DIY tire tower for the backyard

We add something new to our backyard playground every summer, and it’s fun to see how our additions evolve as our kids get older.

The wooden seesaw we built for them when they were preschoolers still gets a lot of use …

… but now they’re more interested in scaling the roof of the treehouse (yikes!) or daring each other to leap from the top of the monkey bars.

I knew this summer’s new addition had to reflect the fact that they’re now seven and nine years old — and very adventurous — so the answer was obvious: something high and challenging. A DIY tire tower!

We had four old winter tires taking up space below the deck, so we were off and running. We still needed to buy the rest of the supplies — three 4x4x10 posts, two 2x8x10 boards, three ground spikes, four heavy-duty metal brackets, 12 three-inch lag bolts with washers and about 20 three-inch wood screws — which ran us about $170.

Not bad for a brand-new (and huge) piece of playground equipment, though.

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home …

… or pin this idea and come back to read the instructions later!

The high price of nostalgia

Have you ever spent a ridiculous amount of money trying to recapture something special from your childhood? No? Well, prepare to roll your eyes at me. I think I deserve it.

It all started when our daughter received a set of vintage-style Fashion Plates as a gift. You know the kind — textured plastic rectangles that you arrange to form an outfit and then scribble over with a sideways crayon to transfer the designs onto paper.

I’d had these as a child, but I wasn’t really a fan. Her Fashion Plates, however, reminded me of something similar I’d had as a child: a Crayola Fashion Designer Kit. It had a purple plastic stencil of three different models and sheets of clothing designs and backgrounds that you could trace onto your stenciled models.

The famous stencil!

I used that stencil for YEARS — well into my teens! I ignored the paper outfit designs after a while, but I continued to trace those three models and draw my own outfits onto their frames. I did this at least up until I was 13 or 14 because I remember doodling outfits for Rachel, Monica and Phoebe from Friends.

“That was the BEST stencil, you guys!” I told my kids enthusiastically as we sat around the table with their Fashion Plates. “I bet I can find one online. You’ll love it!”

I hopped onto Amazon and started searching “vintage ’90s Crayola fashion model stencil,” ready to throw down my credit card in a heartbeat. I could already picture myself tracing those familiar models and drawing new outfits on them.

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene …