Getting Into Routine with Stinkerpants Magnets

stinkerpants-logo

Anyone with a toddler (or older children!) can tell you that transitions are difficult. Routine can be hard to establish, and every day can be a challenge. Even the little things. Especially the little things! You may be familiar with Weddingbee, the wedding planning blog I participated in four – whoa four! – years ago before my wedding. Well one of my fellow bees started a business selling charts and magnets to help little ones settle into new things and accomplish goals and tasks. Sounds great right? Well it is!

 

charlies-magnet-chart

 

Stinkerpants is an organizing solution for children provided through magnets and charts. For Charlie, who just turned three, I chose a reward chart and a morning/evening routine chart. The most difficulty we have is getting ready for bed, followed by a close second of getting ready for her Kids Day Out program twice a week, which starts up again in just a few days!

 

stinkerpants morning evening routine magnet chart

 

The best part is that the sets aren’t one-size-fits-all, you can choose any magnets you like! I went with the ones that followed our routine, which are pretty basic. But instead of books before bed, we sing songs together, which is what the music notes stand for. These magnets have changed our lives! From struggling every morning to get ready for school, and fighting tantrums every night, we’ve gone from a fun, playful routine because my daughter is excited to move each magnet into place.

 

stinkerpants reward chart magnets

 

The reward chart, though, is my favorite. During potty training, we tried out candy first, and it quickly spiraled out of control. I hated using food as a bribe, especially sugary sweets. Then we tried stickers, but I hated all that waste. So it was perfect to find these magnets! They’re reusable, durable, and fun. I had a great time picking out the rewards, and the images make them flexible for their meanings. Obviously the lollipop is a sweet, and the tablet is for iPad time, but the puzzle could mean a trip to the museum, the tv could be going to the movies, and the rainbow could mean an outdoor activity like the zoo. Once she fills up a row she earns that activity. So far we’ve done great with the potty and staying in bed, and that’s awesome! We’re still working hard on putting toys away and cleaning up.

 

IMG_4978

 

As far as placement, I rigged up a magnet board inside her closet so it’s easy to access, but can be closed up during the day so baby sister doesn’t accidentally try to eat one or something. I used some scrap flashing my dad had lying around in his shop, and some quarter round trim from the barn. Easy, no-cost, and simple to assemble! I just pre-drilled holes and attached the flashing with 1/4″ screws and the quarter round with 1 1/4″ screws right into the plywood door. It’s not going anywhere!

 

back-to-school-magnets

 

Sara just introduced a new weekly calendar that’s perfect for schedules full of activities, and I can’t wait to order some! Charlie has recently started picking up on days of the week and what they mean for her, and it will be even more important once she starts back up with her KDO program as well as music and dance classes.

So if you’ve been struggling with your toddler, or know someone with a pre-schooler (or even grade schooler!) check out Stinkerpants and check out her amazing magnet solutions.

 

 

Disclaimer: I was provided the magnets and charts free of charge in order to test them out and give a review. All opinions are my own, and I am very much looking forward to buying a calendar magnet set as well!

Knocked Off: Restoration Hardware Durant Twin Bed for $180

durant bed knockoff

 Update: Find the plans HERE

One aspect of my early childhood that I look back fondly on is sharing a room with my big sister. We didn’t “officially” share one, but we slept in the same bed until I was 10. Now that Charlie will be three (THREE!) next week, and Caroline is edging closer to one every day, I decided it was high time to trade in the Pioneer Bed I built a few years ago and build matching beds for the girls’ shared bedroom.

 

rh-durant-bed I fell in love with Restoration Hardware’s Durant twin bed the moment I saw it. It was so lovely! The hardware, the doors, the storage! It was perfect. But the $1499 price tag wasn’t, nor was the fact that it was discontinued. So I did what any builder would do, I asked my DIY guru Ana White to help me with plans! And wow, did she deliver. I requested a couple of style changes: that the bed sit on the floor (that tiny gap looks like every parent’s nightmare of lost toys and dust and snacks) and that the overall height be under 13″ so that the bed with a standard mattress would fit under the windowsill.

 

durant-twin-beds

They fit perfectly in the room! Plus it only took one day to build, sand, stain, and install each bed, so I was able to finish both in one weekend.

 

durant-footboard I want to take a second to talk about this fabulous stain. It’s Golden Oak by Minwax, and isn’t it just glorious? I’ve used it before, on my Tidy Up Coffee Table, and I’ve missed the rich warmth ever since.  I love that it only took me one pass to get the color I wanted, without being streaky or too grainy. I used half a can on both beds, and am dreaming up new projects so I can finish it off!

 

durant-open-doors

 

Each bed offers loads of storage. I decided to go ahead and put doors on both sides, so I can have the option to move the beds around (or even move one back into the other room, should sharing not work out) and still have them look fantastic. The bed is divided down both centers, so each cubby has two doors so I can store some longer items.

 

durant-hardware

 

Can we talk about this amazing hardware for a second? When we were originally planning the bed, I scoured the internet for hours and hours trying to find hinges and a latch that could accommodate a full 3/4″ overlay door. The largest I found was a half inch, unless I was looking at $200 EACH refrigerator hardware. Um…yeah…now I guess I see why the bed was $1500, it was mostly in hardware costs! Ouch. So we changed up the plan to feature inset doors, and I found the best hardware ever. D. Lawless carries these reproduction Hoosier Ice Box style hinge and latch sets. They have a 3/8″ offset which made it look almost exactly like my inspiration! The doors pop out just a bit away from the frame. I also love the thickness of the hardware, it feels very solid and durable. Plus the interesting design takes what could be just another cubby bed and makes it into something fabulous. I purchased four left hand and four right hand 4 piece sets for their sale price of $10 each, which is a total steal in my opinion! I could spend that on plain old normal hinges and latches at any hardware store, so scoring these beauties for the same price really got me pumped up.

 

durant-beds

charlie-room-lamp

 

Since we needed to remove the nightstand to preserve full door functionality, we installed a plug-in adjustable wall sconce for each bed. It keeps that industrial vibe going up on the wall.

 

floating-nightstand

 

For the wall storage, we made a shelf using a scrap 2×8 and some metal flashing and followed Ana’s tutorial over on HGTV.com to wrap it around, and added some sheet metal screws for aesthetics.

 

durant-doors-open Both my girls LOVE their new beds! Even our ten month old can open and close the doors to hide things inside.

 

durant-bed

The plans for these beds should be up on Ana-White.com very soon! I hope to see a whole lot of them up in the brag boards soon :)

 

Disclaimer: Minwax stain was provided by the company free of charge. Having been a Minwax fan for years, I’m proud to endorse it!

 





Our First Attempt at Raising Chickens for Meat

meat chicken harvest day

 

I have a 10 Year Plan. It’s nothing fancy, but it is a big one. In 10 years I want to be able to provide all the food our family needs from home. Last year was my first garden, and this year is my first “big” garden. Yet while the herbivore side is being taken care of, what about the carnivore portion of our diet? Previously we relied on venison my husband shot during hunting season, along with some wild hog here and there, and then shopped for chicken and pork. But that just isn’t enough anymore. In order to cover *all* our previous grocery store bases, we needed to try our hand at chickens. I didn’t want to replicate the CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), I wanted to grow happy, healthy chickens that were free for their brief lives. Here is a quick rundown of what the past three months were like:

delaware-meat-chickens

 

We started with 10 Buff Orpington chicks, 10 Delaware chicks, and 8 Cornish Rocks (it’s half of what the Cornish Cross breed is, designed to grow well for meat but not so quickly their legs break and their organs/quality of life suffer).  Right away we suffered losses. Over the first 3 weeks, we lost 8 of the Buffs. So, that in and of itself meant we wouldn’t raise that breed for meat again. Losses were just astronomical. Five were due to mystery reasons, two were crushed by the larger breed birds, and one poor soul met its end at the jaws of our Red Heeler. We decided to just save the last two and let them live out their lives as eggers. They are now close friends with the Heeler, who seems to enjoy large birds but feels the need to chomp the little tiny ones.

The Cornish Rocks grew like wildfire. They were happy birds, and had about 90+ square feet for free ranging in the side yard we partitioned for them. Everything I read said that the meat would be tough if you allowed them too much movement, but we haven’t found that to be true. When the Cornish were 10 weeks old, we had a harvest day. It was tough for me. We watched a few YouTube videos on how to process the birds, and decided to try de-feathering them. It took two of us four hours to do eight birds. That’s about one hour per bird. Once we got started it got a bit quicker, but our backs sure were aching by the end of the day! The birds averaged about 4 pounds each. Once they were “grocery store ready” we vacuum sealed the whole birds and placed them in the freezer.

cornish-rock-meat

 

The Delawares were still much smaller, so we decided to give them 3 more weeks to grow. Last week they were 13 weeks old, and I was the only one around to get the harvest started. I know it sounds silly to some, but it was a very hard thing to take a life. I did it, because we still are a meat-eating family, and I wanted to be much more conscientious of where our food came from. I knew these birds didn’t suffer in life, and I wanted to do all I could to make sure they didn’t suffer in death either. I held their heads under their wings to put them to sleep, then hung them upside down to keep them calm as I did the deed.

For this round, I decided to forgo the tedious process of de-feathering the birds, and skinned them instead. It was much, much faster. I processed them in half the time. I did two birds on my own, with two more hung up to bleed out when my dad saw me at work and offered to help. Before, I was being very very careful and precise with the knife, only cutting the membranes to separate the skin from the flesh, careful not to pierce any organs or innards. My dad, however, showed me the “old school” way to do things, which didn’t involve a knife at all! Hands were all you needed. Once he showed me the method, we knocked out three birds in 20 minutes. Then my husband came home and we finished up the last of them. We decided to let the last one live and join the buffs as a layer. The Delaware chickens averaged about 2 pounds each. They’re small, but the flavor is a bit more intricate. I don’t know, I’m not a foodie by any means, but it does taste a bit more flavorful than the Cornish. Those tasted pretty much just like store-bought birds. But it was worth knowing that these were free of antibiotics, had happy lives running around, were fed non-GMO soy-free organic food, as well as kitchen scraps and treats. They didn’t suffer and they knew the sunshine.

 

So, now that all the gab is done, how to they stack up on costs? Well, here’s the break down:

Buff Orpington Chicks: 38.50 for 10 (I ended up leaving this out of the breakdown since most died and the other 2 are layers)
Delaware Chicks: 35.50 for 10
Cornish Rocks: 32 for 8
One bag of medicated starter (to prevent diseases that attack chicks): 10
5 bags of H&H feed: 120

Total Expenses: $197.50
Pounds of Meat: 33.5
Price per pound: $5.89

Not the worst, but it’s still Whole Foods pricing. Our mistakes were buying expensive chicks from the feed store. Next time, we’ll order chicks at half the price. I’m also planning to buy only Cornish birds, so we can harvest them sooner and feed them a bit less overall (10 weeks of feed instead of 13). This isn’t exactly a money-saving enterprise, but it’s no more expensive than what I would buy at the store, and it’s much healthier meat. If all works out the next time around we should be looking at somewhere along the lines of $3/lb. It’s not the worst outcome for our first shot at chickens, it actually ended up quite well. I’m looking forward to doing another round in the fall, so that someday soon this whole “feed the family off the land” thing can be a reality!

 

 

 





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