Monday, October 30

Christmas Shopping Guide for Boys - 2017

Check out our gift guide for the ladies here, and for the guys here.

Christmas is less than two months away! I don't know about you, I've been running our Christmas shopping plans through my head for a few weeks, and I'm ready to start checking off those mental lists.We have a few years of experience under our belts when it comes to shopping for boys, so we thought we'd share a rundown of some of our favorite gifts for these little fellas to help give you a jump start on your shopping, too!

These are all things we're thinking about for our boys this year, or items we've actually bought in the past. We follow the "four gift" plan for the most part - something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read - but we typically get two items in the want category (unless it's one more expensive gift) or add a larger family gift, plus we also do a few small gifts in stockings and a Christmas Eve box. But we try to mix in a big dose of giving along with all the getting. Here's how we do it:

Something They Want
We'll show several items in each category, but the goal would be to pick just one item per category (though we typically pick two "wants"). For this category, you can really just pick whatever your child wants the most! Here are a few of our household favorites:

  1. Legos - A big starter set, or a smaller model set in their favorite theme (superheroes for us!). Plus Duplo legos for the smaller fellas (we love the construction sets, zoo, and house!)
  2. Play Food - always a big hit at our house, and they've had their eyes on this pasta set.
  3. Wooden Blocks - this set includes a storage box!
  4. Animals - we like the the larger animals by Safari Ltd (like the mama and baby bear), but the Toob sets would also be great for a stocking!
  5. Peg Doll Playsets - you can find these on etsy or make your own! We made a little camping set that our boys love, but you could do whatever interests them - superheroes, knights with a felt castle, even animals (I'm working on a raccoon family with a felt log for boy #3's birthday)!
  6. Small Slide - this slide has been going strong for several years with our boys. We even bring it inside for the winter so they can slide off some energy. They use it daily!
  7. Indoor Swings -  this is another of those "burn off energy in the winter" items. Boys gotta move. I would love to get this doorway swing and climbing set, and my boys would get a kick out of a pod swing
  8. Climbing Things - our boys love the climbing dome in our backyard. And the mama would love to add some indoor climbing options for winter (it's my theme this year). My wishlist includes putting in monkey bars over the bed, some rockwall holds up the wall in their room (I like the ones that look like real rocks), or a ninja slackline
  9. Camera - not pictured, but this is one of the best gifts we've ever given Boy #1! You can read all about which one we got and why we love it here. (see the camera here)
Something They Need
This is a really broad category, because what your kids need may be very different than what mine need! We've also put things they want that will be really useful into this category. Sometimes we end up a more boring item like shoes, and sometimes it's something fun like a sleeping bag or backpack. But remember, only one! That's the hard part.

Friday, October 27

DIY Desk Series #22 - Add-On Drawers for Any Desk

We're wrapping things up today with a final plan to add-on storage to your favorite desk. This time it's two versions of desktop drawers that are perfect for keeping your smaller office supplies in line.

P.S. Check out the rest of our free DIY Desk Plan Series here!

We'll be doing a version with two separate units like the inspiration photo. You can leave it as an open cubby, or make a small drawer to tuck in:

And a full-length version to reach completely across the desktop, with a drawer at each end (you could leave these open as cubby spaces, too.

You can stack them together, or even stack one with the hutch from yesterday's plans!

Thursday, October 26

DIY Desk Series #21 - Add-On Hutches for Any Desk

We're wrapping up our series with a couple add-on storage plans that can be modified for use with any desk in our series. Today we'll be looking at two simple hutch designs that will be a great addition to your work space!

P.S. Check out the rest of our free DIY Desk Plan Series here!

inspiration photo source

We'll be building a taller hutch with shelves at the top, and a shorter hutch with the shelves on the side.

Here are a few more hutch inspirations to get your wheels turning:

Want a little drama? Make your hutch extra tall and add trim around the top.

image source

Try shelves on both sides for even more book storage.

image source

Or an extra short hutch for a different look.

image source

But enough chit-chat. Let's get started! Here are shopping lists for the tall hutch as-is, but keep in mind you'll likely need to change the width of the hutch to fit your desk, so you'll need a different amount of 1x10s. Scroll down for instructions for the shorter hutch.

Wednesday, October 25

DIY Desk Series #20 - Hideaway Corner Floor Desk

This floor desk gives you a ton of work space and storage space all in one. And just wait until you see this guy's moves.

P.S. Check out the rest of our free DIY Desk Plan Series here!
And the rest of the floor desk plans here!

The storage section is on casters and can be configured into an L-shape desk.

Pull it out for a little more work surface and easier access to the storage.

And when you're done, the storage unit completely tucks underneath to free up floor space.

But wait, there's more - you can customize the storage unit to fit your needs! Big drawers, small drawers, open shelving... it can pull of any of them.

Tuesday, October 24

DIY Desk Series #19 - Stackable Bookcase Floor Desk

Today's floor desk is a fun one. It's based a nifty stackable bookcase I've had my eye on.

P.S. Check out the rest of our free DIY Desk Plan Series here!
And the rest of the floor desk plans here!

inspiration photo source

This one is perfect for someone who only needs an occasional floor desk. It also makes a great space for kids to draw or do homework that you can tuck away when you're done, and can serve as a coffee table or end tables if your guests need an extra place to set their snacks. It stacks up into a funky bookcase when you don't need a desk:

And un-stacks to a create a handy workspace desk when you do:

The desktop tucks away behind the bookcase until you need it.

Shopping List:
  • 1  -  1x12  @  10'  (cut all the sides and three tops)
  • 1  -  1x12  @  8'  (cut three bottoms and the desktop)
  • 3  -  1/4" plywood @ 17 1/2 x 12" (some stores sell smaller "project panels" so you don't need to buy a whole sheet) (these don't have to be 1/4" thick, if you have plywood scraps use them!)
  • 3  -  1x4  @ 8'  (legs)
  • 1  -  1x4  @  6'  (extra for the legs, you'll lose some length with each cut and may only get 7 legs per 8' board)
  • Kreg Jig (optional)
  • 1 1/4" pocket hole screws (optional)
  • 1 1/4" wood screws
  • 5' long leather or canvas strap
  • wood glue
  • wood filler
  • sandpaper and finishing supplies

Monday, October 23

DIY Desk Series #18 - Corner Floor Desk w/ Shelves

Today's floor desk tucks into the corner to make the most of a small space.

P.S. Check out the rest of our free DIY Desk Plan Series here!
And the rest of the floor desk plans here!

inspiration photo source

I love how warm and inviting this looks. It's the kind of place I want to cozy up and get a little work done!

I'll go ahead and tell you, though, our shelves won't be actually attached to our desk like sample photo. I'm going to suggest building a simple corner desk with shelves mounted about it. It will be easier to make and more stable, plus the shelving will be adjustable if your needs change.

Sunday, October 22

$5 Obi Wan Kenobi Costume

This boy loves all things Star Wars. His only question for halloween was "Which Star Wars guy should I be??" We thought he would go Kylo Ren, but in the end good old Obi Wan Kenobi was the winner!

He loves his costume, and I love that we only spent about $5 to make it!

Using The Force.

One big bonus of a DIY costume is that I was able to make it big enough to fit over his coat (so his costume won't be hidden if it's chilly that night). Plus you can easily alter the size to fit any age of child.

You only need a handful of things to make your own Obi Wan Kenobi costume (in any size!):
  • an off-white sheet ($5 at Walmart)
  • matching thread
  • a piece of brown felt (less than $0.50 most places)
*We also added khaki pants he already owned, a belt he already owned, and his blue light saber to finish off the costume.

Saturday, October 21

DIY Raccoon Costume {free pattern}

Is there anything as indecisive as a small boy deciding what to be for Halloween? I finally had to tell him "We are making costumes today. Whatever you choose right now is what you will be." After weeks of flopping from raccoon, to pumkin, to apple, to hotdog, to police officer, to minion (often all in the same day), he circled back around to good old raccoon. Thank goodness because it ended up being a really easy (and super cute) costume!

And he totally loves it. He's barely taken if off all week, and even wears it out on errands. I keep hearing things like "Look out mommy! There's a raccoon behind you!" "Watch how far raccoons can jump!" "Do raccoons eat cereal?"

This is one of those easy costumes that's made with a hoodie or jacket. Which is my favorite kind of costume. For the same $15 you can get a cheap pre-made costume, or a nice jacket he can wear for the rest of the year!

Here's all you need to make one:
  • gray hoodie or jacket
  • gray felt (we bought 1/4 yard off a bolt to have a long enough piece for the tail)
  • black felt - 1 sheet
  • white felt  - 1 sheet
  • 12" elastic (I used 1/4" braided elastic) you won't need the whole thing, but this way you're sure to have enough
  • mask pattern
  • black thread 
  • white thread
  • small amount of stuffing (optional, you can also leave the tail flat)
Raccoon Pose

Friday, October 20

DIY Desk Series #17 - Floor Desk with Drawers

Today's floor desk adds some great storage space, while keeping things clean and simple.

inspiration photo source

This desk has a drawer on each side to help keep office supplies or papers handy. For each side, you can choose between a single drawer or a stack of two drawers.

Shopping List:

  • 1  -  1x10  @  6'
  • 1  -  1x4  @  10'
  • 1  sheet 3/4" plywood
  • 2 - 4 sets of  18" drawer slides (depending on how many drawers you make)
  • 2 - 4 drawer pulls (for a seamless look you can use the space under the tall drawers to open them and skip the pulls)
  • Kreg Jig
  • 1 1/4" pocket hole screws
  • 1 1/4" wood screws
  • finishing nails
  • glue
  • sandpaper and finishing supplies

Dimensions: 60" wide x 20" deep x 12 3/4" high

To make a taller desk, you need to equally add to the height of three things:
  • the sides
  • the backs
  • the drawer fronts (easier to do with the single drawer!)
plywood cut layout

Thursday, October 19

DIY Desk Series #16 - Simple Floor Desk

We'll start our floor desks with the easiest one! Trust me, this one is as easy as it looks!

P.S. Check out the rest of our free DIY Desk Plan Series here!
And the rest of the floor desk plans here!

inspiration photo source

This desk has a super simple design with clean lines that's great for keeping your space light and airy. And it's easy to adjust the height to fit your needs by changing the length of the legs!

Shopping List:
1  -  2x2  @  8'
1  -  2x2  @  6'
1  -  3/4" plywood  @  36 x 20"
Kreg Jig
2 1/2" pocket hole screws
2" wood screws
wood glue
sandpaper and finishing supplies

Dimensions: 36" wide x 20" deep x 14 1/4" high

Wednesday, October 18

Floor Desk Series Intro

Welcome to floor desks! This is the third phase in our DIY desk building series and I'm so excited about these! I'll tell you what, there are all kinds of desks out there and even quite a few standing desk, but when you start searching for a floor desk? The pickings are pretty slim. Believe it or not, the benefits of a floor desk can actually be pretty similar to those of a standing desk. It's great to get your legs and hips out of their usual position and moving around! If you're interested in reading more about this and other ways to get more movement in your workday, check out the book Don't Just Sit There. And read anything else by Katy Bowman:

And when you're ready to give a floor desk a try, this is a great place to get started! Here are a few tips for building and using your floor desk:
  •  Make it the right height. The floor desks in this series are all drawn with a knee-space 12" high. You need space for your knees without putting your keyboard too high. If you're particularly tall or short, you may want to do some measuring to get a good fit. Sit down a measure from the floor to your elbows to get a good idea of your keyboard height, but also measure to the top of your knees to make sure your legs will fit! If you plan to sit on a cushion or bosu, sit on it while you measure.
  • Keep it safe for the kids. The low height of these desk makes them very accessible to children! So think carefully about everything you will put in an on the desk to avoid sharp objects, choking hazards, and anything you don't want broken. 
  • Ease into it. Not used to a floor work station? Don't ditch your standard desk just yet. You might need to go back and forth for a while while you adjust.
  • Don't just sit down there. Just like standing still or sitting in a chair all day, sitting still on the ground all day isn't going to be that beneficial for you either. Use this chance to move your legs, stretch your calves, and change position often.  
Here are the quick links to all the floor desks we'll be building, followed by tips for modifying a few other plans in the series to standing-height (don't forget to check out the rest of the desk building series):

Floor Desk Plans

These links will start going up tomorrow, but for today we'll be looking at all the other desks in this series that can easily be altered to create a standing desk, plus one other super easy floor desk idea.

Adapt by Shortening the Legs:

Adapt by Mounting Lower on the Wall:

And One More...
Just for a minute let's talk about Katy Bowman's floor desk up at the beginning of this post. Because it's beautiful and easy and I love it. A vintage coffee table (or a vintage table with the legs cut down to height) also makes a perfect, one-of-a-kind floor desk!

Happy Building! (And don't forget to check out the rest of the series!)