Wednesday, October 31

Shoebox Gifts: How + Why

Guys, did you know it's Shoebox Season??? Every year Operation Christmas Child delivers gifts around the world, and you can be a part of it! Drop-off week is November 12-19 this year, so let's get packing!

We look forward to this every year because - not only is it tons of fun - it's a great way to get your kids to think about giving in a season that's usually all about getting. Don't have kids to do it with? It's still super fun and an amazing opportunity to give!

All you do is take the kids (or yourself) to the store and fill a shoebox with all the gifts you can pack in. Then Samaritan's Purse International Relief will deliver the boxes around the world to impoverished little boys and girls who wouldn't get a single Christmas gift without you.

Here's all you need:
  • a shoebox (we like to buy plastic shoeboxes that can be also be used as buckets if needed)
  • age appropriate toys (you can see the age categories and suggested gifts here, plus a list of things you can NOT include like toy weapons, candy, or liquid soaps.)
  • a letter or drawing to the child
  • OCC printed label for your box (plus $9 to help cover shipping and other expenses)
  • A large rubber band to secure the lid

That's it! We love letting each boy pack a box for a boy his own age. Here are some of our favorite gifts each year:

Monday, October 29

$35 Home Office Refresh {Fall Budget-Reno Challenge}

Guys, this was fun.

I mean, I always like DIY and design projects, but there's a whole different kind of thrill when you pull off a big-impact change with a small-budget price tag. Lately I've been struck with the realization that as much as I love HGTV, I can't help but feel that they've taken a far step from attainable DIY into a new realm of "low budget" that's... way outside my budget. What's the point of looking at these beautiful spaces if they make us want what we can't have and buy what we can't afford? I so badly want to bring us back to a place where we look into our own homes and our own resources and carefully create homes that our just what we need them to be in every way. But that's a rant for another day. It's also the main reason I was so excited for this budget challenge!

If you joined us in the challenge we'd love to see (or at least hear about) what you did! You can leave links in the comments, tag us on instagram ( or facebook (@morelikehome), or tag your posts #morelikehomeblog and we'll check out your work! 

The rules were super simple (full details are in this post):
- refresh or reno a space in your home before you're cooped up looking at it all winter
- set a budget (whatever works for you!) and stick to it
- make thrifty magic happen (we'd love to see some $0 spaces!)
- share it with the group! If you want to. No pressure, guys. 

Ready to see what we did with our $50 budget? Brace yourselves - here's a quick flashback to the sad place we started:

Monday, October 8

Fall Budget-Renovation Challenge

Ready for a challenge? I'm checking one more thing off my to-do list before the cold weather hits and I'd love for you to join me!

Let's stretch those creative muscles and get our homes ready for fall! And I'm not talking about pumpkins or scarecrows. I'm talking about getting our homes ready for our families to cozy up inside on a chilly day. Making space to weather the coming winter and enjoy time together. Is there a corner of your home that needs a little attention before you're cooped up with it all winter? A dark kitchen that needs painted? Living room that needs freshened up or rearranged? Need to simplify the play room? That's the space we're talking about! And guys, we're doing it all on a budget. Because a house doesn't have to be expensive to be a home.

So what's the budget? It's whatever works for you. The point of this budget isn't to tie you down to an impossible goal. It's to give you the freedom do what you can, where you're at right now. Whether that means spending $50 or $100, just buying a can of paint, or reusing what you already have (I would love to see some $0 makeovers!), I want to see what you can do with what you've got.

This is a use-what-you-have, DIY, Craigslist extravaganza. 

Leftover paint? Use it! Hand-me-down chair in the basement? Bring it up! Need a new table? Start second-hand hunting! Let's make it happen.

Of course this is going to look very different for everyone depending on what materials you have on hand, the skills at your disposal, and whether or not you're a furniture hoarder from way back. *ahem* But guess what? It doesn't matter. You don't need to worry about what anyone else is doing/making/spending because this challenge is all about you, what your family needs, and what your home needs.

Now let's talk details: I'm setting a deadline of three weeks. That way any weekend warriors will have three full weekends for their DIY feats, and you Craiglist ninjas have time for some serious hunting. So on Monday, October 29 I'll share what we've done and I love for you guys to show us what you've been working on!

Sound good? Are already thinking of the perfect space to tackle? Here's what I'll be working on:

The little desk corner of our home office/library. This little room is one of the most-loved in our home and between reading, homeschool, and crafting we spend a good amount of time in here most days. The other half of the room is ready to go with floor pillows and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, but this side just isn't working for us as well as it could. Or as well as we need it to. We need space to roll out felt, storage for homeschool books, and more simplified/organized space on the whole. So here's my basic plan:
  • make the desk space more functional with a larger work surface
  • add shelving above the desk
  • organize and simplify the stuff (including that craft closet next to the desk)
Hopefully that's as simple as it sounds! And my budget to get it done is under $50.

I'll share progress and sneak peeks on Instagram as we go if you'd like to follow along! And we'd love to see your work - just tag us!

What would you love to tackle for your fall budget-reno??

Tuesday, October 2

Butcherblock Countertop: What Didn't Work

This countertop has been my bane. If you're here looking for a perfect fool-proof finish for your own butcherblock, I'm sorry to say you've come to the wrong place. I wish I could help you, but I know when I'm beat. And this thing has beat me down real good. In fact, if you have any tips on sealing a wood countertop please leave a comment and point me in the right direction. Please. But for now I will tell you what we've tried (and how we landed on butcherblock in the first place) in case it can be helpful to your own project!


In spite of all the woodwork I've done, this is my first experience with wood countertops. We've had everything from laminate, to concrete, to the dark granite in our current kitchen. But I've always loved the look of butcherblock. So as soon as we decided to add a small peninsula into our kitchen I started toying with the idea of a wood top.