Monday, November 18

Christmas Budget Printable

Every year we set a Christmas budget.
Every year we go in with good intentions.
And every year we blow it. 

Our track record is pretty abysmal. But not this year. With Dave Ramsey in our back pocket, we've set a budget that's lower than ever. And we are fighting tooth and nail to stick to it. We've talked to family about switching to a secret Santa system so everyone can spend less. We're limiting ourselves to the "Four Gifts" for our own kids (something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read). And we are so excited to say goodbye to both excess spending and excess stuff.

So I made this handy budget printable to help me keep track of what we have, what we need, what we've spent, and how much is left. And I'm sharing it as a free download today so you guys can join us in kicking Christmas debt to the curb! I also have a few budgeting tips to share, plus a video to walk you through exactly how we use each sheet.



Thursday, November 14

Easiest DIY Pillow Covers

Today we're going to look at a super quick and easy way to refresh a space... that also happens to be a great way to increase your holiday cheer factor. I'm talking about swapping out your pillow covers! And today I'll even show you the easiest way to make your own.


Pillow covers are one of my favorite ways to refresh a room, but did you know they're also one of the best secret weapons in seasonal decor?
  • They take minimal effort to switch out, but make a huge impact.
  • They take almost no space to store in the off-season.
  • They are easy and affordable to make!

Monday, November 11

Shop Small Gift Guides (under $30!)

Supporting small businesses and makers is a great way to tackle Christmas shopping while making a positive impact. It's something we've been trying to move toward for the last few years. But along the way I've stumbled across a few challenges and I'm wondering if you have the same struggles? So today I'm going to try to help guide you through them and share my 2019 Shop Small Gift Guides {for women, men, and kids}!


The two biggest challenges I've found in "shopping small" are budget and local availability.

The availability issue is becoming increasing easy to side-step, thanks to sites like etsy that bring hundreds of handmade shops right into our own living rooms. If you live in a rural area without local shops, this is a great option! If you live in an area that does offer local options, however, you should check them out! There are some really friendly people out there running the cutest little shops! For today, I'll be sharing a bunch of Etsy options that should knock this issue out of the park.

Now about that budget question. I know we all have different Christmas budgets and we do our best with what we have. I also know it can be tough to find local or handmade gifts that fit into smaller budgets. But I've got two tricks to try to help you over that hurdle today, too.
  1. All the options in my gift guides today are $30 or less. And I know, for some of you even that can be too much. I get that and I don't ever encourage going in to debt for Christmas gifts. It's not worth it. If you don't have that much to spend, don't sweat it. This is a zero judgment post. I just want to share the best options I can find and you are welcome to do whatever you want with the information. And just to be clear, we will be doing plenty of not-small shopping this season, as well. Looking at you, Legos. At the MLH house, we're all about those baby steps, folks.
  2. Sometimes it helps to rethink our priorities. This is a seed I've been watering for the last few years as I ask myself "What do we really want to bring into our home, and what values do we want to instill in our boys?" Do we really want to fill our home with a mountain of cheap plastic crap that will end up broken and in the trash? Do we want to create the feeling of such over-abundance that our kids stop feeling grateful for all the good things we have? Or... would we rather take that Christmas budget and invest it a little differently? Instead of a mountain of cheap gifts, buy fewer gifts that are meaningful and higher quality. Instead of a bunch of plastic, invest in sustainable wooden toys and gifts whenever possible. Instead of over-crowding and cluttering our home, give fewer toys and less junk we just don't need.
So today I'm making it a little easier for you to take that first step by rounding up a few of my favorite gift ideas that are all available on Etsy and that are all under $30. Ready to shop small?



Thursday, November 7

Cross-Stitch Family Portrait Tutorial

It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally putting together a tutorial for the cross stitch family portrait I shared on Instagram! If you've never tried cross stitch before, you're in luck. It's just about the easiest needlecraft out there. Seriously, my 8-year-old can do it. It's a perfect way to snuggle up and relax on a chilly evening, and make something beautiful at the same time.


These family portraits are easy to make and easy to customize for your own family! And they are officially the first post in my 2019 Christmas Series because they make such amazing gifts for friends and family. (I just saw a cross-stitch house and I'm planning to give that a try next that would also make a great gift!).


You only need a few simple supplies to get started with cross stitch, so it's a great hobby if you have limited storage space. Here's all you need (all from the same aisle at your fave craft store):
  • an embroidery hoop (The size depends on the size of your project. I used a 6" hoop for this portrait but could have gone smaller.)
  • cross-stitch fabric (I buy the rolls and cut it up for multiple projects)
  • an embroidery needle (larger than a standard sewing needle)
  • embroidery thread (whatever colors you need for your project)
  • a pattern (you can download my family portrait patterns, buy patterns in-store or on etsy, find free patterns on pinterest, or draw your own!)

Monday, November 4

Winter Bucket List 2019

Hey peeps! There's a chill in the air and I wanted to go ahead and get you this printable bucket list so you're ready to go whenever winter actually hits your area. Just print it out, hang it on the fridge, and make the most of this cozy holiday season! And let me know in the comments - what's your favorite winter tradition?



You can find the rest of my 2019 Holiday posts here, and check out my full holiday archive here!



Thursday, October 31

Natural Remedy Roundup (plus video tour of our DIY herbal "medicine" cabinet)

It's official. We've reached the time of year when we will have at least one runny nose in the house until spring. So I've been busy this week stocking up a few of our favorite remedies to help keep this bunch in tip-top shape. So today I just wanted to share all those favorites in one place, along with a video tour of my herbal "medicine" cabinet. I'll show you what remedies I make vs. which ones I buy, what herbs I keep on hand, and what I use them all for!

You can check out all my natural living posts here. 


Thursday, October 24

$50 Master Bedroom Refresh (Our Fall Challenge Reveal!)

It's reveal day! Did you join the Budget Refresh Challenge?

Today I'm sharing how we totally refreshed our master bedroom and made it so much cozier for under $50! If you love a good before + after, hold on to your hats. This is your time.


Let's start with the before (you can read more about it here). This picture was take almost two years ago:


Monday, October 21

Favorite Easy Fall Dishes

Hey friends! I put together a little bonus post this week with a few of our fall-favorite meals that are super easy to make! Spoiler: they're all in the soup family. Apparently I love a hot soup on a cool day!

I'm just going to list all the recipes for you in this post because they're so short and simple:


Thursday, October 17

Easiest Upholstered Headboard (and the easy way to mount headboard on the wall!)

We're finally giving our master bedroom a little during our Budget Refresh Challenge! (Get all the details here - there's still time to tackle your own space!) 

So today I'm going to show you how we made the easiest upholstered headboard ever!


We have barely touched this space since we moved in. I mean, we've addressed a few functional issues over the years. Two years ago when we upgraded to a king size mattress I had to build a frame for it (check out my posts on why we chose a floor bed and how we built it). Then I built a pair of crate night stands to match our new bed height and added a pair of thrifted sconces so we weren't living in darkness. But after all that it still felt like a bare-bones room!


Sunday, October 13

October 2019 Giveaway {Cozy Minimalist Home}

Hey friends! Just wanted to give a heads-up to anyone who follows my blog but doesn't follow me on social media yet - I'm doing a giveaway over there this month!

I am so grateful to all of you who follow along and participate as I run this little blog! It makes my day and it's actually a big help to me! So this month I have a great giveaway just for you guys. Here's all you have to do to enter:
  1. Follow me on social media (facebook, instagram, or both to double your chances!) 
  2. Like every post during the month of October. 
That's it! Just hit the little heart or thumbs up when you see me in your feed. Likes are such a big help to little fish like me - they help me be seen more, and make it possible for me to find partnerships and sponsors (which means more goodies for you!). So, really, when you see ANY of your favorite accounts in your feed give them all a quick like or, better yet, a comment!

But back to this giveaway- at the end October I'll randomly chose a winner who had liked every post! Your odds are pretty good. 😉 I've got a fun and cozy fall prize package that I can't wait to send someone's way! Here's what you could win:
  • A copy of one of my favorite books - Cozy Minimalist Home. It's an easy read that is absolutely packed with the best home decorating advice. More Style, Less Stuff. You will create home decor magic with this in your hand.
  • An all natural 100% beeswax candle. Candles are the ultimate weapon in creating a cozy atmosphere, and this one does the job without releasing anything harmful into the air.
  • One of my favorite pillow covers from Hobby Lobby. It's gray with tassels at the corners and great texture. Perfect for creating a cozy landing spot on your favorite couch!

This is just my little thank you to my peeps for following and interacting - I can't even tell you how much it means to me. Thank you for being my people!!! Tell your friends!

Enter on Instagram
Enter on Facebook 

**This giveaway is not sponsored by Cozy Minimalist Home, Hobby Lobby, candles, or anyone. 🙂 Open to anyone in the Contiguous United States. 

Thursday, October 10

Low-Budget Bathroom Update (during our spending freeze!)

Today I want to share a little inspiration for anyone taking on the Fall Budget Refresh Challenge - so I'm going to show you how we totally refreshed our second bathroom during our spending freeze and spent (almost) nothing. It's a tale of thrifty updates, leftover paint, and a broken toilet seat. You have been warned.

Are you joining the Budget Refresh Challenge this fall? There are still two weeks left to work all kinds of thrifty magic! Let us know in the comments or tag us on Instagram or Facebook!


Thursday, October 3

2019 Fall Budget-Refresh Challenge

When I feel that first hint of fall in the air, I get a craving.

And no, it's not pumpkin spice. I'm Team Apple Cider all the way! But that's not it, either.

I start to crave quiet. And coziness. And snuggling up. My introverted heart looks toward chilly days hunkered down at home. So as fall begins to creep in, I start to quiet the house and get it ready for winter. Not just shutting storm windows and draining hoses and all that other homeowner stuff, but I also start to ready the atmosphere of our home for this cozier half of the year. The home I want our kids to remember - a place that's warm and welcoming and ours.

And so Fall is always the perfect time for our Budget-Refresh Challenge. A last chance before winter to tackle that space or project we've been putting off! Last year was our first challenge and I'm super excited to host it again this year! Ready to join the fun and make your home the best it can be?


The Challenge:
Making space to weather the coming winter and enjoy time together. That's it. 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 your challenge space! And guys, we're doing it all on a budget. Because a house doesn't have to be expensive to be a home.

Thursday, September 26

Top 10 Things I Buy at Thrift Stores

Have you ever decorated your home with only a small budget? If so, then you’re probably already familiar with your local thrift stores. But whether you’re a seasoned pro or you’re new to the arena, it helps to know what you should be looking for! So today I wanted to share a short list of my very favorite things to hunt for when I’m thrifting, along with what I typically pay for those items. I’ll tell you now, there are some deals to be had out there if you’re willing to search a bit!

That’s why I love thrifting. Sometimes a little too much. It's easy to see those prices and just snatch up everything in sight that you might ever possibly use. I know. I used to do that myself. But trust me - from this side of things, I can tell you that it is so worth it to wait for the thing you really need and will really use. Right now. Don't clutter up your home just because it's a good deal. So, with that in mind, here are my top 10 favorite things to thrift!


Thursday, September 19

Breakfast Fried Rice

Okay guys. Get ready for one of my favorite breakfasts ever. It's time for breakfast fried rice. I'll start with the super simple recipe, then give you a few tips I use to make it extra-easy to put together in the morning. Be warned, I have no amounts listed because I just add whatever looks like enough for all of us.

Breakfast Fried Rice

Ingredients:
  • bacon
  • cooked rice (leftover is perfect)
  • spinach
  • frozen peas 
  • salt + pepper
  • eggs (and oil if you want to fry them)
1. Cook the bacon. Then crumble it and set it aside. Reserve some of the bacon grease in the pan for cooking (I pour the extra in a bowl in case I need to add more later. You know, since I don't measure and don't know exactly how much I need.)

2. In the pan with the reserved bacon grease (you can use oil instead), dump in cooked rice. Stir fry it for several minutes until it's warm and toasty.

3. Add spinach, frozen peas, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until peas are thawed. Add crumbled bacon.

4. In a separate pan, cook the eggs. (I go ahead and start them while the rice is cooking so it all gets done around the same time) Most of my family loves fried eggs, but I always make a couple scrambled for the ones who prefer that.

5. Serve a scoop of fried rice with an egg on top! Season with salt + pepper to taste.



There are a few things you can do to make it all come together easy peasy in the morning:
  • Make a meal with rice earlier in the week. Cook extra while you're at it to save in the fridge for fried rice day!
  • Same with bacon - cook it earlier in the week for BLT's or something. Save several pieces of bacon and the bacon grease in the fridge. 
Then on the best day (fried rice day) the hard work is already done and it all comes together quickly.

Check out the rest of my recipes here!

The lesser-seen side of our dining room. I love how it's coming together!

What's your favorite breakfast recipe?

Thursday, September 12

Simple Mini Bookcase

"The best building plans in life are simple. Like, super simple."

Okay, that may not be a famous quote (yet), but I do think there's something extra sweet about plans that are quick and easy to build with basic tools. But did you know...

Simple doesn't have to be boring.

So today I'm sharing plans to build mini bookcase that's super simple to build and totally cute!
Check out our complete list of free plans here.


This bookcase is the perfect little size to squeeze in just about anywhere! Try it by your favorite reading chair, try it in a kids room, tuck it into a corner or hallway, even use it as a nightstand (perfect for all you bedtime readers!). But what really makes this guy special is the sweet trim detail on the sides. That trim really makes the whole thing look so high-end, and you won't believe how easy it is!


Thursday, September 5

How to Style a Mantle in 4 Easy Steps

It started after Christmas.


The lights came down, the tree came down, and then all the regular decor came down. I had just finished reading the Cozy Minimalist book and I was so ready to simplify. The room, the decor, the toys, and all the stuff. And the first step was to calm the room. Remove all the extra.

Take a breath.

Then carefully decide what deserves to come back in. 

We wrapped the mantle ourselves and added the faux shiplap!

Thursday, August 29

How to Cut Your Own Photo Mats

Have you ever had trouble matting a photo? I love how clean and professional frames look with a mat, but it's hard to find mats for large frames or odd-size photos and artwork. And when standard sizes don't fit you're stuck looking at pricey custom mats.

But there's a better way! You can cut your own photo mats right at home, in just a few minutes, for a fraction of the cost. Today I'll show you how!


Thursday, August 22

Packing + Organizing a Camper Van for a Family of 6

I've mentioned a few things about how we pack our DIY Camper Van, but I wanted to try to give you a better idea of how we actually make it work. What we pack, how we pack it, and where it all fits. So this is the post with all the nitty gritty (but probably not-super-interesting) packing details. Hold onto your hats, folks, and let's start at the beginning:

The first step in packing our camper van is to remove the back two rows of seats and the jump seat right by the door. This leaves room for Nathan and I in the front, followed by a three-seat row with two carseats (I left a seat between them open so I could sit by the baby sometimes), followed by a two-seat row with two more carseats. We've found removing the jump seat makes a world of difference when we're getting in and out of the beds! It's a little extra work to get it out, but totally worth it!

Not to scale. That leg room is false.

With the seats out, we can install the bunk system (it's removable when we're not camping and the foundation of making this van work for our family of six!). Once the bunk is installed, I put in both mattresses in place and go ahead and make them up with sheets, blankets, and pillows. Then I roll up the bottom bed toward the left side of the van like this:


Thursday, August 15

Felt Unicorn Altoid Tin Playset

You guys know I love a good DIY toy, right? (you can see our full list of toys here) Today I'm adding another installation to my DIY felt toy collection with this sweet little unicorn playset!

You can see all the other felt toy goodies here:
Today's toy is another little pocket-size set that fits in an altoid tin. It's great for on-the-go play and makes a perfect stocking stuffer!


The little unicorn lives in a little tree and has a little blanket to tuck in with.


There's also a basket that holds a tiny cupcake, carrot, and lettuce.


And it all fits into the tin when you're done playing! I mean, *ahem* when the kids are done playing. But no one will judge you if you need to play with it just a little.


Thursday, August 8

The Stack-a-Bed (converts from twin to king!)

To quote my three-year-old:

"THIS IS MY BEST MOMENT."
 
Because it's a clever design?
No.
Because it's super easy to build?
No.
Because it's affordable?
Also no.
I mean, sure, it is all those things. But here's the deal: all on my own, with no help from my lead advisor (a.k.a. husband), I, Georgia of the More Like Home, came up with the name "stack-a-bed". This is my best moment.


And now it can be your best moment when you build your own stack-a-bed. Why is it called the stack-a-bed, you ask? Well I'll tell you. The whole system is based on two of these super simple (and easy to build) bed frames:

 

When you just need a twin bed, you can stack the two bed frames (with their mattresses) to save floor space! This makes it great for a small guest room, a guest room/office combo, playroom/office combo, a kids room for sleepovers, or even an air bnb where you need a flexible sleeping area:


Then when you have guests and need a bigger bed, the beds unstack and sit side-by-side to make a king size bed! Just like that, you have a real, comfortable bed with room for your guests to stretch out:

Don't worry about the gap between the mattresses! Amazon sells a converter kit that fills it in to make a seamless bed!

Then when the guests leave? Stack it back up and regain your floor space! Ikea just came out with a stacking bed and it's genius, but I thought you guys might like a DIY version that's:
  • super easy to build and doesn't require any special tools (just a saw and a drill!)
  • affordable (all the lumber at my local Home Depot would be under $100 for two bed frames, or even under $80 if you use 1x6s instead of 1x8s for the sides!)
  • accessible for anyone who doesn't live near an Ikea
Ready to build your own?

Thursday, August 1

Guest Room Revamp (during our spending freeze!)

I gave a little teaser of this space when I shared my DIY floor plan art (you can turn your own home into a work of art!) and today I wanted to share the super simple and affordable way I totally refreshed this space... without spending a dime during our spending freeze!


From the day we moved in, I was never crazy about the blue walls in our guest room. For some reason I have never liked blue. Which I realize is ironic since I painted our entire house dark blue and love it with all my heart. I guess I only like a very specific blue? But for whatever reason, these blue walls just rubbed me the wrong way. I'd spent quite a bit of time over the last couple years scheming their demise, but always ran into the age old debate of the MLH household:

How much color do we need on the walls?
Me: "Less."
Husband: "More."


Thursday, July 25

Our Treasure Shelf {and other thrifty finds}

You know I love a good thrifty find and I love seeing the great deals you guys find, too! If you follow me on Instagram, you already saw my sister's amazing haul from a few weeks ago:

She got all these things for $0.90 total! Two embroidered pillowcases, a child-size embroidered tablecloth, three vases, a crochet doll blanket, and a vintage accordion coat rack! I couldn't believe it!

My own thrifting has been put on hold during our spending freeze (yep, it's still going while we pay off some debts and save for some future dreams!) but I do have a few thrift store goodies from last fall that I never shared. So here's your thrifty inspiration for today!

Thursday, July 18

Michigan Camping Trip (Sleeping Bear Dunes + Petoskey)

A travel blogger, I am not. But we took our first trip in our DIY camper van and, guys - it was too good not to share. Like I'm still thinking about it two months later and I cannot recommend this trip enough. It was beautiful. The views were stunning, and it was perfect for our little adventure loving boys.

So here is a quick rundown of the details. Partly to help if you want to plan your own trip (it's just a hop and skip for my Midwestern friends!) and partly so I can remember the details later. Mom brain and all. :)

You can check out all the posts about our DIY camper van here.


Thursday, July 11

DIY Floor Plan Art (and How to Find Unique Art That You Love!)

Pinterest is full of unique wall art ideas - everything from maps to hats, and even antique bike frames. You can turn almost anything into a piece of art. But here's the thing:

Art should be something you love.

I mean, those hats look pretty cool. And they're super trendy right now. But... do I love hats? No. I don't even wear hats. With the exception of one well-loved Magnolia hat that I only wear when my hair is too far gone. So a wall of hats probably doesn't deserve a place in my home. Guys, don't let the fickle winds of trendiness distract you from what your home should be. It should be yours. It should be a reflection of you and your family and the things you (really, truly) love.

If you feel stuck or confused when it comes to artwork in your home, the first thing you should do is make a list of the things you love (and the second thing is reading Cozy Minimalist Home to learn how to best display those things). Do you love running? Camping? Dogs? Tacos? Put those on the list! Those are the things that might deserve the honor of being on your walls. Did you notice that important word? Might? We only have so much wall space, guys. And we don't want to fill every inch. Let your master list serve as a starting point, but don't be afraid to weed out the things that don't make the cut for your walls (it doesn't mean they aren't still important to you!) and get a firm grasp on what really speaks into your life and your home.

So I don't love hats. But know what I do love? Here's my (shortened) list:
  • My Family
  • Plants
  • Books
  • Mountains
  • Rocks
  • Architecture
When you look around my home, those are the things you should see. Plus you'll surely see Star Wars posters and all manner construction paper creations because I'm not the only one who lives here, after all. This is a family deal and, like all things, it takes some balance.


Today our home is looking a little more "lived in," but we were here almost two years without any artwork on the walls. No photos, no paintings, nothing permanently hung anywhere. I was paralyzed with indecision as I looked for "the perfect thing" for our walls. I searched through home decor stores and scoured pinterest and instagram for ideas. Nothing felt right - because none of it was right for my home. But through all that time I had a little pile of collected goodies that I loved. I hadn't hung them for a totally ridiculous reason - they didn't look like what I was seeing everywhere else, so I thought they couldn't be right. Guys, I'm here to tell you that art should be something you love. Did I say that already? I finally took the plunge and turned a few of my favorite pieces into a gallery wall in the dining room. Then I added a little treasure shelf for the boys' nature finds. And things started to change. Now I have a clear vision for my home and I can tell more easily which things deserve our space and which ones just don't.

This all brings us (at long-winded last) to the whole point of today's post. The artwork I made for our guest room. It's collection of watercolor houses framed with floor plans, and it makes my heart happy. It also tickles the toes of our resident map-lover, because it's basically a house map.


Now if you've made it this far and you're thinking "I don't even like architecture" just hold on a second. Do you love your own home? The family you've raised there and the memories you've made? You can make one of your own home and just leave it at that. I'm planning to do our home on a larger scale to hang above the bed (and I'd also love to draw our last house because memories).

Thursday, June 27

DIY Insulated Camper Van Window Shades

When people find out we use our van as a camper, they typically have the same questions:
  1. Where do you all sleep?
  2. Do you have any privacy with all those windows?
  3. Isn't it hot/cold?
We already answered the first question with our DIY removable bunk system, and we'll address questions 2 + 3 today with DIY insulated window shades that provide both privacy and, well, insulation!

Check out all our camper van posts and tutorials here!


I was amazed the first time we used these shades - camping in 90+ degree weather in direct sun. We put up the shades, put a screen over the door to keep bugs out, and turned on a small portable fan. I napped in there with the baby without breaking a sweat. I couldn't believe it. I had been dreading the trip, afraid the van would be like an oven. But it wasn't!

I pretty closely followed this tutorial and used Reflectix insulation for the base of my window shades, then backed them with pre-quilted fabric. Could you use the Reflectix without the backing? Probably. It still insulates pretty well on its own, and it would save you some time and money for sure. So if funds are tight, give it a try! But the quilted fabric is great for several reasons: it gives more stability to the shades, adds another layer of insulation, and softens the interior of the van. I would use the quilted backing again in a heartbeat for that last reason alone. It helps to dampen sound and feels less stark than the plain Reflectix. It feels so cozy and quiet in there!

It was 90 degrees out in this photo, but we were cool and comfy in front of the fan! You can also see the window shades behind him.

Friday, June 21

Blueberry Cream Pie

I don't post recipes very often, but I just made this summer favorite last week and it was too good not to share! It's a perfect summer dessert - creamy, fruity, fresh, and subtly lemony.

You can also check out our favorite cold-weather dessert - chocolate volcano cakes!


Saturday, June 15

Bottom Bunk Shelving Unit - DIY Camper Van

Today I'm sharing plans for the under-bunk shelving unit we use in our DIY camper van! You can check out all our camper van posts here, or shortcut to these posts (I'll try to update links as they get posted):
  • Removable Bunk System (the backbone of our DIY camper!)
  • DIY Insulated Window Shades
  • DIY Window and Door Screens
  • How we pack and organize our camper van
  • Camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes + Petoskey


You can see the shelf inside the back doors in the photo above. This shelf is specifically designed to work with our removable bunk system. This van (Ford Transit T-350 XLT MR) is our full-time family vehicle so we definitely didn't want it to be a permanent camper. We designed removable bunks so we can put seats in for friends and family, take them out to haul furniture, and then pop in the bunk beds and go camping again. It's a hard working, versatile vehicle!

Esch Beach at Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI

With six people on the road, I wanted needed to make the most of our storage space. We use the space under the seats for things we don't need often, stash kitchen utensils in waterproof totes outside, and keep a bucket of shoes by the door. But for the clothes we need to access everyday, I wanted something easy to use, tucked out-of-the-way, and easy to organize. This little shelf with bins has been working well for us so far:


Thursday, June 6

DIY Ford Transit Camper Van (with removable bunks)

I have talked to my husband about getting a camper for YEARS. We've always loved camping, but we never loved packing up a wet tent at the end of a trip. And, is it just me, or does it always seem to rain?! I've dreamed about how a simple little camper could solve that problem. And I've dreamed about a pop-up camper for literally 20 years. Ever since I was little. And guys? That dream lives on. Because we still didn't get one. We may never get one. BUT we upgraded our family vehicle last year, and it surprised me with a brand new camper-esque opportunity.

Now let me stop you here for a minute: If you're looking for a beautiful, Pinterest-worthy camper van - you've come to the wrong place. This is not that van. It's nothing like a tiny house. There will be no beautiful interior shots with built-ins or even with the beds made, for goodness sake. It's not that kind of camper van.

But it is the kind of camper van that does exactly what we need it to do and takes us to beautiful Pinterest-worthy places.

So, if you're looking for a camper van that can fit four car seats, sleep two adults and four small children, prevent you from ever having to take down a wet tent, take you anywhere, and turn back into a regular old van between camping trips (thanks to a removable bunk system) - THIS IS THE BLOG FOR YOU. (You can find all our camper van posts linked here)


This van is our full-time family vehicle so we definitely didn't want it to be a permanent camper. We want to put seats in for friends and family, take them out to haul furniture, and then pop in the bunk beds and go camping again. It's a hard working, versatile vehicle!

Today I'll share how we made the bunks, then I'll work on separate posts to cover the rest of the details:
  • Bottom Bunk Shelving Unit
  • DIY Insulated Window Shades
  • DIY Window and Door Screens
  • How we pack and organize our camper van
  • Camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes + Petoskey 
I'm also creating a page with links to all our camper van posts here.
Esch Beach at Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI

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