Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to Pack for the Pool: 10 Pool Bag Essentials

How to make a pool bag

I love an impromptu trip to our neighborhood pool on a hot summer afternoon. But it is never easy to get out the door with a 3 year old and 5 year old in tow, so a well-stocked pool bag ready to go is a must! Today I'm partnering with Kandoo to share my top 10 pool bag essentials, and I have a tutorial for this colorful beach bag for you too. Can you guess what it's made from?!  

I keep my beach bag hanging up in our laundry room along with our swimsuits, flip flops, towels, etc. so they are all in one place. Here are the 10 things you'll almost always find in my bag! 

Top 10 Pool Bag Essentials!

Top 10 Pool Bag Essentials

1. Towel - I'll start with the most obvious one you don't want to forget. I store clean towels ready to go in our beach bag. I bought a couple of these honeycomb beach towels from Target to add to our stash, and they are just the right size.

2. Sunscreen - Another obvious one but so important! I try to put sunscreen on my daughters and myself before we leave the house as I know the second they see the pool they'll want to jump in. However, I always bring extra with me to reapply if needed. I have been a spray sunscreen convert - it is just so much easier to apply than the cream with kids that don't stand still!

3. Swim Coverup - This crocheted cover-up provides just the right amount of coverage and has a cute tie around the middle.

4. Sunglasses - The sun is hot in Texas! It's hard to go outside without them, so these are a must-have in my pool bag. Here's my favorite pair this season.

5. Floppy Hat - I bought my first floppy beach hat this summer and I'm hooked! Would you believe my black straw hat was only $3 at Walmart? Not only is it fun to wear, it provides that extra coverage that my 35 year old skin needs.

6. Comb and Detangler - In case we need to run anywhere directly from the pool I like to have a detangler, comb, and some extra hair ties to whip our hair into shape.

7. Cold Drinks - It never fails...within minutes of getting into the pool my kids are hungry and thristy! I like to bring a separate cooler bag with some water and juice boxes.

8. Snack - We have a go-to pool snack - our poolside trail mix! It hits the spot when you have worked up an appetite swimming and are craving something salty and sweet. Come back to the blog tomorrow for our "special recipe"! 

9. Wipes - A pack of wipes can be a lifesaver for a number of things - from chocolate-covered faces, to a runny nose, to an emergency toilet paper replacement if the pool bathroom happens to be out! These kids wipes are great because they are flushable.

10. A Good Read - Often times it is wishful thinking, but I can't head to the pool without grabbing something to read. For me, that usually means one of my favorite magazines. I'm happy if I can manage to flip through a few pages while watching the girls in the pool.

11. Pool Bag - Last but not least, don't forget the bag! This year I decided to make my own...out of a reusable shopping bag and duct tape. Yep, you read that right! I've got the tutorial for you below. ;)

How to make your own pool bag from duct tape!

Read on for the duct tape pool bag tutorial!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cactus Balloons!

Cactus balloons!

It was only a matter of time. Cactus crafts have been all the rage among my fellow craft bloggers this summer, and I just had to partake in the balloon form, of course!

Cactus balloons!

I got the idea for these prickly pear cactus balloons after visiting Arizona in May and being inspired by all the cool cacti! I thought the pads on the prickly pear looked just like the shape of a balloon and I was dying to get back home and give it a try. A little helium, a little hot glue, and a few pink pom-poms to top it off and we have cactus balloons!

This is a fun craft to try for a summer party (like this cactus themed ice cream party!) or you can inflate these with air instead of helium, add to a balloon stick, and use as hip decor in your home that will last for weeks! Here's what you'll need:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Getting Our Garage Summer Ready - The Reveal!

Garage organization with Rubbermaid FastTrack

On Friday, I shared our plans to reign in all our pool gear piling up in our garage with the help of Rubbermaid's FastTrack organization system, and today I'm back with the big reveal!

Garage organization with Rubbermaid FastTrack

It feels so good to have all of our pool floats, inner tubes, buckets, and beach chairs nicely organized on the wall instead of in a heap on the floor! 

Garage Organization with Rubbermaid FastTrack

Ross and I were able to hang these two 84" FastTrack rails along with a variety of shelves, baskets, and hooks in about 3 hours the other night. 

Garage Organization with Rubbermaid FastTrack

Read on to see the "before" shots of the garage and how we created our summer pool gear wall!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Getting Our Garage Summer Ready - Part 1

With the temps heating up in San Antonio, we are hitting up the neighborhood pool multiple times a week. In the process, we're amassing a growing collection of pool toys, inner tubes, noodles, and kick boards piling up in our garage to the point where it is becoming difficult to park our cars! So Ross and I headed to Home Depot last week to come up with a Design Improvised solution. ;)

When Rubbermaid asked me to come up with a clever use for their FastTrack garage organization product, we immediately thought about reigning in the pool gear. We had already installed a FastTrack rail in our garage to hold brooms, mops, and a leaf blower and loved how easy the product was to install and customize, so using it again for our latest organization challenge was a no brainer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 Creative (and Cheap!) Ways to Decorate a Gift Box

I'm a sucker for nicely wrapped gifts, but it can get expensive quickly by the time you pay extra for a gift bag or wrapping, tissue paper, ribbon, etc. each time you buy a present. Well, I've got some fun gift toppers for you that require little more than a plain white box and some odds and ends from your crafting supplies!

With this Martha Stewart gift box maker you don't even have to buy the box! This tool makes pillow boxes perfect for small items and gift cards out of any pretty paper you have on hand.

Here are 5 ways to transform a plain gift box in under 5 minutes!

1. Pom-Poms - I know I'd sure love getting a gift dotted with little pom-poms! Just add a dab of hot glue and attach them in a line or scattered across the top of the box. These would be so fun paired with one of my pom-pom balloons!

2. Yarn "confetti" - the next time you make some yarn pom-poms don't throw away all those little bits you trim off - they make fun "confetti" for different art projects! To decorate the gift boxes, run a strip of double-sided tape down the middle, press a handful of yarn on top, and shake off the excess. You can add a dab of glue and more yarn to fill in any holes. 

3. Office supply stickers - I always have a set of these neon colored labels on hand. Just peel and stick and you have yourself a present. Pair it with these neon polka dot balloons!

4. Washi tape - so easy and so chic! Mix and match colors and patterns and try overlapping pieces for a fun effect. I've got the perfect balloon to pair with these too!

5. Ribbon scraps - ric-rac, pom-pom trim, whatever you have on hand. Add a couple strips to the top of the box with a dab of hot glue.

Want to make your own gift boxes too? Read on to see how easy it is to do!