DIY Farmhouse Style Playhouse Plans (Part 3 of 3)

A few days ago, I realized that I caught so caught up in Brandon coming home that I never shared the final post of the playhouse build! In case you missed parts 1 and 2, part one was the framing and part two was the roof.

Once the roof was on, it was time for my favorite part- painting and decorating! Before we painted, we used lathe strips to cover the seam lines in the siding and to frame out the doors and windows. We also added the wood serving area in the window and the decorative brackets underneath.Country-Farmhouse-Playhouse-24_thumbCountry-Farmhouse-Playhouse-28_thumb

I also used Minwax stain to stain all of the lathe strips and any wood that is exposed. I used one coat of Weathered Oak and then added one coat of Special Walnut on top of it. The exterior was primed with Kilz exterior primer and then painted with a coat of Sherman Williams “Bohemian Lace.” I planned on painting the interior the “Copen Blue” which I love, but found a gallon of random light blue paint on the oops clearance rack and decided to use that instead. The boys aren’t picky anyways 😉DIy-playhouse-farmhouse-47_thumb

Once it was painted, it was decorating time! Scroll to the bottom of the post for the links to all of the items!


Sources: Minwax Stain: Weathered Oak, Special Walnut / Wood Brackets / Dog Weather Vane / “Happy” Metal Sign (I actually got mine from the Target dollar section but that one is nearly identical) / Olive Bucket / Galvanized Planter (out of stock) / Thermometer / White Ceramic Vase- Target Dollar section / Galvanized Vase and Jasmine Plant / Wooden Chevrons / “Hey Ya’ll” Rug  / Blue Patterned Outdoor Rug / Wooden Pretend Ice Cream Truck Food / Kids AdirondackChairs

DIY Halloween Farmstand Tutorial

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, MARS Incorporated. All opinions are mine alone. #SpookySavings #BOOItForward #CollectiveBias
collapsible farmers market stand

Want to take all the awards at Trunk-or-Treat this year? It will be easy with the awesome fall farm stand that Brandon and I designed and built for all of our Halloween parties this year! We even made the stand collapsible so that it’s easy to store away when not in use, and if you wanted to use it for a market display, it would be easy to transport it, set it up, and take it back down. It’s freestanding so that it can go on a tailgate at Trunk-or-Treat, on a food table at a party, a desk at an office, or anywhere else your holiday imagination runs. This display has room for you to BOO all of your co-workers, neighborhoods, or friends, and Sam’s Club is my favorite place to buy Halloween candy in bulk because you save some much money buying it in their club. Hover over the image below to shop their bulk candy before they run out!


For our Halloween decorating and for Trunk-or-Treat, I wanted to go with a Pumpkin Patch theme, which is how we got the Farmstand idea. Most of us have some pumpkin decorations in our homes for fall, and I love being able to shop in my house for decorations for events. When I went to buy the wood, I bought the 1X4’s that are considered “lawn edging” wood, so instead of being $12 a board, they were only $2 a board for an eight food board. We used three (with some excess) so this whole project only cost us $6 (we had a few supplies before, check the list below). Decorating with pumpkins you already have, using a cheaper (but not any less strong) wood, and getting your candy in bulk at Sam’s Club means you can set up a display like this for less than $20 including the candy! To get the step-by-step instructions, just keep scrolling to the end!

To decorate our tailgate for trunk-or-treat, I started out with some fall colored blankets, and then added the cute farm stand.
Collapsable farmers market display
It is almost flat when collapsed, and totally sturdy when set up! I love it! Next, I added a farmer’s market crate, some fabric pumpkins, a fall sign, and a cute little wheelbarrow, all to add to the Farmer’s Market feel.
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To style the farm stand, I used hay (you can get green hay in the rabbit feed section of stores) to line the boxes. I wanted the market stand to look like a little pumpkin patch where you could pluck out your pumpkin (or candy!). Once the hay was in, I opened up my MARS® Mad Scientist and Skittles® / Starburst® Bag from Sam’s Club to fill it up! Their bulk bags make it so easy to have a great variety of candy and stay within your BOO budget. They are available with all of your favorite MARS and Wrigley products, keep your eye out for two specially marked Halloween bags in the aisles of your local Sam’s Club. bulk halloween candy sams club

It’s got all of my favorites! After filling the boxes up with candy, I added some small foam pumpkins to finish off the pumpkin patch look and it was ready for all my fall BOO-ing! I can’t wait to share it with all of our friends and neighbors!
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I know it’s going to be a hit at our Trunk-or-Treat! This stand is also a great place to hold lots of treat bags for people. We love BOO-ing at Halloween time, and we can BOO in bulk by buying lots of candy, making the treats bag up ahead of time and keeping them here to give out to friends and neighbors!
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Brandon gets the credit for designing most of this cute stand so I had him write out the instructions for me:

1X4- if you don’t mind the rustic look, landscaping 1X4’s are much cheaper
1/4” or 1/2” plywood
Wood Stain
Two pieces of thin scrap wood, or a 1X2

The following boards should all be cut to length for the frame:
– Two identical 1×4’s for the back legs
-Two identical boards somewhat longer for the front legs. The length depends on how deep you want your shelves to be. This measurement can be made through some sort of geometry or trigonometry, but I just held one of the boards up where it looked like we wanted the leg to be and drew a line so I could cut both boards the same length.
– One board cut to the total width of the stand, outside to outside for the sign across the top.
– Two smaller pieces of wood (a 1X2 is great) cut to the total width of the stand, outside to outside, to support the backs of the shelves.

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When all the boards are cut measure where you want to put your screws to attach the front legs to the back legs. This hole should be measured to the desired height (once again this was eyeballed) and centered in the board. When you have made this mark, drill a hole approximately half way through the back leg with a bit the same width as the head of the screw you are using. When those holes have been drilled use a drill bit the same width as the screw threads to drill a pilot hole the rest of the way through the back legs. These holes will allow the screw to spin freely in the back legs without pulling through. DIY farm stand market display collapsable (14)DIY farm stand market display collapsable (15)

When these holes have been drilled, line the front legs up underneath the back legs so that when you put the screw through the hole in the back leg and screw it snugly into the front leg underneath it the legs are able to swivel freely and when they are collapsed, they line up perfectly behind each other.DIY farm stand market display collapsable (18)

When both sides have front and back legs screwed together, screw (or nail, your preference) the board cut to the total width of the stand into the very top of the two back legs so that when the two front legs are extended, the sign is atop the stand facing out from the front.

Next to build the shelves the following boards should be cut to length:

– Four boards the width of the stand inside to inside (measure between the inside of the front legs)
– Two boards cut to the desired depth of the bottom shelve. (Once again, this measurement was made by holding a board up and eyeballing what looked like a good length)
– Two boards cut to the desired depth of the top shelf.
– Two thin sheets of plywood. One the area of the top shelf, one the area of the bottom shelf.DIY farm stand market display collapsable (20)

The shelves are assembled simply by making two boxes, one the depth desired for the bottom shelf and one the depth desired for the top shelf. We used a finish nail gun to nail the boards together, but if more structural integrity is needed, a Kreg Jig would work well to attach the corners. Then the plywood is attached to the bottom of the box. We used the finish nailer for this but if the shelves are to hold heavier objects, thicker plywood attached with screws may be preferable.

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After the shelves are assembled they are screwed into the front legs at the desired height using the same method that the front legs were screwed into the back legs, allowing the shelves to swivel and collapse inside the front legs.

When the shelves have been attached to the front legs it is time to attach the back slats to hold the shelves at the desired angle.

Start with the bottom shelf by holding the shelf at the desired angle and marking the back leg where the bottom of the shelf crosses the leg. Do this on both sides and then nail (or screw if needed) the slat into the back of the legs.

With the top shelf you can do this the same way if the height of the shelf allows it, but ours required a different approach since the screw attaching the shelf to the front leg was further toward the back of the shelf causing it to tip forward rather than back. Because of this the same mark was made on the back leg to mark the desired angle for the shelf, but instead of putting the slat beneath the line, it was attached above the line. Then another small slat just a couple inches wide and a few inches long was nailed into the bottom of the shelf, sticking out an inch or so so it would catch the back slat as the shelf tried to tip forward and keep it from tipping too far.DIY farm stand market display collapsable (22)

Also for the bottom shelf a small piece of wood was nailed to the very back of the underside of the shelf. This keeps the legs from spreading apart when the shelf is down. I finished the stand by staining it with one coat of “Weathered Oak” and a second coat of “Provincial” and added a vinyl decal I cut that says “pumpkins.” If anyone wants the cut file, comment below and let me know! Now it’s all ready and I love how easy it is to carry! DIY farm stand market display collapsable (50)DIY farm stand market display collapsable (45) copy

Ever since making this, we’ve all been so excited for Halloween here, but I am so lost on Halloween costumes! What are your kiddos being this year? Are you doing Trunk or Treat (don’t forget the candy!)?  I need ideas, and if you make one of these cute stands, please tag me so I can see!

Back to School In Style

Thank you JCPenney for sponsoring this post. Visit JCPenney in-store or online to shop the new fashionable picks at an affordable price!

Back-to-school season was one of my favorites as a kid. Remember how excited I said I am to go back to school shopping for Sawyer? Fresh new pencils, getting to pick out a cute colored binder, and best of all, getting new outfits. My Mom always let us pick out a new outfit to wear on the first day of school, and thanks to JCPenney, Sawyer and I got to shop this years hottest trends to find the perfect back-to-school outfits for him.jc penney boys  (5)

JCPenney is a one-stop shop for everything. In high school I remember trying on jeans for back to school while my Mom shopped for window curtains and then heading to the salon for hair products. JCPenney has always had great prices and on-trend styles, and I shopped there in high school so I could get the cutest clothes for a great value, and that is still the same today. Sawyer got to go back to school shopping with me at JCPenney the week before school started.

Sawyer is still young enough that I get to have fun choosing most of his clothes, but as he gets older, I love seeing what he picks out too.  90’s style is back and I love pairing this oversized flannel over a graphic tee with jeans. It’s a throw back look that is updated with today’s colors and brands. I also try to stick to clothes that he will be comfy in and this Carters t-shirt is so soft with no scratchy tags and if he gets too warm, he can take the flannel and just wear the t-shirt.jc penney boys  (2)

After trying on tops and pairs of jeans, we wandered through the shoes. Sawyer immediately loved these Nike’s and has worn them almost every single day since we bought them. I love that they don’t have laces, so he can get them on and off all by himself! Athletic clothes are always popular for boys.jc penney boys  (4)jc penney boys  (3)

I loved this cool backpack they had for the back-to-school season and after the coupon they had in the ad when I bought it, it was only $2.45!

One thing I try to do with the kids wardrobes is stick to clothes they can mix and match. These basketball shorts are a great option for him on warmer days or when he has P.E. jc penney boys  (6)

Thanks to JCPenney, I was able to get Sawyer a bunch of great back-to-school clothes that are on-trend and still have money for school supplies. While you’re shopping you can even get pictures done or get a hair cut, they’ve got it all.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Back to School Photo Checklist

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #samsungtargettech #CollectiveBias

As all of you know, I love taking pictures. I love my camera, and I love capturing all of the little moments that make our days into our life story. Back to school season is such an exciting, iconic season in our kids lives, I wanted to share a list of back to school photo ideas that will help you capture all the moments that make going back to school memorable. I’m also sharing with you some of my tips for breaking away from the normal point and shoot mode and getting Instagram-worthy, beautiful photos, even just off of your camera phone. I love my big full size camera, but it’s not realistic to carry that around all of the time. I recently got the Samsung Galaxy S8 and I love that with it, I have a great quality camera on me all the time to capture all of those little moments that make life special. All of the pictures in this post, except for the ones of the phone itself, are taken with my GS8.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Nowadays, all of us document most of out life with our cell phone camera. If you’re capturing things like your kids first steps or first day of school on your phone, you’re going to want the best camera possible right? The Galaxy S8 (and it’s larger friend, the GS8+) has a 12 megapixel rear camera, and an 8 megapixel front camera for super clear selfies. Selfies have gotten a bad rap, I love them because it means I can be in some of the pictures and have even more memories to pass down to my kids.2017-08-01 11.16.55 1

Taking great smiling pictures of our kids is fun, but I also love to capture the smaller details that we see but forget to document. When you get pictures of all the little details of back-to-school- their outfit, the morning prep, their favorite shoes, the walk to the school bus, you capture that morning forever, and for me, that means I can look back and make those moments last a little bit longer. Try taking pictures of their pencils, their handwriting, the way they brush their hair or tie their shoes, those take your photos from snapshots to a story. At the bottom of this post, I have a list of over 30 ideas for capturing the whole story of your back-to-school time.
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Another idea for taking your snapshots to the next level is to change up where you are standing. Instead of just standing in front of your child and quickly pressing the button, try changing your vantage point. If it’s a picture of their handwriting, try taking it from a birds-eye view like the photo above, or if it’s them boarding the school bus, try getting to the side so your eye travels down the line of the school bus. Another way to make your photo more interesting is to zoom in or out. Up close photos like the details I talked about in the last paragraph are easy to capture by simply walking closer. A picture of your child waving that is taken far away where they are small in the picture seems even more momentous and gives you a chance to show their whole school or your neighborhood in the background.

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One important tip when shooting with cell phones, or any camera, is to look for good lighting. If it is really bright outside, I try to look for shade, like under a tree to take my picture. If you can’t find shade, try to make sure you don’t lose your child’s face in shadows. My absolute favorite feature of the camera on the GS8 is that on the camera screen, there is slider to adjust the exposure right there. As someone who is used to shooting in manual and adjusting my lighting, I was so excited to see this. No more backlit-dark shots, or blown out snaps. If I see it’s too dark or too light, I can quickly fix it before I take the picture. The Samsung S8 and S8+ are also the first cell phones to have infinity screens, which means I have more screen to make sure I’m getting the shot right.

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Probably the best tip for taking cell phone pictures of all is to take lots! The GS8 has a microSD slot so you can have up to 256GB of storage for thousands and thousands of memories saved on your phone. That means you can snap away to make sure you capture your super fast grade schooler.

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

Even if everything goes right when I’m taking the picture, I do edit many of my cell phone shots (I edit all of my SLR shots as well, nothing wrong with giving your photo a little extra contrast or brightness). VSCO is my favorite editing app, my favorite filters are S2 and M5. I like to try a filter and then turn it down a little so the changes aren’t so drastic. Most pictures can also benefit from a little brightening and a little more contrast to really make them pop.The GS8 can have multiple screens open at once, so I like to have VSCO open and have a youtube video open at the same time. Another cool feature is that it has the option of buying a wireless charger that you simply set it on to charge so it’s always ready for taking pictures!
Samsung GS8 camera (1)(am I the only one who still has “Despacito” stuck in my head???)

The GS8 is my favorite phone I’ve ever had. I have owned previous Galaxy’s and loved them so much that I am a loyal Samsung user. For a limited time, Target is offering a $200 gift card when you buy the GS8 or GS8+.


You can always check back here to see what future promotions they have running on the GS8 and GS8+ and tag me @goodmorningloretta on your back to school photos so I can see your awesome cell phone pictures!

back to school photo checklistDSC_2158

Curse Words, Independence, and Sponge Bob

Welcoming Brandon home has made for the busiest, best month. I thought I was busy when I was parenting three kids by myself, but he got home from deployment just over a month ago and came right before my brother who lives in Utah came to visit for over a week, and we had a mini-family reunion to Florida. That was followed by 4th of July, a holiday which we love, then just a few days later another one of my brother’s from out of town came to visit with his family for a week, and then two days after they leave we will be on the road again out to sunny Utah for a family reunion on Brandon’s side which we are so excited about. We’ll come home from that trip just in time for Sawyer’s first meet the teacher. I can’t believe he’s starting Kindergarten this year. I can barely even think about it, better yet talk about it. Kinder (1)

While I was visiting with my Mom this evening she told me that when my oldest brother started Kindergarten, she had such a hard time dropping him off and cried for most of the day and just waited until it was time to go get him. It made me feel better that even my Mom, who is super woman (she raised 6 kids and handles everything like it’s no big deal. She’s amazing) had a hard time with seeing her kids go off to school for the first time. We have spent a lot of time wrestling with sending him off to Kindergarten this year. He has a few needs that can make school harder for him, and so I considered homeschooling, delaying Kindergarten, or sending him to a smaller school, but after a lot of prayer and talk we decided to go forward with sending him to our local public school. We live in an amazing school district, our elementary school feeds into one of the best high schools in the state, and he will have four cousins attending at the same school, lots of friends, and just to make it even more fun, it’s the same elementary school that I attended. When weighing in his needs though, we had heavily considered sending him to a new charter school that has opened in the area, which would have been a lot more work for me (it’s about a half hour drive with no buses), because I thought he might get more individualized attention there. However, after talking to a few of the teachers I know personally who have taught at our local public school and going through it all over and over in my head (hello late nights with no husband home and nothing else to distract my mind), we decided that we felt good about starting at the public school and if we felt like we need to move him in the future than we will. Kinder (2)

I am a big fan of supporting public schools and the one we have near us is so good, so so good. It would almost be silly of us not to put him there, and I’m so looking forward to seeing him learn and grow and enjoy school. As a kid, I always loved school and I adored back to school season- the excitement, the shopping for fresh new pencils and supplies, the new outfit, it was all so fun. I can’t wait to get started doing all of that with him, but I also want time to just slow down a little, especially since we do have so much going on before school starts (did I mention that a week after school starts we will have ten people staying at our house during Brandon’s cousin’s wedding week???? Fun and exciting but a lot of prep work!) I need time to just soak in my little guy before be grows up so much, and there are only three Saturdays left before he walks through those school doors. My goal is just to be able to take a step back and slow down while I enjoy my last few days without a school-aged kid who is still oblivious to curse words, independence, and Sponge Bob.