DIY Surprise Box Challenge

DIY Surprise Box Challenge

Today I am joining a fun challenge with my friend, Terrie and a few other gals for a DIY Surprise Box Challenge.

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Challenge Deets:

For this challenge, Terrie, from Decorating and More with Tip , assigned us each a person and we were each challenged to send our person a Surprise Box via mail!

Challenge Accepted?!

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Jessica, from Jessica B Simmons  , sent me a small plate rack, two rolls of contact paper, a box of skittles, a box of m’n’m’s and paper doilies. We are allowed to add items we have on hand to the challenge and we are not required to use every item that we received in our box.

Brainstorming Ideas:

Ok. Ok. I’ve got to admit, the day I received my box, I had no clue what I was going to do. Tack that on, with little to no sleep the night before and I was ready to throw my hands up 🤷🏼‍♀️.  I decided to sleep on it and the next morning, I had an idea pop into my head 💡. Our pop-up camper would love a couple DIY’s, so I quickly got to work!

DIY-Plate Rack

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The plate drying rack had several spots that was chipped with missing paint. I knew I had spray paint in the basement so what better way to spruce up this Dollar Tree plate drying rack than to spray paint!

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I chose black matte spray paint to match the inside of our camper. Added a few disposable bamboo plates and we’ve got a winner winner chicken dinner!

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DIY-Contact Paper

Before pic-We had white shelving paper on the inside of the cabinets of our camper.

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I also decided to use the rolls of contact paper to line a few shelves in our pop-up camper. The “kitchen shelves” in our pop-up would love a fun pattern that would coordinate with our camper!

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I also decided to use the contact paper in our youngest daughters “closet shelves” of our camper.

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DIY-Paper Doilies Banner

For the paper doilies, I decided to make a cute little banner for our camper.

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I took some twine that I already had on hand, then folded two different sizes of the paper doilies in half, then “hung” them over the twine. Easy peasy!

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Next, I just tied the twine to a couple zippers on each of the camper “windows”.

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DIY-Candy Ideas

For the candy, I decided to, well, ever hear the saying of “whistling while you work”? I decided to go with “snacking while you work” and munched on the Skittles. For the Hershey’s chocolate, you can’t go camping without s’mores?! I even used one of the paper doilies for “plating” on one of our diy wood cutting boards.

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Challenge Complete:

I have to admit that this was one of my favorite challenge’s to date. Wait, I think I say that about every single one! Seriously, I love working on blogs with this group of ladies! It is literally so much fun and I love being challenged! Hop on over to my friend, Chloe  at Celebrate and Decorate. I know I can’t wait to read them all!

❤️-Shae

DECORATEANDMOREWITHTIP | PATINAANDPAINT | B4ANDAFTERS | SWEETSOUTHERNGRACE

CELEBRATEANDDECORATE | JESSICABSIMMONS | THE HOUSE HOUSE

Pop Up Camper Remodel

Pop Up Camper Remodel

Last year, February to be exact, we bought a 22 year old pop up camper for $500 on Facebook Marketplace. 7232F62F-38D2-4DBB-8DEF-BF3B247FD681We knew this camper was a diamond in the rough! We dreamt of all the family vacations we could take in this little pop up. 

FIRST THINGS FIRST-INSPECTION 

We took the pop up home and popped it up.D24D2384-69E4-4B61-8579-724ED8458C12We knew initially that it had some water damage and after some research, found out that these types of campers with ABS roofs, leaked.
67475424-8AA2-480F-AAC8-AF5D48D0B3DDThe roof  leaked because of the weight of the AC unit on top of the roof.
79088843-12EF-478A-9FA9-9D2050470CE0So right out of the gate, it looked like we needed to find a solution to help the roof not sag, plus we would need to replace the entire roof. 

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ABS CEILING & ROOF REPAIR

CEILING:

My husband found a solution for the sagging roof and it was going to be by placing two, 2 inch u-channels on the interior of the roof.

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We then left the camper popped up on a day when it was raining to make sure it would not leak! It worked! No leaks!

ROOF REPAIR WITH FIBER GLASS:

Next step was to replace the roof. We tore off the ABS roof then replaced it with a fiberglass top and painted it with marine paint. You can find that you tube video HERE . In this picture, you can see two coats of the fiber glass roof material on the roof.

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INTERIER REPAIRS-REPAIRING ROTTED WOOD

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For the interior, my husband needed to replace several sections of rotted wood. One was the top on the small cabinet by the entryway, part of the floor at the entrance, a section of wood beneath the bed, by the shower plus a small section on the seated area.

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PAINTING-INTERIOR

After replacing the wood, it was finally time to paint the entire inside of the camper!

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We painted everything, including the ceiling, in Ibis White  from Sherwin Williams. We took off all of the cabinet doors to make the painting go a little easier. I decided to spray paint all of the hardware and knobs to save cost.

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REPLACING CUSHION COVERS-HOW I SEWED COVERS

Next was making all of the cushion covers for the camper. I decided to use the existing cushions & zippers, since they were in good shape.

5C5AC292-ECB3-4349-9698-3156F055B44FI did use the attachment to my carpet cleaner to clean the cushions and let them dry in the sun. I found all of my fabric on sale at Joanne’s for $50. I used two coupons! I did not have a pattern for the cushions, so I used the existing cushions as my pattern, by laying the fabric on top of the cushions and left about an inch for seam allowance on all sides.
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REPLACING OLD MATRESSES

We could not use the old mattresses that came with the camper but we did find some mattresses at a local discount store for $19.99 each! We bought plastic mattresses covers to protect them at Home Depot for $8 each.

REPLACING BEDDING

We purchased our bedding from Beddy’s and they are an absolute dream! Absolutely perfect for campers! Ours is the Modern Gray All Cotton. Beddy’s has given me a coupon code for y’all to use! If you use SSG20 at check out, you can get 20% off your purchase! Thank you Beddy’s!

CURTAIN ALTERNATIVES

We have not replaced our pop up camper curtains with the typical camper curtains.

8177E0D1-EFF8-49AE-B934-78F300E0225DWe did use a few sheers from Wal-Mart that we attached with double sided adhesive strips, just to give a more “at home” feel to the camper. I bought two sets, as each set came with two.
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CAMPER BATHROOM-SHOWER REPAIRS

The shower only needed a cleaning and a new faucet.

3FF31442-B55B-4DF2-A637-A682E598EEFASome of our paint has chipped by the shower area but it’s not a huge deal to us since this is a camper.

F1E1A5C9-4E17-49DD-8C69-9035F7D6FF51We ordered the new shower faucet from Coleman Pop Up Parts.

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REPLACING FLOORS

 

4D5039D0-85D1-4F1D-AAE9-F68A9EF38AE7I decided to use stick down floor “hardwood” vinyl “planks”. I even staggered it to make it look like hardwoods. I bought two boxes for $15 each, at a local discount store called Ollie’s.

REPLACING CANVASES

F06D3A41-E0B3-414A-B776-2E5CAC539A8FOur biggest expense in our makeover was new canvases but we felt like it was a must have! We ordered them from Bear Creek Canvas . Their site is so easy to use! All you have to do is select the camper manufacturer, ours is Coleman, select the model year, 1997 for us, select if you want a complete canvas replacement or partial canvas replacement, ours was a complete replacement, then select your camper style, such as a no wing model, 1-4 wing model or a pickupper, ours was a 2-wing model. Once you have all of that selected, it will give you your price for the replacement. Our total was $1,050.00. The customer service was also wonderful!

CHALKBOARD PAINTED MENU BOARD

9172C203-98C6-4DC5-A985-9FBA13113C9CI even painted the inside of the door with half of black chalkboard paint so we could have a menu board. We already had this paint on hand!

PAINTING-EXTERIOR 

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The exterior also got a paint job from head to toe! We painted the exterior with a marine paint in Repose Gray  from Sherwin Williams. (We only use SW for all of our painting needs!) We had lots of helpers that wanted to help remove the old vinyl from the exterior of the camper and help paint!

FIRST TRIP

Leaving out for our first trip in the camper! 

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REPLACING CAMPER TIRES & SPARE TIRE 

We also replaced the tires on the pop up and purchased a new spare tire. The old tires were in good shape but we just wanted to make sure we had new tires, since we were driving so far away on our first trip. The best deal we found on tires were at Wal-Mart on sale for $26.99 each.

THE SUNSHINE STATE

Fort De Soto, FL

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ACCESSORIZE 

Most all of our accessories for our pop up came from a local Five and Below store- from our little stool, to the rug, to our outdoor mat.

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TROUBLE BEFORE PARADISE 

About 3 weeks before our first camping trip, our pop-up would not stay popped up so we had to order a Coleman Wiffle Tree Alternate. We were praying it would come in before our trip and that it would be the only issue and be resolved quickly with this new part! Thank God it worked and in just about 3 days before our trip! We purchased that part from Popuppaarts.com .

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TALLY UP

We spent a total of around $2,300 on our pop up makeover. Here is a breakdown of the costs:

$500-Pop Up Purchase Price

$1,050-Canvases

$80-Paint

$45-Mattresses

$60-Wood

$125-U-Channels

$125-Fiberglass Roof

$81-Tires

$20-Shower Faucet

$50-Fabric for Cushions

$30-Vinyl Flooring

$5-Wood Colored Caulk for floors

$144-Wiffle Tree Alternate-Part for lifting camper up

EGMONT KEY, FL

Wesley & I in Egmont Key at the lighthouse.

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SUMMARY


It was a lot of work but we are so glad to have little pop up to travel in! Definitely a bucket list item! Our two adult daughters helped us so much and we could not have done it without them! Definitely a family effort! You can read about some of our travels here . If you have any questions, please email me! What is your favorite thing about our renovation of the camper?

❤️-Shae

 

 

 

 

Disney Vacation-Budget Friendly with a large family

Disney Vacation-Budget Friendly with a large family

Hey friends! I always like to have total transparency! This blog post includes an affiliate link and we collaborated with Disney World on two, one-day park hopper passes. My opinions are always my own and I would never share anything with y’all that I don’t truly love. Thank you for your support friends!

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Disney World is a place where dreams come true! I understand it can be a challenge,  if your traveling as a large family. Planning is crucial but you can create the vacation of your family’s dreams! Today, I am going to share with you how our large family of 6 can go to Disney on a budget! Here are our tips.

1) Purchasing Disney World Tickets.

You will need to decide if you will be visiting all four parks, may be just one park and if you will purchase the park hopper option. For this trip, we decided to go with one park per day and not use the park hopper option. We have used the park hopper option in the past.

The best place that I have found to purchase Disney World tickets is Undercover Tourist . Let me show you  breakdown of the two options we chose from for this trip. We are a family of 6, needing four adult tickets, since ages 10 and above are considered adult tickets for Disney and two child tickets, ages 3-9. Don’t forget that kids under 3 can go to Disney for free!

Our first option is a four day base ticket with no park hopper for $406.47 per adult and $388.90 per child. Those prices include tax, no hidden fees and free shipping. Total=$2,569.36, with a savings of $271.00!

Our second option was a 2 day ticket with park hopper option for $323.64 per adult and $313.06 per child. Prices include tax, no hidden fees and free shipping. Total=$1,920.68, with a savings of $234.00!

For this trip, we chose the four day base ticket with no park hopper option. The reason we chose this option is because we did the two day park hopper option, on our last trip and we really wanted to have one day to spend at each park. If you do chose the two day park hopper option, it is doable but remember it is a lot of walking! We did Magic Kingdom on one day then Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot, all in one day! If you do decide to park hop, don’t forget to use Disney’s transportation via the bus, monorail or the new Skyliner!

2) Decide on your lodging.

Since we have larger family, it is cheaper for us to stay off site, than in a Disney resort, due to needing two resort rooms. Plus, we travel with our family pet and she stays with us in our rental house. We like to use VRBO and can stay for around $65 per night. For this trip, we decided to stay for 6 nights and 7 days, which included a $30 pet fee and a $65 cleaning fee for the week. Our total lodging cost was $491.00. Another option is to  stay for 4 nights and 5 days with the two-day park hopper option, making your trip $325 lodging and  $1,920.68 tickets!

One option to staying on site with a larger family is
Disney’s Fort Wilderness . Depending on the time of year, you can stay here in your tent or camper for around $100 a night.

Disney resorts are magical!! We had the opportunity to visit the Grand Floridian on this trip, to attend the Disney Princess Perfectly Princess Tea Party.

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The Grand Floridian is a Victorian-style resort, decorated with Victorian Christmas decor, grandiose tree and a life size gingerbread house with a sweet shop inside of the gingerbread house!

3) Food: Cooking meals while on vacation.

One of the reasons we like to stay off site, is so that we can cook in our rental home and bring our own food into the parks. This essentially is huge money saver for us!  I will take our grocery budget for the week and meal plan every meal that we will have while on our vacation. For example, the day before we leave, we will pre-make several food items. For this trip, I made banana nut bread, orange rolls, speghetti sauce, chili and grilled chicken. I decided to freeze the speghetti sauce and chili. I baked the orange rolls for breakfast the morning we left, then had grilled chicken salads for lunch on our drive to Orlando. For dinner we had grilled chicken with rice and creamed spinach.

On our first day at the parks, I got up and made brioche french toast with berries and sausage links. For our lunch, we made sandwiches or spinach wraps and brought a bag of sweet potato chips with fruit. We also bring our Brita filtered water bottles for our drinks. For dinner that night, we heated our homemade chili on the stove! We did choose to have a couple Disney dining options for this trip.

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We went to the Disney Princess Perfectly Princess Tea Party , along with breakfast at The Plaza , where Chef Ken did a fabulous of taking care of all of my food intolerances!

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We also had dinner at The Crystal Palace and were able to catch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks show.

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The reason we chose to have two park meals is because we wanted to stay in Magic Kingdom all day to see the fireworks show that night. These meals are extra and will not be included in my finally total.

4) Disney Parks parking fees.

It will cost $25 per day to park in the standard parking lot. If you arrive early enough, you will actually be parking right next to the preferred parking area. We usually arrive in the parking lot about 30 minutes to an hour before the park opens, you will grab the best parking spot, right next to the preferred parking.

5) Souvenirs and deciding on spending limits.

How do we handle the souvenir money? We suggest to our kids to save their Christmas and birthday money received throughout the year from family members. My husband and I also do the same.

6) Our “chill day” at Disney Springs.

One other thing that we like to do while in Disney World is to have what we call our “chill day”. We will break up one of our park days to go to Disney Springs .

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You can visit their Trail of Christmas Trees which is 22-themed, Disney related trees.

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You can also visit with Santa at Disney Springs.

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Just check in at the Marketplace, head to the podium, give them your phone number and they will text you when it is your turn for Santa!

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You can also make an appointment for your little princess or prince for a royal transformation at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique  .

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Our two youngest little princesses enjoyed the royal treatment, at BBB, while at Disney Springs.

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One of the souvenirs that my husband and I like to purchase is a caricature, each time we visit Disney. The Art Corner has artists that can create beautiful caricature’s that can be hand-drawn or digitally created, along with Christmas ornaments.

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We love our newest caricature drawn by the artist, Keelan Parham . One of my favorite traditions when vacationing is purchasing an ornament to help remember our trip.

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Disney Days of Christmas  literally has hundreds of ornaments to choose from! We also enjoy looking around at the unique retail stores at Disney Springs.

Total Cost of Disney Vacation:

Our total cost for tickets, lodging and parking fees was $3,160.36. Our family loves going to Disney! There is something there for all ages, the parks are always clean, the cast members are always friendly and go out of their way to give you that special Disney magic! We can’t wait for our next Disney family vacation! I hope this information will help you when planning for your Disney vacation!

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“If you can dream it, you can do it.”-Walt Disney

❤️-Melia Shae

 

 

Exploring Egmont Key in Florida: Wildlife and History

Exploring Egmont Key in Florida: Wildlife and History

In June of this year, we had the pleasure of visiting Egmont Key, located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, Florida. It lies southwest of Fort De Soto and can only be reached by boat or ferry. The Egmont Key Lighthouse and the ruins of Fort Dade, a Spanish-American War era fort, are also located on Egmont Key. Egmont Key extends along the Tampa Port Shipping Channel. The nearest city is St. Petersburg, Florida. We took the Tampa Bay Ferry from Fort De Soto to Egmont Key and on the way over to the island, I couldn’t help but notice the Caribbean-like blue green waters of Tampa Bay.

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When we had almost arrived to the island, we had the pleasure of seeing three manatees!! This was the first time our family had ever been this up close to manatees before and I am almost at a loss of words by how amazing they were!

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Two of the manatees were kissing and they were such gentle animals!

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Arriving on Egmont Key!

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Once we arrived on the island, we walked along the pathways lined with palm trees and flowers. The flowers and palm trees were so beautiful!

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One of the first sight’s to see is the lighthouse!

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We continued walking along the pathway to the beach and decided to go exploring for sea shells! We walked along the beach and found all different types of sea shells.

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After shell searching, we worked up an appetite for lunch! We ate our lunch on the beach and decided to explore the forts on the island from the Spanish-American War.

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The picture below is Battery McIntosh, one of five gun batteries on Fort Dade.

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Fort Dade was built on the island in 1898 during the Spanish-American War and remained active until 1923.

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During this time, there was about 300 people living on the island with a small hospital, bakery, movie theater, bowling alley and tennis courts. While exploring the island, you will come across several of the remnants. The picture below is remnants of Fire Command Control Tower.

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We stumbled upon several gopher tortoises!

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We even got to feed one! Be careful though, they think brightly colored nail polish is food!

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Our family enjoyed seeing the lighthouse that was built in 1858, while being maintained by the Coast Guard for ships and boats.

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Picture below is of my husband and I!

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When we got back to the other side of the island, we headed straight to the water to cool off! It is very hot and humid, so please make sure to bring lots of water!

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On the ferry ride back to Fort De Soto, we saw dolphins!

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The dolphins were stealing all the fisherman’s bait fish off of their poles!

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Definitely a unique island to visit and explore!

Tips from our family:

*Pack food and plenty of water

*Bring sunscreen

*There are no restrooms on the island, so be prepared.

*Wear clothing and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet/sandy.

Absolutely a wonderful experience that we will treasure for a lifetime and it could possibly be one of my most favorite places to visit in the world!

Love~Shae