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Category: For the Home

Just in Case Files – What Do You Need to Keep in Your Car?

It’s official – I have entered the “soccer mom” stage of life.  While neither of my kids is actually playing soccer right now (though Tyler did this spring), I have come to accept that a good chunk of my time is spent ferrying my children from one activity to another.  Todays schedule:  pick up a friend for a 6:30 workout at the gym, 8:40 take the girls up to the pool for swim team practice, quick trip to the grocerie store, 9:40 take the boys up to the pool for pre-comp swim team practice, 11:15 bring everyone home from the pool, 11:45 off to the water park for some summer fun…
Reorganize your car and stock it for summer
That’s a lot of time spent in the car for just one day, and many of my days have similar plans – piano lessons, summer camps, karate, walking the dog, playdates at the skateboard park, night games, family BBQs, trips to the lake, UPS drop offs for drying racks, swim meets, etc etc.  I’ve been grateful many many times for our decision to buy an SUV with the 3rd row seat where I can pile 9 of us in (if necessary) for carpool or a fun outing with friends, drop off a load of drying racks to be shipped out, or pile the dog and the kids’ bikes in the back for a walk.  But the past couple of weeks, in particular, I have noticed just how much STUFF was collecting in the car – towels, jackets, granola bar wrappers, empty water bottles, marbles, tree pruners, that glass wasp trap we bought on a whim at the nursery, and on and on.  I vowed to do something about it, and to get a bit more organized while I was at it.  This past weekend I finally took the time to follow through.  And wouldn’t you know it, I got half-way finished vacuuming out the car and this happens.


Yep, that’s hail.  Plus lightning and thunder.  It was kind of crazy but once I had rushed to put the vacuum back in the shop and close all the doors it was peaceful to just sit in the car by myself with the rain drumming on the roof.  Eventually it slacked off enough for me to rush through vacuuming the back seat then I put off the rest of the car cleaning and organization until the next day.  The car mats, which I had put on the ground to vacuum later were entirely soaked and are still in the garage where I left them to dry out.  The rest of the car is looking about as good is it will ever look at over 10 years old and still being used on a daily basis – so of course I felt the need to share! 😉

What should you keep in your car just in case necessities

My 11-year-old daughter came up with the title “Just in Case Files” and I thought it was cute.  It’s also a great lead-in to a series of blog posts on home organization and emergeny prep, isn’t it?

There isn’t a lot of storage space in my vehicle, but I try to make the most of it.  I tend to categorize things by when and where they will need to be used, and how often.
In the glove box:  registration and owners manual, flashlight, and maybe a few spare napkins from the drive through.
In the console:  This is where I keep most of the things I access all the time.  Sunglasses for everyone in the family, hand sanitizer, pens, sunscreen, baby wipes (my #1 Must Have Item, even if you don’t have kids), tissues, spare headphones (all too often I get half-way to the gym and realize I forgot to grab my headphones), car chargers for the phone and/or other handheld tech devices, (for road trips we also have a universal charger than can plug into the cigarette lighter and you can use just as you would any outlet), a compact multi-tool, tire guage, bags to have on hand if we take the dog for a walk and need to clean up after her, a collapsible dog bowl, my coupon organizer (though most of the time I don’t keep that up to date), and my keychain full of store membership cards (so they are on hand if I am anywhere I need one, but they don’t have to all be taking up space in my wallet or on my car keychain).   Oh and those white trianges?  Those are folded up plastic grocery bags which I try to have on hand to use for garbage, wet clothing, etc.
Under the front passenger seat:  first aid kit, umbrella, and a cosmetic bag full of things that I hate to be without if I find myself out and about and needing them including a small bottle with a mixture of meds for headaches, allergies, etc; hair pick and hair elastics, feminine hygiene products, lip balm (be sure it’s in a container that won’t leak if it melts in a hot car!), lotion, nail file, sewing kit, extra bandaids (yes, in addition to the first aid kit I’ve found it’s very useful to keep these stocked for those random playground accidents), and maybe a few of those hand wipes left over from the last time we had wings for dinner.

Just In Case What should you keep in your car Be prepared for summer
Under the back seat:  jumper cables, reusable shopping bags, car window scrapers (not sure why I need THREE, but I wasn’t in the mood to toss one without making sure the other vehicles were stocked).  We are using the third row seats quite often lately so I made sure to leave the space empty under the single seat we fold down to access the back.
In the back: a leash for the dog is kept attached to one of the rings so we don’t have to worry about her jumping out of the car as soon as we open the door.  I also got inspired a couple of months ago and bought a canvas drop cloth that we always keep in the car.  We are in and out so much with bikes, scooters, and the dog’s muddy paws or shedding fur that I decided it would be SO much easier to just spread out the drop cloth when needed then I can just shake it out or even toss it in the washing  machine and not worry about having to vacuum or steam clean the back of the car all the time.
One other item I always keep in the car is an empty water bottle (usually in one of the back cup holders or you know, rolling around on the floor somewhere 😉  )  Typically when we are headed out the door for the day we will grab full water bottles but last year we went out geocaching with cousins and found ourselves in a campground with thirsty kids and only a hydrant for water.  I had a couple of empty water bottles in the back of the car and they were perfect.  Now I keep at least one in the car because you can almost always find a hydrant, bathroom sink, or drinking fountain to fill one up if needed.
One final handy little item we found for the car (and used a lot during our multiple road trips last summer) are these little hooks that can attach to the back of the seat.  They are great for hooking bags to when you want easy access on road trips, to hang backpacks and swim bags to during carpool so the kids can have a little more leg room, or to hook a spare plastic grocery bag to for garbage.

Other things you may want to consider keeping in the car may include a few toys or books for the kids, a spare change of clothes for potty training (or because I found my kids wanting to have water fights with their cousins every time we saw them in June), or maybe a towel.

Let’s see…have I missed anything?  What do you keep in your car?

I guess I’m off to tackle the husband’s truck – as soon as I finish with today’s carpool duties and running around! 😉
Want more ideas for your road trip?  Check out my Road Trip Activities Binder idea!

Linking to:  Made By You Monday, Wow Me Wednesday,  Lou Lou Girls, Thursday Favorite Things, Your Turn to Shine, What To Do Weekends, Merry Monday, Lifestyle Link Up, DIY Sunday Showcase, Snickerdoodle Sunday,

Outdoor Entertaining Space Design Board

Some days it’s just fun to dream isn’t it?  I have a lot of dreams and plans right now – to get started building the new house, to spend more time on the blog, to get the kids out and experience all the great things the world has to offer, to slow down and enjoy the summer, to find the time to entertain friends and have a BBQ.  We did so much of last year but haven’t hosted a BBQ (for anyone other than family) even once this summer – and it’s half over!  I truly do love throwing a good party and it used to feel so easy.  I haven’t been quite sure why it doesn’t work the same now we have moved back to my hometown (goodness knows we have tons of people we want to reconnect and have some fun with!), then it hit me the other day.  We don’t have a “good” entertaining space.

Could it really be as simple as that?  That the reason I haven’t followed through and invited people over isn’t so much lack of time but because the actual act of pulling it together doesn’t seem easy with our current set up?  Yup, I think that just might be it!  The thought of dragging out the table and chairs from behind the teetering stacks of moving boxes in the garage, setting up the canopy for shade, transporting all the bits and pieces from the kitchen through the garage, around the fence and down the hill to the place we see as the best for a picnic (as using another part of the yard would require cleaning up after the dogs) and…well it just all sounds like a lot of work.  I found myself wishing for my house in North Carolina with its screen porch and deck right off the kitchen and how convenient it all was.

The other day I received a fun request from Chairish asking me to create a design board using some of the pieces from their site.  It was kind of an open-ended request with not a lot of direction and so many possibilities and I was kind of lost about how to start.  As I was looking through the site I found myself drawn to all of the outdoor pieces so I decided to do a little dreaming of my own.  If I were to create a great outdoor entertaining space for our situation right here, right now, what would it include?

I found a few tables I loved but thought, no, I need a good anchor piece and I think in this case it would be a nice case piece that could be used as a buffet/food serving table.

I love this one

And oh!  Look at the great card catalog type drawers on this one!
But if I’m to be even partially realistic, I thought, I would actually try to use at least one piece of furniture I currently own – the turquoise console table!

Turqouise Console table DIY with shutters Teal Console Table TV Entertainment Center
This console came about from a trip to the Habitat Resale Store with one of my good friends (who is often my crafty partner in crime) where I picked up a set of shutters and the legs.  At the time I really wanted some sort of table/entertainment piece for the living room to house the cable box and DVD player and I figured the shutters would do a good job of hiding the ugly pieces of technology while still allowing the remotes to access them.  The husband was happy to put together the base for me, which I enthusiastically painted turquoise and distressed.  And I loved (love) it.


But anyway – back to our design scenario.  😉  With the anchor piece in place, the next thing that caught my eye was this big metal flag.  I love a good variation on the stars and stripes (and am kind of a sucker for metal lately) and to me the 4th of July and all things patriotic also feel like a symbol of summer.  So I’m thinking that big shiny flag would need to go above the console table.  Picture the console covered with yummy food (ribs and corn on the cob, anyone?), with a pot of flowers for color.

Next – seating!  A great metal table and chairs for eating and some classic Adirondack style chairs for sitting by the campfire roasting marshmallows and chatting the night away with friends. The table would need a simple centerpiece, not too tall so you can see the person across the table from you… A set of three pots in a tray – perfect with some herbs or bright flowers planted in them, and probably painted in a bright color like red to set them off from the darker table.  Let’s brighten it up with some more colors and bring the turquoise into it a bit more with patterned chair cushions or pillows.  And this fun pillow would tie into the patriotic theme a bit without screaming 4th of July too loudly.  Finish it off with some more planters, a rug, and a big bucket to hold drinks and I think we’d be all set to entertain!

Outdoor Entertaining Space Design Board

Yep, that’s a fun combination!
*sigh* Back to reality huh?  But I’m thinking maybe, even without the perfect entertaining space, I might just need to plan a dinner party…

*photos of items are from Chairish and Polyvore.  This was just for fun – I have not been compensated by the companies for this post.

Want more fun decorating ideas for your summer?  Check out the Swimming Subway Art my daughter and I created.  Bonus – I included the Silhouette cut file so you can make it yourself!
Linking to:  Made By You Monday, Wow Me Wednesday, Lou Lou Girls,

Swimming Subway Art with FREE Silhouette Cut File

Subway Art for Summer Swimming Tutorial

Right now, there are few things my daughter likes more than swimming.  She spends four mornings a week at swim team practice and loves every minutes of it.  She also likes creating things and when she came up with the idea for these Swimming Subway Art wall hangings (“Mom, I want a piece of wood, painted and with vinyl words about swimming and a picture of someone diving, and it should say splash with like water drops coming off of it and…”) I was happy to help her out.  She did most of the work herself, including instructing her dad what size to cut out the wood (I think it’s 10″ x 12″) and learning how to use the sander.

Swimming Subway Art Wall Hanging

At the time, it was also one of their projects for school.  They needed to be able to give a presentation to the class and teach their classmates how to do something.  We actually made three boards so Kaitlyn could walk her class through the process.
-Cut the wood, routing the edges and inscribing a keyhole in the back (for hanging) if you choose, then sanding it
-Paint the wood
-Apply the vinyl

Swimming Subway Art using wooden board and vinyl lettering

We ended up doing three versions so that she could demonstrate a couple of the steps and that worked out perfectly so that she could keep one and intends to give the other two to her swim team coaches at the end of the summer season.

Swim Team Subway Art Wall Hanging

Cute right?  I’m so proud of my craft creative little girl!  And guess what?  I saved the Silhouette Studio cut file and you can get it for yourself HERE.
You may need to make sure you have the following fonts installed (you can find them free online):
-Britannic Bold
-Kristen ITC
-Arial Unicode MS
-Brush Script MT
-Badaboom BB
The diving silhouette and the “splash” were just free clip art I found online and converted to a cut file.

Enjoy!  I would love to see photos of your creations using the Swimming Subway Art.  Feel free to comment and share!

Want more fun ideas to keep busy this summer?  Check out my list of ideas to Fill Your Summer with Fun – Without Breaking the Bank!

Featured on Inspired By You.

Linking To:  Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party, Wow Me Wednesday, Your Turn to Shine, Thursday Favorite Things, Lifestyle Link Up, Saturday Sharefest, Snickerdoodle Sunday, Made By You MondayWhat To Do Weekends,

Patriotic Subway Art – Pledge of Allegiance

I’m having a hard time believing we are only two weeks into summer right now because the time seems to be going by so quickly.  Before we know it, it will be the 4th of July – my favorite summer holiday!  We have been finalizing plans for the holiday over the past week and I’m happy to see that so many of our traditional activities are coming together.  I even remembered to buy rodeo tickets!

So, with Red White and Blue on the brain I thought I’d share the fun 4th of July subway art I put together last year. In true craft-hoarder fashion I was able to dig up exactly what I needed in no time at all, including some scrap wood that was the perfect size (approx 13″ x 24″) – I didn’t even have to sand it! A simple coat of blue paint, a few pieces of vinyl and it was all ready to go up on the wall.

4th of July Subway Art Pledge of Allegience
The hardest part was setting up the cut files for the vinyl lettering.  It always takes a little bit of playing around to get the different sizes and placement for subway art to look right (and I’m no expert with any of it) but I kept this one pretty simple and instead of changing fonts I just adjusted sizes and spacing.

The husband turned out to be a big fan of this one too – yay!  (He has a soft spot for anything patriotic, I think)  It didn’t take long for him to route a keyhole on the back so I could mount it on the wall.

Patriotic Home Decor Red White and Blue Subway Art
Last year the fun subway art joined some of my other decorations on the ledge in my stairwell.  Sadly, this year they all remain in boxes in the garage until we can get the new house built.  The kids and my mom have put out her 4th of July decorations upstairs and tied flags to all the fence posts around the yard, so it is feeling sufficiently festive around here and I kinda, sort, just might be glad I don’t have to face packing any decorations back into boxes in a few weeks. 😉
Patriotic Home Decor Display on shelf ledge
Anyone else care to share their 4th of July projects or plans so I can live vicariously through you too!  I have had no chance to make anything for myself or my own house in months and I just might be experiencing withdrawals. I really should try to rememdy that soon, shouldn’t I?