Gifts for him {2014}

There’s still a full week left until Christmas.

Still on the hunt for that perfect gift for your man? Your brother? Your dad?

Don’t worry – guys can be so hard to shop for, but I’ve found some great options. Make it easy on yourself by sticking with the basics – the more plaid, antlers, wood or leather – the better. Pretty much anything that makes him feel like a man is a safe bet.

Several of these finds have expedited shipping options so you’ll get your gift in time, and if you’re a member of Amazon PRIME, you can get qualifying items in two days.

So without further ado, here are my top picks for “gifts for him” this Christmas:

Gifts for him 2014 | TheMombot.com

1. Lumberjack Scented Beard Oil, $19.95
Are you married to a lumbersexual? Yeah, me too. This beard oil has the mighty aroma of fresh split cedar wood with notes of musk cologne. It’s a done deal.

2. Men’s Catchall, $37.50
Somehow I think my husband would still manage to lose everything if he had this handmade catchall, but it’s worth a shot!

3. Leather Cigar Case with Cutter, $23.97
I once bought my husband a pipe. I think it was the best thing I could have ever done for his ego. I’m pretty sure a leather cigar case will be a must-have in the next couple of years, too.

4. Handmade Leather Wallet, $52
A quality wallet is a must-have for a grown man. Once you pass the age of 12, I don’t think velcro wallets are acceptable anymore. From the packaging to the leather and stitching, this wallet screams “man.”

5. Personalized Men’s Stationery, $13
Sometimes dude send notes too. And they’ll feel much better about doing it if they have antler stationery.

6. John Hanly & Co. Irish Lambswool Scarf – Made in Ireland $39.95
If a man is going to wear a scarf, it should be plaid. And if it’s plaid, it should come from Ireland.

7. Shawl Collar Cardigan, $94.80
I’m kind of obsessed with buying my husband shawl collar cardigans. He likes them, I like them; it’s a win/win. I buy him one just about every year. I love how they marry grandpa with hipster. I mean, how cute – I mean, cool – is this guy?

8. Genuine Leather Laptop Bag, 15” Vintage & Eco-Friendly by RusticTown, $89
Just about every guy needs a laptop bag or satchel for work or school. I say don’t skimp and buy faux leather; this is one time when it’s necessary to go all the way. Real leather lasts longer, grows better with age and smells like a man.

9. Bill Murray Wooden Bottle Opener $13.50
Dudes love Bill Murray. I still haven’t figured that out, but it’s a fact. Coincidentally, a lot of them also like beer.

 

*Disclosure: Affiliate links used

Easy Monogrammed Notebook (DIY Christmas Gift)

diy monogrammed notebooks | themombot.com

While searching for ideas on what handmade gifts I could give some friends and family members this Christmas, I saw an article on decorating notebooks in an old Family Fun magazine. And then I thought, hey – my daughter could totally help me make these (everything is cuter when a kid helps make it) and I’ve got blank notebooks in my crafting stash!

I had wisely picked up a pack of 6 small notebooks with plain white covers at Hobby Lobby when they were 90% off after summer; I think they were part of their VBS stuff that they were trying to get rid of. Definitely a good move on my part!

So instead of creating some notebooks with sailboat pictures like the article suggested (BORING), I grabbed some leftover letter stickers I had from when I put together our play room, along with some butcher paper and wash tape, and the girl and I went to work making monogrammed notebooks.

They were so easy as long as you’ve got all the materials on hand.

diy monogrammed notebooks | TheMombot.com

Here’s what you need:

  • Notebooks (even if it’s got a decorated cover, you can glue over it, so check those $1 bins!)
  • Crafting glue (I prefer acid free glue from Helmar; it doesn’t cause paper to wrinkle and dries clear)
  • Butcher paper or scrapbook paper
  • Washi tape
  • Letter stickers
  • Ruler

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Trace your cover onto the butcher paper. Cut out shape, making sure to cut a straight line along where the spine of the notebook goes (I used a paper trimmer to get it straight).
  2. Spread glue on your notebook cover.
  3. Smooth the butcher paper on top of the cover, matching up corners. Use a ruler to smooth out the glue and squeeze out any excess, while also getting rid of bubbles.
  4. You can let it dry for a bit or move on to the next step. I waited a few minutes (my glue sets really quickly) and put something heavy on top of it to help with curling.
  5. Put washi tape along the spine of the notebook (or anywhere else you please!)
  6. Put a letter sticker on the cover.

Boom. So easy.

Here’s a little video tutorial:

We made one for Mia’s aunt and uncle (because what adult doesn’t need a notebook to jot down grocery lists, to-do lists, etc?) and some for her little friends in Preschool. If they love to color, write and draw as much as my almost 5-year-old, then they’ll be thrilled!

DIY autumn burlap banner

Last year I decided my mantel needed some sprucing up, so I took about 15 minutes to create a burlap banner using some simple burlap ribbon and twine. It hung over the fireplace during Thanksgiving and satisfied my need for something easy and fall-like.

DIY Burlap banner | TheMombot.com

But this year, I decided it needed a little somethin’, somethin’ – especially because the burlap sort of blends in with the tiles surrounding my fireplace. So I went to town creating a stencil of the word “autumn” and painting it on my banner using white acrylic paint. The result was enough to make me go “yippee!” It looks 10 times better than it did last year and the upgrade literally took me 30 minutes.

DIY autumn burlap banner | TheMombot.com

DIY autumn burlap banner | TheMombot.com

Feeling in the mood for a little autumn DIYing? To make this banner in under an hour, here’s what you’ll need:

Supplies:

  • Burlap ribbon (mine is 6″ wide)
  • Twine/Hemp Cord
  • Big needle (I used a large plastic crochet needle)
  • White acrylic paint
  • “Autumn” stencil template (download here)
  • Xacto knife

Here’s how:

  1. Cut 8″ pieces from your 6″ ribbon (or adjust to size according to your ribbon width). If you’d like, vary the bottom edge of each piece to create different shapes like mine (some at an angle, some in a triangle point, some with an inverted triangle).
  2. Thread your needle with the twine and sew a couple of stitches through the top edge of each banner piece (make sure not to get too close to the edge since burlap unravels; 1″ is a safe margin). Keep threading banner pieces until you have achieved your desire banner length.
  3. Cut out your stencils with an Xacto knife from the download provided above, or make your own. My letters are about 3″ x 3″ in a serif font (Hoefler Text).
  4. Lay each letter stencil on top of a banner piece one by one and paint over the stencil with white acrylic paint and a wide brush. I used a stippling effect (dabbing up and down inside of sweeping side to side) when painting to keep my paint within the stencil. Each time you paint a new letter, lay down a fresh piece of newspaper or scrap paper underneath because burlap is very porous and the paint will soak through each time you stencil. If your banner has more than 6 pieces, you’ll have to center the word “autumn” and surround it with blank banner pieces.
  5. The best part is you get immediate satisfaction – since the banner needs to hang to dry, you can put it up in its final resting spot and enjoy it right away!

Need a visual?

Here’s a quick little video tutorial that I put together for the stenciling/painting process of the banner. It’s not rocket science, but sometimes a visual helps!


How to make a burlap autumn banner from Amy Taylor on Vimeo.

DIY fall decor

fall2b
Ahhhhhhhhh, fall.

Though I have fully embraced it now, in early September/October I was so enjoying the warmth of summer that I resisted the onset of fall for quite some time. I was loving the feeling of the sun on my skin and the ease of throwing on a simple dress and some sandals and heading out the door; so as the leaves started to turn and the temperature dropped, I began to pout.

But I think I’ve finally come full circle. This week I lit the fireplace for the first time since last winter, I made chili and lit a pumpkin pie scented candle, and suddenly all seemed right with the world. The crisp, cool air is growing on me and I think I’m finally ready to pack away the swimsuits and pull out the boots – and the fall decor.

Now that Halloween is over, I can focus on sprucing up the house a bit for fall and Thanksgiving. I have to be honest, I am not a huge fan of Halloween decor… in fact, I pulled it out this year to decorate, but then I ended up taking it all down and replacing it with fall decor pretty much immediately. It’s just not cute and I don’t feel like it makes my house homey, so I resist it. But now that Halloween has come and gone, I can go all out for fall and not feel guilt over skipping ahead.

I’ve been keeping my eye on some DIY projects for fall and slowly making a to-do list. For starters, I am loving some of the ideas below. From a wreath for the front door to a Thanksgiving-appropriate banner, I intend to have this house autumn-ready in just a couple of weeks.

Have you started decorating for fall yet?

DIY Fall Decor | TheMombot.com

Little Bo Peep and her sheep {Halloween 2014}

Good news! Little BoPeep has found her sheep!

Little Bo Peep and her sheep costumes, Halloween 2014 | TheMombot.com

Coming up with costumes this year was pretty easy. I had found a little lamb costume last November at Pottery Barn for $22 (originally $69) and quickly snatched it up for the baby I was cooking in my belly. If you ask me, there’s no cuter lamb than my little Graham (yes, it rhymes).

Little Bo Peep and her sheep costumes, Halloween 2014 | TheMombot.com
Little Bo Peep and her sheep costumes, Halloween 2014 | TheMombot.com

I knew Mia wanted to be something extra girly this year after last year’s Dora debacle, and I still have some influence over her so I talked up Little Bo Peep pretty hard and told her about all the ruffles and lace she would get to wear. It was an easy sell. Lincoln has no opinion yet as to what he wears, so he too, would be a sheep.

Little Bo Peep and her sheep costumes, Halloween 2014 | TheMombot.com

I purchased Lincoln’s costume from Chasing Fireflies, knowing they had a cute sheep one, and Graham’s was already bought, so that just left me Mia. Little Bo Peep costumes are pretty lame on the whole. There are some gorgeous ones on Etsy that run about $50-70, but that was a little out of my range considering she would only wear it for one day. So I decided that hers would be the only costume I made this year.

True to form, I made it last weekend… I had such big intentions to make it in mid-September, but one thing after another prevented me from doing so (and by “one thing after another,” I mean procrastination). When I finally went and got all the fabric and sat down and sketched something out, it actually came together pretty quickly.

Little Bo Peep and her sheep costumes, Halloween 2014 | TheMombot.com

I made the whole thing from scratch, using her regular clothes to create patterns. It was my first time making a circle skirt (success!) and my first time making a shirt with sleeves for such a little person. I almost threw in the towel a couple of times trying to sew those darn sleeves in. But in the end, it all worked out even though I made some modifications along the way.

She absolutely loves it, which is all I needed (it’s just too bad she’s so camera-shy… she said sarcastically). I am pretty happy with it too, and oddly enough, I even enjoyed making it – you know, except for the sleeves. I also decided to forego the traditional bonnet that Bo Peep wears and I think that helped keep the cursing to a minimum…

Little Bo Peep and her sheep costumes, Halloween 2014 | TheMombot.com
Little Bo Peep and her sheep costumes, Halloween 2014 | TheMombot.com

Now we get to party hardy at Mia’s school this morning and then go out for trick-or-treating tonight. Which means mom needs to sweat and curse twice today (and I already did that yesterday for these photos) while trying to dress three kids in costume… yay. Have I mentioned how much I looooooove Halloween??

The candy I steal from the kids after they go to bed almost makes it worth it. Almost.

DIY faux deer head (for under $50)

DIY faux deer head for under $50 | TheMombot.com

I have become ridiculously obsessed with deer heads. Perhaps its my Michigan roots, or perhaps I just got bit by the deer head trend. Either way, I’m too far gone.

Over the course of a few weeks, I started seeing pictures like these on the web that had me drooling…

home trend: faux deer head, antlers, taxidermy | TheMombot.com
1. West Elm | 2. Bliss-athome.com | 3. TheDesignerpad.com | 4. Rainonatinroof.com | 5. Mathewsfamilyhappenings.blogspot.com

And I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Suddenly the space above my fireplace seemed very empty and in need of a friend. The problem? These faux deer heads usually cost $99+. It wasn’t exactly in my budget, so I started doing some digging around.

Turns out, you can DIY one for under $50 – and people all over the internet are doing it!

Here’s how…

Purchase this 8 Point Buck Deer Head Bust Wall Hanging (a little rustic in all its painted glory) for under $50. At the time I purchased it, I bought it from a different seller for $33.50 plus $9.49 shipping, so I spent $42.99 total. It doesn’t seem like that option is available anymore, but prices on Amazon change all the time. There are plenty of sellers right now selling it for under $50. The size of this deer head is perfection (not too big, not too small) and it’s made of resin, making it both lightweight and durable.

DIY faux deer head for under $50 | TheMombot.com

You’ll also want to pick up some spray paint. I used Krylon’s glossy white spray for the head and metallic spray in Caramel Latte (satin) for the antlers. You could also paint the antlers a glossy white if you want it to be monotone, or something crazy like black, pink or yellow (which I almost did). The beauty of this deer head is that the antlers already come detached, so painting them a different color from the head is simple (and you can always repaint them later if you change your mind without even detaching it from the wall!).

Set out your pieces and spray paint that sucker.

DIY faux deer head for under $50 | TheMombot.com

Hang on wall. Attach antlers. Done.

DIY faux deer head for under $50 | TheMombot.com

In hindsight, I wish I had sprayed the head with some primer first to make the glossy paint stick a little better. This particular head has fake hair that is quite detailed, so getting the paint in-between all the crevices took about 4 or 5 coats before I was satisfied with the coverage.

Can I tell you a secret? Numerous sellers on Etsy are selling this exact deer head spraypainted white for $85-$150. Look at how much money I just saved you! Of course, if you aren’t a DIYer, then you can certainly buy one already done. White Faux Taxidermy also has some really lovely options at decent prices, though they are smaller in size.

But back to my little creation… The kids named “her” Ruby. She looks so friendly, don’t you think? She’s already dressed for fall, and you better believe she’ll be wrapped in a scarf for the holiday (my husband is shaking his head at me right now).

DIY faux deer head for under $50 | TheMombot.com
 
DIY faux deer head for under $50 | TheMombot.com
 
DIY faux deer head for under $50 | TheMombot.com

 

 

*Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links

Our teeny, tiny playroom reveal

Teeny, tiny playroom reveal, playroom ideas | TheMombot.com

You might remember a couple of months ago when I shared photos of some rather inspiring playrooms and play areas here on the blog. I started researching them when I realized we were in serious need of a playroom for our older two kids; our house felt overwhelmed with toys and sometimes I just can’t deal with a 2 and a 4 year old running circles around our kitchen and living room, even if they are laughing and having fun. So creating a play area in the basement seemed like the most logical idea.

The problem is, our basement already houses a desk for my husband, a sewing area for myself, and a pull-out couch for guests. The only space that was left was an odd little room right outside the door to the basement bathroom. It’s sort of like a long hallway with a closet and serves no real purpose. When the idea popped into my head to transform this area into a playroom, my husband readily agreed and gave me the go-ahead I needed to make it happen. I chased after the idea fast and hard because I was so darn excited, and I think I had it mostly pulled together in a matter of days!

Teeny, tiny playroom reveal, playroom ideas | TheMombot.com

Quite frankly, it’s been our saving grace. My oldest, Mia, heads down here every day for one hour to do “quiet time” while her brothers both nap, and mommy gets some much-needed alone time [insert collective sigh here]. When the kids are driving us crazy because they have too much energy or if I am trying to cook dinner and they won’t get off my legs, I send them down here to run, play and do whatever they please (there isn’t too much that they can destroy, luckily).

Because I had such a small space to work with, I pulled ideas from some of my favorite playroom picks in this post and incorporated what I could. There is a strange lighting fixture that can’t be changed or moved, so I had to work around that, and if I was allowed to paint the walls, I would have in a heartbeat! But this is just a pre-cursor to the awesome playroom I plan on creating for the kids when we finally own a home. Although it’s not as elaborate as I would like, it definitely serves its purpose.

So here’s an in-depth tour of our teeny, tiny playroom…

[ t o y  o r g a n i z a t i o n ]

I am all about organization. When a room is cluttered with toys, it drives me nuts. So my first order of business was to create some toy organization. I wanted something that would last and wouldn’t need to be replaced in a year, so we decided on this Three Bin Storage Cubby in white for $99. It had good reviews and mimics some much more expensive cubbies I had been eyeing from Land of Nod. We only bought one for now, but I like that if I ever want more, they have 2 or 3 cubby options that will attach to the top of our existing bin (so far the cubby is holding up great, in case you were interested in the quality).

Teeny, tiny playroom reveal, playroom ideas | TheMombot.com

For the rest of the organization needs, I headed to my favorite spot – HomeGoods. That’s where I picked up the tall wire basket for holding balls and all the cloth and metal baskets that sit atop the toy cubbies. The big grey basket holds all of Lincoln’s cars, while the smaller blue one holds Mia’s stuffed animals and dolls.

Teeny, tiny playroom reveal, playroom ideas | TheMombot.com

 

[ s p a c e   t o   c r e a t e ]

Both of my kids love to draw and color, but markers and crayons unsupervised with a 2 year old? No thanks. I’ve cleaned too many walls in the past to know that that is a bad idea. So instead, I put up a large chalkboard. I love that chalk can be washed off of anything! I planned on buying a piece of plywood and painting it with chalkboard paint, until I went to Home Depot and discovered that they sell ready-made chalkboards in the size I needed for something like $9! The extra few dollars I spent on it vs. a piece of plywood and paint was WELL worth it.

Teeny, tiny playroom reveal, playroom ideas | TheMombot.com

I also have a little metal green table [ purchased at Ikea many moons ago as it was going out of stock, so I got the table & 4 chairs for $30! ] sitting in front of a closet. The table moves around our house often, depending on our needs (it’s perfect for when we have little dinner guests), but when it’s in the playroom, it works perfectly as a little coloring station for my 4-year-old budding artist (who is allowed to use crayons and markers). Speaking of the closet – which I don’t really have pictures of because, hey, it’s a closet – that houses Mia’s giant Barbie house and any other toys we want to hide away. When we have houseguests, there is still enough room for them to hang some clothes in there.

Teeny, tiny playroom reveal, playroom ideas | TheMombot.com

 

[ d r e s s  –  u p   c o r n e r ]

I really wanted to get Mia’s play clothes out of her bedroom and in one central location, because I was tired of stepping on plastic princess heels and magic wands every time I entered her room. So I created a little dress-up corner with a stand-up mirror that I found at HomeGoods, a hanging rack and her trunk to hold miscellaneous items. I used simple scrapbook stickers from Michael’s to add words on the wall, and the awning above the dress-up corner is made from an old chevron curtain I had and two tension curtain rods. Anytime Mia can stare at herself in the mirror and practice her poses, she’s happy.

Teeny, tiny playroom reveal, playroom ideas | TheMombot.com

 

Thus completes our tiny tour. By the way, most of these pictures are shot from the doorway, so this really is the size of the entire room.

I look forward to having a larger space for the kids to go one day, but for now, I think this is all we need!

 

*Disclosure: Affiliate links used. Read my full disclosure statement here

DIY children’s watercolor art (for a rainy day)

It’s cold and rainy here in Colorado. Technically it’s still summer, but fall is creeping up on us and bringing us a light snowfall in mid-September (what??). I’m already dreading the days of being stuck indoors with 3 kids and no where for them to run free…

So today I’m thinking about finding a project that they can do indoors that will benefit us all and keep us happy amidst the gloomy weather. I pinned a couple of these ideas a while ago for DIY watercolor art from your kid’s creations, and I’m loving the thought of putting them together. Not only will the kids have a blast doing them, but it will keep them occupied (read: mommy stays sane while trying to get some work done), and in the end, I’ll have a new piece of art to hang in our hallway. Everybody wins!

DIY artwork from children's watercolor creations | TheMombot.com
{source: kate bullen }
 
 
DIY artwork from children's watercolor creations | TheMombot.com
{ source: playful learning }

 

Now I just have to get a pot of chili going on the stove and a fire in the fireplace and this day will be a lot more cheery than originally anticipated. Perhaps you’re not so bad after all, fall.

 

DIY Dora and Boots costumes

DIY Dora and Boots Costumes | TheMombot.com

Last year my daughter insisted on being Dora for Halloween. I happily obliged, knowing it would be an easy costume to put together. And then I realized I could make Lincoln a Boots costume and all would be right with the world.

Let’s not talk about the fact that when I put Mia in her costume come Halloween day, she cried and said she didn’t want to be Dora. Oh, 3 year olds.

Anyway, their costumes turned out cute and I convinced her to wear it in the end (even though when I went to pick her up from school she wasn’t wearing her shorts and was prancing around in white tights completely pantsless).

The Dora costume was really easy to pull together. I planned on buying it all, but couldn’t find orange shorts anywhere (surprising…), so I ended up making them. Here’s what I bought/created for her costume:

DIY Dora and Boots Costumes | TheMombot.com

DIY Dora Costume Supplies:

  • Pink t-shirt ($6 from Amazon)
  • Black wig ($7 from Target, they do actually make official Dora wigs here)
  • Orange shorts (DIYed: I used a current pair of shorts she owned and made a pattern, then made them with orange knit fabric and elastic)
  • White tights
  • Official Dora backpack ($11 on Amazon)
  • Pink shoes (technically, Dora wears yellow socks and white shoes, but I would never buy my daughter white shoes because they would be instantly trashed and I couldn’t find yellow socks anywhere, so I decided to go my own route – plus the tights were necessary due to cold weather)

DIY Boots Costume

For Lincoln’s costume, I decided I would make the entire thing. I used all fleece, knowing it wouldn’t be too expensive, it would be warm for nighttime trick-or-treating, and I wouldn’t have to hem it.

DIY Dora and Boots Costumes | TheMombot.com

To make main costume piece:

To make the costume, I wanted a one-piece outfit, so I used a pair of his pajamas to create the pattern. To do this yourself, just fold the front piece of the pajamas in half down the center front and place on top of fabric folded in half. Match up the center front of the pajamas with the fold in the fabric.

Then trace around your pajamas. I added about a 1/2″ all the way around since fleece doesn’t have as much give as the knit in the pajamas, and then another 1/2″ for seam allowance where necessary (everywhere but neck, wrist cuffs and pant cuffs).

I followed the same process to create the back piece of the costume using the back side of the pajamas as the pattern, but then I added 1/2″ at the center back and cut down the center back so that I had two pieces. I did this so I could insert the tail and so I could add in a velcro panel to close the costume.

DIY Dora and Boots Costumes | TheMombot.com

Before I sewed the front and back together, I cut a yellow oval out of fleece for the belly on the front side, pinned it in place, and stitched around the edges to attach it. For the back, I pinned the tail in the appropriate place and then sewed the two back pieces together halfway up (starting at the crotch, ending around the lower back). The tail is just a rectangular tube made from yellow and purple fleece, turned right side out. With the top half of the back, I sewed velcro on each piece to create a closure (see image above).

DIY Dora and Boots Costumes | TheMombot.com

The red boots:

I would have preferred to just buy red boots, but couldn’t find any, so I made boot covers from red fleece instead. I could have attached these to the costume, but decided it was easier not to. I used paper to create a pattern piece by laying it on top of the boot and molding it, drawing and cutting (it was all very scientific). Once I had a piece of paper that adequately covered the top of his foot, I used it as a pattern piece and cut out my red covers. They were two pieces; one that covered the foot part of the boot, and a rectangular piece that wrapped around the height of the boot, closed with velcro and tucked into the top of the boot. They were pretty poorly made, but I knew he’s only be wearing them once, so I didn’t really care.

The hat:

The hat was a little difficult. I used a winter hat that Lincoln already owned as the pattern, but I discovered later that the hat no longer fit him and was a bit small, so I had to add in a panel at back of his head to make it fit (as you can see in the photos). I also had to add seams to insert the ears and Boots’ little hair piece. To make the ears and hair piece stand up, I created them out of two pieces of fleece, sewn together and turned right side out, and then inserted shapes cut from plastic template sheets for stability- it worked like a charm. I would give more details on how I created the hat, but it was truly a “make it work” moment, so I wouldn’t be of much help… My best advice is to find a hat in a similar shape and trace it as a pattern.

Because I didn’t have to hem anything, the costume didn’t take long to make. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked for the one day that he wore it! And in my opinion, he looks pretty darn cute.

*Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links

 

Stylish staircase babyproofing: An update

Stylishly babyproofing your staircase and railings | TheMombot.com
cushioned hand rails  |  DIY half-door baby gate

You might remember a while back when I shared some stylish ways to babyproof your house and, more specifically, your stair railings. That’s what led me to create a railing guard from poster-sized sheets of plexiglass that I purchased at Hobby Lobby for $6 each, some frosted glass spray and some clear zip ties.

babyproofing staircase with plexiglass | themombot.com

The project was mostly successful, functional but a bit of a bust visually. The frosted glass spray turned out rather blotchy on the plexiglass and within about 6 months of hanging them, we had 3 cracks in various spots on the plexiglass. It wasn’t quite thick enough to withstand my running, bouncing, hyper kiddos. However, no one fell through the railings, so I guess that’s a bonus…

After walking past the cracks that I had covered with packing tape to prolong their life (quit judging me), I decided it was finally time to switch out the plexiglass and come up with something newer and better. That’s when I realized, hey, couldn’t I just use wood? Of course, it would have to be lightweight so that it could be held by zip ties (our railings are made of metal so we can’t drill into them), but it seemed totally doable and a lot sturdier.

I planned on purchasing some masonite board, knowing it was lightweight and came in big sheets. When I got to Home Depot I realized that they also had sheets of MDF board and they were lighter in weight and only $3 a piece – bingo!

Stylishly babyproofing your staircase and railings | TheMombot.com

I purchased 3 of them, along with some paint and some new zip ties (you can buy these in different strengths; mine are made to hold up to 75 lbs).

Although no light can pass through these boards like it could with the plexiglass (one of the reasons I loved this idea so much), I was able to paint them and add a little more color to our walkway. We used the same method to hang them: cut boards to size, drill holes in corners, string zip ties through the holes and tighten around railings. We also cut the last couple of boards to fit the upper staircase angle.

It probably took my husband and I about 45 minutes to hang the boards and we didn’t even fight because the process was easy (bonus). It is much sturdier than our original plexiglass solution and I like the added color to the staircase! I also feel a little more secure knowing the kids can’t punch through it, and it’s nice knowing we probably won’t have to replace it anytime soon.

Stylishly babyproofing your staircase and railings | TheMombot.com

All in all, it was a successful upgrade and an excellent lesson learned.