DIY Dollar Tree Playhouse Flower Boxes

By Melissa Moyles

The playhouse refresh continues!

After we made these adorable scrapwood shutters (check out this blog post!), we knew some flowers were needed. This is also a playhouse so I wanted to keep it affordable. Enter Dollar Tree!

It took about 20 minutes of ambling but I found the perfect items: metal wide planters, hooks, fake flowers, floral foam, and potting soil.

The hooks came with screws and were super easy to attach to the thin metal planters. Ideally next you would insert the floral foam but I realized this a few days later and had to reassemble. Whoops!

With the floral foam in, fill halfway with the soil. Next, measure the height you need for the flowers and snip with wire clippers. I repeat snip with wire clippers – scissors will not work! Once you get the flowers looking good and full in the foam, top off with more soil.

And that is it! This took 10 minutes to do and added such a fun color pop to the now white playhouse.

If you try this DIY, tag me on instagram at 3daughtersDIY.

Best, Melissa and Girls

DIY Playhouse Shutters

By Melissa Moyles

Hello! How is it already the end of July? This summer has FLOWN. June was all about fun trips: Boston, Steinhatchee, and Bar Harbor Maine (blog posts to come one day…) But July was dedicated to flipping the girls old dirty playhouse.

We bought this playhouse from Sam’s Club in 2017 and it has been well loved. It also could use some love (and paint).

After 3 solid weeks of painting (I wish I was joking), I was finally ready to add some fun finishes. The first incredibly easy addition was pink shutters. These were so easy to make the girls did most of the work. And since I used scrap wood, they cost me basically nothing.

Here’s how we made them:

  1. I had cheap 1 inch pine boards on hand but anything similar is fine – use what you have. Cut 3 to the window height and 2 to the width of the shutter.
  2. Dry fit the boards. I put the horizontal boards 2 inches from the top and bottom. Little helpers are great here!
  3. Using 1 inch brads, I attached the horizontal boards to vertical boards. This was all 3 girls first time using a brad nailer and I was excited to show them the proper and safe way to use it.
  4. Paint any fun color! We used Behr Bedazzled in an Outdoor Satin finish.
  5. Attach to the playset using 1 inch brads.

I love how it adds a pop of color to my now all white playset. And it was one small win in a long list of fun additions to the playhouse!

Tag me on instagram @3daughtersdiy if you try to make shutters of your own!

Best, Melissa and Girls

Epic Family RV Trip: Zion and The Grand Canyon in 5 Days

By Melissa Moyles

Happy May! I can’t believe it is almost summer. The last 4 months have flown by thanks to a few amazing trips. My husband and I have talked of a family RV trip since long before we had kids. Now that the girls are 6,8, and 9, it was the perfect time to visit out west! We spent 5 days traveling from Vegas to Zion to The Grand Canyon and back and I will share all the details.

Day 1: Fly into Las Vegas and drive to Zion

We flew into Las Vegas Airport and found an RV rental 10 minutes away by taxi. We had never RV’d before so wanted to start smallish with a 32 ft vehicle.

The 3 hour drive to Zion took us through Nevada, Arizona, and Utah and was uneventful thanks to my husband setting up a hot spot so the girls could watch Netflix. we stopped at a Walmart close to Zion for all our food and miscellaneous supplies.

Our first RV Trip!

We arrived at our first RV park around 5 pm, Zion River Resort. It had full hook up so while Jared figured out water and electric and sewage, I set up camp and made dinner. The RV park had a playground and kids were everywhere so the girls were happy to run after a long travel day. I was happy to relax with a beer.

Living that RV Park Life

Day 2: Zion National Park

Zion National Park

The RV park was pretty close to the park entrance and thankfully they had a shuttle. Make sure you call ahead to book it because while it is included, it can fill up fast. We decided to start our day with an easy hike to get our legs warm. It was 20 degrees when we left the RV park at 7am but 9 it had warmed up to 50 degrees!

We started with the Riverside Walk which, as it’s name states, follows the path of the Virgin River. This would be a great walk for small children or elderly as it was very flat and under 2 miles there and back. The best part was it ended at the beginning of the Narrows trail so we were able to see other hikers embarking on their journey through the River in full waders. I would love to go back to Zion in the summer and try out the Narrows myself. During the spring, because of melting snow, the water level is too high and fast and cold for the kiddos.

Zion National Park – Riverside Walk, The Narrows Trailhead
Zion National Park – Riverside Walk

After a snack break, we embarked on our 2nd morning hike – The Emerald Pools. There is a lower, middle, and upper Emerald Pools and they are supposedly listed as intermediate. For my girls, they were just the right level of difficulty with a 2.5 mile roundtrip hike to all 3.

Much of this hike however is walking straight uphill over and around boulders so make sure you are wearing lots of layers and proper shoes. Also pack TONS of water. I promise the view is worth it.

Zion National Park – Middle Emerald Pools Trail
Zion National Park – Upper Emerald Pools

After our morning hikes, some hot showers and naps were in order. All cleaned up, we headed out for a Safari. It’s exactly like it sound, we sat in the back of a pick up truck and drove around Zion on a guided Zion Jeep Tour. Our guide was awesome and made us take pictures at all the “instagram spots”. Check out my 6 year old sitting in this Y tree over Zion.

Zion Jeep Tours

Whenever I’m talking to a local, I always ask what food is famous in the area. Apparently in Utah, there is a thing called a Dirty Soda. If you remember making suicides on the fountain as a kid, it’s basically an elevated version of that. We didn’t get a chance to check it out but Swig is 100% on my list next time I’m in Utah.

Day 3: Drive to The Grand Canyon

The South Rim Grand Canyon

The day was finally here! We were going to see one of the Greatest Natural Wonders of the world! We headed out early because although Google said it was a 4 hour drive, we expected differently. Leaving Zion, you have to travel through the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel. Up until this point, we had only seen the East side of Zion. Entering into West Zion is an entirely different experience. Instead of the beautiful orange terrain being in the distance, the boulders were right upon you. We stopped multiple times for the girls to climb and run and to appreciate the beautiful landscape.

There are a few things we did not get to do on Day 3 that I would recommend. Firstly, just outside of Zion is the ghost town Grafton. These towns are sprinkled all over the western frontier and I have always wanted to visit one. Our RV was too tall for the bridge clearance. Next time!

https://www.americansouthwest.net/utah/zion/grafton_ghost_town.html

Secondly, to break up the drive from Zion the South Rim, I would have LOVED to stop at Antelope Canyon. To enter these Slot Canyons requires a tour and we did not plan enough time in advance. We will definitely be returning to explore!

https://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/arizona/road-trips/2021/08/12/antelope-canyon-reopening-2021/5539875001/

After 6 hours (yes 6!), we finally arrived at our destination – Grand Canyon Airport. Now the girls knew every part of this trip except one. Thanks to a generous gift from my Aunt, we planned a Maverick Helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. As we had been driving all day, the girls had yet to spy the Grand Canyon. Flying over the rim was nothing short of breathtaking. My photos will never do it justice but I will try.

Ready for our flight!
Maverick Helicopter Tour
Helicopter view from above the Grand Canyon

On a high from our incredible Helicopter tour, we headed to our next camping spot which was right in the park – Trailer Village RV Park.

Day 4: The Grand Canyon

South Kaibab Trail Grand Canyon

For our full day in the Grand Canyon, we made no solid plans. Very unlike me but we wanted some breathing room in our schedule to just enjoy the view. Just like Zion River Resort, Trailer Village runs shuttles to take you to the visitor center. We started our first hike bright and early at 8am.

I had visited the Grand Canyon once before as a teenager but had never hiked down inside. That has always been a dream so we searched for the shortest and easiest hike our girls could manage. The south Kaibab Trail was a winner!

If you are afraid of heights, or your crazy kids falling, The Kaibab trail is definitely anxiety inducing. The path is narrow and steep with the whole canyon opening up a few feet from you.

If you walk a mile down this trail you will end at Ooh Aah Point. The wind was absolutely whipping and only my middle and I braved it down there for pictures.

Grand Canyon – Ooh Aah Point

You can continue down into the canyon from Ooh Aah Point but we decided to head back to the rim. We then spent an hour walking the rim trail, ending at a Ranger Choice Talk which are done daily at 11am at the Yavapai Point Amphitheater. We learned so much about the formation of the Canyon and got what I’m sure will our Christmas card photo this year!

Day 5: Drive back to Las Vegas and fly home

Our last morning of the trip was Easter and wouldn’t you know it, the Easter bunny came! After basket excitement and a campsite breakfast, we hit the road for the 4+ hour ride back to Las Vegas.

The Hoover Dam – https://travelnevada.com/historical-interests/hoover-dam/

An hour short of Las Vegas, there’s a little known site known as the Hoover Dam. Ever heard of it? On a whim we decided to swing by. Unfortunately, it is not the best set up in an RV with pedestrians walking everywhere. So we pulled into a parking lot and spent just a few minutes taking it in. Again, another stop to add to our next trip!

In summary, 5 days was a perfect first RV trip and enough time to enjoy both Zion and the Grand Canyon. I can’t wait to check out more National Parks by RV and will share all our adventures here at 3DaughtersDIY.

Best, Melissa and Girls

Sconce Puck Light Hack

By Melissa Moyles

Happy April! We are still working in the homework loft. Will this project ever end?!

I really wanted to add some sconce lighting but did not want to deal with electrical. Enter puck lights! This trick has been all over instagram for the past few years and I knew it would work perfectly in this space.

I bought these remote control lights at Home Depot. To get them to act like light bulbs, I superglued them to to socket adapters. Easy peasy!

I just drilled the lights into the drywall and shoved all the wiring behind them. This project took 10 minutes per light and makes such an impact in my girls space!

If you try this hack, tag @3daughtersdiy on instagram and comment below!

Best, Melissa and Girls

IKEA Alex Glow Up

By Melissa Moyles

A few weeks backed I shared with you the girls new homework loft. They have been loving it for coloring, and Lego building, and of course homework.

But I knew I wanted to add something special to my ikea project. An Alex Drawer Glow Up! I hunted Pinterest and fell in love with this version from the Hardins but decided to add a few of my own twists.

Here’s what I did.

First I had to remove the drawer fronts. I’m hindsight, I could have waited to build the drawers.

Next, I added 1/8 inch hardboard to front with wood glue. I got a huge sheet at Home Depot for $20 and had them rip it down to the correct height. For length, I used my miter saw at home.

Then came the showstopper – Cane! I bought a 4ft roll of cane from Amazon. But I made 4 units so you can expect a foot per Alex unit. I soaked the cane for an hour in the bathtub and then let it dry thoroughly. I don’t know why this is important but apparently it is! I used a basic staple gun to attach it to the fronts; Pulling tight and making sure it’s straight. I then used a kitchen scissor to trim a 1 inch border the whole way around.

Next I used that same 1/8 inch hardboard to add a 3/4 inch trim around the edges. The large cutter at Home Depot couldn’t cut that thin so I was lucky to have awesome neighbors to help me with their table saw. I used my miter saw again to cut to length with 45 degree angled corners before flying and Brad nailing to the fronts.

Probably the most important step came next: Caulking the edges and sanding. It’s messy and time consuming but it makes your project go from looking DIY to custom!

Finally was time to paint. I hunted Pinterest for an ikea white paint match and came across this. I took it to Richard’s Paint and had them color match. It worked great!

Finally the last step: hardware. The Hardins used gold edge pulls but with so much black hardware in my loft it made more sense to continue with black knobs. I found these at Home Depot.

And that is it! I allotted a full day for each unit in between client calls and mom duty. If you were focused, you could probably do the whole thing in 4 hours.

Let me know what you think in the comments and please tag @3daughtersdiy on instagram if you try this ikea hack!

Best, Melissa and Girls

Playroom Refresh: Homework Loft and Kiddie Wet bar

By Melissa Moyles

Happy Spring! The weather here in Florida has been so beautiful and indoor projects have taken a little more time than usual. Oh well!

Last week I finally finished the wetbar upgrade and this week the playroom got a major glow up to transform into a homework loft!

Here’s a look at the wetbar in January…

And here she is now!

Wet Bar Upgrades Included:

  • Fresh Paint
  • Peel and Stick Backsplash
  • New Bookcase With added feet
  • Neon Light
  • Gold Painted Faucet
  • New Cabinet Hardware

All of these wet bar upgrades deserve their own post and in due time they will get one. For now, the links will have to suffice 😊

Obviously to make this huge transition, a major purge was also required. I now love grabbing a drink at the wet bar every time I’m upstairs!

The 2nd major transformation was the playroom loft. My girls are now 6, 7, and 9 and the toys go mainly untouched. It’s the end of an era but a change was needed.

The playroom loft before… toys and baby dolls and gymnastics equipment and tons of dress up clothes.

And the homework loft now! Desks x3!

Homework Loft Upgrades Included:

  • White Paint
  • 4 IKEA Alex drawers
  • 2 IKEA countertops
  • 3 amazon chairs (although I bought a 4 pack)
  • 3 Amazon pinboards
  • 3 amazon sconces using Remote control Puck light and Lightbulb socket adapters

It was absolute serendipity for me that the 2 countertops together were the exact length I needed! However if you need them shorter, try can easily cut using a table saw.

To anchor the counter tops together, I simply used metal brackets. For the tops to the bases, I used L brackets from Home Depot.

For the sconces, I didn’t want to hassle with hardwiring so I super glued a puck light to a socket adapter. Shhh it’s our secret!

Now, the girls each have a dedicated space to do their homework or color or build Legos. They also each have their own drawer to use as she pleases. They love it!

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and tag me on instagram if you try any of these tricks!

Best, Melissa and Girls

Beech Mountain North Carolina in Winter with Kids

By Melissa Moyles

I love winter! I love snow, I love cute sweaters, I love hot cocoa and high boots. But I live in Florida so we have to hunt for winter. Here are 4 fun things my family of 5 found to do in Beech Mountain, North Carolina!

1. Sledding

We wanted to ski but President’s Day Weekend is packed! So plan B took us to the local Beech Mountain Sledding Hill. It was free and did not disappoint! Dont worry about packing your own sleds- we grabbed some for under $10 at the local Grocery Store.

2. Snow Tubing

While we didn’t make skiing happen at Beech Mountain, we were able to secure Snow Tubing Passes. My girls aged 6, 7, 9 had a blast and so did the parents!

3. Ice Skating

Just down the road from Beech Mountain is another ski resort, Sugar Mountain. While again everything was slammed Presidents Day Weekend, we had no problem walking in for ice skating. My Florida girls are terrible at skating but their mama might be even worse! That said, we all had some laughs trying our best to stay on our feet.

4. Grandfather Mountain

a few miles down the road from Beech Mountain is one of the top scenic attractions in North Carolina – Grandfather Mountain. My girls LOVED being suspended on the swinging mile high bridge and the views were breathtaking.

Our family had a wonderful trip finding Winter in North Carolina. Let me know if you check out any of these places!

Best,

Melissa and Girls

Celebrating Mardi Gras with Family

By Melissa Moyles

Can you believe it is the last day of February?! This month has been a whirlwind for my family with Girl Scouts, dance, and family vacations.

But tomorrow is Mardi Gras so the celebration continues! I love New Orleans and anything Cajun. My high school bestie went to Tulane for College so I spent my fair share of nights in my 20s in the French Quarter.

Now that I have kids of my own, I still like to bring New Orleans to life at home on Mardi Gras. Here are a few of my favorite ways.

Decorations

I was lucky enough to be in New Orleans last month for work and picked up these adorable masks and beads. But if you aren’t, no worries! Dollar Tree also has a great selection of beads, crowns, and masks to stay festive.

I also encourage my family to dress for the occasion in the traditional colors of yellow, green, and purple.

Music

Hey Alexa, play Jazz music. You cant think New Orleans without thinking Jazz. Put on some classic favorites like Louis Armstrong or Miles Davis and you will be transported to Bourbon Street.

Food

Oh my the food! Beignets, Etouffee, Red Beans and Rice, Shrimp and Grits, Oysters, and on and on on. Every single time I’m in New Orleans I eat 3 huge French donuts (beignets) at Cafe du Monde with their famous Chicory Coffee. I also can never skip a chance for Oyster’s at Felix’s. I could eat Cajun food every day and die happy.

Last night my dad made Shrimp Etouffee over rice with crusty French bread and even my kids loved it! Here is my favorite recipe from Emeril Legasse.

Drinks

Mardi Gras is basically synonymous with drinking! Whenever I’m in New Orleans I have to stop by Pat O’Brien’s for a Hurricane.

At home, I can usually find Louisiana Local Abita Purple Haze at Publix. This time, I tried something new but on theme with New Belgium “Voodoo Ranger”. Here is a great at home recipe for the classic Hurricane.

King Cake

I am saving the best for last – King Cake! If you ask my kids what their favorite part of Mardi Gras is, they will unanimously tell you King Cake. For those who haven’t tried it, King Cake is a pastry ring iced and covered with green, yellow, and purple sprinkles. The fun part however, is a small plastic baby hiding in one of the slices. At my house, whoever finds the baby is deemed Mardi Queen with good luck for the whole year!

You can have local favorite’s shipped to you but my local grocery store Publix also had them in stock. In the past, my kids have also brought them to class to share with their friends.

I hope you have a fantastic Mardi Gras! As they say in the French Quarter – Laissez le bon temps Rouler!

Best, Melissa and Girls

Aunt Paulette’s Chili

By Melissa Moyles

Happy February! This year has been a whirlwind so far. So much vacation and with it terrible eating. I came home from North Carolina this week craving some vegetables. Do you know what I mean? My family however are not big veggie eaters. That is unless I hide them well in their favorite chili!

This recipe is like a big hug from my childhood. My Aunt Paulette would make it when she came to visit from Michigan and now I will share it with you!

I bet you have many of these ingredients already on hand!

I start by browning ground beef in a big cast iron pot but any pan will work.

While the meat is browning, I dice up the Trinity: onions, bell pepper, and celery.

Once the meat is brown, I remove to the side and soften the veggies in the same pot.

Aunt Paulette always used Pinto and Kidney beans but you can really use any canned bean you prefer. Sometimes I will also add black beans. Make sure you drain and rinse them well!

Once the veggies are soft, I add back in the meat, beans, and a large can of crushed tomatoes. I will also fill the can halfway with water to rinse out the extra tomatoey goodness.

I am not known for measuring my spices but use about 3 tbsp chili powder to 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp salt and cracked pepper.

Bring the chili to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook covered for at least 30 minutes.

This Chili tastes best with Trashy Cornbread so if you’re feeling ambitious, check out this recipe while the Chili is simmering.

I like to top my Chili with cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, onions, and avocado but use whatever is your favorite.

I hope you try Aunt Paulette’s Chili! Let me know how it goes in the comments and tag me on Instagram @3daughtersDIY.

Best, Melissa and Girls

Aunt Paulettes Chili

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, diced onions, diced avocado, hot sauce

Directions

  • Brown ground beef wirh oil in large pot, remove
  • Add diced veggies. Soften for 10 minutes over medium heat
  • Drain and rinse beans
  • Add meat and beans to veggie pot. Add can of crushed tomatoes and then 1/2 can of water. Add all the spices and stir
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for at least 30 minutes
  • Serve with toppings and cornbread

Trashy Cornbread

By Melissa Moyles

Hi Friends! After a weekend of eating like trash, I needed some vegetables. In my house, the best vehicle to get veggies into my kids and husband is Aunt Paulette’s Chili. But what is Chili without cornbread? Boring!

Enter Trashy Cornbread – the most fun and easy side to chili you have ever made.

Literally 5 ingredients that you can easily find at any grocery store.

I know the experts say to mix your wet and dry separately but I guess I’m a rebel because in my house, they all just get dumped into one bowl before mixing.

A little pam and pyrex and into the oven she goes.

She thiccc! Just look at this beauty!

I mean I could eat trashy cornbread by itself but again, it’s better with Chili.

I hope you love this as much as my family does. Please let me know how it turns out in comments and tag me on instagram @3daughtersdiy

Best, Melissa and Girls

Trashy Cornbread

makes 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 boxes jiffy cornbread
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 5 tbsp melted butter

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Grease a 9×12 pyrex and add mix
  • Bake for 40 minutes until cornbread is set and brown on top
  • Enjoy!