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Visiting Universal's Volcano Bay with Toddlers and Preschoolers

What to do at Universal's Volcano bay water park if you have little kids (toddlers or preschoolers) who aren't tall enough for the 42 inch height requirement.  Great info on the attractions and rides they CAN ride and the secrets behind the park to be on the lookout for. This summer we took a fabulous trip down to Universal Orlando Resort, which included an excursion to the recently opened Volcano Bay Water Park. The park was amazing and my older kids had so much fun.  The water coasters and slides were thrilling and they couldn't ride them enough.   But those rides were too big for my preschooler.
01 Universal s Volcano Bay Waturi Beach and Krakatau Volcano Low Res tcm70 62503
Before the trip, I had been reading though the information about the park and I was nervous about how much there would be for my 4 year old to do. Most of the reviews and information I found talked about the big headliner slides and rides which all had 42 inch height requirements, but he was only 40 inches.

Universal’s own website doesn’t even list a single “Kids Play Area” for Volcano Bay.  It didn’t sound very promising.04 Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides Low Res tcm70 62513 Fortunately, when we actually visited, we found out there was PLENTY for a preschooler to do, and he was easily entertained the entire day.  So for anyone traveling with littles and are curious about how exactly to plan for a trip to Volcano Bay, I thought I would share our experiences.
14 Volcano Bay Entrance Low Res tcm70 62527

12 Leaf Inspired Fall Projects

12 Leaf Inspired Decor Projects12 Leaf Inspired DIY projects

Welcome back to this month's All Things Creative challenge.  This month we are focusing on FALL and all things LEAVES.   Not much more rings in the beauty and colors of fall than an autumn leaf.


How to Remove 5 Common Stains on Kids Clothes

Dirty shirt
How to remove 5 common stains from kids clothes
It is time to head back to school, and with the school days always come kid-related stains. Kids have all sorts of adventures while at school, and often they run into messes. I can’t even count the number of days I have picked up my children only to be faced with marker-streaked shirts, grass stained knees or juice splotched shirts. It definitely makes for more difficult laundry days.
Dirty shirt
A disadvantage of stain treatment on kids clothes is that you can't typically treat the stain right after it happens, which makes them much more difficult to remove.  Since your kids will usually wear their soiled clothes though the entire school day, stains are likely to dry and possibly set in. That is why knowing the right way to treat these stains safely and effectively once you do get the chance is so crucial.
It is important to get your children’s clothes clean and get the stains out, but it is just as important to make sure you are using the right techniques so you don’t damage the garments or put your children at risk. Laundry room safety should always be a priority and that includes how you use and store your bleach, detergent, stain removers, and concentrated liquid laundry packets.

Today I’m partnering with American Cleaning Institute and its PACKETS UP! campaign to tackle five of the most common types of stains you will find when kids come home from school:
Evidence of their playground adventures; Dirt, Mud and Grass StainsFallout from their classroom projects; Markers, Ink and Paint Stains
Remnants of school lunch: Fruit Juice and Soft Drink Stains

How to Remove 5 Common Stains from Kids’ Clothing

Remember: Always read care instructions and check color fastness before trying any of these methods to protect delicate fabrics. 
All these stain treatments should be performed by adults. Children should never handle or use any type of detergents and stain treatments. Always store laundry detergents, concentrated liquid laundry packets, stain removers, bleach, and soaps up high and out of reach of children. It is best to secure them in upper cabinets, out of sight of children. Always keep detergents, stain removers, and concentrated laundry packets in their original containers with the lids closed and labels in tact. Do not allow children access to standing water while clothes are soaking or laundering. 
I even keep a reminder of proper storage on my washing machine – you can get yours for free at www.packetsup.com.
Muddy kid
Mud/Dirt:
Allow mud to dry and remove as much material as you can by bushing fabric with a brush or your fingers.  Apply a small amount of detergent and water and rub fabric together in order to create suds. Rinse and then apply a 50% vinegar solution (1 part vinegar, 1 part water) and wash normally, typically warm or hot water will work best.  For tough stains, you can use chlorine or oxygen bleach in place of the vinegar if it is safe for fabric.
Soft Drinks/Juices:
Rinse or soak the garment in cool water to remove as much of the stain as possible.  Treat with small amount of detergent or stain fighter and rub fabric together.  Allow to sit for 10-20 minutes and wash in hottest water possible.  For tough stains, add chlorine or oxygen bleach to the wash if it is safe for fabric.
Ink markers
Markers/Ink:Washable markers are often used in schools, and luckily these will wash out without stain treatment, just launder as normal. (To test if marker stain is washable, dampen a cotton swab with water and rub the stain. Washable marker will bleed onto the swab almost immediately.)
Permanent markers and ballpoint pen ink are more difficult to remove. You need to solubilize the ink, blotting it with a paper towel to remove the stain. Place the garment on a few layers of paper towel. Add rubbing alcohol, hairspray, orange oil or other cleaning fluids to the stain drop wise and then blot with additional layers of paper towel.  You should see the stain transfer to the towels.  Move to a clean area and repeat the process until all the ink has been removed.

Once the visible stain is gone, treat with a small amount of detergent and launder garment as normal to remove the alcohol.
Grass:
Apply stain treater directly to stain and rub fabric together.   Wash with regular laundry.   If stain persists treat with diluted white vinegar (1 part vinegar one part water)to remove remaining color and wash again.
Finger painting
Paint:
Most paints used in school are water based. Children are unlikely to use oil based paints in the classroom, so here will only be discussing latex paints.   Many finger paints and school paints are considered “washable” but still require pre-treatment with either detergent or a stain treater followed by a wash in the hottest water possible. ONLY USE HOT WATER IF YOU KNOW THE PAINT IS WASHABLE otherwise you are more likely to set the stain. If you are unsure, use cold water instead. If discoloration remains, soaking in color-safe, chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach and re-washing may be required.
Tempera and latex pain can be extremely difficult to remove once they have dried. The first thing you want to do is remove as much of the paint as possible scraping it off with either a stiff wire brush, spoon, or butter knife, taking care not to damage the fabric. You can rinse the fabric under cold water to help with this removal process (never use hot water, it can set the stain).
Next, create a soaking solution (1-2 Tbsp of detergent or dish soap in a gallon of cold water) and add garment, making sure to keep stain completely submerged.  Allow to soak for 30-60 minutes in order to soften the paint. After soaking, use a sponge or brush to work a little additional detergent or stain treater into the stain and rub the fabric between your fingers to physically disrupt the stain. Rinse and repeat this process until the stain has been removed. Wash in cold water.
The American Cleaning Institute actually has a comprehensive stain cleaning chart for any other stains I didn’t cover here (red wine anyone?).
ACI also has many resources about safely using and storing concentrated laundry packets, and you can sign up to receive a free laundry room PACKETS UP! cling decal (like the one I have below) to remind you to keep them up and away from kids.

Keep your kids safe while getting and keeping their clothes stain free, and have a wonderful school year!

15 Easy Fall Woodworking Projects

Easy beginner woodworking projects for fall.  Autumn pumpkins and leaves make for great autumn building projects
Easy beginner woodworking projects for fall. Pumpkins and leaves make for great autumn building projects.

Autumn provides so much inspiration for crafts and decorating, but fall can also be a fun excuse to get out to the woodshop.  Fall has so many great motifs, like pumpkins and leaves that can be turned into fast and easy woodworking projects.

 I've collected 15 creative and not to difficult projects for the beginning woodworker.  This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative wood projects for fall, but it is great place to start!


Easy Autumn Inspired Woodworking Projects:

How to Know if Your Latest DIY Project Requires a Permit

Building plans
Working on DIY project and want to know if you need a building permit?  This has great info about the types of projects that may require you to pull a permit. Are you planning on adding some curb appeal to your home? Perhaps you want to expand your patio for more space, or even add some fencing or outside lighting. There are all sorts of ways to make your home look great, but before you start any project you should see if the project requires a permit.

Some outdoor and household projects do in fact require a permit from your local government, and the result of not getting one of these permits can be hefty fines.  I'm going to be honest here and tell you that for many of these projects, you can "get away" with not pulling a permit, but just because you can, doesn't mean you should.  Even contractors will often ignore the permitting process, but don't let them!   Doing unpermitted work on your home can really come back to bite you if you ever go to sell it or need to have it appraised.  Often you will need to get a permit after the fact, and that will be a huge nightmare!   
Brittany has a fabulous interview with her local building inspector about the rationale behind building permits.  
NewImage
So how do you know if your next project needs a permit or not? Look below at some helpful tips on how to know if your latest DIY project requires a permit. This way, you can stay safe and legal while getting the job done.

Please note that permit laws may vary from city to city and county to county. Use these tips below as a guideline but always check with your local government offices to check on current permit laws.  For example, plumbing projects (as simple as replacing a toilet or water heater) require you to have a permit, but that is not typical in other parts of the country. 


Here are the household projects that more than likely require the homeowner to obtain a permit before beginning:

1. Installing any new electrical lines.

Anytime adding new electrical lines is on the agenda a permit will be needed. This is a job that needs to be done by a professional and done correctly for safe installation.

2. Changing the layout of the house or the floor plan.

If the layout of your home’s original plan is changing, a permit will be needed. This means adding on additional rooms, removing walls to expand a room, or raising a ceiling to open up a room.
Building plans

3. Building/installing fencing over 5 feet tall.

Your small picket fence won’t be an issue, but any fencing over 5-6 feet often needs a permit. It is also a good idea to get your property line in writing so you can be sure you are keeping the fence within your rights.

4. Removing any large trees from the property.

While you are free to remove small saplings and shrubs, any large trees that require professional removal may require a permit. You may need to block off the street during removal as well, which will require the proper paperwork.

5. Adding on a deck or expanding a current deck.

If you are adding a deck onto your home or expanding what you already have, a permit will be required. The permit will state what the height of the deck should be as well as safety features that should be in place.
Wood deck

6. Adding new windows to the home.

While you don’t need to get a permit to replace old windows, you do need a permit if you are adding windows where they didn’t previously exist. This falls in line with the changing layout as mentioned in #2.

7. Roof layout changes.

While you don’t need a permit for a new roof, you will need a permit if the design of the roof is changing. If adding any sort of solar paneling or opening in the roof (for a window) you will need to have it approved.
Constuction

8. Large storage units.

If you care to add a carport, additional garage, or large storage unit, you will need a permit. Any large structure being added to the property will need to be approved and often times the property area you will be placing it on needs to be confirmed.

As you can see, there are a variety of household projects that require the appropriate permit before the project begins. Use these tips as a guide before starting your next project so you can be sure the job just isn’t done right, but is done within the laws of your city or county.

Easy No Sew Knit Sweater Pumpkins

Three little white sweater pumpkinsEasy No Sew Pumpkins from Old Sweater SleevesThis is a project I’ve seen all over Pinterest and I finally had to throw my hat in the ring and try making my own.  I have actually been holding on to the top half of this sweater for almost a year now.
I used the bottom half to make this pillow but I knew I could do something fun with the sleeves. And that is exactly what I did.

Oversized Maple Leaf Silhouette From Reclaimed Wood

Oversized wooden leaf cuttoutReclaimed Lumber Leaf Silhouette SignI’m back with another fall sign project made of “reclaimed” lumber.  I will admit I’m using the term ‘reclaimed’ loosely, because this project could be made from old barn wood, or pallet wood or any old lumber, but mine is actually made from some fence boards I got in the cull lumber section of the hardware store.
Oversized wooden leaf cuttoutI love using this type of wood since they are cheap, and I don’t have to spend hours taking apart pallets, pus they give the look of old wood.
 
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