Hemnes Hack

Wednesday, October 10 2012

If you remember, we were pondering some customization details for a HEMNES dresser purchased recently for Miss Jada’s room.

We started with this.  A dresser that was too tall for her to see in the top drawer, while the bottoms of the rest of the shallow drawers were caving out due to the repetitive shoving of clothes that did not fit.

For our needs, this IKEA HEMNES did fit in many ways; large and short with deep drawers.

HEMNES 8-drawer dresser IKEA Extra roomy drawers. Smooth running drawers with pull-out stop.

The drawers are extra deep and the bottoms of the drawers are a rigid, colorful yellow and white stripe board; a pleasant surprise that matched our room perfectly!  Overall this dresser is very heavy-duty.  So much so, that I never did fully complete my idea of dipping the legs in pink…once this thing is put together, there is no moving it! ( I write this in case anyone is considering the purchase of this beast of a dresser, not because anyone told me to.)  For us, beasty dressers are good.

Here is our simple customization of our HEMNES dresser.

Jada loved the look of the shapes around the knobs in one of the inspiration photos,  and we decided together that it would be fun to add a pattern to the outside, as well.  She commented on how she really liked the boys’ curtains and thought we could glue some of the left over fabric to the outside…”maybe?” she asked, hopeful.  Of course, I had some other ideas up my sleeve.

Instead of taping off 12 perfect squares in the exact middle of the drawer and making them all level (which they would have never been), we went vinyl!  The squares are simple vinyl squares 4″ x 4″ and the chevron is a 4′ x 3′ vinyl sticker as well.

Jada chose the yellow knobs and it really makes that color pop in the room.  Such a sweet and personalized touch, especially because she choose the look of  the dresser on her own.

We are really pleased with how it turned out.  Now, if she would just clean her room so we could reveal the rest of it!

Dresser: Ikea HEMNES

Small Vase: Ikea

Mod Flower Poster and Frame: Ikea

Square Tray: CB2 (spray painted silver)

Vinyl squares and chevron stickers: Uppercase Living

Yellow drawer knobs: Myknobs.com


Images: 1, 3-6) Laura for Monkeysonmyback 2) Ikea.com

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Halloween Inspiration

Friday, October 5th 2012

I am trying to find a way to match my kids’ excitement about the upcoming Halloween celebration.  They anxiously and patiently waited until yesterday, the fourth day of October, when Daddy hauled the three huge decor boxes out of the basement and yelled, “Let’s decorate, Guys!”  (Mind you, this ritual usually happens on the 1st day of October.)  So, off they went.  Z put himself in charge of blaring the Halloween CD as he stuck ghost-puff stickers all over his face, while Jada wrapped the balusters in cob webs and fake plastic spiders, and Aris tore out all the orange lights by demand of his father and plugged them all in making sure they worked.  Borris the Spider is now greeting anyone who dares come to the front porch doorway, and Dead Bones lay glowing around the front yard gravestones.  I love watching the family work as a team, deciding where each small decoration goes…and,… I. did. nothing!  Notta!  I did not decorate one Halloween thing…yet.

I am a bit behind in my excitement, you see.  I am usually the one yanking the heavy boxes from the basement, or pleading that it be done, way before the 1st day of the month.  But this year, everything seems so fast….

Okay, so I went out searching for a little inspiration, internet style, of course.

Check it out! Chevron pumpkins!  Someone else loves chevron as much as I do?This looks like it would be easy with a little painter’s tape and spray paint.

Under the Carolina Moon via Polyvore

Country Living

Such cute little ghosts!  Are these those accordion wedding bells that you can buy at craft stores?  I think so!

Laura Lindquist / Pinterest via Polyvore

Martha Stewart

Simple decor idea.


Cobweb mat and broom stick, Simple.  I love it!  Too bad our front porch is filled with a fog blower, Borris, and a screaming Zombie head!

Halloween Craft Ideas for Kids - Halloween Craft Projects - Country... via Polyvore

Martha Stewart

A bigger front porch idea.  There are so many things I love about this arrangement…#1 No Spider!…#2 The trees…#3 the black candles in the lantern with white pumpkin…I could go on and on.


Loving the white pumpkin look, of course.  These even look a little sparkly, too.

halloween centerpiece halloween-decor

This simple wreath looks like a spray painted craft wreath; silvery-white, ghosts and ribbon.

#halloween decor

And, for the little monsters…

I was considering this, but I know it would get ripped down way before Halloween! However, I still might do this for Trick-or-Treat night.  Too cool! Glowing eyeballs, perhaps?

Totally doing this

Ha Ha!

My daughter would LOVE this.

And, of course, some yummy treats…

Boo! I’d serve these with a Witches Stew!

Fun idea for Halloween

I must admit, after a good three hours of searching and pinning and searching some more,  I am getting a bit more motivated and excited about Halloween.  I found a lot of yummy recipes to try, along with some fun-looking crafts to tackle, if time.

 Who knows, we just might happen to cross paths with a pumpkin patch this weekend?

Halloween decor garden


Images 1) Countryliving.com, 2-3) Martha Stewart blog, Halloween section, All others searched key words Halloween Decor on Pinterest, origional sources unknown.

Rock On! An Educational Game

Friday, September 21 2012

When I was little, I collected sea shells, caught turtles and snakes, and made piles and piles of papers which I stapled together and called ‘magazines.’  It must have driven my mom crazy!  My kids collect rocks.  From the shiny little pebbles, to the rough and jagged larger version.  Yep, rocks!  It really used to drive me crazy.  I had pebbles in the wash machine, rocks in the cup holders of the van, in jacket pockets, in my purse, and just piling up and up.  “You don’t need any more rocks!”  I’d beg…but, boy, was I wrong!

For my daughter’s birthday last year, she received this box of rocks.  Some may have second-guessed receiving a box of rocks, but this box contained the most intricate collection of beautiful stones, rocks, and colorful game boards.  Her interest in collecting ‘ugly’ landscape rocks was blown away by this amazing assortment of geology.

The game is called Rock On! (by iLaughnLearn) and was invented when a mother of four answered her six-year-old son’s request for a geology themed birthday party.  She ordered some rocks and created a game board.  After many tweaks from the original, this Rock On! game is rock solid!  The game not only keeps the kids engaged with its brightly colored pieces, it teaches kids (and adults) while they play.

I am so impressed with the fact that the rocks are not plastic, myself.  I mean, check out this short collection of a few, my favorite the Green Calcite.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive. And since the birth of ROCK ON! my children’s fascination with the earth’s elements has resulted in some amazing collections and their geology knowledge is equally amazing. But maybe most important of all, some of our best times together are now spent in nature looking for treasures the earth has to offer,” says Melissa Weisner, creator of Rock ON!  

We certainly agree!

Here are two of my kids setting out the Rock On! game.  They often spend equally as much time matching the rocks with the cards and copying down the interesting facts located on the playing cards.  This game encourages education on so many levels, and might I add, without having them stare at a computer screen or TV!

Perhaps my favorite part about this amazingly beautiful display is the container in which it comes.  No matter how scattered these rocks become, the clean up is so simple, with each rock having its place, which does not include a spot in my cup holders!

Rock on!….


Images: Laura @ monkeysonmyback

I like sharing great finds and this educational game is one of them.  I was not compensated in any way for this write up.  

To find out more about Rock On!, click here, here, and here.

Planning a Shared Room ~ Final Result & Sources

Tuesday, August 13 2012

I am finally here to share the end result of the boys’ shared room, which was first mentioned w a y back in April; see that here, and here, and here.  And, considering everything (from building benches, to taking two distant vacations, from day-to-day fun), I am pleased with the speed of our progress.  That being said, why beat around the bush?  Let’s take a quick look at the beautiful bright green room beforehand, with its minimal furniture, and little storage, this room was in dire need of a revamp.

Not to mention, Big bro still thinks Little Z will sleep with him, which has not happened and is protested daily by Z.  I think Z will cave eventually since most of his toys are now stored   in this cool, newly organized, room and he has a dresser here as well.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

We are really pleased with how this room turned out.  And, in our books, the room is complete for now.  I say this knowing that at this time there is still only one boy sleeping in here full-time.  When Number 2 moves in, he will bring more toys, which will mean I get to buy more storage containers and organize again!  There is plenty of room under the bed for storage and I have already eyed up some handy low storage for the future, such as these from Land of Nod.


I am also really considering some more book storage for when Zander moves all his books over, each his favorite so there will be no parting.  I am liking these, also from the Land Of Nod.

LockerBasket _0111

Now back to the room reveal.  Of course, we love our low storage shelf under the window that holds some books and a few baskets of toys.  The small table to the right,  fits perfectly in this strange little corner, and is used daily for Lego building.

And, one of our favorite pieces in the whole room, is the mid-century dresser that was found at a local consignment shop.  After being painted in greys, orange, and teal, this dresser has found its new home.

The stenciled numbers, in case anyone is wondering, are actually the boys’ birth dates.  They are mixed in with some random numbers.  If you look closely, you can see one birthdate, 02/07/07.  (The other birthdate is painted on the top of the dresser.) A neat way to add a little personal touch to something made especially for the boys!

Here is the Room Source List:

Bunk Beds:  Owned and painted Benjamin Moore Arctic Shadows 1559

Book Shelves above beds:  IKEA Spice racks

Curtains: Fabric is Premier Prints Storm Twill Zig Zag from Fabric.com

Bamboo Shade: Homedepot.com

Book Shelf under Window: IKEA EXPEDIT

White Storage Tub (in book shelf):  The Container Store

Floor Pillows: Made from old Duvet (PBteen still carries  this Duvet)

Small White Table: IKEA

Espresso Table Chairs: Target.com (clearance)

READ Letters/A & Z Letters: Hobby Lobby (spray paint Rustoleum Aqua)

Elephant Head: Amazon.com

Dino Sinclair Sign: Hobby Lobby

Hanging Metal Buckets: IKEA

Large Map: Wayfair.com

Duvet on Beds: Target.com  (RE Style Duvet)

Dresser Paint Colors: Drawers, Benjamin Moore Classic Grey; Outside, Benjamin Moore Silver Song; Drawer inset, Behr Citrus Blast; Stencil/handles, Behr Spring Stream
Lastly, a few close-ups of some personal touches, here and there…

Smoothie Madness ~ Recipe

Thursday, August 8 2012

We have been really into smoothie making lately, mostly due to our new Ninja !  And, during many a concoction on our road to the ultimate smoothie, we happened upon this delicious and nutritious, ‘double-thumbs up’, blended perfection of veggies and fruits;  The Pink Drink Smoothie (I did not name this).

This was voted a favorite by my kids and they ask for it every morning.  It has some great ingredients, which, since they don’t watch me during the blending session, the kids don’t really know what is in it.  I am not sure they would drink it if they did, so don’t tell!  But it’s oh-so good, I thought I’d share.

Pink Drink Smoothie


1 cup Orange Juice

2 heaping spoonfuls of organic vanilla or french vanilla yogurt (fat-free? you decide)

1 cup Almond Milk Unsweetened

1/4 cup shredded carrots

1/2 small avocado

1 Banana

1 Peach

2 generous shakes of Flax seeds

Handful of spinach

1 1/2 Cups Strawberries (frozen)

(We add frozen blueberries if we have them around, too, but then it’s not really pink anymore.)


Pile ingredients, in no particular order, in blender and puree to desired consistency.  (Ingredients will reach the top of the blender before blended.  Fill ‘er up!)  This makes almost 8 cups of smoothie goodness!  Our blender is 7.5 cups.  If using a smaller blender, adjust ingredient amounts accordingly!  Also, the sweetness comes from the yogurt, fruit, and juice, but we have omitted the juice altogether and just added a cup of water or extra ice cubes and it is still delish!

This Pink Drink is my secret way of getting  my kids to eat some fruits and veggies in the morning, waking their bodies up with energy and natural sugars.  And, it’s so tasty, they will never know how good it is for them either!

I hope you’ll try it!


Images: all for Monkeysonmyback


Fear not, Friends!  We are back!…just barely!

During our sicksteen-hour (yep, you read that right, SICKsteen), car trip home, I was reminded how painful driving for so long can be.  Perhaps it was the sick children, (Summer flu?  Really?)  or extreme Nebraska boredom that set in, but I was right there complaining and whining with the best of them.  With a good night’s crash in our cozy beds, we are ready to focus a little bit more on the fun that was had during our annual summer ‘Sconsin visit.

We sure kept busy during out trip, of course, enjoying every minute of it.  Sharing time and laughter with family and friends whom we don’t see often enough.  Here are only a few of the 250 plus pictures we took during our visit.

EAA Oshkosh

County Fair

Put-Put in the Dells

Swimming Fun/JO Family Reunion

We truly enjoyed our visit!  (Forgetting the awful drive home, of course!)  And, we are getting back to the grind around here,… well, when everyone is feeling better.


Images: All Laura for Monkeysonmyback

Simple Wall Art Ideas for Kids’ Rooms

Tuesday, July 24 2012

One of my son’s favorite features of his newly decorated room, (which, by the way, is almost finished…), is the art on his walls.  I am not talking about the individual cars that I painted, each taking two hours (x 15)! Nope. He loves the simple art that I framed.  He has thanked me multiple times.  He thinks it looks, “so cool, ” and I had equally as much fun pulling the pieces together.

The best part for him, I think, is that he can relate to the pieces on his wall.  It can be easy to find wall decor for bare walls.  Here are just a few ideas that we used to ‘spice up’ his walls.

See the Potential 

Take an ordinary photo, from a special occasion, or one that highlights something special to the child, and get creative.  Play around on a free photo editing site, such as picmonkey.com and see how cool it can turn out!

 Wrap it Up

Using fabric, simply wrap a canvas, which can be found pretty inexpensive at local craft stores, with fabric. I found this cute grouping of canvases wrapped with IKEA fabric and thought it looked so cute.  

I just happened to have two old canvases and some of the same fabric from IKEA, so I thought I’d give it a try.


Have you jumped on the animal head bandwagon?  Although faux animal head decor can be pretty pricey, the idea of having an elephant on your wall is pretty cool, at least for my two boys.  Not only does this art add another dimension to the walls, it is super fun to put together!  (Search Amazon.com for your favorite animal head)

Pick your Subjects

This was a fun photo shoot.  Take your child’s favorite toys and see their eyes light up (your kid’s eyes, not the cars!) when those favorites are in a glossy 8×10 on their wall!

Go Random

Sometimes the best art is not ‘art’ at all.  We have found great framable pieces from magazines to clothing tags, and fabric swatches; all looking great behind a crisp, white mat.

Pulling it all together got us this great bedroom gallery wall; kid style!  Hope you found a little inspiration!


Images: 3) Just Bella Blog, All other Images) Laura for monkeysonmyback

Grandma’s Attic

Wednesday, July 11 2012

I recently acquired this lovely piece of  furniture from a local thrift shop.  I love this mid-century modern look.

Buying thrift and non-profit, I was justifying my purchase in my head at the time.  Since their area of expertise is rescuing injured or endangered wild life, after the Colorado wildfires, there has been a lot of rescuing needed around here.  Justifying too simply because it would have been much easier to buy a new dresser, however much more expensive and I could not find anything I liked enough to spend the money on.  I knew this piece needed some work, but in this case, my donation helped out a worthy cause and Aris may finally get a dresser!  Remember this plastic disaster?

With his pajamas in a bundle on the top (and his undies too because his pajamas don’t fit in the drawers) we need some kind of replacement.

And, although Rory’s first comment when he saw this ‘new’ dresser sitting in the garage was, “Where did you get that?  Grandma’s attic?” I was not disheartened.

Instead I quickly dug around the internet for some inspiration.

House & Home

Original Source Unknown


Ombre perhaps?


So many possibilities!  We are leaning towards a light gray outer finish with some pops of orange or turquoise somewhere, yet to be determined.  I think it will turn out great, but at our snails pace, let’s hope that happens before summer’s end!


Images: 1) Laura for monkeysonmyback, all others linked as known

ps.  What do you think of the new page design?  Honestly.  I have been wanting to change things up for a while now, but wasn’t quite sure how to accomplish what I have sketched in front of me.  It does look better.  Much easier to see the post with a lighter background for one.  It could still use some work.  So, don’t be surprised if there are more changes!  

Planning a Shared Room ~Some Window Progress

Wednesday, May 16 2012

Did you ever get those Highlights magazines when you were little where you had to look at two pictures and try to find the differences?

My highlight is to report that we are actually making some progress on the shared room plan.  Mostly because our sleeping arrangements are not quite working, read that here.

If you forgot, here is our pistachio green car room before,

and we have some major differences to report!

Yes, this photo above was taken at night-time. ( Can somebody please tell me how to take a picture of a West facing window without getting glare?  I am not very camera savvy,  but there must be a way.)  

Anyway, I really needed to take away those short-crop drapes, although they did their duty making the room very dark, the blue on the green was too intense for me.   The actual window blinds, which are ‘glared out’ above, are the white, slat cut-to-order kind from HD.  Now, as convenient and inexpensive as these can be, they are really frustrating when your child manages to twist every string making it nearly impossible to open them.  I replaced them with another inexpensive HD product, bamboo blinds.  In an effort to maintain extreme room darkness, I glued the back of these bamboo bad boys with some blackout fabric…so far so good.   And, how about those zig zag no sew curtains!?  Aris said it looks like superhero lightning and so I went with it.  No sew, who knew!?  (Would have been much faster with a sewing machine though).

We think they are pretty sweet.  And, I am really liking the calming gray color.

If you noticed, the bed frame is also missing in the picture above.  We don’t always make our children sleep on the floor, however, it is surprisingly comfortable.  The bed has been taken apart, sanded, primed, and sanded again in an effort to paint over the honey gold wood.  I must confess that I bought myself a Mother’s Day gift this year; a paint spray gun.

I am excited to use it.  I am sure there is a learning curve, so I am starting with something that doesn’t have to be perfect; the boys’ bunk beds.

Well, we are bending over backwards about our bed room progress!

There is much more to do and will be more to report soon!

Images: 1,2, & 4) Laura for Monkeysonmyback, 3) Google Images

Sometime Around Midnight~From the Toddler World

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Last night I woke, in the fetal position, my right ribs aching, cold.  It took me a while to remember how I had gotten to be there, sleeping on a wooden railing, without covers…little tufts of hair tickling my nose and the sweet sounds of Z’s breath; in and out, in and out, shallow and calm.  I was in his toddler bed.

As I woke up and realized that I actually fallen asleep with him, I remember how this came to be.  It was sometime around midnight that his sweet, quiet voice chirped through the hum of our room fan startling me awake, “mommy?” as to ask if I was there or not.  In that moment,  I stirred to see which kid it was, mostly still asleep and cozy in my bed, (my bed with the thick duvet and the double pillow top mattress) I felt my eyeballs as hard as marbles trying to focus in the dark, “mommy?”

Of course, I kind of knew this was going to happen at some point.  The start to Toddler Bed World was much too easy.  The child was saying good night and only getting up once to open his door and spy on  his older siblings checking to see if they were yet asleep.  Just once.  But the urge seemed to grow, and grow, and over the last two weeks he has turned into a full-blown insomniac!  Fighting rest time and bed time and  any time that means he has freedom to decide whether to roam the halls in the glistening moon light or lie down and sleep like the rest of the house.

And so, I ripped off my cozy comforter, and stepped out into the cold night house air.  “no mommy, want to sleep in your bed.”  I ignored this request, pretending I did not hear, and took his little hands, gave him a hug and told him we are going to get used to his big boy bed guiding him back down the hall.  He was resistant, pulling in the other direction, but we made it and lied down.  I tried my best to get my 5’5″ frame in his 4 foot bed;  Me (fetal), Zander, 5 stuffed doggies, one small blanket, and the toddler bed.  My eyeballs hurt.  He mumbled something….

Then my ribs hurt and I was suddenly awake, and confused. I realized I was in the toddler bed.  Of course, this bed has rails to make sure you don’t fall out, which I apparently was sleeping on, and a mattress, hard, the same one that Zander slept on since he was a  newborn.  In that moment, I needed my bed back.  I needed my thick duvet  that I pull up to my chin and my the double pillow top mattress…..but he was so peaceful.  Asleep.

I wondered how long I’d been there.  Not more than 10 minutes, I guessed.  I slowly got up, trying not to disturb the peace, feeling my knees crack as I straightened them, and slipped back down the hall.

Now, I glared at the clock quickly counting how many hours were left in the night before 5:00am.


So much for 10 minutes!  I cozy-up and turn over and drift to sleep feeling accomplished and thinking that I had won.  But the battle had just begun…

Click-Clack BAM!  A sound echos through the house and I am awake!

In that moment, my heart was racing!  My eyes jolt open, still hard like marbles, like I had never fallen asleep.  I felt myself get hot, my blood flowing.  I turned to look at the clock.

2:20 am

Zander opened his door and shut it.  Will he lie back down when he sees the dark night?  I doubted this.  I heard the click-clack of the handle again, and then he started to whimper, like he suddenly couldn’t figure out how to open the door in the dark.  My bed felt extra warm, of course, and oh so cozy with the covers all drawn up around my chin, my ribs happy…but, before I knew it, I was up, and out, in the cold house air once again, tripping and walking toward the silhouette of a child now standing in the hallway. “can’t find Buddy,” he said.  Simple enough.  This darn blanky will be found and off to bed!  Buddy had fallen behind the bed.  I found it.  Tucked him in and said goodnight.

And, so goes the rest of the night…

3:30 am

Click-Clack, Click…


He’s standing in my doorway now.  My body aches, this time with sleeplessness.  I don’t move.  He lays down in the doorway on top of Buddy.  Oh, how cute he is, in that moment, so wanting to be ‘Big’ but knowing his freedom will get him so much closer to a cuddle in a much cozier place.  How can I blame the kid?  Really, I can’t. 

(He has slept in our bed whenever he needed, for a few hours here and there.  Usually, it’s just a belly ache or teething or travels that screws his sleep patterns, all understandable things.  But this, this is inability to resist his craving for mommy, and his new-found freedom.  In that moment I became the enabler, too tired to fight it anymore.  Really, it’s been 3 hours since he was slept soundly!)

I still don’t move.  I can see him, but he can’t tell I am looking.  He picks his head up and whispers, “mommy?”  from the doorway floor: as if to ask if I was really there or not.   I stir a bit and open my covers…he pops up and jumps to his feet and runs to the bed, softly and slowly climbing up and cuddles in…

In moments, tufts of hair tickle my nose once again as his sweet breath goes in and out, in and out, and he is asleep!  Spooning me, I wrap my arms around him.

That little stinker!  He totally won.  I was defeated with his sweetness, his talent to win me over.  His stubbornness.  But who could blame him?  Now he’s gotten another taste of the ‘good life,’ in the bed with the thick  duvet and the extra soft double pillow-top mattress. My Bed, not his bed…  we will have that talk tomorrow....

Before I fall asleep, I look at the clock.

3:41 am

The Three-hour Battle was over.  I succumbed to my defeat as his little breath turned into sweet snores…

Around four o’clock, my husband stirred, as he normally does around this time, and noticed the little man in bed with us.  He scooped him up and carried off, back to the world of the Toddler Bed.

I know that Three -hour Battle from last night is far from over.  I have a feeling it will continue for nights and nights and months and months.  What’s a mother to do?  Cuddle them or make them sleep on their own…I know the answer is different for everyone.  I know my answer.  I never truly fall asleep with him in the bed.  Plus today, I am really tired.  My decisions around this situation in the day time often play out differently in the night-time.  Therefore, I am sure the battle  will be revisited, tonight, with a little silhouette of a boy poking around my room, chirping out into the moon lit night, “mommy?”

…probably sometime around midnight.