Delaware Beaches: 10 Kid Friendly Activities You Haven't Done...But Should!

I have been coming to the DE beaches my entire life.  As a kid, we went to my grandparents' beach house in Lewes...and now with a 2 and 4 year old, myself, we return nearly every weekend to my in-law's beach house.  We take daily bike rides (have you tried the Breakwater Trail or the bike path around the Villages of Five Points?), hit up the pool, and of course truck a cartful of stuff to the beach. 

Despite returning every one of my 32 years, I still manage to find new kids activities at the Delaware beaches each time I return.  When we come down for week long stretches, it's nice to find beach and boardwalk-alternatives, especially for the really hot, rainy, or really crowded weekend days.

Funland at the Rehoboth Boardwalk, Jungle Jim's and the other water parks, outlet shopping, and the beach are the obvious kid-friendly activities.  But aside from the biggies, there are some real hidden gems (many of them free).  Lucky you - now I'm letting you in on my little secret so you and your kids can get even more out of the DE beaches. Free events are indicated with an "*"


6 Paleo recipes (and snacks) even my kids will eat

About two weeks ago my husband and I started doing the Paleo Diet.  The "caveman diet" as it's often referred, cuts out grains, legumes, dairy products, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils and focuses on veggies, fruits, fish, proteins, seeds and nuts.

I'm not a big dieter, but my husband has tried various things before - including being a vegetarian.  If there's one thing I've learned from his diet fads, it's that it's a major PIA to cook for a family when one person is on a diet.  When the Mr. was doing no meat I felt like I was cooking 4 different meals....something for him, a version for me and something that would look and taste yummy enough for a picky 2 and 4 year old to eat.

That's part of the reason why this time I'm also doing the same diet.  Obviously, my kids are not on a diet (so don't even go there) - they're eating plenty of bread and dairy (and fruit snacks) - but I don't consider it a bad thing for me to limit their carbs and processed foods during the one meal where we all sit down to eat - dinner. 

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with all of us that we've actually managed to eat the same thing for more than one night...gasp it's been like three!  Even before the diet, it was a rarity that we'd all eat the same thing - usually there was a hotdog, a chicken nugget or a grilled cheese somewhere on the menu.  To my pleasant surprise, it didn't take too much any convincing to get my kids to eat coconut chicken and sweet potatoes.  They also enjoyed the spiced chicken with pineapple and peach puree, and couldn't get enough chicken with rosemary and shallots.   BFD (Breakfast for Dinner) is big in my house so there's an easy one because my whole gang is big fans of eggs and bacon and a side of fruit or sweet potato hash browns.  The kids even ate the paleo banana pancakes with agave nectar (we subbed that out for syrup more than a year ago).   Salsa chicken  and/or tacos (jar of salsa + taco seasoning + chicken breasts or ground meat + 8 hours in the crockpot) are another big one...we just eat the filling or put it on a lettuce wrap or over a salad instead of putting it on a taco shell or tortilla. 

One of the best tricks I've found is getting the kids involved in the cooking process.  I have found that they get way more excited to eat something when they've actually had their hands in there cracking the eggs or mixing something.

And I've also found my little guys sneaking my paleo snacks....apple slices with almond butter, grapes, paleo crunch (they really like the apple pie flavor), dried apricots, dates, lara bars, and raisins seem to be popular.  Of course, the most popular with the kiddos was the paleo brownies.

If you plan to do Paleo, you will need to sub out some of your staple pantry items including flour and oil.  Almond and coconut flour are pretty big, as is unsweetened coconut.  If you have a sweet tooth like me, be sure to pick up some cocoa powder, too. 

I've put together a Paleo staples shopping list on Amazon to make it easy for you to get started if you're interested in trying out the diet or at least limiting carbs and processed sugars.


2-in-1 Girls NO SLIP Beach Towel/Bathing Suit Cover up

Okay it's taken me 5 summers but I have finally found the solution to keeping my almost 5 year old daughter's towel on her.  Long gone are the days of her dragging it on the ground of the pool deck or the beach.  Gone are the days of her complaining that it won't stay around her because it keeps coming untucked.  And gone are the days of me stuffing piles of beach towels in the beach and/or pool bag.

I have discovered there truly is a reason they call necessity the mother of invention....I have come up with a way to make a full size beach towel into a bathing suit cover up - pretty much guaranteeing it won't fall off or drag on the ground.  Are you ready for this? Okay, here goes the answer to all your summerly problems...

The 2-in-1 Girls NO Slip Beach Towel/Bathing Suit Cover Up 

It can be used as a full size beach towel...

...then when you're ready to head home, or just need to warm up slip it on like a jacket....

then wrap the long end around the front, putting the left arm through the third arm hole...

There's a tie in the back to tie bow to secure it in place (this picture shows the button version which I later changed because the bow is more easily adjustable for different sizes.)

 If it's too long in the back, just pull the towel up under the bow and it will keep it off the ground.

These babies have been in the works for months now and I'm happy to say I have finally figured out the ideal design!

Want one for your little girl? No problem, they're currently on sale in my Etsy shop "Cuteness Cubed." Just send me a note through Etsy if you don't see what you're looking for and I'd be happy to take orders. 


Removing nail polish from carpet and clothing with bug spray - Mom APPROVED!

I was at the point this morning when I was this close to throwing my hands up and giving one - or possibly - both of my kids back.  I kid...I kid (well, kinda, sorta, maybe).   I should have known something was seriously wrong when my 4 year old daughter was suspiciously quiet in her room for a good 10 minutes.  I didn't think much of it until she asked if I wanted my nails painted.  We were trying to get out the door so I said "no...but did you paint yours because it smells like nail polish." She innocently said "No, but I spilled a little and I cleaned it up." I turned around to little drips of what was now smeared blue nail polish all over the hardwood floor in her room - oh and a half-used roll of toilet paper with the other half crumbled up in little wads with some blue here and there.

Between my gritted teeth I thanked her for trying to clean up the mess she made and told her this kinda thing was better to just let mommy handle.  So as I'm using my blunt finger nails to try to scrape the now-dried nail polish off the hardwood, I turn around to see my 2 year old son basically pouring the entire rest of the bottle all over my daughters comforter and area rug.  This is the point when I'm convinced #3 is NO.WHERE.in.my.future. EVER.


Treatment for TMJ: The non-treatment that rid me of jaw pain

My three big reasons to re-prioritize and reduce stress
A few months ago my jaw suddenly started hurting.  It remained this way for weeks to the point when I finally called my dentist.  By the time I got in there, I could barely open my jaw far enough for one finger to slide between my upper and lower teeth.  My dentist diagnosed it as TMJ.  

"What is TMJ?" you ask.   Web MD describes it like this:

"Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are often incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for  temporomandibular joint." Possible causes include:
  • Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
  • Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  • Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
Since, I don't grind my teeth, my dentist told me to try to identify points of stress, put on a hot compress on my jaw, and do a few jaw exercises.  I was not given any medication.   I knew it had to be stress related because the pressures of motherhood are tremendous.  In fact the condition is far more common in women than man and is ususally diagnosed between 20 and 40 years old.

As a 30-something SAHM with two little kids I was drowning under the pressure - much of it self imposed.  I had started out freelance writing "for fun" nearly five years ago after my daughter was born and I stopped working in the newsroom.  At times I made very good money.  Business was going so well for me that I had hired an assistant.  But the online writing freelance world isn't steady and shouldn't be relied on for consistent income.  


9 kids outdoor toys that save this mom's sanity in summer

With summer here I keep my kids outside as much as possible.  But to keep a 2 and almost 5 year old entertained for endless hours (and to keep my own sanity) the best outdoor toys are a necessity-- because a simple swing's not gonna cut it all.summer.long.

I rolled my eyes when my sister - aka childless aunt - gave my 4 year old this huge Crayola Inflatable Easel.  I am usually not a fan of blow up toys because they require so much time to inflate and deflate - but did you know you can use a nebulizer as an air pump?  OMG my friend just told me this trick instead of using the standard hot air or foot pump methods.

Turns out the giant easel is totally cool and the envy of my friends' kids (and their moms).  After the kids are done painting on it or drawing with chalk you can just squirt it down with the hose.  I actually threw the canvas in the washer and it came out like new.


Another mama milestone: Pre-school graduation

Well, today marks another big milestone for me as a mama.  My oldest graduated from pre-school (tear).  She clearly didn't recognize the significance of the day as she was shocked I was actually going to attend the graduation....and nearly fell off her chair when I told her I'd be sitting with daddy, and mommom and poppop and grammy and Blake.

Not only could I not be prouder of my sweet little thing, but looking back on these three years of pre-school I am so grateful for all that she's learned.  Of course, she's learned her ABC's and her numbers, how to spell her name, memorize her phone number and where she lives...but equally as important is that she's learned how
to make friends, to stand up for herself when it's not always easy, to get along with everyone, to be kind and compassionate to others, and to trust that I will come back at the end of the day.

She's learned that mommy doesn't know everything and she can actually teach me a thing or two.  (Hello, 8 syllable dinosaur that I still stumble over...)  She's learned that learning can be fun and exciting.  She's learned that she LOVES singing and painting and that dress up is perhaps the best free time there is in her little mind.  She's learned that there will be disappointments, but there will be even bigger and better triumphs.

For as much as she's learned, I've learned and grown so much as a mom just having her in pre-school.  I've learned how to get involved and when to say "no" I've got too much going on already.  I've learned the importance of making three hours super-duper-ultra productive.  I've learned that there are gossip, cliques, and hurt feelings among the four year olds and the four year olds'
moms.  And I've learned shorts are an essential part of every little girls wardrobe.  I've learned how to ask questions to pry even the tiniest bit of information out of a tired preschooler who needs nothing more than lunch and a nap.  Most importantly, I've learned to strap my wiggly and wondering two year old son in a stroller during EVERY pick up and drop off and that 3 days 2's cna't come soon enough. (I kid, I kid...okay, not really).

With kindergarten now just a few months away my yet-to-be five year old can't wait to start the next chapter...


Construction/Work Zone birthday party theme ideas (LOTS of pictures)

After weeks of prep for my son's 2 year old birthday party, the day has finally arrived...of course, it looks like the rain has too.   Whatever...nothing's gonna rain on our construction birthday party because the party must go on.

I searched pinterest and came up with some ideas on my own for the decorations, favors, and party activities and I'm so excited with how it all came together.   I have tutorials for everything on our sister blog, Two It Yourself, so just click the links for whatever you like and get the tutes.  In the meantime, check out all this fun construction party stuff.

Usually favors are handed out at the end of the party, but we did it a little bit differently.  Each guest joined Blake's Work Crew -- with a construction hat and personalized tool belt -- as soon as they arrive.   I had left over drop cloth material from my upholstered headboard project so I made each of the 25 guests (WTH was I thinking with 25 1-5 year olds???) a tool belt complete with a personal Home Depot-inspired logo.  Aren't they just adorable!!  I ordered the hats for $4 a dozen.  Tutorial for DIY kids tool belt is here. 

For decorations, I made construction zone bunting that reads "Blake Digs 2."


Happy Birthday to my little buddy!

Two years ago today our family welcomed what we can only describe as the most talkative, energetic, loving, compassionate, and destructive little guy in the world. 

Our world was flipped upside down with the birth of Blake, but we've made it to 2 and I feel like we're finally getting to where things are getting a little -- let me stress a little -- easier. 

He hasn't given me any gray hairs yet, but he's pulled more a few from his sister's head.  Still we love him more than words can say for the all the crazy stuff he does.

Here are a few okay, a ton my favorite moments from Blake's second year!

Happy Birthday, buddy, mommy loves you more than words can say! 


Master Bedroom Makeover REVEAL: From drab to fab on a budget

Well it's been a few weeks...and I'm finally ready to show you our new master bedroom.  I am so thrilled with it because I finally feel like it's a relaxing, organized, and beautiful space.  Many of the projects I've been documenting with DIY tutorials on our brand new Two It Yourself blog so I won't go through all the details here, but if you are interested you can click the links to jump over to the tutes.

And without further ado here are the pictures of our newly redone master bedroom.  

To start, here's a panoramic view...
Panoramic view


5 Punishment threats NO mom should EVER make (because they'll bite you in the A**)

My four year was seriously just having like a major 4 year old girl meltdown.  She was mad I wouldn't let her go down the basement to find some toy that she's never cared about until like two minutes ago. She said she wanted to sleep with it for nap -- pretty sure that's 4 year old code for "talk to it for an hour and a half instead of actually sleep".  But that's not why I said no... 

I said "no" for two reasons: nap time was coming and I knew if she went down my 2 year old would follow and I knew he had to poop and he always goes when he's in the basement. (It's like me and card shopping, I always get the feeling when I'm trying to pick out a card so I end up just buying some birthday card for a he when it's really a she's birthday....you get my point -- that's like his spot).  Anyway, I said no and that just set her off.  She kept asking. I kept saying no. She kept asking. I kept getting more annoyed. 

Finally, I put an end to it - or at least I thought I did - by herding them upstairs for nap.  My daughter asked again and when I said no again this time she stomped her foot. OH hell to the no...you.do.not stomp.your.foot.at.me.young.lady.  That's when I took the stuffed Minnie Mouse doll she had in her hand and told her she wasn't sleeping with that either. 

That really got her going.  Now she's balling...great.  My son's yelling "Fake crying." I'm pretty sure the tears, beet red face, and borderline hyperventilating isn't faking...but whatever.  Anyway, as I tried not to let them see me get a chuckle out of his remark, I told her if she didn't stop in .5 seconds she'd have no TV for two days.

WAIT what? Why would I say that? That's more of a punishment for me than it was for her.  I seriously hate when I make punishment threats like that.  Thankfully she stopped so I didn't have to endure the torture of actually following through out that horrendous punishment against myself. 

I'm actually known to do this.  Like when the kids are acting up because they're so flippin' excited that they're spending the night at MomMom and PopPop's house.  Then there's me like: "Clean up these toys, these shoes, these jackets, animals, dolls, barbies, drinks, dirty tissues, books....or else you WON'T have a sleepover." Meantime, my husband's across the room -- and behind their backs -- like making a hacking motion across this throat reminding me there's no flippin' way they're NOT going for a sleepover.  Right, right what am I thinking that's like the punishment of the year against a parent.

To help myself out (and now, you) I've created a list of five punishments I will NEVER threaten against my children.  I've also included an alternative that will likely strike such fear in them they will straighten up immediately...ready, here goes:

Don't threaten: No TV for a week  
Threaten: You will have to watch only the Golf Channel for a week

Don't threaten: You will not go for a sleep over at PopPop and MomMom's
Threaten:  You'll have to go to bed early at MomMom's.

Don't threaten: You are not leaving the house for the rest of the day  (You don't really want to stay in the house do you?)
Threaten: You will sit in timeout outside on the step while we all have fun and blow bubbles and pick daffadillers without you

Don't threaten:  No pizza for dinner tonight (You don't really want to cook do you?)
Threaten: Liverworst for dinner tonight!

Don't threaten:  No swimming lessons tonight (You do want to tire her out and get out of the house, don't you?)
Threaten:  You will have to leave before free swim at the end of your lesson

Okay so there you have it....use at your own risk.

On a serious note, what punishments have you have used that work best for you and your children? Please share as I know all moms are always looking for alternatives for the kid that just doesn't respond to time out.  


Dear God pass the booze...and the lysol

Today is one of those days when I wish, just for maybe an hour or two or okay, maybe a day....okay a day like this makes me crave a week...that I could actually go back to work.  Ya know, with like adults!

The irony in today is partly what makes it so bad.  Blake - just 8 days shy of his two year old birthday - calling from his crib this morning that he had to go potty.  I pulled off his sopping wet pull up and he peed in the potty. 

From there it went down hill...and just about as fast and as furious my stress level went up....

Let's see...
  • He smacked his 4 year old sister over the head with a metal tape measure. 
  • Got timeout in his crib...
  • My husband went to get him from timeout only to find he peed all over his clothes and the crib.  What do I hear from upstairs "T!!! He peed all over the crib....
  • Hose him down in the shower.
  • Went to the gym for a little stress relief since I haven't been there in 10 days because of my two sick kids...he had an accident there. 
  • Get him in the car to take him home - he throws up (Go ahead...laugh.  At this point it was only 10 am)
  • We're home...I put him on the bed so I can take a shower and he can watch a show.  Ahhh...10 uneventful minutes. 
  • He hops off the bed as soon as I get out of the shower and pees all over the floor.  Somehow I thank him for this. 
  • He asks for more milk.  I say "no" given all the accidents. He throws the cup at me.  
  • More timeout in the crib. 
  • He pees all over the crib....again
  • Get home from picking up sister and he says he has to poop.  I try to put him on the nearest potty he refuses and says he wants to go upstairs fighting me all the way to the nearest potty that's when shit literally hits the fan. 
  • He pooped all over the wall, all over the floor, pretty much everywhere except the potty. 
  • When I finally get all that cleaned up he says he's done.  I go to wipe him and a full size turd literally comes out in my hand.  
  • My daughter requests lunch because she's "starving." 
  • As I wash my hands he pees on the floor...
 I mean in this moment, in this morning, I am beyond frustrated wondering how on earth USA Today's survey could find moms of 3 are the most stressed of us all...Apparently they didn't interview anyone with a Hurricane Blake.  I call my husband to vent but of course I get his office voice mail.

Next best thing...nap time.

I swear potty training can be the worst and best thing for a mom.  But on days like today when I know he's using it against m,  I can't help but wonder if he's mad I sold the half opened pack of diapers this morning or if it was that he is just showing me what 2 will be like.    He'll go a week without a single accident and then have days like today when I am seriously considering questioning my sanity. 


Potty trained toddler showing regression? Try these 5 tips to nip it in the butt

Potty training on the go
It's been almost two months since I successfully potty trained my then 21 month old son after enrolling him in 3 day potty training boot camp.  Even though he was potty trained in less than a week, there are days I am still on edge -- nervous he's totally forgotten all that we've worked on. 

Most days he stays completely dry and tells me when he has to go (it's usually more of a "ahhh ahh ahhh" with a little dance than a "potty mommy," but whatever, he's not even 2 yet).
But other days it seems like I'm changing his clothes so much I need to do laundry just so he's not wearing sissy's panties.  When he does slip into a minor bout of potty training regression, I use a couple of tricks to quickly get him back on track.


Spring art for kids: Paint card flower

I was quickly walking practically running through Home Depot today in search of a drop cloth to make another DIY drop cloth bed skirt.  With both kids in tow, I finally realized it wasn't that the drop cloths had been moved, it was that I had gotten the original one at Lowe's.  But...my trip wasn't in vain because an hour or so later this was proudly hanging on the pantry door!

Is Behr paint screaming for crafty moms to sneak these things into their purse like a grandma with the leftover rolls at Olive Garden? I mean, why do they need to make them in this shape except for my 4 year old to make a perfect flower?

Add a green stem and some grass and you've got an adorable spring craft for kids! 

My daughter made this all by herself while I was getting dinner ready.  That's what I call a win-win-win.


New DIY Site Launched

Hi All,  
Just wanted to let you all know that due to the fact that I'd like to try to keep this blog about mommy-hood, parenting, and worry about things such as poop, lack of veggies, and napless days - I've decided to branch out with another site/blog.

My sister and I have created a new website called Two It Yourself where we will be showcasing DIY ideas and projects.

We'll have everything from DIY home decor to Halloween Costume Making ideas some favorite Pottery Barn hacks and and even DIY Party Planning ideas.   If you're interested in some easy and budget-friendly projects we hope you'll join us as we have DIY 2IY!

Check out the brand spankin' new Two It Yourself blog!

As always, thanks for reading!


How to make throw pillows: The 5 minute DIY version using standard shams

Now that the walls are painted a perfect shade of Revere Pewter and the upholstered headboard with nail head trim is done, I'm moving on in my master bedroom makeover with the details that really make a room.  My first project is a set of DIY throw pillows.

I ordered the $200 Poetical by Barbara Barry king size comforter.  (That was the sale price...yikes!) Usually, I wouldn't spend that much, but I really loved the look and I'm pretty picky about comforters so I splurged a bit there. (Click here for how I really made up for the cost with sheets and the coverlet.)

The comforter set came with two king size pillow shams.  Not only were they enormous and way oversized for our pillows, but I'm not a huge fan of pillow shams...so I decided to introduce them to my scissors and sewing machine to make four throw pillows.

These were seriously the easiest and cheapest pillows I've ever made.  Think about it, most of the work is done for you and you're left with only one side to sew.   The pillow shams were so large, they were each good to make two large throw pillows.  Here's a quick tutorial for how to make throw pillows out of standard shams - making them this way you can actually either stuff them yourself with fiber stuffing or use 20x20 or 18x18 pillow insert.   (This only works for shams that have a center envelope style closure as seen in the picture below.)

DIY Upholstered Headboard with Nail Head Trim: The Big Reveal

It's only been a few weeks and I'm happy to say that our master bedroom makeover is about 75% complete. The biggest project was making the upholstered headboard complete with nail head trim (oh, and finally getting the right paint color.)

My sister, Stephanie, agreed to tackle the job with me and today when our new Sleep Number bed came we finally got the finished look.  I can't be more thrilled with how it turned out.

As I said, when I laid out the plans for our new gray and white master bedroom, I was inspired by a dropcloth headboard I'd come across on pinterest originally done by Tenth Avenue South.
Pottery Barn Camelback Raleigh Headboard
DIY Dropcloth Headboard by Tenth Avenue South
It was practically an exact copy of the Pottery Barn Raleigh headboard that sells for about $1500 for the King size, which is what I needed.  The DIY version seemed easy enough -- and as it turned out -- it was.  We made the entire thing in the span of about five hours.


Oh, Clarisonic Mia, where have you been all my life? (Review)

Every once in a while my husband will do an extra awesome job at work and get rewarded with a booklet in which he can pick a prize.  A few months ago he brought one of those babies home and declared there was nothing in there he was interested in -- did I want to pick something?  Uh, hello, yes!!! (And way to go, lovey!)

I debated between a necklace and the Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System.  I liked the necklace, but my scaly, dry face was screaming for me to get the Mia.   I read a lot of reviews about it and everyone seemed to rave about the face brush.  The only issue people had was the $100+ price tag -- since I wasn't paying for it I decided to give it a try.


Constipation relief for kids: Plum juice goes down easier than prune juice

I pretty much feel like I'm an expert in constipation relief in kids.  It's not a title I really ever strived to have, but given my daughter's recent frequent peeing problems, my son's potty trained but won't poop issues, and some ongoing hemorrhoid problems in this house (this blog doesn't have nearly enough room for all I've got to say about being the caretaker for 10 days of bed rest, two surgeries, two ER visits, sidz baths, a cath, and 'roids....so we'll just leave it at that), I've come to know a few things about poop.  More precisely, I've come to know what keeps it moving.

Prune juice is an old stand by, but let's face it the stuff not only smells and looks like poop juice it's not exactly the easiest thing to swallow - literally.  I've been looking for an alternative to prune juice to keep my kids regular and recently I came across plum juice.  After looking at the fiber content per serving and all that good stuff I decided to give a bottle of Sunsweet Plum Smart Juice a try.

Here's a direct comparison of the nutritional information between prune juice and plum juice.  Pay specific attention to the dietary fiber, calories, and sugar.

I gave a small cup to my daughter who proclaimed... "Mmm it tastes like apple juice." The consistency is the same as apple juice and it's not pulpy in the least -- plus I like it because there's not as much sugar or calories.

Now, as soon as I recognize that my kids are constipated or even showing the slightest sign that they're headed in that direction,  I start giving my them 6 - 8 ounces of plum juice a day. 


DIY Kitchen Art (and how to spray paint straight line letters on canvas)

I have a huge wall in my kitchen that has remained empty for the two years we've lived here.  We've considered buying a piece of art to put on it, but I'm just afraid a year from now I'm not going to like it so I really didn't want to spend a whole lot of money on it.

The other day I was in Target and I came across these huge silver utensils -- they're nearly 3' high (click here to see more oversized fork and spoon decor).   I thought they'd be perfect so I picked up a fork and spoon for about $40 total.  The way they are made, you can only hang them vertically, which I was kind of bummed about since I  thought they'd look better on my wall horizontally. 

When I put them on the wall, despite their size, they still
seemed lost.  I told you my wall is huge!  I kept them hanging there for a few days and was just about ready to return them when my husband urged me to keep them -- suggesting we could buy these $50 Pottery Barn letters EAT.  Obviously he's not a real DIYer.

That got me thinking that I could make something similar and it would be the perfect kitchen art and hopefully wouldn't look too hokey.   I experimented a little bit with getting the letters on the canvas until I finally figured out the perfect technique for getting straight lines.
The result when I taped cardboard letters to the canvas
Having first cut out cardboard letters and taping them to the canvas and spray painting, I realized the spray paint was getting under the cardboard letters except where the tape was.  That gave me the idea to simply use packing tape to form the letters.  Of course it worked because EAT only have straight lines, unlike an "S" or "D."  Not only would it keep the spray paint out and keep the area of the letter perfectly white, it would also guarantee a perfectly straight line.
Packing tape applied directly to canvas to form letters
'Before' touch up
I created three canvases E - A - T and then spray painted them red.  After I took the tape off I
realized some areas around the edges had let a small amount of paint spill into the white area.  I used
Q-Tips dipped in nail polish remover to clean up the edges.  On areas that still weren't perfectly white after removing the red paint, I used some white out. 
'After' touch up

When I put the three canvases on the wall I thought the spray painted area looked a little blotchy.  I actually put a second round of packing tape over the original letter area.  This time I made sure all the edges of the tape were really firm on the canvas to avoid any leaks.  I then re-spray painted and when I was happy with the dried product, removed the tape.   I liked that look better. 

My final step was to outline each letter with a black sharpie.  I did this to cover up any imperfections along the edge and I think it worked. 
After adding Black Sharpie to hide imperfections

They're not perfect by any means, but that's what makes my kitchen art DIY!  Plus, when my kids won't eat their dinner, I just tell them to turn around and read the sign - the kitchen made the rule, not me!

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