How to Clean Dried Sap off of a Christmas Tree Stand

On Friday, I climbed into our attic and pulled out the massive amount of Christmas decorations that were in there. Y’all, we have WAY too much.  So, I started sorting into different piles – Keep, Give Away, Trash.

When I pulled out our live Christmas Tree stand, I was sort of ashamed of myself.  I didn’t do a great job cleaning it up last year, and there was sap on the bolts and in the bottom of the stand.

How to Clean Dried Sap off of a Christmas Tree Stand

How to Clean Dried Sap off of a Christmas Tree Stand

It’s not disgusting because I had wiped it down a little bit before I put it away last year, but I wanted to see if I could clean it up a little bit – I bet the new tree would prefer to not have it’s sap co-mingled with the old tree, right?  So, I pulled out my HomeRight Steam Machine Plus (affiliate link) steam mop and took out the handheld unit.

How to Clean Dried Sap off of a Christmas Tree Stand

Filed Under: Decorate Your Home, Giveaways & Product Reviews

Introducing the Colortopia Exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® + a $100 Giftcard Giveaway

Last week, I hopped on a plane for a whirlwind, fast-paced, less than 24 hour trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  It was a quick trip, that’s for sure, but there was an exciting premise behind it.

Y’all, Glidden is sponsoring an exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®!  And I got to be there for the grand opening!

I flew in late Thursday night in anticipation of the ribbon cutting ceremonies before the park opened on Friday morning.  If you have ever been to Walt Disney World® Resort, you may known that INNOVENTIONS is located near the base of the Epcot® icon, the Spaceship Earth geodesic sphere.  This sight never ceases to amaze me.

Glidden's Colortopia exhibit opens at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®

Inside the exhibit, we were treated to the fullWalt Disney World® Resort experience.  The opening was full of vivid color and magic – and the famous mouse couple in the world were on hand to usher us into Colortopia.

Glidden's Colortopia exhibit opens at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®


Confetti! I may have jumped when it went off. LOL #colortopiaexhibit @gliddenpaints

A video posted by Lindsay Ballard (@makelyhome) on

My first thought was that Colortopia was like a hand-on children’s museum on steroids.  Not only does it provide excellent learning opportunities for children, but adults will love the learning fun as well.

Glidden's Colortopia exhibit opens at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®

We all know about mixing paint colors, but how about mixing light colors?  In one portion of the exhibit, you stand in front of what looks like a white wall.  But once you block some of the light shining onto it, you see that the wall looks white because of the mix of red, blue and green lights aimed at it.  Blocking the light enables the visitor to make colorful shadows on the wall.

Glidden's Colortopia exhibit opens at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®

As we walked through the exhibit, I continued to be drawn to all of the vivid colors used throughout.  This portion of the exhibit, Spinning Spectrums, allows the guest to push a button causing these discs to spin.  They spin so quickly that they become a solid color.  But, let’s be honest – you know I kind of like just the crazy patterns and bright, primary colors on their own!

Glidden's Colortopia exhibit opens at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®

But really, the highlight to me was the Magic Paint Brushes that we got to play with.  As you can see, the bristles are made from fiber optics. Glidden's Colortopia exhibit opens at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®

When you dip them into a lighted paint can, the bristles turn the color of the paint you selected.

Glidden's Colortopia exhibit opens at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®

Then, you get to paint this huge electronic mural on the wall with your chosen color.  Some of the elements of the mural animated once they are painted.  

Filed Under: Giveaways & Product Reviews

How to be the Talk of the Neighborhood by Making Ridiculously Elaborate Halloween Costumes with HomeRight Tools

Every Halloween, Tom sets out to create an incredibly elaborate costume for Zack.  I think it started when Zack was a toddler, and I would sew cute little costumes for him, like a “Zack in the Box” and a Munchkin.  Secretly, or maybe not so secretly, Tom wanted to prove that he could make better costumes than me.  But, that’s okay, because now Halloween is his problem and not mine.

This year, Zack really wanted to be a dragon.  If it were me, I would have hot glued some wings and spikes onto a hoodie and called it a day.  But oh, no.  In the Ballard household, things get quickly out of hand.

How to Build Elaborate Halloween Costumes with HomeRight tools

It’s hard to tell from this picture since it was taken in the daylight, but the dragon’s eyes light up red and the mouth glows white.  There’s also a hidden Bluetooth speaker hidden inside the mouth that Tom could control from his phone and make it roar.  Yes, it was absolutely ridiculous.

Filed Under: Create Your Decor, Giveaways & Product Reviews

Counting Down to the Holidays with At Home

This post brought to you by At Home. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Makely School for Girls.

I always get a little exhausted when I see Christmas decorations hit the stores in September.  It’s too early, right?  What about Halloween?  What about Thanksgiving?  But then, I start to panic that all the really cute stuff will be gone before Halloween, so I need to get a move on it immediately.

I had the exact same thought process when I walked into my favorite At Home store this past week.  It’s not time!  It’s still pumpkin season!  Oh, wait!  That’s amazing!  I better buy that before someone else snaps it up!  The struggle is real, y’all.

Okay, so don’t freak out on me, you guys, but I bought some At Home Christmas Decor in October.  We have so much going on in the next two months, that I decided to just get a jump on it when I had time.  I have never jumped into the holidays before Thanksgiving, but last year we had virtually no Christmas decorations in our home.  I think we put up a tree a few days before Christmas, and that was it since we were so busy.  As with everything I do, it’s either feast or famine.  I do it 100% or not at all.

So, I went ahead and decorated our master bedroom.

Master bedroom decorated for Christmas with items from At Home

GASP!  I know.  But it looks so fun!

Luckily, you don’t have to get started on your decorations right this minute, because At Home has a huge selection of holiday decorations – definitely the largest selection of any other retailer in my area.  And even better, they make it so easy to put together a great holiday room or beautiful tree on a small budget.  They have 15 different themes of decorations, like Snow Capped Scene, Forest Fairytales, and Cherished Memories.  You can pick one theme and go wild, or you can mix and match.  Many of the themes are shown here.

Filed Under: Decorate Your Home, Giveaways & Product Reviews

How’s It Holding Up? + A $100 Gift Card Giveaway from Glidden

Over the course of the last six and a half (!!) years, I’ve completed my fair share of DIY projects.  Though my DIY background originated from little more than glue gun burns, I’ve learned over the years that using the proper products and tools make all the difference.

Today, I thought I would share with you three of my older projects and talk a little bit about how they have held up over the abuse that we dish out on them.  These particular projects were all coated with my favorite brand of interior paint, Glidden, so I’ll be able to discuss how the paint has held up over the years.

Stripped Wall in Playroom

In 2012, I transformed our playroom from a boring beige space into a colorful area with vintage appeal.  One of my favorite parts of the redecorating was the turquoise and white horizontal stripe that I painted on two of the walls.

Modern Vintage Inspired Playroom | Makely School for Girls

A lot of homeowners are nervous to paint their walls bright white for fear of scuffs, handprints, and general paint damage from every day use.  However, I’m happy to point out that this is not the case for the this particular formula of paint (Glidden Premium Interior – flat sheen ).  Even though our walls do get dirty, they are easy to clean.

Filed Under: Create Your Decor, Giveaways & Product Reviews

Back to School with Office Depot

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Office Depot. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ready or not, the new school year is right around the corner!  My kids have just a few more weeks before they start 4th grade (Zack) and Kindergarten (Emma).  Ack!  And Woot!

That means that it’s time to for back to school shopping.  Luckily, my kids’ school offers a “school supply box,” where you prepay to have all of their required school supplies delivered directly to the classroom.  But, that box only covers the school district’s requirements.  I still have to gather the other necessities that the kids need for school, like backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles, and supplies to have on hand for homework.

This year, I turned to Office Depot for our back to school shopping.  It’s one of my favorite stores ever.  I mean, what kid’s favorite store is Office Depot?  Yep, it was mine…and the love affair has continued well into adulthood.

Instead of the craziness of a big box store, we headed to Office Depot one afternoon so that the kids could pick out some back to school items – a few things they wanted and a few things I knew they needed.

Their first stop was the puzzle erasers, which is a big favorite in our house.  They both selected a package of macaron erasers and pizza erasers.  Zack also grabbed a package of shark pencil grips, so of course, Emma had to have some, too.  Luckily, all of those items were only $1 each, so I felt like I could say “yes!” to all of their wants.

Next, we headed to the lunch aisle, because I needed them to pick out lunch containers to put into their lunch boxes.  They went with the Sistema Lunch to Go, because it has a place for a sandwich and then divided containers for fruits and vegetables.  I made them pick the same color, so that it would make my mornings much easier.  I’ve been known to accidentally pack Zack’s lunch in Emma’s pink lunch bag.  Oops!

Speaking of easy mornings, I couldn’t leave Office Depot without a box of my beloved Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla K-Cups.  Let’s be honest, back to school after a lazy summer means Mama will need A LOT of coffee!

Filed Under: Giveaways & Product Reviews, Real Life with Lindsay