Sore Throat PopsiclesThis recipe is really coming in handy right now for our family. Malacai just came down with strep…for the second time within a month. 😔 He’s headed to an ENT soon for possibly getting his tonsils removed. Poor kid, takes after his mother (I had strep a lot as a kid and had my tonsils taken out in 6th grade). When you have a sore throat, you’re pretty much trying everything for a little relief. Hot tea is always a must on my list, but not always a fav with my kiddos. So I thought I’d turn the tea into popsicles, because what kid can resist a popsicle?! They’re also a nice way to get both hot and cold relief for your throat. The next time you or your kiddos aren’t feeling well, mix up a batch of these throat soothing popsicles for some relief. Or if you have a friend that’s not feeling well, make a batch of these popsicles and drop them off with a Get Well Kit and make their day a little brighter!Sore Throat PopsiclesSore Throat PopsiclesSore Throat PopsiclesSore Throat Popsicles

Sore Throat Popsicles
Sore Throat Popsicles
Prep Time
15 mins

Cool, soothing popsicles for sore throats.

Servings: 10 popsicles
  • 4 tea bags (I used throat coat tea, see notes below)
  • 32 ounces boiling water
  • 2-4 teaspoons honey (add a little at a time, more if you'd like it sweeter)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Steep the 4 tea bags in hot water for 10 minutes. 

  2. Remove & discard tea bags. 

  3. Stir in honey and lemon juice. Let cool slightly.

  4. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. 

Recipe Notes
I used throat coat tea, but any that you like the flavor of will work. Good ones for sore throats are: lemon, echinacea, and chamomile.

I use this popsicle mold.

The lemon slices in my popsicles were more just for looks for the pictures - they don't need to be included!

Sore Throat PopsiclesSore Throat PopsiclesAny favorite sore throat soothing recipes or tricks we should try out?



20 Activities to Survive the Winter Months @themerrythoughtWe live smack in the middle of the 3rd & 4th most snowy cities in the US so for people like myself who don’t love winter, it can be a hard place to live. Each year as the days start to get dark earlier and the chill starts creeping in, I try to make a game plan of how to survive the winter without getting crazy lazy or letting those depressed feelings settle in. It’s getting to the point in the season now where my mind is craving spring and a few days of sunshine and warmth so each snowy day is driving me insane. Since the snow has been coming down all morning here with more expected throughout the day, I figured it would be a perfect day to share a list of ideas I started working on last year to help me to get through (and possibly enjoy) winter. So here are 20 ideas that you can write on popsicle sticks, stick in a jar, and grab one out whenever the weight of the dark, cold winter season is a bit too heavy.

1. Clean and Organize – Tackle those projects that you always put off when it’s too nice outside to stay indoors. Work on a minimal wardrobe. Get your medicine cabinet organized. Organize your spices.

2. Host a Crafternoon – Get together with a group of friends, bring some snacks, and craft the afternoon away! Here are a few easy DIYs that you could try at your next crafternoon: Leather Keychains. Beeswax Candles. Marble Magnets. Leather Bookmarks. Wooden Bead Keychains.

3. Listen to a Podcast – Bundle up, pop a podcast in your ear and go for a walk. This is one of my favorite things to do!

4. Make a Crockpot Meal – Search your Pinterest boards with hundreds of recipes that you’ve never made and choose a cozy crockpot recipe to throw together and enjoy!

5. Get Yourself a Good Pair of Boots – This might not be a good one for everyone (I’m looking at you Southern California readers that are enjoying their sandals all year!) but if it’s snowy where you’re at, just bite the bullet and go invest in some nice boots. I’ve went through way too many winters trudging around in boots that don’t keep me warm at all and just end up discouraging me from ever getting outside aside from my walks to and from my car.
20 Activities to Survive the Winter Months @themerrythought6. DIY Facial Night – Grab some pals and have a pampering night using some homemade beauty recipes. You can even have each guest make some to take home with them! Try out some of these: Bath Salts. Facial Toner. Body Butter. Lip Balm.

7. Sledding and Soup Party – Grab some friends and head to the nearest hill. If you don’t have sleds grab some trays, air mattresses, garbage bags – whatever you can find and see who can go the fastest! Afterwards head over to someone’s house and enjoy some bowls of hot soup!

8. Write letters – Get yourself some pretty stationary, sit down, and spend some time writing to friends and family. Whether they’re across the world, across the country, or sitting across the living room from you — who doesn’t love a handwritten card?!

9. Take a class – Look around your area for classes to take. Yoga, ceramics, ASL, calligraphy, birdwatching – the options are endless!

10. Sunday dinner – Make some warm, comfort food, light some candles, and enjoy a slow meal around the table to give a good start to your week!
20 Activities to Survive the Winter Months @themerrythought11. Winter bonfires – I usually picture bonfires being in the middle of summer while wearing shorts and roasting marshmallows but we recently had a little fire out back while everything was covered in snow and I could definitely get into doing this regularly. Just another reason to get outside and enjoy fresh air while not totally freezing!

12. Cross-Country Ski or Snowshoe – Find a friend with some equipment you can borrow and try out these winter activities! Fresh air, maybe a few rays of sunshine, and some cardio – sure to lift your spirits!

13 . Plan your next adventure – Think about some places you would love to visit and spend the evening looking up flight options, places to stay, what time of year would be best to go, things to see while you’re there…. And hey, just go ahead and book the trip already! Having something to look forward to will help get you through the rest of the cold season!

14. Go eat at a favorite restaurant – If all else fails, food usually helps. Ha! Get yourself out of the house by treating yourself to a meal at your favorite restaurant.

15. Visit a local tourist attraction – Look up the most highly recommended things to do in your area for visitors and go somewhere or try out something you never have!
20 Activities to Survive the Winter Months @themerrythought16. Take a bath – Grab a bath bomb, stock your tub caddy with a good book, candle, and drink of choice, and take a nice long soak!

17. Make a Fort and Watch a Movie – This is great for all the little kiddos in your life but also for adults that are looking to be silly and cozy. Let’s just admit it – a giant pile of blankets and pillows on the floor with a little sheet tent over you is far more exciting than the normal Netflix and hoodie on the couch that the vast majority of people are doing every day.

18. Skype with far away friends – Lift your spirits by reconnecting with friends! If the snow has trapped you in for the evening, grab a blanket and your computer, and give a friend a call!

19. Host a game night – Invite a bunch of friends over and tell them to bring their favorite game!

20. Bake something – Spend the afternoon making fresh bread or your favorite cookie recipe! Your house will smell good, be a little warmer, and you’ll have some cozy snacks to end your day!

Now go enjoy winter!



DIY Plant Box StandI’ve been needing some more space for plants. Something that doesn’t take up a lot of floor space (I love this one we made and gave to Caitlin last year; but I needed something a little smaller) and something I could move around to sit in front of different windows to get the best lighting throughout the year. So pretty much a box, on legs, for plants…😏 And that’s what we made! I loved these stands, but wanted to customize the size and look, so we DIY’d something similar. This little stand is perfect for being able to move from room to room as needed. And I’m excited to have an excuse to get plants to keep it filled! And hopefully now that I have a place to get the best lighting, some of my plants that haven’t done as well can thrive!DIY Plant Box StandDIY Plant Box StandDIY Plant Box StandMaterials:

– 1 x 8 x 8’ pine
– 5/4 x 3.5 x 8’ pine
– 3/8 inch doweling kit
– 3/8 dowels (you’ll need more than come in the kit)
– drill
– nail gun and compressor
– table saw
– power planer
– mitre sawDIY Plant Box StandDIY Plant Box StandDIY Plant Box StandDIY Plant Box Stand

With the table saw, cut the 1×8 to 6 inches wide and cut the 5/4 into two pieces 1-1/8” wide.

Using the power planer, take 1/32 off all four of the edges on the 1-1/8” pieces

With the mitre saw, cut two 24” pieces, two 22-7/8” and two pieces 7-7/8”.

Using the mitre saw, cut the 6” wide piece into two 25” pieces and two 8-1/2” pieces and one 23-1/2” piece.

Make a mark in the center of the ends of the 5/4 by 22 7/8” pieces (leg cross pieces).

Using the doweling kit, set the stop on the 3/8” drill bit at a little more than half the length of the dowels.

Drill the holes into the ends of the 22-7/8” pieces.

Use the dowel center provided in the dowel kit to mark where the hole will go in the side of the 24” (legs) piece. Lay the leg cross piece on a flat surface and place the leg standing up against the end of the leg cross piece and press together so that the dowel center will make a mark in the side of the leg where the dowel hole will go. Make sure to label the bottom of the leg cross piece with a matching mark on the bottom of the leg so that you will know that they go together.

Repeat these steps with the other other three legs and other leg cross piece.

Set your drill stop so that the drill bit will not go through the leg. Drill the holes in the 4 legs.

Take a set of legs and leg cross piece and put glue into the holes on the legs and insert a dowel into the hole, use enough glue in the hole so that when you push the dowel in, a small amount of glue comes up around the dowel.

Put glue into the hole in the end of the leg cross piece and spread a little glue on the end of it; slide this onto the dowel in the leg.

Make sure the marks on the bottom are correct, put glue in the hole in the other end of the leg cross piece and spread some glue on the end. Slide this onto the dowel in the other leg.

Lay them all on a flat surface and use a clamp to clamp them together; check the measurement at the top of the legs to make sure it is the same as the length of the leg cross piece, if it is not shift your clamp up or down to make it correct.

Repeat with the other set. Let glue dry.

Drill a dowel hole in the center of the ends of the two 7-7/8” pieces (cross pieces) with the stop collar set to drill a little more than half the length of the dowels.

Draw a mark on the top inside of the leg cross piece 3” in from the edge of the leg on all 4 ends of each leg assembly.

Put the dowel center in the end of one of the cross pieces and with the leg assembly standing up on a flat surface, line up the outside edge of the cross piece with the line and press the pieces together to make a mark for the center of the dowel hole. Make sure to mark the bottom of the cross piece and the bottom of the leg assembly at each location so that you know which ones match, repeat at each location.

Set the stop collar so that the drill bit will not drill through the leg assembly. Drill each of the four holes.

Lay the leg assemblies down so that the holes are facing up, put glue into each of the holes and insert the dowels.

Put glue in the holes in each end of the cross pieces and spread some on each of the ends; making sure to match up the marks assemble the leg assemblies with the cross pieces between them.

Clamp together, making sure the gap is the same at the top of the legs as at the bottom. Allow glue to dry.

Assemble the plant box by glueing and nailing the 6” x 8-1/2” pieces between the 25 inch pieces, keeping the edges flush. Keep the nails at least 1-1/2” up from the bottom edge.

Center the 23-1/2” piece between the two sides and flush with the bottom and glue and nail it into place.

Set the drill stop collar to drill a little more than half the length of the dowel.

Mark the center of the top of each leg, 3/8” in from the outside on the long side of the assembly.

Drill the dowel holes.

Place dowel center in one of the holes and set the plant box in position with the leg edges flush with the outside of the box and press down to make a mark.

Repeat this with all 4 legs.

Drill the dowel holes in the bottom of the plant box.

Turn the plant box over and put glue and dowels in holes.

Put glue in the holes and on the tops of the legs.

Put the box on top of the legs and clamp in position, allow the glue to dry.DIY Plant Box StandDIY Plant Box Stand



I’ve been waiting to finish up the living room that has been half finished for the past year and am kind of at a stand-still for a few weeks here. So I’ve been staying busy working on getting organized/decorated in the rest of the house – we still have a bunch of empty walls after being here for over a year! This wall mount peg rack was a simple addition for us – but is definitely a game-changer for a house of three adult women with piles of coats, scarves, and purses that need some accessible storage. After seeing how this one turned out, I’m thinking about adding another one across a wall in my bedroom!What you need:
-1″x3″x6′ poplar board (you may need a longer piece depending on your space)
-1/2″ wooden dowel
-miter saw or handsaw
-sand paper
-measuring tape
-forstner bit
-drill press or drill
-drywall anchors

How to make it:
-Cut board to length of wall space you would like it to fill.
-Measure out where you would like the dowels to be (mine ended up being 5″ apart) – mark each of the spaces along the length of the board and then measure from top to bottom at each mark to make sure the marks are centered on the board.
-Use a drill press to drill holes at each mark using a forester bit. Be sure not to drill all the way through the board – just drill about 3/4 of the way through. (*Drill a hole in scrap wood beforehand to make sure that the dowel will fit snuggly into that holes that you make.)
-Cut 3″ pieces of dowel and use sandpaper to smooth the ends.
-In three of the holes (the center hole and one towards each end of the board), you will want to drill a small hole in the center of the hole through the back of the board. Hold the board up against the wall, making sure that it is level, and make a mark through the three holes.
-If these marks aren’t aligned with a stud, insert a drywall anchor at each of these marks.
-Screw the board into the anchors.
-Insert the wooden dowels. They should fit very snuggly so you won’t need to use wood glue and will be able to remove them so that you can unscrew the board if you ever need to move it.

  • Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 8:28 am

    Kimberly | Turning It Home - It’s a good idea to leave the pegs removable to hide how it’s attached to the wall. I’ve been wanting to make one of these for my entry after making a smaller one for my children’s room. I may opt to screw some pegs in but leave two or three removable to hide how it’s attached.ReplyCancel


DIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythoughtI’ve seen these scaffolding style bookshelves popping up everywhere lately and have been loving them. I’m not sure that they’re usually called that, but they remind me of scaffolding, so that’s what I’m calling them! I love the simple design with the X in the back and love that they are adjustable. I’m definitely a fan of being able to adjust my shelving/storage, as seen here and here.
We decided to do built in drawers and shelves in the boys closet and get rid of their dressers to free up more space in their room; but they needed some kind of shelf space for all their things. This shelf was the inspiration for our shelf, but we needed to be able to customize the size – the bedrooms upstairs have sloped ceilings, so no tall furniture on one side of the rooms (and not to mention that price 😳), so we built our own. Then I convinced Mike to share the how-to for any other ambitious builders out there.
(Before we were ready to put this in the boy’s room, we used it for a studio shoot – I included some of those photos at the bottom so you can see it with the shelves arranged a little differently.)DIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythoughtMaterials:

– 1x4x6′ pine board
– 5/4”x8x 8′ pine board
– two 1x12x8′ pine boards
– table saw
– square
– sliding mitre saw
– wood glue
– nail gun & nails
– drill
– drywall screws
– hand or power saw
-sand paperDIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythought
DIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythoughtDirections:

Cut four 1-5/8 x 96″ pieces out of the 5/4 x 8″ board.

Cut one 54″ piece out of each of these.

Out of the remainder, cut ten 11-5/16″ pieces.

Cut two 1-1/4” x 72″ pieces out of the 1×4 pine board.

Make a line across the width of the board using a square, 35-3/8” from the end of each board.

Lay one board on top of the other and perpendicular with the edge of the top board even with the
line on the bottom board so that the top board will be centered on the bottom board.

Use a square and make sure the boards are perpendicular to each other and then draw a line on the opposite side of the board from the other line.

Repeat the process with the other board on the bottom.

Using a piece of scrap 3/4-inch pine, set your sliding mitre saw so that it will cut through half the thickness of the board. You will need to put scrap wood behind the board you are cutting to bring it out away from the fence so that the saw will cut a flat cut across the width of the board.

Cut out the material between the lines you drew on each piece. When you are done, the boards should fit together snugly and be flush with each other.

Lay two of the 54″ pieces on the floor with the 1-5/8” side of the boards facing up, space them 46″ from outside to outside making sure that the bottoms of the boards are even by putting them against a straight board and check that they are perpendicular to the board. When you have them set, place some weight on them so that they will not move.

Put the cross braces together and lay them on top of the leg boards.

Center the back brace and make sure that where it sits on the legs is even from the top and the bottom of the legs.

Using a pencil, mark along the edge of the back brace on each side where it sits on the legs and make marks where the legs are against the back brace at all four corners so that you will be able to draw lines on the back brace once you remove it.

Draw your lines on the back braces.

Using the sliding mitre saw, which is already set to cut half the thickness of the back brace pieces, turn the saw to a 45 degree angle and cut out the material between the lines on the back braces.

Set up the saw to cut 3/8″ deep into a scrap piece of the 5/4 wood.

With the saw set at 45 degrees, cut out the material between the lines on the legs. Make sure to test the fit at each joint.

Assemble the sides of the shelf by laying out where you would like the shelf supports to be located.
Our lower support was up 2-1/2” from the bottom of the legs and our top support was down 3″ from the top of the legs. You can lay out the other supports evenly, or to accommodate different spacing.

Mark lines where the supports will go on each leg.

Glue and nail the supports between the sets of legs.

Attach the back brace to the legs by gluing and screwing the joints.

Use a hand or power saw to cut off the parts of the back brace that stick out, making them even with the outside of the legs.

Cut four 48″ shelves out of the two 1 x 12 x 8′ boards.

Allow the glue to dry and then place the shelves on the shelf supports.

Sand as needed. Apply stain/finish or paint as desired.

**We wanted our shelves to be a bit more rustic, so we did not remove any saw marks or sand very much.**
DIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythoughtDIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythoughtDIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythoughtDIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythoughtDIY Wood Bookshelf @themerrythought


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  • Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 1:20 pm

    kelli - i love this! i’m going to show this to my husband today & hope he knows how to do this.ReplyCancel

    • Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 10:26 pm

      Manda - Thanks! We’d love to see it if you end up making one! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Friday, January 26, 2018 - 8:40 am

    Isadora Guidoni - It looks so beautiful! Sadly I don’t have conditions to do it right away, but I’ll keep this post saved for a future project! =)ReplyCancel

    • Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 10:26 pm

      Manda - Thank you, so glad you like it! 🙂ReplyCancel