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LACK-HACK – Perfect Mother’s or Father’s Day Gift

LACK-HACK – Perfect Mother’s or Father’s Day Gift

My parents are the kind of people who have everything.  They are retired, they spend most of their time at the beach, and they don’t ever “need” anything, but they love toys.


I made some photo coasters for them a few years ago, and my dad mentioned wanting to do a photo table.  I decided to make this for him for father’s day this year (Dad, if you’re reading this, STOP!!!)


This project was pretty simple, just some basic materials and some ratty clothes are all you need to make this project a reality.  I would try to space this out over an entire weekend, if not longer.  Each layer needs to dry in order for this to work properly.



  • Ikea lack table ($9) or sub another table, maybe one from a thrift store
  • 25 Photos, or more if your table is larger
  • Elmers glue
  • Paper cutter (optional, this will allow you to make clean cuts on your photos, and measure them for consistency)
  • Modpodge (matte finish small should be fine)
  • EnviroText Lite High Gloss Finish
  • Brush or Sponge applicator (for the modpodge)
  • Disposable measuring container (I used an old coffee tin)
  • Wooden stick (to smooth out the resin)
  • Hair dryer



  1. Cut your photos to even 4’’x4’’ squares, or any other size you like!
  2. Lay out your photos in a pattern you like (optional: tape some or all of them down to keep them in place)
  3. Glue photos down with elmer’s glue
  4. Let this dry at least two hours— place something heavy on top of the photos (like a book)
  5. Apply three layers of modpodge on top of the entire table.  Make sure that the layers fully dry before applying your next coat (about 3-4 hours between coats, you can place a fan nearby to help the layers dry faster)
  6. Mix equal parts resin and hardener in to your disposable tin (if your bottles are fresh, you can simply pour them into your tin, and compare the amount left in the bottles to make sure you are using equal parts, or you can pour them into a disposable measuring cup and measure them out)  For this project I needed a little less than half of each of the bottles.
  7. Quickly pour your contents on to your table, and smooth it out using your wooden stick.  Make sure that there aren’t any “holes” and don’t worry about bubbles too much.  Try to keep it as even as possible,  but remember that a lot of it will even out as you go along.  I poured it all out on the center of the table, and then smoothed it to the corners
  8. Use your hairdryer to get rid of any bubbles (I just applied it as closely as I could to the table, and just ran it over the bubbles until they went away)
  9. Let dry for a least 12 hours, but a good day or two is best
  10. Wrap and give to a loved one


Also consider doing this with a map, scrapbook paper, coins, old letters, beer bottle caps, wine corks, etc.  The list is endless.

IMG_2011 (2)

Good luck 🙂

Camping Monthly Budget

Camping Monthly Budget

For a few months, David and I have been using this budgeting template we created: Monthly Budget

I love this because we can set a savings goal and see how close we are to meeting it.  We can quickly and easily keep up with our transactions, confirmation numbers, and vendor information.  I no longer have to worry about my credit card transactions, I can quickly see if I really did spend $46 at Whole Foods on a random Wednesday (because if you are using it properly, ALL of your transactions will be right there).


I just wanted to give you an idea of how we are planning on using this on the road.  For starters, we are going to try to create a template for every state (since we are planning on spending one or two months in each state).  After researching campgrounds,  fun stuff to do, and any hiking adventures, we will have an idea of how much we want to spend per state.  Our goal is to try to save money in some less expensive states.  This will give us a nice cushion in case we find an opportunity we can’t pass up, without having to dip into our hard-earned savings.

Below is a blank canvas for you to imagine your budgetary needs.  If you go to the template, you will notice that it only wants you to edit certain areas.  That is so you don’t override any formulas in place for that cell.  As you go through your monthly needs, try to think of things you don’t spend money on every month, but still add up, like renters insurance for your apartment, or car insurance if you don’t pay it monthly.  We created savings “buckets” with our bank for these categories, and pull them out each month like we are paying a bill.  The more realistic you are with your budget, the better off you will be.  We take whatever is left over and divide it as “fun” money, but rather than receiving one lump sum on the first of every month, we usually dole it out a week at a time while we are buying our groceries.  This allows us to pay for anything that might come up throughout the month.

Below is the template.  Please feel free to reach out to me at if you would like me to customize this for you.  Colors, charts, fonts, etc.  I will gladly set you up with something more your style.  I love color, so I tried to incorporate that in to this template to make it a bit more fun, but I know that color isn’t for everyone.  I hope that you find this useful and that it helps you reach your own form of financial freedom! Monthly Budget