Friday Wrap: Magazine Gems

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope you’ve had an incredible week. If not, there’s still time.  It was a fairly productive week on my end. I tackled tons of projects at work, made birthday party purchases for next week’s festivities, and finally knocked out the giant pile of magazines on my coffee table. That was a feat.

Real Simple, February

Just a few of the many…

Quick confession: What started out (several weeks ago) as three or four perfectly fanned magazines turned into a heaping mound of business. There were not only magazines, but also catalogs, postcards, a few pieces of junk mail and even some of Avery and Clara’s artwork tucked in there!

Once I sorted through everything, I found a few hidden gems I wanted to share – besides the art from my baby girls.

{ONE} Family Fun: February 2015Family FunCupid Kabobs: Page 18Cupid KabobsValentine’s Day is two weeks away. Eek! Good thing I found a few darling ideas in this issue of Family Fun – including these grape tomato and cheese kabobs. They look easy, too. Super bonus.

{TWO} Real Simple: February 2015Real SimpleArt Caddy: Page 32Art CaddyOne of my favorite things about this magazine is the “new uses for old things” section. This issue didn’t disappoint. I love the idea of using a DVD case as an art caddy for the kiddos. I’m thinking this would be perfect for car rides.

{THREE} Pottery Barn Teen: Spring 2015Pottery Barn Teen, FebruaryBeautiful Bins: Page 27Pottery Barn BinsI don’t officially have teens in my house, but some days it feels that way. (#eightgoingoneighteen) Pottery Barn must know about these days, which is probably why they send me PB Teen catalogs. I will say, there are some seriously beautiful prints and patterns in this edition. You won’t find them in the regular PB magazine, either. These bins are one example. They’re just the right amount of color to jazz up any bookshelf.

{FOUR} Victoria: January/February 2015Victoria January/FebruaryDragonfly Floral: Page 42Dragonfly FloralThis issue was given to me by my mom, who is queen of all things magazine. She might be single-handedly keeping the U.S. Postal Service in business. When this beautiful issue of Victoria made its way over to my house, I practically drooled over this picture of Dragonfly Floral. If I ever own a flower shop, I want it to look just like this gorgeous place in Sonoma Valley, California. Please.

{FIVE} Athleta: February 2015AthletaComfy Clothes: Page 32AthletaLeave it to me to pick the most non-athletic piece of clothing in Athleta’s catalog to want to buy. There are certainly some amazing workout clothes from this store, but when I saw this outfit, I imagined how perfect it would be for pretty much every day of my life.

That’s it for my coffee table discoveries. I have some exciting things in store for next week. If you weren’t aware, National Doodle Day AND National Bubblegum Day are happening. I’m also going to visit my sister in Atlanta. It should be full of adventure, and I’ll be sure to share!

Have a “super” weekend hanging with all of your favorite people. I’ll be watching the big game with my family – and cheering for my favorite commercials. Of course, it will be after I read a few of my favorite blogs:

Fiveonfriday

Visit Darci, April, Natasha and Christina!

HeaderTrans_zpscb139c50

And don’t forget Friday Confessions from Leslie!

Cheers and kisses!

-Kate

Share

Inspiring Lessons from The War of Art

The War of ArtIf you haven’t had a chance to read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, I can assure you it will be worth every special minute of your time. It’s incredibly motivating – like the kind that kicks you in the couch potato pants and gets you moving in the direction you were meant to travel.

In fact, this is one of my favorite passages that inspired me to write today’s post:


Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer, write a symphony, or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you, and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”


Talk about motivation. I don’t know about you, but that last line is a bone-chilling challenge. Let’s accept. What do you say?

If you’re a painter, paint. If you’re a teacher, teach. If you’re a leader, lead. If you’re a mom, mother. The people in your world need you.

For those who aspire to be writers or artists, and who fall near and dear to my heart, here’s an added challenge.

  1. Accept you’re a writer or artist. Another brilliant quote from Pressfield suggests, “If you find yourself asking, ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” The more scared you are about a calling, the more you can be sure you need to do it.
  1. Get started. Grab your computer or paper and pen. I’ll wait… Okay, now start writing and don’t stop until you’ve hit at least 1,000 words. What should you write about? Anything. It could be about a crappy day you had, your best friend in grade school who always made you laugh, or your obsession with Snicker’s bars. Need more inspiration? In the movie “Finding Forrester” the character played by Sean Connery, who is a reclusive writer, asks his student to take an existing piece of work as a starting point. The student transforms it into something unique. You could try that, too. Take lines from your favorite song and create characters and a storyline around their relationship. You may surprise yourself with where you end up. The goal isn’t necessarily in the masterpiece. What matters most is that you’re writing – and doing what you were put on this earth to do. If you’re an artist, do the same exercise, but draw or paint for at least 30 minutes. Do this every day, and the great masterpiece will be your life.

Here’s to you and your amazing talents. Now go get ’em!

-Kate

Share

How To Force Bulbs for Winter Blooms

Adding a pop of color and “life” to your home in the winter can be as easy as growing a few pretty plants. In fact, last week I posted pics of my paperwhites. There was some interest in having me share a tutorial on how to grow them, so I’m excited to share this with you!

Forcing paperwhite bulbs

It took about two weeks to grow these pretties on the right.

While I’m currently growing paperwhites, there are tons of other options to choose from. I’m talking amaryllis, hyacinths, crocus and even daffodils. {Hello, little bundles of spring.}

BlueGrapeHyacinth

Blue Grape Hyacinths

DoubleDaff

Double Daffodils

Crocus

Crocus

The cool thing about growing these flowers indoors is you get to observe them up close as they bloom. Cool thing number two is that it’s super simple to do. There are a few tricks of the trade I’ve learned from my Master Gardener mom, whom we lovingly call Mimi. So I’ll share a few of Mimi’s magic tips to ensure you can force bulbs like a champ.

How to Choose the Right Bulbs

Any garden store should have bulbs this time of year. I shop at Westwood Gardens because they are incredibly helpful and general superstars.

Tip: When shopping, be sure to choose bulbs that are plump and firm.

Most bulbs will need a rooting period of 12-15 weeks. This means storing them in a mesh or paper bag in a cool place (like your refrigerator or cold garage). This is called prechilling. Many of the bulbs for sale right now have already been prepared for forcing. So you can head straight to the directions below. Be sure to check, though.

What You’ll Need

Gardening Supplies

The line up: A container (vase or flower pot), soil or rocks, flower bulbs and water

Two Ways to Plant and Grow

{ONE} Force Bulbs in Water

Any tall, narrow vase will be great. You don’t have to have a special forcing vase to make this work.

Planting Bulbs in Water

I like using a tall, clear vase so I can watch the roots grow. Also, the sides of the vase serve as natural “stakes” for the plant as it grows.

Three simple steps:

  1. Fill your container with rocks or pebbles. You only need to fill about 3-4 inches.
  2. Add water right up to the top of the rocks.
  3. Tuck your bulbs down in the rocks. Plant as many as your container will hold. They can even be touching.

Tip: You only want to cover the root portion so the bulb doesn’t rot in the water.

{TWO} Force Bulbs in Soil

You can either use a vase or regular gardening pot. I’m planting crocus, which don’t grow very tall, so I’m going with this lovely white pot.Planting in SoilThree simple steps:

  1. Fill your container with soil. I like to pre-wet the soil a bit so it’s not as messy when you add water at the end.
  2. Plant your bulbs about halfway into the soil. Part of the bulb will be visible.
  3. Water the bulbs and keep the soil moist as they grow.

More Helpful Tips

Nurturing Your Plant Babies

There really isn’t much to do once your bulbs have been planted, other than watching the water levels and replenishing, as needed. Just sit back and watch your babies grow! The average growing rate will vary, but here’s a rough guide based on planting pre-chilled bulbs.

Plant Chart

Compliments of The Neat Nook

Keeping them Tall and Proud

Even though I grew my paperwhites in tall vases, they still toppled over a bit because their stems are so “leggy” as Mimi calls them. Here’s a pretty way to handle this situation. Gather the stems and secure with a ribbon.

Paperwhite Stake with Ribbon

I chose a sheer ribbon since it’s so delicate – like the flowers.

Tip: The tighter the ribbon, the more secure the stems will be.

If the stems are still toppling over, add a bamboo stick or even a nice-looking stick from your yard for added support. Tuck it all the way down into your rocks or soil to keep it sturdy. Then tie a pretty ribbon around the entire thing.

After the Bloom

Once your bulbs have finished blooming, it’s not time to be sad. You can cut off the flowers at the base and store the bulbs in a cool, dry location until spring. If you’ve planted in soil, you can keep them right in the container. Once spring hits, you can plant them outside.

I hope you’ll try this at home. If you do, be sure to take lots of pictures. Maybe we can create our own little community garden on Instagram this way? I’m @Katejandersen on both Instagram and Twitter.

Happy planting!

-Kate

Share

It’s a Friday Wrap

Happy Friday!! Despite my son nearly breaking his wrist playing indoor soccer (x-rays came back clean, thank goodness), it’s been a pretty good week. The weather has been beautiful, so we’ve tried to play outside as much as possible – knowing wicked winter weather is bound to be on the heels of this warm spell.

With that, here are a few highlights from the week:

{ONE} Explored the outdoors of Crystal Bridges

Exploring Crystal Bridges

This is a quick pick of the girls resting their legs on a rock bridge that spans across a little creek. The day was absolutely gor-geous!

Crystal Bridges Museum is a wondrous place to visit whether you live here or ever plan to visit beautiful Northwest Arkansas. It has taken the art industry by storm with its all-American art collection. (I should be a docent for them or something.) Anyway, curving along the edges of the museum’s gorgeous landscape are several hiking trails, which are sprinkled with sculptures and other fun art displays.

Kids playing with art

This giant frame is found along the Tulip trail. Can you tell which famous pieces of art they’re portraying? (Answer guide: Scream, The Thinker, American Gothic) I should remember this for Halloween!

The kids were out of school on Monday, so we decided to spend the day hitting the trails. We also stopped for a few laughs, because we’re goofy like that.

{TWO} Jazzed up the door with decorFront door wreathOur front door has been naked ever since we removed the holiday decorations! It seems too early for a Valentine wreath, too. Sometimes transitions are hard. When I found this adorable wall hanging on sale at Hobby Lobby, I thought the laurel pattern felt kind of wreathy. I decided to hang it outside, tie a white burlap ribbon from the back hook, and add a bow for some pop. What do you think? Will this get me through until heart season?

{THREE} Started the paperwhite watch

Forcing paperwhite bulbs

Left: What I planted two weeks ago. Right: What it looks like today!

The indoors also felt a tad bland. I thought it would be fun to force paperwhite bulbs for some color – and life. I wasn’t exactly sure how long they’d take to bloom. I started two weeks ago and have been watching these suckers grow like crazy. The first blooms popped open Wednesday. It was like a little party in the vase.

I’m thinking about growing some to give as Valentine’s gifts. If you want to do the same, I’d recommend planting them by early next week so they bloom in time. I’d be happy to post a “how-to” on this if anyone is interested. Just comment to let me know.

{FOUR} Read about moments of grace

Small Victories by Anne Lamott

This is such a great book!

I received Anne Lamott’s latest book for Christmas and finally got around to reading it this past week. It’s a treasure. Her writing is hilarious, honest and spiritual. In fact, it would make a great Valentine gift for a friend if you’re looking for non-food items – other than the gorg paperwhites above. One of my favorite quotes from the book:

“…we stood outside an inner gate, showed our IDs to the guards, and got our hands stamped with fluorescent ink. “You don’t glow, you don’t go,” said one cheerful, pockmarked guard, which was the best spiritual advice I’d had in a long time.”

{FIVE} Caught up on my stash of cards

hallmark_logo

“When you care enough to send the very best.”

I’m still a fan of sending greeting cards – especially for family and close friends. Facebook is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I just like sending the very best when I can. And yes, Hallmark is my favorite greeting card company. They have some of the funniest, prettiest and poignant cards available, IMO.

Once a month, I like to take my list of birthdays and anniversaries and stock up. I use a perpetual calendar like the one pictured below to keep track. Definitely get one of these if you can!

Perepetual calendarWhile I was in the store stacking up for February, I pulled the last card from one of the slots and discovered this funny sign. I noticed there were others, too. I had to share.

Hallmark cards

There were several messages like these behind all of the cards. You know how much I love bunnies?! The top one made me laugh out loud.

That pretty much wraps the week. I’m off to make igneous rock out of Rice Krispies for Avery’s science class. #lifeofamom Have an incredible weekend. I have tons of fun in store for next week, so be sure to stop back by!

In the meantime, check out some amazing bloggers at Five on Friday.FiveonfridayYou can also see some honest, and sometimes hilarious Friday confessions at A Blonde Ambition.HeaderTrans_zpscb139c50<3 Kate

Share

Fridge Makeover Update

Organized fridge

This is my fridge today! My “before” pic would have frightened you.

Okay, a quick update on my fridge makeover. It’s only been a week since I posted about my endeavor, but I am LOVING this. The picture above is how things look – even after days of pilfering children and constant replenishment. It has been surprisingly easy to maintain.

My favorite thing is that our family has been digging into bags of grapes and apples instead of whatever snack foods are left the pantry at this point. The kids haven’t complained about the new situation, either. In fact, they said they feel healthy eating this way. No one has paid them to say this – that I’m aware of.

We’ve been drinking lots of water, too!

On our infused water chart, the strawberry, kiwi and cucumber concoction is our favorite so far.

Infused water

This infused water has strawberries, kiwi and cucumber. It’s said to help with blood sugar support and digestion.

We drink this and say, “Oh, my blood sugar feels very supported.” LOL. We’re so weird.

The only downside I’ve discovered so far with the fridge is figuring out a spot for leftovers. We don’t usually have tons of food left over, but I didn’t plan very well for these items. I might need to empty one of the snack bins. I’m sure I’ll have a few willing participants to help.

Overall, what I do know is that when our healthy snacks are prepped and within reach, it’s way easier for guilt-free noshing. Goal accomplished in that regard.

My next feat is to tackle menu planning. I offered a link in my post last week, and then I saw another great option on my friend’s blog. A Blonde Ambition featured free printables – including an awesome menu planner via The Creative Blog.

meal planner

Here’s to easy, peasy meal planning with these free printables!

Can I just say how excited I am? Well, I am! I’m hoping this will be the non-artificial cherry on top of my better eating habits.

I hope you enjoy these printables and have a seriously healthy day!

-Kate

Share

Creative Habits

IMG_5301Habits are a funny thing. Sometimes we want to kick them and other times we want to form them. I’m always in fluctuation between the two. Right now I’m desperately trying to drink more water during the day. I religiously drink coffee every morning, so you’d think remembering to water myself would be a cinch.

Water on Head

More water!

Just like anything, there are good and not-so-good habits when it comes to creativity. Keeping a sketchbook and people watching (a favorite pastime) are fun habits and can do wonders for creative thinking.

Sketchbook

Sketching is awesome!

Other habits simply make you lazy and turn off your brain. That’s not exactly the recipe for developing imaginative ideas. For instance, I have a habit of driving the same way to work, which literally keeps me from seeing new sights. Remember the scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation when they keep driving past Big Ben? That’s me…constant loop.

national lampoons

Look kids, Big Ben!

It’s easy to fall into routines. When you do them long enough, you create a well-worn path that deepens into a rut, making it harder to get out. I never want to be the kind of person who “phones it in” when it comes to offering creative ideas.

So I’m in the process of assessing my habits, and I’ve decided that instead of kicking stale habits, I’m going to shake them up. (Thanks for the motivation, T. Swift.)

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Rotate artwork and photos in my office. The family pics don’t have to rest on the desk. I can move them to a side table and bring a fun piece of art from the living room into my office. It’s gettin’ crazy up in here.
  2. Sit in the visitor’s chair. My office has several chairs reserved for guests. Why not become a guest in my own space? I wonder what new ideas I’ll think of from the other side of the desk?
  3. Use a different restroom. Since “bio breaks” tend to be the only times I actually leave my seat (another bad habit), the least I can do is head to the next closest bathroom in the building and potentially run into new people along the way.
  4. Take a short break (other than going to the bathroom) and talk to someone new – on purpose.
  5. Listen to a new station on Pandora. This means giving up Blind Pilot and JT for a while, but I’m okay with that. I have a feeling there are a few country singers out there who have a lesson or two about life I could use. Consider this student “present”.
  6. Pull out a sketchpad instead of the laptop. I enjoy sketching, but when it comes to thinking of ideas for work, I tend to lean on the computer – literally. I’m going to kick it old school and sketch my next round of thoughts. Sketchnoting, here I come.
  7. Use different color ink. Black and blue are for bruises. I’m going to mix it up with orange or green and just see what happens. Maybe nothing, but at least my notes will be prettier.
  8. Go outside and park it on a bench for a few minutes. Nothing beats stale ideas like some fresh air and new surroundings. It seems simple, but I don’t get outside nearly enough during the day. My Fitbit would agree with me, too.

I hope you’ll join me in trying some of these ideas or thinking of a few new ones yourself. Please share!

In the meantime, have an enormously creative day.

-Kate

Share

Organize Your Way to Better Eating

IMG_5256Every January as I pack up the holiday stuff, I think about what else I’ve packed away this season. I’m talking cookies, cakes and cupcakes – all of the dangerously delicious “c” words. It leaves me feeling like I need a food overhaul, or at least a sugar detox.

To top it off, I recently read that weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. If that isn’t motivation to eat better, I don’t know what is. So where to begin? There are too many diets and fads to count, and I’ve honestly been feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

Here’s how I’m going to approach this whole thing: be more organized.

More specifically, I’m going to:

  1. Plan better grocery lists (as in, don’t buy gross food)
  2. Makeover my fridge (to keep fresh food handy)

Let’s break it down.

{ONE}

The first step to plan better lists sounds easy. It relies on better meal planning with fresh foods (I’m thinking rainbow colors) vs. processed goods (usually shades of brown).

It also means sticking to my grocery list when shopping. There’s the rub. I usually have one (or all) of the kids with me when I shop. I’ve never enjoyed going to the store alone, and my kids are at an age where they can help pull items from the shelf while we chat and act silly.

Girls Shopping

Who wouldn’t want these goofballs along when shopping? This is us shopping at Walmart. We get distracted by everything – including bike helmets. #shoppingtakesforever

The downside is tossing items in the cart that are “off menu,” such as Pringles or chocolate-covered anything. The problem is those become the snacks we eat while the strawberries rot in the fridge. There’s definitely room for improvement here. I think I’ll add some treats (like yogurt-covered anything), but then I’m sticking to my list!

{TWO}

Next is having good, fresh food easy to access. For my family, this means having more refrigerated snacks vs. pantry snacks. Our pantry items tend to be packaged sugary or salty stuff. So eating from the fridge should already give us a head start. Here are some tricks I’m going to try:

  • Wash, process and snack-bag our fruits and veggies as soon as I get home from the store.
  • Create bins with healthy, go-to snacks for the kids that include string cheese, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt, carrots, celery with peanut butter or hummus, and hard-boiled eggs.
    snack bins

    You can get these clear bins from BB&B so good food is in clear view. Image source: Four Generations One Roof

  • Organize the shelves so the good snacks are eye-level. Put the butter, jellies and other sweets in a drawer so they’re out of sight, and out of mind.
  • Have fresh water available. I actually keep a pitcher of water in the fridge at all times. It reminds me to stay hydrated. I have this infuse pitcher and like to add fresh oranges, lemons, cucumber or mint to flavor the water.
    Infuse Pitcher

    I like how this pitcher also comes with a tea infuser. Source: BB&B

    If you want interesting ideas on infused water combinations, here’s a helpful chart!

    Infused water chart

    Image source: Kasia Organic Salon

  • The last thing I’m doing is posting a healthy baking substitution chart on the outside of the fridge for a handy reference. I would have never thought of these. So smart.
    baking substitutions

    Image source: Picklee

If you’d like to join me in the food/fridge makeover, let me know! I’d love to see pictures of your before and afters – whether it’s the fridge or yourself! #noshame #weareinthistogether

Here’s to better eating and feeling better!

-Kate

Share

Five Must-Read Creative Books

creative booksIf you have a shred of desire to be more creative and leave a beautiful or thought-provoking mark on this earth, I believe it’s essential to always be on a path of trial and knowledge. And some of the most necessary fuel for exploration and learning is found in books.

As a busy mom, I don’t always have time to sit and read. The growing stack of books on my nightstand is enough to prove that point, but there are certain books that come along and change things. They help shift priorities and feel worthy of an all-night reading binge.

Here’s a list of five books that fit this description, and what I consider must-reads for creative types.

These are in no particular order and include a few of my favorite excerpts from each.

{ONE} Creativity, Inc.Creativity Inc“Always take a chance on better, even if it seems threatening.”

“Ultimately, what we’re after is authenticity…You’ll never stumble upon the unexpected if you stick only to the familiar. In my experience, when people go out on research trips, they always come back changed.”

{TWO} Imagine: How Creativity WorksImagine“In fact, the only way to remain creative over time, to not be undone by our expertise, is to experiment with ignorance, to stare at things we don’t fully understand.”

{THREE} The War of Artwar of art“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

“Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”

{FOUR} Steal Like An Artiststeal like an artist“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life.”

“Be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else–that’s how you’ll get ahead.”

{FIVE} The Creative Habitthe creative habit“Creativity is the product of preparation and effort, and it’s within reach of everyone who wants to achieve it. All it takes is the willingness to make creativity a habit, an integral part of your life.”

It’s your turn! What’s your favorite book on creativity? How did this book help you? Tag and tell me on Twitter or Instagram @katejandersen.

Have a creative day!

-Kate

Share

Five Tips for Holiday Storage

Christmas StorageIf you haven’t put away your holiday decorations, yet, you’re not alone. If it gets to be July and we’re having this conversation, we’ll want to get the decorative balls rolling into some sort of container. For now, it’s perfectly and socially acceptable to still have some lingering lights. When you’re good and ready to start packing, here are a few tips and tricks for closing out the season.

{ONE} Organize your business

Before jumping right in to stuffing a bunch of bins, stop for a moment to sort. Decide if you really want to keep everything. Toss old lights or donate items you know you won’t ever use.keep calm buttonOnce you’ve simplified, decide how you’re going to store your stuff. Some people organize by type of item. For example, all of the lights go in one big bin.

I prefer to pack by location. That means all of the outdoor lights go with the outdoor décor. As long as you liked where everything was situated this year, storing your things this way makes unpacking a cinch next year. Be sure to label the bins with the name of the room to amp up the ease. Speaking of bins…

{TWO} Color-code some bins

Plastic bins are ideal for storing your precious decorations. They’re waterproof in case you have an unfortunate leak in your roof or basement. They’re also pest-proof when they have tight-fitting lids. Nothing freaks me out more than opening a box and finding a spider. #notcool

plastic bin

Rubbermaid bins are durable and have tight-fitting lids.

I like using clear bins so I can see what’s inside. Some people like colored bins, such as red or green for Christmas items. While this makes it easier to distinguish between the holidays up in a dark attic, once you get the bins down, it’s kind of a pain not knowing what’s inside.

Tip: Stick with clear bins, but pick colored lids for each season.

Plastic lids

These are available at Walmart. You could pick red lids for all of your Christmas bins.

If you can’t find assorted lids, use various colors of Duct tape to label your bins. You could use green for Christmas, orange for Halloween, pink for Easter, etc.

{THREE} Divide those ornaments

I’ve had one too many sad moments opening a bin and finding a broken ornament. That’s why I pack them in individual compartments now.

Ornament Storage

This bin is from The Container Store.

You can either purchase special bins like this from The Container Store or take a “plain” bin and make your own dividers with a few cups glued to a piece of cardboard.

DIY Ornament Storage

Get the full DIY instructions at One Good Thing

Don’t forget to pack the ornament hooks. For small items like these and replacement bulbs, use a plastic jewelry organizer.

Organizer

This organizer is from Joann Fabrics.

{FOUR} Wrangle your wreaths and lights

You probably spent a lot on your wreaths – time and money or both! So when it comes to storage, give them some extra TLC. I splurge on plastic wreath holders because they snap shut (no bugs allowed), and they help wreaths hold their shape.

wreath case

This crush-free case is from Spacesavers.

I’ve used heavy-duty trash bags before, and some of my friends use dry cleaner bags. Those work too. You’ll just want to be sure not to stack items on top of them if you’re going this route.

Light storage

Image source: Curbly

When it comes to lights, I like to wrap the strands around pieces of cardboard. You can even jot a note directly on the cardboard about where the lights go.

hose-reel-for-holiday-lights

Image source: Real Simple

If you have a large volume of lights, keep them strung together on a hose reel from the hardware store. Smart, right?

{FIVE} Care for your cards

The last thing I like to do is take a minute to re-read all of the thoughtful cards we received and update my contacts with any new addresses.

Christmas Cards

Image source: BBC

Once that’s done, I always have a hard time throwing the cards away. Brené Brown shared a fantastic idea of snapping pictures of each card with your phone and adding them to your contacts. That way you can see the darling Christmas photo your friend sent every time she calls. Don’t you love that idea? I’m totally doing it this year.

So what have I missed? What’s your favorite way to pack or organize your holiday goods? Give me a shout either in the comments or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @Katejandersen. I’ll be sure to check my accounts between packing all of these bins. Gracious!

Have a great weekend and be sure to check out all of the amazing blogs through Five on Friday.Fiveonfriday

Share

DIY: Jars of Joy

Jars of Joy

Designed by The Neat Nook

My girls and I recently attended a party that included the making of Jars of Happiness. One of the moms had smart words to share with this group of 3rd grade girls to set the stage for kindness, respect, and inclusion toward each other. Such important lessons for any age, but I especially like the idea of talking to my girls about this now. #nevertooearly

Party Pic

We had fun at the party, if you couldn’t tell.

The mom encouraged the girls to write happy friendship memories on little slips of paper and store them inside the jar. At the end of the year, they can go back and see all of the kindness that filled their year. How sweet is that?

Jar of Happiness

These were the jars the girls made at their party. They used Mason jars with cloth stretched across the top. They cut a slit so the notes could easily slip inside. The initials were simply large stickers. Cute, right?

This project reminded me of a gift my son, Evan, gave me one Mother’s Day. He decorated an old Mason jar, wrote personal messages to me on slips of paper, and then tucked each of them down inside the jar. I was a puddle of tears when I opened the gift, and it’s still one of my most treasured gifts today. The jar sits on my nightstand, and every now and then I’ll dig into the jar to see what words of comfort my son will provide. I call this my Jar of Comfort, not to be confused with the one in my freezer containing vanilla ice cream.

Jar of Comfort

This is the jar from Evan. He took little pieces of tissue paper and glued them to the side of a Mason jar. Look at those sweet words, too. Talk about an instant boost in your day.

Evan’s gift actually inspired me to make something similar for one of my coworkers one Christmas. We drew names and had to make or find a gift that didn’t cost us anything. We had to get super crafty, so I decided to make a Jar of Joy. I found a clear, glass jar and spent the next hour or so typing 100 joyful messages for my friend. I printed them on bright colored paper and tucked them inside the jar. It was an easy gift, but one that was hopefully appreciated for many days (at least 100!) Here’s a printable list of 100 Days of Joy if you’d like to make your own!

Whether you make a jar to share with someone else or keep for yourself, this project is a great way to capture and organize your thoughts and share a bit of happiness. Call it whatever you’d like, too. As you saw, we have jars of happiness, comfort and joy in our house. Who wouldn’t want a little more of that goodness in their life?

Have an awesome day, and let me know if you try making one of these. I always love seeing pictures of your creations!!

<3 Kate

Share