Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I hope you were able to celebrate a lovely Christmas with your friends and family, and that you’re looking forward to ringing in the year of 2017. I feel like I’m still getting used to writing 2016 on everything, and now it’s time to flip the calendar again!!

I say we grab a glass of our favorite drink and toast to an incredible new year full of adventure, love, laughter, and lessons that we can accept and cherish with grace.

All my love,

-Kate and family

{Special thanks to my sister, Kelly Jo, for sending me this particular picture. It was taken at my mom’s 80th birthday party in November. Such a fun celebration – and I love that we have this picture on our Christmas card. Two very special occasions remembered in one snap!}

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All I Want for Christmas…

What am I asking for this year? It’s not a white Christmas or even my two front teeth. (Although, there was a time when our Avery was missing her front teeth at Christmas. We got a lot of mileage out of that joke – and song – that year.)

My list was inspired by a beautiful post that has been showing up on Facebook lately. It outlines exactly what most parents wants for Christmas. I’ve seen it on a few of my friends’ timelines and it warms my heart each time I read it.

I’m sharing it here for two reasons: 1) In case you haven’t seen it, and 2) If you want to copy and paste it on your Facebook page – or just print it and share it with your kids. You can grab it here:

“Each year, my daughter [or son] asks me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give my real answer:

What do I want for Christmas? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around, (when you have them, no rush). I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your spouse, your kids, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.

I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how, and I’m not bragging, but I did a pretty darn good job. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work, I’m pretty proud of it.

Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Christmas, I say “nothing” because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.

If you feel the same way, feel free to copy and paste… I did!”

How great is that? It makes me want to hug my kids and tell them all of this. Christmas, birthdays, or any other gift-giving holiday, this is how I feel. My kids aren’t even grown up, yet. I have twin tweens and an official teen in the house, but I can still imagine all of this in our future.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that you get everything you want this year and always.

XoXoXo,

Kate

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5 Fun Holiday Gifts to Make for Friends

Last year I made batches of simmering scents for my friends, neighbors and teachers. They were easy to pull together and made our house smell yummy. So if you’re looking for a sweet gift idea, definitely check out the DIY instrux.

I’m feeling a little more ambitious at the moment, though. So I plan to make a variety of gifts that are a bit more unique.

Check ’em out, and maybe you’ll be inspired to do the same?

{ONE} Star Wars Snowflakes

Avery’s teacher is obsessed with Star Wars. With Rogue One just hitting the theaters, we thought making a few of these snowflakes will brighten his classroom – and his sprits!

I saw the idea on my niece’s Facebook feed. {Thank you, Mallory!} We’ll tie them right onto Mr. Kelley’s gift bag filled with treats and a gift card to his favorite restaurant.

{TWO} Mason Jar Cocktails

Nooooow we’re talkin’. This is the perfect gift for my group of friends whom I lovingly call Twisted Sisters. Each person has a special go-to drink, so I can easily personalize the gift and wrap it with love.

If you want to make some, too, you don’t have to jump on an airplane or sneak into a hotel room to get those mini spirits. Any liquor store should stock a variety of options. Cheers!

{THREE} Felt Hand Warmers

I thought about making plates of cookies for our neighbor friends, but I’m leaning toward this darling idea. Many of our neighbors have little ones, and with freezing temperatures on the way, I think these felt hand warmers would be a welcomed gift.

I can recycle old sweaters and fill them with lavender and uncooked rice. Then I’ll include instructions to microwave for 30 seconds before slipping into a coat pocket or mittens. Yay for warm hannies!

{FOUR} Paper Flowers

A few of my friends live far away, and I thought this would be a fun way to ship them seasonal flowers – like a few long stems of amaryllis or a bundle of paperwhites for the long cold winter.

All it takes is finding some pretty flower prints online and then printing them on photo paper. Once I drop them in the mail, I’ll have my friends roll and tuck their flowers into a vase. It’s a bit kitchy, I know, but something about it totally makes me smile. I would love getting this in the mail. #becauseflowers

{FIVE} Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Okay, this might be the easiest indulgent gift to make for friends – and even myself. It only requires three-ingredients plus a jar:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 12-15 drops peppermint essential oil

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil in a medium bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds and let cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in sugar and essential oil until evenly combined.
  3. Package up into air-tight jars.

Isn’t that a cinch? I think this would do the trick for my tired and dry skin, too. Now that the heat is constantly blowing in our house, my lips and hands are so dry. Peppermint sugar scrub to the rescue.

That’s it for now, sweet bunnies. I hope holiday preparations are coming along smoothly and that you’re not too stressed out.

Remember, you can always tuck one of these babies in your pocket. I do. >>

XoXoXo,

Kate

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The Art of a Hidden Poem

I love that the trend of meditative coloring books is still a thing. I’ve seen tons of them hit main stream stores like Walmart this holiday season. I’m sure it’s because they make awesome gifts.

If you love this kind of thing – and want to expand your talents, you may want to try this relaxing and creative activity. I call them hidden poems, because it’s essentially a poem that you uncover and create within an existing text like this >>

Just like adult coloring books, the process of a hidden poem requires you to be still, color, and create. And the end result can be just as beautiful and gift-worthy.

A Hidden Poem “How To”

Tear out or photocopy a page from your favorite book, newspaper or magazine. The New Yorker and other literary magazines are perfect for this type of activity, because the language is so rich and lovely. You’ll see why that’s important in a moment…

Grab a pencil and skim through your page of text. Underline individual words that jump out or speak to you as you go.

Next, read each of the words as if they were strung together in a sentence. You might need to find a few connecting words in between to help the flow. What you’re doing is finding and creating a poem within the page.

Once you have your words selected, take a dark colored marker and start coloring and covering all of the extra words around your poem.

You can even decorate the page around your poem like these beautiful examples. >>

After you’ve crafted your message feel free to frame it, stick it on your inspiration board, or even give it as a gift to someone special. The more you practice this art form, the better you’ll become at spotting hidden poems and messages.

I’d love to see some of your works of art, so be sure to share!! Post it on my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram @Katejandersen so I can repost it.

Have a creative day!

-Kate

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5 Ways to Jazz Up Kraft Paper Wrap

Well, hello!! It’s Friday and I finally popped my head up from the flurry of activity around here. Holiday parties, school plays, and shopping pandemonium are all in full swing. Signs of December!

Now that I’ve done a little shopping and shipping boxes are arriving at my doorstep, I have some gifts to wrap this weekend. And I looooove wrapping presents!

I’ve decided to simplify things a bit this year and just use Kraft paper. I bought a ginormous roll from Hob Lob that should cover all of my gifts, and then I’ll embellish with things already on hand – like ribbons, fabric scraps, papers and even fresh greens from the garden. I can’t wait to get all MacGyver with my craft supplies. 

Here are five ways I plan to jazz up my packages >>

{ONE} Layer on the scraps

I have a stash of wrapping paper scraps, and I plan to use them like wrappers to add a splash of color to my brown paper packages tied up with strings. Or in this case, tied up with pretty white ribbons.

{TWO} Lace it up

I had all intentions of embellishing a t-shirt with strips of lace…nearly six months ago. The sewing part proved more challenging than I thought, so now the lace is going to make its debut on a gift – and hopefully make someone smile.

I added a green ribbon to make it more Christmasy, but I think a white satin ribbon would be nice, too. I could add a red or green gift tag to bring in the holiday cheer. Hmm…I might have to do that.

{THREE} Personalize with pizazz

The southern girl in me loves monogramming everything – especially gifts! Instead of spending tons of money on stickers, I cut this letter out of scrap paper and glued it on to the package. I think adding a super fun bow, like this tulle pom pom, makes it even more festive. Party!

{FOUR} Glitter and glam

I saw an idea on Pinterest that used strips of double-sided tape that was sprinkled with glitter to decorate a gift. I thought it looked so pretty, and I headed to the craft store to pickup some supplies.

As I stood in the glitter aisle, I spotted rolls of glitter washi tape. Um…bingo! So much easier, and I didn’t have to deal with a glitter explosion. I just secured a few strips of tape to the gift, added a gold sparkly bow and called it gorgeous.

{FIVE} Simple chalk talk

This miiiiight be my favorite idea so far. I’m really digging the black and white bow that coordinates with the chalk label. I bought these from Hob Lob, btw. They just stick right to your paper and you can write on them with chalk or a chalk marker.

I decided to add some holly leaves to punch up the holiday flair. I have a holly tree on the side of our house, so I plan to use plenty of boughs of holly this season 😉

Hopefully this sparked some ideas for you. My girls said they want to use stamps on their packages, which is awesome. I can’t wait to see how they’ll add their personal touch to each of their gifts.

Have an awesome weekend, my friends. Here’s to t-minus 16 days and counting ’til Christmas!!!

XoXoXo,

Kate

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