The Best Holiday Thank You Cards

This is one of my most favorite quotes from the movie Elf. (There’s also, “You have such a pretty face. You should be on a Christmas card!”)

When it comes to spreading cheer, I couldn’t agree more. The best way IS singing loud for all to hear.

The second best way is to share your gratitude.

In this season of giving, it’s good to be ready at a moment’s notice to respond with a thoughtful “thank you.” And even if gifts aren’t exchanged, it’s nice to send a year-end thank you to all of your helper angels, like carpool mamas, hair dresser, vet, pediatrician, postman, etc.

So…I like to stock up on pretty thank you notes. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite holiday-themed cards in case you’d like to shop and stock up, too!

(PS. None of these are affiliate links. I just really like these cards.)

Best Holiday Thank You Cards

{ONE} Wonderful Wreath & Rose Gold

If you haven’t shopped at Minted, yet, you definitely need to check it out. It’s a marketplace of independent artists who sell their designs as art, stationery, invites, gifts, home decor and more.

I stumbled upon this pretty wreath design with rose gold foil stamping. You can even personalize these, which is always a nice touch. Depending on how many you order, they’re about $3 per card. The price goes down per card with higher quantities.

{TWO} Whimsical Greenery

This is another personalized card that has a simpler design compared to the first option (no foil stamping).

These sweet thank you notes are from tinyprints and are closer to $1.99 per card.

{THREE} Golden Garden

It wouldn’t be a proper card roundup without including Rifle Paper Co., of which I have a slight obsession. In fact, I can’t believe I didn’t lead with this one.

This gorgeous number has a rose gold design on soft white paper. You can buy individual cards, for those super special people in your life, for $4.50 each. There’s also a boxed set of 8 cards for $16.

Since they’re not overly Christmasy, you could use them any time. Maybe add a fun holiday stamp on the outside to make it more seasonal? Check out these joyful stamps from Minted. >

{FOUR} Lovely Chalkboard

Aren’t these so pretty? I actually ordered these earlier in the week.

Much like option #3, they don’t scream “Christmas.” So I’ll use them throughout the year. I bought a packet of 36 cards for $9.99. Super deal.

The cards came with brown Kraft paper envelopes, which are cool but not very festive. So I picked up some of these pretty A6 red envelopes from Office Max (below). They’re $5.99 for a pack of 26.

I’ll use a gold Sharpie to fancy-up the address a bit. Yay!

{FIVE} A Couple for the Kids

I like teaching my kids to write thank you notes, too. So I plan to get them some of their own cards.

I love these “Herbie and Friends” cards from Papyrus that are accented with a blue border and fun polka-dots. The envelope is built into the card, so once you write your note, you just fold it up and put a stamp on it.

As a bonus, these are currently on sale for $6 for a box of 10 cards!

Here’s a closeup of the illustrated woodland creatures. >

Now, a simpler route (maybe for younger kids) would be to download these free printables. The note has prompts, making it super easy to fill out and personalize. 🙂

That’s a wrap! I hope you have a holly, jolly weekend, my lovelies. Go spread plenty of Christmas cheer.

Thankfully yours,

Kate

PS. Be sure to check out all of these amazing bloggers!! >

friday-favorites-01-1h54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7-2

Share

Digital Detox: Pruning Your Garden

Welcome to week three of our December Digital Detox. As a quick recap, we started by picking one day a week that’s free of social media.

I chose Facebook Free Fridays since that’s the site I check most often. Feel free to pick Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest…whatever pulls you away the most.

Next, we focused on our bodies and the physical cleansing of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) through grounding or earthing. Pretty wild. Did anyone try this? I’m super curious if it’s making a difference for you. I’m still giving it a try.

This week, let’s get back to assessing our digital usage and prune back our emails, social feeds, desktops and more.

Here are three great things to do this week:

{ONE} Unsubscribe

If your notifications and emails are piling up, it’s probably time to purge.

Leave the online groups you never engage in. Asses your Facebook friends, Twitter following or Instagram feed and prune the negative influences. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails (or change the preferences so you get fewer emails from the companies you actually like.)

Tip: For a total email makeover, create a free email account (through Gmail or Outlook) so you have an email address to use when you sign up for things. That way you don’t have to rummage through so many emails looking for what’s important. 

{TWO} Declutter

The desktop on my computer and home screen on my phone were both so cluttered it was taking twice as long as necessary to find anything. I created a folder system and stored files, apps and photos in more organized spots.

For example, all of my blog file are organized inside of a Neat Nook folder. Inside of that, I have sub folders for each month of the year where I store photos and other files.

I did the same for my phone. All of my “shopping” apps are now inside of a single folder on my home screen.

This whole exercise also prompted me to delete apps I never used and trash files I knew I’d never need again. It felt really good.

Next up is decluttering my email folder. In addition to unsubscribing, I plan to clean out my inbox, sent folder and trash. All three of these folders use up storage space, especially if you send and receive large files, so it’s good to clear them out at least once a month.

{THREE} Check Out

If you’re like me, you have a knee-jerk (or maybe it’s more of an elbow-jerk reaction) to answering the phone, text, emails or any other notification that comes pinging through at any given hour.

I’m going to cut back on my reaction time and practice not responding immediately to everything that comes to my attention. I’m going to choose more consciously when to respond so I create better boundaries for myself.

This means turning off my phone during dinner with my family. It also means putting my phone down after at 9pm and resting my mind and eyes from the screen before bed.

***

I know this week is crunch time before Christmas, but I truly hope you’re able to pull back and enjoy simpler days ahead.

Good luck and many blessings,

Kate

Share

Shaping Your Holiday Wishlist for New Year’s Resolutions

I’m excited to share this guest post from a fellow blogger, Julie Morris. She’s a life and career coach who thrives on helping others live their best lives. Today she shares some thoughts with us on creating the most helpful holiday wishlist.

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration on some last-minute gift shopping – for others and yourself!


{Image via Pixabay}

It’s that time of year again…

The days are shorter and the malls are more crowded: the holiday season is upon us once again! Not only do you get presents, but also the fresh start of a new year come January 1st.

New Year’s resolutions are about shaping your life to be more like you want it to be. Whether you’d like to get back in shape, become more creative, learn a new skill, or simply take time to be more present, you can give yourself a little head start on your resolutions this year by crafting your holiday wishlist to include things that will help get you there.

Here are some of our favorite ideas.

If You Would Like To Get Back In Shape…

Ask your loved ones for the gift of fitness with your very own kettlebell! Kettlebells are all the rage right now. You can get a full-body workout from the comfort of your own home. You can build strength using full-body movements that work various muscle groups at the same time. Check out this free workout tutorial from PopSugar and see just how fun and effective kettlebells can be.

If You Would Like To Be More Creative…

To help ignite your imagination, ask for art supplies this holiday season! Getting new supplies will inspire you to use them and you can explore where your mind goes from there. What kind of art supplies depends on your preference, but if you really want to push your mind’s boundaries get something you’ve never worked with before. If you’re already pretty good at drawing, ask for modeling clay that you can use to create unique shapes. From there you can transcribe your vision in other ways. There’s no better inspiration than yourself!

If You Would Like To Add More Music To Your Life…

Put an instrument on your wishlist this year! Stringed instruments (like a guitar or ukulele) are affordable options for your friends and family. Plus, there are endless online lessons that can teach you how to play from the comfort of your own home.

Ukuleles in particular are a great option if you are just starting out. These smaller guitars help you establish the finger dexterity you need in order to move up to a full-sized guitar. Plus, they are super cute. Not sure what kind of ukulele is right for you? Check out this helpful guide to explore your options then put the best one on that wishlist!

If You Would Like To Be More Mindful…

Coloring books for adults are a fun, inexpensive gift to add to your wishlist this year. Coloring has many benefits for mental health, including reducing anxiety and improving focus. However, one of the reasons it’s a huge trend right now is how it promotes everyday mindfulness. If stressing out over hypotheticals and the future was a regular occurrence in your life this year, a coloring book could be just the gift you need to put things in perspective looking forward.

***

It may be a coincidence, but it’s pretty cool how the biggest gift-giving season falls next to the biggest starting day for self-improvement. Merge the two this year by asking for gifts that will help you realize your goals. Whatever they are for the year ahead, take advantage this of the season and ask for things that will help you achieve them.


Great advice, Julie! I personally want to exercise more, so I’m going to look into those kettlebells.

Friends, I hope this was helpful. What would you add to your wishlist this year?

Blessings,

-Kate

Share

Who Lit Your Day? Finding Light in Everyday Circumstances

Avery came home from school with the biggest smile on her face. She couldn’t wait to tell me about a kid who went out of his way to ask how she was doing. She said, “Mom, he really lit my day!”

I loved that phrase.

And come to find out, that day wasn’t particularly awesome for her. She went on to tell me about a girl who was mean to her and how she was stressed about some of her classes. But she seemed to keep those things in perspective. She talked more about how cool it was that someone “lit her day.”

Talk about filling up a mama’s heart. Not only because of that sweet boy, but also because of my strong, optimistic daughter who saw his goodness and allowed it to brighten her entire day.

It can be easy to get sucked into the negative – especially when there’s no shortage of it these days. But it’s much more productive to look for the good, the courageous, the kind, and the meaningful events around us.

The things we focus on expand in our lives.

So in order to live a more joyful life, paying attention to the positive seems to be the fastest route there.

I took Avery’s lesson and reflected on my week…looking for the light. And here are my top five moments. >>

{ONE} A Cup of KindnessA cup of kindness

The first thing that came to mind happened just this morning!

When I shuffled over to the Keurig to make some coffee, I found a freshly brewed cup waiting for me – in my “Special K” mug. It was such a sweet, quiet gesture by my husband that definitely lit my day. Dang, he’s good.

{TWO} A Moment of PrideA moment of pride

My son, Evan, is required to complete service hours for school. As we were brainstorming ideas, such as volunteering in the school library, he decided he wanted to do something more personal – like help a neighbor.

Well, we have an elderly neighbor who can’t drive, and her husband is in a nursing home, so I take her over to see him twice a week. I’ve been doing this for a little over a year now, and we’ve developed quite a friendship. One day, she mentioned how she hated her phone because she didn’t now how to use it. I told Evan about her comment, and he decided to give her phone lessons as his service project!

They had their first session this week. Seeing him sit patiently with her and teaching her how to “tap on apps” was such a great experience. Even though he was helping someone else, it lit me up inside to see his kindness.

{THREE} A Blast from the PastA blast from the past with friends

One of my dearest friends, whom I haven’t talked to in awhile, reached out to me recently. It was so nice hearing from her. She’s one of those friends that you can pick up where you left off, no matter how many months or miles grow between us.

After we connected, I pulled out some old photo albums. Because I actually had those back then. I found pictures from our girls’ trip to Germany. This picture of Kristina, DeeAnn and I above is one of my favorites. It shows exactly how we felt together…full of pure, unleashed joy. Always laughing, getting into mischief, and having each other’s backs, no matter what.

These ladies always light me up when we’re together. And it makes me want to go see them right now!!

{FOUR} An Unsuspecting QuoteBook: Today, Tomorrow and Every Day

This book has been on my “to read” list for awhile. I first saw it in a boutique in Seaside, Florida this summer and finally got around to ordering a copy. It’s called “Today, Tomorrow and Every Day” by M.H. Clark.

It’s a quick read and unfolds like a poem…using the terms “she” and “her” throughout. But as you get into it, you recognize “her” as yourself.

I had a moment of recognition when I read this page > Quote about perfection

As a recovering perfectionist, this really spoke to me. I strive to be more authentic and unapologetic every day. So this was gem. This author, this book, this page…all beams of light for me.

{FIVE} A Teddy Bear WelcomeTeddy bear welcome committeeOur cleaning lady, Brigida, and her fierce crew, whom I appreciate beyond words, are so good to our family and our home. They don’t just clean and move like ninjas, they leave little surprises for us…like this hilarious welcome committee above. Cleaning days are such a highlight, and yesterday was especially bright.

That’s a wrap! What special moments or people lit your week? Maybe take a moment to let them know – and light them up, too. <3

Many blessings,

Kate

friday-favorites-01-1h54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7-2

Share

Digital Detox: Grounding Ourselves

Okay, friends. We’re in week two of our December Digital Detox! First of all, how was last week? Were you able to find a day to be Facebook free?

I powered off on Friday and missed three birthdays. Oops! There were so many times when I wanted to open that app, especially as the notification bubble kept growing. I managed, though.

It was interesting to notice when I felt the urge to login to my account. It happened during two specific times: the quiet moment of waiting in the car lane after school, and the social moment of being out with friends.

These are habitual times when I reach for my phone. When it’s quiet, I tend to check in and see what everyone else is up to, and when I’m in the midst of fun and laughter, I want to capture the moment and share it with the world. So…my personal lessons from the week:

  • Use quiet moments to sit in stillness instead of filling it up with noise.
  • In the height of my joy, just be in the moment and let that be enough.

They both point to being more present, so I’ll keep working on that this week for sure. Let’s keep up with our Facebook Free Fridays this month and add one more helpful thing this week.

Grounding Ourselves

I don’t mean this in the angry, “Young lady, you’re grounded” kind of way, but in the super earthy, “Let’s get grounded” manner.

As I’ve been reading about detoxing from technology, I found an interesting article about how man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from devices like our cell phones, TVs and WiFi routers are thought to be unsafe for our health.

As we’re exposed to unprecedented levels of EMFs, we’re still learning about their effects on our bodies. Pro-technology people believe artificially created EMFs are completely safe. On the other hand, studies are emerging to demonstrate that EMFs may be unsafe. So what do we do?

Well, it never hurts to stay informed and be proactive about how much we surround ourselves with EMFs.

One way I plan to guard myself a little better is by putting my phone in the kitchen at night, so it’s not next to me when I’m sleeping.

Another thing I’m going to do is ground myself.

You can read about the benefits in this article, but it basically states that grounding is putting yourself in direct contact with the earth. Your skin needs to touch the grass, sand, soil, water or anything that’s in contact with the earth to neutralize your body.

Basically, being a tree hugger might be good for you. Lol!

The idea is that if your body has a positive electrical charge from EMFs, you can neutralize this energy by having contact with a negative charge from the earth.

The more you’re grounded, the better you’ll feel. In fact, people report better sleep, fewer headaches and less anxiety from just one session of walking barefoot in the grass or on the beach.

Now, this is my kind of detox!

The debate continues about how effective this process really is, but I’m willing to give it a try. If anything, being outside and enjoying some fresh air certainly doesn’t have any downsides.

What do you think? Have you tried grounding before? Are you willing to give it a try? Let me know!

In the meantime, I’ll see you next Tuesday with more digital detox tips and tricks.

XoXo,

Kate

Share

Top 5 Holiday Gifts for Tween Girls

As a mom of twin tween girls, I continue to learn what’s cool lit these days. It’s a never ending process, as things can turn from amazing to boring in a hot minute.

But, I have some good news for the upcoming holiday season!

According to my sources, the following items would make pretty much any girl between the ages of 9-12 happy campers come Christmas morning.

So…if you still have some shopping to do for the sweet little girls in your life (who are teetering on becoming full-fledged teens) you can start here!

(PS. I don’t have any affiliation with these products or stores, so it’s truly non-solicited.)

{ONE} Personalized PopSocket

A pop what?! PopSocket…it’s a phone grip, stand and mount – all in one. I didn’t realize how much I needed one of these until I recently bought one. It’s so much easier to hold your phone. Really, truly.

Here’s a good look at one. The bottom sticks right to your phone. And your fingers grip around the base. You can also get a mount for your car dashboard. But my girls aren’t driving, yet. We’ll hold on that – for as long as humanly possible!! >>
I know the girls will love having them for their silly selfies and Musical.ly videos. It makes a big difference for the reach-and-record. 🙂

Another cool thing about this brand is that they give to Parkinson’s research. Don’t you love supporting brands that give back?

PopSocket offers lots of fun designs, but I decided to go the custom route.

I uploaded a pic of Avery’s favorite bear (Mr. Fluffers) and made this for her. She’s going to freak smooth out. >>

Clara is more into monogrammed items…my Southern belle. So I hopped over to this darling store on Etsy to have one customized for her.

{TWO} Unicorn Fizzy Bath Dust

This gift is super girly and combines two favorite hits for tweens right now: unicorns and bath bombs! As a side note, anything with unicorns is “totally and utterly amazing.” And here’s a list to check out.

This fizzy dust is more like a deconstructed bath bomb. It comes loose in a plastic (non-breakable) jar that you can keep right on the ledge of the bathtub and scoop as desired.

Once this stuff hits the water, it releases a fruity fragrance. And more importantly, it FIZZLES in the water like some sort of magic potion!!

We bought a jar at a local boutique, but you can also get it here.

{THREE} Squishies

Clara has always had a funny obsession with squishing things. When she was a baby, I’d catch her squeezing packages of bread in the store as I wheeled her stroller through the aisle. Still cracks me up. So the invention of “squishies” is so up her alley.

Plus they’re adorable! >>

I don’t even know how the girls discovered these, but they wanted to give some to a friend for her birthday. I ordered online and when they arrived, we almost had to keep the gift.

It’s super calming and satisfying to squeeze these things – and to watch them slooooooowly go back to their original shape. My girls think it’s more fun than playing with slime (which is still a thing, too!)

PS. Slime ingredients make great stocking stuffers. (We don’t use the Borax recipe…we use use clear glue, baking soda, contact solution and food coloring / glitter for accents.)

{FOUR} Animal Onesies

This has been a longer-lasting trend than I had anticipated. The girls wanted bear onesies last year. We found some that were more like coats than jammies, though. They’re pretty thick. In fact, they wore them for Halloween with homemade TY-brand tags. Haha!!

Anyway, they wanted new ones to wear to bed, and the search was so much easier this year. (Trending, I guess!) I ended up finding these darling jams from Justice. >>

{FIVE} Board Games

While iPads and apps are still a source of entertainment for the girls and their friends, ol’ fashioned board games are making a huge comeback.

Here are a few on our gift list. >>

Spontuneous – No talent required, this song filled game capitalizes on the random lyrics that get stuck in your head. It’s a race to blurt out and play a crazy, updated version of Name That Tune but with lyrics as the challenge. It was the #2 Amazon bestseller last year, and is still wildly popular.

Not Parent Approved – Think Cards Against Humanity but in a clean, kid appropriate version. Crazy laughs and memories waiting to be made.

Hearing Things – Just new this year, this game is a lip reading challenge that involves wearing special headphones. Players take turns wearing noise cancelling headphones and have to guess what the other player is saying, as they read the phrases on the cards. Sounds sure to get lots of laughs – which is music to a mama’s ears.

That’s a wrap! What fun items would you add to this list?

XoXo with smiley emojis on top,

Kate

friday-favorites-01-1h54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7-2

Share

A December Digital Detox

As we lit our first Advent candle on Sunday, we were prompted to turn off the electricity so we could see the light. I thought that was such a beautiful message.

In order for us to really see the light…light that is good, light that brings hope, light that delivers truth…we needed to power down for a moment.

What if we did this for the entire season of Christmas?

In the midst of such busyness and excess, what if we stopped for a minute and did nothing but breathe? What if we decided to put down our devices and enjoy the real, living faces that are in front of us? As someone who’s probably (okay, very likely) on my phone waaay too much, I’d like to find out.

Studies are telling us that social media appears to promote narcissism, smartphones could be causing insomnia, and screens seem to be making our kids less empathetic and more depressed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to head down such a sad and tired path – and I certainly don’t want my kids there.

So what do we do? We learn to unplug every now and then.

I’m going to try a digital detox for the month of December. If you’d like to join me, come back each Tuesday for a weekly challenge. (You can log off once you’ve read each post. I definitely see the irony. Lol!)

For now, let’s start with this…

This week’s challenge: Pick one day (each week of December) where we go Facebook free. If FB isn’t your jam, select the social channel of choice – one that you typically can’t live without.

Don’t check notices, post any statuses, or respond to someone tagging you in a photo. Turn off your notifications and spend the day being present. Maybe even try some bullet journaling?!

I’m going to pick Friday, which is the day I tend to post the most often. And it’s the day when I really should be enjoying and doing other things. Like this! >>

And spend more eye-to-eye time with these sweet faces…

So it’s Facebook-Free Fridays for me!! I’m already kind of nervous, which means I definitely need this detox. I hope you’ll join me.

Here’s to a more relaxed week for all of us, sitting in our true light, feeling the hope arise.

Blessings,

Kate

Share

LHOTW (Life Hacks of the Week)

It’s one of those “other” days, y’all. As my sweet Southern friends and I would say, “I’m praisin’ the Lord it’s Friday.”

That and, “Where’s my margarita?”

Somehow I managed to squeak by this week…even with a sick kid, no voice from a nagging cough, a full work schedule, and Christmas inching closer. Eek!

Thanks to a few glorious hacks, I found my way to Friday with some sanity in tact. Or at least I think so?

Here are five life hacks I relied on this week:

{ONE} Sunglasses Holder > Cord Wrangler

On Monday, I got to work and realized I didn’t have my phone charger or earbuds…oh, my!

When I got home, I made a little cord wrangler using one of my sunglasses cases. I know, first-world problems, but this hack really came in handy.

Oh, and notice I used loom bands to hold the cords together…a hack inside of a hack. >

LOOK! It goes in my purse in a snap. >>

{TWO} Neck Pillow > Stomach Soother

My son came down with the stomach flu early in the week, which was no fun!! Between moments of getting sick, his stomach would cramp up. Poor thing. I didn’t want to leave a heating pad turned on in his room, so I warmed up my neck pillow in the microwave. It fit perfectly across his stomach!

And since it’s filled with lavender, it smelled good and probably helped him get some extra rest along the way.

This is the back side of the pillow, which is silky soft. >

{THREE} Baking Soda > Laundry Detergent

We went to Nebraska last week for Thanksgiving, so we had a decent pile of laundry to clean when we got home. I also wanted to wash my son’s sheets and blankets once he started feeling better to freshen up his room. Needless to say, it was a big laundry week, and I wasn’t quite prepared.

I ran out of detergent at one point and decided to DIY my way through the next load or two until I could get to the store.

Did you know baking soda makes a great detergent? One cup of baking soda did the trick for a full load. I bypassed the soap dispenser and just sprinkled it in with our clothes. They came out clean and smelling fresh.

{FOUR} Appointment Reminder > Library Notice

My girls needed books (ASAP) for their reading assignment at school, so we hauled it over to the library. At the checkout desk, we realized we had a book (or two) overdue. Oops! Why do I always forget about those darn things?

After I paid our fine, I decided to put the due dates for the newly checked items in my phone. I just made myself an appointment to “return books.”

Now our books will be returned on time. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?! >>

{FIVE} Paper Clip > Ornament Hangers

Is it just me, or are there never enough ornament hangers when it’s time to decorate the Christmas tree? As I found myself decorating this week, which was a miracle in and of itself, I realized I was short a few hooks (sounds like a euphemism – haha!) and I didn’t want to run to the store.*

*Do you see a theme with some of these hacks? “Ways to not to have go to the grocery store.”

Anyway, I decided to raid my office supplies. It turns out, paper clips are a gem for the job.

I gently pulled the middle of the clip up, to make it into an “s” shape, like below. Hook the smaller loop through the ornament and use the larger loop for the tree.

That’s a wrap. Enjoy your weekend, lovelies. I hope you get some decorating done, if you haven’t already.

And most importantly, kick those heels up for a spell.

Cheers!

Kate

friday-favorites-01-1h54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7-2

Share