Kindness Rocks + Finding Time “In Between”

Today’s post is inspired by a comment that Jenna @ Tractors and Glam shared with me on Friday. I had posted some fun project ideas for summer and included “playing with rocks.”

Jenna really liked the ideas and went on to explain that there’s a large group of people who are painting rocks and hiding them all around town, and that it has become huge in her community.

How cool is this? I was intrigued and started researching the idea.

Apparently this is a thing (and growing trend) across the country. There’s this article and this dedicated website to help us understand what it’s all about.

Essentially, the idea is to “spread inspiration and motivation for unsuspecting recipients through random inspirational rocks dropped along the way.”

Here are some examples from the Kindness Project Facebook page:

Aren’t these lovely? And what a creative way to spread some joy around the world. Not to mention, it’s an inexpensive hobby. Rocks are free and you can find permanent markers and paints at pretty much any discount store.

I’m thinking about starting a group in my hometown.

If anyone has experience with this, please let me know what to do! I’d love your tips and tricks.

In the meantime, I created a board with lots of ideas for what to paint on my first set of rocks. {There’s no shortage of inspiration on Pinterest, I tell ya.}

I’m excited to get started. Now, where to find the time to do this?!

Part 2: “In-Betweening”

As a busy mom with a job, pets, and a blog, a small part of me is asking, “When the heck will you find time to start this new creative project, sister?”

I think I found the answer in a podcast by my super talented friend and co-worker, Jameson Sheppard. He recently started a podcast called Creative Common Ground.

In episode 4, around 12 min into the podcast, he talks about the idea of “in-betweening.”

He explains that when we step back and evaluate how we spend our time (all of it, including the time scrolling through Facebook and deciding which Netflix series we’ll binge next) we’ll discover we have more time than we realize.

Look at the time between things on our schedules and engage in a creative endeavor or hobby during those small moments.

Even if it’s 5-10 min. each time, it will add up over the course of a week or month or year. Heck, you could end up learning to play a guitar or writing a book during all of that “in-betweening.”

We just need to decide and set ourselves up with the right tools to make this easy. I plan to give this a try with my rock project, so wish me luck!

Feel free to listen to Jameson’s full explanation of the idea – and check out his other episodes. They’re only about 15 min each and worth every second.

Here’s to more time being creative + spreading kindness like confetti…and rocks!!

Blessings,

Kate

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What to Do on a Summer Crafternoon?

Let’s start with the basics…

Haha! I love digging into a project of any shape or size. When I’m able to keep my hands busy…tied up with ribbons, pens, glue or string…it’s usually a happy day around here.

Now that summer is upon us, my girls and I decided to pull together a go-to list of projects. These have all been “Avery & Clara approved”, so…

If you have tweens in your life, they might like these projects, too!! >

{ONE} Play with rocks

The great thing about this project is that it requires you to spend time outside collecting the perfect set of rocks before you begin. Then you get to play inside (or on a cool porch) with crochet needles, ink pens or paints.

For instance, look at this first set of stones! I would love a bowl full of these beauties in my house. Each one is covered in a different crochet pattern, and takes on a personality all its own.

If this seems too tricky, you could skip to the next idea and just treat yourself to beautifully crocheted pebbles here!

Next up is an idea that just requires a Sharpie or ink pen.

As a tip, you might want to pencil-in your design first. That way you can plan out a more intricate pattern like the ones pictured below.

PS. I love the one with white ink on the dark grey stone. So pretty.

If you’re more in the mood for painting, here’s some inspiration: Paint one of your favorite quotes and add a few floral touches.

Wouldn’t this be sweet sitting on a coffee table or desk?

{TWO} Crochet cute animals

Have you seen the trend of these teensy-tiny crocheted animals?! I’ve recently learned the correct name is amigurumi, which is a Japanese word. You can learn more about the origin of these darling yarn creations here.

In the meantime, let’s look at a few designs that my girls are dying to try – like these starfish!

I can just picture us crocheting a few of these sitting beachside. >

I’m becoming obsessed with hedgehogs these days. When I saw this pattern, my heart melted a little bit. >

And what’s cuter than one saddleback seal with her furry white coat? Two…a mama and her precious babe. I mean, those eyes. >

{THREE} Build a fairy garden

Most of the projects so far could turn into full-on hobbies, including this one.

Building fairy gardens is a never ending experience because they’re living projects. They continue to grow and change right before your very eyes.

There are so many ideas out there, too! You could create new fairy spaces all of the time. In fact, here’s further inspiration…

This post shows one of the earlier gardens that my girls and I made together. You’ll get tips on what kind of flowers to plant, too.

This is a more recent post that was inspired by a trip to my local garden store where I spied several darling gardens. The one pictured above is included in this post.

I’ve also collected tons of ideas on this board. Feel free to hop over!

{FOUR} Color a card & keep in touch with friends

If you’re into adult coloring books, which are very meditative, then you’ll love this idea.

Turn your drawings into greeting cards. Cut out your favorite pattern and glue to the front of a plain card. That way you can share your pics + keep in touch with friends while you’re away on a summer adventure.

It’s an easy project to take on the road, too.

I recently spotted these playful postcards you could color, tear out and send right out of the book. >

{FIVE} Learn brush lettering (finally)

As a lefty, the idea of calligraphy sounds impossible. The ink doesn’t dry fast enough between letters to keep the entire page (and your hand) clear of smears. I’ve tried many times. A dear friend of mine even bought me a gorgeous quill with a small bottle of ink, and it turned into a sad mess.

But nowadays, it seems like there are more convenient options to choose from. Even some of the fancy brush pens dry fairly quickly. I think it’s time I re-attempt this much-loved look. Don’t you?! 🙂

There are lots of tutorials on this topic, and I found this one to be especially helpful.

And as a further nudge, I found several pretty ways to display and share all of the hard work. >

Clip it on a bulletin board or drop it in the mail as a greeting card.

Write out a funny quote like this one and frame it for your office or kitchen.

Write out your “word of the year” or a phrase that makes you feel strong and then take a picture of it. Select it as the screensaver on your phone or computer for a daily dose of motivation.

If you want to get really artsy, put your lettering on a small canvas and prop it up on a plate stand. You can display it on your dresser or in your living room – wherever you want to see your special “note to self.”

I’m just now getting into bible journaling, so my hand lettering skills will definitely come in handy for this new hobby.

Look how pretty these letters are with the gradient colors.

Alright, friends, that’s a wrap for now. If you need me, I’ll be cruizin’ and droolin’ through the craft store aisles. Lol. Have a fun summer and let me know what kind of projects are on your list!

Blessings,

Kate

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P.S. For hundreds (literally) of additional ideas for summer fun, check out these lists!

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5 Fast (and thoughtful) Father’s Day Gifts

I’d like to begin this post by raising this (incredibly awesome) mug in honor of all of the dads out there. It’s almost Father’s Day!!

It’s time to properly celebrate the dad’s in our lives with fun gifts, silly cards and big bear hugs. If you’re still looking for a few ideas you can pull off in time for Sunday brunch, here’s a list of five go-to gifts. >>

{ONE} Daddy Bear Toast

You know the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, this adorable daddy bear toast will win over both. My girls made mama bear toast for Mother’s Day, and I loved it. (Shown above.)

I think with a small adjustment to the bow, moving it from the ear down to the chin like a bow tie, you have the perfect breakfast to start Father’s day.

It’s as easy as it looks, too. There’s a peanut butter base with sliced bananas for ears and a nose, and blueberry accents for the eyes, and tip of nose.

{TWO} Sweets for the Sweetie

Sticking to the food theme for just a second…

My husband calls our girls little peanuts, so when I saw this idea on Pinterest, it totally caught my eye. Our twin girls made their own version…times two!

It’s so simple (just a small bag of M&Ms tied to a piece of card stock), yet it will definitely make our sweet daddy smile. This could also make any Papa smile, too.

If you’re not into candy, an apple would be a cute substitution. It could be from the “apple of his eye.” You could also say, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” 😉

{THREE} Snazzy Shirt

I know, I know. Ties and shirts aren’t the most creative gift, buuuut if you pick out a super soft, stylish polo like this one from Banana Republic, your husband, dad or father-in-law will definitely thank you. These shirts are some of my hubs favorite. He can wear them on the weekend or even to work.

And according to BR, it’s a “smart, handsome gift that will remind him of you every time he puts it on!” Snap.

You can shop them here or swing by your local store so you have it in time for this weekend. It’s not an affiliate. My husband just happens to really like these shirts. Lol.

{THREE} Personalized Beer

I absolutely love this idea…dressed up beer! You could print your own labels and wrap them around your man’s favorite beer. The ones pictured above would be perfect for a first-time daddy. (I hope the one for “3:00 am feedings” also has a shot of espresso in it.)

My husband would need labels for things like “driving smelly boys home from soccer” and “pre-teen mood swings.” Haha. Cheers to whatever milestones you’re living through right now!!

{FOUR} Photo Card

How stinkin’ cute is this?! My girls are all about the sidewalk chalk, so we might have to whip up a special message for our daddy and try this photo trick.

You can even print it out and glue it to the front of a homemade card – for keeps!

{FIVE} Experiences vs. Things

Perhaps one of my most favorite Father’s Day gift we gave our sweet Brandon was our time. And for a busy mom, teenage boy and two pre-teen girls, time away from electronics is PRECIOUS. Last year we went camping, and it turned out to be the best experience for all of us.

So…think about what kind of experience you can share and give to the dads in your life. It doesn’t have to be a full-on camping excursion. An invitation to coffee or a walk around the block without any distractions could be just the gift they need.

However you choose to celebrate this weekend, I hope it’s fun & full of love!

Blessings,

Kate

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All the Peonies, Please!

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Haha!

Peonies have been a love of mine since the first time I saw and smelled their sweet layers of petals.

I’m pretty sure the nuns at St. Patrick’s had a few bushes next to their front porch. I would have been in grade school at the time, and the nuns lived in a small house nudged between the school and church. They had a modest garden right outside of their house. I seem to recall peonies, but I didn’t know what they were called at the time.

In college, during my days of unpacking and labeling flowers at the floral shop where I worked, I came across several bunches of peonies. The fragrance brought back memories of walking between buildings on the St. Patrick campus.

Lilacs and honeysuckles can bring me back to childhood, too. Summers in our southern neighborhood were always filled with warm, sugary air.

While peonies are reminiscent of my younger days, they carry specific meaning for others. >

Outside of how to pronounce the name, I didn’t know any of that!

After doing a bit more digging about my favorite flower, I came up with five reasons why I’m so obsessed with peonies!! >

{ONE} They represent good luck & love

There are many sources (Greek, Chinese, and even our Western culture) that describe various meanings of peonies. What I found was that they universally stand for love (romance, happy marriage, affection) and good luck (good fortune and wealth).

Both are good things to have in life, so it’s no wonder so many brides (and apparently celebs like Drew Barrymore and Hillary Duff) love to include them in their bouquets.

PS. Peonies are also known as the 12th wedding anniversary flower, so tuck that piece of knowledge away for a gift idea!

{TWO} They’re a springtime special

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. And early April showers bring these May-June flowers to life in most parts of the country. That means you should be able to find them at your local farmer’s market right about now. Yay!

Or if you’re super lucky, you’ll have them growing in your own backyard. Btw, if you’re thinking about planting them, it’s totally worth the investment. One bush can bloom as long as 100 years! You can pass them along to your precious grand babies.

{THREE} They’re perfect in arrangements 

Just like that rockin’ statement necklace that completes your outfit, peonies can add a bold splash to an arrangement. Blooms can grow up to 10 inches, depending on the variety. Bam.

And they’re easy to work into pretty much any color palette since they come in shades of red, pink, coral, white and yellow. Apparently they don’t come in blue, but you could tuck in a few other flowers to add a blue or purple punch.

I love the arrangement above. They used ranunculus (another top five, most favorite flower ever) and wispy greens (that remind me of seeded eucalyptus) to surround two bright pink peonies. Doesn’t it look like a fresh-picked, country-garden bouquet?

Okay, and before we move on, I have to show you this arrangement above. Look how they included succulents and hydrangea in this darling bundle. I honestly can’t tell if they’re real?! Regardless, it’s simply gorg.

 {FOUR} They can be healing

In addition to simply making me happy, I discovered peonies can actually make you feel better. In ancient times, peonies were used to relieve headaches and help with asthma. A quick search on WebMD lists even more uses and benefits – like cramps. #thankyouverymuch

The suggested method is to use the dried root and boil it like a tea. I’m no nurse, so definitely check things out with your doctor first. It does sound fascinating, though.

{FIVE} They’re just so darn pretty with their layers of loveliness

While my preference is to enjoy peony blooms in person – like these stunning beauties from Pigmint that I received on Mother’s Day…

…I even love looking at pictures.

Take a scroll with me down this virtual walkway of flowers that are pretty enough to print and frame for your house.

Seriously, y’all. >>

Okay, now for the grand finale, because those are always the best. Here’s a glossary of peonies to help guide us in our shopping.

That’s a wrap, my friends. May your weekend be a bowl of fun with extra peonies on top. Yum!

Many blessings,

Kate

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Milestones & Sweet Memories of Feeding My Kids

My precious view at dinner. <3

It’s another year of milestones for all three of my children. My twin girls are graduating up to middle school, and my oldest son will be in ninth grade. Can he really be entering high school?

Some days it feels like forever since I was cradling them in my arms or pushing them in a stroller that barely fit through grocery store aisles. The fog from all of the sleepless nights and pure busyness of having three babies under the age of three hovers low over my memories and grows dense. Other days, like today, I look across the table and remember clear.

We sit together enjoying a nice dinner, celebrating accomplishments of the school year, and I can remember them as babies. I remember the mornings so early. They would call out from their cribs like little roosters, waking the house, fuzzy heads peaking through wooden slats, wanting to be fed.

I also remember the quiet afternoons and evenings spent one-on-one holding each of them. Even though they had siblings waiting their turn, I tried to sit in stillness enjoying our time and moment to bond. I’d let their hand curl around my finger, while I smoothed out their hair and hummed the tune “You Are My Sunshine.”

Thinking back, feeding was one of the most intimate experiences I had with my children. At first, I didn’t give much thought to how I’d feed them. My mother nursed me – and all four of my siblings – so I just figured it was a good thing to do.

I started off nursing my first child for about four months. As a working mom, trying to keep up with pumping between conference calls and deadlines was a bit tricky for me. My body was exhausted, my milk was reducing, and I eventually switched my son over to formula. I remember feeling a little sad and even a bit guilty about it all. Had I given up too soon…too easily? But it ended up being the best decision for our family.

When I weaned my son from nursing, I also weaned myself from trying to be supermom. I let myself off the hook and recognized how incredible and capable my husband was (and still is today). I created room for him to step in, feed our son, and bond like no other moment in time. Even though he had been helping warm up bottles of breast milk, the process of mixing and making bottles with formula was different. We were on the same side of making milk. And my husband and I bonded as parents – through feeding our child together.

When our twins came along, my husband and I didn’t specifically talk about how we’d feed them. Initially, we were in too much shock and excitement at the news of twins to think about such details. We were already 20 weeks along when we found out! When we eventually brought the girls home, we were in survival/autopilot mode most of the time.

We did whatever felt natural, and thanks to a little experience from having our son, a few things actually did feel natural. I nursed the girls as soon as I could – and at the same time. I held them on each side, surrounded and supported by pillows. So many pillows. I had a C-section this time, so it was hard to lift the girls. My husband would bring the babies up to my chest and I’d balance and hold them like little footballs under each arm. It was an amazing sight that would bring tears to my eyes each time I fed them. How was my body doing all of this?! I always seemed to have enough milk to satisfy their growing tummies. No matter how tired I was, the milk would be there.

After about three months of nursing the girls, and two episodes of mastitis, I made the decision to switch to formula. It wasn’t an easy choice. It was also fairly expensive – everything times two and all – but it was one that helped me get some physical strength and much-needed rest. I was also reminded of how good it felt to let my husband step in and help us. He bonded more with the girls, while he and I bonded deeper still, through yet another crazy parenting experience.

I think the way my husband and I fed our kids at birth reveals a lot about how we feel about and feed them today. We realize each day holds new chapters and milestones. And we view each moment at the table as chance to bond and a time to savor. No matter what was warmed up in a bottle back then or on a plate today, it was and always will be served with our deepest love.

Many blessings as you nourish your own sweet ones,

Kate

P.S. I was inspired to share our story because of the Honest.com blog and some of these beautiful feeding stories. Enjoy reading them for yourself and thinking back to your own personal stories. Is there something helpful – a tip or new perspective – that you can share?

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Friday Wrap: Happy Moments

Hello, my friends! I was a little quiet on the blog last week because I was busy celebrating with my sweet family. We had graduations, baptisms, birthdays and even a surprise visit from my sister who lives in Nebraska!! My goodness, my heart was bursting with happiness.

So for a more personal entry, here are a few highlights from my short time away. >>

{ONE} All of us – sitting still!

I honestly can’t remember the last picture I took with all three of my kiddos. Maybe last summer when we went to Mount Rushmore?!

I don’t even think we got one on the first day of school this year. Evan had to leave so early, and the girls were still rolling out of bed. Story of our life.

Anyway, this picture took place on Mother’s Day. Everyone was chillin’ on the porch while Brandon was grilling his family-famous chicken. I announced that I wanted one more gift…a picture with my too-grown-up-to-be-called-babies-but-I-still-do, babies!!

They were kind to oblige, and we all snuggled in to capture this moment. (Can you believe my 14yo son is taller than me – even when sitting?)

This lovely scene was followed by this moment below…with our furry toddler, Leo. (Clara’s face still make me laugh. He had just licked her entire left cheek.)

{TWO} Graduations and inductions

Avery & Clara are officially out of elementary school. It really happened. They’re off to middle school next year, and while I’m a little sad about them growing up so fast, there’s some joy mixed in because I can see what lovely girls they’re becoming.

I’m also a tad proud (okay, gushing with pride) as they received a President’s Education Award during their “graduation” ceremony at school. It represents not only their hard work in school, but also their upstanding character. It’s so affirming to have others see the potential in your child, too. While they’re not necessarily straight-A students, they have so much greatness to offer.

Evan had his moment to shine this week, as well. He was inducted into the Junior National Honor Society. And yes, he’s my kid. Haha. I’m super proud of him and all of the effort he puts into school and pretty much anything he’s involved in.

As a typical teen, he didn’t want any pictures with his award or anywhere near his school. When we took him to his favorite restaurant for dessert after the ceremony, I was able to sneak this cute pic with his sisters.

In addition to all of the excitement with my kids, one of my nieces graduated from high school!! Maggie is such a beautiful and extremely creative and talented girl. I can’t wait to see where life takes her. We had a lovely day (filled with lots of family) celebrating her accomplishments.

{THREE} Birthday for Papa

We celebrated another birthday for my darling dad (Papa Joe). His birthday happens around Mother’s Day each year, and he’s so kind to let my mom take center stage. We didn’t totally let him off the hook, though. We showered him with love – and some special “Papa-corn” from Hill City Popcorn. 🙂

I’m bummed I didn’t get a picture of him. We were too busy giving hugs, I guess. Here’s a sweet picture of him from another time, though.

{FOUR} Soccer wins

Evan’s soccer team has been on a roll this year. They either won or tied all of their games, and they competed in the state championships last weekend…and won! This means they advance to regionals in North Carolina toward the end of June. Yay, Comets!!!

This will be the first time Evan has qualified for regionals, so it’s a big deal for him. We’re all so excited – and trying not to embarrass him with the happy tears. #sorrynotsorry

Evan is the first player on the right (next to his coach).

{FIVE} Peonies that lasted, and lasted

Fresh flowers are the path to this mama’s heart and soul, and my family knows me well. They brought home a fresh bouquet (including peonies!!) from my favorite shop on Mother’s Day, and they lasted for nearly two weeks. I literally just tossed them out, y’all. That’s why I’m still talking about them!!

Right when these beauties got home I took a picture (because it lasts longer) and now I can share them with you. Enjoy! Feel free to download it, share it or just soak in the prettiness. 🙂

That’s a wrap. Thanks for letting me share a few family memories. Here’s to a lovely weekend ahead for everyone!

Blessings,

Kate

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My Stash of Summer Books

One of my favorite ways to “waste time” is to hang from the trees in a hammock while traveling through the pages of a good book. And apparently this will help me live longer. I heard that spending 30 minutes a day with a good book may add years to your life. Bonus, right?!

So I’ve been keeping a running list of books I want to read this summer, and I finally took the plunge. {I think the sunny weather nudged me into action.}

All of my books arrived within days of each other, which made going to the mail quite exciting this week. It was like Christmas in May. Anyway, I’m excited to share the titles with you. They’re all over the map in terms of topics and genres, but that’s kinda how I read and roll.

Without another peep, here’s my summer reading list, and why I’m excited to dig into each one! >>

{ONE} Into The Water

Why I’m excited: Let me start by saying I loved the thrill and intrigue of Girl on the Train, so when I heard the same author was coming out with her next novel, I was all in.

This book just released on May 2, so it’s literally hot off the press. The book jacket claims it’s “an addictive new novel of psychological suspense about the slipperiness of truth – and one family drowning in secrets.” Ooooh. Can’t wait to read for myself!

{TWO} The Nest

Why I’m excited: This is one of those books that kept popping up on my radar. Have you had one of those? Any time I shopped on Amazon or skimmed through Facebook, there would be a reference to it. I finally read the description and saw Amy Poehler was listed under “praise for the book.” Well, that sealed the deal. Love her (and her book, Yes, Please.)

Amy called it “an epic family story that unfolds in a deeply personal way.” Others describe it as, “A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings [in New York] and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.”

I get the idea this family will entertain us in both humorous and tragic ways. I’ll let you know!!

{THREE} The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Why I’m excited: This book was recommended in a recent issue of Real Simple magazine. They usually share pretty good book picks, and this one caught my attention. It was labeled as “great for a book club” and had this short writeup:

“Author Lisa See transports you to the remote mountains of China – where, in 1988, an Akha tribe grows tea. There we meet Li-Yan, a young woman forced to give up the daughter she had out of wedlock. Come for the heartwarming bond between mother and daughter, stay for the insight into the Akha culture and fascinating (really!) history of the tea trade.”

As you know, I love tea – and a good story. I’m intrigued by this one.

{FOUR} One Thousand Gifts

Why I’m excited: A lady in my bible study recommended this book to the group. She said it was a life-changer. It’s called One Thousand Gifts and is written by Ann Voskamp, who captures your attention from the first word of anything she writes. She’s such an eloquent writer, yet she tackles topics in a way that’s raw and honest. I love her voice, and I know I’ll walk away from this one feeling inspired.

The premise of this book is that she started writing a list of one-thousand things she’s thankful for – and how this prayerful practice impacted her life and those around her. I have a feeling I’m going to experience why there have been more than one-million copies sold.

{FIVE} The Magnolia Journal

Why I’m excited: Um, do you see who’s on the cover of this lovely magazine? It’s Jo Jo Gaines herself from the HGTV sensation Fixer Upper, and I believe this is the second edition of her Magnolia Journal.

It’s not technically a book, but it’s one read I can’t wait to soak up. In fact, this might have to cut in line on the reading list. My ever-so-thoughtful husband gave me a subscription for Christmas. He’s still basking in pride over this one, because every time I get one in the mail, I give him some sugar and thank him all over again. Well played, sweet B.

That’s a wrap! Have you read any of these books? If so, give me your reviews – just no spoilers! Haha! And what else is on your list right now? I’d love to hear from you.

For now, I’ll leave us with this quote from Plato. >>

Blessings,

Kate

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Through The Eyes of a Child

I picked up my phone the other day to take pictures for the blog, and I found a slew of shots that I know I hadn’t taken. There were pics of our pets, stuffed animals, and silly faces of my kids. Someone had hijacked my phone, and I’m pretty sure it was one or both of my 11-year-old twin girls. {Maybe because of the selfies?}

Upon inquiry, the girls laughed and fessed up pretty quickly. Of course I didn’t get upset. The pictures were hilarious, and I loved seeing the world through their eyes.

I also loved the idea of turning this playful discovery into a creative exercise.

It’s a fairly simple one, too. >

Have your kids take your phone or camera for a few hours and let them snap away. Once they’re finished, take a moment to observe their choices, angles, and point of view. Then spot your lesson. What can you learn from their curiosity and exploration?

Here are a few lessons my girls taught me as I scrolled through my camera roll:

Don’t take life too seriously. Being silly is just plain fun. Especially when you’re making stink-eye emoji faces.

Trampoline hair don’t care. Jumping for joy is good for your spirit.

It’s good to stop and enjoy the small things in life, like the snuggle of a teddy bear…

Even if you’re a dog.

Some of the sweetest views of life are down low with the bunnies.

And at the end of the day, there’s nothing better than hangin’ with your twinsie.

This exercise kinda reminded me of a scene from Dead Poets Society when Robin Williams, who plays a quirky and lovable English teacher, stands up on his desk. He asks all of the boys in the class to do the same. Then he challenges them to see the world from a different point of view and form their own opinions. It was an iconic scene from the movie, and one that has always stuck with me.

So for today, let’s take the opportunity to see things from a different perspective…through the eyes of a child.

How can we impart this wisdom upon our next creative expression? Paint with the eyes of a child? Design with the simplicity of a grade schooler? Write from a place of innocence and vulnerability? Solve a problem through the basic understanding of fairness and love?

“Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is truly like seeing the magic of everything.”

Blessings,

-Kate

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Mother’s Day Gift List: To the Rescue

Mamas are such special people – at least the ones in my life. Every day should be mother’s day, IMO. But since we formally celebrate next weekend, I’ve been thinking about some gift ideas.

Flowers and candy are always a treat, but what if you want to give your sweet mom, or even your sisters and friends who are great moms, something a little different this year?

Or what if you’re on the receiving end of a gift, and you’re flat out of ideas for what to tell your hubs and kids to get you, because you haven’t had a moment to stop and think about it?!

Here are a few categories to get you started – along with some ideas for each. >>

{ONE} Practically Speaking: Inverted Umbrella

While practical gifts, such as vacuums and dusters, are probably needed around the house, there are some that fall into the category of fun and practical. Take this umbrella for instance. >

{Shop this crazy-awesome umbrella here.}

Everyone could use a good (and cute) umbrella. This one is not only adorable with its navy and white stripes, but also super handy.

It folds in reverse, so when you close it up, you don’t get drenched with water. It’s also much easier to get in and out of a car. I’m simply amazed at its ingenuity and simplicity. Lovely gift.

{TWO} Completely Decadent: A Lovely Infuser with Fancy Tea

On the other end of the spectrum is a gift idea that’s totally something you don’t need, but would enjoy having, none-the-less.

For instance, I love drinking tea. I’m usually cramming a pod into the Keurig as I’m running out of the door for to carpool kids or head to work. So I don’t have many slow, tea-sipping opportunities.

For the occasional moments of chill, though, I would look forward to sitting with a beautiful infuser. It’s nothing I would buy for myself, but I’d cherish it coming from my family. It would feel like an invitation to kick back and relax for a bit. Invitation accepted.

{You can get the infuser here and add some delicious teas from here! The Tuscan Garden loose leaf tea is really nice.}

{THREE} Totally Trendy: Potted Succulents

As an earthy, cool and super trendy alternative to a vase of flowers, a pot of succulents is a charm of a gift.

{Shop this cute planter here. Or make one yourself by painting a terra cotta pot with white paint and decorating with Sharpies – then plant a sweet little succulent inside.}

{FOUR} An Inside Joke: Graphic Tee & Funny Cards

Laughter can be a gift unto itself. And you probably have a few inside jokes with your mom – or your husband and kids. So a gift that hints at your joke or even spells it out on a shirt is always a good idea.

Here’s one I would personally love. >

{I have no idea where I first heard this phrase, but I literally say it every time my kids tell me something amazing or weird. You can get it at this cute shop. More hilarious tees are here…love me some Thug Life. That’s where I got my Mama Bear sweatshirt!}

Sometimes you don’t want to go the route of an overly sweet message on a card, so humor can be the best remedy. >

{Lol!! These cards are actually downloads you can grab here.}

{FIVE} A Heart-Melter: Anything Handmade

The quickest way to melt a mama’s heart is to find a way to push the pause button on time and capture it in a handprint or photo. A gift that archives childhood and the precious memories that go along with it will always be a winner.

There are so many ways to do this, but here’s one in particular that I really love. >

{Get the simple instructions for making this thumbprint charm here.}

That’s a wrap! Have fun shopping – or crafting. And here’s to a great weekend ahead. Hopefully you have nice weather in the forecast so you can enjoy some sunshine and soak up that vitamin D. Lord knows this mama could use some.

Blessings,

Kate

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Making Haikuesday a Thing

Hello, my creative friends. I just realized I haven’t posted a creative tip on Tuesday in quite some time, so here I am. Posting. And I have a fun activity for us to share.

Have you ever written a haiku before? It’s a Japanese poem that has a mere 17 syllables. And they’re written in a pattern…only three lines long with the following breakdown of syllables: 5 – 7 – 5.

Here’s an example that also tells you what to do >>

  • The first line is five
  • The second line is seven
  • Last line, five again

See what I did there? Lol.

Okay, so backing up for a second, I gave myself the personal creative challenge of going for a short walk and paying attention to everything I saw. Not just notice the ducks on the water behind our house, but also listen to how they sound and watch how they push water with their hidden webbed feet below. Slow down time so I can truly appreciate what’s there. Absorb the details.

Love and gratitude comes from noticing the details.

The details of our day…the things we notice and collect…can be used to build a nest. A soft spot for our creativity to crack open all wet, scared and hungry to survive. A thing for us to nurture, to feed, to protect and eventually nudge into the world to fly. To take-in air under its wings and defy the logic of gravity. To surprise and delight others, and ultimately to inspire.

Once I took my walk and jotted down a few details, I noticed there was a rhythm to what I was writing. I could feel it, but couldn’t see the pattern right away.

Curious, I googled “haiku” and discovered that with a few slightly different word choices, I was writing a series of poems. It felt synchronistic, so I kept going. And in walked part two of my creative challenge. The Haiku. >>

  • New life still in shell
  • speckled with dirt, frailty and
  • anticipation.

  • The choir of ducks
  • mistaken for croaking frogs
  • if not for my sight.

  • Sitting in stillness,
  • slowing the pace of my breath,
  • adding weight to time.

These are just a few of my walk-inspired poems from today. I posted the egg on Instagram and tagged it with #haikuesday.

I was a little inspired by Christoph Niemann. He posts original (and highly creative) drawings on Sundays. While I’m not a painter, maybe I can use my writing paired with photos to start something? Maybe this can be a new thing for all of us? Walking slowly, at least once a week, to notice the details and give them the honor of becoming a poem?

I hope you’ll join me. Let’s try our hand at writing a haiku once a week. Comment below if you’re in, and tag me on your posts when you write your poems so I can love all over your beauty. I’m on Instagram and Twitter as Kate, and The Neat Nook has its very own Facebook page @TheNeatNook

Let’s have some fun noticing and creating!

-Kate

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