Five Kind Things to Do


Meet MaKayla, our Kindness Elf

So our Kindess Elf arrived in the mail on Monday, December 1st #perfecttiming. I got her from Etsy (or a small island west of Norway – whichever you’d like to believe). Our elf’s name is MaKayla, and she’s pretty adorbs. A few things we’ve learned about her so far:

  • She loves mini marshmallows. Like a lot.
  • Her favorite stuffed animal in our house is Mr. Fluffers.
  • It’s okay to touch her – unlike Elf on the Shelf who apparently loses his magic and needs to be immediately sprinkled with cinnamon to reestablish his powers. #highmaintenance
  • She doesn’t mind listening to the same song on the piano over and over again. Maybe she’s actually a saint?

Here are the five ‘kind’ things we’ve done with our elf this week. If you’re lucky enough to have a kindness elf in your life these days, these might help with some ideas…

  1. Went around the dinner table and told each person what we like best about them
  2. Wrote letters to friends or family whom we haven’t seen in a long time
  3. Shared a bowl full of candy with some friends
  4. Made a list of “polite” words to try and use as often as we can
  5. Smiled at as many people as we could

I have to say, she’s been fun and hasn’t been too stressful adding into our Christmas traditions. In fact, she’s been pretty special to have around. Rumor has it she’s going to ask us if we want to make some dog toys for the local shelter this weekend. That MaKayla. Always thinking of others – including those with fur.

Have a super awesome weekend and be sure to check back next week for some creative ideas on teacher gifts! What’s your fave thing to give – besides gift cards?!



Five Ways to Countdown to Christmas

December1Monday will be December 1st. Whaa? Every year I have a grand master plan to make a lovely advent calendar filled with treats and inspirational sayings, and then December 1st swoops in like a thief in the night. A week or so into the month we usually pull out the same calendar from last year and move on.

Truth is, I adore advent calendars. It can be a beautiful and ceremonial way to prepare for Christmas. It forces you to stop each day, appreciate what you have, think about how you can serve others, and truly enjoy the season of giving. Who couldn’t use a little of that in his or her life?

So…this year, I plan to be prepped and ready. Note that today’s date is still November, and I have a weekend ahead of me. Joy to the world!

After “googling” on Pinterest, I created a top five list of DIY advent calendars. Now to decide which one to make?!

Five DIY Advent Calendars

{links to resources are included in the descriptions}

Advent Tins

Source: Makoodle

< 1 > I love these small tins. They’re perfect for an advent calendar since you can fill with small treats. Attach thin magnet stripping to the backs and display on your refrigerator or cookie sheet.

clothespin wreath

Source: Organized 31

< 2 > This is so pretty and creative. The base is an old 45 record, and it has painted clothespins glued around the edges. If you don’t have an old record lying around, try an embroidery hoop or a wooden plaque from your favorite craft store.

fabric advent calendar

Source: Bella Dia

< 3 > These embroidery hoops have two pieces of fabric stretched across and trimmed around the edges. See how the second piece of fabric is folded in half – forming a pocket? The grouping is then hung on a wall. So smarty pants.

< 4 > These paper sacks are stamped with a holiday design and clipped onto a thin, painted board. Looks so easy, yet pretty with these little white bags.

Picture frame wreath

Source: Kesi’art

< 5 > I was intrigued by this simple idea. The instructions are on a French blog, so bonus points if you can read along! If not, there are enough pictures to guide you. This project would be a nice option if you don’t have an entire wall to dedicate to your advent ritual. I’m thinking you could use a white picture frame for the base and attach a silver binder ring at the top. If you’re a crafty scrapper, you could have a lot of fun making pretty cards to flip through each day.

There you have it! Be sure to take pictures of your advent calendars and tag me on Instagram @Katejandersen.

I’m linking up with Five on Friday again today. It has been so fun meeting new people through this great group of bloggers: April, DarciChristina, and Natasha. #lovethemFiveonfridayBe sure to stop back by on Monday to download your Christmas Gift Planner. Let’s make this the most organized shopping season evah!

Much love and creative wishes, Kate


Friday Wrap: Five Finds

This week’s Friday Wrap includes five of my favorite finds. They’re are all seasonally inspired, and I hope you’ll enjoy these treasures as much as I do!

>>One: Kindness Elves

I just discovered an adorable alternative to Elf on the Shelf. They’re called Kindness Elves.Kindness ElvesI love the message they send – especially this time of year. My girls are still at an age where they love Mr. Elf on the Shelf and some of his silly antics. My son is a bit older. He’s 11 yo and a bit “grown up” for Mr. Elf. (Silent tear) I think he’d appreciate the challenge of a Kindness Elf, though.

We may not completely replace Mr. Elf, but I think these new and kind creatures will be a good addition to the family this Christmas.

I had trouble finding the ones from The Imagination Tree, but look at these amazing Nordic-inspired elves on Etsy. I’m ordering one today.

Nordic Kindness Elves

I found these adorable elves on Etsy!

>>Two: Minted

If you want some unique art to jazz up your home or one-of-a-kind holiday cards to send to friends, look no further than Minted.comIt’s a marketplace of independent artists – who are all downright amazing. It’s like a less crafty Etsy. Clicking through the fabric section alone will make you want to learn to sew. No lie.

I'm melting with love for these fabric samples on Minted.

I’m melting with love for these fabric samples on Minted.

>>Three: Custom Postage Stamps

Once you order your one-of-a-kind holiday cards from Minted, you’ll want custom postage stamps to go along with them, right?! At you can order stamps that have a personalized photo.

Custom Postage

Custom postage from Zazzle.

If you want to save the cute family pic for inside the envelope, take a pretty picture of the outside of your home and upload the image to use as your stamps! Use code TISTHESEASON for added discounts.

>>Four: Ugly Sweater

Okay, I may have just found Brandon’s sweater for his company Christmas party.

Elf Sweater from The Buckle

Elf Sweater from The Buckle

They’re having an ugly sweater contest this year, and hubs is always a good sport about these kinds of things. (One of the many reasons why I love him.) This one might take the prize. What do you think?

>>Five: Scarf Tutorial

If you’re obsessed with scarves like I am, you’ll appreciate this video tutorial. One of my cousins who lives in Minnesota shared this on Facebook, and I was so happy to find some new, creative ways to wrap and wear my lovely top layers. I know you will, too!

Scarf Tutorial

Click the pic to access this helpful video.

That’s a Friday Wrap! I’m excited to link up with April, DarciChristina, and Natasha again this week.FiveonfridayBe sure to check my blog next week for some DIY hostess gifts, such as herb-infused honey, that you can make and take to your Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) meal.

Until then, have a blessed weekend, and go be creative!


Friday Wrap (with Five Faves)

Happy Friday! I’m attempting to link into “Five on Friday” for the first time, so hopefully I’ll meet a few new friends today!

Here we go:

  1. If I had to wrap the week in a word, it would be joyful. Even though I attended a funeral for my friend’s father, it was such a beautiful experience that left everyone feeling inspired. His nickname was “Brownie” and was one of those guys who loved life, was never short on a joke (or prank), and knew how to appreciate a good beer. The stories shared at his service were both heartwarming and hilarious. As I was listening, I made a quiet vow to myself: don’t take life too seriously. Our time here is a quick breath of air in the grand scheme of things. I want to enjoy every second of it – while laughing as often as I can.
  2. I was proud to wish my own dad a happy Veteran’s Day on Tuesday. He was in the Air Force for many years and retired as a Lt. Colonel. He served our country with great pride, and I’m a better American because of him. Love you, Pappa Joe!
    Pappa Joe

    My sweet dad, Pappa Joe!

  3. I saw my first snowflake of the season this morning. And it’s only November! That’s a rare treat in Arkansas. It didn’t stick to anything, but it was alive for all of five seconds. Some may dispute, but I saw it. I hear more is on the way this weekend. Brrr and bring on the cocoa. Or maybe another Chestnut Praline Latte from the ‘Bucks?
    Chestnut Praline Latte

    I tried one this week, and they are sugary goodness in a cup.

  4. The girls started a new thing this week where they put their favorite blanket in the dryer while they’re taking a bath. After they dry off, they literally wrap in a blanket of warmth. Why haven’t we done this sooner?!
    Avery & Clara

    Look at those snuggly little peanuts.

  5. I just pulled out my Hip Hop Abs DVD. Not to get all Bridget Jones’ Diary on you (remember that funny book?) but I’ve been feeling a bit “swollen” lately. I don’t know if I’ve overdone the salt, sweets, carbs or all of the above, but I was prompted to workout. I try to do yoga once a day to get some form of exercise. I just don’t usually do sweaty workouts – unless they’re fun and have good music and make me forget I’m actually working out. That’s where Hip Hop Abs enters the picture. Even though I feel like a total dork doing my “tilt, tuck and tighten” with Shaun T, I pump up the volume and stomp it out in my garage every now and again. Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty fun.

What I feel like:Hip Hop DancerWhat I probably look like:bad-dancerHave a great weekend and I’ll catch you on Monday with some gorgeous DIY ornaments inspired by Pottery Barn. Here’s a sneak peek:

Let's make these glittery initial ornaments!

Let’s make these glittery initial ornaments!

Feather Ornament

Let’s make these gorgeous glass and feather ornaments, too!

Thanks to Liz, DarciChristina, and Natasha for letting me join your fun Friday adventure. I hope to catch you all again next week!Fiveonfriday


Get to know me better!

Hello and happy Friday! It’s a frightfully fun Friday, too. I hope you have your costumes, candy and crazy decorations planned and ready to for tonight. If you need last-minute recipe ideas, check out this post from earlier in the blog.

It has been such a great week meeting new people, sharing a special post with A Blonde Ambition, showing you how to make easy and beautiful pumpkin seed ornaments, and finally creating an “About Kate” page. IMG_3991Be sure to check it out. I’ve included some candid shots and random facts about my life – including my nickname growing up. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know me better. Let me know what other questions you might have.

I’m glad you’re here and excited to be on this creative journey together. You can always connect with me through comments on the blog, Instagram @katejandersen, or email katejandersen{at}gmail{dot}com.

Have a wonderful weekend!