Things That Make You Say, “Yay!”

What a whirlwind of a week! During the course of taking down Christmas decorations, sending kids back to school, heading back to work, and dealing with a few messes along the way, I managed to find a few delightful discoveries…

{ONE} Rubbing Alcohol for Carpet Stains

This is the “after” photo.

Naughty, naughty Leo found a purple gel pen in the girls’ backpack and decided to chew on it until it exploded. He also thought it would be fun to shake his head with the pen in his mouth so the ink would fling all over the carpet.

Oh, and he carried the pen to our bedroom where we have brand new carpet…that’s white. Yeah, there’s that.

After the immediate wave of horror, Brandon helped me Google WTH to do in this situation. It turns out, dabbing rubbing alcohol on the stain will pull it up from the fibers. Then follow it up with warm water. I’d say we got 90% of the stains out.

One small spot (where the initial explosion took place) was so full of ink, we had to call in the professionals. They used their magic potion (which turned out to have an alcohol base) to get the rest out. I’m finally breathing some sweet relief. Alcohol to the rescue. Lol!

{TWO} Burning Serious Calories Cleaning the House

As I’m making plans to exercise more (because resolutions) I stumbled upon an article that basically shows me how to multi-task like a champ.

According to this list, I can burn 119 calories in 30 min by vacuuming the house. And…I can burn more than 160 calories in 30 min washing windows. So now I be like…

And then there’s this article that explains if you simply believe cleaning is a form of exercise, you can lose more weight. Powerful stuff. I’m going to believe cheesecake is a health food! #wishfulthinking?

{THREE} Pretty Winter Decorations

We took down all of the Christmas decor this week, which means now our house feels empty. Isn’t that such a funny phenomenon? The house feels so drab – when it was perfectly fine before the decorations went up. Maybe it’s the cold weather outside?

One thing that helps me through the doldrums is forcing bulbs. It adds life and color to the house. These are paperwhites I grew last year. >

I’m excited to try a new trick this year and dress up the vases with sweaters. Look!!

Aren’t these darling? I plan to take a trip to our local thrift store this weekend to upcycle some sleeves.

Another post-holiday tip: If you remove all of the red decorations from your Christmas decor and keep all of the greenery and other wintery, white touches, it keeps the place looking pretty until the spring thaw!

Here are a few inspiring pics:

{FOUR} The Bachelor: Season 22

The Bachelor kicked off this week, and it’s still one of my guilty pleasures. I know…these shows are completely ridiculous, which is why I love to watch them.

And these hilarious and honest write ups are worth a read each week.

{FIVE} Day Designer: Week One in the Books!

I really do love my planner, and I was super excited to spend this first week of the year filling in dates and plannin’ my dreams in this beauty.

I went with a pretty blue pattern this year and am loving the decision. >

{Order yours here!} #affiliate

That’s a wrap. Yay!

Okay, what’s on your list? Name at least ONE thing that made you happy this week!



PS. I’m linking up with these amazing bloggers again. Be sure to check them out.



Friday Wrap + Year Beginnings

Hello and welcome to 2017! I finally plopped down long enough to write something, and it feels really good. It’s so nice connecting with you again.

In case you were curious, here are five highlights of our year so far – all six days of it. >>

{ONE} Creating A Fresh Welcome

We decided to take down Christmas decorations this week, which usually leaves our house feeling empty. Seriously, was my house always such a yawn?

Brandon and I were both off for the week, so we took this opportunity to make some updates. And boy did we get to work.

In addition to freshening up accent pillows and artwork here and there, we completely overhauled our garage. I know. Garage? Really? But hear me out. It had become a source of frustration every time we looked at it, which was every day – sometimes 3-4 times a day. So it was time.

The garage disposal, which is what I lovingly called the project, consisted of removing nearly 25 trash bags full of who even knows what or why we had it. We also sorted and LABELED the stuff we decided to keep. It was a really happy day for this neat-aspiring-freak. And it was Brandon’s idea! He goes in the keep pile. Always.

And if that wasn’t enough of a project, we also decided to totally redecorate the girls’ room. Oh, and their and bathroom. We painted, hung new mirrors, bought new bedding and an area rug, and even removed the doors from their closets and replaced them with pretty curtains. Are you as tired as I am just thinking about all of that work?

It was also a lot of fun. And seeing how much the girls are in love with their “new” room made it worth the effort. <3

{I pinky promise I’ll dedicate a post to this project to show you how it turned out. In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of their bedding from Pottery Barn.}

This is the Brooklyn bedding from PB Kids.

Somehow, through all of this, I also managed to dig up my chalkboard door hanger and write a new year’s message for the entrance. It still feels a little bare out there, though.

I had Christmas trees in the urns on either side of my front door. Now that they’re gone, I’m not sure what to put in them. I’m really at a loss and would love any suggestions!

{TWO} Adulting with my Day Planner

In addition to wanting to jazz up the house, I always get the strong urge to pull out my fresh Day Designer and make all kinds of plans and goals this time of year. 2017 proved no different.

I’m a thousand percent in love with my new planner and can’t wait for events to pop up just so I can write them down. #plannernerd

If you haven’t replaced your planner, yet, should totally check out the Day Designer. It’s one of the only ones I could find that has a full page for each day. It also has a section in the front that helps you define your personal mission statement, vision and values. Powerful stuff.

{THREE} Keeping Traditions

I’m a fan of traditions. They help me feel grounded and comfortable, like a pair of well-worn jeans. There’s a lot to be cherished in that feeling, too. Especially in a world full of bloated schedules and uncertain tomorrows. It’s nice to have something simple, like cheesecake on your birthday, that you can always count on.

Our New Year’s Tradition

Several years ago Brandon and I created the tradition of choosing one word that sums up our intention for the year ahead.

For instance, last year my word was “adventure”. I wrote it in my planner and put it on a sticky note on my computer so I was always reminded of it – and had no excuses. And it worked.

We logged more miles across the country and into the woods than we ever had before as a family. I think my focus on having a more adventurous spirit led me on many exciting journeys.

So now what?

I put much thought and many prayers into choosing my word for 2017. And…

I landed on “open”.

When I told my kids, they twisted their heads with question. It might not be as clear as “adventure,” but it strikes a chord deep inside of me for many different reasons.

I explained to my family that I want to live my life more open.

I want to…

Open my heart and find the courage to always be myself.

Open my mind to new ideas and possibilities.

Open my arms to anyone who needs me.

Open my eyes to see things that are important and meaningful.

And that’s just the beginning!

I want to open more books, open more doors, open more conversations…maybe even open a store?! I don’t know. All I can say is that I’m open to it. 😉

{FOUR} Illustrating My Faith

Okay, so one other thing I’m open to is a new hobby. And I think I just found my new love.

This starter kit for illustrating my faith was one of my most favorite Christmas presents (other than a subscription to the Magnolia Journal!!!)

Brandon even bought me a special bible that has plenty of space for journaling and illustrating scripture. The kit came with pretty stickers, washi tape, paint, markers, and a devotional guide. {They had me at stickers.}

I’ve never done anything like this before, which is why I have started collecting as many ideas as I can. I’m also taking suggestions.

Are there good resources I should know about?! And how do I get over the fear of making a total mess of my book?

{FIVE} Embracing Stress Like a Gift

As you can tell, this has been a whirlwind of a week. When you toss in annual goal setting and some existential questioning, you’ve got yourself a tiny bit of stress. I think this is why I was stopped dead in my tracks when I stumbled upon this TEDTalk by Kelly McGonigal.

You may have seen this at some point. I think it’s from 2013 and has something like 12M views. Um, where the heck have I been? All I know is that I needed to hear this message right here, right now, smack dab in 2017.

Kelly explains, so easily and eloquently, how stress shouldn’t be something to fear or get rid of. We should embrace it – like a gift – and let it work for us. She even explains how it can heal us. Not even kidding. It totally transformed my thinking. Now I’m open to stress. Crazy, right?

I hope you’re off to a great start and that you’ll share some of your thoughts and ideas with me. Here’s to another year of friendship and figuring things out together!

With open arms,




Friday Wrap: Busy Like A Bee

Yay! It’s another happy Friday! Although, most Fridays are. This one kind of snuck up on me, though. The week was so jam packed, that it flew right by.

I was a busy bee trying to make things happen at work, around the house, for the family, and even for myself. Somehow I managed to squeeze in some time to shop for a few necessities. It didn’t all go as planned, but the things that needed to happen got done – for the most part.


PS. Isn’t this a darling design? It was created by my talented friend, Stacie. She has an Etsy store where you can buy this (and many others) as a download to print and frame.

Now that I’ve scurried through the week, I plan to take the advice of this piece of art. I’m gonna rest my weary wings and just be! First, let’s have a mini sharing sesh.

Here are a few {of the more exciting} things that happened:

{ONE} Ordered My 2017 Day Designer


Check out all of the pretty 2017 Day Designers here! {affiliate}

Talk about time flying…can you believe we’re already thinking about 2017 day planners?! The new Day Designers by Whitney English went on sale this week, so I went ahead and ordered one while they were still available. Those suckers sell so fast!

This is the pattern I ordered this year – from the Flagship Collection. I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can start plugging in some goals and dates for the coming year.

{TWO} Corsages by Kate: Part Two



So…Evan was invited to the Sadie Hawkins dance at his school, which was super cute. When we were talking about what he was going to wear and how formal it was, he said that no matter what, he wanted me to make corsages for his date – and his best friend’s date. I guess he liked the ones I made for him last year?

Melt my heart.

It’s not every day your 13-year-old son asks for something sweet like this – and that requires flowers, beads and ribbons. {Pretty much my dream team of all craft supplies.} Of course I said, “Heck, yeah!” And I quickly got to work on these creations. P.S. Floral glue is my new BFF.

{THREE} Created Monster Cupcakes



I can’t take credit for this adorable project. These monster cupcakes were the creation of my twin girls – and our rock star sitter. I decided to spend some time with friends, and I came home to these sweet treats looking right at me from the kitchen counter.

They made multi-colored frosting, which was store-bought vanilla divided into several bowls – then they added gel food coloring to make a variety of colors. The candy eyes were from Walmart. So simple, but so fun. I’ll take two, please. 😉

{FOUR} Made Home-cooked Happy Meals 

One of my readers mentioned she wanted more recipes, so I thought I’d share this delicious number from Pioneer Woman. It’s called Sour Cream Noodle Bake.


Get the full recipe and instructions here.

As you probably know by now, I’m a fan of simplicity. So any recipe that involves fixing and forgetting it, or making ahead and freezing, are high on my happy list. And when it tastes so good you could eat leftovers for a week and still not get tired of it, that’s just plain magical.

This is one of those recipes, which I whipped up this week. Mmmm…

Note: I like to double the recipe and freeze half of it for a rainy day. It’s also a great dish to take to someone’s house who needs a little home-cooked-pick-me-up.

{FIVE} Purchased Travel Essentials

Travel?! Yes, Brandon and I are headed to Laguna Beach this weekend!! B earned the trip through work, so we’re staying in a fancy hotel. I’m super excited – even if I don’t know what “resort wear” means and I still haven’t packed. At least I’ve shopped for my beauty essentials >>


These masks are ah-mazing. My face tends to get greasy, so I like the Green Tea Mattifying* mask. You wear it for 15 min before bed. Once you take it off, you don’t rinse. Just head to bed and wake up with super soft, dreamy skin. I think this will feel good after a long day of flying.

*According to Sephora, the Rose mask is the best selling of them all. Since I’m a sucker for marketing, of course I had to buy one of those, too. I’ll let you know my thoughts once I try it.


Any time I travel, I feel like my hair gets limp and greasy. Not pretty. So Living Proof Dry Shampoo to the rescue!! I love this brand, which was created by Jennifer Aniston. It doesn’t leave a weird white residue in your hair and it smells awesome. If you’re looking for a really good dry shampoo, I’d recommend this one any day.


This product was something I read about in an issue of Real Simple magazine. It was “road tested” as one of the better facial “mists” that mattifies and refreshes. It’s called Grease Relief Facial Water.

By now you can probably see a theme with my products. I’m super oily 🙁 This product works best sprayed onto a cotton pad and then dabbed on your trouble spots. I like to use it after a workout or even in the afternoon when my skin needs a pick-me-up. Ahh.

Okay, friends…that’s pretty much a wrap! Thanks for visiting today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be sure to share a few pics on Facebook or Insta as we travel into the Pacific Time Zone.

In the meantime, bless you and your sweet home!