Winner of the Blogiversary Book Bundle Giveaway!

I’m happy to announce we have a winner! Jamie Bronis at The Bronis Family Blog has won the drawing for the Blogiversary Book Bundle valued at $80. Congrats, Jamie!! All of these awesome books are headed your way. >

It sounds like Jamie is most excited to read You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. And I can’t wait for her to dig into this book and get inspired to do some awesome, badass things!

Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing and keep supporting the blog with your visits, comments and shares. You keep me inspired to write and I love you all to pieces.

I know it’s fun to have giveaways from time-to-time, so I’ll keep looking for opportunities to share discounts, deals and free stuff to help us all live a creative life in this messy world.

For now, have an amazing weekend, and I’ll see you next week with some Halloween-inspired posts.

Blessings,

Kate

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5 Favorite Fall Posts…so far

Happy Friday! I’m still in celebration mode this week as the blog just turned three years old. It’s crazy how this little baby keeps truckin’ along and making new friends.

By the way, if you haven’t already, be sure to enter your name in the Blogiversary Book Bundle Giveaway valued at $80.

The drawing is tonight, so get the details here!

As I’ve looked back at some of my favorite posts, I realize I really do love fall most of all. <3

I thought it would be fun to share my top five fall posts (in no particular order). >>

{ONE} DIY Pumpkin Seed Flowers

This was a fun post to write, because it involved getting creative with my leftover pumpkin seeds from our Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

If you’re carving up some gourds soon, be sure to check out this super simple idea.

The post also includes ideas for what to do with your flowers once they’re made – like napkin ring holders for your Thanksgiving table or even pretty Christmas ornaments. #crafty

{TWO} Fall Up Your Home

This post was written when the temps were finally dipping, and it really started feeling like fall around here in Northwest Arkansas.

I wanted to spruce up the house with some fall flair, but didn’t want to spend tons of money or time doing it. So I found five key places around the house that would instantly transition the home into a warm and cozy spot. Check it out.

{THREE} Inspiration for a Fall Garden

The cool air not only nudges us into sweaters and cozy throws, but also also inspires us to freshen up the garden.

I usually change up the color scheme of my flowers from summery pinks to cooler purples. And as I was searching for ideas for my front porch, I rounded up five of my favorite planters. >

{FOUR} Fall Chore Checklist

Okay, so the idea of “chores” isn’t the most exciting, but it must be done. I wanted to simplify the whole process (and even delegate a few things to my sweet husband and kids), so I decided to make a checklist for us.

To this day, I still refer to this handy PDF. Feel free to print a copy for your fridge and check out the full post here.

{FIVE} Halloween Treats!

While I’m not a food blogger (by any means), I still like to share some recipes from time-to-time.

This special Halloween post includes my all time favorite pumpkin-shaped cheeseball recipe. >

It also features these sweet cinnamon bat pita chips that I serve with fruit salsa.

Mmmm. I can’t wait to make all of these recipes again. There won’t be any tricks at this Halloween party, just plenty o’ treats!!

That’s a wrap! Have a terrific weekend, dear friends. And seriously, enter to win this amazing book bundle!!

The winner will be announced on Saturday here on the blog, as well as on Facebook (so make sure you “like” and follow The Neat Nook!)

Many blessings,

Kate

PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out. >>

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3rd Blogiversary + Book Bundle Giveaway!

Hello, dear friends! I’m super excited today because it’s not only lucky Friday the 13th, but also the 3rd blogiversary of The Neat Nook. Threeee years!!!

This is my all-time favorite creative project. And at the same time, I can’t believe I’ve kept up the discipline (some months better than others, I’ll admit) and the courage to keep writing and sharing. This has become a sacred a spot where I can be myself, explore new topics, dig into projects, share a few perspectives, and even journal about my family from time-to-time. I’m terrible at filling scrapbooks, so some of my posts serve this double purpose.

I love that you’re here right now and thank you for reading. Hopefully you’ve been inspired at some point along the way. I’ve certainly learned a lot over the past three years and know there’s still plenty of room to grow. My hope is that we continue to cheer each other on and learn together. I encourage you to leave comments when you can, and introduce yourself so I can get to know you better!

And just for being here today, whether you’re new or a long-time Neat Nooker, I’m offering a special giveaway:

It’s a Blogiversary Book Bundle with FIVE amazing titles that will go to ONE lucky reader. It’s valued at $80. Each book was handpicked with a focus on five topics I love to talk about on the blog.

{ONE} Creativity

You may remember my recent post about “unleashing curiosity” that was inspired by this book. Well, I think my favorite synopsis might be by Daily Beast: “Big Magic will resonate with writers and artists who find the process of producing work to be particularly painful…Through anecdotes about her creative failures and resourcefulness, as well as those other artists, Gilbert encourages readers to pursue a creative life ‘that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” Let this book be your muse!

{TWO} Organization

This “Do It All Planner” is beautiful – and designed to keep you on track in 2018. It includes monthly and weekly planning pages, tear-off shopping and to-do lists, inspirational quotes and 300 stickers to keep you all sorted out!

{THREE} Inspiration

Ok, y’all. I listened to the audiobook version of this on my way home from the beach this summer and was astounded by how much truth Jen Sincero packed into these pages. You Are A Badass is described as “…an entertaining how-to guide of hilarious stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you identify and change self-sabotaging beliefs that stop you from getting what you want, and create a life you totally love.” You won’t be the same when you put this book down.

{FOUR} Simplicity

As you may know, I recently discovered the Swedish philosophy of Lagom (the art of a balanced life.) So I was super excited to see this new release in Barnes & Noble. Consider it a primer on how to introduce Lagom to your personal life, relationships and broader world. A lovely little read that would also be sweet on your coffee table.

{FIVE} Relaxation & Fun

This book is called Peaceful Dot-to-Dot, which is full of thoughtfully constructed illustrations designed to help you find a sense of peace. Think of it like those adult coloring books that help you get into a meditative state by chilln’ with your colored pencils. This amazing book has more than 150 images waiting for you to reveal them – one dot at a time. This might be my new jam.

There are multiple ways to enter, so be sure to check ’em out below. The drawing will be held next Friday night, that’s October 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm CST. Open to all U.S. and Canadian residents.

Good luck and many blessings to you!

-Kate

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PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out.

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And the Winners Are…

Congrats and high fives to Megan Bristow and Fern Hummert for winning a $25 Visa Gift Card!! I appreciate both of you playing along in the blogiversary giveaway. You’ll have to let us know how you end up spending your prize. 😉

visa-gift-card

I also want to offer a huge thanks to each and every one of you who has taken time to read, share, comment and just simply encourage this little blog that could over the past two years.

This has been such a fun experience. And as I think about all of the possibilities for future posts, I feel confident this can continue being a spot you’ll want to bookmark and visit often. #bloggoals

Here’s to at least two more years for The Neat Nook! Haha. That’s my way of hoping for more, while simply wanting to put one foot in front of the other.

Blessings to you and your home!

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Celebration Edition

With the blog officially turning two years old this week, I’m in celebration mode.

I thought it would be fun to share a few party ideas. And if you’re throwing a fall party any time soon, or just want to celebrate because it’s the weekend, here are five super easy ideas. Hurrah!

{ONE} Candy Corn Centerpieces

It’s not an official party at my house until there are fresh flowers on the table. And I love this playful and colorful centerpiece for fall. The candy corn makes it feel like Halloween, so it’s like a fall-oween decoration.

candy-corn-centerpiece-full

It was super simple to pull together, too. Here’s what you need:

  • Two vases (one smaller than the other)
  • One bag of candy corn
  • Flowers of your choice

To assemble, place the smaller vase inside the larger vase. Next, fill the outer edge with candy. Once that’s done, fill the middle vase with water and your fresh cut flowers. Easy, right?!

See the steps in more detail below >>

candy-corn-centerpiece

You’ll notice I used a large mason jar for the outside. My smaller vase was actually a little taller. (You can see it sticking up in the upper right and lower left pics.) Not to worry. I tied a pretty ribbon around the center vase where it was “exposed” and you can’t even tell!

{TWO} No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bites

Okay, so the secret to this “no-bake” pie is to purchase it from the store – like from Sam’s Club. Lol! That’s actually where I saw this brilliant idea. Check it out >>

mini-pumpkin-pie

What just happened? Well, you take a pie (that you personally did not bake), cut it into smaller circles with a cookie cutter, and then top each with fresh whip cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving.

They’re so pretty, not to mention much easier to eat at a party. And for all of the delicious scraps that didn’t quite make it into a mini pie? Well, consider those your reward for working so hard on these desserts.

{THREE} Bushels of Snacks

Okay, so here’s a fun idea for serving snacks on a seasonally themed table. Put your chips and popcorn in these adorable apple baskets. I could even see mini pumpkins arranged around the base.

baskets-of-snacks

{FOUR} Beautiful Blanket Scarves

Now that we have a few ideas for the food and decorations, here’s something cute to dress up a plain tee and jeans.

I’m so in love with these blanket scarves from Target. They’re only $25 and have such pretty choices of plaid. These are my two faves. I can’t decide which one I like better. What do you think?

{FIVE} Visa Gift Card Giveaway!!

Finally, how about a party favor? Woot! Woot!

Enter to win one of two $25 Visa Gift Cards in honor of The Neat Nook’s second blogiversary. Winners will be announced on Monday, 10/17/16, so click away today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and here’s to a celebratory weekend all around!

XoXoXo,

-Kate

P.S. I’m linking up with all of these fabulous bloggers today, so be sure to check them out!

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The Neat Nook Turns Two!!

October marks the second full year of blogging on The Neat Nook. Whoa. Two years?!

Like many things in life, it feels like time has taken flight. Seriously. Where did it go? What I do know is that I’m still enjoying this creative outlet, and I hope you are, too.

Whether you’ve been with me from the beginning or are just now tuning in, I’d like to thank you for joining me on this adventure…one that’s full of navigating a messy, yet beautiful life. In fact, this is still one of my most favorite quotes >>

A look back…

This time last year, I decided to reflect on the things I learned in my first year of blogging in this post.  It was inspiring to go back and read through those observations and tips. It reminds me that I haven’t mastered this skill, but it’s fun to keep trying.

While I’m settled in this nostalgic mood for a moment, I decided to look back at this year’s posts. As I combed through month by month, I noticed a few themes. And I love how this blog serves as a journal for my family, as well as a go-to resource (and virtual filing cabinet) for some fun and creative ideas.

Here are some of the highlights. Links to each post are included!

{ONE} We Organized the House: Home Office Makeover, Pet Supplies, Getting Ready for Guests, and a Few Fall Decorations

{TWO} We Played in the Garden: A Fairy Garden, Spring TipsCleaning Your Tools, and Arranging Flowers

{THREE} We Explored the Country: An Oregon Experience, Relaxing Beach Visit, and a South Dakota Road Trip

{FOUR} We Hosted Fun Parties: A Bearthday Party, a Teen Birthday, and July 4th Fun

{FIVE} We Learned Some Important Lessons: Family Camping, and What My Parents Taught me About Marriage

What an amazing year! I’m excited to keep the blog rollin’ and hope you’ll stick with me on this journey.

In honor of the special occasion, I’d like to host a giveaway.

That’s right. You can enter to win a $25 gift card. There will be two winners for this two-year blogiversary. Did you catch the “two” theme?

All you need to do is get your name in the mix by entering below. Follow me on Pinterest, visit the Neat Nook on Facebook, and leave a blog comment to get your name entered four times!!

The drawing will be held next Sunday night at 9pm CST. So you have more than a week to enter. Winners will be announced on Monday, 10/17/16 on the blog – and also on Facebook.

Good luck and here’s to another crazy year together!!

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Much love,

Kate

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December Coaster Winner & Weekend Update

We sure had a lot of interest in the coasters this month! That was exciting to see, and I’m happy to announce that Mary Elliff was our big winner this time. I can’t wait to see which coasters she picks. There were so many cute designs to choose from.

I also wanted to extend a special thank you to all of the readers who entered to win. You still have time to order from Qostr and get 20% off using the Neat Nook promo code of DECEMBER20. I hope you enjoy!

Now for a quick update on the weekend…

We had a wonderful time at the Bentonville Christmas parade on Saturday. Here are a couple of fun pics.

Bentonville parade

There was no shortage of adorable elves this year.

Santa

It’s SANTA!!!

pugs on parade

You gotta love the “Pugs on Parade.”

Bentonville Band

The marching band is always my favorite. Click for a cool video recap of the whole parade.

Oh, and we had some visitors from Little Rock join us this year. Our friends Mark and Amy drove up for the weekend. Mark owns Personalized Bottle Water, and he made some super cute labels for the annual pre-parade party at my brother and SIL’s house.

personalized bottled water

His wife Amy is a girl after my own heart and loves to sew and craft. She made me some ADORABLE fabric coasters. I’m so in love with them. If you have Christmas fabric left over from projects, you should make these as gifts. People will love them. Trust me! 🙂

Christmas fabric coasters

Aren’t these so sweet? The lower right shows the front and back.

We wrapped up the weekend with a stormy Sunday, which coaxed us into some much needed rest. Now I feel recharged for the week ahead. Get ready for the Christmas ideas to continue!

Many hugs,

-Kate

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Holiday Drink Recipes + December Coaster Giveaway!!

‘Tis the season for holiday parties!! In addition to launching the December coaster giveaway (details are below, so be sure to keep reading) I thought it would be fun to share a few delicious recipes and party tips.

It seems like I’m always second guessing how much food and how many drinks to get when we’re throwing a shin dig. In fact, this past weekend, we invited some friends to join us at my brother’s cabin at Indian Hollow. As I was planning and packing supplies, I came across this great resource.

Here are the most helpful planning tips from the article.

  • Total number of drinks: Each guest drinks an average of two drinks the first hour and one drink each hour thereafter. So, for a 4 hour party with 20 people, that should be about 100 drinks.
  • What to buy: A one-liter bottle of alcohol yields approx. 22 mixed drinks. Once you figure out what kind of bar you’re going to have, that will help you determine how much to buy. Most crowds like vodka, rum and beer if that helps to know.
  • Accommodate non-cocktail drinkers: Estimate one bottle of wine per eight guests, remembering that white wine tends to be more popular than red.
  • Ice it all down: Plan on one and a half pounds of ice per person. This will provide enough ice for drinks as well as any ice baths for wine or beer.

We seemed to have plenty of wine AND beer at our little gathering this weekend. 🙂

girlfriends

Amy, Katie and I took a quick pic right as everyone arrived.

the guys

The guys were so cute in their college hoodies. Cheers!

Okay, so let’s move on to some delicious recipes, shall we? Here are a few goodies for the holiday season.

{Hot Caramel Apple Cider}

This would be great to serve in your slow cooker to not only make your house smell divine, but also offer an option for the kids or anyone who doesn’t want to booze it up at your party!

{Cranberry & Apple Spritzers}

This is another non-alcoholic option that looks like a tall glass of Christmas when it’s garnished with fresh cranberries. You could also toss in a sprig of fresh mint. If you want to get adventurous, you could easily add a splash of vodka.

{Peppermint Stick Martini}

Don’t you just want to lick the crushed peppermint sticks right off that rim? These festive drinks would be beautiful served on a large tray lined with greenery.

PS. If you serve a fancy drink like this, you can simply offer beer, wine and sodas as your other options. No need to go overboard with lots of ingredients.

{Cranberry Mimosas}

If you can tell, I love drinks that have decorated rims. This one uses colored sugar crystals! If you’re having a holiday brunch, this would be a must-have drink on your menu.

Are you ready for some more fun? It’s time for the December coaster giveaway!!

Our friends at Qostr are offering not just one, but four holiday designs to choose from. One lucky winner will receive one FREE set of coasters, and you get to choose which of these designs you’d like.

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Here are the details!

Simply enter below from now until Sunday at 10pm CST. I’ll announce the winner next Monday. (Tip: Be sure to click each of the checkmarks in the lower right corner to get entered in the contest.)

You can also order any time and get a 20% discount just for Neat Nook readers! Use the promo code of DECEMBER20 at checkout.

Good luck and many cheers to you!!

-Kate

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November Coaster Winner!

I’m excited to announce that Justine Ciemny @ Charm City Ciemny’s is the winner of these adorable Thanksgiving coasters from Qostr. Yay!

November coaster

Congrats to Justine and a special thanks to everyone who played along. We’ll have another giveaway (with a surprise design) in December. It will be just in time for your holiday parties, so stay posted.

Keep having a wonderful Wednesday, sweet ladies!

-Kate

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Five Unique Hostess Gifts

My mom is one of the most gracious guests. She always shows up with a gift in hand – even if she’s just coming over to visit the kids. While she’s originally from the West Coast, she raised our family with good Southern manners. And I try to carry on her tradition of bringing something with me to every event.

Sometimes I grab a bottle of wine and call it good, but notable occasions, like a Thanksgiving meal or holiday party, call for something more special. So…

Here are a few unique ideas to tuck in your thinking cap as you’re planning gifts this season. And they’re all around $10, which means you won’t have to break the bank shopping for all of your friends.

{ONE} Holiday Plates

A hostess can never have enough serving dishes. Really. It would be a welcomed treat to receive any one of these dessert plates. And by one, I mean you could buy a set of these precious plates from Pier One for $20 and divide them up as four hostess gifts. Fill the plate with homemade cookies, wrap with cello, add a pretty gold bow and you have yourself a show stopping gift – times four!

{TWO} Convertible Scarf

This cute little number is called the Ellie Convertible Button Scarf from Mudpie. It can be worn three ways: traditional over the shoulder, as a draped shawl or as a chunky scarf. Regardless of how it’s draped, your friend will be wearing it with a smile once she opens this gift. You might just need one for yourself, as well. The current price is $9.99. You can have it monogrammed for an additional $10.

{THREE} Personalized Oreos

For that quirky and fun friend, who also has a sweet tooth, this gift will be one she’ll remember. You can log on to the Oreo site, design your package and they’ll ship it right to you. The package price is only $10.

{FOUR} Williams-Sonoma Pancake Mix

Who doesn’t love waking up to a stack of piping hot pancakes? This is a gift your hostess will appreciate come sunrise. Package price is $10.95. If you want to splurge, you could add a pound of freshly ground coffee beans from your local coffee shop and tie them together with a pretty ribbon. Breakfast is served!

{FIVE} Custom Coasters

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Of course I had to mention these adorable coasters from Qostr. They’re ideal hostess gifts you can personalize with pictures or other designs. Be sure to use promo code NOVEMBER20 to get 20% off your order. This offer is just for Neat Nook readers, so enjoy!

I’m also hosting a giveaway for one set of Thanksgiving coasters that were designed just for The Neat Nook. You only have until Monday, 10pm Central to register to win. Enter below, my friends!!

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Have a terrific weekend and be sure to check out all of the blogging goodness on Five on Friday and Oh, Hey Friday!

Fiveonfriday

-Kate

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