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!! >

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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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Five Ways to Make May Day Baskets

It’s almost the first of May, which means I’ll be sneaking around the neighborhood delivering fresh flowers to my sweet friends pretty soon.

If you’re not familiar with May Day, it’s totally okay. I grew up in Arkansas and didn’t hear about it until I went to college in Nebraska. I think it’s a midwestern thing?! Anyway, it’s such a fun way to welcome spring and share a simple treat with others.

It’s been said that the tradition started when people would take all of the flowers that grew at the end of April’s showers, arrange them in pretty paper, and hang them on the doors of neighbors as a way of welcoming warmer weather.

Sadly, I think it’s becoming a lost tradition, but I’m not afraid to be a little old fashioned. I’m sticking with it and hope you’ll join me.

A few tips if you’re new to May Day basket deliveries.

  1. It’s supposed to be a secret. You deliver the basket, ring the doorbell, and run. My kids call it “ding-dong-ditching” which sounds very impolite. But the fact that we’re leaving goodies somehow makes it seem better to me.
  2. The baskets should be super simple. A few stems of flowers or a couple of pieces of candy is perfectly acceptable.
  3. Make each basket with grace and gratitude for your friends. Even though they won’t know it’s from you, they’ll feel your love the moment they open the door.

Here are five baskets to get your creative wheels spinning.

{ONE} Mason Jar Revival

I love Mason jars. They’re multi-tasking rock stars. Among many other uses, they’re the perfect, inexpensive vessel for May Day. Here are all of the supplies you’ll need for this first “basket”. >>

In addition to the Mason jar (with the lid) and some ribbon, you’ll see I raided the garden. This is a smart place to start this whole process so you don’t end up spending tons of money on flowers.

I snipped a mix of hostas, lilacs and some pink flowers that were growing in my hanging basket from Lowes. Lol! I ended up buying tulips from the store since mine have already come and gone. Tulips = spring to me.

To create the “handle,” you’ll want to slide the ribbon under the Mason jar lid. Notice I don’t have the top, just the outside ring. Next you just screw it on to secure the ribbon in place.

Fill the jar with fresh water, arrange your flowers, and then hang this lovely bouquet from your neighbor’s door. Ding-dong!

{TWO} Perfectly Sweet Planter

This might be the simplest idea in the batch. Here are the supplies, which I mostly got from the garden store. >>

I chose a pot of colorful zinnias for the focal point. For the basket I’m using Jiffy-Pots, which are biodegradable. You can literally plant the entire container in the ground. They’re basically thick paper cups, so it’s easy to punch holes in the sides.

And that’s the first step…punch holes on each side of your Jiffy-Pot.

Then you plant your flower of choice right into this earth-friendly little pot.

Lastly, thread the ribbon through the holes and tie knots on each side.

That’s it! You’re ready to spread May Day cheer.

{THREE} Aluminum Can-Do 

This sweet little number didn’t even require a trip to the store. Here are the only supplies you’ll need. >>

I used a can of corn in a recipe last night, so I upcycled an aluminum can. Then I “shopped” around my craft area for a pretty piece of paper and ribbon. The flowers were plucked from outside..white hydrangea and soft lambs ear.

First I covered the can with pretty paper.

Then I arranged my flowers. I kept this one pretty simple…tucking lambs ear down into the giant hydrangea blossom.

Here’s the back side where you can see the final step.

I tied ribbon around the top so I could create a loop to hang from the front door.

Note: An alternative idea would be to drill a small hole on each side of the can so you can create a more balanced arrangement.

{FOUR} Paper Plates & Goodies

For the candy lovers in your life, this would make a fun May Day surprise. Here are the supplies needed for this bright and sunny basket. >>

You’ll need a small paper plate (cut in half), a piece of pretty paper cut to the size of one of the halves, flowers, candies and ribbon.

I went with a “sunny” theme and gathered all kinds of yellow treats. The yellow pansies are from my front garden and the M&Ms were a special purchase. I had the paper and ribbon in my craft area.

To get the basket started, put the two paper plate halves facing each other. Staple the bottom to secure and punch holes on the sides for your ribbon.

I wanted to give the plate a facelift, so I glued a piece of decorative paper to the front.

The plate dips down on the edges, but I like having the paper cover the entire surface.

Here’s a better look. You can see how the paper is flat across the entire plate. It also leaves room for you to thread your ribbon.

This is a view of the finished basket with the ribbon tied to each side.

Now for the really fun part…filling the basket.

I used floral water tubes for the pansies to help keep them fresh and hydrated. You can get these at any floral shop. They also help bundle the pansies together, making it easier to tuck into the basket.

This is the final product with the candies and flowers ready to rock.

{FIVE} Triple Scoop Flower Cone

This is the most traditional style of all of the May Day baskets – with a paper cone. I also used tissue paper flowers so the entire thing is waterless. Here are the supplies. >>

In the upper left I have a stack of tissue paper to make the flowers. I also have floral picks with wire to help secure the paper flowers and give them “stems.”

The upper right is a piece of decorative paper for the cone. And in the lower right you can see I tossed in some greenery. It was actually left over from my front door wreath project. (More on that next week!)

I started by making the paper cone. I just rolled the the paper into the shape of a cone and secured the seam with clear tape.

As a tip, use double-sided paper so there’s a fun design peeking through the back.

Okay, now for the flowers. You’ve probably made tissue paper flowers before, but here’s a quick primer.

Fold a small stack of tissue paper back and forth (like a fan) until the entire thing is folded. Pinch it in the middle and secure with your wire floral pick.

Here’s what it looks like attached to the pick.

Working slowly so you don’t tear the tissue, gently pull and separate each of the layers. I like to work one side at a time.

Then work the other side until it looks like a full bloom! Repeat the process so you have several flowers for your basket.

Once you have all of your goodies ready, tuck everything into your paper cone. Finally, punch a hole in the back of the cone and thread your ribbon so you have a way to hang your beautiful bouquet.

That’s a wrap, my friends. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and give one of these baskets a try. Let me know how it goes.

Blessings,

Kate

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Happy Easter!

As we travel home from our spring break trip today, I wanted to be sure and wish all of you a happy, blessed Easter day. See you next week with a few beach pics. In the meantime, here are a few adorable bunnies to warm your heart. As they symbolize new life, may they also remind you of the significance of today.

For more sweet bunny pics, check out my special Pinterest board.

XOXO

-Kate

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Feast on Your Easter Grass

It might sound strange to grab a handful of grass from your Easter basket and toss it into your next smoothie, but that’s exactly what you can do when you grow wheatgrass!! Plus, there are all of these health benefits. Thanks, Easter Bunny!

Rosie4

Speaking of…here’s our little Easter bun, Rosie. She loves to eat wheatgrass. No wonder she’s so healthy! <3

Oh, and while we’re still on the topic of eating grass, have you seen this video clip of Adele in Jamba Juice? It’s hysterical. Enjoy your daily laugh.

Okay, now for the serious business of preparing our baskets…

Wheatgrass grows super fast. In fact, in less than two weeks you can have a lush basket. If you start this week, you’ll be right on time for Easter. And depending on how quickly your seeds germinate, you might even need to “mow” before you add your eggs and ribbons!

Here are the super easy instructions for growing your own Easter basket grass.

Supplies

{one} A plastic plant saucer that’s close to the size of your basket.

 

{two} A quality potting mix.

{three} Wheatgrass seeds!

{This is from Amazon, but you can get this at most health food stores.}

{This is from Amazon, but you can get this at most health food stores.}

{four} Spray bottle.

spray bottles

{These are from Dollar Tree. Sometimes Walmart carries these in the health and beauty section.}

Now What?

This process will remind you of making lasagne. Here’s why…

  1. Fill about 3/4 of your saucer with potting mix.
  2. Spray with water to moisten the dirt.
  3. Plant a generous layer of seeds. There shouldn’t be any dirt showing.
  4. Cover the seeds with a light layer of potting mix. (See all of the layering – like a lasagne?)
  5. Spray the fresh dirt (your top layer) with water. You want there to be enough water for everything to be wet, but not swimming.
  6. Place the saucer in a warm, sunny window to “bake.” 😉

Growing Tips

  • Before planting your seeds, rinse them in cool, clean water. Then soak (completely covered) in cool water overnight. This helps speed up germination.
  • Wheatgrass does not do well in direct sunlight once it has started sprouting. So find a spot that allows for indirect light once you have some greens.
  • Use a water bottle to spray your wheatgrass as it grows. Make sure the soil is always moist. If it dries out, the sprouts will turn brown and die very quickly.
  • It should take about nine days for wheatgrass to grow six inches >>

That’s it! Here’s hoping your grass hops to it in time for Easter.

-Kate

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How to Create the Perfect Thank You Note

Now that the holidays are behind us, and we’ve attended our festive parties, fattened our bellies, and unwrapped gifts from our thoughtful friends and family, it’s time to reflect and relish in all the things we have to be grateful for. That’s right, it’s time for a few thank yous!

Thankful Quote

Feel free to share this image! <3

The best way to show your gratitude is with a good ol’ fashioned handwritten note. Sending a quick email or text message is nice and can be done in a timely manner. But when you sit down to write a letter (like with a pen on an actual piece of paper), there’s a deeper level of connection that’s made between you and the person who gave you the gift. So why not take a few moments to make that happen?

There are three key ingredients to creating the perfect thank you note.

{ONE} THE CARD

Thank you card

Store bought cards are great. I promise. It’s really the message that’s the most meaningful, so don’t let a DIY card project stand in the way of sending a timely note.

If you’re able to carve out just a few extra minutes, though, here’s a super quick way to personalize a card for that sweet, gift-giving friend of yours. Here’s all you need to make the card shown above:

Double-sided scrapbook paper

doublesided scrapbook paper

Edging punch or scissors

edge punch

Pretty alphabet stickers

Martha Stewart alphabet stickers

Pack of envelopesenvelopes

What to do:

  1. Fold your double-sided paper in half.
  2. Cut the paper to the size of your envelope.
  3. Use edging scissors to cut across the top “flap”. This creates a pretty peek-a-boo design on the cover.
  4. Find the letter of your friend’s first or last name on your sticker sheet, and apply it to the front of your card.
  5. Now you’re ready to write your thoughtful message!

{TWO} THE MESSAGE

Sometimes this part trips people up the most. Where do you start? What should you say so it doesn’t sound forced or canned? Starting with a simple “thank you” is always good. Here are a few other statements to get you off to a good start:

  • You deserve a hug! I am so grateful for the (gift item) you gave me.
  • I feel so blessed to have you in my life. The fact that you took time to send me a (gift item) meant a lot.
  • How did you know I totally needed a (gift item)? You are seriously the best.

Once you have that part down, say something personal. What will you do with the gift, where will you put it, or what did the gesture mean to you?

Next, mention the next time you might see each other. Such as, “I can’t wait to see you at the reunion.” Then restate your appreciation as your close. “Thank you again for your kindness.”

{THREE} THE TIMING

Send a thank you as soon as you can. A good rule of thumb is to send a card within a month after the event. That means you have until the end of January to have your holiday thank yous in the mail.

If it’s later than that, start your note with a brief apology. “I’ve been meaning to tell you…” is a great statement to use. Be sure to follow with something personal about the gift. Has the gift really come in handy? Is there a funny or cute story to share? Those details can make the tardiness of the message worth the wait.

Okay, friends. I’m off to jot a few notes myself. Here’s to a day filled with gratitude!!

-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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Happy Easter!

Hello, dear friends. Today is a day to sing, celebrate, and rejoice in the fact that it’s Easter day!

I’ve always struggled with explaining the Easter bunny and baskets to my kids on such a holy day, and I recently found a great article on the topic. It helps us get creative and turn typical holiday symbols into tools that bring a greater understanding of the message of Easter. As one example, look at this darling illustration of the “real” Easter bunny…

To personalize this story, try drawing or printing your own bunny. Turn it into a coloring sheet for your kids. You can then explain the meaning as you color the sheet together.

Another fun activity to try today is a resurrection scavenger hunt. Kids of all ages should enjoy this one.

Here’s hoping you have a blessed day filled with love and hope!

-Kate and family

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April Fools’ Fun

balloon prank

Happy April Fools’ Day! Who doesn’t love a good office prank like this one?

 If you love practical jokes and a good harmless hoax, today is your day to celebrate!

I definitely get a kick out of April Fools’ and remain 100% leery of any new products or announcements made on this day. Mostly because I’m so gullible. Case in point, my brother once told me the bottom of the swimming pool smelled like strawberry bubblegum. I only realized the prank once I sniffed a gallon of water up my nose. #notcool #shouldhaveknownbetter

In the spirit of the day, I’ve been keeping my eye out for some of the funniest and most clever pranks, and this is my list of faves so far:

Darby Smart

I received an email from Darby Smart, the mail-order DIY company, this morning announcing the new do-it-furself trend that has your furry friends crafting right alongside you. Projects such as kitty knitting and puppy paw painting are all featured on their site (today only, I’m sure). The pictures are hilarious.

Cat-Stitchin

Cat-stichin‘ is the next big trend in prafting.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Last year on this day, Crystal Bridges announced a piranha infestation within one of the ponds on the property. It was a joke well played and showed a lighter side of the museum. So I was curious what they’d be up to this year, and I found this announcement on Facebook: a new slip-n-slide! The museum claims the installation of a slip-n-slide will elevate the excitement of the museum, while following a growing trend. Am I the only one who wishes this was kinda real?

Crystal Bridges slide

New slip-n-slide coming to the museum.

T-Mobile

In national news, T-Mobile announced a new phone plan. They are letting customers add their beloved family pets to their phone line for just $5 a month. How great is that? Meow.

T-Mobile pets unleashed

Pets can have phones, too, thanks to T-Mobile

 Google

Google is notorious for their April Fools’ pranks, and today they actually have two good ones. The first one is pretty simple. If you type com.google into your browser, everything on Google is backwards!

You can also play Pac Man with your neighborhood on Google Maps. This one is less prank and a lot more play.

What good jokes did you witness (or pull on someone) today? Do tell!!

-Kate

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