Creative Tip Tuesday: Pause to Play!

Play MemeHello, my sweet creative friends. I have a fun tip for this Tuesday. It’s all about play!

It’s easy to get so caught up in the daily hustle of our adult responsibilities that we don’t think about stopping to have fun. I’m totally guilty of this. Sometimes the thought of watching a funny video, learning a joke, or taking a trip to the park seems as indulgent as a bubble bath in the middle of the day – especially with so many tasks on the “to-do”.

But being playful is incredibly important. Even if it’s just a few minutes jamming to your favorite song in the car, feeling this kind of joy can do wonders for your spirit. I absolutely love this quote from author Dr. Stewart Brown,

“The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression.”

It’s essential to our well being to take a few minutes each day to laugh and play like the child we once were. Brown also says, “Play shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy…and is at the core of creativity and innovation.”

There’s no better time than right now to embrace your inner child and do something fun. You’ll be amazed at the way your mind starts opening and your heart starts feeling.

Here’s an exercise to try.

Grab your journal and make a list of five things that makes you feel playful. If that feels hard, think back to the last time you laughed. And I mean snort-laughed in the air like you just don’t care. Where were you, who were you with, or what were you doing that made you have such a great reaction? That might give you some ideas.

Pick one of your five activities, schedule 15 joyful minutes, and go do it! Then write in your journal about your experience.

  • What did you choose to do?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • When was the last time you did this activity? If it’s been awhile, why haven’t you done it sooner?
  • What can you change in your current schedule to make room for more play?

I hope you’ll give yourself permission to have recess today. Have fun and let me know how it goes. I love hearing from you!

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Five Ways to Share Gratitude

Thanksgiving bunting

Bonus idea: Here’s a little project I did this weekend. It’s a Thanksgiving bunting made with burlap and gold-painted chipboard letters. I hung by the chimney with care – and a few mini clothespins.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. My husband and I were even married on Thanksgiving weekend. That’s how much I love it – and him. While I treasure the awesome food and permission to wear yoga pants all day (or two), I appreciate how it’s such a low-key holiday that invites us to just hang with the family and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives.

I truly believe gratitude changes everything.

Gratitude has been proven to make people feel happier, strengthen relationships, improve health, and reduce stress. That’s some amazing grace right there. We should make giving thanks an everyday deal. And if you want to throw in some turkey, go right ahead. No one’s judging.

So in an effort to invite more gratitude in my own life, I found five ideas I’d like to share. I adore each and every one of them, and I encourage you to pick one or two and give them a try for yourself!

  1. Start a Gratitude Journal: This post includes a sweet idea about creating a journal not only for yourself, but also your children. You’re never too young or old to give thanks.
    Gratitude journal

    Gratitude Journals from Let’s Lasso the Moon

  2. Make a Gratitude Tree: This tree would make a perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. If you don’t have room for one big tree, a set of three or four smaller versions arranged down the middle of your table would be pretty – and easy for guests to participate. You could leave a “leaf” and small pencil at each place setting. What I love about this post from The Mother Huddle is it includes printable tags for you to use.
    thanksgivingtree

    Gratitude tree from The Mother Huddle

  3. Read a Book about Gratitude: 365 Thank Yous is a touching memoir about a man named John Kralik who decides to write 365 thank you notes in the coming year. In the words of the publisher, “Kralik sets a believable, doable example of how to live a miraculously good life. To read 365 Thank Yous is to be changed.” This would make a wonderful gift for anyone dear to your heart.365ThankYous
  4. Watch a Gratitude Video {link}: The Gratitude Project filmed a unique social experiment that will tug at your heartstrings. People were asked to express gratitude to someone they haven’t spoken to in awhile. Each person selected three contacts in their phone and called them to say “thank you”. It’s a great reminder of how powerful a simple call can be. It would be awesome if everyone would stop to do this.
  5. Take a Gratitude Challenge on Social Media: You may have seen a few hashtags in use with the gratitude theme. Why not give it a try yourself? #100thankfuldays is one challenge where you spend 100 days posting your gratitude. It’s a brilliant way to create a habit. If you’re not ready to bite off that big of a commitment, you can take the 5-Day Gratitude Challenge, where you list five things for five days that you’re grateful for. Then you can nominate a Facebook friend to do the same.

I hope you’ll join me in trying a few of these ideas. In the meantime, I’m grateful you’re here!

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Simmer the Sweet Scents of Fall

IMG_4514Don’t you love walking into a home that smells good? Our sense of smell is pretty amazing. It can trigger memories and sway emotions, so no wonder it feels warm and inviting to have a fragrance like Cranberry Orange drifting through the house on a cool fall day. It carries with it delicious memories. I also think the right fragrance can make a house feel clean and well cared for – and who wouldn’t want that thought running through the mind of your next guest?

There are tons of great options for making your house smell awesome. A trip to Bath & Body Works alone will provide hundreds of selections. P.S. I’m in love with Cranberry Woods this season.

But if you want to conjure up a warm, delicious (and inexpensive) aroma, try brewing one of these fall recipes on the stove. It works like magic making your family and friends feel, well, right at home-sweet-home.

Cranberry Orange

  • 1 sliced orange
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Bay Leaves and Cinnamon

  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon

Lemon Rosemary

  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Once you choose your concoction, toss everything into a small stockpot. Cover with water (about 2/3 full) and simmer until the smell drifts through the house. My heavens, this is a treat!

You can also opt for the oven. Fill a loaf pan with water and your favorite recipe above. Set it in the oven at 350 degrees until you start to smell the lovely fragrance. Then turn off the oven and prop open the door.

Tip: Freeze uncooked batches to have on hand when a friend or family stops by for an impromptu visit. So even if the house isn’t clean, it will at least smell like it is. I won’t tell.

Enjoy simmering some fall fragrances, and let me know which recipe is your favorite!

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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!

-Kate

 

 

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Pumpkin Seeds Three Ways

Halloween Week Banner2Happy almost Halloween! For my family, the most exciting part of this week (other than Halloween night itself) is carving our jack-o-lanterns. We’ve had one too many squirrels demolish our creations, so we learned to wait it out. The all-you-can-eat pumpkin buffet can open after Halloween!

Speaking of carving, did you know it’s easier to carve from the bottom? I had NO idea until I recently stumbled across this carving video from Better Homes & Gardens. I’m a huge sucker for a good tip like this.

Once the excitement of carving our ghoulish grins is over, we love playing with the seeds. Well, once they’re clean. Funny how the kids suddenly have something terribly important to do when it comes time to desliming the seeds. Thanks, guys.

Since pumpkin seeds are pretty much a once-a-year treat for us, I love finding new ways to use them. Here are three of my favorites!

  1. Bake them. The basic salt-and-oil roast like this from SimplyRecipes is classically delicious. If you want to mix it up a bit, try a batch of Sweet and Salty seeds from Real Simple.
hallo-pumpkin-seeds_300

Sweet & Salty Pumpkin Seeds, Real Simple

  1. Grow them. Why spend lots of money on pumpkins next year when you have a handful of free seeds this year? Once your seeds are washed and dried, store them in an envelope. Pumpkin seed envelopeThe best place to keep them is somewhere cool and dry. I like to use the refrigerator in my garage. Label the envelope with the date and name so you remember what’s inside! When to plant? In cooler parts of the country, the best time to plant pumpkin seeds is late May. In warmer parts of the country, you can wait until mid July to plant pumpkins in time for Halloween.
  1. Craft them. Seeds are way underrated in crafting, IMO. Look at this pretty ornament I whipped up. I’ll have a full DIY on these beauties Thursday. Be sure to check back!
Pumpkin seed ornament_finished

Pumpkin seed ornament. Watch for DIY instructions Thursday!

In the meantime, what’s your favorite way to serve up some seeds? Do share!

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Creative Tip Tuesday: Carry a Sketchbook

SketchbookA sketchbook is an important tool for anyone wanting to live a creative life. Please know, being creative doesn’t mean you have to work as an art director, painter, photographer or fashion designer.

Creativity simply means “involving the imagination or original ideas.”

Any endeavor in life could surely benefit from the use of your imagination or original ideas. So, let’s get sketching!

Here are my top three reasons to pick up a sketchbook today.

  1. It gives you a safe place to explore. You don’t have to publish or show this book to anyone. Allowing yourself to experiment and make mistakes is one of the best ways to foster creativity.
  2. It allows you to capture ideas immediately. This is important so you can take action right when a thought or visual idea strikes.
  3. It becomes a source of inspiration. If you’re feeling stuck or bored, thumbing through your sketchbook can prove to be an uplifting exercise. Look at all of the ideas you’ve had, allow yourself to see them in a new light, and be amazed at how much better you feel.

Your sketches don’t have to be fancy by all means, they just need to communicate your ideas. Your book can include favorite quotes, pictures from magazines, and even your grocery list. The main thing is to have fun, explore, and capture your thoughts.

Tips to get started.

  • Skip or purposely scribble on the first page. This will help you avoid the fear of the blank page.
  • Buy an inexpensive book so you don’t feel obligated to have highly important or valuable ideas. (I bought the one pictured above from Walmart)
  • Allow yourself to be messy. Feel free to scribble, drip paint, and glue stuff together. Just promise not to judge yourself or tear anything out!
  • Always carry your book with you. If you buy a book roughly the size as your favorite device (iPad, computer, etc.) it’s easier to tuck it in your bag and carry it with you at all times.
  • Give yourself an assignment. Here’s one to get you started:

Think of a situation at work that’s bothering you…not enough support, too many meetings? What would this situation look like if it were personified as a monster? Draw it. Now, what features could you add to make it more approachable?

Speaking of monsters, be sure to check out @jonhuckeby on Instagram. He’s a fantastic illustrator who doodles the cutest fuzzy fellas.

If you need more inspiration, here are some great doodle sketches on Pinterest.

I’d love to see some of your sketches if you’re open to sharing! Tag them with #CreativeTipTues on Twitter or Instagram so I can gather and share in a future post.

Happy creating!

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