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,




Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving MessageHello, sweet friends. I hope you’re having the best Thanksgiving so far filled with scrumptious turkey and all the fixin’s. I know I am. Why is this not also National Yoga Pant day? Not that anyone is doing any actual exercising, though.YogaWhat will we be doing? Well, I thought it would be fun to share a few of our family traditions.

  • We always travel to Nebraska to visit the in-laws, as well as my sister KJ and her sweet family. So I get to partake in two Thanksgiving meals, making me one thankful girl.
    Nebraska...the good life

    The sign speaks truth.

  • If we don’t oversleep (because my amazing in-laws let Brandon and I sleep in while they hang out with the kids who wake up like roosters), we catch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I love the fanfare, the creativity, and the death-defying inflatables cruising down the street.
    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

    That is one big turkey.

  • We watch college football like most of America. I should probably clarify. Brandon watches football while I sit next to him catching up on the latest issue of Real Simple and the kids play games on their phones. It works for us. With the Huskers not playing so well the past few weeks, football has turned into a sore subject with the hubs. “Want the November or December issue, honey?”
    Husker Power

    “Please play well, Huskers. My husband’s joy depends on it.”

  • As you may have read on an earlier post, Brandon and I were married on Thanksgiving weekend, so we always carve out some time for each other. This year we’re headed to Lied Lodge in Nebraska City – home of the National Arbor Day Foundation. Gorgeous trees and apple orchards everywhere. I’ll share some pics on Instagram: @katejandersen.
    Lied Lodge & Conference Center

    Lied Lodge & Conference Center

    I’d love to hear about your family traditions. Share in the comments, Tweet or tag me on Instagram. In the meantime, have a wonderful day. I’m thankful you’re here!