Friday Wrap: Adulting Like a Champ

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you really feel like an adult – even though you’ve officially been an adult for many, many years? That was me…this week.

I was in “get ‘er done” mode, and checked tons of things off my to-do list. Many of those things were very grown up, too, like prepping for taxes and getting an energy audit on the house.

Before you start yawning, though, check out some of the highlights from the week. Adulting can be way more interesting than expected.

{ONE} Updated Front Door Decor

This was by far the most fun project on my list, so we’ll start here. Easing into things.

I decided it was time to take down the “Happy New Year” message on my front door and replace it with something else seasonal – like a heart for Valentine’s Day!

I actually made this, y’all!! 

My inspiration came from this wreath. But when I looked for a heart-shaped form, I couldn’t find one…anywhere. I ventured into the “Valentine” aisle of Hob Lob, which is 40% off right now, and I found this wooden plaque. #bingo

First, I made bunches of burlap rosettes using this tutorial >>

I skipped step #8 since I was gluing these directly onto a flat surface.

And this is a closeup of what mine looked like.

Once I had all of my burlap blooms ready, I hot glued them onto the wooden sign. I had to overlap a few of them so you couldn’t see the wooden sign underneath.

Tip: Wear an old pair of gardening gloves when using your hot glue gun so you don’t burn the ever-living prints right off of your fingers. Speaking from experience.

The final step was adding a pretty pink ribbon to the top of the heart and calling it good & pretty!! (Then peeling the glue from your throbbing fingers if you forgot the gloves.)

{TWO} Completed an Energy Audit

Now this is where we get to the real adulting.

We have a few drafty rooms in our house, and our electric bills seem pretty high, so I’ve always been interested in having our energy company come out and do an audit.

They’re totally free, but they do take several hours. And you need to be there to see all of the things that need fixed…or in our case, caulked!!!

If your window ledges have cracks like this, you can apply caulk so you’re not leaking precious hot (or cold) air out of your home.

The whole process was super educational. For instance, I learned that the five recessed lights in our kitchen, which have incandescent bulbs, cost us $6/month in energy alone. LED lights only need 1/4 of that amount. And that was just one example. I literally have two pages of notes!!

When the energy people left, they gave me a free kit that included three tubes of caulking (thank you very much), a package of weather stripping, LED lightbulbs, and all kinds of other odds and ends.

This is just a small sample of the energy-saving stuff they gave me…for FREE!

I highly recommend going through one of these. It’s definitely worth the time.

{THREE} Prepped for Taxes

Taxes stink. There’s no way around them, though. So the best we can do is try to be organized, right?

I keep folders in our home office (remember that sweet little nook?) where I collect “all things tax related” throughout the year.

Sometimes having pretty folders helps me stay more organized.

We itemize our taxes, so our receipts from donations, business expenses, medical expenses, etc. all go into files as we collect them.

When it comes time (like right now) for year end statements, W2s and other important tax stuff that comes in the mail, I can simply add them to our files. And then we’re ready to rock our meeting with the accountant in no time at all.

Tip: H&R Block does our taxes, and they provide a handy envelope that includes a checklist on the outside. If you don’t already have something similar, you can download a checklist here.

{FOUR} Organized the Coat Closet

I have been so frustrated by our coat closet lately. I mean, look at it. >>

Coats were falling off their hangers and hats, gloves, and scarves were spilling out of bins on the overhead shelf.

Side note, I gave myself a half-point of credit for having bins in the first place. But we obviously didn’t use them very well.

I spent a quick 20 minutes organizing. And I promise it was only this long, because that’s all of the time I had between unpacking groceries and running to get the kids from school.

Here’s what went down. >>

  1. Removed all of the coats we never wear and bagged them for donations.
  2. Hung all of the remaining coats the same direction and picked out all of the white hangers. That instantly created a uniform and clean look!
  3. Dumped all of the hats, gloves, scarves and other misc. items on the floor and matched/sorted.
  4. Found a shoe caddy and stashed all of the newly sorted items inside.
  5. Got rid of the mismatched bins (overhead) and narrowed them down to three clear bins.
  6. Lastly, I put some of the odds and ends, like rain ponchos and detachable hoods, inside the upper bins.

Look at the instant transformation just with the same color hangers – and coats hanging the same direction.

A hanging shoe caddy is perfect for storing small items like gloves and mittens!

I put things we don’t use very often, like rain ponchos, in the matching overhead bins.

Now hopefully I won’t feel so embarrassed when guests need a place to hang their coats. Welcome to my closet nirvana, everyone!

{FIVE} Joined a Book Group

This is a legit book group, too, that’s organized through a church in our area. (So I probably won’t be making 3-gallons of sangria for this gathering) Lol!

This is a 12-week course about Calming My Anxious Heart. And heaven knows I could use some of that. Just going around the circle at our fist meeting and having to share about ourselves made me feel off-the-charts anxious. (Am I the only weirdo who feels that way?!)

Our first gathering was on Tuesday, and so far so goodish. I’ve been challenged to memorize scripture and uncover the secrets to contentment. All things I’ve never done before. But I’m sticking with my plan to stay “open” this year.

And, I’ve decided to keep this verse near over the next 12 weeks…

After such a productive, grown up week, I can’t wait for a weekend full of movies, board games, girl talk, family snuggles and a few glasses of wine with my sweet B.

I hope you have a playful weekend planned, too!

XoXoXo,

Kate

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Friday Wrap: Five Faves of the Week

Hello, friends! We’ve had a happy and memorable week at the Andersen house filled with birthday parties, Valentine’s treats and jewelry-making projects. The fun keeps truckin’ this weekend with a date night, basketball game and possible visit to my brother’s farm. So what do you say we ring in this weekend already? Here are our favorite highlights of the week – so far!

{ONE} Neon Ninth Birthday

Avery and Clara turned nine this week and we had a glow-in-the-dark, neon party to celebrate. We used black lights and tons of neon decorations to create a glowing good time.

Neon Birthday

Top left: Avery and Clara getting their dance poses ready; top right: dance party U.S.A.; bottom left: That would be Brandon getting the DJ booth ready; bottom right: My son and his best friend getting into the spirit of the night. They were brave to hang out with screaming and dancing third grade girls all night.

Glow Stick Chandelier

I had to show you the glow-stick chandelier I made! Look at the center of the pic. I took a garden hanging basket and hung it from the ceiling. Then I hung glow sticks from the rim. It turned out to be one of my favorite decorations of the night (other than the neon paper chains made with poster board! That took the prize for the least-expensive-highest-impact decor.)

{TWO} Monogrammed Sweatshirts from Initial Twist

Okay, y’all. My friend Karrie has a business called Initial Twist where she does applique’, embroidery and vinyl designs on the most comfortable shirts in the world. She can pretty much do anything, so message her through her Facebook page and she’ll hook you up. Tell her The Neat Nook sent you!

Monogrammed shirts

I ordered these cute, monogrammed shirts as birthday gifts for the girls. So cute!!

{THREE} Kate Spade Inspired Earrings

If you’re looking for the easiest and prettiest DIY project this weekend, you HAVE to do this. A sweet and super creative friend of mine showed me how to do this one. The best part, they look just like Kate Spade earrings, but will only cost you about $5 total. Not. Even. Kidding.

Glitter Earrings

This is all I did…took these fun earrings from Walmart and painted a layer of clear polish on top. I sprinkled glitter on top, let it dry and did a few more layers (paint then glitter) until my desired look!

{FOUR} Mother & Daughter Necklace

I received an early Valentine surprise from my darling husband. I showed him a picture of this beautiful necklace by Erin Pelicano on Pinterest (because I was so touched by how sweet it was) and he ended up ordering it for his special girls – that would be the twinsies and I. I’m in love all over again. That guy. I tell ya. <3

Mother Daughter Necklace

The smaller hearts have an A and C stamped on them for Avery and Clara. My own heart is the one melting.

{FIVE} Strawberry Heart Kabobs

The kids had their Valentine’s Day parties at school yesterday. I volunteered to make sweet treats, and ended up making this easy-peasy strawberry number. It was a hit – and didn’t send the kids spiraling into too much of a sugar craze. Win-win.

Strawberry kabobs

I found short bamboo sticks in the Martha Stewart party section at Walmart. The trick for the strawberries is to scoop out the tops. Then when you slice them in half (which is all you do), they look like little hearts. I slid them onto the skewers and served with fresh whipped cream. Yes, please!

I hope you have a fun weekend planned and have an extra sweet Valentine’s day!! If you want more details about ANY of the things mentioned above, let me know and I’ll either email you the deets or post more details next week.

Be sure to check out the rest of the ladies on Five on Friday. I know they’ll have fun things to share, as well!

FiveonfridayXOXO

-Kate

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Friday Wrap + Five DIY Valentine’s

Happy Friday! It’s been an inspiring week visiting my dear sister in Atlanta. She’s been having some health issues, so I went to help out around the house and just catch up on life. It’s been awhile since we’ve done that. We live many miles away from each other and both carry a lot of responsibilities – so it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. Do you ever get that way? Before you know it, weeks and sometimes months have passed before you’ve talked to the people you probably need the most – like a sister? Well, that was us. We were overdue for some serious sister time, so I was beyond excited to jump on a plane to fly further south to see her.

sisterDuring my visit we caught up on great stories, and I gathered some of the best advice on raising healthy girls, creating strong friendships, and being honest about your own limitations. I can sincerely say my sister has all of these things figured out. How blessed am I to have her in my life as a role model and friend? Beyond.

Between chats, loads of laundry and meeting her friends, we found time to flip through a few magazines. You know how much I adore magazines. So now I have some fun ideas and projects I want to do around the house.

conversation heartsI’m also excited to get my Valentine’s cards started this weekend. I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day. It’s such a sweet holiday to reach out to friends – and of course your special love – to let them know how much they’re appreciated. No big fancy gifts are needed.

I think a handmade card with a thoughtful note is the best kind of gift you could give – or receive.

I’ve always enjoyed making cards, and I have a few simple and cute ideas to share with you!

{ONE} “I Love You” Sign

I Love You ValentineThis card uses the “I love you” sign in American Sign Language, which is to tuck your middle and ring finger down while leaving all other fingers up. What better way to show your love on Valentine’s than with this sweet card? My daughter Clara made this by tracing her hand on a piece of construction paper, then we cut it out and taped a roll of Smarties under the two “down” fingers. Any round candy would work great. <3

{TWO} Cupid’s Arrow

Finished Arrow

This is the finished Valentine. Once I assembled the arrow, I tied a message onto the Pixie stick with a little piece of tulle.

Cupid’s arrow is a classic Valentine design. This is a sweeter version that uses a shot of sugar. I used a Pixie stick as the base and taped the arrow designs right onto the stick.

Cupid's Arrow

I drew triangles on a piece of construction paper (left) then cut them out to make an arrow tip and end (right)

Cupid's Arrow

Next, I made fringe by cutting diagonally on the end (top left) and then I simply taped the arrow pattern to the Pixie stick.

{THREE} Highlight of My Day

Highlighter Valentine

This is probably the simplest idea. Tie a bright-colored ribbon around a highlighter and attach a cute message. Voila, Valentine!

If you’re looking for a non-candy Valentine option, this is a fun (and kind of practical) idea that uses a highlighter. Isn’t it a darling way to brighten someone’s day?

{FOUR} Coo Coo for You!

Cocoa Puffs

I layered white copy paper that had the Valentine message over a piece of pink construction paper (left) then I tied a plastic spoon to the side of the box (right)

I’ve always loved those little individual boxes of cereal – the kind that come in an 8-pack of different flavors. Here’s a cute idea that turns them into a Valentine gift. Write a quirky message that ties in the cereal to include on the box, then tie a plastic spoon to the side. Super easy. Here are some quotes to try (with a typical breakfast pack):

  • Lucky Charms: You’re my luckiest charm.
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch: You’re cereal-esly cool.
  • Cocoa Puffs: I’m coo coo for you.
  • Cheerios: You bring cheer to my day.
  • Honey Nut Cheerios: Nuttin’ is better than your friendship.
  • Golden Grahams: Your heart is good as gold.
  • Frosted Cheerios: You’re the frosting on my day.
  • Trix: No trix, you’re a great friend!

{FIVE} Award-winning Friend

Award Winning Friend

To finish this design, I stapled a Valentine message on the back and then covered the staple on the front with a heart-shaped foam sticker.

Every award-winning friends deserves this kind of Valentine. It’s also a basic Valentine that doesn’t require candy – unless you want to attach this to a beautiful box of chocolates. That would be perfectly okay! The only things this project needs are baking cups (various designs and sizes so you can stack them), ribbon and a stapler.

Award winning Friend

I cut “fringe” on the baking cups (top left) then folded a piece of ribbon (top right) before stapling it to the back of the stacked cups (bottom left). You can see the front view of the assembled ribbon (bottom right)

I hope these ideas inspired you to pull out your glue sticks, scissors and markers and spread a little love in your world. Here’s a free downloadable PDF of the Valentine’s messages shown in all of the pictures above.

Have a wonderful weekend and be sure to hug your sister if you have one!

-KateFiveonfriday

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Friday Wrap: Magazine Gems

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope you’ve had an incredible week. If not, there’s still time.  It was a fairly productive week on my end. I tackled tons of projects at work, made birthday party purchases for next week’s festivities, and finally knocked out the giant pile of magazines on my coffee table. That was a feat.

Real Simple, February

Just a few of the many…

Quick confession: What started out (several weeks ago) as three or four perfectly fanned magazines turned into a heaping mound of business. There were not only magazines, but also catalogs, postcards, a few pieces of junk mail and even some of Avery and Clara’s artwork tucked in there!

Once I sorted through everything, I found a few hidden gems I wanted to share – besides the art from my baby girls.

{ONE} Family Fun: February 2015Family FunCupid Kabobs: Page 18Cupid KabobsValentine’s Day is two weeks away. Eek! Good thing I found a few darling ideas in this issue of Family Fun – including these grape tomato and cheese kabobs. They look easy, too. Super bonus.

{TWO} Real Simple: February 2015Real SimpleArt Caddy: Page 32Art CaddyOne of my favorite things about this magazine is the “new uses for old things” section. This issue didn’t disappoint. I love the idea of using a DVD case as an art caddy for the kiddos. I’m thinking this would be perfect for car rides.

{THREE} Pottery Barn Teen: Spring 2015Pottery Barn Teen, FebruaryBeautiful Bins: Page 27Pottery Barn BinsI don’t officially have teens in my house, but some days it feels that way. (#eightgoingoneighteen) Pottery Barn must know about these days, which is probably why they send me PB Teen catalogs. I will say, there are some seriously beautiful prints and patterns in this edition. You won’t find them in the regular PB magazine, either. These bins are one example. They’re just the right amount of color to jazz up any bookshelf.

{FOUR} Victoria: January/February 2015Victoria January/FebruaryDragonfly Floral: Page 42Dragonfly FloralThis issue was given to me by my mom, who is queen of all things magazine. She might be single-handedly keeping the U.S. Postal Service in business. When this beautiful issue of Victoria made its way over to my house, I practically drooled over this picture of Dragonfly Floral. If I ever own a flower shop, I want it to look just like this gorgeous place in Sonoma Valley, California. Please.

{FIVE} Athleta: February 2015AthletaComfy Clothes: Page 32AthletaLeave it to me to pick the most non-athletic piece of clothing in Athleta’s catalog to want to buy. There are certainly some amazing workout clothes from this store, but when I saw this outfit, I imagined how perfect it would be for pretty much every day of my life.

That’s it for my coffee table discoveries. I have some exciting things in store for next week. If you weren’t aware, National Doodle Day AND National Bubblegum Day are happening. I’m also going to visit my sister in Atlanta. It should be full of adventure, and I’ll be sure to share!

Have a “super” weekend hanging with all of your favorite people. I’ll be watching the big game with my family – and cheering for my favorite commercials. Of course, it will be after I read a few of my favorite blogs:

Fiveonfriday

Visit Darci, April, Natasha and Christina!

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And don’t forget Friday Confessions from Leslie!

Cheers and kisses!

-Kate

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It’s a Friday Wrap

Happy Friday!! Despite my son nearly breaking his wrist playing indoor soccer (x-rays came back clean, thank goodness), it’s been a pretty good week. The weather has been beautiful, so we’ve tried to play outside as much as possible – knowing wicked winter weather is bound to be on the heels of this warm spell.

With that, here are a few highlights from the week:

{ONE} Explored the outdoors of Crystal Bridges

Exploring Crystal Bridges

This is a quick pick of the girls resting their legs on a rock bridge that spans across a little creek. The day was absolutely gor-geous!

Crystal Bridges Museum is a wondrous place to visit whether you live here or ever plan to visit beautiful Northwest Arkansas. It has taken the art industry by storm with its all-American art collection. (I should be a docent for them or something.) Anyway, curving along the edges of the museum’s gorgeous landscape are several hiking trails, which are sprinkled with sculptures and other fun art displays.

Kids playing with art

This giant frame is found along the Tulip trail. Can you tell which famous pieces of art they’re portraying? (Answer guide: Scream, The Thinker, American Gothic) I should remember this for Halloween!

The kids were out of school on Monday, so we decided to spend the day hitting the trails. We also stopped for a few laughs, because we’re goofy like that.

{TWO} Jazzed up the door with decorFront door wreathOur front door has been naked ever since we removed the holiday decorations! It seems too early for a Valentine wreath, too. Sometimes transitions are hard. When I found this adorable wall hanging on sale at Hobby Lobby, I thought the laurel pattern felt kind of wreathy. I decided to hang it outside, tie a white burlap ribbon from the back hook, and add a bow for some pop. What do you think? Will this get me through until heart season?

{THREE} Started the paperwhite watch

Forcing paperwhite bulbs

Left: What I planted two weeks ago. Right: What it looks like today!

The indoors also felt a tad bland. I thought it would be fun to force paperwhite bulbs for some color – and life. I wasn’t exactly sure how long they’d take to bloom. I started two weeks ago and have been watching these suckers grow like crazy. The first blooms popped open Wednesday. It was like a little party in the vase.

I’m thinking about growing some to give as Valentine’s gifts. If you want to do the same, I’d recommend planting them by early next week so they bloom in time. I’d be happy to post a “how-to” on this if anyone is interested. Just comment to let me know.

{FOUR} Read about moments of grace

Small Victories by Anne Lamott

This is such a great book!

I received Anne Lamott’s latest book for Christmas and finally got around to reading it this past week. It’s a treasure. Her writing is hilarious, honest and spiritual. In fact, it would make a great Valentine gift for a friend if you’re looking for non-food items – other than the gorg paperwhites above. One of my favorite quotes from the book:

“…we stood outside an inner gate, showed our IDs to the guards, and got our hands stamped with fluorescent ink. “You don’t glow, you don’t go,” said one cheerful, pockmarked guard, which was the best spiritual advice I’d had in a long time.”

{FIVE} Caught up on my stash of cards

hallmark_logo

“When you care enough to send the very best.”

I’m still a fan of sending greeting cards – especially for family and close friends. Facebook is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I just like sending the very best when I can. And yes, Hallmark is my favorite greeting card company. They have some of the funniest, prettiest and poignant cards available, IMO.

Once a month, I like to take my list of birthdays and anniversaries and stock up. I use a perpetual calendar like the one pictured below to keep track. Definitely get one of these if you can!

Perepetual calendarWhile I was in the store stacking up for February, I pulled the last card from one of the slots and discovered this funny sign. I noticed there were others, too. I had to share.

Hallmark cards

There were several messages like these behind all of the cards. You know how much I love bunnies?! The top one made me laugh out loud.

That pretty much wraps the week. I’m off to make igneous rock out of Rice Krispies for Avery’s science class. #lifeofamom Have an incredible weekend. I have tons of fun in store for next week, so be sure to stop back by!

In the meantime, check out some amazing bloggers at Five on Friday.FiveonfridayYou can also see some honest, and sometimes hilarious Friday confessions at A Blonde Ambition.HeaderTrans_zpscb139c50<3 Kate

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