How to Have a Clean Home EVERY Day + Free Printable Checklist

a clean home every day |

One of the things I get asked about most is my cleaning schedule and regimen. I love having a clean home, and not just once a week, but every day. I can manage the rest of my life so much better when my house is clean and organized, and there's something about an orderly home that provides a more calming atmosphere. Everyone is just happier in a clean home, especially me! Over the years as we've added more children to our family, it's be come even more essential, because there are so many more people contributing to the mess and chaos. Years ago,  I developed a routine that has worked wonders for me, and I've loved it ever since. I'm going to share my secret with you today! It works, and … [Read more...]

{simply kierste’s top 10 of 2013 + a a new year’s blog hop GIVEAWAY}

Top Posts of 2013 |

Can you believe 2013 is almost over?   This was a great year for me, both at home (baby Caroline ♥) and here, with all of you! I hope you all know how much I appreciate you...thank you so much for all the support, encouragement, comments, and LOVE!  Just know it is returned, ten-fold! I love looking back at the most popular posts of the year--sometimes it surprises me, but many times they are some of my favorites too! I'm excited to share the top ten of 2013, PLUS...a super fun $50 Amazon Gift Card giveaway that you don't want to miss!  To make it even MORE fun, a bunch of my blogging buddies are also hosting $50 giveaways and featuring their top posts of the year. So, get comfy and have … [Read more...]

Favorite Family Games: ages 4-8

favorite family games |

 Our family loves games, and I'm going to share our favorites list with you today! These are tried and true--we've played them a million times, with five of our kids plus others, and they are ones we love, and play again and again. The ones I'm highlighting are most appropriate for ages 4-8.  Four of our children are in this age range (2 four year olds and 2 seven year olds), so we play a lot of games that work for this range. If you're looking for a great gift for your family or another family, games are a great way to go--it's fun spent together as a family, and can be played over and over again.  If you're looking for some fun games for your family, check out our favorites … [Read more...]

My Christmas Miracle

my christmas miracle |

Everything I was planning this past week pretty much went up in smoke when half of our family came down with strep throat or the flu--my husband and myself included.  It's been an interesting week to say the least, and as I've been juggling and rearranging items on my list to fit this unexpected and unfortunate timing of events, something else happened that caused me to really reflect on what Christmas means to me. A few weeks ago I ordered what I planned to be my little boys' main present, and was excited about getting free shipping, since it was very heavy, and would have been a fortune.  It was ground shipping, but guaranteed to get here in plenty of time for Christmas.  It arrived when … [Read more...]

{the holidays with bed bath & beyond}

bed bath and beyond holiday |

 This post brought to you by Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are 100% mine. ----- The holidays are such a wonderfully busy time!  I'm always looking for great ideas for holiday preparations, whether it's for guests coming to my home, entertaining, meals, parties, or learning new tips and techniques to make everything easier! Bed Bath & Beyond's Holiday Your Way is your destination for inspiration, ideas, and solutions throughout the holiday season, featuring delicious and creative recipes, entertaining tips and how-tos, and tons of holiday inspiration to create a "Holiday Your Way!" Each week, Bed Bath & Beyond will serve up freshly baked ideas and videos along with expert … [Read more...]

Guest Welcome Basket: FREE printable included!

guest welcome basket |

We LOVE having guests come, and we've been lucky to have quite a few people visit this past year. As part of their welcome, I like to leave them a Guest Welcome Basket in their room, on the bed, so they'll see it right away. It lets them know how glad we are that they are with us, and gives them a few comfort items for their "home away from home".  If you're having holiday guests this year (or anytime), consider putting together your own Guest Welcome Basket! I personalize for it each guest that comes, although some of the items remain the same, but I always add things that I know they love.  For a family that recently came, I stocked it with dark chocolate and fruit flavored water, since … [Read more...]

Merry Kissmas

merry kissmas |

Merry Kissmas! This is definitely an oldie, a goodie, and slightly cheesy--which is why we love it, right?  I adore Hershey Peppermint  Kisses, and they're so cute in their silver & red wrappers, that I just had to create a fun tag for them, and use them for gifts. And of course...I'm going to share it with you! It's so easy to put together! I just filled a milk bottle with kisses, printed and cut out the tag, then tied it on with bakers twine. You could also use mason jars, clear treat bags, takeout boxes--I like something clear, so you can see the kisses. This would be darling for hostess gifts, teacher gifts, neighbor gifts...and more! Or, if you're looking for an easy last minute … [Read more...]

{a LEGO holiday card}


 This post brought to you by LEGO. All opinions are 100% mine. ----- We are a LEGO family.  My husband loved them as a child, and then when we had our own family, then became a staple in our house as well. It's the only toy that has been under the tree every single Christmas since our family was started.  Our oldest was only 3 months old when he got his first set of duplos.  ☺ So...when we discovered that you could create a LEGO Minifigure Family holiday card, it was pretty exciting around here!  You're able to design each family member and choose from a variety of skin tones, facial expressions, hats, heads, and clothing.  There is Christmas themed outfits, career uniforms, and even … [Read more...]

Christmas Peppermint Striped Candlesticks

peppermint striped candlesticks |

Can you believe it is the 10th of December! Yikes, how did that happen?? Well, we're back with another amazing Blog Hop. Peppermint is definitely the flavor of the season and it is also our theme for the month. and since I'm a tad bit obsessed with all things peppermint, I was thrilled for this month! I made some darling Peppermint Striped Candlesticks, and I can't wait to share them with you! I really love the striped and polka dot pumpkins I made this fall, and I thought the stripes would be perfect for the peppermint theme, and to add to my Christmas decor.  I was right! I'm in LOVE with the red & white peppermint stripes! I made a set of three--a stripe, a plain white, and a … [Read more...]

FREE Chalkboard Christmas Card Templates…NO Photoshop Required!

christmas card template |

2014 UPDATED TEMPLATES ARE AVAILABLE HERE!!!! ----- Sending and receiving cards is one of my favorite things about the holiday season, and I love making them each year to send to our friends and family. Today I thought I would share some free Christmas Card templates in case you wanted to use them too!  And guess what...NO PHOTOSHOP REQUIRED!!  ☺  It's super easy, and I'm going to show you how! You'll need to head to Pic Monkey, which is a free online photo editor. This is seriously just a couple of steps people, EASY and CUTE! I'm going to use my cutey-cute sister's family as an example... FIRST: Download and save one of the free templates below, 1.  Head to, choose … [Read more...]