Favorite Toys List | simplykierste.com

Favorite Toys List

This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are 100% mine.

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Christmas is on its way, and the talk of Christmas toys and gifts is rampant at our house.  I've made my lists, and shopping has commenced! We tend to invest in classic toys, and add to the collection over the years...like Legos, Lincoln Logs,  blocks, and art supplies.  They last for a long time, in terms of both quality and age level.  Love that! Many of them are also gender neutral, because my kids like the same things, and play all together a lot.  I've made a list of some of our favorite toys, and others that top our Christmas list this year!  If you're looking for some ideas, I hope these help!  Age range:  4-10, with a few sprinkled in for a little younger.  

Favorite Toys List | simplykierste.com

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Burlap Sack Place Cards | simplykierste.com

Burlap Sack Place Cards

 Burlap Bags are not only totally adorable for gift-giving, but they work perfectly as place cards and tableware holders too!

Burlap Bag Place Cards | simplykierste.com

I wanted something simple but elegant for our Thanksgiving table this year, and these Burlap Bags were just the thing!  Not only can I use them as place cards, but as tableware holders as well!  I love the practicality and easiness.

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Snowball Cookies | simplykierste.com

Snowball Cookies

It's the 10th of the month...another fun blog hop today, with a SNOW theme!

 When I was growing up, every Christmas we would receive an eagerly anticipated package from my grandmother.  It was packed full with all of her famous Christmas cookies and treats, and we couldn't wait to get them.  Snowball Cookies were always included, and they've long been one of my favorites.  This classic shortbread cookie is rich, buttery, melts in your mouth, and is the perfect addition to your holiday baking!

Snowball Cookies | simplykierste.com

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Glidden® DUO® Paint and Primer Interior Satin

Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden…AFTER!

This post is sponsored by the Glidden brand paint for PPG, but all opinions are 100% mine.

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I am in love.

Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden | simplykierste.com

 I'm so happy I went with the red! (Glidden's Red Delicious...Read more about my decision.) That pop of color makes such a huge difference in my kitchen, and I can't stop staring at it.  I love how it completely changes the look of the room, and the whole space (it's connected to the dining and family rooms).  Being in a rental can be frustrating when you can't paint walls, but freshening, brightening, and adding pops of color with paint isn't off limits!

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

25 Days of Family Christmas Activities | simplykierste.com

25 Days of Family Christmas Activities

This is a vintage post that I couldn't help re-sharing.  We love counting down to Christmas with family activities--it's the highlight of the season!

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The best part of Christmas isn't Christmas morning.  Don't get me wrong--I absolutely love the magic of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, and seeing the joy in my children's faces as they tiptoe down the stairs, see the tree lit with all the presents underneath it, peek into their stockings for the first time, and open that one gift that they've been praying for (and that I've been dying to give them).  For me, it's everything that leads up to that morning--all the wrapping, shopping, decorating, baking, reading, light-seeing, concerts, plays, parties, craft-making, snuggly movie & popcorn nights, secret santa runs, visits with family & friends, and more.  I love the journey as much as or more than the destination, and I love how it brings out little family closer and establishes much-loved traditions.

25 Days of Family Christmas Activities | simplykierste.com

You all know I love advent calendars, and one of my favorites ways to count down the first 25 days of December is with a fun family activity each day. It doesn't have to be fancy, cost a lot of money, or take a lot of time to prepare--sometimes the most most simply activities are the best ones! My kids absolutely love this, and they look forward to each morning when they find out what we'll be doing that day. Many of these things very likely are activities your family will be doing anyway, but planning it out, and making it a surprise changes everything!

Crunched for time? To help make it easier,  I've compiled a list of some of our favorites, and ones that I plan to include this year for our family. In addition, I  included some general labels, that might be easier to fit more families' needs--i.e. "attend concert or play" or "attend party".  I also created a printable sheet of labels--one activity per label--that you can either print on labels, or on cardstock.  If you use the labels, you can mat them on cardstock or scrapbook paper and cut them out.  If you print them on cardstock, just cut them out!

You can place them in special envelopes or in another advent, or even write it on a family chalkboard or whiteboard for all to see each morning. I plan to use mine in the paper sack advent I posted about last week...and I'm SO excited!!!

1. Act out the Nativity & read the Christmas story
2. Make homemade hot chocolate
3. Christmas movies & popcorn
4. Make & decorate sugar cookies
5. Go Christmas shopping as a family
6. Drive to see Christmas lights
7. Go ice skating
8. Have snowman pancakes for dinner!
9. Make paper snowflakes & hang in windows
10. Write letters to Santa
11. Deliver treats to neighbors & friends
12. Make& decorate gingerbread houses
13. Invite friends over for a Christmas sing-a-long!
14. Baking Day!
15. Visit Santa
16. Deliver treats to local fire stations
17. See the Nutcracker ballet
18.  Go for a winter walk
19.  Stuff & stamp Christmas cards
20.  Gather friends to go Christmas caroling at a local nursing home
21. Make Christmas crafts
22. Make a snowman (inside OR outside!)
23. Family Game Night!
24. Make reindeer food!
25. Secret Santa night
26. Attend Christmas concert, play, or performance
27. Decorate Christmas tree
28. Go to library and check out Christmas books
29. Attend Christmas party
30. Make handmade ornaments

To download the Word file to print as labels (Avery 15160, 1 x 2.63 or compatible) :  HERE

To download the PDF file to print on cardstock: click HERE

To download the psd file for photoshop, so you can create your own images:  click HERE 

Merry Christmas, and Happy Countdown!!!

31 Cheesy, Easy & Adorable Neighbor Gift Ideas | simplykierste.com

31 Cheesy, Easy, & Adorable Neighbor Gift Ideas

Looking for neighbor gift ideas? Have I got a list for you! My mom passed this list on to me years ago, and since it was an old, typewritten copy, I thought it was time it came into the digital age.  :) I love how cheesy these ideas are, but they are also super fun and easy. I remember quite a few from my growing up years, so they also bring back a lot of memories. If you're looking for something that you don't have to bake, there are some really great ideas on here!

31 Cheesy, Easy & Adorable Neighbor Gift Ideas | simplykierste.com

I LOVE the Chex one......

  1. M&M's: Have a Merry & Most Wonderful Christmas!
  2. Soup or soup mix: Wishing you a "Souper" Holiday Season!
  3. Frozen or ready-to-bake pizza: Warm up to a wonderful holiday season, "topped" with Christmas cheer! OR...Hope your holiday has a lot of "pizza-az"!
  4. Apples & Hershey's hugs: A teacher can't live by apples alone...she needs hugs too!
  5. Popcorn balls: Here's hoping you have a "ball" this year!
  6. Loaf of bread: For being there when you were "kneaded", for "rising" to the occasion, large or small. For never "loafing" on the job, for helping others to "heel". No matter how you "slice" it, you do a terrific job. Merry Christmas!
  7. Jolly Ranchers: Have a Holly "Jolly" Christmas!
  8. Root beer: We're "rooting" for you to have a wonderful holiday season!
  9. Chex mix: Remember, Santa "Chex" his list twice! Happy Holidays!
  10. Nuts: We're "nuts" about you! Merry Christmas!
  11. Measuring cup (filled with candy): Wishing you joy beyond measure!
  12. Cinnamon & Sugar (or cookie sprinkles), in a cute jar: May your Christmas be sprinkled with laughter and love--Merry Christmas!
  13. Salsa: Adding a little "spice" to your holidays!
  14. Seasoning Mix: "Seasoned" with love--Merry Christmas! Or "Seasons" Greetings!
  15. Sprite: May your Christmas be Merry & Sprite!
  16. Soda Pop: I'd "soda" like to wish you a Merry Christmas!
  17. Mints: Friends like you are worth a mint! OR We were "mint" to be friends!
  18. Grater & Cheese: To a "grate" neighbor--Happy Holidays!
  19. Bear-shaped Honey: Have a "beary" sweet Christmas!
  20. Christmas-shaped Pasta (or any pasta & sauce): Have a "pasta-tively" happy holiday!
  21. Jam: Hoping you have a holiday "jam-packed" with fun!
  22. Cookie Dough: Here's a little extra "dough" for Christmas! or Everyone needs a little extra "dough" for Christmas!
  23. Divinity: May your holiday be divine!
  24. Toffee or Brittle: Any way you "break it", we're think you're the greatest!
  25. Apple anything (pie, muffins, bread, cobbler, or apples): You're the "apple' of our eye! Merry Christmas!
  26. Banana bread: We love you a whole bunch!
  27. Cupcakes: You take the cake! Merry Christmas!
  28. Carrot cake: We "carrot" a lot about you!
  29. Oranges: "Orange" you glad we're friends? I am!
  30. Sparkling Cider: Wishing you a sparkling holiday season!
  31. Set of thank you notes: We're so thankful for you!.....

And one more that I love, and have done several times...Snowman Soup!  I've created free printables for download!

Snowman Soup | free printable | simplykierste.com

Do you have a fun idea? Please share--and link it up here, or leave me a comment!

Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden | simplykierste.com

Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden: BEFORE

This post is sponsored by  the Glidden brand paint for PPG, but all opinions are 100% mine.

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We moved to New York from Texas just a little over two months ago, and since we were planning to build a home, we moved into a rental duplex and put pretty much everything we owned into storage.  Even though we aren't going to be here too long, I kept out a few things to decorate with, and to make it feel like home. Sometimes it's hard living in a rental, when you can't make any changes, or paint any walls, and even if you could, spending money on something temporary isn't what you want to do.  I feel that way about my kitchen. It isn't bad...just really white.  Everything.  The cabinets, floor, and appliances are all very white.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love the clean, crisp feeling of white, but with no contrast, it's just too stark.

 The good thing is, there's a way to brighten up any space with paint, even if it's not on the walls! Painting a piece of furniture adds a pop of color and even a focal point to any room.  I have decided to makeover the stools (also white) in my kitchen, and give them a pop of color.   Once we move, I'll still be able to use them in our new home, so it won't be waste of time or money to re-do them.

 Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden | simplykierste.com

Project decided...now what color? What a dilemma!  Thankfully, there are some really awesome resources out there to help me (and you!) choose the perfect color.  Glidden has Color Palette pages that make the color selection process so much easier!

http://www.glidden.com/Color/Paint-Colors

Then there's Color 101 at My Colortopia. There's a whole team that's there to help you figure out exactly what you want, and what will look best in your home.  I LOVE that.  You know you want gray, but what color gray? There are just too many to choose from, and it can seem overwhelming when you're trying to decide.  Or maybe you aren't sure which color, and you're looking for inspiration?  Either way, they can help.

For me, I was torn between two different colors. I'm a red girl, through and through, and always have been.  Have you ever taken the Color Code Personality Test? Yep, I'm a red.  I have loved red for as long as I can remember, and have always used it in my home. My kitchen has some red accents in it already, and it's a great color that immediately adds a punch.  But...I love gray too, and thought maybe a color, but not too much color might be better.  I went back and forth. And back and forth.  And back and forth. I used both the Color Palette and Color 101 to help me come up with my favorite shades of both red and gray, and they were incredibly helpful as I pinpointed which ones I would use...if I could decide.

Finally, I went with my gut.  That's always best.

What color?

RED!!  I went with Glidden Red Delicious, and I think it's going to be perfect.

Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden | simplykierste.com

 Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden | simplykierste.com

Can't wait to show you the final product, and my Kitchen Stools Makeover!

Halloween Don't Eat Pete | simplykierste.com

Halloween Don’t Eat Pete

Don't Eat Pete is one of our most favorite family games...EVER.  We play it quite often for family night, and I thought it would be fun to create a fun Halloween version!

Halloween Don't Eat Pete | simplykierste.com

If you're looking for a fun and easy classroom party idea, this is one for your list!  Kids of all ages love this, making it perfect for any grade. With very little prep, it also makes it an easy choice. Whether it's for home or school, it's very popular with anyone who plays!

Here's how it works:

(Print the file below, the laminate for best results. You'll also need a bag of Halloween candy, like Skittles, M&M's, marshmallows, or other small candy.)

1. Have all the players sit around in a circle around the "board". Place a piece of candy on each picture (not the words or arrows).

2. The first player will turn his back to the group, while everyone else decides and quietly points to which picture will be "Pete".  When it's been decided, the player turns around.  They point from picture to picture, trying to avoid "Pete". Each one they guess that's not "Pete", they get to keep that candy. Once you they point to the image everyone has chosen, their turn ends, and everyone says, "DON'T EAT PETE"!!!

Play as many rounds as you like!

DOWNLOAD:

Halloween Don't Eat Pete, PDF

The Best Apple Crisp | simplykierste.com

The Best Apple Crisp

One of my husband's most favorite desserts is Apple Crisp. So, as the very good wife that I am, I spent years searching for the best recipe I could find, with the focus being on that yummy, crumbly topping, which is what I think the whole point of having Apple Crisp is.  :)  And you know what?  I found it.  Several years ago, I tried this recipe, and I've never gone back.  It really is The Best Apple Crisp! 

The Best Apple Crisp | simplykierste.com

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Gluten Free Halloween Candy | simplykierste.com

Gluten Free Halloween Candy

 One week until Halloween!  Eeek!  We are so excited at our house, and my five year old boys ask at least ten times every day how many more days until Halloween arrives! The costumes and the candy....oh, the candy. I have a little girl with Celiac Disease and can't have gluten, so being aware of the gluten free Halloween candy  is really important.

Gluten Free Halloween Candy  | simplykierste.com

I've read through several gluten-free and Celiac dedicated sites, because they always post candy information about this time of year. I was able to compile a list of popular Halloween candy that is listed by their manufacturers as gluten-free, which will be very helpful when all that candy comes home! If you are also looking for candy that's gluten-free, hopefully this list will help you as well.

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

holiday shopping deals of the week | simplykierste.com

Holiday Shopping Deals of the Week!

This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are 100% mine and mine alone.

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I like to start my holiday shopping early.  Don't get me wrong..there are usually a few gifts that I'm buying the day or two before Christmas, but for the most part, I like giving myself plenty of time. I also love shopping online and taking advantages of holiday shopping deals and bargains, all in the comfort of my own home.  Pajamas?  Check.  Mug of Hot Chocolate?  Check.  Cozy blanket?  Check.  As a blogger, I'm lucky enough to hear about great shopping deals, and since I love to share info with you, my lovely readers, I'm passing them along! Some of the  holiday shopping deals of the week...

holiday shopping deals of the week | simplykierste.com

Target:

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Easy & Spooky Halloween Meals | simplykierste.com

10 Spooky & Easy Halloween Dinner Ideas

Halloween night is one of the most fun nights of the year, and one our whole family looks forward to.  Costumes, trick-or-treating, friends, and food!!  I love to make something fun for Halloween dinner, but it has to be pretty quick and easy.  Usually the day includes dashing from one school classroom to another, costume parades, and other Halloween activities, so it doesn't leave a whole lot of prep time. This year I was on the hunt for some fun, easy, and quick Halloween dinner ideas, and I wanted to pass them on to you!

Easy & Spooky Halloween Meals  | simplykierste.com

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Paint Can Trick-or-Treat Buckets | simplykierste.com

Paint Can Trick-or-Treat Buckets

Remember how I told you everything we have (minus the basics) is in storage?  That means all of our Halloween stuff, including the trick-or-treat buckets.  The kids were pretty concerned about what they would put all of their candy in, so, it was time to make new ones!  I was going to use pails--because I'm seriously obsessed with them, and use them for everything--but when I was in the paint aisle at Home Depot and saw the paint cans, I thought they would be perfect, and so fun!

Paint Can Trick-or-Treat Buckets | simplykierste.com

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Holiday Hot List Giveaway WINNERS!!!

We have Holiday Hot List Giveaway WINNERS!!!  CONGRATS, and a huge thank you to everyone who entered.

Sharon Perkins Bottini
Won the $200 Apple Gift Card

Angie Snyder
Won the Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack

Nichole Lee Richins
Won the $100 Disney Gift Card

Contact Mariel at [email protected] to claim your prize within 48 hours, or we'll need to select a new winner.

 

Meet the Mormons | simplykierste.com

Meet the Mormons…Meet Me!

Meet These Mormons | simplykierste.com

Today you're going to learn a little more about me--the girl behind the blog :) One thing you may not know is that I'm a Mormon--I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.   I'm excited to team up with over 65+ blogger friends that are also Mormons, to extend an invitation to see a film entitled "Meet The Mormons".  You may have wondered who the Mormons are, and what we're all about, and this film is an honest look addressing that very thing.  If you've been curious, and just want to know what makes us tick, this is a movie for you!

This film is not meant to be an "in your face" /you must join our church film. It is simply designed and produced to uplift and inspire you through six stories of those of our faith who have followed promptings to follow Christ more fully in their lives. We hope you take the opportunity to enjoy this film. We hope your hearts are made light as you feel the goodness that comes from following our Christ and Savior. All proceeds from the film will be donated to The American Red Cross. So not only will you be uplifted and inspired, your money will be going to an amazing charity!!

Meet the Mormons | simplykierste.com

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Pumpkin Crumb Cake | simplykierste.com

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

It’s the 10th of the month which means another fabulous themed roundup from this talented bunch of bloggers! This month’s theme is pumpkin– recipes, crafts, and more. I love seeing how each blogger takes the theme and runs with it, and this month is no different. After you check out my Pumpkin Crumb Cake, be sure to check out what everyone else is sharing as well!

Okay, so I'm totally admitting to you that pumpkin is usually not my favorite--pumpkin pie I just can't do.  But...this Pumpkin Crumb Cake is so yummy, that even if you're not a pumpkin fan, if anything will change your mind, this will!  If you already love pumpkin, then this is a must-try!

Pumpkin Crumb Cake | simplykierste.com

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halloween tags | free printable | simplykierste.com

Halloween Tags {Free Printable}

We are a popcorn family, and love it pretty much every way you can think of.  When I came across black melting wafers by Wilton on my last trip to the store, I knew they would be perfect for a fun & spooky Halloween popcorn treat!  This popcorn is yummy for snacking on at home, but it's also perfect to wrap up and give away.  Add one of these darling free Halloween tags, and you've got a fun and super easy Halloween gift!

Spooky Halloween Popcorn & Free Printable Halloween Tags | simplykierste.com

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