{february silhouette promo & CAMEO GIVEAWAY!!!!}

I LOVE a good giveaway, and since my Silhouette Cameo is one of my favorite things, it's always so exciting to be able to give one away!  So...hang tight, there will be more info at the bottom of the post, where you can enter to WIN!!!

This month's Silhouette promo is one of my favorites...it's featuring The Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition Software, which is AMAZING.  It has so many extras compared to the basic software that comes with your machine, but one of the most exciting features is being able to open SVG files directly, import your own designs to the Silhouette library, and cut them! That opens up so many possibilities!

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the basic and designer editions of the software:

silhouette promo | simplykierste.com


{resolve to indulge with skinny cow…and a GIVEAWAY!!!}

This post is sponsored by Skinny Cow.  All opinions are 100% mine and mine alone.


This past week I received two packages in the mail that are right up there as the best packages ever. What was in it, you ask?  CANDY & ICE CREAM!!!  I told you!! It was fabulous. ☺  Skinny Cow sent me the yummiest treats to try, and the biggest thing I learned is that I should have hidden them a lot better.  ☺  My kids LOVED them, and amongst the conversation I heard things like "this is the best ice cream ever", and "I'm asking for this candy from Santa to be in my stocking".  Needless to say, it was all very popular with every member of our house, and we are definitely Skinny Cow fans!

 I've almost always had to watch what I eat pretty closely if I want to lose or maintain my weight, and over the past seven years I've had five kids--which means lots of gained weight over that time period. I've also lost a lot, but I'm still really trying to lose the very last of my baby weight from Caroline. I also have a major sweet tooth, and love treats, and these two facts don't always work well together.  Enter in Skinny Cow!  Their products have been some of my favorite go-to treats when I want something yummy, but don't want the calories or fat that usually come with it. I believe in living a healthy life, and to me that means indulging sometimes!

My favorite for a long time has been their ice cream sandwiches (mint is my favorite)--150 calories, only 2 grams of fat, and deeeee-licious.

skinny cow | simplykierste.com



favorite chapter books for girls | simplykierste.com

20 favorite chapter books for girls: ages 8-12

Oh, how I love to read, and have since I was a small child.  I was lucky to be surrounded by a lot of good books, and a mom that was willing to take me to the library.  A lot.  I've always been a fast reader, so those 10 books that I was allowed to check out on my junior library card only lasted a couple of  days during the summer.  I just couldn't get enough! The tooth fairy even brought books to our house instead of money--and I LOVED it. By the time I was nine or ten I had read dozens of the classics, and some of my favorite books were Little Women, David Copperfield, Jane Eyre, and Oliver Twist. That love of getting lost in a book has remained with me to this day, and I wish I could still curl up and read all day long--even just sometimes!

There are SO SO many good books, and as a young girl, I had my favorites. I read them over and over again, and still love them to this day.   My girls are now seven years old, and also love to read, and I'm just SO excited that I get to share all my favorites with them.  I have compiled a list of twenty of my favorite chapter books for girls, and several of them are actually a part of a series. I love when I  find a really good series, because I can stretch out my love of the character even farther!  These books are geared toward girls that are 8-12--some on the lower end of that range, and some toward the upper range.  My girls (age seven) started with Betsy & Tacy--one of my absolute favorites--and lower on the age range scale. They are all wonderful for independent reading, and if your child isn't quite ready to read these on their own, they all make excellent read-aloud books, perfect for bedtime reading, or anytime! Actually, even if they can read them on their own, it's still fun to read aloud...together.

favorite chapter books for girls | simplykierste.com


{three truths and a lie…about me!}

Okay, so I totally had something I was going to post today, but it just didn't happen.  The whole week and weekend it didn't happen! You know...craziness of life and all that, which I know all of you understand.  Yesterday my kids had the day off of school, and we had a great day playing with friends at the zoo, which was exactly what we all needed, and it still didn't happen.  So, I thought it would be fun to do something that I've wanted to do for awhile now--a little game most of you are probably familiar with, called Three Truths and a Lie. I thought it would be fun for you to get to know me a little better--after all, we're friends.  :)

 I'm going to post four statements...three will be true, and one won't. Leave your vote for which one is the lie in the comments section, and at the end of the week I'll give you the answer, along with the back stories.  Are you excited???!!!  :) See if you can guess!!! I can't wait to see what you think...

P.S.  If you are my friend in real life, and know the answer, don't give it away!!!

three truths | simplykierste.com


Barn door baby gate

Baby Caroline started crawling a couple of months ago--much earlier than I expected her to.  It's so funny--with my first baby, I couldn't wait for him to crawl and walk, but by now I realize that mobility comes at a price.  :)  We have stairs in our house, right in the kitchen area, and where we spend the majority of our time.  At the bottom of the stairs is tile, and if she fell, it would really not be good.  I want her to learn how to do stairs--I think it's important-but only if I'm right behind her to catch her.  So...it was time for a baby gate, and what could be cuter than one made from a barn door?

barn door baby gate | simplykierste.com


Heart Bunting Valentine Countdown

 It's the 10th of January and I am so excited to have our group of talented bloggers back for another blog hop! This month the theme is HEARTS and I just know you are going to love (no pun intended!) these projects that are sure to get your creativity flowing for Valentine's Day... which is just around the corner! I can't wait to show you one of our favorite family Valentine traditions...Heart Bunting Valentine Countdown!

heart bunting valentine countdown | simplykierste.com


{using a curtain rod to hang a bunting}

I love curtain rods. They are good for so many things in addition to actually hanging curtains! I use them along with curtain ring clips for all of kids' artwork in our reading room, I use one to hang Christmas stockings on the mantel, and I use them in my decor. It's the perfect and simple solution to hanging a bunting...just about anywhere! In the nursery, and in my girls' room, it looks adorable and is a darling focal point of the entire room. {LOVE}

curtain rod bunting | simplykierste.com


{a chalk paint review: kitchen stools makeover

Even though it's been around for a long time, chalk paint has especially been a trend for the past couple of years, and has been gaining in popularity around the blogosphere. As someone who paints a lot of furniture, I'd wanted to try it for a long time, but really wanted to wait for the perfect project to come along first. Finally, I found THE project.  Eight kitchen stools that belonged to our old dining table--the one before the lovely farmhouse table we use now--that I really wanted to use around our big island were just begging to be refinished.  Six of them would fit...perfect for our kids!

chalk paint review | simplykierste.com


{craft for kids: no-melt snowman in-a-jar}

Happy New Year to you!  It's Michelle from Chalkboardblue, and I'm excited to share with you a Craft for Kids that can be made to enjoy the month of January.   In fact, why not have a Snowman Building Party In Doors? It's much warmer inside and the best part is, these Snowmen won't melt!  Invite a couple friends over and let the fun begin.  To have an organized Snowman Build that will run smoothly, have all of your Snowman essentials ready to go in a Kit for each of the Party participants...a Snowman in-a-jar Snowman Kit!  Don't have time to host a party?   These kits can be made ahead of time and stored so when an inside day comes with nothing to do, here's a craft ready to go!!


{before & after laminate dresser makeover…drab to fab!}

We have been in dire need of dressers since we moved to Texas last year.  When we built our previous home, we had walk-in closets in every room with built-in drawers and shelves that completely eliminated the need for dressers.  Well--that wasn't the case in this house, and I've been trying to track down dressers for each room since we moved in.  A few weeks ago, someone gave me this dresser, and even though it wasn't my my style at all, I knew I could give it a dresser makeover and it would be just the thing for my girls' room.  Plus...it was free, and who can argue with that? I can make anything work if it's free!  ☺It happened to be a laminate surface, which is absolutely possible to paint and use--you just need to do it the right way!

Look at the before and after...

dresser before and after| simplykierste.com