Painted Flag Window | simplykierste.com

Easy painted flag window

I've been in withdrawals over the last year. Since we moved to New York, all of our things have been in storage while we build our house, including my collection of old windows.  I haven't ad a chance to go looking for more, so when a friend very kindly gave me a few of hers, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with one of them.  Making  a painted flag window has been on my list forever, and I want to use it not only for holiday decor, but on a regular basis in my home.  Not sure where yet...but somewhere!  It was super easy to do, and I LOVE it!

Painted Flag Window | simplykierste.com

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Summer Car Kit | simplykierste.com

How to put together a summer car kit + free printable!

Already the sunscreen and bug spray have come out of hibernation, and plans are being made to enjoy every single minute of the summer.  We're  on the go a lot during the summer months, whether it's a road trip, or just around town.  It means a lot of parks and outdoor activities and FUN!  With all that fun comes the inevitable, and odds are, I'm going to need something out of the car kit that I keep in my trunk. Preparedness is key! I change it up a bit for each season, and today I'm sharing the summer version, plus a super cute free printable!

Summer Car Kit | simplykierste.com

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Washi tape grocery container | simplykierste.com

Washi tape grocery bag containers

I re-use plastic grocery sacks for so many things--they are a hot commodity at our house! I save them and use them on a very regular basis not only in my house, but on the road.  I keep a bunch in the car so I'll have them when I need them, for any variety of reasons. Whether it's a pair of muddy shoes, wet clothes, a child that's sick, or a million other things, grocery bags regularly save the day! You can probably relate--there isn't much worse than a crazy mess when you're away from home, and being stuck without anything to wrap it up in (and perhaps contain the smell!) until you get home.  Empty Clorox wipes bottles make perfect grocery bag containers, and they make it so easy to pack them in the car, or even a diaper bag.  I decided to dress mine up with washi tape, and in literally 5 minutes, it was transformed.  Cute + functional + simple = my favorite combination!

Washi tape grocery container | simplykierste.com

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Pottery Barn inspired vintage lamp tutorial | simplykierste.com

Pottery Barn inspired vintage lamp

So excited to have Amanda from The Tale of an Ugly House here today, sharing this ADORABLE lamp!  
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My husband and I have recently been transitioning our son's room from a nursery to more of a big boy room. My son, Charlie has been over the moon to see all the new things coming into his room. One item that I just couldn't settle on was a lamp. I wasn't finding exactly what I was looking for when I went to the big box store. While flipping though a Pottery Barn Kids magazine one morning, I saw this adorable vintage truck lamp. Given that Charlie loves cars and trucks, it was perfect! The price however was not. $130 for a lamp for a two-year old was a bit much for me to spend. My mind immediately started brain storming. I remembered Hobby Lobby had a great selection of metal cars and trucks. So off to hobby Lobby I went!

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Cheap & easy DIY outdoor wooden blocks | simplykierste.com

Cheap & easy DIY outdoor wooden blocks

My husband and I are outside quite a bit building and working on different projects now that the weather is nice, and it's wonderful!   The kids will play outside in the yard while we're working, and one of the things they love to play with are all the wood scraps that we seem to have an endless supply of.  This past Saturday they were stacking the scraps, building towers, making roads, pretending all sorts of things, and even coloring them with their sidewalk chalk.  It kept them busy for a long time, and they were having a ball.  I decided to make them their own permanent set of outdoor wooden blocks to keep outside all the time, knowing they would be a huge hit this summer.  We LOVE them!

Cheap & easy DIY outdoor wooden blocks | simplykierste.com

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Awesome DIY Backyard ideas for Kids | simplykierste.com

DIY Backyard Ideas for Kids

Summer is almost here, and we can't wait.  We are definitely on the countdown!  One of the best things about our little apartment is that it has a great yard, and so being here through the summer while our house is being built means that we'll still have plenty of room for the kids to run and play.  However...there isn't anything out there right now, so I've been on the hunt recently for some really great backyard ideas that I could make for not only our yard now, but also for when we move into our house.

I love that my kids love to be outside, and I want to do everything I can to encourage that.  Exploring, creating, playing, running, jumping, climbing---that's what summer is meant to be! I want less time on electronics and more time outside, so providing really fun activities outside is high on my priority list.

As I searched, I gathered some of my favorite backyard ideas for kids, and I wanted to share what I found with you!

Awesome DIY Backyard ideas for Kids | simplykierste.com

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Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies | simplykierste.com

Chocolate Sprinkle Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi, this is Kara, and I'm excited to share a yummy treat with you today! Cookies are one of my favorite treats to bake. They are simple to make, ready in a few minutes, and loved by everyone. Who can resist a homemade cookie warm from the oven? Chocolate chip cookies are a great standby, but sometimes I like to add something to them to add a little pizzazz.

I love adding different types of nuts and coconut for my family, but when baking for others I worry about food allergies. I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with chocolate sprinkles in one of my cookbooks, and I knew I just had to give it a try.
Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies

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8 Easy Patriotic Ideas & Projects | simplykierste.com

8 easy patriotic ideas & projects

How I love every patriotic holiday!  They are my favorite, and I absolutely adore celebrating them in every way, including decor, yummy food, cute things for my kids to wear...all of it!  I'm also into simple, and my favorite projects are those that don't take a lot of time, but look like they did. :)  I've gathered 8 of my most favorite patriotic ideas & projects that I've posted over the years, and put them all in one spot, just for you!

8 Easy Patriotic Ideas & Projects | simplykierste.com

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Polka Dot Pail Flower Planter | simplykierste.com

Polka dot pail flower planter

So... the bad news first.  We thought the house we're building would be finished to move in this summer, but it's now going to be at least the end of September.  There is some good news though!  Even though our temporary apartment is tiny, we're lucky enough to have a good-sized yard that will help keep all my kids entertained all summer.  That also means that although I can't plant flowers in the ground, I can put out some cute planters.  Since I'm kind of obsessed with pails, I thought they would be perfect planters for our picnic table and patio.  They were super easy to make, and I love how they turned out!!

polka dot pail planter | simplykierste.com

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DIY Ampersand Sign & Tutorial | simplykierste.com

DIY ampersand sign tutorial

Hello! It's Jes from Mommy Envy and I'm back and sharing this easy DIY ampersand sign tutorial with you! Lately I've been obsessed with black and white home decor. I love how classy it looks. Black and white can be rustic, modern, or just about anything you want it to be!

DIY Ampersand sign tutorial

This sign came together really nicely and I was surprise how easy it was. I am in a couple Facebook groups of people who share their vinyl projects. I joined them to get ideas but it has been a motivator to use my machine more. Here's my step by step tutorial on making this wooden sign.

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Teacher Gift Card Holder | FREE printable | simplykierste.com

Easy & adorable teacher gift card holder

I've done a lot of different things for my kids' teachers over the years, but no matter what I give, I almost always tuck in a gift card.  Whether it's to Target, Staples, or even our local education store, I know that's what teachers want...and need.  I'm still amazed and so appreciative of how much of their own money they spend on their kids and classrooms, and it's my hope to help just a little by showing my gratitude with a gift card.

I created a super cute {free} teacher gift card holder that's perfect for any gift card! You can get it from any store, for any amount, and tuck it right inside for the fabulous teacher(s) in your child's life.  Yes, they hit the mark this year!!!

Teacher Gift Card Holder | FREE printable | simplykierste.com

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Keep your summers organized with the printable 2015 Summer Schedule | free printable | simplykierste.com

Make your summer easier with a printable summer schedule & calendar 2015

I have been receiving comments and emails about if and when I would be posting a 2015 Summer Schedule, and it totally took me off guard, because we still have two months of school left.  So for all of you lucky ducks that get out in May, I thought I should get this posted now!

Keep your summers organized with the printable 2015 Summer Schedule | free printable | simplykierste.com

I LOVE having this spreadsheet for our summer schedule, and after using it for several years, I can't imagine a summer without it. There is always so much going on--concerts in the park, park days, library story times, ball games----and while we're not going to go to every single one of them, I want to know when they are in case we can go.  There just isn't room on my regular calendar for all of that information, plus when you adding swimming lessons, vacations, and summer camps, it's really ridiculous.

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Irresistible Fudgy Brownies | simplykierste.com

Irresistible fudgy brownies recipe

When I was growing up, I didn't like chocolate.  I have no idea what I could have possibly been thinking (or not thinking), because now a big fat brownie with vanilla ice cream is just about my favorite thing ever.  Now I probably like it too much!  Maybe it's when I had my first baby when everything changed? I don't know, but I'm so glad it did. because I can't imagine my life without chocolate!

This lovely recipe came into my life years ago, at a flute concert for one of my piano students.  They had these fantastic brownies at the reception afterward, and I didn't leave before writing down the recipe.   I don't know how I overlooked it, but somehow I didn't make them again until just a few weeks ago.  We have made them at least 10 times since then, and I'm sure it won't be too long before we make them again. They are THAT good.

Rich.  Fudgy.  Divine.

Irresistible Fudgy Brownies | simplykierste.com

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The World's Best Supermom Letter | simplykierste.com

The World’s Best Supermom Letter!

Hi everyone! It's Kiki from Kiki and Company back to share a new printable with you for this month. After designing and getting this printable ready, I realized that I made a letter for you last month, so NEXT month I PROMISE to give you something else! haha. I LOVE celebrating moms and motherhood. As the 3rd of 5 children myself, helping my mom to realize the great impact she has had in my life is so important to me. As a mother of 5 children, I also LOVE hearing from each of my kids on Mother's Day. Today, I will make that a little bit easier with a letter to the World's Best Supermom (that's you)!
The World's Best Supermom Letter for Mother's Day

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Puddle Jumpers | simplykierste.com

My favorite way to keep kids safe in the water: Puddle Jumpers!

 This post brought to you by Stearns Puddle Jumpers®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Simply Kierste.

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All of my children enjoy being in the water, but one in particular would actually live in it if he could, and has absolutely loved it since he was tiny.  At that young age, he also had no fear (still doesn't), and none of the ramifications that came with it (including nearly giving me a heart attack on more than occasion).  From early on, I knew I needed to find a flotation device that would not only keep him safe, but allow him to enjoy the water he loved so much.

I remember the first time I saw a Stearns Puddle Jumper.  We were at the pool, and I saw a child wearing one. I thought it could be the answer, and I practically chased the poor mom down to interrogate her about what it was, what it did, and where I could get it.  I went straight home to buy it, and they've been a part of our summers ever since.

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