top 2015 projects | simply kierste

7 favorite bloggers share their TOP POSTS of 2015!

What a year! 2015 was very different than I expected it to be. I thought we would be in our house by now, but due to unforeseen circumstances well outside of our control, instead we are still very cozy in our little temporary apartment.  So much has happened to our family over the last twelve months, and while things have been really hard at times, I've come into 2016 feeling very grateful for all of the things that we do have. And...come summer of this year, Old Salt Farm will finally be built!

2015 was also a very different year for me when it came to blogging.  Because I wasn't in a home that we could decorate in any way, and because all of our things were (and still are) in storage, so many projects and ideas have been placed on the back burner, and I'm REALLY looking forward to tackling them in 2016.  I've missed that part of me--and I'll be so glad to have it back. That said, I was able to to try new projects this year that I might not have otherwise, and I learned to be more creative with the things I had around me.  I'm glad for that, and I'm so excited to present not only my top posts of 2015, but also the top posts of six other fabulous bloggers!

Favorite Bloggers' Top Posts of 2015 | simplykierste.com

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what I wish I knew with baby #1 | simplykierste.com

What I wish I knew with baby # 1…truths, tips, and ideas

Looking back over the years since I've had my first baby, there have been countless lessons learned, wisdom gained, and knowledge acquired--and I'm still learning.  There have so many times I've muttered to myself "I wish I knew that the first time!", and with some things, wondered why in the world no one ever filled me in beforehand!

So...I'm going to do that for you.  Six babies later, I'm sharing not only some of the truths I've learned, but also tips on some baby basics and advice for new moms, and maybe--hopefully-- you'll glean a little something that will help you on your motherhood journey. And while you're in the thick of it, you'll know that someone else has been there, and understands.

what I wish I knew with baby #1 | simplykierste.com

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DIY Striped Mason Jar Soap Pump | simplykierste.com

Striped mason jar soap pump…perfect for Halloween!

Did you know there is a super easy way to make and adorable mason jar soap pump?  I've made them in the past using vintage jars and soap pumps cut from plastic soap dispensers, and I love them still, but this way is just SO easy.  You can use a plain jar, which is always a classic choice, but I thought a fun black & white striped version would be perfect for Halloween!

DIY Striped Mason Jar Soap Pump | simplykierste.com

I love love LOVE it!  Isn't it too adorable?  Stripes are another one of my obsessions, so it was an easy choice.  How cute would this be, sitting on your kitchen counter or next to your bathroom sink?  I know!

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12 steps to change | simplykierste.com

12 Steps to Change

"You can judge them. You can ignore them. Or you can listen to them."

Odds are, addiction has touched your life in some way, either personally, or through a friend or family member.  There are many types of addiction, and each one can have a devastating effect on not only the addict, but also everyone they love and who love them. Millions of people in this world are living every day with the worry, heartache, and burden of addiction.

12 steps to change | simplykierste.com

On addictionrecovery.lds.org many people have shared their story, in hopes that it can help someone else.

Judith says:  "As long as I can remember, I have battled with an eating disorder. My disorder led to many health complications, so I went from doctor to doctor to find a quick fix. When one doctor diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia, pain medication became a part of my life and soon became an addiction. This addiction was a way of numbing the pain I had been hanging on to all my life.

After years of this lifestyle, I woke up one morning in the hospital because of a drug overdose. I was numb. My world was dark, and I felt alone and lost. This was not the way I wanted my life to go.

My adult son told me I needed help and I started to listen. I was lucky to find an amazing therapist who was familiar with the Addiction Recovery Program. She said I should try it out because if I didn’t get help for my addictions, I was going to die."

She went on to go through an addiction recovery plan and says

Aa a loved one of someone who has an addiction, there are so many emotions that come it.  TC wrote a letter to her younger self, after her husband had recovered from his addiction--it's a letter of hope, of encouragement, and permission to feel what she feels.

Here is an excerpt:

"So your world just came crashing down, didn’t it? Everything you thought was real in your life really wasn’t, huh? I bet you don’t know where to go from here, where to turn, who to trust. I bet you are feeling insecure, and scared, and unsure. I know what you are going through, and here are some things I want you to remember as you start this journey to healing. You are not alone. I don’t just mean that Heavenly Father and Jesus are there for you, because at times that might not feel like enough. What I mean is you are literally not alone. I know you feel like isolating yourself and hiding away, but please reach out, search, find, and talk to other women that are going (or have gone) through what you are facing right now.

This is not your fault. It is his addiction. These were his choices. You have nothing to do with this, and there is nothing you could go back and do “better” that would have prevented this. You are not the cause; therefore, you are not the solution. Don’t try to “fix” him by changing who you are. You can help him, and you can support him, but this is his battle, not yours. You have your own battle to fight now.

Let yourself feel. Don’t push away emotions that feel “wrong.” They aren’t wrong; feelings aren’t wrong. You will heal faster if you lean into the anger and if you lean into the pain. Find a therapist or a trusted friend whom you can share raw emotion with, because it’s okay to feel anger. You have been betrayed, and you have been hurt.

Lastly, take care of yourself. This sounds selfish, but it’s not. It is essential to healing your heart and your marriage. Your husband is incapable of taking care of you at this time, and even though he is responsible for this pain, he isn’t equipped to be there for you. I know this sounds scary and it makes no sense, but don’t worry; if he is truly in recovery, he will learn how to be there for you, and, eventually, he will be capable of filling the role of husband. In the meantime, you need to take care of you."

12 steps to change | simplykierste.com

For National Addiction Recovery Month in September, mormonchannel.org is releasing a series of 12 heartbreaking and incredibly personal & inspirational videos--12 stories, 12 people, 12 steps to change.  The series follows real people and their very real struggle to overcome their addiction, as well as their stories of hope, as they take steps to change their lives.

I hope you will spread this message by sharing it with those around you, that it might start a conversation, provide a glimmer of hope, and eventually, lead to a path to peace.

12 steps to change | simplykierste.com

For more information, please visit mormonchannel.org or addictionrecovery.lds.org. Join the conversation at #12stepstochange.

Vintage lemonade stand with reversible chalkboard sign | simplykierste.com

Vintage lemonade stand with reversible chalkboard sign

Making a lemonade stand has been on my list...pretty much forever.  The last few years we've been so transient that it wasn't really an option--with no where to store it and moves coming up.  Even though all of our things are in storage right now, we did keep out the chop saw so that we would be able to build things for our new house.  With summer parties and entertaining on the horizon, I decided it was time for a lemonade stand.  I'm calling it a lemonade stand just because I'm not sure what else to call it, and also because it makes it sound cuter, but it will mostly be used as a outside serving station. I added a few features, including a reversible chalkboard sign, and decided on a color that will make it perfect for all of my outdoor entertaining!!

Vintage lemonade stand with reversible chalkboard sign | simplykierste.com

Vintage lemonade stand with reversible chalkboard sign | simplykierste.com

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"Before you can play" summer chore chart | simplykierste.com

Save your sanity with a “before you can play” chore list!

Every summer morning I hear the words "can I play?", in one form or another.  They might be referring to going outside to play, having friends over, wanting me to take them somewhere, requesting screen time, or  any number of things that's on their agenda that day.  I got really tired of listing the things off that they needed to do before they could play (even though they already knew), that I decided to make things easier for not only myself, but for the kids too, by making a summer "before you can play" chore list.  I hung it on the fridge, and when they want to know if they can play, I just ask if they have everything done on the list! Love!

"Before you can play" summer chore chart | simplykierste.com

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An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | simplykierste.com

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements

I love making cute customized tags and stickers for different projects and gifts, and I've used Photoshop Elements (referred to as PSE from here on out) for many years to do just that. It's also a great photo editor, but even though I use different software for editing photos, I still love PSE for creating printables.  It's a pretty reasonable cost (affiliate link--you can download it on Amazon for $69), and there is just so much you can do with it! I love it, and use it often. I think it's one of the best values you can get for your money!

One of favorite things to do is to create circular text around the outside of my tag or sticker. I think it's SO cute!  It looks hard, but it really is so easy! In just a few steps, you can make your own text circle, and I'm going to show you how! Here's the one I whipped up for this example...it literally took me less than 10 minutes!  I'm currently using the most recent version of PSE, but I've used this technique for a long time, on much older versions--I think as far back as PSE 5 or 6--so hopefully if you have an older version you will be able to as well!

An easy way to create circular text in Photoshop Elements | 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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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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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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7 things I learned from being stranded in the airport | simplykierste.com

7 things I learned from being stranded in the airport with kids

Early last Wednesday morning I left for the airport with my three girls after spending a glorious week with my parents.  I had no idea that it would be a long two and a half days before we would finally get home. We happened to arrive at the Chicago airport just as a major storm was making its entrance, and due to a deadly tornado that was crossing the state, many flights needed to be delayed and cancelled. With no luggage, no way to get home, and three little girls counting on me, it was an experience I won't soon forget.

I've flown many times before, but I'd never even come close to being stranded. Somehow everything had always been very uneventful, so I had no idea what was in store for me, and ultimately, what I would learn from it.

7 things I learned from being stranded in the airport | simplykierste.com

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