Gluten Free School Lunch Ideas | simplykierste.com

Gluten-Free School Lunch Ideas

One of my girls was diagnosed with celiac disease a couple of years ago, and one of the hardest parts of going gluten-free is figuring out eating at school and in social situations.  We really are so fortunate now, because there are so many GF options in grocery stores, and even restaurants. Thirty years ago, my brother was diagnosed at  only 18 months old after nearly dying (Celiac Disease was not well known at that time). Back then there were extremely limited options, and the very few gluten-free products that did exist were horrible tasting.  So, when I'm feeling frustrated about a certain situation, I just remember how lucky we are. School has started or is starting soon, and that means school lunches! It can be hard to think of different ideas, and keep kids excited about what's in their lunch. I know there are others of you that are going through the same thing, and I thought I'd share some gluten-free school lunch ideas!

Gluten Free School Lunch Ideas | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

School Papers Storage | FREE PRINTABLES | simplykierste.com

School Paper Storage System

 School is almost in session around these parts, and it means that soon a plethora of papers will be heading my way.  Many of those are my kids' "treasures"--artwork, papers, pictures, and other keepsakes from their school years that I want to keep forever.  They can pile up really fast, and I'm excited to share with you my School Papers Storage system--one that I've used for many years to organize all those special papers!

School Papers Storage | FREE PRINTABLES | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

free back to school printables | simplykierste.com

Free Back to School Printables

Okay, you guys, it's MOVING week!! The movers are coming today, and we will be on our way to the lovely state of New York! We are all just so excited to get there, start exploring the area, and find out all about the kids' new schools. The first day of school is always exciting at our house, and I created a set of darling free Back to School printables to add to that fun first of school picture.

free back to school printables | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

picture abc books | simplykierste.com

Picture ABC Books

One of my absolute favorite things to make for my kids is Picture ABC Books. I make them each their very own book, and it is most definitely a treasured possession. In their book, each letter of the alphabet is represented by a picture of them or someone in our family, so it's not a only a great way to reinforce the ABC's, but also an adorable little mini scrapbook. This month is my twin boys' birthday, and it's their turn for this very special gift!

picture abc books | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

25+ Best Board Books | simplykierste.com

25+ BEST Board Books for Babies & Toddlers

I am an affiliate with Amazon. I have linked to these books for your convenience, and some of them are to Amazon. All opinions are 100% mine.

-----

When I found out we were expecting our first baby, the very first thing I bought was a board book. I love to read, and I couldn't wait to read to my own little one. Over the years we've added kids and board books to our family, and I'm excited to share our BEST board books with you!

25+ Best Board Books | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

Summer Hairstyles for Little Girls | simplykierste.com

10 Fun Summer Hairstyles for Little Girls!

I like to "do" my girls' hair everyday. It's a ritual for us--they each come into my bathroom, and we talk while I do their hair for the day. It's our time together, and one of my very favorite things. My girls have had short hair (a-line bobs) for most of their lives, so our routine has almost always included curling it or blowing it out. Recently one of my girls has decided to grow hers out for ballet--it needs to be longer so it's easier to put back in a ballet bun, and I think she prefers long hair. Her sister still loves short hair, and requests the same swing bob she's had since she was about a year old.

Here in Texas. the summers are HOT and HUMID, and whether you're hair is long or short, it just feels so much better to get it up and off your neck and away from your face. My girls have been asking for different ways to do their hair up, but since I really haven't "done" long hair before, I decided to go out and find some easy, quick summer hairstyles for little girls for both long and short hair. I found some darling styles I can't wait to try, and thought I would share them with you!

Summer Hairstyles for Little Girls | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

footprint stool | simplykierste.com

Footprint Stool

I made this footprint stool four years ago, not too long into my blogging career.  To this day, it has remained one of my most popular posts, and I have to say, it's one of my favorites too.  I decided to update the post for a couple of reasons, but it was definitely time for better pictures.  ☺ It's amazing what you learn in four years!  I also wanted to share it with my newer readers, especially with Mother's Day coming up. I absolutely love this stool, and now that I've had another baby, I'm trying to figure out how to fit another footprint on there!

footprint stool | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

Washi Tape Chore Chart

Families are a work in progress, aren't they?  It's all about trying to find what works--sometimes you hit it right on the head the first time, other times it takes a little bit of experimentation before it clicks.  When it comes to chore charts, I've been in that experiment stage for a little while, trying to find that one that "clicks".  What I've discovered is that we need EASY.  As in super easy. We also need it to be small, not take up too much space, have too many components, and not take very long to check things off.  When my kids get older, that may change, who knows, maybe we won't even need chore charts anymore, but for now...this is what's working.

washi tape chore chart | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

{how to buy brand name clothes for kids on a walmart budget}

As the mom of six kids, buying clothes can be EXPENSIVE!  I love finding and buying not only cute, but high-quality clothes that last, but I'm on a budget...as I'm sure you can all relate. Over the years I've figured out how to buy my favorite brand name clothes without breaking the bank.  It does take some work and planning, but it's totally possible.  I'm excited to share my strategies list, and hopefully it will help you save some money too! And before we continue--I have absolutely nothing against buying clothes from Walmart, nor am I saying that you shouldn't. I'm only using it for the purpose of comparing cost, since they are known for their low prices. Everyone has a different budget, but the strategies are the same. These are all things that I do on a regular basis, and they are all very straight forward, but they've worked wonders for me!

 brand name clothes on a walmart budget | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

favorite chapter books & series for boys | simplykierste.com

15 Favorite Chapter Books & Series For Boys {ages 8-12}

I posted my 20 of my favorite girls' chapter books a few weeks ago, and now I'm excited to share my favorite chapter books and series for boys!  It's most definitely not just for boys (nor is my girls list just for girls), but these are books that generally appeal to boys. This age range is vital for boys and reading--it can really set the tone for how they feel about books going forward. I think the key is to find a series or genre that they can get into, and often it will take a few tries until you find one that clicks. Whether they like adventure, action, mystery, or fantasy--it's on this list!!

favorite chapter books & series for boys | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

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

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

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

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

Striped growth chart

I have been wanting to make a growth chart FOREVER. Don't ask me why I haven't done it before now, but school is now in session, and fall is most definitely painting season! I love stripes, and I thought it would be a really fun way to divide the board into sections. I used our playroom colors, and I LOVE LOVE how it turned out!
striped growth chart | simplykierste.com

 

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!! XO

{do you have a family blog? tips to safeguard your family’s online photo safety}

I started writing a family blog many years ago, mostly to update my family and friends that lived far away with daily anecdotes and pictures of our family.  It soon took the place of my scrapbook, and I loved being able to write in so much detail, and include all of our favorite photos.  I started publishing them each year, and they are our treasures...our family history.

I use blogger, and I've always had it set to be "public", meaning anyone with the link could access and view it.  I never really figured that anyone besides my own family and friends would have any interest in it, and if it wasn't public, the feed wouldn't be available to be viewed in Google Reader, or any other reader (now that GR is gone).  I was also extremely careful about protecting our identity, because it was public.  I only used my kids' first names, never our last name (or even my first name), didn't mention specifics of our town, blacked out identifying signs--names of schools, teams, etc.--used a pseudonym, and even avoided any mention of our name in the url address or blog title.  I thought with all of that, we would be pretty safe.  I consider myself cautious, not paranoid, and recognize that while improbable, it was not impossible that someone could get on my blog and endanger my family's safety in some way.

As part of monitoring who was accessing my blog, I installed statcounter, and used it in addition to the stats on blogger. They have different functions and abilities, but they both were able to indicate who was reading.  Over the years, I checked less frequently, because there never seemed to be a problem, but just a couple of months ago, I was profoundly shocked by what I found.

online photo safety | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

{traveling with babies & toddlers…and oxo tot!}

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Oxo Tot. All opinions are 100% mine.

-----

When you travel with babies and toddlers, you pretty much have to take everything plus the kitchen sink. The trick is to make it feel like you aren't carrying them all with you!  I was lucky enough to try some new products by OXO Tot, and I'll tell you, I'm seriously in love!   Whether I'm just going around town, or on an extended trip, these diaper bag essentials have made a huge difference, and made my life so much easier! Our long trip is coming up soon, and it really was perfect timing for me...these items will most definitely be coming along with us! Several of these items will be released later in the summer, so you're getting a sneak peek at these new products!

If you're interested in trying these products for FREE, please check out OXO Tot's Facebook page and enter to win the travel products in this post!

-----

{Roll-Up Bib}

Okay, this might be my very favorite.  I LOVE LOVE this bib!  Caroline is 4 months old this week (CRAZY!!!), and starting to eat rice cereal.  Hello...messy!  This is my sixth baby, and I have to say, I've never found a bib I love until now.  I always tried to find one with a pocket that I liked, but even if it had one, it was flat to the bib, and did me no good. This fabulous bib has a packet that sticks out, and catches everything.  It's soft, can't be tugged off easily, wipes clean in a snap, and even rolls up to fit easily in your diaper bag. (available mid-July, www.diapers.com)

OXO Tot Roll Up Bib | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

nursery in a small space | simplykierste.com

{nursery in a small space}

Hello everyone!  How I've missed you!  I've spent the last three weeks snuggling this darling baby girl...

chubbers!Isn't she scrumptious? I seriously cannot stop kissing those chubby cheeks!

I'm slowly adjusting a new "normal", and life as mom of six kids.  SIX.  Yikes.  Doesn't that sound like a lot, lol?  My parents left last week, and my husband is back to work this week, so I'm on my own!  It's actually going pretty well, and I have A LOT of helpers at home to hold the baby and run to get things when I need them.

My project list is literally a mile long, and I've kind of gone crazy over the last week.  I really haven't been able to do much to our house since moving in 9 months ago, thanks to yucky morning sickness and being huge.  :)  Now we're getting ready to demolish the tile in our fireplace (yay!!!) and start on about five pieces of furniture.  I need another six hours in the day. Please???

Okay...on to today's post!

We bought this house just a month before we found we were expecting another baby, and had we known, we would have added just one more bedroom to the requirement list.   With all the bedrooms full, we needed to come up with a short term plan for the baby, until we could figure out a long term plan.  Fortunately we have a small sitting room off of our master bedroom, and after measuring it out, thought I could make it work.  Here's how I did it!

nursery in a small space | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!!! XO

{it’s baby time} baby subway art with eighteen25

Hello! It's Jennifer, Jamie and Jodie from eighteen25 here today. We are so excited for Kierste and her family as they welcome a new baby girl into their family. It's always such a special time to have a sweet newborn to snuggle and kiss on.

Today we want to share with you a Mini Baby Album. We've taken a miniature version of our Baby Subway Art and turned it into an adorable accordion album that will make a special keepsake for all those sweet smelling babies in your life.

ruffled burp rags | simply kierste

{DIY easy & adorable ruffled burp rags}

Yesterday I promised that I would post about the Silhouette project I was working on, and I'm excited to share it.  You all know that I'm about simple  details that can totally change the look of a project.  Well, today is a perfect example of that!  I purchased some plain white burp cloths, and wanted to "fancy them up" a little.  Using my Silhouette and sewing machine, and about an hour of time, I ended up with adorable ruffled burp rags!

ruffled burp rags | simplykierste.com

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING!! XO