Cheap & easy DIY outdoor wooden blocks

Cheap & easy DIY outdoor wooden blocks | simplykierste.com

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 use all of our scrap wood and make them their own permanent set of outdoor wooden blocks to keep outside all the time, knowing they would be a huge … [Read more...]

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

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

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! 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 … [Read more...]

20+ best tips, tricks & ideas for flying with a toddler

20+ Best Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Flying with a Toddler | simplykierste.com

Flying with a toddler?  Try these tips, tricks and ideas to make your trip easier! I recently took my newly-turned two year little girl on her first plane ride. She joined her sisters and me for a girls' trip out west, and none of us could wait to go!  I've flown plenty of times before, but it had been awhile since I had a toddler with me since now there are eight of us, we do most of our family traveling by car. I think toddlers are in general the hardest age to travel with, but especially flying.  Not that they aren't perfectly adorable in every way, but they are at a age where they want to be down, running, and moving, and a plane is probably the most limiting.  When you're in a … [Read more...]

15 Fun & Fabulous Popcorn Recipes

15 Fun & Fabulous Popcorn Recipes | simplykierste.com

It's no secret that our family loves popcorn.  Really, it's more of an obsession.  It's almost a daily occurrence at our house, and it's been a long time since I haven't heard "can we have popcorn?". My oldest son might actually totally survive on popcorn alone, he eats so much of it! We add butter and salt most often, but I also love to create and try new popcorn recipes too.  Popcorn is really the perfect snack and even dessert! It's wonderful for parties, at home with family, serving to company, as an after school snack, taking to the classroom, dressing up for holidays, packaging up as gifts, and...what movie night is complete without popcorn? So, I gathered some of the ones I love the … [Read more...]

Picking Berries, Making Jam, and Summer Family Fun!

picking berries, making jam, summer family fun | simplykierste.com

Our summer days always include reading.  I don't think a day passes that we haven't sat down and read together, and I love that we aren't feeling the hustle and bustle of a typical school day afternoon.  We also love to have adventures together, and sometimes the two go hand-in-hand.  A couple of weeks ago I posted on Paging Supermom (as part of their Books Alive series) about how the two are combined!  Reading + Adventures (outdoors and in the kitchen) = Summer Family Fun!  They are simple ideas, but those are the best kind!  ☺ Our family is in LOVE with the Frances books by Russell Hoban. That Frances is such a character, and we laugh so hard at all of her adventures...or misadventures.  … [Read more...]

Summer Playlists for Kids & Families

summer playlist for kids | simplykierste.com

Isn't everything more fun with music?  At our house, you can usually find us rocking out to our favorite tunes while we do the dishes, make dinner, drive in the car, or just because!  Summertime means even more time together, whether it's at home hanging out or on the road, and a Summer Playlist is a super fun way to enjoy that time together! I'm a huge fan of playlists.  All of the holidays, seasons, girls' trips, races, and pretty much any party are all great reasons to create one, and summertime is no different! Everything is more fun with music.  ☺ Summer Playlists for Kids is one for the bucket list!  I just created our Summer 2014 Playlist as a surprise for my kids, and I'm so … [Read more...]

Raspberry Pretzel Bars

Raspberry Pretzel Bars | simplykierste.com

Raspberry Pretzel Bars are one of my favorite things on earth.  How can you beat a buttery, pretzel-y crust, smothered in a scrumptious cream cheese center, and topped with raspberries and raspberry Jell-O?  You really can't.  Plus, it's red and white, which makes it very appropriate for 4th of July and patriotic festivities! I'm really sentimental about this recipe.  One of my closest friends gave me this recipe, and it's one that she often brought over (that I begged her to make) to our BBQs and picnics. I miss her like crazy, and I love thinking of her every time I make this. These are REALLY easy to make, but it's a process.  Each layer needs to be refrigerated before adding the next … [Read more...]

Don’t Eat Pete! A Simple & Fun Game for Kids and Families

don't eat pete | free printable | simplykierste.com

Our family has been playing Don't Eat Pete for years, and it has remained my kids' most requested game ever!  It's easy to play, making it perfect for even the youngest players, but fun enough for the oldest ones too.  Our copy finally bit the dust this past week, so I created a new one, and wanted it to share it with all of you!  The concept is simple.  Try to get as much candy as you can.  ☺ DIRECTIONS: Place a piece of candy on each picture. The first players turns their back, while everyone else chooses a picture to be "Pete".  When the player turns around, they point to one picture at a time, taking the candy that's on it, trying to avoid "Pete".  When they point to "Pete", … [Read more...]

Lemon Meltaways

Lemon Meltaways | simplykierste.com

I'm pretty much obsessed with anything lemon.  All I have to do is see the word "lemon", and I totally want to try the recipe.  That's what happened a week ago, when a friend shared a recipe via e-mail.  AND it was for Lemon Meltaways, which, come on now, how can that be resisted?  Not very well.  ☺  I made them, LOVED them, my kids loved them, and they now have a permanent place in my recipe book.  I'm sharing them with you today!!  I don't think you'll be able to resist them either! This isn't a typical cookie recipe, which makes me love it that much more.  No beaters are required--just mix up the ingredients, which takes all of about 5 minutes.  Tops.  After rolling the dough into two … [Read more...]

10 Fun Summer Hairstyles for Little Girls!

Summer Hairstyles for Little Girls | simplykierste.com

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 … [Read more...]