{the ultimate guide: road trips with kids} 50 tips, tricks & ideas

Jul
12
13
ultimate guide to road trips with kids | simplykierste.com

 Well, my friends, we will soon be traveling across the United States to see all of our family and friends that live far away from us, and we can't wait to see them!  We are also...driving. (Airline tickets for 8 people + a rental vehicle for that will fit us all... need I say more?)  It's a 24 hours of driving, plus any stopping along the way, and we're hoping to do it in 2 days.  We're a road trip family, and we've made this trip several times before, but this will be the first one since our baby arrived.  Six kids, including 2 three year olds and a baby? We DEFINITELY need a plan. So, I introduce to you... I already had a few tried and true favorites, but I really wanted to add to the … [Read more...]



{summer bucket list & free printables}

Jun
19
10
summer bucket list | simplykierste.com

I love summertime. Summer is the time to really enjoy our freedom, be spontaneous, and do things we just don't have the time to do as much of during the school year. Having more time with my kids is such a great thing, but it can also be challenging to keep them busy as the summer goes on, once the excitement of being out of school has rubbed off.  Summer boredom can definitely occur at our house, and every year I try to put different plans in place to help prevent it, including a summer bucket list! In addition to set activities that are written on the calendar, the bucket list includes activities that are for the most part ones that we can just pick up and do, without a lot of planning … [Read more...]



{presenting…s’mores!}

May
26
10
s'mores | simplykierste.com

 We are a campfire family...in fact, a fire pit was one of the very first things we built when we moved in to our new house last summer. And where there is a campfire, there are s'mores!  We have had them lots of different ways, but the good old fashioned s'more is still our favorite.  We're having a BBQ tonight with friends...an early Memorial Day celebration, and guess what's on the menu??!! Sometimes you just want a fun and simple way to make something extra special for a party or gathering, and that's what I was feeling today with the s'mores.  I also wanted to make it easier for everyone (and myself) when it came time to putting them together--and lessen the impatience of my … [Read more...]



{2013 summer schedule}

Apr
19
14
2013 summer schedule | simplykierste.com

Yes, I know it's only April, but summer is soon upon us, and I've already started penciling in summer activities.  Summer camps, swimming lessons, and vacations have made their way onto my calendar, and there is more to come. I'm constantly learning about other fun summer activities, and I love having a place to keep them all straight, and reduce overbooking or overlapping.  I created this summer schedule several years ago, and loved it, so I update it each year and live by it the whole summer! It makes me happy!  :) There are a couple of ways you can use this: 1.  Download the PDF file, place in a frame, and use it as a dry erase board. (Use a fine point Sharpie--it won't rub off with … [Read more...]



{a weekly summer schedule}

Jun
07
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weekly summer schedule--brown paper packages

Today is the last day of school, and excitement is in the air!  My kids all love school, but can't wait to be home for the summer. I usually thrive on a schedule and a regular routine, but I also love the freedom that summer provides. (Pajama days, anyone?) We usually let loose the first week, and just enjoy being home, but then I've found that we all do better with a basic summer schedule in place.  We know what to expect, the kids always have something to look forward to, and it means that we get to try new things each week. I also hope that with a big move coming up in a couple of weeks, this routine will help make the adjustment a little bit easier when we get … [Read more...]



{mini s’mores}

May
29
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mini s'mores--brown paper packages

We are a S'mores loving family, and I cannot tell you how excited I was when I saw the new Lil' Squares by Honey Maid.  They are seriously the CUTEST mini version of graham crackers, and I immediately knew what I wanted to do with them! These mini s'mores are the perfect bite, and deliver the taste we all love in a tiny little package. The best part? They literally take just minutes to make in your oven! They are perfect for any summer occasion or get-together, an evening at home, rainy day activity, or family night treat.  Kids will love helping to put these together--and munch on the ingredients at the same time. :) I also love the presentation--why is it that everything's so … [Read more...]



{berries for jam}

Jul
22
5
jam 5-logo

One of our family's most-loved books is Jamberry, by Bruce Degen.     It's nearly impossible to read this only once through per sitting.  The words are utterly charming and delightfully irresistible.  I simply cannot tell you how many times we've read this book!  Every one of my kids loves it, and I have to admit, it's a personal favorite of mine too. What is this book all about?  Berries, berries for jam! So, after reading this book, what do we want to make?  Jam, of course! Freezer jam is super easy to make, and oh-so yummy.  In less than an hour you can have your very own homemade jam! It's also a really fun way to get your kids involved in the kitchen and enjoy an … [Read more...]



{cracker jar and mason jar lanterns}

Jul
21
11
lantern 8 cracker jar-1

I'm kind of obsessed with mason jars.  I use them all the time, for a lot of different things, and I simply cannot get enough!  I absolutely love lanterns made out of mason jars, and I finally made some of my own. Can I tell you how fast and easy they are to make?  You must put this on your to-do list! Hang a bunch of them in a tree for fabulous outdoor lighting, put several in different sizes as an outside table centerpiece, or even use them inside on your kitchen table/other table, on the mantel, or even on your kitchen counter. They would also make a darling gift..with a cute little tag (you light up my life or something equally as cheesy :) ) tied around the … [Read more...]



{enough swings for everyone}

Jul
07
8
swing boys names logo

With five kids that all love to swing, there just isn't enough room on our play set to accommodate everyone--especially needing two baby swings.  So I came up with a plan. There are two trees in our yard spaced at what I thought would be the perfect distance apart for two baby swings.  My husband came up with this brilliant plan using a 4x4 post and some hardware to get them up. I really wanted to paint the wood (and probably distress it, lol) but my husband reallydidn't want me to. Okay, so I gave in on the painting part, but I still used vinyl.  :) I bought the bucket swings on amazon, and I {love} them.  My darling Henry is a big boy, and he was already too big for the … [Read more...]



{s’mores galore}

Jun
23
5
smores no top copy

Summertime at our house is all about the s'mores.  We have a campfire in our backyard at least once a week, but it's usually more. Sitting around a fire, roasting marshmallows, enjoying the dark of the night and light of the fire, all while chatting with family and friends...it's perfection. We've tried them many different ways, and each of us have a favorite.  For some, it's the tried and true traditional s'more--graham crackers layered with a toasted marshmallow and yummy chocolate squares.  My husband loves using Reeses PB cups instead of the chocolate squares, and it is FABULOUS.  If you haven't tried it yet, you simply must. Rolos are yummy too, and so are Snickers. :) We also … [Read more...]