How to Select a Building Lot | Building Old Salt Farm series | simplykierste.com

Building Old Salt Farm Series: How to select a building lot

Hooray! We are making progress!  Our property will hopefully close in the next week, and the final touches are being made to the plans. We will be building on nine beautiful acres in upstate New York, at the bottom of the Appalachian Mountains.  It's wooded, with a perfect meadow for the house to sit, and a tree-covered hill in the back.  We've got plans galore, and I'm just so excited to get started.

I'm also excited about the "Building Old Salt Farm" series that I'll be doing during the duration of the building.  I'll be sharing the entire building process, along with things that I've learned along the way. I've been waiting to really begin this series until we were closer to building, and I think now's the right time!For the first post, let's start at the beginning...how to select a building lot.  Where you build is just as important as what you build, and I'm sharing some things you may want to consider as you're selecting the perfect place for your new home.

How to Select a Building Lot | Building Old Salt Farm series | simplykierste.com

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A guide on how you know if your child is ready for piano lessons | simplykierste.com

How do you know if your child is ready for piano lessons?

I don't remember a time that I haven't played the piano. My parents--neither of them with any kind of musical background--started me with piano lessons when I was four years old, and it's been an enormous (and wonderful) part of my life ever since. It taught me at a very young age how to work hard to learn something new, dedication, responsibility, and getting over some of my fears.  I performed and played all through high school, and then into college on a piano scholarship.  I taught piano lessons for many years--all through college and up until my last baby was born two years ago.  The ability to play the piano has given me many opportunities--to play, perform, serve in my church and community, and to teach. It helped support us through college and graduate school, and then helped with the extras when we were finished with school.  But even more than that, it has filled my life with immeasurable joy, and our home has always been filled with the sound of music. How grateful I am that my parents gave me this gift!

Why do I tell you all of this?  You may be wondering what the real-life benefits of piano lessons are, and I could probably go on for much longer if you needed me to! If you have been considering lessons for your child, you may be asking "how do you know if your child is ready for piano lessons"?, and I'm here to give you a little guidance. I get this question a lot from people in my real life, and I thought I would pass on that information here.

A guide on how you know if your child is ready for piano lessons | simplykierste.com

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7 things that will help you keep your house clean in about an hour a day | simplykierste.com

7 things that will keep your house clean in about an hour a day!

Oh, how I love having a clean home.  But life is crazy busy, and there are always a million things to do all of the time, and it can be tricky to keep up on housework. Whether you work out of the home or in the home, to-do lists and responsibilities can be a mile long, and you might feel like you just don't have time to do what needs to be done.

Years ago, I developed a method that really worked for me, and I've been able to maintain it through six kids, working, staying home, and now working/blogging from home. I've found that I can just maintain a clean house, the daily chores just don't take as long, so I can fit a lot more in. There are seven things that I do on a daily basis, and those things can help you keep a clean house in just about an hour a day!

I don't always do everything in one straight hour--most of the time it's some in the morning and some in the evening--but the great thing about these things is that they can be done any time of the day or night, based on your personal circumstances.  Except making your bed...it really makes the most sense to do that in the morning. :)

Let me show you...

7 things that will help you keep your house clean in about an hour a day | 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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Our untraditional family rules | simplykierste.com

Our untraditional family rules

When my oldest was around five years old, we started a little list of unofficial "family rules".  My husband is a pretty funny guy who likes to nickname everything and everyone, and he started make up silly rules based on incidents that happened in our family. Over the years we've added to it, but they now have to go through a serious vetting process in order to make it on the list. Since then they've become more official than unofficial, and we refer to them all the time.

I love having these silly rules, because it usually evokes a more positive response than it might otherwise, and more often times than not, I get a tiny smile.  Most of the time, I don't even need to finish my sentence, and all I have to say is "What's rule #1?"

We take following rules seriously at our house, because it keeps order, lessens the chaos, and teaches a lot of life lessons. We do have regular rules that govern how our house runs, like when to make your bed and pick up your clothes and do your homework.  But when it comes to behavior, these five rules pretty much cover all the bases!

Our untraditional family rules | simplykierste.com

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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.

School Lunch Station | Free Printables | simplykierste.com

Make packing lunches easier & faster with a school lunch station!

With my twin boys starting kindergarten this year (sniff, sniff), I will now have five kids to pack school lunch for.  All of a sudden this past week that seemed like... a lot.  We still have a couple of weeks until school starts, but I decided to get organized now!

I've always had some kind of lunch station, but the thought of 25 bags of chips, 25 fruit cups, 25 granola bars, 25 string cheese, and 25 go-gurt (plus sandwich stuff) per week really got me thinking about how I could create something to make the packing process a lot faster and easier. So...the official school lunch station has been created, including some super cute printables as the finishing touch. It's simple, but that's my favorite way to do things!

Make packing school lunches faster and easier with a lunch packing station! Free printable labels included! | simplykierste.com

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5 ways to connect with your kids & stay organized after school | simplykierste.com

5 ways to stay organized & connect with your kids after school

When the kids come home from school, so begins the busiest part of my day.  Homework, making dinner, music lessons and practice, sports--the list goes on.  It's important to me to not only keep this part of the day as organized as possible, but also to really connect with my school-aged kids. They've been gone all day, and I don't want to rush, rush, rush through a crazy afternoon just to put them to bed without really connecting with them.  It's also much easier said than done, which is why I have a game plan!  There are five things on my after school list, and I'm feeling ready (almost) for the new school year to start in two weeks!

5 ways to connect with your kids & stay organized after school | simplykierste.com

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washcloth boo boo bunny | simplykierste.com

Washcloth boo-boo bunny

Last year my baby spent a lot of time in the hospital. Within seven months, she was admitted to ICU five times, and it was an incredibly difficult time.  We were blessed with really wonderful doctors, and exceptional nurses who took great care of her, and  when you're spending weeks in the hospital at one time, you get to know them pretty well.  Caroline was between 15-21 months during this time, and being old enough to walk but young enough to be confined in a crib was a challenge, and I was constantly looking for ways to entertain her.  She also had a lot of shots, IV's and treatments and watching your baby go through it is pretty terrible.  The nurses were definitely the bright spots--they were so good with her, and were constantly coming up with ways to make things easier.  That's how I learned about the washcloth boo-boo bunny!

washcloth boo boo bunny | simplykierste.com

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