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...]

How to make an easy & adorable quiet book

How to make an easy & adorable quiet book | simplykierste.com

Make an easy & adorable quiet book for your toddler or preschooler using plastic name badge holders and this darling free printable! I adore name badges, and I've used them for so many projects.  Not only are they inexpensive, but they're the perfect portable size.  I made my twin boys quiet books several years ago using them, and this week I decided it was time for my baby girl to have one too! Since we're working on our numbers and shapes, I created a darling set of  printables that I thought would be perfect for the quiet book.  Caroline absolutely loves it, and it tucks right in my diaper bag or purse to use in the car, at church, or while we're waiting … [Read more...]

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

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

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 … [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...]

Why our kids have chores + an age-appropriate chores guideline

Why our kids have chores + free printable chore guide | simplykierste.com

Ever since I posted my cleaning schedule and talked about my kids having their own chores, I've had a lot of comments, questions, and e-mails about our chores routine. It's been on my mind quite a bit lately too, because this year each of my six kids are turning ages where we can add a few more chores that they are able to do. We also moved from a larger home to a tiny apartment that we are living in while our new house is being built, and it's definitely required me to make a few changes, so I figured it was a good time to write out how our family handles chores for kids, and more importantly, why. We start chores young at our house--they are are one of the most vital parts of our family … [Read more...]

Good behavior punch cards

Good behavior punch cards | free printable | simplykierste.com

I was so excited when I opened the door.  We were new to the area, and living in a brand new neighborhood, so when I saw a girl about my age holding a boy about my boys' age standing on my doorstep, I couldn't wait to meet her. She looked at me and asked " do you have two boys around four years old"? I answered, "yes, I do!" "They're on your roof." Excuse me for a minute, while MY. JAW. DROPS. TO. THE. FLOOR. I very politely thanked her (what else are you supposed to do in that situation??!!), and then ran as fast as I could up the stairs to our playroom.  Sure enough, my four year old boys were on the roof, zooming cars off of the edge.  Somehow, they had figured out how to … [Read more...]

From a mom of six: my must-have baby items

From this mom of six: my must-have baby items

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% mine. If you are expecting your first baby, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all of the products out there, and all the choices available.  It's true--we have so many options, but it's nice to know which direction to head in first, and the items that are tried and true.  If you're on baby #2 or more, you've probably started your own list of favorites, but if you're like me, you're always curious to see if there is something out there that might change your life for the better. :) After having six babies, and a lot of trial and error, I've definitely learned which baby items are my favorite, and some I wish I would have known … [Read more...]

14 favorite Valentine’s Day children’s books

14 Favorite Valentine's Day Children's Books | simplykierste.com

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see my full disclosure. Books are always a wonderful way to celebrate any holiday, and Valentine's Day is no exception.  If you're looking for a really fun and easy Valentine's Day tradition for your family, try a Valentine's Day Book Countdown...one book a day from the 1st through the 14th! Check out this list of Favorite Valentine's Day children's books! A Kiss for Little Bear , by Elsa Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak Guess How Much I Love You, Sam McBratney Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! , Laura Numeroff Queen of Hearts, by Mary Engelbreit Counting Kisses, by Karen Katz Happy Valentine's Day, Curious George, N. Di … [Read more...]

All about me: annual interview questions for kids

Annual Interview Questions for Kids | simplykierste.com

I take a lot of pictures of my kids. And I mean A LOT.  I always have a camera with me, and I was super happy when the smartphone came along, so then I had a phone AND a camera all-in-one!  My kids know that no matter the occasion, no matter we go, pictures are going to happen  It's just how it is.  But what I love just as much as photos are their little words--the funny things they say, what they think about, and how they view the world.  Years ago, I started doing an annual interview with my kids, and it's seriously my favorite thing EVER.  At first it was on paper only, but now I do video too.  We have a family blog that I update regularly and get printed every year, so I keep it in print … [Read more...]

Family Lacing Cards

Family Lacing Cards | simplykierste.com

We live far away from all of our family--most of them live thousands of miles away, and my sister is the closest at twelve hours away. We don't get to see them as often as we would like, but it's important to me that we do things to keep connected, and to help my kids know their family.  I thought it would be fun to make a set of family lacing cards for my kids for Christmas a couple of years ago, and they LOVE them.  I made a card for each of our siblings, and their families, and it's so fun to have their cute faces so often.  It's a perfect gift for either your kids, or for other family members--with a card of your family, of course!  I love to tuck them into our church bag, into my … [Read more...]