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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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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Cheap & easy DIY outdoor wooden blocks | simplykierste.com

Cheap & easy DIY outdoor wooden blocks

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 make them their own permanent set of outdoor wooden blocks to keep outside all the time, knowing they would be a huge hit this summer.  We LOVE them!

Cheap & easy DIY outdoor wooden blocks | simplykierste.com

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

How to make an easy & adorable quiet book

Make an easy & adorable quiet book for your toddler or preschooler using plastic name badge holders and this darling free printable!

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

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!

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

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

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 for me, and ultimately, what I would learn from it.

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

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

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

Flying with a toddler?  Try these tips, tricks and ideas to make your trip easier!

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

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 car, you can stop and stretch little legs and take a break, but that's just not always possible on a plane.  That said, to make it as easy and stress-free as possible for both toddler and parents, it's good to have a game plan, and plenty of tricks up your sleeve for the trip.

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

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

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 structure, and not only keep our home running smoothly, but teach my kids life lessons on an ongoing basis.  There are many reasons for having our kids do chores, but there are six that we feel are the most important.

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

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

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

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 more than likely have 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 about with baby #1! At the top of my list are basic items that make my every day a little bit easier and more manageable. They are the things I use when it comes to soothing a baby, putting them to sleep, trying to make them comfortable and happy while making dinner or taking a shower (and anything else you need to do), and trying to make traveling and going places a little less complicated. I've compiled that list for you here...my must-have baby items! If you're looking for ideas, hopefully this will be a good place to start.

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

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Annual Interview Questions for Kids | simplykierste.com

All about me: annual interview questions for kids

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 in our blog book, and then I have the digital version as well.  I do the interviews on their birthdays, but the beginning of each year is a really great time too!

Annual Interview Questions for Kids | simplykierste.com

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Family Lacing Cards | simplykierste.com

Family Lacing Cards

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.

Family Lacing Cards | simplykierste.com

 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 diaper bag for visits to the doctor and other times we have to wait, and into the car.

  This is a very easy project, and can be put together in an afternoon! It's also extremely budget-friendly--I made this whole set for less than $10, with the majority going to the lamination.

Family Lacing Cards | simplykierste.com

 

ITEMS YOU NEED:

-white cardstock

-coordinating cardstock

-paper trimmer & scissors

-hole punch

-printer

-pictures of choice

Family Lacing Cards | simplykierste.com

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Develop 5x7 pictures of your family.  On white cardstock, print the names or other text a little below the middle of the page, giving room for the picture to go above it.  Once it's printed, adhere the picture right above the text using double stick tape. (Font = century gothic)

2. Trim the white cardstock, leaving about a 3/4 inch border around the edges.  Mat it onto a coordinating piece of cardstock--I decided on red.  Trim all edges to be even.

3.  You're ready to laminate!  I took mine to Office Max, and had them use a 7 mil laminate.  I wanted it as thick as possible, and the 10 mil wouldn't work with all of the cardstock. Trim the laminate, leaving a small border around the edges.  ***Make sure you round the corners afterward--the edges are very sharp! If you have a laminator, you can do it yourself too! I also have a laminator, but I wanted it a little thicker than mine can do.

4.  Using a ruler and a Sharpie, decide where you how far apart you want the holes, and make a small mark.  Punch the holes over the mark you made with your hole punch.

That's it, you're done!  You've got darling family lacing cards!

 Family Lacing Cards | simplykierste.com
Children's Artwork Christmas Gift Tags | simplykierste.com

Children’s Art Christmas Gift Tags

Hello, friends!  I'm Kierste, the girl behind the blog Simply Kierste, and I'm delighted to be here today!

I love doing projects with my kids, and this not only includes them, but highlights their creations. Yesterday afternoon I asked my kids to draw me some Christmas pictures--anything they wanted. We brought out the markers and the white paper, and they went to town. I took their artwork, and made them into absolutely adorable Christmas gift tags.

Children's Artwork Christmas Gift Tags | simplykierste.com

How adorable, right??!!  There is something so special about immortalizing such sweet artwork, and being able to share it. They're perfect for adding to presents you give to friends and family, or even for the ones you give to that specific child.  They would also be darling on a teacher gift, or a child's music teacher, ballet teacher, sports coach, etc.

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Ten Years Later...Our Family's Type 1 Diabetes Journey | simplykierste.com

Ten Years Later…Our Family’s Diabetes Story

The end of this month marks the 10 year anniversary of our son's diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes.  It's been quite the journey for him, for me as a mother, and for our entire family.  I wrote this last fall, but to mark this milestone, I wanted to re-post it in recognition and celebration.  He is now almost 16 years old, happy, and doing well. This is dedicated to him, and to all the families with darling children that have been and will be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  Ten years later...this is our family's diabetes story. xo

.....

Sometimes we experience life-defining moments that while we're right in the middle of them, we don't quite realize how much of an impact they will actually make on our lives.  Nine years ago this week I had such an experience, that forever changed not only my life, but my son's, and that of our whole family.

We had traveled to our hometown of St. George, UT, so my husband could run the St. George Marathon.  We only had Ryan at the time, who was 5 years old--almost 6.  It was typical of most vacations--too much good food, too many late nights, and a crazy schedule--so when Ryan was eating and drinking a lot, and going to the bathroom often, (and since he was fine otherwise), I just attributed them to the vacation. We came home, and what happened over the next few days is forever imprinted in my mind.

 ryan kindergarten logo

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Craft Stick Dolls | A Fun Craft For Kids | simplykierste.com

Craft Stick Dolls: An Easy Craft for Kids

Well, hello, hello!! Can you believe it's the 10th of the month, already?? Our bunch of 10 bloggers is so happy to be back, sharing with you ten brand new ideas.  This month we've turned our thoughts to our kiddos! Our chosen theme is JUST FOR KIDS, with ten great ideas, for and all about kids, including recipes, crafts, and all-around great ways to bring the family together. After you check out my super cute Craft Stick Dolls, be sure to check out (and pin!) the posts from my fellow blog friends. Enjoy!

My girls love to make things, and often they're borrowing my craft supplies to create their latest project.  Last week they asked for craft sticks and washi tape, and I am in la la love with what they came up with! When I saw their darling Craft Stick Dolls, I wasexcited to share this easy & FUN craft for kids!

Craft Stick Dolls | A Fun Craft For Kids | simplykierste.com

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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

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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

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Personalized Baby Blocks | simplykierste.com

Personalized Baby Blocks

A good friend of mine created the cutest baby announcement cross stitch project for each new baby that's come into their family, and they are proudly on display in her home. I love the idea of having a child's birth information displayed, so I created these darling personalized baby blocks--perfect as a baby gift for a new mom, or for your own child's nursery or room. This is a simple project with a fabulous finish!

Personalized Baby Blocks | simplykierste.com

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