Minted Holiday Cards & Giveaway |

Minted Holiday Cards + $250 Giveaway!

This post contains affiliate links.

Tis' the season for spreading cheer by sending holiday cards to your friends and family! Minted has so many adorable choices for any kind of card you want to send--card size, number of photos, layout, colors, and more. I love that their cards are all designed by independent artists, and they have some of the most unique cards around.

Are you looking for super cute Christmas or holiday cards?  LOVE LOVE! And it's not too late to order cards to arrive by Christmas Eve (order by 3pm PT on 12/17)!  There's also a sale for 15% holiday cards through December 21st, just use the code WINTER15.

Minted Holiday Cards & Giveaway |

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of Christmastime makes it easier to send cards for New Years instead, and Minted has you covered! (I've even sent Valentines' Day cards before! :) )

Minted New Years Cards |

One of my favorite Minted products is their personalized gift wrap. It is SO cute! I love love the thought of having your very own wrapping paper with your family's name on it.

Minted Personalized Gift Wrap |

You can also check out their Gift Guide and Wrapping Looks  for even more great ideas!

GUESS WHAT?? I've got a fabulous Minted giveaway for you today!  Not just one, but TWO lucky readers are going to win a $125 Minted gift card!!  Wahoo!!  All you need to do is click on the link below to enter.  Giveaway ends December 21st, 2015 at 11:59pm EST.  GOOD LUCK!!!


kierste signature

Easy Reindeer Cookies |

Reindeer Cookies

Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix is perfect for the cookies for our tree decorating day, because it's already such a busy day, and I can really use all the time savers I can get. It's one of my best shortcuts, and my kids love them! I love them not only because they're yummy (I get asked for the recipe every time I take them somewhere!), but they save me SO much time.  In just a few minutes I can whip up a batch of dough, and within 15 minutes, there's a sheet of warm cookies coming out of the oven.  Frosting and decorating is next, and then the eating! Yum!

I also use the Betty Crocker® peanut butter cookie mix to make the most darling reindeer cookies ever! They are super easy to make, and a huge, huge hit with kids.

Easy Reindeer Cookies |


Outdoor Gifts at Gander Mountain + a GIVEAWAY!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gander Mountain. All opinions are 100% mine.

Our family loves being outdoors, in every season, and all weather.  We live in upstate New York, where the winter snow is plentiful, and we enjoy cross country skiing, tubing, sledding, and pretty much any snow activity.  Summers mean lots of camping, canoeing, kayaking, and adventuring. Hiking is a favorite activity from spring through summer and into fall, and exploring our area on foot is something we all enjoy.

That means that we love finding great deals at Christmastime on outdoor equipment, and this year snowshoes are on my list, plus backyard games, a tent that will fit all of us (okay, we have one, I just want a bigger one!), and a dutch oven.  Actually, my wish list is longer than that. :)  The rest of my family has their list too, and I have just the place to find what I need!

Gander Mountain is the place to go to find awesome deals, and with their new Best Price Plus program, they guarantee that their in-store shoppers are receiving the very best prices this season, PLUS a discount of 10 perfect of the difference!  If you find a lower price on an identical in-stock item at another local retailer, Gander Mountain will match the price either at the time of purchase, or within 30 days of you making the purchase in-store. You just can't beat that in my book!

In addtion, Gander Mountain has so many great Holiday Deals throughout the month of December. Outdoor gear and necessities, as well as special offers on financing and gift cards are all a part of their December plan to help you save money and find the perfect outdoor gifts!

And guess lucky reader will win a $50 gift card to Gander Mountain!!!

Just follow the directions in the box below! Giveaway runs through December 15th, 11:59 EST. Make sure to read terms before entering.  GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit Sponsors Site


Gift Wrapping with Scotch Holiday Tape |

Wrapping it up with Scotch Holiday Tape!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 3M. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tis' the season for gifts and wrapping! Giving gifts is an integral and magical part of the holiday season, and it's so fun for me to make or find the perfect gift for the people in my life.  Whether it's for my family, teachers, neighbors, or friends, I love making packages look festive, and Scotch consistently comes through for me!  This time of year I head to Staples and stock up on my favorite tapes:  Scotch Magic TapeScotch Double Sided Tape and Scotch Expressions Tape.

Scotch Magic Tape is perfect for holding wrapping paper in place--it's strong and clear and stays just where I need it to be. I use Double Sided Tape to adhere printables or tags onto packages or gifts, and they're both my go-to products during the holiday season.  I've started wrapping up Christmas books for our annual Christmas book advent, and both of these tapes help me wrap them up just right!

So cute, right?  Thank goodness for Staples and Scotch Holiday Tape!

I also love love Scotch Expressions Tape--washi tapes that come in all kinds of great colors, and even glitter, which is perfect for the holidays! There's always a great selection at Staples, and they're in a main showcase making them super easy to find.

Washi tape can be used for so many things around the holidays, and one of my favorite ways to use it is to cutesify (that's a word, right??!!) a plain paper treat bag. I used the green stripes,  solid green, and silver to create a darling Christmas tree on this bag:

It completely changes the look of the bag, and it just took a few pieces of tape! Simple, so easy, and SUPER cute! Now it's perfect for gift-giving, after I add a few treats!

To keep track of all of my washi tape rolls, I adore the Expressions Multi Roll Dispenser. It's refillable and portable, making it super easy to store and use!

Make YOUR holidays magical with Scotch tape, and find everything you need at Staples! To find a store near you,look up your area with their Store Locator.

Happy wrapping!

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School Shoes for Kids |

First-day-of-school outfits with Rack Room Shoes!

This post is sponsored by Rack Room Shoes. All opinions are 100% mine and mine alone.


It's almost time for school to start!  Can you just smell the newly sharpened pencils? I love this time of year, and shopping with my kids for all of their school supplies, including their first-day-of-school outfits!  Do you remember choosing your outfit for the first day?  Oh, the memories!  In my day it was ESPRIT bags and Guess jeans and Birkenstocks, which totally tells you I'm a child of the 80's and 90's! As a mom, those first day outfits are still important, because my kids love them too!

School shoes are a really important part of that first day, and the whole year. Our elementary school requires that they wear sneakers every day, so they're #1 on my list. For my girls, I'm looking for shoes that will look cute with both jeans and skirts, and for all of them, shoes that are high-quality and will last through the every day wear and tear.

Enter in Rack Room Shoes! They carry all the top brands that I love and look for when Back-to-School shopping, including Nike, Skechers, Vans and Converse. I found the cutest shoes in styles and brands that are on-trend, and will look great with everything they wear!

School Shoes for Kids |


Dinner made easy with Newman's Own |

Making dinner easy with Newman’s Own

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Newman's Own. All opinions are 100% mine.


My kids love to "dip".  Pretty much everything, actually.  We always have a bottle of ranch dressing in our refrigerator, and there's house-wide panic if it starts to get too low.

One of our favorite dressings is Newman's Own, and not only does it come in Ranch, but Balsamic, Olive Oil & Vinegar, Family Recipe Italian, Creamy Caesar and more.

As a mom, I love how simple salad dressings are to implement into dinners. It's how I get my kids to eat most veggies, but it definitely doesn't end there, because there are so many things that are dippable! Salad dressings make perfect dips, because they're already made--just pull them out of the fridge and serve!


PERK Visor Wrap |

Keep your car smelling fresh with PERK!

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of PERK. All opinions are 100% mine.


I love getting into my car and having it smell really good.  It makes such a big difference to have a car air freshener that helps with all the smells of everyday life that filter into the car, like my boys, when they get in the car after a baseball game.  That's definitely not I want to be smelling!

So how do I get a great fresh-smelling car? I've been using PERK car air fresheners for over a year now, and I love them just as much now as I did in the beginning.  I was thrilled to hear that they have a brand new product that delivers the same consistent, high quality fragrance and still features their patent-pending StediScent™ technology. It's called the PERK Visor Wrap, and it clips discreetly onto the visor in your car!

They are seriously SO easy to use. They literally just slide right onto the visor of your car, and it features a specially contoured clip that grips, and doesn't interfere in any way with you using the visor as intended.

It won't spill or leak, and I love that it's not heavy or bulky--it's pretty sleek, and and the color is a great neutral gray color that doesn't stand out.  It's really quite perfect for a car air freshener, because it's right above the driver's nose, but is totally out of the way! The fragrances are yummy--not overbearing, and they come in a variety of awesome choices, including New Car, Golden Vanilla, and Caribbean Colada (which is the one in my car right now, and I love it!).

I'm so excited to announce we have a GIVEAWAY today!  One lucky reader is going to win a PERK Prize basket, including:

  • a.     6 month supply of PERK products/fragrances

    b.     1 PERK travel mug 

    c.     2 pairs of PERK sunglasses (1 green and 1 black)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find PERK products at Walmart, Target, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Meijer, Kroger, Pep Boys, Publix, CVS, and other places auto air fresheners are sold. $1 off PERK coupon

Follow PERK’s Facebook for even more info!

Visit Sponsors Site

Puddle Jumpers |

My favorite way to keep kids safe in the water: Puddle Jumpers!

 This post brought to you by Stearns Puddle Jumpers®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Simply Kierste.


All of my children enjoy being in the water, but one in particular would actually live in it if he could, and has absolutely loved it since he was tiny.  At that young age, he also had no fear (still doesn't), and none of the ramifications that came with it (including nearly giving me a heart attack on more than occasion).  From early on, I knew I needed to find a flotation device that would not only keep him safe, but allow him to enjoy the water he loved so much.

I remember the first time I saw a Stearns Puddle Jumper.  We were at the pool, and I saw a child wearing one. I thought it could be the answer, and I practically chased the poor mom down to interrogate her about what it was, what it did, and where I could get it.  I went straight home to buy it, and they've been a part of our summers ever since.


V-Tech Safe & Sound Monitor |

Peace of mind with the VTech Safe & Sound Baby Monitor

This post is brought to you by VTech and The Motherhood. All opinions are 100% my own.


There have been lots of times over the years when seeing what was going on inside the nursery would have been extremely helpful.

Take for example the time that my one year old twin girls got into the fruit snacks I was storing under their cribs (small apartment, no storage space) while they were supposed to be taking a nap.  They ate through six full boxes before they were discovered.

Or the time that my doorbell rang at 6am, and found my neighbor and my two year old little boy standing on the front porch.  He had woken up when his dad got up for work, quietly escaped from his crib, and then after my husband left, went out the then unlatched door.

We could even talk about the time that one little girl discovered the baby powder, then shared it with her twin sister, and together decided how much fun it would be to empty the whole container over the floor, and shake it into every single dresser drawer.

V-Tech Safe & Sound Monitor |

I could go on.

All of these were performed in utter silence and stealth mode, so even the best of baby monitors didn't pick up a thing.  I'm not sure when my babies learned how to do that, but they clearly excelled.

Then there's the serious side of things.

The past few months have been very difficult for our family, as my baby suffered has from severe respiratory failure and was in the ICU three times over three months.  One of those visits resulted in her being intubated because she couldn't breathe on her own, and she was in the hospital for two weeks. Her illnesses are onset very quickly, and often times worsen in the night. Since then, being able to see her and listen to her while she sleeps has become very important to me.

caroline sk

One of the things that's giving me peace of mind right now is the VTech Safe & Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor. It allows me to see into her room, and keep on eye on her while she's sleeping both day and night.  It has so many features that I just love, including being able to pan up to 270 degrees side-to-side and tilt as many as 124 degrees up and down. I can even zoom in up to 2x to get a closer look if I want one. With automatic night vision, I can even check on her in the middle of the night. It also has a talk feature, where I can push a button and speak to her, and she can talk back!

One of my favorite features is the built-in thermometer, so I always know what the temperature is in her room.  It's SO cold here right now (today it got down to -25 degrees), and knowing she's staying warm.  If you have a baby and a toddler you want to keep an eye on, you can have up to 4 cameras on one parent unit, so it grows as your family grows.

V-Tech Safe & Sound Monitor |

During the day, I keep the parent unit in the kitchen/family room area, because that's where I spend the most time.  I love to watch and listen as she goes down for her nap, and hear her darling little voice. It's fun to watch her tire herself out walking around the crib, until she finally decides it's time to lie down and go to sleep.  As she moves,  I can zoom in or out, move the camera side-to-side, and get a view of everything that's going on, including any shenanigans she might want to participate in!  At night, I can rest easy, knowing that I have eyes on her whenever I need to. It's easy to move from the family room to our room, or to take to any room I need to. I'm so grateful that I have something to put my mind at ease all of the time, but especially when she's sick.

This little video shows her during nap time this week, and I'm using the tilt and zoom functions to follow her around.

If you'd like to learn more, I'd love for you to join me for a Twitter party, where you learn more about this amazing product, chat about general baby and child safety tips, and have the opportunity to win a very cool prize!

When: Wednesday, February 18 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #VTechBaby hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite:
Hashtag: #VTechBaby
Prizes: During the party, we will be giving away five nursery safety baskets featuring VTech Safe & Sound ® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitors to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only. 
Hosts: @TheMotherhood, @TMChatHost, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann
Give Happy with Osh Kosh |

Give happy with OshKosh B’gosh

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received an OshKosh B’gosh gift card to purchase product and to thank me for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.


 I have been shopping at OshKosh B'gosh for a very long time--more than ten years! It's a store that's on my go-to list for many reasons, but I especially love it around the holidays. Darling holiday outfits, adorable pajamas, and great deals to stock up on basics for the rest of the year are all part of the appeal!

Give Happy with Osh Kosh |


Glidden® DUO® Paint and Primer Interior Satin

Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden…AFTER!

This post is sponsored by the Glidden brand paint for PPG, but all opinions are 100% mine.


I am in love.

Kitchen Stools Makeover with Glidden |

 I'm so happy I went with the red! (Glidden's Red Delicious...Read more about my decision.) That pop of color makes such a huge difference in my kitchen, and I can't stop staring at it.  I love how it completely changes the look of the room, and the whole space (it's connected to the dining and family rooms).  Being in a rental can be frustrating when you can't paint walls, but freshening, brightening, and adding pops of color with paint isn't off limits!


eric carpe free printable activities & coloring pages |

Good Mornings with Eric Carle and Gymboree

This is a sponsored blog post. I received compensation from Gymboree.  All opinions and text are 100% mine.


You know one of the best parts of the day for me?  First thing in the morning, after the morning rush, after breakfast has been served and cleaned up, and after the big kids are on the bus to school.  My three little kids and I snuggle up on the couch, all of us still pajama-clad, with a pile of our favorite books.

eric carle and gymboree |


Silhouette Back to School Promo |

Silhouette Back to School Promo & Portrait Giveaway!!

I'm an affiliate with Silhouette.  All opinions are 100% mine.


Silhouette is celebrating Back to School with an awesome promo!  Along with either the CAMEO or Portrait, the bundles include some of my favorites--chipboard, printable sticker paper, printable foils, adhesive wash sheets, and more!  My CAMEO has been packed away for a few weeks, and I'm starting to have withdrawals, lol.  With school starting, even more projects are getting added to the list, and whether it's preparing for school, getting organized, or school projects, my Silhouette is my right hand guy. Or girl.  :)

Here are a few of the back to school projects I've made using my Silhouette...

Chalkboard Binder Labels?}

Chalkboard Binder Labels |


hp pavilion x360 |

on the road with the hp pavilion x360

This post is sponsored by HP. All opinions are 100% mine.


A few weeks ago, I told you all about our plan to visit San Antonio for a quick family getaway, before the craziness of our move started. Can I just tell you how much fun we had? It was just what the doctor ordered!

I thought I was in love with the HP Pavilion x360 before the trip, but now I KNOW I love it. It was a hot commodity while we were driving both there and back, and it rotated through all the kids, so they could each have their turn. They used it for movies and games, and I used it for my sanity. ☺

hp pavilion x360 |


The Vintage Pearl GIVEAWAY!!!

This post is sponsored by The Vintage Pearl. All opinions are 100% mine.


vintage pearl giveaway |

I have been a fan of The Vintage Pearl for just about forever. Okay, forever. I've oohed and aaahed and drooled and LOVED their fabulous jewelry, and the bracelet they sent me with all of our family members' names on it is one of my most treasured possessions.

I just love their personalized jewelry, because it means carrying my kids and family with me, even when we're apart. The Vintage Pearl style is so charming and lovely and clearly shown in all of their jewelry. Each piece is handmade, and with your own personalization, really are one-of-a-kind!

vintage pearl giveaway |


hp pavilion x360 |

Planning a Family Getaway with the HP Pavilion x360

This post is sponsored by HP. All opinions are 100% mine.


Wahoo!! Summer is upon us, and we are counting down the days until school it out. As much as I love structure and routine, but this time of year, I'm craving a little relaxation. It also means it's time for our family to getaway and enjoy time together. Due to our move this summer, we've had to alter our plans a little, and we decided to go on an early getaway before all the craziness hit. Since we moved to Texas not quite two years ago, it's been on our list to visit San Antonio, and finally it's going to happen! When it comes to a family getaway, there is always a lot of planning involved, and the HP Pavilion x360 played a huge part in getting us ready to go!

I'll tell you what, we have fallen in love. All of us. The "red computer" is in high demand every day, and it was invaluable during the planning process--not only in the necessary details, but for the extras too.

I made hotel reservations, debated Six Flags vs. SeaWorld, bought our SeaWorld tickets, checked out restaurants in the area, looked up mileage and driving directions, researched SeaWorld, the Alamo and other things to do that were close by, and covered every base I could think of. What I especially loved, is that I could do this in laptop-style on my couch or sitting at the table, and in tablet-mode in my bed!

hp pavilion x360 |