Share The Love… 5 Sweet Valentine Ideas

 

 

Over the years I’ve picked up some ideas to share love and make the sweet holiday special without overspending or eating too much sugar!-Ha.

 

Here’s the go to list… 

 

1

Set the mood by making cards together.  It’s funnest to make a few homemade, but we usually purchase some from here too!

 

2  

Fix a fun breakfast.  Raspberry muffins or pink doughnuts go great with some eggs and bacon or you can do the old reliable heart shaped EVERYTHING… cinnamon rolls, pancakes, watermelon, strawberries, the list goes on!  Just invest in ranging sizes of shaped cookie cutters and call yourself the queen of hearts.  Some red sparkling grape juice adds just the right touch of sparkle to your celebration too!  If that’s not for you, then go for the big heart marshmallows in a nice cup of hot cocoa.  Have a look through my pinterest board to get more inspiration!

 

3  

Go flowers for  your girls, and balloons for your boys.  Instead of getting the kiddos gifts I get them these for a special day surprise.  It’s something different and a tradition that gets the day off to a great start!

 

4

 Capture a keepsake to hold in your heart.  We bought an old fuji film camera last year and the kids had so much fun creating cute valentine photos.  Even with a normal camera grab a sweet snap with some kind of special prop!  Your heart eyes will thank you later.  

 

5  

Surprise them with something special to do together.  Rather than another toy or present, I try to think of something we can experience together that they will be super excited about and look forward to.  Something that shows them some love.  It can even be an act of kindness or a service you do for them that they would appreciate.  Some examples – a fancy massage, a pedicure, a class on something that sparks their interest…  I recommend with littles, that it’s something you can do that day.  The anticipation and excitement is half the fun.  

 

Do you already have some sweet ways to share love?  What are your favorite traditions?  I’d love to know!

 

xx

Making Home A Haven… The Master

 

I’ve always hoped my home to be a place of rest and refreshment.  A haven to retreat to.  A place I come to find comfort.  It’s easy however, to forget to be intentional about creating this environment in your home or to get overwhelmed with the various options out there.

 

I’ve found it most simple to focus on one space at a time and even one project within that space.  I typically tackle one room per month.  This gives me a good objective and at the end of the month I can clearly see the accomplishment.  I may not be able to do all the things I desire in that space in one month due to financial or time constraints but I can overcome a lot by giving my attention and energy to it.  By the end of the month I can always see a positive, life giving outcome and it feels great to get a little closer to my goals.  

 

This month I focused on our master.  Each year I’ve focused on it I’ve had bigger dreams than what I could actually achieve, but I’ve gotten used to that!  I try to take it in stride, study what I love, and stay positive about the small steps.  

 

It can be as simple or extravagant as you choose to make it.  It can be various improvements as well… maybe you need to work on decluttering, or maybe you’re ready for an updated design.  

 

The last three years I’ve worked towards layering our bedding with luxe.  I believe bedding basics is where it begins, and that a cozy bed is such a staple in making the home a haven.  

 

Here are a few thoughts on how to began… 

 

First

It starts with a good mattress and pillows (we don’t actually have our dream one, but we purchased a quality mattress pad at target that has sufficed this far)… our pillows are from big cedar lodge.  

 

Second

A nice neutral sheet set.  I recommend a neutral color like white or cream etc… it will match whatever you put with it.  I usually look for something with a simple border or an interesting detail around the trim.  Here is an example of our’s from Anthropologie.

 

Third

A cozy comforter.  I look for neutral here too, it doesn’t hurt to go with a pattern either.  Our’s is no longer in stock, but I love this one

 

Fourth

A quality quilt.  Yet again I recommend going neutral in colors but choose one with some texture and style.  This one is my most recent purchase.

  

Fifth

A throw pillow or blanket.  Here is where you can add some fun pops of color which make it easier to change things up seasonally without having to redo the whole look of your bed.  It allows you to keep the same bedding for longer while still getting fresh new looks.  These are my current favs!

 

I shared some tips on bedding but as I mentioned before you could focus on whatever you feel like adds refreshment.  Furniture, wall color and texture, or adding in accents.  I hope this offers you some inspiration to get you motivated to make your home a haven.  

 

I’ll be focusing on a new space each month and sharing some tips along the way!  Subscribe to stay in touch and get notified of the latest posts.

 

Live For The Most

xx  

    

A Flower Farm Dream

 

For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with flowers.  As a small girl my grandpa would buy me a bouquet of roses for my birthday each year and I’d sit in my room smelling the soft scent and admiring the perfect petals.  He always knew how to steal my heart.  My grandma as well, she had a cutting garden and she’d pick wildflower bouquets of snapdragons galore!  Her and I made sweet memories designing arrangements and decorating the dinner table.

 

My dad is a lover of all things horticulture too!  When I was young he’d work outside til dark growing the most beautiful flowers in town.  It always paid off when our community garden club would place the famous “yard of the month” sign in our front lawn each summer.  He retired from a 30 year career in the plant conservation trade but you can still find him out in his shop building raised beds or starting seeds and pondering all the possibilities.

 

As you might have guessed by now, I should have recognized that I’d one day dabble in something to do with flowers, but for one reason or another, I hadn’t imagined it.  Throughout the last year, I’ve unearthed a lot of new curiosities and discoveries and somewhere along the way decided to start a flower farm.

 

I found myself buying flowers each week at the grocery store just as I do food.  I realized the flowers were my food.  They brought life to me.  I loved having them around.  They reminded me of living for the most.  They reminded me to appreciate all the beauty as well as the imperfection, and to respect and honor life.  This, in turn, reminded me to pass the love on.  To be a life giver with the life I’ve been given.  It inspired me to encourage those around me too.  To plant a little something and watch it grow.

 

The plan is to start a small cut flower garden this year.  With some hard work and a little luck I’m hoping to harvest a few beauties to sell at our local market.  My hope is that this first year gives me a taste of what it will take and also provide a start to an even bigger dream.  I’d love to sell flowers on a larger scale but that’s another conversation… 😉  For now, my mission is to grow healthy flowers that make people happy.  I want to share this story with others and remind people to live for the most.  I want them to carry my flowers and this mindset with them into their homes and see the beauty of it take shape.

 

I’m excited for my family to be involved in this new adventure with me as well.  Jared has always hoped I would find a way to continue staying home while earning an income and developing our land more.  He’ll be a huge part in helping me along the way!  My other helpers will be the children of course.  Since we began home educating last year, we’ve been learning through hands on and interest led experiences.  This new endeavor, I have a feeling, will offer some valuable lessons.  Dakota has already been working through the beginning steps with me.  My parents will also be very involved as it’s partly a dream of their’s too!

 

Do you love flowers as much as I do?  Tell me your favorites.  I’d love to know!  

 

If you’d like to follow along and see more posts about our flower farm journey stay in touch!  I’ll be sharing the updates with our email subscribers as we go.

 

Live For The Most

 

xx

How To Start Setting Goals You and Your Family Will Actually Accomplish

 

Guess what I learned the last ten years of raising a family?  Success doesn’t happen on it’s own.  Once we got out of that euphoric baby bubble where everything was held together by bursting hearts and bath time lotion, I quickly realized that my family was evolving into INDIVIDUALS, who had quite the scope of strengths and weaknesses, ideas, likes, and dislikes.  My husband and I also began evolving into adults, who had children to raise, and big, mature decisions to make.  Our selfish ways needed to take a better shape in order to establish and sustain lasting family success.

 

It wasn’t a cake walk.  We began recognizing that we struggled with feeling fulfilled as we were being torn in different directions and unable to make any real progress in any one good direction!  Our decisions were not aligned, and we weren’t attentive to each others goals. We were still trying to operate as individuals, and not as a family.  The direction of our endeavors was strained and we needed to regroup and build a solid foundation that would lead us towards the life we wanted. 

 

“In order to give life and success to your family, you must consider every individuals life and what success looks like to them.”

 

At the new year time for the past few years we have sat down and reviewed our year together.  These conversations are so good to have because they really lead to what matters to each person in your family along with your family as a whole.  Without having these types of conversations you cannot expect to gain ground on your goals together.  

 

Get the conversation started.  Begin listening and thinking about what matters to one another. Here’s how to start!

 

(Note… these questions should be given to each person in your family.  It could be done around the supper table, on a family night, in the car, however it works!  Make it fun and enjoyable for everyone!  I do ours in interview form and try to catch people when they’re in a good mood ;  )  If your family enjoys it, have them make it their own and write it out themselves.  If they don’t, write it down for yourself,  it will still help you gain knowledge of your family and help you give life to them and their dreams.  As the care taker of your loved ones you must lead them and set the tone for success!)

 

S T E P   O N E – 

Review the past year.  

Go through the four seasons to help refresh your brain or look back in your journal and take note of the highs and lows.

 

 

S T EP   T W O –

Choose and write down the best thing from the year.  

What went really well?  What gave the most joy, thrill, or energy?

 

S T E P    T H R E E –

Choose and write down the thing that needs work.

What mistake kept being made.  What kept on popping up and causing trouble?  

 

S T EP   F O U R –

Choose and write down a thread.

A thread is something that has sparked an interest… something to learn more about or get better at.

 

S T E P   F I V E –

Take a minute to reflect on the answers to these questions.

Write down a specific and measurable goal based on them.  This means when you think of a goal for instance…  more time with my husband, more experiences with the kids, managing our finances better, or keeping the house cleaner…   Don’t stop there.  You need to ask yourself “H O W.”  How will you make that happen.  What can you do this month to start working towards that goal?  What plans can be made?  Make it something that you can actually check off the list in the next month and rewrite a new goal after it’s complete.  This is the part where everyone stays too broad and looses ground.  You must be able to set a short term achievable goal that will move you closer to the bigger goal at large.  Get good at this step, and you will see the momentum build!  Promise.  

 

If you enjoyed these starter steps and would like more help with supporting your family in your home join the email list and get my free guide “SETTING YOUR FAMILY UP FOR SUCCESS!”  You will receive more tips you need to help align your family’s dreams, make progress in a positive direction, and create the life you hope for!

 

keep living for the most

 

xx kasey

 

Starting A Simple Stress Free Meal Plan

Of all the household duties, the most important is feeding our family.  The actual giving of life.  The staple needed to sustain.  It is often overlooked as we get overwhelmed just thinking of all the work it takes to plan, purchase, create, and clean up!  And have you ever caught yourself scrolling through pinterest for ideas only to find out you’re feeding those feelings of inadequacy?  Don’t spend all your time worrying about how bad you suck or wishing you were Sandra Lee.  Instead, start this simple meal plan and save yourself the stress.

 

F I R S T – Write down your top 3-5 favorite foods to eat and have your family do the same.  

 

S E C O N D – Compile these recipes as your “go to’s” to be great at! (Remember “I can cook anything and everything”-said no one ever!;)… Keep it simple and get good at these handful before you move on.)

 

T H I R D – Plan to make these on a rhythm… Mexican Monday, Italian Tuesday… you get the idea, make it your own!  (This makes grocery shopping more simple too.  You can think quick about your families favorite meals, and as you get better you’ll even remember the ingredients without a list each week.) 

 

F O U R T H – Don’t forget to modify the meals!  Some weeks are going to be wacky… you may need to adjust the Italian night to only noodles and sauce sometimes.  On the flip side you may have a week when you feel like superwoman and that’s when you spread your wings a bit and make the meal more meaningful… an awesome salad, a homemade bread, a special drink to enrich the flavors (These are the times when you surprise your family with those special somethings and learn new ways to spice up the same meal.)

 

L A S T – Review and adjust your meals by quarter.  What this means is change your menu according to the season.  Do these steps each winter, spring, summer, and fall and before you know it you will be well on your way to a simple, less stressful grocery mind that gives life to you and your loved ones.

 

Best wishes and good luck!  I hope this helps guide you to become a great meal planner!

 

PS.  Do you get stressed out about other household performances?  Would you like tips on becoming a better homemaker and having a life giving home?  Subscribe in the sidebar to get more ideas and inspiration in your inbox!

 

live for the most

 

xx  kasey

Gather & Give

This Christmas marks the third annual wrapping party I’ve hosted and although it began as a way to help ourselves out this time of year by getting our gift wrapping done ahead of time it has evolved into a much prettier package!  As the children and I have been reading through a lot of literature this year with homeschooling we have noticed that so often the characters in the stories are orphaned children.  Furthermore, as we read the history of Saint Nicholas this season the children also learned that the heart behind his original message was to help orphans and give them hope.  

It got us thinking of how we could be used this holiday and in the years to come to carry on the spirit of the true gift… HOPE.  I instantly thought of the wrapping party I host each year.  It started as a way for some of us mama’s to get together and get our gifts wrapped early, but it seems that it could be used for something much greater.  Here we are each year in our nice warm home wrapping gifts for our safe and healthy children who already have all they could ever need, while so many others are suffering and struggling.  It seems the perfect opportunity to gather together, remind our hearts about hurt, and give gifts and hope to those in need.  

This year we are contributing towards helping local children in our community.  I’ve prayed it becomes so much more and also that it opens our hearts to see needs not just in this spirited season but in our everyday lives.  We don’t need a gathering to give.  All we need is to gather & give.  

 

The Art Of Old Fashioned Cocoa

Growing up in a small town had it’s sweet advantages… When I was a teenager working at the local dairy queen, the owner, who was also our town mayor of course, hosted a Christmas party for all of us employees.  The mayor and his wife were the kindest of people who took good care of their little crew and our community.  Carol, the mayors wife, made what she likely thought was just her normal specialty, but it was my first taste of real cocoa and the start of a beautiful thing.  I probably drank about 5 cups before I asked her for the recipe!  I’ve been mixing that magic every season since!  

Funny how your senses can bring back those beloved memories from long ago.  I’ll always cherish Bob and Carol for taking the time to honor the season with us and for giving the time and attention to us that they did.  I know they may never know that something so simple has left me with something so special.  I make that cocoa recipe for my kids each year and they too recognize it’s richness.  There’s just something about the art of slowing down and stirring a cup of old fashioned cocoa that warms the soul.

We usually kick off the season sipping hot cocoa by the fire and reading our favorite Christmas stories and then we savor it again on Christmas morning.  It’s become our tradition and a special treat we love to share!  We hope you give it a try this season.  

Old Fashioned Cocoa

sugar – 1/2 c

cocoa – 1/3 c

milk -4 1/2 c

vanilla – 1/2 tsp

marshmallows 

 

 

Tis The Season To Enchant The Senses

The winter holiday season is my favorite to decorate! Ideally I think it’s best to invest in the things that can carry you all through winter rather than only the month of Christmas, but you also want to have a few of those christmas keepsakes keeping things festive and cozy.   My style is growing more simple and easy, but I still always get a little nostalgic at Christmas…  

When transitioning into this wonderful time of year, I try to remember to enchant all the senses and ignite all the wintery/holiday vibes.  The key is to imagine the feelings of the season… what are the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches that enchant you and how can you bring that feeling to your space. 

 

Keeping With The Classics… Gifting The Outdoorsman And The Indoors-Woman

If I had to guess I’d say the majority of men could be perfectly happy with a new pocket knife or the perfect pair of work gloves and us ladies, we’ll welcome anything soft and pretty our way.  I wanted to share a couple of great new brands I’ve discovered this year with you and encourage you to support their missions both big and small.  These brands offer the best classics for outdoorsman and some pretty special treats for us girls too!

A top choice is the amazing huckberry.  There are so many reasons to love huckberry for gifting that man in your life.  They believe in getting outside and making adventures happen!  Their motto, “see you out there” makes me smile everytime.  You know how much I belieive in making the most of everyday and living for the moments.  So I love to encourage that in my man’s life too!  He gets such good energy from his outdoor hobbies and I love shopping for things for him that inspire those adventures.  Huckberry recently launched more women’s items as well as a children’s line too!

Another favorite is a local business from my hometown called Riverside Cap Co.  They have a heart for representing our beautiful ozark heritage and providing inspiring gear for the great outdoors.  We have been wearing their pieces like crazy because they are so special to us and the quality is perfect too!

Head over to these shops to find just the right thing for you and your man this holiday season.  So much to choose from for the outdoorsman or the indoors-woman;) 

the pieces we love lately are in the photos below… 

hat – riverside 

shirt – riverside 

Lessons From Our First Chapter of Homeschooling

Wrapping up this first season of homeschooling feels good.  It has flown by and I can think of so many things that I wish I would have done, or could have done better.  However, in the end, I’m just thankful for the opportunity we’ve had to try it out, for the grace of learning as we go, and for the time I’ve had to focus on my children.  I’m mostly excited I’ve had the chance to think long and hard about what I hope to develop in them through this process.

I’m sure that our rhythm will change bit by bit each season but there are definitely some key pieces that bring fruit and growth to our days, and I can see development for the better.  These are the things that I plan to continue on with in the next quarter.  These are things that can be done as a homeschooling family or a typical schooling family.  I was interested in homeschooling for two years before we dove into it and I enjoyed integrating a few of these values in even when my children attended public school.  You can always adapt things into your lifestyle if they’re important to you.

The hardest part about starting homeschool has been discovering so many new ideas and inspirations all the time.  There are so many resources that it can be overwhelming to try them all.  I’ve learned to start small and choose what fits our family.  I don’t try to do it all.  I try to choose what interests our family and go from there.  I thought I’d share the things we’ve done throughout this quarter that I’m really happy with and hope to grow more in.

I thought it might be easiest to see how I implement the things that we value and what it looks like in our day to day by showing our daily rhythm.  Our rhythm is super basic… I operate best this way, too many expectations make me crazy!!!  It doesn’t always flow this perfectly but this helps us keep on track and touch all the areas of need.  These are the priorities we feel best align with our vision at this time.  Our children are pre-k, first, and third grade levels.

Our Rhythm:

 

6-9 GOOD HABITS

(this time is for waking up, reading some bible, praying, planning and talking about our day/week/month, exercising, getting ready for the day, doing chores, and eating breakfast)

 

9-11 COLLECTIVE… CONSUME + CREATE

(this time is for math + reading, and writing)

 

11-1 OUTDOORS + FREE PLAY

(this time is also used for community activities on some days)

 

1-3 COLLECTIVE… CONSUME + CREATE

(this time is for art, handcrafts, and music + reading alone)

 

3-5 OUTDOORS + FREE PLAY

(this time is also used for community activities on some days)

 

5-8 GOOD HABITS

(this time is for eating supper, doing chores, getting ready for the night, stretching, reviewing and talking about our day/week/month, praying, singing some hymns, lullabies, or seasonal songs, and laying down)

About good habits…

I hope to give some perspective by sharing how highly we value good habits in the day and teaching and training our children to care for themselves and develop a strong sense of ownership in their day and life.  It was something I have always strived for even before homeschooling and believe can be done to a worthy degree even on a limited time frame like when public schooling.  I will say I struggled more with it then, because time was of the essence so much, but I think if you believe in it enough, it can be improved on even with the time constraints of heading off to school.  It can be adjusted and tweaked as needed to still achieve the goal.

We read bible stories from the Egermeier’s Bible and sing from an old hymnal we have that’s been handed down in our family.  The kids usually can get ready, make beds and do their exercising or stretching on their own. I put in the time in the beginning to train them as well as address it when needed throughout.  We typically make our meals together and do the daily chores together as well like dishes, laundry, plants, animals, sweeping and taking out the trash.

About collective…

Collective is what I use as the heart of our learning and experiences.  I’m a big believer in the create and consume philosophy and that there needs to be a rhythm in ones input and output.  I have applied this idea, as well as not applied it, and applying it just flows so much better, especially with children!  You can get so much more out of them when this is done well.

My planning is pretty simple.  I only have to prepare for the two collective times essentially.  I listen to the children’s interests as well as align learning with the seasons.   I plan block studies or some would say topic studies based on interest or season.  These last anywhere from 2-4 weeks typically.

In the morning I try to conquer the things that require more concentration and a fresh brain.  For reading, which includes social studies and science, I select 4-12 books per week (that’s 1-3 a day) depending on the length of the stories… we only school 4 days a week… I get most of my book inspiration online via ambleside and beautiful feet books.  I also love Jodi Mockabee’s book list from her new line of schoolhouse curiousities.  I will check what I can out at the library, purchase new books, and use many books from the collection we already have.  For writing, I choose a quote and a poem for each topic of study and the children practice memorization, penmanship, and grammar by completing copy work of the selected piece.  We use the method of notebooking to practice many more writing skills.  Notebooking is also my favorite way to document the children’s learning!  It has so many positive offerings, I can’t even begin to discuss them all!!!  So far, we have used math mammoth to help us stay on track with grade level math skills.

In the afternoon we are more relaxed and enjoy some type of hands on learning or experience.  I use the wild and free handcrafts book as a resource for making something interesting and meaningful with our topic.  I use art supplies that Jodi Mockabee lists in her note booking section of schoolhouse curiosities for our art efforts, and I use my playlists or pandora to introduce the kids to good music as we create.  They also play the dulcimer, zylophone, and harmonica some as they please.

About outdoor/free play…

A huge part of our vision was to allow the kids more time to enjoy the outdoors, use their imagination, and explore together.  The children get quite a bit of free play and outdoor time each day and to some it may seem too much.  Through my experience as an educator and with the research I’ve discovered it has become quite clear that the children can achieve a lot in a small amount of time that is focused and aided with my undivided attention.  If the child is ready they can learn in a short period of time.

That being said, the kids are able to be successful and get their work done leaving them with more free time.  Free time to wonder and explore is also where they learn.  Just like us, their free time is needed for their best production and often inspires their best production.

(A note referencing our community activities:  We are an athletic family and the children are involved in seasonal sports activities as well as private gym lessons and horse riding.  Sometimes  we are active in the evenings with these things too which influence our night time habits.  Our night time habits have to ebb and flow a bit with the seasons.  We also participate in a community group with other homeschooled children once a week.  I hope to include some type of music training one day but that will depend upon the interest I suppose.)

An Important Part…

I also thought it important to share my process for documenting our journey.  I use a small journal to write down a thing or two about our rhythm each day.  Mainly I note what was accomplished or not accomplished in each section of the day.  this is were I keep track of our state requirement of a time log.  I then use that to look back on when I journal about the kids individually once a week.  I have a separate field note journal for each child where I write something they did well, something that needs work, and something that has sparked their interest (also called a learning thread).  This is what helps me so much as I evaluate our progress and plan for upcoming learning.  I will try to elaborate more on this in a future post because it is truly vital!

One Last Thing…

The reason I believe in sharing this is to record our journey but not only that.  I know that every mother wants to help their child be their best possible.  I don’t believe that homeschooling is for everyone.  In fact, I would advise most parents who are considering it to check their heart good before committing to it as it takes a lot of grit.  I’ve found that you really have to want to do it in order to stick with it and to find success as with most things.  That being said, I truly believe that learning starts in the home and the first teacher is the parent.  It’s so easy to get busy and lose track of what you are doing with your child to develop them, but take the time to consider it.  You may be doing exactly what’s right for you and your family right now.  However, there could be some things that need some work still too?  It’s always good to assess things periodically and take some time to look at reality and address the areas that need attention.  If there’s an area that needs help try one of the ideas I’ve listed or search some ideas up.  I broke it down into different sections of the day so that if there is an area you need some inspiration or ideas for you could start by looking at that section in our rhythm.  I’m going to continue to do this each quarter as we go because it really helps me get a good picture of the place we’re in and the direction we’re going.  I hope it might be enlightening and give you a fresh idea of something to try as well.  If you have any questions please leave me a comment below and I’ll reply with my best answer.  

Best wishes to you and your child this school year!

Live for the most,

xx Kasey