Forest Table Feast

At Thanksgiving I host my husbands side of the family and since I’ve never been able to afford to purchase all the beautiful settings all at once, I started simple and made it tradition to add one nice thing to the table scape each year.  I hold myself to it and allow myself some room for creativity to come up with the other odds and ends as I go…  This year I was able to add some gorgeous glasses to the setting.  I love a little lux and lavish for Thanksgiving, but I’m also typically very simple and drawn to natural elements so to keep things toned down I went on a nature outing with the kids and found some greenery to tie into the look.  Bringing the outdoors in is always my go to just because it pleases all the senses so well.  The sight, smell, and feel of the real deal is so priceless and invited on a budget any day!  Hope this gives you a fresh idea and some inspiration for your next feast!

live for the most, 

xx

Festive Favorites For The Holidays

For the festive season I’ve included some of my favorite looks that dress it up a bit.  I’ve included my favorites from this season, but my main goal is to give some ideas for timeless pieces that you want in your wardrobe for the holidays!!  I try to purchase a few things each season to update or replace things in my closet and here’s a peek at what’s catching my eye.

Fall Traditions

The magic of the corn maze.  Each year we plan a fun family day at our local pumpkin patch/corn maze and each year we come and go with sweet memories made.

This particular  year we went at dusk which was so beautiful to watch the sunset behind the big red barn.  We played and laughed and snuggled close with hot cocoa as it cooled off down in the valley.

Family traditions are so close to my heart.  Growing up, my mom and dad made the small things special and I have so many cherished memories from it.  I leave you with a beautiful quote about living for the most and making memories and the most of each day.  It’s by the beloved Mark train who is a fellow Missourian.  He said…

Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.  Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bow lines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Go live life.

xx kc

Creating Culture

I’ve been wanting to write on culture for a while now, but I keep feeling like it’s something I’m still not good at…  Is it something we must strive for or is it the people we already are?

To me culture is what we represent as well as who we are becoming.  It’s ever evolving…  right?  There’s a lot of talk on culture out there and it seems a buzz word lately, so it’s had me thinking.  Obviously culture can be discussed on a large scale or a small one, but I tend to gravitate towards the smaller concept of family or community culture since that’s the main responsibility present in my life, and one worth talking about in most people’s lives.

It’s so important to be thinking about culture in our daily lives because it matters, and big time!  You have the ability to create a thriving culture around you.  It’s about who we are and what we are passing on.  It’s goes much deeper than our values.  It’s what we do, how we act, and it’s ultimately a feeling or representation of our character that’s given to others.

When I think of the culture I pass on, I am mostly embarrassed.  How many times do I fail at showing good culture in the day to day?  A lot.  I want my culture to represent positivity and be life giving, but it typically doesn’t look that way.  It’s usually selfish and life stealing rather.  Sure, I have my moments of glory, but those are too few to keep track of.  What stands out, are those flawed moments I need to grow through.  It’s actually those exact moments though, that can be used in our culture, as our culture.

As I’ve started focusing on creating good culture in our home and being more intentional with it, I believe the only way to teach it is through our own character as we experience our individual journeys.  To show those around us who we are with our imperfections through humility, as well as who we strive to become with integrity and honor.  If we can do this, we have the magic.

Our humanity is our culture.  We must be able to rise above our own afflictions and while doing so be vulnerable enough to share those times, whether good or bad with others.  That’s where the heart of culture is.  People around us don’t expect us to never go through bad times.  Be open enough to let people walk with you and ask for help as you go.  I believe that is the true magic of culture.  And that is how we learn to be better and teach others from our lessons learned as well.  I now understand that old saying about honesty and hard work.  That’s really all it takes to be successful.  Be honest and work hard to do your best.  This simple theory is all you need to influence others and motivate a positive culture.  Will it always look perfect and run smoothly, no.  Will it always demand respect and admiration, yes.

I’m learning that in my own family, friendships, and community, you don’t have to have it all figured out to create a good culture.  A good culture is created in the presence of figuring it out.  It just takes an openness to learning, the ability to work hard at it, and the vulnerability to be kind and humble through the process. What kind of culture are you creating?  Remember to include laughter!  Good culture requires the ability to laugh at yourself also…  and often!  Accept grace and go get em!

If we want to see change in the world, it has to start small, with us.  An individual can change a family, a family can influence a community, a community can impact the greater and on and on.

Live For The Most,

xx kc

 

 

That Homemade Touch… What Kind Of Artisan Are You?

Take a minute to close your eyes and walk through the best home you’ve ever had the pleasure of stepping foot in.  What did it smell like?  How did it make you feel?  Why did you love it?  

If you put any time into this at all congratulations!  You’ve given yourself the warm and fuzzies!  Most importantly though, you’ve realized that the place you love the most wasn’t an empty shell from a high end magazine article.  Rather, it was a place with lots of character, depth, and soul.  A place that had warmth because of it’s imperfections in all of it’s hand spun glory.  

The more I get into design and use my eye to look at what draws me in, the more I see original creations.  When I scour pinterest looking for style ideas, the images I adore are the ones that aren’t cookie cutter.  They are the ones with significance and some type of craftsmanship.  Whether it’s a custom tile shower, or an arched wooden entrance; a unique chandelier, or a hodge podge of artisan layered rugs.  I notice that homemade touch.  

The best places have a little something that makes things interesting.  That tells some kind of story about the history and background.  

As I’ve begun homeschooling my children I’ve been introduced to handcrafts.  Handcrafts are a skill you develop yourself at using your hands to create something useful or of value.  Handcrafts have many positive benefits outside of producing an end result, but the obvious is the art of making something and getting better at it as you practice.  Handcrafts date back to a time when people developed themselves at a trade and made their living from what their said skill was.  It is the art of artisanship.  

Once I made this connection with handcraft, I fell in love with it!  I use to think of crafting as busy and meaningless work, like knitting for example.  Something that bored me and seemed to simply pass time with no real grand product.  That was just my perspective though because I didn’t enjoy the craft of knitting and didn’t have much use for its end product.  What I’ve learned is you have to find your own handcraft.  You have to figure out what end product you appreciate!  It could be woodworking, jewelry making, sign painting… the list goes on forever!  What is enjoyeable specifically to you!  What would make you feel alive and happy making?  What could you be proud of and satisfied with?  What is your special trade?

It may take some time to play around with ideas and figure out, but start with something your unsatisfied with in your own home.  What is something you haven’t found the right fit for?  It doesn’t even have to be a household object?  Maybe it’s something you wear, or use?  What could you try to make to suit a need that isn’t being met?   

In our home, I started in the children’s rooms.  Since my hope is to introduce them to the idea behind handcraft and get them strewing about what they might like to create and develop artistically, I wanted to make something meaningful and noticeable to them, something they’d appreciate to get them thinking on the kind of things that they appreciate!  

Dakota’s room has been shifting from little girl to big girl, so we decided to take down her fancy princess canopy and make something unique to her that could hang above her bed.    Since she loves nature we found some driftwood on our creek bank and we tried our hand at creating a homemade mobile that adds a more natural character to her room.  

The boys were more focused on something they could use and keep in their room.  They decided they wanted to own pocket knives and learn how to be handy with them.  They have begun practicing the rules and care of knives along with some whittling basics.   

Hopefully, you will put some thought into what you might create by hand for your home.  Who knows, maybe you will even discover a gift or idea worth developing and selling!

What kind of artisan are you?

 xx kc

 

How To Handle The Ups And Downs

Raise your hand if you are facing a hardship.  Now raise your hand if you have overcome one before.  Now raise your hand if you have the answer about staying on the upside all time.  

Well, well, well, news flash!  Life is all about ups and downs.  Right?  

Okay sorry for that rash opening, but it is truth.  It’s life, it’s normal.  We are not alone going through a bunch of unexpected and uncontrollable twists and curves.  Each individuals journey is jammed pack with highs and lows and those peaks and valleys are a part of our life to teach us how to live.  They are in fact good for us! 

The sooner one accepts this the sooner they can start responding to it.  That’s the key, how we choose to respond.  

It’s a difficult path to walk… our own life path.  It’s not like anyone else’s.  It’s constantly new territory that we’re exploring and discovering.  It’s constant questioning, reflecting, adjusting, and planning.   It’s easy to look at other’s and wish we had it as easy, or on the flip side, be thankful it’s not as rough.  Either way,  at some point we will be glad when things are good or we will also at some point, be trying to figure out how things got so bad.  We can of course be looking to our pupils and those who’ve gone before us to glean wisdom from their experiences, but inevitably we all must face our own path.  We must at some point comprehend and attain a vision for how to handle the ups and downs were dealt.  

The good news is there is always something we can do about the place we find ourselves.  Here are a few steps to consider through the ups and downs.  

  • Recognize – Take a sec to soak it up and gain some perspective.  Recognize what has happened whether it’s a high or low and how you found yourself there.  Did you make a good choice or a poor one?  Was it a series of choices?

  • Remind – Remember what you believe in.  What values helped you or hurt you?  Decide good from bad and either repeat or retreat.

  • Refocus – Whether you are on a peak or in a valley time isn’t going to stop yet.  You have to continue on.  Quiting isn’t an option.  Think about the next best thing you can start doing right away and get busy.  No one ever climbed a mountain or sustained the victory by being stagnant.  The only option is to move forward.  

I completely understand that these steps seem quite simple.  However, if you’ve lived long enough, you understand they are much easier said than done.  We can never get too good at this.  The more we live and learn about, the more challenges we face.  Life is about learning.  That is the real lesson to accept.  The ups and downs are simply things we haven’t learned about verses things we have.  

What are you experiencing?  A high, a low, a lull even?  What are you going to do about it?  

I hope you choose to learn, grow stronger, become better and  “Live For The Most”

xx kc 

 

Braving The W I L D… Why Camping With Kids Is Worth It

It all started when we went camping on a whim this past summer.  We loaded up last minute and headed for the W I L D.  We were craving some unexpected and that’s just what we got!  

We were surprised to discover that camping really isn’t that hard.  In fact, it’s pretty free and easy.  We realized that it’s actually the perfect entertainment for young families.  Our kids were amazingly happy and well behaved… their little senses took it all in and they stayed busier than anything we could have possibly planned.  Pure heaven for us too!  Something about a breath of fresh air and a place to be W I L D + F R E E.  

A few things to remember are bikes, books, and a big ice cooler!  If you stay at a state park, they have amenities as well as fun seasonal activities to do.  We have camped at parks, private sites, and even in the wilderness of our own property at home.  

We have a list going of supplies we want to purchase including a bigger tent (we need some growing room.)  We believe that braving the wild is the best way we can travel with our kids during this season so we plan to explore much more!  We’d love to know tips and advice from family campers.  Where are your favorite places to visit?  What are your favorite ideas to do?

The photos below are from Devil’s Den in Arkansas.  The park had some fun and engaging activities that we really enjoyed.  I didn’t include many photos of them because we were so in the moment, but we played a community ball game with all the other families in the site.  We observed and listened to bats over the lake at night by sonar, and  we learned about reptiles in the park and got to watch them eat their prey!  The boys loved this one of course…

Here’s to new adventures and braving the W I L D!

Live For The Most,

KC  

Details and Dainty Jewels… Finding The Perfect Pieces

As I’m going through my closet this week trying to transition to fall, I have been looking at the gaps and taking note of the things I need to invest in for the upcoming season.  I really love a good basic collection and I typically stick to the basics, but after looking at my fall pinterest board, which I do when I need to remind myself how to own my style, I noticed that details make a huge difference.  A little something unique or bold needs to be a staple in your wardrobe, so get to thinkin what details you’re drawn to?  Need help?  Check out my pinterest board here for ideas and inspiration!  If you do decide on a great detailed piece opt for some dainty, less showy jewelry.  I’ve been training myself to invest in smaller pieces that can be worn with everything and I can wear every. single. day as with my wedding band.  Think signature jewelry.  My favs are on this board!

Happy Transitioning Loves!

xx kc 

These photos were taken at our visit to Big Cedar Lodge which you can read about here, but I went bold this summer and did the jumper thing… it got so many compliments and I surprisingly felt very timeless and womanly in it.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.  Sometimes those choices can become your favorites!  Also, the piece is from banana republic

3 Ways To Fight Resistance In Your Marriage…

Mostly it’s the man’s job right?  To fight for things and be the leader, to take charge…  Well this may be a surprise, but I don’t exactly agree with that!  Sometimes a man is not always going to be able to lead you in the best direction.  Remember, he’s a human, not a hero.  Sometimes he may need help in the fight.

In walks woman, the helper!  If you’ve ever been in need of help, then you’ve likely learned the value of help.  Never underestimate or undervalue it.  Help can impact and influence a situation greatly, and for good.

I say these things to lead into the concept that you have the ability to be a beacon for better.  You should be a part of the direction of your marriage and life.  If you are experiencing some sort of challenge in this direction, which all of us do, then you might want to consider these things that can help fight that resistance…

Fight Resistance With Ownership

When in a marriage or family, you are a part of a team working for the good of the team.  This being said you don’t always wait for the leader to tell you what to do.  Here’s the key – YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for knowing what the leader’s priorities and goals are for the team.  Don’t wait for them to tell you, and don’t make excuses for why you don’t know?  With the knowledge of the priorities and goals, you should be able to make good judgement calls for what best suits the team.  There should be no excuses if you have taken responsibility for what the expectations are.  If you choose to go against those priorities then have a highly persuasive reason to back your decision.  Take ownership of what’s good for the team.

Example:

We personally experienced a learning opportunity in regard to this principle recently… We have been working on making decisions together and being in agreement on things before we commit to them.  I made the mistake of committing to a family trip before checking with my husband.  Although I knew his overall stance on the type of situation because as noted before I had taken ownership of knowing his priorities and goals,  I still made a poor choice.  I was misguided by some things I thought were good exceptions to the rules.  Let’s just say he wasn’t thrilled with my decision making.  It caused resistance in our marriage and we were forced to talk it through and figure out where we went wrong and what we could do better next time.  Working to understand your teams priorities are essential to making good decisions and keeping resistance at bay.

Fight Resistance With Help

Prayer is good. Pray and cover things with prayer.  Something I’ve felt lead to pray about more in my marriage is how I can draw my spouse closer to God.  I used to pray that God would help him and that he would respond.  Those are great prayers that are needed and appreciated, but I realized that sometimes I could do a better job at lending to that rather than interrupting it.  – Do you feel me?  Often I found myself expecting him to handle things better.  I would get disappointed and angry when he didn’t.  Then, I would make matters worse by blaming him and putting pressure and expectations on him that I could have actually helped with instead.  It didn’t end in goodness.  Now, I’m learning to pray for HOW I CAN HELP.  I’m inspired by the bible’s teachings, and this aligns with woman’s created purpose perfectly.  It also takes the blame and pressure off the man as the leader.  God made women to help man.  He even said in genesis it’s not good for man to be alone.  Start asking how you can help?  God designed men to appreciate help and I’ve discovered that they are extremely open to our attempts at helping.

Fight Resistance With Belief and Humility

If you’ve read this far then you’ve likely felt and believe that resistance is real.  That means you likely have felt and believe that triumph and victory are real as well.  So this is a good time to remind yourself that there is good and evil.  As we walk through our lives we are going to face both.  It’s inevitable.  Therefore, it’s best to be able to step back sometimes and remind yourself of this truth.  It helps to give perspective on what your going through and give yourself vision and a correct mindset to approach the issue your facing.  If your feeling paralyzed, remind yourself of what you believe, and why you believe it, then it becomes much clearer for how to start fighting for it.  Also, use humility.  No good fighter has ever been too proud.  Stay humble.  We can always, always, grow and do better.  Look at each resistance battle you face as an opportunity to learn and develop.

I know this is a deep and difficult facet of life and I wish each of you reading this victory in fighting resistance.  I have prayed for you in this regard as I’ve prepared this post.  Fight the good fight friends.  

live for the most!

xx kc

 

Life Skills Worth Learning… Will Our Kids Be Capable?

I know it’s early, my kids are still quite young, but I believe it’s never too soon to start training them for how to thrive in life.  As adults we know life’s not a box of chocolates and there’s a lot of learning left to do.  Most of us feel the gaps we each face and try to overcome our learning curves as best we can.  We are all inept in one way or another…  I mean after all, life’s a journey right?  We have to figure it out as we go!

 Although I’m an advocate for this obvious aspect, I also feel its good to cover the basics well in effort to set our children up to build a strong foundation and momentum in life.  I hope to foster good habits that will get them through when the tough times come.  Because no doubt they’ll come.  

If my kids have practice in life skills and confidence in their capabilities then all the better!  I think I will be able to rest my head at night.  Essentially this is our ultimate goal as parents in order to raise capable and competent children who can and will succeed without us.  If I am able to do this, I will be happy.  

It simply takes some time and attention, which is what we’re so often lacking.  As I’ve started recognizing this as an area I needed to give more attention towards, I found some things that worked.  For us, homeschool has been a helpful tool in regards to giving more “time” to practicing life skills and positive daily disciplines.  However, all families can accomplish the goals they desire if they focus hard.  

Here are some ways to approach getting your family and children started with good habits and positive lifeskills…

  • Discuss with your spouse about things you are glad you know how to do and the things you wish you would have known better about.  Get on the same page with open eyes and ears to see where your work needs to happen.
  • Be real with how you model these concepts for your kids… I would say some things need mastered before teaching, but the truth is they don’t.  Your kids can learn an awful lot by watching you get better in a life skill goal of your own.  We have been working to be debt free for a while now and it’s funny to hear our kids talk about money now.  Kind of embarrassing actually!  Kids say the darnedest things!! 
  • Make it a priority to make time to work on a said skill with your children.  This shouldn’t be another to do list for you but more a mindset to take advantage of the small opportunities.  For example, I take my kids to work in the concession stand with me at our local ball park when we have duty so they get exposure to counting money and customer service.  Another thing I’ve begun to  encourage them in is making their own breakfast.  I want them to become comfortable and independent in the kitchen, as well as develop an appreciate for food preparation.  I partner with them a little as needed, but only to fill a gap that they are a new at.  This was an opportunity I saw fit with our new routine of homeschooling.  
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.  Focus on your own family culture.  This will take work and time, but it will be fruitful to the benefit of your unique life, children, and skills you hope to have success at.

Here’s to raising the next generation!

xx kc