// My Favorite Novelty iPhone Cases

It's no surprise that I am obsessed with novelty iPhone cases! I mean, just check out the one I'm currently sporting. I love cases that can show off my silly and fun side in a passive not-so-in-your-face kind of way. I gathered up a few of my absolute favorite cases just in case you're looking to spruce up your tech, too!

Which one is your favorite? Or what kind of case are you currently toting around?

xo KB

// Things I Love Thursday v.247

this church turned skate park! ♥
this lumberjack cake with edible axe! ♥
this mom updated her tattoo to honor her transgender son ♥
this! ♥
this view! ♥
these handpainted lockets ♥
this room! ♥
♥ this 50-hour (!!!) drawing of morgan freeman ♥
these photos of the northern lights (shot in finland) ♥

// Quick gift guides to help you make your final purchases (or requests!): Gifts for Her + Gifts for Kids (I totally bought Toby that backpack!) + Gifts for Home + Under $100 + Under $50!

What are you loving this week?

xo KB

// Tap Into Wonder

Managing screen time was a big consideration for Mike and I when we first got custody of Toby. I remember when we were driving to the courthouse to see the judge, we were talking about all of our hopes and dreams for him. We were kicked into parent-mode just like that. We discussed diet, entertainment, activities and experiences. Of course we had absolutely no idea what life with a 3 year old looked like, but we had thought about what we were hoping to provide him with. Screen time was something we wanted to limit, but not restrict. But of course most parents can agree with me here: sometimes it's easier said than done. Sometimes when you're hustling around trying to get dinner, laundry and work done all at once, it's easy to hand your kid the iPad and say "Have at it!" Still, even a few days shy of 7 years old, Toby's screen time is monitored, though we do allow him to engage more often as he ages. One way we've managed to feel better about his screen time is by letting him play interactive (but educational!) games. Toby loved learning to write his ABC's on our iPad, and his excitement for technology definitely helps make it feel more like a game as opposed to just learning. Every child learns differently, but it's certainly easier to facilitate if you make it fun.

Curious World has almost all but taken over his iPad time recently, and we're not complaining. If you're not familiar with Curious World, it's a subscription service that boasts a huge library of early learning activities for kids aged 3-7. You can use the app via you iPad or iPhone, and children "tap into wonder" by learning through play. Every video, game and book is mapped to key learning areas and the content changes based on your child's age and developmental stage. They add new activities each week so it definitely keeps it new and fun for kids like Toby who can sometimes grow bored fo the same ol', same ol'. You can track your child's progress through the activities, too, so there's no reason to feel the guilt that can sometimes come from voluntary screen time. It's a really useful way to see what your child is into and what he/she loves to learn. It can absolutely help tailor your familyl activities outside of the app. It's currently only available on iPhones and iPads running iOS 8.0+, but it can be easily downloaded from the Apple store. (Android app coming in the future!) You can try a free 30-day trial of Curious World to see if it's right for you and your kids, too! If you decide to try it out, let me know! 

xo KB

// The Present of Presence + Holiday Experiences

The hustle and bustle of the holidays always swoops in and takes me by surprise. It's like a giant typhoon that roars through town and engulfs everything in its path. I love the holiday season, don't get me wrong. But I have a tendency to get a bit stressed out and anxious about everything. This year we're really trying to focus more on the "experience" of the holidays as opposed to the worry and pressure to surround the Christmas tree with far too many presents. Buying gifts for my kids is one of my love languages. When I see a shirt that would look darling on one of the boys, or a little tchotchke that they might like, I love scooping it up and surprising them. I try not to do this too often, but I'll admit I'm a bit more indulging than I'd like. Struggling to figure out what the boys should get for Christmas has been too much of a headache for us. I love seeing them get excited about "stuff," but at the end of the days it's just that... "stuff." Sometimes it gets played with for 15 minutes, sometimes a few days. But very few presents really stick around for the long haul. It got me to thinking about giving the gift of presence and experience instead.

It's not a novel idea or anything, and it's certainly not new. I know many families practice the "want / need / wear / read" model of gift giving, but that just didn't really seem to fit our ideal this year. We have yet to solidify any actual plans or activities for the season, but I was hoping some of you could share what you choose to do with your kids (or when you were a kid). 
Mike had to work the other night when the Christmas parade was in town, so I loaded up the boys and took them with Whitney and her crew. They had a blast! It was so much fun and I loved seeing their faces light up. I may or may not have cried a few times (but that's really no surprise there. I even cried when we took the boys trick or treating for Halloween.) It sort of hit me that these moments are what really matter. I love being able to just go do stuff with the kids. Seeing them experience something that they'll remember for a long time is so rad. I wish Mike hadn't had to work, but I understand the importance of what he does. It definitely made me more aware of how important it is to try and schedule these things for all of us to experience together.

Since we've only got a couple of weeks left until Christmas, I'm hoping to find a few things we can sprinkle into our calendar and experience as a family. Nashville usually has a pretty good selection of things to do / see, but how about where you live? Do you do seasonal activities as a family? I'd love to make it our tradition to invest our time and money into things we can do and remember as a family. 

xo KB

PS; I totally get the irony of posting something like this immediately after sharing a wishlist of my own. Things are nice, but experiences are way more fun.

// Dear Santa: KB's Christmas Wishlist

I love creating little wishlists like this. Truth be told I have absolutely no "needs" this year, and that's a pretty rad thing to say. But we all love to window shop and wish, right? I threw together a few things that I've totally had my eye on, just for the heck of it.

This year I'm daydreaming about:

1 // DIY Print Shop's Gig Poster Kit: I want to SCREENPRINT ALL THE THINGS!

2 // an IKEA gift card: because we want to give the living room and kitchen a makeover and we'll be in Atlanta a month after Christmas anyway. *hint hint*

3 // an ULTA gift card: because I always feel less guilty spending money on frivolous things like makeup when it's in gift card form. and there are so many pretty things I'm eyeing!

4 // a new set of cookware: I totally scorched the bejeezus out of both of our ceramic pans (oops! - but the dinner was the bomb dot com!) so I'd really like to replace them (mostly for Mike, because I totally feel awful!) I really love the copper plating on the outside. They'd look fab in the kitchen Mike and I are dreaming up.

5 // ProDoula Placenta Encapsulation Kit: as far as "needs" go, this is as close as it gets, but naturally it's also the most expensive. I need to finish 3 encapsulations in order to finish my certification, and I can't do that without all the supplies. But I'm slowly but surely stowing away pennies for it! ha

6, 7, 8, 9, 10 // a bevy of Lindy Bop "Audrey" dresses: because they're my absolute favorite dresses and they fit like a freakin' glove. (I'm a size large/US 10 *cough cough*)

11 // a new Skill Saw: to MAKE ALL THE WOOD THINGS!

12 // the Overtone Extreme Teal hair kit: this is how I keep my hair vibrant, and I'm running mad low on it. I love this stuff so much.

13 + 14 // some fluffy petticoats: to go under my Audrey dresses! (size large)

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Hey, a girl can dream, right?! What's on your list this year?

xo KB

// Things I Love Thursday v.246

♥ this! so much this! ♥
these "space" backpacks FOR CATS! ♥
these hand-drawn winged scarves! ♥
this! ♥
this pretty ice cream ♥
these rad star wars cookies ♥
♥ these koalas! ♥
this rad motel ♥
this picture is just cute ♥

// 98 year old couple recreate their wedding day after 70 years.

// Why I'm done asking my husband to help me out.

// Did you know Erika Badu is a doula?! 

// I am a former Planned Parenthood employee and this is my experience with terrorism. Read this!
"I bring all this up because I want to change the way we think and talk about terrorism. Terrorism is already close to home. But we have to start actually caring about the people affected by it." 

"That means caring about Muslims whose centers of worship are vandalized. It means we can't dehumanize Black Lives Matter protesters as just a bunch of rabble-rousers. It means calling domestic terrorism by its name when it happens, even though it will probably mean condemning people who look and think like you."
// I will 110% admit to going a little wild in the Stocking Stuffer section over here. Is it bad that I kind of want all if it, too?!

// Japan Railways build turtle tunnels! This is so cute!

// A life-changing challenge: Add one compliment.

// 5 holiday movies that pass the Bechdel test.

// Can we please stop gaslighting our kids?

// 7 things I wish I had known before sleeping with my college professor.

// Sale alert: Eshakti is having a Buy 2, Get 1 Free (or Buy 3, Get 2 Free!) sale. It ends today, so act fast! (If you've never ordered from Eshakti before, here's a free code for $40 off your first order!)

// Photographer captures soulful portraits of dogs in Austrian wilderness.

// Did you know Forever 21 sold brands like Ankit and Ban.do?! Because I totally didn't until now!

// Wishlist Wears: i really need to replace my honey cardigan // this stunning dress  // this chunky buffalo check cardigan // i love the shape of this dress so much // minnie leggings (!!!) // the gold dress of my dreams // this dress is perfect in every way //

// Pirellis' 2016 calendar replaces sexy stars with influential women.

What are you loving this week?

xo KB

// Three (EASY!) Last Minute DIY Christmas Gifts

I'm a last minute gift giver. Without fail, I'm always rushing around on Christmas Eve trying to finalize gifts whether they're store bought or handmade. I'm notoriously bad about procrastinating. This year I am totally on the ball though. I'm not sure what happened, but a switch was flipped and now I'm pretty close to being done all together! Yeah, it's crazy. I usually feel pretty bummed that I wait so long to finish my gifting because 9 times out of 10 I just grab something at the store and run with it. I really strive for my gifts to be intentional and well thought out, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. The December Michaels Makers challenge is all about "holiday hacks" and creative solutions to the bevy of problems thrown our way. I could say that I'm just too busy to get my gifts in order, but the truth is I'm usually just stumped. However, I totally have a solution for you (if you're like me!) Instead of grabbing the nearest "thing" off the closest shelf, try your hand at one of these quick and simple last-minute DIY gifts! No gift on this list takes more than 30 minutes of actual crafting. In fact, most of them are 15 minutes or less. THAT is my kind of craft! And there's something for everyone, so enjoy!

Latitude / Longitude Wooden Sign

You can see a full-frame shot of this sign in context at the very top of the post. I wanted to create something fun and rustic for our living room, but I also wanted it to be sentimental. I opted to look up the coordinates for the farm where Mike and I got married in 2012, and then this sign was born! I picked up this wooden pallet plank sign at Michaels and then I loaded up on some vinyl for my Cricut Explore. I picked up some white acrylic paint and a big paintbrush, too. That's literally all that is needed for this sign!

Create your own: Create your design in Cricut Design Space. Cut out the design on the vinyl. Use Cricut Transfer Tape to transfer the design from the vinyl backing to the sign. Once the vinyl is adhered to the sign, do a quick coat of white paint over the entire sign. (We were very willy nilly with it because we wanted to retain that rustic look) Let the sign dry for about 30 minutes before pulling up the vinyl pieces. Voila! A new sign to hang in your home!

Do Not Disturb Door Signs

Do you know someone who just brought home a new baby (or is about to)? These signs will be the perfect addition to their doors! I used to think that putting a sign like this on my door would make me look... eh... unfriendly? But then I had a baby and I cursed many'a mailmen. In fact, the very day I put a sign on our door, it saved me from three separate solicitors. In fact, you don't even need a baby to utilize these! Maybe you're like me and you also just hate answering the door. Whatever the case may be, some cute "handmade" signs may just be the perfect gift for someone you know!

Create your own: I grabbed two of these little chalkboard signs from Michaels and then painted some stain on the framed edges (I used Dark Walnut). Then I used a paint pen to doodle some verbiage. (You can use chalk markers, but they're notoriously watery and thin. I like the opaque look of the paint!) Be sure to create a set so they can have one on the front and back door!

Silly Graphic Tees

I am obsessed with making shirts, y'all! Obsessed! I've been making some for Toby and Linden like crazy. We're basically Chipotle fiends in this house so a guac shirt was necessary! I made these matching shirts for the boys to wear and holy moly they look cute in them. These shirts took less than 10 minutes to make, start to finish! I utilized my trusty Cricut yet again for these. (Seriously, if you've been thinking about getting a Cricut, just do it! I love mine! I can't get enough!)

Create your own: Grab a plain tee at the store (Michaels has a great selection of youth and adult tees. If you want something for a toddler or infant, you'll have to pick it up elsewhere!) and pick out your favorite iron-on vinyl for your diecutting machine. Cut the design out in Cricut Design Space (be sure to flip it since it's an iron on!) and then weed the excess vinyl off of the transfer plastic. Once you've got your design ready, heat up your iron and get busy! You'll be amazed at how quickly the vinyl adheres to your shirt. And just like that you have a new, fun tee!

And because I whipped up the easiest little note board for our kitchen, I figured it's worth sharing here, too. I mean, we are talking about last minute DIYs right?! This menu board is just a wooden plank from Michaels with a bulldog clip attached with E-6000! It sometimes holds our weekly menu, and sometimes it holds photos, drawings Toby has made, or important notes that I'm destined to forget! I know, it's so simple it shouldn't even be considered a DIY. (But I did do it myself so there!)

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Overall I love all four projects. They're fun and easy and totally awesome in their own way. I'd be stoked to receive any of them! Hopefully you'll find something to inspire you! If you're still on the prowl for the perfect DIY gift, or you need help with another holiday hack, check out the other Michaels Makers on The Glue String. You can also check out some holiday project ideas and instructions on Michaels.com (including gift wrapping, home decor, hostess gifts, etc!)

Let me know if you see anything you like! Or if you have any fun DIY gifts planned!

xo KB