#makesmesmile (2)

It is that time when I do an Instagram dump of the little things that made me smile during the week.  If you want to follow me from day to day, my username is simplylifestuff.

My new mint green cart from Ikea that I have been lusting over for quite some time.

Spending an afternoon sketching with my little guy.

Visiting my local Target

Flowers breaking ground

An unexpected rose hand delivered by a new friend with the promise of great conversations to come

Spending 2 days here skiing

Spending 2 days here skiing

I hope you had an amazing week.  Share one thing that made you smile this week.  Happy Easter!

My Lil’ Old Blog Nominated

I started my blog to give myself an outlet for my never ending thoughts, my photos, my design in making my house a home.  I started my blog to keep my family informed of the happenings around here.  What I have discovered is that there are so many talented people in the blogging world who have inspired me through their words, their photos, their art, etc.  One of these bloggers has an amazing blog called sincerely, Whitney.  She nominated me for two blogger awards, and I am so incredibly honored.

Her words have been playing on a loop in my brain for the past couple of days.

“i nominated you for the very inspiring award and versatile blogger award. im not entirely sure of the depth of these awards but i wanted to pass the love that someone blessed me with on to you because your pictures speak volumes. they are full of love, creativity, passion and your posts are full of depth. you inspire me all of the time keeping it versatile!”

For the awards, I am asked to share 7 things about myself, so here you go…

1..I love looking at the world through my camera lens and capturing the every day.  My dream is to take a picture that describes it as I saw it.

2..I think I have an addiction to sugar because I must consume some type of dessert every day!

3..I love to explore new places with my two favorite guys, my hubs and my sweet little boy N, but I do love HOME.

4..I have a few girl crushes, not sure I should admit, but oh well!  You may have seen these when I was nominated for the Liebster Award.

  • Whitney Cummings or at least the Whitney on her tv sitcom because of her quick wit and humor.
  • Olivia Wilde because she is gorgeous.
  • Anne Hathoway because she always seems so sophisticated and is uber talented.
  • Hoda Kotb because I would just love to sit with her and talk over a cup of coffee.
  • Katharine McPhee because if you watch the show SMASH, you don’t even have to ask.

5..I love Mumford and Sons.  They always put me in the right place.

6..I like to purge.  I do not tolerate clutter because it places cobwebs in my brain.

7..I love searching for new inspiration from other photographers, mothers, women, etc.

Now to share the love and pay it forward to those bloggers who inspire me:

Baby Mama Juice

Please Keep Me Safe

My Meandering Trail

Travel Photography by Dmitrii Lezine

Happily Skipping Thru Life

Photography by CallieC

LeanneCole Photography

Shavano Mountain

Just wanted to make a quick post today because I have some skiing in my near future.  I plan to throw in a glass of wine while sitting in a hot tub and enjoying some good food morning, noon, and night.  These pictures are from a camping trip I did with two of my favorite guys, the hubs and my N.  We decided to check out Salida and Shavano Mountain in Colorado.  I hope you enjoy.

My sweet N _MG_9944 IMG_9952 _MG_9955 _MG_9956 IMG_9974 _MG_9981_2 _MG_0001Make today beautiful!

You are InViTeD

I enjoy getting different people’s points of view, whether through a photo, sketch, words, or through any other art form.  Therefore, I wanted to invite each of my followers to like my Facebook page titled Simply Life Stuff where from time to time I will post “A Thought to Ponder” and kindly welcome your insight.

I also enjoy and get inspired by looking at other photographer’s photos.  So I will post a request to photo share from time to time, as well.  Little challenges for myself and you that don’t warrant an entire post.  I hope you will join me because sometimes it is the little things.

Speaking of little things that make me smile, check out the facebook page today to kick off my first “You Are Invited” post.  Please share your talents with us.

Spring Snow for Spring Break

Friday was the official start to N’s Spring Break.  On that day and throughout the weekend, CO was blanketed with the white stuff.  Our unofficial snow gauge sitting on my back deck registered about 10 inches.  N loves to play in the snow – sledding, making snowballs, skiing, snowboarding, and of course, eating it.

While we were enjoying the outdoors over the weekend, the birds were dancing in the trees tweeting their “Welcome Spring” song.

Our chocolate lab, Bailey, loves to join us for outdoor activities, even if he is not always actively involved.

On Sunday, we decided to recharge our brains by taking a scenic drive to a small town in CO called Nederland.  The drive was absolutely breathtaking.  When we arrived, we decided to stop in at the local Whistler’s Cafe and have a bite to eat.  I enjoyed two cups of their locally roasted coffee and consumed an entire grilled cheese and avocado sandwich on rye.  Well, minus the two bites I shared with N.  Delicious!  I will definitely be whipping up one of these in my own kitchen.

Whistler Cafe in Nederland, CO

Whistler Cafe in Nederland, CO

Of course, the locals were standing around chatting like best friends, and we overheard the waiter tell another patron about the bakery next door.  I love to visit local merchants in small mountain towns.  So, we walked next door and began to slowly make our choices.

New Moon Bakery in Nederland, CO

New Moon Bakery in Nederland, CO

A large cookie with cranberries and walnuts and lemon ended up being my choice.  N, of course, selected the huge chocolate chip cookie which he consumed in about 5 minutes flat leaving a pile of crumbs in his lap.

Here are a couple more photos just for fun

IMG_0772We may have snow on the ground for the start of Spring Break, but we are smiling.  What an amazing weekend.  To top it all off, Grandpa visited us from Florida!  What did you do over the weekend?  Do you always have special plans for Spring Break or just use it as a time to reflect and recharge?


I love photos.  I like to capture the every day in pictures.  One of my hobbies is to learn more about photography and what settings on my Canon captures the moment exactly as I saw it.  I cherish the many photos I have taken over the years, and I love sitting with a cup of hot tea and reminiscing.  I have started following a few blogs lately that simply inspire me.  So, thank you to all these talented artists.

To challenge myself, I decided to start capturing one moment a day that just makes me smile.  So, I started a new account on Instagram called simplylifestuff.   Feel free to follow me.  One photo a day posted to Instagram and a photo dump on the blog on Fridays with #makesmesmile.  Here we go:

Welcoming Grandpa with Smoked Bar-B-Que

Enjoying after working outdoors in the flower beds

Early morning sun shining on the mountains – view from my kitchen

Sharing flavored sugar with a friend to celebrate her Bday

Enjoying a glass of wine during dinner prep

New bright pillows in anticipation of spring

New bright pillows in anticipation of spring

Snow is in our forecast for tomorrow.  So, I leave you with a few additional photos.


I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  I see some sledding in our future.  What made you smile today?  Sometimes, it can just be the little things.

Putting it in its place…

I LoVe being organized.  For me, it is not just that things are put away in their proper place, it is a state of mind.  When things around the home are cluttered, my brain is cluttered, not allowing me to relax.  When I was in graduate school, I could not begin my long hours of studying and consuming coffee beans to stay awake, until the house was “straightened.”  I am no organizational guru by any means, but I can share some ways I keep me and my family organized inside our home.

We love the outdoors and adventures, and a garage full of “toys” and equipment to prove it.  Organization for outdoor activities would have to be a blog post in and of itself.  Mental note made.

The first item of organization in our home is our mail envelopes.  When mail comes in, it gets dispersed.  Trash goes into recycling.  Who am I kidding, the sorting usually happens after it sits on the counter for a day or so in one big pile.  I purchased these from Target a while back on clearance.  They are part of the Real Simple brand.

Mail - Organizational Tip

Mail – Organizational Tip

To keep us organized so we can head out of the door on time, IKEA comes to the rescue with what is suppose to be a shoe bin.  We each have a drawer where we keep our sunglasses, wallet, volunteer badge for school, coupons, keys, etc. – all the little things that seem to grow legs.  By placing things in our drawer, we can grab them as we walk out the door just a few steps away.

Things we need before walking out of the house – Organizational Tip

N has friends who like to visit.  It snows in CO.  So, this boot tray holds our snow boots and any kids’ shoes who come to play.  So convenient because each kid knows exactly where his/her shoes are located.  There is no need for a game of seek-and-find when it is time to go home for dinner.  And, my floors stay cleaner longer.

Boot Tray – Organizational Tip

If the kids have a place for their shoes, they need a place for their coats and hats.  So, the hubs and I made this simple coat rack out of water valves.  Super cheap project that you can read more about here.  Again, no game of hide-and-seek when the parents come a callin’.  And since this little baby hangs on the wall, it takes up no space.

Simple Coat Rack – Organization Tip

Speaking of coats and hats…We have a shoe hanger right inside of our coat closet where we keep the gloves, hats, balaclavas, scarves, ski goggles, etc. that we use so often here in CO.  Another system of grab and go which just makes life run a little smoother.  I walk my N to school every day, so having these things readily available saves us valuable time.

Winter Wear – Organizational Tip

In our home, we have a very small laundry room.  Luckily, there is only 3 of us.  This basket drawer system works great.  We each have a drawer and as I fold, I place the clothes in the appropriate drawer.  Just like the mail bins, every one empties his/her drawer.  Well, this is how it is suppose to happen.  The baskets are super easy to carry upstairs, so even N can put his own clothes away.  On a side note, I cannot wait to remodel my laundry room.

Sorting laundry – Organizational Tip

And now to the toys, children’s toys.  The majority of N’s toys are housed in a double closet in the basement.  IKEA comes to the rescue again.  Labeled bins are the answer to tame all that clutter.  The kids love it because they can find exactly what their little hands want to play with for that second in time.  It certainly makes clean up easier, as well.

Taming Toys – Organizational Tip

Taming Toys – Organizational Tip

And one final organizational tip for you that involves mine and N’s craft supplies.  I purchased this little baby at Michaels right before Christmas.

Crafts – Organizational Tip

I hope these tips can help you become more organized in your home.  What is your #1 organizational tip?  Does being organized help your state of mind?  Please share.  If everything (well, most things) is in its place, I feel a sense of calm.  Sometimes, it is the little things.

HaPpY SpRiNg

So, today is the first day of SpRiNg!!  That, along with cleaning out my flower beds yesterday, has my nerve endings pinging for warmer days.  I thought today I would share some images with you that speak “spring.”  Spring makes me anxious for blooming flowers, scurrying animals, hiking and camping,  growing vegetables and herbs, fly fishing, watching nature, grilling out, living outdoors, etc.  I hope you enjoy!

Releasing ladybugs

Releasing ladybugs

Hiking to new destinations

Planting sunflowers and watching wildlife

Just enjoying the outdoors

Spending time on the beach

Finding baby bunnies

Blooming flowers


Lush, green garden

Herbs to use when grilling out

Being outdoors and fly fishing

Hiking with the family


Sipping a glass of wine while enjoying a beautiful campsite

_MG_5563 _MG_5791

Have you started cleaning out your flower beds and making plans to bring them alive again?  Do you plant a garden or grow herbs?  Please share.  All of these things just make me smile because sometimes, it is the little things.

Tracking Travels With 3-D Butterflies

I love adding little details to my house to make it feel more like my home.  In my guest room, I recently added some 3-D butterflies to the wall.  I originally got this idea from the Young House Love book #134.  They used pages from an old book for their art, but I chose to use maps.  My family loves the outdoors and adventures and the hubs makes maps, so it was a no-brainer.  Here is all you need:  a butterfly cookie cutter, a pencil, a map of the area you have travelled, a pair of scissors and some little pins.  I used little red map pins.

Needed supplies

Needed supplies

No detailed instructions are needed.  I simply opened the map and folded it in the area I wanted to use, traced half of the butterfly on the fold, and cut it out.  When you cut it out, you will have a complete butterfly.  I cut out multiple butterflies in some of the areas we have travelled, and then pinned them to the wall above the bed.    This is a small way to keep track of our adventures.  You can see another way we track our adventures by clicking here.

3-D Adventure Butterflies

3-D Adventure Butterflies

Here is a close-up.

Map 3-D Butterfly

Map 3-D Butterfly

If you noticed in the above picture, I paired these little beauties with a Katie Daisy print that displays words my family and I live by:  The World is a Playground. I chose butterflies because they mimicked the butterflies in the print.  However, you can choose any shape you like.  Every time I look at these little butterflies I know they depict some of our many adventures, and I smile.  I hope my guests enjoy looking at them.  Sometimes, it is just the little things.

Have you repurposed old book pages or maps to make something for your wall?  How do you track your adventures or travels?  Please share.

Here is one way my family sees the world as a playground.

Hiking at Chicago Lakes

Hiking at Chicago Lakes

Accessorizing Completed

I love small projects that pack a big punch.  I love them even more if they take very little money from my pocketbook.  For awhile now, I have been admiring a certain cracked glass LED outdoor light on a house at the end of my street.  Oh how that light shines with a nice brightness and cool pattern.  We like it so much that we even approached the owner when he was outdoors one day to ask him where he purchased it.

When the hubs and I went to the local Home Depot this weekend looking for a mini fridge, I found a cracked glass LED light, not just like my neighbors but oh so nice.  In addition, I had recently pinned a certain little garage door makeover from the Garr Den of Love blog.  In my logical way of thinking, I figured if we were changing out the light fixture right beside the garage door, we may as well add some accessories to that said door.  Here is what we purchased.

Hampton Bay Cottrell Collection Wall Mounted Outdoor Aged Bronze LED Powered Lantern

Crown Bolt Traditional Decorative Garage Hardware Kit in Black

I will not go through a step by step for you because the instructions to install the accessories are listed on the Garr Den of Love blog post that you can find here.  As well, the instructions are listed on the back of the package.  I will say that the accessories were on sale for $10 bucks.  Here is our before.



And after a little magic from the hubs, here is our after.



We have plans to add some stone work to both sides of the garage door and add another one of those LED babies to the other side.  What do you think?  I ran outside twice last night just to see that baby shine.  So, we have glammed up our garage door area without spending a fortune on a brand new Carriage style door and I can now lust after my own lighting.

Have you made a small change to the outside of your home that took little time and money?  What “big bang for your buck” projects have you completed?  Please share.  Small projects with little effort and money just make me smile because sometimes, it is the little things.

And before I leave you, this little guy greeted us this weekend.  Are you ready for spring?

Spring, Anyone?

Spring, Anyone?