A Family Trip To Kenya

Family trip to KenyaThe end of last year I was homeschooling my kids when an opportunity for our whole family to go to Kenya came up. It was a chance to find education outside of a textbook and to do something for others. It was right, so we went. This is the first time I’ve sat down to write and reflect on the trip and the impact it had on my kids. I don’t know if I will ever fully know how what they witnessed with their eyes, traveled to their hearts, but perhaps telling the story of the day I met one amazing sho sho will help…

Family Trip to Kenya

Family Trip to KenyaFirst stop…the market. While waiting to buy food parcels, the kids and adults gathered to see the song and dance show that we were performing to entertain the kids gawking at this small army of white skinned weirdos who obviously weren’t from around these parts. We failed miserably at trying to be inconspicuous to avoid mzungu prices. However, if the color of our skin affected the price, I wouldn’t have noticed. Seventy dollars to buy food parcels for 24 elderly families was a steal, and I would have gladly paid more.

HandClapBy the time we arrived at the … >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

Organizing Your House Week Two

Organizing Your House Week Two:

 

I’m an organizing fool up in here these days!  I’m so excited so many of you are with me on getting your homes + lives organized in the new year (and hopefully for years to come).  We can totally do this one week at a time.  Thank you for the feedback on Organizing Your House Week One!  Leave comments or email me if you’re really stressed about one area of your home / life and I’ll try to tackle it with you.  Safety and strength in numbers, right?  RIGHT?  I can feel your enthusiasm all the way from here.

 

organize your house week two

This week’s Organizing Your House Objective:  Bathroom Drawer or Cupboard

 

organizing beauty products

How-To Organize Your Bathroom Vanity / Cupboard or Drawer

  • Step 1: Pull everything out and see what you’ve got

I’ll be really honest with you and tell you that in the short time since we’ve remodeled our master bathroom, the vanity has become a cluttered mess.  A total catch-all disaster of makeup and beauty products and random toiletries.  Barf.  I pulled everything out of one side (I needed to break this project up into smaller sections) and put it in a … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Letting It Go

Hello friends!  I hope you’re all doing well today, I really mean it.  I hope it’s gloriously beautiful wherever you are, and that even if you’re neck-deep in snow or smog, or something less savory, that you’ve made your day happy in your own way.

I believe in you.

Letting Go Have you ever chosen a word or phrase as a kind of personal mantra for yourself?  I know a lot of people choose a word at the beginning of every new year, and some people live life by a specific mantra, but up until this year I’d never really tried it.  But this year, on January 1st, I chose a personal mantra:

LET IT GO

Not like the Disney song from the movie Frozen, (although, that song is seriously the best ever even if you’re so, so, so sick of it right now) but more like,  Let It GO, a philosophy for living the best life possible.  For me means a lot of things.

LETTING GO:

  • of being angry at my body for having a disease, and choosing to love it instead, because being sick has taught me to be truly, deeply empathetic and compassionate, and I’m so appreciative
>> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Oahu for Families

Oahu for families Frankly, my dears, I am not made for winter. Maybe it’s the low blood pressure, but I am always cold. My nose, my toes, my fingers, and my rear, sweet cheeks, are always a bit chilly. This is why in the winter, even in Northern California, my heart sings arias for tropical climates. Hawaii is hands down, my favorite place to visit when I crave ocean breezes, fresh flavors that make my mouth water, and a laid back, relaxed attitude towards life.

Hawaii is a perfect place to visit, and fantastic with kids, if you’re looking for easy. There aren’t any passports, language barriers, or currency exchanges to worry about. I’ve found that if you go off-season, you can usually find fabulous flight deals from Hawaiian Airlines.

Oahu is great for families, and is a great pick for the first island to visit. It’s the third largest Hawaiian island, and is the most populated of all the eight islands. About two-thirds of Hawaiians live on Oahu. With so much to do, or not to do, you won’t get bored on Oahu. Oahu is also ideal for discovering the flavor of what Hawaii is like, and from there pick the other >> find out more...

Stephanie Porter

Aloha! I'm a food lover, joyful mother, travel addict, irreverent friend, hip-shaking dancer, car radio-singer, make-out lover, and writer. Love to travel? Join me. Cheers!

Our Friday News Roundup + I Like Giving

Friday News Roundup Time! This week: a campaign to help the Sundance Ski Team get some funding, and a few tidbits of happiness from around the web.

Friday News
  • Have you ever been to Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah?  It’s absolutely gorgeous, one of my favorite places to visit with my family in the Fall and Winter months.  Right now, the Sundance Ski Team is thisclose to winning a video competition which will help fund the build a training facility for their very young team.  It’s a huge, big fat deal and they would really love our help inching over the top.  Voting only takes a few seconds on Facebook (literally) and you’ll automatically be entered to win either a Sundance Foundry Grill dinner for 2 (so yummy) or a Half Day Fly Fishing Getaway for 2.  The giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight, will you help us get this team to their goal?

 

  • The movement I Like Giving is really picking up steam, have you seen it yet?  It’s basically a place on the internet where people like you and me are able to gather together to figure out what specific type of giving makes us the happiest.  I really like
>> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Homemade Watercolor Valentine Cards

homemade watercolor cardsYou know you want to get artistic today. Even though Valentine’s Day is notorious for reminding the single folk of their singlehood – with glaring, overstuffed bears and overpriced roses in every store. It pressure couples to heights of Olympic couple-ness, shaking once-stable sweethearts with heart-shaped everything and oversweet chocolate everything. I know, I have been both of those people on February 14th and neither is all that great. Try a Google search of “Valentine’s Day is…” and you’ll see results like “…a stupid holiday” or “…overrated”.

Petit Elefantw

But remember Valentine’s Day in elementary school? Remember cutting out endless symmetrical paper-fold hearts? Remember pink and red versions candies? Remember writing every classmate’s name on every single card? (I would always save my favorite card for my favorite boy classmate.) Elementary school Valentines were actually fun.

I think we ought to bring the Valentine’s Day of grade school out of the memory box and back to real, adult life. We forget that Valentine’s Day can be about love in general. I love “love in general.” Love in general includes boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, offspring and crushes – but more outstandingly, love in general closes its arms around our family, friends, co-workers, … >> find out more...

elliepeek

20 years old, and deeply happy to be alive. I am an aspiring writer, maybe-lawyer, and human being. I am an English major at Brigham Young University. I write a heavy bit of poetry, and eat a heavy bit of Indian food. I lived in Germany for a bit, but currently call Utah my home. I want to travel as much as time and cash will permit, in this short and spectacular life - and look good while doing it.

Good Fortune Valentines and a Free Printable

good fortune valentine printable I love using free printable Valentines for my boys each year. It feels sorta like we are making our own adorable, homemade, super crafty Valentines filled with love and joy, but really, it’s just a matter of download-print-sign. Done. No folding or envelope stuffing or ribbon tying. Unless you want them that way, of course. I’m thankful from the bottom of my heart to the mad talents out there who share their cleverness with the rest of us. It’s kinda the best.

good fortune valentine printable

This year, my little guy presented very specific ideas for his class Valentines. He wanted to give out fortune cookies, taped to cards with hearts and red words that said “You are my good fortune, Valentine.”  Okee dokee, kiddo. We started searching, and found some reasonable options, but none that truly matched his vision. So we made our own! I know that in a year or two he’ll be less enthusiastic about Valentine’s Day, but for now he’s really pleased with these. And I admit, it was pretty fun to design these with his adorable 8 year old little brain in charge.

fortune valentine printable

DOWNLOAD THE PDF FILE HERE: fortune cookie valentines

Today, it is your good fortune to grab … >> find out more...

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

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Advice on Love from To Kill a Mockingbird

Our young contributor, Whitney, has been waxing nostalgic ever since the announcement that a new Harper Lee book will be published on July 14.  (She is also lovely, bright, clever and single, wink wink.) This is what she has to say about it!, and we couldn’t agree more.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird has been my favorite book since I first read it in fifth or sixth grade. (What can I say? I was precocious, even if I didn’t know exactly what “precocious” was.)

The big news made me want to create a tribute in words to the words that have meant so much to so many—even though I know Lee herself hates when others ride the coattails of Mockingbird‘s success. I tried some punny Valentines inspired by the book.  But I could only think of one halfway decent pun:

Harper Lee Valentines

So I scrapped that. It just feels wrong to say, “I ‘Atticus’ you out if you won’t be mine.”

Instead, I’ve decided to share a few nuggets of truth about love from the classic. Lee herself called the book “a love story, pure and simple,” so it seems fitting. Sure, Mockingbird doesn’t feature the romantic love that typically inspires Valentine’s … >> find out more...

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

Organizing Your House Week One

Organizing Your House Week One:

Do you remember how I talked about how we’re about to get all organized up in here?  Go read my post about organizing your house one week at a time, and then come back.  I’ll wait.

organizing-kitchenOkay, now that you’re up to speed, let’s get started.

This week’s Organizing Your House Objective:

clean and organize the worst cupboard in your kitchen

I don’t know about you, but I have at least one cupboard, drawer in every room in the house that drives me banananananananas.  Somehow there’s always a sneaky little place that ends up stashing all the odds and ends of your life, and never seems to stay organized.

Is it just me?  Let’s pretend it’s not.

organizing-cupboardsWe’re starting this organization adventure in the kitchen (see? the enthusiasm!) because the cupboards and drawers in that blessed room can be some of the trickiest to keep organized.

Case in point: the lazy-Susan corner cupboard in my kitchen.  It’s lodged between the kitchen sink and stove, a neat use of space that has been a mess since the minute we bought the house.  It’s just so oddly shaped, and the most random junk ends up in … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!