Happy 3rd Birthday Kane!

Today this handsome little nephew of mine turns 3 years old.  He’s sweet, sassy, & so loved!

Mr. Kane loves tractors, music, & isn't capable of using an “inside” voice.  He brings so much joy to everyone he’s around... he loves to try new things & has the most delicious cheeks, with a dimple that appears every now & then.  His little over-bite, side profile, & long eyelashes make me melt.  He’s such a pretty kid.

Auntie wishes you the most joyous 3rd Birthday & loves you to the moon & back!

Snow Day

Northeast Wisconsin finally got what we were wishing for... snow.  And a lot of it!

Winter Storm Ashley gave us about 12 inches of snow through the evening yesterday & into this morning.  As a result, we're enjoying a slow morning over here -- drinking coffee, eating pancakes & bacon, and taking in the effects from the storm, from the warmth & comfort of our home.

Snow storm | My Darling Days

Snowed In | My Darling Days

Snow | My Darling Days

Snowy Window | My Darling Days

Grace | My Darling Days

Snow | My Darling Days
Winter Storm Ashley | My Darling Days

Since we're snowed in, I thought about taking my Christmas decor down, but I think I'll leave it up a little while longer...

Christmas Tree | My Darling Days
Blue Christmas | My Darling Days

Favorite Ornament | My Darling Days

DIY Mistletoes | My Darling Days

Although this tree... has got to go!!

Real tree, real mess! | My Darling Days

Happy snow day Wisconsin... may everyone stay safe & warm!

Favorite moments of the week.

When I started this blog, my goal was to make this space a creative outlet that I could come to, since my day job is anything but creative.  I intended to document my days; to find beauty in the everyday -- to make a digital scrapbook of sorts, while inspiring others.

I'm going to try to be more intentional about doing just that -- starting with recapping some things that made me happy this past week.  These are moments that I never want to take for granted, no matter how small or trivial they may seem.  They got me through the week, they made me smile, & I feel like looking back at these posts, it will remind me to have a grateful heart & to be inspired to always find beauty & grace, even among the mundane.

Favorite moments from the week:

+ The smell of new car.

+ Menu planning & sticking to it.

+ Team holiday lunch at a new to me spot, Union Hotel.

+ Pecan Pie.

+ Watching Elena get on the bus.

+ Finishing our Christmas shopping.

+ Folgers Colombian roast decaf coffee in my favorite yellow mug.

+ Biting into a perfectly ripe & juicy orange for breakfast.

+ Early Christmas parties & celebrations.

+ Empty laundry baskets.

Gift Wrapping: Ideas & Tips to make your life easier!

Christmas is fast approaching (eep!!), and with that, comes the task of wrapping all those gifts.  This year, I’ve actually been pretty good about wrapping gifts as I purchase them.  In years past though, I would have to dedicate a whole evening to wrapping presents, and it would usually end in frustration because:
a.) where did all our dang boxes go?
b.) why is the wrapping paper so thin that it’s constantly ripping?
c.) hand cramps.
d.) what do you mean we have no more tape!?

And then your scrolling through Pinterest one night & you see all these glorious, adorably wrapped presents; you look over at your pile & think, well, at least they’re wrapped...

Because the truth is, your hard work of meticulously getting every corner square & ribbon curled just so, isn't going to matter. Your gift recipient is gonna rip open that package & ain’t nobody gonna care how it was wrapped. (Except maybe for your grandma, who still saves the paper…)

BUT.  I’m here to tell you that wrapping gifts can be enjoyable.

Insert: wine, Christmas music, & the tips below, and you’ve got yourself one helleva night.
And it will result in easy, affordable, & holiday-clad wrapped gifts that you are actually excited to hand out come Christmas time!

Idea #1: Dress up your present by making easy, DIY bows out of magazine pages

DIY bows
image via Whole Living

Idea #2: Make the packaging part of the gift by using fabric – think: a scarf, tea towel, table runner, etc

fabric gift wrap
image via Martha Stewart

Idea #3: Use washi tape in lieu of ribbon all together

DIY cookie containers
image via A Baker's House

Idea #5: Use greenery from your tree or around your yard in lieu of bows

Foliage packaging
image via Tikkido

Tip:  When you're done, use toilet paper rolls to hold wrapping paper in place (plus lots of other tips from Brittany):

wrapping paper organization
image via the Hello Honey Blog

So see... wrapping gifts doesn't have to be a daunting task; use these methods/ideas to make the process a little more enjoyable this year.

Happy wrapping, friends!

Happy Sunday.

These printable gift coupons make the perfect, creative stocking stuffer.

I'm really loving Buffalo Plaid this season, though I don't own a single piece of it yet! :(

I may or may not have ordered a set of custom memory cards for someone on my Christmas list this year -- these are so cute, great quality, & are super easy to make!

These mini molten lava cakes seem like a fabulous idea.

Does anybody watch Empire?  We catch it every now & then (guilty pleasure, I guess), and I fell in LOVE with this song.
P.S.  How gorgeous is Alicia Keys in that episode?  I am usually not a fan of crazy colored hair, but she wears purple so wonderfully!

O' Christmas Tree... O' Christmas Tree

Isn't this just the most glorious time of the year?

Sure, summer is fun.  Fall is beautiful.  But Christmas time -- it's just magical.

It's the sound of Christmas music.  It's driving home from work & admiring all the Christmas lights.  It's the glow of the Christmas tree, shedding it's hue throughout the house.  It's cuddling under your favorite blanket, drinking hot cocoa, & watching your favorite Christmas movie... It's the fact that people, around this time of the year, seem more kind & generous -- it's like each day leading up to Christmas has a bit of magic sprinkled through out it.  And it just puts you in a good mood!

Another thing that puts me in a good mood?  Getting our Christmas tree.  I look forward to the day every year.  We bundle up, hunt for the perfect tree, & then head to breakfast to fill our bellies before the decorating begins.

Last weekend, we cut down our 5th Christmas tree as a married couple -- and it literally took us 4 minutes.  Seriously, 4 minutes.  I think that's like a record or something.

So let it be remembered, that the Christmas of 2015 -- that was the year it took us 4 minutes to find, agree on, & cut down the winner.

Amen to that!

A look back: the beauty in the sky

December, for me, is generally always a time for reflection.  Even among the craziness of Christmas shopping, decorating, candy making, and attending parties & gatherings, I always make time to take a look back.

As 2015 comes to a close, I’m remembering the stunning sunrises, sunsets, & skies that I got experience this year (most of them in my own yard!)

Below is a sampling of the memorable skies that I was fortunate enough to capture on my iphone throughout 2015. 

These images were all originally shared to my Instagram account (follow me by clicking here, or search for katie_mydarlingdays)

How blessed are we to be surrounded by such beauty?!  Amen to the skies in 2015, they were good to us! 

A Season of Thankfulness

Sometimes, it can feel like our world is crashing down.  A bad day, a bad week -- maybe even a bad month.  

Personally, our days may be difficult – work is stressful, family obligations seem overwhelming, and we’re forever searching for more time in the day.

Nationwide, we fear school shootings, we listen to politicians who are undoubtedly swayed by special interest groups vs. the overall good for mankind, and our media outlets seem to focus more on the latest design of the Starbucks cup than they do about the growing number of hungry & homeless people right here in the USA.

Globally, there isn't a day that passes in which the evening news doesn't make us cringe.  From the recent attacks in Paris & Lebanon, to the endless fighting in the Middle East – I think it’s safe to say some of us are living in fear.

We wonder when the bad day, bad week, or bad month will end?

But, even amidst our bad days & the crises of the world, we still have SO much to be thankful for.  I’ll bet 98% of the individuals reading this post have a roof over their head, a refrigerator full of food, and family & friends who love them unconditionally.  I’ll bet 98% of the individual’s reading this post have the freedom of religion, speech & the freedom to be whatever they aspire to be.  We have to remember that even when it feels like our world is crashing down, there are always beautiful, kindhearted souls who are willing to help.

Look for the helpers.  Be the helper.  And be thankful for all things.

The wonderful ladies over at Lolly Jane designed this printable.  I adore it so much so that I wanted to share it with you.  It's a free printable, click here to download it!

This season, let’s remember to count our blessings.  Even among the brokenness, let’s find beauty.  Let’s remember that we still have so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Happy Sunday.

Last weekend I had a really nasty stomach bug, and have been feeling a bit queasy all week, but I think I'm finally on the mend.  My appetite is back, and this winter fruit salad with lemon poppy seed dressing looks amazing to me right now!

I love how Julia styled this pretty Old Navy scarf -- the pattern mixing & the POP it makes against the snow has me lusting over this look!

I'm not the biggest Bloody Mary fan in the entire world, but these look so good to me!  Maybe it's the cute napkins... or the pickle :)

Pie stencils -- perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

I'm getting the itch to plan a winter vacation, and this graphic about airline legroom has me intrigued.

Inspiration: Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Now that Halloween is over, I feel like everyone is skipping over Thanksgiving & focusing right on Christmas.

That's fine & all (I love me some Christmas, too) but let's not look past the next holiday... THANKSGIVING!

It's not about the sales...
It's not about football...
It's not about deer hunting...

It's about counting our blessings, spending time with family, & giving thanks.  And we celebrate by eating lots of yummy food!

Juicy turkey with mashed potatoes, grandma's stuffing, and pumpkin pie... the thought of it is making my mouth water!

In my family, my sister always hosts Thanksgiving, but if I had the chance I'd love to put together a fall inspired tablescape.

For fun, I've gathered three of my favorites from around the web.  Designs that are magazine-worthy, no doubt, but totally doable for the "average joe".

image via Jenna Sue Design

Wood box centerpiece filled with things from around the yard -- pine clippings, berries & pinecones, along with some candles.  Woven pacements & a burlap runner -- so darling!

 image via Julie Blanner

I love that this centerpiece uses apples instead of the traditional pumpkins.  Add in cheesecloth & seeded eucalyptus & you have  a simple yet stunning tablescape!

Quintessentially fall, this tablescape screams Thanksgiving: pumpkins, gourds, & mason jars.  I love how rustic it is!

What one is your favorite?