Monday, December 21, 2015

2015: A Year In Review

As 2015 comes to a close, my nostalgic heart loves to look back and fondly remember all that took place this year. Ever since we wrote our love story in our back and forth journal, I've always told Aaron that I want to remember. I want to remember it all, even when we're old and gray and don't have much of a memory left. And so, I write things down. This is just a small part of the reason that I hit "publish" on the first Currently, Kelsie blog post back on January 14, 2015. A lot has changed and happened since then, both in the blogging world and in life. And so, today, I'm here sharing a little year in review for 2015 (complete with words, photos, videos, and the most popular posts of 2015!). Here's to memories, love, joy, and all that this year has been.

Check out our monthly highlights, photos, and silly videos below (as well as links to the top 7 blog posts of 2015)! You'll find some special surprises along the way. 



  • Had an amazing time playing in the Faculty/Student Courtwarming Game and performing in the debut of the LHS Staffires (See video below for a laugh!)
  • Enjoyed a long Valentine's weekend off exploring KC with the hubby



  • Decided to take blogging a little more seriously
  • Worked on our outdoor deck space and planted lots of flowers
  • Started the Currently, Kelsie Twitter
  • Hit up some Royals games!


  • Finished up year four of teaching and Aaron said goodbye to teaching Elementary
  • Went to Colorado and taught Aaron how to ski!
  • Decided to lead EF Tour for Greece


  • Celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary at Vacation Bible School (See video below for a piece of the action!)
  • Joined a Blogging "Tribe"- The Alder Collective
  • Relaxed and enjoyed the blessing of summer vacation
I have some pretty talented friends who have incredible hearts for kids to know Jesus. Vacation bible school went up!
Posted by Michelle Jankovich on Thursday, June 18, 2015


  • Spent a week with some amazing High Schoolers at Castaway YoungLife Camp (see video below for our amazing leader lip sync competition rendition of "My Heart Will Go On")
  • Went on a 16 day European Adventure (this post on planning it was the 5th most popular of the year)
  • Wrote How to Fly to Europe for Almost Free (4th most popular post of 2015)
  • Took a little St. Louis getaway weekend to see Jenn!
One time at Castaway there was a leader lip sync competition and this happened..
Posted by Michelle Jankovich on Monday, July 6, 2015



  • Spent Labor Day Weekend in Des Moines with friends
  • Wrote Sorority Stereotypes that Aren't True (7th most popular post in 2015)
  • Stared renting out our guest room on Airbnb
  • Set the record for the winningest coach in C Team history- with three wins



  • Celebrated Aaron's 25th Birthday with a bday video
  • Went on a Non-Stop trip to Dallas with YoungLife kids
  • Had a weekend getaway in Oklahoma City for a wedding
  • Started my social media fast
  • Kept the Thanksgiving day football tradition alive, even in the rain! 


To give you the overall glimpse into the year, check out this One Second Everyday Video from September 2014 to December 2015. I fell off the video train more than I'd like to admit once May came around, but it gives you a one second glimpse into lots and lots of days, making it a 2 min and 46 peek into a year and three months of our life. I'm going to be much better about this in 2016! It's my favorite little collection of memories.

And that's a wrap, folks! See you again back in 2016. Have a blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year! Thanks for being a party of this journey with me. I am thrilled and honored to have you stop by.

Did you know you can follow Currently, Kelsie on Facebook? Come join our community of 400!

I'm linking up with  A. Liz AdventuresMotivational Monday, Modest Mom BlogMe, Coffee, and JesusWhat Joy is MineThe Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love BlogGrace and Truth, Running for CupcakesMomfessionals, Life in Leggings, Tell it to Me TuesdayBliss and Faith, Raising Fairies and KnightsSweet Little OnesTestimony TuesdayIntentional TuesdayThe Painted TeacupTwinkly TuesdayWomen with IntentionQuintessential MommyMessy Marriage, and DIY Just Cuz.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Five on Friday: Caps, Candles, and Christmas Vacation

As soon as the bell rings today, it's time for a much needed two week break and time dedicated to friends, family, and some long overdue relaxation. Normally we go out of town every New Year's for the past three years (Passion Conference in 2012, New Orleans in 2013, Cancun in 2014). But this year, Aaron is in a wedding so we'll be staying home, cuddling friends' babies, celebrating our friends'  marriages, enjoying Christmas, and getting some projects done around the house.  And doing nothing every now and then. Yay! 
Here's what we've been up to (and what we're excited for) this week!


We did it teacher friends; we did it. No more papers to grade, classes to plan, or lessons to teach for a while. My kids are absolutely wonderful, but I'm ready for a few days without questions about extra credit, without a 7 am wake up call, and without email upon email to answer. I found this video on Facebook and was absolutely dying. I think it summarizes my emotions pretty well. Hope you all brought your tambourines to school!

Me Friday when They say "escort the remaining busses to the gym"
Posted by Cousin AL on Sunday, December 13, 2015

2. Merry and Bright Holiday Home Tour

Earlier this week, I offered a little peek into our cozy Christmasy home. It's not straight out of a magazine or picture perfect, but it's comfy and merry and we love it a lot. I'm a huge believer in using what we've got, patiently shopping Christmas clearance each year, and then adding just a few simple, cheap things every year. I'm pretty happy with what we've got. You can view the tour here.

3.  Christmas Party Fun

We've got Christmas parties on our Christmas parties, and I'm loving it. On Wednesday, I hosted the YoungLife Christmas party with some lovely ladies and a little gift exchange (complete with steals, of course). We've got two more Christmas parties lined up this weekend, and then of course Christmas Eve and Christmas themselves. I love love love giving gifts, so these kinds of things are super fun for me, and my hubby has been incredibly helpful along the way (if you're at the party you'll see what I mean)!

This is not a current Christmas Party pic....but I love throwing it back. So, enjoy :)

4.  Graduations Galore

Not only have we been celebrating the upcoming holiday season, but we've also been celebrating some big life events for some pretty awesome people. Last Saturday, my cousin graduated from Park University, and tomorrow my little brother graduates from Missouri Western! Both are going to be teachers, which is pretty awesome! We're pretty proud of them, and excited to see them change the lives of some lucky kiddos!

5.  Goodbye, 2015

As a pretty nostalgic person who's all about living fully and enjoying every second of this crazy thing we call life (case in point, the name of this blog Currently, Kelsie), I love reflecting on the year and all that came with it. It was a year full of lots of fun- a new school for Aaron, a new coaching job for me,  twelve (TWELVE!) new YoungLife leaders, an amazing sixteen day European adventure, and more. Oh, and the start of this blog!

This is the last Five on Friday of the year, as the next two Fridays are Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Be on the lookout for one more recap post for 2015, complete with some of the most popular posts of the year! I'm thankful for another 365 days of life and excited for all that lies ahead in 2016. Thanks for coming along!


Did you know you could follow Currently, Kelsie on Pinterest? Stop by, find some ideas, and dream away!

I'm linking up with A. Liz Adventures The Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love BlogGrace and Truth, Running for CupcakesMomfessionals, and Life in Leggings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Alder Collective Link Party #10

Hey, y'all! Hope you're having a wonderful week as Christmas gets closer and closer. We've only got three days left of school and I couldn't be more excited for this much-needed break. If you missed it, yesterday I shared a little tour of our merry, cozy little home. You can check it out here. Also, we will be taking a break from this link party for the next two weeks (12/22 and 12/29) so that we can spend time unwinding, traveling, and making memories with those we love. We're excited to see you back again here in 2016, when the link party continues on January 5th. Thanks so much for linking up, and have a very Merry Christmas!


Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:

The Alder Collective Link Party
Clockwise from left:

Each week, we'll pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Merry and Bright Holiday Home Tour

I've always been a big believer in the idea that decorating a home was a process, and one that I wasn't willing to spend a ton of money on. I like to say that it's a lot like planning a wedding, except for there's no deadline: you can take as long as you'd like and dream about things for as long as you want. I've found this to be a pretty fun outlook on the process, and it also rings true when it comes to decorating for Christmas. Piece by piece, I dream and plan and pin, patiently hitting up the clearance racks and adding just a few simple pieces each year. Our house isn't flashy or straight out of a magazine, but it's cozy, merry, and homey, and that's what I love most.

So without further ado, I bring you the Currently, Kelsie 2015 Holiday Home Tour. I've had so much fun getting in the Christmas spirit, and I even enlisted the help of Aaron's grandma this year as I decorated. Shout out to you, Grandma Alice- you rock! Welcome to our home, I hope you find it to be just as festive and cozy as we do.

Just a little fun for me to look at while washing dishes.
When it comes to Christmas decor, I've found that I'm a really big fan of the traditional red and green. I love bringing in soft pops of red in pillows, fake berries, and holly. I also love finding ways to bring white and green into a room to brighten in a bit. In the past, I've gone a little overboard with all kinds of Christmas cheer that didn't really match, so this year I toned things down a bit and went for a more fluid approach, using things I mainly already had. I spent less than $20 total on all decor this year.

I fell in love with this rug from Kohl's last year at Christmas, and I knew I had to have it for its $5 clearance price. I'm a huge Christmas music lover, so it was just perfect and I love that it's the first thing that greets our guests as they enter our home and puts them into the spirit with well wishes as they leave.

The Basement

Lots of people head right into our house and down the stairs into our basement. We spend the vast majority of our time down here because the TV and sectional couch are both down here. I love our fireplace mantle and flannel stockings, and we even have a little mini-tree that some friends gave us when they moved. Our Willow Tree nativity set was the most perfect June wedding gift that I would never have thought to give. When candles are lit and Christmas music is playing, there's nowhere more comfy and merry than this basement.

flannel stockings on the fireplace
joy pillow
Joy Pillow: Joann's Clearance.
hobby lobby garland
Hobby Lobby Garland. $6 on Clearance. Love love love.
joy sign
Joy Sign: Hobby Lobby Clearance.

The Front Room

The front room already has a nice mix of black, white, and red going, so I played on that and just added little touches of green garland and pine cones around to capture the Christmas feel. We moved around our bookshelf to make room for the tree, so it's normally on the other side of the room, but I like how it turned out.

An important reminder this time of the year.
I'm not real artsy, but this is the one thing I've ever painted. I switch it out with other decor this time of the year.
I love this little Hobby Lobby clearance find from last year. He's the perfect colors and really brings some fun youthfulness to the room, which is perfect since it's also the room with the tree!

I'm a Hallmark kid, and every year my mom got me an ornament that was mine to put on the tree. Once I moved out and got married, Mom gave me all those ornaments, and boy am I thankful! All my ornaments were from the puppy collection, so now my tree is full of cute puppies and festive glittery balls from Hobby Lobby Clearance. We went with red lights on the tree this year because our multi-colored strand bit the dust. It's different from the traditional white, but it looks good with the rest of the room and I like it for this year!

I love how our star peeks up and can be seen from multiple levels.
The faint red glow of the tree in the evening just seems so right.

The Dining Room

This is one room that I simplified a bit this year when it came to decorations, because I felt like I had too many things hanging in too many different places. For the centerpiece, I went back and forth, but ended up with this for now. I love the traditional red and white, plus a different shade of green that looks great in this room. I forgot I had the holly candle holder, but it went perfectly with what I was looking for. The globe light is a Kohl's clearance that was out on our front porch. Throw a few holly stands from Hobby Lobby into a jar to finish.

I made this little ornament garland strand a few years ago out of some Target dollar store ornaments my mother in law gave me. I found a piece of green twine, looped the ends so they could be hung, and then spaced all the ornaments out. It's one of my favorite things in the whole room. Just fancy enough to look classy but still Christmasy without being over the top. And it literally cost me like $2.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Five on Friday: Holiday Cheer and Dear Friends

I couldn't be more excited because ONE WEEK from today is the last day of finals, and then we are out for Christmas Vacation! Although finals week and the week before can get a little crazy with all the grading, reviewing, and frazzled students trying to pass last minute, having two weeks off for Christmas is definitely a major perk of being a teacher. And this week we've been pretty spirited around these parts. The thing I love most about these few crazy weeks is the time spent celebrating (and anticipating celebrating) with all sorts of my very favorite people! It's been a crazy week, so I'm keeping this pretty short, but here's what we've been up to for the last seven days (and what we're also looking forward to). Have a wonderful weekend!
Throwing it back. Clearly, I was very attractive.

Christmas Tea

I was on the planning committee for the Women's Christmas Tea at my church this year. Monday night, all of the planning and prepping came to fruition. This annual event is highly anticipated, and is always a lot of fun as women decorate tables, share yummy desserts, and spend an evening together celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and a reminder to slow down during this busy season. A few of my beautiful YoungLife girls even came along, and it was such a joy sharing the night with them.

Aren't they gorgeous!?

Catching Up

Sometimes your very best friends get married and move away after college. Sometimes you don't see them but every six months or so. And then sometimes you randomly get to see them and it's just awesome! One of my very favorite parts of this week was an impromptu reunion with one of my very favorite people. Jenn had some time off and came into town, so we got to spend all of Tuesday evening together dominating a 9 Rounds workout, enjoying a yummy meal my hubby cooked, making peanut butter balls in a surprise stop at my parents, and just talking as much as we possibly could. Having friends you can just pick right back up with is such a joy, and I think all the time we got to spend together was something that I took for granted in college.

Holiday Spirit Week

It's been a fun week at school, as kids have been collecting spare change for charity and dressing in holiday spirit gear all week. Monday was PJ day, Tuesday- Festive Attire, Wednesday- Candy Cane Day, Yesterday- Dress Nice for Santa, and today is holiday sweater day. Thanks, mom, for always lending me this beaut of a vest so I can participate in style :) Thankful that my school helps make these kind of stressful times more fun and festive. And who ever said you had to grow up and stop having fun once you got a "real job"? Lies.

Christmas Shopping

I've been cranking up the gears on Christmas shopping this week, and I've been doing a lot more of it online this year. Is anyone with me? I loved hitting up the malls over Thanksgiving break, and of course I'm always a sucker for Kohl's cash and using my coupons to get incredible steals, but I've also really been loving shopping in my sweatpants on the couch while watching Home Alone and other Christmas movies. I'm excited to hopefully finish up this weekend, and I'm trying to make some of my gifts a lot more meaningful this year. If you're looking for some meaningful ideas as well, check out this post from earlier this week!

Basketball for Days

We're excited to cheer on our high school girls basketball team tonight. They took second at state last year, and are making a run back at the title this year with "unfinished business". We weren't able to make the games earlier this week because of the tea and our last YoungLife Club of the semester (which was Christmas Sweater themed), but we are excited to go the championship game in their tournament tonight. We're also looking to become freshman bball team super-fans and hit up their games multiple nights next week (with possibly some Fatheads in tow). Pretty excited to share that time with my hubby and superfan of a friend Michelle, while also meeting and hanging out with some awesome YoungLife kiddos!
The LHS "Staffires" and also some of the members of the faculty bball team. Who says work can't be fun?
Hope you've had a great week as well! Looking forward to some big college graduations, festive holiday gift swaps, and lots and lots of holiday cheer.  Be on the lookout for a little peek into our Christmasy home next week!


I'm linking up with A. Liz Adventures The Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love BlogGrace and Truth, Running for CupcakesMomfessionals, and Life in Leggings.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Alder Collective Link Party #9

Hey there! Can you believe Christmas is basically two weeks away? Crazy. I'm about halfway done with my shopping, and I hope to finish up this week with several ideas from my Meaningful Gift Ideas for Anyone on Your List post. Check it out if you're looking for fun, personal, and memorable gifts to round out your list! Hope you're having a great week full of Christmas movies, pretty trees, and twinkling lights. Thanks for linking up!

Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:

The Alder Collective Link Party
Clockwise from top middle:

Each week, we'll pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Meaningful Gift Ideas for Anyone on Your List

I love giving gifts. It's one of my biggest love languages, which makes Christmas my favorite holiday ever. But as the years go by, it can be a bit of a struggle to find the perfect gift for everyone. Let's be honest, many of us are very blessed and there's not much that we truly "need" for Christmas, our birthdays, or other special events. And so, the constant dilemma: how do you give a meaningful, fun gift that won't add clutter to a home or be returned?

Here's a list of meaningful gift ideas for anyone on your list. While I've got Christmas on my mind now, these gifts could be given year round. Some of them require more time and effort than others, but they're all affordable, show a little thought, and are sure to be loved by anyone who may receive them!

meaningful gifts for anyone

1. Creative Photo Gifts

Photos are the perfect way to capture life, and what better way to celebrate someone than celebrating life with them in it? If you're like me, you've got tons and tons of pictures, but you don't always want to print all of them. Problem solved with amazing photos gifts to show them off in creative ways:  ornaments, canvases, and more. I'm loving anything photo transfer right now, like these super cute transfer ornaments from Landeelu

There's also my personal favorite: a photo map. If you've got lots of photos with your favorite travel buddy, you can make a big map like the one I made in the pin below. Here's how I made it. If you don't have quite so many photos, you could still find some for places you first met, a hometown, where you got married, or where you went to college- then create something cute.

2. A Heartfelt Video

This can work really well for birthdays or special events like graduations, but you could easily come up with an awesome video gift for any event. For my hubby's 25th, I made him this video with footage from 25 friends and family members who shared memories and what people love about him. (Excuse the lovey dovey beginning.) Just send a Facebook or text message out, have them send you their footage, and use iMovie to compile.

If you've got a "words of affirmation" gift recipient, then this is one of the best gifts you could ever give! Even if it's just you saying something you normally wouldn't, or maybe you can't be at a holiday event this year, videos can be the perfect way for someone to feel your presence (and they also capture your words and face, making them timeless)!

I also really love the 1 Second Every Day App. You could take video footage (one second every day), and then compile a video at the end of the year (perfect for Christmas next year) where you could show your special someone a video memory of your entire year together! Totally worth the $2.99 on iTunes. I have one from last year and I can watch all the months tick by in less than 6 minutes. Can you imagine having an entire decade on video- and you can watch it in less than an hour?

3. An Activity to Do or Enjoy Later On (Maybe Even Together)

Some of my very favorite gifts have been tickets to concerts, events, or games. These are the best because they aren't over once a holiday is over- there's still something to look forward to. I seriously will never buy myself a massage, but if someone gives me a gift certificate for one? Best day ever. Remember, these events don't have to be pricey! Board games could even count as an "activity to enjoy". I love to start my initial search with Groupon and scan the "things to do" list for our area. I mean, who wouldn't enjoy a little bubble soccer, wine tasting, or acting like a kid at an trampoline park?

4. A Surprise Night Out 

If you've got a surprise lover on your list, then you won't find a more meaningful gift than a planned night out (bonus points if you can keep where you're going a secret). My hubby and I try to do this for our birthdays and for special date nights every few months. It can be as simple as reservations at a new restaurant followed by walking around a new part of town. What means the most to those quality time lovers is the gift of uninterrupted time with you that they get to enjoy (without even having to plan it!). Here are a bunch of ideas from my most popular post ever, Why I'm Still Dating my Husband.

5. A Celebration of a Memory 

Some of our very favorite gifts are ones that take us back to a special time or a special place. They help us celebrate, commemorate, or reminisce about a happy day or a silly event. For those nostalgic gift lovers in your life, consider the gift of your own words, the memories of others, or maybe even finding something that's collecting dust and turning it into a fun way to remember something special. I love these t-shirt canvases, and they would be a super easy way to turn a bunch of t-shirts that never get worn into fun memories and home decor at the same time.

I also love these super cute coasters. What a fun way to remember and celebrate a vacation or an amazing adventure you've shared. A thoughtful gift for anyone.

You could also try something like Sue at Home did with her 40 Envelopes with 40 Memories for a 40th Birthday.

Here's hoping that this list gets you a good jump on your next gift giving opportunity. I've found that the times I've stopped and taken the time to think about and put these plans into action have led to the most wonderful gifts I've ever given. Have questions? Need help pulling one of these gifts off? Let me know.


Did you know you can follow along with Currently, Kelsie on Facebook! Give us a like and join the community!

Oh, what a week it has been. Number 5 has been particularly wonderful, but I honestly can't pick a favorite. I'll just...
Posted by Currently, Kelsie on Friday, December 4, 2015

I'm linking up with A. Liz AdventuresMotivational Monday, Modest Mom BlogMe, Coffee, and JesusWhat Joy is MineThe Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love BlogGrace and Truth, Running for CupcakesMomfessionals, Life in Leggings, Tell it to Me TuesdayBliss and Faith, Raising Fairies and KnightsSweet Little OnesTestimony TuesdayIntentional TuesdayThe Painted TeacupTwinkly TuesdayWomen with IntentionQuintessential MommyMessy Marriage, and DIY Just Cuz.