Saturday, May 26, 2018

5 Secrets to Being a Happy Mom

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

Over the past year and a half as a new mama, I've learned countless lessons- all ranging from the need to "tuck" little boys into their diapers to the life changes that happen with friendships once you're a mom and your friends aren't. Being a mom is the best thing ever, but it's also incredibly challenging and can be lonely, frustrating, and emotional at times. Here are five life lessons or "secrets" that I've learned that can help make your experience as a mama the best it can be!

1. It’s Okay To Focus On You.

As a loving mom and wife, I can relate to the desires to put the family first. This is often innate and is what makes mamas so awesome and sacrificial. On the other hand, learning to create some "me time" is absolutely essential. In fact, failure to do this can actually lead to health issues and general unhappiness, which is the last thing anyone in the family needs. A happy and healthy you is a better you for everyone! Establishing a sense of balance in life is the key, even though it can be oh so hard!  If there’s only one change that is incorporated immediately, this should be it. Figure out how to create a little me time for yourself, and then do it!

2. It’s Okay To Accept Outside Help.

I absolutely would not have made it through my maternity leave and my son's first year of life without the help of an incredible "village" of folks: family, friends, church family, and more. It can be humbling, but leaning on others for help and being willing to ask them for it is so freeing. It's so easy in life to let pride get in the way of seeking support. In truth, though, there are dozens of situations where grabbing a helping hand can make a world of difference. Maybe it's having someone watch your baby for a couple of hours so you can get a mama break, asking a friend to watch your little one for a much needed date night, or hiring a local mover to help you move rather than tackling it all on your own. Trust me, someday you'll be super willing to help other moms out too because you get how much it is needed. Just ask, and don't feel bad about it!

3. Experience the Moments Fully While You're in Them.

I know this sounds so cliche, but it's so true!! Life goes by so quickly, and even those difficult nights of helping your newborn fall asleep will soon be distant memories. So cherish the moments, good and bad. Take pictures and videos as much as you can to capture these days, but don't be afraid to unplug and be present as well. Take vacations and days off for special occasions and experiences, or simply spend time together. These days will be gone before you know it, and you don't want to look back and regret not spending enough time with your family just enjoying the positives of this stage of life. (This is the entire heart of my blog mission statement, which you can read here!)

4. Remember that Money Matters, But Isn’t Everything.

Money is an inevitable part of life. You've got to have it to pay the bills, feed your family, and care for yourself and your little ones. Some people go to the extremes, either having almost unhealthy obsession with money, or going through life without being financially responsible at all. The best answer is to find the happy medium. Achieving financial stability should absolutely be a priority, but you also need to realize that the reason for achieving this goal is to spend time with loved ones. Every family has to work through the dynamic of moms working or staying at home, and money has to be a factor, but shouldn't be the end all. Remember what's most important, while also being responsible.

5. Stay patient, even when it seems impossible. 

Again, this statement seems cliche, but it rings so true. While good organization and planning are key, realistically you have to acknowledge the fact that things can and will go differently than you've planned. Blowouts in the car seat will happen right before you need to leave. Cheerios will get thrown all over the kitchen moments before guests arrive. Just remember,  your kids will be better off when you handle the unexpected in a calm and patient manner. Don't lose your cool so that they won't lose theirs. There are times where you’ll have to delay a chore until tomorrow, or change your plans, but it’s not the end of the world. Life is tough enough without creating problems that aren’t really there. Let things go, and just relax.

These are just a few of the biggest lessons I've learned over my first year as a mama. I hope they're helpful for those of you just entering this stage of life. What life lessons have you learned from being a mom? What are your secrets?


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ideas for Your Home Bucket List

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

Lots of people have a bucket list of some sorts. Many bucket lists (like my travel bucket list) include far and exciting destinations to go see or events to witness at some point in your life. Your list may be full of things like experiences and food you want to try, or maybe you even have a bucket list for the year and the summer where you include self improvement goals you want to accomplish and achieve. What if we gave this same level of thought to our homes?

Hang in there with me for a moment. A bucket list can be anything that you want to achieve and experience, and so you can create your own bucket list for your home. It may be long term goals for your home, it may be thoughts and desires for future homes, or it could simply involve the type of home lifestyle you want to create someday. Here are some ideas to create your own Home Bucket List!

Change the interior decor with the seasons.

A simple place to start is by changing things up on the inside of your home each season. This way, you don't take on a big investment or massive jobs that need to be done. To freshen up your new look, try out websites like Deconovo, which are full of different interior decorating pieces you can get to help you feel inspired by the seasons. Some great places to start are floral patterns for cushions, new colors to embrace and add to your living spaces, and greenery- especially succulents.

Decorate your home with your favorite colors.

Another really easy place to begin your bucket list is by changing up color. Color is one of those things that's really a personal taste issue. It's one of the best ways to inject personality into your home. You can add color to the walls or you can add it subtly through your choice of home furnishings and accessories. Feature walls can give you the confidence to inject a brighter color into a space without it feeling too overwhelming, and you can even use color to give more effect of light or an open space. Be clever with your choices while ensuring you embrace what you love.

Change the way you use some of the rooms.

Another idea, especially if you aren't ready to tackle a big build job, would be to simply repurpose some of the rooms in your own home. We often feel like we have to conform to a certain way of a living, but a living room doesn't have to necessarily be that if it would suit you and your family to be something else, like a dining room or even an at home office for your small business. Changing the use of a room could help you make your current living space work better for you.


Add on to or renovate your home.

If you're willing to dream a little bigger, but love a lot about your current home, you could start by adding on or renovating your current space! This could really change the way your home looks and feels. Renovation is a popular way to make your current home work for you. It might give you the extra space you need, the living arrangements you like (such as a gorgeous open floor plan), or it could give you the extra push you need to make as much money as you can by selling this home so that you can move on to your next. An addition might feel like a big job, and depending on what you are doing, it could take some time to complete. But the finished product will be worth the wait.

Build your own home.

Here's the big bucket list dream- building your own home. This is a goal for us! If money was no object and the perfect plot of land became available, building your own home is the absolute dream. Yes it may sound drastic, but actually building your own home isn’t as complicated, or probably even as expensive as you imagine. Sure, it is pricey, there is no question of that, but you may find that building the home you want (exactly as you want, not settling for something) will be a fraction of what it would be to actually purchase one- especially if you can subcontract it yourselves. It could be a legitimate possibility for your future and certainly isn’t a dream to disregard! Dream big, y'all!


Move to the country.

Everyone has different preferences on ideal living location. Maybe it's your dream to live in the country, so you may want to add it to your home bucket list because you'd love living in wide open spaces some day. We definitely love the idea of owning land and having some space. There are definitely some great advantages to living in the countryside, especially the open aspect and the fields. You could even have the opportunity to have more animals and try things like having your own garden, chickens, or even livestock. You might spend more time outdoors and embrace a slower paced life.

Move to the city.

On the flip side, you may be someone who dreams of living in the city, and again this could give you a totally different lifestyle. You may want to be close to where all the action is happening, and being in the city puts you a matter of minutes (or even a short walk or metro ride) from fine dining, shopping, and tons of entertainment and nightlife options). City life isn’t for everyone, but I think most people would like to experience it at least once in their lives.

Add on a pool, gym, or whatever your dream is.

Finally, what is the dream for your ultimate house? Is it a pool in the backyard? (I grew up with one and it is the BEST.) Is it a home gym, a tennis court, or just lots of land so that you can have animals, grow your own food or even start your very own small farm? Like any bucket list, it's good to have a dream, a dream where you can feel like you have something to work towards. It can be as elaborate or as big as you want it to be. But remember every scenario is a possibility. Start with big dreams, and put your plan into action.

I hope that this gives you the home improvement inspiration you need for this year! We're definitely taking strides towards our own home bucket list this summer. There is exciting stuff ahead, which I'll be sharing more about later! What's on your home bucket list?


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Five Great Places for a Couples Vacation in Italy

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

If you'd like to find a country with natural beauty, warmth, friendly people, and loads of history, Italy should be on your bucket list. When we went on our 16 day adventure around Europe, I totally fell in love with this country, and I was incredibly jealous when my husband got to go without me last summer (mom probs). There's such a wide range of activities to enjoy in all of its major cities. Whether you’re a wine lover or are interested in the latest creations of Italian designers, you'll find great places to explore, even on a budget. Regardless, Italy’s cities are also some of the most romantic, and are perfect for a couples’ trip. Here are five Italian places you should consider for your next getaway!


Venice is seriously one of my favorite places I've ever been. Ever. In case you haven’t been down the canal on a gondola with your other half yet, this might be your time to experience romance on the next level. Visit the Bridge of Sighs and the Doge’s Palace, and be sure to sign up for a walking tour so you can fully appreciate everything this great city has to offer. We had an amazing experience on our walking tour, and it was so fun to ride the water taxis and navigate the maze of streets (where no cars are allowed)! When in Venice, you shouldn’t be on a tight travel schedule; simply soak in and enjoy the atmosphere and make memories that last. 


Those who love beautiful things and architecture could spend months in this amazing city: the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence has breathtaking scenes and buildings, as well as modern department stores and vibrant nightlife. The museums are amazing too! You can find great boutique hotels to suit every budget. Admire the rooftop terraces or the private gardens, take a trip to the countryside, and go on a wine tasting tour. We loved our evening trip out to Tuscany, even though it briefly rained and hailed. Tuscany is incredibly gorgeous and perfect for a couple's trip.


Rome is the eternal city, and is lives up to all the expectations by being full of history, character, and culture. Whether you want to see the usual attractions or explore the seven hills that surround the downtown, you won't have any trouble finding something to do. Roam the churches and cathedrals, visit the Baroque fountains, and - of course - make time to see Pantheon and the Acropolis. We loved staying a little off of the beaten path and finding the less touristy spots. We also went on some self-guided tours that were great and saved us money on public transportation.


We were only in Milan for a brief train stop, but fashionistas and young couples will love it. Milan is a modern city with a lot of history. There are designer stores all over the city, and you're sure to find something to learn from those living here when it comes to sophisticated style. With plenty of galleries and museums, you can enjoy the great hospitality of the city- no matter what time of year. To see some stunning architecture, be sure to check out the Sforza Castle and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. And by the way, they don't mess around with their pizza over there! 


Naples is less known among couples, but is another fantastic destination for a romantic getaway. Try a traditional pizza, check out the shopping district, and find your next favorite designer. From Naples, you can book a Pompeii tour or a trip to Herculaneum as well, so you get in a little history too. There are several sites providing recommendations on the best things to do in Naples, so be sure to create a list so you don’t run out of time.

Italy is a perfect destination for couples looking to spend a few romantic days together in an incredible place. The locals really are kind, and the Italian cities are full of character, charm, and history. I will definitely be back again soon! Enjoy!


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Teachers: Get Your Work Done More Easily

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

If you ask people who don't know much about teaching, they'll say that teachers only work for a few hours each day, and get all summer off. But, as any teacher knows, there's a lot more work to do when you're not actually in your classroom. Teachers spend time preparing lessons, grading and planning work, and attending meetings and training sessions. Though they might only be in front of students for a few hours each day, there is literally always work that can be done. In fact, the workload can get overwhelming and require tons of extra (unpaid) hours from your free time. If you're a teacher who is struggling under a pile of work, try these solutions to get it done more easily!

Speed Up Your Grading

Grading student work can be extremely time-consuming, whether it's a pop quiz or essays. Reducing the number of assignments you hand out is one option, and I've done it, but it isn't always the best choice. Some teachers spend too long grading papers and tests. I know I've been guilty (which is miserable when you've got hundreds of essays to grade). Long comments often aren't necessary, and you might not even need to correct obvious mistakes on some assignments- especially if it's their final draft! Give the feedback earlier in the process, when they can still make changes. Fortunately, there are ways you might be able to change your habits, so you can speed through everything more quickly. There are great tools to use like Quia,, and Noredink to also help you provide formative, electronic feedback in a hurry. Some of these options even grade things for you!

Learn to Let Go

Some teachers spend an unnecessary amount of time preparing for their lessons. It's easy to get sucked in and even to become obsessed with getting things just right. I get it- I'm a perfectionist too. Although you want to do your best for your students, sometimes enough is enough, especially when this extra (unpaid) work is taking away from your life with your spouse, children, and friends. You don't need to spend half an hour searching for the perfect picture to use in your presentation or selecting the ideal font for your new worksheets. Learn when it's time to put your work aside- or even try not to take it home at all!


Have the Necessary Tools at Home

Although I'd recommend trying to leave work at work, there may be times when you do need to take some of your work home. Why stay at school when you could be sat at home with a drink and some snacks? If you do have to take your work home with you, make sure you have all the tools you need to do it effectively.  I always bring my laptop and charger home with me, just in case. If things aren't submitted electronically, I stick a stack of papers in my school bag, just in case I'm in a situation where I could have gotten some easy grading done. That way I'm not kicking myself over a lost opportunity! One thing that might be helpful is to take a look at to see if you can improve your internet connection. Speedier internet can remove a lot of your frustrations and help you get things done faster. It also means that if others at home are online, they won't slow you down.

Get Support from Others

Teaching is wonderful, but also so draining. It's not always easy to get the support you need. Some teachers are luckier than others when it comes to having supportive superiors and colleagues. I know I have some really amazing work friends. However, you often don't know how helpful people can be until you ask. Many are happy to help you get your work done more easily or maintain your work-life balance in any way that they can. Reach out to other teachers, friends, and others to help you emotionally and mentally, or even so you can get a little physical activity in to relieve stress.

You're always going to have a lot of work to do as a teacher. That's just the nature of the game. However, you can take some steps to get your work finished more quickly, so you have more free time. Try to work hard when you work, but then also build in time for some much needed rest. I won't be doing any work this summer, and I'm so excited for that time to just unwind and recharge before doing it all again next year.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April Recap

As a teacher, April can be a long month. There are literally no days off, which is a hard transition when coming from March (when there's spring break), and February (when there were snow days and government holidays). Not to mention, there's state testing, squirrly kiddos, and just the overall readiness of everyone for school to be over for the year. But this year, April actually went pretty quickly. This could be because I've finally learned a little more work/life balance (funny how that happened after I had a kiddo). All in all, May is here, and this past month has brought me more joy and taught me more than the months before. Here's what we've been up to.

Loving our Not So Little Man

I've loved every stage of life with Eli, but man oh man is he fun right now!! He is curious, and has the biggest personality. He is still easygoing overall, and is still a great sleeper and eater. We made it over a year nursing, and are still doing so at morning and night. He has another tooth, and is standing on his own, but not quite walking- he prefers the speedy power crawl. He is speaking more and more each day, and his newest fun words are "Yay", "Eli" (which sounds like E-I), and "Baby". He can shoot hoops in his Grow to Pro basket, stack blocks, and point and call out every dog-gie he sees (or sometimes cats). I hope I never forget his strange obsession with my large bendy straw, the way he army crawls under the chair rungs, or the way he kicks in glee every time I go in to get him out of his crib. This little man has my whole heart, and I honestly don't know how I could love him any more than I do. Counting down the days (less than 17!) until I'm home all summer with him!

Learning to Rest 

I have always been a "get a lot done" kind of person. I still do like to pick up a little bit each night and get laundry and dishes done when I can. But lately, I've been working on really intentionally resting. This means taking "off days" from working out on Sundays, skipping housework in favor of playing with my boys, and giving myself the grace to go ahead and nap or just hang with friends rather than worrying about my to do list. This is SO important for my sanity, especially now that my time at home is even more special with little man (and big man too!). I am trying to be strategic about my time these days: see Finding Me Time as a Working MomHow to Survive and Thrive as a Working Mom, and How to Balance Work and Motherhood for more on that! 

My Third Half Marathon

On a completely different note from the whole "resting" thing- I ran my third half marathon this month! I was so excited to set a new goal and to beat it by a minute and a half! My old PR was 1:53, and I wanted to run a 1:50, but I ended up running a 1:48. My pacer was so awesome, and I even wrote a blog post about the experience (check it out here). I have another half up in June, the Hospital Hill Half in KC. I'm a little nervous that hill is in the title, but I know it will be okay and I hope for another PR. I'll probably go ahead and sign up for the KC half again too- that will mean I've completed 5 half marathons in a year! They are kind of addicting, and I also like how they've helped me stay fit!

Intentional Friends

Lastly, this month has made me really appreciative of the intentional friends that I have in my life. Finding and maintaining friendships in your 20s can be really hard, and if I'm honest, I've felt lonely and rejected in some friendships (and attempted friendships) these days. Once you have kiddos, it's a whole different season as well, which can make things complicated. All that to say, I'm even more grateful for the good, dependable, intentional friends that I do have. In the true spirit of my word for the year, I'm working to cultivate the good friendships I have, and not feel like a failure or rejected if I have to prune out those that aren't life-giving.

In Case You Missed Them:

The Pacer

Secrets to a Great Night's Sleep

Reasons Your Home Decor Isn't Working

What I'm Clinging To

Eli's First Birthday ONEsie Party

That's all I've got! We've got some exciting things on the horizon, friends! I'm excited to tell you more about that in the coming months. Love to you all!