Kin Kindling is a place to document the moments when both worlds collide. Join me as I chronicle life as we know it: at home, on the road, and everywhere in-between - living out our grand adventures the best way we know how: with our family in tow.
Growing up, my parents often called me “Sloppy Jo” rather than Sammi Jo. It was joked that I could get messy drinking a glass of water, and “cleaning my room” typically meant throwing all my clothes into the bottom of my closet and shutting the door. It wasn’t until I got married and lived in my own home that my messy ways started taking a toll on my sanity (and Luke’s – sorry, babe). I suddenly found myself craving order for my chaos, and the need for organization only intensified as we started having kids and the amount of stuff everywhere was enough to drive me crazy.
If you’re a parent of young or school aged children, you can understand the internal dilemma that happens when your kids ask you to display something on the fridge and before you know it, your stainless steel appliance is completely packed full. The disarray of different magnets and crazy colorful papers and photos just doesn’t jive with my desire to have everything in its place – but I feel the mom guilt without any family photos or mementos on display.
Squared.One lets you turn your favorite photos into magnets so you can use them wherever you please! When Squared.One reached out to see if I’d like to try their product, I decided to edit my favorite family photos to black and white to match some existing magnets we had made from a service that has since gone out of business. I couldn’t be happier with the results. This service has been a small saving grace in our kitchen.
Squared.One magnets are extremely good quality – both the thickness of the magnets and the photo clarity is seriously impressive – and these little squares make me happy every time I look at them! (Yes, even when I’m fetching snacks for the kids for the 500th time in a single afternoon.)
You can upload your photos directly from Instagram or edit them and select from your device(s). With magnets available in different shapes and styles, it’s easy to find the right product for your personal taste! For our home, the uniformity of the square magnets paired with the black and white edit has made a big difference in making our refrigerator both personal and clutter free.
…Now if only the inside of the fridge were just as organized!
Do you like to display all.the.things on your fridge, or are you a stickler for tidiness? Share your preference in the comments below!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small referral commission on purchases. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support Kin + Kindling!
We’ve all been there before – you’re scrolling through Instagram and a sponsored post keeps catching your eye. While I try not to fall victim to most of them (Looking at you, cheap clothing stores!), I recently succumbed to the temptation of “Night In Boxes” and ordered their Kids’ Night In Box to try out with Marleigh and Huck.
Each month, Night In Boxes have a different theme – and the March Kids Night In “Mission Space” box did not disappoint! Despite the small physical size of the kit, we were all pleasantly surprised with the amount of activities contained inside. Every box comes with a welcome packet that walks you through each activity page-by-page and includes links for even more themed fun with recipe ideas like these Galaxy Strawberries, which were clearly a big hit in our house!
From coloring and sticker sheets to books and simple science projects, both Marleigh (age 6.5) and Huck (age 4.5) were able to enjoy every activity within the Kids Night In Box. Even Luke and I got into the fun demonstrating “Space Yoga” and and the “Rocket Test Mission”.
From start to finish, the Kids Night In Box occupied almost two hours of time on a sunny Sunday afternoon and made for the perfect post-church activity!
And while the Kids Night In Box was amazing, the April Box themes were just announced and I’m super excited to dig into the Date Night In Box this time around. (Sorry, kiddos!) I have a feeling Night In Boxes are going to be a monthly tradition in the Gill household – I’m not mad about it!
Interested in trying out Night In Boxes for yourself or your little ones? Check out all the options here, and use code NIB2FREE for 2 free dates/boxes with a 6 or 12 month subscription!
This post is sponsored by Legacybox but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
A few years ago, we got sucked into watching a documentary on minimalist living and shortly thereafter, found ourselves weeding through totes upon totes of stuff that no longer brought us joy or served a purpose in our lives. After several “Purge Days,” we still had a few bins of items that we just couldn’t bring ourselves to throw away – mostly old family photos, videos, and film strips. They were simply taking up space and no amount of Pinterest searching was helping to find a good use for them.
“Legacybox is a simple and affordable way to preserve those irreplaceable moments by converting all your old tapes, photos and even film to perfectly preserved digital files. We all have cherished moments we want to relive, and this is the perfect opportunity to digitally preserve them so your recorded moments can be passed down for generations to come.”
I quickly got to work in uncovering items from the abyss of our basement to send in. Finding the files to convert was only part of the fun! My parents spent an entire evening sifting through boxes and bins of family photos and mementos and I managed to find several photos from mine and Luke’s childhoods at home as well. We all had some good laughs going through the evidence of horrible haircuts of the past, watching snippets of old family videos (and some embarrassing videos made with friends!), and even shed a few tears as we remembered our family members and loved ones gone too soon.
Although it was a bit nerve-wracking to hand off our family memories, I was pleasantly surprised with the Legacybox process from start to finish. The Legacybox team even reached out during the process to let me know they had fixed a broken VHS tape I had sent in at no extra cost!
When our Legacybox arrived back, we had so much fun viewing the videos, and it has been great having easy access to old family photos that would have otherwise been hidden at the bottom of a bin in storage.
And that VHS tape the Legacybox team fixed? It was a video of my fourth birthday, and I was able to hear my grandma’s voice who passed away later that same year. I was instantly brought to tears as the memories of her came flooding back. Being able to hear her voice again is a treasure I will cherish forever!
Legacybox is a great option for those who are looking to scale down on stuff but want to keep cherished memories alive. It would also be a meaningful gift idea for anyone – especially with Mother’s Day coming up!
You can order your Legacybox using THIS LINK and insert the code ‘CHERISH’ at checkout to take 40% off! The digitized items you’ll get back truly are priceless.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Indie Twenty – the cutest local boutique – and chatting with its equally-adorable owner, Rachel. Rachel has been selling her beautiful handcrafted jewelry for years, and opened her brick-and-mortar location last spring within the Cobblestone Suites in the Village of Hamburg.
Everything in the shop is beautifully curated – each item with a bit of boho flair that my dull mom-iform craves. After talking for a bit about her professional background and goals for the Indie Twenty brand, Rachel sent me on my merry way with a handful of necklaces to enjoy.
While they’re all great additions to my accessory arsenal, I quickly found a favorite in the gold “Tiny Totem” necklace. I love the subtle shine it brings to any outfit and the versatility of the style – which is why I decided to pair it with three different outfits to show how it quickly adds a little “Oomph” to the everyday.
Keeping it Casual
I snuck out of the house the other night and threw on my go-to oversized winter sweater with the necklace for a quick outing at Alchemy Wine Bar with my sister. Of course we had to pose in front of the mural outside (despite single-digit temperatures). I have worn this sweater at a minimum of once a week this winter. It’s the perfect cozy option for this never-ending cold weather – but I will admit I was in need of jazzing it up a bit. The Tiny Totem necklace was a great addition to make me feel a little more put together and fun without sacrificing any practicality!
Wear to Work
I’ve been working in-office for a client once a week, which has forced me to wear real clothes and tap back into my business casual style, which I will admit is severely lacking. The Tiny Totem necklace helped to put together my look with a simply white blouse and a houndstooth blazer. The necklace added a fun factor to an otherwise stuffy-feeling outfit.
In the words of Timm Gunn, the necklace helped to “Make it work” with my work attire!
Here’s a fun fact they don’t tell you on HGTV: While flipping a house, finding time for a date night is nearly impossible. So last weekend when Luke and I were able to go out to dinner two nights in a row, I embraced the opportunity to get dolled up a bit! I paired my favorite H&M blouse with the Tiny Totem necklace and for the first time in a while, felt like I was getting back to finding my personal style again. (Shoutout to my six year old for the photo!)
Do you have a go-to accessory that you can wear with everything? I’ve been eyeing up so many other beautiful Indie Twenty creations and can’t wait for the March boutique crawl to check out more of Rachel’s new arrivals and all the great new shops popping up throughout Hamburg!
Mark your calendar for Friday, March 22nd and RSVP to the event here. See ya there!
Four months into the house flipping process and we can officially check one room completely off the “to do” list! I mentioned before that the bathroom was the first space of this house we decided to tackle, and I’ve been anxiously counting down the days until I could round up some “homey” items to finish off the room.
Just so you can fully appreciate the “After,” here is what we were working with when we first purchased the house.
As you can see, the bathroom was in pretty rough shape. We (and by “We,” I clearly mean Luke and his uncle) ripped everything out down to studs and started fresh with brand new everything.
Without further adieu, I present to you – the completed bathroom!
I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to go gung-ho with staging the entire house or just stick to the main living areas, but decorating the bathroom has me so excited to turn this empty canvas house into a place that feels like home for whoever we hand the keys off to at the end.
Stay tuned for more progress on the House on Hunt Ave – we’re making big steps in the right direction and I can’t wait to share more with you soon!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PurinaONEVisibleDifferences #CollectiveBias
Since he was a puppy, one thing Zeke has always amazed us with is his appetite. For being a rather slender dog (especially for a lab), Zekey is always ready for mealtime or an afternoon treat! Because he always acts ravenous, we have had a difficult time finding a dog food that satisfies his appetite and keeps him healthy.
He is 16 months old now and we’ve switched his food 3-4 times trying to find the perfect fit. We recently tried out Purina ONE® Lamb & Rice from Walmart and took the Purina ONE® 28-Day Challenge to see if we would notice any visible differences in Zeke’s overall well-being.
Click the shoppable image above to take the 28-Day Challenge and see the visible differences in your pet(s) for yourself!
After just a few weeks of eating his new food, Zeke’s coat was looking shinier than ever! He’s always pretty rambunctious around meal time, but lately we’ve found him patiently waiting by his food dishes a little earlier than usual each night for a taste of his new entree. And probably my favorite result of the challenge is the fact that he seems more satisfied after he eats – thanks to the high digestibility and nutrient absorption of the Purina ONE® Lamb & Rice formula. (If only it would prevent him from trying to taste the kids’ toys and stuffed animals!)
I’m thankful we made the switch to Purina ONE® and I’m looking forward to seeing the visible differences that will continue happening as we feed Zeke past the 28-day Challenge. Luckily, the Purina ONE® Lamb & Rice formula is readily available at Walmart so we can replenish his supply as often as he needs!
Take your pet from “good” to “great”! With Purina ONE®, you could see visible differences in just 28 days—like strong teeth, vibrant energy, sparkling eyes, and a radiant coat. Make the switch today and save on Purina ONE® when you register for the 28-Day Challenge at www.walmart.com/purinaone!
*Save on ONE (1) 2.8-lb. or larger bag of Purina ONE® SmartBlend® Dry Dog Food, any variety, or 2.8-lb. or larger bag of Purina ONE® Dry Cat Food, any variety. While supplies last.
January felt approximately 700 days long, and my body is feeling the aftermath of hibernation mode. While I wish I could be a true mama bear and make the excuse that I need to gain weight for the winter, my jeans have served as a constant reminder of my humanity and the extra 5 pounds that I somehow gained in the past month.
To keep myself from sliding down a slippery slope of weight gain, unhealthy eating, and overall sloth-like behavior, I’ve made a commitment to myself to start prioritizing healthy habits.
I’m not going to fool myself into thinking that I will stick 100% to a diet plan or rigorous exercise routine, but I’m determined to make small steps in the right direction to get back to feeling good!
Here are a few things I’m doing to get back on track:
Drink more water. Hi, my name is Samantha Jo Gill and I am addicted to coffee. I was finding myself drinking 3 cups of coffee each day at minimum, followed by a glass of water with dinner (sometimes) and a glass of wine at night before bed (often). I started forcing myself to drink at least one full glass of water in-between any other beverage I wanted during the day, which helped, but still didn’t help me reach the recommended amount of H2O per day. I recently downloaded an app called “Plant Nanny” that holds me accountable for my water intake. Each glass of water I drink waters my virtual plant baby, keeping it alive and keeping me healthy. Sounds silly, yes – but it’s working so who cares?!
Eat more whole foods. Our family meal plan was all too often alternating between chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas, and creamy crock pot dinners. All delicious, but not exactly what one would consider healthy eating. I have been trying to get into a better habit of making a meal plan and sticking to it to avoid the frantic dinnertime rush. Our kids are picky, so it isn’t always easy. I created a Pinterest board with healthy recipes that I’m going to be trying soon. Wish me luck!
Track Calories in vs. Calories out. It’s amazingly eye-opening when you actually track how many calories are in your favorite foods. I don’t eat a ton during the day, but I do have an unhealthy habit of grabbing a handful (or three) of chips in the afternoon instead of eating a healthy lunch, or satisfying my sweet tooth after dinner with a raid of the kids’ candy stash. I’ve been trying to reach for healthy snacks instead like the apple chips pictured above, almonds, or Greek yogurt; and I downloaded the LoseIt app to track my calorie intake in order to reach a healthy weight. The app adjusts based on how well you’re sticking to the recommended amount of calories each day – which provides me with an end goal to work towards. (I’m currently on track to reach my goal weight on April 25th.)
Once spring weather finally arrives, I’m making it a goal to get out for some exercise at least three times each week – whether it’s taking Zeke for a walk around the block or booking classes at my favorite local barre studio for a good morning muscle shake.
Have you packed on some extra pounds this winter, too? What are you doing to prioritize your health? If you have any great wellness tips that don’t require intense cardio or MLM products, I’m all ears!
It’s been a while since I’ve had news to share on the House on Hunt Ave! The house flipping process has been a bit dirtier and less aesthetically appealing than expected (darn you, HGTV) – hence the lack of photos and progress updates. But room one is officially done with renovations, so here we are!
When we first purchased this house, it was far from a home you’d want to live in. There was garbage literally in every corner, it smelled, and you could tell it was severely neglected by the previous owner. We knew we wanted to start with the bathroom as soon as possible for two reasons: First, because there was an unpleasant stench coming from the room; and second, so the guys could actually have a functioning toilet to use while they are working.
After a lot of initial tidying up and tearing down, the bathroom was ready to be tackled. Here is what we started with:
And the aftermath of “Demo day”:
And now, I present to you… the blank canvas of a newly renovated bathroom!
How’s that for a glow-up? We obviously got rid of everything in the bathroom to start fresh. Luke installed beautiful tile flooring and we decided on oil rubbed bronze accessories and finishes to match the accents on the new vanity.
The room still needs a good deep clean, and then it will be ready for the part I’ve been waiting for: styling! I put together inspiration boards for each room in the house and I can’t wait to get to work. Here’s the overall look I’m going for in the bathroom:
Since it’s a small space, I decided to keep things light and airy with some small black/oil rubbed bronze accents to tie everything together and keep it from being too feminine. I plan on using smart storage options like the wire basket pictured here to keep extra toilet paper rolls and bathroom spray behind the toilet, and I’m on the lookout for some decorative wall hangings that will be hung with 3M strips to give the space some added personality, without putting any permanent holes in the freshly painted walls.
The best part? Everything pictured here can be purchased for under $90!
Our kids have a book called Stuck that was once one of their favorites to read at nap time. In it, a little boy named Floyd loses his kite in a tree and tries throwing objects to knock the kite down. Despite his best attempts, nothing works to retrieve his beloved toy. Instead, everything he tosses ends up getting stuck, too.
SPOILER ALERT: Eventually (after throwing a whale, a house, and a team of firemen – among other things – at the tree), the kite falls down and Floyd skips happily away.
My life lately feels a bit like little Floyd’s from the book. But instead of a kite that is stuck and out of reach, it’s my creativity and passion. Let me give you some background information:
A few months ago, I went from the highest of professional highs – a fancy title, meetings with high-level celebrity teams in New York City, client trips to Miami, etc. – to the lowest point I’ve experienced in my career in quite some time. I had some rather large professional discrepancies with my biggest client and as a result of being treated unfairly, was forced to sever ties with them. My client roster went from being packed full with creative projects to the bare minimum almost overnight. While it kills my pride to say it, I’m having a hard time finding my passion for work again.
I feel stuck.
And no matter how many new projects I land or contracts I sign, I can’t seem to shake my feelings of internal disappointment. My goals feel out of reach, stuck up in a tree with no feasible way to bring them back down within grasp.
I know eventually things will fall back into place for me. One of those “A-ha!” moments surely can’t be too far away, even if I can’t see it now. My dream client(s) and creative projects will somehow drop from the tree and I’ll be there waiting to skip along on my merry way when it happens.
Until then, I’ll be busy finding ways to reclaim my creativity and the professional passion I’m missing. Even if it means climbing up the branches one small step at a time to find it.
Shameless plug: If you or someone you know is in need of professional copywriting, content development, or social media management, please feel free to send them my way – www.workwithWriteOn.com.
In case you haven’t heard, we’ve been working on our own home renovations and improvements while fixing up another home to “flip” for a lucky potential buyer. (More on that here.) And while I can’t wait to share some progress photos of the flip, the light was shining so beautifully in our kitchen at home today that I couldn’t help but snap some photos.
Like everywhere else in our house, this kitchen has seen a whole lot of change since we bought our home 4 years ago.
Let’s start with the “BEFORE” shot.
In case you haven’t noticed, the former owner of this house really loved the color peach. Peach countertops, peach porcelain sink, peach tiles in the backsplash, peach walls, peach everywhere. Thankfully they chose white cabinets, which we decided to keep (for now) – but we ditched everything else to start fresh.
After an in-between transformation that worked for a while, we recently finished the kitchen to reflect our visions when buying the home. Luke laid new wood look tile flooring and installed a white subway tile backsplash, we had dark charcoal countertops installed and got a new sink and faucet, replaced the drawer and cabinet pulls, bought all new appliances (and added a dishwasher – hallelujah!), and hung a floating wood shelf where the mammoth microwave once hung. As a finishing touch, Luke continued the custom trim work from the dining room into the kitchen for the window surrounds and base. What a transformation!
It has been so much fun to watch our home take shape over the years. Luke is in the process of finishing up some custom trim work in our living room and then we’ll have the three main living areas of the house officially finished from top to bottom!