2022 Mindful Advent Calendar

2022 Mindful Advent Calendar

Hard to believe it's that time of the year already!  December can be a hectic month for many and over the years I’ve realized the importance of slowing down and taking everything in, in a mindful way.   

I’ve updated some of our favorite things to do leading up to Christmas and organized them accordingly - Watch, Write, Act, Make, Give, Help and Do.  On Sundays, watch a favorite Christmas movie together; on Wednesdays, make a holiday craft etc.  I hope while doing these activities, you’ll be inspired and enjoy simple yet precious moments with your loved ones.  

2022 Advent Calendar Mindful Activities

PS. If you'd like, please feel free to adjust the activities according to your own traditions and holidays.  

With gratitude,


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Secret Code Valentines

Secret Code Valentines

Kids absolutely love this secrete code game!  For this year's Valentine's Day, we made some cute cards using the printout from Inspiration Laboratories.  

You will need:  

  • Brads
  • Cardstock 
  • Scissors
  • Heart Shape Punch (if you have one) 

Using A=1, can you decode

25 15 21 18 15 3 11

8 1 16 16 25

22 4 1 26?????

It's a super fun after school project to do with the kiddos!  Enjoy! 

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Modern Gift Tags 2021 - Free Printable

Happy Holidays! We have a little gift for you – Free Printable Modern Gift Tags! 

Many of you have already started holiday shopping and perhaps wrapping your lovely presents during Thanksgiving break.  The gift tags will add a bit of fun and modern touch to your presents this year.  


If you'd like, we also created a colored version to go along with this year's advent mindful activity calendar. 



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Milk Carton Village - Free Download

This is probably one of those projects which started in my mind as “this will be fun to do with the kids” then turned into “I think I’m going to have more fun than they do” :)  The carton from Oatly was so cute and I wanted to turn them into something more.  We also saved some toilet paper rolls for the shorter buildings.  
You'll need the following:

Milk Cartons

Toilet Paper Rolls

Cupcake Liners

Acrylic Paint in assorted colors

Color Paper/Glue/Scissors etc. 

I've created a sheet for Windows and Doors to save some time.  

Have a magical time strolling through the village with our Sunny or Leaf family dolls! 



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Secret Message - Cipher Codes


I recently did this fun secret message project with my kids and it was so much fun that I had to share.  Use it as a fun birthday card or lunch secret messages, it will keep them entertained for a few hours :) 

My kids are both 6 and 4 and I thought this print out from Inspiration Labortories was perfect.  (There are more complicated Cipher code print outs out there if your kids are older)

You will need: 

  • Brads
  • Cardstock 

Using the Blue/Yellow wheel, can you guess

1 3 21 21 13 26?

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Fun Elf Craft For Kids

Fun Elf Craft For Kids

I recently stumbled upon this fun art project from SimpleEverydayMom and thought it was so cute and couldn’t wait to make it with my kids and share!  

You will need: 

  • White Card Stock
  • Scissors
  • Brads
  • Glue 
  • Small hole punch 
  • Photo of your child’s face 

J wanted to add skirt to her elf so we added some sparkly pipe cleaners and button stickers.  All of the supplies purchased from Michael’s.  

  1. Download the Elf Craft Project from SimpleEveryDayMom and print out on heavy, white card stock.
  2. Cut out all the pieces of the elf and your child’s face.
  3. Glue the elf hat on top of your child’s head.
  4. Put a little glue on the top of the white collar and glue your child’s photo on top of the collar.
  5. Using the small hole punch, punch out all the white circles on the elf printable.
  6. Place the arms behind the body, then insert the brads and attach both arms.
  7. Place the legs behind the body, then insert the brads and attach both legs.
  8. Put some glue on the top of the elf’s body (where the neck would attach) and slide the white collar underneath the arm brads.
  9. Position the back of the elf coat (the black piece) behind the green coat and glue only the top 1/2″ of it to the elf body.
  10. Using scissors, cut the excess black off the sides of the elf coat.

Have Fun!  


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Meet the Maker - Dana Kalatsky of Apple White Handmade

Meet the Maker - Dana Kalatsky of Apple White Handmade

Last year we began our “Meet the Maker” series where we introduced you to a maker who creates items for &NEST.  We are happy to be sharing with you our interview with another creative genius, Dana Kalatsky of Apple White Handmade.  Her &NEST products include the tooth fairy cottage and the tooth fairy teepee.

Born in the Pacific Northwest, Dana studied fine arts in college and currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, three children, and three guinea pigs. She started Apple White Handmade when her youngest child began preschool and she was struggling a little with what to do with herself.  We are certainly glad she did, as our customers love her products! Read on for more of Dana’s story.


How did you come up with the idea for the &NEST products, the tooth fairy house and tooth fairy teepee?

I came up with the tooth fairy house because my daughter needed a tooth fairy pillow for her first loose tooth.  She had just drawn me the sweetest little picture of our house. The pattern for the pillow was made directly from that drawing.  The teepee came later after I saw an entire beautiful play teepee village at a craft show. 

That is so sweet you based the tooth fairy house after something your daughter made.  For the patterns, what do you like to work with, and why?

I love patterns and colors.  My favorite pattern is florals, I'm just drawn to them.  I'd have my entire house in florals if my husband would let me (so sad, he won't)!

What inspires you and keeps you going?

I love what I do. I love creating and working with my hands and mind.  I get really antsy if I'm not making things or being creative in some way.  Because Apple White is my very own business, it's easy to spend my time growing and nurturing it.

Do you have a favorite item to create?

I like my tooth fairy pillows the most because I love putting different patterns and colors together and always love how they turn out.  My customers are so grateful for them too. I love that I can bring a little joy to a family.

I recently purchased the tooth fairy teepee as a gift, and it was very well received! I am excited for when my son will be old enough for one.  Can you tell me about customer feedback that has meant the most to you?

I'm constantly amazed by the wonderful feedback I get about my shop and products and am so happy to know that my shop inspires other people.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed and lose track of why I'm doing what I do, and then I'll get a kind note from someone and it reminds me how blessed and grateful I am to be able to do this for a living.

How lovely that you truly enjoy your work.  Now, do you have any thoughts on where you would like to see your business go in the future?

I'm going to keep doing just what I'm doing for now.  Sending things out that were made entirely by my own hands is very important to me and I think people like that too.  Someday I may want to expand, or retire but for now I'm here in my home studio making pretty little things.

Well, we are so happy that you are going to keep creating your products, both for our customers and for ourselves!

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