Life Love Larson: 2019


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Christmas Tree Basket

Two years ago I decided to do away with a tree skirt for our main tree and go on the hunt for a basket. I like the clean look of a basket. I like that it doesn't need to be straightened like a tree skirt does. I like the texture of a basket. And most importantly, I like that I can sweep right around the tree to pick up all the needles! We get a real tree every year, so needle clean up is a thing! Putting our Christmas tree in a basket allows for easy clean up! Woo hoo! I've included a video tutorial at the end of the post! I've also included a way to shop the post at the bottom of the post!

I purchased this large basket at Homegoods. It was a random find and I know large baskets are hard to come by! I got lucky! The diameter is 22", so it's pretty substantial. We had to make sure our tree stand would fit inside the basket! Don't forget to check this part!
We also had to make sure the branches at the bottom were cut far enough up the tree so it didn't look smashed into the basket. We get our trees at Lowes and have them cut the bottom branches off. This is easy to do later on at home with a handsaw if needed. For reference, we usually get a 7-8 foot tree for our space. We place it in between the dining room and the living room, so it's visible from the whole first floor, and from the outside looking in!
To start, clear the space where you want the basket and the tree. I lined the bottom of the basket with a few garbage bags first. I then lined it with a water absorption pad that we picked up at Lowes when we got our tree. We assembled the tree into the tree stand in the garage and brought it in and dropped it into the basket.
Now, it's time to water and decorate your tree! I loved having the tree in a basket and we will be doing it again this coming year. During the off season (the other 11 months of the year), you can put blankets in your basket or a large plant! It never technically has to be put away or stored!
Tree collars give the same effect as a basket, they are usually just lower to the ground. I like the look of the basket best, but a collar is a great alternative! I even brought our tree outside the past few years to enjoy it during the month of January! I know some think I'm nuts, but I don't care! I love the natural look of a real tree!

I hope you enjoy all the season has to offer this year! XO
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Family Notebooks Instead of Cards

A few years ago, I decided I was done spending money on purchasing cards for every occasion for everyone in our immediate family. Instead, I decided to purchase notebooks for the four of us and use those notebooks instead of cards for every birthday, Mother's Day, anniversary, etc. This system has been WONDERFUL and we are never turning back! We all look forward to reading our messages!
There is no rhyme or reason to the notebooks, these are just blank ones I picked up and everyone agreed to. The idea is that every time a birthday, anniversary, Father's Day, graduation, etc, rolls around, the other people in the family write a little note inside the notebook with the date. If you have little kids, pictures work well! Or, have them dictate what to write. We started this when our kids were a little older, and I wish I had thought of it sooner! Think poems, love letters, simple notes! Whatever you are feeling! That is the beauty of the notebook and the blank pages!
We keep the notebooks in the office in one spot so everyone knows where they are. A few days before the occasion, we remember to get the book out and pass it around. By eliminating multiple cards, you create one space for all the messages and you cut down on the clutter! This will be easy for our kids to take with them when they eventually leave the nest.
If you have received cards that you would like to keep prior to using this system, you can just stick them in the back of the notebook for safekeeping and everything is still in one place! I just love looking back on the sweet messages.
I think it would be nice to write notes "just because" too! This is a simple and inexpensive way to share the love with your family! XO
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Explore Kansas City: AR Workshop

Some of my girlfriends and I met at a new studio/workspace/shop that just opened in North Kansas City to get our craft on! AR Workshop is a space where you can take classes to make all the crafty things including wooden signs, chunky knit blankets, holiday decor, jewelry stamping and pretty much anything crafty you can think of! They offer different classes throughout the week, or you can book private parties for birthdays, GNO, etc!
This location also has some retail! You can purchase tea towels, candles, jewelry, already made signs and decor, rugs, etc. It's such a darling space! Need a layered rug for your front door? They have some!
We had a private experience at the shop and the owner provided treats and mimosas and a sweet little note! Your work station will already be set up for you and ready to go! How fun!

We made wood projects and each of us chose something a little different. You can customize what you make sure names, paint colors, stains, etc. There is truly a style for everyone! It was fun to get work on something new! I'm all about new experiences!
Here is the shop owner explaining the different types of stain.
And all the fun materials you get to work with are right in the middle of the table. Everything is provided and the instructions are easy! You just have to do the work!
Each class takes between 2-3 hours depending on what you choose to make. Check out their website for all the specific dates and details. There are several locations through the KC Metro area!
Such a fun outing with friends or family or for parties or large groups! Thanks for having us AR Workshop!
Thursday, October 24, 2019

Explore Kansas City: Yaya's Alpaca Farm

Some of our good friends had it on their fall bucket list to visit an Alpaca farm and they asked us if we wanted to join them! I'm so glad they did, because we had such a great time! Not only was going to Yaya's Alpaca Farm hands-on, it was also educational! Everyone learned something new!
Yaya's Alpaca Farm is located in Garden City, MO, about a 45 minute drive from where we live in South Overland Park. My friend purchased tickets ahead of time for a day our kids had off from school. There is also an option to show up to the farm an pay once you are there. We wanted to make sure we secured a spot in case it was busy! You also avoid lines at the end having to pay if you just pay ahead of time!
Yaya is the owner of the farm and a kind man. He has an incredible story about how he came to have alpacas. I won't ruin it for you, just go to farm and hear his heartwarming story!! We arrived a little early and Yaya brought in two alpacas into the barn where the presentation takes place. He also handed everyone a large bag of food. Christmas and Einstein were the two alpacas we spent time with before everyone else got there. These animals are gentle! Sweet! Docile! The best!
The alpaca fleece is so soft! They shave the fleece in the spring so they don't overheat in the summer. The fleece was growing back when we were there in mid-October to gear up for the winter months. They stay outside all year and can withstand 0 degree temps! That's how warm the fleece is!
After Yaya gives the history of the farm and education on alpacas, you head outside where there are 41 alpacas roaming around. Everyone gets more bags of food and you can feed and pet the animals.
A few babies had been born recently too! So sweet! This one was still nursing and needed a little jacket for the chilly morning.
Alpacas are not skittish or scary in any way. They eat out of your hand gently and don't mind being pet. The perfect animal really! I can't tell you how many times Kate asked to bring one home! Ha! After the feeding time was done, we came back inside and Yaya talked about how they shear the alpacas and how they sell the fleece and also make goods from the fleece. There is a store where you can buy gloves and socks made from alpaca fleece. My friend and I wanted to buy some dryer balls but Yaya said he can't keep them in stock!
We had a great morning doing something new! I love when you can continue to explore your city and do new things! Yaya's Alpaca Farm has a laid back and enjoyable atmosphere. This is definitely worth the drive and something for all ages! You can click here to find out about pricing and times available for visiting!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

I got this Easy Chicken Pot Pie recipe from my mom who has been making it for so long. And now I feel like I have been making it for my family for so long! I love that about recipes and families. It makes my heart happy. I consider this recipe semi-homemade because I buy pre-made pie crust. But, that's also why I like this recipe! It's homemade without the fuss of a lot of time! And it really is a one and done meal because the meat and veggies are packed into the crust!
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Spooky Halloween Bar Cart

I love to decorate our bar cart for different holidays and seasons! Decorating the bar cart for Halloween might be the most fun though! This year, I decided to go a little "spooky". In our open concept home, the bar cart is easily visible, but it's also tucked in a corner, so decorating it doesn't become extra clutter! It's a small, concentrated space, so changing up even a few things makes a big impact. I smile every time I walk by it. 💀

Friday, September 27, 2019

Top Ten Must-Have Travel Items

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Seoul, South Korea. We have traveled overseas a lot, with and without our kids, and I've compiled a list of (10) must-have travel items that we use over and over again! This applies to US travel as well!

1. Travel Backpack/Tote:
Having something carry all of your essentials that you want to have with you on the plane is essential! I like to be handsfree, so a backpack is a great choice. A large tote also works for easy access. These both work if you are traveling with a computer for work as well. We purchased travel backpacks for our kids within the last year and they are so durable and have so many compartments and have tons of room!

2. Backpack/Shoulder Bag:
I recently purchased an everyday backpack to use while traveling. It allows for hands-free storage (souvenirs you grab, water bottles in the side pockets, phone, sunnies, extra charger, jacket), but it allows you to also feel cute/trendy and not like a tourist! My husband wears a shoulder bag when we head out for the day on our travels. It allows him to be hands-free while also having a place to store his items he might need.

3. Packing Cubes:
We started using packing cubes a few years ago, and now every person in our family owns a set! Not only do they provide a compact way to pack your clothes, it also helps keep you organized while you are on the trip. I keep undergarments and socks in one, shirts in another, pajamas and swimsuits together, etc. Keeping things contained while you are traveling helps if you are hotel/city hopping. We used to just roll our clothes and put them in the suitcase. We still roll but now put them in organized packing cubes. Simple concept, yet so effective!

4. Portable Chargers:
Everyone in our family has a portable charger for travel. Most aircraft now have chargers, so we use those on flights. We do like to carry portable chargers when we head out for the day. You wouldn't want to get stuck with a dead phone while you are traveling, especially if you take photos with your phone! The one I've linked stays charged forever!

5. Make Up Bag/Toiletry Bag:
This seems obvious, but I recently purchased a hard exterior makeup case and now I don't worry about any makeup getting ruined when I pack it in my checked luggage. My husband has been using the same dob kit for years and years. I love a toiletry bag with a hook for easy hanging and access.

6. Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones:
I never realized what a HUGE difference these make until I got a pair for Christmas and starting using them! My husband swears by them. They are a little pricey, but we only use them when we travel, so it's really a one-time purchase! These help on long flights so much! Sleeping is easier and it's easier to watch movies with noise canceling headphones.

7. Smart Watch/Step Tracker:
We use our smart watches whether we are traveling or not! But when you travel, a smart watch automatically switches to the current time zone. We were on a 14 hour time difference in Korea and our Apple watches synced immediately. We also have fun tracking our steps and miles and fitness trackers because we do so much walking when we travel! I have the oldest Apple Watch and it still functions perfectly fine after several years. My husband has a newer version and he wears it in the shower and the pool and the ocean when we travel! The older versions of smart watches are becoming very affordable now!

8. Comfy Travel Clothes:
I'm always cold! I always like to travel with a short sleeve cotton t-shirt and some sort of sweatshirt/wrap/cardigan and always a scarf. I find this to be the most comfortable and the layers help with hot/cold status on the flights! I usually always wear leggings or yoga pants, socks, and a cute sneaker that I will wear on the travels. One less pair of shoes to pack!

9. Sneakers:
Speaking of shoes! A great pair of sneakers are necessary when traveling! You will need something comfy to get around the airport and you will need to be comfy while pounding the pavement on your trip. I find that a great pair of white or black sneakers go with just about every outfit. You can certainly bring running or work out shoes, but I like to feel trendy and cute when I travel!

10. Suitcases:
You can't travel if you don't have good suitcases! We bought our kids hard case suitcases last year and I got a new one for myself recently, all from It's good to have multiple different sizes in your home to pick and choose what you will need based on travel time, etc. For Korea, I took one large suitcase. My husband took a smaller roller suitcase (borrowed from our son) and a larger soft backpack style bag he could throw on his shoulders. We have had that soft bags for 10 years and we use it ALL THE TIME. It's a great weekend bag too!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Why You Should Take Your Kids Surfing

This post is all about how we took our kids surfing and why we would do it all over again! We happened to do this on our trip to Bali, but this can be done anywhere there is an ocean! The bottom line is, if you have an opportunity to take your kids surfing (or do it yourself), DO IT! You won't regret it!
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Easy Broccoli Salad

I've been making this easy broccoli salad recipe for many years and it's one of my husband's favorite sides! I'm not sure where it originated but I got the recipe from my own mom who has been making it for a long time.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Explore Kansas City: Overland Park Farmer's Market

I took my first trip of the year to the Overland Park Farmer's Market! Downtown Overland Park is so quaint. It happens to be the town in live in too! It's a hidden little gem of shops, restaurants, hang out space, and home to a hopping little farmer's market that takes place Wednesday and Saturdays (April - September). No better way to spend a gorgeous morning than taking in the sights and smells and sounds of a farmer's market!

Monday, August 26, 2019

One Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Fall is quickly approaching and I have an easy soup recipe to share with you that I have been making for many years! You can make this chicken and wild rice soup in one pot with very few ingredients! My family requests this soup all the time (even in the summer)!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Deciding on Our Latest Travel Destination

We travel quite a bit and the question gets asked, "How do you decide where to go?" I thought it would be fun to share the process of how we decided on the location of our next destination...Seoul, South Korea! Each trip we plan has a different process, but the general idea remains the same.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Is Air Duct Cleaning Worth It?

We recently had our air ducts cleaned and I wanted to share my experience because so many of you asked about the process and the results and the cost! To preface, we live in the Kanas City area in a home that was built 7.5 years ago (as of July 2019). We have a single-family home in the suburbs consisting of 3100 sq. ft. of living space, and 1500 sq. ft. of basement space. They cleaned every duct in our entire home. This post or service was NOT sponsored, I'm just sharing our personal experience!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Explore Kansas City: Louisburg Cider Mill In the Summer!

Country roads! Local products! No lines! Cider Donuts! A friend recently reminded me that Louisburg Cider Mill, a local cider mill and country store, operates in all year long, not just in the fall! Cider donuts and cider slushes and apple cider seem like a good idea all the time!