Karin Stortz's headshot for 2023

Family. Food. Travel. Mental health. Design. Home. Cooking. Home cooking. Empowerment. Growth. The big picture. The little things. Life in general. Just as there are seasons to a year, there are seasons to life. Joy in the Meantime is meant to be a trusted resource sharing what’s meaningful and delightful for whatever season you’re in. You are welcome here.

I’m Karin (Ka-Rin).

I’m the creator behind Joy in the Meantime. My meantimes have included becoming a partner and parent, working in clinical social work, traveling as much as possible and creating a place my family can call home.

Finding Joy in Creating a Family and Home

My husband Roger and I are parents to three adventurous boys – Bram, Emerson and Soren – and we are in the midst of renovating our (hopefully!) forever home outside of Chicago. This isn’t our first reno rodeo, and I’ve learned so much about what it takes to celebrate the small projects and tackle the larger ones all while enjoying our everyday lives in the midst of it.

Our family has empathy, hard work and humor at the center of our lives and it centers my work and informs my passions. From weekly family meetings to raucous backyard play, date nights to the late nights that come with parenting, I use this space to document our lives and hopefully share insights and ideas on parenting, partnership and self.

Finding Joy in Seeking Adventure

Whether flying to visit my family in Bergen, Norway (where I was born!) to exploring our town, a sense of constant wanderlust infuses my life and this blog. I want to see the world. I want my family to see the world!

We hope to explore every nook and cranny and expose my children to different people, places, tastes and adventures. We might be jumping in puddles in the backyard or boarding a very long flight. I share the ups and downs – and hard-earned tips and tricks – of planning nearby excursions and traveling afar with family.

Finding Joy in Being A Lifelong Learner and Lifelong Teacher

Everything I create – from a family tradition to a morning ritual to a course I offer – is informed by my background in clinical social work. I served in private practice as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), primarily with children, individuals, and families and focusing on a variety of mental health issues.

For over 13 years, I have been teaching and educating recruit correctional officers during the mental health component of their academy training, looking at mental health holistically from the people correctional officers serve to their own wellness in high-stress jobs. I’ve also partnered with schools, educators, and families on topics such as bullying prevention, teen dating violence, empathy skill building and bystander empowerment.

Teaching is one my most favorite things! I love to empower people, and that love led me to develop my podcast and courses to share practical tips to find our joy in our everyday lives. I’d also love to connect with you through my Office Hours Name TBD where we can focus on what’s most important to you right now.

Finding Joy in the Meantime

I started Joy in the Meantime as a way to intentionally pursue joy and purpose in the small, seemingly everyday in-between moments. I wanted to create a space to be present and live in the now moments.

More than anything, I love creating conversations and soft places for people to land. Opportunities for personal exploration and growth. Moments of magic and beauty. Here’s to supporting and being supported. Cheers to being inspired!

Your story is still being written; your journey is still happening. Even in the chapters that make us feel lost and alone, hope is still there to be found. ❤️ ...

Sometimes, true strength lies in knowing when to pause. Learn to recognize when your commitments are depleting your spirit more than they enrich it. It’s okay to step back, refuel, and nurture yourself. Your well-being is the foundation upon which all else is built. 🌿

#MindfulMonday #SelfCareSunday #WellnessJourney #PersonalReset #SelfCareMatters #MentalHealthAwareness #TakeABreak #PeacefulMoments #HealthyBoundaries #empowerment

Swap the clutter for cozy bean bag! 🧸 Perfect for storing stuffed animals and adding a splash of fun to any room! Comes in a variety of colors and textures.

Comment ‘BEAN BAG’ below or tap the link in my bio to shop now! 🤍

#HomeOrganization #MomLife #Declutter #InteriorDesign #MomTips #ParentingHack #StorageSolutions #CozyHome #FamilyFriendly #CreativeStorage #DIYHome #PlayroomOrganization #StuffedAnimalStorage #BeanBagChair #ColorfulHome

Feeling the sting of jealousy? Here’s a gentle guide to navigate through those moments:

1. Embrace Your Feelings: It’s okay to admit it—“I’m feeling jealous because I wish I had _____.” Dive into those feelings. Are they stirring up anger, embarrassment, or insecurity Acknowledging them is the first step towards understanding.

2. Self-Compassion is Key: Remember, it’s completely normal to feel jealous at times. Be kind to yourself and recognize that these feelings don’t define your worth.

3. Transform It: Can your jealousy spark a fire within you? Ask yourself if it can motivate you towards your own goals. Let it fuel your journey, not hinder it.

4. Gratitude: Shift your focus by listing what you’re grateful for. It’s a simple, yet powerful way to redirect your thoughts towards positivity.

5. Set Boundaries: If certain people or situations trigger your jealousy, it might be time to set healthy boundaries. This could mean unfollowing, limiting interactions, or being mindful of the media you consume.

6. Celebrate Others: Practice happiness for others’ success. Tell yourself, “Despite my feelings, I genuinely wish them joy and success.” It’s a powerful mantra that can shift your mindset.

Remember, navigating jealousy is part of our journey towards growth. Let’s embrace it with grace and move forward, stronger and more centered. 🤍

I`m plugging away with the great purge of 2024! The art cabinet had old ripped coloring books, broken crayons, and dried-out markers. Tossing all of it in favor of fresh colors and a convenient organization was pure magic ✨🖍️

Comment SPIN, and I’ll send art cabinet peace your way! 😉✨

✨Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Salad with Roasted Chickpeas✨

Finally Tried That TikTok Recipe

I stumbled upon this vibrant mini pepper salad recipe on TikTok ages ago, and it’s been bookmarked in my mind ever since. Guess what? I finally took the plunge and made it! And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. I adjusted the dressing a bit!

This dish celebrates simplicity, flavor, and nutrition all rolled into one. It’s perfect for us busy bees 🐝 looking to add a spark of joy and health to our day without spending hours in the kitchen.

Here’s how to bring this colorful delight to your table:
- 1 lb mini peppers, washed and halved for a burst of color
- 1 large red onion, sliced for a touch of zest
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, for that hearty feel
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, the secret to making it filling
- Feta cheese for creamy indulgence
- Fresh dill, because a bit of green goes a long way

Whisk-up Dressing:
- 4 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice for that zing 🍋
- 1 Tbsp honey, just the right touch of sweetness
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard for a little kick
- Fresh dill, salt, and black pepper to taste

Easy-Peasy Directions:
- Roast peppers, onions, and chickpeas with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika at 425°F for 20-25 minutes until they’re singing with flavor.
- Toss them with the quinoa, sprinkle with feta and dill, then drizzle with that zesty dressing.

And voilà! A meal that’s as nourishing for the soul as it is for the body. Let’s embrace the beauty of quick, nutritious meals that support our journey of self-care and personal growth. 🤍

I adjusted the recipe a bit, but please let me know who the original creator is if you do! ✨

#SelfCareCuisine #NourishToFlourish #HealthyEating #QuickMeals #NutritiousAndDelicious #SelfCareRecipes #MomLife #BusyMoms #HealthyLiving #MindfulEating #MealPrep #WholesomeFood #EasyRecipes #FoodInspiration #MotherhoodUnplugged #PersonalGrowth #WellnessJourney

Each season of motherhood brings its own joys and challenges, making some days feel seamless and others, a delicate balancing act. 🌱

Amidst this beautiful journey, let’s not forget the person at the heart of it all - you. Your dreams, well-being, and happiness are pivotal. Remember, making yourself a priority isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity, just as vital as the endless love and care you pour into your family. 🤍

Let’s gently remind ourselves that it’s okay to carve out moments for our passions, to seek joy in the things that light us up, and to embrace our evolving dreams with open arms.

No matter the season of motherhood you’re navigating, know that finding space for yourself amidst the chaos isn’t just beneficial—it’s essential. It’s in these moments of self-care and reflection that we rediscover our essence and show up as the best versions of ourselves for those we love. 🌷

Share how you’re making space for yourself today. Your story might just be the encouragement another mother needs.

#MindfulMotherhood #MotherhoodJourney #SelfCareForMoms #EmpoweredMoms #MomLifeBalance #SelfLoveJourney #MomSupport #MotherhoodUnplugged #InspiringMoms #PersonalGrowth #MotherhoodInspiration #MomsOfInstagram

✨Simple Sunroom Refresh✨

Transforming our sunroom with simple touches and finding joy in the now! 🏡 The AMAZING artificial branches (yes, they’re affordable!) and a new coffee table book, ‘Resident Dog,’ breathe new life into our space. 📚🐾

Sometimes, it’s the little changes that make a big difference. 🌿 Want to know where I found these gems? Comment ‘REFRESH’ below or tap the link in my bio.

#HomeSweetHome #SunroomSanctuary #SimpleJoys #HomeDecorInspiration #SimpleHomeStyle #RefreshYourHome #SunroomDecor #ArtificialGreenery #DecorOnABudget #AmazonHome #AmazonFinds #AffordableDecor #ShopSmart #CoffeeTableBooks #ResidentDog #BrightSpaces #NatureInspiredHome #HomeWithPets

Hey everyone! I am continuing my deep dive into spring cleaning by cleaning the things that clean the things! The washing machine edition! 🧼🫧

Steam cleaners are the MVP here, getting into those spots you didn’t even know were dirty. Watch out for the rubber seal – don’t overdo it; we don’t want to warp anything! I stuck mainly to nooks and crannies 😆

After steaming, I wipe everything down with a damp microfiber cloth to catch any leftovers. For that first sign of mold? CLR to the rescue! Then, thoroughly wipe with a microfiber cloth.

Mixing 1 cup water with ½ cup baking soda for the machine’s detergent container and throwing 2 cups vinegar into the drum does wonders. Run a regular cycle if you don’t have a wash cycle.

Remember to wipe the outside with an all-purpose cleaner or another microfiber cloth.

I thought I was doing enough with regular wash cycles, but it turns out it’s never as clean as you think. 😅 Also, pro tip: leave the door and detergent compartment open a bit when not in use. It helps keep that moldy smell at bay.

Comment WASHER, and I’ll message you with product details! You can also catch it in the Shop portion linked In my bio.

And, of course, you don`t need the steamer; you can use the same products and some elbow grease! 💪🏼 The steamer just makes it easier! 😉
#SpringCleaning #WashingMachine #CleanHomeHappyHome

Ever catch your child spiraling into the ‘I can’t’ abyss? It’s a heart-squeeze for any parent. But imagine flipping the script from self-doubt to self-belief. 🌱

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) isn’t just for adults; its principles can empower kids to master inner dialogue. By teaching them to challenge negative thoughts and see things in a new light, we’re gifting them resilience and confidence for life. 🙌🏼

Here are 10 CBT-inspired nuggets to transform those ‘I can’t’ into ‘I cans’:

1. Evidence Gathering: “What makes you think that? Let’s look for evidence together that shows how capable you truly are.”
2. Reality Check: “Is that thought always true? Can we think of times when it wasn’t?”
3. Positive Reframing: “Let’s try to see this in a positive light. What’s one good thing about this situation?”
4. Perspective Taking: “If your friend felt this way, what would you tell them? Can we say that to ourselves?”
5. Identifying Distortions: “Are we maybe thinking in all-or-nothing terms? Remember, it’s okay to be somewhere in between.”
6. Scaling: “On a scale of 1-10, how big is this problem? What can we do to make it feel like a lower number?”
7. Problem-Solving: “What’s one small step we can take right now to feel better about this?”
8. Gratitude Prompt: “Can we name three things we’re grateful for today? It’s a great way to remind us of the good around us.”
9. Strengths Focus: “Let’s talk about your strengths. How can we use one of them to tackle this challenge?”
10. Mindfulness Encouragement: “Let’s take a deep breath and feel the ground beneath our feet. What are three things you can see/hear/feel right now?”

Why practice CBT techniques at home? Because our words shape our world. Encouraging our kids to navigate their thoughts positively doesn’t just help them today—it builds the foundation for a lifetime of mental strength and happiness. 🤍

#CBTForChildren #PositiveParenting #RaisingConfidentKids #ParentingTips #MentalWellness #ChildhoodAnxiety #SelfLoveJourney #EmpoweredKids #ParentingCommunity #GrowthMindsetForKids #ResilientChildren #ParentSupport #HealthyMinds #NurturingMindfulness #ParentingGoals #EmotionalIntelligence

Spring has sprung, and I’m rolling up my sleeves diving deep into my spring cleaning! 🌷

Today’s mission? The oven. It’s a task I’ve most definitely been putting off. Gah!

While you most definitely can clean your stove without the steamer, I have to admit it’s been a game-changer! This little powerhouse made scrubbing away those stubborn bits a breeze and left the glass door sparkling like new.

Want to make your cleaning spree a whole lot easier? Comment STOVE below, and I’ll slide into your DMs with the links to these cleaning wonders. You can also find everything linked in the Shop 🛒 portion of my bio.

A few things I’m loving lately … Discovering things that make our lives richer, easier, and more joyful is something I live for!

Comment FAVS, and I’ll send you the links, or find the details linked in my bio! 🤍

Now, it’s your turn! In the spirit of sharing and caring, drop your current obsessions or life-changing finds in the comments. Let’s inspire each other and maybe find our next favorite thing!

#LifeEnhancers #CommunityFaves #amazonfavs

On the Podcast

Join me – my best friend Jen – as we dish about finding joy in the meantime.

Listen Now

Listen to our podcast on Apple Podcasts
Listen to our podcast on Spotify


Join me – my best friend Jen – as we dish about finding joy in the meantime.