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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Very Merry Custom Illustrated Holiday Card

illustrated card, custom illustration, holiday card, christmas card, christmas 2016

I'm very excited to share our 2016 holiday card with you all! Scheduling a trip to Australia in the middle of holiday prep time really threw a wrench in my normal holiday planning. All my fave photographers had scheduled holiday mini-sessions during the weeks we were out of town and there was not enough time to prep and plan for a photo shoot when we got back. So as an alternative, I decided to have a custom illustration drawn for our holiday card.  We look great and I didn't even have to put any make up on! Our card was drawn by the talented Kathryn Selbert, a freelance illustrator that specializes in children's books, wedding invitations and stationary. To prep for our illustration, I collected recent photos of us and put together the outfit board below. I also sent Kathryn a link to my Instagram account so she could view more of our recent pictures.

2016 Christmas Photo Family Outfits


I placed the order for the illustration in early October and received our final print files in early November. Our cards were printed through Moo and will be ready to mail out at the beginning of December. I'm high-fiving myself for being ahead of the game! Having our card illustrated this year has been such a time saver. I didn't have to go shopping for outfits, schedule or travel to a photo shoot, worry about whether Parker would cooperate or get my hair or make up done. However the biggest perk is that we now have an original piece of art to hang in our home!

*By the time this post is published, Kathryn's cut off for custom cards this holiday season would have passed. Be sure to contact her early next year if you are interested in having her illustrate your family!

To see more of Kathryn's work, please visit the links below. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Making a List & Checking it Twice: 2016 Holiday Planning Tips

Every year when Christmas time rolls around, my first thought is always, "Ugh, our families are SO BIG." Being one of 7 girls is a blessing but it also makes the holiday planning more complicated. There has been at least one new niece, nephew or brother-in-law every year for the past decade or so...and this doesn't even include Tuan's side of the family! The biggest challenges we face are keeping track of gift purchases for the twenty-something odd kids we shop for and planning all the various holiday parties. I'm sure many of you face the same challenges so I am sharing my tried and true tips on how to stay organized and keep yourself holly and jolly this holiday season.

1. Get a Christmas planner. These 20-30 page planners will help you track gift purchases, budget, grocery lists, activities, party menus and so much more. I started using a Christmas planner 2 years ago and have never looked back. Below are some of my favorite designs from Etsy. If you are going to be looking at this planner for the next month, you might as well pick a pretty design. Cost varies from $5-$10 and they are worth every penny. 

Christmas Planner Letter and Half Size - Printable Binder Inserts Holiday Party Planner Xmas Organizer Editable Binder - INSTANT DOWNLOAD

2016-christmas-planner-fb-graphic

Printable Christmas Planner 2016 / Holiday Organiser • A4 and US Letter • Minimalistic & Stylish

printable holiday planner, holiday planner

2. Use an online invitation system to invite guests and track your party RSVPs. Since I am an event coordinator by trade, I always find myself volunteering or being volunteered to organize holiday parties. I've come to embrace this duty but I do try to make my life easier by sending online invitations. Whether you are planning a cookie swap, white elephant, holiday movie viewing or ugly sweater party, there is an e-card for every occasion. Luckily for us, Paperless Post and Minted now offer beautifully designed cards that are available for free. Both sites offer guest management options that will be sure to simplify your hostess duties. 

Paperless Post 
(25 free coins when you sign up for an account)

Paperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-cardPaperless Post holiday e-card

Minted Online Cards 
(free during beta preiod)

Bright SpiritsCookie CatchCrackin' PartyTree on Top
Thankful WreathSoiree ScriptBreak Out Your Finest ArgyleSnow Fall


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Joy+Love 2016 Holiday Collection

Parker made his official modeling debut a few weeks ago for Joy+Love's 2016 Holiday Collection. I couldn't be more proud of my little man for doing so well in front of the camera and really working all the holiday looks with the other mini models. All of the holiday looks were stylish yet functional so the kids had no problem twirling, jumping and running around during the photo shoot. I love that there are so many separates that you can mix and match but I'm most excited about the fact that they now carry clothes and accessories for boys! My favorite looks from the collection are pictured below. Enjoy!



kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends
kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends


kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends

[Work it, Parker!]

kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends


kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends


kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends

[These girls had great chemistry and were natural models! I think Parker may have fallen in love at the photo shoot.]

kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends
kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends

[These joggers were so soft and comfortable. I love stylish kids clothes that are not restrictive! The boys had no problem climbing trees and running around in these outfits.]

kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends


kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends

  
kids fashion, fashion, kids fashion trends

We are approaching holiday family photo season and if you are still looking for outfits for your little ones visit Joy+Love! Enter code Happy15 at checkout for 15% off your total purchase. Offer ends 11/2/16.

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Joy+Love. All words and opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Glow Stick Halloween Printable

Can you believe that Halloween is next Monday? I'm so excited! P's class is having a costume party to celebrate and I worked with my talented sister Tania to come up with a teal pumpkin project friendly Halloween treat for the kids in his class. I've been a supporter of the teal pumpkin project for the past couple of years and am happy to continue the tradition with these fun glow stick treats this year. 

Instructions
All you have to do is click on the download icon below for the printable file, print and cut along the two black lines then insert a bracelet sized glow stick (8"). Glow sticks are plentiful in-store this time of year and very affordable. You can also order 100 for $10 on Amazon.

For more information on how you can help to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters this Halloween season visit the F.A.R.E. teal pumpkin project website

teal pumpkin project, halloween, free printableteal pumpkin project, halloween, free printable

teal pumpkin project, halloween, free printableteal pumpkin project, halloween, free printable


Click on the icon below to download the printable!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

5 Year Wedding Anniversary Song Dedication

Dedicated to my hubby on our 5 year wedding anniversary. Thanks for being a mighty mighty good man. Now let's so celebrate at the happiest place on earth!

xoxo
M

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Epic Octopus Costume Photos and Instructions

After many many hours of watching Jonathan Bird's Blue World videos on Youtube, Parker decided he wanted to be an octopus for Halloween this year. Not just any octopus, a blue ringed octopus. Threenagers have very specific needs. You feel me, mamas? So I said challenge accepted and started researching octopus costumes and inspo. If you follow me on Pinterest and were wondering what I was up to, now you know. There is a method to my madness! I lucked out in finding this octopus costume pattern and tutorial from Martha Stewart and the rest was history. Enjoy these snaps of my little octopus contemplating his return to the sea. All photo credits belong to my wonderful husband who is totally supportive of my crazy ideas. 

octopus costume, costume, handmade costume, halloween, toddler costume

This costume took a total of 4 hours of actual sewing and construction time. Add a few hours for the time it took for the puffy paint to dry. In total, it took me 4 days to complete the whole project because trying to find 4 hours of time to craft is nearly impossible.

octopus costume, costume, handmade costume, halloween, toddler costume

I perused the aisles of Joann's to find a solid yellow cotton similar to this and a lighter patterned yellow cotton for the interior that looked like octopus suckers. I used the instructions from this DIY Octopus Costume tutorial to add a bit of a curl to the tentacles.

octopus costume, costume, handmade costume, halloween, toddler costume

After sewing the outer part of the cape together, I pulled up a few photos of blue ringed octopuses (octopi?) and drew the blue ringed octopus pattern onto the outer part of the cape using brown and blue puffy paint. I had considered cutting the rings out of felt and sewing them on but figured puffy paint would be less time consuming. The paint actually gives the costume a cool texture too. Threenagers totally appreciate hand painted fabric, right?

octopus costume, costume, handmade costume, halloween, toddler costume

After the paint dried overnight, I finished sewing all the parts of the costume together and let Parker help me stuff the tentacles and head with poly-fil. He loved that part! Side note: the "filling tool" aka single chopstick that comes in the poly-fil bag is such a joke. HA!

octopus costume, costume, handmade costume, halloween, toddler costume

I was so happy with how the costume turned out that I made Parker and Tuan go down to La Jolla Shores to snap some photos. We arrived as the sun was setting and the tide was low. It was perfect and Tuan did a fantastic job capturing the essence of the costume.

octopus costume, costume, handmade costume, halloween, toddler costume

Now the only thing left to do is make my tiger shrimp costume and our family will be all set for Halloween. Happy crafting, everyone!

octopus costume, costume, handmade costume, halloween, toddler costume

octopus costume, costume, handmade costume, halloween, toddler costume

If you have any questions about the costume, leave a comment below!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bates Nut Farm 2016

Every fall we make the trek out to Valley Center to visit the pumpkin patch at Bates Nut Farm. It has become a tradition for us that I look forward to. I love seeing the fields of Big Macs, bins of pumpkins and the hodgepodge collection of animals. Bates is one of the best pumpkin patches in town and this year it's grown quite a bit. There is now  $5 parking fee and more booths selling goods and food than I have ever seen before. If you are looking for an authentic Fall experience in San Diego, go visit Bates Nut Farm.

Right before writing this post, a friend told me she calls it Nates Butt Farm and now I can't get it out of my head! Hahaha. Take a stroll down memory lane by checking out these photos from 2013, 2014 and 2015

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

[The highlight of Parker's day was finding a lady bug on one of the pumpkins.]

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

[Yup. Same size as his head.]

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

Bates Nut Farm, San Diego family, pumpkin patch, San Diego, fall

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