I had a specific purpose with this year’s card and that was to share our new address and send it out quick so our loved ones wouldn’t have to track it down. Chatbooks to the rescue! It says “no place like home for the holidays” and the our address right below! Hidden of course but you get the gist. 😉Their cards are $1 each and include a return address labeled envelope, and can be printed on both sides! Great quality and obviously unreal value. Pretty certain half the cards I’ve received have been Chatbooks! I kept it super simple this year to let the photo do the talking. I loved this whole session with Hunter Fowler, so many good ones I’ll just share few though.
Merry Merry Christmas everyone!! See all our past cards here! I put up some OLDIES!
2017 // 2016 // 2015 // 2014 // 2013 // 2012
2018. All I wanted was to share a picture of us in the house, I will forever cherish these! Our first real family photoshoot here!
2017 – one of my favorite pictures of our family of all time. Captures everyone so well. Cal looking perturbed and in his own world. Raleigh happy as can be. Hayes taking care of Raleigh. Russ and I have actual bliss on our faces and that’s priceless.
2016: Sweetest Nicole shot these for me in her studio. I think she was super sick at the time, too. But always so generous and insisted. She has shot so many photos – thousands – of us over the years and I will always be so grateful!
2015: I don’t know why we never shared these on Small Fry but another one my all time favorites. And how we announced our pregnancy with Raleigh! This photoshoot was FREEZING and windy and I had overnighted those huge colored smoke sticks because I had seen a shoot that knocked my socks off that I wanted to recreate. It was so windy the smoke would get blown away before the photographer could get any worthwhile shot. Best laid plans, right? We drove hours to this sand dune the day before we were leaving our kids to go to Europe for our 10 year anniversary and I didn’t know at the time of the shoot but I was pregnant! So much going on but I love looking at this shoot and knowing Raleigh was there all along after so much time and heartache.2014: (Ironically I found out I was miscarrying maybe an hour before shooting these photos. It’s not funny but the card sort of is. Happiest season of alllll!) the card just kept going and going and going so enormous! I think I got teased a few times by family members, but it looked so expensive and I was stoked. It’s funny what’s important at different times of your life. 2013: All I can say is: GO ME! A full ombre calendar (Bri @collectedblog designed) I scored and folded and tied a wallet size pic on to it? And then addressed tiny envelopes?? I don’t know that girl anymore. Ha!2012: Maybe my favorite card design ever. Bri designed it and it was a “year by the numbers”. So fun! We took these photos literally steps away from the townhouse we ended up living in all last year. We had paper wrapped sandwiches and San Pell sodas and this was by far the most “staged” shoot ever. I can’t say we ever drug a couch to a field but this is pretty close. 😉
AND! Never before seen cards from years before Small Fry!
2011: We went to a studio photography place and it was in the height of my personal blog Ruffling Feathers. I got the shoot for free and was thrilled. This photo really gives me the feels on having two babies at once. It was not easy but it was such a sweet time for me. Wish I could go back and enjoy it a little more.
2010: I remember thinking I was so freaking clever with this one. Such a dork. I made this by myself on Picasa and it took FOREVER (still use it to this day.) We were fancy on top and cozy on bottom and I set up a tripod and had the whole thing art directed down to the smallest detail. Who knew it would be my job a couple years later.
2009: Pregnant with Hayes! I take it back THIS might be our most staged. I had my sister do finger waves for me. I had leather gloves, a string of lights. Candy cane shoes and a tutu. Go Em Go.
Welp, I wonder where I got this inspo??
Happy 10 years of Christmas card shenanigans to me!! If you share your old ones I want to see! Tag #ChristmasCardTBT
Whether it’s a holiday party, church service, nice dinner, or family pictures Holiday Best is so fun to shop for, in my opinion! Here are some of my favorites!
The boys got sent these amazing Lumberjack suits from Opposuits. Their whole site is full of amazing, loud, fun suits for men, women and kids! I LOVE Pepper Kids,( this black lace dress!) and Zara for unique pieces for girls! Of course Amazon always pull through with some quick ship options, too! Pair it with a rad coat, tights, or over the knee socks (both are in the carousel below this section!) boots, t-strap flats, or even sneakers if the mood is right.
Red Sweater Set // Plaid Dress (two colors!) // Layered Mustard Dress // Mustard Plaid with Pom ties // Retro Dress // This dress comes in 4 perfect colors is $25 and is giving me major Little Women vibes. // Glitter Dot Sweatshirt
More ideas for BOYS and GIRLS below, too!
I went to a Holiday Preview for Deseret Book about a month ago and one of my key takeaways was their amazing variety of nativities! They have them from all over the world, in all price ranges, materials, styles, I was so impressed. Of course you can buy them all online or go into their stores to see them up close, too. Rounding up my favorites and couple other finds from around the web today!
Cambodian – Paper // Peruvian – Wood // Painted Bottom Nativity // Pastel and Gold // Modern Ceramic Nativity with gold // Lucite Nativity // Metal Luminaries (pictured above!) // Ireland – Resin // Shiny Metal Nativity // Flat Steel Nativity // Shadow Puppets Nativity // Finger Puppets // 4″ Nativity // Olive Wood Nativity // Pillars of Heaven Wood Nativity // Willow Tree Nativity
And don’t forget the lego set!
We have the Shadow Puppet Nativity and it really is so sweet. I love that its interactive and the boys bring them to bed and play while they’re falling asleep. They also have Star Wars and several other themed packs! So cute.
Also note: When I wrote this post the Lucite Nativity was still in stock. I was a lucky one to snag it! I think she’s since sold out but follow her on Instagram @sonorahandmade and I heard she’s making tons more for next year. My appologies!!
Sponsored by Deseret Book.
This post is sponsored by Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are my own.
So a little backstory for you guys, we have a lot of stuff in storage (storage = our shipping container up at the lot where we’re building our house) and that included all our Christmas decor. Since we moved those items up there we had ALL our tile delivered and stored in that shipping container, too. Like 5,000 square feet worth. SO! I asked Russ if we could get to those boxes and he laughed in my face, so I knew we’d have to improvise this year on all our decor!
So you can imagine how grateful I was to team up with Pier 1 on our Christmas tree this year! They have decorations that represent trends and styles from all around the world and I knew I’d be able to create the perfect unique tree that represents my personal style! Now, onto the post!
I love a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. A little quirky, sparse, worse for the wear even. I am always drawn to those trees when we pick one out and I have learned over the years that there are different criteria for decorating a Charlie Brown tree than a typical full artificial tree or like a Douglas Fir. So I am sharing my tips today and you can peek at our tree while you’re at it!
Another sidenote: This tree is actually potted! It’s in dirt and we will be planting it at the house when Christmas is over! I loved the idea of getting some landscaping out of the deal and so that is why it’s in this huge basket! Inside it’s on a tray and I water the tray and let it seep up the roots. I also put it on a coffee table to try and keep it out of Raleigh’s reach, let’s see how that’s going shall we?Of course all the decorations can be found at Pier 1 either online or at a store near you!
- LIGHTS – You will find that you can’t just wrap the tree in concentric circles like you would with a regular tree. There isn’t as much to light, and the wires will be EVERYWHERE. I like to follow the branches up and down and let them lead me to the next branch so I can hide the wires as much as possible.
- THIN WIRE LIGHTS – I have been wanting to try these tiny wire lights because the one downside to the Charlie Brown tree is that it’s really hard to hide wires. These thin bendable wire lights are so sleek and easy to hide and be a bit more precise where you want the tiny bulbs to land. I totally recommend it for your next tree if you like the more bare ones! They’re 10 feet long so you will need quite a few more than a strand of regular lights. Worth it though! You can see how fine the wire is in this photo:
- TREE PICKS – Even though I really like seeing the trunk and sparse spots, sprays can fill in holes or balance out some of the unevenness. I love these retro feeling sprays, they reflect light all over the place and are so beautiful!
- THEME – I love picking a theme no matter what kind of tree I pick but I think a tight theme is especially nice for a tree like this. It can be easy to overpower and over decorate so keep it a little more simple! I chose this set of metallic and glitter ornaments, these amazingly beautiful glass drop ornaments (everyone’s favorite)…Then these oversized glitter stars (doubles as a tree topper, too!) and the sprays. They’re all metallic and varying in size for interest. And then just having your themed ornaments out makes it easier to have your little ones helping!
- WRAPPING – I also pick a tight theme for wrapping. This year I have kraft paper, a dramatic dark plaid and they’re all tied together with black twill ribbon. I think the less going on the more focus on your special tree!
Any other Charlie Brown lovers out there? What are your decorating tips?
Back with gift guides today – and this time for boys and girls! I teamed up with Globber on a fun giveaway on Instagram so don’t miss that, too!
- Playpa is essentially giant coloring pages that you can play on and interact with after you’re done coloring! Getting two indoor quiet activities out of one $20 gift is what I call a good idea. Especially during the long Winter break!
- My sister gifted this idea to my nieces and my boys flipped over it too. I watched them all sprawled over my floor making t-shirts together and it was so sweet. They even decided to all wear them to school the next day. You just need a few plain shirts and …
- Fabric Markers! These Yoobi ones could be the start of endless DIY crafts. Another Winter Break win.
- If I know kids, I know they flip over tiny things. This set from Yoobi is all miniaturized and darling. Watch them squeal, guaranteed.
- This is a new-to-me brand and a welcome guest. I went through several grocery store detangles and they all left this greasy film on my boys’ hair. Needing another bath to look clean. Oof. This stuff works great – I use it and am obsessed with how soft my hair feels, smells great, but doesn’t leave any of that residue. Stocking stuffer! Shiny Happy.
- Globber is sponsoring the giveaway on instagram today and they are a much less expensive balancing scooter option than the brands we’ve always used. Like half the price. But the kicker is they work the same. So be smarter than me and go with Globber off the bat this year! Or better yet, win two here!
- So many dollhouse options out there but I know when you have a certain aesthetic you like it can be hard to shop for. I think this one would fit a lot of yours out there! So pretty.
- A sweet little bonnet for Winter and beyond.
- Love this magnetized “paper doll” kit. Perfect for a quiet bag or flight.
- I’ve been on a big kick this year with promoting products I wish I had as a girl. Having a library of stories of women who dared to try something new, went against the grain, paved the way. I want those stories on my shelves! Women In Science book.
- Women in History blocks. See #10.
- Bravery Mag. See #10, too. This magazine is FILLED with activities, stories, darling design and Brave women. YES!
What are you getting your girls this year?
- Another awesome idea from my sister! She gifted the boys their Christmas when she came for Thanksgiving and I had forgotten about these cash boxes! I had one as a kid and LOVED it. My boys are equally obsessed and love having their own key and spot for treasures no one else can get to.
- Who has a lego obsessed boy or girl? This book is so fun to flip through!
- Morphonauts was a Kickstarter awhile back that we got to try out. It’s all magnetized and interchangeable so you can be as imaginative as you want! I also love that its quiet. You can’t her them snapping together which is a huge win for church.
- Always love to give a puzzle and this one is large but also seems a little easier with all the variety and branding.
- Give a gift of music with this Cedar Thumb Piano! Its going to have a resurgence I am predicting!
- Driven by Battat makes all the most realistic big trucks which have bene my boys’ dream at one point or another their whole lives. They also sell pocket size too!
- I think Petit Collage has made our gift guides since the beginning of time. Lorena is so talented at creating toys kids like with designs parents like too. This Pop-out Space set for example.
- Another Globber option. They have scooters for babies on up to adults. Hayes wanted a more grown up scooter – I guess most of his friends ride on this type of scooter so I am excited to surprise him with this one!
- I would be remiss to not include Plants vs Zombies on this list because my boys are obsessed. I don’t know how they discovered it (blame YouTube, surely) but if you are looking for your own kids Amazon has the best collection I’ve found. I like that I can buy the figures in K’Nex sets so it’s a little more substantial then handing over a figure by itself.
- It’s hard for me to buy video games because I hate them. It doesn’t change that those characters are what my boys are into so I love finding non video game options that they’ll still be excited about – even if its just Mario’s photo on the box. They play this Monopoly Gamer at their friends house every time they go over so its high time to grab one for here!
- Tabletop Cornhole! Inside fun is a huge theme this year, can you tell? #noyardproblems
- Star Wars is all anyone talks about when I go into my boys’ classes. This Darth Vader backpack is “sick!” as they say and 40% off today!Happy shopping!!
We have our 2nd annual Utah Symphony concert for kids (we went for the first time last year and immediately aborsbed it into our traditions for each year, it was magic!) and I love getting everyone dressed up all festive-like so here’s our get-ups!! Don’t worry I am shopping for everyone below if you need more ideas!Cal’s Suit c/o // Shirt // Wellies ($40) //// My Dress (old but simliar here// Booties ($50!) // Lip is Diva by Mac ($8 right now!) //// Raleigh’s Rag // Boots //// Hayes’ suit // Shirt // Boots c/o // Hat
I would never leave out the girls. Too much good stuff!
Striped Faux Fur + Flutter Sleeve Lace Velvet dress // Plaid Coat + Faux Fur Pocket Dress // Star Jacket on a Plaid Mini or a basic knit red dress // Casually festive with this plaid shirt dress + jean jacket. // A classic red coat with on-trend sleeves + an emerald polka dot dress
ADD ON: I love a girl in a dress with tights and boots. These boots are perfect! More budget friendly here. // Glitter Tights for extra festivity // A tulle headband for a party. // A beret to be warm and the coolest little chica.
A few more options for the dudes.
Opposuits will have everyone talking! // You know how I feel about Appaman. We have this Velvet suit and its to die for! Comes in a few colors! // As they get older and start fighting you on what you want them to wear its always a win to see a Star Wars fair isle sweater suitable for church. Compromise! // This rolled sweater is so nice, who needs a suit and tie! // Chukka boots /// Obsessed with these velvet loafers! // Plaid shirt + bowtie combo, so cheap too! // Needing cheap options for festive button-downs? Love this green and blue buffalo, too!
Sponsored by Amazon.
For the first year ever I am nearly stumped on what to get my seven year old, Hayes! Each year their Christmas lists are pretty straight-forward and it’s been easy to deliver the Christmas they are hoping for. THIS year, all the sudden, Hayes’ list is so grown up. He asked for his own Fire HD 8 Kids Edition – we have one and of course he is over sharing. Happy to accommodate that as we have had a great experience with our first one! The rest of his list is simliar – more technology, a phone, and seriously on his list he wrote “$999,999,999 dollres” just like that. Santa has a tall order this year!
But what I noticed is not even one toy! Sort of broke my heart! How fast he grew up and how quickly his interests have matured.
With the tablet I would love to have it fully loaded for him so when he turns it on he sees all his favorites and some new games that have great ratings in Amazon’s app store. Here’s what I am thinking:
Backbreaker Football // Math Games by Grade level // Flow Free – a fun puzzle game for all ages // Crossy Road – a fun and simple problem solving game // Fruit Ninja – speed and hand eye coordination // Slice Fractions – a concept Hayes could use some more practice at // Cut the Rope – a game all about problem solving and thinking ahead // Monopoly – he has been loving playing this board game! // Tetris // Draw Board – perfect to doodle and be creative // Bejeweled 2 – I love this game so I am sure he will too! // Toca Boca – Amazon app store has all your regular favorites, too! // Plants vs Zombies 2 – my boys are obsessed with this game! // A game to teach about mechanics and physics! // Ansel + Clair – Create your own environment and learn how to best protect it.
I’ve talked about this before but our screen time is limited to one hour each day and it’s never before school, only after. It’s also after they’ve done a list of things and proves to be our best motivator! I take time away, add it for special behavior, they can lose it all together and it’s something my boys – who are different as night and day – bond over. It brings them closer together and is something they talk about and strategize long after they’ve stopped playing the game.The Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service acts as my eyes and ears for the tablet and I can set the timer, shut it down when the time is up, make sure they’re only downloading things I approve of, monitor their usage on the Parent Dashboard and more. It’s included for a year when you purchase the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet. As their interests expand and their knowledge of technology increases they are always wanting to, as Hayes says “search it out” and safe browsing is my #1 concern for them. I have filters on all our devices but love that Amazon’s is built right in with the FreeTime Unlimited service so I don’t even have to worry if my systems are working, they have one already! Too bad for ol’ Hayesie but the rest since the rest of his list is a hard pass for me so I am hoping to fill the gaps with fun experiences, or things that he didn’t even know he’d be excited about – any ideas?