easy christmas card photo books

I have been getting a lot of questions about an Instagram story I posted a couple weeks ago about what I do with all of the Christmas cards that we receive. I wrote this blog post 5 years ago and figured it might be a good time to repost it.

Don’t throw out all those cards, easily turn them into little photo books that you can pull out each year! We now have 9 years of books collected and I love to pull out the books in late November and look through them the entire month of December. 

One of my favorite parts about Christmas is receiving the cards from all of our friends and relatives. I especially like the photos.

They make me smile from the day I receive my first card until the day I finally take them down from their display…which is usually one of the last things to come down.

Over the years I have saved the photos in a drawer in my desk. You see, my aunt had albums full of christmas card photos and every year I loved to sit down on Christmas day and look through them. Although I didn’t know all the people, I learned to recognize the familiar faces year after year and enjoyed seeing how families had grown, adult children had gotten married, etc. My plan was to eventually start some albums of my own.

As I was trying to find space in the drawer in my desk for our cards from Christmas 2012 I finally decided to just put the darn books together. I mean, for goodness sake, all I needed was a hole punch (I used a 3 hole punch and a single hole punch), some chipboard, some rings, and a glue stick!

easy christmas card photo books

All of my cards were organized by year, so I started punching holes.

easy christmas card photo books 6

{That’s my mom and dad in Italy}

easy christmas card photo books 7

easy christmas card photo books 8

I used two holes of a three hole punch so that I would eventually be able to line up the cards that were differing sizes and shapes.

easy christmas card photo books 2

Then I cut some chipboard that I had from the back of some thrifted frames that I won’t be using. I cut the chipboard a little larger than the largest card…three of the books ended up being 9″ x 6″ and one is 8″ x 6″.

easy christmas card photo books 5

easy christmas card photo books 3

I punched holes in the chipboard and glued our christmas card to the front.

easy christmas card photo books 4

I also made back covers for the books so the cards are protected on both sides of the book.

easy christmas card photo books 9

This year our card was a post card and I wanted to include the back of the card, so I put it on the inside of the back cover.

easy christmas card photo books 1

In less than an hour (it actually took 2 days, but I had to start and stop multiple times for various reasons…kids, dogs, cats, husbands, etc.) I had books from the last 4 years put together!

easy christmas card photo books 10

For now, they are in our basket of photo books in the family room. I think, eventually, I will put them in the attic with the rest of the Christmas decor so they will be a fun tradition to pull out of the bins each year.

easy christmas card photo books 11

Notice a change to the bookshelves? I’ll fill you in on that quick project this week!

Stay tuned…

I hope this inspires you to keep those cards! It’s a super simple project and feels so good once you have it done!

{wellness wednesday} mother nature and mother nurture

i have had a little one home with me all week.

i am so thankful to be able to easily make the choice to have them home with me when they are not feeling well. and, while i may not get the things done that i normally would do while they are at school, i don’t have to take a personal day or worry about getting a sub when they need to be home. what a blessing.i have been topically applying snifflease to her chest and thieves on her back. RC and raven have been in the diffuser. snuggles, christmas movies, snacks, and plenty of fluids all day long.

no toxins.

no chemicals.

just mother nature and mother nurture at our house.

essential oils are not going to keep our kids from staying home from school once in a while, but they will help support their bodies systems to get back above the wellness line.

if you are interested in finding out more about how to support your body and keep your family above the wellenss line, leave a comment or contact me!


{mindful monday} each moment


[mahyndfuh l]

  1. attentive, aware, or careful
  2. noting or relating to the psychological technique of mindfulness


  1. the quality or state of being mindful
  2. the practice of maintaining a nonjudgemental state of heightened or complete awarenesss of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis

through my yin yoga practice over the last few years i have truly learned mindfulness. in those minutes, in that hour, i can truly focus on my breath while thoughts come into and out of my mind without judgement of myself or others.

in those moments i feel whole, confident, and content.

when i miss those practices because i let other things get in the way i feel it in all aspects of my life.

however, i should not let missing those yoga classes affect my mindfulness practice…mindfulness can be practiced without yoga.

mindfulness can be practiced every day.

each moment.

as best you can.


colorful holidays

i have been inspired by a couple of my favorite color loving instagram feeds lately…



so, while we wait to cut our christmas tree until the day after thanksgiving, and the santa’s still stay in attic storage i have started planning for the crossing over of holidays that comes when thanksgiving and christmas collide.

i am also not afraid to make it smell like christmas before thanksgiving.

my parents will be visiting us for thanksgiving. while they have taken in the traditions of cutting down the tree and starting to decorate for christmas they have never actually been here for christmas.

i want a bit more christmas in the house when they get here so they can get a feeling for what it is like here on christmas morning. unfortunately, i cannot replicate the excitement of our children on christmas morning…something i will cherish even more this year as they are getting older.

my aunt gifted me with colored vintage glassware that my grandmother had collected for her. it will play a part as our thanksgiving centerpiece, and then i have some other plans for it during the christmas season!

the open shelving in our kitchen continues to be a favorite place to change up the displays for the seasons. this year i mixed up the fiesta ware and some of my vintage shiny brite collection. i also added some led uplighting which was super easy to do!

the pacific northwest continues to put on a beautiful show for us this fall.

our japanese maple is one of the last trees to lose its leaves each fall. the leaves are a purple color all summer and turn to a bright red.

the front garden is mostly put to bed except for some carrots, kale, herbs, and the strawberry plants.

i’ve been collecting leaves from our yard…we only have the douglas fir trees and the japanese maple, but we get leaves from the neighbors…this is a giant leafed maple!

are you a wait until after thanksgiving to bring out christmas?

or, do you let them play nicely together?

or, are you a “what’s thanksgiving?! it’s all christmas all the time after halloween” person?

no matter what, i hope you are enjoying whatever you choose!

comfortable with the uncomfortable

i take a yin yoga class 2-4 times a week. if you are not familiar with yin yoga it is a slow-paced style of yoga with poses, or asanas, that are held for longer periods of time. for beginners this may range from 45 seconds to two minutes with more advanced practitioners holding poses for 5 minutes or more.

last thursday we held a pose for eight minutes.

EIGHT minutes.

eight minutes in paschimottanasana.

what is paschimottanasana you might ask? (and how do you pronounce it?!)

paschimottanasana (POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna) is a seated forward fold and can be used to help your distracted mind (and your hamstrings) unwind.

the benefits of paschimottanasana are as follows:

  • calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings
  • stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus
  • improves digestion
  • helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
  • soothes headache and anxiety and reduces fatigue
  • therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis
  • traditional texts say that Paschimottanasana increases appetite, reduces obesity, and cures diseases

our instructor said the hardest part of staying in the pose would be staying in the pose for EIGHT minutes because you start to feel uncomfortable about the TIME you are spending in the pose.

he said that by being focused on our breath, our body would relax, and our mind would follow allowing us to become comfortable with the uncomfortable task of holding the pose for eight minutes.

to tell you the truth, i would have liked to hold it even longer.

and, to be completely honest, i look nothing like the image above when i am in paschimottanasana.

in yin yoga we use all kinds of straps and props to support our poses so we can hold them for long periods of time. i probably had my head resting on blocks or a bolster, and maybe even a strap around my feet. my head was nowhere near my knees and my hands were not wrapped around my feet.

someday, maybe. someday.

i have really come to love my mornings with yin yoga and can really tell a difference when i have missed a class. it’s not necessarily that i become out of shape, or stiff, but i find myself becoming un-comfortable with the uncomfortable.

i don’t always want to be comfortable with the uncomfortable because there are some uncomfortable situations you should be uncomfortable with. however, i sure like being able to deal with uncomfortable situations with a clear mind and that is what yoga helps me do.

are you a yogi? if so, what style of yoga is your favorite and why?

baby steps, too

Sometimes I go down the rabbit hole of old blog posts. I have blogged since 2008 and there were many years that I blogged multiple times a week. I miss it.

This short post from November 2010 brought back so many memories…

Lately, it seems like things are very out of control in my life. A very busy 3 year old and a 1 year old who wants to keep up with her big brother keep this momma very busy.  My head is always spinning with what needs to get done, what I would like to get done, and what I have forgotten to get done.  Right when I feel like I have it all under control something happens (like a little guy getting sick, or a baby girl who is teething) and I just fall apart.

I have always been independent.

I am a control freak.

I don’t like to ask for help.

I hate the feeling of not being able to handle everything by myself.

Sometimes I feel all alone.

And, yet, I know I am not alone.

At any rate, i’m moving forward.  And, just like my baby girl who recently started walking, I am taking baby steps.

Recently, when talking with a family member who has a newborn and almost two year old I was reminded that there were times that I was barely making it through the days of being at home with two little ones. Somehow I made it through the lack of sleep and tireless physical exhaustion of taking care of little ones. I am so thankful that I was able to be with them everyday.

Lately, I miss those days. Those days filled with taking care of my babies.With both of my kids in school full time my job as “stay at home mom” has turned into more of a job of housecleaner and errand runner, which I am not very fond of.

They are away from home 6+ hours a day and I miss them. I miss how they filled my days.

The short time span I get with them each day after school is so full, but such a small amount of time with them.

They come home to do homework, and most days, want to play with friends as soon as that is done.

Some days there is a sports or school activity thrown in the mix.

Then dinner. Always dinner.It all seems so rushed. I miss the slow days of not having to be anywhere. And, just being together.

I absolutely love the people who my kids are becoming, but I miss being the one that got to spend my days with them.

This is an updated version of that blog post from 2010, 7 years later…

Lately, it seems like things are very out of control in my life. A very busy 10 year old and an 8 year old who wants to keep up with her big brother keep this momma very busy.  My head is always spinning with what needs to get done, what I would like to get done, and what I have forgotten to get done.  Right when I feel like I have it all under control something happens (like a little guy feeling left out, or a baby girl getting upset that she has to clean up messes) and I just fall apart.

I have always been independent, but spending the days by myself can be a bit lonely.

I like to be in control, but am learning that I am not in control of so many things…and it is hard.

I don’t like to ask for help, but there are also things I just don’t want to do and that I would rather have somebody help me with.

I hate the feeling of not being able to do everything well, but want to be able to do so much more.

Sometimes I feel all alone.

And, yet, I know I am not alone.

At any rate, I’m moving forward.  And, just like my kids who are taking more and more baby steps towards independence, I am taking baby steps, too.






{milestones} golden eight

Lola celebrated her golden 8th birthday on the 8th.

This girl burst into our world on her own schedule eight years ago and she has been a shining light since that day.

She continues to be one of the most positive people I have ever known.

She manages to find the good in almost everything.

She is a loyal friend.

She is a loving sister.

She is a helpful and caring daughter.

She loves gymnastics, drawing, writing, notebooks, pencils, people, puppies, and pigs.

She makes my heart happy.

Press play…

I asked her some questions to get a feel for how SHE feels at eight.

  • favorite color: teal and shrimp
  • favorite toy: ipod
  • favorite t.v. show: jessie and raven’s home
  • favorite game: minecraft and hide & seek
  • favorite snack: extra cheddar goldfish
  • favorite animal: pig
  • favorite holiday: thanksgiving and christmas
  • favorite book: junie b. jones and ivy and bean
  • favorite song: no place like you and take the world by storm
  • what do you take to bed: puppy and sleep mask
  • favorite food: steak
  • favorite thing to do outside: climb on ninja line/slack line
  • what do you want to be when you grow up: wildlife photographer or teacher
  • what are you most grateful for: my family and friends
  • favorite part of the day: being on my ipod
  • what makes you happy: hanging out with family and piggies
  • what are you scared of: the dark and spiders
  • what makes you special: my positive attitude

{milestones} the little guy is ten




the little guy is not so little anymore.

don’t let his tough exterior fool you, he is incredibly caring and tenderhearted. he might like to play lacrosse, ride BMX bikes, and do all kinds of other crazy stuff, but he is sensitive to others needs and very loyal to his family and friends.

it’s really hard for me to put into words what an incredibly amazing person he is. i really enjoy spending time with him. he is one of my very favorite people. i love him to pieces.

i took a walk down memory lane of the last ten years with him in our lives. it has been filled to the brim, and many times is overflowing, with love, fun, challenges, and success. i cannot wait to see what the next 10 years brings.

as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so these photos should say many thousands…you can click on the photos below to scroll through them individually.

also, scroll all the way to the bottom to see the answers to the questions i try to ask him every year around his birthday.

i asked him some questions this morning to give us an idea of what he likes at ten…

  • favorite color:  purple and chrome
  • favorite toy:  fidget spinner
  • favorite t.v. show:  battle bots
  • favorite game:  destiny (ps4)
  • favorite snack:  flavor blasted goldfish
  • favorite animal:  turtle
  • favorite holiday:  my birthday
  • favorite book:  big nate
  • favorite song:  where are you now by justin bieber and jack ü
  • what do you take to bed:  stormy, his black puppy
  • favorite food:  bailey’s burgers
  • favorite thing to do outside:  go to the skate park
  • what do you want to be when you grow up:  law enforcement, preferably SWAT team
  • what are you most grateful for:  my family
  • favorite part of the day:  night time
  • what makes you happy:  food
  • what are you scared of:  spiders
  • what makes me special:  good with technology

home is…double digits!

{in the garden} early june 2017

we  harvested {when i say “we” it was really lorelai and ryan} our first strawberries yesterday. they are a few weeks later than usual due to our LONG winter.

we got a late start on the gardening season this year due to weather. we had record rain and wet until just a few weeks ago. it was a LONG winter here in the pacific northwest.

our resident veggie gardener, ryan, also had knee surgery in march. he was in a full leg brace until late april/early may which limited his mobility and ability to really get down in the dirt!

ryan got the dirt turned and put tomatoes, kale, edamame, garlic and onions in the ground.

the strawberries and blueberries come back every year, so they were already going strong…just a bit delayed due to our LONG winter.

we will be adding a few other plants in the coming weeks, but i wanted to share a quick tour that i posted to my instagram stories!

we go all organic with our gardening…like bat guano, dead fish, chicken poop organic. as i mentioned in the video, we also have a resident snake…she/he and their offspring have lived in our rock wall for years and really keep a lot of the pests away {slugs, etc}.

we hadn’t seen the snake yet this year and i was afraid that the winter had been unkind to it…did i mention our LONG winter?!

sometime after ryan and lorelai picked strawberries, the snake shed it’s skin in the garden. the full skin was just nestled up in the strawberries when we returned from a family walk/bike ride yesterday.

we found the snake snuggled up in the rocks after we found the skin. i’m not a snake person, but i am happy to have a snake eating the pests in my garden because i am not going to spray chemicals on the garden to keep pests away!

although we garden organically, we still need to wash yucky stuff off of our fruits and vegetables and we use thieves fruit and veggie spray for that purpose. just spray it on, let it sit, and rinse.

hoping to share more of our garden as it grows. since we were gone most of last summer i missed our garden and backyard posts, so i am excited to get back to them this summer!

you can also see more garden posts on instagram at #homeisinthegarden and #ourfrontyardsuburbanfarm

home is…in the garden 2017!


refreshing reveal

last year at this time we were packing up our entire house and getting ready for a big refresh of our spaces.

i never really got around to blogging about the updates, and I have really missed blogging, so i thought i would jump right back into it with posts about the updates we made in our home!

if you’ve followed my blog for years, then you have already seen the transformation of our kitchen BEFORE last summer…if you’re new, you can jump to this post to see where we came from.


9-kitchen 2-2008

4-kitchen 2-2008

12-kitchen 2-2008

2-kitchen 2-2008

fast forward to twenty-sixteen…

1-kitchen 2-2016

4-kitchen 2-2016

5-kitchen 2-2016

7-kitchen 2-2016

and, here is the PRESENT…

we didn’t change the layout.

we didn’t buy new cabinets.

we kept our appliances.

we didn’t change the lighting.

what did we change?!

i’ll tell you in my next post…stay tuned.

home is…finally revealing our refresh.