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DIY Kids Valentines Photos

My husband and I decided that we would make it a priority to take photos of our daughter for every “first” holiday. Whether that’s on her bedroom floor, mall Santa, pumpkin patches, so far we have gotten photos and sealed them in Hallmark cards with “Lawson’s first…” on the envelope (more in a post coming soon). So, this year, for Valentine’s Day, we took some on the kitchen table!

First, let me say I am by no means a photographer. At all. I don’t usually have matching socks on! So my hopes were pretty low when I started planning to take photos of my seven month old.

However, I love how these turned out. Mamas, I know you’re exhausted and stretched in a million different directions, but take $20 and go get some clearance Valentine’s Day decorations and have fun making some memories! We used some decorations and cupcakes, but I have seen other photos with balloons, confetti, and even as simple (and adorable!) as shirtless baby rolls with a Mom heart temporary tattoo for little boys.

I will link everything if you are curious and want to recreate some photos for yourself. I will try and find links for everything via Amazon since those links are evergreen and have two day shipping. Other links may be available in store only, but get as creative as you want, and you don’t need the exact supplies I used.

*Amazon links are affiliate links

Well, let’s get into it!

Supplies

  • Backdrop (Amazon) : not necessary, but super inexpensive and I already had it from taking listing photos for Etsy & it never fails to come in super handy!
  • Glitter Hearts (Walmart, in store only. Amazon) : I hot glued these to fishing line then taped them to the backdrop and filled the mailbox with them.
  • Valentines Mailboxes (Walmart, in store only. Amazon) : these sell out quickly, so grab one if you find it!
  • Heart Candies (Amazon)
  • Heart Dish (Amazon)
  • Red Velvet Cupcakes, with Pink Icing (Whatever combination works!)
  • Table Cloth: (Amazon) Must have if your babe is tiny and eating. Whatever color works, but keep in mind how it will look with the lighting and contrasting colors

Prep

The only prep you really need to do is set up and if you want to figure out extra lighting. No fancy lighting is needed, and natural light is the best, but work with what you have! I had lamps with their shades since it is winter in the PNW, so we have no sun…ever. 🙄

Oh, and make your cupcakes & fend off any thieves!

Cupcake liner & Topper Set linked Here (Walmart)

Taking Your Photos

And then, the day has come! You dress your baby, you do all the work.

And it’s only about a 50/50 if they’ll cooperate like you want them to.

Lawson didn’t really eat the cupcakes at all, but she’s pretty cute, so it’s all a wash.

And that’s how I set up and took these! I love the idea of being creative and getting those photos to keep and look back on.

I hope I have inspired some mamas to go out and get some clearance Valentine’s decor in the name of getting some sweet memories with your babes and toddlers!

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Lawson's First Snow Day January 14, 2020

This post contains affiliate links.

Although we live in Washington, we really rarely get snow where we are located. We usually get one good snow a year (our first was on Christmas day, last year was later into the winter, and this time it’s mid-January). We are more prepared than, say, Louisiana to deal with snow, but when the roads ice, our small town, along with the small businesses and the base, hibernates.

So today, we spent all day sledding and playing outside. It’s not an ideal situation to play in the snow with a six month old, but she loved going down our hill!

Earlier today, I didn’t want to take photos, at all. I go back and forth with the thought of the older Lawson wanting photos of us at this time and hating how I currently look, the way my hair lays, the state of our yard.

But these are some of my best memories with my little family, and I am so grateful for the photos we got of our fun. You can see it on our faces (okay, maybe not Lawson’s, but she really was giggling as soon as we came to a stop).

They don’t look particularly aesthetically pleasing. I’ve explained my baby’s frown three times already. But, wow, I don’t think I will ever forget going down the tiny hill in our front yard with our babe, wrapped in a huge ball of fleece, erupting in giggles as soon as we reached the bottom

These are the photos I can’t wait to hang on our wall.

These are the photos I can’t wait to show her when she’s older and tell her about our little house on a small island in Washington when she was tiny.

I have recently been more aware about how little of a chance we get to enjoy where we are in our own lives before it speeds away. I’m really not sure we’ll get such a big snow day with our remaining time in Washington. Not to mention, I know she won’t be this tiny much longer. And what if I didn’t get those photos of us going down the hill because I was too concerned with everything else?

So, basically, the moral of the story is, take the picture. Of your husband, your kids, your friends, and, please don’t forget, yourself. Take the photo.

I am linking Lawson’s insulated jumpsuit here (we love it and put it right over her clothes to keep her warm in the snow, and it covers her hands and feet! It’s great if you can’t find a tiny tiny snowsuit. Here is a link to Lawson’s beanie.

Holidays, Airplanes, & RSV

Happy 2020!

I am so excited to get back in the swing of normal life, because the holidays wiped me out.

Before I jump back in to the swing of things and get back to posting regularly, I just wanted to do some blanket updates.

First, thank you to everyone who purchased from my etsy shop this holiday season! I was up to my eyeballs in ornaments and tees, but it was the best feeling seeing people announce pregnancies, buy gifts, and order matching family gear.

Then was the big one, that we’ve been prepping for since last Christmas: the day we took the six month old on a five hour flight from Seattle to Louisiana. I think I will make a whole post about this experience, but I will just say that the goal was getting from point A to point B. Everything else (eating, Lawson not screaming, sleep) was a bonus, if they came.

After we finally got there, Lawson came down with a cough, so we decided to take her into the doctor.

RSV.

Dirty word for all you mamas, especially to tiny babies.

We were lucky that our experience was doctor’s visits and nebulizers, but we were aware that it could have gotten much worse, for Lawson’s age. Some days Lawson was inconsolable, and some days, she acted like she wasn’t sick at all.

It also meant our flight back to Seattle was a lot more hectic.

We had to go through Monroe Regional Airport’s security with a stroller, formula, prescription, and a nebulizer. Yikes.

After we finally went through (and only were somehow pulled out of lines because of Cameron’s magic cards and not any of the previously mentioned headaches), we had to give Lawon breathing treatments in the airport every three hours, as she screamed (not cried, screamed).

We made it to Houston, then to Seattle and got home in the early hours of Christmas Eve. I am thankful we (hopefully) won’t have to make that trip again on Christmas. It wasn’t fun, and Christmas ended up being pretty stressful.

Overall, we had a great Christmas, but, yes, I’m grateful it’s over. Christmas was so much more magical watching my child, but, wow, did it do a number on us. It’s hard to carry the mental load of a trip, Christmas, and of a sick baby, and we were walking all those paths at once.

On the other hand, we had a great visit with family, we were home for Christmas, and we didn’t miss any flights! I had a great season in my shop and my kid is happy and healthy. I am so very grateful for this crazy, magical Christmas.

thanksgiving, with a little “t”

Happy November!

It’s stretchy pants season, but more importantly, a season of being thankful.

When’s the last time you’ve thought about Thanksgiving, the holiday? If you’re like me, probably today (mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, ROLLS…)

When’s the last time you’ve thought about thanksgiving? Yes, little “t.” Hmm.

thanksgiving means “the expression of gratitude.” It means that not only are you content with where you are, you are so humbled and blessed that you are so grateful, you are expressing it outwardly.

Just as I think it’s important to have the Advent season in preparation for Christmas, I think it’s important to have thanksgiving before Thanksgiving. Not only to be content with what you have but to be so grateful that you can’t help but express it in thanksgiving.

And, if you are truly so grateful, you will act.

As an example, I always say that my recycling and cutting down plastic is an act of thanksgiving. If you really think about the beautiful world we get to live in, how big and great the ocean is, and how incredible it is that we get to live in a world with such beauty, you will be so crazy grateful that you will go out of your way to respect our planet & the Creator of it all.

If you are thinking in thanksgiving, you will act in thanksgiving.

But, for me, this is also where it gets sticky. Because if you think in scarcity, you’ll act in scarcity.

I’m in a season of filling needs for my family. So I spend my time thinking about what we don’t have and “need.” See where I’m going?

It’s slow and it’s grinding. But somehow, the budgeting, the cooking, the cleaning, the planning, the need-filling of my kid. It’s all focusing on what my family and I don’t have and what I need to provide.

After a while it has put me in a mindset of I need to grocery shop, Cam needs a lunch, Lawson needs a bottle, the dogs need shots, my house needs cleaning.

Let me reword it. We don’t have these groceries. Cameron doesn’t have a lunch. Lawson doesn’t have a bottle…Instead of We have food in the pantry. I have a growing baby. I have pets that are healthy. I have a place to live.

But, really, for most of us, there is no escaping that need-filling part, and that’s okay. Believe it or not, my family really does need to eat, my dogs really do need vaccinations, and I really do need to clean my home.

But it’s more about the focus. Instead of stewing in the mindset of need and scarcity, you have to intentionally pull yourself out and look at the big picture at how lucky you are.

If I’m not intentional, the day passes before I can catch my breath, and I spent more time drowning in my to do lists and what I don’t have. Not what I do.

our board (it’s pretty beat up, because, real life)

So, I’m really cheesy, and I turned our running family to-do list dry erase board into a place where Cameron and I write what we are focusing on being thankful. I think this is incredible because it has physically embodied the mindset switch of “I need to..because I don’t have…” to “I have…and am so incredibly grateful for it.” Cameron and I are being intentional about updating it, sitting together and talking about it.

If you aren’t intentional, at the end of the month, you’ll have a really great meal. But you won’t have spent any time in real, raw thanksgiving. And you will have missed out.

New to the Shop | Thanksgiving and Black Friday

It’s November 1, so merry Christmas!

Just kidding. I love me some Christmas, but I am one of those people who wait until Black Friday to start the music and the decorations. (cue the pitch forks, I know, I know)

But today, I wanted to show you what is new to my shop! When I was a teenager, I would wear my best outfit to Thanksgiving dinner and spend way too long getting ready. This year, I’m going to need a tee shirt. I might put on mascara.

If you’re like me and rocking a tee this year, below is what is new to Ellie and Fox Homemade on Etsy. The photos are all linked!

Get Your Fat Pants Ready
This one is secretly my favorite!
Eat, Pray, & Give Thanks
Give Thanks
Thankful & Blessed
Sweeter than Pumpkin Pie
Adult shirt linked here
Toddler shirt linked here
Gather, Gobble Shop
Thanksgiving dinner all the way to Target!
Mama on a Mi$$ion!
All you need is your war paint & an XL coffee
Thankful Little Man
Baby version linked here

Just a quick note, thank you if you decide to buy from my little shop. It means the world to me!

Let me know if you grab one!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

It’s Lawson’s first Halloween! But, since she’s four months old, there’s really nothing to do with her. But we did dress up, go to the pumpkin patch, and then come straight home. Tonight we are having soup and watching movies!

I planned on making our costumes and dressing up as the Flintstones (my inspiration). Also, yes, I thought I was going to sew this with my $30 sewing machine. That didn’t happen.

Thankfully we stumbled upon this witch’s costume!

Thank God, because I really thought that I could make all of us (including the dog) costumes.

I did, however, (badly) sew these bloomers for her! The link to the pattern is here, although for this one, I didn’t follow the directions exactly. This pattern is a must have, and I am loving trying to perfect my sewing skills! The onesie is from my shop, and can be found here.

Anyway, we had the best time this year getting to celebrate with Lawson! We live less than five minutes away from the pumpkin patch, so we’ve been there four times this season. (They also have homemade waffle cones, so we end up there a whole lot anyway.)

Our rationale was it’s probably the last Halloween where we don’t get conned by a toddler into buying a $50 pumpkin that we would have to come home and carve for her.

So, that’s our Halloween! It’s very chill this year, but so much fun. We are soaking up these moments with her!

How are you spending your Halloween? Let me know below!

Our Mantel Project/That Time We Almost Burned The House Down

Happy Monday!

I wanted to show off our mantel my husband built us, but also, to tell you why we need a new one, I guess I have to tell you about the time our previous one caught fire (yes, really).

I didn’t take photos of the fireplace before this happened, but here’s one I’ve dug up in the listing photos.

Let it be known, in Louisiana, I have never seen a wood-burning stove like this. Ever. (Seriously, I googled to make sure I had the name right). Before this, we had used it for a fire or once to even finish burning cinnamon rolls when the power went out in the middle of their baking in the oven.

But almost two years ago exactly, I was getting into the fall spirit. It was our first Fall season as homeowners, so I convinced Cameron that since the candles from Walmart were half the price of Bath & Body Works candles, we should get twice as many.

Candles were EVERYWHERE and our house felt so cozy and smelled so good while we were watching TV. I had a new job, we had just added our border collie, Fox, to the mix, and we were new homeowners!

Then, as both Cameron and I were sitting on our couch, we heard a glass shatter and the sound of a flame engulfing the mantel! We were going INSANE, and we both looked at each other exactly like the shocked emoji (😱) before jumping up and simultaneously screaming before scrambling around.

Everything’s really a blur, but I distinctly remember grabbing both of the dogs and running to the car shouting “CALL THE POLICE” (yes..the police. Not the fire department, not 911, the police).

And Cameron meanwhile goes to the bathroom and starts running the bath water. Which REALLY pissed me off even more since I thought his solution was to flood the bathtub to drown the fire.

So, yes, I grabbed the keys and left, with both dogs and screaming at Cameron about flooding the kitchen sink instead. Meanwhile, Cameron is putting the fire out using a towel he had wet in the bathtub I thought he was flooding.

Anyway, the fire trucks came anyway, and the dogs and I sat in the car while five fire trucks blocked our entire street and all of our neighbors filed out of their houses in their pajamas to watch (seriously…why). We were mortified.

The firemen were really very nice and set up fans to combat the smoke, while they told us to probably not put candles in glass jars so close to fire. Fair enough.

And then, when they had left, I called my mom.

“So, no one’s hurt, everything’s okay with the house, but we had a small fire.”

Then. A long pause.

“I told you to get a fire extinguisher”

So, yes, that’s how we almost burned the house down after two months of owning it. We no longer have candles and haven’t lit a fire since.

So, now that I’ve told the most embarrassing story to the internet, I’ll get into what we actually did for our project.

After the fire, we painted the wood gray and the bricks white. You couldn’t tell there was a chunk burned out of the mantle unless you looked closely.

The first time I saw this style of mantel was on my cousin’s IG when she was renovating her second fixer upper home (lewisandcompanydesigns). After searching Pinterest, these are EVERYWHERE. We loosely followed a post by and a post by to get the anchor right

This one is pretty straightforward, but it was a big project and obviously needed to be done well. Cam and his dad worked on this for a while & it turned out so good!

I also redecorated. Our ceiling was way too low for that big of a sign and the cacti were so out of place. I painted both signs (for the buffalo plaid sign, I followed this tutorial on YouTube). If all else failed, I was planning on gluing wrapping paper to the back of an old sign (fauxfarmhouse on IG said she did that and it looks flawless)!

So, yeah. That’s that. Follow the blog to keep up with more of our cringe stories and projects we’re working on as we are getting our home ready to sell!

Friday “Five”: October 18

Happy Friday!

One of the bloggers I follow (Sarah Joy Blog) posts these “Friday Five” posts basically about what she has loved in the week, and I love it! I think it’s such a great idea since we do lots of things right now that don’t warrant their own posts but I would like to share. And I absolutely adore her content!

But, I’m not as good at keeping it brief like she is. And my brain dumps look a lot more like a dump, and hers are kind of like a filing cabinet. So these are THREE things I’ve been loving or thinking about this week. (“Friday Three” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, so I’m still figuring out a title!)

So, these are a few little things I have loved this week!

Family

This past weekend, Cameron’s parents came into town, and it was so nice in so many ways.

Just catching up is nice, and much needed. But something that hit me harder than I thought it would was having help–around the house, with the baby everything.

I don’t think anyone understands how hard time management is with a baby until they’ve had one. Or, at least, we sure didn’t. Every moment, all of our attention is getting Lawson what she needs. That’s how it’s supposed to be, yes, but woooooh, we were feeling it. Hard.

I explain this a lot, but we are struggling with the burden of not having our family physically available to help us with the baby.

And honestly, I was starting to feel resentful to everyone I see who is able to take care of their to do lists or get work done while leaving their babies with their family. Or, how crazy, go out to dinner with their husband and not have to take turns on who gets to eat and who has to tend to the hungry, screaming baby.

Is that fair of me? No. Is it true?

yep.

Also, with living away from our family, it’s easy to feel guilty about not only my kid getting her time with people who genuinely love her unconditionally, but also, how not spending lots of time with her affects our family. Obviously, there’s nothing to do about this; it’s what we signed up for in this lifestyle. Again, not fair, but how I feel.

So, any time with family right now is very welcome, and probably, much needed. For everyone.

Date Night

On that note, Cam and I had our first date night since Lawson was born! We went to the fabric store (for Lawson), to the baby store, then to dinner and a movie.

Also we ate “dinner” at 3:30 and were home by 8.

I mean, baby steps.

I’m not going to type this long post about how important taking time for your relationship is, but we know it is. So, we’re figuring it out how to take a date night that doesn’t include five, six hours of air travel.

Work in progress.

Pinterest

I’m recently back on to the Pinterest bandwagon.

I find Pinterest to be even worse for me than Instagram or Facebook on the need to do everything anxiety meter. So, I go off and on, but, honestly, I’m trying to figure Pinterest out for the blog and for my Etsy products. And, Cameron is really looking into woodworking projects, and along with some trusted blog sites we follow, Pinterest is THE BEST.

Pinterest is so fun because it’s like creating lots of vision boards. I think of it as “Madison 2.0”. Sometimes that inspires me. Sometimes it makes me feel not nearly as good.

Right now, my expectations for reality are pretty low, so we’re doing pretty good so far. I’m kidding, mostly. At this point, any decently executed Pinterest project will be a win, and in the meantime, I can at least look.

So, that’s what I’ve been mulling over this week.

I really like this form of brain dumping, really casually, and exposing my thoughts to the internet. Check out Sarah’s post, since she inspired me to do these kinds of posts. (I also really enjoy her posts).

I’m also linking my Pinterest board & my Etsy here, since I mentioned them.

Have a great weekend!

Our Weekend and Finding Balance

Happy Monday!

Truth be told, most weekends I feel lots of pressure to go out and have lots of fun before the work week begins again. And lots of times, we just end up playing catch up the entire weekend with lots of guilt on Sunday nights. Are we doing enough with her to look back on when we’re some place new and she’s not so little?

I’m always trying to find the balance between being intentional with our time left in Washington when Lawson is this age and relaxing, having a clean house, and, honestly just keeping it together.

The weekend started with Cameron taking Lawson with him to go to a game night hosted by his squadron’s FRG.

I was planning on going, but, wow, was I worn out and so behind on…everything.

I ordered another laundry hamper because I was annoyed at ours constantly overflowing (at least, placing that order is on the to do list). It was grocery time, which meant it was meal planning time, not to mention probably past clean-out-the-fridge time. And the stack of garage sale leftovers in my laundry room. And open orders. My floors probably could use a good mop. And, I’m so far behind in school, I’ve switched from weekly calls to my advisor to emails so I don’t have to keep thinking of excuses why I haven’t made as much progress as I wanted to.

And, Friday night was the first time I have been completely alone since Lawson was born, other than in the car driving back to her.

I’m an introvert. I get to a point where personal space outweighs everything else. And, well, that doesn’t fit into newborn life, at all. Especially when our family is thousands of miles away and can’t step in to lighten the load.

I’m not complaining, but I’m just trying to paint the picture–“balance” is fictional in this stage of our lives. We are constantly racing against everything, and there is no time to breathe.

Except on Friday. I only really got the grocery shopping done, but it really wasn’t about the list, and I felt like myself for the first time in months.

Then, on Sunday, a local farm put on a Harvest Faire, with vendors, ciders, and opened up the fields for us to explore.

So, we decided to go, and we had so much fun.

The next part is basically just a photo dump, so you’ve been warned!

After buying bouquets from the booth (truck) on the right, they told us to walk past the parking lot and go into the field if we wanted to see where the flowers are grown. This spot was gorgeous!

And, that was Sunday! After this, Cameron went with his friends, while Lawson and I stayed at home.

And then today, I was working as soon as I woke up to catch up from what didn’t get done this weekend (even before my coffee!). I had to erase our to do list whiteboard on the fridge and write smaller to get it all to fit.

So, really, there is no balance right now, and everything is a trade off. A fun day on Sunday means a rough Monday, maybe Tuesday or even Wednesday.

I hope this doesn’t come off as ungrateful or complaining, but to be real, this newborn season is hard. I tell Cameron most days I feel like a hamster on a wheel, and everything is rushed into a nap time or into the night until I can’t keep my eyes open, and it feels like nothing gets done even though we are both running at full capacity, doing past what we thought our best was.

Newborn life is obviously so great, spending as much time as possible with Lawson and soaking up her being so little. I know it goes fast and I am so blessed to have her as my child. But, wow, is it hard. I’m not looking for advice or even sympathy, just sharing where I’m at.

That was our weekend, and instead of just sharing happy photos in front of a barn or in a flower field, I wanted to share the reality of what goes on after those two hours when we go back home. We don’t have it all together, obviously. We are just hanging on–loving every minute–but hanging on, like everyone else. The photos and the fun memories are priceless, but you don’t see the 2 AMs, the blowouts, the screaming baby, and the endless to-do lists.

DIY HALLOWEEN PORCH SIGN

Happy Fall-idays!

Note: for clarity, posts marked with an asterisk are affiliate links.

So, let’s jump in! The supplies I used were a four foot 1 x 8 board, paint, vinyl, and mod podge. You also will need a cutting machine like a silhouette cameo or circut. You can find the machine I use here*.

I started by painting my 1 x 8 board dark gray. I love using chalk paint on signs like this because of the finish and how quickly it dries. You can find my favorite inexpensive brand on Amazon here*.

While my paint was drying, I got to work in Silhouette Stuidos designing how I wanted the sign to look.

If you are making a sign with large dimensions, you can always change the size of your page to get your spacing and size exactly how you wanted.

I don’t like cutting without a mat, so I used three different sheets of 12 x 12 and Frankenstein-ed it all together.

Another note: for the pumpkin, I was planning on using the vinyl as a stencil since I have plenty of orange paint on hand and no orange vinyl. When you make a stencil, it is exactly how you would make a non-stencil except you weed the actual design out instead of the excess around the design!

After everything was painted and weeded, it was time to lay it down. You can use a ruler or markings here to make it exact, but I had no problem with how this one turned out without it.

For the pumpkin stencil, instead of weeding around the pumpkin, I weeded the pumpkin itself. This one is easier to see than explain.

The most important part about stenciling is to make sure it is laid down well. You can seal it down with mod podge to make sure the paint doesn’t bleed outside of the stencil, but I don’t feel the need. Also, you should dab your paint on instead of brushing against the vinyl.

While that was drying, I laid down my bats. Instead of using transfer paper, I just peeled these off and applied like stickers. Since it was such a small design, this works great.

Last, I laid down the “or”

To seal, I used Mod Podge. It dries clear and works great for projects like these.

Then, it’s ready to go outside!

This was a really fun project that was really simple!