Kid’s Art Keepsake Albums

I’m an artist. My brothers are artists. My dad is an artist. So it comes as no surprise that my son, Tanner, is quite the artist himself. {Breckin is still a little young to determine his aptitude for it.}

What comes with being an artist are supplies…lots of them. I’ve found a way to corral most of that {psst – see yesterday’s post!} but today is about what comes from those supplies – the artwork. The piles and piles…and piles…of artwork.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOOOOOOVE that my son is creative, loves to express himself through art…and has a bit of his mommy’s side in him. It’s something we can do together and both really enjoy. I love teaching him techniques and encouraging him to think outside the box. But alas, at the end of the day, I just realistically don’t have the space to keep all of his original works.

I keep the “keepers” in his storage box that I created last year to have a place to put all the special works he does here and at school, but that will fill fast, and ideally, I’d like for it to cover all his years through high school graduation {if that’s not possible, maybe two boxes at most}. I also like to hang my absolute favorites in frames and display them in our play room/home office.

Well, I’ve found the solution.

artwork keepsake albums

The image above is via an online print gallery for artwork albums called Plum Print.

I am in love with this idea. I think it would be great to create one for each age or school year. You can even personalize the binding so that it’s easy to see from the bookshelf when you’re grabbing to reminisce.

Slider 1 
How great would this be? Your kids would love to pull them out when family or guests come over so they can proudly parade their artwork without a pile of papers to sort through. You could even make them as gifts for the grandparents.
These ones at Plum Print are a tad on the pricey end, starting at $85 for 30 pieces of artwork in a 10″x8″ book, but the quality is great and they do offer a 40% discount on duplicates of books you’ve already printed.
Another alternative for this project would be Shutterfly. A bit less expensive, and they often offer discounts on their photo books. They offer many sizes and cover options to fit within your budget.
Soft Cover Photo Books
So what are you waiting for? Corral that pile of keepsake artwork together and create a book you can enjoy for years to come!

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Downtown Family Photoshoot: In Full

Warning: The following post contains many pics of my family…if this isn’t the type of post you normally like to see here, then by all means skip it, but I hope you’ll be back…and if this is something you like to see, I hope you enjoy! 

We got all of our family pictures back from the photographer. I have since created our Christmas card  – waiting for it to arrive so I can send it – I think due to shipping time it will be just in the nick of time…and I also ordered a bunch of prints to fill the white photo frames I’ve been collecting…so I can finally fill some blank walls ’round here!

Without further adieu, here they are {please let me know what you think in the comments!}:

Overall, I’m happy with the turnout and I love the colors I chose for our clothes…can’t go wrong with blues and browns. Can’t wait to have these on display…and also to get more done in the spring!

I know this isn’t the norm for post around here, but I thank you for taking the time to look through. xoxo

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Family Christmas Letter

One of my favorite things to do at Christmastime is send Christmas cards to loved ones. As you saw from yesterday’s post, I finally got our family photos taken so I could get cards made. Another thing I like to include with these cards is a Christmas letter that lets friends and family far away know what’s been up with us the past year. {Call me a nerd, but I love it.} I remember my family getting these types of letters when I was a little kid and I really enjoyed reading them. I wanted to try something different than the usual letter format this year, so when I saw this card at Minted, I knew I wanted to create something like it, but larger {love when I get to put my graphic design degree to use…even if it’s for no money, lol}:
So here’s my version that I slaved over last night, I’m quite happy with it! {Sorry to those that will be receiving this, as now it’s not a surprise, but I figure much of my long distance family are not avid readers of my blog, so I’m sure it’s fine!}
Sadly, I felt like I was having to really reach to find interesting things to put on this letter…I guess this was just one of those years where not a lot of big things happened. I think we all have those years from time to time. The kids are at ages where they weren’t hitting any crazy milestones. If it weren’t for Breckin being so lazy about walking that he didn’t really do it until January of this year when he was 16-17 months old {because that should have been a 2011 milestone, seriously!}, or for Tanner’s loosening baby teeth, or Breckin nearly losing his finger in a door jamb at daycare leading to his first {and hopefully LAST} set of stitches, we wouldn’t have had many milestones at all! I know we will have a much more interesting story in 2013. Jake and I are both hitting big birthday years, 35 and 30, respectively. I plan on FINALLY visiting my beloved California to see old friends {my 30th birthday prezzy to myself!}, we are taking the boys to Disney World and Legoland in June, I am running my first half marathon…gosh, I am much more excited for next year’s Christmas letter! {At least now I have a good template, lol.}
Do you do Christmas letters?
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Downtown Charleston: 2012 Family Photoshoot {Sneak Peek}

Last Sunday, I got my family together for a heinously overdue family portrait session. I chose downtown Charleston for the location because I thought the brick buildings and cobblestone streets would provide a fall/winter feel as well as a beautiful backdrop. I am still waiting to see the rest – the photographer should have them all to me by early next week {and I will of course share my faves with you}, but here is a sneak peek she sent me the other day…I’m excited about them, though a little nervous to see the rest, as my boys were not so cooperative for the majority of the shoot. {Ugh, boys. What are you gonna do?}
I found our photographer on Craigslist…she is new to the Charleston area and was looking to gain clientele, so she offered a great deal…I know that’s taking a risk, but from what I see so far, I think she did a great job. And she was a sweetheart to work with. Her name is Hannah Hamilton, and her business is Once Upon A Time Portraits. If you’re in the Charleston area, give her a shout, she’s got a good price!
Anyway, here you go:

The first thing I thought when I saw these was “damn, I have a GOOD-looking husband.” LOL. I’m sorry, I may be bias, but I don’t think so. He’s one attractive man, and he’s all mine. I love seeing all of my beautiful guys looking their best together. Poor Breckin must have had allergies because his eyes were watering and nose was running throughout the shoot. Thank God for PhotoShop.
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Thankful Series: The First Family I Knew

Today’s Thankful post is dedicated to my immediate family – my dad, mom and brothers. I am so far from all of them…and I miss them all very much every day.

I am thankful for my dad because he was always a hard worker for our family. We never went without and we were blessed with the privilege of growing up in a beautiful home; each having a room of our own. We were able to afford extracurricular activities…such as my dance classes. Dance outfits and competitions were always paid for without issue. When I was in college, there were so many times I was strapped for cash, or something big would happen, i.e. my many car break-ins and wrecks {thanks, SoCal}, and he would help me out no questions asked. I also love that I got my spitfire wit and sarcastic disposition from him {my husband is not so thankful for that}. I love you, Dad!

I am thankful for my mom because she is always there for me…I can count on getting good advice whenever I need it and she willingly lets me vent when I just need someone to listen. She also managed not to kill me during my bitchy & self-absorbed teenage years. We have become close over the last decade and I consider her a best friend. She loves her grandsons and makes the effort to visit us from all the way across the US at least once a year. I love you, Mom!

I am thankful for my older brother, Jared. We have had our share of periods of closeness and periods of distance, but no matter where we are in life, we can always come back together and find our common ground. I enjoy talking with him and just shootin’ the sh&t. He has always been able to make me laugh…and even though he teased me relentlessly when we were children, he always stood up for me if anyone else tried anything. He has a good heart and he will always have a place in mine. I love you, Jared!

I am thankful for my younger brother, Jeff. He has a heart of gold. Some people might see raggedy hair and too many tattoos when they first look at him, but if they don’t get to know him, they are most certainly missing out on knowing an awesome person. Jeff has a wonderfully quirky sense of humor and is very generous. Just like with Jared, I enjoy our sarcasm-filled conversations and how even though we’ve lived apart for years, we can always come back together and it feels like we are adolescents again. I love you, Jeff!

 Because of my wonderfully sarcastic upbringing – this e-card perfectly describes my own parenting mantra:

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Monday Musings

What a weekend! Of course, gone by too quickly like all the rest.

I don’t know where my head has been lately – even though I’ve been trying hard to menu plan and stick to it, somehow we still end up at a restaurant booth somewhere. Friday night, we actually went to TGIF {fitting, right?}

Jake had USCG duty this weekend so it was the boys and me against the world {more like me against them}. We started out our Saturday with a trip to Target where I managed to get Tanner’s birthday gift without him realizing and a few other things for his Lego-themed birthday party coming up. We then went to the local Halloween store to pick out his costume. {Breckin will be recycling Tanner’s Tigger costume from when he was a baby/toddler.} Tanner picked out Spiderman…can’t wait to show you pics of how cute he is in it…and Tigger too!

After Jake got home and settled in, we had our family pumpkin-carving party…

My Boys

My Little Pumpkin

Tanner getting to gut the pumpkin this year…

Watching Daddy at work

Our “S” Pumpkin

Of course, as usual, I’m not in any of the pictures…being the photographer and all. I always joke with Jake that I’m glad I can make these memories for HIM. Haha.

It was definitely a great way to spend a rainy Saturday with tropical storm Sandy out there.

Sunday I worked, and Jake did too, so we had a babysitter for the boys – which they just loved. We are so thankful for having teenage girls move in next door – more date nights for us!

We capped off the weekend at our family spot {yet another restaurant – so much for that menu plan!} – Los Arcos. I was glad to enjoy a margarita…yum.

Hope y’all had a great weekend! xoxo

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Need a Couple Days…

Hey y’all! A lot has been going on lately between family, work and all of the fall goings-on around these parts…

I could create some quickie crap posts, but I don’t really want to do that to you…you deserve better than that.

Just a lot jumbled up in this head of mine and need a couple of days to clear it out, get some fresh ideas and also just spend time with my family without being blog-headed.

I do have some posts lined up to go at – so head over there to get some fitness inspiration while I’m out. xoxo.

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