Family Photo Session

Family Photo Session

The some links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link. All styling and purchases were made independently of this. 

We try to do professional family pictures each year. I’ve done professional newborn pictures for each girl, one year portraits for Big Nugget and some other mini sessions throughout the years as the opportunities pop up. I’ve made a point to get them done for each holiday season though. I love having these portraits done to capture our family and all the changes each year and they make for great Christmas cards.

Family Photos

It’s easy to get stuck in the beach rut of pictures living in Carlsbad. It’s so beautiful down by the water and is such a big part of our lives that it makes sense but San Diego is full of amazing locations. I’ve tried to vary where we take the pictures based on locations available with our photographer. We’ve done Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch, a woodsy trail, the beach and now this year, La Costa Resort.

Family pictures styled

Styling each of the shoots really depends on where our pictures are being taken. Last year, I was REALLY pregnant and we did it down at the Oceanside Pier so we were in more casual outfits and barefoot. This year, since it was at a local resort, I wanted it to be a little fancier. Plus, with Little Nugget turning one in just two months, this was going to serve as her one year old portrait.

Style Starter

I fell in love with a dress from Mini Boden for Big Nugget and styled around that.

Purple Boden Dress

This dress is gorgeous in person and has just the right amount of twirl for my little ballerina. One thing I’ve learned in shopping for the toddler set is to make sure that it’s soft. The likely hood of a protest is far less if that is taken off the table. Having purchased other clothes from Boden, I know that it’s durable and washable so it will last for more than just one photoshoot. It also provided a lot of color choices to pull from for the rest of the family that would compliment without being too matchy.

Her sparkly shoes are from Cat and Jack and run a little big.

Baby Fashion

Little Nugget’s dress also had another purpose, with her first birthday coming up I plan to use some of the same decorations that I made for Big Nugget’s first birthday party.

Mia Dress Target

Those colors were navy, pink and gold. Target had a lot of great options and I liked being able to go to the store and size them up. This Mia and Mimi dress was perfect. She’s growing so fast and is just on the cusp of walking so I wanted something she would be comfortable in. I’m not so confident she’ll even fit in this dress by the time her birthday party rolls around in January so I’m glad I can go pick up the next size up if needed.

Those gold slippers are from Old Navy and so stinking cute.

Mom Fashion

My dress is from Old Navy. I knew I wanted something that looked current but wasn’t too revealing. This shift dress was perfect.

Styled Family Photo Session

I found this dress online and went in store to try it on and I’m thankful that I did. I ended up having to size down (YAY Fit Mill!) from what I would have ordered. Plus, they were having a great sale. I also talked about my favorite not so secret ways to save at Old Navy (and Gap) in my Christmas Gift Guide – it added an additional 15% off. Score. Especially for something that might be worn a handful of times cause let’s get real, as a stay at home mom, I’m not wearing a dress that often.

Hiring a Professional

Our amazing photographer, Sarah Zimmer, has done our family pictures for years. She really captured our girls and made sure that she took the time and got pictures we’d be happy with, even with a somewhat grumpy baby. So while it’s an added expense during an expensive time of the year, having someone capture these moments is worth every penny.

 

 

Why Santa Only Brings Four Gifts

Why Santa Only Brings Four Gifts

Growing up, my Dad would dress as Santa and wake us up with our best Christmas gifts each year. It’s some of my most treasured memories and also some of our best family stories. But that was my Dad’s Santa. Our version of Santa is a busy man and has a lot of kids that he needs to provide for each year. So our girls limit their ask of him to four items: something they want, something they need, something to read, and something to wear.

Mom and Dad will usually come through with an extra special present as well but that’s usually a surprise cause quite frankly, why does Santa get the credit for all the good toys….am I right?! 

Not only does this level some expectations of what can fit down our chimney but it also helps corral my holiday spirit on Black Friday. Having that guideline helps us keep our spending in check and makes sure that what I’m buying is serving a purpose beyond the 5 seconds of gift opening bliss.

Ways to Save on Christmas Gifts

I’m a huge fan of eBates. Last year I paid myself back over $200 on my Christmas gifts. It’s free and so easy to use. I have a browser plug in that will pop up anytime I’m on a site that offers cash back and I can activate it right then. Easy savings. If you aren’t on the eBates bandwagon yet, you can sign up here and get $10. Most of the stores I have listed in the gift guides below are offering cash back. Even Target! Read my full eBates review here.

One other thing that I’ve started doing is taking the customer survey’s on my receipts. I had recently gone to Old Navy and they gave me a link to a survey. It took 2 minutes to do and they gave me a code that was good for 15% off online AND in store. That was on top of the 40% off they were offering AND discounts on certain items. All for 2 minutes of my time.

The Categories

We use the categories for Santa but you could apply them for any family member as guidelines when they ask what the kiddos want for Christmas gifts. It helps people be mindful that the gifts have purpose without taking all the fun out of the gift giving. Here are some of our favorite preschool gift guides following the WANT/NEED/READ/WEAR guidelines. 

The WANT

The NEED

The READ

The WEAR

I spend a lot of my time during the holiday’s trying to recreate the magic of my own childhood for my kids. Christmas was a magical time filled with lots of family, warm memories, great food, gift giving, laughter and tears (mostly of joy but some disappointments too). We are working hard to make sure that our kids have all of that but also understand the real meaning of the season. The season isn’t about getting, it’s about being thoughtful and learning the joy in giving. We start that with our Kindness Elves and continue through to Christmas morning. 

And how great is OUR Santa?! He’s visited our annual party for the last four years. He never disappoints. 

Why we limit the Christmas Gifts that Santa will bring our kids. These gift ideas for kids, for toddlers or even for teens help limit their ask without taking the secret or fun out of gift giving. There are also ways to save! Click to find out. #Christmas #Gifts
Why we limit the Christmas Gifts that Santa will bring our kids. These gift ideas for kids, for toddlers or even for teens help limit their ask without taking the secret or fun out of gift giving. There are also ways to save! Click to find out. #Christmas #Gifts

WANT Gift Guide Preschooler

WANT Gift Guide Preschooler

Santa only brings our girls 4 gifts, something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. If you missed my post about Santa gifts, you can read it here

Usually the WANT category is an easy one for Big Nugget. I am having a hard time getting her to make an actual list though. She tells me she wants all things squishy but then will tell other people that she wants other things. So my husband and I have a shared list on our phones so we can jot down the random things she says that she wants.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Toy Gift Guide – Preschooler

Compound Kings Makin Station This year, Big Nugget wants all things squishy. We’ve had a love/hate relationship with slime but I figured I’d let this one slide. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Wilson Junior US Open Tennis Racquet, 25″ L Ever since the summer, she’s been obsessed with tennis. I actually bought this racquet during the Amazon July sale but it’s also on sale again.

DC Super Hero Girls Mini Wonder Woman Plush Doll Last week we were shopping at Gipetto’s, a local toy store, and I totally snuck this into our bag without Big Nugget noticing. I love that she has developed a love for Wonder Woman just like I did when I was her age.



KidKraft Lil’ Symphony Guitar and LilPals Princess Children’s Toy Stand Up Microphone Play Set w/ Built-In MP3 Player, Speaker, Adjustable Height She keeps asking for a guitar and microphone. I think Santa will bring Mom and Dad some ear plugs in our stockings.

Merkapa 22″ Complete Skateboard with Colorful LED Light Up Wheels for Kids, Boys, Girls, Youths, Beginners (Purple)  This one was a case of Monkey See Monkey Do at the playground.

Looking for more gift ideas for your preschooler? Check out my Amazon Shop and my other gift guides: WEAR, READ, NEED.

NEED Gift Guide – Kids

NEED Gift Guide – Kids

There are some years where the NEED category gifts are easy, last year Big Nugget needed a big girl bed. Other years it’s been a hard one to come up with cause really, what do my kids really need??? I feel like I’m making a donation run to our local women’s shelter at least once a month. This is a short list this year and for that, I’m grateful.

Need List

Toy Chest

This year, it’s time to replace our toy chest. The one that we have was a generous hand me down and has been wonderfully loved. Recently, the hinge broke and it’s now a little bit dangerous to open and close for the kids. This chest is one of the first things that you see when you walk in our front door. I like the inconspicuous look of the one we currently have so we won’t be getting anything really different, just safer.

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Since we are getting Big Nugget a skate board, she does need some elbow pads and knee pads. She already has a bike helmet that she can use while learning her new toy.

Schwinn Child’s Pad Set with Knee Elbow and Gloves

Cozy flannel sheets are always a hit. Little Nugget needs some warm cozy crib sheets so that she doesn’t wake up each time I set her down in bed. Trend Lab at Target has so many adorable, fun winter sheets.

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Flannel Crib Sheets 

Looking for more gift ideas for your preschooler? Check out my other gift guides: WEAR, READ, WANT

The links above are affiliate links but they are really the gifts I have purchased or will be purchasing this year.

WEAR Gift Guide Preschooler

WEAR Gift Guide Preschooler

Santa only brings our girls 4 gifts, something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. If you missed my post about Santa gifts, you can read it here. I’m sharing my what to wear gift guide here and I’ve broken it down into a few different categories.

The wear category is always a fun one for me but it’s also an easy one to get carried away with.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Wear Gift Guide – Fancy

Every girl loves a fancy dress and I love all of the dresses from Boden. They have the perfect amount of spin and they last forever. When I bought this particular dress last year, it nearly took my breath away when I opened the package. The quality of the materials and design is something you don’t see too often in kids clothes. It has the perfect twirl.

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Mini Boden Velvet Dress

Every fun party dress needs some sparkly shoes. These are from Cat and Jack at Target and run a little big.

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Cat and Jack Sparkly Shoes

We also LOVE Native shoes. They last forever and are the perfect shoe for our indoor/outdoor year round lifestyle.

Wear Gift Guide – Everyday Dresses

This dinosaur dress has been in heavy rotation in our house. Once again, it’s from Boden and the material is sturdy. You can feel the quality and my 3 year old LOVES all the dinosaurs.

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Mini Boden Dinosaur Dress 

Old Navy also has some great dresses and great price points. These clothes are cute enough for everyday and make the little ones feel fancy yet I won’t mind if they paint or mud on it at preschool.

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Old Navy Tutu Dress

Wear Gift Guide – Holiday Pajamas

We get visited by the Kindness Elves during the Christmas season and they are the ones who bring the girls their new Christmas PJ’s. Last year they got cute matching ones…this year we might step it up a bit and get matching for the whole family.

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Christmas Jammies

Wear Gift Guide – Dress Up

Something to wear doesn’t necessarily have to be practical. My girls LOVE to play dress up and technically, that count’s as something to wear. We love bracelets and these dress up costumes. 

 

Looking for more gift ideas for your preschooler? Check out my Preschool Gift Guide at my Amazon Shop and my other gift guides: NEED, READ, WANT, Gift for Dads and Gifts for Grandparents

READ Gift Guide Preschool

READ Gift Guide Preschool

 

Our Big Nugget LOVES to read. She’s at the stage where she is reading a few sight words and has her favorite books memorized. While I’m asking family to get her some early reader books, I couldn’t resist grabbing these at Barnes and Noble the other day – members get an additional 20% off.

I Wish You More

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Dragons Love Tacos

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She Persisted

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The Not Very Merry Pout Pout Fish

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A Loud Winter’s Nap

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Looking for more gift ideas for your preschooler? Check out my other gift guides: WEAR, NEED, WANT

The links above are affiliate links but they are really the gifts I have purchased or will be purchasing this year.

Gift Guide Books Preschool