One of my favorite back-to-school traditions is taking a first day of school photo of my boys. I’ve done it every first day and every last day of school since my older son was two. It’s so much fun to look back and it’s a great way to celebrate the start of a fresh new year.

While it wasn’t really the first day of school when we took these photos, the boys still got excited to put on their backpacks and pretend it was the first day back at it.

Head over to the FedEx Out of Office blog to download our free printable first day of school signs for Pre-K through 12th grade!


I’ve had the joy of running this site, freelance writing and consulting for the past five years. I’ve been self-employed and it’s been wonderful for our family. It was more than I ever dreamed possible when starting the blog and even when leaving my last company to do this work full-time. I’ve had so many amazing opportunities come up over the years. And most importantly, I’ve had flexibility when the little ones were sick or needed me to volunteer at their schools. I could throw in laundry on my lunch break and help make life work for our family.

With all of that, there have been struggles too. When you are self-employed, you are constantly selling yourself, working hard at all hours to meet deadlines, taking on new clients whether you have capacity or not, trying hard to get social media engagement from my readers (harder than one can imagine) and I often work alone. Although I’ve had some amazing collaborations with companies and photographers over the years, I spend the majority of my days behind a computer in my home or styling shoots for the site (also alone in my home).

I’ve been considering change, specifically heading back to a team for some time now but needed the right opportunity. Since my business was doing well, it really had to be just the right thing for my career and our family. In late May, the most perfect opportunity came up at the headquarters of an amazing Minneapolis-based modern American-made home furnishings company. I accepted a job offer in mid-June and join the company this week.

I’m excited and rejuvenated and ready to go. I know this opportunity is the right one. I’ll still be here on the blog and am doing a small amount of freelancing on the side, but I’ll be very selective in the companies and brands I work with going forward. Just wanted to update you on this lovely change in direction for me. Thanks for being here over the years and please, stay awhile longer.


We have some big changes happening over here and in the chaos of it all, I’m trying to create spaces and systems for calm. Our snack cabinet is stocked fully. My husband and I have a combined Instacart account for easy grocery shopping, laundry is caught up (temporarily anyway), we have removed much of our clutter and unwanted items and we are working on creating a master bedroom that feels like a space for rest and rejuvenation.

We’ve had our hearts set on a king size bed for some time now and we are finally ready to make it happen. But as a design lover, I knew we had to have a plan for the room before buying anything. I wanted our room to feel clean and bright and modern, but I want to incorporate some texture to make it feel cozy as well. The braided rug and the rattan side tables plus the woven lights add texture. The bed and chair add a modern clean feel and the bedding we are considering is incredibly soft and luxurious. We’ll also be adding a tray that will be the spot we set any stray water cups and dishes so we can easily carry them down to the kitchen. We are keeping our current dressers and some of our current art. I’ll be adding sconces above the nightstands for reading. While it’s not perfect and we haven’t actually purchased anything yet, this is definitely the direction we are going for our bedroom, our place for respite.

Our upper porch is accessible from our bedroom as well and we’ve had our eye on these swing chairs from Serena & Lily. I’ve found some budget friendly options for this look that I think we’ll do yet this summer. That’s it! We’ll gradually be making changes in these spaces and I’ll be sure to capture some before and after shots. What’s important to you in your master bedroom? For me, I want our bedroom to feel like a vacation home on Maui, to be specific. :)


Ezra turned three two weeks ago. We’ve had a tough season of life lately with the loss of my grandfather in early June. Although I had to plan the party fairly quickly, we pulled off a cute “Surfing Animals” party which was just what the birthday boy hoped for.

As you can imagine, surfing animals aren’t exactly hanging out at the local party store. I had to come up with a few super easy DIY projects to make it all come together. Hello toy animals on surfboard cake toppers! 

Combining those projects with a fabulous designer creating a fun backdrop and signs made this party come to life. I’m sharing his party plus all my tips for creating your own birthday party theme over on the FedEx Out of Office BlogHead on over to read all about it and see more images from the party!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of True Value. The opinions and text are all mine.

Spring time always has me feeling giddy to spend hours outside enjoying our short sunshine filled seasons!

We installed the teeniest tiniest patio last year and we LOVE it! It fits our dinner table and grill just fine. It has made summer so lovely. We enjoy dinner outside many days each week when we used to be stuck inside for dinner time. But, we’ve found that we haven’t always had enough space to host—no place to set food and drinks, for example. I’ve been on the hunt for an outdoor bar cart for more than a year, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune, I wanted the design to be simple and modern and something that would last for years in terms of style. I also wanted it to be a piece that could be put away when not in use since the patio is so small.

When I first saw the hot pink and bright blue bar carts/patio carts at a store I frequent, I loved them and although the colors were pretty I couldn’t imagine having one of those colors for a piece we would use nearly daily. I’m not a fan of paying full price for something I have to paint myself. So when a slightly damaged one (mostly just minor scratches and scuffs) was marked down at one of the three stores I frequent, I knew I had to get it and make it my own with EasyCare paint from True Value.

EasyCare® Premium Décor Spray Enamel is a fast-drying, durable, rust-inhibiting aerosol paint. It provides great coverage on indoor or outdoor furniture, primed wood or metal, plastic and more— in beautiful decorator colors. Whether you’re refreshing old patio furniture or crafting with the family, Premium Décor has you covered.

I’ve long been a fan of using spray paint to achieve the look I desire, but I haven’t taken the time to do that in a while. I forgot how simple it can be and how dramatic the results often are. And while the blue cart is certainly beautiful and could work for many people. It’s just not my style. Read More »


Mother’s Day is such a wonderful time to show love to all of the women in our lives. For many moms, sleeping in followed by a sweet breakfast in bed is the perfect start to the day. If I’m being honest, an entire day in bed sounds pretty great too.

Today I’m sharing a few ideas for Mother’s Day plus free Mother’s Day breakfast in bed prints with FedEx OfficeFedEx Office.

I put together a cute Mother’s Day breakfast set-up that is easy to replicate and could be used for any special mom in our lives. I’ve even included a printable party pack with everything you need for that special breakfast in bed including a cake topper, silverware wrap, mini mother’s day card and a customizable menu card.

Head over to the FedEx Office Out of Office Blog to download your free Mother’s Day Breakfast In Bed PrintsFedEx Office Out of Office Blog to download your free Mother’s Day Breakfast In Bed Prints.


I’m so excited to share today’s post with you. In partnership with FedEx Office, I created a simple spring cleaning and decluttering checklist plus loads of ideas on how to get started.

Spring cleaning and decluttering our home are the best ways to start the new season for me. We love removing all sorts of extras from our home to get a nice fresh start.

Sometimes spring cleaning and decluttering our homes can get overwhelming though, right? I’ve heard from so many friends that they struggle with many things such as where to begin, what to focus on and how to get rid of all of the items they no longer need. Do they sell it? Keep it? Give it to family? Donate it?
We’ve got you covered today with tips for removing items and a free spring cleaning and decluttering checklist which will help you focus on smaller projects in each room of your home this year.
Head over to the FedEx Office Out of Office blog for the free printable Spring Cleaning and Decluttering checklist plus all of our tips.
Middle photo by Sabrina Reis Photography.


I love photographing fresh 1-year-old babes for their birthdays with a smash cake. I’ve found that while it’s probably most often best to hire someone (I did Ezra’s and it was a bit chaotic for just me), sometimes our budgets don’t allow it, right?

Professional photographers will always get us better results, but I know that in reality, parents often have to take their own photos and the smash cake is a fun time for parents to capture their little ones. I wanted to share some tips for making a fun, bright and colorful smash cake session at home.

Read More »


Spring is in the air. Even after a mild winter, I welcome spring in a big way. I love opening our windows, letting in breeze and sunlight. We replace our winter potted greenery with bright pink flowers. Our holiday wreath comes down and up goes a bright green boxwood. There is so much goodness in the season of spring. It’s a great time to change up our homes and is the best time to get outside with little ones.

Spring break is right around the corner too and while it would be wonderful if the weather was perfect for long park playdates and picnics every day during the break, it will likely rain or be cold for some portion of the week. If you are like us, you might be staying home for spring break this year. We took our Hawaii vacation last month so we’ll be exploring local parks, museums, visit family and enjoy plenty of cooking and craft time inside over spring break this year.

My son loves to do crafts and family projects so I put together a few ideas for spring break projects over on the FedEx Out of Office blog. They are easy things we can do and included a fun free printable spring coloring sheet. I love that it’s pretty enough to be an art print too. We added it to our gallery wall. Read More »


Hey hey! We have another layer of snow here in Minneapolis, but I’m thinking spring in a big way. I’ve spent a lot of time lately decluttering our home and only keeping things we love and use. It got me thinking about the things that I have that stand the test of time or that truly do an outstanding job so that I use them often. I wanted to share a few of my favorite springy things/activities with you today that I love and that will always have a place in my little world.

  1. Boxwood wreath. I’ve had this one forever! I use it year after year. Maybe you have an old wreath in your basement that could be used for spring so you don’t have to buy a new one. My point is that when you buy something you love and something that is classic, you may use it over and over and over again, never being tempted to buy something new as a season changes. This will reduce clutter and spending. Invest in the good stuff and invest once. :)
  2. Amazing lip stain. This one is  just the best. I found it about a year ago through a friend of a friend and couldn’t believe how long it stayed on or how it felt. I also wear their mascara which I recommend for a bit more length and volume, but the lip stain is truly the best!
  3. Whole bean coffee. Grinding our own coffee in our high speed blender has changed our coffee game. I’m rarely tempted to go to a coffee shop for my daily (or twice daily if I’m being honest) cup of joe!
  4. Good quality rain boots. I’ve had the same pair for three years now and wear them daily in the spring, often in the summer and quite a bit in fall and winter too.
  5. Audible. As much as I LOVE reading a good hard copy book, I just don’t have the time I used to and I’m so over having tons of stuff everywhere. I still have a book at all times that I’m truly reading before bed (I’ve been trying to borrow, trade or use the library), but to take in information, I use audible.
  6. Basic black cross body bag. I bought one three years ago and haven’t replaced it since. I was recently chatting with a good friend while she looked for her next bag and we both said that while I can appreciate fabulous colorful purses or different styles of handbags, I gravitate towards simple and don’t change mine out. Investing in one basic one that goes with everything is a win in my book.

Affiliate links included.