Monday, September 30, 2013


Who: The Merry Munsons

Location: Friend's home near Navasota, Texas

Props: None

Clothes: Cindy and Josh - I can't remember, sorry!  Caroline's dress is from J.Crew and Annaliese's dress and jean jacket are from Gap.  Annaliese's darling headband was made by Merry Momma Katy - she has a thing for rosettes!

Comments:  This card is a little more traditional (than most Munson cards).  The color scheme of red and cream worked well with the "fall"colors in central Texas.  I really had no set agenda when we took these pictures (shocking, I know) but we did lots of family shots and individual shots of the girls.  Once the proofs came back, I couldn't narrow it down to just one picture, so we decided to go with the traditional looking at the camera family picture AND individuals of the girls.  We took the picture on the back just on a whim, mostly because Annaliese was DONE and we weren't getting any more shots of her face that (1) didn't have a paci in her mouth or (2) or was bright red from screaming and it turned out to be one of my favorites!  To me this card is traditional, warm and just nice. :)

Designer: Sarah Burns of Butterfly Chaser Photography

Photographer: Sarah Burns of Butterfly Chaser Photography

Favorite Thing: I love the warm feeling of this card.  I love Annaliese's chubby cheeks and her non-smile looks.  I know most people want big smiles of their kiddos on Christmas cards, but I fell in love with her eyes and to be honest, this was the look she most often had, so we went with it. :)  Caroline's over the shoulder look just makes me smile.  However, the picture on the back may be my favorite (even though you can't see our faces).  The four of us holding hands walking into the sunset...well, it makes my mind wonder into those thoughts of...Oh my goodness, we are so blessed!


Katy's Thoughts: The colors, the smiles, those sweet, darling girls - what's not to love!? These colors work so great together and that little pop of denim in Anna's jacket is perfect. And from a more personal perspective, I love that I can remember this day (we were also taking joint Halloween pics with the Royal Hot Messes). I love that their memories are mine, too. :)

Cindy's Thoughts: That couple is hot and those kids are precious! Just kidding, see above!


How can you recreate this card?

Grab your family, head outside, hold hands and walk! While someone is taking your picture of course!  Walking pictures are fun and the little ones typically are a little more into walking than sitting still and being forced to smile on command.

Also, using one key word - like BLESSED - is a way to stylize your card.  Sometimes simple is the way to go!

Get PINspired:
  1. You can walk backwards or forwards.  (Anyone else read Gossie??)
  2. The sideways walk is good too!
  3. Walk with your family on the beach!
  4. We really love this family's "walk"!
  5. Check out our entire board of walking pics.
  6. And here's our board of BLESSED cards.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Clause

Who:  O & G representing the family!

Location: Our yard in College Station, Texas

Props: Our awesome photographers, Tim and Kristen, provided the couch and the cute trunk!

Clothes: Carters, Children’s Place, Levis and Converse (and the fire truck shoes are sold out everywhere!)

Comments: At the photo shoot we had taken some family shots but the one of the boys together warmed my heart. So, I decided they could represent the whole family.  I also fell in love with the photo of the boys’ feet as soon as I saw it! I really wanted either a Christmas song or a Holiday poem on the card. Then I remembered my Dad always reading me and my siblings “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” every year. So, I decided to incorporate that into the card.

Designer: Kristen Douglas of Fidelis Photography.  Kristen is amazing! I told her my idea and the elements I wanted to incorporate and on the first round we had a winner!

Photographer: Fidelis Photography 

Favorite Thing: I think it has to be the text treatment of the excerpts “Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus”. Kristen emphasized my favorite parts of that letter.  I also loved the paper that we chose, a matte linen cardstock.

Katy's Thoughts: There is just something about little boys that make me smile. Maybe it's because I have a little boy of my own, or maybe it's because they are darling little creatures filled with wonder and imagination. I LOVE the addition of this amazing excerpt from this letter and then once I read it's history, I loved it even more. And to be honest, I'm a sucker for a feet pic. 

Cindy's Thoughts: This card just makes me happy.  The darling boys on the front have real smiles, are "hugging" like brothers hug and just look like they are having fun.  And then I flip the card over and read the quote from "Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" and my happy levels just triple.  I don't think even the scroogiest Scrooge wouldn't smile at this card.  It reminds us to love, be generous and give devotion.

How can you recreate this card? How fun would it be to put your own twist on a famous Christmas poem or song? The Kings first Christmas card as a family of 3 included an original rendition of "We 3 Kings"... What about "Twas the Night Before Christmas" or "Away in a Manger" for a newborn announcement? Lots of great ideas! And to set up this photograph - easy! Cute kids, a couch and some awesome fun shoes and DONE!

Get Pinspired: 
  1. We love the added detail of that fabulous trunk - and it works for lots of different pictures! A happy couple! A darling set of siblings! An adorable baby! It also works for a great game of peek-a-boo!
  2. We kind of went over board pinning stuff.... (I know, isn't that such a disappointment?) Check out our Christmas Carols board... pay close attention to this one. (LOVE!)
  3. And we also made a board for Christmas Stories and Poems. This card pretty much makes us happy. 
  4. And, what could be more merry than some Christmas Mad Libs

Merry Friday, Y'all!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

TBT: Live Nativity

We have special treat for you today on TBT - a guest blogger!  The Merry Momma's friend Donna (you may remember her from this post) is here to talk about her awesome family.  Enjoy!

This picture is of my dad and 3 of his siblings.
My dad is the KING (training for future roles as you will see).
(Early 1950s)

Every year my church had a living nativity that involved the younger children.  I always wanted to play Mary, as I deemed her the star of the show.  Unfortunately, as the only blonde in my Sunday School class, I was quickly relegated to angel duty and the brunettes took turns playing Mary (or maybe it was because it would be artistically difficult to explain Mary's bifocal glasses?). 

My parents, pretty fed up with me crying about my "once an angel, always an angel" fate, decided we would put on our own nativity at home with me in my star-making role as Mary.  Afghans, sheets, and blankets became our garb, the top of our chicken shaped bread basket became my dad's crown, my less than enthusiastic older brother played Joseph, my parents became the kings, and my stuffed dog stood in as sheep/camel/donkey.  The true star of the show, baby Jesus, was played by my Cabbage Patch kid doll (the baby one, of course).  My older sister was the angel/photographer.

I would like to say this family nativity did the trick and cured my childhood Mary obsession but no.  However, it did provide a fun family photo and a memory that will always make me smile.  And for the record, I never got to play Mary at church!!!  Further proof of that claim....

Fast forward 10 years.  My church decides to do an outdoor living nativity.  See that white figure on top of the roof trying desperately to maintain outstretched arms?  Yep, yours truly.  They lassoed me around my waist with a piece of rope and attached it to a stick of lumber sticking up from the roof "just to make sure you don't lean forward and fall off".

What I have given to this role!

Katy's Thoughts: Take away the packages. Take away the bows. And even take away the (wait for it...) beautiful cards that arrive in your merry mailbox...and what's left? Him. He is the reason for the season - plain and simple. And how thankful we are for that!

Cindy's Thoughts: First, I lived with Donna in college... angel, well...let's just leave that at that. ;) Just kidding Mrs. Strittmatter! Anyway...back to my comments about the pics - How awesome is a live nativity!  I love these things.   And isn't it wonderful that Donna has these pictures, and more importantly the memories that go with them of her childhood.  My husband's family's church does one every year and we all go and look at it, see old friends, gather with his home church family and really celebrate the Reason for the Season.  I have fond memories of my home church doing live nativities as well.  One year it snowed LOTS, but all the kids, animals and church members stayed outside for at least an hour watching, praying and celebrating.  Last year, we tried to take our Merry Littles to a live didn't turn out so more about that here.  Live nativities bring people together...and well, isn't that what Christmas is all about!  Thanks for sharing Donna and if you time we are together, we can "play" Live Nativity with the girls and I'll let you be Mary! :)

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What We Love Wednesday: Hair Flair

Friends.  We may have a problem.  We LOVE some hair flair!  And I do mean LOVE!  Maybe even a little (or a lot) more than we should.  We both looked through our pictures of the Merry Littles and {GOODNESS} at the hair flair!  So, clearly we love HAIR FLAIR and here's why:

Katy: As a former cheerleader (you like that, Cindy?) I love and appreciate a bow. They really are the icing on the cake. My girls have both had hair since the day they were born, so it's been fun to add a bit of flair to their manes!

Y'all. Every since my darling friend, Katelin, taught me how to make a rosette, I have been obsessed. Seriously - I put them on everything. And LOVE them on the girls. I made this one for Emmy's one year shoot and even added that giant feather for some extra pizazz.  

Headbands, bows and clips - Oh my!:
Your hair really can capture your personality. And when you're 3, you have LOTS of personality. Emmy loves to tell me how she wants her hair done She's kind of picky. So, for her three year shoot, Sarah (the great) got some fun shots capturing all of that giant personality and ridiculous amount of hair. 

Memory Making:
I like the subtleness that hair flair can have in a photograph. I used the same headband for Emmy's NB photos and again at 1 year just to capture her growth. And for Landry, I wore the head band in my maternity pics, then she wore it in her newborn and 9 months. It's something that no one may even notice but me (well and now all of you) but it makes the pictures even more special.

Our Princess and the Pea:
Hair flair can be anything! We did this series for Merry Little L's first year and each session I purchased, made, or reused a different hair piece in gold. And I don't know if it could be any cuter?!?!
Newborn - Crown made by the one and only Sarah Burns - a woman of many talents
3 month - bought a piece of gold elastic rope at HobLob 
9 month - The most WT craft project of my life. I spray painted a party hat white, then used gold glitter spray paint, then glued some rosettes to it. It's clearly amazing
1 year - She wore my tiara from my wedding

And this is just to prove that boys can have amazing "hair flair", too!

Cindy: I don't know if it is because I am from Texas or because my Mom always had some sort of bow in my hair or because I like to spend money on things that are crazy ... but I (cough, cough) enjoy a {{tiny}} bit of fun atop my Merry Littles' heads!

 Birthday Bows
For each girls' first birthday I had a custom bow made by the talented Noelle Dixon of glam R baby.  With Merry Little C I told her I wanted an over the top bow and she delivered, so then {of course} I had to have one for A and M!  Aren't they just to die for!  And yes, the are totally the same size as their heads and I love it!

Cozette Couture                                                    London Raquel
LOVE is not a strong enough word to describe how much I love the hair flair from Cozette Couture and London Raquel.  They are huge over the top headbands, that don't actually appear too over the top.  I think they add a fun, feminine and sassiness to any outfit.

Crochet Hats
Apparently, I have have a thing for crochet hats!   And apparently I like to put Merry Little A in them more than the other two girls - A is the top center and the bottom two pics.  Each hat is a little different, but they each add a special sort of cuteness to the picture.  
(Closed Etsy vendor, NuxieMade)
(Sorry I'm not more helpful!)

Bows & Flowers
I wanted to use this collage of pictures to show you two things (1) I do not always put HUGE bows on my daughters and (2) "plain" ol' bows and flowers are cute too.  Most days, you will find the Munson Merry Littles wearing a grosgrain bow.  They are cute, come in lots of sizes and colors, and are relatively inexpensive.

I fell for the Snugars line of hair flair and fell hard!  They are as soft as they look and just so precious!  

Y'all.  Be. Still. My. Heart.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Getting Snazzy with the Smiths

Who: The Smiths! Jess, Zach, Caroline (2 years) and Luke (3 months)

Location: Cowtown Photo Booths! My hubby and a friend have a photo booth business. They usually rent it for weddings and corporate events. We set it up in the garage and had fun taking pics. Now, you don't need a fancy photo booth, you could make your own with a solid background and digital camera with a self timer. 

Props:  We got the props at the Dollar Store and Oriental Trading (because we like to spend big bucks!). Santa hat, sunglasses, mustaches, hats, stocking, pom pom and a snowman that was hiding. ;)

Clothes: Red and green - nothing special just what we had!

Comments: We wanted a fun card. The expressions of the kids are just hilarious and did you see that baby fell asleep in picture #3!?!

Designer: I made the card! I used Photoshop and Picasa - the font is called Giddyup. (Tip: we took a BUNCH of pictures and then picked our favorite 4. I made a photo strip look-a-like collage. Just add a border in between the pics. (I was inspired by this!)

Photographer: We took the pics with our photo booth. Check us out at Cowtown Photo Booths.

Favorite Things: We had so much fun making the card. It can be stressful taking "the perfect" family photo. Instead, we decided to have fun with it and capture real life. :) I think we got it all: laughing, crying, sleepy, funny and happy! We even made a video while we were taking the pics - HILARIOUS!

Blog: You can find me at Get Snazzy and Resume Butterfly.


Katy's Thoughts: I love that they embraced real life. This card showcases that this family is all about fun - I mean makes me want to go make silly faces with my kids right now! I can only imagine the merry that this card brought to all that received it!

Cindy's Thoughts: This is a fun card that shows lots of different emotions and I love that!  I was actually going through the pictures on my iPhone this weekend and there was a series of pictures that I took with Merry Little C - sad, happy, excited, silly, etc. and they brought such a smile to my face -- I know this card did the same for all that received it!


How can you recreate this card? Jessica said it best - hang a solid color piece of fabric, buy some fun props, set your camera for auto and you are all set! Don't be afraid to have fun and act silly - "picture perfect" is only defined by those that are having their picture made. We do showcase a lot of seemingly "perfect" cards... but we LOVE true-to-life, honest photographs that capture the every day moments that we should be thankful for!

Get PINspired: 
  1. Can't decide on just one picture for your card? Then a photo strip is a perfect option? Check out this cute set of brothers, this adorable family and a card that also comes with a gift! 
  2. Wanting to stick with traditional and go red and green?
    • For Mom - Click here and here for two fun polyvores
    • For Dad - Click here for some fancy pants and here for a fun watch
    • For toddler girl - Check out this amazing red dress and here for this green party dress
    • For toddler boy - Click here for a great tie combo and here for some fun pants
    • For tween or teen girl - Click here and here
    • For tween or teen boy - Pinterest hates us. Seriously, all that kept coming up was pictures of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But, we did find this, this and this!

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Monday, September 23, 2013


We have a winner of the $50 Visa gift card courtesy of Aggieland Properties!


We used to generate a number for the 23 entries on the post Home Sweet Aggieland.

Please email us at yourmerrymailbox {at} gmail {dot} com to claim the prize!

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{Hand}made with Love

Today we bring you a delightful postcard inspired card from the McCarty family...

Who: Matt (dad), Keri (mom), Ellison (15 months)

Location: Bob Jones Nature Center, Southlake, Texas

Props: None

Clothes: Matt - American Eagle; Keri - Gap, J.Crew; Ellison - Gap and Old Navy (hair flair and bib necklace handmade by Keri)

Comments: I knew that I wanted to have a navy and green color scheme, because I wanted to be able to display the photos in our house without them being the traditional red and green. Also, I was certain I could find Christmas papers that would match without being the traditional red and green as well. "My Mind's Eye Winter Wonderland" was a perfect fit!

The photo we selected for the card was one of Ellie blowing a kiss and me kissing her cheek. We loved this photo because it was a stage in Ellie's life where blowing kisses was a favorite thing to do, so I wanted to remember that milestone. I also remembered having the "Merry Kissmas" stamp and thought it would be the perfect sentiment for the car.

I have always loved the look of postcards so I tried to emulate it as close as possible by adding the three stamps in the upper, left corner. And I used three different colors to highlight their differences. I added the sparkle, die-cut snowflake to add dimension - it pops off the card a bit, but not enough to be damaged in the mail.

I used a font from to write the greeting on the back of the card and another stamp to make the heart. I always like to hand-sign my cards when possible, so I left that option available instead of printing it with the font.

Designer: Keri handmade it!

Photographer: Heather Bush with Chunky Monkey Photography

Favorite Thing: I really like how it all came together! We didn't intentionally try to get a kissing picture, but the serendipity of it led to this creation!

Blog: Nope, no blog. Kinda scares the beejeebus out of me!


Katy's Thoughts: Ok, let's take a moment to reflect on the face that she HAND MADE these cards. Like she cut and glued and placed and stamped each part of it. Over and over and over again. My thoughts are that she is crazy! ;) I love that this is so personal! Not many people still hand sign cards these days (the Kings included) so I think this is amazing. Keri is the Queen of Crafts...seriously. I keep trying to talk her into starting a blog - don't you think she should?!?

Cindy's Thoughts:  Impressed!  That is the best word to describe this card. I am so impressed!  Impressed with the forethought and sincerity behind the design. Impressed by the darling kissing picture.  Impressed that she LITERALLY made the cards.  I know that the people who received this card felt LOVE and MERRY when they opened the card and well, isn't that what the season is about!


How can you recreate this card? Well, the beauty of the handmade card is each one is original! We adore the "Merry Kissmas" theme - which you could spin lots of ways! Engagement/Wedding photo with a picture of the cute couple kissing under mistletoe; parents and kiddos, even a beloved pet giving someone a smooch. Lots of fun possibilities with this one!

Get PINspired:

  1. If you love the "Merry Kissmass" theme as much as we do - then you are in luck...this card is adorable! 
  2. For other inspiring "kissing" scenes...check out our Mistletoe Board. (And dear readers, beware of the things that will pop up when you search mistletoe on Pinterest. Weird stuff).
  3. We also found lots of handmade goodies... we loved the thought of using buttons for ornaments, a wreath or a snowman. Adorable! 
  4. This link leads you to 25 adorable home made cards! Incredible!

So what do you think? Shouldn't Kerri start a blog? Or maybe come back for a how-to Christmas crafting session? Share your thoughts below! 

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Home sweet Aggieland

Today we are featuring a family that turned their card into a business greeting!

Who: Luke and Brittany Marvel & Jeff, Stephanie and Jackson Leatherwood

Location: George Bush Library at Texas A&M University

Props: None

Clothing: No clue where our clothes came from but the scarves are from Aggieland Outfitters. Whoop.

Comments: We really wanted to promote our business and highlight that this is a family affair! We loved it because it wasn't too girly or distracting and we were able to show our family and friends how much fun we were having at work!

Photographer: Shannon Morton

Designer: Tiny Prints

Favorite thing: In a world of chevron, we really loved the gingham! :)

Blog/Website: Aggieland Properties (business) and A Mister and a Sister (personal)


Katy's Thoughts: Whether we like it or not, work is a huge part of most of our lives. I love that they embraced that and made it a part of their holiday celebration! Stephanie genuinely supports and champions the work that her husband does for their (now) family of 4. I love that this card showcases that work can be a family affair! And I clearly love anything Aggie. :)

Cindy's Thoughts: I totally agree with Stephanie - GINGHAM is cool The other cool thing about this card is how they showcased 4 adults and 1 child and didn't make it look awkward.  This card is a great example of a classic business holiday card done right!


How can you recreate this card? We think that this card perfectly showcases that simple can be just amazing. Now we love a good hair flair, a lovely layered look, and a ridiculous prop (or 10)... but we also equally enjoy classic - which perfectly describes this look. Find a neutral background, pick out a classic outfit and you are all set!

Get PINspired:

  1. If you are looking for some inspiration for the stairway to {photo} heaven, then check out this, this, and this! And in keeping with the collegiate feel, if you are a Vandy family please take your picture here!
  2. Wanting to show off your love for your school? Check out our Be True to Your School Board for inspiration for all of our favorite SEC teams! (Ok, so we only have ONE favorite) :)
  3. Looking for the perfect white shirt or blouse? Click here for women and here for little girls (sorry fellas, a white oxford and you're all set!) And check out this and this for an idea about how to style your shoot! 
And, we have one more thing to send you off on your merry way this Friday! Stephanie shares our love for all things organization and was inspired by this week's WWLW. SO, Aggieland Properties is offering a $50 VISA GIFT CARD to a lucky reader to get started on that Christmas shopping!

You know the drill - just follow the blog and comment below for your chance to win!!! If you already follow the blog, that's great too!  Just comment on this post to be entered to win.  The giveaway ends on Sunday, September 22nd at midnight (central time).  We will announce the winner on Monday, September 23rd.  The winner will have until Tuesday at 5pm to email us at yourmerrymailbox {at} gmail {dot} com to claim the prize.

THANK YOU Aggieland Properties

This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Visa.  Your Merry Mailbox did not receive financial compensation for this giveaway from Visa or Aggieland Properties and it is in no way associated with Visa.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

TBT: Pajama Time

Who: Brooke (Merry Momma Cindy's cousin)

When: Christmas 1982

Katy's Thoughts: I can't even deal with the cuteness of this picture. I am 100% jealous that I didn't have pjs like this for my girls. I love that Christmas is just magic - for any age. Brooke may not have known what was going on, but look at that sweet sparkle in her eyes!

Cindy's Thoughts: Y'all.  How cute is Brooke?!?  Cute, right!!  I love this picture for so many reasons.  First, Brooke was my the very first cousin I had and one of my first memories is of going to the hospital to peek at her through a window, I was almost 5 years old.  Second, I think I see a little bit of Merry Little M in her.  Genetics - they're fun!  And third, that hat is AWESOME!

Get PINspired: This picture was taken over 30 years ago, but it illustrates that there are a few things that stand the test of time - cute pjs and cute hats!
  1. PJs aren't just for Christmas morning, this family showcased them on their Christmas card!
  2. Stripes are always cute on the kiddos!  Your baby will look darling in this on Christmas morning or this!
  3. Apparently, matching pjs was in style in the '70s too! (This almost has a Don Draper feel to it...Mad Men, please return!)
  4. For our entire board of cute pjs, click here!
  5. And...the cute are hats!  Check this, this and this out!
  6. Here's the entire board, but this one may be our favorite! 

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WWLW: Christmas Shopping Prep

Did you know there is EXACTLY 14 weeks until Christmas OR 98 days OR 2,352 hours...I think you get the point?!?! :)  Yes, Christmas is really right around the corner and if you are anything like the Merry Mommas, you LOVE LOVE LOVE getting a head start on your shopping!  But before you start clicking away on your favorite websites or walking the aisles at your favorite store, you need to do some CHRISTMAS SHOPPING PREP!



1.  Organization is the key to a successful life.  Okay, we made that up...but, organization does make your life run a little more smoothly and who doesn't like smooth!

2.  Budget...Let's get real, friends.  We live in a world with limited resources (and if you don't; would you like to be Your Merry Mailbox's sponsor? ;)), and we all need to be wise money managers and track our expenses, including Christmas presents.

3.  Yearly Review...Doing some Christmas Shopping Prep will give you some time to review what you gave everyone last year and not accidentally get Granny another pair of slippers, for the fourth year in a row!

4.  Research...Doing a little research before you walk (literally or virtually) into your favorite store can (1) save you time (2) save you money (3) reduce the last minute stress of shopping on December 21st.  Both of the Merry Mommas do lots of online shopping.  We research which stores have the best price, when those stores typically do sales and try and even combine shipping when we both are ordering from a particular store.  If you are dead set on getting your lovely mom a scarf, make sure the stores on your list carry scarfs.  A little research before you start shopping can save you heartache later.

5.  Fun...The Merry Mommas love to give presents and doing a little Christmas Shopping Prep will make the experience fun and not stressful.  When you know exactly who you are shopping for, what your budget is and an idea of what you would like to get your loved ones the shopping and the giving are FUN.

To help you with your Christmas Shopping Prep, the Merry Momma's want to share our spreadsheets!


Ok - I'm going to let you in on my crazy today. You're welcome.

I like to organize my list by estimated cost and actual cost, as well as where I purchased the gift and when. It helps me the next year when I'm trying to think of a place that I got a good deal as well as not to repeat a gift as was mentioned above. I color code by month of purchase - so this list keeps me in budget and on track.

I try to be done with shopping by the first weekend in December. In my "life as a UPS wife", I don't have lots of free, uninterrupted, no kids around time from Thanksgiving to New Years. So, by getting shopping done early, I save myself some stress and time.

We buy for roughly 20-25 people each year. This includes family (ours is relatively small), teachers, kids' friends, and our friends. We also "adopt" 3 kids that are the same age as each of the King Kiddos. I keep this list in an envelope as well as all the receipts I gather throughout my shopping spree(s) and then (and I think this is important) I label the receipts so I can double track spending/be able to locate it if something needs returning. (See? Crazy.)

The numbers below are totally made up for this example, but the spreadsheet is formatted to automatically update so I have an actual representation of what has been spent. I also track spending on any new Christmas decorations I buy as well as the cost of the King family Christmas card (including envelopes and postage).


And welcome to my crazy.  If my entire life could be managed via a spreadsheet I would be a in hog heaven.  (1.  I do have lots of "my life" in spreadsheets.  YMM is all about the honesty.  2.  What does hog heaven even mean?)

First, I typically brainstorm ideas.  I do this with Merry Momma Katy and the Merry Hubby Josh.  I really like to know what I am buying before I walk in a store.  I really dislike impulse shopping.  I feel that I spend too much money and that the gift is not as meaningful.  I realize these are my issues -- I own it! :)  Then, I get busy shopping!  I do most of my shopping in November.  I do a little Black Friday shopping and LOTS of Cyper Monday shopping.  I don't know how I would get my shopping done if it wasn't for the trusty ol' internet!

The "wife's family exchange" is a gift exchange for all of the aunts/uncles/cousins, so the gift needs to fit a wide variety of folks.  We do have a financial limit and gift cards are accepted.  We tend to get fun new books, Aggie stuff and gift cards to restaurants, movie theaters and some of the bigger chains.  It is a fun way to celebrate!

The "husband's family exchange" is a little different.  It is between the siblings and their spouses.  We draw names sometime in the summer and purchase a gift for that one person.  It has worked out nicely. As you can see on my example below, last year we drew both the boys.  I think women are easier to shop for...what do you think?

I also included ALL of the things I spend money on at Christmas time - work, mailman, stamps.  I try to keep an accurate account of our finances.  Please note the "try" part!

*Yes, on my real spreadsheet I use names...not all of my family is as into over-sharing as I am! :)  And, yes, I do put a budgeted amount...but I think talking about money on the internet is probably more dicey than politics or religion. And, yes, we do Santa.

As you can see, we do our spreadsheets a little differently from each other, but they work for us!  Do you have a spreadsheet or a suggestion you would like to share? We would love to hear how you do your CHRISTMAS SHOPPING PREP!  Or if you want us to email you these two spreadsheets, then just let us know and we will be happy to send your way! Comment below!

Get PINspired: We found lots and lots of cute FREE printables for you!  
  1. I love that this list has spot for baking and parties.
  2. This list is great for those of you that buy multiple presents for each of your loved ones.
  3. Don't forget to wrap all these awesome presents, this list has a spot for DONE!
  4. Do you do lots of "Christmases"...your folks, his folks, great Aunt Eugene's house, etc?  This list helps you track when the present will be opened.
  5. For other great printable, check out our entire Pinterest Board!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chevron Cutie Christmas

Today we are featuring a too cute chevron clad clan from Austin, Texas!! 

Who: J, A and AE

Location: Mayfield Park, Austin, Texas

Props: None

Clothes: Gap, Ann Taylor Loft, Express, Mudpie, Jetterbugs, Adelaids Boutique

Comments: Chevron print and gray are so trendy right now, so I knew I wanted to incorporate them into our card. When I found the dress that AE is wearing at Jetterbugs, I knew that was the palate we were going with. I found my belt (you can barely see it) on Etsy to tie it all together. Mayfield Park is a special place to my family here in Austin. J & I did our engagement shoot there 5 years ago, so I knew I wanted to go back with AE. It is also home to a rather large family of peacocks, so that helped in keeping her then 15-month old attention!

Designer: I did!! Minted is one of my top 3 sites for all paper products!!

Photographer: Julie Jackson Photography - we love here because although she is based out of Waco she will travel to Austin! Call her if you are in Central Texas!

Favorite Thing: In case you couldn't tell by my comments, AEs chevron dress...and those baby blue eyes of hers! :)


Katy's Thoughts: I have to agree with Ann on this one... that dress. Holy guacamole, is it darling or what?!?! And that tiny pop of pink? LOVE!

Cindy's Thoughts: Lots to love on this card!  The beautiful park, the trendy chevron dress and the loving family.  But my FAVORITE thing is the bottom right picture!  I love her big blue eyes looking up!  This is one of my favorite angles for pictures and I think you can see why! (And I have difficulty ending a sentence without a ! ... forgive me! see! ugh! whatevs. ;))


How can you recreate this card? Don't be afraid of a monochromatic color scheme. Shades of one color can make amazing pics! There are no bells and whistles here - just an adorable family in a meaningful setting. Can't ask for anything more than that?!?!

Get PINspired: 
  1. We clearly could not choose just a few chevron inspired cards to share. Check out the entire board!
  2. Looking for some cutie chevron stuff for an adorable little girl? Then click here, here and here and well, here too for some of our favorite finds!!
  3. Looking for Momma? Then check out this scarf, these socks, this dress and this to-die-for cuff
  4. And we don't want to leave out the dudes in your life... click here and here for Dads and here and here for the little men in your life!
  5. Parks make amazing backdrops, especially if you live in a big city! Click here (yes, we realize this is Central Park, but a girl can dream, right!?!?), here and here to see why!
  6. And, we love tone on tone. We LOVE one color throughout. Check out this and THIS to see why. 
(We also started a new board: Card Inspiration - What to Wear! Check it out and send us your favorite pins so we can add to it!!) 

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Whimsy & Bright

Today we bring you a beautiful card from the Chambers' family!

Who: Chad, Kelly, Cooper (3) and Hadley (7 months)

Location: Hensel Park, Bryan, Texas

Props: Coordinating glitter Christmas ornaments and baby crib

Clothes: Gap, Dillards, Express, Old Navy, Children’s Place, The Trendy Baby, Gracious May

Designer: Whimsy and Style Photography

Photographer: Chantal Bergeron of Whimsy and Style Photography

Favorite things: I love the bright colors used in this card and the addition of the coordinating Christmas ornaments. I LOVE the picture with the ornaments over the kids' FUN! The photographer also really captured the time of day these were taken!

Blog: Catching up with Cooper and Hadley


Katy's Thoughts: Know what I love? I love that I just discovered TWO new places to shop for the kids?! How adorable are those last two shops? If you didn't click on these links, let me just help you out by posting them again. Dear The Trendy Baby and Gracious May, be expecting an online order from this Merry Momma soon! I also love the whimsical feel of this shoot! Love those adorable ornaments over those precious kiddos heads!

Cindy's Thoughts:  I am in love with the lighting in the pictures!  It doesn't hurt that the people in the pictures are beautiful and they have on cute clothing, too! I like the two sided card, I like the individual pictures of the kiddos.  I like the BRIGHT CHEERY clothing.  This is just a great, fun card!


How can you recreate this card? Find a clear space of land, wait for that gorgeous sun to set, dress your family up in stylish clothes, add some fun accessories and done.

Get PINspired:

  1. We love the idea of a sweet family all snuggled up on a blanket, or siblings all in a row, and we think the tagline "the weather outside is frightful" is perfect for a shoot like this. (Unless you're in Texas like us, and then you'd have to ship in snow!)
  2. Want to add a fun touch with ornaments? Click herehere, and here
  3. Having a baby and thinking of a Christmas announcement? Then you have to see thisthis, and THIS!!
  4. And - if you are willing to travel (and we think that you should) then click here!

We just want to take a quick second and say thanks again! We are having so much fun spreading the merry and hope you are loving it too! We have posts lined up through October, but would love more submissions! Check out our submissions page so you can be next!!!

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Friday, September 13, 2013


We'll be back to the MERRY on Monday!

Until then...We are standing ready!

and BTHObama!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

TBT: Aggies vs. Bama

It's Thursday and you know what that means...

And while technically we won't be showcasing a card today, we will be discussing that time when Christmas came early for Aggies everywhere...

Today we will treat you with a few of our favorite highlights from last year and maybe even some gameday predictions for Saturday. And don't be fooled by our expertise of all things merry - we are Texas girls, so we know football. We are expecting a phone call from ESPN shortly. 
Without further ado, our top 5 favorite moments from 2012...

5. As avid readers, we like a good foreshadow in the story. You can't get much better than this... 

Original Source Here

4. This:


Kliff, you know you miss us. You can come back to Aggieland anytime.
(And yes, we know this was during the Mississippi State game...but what kind of ladies would we be if we left it out of our top 5!)

3. Basically every time Swope had a reception....

2. Our personal text messages back and forth. Merry Momma K was out of town and unable to watch the last quarter of the game. She was dying. Seriously. There were lots of stares from random people at the reactions she had to the messages at the end.  Here are just a few....

Please note, dear readers, our love for you. We text each other at least 100 times a day. At least. This game happened almost a year ago. That's lots of texts to go through. :)

1.  Some believe it's the greatest play of the season. We believe it's the moment when we really discovered bladder control post babies.

And now for our predictions:

Katy - I think this is the time for us to introduce Aggieland to the world. This is the day when Kyle Field will yell louder, stand taller, and bleed maroon more than any game before. This is the day to prove that we aren't just "in" the SEC, but that we are major players in the best conference in the nation. 

I also predict that at some point, I will scream at the television, accidentally hit my husband, cry, and maybe even let my kids do whatever they want for the entirety of the football game.

And. I predict that at the end of the game, no matter the score, the Aggies will be more proud of their team than any other fans in the nation. 

Cindy - Predictions...I have a list. I like lists! :)
1.  The sun will shine down brightly on Aggieland Saturday morning!
2.  Aggies everywhere will put on their MAROON proudly.
3.  Aggies will get to game watching parties, tailgates, friend's houses, Kyle Field EARLY.
4.  Lots of good food will be consumed.
5.  Lots of good beer will be consumed.
6.  There will be an electric feeling in the air - It's called the Aggie Spirit!
7.  Kyle Field will be packed.
8.  Grandmothers may have to use sports words (my granny's word for cursing) because of some announcers.  (I'm mostly looking at you, ESPN!)
9.  The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band will win halftime.
10.  Johnny will do something crazy.


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