Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mailbox Memories: Wall Worthy

Merry Momma K here.

Today I want to let you in to a little part of my childhood and one of the first times that I "got" how much a note in the mail can mean to someone.

My own momma, Gigi is her preferred title these days, was very clear about the rules when it came to writing thank you notes. The rule was - they weren't optional. We wrote thank you notes for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, and basically any time anyone did something for one of us.

I don't know that I hated it, but I do know it wasn't my favorite.

But something happened that made me realize how much this one small gesture can mean to somebody.

I had just celebrated a birthday and my Godparents had mailed me a fabulous present. Because that's what they were - fabulous. So, I got out my trusty sundae stationery that I adored and wrote a note. Put the note in the mail and didn't think much of it after that.

(I tried to find a picture of said stationery and probably spent too much time searching google but you should know it was adorable. It was striped paper with a picture of an icecream sundae that was also striped. Sounds weird, but trust me, it wasn't.)

Summer arrives and we make one of our many visits to Baton Rouge to visit our entire family. (My parents grew up in Baton Rouge and moved to the great state of Texas when I was in utero.) We of course made the rounds and made, what to me, was the best stop of all - a visit to my Nanan and Renee's (Re-knee) house. And that's where I saw it. My note. My hand-written, little insignificant note of thanks. Framed and hanging in the hallway of their house. Right alongside the pictures of their wedding, children, grandchildren and other important artifacts.

My note.

I couldn't believe it. I had made "the wall". I was special. My note was special. I can't really tell you how this made me feel. You see, I idolized my Godparents. I adored them. There aren't two people in the world that can hold a candle to just how spectacular they were.

My Renee (also known as Uncle Mitch) is maybe the coolest person to ever live. He always had candy. He was always on the phone. He wore the most adorable jump suits. He cooked crawfish at 10am. He owned a restaurant. And he had a slight resemblance to Marlon Brando circa The Godfather. In fact my eight-year-old self thought that's who he was. (Maybe because he also had a picture of Marlon Brando hanging in his restaurant and I didn't realize it wasn't Uncle Mitch for a long time). He was kind of your stereotypical Italian mafioso. (I mean, kind of.)

Aunt Faye was such a godly, gentle woman. To this day, if I "misbehave" I wonder what she would think of that. I pray for guidance. I strive to know Jesus as well as she did. She shopped QVC like nobody's business. She always had access to the greatest, hottest toys. She took me on shopping sprees. She let me play in her makeup. She talked to me about how important it is to know and love Jesus. To worship Him. And she put up with Uncle Mitch. ;)

They have five kids of their own, and so many grandchildren that I can't count (20 something) and they still made me feel special and loved and like the most important part of their lives at times. And the day I saw that note, framed, hanging on their wall - I felt like I made them feel important and loved too. That the small amount of time I took to write that note was more than worth the effort.

So, thank you, Mom... for teaching me to take the time to show my gratitude. For sharing the merry with others, may turn out to make you feel more merry than you know.

Don't forget about our giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post - we will pick a winner on Monday evening. 

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Readers Speak WWLW: Styling Photo Sessions

We know, the title of this post may sound confusing... but let it soak in and by the end we think that you will be a little excited!!!!

Today's guest is our lovely friend, Karen, who sadly just moved five hours away for a wonderful new job opportunity. We miss her tons!


Where do I even begin?!  To give a bit of background about how this came to be—I had nothing else in the world going on, am glutton for punishment, so I took a job five hours away from my family on October 1 and left my family in College Station with plans for them to move over the Christmas holidays (after I moved, started a new job, bought a house, and traveled back and forth every other weekend).  No big deal, right?  While I was willing to let a number of things fall through the cracks in that time, like the cleanliness and health of our house & children, I was absolutely NOT willing to sacrifice an outstanding Christmas card.  ( we know how to pick friends, or WHAT!? Y'all... she is devoted to sharing the magic and the merry of Christmas. #priorities)

So... before I proceed, let me show you our finished product:

Who: Justus (7) and Delaney (3)

Location: Clayton Williams Jr, Building; College Station, TX

Props: Awesome burlap wrapped R, made by the Fabulous Merry Momma K and burlap Santa sack purchased by the same MM (at HobLob)

Clothes: Y'all - I have no idea... because it was taken care of for me! :) Luckily, the Mommas do... Justus - Macy's; Delaney - Little Trendsetter (exact dress here and here) Target (similar coat in black here)

Comments: We have been blessed for years to have Sarah Giles (Butterfly Chaser Photography) and Nichole Quick (Quick Designs) to help us with cards so I had the resources I needed.  However, in the midst of everything, I knew I could not be responsible for clothes, props, etc. and NEEDED help.  Enter the Merry Mommas.  I have been friends with these amazing ladies for years, and I have always admired their cards and their love (and immense talent) for designing a photo session.  I have ambitions to be like them when it comes to preparation, but my photos session prep generally goes something like this:  make appointment with Sarah months in advance; pin the heck out of pictures on Pinterest in my spare evenings while I accumulate fabulous ideas and swear “this time I will be different and it will be amazing!;” get side-tracked with life; and then the week or two before the session, I remember said session, and scramble to at least get matching clothes for the kids.  It’s an unfortunate cycle that I can’t seem to break. 

So, accepting this personal fault, I reached out to the Merry Mommas when I realized I was going to need Christmas cards and had no way of personally managing the endeavor.  I put the entire project in their exceedingly capable hands—everything from concept to clothes purchase to location.  Katy would text me ideas or pictures of clothes and ask what I thought, I would yay or nay and they would plug along.  She also even communicated in advance with Nichole to discuss the card concept, knowing it was going to be tight on time.  The day of our photo session arrived with horrible weather in tow (I had picked a late November Sunday afternoon that I was actually going to be there so I could be somewhat useful/involved in the process) and we couldn’t do the pictures, so we rescheduled for a weekday, which I definitely was not going to be able to attend.  Y’all, Katy even secured a new indoor location and went to the shoot and helped!!  It may or may not have been because I expressed serious reservations a tiny concern about how my husband, left to his own devices, would know which clothes to put them in, what props to use when, or most importantly, how to do Delaney’s hair.  Turned out amazing, right?!

Designer:  Nichole Quick, Quick Designs

Photographer: Sarah Giles Burns, Butterfly Chaser

Favorite Thing:  There is nothing I don’t love about this card because I was so worried about it getting done and I adore the final result.  If I had to choose though, I would say the fact that it was made as a dual purpose Christmas/moving card is my favorite thing because it saved me the trouble of sending out a second card about our move.  I love the look of this card.  Several people have told me the kids look like magazine models.  Don’t get me wrong, I think my kids are definitely adorable, but I’m sure the styling genius of the Merry Mommas contributed to the extra twinkle in the eyes that makes them stand out as extra precious.  I can’t think these friends enough for all their help and work.    They have a unique skill that I would encourage anybody and everybody to enlist.  I am so envious of it, but am blessed that I can rely on it because they are now sharing this treasured talent with others.


Mommas' Favorite Thing: Picking just one thing is impossible. We love the story behind it. The fact that there is a dora pillow inside that burlap sack. That it was freezing outside but the kids' smiled through. We agree that the dual purpose card is so smart and we are thrilled with how this came together. But mostly, we LOVE that we were able to help a friend during a stressful time. Opening the final result was so much fun and we are honored that Karen trusted us so much!!

In fact....We loved it so much that after lots of chatting and brainstorming we have decided to offer styling sessions to you - dear readers!!!

And because we also love we are giving away a "Merry Makeover" to one of you! All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us about your next planned photosession and what you want help with! Easy peasy!

Thanks so much, Karen for letting us be a part of sharing your merry! 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Readers Speak: Thanks and Gig'em

Today's post comes from our lovely friend, Lauren. Mom, Wife, lover of Jesus and all things A&M...


Not that I've ever NOT thought about sending cards in the mail but,  because of my sweet friends at Your Merry Mailbox, I now put more thought into the process than ever before.  From the outfits, to the location of the shoot, to the photographer, to the finishing work, they have given me every tool I need to create a memorable product.  I appreciate so much the time and effort gone into each posting....with full-time jobs, wives to two super supportive hubbies, and the job of being mommy to six precious kiddos, I don't know how they do it all!  I also can't believe I all ready have plans for Christmas Card 2014!  Thank you thank you thank you sweet Cindy and Katy!

Who: Daniel, Lauren, Cooper (5) and Kyleigh (3)

Location: Kyle FIeld, College Station, TX

Props: Lauren's tshirt quilt made my mom and grandma from all of my old college tshirts 

Clothes: Brinks & Babs Children's Boutique, Aggieland Outfitters, Sabi Boutique - all BCS locals!!

Comments: I have always wanted to take pictures at Kyle Field because of the sentimental factor to the hubby and I. What made this even more memorable and special this year is because I knew that this is the last year Kyle Field would look the way we remember it as college students. (And now Merry Mommas are crying because, WHY ON EARTH DIDN'T WE THINK OF THAT!!?!)

Designer: Nichole from Quick Design Company

Photographer: Shannon Morton Photography

Favorite Thing: My favorite thing is really just the special meaning behind everything in the card from Kyle Field all the way down to my old tshirt quilt. I also LOVE the design of the card and that we are able to combine the spirit of Christmas with the Spirit of Aggieland!!

Blog: Hindes Clan (and I kinda started blogging again!)


Mommas' THoughts: We love this card. We love the chalkboard look, the Aggie background and the adorable family. Most of all we love how special these pictures are to Lauren. THAT is what it really is all about.

Get PINspired: 
1. Should we remind you about our chalkboard inspiration board?
2. Or our ode o Chevron?
3. And college gameday?

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Readers Speak: From matchy to MARVELOUS

We are so pumped for this week because all of our posts are going to be from you...our readers. And we will only "interrupt" a little. (It will be the text you see in red).

Allow us to introduce Amy, of the A-Team! :)


This summer I started reading a new blog created by a childhood friend. You may have heard of it! ;)

Well, like everyone else it sure got me thinking. I have always loved Christmas cards but I’m usually figuring out outfits at the last minute and hoping for the best. Well this year was going to be different. I had inspiration and a vision several months before the big photo shoot. I found these adorable outfits on Zulily

They arrived and I hung them in the utility room. Now, all I had to do was figure out what mom and dad were going to wear (or so I thought). I envisioned a fun photo shoot at a very vibrant playground in Downtown Dallas. My theme was going to be Joyful-etc. (Which we, the Mommas think would be a darling "theme") I was so proud I was ahead of the game – or so I thought.

A couple months later – the Merry Momma’s blogged about wardrobe choices and I immediately went and texted Merry Momma K the picture above. Their blog suggested not to be too matchy matchy and wouldn’t you know it that is exactly what I had above- MATCHY MATCHY and very BOLD. (You should know – I love dressing my girls alike and they love it also- at least for now. I really had not thought about coordinating outfits instead of matching.

So, I was back to square one and it was already October! The Merry Momma’s suggested to pick one outfit you love and coordinate around it. I went searching a favorite site of Merry Momma K and found an adorable dress that I just loved. (Which ended up being the EXACT dress I had picked for Emmy to wear... how funny is that?!)

From there I got to work. I eventually decided to utilize navy and rust to help coordinate with colors in my living room (where I wanted to display the pictures). (YES!! This is super important! It's great to take fun pics and send them in cards, but y'all... take pics that you can and will display in your HOME!!!)

While I loved the dress I found, I ultimately selected the outfit below to allow for layering (Layering – another suggestion I took from the Merry Momma’s)!

Next Direct also had coordinating outfits for my other girls.

I laid everything out and texted Merry Momma K for final decisions! They suggest asking a friend to help –what better friend to ask than a Merry Momma!

Making sure it all fits and looks great!

The night before the big photo shoot I laid everything out and was ready to go!

Thanks so much to the wonderful inspiration from Your Merry Momma’s blogs I ended up with a great wardrobe. I was more than thrilled with the results (see below) and enjoyed all the compliments when the cards arrived in my friends and families mailboxes in early December. I could not have done it without the inspiration and advice from YMM!

Who: Adam, Amy, Addison, Audrey and Allee Grace

Locoation: Beyond the Blue Studios; Arlington, TX

Props: Red Wagon provided by photographer

Clothes: Amy - Ann Taylor; Adam - Gap; Girls - Next Direct

Comments: See above :)

Designer: Shutterfly

Photographer: Gara Hill, Beyond the Blue Studios

Favorite Thing: With the help of the Mommas, this is my favorite card ever. I especially love the use of the trifold since it allowed me to use so many pictures! The bible verse is something I came across in the summer when I was looking up verses about hope and joy. I loved it and saved it to use on the card.


So what do the Mommas think? We LOVE it! The card is marvelous! We love that Amy trusted us enough to go beyond her comfort zone. We love that these are images that she will use in her home. We love that this blog inspired, helped, and made this crazy process a little bit easier!!

Get PINspired: We know this post is long, so here is a short sweet look at some fun on Pinterest
1. Wagons make adorable props
2. Navy and Rust are a LOVELY color combo!
3. And, we talked about walking pics before!

Happy Monday, everyone!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mailbox Memories: Going to the Post Office

Hi friends!

If you recall, we introduced Mailbox Memories last Thursday and today we are featuring our first "real" MM post and we are so excited!  Merry Momma Cindy is going to let you into her world a bit and talk about "Going to the Post Office".

Y'all.  I grew up in a small town.  And I don't mean small as in a suburb of some big city that only had one 5A high school.  I mean a real small town.  Like less than 2,500 people, small.  And there were no cities anywhere around, just farm land.  A town where you really did know everyone and everyone knew you (and your parents, and your grandparents).  True story - my 7th and 8th grade science teacher taught both of my parents.  Anyway, I think you get the point.

And this was our post office:

I'm not really sure why, but our town didn't really do "house mailboxes".  A few people had them, but most everyone had a mailbox in the post office.  And the mailboxes were opened with a combination lock that looked almost exactly like this:

One of my most favorite things to do during the summer was ride my bike down to the post office (almost 3 blocks away) and peek into that window and look for mail!  The mail was typically delivered around 11am.  I might have been known to go down to the post office around 10:45am just to check the box.  And then happily go down again around 11:15am if the box was empty on the first attempt.

The post office almost always had one or two people in it and because it was a tiny town (see the first paragraph), I knew them...or they knew me.  It was a place of social activity. It was a place to say hello and catch up on the latest gossip news. It was one of the epicenters of our community.

It was also a place to learn.  I learned how to unlock a combination lock on box 419 in that building.  I learned about far off places in National Geographic and even places right here in Texas Highways. I learned about celebrating life's big moments when wedding, birthday and shower invitations were delivered.  I learned that sending a thank you letter was a wonderful and right thing to do.  Nothing was more fun than finding mail that wasn't typically in there - you know something other than bills and magazines. 

I really do think my LOVE of mail started in that building!  No, I know my LOVE of mail started in that building.

In the early 1990's our town opened a brand new post is a nice building, it's cleaner and has more secure boxes (you could break that glass with a hard finger poke).  But it isn't "MY" post office.  My post office is now home to my home church's outreach program - a place where people can receive food and clothing if there are in need.  They also run a literacy program out of this building.

And I guess that's okay...because for many years, those doors opened a new world to me...and now they are opening a new world to others - just in a different way.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WWLW: FREE STUFF, Edition Valentine's

We are suckers for cute ideas, easy assembly and most of all FREE stuff.

It's true.

With baby #1, you work hard trying to be creative all on your own. Hand baking goodies for the class, the teachers, the mailman, all put together with a custom greeting.

Baby #2, you still try a little and attempt to get the kids to help with idea selection and assembly.

Baby #3? You write a petition for a cease and desist on all gift exchanges for the entire duration of the school year.


Since that isn't going to happen, here are a few of our favorite finds from our sweet friend, Pinny.

Favorite Teacher Ideas:

In our head's, teachers drink tea. 

LOVE this one. For reals. Would also work for end of the year gifts with potentially a B&B gift card?

Favorite Throwbacks:

We think these are super fun!! We also had no idea that "squirt" was still a soda. 

Favorite Trend:

We really mustache...Are you sick of the "mustache?"

Favorite Non-edible:

Merry Momma K actually did this last year and it was a huge hit!

We may have a winner! (Do you know how inexpensive glow sticks are? DOLLAR STORE!)

Favorite Food:

Someone please bring us this for Valentine's Day! The Mommas love a donut!

And just because it's funny:

Tell us! What are your plans for spreading the love? Share your favorite ideas and freebies!! Just leave a comment below!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spreading the Merry with CLOTHES!

Hi!  Merry Momma Cindy, here.  Like Merry Momma Katy, Valentine's Day is a little "eh" for me, too.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE.  And I love all the darling cards that are exchanged in schools across America (and maybe other countries? {do some research on that , Cindy})  I don't really love the crowded restaurants and the overpriced flowers.  Now, I love eating out and getting flowers.  I just don't love paying for them. Ha!

Anyway…back to what the post is really about…you know what I do love about Valentine's Day - the CLOTHES!  What?  You don't buy Valentine's clothes for your kiddos?  Well, this post is for you!  I've got options, lots of options!  And if you have a Valentine wardrobe, share your secrets in the comments - we LOVE comments!

First, we're going to take a quick trip down memory lane and look at the Merry Little Munsons in their Valentine wardrobe.

This picture is from February of 2010 and was taken during Annaliese's 9 month photo shoot with B4 Photography. The fun hair flair is the photographer's and the shirts are from some really fun place that I can't remember. (Sorry!) I printed this picture out and sent it with a traditional Valentine's Day card to our family.  
(I didn't know about Pic Monkey back then!)

In February 2011 we sent these fun cards thanks to the talents photographer and designer Sarah Burns of Butterfly Chaser Photography.  The LOVE and XOXO shirts were made by my mom, who the girls affectionately call Bebe!  Aren't they awesome!  Don't worry if you don't have a seamstress in the family, I have some ETSY links for you below.

And now onto the nonprofessional pics! Caroline's heart shirt is from a local store - And Sew On. You may remember them from our 12 Days of Merry.  The girls have on cute knit dresses from Old Navy in the top right pic.  Old Navy is always a WINNER for holiday themed clothing!  In fact, in the middle picture the big girls' shirts are from there.  Millicent has on embroidered onesie with Baby Legs.  Check them out, there are so fun!  The matching outfits are from Mis-Tee-V-Us.

Now, that's fun and helpful Cindy…but what can I buy today?!?

Well, you're in luck…I did some research and put together outfits for babies, toddlers and kids!

Baby clothing from Old Navy

Toddler Girl clothing from Gap

Toddler Boy from Next Direct

Girl from Crazy 8

Boy clothes from Gymboree

And because there's lot of different fashion taste out there, I found smocked clothing, tutus and personalized and handmade clothing for you to buy too! (You're welcome!) 
Smocked clothes from Vive la Fete

Pettiskirts from Oopsy Daisy Baby

Boy/Girl Tee                  Cool Ladies Man
Kid Scarf                                     Baby Hat

Happy Valentine's Day Wardrobe SHOPPING!

We can't wait to see your pics - post them to our Facebook page on February 14th!
We'll share the MERRY LOVE all day long!

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Monday, January 20, 2014

No monkey about it...

We're friends, right?


And since we are friends, we can tell each other the truth, right?


Well... Valentine's Day isn't really a favorite of Merry Momma K. (Kind of like Halloween). I think the idea behind it has potential, but we don't really buy into it that much.

However, that doesn't mean that we can't spread the love to those near and dear. Valentine's Day is 25 days away so we wanted to give you some ideas on simple ways to share the merry.

The last time we mailed cards to friends was in 2011...

Sarah took this picture as part of Emmy's 6 month photoshoot which was in December. Emmy's shirt had a christmas tree applique that Sarah removed and she turned the photo to black and white and made two different versions of the card (blue/green and pink/orange). 

Simple and sweet. 

You don't have to go crazy or break your bank to make the mailboxes of those you know burst with happiness!

We found this awesome blog that has adorable card designs for only $20.

Or if you don't want to spend money on a design, then check out or design go-to: PicMonkey. Think you can't create something... think again. It is so simple and they have tons of FREE options that you can use. We have the "royal" membership which is about $20/year. 

Step one:
Select a picture - this is one from my phone:

Step 2:
Upload to picmonkey using the "edit a photo" option.

Step 3:
Crop picture according to your preference - I selected 5x7

Step 4:
Select the "themes" option and then select "sweethearts"

Step 5:
You can pick from lots of options - silly faces, photo effects, flowers, etc... I chose "heart overlay" to frame just the faces of the kids...

Step 6: 
Add the finishing touches. I just added a banner and used a cute font and it's ready to send! 

No go spread the LOVE and the merry!

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mailbox Memories

As we mentioned on Monday, we had two huge brain storming sessions during our blogging hiatus and out of those sessions came an idea we are calling MAILBOX MEMORIES!

And now you're totally saying, "What exactly is Mailbox Memories, Merry Mommas?" Right?

Well, Mailbox Memories will be a set of posts on our blog on Thursdays that gives you a glimpse into our lives and the lives of our readers.  It is where we will get a little more personal.  It will also be a place where you - our loyal readers - can get personal with us.

We have two catalysts for Mailbox Memories:

First, we started this blog because we have a LOVE for real mail.  We love everything about it!  We discuss it here.  Mailbox Memories is going to take our love for mail and discuss it even more!  We will talk about what role "mail" plays in our lives.  It's going to be great! 

Second, we LOVE blogs.  We both became addicted about 5 years ago and we still read blogs we started reading then.  Why?  Because the author(s) let us in, they are honest and personable.  They speak with humor and love and realness.  They are captivating because they are authentic and vulnerable.  And we want to create a space like that for all of us to share!  Make sure you check the blog next Thursday for our first Mailbox Memories post!

We hope Mailbox Memories makes you feel like this!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WWLW: Submissions from YOU!


We would like to take this opportunity to once again tell you thank you so much for coming here day after day to read what kind of fun we are sharing. We literally couldn't do this without you.

No really. If it wasn't for you (and you) then there would be nothing to read! We love opening our (virtual) mailbox and seeing what lovely creations you have sent. We are so excited to share all the merry that you have shared with us. Here is a sneak peek of what's coming to the blog...

We know! (in our best Monica Gellar).

But, we need more. Like tons and tons more. And we know that you have it because our real mailboxes were FULL of merry this year. So, come on, merry followers...


We know that you all have some amazing cards, styling tips and fun ideas to share!! So just click on the "submissions" button and follow those simple instructions!

See... everyone is doing it...

You should too!

And not just your Christmas card goodness... birthday invitations, baby announcements, graduation announcements, moving cards...we want it all!!!


So send them in! TODAY!

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