Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Good Tidings...

Who: The Hot Mess Munsons - Josh, Cindy, Caroline, Annaliese and Millicent

Location: Lick Creek Park; College Station, TX

Clothes: Gap, Inc. should totally pay us. The only items not from Banana, Gap or Old Navy are my scarf and our shoes. Oh, and Annaliese's necklace - it came from Charming Charlie's and the hair flair - Caroline's hair pin is from MMK's stash of fun hair supplies and Millicent's headband is from Icing.

Designer: Nichole Quick of Quick Design Company

Photographer: Again, you may have heard of her... Sarah Burns of Butterfly Chaser Photography.

Favorite Thing: You may recall our card from last year; we LOVED it…but it was a lot. This year I knew I wanted only one image on the front and when Sarah emailed me the pics I knew this was the winner. I am a sucker for good back lighting! And like almost every other person in America, I am in love with the large loopy glittery (or foil pressed) message scrolled delightfully across an image and when a Merry Momma sees something she likes, she runs with it. We chose to use the phrase "Good Tidings" (which is a little different than the normal Merry Christmas we use) because really the message of Christmas for us is about the good news…the news that Jesus Christ was born, died for our sins and then rose again. And, because we MM are all about the honesty, I LOVE our outfits. Many, many, many a text were sent to MM Katy and Sarah about these clothes. I think Jesus likes them too. And Jesus likes tattoos…if you look closely you can see the girls' tats on their arms/hands. (Don't worry, they're fake!)

Extras: Every year Josh writes our year-in-review… I love that he does this and I love that he made people gasp a little this year (and I have received quite a few texts about this poem's ending! ha!)

How can you recreate this card: There are two key elements to this card - coordinating outfits and great sunlight. To achieve the look you want, start early and seek advice. I started working with the color scheme and knew I wanted navy and hunter green, I found the scarf online and it just popped out out me. So then I just started working from the scarf. I had Caro in a white shirt for a bit, but after sending a pic to Katy and Sarah we all agreed it was too much of a contrast and I went on a hunt for a coral shirt. I choose this scheme because it will go well in our home. Turns out it looks pretty good on a Christmas card too. And lighting…y'all…dawn or dusk are best. Talk with your photographer and be on time…20 minutes later and the pics look completely different.

Get PINspired:

Parks and woods are great for the outdoorsy look -

Both pictures are from Heather Armstrong Photography

And Minted and Tiny Prints have great single pic cards with delightful sayings options:

Good Tidings y'all! 
I hope 2015 is full of good news for you and your family!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

JOYful, JOYful...

Who: We 5 Kings: Ryan, Katy, Radley, Emersyn and Landry

Location: Our home in College Station - and looks can be deceiving. Ryan We actually moved our bedroom furniture into the living room for the light. Y'all... you gotta do what you gotta do. Totally worth it. 

Clothes: If you noticed, we went totally generic and cliche with the all white. I kind of like to mix things up a bit. I got the girls darling cotton dresses at Next and Radley's shorts from who knows, but all the other things were in our closets. (Or Cindy's).

Designer: Me and my friend, the Monkey. I converted the pics to black and white and then just used simple, clean fonts so the focus would stay on the images.  

Photographer: You may have heard of her, Sarah Burns from Butterfly Chaser Photography

Favorite Thing: This is us in our element and I love that. I love the clean look of the black and white images and the tiny pop of red. I love that the kids faces are lit up with pure JOY. Unrehearsed, unsolicited, unthreatened (ha!) JOY. (I also love that Ryan okayed the picture of him with feathers on top of his head.) 

Extras: We debated on a card filled with pictures from the shoot or just a single photo. We loved the shots of us and the kids, so I incorporated them into our letter and kept them in color. We really did have a year filled with JOY.

How can you recreate this card: Easy. Be you. Do something in your element weather it's outdoors or indoors - lifestyle shoots are great to capture just who you are. (And the kids are a little more agreeable when they aren't posing so much).  (It also helped that we were all ridiculously tan... we took these pics waaaaayyyy back in July, y'all.) (July.) (I have had this card planned in my head since July.) (SMH at myself). 

Get PINspired: Here are some of my favorite other lifestyle shoots I found after chatting it up with my girl, Pinny.

Lifestyle Ideas:
Instead of feathers, have the kids throw their favorite stuffed animals

Let's discuss how amazingly adorable this family of 3 is, mmkay?

I was actually pinspired to take this shot and I can't wait to hang it on a wall.

Christmas Theme:
Love this caption - perfect! (And she gives a great "how to")

This is cute and worth the effort of dragging a bed outside...

This would be perfect for "all snuggled in bed" card.

And with that, I think I'm going to get snuggled into bed myself!

Merry Christmas, Y'all! May it be joyful and merry indeed!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

FRIDAY FUN - Guest Post from Kathryn

Y'all…this blogger world thing is amazing! You may recall last week we hosted Britt of The Fisk Files…well, one of her friends - Kathryn - email us to say hi and in the first line of her email she mentioned that Christmas cards are her LOVE LANGUAGE. Y'all. The MERRY MOMMAS just about died. Died. Christmas cards are so very much our love language and we were so so happy to talk to "one of us". Well, turns out Kathryn is a blogger and an Aggie - clearly we have to be friends. We chatted a bit more and insisted she be a guest blogger for us and she said yes…

So without further ado here's Kathryn of Team Whitaker!

Be sure to follower her! AND, check out this post!

If Christmas cards are a love language, then they are most certainly mine.

Since my husband and I married 18 years ago, sending out annual cards has become a family tradition. The list has evolved as we’ve moved to different states, made new friends and added family members to the tree.
For me, it’s always been about the connections. While I love a good card with a beautiful photo, I absolutely adore the updates from friends and family members. Hearing about job promotions, vacations, special family memories and great stories is the highlight of our holiday season. And, being able to pray for someone who has had a particularly difficult year is our family’s honor. I’ve even been known to hunt down the perfect Hanukkah stamp for my Jewish friends.

You see, in an effort to help our kids know why these people, with all the smiling kids and cute pets, send us greetings every December, we hold on to those cards all year. At dinner each night, we pull out a card or two, re-read it, reminisce and pray for that family. Trust me when I tell you there is a race to pick out “the” card each evening. Bruises may, or may not, be involved.

In an age of social media and instant gratification, some may say that cards are so passé. I beg to differ. I’m a graphic designer, so putting together our card is a labor of love. But, the true joy comes from gathering the kids together to help me assemble them and then placing all that joy in the mailbox. Well, let’s be honest, the boys just want the glory of mailing them, the girls are my workhorses. We skip to the mailbox everyday to see what new update awaits, which smiling faces will greet us and how we can witness the love and grace of Christ in other people’s lives. For us, Christmas cards are an experience to be cherished and loved, not a checkbox on the to-do list.

We share bits and pieces of the kids’ year, often with a re-cap of an ER visit or our annual family vacation. There are lots of photos and our traditional wish that everyone has a healthy, happy, family-filled, Christ-filled new year.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it?

(Photos by Shannon Cunningham of Photo Frolic)

Mommas here - how AWESOME is their tradition of keeping the cards out ALL YEAR LONG and using them to pray over families. We love this idea - anyone else do this or something similar? Let us know in the comments below!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WWLW: Card Display (pt 2)

This is a repost from last year and one of our most popular pins. Make sure to read again, we added new ideas. And go ahead and share the merry by pinning the first picture to your favorite pinterest board. 

The time is fast approaching when your mailboxes start to become STUFFED chalk full of merry. If you are anything like us, checking the mailbox beginning on December 1 is a major highlight of the day - so much so that no one else is allowed to check the contents first.

So, now that you have all that merry in your hands - what do you DO with those cards? 
We are here to help!

1. Frames - A great way to reuse something you already have! Or an inexpensive investment via Goodwill or any "dollar store". 

2. Repurposed Items - Recycling is a good thing - so why not recycle some items you already have? You can usually get pallets for free at a local lumber yard, branches fall out of trees all the time ;), barn wood, chicken wire, and shutters are also pretty easy to find when antiquing!

3. Wreaths - Not going to lie, some of these are kind of intimidating and require some work, but we LOVE the idea of having a display that keeps your cards preserved for years. 

Clockwise from top right: Good HousekeepingBetter Homes & GardensCrafty Sy

4. Wire holders - You've probably seen these everywhere. Merry Momma K found hers at World Market last year and LOVES it. 

5. Non hanging display - Not everyone has a ton of free wall space in their home. (And we are not fans of the "let's just tape these cards to the wall" kind of display. Sorry.) Make a book, use some glass canisters, or set under the glass top on a table - these are the perfect alternative!!

Clockwise from top left: FlickrBH&GPinterest Image

6. Evergreens - What a great excuse to put up one more tree during the holidays! And while we don't have homes with stairs, those of you that do should totally use that space to share the merry! 

Clockwise from top: Sunny Side UpBH&GPure Style Home

7. Cutest display of all time - Seriously. This is happening. Especially since you are all going to mail us hard copies of your cards, right??

8. Wood you please... (see what I did there?) These are super cute ideas, especially if the Merry Man (or woman) in your life is looking for a project to do. Love the 2x4 card holder and we clearly need one more "pallet project" to add to our lists!

9. Light'em Up!... We love the thought of making those cards shine by giving them extra light. Find a wall, a door way or maybe even a table, string some lights and let the love shine! (Disclaimer - these were inspired by dorm rooms.) (Carry on.)

10. Tied up with string... It's no surprise that Christmas cards are our favorite thing! We love the thought of tying them up with string in a window... especially if that window is the eyes to some falling snow. 

Clockwise from left:  The Lilly PadWalMartCountry Living 

Do you have any other ideas for displaying your cards? We'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment below!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Merry Monday from the Merry Mommas...

Me and Merry Momma C may have had a little too much fun this weekend...

Clearly some words to live by. ;)

In case you are still thinking about what your card needs to look like this year - this is a SUPER easy, SUPER cute idea. 

Needed items: White wall or butcher paper, black marker, yard stick

We took this picture at a city sponsored event, so we didn't have the best set-up. We were standing facing the sun which necessitated sun glasses, but they would be a super cute prop to add as well. I uploaded the pictures to PicMonkey and made "the card" in about 4 minutes. 

For more ideas, click here!

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Festive Friday with the Jacksons

Who: The Jacksons - Tom, Katy, Blake (5), Ally (5), Addison (1) and Bailey (1)

Location: The porch at Christopher's World Grille in Bryan, Texas

Clothes: The girls are in Old Navy and Blake's outfit is from Dillard's and Cavender's.

Designer: Nichole Quick of Quick Design Company

Photographer: Jenny Livingston with JML Photography

Katy's Comments: I wanted a traditional card, but I didn't want to use red and green because I wanted to be able to use the pictures in my house all year round. Black and white is always a safe bet and I really love the pop of red!

Katy's Favorite Thing: My favorite this about this card is that by some miracle all four kids are looking at the camera AND smiling!!!!! HAHAHA! With two sets of twins….this is almost unheard of!

Merry Mommas' Thoughts: Two. Sets. Of. Twins. We are going to repeat that. TWO. SETS. OF. TWINS. That is just awesome! And they are just darling! Way to go MOMMA! You are a rock star! Okay, now that we have discussed the two sets of twins (we can't stop saying that!) let's talk about this card. We love it. We love the kids outfits, they coordinate so well and it is cute to have the baby twins matching! And the smiles…sweet and genuine. We love the tie in of the old painted wood barn and the wood floor of the porch at Christopher's - great job Nichole! This card makes us smile, thanks for sharing Katy!

Be sure to check out our PINTEREST boards for more 4 sibling fun and barn wood!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WWLW: Guest Bloggers - The Fisk Files

You know WHAT WE LOVE (Wednesday)? Guest Bloggers! Today's guest blogger is Britt Fisk of The Fisk Files. The Merry Mommas have known Britt since college and we absolutely adore her and her precious kids, and Jeremy, too!

Thanks so much for sharing Britt…

Thanks for letting me guest post today, ladies!  I've always been a huge fan of Christmas cards.  I love sending them, but I love receiving them even more.  When Jeremy and I first got married, we sent a card of the two (well, three!) of us, announcing our pregnancy that first Christmas together.  Then year-by-year we did a few things differently here and there. Sometimes the card included the whole family, others just the kids.  However, I've seen a theme emerge.  I'm a one-picture kind of girl.  I love collages from others, and I think the accordion style Christmas cards are so fun, but this is us. 

This year, it's a photo of just the's just easier for me that way.  I can snap the pic, and we're good to go. So, at the end of October, we headed down to the creek.  Jeremy helped me get the bench (and the kids!) set up.

This one was a contender...

This was a bit too far away for me...

And, I almost went with a black and white.  Gosh, I love a good black and white.

But, this is what we chose...

I'm a sucker for a foil pressed card. 

Plus, I love to give a tiny update, directing friends to more on our blog.

This year, I even uploaded my addresses I had on hand at the time so Minted could print my envelopes (for free).  It's a time saver for sure.  I bought a few extra envelopes, thank goodness, because I have already found a few misspellings on my end.  Oops!

The cards hit the mail this week, and we wait for the afternoon mail delivery to see what cards we can open together each of the highlights of our days this Advent season.

Throughout the year, Your Merry Mailbox gives hundreds of ideas for your next Christmas/Holiday card.  They've picked amazing ones to showcase, and reading the posts feels a tiny bit like the joy of ripping open the envelopes that hold those priceless cards.

They asked what makes me merry...hugging my little ones, a warm cup of coffee, the support of my loving husband, the assurance that there's a greater plan, a cozy blanket on the cold Winter days, messages from sweet friends, and letters in the mail...among many others.

Merry Christmas to you!

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