notes to santa.

we haven’t celebrated turkey day yet, but already i feel like i’m behind for christmas! haha! how is that possible!? the only thing i have going for me is that we’ve written down our gift list and thanks to online shopping (the best invention ever) it should be pretty easy to check everything off. i anticipate however, that my children will still be telling me about a new item on their wish list about every 5 minutes from now until christmas eve. as fun and cute as it is to see them so excited it also gets annoying. in a hurry. the solution?  i made some notes so they can tell santa all about it, either in words or drawing, and set out a jar to collect them all until they are “sent” to the north pole.

fingers crossed, it works like a charm and if you want to give it a try there is a link below to download!


(CLICK to DOWNLOAD “note to santa”)

truth be told, we don’t focus too much on the man in the red suit during christmas, but he does make a really good scapegoat! we’re also getting santa pictures taken this year for the first time since espen (now 8) was a baby (can’t wait to share!). how much santa is involved in your christmas time merry making?

happy thanksgiving week friends!

xo . rae




life lately…

lately we’ve been…


…in serious baby heaven, so much so that we’re talking about having a 6th… totally kidding. actually not even an option. but she is out of that colicky stage for the most part and her personality is starting to unfold and i can’t get enough. it does make me wonder if i had a touch of the baby blues with the others. or maybe this is just how you are with the last baby? i don’t know, but whatever it is it’s lovely.


…trying to make the most of the hour or so yoder and i get together after the kids are in bed by planning little date nights in. nothing fancy. it helps that we’re major nerds so it doesn’t take much more than a round of that hand slapping game and something sweet to eat, to qualify as a “date”.

…added some posters to my etsy shop. including the one’s on the wall above!

//click here to go check it out and use code BLOGLOVE20 for 20% off//


…working on some guest blog posts for the land of nod, minted and the effortless chic. the DIY instagram place cards above went live over at the effortless chic yesterday if you want to take a peek? can’t wait to share the rest!


…still trying to decide what wallpaper to put in the family room built-ins and dragging my feet on painting the wall. maybe this weekend? love paint, hate painting.


…i tried a DIY version of wallpaper and worked on a few different samples, but none of them turned out how i pictured in my head so back at square one. maybe i should just order the swiss-cross one and call it good?

….looking forward to a quiet weekend before thanksgiving and hope yours if full of just what you need!

xo . rae


thanksgiving bingo and kids table setting.

in less than two weeks we’ll be kicking off the holiday season with turkey day. can you believe it!? i could not be more excited for the long weekend, extra downtime with family and yummy food. not to mention lots of time spent in the kitchen with the kids and my mama!

to keep things running (sort of) smoothly and the kids entertained at the table when it comes time to eat, i put together these activity cards and teepee place cards. links are below to download….


  • TEEPEE PLACE CARDS – add a few small thanksgiving themes figurines or animals for extra fun!
  • BINGO CARDS - up the ante and bring a few small prizes for the winners!
  • THANKFUL NOTE CARDS – write something your thankful for next to each letter!

these are some of my favorite printables to date — i hope you enjoy and find a way to use them (snap a pic and tag me on instagram if you do – @raeannkelly)!


xo . rae

(images by stacy jacobsen)


3 steps to family photos you’ll love

between all the newborn, family, mini sessions and blog shoots, my family has spent quite a bit of time in front of the camera. while that might not make me an expert i have learned a few tricks along the way that make the process less stressful and the day of way more enjoyable.


1. think ahead – decide what the main purpose is for your pictures (christmas cards, document, gallery wall, etc.). do you want most pictures to be black and white? portrait style? or lifestyle with outtakes? once you know the answer to those things it’s time to do a little daydreaming. (you’ll also want to communicate those things with your photographer!) hop on pinterest for ideas or look through your photographer’s web site. to keep things looking more organic and less staged think simple – a little goes a long way. make a list of props and outfit ideas and then raid your (and your friends’) closets and pullout anything that will work. order or go shopping for anything you don’t have but still think is necessary.

2. prep the kids – i have yet to meet a child that loves participating in family photo sessions. however, i’ve found (especially for the older kids) that if i give lots of notice and reminders about our appointment they are more likely to be good sports about it. picking a bribe or planning something fun to do after pictures also works like a charm.

3. be yo-selves… and trust your photographer – you really want everyone’s personalities to shine through so as long as the kids are following instructions a little, let them be silly (and throw up duces) or shy and snuggly.  i also find that if i stay upbeat and playful the rest of my crew tends to fallow suit and play along. when all else fails take a deep breath and trust your photographer – it’s not the first time they’ve worked with a child that refused to smile, etc.!

// LAST THOUGHTS // keep personalities and personal style in mind when picking outfits. everyone does better and looks more natural when they feel comfortable in what they are wearing. also if you want the family to look put together without being too matchy, matchy try picking a neutral palette and then adding a couple different pops of color and some texture. lastly, if it’s important to you, book nail and hair appointments in advance so your not running around like crazy the day before!

here’s to beautiful (low-fuss) family photos you’ll love.

if you have more tips please share in the comments!

xo . rae

//all pics by stacy jacobsen//


the easiest nightlight DIY

a few weeks ago i was asked by a blogger friend and her team to stage and take pictures of a few different kid friendly spaces (for a book, eek!). only catch? the deadline was just a week away. so i scrambled, dealt with some self doubt and almost told them i couldn’t do it. i mean, what if they didn’t like what i put together!? so silly because i’m pretty sure life would still go on. fear is such a powerful thing. i think i let it get the best of me more often than i realize but i’ll save that for another post maybe? anywho, in the end i sent them what they asked for and they seemed to love it. we’ll see if any of the pics get used!


during the process of piecing together the spaces i was able to do a few very quick, simple and cheap DIYs (the best kind!). my favorite being this word nightlight. it’s now at home over tilly’s bed and  is her new “best” room accessory. here’s how to DIY…


  • 7 foot strand of firefly lights  // i used soft white, battery operated strand sold at our local craft store for $8 but you can also find all different kinds on amazon and longer strands at urban outfitters and west elm.
  • washi tape or small pins for hanging.
  • batteries


  1. pick a shape or word (ideas below). working on a flat surface, shape the wire accordingly. if making a shape, you might want to double up on the strand or go around the shape twice.
  2. find a spot and hang it up!



a few ideas.

what kind of DIYs are you favorite?

xo . rae


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