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A couple weeks ago we celebrated Poppy’s first Bday. I have to be honest and say big 1st Birthday parties are not my thing. I mean, all the people, cake, and excitement is a lot for a little one and you just never know how they will respond. So we typically keep things small with just Grandparents or another family. But this year Poppy turned one while we were on our annual camping trip with friends and it seemed like the perfect excuse to plan a special party for her with some of her favorite people.

Plus, we’ve survived the first year of having 5 kids which deserves a party. And a vacation but I’ll take what I can get at this point!


Who needs decorations with a destination party (ha!) and view of the Puget Sound so we kept them simple and on-par for any party I throw… balloons! I leveraged the oodles of hungry kids hanging out to help blow and hang balloons. Nothing fancy, but festive enough.

Regardless of decorations (or lack there of) cute plates, napkins, straws and a dressed up highchair are a must! We used these (really, really) cute plates, napkins, cake plate (to hold waffles) and garland from Land of Nod and neon straws and cups with lids from amazon. Wish there was a reusable version of those plates. I would buy them in a heartbeat!


Breakie is my favorite meal to share with friends and family and the easiest to cook for in my opinion. We set up a waffle bar with sprinkles, whip cream, strawberries and chocolate chips and stacked a few sections with toppings for Poppy’s “cake”. She loved it.

We also made this yummy egg bake, bacon and fruit plates.


You know she likes the food when you see tootsies on her tray.


Every party needs a game (or two) and goodie bags. We killed two birds with one stone with a piñata later that evening. It was a fun way to end the celebration.

Thank you to all of our friends who celebrated Poppy’s first year with us! And to our friend Dee for documenting the day (and entire trip!) in photos. So blessed by you all.

Happy weekend guys!

XO, Rae





Itsums has quickly become my favorite online resources for planning parties, home dec projects and wardrobes. I used it with the girl’s room makeover and my summer capsule and finished on budget and just this week started boards for the kids’ back to school clothes. Usually around this time I start filling up my online shopping carts and then end over spending, getting too much for one of the kids (usually Tilly) or purchasing items that don’t necessarily work well together. Needless to say I’m excited to be more organized and on budget this year!

In the spirit of back to school and staying on budget, I’ve partnered with itsums to giveaway (1) $75 gift card to one lucky winner (finger’s crossed it’s you! :)

Enter to win by using  T H I S   L I N K  to start your own itsums account. Contest closes Sunday, August 16th at 8am PST. I’ll announce the winner here and then a direct email will be sent to the winner from my friends at itsums.


If your in the mood for some BTS shopping inspiration, take a peek at the kids’ (approved) boards. At the moment they are all over budget so I’ll be doing some editing or holding out for some sales before purchasing!

Griffin’s Board // Tilly’s Board // Espen’s Board

Since the weather stays nice through the middle of October I typically purchase a few things for back to school and then add layers later in the year.

What’s your strategy for back to school shopping?

good luck and happy hump day!



PS – I know you will love itsums but want to mention that they are in the beta stage and gladly welcome any feedback you might have after using.




I’ve been talking about the girl’s shared room makeover forevvvver (it seems) and today finally have photographic evidence to share. Yay! The girls and really everyone in the family is enjoying their bright cheery room. It’s been fun seeing it used for playtime and reading.

I somehow finagled my husband into helping me paint the girls room white and it made all the difference. Here’s a small peek at what it looked like before and a hanging plant DIY that didn’t make the final room.

I’ll give details as I go and link sources at the very bottom!


The view from their door. Obsessed with this striped rug from Land of Nod. It stays nicely in place and cheers up the carpet :). Decorative pillows rarely stay on beds around here so floor pillows it is which are usually accompanied by an array of books and dress up clothes. There might also be several plush animals and a Mariner’s baseball bobble head being held hostage in the closet. Maybe.


A quick and easy to make yarn wallhanging Tilly helped me with keeps Poppy company during diaper changes.


A random display of pictures, prints, notes and trinkets over Tilly’s bed makes it easy for her to switch or add things as she wishes. We opted for washi tape to hang things on her cork-board (and sometimes wall) and arranged a stack of different colors and patterns in her house shelf.



A simple and inexpensive ($6!) pendant light wrapped around a cute wall hooks from Land of Nod, next to Tilly’s bed. Pretty smitten with this shake it off downloadable print as well.


A cut and sew fabric project adds a nice touch.


Poppy has been our most challenging sleeper (non-sleeper is more like it) and is still waking up at night so the sleepy eye decals and light box message seem highly appropriate and makes me giggle often. When you haven’t slept many full nights in over a year being silly is essential.


A handmade sign I made for Poppy’s original nursery. Love it and will share a template soon. Maybe for back to school?


Love this point of view from the closet.

I’m clearly addicted to garlands as there are three in this one pic and I would gladly add more. It’s like a little pop of party wherever they hang.


I feel the same way about pom-pom trim so glued  some to the bottom of the drum shade.


A couple wall hooks to hang Tilly’s next-day outfits and some necklaces. The top bin of the cart holds other accessories and hair things.


Cute succulents in the (dirty) window. There has been so much construction going on around our house I think all of them look like this. Probably time to get the pressure washer out!

// S O U R C E S //

FURNITURE: twin bed frame, crib, cart, white chair

TEXTILES: duvet, twin sheets, crib sheet, grey blanket (a favorite!), changing pad cover (old but love this one), crib quilt (on the chair, by my talented mama!)

PILLOWS: fur, striped (fabric from IKEA), cube

DECOR: sleepy eye decalsfloor catch-all, drum shade (pom-pom trim added), hanging pendant light, cloud garland, grey garland, flag garlandstriped rug, curtains (old, similar)

WALL DECOR: house shelf, mirror, #shinanigans poster, shake it of print, arrow print and Ruth print (coming soon to the shop), pineapple print (part of JDC paperworks), cork-board, fruit wall hooks, light box

DIY’s: yarn wallhanging (lots of cute options on pinterest), hooray pendant pillow, pop-tart banner (alphabet template coming soon), moose antlers (from some holiday kid crafts I put together for

I probably left some details out so please comment if you have questions!

XO, Rae

P.S. — A GIANT shoutout to my girl Emily for taking pics of the girl’s room for me. If your not familiar with Jones Design Company your in for a treat. I suggest starting with a look at her home!




It’s been quite the week around here. Johan and the three older kids left for summer camp on Sunday so I (the luckiest girl in the world) got to spend the last 96 hours with these two sweethearts. My babies. Griffin and Poppy. I was all excited about being able to have some uninterrupted-by-big-kids-time with them and we ended up having a fantastic week but holly molly you guys…. I know 5 kids is no joke but being at home with two little kids is not much easier.

While there are plenty of things to appreciate about this season of parenting (hello 8 o’clock bedtime, mid-day naps and cheap entertainment – little kids are the funniest!) when they were up it was game on and there was no one around to help entertain them. I had totally forgotten what this was like, but quickly remembered and immediately planned playdates, thought of reasons to go to target, went for a run (anything that required strapping kids in!) and several parks, thought of reasons to go to Starbucks, found a kid friendly place to have dinner, and waited for the clock to say 7PM every night so we could start tubbies.


It was a nice change from our usual routine but I’m tired and just want to say GOOD JOB! to all you mamas of little ones. You deserve a pat on the back, dance party, and mani-pedi. You are doing a good job even when tantrums say otherwise. I hope you feel important, loved and appreciated. It might be hard to see the fruits of your labor, but it’s coming in the form of big kids who will blow you away with their wittiness, creativity and love for others. I know you probably hear this in every checkout line but it’s true, enjoy those chubby fingers, slobbery faces, mispronounced words and nap times while you can because the days are long but the months and years fly by.

Speaking of funny kid lingo, Griffin spent most of the week wearing Ozzie’s Beats and calling them “BEEPS” which made my heart laugh and melt at the same time. Any silly things being said around your house lately?

Happy, happy weekend!

XO, Rae



Summer is almost halfway through and I have the pile of beach towels, messy kitchen, dirty feet, bickering kids and loads of pictures to prove it! As crazy as summertime is with all the kids home nothing beats the sunshine, chill vibes, yummy fruit and extra playtime with my peeps.

Here are a few things (and mishaps) we’ve been up to since school got out, according to Instagram and my iPhone.


//Summer birthday party planning.//We said adios to the threenager stage (fingers crossed) when Griffin turned 4 earlier this week!//We finished up the girl’s room. Pictures coming soon.//Watermelon + cookie cutters = cheap entertainment//Perty blooms from a friends yard = friends with benefits//New work projects. YAY!//


//KIDCATION to LEAVENWORTH, WA with stacy and her boys.//Kidcations have become one of my favorite traditions (see others 1/2) and was the perfect getaway to celebrate the end of school year.//We swam at the community pool, ate lots of pizza and hot dogs, started a kickball pick-up game and generally speaking let the kids be kids while us moms hungout and watched.//


//Espen and Tilly both passed beginning swimming which is a huge fete since neither of them are very natural in the water. Proud mama moment!//


//We’ve been to the farmer’s market a couple times this summer. Our last visit was more about the kids eating shaved ice (the sidewalk ate most of it!) and running around at the playground and less about picking out fresh food. Our market gets so busy it stresses me out trying to maneuver through the crowd and stands while keeping everyone together so this was a nice solution. Next time I’ll go with a smaller crew… or maybe as a date with my boo!? (rhyming is cool)//


//4th OF JULY was magical. The end.//


//BLUEBERRY PICKING was also a highlight of the summer. We ate as much as we picked and the kids enjoyed the entire process!//


//Every year without fail something begins to happen around mid-summer. We all get a little sick of each other so the bickering begins. My solution is to do one of two things, send everyone to a quite space to read or build legos or get out of the house and DO something. Here are a few things that have worked for us. Not that they are very original or creative.//Bike rides.//Bracelet making.//Nearby trails close to water and lots of shade.//Tennis courts.//

Basically our summer (so far) in a nutshell minus a few outings not pictured. We have one other stay-cation planned that’s coming up and 4 birthdays to celebrate but other than that  this is pretty much what the rest of our summer will look like.

What’s been your favorite activity this summer!?

XO, Rae



Summertime Stroller Workout

It’s challenging enough to fit a workout in while the kids are in school and with everyone home now for the summer 24/7-ish it’s hasn’t gotten any easier. So I asked my super fit friend, trainer and health guru, Tori, to help put together a workout routine the kids can tag along for either in a stroller, on bikes or at the park!

Excited to share what we came up with and a free printable to make it even easier, below:



Here is an example of something I might pick for a workout:

  • Cardio: 2 minute run
  • Exercises: BURPEES//overhead squat (with poppy as weight)//kettlebell swings (with poppy as weight)//crunches
  • Reps: Pyramid (12, 9, 6, 3, 1)
  • Repeat: 5x or 1 pyramid sequence

BREAKDOWN: so I would run for 2 minutes with the jogger, stop and do 12 burpees, 12 overhead squats using Poppy as my weight, 12 kettlebell swings with Poppy as my weight and 12 crunches (with Poppy most likely crawling over me :). Then run again for 2 minutes, stop and do 9 burps, 9 overhead squats with Poppy, 9 kettle bell swings with Poppy, and 9 crunches. Run again for 2 minutes and then stop and do 6 of each exercise, etc.  Make sense?

YouTube is chockfull of exercise videos so search there if you need a how-to visual. Be sure to start easy and build from there. I always try to remind myself that working out is more about progress, endorphins and being a good example for my kids then getting a six-pack in one day.

If working out is not your thing try inviting a friend (or 5) because there is power and encouragement (and silliness) in numbers. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

XO . Rae

A HUGE thanks to Tori for helping out with this post! If you are local and looking for a gym we LOVE and highly recommend Doxsa Crossfit. They do an amazing job and always have new classes and programs going on. You can even try it out for free and kids are welcome. Maybe I’ll see you there? 




We’ve been busy getting summer-ready around here, including (and mostly) our closets! The closets in our new house are quadruple the size of the ones at our old house which is amazing except that things tend to pile up and get lost. I’ve been finding all kinds of stuff taking up space that is either too small or not getting used. The purging feels so good and also has me thinking about putting together capsule wardrobes for myself and the kids…. although I guess kids have capsule wardrobes naturally since they grow out of things so quickly but I  could definitely be better about planning what I purchase for them. At the moment I’m pretty sure we have enough graphic tees to cloth a small village.

While I’m not convinced that it would actually save us money it would certainly save us time in the morning and make packing for summer getaways a cinch. Fingers crossed it would solve the, I’ve got nothing/not sure what to wear, feeling because in the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”


Anyone else thought of or tried putting together a capsule wardrobe or know someone that has? Would love to know your thoughts!

XO . Rae

P.S. – Hoping to get the summer tattoo freebies and other summery things posted tomorrow!


send someone a happy text.


a week ago today my sweet friend vanessa, her husband josh and their 8 month old (poppy’s future hubs) hudson went to be with Jesus. it was tragic, sudden and left a lot of people heartbroken. they were seriously amazing. always playing, laughing, encouraging and loving. the best kind of people and they were our people.

here is a blurb from a blog post vanessa wrote that sums up just how encouraging she was: “i want to seize every opportunity to brag excessively about people. i want the words that come from my lips to be so uplifting of the people around me that they can fly high on the things I say. every day and every moment is a chance to celebrate people.”

gives me the good kind of goosebumps.

aside from being poppy’s future mother in law, vanessa was also ozzie’s youth pastor and my lifeline to the teenage years. i’m so thankful for the playdates, text messages, laughter, conversations and time i had with her and her brood. there are no words to describe how much they will be missed.

in honor of vanessa i thought i’d share a freebie for something she was so good at — making people feel awesome about themselves. download these cute images to send with a text message:

// you make my heart HHAAPPYY // OMG you da best // hey GIRL, hey. //

i cannot tell you how often i think something sweet about a loved one, friend or neighbor and never share it with them. while a cute image isn’t necessary it makes it just that much more fun… sorta like emojicons :)

here’s to celebrating people and loving well!

xo . rae

(image by stacy jacobsen)


hello from spring break.


all the babes (+ their buds) are home for spring break and i obviously haven’t found anytime to blog this week so i thought i would write a quick note to say hey, hey, friends… i’ll be back in the game on monday.

until then, i hope you have an amazing easter! i’ll be kickin’ it with the littles in our church nursery and then heading home to host a mexican feast… so not traditional, but delicious, fun and easy. what about you?

here’s a few links to past easter freebies and projects if you want to take a peek:

// freebie tags + stickers // stamped eggs // fabric eggs //

ohhhh, and i’ve been adding new designs to the shop that i’m super excited about. they’ve turned out pretty cute and in addition to the instant downloads (for $5) you can now let us do the printing and shipping (for free)!

xo . rae

ps – love this quote for easter, “all our estate of misery & sin Jesus has taken; & all that Jesus has comes to us.” by,  C.H. Spurgeon found on the she reads truth instagram feed. :)


DATE NIGHT IN // No. 2, family room fort

johan and i have never been that great about getting out of the house sans kids. in fact, even when we were dating we would usually grab brunch after church or head to a sporting event with ozzie (then 4) in-tow. not much has changed except the size of our brood but when a few weeks ago tilly called us out for having “mean chats” (5 kids and sleep deprivation will do that, ha!), johan and i decided we could really use some consistent date nights. to keep things more doable for our budget and babysitters, we thought it would be fun to take turns planning a date night in once a week after the kids are tucked in. we already do this from time to time (example) and love it so i can hardly wait to look forward to it each week.


since it will naturally turn into a (friendly) competition of who plans the best dates i’ve gone ahead and done some brainstorming. here’s my first idea:

BUILD a fort using sheets and then make it extra cozy with blankets (on sale) + pillows.

WEAR something cute + cozy like these skinny boyfriend jeans and floral sweatshirt (both on sale!).

EAT yummy cupcakes like these butter pecan ones. store-bought definitely works too!

PLAY a fun board game or make up a silly song. neither of us can play an instrument but a rap would be hilarious. (ukulele)

DECORATE with balloons, lights or any banners you have around the house. (lights + little or big balloons)

what do you usually do for date night? do you stay in, or go out?

xo . rae


that mom life and working from home with kids.

working from home does not happen without it’s fair share of growing pains. in the midst of flu and cold season  (end soon, please!) adjusting to 5 kids in very different age brackets and the constant juggle of coordinating 7 schedules it’s become painfully obvious to me that growing pains are happening and my work from home methods need an upgrade. before i start searching for new tips, tricks and habits i think it’s important to reflect on the things that have been effective over the last several years.


(top photo: griffin 12 mo., bottom photo: poppy, 6 wks.)

so i though i would share some things that work for me. hopefully they inspire or encourage you even if you don’t work from home because the struggle is real and no matter what your life/kids/work life looks like we’re all in it together!

focus on BETTER because things will never be perfect – there are bound to be frustrations in life especially when it comes to this work/life/family/home/everything-else set up because things just tend to overlap when you have a family. for me right now it’s poppy’s sleep schedule. as in she is still not sleeping through the night at 7 months. not even close. sometimes i daydream about how much more i’ll be able to get done when i finally get a full nights sleep but the truth is that a full nights sleep won’t magically allow me to breeze through my to do list. so instead i try to focus on being better about her bedtime routine and better at how i use the time i do have while she is sleeping.  for you maybe your frustrated about how you ship out your products, your husbands work schedule or wanting a gym membership. instead of focusing on how perfect it will be when…, consider small things that can be done to make the situation a little bit better.

just start – remember those days in high school and college when a giant test or project was due the next day and instead of studying you found yourself cleaning your room all night? i get that same urge when a big design project or my to-list has me feeling totally overwhelmed. instead of giving in (because a clean house does nothing for my to do list) i have found that the best solution for overwhelm is to first pray and then start small (open a file, play with fonts, send that email, etc.). maybe your waiting for all the outer chaos (kids schedules, messy house, non-sleeping baby) to calm down before you start on what you really want to do (open an etsy shop, take a photography workshop //like this everyday one i’m teaming up with stacy to do with you!// , volunteer for a ministry at church…) but the truth is life with kids is busy and full and it always will be. (even when they are grown i think!) but the good news is that baby steps matter. they create momentum and that’s really all you need.

1. rule of thirds, 2. putting things on the calendar and 3. setting a timer – here’s the breakdown.

  1. i used to resist putting only three things on my to-do list each day thinking that surrendering to such a small number meant i wasn’t ambitious. thankfully i have learned that it’s possible to be realistic and ambitious. besides, adding 3 things to my usual responsibilities is a lot. here’s an example 1. write, edit and email blog post, 2. design and send proof to client, 3. upload fabric designs and order samples. for all the other projects and tasks that come up i keep a running list so they don’t distract me and i’m able to pick the next thing when my top 3 are done!
  2. it’s simple really. if it’s important then it belongs on a calendar.  i usually reserve this for personal projects that are easy to postpone. it also adds a little accountability because if i add a three hour block to our family google calendar that says, “take and edit pictures for the design shop” my husband sees it and will ask me why i’m folding laundry instead of taking pictures (see “just start” above).
  3. i should probably use this one more (it would be perfect for writing blog posts!) but it really comes down to the idea that we use as much time as we have. the best example i can think of is running errands. i can easily take 2 hours in target when i only have 6 things on my shopping list or get the same 6 things in 30 minutes if that all the time i have in between preschool carpool and baseball practice. the same thing can often apply to work and creative projects.

own it…. i’m a stay at home mom that happens to work while my kids are sleeping or at school. it sounds so awkward and it was until i started taking myself seriously and owned what i am – a work from home mom. it also allowed everyone else in my life to take me, my office hours, projects and ideas seriously – except maybe the kids. mine still don’t really believe that i “work”, HA! one day when they have money in their college fund, they will thank me. maybe.

but first, pray… i mentioned it above but it’s worth saying again. quite simply, i am more and can do more when i’m doing it with God. when i make Him first and ask for His help and when i look to his word for wisdom. this is so easy to forget unless i start my day this way.

so i’m feeling like i could keep going – like forever – on this topic but really i would love to hear what works for you or what your hangups are? please share in the comments!

i also want to invite you to take a photography and design workshop with me and my photo savvy friend, stacy! we did our best to keep it affordable and useful for everyday life and/or for building a creative business. it’s a great place to “focus on better”, “just starting” and “owning it” and i would LOVE to see your there! head here for all the details. you will not be disappointed!

xo . rae