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WHEN IN DOUBT, HEAD TO THE BEACH!

That is exactly what we did over the long weekend and it’s safe to say we played hard and had lots of fun! Johan had to be back at work on Monday so our weekend was cut short a bit, but Saturday and Sunday we packed up and spent time at my parent’s house and lake. Between our work schedules lately (yay for those hard working daddies!) and the boy’s baseball, two full days together felt like pure bliss!

A few pics from our time together…

Griffin rarely lets me out of his sight (a serious clinger) unless he has a friend around and then I’m NBD. Makes me appreciate more and more the time I have him all to myself. One day he’ll be taller and busier and it will be harder to steal kisses so you know what I’ll be doing in the meantime!

I know from experience… You’ll notice Oz isn’t in any pics. He and a friend were with us but taking pictures of  16 year old boys is hard if not impossible. Unless of course it’s a snapchat pic from their phones (sighhhh).  On the upside, teenage boys are highly entertaining and fun to be around!

I mentioned on Instagram that we haven’t quite mastered the art of family bike rides. However, my parent’s neighborhood is a really good place to practice. Everyone grabs something with wheels and we hit the road — abandoning ride-on toys, kissing scraped knees, and looking like a hot mess as we go.

It’s my favorite thing to hang back a bit and watch the beautiful mess of it all while kindly shouting every once in awhile for people to slow down, stay together, be careful, and don’t go past the…. Ha! Maybe I’m the reason our bike rides/walks feel so chaotic?! Either way, when it’s not stressing me out, it’s the best view.

Still in swimsuits at 8pm… What summer dreams are made of!

5th child ^^^ The FOMO is real.

There’s that view!

Day 2 looked a lot like day 1…

Tilly trying to persuade me to hop on a paddle board with her the second we arrive on the beach, while I try to convince her that sitting in the sun for a bit while taking it all in and sipping on a LaCroix before jumping in the water is where it’s at!

We compromised… I hopped on the paddle board with her and a LaCroix and she promised not to tip us over. :)

Waiting for my paddler.

*I would not ordinarily post a picture of myself in a swimsuit, but since it’s that time of year and most of us are looking for something cute and functional to wear while playing with the kids, I thought I would take one for the team and share one of the suits that works for me! The top is last season from Victoria’s Secret but my bottoms are from Kortni Jean. I have a top from her line and love how easy her pieces are to mix and match with other suits I have too. I’ll share links below!

I’ve also had my eyes on swimmers by Albion… has anyone purchased from them?

Watermelon break!

And some pineapple too…?

 Since Johan had to work Monday the kids and I hung-out at home. They caught up with friends while I caught up on laundry and spent a lot of time thinking about how this weekend probably feels and looks so different for those families who know personally the cost of our freedom. Those who might cringe a little when the word “happy” is placed before memorial day. If that’s you, and I’m not even sure that I have the words or understanding, but I do want you to know I was thinking of you. Thank you for everything you have and continue to sacrifice for me and my family and for our country. I do hope you felt extra honored and loved over the weekend.

XO, Rae

SWIMMERS | Rae, top + bottom from Kortni Jean  | Tilly, top + bottoms from Kortni Jean | Espen, old from Crewcuts | Griffin, trunks from Cat + Jack from Target (these are cute too) | Poppy, suit from Olivia + Ocean

*Leave a comment if you have any questions on sizing!

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HAPPY TRAVELS: 10 WAYS TO MAKE FAMILY TRIPS (MORE) AFFORDABLE

We made it to our second Spring break destination last night and I can’t wait to soak up some beach time, sunshine (hoping it lasts!), and family and friend hangs! Traveling with kids can be a little daunting and cost a lot of money, but it’s one of the things I never, ever, ever, regret doing. Figuring out how to do more of it has been at the top of my to-do list lately. Which brings me to today’s post… an ongoing list of ways to make travel more affordable.

// Balboa Island, CA //

// Leavenworth, WA over Thanksgiving //

TRAVEL IN A PACK | with friends or family! There are so many ways to split costs if you don’t mind being flexible. For the trip we are currently on, we are sharing a house with friends, which helps with rental, food and entertainment costs… especially since the kids have other little humans to play with!

SKIMP A LITTLE | Probably my least favorite tip because vacays are usually the perfect reason to splurge, but if the choice is, skimp or don’t go, then it’s totally worth it! Before leaving try cutting out a monthly bill or expense (cable, Starbucks, eating out, etc.) or use Birthdays and Holidays as an excuse to travel instead of giving expensive gifts or parties! Once arriving save money by eating during happy hour, booking a cheaper hotel, walk or take uber instead of renting a car, etc. if most activities are within walking distance. My husband’s favorite way to skimp is to stay somewhere with a good continental breakfast! He is usually the one to book our hotel so I have no idea how common that is (do most places offer that?) but thought it was worth mentioning :)

DO THE RESEARCH | There is so much info out there on traveling and specific destinations so start googling!

GET TO KNOW SOME TRAVEL APPS/SITES | (Travel apps and sites are always a good idea too. A few favorites are roadtrippers, Google Flights, Kyak, and Airbnb.  This one looks like fun for group traveling too!

CASH IN ON INCENTIVES, BONUSES, COUPONS, MEMBERSHIPS + MILES | Kind of a no-brainer, but also time consuming and easily overlooked… aside from airline miles and hotel chain incentives, and depending on the type of trip, look for National Park Passes for camping or day trips, and city or museum passes that let you get into more than one activity. Purchasing passes ahead of time usually helps too!

BOOK IN THE OFF-SEASON | As opposed to the peek season. Traveling during weekdays is usually less expensive too.

STAY SOMEWHERE WITH A KITCHEN | or kitchenet and plan meals, snacks and bring groceries ahead of time.

MAKE IT A GOAL | It’s easier to save, research and get to the destination if you know where and when you want to go!

LOOK CLOSER TO HOME | this one is kinda a no-brainer but, stay cations equal less travel expenses. We have a short list of places within driving distance, that we would like to visit and are always asking friends for ideas, too!

BOOK AHEAD | keep an eye out for flight, hotel, and car pricing and be ready to make reservations when the prices drop. Every once in awhile, last minute bookings and reservations pay-off too.

 

As always, I would love to know any tips you have to share… or even destinations that are family friendly!!!

xo, Rae

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summertime carry-alls.

If Christmas is the season of perpetual hope then summer is the season of perpetual packing — for the weekend, beach, lake, hike, park, day-trip, pool day, picnic, ball-game, you pick farm, sleepover, camping, you name it.

So I thought I’d put together a round up of some cute summery bags…

summer-totes

 

MAMA: one / two / three

BEACH: one / two / three

MINIS: one / two / three

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After Poppy was born I ditched my usual oversized bag and bought this backpack from target to tryout the trend and totally love it. What is your favorite kind of bag to carry around?

xo . Rae

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moms rule, babies drool. (happy belated mother’s day)

moms-rule

(Poppy – 9 months – favorite thing is baby mum-mums and her cat leggings from here)

I have always wanted to be a mom. I always imagined I would be the mom of all boys, never imagined I would have 5 kids and certainly never imagined how crazy this mom gig would be. How much I would love and question and laugh and worry and be tested and be drooled on. Or how little sleep I could operate on and how hard it would be to fit a shower into my day. It’s all so hysterical and delightful and ironic.

Last weekend I went away (with ma mama!) on a women’s retreat. The speaker talked a bit about motherhood and the different seasons of parenting and how important and affective it is to speak life into our kids. Like how sweet they are (even after pile driving their sibling) how brave they are (even though they won’t let you out of their sight) or how diligent they are (after spending hours begrudgingly making up math homework that’s late).

I’ve been doing a lot of this over the last week. Mostly while tucking my kids in and it’s amazing to see their demeanor change, heart soften and bodies relax. It’s also amazing how at the same time I’m filling them up I find myself being filled up too. I’m reminded of how important my job is and how worth it they are. Sometimes after all the wiping of spills and body parts, behavior correcting, and laundry folding the mom title looses it’s lustre. It starts to feel more like a chore than a calling and that’s not cool.

Chores are unpleasant but necessary jobs you do. Yuck. No one likes chores. A calling is a way of life, an urging. It’s inspired and exciting and frees you up to play and have fun.  A mom that is playful is hard to resist. For anyone really. Especially husbands. And it’s even effective on a child throwing a tantrum…. “I’m going out to jump on the trampoline. Feel free to join me when you are done crying.” It’s genius really and maybe a little manipulative, but effective. Unfortunately I haven’t found away to make it work at the grocery store.

Anyways, just one of the things that’s been on my heart and mind lately. Seems like I’m always learning, growing and saying lots of sorries in the process. Thankful for a God that is able to fill in where I fall short. What about you?

Happy belated Mother’s Day!

XO . Rae

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brand you: simple branding tips.

hello lovelies! i’m back from spring break with the kiddies and easter weekend to chat a bit about branding and why we love the brands we do. when i started this site a little over a year ago, i wanted to give myself time to find my voice and vision so put off adding any kind of logo, tagline or header. but lately the ambiguity has been bugging me. so last week i stayed up way too late (way too many nights) trying to decide what i want this little brand of mine to be, look and feel like. even though i’ve had lots of experience with this whole branding thing, it’s been soooo challenging trying to do it for myself.

after lots of second guessing and multiple proofs and edits (i’m a chronic over-thinker, people!) i’ve had to remind myself of some basic truths, 1) a brand is a vision and a purpose that is translated by all the design and creative elements and 2) good brands are consistent and reliable. it’s why i (and most people i know) love j. crew, anthropology and target… i love how they roll and can count on them to deliver every time.

brand-you-rae-ann-kelly

with that in mind here are three supa simple ways to keep your brand consistent while adding personality and uniqueness. knowing which ones you love and using them as a style guide will make work easy for you and your customers which saves you time and money (for the win!).

hue do you love? pick 2-5 colors that you are smitten with to use on your marketing, web site, etc. this doesn’t mean you can’t change things up in different features or blog posts but it will give you a good foundation. just be sure to pick palettes that work well together. (still working on picking mine, but think i might stay very basic and work with navy and gray)

type hype… as any type lover knows, how your words look is just as important as what they say. pick 2 or 3 fonts that make you happy to use online and in print. make sure you find one font that’s easy to read and one that looks great as a header. consider both serif (like garamond) and sans serif (like arial) fonts that compliment each other. (i’ve been thinking about using 2 sans serif fonts to keep a clean and modern feel and a decorative/handwritten font to add some whimsy)

a voice that’s true to you… decide on verbiage and a tone to use on your site, blog, marketing and social media accounts. to use as a reference for yourself or guest contributors, put together a few writing samples and list of words, phrases and concepts that you would or wouldn’t like to be used in your brand copy. this might seem a little excessive but it can really help simplify your workflow!

there you go! some good reminders to myself as i start making tweaks to this site. hope it’s helpful to you creatives out there too! if you find yourself stuck or not wanting to DIY your way through this i’d love to help… there is a workflow i go through starting with a series of questions that pullout my clients vision, personality, style, goals, etc. (probably my favorite part… luv my clients!) then i search for inspiration and finally i start the design process. if you aren’t ready to make the full investment i’m also available for brainstorming sessions. find more info, here!

let’s chat in the comments… anything else design and brand related you’d like some tips for?

xo . rae

(pictures by stacy jacobsen)

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halloween party

we just enjoyed our (most likely) last hot weekend of the year hear in the pacific northwest which means, ready or not, it’s time for all things fall and halloween-ish! i’m actually looking forward to the change in seasons (hello pumpkin spice lattes + wearing clothes in layers) and am excited to share some party inspiration and printables with you…

halloween-party-4

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD + SAVE:

halloween-party-2

halloween-party-2013-134

we have 3 birthdays at the end of october, including this cutie above, ozzie and myself (on halloween).  growing up i always had a halloween themed party (the non-scary kind) and loved it. tilly on the other hand is a little (actually a lot) more girlie than i was as a youngster so an orange and black color scheme doesn’t exactly cut it. this year however i have my fingers crossed that she’ll go for a costume party… we’ll see… still in negotiations!

hope this party inspiration and printables have you excited (or extra excited) for the fall season! what’s your favorite part? have any fun costume or party ideas!? ohhhhhh, i could chat with you all day about it! if only we had a fall tasting latte in our hands!

happy monday, friend!

xo . rae

//images by stacy jacobsen//

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play dates and picnics

before i begin this post, just want to say thanks you so much for all the sweet and encouraging comments regarding our morning show segment – you guys are the best!

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a few weeks ago, before the summer sunshine had made it’s way to the PNW, i got together with my friends trina (and her two littles – audrey & fin) and kim (who took all these great snaps!) for a picnic play date and test run of our new snack bags.

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the rain was an issue, so we planned on bringing the picnic indoors but ended up turning a boat over and sticking it under a tree – problem solved – no wet hineys!

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play dates are like a life line – “want to phone a friend!?” – don’t you think?  especially durning the summer months, so i thought it would be fun to share our calling cards as a free printable (play date cards and work for hire and babysitting cards for older kids to usetoo!).

play-date-cards-2

links to  D O W N L O A D  are at the bottom of this post.

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the girls were especially  s p i r i t e d  (ehem) that day so in addition to snack bag pics, kim took a generous amount of fun outtakes…

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the boys, on the other hand, were super chill.

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(rolly pollie finder…)

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(turned streaker…)

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(these two are sorta made for each other – audrey and tilly – so cray)

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(ozzie had recently taught us a funny hand jive about lamas, a moose and an awkward turtle.  it only felt right to pass it along to friends)

play-date-picnic-3play-date-picnic-2play-date-picnic-1

(oh, have you guys tried honest kids juice pouches!? they are amazing and have half the sugar.  i picked these up at traget, but i’m sure they have them at other stores)

picnic-tote-bag-2

(a picnic tote bag {with leather stripe} my mom put together that i’ve been using for almost all of our summer outings lately…  we’ll share a tutorial soon.  thanks mama!)

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now for the calling cards!  click on the links to download:

// have your people call my people, boy // have your people call my people, girl // let’s play // word bubble, boy // word bubble, girl // yard work // babysitting //

we also have some cute cards for us mamas, but the file was too big to upload, so feel free to email me and i’ll send you the file (rae at armommy dot com).

happy friday!

xo . rae

(images by kim charie) 
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word bubble photo prop. (oldie but goodie)

titlewe’re concluding {for now} our mustache bash tutorials with this charming chalkboard prop that provides a fun way to share a message in a photo.

use them in photo booths at parties, first day of school or christmas card pictures.  your family or party guests can write messages to newlyweds, graduates & new parents or write their grade & teacher’s name, age in months {for 1st year pictures}, expressions of appreciation or love and oodles of other notes!

to make one, you’ll need:

foam board, chalkboard paint & paint brush or spray paint, exacto knife or other sharp blade, cutting mat or other appropriate work surface, pencil, dowel, packaging tape & chalk.

1} draw your word bubble or other shape on the foam board with a pencil.  2} carefully cut out your shape with an exacto knife or the like over a cutting mat.  3} paint your shape with the chalkboard paint – according to the directions.  4} do a couple more coats.  5} let dry.  6} tape your dowels to the back of your painted shape.  7} go to town writing fun messages!

i’m not so sure these pictures are the best examples of the word bubbles.  my munchkins were less then thrilled about being involved in the photo sesh….  mucho tired and grumpy after an unsuccessful nap time.  they look more like they are picketing for better child labor laws…  he!  can’t help but chuckle when i think about what they might say when they are enough to realize how randomly involved they are in our little company.

tomorrow we have an adorable dessert idea for any summer or spring celebration {the summer soiree party collection included} and just in time for easter.  we’ll also post food friday.

see you soon!

xo . rae

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