Merry Christmas 2016

Christmas Outtake - Jenna Jumping

Happy April Fool’s Day! What better day to begin posting to a blog that hasn’t seen an entry since May of last year. And what prompted me to come out of a nearly 11-month hiatus? Christmas.

I was recently going through my camera storage card to delete old photos, and I came across the outtakes from our 2016 Christmas cards. Christmas outtakes are a bit of a thing around here (2013 and 2012), and last year’s was extra full of personality. So in the spirit of Christmas (with a little spirit of April Fools baked in), I’m sharing a few of my favorites. Maybe they’ll inspire a theme for your next holiday cards.

The Nerf Attack

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The ‘I Can’t Hear You’

Christmas Outtake

The Holiday Drama

Christmas Outtake

The Sister Tackle

Christmas Outtake

The “Mom asked us to work with this prop, so just go with it”

Christmas Outtake

The ‘Quick, I Think I See A Way Out of This Photo Shoot’ 

Christmas Outtakes

Revisiting these photos made me realize how much I miss having a blog to look back at the happy moments of our lives. So I’m hoping my plan to pop back in every once in awhile proves to be more than an April Fool’s Day hoax.

Building a Treehouse

Treehouse In-Progress with custom build plans

The treehouse in our backyard is almost complete. The only remaining step is to paint the house to match our house and backyard shed. We started the treehouse as a gift for Jenna’s birthday, but over the past few weeks, I think we’ve all grown equally excited about the little hideaway we’ve created. (more…)

Fabric Heart Pocket Valentines

Fabric Heart Pocket Valentine's

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The above sew adorable valentine’s are Jenna’s classroom Valentine’s this year. Her love of sewing is still going strong, as is her love of little pockets. They are making appearances on everything she makes, from pencil bags to pillows to little stuffed animals. So much awesome.

Hope you’re having a great day!

KidTech: Think Exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum

Think exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum.This week we visited Think, an exhibit originally appearing in the Innoventions exhibit hall at Disneyworld’s Epcot and currently on display at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The exhibit highlights the top 100 icons of progress over the past century – the science, technology and inventions that have resulted in advancements in our world. Organized around themes such as Seeing, Mapping and Understanding, the exhibit features a giant gesture wall (shown above), an immersive film and a series of touchscreen displays. (more…)

Sewing With Children: Getting Started

Sewing with kids: Getting Started. Great post for anyone considering a sewing machine as a gift for a child.Jenna received a sewing machine for Christmas this year, and she’s been stitching and stitching ever since. I had no idea how well this gift would be received. She’s already made a pillow, a coin purse and a small pouch for taking her Shopkins on the go. For anyone else considering a similar gift, here are some recommendations for a child’s starter sewing kit that is likely to inspire confidence and creativity. (more…)

DIY Holiday Teacher Gift

Easy diy for kids: personalized mugs as gifts for teachers during the holidays

We aren’t the most original when it comes to gift-giving to teachers during the holidays. I think I’ve given a coffee mug and Starbucks gift card to my children’s teachers for both Christmas and Valentine’s day every year since they started school. This year isn’t entirely different; however, I did deviate from my night-before-the-classroom-party run to Starbucks by planning a week in advance AND organizing a mug decorating craft so that my children could create a personalized cup for each of their teachers. (more…)

Gingerbread Houses: Shopkins Edition

This year's gingerbread house decorating took on a Shopkins theme.

This weekend marked our annual gingerbread decorating day. It’s become a Christmas tradition, and I’m surprised by how much J + J continue to love this activity, even as they get older and the latest wave of popular obsessions (Star Wars, Minecraft, etc.) seem to dominate their time. This year’s gingerbread decorating, however, didn’t exactly escape the hold of popular culture. In fact, Jenna’s Shopkins toys were the focus of her gingerbread endeavor this year. (more…)

Five Favorite Holiday Finds at Magnolia Market

Five favorite holiday finds from Magnolia Farms, the home decor shop of HGTV's Fixer Upper stars.

This weekend we visited Magnolia Market, the home decor shop owned by the stars of the HGTV series, Fixer Upper. We’ve been fans of the show for nearly a year now, and with Waco less than 2 hours away, we decided to take a road trip. I had visited their smaller shop over the summer, but was blown away by the significantly larger new location. With two giant silos, a garden, large lawn for children to play and two warehouse-sized showrooms, it was definitely worth the drive. In addition to the gorgeous holiday scenery, the market featured tons of products and ideas for decorating during the Christmas season. (more…)

Living Room Art

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Our formal living room has remained void of any art on the walls since we moved in over two years ago. Something about the super high ceilings needing a certain scale of art left me feeling too intimidated to even begin. It was over a year ago that I started thinking about adding one or two large photos above our couch, and I even explored a few options in this post but never had the photographs printed. After returning from our northern California trip this summer, however, I finally decided to take the leap. (more…)

Summer Vacation

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We just returned from a trip to South Padre Island, a beach along the southern-most tip of Texas. Having visited Texas beaches along the gulf before, my expectations were fairly low and I left home with a ‘just happy to get away’ mindset. But once we arrived, I found that the South Padre beaches were not only nice, they were also relatively uncrowded for this time of year. J and J had a blast fighting the waves, boogie boarding and swimming in the hotel pool. We also visited Schlitterbahn Water Park, which I think the kids would list as their favorite part of the trip. My favorite was the Birding and Nature Center (where we fed birds right out of our hands) and, of course, the views of the ocean which provided quite a few opportunities to snap some gorgeous vacation photos. (more…)

Painted Brick Fireplace

Painting a brick fireplace

Ever since moving into our house nearly two years ago, I’ve wanted to paint the dark brick wall in our living room. When I posted these images last year, I knew it would help motivate me to someday get the job done. That day was more like a span of 3 days (and I still have a few touch-ups and outlet covers to replace), but it’s largely complete and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. (more…)

Career Day: Teaching Kids About Design

Teaching kids about designing for technology: resources and tips

I recently spoke at my children’s school for Career Day. As a User Experience Designer in the web and mobile technology industry, I figured I had some skills that would resonate with young children’s love of devices. That was an understatement, and I wish I had been given more time to hang out and listen to their ideas about design. I have a feeling it wouldn’t take long before I would have learned just as much from them as they had from me.

For anyone considering a similar school presentation, or if you just want to get children interested in the field of design and technology, here are the materials and activities I used in my presentation. These were presented to 1st and 2nd graders, in 30-40 minute sessions, with approximately 18 children in each session. But the approach could be adapted to older audiences and longer sessions. (more…)