Cheesy 80’s Christmas

Cheesy 80’s Christmas


*All photos were taken by Brenda Munoz Photography*

My husband isn’t much of a social media guy, which is hilarious considering the fact that I’ve made a career out of it. He pretty much only uses the internet to look at funny fail videos, read updates on the Steelers, and look at dream homes on Instagram. I once referenced an IG story I did to him, and he looked at me like I was speaking in tongues.

So he’s a pretty good sport about how open I am about our family and how many photos I make him take. Still, every single time we have a photo shoot scheduled, a little piece of him dies inside. The outfit changes, the nice clothes, the props— he loathes it all, but he does it for me anyway, because he loves me.

When I was telling him about this year’s popular theme of ultra glam in insanely gorgeous sceneries, his eye began to twitch. I knew it was at the thought of making him wear a tuxedo on a mountain top, or in the snow, or period. You see, I was smart. I lead with that, so that my real idea wouldn’t seem half as bad to him. So then I told him about my vision for an ultra cheesy, 80’s styled shoot instead and he was like, uhhhhhhh. But then I threw this out there— my kill shot, if you will:

“Let’s make a Christmas card this year that is so funny, so outrageous, that nobody wants to throw it away because it’s THAT good!”

You see, he complains every year about me wasting money on Christmas cards that either:

A. Never even get sent out, because I’m terrible.  or B. Get thrown away by people anyway, because he’s convinced that nobody actually likes to receive Christmas cards in the mail.

Boom. That’s pretty much all it took. (Let’s be real— he rocks and probably would have said yes anyway!)

One of my favorite things about my husband is that when he commits to something, he really commits. 100%. All in. Let’s go, kind of attitude.

I was literally crying when Brenda sent these photos over to me because I was laughing so hard. Reason number 5,363 why I love her: She ALWAYS sees my vision and she is always up for it! Our first photo shoot with her was for Christmas two years ago, and I consider myself so fortunate to have met her.

We decided to dress the kids in normal clothes, so as not to traumatize them later in life with terribly embarrassing photos of them in outdated attire. Instead, we chose to do the embarrassing stuff for them, and let them just be their perfect, adorable little selves.

I mean, come on.

We shot the entire thing at Derek’s grandparents house and I had this vision of getting the entire family in their jacuzzi with all of our clothes on, because I’m insane and I thought it would be hilarious.

But his grandma was sick, so we didn’t come to their house early to turn on the jacuzzi as planned, and thus the water was freezing. But when I have a vision, I have a vision— and we promised Brenda some hilarious water photos, so we had to deliver.

As you can see, Derek was thrilled. But like I said earlier, he really loves me, and he also is the master of all things, so he quickly warmed up to the freezing jacuzzi photos.

Can’t. I just can’t.

This photo shoot is probably my favorite, to date. It was just so fun and we were laughing the entire time. And I’ll probably forget to send our Christmas cards again this year, but in the event that I don’t, I hope people get a kick out of having these photos on their fridge.

Have you ever done a funny photo shoot? If not, you have got to give it a try! It’s way less stressful than a serious one, and the memories will be hilarious.

Happy holidays, friends!


Halloween Recap: Hercules Family

Halloween Recap

Happy Candy Coma Day!

But seriously, did you guys get Reese’s Pumpkin wasted last night once the kids went to bed? Ain’t no shame in the steal-your-kids-candy-game. You deserve it after all of the work you put in getting costumes together and going door to door!

Whether you’re wearing your stretchy pants today or not, I hope you had a good Halloween.

Ours was a typical Franklin holiday. Read: maximum effort from mom, minimal excitement from kids.

I handcrafted about 80% of our costumes this year, and we literally wore them for 30 minutes. Declan was done the minute I put his chest plate on, and a wagon tumble ended our night after trick-or-treating at only two houses.

We let the kids stay up for a while and help pass out candy, which they surprisingly loved. 

And even though the costumes only lasted a hot second, I still love the way they turned out.

I fell in love with the idea of being characters from Disney’s Hercules, but there were ZERO costumes online to accommodate my dream. I was shocked that Disney doesn’t sell a Hercules costume! In fact, the only thing I could find was an old pattern, but I don’t know how to sew so that was a no go.

So for Declan’s costume (Hercules), I purchased a knight’s armor from Party City and spray painted it brown. Then I added the golden swirl details with a paint pen. I connected the blue cape to the armor, and handcrafted a belt with faux leather and an old purse strap. I also made him the “symbol of the God’s” but you can’t see it in any of the photos because he kept pulling his chest piece down over it.


I used the leftover faux leather to make his wristbands and some red fabric for the headband. And since I have no sewing skills, I applied velcro to everything to make it all stay in place.

The finished product was perfection. I mean, come on! Look at this guy.

Halloween Recap: Hercules Family

I found my Megara dress on Etsy for like $40 (it’s actually a bridesmaid dress, shhh!) and then I used molding clay to create the golden pins. I also used the clay to create the skull brooch for Derek’s Hades costume, and Declan’s “symbol of the God’s” pendant, of course.

Halloween Recap: Hercules Family

My artistic skills are very limited, but I was very pleased with how they came out. Especially the skull for Hades.

Halloween Recap: Hercules Family

For Derek’s costume, I also had to create the wig. The closest I could find to the style I needed was a troll wig, so I snagged that and spray painted/styled it to be the blue flames I needed for the look.

I grabbed some black fabric for the toga, a grey shirt, and called it a day on Derek’s costume. The body paint was an entirely different story. We ended up almost forgetting about that part until Halloween day, so Derek had to run to the store to grab some paint. But they only had “corpse grey” which I found out was code for “cracks when applied”. It ended up working out, but it was a pain in the ass.

Halloween Recap: Hercules Family

Bennett was Herc’s bestie and mentor, Phil. The Satyr costume was a breeze. All I did was grab some brown leggings and apply a fringed yarn to them with fabric spray. I also bought him some horns, but he refused to put them on and I wasn’t going to force it. His little toosh looked soooo cute though!

Halloween Recap: Hercules Family

I was really proud with how well everything came out, considering it was the first time I had ever taken on such a huge project! I told Derek that he and the boys get to choose the costumes next year, so I’m pretty sure I will be trading in my pretty dress costumes for a big fat puffy frog one instead.  And if that’s the case, I’ll rock it just like Derek rocked an entire tube of body paint.

Halloween Recap: Hercules Family

What did you guys dress up as this year? I’d love to hear from you and/or see photos!



How To Win At Family Halloween Costumes

How To Win At Family Halloween Costumes

To say I love Halloween would be a gross understatement.

I was born only a few hours shy of the holiday, which is reason enough to love it. But, there’s something so magical about getting to pretend to be someone or something else for a day— which is probably why I spent a good 8+ years doing theatre as well.

But while I’ll hung up my acting hat (for now, at least), my love for costumes and playing pretend will never end. So it’s no surprise that I absolutely adore dressing my family up for Halloween every year.

I’ve gained quite the reputation among family and friends for having cute, family themed costumes, and so I thought it would be fun to share some tips with you guys on how to come up with a killer theme that is sure to have you winning at all things Halloween this year.

Step One: Brainstorm

I write out a list of anything and everything I can think of. Even if it’s something that everyone does, I write it down. Because it is less about what you do and more about how you do it. I’ve seen Mickey and friends done a million different times, a million different ways, and some of them are absolute perfection! So don’t be deterred from an idea just because it’s not “unique”. Write it down anyway. Here’s a list of places to draw character ideas from to help get you started:

  • Favorite Movies
  • Favorite TV Shows
  • Popular Children’s Books
  • Favorite Eras
  • Occupations (barista, ice cream man, construction worker, etc.)
  • Opposites (cops & robbers, heroes & villians, etc.)
  • Favorite animals


Step Two: Visualize The Kid’s Costumes First

Once I’ve got a list, I comb through it and highlight the ideas that would translate well into a child’s costume. Since Halloween is really about them, I want to make sure I pick something that they aren’t going to completely hate me for in 10 years. A good example of what not to do, would be putting a box over their heads and making them into bags of groceries…. which was a reality for these two kids.



You want to pick something that is going to excite them. Whether it be because it’s an animal they love, or a cool prop, etc. Cross off all of the ideas that just won’t work well or make the kid’s excited to be dressed up.

How To Win At Family Halloween Costumes

When I chose the Circus theme last year, I made Declan the “strong man” because I knew he would be amped to have the weight prop. It allowed me to pick something really cute, while also keeping him excited about his costume. (DIY strong man dumbbell tutorial, HERE)

Step Three: Be Realistic and Know Your Strengths

How To Win At Family Halloween Costumes


A family of varied Starbucks drinks would be ADORABLE, but will that require you to make 90% of the costumes? And if so, do you know HOW to make said costumes? Remember what I told you earlier— it’s not about the costume per-se, it’s about how you do it. That means knowing your limitations and playing on your strengths. If you’re a master at the art of DIY, then something like this would be right up your alley. If not, try to stick to ideas that allow you to create the family set without whipping out the sewing machine.

For example, last year was the first time my cousin wasn’t around to help with our costumes (she made Declan’s the two previous years), so I had to set new expectations for what I could achieve, based off my own skill level.

How To Win At Family Halloween Costumes

Since I can’t sew, I chose to buy the boys’ costumes and then use my skills to create my own and make Declan’s strong man dumbbell from scratch. I know that embellishing is a strong point of mine, so I played on that and allowed those things to tie together and already solid look.

Step Four: Get Your Internet On

Once you’ve narrowed it down, start scanning Pinterest, Etsy, Amazon, etc. for inspiration. When we decided to make Declan “Rufio” from the movie “Hook”, the first thing I did was google images from the movie. Once I had a clear idea on what I was looking for, I went accessory searching. Since those were a big part of the costume, I had to make sure I could find what I needed easily before committing to a costume. If you have key pieces to a costume, make sure you find them BEFORE you start buying everything else. Once I found the necklaces and a wig that would actually fit his head that I could sculpt, I decided to give the green light on the costume and theme itself (which my amazing cousin made, by the way!).

How To Win At Family Halloween Costumes

I knew the wig was key in making this costume work, so I took care of that part first and then moved on once I had the hardest part handled.

Step Five: Make It Your Own

More than likely, you won’t be doing a theme that’s never been done before— but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own! I love to add little details to all of our costumes to set them apart and make them special. Little things can go a long way in the final look. For example, on our very first Halloween as parents, we dressed Declan up as a little chick (again, my cousin made his costume because she rocks) and we were farmers. Derek’s boots and straw hat rounded out his look, while I opted to go barefoot.

How To Win At Family Halloween Costumes

It was the smallest thing, but it really added to the look and feel of our costumes/characters. And I’m all for buying store costumes and then embellishing them, which is exactly what we did for Derek’s Peter Pan costume.

How To Win At Family Halloween Costumes

Toss in a free “Bangarang” print, and our look was thrown together using a combination or store-bought costumes, and homemade goodness.


I hope these tips help you decide on the perfect family halloween costume theme this year! Just remember to have fun with it— your kiddos will have a blast if you’re having a blast, and that is the ultimate WIN.


6 FREE Fall Printables

6 Free Fall Printables

Fall is approaching whether you like to guzzle down pumpkin spice lattes or not, my friends. Personally, I am a fall addict.

It could be due to the fact that I was born just hours before All Hallows Eve, but I swear pumpkin runs through my veins, and I legitimately burn fall candles in my home year round.

And since we are on the topic of things I’m addicted to, printables is also one of them. Specifically, creating my own. But what kind of friend would I be if I hoarded them all the myself? The kind that shows up to your house with a PSL for themselves and not you— and nobody likes that friend. So here is my digital PSL. My fall gift to you. Ha! That sounds outrageous, but you get my drift.



A Little Pumpkin Spice

“A Little Pumpkin Spice”- DOWNLOAD HERE


“Trust Fall” – DOWNLOAD HERE




“Give Thanks” – DOWNLOAD HERE


“Football” – DOWNLOAD HERE

And there you have it, friends. These printables sum up fall for me and I hope you enjoy decorated with them as much as I enjoyed creating them!


5 Minute Olympics Craft For Kids


5 Minute Olympics Craft For Kids

Happy 31st Hunger Games Olympics!

I’ll be straight with you, I’ve never been super into watching the games. But before you pick up your javelin to shove in my eye for saying that, let me just explain that it was never really a thing in my home to watch the Olympics and since it’s only once every 4 years, this will only be the second games since I’ve been a grown woman. (Read: I’m not THAT old, despite all of my tired crotchety posts that have led you to believe otherwise).

While I may have been mostly uninterested in the past, I’m actually really excited about this years games. D is just getting to the age where the idea of sports is starting to be exciting, and I think he will love watching them with us.

We decided to do a special Olympics themed workout today for our fitness class, and I decided to use it as the perfect excuse to make a quick craft for the kiddos to get involved and have some fun during the opening ceremony tonight.

All You Need is:

-Bubbles (from the $1 spot at Target)

-Colored cardstock



5 Minute Olympics Craft For Kids

I found a cute medal printable from and cut them out. Then used the twice to tie them around the bubbles.

5 Minute Olympics Craft For Kids

This will literally take you five minutes to throw together, but I guarantee the babes will have a blast with their “medals” during opening ceremony! (Especially if you let them blow some of those bubbles in the house— just saying).


Neverland Themed First Birthday Party

Neverland First Birthday Party

I’m finally done throwing parties this summer— yay me!

Who am I kidding? I LOVE throwing parties.

But, I HATE the heat.

And lately, I’ve been feeling like Hansel and Gretel stuffed in the witches oven that is California.

I mean, no one in their right mind would throw an outdoor party in this disgusting weather, right? But I am not of sound mind, and so I was like:

Yeah, it’ll totally be cool to do both of the boy’s parties at home this year in the middle of summer!

Wellllllll, nobody died of heat exhaustion, so I guess I’ll call it a win. But I’m definitely looking into indoor options next year if it’s anywhere close to the same kind of weather.

Anyway, as I said in my post about How To Throw The Perfect Bachelorette Party, I’ve been super into creating my own invitations/printables.

All Children, Except One, Grow Up

This is what I created for B’s party, and I absolutely loved it.

For the party itself, I kept it really mellow. Since Declan and Bennett’s bedroom is already Neverland themed, I literally just pulled things from their room to use as decor. Theming your child’s birthday party to match their room theme? PURE GENIUS! Not having to really buy any decorations allowed us to save a ton of money, which was awesome.

Neverland First Birthday Party

Neverland First Birthday Party

A fallen tree branch I found up at our family cabin, some twine, and a few feathers was all it took to recreate the branch on the invitations in real life.

Theming your child's birthday party to match their room theme? PURE GENIUS! Not having to really buy any decorations allowed us to save a ton of money, which was awesome.

I also used some of those feathers and twine, along with clothespins, to make a “banner” for the food table. Again, super easy and cheap. All I did was pin the feathers and twine together and tape the clothespins to the table for added support.

Neverland First Birthday Party

We had chairs and a table set up for people to sit at (which P.S. NOBODY sat at) but since this was a one year old’s party, I really wanted a seating area that was kid friendly. Derek has oodles and oodles of pallets at his work, so I had him bring a few home and we set up a fun little table area for the little ones to eat and do crafts at.

Dollar store vases, baby’s breath, and SURPRISE! more feathers, rounded out the look.

Neverland First Birthday Party

Neverland First Birthday Party

Neverland First Birthday Party

Food was super casual as well.

Meatball sliders, salad, fruit cups, “Pixie Popcorn”, and some gold dusted Oreos— made to look like pirates booty.

Neverland First Birthday Party

Neverland First Birthday Party

And since my sweet birthday boy isn’t really into sweets, I decided to make him a macaroni and cheese “cake”.

Neverland First Birthday Party

He didn’t eat— probably because it was super hot and he just wanted to play— but I still love the fact that we have the forever memory of his first birthday cake being something that was just so totally him.

Neverland First Birthday Party

It was such a fun party, humidity and all, and it was awesome being able to throw everything together with such minimal costs.

What is your favorite party theme for a one year old? I’d love to hear from you!