Random Acts of Kindness Advent Activities + OshKosh B’gosh Giveaway

Mother Daughter Date Ideas to Capture the True Meaning of Christmas

This post, Random Acts of Kindness Advent Activities , is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh B’gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

It’s true – it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But, like so many families, we find ourselves struggling to keep up with the endless activities,  traditions and all-around excess that can come with the season.

It’s why I’m so glad we started the tradition of performing Random Acts of Kindness Advent Activities as a family in the days leading up to Christmas.Random Acts of Kindness Advent Activities to prepare for Christmas. Free Printable Activities and leave-behind ROAK cards.

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Recharging: Lake Life Staycation + Giveaway!

How I Find “Me Time” While Traveling with Kids

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PEOPLE®, InStyle®, and Sunset®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Since becoming a part-time work from home mom a few years back, I’ve discovered how hard it can be to carve out “me time.”

A natural introvert, I crave need solitude daily. Quiet time.  I don’t always get it.

Sure, I’ve tried the whole “waking up an hour before the kids” thing, but they just somehow wake up early with me.

Girl’s Night Out happens too infrequently…and while valuable to my mental health – even GNO doesn’t charge my batteries quite like quiet time alone does.

So this year, for my birthday, I think my husband was a little surprised that I wanted my gift to be a long weekend staycation at the nearby lake, with the whole family in tow.Lake Life Staycation: Rediscovering the lost art of "me time" while on family vacation.

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Summer Boating Hacks

My husband I both grew up spending a lot of time on the water. He lived in a lake town; I went camping at the lake with my family most weekends in the summer. As adults, the water is still our happy place, and we’re thrilled to pass these family memories on to our kids.

We’ve only had a boat for a few years, but I’ve learned a thing or two about how to prep for a long day on the lake with the whole crew. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite hacks.

Feed a crowd – It can get expensive feeding the family for a full day away from home, and we try not to resort to expensive convenience foods. One of my favorite ways to feed the crowd is to purchase a package of Hawaiian rolls and slice the whole slab of rolls in half before adding sliced meat, cheese, lettuce and other toppings.Family Boating Day Hacks | Five Marigolds

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The Printed Photo Challenge


A big thanks to Blurb for sponsoring my Printed Photo Challenge. All opinions are mine alone.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile or you follow me on Instagram, you’re well aware of how much I value natural, candid photography of my family. I’ve talked a great deal about this in the past, so if you’re interested in why it’s so important to me, check out my thoughts, here. Today I’m going to take that conversation to the next level, encouraging moms to take the Printed Photo Challenge.The Print Your Photos Challenge - how I printed my entire 365 photo a day project with Blurb. | Five Marigolds #blurbbooks #ad

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Mom Hacks for Traveling with Kids


This shop, Road Trip Hacks, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FRAMFreshBreeze #CollectiveBias

Years ago, a very young Mr. Marigold and I moved out of our home state for our careers . We miss our families and our home state very much, and we try to get back to visit our families when we can. This means we are very, very experienced in road tripping, and since having kids, we’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with young ones.

Today, I’m going to share my road trip hacks for traveling with kids.
Mom Hacks for Traveling with Kids + FREE Printable Travel Journal Template for Kids | Five Marigolds #FRAMFreshBreeze #ad

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How to Host the Ultimate Thanksgathering

This shop, How to Host the Ultimate Thanksgathering,  has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Prep4Gathering #CollectiveBias

Be the Hostess with the Mostess this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just days away, and with it comes the anticipation and joy of the holiday season, and the task of hosting the family gathering.

I think a lot of families, mine included, are a lot like fudge – sweet, with a lot of nuts! It certainly makes for some interesting holidays, but that’s no reason to stress about your upcoming hostess gig.

Prep like a pro with these simple, yet impactful tips for being the hostess with the mostess at your upcoming Thanksgathering celebration.How to host the ultimate Thanksgiving with free printable favor tags | Five Marigolds

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10 Christmas Card Ideas You Should Steal + Free Template!

Awesome Christmas Cards + bonus free template!

I know, I know! Halloween is barely over and I’m already talking Christmas. But it’s already time to start getting plans locked in for Christmas cards!  It happens every year: photographers pack their schedules for the holiday rush as families procrastinate and, inevitably, miss the card ordering window. Keep reading for 10 inspiring Christmas card ideas you should totally steal,  AND a free Christmas Card template to get you started!

  1. Put on your best holiday wardrobe and go for a classic card.
    Free Christmas Card Template + 10 Inspiring Ideas for Christmas Card Photos

    Photo credit: Emily Plunk Photography

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Celebrating Time Together + JORD Giveaway

A big thanks to the team at JORD Wood Watches for the wrist upgrade, and for sponsoring this post.

Halloween has come and gone,and the holiday season is officially here – according to retailers and advertisers. As a prequel to the holiday prep that is soon to come here on the blog and elsewhere, today I’m taking a moment to talk about the best gift we can give to each other, all year long: the gift of time.

You see, sometimes I get so focused on task lists, places to go,  and whatever Google calendar says I need to get done, that I forget to slow down and savor the moments. Yes, even my #366 project, designed to help me stay in the moment, turns into a chore at times.

Case in point: A few weeks ago, my husband and I took the family to our favorite pumpkin patch. The weather was miserable, the ground was super muddy, and the place was crowded. I found myself rushing the kids through our traditions: running through the maze, picking out the perfect pumpkin, and of course, the requisite photos. When we got back to the car with our finds, I felt guilty. In my selfish effort to get past my own discomforts and cross the task off my checklist, I’d rushed everyone through the motions. I declared a do-over.

This year is our 12 year wedding anniversary. In those 12 years we’ve lived in two homes, had three kids and shared hundreds of laughs, tears and memories. The Gift of Time + Jord watch giveaway #JordWatch #giveaway #ad

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So Fresh and So Clean: Healthy Recipes My Kids Actually Like!

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It’s that time of year again – when bathing suit season looms a little closer and we start resolving to treat our bodies a little better. I like to have lots and lots of recipes in our rotation because we I get bored easily, so I’m always on the hunt for new, healthy recipes our whole family will enjoy. In that spirit, I’m sharing a round-up of some of our family favorites. Enjoy!

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Felt Christmas Tree Advent Calendar

Years ago I hand sewed a Christmas Tree Advent Calendar, which has become such a sweet tradition for our family. Ever since I was a young child, I absolutely loved Advent Calendars – usually the perforated paper variety in our home – to count down the days until Christmas. The anticipation was overwhelming each year.

I wanted to have that same tradition in our family – and I wanted to create something we could use year after year. I stumbled across this sweet calendar by Stitch Craft Creations. I fell madly in love with this idea and got to work, using her calendar as my guide. Felt Christmas Tree Advent Calendar | Five Marigolds

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Photographing Everyday Moments: 2016 Photo Project

I’ve never met anyone who has said, “I WISH I didn’t have SO MANY PHOTOS from when the children were young.” Or, “We have too many photos! We simply must GET RID of all these.”

In fact, in a very unofficial poll of some of my closest friends, the #1 or #2 “thing” they would save in a house fire would be printed photos, hard drives and/or memory cards of photos.

That’s why I’m very passionate about capturing my children during these fast moving years, where each day brings a new milestone:

lost teeth…

The importance of photographing everyday moments: Shoot Along 2016

…learning to read and writeThe importance of photographing everyday moments: Shoot Along 2016

…potty training – all of it. It’s all beautiful.Capture beauty in everyday moments with your family: Shoot 2016 Photography program.

I’m a huge advocate for getting professional family photos taken each year. I’m all for posed-looking-at-the-camera-smiling photos.

But it’s these moments. These little everyday occasions that I look upon and I remember.Capture beauty in everyday moments with your family: Shoot 2016 Photography program.

…BRB…I think there’s something in my eye…The importance of photographing everyday moments: Shoot Along 2016


So this year, I’m starting my fist #365 project. Every day, I’ll be looking for beauty in our everyday moments and sharing my photos on Instagram. Will you join me? Please let me know! I’d love to follow you in your journey!


Children’s Artwork Display for Less Than $5

This is one of my favorite projects to date – also the easiest and least expensive: the children’s artwork display located in our Family Command Center  – otherwise known as the mud room.

I wanted plenty of space where the children could hang their artwork and good grades with pride, without that messy cluttered look on the fridge. It also needed to be really flat to the wall, since the area I’d designated is in a space the width of a hallway.

Mud Room Family Command Center DIY Kids' Art Display | Five Marigolds Mud Room Family Command Center DIY Kids' Art Display | Five Marigolds

Here’s how I did it:

  • Buy these eye hook screws and wire at the hardware store for less than $5 total (or spend a few extra bucks and shop Amazon at the links above if you want to save a trip to the store).
  • Drill holes into the wall where you want your eye hooks to go. Screw the eye hooks into the wall by hand.  Then, wrap your wire around one of the hooks a few times. Stretch it to the other eye hook, pulling and straightening as you go. Wrap it around that eye hook 2-3 times and cut the wire.
  • I already had these cute little inexpensive clips on hand, leftover from Eve’s party favors.They work great for holding the various art and school papers the kids bring home.
  • Voila! Children’s art center complete in 20 minutes and for less than $5.

Mud Room Family Command Center DIY Kids' Art Display | Five Marigolds

As for the rest of our family mud room command center, it’s still a work in progress. I have dreams for this space!

Mud Room Bench Storage | Five Marigolds

Mud Room Key Drop | Five Marigolds

I found that sign at the thrift store. I think it was from a hotel long ago. I just love it!Mud Room Family Command Center Key and Mail Drop

What do you think of my low-tech art center for the kids?


  • Rug, Homegoods (similar here and here)
  • Basket, Mary & Martha (similar here)
  • Door Paint, Sherwin Williams Tidewater
  • Walls, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
  • Drawer Pulls and Knobs, Restoration Hardware
  • Key Hook Sign, thrifted (similar here, here,  here and here)

Bring Life and Personalization to a Neutral Family Room

I recently posted a photo of our family room on Instagram and got lots of notes asking me about the space. I had friends tell me it looked like something out of a magazine. What a compliment!

Neutral Family Room with Bold Pops of Color | Five Marigolds

I was really surprised by the reaction I got, though. The truth is, anyone can make a space look amazing in just one photograph. Our home is a work in progress. Most of our home is not decorated. I finish little areas of a room and wait to finish the rest of the space as inspiration strikes me. That means there are uglier areas of the room that don’t get shown in photos – like the comfortable, oversized, slightly worn leather chair the corner where it doesn’t quite fit. The lamps that don’t quite match but that continue to live on in the room until I find the perfect lights that fit my budget.

I’m not very confident as a decorator, so I just go by my gut feeling. If I put a rug in the space and I find that I don’t feel comfortable, it’s not the right fit for me. If I put a wild throw pillow on the couch and it makes me want to sit down and enjoy the space – it was the right design choice for me.

Here are the design tips I follow in my home:

  1. Start with high quality, neutral furniture This means a great neutral couch with clean lines, a high quality rug and furniture in the space. Keep the colors neutral so they can last – both in structure and in design taste –  for many years. Like all things in life, when you get the foundation right everything works much better!
  2. Bring in texture In our home, we add lots of texture with mixed leathers, deep rich woods and distressed reclaimed woods, too. It means sleek cool mirrors and hard metal vases and decor juxtaposed with wild flowers and dried wild grasses. We use fabrics with varying textures, too – but they must always, always be comfortable and soft! Make sure your throw pillows are filled with down, too. They will look 100% better and will be more comfortable, too.
  3. Add pops of color For me, this means bold colors and patterns, as you can see with our throw pillows. I love all of these colors and patterns, and somehow when I mix them all they come together perfectly to me.
  4. Personalize This is my most important design rule. Nothing makes an environment more sterile than lack of personalization. I like to decorate with lots of pictures. Some I keep in their frames forever for nostalgia. For our main wall, I use updated family photos every year.
  5. Keep it versatile One of my favorite tips when buying mats and frames is to buy square or symmetrical frames, and have the mat cut to the size of photos you plan to use. Here’s why this is genius: if your favorite photo this year was portrait – oriented, inevitably you’ll one day have a favorite that is landscape – oriented. Instead of buying a new frame and re-hanging the photos on your wall to fit, you just turn the frame on its side, and you’re in business. See how I have examples of both portrait and landscape photos on my wall?


  • Sectional: Carson’s Furniture
  • Ottoman: Restoration Hardware (old) similar here
  • End Tables: HomeGoods (old) similar here
  • Lamp
  • Pillows, similar: animal print, black/white geo, floral pillow made with Robert Allen fabric
  • Throw: HomeGoods (old) similar here
  • Wall Monogram: HomeGoods (old) similar here
  • Wall frames and mats
  • Rug

What to Wear: Family Pictures for Christmas Card

What to wear for Family Pictures - Neutral Leather, fur and animal prints for Christmas Card | Five Marigolds

Planning our annual family photos is always a feat in coordination, especially when we’re trying to do it on a budget. Here’s what I came up with for this year’s photos, using many items we already had on hand…with just a few purchases. 🙂

What to wear for Family Pictures - Neutral Leather, fur and animal prints for Christmas Card | Five MarigoldsLike this look for your family? Shop the look here:

Need more wardrobe inspiration? Check out more Christmas Card Family Photo Wardrobe ideas here.


*Please read my affiliate disclaimer in the right sidebar. Thank you for your support!

In addition to the fab blogs in the right sidebar, this was also linked up at Tatertots and Jello,Savvy Southern StyleLive, Laugh RoweNap Time Creations The Turquoise Home, Elizabeth and Co. Vintage and The Scoop.

No-Carve Family Halloween Pumpkins

At our home, we don’t really “do” spooky Halloween. We do fun, dress-up, eat lots of sweets Halloween. So this year, I thought it would be fun to make a pumpkin representing each member of our family that we could bring back out year after year – in addition to carving Jack-O-Lanterns in real pumpkins, of course.

My local JoAnn’s store is moving, so they are having some crazy sales right now! That allowed me to buy these carvable foam pumpkins and supplies for a steal!

For ‘Belle, we chose to do a Frozen themed pumpkin because she’s straight-up obsessed. I didn’t have any craft snowkflakes on hand, so I’m thinking it ended up a bit more Cinderella, right? Regardless, it’s perfect for this little girl who loves to dress up and play princess every. single. day.

5 No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas that don't suck! This Cinderella / Frozen pumpkin is super easy to make!

To make it, I used Krylon aqua matte spray paint to pain a white craft pumpkin. I then used Krylon opulent opal glitter spray paint on top.  I was super bummed with this though. It was gorgeous going on, but within moments it stopped working. I figured the glitter was clogging the nozzle and I tried multiple solutions to no avail. What a waste!

Frozen Cinderella Halloween Pumpkin | Five Marigolds

I went back and purchased Krylon glitter blast diamond dust spray paint. It was also beautiful and the can worked much better. How pretty this would have been combined with more of the opal glitter spray! I topped it with self-stick rhinestone gems and one of the girls’ princess tiaras.

For Eve, we went the Hello Kitty route. I don’t know what it is about this cat. She’s never seen a Hello Kitty cartoon, but she loves it.  For this pumpkin, I just printed a Hello Kitty on my printer and placed it over clear contact paper to use as a stencil. Then, I simply painted the face with black and pink acrylic paint and topped with one of the girls’ hair bows.

Hello Kitty Halloween Pumpkin | Five Marigolds

For Dub, I had to go the Minecraft route. I bought a black craft pumpkin, carved out a square hole and painted the inside green with Krylon emerald green spray paint. I then printed out a Creeper face on the printer, placed it on clear contact paper and cut it out to use as a stencil. I then placed it inside the dry pumpkin and painted the Creeeper face with black acrylic paint.

Minecraft Creeper Halloween Pumpkin | Five Marigolds

For my pumpkin, I just picked up this black studded pumpkin from JoAnn’s I just love it!

Black Stud Halloween Pumpkin | Five Marigolds

For my husband, well…

Decorating Family Pumpkins | Five Marigolds

What do you think of our no-carve Family Halloween Pumpkins?

Strong foundations: bible verses for a new house

Bible Verses for a New Home

Several weeks ago, we decided to have a little family house dedication on our new home under construction by writing verses that held meaning and hope for our family. A new home blessing, if you will.

I love the idea that as we walk through the finished rooms of our home in just a few months, we’ll remember the verses written on the foundation of each room we enter. And, maybe someday many, many years from now, a different family might have occasion to see the blessings written by us under the carpet or on the wall studs.

Today I’m sharing inspirational bible verses for a new home blessing.Bible Verses for a New Home Dedication | Five Marigolds

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Family Growth Chart for less than $15

We recently made the decision to sell our “starter” home and build a new home that better accommodates our growing family. We bought this home just months before our wedding, had three babies here and many, many precious memories as a family. We’re ready for the next chapter, but this sentimental mom is feeling a bit emotional about it, as well.

The moment we signed the papers to build our new home I was immediately motivated to take on a project I’ve been meaning to for a long time – make a family growth chart that we can take with us – wherever we go. Our former growth chart was done the old fashioned way – with pencil on the wall of our kitchen (that I still can’t bring myself to paint over even since I’ve made this beautiful new chart).growth chart2

I’d once tried my hand at an embroidered chart that was supposed to be  cute and charming, but didn’t end up looking quite as polished as my inspiration. I also  found that I was too lazy to embroider once a year. My laziness factor is high.

So I moved on to those cute reclaimed signs I’ve seen all over Pinterest.

I started with a 3/4″x7″x8′ piece of cedar lumber that I purchased at Home Depot for less than $9. First, I enlisted Dub to weather it for me. I gave him chains and a hammer and let him have at it. I stained it with leftover stain that I used on our stairs for our garage makeover.

From there, I had to get measuring – my least favorite part. Our family is really tall, so I cut my board to 6′ tall and painted 1′ white stripes using leftover paint from the garage makeover. These are some terrible progress photos, but you get the idea.

Family Growth Chart for Less Than $15 | Five Marigolds

I actually liked the way this looked when I was done, but I went ahead and sanded it to give it a more distressed look.Family Growth Chart for Less Than $15 | Five Marigolds

Family Growth Chart for Less Than $15 | Five Marigolds

Then, I used my silhouette to create the measurement marks. I barely use my Silhouette but I used it for this, figuring it would make the measuring much easier for me. I measured it on the computer, cut it out on the Silhouette and then used transfer paper to stick it right on the board without having to re-measure.

Family Growth Chart for Less Than $15 | Five Marigolds

I’m super happy with the way that it turned out! I can’t wait to hang this measurement chart in our new home next year. I can see keeping this chart in our home forever, and measuring little grandbabies someday.growth chart2_1

Postscript: after completing my chart, I stumbled upon this cute version by Handmade Charlotte


If I had to do it over again, I think her way of painting the numbers would be a lot cheaper and easier. However, I’d still want to make the measurement marks so that I could tell visually exactly how tall the kids are. Everytime they get measured they want to know EXACTLY how many feet, inches and centimeters tall they are. Because that matters to 4 and 6 year olds.

What do you think? Do you have a family growth chart in your home?