Quick Craftastic

Stopping by.

It is worth mentioning that the photo on the left turned into the photo on the right in fifteen minutes.


This is because Brett called on his way home from Miami and said he’d be home soon. Never underestimate the magical powers of The Shakedown .

While I let my kitchen dishes rot today, we did other things. Crafty things. Christmas things.

20 minutes, a few pieces of 12 x 12 paper, a bottle of glue and some twine will give you paper lanterns.


Fold paper in half, cut slits on fold (but not all the way to the end).


Open paper.


Glue one edge along lengthwise slits.


Curl into circle and secure. Add some ric rac, ribbon, whatever (easier if you do this before gluing into a circle). Hang lanterns with twine. Proclaim festive love, sing a carol, light a candle, Amen.

Hallway decorations=Check.

The house has been properly Christmastized. Of this, I am sure.

Don’t worry, the bathroom mirror did not go unnoticed.

From behind the house, fa la la la la.


There you be. Tuesday holiday lovin’.


Heal My Sole Giveaway winner :

Comment #205, I Live for a Little While: I love that you dive right in and let your kids make messes (Nella and the puddles!). I need to do that more often. Hugs!

Congratulations, please send your contact info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net with the subject HEAL MY SOLE GIVEAWAY.


Two last things.

1.) I’m working on gathering some frequently asked questions for an F.A.Q. post next week. If you have a question, want to know more about something, whatever, throw it in a comment on this post, and I will do my best to collect and answer some of these. I’m working to connect more with readers, answer your questions and create more communication here, so this is a good place to start. Ask me anything (thank you, Amba!)

2.) Have a happy night.



Leave a Comment
  1. I love how you decorate for the holidays! You go all out and I bet your girls just LOVE that. :) What a fun craft, too!

  2. I would love to know what your favorite blogs are….. perhaps a wee little list in the mist of holiday-ing?

  3. Your decorations are amazing!! I love that you fly that holiday freak flag proudly!

  4. So cute! I would love to here about your extended family, brother and a sister right? are they married? with kids? does your dad live in NY? is dot related to yall? Kinda confusing, that would be intereting for readers to learn :)

  5. Personally, i Love the name brett.

  6. Love…everything.

  7. Love the lanterns- so simple yet elegant…you know craftastic elegant!
    – Can you recommend any natural shampoos/sunscreens/other products that you like to use on your girls?

  8. Although I will probably read the FAQ page, I honestly can’t think of anything to ask. I like waiting for how you choose to unfurl your “wild and precious life”!
    Rob and I just did a joint hut shakedown, as it’s so small it takes the 2 of us just 40mins to have it clean & tidy again.

  9. love those little lanterns! A different spin to holiday decorating!

  10. your photos are so amazing, that sometimes i feel like i don’t need to decorate because your blog is just so “Christmastized!”

  11. Hi Kelle –
    I have been following and reading your blog religiously since late November 2010 after the birth of my 3rd child. (1st son) We found out he had ds when he was 5 days old. We left the hospital not knowing if he had it or not. Your birth story post is almost EXACTLY how I felt during those days waiting for the results. (they told us all was well after he was born, but 24 hours later decided to test him)

    So the question I have had and still have, which I know you purposely don’t talk about alot.. But I am very curious what types and how often Nella has therapy. I know every child is different, but I would love to hear what you do and your thoughts on it. I struggle with challenging my son and not overshadowing my 2 still very young daughters.

    Thank you so much for your AMAZING writing. And for all that you do for the DS community.

  12. Your blog “makes my heart feel super happy”.

  13. Look how long Nella’s hair is getting. Can’t believe she’s almost two. Wow.

  14. I love you and your girls! And I love holidays! So I will be happy to use the LOVEKELLE code when I buy one of those gorgeous bracelets! (Provided I don’t win the giveaway that is!)

    Merry Christmas!

    Sending you sunshine,

    Rachael @ You, Me and Natalie


  15. FAQ question – What website do you use to create your photo albums? I know you use Shutterfly for the girls albums but do you use something different for your family albums? What sites would you recommend?

  16. You can take the girl out of Michigan, but you can’t take the Michigan out of the girl… Rock on, Kelle… You’ve got the midwest fa-la-la-la-la goin’ on like nobody’s business in Gator-town and it’s fabulous! And really…could your babies be any cuter?? Love them! Happy mid-week!

  17. Very impressive shakedown!

  18. FAQ: How much does DS weigh on your mind when planning for/thinking about expanding your family more? (My husband and I are preparing for our second child, due in May.)

    Thank you for sharing your world!

  19. I’d love to know how you keep on top of your photos. I know you use LR- do you delete many?, how often do you upload from your camera, how do you back them up, etc, etc. I love photography but I always feel like I am drowning in the processing, storing, etc part- would love any tips you have in this area since I know you take a lot of pictures.

  20. I want to know the story of your dad! Seems very interesting!

    Also, you mention the boys’ mom a lot. Is that your husband’s ex wife? I have a stepdaughter and I very much envy the relationship you have with her if that is who that is!

  21. I need to know how you worked that magic in 15 minutes?????? Have you patented “The Shakedown?” I need to have some of that please!

  22. I love the paper lanterns…looks like a perfect craft for the kids and myself this week!

  23. I love the “shakedown”. It happens in our house 20 minutes before honey/daddy gets home. I just want to know how you handle the stress in your life? Do you read, exercise, meditate? You just seem to handle things really well.

  24. Those chairs! I must know where they are from or what fabric was used to cover them. They are the bright colored ones you had in the office/playroom by front door.

  25. What an awesome craft idea! And, oh my, you totally cracked me up with the whole shakedown bit. I can totally relate…

  26. Kelle, I love Enjoying the Small Things. And by the way, I think Nella looks so much like you! You asked for FAQ’s so I wondered how you and Brett met. You once said you would share that story, but I don’t think I have ever read it. So that’s my FAQ. Thanks for the inspiration.

  27. how do you juggle it all? I am a photographer, a mother of a 9 month old, a substitute teacher, a volleyball coach, a track coach, and a wife. Oh and I have friends & family that I like to spend time with, too!

    I just don’t feel like there are enough hours in a day. I have 3 blogs & I try to keep up with them, but it gets old & exhausting.

  28. I don’t think I have any questions, but I need to tell you how much I LOVE reading your blog!!! You inspire me so much…I love your attitude:)
    I love the fun ideas you share- I try some with my little ones! Thanks for that!
    Your girls sure are beautiful!

  29. Love those last two pictures! So sweet.
    I can’t wait to try out some of those crafts!

  30. Maybe you’ve written about this before, but if so, I missed out. Where/how did you meet your husband? I love a good love story. :)

  31. Great crafts!!
    My question is…will Lainey go to any type of preschool or are you homeschooling as we speak?

  32. FAQ section- I want to know how you stay so thin even after having two kids…how you went from having Nella to being back in a size 2 (or is it 0?!) after she was born. This is something I really struggle with, and I would love to look as fab as you after baby (I just had a baby 4 weeks ago, so this topic is on my mind). You seem to love and enjoy food, and that’s how I am, too. How can I be fabulously thin and yet still enjoy the foods I want? Inquiring minds want to know! :-)


  33. Question: Do you workout and eat healthy?? I know you’ve mentioned running off and on, just curious!! Cause, girlfriend, I bust my butt six days a week and Im strugglin’ to stay in my skinny jeans! If you’ve got a secret, do tell, sistah!!

    Also, why you flippin’ us the bird in the last two pictures?? Way to spread the holiday cheer, sheesh. Heehee…

    Angie from Ohio

  34. I started following your blog about two months ago…ish…and I love it. You inspire me and make me smile. Your girls melt my heart, and I’d like to do more playing as a mom like you do. I feel like sometimes I get in a routine as a stay at home mom, and it’s not a bad one, but I love the spontaneity you share :)

  35. Oh my gosh, I remember making those lanterns when I was young! Thanks for bringing back a memory, might have to go buy some crafty paper this afternoon to make some :o)

    FAQ question: where did you get those gorgeous quilts that you take everywhere for the girls to sit on? Love them! One day I might learn how to make one myself!

    By the way, you’ve been my inspiration a couple of times recently..I’ve been out to buy a tub of chunky chalk for my little man to play with (after seeing your girls having so much fun with a whole town etc!) and I recently made a Christmas wreath to hang on our front door, in the style similar to your 3 woollen Christmas trees with buttons (from a couple of weeks ago). So thank you!

  36. LOVE the lanterns!!!! Thanks for sharing! Definitely have to try! :) Just had to share this with you, because I thought of you as soon as I saw it on Pinterest! Beach Tree Lovins. http://pinterest.com/pin/76350156152425630/
    Speaking of F.A.Q. – any info on your photography and how you edit to get that dreamy look would be fabulous!

  37. Decorating the bathroom mirror!! What a great idea!! I want to do that!! Why didn’t I think of that? You don’t mind if I copy you, do you?

    I did decorate our fireplace…and not just the mantle either!

  38. you’re blog is so inspiring i love reading it! I’d love to know how you do your shots around water without being too afraid of getting your camera wet?

  39. I have more of a favor/suggestion… Can u write a craft how to book??? Or a parenting know how??? Love ya

  40. Oh Lady, I love you right now! My girl has requested a Tangled Bday party at the end of the month and those lanterns are going to be PERFECT in purple!

  41. How do you make the aged-looking Santa letters?

  42. Look at how long Nella’s hair is getting!! Looking forward to the FAQ’s post :)

  43. Love your blog! I want to know what kind of dog Latte is!!?? Thanks:)

  44. I would love to know more about your homeschool experience (how long you were homeschooled, pros, cons,etc). Do you think about trying it with your own children? You are such an amazing writer, thanks for sharing!

  45. Hi Kelle!! Love everything, as usual!!
    My question is… Do you still do professional photography on the side? Or did you stop this year? I noticed you don’t update your other blog anymore.

  46. Can you puh-lease do a post on your beauty regimen…you are flawless!! I am turning 30, and realizing I need to put more effort in to this area of my life if I want to maintain any sort of age! With kids it gets tricky…that 5 minutes has to go a long way in the morning! You are doing it with grace and style, so I must know…product list, favorites, etc.
    xo, Ariel

  47. FAQ: I’ll echo others and ask how you manage your time. Kids, photography, blog, crafts, home, and don’t forget wife! I struggle to stay afloat, and am always amazed at what you accomplish in a day.

    I also am interested in what milestones Nella is hitting these days. James is 15 months and just showing signs of crawling–hooray!

  48. When do we get to see your Christmas cards? I had a dream (?) that nella was wearing a big sister shirt in it.

  49. Hi! A mom at my twin boys’ preschool told me that I look like you (I am very flattered) and I checked out your blog. Lo and behold, I have read Nella’s birth story before and was an instant fan of yours way back then. (Parents Magazine?) So I read it again today and again found myself sobbing and loving you and your beautiful girls all at the same time… again! Never knew you had a blog. I will be checking it regularly now.

  50. FAQ:
    You seem so pure and genuinely happy. I love your confidence and honesty that oozez out of each post. What is your relationship with God? What does Jesus mean to you? I see so much of the Spirit of Christ in your joy, freedom and contentment. Would love to know. Thanks, Kelle!

  51. I’d also love to hear about your homeschooling experience. Did you like it? Did you feel adequately prepared for college and life? Do you plan to homeschool your girls?

    Love reading your words of beauty and wisdom!

  52. those are awesome! i think we’ll try mini ones!

    also, its so cool to know that my house is not the only one that gets messy! :) my apartment totally looks like that!

    i love love love your cool ideas: today we will be making a sweet dreams spray.. my son is excited!

    ps, when you’re in LA, can we have a playdate? <3

  53. I share some of the questions posted above – I feel bad because they are personal questions. I know we are all nosy, but since you asked!

    My question is about your life in Naples. You must feel like a celebrity of sorts, or be treated like one at times? Do people stop you all the time, or check you out? Do you feel like other moms support and embrace you? I’m sure there is a fair bit of jealousy directed your way, but probably lots of good things from being a “public figure,” too.

    Also, for the life of me, I don’t understand how you do all this without a housekeeper (!) at a minimum. When you start your book tour, will you get an assistant to help with all the press, blog support work, etc.? Design Mom is an inspiration to me like you are (she has 6 kids!), and I know she had (has?) an assistant. Thank you for all that you do!

  54. Kelle,
    I don’t really have a question but I wanted to let you know I was inspired by your post on celebrating the act of sending Christmas cards. I wanted in on the holiday joy so I had a little addressing/stamping party of my own. My sister-in-law thought it was such a cool idea that she also decided to reach out to friends and family in a more personal way too. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

    You spread joy.

  55. How do you get so many pictures of you and your girls, and they’re good? Is there someone in your home everyday helping you take pictures? Do you edit every photo before posting?

    I’m envious that you get so much time in front of the camera, too!

  56. Faq: can we have a little more background on being a PK & what that meant for you. How long was your dad a pastor? It seems you like to keep quiet on that front but I am curios.

    Faq: how on earth do u manage the amount of photos you take? Mine sit on a hard drive. So very sad. Please tell your process from camera to computer to blog to album! How do you organize them so u can quickly find what you need?

    Faq: how do you keep up your energy? I just read “mom energy” which was great but I am curious your personal recommendations.

  57. I’m a relatively new mommy to twins that arrived prematurely this summer- they’re 5 months old now. I think you are just so beautiful and composed, even in your jammies!!! =) Can you share in your FAQs your beauty routine- favorite products, what’s your normal daily line up, etc. Any quick tips to feel like a hot momma and not a frump even if I’m just at home all day.

  58. FAQ: I would love to know how you get so many great shots of YOURSELF on your blog. Self timer? My husband, bless his heart, can only do the basics on manual and I HATE auto mode…sigh. I’m never in pictures with my girl, but I also don’t look as fab as you! (Like commenter above, would love your secret there too)

    How do you lug your camera from place to place? I love my camera but hate the lug.

    Your shakedown is most impressive.

    I love Enjoying the Small Things. It’s so uplifting and inspiring and just plain beautiful.

  59. Hi Kelle,

    I have been a follower of your blog since being led to your inspiring story of unconditional love through other bloggers. My question to you is, did you get the standard genetic testing done that determines whether or not your child will be born with that fabulous extra chromosome when you were pregnant with Nella? I thought these tests were the norm, but Nella’s story seemed so unexpected…..just wondering!

  60. I have a few questions:

    Who inspires you?
    You seem to inspire so many people, it is truly amazing.

    I would love to know more about you taking photos and what lenses you use etc. Photo tips,

    What happened to the music? I loved listening to it, now it is gone.. But there are still a few songs I hear on the radio that remind me of your blog.. Crazy!

    You are an impressive lady.. I read tons of blogs and few manage to do what you do.

  61. Kelle,

    From one Michigan girl to another….I adore your story and your blog. I look forward to all of your posts. Your beautiful girls are so sweet. I have followed your blog for over a year.

    My FAQ ….. What do you miss most about Michigan besides family? Sanders Hot Fudge…Better Made Chips….Vernors…the list goes on….?

  62. Love the crafts ideas! Merry Christmas! For FAQ’s: I would love to hear how you teach and prepare them for school skills since they’re not in a preschool and may be home-schooled (anything specific you follow besides general things like reading to them, taking trips to see things…?) because I keep mine at home too but so many people push for school earlier and earlier. I also love when you share photography tips like how do you make their photo books and stay on top of it? Always like your craft ideas too. Thank you :)

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  64. love your holiday happiness. its contagious! i would like to know how you and bret met. i remember you mentioning something about you working a nail salon and seeing him in the parking lot??? would love to hear more about how you two found each other. cheers!

  65. Love being able to take a peek into your world. Makes me wish that my kids were still little ones (sometimes!). Wondering why you moved from Michigan (our beloved home state) to Florida and do either of your parents still live here? Sounds like your dad may live in both Michigan and Florida??? Merry Christmas from chilly Michigan to you and your wonderful family!

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  67. FINALLY!! my Diane Sawyer skills get to come out and play!jk, but I would love to know what type of parent you are and maybe your top 20 things that you do to make you the mom you are. I would love to know more about the blogs you like. And also about your writing. I read the book you suggested “if you want to write” And I thought it was really good, but I want to know how you come up with all of your amazing analogies!

  68. Ok, since you asked for it…here goes:

    1) Apple Pie recipe, please! Seriously, every time you post a picture I want to lick my computer screen. Which makes my kids look at me funny…so yea, recipe please :)

    2) It seems a lot of readers feel like you somehow squeeze 80 billion hours into one day. Obviously that’s impossible. Well, maybe with rainbow unicorn dust. Which you may have. But for the rest of us, what’s your secret? Like a day in the life play by play – wake up, mommy time, baby time, therapy, blogging, pictures, editing, posting, etc.

    3) Playdate next time you’re in Miami? We can stomp on crunchy leaves (I just moved down from VA), sip on hot chocolate with big fluffy marshmallows in it, and then make fake snow out of a bucket of water and a few drops of dish soap. Sounds perfect, right? Let me know!!! :)

  69. Hi. I have a question. How do you get your pictures to look great when your in a dim room or out at night? What settings do you use? Flash? For example, I’ve seen your posts by bon fires and they have a beautiful glow not white washed by flash. One of your lastest post of the girls Xmas party has outside night shots and indoor dim light shots and they look great. So natural and have a beautiful dreamy glow. When I take a picture in dim/night outdoors with flash everything looks too white, but if I shut off flash too dark. :( how do I get better pictures when taking night/dim room shots? thanks

  70. My question: Do you think you are as awesome as we all think you are?
    Ok… And another: If you could tell therapists (SLP, OT, PT) any one thing, what would it be?

    Thanks for all the smiles your family brings me. Happy Holidays!

  71. I don’t have any questions but I’m loving reading everyone else’s! Looking forward to reading your answers to some πŸ˜‰ Thanks for your beautiful blog x

  72. also, i remember you mentioning you love canvas pictures but that theyre too pricey in a previous post..

    thought i’d share this with you..

    we tried it tonight and we LOVE it, i’m sure you will too!! let me know how that goes!

  73. It was because of your blog that I found out about Reece’s Rainbow (the sweet little boy Cliff who is now Joshua) last year. :) Now I am an advocate for these precious children, raising more than $1000 for a child last year and nearly $400 so far for Penelope this year. Through all of this, my husband and I have decided that we are going to adopt a child with Down syndrome when our girls (now 20 months and 3.5) are a little older. My question is, have you ever thought about adopting a child with Ds? Also, thank you for “leading” me to Reece’s Rainbow, my life has not been the same since finding out about these children.

  74. Love the lanterns! hmmm,I’m curious how you seem to do so much in a day…and then still have time for the blog. Mine takes time and so what are your short cuts for uploading pics, etc? :)

  75. Those lanterns are fun! I will put that on the list of things to make! This isn’t really an FAQ but the other day….I was trying to read some archives after reading Nella’s birth story (so amazing!) and for some reason, on the archive pages, they are missing the “older posts” link so you can only read posts that appear on the first page. For example, in January of 2010, there were 9 posts but you can only view the first 3.

    I’m a relatively new follower but am completely taken by your blog – it’s one of my favorites so I was hoping to catch up a bit on the backstory. :)

  76. You probably have about a gazillion readers, and maybe you won´t notice this comment, but I just thought I´d let you know that I´m from Finland, I´m reading, and I´m loving it! So heart touching and so beautiful, thanks for sharing your life with us.

  77. Big Fan! I just want to encourage you to write another book. I look forward to reading this upcoming one, and hope to have a big fat book of entries from you one day. Like your blog style. LOVE. My only question is if it would be out of line to try and meet you and your family one day? I have a four year old son and two year old daughter. I gather so much strength and happiness from your blog. AND I am head over heels for Nella. You are all fabulous but that girl has my heart along with my littles. Thank you for sharing her and the rest of your life. I feel so blessed.

  78. Have you ever thought of changing up your comments so that you can comment after someone’s comment? Like using the Disquis Comment System? You can install that on Blogger. That would definitely create more interaction with your readers. Just a thought :)

    I would like to know where you get your ideas for crafts and such? Do you have a favorite website or magazine that you pull ideas from?

    Also, do YOU follow any blogs? I’d like to know what your favorites are, and why. Maybe share some links to your favorite blogger’s blogs :)

  79. Lovely decorations, that make me almost want to try it out…. But I’m so darn impatient and not so good at hose kinds of things.
    But maybe!

    I want to hear moooooore about when you and Brett met and dated – the works! πŸ˜‰

    I look forward to the FAQ!!!

  80. My FAQ question is: How did you and Brett meet. I’ve seen you post a lot about seeing him for the first time, but not how you actually met.

  81. oh my gosh…where to start…
    I normally don’t read comments (briefly scan) but this time felt drawn to read them after you said, “ask away!” I have to say, all comments from beginning to 10:26pm where I ended are really awesome! I ended on mummalove’s – she summed it up perfectly!

    My areas of interest are:
    1.) I love photography and taking photos, but like another said, get caught up in the processing, not just editing, but timely choosing, uploading, and storing part of it all.
    2.) Yours and Brett’s love story
    3.) Absolutely any and all you want to offer up about homeschooling.

    You are SO loved. I’ve said before & say it again, you’ve created a blog that enriches my life daily ~ THANK YOU.

  82. Love the lanterns!

    Would love to know… how you met Brett, any photography tips you wish you’d known years ago, and where you get your craft ideas.

    Or, if you did an FAQ that was all holiday photos of the girls, that would suffice :)

  83. I’ve got a question: One day, can I meet you, snuggle Nella and play with Lainey? EVERY photo I see of Nella makes me want to squeeze her (in the nice way, of course!) and I think Lainey is awesome and I’d love to introduce her to our 3.5yo Elliot. Love your blog!

  84. Hii kelle. Im wondering if anyone ever proofreads your posts. They are always perfect!

  85. Where do you get all of your ideas for crafting with your girls? I so wish I was this creative! When my son gets a little older, I would love to do stuff like this with him (and his future siblings!).

  86. Kelle, I always love your posts and look forward to reading them every week.

    I think my only question is if you are planning to extend your family more? I am sure you get this question a lot!

    Thanks for all your inspiration.


  87. Love the kitchen transformatioN! Go Flylady (you can do anything 15 mins. at a time! http://www.flylady.com)! Goes for the lanterns, too! Enjoy! Blessings, Sharon

  88. i would love to know some of your favorite blogs and those that move you!

  89. Thanks for the opportunity to ask some questions! I have many…many of which probably have already been asked such as photography tips and how you squeeze so much into every day. How do you do it all?

    My main question is a bit different….please, please share your secret for getting your girls to sleep anywhere and everywhere!! My daughter is Nella’s age and she will only sleep if she is in her bed. This makes long-day outings impossible since she still needs that nap. We are pregnant and we desperately want this baby to sleep anywhere so we can explore and do more things as a family. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!!!

    Merry Christmas!

  90. Just catching up on your blog Kelle…about “feeling it” post. I’m the same way, that’s what made me kick the dog out to the living room so I could scrub a dirty kitchen floor, do a load of laundry, and vacuum at 8 pm last night after a long day of tasks!

    As a mom of 3, when you get that burst of energy, you have to go with it, because those moments are sometimes few and far between!

  91. would love to know your faith story, and your opinion on home schooling, looking back on it as an adult.

  92. Hi Kelly. A longtime reader from Belgium here. I was wondering if you are religious in any way or spiritual or an atheist or … Love your blog!

  93. Kelle-
    Can’t believe you picked the busiest week of the year for moms to do a FAQ!You really are a bit crazy!We ALL want to know how you do it. I’m thinking you never sleep. Everyone is interested in Brett – he seems to be traveling more – and we’ve never really heard his perspective on the whole Ds thing. A day in the life of Kelle Hampton seems so busy and so crazed – when do you ever just sit and do nothing?

  94. loved this!
    my question as a homeschooling mom who totally digs it and knowing that you were homeschooled is are you considering homeschooling your girls? I know you have a teaching degree and I know how much you have to give your girls so I often wonder what your thoughts are on it…
    Love the before and after pictures of the counter..pretty much sums up how we roll around this house! ♥

  95. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I have a question, where do you find your craft ideas???? Your crafts and how you display them are awesome.

  96. Here’s a few questions for you:
    How long doe sit take for you to write a typical blog post?

    How many hours a week do you “work” (on the blog, away from the home, etc)?

    Who watches the girls while you work?

  97. Hi! Love your blog! I look forward to it every morning!

    My Questions:
    1) I would love to know more about your photography. Lens’s…editing techniques etc..

    2) Although this is very personal, and probably not something you love to think about, I would love to know more about how you have dealt with pregnancy loss. Thousands of your readers have gone through this, and are going through this (including myself), and nothing helps more than to hear thoughtful and wise words from someone like yourself. I appreciated the article you wrote a while back about it, I’ve read it several times since. Thanks!

    You’re amazing. Truly a gift.

  98. FAQ I’d love to know the story of you and Brett met and got together. But only if you want to share it obviously.

    Also maybe some photography tips for beginners. I remember you talking about that golden hour of sunshine that really helped. And just looking at your beautiful photos has made me take better photos. I guess I’d like to know a few other tricks you may have up your sleeves :)

    Lastly I love your blog Kelle, Thanks for all the inspiration x

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  100. Love love love reading your blog. It inspires me to live intentionally and make an effort to “Feel It” every day. Thank you.

    As someone new to blogging within the past year, I am having difficulty building a following. Stat tracker says that people are reading, but not hitting the little Follow button on the side bar. I would love to know how you went about building such an incredible following when you were first starting out.

    Thanks for everything Kelle.

    Jodi Whitted

  101. I want to hear the Kelle/Brett love story! (Cause I’m all up in your business yo).

  102. Kelle,

    Thanks for allowing us to ask you some questions. I’m sure we get annoying!

    FAQ: How do you pick your music? I love it! Can you PLEASE bring it back????

    Can you share your camera settings for nightime – capturing Christmas lights in the dark w/out a horrid flash? Thank you!

    P.S. I’m pregnant w/my 5th. My 4th has Ds and we won’t be getting any prenatal testing. We’ll love whoever God sends us. Thanks for all that you do for us out here. We love you!

  103. hi Kelle, I am a huge fan of your blog since Nella’s birth story, I too can’t believe she is nearly 2!!
    You really do inspire me to use my creativness. I actually made a quilt like yours because I admired it so much. I love all your cool ideas. I would love to know how you do it all so flawlessly from fitness your fabulous clothes the girls hair the amazing parties. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. A fan in Ireland.

  104. those lanterns…what a blast from the past! i remember my mother teaching me to make those when i was a little girl. i love your beautiful blog…just discovered it recently on stumbleupon. happy holidays!

  105. As a future stay at home mom of 2 young girls(1 and 3), I would like to hear how you keep it together and keep positive while dealing with young kids. It can be so hard!

  106. my question would be: B-r-e-t-t! i want the love story of you and your husband. where did you meet, was it love at first site, when did he tell you about his sons (obviously not a deal breaker, but how did you initially react to it), etc etc etc!

  107. SIGHT!**

  108. So fun!!! I love all your decorations; we’re moving in a few weeks, so we didn’t do much Christmas decorating this year, so I’m saving all of these ideas in my brain file for next year and new house! And while I do not have a daughter yet (2 boys so far), I eagerly anticipate that “First Nutcracker” feeling and already feel a heart burst of pride when I watch my god-daughter on stage (she’s almost 7 and fantastic) or am with her at the ballet. Something so magical about a ballerina.

    Anyway, your Christmas cheer and enthusiasm and celebration is contagious, and my boys and I are going to have a CRAFTASTIC morning finishing up ornaments and other Christmas presents.

    Questions for you…
    How did you and Brett meet?

    Please tell me your children watch cartoons and that’s how you get some stuff done during the day.

    How did you meet sweet Dot?

    Why’d you move to Naples?

    How did you get to be so well-balanced and optimistic and cool after what seems like (just from bits and pieces from other posts) an ultra religious up-bringing, small Christian college and home schooling? (Dear Lord, I hope this question isn’t offensive and that it makes sense…) Your Mom seems amazing and deep with wisdom and love. And your Dad seems bursting with love and joy and enthusiasm for life. At the end of the day, as parents, we all are working our butts off and doing our best, but when I see grown-ups like you and think “oooh, I wanna know what all her parents did to nurture and encourage her” I just have to ask. And I know there’s no formula, but I’m gathering bits and pieces as a part of my effort to love the mess out of my kids and raise them loving life and others.

  109. I would love to hear about your homeschooling experience! How long did you school at home? What did you love and hate? How was the transition to college?
    I have been reading since you had Nella. It feels like you are an old friend. Hope I don’t sound too pushy, just friend to friend!

  110. Hahaha just realized I was signed in under my husband Daniel!!! I am sarahandrustaylor@gmail.com and littletaylorlights.blogspot.com

  111. Your blog is my absolute favorite! It’s so inspiring and I can’t wait to read your newest updates. My questions are more about your background, your siblings, growing up years, etc. I also would love to hear how you and Brett met. I remember reading the first time you saw him but that was like dangling meat in front of a tiger, I wanted to know more! :)

  112. I have read for years! Love watching your family grow, and learn! We have the “Shakedown” as well, only we call it the “Oh S*** Clean” when someone is coming. BAHAHA! I like your name better, since I can say it around the kiddos…and I just told my husband, and he is laughing in the other room.

    I think you are so fabulous, and am so glad I found your blog. I love your truths, your honesty, and the love you put into your family. ♥

  113. LOVE those last 2 pictures!!!
    I want to know if you ever read the book: Big Sister, Little Sister to your girls or if you have it?!
    It would make a cute Christmas present! I mentioned it a few times, but I never check back in comments to see if you replied, so a q&a would be awesome! I would love that!!!
    your girls are ADORABLE!!!

  114. How do you balance capturing the moment (photographically) and still being IN the moment? I feel like sometimes it takes me outside of the very moments that I love. (Also what lens did you use for the nutcracker pics? BEAUTIFUL!)

  115. Can’t wait to read you FAQ answers!! I think I asked you already about whether you make a blog book @ the end of the year – and if so, what site/program you use. I also want to know how in the heck you do it all?! Beautiful photography, mixed with perfect words – even a few crafts?! Seriously. Is there a pill I can take?!

    You’re great – Kelle! Can’t wait to read more!

  116. Kelle,
    I’m really looking forward to the answers from some of everyone else’s FAQs. Many of those questions are mine as well, so I’m looking forward to your response. My questions: do you really read all of these comments? Also, what are some blogs that YOU follow? I read many, but I have yet to find anyone else with quite the same spirit and love that you have. I know you are unique as all get-out, but I’m interested in hearing what you like to read too. Thanks!

  117. does your husband work? who is dot? is your dad re-married? how often are your step-sons with your family and how do they feel about all the new “fame” from your blog? do you ever have days where you don’t take a single photo? i read somewhere else,not on the blog, that you recently had a miscarriage-are you still trying to conceive?

  118. I love your joy-filled posts and your honest peeks at messes. :)

    I would love to hear how you and Brett met!!

  119. I rarely comment but have been reading for two years. I love your blog and outlook on life. Sometimes it’s just what I need to make it through the more ho hum days with my 3 yr old.
    Speaking of three yr old… I would love love if you would put together a list of your favorite childrens books or authors. We are regular librabry goers and I just hate coming home with a “dud”. Thanks.

  120. Hey Kelle!
    Just wondering what your pinterest name is. I would love to see what inspires you from a pin up bored. Thanks

  121. Haha, the Shakedown, another Kelleism that is spot on. Although I work outside the home we do the Shakedown sometimes, especially when houseguests are coming over. :) I love that you’re real and honest. Your house looks great!

  122. I adore your blog and your holiday freak flag. I totally want to be you when I “grow up.” haha … I am 22… oh, yeah. I am interested in the other half of your family. We only see glimpses of the older two boys here and there, and I am kind of interested in their story. Also, how did you and your husband meet, fall in love, get married… and you know the drill?

  123. I’ve always wondered how you were able to use personal pictures for your blog archive section? I love it! I’m always wanting to add new fun things to my own blog but I think I’m lacking some serious technical skills:)

  124. I, like others here, have a shakedown as well! Good to know others are dong the same thing. I love to read your blog. Reminds me to slow down and enjoy my children and husband. Thank you

  125. Do you ever get recognized? Like, your out shopping with your babies and someone yell’s out “hey, that’s Kelle from the blog.” How do you deal with that?

    Has your popularity had any negative effects on your personal relationships (friends/family)?

    Also, add another vote for the Kelle and Brett love story! Your readers are romantics…and we want details!

  126. i’m sure it’s been asked- and probably answered before- but i’m dying to know where i can get that wooden truck the girls have that hold crayons.

    thanks and happy holidays!

  127. just wanted to let you know, you inspire me! thank you for blogging!

  128. You and I are the same age so I’d like to know…How do you stay so fit?? How do you do you seem to get so much done and go so many places (maybe that answers my fit question)? ha ha! I’m amazed at all you seem to get done from post to post. You’re awesome!

  129. Love all the crafts you do with your kiddos! I’m currently expecting my first baby (a boy) and I cannot wait to do fun things like that with him!! I’ll just have to make them a little less girly. πŸ˜‰

    And wow! Nella’s hair is getting sooo long! Love it!

  130. How do you keep so thin? You look HAWT Mama! And I would LOVE for you to give us a step by step tutorial on the Friday photo dumps. Are they just put together in Photoshop? Have you ever printed the collages out? I have SO MANY iPhone Instagrams and I need to do something with them. It’s like those pictures are of our everyday life so I want to do something special with them!

  131. LOVE your blog, so inspiring and beautiful on so many levels.

    I have a few questions. :)

    I second the question about how you keep on top of your pictures, I find I barely have time to get them processed and on our simple family blog.

    How do you choose what to print/frame in your home. I have too many I love! Or, what do you do with all your favorites?

    My most important – how do you get in so many of your pictures? I husband rarely picks up the camera and I feel like my son will look back on pictures and wonder where his mother was. (behind the camera, of course)

  132. Would love photography tips – especially the post processing you do to make your pictures look so dreamy. Also, how do you get that cool angle on your photos? Because whenever I tilt my camera my pictures look funny! Do you change focus points on your camera? Do you have baseline settings? Like, when it’s bright daylight do you know what ISO, aperture and shutterspeed you’re going to use right away and then adjust from there? Same with night time, is there a go-to setting? Do you use photoshop alot? What are your favorite actions? Thanks Kelle and ho ho ho.

  133. Would love photography tips – especially the post processing you do to make your pictures look so dreamy. Also, how do you get that cool angle on your photos? Because whenever I tilt my camera my pictures look funny! Do you change focus points on your camera? Do you have baseline settings? Like, when it’s bright daylight do you know what ISO, aperture and shutterspeed you’re going to use right away and then adjust from there? Same with night time, is there a go-to setting? Do you use photoshop alot? What are your favorite actions? Thanks Kelle and ho ho ho.

  134. Thank you for the fab blog. We love. Question: I’d be curious to hear more about your dad and how his coming out has changed you as an adult. We are a two mom family and curious to hear more about this story in your life.

  135. What do you find is your biggest challenge in raising a child with special needs? What challenges do you fear that you will face if and when she enters the public school system?

  136. I love that you dote on the details for holidays and birthday parties and well.. just LIFE. No mirror undecorated. No party without a theme. I love that you make every memory stand out for your girls!

    And as far as the Q&A bit, I’ve always wanted to know more about yours and Brett’s story. Your origin as a couple. You guys seem to have such a fun-loving relationship. It makes me smile :)

  137. How do you manage it all??? I’m starting to love photographing all the small things but I struggle with safely toting my camera around, keeping it at easy access, and managing all the other STUFF women/mothers need. I look at your pictures and sometimes wonder… how does she do it?!?!?!?…. She must have a diaper bag, purse, Nella on her hip and Laine struggling with quickly melting ice cream. And I’m always convinced you have cute heel on too … oh teach me your ways!!!

  138. Love each and every post~!
    FAQ: how you stay fit & beautiful, and how you manage your time. I’m caught up with too many things that I “want” to be good at…and maybe I just need to let it HAPPEN. Sometimes the blog world can be inspiring…but it makes we want to be the best at parenting, photography, house cleaning, organizing, decorating, etc…and I’m inspired but overwhelmed and not quite focused on any of them.

  139. I love how you get your kids so involved in everything…and especially love all of the Christmas spirit! :-)

  140. FAQ: I look on those top 100 blog lists and click on the top blogs and I am sorry but none of them compare to yours. Your blog is one of the only ones that just had me at “Hello”… Why do you think you resonate with so many people?

    FAQ: I want to know how you and Brett met! I love a good love story!

    FAQ: Have you ever been approached to have your own TV show/book???

  141. As a homeschooling mom of 5, I would LOVE to hear more about your homeschool background! Were you always homeschooled? Did you like it at the time? Now as an adult, looking back, what are your thoughts on it?
    I LOVE your blog. You truly inspire me to be a better mother, and “enjoy the small things”! :)

  142. I would love to know where you bought your perfect clip-on bangs…whaaaaaat? They’re real? Then please, I beg of you, a 2-page dissertation on how not to hate you. Uhm, what else…let’s see…just curious, if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? And nothing physical (cause don’t be messing with perfection), but on an emotional level. Are you quick to anger, judge, flip the bird, etc? Gawd, I’ve just given away my top three areas of strength. πŸ˜‰
    ps. This is such an awesome idea! It’ll be a great way for us readers to connect more with each other in this wonderful community you’ve helped create. xo

  143. Lots of good questions and I’m interested in your responses. I wonder if you are a co-sleeping family? You often talk about being with your girls until they fall asleep. Co-sleeping had been taking some heat recently and I find myself having to defend it.

  144. Thank you so much for inspiring me to be more crafty! I used to avoid crafts, insisting “I just can’t do that stuff,” but with your help, I’ve learned to just shut up and try it!

    For a FAQ question: Your beautiful blog and each of its posts conveys your approach so well, but if you only had a few sentences to do so, how exactly would you describe your theory on good parenting?

    Thank you!

  145. I’ve been searching your blog for the answer the last few days, where did you get Nella’s red mary janes? I love them, want them, and desperately need them for my daughter. Also any tips on night shots without flash would be lovely. Mine come out blurry from slow shutter speed or have an unnaturally red hue. Thank you!!

  146. Hi Kelle!
    LOve your posts…I’m pretty sure my whole former Christian college reads you.
    MY Question:What is your relationship with God? And did your parents divorce affect that? Sometimes you hint a strong Christian background here and there and then it ends there?

    Also, Your dad has a wedding ring. Did he re-marry? Since he’s always around you guys, does he live close? Is he still a pastor?

  147. I want to hear the story of how you and Brett met! :)

  148. I’d love to know more about your homeschooling experience as a kid. I really want to homeschool but I’m torn between leaving a well-paying job that I LOVE and just quitting this job. Like you I still have some time to make a decision (until Fall 2012). Also, love your crafts. It seems like you have everything needed for every craft possible. Where do you keep all the crafting supplies?

  149. I’ve always been curious as to your family situation – how your parents separated and ended up where they are (more your dad, really), and how you met Brett & ended up in FL. Oh, and how you managed to become friends with the prior Mrs. Brett. :)

    Thanks for sharing!!

  150. How did you and Brett meet? I’d love to hear your Love Story :)

  151. Kelle~ I’m still dying to know what the favors were when Nella was born! What was inside those tiny, precious boxes??? :-0

  152. Love reading your posts and how you shower your family with love. Here’s my question: When did you realize your readership was growing? And do you think your writing has changed knowing that there are many people following your blog? I ask because I started my blog just for my family and it’s sometimes a temptation to change my writing style or my content knowing that there may be others reading whom I don’t know. So it would be great to get your insight on that. Thanks for writing!

  153. how do you think your life would be if you were still teaching and raising the girls? do plan on going back into teaching someday?

  154. One of my questions would be: how do you deal with all of the negative attention you receive because of your blog? There are those who feel the need to put down people “like you” (positive and happy-go-lucky!) Does it bother you at all, or do you just ignore it?

  155. How did you meet Brett? What does your dad do now or is he retired?

  156. I’ve always wondered how you protect your camera while on the beach? I’m a nervous wreck that mine will get ruined by sand, salt, etc…

  157. Love your blog Kelle. Love your girls, your family & family of friends and your passion for the life that you’re living. As a working mom of two little girls, I love all of your crafty ideas and the way you decorate…but here’s my questions- Tantrums? Are there any tantrums in your life?
    We have a lot of toddler fits and strong willed behavior from our 3.5 year old. While I can appreciate that her independence, strong willed nature and smarts will all be things that will make her future bright, it sure is tough getting through them in the now. So, yeah, got any tantrums in that blissful life of yours? :)
    @Sharmaine- Thanks girl for that reference to the home crafted canvas art above! Awesome!

  158. Oh, I seriously do not need more Christmas crafts. They are taking over my life. My husband, my kid and I’m pretty sure my blog readers are all really sick of my Christmas crafting…but. I now have a burning desire to make those lanterns.

  159. How did you and your husband meet? How much older is he than you?

  160. I would love your mac and cheese recipe! I remember you posted a pic of it a while back.

  161. Hi Kelle…I don’t know if I’ve ever commented, but I always mean to! :) I just wanted to thank you for your posts. I love your writing and coming here always bring a little extra happy to my day. I love happy blogs sprinkled with a bit of reality (like that counter picture…mine looks like that now. Glad I’m not the only one. Phew!). Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your beautiful family!

  162. Kelle, I love your blog. I come here anytime i need a pick me up… so good mommy encouragement! I want to know more about your Dad. He seems really cool and involved in your lives… I also want to know more about homeschool. I just started Kindergarten this year with my daughter. I had a feeling you might go that way too and I read somewhere that you were homeschooled? Much love and thanks for your beautiful words :)

  163. Wondering if you have taken Nella off breastfeeding since lately you havent posted pics of you breastfeeding her. Did you also breastfeed Lainey for that long or just Nella b/c of her being special.

    When do you plan on removing the co-sleeping?

  164. Hi Kelle! I just love reading your blog.

    For my FAQ, I am really interested in your three major goals apart from the obvious ones, such as being the best mom you can be, loving Brett, getting the best care for Nella, etc. What goals do you hope to achieve that you don’t talk about on your blog?

  165. Where did you find your shadow box frames that you have your girls hospital things in? I would love to have one for my son but I can’t seem to find the right size and yours look perfect. Thanks :)

  166. Cute, cute, lanterns! And so easy peasy!

    My question: You are so active: you run and exercise, you take your girls places, you play, you cook, you work, etc. When in the world do you shower and get ready for the day and how do you do it with two little ones? You look awesome in every single photo!

  167. My question is about nella’s glasses. I saw them several times, and then suddenly never again. What happened to “the professor”? This question has been burning in my mind for months :)

  168. for your faq… this probably isn’t a frequently asked q, but it’s mine. i’m one million years old… ok… i’m 35… & my parents just filed for divorce. i don’t know how old you were when your parents divorced, but i’m aching & hurting & dying just a little this Christmas… Any thoughts or encouragement? Tell me it gets better, that HOPE rises – that my own marriage’s beauty isn’t diminished one spec by the disintegration of theirs…

  169. In regards to your photobooks for the girls birthdays, do you plan to give them to them one day when they’re older? If so, do you buy multiple copies. I just made one and wrote it to my daughter and she’ll take it as her own one day when she’s grown but I wonder if I will want a copy too so I wonder what you do.

  170. I am envious of your decorating skills!!! πŸ˜€

    As for questions:

    1) Any more babies being planned?
    2) What are your favorite Christmas Traditions?
    3) what are your favorite TV shows?

    lol. totally random!

  171. This comment has been removed by the author.

  172. Nelle – I absolutely love reading your blog all the time. I don’t comment but I’m always reading and my heart melts when I read about your girls – they’re so precious and I can’t wait to start a family of our own. Which brings me to my question! My husband and I are trying for a baby and I remember a couple months back you had mentioned quickly that you were trying again but had miscarried – so I was wondering how you’re dealing with that and if you’re still trying? I’ve never wanted something so much in my life and it’s a difficult thing to deal with when it doesn’t happen instantly. I’m hoping and praying that 2012 will be our year for a miracle to join us in this world :) Thanks Nelle!

  173. Hi Kelle,

    I’ve come out from hiding for this one. However, lest you think I’m not a devoted reader…EtSTs is one of my two regular, daily blog reads.

    Here’s my question, forgive me if you’ve already touched on this and I’ve missed it.

    How did you end up in FL having grown up in MI? And how did you and Brett meet? I’d love to hear how your love story began. πŸ˜‰

    Straight from MN,

  174. Where did you buy your bed from? I love it and have always wanted to ask. Thanks.

  175. for your FAQ post: I would love to know how you pull yourself out of the dumps or work through any anxiety. You always seem so upbeat and high on life (which, in turn, is a great pick-me-up for me!).

  176. I have a request… so I’ll form it into a question for your FAQ. :) Will you update your Photography FAQ section? It appears that some of your answers are a couple years old, and I’d love to know what you’re liking now best to use – what camera – what lens – what settings – etc.
    THANK YOU!!!!!!

  177. Kelle – can you please tell the story of how you and Brett met and how you started dating? You hinted about this around Father’s Day, and I have been looking for the post on that ever since! Hope you’ll share your story soon!

  178. the story of how you and brett got together!!! :)

  179. FAQ:

    1. why did you move to Naples, away from family?

    2. Your and Brett’s story, you said it was yet to be told.

    3. When you’re out and about, how do you carry your camera so it’s accessible for all those pics, in a bag, on your shoulder, etc?

    4. Your favorite inspirational books.

    5. yes, how is it you stay in such good shape.

  180. Your posts are so in-the-moment. I want to know what are your dreams for the future? Always living in Florida? More children? Goals for your career? And do you have a bucket list? If so, I’d love to hear some of the things on it!


  181. i just dont see how you have time for all the things going on in your life! so i am sure that is a FAQ but my question is – do you still have a photography blog, site, or a place that you show any of your work other than your family/blog? do you still do photography work?

    i love your blog – it’s so inspiring and especially during any holiday forthcoming – i love to come and read about how you are preparing and devulging in it. you have a way of making your life seem so frickin PERFECT!

  182. How do you get everything done? How much does your dad help you? Do you ever get babysitters? What advice do you have for a young mom of 2 regarding how to get things done? I work very part time but still feel like I can’t get to everything. Do you struggle with being overwhelmed?

  183. I´d like to know how you resolve fights/compromise with your neat-minded husband when you don´t mind things being messy as much. I´m in the same boat. Tt´s just not a priority for me and doesn´t bother me until it has been bothering him for a week!! Do Tell. I´m curious!

  184. I wanted to know how you felt about pre-schools. I haven’t seen any mention on here if your oldest attends pre-school or not but we are in the midst of deciding whether or not we want to go the pre-school route with our oldest boy who is almost three. Part of me wants to keep him home and do our own field trips, crafts, etc. (along with his little sister) and the other part of me thinks it would be great if he learned from someone other than me and was around other kids. My husband attended pre-school but I didn’t. And I think I turned out pretty well :).

    Thank you!

  185. At one time you often mentioned the books that you were reading – as I recall they were often inspirational books. I was wondering what was on your reading list these days.

  186. Do your girls watch tv? A totally random question, but my guilty conscious is hoping you say yes. Once the cold weather hit here and all the holiday shows started, the tv has been my go-to when I need to get something done. Anytime I need a little pick-me-up, I just check your blog and am instantly inspired! Thank you!

  187. Have to say I am feeling like I just met a rockstar by getting my little old name mentioned in MY FAV BLOG EVER!!!! hehe :)


    Cant wait to read some of the other questions but just off the top of my head…
    – Does Brett often travel for work and if so how do you manage with the girls on you’re own?
    – I hope this isn’t too personal but are you and brett hoping to add another child to you’re beautiful family?

    – What is the basic routine you have for the girls? Are they on a strict routine/loose one etc?

    – Are you still co-sleeping?

    Hope I haven’t asked to many! Thankyou for providing us readers with such amazing photos of you’re day to day life, and for the most inspiring words, I might have ever read.

  188. Do you ever struggle with being patient? I have a 7 month old son, and sometimes I don’t feel patient enough.

  189. Get out! I can even do those! Thanks for sharing … and thanks for encouraging conversation … LOVE how accessible you are. Many thanks and the happiest of holidays to you!

    ~ Devon
    Reading with Joey

  190. My daughter (my only kiddo at present) is A PILL to put to sleep! She uses me as a security blanket and won’t sleep without her boob (aka nursing her down).

    How is it you get your beautiful Nella to sleep ANYWHERE. It seems like she will sleep at the beach or park meadow- my kid?! Mmmm not-so-much she is curious that she will not go to sleep without a fight! So as far as routine/times/how you get through the difficult parts of parenting (feedin them, sleep… Tantrutms etc) would be so highly appreciated! :-)

  191. A few questions
    -I’m really looking forward to reading your book next year. Do you plan on writing more books Kelle? I hope so.
    -How did you and Brett decide on the beautiful names you chose for the girls, Lainey Love and Nella Cordelia?(I know Cordelia is after your grandma, so lovely)
    -Your hair is gorgeous. Any secrets for keeping it so long and silky?
    -I know my fellow readers all share my curiosity about how you and Brett met, your love story. How did Brett (or you) propose?

    I love your blog Kelle. Have been reading since July 2010. Thanks for sharing your stories with us.

  192. FAQ: How are you in so many of your photographs? Does Brett or friends you’re out with just jump in and snap away? I would love to have pictures of me and my daughter reading bedtime stories, frolicking on the beach, etc, but I’m the photographer in the family and hubby is intimidated by my DSLR that I carry everywhere. All I have are pictures of them two and none of me and my daughter. Ugh…so frustrating.

  193. I would love to know a typical day-in-the-life for you, as typical as it can be with little ones :) when do you get up, when do you clean, when do you go to bed, how often do you have babysitters?

  194. “Thank you Amba”…from Survivor, right? That is exactly what I was thinking when I read that, lol:)


    Will you have a baby #3?

    How did you come up with the name Nella? I am especially curious about this one since I have a Nelia:)

    I am always amazed at how much you are able to accomplish – do you have a lot of childcare or are you able to do it while taking care of your kiddos at the same time?

  195. FAQ: I notice that you don’t have a ton of advertising and seem to be quite choosy as to what products you promote(VERY cool, by the way). Any particular types of vendors you prefer to showcase on your site?

    ~ Devon
    Reading with Joey

  196. Hi Kelle! I would love to read the story of how you and Brett met, and fell madly and deeply in love! :)

  197. Totally doing these lanterns tomorrow with my little lady :) You’d think as a Primary School Teacher that I’d remember all these crafty ideas to do this time of year……but no…..so thankyou for the reminders & inspiration :))) xx

  198. like the other bajillion peeps above, i’m a huge fan :) and attempting my own break into the blogging world..would LOVE any suggestions on how to begin to find sponsors for a new blog and potential giveaways…any advice for a newbie like me would be GREATLY appreciated! thanks!

  199. Recently found your blog…….And find you so inspiring. Having a daughter with special needs I have days when I wonder…

    You always seem so positive and have soooo much energy.

    Do you have days when all you want to do is run away ?

    What do you do for downtime..if you get any?

  200. You always look so put together. I know that you are the one who chooses the pictures for the blog and there can’t be perfect hair days and cute outfits all of the time but,it sure seems like you’re pretty put together often. I’d love to know how you manage your time on a daily basis. How do you balance time for yourself, time w/ your husband, and time with your 4 kids?

    Thanks for the blog posts! I know it’s a lot of work but I really appreciate the little kick in the pants every once in a while that gets me into gear to be more appreciative for life.

  201. This may be more appropriate for a photography forum, but since you are a photog, i will give it a shot here: how do you keep your flash-less indoor photos from having that ugly yellow hue (that all my night-time indoor photos tend to have, regardless of the white balance, iso, or exposure setting i choose)
    Thanks so much for having such beautiful photos! You are an inspiration!

  202. how do you stay so thin?!!! Is it natural or do you have to work at it?

  203. Kelle

    I found your blog on June 2011, after my second child was born and was diagnosed with DS. I was looking for a ray of hope… a family who was just living an ordinary life with extraordinary moments, in spite of – or maybe because of – a DS diagnosis. I found Nella’s story and the way you described the experience resonated so much with me that I went back to the archives and read all of 2010’s posts since she was born. I have been reading ever since. Your posts and pictures helped me cope during those very dark, sad and anxious days. I even tried sending you an email with pictures of my beautiful boy. After all, you wrote in one post you loved to hear from new moms who had just welcomed or were expecting babies with DS, but the email I sent could never be delivered to your address. So, while I know you don’t mention this a lot on your blog – hence the reason I tried to do it privately – my FAQ is with regards to Nella’s therapies. She seems to be doing really well, and I was just curious as to the following:

    i. How much therapy she recieves a week;

    ii. If it is is all in your home, or if you have to take her anywhere for them,

    iii. What types of therapies she gets.

    iv. How serious or relaxed are you about following up in your home each of the exercises (oral-motor, physical, occupational, etc)

    I know every parent does what they feel is best for their own child – and no two children are alike- but seeing as how I have only been in this world for 5 months, any info you could give me would really help me alot. Thanks!

  204. Question for the FAQ post:
    Where do you store all your photos so you don’t bog down your computer space? External hard drive? Online somewhere? I’m always amazed at the amount of photos you use and their quality and know you must be saving them somewhere other than your hard drive… please share what you find works the best!

  205. I will have a happy night, thanks to you and your sweet little giveaways! Thank you. And how did I manage to be a day late on reading this post? I’m usually all over your blog!

  206. Love your uplifting outlook on life. I’ve experienced 2 miscarriages this year and often think about how you are dealing with your losses. I’d love to know more about it (old vets love to swap war stories) and if you’ve had testing done/are trying again. I’m meeting an RE next week for testing. I hope your family grows soon!

  207. Kelle,
    I have been following your blog and look forward to your new posts and beautiful pictures. My 12 year old daughter and I also follow you on Instagram. (She is in love with Nella!) I want to thank you for inspiring me in many ways. My girls and I have tried many of your crafts! I love taking pictures and am trying to use my camera more on manual to get better pictures. It’s fun trying new things, and slowing down to enjoy the small things more. My biggest thank you is for posting the picture of your dirty dishes! That made my day!

  208. I want to know how much sleep you get on average. I’ve got 2 kiddos too – and one with something extra. :). I seriously don’t know how you seem to accomplish so much and am convinced you must not sleep as much as me. ;).

  209. I liked the question someone asked about what blogs/websites you visit or that inspire you. You’ve mentioned many sites and people along the way. What are the ones you might check on a daily basis? Do you feel that since your blog went bananas, you share things differently? I just have to say, that being a long time reader, I feel your content has remained the same. Don’t get me wrong – you are totally growing as a woman, changing and evolving, but you’ve kept the blog just as it always has been for the most part, “enjoying the small things!” I recently read someone’s post where they were complaining about you always being positive and not sharing the nitty gritty…or not sharing enough about down syndrome. I don’t know how you feel about that. I find it wise to continue on as you always have. You do share about down syndrome. You are not always positive, though, you try to find light in your darker moments/days…. Anyway, a question many seem to ask on the web is “Can she possibly be that positive?” :) I don’t really know you, of course, but I know enough to know your blog seems to be a place you are able to work through life’s challenges to find the positive! Well, I’ve said plenty tonight! Look forward to your post! And to all those parents that have found your blog b/c of their own encounters with down syndrome, I hope they are blessed to see your page and see how much more to life there is to live, focus on and to face another day, however challenging all our circumstances may be!

  210. Haha, I have a superficial question! I love your bangs, but I am wondering before I jump into the hairdressers and get them myself how easy they are. Do you have “bad bang days?” Love your blog so much! Thanks for sharing your days with us.

  211. Love your craftastic moments! (and shakedowns).

    Question: book/site recommendations for Lightroom. Also, where are you going to print your books if Shutterfly goes through with cutting off custom loaded scrap pages as of 1/1/12?

    Thanks Kelle!


  212. I started reading your blog right after Nella was born. It was right after I had given birth to my second child, a little boy. I was given the standard testing while pregnant and was told there there was an increased risk for DS. I spent the rest of my pregnancy researching and worrying about my son. He was born without DS but I honestly think if he had been born after reading Nellas story I wouldn’t have worried so much. You give people so much hope that life is so wonderful and blessed with those sweet babies with that extra chromosome!! God bless you and your family.
    question: I homeschool my 5 year old. As a child who was homeschooled, how was it? Do you think you will homeschool your girls? Not sure how long I will continue to do it but I am loving it now!!

  213. I want to know how it felt to go from someone with a little blog where you loved to showcase pictures and write to a big blog that is famous : ). I want to know if people come up to you in the market because of your blog. I want to know if you are still friends with your blog friends that were with you before you were famous. OK, I guess that is it : )

  214. I love your blog, I check in daily even though I know you only post 2/3 times a week. I could never tire of reading your blog. Can you post every day? πŸ˜‰

    I would love to hear more about your day to day family life, surely its not as “pretty” as it appears in the pictures. What happens from sun to sun down. WHen do you take all your pics?

    Do you literally take the camera everywhere or do you pre-plan your blog topic then take the pics accordingly?

    Your house looks gorgeous. Is it a big house? Looks big in the pics. Do the boys leave with you full time?

    What is your relationship with Brett like? Do you fight? Whats his opinion on your blog? Who is the decision maker at home?

    Sooo many questions, so little time. :)

    LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Your blog!

  215. I would love to learn more about your photography.
    How do you take such great pictures?
    Maybe you could post some photo recipes or settings?
    Maybe you could show some behind the scenes photos of when you take pics with you in them?
    How do you capture such great moments? Do you spend a lot of time posing, asking the girls to do something again, or just have your camera attached to you at all times?
    Maybe you could post some step-by-step instructions of your post processing in Lightroom?
    I love your blog. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  216. I have adopted the magic shakedown as well, amazing what you can accomplish with a deadline!

  217. Hihi Kelle. I found your blog in june while pregnant with my 2nd daughter..i read every single post when struggling with sleep. Your blog is so inspirational, makes me want to be a better mum..i just moved from iceland to australia for my hubby so its not very christamsy here!

    1. Id love to hear the story of your dad. Or from your dad..his post after nellas birth was just amazing. Both he and Gary seem so involved in your life. (lucky you, we miss our family so much!)

    2. Brett seems away with work a bit. How do you manage? My husband goes away alot and i struggle with my 7 week old and less than a 2 year girls!

    3. Lastly..how do you stay so skinny? You seem to make alot of yummy treats and icecream trips, and i remeber you saying in an older post you used to be overweight? I have always been very thin but gained so much in both pregnancies..seems to take ages to go back while i saw a pic of you just 3 months after nellas birth in a bikini looking awesome!!

    With love from Oz

  218. Phew!!!!!!!! I was getting worried about that non-festive bathroom mirror of yours! Glad you decided to deck it out.
    FAQ: Do you ever feel like your readers are stalking you or obsessed with you? Sometimes when I read the comments you get I feel like that FOR you……thoughts? xoxo

  219. Since you did not go to school for photography where did you learn to take such fabulous pictures?! And which lens do you use most often and why do you love it?

  220. How did you and Brett meet??

  221. FAQ: What lens are you using most often these days? I’m guessing not your 50mm because you do a lot of “reach the camera out in front” you pics and I know with the 50mm you wouldn’t be able to get all you + more in the frame! I’m looking to buy an additional lens for my Canon 7D. πŸ˜‰ Any current photography tips would be appreciated as you initially inspired me to learn how to use my DSLR in manual mode when I first started reading you a couple years ago! Thank you!!!

  222. What therapies and how long how often and where does Nella get? Does she not like to wear her glasses or are they just not as ALWAYS the best accessory for all pics?

  223. Do you have any desire or plans to specifically spread information and resource links to parents facing a diagnosis of DS, particularly in light of blood testing?

  224. Love that Brett is a very involved dad. For your FAQ, I’d be curious to know what he does for a living, since he seems to have a very flexible schedule.

  225. FAQ~ (I love this idea by the way!)

    #1: How much sleep a night on average do you get? I have two littles and am lucky to get 4-5 hours a night.

    #2: What lens do you use for everyday photos of your girls? 50mm? And do you shoot in manual, shutter priority or aperture priority? When I shoot manual on my 2yr old in an action shot many are blurry. Help!

    #3: Do you strictly use Photoshop CS to edit or something else along with it like Adobe Lightroom? Does anyone use Iphoto to edit?

    Can’t wait for the FAQ post- thanks!

  226. One more FAQ! Where /how do you store all of your photos? Multiple externals??

  227. How did you and Brett meet? What’s your story?

  228. Wondering how you keep track of all the pictures you take of your family. Do you put them all on cd? Print them? Store in boxes? Etc. I would LOVE to know how you do this because I struggle with just the small amount I take :)
    Thank you!!

  229. I love that you ae all s into the Christmas spirit. Looks Beautiful.

  230. Kelle! I want to know about your love story! Where can I find it or can you write it?!

  231. FAQ:

    1. Camera/lens fright on the beach! Do you worry about the sand and salt, especially when changing lens’s.

    2. How do you keep beach pics from looking completely washed out? We vacation yearly in Mexico and my pics of kiddos in the sand is like shooting in a blizzard. WHITE OUT

    3. How are you shooting in low light and in focus? Do you use a tripod often and if so do you recommend a brand? Built in flash vs. external/mounted flash?

    4. Blogging layout tips including header photo and design, and making pics big.

    Thanks for sharing….you are da bomb girl.

  232. Oh! And do you have to ask parents about putting pics up on the blog? Do you have to have a disclaimer “hey if you’re at my party you are fair game”?

  233. I was wondering what you use to write your blog posts. Do you write them straight from the blogger dashboard or do use some other software similar to Windows Live Writer?

  234. Love the lantern idea. Gonna make some with my kids on Sat. Thanks for the cool idea!

  235. I was wondering if you are planning to homeschool your girls. I know you were homeschooled so I was wondering what you were going to do with school. You do so many cool things, I know they would be lucky to be home with you:)

  236. Hi Kelle,

    I am wondering if you could share how you use the family bed. I’m wondering if you had both your girls sleeping with you as newborns or if they were in bassinets- if you brought Nella in right away as a newbie and had Lainey already in there. Is it an all-night thing or a just falling asleep thing? I have a 14 month old who I would love to co-sleep with but she is the single most spastic sleeper in history so the family bed is NOT an option for us right now. But, if/when we have another, I’d love to have us all piled in together. There is nothing like waking up holding your husband’s hand and snuggling your sweet baby. I’d love to hear how this works for you and how you transitioned Nella in while Lainey was in there too. Thanks!

  237. Greetings from an Amish community in Pennsylvania, I’m just checking out different blogs and thought id leave a comment. Happy holidays to everyone as well. Richard from Amish Stories

  238. I notice that Lainey is not in preschool this year. Are you planning to home school your kids? As a former educator, what resources do you use to educate your children?

  239. Someone may have already asked this but, FAQ: Do the girls sleep in your bed with you and Brett? Love always seeing what decorations/things y’all are up to!

  240. What are your favorite bands, style of music, color, vacations, dream vacations?

  241. I have a strange question that I have been wondering about for a long time…is your name pronounced like Kell or Kelly?? My mom and I always argue about it. Lol!!

  242. Kelle, I have read your blog since before Nella was born and I appreciate all that you do as a Mommy, who works from home. My FAQ is…how do you find time to do it all? I also live in Naples…I have three boys under the age of three and trying to manage everything gets tough…especially since I want to spent all my time enjoying them.

    Also, I have wanted to know for a while…where did you get the nightgown you wore when Lainey was born…I love it!

    Keep up it girl!

  243. I’m kind of a crazy dog woman :) so I would love to know about your pups! How old are they? Were they yours or Brett’s? Or did you guys get them together before you had Lainey? Did you get them as puppies or were they rescued?

  244. I’m kind of a crazy dog woman :) so I would love to know about your pups! How old are they? Were they yours or Brett’s? Or did you guys get them together before you had Lainey? Did you get them as puppies or were they rescued?

  245. My questions…

    How do you pronounce your name… does it rhyme with “bell” or “belly”?

    How did you meet Brett? You hinted at the story and it sounded intriguing.

    I’d love to know a little more about your life before kids/blogging/world domination. You said you used to teach? And you yourself were homeschooled?

  246. Oh and completely random but… what do you guys call rainboots? In the UK we call them Wellingtons and now I live in Australia and we call them Gumboots.

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