Sunday, December 24, 2017


I have been getting SO many questions about my #nallypictureaday project.  I have now been at it for TWO YEARS.  That's insane to me.  Part of me wants to stop, but a huge part of it feels like it's become a part of our family and I loved the book we made of our 2016 year.  2017 is shaping up to be a fun book as well.

Initially for my project I wanted to document our lives.  One day at a time.  I wanted to be able to flip through the pages and see my kids grow up in the pages.  I had two simple rules.
  • One picture a day
  • Pictures didn't need to be frame worthy or award winning - just real life images of our daily life
That's it!  I posted them on my Instagram account and hashtagged them and included a date in the caption.  

There were a few sub-rules that I came up with along the way...
  • I tried to balance pictures between the kids.  I didn't count picture for picture, but you'll notice some weeks one kid is more prominent than the other and I try to balance that.  That's become more difficult now that I have one in full time public school and one at home most of the time.
  • If I happened to miss a day, I usually filled in with two pictures from the following day.  I did miss some!  I tried to not make a big deal of it, but yeah... It happened.  I fibbed a tiny bit.  ha! 
So yes - I took A LOT of photos!  So now... the actual hard part -- making a book!  I have been using Shutterfly for my compiled books.  I chose the 8x8 hardcover photo book option.  I debated bigger, but I'm cheap and the cheapest size actually works well enough. If you have a budget that allows for a bigger book - go for it!  I also wait until Shutterfly has a wonderful deal or coupon.  My book last year didn't get printed until March, I think. 

I used one of their basic storytelling layouts for each year and started to fill.  I chose a 4x4 grid layout for each page.  It looks like a calendar and the squares look great with the Instagram size photos.  I love that Shutterfly will connect with Instagram so I don't have to sit here and upload 365 photos!  That would take forever!  They connect with your account and "voila"!

January 2017 is about complete!

A few notes on this:
  • If you post multiple photos on Instagram in one post, Shutterfly won't pull them over.  I found this out the hard way in NOVEMBER.  Yikes!  There are a good 5-6 days a month this year that I have to go find and fill manually.  Going forward I will make sure the photo I select each day for my book is posted separately. 
  • It helps if you have your phone open or a dual screen computer.  I pull them over into Shutterfly one month at a time and then double check the dates as I fill them into my pages.
  • I've found that if you set up your project early and just fill in a month or two at a time it's MUCH easier to manage rather than waiting until the end of the year and doing it all at once.  My 2016 book was much easier than my 2017 book is going.  If I had looked at it in June I would have made some adjustments and it wouldn't be such a pain.  
See all those holes? Days I posted multiple images!

The book was born out of my love of flipping through photo albums that my mom had put together when I was a kid.  As my kids were aging, I realized that since technology has changed so much, I wasn't doing that.  We were relying on Timehop and Facebook's "On this Day" feature to look back.  I missed having printed copies that we could flip through and have my kids enjoy.  With this, it's a win win!  

Happy photo taking!  Let me know if you take the plunge and do it in 2018!  Remember that we aren't aiming for perfection -- just a simple look at every day moments.  (And it's ok if you miss a day... just fill it in with a picture from that week-ish.)  Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Dreams are a funny thing. We have been in an in-between season for quite a while now.  Ever since I became a stay at home mom in May 2015, I feel like I've been asking myself what I did or what value I had now that I wasn't contributing much financially to the family. I felt like I wasn't able to dream or plan or achieve.

Back in April 2016 I had a "what if" idea... One of those ideas that seem way too crazy to even start. I put it on the back burner. In June again it came to mind, and this time had a little further definition. But again... it felt way too big for my little self. Back on the burner it went.

Lately, we have been meeting a lot of new people and hearing a lot of stories. Getting deep and vulnerable with new friends. It's been invigorating, but I must say there was often a moment where people would ask me what my current dreams are... and I didn't have a great answer. Somehow the "pay my bills" dream doesn't really inspire.

Through these conversations, I've felt more and more comfortable sharing my "what if" idea with some folks. I don't know what I expected as a response, but the responses have been an overwhelming and resounding YES!

So, while I don't share the deepest depths of my dreams publicly on a blog, I do share to say this - if you feel a spark, an idea, a thought... share it with people. Talk it out. The more you ruminate on things outside of your own head and with people who have differing views, often it will bring clarity you never imagined.

So I'm actually starting. Putting my hand to the plow. While nothing may come of it, what if it did?

What are your dreams? Your what ifs? Your convergence of passions? Maybe it's a call to action.

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's Time - Coming Home

I have a confession... I'm constantly afraid. I could list all the things I'm afraid of, but it honestly wouldn't be worth your time... (and not really the point of this message)

So how do I cope with all this fear? Usually, I "turtle." I stay "safe" in my little bubble where no words or bodily harm can come to me. However, as I continue down this path of life - God is calling me out of my shell. Asking me to make some bold steps. To believe big dreams. To try something new.

Last spring we felt very strongly that it was time for another little Nally.  We have been beyond blessed with the arrival of Judah and I can't say enough how my heart has grown to love not one, but two children so fully. When we felt that nudge, I was afraid.  Afraid we couldn't afford it. Afraid of the dynamic it might add. Afraid of the legitimate health concerns at hand.

Instead God brought me through so many different verses and calmed my fearful heart.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.    - Deuteronomy 31:6
Over the last few months, we have been wrestling with the desire for me to be home with our kids. I have tried the working mom of two 'thing' for 5 weeks now. It isn't working. We are frazzled. We are tired. We don't have meaningful time together. Our bank account is empty due to high daycare costs. Our entire existence was simply to shuttle back and forth, eat, bathe, and sleep. If we are lucky we get some social time in at church, but even that means we don't really SEE our children, and then have a late night and an even more rough morning.

My inner most being has been screaming out - THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS. More than sitting in traffic 3 hours a day. More than trying to figure out what songs your child is singing, because you have no idea what songs she knows. More than driving like a mad person because your infant is starving and it's still 45 minutes to home. More than drive-thru dinners and rushed bedtime routines.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ""Abba," Father.    - Romans 8:15
But along with my desire to be home, there was fear. Fear that we wouldn't have enough money. Fear that if what limited grocery budgets we might have, Sarah may not like her lunches. Fear that I would lose a sense of community by being home alone all day with two young kids.

But as we prayed and wrestled... and prayed some more... We came back and decided to face our fear and step out in what we knew we were being called to do. Bring me home. Raise up our children. Freelance some to bring in the needed extra income. And that trusting that God, in this step he has called us into, would provide our every NEED.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.    -Philippians 4:19
With all that said - I have put in my two weeks notice at my current job. Overall the responses received have been positive and we are excited (though still a bit nervous!). Trusting God in this has been hard, but we know without question that we're making the right step for our family.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.    -Matthew 6:25-34
Nally Family - Easter 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy! Spring has Sprung!

Spring is finally HERE! I am so HAPPY!  Monday we reached a high of 80.  That's EIGHTY degrees.  I knew it was going to be a beautiful day, but boy the van was actually HOT when I got in that afternoon.  Glory.

For weeks now I have been wanting to create a Spring themed wreath.  I have never actually had a spring wreath, and my empty hook on the front door has been begging for something since the Christmas wreath disappeared in early January.  Unfortunately when you have a tight budget, things like decor take a back seat to pesky things like bills and food.

This week, I FINALLY decided to make a wreath, and I'm super happy with out it turned out.  This project took me about $10 for the materials and less than 5 minutes to assemble.  How easy is that??  Here's a list of supplies and instructions if you want to make one yourself.

Supplies (all from Hobby Lobby, make sure you go when floral stems are 50% off)
1 Natural Grapevine Wreath - $2.40 (Normally $3.99 - I used my 40% off coupon)
2 sprigs of small pink flowers - one of each color - $3.99  ($1.99 each)
3 sprigs of the small white hydrangea blooms -  $4.48 ($1.49 each)
Total: $10.87 pre-tax

I used wire cutters to separate each stem of the small flowers and just tucked them into the wreath.  The grapevine wreath is great at holding on to floral stems.  You can bend the stems a little if you need to get it to stay.  The hydrangea blooms, I trimmed the stems down to about 3-4" in length and removed the leaves.  I pushed the stems straight through the wreath form and then bent the ends back around into the wreath form to secure.

That's it!  No glue, no wire, no nothin'!  Just some flowers and a wreath form.  (And something to trim the wire stems.  I use a command hook for hanging for a cleaner look.

Happy crafting!  Hope you have a warm, bloom filled spring!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Welcome Home, Son

Putting together Judah and Sarah's room has been such a fun project since we moved in August. We knew that having a boy and girl sharing the same room, we couldn't rely on the overly pink and flowery motif of Sarah's old space.

My very talented mother-in-law helped us create the quilts, pennants and curtains for their room.  I LOVE how it turned out.  I had fun figuring out how to recover a lamp shade and making the "canvas" art over their beds.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Still can't believe we have a little brother in the house!

Sarah wanted to say "CHEESE" for the camera!

Judah's half of the room.

So much fun taking pictures!

Sarah's my little monkey.

Sarah's half of the room.

Judah's my little lion man.

She even made matching bedding for the baby bed!

Our first picture with Sarah (top) and our first picture with Judah (bottom).

Such a beautiful quilt!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!  Welcome home, son.  We are so glad you're here.