Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thank you, thank you!



We here at Love and Life Cards want to take a moment to thank you, our cherished friends, family, customers, and colleagues, for a very successful first holiday season. We hope this week, you have a chance to curl up with a loved one next to the fire, share a laugh with friends and family, and reflect on the wonderful things in your life. We sure are!

Looking forward to sharing a wonderful 2012 with you!

Love,
Elizabeth & Sona

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Show Time

Well the cards are pouring in through the mail, and we hope lots of those are Love and Life Cards with gorgeous smiling faces.  Now the main challenge is how to show them off!  We have chosen just a few of our favourite ideas to share with you from the complicated to the ridiculously simple.


For those who like a challenge...


We saw this impressive Christmas Card Tree Display on Martha Stewart's website.  It looks amazing, but does require a bit of time, patience, and skill which are three things that I'm a wee bit short of.  You can find all the instructions and everything you need on http://www.marthastewart.com/266879/displaying-christmas-cards


For something a little easier...
This is my favourite as it's simple and can hold a lot of cards.  I have done this over our dining room door which means I can see everyone's cards each time I pass.  Living far away from family and friends makes this a little way to share the holidays with them.


For something a little more child friendly...
This one can be kept up and away from reaching and curious hands.  Corkboard, fabric, ribbon and thumbtacks.  This one is also simple to make and you may have everything you need at home already to make it.


One for the kids...
My three year old has really caught from me my love of receiving Christmas Cards.  We both get so excited when the mail arrives, but she now has the pleasure of opening them.  Although she can't read, she loves to look at them over and over and always asks who they are from until she has it memorized.  Imagine how many times I was pulling the cards off the door for her and putting them back up...enter her very own card gift bag.  This bag is for all of HER christmas cards, (seems she has more than us now that she started school).  We keep it under the tree and it means she can look at them anytime and as much as she wants.  Genius!


We'd love to hear about or see any of your displays, so please do share!


Wishing you love and all of life's little blessings this holiday season...love and life cards

Monday, December 12, 2011

The four gift rule


I saw The Four Gift Rule on Pinterest the other day and I thought it was a great rule of thumb to aspire to as a way to simplify gift giving to our children. It is so easy to get lost in the excitement of receiving gifts and forget about why we give gifts at this time of year.   

We participated in a few local charity events this fall.
I love watching my three year old learn the joy of giving and how wonderful it can be to give a gift knowing how happy that gift makes another person.

Below are some pointers found at Great Schools to help teach children to give from an early age.

Start small when the kids are small
Your young child might be happy to help bake cookies for a friend but end up wanting to keep the gift herself. Plan for this by baking enough cookies to keep and enough cookies to give. Young children need help in learning to share.

Teach your child that he doesn't need money to give
Help your child make gift certificates good for "one free car wash" or "breakfast in bed" that he can give to others in the family.

Involve your child in selecting the gift
You may think that donating to cancer research is important, but your child who is an animal lover may be more interested in making sure the dogs at the humane society have an extra treat at the holidays. Help her find a way to give the gift she feels is important.

Be a role model
Volunteer your family's time at a soup kitchen or senior center. Gather small-size toiletries, such as toothpaste and shampoo, and pack them in decorated gift bags to take to a homeless shelter. Ask your child if he'll help you baby-sit for a neighbor's toddler so she can do her shopping or help you rake the leaves for an elderly friend.

Personalize giving
It's faster for busy parents to write a check to a charity, but it has little impact on a child who can't see where the money is going or imagine the people who benefit. Delivering canned goods to a food bank is more meaningful than dropping a check in the mail. Your family could "adopt" a needy family through a community organization, choose the gifts and wrap them.

If you have any ideas about teaching children the joy of giving or have a family tradition around giving, please share!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday checklist



December is here and it is now officially less than four weeks until the New Year! We've come up with a quick checklist of some of the most important things to add to your "to do" list for the next four weeks. Hopefully some of these will help reduce the stress and give you more time to enjoy the simple pleasures of this holiday season. 


1. Make a family outing to pick up your tree making it a tradition for your family. 


2. Decorate together letting little ones put on the first ornament and help with as many as possible. 


3. Spend an hour at lunch during the week or after work doing your shopping to avoid the crowds at the shops on the weekend.


4. Set up a wrapping station in your home and wrap gifts as you buy them.


5. Keep a list of everyone you need to buy for on your phone so you don't forget anyone.


6. Pick up bulk gifts such as wine or candles (we like to give maple syrup!) to give to neighbors or hostess gifts. 


7. Pick up a festive holiday shirt or two and pair with simple black pants so you don't have to stress about what to wear at the last minute!


8. Make and freeze cookie dough to be ready to pop in the oven if you need something to bring to a party or so like me most years, you aren't having to start from scratch to get cookies ready for Santa.


9. Take stock of your pantry now and make a holiday shopping list.


10. Be sure to order your Love and Life Holiday Cards by December 15th to guarantee delivery by December 23rd!!


What do you do to reduce the stress during the holiday season? Are you one of those super organized people I aspire to be or do you simply book an appointment at the spa and put it all out of your mind? If you have any pointers to share about getting organized and/or reducing some of the stress this holiday season we'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday parties

It seems that the holiday season is upon us. And with that comes decorating, baking, holiday cards, and parties! The month of December gets booked up pretty quickly, but here are a few fun ideas to throw together a little holiday party in the midst of all the busyness!

Open House Brunch
Can't find a free Saturday night? What about a Saturday or Sunday morning? An open house brunch is a great way to spend a little time with friends, neighbors, and family. And what's better than brunch foods like quiche, french toast bake, fruit salad, and whatever other yummy treats you can think up for the menu. Don't forget to offer your guests something to quench their thirst with a yummy Mimosa or Bloody Mary bar!

Cookie Swap
One of my all-time favorites—the cookie swap! Get together with friends for some warm drinks, delicious desserts, and go home with a variety of goodies to share! This Baker's Holiday Card is the perfect way to invite your pals to this year's cookie swap!
Cocktail Party
And of course there is the cocktail party. Even though it can sound a bit intimidating, you really can't go wrong. Check out Martha Stewart's Holiday Entertaining Guide and just make sure the wine (or drink of choice) is flowing! Don't forget to send out your Love and Life invitations like this classy Martinis and Cheer invite.
Do you have a unique and relatively stress-free holiday party idea to share? We'd love to hear about it and maybe you'll even inspire a card design!

Monday, November 21, 2011

And our thank you's go to...

With Thanksgiving coming up, we thought we'd take a quick time out to just share with you a few things we are thankful for.


Sona said...
Giggling girls

Generous neighbors

These people could almost fall under family since the day we moved in - feels like we have known them forever!

Cookies!

Baking them, eating them. How does one get through the day without them?

Hugs and Kisses

No such thing as too many:)

Family

Enough said


Elizabeth said...
Coffee
"Elizabeth runs on Dunkin"


Good Health
For myself but mostly for those around me


Friends close by
Love, love, love the mummy network!


Friends far away
The oldies are still the goodies


Family

We'd love to hear what you are thankful for too:)
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

12 tips for taking the family holiday photo

Photo by Allison Rumble Photography
1. Timing
Schedule the photo shoot when kids are at their happiest—probably not just before dinnertime!

2. Lighting
Consider the lighting. I prefer natural light and outdoor photos, so since noon sunshine is not ideal lighting, I do try to get out for photos either in the morning or late in the afternoon. This can be tricky with kids schedules!
3. Bribery
Bring toys and snacks. I am not opposed to bribery when it comes to getting my 3 year old to smile for the camera!

4. What to Wear?
I like to coordinate, but not match, though I’ve seen some fantastic family photos sporting matching outfits. Just make sure everyone is dressed in a similar style, whatever that may be.
5. Go casual—
especially with little ones. I have found that my favorite photos are not when my kids are all dressed up, but the ones I catch when they are just being themselves. It’s also much easier not to worry that they will mess up their outfit if they are in jeans, as opposed to dressed in their Sunday best.

6. Setting
Try a local park or beach, and look at your own back yard. A brick wall, an old barn door, or your front steps, might be the perfect spot! And remember, the background is not the most important subject of your photo, so keep your location simple. 
Photo by Allison Rumble Photography
7. Get close—
closer, closer, closer than you think you should. Faces are what you really want to see, so get right up there!
8. Photo editing
Don’t be afraid to play around with photo editing. The beauty of digital photography is that you can edit, retouch, and experiment in all sorts of ways—and still save the original so if you aren’t happy with the changes you’ve made, you can start fresh.

9. Props
Consider using a fun prop like a hat, a sled, or a frame for an original and fun photo.
Photo by Carey White Photography
10. Capture the moment
Everyone doesn’t have to be looking at the camera or be perfectly posed. Great photos capture a moment in time. Some of my absolute favorite photos of my girls are the wide-eyed, straight faced ones. Smiles are great if you can get the real thing, but sometimes no smile is better.
Photo by Nancy Hinckley
11. Have fun and relax
Let people make funny faces, move around, and be silly. You never know—those often turn out to be the best photos that you’ll treasure forever. 

12. And repeat
If you're me... you might need to be prepared to try it all over again. Because try as I might, I just could not get two kids to sit somewhat still and both look at the camera! So if anyone has any tips that you don't see here, please send them my way. It looks like I'll be needing them next weekend.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Let your mini monet create the family holiday card

Back in June, we blogged about our "Mini Monet" cards Inspiring little artists. Mini Monet allows you to  upload a favorite piece of artwork to be transformed into stationery that can be shared and treasured. Why not take the stress off of taking the perfect family photo this year and let your little one create the family holiday card?


Simply go to the Mini Monet section of Love and Life Cards. Then click on the size you would like for your card which will look like this: 


Upload your child's artwork (or your own!) and write in your own personalization as shown here:
You now have an original card showing off your child's beautiful artwork! You can leave the rest of the card blank to write in a personal message to each recipient or you can add your message on the inside of the card. And if you, like me, can't resist sending a photo of your little cuties, you can personalize the back of your Mini Monet card with a photo of the little artist. Or include your whole family.
Mini Monet is also the perfect holiday thank you card or personalized stationery for your child and yourself. Mini Monet—the perfect way to share your child's artwork with friends and family while creating a treasured keepsake!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Brrr... it sure is getting cold out there. Even though today is Halloween, it's beginning to look a lot like... well... December out there! October is early for snow, even for us New Englanders, and even though a Halloween Snowman isn't customary around here, I'm not complaining. In fact, I am really looking forward to winter this year. I'm sure I'll change my tune come February, but right now I'm welcoming winter. What's not to love about the holiday season? I'm looking forward to curling up next to a warm fire when it's cold outside, sledding, spending time with family, baking, decorating, watching my 3 year old get excited about receiving presents, and watching my 3-year-old learn that giving gifts can be exciting too.


There is something extra special about welcoming a little one around the holiday season. That's why we are designing a new line of birth announcements geared specifically toward winter babies. We know that life is busy—especially with a new baby—so why not announce the arrival of your holiday gift while wishing friends and family a happy holiday season in one very special photo card? 


Whether you decide to announce the birth of your little miracle with a simple and elegant card like this:

Or "tweet" it to the world with a fun and playful card like this:


You just can't go wrong with Love and Life Cards Winter and Holiday Birth Announcements! So curl up next to the fire with your laptop (when you finally get the wee one off to sleep) and visit Love and Life Holiday Cards to choose your perfect card—any holiday design can be customized to become a birth announcement. Enter the holiday code LALH at checkout until November 20th to receive 20% off your entire order. We'll take care of the rest. Oh yeah... and don't forget that shipping is on us too. Happy shopping!

Monday, October 24, 2011

'Tis the season




We are so excited to announce our 2011 holiday card line! Our holiday assortment features a variety of festive styles to show off those smiling faces. Each design also has an option to personalize the back of the card, giving it just that much more of your own personal touch. 

We hope you will find a design that is just perfect to show off your family. But just in case you don't see exactly what you're looking for, we also offer holiday custom design service at the same low prices as our regular line of cards. And don't forget to save by ordering before November 20th—just use the coupon code LALH for 20% off your order at checkout!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Teni and Chase's Rustic and Lovely Wedding

Last month we shared some details from my sister Teni's wedding shower weekend including maple leaf cookie cutters with recipe card favors. I am so excited to reveal the couple's beautiful stationery and personalized wedding held at the bride's family home last weekend! T&C were both equally involved in all of the invitation and stationery design. Teni knew she wanted shades of orange and chocolate with a fall theme. The groom was dedicated to the process and actually sketched a maple leaf design for the invitation, as well as had the idea of the acorn around the couple's initials on the reverse of the invitation. Here is a picture of the whole stationery suite. 
I particularly love the retro photo booth style of the save the date cards.
And the whimsical, yet classic invitations and RSVP cards. The RSVP cards are postcards which is a great way to save money and paper, as well as let guests know that your event will be casual and fun. 
The couple have many amazingly talented friends who helped make this wedding very special and personal. These paper flowers were made by a close friend and were just gorgeous.

Another friend commissioned these super cool personalized wine labels. This is just one of the four designs—one for each type of wine offered.
And I just cannot resist sharing a photo of the happy couple, Teni and Chase.
Beautiful photo of T&C courtesy of Nancy Hinckley.
Pretty cute right? The wedding weekend was SO much fun and I am so sad that it's over. Good thing we're still working on thank you notes so it isn't completely over for me. I can't wait to see more photos of the big day and hopefully I'll be able to share a few!   

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ten "must do's" for Fall

How can you not love the sounds and smells of the Fall, especially if you live in the North East!  Here is our "must do" list for this Autumn:

Pumpkin Picking
So many choices, so little time.  How much fun is it to pick a huge one to carve and not to mention all the little ones to decorate your house with?  By far one of our favorite ways to spend an afternoon!
Hay Rides
Why not round off the pumpkin picking with a hay ride and maybe some tasty donuts!

Leaf piles
Kill two birds with one stone...entertain the kids for a few hours as well as tidy up your yard...it's a win win!


Hot Apple Cider
After working in the yard, bring the gang in for some delicious hot apple cider.
Here is a great recipe:

Ingredients

  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 orange peel, cut into strips
  • 1 lemon peel, cut into strips

Directions

  1. Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan.
  2. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.
  3. Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
  4. Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired.


Fall Crafts
Projects like leaf rubbing or pumpkin painting are a great way to bring the beautiful autumnal outdoors in!


Apple Picking
Weather you have an Indian Summer and manage to wear shorts one more time or the chill is in the air...there's no better place to enjoy the blue skies of the fall than at the Apple Farm!


Football Sunday
Nothing says welcome back to the Autumn like a big pot of Chilli and all your friends and family around to watch a game.  Get yourself some flags and have a game out in the backyard at half time.


Pumpkin Carving
You've picked them, you have decorated the house and yard with them, now it's time to get carving!  Not so handy with a knife?  Get creative with cookie cutters and a mallet!



Bake Bake Bake
With all that apple and pumpkin picking, surely you can create some culinary masterpiece.  And if not, try the Betty Crocker App for the iPhone:)

Go Trick or Treating
One of the best parts of being a kid and one of the privileges of parenting is the Halloween tradition.  Yes, there are the pitfalls like walking around in the cold and dark while you knock on strangers houses.  Then the daily candy negotiations everyday following Halloween for about a month, but when else can you completely embarrass your children and they won't hate you for it?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Trees for the future—it's amazing what one seed can build

Since 1989, Trees for the Future has been helping communities around the world plant trees. Through seed distribution, agroforestry training, and country programs, they have empowered rural groups to restore tree cover to their lands. Planting trees protects the environment and helps to preserve traditional livelihoods and cultures for generations.

From the first day we here at L&L started talking about the possibility of Love and Life Cards, we knew that we wanted to partner with Trees for the Future. We watched this video—50 Million Trees and Counting by Dave Deppner, founder of Trees for the Future. We were and continue to be inspired.  If you have 8 minutes or even if you don't, but you want to be truly inspired, take a break to check it out—we think you'll be glad that you did.  Just beware, it may make you want to move to Kenya and start planting some trees!
  
To quote Deppner, It's amazing what one seed can build. And remember, every order placed with Love and Life plants a tree with Trees for the Future!  

Monday, September 26, 2011

The perfect (birth)day

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday.  I don’t know if it is having children or just getting older, but the last few years I haven’t felt like birthday celebrations for myself are quite as important as they used to be.  Don’t get me wrong, we usually do a little bit of celebrating on the special day and maybe I have taken some lessons from The Mad Hatter in celebrating some “Un-birthdays”—a pedicure here, a night out with the girls there.  But even though I didn’t have big plans for this particular birthday, it turned out to be just about the perfect day.  So here is a play by play of the day that could have been any perfect day, but just happened to be my birthday this year.

8:30 am – Wake up (a major sleep in for this mom of two)!

9:00 am – Coffee on the back deck, followed by my birthday present—a KitchenAid Mixer to go with my new kitchen! Good thing I just stocked up on personalized stationery from Love and Life Cards that can double as thank you notes!

10:00 am – A nice slow 4-mile run

11:00 am – Catching up with a few good friends via phone and email

12:00 pm – Lunch and a post lunch pumpkin cheesecake birthday cake… yum!

1:00 pm – A little rest/down time for all

3:00 pm – A trip to the playground with the kids for some playtime including a stop at a local coffee shop to pick up a latte for mom

5:00 pm – Home and dinner for little ones

6:00 pm – Getting the girls ready for bed and this mom ready for a night out

7:00 pm – Date night!









11:00 pm – Home and bed for this exhausted, but very happy lady!

What about you?  What would your perfect day include or not include?  Would you want a big party complete with Love and Life invitations and all or something a bit more low-key?  Do you do it up big for birthdays or is it just another day of the year?  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall is here!

The days are getting a little bit shorter and the nights are getting cooler.  Fall is here!  Well... it will be officially this Friday.  And to me, that means the season for baking begins. The timing works out perfectly since my kitchen renovation is finally coming to a close.  (We have been sans kitchen for two months and two days now, but who's counting?)  But back to baking.  Apple and pumpkin pies, muffins, breads, cookies... yum!  

This past weekend was my sister's wedding shower and with baking on the mind and their fall themed wedding coming up in October, we thought a recipe card would make the perfect favor.  First we designed this card with colors and designs from the couple's wedding stationery.  The sugar cookie recipe is my mom's.  I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it!




Next, we found these adorable little maple leaf cookie cutters at Sur la table. 




Then we used a hole punch to make a small hole in the upper corner of the recipe card and tied the cookie cutter to the card with rafia.  




We think these favors are fun, sweet, and uncomplicated just like the bride-to-be!


And here is a quick shot of the back of the recipe card with the initials of the bride and groom in a fall themed acorn.  We love to add a little extra personalization wherever we can!  




These were so simple and turned out so sweet, I think they would make a great little gift or used as place cards at Thanksgiving—feature your grandmother's famous stuffing recipe or your mom's pumpkin pie.  Or hand these out to friends and neighbors at Christmas with your own cookie recipe and a snowflake cookie cutter.  


Brrr... fall may be here, but I'm going to keep my kitchen warm and toasty with all this baking!