'F' for Freebies Holidays Parenting

The Balch Family Holiday Card, 2011

There’s a giveaway too — Keep reading for details.

It’s that time again. Time to think of a ridiculous premise for our holiday cards! You know how I do a monthly shoot for the kids in the same chair to document their growth? I thought it would be fun to do the same portrait for all of us this year, then compile the photos into a card.

Eleanor is a toddler. If you’ve experienced toddlerhood, you’ll know that’s all that needs to be said.

I put her down for a nap in hopes of a better shot later. I used the time to run out for flowers (Brandon’s idea, and a good one at that). We took the rest of our photos while E slept, but here are a few from the second attempt later in the day. We tried to bribe her with a lollipop. She let it fall out of her mouth and onto her skirt, and was then appalled.

August was happy! A happy but wiggly, rocking, and slightly out of focus baby. It was so dark in the living room, I had to bump the ISO waaaaay up, open the aperture all the way, and hope for the best.

I was the consummate professional, needing only one shot. Or perhaps I’m just saying that so I’ll only have to show you one shot. You’ll never know.

Brandon looks like a standup fellow. So dapper. So mature.

Oh, wait! We have a B-side. A Brandon B-side.

Aw yeah. Brandon’s footie pajamas made a triumphant return. Along with my necklace. And with that, here is this year’s Balch family holiday card.

We’re lookin’ good.


You are no doubt inspired to make your own holiday cards now, right? OK, you may not want to take the route we did. You can still go for the classic family photo, and for that you’ll need a nice camera. And something (or some things) to put that photo on. Well, Shutterfly is offering 50 cards, a 12×12 photo book, an 8×8 photo book, mug, 3 calendars, reusable shopping tote, and an ornament, along with a PowerShot S100 Camera.

Visit Shutterfly to select your favorite photo card template, and leave a comment here about which one you like best to enter. A winner will be randomly selected.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years or older. Ends 12/6/11. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions, visit Girl’s Gone Child, The Spohrs are Multiplying, or Make and Takes. Void where prohibited.

Congratulations to the winner, Diana L!

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Tara S
    November 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I love the simplicity of the Snowflake Ribbon card. Love shutterfly!! Your card is amazing.

  • Kelly P
    November 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I really like the Holly Jolly card from shutterfly, but I love your family card. Very sweet and funny. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Whitney
    November 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    This is fantastic! Very funny!

  • Julia@a-living-space
    November 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I love the “Cheers to You” card. Vintage-y and cute!

  • Chloe R.
    November 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Your card is so fun! From Shutterfly, I like the Simple Modern Band.

  • Erin @ The Great Indoors
    November 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I like the holly wreath card– simple and still plenty of room for a big family pic. :-)

    Love your card! Funny how they never DO grow up, huh?

  • Tarcia
    November 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I really like sparkle joy

  • Hayley
    November 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Love the “What Fun Christmas Card”! Cheers!

  • Jessica McConnel
    November 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I like the Merry Mum Blossoms.

  • Lisa
    November 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I’m going with the Whimsy And Wonderful
    Christmas Card, which gives me space for a family shot plus three boxes to feature each of my three kiddos. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • Jin
    November 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I love the “Berry Merry Frame”.

  • JennyOH
    November 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    So hard to choose! I like the Mod Holly though. Also, footie pajamas for grownups are …incredible? My mother in law has a pair, I almost fell over the first time I saw her in them.

  • Crissy
    November 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I love “Christmas Scrolls” for its simplicity. I would love to one day take a family photo where we are all in footie pajamas!

  • Melissa B.
    November 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    This is quite the contest package! I love Shutterfly. I like the “Poinsettia Window” design because it’s festive and original!

  • Karen Clair
    November 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Wow, so many lovely choices! I’m really digging the Retro Stripe design. And your card this year is very sweet – beautiful, soft lighting.

  • Cassie
    November 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I love the Peppermint Joy Wreath design, so cute! This is an awesome giveaway!

  • Brandy
    November 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Cheers to you is the best! Great giveaway!

  • Rian
    November 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I love the whimsical simplicity of the Holiday Love Sketch cards!

  • Amanda B
    November 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway. I love either the Sweet Monogrammed Ribbon card or the Sparkle Joy card. They let the picture be the focus but add a little something extra.

  • sarah r
    November 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I really like the Why Hello template.

  • Carla
    November 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    That picture of your husband is hilarious! I would pick Sparkle Joy!

  • Courtney
    November 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    “Merry Bright Zigzag” caught my eye immediately, I also like all the red & baby blue combos.

  • Elaina B
    November 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I really like the sweet tidings card. So cute!

    Great card!

  • Amelia
    November 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I love the “Missing Cookie” card!

  • Dorothea
    November 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I like the “Sweet Merry Ribbon” photo card template best!

  • Victoria
    November 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I like the Sparkle Joy one!

  • jaim
    November 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    i look forward to your holiday greetings every year. ;)

  • Audrey
    November 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    tough choice, but I think I like the Posh and Merry one!

  • Laura Royal
    November 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I like oh holy night, just beautiful

  • Dari
    November 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Oh wow! I was laughing so hard at your hubby in the footie jammies. That is my hubby to a T. Same with Eleanor and her pointed toes, my 3 year old does that all the time. What a cute family.

    The card style I liked was, Retro Merry Wishes Christmas Card.

  • J
    November 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Modern Squares is the one for me – love the footie pj’s!

  • J
    November 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Modern Squares is the one for me. Love the footie pj’s!

  • Joanne
    November 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    First off, the footie pj’s HI-LARIOUS. I’m a fan of the Bright Mod Tree and of the Retro Design oh and Little Bird is cute too.

  • Sara
    November 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I love the simplicity of the “sparkle joy” holiday card!

  • Tiera
    November 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    ♥ Oh My!! Your Family is Simply Adorable! I smiled, giggled and even teared up looking at them! Awesome job and yes you did inspire this No-As-Brave-As-You Mommy of 6! Early Happy Holiday! Take Care, Tiera ♥

  • Stephanie R
    November 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I really love the Whimscial Wishing Tree

  • Tara R
    November 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I am loving the cheers to you card

  • joy
    November 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    LOL! I’m so glad it isn’t just my toddler that acts that way.

  • Erin J
    November 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Cheers to you!

    Love these!

  • Erin
    November 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I like the Mod Merry Ornaments card. And the footie pj’s above! Adorable card – LOVE the idea.

  • Stephanie
    November 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    the initial wreath is so elegant and lovely!

  • Kristyn
    November 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Love love love the Ho Ho Ho card. If only there were 4 spaces for pics of the hubby, me and each of our fur babies!

  • Rachel P
    November 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Like the Family Highlights :)

  • Stacy L.
    November 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Sparkle Joy is my favorite! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Krissy W.
    November 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I love the Vintage Ribbon!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Kerri Bonner
    November 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I LOVE the Merry Bright Greeting template. It’s festive and fun!

  • Circa1972vs1906
    November 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    I like that Plaid Monogram flat card. Very cute! Nicole, your holiday card is absolutely adorable!

  • Marthalynn
    November 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    What a fantastic card you made!

    I love the Candy Cane Stripes design. So many good ones to choose from!

  • Daniela
    November 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I like Modern Angel! Your card is so original! well done! :)

  • ange
    November 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    i like the In Color design

  • regina
    November 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Really love the Merry Bright Zig Zag design by Shutterfly. Adorable…

  • mirabelle
    November 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    love the “colorful new year” card!

  • Kathy
    November 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Funny Card in so many ways. Love it. Your cat completes it.

  • The Chatty Housewife
    November 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I like the “Little Bird” template! So cute.

  • brooklyn
    November 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    the damask greetings card is so sweet.

    Eleanor and August are seriously the cutest children I have ever seen. Eleanor has such personality and I really love the posts you write about her and August, who is always so happy in every photo! I read your blog regularly and I both covet and respect your amazing sense of style. You are such an inspiration to me, so I just had to let you know. Thanks for sharing your life on here, it brings sunshine to my day every time I read :)

  • Becca Smith
    November 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I like the simple Little Bird card! But, I’m from Portland so putting a bird on something and liking it is no surprise….

  • TaiLeah
    November 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I like Flurry of Snowflakes. But there are so many cute ones!

  • Caitlin C
    November 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    My favorite one is the Berry Merry Frame Holiday Card 5×7 Stationery Card

  • Jenni
    November 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Ohh… I love your card. SO CUTE. And, I’d choose the warmest wishes card and use a pic of my brand new baby boy dressed in his warmest gear.

  • Sarah
    November 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I am loving the “Golly Holly Joy” card.
    Still need to take our family photo, unfortunately. Time’s running short!

  • Katie m
    November 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I like the “believe in magic” flat stationary! What an awesome giveaway. :)

  • Nicole O
    November 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I love the BIG CHEERS flat card.. I really need to send out some Christmas love this year.. our daughter is nearly two and we haven’t sent one out since she was born – eek!

    nicole@ babyfoodscoops.com

  • Ms. May
    November 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    That was super rad. And I’m digging the frameless templates, like Oh So Wonderful or Give Joy.

  • Liz
    November 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I like the Simple Love card. Sweet!

  • melissa
    November 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    i love the why hello

  • CarrieO
    November 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Shiny Sparkly Ornaments is my favorie.

  • Naomi
    November 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    That is such a great holiday card!
    I wish there was such a tradition in the country where I live, I feel like we’re missing out. Maybe I can trick my family into taking pictures together? Mmm, something to think about.

  • Lindsey T
    November 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I like the mod merry ornaments card, it’s always good when you can put more than one picture on!

  • Ashley
    November 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I like the Mod Snowflake card! Very classy…

  • Lauren
    November 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I am fond of the Modern Pinecone. It is simple and elegant.
    Thank you! :)

  • Kelli
    November 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    What a great selection!! I’m thinking “Whimsy and Wonderful” Thank you for the inspiration…and the chance to win cool stuff :)

  • Marie
    November 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    It’s so hard to choose, but I would go with ‘Starlight Snowflakes’.

  • Cristin
    November 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    What an awesome giveaway (and super cute holiday card)! My fav is the Merry Bright Zig Zag design. Definitely on the chevron train these days..

  • CoraD
    November 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Quite a giveaway! Thank you!

    The one I’m ordering is Big Cubes Tangerine Baby Announcement. My family loves Mandarins, so we’re going orange. And my bestest friend took the photos already.

  • Lindsy W
    November 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I love the “Pictures Everywhere Christmas Card”. I like the fact that you can add more than 1 photo! Very cute and such an awesome give-a-way!

  • Skye
    November 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I love the card – you have a such a fun family. I like the Merry Bright Zigzag Christmas Card. I must admit, though, that I would use it year round, not just for Christmas. I love when square cards just because they are different. :-)

  • kgc
    November 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    mod snowflake! it’s fun yet kind of adult. Your card is awesome though – love it!

  • courtneykorinne
    November 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I love the Mod Circles card, it’s totally our style!

  • Linette
    November 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I like the berry merry card!

  • Suzanne
    November 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Mod Snowflakes is my fav.

  • Melissa
    November 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    *LOVE* the stripes and the vintage script on the “Retro Stripe Frame Christmas Card”!

  • Amanda Andrus
    November 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I love the Tree All Aglow.

  • Jess
    November 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I love, love, LOVE Starlight Joy holiday card from Shutterfly, it’s simple but gorgeous!

  • Dani
    November 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Mod snowflakes … But there are too many good ones to choose!

  • Jacklyn
    November 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I Love Shutterfly’s stuff. I like the “Fade to You” template for sure.

  • nickie
    November 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I like Flurry of Snowflakes


  • Alicia
    November 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I like “Peace Cheer Wishes Holiday Card” in blue. Very cute.

    I love your idea of individual pictures on the card! We may have to try that, it seems so much easier than trying to get one good picture of all 4 of us.

  • Jenn Case
    November 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I love the Wonder Trees cards. I actually love almost all of them but this is the one we’ll be going with this year :D Shutterfly…it’s addictive!

  • Mel
    November 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I think the starlight snowflakes card is my favorite, but they have so many amazing options!

  • Erica
    November 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    this has to be the best sponsored post i’ve ever seen.

  • stephanie
    November 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    The “In Living Color” card is awesome! I love them all but i think that one if my fav!

  • Jennifer
    November 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Bird and Branches definitely. The pale blue is non-traditional.

  • Little Gray Pixel
    November 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    The Modern Seasons Greetings card is my favorite. Thanks for offering the giveaway!

  • Linnea
    November 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    so many great cards! I’m really torn between the “Wreath Monogram Christmas Card” and the “Charming Noel Christmas Card.” Both are so cute! I think the classy “wreath monogram” card comes out on top, though!

  • Megan
    November 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Love “Mod Merry Ornaments”

  • Natalie
    November 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    haha, I love your holiday card! so very real :)

    And I think the “Snowflakes Ribbon” is my favorite holiday card design from shutterfly!

  • Lilis
    November 15, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I’m not US resident so sadly i can’t participate in the give-away. But just let you know that Brandon’s B side really cheers me up, as I’m having a bad flu, it cracks me up, good job !!

  • Jen
    November 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    All Things Holiday card is cute! You have such a cute family:)

  • HS
    November 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    My favorite is the Holly Jolly.

  • kerewin
    November 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I loved

    Oh So Wonderful Christmas Card

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