So I was checking out Meg’s blog and saw she was nominated for a “homies” award on Apartment Therapy.  I headed over to Apartment Therapy to cast a vote for her. While I was looking over the other blogs listed in the Kids at Home category…what to my wandering eyes should appear? My blog listed as a nominee! I actually doubled clicked on it just to see if it was in fact my blog and not another Ashley Ann Photography (there are others out there). My blog has never been nominated for anything, so THANK YOU to those of you that listed me as one of your favorites. As the site says, it isn’t so much a competition as it is a celebration of great blogs. I don’t really know how the favorite voting and top nominee voting works, but I’m really just so excited that some of you thought of me. Thanks…it was a really fun surprise on a cold, stuck in the house day!


There are some really great blogs listed in every category. I didn’t get very far down the lists, but maybe I can visit more later.

I’ll be back Monday with some Christmas pictures.

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  • meg duerksen - 😀
    you are my favorite!

  • pamela - that is SO cool! you are famous! seriously, there are some popular blogs on there! what a nice christmas present :) good for you!!

  • Jess - Whoa. So I’ve read your blog and Meg D.’s blog for a while now…love ’em. But totally excited that you commented on my blog! You’re like a big deal in my book and I have NO idea how you found me since I’ve only been a stalker of yours and not a commenter! Woohoo!

  • ashlee - yours is my favorite too!!

  • Jennifer B. - I added you as my favorite, and will vote for you on Wednesday. Love your blog!

  • Candace - I added you the other day too. You and that first commenter up there are my favorites!

  • Brooke - You deserved the nomination! I think you should have been in the finals :)

A highlight of my day during December is checking the mailbox for Christmas cards. I love that so many people are doing cards with photographs on them. It is always so fun to see how families grow and change. We put all the cards on our living room chalkboard. Yes, there are only 3 stockings (mine & Chris’ are on the fireplace). Every time I found one for Baby Sister (online), it would end up being sold out.  Inspired by these stockings on MADE, I think I am going to make one out of a sweater and tatting. That won’t happen before Christmas…she won’t know the difference.


The chalkboard is full of cards from this year and old pictures from winter’s past…and 4 large SUMMER pictures of my kids. I keep thinking I should replace those shirtless outside pics for something more winterish. However, I am not a fan of winter and those pictures remind me for every dreary, cold winter there is a hot and splashing fun summer.

Chris got a card from Dave Ramsey this year. I added it to our chalkboard it makes me laugh each time I pass it because you know we are so tight with the Ramseys. Oh no! I forgot to send them ours! I am sure they are checking their mailbox daily in anticipation for it to arrive.


And here’s our card:


I thought I was being clever with the globes and strung lights for “Light of the World” (another name for Jesus)…however, several friends didn’t get it and said, “Oh, that’s fun you took pictures with your globes.” I’m not as clever as I think at times!12.09card12.09card2

As I am writing this I noticed “Indiana Jones” is spelled as “Indian Jones”. YIKES! Just checked a real card and it was right there…I must have messed it up when saving it for the web.

Before you pack away or throw away this year’s Christmas cards I thought I’d share a few ways to re-purpose them…

*For photo cards, turn them into a Kid’s Prayer Journal

*Make a Circle Garland from CraftStylish

*Cut apart the cards to use as tags for gifts next year

*Make clothespin magnets or scrap paper magnets to give away next year

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas…see you next week!

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  • Susan - Love the “Light of the World!” Merry Christmas!

  • Melissa - Merry Christmas Ashley Ann – may your day be filled with laughter and love.
    Thanks for the really fun card ideas – I adore your chalkboard, what a great idea to use it for your cards.

  • Charity - I love the back of your card. Such a fun and creative way to tell about each of your kids. The recipients will love them!

  • Casey - love the chalkboard over your couch and the way you’ve displayed everything! Also, I really love how you have little snippets about your kids on the card

  • Rachel - I love your giant chalkboard and how you’ve displayed all of your holiday cards. Have a wonderful Christmas!!

  • georgia davis - No worries, my card said Happy Holidays 2010! I think it was snapfish error. But, it still made my upset.

  • Shanalea - I love the light of the world idea…I might just steal it :) We used our cards last year as a prayer journal and the kids really got into it. We will be doing it again.

  • Luisina - Hi! Mery Christmas too! I love your blog :)

  • Teresa - I see you got a card from the McKay Family. I have Abigail McKay in my class at Rejoice Christian School in Owasso. Sweet family and mom and dad always take great pictures.

  • Christina - Merry Christmas

  • Lauren Roberts - Merry Christmas to our dear friends!

  • Jill R - LOVE the card! Merry Christmas!

  • Crystal - Your card is great! Even if people didn’t get it, I think it’s very clever. Merry Christmas!

  • Jaimie - i’m obsessed with that chalkboard. did you make it or buy it? what a great idea- love the size.

  • sbj - Just curious where you made your cards. They are beautiful. Did you make them online?

  • jokemijn - you make lovely pictures! i discovered you through ffffound. Have a nice christmas-time.

  • lea helmerich - i absolutely love your blog! my daughter referred me to it, and i am so glad.

    come visit my letters to young mommies.


  • Holly - What a great card! I love all your pictures on the chalkboard. I’m trying to figure out exactly I’m going to do on our wall in our living room, and that’s a great idea! And I’m super impressed that you got an actual card from Dave Ramsey. We got the same one, only it was an e-card. Not quite the same!

  • Janica - I LOVED the Christmas card photo! Such a fun idea. I was just wondering what you printed them on and where you got them printed. Is that a weird question? Sorry. Love your website; it’s so inspirational and the pics are INCREDIBLE:) Thanks. Merry Christmas

  • AshleyAnn - I designed the cards…customizing a template I had. I printed them at White House Custom Color and added the ribbon ties myself.

  • Trina - LOVE the stockings!! Where are they from??

  • AshleyAnn - Trina – the cards are from Pottery Barn Kids…over the course of 3 years.

  • Emily - I LOVE your card – what a great idea!! I also love your ideas of what to do with Christmas cards!

  • Katie - Where did you get that chalkboard, or did you make it and if you made it how?

  • AshleyAnn - Katie: We made the chalkboard. I cut a piece of hardboard to size (it runs about $7.00 a board and is near the pegboard at most lumber stores. It is lightweight and thin). Then we cut a groove in some 1×3 boards. I painted the hardboard with chalkboard paint then slid it in the grooves. We nailed and glued it in place. I banged up the wood frame using chains, nails, etc. to make it look old then wiped on a bit of wood stain.

  • Heather - Hi, I am a new reader, found your blog through ohdeeoh and wanted to know where you got your daughter’s headband in the Christmas card? It is darling! Love your blog.

  • AshleyAnn - Heather – it is from Lou and Lee on etsy. If you do a search on this blog you can find some links to their site.

  • Lacey McKay - yay! I see my card up there! How fun! That board is so cute! You are so creative! Can you tell I’m getting caught up on your blog? I keep forgetting that I can’t get it through Google Reader and I figure you just haven’t updated lately! I loved your card too. I didn’t see the light bulbs, but I did get the gist of it!

  • Sandy - PLEASE tell me where you got that adorable chalkboard. I am so in love with it and the whole idea! You are an inspiration!

  • this is it!!!! « simple intrigue - […] because today I found this jem of a magnetic chalkboard featured on Odeehdoh today! Ashley at Under the Sycamore is my kind of girl! Not only is she an amazing photog – she had exactly the same idea I had […]

  • Margie - I LOVE this chalkboard! I saw it on Ohdeedoh, which brought me to your blog and I am loving your crafts and photo taking tips! I am inspired to be more crafty and master my new dslr camera, not to mention talking my husband into helping me make the chalkboard!

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I am gearing up to enjoy a wonderful week with family and I hope you are too. Last year I posted a few tips for present opening pictures (you can read it here).  Part of that post focused on really being IN THE MOMENT with your friends and family. It is so easy for me to spend an entire evening behind the camera capturing it instead of living in it. I’m trying hard to set my camera down this week.

Here are a few glimpses of some of what has been going on around here (no hospitals stays included!):

Salt dough ornaments


Christmas Performances

He focused on me the whole time – made my heart smile.12.09random-6

He even looked at me while he picked his nose. That didn’t make my heart smile.12.09random-5

I bought supplies to make gingerbread houses (out of graham crackers). I envisioned 3 cute little houses. The boys were all working on their own and I stepped out of the room. I came back to find that the Teddy Graham Bears looked all crazy. I asked what happened and got this response from the older 2 boys, ” There was a war. Some bears lost their legs. These bears fell on the roof and landed on their heads. This guy stepped on a bomb and lost his arm.” So much for the cute little houses I dreamed of. After all, “there was a war.”12.09random-7

Another Christmas Performance. He was the Angel Gabriel and had a little solo. This is just before he started to sing…he was a little giddy. I realized about 30 minutes before we left the house that he didn’t have any type of “Christmas-y” outfit or clothes. I was WAY BEHIND on laundry and the only non t-shirt he had was the white oxford he wore to school that day. So I figured that was fine…until he ate a green Skittle off his gingerbread house. That tiny little Skittle left a long drool mark all down his white oxford. So, what is a mom to do with a performance starting soon and 4 kids to get ready by herself? Throw a t-shirt over the Skittle covered white oxford – that’s what she does. And when her sister leans over during the performance and says, “Nice Christmas outfit Ashley”. She smiles and says, “I think he looks pretty cute.”12.09random-8

Pure Delight.12.09random-9

My favorite decoration – Baby Jesus asleep in the hay. Made by Biggest Brother when he was 2.


He is crazy about her.


She got some new shoes. You’ll be seeing more of these soon…I am working on some pictures for Gracious May. They are the cutest little things ever.


Army Men pj pants. Shirtless. Cowboy hat. Cute toes. My boy.12.09random-20

Hope you are enjoying your week!

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  • ashlee - i love gracious may’s shoes…but i cannot settle on a pair:) too many beautiful choices! i am going to try and actually take pictures this year. Im always too in the moment to think about it until its too late. Im the other extreme:) gonna work on that this week!

  • Christy - Awh love the B&W pix of littlest guy w/baby girl!! Adorable.
    Love her gracious may shoes!! Too cute

  • Erin - Adorable post!! I love the “picking the nose” picture! Great for showing to his girlfriend someday (not any day soon though) 😉

  • Rachel - I love all of the pics and the story of the gingerbread house. It’s funny how we dream up these beautiful houses and then end up with something not quite as beautiful as we dreamed it would be, but nonetheless, still so special because our kids put so much thought and imagination into it…have a wonderful Christmas!

  • anne c - ashley! I love keeping up with your family and learning from all of your tips/experiences! thanks for sharing. If the timing is right when you start the new snapshot sessions, I am going to fly from SC to learn as much as possible from you..seriously. I just got a new dslr camera for the sole purpose of capturing my daughters life..knowing that she is going to be an adult before I know it. Now that I have the camera,I need major help and am so excited to learn. Thanks again..and have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

  • Jeannette Swan - Merry Christmas!!! Corban made a “baby Jesus” this year like the one you have – I love it – he insisted that “baby Jesus” stays under the tree, so I got a pic of him placing it there! Love all you notes and pictures.

  • Cath - Merry Christmas! I rarely comment here but let me tell you I visit your blog everyday, it makes me smile :) I wish someday when I’ve kids to do all the cool stuff you do with them (and I’m only 18 xD). Your photos make my heart melt everytime.

  • Kara - “being in the moment”…I’m still working on that! Sometimes I remedy by NOT taking my camera. Well, truthfully, I sneak my point & shoot in my purse, just in case there is a moment I must capture!

  • Lesley - Super cute post and I love the gingerbread house war! And…he looked awesome in his Okie Grown shirt – I expected nothing less. Merry Christmas :)

  • robyn - great post! and so true… im often running around trying to capture the moment that i miss it.
    what settings did you use to get that shot of the boys doing crafts with the tree lights looking so great in the background?

  • Kathy Rabago - Love all of these pictures. If you ever have time, I’d love to hear how you capture such clear pictures inside. I have a canon 5d, and all of my indoor pics are orangish, no matter what white balance setting I use. Then I have to crank up the iso and get horribly grainy pics. Anyway–love your pics, so thanks for the peek into your life!

  • Dianne Avery - I LOVE the “tone” of your pictures. So warm and welcoming, lovely!!

  • Anna - What a fabulous (and gorgeous!) series of photos. Lovely.

  • Carrie - LOL about nose picking while adoringly looking at you.