Family Pictures: Dressing the Clan

Fall is the quintessential time for family photo shoots: temperatures have cooled off, you’re gearing up for the holidays and prepping to send out greeting cards.  But along with family photos comes the stress of all the prepwork!  There’s the photographer to choose, location to determine and, worst of all, the outfits to coordinate.  Ay!

I’ve got some tips today for how to dress your crew for the perfect family photo shoot…whether you have 1 child or 10!



  1.  Find your color inspiration.  Sometimes this comes in the form of an outfit you already own and want to use, sometimes it’s a dress you see in the store or some other random print!  This year I used the ottoman in my daughter’s room as inspiration and decided to go with gray, berry and blue tones.  While sometimes a wide array of colors can work for a large group, you’ll generally want to stick with no more than 3 colors (or color families).  Also, be sure to choose colors that are in style for the season!  You might want hot pink and royal blue for your Christmas cards but if those colors aren’t in stores, you’re going to have a hard time finding outfits for everyone.  This fall you’ll find lots of gray and blue tones, maroon and berry colors, blush pink and dusty greens.
  2. Dress the hardest body first, and build around that.  Since I’m pregnant this year, I had considerably fewer options that I felt comfortable in, so my outfit got chosen first.  This could also be a child who has fewer clothes than the others or one whose outfit you already know you love and want to use.
  3. Neutrals, neutrals, neutrals!  Beware of too many prints and colors; neutrals help ground an ensemble and will balance out all the other busyness.  It’s tempting to dress everyone in a cute print or color but in order for everyone to work together, there has to be places for the eye to rest.
  4. Once you’ve gathered all the outfits you own that you want to use, pack them up and go shopping!  You can also take a picture of the outfits to reference while in the store, but having the actual clothes with you makes it MUCH easier to mix and match.  My favorite places to shop for the whole family are Old Navy and Gap since they have clothes for every age and use the same color scheme throughout the store each season.  This makes it a cinch to coordinate for the whole family!  It also helps to have an idea in mind of what you’re looking for…a printed dress with berry tones or a neutral button down, etc.
  5. Be sure all the outfits work well in any combination…in other words, make sure the girls look good together, the boys’ outfits work next to each other, mom and dad’s colors blend, etc.  You want to make sure that no matter the configuration your photographer is shooting, all the colors meld well.  In the example above, I put mom and dad in neutrals, with a colored cardigan and shoes for mom.  Then assuming there are 2 boys and 2 girls, I put one of each gender in a neutral and one in a colorful outfit, with just 2 simple prints.  No matter who gets photographed together, it will look great!

If you need more tips for how to survive family pictures, be sure to check out this post as well.

Girls and their dolls






The holiday season is creeping up and I’m getting so excited!  I fully realize that we still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to get through but Costco’s decorations and toys were already out today so I couldn’t help it!

And if you’re in the market for gifts…everyone knows handmade is always better!  Have you guys seen See Kate Sew‘s new line of doll fabric and coordinating prints?  Seriously the cutest, most genius idea ever.  The dolls come pre-printed ON the the fabric, so all I had to do was cut them out, sew them together and stuff them!  My kids went crazy over them!



And I obviously had to make matching outfits out of the coordinating fabric as well.  I made little Goldie a fun skirt out of the confetti dots with contrasting ruffle and ric rac, a similar skirt for my twins to share and an Infinite A-line Dress for Mimi out of the rest (the fun aqua-cream stripe fabric is from Riley Blake).  I get such a kick out of each one of these little outfits!





And lest you ever think that you’re the only one who screws up their sewing projects: I couldn’t find the ruffle pattern piece when I went to cut it and my computer’s in the shop so I couldn’t reprint it.  I just free-handed it and made them a TAD too wide…so Luke says they look like angel wings instead of ruffles.  LOL.

Also, I totally forgot my own pattern instructions and cut my placket wrong on the back, so the buttons are totally off-center.  Doh!  Whatev.  Mimi makes even my screw-ups look cute!

If you’d like to get your hands on this cute fabric, check out Kate’s list of suppliers HERE and you can get the Infinite A-line dress pattern HERE.  Happy sewing!


The Induction: Making an Informed Decision


Hey all!  I’ve got another birth post for you today!  Being pregnant means I’ve obviously often got babies on the brain and since birth is the culmination (and finale!) of 9 months of growing a sweet baby, it’s probably what I think about the most often.

Today I want to talk inductions: the what, the why and the how!  Just like all the other birth interventions I’ve previously written about, inducing labor comes with benefits as well as some risks.   Hopefully this helps you, or someone you know, be as prepared as possible to choose (or refuse) an induction.

C (12)

To begin, let’s start with the basics:

WHAT is an induction?  The terms “induce labor” or “induction” refer to any action that is intended to stimulate the uterus of a pregnant woman into beginning active labor.    The process of inducing labor has been used for many years, and the methods are extremely varied.  They range from the very invasive (such as breaking the amniotic sac or giving medications) to the very natural (like having sex or taking homeopathic supplements).

WHY induce?  The most important reason a doctor or midwife might suggest inducing labor is when continuing the pregnancy could be dangerous to the health or life of the mother or baby.  An induction also might be considered if baby is deemed larger than normal, if there are problems with the placenta, if the pregnancy has continued longer than 40-41 weeks or any number of other reasons.  The deciding factor is, of course, if the potential risks associated with remaining pregnant outweigh the risks of performing an induction.


HOW does induction work?  As mentioned above, there are a wide array of options for inducing labor.  Some of the natural options your provider might suggest include exercise, nipple stimulation, eating spicy foods (never worked for me, sadly!), having sex, taking evening primrose oil or even castor oil (while this last option DID work for me with one baby, it often results in some rather unpleasant side effects and should only be taken under the supervision of your medical provider).

If your doctor or midwife decides that a more invasive course of action is needed, the first step might be to try stripping your membranes in the office.   If you decide to go to the hospital to be induced, chances are good that the procedure will involve administering Pitocin or prostaglandins and possibly also breaking your water.  And while there are potential side effects to all methods of induction, here’s where things can get tricky.   Once you’re admitted to the hospital, and especially once your water has broken, you’re essentially on a bit of a time clock.  Sometimes these methods are very helpful for getting labor started and sometimes, no matter what is done to you, labor won’t start on this time clock.  This is why inductions can sometimes end in a c-section if things don’t go as planned.  This potential outcome should be explained to you by your provider and, since an induction is a medical intervention, the risks should always be weighed carefully.



If you’re facing a potential induction and don’t know if it’s the best option for you and your baby, here are a few questions you can ask yourself and your medical provider(s):

  1.  Why are we considering induction?  Reasons like a potentially large baby, previous C-section, convenience or pregnancy lasting more than 40 weeks are common reasons  for providers to begin talking about inductions, but they’re also not hard and fast reasons to induce.  In these situations, the complications could cause more problems than simply allowing labor to begin on its own.
  2. What type of induction are we considering?  Is there a more natural option (or options) that we can try first?
  3. What happens if we wait a few days?  What about waiting a week or more?
  4. What are my risks if this induction doesn’t work?  Will you send me home and allow labor to being naturally or default to a C-section?

In the end, it’s often best to allow labor to begin on its own: the baby’s body sends specific signals to the mother’s body telling it when to start labor.   One big downside to inductions is that there’s really no way of knowing if baby is completely ready to be born, and even though being 9 months pregnant is uncomfortable (I hear ya, sister!) it’s often better to stick it out a few days than run the risk of delivering a pre-term baby with underdeveloped lungs or other complications.

That being said, if it becomes medically necessary to get baby out fast, inductions can be a great alternative to a c-section.  They can allow mom to deliver safely and vaginally, under the care of a qualified medical team.

I hope this post helps you feel better prepared to welcome your perfect little baby into the world!  If you have any questions or want to hear more about my experiences with inductions, feel free to email me anytime!  whiskem {at} gmail {dot} com.


Note, this post is not meant as a substitute for medical advice.  Please consult with a qualified midwife or obstetrician in regards to your prenatal and birth care.

Layers and Lipstick Linkup – Fall Colors!





I’m excited and honored to be co-hosting this week’s Layers & Lipstick Linkup with The J Petite and Pucker Up Style!  I’m a huge fan of both these amazing style blogs, so check them out if you’re not already a follower.

And don’t forget to linkup your favorite Fall color looks below!

There are so many great Fall colors on trend this season…but if I had to pick one as my favorite, it’d probably be blush pink.  It’s typically such a Spring-y fresh color which is why I love it’s surprising arrival this season, especially in combination with all the other darker Fall colors.  Here I paired the same distressed jeans and baby pink tee with a few other cool weather colors, namely camel, wine and olive.  I love them all equally!

Which color combo is your favorite??




Similar Blush Tee
Similar Distressed Jeans (maternity)
Similar Hat



Similar Sweater



Similar Vest
Similar Booties


How to survive morning sickness



I haven’t done much pregnancy updating around here lately…but I do on Instagram so come follow me if you don’t already! (@bonniewhiskem)  Things are pretty similar this time around to most of my previous pregnancies except my morning sickness lasted quite a bit longer; I usually feel better right about the beginning of the second trimester but this time I wasn’t out of the woods until about 18 weeks.  Less fun!

7 pregnancies have certainly forced me develop some helpful habits for combating nausea and so I’m sharing those today!  Everyone’s experience with nausea during pregnancy is SO different: some women only experience at specific times of day (“morning” sickness is definitely a misnomer), some women feel sick during their ENTIRE pregnancy, and still others never get sick at all.  Regardless of the timing and severity of your pregnancy nausea, hopefully some of these tips will help you survive even when your current favorite position is hugging the toilet bowl!



1.  Learn your triggers.  For me, I ALWAYS feel sick when my stomach is empty.  If I let myself go without food for several hours, then I’ll feel nauseous before I ever feel hunger pangs.  In the past I was often sick in the mornings, but during this pregnancy, late evening was my worst time.  Strong smells and rides in the car can also contribute to feeling ill.  Remember the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”  Totally true for morning sickness!  By figuring what makes us most prone to nausea, we can plan ahead and often stop it in its tracks!

2.  Listen to your body.  No matter what your eating habits before getting pregnant or your best intentions for eating a specific way during pregnancy, sometimes your body just doesn’t want to cooperate.  When I feel morning sickness coming on, I often run through some of my favorite foods in my head, hoping that one will sound good to me.  I had one pregnancy where I lived on chili cheese fries (gross, I know), one where I HAD to have salads and another where I lived for anything covered in soy sauce (I even drank it a couple times…SO WEIRD!).

The point is, if you try to force yourself to eat something that doesn’t sound appetizing, it can often make you sick (FYI, spicy, greasy and heavy foods are usually good to avoid).  Just do your best to keep whatever it is you eat from coming back up, and you can balance out your nutritional deficits later in pregnancy.


3. Eat balanced meals and snacks, with a large serving of protein.  Carbs and dairy were often a good combination for me to eat in the past but it wasn’t until my 6th pregnancy that I realized the power of protein.  Almost every time I eat a meal or snack high in protein, I’m able to curb the nausea.  Specifically meat, legumes and a good serving of nuts or nut butters are my magical cures.  I’m not sure if it’s because they keep my stomach full longer or what, but this tip has kept me so much happier and healthier!  See below for some of my favorite meal ideas…

4. Find supplements or tricks to curb the nausea once it starts.  On our trip to France this summer, I was really nervous about being sick because I get motion sickness on top of pregnancy nausea.  Thankfully I learned that Sea-Bands sometimes work for morning sickness!  I wore them for almost my entire trip and (barring a REALLY windy road and an empty stomach on the coast of the French Riviera) they kept me happy and smiley the whole time!  I’ve heard many people have success chewing fresh ginger or ginger gum, using Preggie Pops and other candies for curbing nausea.  Try some out to see if they work for you.  There’s no reason to be miserable if you don’t have to be!

5. Seek medical attention if your nausea and vomiting are severe.  The general rule is that if you can’t keep anything down for more than 24 hours, see your doctor or go to the hospital.  Dehydration is a very real possibility and, even though baby is generally not affected by mom’s vomiting, you want to stay healthy!  Hyperemesis Gravidarum is the name for severe morning sickness and often requires IV fluids and observation by your OB or midwife.  If you’re having a hard time functioning and performing basics tasks because of nausea, then get help!  There are approved medications that can be taken to allow you to get some rest and grow your baby healthily.


Shirt: Madewell | Pants: Kut from the Kloth sold out (similar and on sale!) | Earrings: Rocksbox

Here are some of my favorite quick meal ideas for preventing and combating nausea:

*Toast with a large serving of peanut butter and a sliced banana
*1-2 fried or scrambled eggs with vegetables and bacon or sausage
*Egg sandwich with cheese & meat on an english muffin
*Beef jerky and fruit
*Homemade trail mix- I love a combo of almonds, dried cherries, cashews and dark chocolate!
*Homemade granola with non-dairy milk (I often add extra nuts for satiety)
*Tasty Bite Madras Lentils with pita bread or rice (they usually carry these at Costco)
*Refried beans, veggies and cheese in a tortilla or with corn chips
*Steel cut oats with a large portion of nuts or nut butter, milk and honey

Please comment below with any other tips or meal ideas that have worked for you!

Good luck staying sane and healthy, mamas!

Knit pencil skirts: a maternity essential






In past pregnancies, I basically lived in flowy knit maxi and knee length skirts.  Now that the trend is more streamlined, I find myself reaching for knit pencil skirts over and over again!

They have elastic waists, stretchy fabric and are usually long enough to give you the comfort to move and chase kids.  They’re perfect for date night, church and even just running errands when you prefer not to look homeless in yoga pants.

I love pairing this pretty fall-colored skirt with a flowy lace top.  The 70’s trends popping up everywhere are really helpful for those of us with a baby belly or tummy to camouflage!  Throw on a jacket and/or tights and tall boots to wear this ensemble all fall and winter long.

This basic color combo can also be dressed up with a fun colorful pendant, scarf, hat or printed shoes…and camel is another neutral that goes fabulously with all the autumn color trends!

Lace top – similar here, here and here
Knit pencil skirt
Jacket (love this one too!)
Heels – similar here

DIY Reversible Shopper Tote




Hey all!  I’ve got a quick, fun bag tutorial for you today.  These are seriously so easy and super addicting to make!  While I’m usually all about making clothes for me and the rugrats, bags place a close second on my list of addicting projects.  If I let myself, I could sew up more bags than a girl could ever use in a lifetime!

My aunt emailed me a while ago with pictures of a bag just like this that she bought on vacation.  She said she used it all the time and was really hoping to recreate some at home for gifts.  I was happy to help her figure it out and came up with this cute shopper tote!  They’re perfect for the library, grocery store, soccer practice, ballet class – you name it!  Plus the reversible factor just makes it that much more fun.  In fact, I think I’ll whip some up for Halloween treat bags!

I’ve already made 5 of them…the 3 not pictured were sewn up in an annoying My Little Pony fabric that my girls INSISTED I buy…I’m such a sucker! I’ve included a downloadable pattern for the adult size I’m holding here and the kid size Kira has.  My girls really loved the smaller size and I like to pack mine full of as much crap as possible.

FYI: The tutorial has LOTS of pictures…not because it’s hard but just because it’s easier that way!   Ready??  Click Read More below!

[Read more…]

Mini Dresses for Fall



[Read more…]

My First Vlog: Finding Time for Mom!


Aaaagh!  I’m so excited for my very first video post today!  It’s all about taking time for you moms to do whatever it is that YOU feel passionate about!

If you like it, I would LOVE you forever if you’d subscribe to my YouTube channel, give me a thumbs up and/or comment there or here!

I’d also love to know what sorts of motherhood, sewing or style tips you’d like to see in the future.  I can’t wait to get some fun sewing tutorials filmed!

Thanks so much, guys!!



Come On Already, Fall!



[Read more…]