“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.  Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

-Neil Gaiman

All day today I was thinking about what my New Years resolutions were going to be.  Some years I have lists and lists.  Some years I swear them off completely.  This year, I just want to make one resolution that I can actually stick with.  (You know, past January 7th.)

I read this post by Neil Gaiman a few months ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  Make mistakes.  Some of you might think nothing of this.  But to me, this is big.  Huge.  I am a perfectionist.  A perfectionist of the worst kind.  I have hundreds (probably more) of blog post drafts ready to go, but I am afraid to hit publish.  I spend hours (hours!) editing just one image.  I have tons of projects started, but not finished.  Because I worry that they aren’t good enough.  That I am not good enough.  Because in my head, I will do these things when I can do them perfectly.  So they never get done.

So this year, I will try, I will make mistakes, I will Do Something.  And I will share it with you all here.  I do hope that you will join me.

Here’s to a 2013 filled with beautiful mistakes!

  • Rachel - I feel the exact same way sometimes. I hope you will publish some of those blog posts and post some of those images. :) Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • kati - right there with you :) happy new year! here’s to just hitting “publish” :) xoReplyCancel

  • Janssen - What a great goal – I could really stand to focus on this. And of course, Neil Gaiman is a man of great wisdom almost always.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I was really inspired by your post. First of all, your photography and post content are always wonderful. As a perfectionist myself, I can totally relate to not feeling good enough and feeling like others will judge my work harshly. I am happy to know that I’m not the only one. I want to make similar goals so I can enjoy life more and progress in my creativity too.ReplyCancel

Happy Christmas Eve!  Hopefully your Christmas shopping is done, and you are just relaxing today.  If not, or even if you are done but still want a super easy, super cheap, last minute stocking stuffer, you are going to love this!

puffy paint socks

It has been pretty cold in San Francisco lately, and we have all hard wood floors in our apartment.  Sock weather + wood floors = a lot of slipping and sliding.  A $2 bottle of puffy paint and 5 minutes of my time took care of that problem.  And yes, it is the same puffy paint that we rocked on our sweatshirts in the 80’s.  They still make it!  :)

It really is as easy as making a few easy designs on the bottom of your kid’s socks, and letting it dry overnight.  But if you would like the full details, it is all over on HelloBee.


We have a lot of advent calendars in our house.  I know.  But they are all so different I can’t choose just one.  Yesterday I shared our list of advent activities for this year, which is fun, but sometimes a little time consuming.  This next idea is so easy, anyone can do it.

All you do is wrap up 24 Christmas books, and number them 1 – 24.  Then the kiddos get to unwrap a book every night leading up to Christmas.  I am sure most of you already read a few stories with your kids before bed, so this is so easy to fit into your day.  You might be thinking that you can’t do it because you don’t have 24 Christmas books.  Neither do we!  Over half of our books this year came from the public library (our favorite place).  With a 21 day lending period, I just made sure that the books from the library are toward the beginning of the month.  They can be opened and enjoyed for a few weeks and still make it back before they are due.  Last year, we didn’t have access to a library, so we just wrapped up some non-holiday books along with our Christmas books and it worked just as well.

Do you need some ideas to get you started finding some books?  Below is the list of titles in our line-up this year.  There are actually 27 because the library had too many great books and I couldn’t narrow it down.

best christmas books for kids

row 1:

The Polar Express
Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale
The 12 Days of Christmas: A Pop-up Celebration
How Santa Got His Job

row 2:

How Santa Lost His Job
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
Dream Snow
Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons
The Jolly Christmas Postman
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (picture book edition)

row 3:

Stick Man
A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Olive, the Other Reindeer
The Little Fir Tree
The Night Before Christmas
The Nutcracker

row 4:

A Christmas Carol (picture book edition)
The Animals’ Christmas Eve 
Gingerbread Baby
The Christmas Story
Christmas Day in the Morning
Gingerbread Friends
Snowmen at Christmas


  • courtney - Awesome once again Kaley…where do you find the time? I always love good book suggestions…so thank you! Have you guys read all these books before and do you recommend any particular ones to purchase?ReplyCancel

  • Advent Calendars | Cultivate - […] 5. Wrapped books, one for each day. (I really like this idea for a 12 Days of Christmas activity). From Kaley Ann Photography. […]ReplyCancel

  • The Advent Calendars…Continued - […] here to read more about our Christmas book Advent calendar and for a list of great Christmas books for […]ReplyCancel

Advent Activity Cards

Last year we started an Activity Advent Calendar, with a fun Christmas activity planned for each day of December.  It worked out great for us, so we are doing it again this year, with a few changes to our list.  While it seems like a lot to do, most of the activities on our list are things that we are going to do anyway (cut down the tree, wrap presents, mail Christmas cards, etc), or things that are pretty easy to fit into our day (movie night!).  The rest are things that I really want to do before Christmas (make gingerbread houses, christmas crafts, etc) but probably won’t get around to if they aren’t on my calendar.  A lot of my ideas never actually happen because I either forget, run out of time, or don’t plan ahead and lack key ingredients / supplies, so making a plan is perfect for list-loving me.  And I love that it makes even wrapping presents into something exciting.

Since we are back in San Francisco now, I added a few activities this year like ice skating, going out to see the neighborhood lights, and going to the Nutcracker.  These take extra time and planning, but I am just so happy to have the option to go out and enjoy the holiday season that I really want to take advantage of it.

Our activities are printed on little cards, and slipped into the pockets of our Santa Advent Calendar, so it is very easy for me to switch things up if our schedule changes last minute, or I forget to buy the graham crackers.  And if things get really crazy, no one will ever know if we skip going to Union Square and instead have an extra movie night.  :)

Here is what is on our list this year:

  • go cut down a christmas tree & decorate it
  • decorate the house
  • purchase gifts for a child / family in need
  • write a letter to santa
  • family movie night with christmas movies (like this, thisor this) and popcorn
  • sing christmas carols
  • go to the academy of science to see the reindeer
  • address and mail christmas cards
  • get all dressed up and go see the nutcracker
  • make gingerbread houses out of graham crackers
  • drive around to see neighborhood lights (and tom & jerry’s house in noe valley)
  • breakfast for dinner pajama party
  • get a new ornament for the tree (or 12 because these are so bright and cheerful!)
  • build a fort with christmas lights
  • donate old clothes / books / toys to a homeless shelter
  • make paper snowflakes
  • go see the christmas tree at union square
  • christmas craft day (more on this to come)
  • go visit Santa & take pictures
  • make christmas gifts for teachers
  • perform a random act of kindness
  • go ice skating (we don’t live near snow, but we do live near embarcadero Center!)
  • wrap presents
  • have a slumber party out by the christmas tree
  • make and decorate christmas cookies (and save some to leave out for santa)
  • The Advent Calendars…Continued - [...] *If you would like to see what is on our 2012 list, click here.* [...]ReplyCancel

  • courtney - I think you are going to need to sell these types of things for lazy moms like me!! I would love to do it, I am just not as crafty and can’t seem to find the time. Let me know your price! :)ReplyCancel