DARYL MUSSER PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG » Our family. Our Life. Our photography.

Back in January, our baby girl celebrated her 5th birthday. Which, don’t get me started on the fact that it blows my mind that she’s 5 already, when she was born just yesterday…
One of the difficulties of a January birthday is that it is on the heels of Christmas, with it’s gifts and celebrations and gatherings. The last thing  a person feels like doing is thinking of yet another present, after the child has gotten many, and planning another gathering, after that’s all you’ve done for the last month. Or maybe that’s just me, i don’t know. I kinda go into hibernation mode after the new year.

Since she got so many gifts over the Christmas season, we decided instead of another big gift, to instead put the money into an experiance. She is such a quality time girl, and loves spending time with her friends, so we thot taking a few of her friends somewhere and making memories would be fun alternative. Daddy even took off from work to help me execute the birthday plans.
We weren’t sure what to do with 5 kiddos in the middle of the winter. There were several options, but most of them involved an hour or so of driving…hershey chocolate world, crayola factory, ect.
In the end, i learned about The Bounce Place in Lancaster, which has preschool bounce on the day that we had planned her party, so that was an easy final decision.

There was never  a more excited bouncy group of Preschoolers then this one, as we arrived at the bounce place. Very very hard to get them still enough for a photo together.


Bentley is a little in shock.
The only dude in the gaggle of girls.

The excited 5 year old.

The Bounce place is exactly that. A huge room full of inflatable bouncy thingys. Def one of those place that you have to be a kid to enjoy.

The girls loooooved the huge slide and couldn’t stop going.

After our two hours were over at the bounce place (which, we found out is PLENTY of time, they were SO wore out), we took them to McDonalds for lunch…

Amost too excited to eat,they were.

Sweet funny ‘Ness.

Beautiful Kayley.

Chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and chocolate milk were the fare of the day.

Bentley holds his own. He does love a good cheeseburger.

IMG_1065IMG_1064After leaving behind more food then was eaten, we headed back to our house for the cake, presents and some playing. At this point, I think Daryl and I were swearing off the idea of ever having 7 kids.

The birthday girl with her birthday cake.

Real life here. This is one party you will never find on Pinterest. Dollar store decorations and sprinkles on a cake. That’s about as fancy as we roll.


Mama’s about partied out.

Thankfully, the kids didn’t mind the absense of perfect decorations. They partied just the same:-)

Bentley gets in on the princess action.

Easiest cake ever. This is about as complicated as I go with cakes…(THANKYOU pinterest, for the idea)


Happy 5th Birthday  Darling Abbi!

  • Beth - Yes. We have a january birthday too! And we’ve decided that we just do home parties, except once every few years someone will get a cool one. With this many birthdays in a year there’s just no way we can afford that. So far on birthdays this year we do cake and presents at home, just us, and then we go out to eat at the restaurant of the birthday-kiddo’s choice. You know what? They love it.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - This is my kind of party!! I just can not pull off those pinterest parties and finally decided if the kids love this kind, I will too. The older they get, the more picky they become, so enjoy 5! :)ReplyCancel

  • Audrey R - What a fun party! I bet the kids loved it! I don’t doubt that it wasn’t quite as much fun for you, though! I tried something similar for an early bday party for Kierra (minus the celebration at our place) before her BFF moved away. I had 3 girls and it was tiring! But they loved it!ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - Looks like a fun party for your girl. I think pinterest parties are over-rated. You know Abbi enjoyed this just as much if not more than if you had gone to great lengths to make everything just perfect. Yea, for sprinkles and dollar-tree decorations!ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - Really Thelma, it looks fantastic—how FUN! we don’t “pin” our parties, it’s dollar store all of the way. :) and the kids don’t care about that. You did a great job!ReplyCancel

  • April - Okay let me just start with Mr. B. Melt.my.heart! Those eyes I just can’t get over them!

    Seeing Abbi with her darling little friends really makes me wish that she and Eliza could spend time together I think they would be such good friends! You did a great job Thelma I especially love the cake!ReplyCancel

  • Luci - What a great party. I love SIMPLE so much and the kids really don’t care as long as they are loved and celebrated. Parties are super wearing, though. Believe me…I know. :) Love the cake.ReplyCancel

So I thot today, I’d like to share a recap of some of my favorite baby images that I’ve done of various little cherubs throughout last year.  Of course, when I went to put this together, I discovered my husband had taken some of my favorite shoots out of the system and archived them already. Eh well, this is prly from 5 or 6 differant babies, including my adorb niece and the cutest santa ever.
I enjoy doing a newborn shoot on occasion. I enjoy the creative freedom I have with babies, that is, when they are sleeping and all.  I usually keep the sets pretty simple since I like the baby to be the focus of the image, not the props surrounding the child.
Enjoy your dose of cherub goodness:-)


Wow. This  whole week of being indoors with subzero temps and blizzards outdoors? It can only mean one thing (other then, mama’s going a little bananas:-)) : Projects!
This particular project has been brewing in my head for a very long time.
I may have posted once, long ago, that I would like to make our master bedroom a more grown-up, put together area.  And I still  want to. But not alot has happened to that space between that post and now. Except life:-)
I’m still kinda ‘puzzled’  with what to put with  the color, plus it takes time to save together the money to buy the pieces that I really want for the space.
In the meantime tho, we live in it just fine.
The other thing is balancing out ’empty’  with restful and breezy. I don’t want the room to be cluttered and busy, but I think right now, it would tend to lean towards sparse and cold.

there is  a particular bare wall, that I thot worthy of some art. There. by the chair:


I imagine some type of large lively piece of wall art in that area. But big pieces of wall art  tend to run a little pricey. Well, anything that I like enough to want to wake up to every day usually costs more then I want to pay for it.  Plus, I get a little twitchy spending that much for something, because, if I don’t like it, then it’s alot of money committed to something I don’t feel like looking at any more.


Somehow, one day, my brain stumbled across the idea  of birch tree silouettes. I think I saw them in a catalogue like Uppercase Living, or some other company of that sort, with vinyl wall art things.  Of course, for wall size items, they also run in the hundreds of dollars. eep.     So one day, with the help of my sleuthy friend pinterest, I was able to  come up with some images of rooms with birch tree walls, and also sources to blogs, where the person created the look w/ paint, and I knew that was just what I wanted to try.
Then the idea brewed in my brain for a half year, at least. And I still wanted to do it. So I knew the project was a definate go.
The freeing thing was, if I hated it? I could just paint over it. It was that simple.

I decided this week to make this project happens. Turns out, I had pretty much everything in-house that I needed as far as supplies.  Paint. Yes. Tape. Yes. Brush. Yes.
Can it be any simpler?

So today, I threw down a dropcloth, dug out the paint and brush, printed out my pinterest image and taped it to the wall for referance, and from there, flew by the seat of my pants:-)

I used tape to mark off the bodies of the trees. I wanted to crispy edge that the tape would give me, rather then free-handing the trees completely.


As soon as I had a second coat of paint on, I was eager to pull the green tape away to see what I was getting. Turns out, it pretty much matched what I saw in my head:-)
I had used leftover trim paint from the room, so the trees are  a glossy white. Painted against the flat finish of our very pale walls, it is  just the right amout of  subtle  tone-on-tone contrast.


Branches came next, and this was the akward phase of the project where I kept having to tell myself to trust the process. Up close, esp. it just felt like it wasn’t turning out. But then, when I took a step back, or left the room and came back, I liked what a saw. Further away was def. a better perspective.



Lastly, it was time to add the little jagged markings that make them look like birch trees. This part was esp hard because when wet, the paints were almost the same color, I couldn’t really tell what I was doing.
Again. Step back. Trust the process.

Here is  the part where we insert a run to AC Moore to get some gold paint to finish the project….
I had words I wanted to add amongst the trees. Some type of message to wake up to in the morning.  Pinterest had once again, found me just the right one.
At AC Moore, I got some transfer paper. (remember tracing paper, from years ago, that purplish-black stuff??) Well, this was it’s modern cousins. It came in a  pack of all differant colors. Just the thing I needed, since I didn’t trust myself to freehand the lettering. I used yellow tracing paper so that if the paint didn’t cover it completely it wouldn’t show thro  my gold paint.



After tracing. I carefully filled in the words with metallic gold craft paint.  I didn’t want the words to be huge or in-your-face. Just a subtle bright whisper…

And there you have it. $10 wall art.


This was a project that pretty much translated from my head into real life just the way I envisioned. I’m kinda in love with how it turned out.
It’s pretty hard to get pictures of just because it’s so light, really doesn’t show up great on images.


My dream purchase for this corner would be a tufted armchair. I’ve logged many hours on that ikea chair bouncing Bentley, but the dorm-vibe it gives off isn’t my favorite look. One day I hope to retire it to the family room where it can continue to live out it’s days in happiness and love, and we can class-up that corner a little more:-)IMG_3714IMG_3708
And there you go. Hope you enjoyed seeing the project as I had doing it. Super fun Saturday activity, it was:-)


  • Christy - Ah!!! I love it so much. Birch trees are so beautifully inspiring, and the subtlety of everything is so elegant. Your dream chair would be perfect. Next thing we know you’ll have made that, too. :) You really are talented, and I love how you make projects sound so simple and do-able.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi - oh my…it’s beautiful! love it.ReplyCancel

  • mimy - Ohhhhh Thelma! I love this! It looks so peaceful and serene. Great work my friend!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - My lovely satellite refuses to load more than the first four pictures and it’s driving me NUTS because I SOOO want to see this!!! I aDORe birch trees and always love your DIY projects so much! I’ve been toying w/ the idea of painting a tree on the boys’ room although I kind of gave it up now that they’re moving downstairs. Now you’re making me wish I’d have gotten brave and tried it. I LOVE the color of your room, too. I’d forgot how soft and restful and pretty it is!ReplyCancel

  • jolynn - Love this! :)ReplyCancel

  • jennie z - i am so amazed and impressed!! love it so much!ReplyCancel

  • Denise - Lovely! I love the subtle colors.ReplyCancel

  • Luci - This is so wonderful. I love to paint poplars in watercolor (on paper :() and they look very much like birches. Can you come help me make my house pretty? Please?ReplyCancel

  • diane - love this Thelma!! it has been for ever since i even was on your blog. i enjoyed visiting. :)ReplyCancel

  • carmenbyler - I always love your DIY projects and this one does not disappoint!! lovely indeed.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Baker - Hi, I was looking at my Xanga, seen your family pictures, and she told where you blog, so I found you here!
    Just saying hi can’t wait to follow you here!ReplyCancel

Hey there!   It has been a loooong time!!   How does one burst back into blogging scene after a several month hiatus?? I don’t even know. I’m guessing there isn’t any way that doesn’t feel  a little awkard, so maybe I’ll just pretend like I haven’t been gone that long.
(altho 4 months?? blush) my goodness. Let’s just say it was a crazy Christmas season.

Also. Ahem. You might think things look a little differant around her. Why yes. They do. And even more so then meets the eye:-) You see a new theme, but unseen is also the fact that this is now a self-hosted blog, and can accomodate plug-ins, and jet-packs, and, and, all sort of other customizable thingys, most of which have the propensity to make me want to tear my hair out in large chunks while I’m try to configure them. So if you do happen to click on something that doesn’t work, which  is highly likely, or see somethign that looks a little skewed, we’re still working on the details. Pardon the sawdust.

So a yearish ago, I posted about digital scrappbooking. I had been embarking on a plan to accomplish three digital albums within last year, getting three years worth of pictures into printed form.  I kept it up until about…June,maybe?  Then life happened. But before that happened, while I was still on a roll,  I purchased 3 vouchers for 3 seperate photo books, for when i was, ahem, done.  The vouchers did come w/ a January deadline but I figured I’d be able to just pick up and finish at some point in my leisurely life as a mother of two.
So for that better part of last year, I’ve had this ‘thing’ hanging over me…I need to be scrapping..i reeeeeallly need to be scrapping….i should be scrapping……
It was as uncomfortable as it sound. But also highly effective, because along about November I was like, OH shoot. I NEED TO BE SCRAPPING.  And from there layed out a plan to finish each book within 3 weeks. And I had no choice if I was going to take advantage of my vouchers, which were of no small value.   All through Christmas season, I plugged away. I won’t lie, there were more then a few moments I felt a little overwhelmed with my goal.
But in the eleventh hour, with a day or two to spare, I clicked submit for my last order, and now,weeks later, I’m enjoying, greatly, this feeling of accomplishing a huge goal.

I think I prly mentioned in my last post that my company of choice for digital books is Photobook America. I’ve looked at others, had books printed with others, but just feel like this company, as far as a consumer level photo book, is one worth of repeated business. That is, if you’re looking to go for something a little more substantial then what snapfish or shutterfly offers.   I for one, loooove the cover options. They do an image wrap cover, and linen too, but my favorite is this lushy leather, in so many fabulous colors.  I could eat them.

2010, 2012, and 2013.
I can’t even express to you what a relief it is to have this project behind me. Altho now I’m thinking…Bentley’s book. I should be doing Bentley’s book. We’ll hush that voice for now.

And of course, if we’re talking layouts. The ones I always love the most are the ones that are free and open, with lots of white space and big colorful images…I’m always drawn to these layouts in print, even tho on my computer they look so blah.  I do alo w/ journaling tho, in case you’re worried that no journaling happened.

Isn’t it funny how there are certain colors that define who you are?  At least for me, I look around my house and see repeats of this palette everywhere. It’s not something I try, and I didn’t with this batch of books either. Each book color was selected on a seperate occasion from the other…but blues, oranges and greens. That is me.

IMG_3657.jpg-1Here is my complete PBA family 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.


Hey, so can you do me a favour? If you see something around on the blog that’s not working, or if you have trouble reading the font or layout, or you have trouble commenting, can  you please let me know? Thanks!

  • Shannon - Fabulous new look!
    I adore those scrapbooks! I have a groupon for that place and can’t wait to use it.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - So because of your first post on digi scrapping, I purchased a voucher for PBA. Now I need to figure out how to do it. =) But wait, I have until July to use it….=/ReplyCancel

    • Thelma Musser - hope you like them:-) pls don’t wait till the last minute to use that voucher, at least, I don’t recommend it. Not my idea of fun. ever.ReplyCancel

  • Jolynn - Yay! So proud of you for getting those books DONE! I can only imagine how you must be feeling. I am only now, 8 months into Gavin’s life, starting his baby/first year book and already it feels like I waited too long and I forget things that I could be journaling in the margins… oh dear.
    But, your books looks amazing and I’m so jealous of how you take the bit and spend the money for something you probably won’t regret. Now, I’m asking myself why in the world do I do cheapys on at shutter fly? I guess this needs more thought and hashing out with the husband… :)
    Also, I still have some tabs open on my laptop to those links Clarita suggested. SOMEDAY I’ll actually read them and work on my blog design more. I’m still cheap-o with the blog too, and don’t feel like paying for my own space or domain or whatever the techy lingo is for that. I can’t decide if I should pay for my blog or not when free is working for me – it’s just that I can’t do some things that I wish I could when I look at other pretty blogs :)ReplyCancel

    • Thelma Musser - These books are kinda pricey. I get the wanting to do a cheaper book w/ shutterfly. But. The cost of one of the tradional creative memory scrapbooks is substantially more then one of these, you just pay it out bit by bit, instead of all at the end:-) (at least, that is my consolation, when it comes time for the check-out)ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Yeah, when you posted about digi scrapping I commented and of course thought that now I’m really going to get something done. Haha… let’s not talk about that failure to execute. I did recently attempt to scrap our 10th anniversary trip photos and I remembered how you said that Click was an inspiration. I went to their website and checked out the digi copies online. It did give me ideas and layouts, so I’m going to do that some more. Also just wanna say again that I really like your simple style, and I love how easy it makes scrapping and focuses your attention on the pics rather than the doodads around it.
    I know all about the leisurely life you’re talking about, just mine has four kiddoes rather than two.ReplyCancel

    • Thelma Musser - Simple is definately my friend. Seeings how I’d much rather be leisure then spend time scrapping. I don’t even know why I call it scrapping, cuz really, it’s not. Photobooking, i should say.ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - Yup, photobookamerica is the best in its kind!! I love your books. . . And the colors that are so you. Oh, and I like the new blog look too. You are so on top of design-y things these days . . . Inspiring for sure~While I sit over here nursing and eating salmon. 😉ReplyCancel

    • Thelma Musser - there will be a day, where i will be the one sitting, nursing, eating salmon, and wishing for the day when I can do projects again, and you will be the person DOING the projects. I would put money on that fact. Relax and enjoy that baby.ReplyCancel

  • Meg Martin - LOOOOOVE! But, I’m not able to read our print very well. I gave up. I could try making my screen size bigger, ahhhh.ReplyCancel

    • Thelma Musser - yikes. not read it at all?? I wonder if it’s like that for anyone else. that’s what I’m afraid of!ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - Way to go on completing 3 whole albums! I would be very pleased with myself if that were me. I did just get one finished and used PBA, because of your recommendations. I was very pleased with it. I have a goal to finish 2 this year — and one voucher that expires in Sep. I need the voucher to keep me going.ReplyCancel

  • jennie z. - ooooh, photo books! they look amazing…makes me excited to make some more for myself!


  • gold prices - Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!ReplyCancel

Sadly, summer seems to be drawing to a close, esp on a day that is as drippy and rainy as the one we are  presently having.   Our September was more packed w/ fun things then the rest of the summer put together. How that always happens  I have no idea. I decided to throw together a scrapbook sort of post of a few of our weekends, since I don’t feel like doing a huge post of each one.

First tho, I found some photos of Bentley’s short career as a model for Luvs diapers.  haha. What really happened was that I wrote a review of a new type of LUVS for a couponing blog. And took some photos. He’d such a cute dude, no?

This first group of photots, I’m not even sure anymore when it happened. Sometime in August, I think. My sister in law Shannon and I loaded up our tykes  and went to the beach for the day.
There were all the normal drama’s of carting 5 kids on a road trip to a sandy wet location, but the memories of what exactly happened have faded and we are left w/ only the good moments.

The kiddos had soooo much fun. They seriously played and played. and played.  We were at the beach till 5 pm. and they still weren’t done!

We enjoyed Ocean City NJ greatly, even tho traffic enroute was horrendous.

I love this photo of the cousins together at the beach. They are getting so big.


Labor day weekend found us with 3 other couple friends, camping at a little campground for the weekend.
There were cute little cabins.  Good food. Lots of relaxing. And reading.
Camping with kids tho, cannot really fall into the ‘relaxation’ category by ANY stretch of the imagination.
There’s dirt. Fire. Woods. Many places a small unknowing child can hurt themselves, or get lost.

6 7
The next chilly weekend? Knoebels.
I had never been to Knoebels before. It was a pleasant little surprise.
Daryl’s work picnic is held there every year, but we’ve never gone before. We figured this year the kids would enjoy it. And they did. Abbi was the perfect age for all the kiddie rides. And with a free pass compliments of Dutch Valley, who could resisit?

It was a SUPER chilly day. And we rode the ferris wheel. Which: A) is highly over-rated to begin with. B) is Fuh-Reezing when it’s chilly.

She’s pink and she’s girly, but she loooved the bumper cars. It was prly her favorite ride there.

little buddy enjoyed a few baby rides. or, we like to think he did.


Prly the highlight of September was spending a weekend in Ocean City NJ again. This time the dads were along, and we stayed the weekend. So much fun. Our house was just two blocks away from the boardwalk, which made it SO much easier when it came to schlepping the kids and all the gear, back and forth.

Off season beach? That is what I’m talking about!  After the chilly weekend at Knoebels I wasn’t sure if we were completely bananas to be planning this weekend so late in the summer. But we’ve had good experiances in the past w/ great beach weather in Sept,  and once again we lucked out. We had 3 days of absolute perfection!!

These two? had an adsolute blast.



Little man’s first beach experiance. It wasn’t horrible being there with him, since the beach was so empty, but not exactly relaxing either.

I’m excited for next year, when he won’t quite be so much of a baby. 10
altho being at the beach with kids is prly not what anyone would call a relaxing vacation either, I found it most restful. Maybe it was the empty beach, or the early morning on the boardwalk or  maybe it was the beautiful beautiful 6 mile run that I got to take one morning, who knows, whatever it was, i came home feeling rejeuvenated.

He thinks he’s SUCH big stuff.

and then at twilight, we loaded the kids up, and walked up the boardwalk to the rides.  They had a blast going on several rides each, then it was time to get out of there!

The boardwalk at dusk. As summer fades…
And that’s about it for summer 2013. Was it just me, or did I walk by a Christmas section in Khol’s the other day?!?!

  • jennie z - Looks like the perfect ‘summer fun’. I love going to the beach. Happy Fall!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - I agree with Jennie, perfect summer fun! Everything looks so calm and peaceful at the beach… (Altho my mom brain is whirring with all the kid things that probably happened) :)ReplyCancel

  • tessfull2 - Your beach pictures are so lovely I wish I could step into them. What a fun way to remember the moments of summer! The pictures really captured so much of the fun that you had.ReplyCancel

  • Luci - Hi Thelma- I used to read your blog on Xanga and take in all the photo loveliness and DIY stuff, so it was fun to find you here. Your family photos are scrumptious! And the beach pictures make me miss summer already. We do not have beautiful beaches in Alberta. And super nosy here, but that one particular guy above has got to be Jimmy McFarland or my name’s not Luci. We knew him in Belize. Tell him hello–if it’s him. :)ReplyCancel

  • Luci - Oops. James McFarlane. Excuse the spelling. Everyone called him Jimmy back in the day.ReplyCancel

    • Thelma - yes Luci! it totally is! He married a good friend of mine. ReplyCancel

    • Thelma - the photo of the little girl on the dump truck, that is his daughter Christina.
      And his wife is on the swing next to him on that other photo. ReplyCancel

    • Thelma - And he’s still Jimmy. :-)ReplyCancel

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