A journal through photos


A Christmas Elf is Coming to Visit

This post is a departure from my normal photo post – I’m just so excited about this I wanted to share and I didn’t really have anyplace else to do it.

Last year was the first time I heard of “Elf on the Shelf”. It wasn’t until close to Christmas that a friend told me about it and by that time it was too late for that year plus all the stores were sold out of Elf on the Shelf. I decided that in 2011 I really wanted to do this for the kids.

I haven’t bought an Elf on the Shelf kit this year. To be honest I didn’t love the elf that came with the book so I spent the last little while hunting for a different elf to use. Since I didn’t have the story that came with Elf of a Shelf I scoured the internet looking for ideas and found several different versions of Elf on the Shelf or Elf Magic Elves. I took the ideas and I’m going to be coming up with my own story that will fit with how I intend to use the elf.

Since I knew this would require advance planning I did a bit of brainstorming and Goggling to come up with some things for the Elf to do once he/she arrived at our house ( I wanted an active elf, not one that just sits around). I should mention that last year I bought a wooden advent calendar in the shape of a house, and around the same time I was looking for ideas to fill it (because I didn’t want to fill it with just candy but I didn’t want to buy a bunch of things either).  In the end I decided I wanted to fill the advent calendar with experiences/traditions and mostly tie whatever mischief our elf get into in with those.

In order to pull this off without forgetting something I decided to print out a couple of calendars and plan the advent/elf events in advance. Then I would also know if there were any supplies I needed ahead of time. I started in Nov (when we are going to write to Santa to ask for an elf and then leave food out to tempt an elf into visiting us). December 1st I’m going to put the advent calendar out for Charlotte to find along with our Elf. There are some events that we can only do on certain days so I put those on the calendar first and then filled in everything else.  I don’t plan to put the note in the advent calendar until the night before, so that gives me a bit of wiggle room in case I have to change plans – plus I don’t want Charlotte peeking ahead!

I know lots of people do Elf on the Shelf activities or something similar so I thought I would post my plan here to share.

Dec 1:  Elf and Advent Calendar arrive. We will put the tree up after the kids go to bed.
Dec 2: Advent Calendar = “Decorate Christmas Tree” Elf will decorate the tree overnight Dec 1/2 with underwear and diapers.  Decorate the tree that evening.
Dec 3: Hoping to go to the city for Christmas shopping. Advent calendar = “Visit the Enchanted Forest”. Elf will be in the car trying to “drive” away.
Dec 4: Usually around this time we go to the local tree farm with the IL’s to cut down a tree, have hot chocolate, go for a sleigh ride and sit around the bonfire. I have to confirm the date for this year. Advent calendar = “Go for a sleigh ride”. Elf will be in the kitchen after having a marshmallow snowball fight with another doll.
Dec 5: Advent Calendar = “Read a Christmas story”. Elf will be sitting in the living room with all the Christmas stories and reading a new book.
Dec 6: Advent Calendar = ‘”Send a Letter to Santa”. Elf will be on the computer writing a letter to his/her elf pals back home.
Dec 7: Advent Calendar = “Donate a toy to the Salvation Army”. Elf is going to make a big house in the living room with Mega Blocks.
Dec 8: Advent Calendar = “Favorite Breakfast”. Elf is going to be in the fridge. He is going to color the milk in the jug red.
Dec 9: Advent Calendar = “Family Movie Night”. Elf is going to be lounging on the couch with some popcorn and the remotes and a new Christmas movie.
Dec 10: Advent Calendar = “Winter Scavenger Hunt”. Elf is going to get into trouble overnight trying to help wrap presents. He’s actually going to wrap a few household items and manage to get himself tangled up in ribbon.
Dec 11: AC  (can you tell I’m getting lazy now? )= “Sing Christmas Carols”. Elf is going to take some self portraits and leave them up on the computer.
Dec 12: AC = “ Get dressed up for supper”. Elf is going to decorate our kitchen with snowflakes.
Dec 13: AC= “Santa Surprise” (will show Charlotte Portable North Pole Video). Elf is going to draw funny faces with dry erase markers on our family photos (on the glass of course)
Dec 14: Ac= “Make a craft with mom”. We are going to make some elves. Elf is going to do some art on the art easel.
Dec 15: AC= “ Drive around to see the Christmas Lights”. Elf is going to be going for a drive in Charlotte’s dollhouse van.
Dec 16: AC= “Go Skating “ (assuming they have it that day). Elf is going to make “snow” angels on the kitchen island.
Dec 17: AC= “Do a Christmas Puzzle”. Elf is going to be trying to put together a new puzzle.
Dec 18: AC = “ Go Sledding”. Elf is going to get himself locked outside on the deck.
Dec 19: AC= “Have a dance party”. Elf is going to TP the master bathroom and pee green in the toilet.
Dec 20: AC= “Make peppermint hot chocolate”. Elf is going to Paint Daddy’s toenails (daddy doesn’t know this yet…)
Dec 21: AC = “Family Game Night “ . Elf is going to play Candyland with some other toys.
Dec 22: AC= “ Decorate Cookies”. Elf is going to bake cookies and make a big mess.
Dec 23: AC= “Pyjama Party around the Christmas Tree”. Elf is going to build a fort in the living room.
Dec 24: AC =” Open one Christmas present at bedtime”. Elf is going to spell things on the table with cereal. Time to pack Elf  up for his trip home to the North Pole!

Some other ideas I read that I might save for next year:

  • Elf shoe sledding
  • Elf writes “Naughty” on mom’s head (funnier when kids can read)
  • Elf sleeps in the pantry
  • Elf decorates with candy canes
  • Elf has a tea party with stuffed animals
  • Elf sticks pictures of himself everywhere.
  • Elf draws on the bathroom mirror
  • Elf eats some of daddy’s favorite food
  • Elf leaves post-it notes all over the house
  • Elf decorates a mini tree
  • Elf hides inside the laundry basket
  • Elf makes red and green breakfast
  • Elf brings a new coloring book and colors in it
  • Elf dresses up in doll clothes
  • Elf puts Christmas stickers everywhere
  • Elf hides chocolates around the house

Happy First Birthday Peter!

Wow, Peter is one today! I really can’t believe how times flies! I have to say I am such a lucky mom, to have such an amazing little boy and wonderful family.

I’m so full of emotion today- thinking about what I was doing a year ago today, feeling a bit sad that my baby is growing up so fast, and excited to watch my kids grow up and experience life together.



He LOVED his police motorcycle rocker. Actually he loved all his toys. While everyone else was exhausted and napping he was making the rounds of the living room playing with them one by one.


Dean’s first attempt at cake decorating. Pretty impressive.




Just like his late Great-grandpa Hurd. He LOVES ice cream. He totally ignored the cake, grabbed the ice cream in his hand and started eating.


I think he realized it was a little bit cold.




Now that the ice cream is finished he considers eating the cake.





Aunty Em. Sorry Em but you know I had to. It looks good on you!


Opening presents with Daddy.


His sister picked this toy (My Pal Scout) out for him.








Big Sister is a bit of a ham…

My Crib Monsters

The other day when Peter woke up from his nap Charlotte decided to get in  Peter’s crib and play with him. They were having such a good time I decided to get the camera and take some pictures.









Rock the Shot–Kids and Fall

This month’s Rock the Shot photo challenge is to share a photo of kids (either yours or someone else’s) displaying some aspect of fall.

I posted this photo earlier in my blog but it’s one of my favorites from this fall so I decided to submit it. I wanted to take some pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes before the beautiful leaves all fell off the trees and the snow showed up.

I shot the picture with a 28mm 1:2.8 prime lens. It was a new lens so this was one of the first chances I had to use it.

I set my shutter at 1/4000 because it was very bright out and I knew there was NO WAY that Charlotte was going to be holding still for more than a mili second. Aperture was set at 3.2.


Rock the Shot

11 Months!!

Peter turned 11 months old on the 8th. How did that happen? As usual I wanted to take his monthly monkey photo and I had just received this tie I ordered from Trendy Ties.  The idea was to take a few photos with him wearing the tie and then do his monkey photo. The thing is – as soon as I put him down on the floor he was gone! Luckily he doesn’t do the same thing in his chair!

I got one good picture ( well except for the cereal he picked up off the floor and put in his mouth right before I took the picture)


And then he was off!


Went to take the picture with his monkey and then I couldn’t decide on my favorites so you get to see them all lol!







He’s got 8 teeth already!



He is just such a happy baby!

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Blue Monster

Yes – I know that Halloween is still weeks away, but in October in Saskatchewan there is no guarantee we wont be in the midst of a blizzard by the 31st.

The leaves are so beautiful right now and the weather has been abnormally warm so I decided it would be a great time to get out and photograph the kids in their costumes. Now at Halloween I can concentrate on collecting candy 😛



I really wish I had gotten her other foot in the frame. Oh well.


Yah – he doesn’t look impressed AT ALL.


Little Red Riding Hood is obviously terrified of the Big Bad Monster!






Ladybug Picnic

Actually it was more like a ladybug convention! My friend raked up some leaves in her back yard and the discovered the pile of leaves was crawling with ladybugs.  Charlotte sat in the pile of leaves and soon had ladybugs crawling all over her (as long as they were on her clothes she was ok but she DID NOT want them on her skin).