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


I would really love to get a shot of the wheat blowing in the wind (not this year – Harvest 2011 is DONE! YAY!) but I don’t have the right kind of filter to keep the photo from being completely blown out. Oh well.



(Insert joke about watching your dog run away for 3 days straight, here)



(A shot of Dean’s new truck – just for fun)

If I were a Squirrel

I don’t know what it was exactly, but while we were visiting the farm this tree caught my eye and I thought I would like to photograph it. It was something about the texture and colors of the trunk covered with moss. Rather than just shoot the trunk straight on (how fun is that?) I wanted to try something different. I wasn’t sure how the pictures would turn out because I only had my little point and shoot camera with me and I couldn’t even look through the viewfinder while I was taking the picture. I think they came out ok. I especially like how the angle of the second picture shows how tall the tree is. I imagine that is what a squirrel would see before he climbed up the tree (most likely to escape Sammy! lol!)

My Addiction

I’m a little late getting this done this week – but Peter is getting 2 teeth and has been miserable for the last 4 days. Its been hard to get ANYTHING done this week.

The challenge from DPS this week is to photograph your addiction so here is mine:


Anyone who knows me knows I’m completely addicted to reading/books, occasionally to the detriment of everything else in my life. This is my bookshelf. This is 1/4 of the books you can see. There are also books hidden behind the books you can see. Since I have embraced electronic technology  [which I said I never would!] I have added another 35 books to my collection but luckily I don’t have to find room for them on my bookshelf!

Sprinklers, Bubbles and Sunshine

Last week we had planned a getaway to the waterpark in Prince Albert but it didn’t work out for one reason or another. The day was supposed to be nice and warm (didn’t get as warm as they predicted but that was ok) so I invited some friends and their kiddo’s over to run in our sprinklers. I even got in on the action as well (but there is no photographic evidence thank goodness!)




(poor girl got attacked by mosquitos in the 5 minutes she was outside without repellant

046 e



The Fun Factory

Our plans for a picnic lunch before visiting the zoo were foiled when it rained so we decided to head to the Fun Factory instead. It was ok, but I’m not sure I would go there again. Charlotte was scared of going on the equipment (even with Dean) so she stayed mostly in the little kids play area. I spend most of my time feeding Peter some lunch and waiting for my lunch to be cooked.








Spring has Sprung

and I’m excited to get the camera out to play around with. These are just a few random shots I took over the weekend.


Charlotte in the back of the car on the trip out to the farm. Poor kid has been sick with croup since Friday.


Self portrait. Actually didn’t turn out that bad considering the car was moving.


Orchids at the farm.


Horned owl. Not the greatest quality photo because I just barely got my camera out of the bag before it flew off. I only had my 50mm lens with me so I had to crop it quite a bit.


Charlie and Sammy playing together outside.