Friday, December 23, 2011

December Daily: What's Working

I can't tell if I am more on target for sticking with this album this year, but I do think I'm enjoying it more and I know I have simplified some parts for myself. Here's what's been working so far for me, most of which is demonstrated with the Dec. 11 page:

Dec 11

1) Not worrying about daily photos. I tend to be able to find a little of something -- a tag, a receipt, a Starbucks bag, a drawing by one of the boys -- that adds some visual interest. Having fewer photos makes it easier to work with the pages. Plus, since I don't print my photos at home, I don't feel like I'm waiting for photos as much. If I know I'm only going to have a single 4x6 photo, I can build most of the page around that and then just stick on the photo later.

For the Dec. 11 page, I plan to include two or three wallet-size photos on the left side later, but the snowflakes do a good job of being a visual.

2) Being open to ideas for a story that may have nothing to do with the actual events of the day. For some reason, while I was getting my hair cut on Saturday, I had a whole walk down memory lane in my head about the giant tree my Dad used to decorate. I'm planning to write that story down and then have it ready for any day. Robby wrote a winter poem in school that I'm going to type up (the paper was just way too big for the album) and use on one of the days. I find myself remembering many details about Christmases past that I'd like to include in this album.

The Dec. 11 page above is mostly about the activities of that day, but I also touch on my overall enjoyment of paper craft decorations and my annual tradition of cutting snowflakes.

3) Not allowing myself to write down every detail of the day. In the past, my December Daily albums and my attempts at Week in the Life tended to run like this: We woke up. We got ready. I ate a bagel. The boys ate waffles. We went to school/work.... The minute I find myself thinking this way, I stop and remind myself to boil the day down to the simplest piece(s) I want to remember. Taking fewer photos also seems to help keep me focused on just the highlights.

Dec. 11 was a fairly ordinary Sunday, and I could have turned it into a dull hour by hour list so as not to leave anything out. Instead I focused on just one part of the day -- making some decorations.

4) Using the baseball card pocket page protectors. I was sure that trying to use these would make things more complicated than necessary. In fact, I have found that using them sparingly is turning out to be a good way to include the "little stuff" neatly.

Okay, this one is not demonstrated with the Dec. 11 page.

5) Enjoying the excuse to play and create. I look forward to making time at the end of the day to play with my pages and supplies. I have been making big messes, which I take as a good sign. I like that I included actual snowflakes, instead of only a photo of them done or us making them.
    What about you? Have you been keeping up and how?

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Life with an Elf in the House

    Having an elf as a house guest certainly keeps everyone on their toes -- not to mention helps get little boys out of their beds in a hurry every morning.

    Sprinkles has been busy -- keeping up with the boys' changing wishlists, monitoring for naughtiness, playing with their toys and entertaining them with his silly surprises. Here are some of his latest antics.

    Knowing how much the boys love to build, Sprinkles made his own block fort.
    Dec 2- Elf Playing with Blocks

    Sprinkles got a band together for some merry music-making. Fortunately they didn't wake anyone up during the night!
    Dec 6 - Elf & Friends Band

    He played a game of quidditch and caught the golden snitch.
    Dec 8- Elf & the Golden Snitch

    He went sailing on the pirate ship.
    Dec 10 - Elf riding the pirate ship

    Oops! Sprinkles just couldn't resist all that red and green candy and had to dive right in!
    Dec 10- Elf & M&Ms

    Sprinkles invited his pals the nutcracker men and Spike the Dinosaur to a wooden food feast. The boys love this, and prepared a few other items for their meal.
    Dec 14 - Elf Feast

    Last Friday he created quite a commotion, starting with marker mischief on our bathroom mirror and several picture frames.
    Dec 16
    Dec 16
    I tell you, that elf is full of silly stunts this year! And the boys LOVE his elf-style naughtiness, especially when I pretend to scold him and say I may have to report him to Santa if he keeps this up. When I went to pick up the boys in the afternoon, he had sneaked into my car to greet them.
    Dec 16- taking a ride

    But that wasn't all, on our way home from a party that evening, he had moved to the driver's seat headrest and tickled the back of my neck since we couldn't see him in the dark. We had a great time laughing at him and telling him he was going to find himself on the naughty list! The boys couldn't stop laughing and were cheering for him to do more funny/naughty tricks. Fortunately Sprinkles spent a quieter Saturday with us.

    With less than a week till Christmas, Sprinkles still has some fun plans in mind -- better get to work, Sprinkles!

    If you have an elf at your house, I'd love to see what he or she is up to -- share a link to your photos/blog/Pinterest board in the comments.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    December Daily Album: November Days

    I decided to start my "December Daily" album with the first day of Advent - November 27 - so here are my first four days, a sort of prequel to December Dailies.

    November 27
    Nov 27

    Since Advent is a time for preparing, I listed the ways I am prepared and preparing for Christmas. For the right page, I cut down a baseball card holder and added a bit from the cover of an Advent pamphlet from church with daily readings and the name I drew in our Secret Santa. I also left a placeholder to include a photo of Sprinkles, our Elf on the Shelf. When I typed my journaling, I made a strip with a purple background using a line from a song we always sing in church, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (please forgive my clumsy photography in cutting off "Lord" in the photo). 

    November 28

    Nov 28

    For November 28, I included the note Sprinkles had left for the boys that morning -- I attached it to the outside of the cardholder so it can be flipped open to read. I also included a little ninja drawing by my son. He drew it on the next day, but I liked it in this space. The right side is an envelope holding the letter Robby wrote to Santa a couple of weeks ago. The journaling is the story about that letter, attached to the outside of the envelope.

    Nov 28- letter

    November 29
    Nov 29

    The 29th was all about singing, dancing and books in our house, and drawings too really. This picture is by my four-year-old of "Santa at our house with the Christmas lights." The pink lights are for me.

    Nov 29 b

    On the backside, I stuck this drawing by my six-year-old of Santa and Sprinkles the elf decorating a tree. The opposite page is the Christmas subway art printable from the ladies at Eighteen25. On that page, I'm planning to add the (very blurry) photos of the boys jumping on my bed in their pajamas while singing and dancing to Christmas songs.

    November 30
    Nov 30

    For November 30, I adhered the note Sprinkles left. The pocket cardholder in the middle is going to include four small photos of the mischief Sprinkles go into today (two photos on the front and two on the back, in the bottom row only so their faces on the card will still peek out). Behind the page protector, the right-side page features our Christmas card. Those two little tags --  November Thirty and the red border -- are from the free "Outnumbered Journaling Cards" series by Avital at Creativity Prompt.

    I'm enjoying the process so far, and have mostly kept each day focused on the highlights, without turning into the day's itinerary.

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Simple Things: A Beach Walk in December

    Living in Connecticut, 50-degree weather in December is not the norm. So while we have been known to walk at the beach on colder days, it is definitely a simple pleasure to do so on such a mild December day. We drew pictures in the sand, listening to the waves and collected shells. The boys got to walk their grandfather's dog, Hailey, who also found much to enjoy about the outing.

    Participating in the "Simple Things" photographs on Rebecca Cooper's blog.