Growing up we always made a paper chain to mark how many days were left until Christmas, and it was just thrilling to visualize the countdown. I love the advent calendars I’ve seen on Pinterest, but didn’t want to spend a lot on supplies. So this is what we came up with!
We used a big ol’ stick we found outside, butcher’s paper to wrap the little treats/trinkets for each day (you could also reuse paper grocery bags for the same look), ribbons & hemp string to decorate & hang the wrapped gifts. The numbers we cut out with our Cricut machine, but you could totally cut or draw something freehand. And Landon got some sort of wall mounting thing to secure it to the wall, because once we put it all together that thing is heavy!
Kaden loves it. Except for the part that he only gets to open one each day :-/We wrapped up some little snacks (boxes of raisins, candy canes), & got some fun little Christmas things at Target for the gifts (stickers, stamps, mostly from the dollar spot.) This was today’s, a make your own gingerbread ornament kit. How cute are they?
Merry Christmas everyone :)
We had a couple hours to fill before we flew home from Raleigh yesterday, so after reading about this cute little place online we spent our morning there. I’m so glad we did! We all had a nice time & the kids really loved it. The rides were $1 a piece & the playground was free. It’s one of the oldest amusement parks in America – built in 1887! The train was a fun little ride.
The carousel was like a thrill ride – seriously the fastest merry go round I have ever been on. Landon said it made him feel sick. I thought it was fun :) Funny thing, it didn’t even have seat belts like every other slow carousel I’ve ever ridden.
And now we are home. And there is no place I’d rather be :)
Some more pictures from our trip to Virginia…
Every once in awhile I’m watching Alia or take a picture of her and I just think, my gosh, you are the prettiest little thing I’ve ever seen. I love these two of her.Admiring cousin Amanda’s Christmas tree.
At Nana & Papa’s. We made puffy paint socks & got a pair of slippers, but Alia really just liked wearing her red shoes :) I finally got around to reading The Hunger Games series. They were really good. Very thought provoking. I’m wondering, are the people in the Capitol supposed to resemble Americans? A little bit? Exaggerated obviously. And I must say after the books that I absolutely love Peeta. From the first movie Gale was really convincing. But Peeta? You just can’t do better than that. I’m looking forward to seeing Catching Fire soon (asap!)Oatmeal for breakfast.snuggles. Making apple juice. Kaden loves it.Dinner time. Nativity sets make fun toys.And now it’s December! Presents to wrap, cookies to bake. Most wonderful time of the year :)
Hope you had a very happy thanksgiving with your family & friends! We are in Virginia staying with Landon’s parents & had such a nice time.
This year I was especially thankful to Landon who did all my grocery shopping while I was in bed puking. Then he made cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, & stuffing!Her “pick me up” face. It’s so cute I have to snap a picture before I obey ;)Waiting to see Santa!I was happy to feel better enough to do a little cooking. Kaden with his great-grandmother.Nonnie’s such a good sport :) Kaden loves a good conversation. She loves little chairs. Blowing out candles. From the moment they’re lit, he can’t wait. Kaden & aunt Nancy.Baby cousins in their Christmas jammies.
I have loved taking pictures for as long as I can remember. It’s artistic and fun and so meaningful to me. Four years ago when I was pregnant with Kaden I got my first DSLR for Christmas. I was excited about it but really didn’t know how to do much beyond turn it on, point, and shoot.
A little while later I was introduced to Pinterest and started reading articles on photography, trying to find ways to improve my style. I realized that my camera could do more than just “auto mode” and tried figuring more out a couple times, but didn’t get far.
Then two years ago this November, Photography Concentrate (an awesome little company ran by the sweetest husband & wife team) ran a Black Friday promotion on their eBook “Super Essential Camera Skills” on how to shoot in manual mode and I decided to get it. They said that I was smarter than my camera and could take better pictures than auto mode could. I remember the one afternoon I spent Kaden’s nap reading the material and watching the videos. After months of trying on my own, I was able to shoot in manual mode in under three hours! It was so clear and simple. And I loved it! More creative control with better results. It was everything I wanted to know, presented in a way I could understand and had time for.
And that my friends is how my pictures went from this:
to that. (And I got a 35 mm 1.8 lens. I’d say 80% of the improvement is due to shooting in manual, 20% to a lens with a nice wide aperture.)
This year I’m getting their course on Lightroom called Super Photo Editing Skills. I’m pretty excited because editing is where I feel my skills are lacking now. Ready to learn some more!
If you’re interested, check out Photography Concentrate’s Tutorial shop here.
They’re running a Black Friday special this week for 40% off all tutorials. That is awesome…
Happy Monday :)
p.s. if you use the links above to purchase, I receive a small commission. As always, this will never influence my opinions/reviews. Thanks, friends!