Framingham Metrowest MA Family & Child Photographer- Annie Fox Photography » Framingham Metrowest Massachusetts Lifestyle and Portrait Photographer

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We managed to do 23 of the 25 activities I planned, although some days we had to double or triple up but I’m calling it a win anyway! And I have a ton of ideas for next year, inspired by the work of the fellow photographers who were taking part in the “25 days of Christmas” Facebook group. Most importantly, I think the boys had fun and we were able to get in some quality family time during the busy and sometimes overwhelming holiday season. Here is the final set of collages for our 25 days of fun!

Sugar Cookie Baking
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Sugar Cookie Decorating
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Decorating gift bags for teachers
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Making cinnamon ornaments
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Reading “The Night Before Christmas” and leaving Santa some cookies and milk
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Opening gifts and spending time as a family
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It has been a busy couple of weeks, and we got a little behind in our activities (sick kids, bad weather), but we have been doubling up on weekends to make up for days that we have had to miss. I think the boys are enjoying the stuff that we have managed to do, and Jack frequently asks what our “fun activity” will be for that day. I still have some photos on my camera and we still have two activities planned for today, but for now, here is what we have been up to these past two weeks!

Decorating the Christmas Tree:
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Playing/Shoveling the Snow:
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Making Pretzel Treats:
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Thumbprint Reindeer ornaments:
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Hot cocoa and a movie:
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Family Hand print Christmas Tree on Canvas:
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Snowman Pancake breakfast:
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Marshmallow Snowman:
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Well, we managed to do all of the activities I planned this week, with varying degrees of success. We learned a few things along the way–Pete has an unnatural hatred for glitter (been together for 13 years and I just learned this!), I can’t build a structurally sound gingerbread house, Charlie loves marshmallows and gingerbread (he broke into the unopened gingerbread house box and helped himself, and also got into an opened bag of marshmallows), salt dough does not work when you use sea salt (didn’t realize we were out of regular salt…oops), and Andrew does not like Santa! We did end the week with Jack’s birthday party, which was fun and he really enjoyed seeing all his family. Overall, a success! I am looking forward to this next week’s activities! The photos are below!

Day 2: Snowman names for the doors
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Day 3: Saltdough Santa Handprints
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Day 4: Stamp Christmas card envelopes

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Day 5: Decorating gingerbread trees/men

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Day 6: Pictures with Santa

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Day 7: Celebrating Jack’s 3rd birthday

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Day 8: Picking out the Christmas tree

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This year, we are starting a “25 Days of Christmas” tradition in our family (Thanks Ashley Spaulding!). I’m in a “25 Days of Christmas” Facebook group with 200 other women/photographers, and over the past month or so people have been posting fantastic ideas for activities that can be done with a variety of different age groups. Given that Jack and AJ are still pretty young and I get home right at dinner time, I tried to pick things that we can do quickly (short attention spans) and relatively easily. December is a busy month with Jack’s birthday+track season starting+Christmas, so I tried to take that into account in our activities.

Here is our list!

1. Toys-for-tots in Shoppers World
2. Make snowman names for the doors
3. Make handprint Santa ornaments
4. Stamp envelopes for Christmas cards
5. Decorate a gingerbread house with Auntie Katie
6. Pictures with Santa
7. Celebrate Jack’s birthday with friends and family
8. Go pick out the Christmas tree
9. Write letters to Santa
10. Decorate the Christmas tree
11. Make candy cane reindeer ornaments
12. Make a family handprint Christmas tree on canvas
13. Watch a Christmas themed movie with hot cocoa and a fire
14. Make Christmas-themed breakfast (cookie cutter pancakes)
15. Visit La Salette Shrine
16. Make thumbprint ornaments
17. Make marshmallow snowmen
18. Make cinnamon applesauce ornaments
19. Go on a drive to see the Christmas Lights
20. Bake Christmas cookies
21. Decorate Christmas cookies
22. Take Jack out for his birthday dinner
23. Make Christmas cards for teachers
24. Read The Night Before Christmas and put out cookies for Santa
25. Open presents and spend time with family

I also made our advent calendar with some cheap supplies I picked up a Michaels. I found some card stock stockings and some cute baking paper (the stuff you wrap cookies/baked goods in…not quite as thick as regular paper, but not as thin as tissue paper). I cut the baking paper in the shape of the stocking, and cut and pasted numbers onto each. I then used clothespins to attach the stockings to a piece of string and hung it on our bookshelf. I also printed out little slips of paper with each day’s activity on it and attached it to the string with the clothespin. Overall, I think it came out pretty well!

I plan to blog the images weekly, and more frequently if time allows. Our first activity was picking out a toy and dropping it off at Toys for Tots. Jack picked out a baby doll, and was excited that another little boy or girl would get to have it.

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After realizing I only picked up my camera once in almost two weeks (my 365 project is going to end up more like a 265 LOL!), I decided to try to get back in the groove and actually take a few pictures! This week, the theme is “Thankful,” and what could represent that theme better than my husband and children.

Although I wasn’t shooting, I was going back through the pictures I have taken this year and last and putting together a few photobooks. I have some coupons for Blurb, and am also going to try out Artisan State’s “little black book.” I have put together a 1-year book for Andrew, our 2012 yearbook (almost done with that one), and a 2012-2013 book for Jack. I am going to print the yearbook as a 12×12 Blurb book, Andrew’s 1-year as an 8×8 Blurb, and Jack’s as a 5×7 60-page Little Black Book (Artisan State).

I am also planning to rent a Sigma 35mm lens to see how I like it. My 50mm has been giving me a little trouble. After doing a little research, it seems this is a common problem among Canon 6d users. I think the 35 will be nice to have when shooting indoors, which I end up doing a lot of in the winter.

And now for the photos:

Nothing beats a warm fire, a good book, and a cup of coffee.  Just ask Pete.

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Jack playing quietly in his room

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Andrew “counting” before he heads down the slide!

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Bedtime stories…Jack “reading” the story to Pete and Andrew

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