In the Catholic faith, Advent is the season of waiting for Christ to be born. It is supposed to be a quiet, reflective time of year. Christmas actually begins on Christmas Day and continues for twelve days (or now until the second Sunday after Christmas), the day we celebrate the Wise Men finding Baby Jesus in a manger (called Epiphany).
With that being said, during Advent, I like to find a quiet, reflective activity that helps me reflect on my year and soul-clean so to speak. One activity I have always found helpful for this is by creating a story book at Shutterfly. I know I’ve mentioned before that I LOVE SHUTTERFLY! Their site is easy to navigate and products are quick and easy to create and allow you to put in as much or as little time as you have and still have a QUALITY product that is affordable and a worthy gift for any recipient.
This year, because my Ballerina has had so many “growing up” experiences: she received the Sacrament of First Holy Communion, she is dancing in The Nutcracker for her first time, she learned to ride a ripstick (which I am STILL not crazy about!), and she has accomplished so much else. For Christmas, I am creating a book that celebrates her year being eight. She is not content with eight – she either wants to be 10 (because ten-year-olds get to do “everything” according to her) or six so she can have little responsibility like her brother. I want her to remember that eight was a really wonderful time for her to learn and to grow and that each age has its own beauty (and pitfalls!). Her book will be the Top 10 Reasons It Is Great to be EIGHT! Oh, wait! I can see it now, this could be a tradition… oh, I am so excited. I think I need to make one for each of the kiddos celebrating their year! Hmm, perhaps MES’s book could be an Alphabet Book of All the Things a Three-Year-Old Can Do? and Big Boy’s book could be about all of the things he has created this year (he LOVES to create things – out of anything!). I’m glad Advent is a long season; I’ll have lots of time to reflect on my children and the blessings I have being a mom.
You can visit the Storytelling with Photo Books page at Shutterfly.com to see some wonderfully funny or inspiring books. Each month new feature content is introduced. December is centered around family storytelling and includes tips on capturing unique holiday photos and sharing your family’s story through pictures. I love the new Top 10 book that Shutterfly offers.
Wrap up all of your holiday shopping by creating one fabulous photo book and buying copies for everyone on your list.
Here are five fun options…
1. Top 10 for 2011: I love the new Top 10 book that Shutterfly offers. Countdown down your family’s best moments and favorite photos.
2. Year in Review: Put together all the highlights from the last 12 months.
3. Family Recipes: Whether it’s grandma’s pasta and gravy or an uncle’s barbeque rub, compile all your beloved recipes so others can make them.
4. DIY Guide: Share your talents by putting together a step-by-step guide to crocheting a hat or building a tree house.
5. Travel Tips: Select a place (be it somewhere you’ve traveled or your hometown) and compile tips about where to stay, eat and sightsee.
And don’t forget about the kiddos:
We read a bedtime book every night, but the best nights are when I get out the Shutterfly photo books. My kiddos clamor for the chance to be the “book holder” on those nights pointing out funny things that happened, silly faces, or pausing to remember someone who may have moved away! Nothing beats a good book! Anyone can go to the mall and pick up a gift, but there’s something to be said about a personalized present. Give the child in your life a keepsake by creating one of these 10 photo books.
10 Photo Books to Create
1. Alphabet Book:
A is for apple, B is for bike. Help a child learn and review their ABCs by selecting a photo of a familiar person, place or thing that begins with each letter in the alphabet. Ages 2 to 5.
2. Counting Book:
One ball. Two dogs. Three cups. Create a counting book of images and numerals to help a child learn their numbers. Ages 1 to 4.
3. Stuffed Animal Story:
Use pictures of a child’s favorite stuffed animal to create a storybook adventure that showcases the teddy bear or stuffed dog as the main character. Ages 0 to 5.
4. Who Are the People in My Family:
Help a child get to know their relatives by putting together a book with the names, photos and fun facts about each family member. Ages 0 to 5.
5. Oh, the Places You’ve Been:
Compile a book of a child’s travels — either family trips or just outings around town — as a keepsake. Ages 1 to 8.
6. Art Portfolio:
Children are prolific artists, but showcasing every masterpiece is tough! Scan favorite works of art or snap pictures of the tot holding each one and put the images into a photo book. Ages 2 to 8.
7. Kids Say the Darndest Things:
Most parents think their kids are a hoot, but some wee ones are worth quoting. Pair the witty, funny, and memorable things the child has said with favorite snapshots. Ages 2 to 8.
8. Great Creations:
From Lincoln Log cabins to Lego ships to wooden block towers, make a photo book with images of the child’s best creations and descriptions. Ages 2 to 8.
9. 10 Things I Love About You:
A tribute to the tot, this photo book is a checklist of what makes a child amazing and so darn lovable. Pair the sentiments with pictures. Ages 0 to 8.
10. A Few of Your Favorite Things:
From a beloved book to a commonly eaten food, this photo book is a way to remember and celebrate a child’s favorite things at a certain point in time. Ages 0 to 8.
Enjoy the simplicity of Shutterfly and the beauty of a photo keepsake!
|Lauralee Saad loves homeschooling her three kiddos: Ballerina, age 8, Big Boy, age 6, and MESS, age 3. She enjoys sewing when she can find a spare corner to set up her machine and dig out fabrics, cooking and baking – especially if the kiddos are helping, and enjoying a good book after the kiddos have gone to bed. She is thrilled to be welcoming a baby girl into the family in March of 2012.|