Christmas Wonder

Hello, dears!

AHHHH. Christmas is ONE. WEEK. AWAY. *loud gasp* Now that I’ve told you a fact you already knew… today I’m going to show you guys how we’ve decorated our house for Christmas! This year we went easy on the small trinket decorations and instead used fresh greenery, which looks AMAZING. Hopefully this post will give you some decorating inspiration and spread a little Christmas spirit. 😉

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Christmas 2017 {Gifts + Adventures}

Heyyyy, dears! I hope you guys had a lovely Christmas – I sure did! There was so much fun, family, and food… it was wonderful. 🙂 And of course it was great fun to give and receive presents! One of the best parts about giving presents is seeing the expressions on people’s faces when they open the gift, and there were some pretty great expressions – especially the uncontrollable laughs. XD

I absolutely loved the gifts I received as well! If you gave me a gift or Christmas card… THANK YOU SO MUCH. ♄

Anyway, I decided to do a little Christmas haul post for you guys! And nope, I am by no means trying to brag by posting about my presents, and I don’t think I’ve never read a haul post that was… I just wanted to post this because I love reading Christmas haul posts, (though I despise the term “Christmas haul,” heh heh). What ’bout you?

~ Selected Gifts ~

Just a note: these gifts are in random order, not by how much I like them or anything. Pretty much by how they came up on the computer. XD AHEM. Let’s begin.

#1: Sealing Wax

This stuff is so neat! Basically you light a candle, put a piece of wax in the spoon, and hold the spoon over the flame until the wax melts, after which you pour it onto the area to be sealed. I tried it out and it worked pretty well, although there were a few bubbles and I waited too long to press the design in so it didn’t show up. It also made the spoon really black, but you can just wipe that away with a paper towel. Perhaps my sealing techniques need polishing too. HA.

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#2: Macro Lens Extension Tube Kit

EEK I’m so excited about these! When you attach them to your DSLR lens, they let you take super close up pictures, almost like a mini microscope! The lenses are stackable, meaning you can choose how many layers to attach depending on the zoom you want.

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Why do I love this picture??

Honestly I still haven’t quite got the hang of using them, but I can tell it’s going to be tons of fun once I do. 😉 Here are two test pictures I got so far, and I’m sure there will be lots more in the future! Let me know if you guys want a more in-depth review.

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Behold… my pajama pants.
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There must be some dirt on the lens or something. Tsk tsk.

#3: Stuffed Hedgehog

LOOK IT’S SO ADORABLE AND SQUISHABLE. Sweet Laura sent me this for Christmas and I love it! HOW COULD YOU NOT? ♄ It’s so soft and fuzzy and fun to hold. 🙂

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#4: The Julia Rothman Book Series

I LOVE these books. I discovered them at a friend’s house and so enjoyed the charming illustrations and fun informative writing that I decided to put them on my list! My favorite thing about these books might be how pretty they are. XD The illustrations are beautiful and whimsical, not to mention the books are like mini encyclopedias bursting with entertaining and interesting facts. They’d be great coffee table books.

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This particular boxed set is excellent, especially since it comes with 10 (I think) framable prints from the books! Here’s a selection of my favorites…

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#5: Micron Pen Set

THESE ARE AMAZING. (I say that about everything, don’t I? XD) But seriously, I am SO happy with these pens so far! They come in a large variety of tip sizes, ranging from 1.0 mm to 0.15 mm, not counting the brush pen which can be different sizes depending on how hard you press. Guys, the smallest pen (a 003) has SUCH a fine tip, it’s barely visible! Okay, maybe not that fine, but you know…

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I made these two ATCs to test out the Microns. I also used watercolors and a brush pen we’ll address shortly…

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Here’s another test page, with lots of different vines in descending order of the Micron pen sizes, and labels for future reference. Look how thin the lines go!

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#6: Black Velvet Brush

I don’t have many good quality brushes, so I was super excited to get this one! The great thing about this paintbrush is that it can hold a fair amount of paint and works for both good-sized areas (like behind the “hello”), and tiny spaces. Usually brushes don’t hold their point very well but this one really does! That’s my favorite part about it – the superfine tip. (As you can tell, I like fine-tip things because I love making and drawing tiny details.) I also used this brush in the watercolor pieces above.

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#7: Black Brush Pen (Sakura)

Brush pens are so much fun, and I use the black one I already had a lot. This one is better quality than the one I have now, plus it comes with a refill! It’s also super fun to use and the ink is very opaque. (I used this for the “hello” word and outlines on the ATC.)

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#8: Travelogue Sketchbook

A new sketchbook, EEP! I’m quite excited about this one as the pages are thicker and better quality than my current sketchbook’s, so it works better for mediums like watercolor. I used this for the vine picture, by the way, and it didn’t buckle that much – woop woop! It’s quite a bit smaller than my current sketchbook, but I like drawing small anyway, so that’s fine. 😉 I cannot wait to fill it with drawings!

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#9: Lined Notebook

This is SO pretty and classy, don’t you agree? Clara sent it to me for Christmas and I love it! Thank you so much, my friend. ♄ The padded cover is light pink with gold accents and bookmark, and the clasp is magnetic. The paper is lined, with a fun border. 🙂

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#10: Micromagnets

And last but not least, we have these super neat micromagnets! They are SO fun and addicting to play with, hee hee! Micromagnets are tiny magnet balls that you can build and mess around with to your heart’s content. 🙂 They’re super strong, but still flexible, almost like magnetic cloth or something. It’s kind of hard to explain what they’re like, but they’re amazingly weird and fun. XD Look up micromagnets and see if you can find a video maybe?

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And that’s the end of the gifts! That wasn’t all of them, but it would be way too long of a post if I included all the delicious candy and snacks and fuzzy socks too. So I’ll spare you the details. XD

~ Select Christmas Adventures ~

  • My brother got a sticky bug toy that climbs down the wall, and he, uh, threw it a little too high and it stuck. XD He got out his new fishing pole and tried to poke it down, and then Grandaddy got his enormously long bamboo pole and after much prodding and laughing, he got it. XD XD

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  • We had some rather interesting food in our several Christmas celebrations so far. For instance…
    • Tripe: pickled cow’s stomach. IT TASTES LIKE RUBBERY VINEGAR BUT WORSE.
    • Divinity: a sweet marshmallowy macaroon type thing. Yum.
    • Scrapple: basically the leftovers from butchering a pig made into a sort of meat pudding and then fried. It’s actually quite good if you don’t think about what it’s made of…
    • Hominy: corn without the hull, so it’s soft and tender. Quite yummy; tastes similar to potatoes.
    • Baklava: a Greek dessert with delicate, super flaky pastry and honey and nuts. DELICIOUS.

Have you had any of those?

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  • My brother got a drum for Christmas. -_- *covers ears*  XD He’s actually pretty good at it, it’s just REALLY LOUD. HELP.

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  • Carmen got a beta fish, and she’s still undecided about the name. Which do you think is better, Gilbert or Bobo? (Hint: PLEASE PICK GILBERT. XD)

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  • We always measure the grandchildren at my grandparents’ (on my Dad’s side) Christmas, and this year I was 5′ 10.5.” O.o I think I’m done growing now, heh heh. I hope so, because it’s almost impossible to find clothes that fit as it is. Oh dear… XD

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Annnnd that’s about it! I hope you enjoyed reading this (rather large) post as much as I enjoyed making it! 😀 Thanks once again to everyone who gave me those lovely gifts. 🙂

How was your Christmas? What was your favorite gift?

Thanks for bearing with me through all these Christmas posts, dears. I believe this is the last one, so congratulations on surviving the overload! *applause*

***Allison***

P. S. I doubt anyone will notice, but just in case, I wanted to let you know that I may post a bit irregularly over the next two months, since we’re pretty busy fixing up the new house(s) for when we move. 😉 AHH I’M SO EXCITED.

Light Shine Bright

Guys, if you like Christmas (or Christmas lights), bokeh, light painting, or all of the above… go look them up on Pinterest. I’M KIDDING. That’s what this post is about, of course. (Lights, not Pinterest.)

Ahem. The other day Megan and I took some light painting pictures, and I think they turned out great! Well… most of them. Okay, actually most of them look neat, but failed. XD

We took turns “drawing” in the air with a flashlight, while the other person used my DSLR to take a picture with a very long exposure, ranging from maybe 15 seconds to 30 seconds to capture all the movement. I love how you can also see the stars in the background in some of the pictures.

The first Megan tried the classic smiley face, but it was harder than it seemed. XD This one is more like a smirk…

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Aha, much better. His vision is probably a bit lopsided, but hey, at least his eyes twinkle. 😛

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Speaking of eyes, I tried (and mostly failed) to do an eye painting. IT IS SO CREEPY. Also you can see my tennis shoe underneath if you look closely. XD

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BAHAHAHA THIS IS SO FUNNY. I think Megan was trying to draw a stick person on ground or something?? It looks like it’s skiing down the hill. XD

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ALSO REALLY STRANGE. Those hipbones look a bit… disjointed, shall we say?

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My squiggly city skyline.

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Heh. It is REALLY hard to light paint a lot of letters in thirty seconds. Try to guess what this says, and I’ll tell you below the picture:

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It was supposed to be “light shine bright.” XD Oh dear…

OOH. This is one of the funniest fails: Megan was trying to draw a tree here. But doesn’t it look exactly like a fist punching the sky? SO. FUNNY.

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The second attempt at a tree. *blinks* Well, it’s certainly the most… interesting tree I’ve seen.

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ANOTHER FAILED WORD THINGY BY ME. You might be able to read it, though.

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Yep, it’s hello. I actually really like the next one, by Megan. It’s not perfect, but it’s cute. 😉

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And that’s the end of the flashlight painting! I also took a few night lights pictures, because you can get some super neat effects with long exposure. Like these starbursts on the chicken houses.

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OH I LOVE THIS ONE. It’s a long-exposure picture of a car driving by, hee hee.

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MEGAN IS A GHOST. To make this picture, all you need to do is set your camera to a long exposure, and have someone stand in one place for a few seconds, quickly move to another spot, stand there, and so on.

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Okay, so much for that stuff. Now we move on to the Christmas bokeh! Woop woop! First up are some artistic bokeh-picture of our Christmas tree (which I posted about previously).

ISN’T THIS SO NEAT?!

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I got the idea from Pinterest, and it’s way easier than it might seem: simply cut a circle of paper to fit your camera lens, cut or punch a design out of the middle, tape it on and voila! You can make the bokeh whatever shape you like.

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I like this one because the colored lights from outside showed through the screen and gave the bokeh a strange but neat texture.

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And lastly, some beautiful bokeh from the colored (and partially colored) lights that Megan put up on the front porch. I love how they look through the glass door!

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Look at all that gorgeous light! ♄

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SO. PRETTY.

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Phew, that was a lot of light. O.o Which was your favorite: the light painting or the Christmasy bokeh? ISN’T BOKEH AMAZING?

Also, would you guys like to see a Christmas traditions post or not ‘specially? Thanks so much for reading, dears, and have a Merry almost-Christmas! 🙂

***Allison***

O Christmas Tree…

We got our Christmas tree Saturday! YAYYYYY! I actually almost forgot my camera, but Mom brought it for me because she wanted me to document this year especially (for a reason I will post about later). Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I got pictures. Unfortunately most of them are “content over quality,” but hey, the content is good. 😉 Enjoy your virtual trip to the Christmas tree farm!

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On the way there I finally and triumphantly closed a debate my siblings and I have had for a long time: whether this strange white statue thingy you can barely see from the road is a dinosaur or a swan. Take a guess.

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My camera will tell no lies (although things do get blurry sometimes). IT IS A DINOSAUR. JUST AS I SUSPECTED. I know this is an terribly awful and horrible picture (I cropped it a lot) BUT IT IS PROOF.

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Ahem. Let’s move along now… the first thing I took a picture of at the tree farm was a chicken. Because I have never seen a chicken before. Or something. (The 27,000 chickens a few hundred feet from our house clearly don’t count…?) But in my defense, I don’t think I’ve seen a grown chicken without a comb. O.o

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Wait, why am I talking about chickens and dinosaurs in a Christmas tree post? I suppose I just missed the trees for the forest… SORRY THAT WAS BAD, I KNOW. Okay, Allison, settle down. Trees. Show the people the tree pictures. Ahem.

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This tree farm has a special “candy cane tree” for kids. Let me tell you now, it is LOADED.

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After meandering around practically the whole place, as usual, we finally picked out pretty much the tallest one there was. Which unfortunately wasn’t very tall. We usually like to get a 7-8 foot one, but this was barely 6 once we cut it down. :/ Oh well. There didn’t seem to be many tall trees at the other Christmas tree farms either, from what I heard, so I guess we’ll just have to settle with the one we have. 😉

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“Timberrrrr!”

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Some people used sleds to carry their trees back, but eh, we have boys. 😉

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Me: “WHAT ON EARTH is Megan doing in this picture?! Ah yes, she’s sucking a candy cane.”

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The poor little tree was so… well, little, that we had to prop up the stand with thick blocks of wood. XD It really helped, though. It looked a bit sketchy at first, but much better after we put the lights and ornaments on.

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It was so much fun to listen to Christmas music and take out the ornaments one by one, telling their stories or making jokes about them, especially the terrible foam kindergarten ornaments. XD Three angels in particular induced a lot of laughter…

#1: The Terror-Inducing Angel: In the sermon on Sunday, our pastor was discussing angels and how they are probably not blonde-haired, blue-eyed, effeminate-looking men wearing long dresses  like they are on Christmas cards (BAHAHAHA), because they’re always terrifying and awe-inspiring to people in the Bible. Anyway, Logan thought this angel he made a while ago was a terror-inducing angel because of his rather pronounced humpback and scraggly appearance (a little hard to see in the photo). HA HA IT WAS SO FUNNY.

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#2: The Ninja Angel: UGH why is this picture out of focus in just the wrong place?? *Sigh* Anyway, we thought this angel looked like she was karate-chopping something. XD

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#3: The Gift Angel: This one wasn’t so much funny as neat. Dad said they stopped and helped a lady fix a flat tire or some such thing on their anniversary trip, and she got their address and sent them this ornament later to the “angels” who helped her. Isn’t that so sweet?

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Behind the scenes: Jeff reading a random book which happens to be The Daring Book for Girls. HA HA. Also, strangely enough, we somehow have Santa hats even though we don’t do anything else Santa-related? *shrugs* Hey, it goes great with oversized rocket pajamas, right? 😛

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Another Santa hat? Actually, though, I really like this picture. 🙂

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HA HA. Megan (referring to our cats): “Who votes that Jinx is better than Tom? ME!” Carmen, in a scandalized voice: “WHAT?!”

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After the decorating was finished, Carmen and Mom made us some hot chocolate and we sat around the tree drinking it and talking and listening to Christmas music. It was lovely.

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Well, mostly lovely… For some reason Megan and Jeff were compiling a list of synonyms for… let us say, “to toss one’s cookies.” *rolls eyes* That was gross. Oh dear, that’s siblings for you. 😛

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Heh heh, so that’s the story of our Christmas tree this year! I hope you enjoyed it, despite the strange detours. 😉 Getting a Christmas tree and decorating it is one of my favorite holiday traditions. What’s yours?

***Allison***

P. S. Oh, and guys! My blogging friend (and fellow farm girl), Hayley, has started a YouTube channel! Her photography and videography are beautiful, and I always love her posts. ♄ So definitely check out her blog and channel and maybe even follow them both. 🙂

 

Flashbacks + Christmasy Photos

Hej! 😀 (That’s hello in Swedish. Just wanted to make sure you’re alive and watching for typos.)

Ahem.

On my survey, one of the post suggestions was flashbacks, and I thought that would be a good idea. I’ve gotten so many new followers lately who have missed out on all of the wonderful, long-ago posts I did. Heh heh. XD

Anyway, since I can’t hardly bring myself to post just a page full of links, I sprinkled in some Christmas photos for good measure. Warning: do not judge my photography by these photos. XD Hee hee, some of them aren’t the best quality, but I think they’re neat anyway. 😉 Maybe next year I will have some stunning Christmas tree photography to show you, because by then I’m sure I’ll be an expert at my camera. 😛

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We got our Christmas tree last Saturday! It took us forever, and the one we decided on was rather smaller than usual, but it was fun nonetheless. 🙂 Plus it looks pretty cute in our living room.

I really like this photoshoot I did last year. Click here to see some warm and summery pictures from a May walk.

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I absolutely LOVE the bokeh in this picture, even though the picture itself isn’t that great of quality. :/

 

Ah yes, good ol’ Chopped. We still play this game sometimes. Click here to read “Chopped!”, a fun cooking game for kids. Let me tell you, sometimes the cooks’ entries are rather… how shall we say it… interesting. XD But fun. Always fun.

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I’m still proud of this post. I just love how the pictures turned out! Click here to see “The Beauty of a Dandelion.”

 

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Our friends gave us this adorable acorn ornament.

I love this place! Click here to read about one of my favorite places on our farm.

 

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We made these fun button ornaments one year. For some reason I really like buttons. XD

 

I remember when we found this! It was pretty amazing to find a real bee tree. Click here to see a few pictures of a bee tree we found last year.

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Christmas trees just wouldn’t be Christmas trees without lights, right?

 

SQUEEE! Lily was so TINY! Click here to read about my bunny Lily when she was just a wee fluff.

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Another handmade ornament…

 

It was amazing to get to see this little guy turn into a chrysalis before our eyes. Click here to watch a swallowtail caterpillar transform.

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Now this one is NOT handmade. XD

 

This was fun! Click here to read about “The Great Hot Air Balloon Chase.”

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More bokeh!

Ooh, I should make one of these again. Click here to see how to make a creative, personalized card.

 

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We find so many weird eggs in our chicken houses. Click here to read about some of them. (By the way, that reminds me of a thing I saw a thing on Pinterest about a farmer finding a whole egg inside of an egg. Pshaw, we’ve found a bunch of those. XD )

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SO SQUISHY! Click here to see a little photoshoot of a bear I made for a friend.

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Maybe it’s playing “Joy to the World…”

 

And last but not least, a review of 2015 with LOTS of photos included. I’m planning on making a post like this for 2016 too. If I thought last year was a big year, what about this year?! This year was huge! Anyway, click here to see read a review of 2015. (Guys, it’s almost 2017 already. WUT?!)

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I hope you enjoyed this post, and had fun browsing through the links. 🙂 Do you get a Christmas tree? Do you cut your own, buy one from a store, or set up an artificial tree? We always cut ours down from a tree farm. *Happy sigh* So fun! 😀

***Allison***

P. S. I just discovered that a.) the little twisty thing on my camera is a focus ring, and b.) IT WORKS! My old camera didn’t have  a focus ring, and at first I was kind of disappointed that my new one didn’t seem to be focusing very well. Oops. Heh heh. Nowwwww, I get it. XD