Blog, christmas, Family, holidays, Vlog

Christmas Cheer

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It’s that time again!! One of my favorite times of the year. Decorating the Christmas tree with my family in matching pajamas! This is our 3rd year doing it and I don’t see us stopping any time soon. Well, hopefully not. Teenagers still like to match their entire family and pose for pictures with them, right? Someone tell me that they do! For now, I will cherish these moments while they are still young enough to not only match us, but to actually love matching us! My pregnant self actually just teared up a little bit thinking of how fleeting these moments are. But I know we still have a few years so I’m going to enjoy it while I can!

This year we got these new pajamas! We had been wearing the same elf sets for the past 2 years so it was time for a change..especially since some of the kids’ pants had holes in the knees from wearing them so much. This year I decided to go with something a little less Christmas-y so we could rock them all year round. Not that we didn’t already do that with the elf jammies. But now I could actually photograph them all year without looking out of place. And can we talk about how much my husband enjoys it too? Because I know there are some husbands out there who would be totally opposed to the matching jammie thing. But Don is completely on board.

Before setting up our tree, I asked the kids if we could snap a few family photos. The focus and coloring is off on pretty much every picture but I still absolutely love them! My favorite part is seeing everyone’s personalities shining through. (Except sweet Clementine who would have rather not been in the pictures with us. I suppose she’s already embarrassed haha.)

While I was setting up the camera and testing out the camera remote, I happened to snap this adorable picture. Desmond’s smile melts me every time I look at it!

All of these pictures were taken the week before getting our new camera a lens so now we’re going to have to retake them to get better quality 😉 Anyway, after we were done taking pictures, we drug all our Christmas decorations out and started putting up the Christmas tree!

I didn’t start taking pictures until they were probably halfway done because I was helping them put hooks on the ornaments. But I did get a few photos!

And of course by the time I pulled out my camera, Desmond was pretty much done. I managed to find one picture on my camera to document the fact that he helped 😉

I love these pictures of the boys reaching up to hang the ornaments as high as they can. It won’t be long until they won’t need to find things to stand on.

When we decorate, I let the kids put up all the ornaments on their own. It ends up looking like colorful chaos. It’s beautiful because it’s their creativity shining through. But I’ll be honest, I want my tree to look nice too! So after they are done decorating and have moved on to other things, I go back and rearrange it how I like it!

The past couple of years they didn’t really care. This year I could tell they were kind of wanting to keep it the way it was. I mentioned buying them a clearanced tree after Christmas to put upstairs so that they could decorate however they wanted. They were so excited! They love the rainbow tree that we ended up with. But I know they’d also love to have a bit more control with creativity. So I’m excited that we found a solution that everyone is happy with!

Clementine had been napping up until this point. When she came out, she had so much fun playing with all of the ornaments. It made me very nervous that we’d spend the whole Christmas season redirecting her. But thankfully it hasn’t become too much of an issue. It’s kind of funny that I prepare myself every year to have a toddler destroying our tree and then they barely notice its existence.

I love our bright, cheery rainbow tree during the day. And also the cozy, magical vibes it gives off at night. I saw Don playing around with the camera by the tree so that made ME want to do it. I always love the glow it casts on everyone’s faces.

And this itty bitty Clemmie hand reaching for an ornament!

Also, this super grainy, but super adorable picture of the kids. They all kept lining up on the window sill and asking me to take pictures. The way Desmond is looking at his big brother is just the sweetest so I had to include it in this post!!

Before you go, make sure you watch the vlog from our Christmas tree decorating!!

And if you want to see our tree decorating from years past and see how much everybody has grown, you can click HERE for last year’s and HERE  for two years ago! Have a happy weekend!

Blog, product review

Creating Memories with Cinemood

I can’t believe December is here and we’re in the final weeks before Christmas and the new year! This season kind of snuck up on me, as it always does. I wish I was one of those people who shopped for Christmas gifts way earlier in the year. But I’m not. I’ve even been known to run out to the store on Christmas Eve to pick up the last few things.

But this year I’m trying to stay ahead of the game and have already ordered multiple gifts online. Online shopping is every mom’s dream! Especially for me because 1) I hate crowds. And 2) it’s much easier/convenient! It’s hard to find the time to get away when it means spending time away from the family. While everyone else is obsessively searching for those little Fingerling toys and all those other “hot ticket items,” I get to stay home and enjoy the fact that my kids are homeschooled (and don’t have access to commercials) so they don’t really know what everyone else is obsessing over.

Our focus this year is more on gifts that can be used together, as a family. Things like a play kitchen, board games, arts and crafts, and a membership to a local children’s museum. As you can imagine with 6 kids, our house is already filled with way too many toys. So I’ve been trying to think of a few group gifts that would allow us to spend more time together while also cutting back on the clutter.

Which leads me to the point of this post! We recently had the opportunity to review the CINEMOOD Storyteller, a small handheld projector. This small projector not only comes loaded with 100+ hours of preloaded kid-friendly digital content (music, books, bedtime stories, cartoons, shadow puppets, etc) but it also allows you to stream Youtube, Netflix, and even your own content.

Of course as soon as we opened it and got it charged, the kids were all begging to try it out. We really try to limit screen time in our house so it really is a special treat when they get the chance to watch something. Right away we were impressed by how sharp the image is. I assumed that the image quality would be low because of the size of the projector. But with the focus button on the side, you are able to control the focus depending on how far back you are sitting.

And it’s been pretty much Clementine’s number one goal to get her hands on the projector itself or the image that’s being projected haha.

The kids love to hold it and move it around to see what it looks like on different surfaces. It obviously shows up better in the dark but we are able to use it during the day just by closing the blinds in a bedroom.

And we love the add on case that comes with additional cartoons to watch through the Cinemood!

I was equally impressed with the battery life! It claims to hold its charge for 5 hours. After using it over the past week, I would say that’s pretty accurate. You know how I said we limit screen time? Well, that “rule” has definitely become more relaxed lately. When it feels like midnight at 5 o’ clock (thanks a lot, daylight savings,) the kids are running in circles around you, toys are everywhere, and you’ve just survived another day taking care of 6 children WHILE PREGNANT…well let’s just say that I’ve resorted to “let’s clean up and then I’ll let you watch something” quite a bit lately.

What I think is really fun about this portable projector is that you are able to use it in so many different ways. You can project your images on the wall, on the ceiling, on a sheet, or even in your vehicle. This past week, all the kids got their sleeping bags and pillows and set up on the living room floor as we projected a Christmas movie on the ceiling. It really just feels so much more magical than just watching on the tv. And it has me dreaming of all the other fun ways we can use it in the future.

Because we love spending time together as a family, this projector has become such a fun way to bring everyone together to make memories. I hope my kids always remember dragging out tons of blankets and cuddling up close with each other as we watch movies together or make shadow puppets on the wall. The days are hard sometimes but my hope is that these magical memories will always stand out to them.

Thank you, Cinemood, for allowing us to try out our new favorite device! I’m thinking that a movie, popcorn, and hot chocolate will be on our agenda this evening!

You can get your own for 10% off with the code MRSJMOOD right HERE. It would make such a fun gift for Christmas this year!

I’d also love to hear any other gift ideas you all have for our family! We definitely want to limit the toys but I’m struggling to come up with other ideas to suggest to family members. So you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!!

Thank you for reading! Have a great week!