Gift idea: a personalized calendar!

The end of the year is fast approaching, which means hectic Christmas shopping will soon begin! A necessity for anyone at the end of the year is to start getting ready for 2015, and what better way to get prepared than with an Elephoto photo calendar! Design and create a calendar for your loved ones – it would be a great holiday gift. With over a dozen designs to choose from, ranging from full photo pages to holiday themes, create a calendar that is sure to please friends and family. Here are of few examples:

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Design templates from left to right: Modern Black | Bouquet | Christmas Elegance

When creating an Elephoto calendar, you have the options of a 12 or 18 month calendar, and can pick which month to start from. There is also an option where you can select which holidays you would like entered as well. There are many ways that you can add personal touches to make a unique (and awesome!) calendar – here are a few tips:

  • Add family birthdays
  • Add special dates and milestones – this could include graduations, recitals, sports tournaments, and so on
  • Include additional holidays
  • Use personal photos
  • Add photos to specific days on your calendar
  • Add text boxes to include personal goals for the month, a special quote, etc.
  • Create a calendar with your child’s artwork
  • Mix-and-match templates per page

Make sure your family and friends are ready for 2015 with their personalized photo calendar. It’s a perfect gift that you can tailor to each individual, so you know they will love it!

Family Recipe Cookbook Tips

Recipe photobooks are a great, as they can serve many purposes. One of the best uses is as a family recipe photobook, showcasing generations of precious family recipes. This is a great idea to preserve your family’s history, and will last much longer than saving a bunch of scattered recipe cards. We have come up with a list of steps to help you create your recipe book!

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1. Give all family members a call and ask if they would like to include any recipes in the recipe book. Gather all of your recipes and images as well.
2. Decide what recipes you will use for the cookbook. Then organize them and decide what order they will go in. After you have decided which ones you will include, type each recipe out in Microsoft Word.
3. After the title of each dish, it’s a good idea to write a little description, for example, “Susan has a special gift for making blueberry pancakes. Blueberry jam along with fresh blueberries gives it the perfect flavor”. Its also a good idea to include “from the recipe box of …” on each recipe!
4. Take pictures of each dish, that is if you don’t have any existing pictures. Don’t forget to take some pictures of your family making and enjoying the dishes! These will really add a personal touch to your cookbook.
5. Design your cookbook. You can design your cookbook right in Elephoto. Just log in or create an account and you’ll be able to easily create basic page layouts in the Elephoto software. When designing your cookbook, keep in mind the finishing aspects that you would like to use. For example, if you want a photo on the cover or a plain linen cover. Elephoto offers a wide variety of options in terms of covers and book sizes.
6. When you are finished, make sure to do all of your proofreading and editing before you submit your order. It always helps to have a fresh pair of eyes check over your work.
7. After you do your final check of the file, simply fill out the necessary information and submit it to us! You family will love this thoughtful gift idea for the holidays.

What are some of your favourite homemade gift ideas?

Halloween DIY decorations and crafts

Can you believe it’s Halloween next Friday already? If you have been too busy and haven’t had the chance to get into the holiday spirit, don’t panic! There is still plenty of time to get your house looking spooky for all of the trick-or-treaters. Try out these Halloween DIY projects – your house will be looking haunted in no time!

Halloween painted jar luminaries

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This is great for busy families or those with young children who aren’t ready for pumpkin carving just yet. This safe, inexpensive mason jar DIY is a perfect way to get your home in the Halloween spirit and still be able to get your children involved in the process. If stored properly, these jars will be good to use for many years – just add an extra layer of glaze before the big night!

DIY Halloween window décor

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Window décor is a unique and easy way to set your house apart during October. You can virtually print out anything you want from the internet in the size that you wish. After printing out the chosen objects, use them as a stencil and cut out the object in the self-adhesive craft vinyl. Make sure your windows are clean, apply the vinyl, and voila! Your spooky Halloween setting is ready to be seen by your entire neighbourhood.

Halloween buckets

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This DIY is a cute way to personalize your child’s candy bag instead of using an old pillow case. It can be designed to match your child’s Halloween costume, and you can choose the size of the bucket as well (the bigger the bucket, the more candy you get!). This is a great project for your kids to help with if they are getting anxious for the holiday.

Pumpkin doormat

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Do you want some Halloween décor but something a little more subtle than a 10ft. inflatable monster on your front lawn? Well this is the perfect DIY for you! Creating this pumpkin doormat is easy and inexpensive, and adds just the touch of holiday spirit you are going for. You can use a doormat of your choice and paint your pumpkins whatever colors you like. Your guests won’t be able to hide their grin when they see pumpkins smiling back up at them!

DIY fall wreaths

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Adding a fall wreath to your front door is one of the best ways to decorate your home when transitioning into autumn. These inexpensive DIY wreaths are also a great activity to complete with children at any age. Just set aside some time during the weekend, pick a style out of the 50 designs, and begin your project! The 50 designs showcase a variety of styles – ones that are more directed towards the season or specifically for Halloween. Below are just a few styles to choose from!

Creative pumpkin carving ideas

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Running out of ideas for pumpkin carving year after year? We have found 38 creative (and amazing!) pumpkin carving ideas that will wow your trick-or-treaters and their parents. For children who are old enough to carve pumpkins, these are some neat ideas to get your pumpkin carving skills noticed in the neighborhood. We have a feeling you won’t be able to pick just one design, so a great idea is to have a pumpkin carving competition with friends and family. Multiple designs can be used and it’s an event that brings everyone together!

Have a safe and scary Halloween!

The top places in Canada you need to visit! (Part 2)

Ontario

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Bonnechere Caves

Walk in the clouds. Take a four-hour canopy tour of the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve on a suspended walkway in a 200-year-old pine forest! With spectacular views, the canopy boardwalk is 10-20 meters above the forest floor and is over half a kilometer long. You might even catch a glimpse of wolves, foxes and moose. The rates are $95 for adults and $70 for youth. The price also includes the admission fee for the Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre. For more information, visit haliburtonforest.com.

Bonnechere caves. Located in Eganville, the Bonnechere Caves are truly a unique experience for all ages. 1-hour guided tours leave every 20 to 30 minutes and run from May to October. Tourists are free to take photos and can enjoy the white waters of a waterfall close by. Adult fees are $17, seniors are $15, and youth are $13. For more information visit bonnecherecaves.com.

Québec

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The Ice Hotel/Hotel de Glace

Opt for an island idyll. Take a step away from your busy lifestyle and travel over to the charming and quaint Île d’Orléans, either by ferry or bridge from Québec City. The island’s patchwork of fields and pretty towns brings in a mixture of artisans, ranging from blacksmiths to makers of jam, cheese, cider and chocolate. Find your escape! Click here for more information.

Winter fun. Québec is known for its amazing ski hills and winter activities. Spread out over two major mountain ranges, the Laurentian Mountains and the Appalachians, there are over 800 trails for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Visit one of the three major ski areas, the Laurentides, the Québec City area, and the Eastern Townships to get back on the slopes or for the first time ever! You also won’t want to miss winter activities like the Ice Hotel, Québec Winter Carnival, and Village Vacances Valcartier – the largest winter playground in North America. For more information, visit bonjourquebec.com.

New Brunswick

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The Hopewell Rocks National Park

Settle by the seaside. St.Andrew’s, or better known by its small-town nickname of St.Andrew’s-by-the-sea, is the traditional beach vacation: warm ocean waters, a shallow touch-pool to view sea creatures and pet a starfish, whale-watching and the list goes on. There is a salmon interpretation centre with an underwater viewing room, and many first-rate hotels to choose from, like the Fairmont Algonquin. For more information on this beach town, click here.

Watch the tide come in. Discover the intriguing flowerpot rock formations and hidden sea caves at Hopewell Rocks National Park on the Bay of Fundy. After exploring, find a spot to relax and watch some of the highest tides in the world come in, with rising speeds of 2-2.5 meters an hour. Adult rates are $9 with seniors and students at $7.75. Watch the tide and be amazed! For more information, go to thehopewellrocks.ca.

Nova Scotia

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The Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Lounge in a deck chair on the Titanic. Travel back in time to 1912 and take a seat on the deck of the infamous cruise ship, the Titanic. Although the scene may be a replica, the Titanic exhibit features the wireless operator’s log of the ship’s distress calls, part of the grand staircase, and one of the only intact deck chairs that matches those that were actually onboard of the ship. Rates are $8.50 for adults during the summer. Check out the other events and exhibits at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca.

Dive into the past. Cape Breton Island is known for its wealth of shipwrecks on the ocean floor. Whether you are an experienced diver or are learning for the first time, Easy Dive Canada Ltd. has the courses and equipment you need. The company organizes expeditions to the underwater remains of ships like the 64-gun Le Celebre or the 180 foot long section of The Arrow. For more information, click here.

Prince Edward Island

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Prince Edward Island National Park

Prince Edward Island National Park. This national park extends 40 kilometers of the island’s north shore, and is filled with barrier islands and beaches, sand dunes, wetlands, sandstone cliffs, and remnants of the Acadian forest. Tourists can cycle the seaside Gulf Shore Way, rent a kayak in North Rustico, and travel through the Greenwich Dunes Trail. The park also includes national historic sites Dalvay-by-the-Sea and Green Gables Heritage Place – which was, as you may have guessed, the inspiration for the setting of L.M. Montgomery’s famous novel Anne of Green Gables. Explore today! More information available here.

Pose with a four-meter spud. No, you didn’t read that wrong! Not only is the 7,000 square foot Potato Museum home to the giant potato (14 feet high and 7 feet in diameter), but it also includes a Potato Hall of Fame, old farm machinery and a variety of relocated historic buildings – like a one-room schoolhouse. This unique attraction can be found in the town of O’Leary. Adults are $8 with family packages available. Do you want fries with that? More information here.

Newfoundland and Labrador

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Ogling an Iceberg in Iceberg Alley

Ogle and iceberg. Newfoundland and Labrador is known as Iceberg Alley, with many massive flotillas of glacial ice travelling through the ocean from Greenland during the spring and early summer months. This picturesque experience is not one to miss – it is known that the best view is further north up the East coast of the province. The most popular places to watch nature’s artwork are Point Amour, Battle Harbour and Cartwright, all within Southern Labrador. For more information, visit icebergfinder.com.

Signal hill tattoo. This new program covers over 150 years of the province’s military history. The band of the 1795 Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Foot’s Fife and Drum Corps will begin with a performance, followed by a demonstration of an infantry and artillery drill by the war of 1812 era Royal Newfoundland Fencibles and Royal Artillery. Afterwards, there is a simulated exercise by the Newfoundland Regiment, as it would have appeared during the First World War. To conclude, a commemoration ceremony is held, which is dedicated to all those who have served, and continue to serve, in defense of the province and nation. Tourists will not only get a show by the performers, but can also take in the panoramic views of the harbor and colorful houses that fill the city. Visit their website for more information.

The top places in Canada you need to visit! (Part 1)

Planning your next vacation but not sure exactly where to go? Don’t rule out Canada just because that’s where you live! With 10 provinces and 3 territories, the country is exploding with amazing sights, events, and activities that are perfect for your next getaway. Below are just a few examples of what you can do and see across Canada.

British Columbia

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Coulson Flying Tanker

Tour an airborne firefighter. Tour the Coulson Flying Tankers, the aircrafts responsible for dropping 27,000 kilograms of foam on raging forest fires in the province. These powerful machines were originally built as bombers for long-range missions and patrols, and now reside at Sproat lake in central Vancouver Island. Free tours are available to see the size of the aircrafts up close – the wingspans of the aircrafts are 60 meters – when crew members aren’t putting out flames. Learn more at here.

Feed the sea lions. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Vancouver Aquarium and learn about the sea lions and sea otters. Prepare some of the animals’ favorite meals and get up close while working alongside their trainers. Prices range from $25 to $35, and more information can be found at their website.

Alberta

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Banff Upper Hot Springs

Fossil Safari. North of Brooks, in the Southeast area of the province at Dinosaur Provincial Park, dinosaur teeth and bones are scattered everywhere. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world’s richest fossil beds due to it once being the edge of an inland sea. Since this safari is very popular, it is recommended to reserve a tour one month ahead. Adult fees are $14, with youth and children less than $8. Family packages are available, with more information over here.

Banff Upper Hot Springs. Slip into the warm and relaxing Banff Upper Hot Springs all year round while taking in amazing views at an altitude of 1,585 meters. The hot springs are fed by 100% natural mineral water that travels over three kilometers into the Earth’s crust to be heated and pressurized before making its way to the surface. The updated, modern facilities are housed in historical buildings that date back to 1932. Adults are $7.30, with youth/seniors at a rate of $6.30 and children under 3 are free! Family packages are also available. Take a look for yourself here.

Saskatchewan

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Grasslands National Park

Discover Moose Jaw’s Capone Connection. The Tunnels of Moose Jaw is a year-round attraction that entertains (and educates) tourists with two unique productions of Canadian History. Relive Al Capone’s bootlegging days underneath the streets of Moose Jaw in the Chicago Connection tour, and experience the hardships of early Chinese immigrants in the Passage to Fortune tour. Take a trip into the past! Rates and additional information can be found at their website.

Get a vision of the Prairies. Soak in the untouched landscape at Grasslands National Park in the southern end of the province. The national park preserves one of the country’s only regions of undisturbed mixed prairie grassland. During the guided hikes (that are less than $5 a person!) look for Canada’s only black-tailed prairie dog colony and rare pronghorn antelope, burrowing owl and bison. It’s time to explore! More information here.

Manitoba

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Tundra Buggy Adventure

Be one with the belugas. Churchill River is a popular spot with over 3,000 belugas settling in during the summer due to the abundance of fish, lack of predators and pollution-free water. Sea North Tours will tow brave snorkelers behind a Zodiac with curious beluga whales hot on their tail! $150 for two hours of unforgettable fun. Find out more here.

Tundra buggy. It’s time to get up close and personal with polar bears! Enjoy a one-day, all-inclusive excursion to Churchill to get friendly with polar bears in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. The full-day Tundra Buggy Adventure is accompanied with lunch and refreshments in polar bear country. Information on rates and adventures can be found at their site.

The Territories

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Northern Lights in the Yukon

Golf under the midnight sun in the Northwest Territories. Tee off at midnight during the Yellowknife Golf Club’s Canadian North Midnight Classic and don’t stop golfing until you drop! The holding record of the longest game played is from 1970, when a local man golfed 171 holes in a 33.5-hour marathon. For non-members the price is $125, with the date of the event varying from year to year. Get your golf clubs ready! More information at their website.

View the Northern Lights in the Yukon. Stare in awe at the breathtaking views of the Northern Lights in the Yukon! With multiple itineraries to choose from, you can find the perfect way to take in the green, purple, and red aurora borealis dancing through the sky. From a cozy cabin hideaway to a 3-day fall getaway, experience the Northern Lights in a way that is unique to you. More information regarding the itineraries are available at their site here.

Cruises in the North from Nunavut. One of the best ways to get the most out of Nunavut is to experience its land and culture on a deluxe icebreaker cruise ship tour. With the sailing season starting in July and ending in September, the cruise ship will glide you north of the magnetic pole, through glacial mountains and into the heart of the territory. For more information on the rates and main routes of the ship, visit this website.