Christmas Time Preparations

Here’s our family Christmas Preparations.

Christmas PreperationsIt’s been a little quiet around here on my blog, at home not so much. I think we are finally passed all the big school concerts and church events. I had to keep my blog in hobby mode and take a brief pause with all the fullness since my last blog post.

If you follow me on Instagram I shared a few updates along the way.

December is pretty much 1/2 over now. For some reason the last couple of years since my son started school and a third little bundle of joy came into our family I’m actually not overly enjoying how overwhelming this time of the year is. IMG_1064

I’m becoming more into the idea to keep Christmas Decorations more simple.

Each year the tree goes up later and I try to make a conscious effort to get SOME decorations up sometime before December, as my kids are begging me too.

We LOVE a REAL Christmas Tree in our house.IMG_1016

We are blessed to live in the Fraser Valley and there’s lots of Christmas tree farms.  We finally found a good local one. IMG_1017

However with my husbands work schedule we stood in the dark field with 3 other families holding our cellphones up with the flashlight to cut one down this year.

We actually had to “schedule” the tree cutting or it would never have made it up this year._A real Christmas tree is worth all the love and attention it needs_

I absolutely LOVE this tree base that was passed along to us from my husbands parents. It’s so festive and crazy heavy (FYI).  We went to the “Olde Farmhouse Market” recently and I was reminded of the old metal tree stands, now they are plastic.  I don’t think this cast iron one is going anywhere anytime soon.

Never too late to DIY some Christmas Decor.

Remember the DIY Christmas book wreath?

I’ve been waiting to make one, just never have the time. IMG_1066

My son is helping me make this one. I really doesn’t bother me if this isn’t the pinterest craze anymore. This is my 4th one to make, the other ones I gifted them away.

I’m looking forward to having something music related this time.  I was singing the hymns as I recognized them and shared with my son how much things have changed with church music. Yes, I’m old enough to say I sung from the hymnals as a kid.

What about the Presents? Can’t forget about those right?

Just like the decor we have learned to keep that simple too. There once was a baby a long time ago that got 3 gifts, seems like enough for us too. Our kids know the story and so far don’t seem too upset if they didn’t got more.

We are still making time for Homemade Christmas Gifts!

I’m excited to see this rocking horse completed that my husband is making.

IMG_1070When our oldest was 3, we were super tight for gifts and money in general.  My husband scraped together a wooden airplane.  It’s been probably the MOST played with airplane in the house that’s had many repairs and is now resting with the other “need to be repaired” toys.

Homemade gifts once was all we could give.

Now, it’s something we know will be loved and appreciated.

We are on the home stretch for 2019. Also only 4 more car rides for school drop off and pick up (not that I’m counting). Best of all time with family just around the corner. I’m ready to have everyone home for a while.

We usually break out a puzzle, lots of game and family movie nights. I have Christmas baking I’m supposed to do and the kids will decorate the cookies. These are the years we can’t get back and spending time now while they are small and soaking it all up is worth all the effort that goes into December.IMG_1057

I know this time of the year isn’t easy for everyone and just like us there’s someone missing. Love it if this little ones big sister was in this picture with her.  She’s in our hearts. I’ve learned it’s better to choose joy then let the heartbreak weigh me down. We’ve learned to know who our community is and find ways to make new memories.

How about you?

What are things you do for Christmas?

Comment Below,  Love to hear from you!

Last Minute Halloween Prep

Halloween is tomorrow, need some help with getting ready.?Free Printable available for the Kids!

First I just want to share, Thanks for the feedback on my last blog post.  It’s a very personal thing to share and it’s just a part of my story in my life.

Soooo It’s that time at the end of October when we Celebrate Halloween. If participating in Halloween = Has to be cheap and I have NO TIME, you found the right post.

Tomorrow is Halloween.

Have a SAFE and HAPPY HALLOWEENI have lots of positive childhood memories of Halloween.  With what it is now, it’s not the same.

I grew up in the country and wasn’t bombarded like my kids are today with the gore that is plastered everywhere today. I have lots of interesting conversations in the car while driving around with my extremely observant children.

Commercialism and the overdone haunted like houses have seriously made me not so excited about it lately.

Our family doesn’t mind participating with Halloween it’s just not something we go out of our way to spend lots of money and have LOADS of decorations and spend lots on Costumes.

Since we don’t put much emphasis on the “Holiday?”, I’m ALWAYS running on the fly and doing everything last minute.

If that’s you and your doing things last minute, then your in the right place.

Here’s the top 3 things I do to still make it somewhat special and exciting for our kids.

Buy Pumpkins

I always make sure even to have the minimum for each kid in our family. We plan to grow a small pumpkin patch this coming year, hopefully I don’t have to buy them next year.

Make SIMPLE decor

I got a FREE Halloween Printable for you! I made this and printed it for my kids.  They got SO EXCITED.  They were quick to decorate our front door with it. My oldest son even found a book at school and was busy making ghosts.  My table was in a frenzy or paper, crayons, markers and scissors yesterday.IMG_0899


Can’t participate in Halloween without these. Well, sometimes kids do. I’ve seen them. I think we all have a good story of the perfect Halloween costume.

Here’s the thing.  My kids may ooh and ahh at the rack at the store with all the brand new ones.  I walked right passed.  I’ve only bought one costume ever.  I get lots of thrift-ed or hand me downs or yup, you guessed it handmade.

Pinterest to the rescue. It’s seriously saved us so many times for quick on the fly costumes that the kids love.  Even better they love to help make them.

Amazing what you can create with a permanent marker and a t-shirt.

This year we started with a homemade costumes and trying to use what we have, however $6 for 3  costumes for ALL my kids was a pretty sweet deal.  We choose to go with what we found at the thrift store. Kids wanted to sleep with their costumes on tonight.

Remember I said I don’t get to excited about it.  I have barely ANY pictures of the handmade costumes. The kids play with them year round and they get trashed.

It’s so rush rush with Trick or Treating and hubby coming home from work and someone has to stay home to hand out Candy, I hardly get pictures.

So, I hope this was short enough to get some quick ideas and have something for the kids to do and colour.

Was any of this helpful?  Let me know.  Is there something you like me to expand on for a future post about kids and Halloween?

Let me know in the comments below.


Surviving a Pregnancy Loss

I need to pause my usual content and share something deeply personal today. Out of respect, care and concern for my kids I’ve changed how I post about them. In particular not sharing their faces for their privacy.

However, this child and sharing this story I have a few photos that are more open about who my kids are.

God was about to send our family a surprise.  Not one I was ever anticipating. It wasn’t a happy surprise that’s for sure. 

Our little Gloria was born too soon through a second trimester miscarriage. She is loved forever and not forgotten

So what happened 5 Years ago in January 2014?  

First off, we were celebrating our sons birthday.  Here in this photo you can see my already growing tummy.


For 17 weeks I carried our little one. I honestly felt like I was walking on a cloud the whole time, or living an awful dream. I was working to get my “second mat leave”. I felt sick the whole time, plus had started spotting. 

Just to highlight something here. This month and today specifically October 15th at 7 pm is International Wave of Light.  This month is Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss Awareness month. There seems like so many days now in our culture are raising awareness for something.  Now there’s a day, that I never wanted to participate in and I now do.

I went to work after a busy weekend with my husband off for a retreat.  Here’s the part that’s going to sound funny. I emailed our midwife. Yes, e-mailed. Up until this point I was always spotting. Every trip to the ER or seeing our midwife we were reassured with a heart beat.

That email sparked a quick phone call back. “Carrie, I booked you into the hospital to see radiology, you need to go now”. In my email I shared that the spotting had changed color.

At the hospital I didn’t know what to expect. But that moment will stick with me forever. As the tech put it, “Your babies body is collapsed, there’s no heartbeat, they have been gone for a while, I’ll give you a few minutes so you can call your husband”.

Just like that the next hours where grueling. I bumped into a friend in the ER line who gave me a “why are you here?”. She opened up and shared losing a baby at 5 months many years ago. 

Then I had to sit through, “how to give birth to this baby whose gone”. That’s an awkward conversation to have with a Dr. 

I was brought up to the maternity ward.  Which I have learned is a blessing. Got a room and was induced to deliver. FYI, yes that maternity ward is a blessing but also SUCKS. Especially when the women beside me gave birth at the exact moment I did. What a contrast, one room is rejoicing and the other side of the wall has a baby that’s the size of our hands not supposed to be here yet.Grandpa Reitsema Funeral

Looking back there’s so many things that happened that I didn’t know how to deal with or handle. We said no to a photographer.  I was toooo angry at God that this happened. I couldn’t even hold her.

We said no to a support worker, we said we had a church community and we will be “fine”. Our pastor who was leaving to serve another congregation and asked if we wanted a memorial and I thought that it was odd to have one and said no. 

Then at my grandfathers funeral while placing a carnation with my son did I feel peace about not having our own service for her. It made me realize then that as a Christian I believe my grandfather is in heaven and had more peace that our little girl is with him.

I don’t know how different our story would be had we said yes to all those things. I do know when we got back to our everyday life, it was super hard.  I couldn’t go back to work. It was unbearable. I did try after 8 weeks, only to be faced with 2 pregnant co-workers. One was due 2 weeks after me. It was brutal. 

I still remember dropping my son off at daycare and the tears started and couldn’t stop.  My boss took one look at me and knew I wasn’t ready to come back.

I attempted a support group and walked out super heavy hearted. It wasn’t faith based and it actually scared me if I was ever going to get over it. Let alone as an empathetic person I can put myself in their shoes and hearing their stories was heart wrenching.

IMG_4150My husband and I on her due date went far away in the backside of Chilliwack Lake and picked wild flowers, prayed for our family and others who have been through this. Then we released the flowers one by one off the bridge we were standing on.

Almost 9 months after our loss I did find another support group.  A Faith Based Support Group. This time I didn’t say no. My husband pointed it out in church in the bulletin and recommended I reach out. 

I not only attended I got involved.  I had said no to all the other support but, yes to this group.  I had to pray about saying yes.  Not that this is a sure thing, We got pregnant a month after I stepped into ministry.IMG_5468

I look back after 5 years and wonder how different my life would be if I had continued saying no.   I quickly got into organizing and leading this group, I knew I was heard, felt valued and accepted. God has worked and called me to something I never felt qualified for.

The amount of times I got reminders of what I was apart of has been incredible stories with too many to share in one single blog post.  I’m going to put this out there. Please comment below if there’s interest in reading the FULL STORY. This has been an experience where tragedy and walking with God collide and my faith is beyond stronger for it.

IMG_5471If you follow my blog you know I have had 2 more children.  They are my rainbow babies. I walked through my next pregnancy and completely ignored the baby.  Let me be clear, getting pregnant again is not a happy answer to the grief I went through for my little girl.

Medically through many other complications I’m no longer medically able and have been instructed to no longer have children. From just this one experience I’m ok with that.

Tonight we light a candle for our Gloria Joy. 

It’s been a long journey to Peace. Triggers of grief still hit like waves, but they are much smaller waves now.

I’m not sure who this post will reach?  Again, I’m open to writing the full story, it might take a bit to put it all in words, but I feel I’m able and willing too.

Are you lighting a candle?  Do you know about lighting one?  I know I’m not alone.

Love to hear your thoughts on what I shared. Again, not my usual content, just needed to be written.

Gloria’s Mom (Carrie)

Buying Local

Buying LocalWe are becoming a locally based home.  Buying local meat, veggies/fruit I can’t grow and much more.  This is only the beginning of our journey. If this sounds like something you want to follow along with go ahead and subscribe to my blog.

 My husband and I have got lots of dreams for our family.  If you’ve been following along you might have noticed…country living is a big dream for the future. 

You do not have to live in the country to get the benefits of buying local food from the farmers.

You do not have to live in the country to get the benefits of buying local food from the farmers.

Something I’ve been growing to understand more and more is the importance of shopping/buying local food.  

This all flows with creating a homemade home. It’s a lifestyle choice and it’s about living a slower life and enjoying the life we create for our family. I binge watch people that post videos about homesteading. It has a big appeal to me.  Some of my friends are doing that and homeschooling their kids. I have huge respect for them. 

Here’s how we buy local:

Let me start with, why we started buying local? I’ve been on a health journey since college. I learned a long time ago how to shop smarter choices at the grocery store. It wasn’t enough, it was better, not enough. Now that we are passed having our children, which took a toll on my body, I can focus on my health. Not just my health but the health of my family as well.

I’m grateful we live in the abundant Fraser Valley.

From getting the harvest out of our garden this past summer and the changes I’m about to share, my health issues have drastically reduced. I’m having less “flair ups” as I call them. I’m still following up with my family Doctor.  All I’ve ever gotten in the past is “your healthy and everything is clear” on the tests I’ve had done.

It’s important to become your own health advocate and pursue a healthy life.

We started buying local meat. A good friend of mine raises animals for meat. Here’s the link to Fellings Family Farms Facebook Page. Chatting with my husband, we decided to put a deposit on ½ a pig from their farm.

I Just got a call a few weeks ago from Lepps Farm Market that the pig was ready for pick up. Pictured below is pork chops in a mushroom sauce with green beans from our garden.


We have been loving making pork chops and ground pork for tacos. We ordered lots of bacon, what a difference in taste.  It wasn’t wimpy bacon, that’s for sure. We are going to stretch that bacon over the year if we can. Let’s see how long it lasts.

What a difference this has made in our family already. I’ve learned we need a bigger freezer!  It filled up our freezer. We will definitely be doing this again ordering meat from a local farm.

Tip: Make sure you save up for it and have room in your freezer!

IMG_0862I made homemade lard for the first time. I’m having fun experimenting with it. I saw that DIY Mommy Christina Dennis made this lovely fall snicker-doodles and it called for lard. I’m all for trying new things, so I made them! Here’s how they turned out.IMG_0874

I had fun setting up my serving tray with the Arbonne Detox tea, fall inspired mug and plating the snicker-doodles. FYI, this tea pot is made by a local pottery maker. I understand he doesn’t sell anymore but teaches now.

I always love to support local artisans and go to markets and browse the tables. 

My husband is looking forward to pulling out him smoking supplies and making snacking sticks with some of the meat.

I can’t wait to update our favorite recipes in my recipe binder with local food. Plus try new recipes in the near future.  It has to be local, homemade and farm fresh!IMG_0876

Again, this is only the beginning of our journey. 

How about you? 

Do you buy local? 

If you live in the Fraser Valley which farms do you buy from?



Creating a Homemade Home

Homemade HomeThis post is dedicated to all the people (mostly women) who have been a big part of my life and inspired me to want to create my future home a homemade home. 

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for a long time. Something I grew up with and that I love sharing with my family and friends is something homemade. 

It takes time to create a homemade lifestyle and home. 

I hope this post helps you and encourage you to create your own home with a homemade touch. Remember, trying to change just one of these things I’ve written is still working to make a change towards a homemade home. 

Here’s how I work on creating a homemade home:


This one seems obvious and is at the top of my list.  Food is a big part of everyone’s life. We literally can’t live without it.

IMG_0833When we first where married I baked bread all the time. Once kids came around I stopped for a while. I have my favorite recipes I bake all the time. The other day our son was disappointed we bought the store cheese buns and I didn’t make my cheese biscuits.

Our oldest even asked for home baking over store bought snacks for school.

I’ve learned when my mixing bowl starts getting filled, little feet come along with the step stool to help and watch make it all happen. My husband even admitted the other day, when he sees butter thawing on the counter he knows cookies are coming.


IMG_0860Cooking from scratch is a wonderful homemade touch. When we first moved into our current home 5 years ago I had an abundance of tomatoes in the greenhouse.  We learned to make our own tomato sauce and I was hooked. The flavor over store bought is something I can’t describe over a blog post. You just gotta try it.

Since then we have ramped up learning how to make regular staple items we get from the store from scratch. This falls right in step with why I love gardening.


There’s so much in our home that’s a DIY. I can only cover so much in this post or it’ll be very long. More to blog about! The first time I made my own wall decor, I loved every minute of it. Remember the pinterest craze with the scrap paper flowers? I made mine with 3 canvas and had it above our bed in our townhouse. 


Here’s my most recent homemade home decor picture I made. I’ve made this as a FREE PRINTABLE.  My way of saying Thank you.  If you are someone like me that appreciates homemade, this would be great in your home too.

Click here for the FREE PRINTABLE


In my opinion homemade and the phrase do it yourself (DIY) fit together. Although an item that’s homemade is different when it comes to slippers, clothing or building wood projects for example.

There's nothing like the joy of Grandma's Homemade SlippersAnything that’s made by hand that can be bought at a store where it’s made by a machine or mass produced is a win for someone who loves things homemade.

I can always appreciate the time that goes into a homemade item. Because I know it’s made with a love and passion that that person has for making the item.

I seek out anything that’s homemade or love being gifted with homemade items. Both my mom and mother-in-law gifted our family with a lovely tablecloth and cute little slippers for our youngest. I shared this on Instagram right around Christmas time.img_6422

I love finding local people who make and create stuff. If you see me out in town, I’m often seen with a homemade purse on my shoulder. I always love expanding my homemade created items. 

What about sewing, cleaning products, laundry soaps and skin care?

I find managing home life with 3 kids is a lot.  Currently my sewing machine is in need of an upgrade. I do want to venture into this area aside from cooking, baking, reno’s, gardening and home decor just come super easy to me and our family.

I’m curious to expand in these areas, like cleaning products and laundry soaps.  Like I shared above, it’s just TIME. I’ve been discovering there’s lots of great companies that do a good job in covering this area for a LESS toxic world and life.

If you have been following my posts for a while. You probably know I’m a consultant for a skin care line.  Here’s the thing, I’ve recognized this is ONE area in my life that trying to make my own skin care is just NOT my thing. It’s a science in making your own skin care. I have a HUGE appreciation for those that do. Skin care I’ve learned is very personal. Homemade skin care I have used in the past didn’t work for me.

Instead, I’ve always just stayed loyal to using what works.

What’s something that you make that’s homemade?

Is there something that I wrote about that you want to try?

Comment below I love to hear from you.

Getting Ready for Fall

I feel like Fall just showed up all the sudden. I’m still wishing I was beside the lake and enjoying the sun while my kids spend hours in the water and having fun.

I’m learning the growing pains of entrepreneur life and managing family time.

I have more to share about that in an upcoming post.IMG_0822

For now, today I share with you about getting ready for fall. Here’s the thing, it doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant and if you found me on Pinterest I’m far from perfect when it comes to home decor. 

Notefull Living (4)

If it makes you happy and feels at home with what you have, that’s all that matters.

Here’s the things I do to get ready for fall. 

Fall Decor: I spent LOTS of money (I’ll openly admit) at the dollar store and make my own floral arrangements. IMG_0817

I love fresh flowers, fake one’s will have to do for now. Back to spending a lot at the dollar store, I stretch my decor pieces or remake them with what I have to put them out every year. One year I grew pumpkins so I only put out a little bit of decor. 


I look forward to the day we move our TV OFF the mantel and I can freely decorate.

Back to Routine: Anyone else excited about having more of a routine?  I have a hard time with change, however if there’s a routine that can fall into place with that change, thank you very much.

I’m really getting at is back to school.  Although, part of the reason this post is so delayed is the changes in my 2 youngest. The other 2 at home have become incredibly demanding. I love them, just lots more work all the sudden without big brother around. Just the realities of family life.

Harvesting the Fall Harvest:  As you saw from my summer gardening post, I have a decent crop this year. With doing a fall garden clean up I found some herbs to process and late producing tomatoes. I had volunteer tomato plants in my greenhouse and the transplanting worked!IMG_0757

Bringing in the fall harvest also includes, canning! Just like the above, there’s lots of Fall Harvest to process. This year I was blessed to have applesauce canned for me. We also canned Salsa with my sister in law and we are still using up our grape harvest canning from last year. IMG_0789.JPG

As you can see, it’s been busy here in our home. Since we got back from holidays it’s been GO GO GO.  We have a Reno that’s almost completed, 2 family birthdays, back to school shopping, 2 weddings this month and guests coming out of town.

As busy as it is, I’m thankful for each and every part of it as we have things to look forward to and people to share life with. So much content coming I can’t wait to share more here on the blog!

What are your FAVORITE things for Fall?  I forgot to add DIY…I’m hoping to find time for that soon!


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Ask me about Arbonne Products at or check out my website.

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Lake Life

Lake Life, is quickly becoming a big part of my life.

Yes, I’m all about sharing our lives in the suburbs and sharing with my kids every ‘country’ moment I can give them…but then there’s vacation time.

We have 18 Summers with our kids. Like the little one in the picture, I now have 17 summers left with her.

life is better at the beach

We are now back to “normal life”. I honestly haven’t thought of our home much over the past 2 weeks. Our Travel trailer is so much like a second home, I only have a brief glimpse in my mind of my kitchen back at home.

Looking over my laptop is a view I can’t describe or even capture on camera.  You just gotta be here to soak it up.img_7850

Many people walk by our campsite, stop and point wanting to make sure they can get this site in the campground we stay at in the future. 

Lake Life, is sure peaceful. As my sister in law put it, this is where her fondest childhood memories come from is camping every summer. 

Our kids fast embraced camping, especially camping with family. As I said before, we have 18 summers with our kids. This camping trip means time with my in-laws and our kids spending time with their grandparents. This summer an Aunt is along. 

So grateful to watch our kids overcome their fear of water.  Plus the kids watched mom get over her fear of going behind the boat. img_7887

There was so many ‘firsts’ this trip. Lots of flat tires on the stroller and my sons bike. My first time camping with the kids while my husband went to work. My middle son got stung by a bee! Wouldn’t be possible with the extra helping hands of my in-laws. Don’t worry, my husband was back for the second week with us.

I also got over Cooking with a gas stove  (isn’t my kind of cooking). Trying to not get food in the grill as I’m stirring.  Plus trying to put my minimalist skills to the test, didn’t really work. I think I need more pantry space!IMG_0661

Camping right on the water on a lake is the cheapest we are going to get to ‘beach front property’. Spending our days mostly in our bathing suits. When it gets to hot on shore, we just hop in the lake to cool off. 

Sitting by the lake at night by the campfire (fake I might add), seeing the lights on the water and listening to the water on the shore. It’s what keeps bringing our family back every summer. 

We’ve sat at night watching the lightning storm, and got rained out hanging out at the local amusement park.

Our kids loved the boat rides, tube rides, bike rides, exploring, splashing in the water and I just loved soaking it all up with them while I got ‘moments’ to soak up the sun. 

Do you go camping by a lake? Which one?

Do you camp with family?


If you like what I wrote, love to have you Subscribe to my blog.

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Did you notice this blog was ad free?

If you want to support me and my blog you can check out my side hustle.

Ask me about Arbonne Products at or check out my website.

Do you want to connect with me for my blog?

E-mail me:

5 Family Camping Must Haves

Family camping must haves

I’m excited to share this post with you. It’s summer and my hands are full with keeping the kids busy.

Camping is right around the corner for us so it’s a perfect time to share on my blog.

My husband and I have had our fair share of fun when it comes to camping. Being together 12 years we finally have learned what works for us and our now a family of 5.

Sharing from our experience are we in now way are perfect at camping.

I hope these camping must haves for our family are helpful for you and your family.

Camping with our family can be summed up into this quote:

“Camp where your kids can get outdoors, discover and explore”

_Camp where your kids can play, discover and explore._

If you like my camping posts, ask your camping questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.  Or maybe there’s a camping topic you would like me to cover, post your blog post in the comments or message me.

Camping Must Haves

1: Travel Trailer

We did 10 years camping with a tent. 

The final time we camped with our kids in a tent, our air mattress deflated the first night. Our oldest kept falling in between the tent wall and his air mattress and our toddler was almost 2 big for the pack and play.  As much as my hubby could stand in our tent we were DONE.

2nd summer with our travel trailer and I’m so thankful we took the plunge and bought it.

The full Travel Trailer Tour is here.

2: Storage Bins

IMG_9234Even if your tenting, BINS BINS BINS!! Yes we have a trailer now, the storage spaces are limited so I still rely on bins for toys and little kids clothes (etc).

We have an open shelf just above our kitchen table/bed where this sits. Traveling is have to stay down.

The toy bin helps keeping the toys OFF the floor.  Kids clean up toys at home, camping is no different.

3: French Press

(this made the top 3).

IMG_9265 (2)

Morning coffee by the lakeside, need I say more?

4: A Good Kettle


IMG_9263 Kettle

Even with a trailer and having access to hot water is great.  Still, having a good kettle helps for those many things, like coffee!!

5: Dutch Oven


This is still new to us. My husband is wanting to get a charcoal BBQ for our trailer. Added bonus I can pre-make meals, pop them in the dutch oven and cook away. SO many great camping meals to be made, just like chocolate cake!


Bonus: Having a Travel Trailer helps with bringing full size products along. All the travel size bottles honestly never get used up. 


Mom’s Summer Survival Guide

Mom's summer

It’s the end of June! School is OUT and Summer Holidays are here. 

I’ve already been doing these things in my days before the end of the school year that I figured, why not share it here with you.

If you have kids in school and maybe your excited as I am to have the kids home (or your not), hopefully what I have to share to help survive the summer will be helpful.

If I miss something and you want to add to this, please do so in the comments below.

I love having my kids home. Some days, I feel like I’m only surviving. I would rather be a mom that models to her kids that she’s thriving and not only in survival mode.

However, it’s summer vacation…I might just need these tips to look back on and review again.

Here’s my ‘Mom’s Summer Survival Guide’:

Prep your home BEFORE school is out:

IMG_0314I worked hard last week that my son was still in school to get all the at home activities and house cleaning ready to go for an easier start to summer vacation.

My kids know the usual household stuff I do on a regular basis. Usually they leave me alone when I do these things.

Having to NOT be doing all this on the first weekend or start to the week when the kids are home, helps me to not burn out.

Plan/Post your July/August Calendar:

I’ve been struggling with keeping up with my calendar and recently got a nice planner for at home. Attempting to keep up with a digital one is clearly not working. 

This is the one I ended up buying. Simplified by Emily Ley

With summer here and learning how the months are taking shape, with company coming into town, when to schedule a summer Reno (like our deck at the moment). I needed to have the summer calendar posted up for the kids to see and have it all laid out. Plus my husband and I spent a whole evening dedicated JUST to looking it all over.

Plus, we all know that life loves to jump up and add to your schedule and make it even more busy. But that’s the adventure right?


Yes, I put lots of emphasis on this. I booked Play dates for the start of the week and it’s really paying off already. Knowing our summer schedule is keeping me on task with when it works and when we are available.

We can all chat as mom’s and say “Hey let’s plan a play date”…I can promise you if you don’t put down a date…it’s not going to happen. My kids don’t leave me alone and make sure I’ve contacted “so and so’s mom”. Save yourself the headache and get on it before summer comes and goes like it always does.

Summer Bucket List: 

We did this last year and it made a massive impact for us. Jordan Page from the blog Fun Cheap of Free has a post about a summer bucket list.  I actually watched her video on YouTube about it and figured why not give it a try. 

It was a life saver last summer!

We actually ended up finishing our list way past summer. It helps teach your kids about goal setting which is awesome. Go print one or make one!

Local FREE activities:

Save yourself lots of money and find local summer activities in your area. Well worth it. More money you have for the much needed camping trips.

At Home Activities:

IMG_0397I keep lots of activities at home for our kids. During the summer we get to do more as I have a crafting table outside. 

Just a disclaimer: Activities like painting that need to be supervised…should be supervised. 

This is that survival mode I was talking about. This is what happens after I was exhausted having a wonderful night out with friends in Vancouver and I fall asleep and had a nap. My 3 year thinks he can mix paints!

At Home Summer School:

IMG_0489What?  Like homeschooling? No, my kid doesn’t need summer school, that’s not what I am getting at.

My son LOVES crafting and science projects, so we do stuff like putting flowers in food dye and watch them changed colours.

Also, I have seen lots of friends getting their kids to do just one page a day during the week from the curriculum books you can get at Costco or at a local Walmart.

My sons teacher sent him home with a little printed journal thing like he’s used to doing and willingly he’s filling it out.

Sure helps for the upcoming school year if they have kept up with a simple, reading, writing and math over the summer. I’ve shared a FREE printable from website in my Spring Break Post and they having a CONTEST!! Click on the link to apply.

You Time:

IMG_0355Don’t forget the much needed down time for yourself. Plus planning summer date nights with your spouse. We have one coming up. 

Make adult zones! I love this swing in our backyard. The kids can fit in it but, it’s more for us.

FYI, yes the day I took this picture with me having “mom time” was still jeans weather, I was keeping it modest ;).

I hope this is helpful as you coming into summer break with kids home.

You have 18 summers. My kids are still young, and 18 summers comes really fast. Enjoy the time you have when they are young. 

That’s what our family is trying our best to do.


10 Reasons Why I Love Gardening


I’ve got a whole list of blog posts that I want to work on about our home.  Mostly about spaces we are working on on the inside.

However, we are an outdoors family through and through.

Gardening for me at this time of year is my top thing to do outside.

I recently shared a snapshot of our backyard on Instagram and lots of people loved it.  The lovely side of living in the Fraser Valley is the awesome spring weather we get (aside from lots of rain).

Truth is all I want to do is get outside and get the yard clean up done so the real work can begin in the gardens.

I went from starting out with one pot by my front door in a rental, when I was single. Getting a potting table built at our rental when we were married.  To our little townhouse with the itty bitty front garden and backyard, with lots of pots added to my collection.

Quote - Gardening verses Working

Now to our property where I’m trying to live the suburban dream of having as much as a mini “homestead worthy” backyard as possible.

I know it’s possible, I have a book that’s got plans that could make this place work.  

As much as I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past couple of years, it’s hard for me to focus working on my business and training when my garden is calling me to get outside.

One day I know my husband and I will have both enough space for the kids to spread out, He can have his lawn and I’ll be living as much as a homesteading dream as I can.

IMG_0300Here’s my 10 reasons why I love Gardening.

1: Saves money:  If you can get enough produce and flower bouquets out of your garden that you spend at the local grocery store then it’s paying off.  I can say we are getting close to that.

This topic could easily be a blog post all in it’s own from what we have experienced on saving money.

2: Stress Relief: If you haven’t spent time outside in a garden just simply weeding, then I hope reading this will help you be motivated to think about making a garden.  Even if it’s pots of a deck outside a condo.

3: Learning a whole new skill: As much as people say to others that they have a “green thumb”, I’ve noticed gardening is a skill to be practiced and perfected. Even the large growing greenhouse companies have whole growing trails fail.  

4: Peace and Quiet: Those early morning or late night watering is something that’s become a favorite quiet time I look forward to every spring.

IMG_01455: Creating a memorial garden: In 2014, we lost someone very special to our family. Most people who have lost a loved one have a physical graveside they can go to and visit.

With having a miscarriage we don’t. Our little girl passed away at 17 weeks in my second pregnancy. In her memory I have created “Gloria’s Garden”. I love sitting in the Adirondack chairs by the ruffed up old tricycle (pictured above) in our backyard.

6: Local Produce:  Nothing gets more local than growing your own food and discovering how fresh and amazing your meals taste with each gardening season.

7: Teaching my kids: I love teaching them about where food comes from, it’s not just from the grocery store. I also love teaching my kids the joy and gift that gardening is. My oldest without being prompted or asked jumped right in to help create his little sister’s garden.IMG_0274

I learned the value of hard work from growing up in the country.  With our little suburban property, our kids are still learning these wonderful life values I was taught.

8: Life lessons: The parallels of life lessons and gardening keep surprising me every year. If your a regular gardener like I am. I’m not an expert by any means. However, I keep finding that what I learn from gardening can be applied to life.

For example: knowing bad things (like weeds) can be deceiving and pretty BUT, if not dealt with can over take your life (or your garden). The morning glory in my garden is almost more than I can handle, just like bad things that come up in my life. If I don’t deal with it, it’s everywhere. You can overcome it…eventually.

IMG_02959: Happiness: Gardening brings out lots of happiness for me. Watching my kids sneak “treats” from the strawberry plants. Running out during dinner prep and adding herbs or making muffins with the rhubarb is worth all the time that goes into gardening.

Recently we upgraded our garden area with raised beds!

We are even starting to build up enough of a harvest in a our little backyard to fill up our freezer to enjoy in the winter months. It just keeps giving.

10: Time with God: This one not everyone will agree with me on.  That’s fine, where I am at in my life this time is becoming more and more a necessity with my walk with God. That peace and quiet time I spoke about in number 4 is fast becoming a much needed prayer time.

Which tip is your favorite?  Love to hear why you love gardening?  If you don’t have a garden I hope some of this is inspiring to help get you started.

Leave a comment!


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