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!

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.

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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:

Baking

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.

Cooking: 

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.

DIY:

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. 

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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

Homemade:

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. 

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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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E-mail me: notefullliving@gmail.com

 

Suburban Gardening

It’s Harvest Time! 

I live in the Suburbs of Vancouver in the lovely Fraser Valley and I’m happy to say we scored a decent backyard with the property we bought. I’m still dreaming of an acreage, but for now I will soak up all I can from our little home in the burbs.

I’m a country girl deep down and I grew up with helping my grandparents harvest out of their big garden in the country and their suburban home that they downsized too. I grew up gardening with my mom and my grandpa ended up having a garden on our property too.  It’s just in my veins I guess you can say.

To me, our backyard is small. This year we made planter boxes.  Wow, I wish we made these sooner. We are actually planning to make more in another area. Dreaming big over here.

I’ve shared in my 10 Reasons why I love Gardenening that you can garden anywhere. 

Here’s a look at our garden looked like in June.IMG_0294

Here’s a recent photo in the end of July. We have 4 boxes this year. The wooden Tee Pee’s are covered with snap peas and green beans.

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This year I didn’t have as big of harvest as I have had in previous years. Still, anything in our freezer or in canning jars is a win win. 

Our kids love running to the garden to pick a fresh snap pea and for me, I’m just simply in my happy place.

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Our harvest this year was lots of Pole Beans, Snap Peas, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Maggie, White Onion, Lettuce, Arugula and Chives.  

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I think my favorite so far was making the blueberry rhubarb sauce with local blueberries. We made a cheesecake and brought that sauce along to a friends luncheon. Lets just say the dessert was DEVOURED. It was so good. I’ll have to remake it again and take pictures next time!!

I love summer. Especially our camping trips and time with family. But gardening to provide fresh food for my family, you can’t put a price on that.

_Growing your own vegetables never looses it's value_

It’s worth all the hard work that does into it. Once you have a system, it doesn’t take much to keep the maintenance going with it.

Do you have a garden? Like mine in town?  If I could I would expand on the whole property…then we would really need an acreage.

What’s your favorite thing to grow?

 

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?

Plan PLAY DATES NOW!!

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 Education.com 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.

 

A new look at Spring Cleaning

A new look at Spring Cleaning

It’s Here, Spring finally came for 2019.

I’m aware you can google this topic of Spring Cleaning and you can find SO many videos on YouTube about spring cleaning.

I’ll be honest, I’ve binged watched and subscribed to a few channels on the topic. My favorite is Melissa Maker from Clean My Space. Not a plug for her, just really like her content and she’s Canadian!!

Hopefully what I have to add that works for me is helpful for you too.

 

I have found the Spring Cleaning has become less complicated. Doesn’t anyone else what that? I know I did.

My Method for Spring Cleaning has finally come down to a task that happens all year round.

 

I have 3 kids, if we don’t attack it all year it’s becomes overwhelming and too much, insert meltdowns, I get frustrated and it’s not fun for everyone. We have finally gotten to a place that our oldest understands and this process has gotten easier.  He’s starting to mature and see what it’s all about, which is wonderful.

Yes, our kids are included. Especially the playroom and their toys.

The Spring Cleaning I want to talk about today isn’t one you would expect. As I mentioned, if you want, you can watch YouTube videos’ of people cleaning. Up to you.

I’ve been doing this and it’s made a world of difference.Focusing on _All Seasons_ Cleaning, Purging and Organizing has made all the difference or it's a mountain of a task in the Spring

We always talk about cleaning our houses or car or closets. What about cleaning the unexpected places that you might not know is dragging you down. I hope you’ve had the wonderful experience of cleaning out an area in your home and feeling a lot “lighter” afterwards and it makes you motivated to clean, purge and organize another area.

Since I do my cleaning, purging and organizing all year, I can focus on specific areas.

Here’s additional items to think about for Spring Cleaning:

Apps on my Smartphone.

I started deleting the apps I NEVER use. Or the ones I’m OVER use and waste LOTS of my time.

Which app could you delete that wastes lots of your time?

My app was YouTube. Yup, I got rid of it off my phone. I don’t like my kids seeing me gripping my phone all day long. YouTube is my zoning out place. Lots of DIY’s, Farmhouse and homesteading channels I can’t stop binge watching.

I noticed I was telling my kids “Mom’s just needing to sit down and take a break”…45 min later, I’m still telling myself I can watch another 12 min video.

When I first deleted the app, I didn’t miss it the first 2 days. Then I found myself trying to go to the usual spot that I had the app in. NOPE, I made a choice to get rid of it.

If your phone is less distracting with deleting apps, getting into the routine of “All Season” cleaning gets easier.

I actually would prefer to be without the phone all together, truthfully. It’s not something I grew up with, but my kids are. I don’t find myself to be any further ahead with one and looking forward to seeing my options once my contracts up. Plus it’s taking me away from the ones who need me most, my family.

Since I’m on the topic of technology. My other spring clean I need to do is my blog, and computer. For my computer I specifically mean our family pictures.

Our dream for our family home was always to have our pictures from our family life as our “Wall Art”.

Cleaning up of pictures and organizing them on the computer will help us accomplish this goal.

Plus my blog needs a spring clean. Now that I have a better flow with how blogging goes, (it’ll probably change again once I get the hang out it fully), I can go back and spring clean my old posts.

What’s another benefit of being in spring cleaning mode all year?

Right now we are attacking a large area in our house, that most people won’t let you ever see. I can’t wait to show you the before and after pictures of this space. I’ve tried making a space work in our home since we moved here as my work space. We finally said enough is enough and are officially making it a storage space.

My husband has more time at home now and wants more space in the garage to do Reno’s and wood projects. Fixing up this old work spot of mine into a storage will make a huge difference.

Since we got our trailer, lots of our camping stuff came out of the garage. Still wasn’t enough space.

My canning jar collection is going to have a new home and we are going to install an official boot room. Can’t wait to show you the reveal.

Again, If I didn’t approach my cleaning all year round , this wouldn’t be possible. Or we would still attack it with lots of frustration from the kids. Plus over spring break I got a new flower garden in and got garden boxes.

Less time wasted on my phone, means more time pursuing LIFE. We can always get sucked into the endless content on our phones OR put it down and get stuff done so you can play more later!!

Do you spring clean ONLY in spring?

What apps would you delete that you don’t use or overuse?

Love to hear what fun projects you are doing in your home to make life that much easier to do the things you love, which space is it?

 

Living Our Dreams

Here is an ‘About Me’ on my blog. Check out my link for more.

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Living our dreams, also known as “Living your dreams”, seems to be the phrase of the century doesn’t it.

I used to think this was such a fluff statement and didn’t give it much thought.  I used to never believe in this stuff.  Or didn’t think that dreams ever do come true.

Well, something I have learned is life isn’t handed to you and when I learned you have to pursue it yourself that changed everything.

The only person that physically can make a mindset change and work towards goals is YOU.  In our home and family life we also acknowledge our faith as our number one, second comes us listening to the Holy Spirit.

What is our Dream?

I grew up in the Fraser Valley on acreage. I’m still deeply a country girl at heart.  The desire to be outside and being surrounded by nature runs deep.

It’s my husbands and I prayer and dream to own acreage.

It would be great to raise our kids with the similar childhood experiences as mine and my husbands love for the outdoors.

IMG_7936How it all began:

After I graduated High School, through a young adult ministry I got to help co-ordinate and start up, my “man of my dreams” showed up to one of the first meetings of getting the ministry started. It didn’t take long after sitting at Starbucks for a “first date” we got kicked out when the coffee shop closed, we both knew we needed to get to know each other better. Just under 2 years later we got married and this September we celebrate 10 years of marriage.

Today we have 2 boys and 1 girl.  We are in our second home and our home is full as a family of 5. Our faith is important to us and our family is very connected to our church community.

We do whatever we can to get outside and have family time.

My oldest loves to create projects like I do and is loving learning music like his mom.  Our youngest could be outside everyday (rain or shine). We are loving figuring out his passions and interests.