konmarichristmasshopping

If you’ve followed my KonMari series, on my YouTube channel, I’ve spoken a lot about how much this method has changed the way I shop. I am much more aware and intentional about what and how I purchase. With this shift in how I buy, Christmas naturally will be very different than it was in the past; basically no more buying for the sake of buying! I came across a very neat concept that I’ve elaborated on and this is what I will be following as my shopping outline for our three children this year. It’s simple, purposeful, and a great balance of “want”, “neat”, and “meaningful”!

Something they WANT: This category is for the fun present, the one they’ve circled in the Wish Book and have written to Santa about. I do suggest waiting to buy this gift until closer to Christmas. Children tend to change their minds on what they’re hoping for on an almost daily/weekly basis (or at least mine do); to avoid having to return a gift bought months in advance, wait until children are certain they know what they want under the tree.

Something they NEED: This is a great opportunity to “kill two birds with one stone” (such a terrible sounding expression, but you know what I mean). Something that you likely would have had to purchase anyways wrapped up and given as a present (aren’t you the clever parent). New piece of sports gear, hobby equipment, etc.

Something to WEAR: This will likely be more applicable to older children that perhaps want a piece of name brand attire or more expensive clothing than is usually bought. I always include fun socks, a neat hat, or some other piece of clothing accessory that has them excited. Again, win/win!

Something to READ: We’re huge into books (you all saw the proof during my book purge), and we include two books during Christmas. One is enjoyed Christmas eve as a holiday themed family book and a smaller one is given to each child in their stocking.

Something to DO: I added this category, because not all gifts need to be tangible. It’s fun to include a present that allows for an outing such as: a movie date, trip to the museum, fun manicure, etc. If your children are still a bit young to be impressed with a gift certificate, include some pictures for them to visually see what the activity will be.

Something for ME: This is my favourite category as it’s something that will last for years, possibly a lifetime. Something made or reflective of the past year, or the child. An ornament, a photo album (using online sites is so great for these), a piece of art, jewelry, etc.

For FAMILY: A gift for everyone to enjoy together. Some suggestions include: a board game, a family outing, game consoles, even a larger item even like a new TV, etc. I hope this list offers you some guidance in how to streamline your gift buying this year and inspires you to buy a bit more intentionally for the children in your life. Check out my corresponding video on this below:

As mentioned in my video, Krystal Acker has partnered with me on two awesome giveaways. You can enter both below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This giveaway will be open internationally and I will email the winner directly.

Krystal Acker is an amazingly talented graphic designer, illustrator, and artist from Kentville, Nova Scotia. She works with businesses in creating the design of their brand and creates wonderful prints and customizable art. Krystal’s authenticity is very evident in her pieces and it’s not hard to tell she invests and is passionate about her work. Krystal can be found at the following places:
Facebook
Website
Instagram

Family Fall photos Blogger Headshot

Last evening was an exercise in owning my truth and passion, and it was huge for me. Let me fill you in. On a whim, I reached out to a friend who is an entrepreneur and owns her own business to see if she wanted to attend a local women’s networking event with a very known speaker who works in the field of promoting and encouraging women’s leadership. Based on the event write-up, it seemed like something I would benefit from on a business level. If my friend wasn’t up for joining me, I would have given into my insecurities and more than likely not have attended (personal fail number one). Thankfully, she had also heard of the event and was game. So, we showed up, chatted with one another, and waited for the talk to begin. After the guest speaker’s introduction was given, it was announced that we would each stand up and give a 30 second “pitch” on who we are and what we do. Regardless of knowing how insightful the presentation would be, or really anything else about the evening, had I of been privy to this activity in public speaking, I wouldn’t have attended (personal fail number two). I don’t like speaking in a group; I’m neither comfortable nor confident when all eyes are on me, but that’s not the reason I was scared (truthfully almost petrified). The real reason is that I knew I would have to stand in front of this group of successful, skilled, professional women and tell them my pitch, “I’m in the infantile stages of being a YouTuber with a coordinating blog” and the idea of that had my heart beating so fast I could physically feel and hear it. Sitting there waiting for my turn, I felt awkward, intimated, and beyond insecure. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t.

Half the group had their turn and then it was mine. I don’t really remember what words quivered out of my mouth, but I was honest in sharing my short summary of who I am and what I do. I wanted to cry, because while I feel more fulfilled than ever by what I do, owning it still isn’t easy. I continually stumble over a job title and the little voice in my head, which isn’t exactly quiet, always questions “will people chuckle when I tell them?”, “what do people really think behind my back?”, “what will be thought of and said about me if this endeavour doesn’t work?”. I’ve reinvented myself so many times already in my life, I’ve started and walked away from just a few business pursuits and I think that’s in part the reason for my unsettlement, my insecurity. I think another, and perhaps the main reason, is that I’m putting myself out there in such a vulnerable way, and despite how “natural” some have thought this to be for me, I assure you it is not.

Okay, back to the evening… So, I said my pitch and sat quietly mortified until we were welcomed to mingle again. I turned to my friend, expecting we’d just continue our conversation, when several women came over to ask about what I do. Some knew about me (um, what?) while others wanted to be filled in. They were intrigued, excited, and supportive. I wasn’t prepared for this. It’s not that I haven’t received support from family and friends, quite the opposite, but in a room full of established women with big titles and amazing success stories, I didn’t expect such reception towards my “unique” job. That encouragement alone made showing up for the event well worth it; but then during the talk this revelation was expanded upon and really affirmed for me my calling and moreover, working towards confidentally owning it.

So, this is the take away, this is what I want to convey to you. Self evaluate whatever is holding you back from really claiming your own title and following your passion; both confidentially and without apology. Is the fear of failure and worrying what others may think worth the cost of not being true to you and honouring your passion and truth?  It’s easy to live in the quiet of your inner voice, it’s safe there, but it’s not honest nor productive. When you force yourself to stand, even if you find your legs shaking, and own your title/passion/opinion it’s incredible the shift in your sense of self. You’re also likely to find that the reasons for doubt have no substance and live merely in the insecurity of your own mind. Being brave and stepping outside of your own comfort is the only way things really happen. When you take the leap of faith, when you step outside of what feels safe and (cliche as it may sound) believe in yourself, you establish the foundation for growth and allow possibility. Like last night for me, this is not easy. I would have been fine to have said any of the other women’s titles as my own, but that’s not who I am. Who I am is a work in progress; I’m being brave in trying something unconventional and there’s a lot of potential in that (how exciting and liberating)!

I share, because it’s cathartic for me to express myself. Sometimes it’s lighthearted and other times my musings are likely more suited for a personal diary; but either way, should my  sentiment be meaningful to you, I hope you find encouragement in my story. If you’re one of the lucky ones that live a fully-balanced life of following your passions and callings, please offer your support to those following behind – we need it!

elf on the shelf ideas

 

With exactly one week to go until Chrissy returns, I’ve found myself majorly brainstorming ideas (what did people do before Pinterest, seriously?!). As I mentioned in my Elf on the Shelf intro, Rob and I had a (non-competitive) challenge going last year of trying to outdo the other with our Elf setups. I crowned myself the 2014 season winner, though he’d likely argue this. Last year, I prided myself in being pretty original with my ideas; only loosely using some I found online as a concept I expanded on. I know there’s a million awesome Elf pictures to be found on the internet; and it’s a bit silly to make unnecessary work for oneself by needing to come up with unique ideas, but Chrissy is as much fun for me as it is for the kids (and besides I need to concretely prove my champion title this year – go big, or go home!).

Below are some of the ideas I’ve found (so far) that have me giggling with excitement. Am I missing any that you think I’d love? Please share!

Christmas Baking Cranberry Pudding Steamed Cake

 

WEEK TWO – CHRISTMAS BAKE WITH ME SERIES

This recipe was a Christmas tradition in my home growing up. My Mum preparing these delicious puddings was the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season. The pudding, complete with homemade caramel sauce (no less), is easy to prepare and warm, hearty, rich, and beyond delicious to serve! It is a recipe that my Mum is often asked to share and so it’s with great excitement (and a tad bit of nostalgia) that I share this favourite holiday treat with you!

RECIPE (yields two puddings, and enough caramel sauce for both cakes):

Cranberry Pudding Ingredients:
-2 2/3 cups white flour
-2 cups cranberries
-2 tsp baking powder
-4 tsp baking soda
-1 cup (fancy) molasses
-1 cup boiled hot water

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
-1 cup white sugar
-1 cup cold water
-1 cup butter (the real deal)
-1 cup heavy (35%) whipping cream
-Splash of vanilla

 

Directions:

Steamed Cranberry Pudding:

  1. Prepared tobacco cans or similar (the tobacco cans used in this recipe measure 4″ across the top and 4″ in height, larger tin cans will work so long as the measurements are comparable) by greasing and flouring the inside of the lid and interior of the can.
  2. Fill a large pot that will accommodate both cans (or one pot per can) with water that goes half way up the can. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Chop the cranberries in half and set aside.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda) in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, add to the cranberries the molasses and boiling hot water, mix well.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing well using a sturdy spoon or preferably large spatula.
  7. Once the batter has been formed, divide in half between the two cans.
  8. Cover the cans with the lids. If you’re not using tobacco cans, make a homemade lid by combining double or triple layers of tinfoil and tie with string around the top of the can (this is to ensure the steam, needed to cook the pudding, does not escape).
  9. (Now the cans are ready for the hot tub — woo hoo!). Add the two cans to the already boiling pot(s), cover with the pot lid, and continue to let boil for one hour.
  10. At this time, prepare the caramel sauce!

Caramel Sauce (the best you’ll ever have… just sayin’)

  1. Over medium-high heat place sugar in the center of the pot.
  2. Pour the water all around the sugar *Important: do NOT stir this mixture at any point*
  3. Boil this mixture until no steam remains and the water has evaporated
  4. Watch carefully for the first sign of a change in colour
  5. When a change in colour has been noted, swirl pot around so the colour spreads evenly
  6. When the mixture is a light golden colour, remove from heat and place on a heat-resistant surface.
  7. First, add the butter, then splash of vanilla, and lastly whipping cream. Whisk the mixture between each ingredient being added.
  8. Once all the ingredients have been incorporated, pour the caramel into a glass jar to cool and thicken. When it’s cool, refrigerate.

The puddings do well preserved in both the fridge (one week) and freezer (several months). To prepare, heat enough caramel sauce for the number of slices being served. Slightly warm the slices of cake; either pour caramel sauce on the bottom of plate for the cake to sit in or drizzle on top. If you want to get really fancy, add a dollop of real whipping cream! Whichever way you serve this delicious treat, you’re sure to be in cranberry pudding heaven!

Enjoy!




 

If you follow me on social media, I have been spamming your feed with sneak peeks of these photos – if I wasn’t so over the moon with these pictures, and the shoot experience as a whole, I might apologize. haha!

The truth is, aside from one extended family photo shoot we had with Rob’s side of the family, we’ve never had our immediate family pictures taken. I’ve always wanted to and believe in the value of photography; but just never made the time to make the arrangements. That was until I discovered the work of Morgan Webb Photography. As you can see from the pictures above, her work is simply incredible. Morgan’s attention to emotion, to candid moments, to capturing the essence of her subject(s) is such a gift of hers. I was honoured that she was able to document this time in our life, these images are a treasure I will cherish far beyond the mayhem of this stage in raising our children.

If you’re handy to the East Coast of Canada, I encourage you to consider in the investment of having Morgan capture your family. You can find all her information here.

If booking with Morgan Webb Photography isn’t an option for you, but you’re considering a shoot with a photographer, I’ve included a simple list of suggestions to make your shoot as easy as possible (even with children, it can be done – I promise!). These tips were kindly provided to me by Morgan Webb in preparation for our shoot, and they made such a difference. I should note, since Morgan wouldn’t have written this about herself, ensure that you’re booking your session with a photographer whom you feel relaxed and comfortable with. I had a few interactions with Morgan prior to our pictures and I felt like I instantly knew her. I shared with her that I’m not really comfortable having my picture taken and was a bit nervous this would show in our photos. She offered me reassurance that my insecurities wouldn’t be an issue and she built me up to actually look forward to the experience. During the shoot, she was patient, easy to talk to, she communicated well, and throughout nothing felt rushed or forced. When you find  a photographer that is truly passionate about their work and clients, you know you’re in good hands. Establishing a good rapport with your photographer is the first step towards the perfect shoot.

Five Simple (but effective) Family Photography Shoot Tips:

  1. Choose a time of day with good lighting, don’t be afraid of overcast! It’s always the best natural diffuser.
  2. Wear statement pieces and things that make you feel great! Don’t match, but coordinate outfits. My go to is two neutrals and a pop of colour.
  3. Ensure young children are fed and make sure they are prepared with what to expect (if they can understand). Have fun with it . Natural photos are the best!
  4. Don’t stress about the perfect shot.. .that ‘exact’ Pinterest photo is just going to drive you nuts and won’t help you relax.
  5. If you are self conscious about a part of your body, try not to dwell on it. Remember, it is so important to capture memories with you and your family on film. Your kids won’t look at it that way! They will look at that time you guys all had fun together.

**My sincerest thank you to Morgan Webb for this opportunity to work together. I also wish to extend my gratitude to my aunt and uncle, who graciously allowed us to have our photos taken on their beautiful property – such a wonderful compliment to our photos was having them taken at a place that is especially meaningful.




easy cheesecakes mini cheesecake cheesecake bites

 

WEEK ONE – CHRISTMAS BAKE WITH ME SERIES

Easy. Quick to prepare. Downright delicious. SIX ingredients… I doubt you need more convincing! These two-bite cheesecakes will have you secretly chuckling when everyone raves over them because as yummy as they are, they’re equally simple to make!

Recipe:

*Yields 24 mini cheesecakes
24 Cadbury Milk Chocolate Buttons (preferred, though Hershey drops do work as seen in my picture)
24 Mini Chips-Ahoy chocolate chip cookies
1 Package Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup White Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
24 Mini Cupcake Paper Liners

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350 (325 for confection)
-Line each baking tray with paper liners
-Place one mini chocolate chip cookie in the bottom of each liner
-Mix cream cheese in medium size bowl
-Incorporate the egg, sugar, and vanilla – mix to runny consistency
-Fill each cup almost to the top

**Tip: Pour cream cheese mixture into a medium size freezer bag, remove air, and snip one corner of the bag to pour easier
-Bake for approx. 12-14 minutes
-Once removed from oven, immediately place one button on each cheesecake (with Hershey drops, after one minute, gently push down on the chocolate to spread)
-Let sit for an hour at either room-temperature or in refrigerator

Now, before you devour them all (as my family did with the first batch), place them in a sealed container in your freezer and give yourself a nice big pat on the back, first baked good… done (and it’s not even December)!




Elf on the Shelf 2015

 

Oh, the great ‘Elf on the Shelf’ debate… Prior to last year, we were undecided on whether we were going to join the craze and buy an Elf. We knew full well that it was a decision which would commit us to the annual tradition so long as our children were into it; and judging by our friends, who took the plunge with their children, we knew it would be for at least a few years. After some discussion on what our new holiday guest would be observing from his daily perch, and deciding that we would make it about our family being festive and not the suggested naughty/nice – we introduced the Elf, whom Hudson named Chrissy, on December 1st of 2014. He was instantly a beloved favourite, and truly the first Christmas tradition that Hudson really got into… and so did his parents! From Rob and I trying to one up each other on a nightly basis, to Hudson’s frantic searching and insatiable squeals of delight from the morning hunt to find Chrissy, we all got in on the fun. Having our ‘Elf on the Shelf’ started our Christmas off on the best note I could ever hope for, and this year I’m likely more excited than Hudson for the anticipated return of our beloved Elf.

Rob and I have been discussing all kinds of fun things for Chrissy to get up to this year and I look so forward to being able to share them all in weekly blog and vlog posts. As part of my mini “Elf on the Shelf series”, I’ve partnered the business, Wall Design Studio No 142. They’ve kindly given me one their, adorable, personalized Elf door and mat sets. The  door itself adorns a really cute wreath with the name of your family’s Elf on it. The decals are made of durable vinyl that’s reusable, so they can be enjoyed for years to come! Check out the video for more on the set:

In addition to kindly providing my family with our own set, they’ve kindly offered to provide a giveaway for one! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*The giveaway is open internationally, the winner will be contacted via email by me.


I’ve been mothering for five years now, and my Mama to Baby nursing scarf is a tried and true favourite for so many reasons that I’m excited to share with you. I don’t leave the house without it and it has saved me from many a faux-pas moments of having to get practically naked to nurse a hungry babe because my outfit was less than ideal for the task.

The scarf itself is simple in concept; a larger than normal, looped infinity scarf. Specifically it measures 60″ in circumference and 36″ in width. If you’re not good with visualization (like me), it’s big enough to provide ample coverage worn draped over the shoulder, looped around the neck and hung over one shoulder, or (my personal favourite) around the torso for full back coverage (hurrah!).

The material is light-weight and breathable; which prevents baby from overheating. I love that the scarf provides discretion in public, but also keeps baby focused and not distracted by what’s going on around them (even as wee ones my babies would prefer socialization over eating). I’ve even been known to sport my nursing scarf sans baby – they’re stylish even when not in use. Oh, and you can also wear it as a dress!

Of all the products I’ve purchased for my babies, my nursing scarf is the only one I know I’ll still be using longer after my nursing days are over.

Many thanks to Mama to Baby for providing one of their wonderful scarves as a giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
**My apologies, due to Mama to Baby business insurance reasons, the giveaway is only open to Canadian residents.

Christmas Planner Planning

Happy November! I hope October treated you well and that you’re anticipating a lovely month ahead. For us, October proved to be every bit as busy as I anticipated, possibly even more. There’s something to be said for having full and productive days; and I felt overall successful in what I hoped to accomplish over the last thirty-one days. That’s a nice way to end a month and look ahead to a new one!

November always feels like the calm or lull before the Holiday frenzy. In the past, I’ve always slowed down and allowed myself too much of a breather before December, only to consistently find the build up to Christmas near unmanageable, because I didn’t pace myself. Not this year, friends! This year, I’m going to hustle so that come December I can actually enjoy the lead-up to Christmas (what a novel idea)! I have taken some serious time out of my schedule to get a schedule and plan for the coming weeks. I’m not only feeling like this plan of attack is going to keep me focused, it has allowed me to actually get really excited for all the fun that is this joyous time of year. I’d love for you to join me!

This month is going to be focused on preparing. I’ve started by brainstorming how I want to decorate this year, so that come the third week in November, it’ll all be ready to go! I have my holiday baking planned and I’m going to pace myself by doing one recipe a week (which of course, I’ll be sharing with you). The plan is also to have the large majority of our presents, especially the little ones like stocking stuffers bought. Loic and Rob’s birthdays are also in December; so I’m going to start planning for those special celebrations as well. See, lots to be excited for knowing it’s all doable and that’s the nice (for a change) part. The key will be to stay focused and keep things simple!

In addition to planning and preparing, here are my other monthly goals:

Monthly Goal List for November:

  1. Walk! I know, this goal also made the top of the list for October, but it’s something I slack on and I really want to get myself in the routine of. So, here’s hoping this is the month I pull up my socks and get into it (wish me luck, k?).
  2. Say “no”! This sounds harsh, doesn’t it? However, I’m learning as the busier my life becomes and my priority, as always, is at home first, it’s important to implement the tactful art of saying “no”. I am too much of a guilt-ridden, people pleaser… work in progress.
  3. Make hearty meals in advance to help in keeping from feeling overwhelmed as the month goes on (hello soup, casseroles, chilli, and stew… yum!)
  4. One weekly ME evening. As is likely the norm for most busy Mums/wives/working women, I fall last on the priority list for carving out some time to just do the simple things that pamper and renew my calm. Bathes! Tea! Nail painting!
  5. Take more photos. With my DSLR. My iPhone is wonderful for quick snaps on the go, but I’ve really slacked with capturing photos of our family life. Its always been important to me to document our family life in photographs and I need/want to get back into it.

So, on the whole, simple but productive goals that I’ll be focusing on. As always, I’d love to know what your monthly goals are? Share, please!?

How do your Novembers usually shape up?

Last Friday was a difficult, emotionally heavy day. As per the request, among a sea of vibrant colours, Rob and I attended the celebration of life for his cousin. Another precious victim whose time on earth was ended far too soon by the ugly disease we’re all too familiar with, cancer. The impact the day had on us was too significant for me not to share with you and so in my own, simple, way this is my tribute to her living legacy.

What would they say?

Obit

I have included the above obituary so you can start to feel and gain a sense of the beautiful woman I want you to picture. I will add, of my own experience, that she was funny in an unassuming way, she made time for you even when she likely didn’t have it to spare, she was encouraging and supportive, and left an impression on me that I only wish I had shared with her. When her loved ones got up to speak, they had us all laughing and simultaneously tearing up. Collectively, their memories and testimonies were what you would want said about you. Such love and admiration for the genuine spirit she possessed and graciously shared with everyone. She was taken too soon, there’s no way to eloquently state it. However, in her 49 years, I can say with full confidence, she lived life fully – embraced it all and delighted in the most simple of blessings we’re all afforded. Nature, a cozy afternoon, putting talents to good use, family, art, photos.
Hearing such pure, heartfelt accounts of a life fully experienced, had me questioning my own. That in itself should convey to you how wonderful she was. If I died tomorrow, what would be said of me? Would I be content with what would be shared? Am I living today in a way that would make my children, family, friends thankful they had the pleasure to know me, even if it wasn’t as long as they would have liked? Would I pack a church full of people all of whom I influenced and in some way, made their lives richer? Am I putting more of myself in the things that matter, or am I allowing them to be overshadowed by the trivial ambitions of today? These are big questions, the answers of which are a constant work in progress.
If people gathered for your celebration of life, what would you want them to say? Are you living a life that is reflective of what you would wish to be recounted? If not, why?

What should you say?

On almost every subject, I have more questions than answers. I do however know that there are no guarantees for our time on earth. Death is not prejudice. None of us know more than the day we have at hand, and even then, in a blink tragedy can strike. I share this because though we assume we may have time, we cannot be so arrogant to think sharing the important things can wait. They can’t. Life is frail. I know from personal experience, the haunt of things left unsaid.  We are all connected through our impressions, impacts, and insight that we share with one another – that’s the sum of our humanity; as equal to our individual need “to love and be loved” . Sometimes our words are all we can offer, but they often times hold the most amount of weight and are the greatest gift we can give. Be simple, but be intentional about letting every person that means something to you, know that they do. If you have a friend that you know will always be your listening ear, thank them for that blessing and acknowledge the gift they possess of empathy. Thank your partner for the little things that don’t actually go unnoticed; these little things often make the most difference. Thank your parents for the selfless love they afford you. Let the neighbour who means more to you than they likely know, know that they do… Life is just too precious to wait for tomorrow. What are some of the things you should say?

And with that said, thank you for reading this.

 

sunflower

Hello, Friends!

This post has been a work in progress for the last couple of weeks. I have been writing and rewriting this checklist; trying to get it as basic, simple to follow, and yet inclusive as possible to suit the needs of our home and family. Check out, below, what I’ll be following as a roadmap to organize our entire home. Please feel free to ‘pin’ the image to Pinterest or ‘save the image’ for your reference. Oh, and let me know what you think!

KMOrganizeChecklist

outdoor

 

I love seasonal decor, but there’s something about putting together an outdoor look for Fall and Christmas that I especially love! However, before I get into sharing the details of my Thanksgiving/Fall decor, I want to first acknowledge a somewhat sad truth… I don’t really like the look of the outside of our home. There, I said it. Our home is a regular ranch-style bungalow with a front veranda; which when I describe it as such, doesn’t sound so bad. In actuality though, I find it to be quite boring with very little curb appeal; which is why I always make the effort to have things on the veranda. Filling in the emptiness with permanent fixtures that I add to seasonal, creates visual interest and gives me platforms to build on and work from. As a side note, we also have some major landscaping to do, which in time will add to the overall look of our property, but that’s on hold until Spring.

So, now that I’ve had my moment of truth, let’s talk about how I created this outdoor look on a pretty friendly budget; buying minimal items and using things I already owned. First, here’s a tip I’ve learned, invest in purchasing things that can work year round and be embellished or changed depending on the season. For example, the two lanterns you see (one on the top stair, the other on the dresser) are always used, I simply change up where I have them displayed and swap out the candle in the black one to suit the current colour scheme. This keeps the cost down, while still allowing me to play around and create different looks. A lot of what I used to decorate was bought on clearance over the last five or so years, at the end of every season and added to my collection. I frequent the Dollarstore for artificial foliage and other embellishments. We love pumpkins, for decoration and then closer to Halloween for decorating, but man oh man they can be expensive to buy at the grocery store or other commercial places; so we go to a local farm to buy ours. For the last several years, we have made an outing of going to the same place to pick up the lot, but this year the farmer had a bad crop and we had to buy from another farm that was a bit pricer than we’ve previously paid. Ah well, $25 for about 15 pumpkins is still more than reasonable, considering the size and variety! Otherwise, I only bought a few things that I didn’t have or couldn’t borrow from Mum and made my own ‘Y” pumpkin from a faux one purchased at Michael’s (on sale and with a coupon, of course) that I just hand painted.

For all the specifics, including individual costs, check out the gallery below:

Total Cost of this Project: $57 

 

Hope you enjoyed the look!

unnamed

Before starting my own YouTube channel, I followed several channels that were all pretty common in content. All women, all wives, and some were also mothers. I never really understood why I was so captivated by their videos, until I started ‘A Young Mum’. When I began putting together my own videos, I struggled with my background – there wasn’t a single spot in the house that was attractive enough to sit in front of, or seemingly a square inch of space that was free of toys, piles of paper, or a mountain of laundry. Psst, I still film with a mess around my feet, I just clear the line of focus so it doesn’t look like the hot mess it is (no one needs to have a panic attack from mess overload on my watch). It was during the struggle of trying to make my videos and content appealing, that it dawned on me why I was watching these other channels, for escapism. Watching a DITL (day in the life) video of a mother whose children and home are perfectly kept, going on fun errands, spending tons of money at Target and fancy Starbucks drinks, and ending the day with take-away supper is so far from my reality, that it was fun to fantasize about living in someone else’s world… even for 12 minutes in a vlog. Whether these women have lives as amazing as it appears, isn’t really the point and it doesn’t take away from their channel or content. I enjoy what they share, because it’s fun and sometimes that’s all entertainment needs to be. But, it’s easy to see where reality doesn’t always translate in true form through video and I have been guilty of this.

Here’s where my truth comes in and why I feel so compelled to share. I receive praise, multiple times, every single day for what I’ve started and what I’ve accomplished. The value and boost to my confidence (which FYI, wasn’t exactly stellar prior to all of this) is truly immeasurable. It doesn’t go to my head; it goes to my heart and moves me to tears daily. I’ve worked really, really hard on turning things around in our home and family, and in doing so have created a job from sharing my experience (I’m still amazed by this). However, I’ve realized that I too have only been showing one view of the entire picture. Not intentionally, but nonetheless, I haven’t been fully forthcoming with my reality. While it may seem, based on what I share, that I “effortlessly flew through the KonMari method” or am able “to do it all”, that’s just not the case. I struggle daily, at everything.

Today is an especially demanding day in which I feel like if I make it to my head hitting the pillow at a decent hour, I’ve been successful… except, I won’t fall asleep feeling that way. The baby has been teething on what is going on two weeks (she’s cutting SIX teeth), Loic is bucking me on potty training which is frustrating and even embarrassing given he’ll be three in December, I worry I’m not giving Hudson enough one on one academic time and because he’s in French immersion that’s a very real concern, I am behind in posting videos and won’t even mention how far gone things seem in terms of replying to emails/texts/comments/messages, my house is a m.e.s.s, and just as I’m writing this the boys are fighting over a sippy cup of sour chocolate milk that one of them found under the couch. Seriously, this is my life and what I’m sharing is only the tip of the iceberg, people! Scary, right? haha I’m not telling you this, for any other reason than to put some truth out there. To let you know, that it is not easy and I’m far from having it all together. Quite the opposite. The idea that anyone would ever watch a video and be discouraged or feel what I’m accomplishing is unattainable, because it appears that I somehow just have it easy, deeply saddens me. It’s the opposite of what I want to convey.

Aren’t we all a bit tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and in need of some R&R? I think that’s what sums up the journey of life and I’m not sure too many people are excempt from this reality. Life is always evolving and the struggles of today, or this phase, won’t last forever, we’ll just trade them in for new ones. Your personal hurtle(s), the things that keep you from easily and quickly doing whatever it is you’d like, may differ from mine, but the experience is likely similar. So with this said, please know I’m no exception to the chaos and the craziness.

What I’m working towards is not easy, it likely never will be… but, I believe it will be worth it!

Have a great weekend!