The Big Fat Blah (Continued)

Okay, here is my previous post on "De-Itemizing". For those who have not read it yet, it's a must read!

So, here is an update on how well I have de-itemized my home.

It's been incredible! I have literally grabbed stuff that we do use and put them into black bags, bag after bag until I filled up 4 large Black bags and took them to our local thrift store. That's a lot of stuff.

This is how I did it. I walked around the house, analyzing each item and being quite brutal about it. "a brush! One of our 3... OK in the bag it goes!" / "bed sheets, rarely used, gotta go!" / "a board game, used, loved... time to move on -in it goes!" / "candle holders, pretty..but got to go"

I've taken out my coffee mugs and replaced them with my "special" tea set. I want to use beautiful cups to drink my tea/coffee from. I want my friends to enjoy them too. If we have more than 5 people visiting, I'll take out the mugs as a back up, not the other way around.

My kitchen surfaces are bare. Whatever doesn't fit into the cupboards must go. I really needed to prioritize. Some stuff is seasonal but they cannot have a temporary space in my kitchen, so some I have given away and some I have stored away-away.

We de-itemized our books as well. This is a thing, I never thought I would do. 1/3 of our books will be donated to BabyAnne's Mansion in the Philippines. This was really nice to do with the kids, they get it!

My home looks bare-ish, but we have a long way to go... I think we are half way there. It sure is liberating.

I'm feeling a lot better than this

You know, there are a lot of beautiful things in the world, a lot in your local shops, in the thrift stores...  it's okay to want them, and NOT purchase or receive them, even a fraction of them. Once owned, the beauty and excitement is not the same and it weighs upon your shoulders.

"Everyone wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal a lifelong pursuit; spending money, collecting things, and searching for new experiences. But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen, and the party's over? Often happiness flees and despair sets in.
In contrast to happiness stands joy . Running deeper and stronger, joy is quiet, confident assurance of God's love and work in our life -- that He will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ." - NLT Study Bible

Some of you might think, by reading this post, that I am breaking away from excessive shopping. This is not true however, even if I have wanted to shop I couldn't  (frugal living, budget issues). My "breaking away" is from the little (compared to most homes) existing items I have in my home.

I encourage you to de-itemize your home. For those who are already thinking about it or doing it, or even done it -tell me briefly how, what, when, where...?

More of home making here


Savour the Christmas Season -Candle Lit Bubble Baths for kids!

On the 3rd day of our Advent Calendar it read, "Candle Lit Bubble Baths"! "Ooh, aah and wooow's" from the kids as they took turns to play in the candle lit tub with their favourite bath toys. The candles by the way, were no where near their reach.

Savour the Season - Paper Chains

So simple, so frugal, so addicting and such a fun craft activity to do with your kids -and husband!

Savour the Christmas Season by making simple, pretty, timeless paper chains and drape them from your living room, dining room or your door way ceilings. Festive!!!

I love the fact that while making them, we spent time chatting and laughing as a whole family.


Preparing For Possible Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Okay, some of you know that through all of my 3 pregnancies, I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidadum, a.k.a "sick all of the time, vomiting all of the time". My "easiest" pregnancy was with my second child, which was very, very hard, but not so severe, did not need to go to the hospital for IV's and such.

My first was bad, hospitalized and to top it off, severe cystic acne (another story for later). But I must say, freshest in the memory is my third, it was the toughest. No preparation, no planning, no support group, it all makes a difference.We had just moved continents and even though she was planned, my husband landed a job sooner than expected (not complaining!!) and I found myself isolated with two kids under 5, severely sick and no support. We did manage though, praise God, but it was a really hard time and it shook us both to the core.

So as my husband and I are open for more children, we want to make sure now, that we plan and prep as far ahead of time as we can, and then leave the rest up to God. I want to share with you, who suffer from moderate to severe "morning" sickness, about the ways to alleviate and make your ride more manageable. 

Here is a site with loads of info and help for those who suffer badly. My Morning Sickness

I bought the E-book, printed it out, put it in a binder and have been mentally preparing myself for what is (or may not, -still living in hope!) to come. Only recently have I began to make a list of what needs to be done as soon as possible. You just never know. This is how I prepare for my pregnancies.

Before the positive pregnancy test:
  • Start eating healthy, and drinking plenty of water
  • Eat multivitamins and all the essential supplements for a good start
  • Exercise regularly
  • Make meals before hand and freeze them (20-30 meals pref)
  • Search for a second hand mini fridge - The times I feel so ill, that I cannot even sit up, this will come in handy. I can have all the ice and snacks right next to our bed.
  • Stock up on remedies, Nux Vomica (homeopathic), Milk Thistle, Sea(relief)Bands, Lemongrass Oil, Preggie Pops, Ice, Ice, and crushed Ice!
  • we don't just de-clutter but de-itemize our home
  • we home school, so I have to make easy to follow lesson plans
After the confirmation:
  • Pray, pray, pray! Keep your focus on Him!
  • Find a pregnancy support group online, and from church
  • Hubby will build a foot board for bed. Keeping my feet secured and anchored, keeps me semi stable. It works! Once my feet are off the ground or surface, I began feeling really queasy. I spend a lot of time in bed, so it's important to have this foot board available.
  • Make lemongrass and beeswax candles for aromatherapy
  • Buy chewable vitamins
  • make ice teas, and ice cubes from red raspberry leaf tea, lemon juice and nettle tea
During the (possible) rough ride:
  • hire a doula for extra support. It can be a very depressing and a discouraging beginning but having a doula makes all the difference, if you live in the Vancouver area,  I recommend Mother Nurture Doula Services
  • let your church women's ministry know and ask/accept the help.
  • Hire a babysitter for a few hours so you can rest, or you and your husband can just chill without leaving your home. This is money well spent.
  • Take this as a guilt free "quiet season". Don't feel bad if you cannot keep up with the things you used to do. 
  • Read Christ Centered Childbirth as many times as you can. I love this book! As bad as my pregnancies were, my births were bliss!! This book helped me to surrender my mind, heart and body and focus the right way and I, believe it or not, gave birth with ease. I really recommend this book!
Answer me this, and by doing so you have a chance to win the Christ Centered Childbirth OR My Morning Sickness Handbook! Q. what methods do you use to get through your pregnancy sickness? Comment with your answer and your preferred book. Your chance to win ends January 15th, 2014. Winner will be informed privately.

I hope this encourages you.


Savour the Christmas Season - DIY Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

For the salt dough recipe click here

We used acrylic paint.

I made all of us an ornament, each with our initials.

One for the front door.

After painting them, we sprayed the ornaments with clear coating. This way they received their shine and last longer.

Savour the Christmas Season - Sugar Cookies

We are savouring the Christmas Season by baking sugar cookies and decorating them. I think this is also a brilliant gift idea! 

The Sugar Cookie Recipe (couldn't get any easier than this!)
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened  
  • 2 cups white sugar 
  • 4 eggs  
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4  inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. 
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
4. Decorate! 

Savour the Christmas Season - Gingerbread houses

We are savouring the Christmas Season by making our very own gingerbread houses. We had a blast making these, you'll see why! The end result is a killer!

I had ginger bread cookie cutters to begin with so I can't help with the design, but I can share the recipe which I altered for my "Finnish" taste buds. The mollases we get here (in Canada) isn't anything like we get back in Finland, so I had to make a few changes. I think it worked out well and tastes like the real deal. Almost.

  • 1/4 C molasses
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 250g butter
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp ground cloves
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 2tsp ginger
  • 1T lemon juice/ 1tsp pomersanssin kuorta
  • 3-4 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda

  •  In a sauce pan bring butter, molasses, syrup amd spices to the boil, remove and let cool completely. Mix in eggs, flour and baking soda. Cover and let it harden over night in the fridge.

  • Take small sections and roll them out flat with a little flour. If you find the dough too hard, warm it up in the micro 30seconds at a time

  •  Cut out the parts for the house and place them carefully on a parchment sheet covered baking tin. Bake at 400F for 6-8minutes. Melt sugar in a sauce pan and use as "glue" by dipping the pieces in to assemble them. The melted sugar hardens fast, so be quick. Be careful you don't burn your fingers with the melted sugar, it hurts!

  •  Let the kids decorate, have a go yourself. Be creative, use colours, texture...
 We gave it our best, we really did. We ended up doing three houses that were just as pretty. Ha ha!

Savour the Christmas Season -Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes

 Fun craft idea with the kids. I only needed the idea since I had pipe cleaners in our arts and craft box.
 Twist 2-3 colours together. I am old school. This Christmas our colours are mostly red and white.


Savour the Christmas Season - Pulla

Mmmmm...nom, nom, nom!

We are savouring the xmas season by baking our own Korvapuusti (Cinnamon Rolls). They slightly differ from the "north American" rolls as they include Cardamom.

The recipe(s) are available online. Google Pulla or Korvapuusti recipe/resepti 
and choose 'translate page' option.



Savour the Season -DIY Gift Boxes

Today we are savouring the Christmas Season by making our own gift boxes to give out. We got a ton of empty shoe boxes from the mall and some fancy contact paper. Walmart, you got it all! I cannot guide you in how to cover them since I am not a pro but I figured it out. I didn't cover the bottom of the boxes, I cut out strips which I first measures and then covered the sides and then a rectangular piece to cover the lids. All they need are our baking goods decorated by my kids and a big red bow on top! Merry Christmas!


Savour the Christmas Season -Free Printable Advent Ornaments -By Confessions of a Homeschooler

I stumbled across this fabulous blog Confessions of a Homeschooler and to this fantastic idea for an Advent Ornament! Click here for the original source but scroll down as I want to share with you how brilliantly it turned out! 

I am a bit late in posting about this since we are on day 12 but nevertheless, this is brilliant and super fun!

 I put them along our mantel.

 Today we made hand made Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes!

I did laminate them because I plan on having these in our Christmas' to come! Fantastic! It's not too late to make your own! Oh by the way, this is what activities are on the back of each triangle:

1. Candle lit bubble bath!
2. Make paper snowflakes & decorate!
3. Fill Operation Christmas Child Boxes
4. Make personalized Christmas Ornaments
5. The Minivan Express
6. Rootbeer floats tonight!
7. Make Christmas cookies!
8. Make Christmas Cards for friends/family
9. Have hot chocolate and marshmallows
10. Make a pipe cleaner candy cane craft
11. Make Christmas Star Paper Chain
12. Make Candy Ornaments
13. Gather old coats, clothes, and toys to donate to your local shelter
14. Family Game Night
15. Make a Gingerbread house 
16. Dance and sing to Christmas Music
17. Make a christmas craft
18. Dress Fancy for dinner tonight
19. Wrap Christmas Presents
20. Watch “It’s a wonderful Life”
21. Take a night drive to see the Christmas lights in your neighborhood!
22. Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn of course!
23. Read or Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
24. Make birthday cake for Jesus!
25. Merry Christmas!