2018
  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Be Summer Smart!

This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

Here in Utah, the weather is already so beautiful! For the first little while, I was surprised every time I went outside and it wasn't cold. Now that we've gotten the most urgent moving tasks done, we're excited to get outside this summer and explore our new home! With all of the fun and excitement around the corner with summer though, come sunburns, bugs, and allergies. With summer vacation around the corner I thought I'd share some tips for taking precautions to make the most of these sunny days. Let's free ourselves from that desire to just hibernate inside, away from the sun and the pollen!

Ways to Stay Summer Smart with Kids


Here are some of the things we plan to do, to stay summer smart:


Friday, May 18, 2018

1st Week of April Journal

We've been so occupied with our move (driving across the continent & getting settled in a new country) that it's been 2 weeks since I've published on the blog! I'm happy to be back and ready to wrap up the "Smoke Saga" and get on with sharing the adventures that have come to us since then, with travelling from Ontario, Canada to Utah in the U.S.A., what it's been like for us to settle in a bit here, and at some point I'll go back in time and share our Disney experience with you!



Picking up where I left off last in the smoke saga...

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Smoke Saga - Part 5

I'm getting more & more behind with each part of the "Smoke Saga" and I really want to catch up to the present! So, I'm going to do a quick summary of week 4 of dealing with the smoke damage, to try and catch up a bit!



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Smoke Saga - Part 4

It's time for another installment of the Smoke Saga. If you're following my Instagram Stories, you know that we were busy last week, visiting Utah to find ourselves a place to live when we move. Now that we're back, we have one week to pack and then start the drive out there! I found a few minutes yesterday to get this 4th "Smoke Saga" post completed- it's all about what we did during the 3rd week of dealing with the smoke damage.


It was the last full week of Ken being home, before he headed out to Utah to see if the job he was looking into was what he wanted to pursue. Here's how it all went down...


Thursday, April 12, 2018

We Have News...

Amidst all of the chaos of the smoke saga in March & April, Ken was offered a job in Utah. After flying out there to visit and check it out, he is accepting the job and expects to start in May! So that means that while we just barely got back into our house (and are still basically camping inside our home), we're transitioning from unpacking to re-packing!

We're Moving to Utah www.RaisingMemories.com

The Packing Craziness


Unfortunately we can't just keep everything packed from when we moved out of our house for the smoke/soot cleaning because it all happened so quickly that;

a) it wasn't all packed efficiently and
b) we didn't have time to clean everything before we moved it out

...so we still have work to do!

This means we're unpacking all of the boxes, cleaning what still needs to be cleaned, throwing more things out, and trying to sell some things that survived the smoke but we don't want to bring across the continent with us! Then we'll re-pack and make an itemized list of what we've packed in each box for when we cross the border.

Why We're Excited About Utah


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Smoke Saga - Part 3

It's time for part 3 of this crazy smoke saga! If you're not up to date, check out my first post about finding our house filled with smoke and my second post about the first week of this smoky adventure. I'll pick up where I left off last time, with a daily account of what we went through during week 2.

As you can see from the photo below, week 2 involved a lot of purging of smoky belongings.

What to Get Rid Of After a Protein Fire

As I look back on this week, I remember being in a bit of a fog as we kept our heads down and just did what we had to do. During the previous week I don't think any of our friends (beyond our parents & our sisters & brothers in law, and a few friends who follow me on Instagram) had heard what was going on. We hadn't even had a spare moment to think to tell anyone.

Thankfully this week, the word started to spread and we were so grateful for all of the help we received! We had friends come to wash and move furniture, several who took laundry home to wash (3 times, with vinegar, & hang to dry) and a couple even came and took me out for cheesecake in the middle of the day- what a relief to get away for a bit!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Smoke Saga - Part 2

I've finally found time to get down some of what's been going on with the Smoke Saga I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Today marks exactly one month since we came home to find our house filled with smoke and we are still living at Ken's parents' house. If you haven't read my first post, you can catch up on what's been going on here.

How Bad is Smoke Damage from Chicken

Here is what happened during the first week after "The Incident":


Saturday, March 31, 2018

April 2018 Sharing Time Link Party



Welcome to the April Link Party!



Friday, March 23, 2018

5 Ways to Prepare for Spring

This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

It has been a rough few weeks for our family, with everything that's been going on with our home this month, so I am very ready for the hope, promise, and beautiful weather that come along with Spring!

We can all identify the subtle signs of spring - birds chirping, longer days and blooming flowers. The warmer weather signifies a fresh start with more time outdoors, bringing your garden back to life, and of course, spring cleaning! While these telltale signs are positive for the most part, its common to feel unprepared when the new season comes so quickly (even when you've been waiting so long for its arrival!).



Here are a few things that signify spring is around the corner, with tips for a smooth transition:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Smoke Saga - Part 1, The Discovery

The first two weeks of March have been like nothing I've ever experienced before. As a result of chicken left simmering unattended, we came home one evening to fire alarms blaring and a house full of smoke. That evening I held my breath as I hurried through the house gathering pajamas and a change of clothes for each of us so we could spend the night at Ken's parents' house. It hadn't occurred to us that we might be moving out of our home for weeks or that we would soon lose many of our belongings to the smoke and soot from this protein fire (without flames).

Our experience with Burnt Chicken and a house full of smoke


It's been a full month since I've posted here (if you don't count the link party). The last 2 weeks of February we were in Florida for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I have plenty to share with you from that experience, but haven't had any time to write about it yet. Today I have another story to tell you.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

March 2018 Sharing Time Link Party



Welcome to the March Link Party!



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Couple's Getaway to Ste. Anne's Spa in Winter

The first time I visited Ste. Anne's Spa, I went for a mother's day getaway with my mom. The weather was beautiful, the grounds were in full bloom, and there was plenty to do both inside and out. It was heavenly! How would a visit with my husband, in winter, compare to that? We visited last week and I'm ready to tell you all about it!

Sainte Annes Spa Winter experience blog review

The scene upon arrival was like a winter wonderland!

Monday, February 12, 2018

1st Week of February Journal

Our first week of February was a good one. We were quite busy, but it was with lots of good things.  I'm glad I'm doing this journal on the blog because I'll have all of it documented and because I've been a bit better about getting photos of things, for this purpose. I think the 2nd week of February is going to be pretty busy with trip prep. and getting things wrapped up for the blog before our trip, so we don't really have any events planned. I can't wait for the last 2 weeks of the month!

February 4th


Today was Talia's first day in Young Women at church. She went to Primary (for kids up to age 11) as usual and the Young Women (girls aged 12-17) came to "steal her away". The Primary kids & Young Women all sang a happy birthday song and the YW gave her a bouquet of flowers and a little Beehive mug gift (the classes in Young Women have names and the class she's entering is called Beehives). I'm so glad she has a good group of girls and leaders to welcome her into YW!



Friday, February 9, 2018

Valentine's Day Fun & A Build-A-Bear Giveaway!

With Valentine's Day less than a week away, we had such a fun opportunity to visit Build-A-Bear last night and to check out their new collection of Valentine's Day gifts for 2018! Not only do they provide a great experience for you as you choose and build your furry friend, but you also get a unique Valentine's gift, to remind you of the fun memories you made together while creating it (and you all know how much I love an experience-based gift)!

Stay with me to the end of the post because I've got a giveaway for you, from Build-A-Bear, that you won't want to miss!

Valentines Day Build A Bear Couple


Monday, February 5, 2018

Last Week of January Journal

It's time for another 2-week family journal!  This is a combination of the last week and a half of January & the first few days of February:



January 20th

While Talia was at her Beauty & the Beast play practice, Ken & I had an idea. We had been folding laundry while Katrina watched a video on a tablet in her room. Ken & I went to put our snow clothes on, then we crawled into her room and when she looked at us, we sang "Do you want to build a snowman?". Her face lit right up and she said "Yes!". It turned out not to be packing snow, so we brought out the GT and had some fun on the hill instead. This was such a fun, spontaneous thing to do together, I'm so glad we did it!


Saturday, February 3, 2018

February 2018 Link Party



Welcome to the February Link Party!



Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Valentine's Day Countdown for Kids

For Valentine's Day this year, I wanted to do some fun things with my kids so we put together this Valentine Countdown for Kids! There is a little envelope for each day and inside is a little note, with a valentine activity for the kids or the family to do together that day, in preparation for Valentine's Day!  I'm excited about the things on our list (which I will share in this post)!

Valentine's Day Countdown Activities for Kids

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Jo Totes Wyndham Street Weekender Bag & Giveaway

I made an unboxing & first impressions video of the new Jo Totes Wyndham Street Weekender Camera Bag. This one has a removable padded camera box inside, so you can use it to carry your gear or for an overnight bag- or a mix of both!

Jo Totes Wyndham Street Weekender Camera Bag Review and Giveaway

It's a beautiful bag with a lot of features I really love. Here's a quick look inside:

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Tween Birthday Party at Glama Gal Spa

To celebrate Talia's 12th birthday, we went to Glama Gal Tween Spa for a very special tween spa birthday party, complete with manicures, pedicures, and facials! As I mentioned in a previous post, it was wonderful to sit back and watch as the Glama Gals led the party. The fact that I didn't have to run the party meant that I had plenty of time to document it all with photos, so I can show and tell you all about it!

Tween Spa Birthday Party

Our "Be You Tween" Birthday Party at Glama Gal Spa


Our party started with spa sandals, robes (including a special pink robe for the birthday girl), and a "let's get this party started" cheer. As if the beautiful, fancy pink decor weren't enough to get them excited, this had them energized and ready for fun!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mid January Journal

It's time for another journal post. This one touches on days from the last 2 weeks. I wish I had more photos, so I'll work on that for next time!

We're back into the school routine now, still working on implementing some improvements to our schedule. Ken is in full-on job & post-doctorate hunt right now. We're looking into a lot of different possible paths. This is exciting and nerve wracking. We want to make a good choice about where to take our family (literally and figuratively) in the next chapter of our lives! That's the general update, and here are some of the details:

A Week in the Life of Us January 2018

January 8th


First day back to school after Christmas holidays: 7:30 am, rise and shine. It snowed A LOT and we were amazed that buses were running. Off the girls went in a flurry of hurry (despite best efforts to be organized). We'll try again tomorrow!

Ken went to the University library for the day, to do some research, so the house was so quiet! I've gotten used to having him home, in the same room with me! Our desks face each other right now, so he's just on the other side of my monitor most days. I got some blog work done, got domestic and made some no-bake cookies for the girls when they got home.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Manners & Courtesy Tea Party/Hot Chocolate Bar

For one of our recent girls activity days, we had a hot chocolate bar/tea party for the purpose of helping our girls to learn about manners and courtesy in a fun way. Some of the ideas we used could be used for any party, so I thought it would be a good one to share with you here!

Activity Days Manners and Courtesy Tea Party with Hot Chocolate Bar

We invited the girls to come dressed in princess costumes or fancy church dresses. We had a bunch of cute little sandwiches and treats and a fun hot chocolate bar, preceded by a hands-on table setting lesson. It was so much fun!

Monday, January 15, 2018

40 by 40 Bucket List

A year ago, we visited family in the U.S. and while we were staying with Ken's sister, their family had a goal-setting meeting. My brother-in-law led the discussion, handing out a few worksheets for each of us, to help us think about what we wanted to do, and decide where to put our focus. One of the worksheets encouraged us to make a list of 50 things we wanted to do in the next 5 years. We were encouraged to write quickly and not make judgments about whether we could actually accomplish the things we wrote. We kept our lists and reviewed them as a family last week and then we updated them with a few new goals, marking off the ones we had already accomplished.

5 Year Bucket List by www.RaisingMemories.com
Photo by Ariana Del Mundo

Shortly after reviewing my own list, I saw a post by one of the bloggers I follow, who published a "40 by 40" bucket list of things she wants to accomplish before her 40th birthday this year. I realized that just over 5 years from when we wrote our first lists of 50 things, I will turn 40 (just over 4 years to go!). I'm posting my own "40 by 40 Bucket List" here, to keep track of which things happen. I'm trying not to limit myself by writing things down whether I know how I would accomplish them or not.

Some of the things I put on my list a year ago have already been accomplished and help remind me that even when you feel like you're dreaming of something impossible, if you just allow yourself to believe that it's possible, you just might find a way to make it happen!

Friday, January 12, 2018

5 Ways to Fight the Winter Blahs

This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

I love so much of winter, but I sure wish it weren't so long! The snow is so beautiful at first, then the plows and the salt get going and soon the fresh blankets of white turn to slushy, refrozen brownishness everywhere! The cold gets really old, really fast for me; and since we're on the topic of winter blahs, I'll share my least favourite thing about winter: grey skies. How I miss sunny, blue skies!

How to Stay Happy during the Winter by www.RaisingMemories.com

Now that the holidays are over and once the excitement of the fresh new year begins to fade, it's easy to start feeling the blahs. The extremely cold temperatures we've been having have really made us want to hibernate which can start to leave us feeling really low on energy and enthusiasm. So, here are a few things we like to do around here to uplift ourselves and keep the blahs away:


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Top 17 Posts of 2017

Every year, I do a round up of some of the most popular posts from the year. It's always fun to look back on the things we've experienced throughout the year and the memories we created. These 17 posts were the most popular this year. If you didn't get a chance to read them the first time around, and want to check them out, I'll link to each of them.

2017 was a year or adventure, particularly with our travels across eastern Canada this summer! I will always treasure the experiences we had during that road trip. We also had the chance to try out some cool new products (like a foam mattress that came all squished and rolled up in a box, and a couple of really cool cameras). I loved being able to share some of our favourite products in the two gift guide posts at the end of the year and to gather some awesome giveaways for you!

Most Popular 17 Blog Posts of 2017 on www.RaisingMemories.com



The Top 17 Posts of 2017


  1.  Holiday Gift Guide for Moms
  2. Canada 150 Travel Photography
  3. Family & Kids Gift Guide
  4. Sharing My Love of Photography with Instax Mini 8
  5. Relaxing Adventure at the Couples Resort
  6. Douglas Mattress Unboxing Video & Review
  7. Orangetheory Results
  8. Re-Embracing My Love of Photography with the Fujifilm X-A3
  9. JORD Men's Watch

Monday, January 8, 2018

The First Week of 2018

I used to journal consistently. Somewhere along the line, I got out of the habit. This week I took some notes about our week and gathered them here. Maybe I'll do this more often and try to get more of our daily life recorded in this place. Let me know if this interests you because I'm not sure if this is the best spot for it. For now though, for the first week of the year, here it is:

Our first week of 2018 blog

January 1st


All four of us slept as 2018 came into being. We counted down from ten at 8pm on December 31st. It was a "down day", with a Christmas CD playing while we packed away the ornaments and took apart the tree. After dinner we had a family meeting where we discussed family goals and schedules and each wrote a list of goals and dreams for our futures (not just this year, but anytime in the next five).

Saturday, January 6, 2018

January 2018 Link Party



Welcome to the January Link Party!



Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Christmas Morning Disney Surprise!

This Christmas we had a tiny package under our tree that held a big surprise inside and I've been waiting to share it with our girls and with you! Now that the secret's out, I'm excited to tell you about how we came to put Disney World under the tree for our family for the second time, when we once wondered if we'd even make it to Disney once. I've got a video of the surprise at the end of the post, and a photo of how we broke the news this time.

Disney World Christmas Surprise Reveal &  Reaction


Monday, January 1, 2018

Simple 31 Day Decluttering Challenge

I know I'm not the only one who feels the need to declutter her home, particularly as we begin a fresh new year and make new resolutions! I have been thinking about doing a 31 day decluttering challenge for a long time and this month, I'm finally doing it! 

Here are my Step-by-Step Instructions for a 31 Day Decluttering Journey:


  1.  Make a declaration to the internet of your intentions, to keep you accountable (check)
  2.  Commit to share daily before & after photos on social media (I'm doing this on my Instagram stories every day of January & I'd LOVE for you to follow along!)
  3.  Invite friends to join in- Won't you join me?? I would be thrilled to know I'm not alone in this! If you want to participate, just share your before & after photos on Instagram (in your stories, or in a post) and tag me (@raisingmemories) so I can see them!  

If enough of you join in, it could be fun to share some of your before & afters in my stories, so we can all be inspired by each other!

One Month Decluttering Challenge by www.RaisingMemories.com

One Month Decluttering Challenge by www.RaisingMemories.com


I'm not going to lay out a list of areas to tackle.  This is for two reasons: First, I have no concrete plan for myself and if I waited until I had a list, it would probably take me months to start- so I'm just jumping in. Second, we all have different homes with different problem areas, so my goal is simply this:

Choose One Small Area of your home to tackle each day. 

Commit to 15 minutes of Decluttering each day.


You can certainly spend more than 15 minutes if you're really getting into it, but only commit to 15 minutes. This means your daily area must be manageable and you give yourself permission to stop after 15 minutes. (I'm hoping this will help to avoid feelings of overwhelm and/or the desire to give up!)


Well, that's it.  I'm jumping into this challenge and I hope some of you will follow along and let me know you're following along- keep me accountable! ;)  If you're joining in, I'd love to cheer you on too, so please tag me on instagram @raisingmemories. I'll see you over there!


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