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Monday, 30 December 2013

Organizing: Tips to Organize Christmas Decorations

Hello, hello!

I hope you had a nice weekend. We spent it at a Hockey tournament for our little guy, visiting with old friends and packing away the Christmas decor.

Today, I thought I'd share how I packed away my Christmas Decorations this year so that they are easy to find next year.  Also, blogging about it helps me know how I packed things away too.  It's a win-win for both of us.  :)

tips to organize Christmas


This is what my dining room table looked like on the weekend.  I got out my storage bins (which are all  red and green, for easy identification) and then gathered all the decor (except for tree ornaments, I do those separately ).  I do this so that I have everything handy and ready to pack .

tips to organize Christmas
do not pin this picture :)


I'm donating about a container full of decorations.  Some of the items have not seen the light of day in the past couple of years. It was time to let them go! (I didn't take a pic of them, just take my word for it, mmmkay?)


Lucky for me I have two trees to decorate every year.  One that we have on the main floor and one in our family room in the basement.  This year, the basement tree was covered in red ornaments and kids crafts from years past.  I forgot to show you that one this year.  It was pretty and the kids liked looking at their Christmas crafts.

For ornaments, I take my smaller storage boxes (seen here under the table) and separate the ornaments.  Then they get placed in the larger Storage tote.  I don't bother wrapping individual ornaments, but if yours are sentimental/fragile you should. Do not use newspapers, because over time the ink will transfer to the ornaments.

organizing Christmas ornaments


My trees are pre-lit so I don't need to remove the lights (obviously), but my outdoors lights get wrapped around cardboard.  Since I (aka hubby) haven't taken them down yet, this is what I did for my beaded garland.  I cut some notches in the cardboard  to keep the garland to unravel. I do the same with ribbon.

organizing Christmas decor


Anything that was cloth like, or cushiony was used to wrap my dickens village items, Christmas tableware, etc.  This way I can save space in my totes.


If you are just starting out, it would also be a good idea to buy clear storage totes so you can see at a glance what is inside, but otherwise LABEL ALL YOURS TOTES.

And that is it.

Have you started putting away your Christmas decor? Or do you wait until after your New Year's celebrations?

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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Round up of New Year's Eve Appetizers

With only a few days left of 2013, it's time to think about what we are  serving for New Year's Eve.

So I headed to my Pinterest Recipes Board  to look around.

Since, I'm a fan of simple and easy recipes, I've rounded up  a list of some easy recipes that I will be trying. I thought I'd share with you all! :)

appetizer recipes, New Years Eve appetizers

(Click on the links below to go to websites to get recipes.)

  1. Holiday Meatballs @ Somerset Lane
  2. Mini Cheese Ball Bites @ Five Heart Home
  3. Prosciutto Caprese Bites @ A Pretty Life in Suburbs
  4. Two Ingredient Sausage Rolls
  5. Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Bacon Chicken Bites @ The Gunny Sack
  6. Tomato with Balsamic Oregano @ Somerset Lane
  7. Crab and Cheese Dip @ Echoes of Laughter

Don't those look yummy!  

What are you serving this New Year's Eve?

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Sharing at Somewhat Simple

Friday, 27 December 2013

Best of 2013 - The D.I.Y Projects

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a lovely week.  We had a few busy days leading up to Christmas and then we vegged and enjoyed our new Christmas goodies.  Hubby took the kids Boxing Day shopping with some Christmas money they received, while i stayed home and vegged some more.  Do you see a pattern?

As the year comes to a close I thought it would be fun to re-cap some of the popular posts of 2013 here on the blog. These are in no particular order, just posts that have been viewed the most.

(To read the full post, just click the link at the bottom of picture.)

wood table painted Kelly green

laundry room turned into organized mudroom with cubbies and hooks

lime green bathroom decorated with kids in mind, ikat Target curtains
Colourful Kids Bath

christmas dining room using gold and silver
Christmas Table

no bake cherry cheesecake recipe
Cherry Cheesecake
instructions on how to make sharpie marker mugs

Throughout 2013 I took several needed blog breaks, but I'm hoping that in 2014 I will be posting regularly.

Just wondering, what kinds of posts would you like to see more of...  DIY? Before/Afters? Recipes? Kids Crafts?

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 friends on Pinterest or Facebook!”

sharing at: All things Thursday,  The Party Bunch, Be Inspired, Best of 2013, That DIY party, Mommy Monday, TDC Before/After

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

The Most FABULOUS Link-up "Jol"


(To All my followers who celebrate this holiday)


A VERY BIG WELCOME to the 5th "Most Fabulous link-up "Jol".
And a BIG THANK-YOU to all those who have linked up.  I love all the Christmas inspiration that so many of you have come up with

The word "Jol" is an Afrikaans word meaning to "Party"


This is place to link up your favourite post or your blog,

As well as (what I find to be) the biggest traffic influences to my blog:

G+, Pinterest, Sverve and Hometalk.

Food for thought:

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas" - Calvin Coolidge

(with the most clicks) FROM LAST WEEK is:

Please grab my button code:

Some Direction:
*  Kindly link up your favourite post, and other social influences and do a link back to this blog.  (text or button is fine)
*  Please Follow your Host, Co-hosts and others, so that we can all benefit from each other. We follow back.

* This "Jol" goes live every Tuesday at 3pm (South Africa time) for a week - don't miss out!

* I also run a G+ Group Board and a Pinterest Group Board both under the name: Fabulous gardens and Pets.  Should you wish to join any of these, please leave a comment and I'll add you with pleasure


Meg from Adventures with Jude

G+ / Pinterest

Bette from Somerset Lane

G+ / Pinterest / Facebook / Twitter

Michelle from Ma-Made Diaries

Facebook Twitter G+ / Pinterest Swerve

If you would like to co-host this party with me, please let me know at:  fabulous(dot)farmliving(at)gmail(dot)com

There is no charge, the more blogs involved, the better for all of us.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Appetizer: Chocolate Fruit Dip

One last recipe before I sign off for the next few days.

I was feeling in a bit of a celebratory mood today so I whipped up something yummy for our breakfast this morning. This will probably also make an appearance at the family gatherings over the next few days.  It will make me feel better about all the cheesecake and cookies that I will also ingest. ;)

Chocolate Fruit Dip

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of Nutella
  1. Combine the two ingredients and mix together. Enjoy!
My kids loved it, and I did too!

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I will probably not be posting again until the New Year.  
But I'll be checking in on Facebook.  
So come on over and say Hi!

And... I've scheduled a link-up party tomorrow! :)

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Talk to you in 2014!!

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A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear younger Bette,

Now that I'm older and maybe wiser, these are a few things that I would say to you, if i could go back in time.

1.  Respect your parents. When you are older they will be your best friends.  You don't realize it now, but them wanting you in the house before the street lights come on, was to keep you safe and not to ruin your social life. And you will do the same to your teenage daughters.
2.  Focus on school! Staying up late to watch the New Kids on the Block or Menudo  videos, is not gone do anything for your exams in the morning.   Oh and by the way, I'm pretty sure you will not be marrying (or dating) any of the members, especially Jonathan Knight.
3. Stop eating junk food.  Don't think that just because you are 5'3 and 114 lbs.  and  eating french fries with gravy and chicken burgers almost every day for lunch you will stay that weight forever.  Although you hurt yourself when you play sports, give it a try because one day, you will NEED to work out to loose weight.  Ask me how I know this?!  >:(
4.  Stop putting "Sun-in" in your hair to make it go blonde.  All you are doing is killing the follicle, and one day you will have to spend alot of money to cover the grey. Again, ask me how I know this.
5.  Appreciate the older family members that annoy you now, because before you know it, they won't be around.
6.  Embrace the cold and snow, you will one day move to the Snowbelt region. And you thought Portugal was cold in the winter.
7.  When your 14 and everyone thinks you look older, this will not be a good thing when you are over 40! Trust me!
8.  Elvis really is dead!
9.  No really, he is!
10.  Appreciate every day, because it is a gift!

Oh and by the way, Happy 13th Anniversary of your 29th Birthday!

Love ya,

Older Bette (42 to be exact)

Sharing at: Turn it UP Tuesday

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Appetizer : Tomato with Balsamic Oregano

Sometimes the best recipes come about when I'm playing around in the kitchen.

And this one is so easy to put together, I'm embarrassed to post about it!  :)

Tomato with Balsamic Oregano

  • 1 loaf of french Baguette1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 -3 tomatoes (i used vine-ripened)
  • 1 brick of hard Cheese (I used a white cheddar)
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Thinly slice baguette, tomato and cheese.  Place bread, with tomato on top and then cheese (like the picture :))
  2. Stir remaining ingredients together and drizzle on top of tomato appetizer.  Enjoy!

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Do you ever just play around in the kitchen?

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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Hot Chocolate Dippers

At our house we love Hot Chocolate! You can always find a container or two in the cupboard.

It's especially good and welcomed after an afternoon of tobogganing.

This time of year we also  have an abundance of Candy canes, cookie sprinkles and Marshmallows.

So what is a mom to do?

Well, you make Hot Chocolate Dippers! I saw these here and had to give them a try!

And Bonus,  it's another easy thing for the kids to make themselves.

Here's what you do...


Candy Canes
Large Marshmallows


Push your Candy Cane into the marshmallow. I remove about half of Candy cane wrapper, so the kids hands don't get sticky.  Melt your Chocolate (I used white).  Dip your Marshmallow into the CHocolate and then dip into your sprinkles.  Lay on wax paper until the chocolate hardens again. Once they chocolate has hardened, dip into your hot chocolate.  Enjoy!

What is your favourite treat after tobogganing?

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Sharing:   Link Party PaloozaThrifty Decor Chick, Show & Tell, Weekend Reading, Seasonal Sundays, Sunday DIY Show-off, DIY Party Holiday Time, Saturday Night Fever, Get your DIY on, Turn It UP TUESDAY, Frugal Friday

Friday, 20 December 2013

Gifts to Give - Cookies in a Jar

I find that sometimes the simplest of gifts are the ones that people appreciate the most.

One of the simple gifts we like to give for Christmas is Cookies in the Jar.

It's another one of those gifts that kids can put together themselves.

 A list of ingredients you will need:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup  firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup  Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup of your choice of "chocolate", green & Red M& M's,  semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips, crushed candy canes, etc


Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Spoon into 1-quart, widemouthed canning jar. Layer remaining ingredients in order given, making sure to pack down each layer firmly and clean inside of jar with a dry paper towel after each layer. Decorate lid by cutting fabric into a 7-inch wide square or circle. Secure with a rubber band and tie with a decorative ribbon and accents.

Attach these instructions to the jar:

" In large mixing bowl, cream together 2/3 cup softened butter or margarine, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon water and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy.Add contents of jar and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.Makes about 3 dozen cookies


I also added some scrapbook paper to lid, and glued on some ribbon, just to make it pretty.  The instructions were printed a little large, because we are giving these jars to some elderly friends, and we figure it would be easier to read.

It's that easy.

Have fun making these.

Are you looking for more ideas?


Let's Connect!!


Sharing at: Link Party Palooza, Thrifty Decor Chick, Show & Tell, Weekend Reading

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas House Tour

I've mentioned a couple of times, I kept it simple this year.  Simple as in silver and gold and a little bit of red here and there.

I've shown you my mantel and Christmas tree, so I thought I'd share a few other areas that received attention this year.

Don't mind the big girl, she is a big baby.

As you can see I kept things very simple outside as well.  There is my hand-made sparkly wreath,  a garland wrapped-with-lights with is then wrapped around the pillar and a couple of small trees by the door.  I found the two trees at Goodwill (of course I did) for a $1 each.  They look so pretty with the snow on them. Don't you think?

Come one in.... don't worry she will eventually move. :)

Inside the front door, you will see our pretty tree.

Directly across from the tree we have this guy.  He's standing guard at the door.

Across from the tree in a small niche, beside the nutcracker I have a tray that is usually on the green table, and I've added another gold deer from Michael's clearance.  I add some black and white ribbon to spify him up a little.

Here is a better shot to show you the three of them together.

This is my view when I come down the stairs in the morning.

It makes me smile.

At the top of the stairs on the ledge under the window sill we have a few more nutcrackers.

Most of these were gifts.  I like the sparkly red one.

I've shown you the Dining Room table all set up, but I didn't show you the side Buffett.

It got a little bit of colour too.

I just added some extra Christmas balls to the basket and some fake snow and a couple of resin figurines to the apothecary jar .

And, of course the mantel.

And that is all that we did this year.  It should be a breeze to pack away come January (I hope)

Do you keep it simple and only do a few areas, or do you sprinkle Christmas Cheer right through the house?


Let's Connect!!


Shared with: Lovely Ladies, Thrifty Decor Chick Christmas, Work It wednesday, Nester's Tour of Homes, Inspiration Gallery, Inspire Me Please, 12 Days Christmas House Tours, Weekend Reading, Turn it up Tuesday
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