Our Canada Day Long Weekend

A photo posted by Alysa Friesen (@alysalovely) on

This past weekend was Canada Day, and it was lovely!  We were able to go to Victoria Beach and spend time with my parents, as well as one of my aunts and one of her friends.  It was a total blast!

A photo posted by Alysa Friesen (@alysalovely) on

My favourite parts were definitely on the beach, but here are some other highlights of the weekend:

  1. Playing Cards Against Humanity with my parents and my aunt!  My aunt’s friend had played before, but no one else had and it was a riot.  It was hilarious!  Plus, hearing some of the things on the card coming out of my parents mouths.  So much fun.  I wish I had taken more pictures haha
  2. Autumn had her very first face cookie from the VB bakery!  Last year when we went, she was too little to have cookies from there, so this was perfect.  And, of course, she loved it.
  3. Going to the beach!  And watching my daughter and husband play in the sand together, as pictured above.  So great!

How was your long weekend?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

Our Summer Bucket List!

Our Summer Bucket List

The other night, my husband and I sat down and talked about the things that we want to do this summer.  We’re so excited for the summer and all the fun things we’re going to be able to do as a family of four this year. Plus, since we have a toddler, it’ll be even more fun because we’ll be experiencing things for the first time again through her eyes.  So excited! Here are some of the things we’d like to do this summer:

  1. Victoria Beach
    My family has a cottage out at Victoria Beach, and I’m so excited to do all the things with my daughter there this year!  We’ll go to the beach (obviously), go to the park, get ice cream at the Moonlight Inn, and get smiley face cookies at the bakery.  It’s gonna be awesome!
  2. Assiniboine Park Zoo
    We haven’t been to the zoo since the new Polar Bear exhibit opened last year, and I think it would be really fun to go.  Especially with the Dinosaur exhibit there, too!
  3. Strawberry Picking
    There are a few places nearby where you pay for the bucket, and you pick your own strawberries.  I think it would be a lot of fun to do that with Autumn. I think she would really enjoy that.
  4. Andrew’s family cabin
    It’ll be fun to see how Autumn likes the boat this year!
  5. Monarch Butterfly Festival
    This event looks like so much fun!
  6. Islendingadagurinn
    The Icelandic Festival in Gimli!  I’m so pumped for it. I haven’t been in a few years.
  7. Morden Corn and Apple Festival
    A nearby town has an awesome festival every summer. You get free corn on the cob and free apple cider, and a bunch of other stuff! Again, I haven’t been in a few years so I’m excited to go again.
  8. Harry Potter Midnight Release Party
    The last Harry Potter book came out almost 10 years ago, and McNally Robinson celebrated with a party in the park.  Well, since the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is this summer, they’re doing it again!  I’m so pumped to go to another midnight release.  And I can’t wait to read the book 🙂

What are your plans for the summer?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

what’s in my garden?

So, I finally got around to planting some things in my garden!  Last year, we planted a few different things to pretty great success.. so this year we’re (mostly) planting different things.

Here are a few of the things I have in my garden:

gardening

MINT!! We had a mint plant last year, and it was AWESOME! I loved being able to have mojitos whenever we wanted.  We had them quite a bit, and used a lot of our mint.  I hope that this mint plant thrives like it did last year.  We were even able to share a bit with our friends so they could re-plant it in their garden.  It didn’t survive the winter because we had it in a planter box and the area it was planted in froze.  I’m already excited about this one though.

gardening

This year we’re trying our hands at a tomato plant!  We’ll see if we get anything.  If we do, great. If we don’t.. well, that’s ok, too!  It’s a little bit of a learning curve.  Considering I killed all the plants we had the first summer in the house, that should tell you about the state of my thumb (aka not so green) but we figured we’d give it a go.  Wish us luck with these, I’ve heard that tomatoes are a little more difficult.

in the garden

A hanging plant, we received this as a gift for our 4th anniversary, because apparently the gift for your fourth year of marriage is a plant.  Really crossing my fingers that I can keep this one alive, because the hanging plants we had our first year of living in the house were the first to go.  Did you know that they need to be watered daily?? I didn’t.  I learned that after we received this plant.  I’m trying my best to actually water them though, so we’ll see 😉

in the garden

Marigolds and Alyssums!  So far, these are looking a little worse for wear.  I’ve been watering them every day and I hope I can turn it around.. but we’ll see.  Taking care of plants is HARD!!

Not pictured: BEE plants!  I signed up for free seeds from a couple of places that are trying to save the bees.  I’ve planted the seeds, and have been watering the area lots.. so hopefully something will sprout up soon and I’ll be able to share those pictures, too.

What are you planting in your garden this year?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

Our Fourth Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our fourth anniversary! I usually share pictures from our wedding on or around our anniversary, but I thought I’d switch it up this year and share some of our engagement photos instead.

We had our engagement photos taken in the middle of February, so no beautiful fields, or lush trees, or anything outdoors at all.  It was just too cold!  Instead, we chose to go to the Manitoba Museum and have our photos taken there.  It was one of our favourite places to go when we were dating, and it was fun to be able to go back there for the photos.  We’ve gone at least once a year since we started dating, definitely one of our favourite places in the city.  Plus, it’s super unique and has some interesting backgrounds.

Here are our photos:

engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos our engagement photos

These photos were taken by Denley Thiessen.  Make sure you check out his website here!

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

How to Go Church Shopping

How To Go Church Shopping

Very recently, my husband and I came to the conclusion that the church we were attending was not the right fit for us anymore.  It was pretty disappointing for us.  He had been attending that church his entire life, and that had been my grown up home church.  We were both baptized there, we were married there, and we dedicated our child there.  It was a blow that we no longer felt welcome in a place that had always been our home away from home.  But it happens, and when it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on.  I haven’t talked about it too much just because it was such a complicated situation, but it is what it is.  We needed to go church shopping!  At this point, we have found a new home church that we just love, and I’m so happy to have found something, especially before the new baby comes.  It’s hard to move around a lot with a fresh little one, so having a home base church is going to be a huge help.

Here are the steps we took in deciding on our new church:

  1. Sit down and discuss what you’re looking for
    My husband and I sat down together to talk about the specific things we wanted when we were looking for a new church.  Among the things on the list, we wanted to find something with only one service, was small-medium sized, and had children’s programming/children’s ministry.  These were the top three things that were most important to us when finding something.  It could be different for you, but it’s so important to talk it out first so you each know what the other wants in a church.. and so that you know that you’re both on the same page.
    If you’re church shopping by yourself, maybe it’s writing down what is most important to you.  As long as you have some ideas of what you want before you start really looking, then you won’t pick one just because.
  2. Research, research, research
    My husband and I each did our own research and came up with our own lists of churches we were interested in going to look at.  We didn’t outright cross anything off our list, but we compared lists and started with the ones that we both had on our own lists.
    In doing our research, it was important to us that the churches we were looking at have a website, and that they had some kind of mission statement or values on their website.  We wanted to find something that aligned, at least a little bit, with what we believe in.  If a church didn’t have a website, it made it harder for us to select that for the next part of the process, in part because then we couldn’t find out when their services were.
  3. Start shopping
    We started by going to a couple of the churches that made both of our lists, and ended up finding one from there.  Another thing that was important was how welcome we felt when we were at the church.  We went to a church with someone and the only people there who talked to us were the people we were with.  Whereas, at the church we chose, we made friends right away.  It made a huge difference to us if people were actually welcoming, and if people noticed we were new.
  4. Go a few times
    I don’t think it’s fair to pick a church based on ONE Sunday, so we went to the church we ended up choosing a few times to get a good feel for it.  For example, one of the churches we went to had a guest speaker the first time we went.  It wouldn’t have been fair to pick that church based on that particular Sunday, because it wasn’t even the main speaker!  It was a very good service and everything, but if the speaker isn’t going to be there all the time, that’s not a good indicator of what the church will be like on a regular basis.
  5. Pick!
    This is the fairly easy part.  After a few Sunday’s at our new church, my husband and I sat down and fully decided that this was going to be our home church.  We then started giving, and we signed up for the nursery programming for our daughter.  We also prayed about it before fully deciding.  It felt right.

How do you pick where your home church would be?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

My Second Mother’s Day

my second mothers day

Last year was my first ever official Mother’s Day as a mama, and it was pretty hectic.  We dedicated our daughter at church and then hosted a little party after.  So I didn’t get to sleep in because we had to be at church early.  And even before that, I had a bunch of preparations to get ready.  The child dedication coincided with Autumn’s half birthday, so I made a half birthday cake for her (but mostly for us because she wasn’t eating cake yet at 6 months old 😉 ). It was a busy, but nice, mother’s day!

This year was very different.  I hosted absolutely nothing!  Well, at least I didn’t host anything on the day of.  I didn’t get to sleep in because Autumn did not get the memo that mama’s like to sleep in on Mother’s Day.  We had breakfast as a little family, went to church and then spent the day with both our own moms.  We had lunch with my mom and my side of the family, and then we had dinner with Andrew’s mom and his side of the family.  And, we gave them their gifts!  I planned (with my two sisters-in-law) a paint night for all the moms and moms-in-law!  It’s not going to happen for another month, but it’s something that I’m hosting here, and I’ll be able to participate with my new little bean.  I’m pretty excited!

This Mother’s Day was pretty great.  I didn’t cook, I didn’t clean, and I got to have a bath with a bath bomb, my book & chocolate to finish the day.  I didn’t get to sleep in, but that was totally fine by me!

How was your Mother’s Day?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

April Declutter Challenge Wrap-up!

April Declutter Challenge

Though technically tomorrow is the last day of the challenge, I finished it a little bit early.  It’s so much easier to find 5 things at a time and just get rid of more than it is to try to look around for one or two things.

This year, doing the challenge was a little more tricky than it was last year.  Not because I ran out of things to get rid of, or spaces to clean out, but because of how quickly I got tired of doing the work!  Being 8/9 months pregnant while doing deep cleans in areas of my house wasn’t easy.  I got it done though.

At the end of the final post about this last year, I said the real challenge would be trying to do it again this year, and I have to say, it was still pretty easy.  Even though I don’t really buy things new, and even though I don’t really buy much at all, I still had a lot of stuff to give away.  I was going to do a big rummage giveaway and have people come look at/take the stuff… but getting it all out as though it was a rummage sale seemed like a LOT of work.  If I had been smart, I should have been organizing it as I went so that I could easily put it all out for people to look at… but I didn’t.  So everything was just in bags all together in a heap, which meant I would have had to put in a lot of work to get it out.  Oh well!  I’m donating it to a really great cause.

If you were following along and even participating, how did you do?  You can check out my pictures on instagram under the hashtag #AprilDeclutterChallenge or follow me on Instagram @Alysalovely

Have a happy May!!!

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

Seeking Guest Bloggers

Guest Bloggers Wanted

As you know, I’m expecting my second baby in the middle of May.  I would like to be able to keep posting after my son is born, but I’ll be pretty busy with nursing and trying to wrangle two littles, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to post.  If you’re interested in writing a guest post for my blog, that would be amazing!  Just fill out the Google Form HERE if you’re interested!

Thank you so much! It will be so nice knowing that my blog will be taken care of while I’m dealing with a newborn and a toddler.

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

Five on Friday!

This has been another busy, busy week, but in the best way possible!  My decluttering challenge is keeping me moving around for sure.  I keep looking around my house and seeing different areas where I can get rid of some stuff.  But it’s hard to declutter when there’s a little one grabbing at everything and putting in on the ground, aka: a place where things no longer exist because I cannot pick them up!!  Luckily, my husband is here to tidy up the floors, otherwise it would be quite the obstacle course.

Here are five other things that have been exciting this week:

ONE: THE WEATHER!!
I am so excited that it’s FINALLY in the positives around here! Monday was a little frigid, but it picked up from there and we’ve been going on walks … without coats!  I just love it.  I went on quite a few walks with Autumn in the stroller, and I feel so much nicer about the area and stuff.  Plus, there are a few parks around here and it’s so much fun to go to them with Autumn.  I can’t wait until she’s walking/running around at the park.  It’ll be so great.

TWO: NEW CHURCH
We’ve been church shopping, and it’s been slow going.  But we went to one that we really like last Sunday, and I went to a mom’s group there this week, and I am loving it so far!  We’re going to check it out again this Sunday as well.  It’s a less than 5 minute drive from our house, too, and everyone is so friendly and welcoming!  I love it 🙂

dream closet // alysalovely
THREE: MY CLOSET
I am still in love with my closet.  I organized it all nicely, and I have hangers in only two colours, and it just looks so pretty.  I could hang out in there, I just love it <3

The Vintage Honey Shop Necklace Review

FOUR: THE VINTAGE HONEY SHOP
A while ago, I reviewed an amazing teething necklace (here) made by a fabulous shop run by two mamas in the US.  This week, they had their facebook page hacked, they received emails that demanded ransom, and facebook took their sweet time getting back to them.  Luckily, they got their page back now!! But it definitely made their sales take a hit, as well as their likes.  Check out their facebook page here, now totally free from hackers, and give them a like! They make amazing products.

FIVE: SWIMMING LESSONS
Autumn started her swimming lessons last week, and so far she seems to (mostly) be enjoying them.  I was not interested in being in the water at all, and Andrew was a total water baby.  So Autumn could have gone either way.  She seems to be mostly ok with it, with some trepidation.  But by the end of the 10 weeks, I’m sure we’ll have a little water baby on our hands… just as long as we don’t take away the rubber ducky.

How was your week?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

April Declutter Challenge!

April Declutter Challenge

We’re still more than a week away from April, but I thought I’d get a head start on planning for my challenge this year!

Last year, I introduced the April Declutter Challenge! I did my own variation of the minimalist challenge over the month of April, where on the first day, I decluttered 30 things, on the second day, 29 things, and so on and so forth.  I would like to do it again this year!  I am going to change the rules a little bit, however.  (If you’d like to see the rules I made for the challenge last year, check them out here!)

The Rules:

  1. Remove items from living space
    Out of sight, out of mind.  My plan this year is a little different than it was last year.  My rules from last year indicated that I gave things to the thrift store on a weekly basis.  But then later, in talking with a friend, I learned that some of the things I had been giving away could have been of use to her.  So, instead of immediately getting everything out of the house completely this year, I’m going to put everything aside and then invite friends over for a sort of rummage “sale” in my living room.  If there are things people want, they can have them! And anything left over will go to the thrift store at the end of the month.
    And, in the meantime, I will be keeping things out of our regular living spaces, probably in the back porch or shed. Or maybe basement.  Depending on how I feel at the time.
  2. Bring garbage away daily
    This one is the same as last year.  Decluttering counts for garbage, too… but why save it.  Take it out!!
  3. Avoid buying things
    This one will be the most difficult, but I don’t see the point in getting rid of hundreds of items from my home if I’m just going to be bringing other things into it at the same time.  It makes no sense!  Obvious things like food and hygeine necessities are clearly excluded from this rule.
  4. Share your successes
    I really enjoyed going on Instagram and sharing the things I was decluttering last year.  Join me! Use the hashtag #AprilDeclutterChallenge on Instagram and see what kinds of things other people are getting rid of!  I’ll be posting @Alysalovely.

What counts towards decluttering?
-Things you’ve borrowed from someone and are returning to them
-Things that are still in good working order that someone else can use
-Things that are total crap
-Actual garbage

So, who’s with me? 🙂

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading