Sept 18/17-What can I buy for $25 today?

Last week I started a new weekly feature called "What Can I Buy For $25 Today?". To say it was a hit would be an understatement. People have been emailing me all week with questions and asking for recipes. 

This weekly feature will have at least one meal plan for 4 to 5 supper meals that will feed a family of 4. Some weeks I will show 2 meal plans, but I may not be able to do that every week based on flyer sales.  (more…)

Frugal Friday: Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

FRUGAL FRIDAY: 

Here is a recipe for this week's deal on cauliflower!
We picked up 4 heads of cauliflower last night for $1.50 each. Here is one recipe I have made so far. We love cauliflower and this is just one way to prep it.
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Roasted Cauliflower

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7 Frugal and Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts

7 Frugal and Thoughtful Mother's Day Gifts 

Mother's day is right around the corner and it is time to plan. I have noticed over the past few years, I am usually stopping in at a flower shop or picking up something last minute for mother's day. It's not that I don't love pampering my mom, and appreciate everything she does for myself and my family, I just find it hard to buy for her.  (more…)

71 Fun Frugal or FREE Winter Activities- Indoors and Out!

 

Well, Winter is here with a bang! The Canadian East coast is being walloped by a Nor'Easter today (50-80 cm of snow!!). Over the past few weeks I have had this list started and feel that perhaps today is the day to get it posted. Winter can cause us all to want to hibernate, but there are so many things we can do, both inside and outside in the Winter.​

When you are trying to save money, it can often be hard finding activities for the whole family as well. Here is a list of 71 activities that are fun & frugal, and you can enjoy them in the Winter months.

71 Fun frugal or FREE WINTER ACTIVITIES - Indoors and Out!

These free or almost free winter activities are perfect for keeping kids and families days occupied while it is cold outside.

  1. Build Snow forts
  2. Go cross country skiing (some communities have rental or free skis available at parks)
  3. Go sledding
  4. Go ice skating
  5. Go ice fishing
  6. Make snow angels
  7. Make a homemade wind chime with twigs, pine cones, acorns, etc. (found around your yard)
  8. Go for a walk in your neighborhood
  9. Do frozen balloon experiments (Dinosaur Ice Eggs,  or Outdoor Ice Gems)
  10. Play with Bubbles outside (Frozen Bubbles)
  11. Build a Snow Volcano
  12. Make snow paintings with bottles filled with water, add a couple drops of food colouring.
  13. Make a snowman
  14. Decorate your snowman! 
  15. Let the kids experiment and Melt Ice with Salt (can be done inside or out)
  16. Make Snow Ice Cream (
  17. Go on a scavenger hunt inside or outside or play nature bingo
  18. Look at the Stars (go outside at night and look at the stars, using a book or app, find various constellations)
  19. Camp in the back yard (winter camping can be a unique experience)
  20. Build a bonfire and roast hot dogs or marshmallows (with adult supervision of course)
  21. Go bird watching 
  22. Learn how to safely build a fire
  23. Put together a Puzzle
  24. Read Books (then tell each other what your story was about)
  25. Write a short story or comic
  26. Play dress up 
  27. Play video games in a group, have a tournament 
  28. Make Hot Chocolate from scratch (Recipes from Country Parent and Short Presents)
  29. Attend Free Movie Night at a library or community center
  30. Play a board game
  31. Build an indoor fort
  32. Colour in colouring books
  33. Make Borax Icicles
  34. Play with Bubbles inside in the bath tub
  35. Learn how to draw or paint (use Youtube videos as tutorials)
  36. Go to the library and explore
  37. Make a bird feeder (Frozen Treat Wreath, Variety of FeedersPine Cone Feeder, or Hanging Bird Treats
  38. Have a movie marathon day at home
  39. Learn how to sew or knit simple items
  40. Make homemade holiday ornaments or decorations
  41. Play card games like Crazy 8's, Go FishSkip Boetc
  42. Visit grandparents or great grandparents
  43. Write letters to grandparents or relatives
  44. Visit the zoo or a museum (watch for seasonal activities and rates)
  45. Learn to dance, ballroom or line dancing is fun. (Check on Youtube for tips and how-to's)
  46. Make their own Youtube videos
  47. Learn a new skill on Youtube  (craft, play a song, etc)
  48. Make homemade cookies together (Chocolate Chip Cookies, Crinkle Cookies, or Cake Mix Cookies)
  49. Go to a local high school or college sports game 
  50. Visit local landmarks or historical monuments and learn about where you live.
  51. Go to the beach in search of shells or pebbles (the beach is so much fun in winter, a different experience for the kiddos) 
  52. Have an indoor picnic
  53. Give the kids a camera for an hour and then print off or make an online album to showcase the images.
  54. Create a scrapbook (give the kids pictures, stickers and papers to use)
  55. Make their own puzzle (kids can draw or color on cardboard and then cut into pieces, or use photos glued to popsicle sticks and cut to seperate)
  56. Make sock puppets or Sock Snowmen
  57. Make homemade play dough
  58. Fill a cookie sheet with shaving cream and let them "paint" and write notes in it. Add colour with drops of food colouring.
  59. Make homemade musical instruments (tambourines, maracas, etc.)
  60. Make paper snowflakes
  61. Build an obstacle course in your yard (snow makes for a fun obstacle building medium!)
  62. Have a dance party
  63. Indoor Bowling: Use empty water/pop bottles and a tennis ball. Set up in a hallway.
  64. Box Them In! If you have a large box, put the child in the box with markers or crayons and let them decorate the walls of their box.
  65. Make a cardboard box maze indoors (kids can draw and decorate the walls of the maze as they play)
  66. Do kitchen science experiments with the kids (Rainbow Volcanoes) (10 Simple Experiments)
  67. Make simple crafts with supplies around the house (Have Craft Bags ready for use when you need them)
  68. Put on a concert for the stuffed animals in the house. Line them all up like an audience.
  69. Donate toys (have the kids go through their toys and pick out what they no longer play with. Ask them if they want to gift them to someone who has no toys.)
  70. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, help serving or cooking.
  71. Visit seniors at a local nursing home. Contact them ahead of time and ask to visit someone who may not normally have visitors.

Also, for more fun ideas shared in beautiful photos, be sure to check out Pickle Planet Moncton's Snow Day Family Fun: Guest Post by Chera Yorke

A Frugal and Thoughtful Valentine’s Day

A Frugal and Thoughtful Valentine's Day In our busy lives we need to take advantage of time together and stop replacing quality time with giving each other "stuff". Yes, jewellery, flowers and chocolates are all beautiful and appreciated, but planning something to do together is more meaningful and can be more unique. Start by putting the phones away, out of sight, for the evening. (Or even an hour) Another tip is to plan the evening start to finish, on your own. Just let your partner know you have it all planned and you will let them know what you are doing on that day. This is huge, especially if they usually plan the "date nights". Here are a few ideas:
FOOD
  1. Eat in and go out for dessert or coffee.
  2. Cook together. Pick your favourite meals.
  3. If you have young kids, plan a special snack (cheese board or fondu) and/or drink for after they go to bed. Enjoy it while you take time to relax.
ACTIVITIES
  1. Play a board game that you can play and talk.
  2. If you are BOTH into video games, play together.
  3. Go skating at an outdoor rink.
  4. Go sledding.
  5. If you are a book lover. Go to the bookstore together. 
  6. Go for an evening walk
  7. Meet for coffee at lunch time or in the evening.
There are so many things you can do that cost very little money. The key is to do something together and enjoy your times together. Gifts are nice, but don't mean as much as time spent with each other

January 9-15 Our Weekly Meal Plan

Our Weekly Meal Plan Jan 9-15

Hey folks! Have you recovered from the holiday meals, indulgences and schedules yet? This year I felt it took me a little longer to recover, but this morning was for planning and prepping! Yesterday I started to prep and got sidetracked by a messy fridge, thus venturing into the major job of cleaning out the fridge, post holidays. I decided to scrub the inside of the fridge, so needless to say, meal prep got a little delayed. Cleaning the fridge out did help me mentally though. Now I know it is done, another thing off my organizing/purging list! YEA! As you may already know, I am on a weightloss journey and continue to strive to find ways to eat healthier on a budget and that is convenient. Who has the time to be making food from scratch every meal? So, prep day helps with that, and I know there are always going to be new ideas and recipes that make this more and more convenient. We do still eat out occasionally, pizza is my favourite! The kids still get chicken nuggets and fries, candy and treats, all in moderation. My goal for 2017 is to get the whole family more on board with healthier choices. We still have store bought cereal / granola bars, puddings, etc...we are a real family. Not perfect in any way. Trying to make changes a bit at a time to better our lives and our environment. In January 2018, I look forward to seeing what my meal planning includes! Here are a few of the things I do weekly to help us all stay on track during the week and to keep this momma feeling in control of our food choices, (notice I did not say, keep me sane, that might take a little more help!).

Planning:

  • Go through flyers for best prices. Also check online for specials at local butchers, farmer's markets, bakeries and shops.
  • Check freezer, fridge, pantry and make as many meals as possible with these items and items on sale this week.
  • Make menu and shopping list.

Menu:

I usually use this format to plan. Not assigning a day to the meal, but rather having everything prepped to make whichever I feel like doing that day. Here is my plan for this week. Recipes will be added as well, as I get them photographed and posted. Supper Time Planned Meals: January 9-15
  • Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon, Quinoa and Veggies
  • Taco Pie & Salad
  • Homemade Naan BBQ Chicken Pizza & Salad
  • Creamy Pork Chops & Hash brown Casserole
  • Soup & Biscuits
  • Hamburgers & baked Potato and Carrot Wedges
  • Coconut Chicken Strips with Veggies & homemade Hummus
Lunch Time: Our lunches (hubby & I) are usually salad or wrap with some kind of protein (Chicken, Tuna, Egg, etc), or leftovers from supper. I am making Spinach bowls for part of our lunches this week as well. There is a "starting to wilt" bag of spinach in my fridge, thanks to poor meal planning last week! (See, I am totally not a perfectionist with this, and my compost bin outside is rather brimming from the holidays 🙁 . Here's to a fruitful garden next season!) School lunches are usually NOT sandwiches, as my oldest does not like them. So I get creative with what we have on hand. Meat chunks, grape tomatoes, cheese cubes, cut up veggies, etc... Naan bread and hummus or pizza sauce for dipping, will be part of lunches this week. I will be sharing more about school lunches in the coming months. Breakfast Time: We have options ready and available.
  • Breakfast Burritos (In freezer)
  • Boiled Egg & Toast
  • Overnight Oatmeal (recipe below & more to come)
  • Eggos (guess what? I have a waffle maker, but I am lazy about it, so Eggos it is!)
  • yogurt, fruit, cereal always an option

Shopping:

I picked up the following items to restock and prep for this week. Today's shopping was at Atlantic Superstore (I was in to CBC for an interview bright and early, same building as SS, so it was convenient to pop in and get my groceries then)
  • 2 X Minigo 2/$5
  • Plain Greek Yogurt $2.15
  • Coconut Milk $2.99
  • Almond Milk $2.99
  • Fruit Tray, melon & berries $5.99 - 50% = $3 (I am the only one who eats melon, so rarely buy it, this is my treat)
  • Taco Salad $7.50 -50% =$3.75
  • Rolls 6pk $3.49 - 50%= $1.75
  • 1lb Strawberries $4.99
  • English Cucumber $1.49
  • 4 pk Red Peppers $3.99
  • Tomato Variety pack $6.99 - 50% = $3.50
  • 4lb Gala Apples $4.99
  • 4X Nectarines $3.03
  • Lean Ground Beef $11.99 - 50% = $6
  • Lean Ground Beef $12.21 - 50% = $6.10
  • Pork Chops $4.91
  • Pork Chops $4.91
  • Chicken Breasts Value pack $13.52 - $0.75 Coupgon= $12.77 (8 pack,not pictured as I put them in the oven and slow cooker when I got home)
TOTAL: $78.31 This trip will do us longer than a week, as you will see below in the meals I prepped for the freezer. Food I already had on hand or in freezer:
  • rolled oats
  • cocoa
  • honey
  • peanut butter
  • salmon
  • mustard
  • maple syrup
  • canned soup, cream of mushroom
  • potatoes
  • rice
  • quinoa
  • frozen veggies
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • cheese
  • romaine lettuce
  • eggs (from the local market)
  • flour
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • Chickpeas
  • seasonings
  • tomato sauce/pasta sauce

Prep Day:

Prep day eliminates the scramble to prepare meals during the week. It takes time, some weeks more than others, but it is so very worthwhile. Once you get into the groove of doing this weekly, you will find it goes quicker and smoother. For some more meal prep ideas, click here.
  • Boil 8 Eggs: for use with breakfast or snacks throughout the week. Protein!!
  • Cut up and portion veggies for snacks and lunches (carrots, cucumbers and peppers)
  • Broil 4 Chicken Breasts for lunches
  • Package 2 packs of Creamy Pork Chops for the freezer (future meals)
  • Make 2 omelets for lunches (spinach & cooked veggies already in freezer)
  • Make 12 hamburger patties, 4 for this week, 8 to freeze.
  • Make Naan bread. One large for pizza and 2-4 smaller for lunches.
  • Mix up and freeze 2 hash brown casseroles (1 for this week, one for future menu)
  • Cook, portion and freeze 4 cups rice (quinoa works well too, I already have some frozen for me this week).
  • Make Spinach Bowl (sautee spinach with veggies and add a little feta for a side to lunch or supper)
I think that is it...if I missed anything, I will come back and add.

THIS WEEK'S RECIPES

Overnight Oats

In mason jar (or cleaned small salsa jar, like I used), place the following ingredients, give it a good shake, and place in fridge overnight. In the morning you will have a lovely creamy pudding packed with goodness!! Great for breakfast or snack mid morning.
  • 1/3-1/2 cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (regular yogurt if you have it is fine, simply reduce milk to 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4-1/3 Cup Almond Milk, (soy, dairy, etc works as well)
We made ours with this base and added Cocoa Berry: 1 Tbsp Cocoa, 3 Chopped Strawberries, 1 tsp Vanilla and 1 Tbsp Honey. Peanut Butter Cup:  1 Tbsp Cocoa, 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter, 1 tsp Vanilla and 1 Tbsp Honey. (I would add a little more honey when I eat this one, a little bland...next time I am going to try Maple Syrup) The variations are endless. I will be sharing all the combinations we try. So far, these are the first 2 and both are great.

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Biscuits

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Buttermilk (or milk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, let sit 5 min)
Combine dry ingredients and then cut in butter (with pastry cutter or fork). Leave butter a little chunky to allow for airy biscuits when cooked Once a crumbly texture add milk. Combine stirring and then knead on floured surface for a minute. Roll out in rectangle, fold over (making 2 layers of dough, this is what makes them fluffier!!) & roll again. Cut into desired shape. Bake at 375 degrees 30 minutes or until browned.

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Here is one of the past pizza creations with homemade naan bread.

Hosting A Cookie Exchange

Hosting A Cookie Exchange

cookieexchange

I love baking, and Christmas tends to be my favourite time of year for baking, and being creative. That being said, it also gets very expensive to buy all the supplies to create all these little nuggets of goodness!

Wouldn't you rather be spending the money on having fun with your friends and family? I know I would. So let's chat about a fun way to spend time with those you love and share some goodies to use over the holidays.

Cookie Swaps or Cookie Exchanges have been popular for decades, but honestly, I have only participated in a couple. One through a workplace and one with friends. It is a fabulous way to try new cookies and treats and to grow you recipe list as well.

Here are some tips for hosting a successful cookie swap:

Have a theme

Perhaps you want to host an Ugly Sweater Party, Fancy Dresses, or Slippers & PJs! You can get very creative with a theme and it will take the cookie exchange to another level of fun for the evening.

Pick a type of cookie or treat to exchange

Simply pick a type of cookies/treat to share, such as No Bake Treats, or Sugar Cookies. Trust me, there will be a variety no matter what type of cookie or treat you choose. If you select sugar cookies, gingerbread or shortbread, ask that they be decorated in some way with icing or candies.

Send out an invitation

Send an invitation to your friends and family outlining the evening. Be specific with what you are requesting for # of cookies and what they need to bring. You can create the invites and send via email or traditional mail. You could even create a facebook private group and invite the people you are having.

Ask what people  are bringing (about a week in advance)

You don't need to have the specifics, but knowing the types of cookies or treats that are coming will help you ensure there will be a variety for people to take home.

Ask guests to bring samples of the treats

In addition to the amount of cookies required for the exchange, ask your guests to bring a few samples, or smaller versions of the cookie they brought. Set this number according to # of guests attending. This will allow everyone to have a treat at the party and also try the cookies they will be taking home.

 Notify guests of any food allergies

If anyone attending has a food allergy, be sure to request the treats are free of the food they are allergic to.

Share the Recipes

Ask guests to bring their recipe printed out for other guests to take home. If you are into being uniform, you could ask guests to send you the recipes and then print them out together. You can create a yearly Cookie Exchange Recipe Book! Wouldn't that be fun?

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We all have our favourite cookies and holiday treats, participating in a cookie exchange allows us to have a larger variety on hand over the holidays, without having to do all the baking!

I am headed to a cookie exchange with a friend tomorrow night and will be taking my Red & Green Crinkle Cookies. If you are looking for more inspiration, be sure to check the link below for a huge list of holiday cookie ideas!

Need ideas for what to make?

Check out this amazing list shared with me by other Canadian bloggers.

34holidaycookies

Parks Canada Passes- Get Yours Free Now!

Parks Canada Passes- Get Yours Free Now! Your Parks Canada Discovery Pass provides free admission for the entire year to Parks Canada places from coast to coast to coast. Order yours HERE

What is free?

  • Admission to all national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas operated by Parks Canada
  • Lockage at Parks Canada’s historic canals and waterways.

See the full list of Parks Canada places.

What is not free?

Parks Canada is pleased to offer free admission to our places, however, regular fees still apply for other experiences and services, such as:

  • Camping, backcountry and other accommodations;
  • Canadian Rockies Hot Springs;
  • Mooring;
  • Reservation fees;
  • Guided tours and hikes and programs not usually included with admission;
  • Firewood;
  • Backcountry overnight use.

27 Uses for AVON Bubble Bath

27 Uses for AVON Bubble Bath

 

Avon Bubble Bath is always on hand in our house and ready for cleaning, freshening or having a bath!

PRINT PDF VERSION (2 per sheet)

If you plan to use Avon Bubble Bath for cleaning, be sure to pick a scent that is clear and not opaque. The ones that you cannot see through have moisturizers in them, that may cause streaks when cleaning. 

  1. Use to wash down the tub surround, shower walls and doors (Need a scrub? Check out this DIY Shower Cleaner)
  2. Leaves bathroom fixtures and mirrors shining
  3. Cleans the vanity top, cabinets, any surfaces, even your walls
  4. Can replace your body wash.
  5. Use paper towels soaked in 1 part bubble bath to 3 parts water. They make great baby or hand wipes. Store in Ziploc bag in the car for easy cleanup.
  6. Works as a shampoo (I have done this, amazing!!)
  7. Good refill for liquid soap, it’s mild on hands
  8. Use to clean combs and brushes, leaving no residue
  9. Helps reduce toilet bowl build up. Place 1 cap full in the take every week.
  10. Wash your appliances for grease removal and a streak free finish.
  11. Can be used to hand wash dishes in the sink. DO NOT use in a dishwasher.
  12. Use on cabinets and walls. Perfect for removing grease spatters.
  13. Clean the fridge inside and out. It will help remove odors. Choose a fruity or non flowery scent.
  14. Use as a laundry detergent and you no longer need a fabric softener. 1 cap full is all that’s needed to do a great job and to remove stains.
  15. Great for hand-washing delicate items. Frugal substitute for Woolite.
  16. Pre-treat stained items, this works especially great on grease stains. Just dab the stain with bubble bath and let sit 10 minutes. Then wash as normal.
  17. Can be used to shampoo carpets, either the whole carpet or just spot cleaning (I used it in my carpet cleaner. Pick a scent you enjoy, it will keep room smelling fresh for days.) Use 2 cap fulls to a large cleaning machine.
  18. Remove stains from upholstery by rubbing with a damp cloth dipped in bubble bath. Blot to remove stain and dampness.
  19. Cleans windows to a streak free shine.
  20. Polishes all chrome household fixtures.
  21. Can be used to wash no-wax floors – use 1 cap full with 4-6 ltr of warm water.
  22. Will clean your jewelry.
  23. Use to clean your eyeglasses.
  24. Add to the children’s wading pool to keep the pool clean.
  25. Add to cleaning water for cars, campers or trailers. (interior and exterior surfaces)
  26. Use to test tires, blow up pools or gas lines for leaks.
  27. Use as Snail Repellent  in the garden – mix equal parts water and bubble bath and spray on flowers. Do not spray directly on edible plants, spray soil around base.

You could win FREE GAS for a year

You could win FREE GAS for a year #StateFarmFreeGas

You have likely heard me say this in the past, get quotes & call around. Each year it is a good idea to ask for a deal on services you use. For example, calling your internet,  phone or cable provider yearly to negotiate your monthly rates.

This applies to Insurance as well. You pay a yearly rate, likely in monthly installments and just let it keep renewing each year. Sound about right?

Have you added anything to your life that may need additional insurance?  Perhaps a recreational vehicle, renovations to improve your home or your children are hitting the age that will put them behind the wheel. Even if nothing has changed, it really is smart to get a new quote.

Why not see if you can get a better deal? Who wants to spend more money than they have to? NOT ME!

State Farm is not only going to work with you to get the best coverage and rates, they are also offering you a chance to win Free Gas for a year.

Get a quote for your chance to win free gas for a year – it’s that simple! 

State Farm Canada offers insurance coverage for the things that matter most.

Get a quote now and see how you can save money on your home, auto and life insurance — you could win free gas for a whole year!

Enter for your chance to win.

www.statefarmfreegas.ca

Contest details:

The Contest is open to all legal residents of Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta.

How To Enter:
  1. To register for the Contest, visit www.statefarmfreegas.ca
    • Fill out the Contest Registration form by entering your first and last name, email address, and postal code.
    • Submit your Contest Registration form online through the Contest Website.
    • Go to the State Farm Canada Get a Quote page https://www.statefarm.ca/insurance/quotes and enter your postal code to receive a quote for Auto, Homeowners, Condo or Tenants Insurance.

Access to the Internet and a Facebook Account are required to submit a Contest Registration. No purchase necessary. Limit one Contest Registration per person, per email address, or Facebook account.

~ Brought to you by State Farm. All opinions are my own.~