Birthday Party Made Easier With A Plan! #Grecoville

This past weekend we celebrated Clayton's birthday with his friends. He turned 6 back on December 30th, but this year he asked for a party with some of his friends. So, when planning what to do, where to go and what to eat, I went with the ease of a hosted party, at a fun location and we ordered our food ahead of time from Greco Pizza.

This post is sponsored by Greco. We received pizza and compensation for this post, but all opinions and wording are our own.

Easy, Simple and Stress Free!!

Weekend Wanderings – Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest

This post is sponsored by Jack Frost Children's Winterfest.* 

Our Weekend Wanderings took us to Charlottetown, PEI, in late February. We packed up the car with our family of 4, and were on the road to the Jack Frost Children's Winterfest. Only a few hours from Moncton, this was the perfect weekend adventure. For this particular adventure, we left Moncton around noon on Friday, and arrived back home Sunday at suppertime. Our VIP Package included hotel stay for 2 nights, welcome bag for the kids upon arrival, snacks each night (if you are at the hotel at the time), breakfast with various kids show characters and early access to the sites each day.

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 (Feb, 2017 - 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 for Family Activities in Moncton, check out Free Things To Do In Moncton.

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.

Wild Lights at the Magnetic Hill Zoo 

Wild Lights at the Magnetic Hill Zoo

wildlights

*our family received passes in exchange for writing this post. All opinions & experiences remain my own.

Our family have been Magnetic Hill Zoo patrons for years. We have had season passes several years, attended birthday parties and zoo camps and always try to fit in at least one Spring Sunday opening each year. Now, we have a new yearly event to attend. I was looking forward to seeing and experiencing the Wild Lights display, but really had no idea just how well it was done.

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?

~~~~

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

Preschooler Thoughts – Cows, Milk and Poop?

Preschooler Thoughts: by Clayton 3.5 yrs old

Preschooler Thoughts - Cows, Milk and Poop?

Clayton
A little rest on our Journey at King's Landing Historic Village. Aug 2016
Out of the mouth of babes! I have to start sharing more of these moments with you. Remembering these little tidbits of childhood wisdom and funny moments will get harder as time goes on, so sharing to preserve them and perhaps share with his girlfriend in the future! Yesterday as Clayton was eating yogurt at the kitchen table. Clayton: "yogurt and milk is from cows. " Hubby: "yes, from cows." Clayton: "and sometimes they poop too." Us: giggle, giggle "yes, they do that too."
Now wondering what the thought process was for him yesterday as we explored King's Landing and encountered many cows. Where does he think poop comes from? I cannot remember what I have told him about the whole process. oh dear.