I was running errands this morning and in the store I came across a section of clearance Easter craft items. For only $5, I was able to create the Angry Birds Easter Egg Game! I am positive that my daughter will love this game as she LOVES Angry Birds and it will be the only time I willingly allow eggs to be tossed around our home.
- Plastic Filler Eggs
- Angry Birds Eggcessory Stickers
- Small Pebbles (or something to weigh down the “birds”)
- Building Blocks or Lego
- Decorate the plastic filler eggs with the Angry Bird stickers to make yourself a batch of pigs and birds.
- Fill you “birds” with something to weigh them down such as pebbles, or marbles and tape the seal shut. You don’t want them to be rock solid, but heavy enough to take down the blocks.
- Build a tower and place your pigs strategically.
- Toss your Angry Birds and have fun!
*I purchased the filler eggs and stickers from Shopper’s Drugmart!
It comes to no surprise that having children can be expensive. It is estimated that to raise a child from birth to 18 (before university) can cost $243,660. Now that Hubby and I are expecting our first son, the need to start buying baby supplies. We were VERY fortunate to be given lots of gifts which ultimately limited the amount we had to buy for the Princess. We are now fully aware of the true costs, both up front and hidden, and are prepping for the arrival of our Rainbow. Here are just a few ways to save money on the initial costs.
- Buy on Sale. Seems pretty obvious but some people leave shopping to the last-minute and end up paying full price on things that routinely go on sale. Monitor stores that carry the items you are looking for and watch for them to go on sale.
- Coupons. There are many sites that you can sign up for coupons that are mailed to your home. In Canada, it’s much harder to Extreme Coupon but you are still able to save money on things such as diapers, clothes and baby wash. Many of these same sites will send you free samples. Also, feel free to email your favourite brands directly. I LOVE Johnson & Johnson products and wrote to the manufacturer explaining that I really love their products and in response, they sent me free high-priced coupons as well as a voucher for a free pack of their assorted products. The worst thing they can say is no and at the best, you receive free products and coupons. Also, to maximize on the savings, apply coupons to items that are on sale.
- Baby Item Swaps. As Mommy’s and Daddy’s, we have a group of fellow parents who like us, keep our baby stuff “just in case” we come to expect another baby. So why not capitalize on free stuff while making room in your closets. A friend of mine is expecting a girl and only has boys and I am expecting a boy and was elbow deep in girl stuff, so we met up and did a swap. We were able to trade items at no cost. A little piece of advice, don’t include clothes that are stained or torn.
- Donation Parties. In lieu of baby showers, a new trend is Donation Parties. Women who are expecting make a list of the things that they need and ask close friends and family who have baby stuff and go through the list and see who is willing to give you which items. This may not be for everyone, and that is why it is best to only invite people who you are VERY close with and not your neighbour whom you only see occasionally.
- EBay or Kijiji. These online sites are great for purchasing baby items at a lower cost. Babies and children grow really fast and only wear items for a short period so most of the clothes are in great condition. Be aware of what you are buying and ensure that it is the correct season for your child. Also, ask to see pictures and know if the items come from pet or smoke free homes. I wouldn’t recommend buying certain items, but clothing is usually pretty safe. Be sure to wash it before you put it on your baby.
- Buy What You Need, Not Want. You can find lists in every parenting magazine of things that you “NEED” for your little one. Everyone would love those wipe warmers and new fangled gadgets, but your baby doesn’t need them and more often than not, they are money traps. When we brought the Princess home, I dressed her in dress clothes, and what a disaster. I have learned that less is more. Sleepers and onesies are the best clothes in the first few months of life. Babies eat, poop, sleep and repeat and do not care what they are wearing. They have no preference for which items get stained in their latest diaper assault.
- Keep Stock of What You Already Have. If you already have children, keeping essential items is always a great money saver. Hubby and I kept our crib, breast pump, glass bottles, play pen and bedding (as it is gender neutral). Do keep an eye on certain items that may be too old such as car seats as they expire after 5 years.
I went and had my eyebrows waxed earlier this week and while putting lotion on my skin, the technician pointed out that I was in desperate need of a facial. Possibly the weather is wreaking havoc on my skin, but it is very dry and blotchy. Trips to the spa are lovely don’t get me wrong, but when I can make my own facial at home that is just as effective, I do. This mask has only 2 ingredients and is easy to make. It helps tighten the pores and even out the skin tone.
- 1 Egg White
- 3 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
- Combine the egg white and lemon juice in a bowl.
- Whisk until frothy for approximately 3 minutes.
- Rub on your clean skin in a circular motion but stay away from the eyes and mouth.
- Leave for 30 minutes until firm.
- Rinse off and pat dry.
*I use lemon juice as I have oily skin, but if you have dry skin, you can add oils. Look online for the best oils to suit your skin type.*
Lately the Princess has been saying “that’s a great idea” all the time. Doesn’t matter if it is making dinner or telling her it is time for a shower, everything is a “great idea”. My “great idea” was to refurbish the dressers that once were my parent’s wedding present, then became my dressers when I was a poor struggling university student and have been makeshift dressers and storage for the Princess. From the photo’s below you will see that 29 years can really take its toll on furniture. I’m all about making old look like new and on a budget, so for only $25, we were able to take these dressers and make them look brand new. All that was needed was a 945 mL latex glossy paint, knobs from Ikea, sandpaper and wood filler. As Hubby is the handy type, he already had the paint brushes, sander and sandpaper and the wood filler, so all we needed were the knobs and paint.
On Monday, we emptied the Princess’ room and began sanding the dressers and removing the remainder of the knobs. Wood filler did its job by filling in the dings and scrapes that were caused over time. After they were washed, the first coat of paint went on. As we had to paint in the Princess’ room she had to sleep in our bed, which meant that Hubby and I took turns sleeping on the couch as the Princess takes up an enormous amount of room for her short stature. The fans were on and the windows open so thankfully none of the fumes travelled to the rest of our home. Tuesday and Wednesday added another coat of paint and Thursday the knobs went on. After 4 days, Hubby and I are pooped. The Princess was not happy about being kept away from her room and tried to supervise as much as humanly possible and took her frustration out on us while we were sleeping. Needless to say, the dressers look amazing and as Hubby says “Mommy only has great ideas…like redoing dressers and getting me to do them.” 🙂
Hubby and I have been doing a full makeover of our budget, and our grocery bill took a big cut. Prior to our budget cut, we were spending an outrageous amount a month on groceries for the two of us, Princess and our pets. We didn’t plan our meals, had a lot of food that spoiled and leftovers that didn’t get eaten. But once we sat down and really looked at what we were spending, we were able to cut our budget by approximately $200. We still buy our pet food, cleaning and toiletries and include that in our grocery shopping. So I have compiled a list of things that we do to cut down on our grocery costs.
- Plan your meals. I plan only 5 meals a week. Sometimes we have leftovers one night or we order take out or have family dinner’s elsewhere, but Hubby and I only cook 5 nights a week. We try to eat 1 meal of chicken, pork, fish, beef and a vegetarian dish a week so not to get bored.
- Watch the cut of your meats. Most people know that certain cuts of meats are more expensive than others. Boneless, skinless chicken costs much more than those with the skin on and bone in. Also, pre-made hamburgers cost more than ground beef and made at home.
- Coupons. While I’m no extreme couponer, there are many sites online where you can sign up for coupons to be sent in the mail or printed at home. You may not have your entire grocery bill covered, but a few dollars here and there definitely help.
- Don’t Shop Hungry. This may sound silly, but if your tummy is rumbling, you are more likely to buy food on impulse.
- Buy Fruits & Vegetable that are in season. Fruits and Vegetables that are in season cost less than those that aren’t, so when planning your weekly meals, try for those that are in season. For an up-to-date list on in season fruits and veggies in Ontario, here is the Foodland Ontario list.
- Compare Prices. At most grocery stores, they will list the prices and sizes and sometimes in small print, they will have the cost per serving. I like to check these so while I may be paying a little more for a product, it costs less money per serving, so it works out in the long run.
- Make Big Batches and Freeze. Hubby and I are notorious for this. We like to spend a majority of our Sundays cooking soups, stews, and sauces and then we freeze them for future meals.
- No Name Brands. Paying for name brands can really add up. If you are to compare a name brand can of soup with a no name brand, the ingredients are very similar but the no name brand costs less as the cost for branding is much less than the name brand.
- Shop the Outer Parts of the Store. Not only are the food on the outer ring of the store better for you, but they are cheaper than the stuff down the aisles.
- Bring a List. When you bring a list with you and stick to it, you are less likely to buy things on impulse.
- Competitive Pricing. Some grocery stores have weekly flyers and also have competitive pricing. So if you bring a flyer to your usual grocery store and their item costs more than at another store, sometimes, depending on store policy, they will adjust the price to stay competitive.