Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Winter Centerpiece

While running into Michaels the other day to grab yarn for another DIY project, I was totally in awe at all the gorgeous winter wonderland style decorations and pieces that they had out. It reminded me that I wanted to update the centerpiece on our table and so I decided to leave Michaels, since the expensive decorations were extremely tempting, and hit up Dollarama for some DIY project supplies. 

Roll of gold sparkle fabric, winter "braches" and some platic snowflakes, $5

Once I got home, I consulted my "Christmas" board on Pinterest and was ready to get started. First, I threw on some my super cozy footsie pajamas and made myself a hot chocolate with whipped cream to get me in the mood. This step is 100% manditory!

I gathered my supplies from Dollarama and then went out to the yard and the park nearby to get the rest. This included sticks and pinecones. To make these look more wintery, I lightly painted them with some leftover white wall paint then added some clear sparkling nailpolish.

Once everything was dry I threw it all together in a simple glass vase and set that on top of my "table runner" (fabric I got at Dollarama). 

Then I added the branches from the dollar store. Last, I found some of my shiny thread (also from Dollarama in the past) and started hanging snowflakes from the branches. I also scattered some of them alongside the pinecones beside the vase. 

Overall, I am totally happy with both the $5 price tag and the end result. My house feels more wintery already and I haven't even started my actual Christmas decorating! I hope this motivates you to get to work on some of your own decorating.

In fact, this project was so much fun it convinced me to add a DIY section to the blog. I am not super original, so most of my projects are copies of things I love off of Pinterest or a things I've seen at the store.  I still want to share the projects that I do as motivation, though. Do it yourseld projects are such a huge part of frugal and simple living, plus they're really enjoyable. Hopefully sharing what I'm up to will encourage you to save money by attempting some of your own projects in the near future. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Free Food

Yesterday I decided to redeem some points and get some free food! I am totally surprised by the number of people who grocery shop but don't bother with a rewards system. In my opinion, it is totally worth it.

I redeemed PcPlus Points at Superstore and Optimum points at Shoppers Drug Mart. In case you aren't familiar, PC Points is a system used at most Loblaws Inc. stores across Canada, including Real Canadian Superstores, Loblaws, Independent, No Frills, Valu Mart, CityMarket and a ton of others depending on where you live. It offers points, both in-store and digitally, for buying certain items. Read more about it here

Yes, points can take a while to add up (it's much faster if you load extra offers digitally though) but either way it ends up being free food with very minimal effort on our part. 

Here is what I got yesterday by redeeming 30,000 PC Points ($30) and 8,000 ($10) Optimum Points. I also received 2,500 PC Points from my shopping trip which will amount to another $2 . 50 free groceries in the future. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Baby's Coming Freezer Food Part #1

One month, fifteen days, seven hours and fifty five minutes until Baby Larochelles' due date. 1 month, 15 days, 7 hrs and 55 minutes....

How can one period of time seem so long and so short at the same time?! I am so ready to not be pregnant anymore, to not get leg cramps, not have heartburn, not feel like a whale, not waddle while I walk. I am so ready to be able to climb all the way up the stairs without having an asthama attack, but I am also so not prepared to have a baby in this house! One of the main things I am going to do to make life a little less hectic when our little man is born is to start preparing freezer food.

This is one of the biggest suggestions I have seen and heard from women who have already had babies. New moms (and dads) need to eat in order to have enough energy to care for a baby. Also, did you know you actually need to consume more extra calories while breastfeeding than while pregnant! So, in order to keep from overspending on premade or frozen food at the grocery store, or filling up on fast food after baby comes, I want to have some good, healthy, non-processed and quick to make food ready to go in the freezer.

Anyone who is on Pinterest has definitely seen quite a few crazy looking freezer meal articles up there, like "50 Freezer Meals in 20 Minutes for $30"... Okay, I may be over exagerating a bit but while the articles sound awesome, many seem just a little unrealistic or like too much to take on at once (especially while pregnant). Also, I really like using fresh fruits and vegetables in my dinners so frozen meals you can just dump in the crockpot don't really appeal to me. So, instead of doing a huge freezer meal session and having full meals made up for after baby comes, I plan to focus more on freezing small batches of my favourite breakfast, lunch and snack food over the next month and then just including a few dinner items which I can incorporate into a quick meal.
After tons of research and consideration, I picked out a few simple foods that freeze really well and I think will fit my family's needs best.
Fruit Muffins
Waffles or Pancakes
Breakfast Sandwhiches or Breakfast Burritos
Banana Loafs
Homemade Granola Bars
Lunch Burritos
Freezer Pizzas
I love the idea of having breakfast all ready to go because it makes mornings so much easier. With these things prepared, my husband can grab a quick bite before work and I can eat something right after I wake up.
Muffins, granola bars, loafs and cookies are also great snacks that can be thrown straight from the freezer and into my husbands lunch box, helping him resist the temptation to buy lunch at McDonalds or somewhere else! I also really love homemade granola bars because I don't really like eating protein other than at dinner and this is a good way to sneak it in.
I chose meatballs and chili because there are sooo many different things that you can do with them. I can thaw out some freezer meatballs or a freezer bag of chili and easily use them to make different dinners depending on my mood.
I will update more once I actually get cooking. I plan to share which foods I actually end up making, how I plan to use them and recipes that I used along with other feedback.