Thursday, August 25, 2011

The 4 Month Countdown

I have a confession to make, I am a Christmas FANATIC!  I love nothing more each year than the Christmas music, parties, baking, sending and receiving of cards, gift wrapping, snow… I just love everything about the season!  And today I came to the realization that CHRISTMAS IS IN EXACTLY 4 MONTHS!
I don’t know how many of you are this excited for Christmas each year, but I start looking forward to the next Christmas just days after the current one has passed!
Being frugal, means lots of pre work, but BOY – OH – BOY does it save us so much money and stress each year!  I always want to be sure that are gifts are thoughtful, and well received.  I want the baking to be fresh and delicious and I always want to be sure that I mail a Christmas card to each and every person that is important in our lives.  Being from a large family, we typically have between 20 – 30 gifts to buy each year, 5 – 10 Christmas parties or gatherings to attend and bring food too and very little free time during the month of December. 
This year is am SUPER OVER THE TOP REDUCILOUSLY EXCITED because it is my first Christmas as a parent!  I know that my son will only be 7 months old, but I cannot wait to start traditions, play Santa and watch him experience his first Christmas.  I have literally been dreaming of being a parent at Christmas since I was small. 
With all of this business and Holiday Cheer, it can be a task to stay on budget, on time and full of the holiday spirit.  So, here are a few tips that I find helpful in staying organized and on budget for each Christmas:
·         In everything I do to prepare for Christmas I crank the Christmas Music or pop in a Christmas DVD.  This always helps me to stay cheerful and in the spirit of the season.  Plus My husband has mead a rule that Christmas music may only be played during the month of December each year!

·         I buy all of my wrapping and cards for the next Christmas during the boxing week sales right after the current Christmas passes.  I cannot say that I have EVER paid full price for any of these items!  I have a gift / craft / wrapping room in my basement where I keep all of my pre bought gifts and wrapping organized and ready to use all year long.  It is quite possibly my favourite room in the house!

·         I start writing out my Christmas cards at the beginning of November.  This allows me the time to make each one personal and special – without feeling rushed (or cramping my hand)!

·         I start buying gifts all year long!  What better place to start buying gifts than the days after the current Christmas?  I watch for sales all year, and pick up items for people as I see them on sale.  This saves us a BUNDLE of money in the end, and allows me to spread out our shopping over a year’s worth of pay cheques.  It also means that I usually miss the Christmas rushes at the mall, as I am always sure to be DONE my shopping by the beginning of December.

·         We always buy our Christmas décor items on sale after Christmas time.  I store all of our Christmas items during the year anyways, so why pay full price?  I got our 8 foot pre lit Christmas tree for 75% off with a pre lit wreath and storage bag this way!  Because I want to have a house full of festive items at Christmas time, this is the way I can afford to do it.

·         I start baking at the beginning of December (sometimes the end of November).  Baking generally freezes really well!  So I bake an item every time I have a chance.  As long as your freeze them in separate containers, everything turns out tasting fresh and not like the other baking!

·         I start wrapping gifts as soon as they are completely purchased.  There is nothing worse than a mad dash to wrap all the gifts the night before!  I always want our gifts to look like they have been wrapped with care.  As I mentioned I am always done buying gifts by the beginning of Dec, and they are all typically wrapped at least 1 week before Christmas.

·         I start stocking up on appetizers and finger foods early.  I love the frozen boxes of gourmet this and that, but they can get expensive.  As they go on sale, I stock up.  It makes taking food to events a breeze and I don’t have to think about what to get!  It is also super handy for those surprise visitors around the Holidays!
Jheesh!  All this Christmas talk is getting me excited already and it isn’t even Thanksgiving or Halloween yet!
If you have any tips or tricks that you use to stay on budget, time and in the spirit during the holidays, please let me know!  I am always looking for a new tip or trick to make the Holidays great!
I would also love to hear any tips you have on making Baby’s First Christmas memorable! 
Have a great day, and happy 4 month countdown!
Enjoy a few Photos of Christmas's Past...

our tree and all the wrapped gifts

I love teh decorating of our house

nothing better than fresh Christmas baking!

This is my Hubby's job (with some direction from me of course!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Morning Funnies with Autocorrect!

I thought I would take a moment to pass on to you all a website that I can't get enough of - enjoy a laugh on me today :)
So a Girlfriend of mine was laughing hysterically when I arrived for a visit one day.  Naturally, I took a peek over her shoulder to see what was so funny  on her laptop.  It was this website called
This website is a collection of I phone auto corrections that can really alter what a person is trying to say!  For the next 20 minutes we stood there, reading through hundreds of text messages people had sent that had been auto corrected! 
Here are a few that I found funny… but if you want a good laugh this morning head on over to the website and have a look yourself!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nursery on a Budget!

So the baby was coming, and the nursery was still being used as our work out room!  What was a frugal Mum – to – be like myself to do?  The costs of being a new Mum and getting all of the “essential” items were piling up in my head (and the total was not balancing out well with my bank account)!  So I began to bargain hunt. 
Now you must understand that if there is a bargain to be had, I will have it!  It is a gift that my own Mum passed down to me… and that has saved us a lot of money on many occasions.  I am frugal and proud of it!  
I started with bedding set, as it would determine our theme.  Once I got looking around I was shocked at the cost of such tiny items!  So I turned to E Bay… and voila!  I found the perfect set for our son’s room at a fraction of the cost other stores were asking, and it was brand new!  We purchased all the bedding, 2 lamp shades, wall decor (excluding the border – I can’t stand doing wall paper!) for just $49.99 plus $15.00 shipping!  I was ecstatic... but there was still the anticipation of waiting to see if the delivered product actually looked like the photo (I posted the photo below). 
if you are interested take a look the ebay store here:

The delivered product was exactly what we were expecting! I could not have been happier!
Next we decided to pick a neutral wall color, as I did not want to have to re-paint the room if we had another child that was a girl!  I picked the green out of the bedding set, and my husband went to town on the walls (shucks darn, couldn’t help because I was pregnant! Ha).  Paint is never very expensive, and gives such a fresh feeling to a re – purposed room!
Good Bye old work out room...

Ahhh, fresh paint makes such a differance!

While the paint was being applied, I was already on the hunt for furniture… by far the most expensive part of any room reno, and not something we could afford.  I played around with the options of buying used (off of kijiji or craigs list)… but who needs used when Zellers was having a 50 – 75% off sale for their “baby days”?!  We got a Crib, change table and dresser for $120.00 (it was 75% off the sale price)!  I was all over this deal!  I drove to 4 Zeller’s stores until I found the color I wanted (dark wood, again gender neutral and toned down the bright walls).  This furniture is awesome, not to big or clumsy and the price was irresistible (especially when I had $50.00 in gift cards I had saved)! 
Next was the trip to ikea for shelves… the shelves we purchased were $19.99… and a perfect color to match the other furniture.  We also grabbed 2 $5.00 light stands for the lamp shades and a $10.00 set of window coverings (which were to long, so I hemmed them and used the extra fabric to make some extra accent pillows for the room and some curtain tie backs!)… all in all I could handle those prices! 
Our gliding ottoman was a gift from my parents… so we were set!   

Time to assemble all the furnature...

Over the course of 2 months, we had a FABULOUS nursery and hadn’t spent 1/3 of what I had thought it would cost us to do.  Now, in these photos we had yet to put up any wall décor, so I will have to take some new photos of the walls soon and post them for you to see!

If you have any other good, money saving décor stories please pass them along!  I still have some spaces in the house that could use some sprucing up!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You can’t fit 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack...

It often seems to me that the hardest part of life is learning how to prioritize everything. How do you balance work, home, parenting, social life...?!  I often sit and wonder if the saying that you “can’t fit 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound sack” was actually said by someone who felt they were being pulled in 100 different directions?  Not one who was over weight?

I think that I am fairly good at balancing my life… I am always learning, and growing, but in all I think that I do a fairly good job. But how do we ever know? Who teaches us how to balance our lives? Once you think you have it all under control something always changes, marriage, having children, buying a house, jobs (yours or your spouses) become more demanding or change… Life is definitely a journey full of twists and turns.

My biggest challenge used to be balancing my work and home life (I tended to work a lot…) and balancing families. My side of the family is huge, where my husband’s side is very small… Now I am in a new season of life with my son.  How do I balance his needs, my needs and my husband’s needs while still catering to other family and friends?  Jheesh!
Now being a mother myself to a 12.5 week old – I have to say that I admire and love my own mother so much more!  How she did it all is something that I do not yet understand, but hope to get a grasp of soon.  My husband is one to watch – he is the master at having too much to do but still getting it all done.  He not only works full time, but us currently getting his M.B.A – not to mention always helping when I need it and being a great first time Dad.

The one thing I have found helpful over the last few years is to always have my general list of priorities in my head ( and the more detailed day to day in my black berry).  I use them as a “check list” when it feels like life is spinning out of control!  For Example (in nor particular order) my general priorities include; my family, myself, my home, my faith… Within those there are the smaller things like; laundry, cleaning, groceries…  Gah!  Just writing it down makes me feel as though I am spinning out of control.

My new motto in life is – if it doesn’t get done because the baby is crying, I will just have to do it tomorrow.

Anyways that is all I have for today.  Just thinking and thought I would write it down.  I know that many of my friends are going through these same things, so i thought you may be too.  Or perhaps you have gone through this stage in life and you have some words of wisdom for me?  Help!?

My men ... and my current #1 priority

First Entry - but what to write?

Hey Everyone!

Ahhh… scary and exciting my first entry on this blog! Wow what to say? This is funny because I am a woman who can not stop talking! Yet, now that I can say whatever I want – my mind is blank. My husband is going to love this - haha

I think I should tell you the reason that I decided to start blogging a few years ago.  I had a very successful blog around social media, but stopped writing it after a shift at work.  (if you are interested, feel free to take a look here; ).
(Please bear with me as this will seem to go off course, but it is leading up to my reason. I promise!)

My blogging all spawned out of a dear friend of mine who was an avid and phenomenal blogger. She was honest, sexy, whitty, lovely, true to herself, even raw at times… she was Bree. Bree has been blogging since the summer of 2007 and I have been following her blog since the day she started it. I remember her coming onto msn and saying “ok… I started a blog and you have to read it and tell me if it is completely stupid!”. From day 1 I was hooked. Not because Bree was one of my closest friends or because I felt I had to. I read Bree’s blog every day because it was her story. A story that I am proud to read, I cry and laugh with her as she writes it… her rawness and honesty I will/do cherish forever.

Bree and I have been friends since highschool… She is spunky, kind hearted, generous, caring and full of life. Bree recently passed away.
She had a medical condition called SCID – (Severe Combined Immune Deficiency) that affected her lungs to the point of needing a transplant.  Against all odd’s she had a double lung transplant and survived it, actually she THRIVED from it.  It was a brain infection that took Bree from this world on May 25, 2011.  I found out on May 19th (while in labor) that she was brain dead and living off life support… 6 days later they let her go.  Losing a friend and having a son is a roller coaster ride I would have rather not taken.

to read Bree's blog go to:

I decided recently, that even if my blog only ever amounts to being a record of my life, captured in my writing…. than it is worth it. If it can help someone along the way, as Bree’s has and still does, great. If not, I will have a record for my loved ones if something was to ever happen to me. Not that I am trying to be dark or morbid… but you never know. Nothing is certain. I realized, as Bree has now passed on, that if nothing else I would always have her blog and always feel that she was with me. Bree came very close to death many times, but her blog was always a comfort – an honest picture of who Bree was.  Now more than ever I cherish the words she has written.

Bree, with her blog, was my inspiration for this blog. So if it doesn’t amount to anything, or never gets read… I will still be glad that I wrote it.  Funny where our inspirations come from, eh?  Who knew that losing a friend just 5 days after having my first son would inspire me to write again?

Well I should get off of here and get dinner started, the baby fed and another load of laundry into the wash… ahhh a Mum’s work is never done.