Category Archives: Frugal Living

Mr. Stork has arrived in Ottawa!

 

I don’t know about you, but it feels like Mr. Stork has arrived in Ottawa. If feels like a baby boom is happening in Ottawa. Don’t you feel like everyone you know has either had a baby, having a baby or trying to have a baby. It’s wonderful news. All of it. Super excited for all of you and your friends. We’re adding to Ottawa’s population people! Keep it up!

I have to admit that when someone tells me their having a baby, I’m eager to tell them about all the cool websites, checklists and forums that they should sign up for.  I’m that guy. Some websites that offered me some fabulous advice and tips that I just have to share with everyone.

When I was pregnant, I was very thankful when people offered their two cents. Of course, you always take what you want from it and leave the rest, which is what I hope you will do with the following list.

Here is my list of great websites and resources that you should pay attention to if you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or have a little one.

Trying to have a baby

Getting pregnant wasn’t easy for my husband and I (I’ll save that story for another blog post). While we were trying to “relax and let it happen”, here are a few websites that I kept my eyes on while we were trying to conceive (TTC).

Baby Centre – Community: They have a great TTC section for those that want to talk with others that are going through the same thing. They also have subgroups for those dealing with more specific and/or delicate situations.

Fertility Friend: A great online tracking tool to figure out your ovulation window. If you are tracking your temperature, this site will be very useful for you. They also have a great app that you can download for free.

Ottawa Fertility Center: I count myself very lucky to have been refered here. This clinic took really good care of us and if you ever have to visit this center, I hope they take good care of you too.

Early Pregnancy Tests Online: Buying all those pregnancy and ovulation tests can really add up. This website has great prices on everything you’ll need TTC.

 

Your pregnant (!*$&!)

Congrats! This is the time to take care of yourself and indulge in those crazy cravings (buffalo chicken wraps and red delicious apples for me!). Don’t worry about how much you’re sleeping. Do it. Take advantage of it. You’ll be surprised how little you’ll get later (unless you have a “angel baby” that sleeps all night from day 1… then I hate you… just kidding.. sort of).

Baby Centre – Community: Once you’re pregnant, move over to the pregnancy section. Baby Centre has also created birth groups, so that you can interact with other moms who are due around the same time as you. Baby Centre also has some great apps that you can download which will track your baby’s progress week by week.

Baby Centre – Baby Registry Checklist: I love lists. This is a great one to get your baby registry up and going. It’s very overwhelming all the stuff you need to buy. This is a great checklist to get you started.

Old Navy Maternity: Shortly after you get pregnant you’ll start to notice that some things that fit loose one day, might be a little tighter the next. In comes maternity clothing. You may be lucky and get a wack load of clothing that you’re previous pregnant friend has and lets you borrow, but you might be pregnant in the opposite season as her or what she’s lending to you really isn’t your style.  Every Old Navy in Canada, I believe as of February 2013, should now have a small maternity clothing section. Old Navy often have sales on clothing (40% off everything!). So keep an eye out for these sales. Thyme and Motherhood Maternity also have good sales too once in a while.

Freebies for new moms: Sign up for ALL OF THEM. So fun!

 

Baby is here (!*$&! x2)

Now let the fun begin. Most of us have no idea what were doing. Just keep in mind, this baby has never had a parent before you, so don’t worry if you mess up, it can judge you.

A Cup of Joe (blog): I love this blog and her writing style. She’s a mom with two boys living in New York. My favorite blog post on her blog, is actually written by her husband. Every new mom and dad should read 8 confessions of a new dad. I have to agree with the 9 month comment. Let me know what you think.

Jenny wears glasses list of Ottawa consignment stores: For everything else that you didn’t get at your baby shower, don’t forget to go to visit consignment stores. You can often find what you need, in great condition and at a lower price.

Sleep Easy Solution: For those parents that might need to sleep train their kid. This book saved us.  I buy it for every baby shower I go to now. I always hope that you will never have to open or use this book, but I always find it comforting to know that you have it in your back pocket.

Information about Breath Holding Spells: Now I’m not adding this here to scare anyone, it’s more for information purposes. I never heard of this before I had my daughter and knew nothing about it.

 

What are your favorite websites/resources/tips? Let me know. I would love to hear them.

 

Saving your photos

Hello Internets,

What website do you use to save your family photos? Do you use an online site like Photobucket, Flickr or Picasa? Do you dump everything into a cloud? Do you back things up on USB or external hard drives? People! How do you stay organized!?!?!?

I’ve been stressed out lately that my computer will crash one of these days and I won’t have any of my photos, other than the ones I post on social media sites.

Please let me know what you do.

41 Halloween-y things to do in october

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{costume: Hello Kitty}

This is my daughter’s year of “firsts”. Last year, she didn’t react much to the holidays. She was a cute, adorable potato. Even though she was still a little person, she didn’t laugh, react or point to things the way she does now. NOW, the holidays are going to get interesting. She’s going to react to things, pull ornaments off trees, get scared, eat some treats, she’s going to really experience  the holidays.

Now, she may or may not remember these days, but hopefully with the magic of photo and video, I can help her remember some of these beautiful moments and start traditions that will continue for years to come.

The first holiday that I’m really excited for it Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Not only do you get to dress up, eat delicious pumpkin spiced food and carve pumpkins, my birthday is in October (not near Halloween, but close enough).

This year, as I want to make a Halloween special. I’ve made a list of great things to do during the Halloween season.

  1. Eat pumpkin poop
  2. Spider ice cubes
  3. Make pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon for breakfast
  4. Make Halloween cookies
  5. Make hot dog mummies for dinner
  6. Make hot apple cider
  7. Make hot mulled wine
  8. Make pumpkin pretzels
  9. Make tin can lanterns
  10. Glowing ghosts
  11. Magnetic spiders
  12. Candy centrepiece: using candy corn, candy pumpkins, add a tree (use a paper towel roll to keep the tree in place)
  13. Make a monster door
  14. Get your toddler to paint a pumpkin
  15. Tissue paper ghosts
  16. Spooky forest craft (black construction paper, branches and googly eyes)
  17. Halloween preschool sensory bag pumpkin
  18. Masking tape mummy
  19. Slimy eyes (sensory bag with cheap hair gel)
  20. Erupting pumpkins
  21. Goggly eye soup
  22. Goblin gut sensory painting (might be fun to do in the water/sand table)
  23. Flying ghosts rockets
  24. Pumpkin bowling
  25. DIY Halloween Hair Dye (with sidewalk chalk)
  26. Watch adult Halloween movies (Hocus Pocus, Halloween, The Nightmare Before Christmas)
  27. Watch a Halloween movie kids (The Haunted Mansion, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Casper)
  28. Make a Halloween necklace
  29. Colour a Halloween picture
  30. Rake the leaves and play in them
  31. Make a Halloween garland
  32. Wrap up kids like mummies
  33. Play tic-tac-ghost
  34. Make a wall of bats
  35. Bobbing for apples
  36. Carve a pumpkin (tips)
  37. Bake pumpkin seeds
  38. Visit a pumpkin patch (Ontario)
  39. Tell a spooky campfire story with a flashlight
  40. Eat or make caramel apples
  41. Go trick or treating

Do you have any fun Halloween activities that I could add to my list?

Free things you can get on your birthday in Ottawa (Canada)

October is my birthday month and what better way of celebrating getting a year older is to get free stuff. Here is a list of things that you can get for free on your birthday:

Dinner

  • Boston Pizza: sign up and get a complimentary plate of pasta or dessert on your birthday.
  • Milestones: bring three friends with you to dinner and get your meal free
  • Swiss Chalet: Kids eat free on their birthday.

Snacks

  • Baskin Robbins: Join their birthday club and get 2.5 oz scoop on your birthday.
  • Booster Juice: Get a free smoothie on your birthday. Must sign up online.
  • Starbucks: Get a free coffee on your birthday when you sign up for Starbucks rewards.

Stuff

  • Sephora: Get a free freebie in your inbox when you’re part of their rewards program.
  • Toys “R” Us: Free birthday gift card until your child turns 10.

People

  • Prime Minister: “A congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister of Canada for your 65th and 70th Birthday and a certificate for your 75th birthday.”

 

Do you know of any other great free things on your birthday in Ottawa? Let me know in the comments below.

How to clean water shoes

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I’ve searched the internet so you don’t have to. How do you clean a pair of water shoes? It’s actually quiet simple.

You’ll need:

  • A sink with lukewarm water
  • Sunlight dish soap
  • Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
  • A sponge with a rough side on it
  • Toilet paper roll tubes x2
  • Dirty, stinky water shoes

How to clean water shoes:

  • Fill sink with lukewarm water
  • Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to water
  • Put Sunlight on a sponge
  • Scrub you’re little heart out
  • Let the shoes sit in the water for 30 minutes
  • Rinse
  • Place shoes on toilet paper roll to dry standing up
  • And voila! You’re done!

 

White Crocs Help!

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I’ve searched the Internet on ways to get the yellow out of these white Crocs. I haven’t had much luck.

So far I’ve tried:

  • Sunlight
  • Mr. Clean White Erasers

Does anyone else have any tips? I might have to let these ones go…

 

How to clean a pair of rain boots

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I am no stranger to used clothing. I LOVE thrift and consignment store shopping. With my daughter growing out of clothing like it’s going out of style, I don’t hesitate when someone wants to sell me 9 pairs of shoes for $4 (especially since the last two pairs I bought for her were $50+ each!).

These next couple of posts are going to be about reviving used kid shoes. Most of the shoes I got are in very good to excellent condition, but some need a bit of love.

My first set of shoes that I worked on are these Winnie the Pooh rubber rain boots. After doing some research online, I found a great way to clean rubber rain boots.

You’ll need:

  • A sink with lukewarm water
  • Sunlight dish soap
  • A sponge with a rough side on it
  • Toilet paper roll tubes x2
  • Dirty boots

How to clean rubber boots:

  • Fill sink with lukewarm water
  • Put Sunlight on a sponge
  • Scrub you’re little heart out
  • Rinse
  • Place boots on toilet paper roll to dry standing up
  • And voila! You’re done!

FullSizeRender

 

Indoor Art – Ziploc Bag Art

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Ziploc bag art is good clean (cheap!) fun. It’s a great way to keep babies busy when it’s yucky outside.

What you’ll need:

  • Child (able to stand on their own and older)
  • Large Ziploc bags
  • Masking or painters tape
  • Paper (scrap paper works perfectly)
  • Finger paint (ketchup and mustard works too)

Set up:

  • Cut the piece of paper to fit flat inside the large Ziploc bag
  • Put a few drops of paint on a piece of paper
  • Carefully insert the paper in the Ziploc bag and seal
  • Use the tape to attach the Ziploc bag to the wall or window
  • Then let the child tap, bang or use their fingers to move the paint around in the bag
  • Voila! Ziploc bag art!

Our daughter is a very busy girl. We always say “everything for 5 minutes” and that’s about as long as she would play with this. I bet you other babies, would probably play with this a little longer, but mine, not so much.

What we did do, is we left the Ziploc bag art up on the patio door all day. She would go to it through out the day, bang on it and then move on to something else. It worked for us in that sense.

 

Have you tried this craft before? What did you think of it? Would you do it again? How did you do it differently?

 

The original idea for this craft came from this pin on Pinterest:

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/504614333220390928/

Things to do on maternity leave in Ottawa, ON

I’m currently working on a public Google calendar which has a list of things do to while you are on maternity leave. If you have or know of any great events that I should add, please let me know.

maternity leave

DIY Maternity Leave Calendar – Google Calendar

Before I left on maternity leave, I had this romantic idea of all these great things I was going to do with my daughter*. We were going to go to:

I had a super long list of things I wanted to do while on leave. Did I do everything? No! Of course not. I had a baby to take care of! BUT I did do a lot of things. My goal with this maternity calendar, was to put all these great idea of things I could do in Ottawa in one place.

By creating a “maternity leave” calendar it helped give me a good idea on what I wanted to do that week or even that day. Some days are easier than others with a baby. Some days you’re up for bundling them up and heading out the door, while others you couldn’t even be bothered to get out of your pyjamas.

As some of you might know, I’m a huge fan of Google Calendar. My husband and I have used it for years to sync our calendars together. Google also has a great ability for syncing my Google Calendar right to my iCal on my iPhone. It works seamlessly and also helped us avoid a lot of conflicts for double booking events.

This post has two parts.

First, let’s teach you how to set up your Google Calendar and learn how to create an extra calendar with your Google account.

1)      How to set up your Google Calendar (must already have a Google Account) to sync with your iPhone.

2)      How to create a new calendar with your account. I am recommending creating a “maternity leave” calendar that is private, so that you’re husband isn’t flooded with all these great events. 

maternity leave

Second, here is a list of great places in Ottawa (mostly west-end) that I added to my maternity leave calendar:

Do you have any idea of other activities you could add to a maternity calendar? Something that happens once or a few times a week that new moms can do with their little ones (drop in style recommended).

If you have any questions on how to set this up, please contact me.

 

* I think these moms had the same idea (here, here, here and here).