6 weeks and a summer bucket list

Well, now is as good a time as any to jump back in to blogging I guess. It’s been about 6 weeks since my last post, and it’s about 6 weeks till this baby is due!  I just thought I would share a little of what we have been up to lately, all the frugal family fun we’ve been having and plan to have over the summer.

summer bucket list

Before school ended, I sat down with the kids and made a list of lots of fun things we’d like to do this summer. From different crafts, to places to visit, and even just different themed days we could do. I wanted a mix of free and paid adventures, at home and day trips, indoor and outdoor activities. I told them we wouldn’t do something every single day (which they still don’t understand) but that each week we’d pick a few things, plus have some quiet days at home. So far it’s going pretty well, considering just how pregnant I am, and dealing with a sinus infection that just won’t quit! So here is our frugal family summer bucket list:

Places to go:

-          Beach

-          Picnics

-          Splash pads

-          Parks (our town has 150 playgrounds! We are trying to visit ones we’ve never been too before)

-          Library

-          Indoor pool

-          Hiking

-          Bowling (search online, many bowling alleys offer free bowling for kids in the summer!)

-          Check for coupons (science centre, zoo, etc)

Crafts:

-          Stepping stones

-          Masks

-          Water sponge bombs

-          Craft kits from the basement (we have a stock pile of crafts kits from birthdays that we never used)

I also created a daily schedule, for those quiet days at home, just to make sure we don’t end up sitting in front of the TV all day, or I forget to give the kids a snack and wonder my they are fighting so much (we get Hangry in this house). I even have themes for the week day, that we will probably stick to in August once I am to pregnant to be romping around the zoo or beach. Things like “Make something Monday” and “Thoughtful Thursday” are great ways to be creative at home, and just mix things up a bit. Plus, my kids seem to get into things more if I name them, instead of just saying “let’s do a craft today” calling it craft time, or make something Monday gets them more excited.

So far we’ve done lots of park trips, and the beach! This week we are hitting a local water park, and possible a pioneer museum too. And since I am nearly 34 weeks pregnant, I am feeling a bit of a push to checking things off this list before this baby arrives, and before I’m just too big and uncomfortable to be out in the heat much.

What frugal family fun have you been up to this summer?

Meal Plan Monday – May 26th 2014

Well, with gorgeous weather comes spending much more time outside and not at the computer…and that means a lack of posts. And with the holiday last week in Canada, I didn’t plan on posting our meal plan on Monday, and I forgot on Tuesday! So here is this weeks’ plan, in case you need some inspiration for your own dinners.

Don’t expect much from this blog as summer arrives, and I’m busy soaking up each day with my kids and hubby as a family of 4, before life gets really crazy again when the new bundle arrives at the end of the summer.

Here’s what we are eating this week:

Monday – homemade cheesy pasta with ham and peas

Tuesday – meatballs, rice and corn on the cob and asparagus

Wednesday – homemade burgers and corn on the cob

Thursday – breakfast (eggs, ham, toast, and smoothies)

Friday – popcorn shrimp, grilled peppers, and corn

As always, I’m linking up over at Org Junkie.

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Meal Plan Monday – May 12 2014

Start your BBQs and break out the sandals! What beautiful weather we are having here in Ontario. Finally! This weekend was gorgeous, and today it was already 20 degrees at 9am! Oh how I missed this weather! But this also means I’m chugging water like crazy, 20 feels hot when you’ve had a winter of -40 and are early 26 weeks pregnant!

We has such a great weekend here; I hope all you moms out there were spoiled by your loved ones as much as I was. I even managed to get some gardening done too, and finally planted those veggies seeds…only 2 weeks late, opps!

Last weeks’ meal plan worked out really well with both kids. I must admit that it was nice have super simple and easy dinners to make, but I did miss the slightly fancier dishes I’m used to. But I’ll take simple kid friendly dinners if it means my kids actually sit still at the table and eat what is in front of them without too much fighting. So once again, things are simple, and the kids helped pick what we are eating. Some repeats from last week because we ended up buying dinner one night, and well, spaghetti should always be on the plan!

Here is what we are eating this week:

Monday – kabobs with chicken and sausage, peppers, zucchini, and roasted mini red potatoes

Tuesday – homemade burgers with potato salad

Wednesday – homemade pizza (want your kids to eat veggies, get them to help make their own pizza!)

Thursday - my famous spaghetti

Friday – fish tacos (boxed pasta as a Friday “treat” for the kids)

As always I am linking up over at Org Junkie. Happy menu planning everyone!

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Meal Plan Monday – May 5th 2014

This weeks meal plan looks a little different from past ones…it actually probably looks more like yours, if you have a 4 year old and a 2 year old like I do.

I have always tried to make meals that everyone in my family will enjoy, but with my son becoming pickier and pickier, we are changing things up a little. Over the weekend he helped me make a list of meals that he would like to have/be willing to eat. We do stand by the rule that you have to try whatever is put in front of you, and if you honestly don’t like it, you can have something else. But this has led to many dinner table arguments, resulting in someone sitting there for an hour with a plate full of food, or me making two different meals. So instead of trying to get him to eat the more foodie/adult meals I prefer to make (and that 3 out of the 4 of us enjoy) we’re simplifying things, as a test run. And if it goes well, and gets him back into the habit of eating whatever is in front of him, I’ll gradually add back in the meals the rest of us enjoy too…though I can’t complain too much; we made pizzas yesterday and the kid ate the red peppers he used to create the face on his pizza!

So, this meal plan is brought to you by my 4.5 year old son, his choices mostly (I really want fish tacos this Friday, so he’ll get to have his KD or canned pasta), but other than that, these are meals he wants…wish me luck! Between fighting him at the dinner table over food, and fighting with his sister at bedtime over staying in bed, my husband and I are exhausted!

Here’s what we are eating this week:

Monday – chicken strips, steamed broccoli, cucumber slices, parmesan noodles

Tuesday – breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast and fruit smoothies

Wednesday – bbq’d hot dogs and coleslaw

Thursday – baked spaghetti with garlic bread and salad

Friday – fish tacos with Baja sauce

As always, I’m linking up over at Org Junkie.

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Frugal Pregnancy Fashion – A Stylish Bump on a Budget

I always thought by my third kid I’d have this pregnancy thing down. I’d already have all the clothing, my body would know what it was doing, and I would be used to the sickness/exhaustion/hormones too. But that so isn’t the case! I don’t know if I’ve been hit with the “wild card” third pregnancy that so many women talk about, or I have just forgotten what it’s like since there are 3 years between this pregnancy and my daughter. Either way, to say that this pregnancy has kicked my butt would be an understatement. It also hasn’t been that frugal…

The morning sickness was much worse, and lasted longer than previous pregnancies. We saved money on food since I wasn’t eating much, but had the extra cost of ginger pills to ease the nausea.

My iron has been super low, which I never dealt with before, so I’ve been even more tired. Plus this lowers my immune system, so when I haven’t been throwing up, I am trying to clear my sinuses. We have now spent a small fortune on different types of iron supplements, but that’s an extra cost we are willing to take. And along with the bulk packs of tissues, being tired and sick has led to more convenient/prepared meals and takeout, which gets expensive.

Life is busier with two other kids too, and I’m finding it hard to keep up! Thank goodness for our giant calendar on the fridge, and understanding friends and family when I completely forget about something. But this also means that sometimes I am picking up a gift, or planning a special meal at the last-minute, and not always getting the best deals on the required items.

Now that I am 6.5 months along, things are settling down with the morning sickness, finally, and my energy is starting to come back thanks to a new liquid iron supplement. The sunshine and warmer weather are helping too, with just generally feeling better and being happier. But feeling better also means I’m eating more, lots more, so our grocery bill is higher than normal, but that’s to be expected when pregnant. Thankfully the warmer weather means we are able to walk to school more, saving a bit of money on gas for the van, since during the winter we drove nearly every day.

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Another change is how I have been dressing. I didn’t buy many maternity clothes the first time around; I worked in an office so my mom made me a few skirts, and empire waist tops were trendy so I kept wearing them; I only ever bought 2 or 3 actual maternity tops. With #2, I was a stay at home mom who didn’t go out much, so I lived in yoga pants and leggings. I picked up a few new tops, and one actual pair of maternity pants, and stuck to skirts and dresses once I was nearing the end and it was summer time. This time around, I have already acquired 3 new pairs of maternity pants (all bought on sale at great prices), and a couple tops too. I feel like I care about how I look now more than ever before, and I love putting cute outfits together even if it’s just to drop my son at school and run errands. Of course there are days when it’s nothing more than yoga pants and a tee, but most days I make an effort, and I love getting dressed up for Mass each Sunday too! So I thought I would share some of my favourite outfits so far and some tips on how to keep a stylish bump on a budget. If you want to follow along a little more, you can follow me on Instagram (I keep my account private, but don’t let that stop you from requesting to follow me). Thanks to a new iPhone and Instagram, I have been taking loads of pictures this pregnancy:

regular clothesTip #1 - Wear your regular clothes as long as possible. Keep comfort in mind, and don’t stretch things out to the point you ruin them, but wearing your favourite pieces can help improve your mood when you are feeling awful those first few months. Leggings and sweater dresses and comfy tops are great options, but your regular pants can fit too by wearing a Bella Band with your pants (a comfy cotton band that allows you to leave your pants unbuttoned and unzipped, without falling down!) Also going up a size in regular clothes might help, since you’ll probably gain weight in your butt/hips/thighs before your bump shows, and you will wear those postpartum too.

mix and match

Tip #2 – Mix and match your maternity clothes with none maternity clothes. When you do buy maternity pants, buy basics that you know you can wear to all different occasions, and ones that will work with tops you already have. Yes, those olive green skinnies are kinda trendy, but I wear them nearly everyday, and I dress them up for Mass, or dress them down for running errands. Plus, I got them on sale from a great maternity store for only $35! All the tops pictured above were bought on sale from regular stores (Walmart, Old Navy, and H&M), mixing and matching with basic cardigans I’ve had for years. You don’t have to jump in to the maternity clothes full force and never turn back to regular clothes.

Jersey

Tip #3 – Jersey is your new best friend. Two words: cotton jersey. It’s basically the best fabric ever! Super comfy, super soft, and so very forgiving when pregnant. The above outfits have a navy non maternity skirt that is cotton jersey (from Reitmans), and a light blue non maternity cotton jersey top (from RW & Co). Stretchy and they wash well, and any piece that is that soft will become a favourite in your wardrobe. Stretch in general is important when looking for comfy clothes, and I have found that a few maternity tops I have bought in the past didn’t stretch enough, only allowing me to wear them for a short time. The stretchier the fabric, the longer into your pregnancy you can wear it.

Tip #4 - Accessorize! Thankfully, accessories aren’t maternity wear, and can be worn before, during and after being pregnant. Scarfs, cardigans, necklaces are all great options for pulling an outfit together anytime, but can make you feel extra special on a pregnant day when maybe you aren’t feeling the most beautiful. And get colourful and patterned accessories! Putting on a basic pair of pants and a plain tee might seem sloppy and boring until you add a printed scarf or cardigan, or a bold necklace. And they don’t have to cost you a ton either, so many stores offer great pieces in the $10 or less range!

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I can’t wait to add cute blazers and jackets to my outfits, instead of winter coats. And lots more skirts and dresses (so happy maxi skirts are still kinda trendy), since those are super comfy when pregnant! I also love how many affordable options there are out there when it comes to maternity clothing now, but do watch the quality. That item that is on sale or from a cheaper store might seem like a great buy, but if you can’t wear it your entire pregnancy, or it looks ragged after several washes and you won’t wear it in another pregnancy, it wasn’t a good deal. I’m personally not a fan of investment pieces when it comes to maternity clothes, though I do know many women who use that to justify those $200 maternity jeans. The cut of those jeans might not be in style when you are pregnant again, so don’t get too caught up in that idea. Try to find the balance between quality and price. It can be done ladies! Even with 3 new pairs of pants, and a few tops too, the total is only a little more than $100! Pretty good, considering you can easily spend that on 1 single item.

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