The End of an Era...

...and by Era, I mean year...and as of midnight, 2009 will be history. I've had an eventful past few years- and 2009 lived up to its predecessors...

2006- Engagement

2007- Marriage

2008- Baby

2009- Love

2010 is bound to be an exciting year- I mean there is never a dull moment in my life. With a toddler I'm always kept on my toes...

After crusing several of my favourite blogs, I was inspired by what the authors posted, lists of things they'd like to accomplish, goals they'd like to attain, ways they want to change their lives...

I'll post mine tomorrow.

Until then- I wish all a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2010...

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Blog Worthy??

I don't post things that I don't think are 'blog worthy'.

I also don't sit at my computer for hours reading useless crap online.

I wouldn't recommend said crap to my faithful readers because it is derogitory, offensive and even though quite funny, not something I'd want you to know that I enjoy.

So if I were you, I wouldn't click HERE or HERE or HERE.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

PS: Don't get mad at me...I warned you not to look.


St. Stephen's Day

Happy Boxing Day, aka: the Feast of Stephen's Day! *betcha didn't know that...*

Kim and I decided to brave the malls today.

I am SO glad we did.

I got the Hubby two pairs of NAMEBRAND jeans for $15.00 *each*! I kid you not! That is cheaper then Costco Brand!

I got some shirts for me for $2.50 *each*!

And I finally used a Gymboree giftcard that I got at one of my Baby Showers (over 17 months ago) and got Charlotte some clothes for the summer. I'm talking $40 dollar dresses (original ticketed price) for $6.99 and a pair of $50 shoes for $10.99. My giftcard was for $35 and I got Charlotte 8 items.

These types of sales are rare and I'm SO glad I went to the mall.

You should too.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Merry Christmas!! Hope it was as good as ours!!

Frugally Yours,
Erin B, the Hubby and Miss C.


Seriously- I hope this was a joke...

I was doing some research today and stumbled upon this...

Ok- so I filled my Purell bottles at the University but I think this is taking it one step to far...

What are your thoughts?!

*Comment please!*


Frugal Fun.

Frugal [froo-guhl]: economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful.

Fun [fuhn]: something that provides mirth or amusement.

*definitions from dictionary.com

Two things I LURVE...having fun and being frugal while doing so. Personally, I prefer doing activities with my family that cost us very little in the money department and rate high in the fun department. So I've compiled a list of fun frugal activity that you can enjoy over the Christmas Holidays (when money is short and you have LOTS of time) with your family.

  • Festival of Lights- many cities have tours of some of the best houses that are decorated over the Christmas Season. Some are driving tours and some are walking tours- but either way, they are both fun and enjoyable for everyone in your family.
  • A Live Nativity Pageant- I know of a handful of cities (including my small town) that put on live Nativity Pageants. They often run the week before Christmas, in the evenings often more then one show a night. I highly recommend trying to find one in your area. We've attended for the last 4 years and we will continue doing so for years to come. The best part- they are absolutely free and lots of fun! *Remember to dress warm and bring a blanket!*
  • Sledding/Tobogganing- totally fun for EVERYONE and totally cost efficient! I've found numerous sleds & toboggans on Kijiji for cheap- so if you don't have one, you can find one and not break the bank doing so. Moms, Dads, Kids- everyone enjoys speeding down a hill...
  • Make A Snowman- another enjoyable outside activity that is fun for the whole family. I guess the only killer for this and the one above would be a lack of snow- but here in Alberta there is no shortage.
  • The Christmas Train- ok so it has already been here- but I'm sure there are most stops on its way to...wherever it goes...and you should totally try to see it. It's free and fun! There is usually a Santa, free hot chocolate/coffee (ours was sponsored by Starbucks) and lots of singing and lights. To find out more, click HERE.
  • Church Parties- if you are a church goer- then you will know how awesome Church things are. This past weekend, we went to a Christmas Dinner & Dance and a Festival of Choirs...both of which were awesome. Charlotte got to see Santa at the Dinner & Dance, she also got to party with some of her little friends and we all enjoyed a tasty meal (free aside from the salad that we brought). The Festival of Choirs was incredible. We got to sing, we got to listen to beautiful Christmas Carole's and we got to visit with some of our family.
  • Making/Decorating a Gingerbread House- for the first time EVER I made a gingerbread house. It turned out great and we decorated it as a family. We spent UNDER $5 to make and decorate it (thank you Bulk Barn) and now we get to enjoy it.
  • I also wanted to mention that a lot of Library's have Christmas Story times and Arena's have free skates- so it's worth checking out your local community guides to see what is happening near you!

So, it's not an exhaustive list, but it should give you some ideas to keep you and yours occupied over the next few days. I hope you find some frugal fun in your area!

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Erin = Lazy

I hate to disappoint...again...but there will be no meal plan or grocery list this week. We are heading to Calgary on Wednesday and we have enough stuff to get us through the beginning of the week. In an attempt to save money, we will eat all the freebie meals in our deep freeze with veggies (carrots, celery, peppers etc) until we leave. That being said, I did buy milk mid-week...but hey- it had to be done.

I also think this would also be an appropriate time to let everyone know that....


I know, that's huge news- you may have a moment to recover.


How crazy is that?! I am one of the Queens of Organization Land and for the past...20 years or so, I've always had my Christmas shopping done LONG before the 3rd week in December. This year- with a toddler, working part-time, doing school full-time AND numerous other things- I just haven't had time. Some of my shopping is done, but definately not all of it. So even though I will be saving money because I won't be grocery shopping this week, I will be finishing off the Christmas shopping- so...in technical terms...no money saved.

I would also like to take a moment to give a SHOUT-OUT to all the wonderful ladies from Family Planning who have sent out beautiful Christmas cards. I don't think I've ever received so many cards before. You ladies are wonderful and I would like to thank you for the super awesome cards!

That is all folks. I'm heading back to the couch...

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.



...diapers you sicko!

SO I've been asked numerous times how I strip my cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are more work then disposables, but as I've said in previous posts, for me- the benefits outweigh the costs, so I personally, do not mind the extra work.

Are you ready for the super masculine metaphor?

Cloth diapers are like cars. You need to wash your car, you need to keep your car in working order which means getting regular maintenance done (ie: oil changes, tire rotations etc...). If you maintain your car, you will get more life out of it. Well, the same goes for cloth diapers. There are some basic 'rules' if you will, that will extend the life of your diapers and give you (and your child) a more enjoyable experience with them. When do you know you need to strip your diapers? If they have a slight smell (even after washing), if once soiled they have an ammonia smell, if you are experiencing leakages, if you don't wash your diapers for a week because of finals...... . . . . . . . *oops*

The Basics (ie: all you CDing Mom's should already know):
  • You must use additive-free laundry detergent. Click HERE for an exhaustive list of the good/bad/ugly detergents... I use ECOS but I have Nellie's on my list for the New Year.
  • Follow the instructions ON your diapers.
  • Hang dry whenever possible- and in the sun...this will help with an odor issues as well as any staining. If you cannot hang to dry- then use the lowest setting on your dryer.
  • Store soiled diapers in a DRY container. Back in the day a wet pail was used- it is now not recommended. If the smell bothers you (it shouldn't because you should be doing diapers every other day) but if it does- sprinkle some baking soda on them, or put a few drops of tea tree oil on a tissue in the bottom of your container.

Ok- that's pretty much common sense up there- but I just wanted to reiterate so that we are all on the same page. In addition to The Basics, stripping your diapers (every few months) should be part of your maintenance plan *even if they don't smell or are leaking*. For those who are unsure on HOW to do that, or for those who have yet to do it- here is a step-by-step guide (with pictures!). I recommend doing ALL your diapers at one time- which means your little one will probably have to be in disposables at least for a day. It's taken me 2 days *shame* to do mine...I could have done it in one day- but I'm busy...hehe.

So- without further adieu...

Step #1.
Collect all your diapers. Wash the dirty ones normally according to the instructions.

Step #2. *this is my own personal step. I spoke with reps from both FBs and BGs and they said this was acceptable*
Remove all the diapers from the wash. Start a soak cycle for the liners, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of chlorine-free bleach and let them soak while you scrub the diapers themselves...

Step #3.
Using the Original Dawn (blue in colour, it's hard to find but most Dollar Stores carry it) scrub each diaper thoroughly, using a scrub board, a scrub brush or an old toothbrush. It usually takes me about 2-3 minutes per diaper. (2x26=52minutes)

Step #4.
Rinse and spin the liners. Add the diapers and do HOT washes until there are no bubbles left in the water. It can take anywhere from 5-10 HOT washes to get to this stage. This is the most time consuming part of stripping your diapers.

Step #5.
Hang to dry or dry on lowest setting in your dryer.

So there you have it folks. Pretty simple but a little time consuming. For me- it's worth it...
If you want MORE information on stripping your diapers, you can click HERE or HERE or comment and I will do my best to answer your question or send you in the direction of someone who can!

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


101 in 1001.

Starting Day: December 17th 2009
Ending Day: September 13th 2012

My 101 in 1001.

1. Go to Germany with my family.
2. Do a triathlon.
3. Run a 10k in an hour.
4. Get my hair professionally highlighted.
5. Re-read the Harry Potter Series.
6. Watch all the Harry Potter Movies.
7. Donate Blood 5 times. (0/5)
8. Donate Plasma 5 times. (0/5)
9. Eat vegetarian for a week.
10. Learn to play the guitar.
11. Sing solo at Karaoke.
12. Move cities.
13. Make a mix tape/CD for a good friend.
14. Go to a Hockey game with my husband.
15. Take Charlotte to the Calgary Zoo.
16. Graduate from University.
17. Build a snowman.
18. Lose the last 10 pounds.
19. Take Charlotte for a walk every day for a month.
20. Have a candlelight dinner.
21. Watch 5 classic horror films (0/5)
22. Get another tattoo.
23. Buy and colour an entire colouring book.
24. Travel to the USA.
25. Get a passport.
26. Make 5 new friends. (0/5)
27. Watch 100 movies (0/100)
28. Finish the blanket I started knitting Charlotte.
29. Drink 2L of water a day for a month.
30. Climb a mountain.
31. Send a message in a bottle.
32. Not use my computer for a whole week.
33. Hug a stranger.
34. Have a sleepover with my girlfriends.
35. Learn how to do long division.
36. Fast for 24 hours.
38. Go out dancing.
39. Watch 6 movies in 24 hours.
40. Buy something off eBay.
41. Climb a tree.
42. Complete a 365 photo project.
43. Do a crossword puzzle.
44. Learn to cross stitch.
45. Donate $1 too charity for every goal not completed.
46. Update Charlotte’s baby book.
47. Blog every day for a month.
48. Learn a new language. (German)
49. Do a Random Act of Kindness.
50. Do a newborn baby photo shoot.
51. Plant a seed and watch it grow.
52. Whiten my teeth.
53. Recycle more.
54. Join a for-fun soccer league.
55. Go to a berry picking farm.
56. Get a goldfish.
57. Make Thai food for dinner.
58. Adopt a rescue dog.
59. Take a photography class.
60. Take snowboard lessons.
61. Host a dinner party.
62. Go skinny dipping.
63. Go to 3 concerts. (0/3)
64. Submit a secret to PostSecret.
65. Get a Blackberry.
66. Learn to ride a motorcycle.
67. Donate old clothes to people in need.
68. Change a tire on a car.
69. Spend a day at the beach.
70. Go to Toronto.
71. Go Paintballing.
72. Attend a cooking class.
73. Sew myself something.
74. Make my bed everyday for a week.
75. Write a letter to someone I admire.
76. Volunteer at a Nursing Home.
77. Teach Charlotte how to count to 10.
78. Send birthday cards to my friends on their birthdays.
79. Watch all the Star Wars Movies.
80. Watch all the Lord of the Ring movies without falling asleep.
81. Do the 30 Hour Famine.
82. Have shoulder surgery.
83. Get my CPR certificate.
84. Take a cake decorating course.
84. Plant a tree.
85. Fly somewhere.
86. Attend the Calgary Stampede.
87. Sky Dive.
88. Ride a mechanical bull.
89. Learn to make paper.
90. Declutter my house.
91. Make a 4 layer chocolate cake.
92. Write a play.
93. Send 12 people I’ve always wanted to talk to 5 questions and see what their answers are.
94. Bake a pie from scratch.
95. Call my Grandma every week for a month. (0/4)
96. Play a game of Scrabble.
97. Buy flowers for someone I love.
98. Take part in BookCrossing.
99. Learn to make Crème Brule.
100. Tell someone I love them for 1001 days.
101. Start a new 101 in 1001 list.

For more information on this click HERE.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.



I like to support my friends.

I especially like to support my friends when free stuff is involved...

You should support them too! You might win an awesome homemade gift for a sweet little someone in your life...

Click HERE and enter yourself in this great giveaway!

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

You Don't Win Friends with Salad- Unless You're Me.

Everybody loves Caesar Salad...heck- I ate it every day, 2 times a day for the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy...it's tasty tasty stuff. What I don't love about it?- is having to buy the creamy full fat salad dressing...that isn't so fun on the waistline or on the pocket book (seriously, the good dressing can cost around $5...ouch). Considering how often we eat Caesar Salad, I decided I needed to find a recipe to make my own- with less fat and more flavour. This one was actually given to me by my Aunt and it was an instant favourite in our family. We ALWAYS have a jar of it in the fridge...and I can whip it up in no time. I just keep the base and add the oil as we need it- it keeps longer that way. It's made with things most people have on hand (no anchovies or anything) so it's pretty cheap to make.

Here is my secret recipe...but shhh- don't tell anyone.

Caesar Salad Dressing
3 cloves of garlic- minced
1 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard (or regular/Dijon if you don't have the dry stuff)
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 egg yolks *

3/4 cup oil
Parmesan cheese

Combine first 7 ingredients in small jar (I often double or triple this recipe so I have it on hand all the time). Shake well. Store in fridge. When ready to use add 3/4 C oil and whisk until emulsified. Add cheese and toss with Romaine Lettuce, Red Onions and Croutons. If you are just making small amounts (say 2-3 tbsps of the base) then just use a little oil until it gets to the consistency that you want.

*This recipe does call for egg yolks and you must use them! I haven't found a good alternative...yet! Don't worry- I didn't eat this kind of dressing when I was preggers...and I don't recommend any preggers eating it...just sayin'

Give this dressing a try- I guarentee that you will love it, and you'll probably make some new friends if you say...take it...to a potluck or something.

I'm going to go get me a caesar salad- talk later peeps!

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


What You Want...

Ok- so I'm finally getting around to the Poll results.

Apparently everyone wants to see more recipes, more money saving tips, and creative crafty things! Your wish is my command! I got those covered- no problems. A few of you are interested in photography and parenting stuff- and surprisingly most of you are not interested in reviews and features...which is fine by me! I'll try to give you a taste of everything...but I can't make any guarantees... :) Tomorrow- you shall receive a recipe and a tip... :)

I also wanted to mention that I have 4 guest bloggers lined up and I am **WAY** excited about January!

But, I must leave. I am currently watching Paranormal State on A&E and they are performing an Exorcism...which is FREAKY sh!t...

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

Check me our HERE.
Check out the NEW poll below.


'Till Debt Do Us Part

A year ago at this time, every time this show came on, I would quickly flip the channel. I would get all panicky and anxious, my heart would start to pound and my breathing would quicken. I'm not sure as to WHY this would happen- but it was probably a combination of the fact that,
1. we had very little money and I knew we weren't spending most of it in a smart way... and
2. it was easier to just not think about it.
To be honest, I still rarely watch the show, just because it reminds me of 'that time' but on the rare occasion I do...it's not to bad. It actually makes me feel better (ok, I'm a horrible person) but it's a nice reminder that even when I think it is bad, it really isn't. We aren't swimming in thousands of dollars of credit card debt (the BAD kind) and neither of us has a serious spending problem. Our cards (credit and debit) stay on our wall and we live off Lawrence's tips and my cleaning money. We have more money coming in then we do going out, which makes me feel confident. The only debt we do have, is student loans- which I am ok with. (On a side: we just got a letter saying that we were being exempted from $6000 on Lawrence's AB student loans...that is super awesome. Yey us!)

So anyways. I've lectured (haha) about the importance of a budget, and one thing I really admire about Gail (from 'Till Debt Do Us Part) is that she hardcore about budgets.

Seriously, this is awesome!

It's like an interactive budget that does most of the math/work for you. You just type in the numbers and print it off- WABAM! I also HIGHLY recommend her jar system. That is what we do- and since we started, we've found that it cuts down on unnecessary spending a lot.
Cash = Better then Plastic.
It is also easier to follow. When you use your plastic, you cannot see how much money you are spending/wasting. When you have a limited amount of cash in a jar that you can see...you know exactly how much you are spending and you know exactly where you are spending it.

Well, it's time for me to go lay down and nurse this killer hangover...few things in life are better then ice cold homemade (by an Italian no less) Lemoncello...which I'm totally going to make btw...stay tuned for that...

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


I don't care if you call me immature, at least I'm having more fun then you!

LISTEN & ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!

Listening to this makes me extremely happy- I mean honestly, how can you not just love this song? I think it compliments this post nicely...

Erin + Food = We Belong....

So right now, I should really be studying- but I am taking a break...so here are the promised goods.

Menu Plan:
Friday: Chili Cheese Fries
Saturday: Pasta & Sauce
Sunday: Burgers, Spinach Salad
Monday: Sweet & Sour Pork with rice and steamed cauliflower
Tuesday: Grandpa's Meatballs and Potatoes
Wednesday: Homemade Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese
Thursday: Veggie Pizza

And want to know what totally kicks butt about this meal plan?? I had pretty much everything. All I bought was milk (homo & skim) and a pack of peppers and some yogurt. Sweet! Less then $10....

Want to know what I spent the remainder of my grocery money on??
Christmas Baking stuff...
Golden Grahams
White Chocolate chips
Naniamo Bar Mix
Cheerios, Shreddies and Pretzels (for a sweet twist on Nuts&Bolts)...
and a few other things that I cannot currently.

We are eating pretty boring this week, mostly because Lawrence is working almost every night, so it's just going to be Miss C and I...and I have 2 finals this week...so I don't want to be stressing about dinner...it's quick and easy stuff this week. :)

Ok- I'm going to get back to studying and stuff...while I rock out to this awesome 80's jam! :)

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Retail Therapy

Sitting at work this afternoon, I was witness to a very interesting conversation regarding retail therapy. It was so interesting in fact, that I thought it blog worthy, so here I am...

Even though I'm a self proclaimed Frugal Person, I can honestly say that I have indulged myself in Retail Therapy- which may be a contraction to everything I have ever posted- but oh well!

Our conversation was enlightening and intriguing, and hey- it's always good to know that you aren't the only one who goes out and buys a whole new wardrobe or numerous tubes of lipstick or bags upon bags of gently used baby clothes....

Despite our obvious differences in our preferred type of shopping- we all did have a similarity.

Our trigger??

Having no money!

It's strange. It's like a female gene clicks to 'ON' when the numbers in the bank account fall below the comfortable line, and impulsively we hit the mall...or London Drugs....

Shopping away the stress...but it makes absolutely no sense!

Why would you purposely go out and spend when you have very little, if any to be spending on frivolous things...?!

Well isn't it obvious.....??

You need to look good/your side-kick needs to look good....

Why does it make you feel better?

*I'm going to go all science on your @$$ so just wait for it...*

Women shop when they are feeling stressed. Shopping makes us feel good. We feel good because our brain releases endorphins. Endorphins make us feel happy. Happy people don't feel stressed.

So there you have it. Retail shopping is good for us when we are stressed. End of story.

Not-So-Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Feels like poopie!

13 page paper.
10 hours.
4000 words.

Undergrad Degree...?


Tomorrow is the last day of classes. I cannot believe I survived. There were times (like last night at 3am) when I was pretty sure I was just going to die...but alas, I am here and clearly breathing and being all alive, so we're good.

My brain is pretty much not functioning right nor do I think that it will be up and running anytime soon- so I'm going to leave you with a promise of a Menu Plan on Saturday.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Guest Blogger

I want one or two...or maybe a few more. I can kind of see me building up a small army...of bloggers.... . . . . . .

Think you have what it takes to be a Guest Blogger on Frugally Yours??

Are you Frugal? Do you have an awesome story or some fun tips to share? Do you want to try your hand at blogging before you set up your own blog? Then this is for you!

There are only a few requirments, so it's ideal for pretty much...everyone! Male or Female- I have no preference.

#1. You must commit for a 1 month guest spot.
#2. You will be required to write 2 blog posts in that month's time.
#3. They must be submitted to moi a week in advance of their schdeduled posting date.
#4. All posts must include frugal living ideas/tips/advice etc...in other words, the posts have to stick with the theme of the blog.

Guest posts will be posted on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month- starting in January.
**they may or may not continue after that, I want to see how it goes before I decide 100% on it**

If you are interested in being a Guest Blogger on Frugally Yours- send me a message on FB, email me, call me, IM me, or comment below telling me why you think I should choose you!! Easy-peasy...

Erin B.


Go Ahead And Jump!

I've had this song in my head all afternoon.

If the title doesn't make something click in your head, then click HERE and it shall do it for you.

What does that song have to do with what I planned on blogging about today??

Absolutely nothing.

And the picture below?...again, doesn't apply at all. I was outside (in -44 degree weather) taking my daily photo for my 365 project and was singing this song- so I....

J U M P E D . . .

And tried to get it on camera. Here is my failed attempt...

*deleted pic...oopsey!

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

So...moving on....
Today we had lasagna for dinner- one of mine and the husbands favourite meals. I would also like to mention that my B friend and her husband W also enjoy my homemade lasagna. I like to share so here's my "I-made-it-up-and-it-turned-out-real-good" recipe.

1-1.5lbs of lean ground beef
1 softball sized onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 jars of canned tomatoes- pureed
2 tsp dry oregano & basil
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
9 whole wheat lasagna noodles- uncooked *this is key*
1 medium tub of 1% cottage cheese
Parmesan cheese
Italian Cheese Blend

1. Pan fry ground beef until no longer pink. Add onion and garlic and saute until transparent.
2. Add in 1 jar of pureed tomatoes, herbs and pepper.
3. Bring to boil (?) and let bubble until it reduces by half. (meaning most of the juice is gone)
4. Add about 1/4 cup of tomato pureed on bottom of 9x13" pan.
5. Lay down 3 uncooked lasagna noodles.
6. Spoon on 1/3 beef mixture, 1/2 cottage cheese, and a TON of parm.
7. Repeat steps 5 & 6.
8. Lay down remaining 3 noodles and cover with remaining beef mixture. I always add on some extra tomato puree here to make sure that the top layer is covered.
9. Sprinkle with Parm and the cheese blend.
10. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and cook for 40 minutes.
11. Put oven on broil for 2 minutes to brown the cheese.
12. Let cool for 5 minutes and then enjoy.

It makes a huge pan, so there is always enough for tomorrow's lunch (for hubby, C and me) and then enough to freeze for a Freebie meal next week...or whenever...

It really is too good to be true...
*tonight I added in some chopped spinach, it was really yummy*

*deleted this one too!*

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

PS: I do realize that I didn't post my meal plan/grocery list etc...this week...again. Get off my back. It's the last week of classes (yey! I made it) and I have a lot on my plate. It will return next week...I promise...


Snowed In.


And I wish I wasn't such a stupidhead who forgot to take pictures.

The husband, literally had to dig us out of our house this morning because the drifts were THAT. AWESOME.

Oh well. You'll have to trust me when I say it was epic...

On a similar and equally snowy note, let me share with you a story.

There once was this family of 3, the Mother, the Father and the Infant. They lived in a small house, in a small town and even though they were there for good reasons (school) they were excited to move to a bigger and better city. The Christmas Season is upon this family of 3. They have been invited to many Christmas parties, and between school, work and other event, have rearranged their lives for the weekend so that they could attend said parties. (Literally- weekends from now until Christmas are pretty much spoken for because the family is popular...)
It snows.
Now, I don't mean it snows on an off for a day. I'm talking serious white out conditions, with blowing snow that goes on for days....and by days I mean hours....you get my drift....lol.
So- this family, knowing that they need to bring goodies to these parties, venture out into the INSANE weather to buy groceries. The Mother in this story is a frugal type- who shops smart and sticks to her budget. She has been carefully skimping and saving and has been able to scrounge up TWENTY extra dollars so that she can buy the extra food she will need to bring to these parties. This family spends what was budgeted, buys the extra food to feed the 20+ extra mouths over the weekend, and then literally almost die while trying to return home. Seriously...white out conditions, zero visibility and trying to drive on unplouged roads = almost death for a Mother and her infant.
Long story short...when the family returns home with ALL their groceries after almost dying to get them, the light on their answering machine is blinking. The Mother listens to the message and is informed that 2/3 of their parties have been cancelled. Fine. The Mother can make the salad she was planning on taking to party #2 and take it to party #1 and the dips for party #3 would likely be enjoyed by the Father. All is fine. She gets a call. Party #1 is cancelled.
The Mother is not impressed. Granted, she understands that the weather is crappy (she was out in it) and she understands that the roads are poopie (she was driving them) and she wouldn't want anyone to get hurt...but seriously?! A phone call could not have been made the night before...or even earlier that morning BEFORE the Mother left the house? Especially considering she received an email saying it was still on moments before leaving? *sigh* Alas, all the parties were cancelled, and the Mother and Father locked themselves inside, made pizza and watch movies...

And in case you haven't figured it out yet...I am the Mother.

Merry Christmas!

Erin B.

**please note that this post was not meant to insult anyone or hurt anyone's feelings**



I have a few confessions to make.
I feel it is absolutely necessary to share them here.

1. I know some of you think I am this perfect, superwoman person. I am not. I have many faults and I cannot (despite what I will tell you) do everything for everyone all the time. However, you can continue thinking that I am a perfect superwoman, because that...makes me feel good.

2. My house is a mess 99.9% of the time. I usually only clean when I know someone is coming over. I am neurotic and obsessive when it comes to cleaning...but I don't do it very often, which may explain WHY I am neurotic and obessive when I actually do it. I would not recommend just 'stopping by' as you will not be invited in.

3. I hate washing dishes. Like absolutely, 100%, all the time, with all my being, hate doing dishes. I hate doing dishes so much that I took a strike from doing them and we literally have no dishes, no cups, no utensils...that are clean and able to be eaten/drunken out of. I guess that is what I get for moving into a place with no dishwasher (mistake #1). And I also guess this is what I get for going on strike and not doing dishes since Monday. This is true.

4. I don't fold laundry. I mean, I will, but I don't like doing it. It usually goes in a basket and stays there all week until the following laundry day when I need the baskets for more clean laundry. The old clean laundry gets dumped on the unmade bed and the new clean laundry gets put in the basket. This cycle continues, week after week and I honestly see no problem with it.

5. I read. A lot. I have probably read more novels then the average English Major this year and I stay up late almost every night, despite how tired I am, and read and few chapters. I read *on average* 1-2 books a week. Ask my husband...it's the truth. I borrow books- I don't buy them...

6. I love Facebook. It's an addiction really.

7. I hate fungus. And since fungus is a code word for someone really awful- I encourage you all to join me and hate fungus as well. Fungus might even be on your friend on Facebook...a friend you should remove.

Seven. An odd number. Great.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Nothing is better then F-R-E-E!!


All good things in life are free....





Kisses from an adorable 16 month old.


That is all!

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.



My biggest beef with Christmas is the gifts. Don't get me wrong, I'm as selfish as the next person- I love getting presents but I think a lot of the time the gifts are given for the wrong reason or because the giver feels obligated to give a gift. I dislike getting those gifts. I enjoy unwrapping my gifts on Christmas morning and frolicking around in the ribbons and ripped paper while eating a Terry's Chocolate Orange and listening to Boney M. Christmas- that is true...but I don't like faking a smile and telling someone I like the gift when I honestly do not.

When I told my husband that I was going to be writing this post today he got defensive (yey! Christmas has someone on their side). He said that it doesn't matter what the gift is and that the point is the action of giving not about what is given. I agree, and I also disagree. I agree because yes, Christmas is about giving and sharing and coming together and being happy and joyous and all that jazz. But I disagree because if someone is going to go out and spend money on me, I would rather it be for something useful that I would actually use and enjoy rather then something they think looks nice, something that will be put away in a box labelled "small trinkets" and put in a closet never to be seen or heard of again....

Part of living frugally is to only buy things that are necessary. Things like groceries, rent/mortgage, bills, gas/insurance etc. Another part of living frugally is to buy things that you want, but in moderation...so it is ok to buy DVDs and cakes, but not on a weekly basis and not when you can't afford to cover your necessities...kwim? It's all about finding this healthy balance where you can get the things you need and a few things you want...and still have money left over. BUDGETING is also key in living frugally- I believe I have mentioned this before....it's KEY people!

Christmas comes and all that hits the fan. People tell me they live frugally all the time. I ask them what they do at Christmas, and they tell me that they are buying for 10 people. When I ask WHAT they are buying these people they spew off a list of random items that I know I would not use and that I can say *safely* that half the people on their list would/will not use either. I ask what they are going to spend on these people and numbers scare me. To be frugal at Christmas is to give gifts that you know the people will use and enjoy and not break your bank while trying to do so. The only obvious choice for gifts is consumables! Everybody loves consumables and you can either 1. make said consumables or 2. buy them without breaking the bank. Stop giving gifts that will be put on a shelf and forgotten and start giving gifts that people will use and enjoy, gifts that will make them think of you when they look at the 20lb cheese wheel you got them...in the middle of May...5 months after Christmas. You can never go wrong with consumables.

Ok- and now before you rip my head off I would like to say that spoiling your favourite people is great! Giving your kids special gifts is ok- kids LOVE presents and giving them a bottle of Port or a Box of Chocolate's isn't the best idea (because they will not appreciate it and neither will the parents) but give them useful gifts. Books, learning games and crayons are all great options to the loud, battery operated plastic toys that are frequently given. And for spouses...how about combining a gift that you can both use, and just doing stockings for each other. My sister-in-law and her husband are doing that this year and my husband and I are as well. They are going away for a weekend in Banff and we are buying a new TV. Big items, that are useful and things that we can enjoy. I would also like to mention that I know a TV is not a consumable...but it will be enjoyed on a daily basis for years to come...

Want some ideas on creative, cheap and consumable (some not consumable) gifts?? I thought so...
-homemade jellies and jams
-Cookies or Soup in a jar (if you are interested in this, let me know and I will do a recipe post)
-a basket of Christmas baking
-a box of homemade chocolates
-flavoured Olive Oil and Salts
-homemade (knit) wash cloths
-scented Epsom salts and homemade soap
-a container of Caramel Corn and a GC for a DVD
-homemade breads (banana, lemon, whole wheat)
-coupons for good deeds (ie: doing dishes, cleaning the house, doing a load of laundry)
-a dinner baskets (with all the items the receiver will need to make one meal- minus the meat and fresh produce...)
-a homemade recipe book with all your favourites

Ok- those are just a few that I could think of off the top of my head. Feel free to comment below if you have more ideas that you would like to share. :) If they are good, I might even post them on my blog.

What I didn't want to do in this post was say that Christmas and gift giving is bad or wrong. I wanted to share ways to make it better (for both parties) and more useful. I wanted to give you ways to stretch the money that you do that so that you can give to more people. See- I was just teaching you how to give more...with less...smart eh!

Now, for the poll results- out of 21 voters... *I forgot to vote...LOL*
I am happy to announce that no one is selfish...
10 people (47%) will be buying for 5-10 people
8 people (38%) will be buying for 10-15 people
2 people (9%) will be buying for 15-20 people
1 person (4%) will be buying for 20 or more people

If you are interested in my vote, we fall into the 5-10 category. Our budget for Christmas this year, for everyone but ourselves is $150 (we can't get a TV for $150). That means we are spending an estimated $15 per person. Can she do it? Yes she can! Some people will get a little more and others a little less...but that is how it goes. Almost all of the gifts are handmade by me or someone else, and all of them are useful. I'm not going to say what people are getting because, hello, this is a public blog and I live for the element of surprise that is Christmas morning...so you'll just have to trust me when I say it.

Happy December!
Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

PS: Check out the new poll!!


House Keeping? House Keeping?

Anyone watch Family Guy?

Remember that episode when Peter starts being a maid at a hotel...

"House keeping? House keeping? I come in anyway?"

No? Click here and enjoy!


Funny right? Freaking hilarious.

Ok- so there is some housekeeping business that I feel I need to address, and there is no time like the present!

Ok, I realize that it has been closed for over a week and I haven't talking about the results or posted a new one. Tomorrow I will. Tomorrow is going to be a HUGE Christmas post. I think you'll enjoy it. In fact, you might even love it and your appreciation for my frugal-ness might skyrocket. I felt it was only fair to give you some advanced warning so that you'd be prepared for the awesomeness that will be the post tomorrow.

I apologised for it once already, and feel it necessary to apologise again. To make it up to you, I will list our meals for the week....but that is all. I'm to lazy and we have a meeting soon so- this will have to do.
Saturday- Beef on a Bun
Sunday- Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, buns and cucumber salad
Monday- Hot beef and Pasta on Cesar Salad
Tuesday- BLTs
Wednesday- we are in Calgary
Thursday- Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce & salad
Friday- * i don't remember* Probably homemade tomato and rice soup or something easy.

I also realize that I have been lacking in the photo area. I feel bad about this. I'm currently doing a 365 project (see HERE for more on that) and since I am pretty much only taking picture of myself for that- I don't really want to fill my posts with pictures of me. Even though I am vain like that. :) But just because people have been hassling me about discounted meat- I shall prove to you that it does exist and that you can get 2kg of ground beef for $3.88.

Now take THAT to the bank!

If you haven't already, read this post and if you like that, then you can check out my friends blog post here. Support us and our granola ways! :) We will find out on December 3rd if we've made the final cut and then you can start voting!

I had a request to post my family's monthly budget. I will do a variation of the one that we've been using lately. I don't really want to post our actual income (because that is none of your business...LOL) but I will post where our money is going...cool?

I've been receiving numerous emails and messages regarding helpful links to coupons, and discounted items and I assure you that I will get a section up that has all those helpful and awesome sites that you can get stuff from. If you like free stuff, then click here! My good friend lists all the websites who are doing giveaways and such- you can win some cool stuff for free!!

Ok- it is 8:30pm and I have a mountain of laundry that needs to be folded and a meeting that is set to begin in a few moments. Take care and remember to check back tomorrow for my Christmas rant....um, post!

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Super Saturday

I'm not going to post my meal plan this week because I'm feeling exceptionally lazy and my baby girl is fighting a cold and we need to cuddle...so....a few recipes and pictures will have to do.
The first recipe I would like to share with you all is for homemade granola bars. I've had and tried numerous recipes and this is by far the best one I've tried. I made a pan of these last night, took me no time at all, and this morning I cut them up, wrapped them individually in saran wrap and I have 20 granola bars...85% organic and 100% delicious. I spent $6 on all the ingredients. A shout out to Kim who gave me the recipe.

The BEST Homemade Granola Bars
2 cups granola *I used an unsweetened organic variety*
2 cups oats
1 cup sunflower seeds *I only had 1/2 cup so I substituted 1/2 cup pumpkin- both organic*
1/2 cup chopped peanuts *I used a dry roasted version*
1 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter *I used an all natural organic smooth version*
2 eggs- beaten
4 tablespoons butter.

-Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
-In a pot, mix: honey and peanut butter. Add beaten eggs slowly, stirring quickly to avoid scrambling. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and add butter. Let cool for 20-30 minutes.
-Add wet to dry and stir to combine.
-Press into well greased 9"x13" pan and refridgerate for 2 hours (or overnight)
-Cut into individual bars and store in fridge. *I cut mine and wrapped them individually as they were pretty soft and I wanted something I could easily throw into lunches.*

*the cutest little person ever*

Basic Honey Whole Wheat Bread (I do the dough in my bread machine and then take it out and bake it in a pan because we prefer that shape in our bread). It's cheaper to make your own bread. This loaf cost me about $0.50...
Medium- 1 1/2 pounds
1 cup + 1 tablespoon water, 80-90 degrees F.
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons honey or sugar
1 cup bread flour (I've only ever used all-purpose and my loaves turn out fine)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast- dry, instant, or bread machine

Put all ingredients in bread pan in this order. Set machine to Whole Wheat Cycle, Loaf Size (med) and hit start.
After the rise cycle, before it bakes, remove the bread dough from the machine and place in a well greased (I butter & flour my pan) pan and let rise in warm area for another 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

*yummy bread*

-Cheesy Onion Swirl Bread.
Once you remove it from the bread machine, roll it out the dough and sprinkle with old cheddar cheese and onion flakes. Roll up and place in pan. Allow to rise and then bake off. Delicious. *I made this up the other day and it was a huge hit in our house*

-Cinnamon & Raisin Swirl.
Once you remove from the bread machine, roll out the dough and sprinkle with a cinnamon and sugar mixture (1/4 cup sugar, 1tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup raisins). Roll up and place in pan. Allow to rise and then bake off. Delicious. I prefer using this recipe for my cinnamon swirl bread because I refuse to eat white bread, nor will I serve it to my child. It works out great and is much tastier and heartier then it's white counterpart.

Ok, that is all for today. Check back on Monday for a very interesting post...you won't be disappointed.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Random Facts?!

After my class tonight, I feel like I am full of useless (but oddly interesting) facts that I feel obligated to share with you.

>The most children one woman has ever given birth to is 69. She had some sort of genetic issue and gave birth to 23 sets of triplets. Can you imagine? At least you would have 3 sets of everything to reuse...

>The most children one man has ever fathered is 888. He kept all his "women" in one place (like a compound) that no other men entered. I think this is gross. Imagine how it would feel to be the 888th kid...that would suck.

>There are enough sperm in 1 teaspoon of semen to impregnate every women in the U.S.A. One word: EWWWWWW!

Frugal Tip of the day??
Don't have 23 sets of triplets, after one set- STOP.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Don't shoot the messenger.

I think being a man would be cheaper.

Don't get me wrong, I love myself and I love being a woman and all the wonderfulness that comes along with boobies and the ability to make baby's from scratch...which I can do pretty darn well.

But sometimes, I truly believe that being a man, would save me a bunch of money.

My rationale:

1. Their clothes are cheaper and they need fewer accessories. No handbags, clutches, boots, matching earrings and bracelets and all the other crap that women (myself included) insist on wearing on a regular basis. Not only do we need all these accessories, but we need them in a few different colours...

2. Our haircuts cost a fortune compared to men haircuts. I can spend upwards of $70 to have my hair cut by someone I truly trust with my precious curls. My husband? I cut his hair for free. On that same note, women often use more products in their hair...

3. Women = makeup = EXPENSIVE. Holy geez! I like looking pretty but I just can't keep up with the cost of makeup. I'm sorry, but I can't afford to spend $20 on eyeliner, or $50 on mascara. Call me cheap, but I prefer the stuff I can get at Shoppers for under $5. Men = no makeup = cheaper.

4. Women eat less, but because we are smaller we need high quality food which = more expensive. Because men are bigger they can eat lower quality food (because they have bigger stomachs) which means they can spend the same amount as us but get much more. Don't believe me, come join me in my Psyc2700 class on Thursday nights from 6-8:50 and I'm sure my prof would love to tell you all about it.

5. Men don't have to dish out money for FEMALE products every month. That = cheaper.

6. Generally speaking, their alcoholic beverage of choice (beer) is cheaper then the mixed drinks (martini's) that women like to drink. I'm talking $2-3 dollars difference here...with 2-4 drinks, that's a significant amount of $$.

Well that's all folks. My creative juices have run dry. After writing a 9 page research paper in 10 hours, I'm pretty much tired of typing and my brain is pretty much mush.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Your Turn

I'm writing this post because my boss made a request and who am I to say NO to the lady with the power? Umm, not risking my job- especially in this economy- so here we go...

Last year when Lawrence was in school and I was at home with Charlotte- things were tight. We were living off student loans, the small wage + tips that Lawrence was bring in, and the little bits of cash that I would get for random jobs (ie: helping out at the B.O. *my work*, helping friends reorganize etc...) it wasn't much, but we were surviving and everything seemed to be fine.

Then Christmas happened. Now between the gifts we bought, the money we spent on gas driving home and back, and the week Lawrence had off work- come January, we literally had no money. It freaked me out. Here I was, a SAHM with a student/part time working husband and a tiny baby that needed me for everything...and no money to pay my rent, buy food...no money for anything. I cried, it sucked and I wanted to go back to September and start working more and saving better and spending less and being smarter...retrospect...kwim?! We needed money and fast. I refused to use our credit cards for things, because they are evil and should die. I didn't want to spend money that we didn't have because then you just end up digging yourself into this huge hole that takes you FOREVER to get out of. Clearly, since I was the one at home, I needed to find a way to make money. No one was really hiring at the time- trust me I looked everywhere- and with the specific hours I needed it was literally impossible to find a job that would cater to me.

So what did I do?

I sold stuff on Kijiji. I went through our house and sold everything that we weren't using, things we didn't need, things that were taking up space. I had people coming to my house almost every day, picking up things that they purchased from me. I was able to pay our rent. I was able to buy groceries, I was able to provide for my family for one month. Then we were out of things to sell and rent was still going to be due and we still needed to eat, so I needed to find more work.

So what did I do?

I thought of things that I was good at, and things that people had hired and paid me for in the past. Cleaning. I'm a good cleaner, a bit neurotic at times, but can you really blame me? So I posted on Kijiji again, offering my cleaning services. Within an hour of posting my ad, I had 5 potential clients and by the end of the second day, I had to remove the ad because I had over 20 people looking for someone to help them clean. So I started cleaning. My dear friends (who I would have been lost without) took Charlotte and I would clean 2 times a week. I made $20/hour. We were doing alright. We could afford another months rent and we continued to eat. But we needed something more...

So what did I do?

I called the Lethbridge Herald and got us a paper route. Is it desirable? No. Did we (Lawrence and I took turns) like it? No. We were making $600 extra a month? Yes. Could we continue to live? Yes. So we did it. From April - July we did papers every morning. I was able to do it because Charlotte would still be sleeping and Lawrence could do it because he didn't have class until 11am. We did it, and it wasn't really all that bad. I wouldn't go back to doing it...but it got us through some hard times. We were able to save a lot of what we made doing papers, as it was supplementing what we were already making.

I also got a childcare job. I started looking after a family out of town 2 days a week. That really helped and since I was able to bring Charlotte along, it worked out perfectly. I worked for this family from February - August, and was able to support my family and still be a SAHM. Almost all the money I made doing this went into savings.

Where are we now?

We are ALL good. I work, Lawrence works, and I still clean every other weekend. We made it through the hard times together, and we are stronger for it. If I thought I was frugal before that, I knew nothing. I am frugal now, because at one point, I had no other choice. We have enough money in savings now so that if this ever happens again, we are covered completely (all bills, rent, groceries etc...) for 3 months. This makes me feel confident. We didn't rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt- because we knew there were other ways...and I rarely take the easy way out.

So I open this up to you. How do you make extra money on the side? What are ways that you create extra revenue for your family? If you don't, do you plan for this? What would you do if you suddenly needed money fast? I would really like to hear what you have to say...so please comment on this post.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.



Sorry about the late post. The day really got away from me...what else is new?

I got this in an email a little while ago and thought it was great. I wanted to share it with all of you as it has a lot of helpful hints...enjoy! *I'll leave my own comments in BOLD*

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster. This works. I tried it this week with my green banana's...awesome!

Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminium foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold! Haven't tried this yet as cheese never lasts long in our house.

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking. I'm going to be looking for this next time I'm buying peppers.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking. This works. Give it a try.

Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. Really need to try this one...even though I prefer leftover pizza cold...

Expanding Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving. Tried it this weekend and it worked. I iced 2 cakes with one container of icing.

To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster. Done and done- works like a charm.

Newspaper weeds away
Start putting in your plants, working the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers. Haven't tried this personally, but I would be interested in trying it...

Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

No More Mosquitoes!
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

Squirrel Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper.
The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing pantyhose. Place pin in seam of slacks and ... ta da! ... static is gone.

Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out. I always sprayed mine with Pam first, but this works even better.

Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth! Chalkboard erasers are $1 at the Dollar Store.

Reopening envelopes
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily. I wanted to try this, so I licked a plain envelope closed and put it in the freezer, it seriously works...magic!

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair. Done it and loved it. Who wants to spend $4 on shaving cream when you can use leftover conditioner or the stuff you don't like...?

Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever! One of my friends was asking about this ages ago (during the GTA Garbage Strike)...does this work??

Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed! We don't have an any problem, but if we did, I would be willing to try this.

INFO ABOUT CLOTHES DRYERS (cool, I did it with ours...it totally works! Even though we rarely use dryer sheets...I can guarentee the people before us did...and it worked like a charm)
The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material .. I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well ... the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free ... that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ... well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best
way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!?! Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that. So, I thought I'd share!

OK- that is all I've got for today. My posts this week will probably be pretty lame, so let me apologise in advance. *SORRY* I have a couple papers due and a bunch of other crap that needs to be handed in, so that is where I will be spending most of my 'free' time. I encourage you to give some of these ideas a try and then let me know if they worked for you.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


You Are What You Eat

This week goes like this...

Saturday- my in-laws 30th Wedding Anniversary Party. Dinner out.

Sunday- family still down, eating at Grandma's for Sunday Dinner.

Monday- Oven BBQ Chicken with Roast Potatoes and Broccoli*
  • HAVE: chicken thighs, onion, brown sugar, tomato sauce, garlic, Dijon, seasonings, baby potatoes, broccoli
  • NEED: cider vinegar

Tuesday- Meatball Souvlaki with Fixings on a Pita*

  • HAVE: bread crumbs, Dijon, seasonings, garlic, dill weed, lettuce
  • NEED: ground beef, cucumber, sour cream, Roma tomatoes, red onion

Wednesday- Sweet and Sour Pork, Brown Rice, Salad

  • HAVE: pork, sweet & sour stuff, brown rice, salad & fixings.
  • NEED: nothing.

Thursday- Chili & Cheese Buns

  • HAVE: Tomatoes, Green Pepper, Jalapeno, tomato paste, corn, ingredients for cheese buns
  • NEED: Kidney beans

Friday- Pizza Night

  • HAVE: ingredients for pizza dough, tomato paste, cheese
  • NEED: ham, pineapple

* indicate the new recipes I am trying this week.

r. onion


Ground Beef x2
Deli Ham

Milk- homo & skim
Sour Cream

cider vinegar
kidney beans

How much did I spend this week you ask?

Skim Milk- $2.29
Deposit- $0.29
Homo Milk- $1.49
Deposit- $0.11
Lean Ground Beef- $2.00 x2 (2 lbs)
Bacon- $3.00
Aged Cheese- $3.87
Sour Cream- $1.67
Pineapple- $1.00
Cider Vinegar- $1.77
Corn Oil- $2.88
Kidney Beans- $0.87
Eggs- $2.12
Pita- $2.93
Carrots- $1.47
Celery- $1.47
R.Onion- $0.59
G.Pepper- $0.57
Cucumber- $1.47
Banana- $1.31
Tomato- $0.87
Deli Ham- $2.04
TOTAL: 36.61
GRAND TOTAL + 5% GST: $38.44
Under: $1.56

As per last week, if you want a recipe please let me know and I will send you a message on FB or an email... :)

Tomorrow I will try to get on to do a quick Christmas post that was supposed to be posted today (sorry, the day got away from me) but I can't make any guarentees. If not tomorrow then Sunday, but keep checking back.

Anyhow, I'm off to get some shut eye before family photos in the morning and then...*drum roll*..............................................NEW MOON!!! That's right folks, I'm going to see it tomorrow...woot woot. I will post a review...sometime...in the near future.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.



My mother-in-law sent this to me in an e-mail, and I just wanted to share this with you all. It is true...


















Happy Days...

Apparently my neighbour reads my blog.

That is all I have for today folks. I'm a busy lady...but come back tomorrow for some Christmas Talk. It will be a good time.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Parking Wars

My husband says that I get annoyed over little things.

I disagree.

I don't get annoyed when there are crumbs all over my floor or when bleach is spilt on my carpet (it happened)...those I would classify as "little things".

However, I do get annoyed when little things turn into BIG things, and when those BIG things start impacting my life in a negative way.

Close your eyes and picture this for a second. Me, carrying Charlotte (a 20lbs squirming toddler), with a diaper bag slung over one shoulder and my school bag (full of HEAVY textbooks) over the other, fighting the wind to get to my car. Not a pretty picture. It usually involves some curse words and a lot of screaming from the squirming toddler. (CRV = mine, crooked car = stupidhead neighbour).

Ok, there is hardly enough room for me to squeeze by to get into my car, how can I possibly get by with 2 bags and a baby?! I can't. So I put said baby down and what does she do? Runs into the parking lot. *negative impact on my life* So nowI have to run and get her, walk over to the other side of the car, manually unlock BOTH doors *stupid car* get Charlotte in all the while she is screaming and yelling and pulling my hair and scratching my face, close the doors, go over to the driver's side, pick up the bags that I dropped when I was running to save my child from THE BIG SCARY PARKING LOT....ok you can see where this story is going. I eventually am able to squeeze myself into my car all the while yelling obscenities in the direction of my neighbours house....10 minutes has passed and now I am really late and really ticked off. This has officially turned into a BIG deal.

Reasons for being ticked off?:
1. My stupidhead neighbour needs to learn how to park her stupidhead car.
2. Clearly I need to lose some weight if I can't squeeze my fat ass in between 2 cars...

Moral of the story? WALK instead of drive (good on the pocket book and environment) and lose weight so that next time (and there will be a next time) your stupidhead neighbour decides to park like a blind person you can fit nicely in between the cars.

See, this isn't a little thing...

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

Check me our here as well.


Don't be Greedy, Give to the Needy...

As frugal as I am, I always give to the Food Bank. There is always someone in need...someone who has less then I do...someone who needs my...our help...

Ever hear of the Golden Rule...??

Click here to get involved.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Muffins- by request

I've had a few requests asking for muffin recipes and since I am the MUFFIN QUEEN (among other things, and man- that almost sounds dirty...) I decided I would give up my secret. That is right folks...I'm about to share with you my muffin secret...(whoa, that time it definitely sounded dirty).

I go onto google, type in muffins and click HERE!

Not all that exciting I know, but seriously, I've made almost ALL of these muffin recipes and have LOVED THEM ALL. I was trying to decide if I was just going to share the link, or if I was going to type *cough cut&paste cough* them all into a post and claim them to be mine, but alas, I'm an honest person, so I shared the link. Besides, I don't want to people from Joy of Baking hunting me down and suing me for all that I have (which is very little...). So- click on the above link and enjoy the numerous recipes- tested and tried by yours truly- and try them out over the following weeks for breakfasts and snacks.

That all being said, I thought I would share some of my secrets on how I make things healthier and more filling. I like healthy and I like filling food, and if I can combine that into one yummy morsel of goodness (read: muffin) then perfect.

Instead of an egg:
  • use only the egg white to cut the cholesterol
  • in cakes/muffins- substitute 1 banana for 1 egg, or 1 tbsp milled flax seed and 3tbsp water
  • 2tbsp of corn starch = 1 egg

Instead of oil/butter:

  • using the same amount of pureed fruits (apple sauce) instead of oil/butter. You can also use 1/2 & 1/2 (read: half oil, half applesauce)

Instead of All Purpose White Flour:

  • use half whole wheat flour, and half regular white flour. NOTE: in personal experience (having tried and eaten lots of attempts) don't substitute whole wheat flour for white flour 100%. Whatever you are making will be too dense, and very dry...or in other words yucky.
  • If a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, use 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and then use whatever you would like for the last 1/2 cup. Things like bran, milled flax seed, ground nuts, coconut flour etc are all great options.

Instead of white sugar:

  • substitute brown sugar (1:1) in any recipe. This will add moisture and more flavour. Also- it is lighter, believe it or not. 1 cup of white sugar weighs 8oz whereas 1 cup of brown sugar equals only 6oz.
  • use honey/maple syrup instead of sugar, but for every cup of sugar use only 3/4 cup of honey/maple syrup. Keep in mind, that using this will add more moisture to whatever you are baking so you might need to add more flour or dry ingredients...

Instead of milk:

  • using soy milk, rice milk or almond milk are great substitutes to regular 1% or skim milk.
  • if a recipe calls for buttermilk but you don't want to dish out the $4 for 1L of it, use 1tbsp vinegar/lemon juice for every 1 cup of milk. Mix and let stand for 5 minutes = voila, buttermilk.
  • you can use powdered milk and some water
  • also yogurt can be a good substitute (again, you might want to water it down a bit, but that is based on personal preference)

Ok, there you have it folks...my secrets. I did some searching around to see what else I could find that I could link for you and Joy of Cooking has a great substitution list for you...so click here.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

I also have another blog, click here to check out the daily photo uploads...part of the 365 Project that my BFF/SIL and I are doing together. Her photos = awesome. My photos = LAME. Enjoy!



You MUST try these. I made these on a whim and I had all that stuff in my house so it cost me NOTHING!

Candy Cane Brownies.

1/2 cup butter/margarine
1/4 cup cocoa

Melt in a microwave safe bowl. Stir.

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla (I always up that amount)

Beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add chocolate and butter to first mixture and stir until blended. Add 3/4 cup flour. Mix. Add in either: A) 1 package of peppermint chocolate chips B) 1 package of white chocolate chips or C) 1 package normal chocolate chips...and 4 crushed candy canes. Mix until well combined. Pour into greased & floured 8X8 pan and baked for 28 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let cool for 10 minutes then removed from pan.
That is all.

What We Eat

I apologise about the delay. As per my post yesterday, it was a busy day. Between my parents being down and a Centennial Church celebration, I just didn't have time to get on and post our meal plan, grocery list and receipt.
DISCLAIMER: I want to you all to keep in mind that I meal plan according to what we have in our house...I want to buy a few things as possible so I meal plan around what we already have- kwim? I'm just saying this because if you want to follow my meal plan and go out and buy everything for all the recipies you will likely spend more then me...

The post will go like this:

Meal Plan
What I already have/what I need to buy
Grocery List

Week: Nov14-20th
Saturday (my parents were down, so I had to feed 5 people)- Stir fry & Brown Rice

  • HAVE: Brown Rice, Stir fry Sauce Ingredients, Onions, Carrots, Celery
  • BUY: Red Pepper, Broccoli, Zucchini

Sunday- Sloppy Joe's* w/ Fruit Salad

  • HAVE: Onion, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Apples
  • BUY: Buns, ground beef, oranges, bananas

Monday- Lawrence's Work Christmas Party, going out for dinner, pre-paid tickets

Tuesday- Pork Satay*, Brown Rice and Salad

  • HAVE: Pork, Brown Rice, Soy Sauce, Garlic, Ginger, Hot Sauce, Lettuce, Salad Fixings
  • BUY: Orange Juice Concentrate, Bamboo Skewers (got at Dollar Store for $1)

Wednesday: Waffles, Blueberry Sauce & Whipped Cream

  • HAVE: Waffle ingredients, frozen blueberries, sugar
  • BUY: Whipping Cream

Thursday- Beef Barley Soup (Crock Pot meal)

  • HAVE: Carrots, Celery, Onions, Beef Bouillon, Parsley,Barley
  • BUY: Stewing Beef, Tomato Sauce

Friday- Spaghetti, Homemade Sauce, Cesar Salad, Buns

  • HAVE: Cesar Salad Dressing (homemade), Tomatoes, Garlic, Onions
  • BUY: Spaghetti, Buns, Tomato Sauce

Lettuce (extra)

Homo Milk
Skim Milk
Whipping Cream


Ground Beef
Stewing Beef

Tomato Sauce

Homo Milk- $1.49
Deposit- $0.11
Skim Milk- $1.35
Deposit- $0.11
Whip Cream- $3.17
Deposit- $0.11
Eggs- $2.12
Marble Cheese- $3.87
Tomato Sauce- $0.94 x 2 = $1.88
Pasta- $1.87
Dinner Rolls- $0.17 x 5 = $0.85
Mandarins $3.97
Lettuce- $1.47
Broccoli- $1.97
Peppers 3ct- $3.97
Zucchini- $0.78
Bananas- $1.10
Avocado- $0.97
Lime-$0.33 x 3 = $0.99
Discounted Meat (Stew Beef)- $3.50
Ground Beef- $2.50
TOTAL: $38.15 + 5% GST
Over: $0.05 (which I had in my wallet...)

I only meal plan for Dinners. We have leftovers from almost every meal. I usually toss one in the freezer and one is for lunch for either Lawrence, Charlotte or me the following day. For lunches we do hummus (homemade) with veggies, PB&J Sandwiches, Grilled Cheese, homemade KD, Veggie Soup etc...things that I don't need to buy things for. Lawrence also works 3 times a week and can get a bowl of soup at work for pennies...so he does that. I also freeze Charlotte sized meals (lasagna, soups etc) that I can pull out and send with her to her babysitters for lunch. As for breakfasts, we eat toast, oatmeal, muffins or smoothies. We have a lot of frozen fruit from the summer, I make muffins almost weekly and we can have those, they also work well for snacks. Again, it's meals that I don't have to buy for. I would also like to mention that because we are going out once this week (Monday for the Christmas Party) I allowed myself to spend a little bit more on the other meals for the week (ie: whipping cream = almost $4, that rarely happens). I would also like to mention that I try 2 new recipes a week. The ones that are new this week had a * next to them.

So there you have it folks. We eat healthy, we eat fresh food every night and I only spend $40 on groceries. There are times when I will go over, but generally speaking I stick to this budget. I shop at Wal-Mart Supercenter in Lethbridge, the cheapest place I've found SO FAR to buy groceries. Some weeks I will shop at Superstore because it is also pretty decent but generally speaking I shop at the Supercenter.

If you want a recipe let me know and I will either e-mail it to you, or send you a picture of it. :)

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.


Meal Plan et. al.

It will be posted shortly.

Today has been crazy. My parents came down, Lawrence was working....so needless to say the Meal Plan, Grocery List and my Receipt has yet to be posted. As soon as I get home it will be...so check back later tonight or tomorrow to see me work my magic...



Poll Results

So my first attempt at a poll on my blog was kind of a fail. Instead of saying "How much do YOU spend weekly on groceries" I wrote, "How much do WE spend weekly on groceries"...and of course despite all my efforts you cannot go in and change the wording of your question once someone has voted. So the question stayed...all week...being wrong and staring at me in the face. FAIL.


I always think it is interesting to see how much other people spend on groceries. I know I'm like the Budget Queen and can pretty much make anything on a dime...but I like to think that I am not the only person out there who spend less then $100 on grocery's...for a week.

So here are the results:
8 people spend between $30-$50
10 people spend between $50-$100
9 people spend between $100-$150
2 people spend $150 or more...

I spend $40 a week (cash only) on groceries. Sometimes a little less if my meal plan includes a lot of leftover meals or if it is a short week (read: we are going to be away for the weekend). It was easier before Charlotte started eating table food as I was just shopping for Lawrence and I, but even with the added mouth (she eats like a man) I can still shop for all of us, for a week, and get everything for the low low low price of $40. I'm magical! I'll prove it too...come back tomorrow to see!

So, my biggest wonder for those who spend over $50 a week- what do you buy?? Granted, your families are probably bigger then mine...but still- what do you buy that costs so much? I'm honestly curious. I mean I know I can easily drop $100 on groceries...but I don't (read: almost never).

My new challenge? Getting all my Christmas Baking supplies in without going over budget...that will be interesting.

There is a new poll- go vote NOW! Please.

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

PS. Click here to see something freaky.


What's More Important?

So I walk down stairs and the smell hits me like a load of bricks.

It’s diaper day.

This is the reason why so many people refuse to cloth diaper. I don’t blame them. Scraping poop off diapers isn’t fun. In fact, it is my most dreaded chore, but I do it.

I’m saving the environment one nasty poopy diaper at a time and man; I am proud of it.

~ ~ ~ ~

I knew I wanted to cloth diaper but I didn’t know a lot about it. So I stayed up late every night for a week reading up on cloth diapering, the various styles, shapes and sizes, washing instructions, etc etc. I felt I knew all there was to know about cloth diapering. So when I came across an online company that was going out of business I impulsively bought 20 FuzziBunz Pocket Diapers (size medium). I was 6 months pregnant. I reasoned with myself that I wouldn’t be able to get such a great deal anywhere else, so the $350 that I’d just dropped on diapers was worth it. My husband wasn’t sure of my decision but I eventually converted him and he was impressed when the diapers arrived a few weeks later.

Our daughter was born. She was 6lbs6oz at birth. She was 20 inches long. She was smaller then the cloth diapers that I had bought.
I cried.
I remember trying for weeks to see if the diapers would fit…and just like the week before, even on the tightest setting they fell off the second I pulled her up. I was upset and felt certain that I had wasted $350 on things I would never be able to use.

5 months passed.

Charlotte started wearing cloth diapers exclusively at about 5½ months and at 15 months, weighing in at a whopping 19lbs, she is still in them. I love them more now then before. My collection has grown by 6 diapers (BumGenius 3.0) that were added just recently (I bought them used for $13/diaper) and I expect my collection will continue to grow when my family does. People say cloth diapering is too expensive. It’s not. Let me break it down for you.

A package of name brand diapers will run you about $20 a package. Yes, I know there are sales and no-name brands but generally speaking you’ll pay between $20-30 for a package of diapers. The average $20 package of diapers has been 54-60 diapers. At 5 diapers a day, that package will last you about 12 days. So every 12 days you spend $20 on diapers that you throw away. They will sit in our landfills and it will take them up to 500 years to decompose. In the meantime, they are little methane bombs full of pee and poop just WAITING for the chance to explode. Nasty? I think so. In a year the average parent (according to my math) would spend over $520 on disposable diapers. Now the average child is in diapers for 2-3 years so you’re looking at $1040-1560 in diapers for ONE child. That makes me sick.

I spent $350 on diapers that will last me the 2 years for my first child…and will last me 2 years for my next child…etc. Even adding in the extra cost for a few more diapers, special additive free laundry soap and the energy it costs to wash them and dry them (mine are hung to dry so that doesn’t apply to me) it is still CHEAPER for me and BETTER for my environment. The positives clearly out weigh the negatives, less diaper rash, no chemicals on her bum, easier to potty train and no poopy diapers rotting in the landfill for 500 years…all things that make it worthwhile to me. Click here to see what you are actually putting on your baby when you put them in a disposable.

Still not convinced? Maybe some pictures will help…

Interested now? Not prepared to dish out a ton of money without trying them first? Click HERE!

I want to encourage you all to think of our planet. I also want you to think about all the disposable diapers being thrown away each day. What kind of planet do you want for your children? For their children? For their children's children?

Frugally Yours,
Erin B.

Parenting By Nature

Inspire Natural Parenting Contest