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!!