10 Frugal Valentine Date Ideas

Today I’m going to share 10 Frugal Valentine Date Ideas. Maybe you are searching for Valentine Ideas For her or Romantic Valentine Date Ideas or just Valentine’s ideas. Maybe you already have an elaborate, expensive date night planned for your someone special! But whatever your relationship status, you can do any of these dates! Grab some friends and celebrate or maybe you have little ones at home, some of these (#9) would be so fun to do with kids!

  1. Enjoy A Home Cooked Meal Together: This is probably the easiest and most frugal way to celebrate something special together! As long as you don’t buy the most expensive steak in the grocery store and the best bottle of wine. You can make a great meal without spending a ton of money. With websites like Pinterest available to us, today, it’s super easy to find an affordable but delicious meal to whip up. Head over to Pinterest to get some ideas right now and while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out the BEST tool for Pinterest (and Instagram) ever created, Tailwind. It’s a program that helps you organize your pins and then according to the schedule you set, it automatically pins or posts everything for you. A must have tool for anyone wanting to grow their website traffic. I’ll be sharing more on Tailwind another time!
  2. Go Out For Appetizers Only: This is a great way to still go out but not spend a lot. Many restaurants have specials, such as buy one appetizer get the 2nd half price. Or maybe buy one appetizer and a get a deal on drinks! Check out who is offering what, locally. You’d be surprised! pexels-photo-696218.jpeg
  3. Coupons! We get coupons to many of our favourite restaurants in the mail, quite often. It’s similar to #2 with getting a deal if you buy something. Some places offer deals such as buy two entrees get an appetizer free.
  4. Go Out for Dessert Only: Dessert on Valentine’s! Something sweet with your sweetheart! I know, I’m cheesy. But this is another great way to have a special treat that won’t cost you a lot. Obviously it depends on where you go and if you choose a really expensive restaurant, their dessert may be pricier. But then it’s a nice way to enjoy fine dining without paying for an entire dinner.
  5. Grab your favourite hot drink and go for a walk with your sweetie around your favourite local park. I say hot drink because where I live, it’s the dead of winter right now. I love where we live because we have some beautiful parks that the city takes great care of, even through the winter. If you live near the beach, get your favourite drink and go for a walk on the beach

6. Make your pexels-photo-803034own charcuterie board and enjoy it with your favourite bottle of wine with some romantic candles lit, at home! Charcuterie boards are so much fun and so yummy! I recently had my first experience with one, when I went out with some girl friends for a wine night. Pinterest has some fantastic ideas on how to create your own.

7. Order pizza and curl up on the couch with your favourite sappy, chick flick. This would probably be the only night of the year I could convince my husband to watch a girly movie with me. We are usually watching hockey 100% of the time, this time of year. But hey I’m ok with hockey over all the mainstream junk on tv these days, seriously! Anyways, pizza and movie night, in?! Yes please

8. Restaurant or movie gift cards! We love getting these as gifts! We will get at least 1 or 2 a year from family members and we stash them away for dates. Ask for them as gifts for your birthday or christmas and then save them for later!

9. Fondue! Cheese or chocolate?! Or maybe both! When we received our firstchocolate-2224998_640.jpg crock pot (it broke sadly) as a wedding gift, it came with a mini crockpot for fondue and dips. It’s so fun! Even if you don’t have a mini crock pot, just put an oven safe bowl over a small pot of water on the stove and melt your chocolate (or cheese) this way. Fruits, veggies, crackers and bread aren’t very pricey in the grocery store. For my bachelorette here in Canada, my girls did fondue and it was amazing. A little secret I learned from one of the girls (Hey Melina!) was to put some coconut oil in with the chocolate chips while melting. This made the chocolate much smoother with that yummy taste of coconut added to it!

10. Check out what your local community center is offering on Valentine’s! You never know, there might be a free movie showing, a fun bingo night (yes I am 80 years old), and more! We have some amazing community centers around us that offer so much, for free.heart-love-romance-valentine.jpg

Maybe you are thinking it’s too late to make plans now because many places require reservations. Try one of my ideas that doesn’t require going to a restaurant. But now you have some ideas for next year too! Maybe you’re thinking you need a babysitter and that is expensive. Maybe you have friends with kids where you could trade babysitting. You babysit their kids one night for free and they babysit for you the next time! There are so many more great ideas of how to have a great Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have wonderful Valentine’s celebrating the ones you love. I hope you eat chocolate, drink wine and feel loved. What are some things you’ve done for Valentine’s that wasn’t expensive but you had a great time? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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8 Natural Ways To Increase Milk Supply

Ok, Mamas. You want to increase your milk supply? Are you struggling to get your milk supply back up after illness? I’ve got some all natural ways you can increase that milk supply that really work!

Lets.Get.Real.First.

Breastfeeding is a journey. It wasn’t something that really happened for me with either of my boys. I did all the things I was told to do but at the end of the day a bottle was what worked the best for us. I honestly wasn’t even thinking about increasing my milk supply at this point. You know, I want to say whatever your situation is that YOU ARE DOING AMAZING!

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However you can feed your baby, feed your baby. That is what matters.  I went back and forth with the decision to be done breastfeeding/pumping with boy my boys. Ultimately it was a decision I made for my mental and emotional health because I’ve struggled hard with postpartum anxiety and depression . I’ll share more on that another time!

What was interesting for me was that I’ve had a great milk supply both times even though I struggled to breastfeed. So began my relationship with pumping exclusively. I pumped with Hudson for 12 weeks. I didn’t make it as long with Jack but I was able to combination feed Jack for about 6 weeks. It was more work than I’d ever imagined. Once I got into a routine with pumping I started to research natural ways to build my milk supply.

  1. Drink Water: You will read this in every blog post, website and article on increasing supply because it’s so important. How can you make more liquid if you aren’t hydrating yourself?! I would immediately notice a difference in my milk supply if I drank even a few ounces less of water than my usual. I made it a habit to chug 8 ounces after every pumping session and in between sessions I had my water bottle nearby. 
  2. More Milk PlusI saw immediate results with this tincture, as in within 24 hours I would was pumping at least 2-4 (per side) more ounces a session. It contains galactagogues which are herbs that promote milk production. Makes sure it has goat’s rue in it. This tastes disgusting and I had to choke it down with orange juice. They make capsules. But I had excellent results with this tincture alone.
  3. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle  These are the most common supplements for boosting milk supply. I had to stop taking fenugreek because it hurt my stomach and also made Hudson uncomfortable. The More Milk Plus has fenugreek in it but it didn’t bother me as much. I took 2 capsules of Blessed Thistle 3x a day.
  4.  Brewers Yeast: another galactagogue! I saw great results when I added brewers yeast to my daily supplement routine. The tablets are kinda gross and I found them a bit hard to swallow so if you hate pills, these might not be for you. Nurse, Nurse, Nurse or Pump, pump and pump some more: If you can successfully breastfeed, keep that baby on there as he’s the best option you have for stimulating production and increasing milk supply. If you are pumping exclusively try not to miss a session. Treat pumping as you would a feeding. As often as your baby eats, pump. 
  5. Power Pump: This is an interesting one. I tried it and I was surprised at how much more milk I could get. Pump for 10 minutes, hold off for 20, pump for 20, hold off for a half hour. I would advise waiting an hour after feeding baby, to power pump so you give yourself a chance to build up again.
  6. EAT: Keep yourself fed and eat whole foods. Flax, almonds, oats, smoothies, and protein are all great for milk supply. I never did the lactation cookie thing because that was too much work for me. But if they work for you that is great! 
  7. SLEEP: Obviously sleep is important. Easier said than done right? You have a brand new baby and sleep seems like a luxury. I used to get so mad when people would tell me to sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s literally impossible sometimes, especially if you have other children. I did find ways to lay in bed and rest when my husband was home. That helped and it was better than nothing. 
  8. Relax: Taking hot baths was a way I was able to relax at the end of the day. Self care is important and you aren’t selfish for taking care of yourself! Go say that to yourself in the mirror! Find a way to de-stress and relax because cortisol (the stress hormone) won’t do anything good for your milk supply. I was a really stressed out new mama and I’m positive my supply would have really suffered if I haven’t been proactive in ways to boost it. 

Maybe you’ve tried all these things and are still struggling? It’s ok, Mama. I’m with you in the trenches. Our struggles may be different but we find solidarity with each other in the overall struggle of being a mom which is the hardest job on the planet. Be able to come to a place where if it’s time to stop and make the switch to formula, this is ok. Only you can make that decision for yourself and you can trust those God-given mama instincts!

Talk to your partner so you have support during this emotional time. I found a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders when I talked things through with my husband. I knew I had given it my best when I made the decision to be done with breastmilk for both my boys. Healthy mama, healthy baby! You are doing an incredible job, wherever you are at with feeding your baby!

What are some ways you have naturally increased your milk supply? What has your journey with breastfeeding been like? I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments below.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. So when you click on a link and purchase something (anything) on Amazon, I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting all the hard work I do here At The Messy Housewife!

Lavender Vanilla Body Scrub with Himalayan Pink Salt and Cane Sugar.

Aging. Something no one can escape!

There’s the idea floating around that men tend to look younger from years of shaving their faces. If you think about it, they are exfoliating their skin every time they shave. When you exfoliate, you are sloughing off the dead skin cells and making way for fresh skin cells! Apparently women shaving their faces to achieve younger looking skin is now a thing but we aren’t going to get into that today.

There are a ton of products and tools on the beauty market today that can assist you in exfoliating your skin. I have found salt and sugar scrubs to be the most effective for myself. I struggle with dry skin especially during the winter season. Lets just be honest, winter in Ontario carries an all out assault on our skin. It’s brutal! I have to really up my skin care game come wintertime.

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Before you run out and purchase some fancy, organic, magical scrub that an expensive beauty retailer is selling, let me share with you a super easy, affordable salt sugar scrub you can make yourself. This scrub is a great way to exfoliate and nourish your skin with natural ingredients. Chances are you probably have all the ingredients you need to make some type of scrub, today! Below I’ve linked each ingredient and apart from the cane sugar, I used those brands in my recipe.

What You Will Need:

3 Tbsp Himalayan Pink Salt 

3 Tbsp Cane Sugar

1-2 Tbsp Grape seed Oil

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A bowl and fork for mixing

Lavender EO and *Vanilla Oleoresin (1-5 drops of each) This step is optional.

A container such as a 125ml mason jar with a lid. I’ve found these to work really well. I can’t remember for the life of me where I got the container showing in my photo. Voyageur Soap and Candle is great supplier in BC, if you are looking for really nice packaging. I find that mason jars are work just fine.

Add sugar, salt and oil into bowl and mix with fork. If you wish to add essential oils, do so at this time. I would suggest using a plastic fork so you aren’t putting essential oils onto your cutlery that you eat with. Once you’ve mixed your ingredients and are satisfied, transfer to your container.

*Caution with essential oils-if you haven’t used them much please test them for reactions, in small amounts with a carrier oil, on your wrist. Some great essential oils for body scrubs can be Lavender, Bergamot, or Sweet Orange. For the face I would suggest trying Geranium Egyptian EO (great for nourishing dry skin), Frankincense EO (great for healing and balancing the skin) and Myrrh EO (known for its anti aging properties). Avoid hot oils such as Cinnamon and Clove.

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The measurements provided are guess to be honest. I tend to experiment with the amounts I use. Play around with your ingredients to achieve the texture/consistency that you desire. As you can see above, the mixture is not overly wet from the oils. In the past I found too much oil makes the mixture slimy. Start with a little and add more if you need it.

To Use: take a small amount of scrub with your fingers and apply to desired area in small circular motions. Rinse off when finished. I use this in the shower as it tends to get messy. I use it on my face and body whenever I shower.

Some other great ingredient alternatives are white sugar, brown sugar, sea salt (I grind mine down for a finer consistency) fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. These are all nourishing for the skin, you can’t go wrong! Do you already make your own scrubs? What are some of your favourite ingredients? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. So when you click on a link and purchase something (anything) on Amazon, I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting all the hard work I do here At The Messy Housewife!

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How I Beat Mastitis Three Times Without Antibiotics.

Mastitis. I physically cringe when I hear or read this word because I know all too well the pain it can bring.

WebMD describes mastitis as:

” ………..an infection of the tissue of the breast that occurs most frequently during the time of breastfeeding. It can occur when bacteria, often from the baby’s mouth, enter a milk duct through a crack in the nipple. Breast infections most commonly occur one to three months after the delivery of a baby, but they can occur in women who have not recently delivered as well as in women after menopause.”

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Statistics show that mastitis most commonly rears its ugly head one to three months after the birth of a baby. For me, I was about 2 weeks into my son’s life when mastitis hit me and boy did it hit me HARD. One of the top reasons mastitis can occur is from having a ton of milk that is not being expressed-aka engorgement. This was the case for me. I have struggled with over supply with both my son’s.

Even though I pumped, I still had issues with engorgement. The strength of a baby’s suction is much more effective at removing milk from the breast. Since my son wasn’t breastfeeding I was at a higher risk of experiencing engorgement and a blocked duct.

I started realizing I most likely had mastitis when I began to experience these symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of high fever
  • Extreme body aches
  • Intense fatigue
  • Pain and tenderness in my armpit and infected part of the breast
  • Redness around the infected part of the breast
  • Feeling like I wanted to die (ok that’s dramatic but I felt awful!)
  • EDIT: each time I contracted mastitis the infected area was usually quite hard which meant the duct was obviously blocked

The thing about mastitis is how quickly it sets in. I remember a friend was visiting and while we were sitting on the couch chatting away, I started to feel like I was coming down with the flu. It hit me out of nowhere. I had heard about mastitis from my sister (who has 4 children) so I immediately texted her. At her suggestion, I started taking extra strength garlic (capsules) every 2 hours. A few other things I began doing immediately were:

  • Hot showers with water directed at infected area
  • Strong massage to direct any milk and infection out/away from breast
  • Hot baths with tea tree and lavender essential oils
  • Raw potato slices laid over the infected area and left on for at least 20 minutes
  • Applying a heated rice sock to the infected area before every pumping session
  • Pumped frequently (I was already pumping every 2 hours so I just continued)
  • If you can successfully breastfeed, I highly recommend resting in bed with that sweet baby and breastfeed as often and as long as you can manage.
  • REST

I have no scientific, medical or health reasons why raw potato slices aid in healing mastitis but it has worked every time for me. Perhaps it’s the cold temperature of the raw potato to reduce inflammation and swelling? I’m not sure but what I did was have my husband thinly slice raw potato (because I always almost die using our mandolin) then I soaked the slices in very cold water for 20 minutes. I put on a sports bra and inserted the slices against the infected area. I left those on for at least 20 minutes and did this every few hours. I felt immediate relief from the potato slices.

Garlic, Tea Tree and Lavender are all antifungal so it makes sense why they work so well in fighting off infections.

While I try to avoid medicating fever, I did alternate ibuprofen and Tylenol at night so I could rest comfortably. Rest is the best thing you can do to give your body a chance to heal.

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A personal side-note on antibiotics: I do not respond well to antibiotics. I believe they have their place in healthcare and can be lifesaving. I was antibiotic resistant by the time I hit my 20’s and began to experience candida overgrowth, bladder infections and more. I continued the frequent use of antibiotics until I began my journey into holistic and natural health.

When I experienced my first bout with mastitis I called my Dr.’s office and I I made an appointment for the next day. You know what? Within 24 hours I was fever free and only slightly sore in the infected area. I had continued all my natural remedies in the meantime. I contracted mastitis two more times in the following months but was able to beat it doing all the natural remedies I listed above.

 I am not a medical professional. I’m not advising that you don’t see your doctor for any illness you may be experiencing, resembling mastitis.

But I will gladly share some safe, all natural remedies that have worked so well for me. I hope you found this information useful. Have you ever had mastitis? What were some natural remedies that worked for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. So when you click on a link and purchase something (anything) on Amazon, I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting all the hard work I do here At The Messy Housewife!

Cloth Diaper Styles, Inserts and Brands.

Currently on my living room floor is a pile of clean cloth diapers, covers and inserts. They’ve been clean for 3 days………

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Let us jump right into the different types of cloth diapers and how they work. I’m not an expert and I haven’t used every kind out there. I’m still learning but I have found what I like and don’t like. Let’s start with the basics. Liners are what are inserted into cloth diapers. There are many different kinds of liners but the most common is microfiber. This can’t be directly against baby’s skin because it will cause irritation and/or rash. Microfiber will always be stuffed inside a pocket diaper. I currently have in order from left to right in the photo below:Charcoal, Microfiber and Bamboo. 


Excluding pre-folds (think really old school cloth diapers that many use as burp cloths) cloth diapers today use a snap or velcro system. Or a hybrid snap/velcro system. This diaper would also have side velcro tabs. There are One Size diapers are typically all snaps/velcro and snap combo.

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All-In-One’s: These are exactly what they say. The liner is sewn into the cover. There is the option of stuffing an extra liner for max absorbance.

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Pocket diapers are probably the most commonly used type of cloth diaper and the style I prefer. You can see the little pocket where you would stuff the liner. You can double and triple up but be wary of gaping near the legs. Boys will always leak near the belly button where I’ve heard that girls tend to have more back leaks.

Lastly are covers which I find have the least if any leaks. It takes practice with these because they are not pockets. So, you kinda have to finagle that liner into the cover while you are also putting it on baby or the liner will just fall out. Make sense? You can not use microfiber inserts with these because the liner would go directly against baby’s skin. I use Charcoal or Bamboo.

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That’s it as far as the types of cloth I have used. Almost all the diapers I have in my possession are able to grow with baby. I do experience leaks and I try to change baby boy every 2 to 2.5 hours. I know for those 100% committed to cloth diapering have hacks for getting their babies through the night but I’ve found that my little guy does not like the feeling of being wet in cloth (which is said to be why children tend to toilet train faster when in cloth). He’d stay in a disposable ALL day and night. To get a good night’s sleep we stick with disposables.

I did not purchase any of my diapers brand new. I saw way too many adds online where moms plunked down $500 or more on a bundle of brand new cloth diapers only to find they didn’t like it. They were trying to sell off said diapers but I think most took a loss money-wise. I couldn’t justify spending that amount of money only to find out I didn’t like something. Also-I don’t have that kind of money to spend. All together including diapers, liners, diaper sprayer, and wet bags I have spent around $180. The great thing about buying used is you get the chance to try many different brands and styles without breaking the bank. I will mention that if you buy used make sure you strip your diapers before using them on your baby. This is a process I will share on another time.

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The brands I currently have in my possession are Alva Baby, Bummis, Hip Huggers, Happy Flute, Preston’s Pants (esty and not selling anymore right now), Jamtots, Kawaii Baby and AppleCheeks. Hipper Huggers is great for double gussets.  

UPdate as of January 2019: I have been the happiest with Kawaii Baby’s diapers which I will review in another blog post!

Don’t forget to check out my intro in to cloth diapers and my set up!

What are you favourite brands and styles of cloth diapers? Share in the comments below what you love! I can’t wait to hear from you =)

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How I’m Learning To Live With Less And Why I didn’t Always Love it.

I could feel the sweat starting to bead on my forehead and my heart began to race. My palms felt sweaty and my chest tightened. What was sending me into full panic mode, you ask? Well. I was creating my baby registry. 

Most normal mamas to be would probably feel excited doing this but for me, I found it overwhelming. You see-our society seems to think that babies need everything under the sun in order to function once they slide out of the womb. It’s a falsehood I tell you! FALSE. I plan to write a blog post on a minimalist baby registry and the things we have found essential in these first months of baby boy’s life. Also-I felt this way with my wedding registry. We tried to keep it simple and I really appreciated my very practical mother in law being with us when we registered.

chaos-227971_640I think our journey into pursuing a simple, less is more lifestyle was something that evolved. Our first year of marriage we lived in a shoebox. It was what we could afford. I think it was less than 400 square feet. I could be wrong but it was TINY. We loved it and to this day it remains as my favourite place we have ever lived. We hit a bump in the road when we moved into a 3 level town home. We filled that townhouse with so much stuff.We found ourselves in an awful position when our land lord suddenly needed her home back, ASAP. We moved  within 2 weeks and downsized to our current place but it was one of the most stressful times of my life. We had accumulated so many useless things that much of which ended up on the curb for the junk guy to pick up. (not our home in the picture above)

Fast forward to the present. I went on a rollercoaster ride in the last year or so of emotions. I struggled with feeling ashamed of where we live, in a small basement apartment we rent in a very modest brick home. I wrestled with the comparison game, seeing how most of my close friends lived in these beautiful homes. I didn’t want to invite anyone over and I certainly wasn’t proud of my home. When we shared that we were pregnant a few people immediately asked us if it was planned,  followed by the question of when we were going to purchase a home. Talk about insult to injury. I doubt people meant to make me feel this way but I felt so inadequate. It made me feel like we were irresponsible for starting a family because we didn’t have everything set up the way society pressures us to. I felt like I had to apologize for our home the rare times people would come over. Instead of being grateful, I had really lost sight of what was truly important and valuable. I needed a good kick in the bum from one of my favourite writers-Matt Walsh. He writes a great article on the statistics of young people, money and having a family in today’s world. He says,

“I’m talking about people who harbor the faulty but common belief that marriage and parenthood should be the culmination of young adulthood, rather than the cornerstone of it. What my generation has decided it “needs” is to live a luxurious, fashionable, Instagramable life. And it’s too bad for them. They’re missing out. I thank God for my unfashionable childhood. I wouldn’t trade our humble family vacations in our Astro passenger van with duct tape on the door for a thousand swanky trips to Disney World. The sacrifice and simplicity ‘builds character,’ my Dad used to say, and you know something? He was right.”

Read the full article here.

I will share more about my struggle in moment but let me share some of the reasons why we are pursuing a lifestyle of having less things:

  1. Space. While we have a large garage that we share with the tenants upstairs, within our actual living space we don’t have much storage. I don’t have a linen closet or pantry, our closets are small but functional and there is no extra storage in the bathroom apart from under the sink. My living room is very small so there isn’t much extra space for lots of baby toys and I love this. Lack of space has made us be very intentional about what we purchase for our home.
  2. Money.canadian-money-in-bank_925x  The cost of living here is very high. I’m a stay at home mom so we live on one income. (That is the situation we agreed on so I could be at home with our son) My husband manages our money well and this is a blessing. We have to be intentional and practical about what we purchase so that we see our money go a long way. It’s decisions as simple as, do I get my hair done this month? Or do we invest in a new vacuum that we’ve been needing? That might seem silly or even sad to you but trust me, it’s ok! I’m not sad about these things anymore. I’m realistic about what I can afford, reguardless of how that fits into society’s standards of living.
  3. STRESS. Seriously. I have felt my stress level sky-rocket as stuff accumulates around my home.  Did you know that clutter and excess stuff actually affects our brain function?!  A 2009 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who described their households as “cluttered” exhibited increased fatigue and depression with correlating high cortisol levels, and a research project by UCLA in 2012 saw a similar link. Cortisol is bad news for healthy brain activity, as heightened levels of the hormone can cause lasting negative changes in brain function and structure.” Bad news.
  4. Because we love learning new skills that help us save money. We cloth diaper 90% of the time. Most of our clothing is second-hand (you read my post on buying second-hand clothing here) and we make most of our home decor. We’ve learned to garden and my husband’s family has taught us how to can. Our dehydrator has been a great tool in the kitchen. My husband goes hunting up north with his family, when he has the time. He’s literally bringing home the bacon (well more like bear meat which I haven’t learned to cook yet) so we have free meat to eat.  These are just some of the many frugal ways we’ve learned to save money. You can read more about that here.
  5. We have financial obligations. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of this but everyone has financial obligations and it looks different for every person. We don’t want to be bound by these things in the years to come so we are trying our best to be responsible now so we can have a debt free future.

Earlier I talked about feelings of shame and inadequacy with our current living space. It literally robbed me of joy, contentment, peace and made me jealous of others. I’ve needed a major attitude adjustment. Comparison really is the thief of joy. (Teddy Roosevelt)  I am working on my gratitude and learning to love our family’s approach to life. You know what is so ridiculous? I live in such a nice place! The kitchen was brand new when we moved in and our landlords remodeled our bathroom last summer. It’s gorgeous! All that to say, there are standards of living in the world today that just aren’t realistic or wise. There can be really negative consequences of wanting to have it all or what someone else has. While we are nowhere near perfecting our simple way of life, we are learning how to invest our time, energy and money in the things we feel are worth it for us.  These ideals are things we value and want to pass on to our son as he grows up.

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Please don’t misunderstand me, in this. Living with less doesn’t make my family and I better than everyone else. We are learning some great things living this simple life. Having an abundance of things and money doesn’t make a person wrong, either. As long as we know what is important at the end of the day.

“Love people, use things. The opposite never works.”-The Minimalists

Do you take a less is more-minimalist approach to life? Or maybe you hate the less is more approach? I hope you were able to glean some useful information from this post and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

*A great resource on living a minimalist approach to life are these guys, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists. They have written books and have a wonderful documentary out. Check out the trailer below.

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11 Ways We Save Money and Practice Being Frugal

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In Today I’m going to share the ways in which my husband and I save money. This saving money thing has never been a strong point for me, personally. Thankfully I married someone who is much better at it than me! I’ve taught my husband that it’s ok to splurge sometimes and he’s taught me that I don’t need the things I sometimes want. Learning to live frugally and simply has been an adventure for us. At this point in our marriage, we enjoy finding new ways to be frugal. We love to think of ways we can be self-sufficient.

Food

Limiting Eating Out: We don’t eat out often and we enjoy it so much more when we do go out for dinner or order a pizza. It’s special! This leaves us more to spend on groceries. Think about this, that the average cost for two people to eat dinner out is around $50. If you are buying lunch every day during the work week that is easily $50. This all adds up fast! When we were both bringing in an income, I bought lunch multiple times a week and we ate dinner out frequently. We actually saw a savings in this area when I quit my job outside the home. It goes to show how much more food you get for your money when you eat at home. It’s not easy and ask my husband, I LOVE TO EAT OUT. But we see savings when we practice frugality in this area.

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Growing A Garden: We fell in love with growing our own produce the first year of our marriage. Both of my husband’s grandfathers were farmers. It’s in his blood and he is so dang good at growing things. I like to organize what we will grow but he does most of the gardening. We’ve had a garden 2 years out of the 3 we’ve been married. It’s so easy to do and having fresh produce is so wonderful. Our growing season isn’t very long here so we take advantage of it. We see most of our savings with this in the summer and fall because of harvest.

Canning and deydrating foods are great ways to save money. Buying dehydrated fruit is costly and while it might take time to do some of these things, you can see some savings.


Buying Bulk: I love Costco but not everything is worth buying there. Right now the things that we find are most cost-effective to buy from Costco are diapers (they last forever since we are only using them at night), formula (it’s just as good as the fancy stuff in stores) toilet paper, paper towels and my husbands shampoo/body wash.

Sticking To The Grocery List and Limiting Grocery Store Trips: I’m not always good at this but when I manage to only get what I put on my list, I stay on budget. I’ve also found that multiple little trips to the grocery store add up quickly. Sometimes that means going without something until our next planned trip. This can be a great way to save. What we spend on groceries fluctuates but considering how little we eat out now, I’m not as overly concerned in this area. I don’t buy organic either. It just isn’t something I have figured out yet. But a great tip for clean produce is soaking them in vinegar and water to get any gross stuff off. We are fortunate that we don’t have any food allergies so there isn’t anything we have to avoid.

Having A Depression Era Pantry: I’m still working on this and it’s a fun project! During the depression many mamas were able to still feed their family nutritious, filling meals with very simple ingredients. I’m trying to stock my pantry with simple staples such as rice, flour, oats, dried beans and basic canned goods. Then I try to challenge myself to make simple meals using simple ingredients. This often leads to healthier eating!

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DIY: We make most of the decor in our home and we keep it simple. A year or so ago, I went a little crazy at Michael’s craft store, setting up my craft supply. I try to make cards because already made cards are stupid expensive. I love Home Sense with all the beautiful decorations but I can’t justify paying their prices when I know we could probably make it ourselves. Thrift stores are great places to find jars, old picture frames and other items to repurpose.

Buying second-hand and using cloth diapers are great ways to save money.

Here I talk about buying second-hand clothing. Here I talk about cloth diapering.

Having one car has been a huge money saver for us. It fits our family and works for us right now. It’s not always easy and I stay home a lot but we don’t need two cars at this time in our life. We can’t justifty the extra cost.

Practicing frugality is actually very easy once you establish good habits! But it takes hard work to live a simple life in today’s materialistic world. We want convenience but you know what is inconvenient? Debt! We don’t have it all figured out and it’s not always fun to say no to things we want. But it is worth it to be responsible to our financial obligations and build good monetary habits. It’s also brought an openness in our marriage and we spend more quality time together.

Whatever your situation, don’t be afraid to try new things! Do you enjoy finding ways to save money? What are some things you do to practice frugal living? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

6 Tips For Buying Second-Hand Clothing.

I LOVE SHOPPING. It’s therapeutic for me! Some of my earliest memories are of me and my mom shopping. She took me everywhere with her for the first 5 years of my life until I went to school.

I did not wear second-hand clothing growing up unless it was my sister’s things. It took me 2 years to grow into her clothing because she was much taller than me. We received new clothing each school year. We didn’t have lots of extra money but this was something my parents saved for. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

When I moved here to Canada the wardrobe that I brought with me was very impractical. I had been living in Southern California for 10 years. The only practical thing I purchased for this climate were my winter boots. I wasn’t very prepared, to say the least.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way when it comes to buying clothing second-hand:

  • You can find great quality clothing when you buy secondhand but it takes a lot of time searching the racks. You have to be  willing to invest your time to build a great secondhand wardrobe. If you don’t want to sift through racks and racks of clothing then it might not be for you.
  • If you find a GREAT piece that you love, buy it. This might seem to contradictory to my first point. If it’s functional and practical for your wardrobe, then buy it. In most secondhand stores there is usually only one of each thing so if you wait to buy it, someone else may scoop it up.
  • Know your brands. It’s so important to know what is quality and what is not. There are some popular brands out there that aren’t great quality. Don’t buy something because it’s brand name. Know what is worth it and what is not.
  • Go for quality-not quantity. I had to get rid of most of my summery clothing. I still own some key summer pieces but I would say the bulk of my wardrobe is sweaters, warm leggings and jeans. This is because our longest seasons are cool to freezing. Even our summers can be cool and damp. I do not like being COLD. One winter we lived in a place with electric heat ($$$$ to run) so I lived in 5 layers of clothing. Also, I’m currently a stay at home mom and plan to be for a while so my wardrobe reflects this relaxed style.
  • Have a good laundry routine. I do 95% of our laundry because I am particular. I still cringe when I consider how I used to wash things in college. I would throw everything in together and hope for the best. Then I would dry everything on high. Used or brand new-these are quick ways to wear down and ruin your clothing. Now I have a very specific laundry routine. I actually read the tags on clothing now and follow instructions.
  • Not everything is worth buying second-hand. I am learning the truth of quality over quantity. Some things are worth saving up for considering the quality and how long they will last you.

I will admit that clothing is the area in which I have always struggled with overspending. You need a plan going in or you will end up with things you don’t need. I’m still working on a minimalist/capsule type of wardrobe. I haven’t achieved this yet but it’s on my to do list. I also wanted to share something that changed the way I buy clothing now. While I still buy new clothing it is rarely and it isn’t without some guilt. Fast fashion (think Forever 21, H&M, Zara’s etc.) has a deadly impact on our environment and people.

There is an excellent documentary called The True Cost .

It exposes the consequences fast fashion is having on our world today. The fact that people are actually dying while producing the clothing that we wear is horrifying. I highly recommend this film. It’s sobering and thought-provoking. It has pushed me to consider the ethics behind the brands I buy from.


So there are my best tips for buying second hand clothing! Do you buy second hand? What are some things you’ve learned along the way?

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Cloth Diapers 101

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When I was exposed to cloth diapers I was a nanny for a 17 month old little boy. He was cloth diapered and his mama had a fantastic set up! She showed me around her setup, how to put on the cloth diapers, launder them etc. I thought they were interesting. Little did I know I’d be a cloth diaper fanatic one day!

Before disposable diapers became marketed mainstream and cloth diapers were the norm, children began potty training at one year and were mostly done by 2 years of age.

“The current average age of potty training completion in the US is 35 months for girls, 39 months for boys.” (Ambulatory Pediatrics Journal, 2001)

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Stats from The Barefoot Baby say that the average baby will be changed 6,1000 times before they are potty trained (think 6x a day for 25 months). For disposables that is anywhere from $1900 to $2900 per child, depending on what brand of diapers you buy. With cloth you are looking at a minimum of 24 diapers (enough to get you through 3 days at a time) and if you buy brand new a cost of $400 to $900 in one go.

We used disposables exclusively the first 2 months for both boys. We use them at night, on weekends and when we are on the go. It works for us. I’ve put together a basic list for cloth diaper beginners.

  • Have at least two large wet bags as well as one or two travel size ones. I use these in baby boy’s room. They are safe to throw right in with the diapers when I wash them.
  • RUBBER GLOVES-unless you wanna be touchin’ the gross stuff all the time!
  • Get a diaper sprayer or bidet-this one has worked GREAT for us! It was fairly easy for the husband to install and it gets the yuckies gone! More on that routine later.
  • ENOUGH cloth diapers!! Unless you want to be doing laundry every day, you need to have enough diapers to last you a few days.
  • A solid but simple wash routine. I use powder tide, hot/cold wash on delicate cycle and then hot/cold regular wash cycle. Hot water gets the nasties out! I dry my inserts on high. I hang my pockets to dry. Drying shells and pockets can wear down the inner PUL a lot faster.
  • A sense of humour. You will touch poop at some point. I had a moment the other day where I wasn’t sure if I there was mustard or poop on my sweater. Same colour. Seriously. What are you going to do? WELCOME TO PARENTHOOD.
  • It’s an investment of both your time and money. We didn’t start cloth diapers until 2 months in because being a brand new parent is enough work to begin with. I didn’t want to add a complicated wash routine to new life as mom. Also-newborns poop A LOT. This factors into much more laundry with cloth diapers. By 2 months poops slow down which makes the transition to cloth that much easier.
  • Have a setup you love. Check out my cloth diaper set up here.
  • Research different types of diapers. Don’t have time? I did some work for you already, here.

I really love cloth diapering. That being said-it’s not for everyone and that is ok! Do you cloth diaper? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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