Winter Capsule Wardrobe For The Work From Home Mama.

Season’s greetings ya’ll!

What a whirlwind of the past few months! In the last 6 months we’ve purchased our first home, moved, I’ve started my own childcare business and my maternal grandma recently passed away. The passing of my grandma has been a tough one emotionally these past few weeks as I live very far away from all of my immediate family. But I’m working through it and trying to process as each day comes.

I figured it was time to share my Winter Capsule Wardrobe! This time of year is always a toss up when it comes to weather where I live. In the past 5 years I’ve learned to be prepared for anything from ice, snow, rain and really mild days. My wardrobe stays pretty consistent from October until May every year but I definitely add some warmer layers come the winter months. I’m using the Urstyle and ShopLookIO website to create all of what I share in this blog post.

I don’t own the exact pieces I’m sharing but rather I choose items similar to what I own. This time of year I like functional, warm and comfy clothing not only because of the weather but because I take care of 3 babies/toddlers on a daily basis.

This will give you an idea of what I have hanging in my closet. I have about 7-9 tops I rotate through each week. I own more than 9 but consistently wear 9 of the same pieces. This year I’ve been loving turtlenecks, cowl necks and poncho type sweaters. Turtlenecks save me from having to put on a scarf when I go outside and provide extra warmth.

I know I’ve talked about it before but I don’t wear regular pants because ain’t nobody got time for that! I used to reside in the camp of, “Leggings are not pants.” Since I’ve had children and experienced an ever changing body, I’ve joined camp “LEGGINGS ARE LIFE.” I mean seriously, thank you Lord for whoever created spandex.

I do own a few pairs of jeans and overalls that occasionally make an appearance. But if I can help it, I’ll opt for more comfortable pants.

I keep shoes and outerwear pretty simple and practical. Heels and flimsy coats don’t really cut it when it’s an ice storm and -27 degrees out. Usually -27 means I’m staying INSIDE with a cup of hot coffee and warm slippers on.

My everyday “style” probably isn’t much of style because I’m home 95% of the time. But the rare time I go out on a date with my husband or we make it to church, I like to dress things up a bit. I had a little fun creating some outfits I would typically put together for those occasions!


Definitely check out the Urstyle and ShopLookIO websites if you enjoy putting together outfits for inspiration. I love utilizing what I have in my closet as well as thrifting to come up with some cute and comfy styles for the winter season. Winter can be a difficult season for me personally as it can be for many people. The combination of feeling stuck inside, lack of sunshine and long winter months can contribute to depression and/or anxiety. While it may seem like a little thing, putting together things I enjoy wearing can help combat those feelings during this season. Instead of just staying in my pj’s, I’m more motivated if I get up and put something on that I love wearing!

What’s winter like where you live? I’d love to see/hear about some of your winter style in the comment section below! Thanks for stopping by!

11 Frugal Ways To Cut Back On Living Costs

*Updated May 2021

I have a problem.

It’s called Amazon Prime.

I mean, who doesn’t want 2 day shipping, guaranteed? Well sometimes it’s not guaranteed because we have this thing called WINTER in Canada.

Being able to shop for groceries online and have them delivered to your house sounds pretty amazing, right? I’ve never tried it but I was tempted to when my second baby was born. When you haven’t showered in 5 days and you’re too tired to even put regular clothing on, having groceries delivered sounds like a dream come true.

Convenience is what motivates many of us to make the purchases that we do. But you know what isn’t convenient?

Debt.

I think the majority of people my age, that I personally know have some form of debt whether that be student loans, a mortgage or credit card debt. I have mixed feelings about debt. I think it’s inevitable at some point in your life that you will have some form of debt.

I’m all about finding ways to cut down our our expenses as we have financial goals set for our family. Amazon Prime doesn’t align with my goals of being frugal. Curse you Amazon Prime!

But I want to share ways we cut back on our spending.

  • Limit or eliminate Eating At Restaurants or Takeout : Why does food always taste better when someone else prepares and cooks it? Seriously. It could be a hotdog someone else microwaved and I’m all over it. Buying lunch usually costs $10 plus a $3 coffee a day (or more if you’re fancy) which adds up to $65 a week alone. If you factor in eating dinner out, a few times a week that’s easily another $50 or so. You could be saving $300 (or more) by limiting take out and packing your own meals.
  • Cook More and Buy Less Packaged (and processed) Foods: Sometimes I enjoy cooking but most of the time I only enjoy it if my husband and I are cooking together. One thing I’ve noticed with our grocery bills is the difference in what we spend when we buy less packaged, processed foods. Packaged is easier, no doubt about it! But it’s also more expensive because it’s convenient. I try to set myself up for success with very simple meals because it’s a generally chaotic time of the day. The more you cook, the healthier meals tend to be, as well. We don’t eat organic, Keto or paleo. We have no allergies. In the last 18 months I strictly shop grocery pick up. Not because I’m worried about germs etc. but because it’s easier with two toddlers AND I actually save money this way. When I place my grocery order online, it’s less likely that I’ll impulse buy. I don’t know if I will ever go back to regular grocery shopping!
  • Have A Grocery Budget (and stick to it). When Dave and I first married, we spent about $50 in groceries a week, sometimes less. Since then we’ve fluctuated in what we spend on groceries. Recently I’ve reset our weekly budget because it was OUT OF CONTROL and I’m amazed at how little we can spend if we try. I challenge myself to do a few meatless meals a week, cook with all the meat I already have (in the freezer) and get creative with leftovers. Having a weekly meal plan also helps!
  • Ditch The Cable: At point we were spending $180 on cable and internet! WTH. Not anymore. We pay around $80 for unlimited internet now. We bought an Amazon Firestick and we stream everything. I pay $12 for youtube premium so there are no ads when my kids watch their channels. That is a HUGE savings for us overall.
  • Shop Secondhand (especially for kids): I switched over to purchasing thrifted clothing around the time I was getting married. I watched a documentary about the negative impact fast fashion is having on our world, today. It changed the way I went about purchasing most things. 90% of the clothing we wear as a family is second hand. I’m not a name brand person to begin with but surprisingly you can find some great brands when shopping second hand. If you haven’t tried Poshmark (Canada) you should try it. It’s been such great way to shop thrifted clothing when clothing has been deemed non-essential in this wacky universe. You can read more about my tips on buying second hand here.
  • Invest in Reusable, Low or Zero Waste Products: We used to spend less than $60 a month on diapers. That is because we mostly cloth diapered. I Cloth diapers saved us SO MUCH! And if you think we spend a ton on hydro/water from washing them all the time, read THIS. I also use reusable sanitary products which you can read more about here. We bring our reusable grocery and produce bags to the store.
  • Cut Down On Your Utilities. We try to practice being smart with how/when we use our electricity. We have our own well water. Since my husband is in HVAC, he makes sure that the Furnace are running efficiently. He changes out the filter and we close windows/curtains to keep the cool in. You could open windows for air circulation during the day, turn off lights when not in use and unplug appliances. Reuse dishwater for watering plants etc.
  • Do It Yourself: I am a HUGE fan of DIY. Most people probably think arts and crafts when it comes to DIY. But DIY can apply to so many things in life. It’s kinda scary how dependant we’ve become on others, to do things for us as a society. I’m wary of paying others to do everything for me. It’s good to have some SKILLS, am I right? I’m not very good with power tools but I’m letting my husband teach me. We’ve made all the decor in our home. I’m taking sewing classes this fall and we grow a garden every year. We learned how to can from my husband’s grandfather and we started experimenting with dehydrating different foods a few summers ago. My husband and I both grew up with fathers who were handy so naturally, it’s simple logic for us to learn to do certain things for ourselves. My husband is also in the trades so he’s extremely skilled with tools.
  • Take Care Of What You Already Have: You might be wondering how this saves you money? I think it’s pretty simple but if you take good care of what you already own, the chances of it breaking and needing to be replaced are less likely. Inevitably there are things in life that will need replacing. But how much money do we waste because we are careless? My husband is in a field of work that places him inside people’s homes. He has seen everything you can imagine. He said what frustrates him is to see how people do not maintain their homes. A home is easily the largest investment of a person’s life. Why wouldn’t you take care of it? I think it’s important to note here that not everything can be done yourself. Sometimes you need to hire an expert so you don’t try to fix something way beyond your skill set.
  • Have One Car, Walk or Take Public Transit: Apart from a few months when we first married and then a few years when my husband had a job with a work truck, we’ve only ever had one car. Right now he works really close to home. Do I HAVE to go somewhere every day? I usually spend money if I do. Having one car means you are paying less in terms of gas, insurance and car payment (or even LESS if you owe nothing on your car). I drive my husband to work (5 minutes down the road) when I need to car which is about once a week.
  • Live In A Place You Can Afford. This is unique to each family based on location, income and financial responsibilities. We recently sold our first home ( in what I consider the city) and purchased a fixer upper bungalow on 8 acres, in the Ottawa Valley. We are literally drowning in projects and we love it! There is always work to be done but this is what we could afford. We had to move about 5.5 hours away from family and friends but our mortgage is more than manageable. We budgeted for new windows and a ductless AC this year but those are the only renovations for now. We do what we can afford and we don’t get caught up in needing things to be “perfect.” I also love that where I live, everyone seems to be this way, constantly working on their homes/properties.

We are a single income family and we’ve been a single income family the majority of our marriage. I’m sure someone could say, “Just get a job, Sarah.” Thanks but I already have one. I’m raising my kids! And that’s not to say that a mom who works another job outside the home isn’t raising her kids. Those mamas have TWO jobs. Whew! The cost of childcare would make going back to work completely pointless, for what I would earn. One income is what we’ve learned to live on. It takes discipline and perspective to live this way and we aren’t perfect at it. I think it’s taught us a lot about what we need versus what we want. It’s also teaching us to resolve financial obligations and having more freedom with our hard earned money!

What are ways that you cut down on the cost of living and save in your home? I’d love to hear from you!

Cloth Diapers On A Budget

Once upon a time, long Ago sweet little babies crawled around, their squishy bums covered in cloth.

Actually, not too long ago cloth diapers were the norm in society and not the trendy luxury that everyone seems to think they are today. In 1948 Johnson and Johnson introduced the first mask-marketed disposable diaper in the U.S. (source)

So less than 80 years ago the majority of babies were wearing cloth and only cloth.

By the year 2006 American babies were wearing 3.6 million TONS of disposable diapers, making of 2.6% of municipal waste. (source)

Typically when cloth diapering comes up in conversation the first thing someone will say to me is, “Wow! I wanted to cloth diaper but I just couldn’t commit to it.” Cost and laundry are usually the top two reasons why most mamas feel overwhelmed by cloth diapers.

Cloth diapers don’t have to break the bank! Don’t believe me? Let me walk you through it.

When I decided to cloth diaper I only knew what little I had been exposed to. You can read more about that here. When I shared that I wanted to cloth diaper with other people, I was met with skepticism. I was told it was expensive and would only add unnecessary work to my already overwhelming role as a new mom.

I didn’t set out to prove anyone wrong. But I knew I had to be smart about the cost part of it and the work part of it, well I wasn’t afraid of a little extra work. Which by the way is A HUGE misconception when it comes to cloth diapers. By the time I was pregnant we were a one income family, living in a 600 square foot basement apartment. We didn’t have extra money to throw around. How was I going to afford a bundle of cloth for my sweet baby?????

  • Buy Used (Secondhand). Buying used DIAPERS? Gross! Actually, it’s not. Most cloth mamas treat their cloth diapers like another child, especially if they bought them brand new. You can find SCADS of secondhand diapers at a fraction of the cost literally all over the Internet. Facebook marketplace is great place to start. If you live in Canada, Kijiji is also a great resource for finding secondhand diapers. If you are looking for the most budget friendly secondhand cloth diapers, FB Marketplace and Kijiji are your best bet. You can usually haggle with people who are trying to sell of parts of a stash. Sometimes a mama will even be selling wet bags, diaper pail and sprayer as part of her stash!

Cloth Diaper Trader is a HUGE resource for finding consigned cloth diapers.

Nicki’s Diapers has really great standards as far as what they sell. Check them out!

  • Shop Deals and Promotions. I recently (and for the first time) purchased new Kawaii Baby diapers through this deal on Amazon. I now receive monthly emails about discounts, deals and promotions that this brand is offering. Brands will also discontinue different styles and put them on clearance. If you keep tabs on your favourite brands, you might be able to snag a deal when something goes on sale!
  • Become a Brand Ambassador. While I’ve never done this during my cloth diaper journey, I’ve seen plenty of moms across the internet who have. A brand ambassador is someone that a company will send diapers to, to try out and review. This usually means that you can get diapers for free or at a major discount. The downside to being a brand ambassador means that you need a website or blog with high traffic. The whole point is that the company is getting free advertising in exchange for letting you try out their diapers.
  • Put cloth diapers on your baby registry! I WISH I had thought of this but it never occurred to me until after the fact. You can score almost everything you need by registering for your stash before you even have your baby.
  • Inherit diapers. My sister gave me a garbage bag full of cloth diapers and it really boosted my stash! If you know a friend or family member who isn’t going to resell or has had used diapers for a long time and wants to just get them gone-try asking. You might be surprised!

Cost Breakdown: New VS Used.

If you are new to cloth, you might be asking yourself how could they possibly cost so much? That all depends on how you go about it. If you MUST have high end, brand new, organic diapers you are going to spend anywhere from $500 to $900 for a stash. For example:

The Charlie Banana brand of diapers sells 3 brand new diapers with 6 organic inserts at the price of $112 CAD. If you are diapering from birth, you’ll need at LEAST 12 diapers a day (and be washing every night) to have enough. That’s a cost of about $350 for 12 diapers (with inserts) or over $37 per diaper. If you go with a budget friendly brand like Kawaii Baby (my FAV!) you are looking at $7 to $12 CAD per diaper with or without inserts, depending on the style. That’s an incredibly GREAT deal at $84 CAD for 12 diapers. But even $84 can feel like a lot when you are on a really tight budget.

When I first started my stash I spent a total of about $180 on everything. I had about 30 pocket diapers with 2 inserts, cloth wipes (given to me for free), 2 brand new wet bags at $15 for both, $50 diaper sprayer, $2 gloves, and 2 buckets ($5) for dirty diapers. If you break down the cost, I spent about $3.60 per diaper including inserts.

I was given more diapers from my sister after she didn’t need them anymore. I’ve resold almost ALL the secondhand diapers I started out with. This enabled me to purchase BRAND NEW diapers this past Christmas. YAY! I now have a total 24 pocket diapers with 2 inserts each, for my boys. I typically wash twice a week. We use cloth Monday through Friday, during the day. We use disposables nights and weekends.

Budget Friendly New Cloth Diapers:

If you aren’t keen on secondhand diapers you can still purchase brand new diapers that are budget friendly. You are still going to spend more than if you bought secondhand but these are the two most affordable brands I’ve seen that I can reccommend.

In conclusion, I’m PRO secondhand diapers all the way. Why? Because it’s the most affordable option when you are starting out. You can also try so many different styles of diapers when you buy secondhand because the cost gives you more freedom. That is how I figured out what brand, style and fit I liked the most and why I eventually purchased brand-new from this company. Cloth diapers don’t have to be a luxury thing. It’s the same way I think about unmedicated birth, midwives, doulas and home birth. Women have been doing these things for ages!

Do you cloth diaper and have you ever tried doing it on a tight budget? I’d love to hear your best tips and tricks!

How I Made 5 Different Natural Cleaning Solutions With Only 3 Ingredients.

“You want to do WHAT with the vodka?” The liquor store clerk looked at me incredulously.

“I want your cheapest vodka to make household cleaning solutions out of it.” I repeated myself to her.

Maybe your eyeballs are a bit wide right now. Mine were too the first time I read you could use vodka as a house hold cleaner! But the science makes sense. Vodka is typically 40% alcohol and has been proven effective at killing germs and bacteria.

I am on a journey, my friends. I’m learning so much about the nasty chemicals in our common household products. Did you know common household air fresheners like Febreze and Airwick score D’s and F’s on EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning? GROSS. Clorox also FAILS on their rating in nearly every product. EWG scores household cleaners by standards such as hazardous chemicals contained and if the product clearly states all ingredients. You can check them out here.

All that to say: YUCK and NO thank you! I don’t now about you but I’m not keen on having hormone disruptors, carcinogens and chemicals that cause cell mutation in my house. NOT TODAY SATAN. No really.

Here’s the thing. I also don’t have lots of money to shell out on “green” cleaning products. Even if they are fabulous, I can’t afford it. We are a one income family and I’m always looking for ways to save. Of course there is a better way! I’m here to share with you how I recently made 5 different types of household cleaners from 3 ingredients which will save you time AND MONEY.


I know many people love to use things like baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar to clean. I did do that for a few years. I have to be honest-like a good friend of mine once said, “I don’t like my house smelling like a salad.” So, I wanted to find an alternative to vinegar without sacrificing it’s cleaning power.

Drumroll please. INTRODUCING VODKAAAAAA!

Ok. Enough. You want to know what my 3 ingredients are?

Vodka, distilled water and essential oils.

From this I’ve made glass cleaner, room and fabric spray, kitchen disinfectant, bathroom disinfectant and hand sanitizer.

*Even if you don’t have essential oils you can still make an effective cleaner out of distilled water and vodka. Essential oils just pack a punch when it comes to cleaning. My bathroom disinfectant will be my example of how I typically make my cleaners.

1 Cup Distilled Water (you can boil water to make it distilled)

1/4 Cup Vodka (any brand)

10 Drops Germ Fighter Essential Oil blend (lemon, clove bud, eucalyptus globulus, cinnamon cassia, and rosemary)

10 Drops Cheer Up Buttercup! Essential Oil Blend (bergamot, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange)

Combine all these ingredients in a 16 0z glass bottle with sprayer. I use these exact bottles! You want glass because plastic and essential oils are not a good combination. The oils can leech chemicals from the plastic over time. Use this in your bathroom by spraying, leaving on for a few minutes and wiping down. Be aware of small children when you are using this cleaner. Plant Therapy makes a Kidsafe version of Germ Fighter if you feel more comfortable with that.

The Germ Fighter blend by Plant Therapy is like Thieves and On Guard ingredient wise, substituting lemon for orange. I’ve been loving Plant Therapy. I’ve never tried Doterra or Young Living so I can’t compare Plant Therapy to their oils. But I can say Germ Fighter is an excellent quality blend, from my experience. Cheer Up Buttercup is by a cheaper brand, Now Foods. I use this mostly for aromatic reasons. It smells lovely! *I know I’m contradicting myself as I’m linking these oils to Amazon when I originally said not to purchase from Amazon. If it’s Plant Therapy, I feel ok about it. For all other brands, do your own research.

I get my labels from Michael’s craft store. They aren’t waterproof but they are easy to remove if/when I want to repurpose the bottle. I like to date my cleaning solutions so I know how old they are. I’m still doing research on how long homemade cleaning solutions last. I would think within 6 months you should probably make a fresh batch. If things smell funky, get rid of it! That’s why it’s important to store your cleaners in amber bottles, in cool dark places because you want less oxidation and exposure to heat/sunlight.

There you have it! I’ll be sharing my recipes for my other cleaners but essentially (HAHA) I just switch up the oils I use for different purposes. I don’t think it has to be difficult or expensive to make the switch to cleaner household products. I know I feel at peace using these cleaners in my home around my babies AND I save money doing it!

Do you use natural cleaning products? Do you make your own or buy them pre-made? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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