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!

5 Things To Consider Before Committing To Cloth Diapers.

Cloth diapers ya’ll! I still love them (maybe even more) than when I started and that is the truth.

When I started Cloth Diapering, I didn’t know much but I learned along the way. Here are 5 things to consider if you are thinking about doing cloth diapers.

  • Will you buy brand new or pre-loved? There are pros and cons to either. If you buy brand new, the cost is more up front. That is ok if you are committed to the process. I’ve seen many bundles on FB Marketplace where a mama found out cloth diapers were not for her. You won’t get back what you spent up front, if you decide cloth is not for you. Pre-loved diapers are a great way to try things out without spending a ton of money. You can try various styles and brands to figure out what you like. Elastics and velcro tend to need replacing on pre-loved diapers and you typically won’t know the condition they are in until you see them in person.
  • Will you cloth diaper from the day you bring baby home? Remember that newborns typically go through 8-12 diapers a day. This slows down as baby gets older. You will typically wash every 2-3 days. Some choose to wash diapers every day. I personally do not have the time or energy to wash diapers that often. We also share our laundry room with the tenants below us so I try to be as efficient as possible. I’m not perfect but I don’t want to be taking up the machines every day. I now own a large enough stash to put both boys in cloth, that I wash twice a week. Make sure you do your math and have enough diapers, depending how often you wash.
  • Will you use cloth 100% of the time? Doing a combination of cloth and disposable can work really well. I always knew I would be doing disposable at night but early into cloth diapering with my first son, my husband suggested disposables on the weekends as well. It’s a nice break and gives me a chance to wash, dry, sort and fold everything in time for the start of a new week.
  • Do you have the right setup? If you don’t have access to a washer and dryer where you live, that can be complicated. I’m sure you can make it work if you are seriously committed but something to think about. You want to be able to choose how you wash/dry your diapers because it’s important for removing the nasties and making them last longer. You can check out how I store and access my diapers, here.
  • Are You Flexible? What I mean by this, is are you willing to keep going even if it doesn’t feel like it’s something you want to do? Can you give it a good go? There are things about cloth diapers that make them an entirely different animal from disposable. They aren’t convenient in certain ways but if you have an understanding of this before going in, that can help you stick with it. Things like dampness, dealing with the yuckies and such. Just keep these things in mind as you venture forth.

So those are just some thoughts of my own that I’ve compiled in the last 14 months of using cloth diapers. I still love them and I’m going strong.

Do you cloth diaper? What have you found to work for you or not work for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

My Cloth Diaper Setup.

50% of successfully cloth diapering is about your setup. You can love cloth diapers all you want, think they’re super cute and want to save money while making a better environmental choice. Those are great things. But if you aren’t organized you may find cloth to be frustrating very quickly.

I’ve probably revised my cloth diaper setup more times than I count at this point but I have a pretty good system in place now that works for me. I am cloth diapering both my 2 month old and my 16 month old. The setup I’m sharing today is what I have in my toddler’s room. I have the exact same setup just a small, taller dresser in my younger son’s room.

  1. Drawer of pre-stuffed Cloth Diapers.
  2. Drawer of disposables (what we use at night and on weekends)
  3. Wipes, hand sanitizer, baby bum stuff (for cloth and disposables)
  4. Garbage for wipes and disposables. Since we only use a few disposables at a time, this small bin works. It also encourage us to get dirty disposables out of the house. Call me biased but I’ve found disposables to smell far worse than cloth.
  5. These garbage pails with these wet bags are the BEST solution I’ve found for storing dirty diapers during the week. Since my toddler’s #2 is pretty solid at this point, it gets knocked into the toilet and all dirty diapers go in this pail. It seals really well. When it’s time to wash, I just pull the wet bags out and carry them down to the laundry room.

In my bathroom I have a cloth diaper sprayer, a bucket from a hardware store and rubber gloves. For #2’s that aren’t solid, I hold the diaper in the toilet and spray everything off. Flush. Diaper goes into the pail. Breastmilk #2’s can go right into the washing machine as they are water soluble.

That’s it! It’s really pretty simple to have a good setup. It helps to keep things organized and clean. It also is really nice for others who might be babysitting your children that aren’t familiar with using cloth diapers. Wh

Do you cloth diaper? What is your setup like? If you do something different, I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments below! Happy Cloth Diapering!

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How We’ve Learned To Live In 600 Square Feet and Tips for Small Space Living.

Cozy. That’s how I would describe where live. You can’t get much cozier than two adults, two cats and a baby in 600 square feet.

We live in a 600 square foot basement apartment of a modest, brick home. We have 6 windows. Small windows. My son’s room does not have any windows. We share laundry with our neighbours. The home was not soundproofed to be a multi-family dwelling so it gets LOUD sometimes. My dining table backs up against the back of our love seat and we have enough room for 2 dining chairs. Our front door is actually the back door of the home. You have to come down the driveway, around into the backyard and onto our deck to access our place. If we run too many appliances, a fuse will blow and trip our neighbour’s electricity  upstairs. We have a cold room where we store all the produce we pressure can from our garden.  The longer I live here, the more I appreciate it. That’s not to say I don’t have my days where I feel like I’m living in a Hobbit hole that’s going to come falling down on me and boy have I done my fair share of complaining. But that didn’t get me anywhere. I’ve shared on my blog before about my journey of learning to love where we live. It hasn’t always been a graceful and easy journey for me but I’m proud of how far I’ve come!

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Recently we considered moving into a home that we would rent to own, with the help of our sweet family. After some serious thought and prayer, we realized staying put was the wisest decision for this season. It was difficult decision but we have such great peace about it. It may be a possibility later down the road but where we are at works really well for our family, in this season of our lives. It allows me to stay at home with our kid(s). It enables my husband to work one job and go back to school to finish his licensing. It gives us a chance to have savings. We can still do fun things, have date nights, buy gifts for our family, be responsible to any debt we have, plan small trips and not be stressed about breaking the bank.
We are blessed to live in a fairly safe, family friendly neighborhood with a great community center nearby as well as other stores that are in walking distance. Since we own one car, it’s a blessing to have things in walking distance.

So how do we make it work in terms of space? I’ll break it down for you and share some ways/things that have helped us streamline our small living space.

  • Intentional purchases- Since we are limited on space, we have to really consider what we purchase. We try to buy multi-purpose, space-saving things. As my son gradually outgrows something like a baby-seat or swing, it goes into storage. We recently just purchased his first brand new toy (this) and I love it because it’s multiple (educational) toys all in one! The two other things he plays with is this Fischer Price Jumparoo (it folds up!) and this Ikea Baby Gym.  I bought this Cosco high chair for the very reason that it’s small, folds down and can be stored under our dining table.
  • Frequent purging/dejunking-I’m not pumping my own tires here when I say that we make monthly trips to our local thrift store to donate boxes of items. It’s just that it’s become a habit which keeps our home from looking like a hoarders’ house.
  • Rethinking/Revisiting the arrangement and usage of furniture-We are doing this constantly and while that might seem exhausting to some, we love rethinking our living space. It helps refresh things and it gives us an opportunity to purge/dejunk.

  • Utilizing the Storage space we do have-We have a large detached garage, with hydro on our property. It is such a blessing with all the shelves on the wall and ample storage space. Inside our home, we are learning to put up shelving, build coat racks and hang things so that we utilize the vertical space we have.
  • Capsule Wardrobes-A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential clothing items, usually neutral in colour, good quality and functional so as to get the most out of these items over a long period of time.
  • Practicing Self Control-I recently started implementing a new practice when I go shopping. I ask myself a series of questions. Do I need this or do I want this? Do I have anything like this already? What Am I willing to get rid of if I buy this? Is it quality? Is it Functional? How Much use will I actually get out of it?  Ok, I don’t ask myself ALL these questions every time I go to buy something but want versus need is a big one!

I’ve shared about The Minimalists in previous posts. Their documentary blessed me and my husband so much. Love people, use things-this is their motto. Our lifestyle is unique to our generation which is constantly seeking to acquire more all the time. It’s challenged us on what is important, how to manage our money better (not perfectly) and to appreciate simplicity. Living a simple life will look different every person. I’m not here to say it has to look any one way. You will know what it should look like for you!

View More: http://rachelkeyes.pass.us/remusfamily2017

Do you live in a small space? How do you make it work? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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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