rainy day activities

Rainy Day Activities

rainy day activities

Today it is a wet yucky fall day here in Toronto, so what does a frugal mom do with her child on a day like today?

First off Roo loves her computer time. On the weekends, I let her have an hour. Her favorite websites are Webkinz ( Mom rates this a great site with a cheap cost), Champman’s Kids Club( you can even earn stuff they will send you for free), TVOkids and Link to Learning( a great site for educational learning put out by the province of Ontario).

Then there is craft time: I keep an ample supply of craft items on hand, and then we have our recycling bin of course. Roo often raids it for her latest creations. This week she used old bits and pieces to make a webkinz house for her stuffed ones and furniture too.

Another of our favorite activities when we just have to get out of the house is to go to the library to read together. Roo and I both like this as it gives us some nice time together.

Sometimes we go to the mall and go window shop. I am able to gleam as we go some great ideas for Christmas shopping.

Games are another favorite in this house. I have been able over the last to collect quite a few from second hand stores and garage sales ( just make sure you check that all the pieces are there).

We often do family movie time. We can rent from our local store a new release for $1.99 or we have about 50 dvds that we own. I put on the popcorn popper add some real butter and we are good to go. Who needs a movie theatre!

Baking is another way to chase away the rainy day blues and think they are learning important math skills too.

So many things to do, what are your favorite ways to chase away the rainy day blues on the cheap?

frugal Halloween costume

Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas

 

frugal Halloween costume  Roo and I have been so busy this fall and now  Halloween is less then a week away! Lucky for me I won $90 in Gift Certificates to Value Village. I went shopping there yesterday and it was a madhouse of people trying to get ready for that big night. They say 2/3 of all Canadians will do something to celebrate that night with the average family spending at least $60 to enable them to celebrate whether that be in getting the perfect costume, or stocking up on candy, or how bout those outdoor decorations.

Roo and I were talking about how we could do a make do costume with what we have here in the house and that way we get away with a cheap Halloween. Well as we were planning my girlfriend  calls from a costume shop and tells me she is buying Roo’s Hallowen costume. So Roo was gifted a costume this year…so she will be a beautiful mermaid.

But as we planned and talked there were and are lots of ideas out there for a very frugal Halloween night.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • a bunch of grapes: An oversize dark-green shirt and green leggings are the base for a bunch of grapes. A bag of round green or purple( Roo wanted purple) balloons are inflated and pinned to the shirt. A brown hat is the stem.
  • A plain black large T-shirt is painted with “bones” to become a skeleton. Wear with black leggings
  • An artist can be made with a red beret and a paint smock, paintbrush and an artists palette can be made using cardboard and craft paint.
  • From the WIZ we thought of the the tin man using grey sweats and top, aluminum foil, and cardboard and for the hat a funnel covered in foil.
  • You could go as a tree. A large brown t-shirt and leggings becomes a tree trunk. From the dollar store, plastic vines and leaves, a stuffed squirrel, butterflies or apples could be added to the tree.
  • Last year Roo went as a pirate that we created here at home, with old jeans that we cut off, an old white shirt of mine that we cut up as well, and a bandanna and eye patch were gotten for $1 at the dollar store.

Well hope that gets you thinking about the great night ahead next week.  Are you going out? are your kids if so as what? and how are you making it cheaper then cheap?

Conversation over Coffee

coffee time

Yesterday afternoon I was over at another mom’s house. We were trying to get things ready for my daughter’s school fall fair which is on Saturday. The conversation turned to being cheap and parenting and how they go hand in hand. This other mom is a Stay home mommy by choice. We have both made the choice to stay at home moms.  She said “I decided to be home with mine right now, and yes that means cutting back on certain things, and you cant compete with the neighbors”

So I started thinking of the choice I made to be here while Roo was getting diagnosed and stable.What did I give up to become this cheap momma that I am?

1) An hour commute each way to work.I take transit and rush hour traffic is not a good thing. I was glad to see this go!

2) Adult interaction-I have been blessed because I still get this because I volunteer, and the thing about volunteering it often comes with freebies or hidden benefits.

3) Eating Out- We eat at home. I can buy a pizza on sale for $3.99 instead of doing the $20 order in, or make great hamburgers instead of a trip to the golden arches. I also take snacks on on many of our day trips.

4)Going to the Movies- Okay this is one I miss, but when Coke has their movies passes on for my coke coins, I stock up. Then a movie costs the total of a box of popcorn. Other wise we use the library for our rentals.

5) New clothes and shoes–Yes I can”t buy at the beginning of the seasons for Roo and me. What I have found are some great consignment and second-hand shops. Did you know you can wardrobe a nine yr old for under $100 a year? For me, I buy when I need and make do! Thank goodness for the classic look.

6)Visits to the salon. Instead of spending $100 for my cut and color. I now color myself and go to the hairdresser once every ten weeks.

So have I had to give up much? Or am I now wealthier in ways that matter? I figure I am time rich. I can sit and read to Roo when she wants me, I am the one helping with homework and am in the school, so I am a mom in the know.  I have time to give in my community, and that brings blessings. I can bake cookies when I want or visit the sick or do so many things that I couldn’t do when I worked full-time.

This conversation over coffee (diet coke for me) made me stop and think about that choice I made, and I am thankful that I am now this cheap mom who is as wealthy as I need to be!

How I Learned to Live on a Budget

commoncentsmom

When I was younger, I always envisioned myself happily married raising kids and being a stay at home mom while my husband was the bread winner. Call me an old fashioned gal okay! I know what was I thinking!

Back in 1997, I had that. I was a newly married step mom to three children under the age of 8. I loved my life, we lived in rural New Mexico on the edge of Carlsbad, owned a small property management company and well were happy or so I thought at the time. I was pregnant with Roo and life was good. I was always busy between family responsibilities, helping my husband with the business and church responsibilities I was always on the go.

Then came that dreadful day and my life changed in an instant, my dream became my nightmare. I had been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sealed in the temple, serving in the ward and community and my life changed radically and quickly. The night my life changed was the same night Princess Diana died. I felt like I wept as the world was weeping.

By January 1998, I was a homeless mom of a newborn daughter. Picking up the pieces after a shattered dream. I found I needed family close by so I chose to move home to Toronto, my birth place, and home to my dad and grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. We arrived back in Canada in August of 1998.

Now it was time to get real and address what needed addressing; I found us a cute little apartment. I went back to school and then when Roo was 18 months old I finally returned to the world of work. Quickly, I found out that well that living off one income in Toronto was going to force me to get creative and learn all I could about living on a budget. I decided that living in the big city was too expensive and ended up in Hamilton for awhile (3 years).

Then on June 24th, 2004, the unthinkable happened. There was a deadly fire. At 3 am we were woken by firemen at our door. Our apartment building was on fire; the fire was originating from a unit very close to ours. We watched as the adjoining building burnt to the ground, and a young woman died just feet from where Roo’s bed was. After the fire, we were allowed to move back in but to honest, after the fire, it simply was not a place I wanted to be. At the same time, my dear daughter Roo was starting to have medical problems that were on brought to a head by all that we were going through.

I decided to come back to Toronto as the supports I would need in raising Roo were here, so I quickly had learned to live on the cheap. Budgeting was a must. For over two years I could not work as I was seeing that Roo got diagnosed, and saw that she was getting the best treatment and therapies that we could get. I am thankful this period in my life taught me that I can be self-reliant on little. Not to say I haven’t had help from family, friends, and even strangers along the way but I have learned to live on less. I know that I don’t have to wear the latest fashion, eat out much, buy the newest toy, or buy into all the material things that consume so many….I have taken a step back and am now a frugal money smart mom, and even though some days it is challenging I am blessed cause I now know that I can and will forever be a frugal mom no matter how my life might change in the days and years ahead.

Counting My Blessings

thanksgiving Today is thanksgiving up here in Canada. Later today my daughter Roo and I will head out to have feast of turkey, veggies, stuffing, cranberries, and then I am sure there will be lots of great desserts too. I am bringing pumpkin pie. Roo and I love pumpkin pie with strawberries and cream on top, yum! So remembering the spirit of today it is time for this mom to count my many blessings, to count them one by one.

  1. I am thankful that I know that I am more then a human being, I am a spirtual being too and that means I can have a deep and meaningful relationship with my Heavenly Father.
  2. I will forever be thankful for my Savior and redeemer Jesus Christ, and all that I learn from reading what he taught.
  3. I am thankful that I am a Pollard, I have a great family. Yes I miss my grandmother and dad especially but they taught me well and for that I am thankful.
  4. I am thankful that I get to be a mom to Roo. She makes every day a better day.
  5. I am thankful for the progress Roo has made in the last year especially. Roo walks that spectrum line between ADHD and high functioning Autism on a daily basis. In the past year much of the stemming, weird habits are gone, and I am getting a healthier happier child..for this blessing I am most grateful.
  6. I am thankful for the neighbourhood in which we live, I have great neighbours!
  7. I am thankful that I can learn new talents and skills.
  8. I am thankful for a body that works well most days
  9. I am thankful for the gift of laughter that we try and use every day
  10. I am thankful that I have a cuddle buddy in Roo as human touch is very important. Infact she is calling we right now…so my list will have to be continued at a later time.

May you all have a blessed day! Enjoy your families, and for you all south of the border Happy Columbus Day.