Mothers Day Gifts

Mother’s Day Gifts from Hallmark #LoveHallmarkCA

Becoming a mom is one of the best experiences a woman feel. I remember the first time I held my daughter, motherhood was something I always wanted. Even though motherhood did not come under perfect circumstances for me I have been blessed and changed by motherhood.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate all the moms we know.  We cherish all the times and special moments we have shared over the years. We talk, we share and we have bonded more over time and memories.  I won’t be able to spend the day with my mom since she lives far away, but I will give her a call and chat on Mother’s Day.

I recently received a box full of Mothers Day gifts.  It was a rainy day and I couldn’t wait to get outside and use my new umbrella. The Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Scarf is one of my favourites. It is something that just adds style to just about any outfit I put on. It has been a great fashion accessory and has been spotted wearing it often.

Mothers Day Gifts

Mothers Day Gifts from Hallmark

Mothers Day Gifts

There are a variety of gifts that will be a sweet addition for anyone’s taste. Your mom will love any of these Hallmark items.

  • Catalina Estrada Springtime Petals
  • Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Scarf
  • Signature Gift Bags
  • Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Cuff Bracelet
  • Blue Ceramic Tea Mug with built-in Infuser win a
  • Catalina Estrada Hummingbird Haven
  • Catalina Estrada Blue Rose Cosmetic Bag
  • Signature Greeting cards

Shower mom with love and make it a special day full of fun and memories to last a lifetime.

mothers day gifts

It’s time to enter and win a special gift or two for Mother’s Day. One lucky reader from Canada will win a Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Scarf

and a Catalina Estrada Flourishing Blooms Cuff Bracelet.

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How to do Thanksgiving Dinner for Under $40

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For the last few years, I have been hosting Thanksgiving dinner here at home, and I love when there are lots of leftovers. It means I don’t have to cook for a few days. One of the things that have always concerned me is how much we spend on a holiday meal. Did you know you can do a nice Thanksgiving dinner for under $40.00 The meal can serve 4-6 people.

Here is how to do Thanksgiving dinner for under $40.00:

Check out your local flyers, your favorite recipe sites, and look at what coupons you may have on hand. I always check for coupons and deals on my Flipp app. If you are a regular reader of mine, I am sure this app is on your phone.

Decide on your menu and make your shopping list. I love that I can make my list right on my Flipp app. It allows me to carry my shopping list with me wherever I go so there are no mistakes made.

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Here is what I will be serving this Thanksgiving:

  • Roast turkey ( yes I do a whole Turkey). Did you know you can get a great price on turkey at Walmart Canada right now? Because of the price of the turkey there I decided I would do all my shopping there.
  • Honey Glazed Carrots. ( we love these)
  • Sweet potatoes and marshmallows
  • garden salad
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Stuffing ( I add a bit of cranberries to my Stove Top)
  • Pickles
  • Rolls
  • Apple Pie with Cool Whip
  • Apple Cider
  • Gravy

This allowed me to use coupons and price match as well check out any deals that Walmart had. One of the things I do, before I shop, is make my shopping list and checked it twice. I always check my cupboards before I leave the house, so I am not purchasing duplicates. This year there was no need to purchase things like flour, eggs, butter, spices, or pickles because I have them in the house. I also have salad fixings in the house always.

 Went to my local Walmart store with my list on my app and my clippings ready. There were several price matches I thought I might need but the majority of the time the price at Walmart was just right. I did manage to do a few price matches, though.

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When you make a menu with your favourite recipes, make a list and check it twice, then use my favourite shopping tool Flipp you can do even a holiday meal on a budget. No need for a huge expense on the pocket book. Check out everything I got for $36.00. The only thing missing is my apple cider.

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Now if you are a huge fan of Flipp like I am you will want to check out their Facebook page and Twitter account this week during the day. They are giving away some great prizes as they celebrate #FlippGivesThanks

15 Free Things You Can Do In Niagara Falls

If you follow me on Social Media You know I love Niagara Falls. Since it is a short road trip from Toronto, we go at least a few times a year. There are lots of ways to save when you go for a visit, and we have saved on everything from our room stay to our meals to the great amusement attractions. You can easily find lots of great deals but did you know there are many things free things you can do in Niagara Falls.

Here are 15 things you can do for FREE in Niagara Falls.

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  1. Visit the Niagara Botanical Gardens. It’s great exercise and if you love photography, it is a photographer’s delight.
  2. I love flowers, and the Floral Clock is a must visit that everyone loves. You will find it on the Niagara Parkway.
  3.  My daughter fell in love with the Dufferin Islands. Be sure to check them out. Have fun exploring all the islands, maybe one will be the perfect spot for a picnic. daredevil exhibit
  4. The Niagara Daredevil Exhibit and Gallery is free, and it is a neat way to learn the history of those who have attempted to go over the Falls
  5. Go for a bike ride along the Niagara Parkway. There are 56 kilometers of beautiful scenery from Fort Erie all the way to Niagara on the lake.
  6. Visit the Heartland Forest. It has free admission and has some great forest trails, outdoor learning centers, a fish and frog pond and one of the largest treehouses in Canada. niagara-falls-history-museum-960-00
  7. Visit the Niagara Falls History Museum on Thursdays from 5-9m (it’s free then). Learn about the history of the city and the local area.
  8. Check out the Oakes Garden Theatre.  This beautiful garden is the entrance way to Queen Victoria Park. It’s right at the foot of Clifton Hill and gives you a geat view of the American and Horseshoe falls.
  9. The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center is one of the best hiking spots in the Niagara area. With the backdrop of the Niagara River, it is a spectacular place to hike. Make sure you check out the discovery center to learn how the Falls were created.
  10.  Niagara on the Lake is a short drive from Niagara Falls, and it is one of my favorite places. The area is known for its wines and outdoor festivals. Visit Queens Royal Park and enjoy a picnic lunch with a great view.cham-sham
  11.  Ten Thousand Buddha Temple. The Cham San Ten Thousand Buddha Temple is an Asian style building with beautiful works from Buddist artists. They provide free guided tours on summer weekends from June to October.
  12.  The Ontario Power Generation Festival of Lights. This winter festival is breathtaking. It includes over 125 animated light displays. There is no admission fee, but donations are accepted.
  13.  Take in McFarland House. Guided tours of this historic family residence are available from mid-May to Labour Day.
  14. 1812 Battle Re-Enactments at Old Fort Erie. Watch the fort come alive during special lantern tours after the Saturday evening battle. Camps and battles are free to the public. niagara-falls-fireworks-large
  15.  You can’t go to Niagara Falls without taking in the Falls Firework Illuminations and CocaCola Concerts. Niagara Falls has hosted Canada’s longest running firework series over Niagara Falls. Fireworks happen on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays until October 31st.

Know of any other great free things to do in Niagara Falls, then let me know.

5 Tips for Planning a Long Weekend Barbecue on a Budget

The Canadian long weekend is ahead! Friends and family will gather in backyards, at the park or at a beach to celebrate Canada Day. With summer now really in full gear, one of our favorite things to do is have a barbecue. It is simply part of the Canadian long weekend experience. So how does one host a great barbecue on a budget well? If you use the Flipp app, it is easy to save both time and money whenever you are getting ready for any long weekend but especially the Canada Day long weekend. With this shopper’s best friend, my Flipp app, I was able to find everything on my list!

 So How do you plan a Canada Day Barbecue on a Budget?

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1. Shop What You Have at Home

To start take stock of what you already have at home that you can use. Always check your pantry and storage first! For us, this means the decor, plates, cutlery. tablecloth and the Canadian flag are all not necessary purchases. There will be no shopping for these items. Often we forget to take stock of what we have and buy things we do no need. Have you ever realized you have two or more simply because you forgot to check? I know it has happened to me.

2. Menu Plan

Before you hit the grocery store, plan your menu. What do you want to eat? What does everyone love? Will you stick to a theme? For Canada day you may go with family favourites, a Canadian made theme, a red and white theme, or you can create a theme perfect for your gang.

For us we are going with some family favourites we found on the Food Network website. We will be having:

  1. Grilled Corn on the Cob wrapped in bacon. That says Canadian to me.
  2. Mesa Grill’s Southwestern Potato Salad. A nod to my American-born daughter.
  3. Grilled Brussel Sprouts  A new favorite of my teen
  4. Hamburgers with Double Cheddar Cheese. We love Canadian cheese.

For dessert, our family loves watermelon and strawberry shortcake.

Check your pantry and fridge to see what you need before you make your shopping list.

3. Make a List

 

The shopping list is my favourite feature on the Flipp app. I use it every week. Do you?

I love how it keeps me organized and helps me plan, and it brings up all the flyers that have the item on sale that way I can locate the best deal quickly.   The deals I have in Toronto may be different than the deals you have locally. Here is what is on my list.

flipp shopping list

I found great deals on:

Watermelon at Food Basics for $2.88

Corn on the Cob at Walmart for $0.47

Batteries which we need to have for toys at The Source for $5.49 + $1.00 off coupon ( from the Flipp app)

Lean Ground Beef at Food Basics for $4.99

Off at Walmart 2 for $13 ( you can stack this with other offers this week)

Banana Boat or Coppertone sunscreen at Metro for 8.99 (again check for stacking possibilities)

Fireworks are a great price at Giant Tiger. Sparklers for the little ones are only $1.25

4. Clip Coupons

Did you know you can find coupons on the Flipp App? You can. This week batteries are on the list, and I found a $1.00 off Energizer batteries and when I combine that with a sale price I save even more. Do you use coupons? On my list of deals, there are several coupons out there that would allow you to stack and save more. Let us know.  I find coupons on several apps, in-store or by following brands on social media. 

5. Be a Budget Minded Bartender

Think about it. Trust me your friends will end up thanking you and are less likely to need a cab home. Serve one or to specialty drinks and then have a mocktail available. I use my Soda Stream and add ginger, lemon and a bit of mint to create one for my friends. Can you think of a signature drink you might serve? Have friends that love to drink, then make the bar BYOB.

When you spend a few minutes checking what you have, making a list and checking for coupons you can always barbecue and be a great bartender on a budget while saving time. Let us know what is one the menu for your Canada Day celebration?

 

 

 

The Flipp App Makes Easter Shopping Easy

Easter is one of my favourite holidays, right after Christmas it is a weekend on the calendar I absolutely love. When I was growing up, my friend the Easter bunny would always bring a few presents, an Easter basket and there would be way to many eggs to try and find. We would get up early and see what the Easter bunny had brought. These days mama Easter bunny needs a hand that is where my favourite shopping buddy Flipp comes in handy!

With my handy Flipp app that lives on my smartphone shopping for any holiday, any meal is so simple.

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Just like being Santa, it’s easy to make a list and check it twice before heading to the store. I love the easy to use search and shopping list features. They are something I use every week. In my house there are 2 little ones to shop for as two preschoolers live upstairs and we exchange gifts. I also have one teen who still expects the Easter Bunny to stop by. I don’t go overboard for Easter but there are some essentials.

With some bad weather ahead, I planned on shopping at Walmart, as I can always price match there. I started making my list for the Easter baskets and Easter dinner. I decided to make simple baskets for the kids filled with Kinder Eggs, sidewalk chalk and bubbles. I added them all to my list.

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For my Easter dinner I knew we wanted turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pie, whipped cream, carrots, butter and asparagus. I always enter items on my shopping list without looking through the flyers, because Flipp is a shopper’s best friend and will tell me where it is on sale. I then simply browse through the sale prices to find the best deal. Within minutes, my list is always ready and I am headed shopping.

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At Walmart, I breezed through the store finding everything on my list and a wee bit more when I spotted Gatorade on sale. Every week, I love using my Flipp app to help me cut costs. I love it a little bit more when it helps me to save on the holidays like Easter.

If you have not downloaded the Flipp app, you need to do it right now. Trust me you will be glad you did. The average Flipp user is able to shave their grocery bill by at least 25%.

 

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Do Thanksgiving on a Budget

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Here in Canada, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For many homes this is the week to get ready for this wonderful holiday with family and friends. Who doesn’t love the smell of a turkey roasting or cranberries simmering on the stove. I know it is one of our favourite holidays. From decor to dessert we put time and attention into the little details and it is important for use to do thanksgiving on a budget. So how do we do thanksgiving on a budget?

GIVE

First, we think of ways we can give back, after all we have much to be thankful for. Did you know many families are worried about what they will have on their tables, so one of our thanksgiving rituals is to find a way to give back. I have been blessed over the years to be apart of some very special Thanksgiving projects from feeding families to the feeding of 5000 on a beach in California. Can you think of a way you can give or give thanks for someone who is in your life?

DECOR

Every year since my teen was real little we have decorated while spending very little. We love decorating with leaves, pinecones and candles. We sometimes and a pumpkin and squash which will both be cooked with later. There are so many ways you can decorate on a budget for thanksgiving, can you think of a few?

SIMPLICITY

I have been to some thanksgiving meals over the years that look more like a grand feast with at least 10-15 dishes and at least 4 to 5 desserts. I love the look of some of these fancy recipes, but how about making 1 or 2 extra special sides that everyone loves so you can have time to enjoy the day and not break the bank.

POTLUCK

With our huge family, when we did the holidays at Grandma’s house, everyone had a role to play. If you have family or friends coming for Thanksgiving dinner it is more than okay to ask people to bring a dish, you can even assign them one. No one needs 3 green bean casseroles right? Have someone who is vegetarian or gluten free you want to make sure you remember them as well.

TECHNOLOGY

One of my biggest tips for sticking to a holiday budget is to make technology your friend. Have you downloaded the Flipp app yet? I have written about it several times over the last 2 years and it has just gotten better with Flipp 3.0. For the busy mom who is in charge of the menu and the meal planning this app saves you time and money. Did you know the average family is cutting at least 25% off their grocery bill by simply using the app.

Flipp collects more than 800 retail flyers from national chains as well as hundreds of local stores to help shoppers find the latest sales in their community through coupon matchups to local flyer deals. It’s a feature that is rolling out everywhere.

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Flipp has some great features that can help your family:

 

•    Coupons – Maximize savings using coupon match-ups

•    Shopping List – Plan ahead and stay organized while shopping by adding items to the in-app list; discover deals for each item on the list and check them off at the store

•    Search – Easily find a specific store, item or brand

•    Clippings – Tap an item in a flyer to clip it for price-matching

•    Item Details –  Find additional product information and reviews

•    Discount Slider – Find the best savings at a glance

•    Notifications – Receive reminders about expiring clippings as well as updates on offers at nearby retailers to ensure a deal is never missed

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You can download it. Start your grocery list on the app, enter an item, as you do it will bring up the deals in your local flyers. From there, I suggest you clip your deal. You can also check out the coupons that are on the app,if a deal and  and do not forget the discount slider. Did you know you can match up an item on sale with a coupon to save even more, just another way to stretch that thanksgiving budget.

Have you checked out the coupons that are local for your area on the app yet? or added your thanksgiving shopping list yet? It really is a great way to save yourself some time and money as you get ready for your holiday feast.

 

Can you think of other ways you can save on your holiday feast? I am always looking to learn more ways that can keep me on a budget. We would love to have you join us Tuesday night at 7pm EST to keep the conversation going during the #cdnmoney chat on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

Sharing Our Frugal Family Christmas

A couple weeks back I shared how we were going to have a frugal Christmas. Today I wanted to share some pictures of our Christmas. Christmas Eve Day My mom and I visited MySalon in Dartmouth. Great little hair salon owned by my sister. She gave me a color and cut as my birthday gift.

Christmas eve tradition the opening of one gift..always pajamas and this year there was a bathrobe and slippers in the box too.

Christmas morning my tween made breakfast, and it was yummy: waffles,strawberries and whipped cream.

After opening presents at my house we headed to my sisters and there there were more!

Christmas dinner ended with me having to blow out one monster candle as I turned 45!

After dinner headed to the movies and saw Up in the Air. Here we are waiting for my tween daughter and her uncle who decided to see Avatar instead. I think they saw the better movie.

And that was our frugal Christmas. I hope you had a good time with family and friends this holiday season.

Lets try and share that holiday magic with us each day of the year.

How to Have a Debt Free Frugal Christmas

When I think of Christmas these days I am drawn to the thoughts of overspending. When was the last time you spent only cash for Christmas. For most of us going into debt for Christmas is habit. I can here the burn of the credit card as they are  over used at the cash machine. Well for me I said no thanks to the commercial  Christmas and decided long ago my holidays would be debt free.

I have always loved the forums at Frugal Shopper.ca and back in January many of the women wrote about having a free Christmas or a partially free one.

For me this Christmas I will let you know I have 6 people to shop for including one preteen daughter and well I spent less then $250.00 cash and well the rest of it comes thanks to Shopper Optimum Points and Airmiles.

What did I do? and What did I get?

Well lets see for me I received $100 from the Ex and $150 from my mom for Christmas/Birthday for me and Roo (both our birthdays are within a week of Christmas). That was the cash I used.

Other wise at the beginning of the year I started collecting points…by the November I was able to cash in my points for gifts and gift cards that well got turned into presents.. I was able to redeem points at shoppers for $200 in goods. I was also able to get a $50 Sobeys card, $50 Chapters card and $40 in Lawtons gift cards.

How far was I able to stretch that total of $540?

For Roo and Me- a Wii and Wii Fit($155.25)- cashed in Shoppers Points and Fit on sale

For Roo:

  • Sonic Game for the Wii( $19.99) on sale
  • electric Keyboard($30.00) on sale
  • pjamas, robe and slipper($33.00)
  • 3 card games($9.99) on sale
  • craft set($9.99) on sale
  • Build a Bear dog($30) used $8 off coupon
  • 2 lip balms($5)
  • socks($3)
  • book($15)

These gifts are from me, her dad and grandmother.

For my mom:

a snugglie ($20), purse ($25), chocolates($7) and socks($3)

For my sister

lets just say some great stuff, she reads my blog. 😀

For my 2 nieces:

a bathrobe each($15), a lip gloss each($5)

For my BIL:

a adult game..($15)

This equates to about $480 and I was able to give Roo $50 to go shopping for me. So the total is $530.

For me it was important to do it debt free. It will simply make the day more enjoyable. Are you going into debt this Christmas or did you budget?

Twas a Week Before Christmas

Twas a week before Christmas and in this house every creature is stirring even the mice. We are busy wrapping and getting ready for dear daughter’s first Christmas in many years with family. Literally under our tree is a box of presents ready to go. My mom and daughter will head to my sister’s on the 23rd. I will join them in the wee hours on Christmas Day. I have to work till 6:30 Christmas eve, then take the bus to Halifax. I was wishing I could get off early to go and see the Outdoor Nativity Pageant that they do every year with Roo. But at least I got Christmas and Boxing Day off where many of my colleagues are working.

This week has been busy and yes I have been dreaming of sugarplums…actually I have been missing old friends. I am sending out lots of emails this season, trying to reconnect. 

I did get to get my hair done on the frugal side of things. I love having a sister who is a hairdresser, and what makes this better she is a good one! My color cost $7! She also gave me a trim.

Roo has been coughing all week long so this mom has also been a nurse. No fever though, and no flem so that is the good side of this.

The child isn’t sleeping, she is much like I was at this age, the snoop, and the child with eyes full of Christmas wonder still, but as I wrapped my almost 11 yr olds presents this year I was thinking this is probably the last year she will ask for toys. This makes me a wee bit sad because it means my daughter has reached another milestone.

So this mom is ready for a mug of hot chocolate as I read some blogs and get caught up.

Planning Our December

Do you find that this time of year seems to be about hustle and bustle and so much of what is really important gets forgotten. For us it kind of creeps up on us and then from the beginning of December till the new year it is a time of busyness. So this year we came up with a Holiday plan…each weekend there is 1 thing that takes out of of the house besides church no more.

This weekend Roo and I will hit the mall for the last time. I have $75 in free Shopper Drugs shopping to do with my Optimum points. With it I am getting Roo some small presents and stocking stuffers. Then on Sunday Roo is singing at church–a solo, and taking part in the children’s presentation.

Next weekend we have been invited to a party so that will be fun, and on Sunday Eve we will be watching a holiday movie on tv.

Then the weekend before Christmas is about getting down to what is really important, the reason to celebrate. We will go to a live nativity pageant downtown, and to church.

On Christmas Eve it is company coming over, and then Christmas Day will be our traditional pj day..Christmas (my birthday) is the one day I can stay in pjs if I want to and I do!

I find by having a plan there is no longer the need to get caught in the bustle. Roo and I can relax and enjoy things like the pile of Christmas stories on her shelf, a Christmas special or just some time together. So do you have a plan or do you get caught in the bustle?