Friday, July 30, 2010

Frugal Friday

Many months ago I thought I would start writing about saving on Fridays. I wrote a few posts but haven't been too inspired lately and then yesterday I caught Oprah and the topic was frugal families. All I can say is wow. I was inspired by the families that were on the show and the tips and pearls of wisdom that these people were sharing.

 Firstly, one woman talked about how much she now saves on her hydro bill. I was astounded. To save this woman unplugs everything in her home when it is not in use and that goes for appliances, TV's and lamps. These appliances all pull in energy when they are plugged in, even if they are turned off.   In May 2008, her energy bill was $268. After she started unplugging, her bill went down to $91. And when she got really vigilant—even turning off the air conditioning—her energy bill was only $60.42. Wow. I immediately went around the main floor of our house unplugging things. I unplugged about 15 things that were in plain view. We are going to get tough on lights and electronic items left on and see if we too can get our monthly hydro/electricity bill down.

The second things was the family that lives on one income, $58,000 a year, and still managed to save $70,000. They are a frugal family. Dinners for $5.00 or less are a regular thing in their house. It made my husband and I start thinking about what we spend our money on. We both started packing lunches again. Food and eating out are the two things that we spend most of our money on. We both work downtown and are often eating out or picking up food on the way home. We are trying to cut down.

I am also trying to cut down on the number of times I go to the grocery store every week. Ideally I would like to only go once a week but that takes planning. The more visits to the grocery store in the week, the more money I spend. This fall I am making a pledge to only go shopping once a week, go with a list and plan meals for the week. I am also hoping to make multiple meals to put in the freezer for those days when we are short on time or just too lazy or tired to cook.

What are you doing to cut your budget and save money? I am always looking for easy, fun and successful tips to cut spending and increase saving.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Pets My Kids LOVE

My kids are desperate for a pet. We used to have a dog but he passed away. They are eager to get another pet, they would like a dog or a cat. The only problem with a cat is that I am very allergic and cats often spark asthma attacks for, a cat is out for our house. BUT don't despair. They have the next best thing.

These are the beautiful little kittens that live at my parents house. They are cute and cuddly and much loved by my two girls.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Playhouse Disney Canada Blog Tour

I am very excited that I was selected for the Playhouse Disney Canada blog tour by Mom Central Canada. While my kids don't watch a tonne of television, they do watch Playhouse Disney Canada.

As part of the blog tour I will be writing about the channel, what I like and, of course, what my kids like. I will also have a great giveaway for a lucky reader but I will have more on that on a later post. Stay tuned.

I am participating in the Playhouse Disney program by Mom Central. I will be receiving a Playhouse Disney prize pack and a thank you gift card to facilitiate this post. The opinions of this blog are my own

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Birthday

So another year has passed. My baby is now 5 years old. The picture above was taken just after my little M came home. I love this picture because you can see instantly the love that big sister K had for her little sister.

It is hard to believe that it has been 5 years already. We have family on hand for M's birthday and she got everything the little princess she is wanted. Fancy clothes, dress up high heels and makeup. Yes I said makeup. I happen to be raising a little girl that loves all things girlie, especially makeup. To be honest I am not sure where that  came from because she certainly didn't get it from me. She is her own person that is for sure.
Part of me is happy that my husband and I are able to allow her to be herself, love the things that she loves and embrace her feminine self. The other part of me is worried. Worried because should a 5 year old really love makeup and high heels so much? I am not sure.

I want the best for my girls. I want them to be tough and soft, strong and sensitive but it is such a fine line, there is a difficult balance. Stay tuned. There are many years ahead on this parenting road. An exciting journey.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Tonight there was sad news from Peterborough, the body of a 4 year old boy was pulled from the waters  of the Otonabee River at Inverlea Park. Police say the boy was swimming with family when he failed to surface from the water. The youngster apparently was swept away by swift currents. There is word there was no adult present at the time.

This latest drowning comes on the heels of a deadly start to the summer. There have now been 14 people who have drown in the last three weeks.

It is National Drowning Prevention Week. According to the Canadian Lifesaving Society drowning deaths have continued to increase in recent years.

Below is a summary of facts about drowning deaths in Canada. The statistics are from data compiled from the Chief Coroner’s Offices in all provinces. The year 2006 is the most recent year for which data is available. In Canada:

• Nearly 500 people die every year in water-related incidents (In 2006 508 people drowned in Canada)

• Drowning deaths decreased for children from 0-17 years of age, but increased for adults 18-34 and adults 50-64 (The highest increase in drownings was among 50-64 year olds. Adults 18-34 had the next highest drowning increase)

• Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age

• 61 per cent of drownings occur in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and waterfalls

• 6 per cent of all drowning deaths (32 total) occurred in private pools

• 57 per cent of drowning deaths occur while participating in aquatic activities such as swimming or boating

• 58 per cent of drowning deaths occurred while the victims were engaged in recreational activities

• Of the total number of drowning deaths, 85 per cent were amongst males and 15 per cent were amongst females

By age group, toddlers 2-4 years of age have the second highest drowning risk in Ontario. The average annual preventable water-related death rate (over the 1992-1998 period) for 2-4 year olds has been 1.8 deaths per 100,000 versus the provincial average for all age groups of 1.4 per 100,000 population.
Most of these children were alone (60%) and playing near water (70%) when they fell in and drowned.
Parents are the focus of the target group given their role as the supervisor of their children

The message for parents of children 2-4 years from the Lifesaving Society is if you are not within arms’ reach of your children anytime they are around water, you have gone too far.

Among the recommendations:

- Never leave a child alone in on or near water – whether it is a backyard pool, wading pool, bathtub or a lake. The drowning process can take as little as 10 seconds.
- Pool owners should ensure that fences enclose all sides of a pool, not just the three that municipal law requires.
- Keep a close eye on sliding and patio doors. Ensure doors are locked and put alarm on the door to be absolutely sure.
- Ensure all gates have a self-closing latch and that gates are locked to keep children out of the pool area when it is not in use.
- Keep safety equipment around the pool, for easy access including a reaching pole, a ring buoy or other floating objects that can be thrown to someone in need. Also, keep a cordless phone nearby for emergencies.

 There are lots of opportunities for children to learn how to swim. Every child should learn to swim. And every adult should learn CPR.

Monday, July 5, 2010


I first posted this article back in August 2008 but I often return to the list after a bad night sleep. We have had a few bad nights recently so I thought I would repost this useful list.
I have been blessed to have a child that has never really slept well at night.She wasn't a great sleeper as a baby and now at 7 years old she really still isn't that great. I have also been blessed to have a child who does sleep well. Always has. The biggest challenge has been that the child that doesn't sleep well is my first born. New parents and a new, non-sleeping, baby are not a good mix. We naturally thought she would grow out of it, she never really has. I have often wondered how much of a role my husband and I played in our daughter's poor sleeping routine. Then our second daughter was born, a naturally good sleeper from the get-go and that kind of threw my theory out the window.

I had the pleasure of asking a sleep expert about sleep and soothing babies. Dr. Heather Pizzo, The Baby Sleep Coach, has some great tips and advice for new and old parents. I know these tips helped me to make changes and improvements, I hope they are helpful for you too.


1. BE CONSISTENT. Dr. Pizzo says parents need to choose a method and stick with it.

2.BE PREDICTABLE: Infants and toddlers thrive on predictability and routine. It is important for them to know what is coming next.

3.COMMUNICATE: Communication is important both between you and your spouse, and between you and your child. Parents need to be on the same page as each other.

4. FLEXIBILITY: It needs to be understood that a routine does not mean following a clock or a rigid schedule, says Dr. Pizzo.

5. SLEEP INDUCES SLEEP: A consistent bedtime routine sets your baby's internal clock so that she's naturally sleepy at a predictable time. A consistent wake up time is as important.

6. ELIMINATE ALL SLEEP AIDS: Eliminate the use of sleep aids like rocking, swinging, sucking after the age of three to four months. Babies need to fall asleep on their own.

7. TRANSITIONAL OBJECTS: Babies often choose an object as their security object, which is there for them in the night when you are not, it could be a toy or a blankie.

This was all part of research for an article I wrote for Urban Baby & Toddler, For more on soothing your baby or helping your child get to sleep and stay asleep, check out the article in the Fall issue of the magazine.