Category Archives: Budget

DIY Toddler Backpack

I have been wanting to get a backpack for little B for a while now. I can’t really justify spending money on one just yet though, because he’s so small. I knew I had some sturdy scraps of fabric on hand so I scoured the Internet in search of a tutorial.

I found this simple pattern! I used the leg from an old pair of jeans (actually, they were a Pinterest project gone horribly wrong. I don’t want to talk about it HAH), and some leftover canvas from my Mei Tai.

photo 4Instead of creating the foldover part of the ‘Front Bottom’ pattern piece, I just used the bottom portion of the pant leg, so that it would already be finished for me. The grey pieces are for the straps and the ‘Front Top’. The only piece of interfacing I used was for the ‘Front Top’, as well.

The tutorial was simple to follow and resulted in a SUPER CUTE backpack that is just the right size for a couple of toys and a snack. I finished it in about two hours, with ‘help’ from the little guy himself.


Lambie is hanging out in there right now. I think I’ll add a small piece of velcro to make sure the flap stays shut. But it turned out great! And best of all, it was free!


DIY Deodorant

I just ran out of my favourite deodorant (the grapefruit scent is my favourite), and I’m going to be traveling soon! What’s a girl to do? I can’t just run down to WalMart and pick up whatever chemical concoction is cheapest, or guaranteed to keep me smelling great for 72 hours straight (seriously? No, thanks).

I had made a little pot of ’emergency deodorant’ by mashing up some baking soda in a bit of coconut oil, but this time I wanted to go a little fancier. I found this website that had a recipe for deodorant that included ingredients I already had on hand. I used the second recipe on the page.

I used my Nutiva organic coconut oil for the base, cornstarch for the absorbent part and Eucalyptus oil for the scent. It smells great! Next time I will use a little less coconut oil. I only made half the recipe and poured it into a little glass jar.

1061849_10100465856198961_1075690714_nIt was so simple to make. If you’re afraid the oil will make your pits feel greasy, it doesn’t. It moisturizes them and makes them nice and soft! I like the subtle scent and I find it works just as well as what I was using before.

This is a great cost effective, chemical free, SAFE alternative to drug store deodorant.

What scent would you use in yours?


Last Second Father’s Day Gift

Here is an adorable idea for a sweet Father’s Day gift.

I made up one of these jars filled with my husband’s favourite candy: York Peppermint Bites. I also got him a new pair of gym shorts and a plain tshirt and wrapped them in tissue paper. He’s away, but they’ll be here when he gets back!

Supplies for this craft are a mason jar, paper (any colour!), a printer, scissors, and string or ribbon.

IMG_2429The link above has the free printable along with instructions. Any great Dad will appreciate a big jar of his favourite treat! Happy Father’s Day!


Quick Craft!: DIY Necklace Display

I did it again. I forgot to take pictures of the ‘BEFORE’ status. I always get too excited and then get started and realize it when all is said and done…

Now that my confession is out of the way, here is a really cute and quick craft! I think it’d make a great gift for a friend or tween, or for home organization like mine was! On our tall dresser in the bedroom, we had a TV and a Wii hooked up so we could watch Netflix. However, with our son sleeping on his mattress on the floor in our room, it’s too distracting for him to fall asleep with any shows on. Plus it’s not great for your health to have a TV in your bedroom to begin with, blah-de-blah… So I packed up with Wii and took the TV to the basement.

I have been wearing a necklace here and there lately (I am not big on jewelry at all, you’ll see my entire necklace collection in the picture!), so I did a quick search for ‘necklace storage’ on Pinterest and came across this picture. Super simple, right?

I headed out to the second hand store in town and picked up a wooden frame. I wanted something more ornate but now that it’s up, I’m glad it’s plain and simple. I also found a beautiful plate with a shiny, marbly finish and raised leaves. One of the leaves broke off when I got home but I just hot glued it on. Both of those items were 25 cents each.

I gathered my supplies. Here’s a list of what I used:

  • Acrylic paint in cream
  • Foam brush
  • Hot glue
  • Frame
  • Stick I found under a tree in the front yard, cut so that it will fit in behind the frame
  • Yarn to hang the frame

The frame was the only thing I purchased (for a whole $0.25). Everything else, I already had on hand. I needed 4 coats of paint to cover the frame to my liking, due to using a light colour on a darker frame. If you want to do that, I would suggest getting some kind of primer. I love that you can totally customize the colour and finish of this project to match decor and personality!

Once it was dry, I hot glued the stick to the back of the frame. I made sure it was straight and positioned it about an inch and a half from the top. Here is where you can customize further. In the original pin on Pinterest, there were 3 sticks used with a huge frame! My frame was only 5×7 (I think) and I only used one stick. But if you have a large collection of necklaces then you’ll likely need more space, yes?

I then (trying to be quiet and not wake my son) hot glued some yarn to the back of the frame to hang it on the wall. You could use actual picture frame hanging hardware here.

photo 1There it is! That is the extent of my jewelry collection. My son just tries to yank them off anyway.

frame 2And here’s the top of the dresser now! I moved that sweet picture (taken almost a year ago! Wow!) to the centre of the dresser and put my tiny jewelry box under it. The plate with the leaves on it is to the right and it is now the ‘junk plate’. The book is there to hide the papers that don’t have a home yet…

I love this project! I might keep it in my repertoire for gift giving. I think it looks much better than a clunky TV and it’ll be much easier to clean. Make sure to link any of your favourite quick crafts!



Goals for June! (+ Tiny Garden Update)

I went out to see what my garden has been up to these past few days. My pea plants are getting HUGE and guess what else… I see tiny Cilantro shoots coming up as well! So dainty looking. Can’t wait to eat them!

Let’s see how I did with last month’s goals!

1. Make more of an effort to eat well when Chris isn’t home. I think I’ve done pretty well! I try to still eat vegetarian meals. I even eat more eggs when he’s not home because he doesn’t really like them as a meal. I also try to make big batches of healthy stuff and try to make sure I’m making smart snack decisions. 

2. Focus more on being active outside. Ok, so this was kind of a fail for May. But in June I DID start running outside!

3. CRUNCH THAT GROCERY BUDGET! NO. NO NO NO. Stupid grocery bill. I WILL tame you this summer!

4. Keep up with the housework a smidgen better. I try to do some work here and there when I notice it’s dirty and that’s been helpful. As in, I will clean the tub after we get home from the farm because it’ll have a nasty brown ring around it haha and I sweep every day as well! Dishes still get done… Ok… I need to wipe the couch more often with all the doggie dust but it’s a work in progress!

So for JUNE…

1. Continue eating well!

2. Find something that motivates me to work out daily now that my HIIT challenge is over.

3. Run! I installed RunKeeper on my iPhone to track my runs. I set a goal of 10km to run before I leave for a wedding in New Brunswick…

4. Grocery. Bill. Yeah.

There we go! And here I go!

Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino: Frozen Sweet Summer Treat!

Last night, little bugger-baby and I (finally) went grocery shopping. I had run out of instant decaf coffee (I am so not a coffee-snob… I don’t bother with a coffee maker at home because I don’t drink it that often) so I grabbed a new bottle.

As I was putting away the groceries, I had a brainstorm. I boiled some water and filled an ice cube tray with coffee! “Tomorrow morning is going to be AWESOME.” I said to myself. And it was.

I love my Starbucks. It’s no secret. There isn’t a decent coffee place in town and the nearest Sbux is 1.5 hours away (blasphemy, I know). I drink tea if I want a hot drink at home because I know I can never replicate my soy, decaf Americano misto with sugar-free vanilla. But, I digress.

Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino:

  • 2 cups brewed coffee (brew to the strength you prefer – I like it strong)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond but feel free to use cow’s milk)
  • Starbucks peppermint flavoured syrup (until it’s as sweet as you like – I used 2 pumps)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Pour the coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. You might want to chill it a little before you dump it into the tray. I had a hard time getting the cubes out because they were packed in there too tightly. I put six cubes into my Kitchen Ninja.



I added all the other ingredients and used the ‘Crush’ setting. I had to add a little extra almond milk to get it the right consistency.

IMG_2293I poured it into a fancy glass and enjoyed my delicious treat!

IMG_2294For a sugar-free drink, try adding some stevia to sweeten, and a few drops of peppermint extract.

What’s your favourite coffee drink?



Our First Day at the Farm

I first heard the term ‘CSA’ (community shared agriculture) a few years ago from my sister. She was a member of her local CSA in Thornbury, Ontario and every week she would get a giant box of fresh, local veggies. They also have a catalogue that they can order grains, seeds, and other items like nut butters and such. I thought, wow, what a great idea! A local farmer produces food, and you just go and pick it up! Fantastic.

Well. Then we moved. I didn’t find out about the CSA here in our little Alberta town until after the season had started so all the shares had been sold. But I got on the waiting list, and the owner asked me ‘paid share or working share?’


I can WORK instead of PAYING?! Sign me up!! I got on the list for a full working share for this season and I couldn’t wait to get started. It works out to about 50 hours at the farm over the course of the season (May to September-ish).

Today was our first day. I was a little nervous because I’ve never really planted anything and had it survive (heh) except for a tree. When I was 6. So I brought some water, sunscreen, hats, sweaters, raincoats (it’s Canada… you never know what the weather is going to do!) and a couple snacks. I drove out to the farm, popped Braeden in the Ergo and off we went.

I planted cabbage (red and green), broccoli, and kale. Others were there as well, digging holes, watering plants, making trenches. Kids were playing on the swings and trampoline. Braeden did well but I could tell he was getting bored after a while. I took him out of the Ergo and sat him down in the field. He played with dirt (and did a little taste test, too) contentedly.

We only stayed for two hours. I didn’t want to over-do it for either of us on our first day. But, I think this picture sums up the day pretty well. Let’s just say I have to clean the tub again after we came home and had a bath…

Dirt baby 2

I can’t wait to watch the little seeds grow, and eat all our yummy local veggies!