Sunday, 28 June 2015

Money back on groceries...without clipping coupons!

save money on groceries
Pin me for later!
I love free money.  I just got a cheque in the mail a few days ago for $22.50 because I went grocery shopping!  Ha, okay, there are obviously a few more details, so today I'll be sharing about how you can save money on groceries with three easy-to-use apps, plus some other tips.

Saving money on groceries

Way to save money #1 and #2: Flyer apps and price-matching

Saving money on groceries

Download the Flipp or Rebee app!  These two apps basically allow you to browse all the current (and some upcoming!) flyers from your local stores.  They have a quick search function, so you can search for a particular store's flyer, or for a certain item.  For example, I'm constantly looking for the lowest price on bacon because come on...bacon!  I just type in "bacon" into the search field, and the app shows me any items listed in the flyers that include the word bacon!

But wait, it gets better!  You can make your grocery list by selecting the items as you browse the flyers.  In the Rebee app, you just press and hold the item, and then add it to your list.  My Rebee grocery list shows items by store.  Once you've made your list, you can figure out who has the best deals on your grocery items.  Or, if you're like me, you use this list to go a step further.

Saving money on groceries

A step further to be that person.  You know.  That person who might hold up your grocery checkout because they're price-matching.  I hate when people price match a bajillion items, but I love price-matching myself.  I know, it's hypocritical.  I usually go to Walmart, No Frills or Superstore to do it.  And before you all judge me for holding up the checkout, I try to go when it's really empty if I know I'm going to be price-matching more then a few items.

If you're not familiar with price-matching, it basically saves you gas and time because it allows you to buy items at one store for the lowest advertised price in that week's flyers (from any store!).  For example, after I find the lowest price on bacon from, say Loblaws, I go to my Walmart and grab that same brand of bacon.  When I'm checking out, I bring up the Rebee app on my phone, tap on the bacon from my grocery list, and show the cashier the flyer from Loblaws.  Whatever price Loblaws has listed is what they charge me.  I usually save up to $3 on bacon.

But what you really want to know is how I managed to get a cheque mailed to me, right?

Way to save money #3: Checkout 51 app

Saving money on groceries

Download the Checkout 51 app!  This app works like PC Plus points, if you're familiar with those, or you can think of it as virtual couponing.  Basically, you'll have a personalized list of offers each week that you can get money back on.  For example, my list is full of Canada Day BBQ items, as well as toiletries, baby food items and household cleaning products.  Below each item, the app shows you how much money you can get back if you purchase the item.  Rebates range in price from $0.50 to a few dollars.  Once you purchase the item, you just scan in your receipt, and if it's approved, you start collecting the money in your account.  When you hit $20, you can request a cheque. This app also allows you to "star" your favourite offers, so you can remember to buy and claim them.  Oh, and offers can run out because lots of people claim them, so try to scan your receipts right away.

Saving money on groceries

If you use this app in conjunction with the flyer apps and price-matching, you can really save a bundle!  One week, I succumbed to a frozen Delissio pizza craving because I ended up being able to purchase them for $1.50 each after taking into account my Checkout 51 rebate!

Uh, just be careful, because this app can also make you impulse buy things you normally wouldn't.  See frozen pizza example above.  And I'm seriously conidering buying a tub of Breyer's ice cream this week because I can get a dollar back.  Sigh.

Saving money on groceries

Bonus! Way to save money #4: Keep a list of lowest prices

If you're like me, you might have trouble remembering what a good price for certain grocery items is. I'm blaming my terrible memory on baby brain, but it could just be laziness.  Either way, you can keep a handy list of most of your grocery and pantry staples and the lowest price you pay for them.  For example, the lowest price I've ever paid for a container of (non-organic) strawberries is $1.88.  I'd add that to my list, so that I can use it for reference when I'm looking for a good deal on strawberries.  I might think that $3.00 is a great deal, but my handy list would remind me that I can do better.  I used to call my mom for these price references, but I figured I should develop some independence sometime, right?

What do you do to save money on groceries?  Or have any questions about the tips above?  Leave them below!  Hope you can put some (or all!) of these tips to use as you do your grocery shopping for Canada Day (seriously, so many BBQ offers in the Checkout 51 app)!  Have a great Canada Day week, everyone!

Note: All apps above are available for both iOS and Android.  And nope, no sponsorship.  Just love how these apps are helping me save money.  And get free cheques in the mail!  #winning

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Chocolate Pudding Series | Sweet Potato Date Chocolate Pudding

There is nothing like chocolatey pudding goodness! In keeping with our healthy chocolate pudding series, today we are featuring a deeeee-licious sweet potato date pudding.
This recipe is vegan, full of fiber, and has no refined sugars! This special treat will surely satisfy those annoying 3 pm chocolate cravings:)
healthy chocolate pudding
Did you know dates contain iron and fiber?

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato 
    • Bake whole sweet potato for approximately 1 hour at 375 F until soft. Cool, peel off skin and mash.
    • 1 large sweet potato yields approximately 1 cup of mashed sweet potato flesh.
  • 2 pitted medjool dates 
    • You can add in an extra date or two if you want the pudding even sweeter.
    • I purchased mine from No Frills; most grocery stores, bulk food stores and health food stores carry them.
  • 1/4 cup of soy or almond milk 
    • You can use regular milk and if you don't care about the pudding being vegan.
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
Tip! Feel free to add in 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or peanut/almond butter if you want to add in some healthy fats/calories. I do this for my daughter since she has the metabolism of a hummingbird and needs all the calories she can get. And let's be honest, peanut butter and chocolate is the best combo ever! If your pudding feels too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding a little more milk.

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor, vitamix or using a hand blender until nice and smooth.
    healthy chocolate pudding
    healthy chocolate pudding
  2. Chill in fridge for a couple hours if you prefer it cold.
  3. Enjoy!
You will fall in LOVE with this pudding recipe!
Do you have a favourite healthy chocolate pudding recipe? Please share and perhaps we can even feature it on our blog!
healthy chocolate pudding

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Training Your Next Gardener - A Chia Pet Craft

DIY chia pet
Mowing the lawn.  Isn't it your favourite thing to do on a hot, humid, summer day while the sun beats down on your sore, sweaty back?  It's the summer mowing season that makes me really thankful to live in a condo.  Alas, if you own any patches of lawn, you'll have to mow them, and I say, it's never too early to get your kids trained up to be your next gardener!  This fun grass head craft will (hopefully) get them slightly more excited about tending the greenery in your yard.  Or it will just motivate them to give their younger siblings terrible haircuts (hide the scissors!).

Tip!  Make this craft educational by discussing the science behind plant growth.  You can talk about how plants start as seeds, and how they need sunlight and water to grow, etc.

  • 1 pair pantyhose
  • few cups of topsoil
  • handful of grass seed
  • cup or small tupperware container
  • water
  • googly eyes
  • hot glue gun 
  • pipe cleaners (optional)

gardening craft

Tip!  Do the assembly of this craft outside, so there's less cleanup.  Sweep the dirt into your garden!

  1. Put your topsoil in a container and water it so it's slightly moist and clumpy.
    gardening craft
    gardening craft
  2. Cut the feet off your pantyhose, so you have a sock that's about 30 cm long.
  3. Place your sock inside the cup or tupperware, and fold the top of the sock over the edges. Put one scoop of topsoil in the sock.
    gardening craft

    gardening craft
  4. Sprinkle in a handful of grass seed.  Try to distribute it fairly evenly.
    gardening craft
  5. Scoop a few cups of topsoil on top of the grass seed, until you have your desired head size.  Try to make it at least the size of your fist so the roots have room to grow.

    gardening craft

    gardening craft
  6. Periodically press the soil into the sock using your hand, to pack it down.
    gardening craft
    gardening craft
  7. Remove the soil-filled sock from the cup.  Carefully knot the end of the pantyhose to close it up. 
    gardening craft
  8. Take your hot glue gun and glue 2 googly eyes on your head. You can do this before or after the "hair" grows.
    gardening craft
    This is about a month of growth, but don't worry, you'll see the first blades of grass after about a week.

    gardening craft
  9. Sit your head in about a cm of water in a small tupperware container, or a cup.
  10. Place your grass head on a sunny window sill and make sure to water it every few days.
  11. Watch that grass grow impatiently, and then grab some scissors to style it once it gets a little long.
    gardening craft
    She keeps asking to trim the hair!  Wonder if I can get her to do my lawn eventually?
Tip!  Hot glue other accessories onto your grass head.  Want arms?  Glasses?  Use some pipe cleaners to jazz it up. It's basically a homemade Mr. Potatohead!

Congratulations, you've just created your own chia pet!  And you're training your future gardener-slash-hairdresser.

Let us know how your head turned out.  We'd love to see photos of your haircuts!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Heart to Heart: Seventeen Things Any New Parent Should Know

  1. Don't get used to anything. Baby sleeping through the night at 6 weeks? Don't hold your breath, these little monkeys change minute to minute. So throw those expectations out the window! With expectations comes disappointment. Expect change and accept that it is a natural part of development. 
  2. Don't be a hero. If you need help, ask for it. Recognizing you need help and having the courage to ask for it is an important part of parenting. Seek out help from family, friends or consider hired help (i.e. House cleaner) if financially feasible. Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated will make you miserable. You will be a much happier parent if you get the help you need. Happy parent = happy kid. 
    Special time with grandpa means break for you!
  3. Laugh often (it sure beats crying). Fifth explosive poop of the day? Laugh that sh*t off! A friend will totally find it hilarious if you text them saying you're having the sh*ttiest day in history. Try to find the humour in your everyday parenting adventures. 
  4. It's okay to feel frustrated; you're only human. Oh there will be good days and bad days! It's totally normal to feel frustrated on those not so good days. Find the right outlet to release your frustrations. Blogging is one of my outlets. Wine is another...kidding, kinda;) 
  5. Go with the flow. Just like birthing plans need a lot of flexibility, so does everyday life with small children. Things will happen and you need to be able to adapt very quickly. Like the time my kid pooped her pants in the playground for the second time and we had to rush home. 
    uh oh, what is she up to now?
  6. Remember this is only a very small period in the grand scheme of life. This is what keeps me going everyday. I actually find myself stopping to savour some moments (those rare moments when the stars align and your children are being angels) because I know I will never have this time again.  
    Time really does fly...sigh.
  7. Follow your gut. You know your children and your family better than anyone else in the world. If something doesn't feel right, listen to your instincts. You truly are the expert when it comes to your child. 
  8. Don't spend your energy worrying about what others are doing. There will always be that parent trying trying to "one-up you" on Facebook. You know, the "just fed my kid healthy chia seed pudding for snack"...oh wait...that's me. Haha! No,  but seriously, you are doing your best for your child and family and that's all that should matter. That being said we should also avoid being judgmental of other parents and their decisions. How others choose to parent their children does not impact us. Like seriously, that mother choosing to breastfeed her four-year-old has absolutely zero impact on me. We should be respectful of one another; we're all parents unified with the common goal of caring for our children. 
    We are all doing our best to care for our children <3
  9. See the world through your child's eyes and live for the moment. Everything is so new and almost magical to little children. I love watching my three-year-old daughter's eyes widen in amazement when she experiences something new. I used to get frustrated walking to the store with her because it would literally take what felt like hours to get down the street. She would notice every little detail: the purple flowers budding in the neighbour's lawn; the chubby robin looking for worms; the leaves changing into autumn colours. All details I stopped taking the time to notice. Now I stop and take the time to experience the world with her; and it's made me learn to appreciate the beautiful world we live in. 
  10. Slow down. So what if you're going to be 15 minutes late for that play date or for gymnastics class? Rushing is only going to lead to frustration. There is nothing worse than rushing in the morning with little kids. If you need to get somewhere important (i.e. work) then be sure to plan ahead. Otherwise, slow the heck down! 
  11. Kids are meant to get dirty so embrace it. Kids learn through hands on activities. Let them attempt to shovel that yogurt into their mouths (that will inevitably end up all of the highchair, floor and even possibly the ceiling); or finger-paint all over the kitchen table (covered with a plastic table cloth of course) to their hearts content. If my kids look dirty at the end of the day, I know it was a great day!
    Mmmm...messy watermelon all over the picnic blanket.
  12. Educate yourself. Is your toddler throwing another seemingly irrational tantrum? No, he/she is not possessed (although it really does appear that way). Cancel that exorcism because tantrums are a part of normal child development. Understanding the phases of child development makes it easier to empathize and sympathize with your child. 
    Melt down because her kite didn't fly high enough.
  13. Take a step back. As long as your child is in a safe environment there is no need to hover. Let them explore their surroundings. They are naturally curious and we should be cultivating this behaviour. Play date conflict between toddlers? Stand back and see if they are able to work it out on their own. Obviously intervene if things are getting out of hand! 
  14. Utilize your resources and connect with other parents. We are truly lucky to have access to so many parenting resources in our communities. Early Years Centres, public libraries etc. are all great places to get information and to take your kids for programs. It's also a perfect way to meet other parents in your community. And is a free service that matches you with local like-minded mommies within walking distance! 
  15. Get out. I find I get a little squirrelly if I don't get out with the kids daily. There is always some drop-in program available if you know where to look. Or just head to the park if it's a nice day. Kids are way better behaved with some fresh air in their lungs. 
  16. Take care of yourself. This is a tough one. I know I certainly stopped putting my needs first since kids came along, but recently I found myself taking a step back and reevaluating my lifestyle. I rarely eat proper meals because I'm too busy making sure the kids are fed well. I stopped exercising because I can't seem to find the time or I'm too exhausted. And yet, nutrition and exercise are the two things that should not be sacrificed. If I'm not healthy, I can't look after my kids, it's as simple as that. They are relying on me to be healthy. I'm now making it a priority to eat well and exercise. 
  17. Your time is sacred so use it wisely. Now is the time to rid your life from anyone or anything that wastes your time or sucks up your energy. Learning to say "no" is an important skill and there is no better time to use it.

What advice do you have for new parents? Let's create a supportive, loving community where we have each other's backs! Let us know what you wish you could tell new moms!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Super-quick Father's Day Coffee Cozy Craft

felt coffee cozy
When your little one has the attention span of a goldfish and you want to do a craft, you have to be fast.  Today's felt coffee cup cozy craft (say that five times fast!) takes no time at all, and your toddler can do most of it independently!  It's totally customizable, and you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like.  I let my almost 3-year-old do whatever she wanted with scissors, felt, and glue, and you can see the results.  I can't say she has the most amazing colour aesthetic, but she had fun, and it's a practical gift that won't clutter up a desk.

felt coffee cozy

  • felt
  • scissors
  • fabric or other strong craft glue (or even hot glue if you want to do the gluing)
felt coffee cozy
  1. Cut out a long rectangle for the base of the cozy.  Mine measured 8 cm x 23 cm (this measurement will change depending on the size of the mug you want the cozy to fit).
  2. Let your little one cut out shapes out of felt. 
    felt coffee cozy
  3. Put some glue out on a plate, or let your child squeeze glue onto the felt shapes and adhere to the base.
    felt coffee cozy

    felt coffee cozy
  4. Grab your cold coffee and throw your feet up here.  You get a 5-minute break while your child cuts and pastes!
  5. Once all the shapes have been stuck down, glue the ends of the base together to form a loop.  You can wrap the cozy around your mug so you know what size to make it.
    felt coffee cozy

    felt coffee cozy

Tip!  If you want your cozy to be somewhat colour-coordinated, limit the colours of felt you put out.

felt coffee cozy

felt coffee cozy

Okay, and because I just can't leave some things alone, I decided I wanted to make my own cup cozy.  It's the same idea as the one above, but I drew and cut out templates from paper first and then cut them out of felt.  I also decided I'd blanket-stitch the shapes at 1 am because I'm crazy for crafts.  And alliteration, apparently.  It's a problem.  But it was worth it!  I love blanket stitching!  Check out this link if you want to learn how to blanket stitch.

felt coffee cozy
Tip!  To get nice lettering, you can print out the words in the font you want and use the paper as your template.

felt coffee cozy
Are you planning on buying or making your Father's Day gift? Get started this weekend so you have plenty of time to prepare! :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...