Fab Frugal Mama

Friday, September 12, 2014

Help A Friend In Need

Mental health issues touch all of our lives, so I wanted to share with you an important initiative to help kids in need all across the country.

This week, Facebook Canada, along with Kids Help Phone and TSN personality Michael Landsberg, introduced Help A Friend in Need, a new resource that provides simple, practical tips to help youth ages 15-20 identify potential warning signs in online behavior that might indicate a friend is thinking of suicide.

Can you believe that, so far in 2014, 7.5 per cent of young people who have contacted Kids Help Phone have spoken about suicide as the primary reason they reach out? Sadly, this represents thousands of kids from every part of Canada. But there is something we can do to help.

In recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, the Help A Friend in Need guide will be distributed nationally in both English and French through the Facebook Family Safety Centre and Kids Help Phone website.

If you'd like a copy of the guide, click here.

It only takes one friend who recognizes the signs to help save a life.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Construction Mess & Mayhem

I'm a pretty laid-back person, so when hubby and I decided to build a mudroom, I approached it positively, thinking it would be a relatively simple project. It's being built onto the back of our house, so I took comfort in the notion that there would be little disruption to the rest of our home. And, more importantly, it would mean the end to wet snowsuits (or bathing suits) in my kitchen.

The reality, though, is that construction - even for a relatively small job like this - is a dirty proposition.

Have I ever mentioned that I don't like to clean? At all. Not even a bit. 

If there's one thing hubby and I don't see eye-to-eye on, it's cleaning. While I hate to clean, I do wield a duster and vacuum when needed. It's just that I'm more of a "clean up all the tiny messes so it doesn't turn into a huge job" kinda girl. Thank goodness hubby has taken on the job of chief bathroom cleaner, or we'd have split years ago! LOL (Yes, hubby - I'm complimenting you! Kudos! Big shout-out! Love you! Happy Anniversary! xo)

See, he's what you'd call a Type A personality... and I'm not. If it were up to him (and we had an unlimited budget), we would have a cleaning service come in every week. Not gonna happen.

So for now, I'm in clean-up hell, dealing with constant dust in my house. If I don't vacuum the floor every day, we end up with black feet!

Don't get me wrong - I'll be happy to have a proper entrance at the back, a powder room so we don't have to run upstairs to go to the washroom, and cubbies for each family members' stuff.

But for now, the construction mess is wearing thin on my nerves... and I'm counting down the days until the mayhem is over.

Have you ever lived through a renovation? I'd love to hear about your experience.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Baby Has Flown The Coop

My baby flew the coop last week... Friday was his first full day of junior kindergarten.

While I was confident he'd adjust well, I wasn't sure I'd be able to hold back the tears. My rational brain told me it's going to be wonderful - he's ready to be more independent, learn new things, broaden his horizons. But my emotional side reminded me that he's my baby, the youngest, and there will never be another 'first day of kindergarten'.

This was it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Head Back To School in Style with the #HeritageB2S Twitter Party

It's back-to-school season and Heritage Funds & Oliver's Labels want to help you usher in the new school year in style!

Join us for the #HeritageB2S twitter party where we'll be sharing tips & tricks to make it as the new school year as stress-free as possible.

Date: Wednesday, August 27
Time: 9 - 10pm EST
Hashtag: #HeritageB2S

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Disney's Planes: Fire and Rescue Is A Fun Family Adventure

My family are big fans of the Cars franchise and really liked the first installment of the Planes series, so we were excited to go see the sequel, Planes: Fire and Rescue last week.

It was a fun-filled, action-packed adventure right from the start, with a good story and lots of life lessons built in.

Once again we meet up with Dusty Crophopper, the star of the first Planes movie. He's on a roll and winning lots of races when he experiences a setback that makes him rethink his future.

On his journey, he meets a diverse cast of characters including Dipper, a feisty female firefighter who is sweet on him; Maru, the mechanic who can just about fix anyone; Windlifter, the wise 2nd in command; Cad Spinner, the antagonist; and Blade Ranger, the leader.

There are lots of other characters who round out the cast, making for a cute movie that teaches an important life lesson...that when one door closes, another opens. Life may hand you disappointment, but there's always a new adventure right around the corner...you just have to have the courage to find it.

While this isn't my kids' favourite movie of all time (which, if you must know, is Frozen...still singing the soundtrack everyday!), they certainly hooted and hollered, laughed and (almost) cried along with Dusty and the gang. I think their exact words when the credits rolled were, "That was awesome, Mom!"

That's good enough for me.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Canada Day at The Cottage: #NikonMOMents Part 1

As part of the #NikonMOMents team, I'll be sharing 5 posts with you over the next twelve months, each highlighting a different event. Since I'm new to the world of DSLR cameras, this has been an amazing learning experience so far. See, I'm 'that Mom' who pulls out her smartphone at *every* occasion. And, while smartphone pictures are fine for quick impromptu shots, I can honestly say that nothing compares to the beautiful images I capture with my Nikon camera.  I am looking forward to sharing what I learn along the way, including tips for taking fab photos of everything - and everyone - you love!

There are few things I look forward to more than the Canada Day long weekend. It signifies the start of cottage season and means an extra day to swim, enjoy the sun and hang out my family.

This year was very much like past celebrations, with the exception of one thing -  I had a fantastic camera to capture all of the shots I usually never even try to get!

One such picture is the ever-elusive "kids with sparklers". It was impossible to get a good shot with my point-and-shoot camera because I didn't have much control over the settings; I was always using "Auto" mode.  Because I'm very interested in taking artistic photographs, the idea of slowing down the shutter speed to achieve cool affects intrigued me. Considering it was dusk when the sparkler fun began, my first few images weren't as dramatic as I'd hoped. But, once I modified the light compensation, the change was immediate and drastic; I achieved a darker background, which allowed the foreground - the sparkler - to shine.

Sparklers! (Aperature: 4.5; ISO 100; shutter speed 1/25; EV/light compensation -1)

Sparklers! (Aperature: 16; ISO 100; shutter speed 1.6; EV/light compensation -1)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why I Won't Win Mother of the Year

Reason #28: my kids ate breakfast at 12:30pm today.

I've never claimed to be perfect - far from it, in fact. But some days are just bigger screw-ups than others.

Like today, for example. I had the best intentions... get up, eat breakfast, do a bit of work for a client, then take the kids to the museum. Sounds easy enough, right?

The morning started off just fine. The kids (bless their hearts) slept in, so I got a bit of work done before they awoke. Then they got dressed and my oldest played in her room while my youngest watched morning cartoons.

The next thing I knew, my littlest one was calling up to me, asking for a glass of juice. I casually glanced at the time on the computer… 12:26pm.

Wait… what?

I am a bad mother was the first thing that popped into my head.