Fab Frugal Mama

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Strange Magic - A Musical Joyride

If you're a fan of musicals (Frozen, anyone?), then you'll probably love the most recent DVD my family had the chance to review - Strange Magic.

Available now On DVD, Strange Magic features popular songs from the past 60 years and is a classic tale of broken hearts and good vs. evil.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Break: Things To Do + Tips To Afford Them

Summer vacation.


Those two little words are enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most organized parents!

According to a recent TD survey, 55% of Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 take on additional costs during the summer; in fact, 71% of them spend up to $999 per child. Whoa!! 

The thought of filling eight weeks with play dates, camps, crafts and outdoor activities can be daunting, and the thought of paying for it all, even more so - IF you don’t have a plan.

That’s why Linda MacKay, Senior Vice President, Retail Savings & Investing and Shirley Malloy, Associate Vice President, Acquisition & Sales Management at TD Canada Trust have come up with some ideas for how to save for this costly time of year:

  •  Use rewards card balances to fund activities and travel, i.e. redeem your loyalty rewards for theme park passes or excursions
  • Take advantage of sibling discounts, where applicable (the savings really add up if you plan on enrolling more than one child)
  • For big-ticket activities like specialty camps, inquire about payment plans that stretch over the year, so there’s not a crunch in the summer.
  • Watch for early bird discounts – some organizations offer a discount if you sign up well in advance of the program start date
  • Sign up for city-run programs (such as those offered through community recreation centres), which usually offer lower cost programming
  • Don’t forget to claim your tax deductions for child care and / or child fitness tax credits

Now that you know how to make the most of your summer activities budget, check out this fab, frugal bucket list of things to do with your kids:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Inside Out: A Roller Coaster of Emotions

Inside Out, the latest movie from Disney • Pixar comes out today. There's been a lot of buzz around this movie, not only because it's from Disney but because it's unlike any other kids movie out there.

It's about emotions... not always an easy topic to tackle. Yet, in typical (awesome) Disney fashion, they nailed it. (Did we ever have any doubt? :)

My family was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening on Monday and we were all blown away by the movie on so many levels. We saw Riley's world through the characters Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear - all of whom play important roles in her subconscious. We were impressed with the unique and well-written storyline, offering powerful lessons for both adults and kids alike.

We laughed, we cried (yes, hubby, too!) and my 8-year-old daughter even had a great idea for a sequel - "They should have more complex emotions, too, like Confusion." You heard it here first, Disney!

This is a definite must-see, and something that the whole family will love.

Start The Summer Off Right with Maple Leaf Foods! #LetsDoPicnic

Summer is all about being outside, and what better way to usher in the season than with a picnic-themed party?

Join  @MapleLeafFoods, @PepsiCanada, @LaysCanada, @TostitosCanada and @WonderBreadCA on Wednesday, June 24th at 8pm EDT for the #LetsDoPicnic twitter party! Chef Andrea Nicholson (@Andrea_n) will be on hand to offer up delicious picnic ideas, and there will be lots of prizes to win, too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New Movie Alert + Sneak Peek Trailers from Disney • Pixar

It would be an understatement to say my family loves movies. There are so many good ones coming out this year, including the eagerly awaited Inside Out - the movie about emotions from Disney • Pixar.

We plan on seeing it in a few weeks... a fun end-of-the-school-year surprise that will usher in the beginning of summer. The release date is June 19th, so mark your calendars!!

If you haven't seen the trailer yet, you are in for a treat!! Check it out here...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness & Learning How to #SupportHER

Almost everyone I know has been affected in some way by cancer. Whether fighting it personally or supporting a friend or family member though it, we have all been touched by this terrible disease.

Last month, I attended high tea at the beautiful King Edward Hotel to talk about cancer and how we can best support the women in our lives who are dealing with it.


Lena, from Listen to Lena, hosted this informative and empowering event, where we listened to Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley speak about the heartening breast cancer statistics (breast cancer deaths have decreased by 42% since the peak in 1986), as well as inspirational stories from a cancer survivor.

So Nice: Helping to Plant An Organic Future

Kids are notorious for asking questions... LOTS of questions! So whenever we try a new food, there's usually a question about how it's grown or where it comes from.

I won't claim that everything we eat is organic (far from it), but I do my best to buy organic whenever I can, and when my budget allows, for a few reasons:
  • organic farms are sustainable, ensuring that the land will be fit for farming for years to come 
  • reduced groundwater pollution (because no pesticides, etc are used)
  • no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers means I'm not ingesting harmful chemicals when I eat my food
  • no genetically modified organisms (GMOs) 
  • and last, but not least, the food tastes better!

That's why, when I found out about the Earth's Own Planting An Organic Future initiative with Evergreen, I knew I wanted to share it with you.

Recently I attended an event at the Evergreen Brick Works to experience the program myself and had the pleasure of meeting (and cooking with!) Chef Brad Long, owner of Cafe Belong.

Chef Brad Long and me, captured by my 8-year-old!