Fab Frugal Mama

Friday, October 31, 2014

Chic #Halloween Pumpkins in Under 5 Minutes!

If you still don't have your pumpkin(s) carved, but want your house to look fab tonight, try this...

Simply add glue to the top of your pumpkins, be they big or small, and add a ton of glitter... any colour you wish!

I love how chic they look... and they're done in less than 5 minutes flat.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Shopping For Family Favourites With #PCPlus Points {+ #Giveaway}

Every family has mealtime favourites, and mine is no different.

My kids, for instance, love tacos and request them for "Taco Tuesday" every week. (Can you tell they love The Lego Movie?)  We also eat a lot of spaghetti and meatballs because it's quick, healthy and I always have the ingredients on hand.

While I do make meals that are out of their comfort zones, I cook at least two meals each week that I know they'll eat without hesitation.

This is where my PC Plus account comes in. I receive bonus offers every week, personalized just for me, which helps me earn a ton of points simply by buying the things my family likes. I receive an email each Friday, but I love having the PC Plus app on my smartphone... it's nice to have access to them when I'm shopping.

Here are some of our go-to items...

We consume a lot of plain yogurt and frozen fruit each week because smoothies are my kids' favourite
way to get their fruits and veggies (I throw baby spinach in there, too!)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Everyday Savings with #TargetREDcardCA

When it comes to shopping, there's nothing better than getting a great deal on an item I love.

And, while I occasionally use coupons, I'm more of a loyalty card kinda girl. To me, it's easier toting around a card than hunting down coupons and remembering to bring along the appropriate ones for each store.

And, while I love shopping at Target, when I first heard about their REDcard program, I didn't give it a second thought.

Why, you ask?

I didn't need another credit card, so I dismissed the idea. But on a recent visit to my local Target store, a sales associate explained the benefits of the card and I realized I've been missing out!

Truth: You don't need a Target credit card to save 5% every day!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Things I'm #ThankFALL For: Decor On A Dime {+ Giveaway & Twitter Party}

When I think of all the wonderful things that have happened so far in 2014, I feel completely grateful and blessed. Not only do I have two healthy kids who are enjoying school and a wonderful husband with whom I just celebrated 15 years of marriage, but I'm also lucky enough to get the mud room I've been dreaming of.

Yes... a mud room!! Squee!

Of course, because we have an open-concept house, the addition of a new room (and a new colour scheme) means that the entire main floor needs a facelift. My beige sofa and cream walls used to be accented with dark red, charcoal and tan, but as soon as I chose this amazing teal for my mudroom walls, everything needed to be changed.

My new mud room... still under construction.

Being the frugal girl that I am, my first thought was to visit my local Target store. I've always loved the chic home accessories they carry... and the prices that fit my (limited) budget! 

I was on the hunt for pillows and curtains, desperately hoping they'd have something to go with the teal wall colour and could coordinate with an existing floral pillow that I wanted to use (shown in forefront, below).

After a few minutes of searching their wide selection of pillows and draperies, I came up with the perfect combination...

Before I went home, I spotted this cute cube ottoman (in all the right colours!), so I snapped it up too. It's the perfect low-profile piece to replace a small, worn chair I've been meaning to get rid of.  My mother-in-law was able to source a second matching ottoman, so it will make a perfect occasional seating area. :) 

I'm a big fan of mixing items from different price points. The existing floral pillow was a splurge, so I was happy to find these solid pillows for under $14 each, the pair of curtain panels for $34, and the ottoman for $70.

I love how bright and airy my living room looks now. I'm #ThankFALL to be able to transform my main floor on a budget, and make it a place where my entire family can feel comfortable and happy.

Oh, and if you're looking for Halloween costumes on a budget, check out these...

Optimus Prime costume for my son... only $11!

My daughter wants to be Spider Girl; the costume - with matching
leg warmers, skirt extension and mask (not shown) - was $24.

Whether you're decorating your home, outfitting your kids or looking for the perfect gift, Target has what you need at affordable prices. :)

There's More - Prizes Galore!

Twitter Party Alert!!  If you love Halloween, you need to join us this Thursday from 9 - 10pm ET for the #TargetTrickorTWEET party! With over $4000 in prizes up for grabs, it's going to be a spook-erific time!


Giveaway Alert!! Target is hosting a giveaway for a $250 gift card; enter to win below!

Target Canada ‪#‎ThankFALL‬
Disclosure: I am part of the Target #ThankFALL influencer program run by The Influential Network.  I am compensated for this post but opinions are always my own!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Easy Fall Meals with #PCPlus

Now that the cooler weather has come to stay and it's officially autumn, I'm starting to crave comfort food. I love making stews, casseroles and homemade soups for my family... meals that are hearty, yet easy to make - and easy on the wallet.

So, on my latest trip to the grocery store, I looked for fall staples and was pleased to find that my local No Frills carried my favorite organic apples (Granny Smith - and for a very good price!), cabbage and more, which helped me plan out a wholesome, hearty meal to share with you - recipes and all!

When I was a kid, my Mom used to make Cabbage Casserole. It is a super simple meal that consists of a few basic items, many of which you probably already have. Here's the recipe...

Cabbage Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon oil (canola, grapeseed or any mild flavoured cooking oil)
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt (I usually use half this amount; season to your desired taste)
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
6 tablespoons raw, long grain rice
1 (10 oz.) can tomato soup
1 can of water (use soup tin)
3 cups shredded green cabbage

Start by shredding up cabbage and placing it in a greased 9" x 13" casserole dish. Then, in a large frying pan, cook ground beef in oil for several minutes, breaking it up as you go. Then add diced onion, salt, pepper and rice.

Next, add soup and water; mix well. Then, pour meat mixture evenly over the raw cabbage (do not stir/mix together). Bake covered 1.5 hours at 325 degrees F.

And, for dessert - Apple Crisp! The perfect way to use up all those gorgeous fall apples! I've been making this recipe since I was young. My family makes sure this doesn't stick around for too long!

Apple Crisp

4 cups peeled & sliced apples

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
sprinkle of cinnamon

Place apples in a greased 8" square pan. Blend topping until crumbly and spread over apples. Bake in the oven at 350 degree F until apples are soft (approx. 30 minutes). For an added treat, top with vanilla ice cream.

Tip: I double this recipe and use a 9" x 13" pan, that way there's some left over to enjoy later!

Don't forget to bring your PC Plus card when you shop at your local No Frills - your points will add up quickly and soon you'll be getting all of the groceries needed for these recipes for FREE!  (And, if you don't have one, what are you waiting for? Join now! ;)

Happy cooking!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thanksgiving Desserts Made Easy with #PCPlus Points

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite times of the year - the crisp fall air, the yummy food and spending time with family are all things I'm grateful for.

And, since I rarely have to cook (thank you to my mother-in-law and sister for that!), I contribute to the meal in my own, special way... dessert.

I get giddy just *thinking* of what dessert I'll make, and Pinterest is my enabler. ;)

Luckily, there's a No Frills in my neighbourhood to help me execute my crazy plans. I was so excited to find they had all of the staples I needed for my holiday baking - including PC Organics unbleached flour and PC Organics sugar. (The best part of my shopping trip (other than easily finding everything on my list) was the bill... I had enough PC Plus points to get over $100 in free groceries! Woo hoo! Did I mention I love getting free groceries?)

So, here's the plan...

This year, I've decided to bring some yummy banana muffins for a quick, easy weekend breakfast. My mother-in-law loves cooking big breakfasts for everyone, but this year I thought she might like some help, because in addition to making Thanksgiving dinner, she'll also be elbowing for a chance to hang out with her newest grandchild, who was born on Wednesday. (Welcome to the world, Myles... we love you!)

Then, after we stuff our faces full of the best turkey and bacon/celery/sage dressing I've ever tasted (seriously), I thought we'd indulge in a new recipe - no-bake key lime cheesecake!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Taking My "Leap" in The Game of Life #CAAGOL

Have you ever done something that scared the heck out of you, but excited you at the same time? Maybe you took on a task you weren't completely sure you could accomplish, but tried anyway?

If you have, then you've experienced the sheer exhilaration that comes from taking that leap.

My "leap" happened in 2011, after my maternity leave ended and I was torn between being home with my kids and going back into the work force full-time. My daughter was about to start kindergarten, and my son was barely a year old. After much reflection, I decided I wasn't ready to leave them in someone else's care, yet I wasn't sure being an entrepreneur was in the cards for me. I loved the idea of being my own boss, but I wasn't naive. The stresses that accompany owning a business are many - invoicing, client acquisition / retention and the constant discipline to meet deadlines, to name a few. After weighing the pros and cons of each scenario, the one that was right for my family and me was to work from home.

It was a daunting task at first and, to be honest, some days it still feels like that. Between kids' schedules, client deadlines and all of the other stuff that needs to get done in a day, life can get pretty hairy.  But then I think back to the day I decided to become an entrepreneur and I realize it's the best path I could've possibly chosen. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls... and it's all about whether we step up to the plate and swing, or let them intimidate us. Sometimes choosing the (more) difficult path leads us to the place we're meant to be.

CAA, the most trusted name in roadside assistance, is known for helping people find their way. (Literally! Remember TripTik maps?) Not only do they offer roadside assistance but also a suite of insurance products, travel packages and exclusive access to savings and rewards worldwide. (Who doesn't love saving money?)

That's why I'm thrilled to spread the word about the launch of this year's GAME OF LIFE - CAA Edition! CAA is excited to help people take their next leap by giving players the chance to win over 2,600 instant prizes - valued at over $35,000 - including the vacation of a lifetime! (Click here for full prize listings.)

Here's how to play: