Fab Frugal Mama

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:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

RSVP for the #FallMarketplace Twitter Party


Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party for Canadians about how to make Thanksgiving snacking and entertaining easy! On Thursday, October 9that 8pm ET, please join us for the #FallMarketplace Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing simple ways to make your Thanksgiving celebration easy and giving you a chance to win prizes!

Are you ready to celebrate Thanksgiving on October 11th? Before your guests arrive and you being your celebration, be sure to head to Walmart to stock up on all the essentials! From chicken and pumpkin pie to help make your celebrations complete to Wheat Thins and carrots for snacking success, Walmart has all the items you need to make your get together memorable! And once it’s over? Why Walmart makes clean-up a breeze! Be sure to join us for this fun party to learn all about how your celebration can be simplified with the right items! Plus we’ll be sharing information on in-store demos to help you find the perfect items for all your Thanksgiving needs!

Join me and RSVP for the #FallMarketplace Twitter Party on SoFabChats!

DATE: Thursday, October 9th

TIME: 8:00 - 9:00pm ET

PRIZES: 5 - (1) CAN $110 Walmart Gift Cards  

EARLY BIRD PRIZE: 1 - CAN $55 Walmart Gift Card

HOSTS: @fabfrugalmama, @cvegnad, @SnyMed, @raisingmemories, @JManMillerBug

#FallMarketplace Twitter Party Official Rules

#FallMarketplace Twitter Party Page

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Earning #PCPlus Points at No Frills...Because You Can't Beat FREE!

Have you ever heard the saying, "You can't get something for nothing"?

Well, luckily that's not true... because when it comes to grocery shopping, that's exactly what I do.

I've shopped at the Loblaws family of grocery stores for years. Their unique products (many from the President's Choice line), as well as the shopping experience, quality, and value are all things that have kept me coming back. Then, last year, Loblaws came out with yet another reason for me to remain loyal - their PC Plus program. 
I cannot tell you the number of times I've touted the benefits of having a PC Plus account. Usually it's while I'm in line, paying for my groceries.

Er... not paying for them, actually.

I've racked up so many PC Plus points over the past year and a half that I've earned at least $500 worth of free groceries. (Yes... there are two zeros there. :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Our 15th Anniversary Wedding: #NikonMOMents Part 2

Fifteen years ago, I married the love of my life. We exchanged vows in front of our favourite lake, under an old, beautiful pine tree.

It was perfect.

My kids love hearing the story of the day Mommy and Daddy got married. One day a few years ago, after hearing it for the 50th time, my daughter asked, "Can I be your flower girl, Mommy?".  I had to explain that we got married before she was born, so she wasn't able to be in our wedding.  To which she replied, "But, could you get re-married sometime soon?" 
I thought that was the sweetest thing ever, so I promised her that when it was time to celebrate our 15th anniversary, she could be in the wedding. (Who knew that would come so quickly?)
Fast forward to a few weeks ago...
In honour of our milestone, we had a small vow renewal ceremony and my kids were eager and excited to be a part of it.