Monthly Archives: December 2013

Don’t get so caught up in setting off your own fireworks that you neglect to see the beauty in the fireworks of others.

Happy New Year everyone! Many blessings to you in 2014.

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Frugal & Festive Part 2

Only 5 more sleeps until Christmas; anyone excited yet? While some of you may be almost sick with anticipation, some of you are sick with stress and feeling the pressure of finances and being happy at the same time. There are so many parties, programs and Christmas obligations, so much baking, cooking and preparing, gift buying, gift wrapping and gift giving that it is easy for the most wonderful time of the year to become one of the worst. However, this Red Freckled Momster is here to tell you that are are ways to conserve, be festive, be environmentally friendly AND be happy with the holidays.

1. Some people love having Christmas cookies and cakes around the holidays and it can absorb a lot of time and money. Use Christmas baking as a way to connect with your children by including them. Kids love to scoop, pour, mix, shape and eat and it can make for a very enjoyable time together with the added bonus of getting your baking done. Take it one step further and use it as a teaching/learning opportunity to teach your child about measurements and fractions. i.e. I have 1/4 cup measure but the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar. How many 1/4 cup measures do I need? Spending this time together will not only help you to relax and enjoy the season but it will certainly get you into the Christmas spirit spending it with those you love.

2. Stocking stuffers can add up (Frugal & Festive: Your Christmas Stocking List ) but one way to cut cost is to buy gift packages at a lower cost and separate them to put into your loved one’s stocking. I usually buy the Gillette gift pack or something similar which include the razor, shaving cream, lotion and other items (last year had a flashlight) all for under $20. To buy these things individually would be well over $20 since the razor and blades alone cost almost that.  Do you ever see those Teen Packs out usually just before back to school time? They include so many things from pit stick to tampons and include different brands at an excellent price. Also, as a side note: Those travel bottles of shampoo and pit stick, although they look cute and fit so nicely in the stocking toe, will actually cost more money per amount of product that you are actually getting. It’s better to buy the full-sized item for what it’s worth and it will last longer.

3. There is so much wrapping paper wasted on Christmas ending up in piles and piles of garbage bags the day after heading to landfill sites. Sadly, most wrapping paper and cards are not recyclable. Why not try different and unique ways of wrapping that will look great and save you money as well as  the environment. Wrap up gifts using a scarf or a dishcloth which becomes part of the gift itself. Or, for an unique and antique look, use newspaper or brown paper and twine (Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things…). Pair it with a pretty name tag or fancy ribbon and you have a pretty gift with less waste; recyclable paper, reusable ribbon, happy you. And what about gift bags? Unfortunately, because of the ink and coating of the paper, these cannot be recycled either. After you’ve unwrapped the present simply neatly fold the gift bag and store with the rest of your wrapping supplies to use again next year.

4. Some people think Christmas cards can mean a quick headache. All those stamps you have to buy, making sure you don’t forget anyone, and if you’re anything like I am, they usually are sent late (hey, better late than never, right?). Some people are deciding to forego the traditional Christmas card altogether and are sending their holiday wishes online via social media or e-mail. It cuts back on paper and postage cost, especially since next year the price of stamps is increasing and urban mail delivery is being phased out (not happy). How about picking up the phone and doing the old fashioned telephone call and actually talk to some friends and family over the holiday? I don’t know about you, but with all this technology and ways of connecting to people, it seems to me that people are in fact becoming less connected. A simple phone call makes it more personal and thoughtful and I’m sure it will be greatly appreciated. Note to my own immediate family: Don’t send me a Facebook message wishing me a Merry Christmas without a phone call or I will disown you – out of my will.

5. Anyone invited out over the Christmas season? I’m sure you are. Why not bring the host/hostess a decorative reusable tin of your favourite home baked cookies or sweets. No need for wrapping, no useless packaging that will be thrown away, no worry whether they already have that particular gift and its something thoughtful, personal, and delicious! Make sure to include a recipe for a nice added touch. Family heritages can be passed through recipes; what a nice gesture to share yours with a friend.

Have fun this Christmas and over the holiday season. Don’t stress too much and take time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas which is not about the gifts, the parties and the festivities. I hope you spend it with family and those you love. Be safe. Be merry. And have a wonderful Christmas.

-Kathryn

Frugal & Festive: Your Christmas Stocking List

Eek! Only 7 more sleeps until Christmas! And some of you mommas and daddies are panicking. Don’t sweat it, that still means at least 6 days of shopping left. Did anyone forget about stockings? I love filling stockings but sometimes they can get a bit pricey or I have trouble knowing what to get. Don’t fear, I’ve come up with a list of 100 items for your child aged 2+ as well as some other specific items for your littlest and your biggest. I’m sure you can use some of these items to fill those stockings as well as find some at great prices at the Dollar store; Frugal AND festive!

For the child 2 years +:
1. gum
2. socks
3. shampoo
4. brush
5. comb
6. crayons
7. pen/pencils
8. markers
9. stickers
10. soap
11. body wash
12. post it notes
13. coins
14. kinder egg
15. chocolate bar
16. candy
17. glow sticks
18. batteries for new toys
19. underwear
20. hair barrettes/buckles
21. bracelets
22. dinkies
23. recorder
24. toothbrush
25. tooth paste
26. makeup
27. nail polish
28. paint
29. apple
30. orange
31. temporary tattoos
32. skipping rope
33. stuffed toys
34. flashlight
35. paintbrush
36. fruit snacks
37. bouncy ball
38. marbles
39. movie
40. small books
41. bubbles
42. kalidescope
43. bath toys
44. juice box
45. dental floss
46.  Band Aids
47. coloring book
48. package of cookies or crackers
49. Dress up items such as tiara, play jewellery, pirate patch, super cape, etc.
50. Boogie Wipes (they exist and they’re great for stuffy noses)
51. mittens
52. hat
53. bath pouf
54. Christmas ornament
55. silly string
56. small doll
57. cup
58. cutlery set
59. straws
60. hot chocolate
61. package of popcorn
62. sunglasses
63. watch
64. gift card for their favourite restaurant
65. gift card for a movie
66. candy canes
67. craft/safety scissors
68. face paints
69. craft kit (you can find these at the dollar store with pipe cleaners, beads, paints, etc.)
70. doll clothes

For the Baby:
1. bib
2. diaper (Bambino is getting a cute red cloth diaper)
3. Puffs or Cheerios
4. cute snack containers
5. baby lotion
6. teething toys
7. mittens
8. baby food
9. bath wash/shampoo
10. sippy cup

For the Teenager +:
1. deodorant
2. razors
3. shaving cream
4. body wash/shampoo
5. phone card
6. card games
7. ear buds/earphones
8. gift cards for clothing stores
9. tea/coffee
10. mug
11. lotion
12. aftershave
13. tweezers
14. manicure set
15. press-on nails
16. hair products
17. school supplies such as colorful paper clips, pens, pencil case, etc.
18. makeup bag
19. small tools (screwdriver, sockets, etc.)
20. funky key chain

There it is! A list of 100 stocking stuffers suitable for everyone in the family. Happy shopping. Happy giving. And Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18th

I asked my husband this morning what he liked about being a parent. He said, “Getting kicked in the ribs at 6:00am”. Obviously, we have both been painted with the sarcasm brush, but I think that when it comes to being a parent you need a sense of humour. Yes there are times when our bed ends up with 4 of us, 2 of which seem like they are practicing their ninja skills in their sleep, but we never take it too seriously. We can laugh at these things later. They are only for a season, and a short season at that. So love this season. And love the next season. And the one that follows. And remember to take your sense of humour with you.

Wednesday, December 11th

What I love about being a mom is seeing my child display signs of empathy towards others. It’s difficult to imagine that a child at three years old has the capacity to empathize for even the simplest of things but sometimes they can amaze you. There have been a couple of families connected to us that have experienced unexpected loss recently. As adults it’s difficult enough to understand tragedy let alone trying to explain it to a child. But Little Man has reminded me something important as of late; sometimes you don’t really need to understand to have a heart if empathy and a little childlike faith. At bedtime prayer, after an in-depth conversation about death and sadness, Little Man asked that we pray for the people who were sad. As simple as that sounds, God’s grace can give strength and comfort when needed and sometimes it’s just as easy as asking for it. We don’t have to understand the why but we can pray and feel for those who have lost loved ones and need God’s strength when they have little of their own.

Wednesday, December 4th

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One fun thing about being a parent is that you can do lots of kid things with no shame. Today, although my dishes are in the sink and it looks like Christmas exploded in my living room, I took the time to paint in Little Man’s new Christmas water paint book to which he replied, “Wow! Good job mom.” (Love the positive encouragement.) Something so simple yet it brings you right back to your own childhood, like sharing a memory with your children or for one small moment in time you’re a kid again playing with your own kid. No shame in that at all.

15 Cool Facts about Breastfeeding

Awesome article on the benefits of breastfeeding!

Health Foundations

We all know the saying “breast is best” but here are some of the colossal benefits, and a couple quirky facts, about breastfeeding.

1.  Human milk boosts a baby’s immune system big time—helping baby fight viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, including:

  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Ear infections
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Infant diarrhea
  • Common colds and flus

2.  Breastfeeding can actually reduce baby’s risk of disease later in life, including:

  • Type I and II diabetes
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Leukemia
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Asthma
  • Eczema

3.  Breastfeeding reduces mama’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.  The longer she breastfeeds, the higher the benefit.  In fact, a woman who breastfeeds for 8 years has nearly a 0% risk of breast cancer.

Get this—breastfeeding a baby girl actually reduces her lifetime risk of breast cancer by 25%.

4.  Breastfeeding saves a…

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