Friday, October 24, 2014

Frugal Friday


I would say that one of the biggest ways we save money is buying our kid's clothes second hand.   I have a few `go to' places where I do this:

1.  Buying & selling on buy/sell/swap sites online (facebook).   It's great if you are looking for a specific item, a `lot' of clothes, or want to get a specific price on an item.  I usually pay about $2-5 per item and only purchase from someone who lives within 5 minutes as it's not worth it in gas to go further.

2.  Buying & selling on craigslist.  You can buy or sell whole lots of clothes.  Usually the younger the child, the better the condition of the clothes as they grow out of them so quickly.  I do find that once kids get to Kai's age (8) they are in better condition again as maybe the child didn't like the clothes or grew so quickly that they are barely worn.  I used to do this more before the good old days of facebook :)

3.  Go to a store like `Once Upon A Child'.  This is better if you don't have much time but they won't give you as much money for your items.  Usually they will go through it right away and quote you a price on the items they will accept within an hour.  They need to be wrinkle free (and clean, obviously). I sometimes shop there if if I am looking for a specific item as they have quite a large amount of clothes in one place.  Consignment stores are also pretty good to shop at!

4. Shop at Value Village on 50% off day.  Well, actually, get your Super Savers Club card and shop the day BEFORE 50% off day and still get 50% off.  I don't get much there as I don't think the quality is very good but I have found a few key items in the past like good runners for the boys.

5. Swap with someone who needs clothes too.  My sister had a girl then a boy.  I had boys and then a girl.  We swap a lot of our kids clothes!

6.  Attend a kids swap meet.  I used to do this when I just had Kai but now I prefer the ease of the internet as it's a bit wild there!

7.  You can also buy brand new and look for end of season deals.  I bought their winter coats for this year at the end of the season last year at 70% off.

Any other tips to add in this department?

Have a great weekend!

Love,
Louise




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thankful Thursday



Thankful for:

1.  My sister being healthy.   She found a lump. In her breast. Ya.  After various tests and a biopsy, over a couple of weeks, we found out this past week that SHE IS FINE!  Yahoo, never been happier to hear the world `Galactocele'.  She posted about it here which means I can share it here :)



2. Holding hands with Nya.  I'm not sure how much longer she will want to hold my hand but for now, we hold hands `nicely' (fingers intertwined) often.


3.  Wooden letter puzzles.  The kids have all loved this Melissa and Doug letter puzzle...learning shapes and letters and words.  It was a great gift, auntie K :)  PS Look at all of her hair! Yahoo!


4.  Being able to buy a new laptop. I've put it off for as long as possible because I don't like spending money on electronics and we have THREE laptops already between us (one is really old and just a travel one, one is for Gary's work, and the other one is mine that is barely holding on).  Mine was overheating, even with a Themaltake underneath, and could no longer use Lightroom because of that.  I've had to edit half on Gary's computer (Lightroom) then transfer to mine and continue with Photoshop.  Not ideal.  Found one at Costco for an acceptable price.   Having a business is expensive with insurance, and license and gear and gas etc so I'm continously thankful for the brides and grooms that come our way!

5. A fabulous last family session.  Very bittersweet but it was such a great session to end on.  The weather was gorgeous and the family was so kind, loving and cute :)


6.  A playroom!  I know, I kind of said this last week but now it's set up.  I do daycare 1-2 times a week (half days) so it's so nice to have this area to play in on rainy days.  The kids hang out down here for hours.  The other end has the couches, tv, Wii, tool set and a car race track.


7.  Free scooters!  A neighbour of ours moved and left behind two scooters!  One for Nya, one for Koen.  We have gotten some pretty awesome finds from our neighbours.  By the way, it took about 10 hours (okay, 10 minutes) to get to the mailbox as it was slightly uphill but she really flew on the way home!


8.  Craft time.  Okay, I'm not super crafty but I found this bench on the side of the road.  I painted it, put a new cushion on and recovered it.  I used cheaper fabric because I didn't want to invest into something if it didn't work out.  I think it's cute and it even opens up with storage underneath!  Now, where to put it...


9.  Fleece sheets. So cozy. So warm.

10. An awesome mother.  Seriously. Imagine a little cheerleader sitting on your shoulder your whole life saying `You can do it!' `I'm proud of you!'.  I miss her so much but am so thankful that she was mine.

{Shirt from SHE IS clothing.  Former student. Awesome young woman.}

Thank you to all of you who have said you enjoy my `Thankful Thursdays'.  Sometimes I wonder if I sounds too cheesy or something.  I'm not a `Yahoo! Life is awesome!' kind of person all the time but I do try to choose to look at the positives, even if there are silly things like free finds and puzzles.

Love, 
Louise

Friday, October 17, 2014

Conversations with Kai


After discussing how Kai would like to wear jeans less often due to his activity level, we decided that twice a week was acceptable.
Me: Kai, you have so many nice jeans though!
Kai: Well, you can just sell them and buy me an iPod.

Kai loves the show Amazing Race and hopes to be on it one day.  I applied last year but I don't really have a `thing' that makes me interesting enough.
Kai: Mom, you and dad need to apply for the next Amazing Race!  Your `thing' will be that you broke your jaw and dad broke his clavicle.  You can be team hashtag #brokenbones.

What 8 year old says `hashtag broken bones'?

What 8 year old asks to sell their jeans to buy an iPod?

Times have changed. I feel old.

Frugal Friday


Ever wonder what gift to give someone who just had a baby?  A teacher?  Your neighbour? Well, how about  this...you can make a jar of Friendship Soup for very little cost.  One jar makes enough soup for our family of five for two meals.   Also, you can just make multiple jars of soup ahead of time and have them ready to go for when they are needed.


Just attach a label with the instructions and you're good to go.  If they don't want to use it right away, it can sit in the cupboard until it is needed.  This soup is one that makes your whole house smell delicious and it's packed full of protein to keep you feeling fuller longer.


You can also make yourself a bunch of Ziploc bags full of all the dry ingredients so that you have a meal ready to go when you just don't know what to make.  If you are looking for jars, I bought 12 for $7.99 at Target.   I have wonderful memories of Sunday afternoon soup so I look forward to making this more often to create those memories for our own kids.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Love,
Louise

PS Thanks to my friend Melissa for gifting me with soup in a jar long ago AND Rachel for gifting us with this soup tureen for our wedding shower.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday


This week I am thankful for:

1.  A big family.  Although it can be busy having both of our large extended families so close by (33 members which doesn't include our own cousins, aunts, uncles etc!), I know it is a gift. 



2.  Our basement.  We finished it ourselves about 4 years ago.  It has been part playroom and part photos studio.  I have now sold off most of the props/furniture for the photos studio to clear out space.  It will now be a giant playroom which is awesome and useful and I love it.



3. A decent weather forecast for the weekend!  I have my LAST family session on Saturday and then an engagement session on Sunday.  I really hope that it's not raining because that just means a whole lot of rescheduling!  That's the nice thing about wedding photography...if it's raining on your wedding day, you  just go ahead with photos, no rescheduling :)


4.  Warm, hearty soup on a cool day. There will be more on this for my Frugal Friday post tomorrow :) 


5.  A fun husband.  He sometimes calls me the `Fun Police'.  While I teach my kids how to make sure they don't smell and how to brush their teeth properly , he prefers to teach them fun things like the `Tim Tam Slam'. 




6.  A new natural deodorant!  We went to the Cranberry Festival in Fort Langley this past weekend and it was really fun.  The kids tried out all the fudge, I got some soup making inspiration, and I picked out this natural deodorant. I'm really trying to use more natural products and it works better than any deodorant I've ever used.  I've worn it every day this week and I've smelled fresh after a run and just in regular daily life too.  I really love the lime smell and I feel like I'm drinking a margarita when I wear it. It cost $8 and I would definitely buy it again.  First ingredient? Beeswax.  Neat, eh?  Made in B.C.  Let me know if you have any other natural products you love!



7.  Finally selling this couch. I love it. It's comfy and beautiful but we don't have anywhere to put it (it was part of the photo studio stuff).  Also, my kids would destroy it.  I'm thankful that I finally have a buyer for it coming tomorrow and paying close to my listed price!  Which reminds me, we need to carry it upstairs which is one of my least favourite tasks....


8. A husband that wants me to cut his hair.  I don't love doing it but he won't go anywhere to get it done.  I'm thankful that every time I do it, we save a little $$.  In the 10 years we've been together, he's gotten it cut TWICE by someone else. Once for our wedding and the second time I won a men's haircut and made him go.


9.  Family walks.  I love that there are so many places to explore nearby and it warms my heart to see my kids exploring the outdoor (and expending all that energy!).


10. One on one time with Nya.  It's just so...relaxing without the boys.  We play piano, we read books, we play `food', we giggle, and we chat. She's pretty verbal and it's very sweet.  Today she said, `Mommy, I love you.  I'm serious.'.   She misses the boys when they are both at school but I think the break from Koen (every other day) is healthy.  I'm not saying she's great all the time...there is a daily freak out that lasts almost half an hour when I don't let her watch more Dora. She is demanding and bossy but I don't give in. The boys were never that insistent so it's a whole new realm for me. 

{PS Don't forget to enter the giveaway for this hat here!  It comes in adult sizes too!}

All right, friends!  I hope you are having a good week and that you can find something (or 10 things!) to be thankful for today.

Love,
Louise



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Queen Bee Headbands {Giveaway}!

My Nya Bear has a few headbands from Queen Bee Headbands which I think are colourful, cute & comfortable.  I love that they are made locally by two awesome moms who are cousins, best friends and have SEVEN kids between them.  I also love that I taught Renee (one of the moms) back in the day! 


{Above is a headband that I bought in the summer}


With it being fall already, I wanted to buy Nya a cute hat.  They have several different styles in their store which fit newborn to adult!   I like that it covers her ears to help keep her warm this winter and I'm thinking it will fit her for a few years. Rumour has it that they will be releasing new styles and colours this week! 


And guess what?!


Queen Bee Headbands is giving away this same hat to one lucky Talk Nerdy To Me reader!


Just scroll through these cute pictures down to the rafflecopter below and enter away!


The winner will be chosen in one week and you can choose this hat in any size you wish.


Miss Nya received a princess chocolate for her 5 minutes of sitting somewhat still for these pictures :)

This is open to residents everywhere.  Good luck!

Love, 
Louise



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 10, 2014

Frugal Friday


A few months ago, I noticed a trend of people wearing jean vests (please tell me it wasn't a passing trend and I'm already out of style).  I really wanted one because it reminded me of my good old days  as I had a great one in 1996, but I didn't want to pay $50.00.  A friend mentioned to me that she just went to Value Village and got a jean jacket and removed the arms.  I went, found a GAP one for $9.99, and my mother in law lovingly removed the arms and stiched it up for me.

Tada!

The only thing I would mention is that I should have gone for a medium rather than a large.  If you end up making one, go smaller!  Usually the arms are what are too tight for me, so with them gone, you can definitely go for a slimmer fit.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend, everyone.

Love,
Louise

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Thankful Thursday


Thankful for:

1.  Encouragement & Support.  When you make an announcement about a major life change (example: becoming foster parents) you get a lot of responses.  I'm thankful for the encouragement.  I know it's not going to be easy, I know it could be terrible, I know that it affects my whole family BUT we're taking it one step at a time, starting some pretty intense educational training, and we know that even if something is really hard, it's usually worth it.  Imagine if you were scared to do anything because of the unknown or potential harm?  I never would've quit my job and gone to volunteer in Kenya (LIFE CHANGING).  I never would've taken our kids on the longest plane ride in the world to go to SE Asia (AMAZING...even though Gary had food poisoning and Kai got Dengue Fever). Maybe I never would have married Gary (BETTER THAN I EVER IMAGINED).

2.  Kai being able to go flying with Opi. He tends to get car sick so I was nervous but he loved it!  My mom would've loved it.


3.  Another great daycare.  I only work once a week and had an ideal daycare situation but she is headed back to work. In a few weeks I will be swapping daycare days with another momma so I think it should work well!  Both of us do not work long days so that definitely makes it more doable :)  And seriously, who wouldn't want to babysit this bundle of cuteness?!


4.  Nya's MEC rainsuit.  I got it second hand (yahoo!) and it works so well.  I love great deals and I love quality products.


5. Living close to so many great stores.  I love living 5 minutes from Costco.  I have friends that live in small communities and I know how much of a big deal it is to do a Costco run when it's 4 hours away!


6.  A foggy morning this week to explore the trails at Tynehead with Nya and Koen.  I love photos in fog and I will never, ever tire of taking photos of my monkeys.


7.  A walk through the mall with one child.  So relaxing. You don't realize how exhausting three kids are until you just have one.  We just walked hand in hand and it was lovely.  We were checking out various wooden play kitchens as they are very hard to find second hand.  PS Is it bad that I've never put money in any of these rides?   They get enough joy just sitting in them :)


8.  Being able to work out during the day again.  With just Nya for 3 days a week, I have time to work out during the day because I'm not refeering between Nya and Koen. 


9.  More moments this week when these two played nicely without fighting. PS Can you see Nya's lab coat shirt that we got at Science World? 


10.  Free preschool programs like Strong Start and Noah's Ark.


And a bonus one..

11.  Kids that eat almost everything I make.  We've been eating a bit healthier these days and they dig into the quinoa with kale, the endless broccoli and cauliflower, and the turkey meatballs with veggies instead of breadcrumbs in them.  Nya does not embrace everything as much as the boys do.  They still get their pizza on Friday nights :)


I hope you are having a good week!  I know I've said this a few times but I would really, really encourage you to think of things that you are thankful for.  Maybe even write them down.  It sets the tone for the day, and besides, it's Thanksgiving this weekend!

Love, 
Louise

PS Feel free to share some things you are thankful for in the comments! Ali, that means you :)