Friday 27 April 2018

No Spend April- Recap

I know that it isn't quite the end of April, but I thought that I would share with you how our no-spend month went.  I told you about our no-spend month here.   Basically, we decided not to purchase anything unless it was fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs or pharmacy items.

The month went really well and the only person who broke it was me!  I ran out of icing sugar when trying to assemble Hubby's birthday cake so I did go buy some.  Birthdays are a big deal to me and I wanted to make him feel special.  (Plus, I made peanut butter icing.  He loves peanut butter and the icing was a hit!  I have no regrets.  Ha ha!)

I keep track of our budget and lately we have been trying to cut our spending as Hubby's work has been slow.  We easily cut our spending by 75%!  I was shocked.  I didn't realize how many unnecessary purchases I was making every week.  I thought that I might have to get creative with our meals near the end of the month, but I really won't need to.  We had that much food in our pantry and in our deep freeze.  We are so fortunate to have such an abundance of food within our reach, but this month has taught me that I need to be more mindful with our purchases.  I don't want to be wasting food.  On a financial level, throwing away food is just throwing away money.  On an ethical level, throwing away food is a disgusting misuse of something that fills one of our most basic human needs.  I could do better by using the money I would save being mindful to help others.

We had guests twice this month.  Hubby's family came for the weekend at the beginning of the month and my family came to celebrate Hubby's birthday with us.  I had more than enough food (except that darn icing sugar) to keep meals and snacks going for everyone.  I always feel like I need to go out and purchase a bunch of stuff when we are entertaining, but I really don't need to do that.

We ran out of bread halfway through the month so I baked some.  The buns and bread that I made turned out pretty good and we were good to go!  It was much cheaper to bake our own bread so I will probably give try that again.

Not perfect looking, but still delicious!
 We didn't eat at restaurants this month, which also saved us a ton of cash.  We don't eat out a lot (once every 2 weeks), but it is super expensive when we do!  Even the places that used to be "cheap" cost an arm and a leg.  Now that we are aware of how much money we can save by eating at home, we will be much more likely to avoid spending our money that way.  We plan to have the odd treat here and there, but it really is a waste of our money.
This month has taught us quite a bit about how we use our money.  I really don't need to stockpile groceries.  I truly didn't realize how much stockpiling I was actually doing.  We have enjoyed being creative with our time and finding ways to have fun without spending money.  Have you ever done a no-spend month?  I would love to hear all about it!

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Spring 2018- Capsule Wardrobe Reveal

The weather has finally turned to Spring!   Hooray!  I have made my Spring Capsule wardrobe and I am so excited to wear it.  I spent a couple hours over the weekend trying on clothes and seeing what would look good.  I am still not fitting everything but I did find a good number of items that fit.  My capsule is larger than last time at a total of 33 items.  As always, my capsule does not include athletic clothes or accessories.  I will possibly add 2 more items to this wardrobe, bringing the total to 35.  I am looking for a stretchy black tank top and a pair of supportive slip on shoes.

Shoes (4 pairs):

Pants (2 cropped pants, black leggings, wide leg pant, boot cut jean, skinny jean):

Tops (3 tanks, 3 tees, 2 long sleeved button ups, 3 cardigans, 1 sweatshirt):

Dresses/Jumpsuit (1 chambray, 1 tank dress, 1 maxi and 1 jumpsuit):

Vests and Jackets (3 vests, 4 jackets):

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday 19 April 2018

Life Lately-19.04.2018

This week really got away from me so I thought I would just do a quick, chatty, catch-up type post.  My kids are just getting over being sick so I haven't had a lot of time to work on blog post items.  Here are some random things going on in my life right now:

-Today is Hubby's birthday.  He is 32.  We are having some family over for cake tonight and Miss. E is so very excited to sing him Happy Birthday.  She talked about it all day yesterday.

-Exactly one year ago yesterday, I found out that we were expecting.  I remember my shock and elation.  Hubby had come home quickly during the morning and I presented him with an "early" birthday gift which was a bunch of positive pregnancy tests in a box.  It is amazing how much can change in a year.  Now we have our 2nd daughter who is such a light in our life!

-We are finally having Spring weather!  It was so warm yesterday.  After a rough day with nap struggles and an overtired crew, we managed to get outside.  It was so wonderful!  Eek!  I am so ready to break out the Spring clothes.  

-I had my first physiotherapy appointment on Monday.  I have diastasis recti which is the separation of abdominal muscles.  I am working with a physiotherapist to repair this separation.  I have exercises that I am supposed to work on, which I am happy to do.  The separation is making my core feel super weak.

-Miss. E randomly opened a drawer in Miss. Em's dresser and I discovered a bunch of clothes in Miss. Em's current size that I had tucked away.  Oops!  I pulled them all out so that we can get some use out of them!

How are things with you?  Is it Spring where you are?  I would love to hear all about it!

Tuesday 17 April 2018

5 Minute Project- Miss. E's Closet

This is not a clothing organization post.  That would definitely take more than 5 minutes.  Miss. E's closet holds shelves that hold items other than clothing.  What you can't see is the shelf above this (which I apparently didn't feel the need to photograph).  It holds a few sentimental items that I kept as Miss. E has grown.  I pulled out the items from her keepsakes that Miss. Em would be able to use.  Everything else basically remained the same on that shelf.

Here is the before:

This was a quick organizing job.  I pulled out any shoes, bathing suits, etc. that no longer fit Miss. E.  I shuffled items around and straightened what was staying in the closet.

Ahhh... Much better.  Five minutes is all it takes, people.  (Thank goodness.)

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Capsule Wardrobe: 3 Outfits From Last Week

The weather is only supposed to start warming up this week.  The weather has been chilly and the wind has been biting.  I wear a sweater everywhere!  I am looking forward to warmer weather.  I am going to start planning and building my Spring capsule wardrobe.  I won't start using it until the weather actually feels like Spring, which might be a few weeks.  Is it Spring where you are?  

Happy Wednesday!

Monday 9 April 2018

5 Minute Project-Kitchen Linens

We definitely didn't buy our house because of the kitchen.  We really do love our little home, but one of the things that is greatly lacking is functional cupboard space in the kitchen.  We don't even have a decent cutlery drawer, let alone a place to stash our kitchen linens.  We keep these in a basket that is displayed on our ladder shelf.  I hated going in this basket because it was getting much too full.  I tackled this project the other day and it was a quick one to do.


The basket held dish cloths, dish towels, decorative towels, drying mats, aprons and table linens.  It was full.  What you don't see in the photo below is the laundry basket full of clean dish cloths and towels that I needed to put away.

I removed the table linens and put them in our laundry room downstairs.  Our laundry room has a lot of shelving so it seemed like the best place to store them.  I then separated the items out by category.  Everything was much easier to find.


My linen basket is far more functional now that my table cloths are elsewhere.  I no longer dread going into the basket.

Friday 6 April 2018

No Spend April

As you may recall, I completed a no-spend-year last year.  I initially began the project to help further my journey into minimalism and to force myself to have better self-care instead of turning to shopping.  My no-spend-year was (mostly) successful.  It really only took me a month to get used to the idea and from there on out I had a pretty easy time with it.

I thought that I might want to make some purchases as the new year arrived, but I really haven't done much.  I did buy myself new lounge clothes to replace the paint-splattered and torn clothes that I had been wearing.  Besides that, I haven't gone back to my 'old' shopping ways.  2017 taught me so much.

This year, one of my goals is to embrace frugality.  I knew that there would be a shift in finances with me being on maternity leave and with all the expenses that a new baby brings.  I have been slowly chipping away at ways that I can be more frugal.  I didn't expect my husband's work to be incredibly slow over the first quarter of the year.  As in, there have been weeks where he hasn't worked at all.  Yikes.  My husband has a side job that he works at when his main job is slow.  Thankfully he has been doing that so that is keeping things fairly even keel.  The problem is that none of his work has guaranteed hours so we are never completely sure of what is going to be happening in the coming months.  In March, I suggested to my husband that we try a no-spend April and (with only the slightest hesitation) he agreed.   

My no-spend year focused only on my own expenditures.  I didn't make any consumer purchases for myself during that time.  (Well, except maternity clothes, but that is a whole other story!)  My husband was free to spend as he normally did and we didn't restrict our expenditures on our children.

Our no-spend-month seems like such a small slice of time compared to my no-spend-year, so we made our no-spend rules for April very strict.  We are only allowed to buy fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs and pharmacy items.  It also applies to everyone in our house.  We won't be dining out, buying coffee (which we only do in the city) or even purchasing meat or pantry items.  This will save us quite a bit of money and it is a simple thing to do.  I have a nice little stock of pantry items and meat in the freezer that we can use.  It will help us use up some of these items and will also force us to be a little bit creative with our meal planning.

I am looking forward to the month and I am hoping to do it more than once this year.  I think that sometimes we purchase out of habit, when we really may not need an item.  It is always good to push ourselves to be a bit creative with our finances!

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Capsule Wardrobe- Waiting on Spring with Layering Pieces

Where is Spring this year?  Honestly!  It is still feeling like (a mild) winter here!  I have been dressing out of my capsule wardrobe and things are going well.  I am finally starting to trim up a bit, so I will likely need to change up the wardrobe a bit when some warmer weather arrives.  I have officially traded my my maternity jeans and leggings in for real jeans and leggings.  Woo hoo!  The best part was that I didn't even have to purchase a new pair of jeans.  I fit into one of my old pairs!  

Layering pieces are key when the weather is cool.  I stay warm and my outfit remains nursing friendly.  I would recommend buying your layering pieces in neutral colours so that you can pair them with practically any outfit.

I bought this black cardigan from the Me-To-We company several years ago.  I wear it several times a week and it still looks brand new! The quality has been superb!  All of their items are ethically made so it is a purchase that you can feel good about.

I bought this jacket on a super sale at Reitman's a couple years ago.  It has also proven to be a staple in my closet and it has been a quality piece, as well.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Find Your Village, Mama

If you had told me when I was pregnant with my first child that my girlfriends would be essential to motherhood, I would have disagreed.  My husband?  Definitely.  My family?  For sure.  My friends?  Nope!  I was very adept at isolating myself.  I had gone through years of infertility and loss.  I had built a sturdy little wall to protect myself from the pain of being vulnerable.  I was sure that if I had a weak moment in my motherhood, people would judge me.  I mean, wasn't this what I wanted?   Shouldn't I only show gratitude for getting to be a Mom?

Don't get me wrong.  I was (and still am) exceptionally grateful for the chance to be a Mom.  Here is the thing, though.  Being a mom is exhausting and challenging work and it is okay to acknowledge those challenges.

I spent the first year of my motherhood feeling isolated.  I didn't share that my daughter wasn't a great sleeper.  She fought sleep like it was her only mission.  I didn't acknowledge my anxiety over my daughter's health issues and I definitely didn't share my challenges with the learning curve of becoming a Mom.  I didn't want anyone's advice because it felt like judgement.  I was scared to admit that motherhood was challenging.  I was terrified of  'Mommy Wars'.  I didn't want to have someone tell me that my way of parenting was horribly wrong.

Fast forward (almost) four years and I am here to tell you that you need your village.  You need people who are going to nod in agreement when you express your exasperation.  You need people who will laugh with you about the silly things your kids do.  You need people who will say 'my kid does that too!'.  (Seriously.  That phrase lifts my soul.  Every. Single. Time.)

I honestly don't know many people who engage in 'Mommy Wars'.  No one parents exactly the same way.  We are all in the trenches doing the best we can.  Sure, I meet one of those 'know-it-all' moms (and dads!) every once in a while.  Here's a little secret about that mom: she has parenting insecurities, too.  I take those people with a grain of salt.  I will choose connection over pretending to be perfect.  Always.

Being a parent is easily the most vulnerable thing I have ever done in my life.  Embrace the vulnerability.  Embrace the discomfort.  Lean on your girlfriends.  Let them lean on you.   Your village doesn't have to be huge.  It just has to be present.  I seriously have 3 girlfriends that I talk to the most about parenting.  My village is tiny, but it has done miraculous things for my journey in motherhood.

Building a village can be tough, but it is essential.  I have some tips to help you in your quest:

1.)  Join a mom group.  Libraries, churches, and community groups often host mom groups.  Force yourself out of the house.  It can be tough in those first few months, but do your best.  Show up and meet people who are going through motherhood at the same time as you.

2.)  Be supportive.  This is the biggest thing.  How people parent their children is up to them.  How you parent your children is up to you.  Barring anything extreme, it doesn't really matter if someone makes different decisions than you.  It doesn't mean that they think what your doing is 'wrong'.  It just means that they are doing thing differently.  Different is not a big deal.  I breastfeed and cloth diaper.  I actually don't personally know anyone else who cloth diapers.  I have plenty of friends who bottle their children.  I am completely supportive of my friend's choices and they are supportive of mine.

3.)  Be vulnerable.  Admit that it's hard.  Acknowledge that you have challenges.  Everyone does.  Vulnerability leads to connection.  It takes courage, but it is worth it.

Don't go through motherhood in isolation.  Your friendships are more important than ever.  We weren't ever meant to go through it alone.  Find your village, mama.