I’m About to Do Something Drastic…

You guys, I’m about to do something drastic here on Simply Frugal and it kinda scares me. In a good and a bad way. 🙂

In the 8.5 years since I’ve been running Simply Frugal solo, I’ve had two babies, worked a job at a golf course, bought a new home, moved, and generally just been busy with life like the rest of you. Also in that time, I haven’t taken off more than a week at a time. (Even then, I’m still doing behind the scene stuff…).

I LOVE what I do here at Simply Frugal. I love getting to know you all and helping you save your hard earned dollars. That is the hard part of what I’m about to do. But I also know that my oldest is about to go off to kindergarten in September. My youngest is quite challenging in regards to poor sleeping and not gaining weight properly. After her last doctor appointment, my decision was made…

I’m taking the Summer off from daily posting on Simply Frugal. Starting July 1.

Whooosh (That’s the big sigh I was holding inside.)

I have been feeling overwhelmed for quite some time now and kept trying to add more things to my plate because that’s what I thought Simply Frugal needed. It has become very apparent that the thing that I actually need is to take a break from daily posting here for the summer months.

I want to focus on my family, finish projects around the house, read books(!), and even do a little bit of behind the scenes stuff on the website that I can never find time for.

It’s hard knowing that the full extent of my service won’t be available to you for a time, but it’s easy to see that this is the right decision.

All that to say, here is what you will be seeing here:

  • About 1 article a week. Most likely on Wednesdays.
  • Links Worth Sharing with a bit of a personal update every Saturday.

What you won’t be seeing here:

  • Daily Store deals
  • New Coupons
  • Freebies
  • And anything else I write about on a regular basis.

This is going to be a huge shift in my everyday life. I will have to learn new habits (must.not.run.to.computer at every spare chance..!) but I anticipate a lot of adventures with my girls and extra space in my mind.

Since your use of Simply Frugal (reading, shopping…etc) is what keeps the site running, I would so appreciate if you continue to use it throughout the summer. For your convenience, here’s a list of links, all in one place, to the websites that I know you love using and shopping at:

In the meantime, I’d love it if you would share what your summer plans are in the comments below!

See you all again in September! Thanks so much for understanding. (I’ll be “gone” July 1 until about September 15.)

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20 Reasons to Plant a Garden

Spring is well under way which means it’s time to get those gardens planted! There are so many great reasons for planting a garden. Whether it be for fresh produce, exercise, or even just a way to pass the time peacefully. If you have never planted a garden before, there is no better time to start than now. To motivate you, consider these 20 reasons to plant a garden, so you can see everything that growing a fresh garden can provide! Believe me when I say it provides so much more than just fresh tomatoes! Here is what you need to know:

20 Reasons to Plant a Garden

1. You can enjoy chemical free food.
When you grow a garden, you can enjoy produce that is grown without chemicals or pesticides. It is a great way to know what is in your food so you can enjoy safe and natural food choices.

2. You know where your food comes from.
Do you really know where your food comes from when you buy it from a market? When you garden, you know exactly where it comes from because you grow it and pick it yourself.

3. Children will enjoy assisting with gardening tasks.
Children love digging in the dirt, and will enjoy helping you with your gardening tasks. They can pull weeds, plant seeds, and even help pick the harvest when you have a backyard garden.

Related: Make this Milk Jug Watering Can that the kids are sure to enjoy!

4. Your meals will be made with the freshest produce around.
Do you love fresh soups and salads? When you grow your own garden, you will have the freshest produce choices around. Enjoy fresh recipes each night thanks to your garden. Who wouldn’t love that?

5. Gardens bring about beautiful wildlife.
You will notice that gardens bring all sorts of wildlife to the yard. This means hummingbirds and butterflies especially. It is fun seeing all the colors, sights, and sounds come to your yard as they investigate your plantings and take sips from your plants.

6. Gardens provide a chance to meet your neighbors.
When you grow a garden, you spend more time outdoors. This might mean being more visible to your neighbors and striking up a conversation or two. You might even find another neighbor who gardens, and get the chance to trade produce or plant starts.

7. You can assist people in need with your produce.
Chances are you will grow more produce than you need. You can always donate your extra produce to local soup kitchens or shelters where they can serve it to people in need.

8. Gardening tasks provide exercise.
Digging, weeding, watering, and planting can all provide some amazing exercise. If you need to be more physically active, gardening is a great way to do it.

9. Gardening provides quiet time for reflection.
Many gardeners love planting a garden because it provides them some time for reflection and meditation. If you need a little down time in your life, gardening may provide the perfect opportunity.

10. Gardening provides a chance to learn something new about nature.
When you grow a garden, it gives you the chance to learn new things about the plants you are growing. We are never too old to learn, and gardening gives the opportunity to let that happen!

11. You can enjoy active and fun gardening communities.
Online, you will find many active gardening groups, where gardeners exchange tips and tricks of the trade. You might also find local gardening groups, perfect for making friends and learning more.

12. You will always have fresh flowers for your home.
Enjoy fresh flowers in every room of your house when you grow a garden. Picking your own flowers each day will be fun and add so much color to your décor.

13. Gardening provides inexpensive gifts for family and friends.
Gardens provide the materials you need to make homemade jams, salsa, and so many other homemade gifts. This is a great way to provide inexpensive gifts for family and friends.

14. Gardening provides aromatherapy.
The smells of a garden can help you feel more relaxed and at ease. Forget lighting a candle for aromatherapy, just go to the garden.

15. Gardening is inexpensive.
You don’t need to be rich to plant a garden. Most of the items you need can be found around the house or even at your local dollar store. Seeds, soil, and pots can be found for cheap, which means you can grow so much food for less.

16. You can save money on your weekly grocery bill.
When you grow your own food, you will be saving heaps of money on your weekly grocery bill. You can grow items like tomatoes and cucumbers at pennies per pound, which is way less than most markets.

17. A garden can be an extension of your home.
A garden can feel like another room of your home. Place a small bistro table and chair in your garden so you can enjoy dinner or drinks in it.

18. Fresh food can be grown well into the Fall months.
Some plants can thrive well into the cool months. This means eating fresh and saving money even as winter approaches.

19. Gardens add curb appeal.
A garden can make your landscaping look nicer and add some curb appeal to those passing by.

20. Gardening helps the planet.
Flowers in your garden can help bees and butterflies pollinate our planet and keep it looking lush and beautiful!

Are you inspired to get growing? Consider these 20 reasons for growing a garden and start harvesting your own produce and reap the health benefits too!

PicassoTiles Magnet Tiles starting at $35.99

picasso tiles

Grab a set of PicassoTiles Magnet Building Tiles which are starting at only $35.99 from Amazon.ca! You can get the 60 piece set for $35.99 and the 100 piece set for $54.99. They remind me of those expensive Magna-Tiles! Here are some details:

  • Suitable for all ages (3+ and up) by one individual or in groups a great way to spend quality time with the family and love ones.
  • Encourage creativity which is the key factor to success in today’s every changing environments.

Get the 60 piece set here.
Get the 100 piece set here.

What I’m Doing to Prepare for Baby Number Two

Nothing! Ha! Well actually that’s not true, but let me tell you, things are different for me with the second baby. I don’t have huge urges to go shopping or decorate a pretty room. (This baby won’t actually have a room of their own…) However I am a list maker at heart and love to be prepared. 🙂

This time around, I’m mostly concerned with having things in order for after baby’s arrival. So, here you have today, my brain dump of things to prepare for baby #2:

Wash the newborn clothing

I will pull out all the itty bitty clothes, blankets and swaddling blankets that I have from my daughter so I can wash them. They’ll be going in an empty dresser drawer I have.

Buy batteries for the swing and bouncy seat

I picked up a swing and a bouncy seat for this baby (they were free!) that need new batteries. So I’ll be sure to pick some up 🙂 I’ll also check our baby monitor, though I can’t remember if it’s battery operated or not.

Possibly buy a stroller

I’m toying with the idea of purchasing a double stroller, either new or used. My daughter still loves to ride in the stroller, especially if we’re on a long outing. So I think I could get my money’s worth by the amount we would use it. Plus, if I get a “good quality” one, I can resell for a great price.

Pack an overnight bag for my daughter

She’ll be staying with grandparents so really all she needs is her special blankets, PJ’s and clean clothes.

Pack diaper bag

I’m sort of dreading lugging around a big bag again, but really what can you do! The bag will come with me to the hospital, of course. Here’s what I’m planning on having in it:

  • sleepers
  • diapers
  • bum cream
  • muslin blankets
  • wipes
  • snacks

Set up the car seat

Obviously most of these things on my list won’t be done until closer to baby’s arrival, but still they need to be done! Setting up the car seat in the car needs to be done. (Fingers crossed if fits in the car with the other seat!)

Set up the playpen

My daughter slept in our bedroom for the first few months in a playpen beside me and I intend on doing that again. Makes night time a lot easier, plus, the baby won’t have its own bedroom in this small place of ours! And I definitely don’t want a tiny baby sleeping with the other…that just speaks of unrestful nights for everyone in my mind!

Set up the diaper changing station

I have a drawer in an end table in the living room that I stock with some change mats, diapers and wipes. We don’t have a change table due to space constraints and the fact that I find it easier to do diaper changes downstairs.

Stock up on household essentials

I’ll be taking inventory closer to my due date to see if we’ll be needing any toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap…etc. Mind you, my husband or other family members can go out for me if need be 😉  I also want to have gripe water, diapers, wipes and other things on hand.

Pack my overnight bag

I’ll need stuff for the hospital too I guess!  I’ll pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, comfortable clothes, makeup, chapstick, hair brush, phone, camera and possibly my laptop. I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting, but I’ll figure it out.

Freezer cooking

This is a BIG one on my list!  My plan is to spend the month of February stocking the freezer with some delicious freezer meals.  I’d like to have at least 20 dinners on hand. I’ll be mixing up some homemade freezer meals with some store bought pizza, lasagnas and other things that catch my eye. I plan on having my freezer meal plan available for you all to enjoy, including the recipes, shopping list and labels!

Blog scheduling

Another big one on my list. Even today as we “speak” I’m behind the scenes getting things ready on Simply Frugal so that I can take at least 2 weeks completely off after the baby is born. I’ve got some great articles and other things in the works that I hope you’ll really enjoy!

Whew!  I’m sure there are some things missing from my list, or I went overboard in some areas, but the list keeps me sane 🙂

What are some things you did to prepare for baby number two (or more)?

Top 12 Posts of 2015

Top 12 Posts of 2015

I thought it would be fun to have a look back at what the top 12 posts for 2015 were on Simply Frugal!  Some of these posts were not written in 2015, but thanks to Social Media, they’re still popular!  I’d love to know what your favourite post was in 2015? Let me know in the comments!

container gardening mistakes to avoid

1. 5 Container Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

2. Free Apron Patterns

3. Free Online Room Planning Tool

4. How to Get Started Container Gardening

5. Whipped Shortbread Cookies

6. My Favourite Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

menu planning tricks

7. Menu Planning Tricks

8. 10 Uses for Old Magazines

delicious puffed wheat squares

9. Delicious Puffed Wheat Squares

10. Easy Breakfast Refrigerator Oatmeal

20 Ways to Refashion your Clothes

11. 20 Ways to Refashion your Clothes

Having a well-stocked pantry can save you from unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Here's a list of basic pantry staples to have on hand at all times!

12. Basic Pantry Staples List (and Free Printable)