It’s that time of year again! Time to try and figure out how your child is going to wade their way through the masses of superheroes and fairies to the magical land of sugar-high happiness. However, while your child is dreaming of lollipops and mars bars, you don’t have to stay up all night worrying about what they’re going to wear! Here are a few tips and ideas to inspire you this Halloween!
My mother wasn’t overly into Halloween costume shopping, so we tended to simply find supplies around the house and get creative! We swapped thick goopy costume makeup for Mom’s cosmetic bag and pre-made suits for some of Dad’s construction supplies! One year my parents managed to transform Christmas supplies and a big piece of plastic vapor barrier into a “dancing bug” (I LOVED it).
All of the costumes above can be created for about $10 (that’s cheaper and cuter than VV Boutique (a.k.a. Value Village) !!!! If your child is willing to sport some FREE 3D glasses, Helium balloons, and a walker made of plumbing supplies, Carl from UP is sure to win first place in any costume contest!
Another really adorable trend is dressing your kids up like household items! There is something oddly funny about an 8 year old dressed up as a box of KD or a flower pot. A lot of great costumes can be made from taking a look around the house and making a trip to the Dollarama!
Here are a few step-by-step instructions for adorable and affordable Halloween outfits!
-Natural feathers ($1/ bag Dollarama)
-Brown headband ($1 Dollarama)
-Turquoise beads ($1 Dollarama) -optional
-Brown Tulle (2$/ yard Fabricville)
-Suede ($4 Fabricville)
-Eyeliner (you likely have this already)
1.Get your daughter to wear a white long sleeve shirt and neutral leggings.
2.Wrap the tulle around her hips and secure with a strip of frayed suede/ safety pins
3.Use leftover suede as armbands (or turquoise beads)
Braid your daughters hair.
Place headband around forehead to secure the feathers.
Make a few marks on her cheeks with your eyeliner
if you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars, you can purchase a brown tutu at Walmart or VV Boutique
Carl Fredricksen from UP
This is probably the cutest costume I have ever seen.
-3 lengths of Plastic Pipe ($3 hardware store)
-2 elbow joints ($2 hardware store)
-2 Tennis balls ($1 Dollarama)
-Helium Balloons ($3 Great Canadian Dollar store)
-String ($1 anywhere)
-Kids 3D movie glasses (FREE)
(DIY Bow Tie)
1.Dress your son in formal clothes (don’t forget the iconic bow tie)
2.Assemble the pipes and elbow joints in the shape of a horse shoe (ie. 2 vertical and 1 horizontal connected by elbow joints)
3.Cut an “x” shaped slit in the tennis balls large enough to slide the pipes into.
4.Stick the tennis balls onto the open ends of the plastic pipes to finish off the walker!
5.Tie your helium balloons to the walker and have a wonderful time taking pictures of your adorable little man!
-1 large flower pot that your kid can fit inside (~$5 Walmart, scope out thrift stores for a better bargain!)
-Lots of Fake Flowers ($4 Dollarama)
1.Cut the bottom out of the flower pot
2.Drill/ Cut holes in the sides of the pot (2 front and 2 back)
3.Cut 2 pieces of cord long enough to go over your child’s shoulders
4.Feed the cord through the holes, tying knots on each end.
5.Glue/ Tie a few fake flowers to a headband for your child to wear.
6. Fill the pot with fake flowers!
Have a blast making lots of “sweet” memories with your families this Halloween
Photograph by StevenM_61 on Flickr
With Halloween and Remembrance day behind us, and the thermostats dipping below zero at night, it’s time to start thinking about winter. For many of us, preparing for with means digging out our sweaters and search for that missing mitten. But it is equally important to ensure your house is ready for winter. Not only will you be more comfortable, but following a few simple suggestions may also save you some money!
Here are 10 easy ways to winterize your home:
Be sure your attic, basement, and exterior walls are properly insulated—even in newly built homes. Insulation can settle and shift over time, leading to cold pockets.
Spend a few hours giving your house the once-over. Look for areas where cold outside air can seep in or warm inside heat can escape. Some common places include electrical outlets, switch-plates, and gaps around windows and doors. You can buy inexpensive foam insulation made for outlet and switch plates that are easy to install. Ensure your door and window weather stripping is in good condition. Consider caulking drafty areas where weather stripping is not appropriate.
If you haven’t done so in a few years, call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and ducts system. They’ll make sure your furnace is running efficiently and safely. While s/he’s there, ask the HVAC pro to clean and inspect your ducts heating ducts. Over time, dust and grime can build up and your house can settle, creating gaps in the ducts allowing warm air to escape. An inspection every 3-5 years should be sufficient for most newer homes.
The best way to ensure your furnace is working efficiently as possible is to remember to replace your furnace filter, regularly—normally every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on use patterns and filer types. This will help your furnace run more efficiently and cut down on heating costs. I should also help with indoor air quality.
A programmable digital thermostat is another heating cost cutter. They are pretty easy to install and can be programmed to automatically lower temperature at night when everyone is asleep, and during times when the house uninhabited.
Many of us forget that you can use your ceiling fans during the winter to keep your house warm. On every ceiling fan there’s a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the blades. Switch it so your ceiling fan rotates clockwise. This will push warm air down and recirculate it throughout the room, easing the burden on your furnace.
Each winter, there are stories of tree branches falling on cars or houses. This is often cause by winter storms or the build up of snow and ice that weighs branches down and causes them to break .Such misfortune is easily voided by taking some time each fall to trim back any tree branches hanging near your roof, windows, or driveways, trim them back.
While you are outside, check your rain gutters and clean out the dead leaves and other gunk in your gutters so water can drain freely. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and freeze near the edge of the roof. This ice will eventually forms “dams” that block the path of melted snow from your roof and cause to seep into your house. Even if you don’t have trees directly overhead, be sure to check your gutters every couple of years. Dust and airborne debris can also create blockages.
Every so often a big winter storm hits that can knock out power for a few hours, or keep you in the house for a few days. We recommend that you create a “72-hour kit” for such emergencies. Stock the kit with food, water, and other supplies. While you can buy pre-made 72-hour kits online or at most outdoor stores, you can save some money by making your own. Remember to only include non perishable food, and—unless you have a camp stove—pick food and beverages that do not need to be heated.
You mom was right. If you are a bit chilly, put on a sweeter before reaching for the thermostat. This is an easy way to lower your energy bills. A heavy sweater adds a couple of degrees of warmth to your body. If you set your thermostat to 18 degrees and wear a sweater, your home will feel like a comfy 22 degrees.
Giorgio Montersino on Flickr
I know what you are thinking. Christmas already!?! We haven’t even finished our Halloween candy!
Sure it may be a bit early to begin seriously thinking about Christmas. But if you are planning to travel for the holidays, the earlier you begin planning, the better deals you may find. The good news is that you can do most, if not all of your vacation planning and booking online. Here are some tools to help you out:
Kayak.com is a relative new comer to the web. But it is has quickly become one of the best sites for finding cheap airfares. It is especially great if you are flexible on either dates and location. You can search for dates up to three days before and after your ideal travel dates, or even search for flights that leave within a calendar month, on upcoming weekends, as well as anytime. If you’re flexible on destination you can scan a world map for all the destinations you can reach within a specified price range.
TripAdvisor is our go-to site for finding great hotels and deals. Sure, like with all crowd sourced review sites, you need to be wary of fake reviews from cronies or competitors. But by reading between the lines, you can find a wealth of insights from real customers that go beyond the brochure blurbs and tell you what it’s really like to stay at a given hotel. While TripAdvisor doesn’t actually sell rooms, it directly links you to partner sites, such as Expedia, Travelocity and Hotels.com helping you find the best deals for the nights you will be travelling.
While they may be better know for hotel and airfare deals, Hotwire.com often offers the best deals on cars. They do this by comparing rates from their rental car company partners, which include Budget, Enterprise and Europcar. However, the best deals are usually found through the site’s “hot deals” service. While you won’t know the company that you’ve booked from until you have paid, unlike with hotels the risk is minimal for most people. All their partners are reputable companies and a Ford Focus is the same no matter who provides it.
If package deals are more your style, check out DealBase.com. Their “Deal Analyzer” will let you know if promotional offers from, for example, hotels that provide continental breakfasts or other add-ons, are a good values by telling you how much you’d really save. Like TripAdvisor, once you find a deal you like, DealBase will send you to the site where you can purchase it directly from the provider.
For more great online travel resources, check out Kiplinger.com.
So you’ve bought your dream house and have settled in, but can’t decide what colours to paint your walls, or find a coffee table to match your sectional? Have you turned to magazines for home decorating tips only to discover that the US publications do not cater to Canadians? Fear not, there is a great selection of home decorating magazines published in Canada. We’ve included a selection of five of the best below.
If you are looking to cut down on clutter, or would rather spend money on bed sheets than subscriptions, we’ve listed the details for the online content for each publication too.
Have no idea where to get started decorating your new house? Style at Home is the magazine for you. The magazine bills themselves as “Canada’s top resource for fabulous decorating, design and entertaining ideas.” They provide a friendly voice and helpful takeaways to help even the most stylistically-challenged homeowner. Each month they feature articles about interior design, home decorating projects, outdoor living and entertaining.
Canadian House and Home is all about design and decorating. Each month the magazine takes you inside the most beautiful and unique homes across Canada, providing inspiration and advice to help you create the home of your dreams. Each issue features dramatic makeovers, the latest furniture and accessories, renovation tips, and ideas for organizing and entertaining.
Want to take a more DIY approach to your decorating? Canadian Home Workshop is the magazine for you. It has been Canada’s go to publication on home improvement and woodworking for over three decades. The magazine features articles on project ideas, design techniques, practical renovation information and home maintenance advice.
Once you have ideas on your overall style and design, you may want some inspiration for you day to day life. This is where Canadian Living comes in. The magazine proves a variety of daily living tips and ideas, including recipes and articles on fashion, crafts, health and family advice.
Home decorating doesn’t stop at the walls of your house. If you are looking for inspiration for the outside, look no further than Canadian Gardening. Find information on gardening techniques, recipes, projects and design ideas. The magazine also features essential regional information to make the most of your home’s curb appeal.
Summer is a great season—beaches, vacations, BBQs on your patios… But as we enter the dog-days of summer, you home may feel more like a sauna than a refuge. If you have air conditioning, your utility bills are skyrocketing. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are a few easy ways to keep your cool this summer:
Neither ceiling nor portable fans use much energy to power, but both offer great air circulation. They can make the temperature in the room feel up to seven degrees cooler and are much more efficient than air conditioning, In large rooms, ceiling fans work best, as they blow air downwards—just make sure they are rotating counterclockwise to circulate the cooler air. In bedrooms and small areas, portable fans do a good job. For added cooling, place a frozen bottle of water in front of a table fan. Be sure to turn them off when you leave the room.
The best way to keep your home cool is to keep the heat out. Consider installing solar screens or reflective window film to the outside of your windows, especially ones that get direct sunlight throughout the day. Solar screens can prevent up to eighty percent of solar heat from entering your home through the windows. Alternatively, be sure to keep your blinds and curtains closed during the day.
Consider planting trees on the side of your house that gets the most sun. Leafy deciduous trees will shade your home and keep things considerably cooler in the summer. Come winter, the trees will loose their leaves and let sunlight through when it’s needed.
Unless you absolutely need them, turn off incandescent lights and heat-generating appliances. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents or LEDs; they produce the same light but use a fifth the energy and heat. Turn off your computer when you’re not using it. Also avoid the summer reruns and turn the TV off—it generates a lot of heat. Some plug-in power adapters also give off heat, so unplug you cell phone charger when you’re not using it..
Your oven really heats up your kitchen. Use your barbecue instead! When cooking inside, rice cookers, crock pots, and pressure cookers are great ways to heat up food without heating up your house too much. If you must use your stove or oven turn on your hood fan to vent the hot air outside.
Humidity makes room air feel warmer. Minimize mid-day laundry, showering, and cleaning. When you must do these things, be sure to turn on ventilating fans to help extract warm, moist air.
As the temperature falls in the evening, open some windows. This will let the evening air come through and cool the house. Maximize the impact by using table fans to create a cross breeze. Just be sure to close them before the temperature starts to rise again!
Kijiji Screen Shot
Buying a new house is exciting. Moving can be daunting though. When you begin packing you realize just how much clutter has accumulated in your closets and sheds. You may also realize that you can’t bring all your stuff to your new home. That kitchen table that was perfect for your apartment looks out-of-place in your new dining room.
Given all the other tasks associated with moving, the last thing you want to do on a precious Saturday is hold a traditional garage sale. Kijiji can help new home-buyers clear some clutter and make some extra cash to help ease their move to their new home.
Kijiji is Canada’s most popular free, local classifieds site. The word ‘kijiji’ (pronounced like key-gee-gee) means ‘village’ in Swahili. This name captures the essence of the site: a place where people connect with others in their community. Think of it as a virtual garage sale. Kijiji provides a free and convenient way for people to buy, sell or trade things that you no longer use or the curtains that don’t fit the windows in your new house.
While there are other online classified sites around—most notably Craigslist—Kijiji is the #1 classifieds site in Canada. It boasts over 15 million Canadian visitors each month. in 2010 there were over 40 million ads posted nationwide. In Moncton alone, there are currently 2,880 listings for furniture and 2,330 listings for home and garden items. These ads also include ‘wanted’ postings. This means that there may already be a buyer for your gas lawnmower or patio furniture.
Here are 15 tips to successfully sell an item on Kijiji:
1. Choose an item to advertise.
It is usually best to create separate posts for each item, unless they are a set (i.e. bed frame and night stand). You can post up to 25 unique Ads on Kijiji every day.
2. Register with Kijiji. Registration is not required. However,it allows you to post and manage ads without having to confirm each action via email and reserve your own nickname. This makes your experience easier and more enjoyable.
3. Choose an area (e.g. Moncton) to post your ad in.
4. Select a Category (furniture; home and garden; sports, bikes, etc) and a sub-category (bookcases, coffee tables patio, etc) for your item
5. Fill in the Ad Details. These include ‘ad type’ (offering or wanting) and if you are an owner or dealer.
6. Select a Price. Prices vary depending on condition, age and demand. They should be along the lines of what you would expect to get at a garage sale. If you are having problems determining a fair price, check out WorthMonkey for help in deciding on a value.
7. Choose a Post Title. Try and create a catchy yet descriptive title. This is important because your title will be seen most often. It will be what gets people to click on your ad.
8. Write a Description. The description is where you describe your item to prospective buyers. It’s what will convince people to contact you. Be sure to include as many relevant details as possible.
9. Add Pictures. This is optional, but highly recommended. Ads with pictures get twice the number of replies. They allows to you show your item from different angles or highlighting different features. You can update many photos, but 3-4 pictures is usually enough.
10. Include your Contact Information.
11. Select Upgrades: While a basic ad (including picture) is free and enough for most people, Kijiji offers upgrades to help get your ad seen buy more people. This will help your items get sold quicker.
12. Preview and Post Your Ad to make sure everything looks right. After the ad looks like you want it to, click on ‘Post Your Ad.’ Once posted, be sure to click on the link to see how your ad will look to your customers.
13. Respond Quickly to Queries. Chances are your item isn’t the only one of its kind posted on the site. If you want to sell quickly (and for top dollar), be sure to respond to prospective buyers quickly.
14. Make the Transaction. Most often buyers will be willing to come to you to pick up and pay for the item. If you are worried about them coming to your home, pick a nearby public spot to meet—such as a park or parking lot. Be prepared to allow the buyer to check out the item to make sure it works properly. Also, be ready to negotiate a bit over the price.
15. Cancel your Ad. It is considerate to cancel your ad once your item has been sold. You don’t want to get people interested in buying something you no longer have.
This is the process in a nutshell. While it may seem complicated, using the site is actually quite straightforward. if you have questions along the way, Kijiji maintains an excellent online help desk to guide you.
Once you sell your unwanted items, you can look forward to moving into your new house with a little extra cash to help you get settled!
You’ve got junk drawers coming out the wazoo, your closets need rebar to keep ‘em closed, your family room looks like a bomb has exploded, and you need to let your loved ones know where you’ll be whenever you need to go into your kids’ bedroom so they can call in a search party if you aren’t out in 30 minutes.
Does this sound familiar? If so, check out these tips to organize your home so you can spend more time doing what you want to do, and not hours trying to find those bloody rechargeable batteries that you just know were in the kitchen drawer.
Top 26 Tips to Organize Your Home
1. Use checklists. Make a list of what needs to be organized and check them off as you go.
2. Ask yourself are you really going to use it? If something’s been sitting in a drawer since you moved in 15 years ago, you’re probably better off throwing it out or donating it.
3. When organizing cluttered spaces, get three garbage bags or boxes and label them “Keep”, “Throw Out” and “Donate.”
4. To stay organized, keep a donation box in your garage so things can be tossed in there as they are no longer wanted or needed. Once the box has enough in it, take it to your local thrift shop or have a garage sale.
5. Organize all those papers by getting a filing cabinet or, at the very least, some sort of system that will help you organize. For example, use an accordion folder for bills/invoices, instruction manuals, receipts, and other need-to-keep papers.
6. For kids’ artwork, put up a corkboard to display their masterpieces, or run a piece of string/wool along the wall, using clothes pins to hang their work. Rotate the artwork once a month. When you rotate the artwork, the ones you take down should immediately go into a photo album or scrapbook of some kind, and throw away the rest. If you have a hard time throwing out your child’s painting and drawing, use your digital camera to take a picture of it so you have a digital copy to have as a keepsake instead.
7. Baskets are your friend. Use wicker baskets to organize papers, toiletries, or anything else that doesn’t have a proper home around your house. Baskets are a great way to utilize shelf space too.
8. Label the front of containers or stacked boxes so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.
9. One year in? One year out! Go through your closets, linen cupboard, and even the toy box. If you’ve had it for 6-12 months without ever using it, you probably don’t need it! Donate it to someone who could.
10. Put your take-out menus into a folder and keep them with your cookbooks or where you keep your phonebooks.
11. Use a shallow plastic container to store all those gravy and seasoning packets (or cut the bottom of a shoebox out and use that).
12. Keep a list of needed groceries on the refrigerator – let everyone in the house know that if they use the last of something to write it down.
13. You can take it a step further and create a template which categorizes various shopping needs. For example, divide the piece of paper into large squares, each having a title such as “Cleaning Supplies & Toiletries”, “Dairy”, “Meat”, “Fruit & Veggies”, etc. Then when you go grocery shopping, you aren’t running up and down the aisles like a chicken with its head cut off.
14. Reuse empty baby food jars to organize various small items, like screws, nails, thumbtacks, paperclips, etc. If you don’t have access to empty baby food jars, you can purchase small plastic containers for cheap.
15. Use a mesh bag to store the kids’ bath toys. Hang it on the faucet so they can drip-dry.
16. Get rid of old newspapers and magazines. Start a scrapbook or use a binder to store cut out news items or stories you’re interested in.
17. Zip-lock bags are great to help organize everything you stuff into junk drawers. Use a bag for rechargeable batteries, one for Band-Aids, one for hair elastics, one for … you get the idea.
18. Another way to help organize your junk drawer is to put a plastic cutlery tray in it or several shallow plastic containers (without their lids).
19. To help eliminate some of the paper clutter, get a white board or chalkboard and hang it by the phone. Make this the place to leave phone numbers, messages, or notes to each other.
20. Another way to reduce the paper laying around the house is to get your bills sent to you electronically. Having your bills sent to you via email is a great way to reduce paper clutter (and better for the environment too!).
21. Only keep out the shoes/boots suitable for the season you’re in. If it’s winter, stash the flip-flops and sandals in a bag in the garage or shed. When summer comes, switch the snow boots and wellies with the previously store summer footwear.
22. Do the same for winter/summer clothes and outerwear.
23. Organize one room at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed and ditch the idea entirely.
24. Go through all the cupboards/cabinets in your bathroom and get rid of all the lotions and potions you haven’t used in over 6 months.
25. Check the expiration dates on all the meds in your medicine cabinet and dispose of the ones that are out-dated (make sure you dispose of them properly. A lot of pharmacies will get rid of old pills for you – you shouldn’t flush them or toss them yourself.).
26. When shopping, don’t buy larger quantities than you are realistically going to use. Sure, it might seem like a better deal to buy the 500 count of Tylenol over the bottle of 100, but not if you’re only going to use 50 of them before they expire! Same goes for buying in large bulk – if you aren’t really going to use that ginormous tub of mayo or that massive Costco-sized jar of pickles, do yourself a favour and purchase the smaller option! Not only are you wasting your money, these items take up a lot of precious space in the pantry!
Share your home organization tips!
We’ve shared our tips to organize your home, now it’s your turn! Leave a comment to let us know your top home organization tips!
Finally, summer is here at last! If you find that winter and spring did a number on the look of your home – inside and outside – and want to give it a facelift without spending a bunch of money, you’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s for your own personal happiness, because you’re thinking of putting your house on the market, or because you just want to get your nagging mother-in-law off your back, here are the top 33 cheap home improvement projects that will enhance the look of your home for under $100.
Before you do anything mentioned on this list, there are some common-sense home improvement tips you should tackle first. For example, just because you love your empty beer can collection, or the rusty P.O.S hunk of junk sitting on your front lawn – which you refer to as a “classic” – doesn’t mean everyone else loves it. Trust me when I tell you, if you get rid of the crap, you will improve the look of your home. Furthermore, if you’re looking for cheap home improvement projects, why not take back some precious space by ditching that freeloading loser of a boyfriend you’ve got? Seriously. You’d be amazed at how much better your home will look when that scumbag is gone … better even than hauling away the so-called classic on your front lawn! So now, without further ado, here are the top 33 home improvement tips you can do for free or for less than $100:
If you’re trying to improve the look of your home because you’re planning on moving, make sure you check out 10 Moving Tips to Cram More Crap in Your Car.
What home improvement tips can you add this this list? Do you know some cheap home improvement projects that cost less than $100? Leave a comment and let us know!