$1 Rainy Day Boredom Buster

by Robin

Is it raining where you are?  It sure is here.  Cats and Dogs (and I think I saw a Gerbil coming down with them).

This post is a quick one, just one simple idea to keep your kids occupied on a day stuck indoors.  It's inexpensive and engrossing for little people's imaginations: Cheap.  Cheerful.  Creative.  (What we're all about here at Frugal Family Times!)

Here it is:

Happy Canada Day! 5 Fun, Quick and Patriotic Lego Builds...

I just HAD to share this post that Ed wrote for the Papa's Brick Room blog!  We all had a blast creating these simple Canada Day Lego builds. Such a great activity for our rainy day.

In Canada, July 1st means fireworks, a day off and wearing as much red and white as you can. Here at Papa’s Brick Room, we decided it also should have some LEGO. We’ve come up with some fun little MOC (My Own Creation) builds that you can likely make with bricks you already have in your Lego collection.  True Patriot LEGO Love!

Follow this link to keep reading...

We Built a Deck!: Free Online Deck Design Software

By Ed

We have been planning on building this deck for many years now. When we renovated in 2007, we put in two patio doors that, for all their lives, have opened onto a rusty old air conditioner and a 2 foot drop into a garden. Go out those doors and you'd have gotten tetanus or a sprained ankle.  As you can imagine, they didn't get used much.

But last year - finally!- our finances cooperated and we are able to build this sucker.  Because last year, after killing off our line of credit in 2013, in WE PAID OFF OUR DEBT! (except our mortgage, which we are ok with - more on this later.)

Of course, before you build, you plan. We collected resources; books, magazines, city building code printouts - for as long as we've been thinking about this. They are all good and useful in their own ways, but none gave me exactly the information I wanted for my our deck. 

I played around with some other software ranging from Google Sketchup to trial versions of expensive Professional design stuff. Either too steep a learning curve, too reliant on me knowing structural engineering or too open ended.

Why couldn't someone just make a simple plan like this for me and give it to me for free? Oh, wait, Lowes just did that.

I was drawing this baby on graph paper and laying awake at night trying to figure out how many beams, joists and boards I would need.  What I needed was a user friendly, deck design software.  Free would be nice.  A little searching and I found one...

We've Flipped for Flipp - and how you can use it to your advantage too...

by Robin

When Flipp asked us to participate in their #FlippFood Challenge we didn't hesitate.   We only talk here about things we actually do or use, so even if we are compensated for writing, you know it's a legit thing for us.  We're going to tell you what we really think. Really, it was just a matter of time that we wrote about Flipp, and if they'd like to pay us to do it, all the better!  And, folks, we've used Flipp for months now and love it.

So what is Flipp?  It's an app you can download for free to find the best deals from store flyers.  Using flyers is my hands down favourite way to shop.  If you're buying healthy, whole foods, flyers beat coupons every time.  It's rare to find coupons for fresh produce and other unprocessed foods, while through flyers, you can find them every single week.

Here's how we use Flipp to save money and time...

Recipe: Homemade Pizza on the BBQ

By Ed

We make Our Homemade Pizza pretty much weekly.  For fun and frugality during the summer we like to cook our pizzas on the BBQ.  This way we can keep our house cooler (no hot oven means no extra AC required) plus it's a novel twist on an easy meal. I started doing this early in the summer during a heat wave and still toss it on whenever I want my pizza to have a bit of grill flavour. 

Much like my Grilled Flatbread, I've pretty much perfected my BBQ method.  Here's how to do it...

Antennas Direct In Canada! Clearstream 4 field test

By Ed

As we mentioned a couple months back, Antennas Direct is now in Canada in a big way. Best Buy now stocks their high quality HDTV Antennas in store and online. This means most Canadians who may have been thinking about trying out an antenna, but didn't like the idea of ordering online, can now walk into a big box store and get one of the finest out there. Great news all around.

Antennas Direct sent us a couple different models to try out. Our location - about an hour outside of Toronto - meant that we focused on one: The ClearStream 4, for our review. The ClearStream 2 would be a good contender if we lived in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) or the "suburbs". If you don't live in Southwestern Ontario, substitute any large urban centre in your area for the GTA and you get the picture (TV pun!).

Now on to the ClearStream 4:

A fun way to clear some clutter and collect some cash (Facebook 24-hour Auctions)

by Robin


Does your community have a Facebook Auction group?  It would quite literally pay to check it out.  So far we've made hundreds of dollars auctioning off stuff that was collecting dust around our place (also quite literally - I am a hopeless housekeeper).   

I'm convinced that through these auctions we've earned many times what we would have from selling the same stuff at a garage sale.  Plus, we didn't need to get up with the birds on the weekend (unheard of around here), or sit in a lawn chair in the rain or go bonkers putting tiny price tags on things.   All fabulous reasons enough to give Facebook Auctions a try.

I have a blast selling this way!  For 24 hours my family gets to hear me squeal when the next bid comes in.  (I'm sure they love it and it is not annoying at all.)  This is likely a sign that I need to get out more, but in the meantime, here's my tips for how you can join in this fun.

About Robin and Ed

Let's keep in touch...


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