This story category covers easy step-by-step instructions on a variety of home, food and entertaining topics.

How To Raise A Pick-up Artist

Here is a surprisingly simple way to ensure the messy pilers in your house get (and keep) their clothes off the floor.


THE CREATIVE SOLUTION | Do you live with a daughter who changes her outfit multiple times before bouncing out the door in the morning leaving a mile-high mound of clothes behind on her bedroom floor? Are you providing shelter for a son (or maybe bunking with a partner) who, instead of emptying his pockets and hanging up his pants, drops his drawers by the side of the bed before tucking in for the night?

After confiding my annoyance at the ongoing piles threatening to devour the bedrooms of my young, my tidy friend Tara suggested I use an inexpensive tool that had worked miracles at her house. Read more

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Learn A New Language For Free With Gamified Duolingo

If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new language or bone up on an old one you haven’t spoken since high school, free,  addictive, “gamified” Duolingo will see that you get the job done.

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FREE & ADDICTIVE | Last fall my husband and I took a group of enthusiasts to tour private gardens in the south of France. He was the landscape expert in charge, and I, along with a local tour guide/translator, was responsible for everything else.

I once lived for a year in Paris and spoke only French on a daily basis so I knew I would be able to get by linguistically on our trip, but I wanted to do more than that—I wanted my proficiency back. Read more

Jean Shrimpton Big Hair - David Bailey

The Next Best Thing To Having A Live-In Hair Stylist

The BaByliss Big Hair Rotating Air Styler will give your hair Victoria Beckham-quality volume and shine in record time.

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MONEY WELL SPENT | I have a lot of hair. This is both a blessing and a curse. While I’m grateful that in all probability I’ll never go bald, my abundant mane is a royal pain when it comes to styling it myself. Not only does my mop take a discouragingly long time to blow dry, but the results never look polished because I can’t really work a round brush and dryer in tandem. Read more

To Do List

Why You Want To Work In 20-Minute Spurts

Everything in your daily life—be it a physical or mental activity—can be vastly improved by working in 20-minute spurts.



WORK SMARTER  | While there is proven science behind the idea that just 20 minutes of the right kind of daily physical activity leads to a longer, healthier life (read Gretchen Reynolds’s The First 20 Minutes, or an article on the book in the NYT), there’s no specific science I know of linking 20-minute chunks of mental focus to greater effectiveness at work. And yet I’m living proof that this is the case. Read more

Socttie-Pug Dudley Rule - Carolann Rule


This DIY acrylic barrier will stop canine escape artists without stopping the eye.

Socttie-Pug Dudley Rule - Carolann Rule

DO IT YOURSELF  | We love our Scottie-pug dog child, Dudley (pictured here), but he does have one annoying, potentially life-threatening habit. When we accidentally leave an outside door open, he bolts. While this is never a good thing, it is particularly troublesome at my husband’s garden design office where Dudley earns his kibble working as a greeter.

To foil this behaviour, senior landscape designer Kim Stuart came up with an inexpensive all-but-invisible system that eliminates the need to install those supremely unattractive but highly effective baby (a.k.a. dog) gates. Read more


A Novel Way To Stay Awake While Driving

There are plenty of strategies to help you stay awake while driving. Here’s a highly effective one you may not have thought about.



TRAVEL ADVISORY | Recently a number of Canadian newspapers reported the results of a new online survey from a national insurance company confirming that an “alarming number” of people (30 percent of male respondents and 14 percent of female ones) admitted to nodding off while driving (CLICK HERE for the story).

Yikes! With road trip season in full swing, vacationers are going to need to reach deep into their bag of tricks to make sure they stay awake when driving long distances. To the roster of obvious ways to maintain alertness—starting out rested; ingesting caffeine (coffee, Red Bull, No-Doz); blasting yourself with cold air, intense conversation or loud music—we would like to offer a not so obvious solution, an inexpensive food item that has worked shockingly well to revive every driver we know who has tried it. Read more

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Shine Your Silver To Perfection Quickly Without Commercial Polish

This homemade concoction will put a shine on your silver with minimal cost and effort. (VIDEO)

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THIS STUFF WORKS | Until recently, I have polished my wee cache of silver—both sterling and plate, everything from jewellery to flatware—with pricey silver polish from a local jewellery store. “Why do you use that stuff?” my friend and Frugalbits contributor Brendan Power asked one evening after I complained about the bits of pink paste that had become lodged in the nooks of my newly cleaned Tiffany bracelet. I could avoid this residue, and polish up everything nicely, he explained, “using tin foil, soda and salt.” Read more

Blue Velvet Cake- Bettey Crocker

Baby Cakes: Hosting A Gender Reveal Party

Here’s a fun and memorable way expectant parents are revealing the gender of their baby.


SNEAK PEEK  | Our daughter Alexis got married last spring, and now she and her husband Dave (pictured here on their wedding day) are expecting a baby. Last week, they went for their 20-week ultrasound. This imaging technique is used five months into a pregnancy to determine whether a fetus is developing normally. At 20 weeks, it can also detect whether the baby is a boy or a girl—if the gender is visible, of course.

Lexi and Dave wanted to know the sex of their baby. And they wanted to share the experience of finding out what it is with members of their immediate family, so this past weekend we had what’s called a gender reveal party at our house.

Here’s what Lexi and Dave did to ensure the baby’s gender was kept under wraps (and unknown even to them) until the appropriate moment.

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Walking exercise

Walk Therapy: How To Log Maximum Miles Every Month

There’s no question that walking is good for you. Here’s a trick to make sure you keep moving.

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FIT FOR FREE |  Last month, I walked from Vancouver in Canada to Bellingham in Washington and then back to Vancouver again. After that I walked from Vancouver to Hope. I didn’t actually visit either of these lovely towns—I walked the equivalent distance, 316 kilometres (196 miles), in and around my own neck of the woods. Read more

Emergency Preparedness - Cub Scouts

The Easiest Way To Pull Together An Emergency Survival Kit

If you have yet to cobble together an emergency survival kit, this well-priced ones from Costco will make the task an {almost} no brainer.

Emergency Preparedness - Cub Scouts


MONEY WELL SPENT | I can’t believe how many people I know who still have not put together a basic emergency preparedness kit. But hey, even with straight- forward easy-to-follow directions on this very website (CLICK HERE for our story on how to put together a survival kit from scratch), up until recently I was among the great unprepared. I wish I could say it was Frugalbits that prompted me to get my kit together, but it wasn’t; it was my dear friend and neighbour who showed me hers, a store-bought version from Costco. Read more