DOLLARAMA Groceries — Deals, Dupes, my Family’s Favourites, and the items you NEED to try!!!

As a mom with three teenage boys, I need to be very mindful when it comes to buying groceries. One of my strategies is to shop at a variety of stores to make sure I get the best value for my money. I also like to find cheaper "dupes" that still taste delicious. Today, I'm sharing a few of my favorite Dollarama grocery deals, dupes, favourites, and hacks.

You can find all the details in this fun video I made for you.

After you watch the video, let me know if you have any deals / products I should check out. I love recommendations from my readers. 😊

Happy shopping!

 (aka East Coast Mommy)

10 Summer Adventures for the Family... and a printable checklist

When it comes to summer fun, it's always great to have inspiration and a plan. Today, I'm sharing both! You can pick one or two items off of my summer adventure checklist, or you can tackle all ten.

To download a copy of the list: click on the picture above, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photograph.

And... here are the details...

1) Eat ice cream – Make homemade ice cream, have ice cream for supper, or try a NEW ice cream stand.

2) Do something good – Run a lemonade stand or yard sale for charity, visit the grocery store and buy things to donate to a food bank, or participating in a few random acts of kindness.

3) Buy a meal from a food truck and eat outside – Grab burgers, fries, fish, or pizza, and have a picnic in the park.

4) Visit a beach – Go for a swim, play catch on the shore, collect sea glass and shells, fly a kite, or go on a scavenger hunt.

5) Cook on a campfire – Avoid dinner dishes by roasting hot dogs over an open fire. Then, cook campfire treats for dessert.

6) Plan a theme day –Some options include: “spend gift cards day”, “play board games day”, and “kids pick the meals day”.

7) Have an outdoor movie night – Watch a movie under the stars with blankets, pillows and treats.

8) Plan a parent / child date – Parents pick the time frame and budget, and the kids pick the activity.

9) Get creative – Make a craft, bake something, decorate a cake, try a new recipe, or film a video. The only limit is your imagination.

10) Explore – Go on a hike, hunt for waterfalls, swim somewhere new, or go a road trip.

Which of these summer adventures are you going to go on with your family? Let me know in the comments below.

 (aka East Coast Mommy)

Olympics... free colouring pages and MORE!

The 2024 Summer Olympics are fast approaching, and it got me thinking about how much fun my boys and I had celebrating the games when they were younger. I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the crafts we did together. I'm also sharing some all new FREE printable colouring sheets.

To download the free colouring pages I designed: click on the picture of the colouring page you want to print, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo. 

In addition to the colouring pages, you can:

Make an Olympic flag.

Which Olympic event are you most looking forward to watching? I hope you have some little ones to celebrate with, and you enjoy these free Olympic colouring pages and crafts.

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

DIY MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS (easy, inexpensive and thoughtful!) / mostly made using dollar store supplies

I'm obsessed with the adorable DIYs I'm sharing today. They are perfect for Mother's Day. I love the "SURPRISE" gift box, but all the ideas are fantastic. The gift recipients will have no idea that most of the supplies for these DIYs come from the DOLLAR STORE!!!

 The DIYs in this video include: 

1) Surprise box - Details here.

2) "Era" water bottle  - Details here.

5) FUNNY home decor - Details here.

Check out all the details and instructions for the DIYs here:

What are you planning to get your special lady for Mother's Day? Are you considering making one of my DIY Mother's Day gifts? Let me know if you give one of these ideas a try!


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

5 Genius Budget-friendly Ideas for SUMMER... including FREE games and decor

Summer is definitely my favourite season. Who doesn't love decorating with cheerful colors, vacations, and warm temperatures? Today, I'm sharing a few genius ideas for summer... including food, decor, and more. I use a lot of dollar store supplies AND I have freebies too!

I even made a fun video with all the info you need!

Watch the video here.

1) Hand painted lemon slice coasters - I found a six pack of rounds at the dollar store, and I thought it would be fun to turn them into lemon slice coasters. They are super simple and fun to paint -- at any age. I'm not much of a painter, but I think they turned out really cute! You can find the full step-by-step instructions here.

2) Cheesecakes in jars - I love these individual cheesecakes. They are portable and perfect for camping, picnics, and bbqs. And... the best part is how easy they are to make. Find the instructions for these "no bake" cheesecakes here.

3) FREE Summer print - I love cute summer print, and this one is FREE and looks adorable in a dollar store frame.

To download the picture I designed: click on the picture you want (below), right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular photo.



4) Printable SUMMER Tic Tac Toe - I'm obsessed with these little games I designed. They are perfect for summer days, camping, and road trips. I love the bright colours and the fact that they are an activity AND a snack. Cute, right?

To download the games I designed for free: click on one of the photos below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regurlar 4x6 photo.

5) FREE Summer decor - I love inexpensive seasonal decor, and these summer prints are super-cute and FREE. Grab copies here, pop them in a dollar store frame, and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these budget-friendly ideas for summer. Let me know which one is your favourite in the comments below... and don't forget to watch my video for a closer look.

Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

You might also like the summer DIYs here.

The ulitmate, magical DIY Harry Potter party -- fun video included!

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you are going to LOVE the DIY Harry Potter party video I made. I have ideas for invites, decor, costumes, wands, activites, games, food, party favours, and MORE!!!

Find all the details in the video I made here:

Every party needs an invitation to set the stage and let guests know what to expect. For this party, I used my home printer to create an acceptance letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Of course the letter was from the head mistress of Hogwarts --  Minerva McGonagall. I rolled up the invite like a sheet of parchment, tied it with a ribbon, and added a picture of the birthday boy. So easy… but so cute!

Creating an entrance to the magical world of Harry Potter is easy, inexpensive, and fun. Grab a dollar store paper tablecloth, sponges and red paint. Then, dip the sponge in the paint and press it onto the tablecloth to create a brick. Continue the process until the entire table cloth is covered. Hang it up in a doorway, and cut a slit in the middle to allow people to walk through. You can also make a 9 3/4 platform sign from a piece of dollar store foam board. This was a BIG hit at our party!

I wanted all the guests to get the full Harry Potter experience, so I set up a “Madam Malkins Robes for all Occasions” shop. Everyone could shop for robes (which were black capes I bought on clearance after Halloween). I also had homemade glasses and ties that the kids could decorate. 

Every wizard needs a wand, so I set up an Ollivander’s wand shop for the party guests. To make cheap wands, grab a package of dowels, hot glue, and brown paint from the dollar store. Drizzle hot glue around a dowel, let dry, and paint with brown paint. Then, if desired, you can add a jewel to the bottom like I did. Pretty fun, right?

I also thought it would be fun to let the kids shop for their school supplies at Flourish and Blotts… just like the characters did in the books and movies. I made a spell book from a duotang, and filled it with a list of spells, a word search, and some Harry Potter trivia. I also made quills by hot gluing feathers to the ends of pens. It was really easy to do, and a fun takeaway from the party.

Having simple Harry Potter games to occupy party guest is key. We played freeze tag to Harry Potter music, I made a “Pin the Scar on Harry” game, I turned an old box into a Harry Potter ball toss, and I made a pinata from a balloon covered in paper mâché. The kids really loved the Hedwig pinata!

Of course themed party food is an important part of any party, and I had a lot of fun with this one. I had lots of food laid out, but the stars of the show were two easy-to-make cakes. The first cake was a quidditch cake. I started with a plain chocolate cake, and added 3 quidditch posts made from paper straws and pipe cleaners covered in black electrical tape. Then, I added a snitch made from a Fererro Rocher chocolate and parchment paper wings.

The second cake was a rectangle cake that I carved into the shape of a crest. Then, I added a lightening bolt cut from a fruit roll up, a snitch, Bernie Bott’s every flavour jelly beans, and a chocolate frog. The cakes really were easy to make, and they turned out super-cute.

I love sending guests home with a fun goodie bag, and for this party, I had the perfect idea for a party favour. I set up Honeyduke’s sweet shop, and filled it with Harry Potter themed goodies. Each guest was given a bag to fill, and a fun tag to tie the top of the bag with. Some of the items in my shop included: bernie bott’s every flavour beans, golden snitches, black liquorice wands, Mad Eye Moody’s Eyeball Gun, Remus’s werewolf fangs, chocolate frogs, and fizzing whizbees.

Have I inspired you to host a Harry Potter party? You could also just grab a few of these ideas for a fun family movie night. Make sure you check out the video here, and let me know which of these ideas is your favourite.


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

The BEST Budget Friendly SPRING Finds and DIYs

When the Easter decorations have been put away, it's a clear sign that Spring is on its way. I love getting organized and refreshing my home for Spring, and my YouTube channel is full of easy and inexpensive ideas for making the most of the season. Check out some of my favourite budget-friendly SPRING finds and DIYs below.

These Spring DIYs are made mostly using dollar store supplies. The umbrella wreath could not be easier, and it's one of my most popular Spring decor projects.

The DIYs are also super-easy. I love the clever use for garden markers.

What's easier than putting a FREE print in a dollar store frame??? That idea and more here:


I love using a tiered tray to create a Spring vignette... and it's sooo easy to make one using glue, dollar store plates, and a dollar store candle holder. The full instructions and more simple ideas here:


And if you are looking for an easy transition from Spring to Summer, you are going to want to check out this video:


If you like these ideas, don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I have many more fun videos planned, you don't want to miss out.

Happy Spring!!!


Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Don't miss any of the fun....