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Monday, 19 November 2012

All is good - A quick update

Hey there!  I'm back for  my bi-monthly update on happenings around Someret Lane.  ;)

1.  My health (and my cyst) - I had another 6 month check-in MRI and my cyst has changed slightly, but still nothing to be concerned about. I go again in 6 months to get it looked at.  I have now gotten a second opinion with a neuroligist and I got the same feedback as the first doctor.  I'm feeling more confident on diagnosis.  I am going at end of November for a bone-scan to figure out why have so much bone pain through out my body.  I'm not worried, or I'm trying not to be.

2. Since my hubby's job-loss a couple of months ago, we have decided to temporarily switch roles: he is home with the kids and I've accepted a contract position until the end of December with the local university.  At first it was challenging to let go of control of the house, but I'm working on it, and letting hubby enjoy being at home and spending time with the kids (he's never been able to). And I'm enjoying getting up and wearing something other than yoga pants and running shoes everyday. ; )

3.  Do you rember the mudroom situation? Well it's done!  ALL OF IT! But it deserves it's on post.  So I'll be doing that later this week.

So that's all I have to update you on for now.  I'll be back as soon as I take final pics of Mudroom and I can brag show it  to you all.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Change is good... right?

Hey there!

I know, it's been awhile since I've posted, and I don't even know even if I have any readers left.  But,
"hello", if there is anyone left out there.

I've been MIA for awhile because I've been down in the dumps, and didn't want to burden anyone else with my thoughts. But, bare with me, cause I need to do a "brain dump" on you.  :-)

A few months ago, hubby let me know that the company that he worked at wasn't doing well, and might be letting go of some employees.  He thought he would be one of them.  We've had many necessary expenses that we've had to incur recently (new pool liner, furnace and A/C unit, car repairs, etc), and so our savings were minimal.  I prayed and prayed for the best. My wish was that the company would "turn around" and start doing well again and not have to let anyone go.

Well, yesterday, while doing "office work" in the basement, I heard footsteps in the floor above me at about 11:30 a.m. I knew the footsteps belonged to hubby and by looking at the time, I had a feeling my worst fears were confirmed.  He was let go from his position at the company along with a bunch of other people.  Panic kicked in immediately.  The bills, the healthcare benefits, the guaranteed salary, Haley's braces, Sydney needs new shoes, prescription medicatiosn, etc!  (not necessarily in the that order). 

Last night, I didn't sleep well.  I don't handle stress well, never have.  Money has always been one of my biggest stressor (is that even a word). Growing up, my parents never had enough money.  We were never living on the streets, but we also never had new cars, new clothes or even the latest toys, you know the things that every little kid dreams about.  At Christmas my brother and I always hoped for a toy under the tree, but usually we got necessary stuff like winter boots, or clothes.  I was well into my late teens, before I can say that my family was doing financially well.  By that point, I had a job (or two) and was taking care of all my personal needs (clothes, transportation, pocked money).  I remember going out and buying my little sister an expensive doll, because I always wanted one as a little girl and never had one.
Like every parent, I want the very best for my children.  Although I routinely shop at second hand stores, up until this point I haven't done it for necessity, but because I enjoy the hunt and the thrill of finding a bargin.  As of today, everything changes.  With both of us unemployed, there are alot of bills to pay and the uncertaintity of how to pay them.  I am sad because I haven't managed our money properly and have not saved 6-12 months worth of expenses in an emergency account.  Don't get me wrong, we have retirement savings, and a bunch of other investments, but that money is for our retirement years. Although, I did our budget yesterday, that budget changes today, because their will not be another guaranteed pay day. 

Today, I will be going to through our monthly expenses and seeing where we can cut expenses. Things like the gym membership and extra channels on the t.v.  I half jokingly told hubby we can't afford your $1.60 for coffee anymore, so I'll add a few extra scoops of coffee grounds to the coffee maker.  lol

Yesterday, my husband reminded me that everything happens for a reason.  Years ago, while we were expecting the birth of Sydney and my imminent maternity leave, he lost his job.  And although we were panicked and nervous about having a new baby, a bunch of household expenses and being unemployed, it was the best thing that could happen.  Whithin weeks, he landed a position with a stable company that started his career in the right path.  When we decided to move to our current city, neither one of us had jobs, and within months became pregnant with Anthony.  Another stressful time.  With patience and trust that everything happens for a reason, hubby landed the position that for the past 7 years has provided for our family.

Although today, I am scared and nervous on where the money is going to come from, I feel confident that change is good, and in a few years I'll look back on this "blip" in time and think "no big deal, we'll be alright".

Meanwhile, I am currently sending out my resume in the hopes of getting back to work as an Administrative Assistant somewhere (with healthcare benefits, lol).  And, I truly believe and I am hopeful that hubby will find a position that challenges him and rewards him like the last position did.

Have you ever been faced with a stressful financial time? What changes did you make?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

It's Soccer Season!


I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  We spent quite a bit of time on the soccer field this weekend.  I guess it's only fitting since Euro Cup started this weekend.  Although my three are far from competing they all played pretty well too.

This year Sydney and Haley are both on the same soccer team, which makes my life so much easier getting them to where they need to be on time.  They practice/play twice a week.  This year they are also having a bunch of "under the lights games" which means LATE games on Friday nights.  The following pics are from Friday night's  9 p.m. game (which didn't start until 9:15p.m).  Usually at about 9 p.m. the girls are making their way to bed not to play soccer at full speed.

Sydney likes to be goal keeper, because she hates to run.

She is actually quite good and can get the ball quite far with her powerful kicks.

She's not afraid of the ball hitting her in the face. 
 I cringe every time she is on the ground and I see someone trying to kick it away from her.

When she does make it out of the net, she is usually defence.  

So far this season, Haley has been playing Forward position (left, right). 
She has scored twice. Once was Friday night.

The picture above was taken towards the end of the game.

She had been giving it her all.  Just look at her tired, red face.

Then there is Anthony. 
His team name is the Blue Whales and he plays on Saturday mornings on a co-ed Under 6 team..

Anthony gives it his all when he is on the field but only when either Scott or I yell for him to "get the ball".  
But usually he is looking around or looking for us and letting us how tired he is. 
Or asking "when is snack time, I'm hungry!" although he jus had breakfast an hour before. It is hilarious to watch this age group. They all run together like a herd.
The picture above, was the best I could get from him on Saturday morning. He just wasn't in the mood for pics. oh well...

I love soccer, I honestly do.  It doesn't matter if it is at the Under 14/under 12 level or the Under 6 level. 
I love getting the kids in my soccer-mom-mobile and getting out there and cheering my kids on all summer long.  At the end of the season, I'm always sad to see it go. And sad to say goodbye to the other soccer moms that I have spent a full hour chatting with and getting to know.

So tell me, are you a soccer mom? Or do your kids play another sport?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Teen Girl's Bedroom: Furniture Update

Do you remember my House Project List?  Well, I feel like my I'm finally making some headway, and not spending a fortune doing it.

On the list was Sydney's bedroom, specifically #2 " New bed (do I paint existing or look for new)"

There is no room in the budget this year for new furniture.  

So this is what I was working with:

That pink bed frame I bought at a garage sale for $5 (headboard, foot board and rails) about 7 years ago.

Every time we moved the frame shifted a little, until finally we put the box spring and mattress on the ground.  The glue on the headboard/foot board was coming undone so I had to glue each piece back together.

The dresser was a hand me down from my bachelorette days.  I think everyone must of have one of these orange darlings in their past (or present).

So, I lightly sanded all the furniture, until I could get that awesome sheen off.  Then I found a full can of paint in the basement.  I'm not really sure what it was from, but it was full and exactly what I wanted. Awesome!!  

It took me a couple of days to get everything done.

This is what the bed looks like now!

We are using her old duvet cover and pillow that we bought at Ikea. As you can see the walls have also been painted.

And the dresser:

To update the dresser, I bought new pulls and handles at Home Depot.

So, in the end I spent about $15 (on dresser jewellery) because I had everything else in the house.  (I'm not counting the money I spent whenever it was I bought the paint)

So back to the House Project List: and I can cross a few items off

Sydney's Room

1. new colour scheme/paint  - Aqua, Fuchsia, yellow
2. New bed (do I paint existing or look for new) - paint existing
3. New comforter/duvet/bedsheets/pillows - bought new yellow sheets at Zellers  - $10, (clearance), re-using her duvet and cover
4. artwork
5. New dresser (do I paint/fix existing or look for new)
6. organize closet
7. curtains

Yay, it feels good to get those items checked off. 

What do you think so far? Don't the colours look so pretty together and perfect for a teenage girl?

I'm linking up:

TDC Before and After

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa


Like everyone else I know, I have been trying really hard to eat  healthier and cleaner meals.  Both to loose weight as well as for more energy. 

The other day, as I was cleaning out the fridge, I noticed a bunch of vegetables needed to be used up. I realized I had all the ingredients to make Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa. 

Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa and  sliced steak

 I had bought the Quinoa awhile ago at Costco, 
and I have been dying to try it out.

I read the instructions on the back of package 
and cooked up about 1/2 cup. Super easy.

These are the vegetables that I wanted to use up.

I brushed them with some olive oil and sprinkled salt and pepper. 
Then on the grill they went for a few minutes.

Once the vegetables were done, I chopped them up into a bowl and added a few tablespoons of basil pesto. Then I added in the cooked Quinoa.  I had some homemade balsamic vinaigrette that I sprinkled on top and tossed it all up.  The only thing I wish I had on hand was feta... that would have been great too.

My Hubby is a meat guy so, I also grilled up a steak on the side and sliced it up.  Although you could just eat the Grilled veggies with Quinoa on it's own.  It was yummy eaten cold the next day too.

It's amazing what recipes you can come up with when you just put together random ingredients. 

Do you do that? Come up with yummy meals without trying very hard? Or do you need recipe?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Ordinary Days

Hey! Hey!

One of my favourite bloggers, Sarah, often writes a post called Ordinary Days, which I love.  So I thought I'd do the same

I did a camera dump and here are some pictures from the past few months that I found.  

In no particular order.

Sorry, for some blurry pictures.  I blame it on lousy lighting. (not my camera skills :) )

One day while we were outside playing, 
I caught Anthony laughing hard at one of his friends.

When he caught me taking the picture, 
this is the look that I quickly got.

I took this picture one day 
when I was out for a walk with the kids.
So pretty.

Great Wolfe Lodge, Niagara.

Haley would go full speed on all of the rides and then would come back to lazy river to catch her breath. 

And then be off again.

I wish I had her energy.

Easter Day.

Guess who found the Bunny's Bounty?

Earlier this year, Sydney decided that she wanted to
 attend a local Catholic high school.  
Then, she signed herself up for a series of classes so that she could receive her sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation.  
My sister (her godmother) was her Confirmation sponsor.
I was happy with her decision.
I was happy I let her make the decision.

This is dinner from the other night...

Grilled vegetables with Quinoa and Sliced Beef

Sooo yummy!

Guess what I am working on?

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Mudroom: The Demolition edition

Happy Monday!
First, thank-you for the comments on my recent diagnosis.  Although, it's a little freaky to think about, I have no doubt that I will be just fine in the end.  I just got to get a new doctor, that's all! :)

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you'll remember that a few months ago I started dreaming about beautiful Mud Rooms.  Of course as soon as I mentioned it to my hubby that I was "thinking" about it and showed him, he took as "do it NOW!".

This is what we are starting with.

This is the view that I have every day from my kitchen island.  Every morning and every night. Ummm... It looks especially bad on this particular day, because I had removed everything from behind the washing tub and THEN took pictures.  Awesome! (at least the AFTER pictures will look fantastic ;)

This is what is on the opposite wall. 
(I think in the box I had paint for or from my hubby's office)

So once I got the go ahead from hubby (about two seconds after I told him), I started looking around to see what needed to be done.

I knew I wanted that small closet removed and a the washing tub.  I can probably count the number of times  on one hand that I've used the tub over the past 6 1/2 years that we have lived in the house. So I started to take it part and disconnect the water lines. Cause you know, I'm a plumber and all.  Yeah, not so much.  

You can't really tell from this picture, but the water lines are actually going through the metal wash tub.  I quickly realized I needed a REAL plumber. uuuuggghhh  My quick little job all of a sudden didn't seem so quick! >:(

So I called around to family and friends and no one knew of a good plumber.  I even put the call out on Facebook. 
Nothing, Nada, Zilch!
Enter Kijiji, and about a week later I found Dave the Plumber!  He came in a couple days later and within 45 minutes had the tub, cut out, and the lines disconnected, and the water lines capped off.  He only left the lines to the washer going.  I was happy to pay him $50 and have it done right.

Next, I needed the small closet torn down. 
Hubby was happy to do the demolition.

Anthony was happy to help.
Do you notice Anthony's construction hat (from dollar store)? Safety first.

And here is what the space looked like after they were done
tearing the closet apart.

And the ceiling...

Lovely hole in the ceiling and the wall isn't it?!?! 
What you can't see is that the floor tiles were cut around the closet walls. So when the walls were removed we ended up with a gape in the floor. 
After thinking and re-thinking, I think my best bet is to chip away the tiles and replace them.  Lucky for me we have left over tiles in the basement.

Shortly after the hubby's tear down (with help from anthony), the kids got sick and then of course I got sick.  Then we took a mini vacation to Great Wolfe Lodge. And the room sat like this for what seemed like an eternity.

Last month while we had an electrican in to fix the pool electrical panel outside he noticed my mess and mentioned he knew of a guy! His guy came out the following weekend and patched up the holes in the ceiling for me and wall.  I probably could have done it myself, but I really didn't want to.  So $50 later, all of my holes are now patched.

The room is still far from done, but we have progress.  I'm determined to have it completed by the end of June. My parents are visiting in July, and I want to show off have the project completed.  I'm pretty sure I can do the remainder of the work myself.  I think...

Still to do:

Replace broken floor  tiles, and grout
Paint Ceiling
Paint beadboard panels
Build Bench
Install shelves above bench
Paint existing cabinets
Replace Cabinet door pulls
Install countertop over the washer dryer.
Accessories (baskets for shelves, key hook, etc)
Art on walls

So have you taken on any projects and then quickly found out you needed help?

Monday, 28 May 2012

And now I know...

Hey there!

I know, it's been awhile since I've posted, but I was feeling a little stressed out.

A while ago in one of  Random Posts  I mentioned that I had my head checked out because of a pain on my forehead.  At around that time I  had an x-ray done on my head, and I was told by my doctor that I would only hear from him, if he found "any abnormality on the bone structure".  Well, I never did hear from him, but instead I received a letter in the mail saying that I was being refferred for an MRI at the hospital.  No explanation, just a piece of paper.  I freaked out!!  I really did.  I called my doctor's office multiple times, and I could never get a live person on the phone.  So I did what any freaked out person would do and showed up at the doctor's office one day, demanding some answers.  My basic questions were "why am I being referred for an MRI?" And "Why did no one take a second to call me to let me know, I was being referred?"  In the end, the doctor was away and the nurse/receptionist had no answers for me other than "the x-ray was inconclusive".

Fast forward to 3 weeks later and I had my MRI done at a local hospital.  And let me tell you, I've had many tests done over the years, but this one freaked-me-out.  Once they shut that door and the machine started making jack hammer noises I thought I was going to loose my mind!

And then I waited for the results.  The technician at the hospital told me that the results would be forwarded to my doc within 5 business days.  On the 5th day, I called my doctor's office.  They did not have results.  I called a couple of days later, still same reply.  This went on for 2 1/2 weeks and then someone took pity on me and told me that the doctor had been away and my that my MRI was probably sitting on his desk and he would get to it when he got back to the office. ummmm yeah.  That's what they told me. I asked the first day he was expected back and made an appointment.  I was scheduled for a Thursday afternoon.  The Wednesday morning before my scheduled appointment, someone called and asked if I wanted to come in because they had a cancellation.  At the point I realized the other person had not booked me on the first day the doc was back in office.  Anyhow I went into the office a couple hours later.

About 45 stressful minutes of waiting to see the doctor on a scheduled appointment, I was told I had a cyst on the Penial Gland on my brain.  uh... what?  I was stunned.  The doctor then handed me a prescription for neuro meds and said that I need to have another MRI in 6 months to check on growth and he got up to leave. I took the script and asked "are there any side affects to these meds?"  He looked at me and said "there are side effects to everything ask the pharmacist.  Have a good day."  And walked out.  He did not tell me it's benign.  He did not explain to me that the chances of this cyst  causing seizures and blindness are minimal.   He did not explain to me that the chances of this cyst growing are minimal. he did not tell me that most people only find out they have this cyst because they go for MRIs for something else.  He did not explain to me anything about this cyst.  I had to ask Dr. Google.  And yes I know, I should not be relying on google for medical advice, but at this point, he's all I've got to go on.  And for my own sanity, I am going to go with the diagnosis that this is just a blip on the MRI and I can continue to live albeit with constant migraines and pain.

Anyhow, I hope that gives you some indication why I've been silent on the blog.

And, in case you are wondering I'm looking for a new family doctor.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Yes, I'm now a Plumber too!

Okay, the title is a little misleading! Not really a plumber, I'm more like a frugal handywoman!

Five years ago when we renovated our kitchen I was advised not to cheap out on the kitchen faucet.  I was told to go with a quality faucet with possibly a lifetime warranty.  Well I did some research (which means I went to Home Depot and talked to the faucet guy) and he recommend the Moen faucet.  It had a lifetime warranty and was the style (and price I was looking for).  It cost $199 plus taxes (according to the receipt that I still have for it).  I'm not sure it it was on sale or not (probably was, knowing me).

Monday, 5 March 2012


Hey there!

Sorry I've been MIA, but today is the first day in awhile that I've felt "good".

I thought I'd update you all on some randomness around these parts.

1.  The Mudroom built-ins.  Remember those that I talked about awhile ago?  I begged asked hubby to tear down a small closet in our small mud room/laundry room so that I could build my built-ins in that area.  Then I had a plumber come in and cut a bunch of pipes for the laundry tub, that I will no longer have in that room.  Then... the next day Anthony woke up with a fever, that lasted about 5 days, followed by a nasty cough that kept him and me awake all night long.  After about a week or so he was well enough that I sent him to school.  That afternoon I receive a call from Haley's school that she wasn't well.  Yeap! She caught whatever Anthony had.  So more fever and lack of sleep.  Three days later, I caught it! Mine turned into a sinus and ear infection probably cause i was playing nurse for everyone else and so I neglected myself.  I've been on antibiotics for a few days, and the pain is gone and I'm getting some energy back.  All this to say... still no progress on Mudroom built-ins!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

This is the box from Haley's valentines cards.  I guess she only need 26 or is it 21?
I must be getting old... I don't get excited about Valentine's Day anymore.  I'm not anxiously waiting to see what Hubby bought me or when the flowers will show up.  I have my valentines with me everyday.  I know... I'm boring.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of Feb 13 - 19

Hey all,

I seemed to have fallen off the Menu Plan these last couple of weeks.  I had a loosey-goosey one going on in my head, but I found that every day at around 3 p.m. I was thinking "what was it that I was thinking to make for tonight?!" And of course I couldn't remember and got frustrated (there might have even been some cuss words under my breath... to myself).  So.... I NEED to menu plan (so I'm not cussing at myself at 3 p.m.).

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I've been dreaming of Mud (Rooms)

It happens every time around this time of year! I start off the year really excited for new beginnings, a clean slate, sometimes a new diet (usually a new diet) and then.... bam!!  February hits and it's all over.  I blame it on my SAD condition (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  But honestly that can't be it either, cause this year we haven't had much of a winter in Southern Ontario, and I'm probably soaking up the sun rays every other day with Anthony playing outside in backyard or front yard or park.

I'm just... blech.

So the other day I was thinking about my current state of affairs mind and I thought if I can't blame it on SAD, then maybe I'll blame it on the fact that I've been so pre-occupied with saving money that I haven't allowed myself any "fun" or "project money" in my budget.  Yeah... I think that is it!

So what is a girl to do?

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Some Randomness...

Hey all!

I don't really have a blog post for today, so I thought I'd just ramble on for a couple of minutes.

1.  I'm sicker than I've ever been in my life!  (no not really) Yes, I'm being a bit melodramatic, but I've got a nasty sinus cold that has done me in this week.  All of my plans out the window.  I've been in bed by 9:00 p.m. most days of this week and I've been dragging my feet the rest of the time. uuuugghhh

Saturday, 28 January 2012

No (Low) Spend and Pantry Challenge- Week 4 Update & A New challenge


Geesh, can that title get any longer?!?!?
I know it's not the end of January, but I'm ending the January Challenge today and starting a new one (more on that in a minute)

So this is what I started my week with:

Clothing - $80
Gifts/Entertainment - $40
Misc. - $25.70
Groceries - $100

The Clothing remains the same as I'm still waiting to buy Sydney's new winter coat next weekend.  (In case you are wondering, she's got a nice warm coat, however I noticed a small tear on the side, so I figure I'd buy her new one at the end of this winter season).

Last weekend was my nephews second birthday so I used the gifts/entertainment money for his gift as well as for gas to get to Hamilton.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

No (Low) Spend and Pantry Challenge- Week 3 Update

Hey there!

So this week I started off with $215.57. I'm letting the clothing envelope get higher because Sydney needs a new winter coat and I'm waiting for a big sale for North by NorthWest in early February.

These were my categories:

Clothing - $60
Gifts/Entertainment - $20
Misc. - $35.57
Groceries - $100

Last weekend I went to No Frills and spent $120.87 and then I popped into Walmart Supercentre and grabbed 2 large blocks of cheese for a total of 9.00. So my total for groceries were $129.87!!  Yikes!  In case you are wondering, I took the extra $29.87 from Miscellaneous spending.  I either need to stop borrowing from Miscellaneous envelope, or my grocery budgeted amount needs to be increased to $125 to even things out.  My guess is that I will increase grocery to $125 come February.  I am also considering challenging myself to only shop for groceries ever two weeks and on the off weeks just get milk and other perishables.  So the first week I would spend $200 and then I would spend $50 on the second week. Any one else do that?   

What I did right this week:

1. I menu planned. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but menu planning is really working for me!! Knowing what you are going to be serving every night is a huge money/budget saver, not to mentioned headache saver!!
2. Look for Free Entertainment.   Anthony spent the weekend with Grannie for some Grannie-Anthony time. Hubby took Sydney to work out with him at the gym on Saturday and I took Haley with me "to work" with me on Saturday and Sunday.  I started my painting project at Hubby's office building and she tagged along and helped when I needed her to.  We kept ourselves busy all weekend and spent no money from entertainment envelope! the kids had no school yesterday so we toboggonned for two hours at a nearby hill. i went down the hill twice and i thought i was going to die. i don't like heights or speed.

Going into the fourth and LAST WEEK, I have another $160 to work with and adding another $125 to emergency fund for a total of $600! I can't I believe I did it!  I really did it!

Here is what my envelopes look like:

Clothing - $80
Gifts/Entertainment - $40
Misc. - $25.70
Groceries - $100

Tonight we will celebrating hubby's birthday!  (I normally don't cook on Saturday's but I'm making an exception tonight).  Not sure yet what I'm making! I will also pick up a cake from Marble Slab Creamery (I have $30 gift certificate) and inviting his mom and brother and wife for coffee/tea dessert!  I also need to pick up groceries. And tomorrow we are going to my nephew's birthday party.

Be sure to check out how others are doing with their No (low) Spend and  Pantry Challenge this week.

So, how did you do?  

Monday, 16 January 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Pantry Challenge Week 3

I have to admit we stuck to almost all of our plans last week.  We had a couple of changes of what we ate on which days.
For example, Monday was a beautiful warm day, so instead of making the breaded cutlets, I fired up the BBQ and grilled the chicken. And on Thursday, we had leftovers, so we had the perogies on Friday, and pizza on Saturday along with more leftovers through out the day.

Breakfast: Choice of cereal, bagels, Smoothies, Pancakes (in freezer)

Lunch: leftovers as available, Tuna sandwiches, Egg Sandwiches, etc


Sunday - Potatoe - Leek soup with diced Ham. I also make a home made pizza on Sundays so that we have options for lunches for the week.

Monday:  Home made Mac & Cheese, Caesar Salad

Tuesday:   Meatballs with BBQ sauce and cranberry sauce, rice and side salad

Wednesday:   Curry Chicken over rice

Thursday:   Chilli, salad

Friday: Breakfast for dinner (eggs, bacon, toast, and fruit)

Saturday: Usually it's Cook's day off (for me) but Sunday is Hubby's birthday and since we are at my nephew's party, I will make a special dinner.  Not sure what yet, maybe an Enchilada Casserole I have in freezer.

So that's what I have planned for the week.

What are you eating this week?

For Menu Planning ideas check out Organizing Junkie's MPM.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

No (Low) Spend and Pantry Challenge- Week 2 Update

Really that button should say "I am going to spend all my money this week!  Seriously!"

So I like I said last week, I didn't expect this week to be a No Spend week and it wasn't.

We needed groceries... desperately.  I went to Costco and spend $69.43 and No Frills and spend $33.66. Total for Groceries was $103.09. I took me over my $100 limit, so I cheated and borrowed from Misc. spending envelopes.  Then I went out midweek again and spent another $15.65 which I used from miscellaneous spending again. I also bought a sample can of paint for Hubby's company for a paint project that I was bidding on.  (And by the way, my bid was actually accepted, and I'll be starting the work this weekend. Which means I will have an extra $500-600 to add to my Emergency Fund. Can I get a whoot whoot!!??!)

What I did right this week:

1. I menu planned. Knowing what you are going to be serving every night is a huge money/budget saver.
2. Look for Free Entertainment. I love to scrapbook and have been doing it for about 8 years or so. Although this is not a cheap hobby in itself, I do have a large stash of products that I can use right now and not spend any money (for awhile). My neighbor who is just starting out in scrapbooking came over last weekend and we scrapped for a few hours and had lots of fun, just chatting.  Meanwhile, Haley was at Grannie's for some Haley-Grannie time all weekend, Anthony was at the neighbours for playtime and Sydney and hubby went to the gym and worked out.  (And not so Free: Hubby took Anthony and Sydney to see The Adventures of  Tin-Tin and spend our allotted Entertainment money. They chose to go to Rainbow Theatres which are cheaper than the Cineplex Theathres.)  The remainder of the week we were busy with school, and after school activities and other important things to spend any other money (that we didn't have anyways).

So here is what our envelopes look like: 

Week 1 - $160 - $60 left in envelopes, $100 into Emergency Fund

Week 2
Clothing - $40
Gifts/Entertainment - $0
Misc. - $15.57
groceries - $0

Going into week 3 I have another $160 to work with (same categories as above!) and $475 in my Emergency Fund.

Clothing - $60
Gifts/Entertainment - $20
Misc. - $35.57
groceries - $100

This coming week, I have hubby's and my nephew's birthday next weekend. 
Hubby has said he doesn't want anything, so I might use a $30 gift certificate that we got for Christmas to the Marble Slab Creamery and splurge and get an ice cream cake for us.  For my nephew, my sister wants books and training underwear.  Easy Peasy!

So that's it for now.  

Be sure to check out how others are doing with their No (low) Spend and  Pantry Challenge this week.

How did you do this week?  Any money left?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

I'm not sure I'm ready for this...

Last night, Sydney, hubby and I attended the Grade 8 Open House at the highschool that she is considering attending.  She's choosing between two schools: a nearby Catholic Highschool and a downtown Arts & Technology focused school.  Although she has been going to a French Immersion school since Grade 1, she has decided not to continue into highschool, and hubby and I are OK with her decision.

Although I've been expecting this change since at least last June (when she finished Grade 7), I thought I still had some time.  I thought I had until at least June of this year to deal with my baby choosing the highschool that will ultimately prepared her for University/College that she will attend.

Last night, during the introduction into the school I found myself reminiscing about my own highschool experience.  I went to an all-girls Catholic Highschool that was about 100 years old at the time.  I wore a uniform (itchy wool kilt, white blouse, blue cardigan, blue socks/tights and patent leather shoes) for 5 years. There was no central air or student parking spots. Your choices for electives were Drama, Art, and music.  You could also choose from typing, shorthand and Home Economics classes.  There was a "boys school" about 2 or 3 blocks down the road, and some girls took shop class or graphing classes over there. I never did. I loved the arts, so I stuck with the arts. Although at the time I didn't think so,  my school was a very traditional school.  It was 1985 and computers were not common place yet.  I had my Texas Instrument calculator and typewriter that I bought with my own money working on a farm picking berries the previous summer.

Now, these kids can choose from Theatre arts and Arts Technology. There are photography classes, media classes, wood shop,  food and Nutrition, Business Classes, journalism, and a whole bunch more I can't even remember right now.  These kids are designing computer games and programs.  There was even an elective for Yearbook.  Back in my day, yearbook was a couple of girls that got together after school for a couple of months and worked on the yearbook; it was a club not a credited class.

After the visit to the highschool, Sydney asked if I would help her choose the classes for grade 9.  How am I supposed to advise Sydney on how to choose what classes to take, when this all so different from when I went to school? I took a look at her course selections and there are soooo many.  Mind you, for Grade 9 they are limited to "intro to" classes for which in the intermediate and senior classes they can actually take more intensive and focused courses.  One of the teachers made a good point, taking  an "intro to" class, will help the student define what you actually enjoy.  But there are so many choices and you can only choose two!  Aaackkk.

I'm very nervous about all of this.  I don't know that my own mother was as nervous about me as I am about Sydney. I'm sure she was, I just don't remember it.  When I think back, I never attended the grade 8 Open House for my highschool.  If I remember correctly, my parents were working and I was babysitting my brother and sister that night.  I didn't have a choice for which high school to attend.  My elementary school was the feeder school for the highschool I went to and besides, all my friends were going there too. So why wouldn't I? I think for my grade 9 courses, I picked all my requisites and my two electives were Drama and gym.  I hated gym and knew I needed the credit to graduate so I got it over with in the first semester.  I was so un-coordinated that I ended up in the emergency room after playing soccer in the gym one day.  Some how, I tripped and fell backward and knocked myself unconscious and had a nose bleed for a week.  And that's why I took Drama and visual arts electives for the remainder of high school.  (It's Ok you can laugh.)

Sydney loves visual arts and drama and she is very good at it.  She is also a very compassionate and caring girl and I think she will do well in this Catholic school.  We still have to visit the downtown Arts and Technology school  (which is not in a great part of town). It seems every time I drive by there are police cars in the parking lot, and not just one or two on coffee break, but a bunch of them.  Ultimately it is her decision, although we will guide her as best we can on her final decision. After all she is only 13 and making a life changing decision.

Her application and course selections have to be handed in by February 16th.  That is just a little over a month away. My head hurts just thinking about this.

Have you had to guide your child in choosing highschool and courses? What is the best advice you can give this struggling nervous mom?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Great House Project List of 2012

I think I've mentioned (a few times) that we have several large expenses coming up in the next few months, but I haven't actually said what they were.  Well, it seems that January is planning month for me.  I've worked out my budget and now I've worked my house project list for 2012.  The items on our NEED list will have to get done this year.  Top priority! And they are not fun items either. :(
I'm not sure everything on my wish list will get done (because I still want to have a life), but then again it is a "wish list".
So here it is!


1.  New pool Liner (estimate of $6,500), possibly a new salt water generator ($2,500)
2.  New Windows (master bedroom, ensuite bath, kids beddooms) estimate cost $5,000
3.  New toilets master ensuite and kids/spare bathroom
4. Declutter the entire house!!!


First Floor


1. artwork
2. coat closet doors
3. remove carpet from stairs/refinish stairs

Powder Room

1. New colour for walls (I have to sand the walls first)
2. New light fixture
3. New towel Bar
4. Change light switches/electrical panel
5. New door
6. Change hinges on cabinet doors
7. artwork/accessories

Living Room/Dining Room

1. new curtains


1. organize
2. add electrical panel in small pantry (for charging station)
3. declutter drawers/shelves
4. organize desk
5. touch up paint chips on walls/paint trim

Family Room

1. Artwork
2. New area rug
3. Organize New built-in cabinets
4. Lamps
5. figure out what to do about fireplace (gas insert is out of budget)

Laundry Room
1. Paint
2. Counter on washer/dryer
3. organization
4. Hooks for coats
5. Art


1. Artwork
2. Built-ins for Media/Rec room
3. Organize office/Scrap room area

Second Floor

Master Bedroom

1. choose new paint colour/ colour scheme
2. a bed (our matress and box spring currently sits on the floor)
3. artwork
4. sidetables (do I paint existing or look for new)
5. New comforter/duvet/bedsheets/pillows

Ensuite Bath

- other than toilet, I'm saving for a complete reno for this room in 2013

Anthony's Room

1. new paint/colour scheme
2. bookcase/shelves
3. artwork
4. curtains
5. closet door

Sydney's Room

1. new colour scheme/paint
2. New bed (do I paint existing or look for new)
3. New comforter/duvet/bedsheets/pillows
4. artwork
5. New dresser (do I paint/fix existing or look for new)
6. organize closet
7. curtains

Haley's Room

1. new colour scheme/paint
2. New bed (do I paint existing or look for new)
3. New comforter/duvet/bedsheets/pillows
4. artwork
5. New dresser (do I paint/fix existing or look for new)
6. organize closet
7. curtains
8. New Closet doors

Kids/Spare Bathroom

1. New Paint Colour
2. artwork/accesories
3. organizing
4. Frame mirror
5. Change light switches/electrical panel

So that's what I will be doing at some point this year.  I will update the links as I complete any projects.  I haven't up with a budget for each room yet, but once I do I will post it along with pictures of how the room looks like now.  So we can all oooh and aaahh as I complete projects.  I will attempt to most of the work myself on the "wish list" but I will outsource the work on the "Need list" because I have no idea how do replace windows or replace pool liners.  I will also attempt to re-use as much as I possibly can or source out from Goodwill,Habitat for Humanity or Kijiji.  That should save me a few dollars.

Do you have any projects going on this year?  Anything on your list that is not fun but needs to be done?

I'm linking up with the Nester home Goals party.
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