Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I had a bright idea!

I fixed up my cheap lamp set that I got from Walmart. Sorry for the dark photo, maybe I should have turned the lamp on! I have seen so many people with this lamp set, it bugged me to have such cookie cutter home decor. So what did I do? I got out my trusty glue gun, that's what. I got this funky gold trim from freecycle a while back. I love the feel, it truly changed the whole look of my lamps. Quite vintage, wouldn't you say? I have a whole tote of trim at my disposal, so there may be more tassels in my home decor future. This project worked out so well and I love how it fits in with my eclectic treasures. I also bought a great wrought iron mirror the other day for seven dollars. It looks great propped on my bedside table with the smaller version of this lamp beside it. I now have a matching set of four lampshades that are original and cost me absolutely nothing but an hour of creative energy. Love that. What have you all been up to? I have been busy working and celebrating my second wedding anniversary. We spent the day at the beach, then drove up to the lake where we got married and took a few nostalgic photos. My husband surprised me with colurful daisies and a beautiful card. Very sweet. I know my posts have slowed down a bit. That's OK, quality over quantity, I always say.
Hope you are enjoying summer!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Forest Fires

This fire is unbelievable. Here is an article on the Fintry fire, which is a neighbouring community. I am glad that my pantry and canned goods are stocked, and that my husband will spend some time tomorrow organizing supplies. Filling up with gas takes on a whole new meaning when the smell of smoke fills the air of your town and you see the faces of evacuees at the rec center, uncertain when and if they will be able to return home. I don't think we will have to evacuate, so far our town is safe, but many evacuees are here in town and many more are on alert. It gives one pause, let's say. I am praying for more rain. Buckets and buckets of rain...

Rain dampens Okanagan fire threat but Fintry evacuees remain out of homes
By Sunny Dhillon (CP) – 2 hours ago

WEST KELOWNA, B.C. — An afternoon rain storm helped dampen the fire threat in the Okanagan a little Thursday but but not enough to send the latest group of evacuees home.

Ten millimetres was expected to fall on West Kelowna, B.C., and more appeared to be in the forecast over the next couple of days.

It came as 2,200 residents of the Fintry area grappled with being forced out of their homes by an "out of control" wildfire on Terrace Mountain.

The new evacuation order came just hours after the last of 11,000 people forced from their homes by two other West Kelowna wildfires were allowed to return.

Tim Neal, with the B.C. Forest Service, said Thursday's rain was welcome but fire crews could still use some more.

"We'd have to have ... about two inches (about 50 mm) of solid rain to actually make any difference," Neal said.

"The fires burned very deep into the soil, into the ground."

The fire on Terrace Mountain doubled in size overnight to 40 square kilometres.

In comparison, the Glenrosa fire that forced 10,000 people from their homes is three square kilometres and the Rose Valley blaze that led another 1,250 to flee is one square kilometre. Both fires are 100 per cent contained.

The same can't be said for the Terrace Mountain blaze.

"The Terrace Mountain fire is termed out of control," Neal said.

Two days after a B.C. Forest Service official said the rural Terrace Mountain blaze was the lowest priority of the three fires, because of its distance from homes and communities, Neal disputed any suggestion crews didn't do enough to attack the fire.

"The fires up at Terrace Mountain are inaccessible," he said.

"We could not put crews into that fire because we didn't have any escape routes or anchor points."

While Thursday's rain was welcome but it was preceded by dry lightning that started several small fires in the Okanagan.

Fintry resident Sean Corlett was among those worried about his home.

"My house is in Upper Fintry, near the very back," said Corlett, who is on day parole in Abbotsford but was given permission to return to his home.

"It's probably one of the first ones that will get hit if the fire comes down ... It's all I got."

Corlett said he packed up photos and other valuables upon hearing of the evacuation order.

Gerald Selin was visiting his daughter from Saskatoon when the family received the bad news. He said they were on the road within half an hour.

"My daughter's a little bit upset," Selin said. "You never know what's going to happen."

Forest service spokesman Jerry Wearing said the massive growth of the fire overnight could be explained by a couple of factors, including very dry fuel and very low humidity.

Bruce Smith, with the regional district's emergency operations centre, said Thursday's evacuation order was smoothly executed.

"Things have been going excellent," he said. "People have been very receptive. I think the advanced notice that they received yesterday of the alert assisted."

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk agreed, but said there were some hiccups along the way.

"We began encountering by land and by waterfront, people trying to re-enter the area," he said.

"That included members of the public and not necessarily outright residents that were found in the restricted area."

RCMP are investigating 10 complaints of break and enter that appear to have taken place while evacuation orders were in effect in West Kelowna.

Three houses and a mobile home have been destroyed by the three fires.

As for when evacuees might be able to return home, Smith said it's far too early to say.

"We assess that day to day," he said.

"Trying to put a timeline when they get back is like trying to pin jelly to the wall."

Also Thursday, B.C. Forests Minister Pat Bell announced firefighters from Ontario and New Brunswick will be helping fight the forest fires.

"We're taking advantage of the resource-sharing agreement we have with other provinces and asking for additional crews," the minister said in a news release.

He said by noon Friday, fire bans will be in place across the province.

"We ask the public to remain vigilant at all times to reduce the number of human-caused fires, which divert our resources."

Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


There are some severe forest fires in the area which have me slightly on edge right now. They are not in my actual community but in the near vicinity. The smoke is forming thick clouds over the whole city and ash is falling from the sky like snowflakes. If it weren't so hot and the air quality so poor, one might think it was a dusting of snow over everything. I heard on the news that the trees, dry as tinder, are "candling" or lighting fully ablaze and setting the next on fire, two thousand hectares burning up down the highway and three other fires further out. . It is very strange. I have never experienced this feeling of uncertainty before. While it is unlikely that my community will have to evacuate, (the fires are, thankfully, still far enough away as not to pose an immediate threat to us) I know that many thousands of people nearby are doing just that. The energy is tense, uncertain. We are told not to worry and is so unpredictable. I have faith that the firefighters will contain the fires and that soon life will go on as normal. I feel so incredibly grateful to be able to continue on with my daily activities, my job, fun activities and such, even as chaos erupts all around me. It does give one pause to think about what truly matters. What would I pack if we were put on alert, to leave at a moment's notice. What if we had to leave it all behind? What truly matters?

What would be in your suitcase? Feel free to comment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Lovin'

Went to the beach TWICE today. First thing, my son and I baked a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. The oven heated up the house a bit, but in this weather it honestly doesn't make a difference, might as well spend the day outside. Hubby had work, so I took the boy and we packed up a lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, nectarines, our HM cookies and a jug of juice. We lounged and played and ate our lunch on a blanket at the beach. It was bliss. It started to get really hot so I suggested we seek refuge in the downtown Sal-Mart. Up until today, I had yet to peruse this particular thrift store. I will definitely go again as they had many treasures that caught my eye at very reasonable prices. My son has been raised on thrifting and at five years old, already has a keen eye when it comes to sifting through the junk and finding the good stuff. He got a coat hook, which will come in handy this fall, a wooden toy plane and really cool sunglasses. I got him a warm vest and shorts for a dollar each, (they were part of the clearance "green tag" sale. I found myself a pair of yoga pants which looked new to me, or very gently used. Then wonder of wonders, would you guess what I found? A water bath canner! YAY!. The Okanagan is teeming with fruit right now. All I need are jars and a free afternoon. The free afternoon is the tough part right now, but I have faith. I may get to can this year after all. Baby steps!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Good mail!

Any day that you get Nutella in the mail is a good day, I say. I just got home to find the delicious chocolatey hazel nut spread waiting for me. If you haven't tried this on crepes, you have not lived. I know what I am having for breakfast tomorrow, (if I can resist until morning!) Yes, I do already know what it tastes like, so technically I didn't need a free sample to convince me, but hey, I figure I have more than paid for the postage with my free advertising. No problem, I really do love Nutella.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Frugal a day

I have a new goal! This is OK because I am following my other goals fairly well. My new goal is to do something, anything, really, frugal at least once a day. I figure if I do a lot of little things, eventually they will grow into habits that will make big differences. We have started with a few little things already such as:

Changing all of our incandescents for energy efficient lightbulbs. We swear we have noticed a difference in our electric bill already! Maybe, who knows?

I now measure my soap, for the dishwasher and the washing machine. A little goes a long way. Who knew? I always wash in cold (uh, not the dishes) and I hang some stuff, but not much, we have no yard. The dishes look silly hanging around anyway, waiting to dry ;)
The dishwasher is always full when we run it!

I purged a bunch of stuff. This makes my good stuff seem even better and I am less likely to want new stuff to clutter up my place again. I can finally breathe! I think I am a minimalist at heart, except I am also a pack rat so the paradox is confusing. I like stuff, but I like even more to bag it all up and give it away. Just one of those little quirks, I guess. This also means less freecycling. I don't want more stuff right now, not even free stuff. Except for a nice book case, I'd take one of those.

I walk to work on Fridays. It just works out that my work location is around the corner. I would do it everyday if I could but I work in a few locations and Friday is the only day it works out to walk. I love Fridays :)

Today the fugal thing I did was stick to my menu plan. I didn't really feel like it and I was missing an ingredient for dinner, but I made do and it turned out good anyways. I used up stuff from the freezer and pantry and made it work. I did not run to the store. I did not pass go. I did not spend two hundred dollars.

Sticking to my little goals seems to be working. Frugal a day. Yeah, I like that ;)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Castles made of sand

Happy fifth birthday to my one and only son. It was a frugal affair, a picnic lunch at the beach, a few presents and ice cream cake. I was perfectly willing to break the bank for him, all budget bets were off for this grand occasion, but when asked what he wanted to do for his birthday, all he said was, "Make sand castles."
Your wish is our command, my dear.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Goodbye June, Hello Summer!

All of a sudden, it's very hot around here! I have been very busy and trying to adjust to the new schedule we all have for the summer. As I have just started working part time and my son has changed seasonal activities there has been a lot of juggling of routines. This has made the budget and menu planning particularly interesting because more responsibility has shifted to my husband in the cooking department, except the last week, which I was flying solo and subsisted off pantry fixin's and fresh veggies. The boys won't east couscous and chick peas, but I enjoyed simple cooking for a few days on my own.

For June, we set some goals for the month to see if we could be disciplined enough to really reign in our finances on our own. We have several long term goals but for now, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step, or five I should say.
The goals for June were:

1. Keep all receipt for 30 days, all purchases, no matter how small. Write down expenses that do not have receipts.

This was done far above and beyond my expectations, I was able to account for almost every purchase in the month of June.

2. Try to use cash instead of debit.

We have a way to go here, I noted many small purchases under &15 so I set that as a limit. Under $15, pay cash. Seems to work, though I'd rather it was higher limit, like at least $20, but compromise is key. As I said, small steps.

3. Keep using lists and menu plan. Avoid junk and fast food.

With the exception of a minor Bucket o' Rebellion on Father's day, we did very well here.

4. Batch errands to save fuel.

Hmm...we haven't done as much walking as I would like, however, with the lists, we are more organized when we do go out to shop.

5. Use information gathered to track expenses, find out our true income and budget for July.

I am still working on the budget, things have changed again, but we did do a menu plan and list and we seem to be off to a very good start for the month.

I plan to solidify the Plan for July tomorrow, this heat has been kicking my butt. Maybe I will bring my pencils and calculator to the beach.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day

I worked today but lucky for me, my clients spent most of the afternoon celebrating Canada Day in the park and me with them! Not bad for time and a half pay! I also got a free piece of cake and supper at work. The boys are still on vacay, so I have been luxuriating in not having to cook. My freezer and pantry are well stocked and all I had to do was BBQ some steaks that had been mistakenly thawed out before they left. The rest has been so simple. I won't say that I love the single life, (I am actually beginning to miss them, the rapscallions!) but sleeping in and not having to make dinner has been great! It really makes me appreciate the wonderful family that I have and also the beautiful country that I live in. I am so fortunate to live in Canada. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

I know I post a lot of beach photos and I'm sure it looks very sunny and warm all the time. Here in the Okanagan it is warm, even hot, especially in the spring and summer. Just for fun though, here is a photo of the lake where we got married two years ago (July 28). When I first settled on this beautiful location and went to scout it out, in February 2007, this is how it looked. It is, after all, Canada! The true North strong and free!