Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I have GOT to try this!!

I am going to make a top like this. It is amazing! Thanks to two butterflies for bringing it to my attention. I had a rare great sewing day yesterday and it has made me think that maybe I can actually sew after all. My machine is very temperamental. It is only a few years old but it was a starter machine to begin with and I feel I've outgrown it. My budget says otherwise, however, so, as Katy Wolk-Stanley, of the Non Consumer Advocate says, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." Sage advice, to be sure.

I don't think I should have uploaded this photo of chocolate chip cookies though. I may need to make them and then sew my top even bigger.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Cleaning part deux

Well, perhaps I was a bit ambitious in completing my whole spring clean in two days. I had to prioritize a bit in order to get it all looking in order again, and there is always more to do, but so far I am satisfied with my efforts. I tend to expect more of myself than is sometimes humanly possible, so I am working on that. Today, so far, I have completed:

-Pick up garbage/clutter -

-Put away shoes and coats -

-Sweep all floors

-Vacuum and deoderize carpet in master bedroom

-clear simons floor

-clean bathroom#2

Still to complete: Wipe down all surfaces, Clean windows Fold Laundry Put away "stuff" in baskets.

Oh, I also sewed an Elvis cape. More on that later. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Cleaning and Menu Plan

Using the spring cleaning checklist from Cents to get Debt Free as a guide, I began my two day whirlwind cleaning spree. It's taken me much of the first day on the kitchen, but I hope the other chores won't be as time consuming.

Here's my list for Day One (today)


Wash Dishes-done

Deep Clean Stove-done

Wash out Fridge-done

Sweep and scrub floors-done

Wipe down cupboards and counters-done

Run empty dishwasher with vinegar-done


Living room:

P/U garbage and clutter-done


Sweep-done and mop vacuum

Clean sliding glass door


Entry way:

Vac and mop

tidy closet (did a major closet overhaul recently so this should be easy)

wash mirror doors

Laundry area:

Vacuum around machines


Tidy cleaning supplies-done

Wipe down machines

Run washer on empty with vinegar-done

Bathroom #1

Clean organize-done

Menu Plan:


Pinto Bean and rice soup (kitchen sink soup)


Frittatas and home fries


Seafood linguine

Green salad


Pizza night.


Homemade chili and cornbread for my aunty's party

Saturday :

At my Aunty's Birthday Party outta town wooot!!! Party food!


Leftovers/Soup and sandwiches

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can you afford to stay home?

This is a question every mother asks herself at one point or other, I think. I know I have used the calculator at several different points from toddler hood to school age wondering if the time I spend away from home is worth the income that I contribute to my household. At certain times I have felt that there wasn't enough money in the world to take me away from home, such as when my child was a baby. We felt that there was no substitute for what our child needed in the first year of life than what I could give him. Even though living on maternity leave benefits (which while generous in this country are still a pittance compared to a real pay cheque) and a student loan income was near to impossible to do long term, we knew my husband's education would pay off in the long run. We also had help from my generous mother who allowed us a lot of leeway when it came to paying the rent on time. When I did go back to work it was difficult, I will admit. My son dropped breastfeeding like a hot rock when I started back to work in the evenings, finding the convenience of the sippy cup and cow's milk much preferable to sitting still in momma's lap for an extended BF sesh. Gone were long lazy mornings of nursing on demand and no schedule but baby and mama's. It took me some time to get over the fact that I was no longer the most important thing in his world and that he could survive without me for a few hours. Survive he did and as we went on I took on more and more hours at work, trying to "get ahead" and give him everything I never had as a child. We made some financial decisions that in hindsight were not the best, but we also bought our home, which got us into the market and which we still live in today. I learned many things about that period in my life and the biggest thing I learned is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I don't have to work forty or fifty hours a week, paying others to rear my child and cook my meals to get ahead. In fact, I probably won't get very far ahead this way and the debt we incurred during that crazy period proves it. Yet, staying home full time is not an option either. Whenever I stay home for long periods of time, my husband feels a lot of financial pressure to "bring home the bacon" and I feel a lot of pressure to fry it up and clean like Martha Friggin' Stewart every day. It just isn't us. So, since my husband makes three times the cash than I do, we put the priority on him getting to work, being fed and happy and having a little extra to do something fun once in a while. Our solution? I work part time. I figured it out on the calculator and my contribution is, admittedly, small. My costs to work are also minimal though; no dry cleaning, no real transportation costs, ( I could walk if I wanted to) and not even the need to pack lunches makes the only real "cost" my time away from the family. I used to feel a lot of guilt about the fact that the boys had to have dinner without me some nights. I have decided that the nights that we get to eat together are just all the more special because we are home together. My attitude about going to work is that I choose to work because it works for me and it helps me pay my own bills and give a feeling of taking the pressure of my husband to provide everything. I also abhor asking him for a penny because it's a matter of control to me. If I have no money that I have earned, I have no power. If I have no power, I feel powerless about our financial future. So, can I afford to stay home? No, I can not. In more ways than one, I can not.

What about you? How and where are you on this ever controversial issue? Feel free to comment about it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break

Here in our neck o' the woods, Spring Break is two weeks long. Ten school days and two weekends to fill while all the kids are free to roam around, ask too many questions, try to ask for too many treats, watch too much t.v., yell too loudly, and just generally be kids. It would be fabulous if we actually had the money to go on a holiday to have the time off school, but as it is, the man works and I took time off to stay home and save the daycare fees. My job is casual, so I can do that, and I think it pretty well evens out financially so I might as well spend the time with my boy. I thought up a bunch of frugal activities well in advance, so I wouldn't be stuck for what to do when I just couldn't stand another minute in the house. I also hope to do some Spring re-organizing. ( I never say the C word, it's too demoralizing)
So far, on day three of Spring Break, we haven't really stuck to the pre-planned ideas, but it's nice to know they are there.

Here are some of the things we have done so far for fun:

-Practiced our Elvis dance routine for Aunty's 60th

-phoned Gramma to brag of our dance moves/accomplishments
-gone to the twoonie swim

-made homemade blizzards (yum!)

-walked around the multiplex, seven laps is a mile (good thing, too)

-Hunted through Value Village after donating 5, (count 'em 5!) blue bags filled with old stuff and earning a 30% off coupon.

-Cleaned out the entryway closet from winter to spring

-had $1.99 Whoppers from BK (need another seven laps :P)

-played at the park with a school friend.

What are you doing for Spring Break?

Feel free to let me know in the comments section.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pioneer Thinking

I have just found a most interesting website, Pioneer Thinking. It is a wealth of information and I found it by searching on How to make Paper, something I would like to try. Wouldn't it be nice to turn all of those envelopes and junk mail into something worthwhile? Something crafty? Could this be a Spring Break activity? I could use my thrift store blender...

I have so many aspirations toward living a simpler, greener lifestyle, at least in the way of reducing garbage and recycling. I also liked the article in budgeting, Saving Dimes. I have decided that my vacation fund will be comprised of every dime and penny I can find. Every time I return my beverage containers, it goes in the fund. I want to lay on a beach, for an entire week, knowing that I can truly relax because there will be no enormous credit card bill awaiting my return.

Finally, and this is something near and dear to me, the article on Laundry. While the blurb was seemingly just plain common sense, it reminds me of a few new tricks that I can put to use to to tackle the laundry beast. Perhaps I will install a hanging bar above our machines. Our laundry truly has a life of its' own.
So, go. Check out Pioneer Thinking and then come back here later when I write my next post.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I was absolutely blown away by the loss of my thirty year old sister in-law, Cyn. She was an amazing, spiritual person who taught me a lot about friendship, love and compassion. She had an especially close relationship with her brother, my husband, and we had our love for him in common, which made us instant sisters. As soon as I met Cynthia, (almost eleven years ago) she welcomed me into her family, even though I was different, Anglais, even. She tried her best to speak to me in my language and I in hers, and the result was often sign language, but we always communicated beautifully. I envied at times her work ethic, her approach to life and her perseverance and steadfast belief that happiness could always be achieved if you worked hard enough at it. She had a beautiful home in the Quebec country side with her husband, Matthieu and her two children Seime and Kina. She worked alongside Matthieu to renovate, landscape and to make their house a home. Cynthia was a vegetarian and she enjoyed music and drumming. She was a free spirit, a traveller, with a grounded sense of her responsibilities. She worked with troubled youth and was adored by her community. She was my sister. I will miss her always.