Look at what was delivered to our house yesterday:

It’s so shiny!

Our food processor has been dying a slow death.  A few months ago, the chopping blade broke off while I was making hummus!  Yikes!  The lid is missing a piece that keeps it locked into place, so when we use it as a grater, unless you physically hold the lid down, it lifts up –  yet keeps spinning.  Just a slight safety hazard with little fingers around – especially since they love helping out with making home-made pizza every Friday night, as is the tradition around here!

Back when we bought our first home, D’Arcy & I each cancelled our individual credit cards and got a joint one, which gives us points each time we use it.  (Which we try not to, but sometimes life happens!)  Last weekend, we received an email with the amount of points we have earned (we had never cashed them in before) and a link to the online “store”.  You can imagine my delight when I realized that I had enough points not just for the new super-duper, shiny, heavy, two-bowled, five bladed beauty that now sits on my counter, but also a Cuisinart hand blender as well!

For “free”!

Happy Mother’s Day to me!

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Various Matters

February 4, 2010

*I have discovered how to ensure that none of my children will ask for a bite of my sandwich: add pickles.  In fact, by adding enough, they will hold their noses and run away.  (Perhaps if I just carried an open jar of pickles around, I could buy myself some alone-time; wish I’d discovered this one years ago…)

*Still haven’t found the missing Valentines.  Going out and buying another box will guarantee that they are found, but negates the great buy of purchasing them for a dollar weeks ago.

*I fed my family salmon burgers on home-made whole-wheat buns for supper last night.  Olivia took one look and put herself to bed, sleeping until 7:30 this morning.  Must remember that recipe for future cranky days…

*I had a wonderful, fun visit getting caught up with my childhood friend, Carla yesterday.  She was visiting from Ontario with her husband Mark & son Jack.  Neither Carla nor I could remember the last time we’d seen each other (she moved away in Grade nine) but we were as comfortable as if we’d seen each other last week.  It was fun to have an eight-month-old in the house too!  Unfortunately, we didn’t take any photos, but she’s hoping to be here this summer for the Reunion.

*My daughters do a great imitation of Jack Sprat and his wife.  When eating leftover supper for lunch, Olivia had a plate-full of only spare ribs & rice while Sarah would eat only squash & broccoli.

*Still looking for the missing library books…  Sarah asked this morning, “Is there anywhere we haven’t looked yet?”  I don’t think so, but there must be since they have to be in the house somewhere.   I guess we’ll have to renew them to buy ourselves some more time.  When my brother was about this age, one of his library books went missing.  My mother searched and searched all over their house.  (Sound familiar?)  Eventually, it turned up under the crisper in the fridge where he had hidden it; he loved the book so much he didn’t want to return it! (Yes, I’ve checked there too!)

*I’m currently selling cheese (band), blueberries (school) and hanging baskets (choir).  The cheese really sells well, hanging baskets in Nova Scotia in February – not so much!  (They won’t actually be delivered until May.)  Of course there are 588 kids around town selling blueberries, so who’s left to sell them to?!  If you are interested in any of the above, just leave me a comment!

*I kept track of all our grocery receipts last month since we’re trying to be more frugal.  There are some things we’d like to do to the house this year on top of the maintenance we have to do and the money has to come from somewhere!  We spent $1277.63 on groceries, 11.63 eating out (I treated Olivia & Alex to a trip through the McDonald’s drive thru after their appointments at the IWK) and zero on alcohol.  D’Arcy freaked out a bit when I told him that number, but if you work it out, it equates to $6.87 per person per day.  We’ll see how we do this month…

*When we registered Sarah for school last week, we expressed an interest in French Immersion.  Yesterday, we had a call that enrollment for that program was lower than expected, so they have extended the deadline until March 10th.  Back when the boys first went to school, there was a lottery to get your child into a French Immersion class!  How things can change in only a few years!

*The other night, our seats at the supper table all got switched around.  Sarah was sitting in her father’s seat and he was sitting in Alex’s seat.  As a result, he was pretending to be one of the kids and started playing with his carrots, becoming a walrus, unicorn, etc.  The rest of the children joined in, brining much laughter while their mother told them not to play with their food.  Now they ‘re asking to have carrots every night…

*From the sounds of things, D’Arcy’s Thesis will not be defended in time to walk across the stage in May. Bummer. He’s still going to try to have it finished ASAP so that it is no longer hanging over his head. December graduation, here we come…

*We went curling at a fun-spiel on the weekends with our friends. We drew tiles to be assigned teams and I happened to be put on a team with a man who didn’t seem to realize that it was “fun night”. He got after me in the first game because I had my broom in the wrong place when he was delivering the shot. One of the other men on my team told me that no one ever wants to curl with this man because he’s an a**. Later, I was spoken to again, for talking to our friend Janice, who was on the opposing team in that game, as he was delivering his shot. We ended up winning both of our games and at the end of the evening, as he was leaving, this cranky man said to me, “You were pretty good – for someone who doesn’t curl!” Gee thanks! Can we curl together again sometime?? All in all the evening was really fun and it was great to get out on a “date”. I’m hoping that Evan, Alex, D’Arcy & I will be able to make up a team in the family curling event this year!

Back to regularly scheduled life…

An expensive day

February 7, 2009

We had an expensive day around here yesterday.  The girls & I were scheduled for haircuts in the morning, so I was running around getting ready.  I put my purse & Olivia’s epi-pen bag by the back door and went scurrying around some more.  I got the girls dressed, went to the door, and discovered the epi-pen bag open & empty.   With an increasing sense of dread, I asked the girls where the epi-pens were and Olivia took me into the tv room.  There, in the middle of the floor was one epi-pen, intact, in its case.  The other had been set off.  Aargh – there goes $120 since our insurance only covers two/year.

We went and got our haircuts although those only cost $40 for the three of us including tip.  We love Patti!!  Afterwards, we went to get Sarah’s glasses fixed (still under warranty – phew) and then to the Post Office to mail a baby gift to Russia.  We had packed five of the “classic” board books and some of the girls tiny special dresses into a Rice Krispie Box to send to baby Masha.  The parcel weighed 2kg.  To send the package surface was $40 which I thought was reasonable.  (It is going to Russia after all…)  Then the clerk informed me it would arrive in 2-3 MONTHS!  I really would like the dresses to get there before the poor child is off to school, so I sent them air – for $78.58.  I wonder if that parcel gets its own seat on the airplane…

As I’ve mentioned before, my laptop seems to have a virus and probably a super worm too.  My brother is going to clear everything off of it and reload everything from scratch for us, so I’ve been working madly saving, printing and deleting emails (I had over 2000 in my in box!) and moving everything I need to save onto removable drives.  D’Arcy went out and bought two 4GB drives to allow me to do that.  Luckily, they were on sale, so they were only $30.  Then we discovered that we have 14GB of photos & videos on our hard-drive!  So for $100, we’ve had to get a 16GB drive for those.  

Do I dare wonder what’s next?!

The Cost of Living

February 2, 2009

One of my goals for 2009 is to get organized again and go back to living on a budget, keeping track of what we spend on things.  When we found out about Olivia’s allergies & she started drinking Alimentum formula ($1.75/serving), I stopped keeping track because I figured we had to buy food that suited her diet, so why stress myself out about how much it was costing?!  It’s hard for us to set a budget for food and stick to it, because obviously we spend more when there are guests in the house.

I set up a spread sheet and kept track of everything we spent in the grocery store or in restaurants for the month and was astounded to discover when I totaled it all up, that we spent $1334.72 to feed our family this month!  Of that, $113.50 was eating out and $175.94 was on milk!  (Just cartons of rice milk, soy milk & cow milk – not including yogurt, cheese, coffee cream, etc.)  13% of our grocery bill is milk!  Crazy.

As it is, I don’t feel we go crazy on food, but we do try to eat as well-balanced a diet as possible, with lots of fruits & vegetables.  I don’t buy many snack foods or processed food.  I plan our supper menus for the month and write it on the calendar to help me plan and also so that I don’t get lazy, and instead of coming up with something to make, just order out!  Each week we make homemade bread & chicken stock.  We eat vegetarian at least once a week, and I pack lunches for D’Arcy & the boys. 

We do buy the boys lunch at school once per month (lunch is $3.00/day/kid) and they have made a deal with their grandparents that they can earn lunch money sometimes for being helpful to them.  It astounds me that parents think they can’t pack a lunch for less than $3.00.  If we bought both boys lunch every day in February it would cost $120.  That’s a lot of juice boxes!  

I’m not quite sure how we’ll cut back this month.  Fresh produce are very expensive here at this time of year.  Maybe more soup & casseroles?  I’ll let you know how it goes next month…

(On a similar note, we recently got our power bill and after installing the new CFL’s all over our house, we are using 13 less kilowatt hours of electricity per day than at this time last year!)

Heat

December 5, 2008

Heat has been a constant discussion for as long as D’Arcy & I have been together.  He will walk around in short sleeves & a vest in winter, and I often wear a sweatshirt in the summer.  As you can imagine, our home costs a fortune to heat.  We have about 3600 feet of living space plus a full basement and attic, and the whole house is on one zone.  D’Arcy finds it comfortable here at 19*C, while I find it chilly, and I like it around 21*C, but he finds it too warm.  Two degrees doesn’t seem like it would make a big difference, but it does.

Yesterday, when he arrived home, D’Arcy accused me of turning up the heat because it was 23*C in the hall.  I swore I didn’t and surmised that it was probably because I’d done eight loads of laundry and had the dryer set so that the heat gets pumped into the house instead of outside.  Today, however, I noticed that even I felt hot and it was almost difficult to breathe.  I checked the temperature and it read 24*C!! 

I haven’t caught her, but I would guess Olivia has a new trick…

I had a call a week or so ago from Clean Nova Scotia

They are currently running a program, offering to switch businesses over from regular incandescent light bulbs, to the new Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) – for FREE!  Two guys arrived this afternoon to install them for us.

Each bulb is supposed to save us $50 over its lifetime which is expected to be about seven years.  This means, not only did we save the cost of buying 40 of these bulbs, but we should expect our power bill to go down by about $275 a year!  We switched about half of the lights in the house over ourselves last year and have seen a difference in our power bills already! 

CFL’s are touted as being one of the smartest energy efficiency investments you can make and I love their slogan: “Save the world, one light bulb at a time!”