Uncle Jon

April 19, 2009

Evan found this link to a video Uncle Jon (my brother) posted on YouTube.  It was part of an environmental video contest, and Evan was very impressed with it.

The video he had actually been searching for when he found the one above was this one, called “When I Grow Old’, sung by Mike Allison and written by Uncle Jon. Evan & his friend Mira were the young stars of the video.  Pretty cool! (And the song is great too!!)

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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!)

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!”