Friday, August 12, 2011


Where to even begin? There really is so much going on that I never really get around to writing about it, though I really WANT to!
I've actually resorted to typing this at work! It's a Friday afternoon and no other staff are here for the rest of the day, so I might as well. I'll have my work all finished by the time I go home, barring any unforeseen circumstances, so why not? :)
Micah's 10th birthday was this past Monday. Having a summer birthday has never been all that easy for him as he usually ends up not having a party at all or having it in a different month. This year we had planned to do a party in early July, right after school got out for the summer. Because of finances and our terrible weather this year (seriously) he agreed to postpone it. Fast forward to his actual birthday and he had other plans. No longer was he content with a party, now he wanted the MONEY that I would have paid for a party!!
Didn't happen.
Instead, I took a couple hours off Monday morning so we could be lazy. I made bacon and eggs at his request for breakfast and then took the kids to daycare. Early in the afternoon his Grandma (The Ex's mom) picked him up and spent the day shopping. He had spent the previous day with his dad's family where he received his gifts, so Grandma wasn't spending any more. Micah used all of his own money. He came home around 6 that evening and we headed out again with his friend Lucas to see a movie (Captain America, which sucked by the way). Then there was cake back at home but by that point I think we were all spent. I sent the littles to bed and Micah and I set up his new mini (I mean the 10.1") netbook. He skyped with Nanny (My mom who's currently living in the US) for awhile and then went to bed. All in all, I think he had an OK birthday. He was super excited about his gifts and had fun with everyone.
Now mama needs a glass of wine and maybe a pep-talk for getting through these next few pre-teen years.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Though Ive been incredibly slack with my devotional time lately, I've noticed an increasing awareness of God in my everyday moments. It was only a little over a year ago that I began attending church again and 9 months ago that I fully committed myself to Christ. I've gone from living a life of anger, hate and hurts to truly knowing the grace of God and His peace that comes from a personal relationship with Him.

How truly blessed I am.

At least a hundred times each day I find myself face to face with His Truths, my sin, His Grace, my ugly, His Love, my inadequacy, His Teaching, my faults, His Peace. Everywhere I turn and in everything I do, there He is guiding me, teaching me, holding my hand. His gentle prodding has created a new me. Without my even being aware of it, I have become someone new.

Of course, I still have my faults. I am human and that is our nature. I yell and get angry more often than I should. I feel cheated and want to strike back when I feel someone is asking too much of me. I say 'no' when really all I should be saying is 'yes.' We are commanded to give of ourselves, to take up our cross. Follow the example of Jesus Himself.

I talked about this with my boys today after finding a blog post about the 'Duggar house rules.' In it they mention J.O.Y. : Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Even in instructing my children, My God is instructing me. I am so thankful.

Where would I be if it weren't for His Grace? What would our lives be like today if He had given up on me all those years ago (when I gave up on Him)? This is why I praise Him with every breath. Of all the hurts in this world, I know for certain that He will walk with me, gently pushing in the direction I must go. Never again do I want to be blind to His direction.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Ive forgotten how hard it is to work outside of the home as a single parent. I've never actually done it before, always being either in school or living with someone. So ya, makes sense why I wouldn't remember. It's a tough situation made even worse by my crappy child care.

Im up at 6:30/7ish to get the older two and myself ready. We leave the house at 8. My goal every morning is to leave the driveway by 8:07, which usually happens, though certainly not every day. Then I have 23 minutes to drop the kids off to school and drive to the other side of our neighboring city to the church where I work.

I spend between 8:30 and 4:30 doing mostly admin work, which seems right up my alley but also a little beneath my qualifications. I have no idea how much education the pastors get but Im willing to bet that my 6 years of post secondary is probably more. Im the new person and technically only a temp so it can be rough. Most people are really great and if I can look past the normal human behavior (which does not exclude Christians) and the office politics, it's actually quite fun. There are days where there is almost nothing to do and I've occupied myself so far by cleaning out the supply/copy room, my filing cabinet and now the small groups resource room...there's probably a lot more time in my near future that could be spent this way but unfortunately Im running out of rooms to clean!

Anyway, I get off work at 4:30 and fight my way through highway traffic until I get home, usually around 5. There are a lot of days where I don't leave until 4:45 or so and then Im rushing all the more because Im sure my babysitter is eager to get home. Unfortunately when I do get home there is that much cleaning, mail, cooking, school papers/homework and children's needs to take care of, that I don't actually get to stop until I put them all in bed at 8:30. It's like I work a full two jobs every single day. And here Ive been trying to work out how to pick up a part time job to help pay the bills! Doubtful.

So here I am, at the end of one of these marathon days with two children still awake after 9pm and a mountain of laundry that should have been done on the weekend. Though Im tired, my work isn't done.

Last year when I worked outside of the home at the university, I don't remember being this stressed. I didn't take a lunch and therefore was able to leave at 3pm to pick up the kids from school. But I was also spending an extra hour each day driving Jason to and from work while we tried to get by with one vehicle. Supper still had to be cooked, cleaning still had to be done, homework and school papers still had to be completed. How did it all work then? I know Jason was here and he must have added some help but he wasn't one for doing those tasks. Maybe just by keeping the kids out of my hair he was allowing me to just move that much faster, thus being done at an earlier hour...who knew?

I didn't mean for this post to be complainy. That sucks. Ha! I kill me!

See how tired I am?

...and it's only Monday

Saturday, May 14, 2011

may reads

I never used to understand how people could read multiple books at one time, but it seems that Im now one of those people. I enjoy reading and have books that fit my many different moods. Somehow it works.

So what Im reading for the month of May (all pics from Amazon):

Of course my bible

I happend across this series a few months ago at our library and I really like it. Im actually sad when I have to wait to go get another one. Ive finished both of these this month and just dropped them back off. :(

This one is right up my alley in so many ways. Maybe it's my sociology coming out, or my work in female empowerment or possibly just my humanity. The statistics are blunt and the stories are both heart-wrenching and hopeful. Definitely a recommended read for anyone.

A friend sent this book to me. It's actually four books, and it's too bad the picture doesn't actually show how thick it is. I've read only the first book "black." Definity not something I would choose for myself, but it's well written and so I can see myself finishing it. Probably not this month though.

This is a book Im sure most people have heard of and recommend. I couldn't stand it. Maybe it's because I only gave it a couple of hours but it just didnt do it for me. I would return it to the library but I have no idea where it is...sucky because I just got an overdue notice.

These next few dont get read as often, but I keep around so Ill pick them up when the mood strikes.

As someone who has never read the entire bible, I like that this book points me to scripture I might not otherwise have read. It's an easy read too so it's nice to have in my purse for those unexpected moments with nothing to do.

I dont even know where to start with this one. Ive been reading it for months. Its heavy and contradicts some of my natural tendencies so it's something I dont usually grab. I do want to read it though, just not in a rushed way. It's the kind of book that deserves your full attention; kinda like when I was back at university and took a course in much focus required!

Ive got a few of these books, each one focusing on a different aspect of mothering. I picked them up in Portugal though they're published in Canada. The conference I was speaking at was organized by the same people who are involved with this journal. Definitely academic.

My friend and co-worker gave me the next couple to read. I tend to put off those books that others recommend, given that everyone has different tastes. For this reason I've yet to open them. That will change tonight though given that Im down to only a few active books.

There's also a book that we're reading at work. I know I haven't yet discussed what it is Im now doing but Ill get to that in the next couple of days. The book is called "Incarnate Leadership" and we're almost through. We spend the first half hour of our weekly staff meetings doing a little study where we discuss each chapter. Being the new person and the lowest in rank, I dont contribute much. I would have added a pic, but blogger kinda sucks right now.

And that's it; my reading list. You're welcome :P

Friday, May 13, 2011


Maybe there's a silver lining in our monthly battle with pms.

A bit oxymoronic, isn't it? I know, but hear me out.

This week Ive been near tears on many occasions, Ive yelled at the kids, Ive fallen down the stairs (it was early morning and I was still half asleep), Ive gotten overly annoyed at the smallest things... this list could go on for awhile.

Today however, it seems the birds are singing and life is once again OK. The only difference is (TMI warning) that Im no longer dealing with the "pre" in pms. Im full into the "m" and couldn't be happier.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe my slant towards the super hormonal means that I just have it worse. I don't have a lot of physical symptoms (other than the sleeplessness) but the depression is a killer. Just last night I cried myself to sleep because of an irrational fear that I would die and my kids would become separated. Today? Im good. Its alll gooood. C'est la vie! The pressure that has bound me all week has been released and life is once again beautiful.

So I ask again; was going through this week worth this reminder of how good life can be?


Just don't ask me again in three weeks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Since Im so far behind in blogging, Ill try and get out a few posts before I loose the motivation again...though Im really not promising anything. < ----- Obvious negativity, not the best way to start writing :)

So. Portugal! It all seems so long ago that Im sure Id miss a lot of detail if I tried to actually recount it all, so lets look at some pictures, shall we?

Up there is the Castelo de Sao Jorge

And this is taken from the castelo de sao jorge of the place I was standing to take the other picture :D Over by the corner of the far away white building.

This man was good enough that I bought his CD...really enjoyed it; Pedro Godinho

Belem Tower

That would be me on the right

Monument to the discoveries

This is from Fado house #2


Coffee kinda sucks

Off season in Cascais

Thursday, April 28, 2011


when I actually have things to blog about (trip to Europe, meeting a new guy, breaking up with new guy, A child's birthday and party, finishing a 5 year project and finding a new job), I dont feel like writing? Odd...

Monday, March 14, 2011

January's Facebook Status Updates

At the end of 2010 I used an app on facebook that took a random sample of my status' throughout the year and put them into a collage. I thought it was really neat to be able to look back at the day to day and so I've decided to record my status updates here. These are from January of this year. I guess for those of you who use twitter, this would be the same idea.

January 1
Cant keep doing this alone. What happens when I mess up? Who's there to take up the slack? Im just not strong enough to carry this whole load on my own.

January 3
Wants to Scream!

January 3
Is it bedtime yet?

January 4
The boys aren't allowed to play video games until after lunch so they're going around with a playstation controller pretending to control each other's movements.

January 5
I know I should be doing something...

January 6
What's with everyone having had a crappy sleep last night? At least Im not the only one

January 7
TGIF, have some sick little boys today...everyone of them is either throwing up or sneezing on everything. Somehow I dont think Im going to get through this without getting something myself.

January 8
It finally looks like winter in NL

I feel like I should be doing something just because the boys are gone for the night, but it's so cold outside that I just want to wrap myself in a blanket and read a book. I think Im a 27 year old spinster.

January 9
Now we're all sick :( Always happens when I haven't gone shopping in awhile and the house is already messy. Just gotta survive today...

January 10
Thankfully I was able to sleep last night but Im still feeling gross while all the boys are better and hyper. This is horrible.

this is worse than labour

What a day, even when Im sick! Old drama from years ago brought back again and an offer to go to Portugal for work.

January 11
Me: "Jamie, why are you in your brother's bed?" Jamie: "Because my brother's squishy."

January 12
Wishing this flu would go away....I was almost better yesterday and here it is back again

January 14
Woke up at 6:45 to my neighbour snowblowing my driveway...he didn't even have his done yet. And thanks to my daddy and brother, I now have snow tires on the van...just in time! It's amazing how many people have helped me out in the last couple of days.

is heading to Portugal in a month....craaaaaazy

January 15
wishing my body would get the memo...its been a week, get over this flu already!

not a fan of this whole being single thing

January 16
sitting here waiting for my belly to settle so we can get ready for church.

early bedtime tonight....these kids have been fighting me and each other all day!

January 17
After 8 days, Im finally feeling almost normal today! Yay!

Back from a movie date with my Micah...he's so grown up!

January 19
Looking at flights for Portugal...this is gonna wear me out! Its like 36 hours of travelling, there and back.

Mmm hot chocolate with rainbow marshmallows

January 20
Needs 50 word bio by! Im terrible at writing about myself.

haha you can tell that my kids go to a middle class school...the principle sent home a pamphlet asking for donations to a silent auction. Suggestions? Flat screen tvs, a week at a vacation home in Florida or other destination, IPADS, netbooks...

January 21
Jeez only on a Friday! The doors were frozen on the van this morning and instead of waiting for me, the kids thought yanking on the handle would help...nope, it snapped off instead. We musta looked funny at that "middle class" school when the kids had to climb through to the front door :P

having doubts that I can learn enough Portuguese in 4 words so far? 3

Mothering and Motherhood in the 21st century: Research and Activism, February 18-19 Lisbon, freaking excited!

January 22
Cant wait for girls night tonight! Great friends, great food and....glow golf? hehe...gonna be fun!

January 23
Putting the kids to bed and having a quiet night at home...feels like this weekend flew by!

January 24
Oh what a Monday! Toilet training 2 little boys, driving people around 4 separate times, baking 5 dozen cinnamon buns and trying to learn Portuguese...eek!

January 25
Freezing! Wish I wasn't scared to light a fire, that was always Jason's department.

I hope Jamie is feeling better for mom n me tomorrow...poor little guy had a fever tonight and went to bed at 6

January 27
The boys school is closing in 20 minutes because of impending weather and now I have to get all four little ones into the van and hope that Micah's class is back from his field trip...yuck

has no desire to get involved in church politics. It's sad but I feel like Im either being asked to pick sides, being very obviously ignored/looked down upon or getting asked personal questions that have nothing to do with those asking them. I go to church to worship, learn and spend time with other Christians, that's it. A very kind thank you to those few who have worked to make my family feel welcome.

January 29
trying to put together a menu plan for the kids while Im in Portugal is insanely hard...there's very few meals that they will all eat. Suggestions appreciated!

Ive done it! Roasted chicken with homemade fries two separate nights, cheese eggs, pancakes with bacon, frozen homemade soup (for 2 kids and frozen pizza for the others), chicken burgers or hot dogs and one night of take out....not too bad :) and wont cost me a fortune!


Saturday night seems like a crappy time to be writing about research activities facilitating community engagement and activism...

January 31
home with some sick little boys today :(

"I have never loved so fiercely something that was capable of being this annoying" -Sundry

Eu sou perdido. Onde está o banheiro? Translation= Im lost. Where's the bathroom? hehe, should probably memorize this one

*I never want to forget the conversation from January 11, it still makes me laugh!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Keeping meal times interesting

Mommy Daisy wrote yesterday about being in a food rut and I totally know where she's coming from. I've had trouble adjusting to cooking for just the kids and I, now that Jason has moved out and am often faced with hungry kids and no plan.

I joined the discussion in her comments but that got me to thinking about what strategies I use to keep things interesting.

1. Plan
There really is no substitute for planning your meals and snacks when you have a family. Simply put, it's cost effective and efficient and can save your sanity too. That being said, I don't subscribe to the notion that in planning your meals you can't be flexible. For me, that really IS key.

2. Keep it simple
I plan for easy, simple meals whenever our schedule requires it. I really don't want to spend the little money we do have on take out or dining out so having go-to meals helps with that. You can use freezer cooking to have handy meals in your freezer, keep a stocked pantry with your family's favorites or think outside of the box a little.

A couple of months ago my kids were asking for McDonalds after church. Instead, I brought them to the grocery store and we picked out some fruits, yogurt and a treat. We talked about the price difference, health difference and even taste difference. My kids all agreed that the grocery store lunch was the much better option.

Another strategy I've been using lately is creating a snack tray that we can nibble at our leisure, instead of a formal lunch. This is really only for Sunday afternoons and since my boys are with their dad every other Sunday, they only get this twice each month, making it a treat. The picture below is from the first time I created such a tray and I can tell you that it was waaaay too much food! There's cheese, apples, carrots, grapes, crackers, tortilla chips/salsa and some rather boring sandwiches. If I were to do this one again, Id cut out the crackers and make the sandwiches a little more interesting.

3. Have fun with it
If you find yourself making the same old things then try to add a little fun to your routine. Create themed meals around certain days, countries or even colors. Try eating breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast. Serve dessert WITH dinner, just because.
And if you're really out of ideas, ask your kids. They're always full of creative suggestions that Im sure you never would have considered otherwise.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Two Weeks

It's been a full two weeks since I've written anything and for once, I don't care :)

I got back from Portugal in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and was up 3.5 hours later looking after my kiddos (who had the day off of school) and my nephews. I was tired!

I did pretty well, if I do say so myself and made it through until the weekend when I slept in and finally got around to cleaning up the house. It wasn't too bad when I came home but three days of survival mode sure made it that way.

Now the weekend is over and we're back to our usual schedule. Portugal was amazing and even though I was only there for five days, I felt like it was more than enough time away. I missed my guys like crazy and was getting a little too used to the city (having the same cab driver two separate nights kinda tells ya something)!

My pictures are all on another computer so Ill have to find some time to transfer those and post a review of my trip this week. Until then, Ill be writing about the flop that was February (in terms of budgeting) and whatever else comes to mind.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Another week without progress

Oh, how I hate reporting bad weeks! It's probably the reason why I stayed away from challenges and link ups for the past couple of years.

Anyway, this week was a dud. I spent a whopper of an amount at the grocery store, but did end up earning a little more than 140 air miles and coupons for 10 cents off each litre at the gas station. Those combined will save me about $28 ($23 in grocery certificates from air miles and $5 in gas).

I also redeemed 450 swagbucks for $5 at I earned all of these in the past month which is much faster than the year it took me to earn the last 450. Being in Canada, most things on swagbucks aren't available for me so I earn most of my bucks from playing tournament games. It works for mindless entertainment when the kids go to bed! I plan to keep earning swagbucks until I have about $30 at so that I can order a couple of books and get free shipping. One of the books will be for my mom's mother's day gift, so I've got to get playing. :)

The kids had two birthday parties this week to attend and I spent a total of $16.13 on gifts. One gift was from our stash and we re-used a gift bag with some tissue I had. I attached one of the 'cards' that I bought last year at the dollar store. They are probably more for teachers as they're just printed card stock with the name of the child and their birth date, but when I can buy a stack of 30 for $1, I really don't care! The other gift was a gift card for the local movie theatre worth $15 and a card to put it in. The girl was turning 10 and had a dance party so I thought this was more appropriate than something from our stash.

I leave tomorrow for a week in Portugal and Im doing everything I can to make it CHEAP! The travel and hotel are covered by my work and I received a $500 advance to cover meals and taxis. I spent a good portion of this on groceries for the kids while Im gone and meals at school. The lunches alone are costing $40 and that's only for 4 days! Im so glad I don't have to deal with those prices normally.

Anyway, I plan to visit a grocer when I get to Portugal to stock up on bottles of water and munchies. Breakfasts are covered at the hotel and lunches will just be quick snacks, if I can find them. I'll probably have to spend dinners as social gatherings with my co-workers so those are the meals I plan to eat out for. Our hotel is within walking distance of the conference and only about 5km from the airport. I will definitely be taking public transportation downtown to see the tourist stuff but hopefully Ill be sharing with a co-worker or be able to figure out the buses. All together, Im hoping to not go over the $500 for all of my expenses relating to this trip. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Songs for each Baby

Im a singer. Not a terribly good one, but in the eyes of my boys, Im a singer. Ever since they were small I've been singing to them pretty much daily.

Sometimes the songs are made up and silly and sometimes they're heartfelt and soulful. I guess it just depends on my mood.

What's neat is that with each boy, I had a favorite song that I sang to them from birth. Now along with their first year scrap books and little hair clippings, they have a "uniquely theirs" song.

For Micah it was a song we sang in church a lot while I was pregnant with him and then in the month after he was born. The week after he was dedicated we moved to our current province and I haven't heard the song since. I can't even find it online! Anyway, it was "Who is like Thee?" and I think I chose it for him because it reminded me of his name:

Micah \m(i)-c ah\ as a boy's name (also used as girl's name Micah), is pronounced MYE-cah. It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Micah is "who resembles God?". Variant of Michael. Biblical: a prophet and writer of the Book of Micah.

For Noah, it was the ABCs. I have no idea why, but isn't it ironic that he didn't learn his letters until 6.5? He also had a few others, but maybe since his dad had him most often, we didn't get into anything deeper?

For James it was "You are my sunshine." How fitting, since he was 6 months old when Chris moved out. I still sing this one to him, and he loves it.

Owen's is "Twinkle Star," as he calls it. Whenever he is hurt or feeling sooky he asks me to sing it to him. Occasionally he'll allow me to sing something else, but this is pretty much THE ONLY song he likes. Silly guy. He wouldn't let me sing anything to him his first year or so and then he fell in love with this song.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The saved quarter challenge:laundry

Penny is talking about ways to save money on laundry over at The Saved Quarter this week and I have to admit, there are a few things that I could improve on.
I already use only cold water, use less detergent than recommended, wear my clothes 2-3 times before washing them and do all of my laundry back to back.
I am guilty though of forgetting about a stray load in the washing machine and having to re-wash it later and I have never used a clothes line. It's too cold here now to get much dried outside, but I think I may actually use one come spring. I have one in the back yard and I have clothespins, I've just never bothered.
I also plan to look into the dryer ball that Penny recommended. Owen has extremely sensitive skin and unless I can find some alternative to sheets or bars, my clothes will continue to be static.
But for what I AM doing and have been doing for awhile, that wasn't mentioned? I buy up detergent when it's on a deep sale. Last month I bought four bottles of the detergent that we use at $2.99 each. Given my son's sensitive skin, I have to buy a brand that is a bit more expensive than the others and so this was a great deal! Each bottle lasts about a month and that's for my family of 5, plus my brother's laundry. Four months of expensive detergent for $12 is my way to save a little on laundry. What's yours?

Student of the Week

Sunday, February 6, 2011

So close....!

A couple weekends ago, while watching me fold laundry Owen told me he wanted to wear underwear. So on they went!

He did fairly well in the days following but by the next weekend we had gone back to diapers, mostly because of poor planning from Mom. I didn't pack a bag with enough underwear and pants for Owen's night with his dad so there wasn't much that could be done. Then with Jamie being so sick, I just left it.

During, the last couple of days, Owen has again initiated the training on his own. While wearing a diaper, he came running to me and told me he needed to go to the toilet, then insisted on underwear! He is at the point now where he usually stops the pee as soon as he feels the wetness in his underwear, and comes to tell me. It's enough pee that he needs to be changed, but not enough that I'd consider it peeing in his pants. He's doing well, and all I've had to do is be willing to take him to the bathroom and wash all those clothes :)

Maybe I've actually learned a thing or two after training those three other boys!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow Days

What is there to do on days when it looks like this outside?

Four silly preschoolers make their own fun!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dollar Store Fun

A few months ago while browsing the craft aisle at Dollarama, I noticed these felt boards:

You might notice that both the snowman and person are wearing summer clothing in a winter scene and that there is a rather strangely dressed person labelled "zoo." To explain, I bought three sets, a winter one, a camping one and a zoo one. Then I dumped all the little felt pieces into a large ziploc together and let the kids go with whatever they come up with.

The first one here was done by my 4 year old nephew and the second was done by 6 year old Noah (who also took the photo). He thought it was hilarious that the person was in a zoo with 3 suns (notice how he used fire?). My nephew got a kick out of using a scarf to look like a giant mushroom on top of a mountain and dressing a snowman in overalls.

So much fun for $6, which satisfies my desire to live a frugal life this year and gives the kids something to do when winter boredom hits.

Is it giving up...

...if I cut the pantry challenge short to take advantage of a special offer at a local grocery store?

I was going to shave off a few days anyway because Ill be leaving for Portugal the day the pantry challenge was to end, but I think I've given up already. A local store is offering 100 airmiles if I spend $400 before February 17. I received the email weeks ago and at the time, didn't think I'd actually do it, but given that I've spent $100 there so far, maybe I should just go for it.

For reference, 120 airmiles is good for a $20 gift certificate at the same store. I'd be collecting the usual 20 airmiles for that $400 spent, plus the bonus $100, so in essence I'd be getting $20 to do this.

Now obviously, I don't plan on just spending the money to get the discount, regardless of the cost of the items Im buying. THAT would be silly. The $100 that I've already spent was only on sale items and given that there are two separate sale weeks left, I could probably stock up pretty well on the sales offered this week and next.

To make it easier, I stumbled across Life As Mom's free budget staples check list this morning. I guess I didn't really stumble, as I subscribe to her via google reader, but whatevs. Now I can go though the store's flier, look up relevant coupons and check things off the list as I go. If all goes right, I can stock the house for the week that Ill be in Portugal and build my pantry staples, lowering my grocery bill for March and April.

Whatd'ya think?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Je m'appelle James

Friday was Jamie's first day of Kinderstart. He was sick so it was a little tough for him to get excited but we had been talking about it for weeks and he woke up knowing what day it was.

I had my cousin come over to watch the little ones and headed out just Jamie and I for some big school fun. He didn't stop talking the entire drive! When we got in the school, we found name tags on all the lockers, so it was easy to locate his new classroom.

I had him find his name and stand in front for a picture. Poor guy was really not in the best of health, but you can see the excitement in his little face :)

When the teacher opened the door, we all went in and greeted her, then found a seat to read some books that were spread out on the tables. It's so neat to see who's going to be in his class next year! At our table we had Owen and Isaac and it'll be interesting to see if they become friends down the road.

Madame introduced herself and asked all the kids to join her at the front of the class. I was happy to see that James didn't hesitate. As is usual, he talked almost non-stop while she was talking and was very active in participating. Owen and Isaac were also very active and Im sure they'll be a tough little bunch!

We made snowman pictures and the kids sang songs and listened to a story read by Madame. Then we got to bring home a bag FULL of goodies (books, paint, modelling clay, crayons, pencil, construction paper, journal, scissors, glue stick).

Then, being one who normally feels guilty about not spending enough time with each child, thought I'd take advantage of the alone time with my 3rd and bring him to McDonalds.

It was a good day and one I hope to repeat with the other four kinderstart sessions this year.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Saved Quarter Challenge, January Recap

Oh how I don't want to write this post!

I've done terribly this month and as much as I want to blame it on a stomach bug that had me on the couch for a week or the actual FLU that has gone through three children, making going out very difficult, I can't. Im definitely not blameless in my utter failure this month, seeing as how I went out with friends twice and had non-budgeted takeout three times.

So the numbers: (forgive me, I've forgotten all of my HTML)

____________Budgeted__________ Actual __________Difference
Rent ........................1400 ..............................1400 .................................0
Renter’s Insurance .26................................. 25.67............................. -0.33
Vehicle Insurance ..317................................. 317.................................. 0
Power .....................250................................ 200................................ -50
Communications ...150................................. 100 ................................-50
Food/Household ...300 ..............................424.62........................... +124.62
Gas ..........................120.............................. 156.50............................ +36.50
Kids’ Allowances.....67..................................... 0................................... -67
School...................... 40................................. 34.45............................. -5.55
Birth/Holidays......100................................ 10.37............................. -89.63*
Giving.......................88.................................. 109................................. +21*
Micah’s Cell.............22.................................... 18................................... -4
My Spending...........25.............................. 169.85.............................. +144.85
Bank Fees................10................................ 22.06.............................. +12.06

Totals.................... 2915..................... 2987.5................. +72.52

Total Income 3469

Total Debt payment 480 (pretty much all of this went to family members that I owed money to)


  • Power/Communications, I reduced these to cover other costs during the month. Yes this is a slippery slope as now I have to come up with the short fall next month. I realize how crappy this is.

  • Food/Household, Given my friend's post last week where she did a little experiment and found that Canadians pay more than double for the same grocery items as Americans, Im a little happier about this number. There was about $50 spent in take out this month that I'd like to avoid next month and I know I could have done better with sales. There's still two weeks of the pantry challenge left so maybe that will help.

  • Gas, public transportation has been on strike since November so I've been driving a little over 50km each day to drive my brother to and from his university. Thankfully the drivers went back to work yesterday so my gas costs should decrease. To be fair, he did pay a large amount towards his gas usage, but it didn't quite cover it.

  • Kids' Allowances, The kids and I discussed how we'd have to look at their allowances and how much we were spending on school things (thanks to Penny's suggestion) to rethink their amount. For now they understand that they're in transition and so I haven't paid anything in allowances. Micah ordered a chess game for his phone and thanks to a $30 start-up credit he had some money left over. He decided to put this towards his allowance as well as a book order. There have been a couple trips to the store in which I gave them a bit of change as well. That money was added to the household budget.

  • School, See above

  • Birthdays/Holidays, this category was supposed to grow each month with whatever wasn't spent on birthdays so that by the end of the year, I had some to put towards Christmas. Instead I had to take the money from here to cover other costs discussed below. We did have three family birthdays this month, a schoolmate's birthday and I bought my nephew's gift early. All of that for a little over 10 dollars is pretty good if you ask me! I did it by cooking/baking things for my family members on their birthdays and using our gift stockpile for the schoolmate's birthday. All I really had to buy were a few ingredients and my nephews gift which was on clearance for $5.

  • Giving, This category is a little muddled as I discovered that I haven't been paying anything to The Mercy House. I need to look at what happened and send 5 months worth in February which would mean 125. I gave a little more at church and sent some money for my sponsored child's birthday this month though, so that's why this is higher than budgeted.

  • Micah's cell, Due to the start up credit, I only had to purchase a smaller prepaid card this month so that his credit wouldn't expire. Ill be doing this until the credit is used.

  • My spending, Oh this is where I hate to give details! Im going to Portugal this month and so I decided that shoes without large holes were a bit of a priority, since Ill be doing a lot of walking. I was able to buy some for $25 as well as a winter jacket for $39 because mine has been worn out for years. Without Jason to shovel the driveway, I realised that Ill be spending a lot more time outside in the cold this year, which made the jacket a necessity. Then there were the books I picked up for my trip and the two girls nights which involved restaurants/movie/coffee shop. For all of this, I think I still did fairly well at keeping the costs down. Plus I have a free admission to the theatres that I bought at a reduced rate with my meal. I can use this for a future girls night or a gift!

  • Bank fees, I never have to pay extra fees! This month though due to poor planning I had a bunch! Totally have to fix this in February.

I'll be posting a revised budget for February tomorrow and you can be sure it'll include some of the lessons I've learned in January.