Friday, October 17, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

And then there were 3

Stormy Seas
So my big news is that my 16 (17 this coming Friday) stepdaughter has moved in with us on a full-time permanent basis.  Thanks for everyone's kind thoughts - I didn't want to share until she was actually physically here.  It was unexpected but welcome as we have lived full-time with her brothers but only ever part-time with her and now have a chance at molding and shaping her into a young adult.  It took an entire family effort including assistance from her brothers to get her here from Alberta when I was in B.C. and her Dad was in a different part of Alberta working last week.

We had Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend with my oldest Stepson, Stepdaughter and my Mom.  We ate lots of turkey and watched lots of movies all warm and cozy in the house.  The weather has been stormy with lots of wind and rain.  Yesterday, we took a drive to the ocean to see how high the waves were and spotted these kite surfers taking advantage of the conditions.
Kite Surfers, Goose Spit Park, Comox B.C.

Kite Surfers, Goose Spit Park, Comox B.C.

There has been a million and one things to do but the most important goal was to get her back into school quickly and she starts tomorrow.  We are somewhat fortunate that we had a teachers strike in B.C. that only ended a few weeks ago so she is not that far behind the other students here and will only have to play catch-up for a few weeks of missed term.  Life - you never know what is around the next bend!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Curve Ball

Life has gone a bit crazy this week.  I will not be posting for a week or two as a result.  We have major changes coming to our household I need to prepare for - no one died, and hubby and I are just fine but that is all I am can share at this point.

Good thing we moved near the Ocean where we can find some peace and tranquility...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Winning The Grocery Battle

Goose Spit Park, Comox, British Columbia

Well, I have survived possibly one of the longest months of the year work-wise.  Tomorrow is my last day at the part-time job and I will miss the people but I need some more time for myself.  Although we have been working like mad at our company as well, we did manage to take a walk on the beach this past Sunday just as the fog cleared off.  The crabs are still here, it hasn't gotten cold enough for them to start burrowing in the sand yet. I like to overturn rocks and find the creatures beneath, but try and leave them in peace once I am done taking pictures.

Crabby-pants on a stare down
I did manage to pull off a lower than normal month grocery bill this month, although technically I am no longer posting monthly results I had to share this.  Usually our average monthly grocery bill is $450 including non-food items like cleaning, personal grooming and over the counter meds but this month I ended up at $288.26 total spent.  It helped that hubby was gone away on business for part of it but I also just ate what was in the cupboard.  At the every end of the month I came across a huge amount of meat that was nearly half off - paid $55 for over $100 worth of steaks and chicken parts from the expensive grocery store that I always check for reduced meat stickers.  After buying my Thanksgiving turkey yesterday there is absolutely no more room in the freezers for anything.

The $288.26 was what I paid out of pocket.  I also managed to redeem $92.25 in free groceries through points, store freebies and coupons - plus - I still have points left to redeem in future!  Hopefully October will be just as low, as apparently this belt-tightening is paying off. 

What we don't spend in groceries will be placed in our travel fund.  As always, we try and save on those things that don't matter so we can use that money for doing things that make a difference in our lives like travelling.  In this case we have just booked two nights away in late October to a nearby island for some peace and quiet. Due to working out of our home sometimes you just have to get away to take a day off!

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Pumpkins at Sieffert's Farm Market, Comox

Fall is such a magical time of year.  The days grow shorter, the grass slows growing, and the shadows increase in size.  The leaves are starting to turn, and this week we experienced some of the first rain showers of the season, badly needed after an extremely dry summer.

We have Canadian Thanksgiving much earlier than the USA, this year falling on October 13th.  The above pumpkins are all ready to go for it.  I have been on the lookout for a cheap turkey deal, and later this week I will be picking up my 95 cent per pound young utility turkey which tastes great, sometimes they are missing a bit of skin or a wingtip.  My family could care less what the turkey looks like coming out of the stove, we don't carve it at the table, what only matters is that it tastes good.  My eldest stepson is flying in for Thanksgiving weekend this year, a first for us as usually we have a very quiet crowd of 3  which includes me, hubby and Mom at dinner with tons of turkey leftover.  He works out and is a healthy young man so I expect we will not have a lot of leftovers this time round.

This week a friend gave me a bunch of squash including zucchini, and a large bowl of tomatoes as she was overwhelmed by garden produce.  I had too much for us so passed on a couple of the squash to Mom along with some cilantro from my yard.   I had a bumper crop of cilantro this Fall, finally figuring out how to make sure I have some all summer long.  Cilantro doesn't like pots, does much better in the ground, and must be planted in waves so that when it starts to go to seed you have another round ready to go.  I happen to be a cilantro lover so it is a staple in our house, being thrown into every pot of rice and most soups, salads, and salsas.

I work my last week of the part-time job this coming week ending on Friday.  I will miss many of the people I work with and hope to maintain friendships after it is over but will love the fact that I will actually have some time to breathe again.  September is one of the busiest months of the whole year for our company and this week was no exception.  Yesterday I worked in my jammies until 3pm then finally took a shower and made a big pot of chicken salsa soup (yes, there was cilantro in it :))  In case anyone wonders, our company does sales training and consulting and I am in charge of administration which includes making powerpoint presentations that hubby delivers.  We try and be creative so that it is never boring and that takes a lot of effort and time.  Thank goodness I did so much cleaning earlier in the month as none has taken place this week at all.  We also do all our own printing with personalized binders with our logo on them.  We have figured out a way to make our very tiny company of 2 look stunningly professional, and as a result, business is booming.

Thanks to all the Anniversary well-wishers, we did make it out to dinner and it was very nice.  Next year for our 10th Wedding Anniversary I hope to plan something more, but it will depend on our business around that time as expect September to be extremely busy every year.

Plans are afoot for December, we already have our flights to and from Edmonton booked but from there we are spending one week somewhere hot and tropical, likely Mexico.  This week with my second to last part-time work paycheck I banked the last of the Christmas gift money and topped up the travel account.  There should be enough in there for whatever we decide to do but as I am waiting for a sell-off that likely will be booked within 6 weeks of travel for best rates, the money will sit in the bank account for now.  I will keep tucking money away all fall, and if there is too much, the remainder will go towards future travel adventures.  You can never have too much money in the travel fund lol.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


9 Years Ago I married the best man on the planet - to 99 More!  We are off to quietly celebrate at a restaurant as my Mom gave us a gift certificate.   Our wedding was a quiet affair with 12 people and over in 12 minutes.  Our anniversaries tend to be the same - no pomp, no circumstance, - a glass of wine and a nice meal with the one we love.  Cheers!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tomato, Tamata

These yummy tomatoes were a gift from a coworker from my part-time job.  I am sure we will be friends after I leave that job, she and her husband are funny and kind people.  The green ones are called Zebra tomatoes and are fully ripe.  I shall be having a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich for dinner to try them out.  It is funny how free produce can make you so happy!

I managed to get one more job off the "get done before hubby gets home" list - cleaned out the fridge.  I cannot recall the last time I cleaned it although it always get a quick wipe weekly, it still needed a really good thorough cleaning.  No pictures of that, just lots of veggies, eggs, cheese and booze (yes, booze!)

I cashed in $20 worth of Superstore points (Loblaws) today to get even more veggies so the fridge is full for hubby's return on Friday.  Only 2 more sleeps!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

On The Path to Belt-tightening

This fall I am getting back on the belt-tightening bandwagon, in the fiscal sense.  I have three weeks left at my part-time job.  That job has added an outside income to our household taking pressure off our business.  Now that the business is doing so well instead of increasing my wage, at least until next year, we are leaving it as is and instead having the business pay back in a lump sum part of a loan for monies we had used for initial business start-up costs.  That amount will be approximately 80% of what I would have made for the next 3 months at the part-time job.

I am like a squirrel, with each pay tucking away dollars for our various goals and dreams - travel, Christmas fund, weekends away sealed pot, and big bill fund (house taxes, car insurance, house insurance).  I don't want to decrease any of the monies that I put there so there will need to be a 20% belt tightening to make it work.

With hubby away I shut the furnace and AC off completely (it was 25 degrees celcius here, yes, we on occasion are still using AC as we work from home and furnace has not been used since early June).  I have gone around the house unplugging anything that is not being used or that must be left plugged in to save on electricity.  It is surprising the amount of energy you use for just keeping things plugged in.  Since August we have been eating anything that is a wee bit older in the freezer so that we can eliminate any unnecessary food waste.

I updated and organized my coupon folder, although I haven't been using many coupons this year.  Still, there were a few I could have taken advantage and didn't.  As my Mother always says, every little bit helps.  When he is away on business I virtually stop buying groceries, only eat what is in the fridge that needs using up.  The only time I stray is if there is a "too good to let pass" deal that comes up.

In the last several months we had gotten into the habit of eating out more, and that is going to need to slow down.  Once I am working only from home again in October there is really no excuse for not making sure we eat healthy, well balanced home cooked meals that are better for us and much easier on the pocketbook.

Anyone else out there doing some fiscal belt-tightening this fall?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Not Happy/Happy

Lots of things on the brain lately:

Not Happy:  Ordered 100 copies of hubbies book(just published) off amazon for our business.  Amazon shipped them in 3 separate shipping boxes with 3 separate shipping numbers.  DHL called with one of the numbers to advise duties were owed before they could deliver.  Went online, paid, they delivered one box and left notice that the other 2 still had monies owing - inefficiency at their best.  Not sure who to get angry at on that one, no one let us know about the other 2 shipping numbers.  What a pain in the petootie!

Happy:  Weather is beautiful and sunny 22 degrees Celcius while most of the rest of North America seems to be having cold weather (hubby is in Edmonton where it snowed on Monday lol)

Not Happy:  Who thought it was a great idea to book hubby on a 12 day business trip?  We have total control over this yet didn't think about the emotional consequences. Never again, 7 days max.  We own the bloody business, we can make sure this doesn't happen again.

Happy:  Hubby will, in fact be back just in time for our 9th Wedding anniversary.  Now, what shall we do?  Dinner out maybe?

Not Happy:  Neighbors keep letting their cat run wild in the neighborhood.  While I like all animals, including cats, I happen to love my birds and the cat has taken to stalking them at my feeder, making me put the run on him every time he steps in my yard.  So far, bird 1 cat  0.  Fingers crossed they continue with their good luck.

Happy:  Going thrifting/antiquing with Mom tomorrow.  I really like having Mom so close that we can make plans, even when life is busy.  If I find anything cool I will be sure to share it here on the blog.

Not Happy:  After cleaning all the carpets in the house and managing to get all the yard work done on Wednesday night (mowing and weeding) my fibro gave me a major setback Thursday Friday.  I feel like poop and have spent most of both evenings attached to my laptop watching movies with zero energy.

Happy:  Scored yet another free box of cereal today using my Quality foods card on their Freebie Friday - I love this promotion - this time Peanut Butter Cheerios.  I don't think it sounds that tasty but hubby will likely love it.

And that, my friends, was my week in a nutshell.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Force To Be Reckoned With

Hubby flew out of town yesterday afternoon on a 12 day business trip.  I drove straight from the airport to the store to buy carpet cleaning solution.  Between yesterday afternoon and this afternoon, in addition to working both my part-time job and company job I managed to get the ENTIRE house carpets cleaned with our steam cleaner.  I only moved the dining room furniture as the rest is too freaking heavy.  Total cost?  $32 in cleaning solution.  I also managed to organize our kitchen junk drawer.  I have a large mental list of a  bunch of items that I hope to accomplish before he gets back.  Frankly, I am a little scared to write it down on paper.  For someone who lives with a chronic fatigue disease (fibromyalgia) it sometimes even surprises me how much energy I have on occasion.  It helps that I didn't need to cook or do any other chores.  I ate left over BBQ yesterday and leftover rice today.  I am trying to eat up items in the fridge so I can do a massive clean in there as well (its on the big mental list).  After finishing the carpets this afternoon I went and picked the very last of the blackberries and have an apple blackberry crumble (to share with Mom) baking away in the oven as we speak.  It is a wonder what you can get done when you don't do any of your regular chores :)