Devasting Fire hits Salvation Army

Some of my readers know this fact about me: I volunteer at the Salvation Army Food Bank twice a week. Yesterday the main depot that maintains our supply of food had a huge fire. Four million in food, clothing and toys are gone! These supplies would of been to help families in need in the GTA. There is an immediate need of FOOD…but where should you take it too. Your local depot is in need this week especially. You can find the one closest to you by checking out 211Toronto. Follow the links under foodbanks. If you are one of my far away readers and you are moved to help you can donate through the main Salvation Army site. Right now the need is for getting food to the local depots.

Menu Monday–Being Frugal and Healthy

Well here it is Monday again and time for me to plan my menu but wait..what has changed from last week. I have decided that I am tired of being the fat cheap momma. I am now the frugal healthy melting momma. I am using the Isagenixprogram to help me melt. So two of my meals a day are meal replaced with yummy chocolate shakes. Yes they do taste good! With that said I am replacing breakfast and lunch with them and having a healthy dinner with Roo while still watching my budget…after all my cheap, um frugal habits arent going anywhere. Roo is taking the Isakids multi Vitamin and getting a well balanced diet after all she is ten.

So avaiblabe for Roo for breakfast

Cereal( Rice Krispes, MultiGrain Cherrios or Corn Flakes), eggs, wholewheat toast, orange juice and maybe whole grain pancakes on Saturday. Fresh fruit: mango, strawberries, apples, and grapes are in the house.

For lunch ( she eats at school)- bagels, wholewheat rolls, cooked ham, turkey meat,chicken, cheese, yogurt tubes, salad fixings, and serving size pudding or fruit cups are in the house. As well chicken noodle soup or pasta are available too.

For our dinner menu-

Monday-Grilled chicken breast salad–making this with spinach leaves, chicken breast( sale item), tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, a 1/2 cup of croutons and a low fat dressing….lucky for me Roo loves salad!

Tuesday-Turkey Sausage(again sale item), wholegrain brown rice, broccoli

Wednesday-  Easy Veggie Chili with TVP, roll

Thursday- Chesse Omelettes, tomato slices

Friday-Homemade Cheese Pizza and a garden salad

Saturday- we have been invited out

Sunday- TVP taco salad

Now if you want to follow my journey as I melt you can read me over at Life and Times of a Melting momma. I will be blogging my journey to that healthier me.  For now I am off to fellow blogger, Canuck, and great giveaway host Laura’s to read what everyone is cooking this week.Thanks again for  the task manager Laura!

Strike Over- Thank Goodness

Okay this cheap mom is glad that the province stepped in and ended the TTC strike here in Toronto. With the strike hitting on a weekend it really wasn’t the commuters who were effected most but those that rely on the system as there only viable means of transportation: the working poor who could not afford the taxi fare, car rental or purchase of a bike. They  were the ones left with difficult choices. I want to say Thank God for decent weather while all this was playing out. That was the one silver lining.

This afternoon I am venturing out and this cheap mom will be hoofing it. I am walking over to a friends for dinner and conversation. Roo will ride her bike. My friend Amber and I are getting together to talk Isagenix. More and more as I think of the future I think about my health and the fact I need to lose weight. Is Isagenix  the way to go? I  am not sure but after trying out the shake and mineral supplement I am doing well with a 10 pound weight loss in a week. My only problem with this is its price.

Transit Strike

Well here in Toronto our Transit system the TTC went on strike at midnight with less then one hours notice to the city, it’s drivers, and most importantly us riders. As one who was out last night. Roo and I were out at a fundraiser till 10:30 this could of really caught us off guard if we had been out one hour later.To give this kind of notice after telling us we would have 48 hours notice of a strike  well lets put it this way : it is unethical!

As one who relies on transit to get around as I do not own a car( really living in East York) there isnt the necessity for one. Who does this strike effect most? The working poor, those on disability. and those on welfare..others can quickly come up with contingency plans and even buy a bike, take a taxi etc where as two days before end of the month cheques most will be left at home or hoofing it. For me I will be walking with Roo everywhere we go till this is over. I have no choice, taxis and such are out for this mom on a strict budget. There are many of us hurting over this strike dear workers who did turn down a decent deal. As is on a North American basis our drivers are rather well paid, have a decent package overall, and a union that  works for them not too shabby.

This mom this summer is going to buy a bike for me to  get rid of my reliance on the TTC, so guess they just lost a fare…on most of my trips except long ones or ones from Jan- mar.

 As for the short time line to this strike I think there are some higher ups who are going to have to start answering a bunch of questions because drivers, subway operators and us riders were all left in unsafe places at midnight.

Now for those who do have to get around :

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Carpool- Facebook, Craigslist, and Smart Commute are all good sources to use.

2. Bike- if you have the cash to buy one, you can get an adult one for less then $200 new or the Community bicyle network has some for about $75.

3. Go Train–now they are NOT putting on any extra service so be mindful of this and be prepared to wait.

4. As for the taxis in town they will be very busy so no appointments or prebooking allowed so call at least 30 minutes before you need it.

Menu Monday- More Cheap Cooking

With me really trying to tighten my budget with goals in mind.  Here is my Menu for the week.

Breakfasts-

oatmeal, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Waffles, orange juice

Lunches-

cooked ham, PB and J, chicken noodle soup, salald, lentil soup, bagel pizza

Monday-Veggie Noodle Chili, and biscuts

Tuesday-spaghetti pie and salad 

Wednesday-eggs, bagels, tomato

Thursday-leftovers

Friday-BBQ (hotdogs) and potato chips

Saturday- TVP  tacos

Sunday- Tuna casserolle, and salad

Now I am off to here to see what is cooking for everyone else this week.

Summer Vacation Planning on the Cheap

Roo and I are busy planning our summer and it looks like it may be a busy one..So far I have registered her for 1 week of sleep away ( got this for $50 because I applied early). I will be registering for one week of day camp as well and that will cost me another $50. Besides these two weeks of camp for Roo we will hopefully taking advantage of Via’s Great Summer Rates….kids go FREE! So for me and Roo to travel to Nova Scotia will cost us $349.26! It will be our very first family vacation. Roo has never been away for more then a weekend of camping.

We will stay with family so no accomodation expenses, things that are must do’s on our list:

-jaunt over to Prince Edward Island on the ferry and head to the National Park to the land of Anne of Green Gables. In grade 4 this year Roo has written about L M Montgomery and the island for 2 different projects.( Cost $70 ferry & $21 park entrance).

-Pier 21($13.50 for us 2) where Roo can learn about Canadian immigration and Citadel Hill both in Halifax (Family$30)

-The Bay of Fundy is another must hit.(free)

So we are looking at about $500 plus our train and we get our first family vacation in 10 years…

How are we going to afford it?  GST ($150), First ontario childtax credit($50), garage sale ($75?), saving $20 a check between now and then ($240), which should get us there…. so come late July we should be there, and be there for Natal Day(a Nova Scotia Holiday)….

Now thinking of summer there are lots of great Canadian spots to see. In my days before Roo I had travelling feet so what are my favorite Canadian spots or events?

  • Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia—a great spot to see the Atlantic from.
  • The Saint Lawrence Seaway–take a trip down the locks, this is a family history site as family land was taken to create these.
  • Algonquin National Park–I love to canoe the lakes here.
  • Stanley Park in Vancouver BC–you can get lost in here forever…It was here I first looked to the west and beyond.
  • Banff and Jasper are equal in great places to see in Alberta.

As for events:

  • The Busker Fest in Halifax–I volunteered at this event in its founding days and it still is a great festival.
  • The Canadian National Ex in Toronto-a family favorite!
  • Luminatio in Toronto-a new event in Toronto that celebrates the arts and its FREE for lots of great family fun.

There are lots of great ways to vacation here in Canada on the cheap. So get and enjoy this great place.

Works for Me Wednesday- Losing the Landline

Have you ever had one of those days? Mine started off like that today. I was writing this post when down goes the computer and I lost everything. It was a frustrating moment.But I took a deep breath and thought maybe I need a computer break so since it is a beautiful day here in Toronto I decided to take a short walk.

Now that I am home I can write about what is working for our family at this point in time-that is losing or better put getting rid of the landline. For our tiny family that is on the go it makes more sense to have a cell phone. So while I was at Lifefest we visited the Rogers booth we got great deals on phones ( they were FREE) and a good family plan. Roo has her own phone. This is used for her walking back and forth to school and for when I am out of the house (I really like her having her own phone with her for safety reasons here in Toronto). I have my phone-went with the Blackberry Pearl and it is a great deal and phone for me since it too was FREE. We went with a family plan so we share minutes and have FREE local calling after 6pm. We (meaning ME) have 1000 Canadian long distance minutes a month as well. With my mom in hospital and me job hunting it simply made more sense go goodbye landline and hello Family Plan.

Well I off to go and read over at what is working for everyone else over at Rocks in My Dryer. If you want read what is working for a hundred or more bloggers go here.

Menu Monday and Cheap Cooking

I am really trying to tighten my budget when it comes to grocery shoping. So going to try and cook on the cheap, the real cheap. Why? I want to save money for our first family vacation in 10 years.

So here is the menu for this week….

Monday-Kraft dinner and hotdogs, broccoli ($2)

Tuesday-Sweet and Sour Tofu, rice,red peppers($3)

Wednesday-Meatloaf, mashed potatoes,corn($5)

Thursday-Leftovers($0)

Friday-Cheese Pizza, and salad($5)

Saturday-Kid Pleasing Spaghetti, and Salad($4)

Sunday-BBQ Chicken Pieces, rice, carrots($3)

Now I am off to Laura’s to see what is cooking for everyone else.

A Frugal Gathering

Last night this solo parent got a treat! A night out! Where did I go? Well some of the gang from Frugal Shopper decided to meet. Now some of the women and men had met before. Some were newbies like me. We met at Yorkdale Mall at Casey’s. There we laughed, chatted and shared coupons. There were even freebies such as Pinesol, a knit washcloth, mug, note book, bag and pen. We even had giveaways thanks to the generosity of the gang. I brought home a wonderful makeup case full of Biotherm goodies. It was wonderful to meet so many that I had shared the forums with this last year. I came home feeling full and grateful for all who help me be cheap, well I mean smart.

Works for Me Wednesday: Tithing

Along time ago I learned a lesson about life. When we give God back what is his he returns and really does bless us. How do I know this? He has always met my needs. Even on the darkest days my basic needs have been met. I say tithingis better then fire insurance.  If you want to put God to the test I know this is one law of his that does not fail. I can tell you story after story in my life how he has provided. From finding sales just when I need something to how have I have learned to do things on the cheap. For me being cheap does not mean robbing God! Why would I when I have seen the benefits of the tithe. May I recommend putting Him to the test. For me this works!

Now lets go see what is working for everyone else today over at Rocks in My Dryer  .