Menu Monday

This week when doing my menu I am trying to make it a healthy and frugal while I work on healing an ulcer. Can you say that is alot!

Monday- Leftover Roast Beef with Barbq sauce, rice, carrots

Tuesday- my once a week breakfast for dinner- Omelettes, with veggies and no cheese

Wednesday- Fish Cakes, mashed potatoes, peas

Thursday-Roast Chicken (whole)(got 2 for $10), potatoes, and carrots

Friday- Homemade Chicken Soup, crackers, celery sticks

Saturday- we are eating out

Sunday-Glazed Ham( got 3 for $15 this week) , baked potatoes and corn

For breakfast I have oatmeal, corn flakes, Rice Krispies and yogurt on hand.

For lunch we soup ( chicken noodle, calm chowder, mushroom), or pb and j sandwiches, or grilled cheese

Snacks: fruit( apples 3 bags for $4), clemtines, bananas, popcorn or pretzels

While shopping and menu planning I shop flyer’s much of the time and then do my planning from there. This week I got great buys on pork, and chicken in the meat aisle. In produce the buys were apples and potatoes. I also got great prices on cereal, crackers, and soup. Here in Atlantic Canada prices are higher then further west here in Canada.

I am now off to see what everyone else is cooking this week. Why don’t you check out Organizing Junkie’s blog to see what is cooking elsewhere.

Fiscal Freebie

This was one of those week that started out well and well ended with me in the emergency room of a local hospital. I have an ulcer.Ouch! So I have to make some lifestyle changes but this for me has been a known fact.

This was something I was planning on attacking this year. My health and my fiances are top priority right now. On Thursday as I laid at home I turned on the TV and turned on Oprah who was in the midst of her Best Life week. Her guest was one of my favorite Money coach’s Suze Orman. Guess what? Suze is offering up her newest book for 2009 in a FREE download that you can find here. This offer is only good till Thursday.  I just downloaded it and as I rest at home this weekend will be giving it a read.

So who is your favorite money coach?

What Works for Me: Free Diet and Exersice Help

I said check back with me, and really this past week has been super busy at work so no posts. I have set a goal this year especially after weighing myself recently and finding out I really am a FAT mom! I weight 270 pounds and have decided that I really do need to get a handle on this NOW.

So what am I using because most of you know I am a frugal mom. I love Sparkpeople. It is a get website that not only helps one live healthier. It is also free! No need for paying for a program with the diet and exercise suggestions that come from Sparkpeople. I really enjoy the community on it, the recipes, the journals :all will help me get a handle on my weight and lifestyle issues.

Roo and I both weighed in this week. My daughter does not need to lose any. She weighs in at 82 pound, 4’11 at age 11. So she is doing just fine, but I think she really wants to encourage her mom to get healthy. I am walking every day even if it is just a little, but this is where I need to do more. I need to exercise more.

Now I am off  again to see what is working for others this 1 st Wednesday of 2009. Why not drop by Rocks in my Dryerfor what are usually a great array of posts on what works. I will also be blogging this year on the challenges of losing pounds frugally and trying to have fun doing it. So check back ok!

What Works for Me- No Resolutions

So many people this time of the year make resolutions and never keep them. I was numbered among them for a long time! No more!

Last January I did make 10 goals and made a map of how to get what I wanted and of the 10 goals I set I got 7 1/2 done.

What did I accomplish in 2008

  • a new job with good benefits
  • a new place to live with double the floor space
  • I did earn or win over $300 in free stuff
  • I read 8 good books
  • I started getting dental work done
  • I did enter lots of contests
  • I did pray every day

How is that for goal setting?  What didn’t I achieve? I didn’t give up diet coke and I didn’t lose the weight I wanted off. What goals am I setting of 09? Check back tomorrow and I will tell you about them.

Right now I am off to one of my favorite blogs to see what one of my fav writers says! Can we say yeah to the end of this year please!  What not visit Rocks in My Dryer with me this year?

The Days After

My first Christmas with family was good and all, really it was. I enjoyed time with family and my daughter Roo enjoyed her time with her teenage cousins. But more it made me ask some questions.

Christmas Day after the prezzies were all open and dinner was cooking, my sister and I took a walk. We started talking about how we feel about Christmas. In years past we were excited, we had the “Christmas spirit” but now we are actually glad to see the day behind us. No longer is there the sense that the day has meaning, or significance. It just isnt there. Infact Christmas Day we ended up at the movies because we wanted something to do. It just isnt the same anymore for me. I really dont buy into the notion that I need a special day to spend time with family, or that I need presents of any sort to enjoy life, or that I need a special day to remember Christ and his birth. So here I sit asking the question have I turned into a cynic?

The other question I am asking what is the sign of a true friend? Would a true friend at least wish you a happy birthday or merry christmas. I had what I thought was a great circle of friends in the big TO, since I moved here to Nova Scotia there has been little effort to stay in touch. I have called as my phone bills will prove yet since I moved here I can count on a few fingers the number of calls I have recieved. To be honest it has nade me a little sad. It seems these days people come and go in and out of our lives quite quickly and if you arent in the neighbourhood you are easy to forget. So how easy is it to forget old friends?

As I contemplate the end of 2008 I am feeling so many things. This year brought many changes to my life,some good, some not so good. What I feel is that I need a good kick in the pants to get some of me back. So how do I do this? I feel cynical, discouraged and plain ol frumpy. How do I get back the Hollie that loved life? How do I make the changes I feel are so needed?

Packed and Ready to go

packed As you can see the parcels and presents are ready to go.

My mom will be here in about 30 min to pick up my dear daughter Roo

Roo and mom are going to my sisters today and I will travel tomorrow after work.

This is my first Christmas here in Nova Scotia in 12 yrs!

I am excited to have time with them. So for Christmas this year there is 10 of us instead of the normal 2.  Well time to get things to the car!

Winter Time Arrives with a Bang

WinterWell today is officially the first day of winter. Winter is my least favorite season. But in my least favorite season you find my favorite day- December 25th…

Across Canada it is either cold or snowing today. Here we are to get a storm. Lots of snow is headed our way. Toronto is to get its 3rd dumping of snow in 5 days! That is what I call coming in with a bang!

Okay so what is good about winter?

  • sledding
  • sipping hot chocolate
  • the beauty of nature after a fresh snowfall
  • snow angels
  • snowmen
  • skating
  • skiing

Those are just a few things that I enjoy in this my least favorite season, they are what makes it bearable for me. What don’t I like? What makes it my least favorite?

  • slush and muck
  • freezing rain
  • ice storms
  • layering clothes
  • cold bedrooms
  • the flu that always seems to go around
  • blizzards
  • winter drivers
  • winter winds
  • shovelling

So for me it is a trade off, I will choose to concentrate on the good as long as I can. What about you?

Twas a Week Before Christmas

Twas a week before Christmas and in this house every creature is stirring even the mice. We are busy wrapping and getting ready for dear daughter’s first Christmas in many years with family. Literally under our tree is a box of presents ready to go. My mom and daughter will head to my sister’s on the 23rd. I will join them in the wee hours on Christmas Day. I have to work till 6:30 Christmas eve, then take the bus to Halifax. I was wishing I could get off early to go and see the Outdoor Nativity Pageant that they do every year with Roo. But at least I got Christmas and Boxing Day off where many of my colleagues are working.

This week has been busy and yes I have been dreaming of sugarplums…actually I have been missing old friends. I am sending out lots of emails this season, trying to reconnect. 

I did get to get my hair done on the frugal side of things. I love having a sister who is a hairdresser, and what makes this better she is a good one! My color cost $7! She also gave me a trim.

Roo has been coughing all week long so this mom has also been a nurse. No fever though, and no flem so that is the good side of this.

The child isn’t sleeping, she is much like I was at this age, the snoop, and the child with eyes full of Christmas wonder still, but as I wrapped my almost 11 yr olds presents this year I was thinking this is probably the last year she will ask for toys. This makes me a wee bit sad because it means my daughter has reached another milestone.

So this mom is ready for a mug of hot chocolate as I read some blogs and get caught up.

Preparing for the Holidays on a Budget

Well it is that wonderful time of the year and the holidays are upon us! This year did you realise almost all the worlds religions celebrate a religious holiday this month. In this house we celebrate two: on Dec 8th is Eid, then we also celebrate with family Christmas. So how is this common sense mom getting it together while keeping cents in her wallet?

For us it has never been about the amount of money we spend. It has been about creating time honored traditions and looking for opportunities to serve others. Our first tradition we have already done here. That is on the American Thanksgiving. We get up early have waffles and watch the Macy’s Parade. At the same time we are decorating our holiday tree. Many of the ornaments are homemade and celebrate the diversity of our family ( we have family members who are christian, Catholic, Muslim and Jewish). Other traditions include baking cookies together and delivering them secretly to whoever we decide, a new one for us this is going to Eid Prayer, another is opening pjs on Christmas eve and reading Twas the Night Before Christmas while having hot chocolate.

We also look for chances to serve. In past years we have participated in food drives and sorted food and toys at local food banks, prepared shoes boxes to send to children overseas, chosen to adopt a child from overseas, adopted animals, cleaned up a neighbours yard, and shovelled snow for those who couldn’t. There are many ways that you can find to serve and often time is the best gift you can give.

When it comes to Christmas presents we also have a time honored tradition: it is called a cash Christmas. I have never bought on credit when it comes to presents. I set a budget for each person: then I shop with that budget in mind looking for something that they would love. For my daughter she knows that Santa has a budget after all he has so many children he needs to prepare for. She has never gone overboard on her list. Last year I was also able to give gifts that I got for free. I had collected icoke points and shopper optimum points and gave gift certificates for the movies, and bath sets that I had gotten basically for next to nothing. For my preteen daughter this year her big request is a guitar. I have found one on clearance for $30. She will also get new pjs ( bought at Atlantic Superstore for $7), a MP3 player bought for $20 at Walmart, and a itunes card for $15 that I got for free. For her stocking I will be redeeming points at Shoppers Optimum. Maybe it will be a necklace or watch, I haven’t decided this one yet.  For gift giving for the rest of my family I make sure I shop within my means and I look for quality on a budget. Here are some generic ideas that do leave cents in the wallet

  • Homemade: one year I made soup mixes and put them in old fashion canisters I got for a $.25 each, another I made hot chocolate mixes and put them in mugs I got for $.50, another I got frames and decoratedthem with buttons and other nicknack’s.
  • Cookies with recipe card attached.
  • Git Certificates you made yourself for services you can do : ie gardening, sewing, babysitting, cooking , game time, reading, really the list is endless for this one.
  • a treasure box: get a small box at craft store: fill it with treasured notes ,etc..

So for me it just makes cents to do it  with cash and creativity, that way you really can enjoy the holidays with less stress after them.

Common Ways to Save Cents Shopping

I have been thinking alot about how hard things are getting for families and how to save cents, because we know those cents add up. Are there certain things that I have to buy new or can I get away and enjoy used just as much? There are certain things that I must have a certain brand  but when it comes to these goods I think it is because I am a smart or should I say wise consumer( I buy on sale or use copouns or both). Now most of what I buy is used. What tips or what is going through my mind as I shop?

For Clothing: I buy used mostly. I love the feel of a pair of well worn jeans. Now who really likes to break in a new pair? When I lived in Toronto at Value Village. I could often get a pair of jeans for under $10. Here in Rural Nova Scotia there is Frenchies. I was able to get my daughter a cute long skirt there for $3. Often I have used Kijiji or Craigslist. If I am buying new I  flyer shop, and was able to get brand new cords for $12 at Zellers recently. I also shop the clerance racks. For me all of these ways add up to cents in my pockets. I am looking for quality at a cheap price. I have ofthen picked up brands like Gap, Roots, Old Navy, and the like for next to nothing.  

For Furniture:There is not a NEW piece in my apartment. Now this means my apartment is a hodge podge but that again is ok with me but I guess if you are trying to achive a certain look then you might buy new. As for colors in my apartment. I use throws and pillows to bring things together. I was able to get the furniture in my new place for less then $100. One of the things I do look for is will it last, what repairs does it need?

For electronics: Most have been gifted to me( ie my current tv). Otherwise I do buy new. My computer was a great deal when I bought it two years ago ( for $349). I got the last one Staples had when they were clearing out stock for me it has more then served me well. My MP3 player was a gift with a purchase I made. Here I look for quality. I want it to last.

For my music needs I don’t buy CDs anymore if there is a song I like I can usually get it for free? How I enter and win enough downloads from contests through the year. I have not paid for music in over a year-Thanks to too many contests I have had over a 100 free downloads in the last yr.  If you like music don’t buy CDs download them it is so much cheaper!

For Food Shopping: When it comes to groceries this is where I skimp alot without losing quality. I coupon collect. Save.ca is great for coupons and then there are the  that line the stores. There are certain foods where the store brand simply will not do. We buy real Kraft dinner and Campbells soups only. They are the main stays of our lunches. Now for cookies I bake or buy on sale using coupons. I spend about $200 a month for the both of us and that includes cleaning and bathroom stuff too.

For Toy Shopping: Now when it comes to toys here is where you have to be careful. Our kids come first right! I buy new mostly–mostly at Walmart or Toys R US when on sale. We have bought some toys second hand ( like Roo’s kitchen), a barbie dollhouse, and  the like. We have bought games second hand at garage sales after checking for pieces. As for books we love second hand and make great use of the library.