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  .

Gardening on the Cheap

 With the weather finally getting warmer here in Toronto it is time to think of gardening. On the weekend my favorite daughter Roo decided she was going to do yard work. I am really impressed how clean our garden is. It looks good for mid April.

As we look at gardening this year we will be doing mostly vegetables and fruit. We will have a few flowers though, and will be doing some herbs as well.

What is planned to go into ours: Tomatoes(both full size and cherry), strawberries, lettuce, red peppers, pumpkin, green onions, and for herbs we will do cilantro, basil, and parsley. Really a very basic garden for Toronto. How do I do it and do it on the cheap?

1. First I start everything almost from seeds, that is of what I buy. The only exception is what I get from friends  and that will be started strawberries and tomatoes. Seeds are a cheap way to go and your children get to watch the whole growth cycle.

2. Water in the eveing or morning only, and water roots not leaves. First it is the roots that need the water, not the leaves, as well by watering in the early morning or on in the eveing it takes longer to absorb and is better for the soil and plant and you dont end up wasting water. It is also good to do it at this time to save on the pocket book.

3. I also keep my tools on the minimum and to be honest I got them all for free or from the Dollar store. There is no need for expensive tools.

4. NO chemicals…most of the things you need to fight pests,etc can either be done organically or by using your compostable stuff. For weed killer try PULLING them. Just think of it as a workout.

Well it is evening here and with the weather being so nice a perfect eveing for a walk. So here is hoping that some of you are getting your gardens ready just like me. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifefest 2008

earth-hour-015.jpgWOW! what a haul of freebies! Attended this years fest with my daughter Roo and we came home loaded with stuff. If you are going may I suggest going to www.lifefest.ca and doing the survey as it gets you great freebies that cant be found otherwise! It really was a fun day out for the two of us. Roo loved the Garnier dome and getting her hair done (we got some good  ideas about adding volume. Dr Scholls is giving free foot massages and they are good! Lots of food samples to keep you nourished as you go on your way. We really did have a good time and it was a cheap day out as Roo was free to get in the door as she is under 12.

Shopping When You Dont Want To

Well yesterday was intersting in my house. Miss Roo decided to play around and was jumping on my hideabed. Guess what broke? It wont even open.

So n0w I have to shop for somewhere to sleep for me. Last night it was an uncomfortable sleep on the brown loveseat. I have posted on my local frecycle that Iam shopping for a fouton and frame as that is what I think will fit in the space. I was also looking at the ads on craiglist. Now if I go the new route I will be looking at $200, now that is spending that was not in the budget.  Ever had a week where your budget just got thrown out the window?

The Fork in the Road

So much has been on my-mind lately as Roo got her report card this week. It reflected what I already knew deep down. At school she is not really learning as her accommodations written into her IEP are not followed. Really if they still failed kids she would be in a failing year. She is below grade level work in every area but Phys Ed and French.

So what is a parent of a special needs child here in Toronto supposed to do? Roo has an LD. She needs support so she can get caught up and stay organized. This is not happening. There are other children in the school who need the resources more. It makes me sad. I want more, better for her.

So what can this cheap parent do? Tutoring is expensive, the private school option is out of the question, so that leaves me with either entrusting her to a system that is questionable or bringing her home to home-school her.

It would mean me and her being together really 24/7 for the next year while I try to do what teachers have not done. It would mean committing to another year out of the work force.  If I am going to do it though this is the year to do it. It is her last year of elementary education. I want her to be well prepared for junior high. This is one of those fork in the road choices. It will have consequences for the both of us no matter which path I choose.