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.

Works for Me Wednesday- Getting Ready for Earth hour

So what works for me this week is me getting ready to celebrate Earth Hour with Roo. What are we going to do? Well let’s see since 8pm this Saturday night it is dusk her in Toronto Roo and I have decided to have a raw dinner and play board games by candle light…no going anywhere just us girls at home this Saturday night. Now if you are in Toronto there is going to be an eco friendly concert downtown but if you go please don’t drive use the better way:TTC or bike or walk. Now off to Rocks in my Dryer to see what is working for everyone else this week. Are YOU doing earth hour? If yes how?

IPRC, and the TDSB and a LONG Wait

Some of you know this, I am the parent of a little girl in grade 4 in the Toronto District School Board. Today we had Roo’s annual review. I asked questions specifically about things that will help her as she has an learning disability as well as walking the Asperger’s/ADHD line ( which means she is dually tracked LD/behavior for IPRC purposes).

 I have been asking for an OT assessment since the beginning of the school year as my daughter writes at about a early grade 2 level( this has not improved at all over the last 18 months where she has done amazing well in getting better at reading, and in self control-thanks in large part to the great staff at her school). Writing is her handicap and really it is stopping her from having the education that most children receive.

 A computer in the classroom that was assigned to her would help so much but it seems that if I stay inside the system that the need will NOT get met for at least another school year, in the meantime my child languishes with a substandard education. It is now taking  the average special needs child over 18 months to get any type of assessments in this board. For her assignments, homework and the like take twice as long, she becomes frustrated with herself and it becomes a battle.

A computer would really give us a handle on where she is really at as assignments etc would be done faster, better and handed in in a manner that a teacher can properly evaluate where she is at. I want what every parent wants a good quality education that leaves her in the regular classroom with her self esteem intact as much as possible. In Toronto special needs children do not get the education for the most part that they need. Funding is more then lacking for this children. Getting testing and things like computers that would put them on a equal footing are hard to get inside the system that frustrates both parent and child as well as the local school. I found a computer   and the 2 programs that would have to be loaded on it for her to get the best benefit

http://www.factorydirect.ca/catalog/product_spec.php?pcode=AC3680

now I just need $450… and for this mom who isn’t working because I have a child who needs me at home it is not doable. So I am starting the ROO FUND.. every penny of change I get will go to the ROO FUND to get her a computer for the classroom before the end of THIS  year, not next or the year after that…If you can think of creative ways for me to raise funds let me know. If you want to donate or have a laptop that you can spare that is less then 2 years old, and is in working order let me know that too..I don’t want her to fall through the cracks and I can see we are sitting on the ledge between educational success and failure.

Toronto the Good??

A break from my usual frugal self. A few weeks ago here in Toronto there was a building collapse on the Danforth. Five apartments were destroyed. Several were left homeless and placed in Toronto’s awful shelter system. I can say it is bad because I have first hand experience with it. Last week there was a fire on Queen St..40 were left homeless. This time first stop was a hotel room at the Royal York. Facebook groups, charities, have quickly come to the aid of fire victims whereas support and aid for the homeless from the building collapse have been slow to come.

I know what little support they have gotten, and it has been limited but there has not really helped these families out. One remains in the shelter system, the others are now housed but in places that are practically empty, tools of the trade here too are gone, they have little and no insurance here either.So what should Torontoians do?

First we need better emergency service supports, with centralized help. In these cases churches like the Salvation Armyand others do help out, so does the Red Cross. But people like those from the collapse do fall through the cracks. We need a central office with trained teams that can really meet the needs after such an event. That way help can be tracked, referrals given when needed, and a help up given in times of crisis. Right now in my city it is a hodge podge with the left and right hands not really working together. This really needs to be streamlined.

But what do we do right now?

First immediate needs that I know for one of the families include  a crib, table and chairs, and tools of the trade( sewing machine) would be very appreciated as a 3 month old is part of this family.

Another single young person needs a clean inexpensive apartment as she is on disability.

If You can help with any of these needs email me at theluckycannuck@gmail.com . I know how to get it to them as I volunteer with one of the agencies in contact with the families.

How To Do a 4 Day Weekend with Kids

Here in Toronto many of us parents are waking up to a 4 day weekend with our children.  Roo’s school has a Teacher Development Day today so she is off and on Monday we celebrate our new Satuatory holiday Family Day..So What do we do with the kids? Besides argue about computer time that…

Here in Toronto there are a number of things that are discounted especially on Mondaythat are great for kids, or even tweens like mine..

1. Casa Loma is letting kids in free with paying adult

2. If you are like me your child got a coupon for a free admit one child at the ROM. They have a really cool dinosaur display on right now.

3.At the Zoo Admission if half price.

4. There is a Family Day festival in the Beaches –It is scheduled to be outdoor fun but if it is COLD it will be moved indoor..

5. There is always the Bata Shoe Museum which is offering crafts for the kids..and admission is free.

6. Then there is one of our favorite places- Riverdale farm where the admission is free too.

Then there are the things that you can do closer to home….

7. How about going for a skate? All our local rinks have leisure skates and they are free.

8. We will be going tobogganing..with all the snow we have getting lately why not get out and have some fun it, just make sure you bundle up.

9. With this being reading month why not hit up you local library but not on Monday they are closed.

Now if you really don’t want to brave the outside world and want to stay home there is plenty to do inside..

10. You can bake something together–why not break out a recipe and bake together..Roo and I are making muffins.

11. Break out the craft supplies and see who can make the zaniest art piece

12. Make play-dough and create a sculpture of your family

13. Play board games

14. Have a movie marathon of family favorites( we are doing this tonight).

So there is lots to do even for us cheap frugal parents. So take time and enjoy your children this weekend. I know it is something you wont regret!

What Works for Me: Volunteering

Yesterday I spent several hours doing something I love to do and that is volunteer. It started out in the morning with me at my local food bank.I was there because right now they have a special project. For those of you who are in Toronto, you may remember a building collapsed on the Danforth a few weeks ago leaving 24 homeless. Well most are still homeless and are in one of the city’s shelters. I was sorting and helping one of the families that stopped by pick out a few things that they so need. For all the families the Need is great, especially for housing in East York where all want to live again. If you have towels, bedding, clothing furniture or the like and want to donate it, email me and I will let you know where you can drop it off. It fills my spirit to have chance to give what I can and for me that is time.

Last night I was again out volunteering my time at my daughter’s school where I am vice chair of the council and we met to discuss matters that needed discussion for about 2 hours.

I spend about 75 hours a month doing work for and on the behalf of others and serving in my community because I believe if we give our time we can make this world a wee bit better place. For me volunteering helps not only others but me. It helps me as a mom who isnt out in the work world right now feel like I am contributing to the betterment of my community. It helps my spirit. It works for me..If you aren’t sure about volunteering-try it, you may find you get more out of it then you give..There are many groups that always need volunteers: food-banks, soup kitchens, senior centers, Meals to Wheels, etc..the list is long and they would be glad to have your time and service.   

Well I am off to my friend Shannon’s to find out what is working for others this week.