Monday, February 28, 2011

OK I Need to Stop Spending NOW!



Well here it is February 28th and we're spending March's money already. That's what happens when my pay goes in on the weekend before my actual payday. However, groceries needed to be bought and what we bought will last us to the middle of the month when I get paid again. One thing we are learning around here is how to make our food budget stretch. We really are handling our food preparation in a more economical way. We're eating a lot less meat and building meals around a wider variety of staples such as lentils, chick peas, kidney beans, navy beans, rice, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

BUT I need to put the brakes on spending! Have you ever noticed that once you start spending you want to keep on spending!!! We ended our weekend splurge yesterday by going to the Black History Month gala (which was wonderful by the way - one of our good friends Charmain sang - she's amazing) but it cost $12 each and then when it was done we were starving (we thought they'd have food but there wasn't!) so I suggested we go to our favourite Vietnamese restaurant for soup and "something". The "something" for me was shrimp pad thai and for Michael spring rolls and curried chicken and we shared a large sweet and sour soup. Scrumptious!! All in all it only came to $30 including tip so it wasn't expensiveBUT we need to get back into the groove of spending less, eating at home and following our budget!

It's startling to realize how quickly spending a bit extra here and there can develop into a full-out binge and before you know it the budget is in tatters. So I'm reining in the spending and putting a lock on my wallet. Gotta get back on track. 

Luckily "Princess" is on tonight followed by two episodes of "Til Debt do us Part". Gail Vaz-Oxlade will get me back on the straight and narrow like NOBODY else can while I pedal like mad on my bike. I've missed pedalling my way east for awhile but I'm feeling well enough to get back in the saddle so OFF I GO!  I did 15km on Saturday and will try for 25km tonight. I'm heading past Cornwall and will soon be in Quebec - La Belle Province!

Tally ho!! Zoom zoom zoooooooooooooooooommmm!!!!!



Beat ya!!



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vote for ME!

http://share.tourismpei.com/Heart_of_the_Island_Stories

I entered a contest called Heart of the Island and wrote a short story about something that happened to me last August when househunting.
Please go to  the above website and read my little blurb (scroll way down til you see my name - Jane Harrison) and vote for me!  I could win an Apple iPad!!
Thanks
PS contest closes at noon tomorrow!

TA DA!! WE DID IT!!


So, there it all is, in black and white.
If you need a larger view just click on the graph - it is in two
parts as I couldn't get it all onto one screen grab.



The Highlights:
  • almost $2000 went to debt repayment which is over 40% of my income; I am really whittling away my line of credit; this is my #1 goal to get my LOC paid off before I retire and I am proud to say I may get it paid off EARLY if I can continue at my present pace:)
  • although my income was down by $300 from the previous month I managed to save as much as I usually do - over $1200!!
  • with help from other family members we kept the grocery and gas bills to a minimum and I found that I don't have to shop for groceries every week; instead I can go just when we need something - it really makes a difference to the bottom line!
  • 17 NO SPEND DAYS - I think this is a record for me (sickness had a LOT to do with it though)
  • I cut way back on entertainment basically because I was sick for a good chunk of the month, but hey - I'll take my savings anyway that I can!
  • we came in under budget for heating and hydro - it really does pay to be conscious of utility use (not to mention that having frequent hot flashes means setting the furnace at a lower temp! hee hee)
  • My total misc spending was $133; it could have been lower - I didn't HAVE to buy rubber boots and I didn't HAVE to buy a book; however I could afford to and I don't believe in total deprivation!
  • My debt reduction and savings combined are 68% of my total income - I think that is quite an accomplishment. It means that the three of us are living on 32% of my income. That also means that I am a member of the Saving a Quarter club as $1213 in savings equals just over 26% of my income.
I am really excited about March. My income goes back up a little after having paid the Ontario College of Teachers their "membership fee" AND it's TAX REFUND month:) Most of my refund will go to paying my trailer property fee (well worth the cost) but I will have some extra to play around with - and playing around with $$ is one of my favourite pastimes! Yes...I am a geek!!

Congratulations go out to well, me, and all the other participants of the No Spend February month  (thankyou Sharon our fearless leader!) for hanging in there through thick and thin, for being so supportive of each other and encouraging some of us who faced some unexpected expenses and personal obstacles. We stuck together ladies and the bond we have formed will continue to help us through the months ahead as we do our utmost to beat down the debt monsters while also trying to save for the future.

It's a tough journey to go it alone so having my blogging friends to share it with has made it a daily practise that is something to look forward to rather than something to dread. I get so pumped reading your stories, your challenges and your triumphs and am so glad I stumbled across such an amazing group of women. It is truly inspirational!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

And the Spending Continues...



Friday night has traditionally been our movie night. Last night was no exception. The difference was that instead of going to see the latest releases we went to a more "arty" venue. I had scoured the ads and there was NOTHING, I mean NOTHING that we wanted to see that we hadn't already seen. 
So we went to an often overlooked theatre in London and saw
Blue Valentine starring Ryan Gosling (yum) and Michelle Williams and
London River starring a couple of actors we were unfamiliar with. Both of these movies were showing at the Hyland Theatre.  I was so impressed with the quality and the "relationship" themes of both movies that I suggested we get Hyland Theatre membership cards, you know, to save money at which pointed Michael pulled two membership cards out of his pocket - he knows me so well:)
Then, because we hadn't spent enough money and because it was only about 9:30pm we headed to Maggies, a nice little jazz club on Richmond St. We had some Blueberry Tea (not much "tea" in it we were told:) and escargot (Michael not me) and some amazing bruschetta while listening to some great live music (though I did wonder it the singer knew any rock songs hee hee). Michael finished off with a glass of merlot while I had a FREE sample of a fairly new single malt called Singleton's - it was free because they only had enough for about a "half" serving and then the bottle was dry! So that was a nice little treat:)
I have to say it felt really weird to be spending any money - we shared the expenses though Michael bore the brunt of the costs.  Oops - forgot to mention that I stopped in at my local Giant Tiger's because I had seen in their flyer they had decorative rubber boots on for half-price ($20) and I also bought a pair of red canvas running shoes for $3.00!! Both of these items will be going out to PEI so I can stomp around my land in the red dirt rain or shine.
After those expenditures I still had about $60 left in misc spending money so today I went to the ATM and withdrew cash - this is the first cash I've had in my wallet since January!!!  AND it didn't stay there long:) I splurged on my one and only newspaper for February and bought everyone a coffee. The remainder of the $$ went into the Crofter's Lane Jar which has been totally neglected this month... until today.
So one of the benefits of a No Spend February has been a wee splurge with some of my remaining misc money. Tomorrow I will change my sidebar graphs and summarize what I learned during the No Spend month. I am having a totally lazy Saturday and once my loved ones head off to work I am going to get back on my bike to resume my journey to PEI. I still have a bit of congestion but am finally, really, truly, on the mend.

Talk to you tomorrow - hope your weekend is going well. (Still snowing here:(

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Budget Blowup

Four days left in No spend February and I cracked.
And when I crack...I really crack.
The good news is that most of my expenditures were covered
by gift cards. It was actually a lot of fun.
The most....well, really the only fun I've had all month.
This was the sick month.
It was really all Michael's fault.
He called me at the end of the school day to ask why don't
I join him at Starbucks, the one at the Chapter's store?
I thought...ok...I haven't been to Starbucks all month and I still have
about $15 on my card so it won't cost me anything.
(HA! Famous last words...)

I sat like a good little girl with my chai tea latte slurping off
the foamy bits before I put the lid on as is my habit.
I managed to sit with my laptop for a good hour or more before
the call of the book sirens wound around the synapses of my
cerebral cortex and I floated on over to the sales racks and
lovely 50% off displays.
Oh...the temptations they were many...
One book that I MUST have is
"and I shall have some peace there"
by Margaret Roach who also has a gardening blog called
"A Way to Garden".
Margaret left a corporate job in New York to live in
the country and follow her first passion - gardening.
I allowed myself to purchase only one book today, however,
and it is the one shown above -
"Better Homes and Gardens New Garden"
which I am anxious to delve into as I spend the next
few years planning my PEI gardens.

By the time we left Chapter's it was heading towards
7:30pm and we were ravenous - book browsing
always makes me hungry for some reason - so we decided
to use our Christmas restaurant gift card and went to Swiss Chalet
where I feasted on chicken wings and spicy seasoned french fries -
a real pig-out!!


And of course we washed it all down with a lovely carafe
of merlot - pretty tasty! Our waitress was lovely - she bent a few
rules to get us what we wanted and gave us great service.
Conversation was lively and centered around future plans in Pei, especially
around the IBC (Islanders by Choice) alliance group that
has formed on Facebook to welcome newcomers, creating a social network
for people to meet whether they were born on the island or are "from away".
What a great evening:)
But now it's almost 10:30pm and I must get to sleep.
Last night I fell asleep at 9:30pm, I was so exhausted.
Tomorrow is Friday - yippee - and casual day so I get to wear my jeans.
One last weekend of No Spend February!
I KNOW I'm going to make it to the end with a wee bit of $$ leftover.

Dear God: please don't let me be struck down by lightening...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Income Tax Saga Part One






Part One: Information Gathering

1. Wait for schoolboard to issue T4 slip. Wave around in the air while performing classic Pete Townsend air guitar riffs..."we won't get fooled again!"

2.  Ice shoulder.

3.  Remind daughter for the umpteenth time that if she wants to get her grimy little paws on her refund cheque she better cough up T4s from the various jobs she had last year.

4.  Tap toe impatiently.

5.  Repeat steps 3 & 4.

6.  Look around on the desk for the file folder you put all receipts into over the past year. 

7.  It's red.

8.  Look under the desk for the file folder you put all receipts into over the past year.

9.  Go to the basement and carefully toss through the huge leaning tower of unfiled bills/receipts/bank statements/various & sundry pieces of paper to find last year's assessment notice.

10. Go upstairs, look behind the decorative screen on the bookshelves for scrap of paper with Turbotax username and password scribbled on it.

11. Ask daughter if she threw out anything from behind the decorative screen.

12. Wring hands, add moaning as required.

13. Go to Turbotax website and click "forgot password".

14.  Try to remember answers to security questions.

15.  Try to remember security questions.

16.  Look for the "safe spot" where you put the RED folder while you were looking for assessment notice in the basement.

17. Open magnum of red wine.

18. Look up the phone number of 24/7Wine for You!

19. Take 3 Advil and breathe sigh of relief when daughter brings you her T4s - tuck them into the red folder until Turbotax returns your phonecall.

20.  Login to Turbotax with new password.

Part Two:  Turbo on Through with Turbotax Software... 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Weekly Wrap - Last Week of NO Spend February!!

Here we are heading into the last week of NO Spend February - that's one way to make quite possibly THE WORST month of the year speed by! I hope this last week also zips by superfast as the
money is running OUT!!
I have a grand total of $135.00 left to cover groceries, gas and misc. and I really hope I can make it to Feb. 28 without spending more than that (or...magically...any of that..) 
Only six more days, groceries have been purchased and I have
nothing left but a few fixed expenses.
I'd like to sound more confident but I'm afraid of invoking the power
of Murphy's Law!! I've seen the power of the dreaded Murphy
affect some of my fellow No Spenders so am trying to lay really really low...shhhh..

My thanks go out to Sharon who led us on this fearless quest. And
thanks also to my fellow bloggers/readers who were either involved
in the No Spend month or who cheered us on from the sidelines.
February is my lowest income month of the year
so it was the perfect time for this goal
and already I've been able to pay a bit extra on my line of credit....so YIPPEE! AND I was able to leave the extra $150 in my savings
that I mistakenly deposited at the beginning of the month.
Those are huge accomplishments for this, my "poorest" month:)
I would have been satisfied to "break even" so I am THRILLED with
the results!! Consider also that I spent $$ on Valentine's Day for both Kazi and Michael, never used the restaurant gift card or probably the BIGGEST accomplishment of all - I didn't spend ONE PENNY at Starbucks - woot woot!!

(Hmmmmmm I am seeing some possible future savings for EVERY month...)


Since I created these charts on http://www.spendingdiary.com/ a couple of days ago another $52.00 was spent on food but I'm too lazy to make the change
right now
so you'll just have to trust me on that one..heh heh heh:)
I also opened up another two, yes two, new savings accounts
with ING and put a whopping $10 in each of them.
I've decided to bite the bullet NOW and start saving for
my trailer rental fee (for 2012) and for the home insurance and
property tax for my property in PEI. This year's trailer
rental fee will come from my expected tax refund.

I think that I now have ALL of my weekly/monthly/annual expenses
covered, at least I sure hope so....is there a limit to how many
savings accounts one can have with ING???

On another entirely unrelated topic I'd like to thank some newer readers for stopping by and taking the time to read what I have to say.
It really means a lot to me when someone not only reads my posts but leaves a comment. Some folks, however, don't have a google
profile/blog so I can't thank them more personally so I
hope you are reading THIS post so you know that I'm grateful for
your readership.
So, thank you to Mena, anonymous, psych sarah, mary, christy, julie and bev and anyone else who has taken the time to pause for a moment and read.
Thank you - you brighten my day!



Monday, February 21, 2011

Snowdrop SMACKdown!!

Remember how I was gloating over these luscious green shoots?

This is what being smug will get ya!
Six to eight more inches of the white stuff!
My darling snowdrops are buried once again,
BUT
I know they will SURVIVE!!
I know they will BLOOM!!
Just, not right now, not today :(

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!
On another note...thank you my dear friends for your
words of advice and wisdom around my stupid virus thingamajiggy.
I am going to pay some much-needed attention to my body -
I really thought I was on the mend (or thought I could convince my body of that) but either I've picked up another bug from one of my students which is highly likely or the one I have has worsened.
I really really hate being sick (feel it's a sign of weakness, I know that's stupid but that's the way I am and it has been 3plus years since I last had a virus or illness of any kind so I pride myself as being that person
who NEVER gets sick - and this is my body having the last laugh!!)
Ok, going to drink my orange juice now.

P.S. Sharon - here's a picture from last year when the snowdrops were in bloom, aren't they precious?

Galanthus nivalis

Sunday, February 20, 2011

This Virus Loves Me



Confession time. The virus that I became infected with over two weeks ago is still hanging around, in fact, the attachment it feels for me is growing stronger by the day - how sweet (I'm being sarcastic here)!

I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm not really into sympathy, in fact, I'd really prefer not to acknowledge the fact that I am still under this virus' power. I took a couple of sick days almost 2 weeks ago and felt I'd nipped this thing in the bud. Not true. I carried on with weekend plans as though I was cured. Not so.

It's not as though I've done nothing to get rid of this bug: I've eaten bowl after bowl of homemade soup, drank mug after mug of lemon echinacea tea laced with rum, popped many a vitamin c and d and Advil and.....anything else I thought might do some good.  But still that nasty virus won't budge!!!

So here is my "Song of the Week" for any of you out there who are suffering from back pain, the winter blahs, travel plan envy, yet another winter storm or just a lousy virus like me - just remember, it could always be worse.



Keep on the Sunny Side




There's a dark and a troubled side of life

But there's a bright and a sunny side too

Though we meet with the darkness and strife

The sunny side we also may view



Chorus:

Keep on the sunny side always on the sunny side

Keep on the sunny side of life

It will help us every day it will brighten all the way

If we keep on the sunny side of life



Oh the storm and its fury broke today

Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear

The clouds and storm will in time pass away

The sun again will shine bright and clear



Keep on the sunny side always on the sunny side

Keep on the sunny side of life

It will help us every day it will brighten all the way

If we keep on the sunny side of life



Let us greet with a song of hope each day

Though the moment be cloudy or fair

Let us trust in our Saviour always

To keep us every one in His care



Keep on the sunny side always on the sunny side

Keep on the sunny side of life

It will help us every day it will brighten all the way

If we keep on the sunny side of life



Keep on the sunny side always on the sunny side

Keep on the sunny side of life

It will help us every day it will brighten all theway

If we keep on the sunny side of life

If we keep on the sunny side of life

Friday, February 18, 2011

SNOWDROPS ARE SPROUTING YES INDEEDY!!

(Sung to the tune of "Hey Hey We're the Monkees!")

Here we come
Poppin' through the earth
Get the friendliest looks from
Everyworm we meet...

Hey hey we're the SNOWDROPS
People say what took you so long?
But we're too busy growing
And writing our new theme song!


When I got home from school today and noticed a lot of snow near
the dryer vent had melted away I thought I'd better have a looksee
in case my wee snowdrops had begun to push their way up.
They are the bravest little souls of pre-spring days, I love them so.
Especially these ones.

When I moved into my condo 16 1/2 years ago my parents still
lived in our family home in Norwich. I began the process of
transplanting some of my favourite flowers from my first village home
to the first home in the city that I bought for Kazi and me.

To me it never ceases to be a miracle when I start to see those
hardy green shoots popping up through ice and snow.
Just the merest hint of warmth and sunshine has these tough
little survivors pushing past any obstacles in their path -
gee, I feel like I'm describing myself!!

AND you know when you start seeing kids wearing shorts in the barely
above zero temperatures SPRING can't be far off!!

There are a LOT of Valentine's Day Cynics Out There!!!!!!!!!!!

Hoo boy I think I struck a nerve out there with a certain segment
of the population with my Valentine's Day - Cynic or True Believer post
last Saturday. There must have been a ton of people on Saturday night
with nothing better to do than google "Valentine's Day" and "cynic" which
in itself is kind of sad, or maybe not sad but ironic depending on
your point of view.

The post received 15 comments which is neither here nor there.
However, it has been viewed 2,175 times!! OMG!!
My next highest post has been viewed 401 times and
was written last November.

Just in the past hour since I started writing this post 8
more people have viewed my "cynical post".  What does this say
about the state of love in the world?
Are many of us turning into cynics? Is it because half of 
today's marriages end in divorce thus causing people to have
lots of free time on their hands to trawl the internet
in search of validation for their cynicism??

I really truly hope not.

Because really, love is all there is.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Twelve Days of February

This is the first day of the final 12 days of February. Are you going to make it to the end of the month before the end of your money?? That seems to be the big question right now. Sharon, the creator of the No Spend February challenge is down to $271.00 for the rest of February (but she heard about a way to find some unclaimed money - to find out how she did this click HERE!)

Yesterday I unexpectedly had to spend $30 at the drugstore. Rats! Fortunately I am doing well in the categories of food and gas due to a little help from other family members. (Sidenote: I just found out I LOVE LENTILS!!! They are delicious AND inexpensive!!)  As it stands right now I have $102.00 left for groceries, $75.00 left for gas and $68.00 left in misc spending for a grand total of...wait for it...$245.00. Normally I would say that's enough but this Friday Michael and I are celebrating an anniversary as well as Valentine's as we didn't get to spend Valentine's Day together.

To save $$ Michael is cooking dinner at home, then we plan to go to a couple of movies and maybe out for a drink after the movies. We'll save more $$ by going to see the movies at the Rainbow.  Do you suppose the jazz club will let us BYOB??


Well, we're over the hump - tomorrow's Friday and this has been a pretty good week overall. Our broken angel is doing quiet well with our new strategies provided by a behavioral consultant from CPRI. The staff is working together well and the week has been much less stressful. Tomorrow our Best Buddies are coming to visit and we're having a pizza lunch:)

THEN - a THREE DAY WEEKEND!! This coming Monday is "Family Day" in Canada, a fairly new holiday (I think this is the 3rd year since it was implemented). I am really looking forward to spending a day with my wee family and to working a 4 day week next week.

Do you (my fellow Canuks) have Family Day plans??

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

7am and All is Well

Just a quickie before my staff and students arrive. This is my favourite part of the school day - when I am all by myself lol!! No, really, this is like the calm before the storm, when I can muster my thoughts, organize materials, plan strategies, breathe deeply and head into the fray.

We had a behavioral consultant with us all day yesterday to help program for our broken angel. It was a huge help and now I need ALL staff to implement the changes - that is the hard part - making sure everyone uses the same approach, the same words, the same everything. Last night I was very busy making changes to schedules and typing up my notes from the day then went to bed early as I was exhausted. Whoever mentioned the 100 day cough that's going around? I think I have it.

The money end of things looks pretty good. No time to spend yesterday! I did remember that I haven't planned for a couple of new PEI house-related expenses coming up this year like property taxes in May (between $300 and $400 - remarkable eh?) and house insurance in August. So will need to work those 2 items into my budget or use my tax refund for those. The property rental for my trailer went up too - I always use my refund to pay for that - I hope I get enough $$ back to pay all 3 bills.  While that would be wonderful it probably means there won't be anything leftover to make an extra line of credit payment and I was kinda counting on doing that.

Oh well, I can only do so much. Talk to you later:)
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Have a Sweet Valentine's Day!


If you read my Valentine's diatribe you'll have noted that the cynics were very much outnumbered by the believers. I think that says something nice about the world. (or at least about my READERS!!)

Today I received some cozy red "reading socks" (I can just envision being curled up by my woodstove in PEI with my red socks on:) AND a beautifully written original poem by Michael along with a special picture of the two of us.

Romantic stuff huh?  Sheesh he can be a mushy guy!

In return I had the photo of our foot impressions on the Northport Beach in PEI enlarged and framed in a beautiful frame made of juniper wood. That is especially poignant because the lovingly restored floors in our old farmhouse are juniper. For his sweet tooth a box of his favourite Dad's oatmeal cookies.

And a really mushy card.

For my darling daughter - an album of photos of the two of us from her 20th birthday party:


For her sweet tooth - a bag of caramel-filled chocolate hearts.  And because I am forever practical and she's been complaining of not having enough hangers I gave her a $5 pack of 30 plastic hangers.

So today was a bit of a spending day though spending on my loved ones was such a treat. The photos came to about $10, the frame and photo albums, cookies, candy, hangers and cards about another $45. I don't mind - I still have enough misc $$ to see me through until the end of the month plus money for gas and groceries.

I feel very blessed and forever grateful to have love in my life - the love of my amazing daughter and the love of a very good man. 

Here's my two week summary for No Spend February:

Right on Track!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Lazy Day




We are having a quiet day around here - reading, blogging, doing laundry and I just made a big pot of ratatouille to take for lunch this week. I'll do my two week summary tomorrow as my little Valentine's Day treat and then Tuesday is payday and will take me to the end of the month (I hope). I did spend a little bit yesterday, but not much: $3.00 for the National Post (I caved), $5.00 cover charge for dancing last night, $6.00 for a Heineken (isn't that outrageous?) and about $1.00 for tipping the lady in the washroom. So a fairly inexpensive night.

As I glance over at Michael who is laying on the couch reading a book I think his eyes are closed:) No hiking today, just a restful, peaceful, relaxing Sunday afternoon.

I leave you with a song by the Moody Blues - remember them?

LAZY DAY by the Moody Blues

Lazy day, Sunday afternoon,
Like to get your feet up, watch T.V.
Sunday roast is something good to eat,
Must be beef today 'cause lamb was last week.

So full up, bursting at the seams,
Soon you'll start to nod off, happy dreams.
Wake up, for tea and buttered scones
Such a lot of work for you Sunday Moms.

It's such a crying shame
Week after week the same.
Today's heaven-sent and you're feeling content,
You worked all week long.
Still, it's quite sad tomorrow's so bad
And I don't feel so strong.

Lazy day, Sunday afternoon,
Like to get your feet up, watch T.V.
Sunday roast is something good to eat,
Now it's almost over till week.

That's how your life goes by
Until the day you die.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day - Cynic or True Believer?





Some people, I won't mention who, are very cynical about Valentine's Day. Other people, like Michael, see Valentine's Day as a day to celebrate love.

Some people, see Valentine's Day as a huge money grab by retailers whose bottom line has sunk heavily down into the red zone since the long-past days of the heady Christmas bonanza. Other people, like Michael, see Valentine's Day as a time to focus on precious memories of special times spent with loved ones over the past year.

Some people, see Valentine's Day as a day that makes unattached men and women feel like losers. Other people, like Michael, feel that Valentine's Day is a wonderful opportunity to spend time together whispering sweet, mushy things into each other's ear. 

Some people, believe that we should celebrate our love everyday, not just on Valentine's Day.  Other people, like Michael agree. Ummm....what?


Where do you stand??

Friday, February 11, 2011

Girls' Night In

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yummy!
This is my contribution to our girl's night potluck supper.
Actually, I didn't make it 'cause around here the
master chef's name is Michael!

Michael made 40 Clove Chicken in the crockpot
and we're talking garlic
here - yes 40 cloves of garlic - though he says
he used what we had and there weren't 40 cloves left
but I sampled a tiny bit and it is so deliciously
garlicky and tender and moist. Other
ingredients include - wine, lemon juice, parsley,
oregano, basil, red pepper and celery.

Scrumptious, that's what I say!

I know there's going to be corn bread and crab cakes and
who know's what else - hopefully something chocolatey!

We're staying in and will likely kill ourselves
laughing, play guitar hero (Oh yes, I am pretty good on the
drums and guitar!), play board games, dance,
eat, drink and be merry!

Hope your weekend is getting off to a good start!
I'll do my weekly financial summary in a day or two.
Remember how I accidentally put too much into savings
at the beginning of NO Spend February leaving me with only
$82 misc spending for the entire month??

Well...due to only spending $150 in groceries for the
first two weeks of February and underestimating a couple of bills
I now have $114 in misc spending!!
Magical! It's gone up!!
Let's have NO SPEND MONTH every month!
And that's after I spent $13.45 on a small bottle
of rum - my only misc spend so far this month other than
service charges!
 Now I'm hopeful that I can make an extra small payment
on my line of credit to round it off to an even number.
A payment of $90 would bring it down from $48066
to $46600 for the month of February:)
Woo hoo!
That's nearly $10,000 paid off since August, 2010!
I'm going to put myself on the line here and predict that
by August of this year I will have paid off
another
$10,000.00!!
I really think I can do it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back in the Groove

Got back in the saddle today although up in the night coughing, coughing, coughing. Hope tonight is better  - I could use the sleep. School was good today - my broken angel slept most of the day, which is a whole lot easier to deal with than aggression, but sad.

Got back on the bike today after an entire week! Pedalled 25km, only 1435 to go til I reach PEI. Not sure where I am right now but moving forward:)

I love the comments on my "dependency" post - will do a Part Two soon - it's such an interesting topic I want to delve a little deeper.

Tomorrow night is girls' night - potluck,drinks, music and games. Not sure how late I'll be able to stay up but I love my girls - I know they'll take care of me if I fall asleep! Then a birthday party Saturday night at Downtown Kathy Browns dancing to tunes from the 90's. I'm feeling really optimistic that I'll feel up to a night of dancing. I feel I've been sick long enough, time to move on to health and wellness, even if I have to fake it!!

Hope your week is going well!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sick Daze

I hate to admit defeat, BUT I stayed home from work yesterday and today. I got up yesterday to get ready but I was in rough shape and let Michael (thanks dearest) talk me into getting a supply teacher to take over for a day or two.  It was a good decision.  I always feel such guilt at staying home because (humble though I am) I feel that I'm not replaceable - you know, that no one knows my kids like I do. HOWEVER, I have six EAs who know the kids really well, they can handle it.

I don't know if any of you read Seth Godin's daily tip from his blog - I have it emailed to me. Often what he has to say doesn't apply to my life but today - well he hit the nail (me) right on my head!  

Self sufficiency appears to be a worthy goal, but it's now impossible if you want to actually get anything done.

All our productivity, leverage and insight comes from being part of a community, not apart from it.
The goal, I think, is to figure out how to become more dependent, not less.
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Gulp - more dependent? Oh my, that goes against everything I've believed in during my adult life. All of my role models encouraged me to be independent. My life's journey has had its ups and downs - I found that standing on my own two feet was preferable to depending on anyone else. Even in my work environment I felt that if I wanted something done right it was better to do it myself.

I raised my daughter alone. I bought my first home on my own. I put myself through university while working a part-time job. No one really helped me to do anything.

Sooooooooo - it's not been easy letting Michael do things for me. I'm definitely not used to being pampered. I've always done everything for myself. It all culminated today when he brought me a cup of tea and proceeded to PULL THE ENTIRE BED over so I wouldn't have to stretch my arm to reach the tea. "Whoa" I said "what the heck are you doing?" He was making it easier for me. That's a new concept for me - it takes some getting used to when you're a fiercely independent woman like me. It just doesn't feel right.

That's why Seth's pearls of wisdom for today struck such a chord with me. Can I possibly become more dependent?  This one is going to take some thinking about.

How independent are you?  Is it just the era I grew up in - I was a child of the 60's - we rebelled, we marched, we protested, we struck out on our own...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bad Day - Turn that Frown Upside Down


I pride myself on maintaining my sense of humour even on the worst of days. My day was pretty crappy, but not as crappy as the escape artist's day is about to come - yuck yuck yuck!

I don't want to go into great detail because I'm not a whiner - suffice it to say that a couple of my students had a really tough time today, then I had a looooooooooong meeting about one of the students, then I had a lot of school-related errands to run and arrived home finally at 6:45 pm, more than 12 hours after I left this morning. Then I proceeded to work up a new schedule for one of my students and just finished a couple of minutes ago. Just in time to get ready for bed as my throat/cough is adding to my sense of general blechhiness (yes, that's a word - in my dictionary anyways;) all day I was having hot flash after hot flash and then I realized - I probably just have a fever, silly me! 

And so, I leave you with a song as music always soothes the soul, hopefully it will get your toes tapping...

 

On the bright side I had another No Spend Day! :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Weekly Wrap - First Week of No Spend February

 In honour of No Spend February I have wrapped up this week with old newspaper:)
 Due to events out of my control: snow day, sore throat, I am happy to report that I have spent NO MONEY besides the following expenses - debt, groceries, gas, condo fee and chequing account service charge.

When I wanted to get a Timmy's and a newspaper I made a pot of tea and went of the National Post website instead.

I was going to go to the movies yesterday but wasn't feeling well - now I wouldn't advise that one too often but I stayed home and save a few $$.

It was also the first two days of the second semester on Thursday and Friday so I was ultra busy and didn't even THINK about anything other than school.

So what have I learned?
a) keep really really busy and there's no time for needless spending
b) make do with what you have instead of wanting something else (tea, online newspaper)
c) being sick has a silver lining:)

I had a toonie ($2.00) in my wallet at the beginning of the week and it's still there. I am drinking lots of tea and honey to keep my throat lubricated and my DD and I are spending quality time together.

Hope your weekend is going well (it's snowing like the dickens out there) and if you are doing the February NoSpend Challenge I hope all your expenses are small change!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to Cure a Sore Throat


Sheesh, some people will do anything to save a buck! Going for my 4th No Spend day in a row and I was looking for a fresh approach so thought if I got sick and stayed inside for a couple of days I wouldn't be tempted to SPEND!

Top that one!

I have a lot of lemons, honey and a bottle of nice dark Appleton rum so hot toddy and a warm bed - here I come!

Please note below where it says to "avoid strenuous physical activity" - I'm going to pass on biking tonight;p  Also note that I can eat icecream:) Now if only I had some in the house! Rats.


"People with sore throats will first look to heal the pain, but it is very important to cure the cause of the sore throat altogether. In order to do this, one must drink lots of fluids, rest well, avoid smoke, pollutants in the air and allergens as much as possible, eat foods that are soothing to the throat such as ice cream and hot soup, consume plenty of Vitamin C and Selenium, and avoid strenuous physical activity."
http://www.steadyhealth.com/about/how_to_treat_a_sore_throat.html

Know any other home remedies that make use of things I may already have in the house??  Got any extra icecream??

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Greatest Discoveries Were Made by Mistake



Some incredibly wise person once rationalized their mistakes by saying the following:

"The greatest discoveries were made by mistake."

That incredibly wise person wasn't me but I'm happy to agree with good ol' whatzername.

I made a little oopsie, well more of an omission, it was really nothing at all, at least...I did nothing...and that was the problem.

What I meant to do was reduce my long term savings to $500 for the month of February from the usual $650 due to lowered income this month...due to my exceedingly generous donation (payroll deduction:p) to the Ontario College of Teachers. H  o  w  e  v  e  r...I forgot to make the change to the automatic transfer from my chequing to my TFSA and $650 was transferred.

Oh poo.

So my reckless and carefree plan (oh, yes, I have a plan) is to leave the $$ in savings, take it from my misc amount which leaves me with a whopping $82 in misc. spending for the remaining 25 days of February. Seems a wee bit tight but who knows...my mistake may turn into a great discovery like...I can live on less! Or perhaps I was meant to sell pencils on the corner...who knows???

Over the past 3 days of our No Spend February Challenge I have spent $0.00 in total above and beyond fixed expenses.  If I limit my spending to weekends only (not hard) plus Valentine's Day (that's a total of 9 days) I can spend $9.11 per day - hey, that's not so bad. OR, if I just spent $$ on Saturdays and Valentine's Day (5 days) I could spend $18.22 per day - wow, that seems like a lot!

Ok, I think I've figured out the "GREAT DISCOVERY" - my ability to do mental arithmetic in rapidly improving!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

IT'S OFFICIAL!!!

Schools will remain closed tomorrow!

We made it through snowmageddon in early December which

resulted in three snow days, so I guess

we shouldn't have any problem dealing with


a "baby" snowmageddon...right?

gulp....

A Most Unusual Tuesday



Today is one of two days per school year that I am allowed to work at home. It is exam week and today is the day that students can go to school to talk about how they did on their exam. Since my students don't have exams they, and I, didn't have to go to school. Though it is expected that I actually will be working. And I did.

I finished the master schedule which magically meshes together the work schedules of 6 EAs with the timetables of 10 students. Of course, if it really was magical, it wouldn't have taken me a week to get it done! Then on top of that I created an individual schedule for each EA so that when they have a sick day I can give it to their supply. And then I created a Crisis Response Plan for the two students I have that display aggression from time to time. Then I stopped for a coffee break and played Free Cell and then took another break and made a pot of soup - now that's what's magical about working from home. Not to mention I'm wearing my sloppiest looking workout clothes (actually Michael's track pants - thanks honeybuns:) and a stretched-out discarded sweater from my DD. LOVE IT!!  NO MAKEUP - even better!!

So my envy of you working-at-home ladies knows no bounds!

The best part of today is that it is both February 1st - the first day of NO SPEND MONTH and a NO SPEND day! There's another advantage of staying home in my sloppy clothes and no makeup - I don't dare go out of the house looking this to spend any $$:)  Hmmmmmm - maybe I could come up with a mysterious illness that requires me to stay home for the next 28 days!! I'd better get on google!

I'm also hoping that the "Baby Armageddon" of a snowstorm that is on its way here from Texas keeps me home for another day tomorrow. It's a PD day tomorrow and last I heard we were being given the time to prepare for next semester which starts Thursday. Could I be so lucky as to get another day at home? Probably not.

Before I go I have to give a shoutout to Niki for guessing the ABBA song the other day - she was the first, but not the last:) Yay Niki!

Here's today's lyric - guess the band! And the singer!

"I have finally found a way to live



Just like I never could before.


I know that I don't have much to give,


But I can open any door.




Everybody knows the secret,


Everybody knows the score.


I have finally found a way to live


In the color of the Lord."

Cheers!