Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homemade Christmas Gifts

I promised a to show you all the rice key chains I made for our nephews as well as the wine charms I made for my mother in law. I think both went over quite well. I kept the key chains super simple in comparison to the one I did for my Secret Santa 2 weeks ago.

So first the key chains. I took the longer chain off and didn't add any extra detail charms to it. Kept them all the same color so they would be "equal". They thought they were pretty cool. It was a fun project for me and it helps me start to build a gallery of photos for my little online shop I hope to open in April. These are just one of the things I will be selling.




Here are the wine charms. In the picture I see that on my laptop 3 of the colors look the same. There is actually a clear, silver and light green that look similar in the photo but not in real life. I will definitely be adding some new colors to my seed bead collection in the future. I just used what I had on hand. The hematite dangling bead are ones that I picked out a few weeks ago with my MIL. They didn't work out for another project I was working on but worked well for this. I was fortunate to have everything I needed to make these in my stock pile. I needed to make 8 as that is how many adults we have in the family on this side.
 For my first time making them I thought they turned out pretty good. She liked them and needed a set for sure. At every family gathering we are forever asking "who's glass is this?". Everyone at the party seemed to think they were pretty cute. I can't wait to see them at the next family dinner.

They were pretty easy to make. I see myself making a lot more in the future. I have a lot of ideas in my head and beads that I need to use up. I will just be making them in sets of 4 or 6 though.

So what do you guys think? Honest opinions please. I'll be making some more over the next few weeks that I will be sure to share with you guys.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

24 hours to go...

We are celebrating Christmas with BF's family tomorrow evening. We have list of things to finish off tonight and tomorrow. We have everything we need to get it done. It's just a case of needing motivation now. We are amazing at procrastination. Here's what's left to do:

  • Make Rice Krispies squares for the kids tomorrow
  • Prepare potato salad for tomorrows meal (special request)
  • Chop up all the fruit for our fruit plate for the midnight meal 
  • Pump out 4 rice key chains for our nephews
  • Finish the coupon booklets for our nephews
  • Create 8 wine charms for my MIL
  • Tidy up and pray I find our camera battery charger
  • Snuggle up together with our two furbabies and watch a movie :)
Wish me luck. I excel in high pressure situations.

Anything left on your list of things to do?

*update* We finished everything except the coupon books which BF decided he didn't want to do. He ended up just giving cash to his Godnephew and we gave them all the rice charms. We also didn't get to snuggle up with a movie but we have plenty of time for that now that BF is on vacation ;)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Excitement


Today is the last day of work for BF before his Christmas holidays start. I am so excited to have him home during the day with me and our two furbabies!! I just love spending time with him. I can't wait until he gets home tonight :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Parmesan Baked Potato

Last night I gave a new recipe a try. I spotted it on Pinterest and thought it looked quick, easy and yummy which are 3 things I always look for in a recipe!

Here is a link to the original recipe. In the comments section other reviews added a variety of spices. I always like to try the recipe as the poster has written first and then tweak it later if I think it's a keeper. All I changed this time was I added a little salt and pepper. I also read you can use this technique with sweet potatoes and brown sugar. Since I personally don't like sweet potatoes I won't be trying it that way :)

Ingredients

Potatoes scrubbed and cut in half
Butter
Parmesan Cheese
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder

Coat the bottom of your glass baking dish with melted butter.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese generously over butter.
Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Place cut potatoes cut side down onto pan.
Bake in oven preheated to 400 for 45 minutes or until potatoes are done.
Let cool for 5 minutes (helps set the mixture to the potato)
Serve!

How is easy is that? I didn't include any measurements because you can really do however many potatoes you like as long as they fit in the pan you are using. Play around with different spices too. Mine turned out great. BF really liked them and had seconds. I thought they were pretty good. I might try some other spices next time. This recipe is a keeper for me because of how simple it is.

Here are some photos I took while I was preparing the meal:






Yum! Oh, and yes it was an easy clean up as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Secret Santa Swap Success

First off, thank you everyone for your well wishes. BF and I felt better in time for our weekend away. Sadly though BF is now hit with a very sore throat. :(

Anyhoo, I want to share with you a little something I've been up to. On Facebook I am a member in a group of amazing women who all share a love for a particular thing. It's weird how much a lot of us seem to have in common. There is absolutely no drama ever and it's just the loveliest group of ladies. When I heard there would be a Secret Santa Swap I signed up right away. Usually I am super picky and like to pick out my own stuff. I think this is part of being a perfectionist and minimalist all in one. Turns out this person who I have never met before picked me out the most amazing gifts. It's like I shopped for myself.

So first here is what she sent me:
So here I have a hilarious card, some purple and lime nail polish, a lime green sugar skull, a Jack from Nightmare before Xmas decoration, Kettle Popcorn and an original piece of her artwork! Wow.

I gave very little info about myself.. I guess she could have stalked me a bit in the group but seriously she got me bang on. Popcorn is my favorite food ever!! This one happens to be sweet which I don't like but still.. favorite food. Purple toes are the cutest thing ever. Lime is my favorite color. Sugar skulls I adore! I have a skull collection. I FREAK over Nightmare before Xmas. 

For my birthday BF gave me the 3D Blueray Nightmare Before Xmas and I cried like a baby for about 20 minutes in front of guests. So stinking happy! There is a cute story for the skulls too. When we moved to Quebec I was busy unpacking and decorating. Bf's nephews came over and asked BF "why is Ashley decorating for Halloween in July?' BF replied "In Ashley's world its always Halloween". At first I was confused but the I realized it was because of my skulls. Love em!


 Here is what I gave my Secret Santa girl (not the same person). She hasn't received it yet that I know of so this is the only place I can share my giddiness. Our price limit was $20.

 A pair of rocking zebra socks, 3 bath beads in her favorite scent, chocolate, wine glass markers (moustaches), a compact mirror with an image on it that is an icon in our group (total fluke I found this), a bottle cap magnet with her favorite game image on it, a rice key chain I made in her favorite color with a skull that she likes.
 A close up of the key chain with her name on it. One of my favorite crafts to do.
Bottle Cap Magnet. This picture is kind of crap, as is the above of the key chain because I took them at night). This is the first one I've ever made. I used the wrong paper type for this but I can't wait to make more.
 The inside of the card I made. I used a quote from her that she had left in the group.

So fun! What do you think? I can't wait until my person receives hers. I've already posted and thanked my person a million times over. It's my first swap with people I have never met. I think I did pretty good for $20 as I was able to make some of the gifts. I can't wait to do another swap!



Tuned In Tuesday


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Teensy Bloggy Break

I know I promised WCW's were making a comeback but illness has struck our house. Poor BF was experiencing headaches, tiredness and GI upset. He even took yesterday off which is a rarity for him. I've had headaches, a runny nose and sore throat. We both have been super dizzy. It's now been confirmed we caught something at last Saturdays family dinner. This is the 2nd time I've gotten sick from family time together in about a month. Not good!!
This weekend we are going out of town overnight. It's BF's work party and we are staying at a hotel afterwards. I have a lot of preparation to do for that. I'm also trying to rest up and get better. So with this I say.. See you on Monday.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

 
Haha It's a Chia Pet. Get it? Ok, I'm lame. Hopefully somebody got a chuckle out of it.

It's time for Sunday Night Chit Chat with Carla!!

Watching : Cash Cab is playing on the TV right now.

Reading : "Something from Tiffany's" by Melissa Hill. I seem to only read it in bed and only get a few pages before falling asleep. The sad part is I swear I renewed it a few weeks ago on the library online site but when I checked yesterday it said I owed about $1.35 on it. Dang!

Cooking/Baking : BF is making guacamole to go with the pitas he made the other day. He's quite the cook. I'm not a fan of avocado so I won't be feasting on that but I'm happy to see him preparing his own snacks. We have been slowly moving towards less processed foods.

Listening to : The sound of BF's knife chopping away in the kitchen.

Happy you accomplished this week : I finished up a Secret Santa gift. Sadly though I forgot the post office close to us is closed on Sunday so I'll have to make a special trip out some time this week.

Looking forward to next week : I'm looking forward to picking out and sending Christmas cards. I'm also considering purchasing a plane ticket to visit my family as a surprise after the holidays. I'd also like to get the coupons and little gifts finished for my nephews.

*Bonus Question*
What type of cell phone do you have? Do you have all the bells and whistles or just the basics?

Well I don't have a cell phone. In fact I don't have a phone at all :)


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Coupons


So I talked it over with my SIL and I am definitely doing coupons as Christmas gifts for all of our nephews. It's a great way for us to spend time with our nephews and it's exciting for them at the same time. They have something to look forward to.

My SIL told me that the "Movie Night out with a Friend" coupon we gave our nephew for his birthday has been all that he talks about since he got it last month. He is cashing it in tomorrow. He chose to bring his cousin along which is so cute and shows how close this family it.

I'm still struggling on what we should do for coupons. BF hasn't been much help but that's usually the way it goes with crafty type things unless they require power tools. I know I'm just going to have to make a list and then let him say yes or no to things and go from there. Christmas is getting close though so I'm hoping to sort out at least the options part of it this weekend.

Here is what I am thinking so far:

  • 3D Cinema Night at our house (we purchased a smart 3D TV awhile back and I forgot to post it)
  • Bowling Night (we did this once already with 3/4 of them all at once.. challenging but worth it
  • Backyard Camp Out Night
  • Picnic in the Park
  • Strawberry Picking (not sure about this.. a lot of little boys covered in strawberry juice in our car)
  • .................
Still deciding. Waiting for BF to give some input. I was originally thinking 10 coupons but now I realize it's hard to make plans to actually do some of these things and it's really just for fun. We will be doing a lot more fun stuff with them all through out the year. I'm thinking 5-6 coupons and everyone's will of course be the same. 

The other awesome part of this is that it's really a gift for them AND their parents. When the kids are out with us the parents will have free time without the kidlets. I think that's why my SIL likes it so much. Heehee. Well actually she likes to keep their personal possessions to a minimum. Instead she prefers they play using their imaginations and creativity. You should see what they come up with. They always make their own fun which I think is great and something I plan to do with my own children.

The adults are not exchanging gifts at all. I might make some cookies or something and give them out. I wanted to make magnets with the kids faces but I'm still figuring that out so I'm not sure if they'll be ready by then. I was also thinking of dryer balls but that depends on if I can get my hands on some wool before then. Many ideas but not a lot of time. 

I might pair the boys coupons with personalized rice key chains. I'll post a pic soon of what I'm referring too.

Are you hand making any gifts this year?


Friday, December 7, 2012

Waving The White Flag

So in my last Sunday Night Chit Chat post I mentioned I had done something nice for BF. Some times in life you have to do things you don't want to in order to make your spouse happy.

BF has a friend I do not like at all!!! It was something that built up over time and the end result being that we do not occupy the same space ever. We have run into said friend a few times a couple years ago and it was clear that we were not about to exchange hugs and smiles.

At one point his friend expressed that he was worried about his friendship with BF. He told BF that it was important to have him in his life and he was afraid that  the two of us not getting along would cause problems. He was worried BF would walk away from the friendship.

I told BF that we didn't always have to like the same people. I would never stand in the way of him being friends with somebody unless I thought that person was critical of our relationship or genuinely a "bad influence". The fact that I didn't like his friend and didn't want to be around him should not stop BF from spending time with him away from me.

While we were living in BC this friend came to visit a few times but stayed other places than our home. He also became good friends with BF's brother in this time. When we moved to QC it was uncomfortable for me to learn that he was spending a lot of time with my BIL. Now the boys get together about once weekly for "boys night". A few times they needed an extra for a card game or something and I declined. BF seemed ok with the arrangement but I knew in my heart that it wasn't the best situation for him. It was sort of understood that we were not interested in hanging out together.

Last weekend the family was all planning to hang out in BIL's garage (the family get together spot) in about an hours time. Then the friend called BF and said he was heading to the garage too. It put a damper on things for me. I almost decided not to go. Then as BF was leaving to go next door I looked at him and my heart softened a little. Out the window I saw his friend arrive and go into the garage.

I decided to put my big girl panties on. I packed up some snacks for everyone, made myself a drink and headed on over. When I got in the garage I started setting up the snacks. I greeted my FIL and BF. I started walking towards his friend when he turned away. I looked back at BF who seemed to sense what was happening. He motioned to me to press on and so I did. I walked up and said "hello" and we exchanged the classes Quebec hug and kisses on the cheek. Then I added a "it's nice to see you".

I can't say the evening was comfortable for me. While we didn't talk we did smile and laugh at each others jokes. At some point my SIL and MIL pulled me in the house to show me the bathroom renovations and then plan out the Christmas menu and assign meal tasks. So that kept me away for awhile which was a relief. In house I confessed to them what I had just done and then my SIL told me that she too had issues with the friend. They both thought it was great though that I had decided to take the first step.

Later I returned to the garage and sat with my FIL and my nephews. About 30 minutes later the friend decided to leave. Before he left he came over and said good-bye and exchanged a hug and kisses again. He looked happy and so I took that to be a good sign.

At home that night BF had a big grin on his face. He said it was probably just as awkward for his friend as it was for me since it's been so long that we've communicated. He was surprised and happy that I had gone over and done that. I told him I just felt that it was important to be civil.

In the end I do feel better. It's way nicer to just smile and be nice than it is to avoid each other like the plague. I love BF and I know that friendships are important for any person. BF is an amazing guy with a big heart but seems to have problems making new friends. I suspect it's because the majority of his friends he has had his whole life. I know his friend struggles with some deeper issues and has had a hard go. I also feel he is in a different stage of his life than we are. Still, it would bother me greatly if BF disliked one of my friends and it was hard for them to be in the same room together. So Rome wasn't built in a day. Maybe we won't ever be buddies. Out of love and respect for BF though I am prepared to give it a go.

Have you ever struggled with one of your companions friends?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesdays

Thanks to my new found love of Pinterest (yes I'm late to the party) I've been trying out a ton of new recipes. Starting next Wednesday my weekly feature is coming back. There is a tab at the top of the page to make it easy to access all the yumminess. Yay!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat


  • Reading: 
A lot of tutorials. I'm trying to get some inspiration for different crafts right now. I have a book on my night stand I pick up every once and while but I'm not actually sure of the title and I'm too lazy to go look, lol. 
  • Watching:
Tonight it was Amazing Race. I'm rooting for the farmers :) I've also been watching all the old 90210 seasons on Netflix lately. Pure awesome
  • Listening to:
Hubby is watching some weird trebuchet show and really enjoying it.
  • Cooking/Baking:
Tonight Hubby made pizza from scratch. I realized when I was eating it that it was my first meal of the day. It's a weird phase I go through some times where I don't have a very big appetite. I'm feeling hungry now though so I'll probably much on some fruit. I've been trying a lot of new recipes lately thanks to my new found interest in Pinterest. What's Cooking Wednesdays are coming back!
  • Happy you accomplished this week
Tonight my MIL, SIL and I sat down to discuss who's making what for Christmas dinner. We also discussed gift giving and everything so I feel better knowing what's happening and what I'm responsible for. I also did a little something nice for BF which I will discuss later.
  • Looking forward to next week:
I received a kit to make a new craft in the mail last week and I'm excited to break into it. I also will be finishing up a secret santa gift for a friend so I can mail it out in time. 
  • Thankful for today:
I am thankful for my MIL. She got back from a small vacation yesterday and when I saw her today she gave me a great big hug and invited me out to lunch on Friday. I love her so much. She has to be the sweetest person I've ever met. She does so much for me and is so supportive.

  • *Bonus Question* You receive a clothing gift from someone who is very close to you, but you absolutely HATE it. Yet you KNOW that they're going to expect you to wear the item & "can't wait to see you in it!!!" What do you do?
I would wear it once while they are over at my house and then donate it. 

For more Sunday Night Chit Chat head on over to Carla's blog :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winter Wonderland

It started yesterday and it's still going. Our first snow of the year. Well actually that is not true. We had some flakes blowing around a few days ago but nothing like this. I let the boys (kitties) out to play in it. It's not the first time they have seen snow but I'm not sure if they remember it.

Chipotle kept lifting his paws out of the snow looking pretty annoyed at the coldness and how the flakes stuck to his fur. He paced around our back deck for awhile unsure of his game plan. He LOVES to go outside. He wakes me up crying because he's so desperate to go outside. He's an adventurous soul who loves to investigate everything. I thought he would come back in but the moment I turned my back he slipped away and I saw his tip of his tail going around the corner.

Pepper is more of a homebody. He will go outside, roll around and check things out and then want in 5 minutes later. He's content to snuggle with me on the couch and follow me like a mini shadow through out the day. He seemed rather ok with the snow. I think he was happy there was something to dig in again since the ground has been frozen for awhile. He promptly dug a little hole in the snow and peed. He had a method of walking through the snow where he cleared a space with his paws and then walked forward and lingered in that spot as he made his way slowly through.

They are trained now to come sit in front of the window when they want in. They are very intelligent and have realized it's the best way to get my attention. I see them peering in to see if I'm there and then if they spot me they meow at me. Pepper is a little more insistent and will come and slam his paws on the door or stand up on his tippy toes to check through the glass in the door. Then when I let him in he chirps at me as if to say "what took you so long".

I always feel anxious when they are outside. We live on a road which is just off a very busy intersection and highway. I only let Chipotle out at low traffic times of the day. He checks in every once and awhile which is great. Today is his first day venturing out in the snow for an extended period alone. I'm feeling nervous about it but I guess that's how all Mom's feel when their babies spread their wings.

Here is Pepper testing out the snow. Chipotle was gone to fast for any photos.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Dreaded Holiday

As much as I love Halloween I completely loathe dislike Christmas. I find it a really stressful and annoying holiday. Maybe once we have kids it will be different but even as a child it wasn't my favorite time of year.

This year we'll be spending Christmas in Quebec. I wish I could be home for the holidays in BC but flights are so expensive and everyone is so busy. I'd rather wait until after all the craziness is over.

My SIL next door is hosting this year. They have a fantastic two level garage that we're going to celebrate in. I know it sounds a little strange but we already use it as the hang out spot and it's very comfy.
She has enlisted me to help decorate and plan games/activities. She's also asked if I'd like to  make some munchies and dessert. I'm slowly getting a reputation for fun new foods.

I think the general plan is for us to spend Christmas eve together having dinner. Then the next day we have a big breakfast, open gifts and spend the day hanging out and competing in a games tournament.

BF and I have done absolutely no Christmas shopping. As far as I know nobody is exchanging gifts really. Usually a big gift is bought for my MIL and FIL that everyone pitches in for. Everyone gets something for the kids and then there is a secret Santa exchange for the adults. This year we've been told not to buy gifts for the kids. It's a little confusing. I'm not really sure what's happening. So BF and I are going to make "fun coupons" for the kids. A book of things they can redeem with us for fun times. I might attach it to a little something :)

I'm looking for handmade options for everyone else. I had told my SIL how last year my family in BC did a "make it or bake" holiday. She seemed to like that idea. So I think I should have something in mind just in case. If I find the right wool I might make some dryer balls for everyone. Paired with some homemade goodies. Not sure yet.


So I'm looking for ideas :)

What would be a good coupon for younger boys? (we did a "movie night for you and a friend" once for example)

What is a good homemade option for adults? (3 different couples)


Friday, November 16, 2012

A Gorgeous Birthday Gift

On my birthday one of my all time favorite bloggers Carla posted that my color combo had been chosen for her wallet tutorial. I was so excited! Since I never win anything I didn't believe it at first but she confirmed it for me and I was jumping for joy. Now there is no way she could have known it was my birthday but sometimes life works like that and it's so magical. I was beaming to my visiting friend and BF that I had won one of Carla's amazing creations.
It came right away. When I opened the package it was even better than I'd expected which is pretty incredible since I already thought it was absolutely beautiful looking at her photos online. What's even better is that I have the piece from the tutorial to look over while I try to recreate my own.
Check it out!

All of Carla's pieces are one of a kind. If you are looking for a unique gift for somebody you should have a look at some of her creations. She does custom work and has a lot of beautiful fabrics to chose from.

Thank you Carla for this unexpected birthday gift. It made my week. The colors are amazing. I'm sorry it took me awhile to post. I was hoping to send out a little special something for you by now but I'm still waiting on a supplies order from Etsy. I look forward to sending you something soon. No hints though ;)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Egg Chart

Today I'm playing "Chopped" in the kitchen. I have some eggs that are just passed expiry, potatoes that are starting to grow eyeballs, celery that wants some love and some leftover cooked bacon. This in my home equals some serious potato salad.

I was a little concerned about the eggs but then I remembered a little chart I had seen online. Behold the egg test chart :




My eggs were starting to stand up so I did a little happy chance. We only buy free range eggs so I would hate to waste any because they are 2-3 times the price of regular eggs. Woohoo! Now I'm off to make that salad. Mmm, can't wait!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuned In Tuesday - No Love


Evaluation Test - Check

So today I had my placement exam for French school. My MIL and SIL came with me. It's a good thing because BF completely told me the wrong place to go. Ugh. Luckily I got to the school and there was a wait to get into the class so I didn't appear late.
I was given a CD, a booklet and an answer sheet. I listened to the tape for 10 minutes before I got bored, started flipping through the booklet and realized I was supposed to use them both at once. Everything was in French. No English instructions anywhere. Very confusing. I almost gave up before I started :(
The first part consisted of 29 questions and took 1 hour because you follow along with the CD. It was multiple choice but I still marked 10 with question marks. I had no clue. The rest I gave it my best shot to pick the right answer. It was way over my head. I felt it was better to leave them blank to give an honest assessment.
When I finished the first section I took it up to the teacher and waited while she marked it. Then she told me I didn't do well enough to move onto the next section. I just smiled and said "merci". Oh boy. I know the point was not to score high.. just to figure out what I know but it still didn't feel very good.
The results get sent back to registration and I will FINALLY be put on the waiting list for classes. I hope I get in sooner than later. It's really holding me back from a lot of things. I'm not sure how many people are ahead of me but it might be a long wait.  *le sigh*

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another Earthquake

About 4am this morning there was another earthquake. My sleeping is all turned around so I was awake for it. This time the low rumbling was present but the shaking was a little less. My two furbabies were snuggled up together beside me so I just put one hand on each of them to comfort them while it was happening. I let BF sleep through this one as he had to get up for work in a few hours.

It seemed to go on forever and I felt very tense. I looked online to confirm it was really an earthquake. Last time the info was available immediately but this time it took longer to find anything.

Ugh, all these earthquakes and natural disasters make me uneasy :(

Anyone else feel the quake?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Numbers

September
Travel Fund - 380
Wedding Fund - 300
Furniture Fund - 250
House Fund - 700
EFund/TFSA - 2.68
-----------------------------
Total Savings $1632.68


In September I managed to put $1000 towards my savings which brought me to the above total. My October goal was to hit the $1000 mark again. I had a lot of unusual expenses in October due to the holidays, my friend visiting and of course my own birthday :)

Here are the numbers for the end of October:

October
Travel Fund - 400.45
Wedding Fund - 400.40
Health Fund - 321.82
House Fund - 1500.00
EFund/TFSA - 10.01
-------------------------------
Total Savings $2632.68

I did it!!!! I barely did it but I did. It was a 3 pay period month for me but since I had a lot of extra expenses it was a big challenge for me. Not one I'll be able to repeat for awhile sadly. I am very happy with my progress over such a small period of time though. 

My savings goals for November are:

  1. Save $600
  2. Set goal amounts for each savings account
While I'm feeling great about getting back on track with my savings I feel that I need to set some goals. It's great to save and have money put aside but I need to figure out how much I actually need in each account. It feels so much more exciting and rewarding to work towards an actual set amount. So it's time for me to sit down and consider what I need to have realistically for the future. 

What is your biggest savings goal right now?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuned in Tuesday - Kill Your Heros - Awolnation

 
I visited HMV in Montreal the other day and I picked up a few CD's for myself as it was recently my birthday. I bought a CD I'd been wanting for about a year or so. It is the best CD I've listened to in a long time. Since I've had it I've shared it with 3 other people. 1 of them bought it. 1 of them intends to pick it up this week and the third person was BF who says he's stealing it and putting it in his truck. FAT CHANCE!
 
So without any hesitation I definitely recommend Awolnation :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bloggy Break

My friend is arriving in just a few hours. SOOOO excited!!!

I went to the store and picked up some foods he likes. I baked cupcakes. The house is clean. I bought wine AND sangria. I feel prepared. Even had time to do my hair.

While he's here I'm going to MIA from my blog because I'm desperate for human interaction so I'll be totally glued to him :)

See you next week! 

What's Cooking Wednesday - Cranberry Sauce


For Thanksgiving this year we chose to make our own cranberry sauce. I was a little nervous because I heard it was hard to do. Boy was I wrong. It was super easy and tasted way better than any cranberry sauce out of the can. Even BF and the children who don't especially care for cranberry sauce enjoyed it. I am never going to buy canned ever again! For this recipe I just followed the directions on the bag.

8 Cups    Whole Cranberries
4 Cups    Brown Sugar
2 Cups    Water
8 Tbl Sp   Lemon Juice

Mix all together in a sauce pan or pot. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for approximately 5 minutes. During this time you will see the cranberries popping. Once the majority are popped I brought out my potato masher and mashed it all up so there wouldn't be any big chunks. Let cool or serve warm. 

I decided to put ours in this little jar from the Dollarama. It was so cute sitting at the table. I froze the rest in a small container. It's so easy to make this ahead of time and just pop in the fridge until you need it. It's good warm or cold.

Overall I'd say this was a real success. I only made 1/4 of the recipe which was easy to do when you look at the measurements. It was more than enough for dinner. I think that if I made the entire recipe it would have been far to much. Then again, I've considered making a large batch next year and "canning" it to give as gifts in an assorted basket. Next time though I'm going to try another recipe because I've read a lot of recipes online that suggest replacing the lemon and water with orange juice. The orange-cranberry flavour is supposed to be amazing. I would also like to reduce the sugar somehow but I realize the cranberries are quite bitter on their own. 



I've been attempting to make a lot more things from scratch to control what's in my food. I hope to grow a garden next year. BF's parents have told me that if we decide to stay in this apartment another year that they encourage me to grow a garden which will be perfect for canning and eating food we grow ourselves from organic seeds. Super excited for that!

Shout out to the Cranberry farmers here in Quebec for supplying such a magnificent product. Your cranberries are delicious!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Savings Update

2 awesome things happened today as I was updating my savings.


  1. I broke the $1000 mark in my House savings fund. Very exciting!!! Now I just need to do that 39 more times. ...
  2. I am just over half way to my savings goal for the month.

I'm really focused on my savings now. I stay up late looking at houses online. Sometimes I send the links to BF to look at. I recently saw two houses that were incredible. One was over the top for me. It was the perfect location for me and so affordable. It was $210,000 and right on the water after traveling up a very private drive. I love that! It almost broke my heart that we're not in the position yet to put in an offer. 





Tuned In Tuesday

This post is dedicated to AP because I know how much she loves this song ;)

Savings Plan Mishap

I've decided to rename one of my savings accounts. BF and I have decided not to buy anymore furniture until we buy our house. We figure we can get by on what we have until then. If we do make any purchases they will be smaller and I don't feel I need to save especially for that anymore. 
Then I realized that there is a big gaping hole in my savings plan. I have nothing put away for health! I've decided to remedy this right away and this will replace the furniture fund. This account will be for many things.
  1. Vet Bills - My furchildren have annual exams and vaccines coming up. Better put away for that a bit at a time. Nobody ever wants to imagine their kids getting sick but just in case I better have something available to pay the bill
  2. Dental - I know I will at some point need some major dental work done. Not sure if I posted this here but before the move my crown snapped, breaking the little bit of tooth was there and pulling out the post. Its glued in again but I was warned that I will need to fix it at some point because it was temporary. He said my post on the other side was almost ready to give too. Eek! We have no dental through BF's work plan.
  3. Spectacles - I need some new glasses. I hate shopping for frames. I might get an eye exam done and buy new ones whenever it is that I visit BC so I can go with my patient Mommabear :) We are lucky to have partial coverage on the glasses but not the exam.
  4. Orthotics - Mine are overdue to be replaced. BF's insurance will cover a portion of these but on average they cost about $500.
How could this have slipped my mind? Well it's on my radar now so I'll have to add it to my priority savings list. It's like trying to squeeze water from a stone but I'll make it work.

Is there something in your savings plan that you've overlooked? 


Monday, October 15, 2012

I Have Amazing Friends


So my birthday is next weekend. I haven't been looking forward to it all. I haven't made any friends since I've been here and its a big number. I'm turning 30. There is something horribly awkward about this number. Not only am I leaving my twenties behind but it makes your wind whirl with all the things you thought you'd have accomplished by this milestone. So I've been feeling cranky about it.

Here comes the silver lining. I have amazing friends. One of my best friends is taking a trip out from BC just to be here for my big 3-0. He'll be staying with us for a week which is the best news I've had in a very long time. I am SOOO homesick. I need a friend to hang out with and chat with. I need somebody from my home life to relate to. Somebody who can go out and wreak havoc with me in the streets of Quebec, lol.

It couldn't have happened at a better time. I'm desperate for the interaction with somebody I care for deeply. This is the sign of true friendship. My friend moved out East many years ago to pursue his educational goals. He says he remembers the secluded feeling and wishes to cheer me up by coming out to check out my new life here.

He arrives on Wednesday. I couldn't be anymore exited :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Surprise Thanksgiving!!!



Last weekend was Thanksgiving. It is one of highlights of October in my opinion. Who doesn't love getting together for a delicious turkey dinner with the family? Crazy people that's who. I was disappointed to learn that BF's family doesn't celebrate Turkey day. Whhhhhhhaaaaaaaatttt? Boourns!
I had spent the day driving around with them during the week before and in the car I told them how much I love turkey dinners. I told them about how my family gets together and we have a great time celebrating. I shared my sadness that there would not be any Thanksgiving this year. Well there would be... but not for me. I told them I was probably going to wait until the week after, purchase a cheap one and eat all by myself, lol.
The night before Thanksgiving I stayed up most of the night talking online to my family. They were going to be having the annual dinner the next day and I was super jealous and heartbroken. I've been very homesick lately. I cried before I went to sleep.
The next day I was slumping around the house in my sweats all mopey bear. BF came in the house and asked me to come see Chipotle sitting way up in the tree. I went out and played with my cats in the yard for a few  minutes. Then my MIL came and started to talk to me. She asked if I bought my turkey yet. I said no. She asked me to come in the garage to see my FIL. So the 4 of us were in the garage laughing and talking. Then it happened....
FIL brought up turkeys and then told me he went out that morning and searched for a fresh turkey. It was in the oven and we spoke. He told me he wanted to do something nice for me and so they were surprising me with Thanksgiving dinner and the whole family was invited. (crying as I'm typing this). I was so shocked. I thought he was kidding at first. Then when it sunk in I started bawling. LOL. Then everyone else started crying. I was so excited and touched.
I went to the grocery with BF to pick up some things. Once we got home I made cranberry sauce for the first time ever and it was delicious. I packed it up in a cute little jar. BF made an apple crisp and we went upstairs to his parents apartment.
Everything was laid out very fancy. I helped my MIL prepare some veggie plates. We opened wine and drank Ceasers. Then we started dishing up. The food was amazing! As soon as we were all seated and the wine was poured FIL decided a toast was in order. He toasted to the family's first thanksgiving in honor of me. This of course made me well up again with tears but I kept it in check this time. Everyone clinked glasses and we chowed down.

Best feeling ever!!!! Made me feel like part of the family.

I will post the recipe for the cranberry sauce on Wednesday :)




Autumn Stroll










Wednesday, October 10, 2012

4.5 Earthquake

Just a half hour ago we experienced a 4.5 earthquake. I was sitting on our couch on my laptop when it started. The building started shaking and there was a fairly loud low rumble. I yelled out for BF who was sleeping in the bedroom (it was 12.19am). He felt and heard it too.
It was very scary. My first instincts were to wake BF and scoop up the furchildren. I wanted to run outside. With all my earthquake training I know you're not supposed to do that but I live on the bottom floor so .... you get it.
Moving from Vancouver Island I thought I'd escaped this but I suppose not. I have experienced my fair share of earthquakes living there. I've been woken out of a dead sleep. I've seen things knocked over by the shaking. This was the first time I heard that horrible sound. That's what poured fear into my heart as I glanced over at my two little guys staring at me with alarmed faces.  :(
I hate earthquakes so much. They freak me out.
Living on the Island we were always doing earthquake drills and being told to prepare for the "big one". Everyone says its inevitable that it's going to happen at some point. On the Island though the more scary thought is that an earthquake can be paired with a Tsunami. *shudders*
I have to say though that information was available almost instantly online for me to be able to confirm my suspicions which helped me calm down. If you are curious here is the link:

Earthquake Info

Sorry if this post is all over the place. BF went back to bed and I'm still jittery.

Have you ever been in an earthquake before? Do you have an emergency kit prepared?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October Goals

I know... 1/3 of the way into the month.. like really?! Ahaha This is my life :)

October is THE BEST MONTH EVER!!! I mean what is there not to like? SO many awesome things happen. Let me name just a few:

  1. My Birthday - Boom! Enough said
  2. Thanksgiving - Who ever says no to a turkey feast?
  3. Halloween - The worlds most important holiday
  4. Autumn begins - Crisp air, delicious apples, cranberries and other yumminess come out to play. The leaves are changing color. 
  5. A lot of other awesome Libras around me celebrate their birthdays - Yay, its a birthday fiesta!!
5 glorious reasons to love October. Those were just the ones that popped out of my randomness. I'm sure there are many more reasons I forgot to list. Care to share your favorite thing about October?

So as hard as it is to keep focused with so much amazing stuff happening all around me I must buckle down and accomplish a few things between all the fun.

General Goals
  1. Enroll in French classes - More on this later this week :)
  2. Finally send in MSP reimbursement paperwork that was supposed to be done a million years ago
  3. Send in BF's old MSP cheque he thought he had lost to be reissued because its out of date
  4. Turn 30 - ok so that not a goal but a requirement of life, ugh
  5. Organize my whole place because company is coming - Another post upcoming
  6. Cancel MSP (msp... get off my back, lol)
  7. Introduce my couponing obsession to blog - exciting - yes or no?
  8. Get some winter clothes - a BC girl starting a new life in QC needs some warmth
  9. Enjoy October to the max!!! Find fun activities to enjoy my new province
Financial Goals
  1. Set up new RRSP account and start the process of transferring over last jobs contributions.
  2. Save $1000 - I did it last month and trying it again might be setting myself up for failure but I've got to put pressure on myself so I'm going to try for it again. 
Health Goals
  1. Drink 4 cups of water a day - I will start this from today. I really need to drink more water. 
  2. Take 3 long walks a week - I need to get off my ass and get moving around. 

There ya go folks. I'm late to the game and I've got a big list but I'm going to try my little heart out. What is your biggest goal for October?


Tuned In Tuesday


October is just flying by

Wow I can't believe we are a third of the way into the month already! Feels like yesterday it was October first. I'm sorry for my lack of posts. I've honestly been loving life a lot this month and caught up in other things. Bad blogger! If you're a regular reader you know this is one of my naughty habits.
Later today I'm going to post my Tuned in Tuesday :) Also this week I'm going to do a post about my Thanksgiving weekend, October goals (better late then never) and that long overdue post about our big purchase.
Excitement is in the air. I can feel it. October is so amazing. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Savings Challenge Final Tally




The end of September is already here. Crazy stuff. Well in September I decided to join in on Carla's savings challenge. I'm glad I did because it gave me motivation to really put my nose to the grindstone and I met all of my goals. Here is a flashback to what they were:
  1. Save 50% of regular income. Right now this is $1240 monthly. So from this I would like to save $620 which I will do in 2 shots.
  2. Remember to also set aside $100 for ASP at the end of the month. My ASP is set to deposit into the "house fund".
  3. Save 50% of all bonus money that comes in. Just this morning I found a cheque from my previous employer that I forgot to deposit. Half of that will go into savings. I am also hoping to get my PBX cheque (if they ever send it to the correct address). Anything extra or bonus is subject to a savings cut.
That's my plan and do you want to know what my ultimate goal for this month is?

SAVE $1000 DURING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER !!!


I did it!! And then some... here are the numbers...

August

Travel Fund - 50.76
Wedding Fund - 50.14
Furniture Fund - 130.37
House Fund - 150.17
EFund/TFSA -  2.68
--------------------------
Total Savings $384.12

September

Travel Fund - 380
Wedding Fund - 300
Furniture Fund - 250
House Fund - 700
EFund/TFSA - 2.68
-----------------------------
Total Savings $1632.68

That's is a $1248.56 increase! I am totally stoked! I can't believe that I was able to make and surpass my goal and this is without the cheque from Pacific Blue Cross. I haven't cashed that yet and BF will be getting the bulk of that as I owe him 50% of our big purchase I forgot to blog about. 

Thank you Carla for inspiring me to really challenge myself. It's not every month that I would be able to do this but its showed me that I need to be more diligent with my savings and really think about where my money is going. 

BF has said that he wants us to save $40,000 before purchasing a house and I'm really keen on that so I want to get there as soon as possible. I'd also like to get married in the spring of 2014 and for that I am hoping to save $5-8,000 for. Those are some huge financial goals and I'm glad for this wake up call.

Yay me!!!! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Problem Resolved

So I talked it over with BF and he thought it was too much money as well but we knew that my sister-in-law would never ever take the money back. So we came up with another solution.

I had thought about buying something for each of the kids but their parents like to keep the children's things to a minimum. Something I noticed and admire about them greatly. I had considered an origami set for one and an different type of activity book for the other. Maybe those would be more appropriate for Christmas though.

BF suggested doing for their parents what we used to for my sister. Take the boys for an evening out with their aunt and uncle. What an awesome idea. We get to give a little back, the enjoy a nice night out and we get to hang out with our nephews. When I told SIL her face was priceless. She was sooooo happy :) and the best part is that BIL has been away at work and is only home for this weekend. So we decided to take the boy Saturday evening so they can have a nice dinner out somewhere together. Awwww

We couldn't decide on bowling or a movie but last night SIL told me that the boys were super jealous in March when we had couples bowling night and they were stuck at home with the babysitter. They have never been bowling before and well you guys know how much I heart bowling so its on! BF is calling now to make a reservation.

We are also considering asking his other 2 nephews (who have crazy schedules for kids) and switching cars with BIL so we can take them all with us. Not sure if that will work out but if it does we will go down as the best auntie and uncle to these guys.

This is why we moved here. Among all other reasons was that BF wanted to see his nephews growing up and spend time with them. So amazingly special.

So what do you think? I'd call this a win win situation for sure :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Babysitting

This week I'm helping out my sister-in-law by babysitting two nights for her while she's working and hubby is away. I've watched her kids (my nephews) a few times for an hour or two here and there and it was fine. I've always refused payment because she's family and if its only a short time its alright with me. She tells me I should except payment because its her decision to go out and if I wasn't here she would pay somebody else. I compromised and told her if its an hour or two its ok. If its longer than that I'll accept her offer.
Yesterday I was babysitting from 2pm until 1am. I think the kids are more comfortable with me now which is good but one of the boys was off the wall crazy and refused to listen at all. There is a language barrier but we get around it with my limited French and the older child's help. It was a LONG day but after the mother called and spoke to the wild one he settled down a bit. When BF came over to help out he took charge which was a relief. He put them in the bath and then to bed. My hero. We are neighbours to them so it works out well.
Last night she paid me for yesterday and today. I will be working the same hours tonight. She asked me what my rate was and just said whatever you think is suitable. She handed me cash and I just put it in my pocket. I felt weird taking money from family. When I got home I counted it and she gave me $140 and I kinda felt bad. Should I give some back?
I guess when its family its complicated. We've had many discussions about this and she gets frustrated at me when I say I don't like to take money from her. That's why BF and I discussed it separately a few times and then the 4 of us talked about it once out in the yard when they tried to pay us for watching the kids for 2 hours one night. We told them we ate their ice cream and that was payment enough. We agreed though that we would not fight against taking money when we are there long hours.
So what do you think? Is it too much?



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Am Accepted

Today I had a meeting at the local Quebec employment office to find out if I qualify for job search assistance from them. Since I have a Diploma for Pharmacy Tech school I indeed meet qualifications and am so excited!!! The first step was to qualify as now I they will enroll me in full time French lessons.

It's been super frustrating and depressing not being able to communicate effectively since I moved here in July. I feel so lonely and caged in my apartment all day long by myself. It's started to really bring me down and make me yearn for my home town.

So the next step is for me to visit the 4 schools in different areas and see which one is best for me. There is one in Terrebonne which is closer to me. 2 in Laval and 1 in Montreal. There are pros and cons for each school. I have to consider things like commute, class schedule, class size, the instructor, the focus of the instructor and how it all works together to fit our current schedule.

 I visited the one closest to me but had lukewarm feelings about it. The class is small and people are at all different levels. There is only one instructor and so I don't know how much individual attention I would get. Its in the evening and there is a big 1 and a half hour break in the middle of it. I also was not sure about the instructor. Kind of rubbed me the wrong way and said they would focus a lot on speaking. I think that's what she thought I wanted to hear but honestly if I'm going to be working after this I need a balance of speaking, reading and writing. I believe it will be important for me to connect with the teacher to feel more comfortable.

Also this is the only one that is at night. I will have to commute at night in the snow during the winter. BF would be on an opposite schedule from me which means I would only see him on weekends and would not get to practice with him. The other students are mostly speaking Spanish so I'm not sure how well I'll be able to connect with people and honestly I'm hoping to make a friend or two :) *shy face*

Who knows? It's better to reserve my opinion until I see the other schools and how long it takes to commute back and forth. Although I'd rather be commuting than sitting in a cafeteria for an hour and a half eating a packed cold dinner. I'm getting ahead of myself. I am hoping to visit the other 3 schools before the end of the week because I have to choose soon. The waiting lists are sometimes 5-6 weeks long and I want to get on right away.

Full time French classes... very intimidating but necessary :)