Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Woo Hoo - Another Full-time Job in the Family!!

Yessiree bub!! Michael has taken on a full-time job in addition to his life coaching and working at Jambalaya - he is going to be one busy little so and so!! I am going to miss all of his wonderfully spicy home-cooking but we will welcome the additional income in helping us achieve our goals.

Michael cooking up something hot and spicy!
So we are both heading off to full-time work this coming Tuesday. It will become even more challenging getting all three of us to our various workplaces/schools with one car but it can and will be done. That is, after we take care of the flat tire that we discovered today! Money in - money out!  Que sera sera....

Hopefully he'll still have time to fly his kite! among other things...

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Frills Iron

Not too long ago Judy, over at We May Be Poor, But We Are Happy wrote a post entitled "I am just not a bells and whistles king of girl".  Many of us who write about personal finances and try hard to be frugal identified with her post and funnily enough most of us ended up driving cars with roll-up windows and push-lock doors.

Fewer features = fewer repairs.

This post is not about cars, however, it's about irons. Just over a year ago I bought a deluxe model iron - a Black and Decker model WITH all the bells and whistles:

It had everything - digital display in several languages, self shut off, you name it, it had it. Black and Decker is a good brand too right? It should be for the price I paid. (somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50)

Wrong. Shortly after its warranty expired so did the iron. Within a span of thirty seconds it would voluntarily change its heat setting - up, then down, then off. It made weird sounds and the water would gurgle out of it all over my un-ironed clothing due to shutting itself off and growing cold. I'd quickly try to iron something in 5 seconds before it would switch to another temperature - too late!

So I'm trying an experiment: meet my new NO FRILLS iron which cost me only $7.99, brand new:

I will let you know how long THIS stripped-down iron lasts - I am really hoping it proves that fewer bells and whistles = a longer lasting iron! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


PEA Potato Field near our House
My Own Farmer's Market!

I love Saturdays. Oh yeah, I already mentioned that. I didn't take any photos today...GASP....I know eh? In fact, I haven't taken any photos since we got home last Sunday. HORRORS!  That is why my post photo is of the lovely potato field that's near my PEI house - we were told to take as many as we wanted (spuds, not photos) so we dug up a few and brought them home - for FREE!! 

I've been sticking pretty close to home this past week except for the time spent in my classroom. School is the major focus right now, so my camera is getting kinda lonesome.

So today, being Saturday, I pushed all of the school stuff aside and really enjoyed the beautiful weather. We got up pretty early (8am - that's early for us because we like to stay up late watching movies we borrow from the library and last night was no exception!) and headed for the farmer's market. Oh how I love this time of year! The tables are creaking ominously under their heavy load. I just wanted it ALL!!!

Then the reality of my wallet set in ($22) and we settled for a huge brilliantly white cauliflower, several pale yellow peppers (haven't seen that colour before), a bag of green beans that looked like they'd just been picked a few minutes ago), a big bag of mixed greens, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries and a basket of peaches. I think that was it. And I still had a couple of dollars left!!

Already I've eaten most of the salad greens and a nice bunch of green beans, steamed and tossed in a dash of olive oil and ironically a dash of Mrs. Dash:)

After taking our marketing home we set off on our bikes for Victoria Park - it was the perfect temperature for a ride. There I took off my shoes, spread out my blanket and popped by nose into my current crime novel. I would probably have fallen asleep but for the music from the Multi-kulti fest going on and the folks a couple of trees over who had this rope attached between two huge maples upon which they were practising their tight-rope skills. They need more practise.

We biked home after a couple of hours and I luxuriated in the reading of The Globe and Mail while Michael got ready for his shift at Jambalaya. I then dropped him off so Kazi could have the car for her late shift at Jacks. I ate another incredible salad and since then have loved having a few hours to myself (being the introvert that I am it's precious to have a few hours just for me) to read your posts and write this one. I guess this is as close to a perfect day as it can get!

Hmmmmm...I wonder what tomorrow will bring??

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Money? What money?

 Some folks have been blogging about how they spent their money this summer, as if summer were coming to an end or something. (Insert sound of sobbing here)  I thought this would be a good first step for me to start disclosing to you and admitting to myself that I went through a truckload of money this summer - luckily it was only a Toyota truck.

So first off we bought a BBQ. We scored big time on the BBQ - $78 at Walmart AND it has a side burner. This is how we cooked all summer, not yet having a stove. 
I bought a few clothes, mostly second hand or marked down by 50% (do you know they have end of season clothing on sale in mid-August? I love it!) However, I paid full price for this little number that I told myself I needed for a tiki-themed party I attended. Cute n'est pas? ($30)
 I thought we did pretty good on our furniture shopping - I bought this adorable rocking chair for $25...  (oh and those sneakers for $80, on sale from $149)
 and this table for our upstairs bathroom - fit perfectly! ($60)
 Not really having any furniture got to be a bore by the second week. We either had to stand up or go lay on the air mattress. So we bought some outdoor furniture from the Super Store that was on sale. Once we build our deck we'll be all set for furniture.
The faux wicker set (2 chairs, loveseat, cushions, table and umbrella) $199
 The dining room furniture - table, 4 chairs and umbrella - $99.
We bought the futon at Walmart for $128; it'll be fine for one of the spare bedrooms once we purchase REAL bedroom furniture. The side tables came from used furniture stores. $15
 Food, food and more food. You're just lucky I don't have any photos of me eating one of about 50 icecream cones!! We ate out a lot...too much, in fact. Due to the...ahem...rainy weather we found ourselves heading to the pub on a frequent basis - the food (and beer) was just so good!  $???
We became regulars on wing night Thursdays, and open mike Mondays, and Tammy & Jay Roy Wednesday nights get the drift!
 We did get some exercise - dancing to the tunes played by Joey Doucette:), of course that would just make us thirsty again!
 Woops, didn't realize I was hanging out in the background of this shot - this is Steve, Kelly and Ellen - Steve is the owner of the Albert and Crown, our local. And we all became very good friends.
 Another major expense, one I haven't added up yet, of course was gas. We travelled all over the island and I don't regret one cent of that money. $??
 Here we are at a picnic in Canoe Cove - what a great spot! But we did bring our own lunch so brought down the expense somewhat. Just had to pay for gas.
 We attended just about every live music event at the Albert and Crown (paying a cover charge each time) and especially enjoyed the folk music of Laura Smith. $?
 We spent some money on gardening tools, an axe, a machete and lots more. I'm really not missing a tooth in this photo. Really. $??
 Here I am dealing with the wood from the maple tree I cut down - do you like my new wheel barrow? About $60.
 We each bought a bike. I bought mine at Walmart - just under $100. Michael bought his from a fellow who fixes up used bikes and sells them - he paid $50.
 $7 to pay for four magazines that had stories in them written by my mother - priceless!! Found them in a second-hand furniture store!
 $10 for our Welcome sign. Not a good deal - it's like a piece of wallpaper stuck to a piece of tin and within a couple of days the paper was coming loose. A job for my Gorilla glue!
 $5 for my cut glass hummingbird feeder - it works!! Hours of enjoyment, money well spent!
 Alcohol. Way too much $$. This is something called Sourpuss (sour raspberry I think) mixed with 7UP - oh my it's so good but it goes down like koolaid - too fast!
 Gahan's beer! A microbrewery on the island - good stuff!
Had a really yummy dinner here. $40
Our light cover for our outdoor light - so happy to find one - $6.
 Here it is in place, all painted up.
 This band was terrific - called Ol' Savannah - they were playing on the street in Charlottetown one night. $2
 Just in case you needed to see the light from the other side....
 Oh here I am getting icecream...they have a flavour called Toffee Almond Chill that we don't have here in Ontario. LOVE IT!!
 Yes, I bought a bat house, should have bought two! Lots of mosquitoes this summer! $15
Our clothesline:)
And of course we had to pay $43.25 to leave the island. I don't much care for that cost but have you seen the Confederation Bridge?? Holy cow - we'll be paying for it forever!

There were many more costs I haven't tallied (and probably won't - I'm thinking I'll just start fresh in September!) Groceries, dishes, gas for the lawnmower (lawnmower was free from a friend), oh yes and we paid $625 to have electric baseboard heaters put in and $120 for new kitchen faucets. 

I used $1000 from the sale of my trailer towards the summer's costs, we had some money saved up ($380) and we made $180 at a yardsale before we left. The rest came from NOT saving as much as I usually do. I sort of suspended my automatic savings deposits for two months to give us more cash flow. Oh yeah, and we had to have a repair done to the car, around $220.

So I feel like I've been bleeding money all summer long but have September's frugal budget in place. More on that in another post, this one is already way too long. 

There's just so much to tell y'all!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Goderich Tornado Kills 1, Injures 37, Defeats No One!

Goderich has a reputation of being Canada's most beautiful town. The many times I've been there (it's just a few miles from my trailer in Bayfield), walking the boardwalk, enjoying the sunsets, watching the ships get their cargo from the salt mine, I would agree with that perception.

On Sunday the town was devastated by an F3 tornado. The unique downtown square (actually an octogon) filled with heritage buildings was destroyed. Many people are homeless and over 100 businesses damaged beyond repair.

My heart goes out to the residents of Goderich. I know they will rebuild and that once again I'll walk their gorgeous boardwalk overlooking Lake Huron.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We're HOME!!

Awwwwwwwwwww, home sweet home!
Oops, sorry wrong picture!
Oh well, close enough!
I'm still a bit giddy from the long-ass drive. We drove through major hurricane strength winds (seemed that way, anyways) several times, got caught in bumper to bumper traffic several times (construction, accidents, cottagers coming  home from the weekend away) so didn't arrive
til 10:30pm. 
My sweet little pumpkin-noodle had ordered chinese food and it arrived about 5 minutes after we did. (Now that's something we could never do in PEI, everyone closes up shop by 9pm at the latest in our area so there are a few good things to be said about living in the city!)
So we stuffed our faces and talked, talked, talked. 
Kazi had gone to a major electronic music festival in Algonquin Park (WEMF) that lasted 3 days and I think it took her 3 days to tell us all about it!
Forgot that I started this post yesterday - my mind and body are still disconnected!
So I will post it now and get cracking on some schoolwork. Either that or continue with the
unpacking...I'm undecided.
What do you think?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Islanders By Choice Alliance breaking barriers - Local - The Journal Pioneer

Here's an article about Michael and me! We did an interview on Tuesday with the
local paper.

Islanders By Choice Alliance breaking barriers - Local - The Journal Pioneer

All's Well that Ends Well

So Cora the Cobalt had a little accident last night, on the eve of our journey home.  I guess she doesn't want to leave either. We had gone into Alberton to enjoy one more wing night at our favorite pub - The Albert and Crown.
I was still on my first pint of Gahan's Sir John A when someone told me my car had been hit by a truck turning into the laneway of the pub. The driver had made too tight of a turn and a projection from his hubcap hooked our bumper pulling it partially off and breaking the grill. Oh poo. 
 Ironically, the driver (Jeremy) was on his way to say goodbye to us and to buy a couple of pounds of wings to take home. Thankfully we knew him (from previous wing nights) and know he's a good guy. I am writing this the morning after (yes, I'm back at the pub!) and Jeremy just dropped off the cash to pay for the repair. We were referred by another friend to an autobody shop near O'Leary and they are able to get a new bumper this afternoon. It will be painted and installed by sometime Saturday morning. So all in all the experience wasn't too terrible. 
Luckily it's a nice sunny day and we've been invited to the beach this afternoon and to a friend's house in Skinner's Pond to hear about 20 musicians take part in an informal jam session. Could be worse! (notice all the red mud we're taking home with us!)

The unfortunate part is we'll be missing a wedding back home tomorrow. And I had to open up my suitcase this morning and put on some wrinkled clothes!! We were all packed up for an early departure this morning so we have no food left (hence me sitting in a pub waiting for my lunch to arrive). So things are a little awkward but we're making the best of it. People feel sorry for us so they keep buying us coffees and breakfast sandwiches etc. 

Oh yes, Jeremy never did get any wings!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Last Few Days - sniff

A few final pictures of PEI, we'll be heading home this Friday! My, how the time has flown by!  We were over at West Point for awhile on Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day, then a storm system moved in - I love watching weather move in over the water...lots of thunder but only a few sprinkles of rain. We huddled under an umbrella and wrapped our blanket around us and made it through ok.
On Saturday we were invited out on a friend's boat. It was mostly sunny that day too so we really lived it up! Two nice days in a row is a record for this wet summer.
 This picture is my "catch of the week"! When we were docking the boat a wedding group was gathered on the dock for some photos. I managed to take a quick snap of this little flower girl before she dashed off. I just love the composition of this photo and the light - purely accidental as she sat there for perhaps 5 seconds.
 I always wanted to see this lighthouse closer up - it's on a little island off Northport pier only reachable by boat, so was thrilled that we got to have a walk around the island. Found a lot of sand dollars!

 A couple days ago we dug up a few maple seedlings from the ditch along our road and planted them in a field near our house.  We also replace the 4 spruce trees that didn't survive the winter from last year's planting. Keep your fingers crossed that they prosper and grow!
 One thing Michael did a couple of weeks ago that I LOVE was create a pathway through our bamboo patch! Next year we'll put a bench in there - for some reason the mosquitoes don't find us in there:)

Kind of a dark picture but can you see the bamboo patch to the left? It's huge!
 It's a little sanctuary in there - green, leafy, quiet.
 Here's some of the new little potatoes. We'll be digging up a bunch to take home with us - I love the little ones - they're so cute (and tasty!)
 Just so you don't think that Michael does all of the manual labour here's a picture of one of the 5 holes I dug for the maple seedlings :)
 Here's me at my favourite local hangout - the A & C. I didn't realize that Ellen (server and step-daughter of the owner) was flashing her cash behind me!
 They're a lively bunch at the A & C. There's Julie (server and singer extraordinaire) hamming it up behind Stever, the owner.  He's trying to take a picture of the musicians - lots of live music going on here - it's a happening place!
 Finally a few pictures from Michael's adventure: he went out with Julie's fiancee's lobster boat on setting day. Setting day is a very big day in these parts - it's the first day they can go out and set their lobster traps. The weather was pretty bad and the waves were really big (one boat from N.B. went down but the fishermen were rescued) but Michael being Michael was up for the adventure.

 On the way back in they checked a trap and already lobsters had found their way in!  
 This is Michael taking his turn throwing in a trap.
Thankfully he didn't go overboard with the trap - it does happen from time to time!  Where was I you ask? Tucked up in my wee bed!  He had to be there at 5:30am and lobster fishing isn't high up on my bucket list:) 

Maybe next year!

Probably my next post will be from London, ON....unless I say to heck with it all, quit my job and stay here!  I would if I could!

Bye for now...enjoy the final few weeks of summer!