Friday, May 31, 2013

this moment

Joining amanda and friends in "this moment"...capturing a moment from the week that I want to cherish and hold onto.   Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the loop hole

As a family, I think we have handled the challenge of not buying/bringing anything new into the house wonderfully.  We have the odd bump in the road but for the most part it has been a smooth ride for the last month.
Where we struggle is the food portion of our challenge.  When we laid out the "rules" for our up coming year we specified NO EATING OUT or buying food treats unless absolutely necessary.  We knew that this was going to be a hard one for us.  We typically ate one dinner out during the week (usually a Tuesday night at Fishers) and one meal on the weekend.  We all loved these meals because it was exciting and it gave me a break from the kitchen....which was a bonus for all involved!  The first week was a tough one and THEN we found a loop hole....of course we did!
Consumables were allowed!!! Groceries became our new friend.  Treats were added to the grocery list. Items we had never bought before were being put in the cart.  I have tried to gently discuss this with my partner in crime but he isn't really listening (do you blame him?).  I have three changes that I am going to make to try and solve this little problem.
1.  I am going to make a very specific grocery list.... instead of just writing "lunch treats" I am going to name them
2.   If I have time I am going to do the groceries myself.... that is half the battle!
3.  EXCITING NEWS! As a family, we are going to participate in a workshare at A New Leaf Farm.  We will receive organic produce in exchange for some labour around the farm one day a week.  We are all very excited about this and hopefully it will keep us a step further from the grocery store!  YAY!

Here are some pics that Anthony took of the farm today...our first visit!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

an affair in May

Ava designed and sewed the orange dress hanging up....I'm so proud
Ava's view from our tent

hand whittled toothpick......WHITTLED TOOTHPICK!

Gorgeous plants from Backyard Harvest
hand twisting yarn to make skipping ropes....this blew our minds!
On Saturday Ava and I were vendors at the Westdale Children's School Mayfair.    It takes place in an absolutely beautiful location and is one of the most peaceful/hippie-like events you could attend.  This is the third time I have been a part of the event and I have LOVED it every single time.  This year was very special to me because I got to spend the whole day with Ava.  We met so many interesting people and had fun catching up with friends that we haven't had the chance to see since the last Mayfair.  For the last two years I haven't really come home with any profits because I tended to spend it on goods at the fair.  I am so proud to announce that this year I did not purchase a thing.  We brought our own lunch and even resisted the temptation to barter for things that we wanted but didn't amazing box of wool roving.   I'm already looking forward to next year's Mayfair... I had better start working on some ponchos for Ava and I....we were sorely out of place without them.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

21 days in AND a little request

A lot of people have been asking how we have been doing with regards to the challenge of not spending/buying anything new for a year, so I thought it was time for a bit of an update.

We started 21 days ago

We have kept our grocery shopping to once a week...except once when Sri had to run to the store for emergency pizza sauce.

We have not bought anything new with the exception of a car tire.  Next time we will price out used tires before jumping at the new one....we didn't even think about it. Oh, and we chipped in $10 for fireworks this weekend.

We have NOT eaten at a restaurant or had take out

We have been able to go to Costco without buying items not on our list ....that is a huge feat!

We have chosen to walk instead of drive much more than in the past

I have been able to avoid paying for parking.  I did pay 50cents at a meter when I could have parked around the corner for free....oops!

I have started to dabble in bartering.  I babysat for my sister and received a few cans of baby formula in return.  I took those cans and used them to pay for PWYC (pay what you can) events at Welcome Inn (they have a food bank in need of staple items).  Bartering this way feels very natural to me and I much prefer it to money...although I know that is not realistic.  I should spend some time investigating if it is feasible to start a bartering system here in Hamilton.... let me just add another thing to my list!

We have had one very unexpected cost.  Something we didn't need or want that is for sure. A stinking ticket for not having our license plate just slipped our mind.  BOO for us!  I'm sure we have learned our lesson....but that is what we said the last time we got a ticket for the exact same thing!

I have to say that while I am not missing buying "stuff" I am missing the ritual of shopping and the relationships that I have built with shop owners/employees.  I haven't really been able to start window shopping or browsing yet in the stores that I love because I feel like I would fall off the wagon so to speak.

I am really proud of the way my family has taken up this challenge and am looking so forward to June where we might kick it up a bit by starting to make more and buy less at the grocery store!

BY THE WAY... I am really sad that I haven't been able to buy the spring edition of Hamilton Magazine.  I've heard this issue is amazing.
I wonder if anyone reading this would allow me to borrow theirs for a week so I could read it and then return it without bending/ crinkling the pages.  Please let me know... I would really appreciate it!
Thanks to an overwhelming response I have a copy of Hamilton Magazine in my hand right now. Thank you to everyone for your offers and suggestions!

Friday, May 17, 2013

get-up-and-go went

I woke up this morning knowing that I had put off a lot of the weeks tasks until today.  I was motivated and ready when my eyes popped open but this is already how I feel and it is only 6:48 Am.
I am overwhelmed.
 I have a pile of flyers in front of me and I am trying to make a healthy and reasonable grocery list. My goal is to try and cut down the amount of meat we are eating, but with BBQ season that is a bit difficult.  I hesitate to cut back on  BBQing  because it makes life so much easier!!.

 I am also a bit on edge because today is my first Costco trip since we started our "buy nothing new challenge".  I love the book aisle, the office supply section and oh of course the pop and poutine after you checkout!  I must stick to my list.  I am hoping that I can complete my grocery mission without snapping.  I have to say Anthony's constant nonsense chattering in my ear since 5:20AM is NOT helping... I love that child, but oh my goodness.  I have to find a way to change my attitude before this day gets away from me.  
Wish me luck and send me some positive and pleasant energy.... I need it.
Its a bit ranty and a lot tangential but its how I'm rolling this morning.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The disappearance of Tim Bosma has preoccupied the minds and hearts of my community for the past week.  I don't feel like anything that I have to blog about today has much importance compared to this terrible tragedy.  I will be back to blogging on Friday.  Until then I will be holding my family close and trying to find a way to wrap my head around how to raise my children in this scary world.  Please keep Tim's family in your thoughts and hearts.

Monday, May 13, 2013

spoiled rotten

Dandelion root if you just weed by pulling the head I do!

felt ball and pom pom flowers made by the kids and I for my Mom

Ava creating one of MANY snack plates
the dinner fort

not a happy dinner fort diner.... he requested bed shortly after this pic

many many games of old maid were played

We had an amazing weekend.  Re-sod the backyard (a project planned before our challenge started), visited with family and friends and enjoyed a cold rainy mother's day.
I would like nothing more than to write a sentimental and meaningful post about motherhood and how much it means to me, but to be honest, I don't think I could do the topic justice.  
What I do know is that I love this little family of mine so much, and today, they showered with me with love and handmade projects to show me how much I mean to them.  The kids scurried around me all day, fetching things and giving me cuddles and whispering.  I love the whispers of outrageous plans and details I'm not meant to hear.  
With the exception of picking up some "very important" food supplies from the grocery store, Sri and the kids made me gifts from what we had around the house. A collage using magazine pictures, a really catchy song they recorded on the trying to figure out how to make it my ringtone..., they made a blanket fort to eat a snack plate dinner of all of my favourite foods.... sushi, swedish berries and guacamole.... a unique combination to say the least.  I went to bed very happy but with a bit of a stomach ache.  
I am so lucky.  I hit the lottery with this family and now I just need to remember that at 8:15am when I'm already on my last nerve, someone spills their milk, I step on a Lego piece and the dog pukes on the floor (or something like that).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Never in my wildest dreams

Can you feel my pride through the screen?  Can you tell I'm welling up with tears as I write this?
On Wednesday Ava participated in her first ever Cross Country Meet as part of her school team.  Never ever in my wildest dreams did I think a child of mine would ever run cross country... to be totally honest I don't even run in the pouring rain!  I can't believe what courage and confidence it took for her to run in that race.  In my head she is a shy little babe who has such a hard time trying new things but she proved me totally wrong!  I was beaming with pride and cheering with all of my heart.  I'm sure I embarrassed her a million times over and it is very questionable as to whether she will be permitting me to attend next year.  I'm already thinking about making banners and perhaps even t-shirts!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

the good, the bad, the funny and the mysterious

I took Anthony to the Aviary yesterday and we hiked to Sassafras point.  The weather was amazing, he was able to fashion a variety of weapons from sticks, and we stood for a long time under the cherry blossoms.  The best part is that this morning of excitement was totally FREE because I was able to find 3 hour parking on the street instead of paying for parking in the lot as I usually do.

okay, the water looks gross in this picture but believe me when I tell you it was actually beautiful!

In a super duper rush I had to use a ATM that did not belong to my bank to get money for Ava's piano lesson (an exception from our challenge) and was charged an additional fee.  I am impressed that I was actually phased by this because usually I don't care but I hate that I spent money unnecessarily.  Better planning next time!

The kids think it is hilarious to tell jokes constantly.  Personally I am getting tired of fake laughing.  I will recount a few of the ones that stick out in my mind.
1. Ava:what did the cow do on the weekend?..... he went to the moooooovie theatre 

2. Ava: why did the donkey stand in the middle of the road?...... because he wanted to die (a little morbid don't you think?)

3. Anthony: What did the puffer fish say to the cow?....... want to go to the poopy tootie theatre?

They really only get more and more ridiculous.  Next week I will pass along some of the knock knock jokes they are telling.


Why does this ukelele keep showing up on my bathroom floor? No one will own up to it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

We did it!

We did it!!! Aside from necessary weekly groceries, Ava's yoga class and a church donation we did not spend a cent this weekend. I am very very proud of us!  

This weekend we...

                             :: harvested a delicious bunch of chives growing in our backyard

 :: foraged for onion tops growing through our neighbours fence...oooh very adventurous

 :: babysat my niece Layla and measured everything in sight.  Anthony measured everything"4-8-9" and insisted that I write it down...EVERY TIME!

:: made our mark at the Green of the many stops on our Doors Open Hamilton 2013 tour

                                     :: received TWO FREE strawberry plants for our garden

 :: watched a salsa class taking place at the Worker's Arts and Heritage Centre.   It sounds like they have a ton of interesting classes there.  Steel drums here I come!

::  a local photographer taking some pics of the kids at Doors Open.  Having kids pose for pictures always has such random and awkward results.  

:: we spent a lot of time staring at this!  

                                            :: started top-secret mother's day projects

 :: ate a lot of parmesan popcorn. I'm not sure the daily recommended dose of such a treat but we far exceeded it Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

While there were some moments that I could have benefited from some major retail therapy or a portuguese custard tart this weekend on the whole I loved not buying anything.

I found that it made being out and about with the kids much less stressful.  I didn't have to argue about whether they could buy something or not.  The answer was always no and I found that they caught on very quickly.   We also enjoyed taking our time with each thing we did because we were not rushing to see what we were going to "get" next.  The pressure was OFF!

This week coming up is a busy one for us, one where I would usually need a take out meal to help me keep up.  I'm excited to start planning so we can get through it unscathed.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

So proud but oh #SewSad

Well, we have made it to day 3 without any spending mishaps.  The weather has been amazing here the last couple of days.  This has made adhering to no spending easier because we were just happy to be outdoors soaking up the sun.  Let's be honest though, I have made enough lifestyle changes (ahem, attempted diets) to know that the first few days are the easiest and then once you think you have a handle on it...BOOM...sabotage!   I am still really pumped about this challenge and hope my motivation continues until I have some strong habits formed so I can resist temptation.

What changes have we made you ask? Well let me tell you, we have gotten into the habit of taking our cars to the carwash and having them cleaned inside and out.  While this is super fun and loved by the whole family, it is a colossal WANT and not NEED. 
 Guess what....
We took advantage of the nice weather and washed the car in our driveway. I can hear you all cheering for us right now.  This is a small step in the right direction and I am proud!

The aftermath of carwash 2013
This weekend is going to be very difficult for Sri and I because the kids are going for a sleep over.  That would usually mean going out for dinner and then maybe a movie/show.  What will that mean for us now?   I know we had better make some sort of a plan or it will be PAINFUL!  I would love to hear some suggestions for a spending free date night...right now I've got nothing.  

Our timing to start the challenge could have been way better.  Today is Sew Hungry on Ottawa St N in Hamilton.  This food truck rally will be amazing and I have to admit that I am really really going to miss it.  The kids and I went last year and had so much delicious fun.  Check out their website to see which trucks are participating and to plan your detailed route.  If you go please fill me in detail by detail!  

A FREE event worth mentioning is the 11th annual Doors Open Hamilton this Saturday and Sunday.  Check out their site to see which landmark buildings are open to the public.  The kids and I will definitely be taking advantage of free admission to the downtown featured sites.

I would like to say a huge thank you, we have received so much support and encouragement about our decision and it really means a lot to us!

Enjoy your weekend and hopefully the weather co-operates wherever you are and whatever you are doing!