Thursday, June 27, 2013

a quick review of month TWO

the laying ladies... not all mine of course!
best soap EVER! (sorry for the blurry pic)
week 1 CSA boxes full and delicious

post haircut
trying to carry an egg on a spoon while getting shot with a water gun
This month we....
  *  have stuck to one big grocery shop a week...with a detailed list
  *  did not buy any non-consumable items
*  did purchase FIVE laying hens ($7.25 each) from the farm auction.  We are currently not permitted      to keep chickens in the city so they are living at A New Leaf Farm where we visit them weekly and
     collect their delicious eggs
*  spent $6 on a falafel sandwich (totally worth it) at La Luna restaurant where my book club was meeting.... we determined that one night out/month was a mental health NEED!
* traded some handmade baby clothes for some amazing handmade soap
*continued to volunteer labour hours at A New Leaf Farm in exchange for a weekly CSA box (awesome experience!!!!)
* found a free morning camp for the kids to attend for a week
* found a friend who was willing to cut Anthony's hair for free
* have been taking advantage of free picnics in our community 
* Ava went on class trip to African Lion's Safari for $20 but did not bring any money for trinkets and food...her choice.

I am so proud that we are finishing up month two of our twelve month challenge.  On the whole, this month was a lot more challenging than the first one.  It seemed we had more opportunities to spend and bring non-essentials into the house.  We really pulled together to try and make decisions as a family about these issues.  The kids have loved having a say and making the distinction between want and need....actually to the point of irritating me a bit!  I asked the kids if they thought I should get a tattoo and Ava came at me with "is it a want or a need mom?", obnoxious yes but I guess she's getting the point. Next month I think I am really going to try and focus on using up supplies that we have lying around the house and what is in the freezer.  Perhaps I will  be able to use this to cut groceries down to every other week for a while....we shall see.  

P.S if you are interested in a weekly CSA basket of delicious organic produce, check out a New Leaf Farm (Facebook page), they still have some spots available and THEY DELIVER and they are awesome!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

on my needles, or possibly yours

When I posted this picture a couple of weeks ago, I didn't even think that people would be interested in what I was knitting.  I was wrong! I have actually had quite a few people wanting to know. So here are the deets.    The simple answer is... the King Charles Brocade baby blanket (link also has free pattern).  The not-so simple answer is... the bane of my existence for the last 6 months.

No doubt that if you have spent more than 10 minutes sitting down with me I would have pulled this beauty out of my knitting bag and started working on it.  While I am loving the colour and the pattern, I am not loving how slow this knits up.  It is knit in a 23 row repeat, which I am totally unable to find any rhyme or reason to.  This makes it necessary to constantly consult the pattern and keep very good track of which row I am on.  I am not good at either of those things.  I have promised myself that I will not start a new knitting project until this is finished but I am having to push myself to even pick it up anymore.  I was looking through my stash of yarn to try and get motivated but I found that sunk me further into knitting despair.  Everything seemed so blah and boring.  
I found myself wanting something new and fresh.  
Insert a trip to my new local yarn shop, the Handknit Yarn Studio.
I walked around, touched everything, oohed and ahhed over everything else and reminded myself over and over of our challenge.  
I introduced myself to one of the delightful owners, Kate, and let her know that I while I was unable to purchase anything at the moment I would definitely be interested in knitting up some samples for them if they needed it.  Yay! two birds with one stone.  I would get to knit with some of the most beautiful yarn I have seen and put the product back out into the world....oh and NOT SPEND A CENT!  
This plan has encouraged me to complete this baby blanket.  I would like empty knitting needles should I be asked to knit some samples.  I feel like I am waiting to be called off the bench...I want to be ready for the game!
On the other hand, if someone out there would like this work in progress....IT IS YOURS.  Let me know (just leave a comment) and I will gladly send it your way.  You will just need to supply your own 4mm needles (I use circulars just for ease of transport).  
If you are in Hamilton or anywhere remotely close, visiting the Handknit Yarn Studio is a must.  You will not regret it.  You will feel inspired and ready to create the moment you step through the door.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

{that moment}

I was looking back at old pictures (still on my computer of course) I found this fantastic moment from June 2011 that I would like to remember FOREVER!  If you have a moment that you would like to share, leave a comment with a link bellow. I would love to see your moments!

Friday, June 14, 2013

{this moment}

Joining amanda and friends in "this moment"...capturing a moment from the week that I want to cherish and hold onto.   If you have a moment you would like to share, leave a comment with a link to it so we can check it out.  Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fun Fair/ Unfair?

We have been cruising along in this challenge of not-spending pretty successfully for the last month and a halfish.   I think the key to our success has been avoiding the risk of temptation.  We have been sticking to "safe" activities like hiking, swimming at my moms and hanging out with family and friends.  

Well let me assure you that last night our commitment to this lifestyle intention was tested and we were forced to make some very difficult and, as you can see from the above photos, very unpopular decisions.  
Last night, Ava's school held their annual Fun Fair.  She has been geared up about attending for days and I have been trying to prepare her for the fact that she can in fact go to the fair but because of our challenge she will not be able to spend any money there.  
That seemed to sit well with her until I picked her up after school.  Right away she started banging on to me about cotton candy and jumpy castles.  
With tears in her eyes she calmly said what I was dreading to hear "but all of my friends get to...".  Oh man, I knew it was coming but I really wasn't prepared.  Before starting "no-spending" (I really have to find a better name for our challenge...any suggestions?) the kids would have been able to have a reasonable but fairly unlimited amount of treats and rides and now I am forced to put my foot down.  While driving home Ava started to escalate.... flinging herself into full meltdown mode over cotton candy.   You would not have believed the drama.  I tried to calmly respond and allow her to have her freak out but oh my goodness it was almost comical.  
I really had to remind myself why it was important to stick to our decision because I was ready to give in...believe me.  I tried to point out that the fair was not about FOOD but about the fun of spending time with your friends.  I really felt like telling myself to shut up because I totally understood where she was coming from.  When I go to a fair, the first thing I am thinking of is funnel cake....I get it and obviously I see where she gets it from! 
 I needed to find some way to compromise without giving in.  Sri and I decided that she could have $2 to spend on "experiences" (like the jumpy castle)...not things/food and she could bring a snack if she felt like she would be hungry while there.  This seemed to sit well with her although she wasn't entirely convinced it was "fair".  

Here she is upon return from the fun fair.  She had a great time and was able to squeeze $2 more out of her father for more jumps in the bouncy castle.  When she came home she was so happy with herself for not asking for cotton candy..."I just ate my pears and ignored it".  I am proud of all of us! We stuck to our commitment and still had fun in the process.  This isn't easy but I can assure that has been totally worth it so far!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

just that kinda weekend

I'm so glad that we had a lazy, laid back, Guns & Roses kind of weekend because this upcoming week is going to be a killer.
Besides our usual social engagements (lunch at my grandma's), playdates and our day at the farm, I have made a to-do list for myself a mile long.  I need to prioritize, I know, but am overwhelmed at this point to even do that properly.

On the top of my list are:
                    1. find out why this red cabbage sauerkraut that I made as a gift went moldy

2. figure out what kind of frog/toads we have been watching grow from tadpoles in our little aquarium and what the heck do we do with them now?  They are so teeny tiny and the kids are a bit obsessed with them.  I have to admit they are a lot of fun to have around.

3. make myself a jersey dress with big pockets to wear over tights to work on the farm.  I'm thinking this would be the most comfortable outfit PLUS it would put me one step closer to actually being Laura Ingalls Wilder

4. make Ava's birthday invitations so that they can be hand-delivered on Father's Day.  I have pinned a few that I would love to make but don't have the supplies already in the house for.  The challenge is going to be making a great card from my craft stash.  

5. work with the kids to make Sri's Father's Day gift.  They already have some ideas but I am uncertain how they will actually work out.  Their ideas start off great but quickly deteriorate into the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 7, 2013

{these moments}

Okay I couldn't choose just ONE moment this had to be two!

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.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

this bountiful harvest

In all of my gardening experience (very little), nothing is sweeter than the first harvest of the season.  This is an even sweeter event because this beautifully soaking, freshly cut lettuce took ZERO effort.  It self-seeded from last year and was watered by mother nature.  I just sat by, watched and waited, like an animal stalking its prey, until the right moment to snip off some leaves.  This is going to make a delicious salad for lunch tomorrow with some goat cheese and dressed with a very light lemon vinaigrette.  I wish I could tell you what kind of lettuce this is but I don't keep a very good garden journal, actually I just scribble things on random pieces of paper with the intention of putting in a journal.  I vaguely remember hastily throwing the seeds into the container with Ava last year in an attempt to get her interested in gardening and forcing her to listen to another one of my rants on being more aware of the food that we eat...blah blah blah.  
Tomorrow as I shovel this lettuce into my mouth I will remember to be thankful for the ease with which it grew because I'm sure the rest of my garden won't let me off quite so easily.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

props....not my forte obviously

Ava has a school assignment due on Thursday.  Her first real assignment.  She is taking this VERY seriously!  She has to memorize the poem The Snowman by Shel Silverstein, recite it in front of the class and include props.

The Snowman
I made myself a snowman as perfect as could be
I thought I'd keep it as a pet and let it sleep with me
I made it some pajamas and a pillow for it's head
Then, last night it ran away
But first -- it wet the bed.
Shel Silverstein

She has done a great job of the memorizing and is very hit or miss with her presentation.  I am trying to keep my nose out of this but it is soooo hard to not offer a suggestion here or there.... which really sends her over the edge!  She has however asked me for help with the props.  Okay, I'm sure that you can all imagine that my first inclination is to go WAY over the top and yes, I did go there.  My first suggestion was that we could dress Anthony up as a snowman and bring him into class... a bit ridiculous when I think of it now.  I have had some other not so elaborate ideas but they have ALL been shot down emphatically.  Ava is unable to even verbalize an idea at this point as she is in such a tizzy over the whole thing.   

This is where I come to you my faithful readers, please help out this poor idealess and in a creative rut family.  Your suggestions for props would be much appreciated by the whole family....Sri and Anthony are tired of hearing about this stinking snowman.  Remember that because of our "no buying challenge" we have to use what we have around the house (which is very well stocked in the craft supply department).  

I'm so excited to hear your ideas and will try to figure out how to post a video of Ava reciting the poem with her prop of choice (another instance where I just have to take it down a few notches).