Wednesday, July 22

Meal Planning Monday (Wednesday Shhh)

I really meant to do my meal planning on Monday.  Get the week started right and organized, but Monday turned into Monday night.  Which let to Tuesday, and eventually Wednesday night. Where I sit now figuring out my meal plan for the week.  The best part about meal planning on Wednesday is that I already have 2 days figured out!

 Image result for awesome

Here is my Meal Plan for the Week- Hooking up with Org Junkie's Menu Planning Monday Link up
July 20- July 27

Monday- Meat Pie for kiddos Amy's Broccoli Pie (the best!) for me!
Image result for amy's broccoli pot pie
Tuesday- Refried Bean Corn Tacos with Vegetables

Wednesday- Butter nut Squash & Parsnip Soup from My Darling Vegan & Beef Hot dogs

Thursday- Porcupines Skillet from 30 Handmade Days

Friday-  Possibly out for Dinner

What are your plans for the week?  Do you enjoy planning out the week or do you like to go with the flow?  It's been a while since I created a successful meal plan, sometimes I feel like its been forever since I have cooked!

I cannot wait until the weekend when I am going to make some of this!

Wednesday, July 15

Pantry Challenge Part 4

We have now completed our 2 week PANTRY CHALLENGE!  Cue- the music!

I want to say that it was a roaring success and we saved a ton of money, but I can't.  Our challenge was a success.  We used a bunch of food from the pantry/ freezer that would have normally sat until it probably went into the trash.  Also I think that we are much more aware of the amount of money we spend on food.  

It takes time to plan out meals, and use what you already have.  I agree that its much quicker to go to the store and pick up everything that you need for a meal without a second thought.  That is until you take a look at your bank account and wonder where all the money went again!

From the start of our Pantry Challenge we spent a total of $407  on food.  We usually spend $500 on food for a two week period.  There is still alot of room for improvement!  I wish we had spent less and eaten more form what we had at home.  
When it comes to challenges everybody wants to hear that you fed 20 people on $25 for a month!  But for our family, in the area that we live in that's just not possible. 
 I would be really happy with $300 for a 2 week period.
  We are ahead and I am pleased with the results!

How did your pantry challenge go?  Do you learn anything?  Will you do it again?  
Have a great night!

Saturday, July 11

Pantry Challenge Part 3

This week I found that the pantry challenge became a bit harder then the previous week.  It almost seems that you can actually "forget" the challenge.  Its like if a challenge that you are taking on is not on your mind all the time then it is easy to forget.  We have gone to the grocery store to buy some food to augment the challenge and bought things the we should be skipping on during this challenge.  Although for the most part the pantry and freezer are being cleaned out.  When you go to the store and some of your regular food is on sale, it does not make sense to pass it up!

Check out below the meals that we have eating this week.  Note that Harvey's was because we were out of town.

#1)- Calgary (Harvey's)
#3- Hamburgers & strawberry / rhubarb crisp-pantry, fruit from our garden.
#4- PORK, POTATOES, VEG (all freezer and pantry)
#5- Spaghetti and meat sauce, pantry, bought a jar of tomato sauce as we only had a bit left
#6- Griddle cakes and sausage (freezer and baking pantry)

Planning is succeeding!  Also I am  trying out the 21 day fix so I will be eating a ton more of vegetables!  I cannot wait until my garden produces more!

Other then the challenge we have had a great week!  Another 4.2 lbs of strawberries were picked from the garden today!  I will be making jam with some of them tomorrow (all the ingredients are in the pantry)

Q is away so the boys and I went hiking, and then later to the river to throw rocks.  They are both asleep already and I am feeling like I probably will not be far behind.

When my husband is away I always feel like I will do this:

But I usually end up doing this by 10 pm

Mountain Free/ Low Cost Activities this week:

Alberta Free Family Fishing Weekend July 11/ 12- No Licence?  No problem!

Tuesday, July 7

Pantry Challenge Part 2

Focusing on our food budget this month has been a eye opener.  That is where most of our money seems to flow out of the bank account.  Even though we are only about a week into the pantry challenge it looks like it will not be enough of a change to ensure that our budget does not hit the red.

This month so far we have had a ton of unexpected items come up that must be paid for:

Daycare - $1700, a far cry from our normal 190, but when school is out the kiddos need someone to watch them when hubby and I are both at work.
Car break pads, callipers, ect- $170, our breaks seized last week, so hubby is working on them (bonus of a mechanically inclined hubby)
Baby Shower- Love my sis and the gecko she is incubating J
Pictures- All I will say
Camper Van- Still a possibility.. not quite finalized yet.
Company golf tournament, our contribution.

So far this month we are looking at about 2000 more then planned.  With an additional 4000 if the van purchase comes through.

We have decided to carry on with the pantry challenge, but focus on using August to grow back the account, this month is a bust and sometimes you have to just enjoy the ride and not stress.

How is your pantry challenge going?

We picked 6 lbs of strawberries from the garden yesterday so that counts as pantry I believe.  Time for some yummy jam and cakes I think.

Good luck with the coming week.

Monday, June 29

Pantry Challenge Part 1

fresh ground heaven...

Once I convinced Q to join me in the pantry challenge (like he had a choice ;)  we got started right away.

On Saturday we ate only what we had in the house.  We just had to buy milk at the store, because you cannot have coffee without milk!

We have 2 small boys so coffee is essential to life.

I love this print!  Can be found at this Etsy Shop: Doodlegraphics

We headed to the city to pick up a new tire for Q's bike.  Then we headed to a splash park.  It was awesome!  Spending the afternoon watching the kids run around and form a band of little boys with water guns attacking all other kids and parents is the best way to spend a plus 30 degree day.

Unfortunately we had to buy Wendy's on the way home because the kids were trying to eat us while we drove.  None of us were going to make it home alive...

We also went to the grocery store tonight because we needed fruit, coffee, (see above), and some more milk, just the basics.  Since we normally spend about $160 at the grocery store a week in addition to extra food on the side and random stops at the store for a few things that turn into a $60 trip.  You all know what I mean.

So for the first 4 days this is what we spent on food:

Milk- $4.50
Wendy's-:(- $22.58

June 27-Wendy's :(
June 28-meatballs (fridge), rice (pantry), veg (freezer)
June 29- Hot dogs (fridge), and mac and cheese (pantry).

Good night all and good luck in the pantry challenge!

Friday, June 26

Budget Wake Up

Last night I took stock of our budget.  We had not been keeping track of it for some time so I wanted to see where we stood.  Knowing that groceries are a huge part of our budget I added up what we spent for the month of June so far.

We have spent over $1000! for a family of 4! in less then a Month!  Also Q's mom bought a bunch of groceries when she was here too!

I cannot believe that we had spent that much!  On top of that because school is out our daycare bill is more then double its regular amount.  In order for us to not be completely negative when we reach the end of the month we will have to do a Pantry Challenge!

If you read my Tips for Cutting the Housing Cost Post you know that we try to stock up on food when its on sale.  Well our freezer, and pantry are stocked full of food already.  \we even have tomatoes in the freezer from our garden last year!

I first created a list of all the food that we have in the pantry and freezer.  

Then I will create our meals for the next two weeks (at least) using only the food on hand.  We will still be able to buy milk, coffee, and the few things that are needed to pull the meals together.
Over the next 2 weeks I will post and take pics about the meals we made and record how much money is actually spent on food.   Hoefully the amount will be very little so we can save some dough and save the budget!

Join me!  Take stock of your pantry and freezer, save some money , and get creative!

Day 1:  Home made Tomato Soup, find the recipe here:  Garden Fresh Tomato Soup

          : bread to dip, pb sandwiches for boys (they do not like tom soup )

          Notes:I used frozen tomatoes and doubled the recipe, also I had no onion so I added a                          package of onion soup mix I already had
             Money Spent: None

Wednesday, June 24

Tips for Cutting the Housing Costs

Living with kids these days can make the wallet empty pretty fast.  Add in a very expensive mountain town that has less then stellar wages and you are going to count every penny.  You will even start counting the penny's in your Son's piggy bank.  Take it from me, to survive you must be frugal with a belt full of tricks.

Below are my top tricks to save money and still live a little.

1. Cut the Cable/ Satellite- These days when you can get Netflix for less then a quarter of what we were paying for cable its just makes sense to say no to the over priced providers.  When we feel like a movie, we save up and go to the theatre or rent one.  Mind you this only happens once every couple of months.

2. Stop Paying for Literature- We used to buy books all the time.  I love to read, always have a book on the go, a stack of books on the table waiting for their turn.  Since my boys have gotten bigger, they are starting (and loving) reading!  I grew up in a family of avid readers.  We used to have shelves of books in our house that would rival the library.  We loved to buy books.  Book stores still feel like candy stores for me.  Them when our budget was super tight I started going to the library.  Our library is connected to a province wide program. We can order books, and movies from all over!  i have not bought a book for over 7 years!  Now the library feels like the candy store... I just needed to change my perspective.  For a small yearly fee, your whole family can read as many books as they like.

3. DIY heat- We had a plumber in a few years ago to take a look at our ancient furnace that came with the house.  He said he was surprised that the furnace worked at all.  Our furnace is over 40 years old, and runs at about 40% efficient.  Our money was getting flushed away with the gas we were using to heat our house.  We bought and installed a wood burning stove in our living room.  Now during the winter the house stays at 15 C, and we have a fire started the moment we get home.  In the summer the furnace is completely turned off.  In the first month we saved over 50% on our gas bill!  I recommend getting a building permit and inspection done to ensure that the stove is safe and installed correctly.  Nothing says romantic like a fireside cuddle.

4. Stock Pile to Save-  In our area groceries are always expensive.  My sister was selling a chest freezer a few years ago.  We now stock up when the food is on sale and freeze for the future.  I love going to the freezer instead of the store to see what we should make for dinner.  It just takes a bit of planning.

5. Barter- A friend of mine is a hunter.  He usually has a freezer stocked with elk and deer.  I make jam and salsa myself so we trade.  I once even make a dozen muffins and traded for some elk.

6. DIY Repair-  My husband is a carpenter/ mechanic/ handyman.  All of these come in handy when something in the house or car breaks.  Our stove which is about 16 years old blew the fuse that runs the oven.  I love to bake and cook.  Without that oven we were looking at a new stove, and the price tag that comes along with it.  I did some online searching and found a company that supplied the part, and they even had a video on how to install it!  I paid less then $10 (including shipping) once the fuse was put in we had a brand new stove!  We have also fixed our cars this way.  Do not be shy to give something a try.  Usually someone else has had the problem and fixed it!

7.  Brand New is Overrated- We try very hard not to buy anything brand new.  Especially larger house hold items.  When we bought our house it was a complete gut.  Everything must go right down to the studs.  A friend of mine was renovating their house and upgrading their kitchen.  We scored a fridge, stove,and dishwasher all for under $600.  We still have that stove too!  When our fridge was dying another happened to be selling theirs.  A $1600 fridge for less then half!  Our current dishwasher cost us $30 from another family upgrading their kitchen.  Now you can look all over Kijiji and Facebook for bargains.  The time it takes t locate what you need is well worth the money you will save.

These are just a few of the ways that we are able to cut costs and save money.  We would rather save the money for our annual road trip then on any overpriced item.

What are your favourite ways to save?

Friday, February 6



January: Boost Energy & Vitality

  • Take vitamins- Pretty good, the kids have helped us to remember, I am thinking about buying on of those pill things for everyday and set them all out
  • Kids take vitamins- same as above
  • Sleep @ 10:30 pm- i had a good 4 days in a row of this and felt great, need to work on it more, starting tonight, aim for 7 straight days
  • Kids sleep @ 7:30 pm-not happening 8 it is
  • Act more energetic
  • Sentence a day- most day, need to remember
  • Bedroom- decorate/ organize- did not get to this, can try this weekend

This week has been really good so far. Tired but I have been running alot, getting used to running 4 days week instead of 3.  I have run 305 km since September.

The boys have had a great week!  Playing lots and we have been spending time together reading and playing games.  I am getting really good at slowing down and enjoying the kids and Q.

Happy Friday

Wednesday, February 4

Half Marathon Training Week 2

Week 2 training:

Monday: 3 miles, shoulders, abs,
Wednesday-3 miles, leg, chest, tri, abs
Thursday-Back and biceps
Friday-3 miles, shoulders, abs
Sun-4 miles

So far so good, I am tired today but feeling good, last week I ended up running fri, sat , sun all in a row because of other things that came up.

I am going to try to wake up early to run in the am before anything else comes up.

Cy has a front loose tooth!

Cy also had lice, I cleaned and scoured all Monday.  So far I have no been able to find anymore, shaving his head helped.

Tuesday, January 27

Half Marathon Training Plan

I have finally figured out my half marathon training plan.

I mixed a few plans together to get one that seems just right for me.

This one: 20 week schedule
Mixed with this one: for the recovery week: Half Marathon Intermediate Plan

I am also going to throw some hills in the last few weeks.  The blue is upper body strength and pink is lower body strength from Lauren Gleisberg

Feel free to use my running program if you think it will work for you

Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
Week 3 miles, 3.32 miles, a-chest, tri,abs off, legs 3 miles, back and biceps off 3 miles,sholder abs cardio Yoga 4 miles
Week 3 miles off 3 miles off 3 miles Yoga 4 miles
Week 3 miles off 4 miles off 4 miles Yoga 5 miles
Week 3 miles off 4 miles off 4 miles Yoga 5 miles
Week 2-3 miles off 5 miles off 5 miles Yoga 6 miles
Week 2-3 miles off 5 miles off 5 miles Yoga 6 miles
Week 2-3 miles off 3 miles 5 miles 3 miles Yoga 7 miles
Week 2-3 miles off 3 miles 5 miles 3 miles Yoga 7 miles
Week 2-3 miles off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles Yoga 8 miles
Week 2-3 miles off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles Yoga 8 miles
Week 2 miles off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles Yoga 9 miles
Week 2 miles off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles Yoga 9 miles
Week 2 miles off 5 miles 6 miles 5 miles Yoga 10 miles
Week 2 miles off 5 miles 6 miles 5 miles Yoga 10 miles
Week 2 miles off 5 miles 6 miles 4 miles Yoga 11 miles
Week 2 miles off 5 miles 6 miles 4 miles Yoga 11 miles
Week off off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles Yoga 12 miles
Week off off 4 miles 6 miles 4 miles Yoga 12 miles
Week off off 4 miles 5 miles 4 miles Yoga 6 miles
Week off off 4-5 miles off 4-5 miles Yoga 13.1
20 miles!

Yesterday was day 1, so far so good, but I have PMS and training with it is stupid hard.

Hope fully tomorrow would be better... wish me luck!

Last weeks training plan went like this:

Monday: Weights- DONE
Tuesday: Yoga/ Zumba?- OFF
Wednesday: Weights- DONE
Thursday: H|iit- RUN 4.46 KM
Friday: Off- OFF
Saturday: Run- RUN 8.5 KM
Sunday- Yoga long

Saturday, January 24

Run Free

I am aiming for an 8k run tonight once Q is done work.

After running around all day.  Kids went to swimming lessons, then a park date.  Mama is ready to have some run around time herself.

I am trying to train myself out of the need to have my shoes super tight.  I guess I am a bit OCD when it comes to having things feel like they are not moving at all.  When I put my shoes too tight then my feet get sore, sore like you take of your shoes and hobble around the house, Sore.  Not what I am looking for....

I think that I have found a half marathon Training program!  I will post as soon as I have confirmed that it is the right one.  Or at least the right one for right now.

Warm enough to wear my pink thinner tights!  Yay!

Friday, January 23


TGIF!  I am so glad that it is Friday!  It seems to have been an extra long week.  Although I did not do much out of the ordinary.. or even that strenuous.... but it was tough!

We did make it to Gym night which I was really happy about.  The more likely cause is that I am about 8ish days of from my period.  I have noticed that as I get older that I am more affected each month then I used to be.  Now I get exhausted about a week before.  Exhaustion like falling asleep on the couch at 9 pm, and having trouble keeping my eyes open at work.  This makes doing anything look horribly unappealing.  The house usually suffers and I tend to hibernate more... even when the weather is nice.

As you will see from my workout breakdown actual that I will post on Sunday my workouts suffer as well.

I am going to do this today though.. even if I end up drooling on the couch after.

Hopefully I will be awake after to watch even 1 show before the drool festival begins.

Tuesday, January 20

Gym Night

Tonight we finally got our act together to take the boys to family gym night.  It's held in our local school, just free play in the gym with any sport equipment that you want.

The boys had a ball!  They played with bouncy balls to see how high they could go.  Then a bit of badminton... but then one of them found the square skate boards.  Do you remember them from when you were in school?  They were always the best toy!  The kids asked me to race them on it, but I did not trust that my face would not connect with the floor.  Q and I stuck to badminton which I really enjoy.  We always take our rackets when we go camping.

The boys are even better then last year at throwing balls.  Its almost time for spring baseball again!

I tried a new Ham Slow Cooker Recipe today.  BUT, I substituted the maple syrup for agave nectar, the brown sugar for coconut sugar, and the apple juice for grape juice.  These were all that I had on hand, turned out great anyway.  Its from The Road to 31, Here is a link to the recipe if you want to give it a go!  It's my new favourite ham recipe.

Tonight I decided to do HIIT because I am missing running but trying to take a few days off.  I did the 30 min Full Body Conditioning Workout from Running on Real Food.  I changed it to 30 sec and 1 round of each.  I feel it already, exactly what I was looking for.

My husband grew his moustache out because I requested it, but now he has an issue,  How to hold back his hair while eating?  Rainbow loom or bobby pin?  You vote!

His hair keeps him warm when he is working...

Monday, January 19

1st Race of 2015

This weekend was my first race of 2015.

I ran the 10k Mec 2015 Series Race in Calgary.

The weather was plus 5, so nice.  After running in the coldest weather (-25) plus 5 was such a treat.

My sister ran the 5k.

My time was= 10k-1:10
Sister time= 5k-37:00

I felt really good during the race.  I ran with my sis the first 2.5k of the race.  She turned around at that point where I kept going.

A few times I felt all alone on the path... no one I could hear behind me and just the peek of someone in front of me during a straight route.  It was nice.  I am used to training alone (with dog) so I was used to the quiet.  The padding of my feet and some good music to rock to.

I probably looked like the crazy runner out there, just grinning away as I trekked along.  I love races because it is a way to prove to myself that my body is capable of amazing things.

A year a go I was still having trouble with my calves.  Even walking around the house was excruciatingly painful.  Now I can go out and run 10k without (much) trouble.  I would never say that running is easy, but it is never dull!

I did get a wicked migraine after my race (thanks Chinook)

At least it held off until after, I slept for about an hour until I felt human again.

Then it was a games night with sis and some friends.

Next day we all went to the bridal show at the stampede grounds... mom, sis, and her maid of honour.

I ate a ton of cake samples, It was fun but very interesting to people watch.  Ladies are crazy at that show!  Lots of them were dressed more like hookers and less like brides to be... must be a trend!

I am looking at my 10th anniversary this year so wedding planning is old hat!

I am now starting at least 5 days off of running before I start training for the Banff Half Marathon in June!  EEEEEK!

Last Weeks Training- Actual

Sunday: Off/ Yoga Weights - off 
Monday- Run 9- Done
Tuesday-weights/ IT BAND-Done
Wednesday- Run 7km- Run 5 km
Thursday-Weights/ IT Band- Off
Saturday- 10 K RACE!- Done

This weeks training plan:

Monday: Weights
Tuesday: Yoga/ Zumba?
Wednesday: Weights
Thursday: H|iit
Friday: Off
Saturday: Run
Sunday- Yoga long

One more tooth was lost and a visit from the tooth fairy!

Wednesday, January 14

Debt be gone!

I have redone our budget for 2015, seems that with the new total that we will be able to more $ towards our line of credit.

This means that if all goes well, we will be debt free by May 2016!

Q is Not jumping around the room.... not sure why?  I think it will sink in soon.....

Sunday, January 11


This January instead of having some new years revolutions I am going to start a Happiness Project instead.

These are my tentative areas so far:

January: Boost Energy & Vitality

  • Take vitamins
  • Kids take vitamins
  • Sleep @ 10:30 pm
  • Kids sleep @ 7:30 pm
  • Act more energetic
  • Sentence a day
  • Bedroom- decorate/ organize

February: Memories
  • start family yearbook 2014
  • order and put up pictures from Mike
  • Start scrapbook for kids
  • shadow boxes
  • empty old computer of pictures and recycle
  • Living Room- decorate/ organize
March: Choose Happy
  • act the way I want to feel
  • Deep breaths
  • play more
  • start activity chart
  • kids room- decorate/ organize

April: Love

  • less talk
  • no picky
  • appreciate the work
  • date night x2
  • no nagging
  • no dumping
  • tv free nights 2 x week
  • kitchen decorate/ organize
May: Kids
  • kids dates
  • activity charts
  • dinner at table 3 X week
  • listen to kiddos
  • bond after school, sit for snack with kids
  • front hall- decorate/ organize

June: Work Harder

  • finish 2 excel courses
  • get accounting certificate
  • start doing books for 1 client
  • advertising?
  • half marathon
  • garden organize/ set up
July: Create
  • garden work plan
  • knit 15 projects in 2015
  • project a month/ house
  • craft a week with kids
  • restart knitting group weekly
August: Pamper
  • paint nails biweekly
  • wax biweekly
  • get hair cut
  • practice make up
  • sort clothes and take stock of waredrobe

September: Routine
  • finalize family rhythm
  • finalize house cleaning routine
  • enjoy the new start
  • hire house cleaner monthly

Training Update:  Jan 11-17

Sunday: Off/ Yoga Weights - all depends on how I feel
Monday- Run 9
Tuesday-weights/ IT BAND
Wednesday- Run 7 km
Thursday-Weights/ IT Band
Saturday- 10 K RACE!

 This race will be my first 10 k since my injury over 3 years ago.  Also it will be my second race since I started running again!

After this week I am going to start a half marathon plan... but I am not sure which one to use yet.  For me I have to do yoga at least once a week.  Also I have to do my IT exercise at least 2 times a week.  Also 1 bath a week.

My goal is to finish and to still like to run when I am finished with no injuries.

I have been tying my shoes too tight lately.  I feel like my heels need to not lift up at all, but this makes my arches die.  Last week after my long run I could barely walk after.  This past Friday when I did a full 10 k I loosened my shoes, then my feet did not hurt!  Yay, but I have to retrain myself to not feel the need to have my shoes so tight.....