Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year from the Red House!

If only a couple hours ago you asked me about my favourite New Year’s Eve, it would most definitely have been ringing in 2005.  I was madly in love and was hanging out in Halifax with my boyfriend (now my  husband) as his band played the Forum and drinking more than my fair share of their rider.  I really didn’t think it could get any better. 

That is, until I rang in 2014.  Yep, I know, it’s only just past 8pm on December 31st and I have already celebrated but, let me tell you, it was the best celebration yet.

I came home from work tonight and told the kids that the three of us were having a party, (hubby is working the late shift tonight).  Once I explained what New Year’s Eve was, their little planning wheels started turning at high-speed.  The first thing my son did?  He made a list.  I worry that he may be just a little too much like his mama, but how cute is this list anyway?
We got started on making the decorations right away .  What’s a New Year’s Eve celebration without fireworks?  With some black construction paper, a little glue and a ton of glitter, we made our own.  Had I realized the glue would get drippy (and why wouldn’t it?!), I would have let our fireworks dry a little before I hung them up.  I just explained that the drips were the fireworks launching into the sky and the kids were happy with that.
The party started at 6pm and, in accordance with our list, we had candles, music, games, food, and toys (hats,and noise makers).  I talked the kids into swapping the movie watching with a dance party and they were all over it.  We played musical chairs, had a magic show and danced our little hearts out in true Red House style.
We counted down to 2014 at 7pm.  We made lots of noise, we kissed and hugged and then made our way upstairs for the coziest tuck-in of the year.  I thanked them for making 2013 one of my best year’s ever and off they went into Dreamland.  If tonight is any indication of what’s to come, 2014 is going to be another amazing year for our little family.
Thanks for reading and all the best in 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Another One on Sexist Toys

Is Boxing Day too early for me to complain about my daughter’s Christmas gift?  My 4-year old asked Santa to bring her Baby Alive this year.  I knew it would be an annoying toy, what with the peeing, pooping and obnoxious phrases like “Oops, I made a stinky!” (I mean, really.  Seriously?), but my beef with this doll goes much deeper than a simple irritation.

Let me just preface this by saying I’m not some kind of nut that doesn’t let her kids play with whatever toys they want or that forces them to play with opposite gendered toys just to make a point.  A couple weeks ago, my best friend sent me this message: 
As I explained in my reply, I don’t freak out when someone buys my daughter a princess toy or my son an Avengers book.  I do the same thing.  It’s what they’re into and I buy them things that I know they would like.  My problem is with “girls only” and “boys only” toys, and when toy companies and parents teach kids that they’re too good for certain toys, (even more loathsome are the parents that suggest their kids are too good for certain colours).  It’s offensive and is not a fair message to be using while we raise the next generation.
Okay, now back to Baby Alive…

You have the option to have her speak in either English or French, which is great.  What you don’t have is the option to have her talk to her mommy or daddy.  Nope, the only option there is mommy because really, only little girls will want to play with a baby doll, right?  Ugh.
My son has played with Baby Alive since she was unwrapped yesterday morning just as much as he has played with his new Ninja Turtles.  Lucky for us, the gift was given to his sister so she’s the mommy and he is taking his role of Baby Alive’s uncle very seriously.  We don’t need to explain to him why she only calls out for mommy, but what if that was the gift he had asked Santa for?  Why is Hasbro assuming that little boys are not playing with this product?  Is the message that girls have the natural role of nurturer while boys do not?  It’s ridiculous and it grates on my nerves every time the silly doll starts to speak.  We’re a long way from the 1950’s.  The dads of today are raising their kids just as much as the moms and, while our kids are hopefully learning by example, they should also be encouraged to role-play this as well.  I'm really hoping Baby Alive makes her way to the back of the closet soon.
End rant.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry and Bright

For a lot of people, the best part of the holidays is Christmas Eve.  It really is pretty amazing, with the last minute preparations, festive visits, and the excitement of what’s to come.  Christmas morning is really great too, especially when you’re lucky enough to live with a couple of super excited kids.  Both are wonderful parts of the holidays.  My favourite part though is tonight.  The end of the day on Christmas once everything has settled down.  The kids are fast asleep in new jammies and I have tucked myself into my bed with new sheets from my mom, a new book from my husband and the tea I found in my stocking (thanks, Santa!). 
The big day has come to an end for another year.  It’s now time to relax, reflect on how thankful I am, and really enjoy the holiday with my family.  Happy holidays to one and all.  May all of your days be merry.  xo

Saturday, December 7, 2013

These are a Few (Ten) of My Favourite Things (Christmas Songs)

This post is a list of my favourite CHRISTMAS songs, and not because I’m one of those people highly offended if someone doesn’t celebrate the same holiday that I do.  This time of year is definitely the holiday season, and there are many different people celebrating many different things and some, nothing at all.  These songs are specifically about Christmas, though.  December 25th.  The most wonderful time of the year.  And so, here it is, my list of favourite Christmas songs:

10. Bruce Springsteen – Merry Christmas Baby
 9. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas is You

  8. Kenny & Dolly – A Christmas to Remember

 7. Stevie Wonder – Someday at Christmas
 6. Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

 5. Band Aid – Do They Know it's Christmas

 4. Wham! – Last Christmas

 3. Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmas Time

 2. U2 – It’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

 1. The Pogues – Fairytale of New York

Whatever it is you’re celebrating this holiday season, may it be full of love, happiness and great music.  xo

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finding Space

I’m lucky enough to live in a neighbourhood where I can walk to practically anything.  School, groceries, bank, coffee, LCBO and most recently my favourite destination, a yoga studio.  I try to make it there as often as I can but find myself in the same predicament as most parents – the studio schedule needs to perfectly align with not only my schedule, but that of my kids and my husband too.  Unfortunately for me, that means I’m not there nearly as often as I would like to be.

Yesterday, the yoga studio hosted a 2-hour meditation workshop.  With some help from our village of family and friends, I was able to drop the kids off for playdates and attend it.  I am so thankful that I did.
I learned more in those two hours about meditation than I have in all the research I’ve done on my own.  There were eight of us there and we meditated as a group for fifty minutes, broken up into four separate blocks.  FIFTY MINUTES!  I was amazed.

We were taught the three important instructions of meditation:
1.      Be still.

2.      Relax.

3.      Let go.

I’ll go deeper into each of those instructions another time but for me, the most important thing I learned was actually a realization.  I realized that I’ve always considered yoga as a chance to do something for myself.  And it is exactly that.  I get out of the house for a couple of hours and spend that time just on me.  Stretching, breathing, and focussing on nothing but the practice.  Finding space in my body.   
In contrast, meditation is doing nothing for myself.  Deciding to be still, relax and let go.  Finding space in my mind.  Something that I have needed in my life for a really, really long time.

And so begins my newest journey. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

GoldieBlox, Pink Lego...What's the Diff?

We’ve all seen this ad for GoldieBlox, right?  It’s making its way around social media these days and seems to pop up on my Facebook feed a couple times a day.  Everyone is mad for it and I can definitely see why.  It looks to me like a pretty good product with an amazingly spectacular ad.  It’s empowering young girls to stop playing with princess toys and start becoming the engineers we’ve always known they could become.  And all while a bunch of girls sing their rendition of Girls by the Beastie Boys.  As an advertisement, it’s genius.  As a product, I’m not so sure.

My problem with it is this:  How is this any different than the pink Lego everyone was enraged about a few years ago?  Why are the same parents that were rightfully complaining about the pink Lego now promoting GoldieBlox on their social media pages? Why do building blocks and tool kits have to be given a cutesie name and have pink and purple packaging for parents to buy them for their daughters?  And let’s not kid ourselves, as catchy and cool as the commercial is, the packaging is still super girlie and you will absolutely find this product in the “girl aisle” at the toy store, right next to all the princess gear.  You want to empower your daughter?  Let her watch Star Wars, read comic books and encourage her to choose toys from the "boy aisle" once in a while.
And while I’m at it, why is this product just for girls?  According to the GoldieBlox site, they are “tapping into girls’ strong verbal skills” by including a book with every kit, allowing girls to build according to the story line.  Brilliant!  My five year old son would LOVE that!  Thankfully, we have raised him to know that he is not too good to play with pink things or to read books about parades and puppies so he would absolutely play with this toy, purple packaging and all.  The thing is, I don’t need to be tricked by a catchy ad in order to encourage my kids (specifically my daughter) to play with construction kits.  We already have lots of blocks and building toys (in all colours) that both kids love to play with when they’re not already setting up dinosaur land, playing dress-up (both dressing up as fairies, princesses, pirates and superheros!) or having dance parties in our kitchen.  I’m all for empowering young girls but I don’t think GoldieBlocks is the product to do it and they will definitely not be under our Christmas tree this year. 
I’ll likely still watch the ad every time it pops up on my Facebook feed though, but that’s just because it’s awesome.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Dreaded Junk Drawer

It starts on the counter-top, a little bit at a time.  A bill here, a school newsletter there.  Then every few days, the paper pile moves from the counter to the top of the fridge.  There, it just keeps growing and growing.  Magazines are added, books, toys and nail polish, too until eventually, it looks like this:
Then, every month or so, (usually whenever company is coming), the ugly pile gets moved from the top of the fridge and thrown into the junk drawer.  You know the one.  Every house has a drawer just like it.  Bobby pins, tools, gift wrap and stickers all find their way into this drawer until one day, you start to find random pieces of junk that have escaped down the back of the drawer and into the cupboard below. 
Today was that day for me.  I opened my junk drawer this morning to find this:
Thankfully, I had already had my second cup of coffee and rather than feeling defeated, I felt motivated.  I started with that nasty drawer and then made my way to the top of the fridge.  And now?  Now the junk-collecting spots in my kitchen look like this:
But for how long?  While I was sorting, shredding and filing, I vowed to deal with each piece of paper as it came into the house from now on.  Now, I’m wondering if that was a realistic promise to make myself.  Is it even possible in a busy household?!
Where does the junk collect in your house?  Do you deal with it right away or let it build up like I do?  Please share your tips, as I clearly need them.  Or, better yet, let me know about your junk drawer and how long you leave it before you’re forced to clean it out.  You know, to make me feel better about my messy habits.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

And then there were two!

The last six weeks have brought a lot of change in the red house.  My son Rudie has turned into a polite little boy that loves his sister, follows direction easily and uses his words much more than he uses his fists.  I am, of course, speaking generally here.  I mean, he’s definitely no angel.  He’s still a 5-year old boy but for the first time in a really long time, we seem to be dealing with regular old, age appropriate boy stuff (and we’re so happy to do it!).

A few things changed six weeks ago.  Rudie settled into senior kindergarten with an amazing new teacher who keeps learning fun and students interested.  This is also his first year in French Immersion, and that in itself is keeping him challenged and loving school.  Six weeks ago was when I started working part time and that has helped in a huge way.  Not only does it mean there is one less person “handling” him every day, it’s another opportunity for us to chat, play and most importantly, connect as we walk the few blocks to school every morning.
The other thing we did six weeks ago was enroll Rudie in a karate club.  Three days a week he gets dressed in his gi, offers his courtesy, and for thirty minutes practices his jabs, crosses and hi-yas.  He’s learning discipline and respect and having a crazy amount of fun while he’s at it.  An added bonus?  They talk about how to talk to and listen to mom and dad at home, and they go over stranger danger strategies every few weeks.

We’ve been so happy with the progress we’ve seen in Rudie over this past month and a half that we decided to enrol Edie in karate as well.  She’s there three days a week watching her big brother anyway, so why not?  And selfishly, it's great for me to actually get to sit and watch the class with both of them in it rather than trying to watch him and keep her entertained at the same time. 

Maybe it's a combination of all these changes that have made such an impact lately.  I know for a fact that karate has been a huge part of it.  Martial Arts played an important role in my husband’s life as he was growing up and I can see it becoming just as important in our lives going forward.  It's fun, it tires them out, it teaches them really important life-skills and for that, I am thankful.  Courtesy.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Lovin'

You know when things are going so good that you don’t want to acknowledge it out of fear that your world will come crumbling down once again?  Okay, that’s a bit on the dramatic side, but you know what I mean, right?  Everything is really, really awesome right now.  I just wish I could pause time so I’m able soak every second in.  Every smell, every colour, every laugh.     

Maybe the fall season is finally getting to me.  The slow-cooked dinners, the chilly evenings wrapped in blankets, the crunching leaves on the ground.  Maybe I’ve had one too many pumpkin spice lattes.  Whatever it is, it’s wonderful.
Thanks for reading.  xo

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lesson Learned: Never Say Never

You know all those things you said you would never do before you became a parent?  You know, co-sleeping (did it), letting them cry it out (did it), putting them in Crocs (but they’re just so easy!).  I’m doing something now that I swore I would never do, even just a month ago: I’ve over-scheduled my kids.

Here is how our week looks:
Monday:              daughter dancing
Tuesday:              son karate
Wednesday:       FREE DAY!  HOORAY!
Thursday:            son karate
Friday:                  both kids swimming
Saturday:             son karate
Sunday:                Another free day and a big, happy, lazy sigh.
Somewhere in there, we also fit in the shopping, cleaning and the adult activities, such as my yoga practice 2-3 times a week (some weeks are much easier than others).  Luckily, my husband is a runner so he can just strap his sneakers on and go for it whenever there is some free time to be found.

This has been our schedule for the last month and, although I’ve moved to part-time hours at work, I’m now busier than I’ve ever been.  But you know what?  It’s working for us.  My kids look forward to their activities and my son in particular loves knowing that something is scheduled on any given day.  Karate has been so good for him in so many ways (another post about that later!) and I’m happy with the choices we have made.  We all are! 
I’ve thrown my never-do list out the window.  I’ve learned that your situation can (and will) constantly change and you never know what you need to do next to accommodate your family’s needs.  You also never know what will actually work for you until you try it.  Like those damn Crocs…they may be ugly but what kid doesn’t love a slip-on shoe?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Product Review: The Diva Cup

Okay, so this post is about periods and a product that women put in their vaginas every month.  If you’re grossed out by the natural function of a woman’s body:

1.       What is wrong with you?
2.       Don’t read this.
Now, back to reviewing the best product that has come into my life in recent years: The Diva Cup!  Just for the record, I’m not paid in any way to promote this product (I wish!) I just really love it and want to share my love of it with women everywhere.

I’ve been using the Diva Cup for about a year and a half now.  I had been curious about the cup for a while and then I read about how this blogger found a moldy tampon in her new box of Kotex and made the decision right there to never use tampons again. 
I’m so glad I did for so many reasons:  I’m not shoving bleached cotton tubes into myself every month, which makes me feel good about what I’m doing (or not doing!) to my body.  I love that I’m not creating all that waste every month and, on top of all that, I bought one cup for $40.99 eighteen months ago and haven’t had to spend another dollar on my period since. 

The Diva Cup is made of surgical grade silicone and is perfectly safe to be worn for up to 12 hours before emptying, washing and reinserting.  Seriously, this product has turned my period into a non-period.  I think about it twice a day a few days a month and that’s it.  I never have to worry about heavy days, light days, sorting myself out in a public washroom or leaks.  This product has made my life better. 
If you're in the Hamilton area, you can pick your Diva Cup up at Barefoot Babies on Ottawa Street (that's where I got mine!) and change your periods forever, too.

Have you used the Diva Cup?  Do you have any questions?  Let me know all about your experience and/or ask away in the comments below. 

Happy period indeed, ladies!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

NEEDED: A Consistent and Predictable Routine

I definitely don’t claim to have everything under control as a parent but there have been a few tips and tricks that have made our lives a little easier.  Over the last year or so, it has become really apparent that our son needs a consistent, predictable routine (more so than the average kid).  Things have been a little better now that I’m working part-time and am able to walk him to school every day, because that means we’re cutting out daycare and therefore there is one less person “handling” him in the morning.  We’ve also implemented some visual aids around the house, and they have been super helpful.

Morning and evening routines are pretty much consistently smooth now that we have these visual aids.
 We post them in the bathroom and the kids know exactly where to look to see what comes next.  They make me feel good too – definitely less nagging coming from me, as the responsibility is now on them to complete all the steps.
This visual aid is posted by our front door. 
My husband works shifts so this weekly calendar helps the kids to know if daddy is working days or if he’s nocturnal.  They know that on the days that he’s not working, he picks them up from school, so they always look forward to those days.
Again, these visual aids definitely don’t make our lives perfect, but they have made our days happier.  Our son can predict exactly what is happening around him, which makes him feel more in control.  I think these aids would benefit any kid, but if you find that your little one is especially in need of knowing what comes next, you can create some for them in just a few quick steps.

A quick search of morning routine for kids, evening routine for kids and weekly routine for kids in Google Images will bring up any number of great examples, so just print one that works for you (or create your own!).  After a quick trip to Staples for laminating, some scissor-work and then attaching a little bit of velcro, you can have routine charts for you and your family.  Good luck and all the best as you move into a more consistent and predictable routine for your little one.

Thanks for reading.  xo

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Right Back Where We Started

If you’re a regular reader of Tales from the Red House, you know just how far we’ve come this year.  My son Rudie is a great kid.  A super kid!  With some hard work by all four members of our family this year, his behaviour at home has changed from hitting, swearing, spitting, and screaming back into the actions of the sweet, funny, smart and snuggly little guy that we knew was in there all along. 
Did you see the catch there?  His behaviour AT HOME has changed.  There were still issues whenever Rudie was with our daycare provider, and we were worried about what would happen once he was back in school, but we thought we were managing the day-to-day.  We were using all the things we had learned in the Incredible Years program, all the parenting tools we had put into place around the house, and all the meetings with doctors, social workers, and therapists all who had the same diagnosis of “there is no diagnosis”, and the advice that he would one day grow out of it.  But then one day last week we got a call that we did not see coming and our lives were turned upside down once again.  Our amazing and perfect-for-us daycare provider was having a really hard time with Rudie’s behaviour and would no longer be able to watch him.*  And there we were, just like that, without daycare for the third time in a year.
We were so sad and so worried and to be honest, it took everything we had to not be angry with Rudie. 
In just a few days, we’ve been able to sort out daycare.  It’s taken a lot of help from family to fill in the immediate gaps and an understanding workplace that is allowing me to work part-time hours to care for my kids before and after school.  That’s a huge load off our backs.  Then Rudie had his second day of Senior Kindergarten today.  While he was there, he spit on his friend’s snack, hit his teacher three times and all of a sudden, we’re here again.
We are now in the process of reopening our file with Children’s Mental Health and we have an appointment with our family doctor next week.  We’re taking all the same steps we’ve taken over the last twelve months but this time, we’re not taking no-answer for an answer.  Aggressive behaviour is one thing, but getting kicked out of three daycares is another thing entirely.  We need answers this time and we need them for our little boy.  We don’t talk specifics in front of him, but he knows exactly what’s happening.  He’s too bright not to. 
I’ll be sharing the tips, tricks and tools that have been working in our house over the next little while and will also post regular updates about our progress on this, our second lap.  In the meantime, I’m sending Rudie to school tomorrow with these in his backpack.  Laminated reminders of the family that love him every day.
*Our amazing and perfect-for-us daycare provider is still amazing and perfect-for-us but Rudie is a tough kid to provide care for, especially when you’re defending your own kids against his violent behaviour.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Here We Go Again

As you may or may not have already noticed, I haven’t posted anything in a few days, including the last few posts of the blog challenge.  Shit has hit the fan once again in The Red House in a really big, snowball-effect kind of way and I’m not quite ready to write about it just yet.  I will fill you all in on what’s happening soon, I just need some time to figure it all out myself. 
In the meantime, I counted fifteen (FIFTEEN!) over-ripe bananas in my freezer this morning, so I made some banana bread and it is going perfectly with this cup of tea.  It’s actually making me feel a little bit better today.
Also, my mother-in-law left this on my counter the other day. 
She calls them “counter pickles”.   Anyone ever heard of them?  Apparently, they’re quite safe to leave on the counter.  My husband has been eating them and he’s still alive to tell about it, but I’m still not completely convinced. I think I’ll be putting them in a jar in the fridge by the end of the day today, and then never touching them ever again.  They weird me out.  If you know anything of these “counter pickles”, please enlighten me in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.  xo

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Challenge Day 27: This Will Make Your Tummy Happy

I’ve been making this meal for probably about ten years now, and it’s my favourite.  It also happens to be the favourite of everyone I make it for.  I have impressed many a dinner guest with this one.

I don’t exactly have a recipe, but this is how I make it:
Start with a bunch of tomatoes, preferably from your own garden.  I usually use grape and cherry tomatoes cut in half, but we also grew roma tomatoes this year so I quartered a few of those too and they worked just as well.
You may have to pick more tomatoes than you need if your helper is anything like mine.
Put all of your cut up tomatoes in an oven-friendly dish and drizzle with some olive oil.  Be generous with the oil.  I give it a few good glugs to make sure all the tomatoes and the base of the dish are coated thoroughly.  Sprinkle it with some sea salt and some pepper and it’s ready to be popped into a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees.
After about forty minutes at this temperature, turn the oven up to 400 degrees for another twenty minutes, start boiling your pasta (I like to use linguine with this recipe), grate a hunk of parmesan cheese and chop your fresh basil (also preferably from your garden).  Your roasted tomatoes should come out of the oven looking dark, smelling delightful and sizzling.
Rather than draining it first, I take the pasta right from the boiling water with tongs and add it to the dish with the tomatoes.  You might need some of the water from the pasta later and I just find this way easier than trying to save some.  Mix the noodles up with the tomatoes, then add in your parmesan and basil.  It might turn into a cheesy mess so this is when you will want to add a little of the water from the pasta. 
And voila!  So, so good.  We normally barbeque some chicken breast to serve with this pasta dish and holy crap, it’s the best dinner ever.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Challenge Day 26: An Old Photo of Yours Truly

Come on now, how cute was I?! 

This was November 1977, I was 13 months old.  I'm not sure what I like the most in this photo: the orange overalls or the little white boots?  I'm surprised that I was ever dressed like this, actually.  With all the pink, frills and perms that I can remember from my childhood, (yes, I said PERMS!), it's shocking to see that my mom decided to dress me like a little boy on this particular day. 

My dad must have done it. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Challenge Day 25: My Five Favourite Blogs!

There aren't many blogs that I check regularly.  Is that weird?  There are two that I would absolutely call my favourites though, because I'm always super pumped when I see a new post.  Here they are:

The Art of Doing Stuff (theartofdoingstuff.com) – You may remember Karen Bertlesen from those few-minute segments on CFMT before Letterman came on at 11:35pm.  I just googled her and learned that she has also hosted a bunch of shows on HGTV Canada.  I don’t watch that channel, so I didn’t know that.  This is the first I’ve seen of her since her days of being cute and funny before Dave.  She writes a blog now and I love it.  She has great DIY ideas, recipes, gardening advice and has remained cute and funny.  Seriously, this woman can do anything.  Not only that, she has chickens.  Even better than that?  The Coop Cam.  Every day from 9am-9pm, you can see what the chickens are up to.  You’re welcome. 
Green Thimble (greenthimble.blogspot.ca): This blog is great.  Krista sews amazing dresses for little girls, (I own a few!), and seems to really have her mom-shit together.  Her posts are full of fun and unique things she’s done with her kids (she’s so crafty!) and she writes about the moments that didn’t go as well as she had hoped, which I think is so super important for other parents to read.  Also, there are chickens.  (I’m seeing a pattern here that I didn’t notice before and will have to explore one day.  Maybe I should have chickens too?)  Anyway, Krista and her family are four months into a year-long buy-nothing-but-what-they-absolutely-need challenge.  It’s pretty inspiring.  Check it out.
I know that I'm supposed to write about my FIVE favourite blogs but I just really need my bed right now.  Today was a really fun and a really productive day.  We walked for what could have been miles, we washed both cars inside and out, and we played an extended version of Hit the Kids With a Giant Ball (our favourite family game!) in the backyard.  Well, we couldn't play it in the front yard now, could we?  The neighbours might start talking.  Yep, a  fun day, indeed. 
Also, this blog challenge can suck it.  I can't wait for this month to be over.  Thanks for reading!  :)


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blog Challenge Day 22: The BEST Thing to Happen This Year

The best thing that has happened this year wasn’t anything extravagant or out of the ordinary.  There was no stroke of luck or extenuating circumstance.  It’s something that had been a long time coming.  Like, a seriously long time coming.  It’s something that has taken great discipline and self-control, which are two things that really don’t come naturally to me or my husband.  We’ve had to work hard, we’ve had to focus, and we’ve had to finally admit that it was time to grow up.  Yep, it took us until our mid-thirties to figure out what most people learn in their twenties:  how to balance a budget.

Not only are we balancing our budget, we’ve taken control of it.  We’ve taken back the power!  We were both pretty stupid when it came to spending as singles in our twenties as well as a couple in our early thirties and had racked up a lot of consumer debt.  My back-to-back maternity leaves while hubby was bartending didn’t help either.
This past year though, we’ve made a budget and we've been sticking to it.  We're only spending cash and we’re paying our debt down every month.  We’re almost one year into our “Consumer Debt Free in Three Years” plan and I think we might actually get there on time.  Most definitely the best thing that has happened this year.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blog Challenge Day 21: Food, Glorious Food!

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve skipped two days.  There are a couple good reasons for this:

1.      I’ve been crazy busy.  Doing what?  I don’t know, really.  I just know that I haven’t even had time to sit down and watch this week’s episode of The Newsroom, so I must be pretty busy doing something.

2.      The last two challenge topics haven’t really applied to me.  I mean, check this out:
·         Challenge Day 19: What do you collect?  Nothing.  Honestly, I collect nothing.
·         Challenge Day 20: A difficult time in your life.  See Challenge Day 18.

Boring posts, right?  Why bother?  Now, today’s challenge is something I know a little bit about…

Blog Challenge Day 21: My 10 Favourite Foods! 
1.      Pizza.  I don’t think I will ever get sick of it.

2.      Cheese.  Any kind of cheese.  At any time.

3.      Bread.  Especially good with cheese.

4.      Olives.  AMAZING with bread and cheese!

5.      Pasta.  I make one with roasted tomatoes, parmesan, garlic and basil.  SO GOOD!

6.      Breakfast Jars.  I saw this recipe for refrigerator oatmeal online about a month ago and now have one for breakfast at least five days a week.  Yum.

7.      Nachos and cheese.  More specifically, (and this is really embarrassing), nachos and cheese from 7-11.  I’m a little ashamed of myself but holy smokes, they’re delicious in such a horrible way.

8.      Kraft Dinner.  I can’t help it.  I was raised on it and now it’s just a part of who I am.

9.      Homemade Soup.  I make a killer butternut squash soup and my chicken stock is also pretty spectacular.

10.    Chips.  Plain Lays, to be exact.  Sometimes, they’re exactly what I need.

I swear I eat healthy food most of the time.  I just don’t like it as much as I like eating crap!