Thursday, 28 January 2010

The Creation of the Mitten Scarf

About a week before Christmas my sister D picked me up for work one morning, she had forgotten her mittens and was using the ends of her scarf to hold the steering wheel - she said she needed mittens attached to her scarf so she would always have them with her.

After viewing a few YouTube videos on crocheting mittens and several times ripping out what I had completed, I managed to make 2 mittens of relatively the same size and then crocheted a scarf and attached it to the cuffs of each mitten. I gave her the mitten scarf on Boxing day - it was a big hit.

I am currently working on my 2nd set for a friend. Maybe one day I'll even write down the pattern :)

She didn't want her face in the photos :)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

One World One Heart Giveaway!


Hi and welcome to my little portion of the blogsphere :)

A Whimsical Bohemian is hosting the One World One Heart Giveaway for the 4th year in a row!

Click the One World One Heart badge at the top of this post and check out the over 700 participants' giveaways in the right sidebar!

I have been browsing through them all day yesterday and today and was thinking of a way to get involved. As money is currently tight, I decided to look at what I already have that someone else may want.

So this is my first time taking part in this event and my giveaway is...

A whole mess of craft supplies (I always have a ton of stuff!)
The giveaway consists of:

At least a dozen 12x12 scrapbooking papers & a bunch of flower die-cuts.

A pc of handmade (not by me) paper with flowers in it,
2 mini gel pens, and some random bits of paper.

Some decorative brads and assorted embellishments.

A mass of assorted ribbons.

So if any of you are interested in winning this giveaway, the instructions are simple.

Just leave me a comment.

Make sure I have access to your email address, either via blogger or include it in the comment. It would be very sad if you won and I had no way to reach you.

Please make sure your Blogger profile has your email turned on!

This contest is open until February 15th. I will pick the winner and post it the morning of the 16th.

Good luck to you all and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Weekly Update

I did really crappy with the Pantry Challenge this week. I think we did take out 2 nights. One night was Swiss Chalet and they have a 6 leg quarter value meal, so we actually got 2 meals out of it.

We got our 3 new windows installed yesterday. My ensuite bath now has a frosted glass window. No one can see in, but it still seems strange to have a naked window. We will be shopping for new window coverings this weekend. I am thinking just a simple lace curtain so the light will still come through. We also have to paint the window trim as it came only primed.

I got my invite for the next baby shower - I only have until Feb 20th to make a baby quilt. I am shopping for fabric next Thursday and so have no pattern/design yet. It will be a busy few weeks in February :)

I went to buy new ink cartridges for my printer this week. A black cartridge cost $48 and a colour one cost $49! I decided to buy an entire new printer for $100 instead, which came with new ink cartridges and the refills cost $20 less each. DH will get my old printer and we will try refilled cartridges to see how they work.

Hope to get out to see Avatar this weekend. We also have to buy paint for the window sills, garage and front doors. We need to get window treatments for the 3 windows we just had replaced. They all had crappy venetian blinds, but the new windows are a slightly different size, so they won't work now.

If we buy blinds or pull down shades, we can claim a tax credit (see below), but if we buy curtains or drapes we cannot. Only permanent fixtures can be claimed. I wonder if the curtain rod is considered permanent?

In Ontario, we get a home renovation tax credit this year. We get to claim 15% on amounts over 1000 but not more than 10000. (So the 1st 1k you spend doesn't count, and the max you can claim is 9K).

I think we have about 3K we can claim. Anything we want to claim must be bought before Feb 1st, that is why we are getting the paint for the garage and front doors now, but will do the actual painting later in the spring.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Pantry Challenge - Week in review (Jan 10 - 16)

  • Sunday - BBQ oven baked ribs, roasted potato wedges & mixed green salad.
  • Monday - K had leftover ribs, J had homemade Mac & cheese from the freezer, and I had ??? I also made some banana chocolate chip muffins from dead bananas from the freezer.
  • Tuesday - Spaghetti with sausage sauce (meat sauce with sausage instead of ground beef), garlic bread
  • Wednesday -I didn't feel like cooking, so DH picked up a pizza on the way home - bad I know :( But the pizza was SO yummy :)
  • Thursday -Chicken cilantro enchiladas
  • Friday -Szechuan Noodles with Spicy Beef Sauce (I didn't have Hoisin sauce, so used this recipe to make some) DH & I loved it, kiddo not so much.
  • Saturday - Chinese Take Out - got busy making ATCs and forgot to take something out of freezer. :)

Again all from the freezer or pantry (well except the take out ;)).

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Been busy making ATCs

Remember ATCs are artist trading cards - I posted about them here.

Well I have finally got my mojo back and got creative again.

This is what I have been doing the past couple days.

The first 3 are for scheduled swaps (hope my swap buddies don't read my blog).

The rest are just for fun - some are finished, some are not. I really enjoy making these as I get to see results so quickly.

(I apologize for the wonky photos - my hands shake :)

Not finished
Not finished
Not finished
Not finished
Not finished
Not finishedNot finished

What do you think? Constructive criticism always welcome.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Frugal Fridays - Easy Cheap Thermos Lunch

At my son's school they have a program called Lunch Lady - it is not run by the school, it is a private company. They provide hot lunches to students for about $3.75 per meal. They offer a menu of about 10 items and deliver 3 days per week.

We ordered this program one day per week last year and usually all my son would order was pancakes or Mac & cheese.

This year I decided it was too much to pay for the small portion he was given.

My son could eat mac & cheese every day of a year and not get sick of it and he isn't picky with the kind either, he likes Kraft dinner equally as well as homemade with real cheese.

So I decided every other week, to make a box of KD (bought on sale for 50 cents a box) with a couple hot dogs cut up and thrown in. This will make 4 servings for him, he doesn't mind eating it 4 days in a row. His thermos isn't huge and it is enough for him with his other snacks.

When heating it up in the morning I also throw in some real grated cheese for extra gooyness.

He gets a hot lunch, he loves it and it doesn't cost me $3.75 per day.

For more great frugal ideas, go Life As Mom.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Ultimate Recipe Swap - Vegetable Edition

This is my 2nd time participating in the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom. This week's theme is Vegetables for a Healthier You.

Honestly, I'm not a huge vegetable fan. However, there are the few that I do like.

One way that I enjoy broccoli is in Frog soup (or non-cream creamy broccoli soup).

  • Frozen broccoli - lrg bag - chopped small (I use my food processor)
  • Chicken stock - 4 cups
  • 1 onion - diced small
  • cream cheese - 3 tbsps
  • potato flakes for thickening - 3-4 tbsps
  • seasoning - salt & pepper or seasoning salt.
  1. Put broccoli, onion, seasoning and stock in pot.
  2. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer - simmer for about an hour.
  3. Take off the heat.
  4. Using a hand blender - blend the soup until completely pureed (use a reg blender 2 cups at a time if you don't have a hand blender)
  5. Return to low heat.
  6. Add the cream cheese & potato flakes and stir until melted and thickened.
  7. Serve and enjoy.
Another veggie recipe we use quite a bit in the winter is Roasted veggies.

  1. I take an assortment of veggies, usually cauliflower, potatoes, quartered onions, sliced zucchinis, brussel sprouts and mushrooms, but you can use any you like.
  2. I toss them all in a bowl with olive oil (couple tbsps, just enough to coat) and seasonings (again whatever you like, garlic powder, seasoning salt, chili powder)- sometimes I use curry powder too.
  3. Put them all into an open roasting pan or pyrex dish and roast at 350 degrees for about an hour - stirring every 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a fork - they don't have to be mushy, just as done as your family likes them.

Even though I don't eat the brussel sprouts (DH loves them), and kiddo won't touch much of it, there is something in there for all of us.

For more healthy recipes, pop over to Life as Mom.

Works For Me Wednesday - Breakfast Burritos in Bulk

I enjoy having breakfast burritos for breakfast. They usually just contain egg, ham bacon, green onion, a bit of cheese all wrapped up in a tortilla. You can pretty much add whatever you like or have in the fridge.

I have been making them for the past few mornings for breakfast when I had an "A HA" moment. I was doing this same thing each and every morning.

So yesterday, I sauteed 2 sliced green onions with 4 slices of ham bacon in butter spray.

I also whipped up 5 eggs, a bit of water and seasoning salt in a bowl.

Once the onions and ham were cooked a bit, I mixed them with the eggs and poured it into a loaf pan I had sprayed with butter spray.

I popped it in the oven and baked for about 50 minutes.

When it came out, I cut it into 4 pcs and let it cool.

I sliced a few ounces of cheddar VERY thinly.

I layed out a tortilla, added a bit of the cheese, a cooled egg rectangle, then wrapped it up and then wrapped it in a paper towel.

I made 4 of these and placed them into 2 medium ziplock bags. One went into the freezer and one in the fridge.

So this morning, all I had to do was take one out of the bag in the fridge and nuke it for 2 minutes and breakfast was ready!

These are great when I am working, I grab one and heat it up once I get to work. You could even make more by using an 8x8 or 9x13 pan. They freeze well.

This works for me! For more great ideas, go to We are that family.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

My new favorite cooking site

I found this site awhile ago and just loved looking at the all photos of luscious food.

I really don't like to cook anything from a recipe that does not have a photo - I mean I need to see what it is supposed to look like right?

So this is my new fav cooking site - Food Gawker

You can search by ingredient, such as chicken, and then simply look through all the photos until one strikes your fancy - then right-click the photo to go to the blog that has the recipe posted.

Plus I have found some amazing food blogs this way too!

Go gawk at some food now! GO!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Jobs that need doing

Stealing an idea from Gil at That British Woman, I am creating a list of jobs that need to be done this year.

1. Replace the two broken ceramic tiles in eat-in kitchen.
These were broken when we moved in - DH has taken out the old tiles, removed the grout that the idiots installed the tiles with instead of tile adhesive but has yet to add adhesive and new tiles - there are just two open spaces in my tile floor, pretty much smack dab in the middle too - we have lived in this house for over 2 years!

2. Hang the 2nd curtain rod and drapes in our master bedroom.
We have two windows in there. There were ugly venetian blinds when we moved in. DH put up a wooden curtain rod and two panel drapes on the window closest the bed and has never gotten around to doing the 2nd window. Drapes are still in the packages on his dresser and rod it next to it -again for the past 2 years!

3. Fix laundry room water overflow thingy.
When we had the house inspected before we bought it, the inspector mentioned the overflow water thingy in the laundry room was hooked up to the hot water instead of the cold. So hot water is litterally running down the drain. It is very loud - I think it is turned up too much and letting too much water out - I don't know how this thing is supposed to work, I'm not a plumber - but I think we probably could have paid for one with the money we are running down the drain in hot water for the past two years! (See a theme here yet?)

4. Heat register covers installed in basement apartment.
DH was to install these once the basement was renovated for his father (2 yrs ago). This just hasn't been done yet. Without these registers, we have no way of controlling the amount of heat going into the basement. It is often very warm down there when it is freezing upstairs and vise verse with the AC.

5. Air intake cover to be installed in basement apartment.
Again something that just hasn't been gotten to yet. We actually need this intake return closed completely since it is near father in law's kitchen. While sitting in my office on the 2nd floor of my house, I can smell whatever father in law is cooking even with him using a powerful range hood exhaust fan. He cooks green peppers and fish WAY too often.

As you can see these are all jobs the hubby must do - I just need to nag him enough to get them down THIS year.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Pantry Challenge - Week in review (Jan 3 - 9)

Sunday - Baked chicken thighs with roast potatoes
Monday - Leftover baked chicken & spuds from Sunday
Tuesday - Taco KD (taco ground beef with Kraft Dinner - hey I'm sick!)
Wednesday - Leftover Taco KD
Thursday - Curry pork with rice
Friday - Asian Chicken wings - these turned out really good! Kid has leftover curry.
Sat & Sun - I'm sure K will have one of his prime rib roasts one of these 2 days - not sure what kiddo and I will have.

All meat from the freezer :)

Friday, 8 January 2010

Working the budget

Since I am self employed, I have my own separate bank accounts and hubby has his. We split the bills up and he pays his share and I pay mine. It just works better this way.

When I am working, I make sure to put away money for income taxes, as I don't have them taken off during the year. I also sock away extra incase I am off between contracts for any length of time.

Well I just worked out my budget. After paying income tax (estimated), my half of the new windows cost, putting a large chunk towards my Visa and paying the property taxes (one of my bills), I will have enough left over to pay all my monthly expenses for 4 months - but they will be very lean months. Absolutely no extras.

If I get work before then, great, but it is nice to know how long I can survive if I have to. Of course if it were longer I do have hubby and a line of credit to fall back on, although, I'd rather not have to burden either.

There are a few bills that I can try to lower, hydro, gas, water and groceries.

I did just do that freezer inventory and we have a lot of meat. I have allocated $100 a week to food, so I may be able to reduce this a tad. I will be cooking from scratch as much as possible.

Gas & hydro - I can keep lights off and lower the temp some. Wear more layers :)

Water - I am guilty of running the faucet while washing dishes. I'll have to stop that. I also have to get the kid to take shorter showers, it is a hassle just to get him in there, but once I do, I practically have to drag him out again.

All in all, it looks totally doable. It may take a bit of work to be frugal, but I like being able to stay home:)

If balancing your family's budget is a strength of yours, check out accounting degrees online.

For more great frugal ideas, check out Life As Mom.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow Day

On our first major snow day, school buses were canceled & kiddo went out to play.

Olympic mittens

Through the beveled front door windows

Peanut is not as fond of the snow & cold (this was on a diff day)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Candice's TP Mini Album

The inside tags are similar to the ones in Donna's TP mini, shown here.

Mother Inlaw's TP Mini Album