This week is Spring Break for us. It's really nice to have a break from routine and to just hang out and take the day as it comes.
I have recently been enjoying the blog of Eddie Ross. Eddie Ross was senior stylist at Martha Stewart Living and also appeared on "Top Design". He has gone out on his own to bring his design savvy to the marketplace under his own name. He and his partner have purchased a farmhouse which they are busy at work restoring and refreshing. The above photo is an example of Eddie's style and it is simple, clean and fresh.
The menu for this week:
Monday- Leftover steak and potatoes with carrots & broccoli
Tuesday-Homemade Mac & Cheese with salad
Friday-Slow cooker Beef Stroganoff
By the way, yesterday was our "whatever day" and it was a wonderful day. Hunter made cornmeal and blueberry muffins and Ron requested Italian Wedding Soup. I also made a loaf of maritime brown bread with a peach/mango cobbler for dessert. My dear old friend Lis and her son came to hang out for the day and we had a nice meal, the boys had a great playdate and the girls watched Slumdog Millionaire. Ron made us popcorn. It was a good day. (photo credit: Eddie Ross)
With the economy being what it is, and my husband working for a US-based company, we are buckling up our budget, so to speak. This means evaluating all areas where we spend money and re-thinking choices and looking at areas where we can cut back or save.
One area where it is relatively easy to save money is on the grocery bill. Watching the weekly sales flyers on a regular basis can definitely save money if you carefully shop the sales and plan your menu accordingly.
I have taken our household to a "pantry" system, where we cook mainly from our pantry which is stocked with many basic ingredients that have been purchased at the lowest price I can find. Examples of lowest priced goods are: boxed cereals, canned soup, tomato sauce, crackers, chicken stock, tuna, peanut butter, etc. If the pantry is cleaned out of an item, I wait until the next sale before I stock up. Since I have adapted to this system, we grocery shop only 1 or 2 times a month. This does not include replenishing fresh items like eggs, milk, fruit & veggies. I recently stocked the freezer with bulk buying at Costco. I have found Costco to be the cheapest place to stock up on meat and some other goods. I regularly buy bulk packs of meat and divide them at home into smaller sized meal portions for the freezer. The last time I purchased meat was in December...we just ran out!
I bake most of our treats from scratch. I rarely buy pre-packaged or grocery store cookies, muffins or biscuits. This saves us money and the things I make from scratch are far healthier for us as we are not consuming chemicals, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. I regularly bake cookies for the kids lunches and wrap the cookies in wax paper in packs of 2's for the freezer...ready to add to packed lunches as needed. Same for muffins and I make homemade bread often as well.
One thing I have noticed is that my kids are often happy with just oranges and apples for fruit and often these are the best-priced items in the winter. I do buy other fruits such as kiwis, bananas, pineapple and melons when they are priced well.
My weekly menu is based on what is currently in my fridge to use up. I had a package of ground turkey from Friday that become Italian Wedding Soup for tonight's dinner. I have half of a 5 pound bag of carrots that will become Carrot Ginger Soup for Wednesday night's dinner, along with grilled sandwiches.
Breakfasts this week:
Eggs & Toast
Cream of Wheat
This blog has been neglected for some time. What have I been doing? Living life. The winter also gets crazy busy in our household with skating season and hockey season in full tilt. Competition season for skating starts in January and we have been to Calgary, Regina and Toronto.
We had some sad news in our skating community in October. Our club president, who also co-manages 2 teams, had the awful news that her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he had weeks/months to live. This affected many in our club for different reasons. They have 3 children and their middle daughter has skated with Hunter for the last 2 years. I immediately offered my assistance and support. I was asked to fill in for her as co-manager and travel with the teams. Because they live not far from us, I also drove C to pratice twice a week every week. I delivered baking, meals, coffee and whatever I could to help. Me, being the passionate scrapbooker I am, kept thinking of making a scrapbook for each of their 3 children. Every time I thought about doing it, I cried. I cried because I could only imagine myself in her shoes....losing my husband far too early and my children losing their father...the youngest being Tyler's age and losing his Dad. After I managed to get over this emotional hurtle a bit, I summoned the courage to go ahead and make scrapbooks for each of these 3 children in early December. I chose a color scheme for each child based on their favorite color and I made a book based on Dad and his relationship with each child. I called each book, "My Dad & Me" and led them thru the book with interview style questions that pictures could be added to later. For example, 'My Dad's favorite childhood memory is....". I was fortunate to have Coach come to help me with this project which took about 4 full days to complete from beginning to end.
Next, came the hurtle of delivering the scrapbooks. I was a little scared because I was not sure what the reaction would be. I had nothing to fear because they were so grateful and touched. The most rewarding part was that they used the scrapbooks as a therapeutic exercise with Dad to help them discuss real and meaningful things with Dad, and completed the scrapbooks with Dad before his death. Dad had approximately 3 months from diagnosis to death.
All of this was very hard on Hunter and I. Hunter, especially, was very affected by her friend losing her Dad. Our trip to Regina was extremely difficult. We had to pick up C to catch the club bus at 6 am one wintery, snowy morning for our 4 day trip to Regina. Hunter and I stood in the entry way of the house while she said 'goodbye' to her Dad. This was one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed and it took all my strength not to cry. Dad had told his daughter that he wanted her to go skate this competition....he did not want her to stay home. He died a few hours after our bus to Regina left and I kept this secret (as Mom & Dad wished) all weekend until the final skate was finished.
I hope the scrapbooks will become a tangible reminder of the love & memories they shared with their Dad.
I am so done with winter. I love winter when it comes, and I don't mind snow and a few cold snaps here and there. But at this point, it being March and all, I want winter to be over. We woke up Saturday to the sounds of cars crunching softly on snow...I knew without even looking out the window that we had more snow. And today is a nice brisk -40! Now, I have lived in this province for almost 4 years now and I am USED to -15....-15 is nice for a walk for me. -40 is way too chilly...I can literally feel the drafts from the windows when I walk by.
So what's a girl to do? I say cozy up with magazines and a hot cup of peppermint tea. I am such a magazine junkie.....the piles beside my side of the bed are embarassingly high. I LOVE the visual thrill of decorating magazines. I enjoy the inspiration from cooking magazines. And I still like to keep up-to-date with parenting magazines. I subscribe to Chatelaine, Canadian Family, Canadian Living, Style at Home, and Canadian House & Home. I just recently let my Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food run out. Not sure if I will renew those. There are several still that I buy from the newstand.
My current fav for cooking:Fine Cooking by Taunton Press. My current fav for decorating: Style at Home, Canadian House & Home & Country Home. My current fav for general reading: Chatelaine, Canadian Living, and Real Simple.
What is alarming is the number of magazines recently that have gone out of print. Here are some that I did read and enjoy:
Wish (Canadian) Dominoe Country Home Simple Scrapbooks Mary Englebreit's Home Companion Canadian Home & Country
Canadian Home & Country just recently underwent big changes with a whole new look, direction and mantra.....so I am really sorry to see this one go.
And, of course, I have several home decorating blogs, sewing blogs and cooking blogs that I read. The right hand side of my blog just shows a few of my favorites.
I am so glad you are here! I'm Angie and I'm a Nova Scotia girl now making my home in Alberta. I met my husband while on a blind date on New Year's Eve. We've been married for 18 years & we have 2 freckled sweeties who we love dearly~a hockey-loving tween & a social butterfly teen. I love creative projects, organizing & decorating, cooking, baking, and all things domestic.