Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WILW: Mom's Week!

Mother's Day to me has always been right around my mom's birthday (May 12) and since it was so early this year, I guess I got distracted and missed celebrating my own mother.
So this weekend is my planned celebration with my mom.

I'm loving so much about this weekend, and I'm just really excited it's finally so close!

I'm linking up with Jamie, so head over here and see what others are loving this week!

I'm loving the plans with my mom: Dinner at a nice restaurant, a concert, and then a girl's night out in a hotel!
We're seeing Rainer Hersch, who is a British/German comedian and conductor. I'm looking forward to having an awesome time with my mom as we enjoy his show from BOX SEATS!

I'm loving the amazing gift my mom and sister gave me of a clean kitchen/living room/Monkey's room... We were so encouraged with their help cleaning that I cleaned the bathroom, and we started organizing our bedroom...

I'm loving the job fair that's happening this afternoon, and the possibility that I might find a job!

I'm loving the plants I got last week at the farmer's market, and on mother's day. I'm Also loving the amazing sunshine we've been having, and how I've had my plants outside overnight for 3 nights now, and they're growing!

Planters, some herbs, some tomato sprouts (which all died, so I bought tomato plants), and soil.

Herbs on the left (chives, chocolate mint, lemon thyme, and parsley).
Tomato sprouts in the round green containers.
Seeds I'd like to plant on the right (it's still to early for some)

I'm loving these new jeans from Old Navy (and that I got them on clearance for $16 instead of the regular price of $42)

The last pair of maternity jeans I got (I think from Thyme Maternity) ripped last week, so I needed new ones, and these are really comfy and have a lot of room for baby to grow!

I don't think this is the exact picture, but they're dark wash, low rise, boot-cut jeans... and they're on clearance so I couldn't find them on the old navy website.

BUT if you do shop right now, orders of $50 or more have free shipping! And they always have great sales. I LOVE Old Navy.

I'm loving that we get to see our little bean this Friday! Hubby didn't get to see any ultrasounds with Monkey, so he really wanted to come to this one.
I can't believe I'm 19 weeks along already!
The baby has been moving a bit. He/She is a night hawk just like Monkey, so I can usually feel kicks before I head to bed. Hubby hasn't felt any yet, but hopefully he will soon!

And OF COURSE I'm loving my amazing Hubby, and my cute, trouble-making Monkey...

What are you loving this week?


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Plants and Coupons and Savings, Oh My!

Black thumb, Green thumb, Big Thumb, Small Thumb, Tom Thumb... whatever type of thumb I have, I could not seem to get my tomatoes to survive.

I was very blessed that as my mother's day gift this year, I got to shop at a garden centre (and also at the local Farmer's Market) so my gifts this year included tomato plants so I don't have to worry about the seedlings that I killed in the transplant process...

*NOTE*: Sorry about the backwards photos, the only "camera" we have is in our computer, and it flips the pictures. I can't figure out how to flip them back around... and hints?

The top photo is of the window planters I bought and the soil (which was supposed to be great for starting vegetables and for transplanted vegetables... but the tomatoes still died). You can see my SAD little sprouts in both pictures.

The only vegetables I've been able to grow from seeds are zucchini. They are in the large red container at the back. The healthy-looking plants in the yellow containers are the herbs I bought. Maybe someday I can grow herbs and vegetables from seeds that look that healthy...
In the front are seeds I'd like to grow when it gets a little warmer. They are cucumbers, radishes, peas, and carrots.

Plants and Herbs I've purchased include:

-3 tomato plants
-a cherry tomato variety (I can't remember the name)
-Juliette, a plum tomato variety
-Lemon Boy, a yellow variety

-Italian Parsley
-Chocolate Mint (I'm excited to use this in baking this summer!)
-Lemon Thyme (I love using lemon in cooking!)

I'll be buying more, probably some peppers and some more herbs.

As for Couponing this week, I've had a TON of success.
Where I live in Ontario, there are no stores that match coupons, and there are no "double-coupon" days, so we can't get the same amount of extreme savings seen on the TV show "Extreme Couponing".
This doesn't mean that a shopper in Ontario can't have success, they just need to be smart about when to use coupons, and to take advantage of the price matching that most stores do.

My favourite place to grocery shop is NoFrills, because there's a location less than 3 km from our apartment, and they have great produce (most of the time). They also price match and have very reasonable regular priced items if I need something last minute.

My shopping process goes like this:
1. Read every grocery flyer and mark down the sale items of foods we love/need/would like to try
2. Search my coupon stash to see if I have coupons for sale items. (I don't use the coupons if the item isn't on sale.)
3. Write down my list of what I'm buying, how many, and how much I'll be saving with each coupon, and how many of each coupon I have.

This whole process can be done in less than an hour, and I often do it while I watch TV or listen to the radio after my son is in bed.

When I have my list complete, I fold up flyers that I'm using to price match, and put them into my coupon binder so that I can make sure to get the best deal possible. I always bring my complete binder with me incase I see a great sale that wasn't advertised in the flyer.

This week I saved 44.4% of my total. I would have spent $122.09 before coupons and price matching, but I only spent $67.80 ... so I saved $54.29!!!

My best sale items were:

Dove hand lotion (I use hand lotion like crazy while I'm pregnant)
- Regular price $5.99.... I paid $2.49

Pepto Bismol
- Regular price $8.99... I paid $3.47

Cheez Whiz (my Hubby's been asking for weeks, so I got 4 jars)
- Regular price $5.19... I paid $2.88

Lysol Toilet Cleaner
- Regular Price $2.5o... I paid $1.98 and got TWO bottles

Glade Freshmatic Odor Sensor Air Freshener (not a regular item, but I wanted to try it)
- Regular Price $9.99... I paid $3.99

There were more items, but before I started using coupons, I would regularly spend over $120 a week on groceries, getting just the essentials. I got much more than the essentials for a bit over half of what I used to spend.

Those savings don't include the toothpaste I got for $0.38 a tube instead of $1.27, or the diapers I got for about $9 off... but I had to go to a different store on a different day for those prices.

I just want to encourage people out there who think couponing is difficult. There are many free websites (even in Canada) where you can have coupons mailed to you, and if you get a free weekly paper (we get the Kingston This Week) every few weeks there are free inserts.
So even if you don't buy the paper, you can still find free coupons and save your family money.

And that's something everyone should love!


Thankful for my Mother. Today and Every Day.

Happy Mothers Day!

Today was such an amazing day. I am so blessed to have a great husband who listens to my needs and whims and who lovingly gave me the day I really desired...

We started out the day by going out to breakfast at Denny's. I'd never been before, and while I wasn't blown away by the food, we had a great server, and we all received our meals quickly.

After breakfast, we had 90 minutes before our church service started, so we went to the garden centre at NoFrills to check it out.
I was happily surprised at the many different varieties of vegetables and herbs the greenhouse had. I'm just a newbie, so I just spent my time looking and walking and not making up my mind on anything.

We headed off to church, and I was supposed to be in the nursery, but the only child in the nursery was Monkey, so we were all very naughty, and Monkey, Hubby and I headed home after waiting until about 11:10 to make sure no other children were coming...
On the way home, we stopped again at the greenhouse, and I finally picked out 3 tomato plants. I struggled with the ones I planted from seeds. They had sprouted really nicely, and then I was gentle when I transplanted them, and I gave them plenty of water and sun... but they shriveled up like raisins... so instead of trying again from seeds, I decided to "cheat" a little with plants that looked very much alive.
I'll still be watering them and taking care of them, but this way I don't have to start from scratch.

We got home and had a simple lunch of leftover (homemade) pizza and other leftovers. Hubb tried to get Monkey to go down for a nap, and I sorted my coupon binder and set up my grocery list.

While Monkey was pretending to sleep, and Hubby was occupied with the computer, I headed out to the grocery store, knowing that my mom and sister would be at my house within an hour... I figured I had lots of time.

Monkey with my mom in her kitchen

I got back from my trip to an amazing surprise. My mom was doing my dishes, and she helped clean my whole kitchen... I'm so blessed!
On top of the clean kitchen, my sister played with Monkey, and had him help her clean HIS room! She even moved his bed and swept underneath!

What better gift could I have asked for than help cleaning my house, which then gave me the motivation to clean the bathroom and organize the bathroom cupboards... We're really on a roll now! Thanks mom!

After the cleaning, we had some tea, some snacks, and Hubby, Mom and I played a board game.

We had such a great visit, and I'm really excited that next weekend I get to surprise Mom with gifts and cards and concert tickets... There is so much she has done for me, and for our family over the last few years that nothing I give her can truly be enough.

I'm so thankful for a mom:
-who knows when to listen, and when to share her stories
-who calls me just because she feels like it
-who loves me unconditionally
-who taught me about Jesus from before I could talk
-who put me and my siblings before herself
-who showed me by example how to trust God in hard times
-who laughs with me, and cries with me
-who never gave up on me, even when I fought her every day.

There is no love that more clearly has shown me what God's love for me looks like, than the love my mother has given me.

Thank you mom.

Mom reading with Monkey (he's wearing a diaper)

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies... She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions. She watches over all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness.
Her children stand and bless her..."
(Proverbs 31: 10, 25-28 NLT)

I love you Mom.