Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Frugal Fun - Sometimes You Have To Change Plans

Last weekend was awesome. Truly we had a great weekend together. The thing that you don't went in a totally different direction then what we had originally planned.

At the beginning of the summer, we were discussing some of the things that we wanted to do. One of the things that we thought would be fun was to check out Parc Omega. We have heard great things about this destination and thought it was something fun we could do.

We looked at our calendar in August and decided that the August 20th weekend was a quieter weekend that could mean a quick trip to Parc Omega. It was set.

And then I looked up the prices.

I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! It was going to cost us over $70 for us to just drive into the facilities. To me, while it seems like a cool attraction, I like to step back and think about of that cost.

We have a family vacation happening in less then a month. A trip that we saved for and that is going to cost us a little bit of money (air planes, food and etc) above and beyond our usual budget. But we had saved and planned for this. Parc Omega, we did not.

We are very serious about our budget. We have a lofty goal of being 100% debt free in 12-24 months time. So we stick pretty closely to our spending allowances. Any extra costs we try to save or work extra for. While I know $70 is not a lot of money, it was money that we had not planned to spend. We have an entertainment allowance for every week and because we can find cheap (and free) entertainment else where, that category allowance stays low.

We decided we still want to take Sam to Parc Omega but we will go in the winter when we are looking to get outside and when we can save appropriately for the occasion. Extra bonus, it is cheaper in the winter because it is their "off season" time.

We still wanted to do something and decided we don't check out any of the trails around home enough! So I packed a picnic and we headed to a toddler friendly trail called Sugarbush Trail which is part of the NCC Gatineau park maintained area!

And we had SO much fun! A perfect activity for a little boy. Getting dirty, being outside and exploring. It was an easy trail for a toddler because there weren't many slopes or difficult hiking spots. There was a little bench area about half way through and Sam loved the bridge! The loop should take about 20 minutes to walk but it took us 45 minutes to an hour with Sam. I think he picked up every fallen stick on that whole trail (you're welcome NCC) and looking at every tree! They also had a great picnic area with a big lawn or with lots of picnic tables. 

So not only was this close to home activity loads of fun, it was free! It's a hard lesson, to learn when you are sticking to a budget and watching your pennies...Saying No. Saying no is not so much fun. We live in a fast paced world where anything we want is right at our finger tips. Ryan and I really try to live more cautiously when it comes to our wants and needs. Thinking, researching, analyzing and saving big purchases. We also REALLY want to be debt free and are working really hard to achieve that goal. For a long time restricting our spending and saying no to fun things was a downer. Now that we've been budgeting for years, we have learnt that you can easily live a fun and fulfilled life without spending a lot of money! 


Monday, August 22, 2016

August Weekend Recap

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that the weekend was slow for you! We had a great weekend together! A weekend where we can all spend time together is A+ in my books! I guess I was just feeling appreciative of being at home with Sam and Ryan. Usually at some point one of us is off some where. But not this weekend! 

I have to say, I was pretty tired on Friday but I made it through the day with a little help from coffee. When I got home, Ryan told me to lay down for 10 minutes while he played outside with Sam. That man got lots of brownie points! That little cat nap was heavenly and I could be chipper the rest of the evening. We all hung out, played and then eventually went to bed. 

Saturday morning I was up early getting a picnic packed because we were going on an adventure! The boys slept in, got dressed, ate a quick breakfast and then headed off. But more on our adventure later this week...

From such a busy morning, Sam was tired and really needed his afternoon nap. So down he went and then I went for a quick sleep as well! I set my alarm though because I hate sleeping too long. 

While we slept, Ryan headed over to the go-kart track right near our place to meet up and race in celebration of a friends birthday! He LOVED it and has been talking about going again soon. 

After my quick nap, I got to work on getting some garden fresh produce ready to preserve. My little garden has been good to me this year! I made my 8th jar of dill pickles. I had some dill seed drying to keep over the winter. 

And my tomatoes are starting to ripen. As they are ready, I boil some water, skin the tomatoes, remove the core and then place the whole tomato in a bag in the freezer. My hope is sometime when its quieter (late fall- winter) I will take all the tomatoes out of the fridge and turn it all into a tomato sauce base. Good for spaghetti, lasagna or pizza! I have SO many tomatoes but not a lot of them are ripe yet! Looking forward to when they do turn red! 

Once Sam was awake I packed up some supplies. A little homemade Sangria with white wine from our wedding! Yum!

 And we headed to Jills to sit on the deck to enjoy some pre-concert Tragically Hip music, snacks and drinks! We had a great time visiting with friends. And Sam is getting use to these Saturday parties with this gang. Ha ha! He was dancing, playing and just being a little party animal. He was EXHAUSTED when he left. 

After we got him to bed, Ryan and I (and the rest of Canada) tuned into CBC for The Hip concert live in Kingston. Again, very bitter sweet. Such awesome music, amazing concert but sad thinking about it being the last. I was very emotional during Scared and Grace, Too. 

So proud to be Canadian that night tuning in commercial and interruption free (thank you, CBC!) to give this amazing musician the proper salute he deserves. 

The boys slept in on Sunday but I was up early and decided to make some cinnamon buns to have that rainy morning. 

After breakfast and lazing around a bit, Ryan wanted to haul a couple of loads of topsoil by our pond. Of course he can't do that without his little working buddy. Who was pretty excited about his matching hat and boots like Dada's! 

In order to haul soil, Ryan and Sam needed to take out the dump trailer and he would also need the loader. SO, still in my PJS...I got to drive the big loader to the field. I felt pretty bad ass! ha ha! 

When they worked, I got to work on sorting through some of Sam's clothes. I gathered all his pants, long sleeve shirts and sweaters to take inventory of what he'd need. Happy to say besides a couple 3T sweaters, dressy shirts for church, running shoes, winter boots (which I'll get same ones as last year), mitts and toque, (we have a snow suit, woo hoo!) he is set for Fall and Winter! 

I got lunch ready for us all before the boys got back. Roast beef panini's. But I had to laugh...Sams plate just had sandwich and cherry tomatoes. Mine had a salad on the side and Ryan's had chips! My husband ate zero veggies that day! Ugh!

The rest of the afternoon we hung out, prepared food for the week and just relaxed and played! A whole weekend together! Perfect! 

How was your weekend? 


Friday, August 19, 2016

Let's Just See What Tomorrow Brings...

Happy Friday everyone! I am a little slower then usual today but as you can imagine, it was a late (early morning?) night last night!

Last night was AMAZING! I was so excited and the show was just as awesome as I was hoping!

Jill and I left work early to beat the crowds. Not to mention it was hard to stay focused in the afternoon knowing the time was getting closer to concert time!

Our first stop was supper at our favorite restaurant, Montana's! We had our usual but sipping on that pickled Caesar was starting the night off perfectly!

We had a little time to kill and traffic wasn't look too bad so we browsed around Chapters and grabbed some Starbucks! We saw this book and thought it was hilarious that the author of this romance was the same as this silly co-worker. 

We got to the CTC place in lots of time and after Jill almost got ran over a car, we looked at some merchandise and just strolled around. We found our seats and I think where we sat was awesome! In perfect view of the stage! 

It was still about 1.5 hours until show time so we walked around, met with some people we knew and then finally grabbed a couple beer to head back to our seats to wait until the show started! 

Gord came out in full swing with some classics to get everyone in the mood before bringing in some newer music. The place was so electric! I never sat down once the whole show! Everyone was singing, swaying and having the time of their lives. An amazing TWO encores ended the evening and a tearful good bye and thank you! 

It was the perfect last Ottawa show! Perfect! I'll admit I got choked up during Wheat Kings! It was magical. A life moment with the perfect theme song. Every time I hear Wheat Kings in the future I will be brought back to that night, that moment. 

“Done and done

Night accomplished
If I had a wish
I’d wish for more of this”


Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Tragically Hip Day And A Little Throwback Thursday

This time two weeks ago, I was all geared up to settle in to watch The Tragically Hip concert on TV this coming Saturday night knowing that getting tickets were impossible. We put in a good effort. Jill on one computer, and me on another. We had made elaborate plans and when the tickets sold out in seconds, I was a little heart broken. I knew it was just a concert. Not the end of the world right? But I was REALLY hoping to see The Tragically Hip one last time. It became a reality when new tickets were realized two weeks ago and TONIGHT we'll be going to The Tragically Hip concert! 

I have always been a music lover. You can kind of say it's in my blood. But I was never one for concerts because not only was I not a fan of big crowds, I was never a die-hard fan of anyone enough to beg to attend their concert. Not even as a kid when the Backstreet Boys or N'SYNC came to the area. 

As I got older, my music tastes matured and I started to listen to music that was a little less popular at the time. I was introduced to The Tragically Hip actually from our local bar that had live band playing every weekend. Quickly, I came to love New Orleans Was Sinking and when I looked into owning that particular song, started to get to know, appreciate and love their other work as well. The raw sound of the instrumentals and Downie's poetic sound and lyric was beautiful to the ears. 

Time went on and I attended University of Guelph. Jill was coming in by train for a weekend visit and on that very same weekend, The Tragically Hip was going to be in Toronto to play. Knowing that Jill was a fan (as she helped grow my Hip song playlist), I booked us a couple of tickets! 

We had a friend drive us to the local go-train station and us country girls made the trek to downtown Toronto.

 I was so excited and nervous for my first concert! We had nose bleed seats but I didn't care, I was finally at my first concert and to see one of my favorite bands. 

The show was awesome and wild. The Hip were amazing live! My love of their music grew even more after that night. But because we were in a rowdy spot, security kept coming and removing people from our area (including a guy we were with!) for smoking. 

We had to take the train home and then a friend agreed to drive the rest of the way to Guelph. Except it was a massive snow storm and it was the scariest drive of my life. I do not know how this guy made it and I think he wasn't sure either because we could not see anything in front of us. We drove about 30 km/h the whole way home. 

It made for a memorable first concert and one I still look fondly back on. 

Tonight will be my last time seeing Gord Downie play in person. While the show should have a sad tone to it considering the farewell circumstances, instead it feels like a celebration and a coming-together of fans. I have to thank Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip for keeping it real about the pain associated to this this event and yet touring one last time and inviting Canadians to share in the final tour either in a concert or on CBC this Saturday! 

It's going to be a bitter sweet day. I am so excited and honored to get to be there tonight but I am sad knowing this will be the last time. Thank you Gord and The Tragically Hip for the the memories, the life sound tracks, my first concert and the chance to say "see you later". 

"You're going to miss me. Wait and you'll see. Fully, completely."


Monday, August 15, 2016

Wet Weekend!

Happy Monday everyone! It was a GLORIOUS rainy weekend here. I know most would moan at a rainy summer weekend but not me! We were in desperate need of a good rainfall. We are having a drought filled summer season. 

The weekend started out right with a Caesar with lunch. While I normally don't drink at the office, it was golf tournament day! The men had taken off on a bus for an afternoon of fun and a few of us girls were keeping things going. So, I figured we needed a treat too! 

That evening we had a quiet night at home. Fast supper, bed, and then snacks and movie night with Jill. We watched The Mocking Jay part 2. How we had forgotten and never seen this one is crazy! 

Saturday morning I woke to the sweet sound of rain! Ryan had left Friday not only for the golf tournament but for a getaway as well to a camp. So, I got up early and enjoyed some peace before Sam woke up! 

I knew we were going to have a day inside so we relaxed in our PJ's for a long time. I had been really missing my boy this week and there is always something special about just having a weekend for the two of us. I love this undivided time. I said "Yes" to a lot more things then normal. We had a blast! One GREAT thing I did was take this old desk and use it for Sam's meals. Saturday morning cartoons and breakfast! OH and a second cup of coffee for me! 

The best part of a rainy day is all the inside is all the stuff I can get done. I had a few area's of my home that were in serious need of cleaning and organizing. Bathroom drawers, pantry and baby clothes! Honestly, there is something SO rewarding with having these spaces in perfect order again! 

Sam actually didn't have a great nap on Saturday so when he woke up we packed up, picked up Jill and headed to Green Lake for our Canada Day Committee Party. It's rewarding to sit back with other committee members and celebrate another successful year! 

Sam was a little party animal! He had Frito's and Pepsi for supper, participated in his first "shooter", danced with Funny Mark and played with his own blow up friend! 

These are obviously not all mine! That lone Palm Bay? That's mine! 

We left after 8 PM and after all the partying I suspected Sam would fall asleep on the way home! But he was a singing and chatting machine and looked like this when we got home....

But he fell asleep right away and then slept in until 8:30 the next morning! 

The rain had stopped so after breakfast we went outside! We also went to check the seeding in the fields! It's always exciting when you see that little peach fuzz of germination! 

We also went and grabbed our buddy Everett for a play date! The boys love hanging out together and it is fun for me to watch them play! The are really into the same things yet their personalities are so different! 

It was a busy morning but I think both boys were tuckered out. Ev went home and Sam went down HARD for his nap. Just so much partying in one weekend! Ha ha! While Sam napped I got things ready for the week. 2 loaves of bread, cookies, suppers and dill pickles made. 

Ryan had been home but gone again to work. So it was just Sam and I for supper. We had carrot sticks, french fries and homemade hamburgers! One of his favorite meals! I think Sam may be going through a growth spurt. He has been eating crazy amounts of food again. Every meal is devoured and he has been sleeping ( and sleeping in) like a champ! 

Before bath and bed, Sam and I snuggled and watched The Wiggles. He was using my face as a times! ha ha! 

When Sam was in bed, I cleaned up and then settled down with a cup of tea and watched The Fear of 13 on Netflix! Such a cool documentary! Highly recommended! 

How was your weekend? 


Friday, August 12, 2016

A Few Things On Friday

Happy Friday everyone! I woke up at 3:30 to the sound of my alarm and a HUGE rain coming down. Listening to the sound of rain on the roof is one of the things at the top of my "favorite things ever" list! It didn't last long but I am sure we will get a few more down pours like that today! 

Today is our company golf tournament! This year more then ever, the guys (and girls) deserve a little break! I heard on the radio yesterday that since Canada Day, there has been 18 days of above 30 degree weather! That is a lot of hot days but can you only imagine doing physical labor in that kind of weather? Lifting 25 pounds over and over (sod). Or loading and unloading equipment or supplies. Walking again in order to get the irrigation properly working. Not to mention there has been some work changes this year as we have geared ourselves up to be competitive in the construction market. Everyone has taken this summer in strides! And today is a day to relax and have some fun with co-workers! 

Just this passed week, we had an irrigation collision! Two of our irrigation pivots collided causing a jumbled mess of aluminum.  But the crew sprung into action and by that evening they were upright and pumping out water! Just one of the random things that could happen on day-to-day farm life! 

I am amazed at our little garden! It did so well this year! My tomato plants are ridiculous! They are huge! I have so many green tomatoes and I can't wait to see them ripen up! If I have the time, my hopes is to go ahead and make them into a tomato sauce to use for pizza sauce, pasta sauce and lasagna. 

From this...

To this...

We are also growing a giant pumpkin this year. Our hopes are that it will be big enough to put in at our local Fair! We know that it won't be a first place pumpkin but maybe third? Sam loves going and checking on it. He calls it "Tams BIG unkin". 

Speaking of Sam, he found one of his Christmas books in the spare bedroom (soon to be his new room) and has insisted that we read it every night! And during supper now he talks about "Ho Ho" and his reindeer. This book is incredibly long and I won't lie, I usually skip ahead a few pages at a time. Thankfully, Sam has no idea at this point and he doesn't care. As long as we read the second last page about the reindeer eating carrots, he always remembers that is in the book! 

Oh newborn snuggles! You get me every time! Is there anything else as sweet as newborn cuddles? It ALMOST makes you forget that those cute little baby snuggles turn into tantrum toddlers! Tricky little things! 

This week (and next week too) our usual daycare has been closed for her WELL DESERVED summer holiday! Being that we already had booked our family vacation for September, we had to come up with an alternate plan for when we were at work. We opted for a student babysitter as she would get dropped off at our house and I could get a little break from my usual driving. It has been wonderful! And she has done so well! When planning for this last week, I had to remember to have some extra breakfast and lunch options ready for them. Then it brought back memories of being a teenager babysitting in the summer and having the HARDEST time coming up with food ideas for two hungry boys. So I wanted to make it easy for our babysitter by setting everything out for them for all the meals and Sam's snacks. I also stocked the fridge with chips and treats just for her to enjoy while he is napping! It has gone really well but I'm sure look A LITTLE crazy with all of the food labels in the fridge every morning! 

Hope you enjoy your weekend!