Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Feeling so thrifty

In the past Irish and I (okay, mostly Irish) have tossed around the idea of doing a strictly cash budget when it comes to groceries. Each time he brought up the subject I wasn't too excited, not because I didn't think we could do it, but I'm all about the points! With our MC we earn points, which in turn can give us free groceries. My only hang up was loosing out on those points.

It was about the middle of January when Irish finally 'put his foot down' and said that this is what we are going to do. I rolled my eyes, and almost felt like telling him to start doing the grocery shopping, BUT as a good & supportive wife (like I try to be) I said OK. We discussed what we thought would be a reasonable weekly amount for our family, and withdrew that amount.

So here I am, as I drop him off at work, with an envelope 'full' of cash. Off to the grocery store I went. I decided the best way to 'manage' the money would be to write each item I am putting in my cart down on a piece of paper, along with it's price, if it's a weigh-able item...then I would have to weigh it and figure out how much it cost. After all, how am I suppose to know what is in my cart and what my bill is going to be when I get up to the cashier. That was/is my biggest fear of paying with cash, not knowing my total...and then coming up short, then having to ask the cashier to remove items. I could have just kept a running total in my head, but with this prego brain I've got going on, and two little ones in the was best that I wrote it down!

Before we made the switch from plastic to paper (MC to cash) I would have never described us as people who just bought what ever, or purchased items that we didn't really need. Yes there were times that one of the kids would say "Oh Mom, look at this" or "Could we get _____ please". Every once in a while I would 'indulge', because everyone needs a treat now and then. Plus I didn't always want to be saying NO to my kids.

When you are buying with plastic, it's SO easy to over spend, because 'money isn't an issue'.

I can not tell you the freedom ( that the right word?) I felt when buying with cash. I knew exactly what was in my cart, there was no surprise at the total when I got to the till & to be able to pay in full right then and there, knowing we didn't owe the MC company for the food we just bought, was AMAZING! 

It almost feels like a game, I feel like such a winner when I purchase everything we need for the week (I like to plan my meals a week in advance, so that I know all the ingredients I will need, thus resulting in one weekly grocery trip) and come out UNDER budget! This has happened both times I've gone so far since starting our cash budget. The last time, which was our last shopping trip for the month, we had a nice little amount left over. So I 'treated' us by going to Costco and buying some items that we've been out of for a while, but use on an almost daily we had company coming that weekend, so I wanted to be all stocked up! You know what?? I even have $7.50 left after shopping at Costco!! I was so pleased with my self!

In the end, I would recommend doing a cash budget if you are looking for some way to save some money. In the two trips I've taken, I've noticed that we are now spending on average $30 less a week in groceries. Now keep in mind that I haven't had to replace the Tide, or buy more chicken, which are big ticket items, but I'm still fairly confident in my self that I can remain on budget! (we also decided that diapers should not be included in our grocery budget, and have a different amount set aside for those)

Ooh and the bonus of it all, is that with the new program our store has come out with (we shop at Superstore, and they now have their PC Plus Points system), I can STILL earn points on the items I purchase (that have been selected for plus points) even when I pay with cash!! I don't get my points for bringing my own bags...but at least I'm getting points! Yay, happy day!!

Some New Digital LO | 2013 Yearbook

I've been working hard trying to get my 2013 album all finished up. I still have lots to do, but at the same time, I feel like I have a lot accomplished. It's getting exciting though, as this will be my first printed (and complete) album.

I started 'seriously' scrapbooking after Marshall was born & I have a FULL album from just his birth day until he was about maybe 4 months old, haha!! Perhaps I was a little over zealous?! It took me a bit to realize that you can not scrap absolutely every picture you take...and even then, when you 'down size' the allotted pictures you want to print, you should go through and do that process again...and one more time for good measure!

I have fallen in love with digital scrapbooking! Here are some new pages I have completed lately :)

I had the opportunity to run in the Color Me Rad race in Calgary (

 We had a lot of Court Cousin time this summer, the kids were in Heaven!

 Took a day trip out to Writing on Stone with the Fam Jam

 Spent Thanksgiving out at 'the Farm' in Rosemary, with our Lilburn Cousins.

 I decided to make our announcement for baby #4 a 12x12 page, so that it could be apart of our yearbook!

That's it for now, I better get back at it!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Where did he come from?

At the beginning of January we started a new session of swimming lessons. I wasn't overly excited about the fact that we were going to be doing them at the same facility, as I haven't been too impressed with the instructor that one particular child kept on getting. I was too late in registering with another facility, and wanted to keep the lessons going. I decided that it was better to have them in lessons to keep the confidence and hopefully progress up, than to not have them in any at all.

I had also made up my mind that if this particular child was given the same instructor, that we would be OUT of there!...I'll give you some background information.

The child I am referring to is, Marshall. Getting comfortable in the water has not been an easy thing for him. Up until he was about 4 years old, he was severely afraid of the water. He would be okay to play in the tub, but as soon as it came time to wash his hair, no matter which way I tried to do it (because trust me, we tried several ways) he would freak right out. He didn't even like getting sprayed at the water park.

The past two summers Marshall made a lot of progress in the water, he was no longer playing on the pool deck, but IN the shallow water. He even got to the point this past summer, that if he was wearing a life jacket, he was okay to swim in the deep end...BIG improvement!!

Now my 'beef' with this instructor is that I didn't particularly find he was paying as much attention to the children in his class as he should have been, he just seemed to be laid back and not overly observant. There were at least two separate occasions where I thought Marshall was going to drown...that's how much attention he 'gave' to the students.

He spent too much time sitting on the side of the pool talking with the kids, I only assume it was about water/pool safety...but when you only have a 30 min class, don't spend the bulk of it out of the water! This happened every.single.class. I was so frustrated. I kept thinking 'What on earth have I paid for!?' 'My child does not know how to swim...I'm paying you to teach him DO IT, Please!"

When we arrived for our first class this session, and I saw that Marshall, yet again, had the same instructor, I was SO ready to go get Marshall and leave. Irish was there with me and I started to tell him about how this was the same instructor he had last time, and tell him all about the instructor...again. That is until, I saw my boy jump care free, chest puffed out, feet swung up behind him into the water (during a "if you like ____ jump into the water game")

I was IN SHOCK! I could not process what had just happened. The entire last session the only way Marshall would jump into the water was to hold onto the side of the pool and then jump in. I was so incredibly happy for him. Throughout the lesson he continued to blow my mind. He was so brave, doing things he wouldn't even try in the previous session. He even tried diving (from a sitting position), swinging off the rope & even went as far as to try to 'swim out' to get the rope, all of this in the deep end.

As for now we have decided to leave him where he is. I am SO incredibly proud of him, he is so proud of himself (he has every right to be!!). I really want to work hard with him before summer comes so that he can get to the point where he can swim all by himself. What a confidence booster! Keep up the good work Marshall!!

You better believe that I will be first in line to register somewhere else for next session though...especially since our current location decided to increase the price $22/child PER session...that's a 50% increase from what we paid last time....