Posted in Parenting, tips

Are You A Winger Or A Planner? (+5 Tips to Saving Money Groceries)

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Lots of stuff on sale for Valentine’s Day weekend!

Before my husband and I had kids and a mortgage, meals were super easy.  We would either just go to the grocery store and buy whatever we felt like eating during the week or we would eat out (“oh shucks, we forgot to thaw the meat again, oh well, let’s just eat out”).

Then, well, I became pregnant, we bought a house, I gave birth to Charles, municipal taxes went up, sales taxes went up (the combination of the Federal and Provincial tax where I live tallies up to about 15%), electricity rates went up, gas prices remained high despite the crash of the barrel price (we pay on average 1.10$/L which amounts to about 4.16$/gallon).  Yikes!  Though our salaries went up as well, we soon found ourselves looking for ways to keep more money in our pockets (because who doesn’t want more money in their pockets?).

Here are the 5 things that helped us save money on groceries (because groceries are pretty much the only thing we had control over).

  • We started to plan our weekly meals.

I created, printed out and laminated a meal-planning sheet and each week we would jot down what we wanted to eat for lunch and supper with a dry erase marker.  Then, it was just a question of jotting down on a grocery list what we needed to buy.

  • We started to plan our meals based on what was on sale.

You see, every Wednesday, a Publisac gets delivered to our door.  It’s basically a bag filled with flyers from local stores.  Now, we used to just toss it in the recycling bin.  Eventually, though, we took out the flyers from our local grocery stores and started going through them.  We then took to buying the bulk of our ingredients only when they were on sale.  Then we planned our meals around those ingredients.  This is great, because besides saving money, it also allowed for creativity as we ended up buying stuff we might not have bought normally.

  • We (and by “we” I mean my husband) started to do our groceries at 2-3 different stores (all in close proximity to one another)

We’re lucky enough that there are 5 grocery stores (6 if you count Walmart) within 5 km of each other and our house.  This allows us to go to the 2-3 that offer the best prices each week.

  • We began buying food and household products that we use regularly in bulk sizes (provided they were cheaper that their non-bulk counterparts – which isn’t always the case).

One of the first purchases we made when buying the house was getting a deep-freezer.  It. Is. Wonderful.  We are also lucky enough to have a storage space under the stairs where we can store extra non-perishable food items.

  • We continued to make (pretty much) everything from scratch.

Both my husband and I like to cook, so this has always been pretty easy for us.  But we’ve expanded our repertoire over the years.  No more store-bought pie shells, chicken pot pie or pizza sauce for us!

It may sound like a lot of work, but we did this one step at a time (by the way, did you know that it takes, on average, about 66 days to form a new habit?) and we haven’t regretted it!

How do you do your meal planning? Do you wing it or plan it?

Posted in Ten Thought Tuesday

Ten Thought Tuesday: September 30th

TTT

  1. Little Dude’s back at daycare today for the first time since his big allergic reaction.  He was super happy to see his sitter and friends when he got there.
  2. The hardest part for him wasn’t even the intense itching (he’s such a trooper!), but the fact that we weren’t allowing him to touch his sister for the first couple of days because we weren’t sure of what he had and whether he was contagious or not.
  3. He’s been catching up on his big brother cuddles though since getting the green light to hug, kiss and hold his little sister.
  4. Before being called by my son’s daycare provider last Friday, I managed to finish cutting my burlap table runner to size and found a way to keep the edges from fraying.  You can find out how on tomorrow’s post.
  5. Now that the little guy is doing better, I’m motivated to get back into the kitchen.  Yesterday, I made an awesome pumpkin pie and today I’m making a leek, butternut squash and cauliflower potage (yum!).
  6. The dada is also going to be able to stain the balcony today!
  7. It’s rather impressive: we recently added one child to our family, yet my laundry has multiplied by 10.  How did that happen?
  8. I’m probably going to go out and take a walk with baby girl today.  After pretty much being cooped up all weekend (’cause, as we know, mommies are the ones kids want when they’re sick), I need to get out and move around.
  9. Though she’s gotten better at taking more time to drink, Amélie still gets overenthusiastic when she drinks sometimes and ends up covering me, herself, her nursing pillow and the burp cloth in projectile spitup *facepalm*.  This is particularly fun when it happens in the middle of the night :roll:.
  10. That’s it!  I’m off to the kitchen to get cooking! 😀

Care to share some random thoughts today?

Posted in Blogging awards

Sweet! Another Blogging Award Comes My Way!

OK.  This post is WAAAAAAAAAAY OVERDUE.

It’s been over a month two months three months now (I think) since I received this award from Valerie, the great blogger at Atlanta Mom of Three.  It’s about time I take the time to accept it!  Thank you Valerie!

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As always, accepting a blogging award comes with rules.  Here they are:

1.  Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.

2.  Acknowledge that blogger and link back to their blog.

3.  Answer the Super Sweet questions.

4.  Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (award 13 blogs), link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs. It’s ok if you don’t have 13 blogs to nominate, just share the love!

5  Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

Super Sweet Questions:

Cookies or Cake?  

Cake.  Definitely cake.  Yummy cheesecake…mmm, I have a sudden urge to make some right now.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

If I really have to choose between the two, it would be vanilla.  But I’m more of a fruity kind of gal.

What is your favorite sweet treat?

Crème brûlée cheesecake!  Or maybe key lime pie?  I don’t know, there are too many to choose from!

When do you crave sweet things the most?   

When I’m stressed out.

If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? 

Hum…honey?  Is that too corny? 😀

My nominees

At the clothesline

The Two Boys Club

McKinley Milestones

A Nugget Of Joy For A Lifetime Of Cupcakes

Mom Times 4

…from the bungalow

Little Dinosaur Baby

Early Learning Planet

Mariquia

Homemade With Mess

Fibromy-Awesome

Let it come from your heart

Butterfingered

Thanks for keeping such awesome blogs!

Posted in More Than A Mom

Tom Kha Gai – Oh So Much Yummy!

When Little Dinosaur Baby shared this recipe on her blog a couple of days ago, I just could not wait to try it!  So today, I went out and bought the ingredients to pull it off and seriously, it’s good!  No, not good, out-of-this-world-yummy! 😀

The recipe called for just a couple of ingredients that I just didn’t have near the suburb in which I live: namely galangal (which, I found out resembled ginger) and fresh kaffir lime leaves and so I substituted both with fresh ginger and the zest of two limes respectively.  Furthermore, because I wanted my sister to be able to taste it, I used shrimp instead of chicken as she is a partial vegetarian and the only kind of meat she eats is fish and seafood.

I really loved this!  The coconut milk made it nice and silky, the lime juice made it tangy and it was slightly salty.  Now, I don’t know how authentic it turned out to be taste-wise (I guess I’ll have to try and find a good Thai restaurant to compare), but boy was it good!  I am definitely going to make this again.

My bowl of Tom kha gai just before devouring it!
My bowl of Tom kha gai just before devouring it!

I’m always up for a new culinary adventure!  Any suggestions as to what I should make next?