Birthday Party Countdown

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mr. Boy's birthday present bought - check

Food for lunch-time party bought - check

Kids' party cake baked and icing made - check

Loot bags made - check

Treasure hunt clues ready to be transcribed onto cards - check

Yard weeded - check

Kitchen clean - check

Things are looking good for tomorrow. There is a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, so we'll arrange the (outdoor) treasure hunt for a time when there is no rain.

Wish me luck!


Coming Up for Air!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I have 9 children coming to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon and 6 adults coming for lunch on the same day.

I've ordered the lunch-time cake but haven't made the one for the evening yet.

I've figured out the dinner plans but not what to feed the lunch guests (including the vegetarian).

I've got loot bags for the kids, but haven't finished the scavenger hunt clues and forgot them at work, so I'll have to start from scratch.

On Monday, I volunteered to be the convenor for my daughter's soccer league with 80 girls. I spent about an hour figuring out the volunteers and adding all of the email addresses.

I still don't have a present for my son for his 8th birthday, except for the game of Skip-Bo I got him, and the loot bag I made him. I'm very quickly running out of time


Dinosaur Museum

Sunday, April 18, 2010

After spending the last couple of weeks learning about dinosaurs in kindergarten, Precious' class went to the Museum of Nature, which is famous for its dinosaur exhibits. The museum is under construction so less than half of the building is open to the public right now, but with only two hours at the museum, we had just enough time to see everything.

Precious' favourite part was the touch screen computers.
She gave me a little puppet show.
Which must have worn her out, because she laid down for a minute after she was done.
And she graciously posed for me.
As did this scary guy.We saw the dinosaurs, the mammals and the birds. There were lots of things to see and touch. Precious had fun, and after 2 hours, when I asked her if she wanted to stay or go home, she said 'go home'. We had a good time, and a good nap in the afternoon.



Friday, April 16, 2010

Beverly Hills 90210. The original. Never missed the show.

I mean, fancy cars, pretty people, no acne in sight, romance, and Dylan had his own house!? I mean, come on.

Remember when Brenda and Donna went to Paris? My three favourite by-products of that trip:

1. Dylan and Kelly got together.

2. Brenda met Rick, pretended she was French, and had to fake a French accent for-ever after he followed her back to the States.

3. I got to see one of the funniest scenes ever on TV. (It's only 56 seconds long)

Edited to add: I should have set this clip up a bit better. Donna and Brenda go to Paris. Two American teenagers with a limited knowledge of French. They end up in a fancy French restaurant and order the "cerveau de veau". As a French speaker, I'm already giggling as I know this means 'calf brains'. Then I get to watch them try the food, and with a mouthful of it, realize what it is. The way Donna spits it out cracks me up. Hilarious!

Is that funny, or what?



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I already told you how DH and I follow a budget.

For the first year or so, I was very careful and kept within my budget. Occassionally, I would run a deficit, but it was usually a small amount and I would pay myself back the next week. Then, in the fall of 2008, Mindy and I went to Syracuse to do some cross-border shopping. I was a little in debt when we went. I spent at least 7 weeks' budget when I was there. Then I went on a scrapbooking retreat and spent about 3 weeks' budget. Then I got my gym membership and it was about 4 weeks' budget. All in the span of three months. Before I knew it, I was well over a thousand dollars in debt! My budget went from being a limit on my spending to a way of recording my spending and it seemed I had no hope of every paying it all back.

For most of 2009, I was spending more than my budget and contributing to my debt weekly. I still recorded and calculated my purchases, but I wasn't doing much to control spending. At the end of 2009, I had spent double what I was allowed for a year. I spent a lot of my money on clothes and all the other little things added up.

So, for my new year's resolution for 2010, I decided to get rid of my debt by the end of the year. This is the hardest resolution I have ever made. Much harder than 2009 when I tried saying 'yes' to more things. Harder than the year I gave up buying magazines. (I have a serious magazine addiction which I inherited from my mom).

To reach my goal of getting my debt to zero, I have to reduce my spending to half of my weekly budget. Since I spent double what I was allocated last year, my 2010 budget is only a quarter or what it was last year. Let me tell you, it is not easy to spend only 25% of what you are used to spending. I have to question everything I buy, adjust my plans to avoid costly meals out, window shop rather than go in the store, and save up for big purchases like the gym membership and scrapbooking retreat.

Here's an example of what I spent one virtuous week in January
Valentine's card $6.72 (DH has since thrown this in the garbage leading me to conclude that he will not be getting a valentine's card next year)
Tea $1.15
Beer after hockey $8
Designer Digitals scrapbook supplies $2.41
Grand Total $28.28

Here's what I spent one not so virtuous week in February
Lunch out $22.25
Hair dye $19.37
Guitar picks $2.71
Makeup $42.94
CD $17.09
Case of beer $29.90
Blazer $63.55 (on sale)
Snacks $4.51
Grand Total $200.82.

Fourteen weeks into my new fiscal restraint, I'm $290 shy of where I wanted to be but I've reduced my debt by $700! So I guess I get a mark of 70% so far.

I'd like to reward myself when I reach my goal. Even though it is a bit contradictory, I have been thinking it would be nice to buy myself something at the end of the year if when I reach my goal. What should I buy?

Edited to add: The $8 for beer after hockey was for ONE beer. That's how much they cost nowadays Dad! The $29.90 for a case of beer was for the basement fridge, to be consumed at my leisure.


Easter Recap

Monday, April 5, 2010

What a great long weekend!

Friday, we went public swimming, painted eggs, and had Ron and Mel and the kids over for supper. We spent the whole day outside, and I even got a little gardening done.
Saturday, we went to Connor's birthday party. Later, the kids played outside until it was too dark to see. The weather was glorious. The kids were offered the chance to watch a movie, and my heart sang when they chose to play outside instead.

Sunday, the kids had their egg hunt, then played at their 'fort' outside again. Their 'fort' is a tree behind our house that they can climb themselves. Mr. Boy and I went to see the Sharks documentary in 3-D at IMAX, and we had a quiet Easter supper as my mom wasn't feeling well and couldn't host. I made a bunny cake and it was a very delicious bedtime snack last night. I did some mending for about two hours last night and it felt good to check that off my to-do list.
Today, I have the day off, but DH is at work. Mr. Boy's friend is over for the next few hours, and he plays so well with the girls, which makes my day a little easier considering it's gloomy and wet outside and not a good day for the 'fort', trampoline, bike riding or going to the park.


A Study in Contrasts

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Last weekend - going for the last ski of the winter.

This weekend, we got sunburns, and the temperature hit 27 degrees (80.6F). The normal high for this time of year is 7 (44.6F)!
They were calling for unseasonably warm weather for this weekend, so on Wednesday, I went out and got new patio cushions. Friday was as warm as they said it would be, so we went public swimming first thing in the morning, then came home and started working outside. I swept the patio and set up the patio set. DH cleaned up the yard and washed the outdoor furniture and swept the patio stones. I split the phlox in my yard was long overdue for dividing, and then we decided to see if Ron and Mel and their kids could come over for a BBQ. We didn't have much food in the house but they came anyway. We sat outside in the heat and had a wonderful time.

Saturday, the kids and I went to Connor's birthday party. Mindy had organized an egg hunt and the kids had a blast. There wasn't much shade to be had at their place, and the party was at the hottest part of the day. Who would have known that it was be summer-like conditions on April 2nd!? I was about 26 C but it was warm enough that there were lots of red faces around! The kids were thrilled with their loot.


New Neighbours

Friday, April 2, 2010

Last weekend, we had some neighbours over for a cocktail party, although it wasn't nearly as fancy as it sounds. I did break out some new recipes and had palmiers with pesto, goat cheese and sundried tomatoes, as well as roasted red pepper dip with gouda and jalapenos on baguette. I tried making Shape magazine's baked chick peas with seasoning but they were chewy and bland so I threw them out. I bought some desserts at Costco, and a box of timbits. Some of my neighbours contributed food and drinks. Thanks Lesley and Heather!

Everyone came over after supper on Saturday and some stayed until 11:00 p.m! We talked about things like running, dogs, parties, and kids. It was so nice to get to know everyone better and of course, we found we have lots in common as well as knowing some of the same people. It's such a small world.

I invited some neighbours that I don't really know, as well as the 'usual suspects' that we've known since we moved in. Three new families moved into our street, two in the last couple of months, and two of them came. I didn't know one of the families at all, and I had only seen the mom walking by with a baby in a stroller. I biked over there a few nights before the party, with an invite in hand, and Lori accepted right away! I get so excited when I meet new people and they seem really nice. They couldn't stay long as they have a 12 month-old, but hopefully we'll see them again, soon.

Around 9:30, the kids started getting restless, after going crazy on the trampoline and running all over the house for three hours, so I put on the Monsters vs. Aliens DVD that Mindy got the kids for Christmas, and everyone settled down to watch. The little kids could barely keep their eyes open, but they were motivated to stay up and 'party'. We finally got our kids to bed at 11:00, just three hours past their bedtime!
The evening ended with everyone exclaiming "we should do this again soon". Now that it is sunny and warm outside, I'm sure we will see our neighbours outside more and have lots more opportunities for socializing. And that's just the way I like it.


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