Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Wee Garden is Growing

We live in an apartment, so there is no backyard for us to grow things in. I would love to be able to have the room to plant a full vegetable garden, but that is not yet to be.

I love growing vegetables. Years ago, I would plant in my sisters humongous yard with her, and reap the harvest that we both took care of. Now, my garden is reduced to planting a few choices veggies in pots that live on my balcony.

In pot # 1, I planted some green onions that I sprouted from grocery bought ones. The end cuttings in water got the roots going, and into the dirt they went. The birds who like to hang out on my balcony railing have picked away at the tops of these,  so I am currently making a plastic canvas wind sock type thing to hang in the area to keep the birds away. After the onions took root in their new home, I sprinkled lettuce seeds around the plants to try to make the most of the limited space that I have available.

Pot # 2 is home to radishes. Before I planted the seeds, I 'planted' a home made irrigation system ( 2L pop bottle with well placed holes in it) to keep the little guys well watered. Cub and I then made a 'racetrack' in the dirt around the top of the bottle with his toy bulldozer. We sprinkled radish seeds in the racetrack and covered them with a dirt blanket. I'm happy to report that 4 days later, they have already sprouted and are beginning their journey to our table.

In # 3, I put a mixture of cherry tomato seeds and pepper seeds. In the past few years, I would sprout seeds indoors, and plant only the hardiest plants in the pot, only to have the birds eat the plants, leaving me next to nothing. this year, I've planted dozens of seeds in the same container, in the hopes that I may get one or two plants of each after the birds have their fill.

If I had a yard to plant a full garden in, I would plant tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkin, onions, lettuce, radishes, garlic, beans and peas. Oh how I miss those days in the garden, getting dirt under my nails.

Do you grow your own veggies? Have you ever had space challenges with gardening?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coming Back and New Goals

I have missed the blogging community greatly. I felt like I was part of something, and then I was missing out on the friendship and sharing. But it had to be done. I had so much to say, but I was under wraps for awhile (self-imposed). I know me. I have trouble keeping my mouth shut, lol. But now, I can talk a little more freely about what has been happening.

The big news is that the company I work for has opened an office location right here in London. I'm still working part-time hours, and if all goes well, I should be out from under my probationary period in the next week or so. This will enable me to serve my client families more efficiently.

My goals for working with this company are to become a full-time employee, to gain status as a managing director, and eventually be able to 'buy-in' as silent ( Ha- who am I kidding? I'm never silent!) partner for this location.

In anticipation of major changes ahead in the next few years, I'm forging forward with personal and financial goals also.

Toward the beginning of the year, I opened yet another RRSP account at my bank. I put a small deposit in, and left it be. No further deposits to date. After thinking about it for a time, I realised that I could use this account as my 'Home Down payment Fund'. Using  the Home Buyers Plan, I can 'borrow' my own money from my RRSP, up to $25,000 toward the purchase of a home. Meanwhile, any deposits I make will count toward my RRSP contributions for that year, giving me a small break on the amount of tax I will owe.

Still with me this far? Good.

I will still have to 'pay that money back', but since it's mine, there won't be any outrageous interest fees associated with it (at least none that I am aware of). Just a repayment schedule that the government defines.

So off to the bank I went, and signed a paper to say that they could take $25 per pay out of my chequing and put into the 'House RRSP Fund'. I know it will take me a hundred years or so to save up a down payment at that rate, but it's a starting point, ya know?

Seeing as I've hit the big 4-0, I've been thinking lots and lots about where my life is headed, where I am right now, and where I want to be in the future. I want to have a home of our very own, however modest it may be. I want to have money in the bank should the day ever come that I want to semi-retire. (I'm pretty sure if I ever fully retire, it will be due to health reasons only.) I'm putting away money to help partially pay for my kids post-secondary educations. Our debt is almost gone...Can you say U-RAH to that!!!! We've finally gotten that consumer debt monster down to something manageable.

On the other side of the coin, it looks like we will be shopping for a newer vehicle this year. Well, we have been looking for awhile, and I have absolutely nothing saved up for a new van, but we will need to replace it I think. A van is vital to my employment, so hopefully we can get a good deal on a 1 or 2 year old used one. I'm hoping for a Dodge Grand Caravan with Stow-N-Go seating, but we will see. I will not be taking out another 7 year long, $28,000 car loan, that's for sure.

One of these days, I will get around to updating my reading list. I've read a ton of books over the last little while, which has certainly helped my keep my shopping habit under control. Speaking of shopping, I'm working at the couponing again to keep our grocery costs down with budget limits. I think this is the first May in the last 5 years that we have stuff in the pantry, cupboards and freezer and I don't feel like an unfit parent. I'm anticipating what we will need over a given period and stocking up (not extreme couponer style) some of the things that we regularly use when its on sale.
I'm feeling good about life these days. I hope it lasts.

What are you feeling good about today?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

She's an Official Teenager!

Tabitha Jean, aka DD2, born May 16, 1999.

She's grown from this... this.

Here's a few of my favourites of her.

The proud Auntie!
Chillin in Niagara Falls.

Tabba & DH.

Best friends at Hallowe'en.

She's growing up on me. :)

With her little bro, Cub.

Showing the love!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

With all my love,



Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Now that the worst of the cold weather is behind us, I'm finding myself more able to knit when I have some spare time. I've imposed a due date for two items that I have been working on for a bit. One is a blanket for my daughter's 13th birthday, and the other item is a blanket I have been working on for my MIL since August of last year. I want to give it to her for her birthday in June.

So when I'm not working, I'm knitting.  Both of these projects are simply me creating. No pattern to follow, no wrong way to do it. I add yarns that I like the look and feel of, and away I go.

I'm also working on a pair of socks for Hubby (still) and various items for Keeping Kids Warm. I've made some neck warmers, or neck cowls; like a scarf but totally round with no ends to get caught on anything.

This is the blanket I'm working on for DD2. Do you think I can get it done by Friday?

This is sock number 2 of the pair for Hubby.

This is the multi-coloured blanket for my MIL, using worsted weight, 4 ply variegated yarns.

A closer pic so you can see the rainbow of colours.

The sized 6.0 mm bamboo circular needle(s) I'm using to make MIL's blanket. Probably part of the reason why it is taking me forever to finish it!

I'm thinking of starting a collective project of blankets to be made of squares kitted by volunteers, and having them mailed to me from knitters wherever they may be. Are you a knitter? Do you know a knitter? Think you might like to get involved in this project? Email me, and share this idea with others. If I can get 5 knitters to commit to making 2 ten inch squares, I'll do a giveaway. Let me know what you think.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bethesda and Biebs

Please consider a donation to the London Bethesda Centre. Click to learn more.

An article in today's London Free Press tells us that the almighty Justin Bieber's newest release, "Turn To You" was linked to the 'Save Bethesda' campaign almost immediately by his Mom, Pattie Mallette.

If you don't already know the story, Ms. Mallette was an unwed pregnant teen who got help from Bethesda during her pregnancy. The unborn child at that time is now known to the world as Justin Bieber.

Being a former unwed homeless pregnant teen myself, I can attest to what challenges these young women face. I did not seek help from Bethesda, but I surely support what they do. These young women, and for all young women who face the same challenges in the future need our help. Please do what you can.

I am not a fan of 'the Biebs' for his musical ability, but I m somewhat of a fan of his single Mom.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Sunday mornings I usually sleep in, thanks to an agreement that Hubby and I have. Saturdays are his turn, Sundays are mine. Yet here I am before 8 am on a Sunday morning, typing away on the computer. I usually make bread on Sundays also, but we have several loaves in the freezer, so I'm not going to make any today.I figured now would be a good time as any to let you all know what has been going on.

The past couple of weeks have been filled with lots of driving for work. I'm still working out the kinks on the mileage expense forms for work, but at least I will be reimbursed for all my driving and use of vehicle.

DD2 went to her first 'semi-formal' at school. She's in 7th grade. I don't ever remember having any occasions such as this when I was in 7th grade. That was however, such a long time ago. Lol! We went out shopping the night before and found her a black strapless dress with white polka dots. Upon closer inspection, the polka dots were not actually round, and were in fact, tiny skull printed on the dress. She loved it! A couple of well placed safety pins ensured it fit correctly and would not fall off (or could get pulled down) and causing her a great deal of embarrassment.

We went to Giant Tiger looking for some nice dressy sandals to go with the dress. We found some for $20 and while looking around, I spied a clearance rack with school supplies on it. Notebooks for 6 and 13 cents. Spiral bound notebooks for 13 cents. Packs of Sharpie mini markers for 25 cents. Mechanical pencil lead refills for 63 cents. Packs of regular pencils for 19 cents. It was a good haul, and I was able to get some of the things the kids will need in the fall for a fraction of the regular price.

I've been watching the grocery stores sales with a new intensity as we continue to tighten the belts on our budget. We have enough in our pantry and cupboard for a couple of weeks should be not be able to have any grocery money. I'm using coupons and price matching to reduce what I spend as much as possible. It's become a bit of a 'game' for me, to keep our costs as low as possible on that front.

We have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge and cupboard, bills are mostly paid, and we have gas in the car. For the most part, I am content with this. Our savings accounts are pitiful though. The next phase of our annual spending plan will start soon, and all of our savings accounts will get replenished or added to. The Emergency fund, the Christmas fund, the Vacation fund, RRSPs and RESPs will all get a boost in the next couple of months, should all go well with the contract renewal.

The big change will be with the contract renewal. It seems that something has changed with the way that they are reimbursed with charges for certain cases. I'm not really sure what that means yet for me, but I'm trying super hard not to worry about things that I have no control over. Worst case scenario, we aren't awarded the new contract and I will have to get full-time employment. That shouldn't be too hard, as I've been working on that for ages with the new company.

Today, Cub and I are going to be planting some stuff in our big pots. That should be fun. I know he'll end up getting covered in dirt! I was too late in requesting a plot in the community garden area that is across the street from us. I'll have to put my name on the waiting list. I won't be able to grow as much as I want again this year, but we will plant some stuff; lettuce, radishes and onions mostly. Maybe a pepper plant or two.

Well, the laundry is calling my name, and I know it won't walk itself down to the laundry room (although it could). Hope you are having a good weekend.