Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer's here...

Our family knows that summer has arrived when Poultryfest excites the town of Smithville and the June Jitterbug gathers Volkwagen lovers from near and far in Fireman's Park, Niagara Falls. Rylyn enjoyed the annual fesitvals for the first time this year. With the arrival of summer comes rest and vacations. On that note, I will be taking a small technology break from now until mid-July, only responding to emails of vital importance over the next few weeks. I will be back, however, so just because you don't get a blog update, it doesn't mean I have stopped blogging. Until then, I will be enjoying summer's solitude.

Barley cereal at the June Jitterbug VW Show.
Mmm barley...my favourite. Photos courtesy of Grandma Cheryl.
Bible Reflections:
Psalm 74:16-17
16 The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
         You have prepared the light and the sun.
 17 You have set all the borders of the earth;
         You have made summer and winter.

-Thank you God for creating summer, which for many is a season of labour, harvest and fruit and for me is a season of rest.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I have done a lot of reading about child-rearing. I feel like I am in a full-time course with a 24/7 practicum...wait a second, that's because I am...living and learning. I preface this entry with I know I should not give my daughter sugary treats until...well, technically the books say never. So I guess until she is well over a year and has established a full palette of healthy options first? May I also add there is a difference between a taste and actually feeding your child something. Just like there is a difference between having a sample or two at Costco on Saturday and hitting every booth...twice...and then skipping lunch.

On Father's Day Rylyn enjoyed a taste of pudding and cool whip. Saying she loved it would be an understatement. She threw such a fit after I refused her more that I had to appease her with an ice-cube popsicle (packed safely in her Nuby mesh feeder, pictured below). The boundary setting begins. Let me tell you, the cuteness of the whole ordeal was worth the "rule" breaking. With rule breaking comes lessons learned. Rylyn learned that mom will say no...but can squeeze a little more out of dad...and then when the final no has been given, she learned that another option will often be provided. I learned that my daughter will love chocolate.

Nuby Mesh Feeder

"What do you mean I can't have more?"

"I want more!"
Bible Reflections:
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 

-Sometimes we need to listen less to "they" and more to God and our own hearts. Some rules are meant to be broken.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Afternoon Off

Glee Live in Toronto. We were stage left, first balcony. Great seats directly beside the stage. Blackberry photo courtesy of sister Laura.

My fav character, Kurt (Chris Colfer), belts it out in a duet with Rachel (Lea Michele).  Photo courtesy of friend Mary who watched the show the day after.

I am still a little star struck. It was amazing seeing and hearing my favourite television characters in the flesh! Cast of Glee, you are a guilty pleasure! I laughed, danced and sang! I didn't cry, but I am pretty sure the love-struck teenager next to me did...point of clarification: not my sister, Laura.

Leaving Rylyn for about 8 hours was difficult. Not because I was worried about her care, but I know sometimes when she cries, it is because she wants me. Only me. We both survived and I had a day to remember with my sister. I didn't feel anxious until the show was over and we were en route home from Toronto on the GO Train. Mainly because I called home to Chris and could hear Ry crying in the background. Nonetheless, I felt like I accomplished something that day. I look forward to my next afternoon off just as much as I looked forward to coming home from this one.

Bible Reflections:

Philippians 4:5-7

New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

-When anxious I am helped by a prayer my mom used to have hung in the bathroom. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." I memorized it young and recite it often. It is one of the wisest things my parents unknowingly taught me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mediocre Couponing

I have freely spent as much of our money as I comfortably can. My online shopping addiction has been replaced with a new hobby. Couponing. AND...this hobby not only allows me to spend money, but save it too!

As soon as I started telling people about my new endeavour, I kept getting asked "Have you seen the show Extreme Couponing?" To which my reply was, "No." What I learned about couponing I learned through reading the forums on a site called Smart Canucks. I did, however, end up watching a few episodes of Extreme Couponing to find out about what was all the hype. I learned more about what couponing is not from watching.

The tips I have found most useful are: get coupons, wait for a sale and buy in bulk (if you use the item regularly and can get multiple coupons). There is more to "couponing" than coupons. If you don't have coupons for an item, waiting for a sale and buying in bulk can save you tons too! This has been a main strategy for me because as a n00b my coupon stock is being built. On the other hand, Extreme Couponing taught me that couponing is NOT about buying things you don't need because it is free or a great deal. I have since come up with three categories of couponers.

Extreme couponers - glorified hoarders who have a beat-the-system mentality and addiction
Serious couponers* - as skilled as the extreme couponer and enjoys the "rush" of saving money, but follows unwritten rules of couponing by showing consideration for others (e.g. taking only what you need)
Mediocre couponers* - people like me who like to remain slightly under the radar, have a lot to learn, but are loving the experience and the savings
*both parties enjoy random acts of kindness (e.g. like printing off an extra coupon and sharing it with someone in the store or donating good deals to charities)

Below are some pictures of the deals I have caught over the past few weeks! Most of these ones don't even involve coupons!

My coupon accordion folder organized according to category and expiry date. The teacher in me had to add some stickers for decoration. Nerd and proud of it.
My considerably-smaller-than-an-Extreme-Couponer's-stockpile. Too bad you can't stockpile produce!  I promise my fridge looks much healthier! Although, there are cans of veggies and whole wheat pasta in the back. I didn't pay more than a $1 for anything other than the Nestea.
Proud of these deals. 24 pack of Pure Life $1.99 each and 12 pack of pop $2.99 each.
Best deal to date? Large tub of Philly on sale for $2.49, regular $6.49, plus $1 off coupon making it $1.49.

Bible Reflections:
1 Timothy 6:9-11

New Living Translation (NLT)
 9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.

-I am trying to remember that I am only a steward of what God has given me. This way of thinking makes it easier for me to rely on Him to meet my needs and to bless others.