Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I really do have a life other than Twilight, but I have to say, I am super happy that they are going to have a new director for the sequel that they will start filming soon. See, I'm not the only one who thought she did a lousy job! Well, to be fair, she probably did a very good job considering the budget she had to work with. I have great hopes that with a new director, New Moon might actually be worth watching.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Twilight the book is a romance. Sure, there's more to the story than that - action, drama, horror - but the reason it has such a huge fan base is its a tender, sensual, and often tumultuous romance. Twilight the movie has a very low budget, artsy, independent film quality. I didn't like the weird camera angles or the horrible soundtrack. And the special effects were laughable. No really, people in the theater were actually laughing.
The individual performances were, for the most part, pretty good. Robert Pattinson as Edward definitely looked and acted the part of the drop dead gorgeous immortal, although I agree with him that he is no stunt man. His American accent wasn't perfect, but it may be that I just prefer to hear his British accent. Kristen Stewart was a believable Bella. For me, the star of the show was Cam Gigandet as James. He was exactly the image of James that I had formed from the book, so it's a shame that he is destroyed in this film and won't continue in the sequels. I think they need to ditch Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle) and Nikki Reed (Rosalie Hale) before they shoot the sequels. I'm not sure what was worse, their performance or their terrible bleached hair color and make-up.
Here is what I hope: that they make enough from Twilight that they will make the sequels, and have a bigger budget to do so. With the bigger budget they need to replace Catherine Hardwicke with a better director, and spend WAY more money on special effects. The vampires are fast, strong, and powerful - they should NOT look like puppets on strings. I would also like to see more of the romance - the movie lacked so much of the tenderness between Bella and Edward that the book so beautifully portrays.
The film was free of bad language, as far as I remember, which I appreciated. There is some sensuality, but nothing over the top. There is definitely violence. So parents, be cautioned. It's not a movie I would let my 9 year old see.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Another surprise came when I was waiting in pre-op and found out that I had a student nurse anesthetist that would be working with me. I guess I didn't mind that so much since he had an anesthesiologist that would be supervising, but I also didn't know until that moment what kind of anesthesia (general) they were planning on using. It was kind of a lot to process all at once. The surgery went fine, but I think it's safe to say that I would make a lousy druggy. Even after getting home it took hours before I didn't have to remind myself to breathe (an interesting sensation to say the least), and narcotics make me hurl. Sorry - I guess I could have said that a little more eloquently. Narcotics make me very sick to my stomach.
I am extremely grateful to my sister-in-law Elissa who is an angel and will be here for the next couple of weeks helping me out since I can't lift anything over 15 lbs for 6 weeks! Daniel's not very happy with me at the moment.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Haircare: Something that I have discovered in the past 6 months is the benefit of spending a little more on my haircare products. My stylists have always said how the salon products are more concentrated, better for your hair, yadda yadda yadda. I was given a few samples after a haircut back in March, and since then I have been hooked! I couldn't believe the difference in my hair. I have naturally curly hair so I used to go through conditioner like crazy, and styling products too. With good quality products I use a fraction of what I did of the regular store brands. Now, I'm not stupid - I won't just buy the stuff for top dollar at the salon. But there are a lot of places where you can get the salon products at cheaper prices. I have been doing more and more shopping at Beauty Express (Trade Secret) lately because they can have some smokin' sales! And don't forget to check the clearance section where you can sometimes find discontinued products, or ones that have had a packaging change for 75% off. I've also bought stuff on Ebay, and even with shipping it was cheaper than what it would have cost at the salon. Frugal tip(s): I have a stylist friend who told me about a study she read regarding hair care products. The results of the study found that there was very little difference in the results produced by shampoos you find at the store compared with the salon brands. So if you're going to splurge, put more money into conditioners and styling products. Also, see if the place you purchase your products from has a frequent shopper program where you can get points and discounts.
Children's Clothing: I've been a die hard fan of second hand clothing stores for a long time - places like Kid to Kid or Once Upon a Child . The trouble is, as my girls get older I find that the selection in the larger sizes is getting to be slim pickings. So I've had to start buying new more and more. Children's clothes are NOT CREATED EQUAL! When I go shopping I want clothes that are going to be good quality, but I also want clothes that will make them look like children. My girls may be getting older, but I refuse to dress them in the grungy, skanky hoe clothing that is so prevalent today. I have been doing more and more shopping at Gymboree because, once again, they can have some fabulous sales. I can't afford their regular prices, but get on their emailing list and you'll be informed of sales in advance. I'm finding more and more that I can buy brand new, good quality, cute clothes there on sale for the same prices I was paying at the secondhand store.
Shoes: I really don't mean to be endorsing so many specific retailers, but I have to put a plug in for Famous Footwear. Getting my frequent shopper card there was one of the best shopping decisions I ever made. Great sales, decent quality, online purchasing (with easy, in-store returns), great discount coupons, and great rewards. It just couldn't be easier. Get on their email list, get one of their frequent shopper cards (totally free) and voila!
Although all evidence may seem to the contrary at the moment, I'm not a fan of shopping. I like to get in, find what I want/need, and get out. I think that's why I've never been a huge fan of yard sales. You can find some seriously good deals at yard sales and they certainly have their place. In my experience, however, they take a ridiculous amount time that is largely spent sifting through garbage. I'd rather be keyed in to the programs and benefits available at my favorite stores.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
1. Toronto: I'm actually from a town about 40 miles east of Toronto, but since no one knows where Bowmanville is, I say I'm from the Toronto area. As beautiful as the mountains are, I will always always been an easterner.
2. Tomatoes: The best part of summer is the fresh produce from the garden. I can't wait to have my own garden again so I can grow some of those beautiful heirloom varieties of tomatoes. But no matter how hard I try, I'm sure they'll never taste as good as the tomatoes my grandparents used to grow.
3. Thunderstorms: I love the rain, and especially love thunderstorms. There's just something so relaxing about them. I also love that my Dad used to take me outside in a storm and sit on the front porch and teach me how to figure out how far away the lightning struck.
4. Tulips: My favorite flower.
5. Tranquility: This is something that I rarely experience, but I have fond memories and look forward to the time that I will experience it again.
6. Truffles: They're chocolate - need I say more?
7. Tempura: Since I'm on the subject of food, I also LOVE tempura. The best part of Paul having lived in Japan is all the Japanese food he has introduced me to. Specifically, I love vegetable tempura.
8. Twilight: I am thoroughly addicted to the Twilight series of books. Yesterday I was telling a friend of mine about them and I couldn't believe it when she said that she doesn't like to read novels! It had crossed my mind that it's a little silly of me to be so in love with them considering their target audience. I've decided it's because I have enough "serious" in my life and need the escape.
9. T-shirts: I realized recently just how many different colors and styles of t-shirts I have. What can I say? I hate ironing and t-shirts are pretty wash and wear.
10. Tissues: OK, so this is a little lame, but I have a head cold right now so tissues are my best friend.
Monday, September 29, 2008
1. The canning took a long time - After all was said and done, I think I can say it was a successful attempt. I've lost count of all that I canned, but I have peaches, pears, peach jam, pear jam, apple butter, applesauce, elderberry jam, and blackberry jam. One of the ladies that Paul works with heard him talking about the canning I'd been doing and asked me to make her 20 jars of pear jam, and then another lady, 6 jars. And I'm embarrassed to admit how much they offered to pay me. Let's just say that I offered to not only make the jam, but to decorate the jars too - it was the least I could do!
2. I should be busy getting ready for a boutique that I have coming up in November. I guess I have been doing a little to prepare for it, but no where near as much as I should be.
The real reason is:
3. I've discovered the Twilight series! My sister has been recommending these books for years and I always intended to read them, but it took a friend of mine giving me Twilight to get me started. I'm TOTALLY addicted and borderline neglecting my family! In the last week and a half I've read Twilight, New Moon and I just started Eclipse.
My sister asked me if I'm an Edward or a Jacob fan. Well, I would like to go on record as being a die hard (pardon the pun) Edward fan. I seriously think I'm going through a mid-life crisis! There's just something very magical about the excitement of new love, and Stephanie Meyer does an incredible job of telling the love story between Bella and Edward. That said, I can honestly say that I relate to part of their attraction because I have always loved how Paul smells. Mmm-mmmm.
If you have not read these books, I highly recommend them. But I also recommend reading them when you have no other pressing responsibilities! I can't wait for the movie to come out in November!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
4 pints of blackberry jam
9 pints of applesauce
14 half pints of apple butter
5 half pints of peach jam
13 quarts of peaches
Everything has gone so smoothly...
until yesterday, when I had the day from @$&% canning peaches. So there are 2 methods for canning peaches - hot pack or cold pack. I thought I would try cold pack because it seemed easier to me to just put the peaches in the jar and pour the boiling syrup over them. Wrong! I read that peaches have a lot of oxygen in them, and what happens when you pour boiling syrup over them? The oxygen comes OUT and they FLOAT! Bubbles + canning = BAD! I did everything I was supposed to - I put a knife down into the jar and tried to release trapped air bubbles, but there's only so much you can do when more bubbles keep forming. So I let those 3 jars that I "cold packed" sit and froth while I dumped the rest of the peaches into the syrup to cook for a few minutes after which they were "hot packed". I processed them all, and they all sealed properly, but it was obvious which 3 were cold packed - they are now sitting in my fridge waiting to be eaten while the other 10 are nicely labeled and shelved.
Oh, and the peach jam that I made didn't set the first time. I had to open all the bottles and let the jam just boil and reduce and then reprocess. It was not a good day.
I wish I could say I was done, but I still have a box of pears that are ripening, and 1 1/2 boxes of apples. The pears will be made into jam, and the fruit "hot packed". I am seriously considering making apple pie filling, because then I don't have to worry about the fruit floating!
I'm learning and I refuse to give up! I consider this a necessary skill. I just hope that in the process I don't poison my family! Stay tuned to this oh-so-riveting tale.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Aren't they beautiful? I am just so proud! Not only does the jam taste good, but the canning process actually worked - all of the jars sealed perfectly.
The sad thing is the very next day we attended a family gathering and brought fresh rolls and, you guessed it, jam. I almost shed a tear when I opened my hard work!
I've been bitten by the bug now though. I have a half bushel of gala apples that will be turned into applesauce and apple butter, and a half bushel of pears that will (hopefully) can and make into jam.
Here are some great canning links that I have found:
Friday, September 5, 2008
Top 10 don’ts:
Friday, August 22, 2008
Samara is definitely MY daughter. She looks like me, she acts like me, and most recently - she has my teeth. Poor girl! I suspected this so we made an appointment with the orthodontist a few weeks ago. She has all the same crowding and bite problems that I had (and had years of orthodontic work for, to no avail). The process started with having 4 baby teeth removed (just like I did), and was followed yesterday with an expander that will widen her top jaw (just like I did) AND braces - which I did not have, at least not at the same time as the expander. So hopefully this will actually work for her.
She was SO excited yesterday when she came out to show me that she had braces - complete with bands alternating shades of pink to match her shirt! Her friends all thought they were so cool, and when she got home from school she had to call Paul and tell him too.
Now that she has had them on for a day she is not quite so thrilled. She's pretty sore, poor thing, and the expander is a pain because food gets caught under it. Ah, the price of beauty...
And all this comes at quite a price. We have dental insurance, but it doesn't cover orthodontic work. And this is just phase one...
Monday, August 18, 2008
Daniel was ready to go too.
It was such an amazing day. Daniel actually played with his toys, he took a 3 hour nap this afternoon (which he hasn't done in, hmmm, about 3 months...) and didn't scream the entire time the girls were at school. It's not that I don't like it when they're here, it's just so peaceful when they're not!
Friday, August 15, 2008
I got an email recently from a friend of mine that included a link to a video montage about the evils of plastic bags. It was VERY effective. It was full of information that I guess I already knew, but that I needed to be reminded of. The thing that was most revealing to me was the fact that it costs more to recycle plastic bags than to produce a new one. I guess I had been under the false notion that I was saving the environment by dumping my excess plastic bags in those receptacles at the grocery store. The truth is, plastic bags are the bane of my existence. I hate the fact that when I go grocery shopping I end up coming home with SO many plastic bags that (I swear) reproduce under my kitchen sink. I don't think I need mention why plastic bags are so bad for the environment. I do think it is worth mentioning that plastic is made using petroleum products, and we need to reduce our dependency on petroleum.
So I started searching for some reusable shopping bags, and as it happens, they are becoming increasingly available and affordable - at least in my area. I spent $1 a bag, and I love them! They are much stronger than plastic bags, so you can fit more groceries into one bag. It's easier to carry the groceries into the house, I no longer have plastic bags jumping out at me when I open the cupboard under the sink, and cashiers have been surprisingly cooperative about using them. I highly recommend them.
Monday, July 21, 2008
That said, I think cell phone and land line companies have us all brainwashed into thinking that we HAVE to have all these "cool" extra features on our phones. You know what? You really don't. One of the most clever tactics they have is saying that they have these great packages where if you buy "X" number of features you can save all kinds of money. You want to save money? Here are a few ideas:
Use a calling card
I have my brother and sister-in-law to thank for this one. Here's the disclaimer: I'm sure it varies somewhat from company to company so you'll have to check with your individual phone company. It is often far cheaper to use a calling card for your long distance than to go with a particular long distance carrier. When you set up your land line they probably asked you what long distance carrier/plan you wanted to go with. Whether you use the long distance on your land line or not, chances are there is a fee for the carrier/plan you chose. You need to specifically ask to have that long distance service removed (not to be confused with having long distance calls blocked for which there is a fee) and you could save some money. There are lots of places online where you can buy cheap long distance calling cards for as low as $.019 per minute.
Do you ever really answer call waiting?
Maybe there are people out there who do. I would venture to guess, however, that the only reason they do is so they can get the annoying beeping to stop. It's not because they WANT to talk to that telemarketer on the other line. Things like call waiting, caller ID, and the myriad of other features you can ad to your phone are all convenient, but cost money. If you want to save some money try taking all the extra features off your line.
Ditch the cell phone!
Again, let me just say that I don't like talking on the phone, so I really can't relate to these people I see chatting on their phone in the grocery store, while they're driving, or while jogging (I REALLY can't relate to those). I hear stories from parents saying they had a cell phone bill in the hundreds because their child did too much texting, or because of a cool ringtone they downloaded. That's insane! We're going to have a generation of kids who don't know how to speak English, or have any people skills! But I digress...
Up until earlier this year we did not have a cell phone. You would not believe the weird looks we got from people when we said we didn't have one. It was almost as good as the look I get when I tell people I use cloth diapers (a topic for another discussion). Cell phones have their place - they are very nice to have in the case of an emergency, and sometimes for business reasons. Most of the time, however, a cell phone is something that one can easily live without. And if you ditch the cell phone, think of the money you'll save every month! We finally had to give in and purchase a cell phone because my husband needed one at work. We went with a prepaid cell phone, which unless you live on your phone, can save you a lot of money.
Once again, it comes down to wants and needs. And it doesn't have to mean wanting to have a cell phone versus needing to feed your family. Sometimes it's just a matter of choosing between wanting to spend $50 a month on your cell phone and preferring to have an extra $50 a month to go towards something more important - like a future purchase that you'll be able to pay in cash instead of on credit.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The main motivation for looking for healthier cleaning supplies came when we were living with Paul's parents. Paul's mom cannot tolerate any kind of strong smell, whether it be natural or man made, so obviously most commercial cleaning products were out of the question. You can easily spend a fortune on buying "natural" or unscented cleaning supplies, but why? Some of the cheapest and most effective cleaning supplies are things that you already have at home.
I use a combination of vinegar and baking soda frequently to clean sinks and the bath tub. Baking soda is abrasive without damaging and the combination of the two cuts through the worst of soap scum. (If it sounds like I don't clean my bathroom often enough, you're right!)
Making your own window cleaner is a snap! There are quite an array of recipes out there that contain many variations upon a mixture of water, vinegar, and detergent. The simplest recipe that I found is 2 tsp of white vinegar to 1 quart of warm water.
Here is the recipe for my favorite new cleaner:
2 tsp borax
4 tablespoons white vinegar
3 cups hot water
1/4 tsp liquid castille soap (optional)
Put in a spray bottle and voila! I also added a few drops of essential oil (lemongrass, although I want to get some orange or lemon) and it smells divine! And it works REALLY well. Apparently Borax has disinfectant properties too. I use this on kitchen countertops, on my vinyl tablecloth, spot cleaning the floor and the high chair tray.
Here are just a few things to have in your homemade cleaning supply closet:
salt, baking soda, lemons, vinegar, Borax
Another thing worth mentioning is my steam cleaner. I was given one as a gift, but I honestly believe they are worth the investment. Nothing is simpler or more effective than using plain old steam. They work really well.
Here are a couple of good websites:
Friday, July 11, 2008
A couple of days ago the kids and I decided to go to the park. My rule is that we can go to the park if we walk, which for us takes about 10-15 minutes. I do this for 2 reasons: I want the exercise, and it saves on gas. I wasn’t convinced that they would go for that because it has been quite hot here, but thankfully the park is well shaded which provided some relief. As it happens, this was the one day where I wish I had driven because my daughter fell off the monkey bars and hurt her arm, so I ended up walking home with her and my son while my other daughter stayed and played with a friend. When I called later that day to tell my daughter I was going to walk to come and get her, I got a phone call a couple of minutes later saying that her friend’s mother had offered to give her a ride home. Her friend’s house is only a 5-10 minute walk from here, so I was mildly amused when she said that the mom had asked her if our car was broken.
Now maybe she was being thoughtful because it was hot, and she knew that Lindsey had hurt her arm (but was since feeling better). But it got me thinking about how people seem to have forgotten walking – our oldest and most reliable form of transportation. There is pro-exercise ad campaign in our area that shows a mom and her son in their car, and they literally pull out of their driveway and drive to the house next door where she drops her son off and says, “Call me when you’re done.” Most of us aren’t quite that bad, but it was an effective way at illustrating their point.
Rediscover walking! Get a little exercise, and save money from less gas used and less wear and tear on the car.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
This blog isn't only about being frugal though, hence the name. Being frugal all the time can make a personally seriously uptight, and feeling deprived if you're not careful! The thing is, I think people are a little confused about the difference between wants and needs. If you can figure that out, instead of feeling deprived you realize just how many choices are available to you. It's a matter of deciding what is most important to you and what would be a wise use of resources, whether they be money, time, or the environment.