Tuesday, May 23, 2017

$60 Thrift Store Wardrobe

After thoroughly stripping my closet of clothing that didn't fit me or didn't look good on me I was left with only a few things to wear.  Thrift stores to the rescue.  All of the pieces in this post were purchased for $60!  Most of the shirts were $3-4, the pants $4 each and tank tops $2 each.  I only buy clothes that are in premium as-new condition, they are now all laundered and some have been worn already.  All of these were collected over the last 4 weeks.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


We seem to be blessed with a daily viewing of ducklings on our evening walks with Buddy.  This is a fresh batch, newly hatched in the last day or so.  There were 10 babies, I just couldn't get them all in the picture.  The weather has turned sunny all of a sudden and we are supposed to get nice beautiful days for the next two weeks with little to no rain and only the odd cloud.  It never really gets that hot here as we have one of the most moderate year round temperatures in the world (Parksville an hour away from us gets that title).  I will take sunny and 20 degrees celcius any day.  Buddy particularly loves the sun.  In fact, he regularly insists he needs to go out to empty his bladder and instead hops up immediately to our patio couch to lie in the sun instead, funny dog.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Miracle Beach, Vancouver Island
This week has been all about walking.  Ever since the beginning of April I have set a weekly walking goal and am trying to beat the previous week by at least 1000 steps.  So far so good.  Last week was the most steps I have put on my fitbit since I got it a year ago.  Once you get it in your mind you want to get more active the fit bit sure helps you keep track of it.  I have a very basic flex model but when it dies will likely upgrade to one that also records heartbeat which is far more accurate than just recording steps.  This past weekend we took a long walk at Miracle beach which is between Comox and Campbell River.  We watched Kingfishers diving for small fish, a sight to see as normally the Kingfisher is difficult to spot at the best of times but to see them scooping up fish was fantastic.  Unfortunately I didn't take my good camera so didn't get any pictures of that.

I briefly dipped below my second weight goal (wanted to get there before our trip) but haven't seen that low again so will keep at eating well and increasing activity.  So far I have lost 5.2 lbs.  I have also done a second purge of my closet and gotten rid of some large size clothing as I seem to mostly be shrinking back to a medium.  I have no intention of upsizing again.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dollars and Cents - The "Groceries Are Expensive" Edition

Another month down with the grocery budget, this is the month where we fell off the wagon - badly.  Changed dietary requirements plus hosting two celebrations and we ended the month in the red.

$525 budget (all food/cleaners/over the counter meds/personal products) less $5.10 overage from previous month=$519.90 budget this month.  We ended up at $571.39.  Just over $50 overage.  Due to our recent change in eating habits I have been spending more on frozen and fresh fruit, more variety in our veggies and more on meat.  We are only eating the "cheap" carbs 1 or 2 times a week.  It is paying off on our waistline but costing our grocery budget.  I am also using my money as I see fit and that means I am "buying Canadian first".  If I can justify the price and the product is made in Canada I am buying it (still buying Mexico too :).  Let's just say I am putting my money where my mouth is, my own "trying to break free trade agreement" repercussion.  Based on the above I am going back to the $550 a month budget effective May 1.  Fortunately our business is doing so well we have had to give ourselves another raise this month, the second of the year.  The extra will be going into the Italy 2018 fund and will help with the grocery budget.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Bargain Hunting Continues

4 tomato plants for $6! Two beefsteak and two cherry tomato
Yesterday was $1.49 day at our local grocery store.  I didn't find as many bargains as usual but then again we are eating much differently, mostly from scratch ingredients which involve meat, veggies, fruit and plain rice or potatoes (only 1 or 2 times a week for those).  The bargain of the day were these 4 tomato plants at $1.49 each, which is about half of what I usually pay.  I have started tomatoes many times from scratch and never seem to get the same kind of produce volume that I do when I buy plants.  They are small and it is still too cold to plant them so I will wait a couple of weeks and use them as houseplants in the mean time.  The cost of them comes out of my grocery budget (which is already over this month) as what they bear is an edible item.  In past years I have been pretty lucky on the tomato hauls, often having to give away/freeze them as we have more than we can eat.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Garage Sale Day!

Trees in bloom, a month late due to our cold weather

Mom and I decided to go to a Church sale and some garage sales today and I completely scored, even though the day was grey and threatening to rain, it held off until we were done shopping.  First up  at the Church sale I found these beautiful blue Mexican glasses, five in total which hubby immediately fell in love with therefore one is not in the picture as he had scrubbed it up and took it away.  I actually bought these to resell as the cost was so low and Mexican glass sells here really easily.  Apparently we are keeping them though lol. 

5 Mexican blown glasses $2.50 (one missing as hubby claimed it before I took pictures)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Playing in the dirt

March was an extremely rainy month here with temperatures lower than normal and April is looking much the same - except for Saturday.  We had sunshine and hubby and I went to Home Depot (aka garden crack house).  I spent $35 on a few flowers including the mini daisy above ($8 for that plant).  I have owned that blue glazed pot for 20 years though, you buy quality pots and they last a really long time.  I can't show all of the work we did as didn't take any pictures that day - and it is raining again today so you only get the shots of things that are protected from the elements.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


 This blog is about to take a direction I have never gone, primarily due to the fact that I am extremely camera-shy and have a stalker.  After 14 years of knowing hubby (we met April of 2003) I am hoping that is in the past and although I do not use our real names on this blog I will be posting pictures of us from here on out, not just pictures of the places we go to as in the past. Here is a fast catch-up of our adventures the last several years.  We love traveling, snorkeling, kayaking, the outdoors and our dog Buddy (who has graced many a photo here).  I am going to be keeping the privacy of the rest of our family so you will only see the three of us :)  I promise from here on out to take more shots of us and share them with you.  I tend to be the picture taker so there will likely be more of hubby and Buddy but I am trying to change that in the future so stay tuned!
 Madrid, Spain 2016

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Grocery Roundup and Losing It

Here's how March shook out grocery-wise:

Budget $525 less overage from previous months = $507.60

Actual Spent $512.70 - over a little but reduced previous months overage so a definite win.

I managed to get a free box of lucky charms on St. Patricks Day from a local grocery store but did not use any coupons.  Not my favorite but in a pinch will do for cold cereal.  Right now I am eating fruit with yogurt or smoothies for breakfast so hubby will have to eat these at some point.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Finally A Real Day Off

Saturday morning we woke up at 345 am so hubby could go to the airport for his 6 am flight to Calgary for business.  Usually his business trips are weekdays but in this case a client asked for training on a Sunday so he had to fly in on Saturday and the later flights got in too late in the day.  I drove him to the airport and went back to bed for an hour and a half and woke up feeling like crud which usually happens when my sleeping pattern is off.  As this was the first day off for me in a long time I had a date with my Mom so I didn't let myself feeling tired stop me.

First stop was to pick up a little plate I had won the bid on our local Facebook bidding site.  At first glance it is a bit weird, not for everyone but I instantly recognized it as an old piece direct from France.  Fortunately the seller is a lady who I know already and she buys neat things at garage sales and sells them for a very small profit to supplement her senior income.  She has very good taste.  This is the third item I have bought from her.  I paid $8.  It is worth much more and she actually knew that but told me she just likes to flip things quickly to make sure she has money coming in.  It is a piece of French pottery made in the Loire Valley between 1929 and 1953, the pottery is named Blois.  I did a bunch of research before I purchased it and the swan with an arrow through it is the symbol of Queen Claude of France.  It is in beautiful shape with one tiny chip on the underside round but the colours are vibrant and it is a nice piece to add to my pottery collection.  I need to display it and have all of my kitchen cupboard tops free so soon I will be looking or stands so I can put up all the pieces I've collected in my travels.  Other pieces from the Blois pottery are worth much more but this is from the last of the 5 potters and not worth as much.  I have a thing for turquoise and this instantly attracted me to it.  FYI my grandfather (Mom's Dad) was from France and he had 17 brothers and sisters (his dad had 8 kids with first wife then she died and he remarried and had 9 more, my grandfather was the second youngest of the second wife).  He emigrated to the USA when he was 20.  Mom has never made it to France but I fully intend to and hopefully can connect with some long lost cousins in both the Nice area and Paris area.