Keeping the house, the kids and the hubby without breaking the bank, the earth, the people I love, or myself.

Movin' to the Beach

Soon to be our new home town. (Love the boat full of snow by the sign, don't you?)

We're moving. Thought I'd post a couple pictures of our recent packing escapades.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's far simpler to NOT ask the resident teenager to lend a hand with anything at all than it is to actually extract a bit of work from said teenager?

This is Marissa helping to pack:
It took two of us to pull her butt out of the box. was her butt that was the problem. It's a big ol' butt and gravity was working against us. Once we got her out of the box, she disappeared. That's okay, I have a revenge in mind (keep reading).

You see, we really have our work cut out for us. This is just one stack of boxes yet to fill:

After hours of moving heavy furniture, carrying, lifting, dragging, packing everything he could, hubby took a break for a few. Soxxy immediately decided to crush his arm and pin him to the couch. Roy called me to see what was causing the tingling sensation in his arm. Really. He deserves the moniker Fatty McFatCat:

Had some things to do regarding the house and we popped down to Crystal Beach for a quick visit while we were there. Here's how Lake Erie looks today:
Sure, it looks cold in this picture, but it really doesn't come close to describing how cold it really was. We were out of the car all of five minutes before we just could not take it any longer! I'd say there's a 20 degree drop in temp right on the water, and there was a -18c windchill off the water. Just chilled us to the bone in short order and the bitingly cold wind took our breath away!

How windy was it, you ask?
Does that answer your question?

Now, the thing with having very textured hair is that hair really holds whatever style you put to it and very well. Let's see what this blow job did for Miss Marissa once she got out of the wind....


I probably won't post again till we're all settled into our new digs ... so check back in about a month. Right now, I need to go change my daughter's facebook profile picture.... (yes, I am that evil.)


I am Loving My Rice Cooker!

My mother-in-law got me this rice cooker for Christmas and as a self-proclaimed lazy cook, I LOVE IT! The steamer basket that fits into it lets me fix a whole meal in this thing with little prep, no standing and watching, no stirring, no sticking, no burning!

Tonight's menu is Spanish Rice with steamed chicken breasts.

I diced some green and red peppers, sautéd them in the rice cooker with a bit of unsaturated margarine while I rinsed my brown rice (1.5 c dry) and measured the vegetable juice and beef broth (combined 3 cups). Then I seasoned my skinless boneless chicken breast halves (3) with my own Mexican seasoning mix. I lay several strips of green and red peppers on the steamer basket, and placed the seasoned chicken breasts on top. I stirred the sautéing peppers-- still slightly crispy, but the juices had been released to flavour the rice . I added dehydrated onion flakes (I cheat sometimes.) I added the rinsed brown rice and the vegetable juice-beef broth mixture. Then I placed the steamer basket with the chicken breasts and pepper strips on top. Pushed down the cook button and walked away. Twenty minutes later, the breasts were done, but the rice needed to cook longer. (I with there were a longer cook time option for us brown rice users!) Removed the steamer basket, placed the lid on the rice and pressed the cook button back down (after a quick stir. Old habits die hard!)

Dinner prep was less than 5 minutes. That works for me!

As for my Mexican seasoning mix, I mix a large batch of this at a time and use for seasoning taco meat, refried beans for burritos, or as above, chicken breasts.

Mexican Seasoning Mix

1/3 cup minced dried onion
1/4 cup dried Parsley
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (our own organic, homegrown)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (again, our organic homegrown)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (I'm not THAT good yet ;) )

That's enough for one recipe of taco meat, however you'll want to add a thickener such as cornstarch.


One Giant Suck

Oh, that's a Canadian term, by the way. I think the American equivalent would be "Big Pathetic Baby." I was taken aback when first I heard it. Now I use it all the time.

This, gentle readers, is the perfect example of a GIANT SUCK:

Soxxy strikes this pose whenever he smells meat being carved, served, cut up, cooked, dined upon, etc. Tonight it was beef. If it were chicken, Soxxy would have rolled completely onto his back, splayed his legs and given us the biggest mooniest eyes one could ever see. Fish will have him pawing the table. The table TOP! He really is big.

Soxxy is our 20-pound cat. He wasn't always 20 pounds. When I went back to the states for a 3-week visit in '07, he gained a LOT of weight. A LOT. Hubby works 12-hour shifts and he'd fill Soxxy's bowl in the morning, then fill it again in the evening. Soxxy had a very big bowl. Soxxy cleaned his bowl every time it was filled. Soxxy didn't go outside and play much during those 13 hours hubby was away. Soxxy lazed about most days. For three whole weeks. I've had him on a diet since and he's gone from 24 pounds to 18 pounds and then he bounces around a bit in between. When I have foster cats, it's hard to keep Soxxy underfed as he cleans their bowls. When Soxxy leaves the house he visits all the homes of people who have soft spots for strays and he eats the food they leave on their porches for the strays. (I tell them not to feed Soxxy, but they love him so they do. Food is not love!) Soxxy checks the neighbour's cats' bowls every day, a few times a day, just in case those cats might have forgotten something. Soxxy catches birds. He doesn't just play with them. He eats them. Soxxy sits at my 9-year-old's feet in the morning hoping he'll get to lick the last drops of milk from said 9-year-old's cereal bowl. (Of course he gets to. My 9-year-old's a softie!) Soxxy lays in the pose pictured above in the hopes of getting a treat. Soxxy doesn't get treats anymore. Poor Soxxy. Or as I have come to call him, Fatty McFatCat. Hubby calls him Fat Lazy Oaf. My 9 year old is concerned that we might be hurting Soxxy's feelings. My 9-year-old calls him Soxxy. And he sits with him and talks to him in the gentlest of voices, telling Mr. McFatCat that we don't really think he's fat. (Yes we do.) That he's not really fat at all, he's just a big cat. (He's a big, fat cat.)

Now you learned something new and you don't have to be flabbergasted when you hear someone or something called a 'suck' in Canada.


No Shopping for Three Months

When a fellow frugalite mentioned doing this last fall at frugal shopper's forums, I jumped right on the bandwagon. The 3-months shopping embargo was inspired by this story of a group of women who banned shopping for an entire year. Another blogger has established a 2-month shopping embargo and that has spawned a facebook event group, which I joined, of course!

What it entails
No unnecessary new purchases will be made by anyone in my household for the next 3 months. So we're still buying groceries (using lists and menus) and necessities. That's it. No scooping up the 85% off Christmas clearance stuff. No grabbing this that or the other just because it's there and a good deal. Just what we need. Nothing else that's new. We can, however, purchase used. Which, when you have growing children, clothing purchases are often necessary as they sprout overnight! There is a wonderful consignment shop down the road from me from which I purchase the majority of my boys' clothes. (I also sell a lot to the store, myself!)

My goal: just to not spend outside of necessities. It's not that my spending is out of control, it's that I just want to scale back. I'm trying to clear my home of the excesses as it is. How many times have a bought an item because it was a bargain only to find it unused months later? Too many.

I'll report my progress here and the results of my own 3-month-long shopping embargo.

Anyone else doing this?


About This Blog

Saving money. Saving graces. Raising children, husbands and, sometimes, cats. Laughing. Living. Thinking. Doing. Life in the Niagara Region of Ontario.

About Me

I am a happily married woman with four children and various cats and kittens (fosters). I love to read and my favourite authors are George RR Martin, Thomas Hardy, Raymond Carver, PD James, Kurt Vonnegut, J. K. Rowling, and Margaret Atwood. I know there are only three women in that list (and none of them American), so if you'd like to suggest some I'm willing to give them a shot! And yes, I am an American living in Canada. (Hence the nick -- CannedAm.) I like it here. There are things about the states that I miss, but my love is here and this country has things to offer that my own does not. Things that make my quality of life much better than it ever was in Ohio. Guess I'm stuck here. Though there's a nice spot in the Appalachian hills where I'd love to spend my retirement.

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