Friday, February 26, 2010

Things About Me

Okay so here are some fun facts about Monica! Enjoy!

Getting the mail excites me. Sometimes it's the highlight of my day...I know that sounds kinda sad but I do get lots of goodies and freebies in the mail (many of which I forget I signed up for) so it's like Christmas in my mailbox everyday!

I've never eaten a Big Mac. They look gross to me. And I love hamburgers. Mmmm....

I HATE spending money. HATE it. That's probably why I love coupons so much. And yes if I am waiting in line I snoop other people's grocery carts and size up how much money they could be saving with coupons. I used to offer coupons to other customers but once I think I offended an old lady so I quit and keep the savings to myself.

I LOVE conspiracy theories and documentaries. I find them absolutely fascinating! Mention to me any conspiracy theory and be prepared for me to talk your ear off for the next couple of hours. If you like this kind of stuff a good movie to watch online can be found here

I am very creative and have many side jobs and income producing ways. Last year we made almost $200.00 from consigning clothes, I sell on Kijiji, I mystery shop, I do taxes, I make "gift baskets" with freebies I get from coupons and sell for Mother's Day and Christmas, Mail-In-Rebates sometimes yield me money if I used a coupons, and more!

I believe that nobody has has your best interest at heart than you. Many of the "professionals" are nothing but "sales people" so educating yourself first is key before seeking advice from a "sales person". This holds true from buying a car, investment your money to choosing a vacation destination. Think about it! Knowledge is power, don't be suckered into fancy talk or false promises. It can cost you!

Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Life Wheel Part One - Family

I chose FAMILY as my first area of my life wheel to focus on improving. We already do have an amazing family life but there is always room for improvement.

First my objective: To have a happy, healthy family and provide a memorable childhood for each of our children. To be active in the development of our children through education and show examples of our core beliefs and family values. To incorporate the importance of extended family. To exercise tradition in respect to holidays and celebrations. To raise respectful, loving and caring children.

Both Blake and I like to be active in raising our children. We both came from loving families but had parents who weren't as involved as we would have liked. My parents both worked full-time and had my brother when I was 7 years old. A lot of focus was on the "baby" in the house and I was left to sort of grow up on my own and then become my brother's caregiver when mom and dad had to work. Blake grew up in a large house (5 kids) where his mom stayed home while his Dad worked long hours but his mom was sooo busy cooking, cleaning and caring for multiple children that one-on-one time was very rare unless it involved work.

We both try to do activities with our kids each and everyday even if its for a short while like playing a board game or reading a book. We also plan to take an annual vacation somewhere with planned activities for the whole family.

Each winter we plan on enrolling each child in one activity either skating lessons or possibly hockey for Zack next year. During the summer swimming lessons are mandatory and not negotiable in my eyes as we have a pool. Besides we live in an area where jobs are few and far between for teens that if our kids get their lifeguard status they will have something else going for them at that time. And that's it for extra-curricular activities. Some parents push their kids too much (we see that now with Zack's skating lessons for Pete's sake) and we don't want to do that to our kids. Our goal is not to push the kids but encourage them through THEIR interests.

Celebrating holidays etc., is another area we want to improve on. We do celebrate the major holidays like Christmas and Easter but the smaller ones like Valentine's Day were getting bypassed. This year we celebrated and had fun! It's another great way to spend time with the kids and show your love and appreciation for all family members.

The hardest part is incorporating extended family for us. We live about an hour away from my parents to the west and and hour away from Blake's Dad to the east. We are usually very busy traveling and its hard to get together. Also all of my extended family lives out East many of whom have never met my husband! This July we are taking a road trip with the kids to visit and hopefully the kids will understand how things people fit into our lives.

We try our best to be a untied front with discipline but it gets difficult when my stepdaughter Jenna is here. I tend to be the one who disciplines more naturally because I am with the kids more and it's my personality to be a bit bossy I guess...Blake on the other hand wants to have fun with the kids because he's been away from them all day and lets things slide a bit. All discipline in regards to Jenna should be coming from him the biological parent as if it comes from me it will tend to hurt our relationship as stepmother and stepdaughter over time. We are working on it.

All in all I think we are doing okay in this area. Our kids are still young 5,4,&2 and I'm sure greater challenges lie ahead. We will try as parents to be as open and honest with our kids as possible and let them know we love them each and everyday.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Breakfast Battles

How does your day start?

Mine always starts with a battle over breakfast. My oldest son Zachary who was ALWAYS a great eater has decided to become picky over every meal served at breakfast. Zachary goes to school every other day and 2-3 days of the week I babysit Lisa so if either event falls on that morning we are time pressed.

I have tried making different things for breakfast and its still the same fight. One morning I even tried giving him a sugary toaster strudel and he complained before he given tried it! Once he tried it the complaining went away but I refuse to feed this "junk food" to my kids everyday for breakfast just to avoid fighting.

I have tried taking away toys and privileges, this helps speed it up but the fight is still present.

Waking up earlier to allow him more time is not an option. We already wake up at 6:45am and he sometimes is up earlier than that!

Personally I think it is just other one of those power struggles that is hard to overcome. I'm just really tired of starting my day off on a bad note and especially before I have my morning coffee!

On another note, ever hear of a life wheel? It's basically a wheel highlighting the important areas of your life that you hold important and trying to achieve balance in each category. This is my new project. My life wheel contains 8 parts:

5)Personal Development
7)Work & Home Life

I hope to explore this project in great detail as achieving balance in your life is the key to happiness and success in my eyes. What's your life wheel like?
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Monday, February 22, 2010

This & That

Since implementing our new budget strategy in February 2010 things have changed around here quite a bit. Let me say first its been great! Blake and I are FINALLY on the same page and I think he is starting to look at money differently - the way I've been trying to get him to see money for quite awhile. It's much harder to spend cash than it is to whip out the credit card so purchases are now more thought out and planned. I'm so proud of us.

Because of our new budget we have a new found love with Kijiji, I can't believe some of the deals we've scored. Also one of my sister-in-laws money into a new place this month and was desperate for stuff to furnish her new place so that provided me with the motivation to clean my basement. After a lot of cussing and sorting through which seemed like 100 Rubbermaids I was able to provide her with some great stuff and was able to clear out a lot of clutter that had been nagging me to deal with for a long, long time. We also took many bags of toys and such to the drop off donation bins which feels great to donate. We still have to clean up a bit and put all the Rubbermaids back in their place but that should be done this week.

We haven't stopped there. For the past couple of years we've been groaning about how much our entertainment unit sucks and we want a new one. Well during my research for a used one I took a real hard look at ours and figured with some creative re-arranging we could make ours work better. Since ours is from IKEA it comes in several pieces and all we had to do was move a few pieces around and remove a few pieces and voila *new* entertainment unit!
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