Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Easter Cookies

I love Cadbury Mini Eggs, they are so delicious! Here's my favourite cookie recipe with Mini Eggs substituted for chocolate chips:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Easter Cookies


1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Cadbury Mini Eggs


Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; reserve. In another bowl, mix sugars. With a spoon stir in butter until blended. Stir in peanut butter until blended, then egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Roll tablespoons into balls and place 3" apart on ungreased baking sheets. With a fork flatten each ball in a crisscross pattern. Press 2-3 Mini Eggs into each cookie. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on pan 5 minutes. Enjoy!

*This recipe is very easy to substitute ingredients. If you do not have cocoa add 3/4 cup of flour instead. Try substituting Mini Eggs with 1 cup chocolate chips, smarties or peanut butter cups cut into small pieces!
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Heart IKEA (until they discontinue furniture)...

IKEA furniture is my crack. Good thing the closest IKEA is 2 1/2 hours away from me or I would probably spend all my money there or worse yet get a job there and allow them to pay me in furniture.

My whole house is IKEA right down to my utensils. Two reasons why I love IKEA is the style and the price. My stuff is modern and nice to look at and if one of my kids wreak something it's not the end of the world because it didn't cost all that much. Well after potty training 2 kids (and continuing to do so) we have washed our IKEA couch slipcovers almost weekly. They are still holding up however they are looking a bit dingy.

I decided to price out new slipcovers online and too my dismay IKEA no longer carries my couches :( I found an alternative website called bemz.com that wants nearly $700 for replacements!!! I was lucky enough to find some new ones on Ebay which should cost about $230.00 with shipping and exchange. At times like this I wish I knew how to sew!

So I tell Blake about my fabulous discovery and of course he could care less about the slipcovers. He just wants a new couch - not gonna happen. I need to fund this want myself - coming up with the cash is the hard part. So I have a cheque coming from Futura Rewards for approximately $120.00 however it is taking them FOREVER to cash out even after complaining that I've been waiting over 6 MONTHS! I also have $100.00 saved myself but that's all my money. I really don't want to spend all my $100.00 as I hate being completely broke.

Hmmm...how can I make extra money? Any suggestions? Or anyone know how to sew slipcovers???
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Monica

I've decided to participate in writing a letter to myself to read 10 years from now, an idea posted on Punch Debt In the Face blog you can check out here.

Dear Monica,

You are now 38 years old. At 28 now, you are commonly mistaken for 19 or 20 so I hope that you are still blessed with youthful looks as it will REALLY benefit you now! Your 3 kids are 16, 15 & 13 so I hope you can still stay sane through all the raging hormones...

At this point on your life you should be well past debt free - including your mortgage - and have experienced many fun family adventures including a trip to Disney. You and Blake should have great retirement savings built up and also have saved for your children's education.

I hope you've taken the time to discuss and teach each child about money so they have a great understanding as they inch towards adulthood. Always remember that you are the best teacher in this area. Reflect on the times when you started out in the "real world" and how uneducated and naive you were about money. Remember all the horrible feelings that debt brings as well as the stress on your marriage. You want better for your kids so show them the way.

Always remember that Blake is your best friend as well as your husband. I hope now that your kids are older you both take time for each other and have fun. In fact go plan a mini vacation for you guys RIGHT NOW - I'm sure you were proactive in saving for vacations. Since this year marks your 15 wedding anniversary you both deserve it.

Keep up the great work!


Monica (the younger version)
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wrapping Up Home Renos

My apologies for the lack of posting lately. First of all we had a great March Break and enjoyed every second of beautiful weather outside. Too bad it didn't last.

So we *thought* we would be able to wrap up the home renovations soon and we could call for our second audit. We met up with Blake's friend who is a contractor this weekend and paid him for the basement windows. Hopefully they will be in soon (3 weeks approximately) and the guys can install them quite easily.

I was curious as to how much of a rebate we would receive on the windows I pulled out the rebate guide provided to us by the auditor. After I started reading it closer I realized that we had completely forgot about insulating the basement walls! We insulated the headers in the basement and the complete attic but not the basement walls! Argh, how could we miss that?!?! So off Blake went to buy more insulation ($800 worth) and the fun begins. Hopefully we can get this project finished before the windows come in and we can be done. Unfortunately, we had to take the funds from our credit line but I pinky swear it will be paid back when the rebate comes in!

Have you participated in the Energy Audit program?
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TV Series I Love

So I am very happy that now many of the shows I watch are back on however I hate it that they seem to conflict with each other. Blake and I are huge LOST fans and he's gonna be mad that I forgot to record last night's episode! I hate that The Biggest Loser is on at the same time because I like watching that show too. I usually watch The Biggest Loser and then record LOST at a later time to watch on Wednesday night with Blake but last night I forgot and went to sleep. This week Avelyn has been difficult at night time (I think she may be coming down with an ear infection) so sleep has been not so good. Luckily, I found I website awhile back to watch previous episodes online. Around Christmas time I watched all 3 seasons of Gossip Girl online (isn't Ed Westwick (Chuck) hot?!?!?).

So if you ever miss an episode of your favourite show or want to start watching a new series check out Watch Series.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

To-Do List Success

I ended up missing the Frumpy vs. Fashionable challenge this week over at Mommy Quit Her Job so hopefully I can participate this week. Check it out yourself here.

This weekend was very productive for us and we got a lot of those "nagging" tasks crossed off our To-Do list. As many of you know I am a big fan of The Happiness Project By: Gretchen Rubin and one of her first resolutions is to "Tackle A Nagging Task". Inspired by this I wrote out a master list of all our uncompleted tasks and it's shrinking everyday. I always grumble every time I pick up my list looking for something to complete but it feels great to complete a task. Think about it - every time you look at an unfinished task your brain starts telling you "You should finish that" or "Look at that mess, clean it up!" which is draining! So successfully this weekend we completed the following:

- New rocker panels installed on the van (installed by Blake and a friend for under $200, going to a body shop would have easily cost $1000)

- Fixed CD player in van (completely by fluke when installing rocker panels) Bonus!

- Sewed bedroom curtains (I cut them, Blake sewed - Yes he is that talented!)

- Organized my Holiday binders (I clip various recipes & crafts from Woman's World magazines, etc. and file in binders by specific holidays)

- Made Spring Cleaning checklists

- Did taxes for my parents & brother

- Watched last week's episode of LOST

- Painted the window trim in living room

So now that the list is dwindling we are getting down to the more difficult tasks. Organizing the garage, lots of painting, making wills, and family pictures are some of the tasks left. We have already contacted 2 lawyers for information on wills and neither one has got back to us yet. We finally have the money saved and are ready to face it and it's still being difficult. Painting is hard when the kids are here, one of us will need to keep them outside or find a babysitter which is difficult for us. Organizing the garage is going to be a complete nightmare as Blake and I have different definitions of "organized". It is really "his" garage, I just use it for storage. I don't fix or build things that's his forte so I need to cut him some slack when we clean it up. Family pictures require us to have Jenna here and nice weather. Blake's brother-in-law is an amateur photographer so he will take the pictures for us. The hard part is scheduling him, having Jenna, nice weather and co-operative kids at the same time. Sheesh! So enough excuses we will just have to pick a task and get it done then enjoy the satisfaction of completing it!
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Planning Grocery Shopping with Coupons

Here's a little glimpse of how I get ready to go grocery shopping. The fun begins on Thursdays when most of the weekly flyers are posted online at either www.smartcanucks.ca or www.flyerscoupons.ca.

First I check to see what food I have at home already and make a menu plan for the upcoming week. I also check to see what I am low on so if an item comes on sale I can stock up.

After making my shopping lists I then pull out my coupon box and search for coupons for those items. I bought the box at IKEA a few years ago and made the index cards myself from old file folders with labels purchased at Dollarama.

Next I file each list with the coupons in my coupon organizer which is labeled with different store names. This organizer has 13 slots and I always keep any Free Product Coupons and Restaurant coupons in it. This was purchased at Top Dollar.

I also write the estimated total on each shopping list so I know I'm staying on track with my budget. We budget $90.00/week on groceries to feed 4 people (sometimes 5 if Jenna my stepdaughter is here) and its very rare we go over budget. I do keep my coupon box in my van when I go shopping so that if I come across a REALLY good deal I can go fetch a coupon but generally I stick to my list. Now I'm off to make my grocery lists!
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Z-Day Event March 13 - Worldwide!

Imagine living in a world without money, where the BEST of everything was FREE. Sound, crazy? Impossible? Well, what if I told you it was possible, very possible. We (as the Earth) have enough renewable resources like solar power, wind power, etc. to completely eliminate the need to burn fossil fuels. We have the science and technology available to do almost any type of work - even major things like open heart surgery! We have the ability and resources to feed, cloth, and provide shelter to all humans worldwide. What's stopping us for living this great life where all humanity and the environment thrive? The monetary system and the "few" wealthy people and corporations running the show.

On Saturday March 13th, 2010 there will be worldwide demonstrations to introduce the Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project to the people. I urge you to take the time to watch at least one of many informational videos on this movement - you will be amazed how much you DON'T know but SHOULD know. If you are interested in more videos regarding the Zeitgeist Movement or The Venus project drop me a line and I will provide more links and information. Also if you are interested in attending a Z-Day Event please visit www.thezeitgeistmovement.com to locate your local chapter.

For now here's a great video to check out:

Zeitgeist The Movie

Again, if you have any questions or would like to see more about model cities and how things would function drop me a line!
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Food Inc. Review

A few weeks ago I read the book Food Inc. and was quite shocked about what was told about the food industry. I decided to check out the DVD from the library and watched it this weekend with Blake. I think we will both be looking at our food choices differently now. I found this movie and book both to be rather disturbing and informative. I think if ALL people knew what was REALLY going on with our food we would all be purchasing organic and locally. Check it out, your health depends on it.
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Friday, March 5, 2010

March 5 - Fashionable or Frumpy?

So I've decided to take part in the Fashionable vs. Frumpy challenge at Mommy Quit Her Day Job so here we go!


My thoughts on this outfit:


It is probably one of my most favourite outfits to wear when the weather is very cold. I can layer a thin t-shirt underneath it for extra warmth as I tend to ALWAYS be colder than everyone else! I like that this outfit is somewhat versatile and can be either dressed up with black pants or dressed down with jeans.


Because it is thicker like a vest I cannot wear it with my fitted winter coat (I cannot do up the zipper). If I am planning on being outside I need to wear my larger weather coat (which I hate) and then I am too hot! It also has a hood which gets in the way with the hood on my winter coat. Finally, I find the sweater makes me look flat chested, and if you have small boobs like me you don't need any more shrinkage in that area! LOL!

What it cost:

Sweater-vest - Purchased at KOHL'S in Michigan

Regular $40.00 USD
Sale Price $17.99 USD
15% off discount $2.70 (with KOHL'S charge card)
Tax 6% $0.92
Sub Total $16.21
Paid $10.00 KOHL'S CASH (earned from previous shopping)
Total = $6.21 USD
CDN conversion @ 1.08
Final Total = $6.71!!!

Jeans - Purchased at Old Navy (Boxing Day 2009)
Regular $39.50
Sale Price $15.00
25% off discount $5.00 (from oldnavyweekly.com)
Tax 13% $1.30
Total = $11.30!!!

Total Outfit cost: $18.01!

Finally what are your thoughts? Does it look as cheap as it costs? Do I look like a 28 year old mom or a 28 year old trying to be 16? (I did buy the sweater from the "Juniors" section of the store as the Woman's section is a bit to conservative for me or geared towards "the working business woman" type.)
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Awesome New Website!

If you know me you know how much I love coupons, freebies and deals. One of my brand new favourite sites is www.flyerscoupons.ca. This site is very user friendly and lets you search the best deals at any store you will be shopping at. For example say you are going to No Frills. Search for No Frills and you will find not only the flyer but also coupons to use on sale products and coupons to use on items for FREE! This new site will not only save you money but time searching for the best deals.

Also this site is created to make members money. By contributing to the website by posting deals, YOU can make money! Sign up today and start saving!!!
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Yeah, it's March!!!

Nah, I'm not really that excited that's it is now March, however, it means we are getting closer to warmer weather and that's fantastic!

The Olympics are now officially over and wow what a great hockey game last night!!! I was on the edge of my seat and I'm so proud that our Men's team pulled it off. It was a great day to be Canadian! I actually ended up watching WAY more of the Olympics than I originally planned but I am also glad to see it done and over with. Now we can resume with regular TV again and many of my favourite shows are starting up again this month!
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