Reviving A Failing Marriage – Part One

img_20171124_1901582519536863148206855.jpgIf you have been following my blog this year you have read some pretty honest revelations, including our family mental health challenges, and the state of our marriage, and our choice to seek counseling almost two years ago.  This weekend the Hubs and I gave ourselves the Christmas gift of a marriage getaway weekend at Blue Mountain. This choice was a combination of celebrating how far we’ve come, and making a show of our commitment to improving our relationship from recovering to thriving.
To give a little more history, or if you have not read my previous blog about our marriage,  a little less than two years ago we were on the brink of divorce.  Our marriage began when I was only 19, a very sheltered 19. Hubs was 25 and had been around the block when it came to experimenting, relationships, living situations, education, and most things you expect a 25 year old man to have experimented with.  We came into our marriage quickly, knowing each other for only eight months before becoming engaged and then married three short months after. To say we did not have the firmest foundation set out would be an understatement.  We did not have very much pre-marital counseling because our pastor was moving and we only had three months. We studied the 5 Love Languages book, and talked about how money, parents, and sex would be the most likely stress causing culprits in the marriage. All good things, we did not have time to really truly break down our different backgrounds, our own ideas on conflict resolution, and how we were going to handle money. These were all things that have definitely come back to bite us hard. As well as our lack of understanding our differences. I’m a bossy first born who would rather ask forgiveness than permission, I am extremely close with my traditional nuclear family and trust them and tell them everything, I hate confrontation but will passive aggressively make you suffer if I’m upset, and in order to figure out my feelings I must talk talk talk, I am an extrovert’s extrovert, but do tire out and need alone time eventually. Hubs is a middle child, very internal, he solves tension with humour or avoidance, he is very attached to his family growing up primarily in his mother’s home he grew up with very strong women in his life, he struggles with transparency when it may hurt or anger a loved one, he has a very soft heart but is not forthcoming with his feelings, he has to think through them before expressing them, but he will debate you within an inch of your life on theology or philosophy, he is an introvert who borders on hermitage at times (partially due to personality and partially to do with panic attacks). In the beginning of our marriage Hubs would actually tell me he thought we’d need a divorce because we had so little in common. I’d fight him on it, until we both got tired of fighting, hauled in our weapons and set camp up in separate parts of our lives. I ran outside the house looking for validation, comfort and affection, Hubs turned inwards for comfort, safety and quiet. We both became isolated and lonely, blaming the other one for our hurt. It got worse and worse, we grew farther and farther apart and hurt each other more and more.
Eventually we came to the edge of a precipice, where I was the one ready for the word divorce to be used. Up to this precipice I had been determined that the D word would not be threatened or used in vocabulary, but it came the time for me to lay it out. I was at my breaking point, well, I was broken, we both were. We were punctured through with holes from each other’s lances of resentment, cruel words, and lack of affection. We were bleeding out and our marriage was on the OR table for resuscitation. I went into Hubs one night, after gathering my whits and courage, and said that either we needed to fight for us or finally give up. He was surprised at this point that I had been the one feeling this way this time. He agreed to therapy for us and for himself as I’d already began my own. At this point I had discussed and spoken with many people and looked for answers and advice everywhere. I had heard from some to fight it through, and from many that divorce is not the worst choice in many ways. At this point the state of our marriage was visibly effecting our children and their relationship with each of us. There was blame shifting, behaviour outbursts, and outright belligerence.  It was time to cut and run, or dig in and work it all out. We were able to choose to dig in.
When we had agreed to work on it I went looking for a marriage counselor. I spoke with friends and family. At this point I was feeling wary of church counseling, and what was offered locally by our church was only older male counselors whom I had known as a small child, that made me feel on edge and not comfortable.  Especially since what I heard growing up in our denomination was “wives submit to your husbands”, “obey and serve your husband”, “women can teach children and women, but no men”, and now as an adult I have come to hold a more modern view of marriage and women in the marriage and the church. The prospect of walking into counseling and being told that only I needed to be working on making him happy, made me feel unsafe. At this point I was feeling extremely jaded by religion, not necessarily faith, but the institutional tradition that is church.  This was how we found our rock star marriage counselor Arlene. I had spoken with my dear friend Colleen about our choice to seek counseling and she connected us, and is the reason, I believe, that we have made it to this stage. Without Colleen championing us to the lovely Arlene, who was attempting to retire from her counseling days a bit, I think we would have not made it onto her client list. Without Arlene and Colleen we would never have made it to this weekend we just had.
Once we had finally connected with our Rock Star, we were nervous, scared, and still very angry with each other. Arlene asked us that first day if we were there for marriage counseling or separation counseling, Hubs very confidently responded with “marriage”, and I said “I don’t know.”  I think this surprised all of us.
Over the next months we relied on our parents to watch our boys so we could go to counseling sessions. We were given homework that we were highly reluctant to actually do because listening, and trusting, is scary. Talking about your feelings makes you vulnerable to this person who can utterly destroy you with a word or lack of one. We did this listening exercise less than we should have due to our mutual fear of confrontation, and personally for me, I felt unheard and bullied when we began. Not that he was meaning to convey that, but I was very raw as well.  We learned about what made us feel what, because we became more transparent, and I became better at voicing to him when I felt unheard. Slowly, very slowly we took baby steps over the next year. Listening more here, speaking up there, giving each other small allowances where we normally would have taken immediate offense, and having some doozy fights that we brought to Arlene and she taught us about resolving them. We were on  our way to figuring this mess out.

Stay tuned for Part Two




Falling Off The Train, Hanging on by Your Fingernails

Do you ever just want to smack yourself and yell “You KNOW BETTER!” really loud? Today I wanted to.  I spent money unplanned two days in a row. Yesterday we waited too long to make supper and went out to Harvey’s for burgers. Then today Boy#1 had a tough day, he was emotional and very sad. He was begging for sushi, I said no because it costs way too much, that’s something to plan for. Then I suggested I could pick up tempura shrimp from the grocery store as a compromise. I had planned to go over to grab a few things I wanted to add to salads this week. I went into that grocery store hungry. BAD IDEA!!! I spent much more than planned, on FROZEN Chinese food. I also made fractured last minute meal plan ideas and bought too much. Poop. No more grocery shopping in between grocery shops on an empty stomach! Fail. Fell off the train. On the plus side, I did restrain myself three times from grabbing a coffee form Tim Horton’s. Hanging on with my fingernails.
I did spend money on my hair today, but that was planned. I want to get all set for our weekend away, and this will double for Christmas since I plan my appointments eight weeks apart. I’m writing my list, we have the money set aside for spending on dinner and meals, and I am writing down a list of the things my mother needs for the boys. I feel this is coming together. Reading the schedule for the seminars this weekend has just made me even more excited.
This weekend Hubs and I are taking time out for us. Putting our marriage first on our to do list. I have been honest before about us seeking out help and being close to divorce in the past, we have had a lot of support in getting to where we are. We want to get better. I’ve been listening to quite a few family oriented, Christian podcasts of late. One of my favourites is Family Life Today. I heard it on the radio a few times a while ago and never really connected to it because I get all feministy about older white men telling us what to do in the Christian church and in our families.  I recently found it on my podcast search and gave it another chance. This program seemed to be aimed right at my heart the first time I tuned in.  These “old white guys” weren’t pushing an old agenda, they weren’t spouting legalistic doctrine about women submitting to their husbands in all things and men ruling with iron fists. They were focusing on marriage and God’s plan for it, as well as ways to strengthen and grow our marriages, in more positive, equal, and modern terms. They were however using this series to promote their “Weekend To Remember Marriage Getaway”. At first my cynical, bitter at the church and people who use religion to make money, inner self got all haughty and I went “pfft, way to ruin your message trying to sell me a seminar!” Then I got curious. Or suckered in, you pick. I went to find out if they had these getaways in Canada. They do. I found the info here: .    I went to talk to my mom about it, and about keeping Boy#1 and #2 for part of the weekend since it was also supposed to be my dad’s  family Christmas. She was very supportive and agreed to help us out. I posted about the weekend on FB to see if we could get a group together to make admission cheaper. There was a lot of interest but not much time to get everyone organized. Hubs and I decided to go ahead with it anyway and take a leap of faith, making this our Christmas present. As soon as we did that, support came pouring in from friends and family. God basically used them to provide our registration fee and part of our hotel room, all in one week! We are so blessed by our friends and family and their love for God and us.
I am really looking forward to this time just for us. We are so blessed to have such support from our parents, our friends and our family. I can’t wait to tell you all we learn. This retreat is hosted at Blue Mountain Inn in Colingwood Ontario. A beautiful town in a scenic area with so many fun things to do. I recently was there for a spa day trip with my brother and friends, we ate at an amazing brewpub and eatery called Northwinds, I hope we can stop in there for a pint and maybe a growler. Their food is to die for. There’s a beautiful coffee place I want to go to, the Scandinave Spa to enjoy, places to hike and shop, so much to do. What I’m really looking forward to is a break with Hubs. Time set aside for our marriage, for just us. No work, no kids, no distractions, just us. That is what I’m the most excited for.

And with that my brain is out of words and energy to find them. Wish me luck for tomorrow and not spending ridiculous amounts of money on food!

I’m off to my cozy bed now. I am exhausted.



No-spend November’s Spendings

As I go further into this challenge I find that I’m learning more about what I need to spend my money on and what I later regret as not worthy, simply because I’m paying attention. I have so far been very successful at avoiding spending on coffees out, most fast food, and non-purposed trips to shop. Today we had the treat of Tim Horton’s and it was actually a treat because we hadn’t had it in ages. My kids were grateful because it’s not a nearly daily occurrence anymore. That was satisfying.
I do know that I still have  a lot of room for improvement on my definition of “planned” spending, and my definition of “necessities”. I spent money on a lot of Christmas gifts this week, and on some pretty greenery for our front door. I don’t usually spend on greenery (I usually go and find it at my in-laws farm), but I succumbed to the atmosphere of our local indoor market and the charm of the florist. It is beautiful greenery, and I had a wonderful time arranging it on my wreath and in my flower pot today, but I still feel guilty about spending money on it when it’s not necessary.

I spent about $160 on groceries this week, more than the budgeted $150, but canned goods were on sale so I bought more than I had originally planned for, I also bought maple syrup and some expensive items that last longer. I know I could have done better if I didn’t let myself  give in to the deals, I also know that it makes a difference later, and it wasn’t super expensive. Ack. I’m in my brain, deep.  Some serious spending guilt over here. Also some serious validation of spending. I’m my own worst critic and my own worst enemy.

Tonight I cooked up four chicken breasts that were in the freezer for who knows how long. Then I put three in the fridge and used one to make this:

It was perfect for using up the leftover spinach, ingredients in my pantry, and the cucumber and carrot from last week. I roasted the beets and onions from my produce drawer that have been in there since October and now I have salad fixings for the whole week! Yay!
Also I must say I’m proud of my fridge, it very rarely has any space after a grocery shop because I over buy fresh food and it tends to go bad. Well, check this out:
(Ignore the grunginess) There is space left! Not a bunch, but enough to move things around. It’s not overflowing into the salon room (which we use as our extra fridge in the Winter) and everything in it is still edible!  I feel very victorious about this gain. P.S. the pizza boxes are from my MIL, she bought them for the boys on their pre-Christmas Nana night. I did not buy that, YAY!
The cooking was made more fun by listening to Indie Christmas music, smelling my favourite Balsam candles, and hanging up my Christmas dish towels.

After this success today I have written out our meal plan for the week, last week’s didn’t really go so well with the sinus infection, sick kids, and lack of sleep. I think we just mostly existed off of soup, snacks, and sandwiches. Here’s to making this week’s goal!!

Breakfast – cereal
Lunch – Leftovers
Supper – Butter Chicken

Breakfast – Pancakes/egos
Lunch – Salad
Supper – Pasta

Breakfast – Cereal
Lunch – Leftovers
Supper – Sandwiches

Breakfast – Bagels/toast
Lunch – Salad
Supper – Crockpot chili

Breakfast – Smoothies
Lunch – Leftovers
Supper – Blue Mountain Marriage retreat dinner

Breakfast – Yogurt and fruit in the hotel room
Lunch – Salad Jars
Supper – Date night!!

Breakfast – out
Lunch – Salad jars and snacks
Supper – out

This weekend coming up is our Marriage Weekend Getaway, so we have planned and set aside money to spend out and really invest in our marriage, which I refuse to allow myself to feel guilty about, also others have invested in our marriage by supporting us this weekend. We are so blessed.
We are super blessed to have these two nuggets:
These guys are incredible. They make life beautiful.

On that note, I go to bed.


The Three Cardinal Rules of Grocery Shopping Etiquette

Today was BUSY!! Fabulous, and busy. I managed to squeeze in a quick grocery shop in between a client and picking up children from the bus. While at the store I was reminded of a few key rules that so many shoppers ignore this time of year, or maybe I’m just getting anal in my old age. (Insert laughter here)

#1: If you are under 60 years of age, do not have a disability or young children with you, please park farther away from the store where there is more plentiful parking, especially in the colder months with rain,s sleet and snow. I actually started doing this after my youngest turned two in order to up my step count, also I got a nicer parking spot beside the cart hut and able to drive through and face outward.  I remember having a young baby in a car seat this time of year and not being able to get into the family parking. It is not easy hauling a car seat and a four year old across the parking lot in a blizzard with the fear of my baby slipping out of my hand, or being hit by a car who’s driver does not see us.

#2 DRIVE SAFELY IN THE PARKING LOT!!! I cannot tell you how many times I have almost been hit by driver’s going to fast or backed into by someone who did not do  a proper shoulder check. Driving straight through a parking lot over parking spaces and not signalling is a great way to get in a fender bender. Treat the parking lot like the road: Obey the rules and respect other drivers and pedestrians.

Today I appeared as a right crazy person, I’m sure, as I pushed the carts around in the cart corral arranging them in type and lining them up in neat rows. Blame it on my slight perfectionist leanings and obsessive compulsive tendencies.  I hate seeing carts left abandoned all over the lot ready to smash into cars, or crammed improperly into corrals so there is no space, just out of a lack of mindfulness. Just line your F-ing carts up in the corral PLEASE!! It takes five seconds! Be considerate of the next patron and the cart people who have to come out and get them. Just have some common decency!

The Grocery shop went well, I spent $124. I procured most of what we need for the week, the rest I will purchase tomorrow at the local Maker’s Market. I am so excited for all of the fun tomorrow. Maker’s market, Global Giving mall, Christmas in Bayfield, Lunch with friends, the jewelry and art show my friend Libby is putting on, and the Goderich Christmas parade. So much fun Holiday things to do. I cannot wait.

Well, it was short and sweet, but that’s all folks!
I’m off to dreamland! G’night



November Rule

In our home it is basically a rule that in November we all get sick at least once. This year is no exception. I am fighting off a roaring sinus infection brought on by seasonal allergies and lack of sleep. Boy#2 is fighting off a cold that comes with a persistent cough, and Boy#1 has been a trooper so far with the edge of a raspy throat. Hubs is saying he’s feeling his ears fill. Ick. My philosophy is that if we get it through now we will all be well for Christmas. Let’s hope.
With the sickness comes tiredness, hence the lack of blogging for the last two days. The only thing that makes my sinus infections finally leave is sleep and sinus rinse.  So sleep and sinus rinses I have been doing. The boys have been given lots of honey, vitamins, probiotics, and are sleeping with an oil difuser. This will be over in no time.

On Monday I canceled my one single appointment in the morning because I felt so drained and horrid, and Boy#2 was home ill as well. We baked cookies, I made beef barley soup and Sweet potato butternut Barley soup, we made play dough as well. The night before I baked two banana breads.  After finishing the cookies I baked biscuits and delivered some of this food to a friend who was also home ill with her four kids. The boys had so much fun making things for the kids and prayed that they would all feel better.
The soup came out beautifully and has been feeding us all week. I also cooked a roast the night before and have been shaving that up to go in sandwiches. So far we have done not bad with eating what’s in the fridge.

Monday was a good day, it was exhausting, and my brain hurt, but it was awesome. I enjoyed spending time with my guys and making food with them. plus, I spent NOTHING that day! Hooray!
Tuesday I was not quite successful at not spending
I had the planned expenditure for my nails which I set aside money for every other week. My friend Sandra Harp is amazing at nails and we always get a great bitch session in. After this appointment I had clients all day, then I went to School council and we planned up a storm. After that I was starving because I never ate dinner so I did a stupid thing. I  went to walmart to get a few groceries like more bread and lunchmeat. I spend $58 and did buy some Christmas stuff. Then I bought myself some food at the bar with friends. about $15.
Today I slept until 11. My Boy#1 surprised me and got himself ready for school, did his music practice, and packed his own lunch, then he told me he would walk himself to the bus stop. It was such a beautiful thing. I don’t worry about him going to the bus stop alone because of my bus stop moms and because it’s only three houses down from us. He was such a gem today. Just so peaceful. After work and school it was time to head to swimming lessons. I caved and purchased a coffee and gum.  Then I took Boy#1 to church group and went back to Walmart to look for Christmas gifts. I spent $145 on gifts and two things of makeup for my kit.  That was definitely not all planned. But it was good to check some things off my list, like this:
Boy #2 is going to go crazy when he sees this Christmas morning!!! I’m excited.

After the shopping I picked up boy #1 and took him for a date to McDonald’s. It was only because my dad had given us coupns. It was crazy that I fed both of us and brought food home for Boy#2 for under $10. As well as coffee and dessert. While we were at McDonald’s a man came in who was obviously high as a kite and he bacame quite fascinated with Boy#1. He was chatting with him and telling him how he had swagger and needed to model, how he was jacking up Paw Patrol trucks for his nephew and that my guy should send in design ideas to a skateboard company. He kept telling Boy#1 how he had fetal alcohol syndrome, had been in and out of prison and how he was sober now but smoked Weed, (I think he was definitely on more than that, but maybe he was just very happy?). I must say that while both my son and I were wary and on edge, Boy#1 kept his composure and was very kind to this man. He waited until the man was called back to the counter then quietly asked to leave. We left and I asked if he felt upset, he said no, just awkward. He was very perceptive about this man and we discussed how if anyone approached him like that without an adult present he was to run and find another trusted adult and stick with them to be safe.

Tonight after getting home I went into full on get-rid-of-this-sinus-infection mode and nursed myself with sinus rinses, nasal spray, steam and rosemary oil, oiled my ears, drank a bunch of water and tea and took some meds. Now I am ready for bed. Tomorrow is a busy day and this weekend will be shopping for Christmas gift time. So many local sales on. Tomorrow is Ladies Night downtown, then the weekend is Christmas in Bayfield, My Friend Libby’s Jewelry show, the Maker’s Market at the museum again, and our Christmas parade. Busy times! So I shall rest up and tell you how it all goes.


Celebrating Life

Today I was very privileged and honoured to join in celebrating an important life. A life well lived by a man well loved. A man whom I would not have known if not for meeting and knowing his beautiful daughter Kate.  Today we celebrated the life of Bill Johnston, a man I only knew a relatively short time, in more of a friendly, acquainted manner. In the brief time I knew him, through mostly his daughter Kate and wife Sharon, he made an un-erasable impression on me and my sons.

In order to really speak of Bill, and my own small relationship with him, I first need to introduce you to my friend Kate and tell you a bit about our relationship.  I met Kate in 2012 during the GLT production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. I was volunteering with hair and makeup backstage and Kate was doing one of the things she does best, playing music. We would see each other after shows at the bar, we’d all hang out and chat. That was how I first got to know the beguiling Kate. Our friendship bloomed quickly over the next few months over dinners, drinks, late night conversations and some plays.  Then I moved away to BC. While we were there Kate made an effort to keep in touch and when we came back she was among the first (along with a few of my other friends who I affectionately call my “Theatre Girls”) to welcome me back and helped me paint my new apartment.  Kate has been one of my best friends. She challenges me in the best ways, she is beautifully loyal, honest to a fault ( in a great way), sharp witted, and fiercely protective of those she loves. She is also quietly somber, stoic, and logical, with a streak of creativity that brightly joins her together. Kate and I have bonded over several commonalities we have: We are both first born daughters with only one younger sibling, both of us grew up in a traditional nuclear family with parents whose marriages were still intact when we reached adulthood, neither of us felt we had found our “tribe” earlier in life, we felt that our current group of friends formed in our late twenties was the first time we’d had a “tribe” apart from our family. We have many differences also, but those are what makes our friendship so strong, she lifts me up and I lift her up. I love Kate dearly, and my love for her has birthed a great love for her beautiful family. Knowing her has given me a furtive peek into who Bill was.

I first really met Bill at the Farmer’s Market up town in 2013 when Kate would be helping at his stall selling honey and dehydrated apple slices. I have felt a warm affinity towards men with facial hair and glasses since I was very young, I think because my father has always had both. Bill had both glasses and facial hair, along with a trait I admire: the ability to wear a hat well, his peaked caps were one of my favourite things to see at market. I became fond of Kate’s father quickly. Meeting Bill I immediately felt comfortable. His gentle smile and quiet demeanor were qualities that led me to feel at ease, I felt a genuine warmth towards him. Knowing Kate’s own high opinion of her father only led me to feel even more intrigued by him. Bill was the first vendor I saw who sold honey in the honey comb. I purchased some that first year, it was amazing. I was hooked. “Bill honey” was the best. Even when he relocated his “ladies” (the bees) and their hives to the island, his honey did not lose it’s beauty, I think it got better.
I always looked for Bill at Market, even after he relocated to his farm on Grand Manan in the Summers, I looked for him and his delicious honey at the indoor Winter market. Each November I would look for him walking around town. There was something comforting about his presence in town again. I also knew him being back in town made Kate and Sharon so happy. This year I didn’t realize I was still waiting for him until I mistook another bearded man with a peaked cap for him, and then I cried when I remembered.
Bill often used jars for his liquid honey instead of plastic containers, which set him apart, and his smile made everything taste even better.  Last February when I was doing my Zero waste challenge Bill even agreed to make me yogurt in jars. At the market Boy#1 always needed to buy the big container of Bill’s apple rings. He’d eat the entire thing in an hour if I let him. Only Bill’s apple rings though, not any from anywhere else. My boys seemed to also be drawn to this gentle man’s personality and quiet spirit.  Bill would often give us something a bit extra or special, once he even sold me honey in exchange for a haircut for Sharon when I ran out of cash.
My interactions with Bill outside of market were fewer, but I loved them just as much. When we would have a party at Kate’s parent’s home Bill would be there, hovering in the doorway, out of the crowd, but there. In a family of talented performers he avoided any limelight. But his smile and laugh made it around the room even when he didn’t. That open, sweet countenance he had was always felt, even when I couldn’t see it. Watching him observe and revel in his family and their talent was a joy. His pride radiated. I remember for Kate’s 30th birthday party he sat in the room right by the piano (which was not his usual habit to do) and he took so much joy in celebrating his eldest daughter and seeing her be celebrated by others.
Bill often reminded me of a professor. Not the kind who holds their knowledge over you and challenges you to impress him, but the sort of learned sage who holds so much wisdom kindly and offers it to those who want to learn and listen. I wish I could have learnt more from this man. What I have learnt is plenty and important. I feel Bill has impressed on me the lesson of conservation: waste not, want not. The lesson of not taking more than you give. Actions speak louder than words. Kindness may not always win, but it is always worth it.  Humour can be a wonderful tool when used in a timely fashion. A sharp whit is sometimes hidden behind the softest eyes. Wisdom and knowledge are great assets, sharing them is a greater one.
I learned many things about Bill today that I didn’t know, and heard many things that confirmed what I already did. I learned that he was a “Grand Poo-Bah” in University, that he was a geologist, that he built many things including a boat, and that he loved to surprise his family with inventive gifts and grand gestures.  What was confirmed to me was the depth of the kindness of his heart, his creativity and inventive spirit, his parenting prowess, that he was a loving and caring husband, father, and human, that he was a dog person, that his hands were never idle, and his heart was always full. He knew how to plant seeds. Seeds that would grow plants, but also seeds that grew community and family.
Bill was a beautiful soul whom I wish I had known longer and better, but the small bit I was able to know was still so much of a blessing. He and Sharon blessed me with a best friend who is one of the greatest and most loyal humans I have ever known. Celebrating Bill’s life will not end any time soon. His legacy is great, and his impression in our hearts is deep.

Thank you Sharon, Kate, and Emily for allowing me to be a part of today, and for giving me your permission to write about your husband and father. Your family is a true inspiration to me. As is Bill’s life.

Here’s to Bill!



No- spend Suspense

Well, I keep falling asleep with my kids. Sinus infections make me sleep a lot. I missed telling you about my having to spend $100 on mittens and hats!  It’s crazy how much warm mittens and hats cost!!! Thursday I gave Boy #2 a break day and we went to the Y for parent and tot track time, then snack, then we did some errands and i was HANGRY! I caved, I was weak and bought a small container of sushi, seaweed salad, and a fanta for Boy #2 for $15. A very ill-made decision based solely on hunger. Then we went to visit a very sweet friend and decorated cookies. That was a very fun way to not spend money. After picking the kids up off the bus, in snowy weather, I took my guys to find mittens and hats. That was two hats each, two pairs of mitts/gloves each and two pairs of gloves for me. I also realized I only had one pair of warm pajamas left and grabbed two pair for $30.  I spent within reason, but still more than I had planned. Gah.
Friday I worked all morning, then worked on laundry and putting away the Winter stuff. After I picked the boys up we got ready for one of their friends to come for a sleepover. When he got here the plan was to rent a movie and make fries and nuggets. I realized we were actually out of chicken nuggets, so I told the kids I’d be going to M&M’s to get chicken nuggets. Our guest informed me they have fabulous ribs, I also picked those up. I spent $46 in total with the videos and chicken, ribs, fries and jalapeno poppers. The kids loved it and then OD’d on sugar and crashed hard. It was not fun. But we survived and I crashed hard and fell asleep as soon as they fell asleep. Hubs filled and ran the dishwasher, he knows me. My life is better for him.
Today was Gymnastics at nine, then the Remembrance day service, then I headed out on my annual Christmas house tour trip with my mom, my MIL and SIL. We had a blast! And no money spent thanks to my mother buying my ticket and me not going out to the shops after. I did spend $40 on groceries for dinner and tomorrow. We had friends over for spaghetti and caesar salad tonight and it was really fun.  I prepared dinner for under $30 to feed eight of us with hand made croutons, fresh bacon, two kinds of meatballs and garlic cheese buns. Not too shabby.
Now I need a new front door mat, our old one is too small for winter sludge. The good news is I have not bought a coffee out except for the planned one last Sunday, and I have not bought pizza or McDonalds.  I do need to work on spending less on food still. Man, that part is hard with picky family and a love for cooking. Gah.

Meal Plan for Next week:

Breakfast – eggs, bacon, hashbrowns
Lunch – pasta
Supper – roast, squash and beans

Breakfast – bagels
Lunch –  beef and sauerkraut
Supper – Soup

Breakfast – cereal
Lunch –  pho
Supper – rice and meat

Breakfast- bagels
Lunch – mini quiche and cheese and olives
Supper – soup and crackers

Breakfast – cereal
Lunch – cous cous salad
Supper – grilled cheese

Breakfast – cereal
Lunch – curry
Supper – kraft dinner and tuna with veggies

Breakfast – egg sammies
Lunch – soup in a cup
Supper – quiche

Let’s see where this goes! Can I keep to it all week? Here’s hoping!