I am soooo glad it’s Friday. Anything fun planned this weekend?

Here are my highs & lows for this week!

Highs

Celebrating my 6 month blog anniversary. The whole idea is still very surreal to me. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments and emails on my blogiversary post this week. I’m so blessed that you’ve kindly given me space in your readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

TTBH’s new look. After wanting a cleaner and neater looking theme I decided to give TTBH a little overhaul. So far, I’m loving the simplicity of this new look and I’m hoping it’s here to stay for awhile. For those of you who are interested I’m running the Rosalie Theme and my new header was created using the chasing embers font available for free from dafont.com

Swimming lesson success. I’m so incredibly proud of this little girl! I totally had a proud momma moment when Mer was able to dunk her under water not once but twice during her lesson. This kiddo was terrified of getting her face wet so, we’ve made an enormous amount of progress!

Lows

The cold bug is making its way through out house. My mum is down with a cold which means the rest of us will probably catch it too. Crossing my fingers that we were able to avoid spreading germs by segregating ourselves.

So much rain. We’re going on day 6 of continuous rain. Not sprinkles or drizzle – rain. I’m just so over it. Hauling a toddler in rain gear sucks. Trying to get the rain gear on or off sucks even more. Gimme all the sunshine!

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Anxiety. My good friend anxiety decided to pay an unwelcomed visit this week and it’s probably been the worst flare I’ve had in a good while. Nothing in particular set it off but I’ve been on edge, flustered and dealing with feelings of being rushed in basically everything I do. I’ve made it a point to meditate a little before bed which seems to be helping. If this persists I’ll put a call in to my doctor to discuss a new plan.

Have a wonderful weekend folks!

QOD

What are your highs & lows for this week?

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Happy Friday folks! Busy weekend ahead?

Ours is shaping up to be pretty quiet except for Margs’ swimming lessons. Mer has been working evening shift all week and we’re all extra tired from the change of routine. We’ll be spending the weekend eating good food, relaxing, taking walks, watching movies and resting up for the coming week.

If you’re just catching up here are the posts that I published this week.

Highs

Surviving a complete change of schedule. Our little family was thrust into a night shift this week. Every few months, Mer works a 3 pm – 12 am shift for a couple of weeks. Well, it’s the first time he’s on this shift since Margs has developed a little bit of separation anxiety. She’s super excited to have her dad home during the day and we were really worried about how her nighttime routine would go since he usually puts her to sleep for the night. This little girl is a rock star and has been adapting like a champ all week!

A few small home reno projects are being discussed. When we bought this house last year it was pretty much in move in condition. There were a few things we wanted to change but agreed that they weren’t pressing issues and that we’d hold off. Mer and I have been discussing tackling each project and I’m really excited to get started. Our list includes: removing wallpaper from our foyer and painting it a neutral color, repainting the powder room which currently has a black ceiling and landscaping the front of the house to give it a little more curb appeal. I’m looking forward to taking this on!

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Lows

Rainy wetness most of the week. It rained on and off all week which meant Margs and I didn’t get the chance to play outside much. Thankfully her father was home during the day and she thought it was the coolest thing ever. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous and I’m crossing my fingers for nice weather this weekend because all this rain is a real downer.

Baby blood work. It’s done and I guess that’s what counts but oh man the process sucked. I’m crossing my fingers her results are fine and we wont have to venture down that road again anytime soon (routine anemia work up). In a nutshell it took 2 phlebotomists and Mer to hold her down. It was just awful.

QOD

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of March 27th?

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A few weeks back I had a listen to The Power of A Morning Ritual from the Accidental Creative. I was at a point where I often found myself frantic, scattered and overwhelmed in the morning which made me irritable and unpleasant the rest of the day. Mornings around here can get pretty busy. Mer is up and trying to get ready for his work day while I’m mostly dealing with Margs on my own (who wakes up FULLY energized and ready to rock) which leaves very little time to wake up, focus and start the day off on the right foot.

For quite some time, we had a great system going. She’d wake up and we’d cuddle in bed together for a good while before we all headed downstairs to get a start on our day. Recently though, she’s decided that once her eyes open she’s got to get right out of bed and mosey on down the stairs. This leaves very little time for me to do anything for myself since before I know it I need to whip breakfast together, change her diaper/clothes and start moving and shaking to keep up with her.

The Accidental Creative podcast was really eye opening and helped me realize how badly I needed to nail down a realistic morning routine that would help me start the day on a positive note instead of a frantic, scattered and impatient one. Does anyone else feel like their morning flow somehow predicts how the rest of the day will go?

Todd Henry talks a lot about centering yourself in the morning. To do this, he suggests waking up at the same time every morning and essentially taking the time to just sit and be with your thoughts. He outlines his process with includes things like reading, clearing your mind, reflecting and writing. Although inspiring and likely very beneficial for him, I didn’t necessarily feel that his approach was a good fit for my current lifestyle.

What did stick though was his idea that we need a predictable period of time to be alone. In my case, waking up with Margs as opposed to before her gave me basically zero opportunities to just sit and be still with my own thoughts or to do basic things like shower and get dressed for the day.

Inspired by this idea of  “predictable periods of alone time” I set out to create a morning routine that would help me refocus my energy in the morning and start things off on a better foot. I’ve been following this routine for roughly 2 weeks and although I’m sleeping less I feel far more energized and ready to take on the day. Below is a rough idea of my morning ritual which is really quite simple and so far has been really effective.

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I wake up before Margs. Margs wakes around 7 am and to give myself ample time to complete my routine I set my alarm for 5:30 am to give myself roughly 1.5 hours of alone time at the start of my day.

I sip my coffee while listening to podcasts for 30 minutes. I’ve gone so far as preparing my coffee pot the night before so as not to waste any precious alone time in the morning. Sipping coffee and listening to inspiring podcasts helps me stay motivated and set realistic goals.

I write down 3 simple goals for the day. This step has proven to be the most important part of my ritual. Since I’m home with Margs, I’ve started to realize that I’d often get through the day coasting on mommy auto-pilot without necessarily achieving any specific goals. I’m a goal setter by nature and I felt like there was something missing from my day to day life. Now, I set 3 goals that I look forward to accomplishing each day. The goals can vary depending on what my day/week looks like but ultimately they make me feel better, more accomplished and motivated. Today’s goals included: calling a friend who has been struggling to let her know I was thinking of her, creating digital copies of important household documents and completing one creative activity with Margs. I accomplished all 3 and it felt really great to know that I followed through on 3 things that wouldn’t normally be part of my daily life.

I shower and get dressed. This is self explanatory I think. Having the time to take a proper shower and get dressed makes a world of difference in my mood. Some mornings were so busy that I’d only get the opportunity to shower and or get out of pajamas during Margs’ mid morning nap. Being dressed and ready to face the day before she even wakes up is really a game changer.

QOD

What does your morning routine look like?

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Morning! Got fun plans for the weekend?

Looking to read previous installments of Highs & Lows? Here they are: March 13th, March 6th, February 27thFebruary 20th, February 13th, February 6th!

If you’re just popping in, these are the posts I published this week.

Highs

Snow fun! Massive amounts of snow aren’t all bad! After spending an entire day digging trails and building slides in our back yard, Margs enjoyed zooming around in her sled! We went round and round and round again. In all, I think Mer and I dug out over 3km of trails for her to enjoy. Now, as the weather slowly warms up we’re hoping that the trails will keep at least for another week so baby girl can get a little more enjoyment out of them!

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Baked Oatmeal. This turned out so well! Margs, Mer and my mom all enjoyed eating this for breakfast all week. It’s a great frugal breakfast idea! Not only is it delicious but I used up some apples that were on the mealy side so it cut down on some food waste too. Such a great, easy and delicious breakfast that warms up so well in the microwave!

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If you’re interested the recipe can be found right here: Healthy Baked Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Bargain toddler clothes. Margs has managed to outgrow basically all her pajamas (again!). I headed over to the consignment shop and I was really disappointed to see that the owner is now splitting up the 2-piece pajama sets. At 3 or more bucks for each piece I decided to shop around and sure enough I found pajamas for 4$ a set at a local liquidation shop.

The material is super comfortable and soft and they fit her quite well so I’m pleased!

Lows

Margs got pushed. More on this next week but yeah my kid got pushed (intentionally) for the first time and I was heartbroken. I honestly thought I had at least another year or two until I’d have to deal with this sort of thing. In a nutshell, older kid pushed Margs down because she didn’t want to share her toy at play group. Kiddo just wanted to play so it was disappointing to see her excluded like that. #mustgrowthickermomskin

Stranger Things spooks me a little. I don’t really do well with sci-fi, horror or thriller. Mer decided that he wanted to watch so we’ve been watching a few episodes every night. Um, anyone else a little freaked after watching? I mean, parallel universes? It’s really good but it plays with your head a little no? Maybe I’m just a wimp?

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QOD

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of March 20th?


Giving credit where credit is due:

1/ http://www.kimscravings.com/2016/10/healthy-apple-cinnamon-baked-oatmeal/

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It’s no secret that Mer and I live a frugal lifestyle. Actually, we come from a long line of frugal gurus and despite getting a little off-track in our 20s we tend to really live by the mantra that excess doesn’t bring happiness or joy to our lives. As a result, we really limit our spending and most months we can keep our expenses at around 1000$.

Recently, we watched an episode of Extreme Cheapskates. We were drawn to it because of our frugal tendencies but after watching I was left questioning if living frugally means the same thing as living cheaply. My resounding answer is no – it’s absolutely different.

Here are a few reasons why!

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Frugal living is about prioritizing and saving for a larger life goal. We don’t live frugally to hoard away all our money and never spend it. Quite the opposite actually.  We live frugally so we can save money and use it to fulfill our life goals. Our first goal was getting out of debt, the second was saving up half the down payment for our first home and most recently we’re working towards saving up a fund to purchase a vacation home which we plan to rent out to help cover the costs of a second mortgage and all the associated costs involved in owning a property. Cheapness is oriented towards saving money for the sake of saving without having an end goal in mind whereas living frugally gives you the power to realize life goals however costly.

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Frugal living doesn’t come at the expense of others.  Although we choose to live a frugal lifestyle those around us never feel like their are deprived when visiting or spending time with us. When it comes to things like dinner plans, social events or family gatherings we always put our best foot forward. Recently, when hosting a dinner party we fed our guests a feast of delicious food. We were still very much conscious of what we bought opting to create delicious meals around items that were on sale as opposed to full price. Our goal was having a lovely meal with our closest friends and family and our number one priority was that our guests have good laughs and a full belly! Being frugal is about being creative and conscious of how you spend your money while being cheap is about prioritizing the amount of money you can save even if that means disregarding the needs of others.

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Frugal living isn’t about not spending money. Surprisingly, we spend quite a bit of money on things we deem important and necessary.  We don’t scrimp on things like dental or healthcare, we eat good quality food and make sure to make purchases that we know will be beneficial to our lifestyle. Frugal living isn’t about saving every penny – it’s about making informed, conscious decisions about what you choose to spend your money on. As an example, both Margs and I have very sensitive skin and as a result we opt to buy costly laundry detergent that keeps our skin rash and itch free. Sure, there are far cheaper options out there but I would never opt to save a few dollars and put myself or Margs at risk for skin reactions.

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Frugal living is about value and not cost. Frugal living means spending money wisely. Recently, Mer and I decided that it was time to replace our winter boots since both our pairs were really on their last legs. We live in an extremely cold northern climate and during the winter months appropriate footwear is essential. We could have spent 50$ on boots and called it a day but we made an investment in better quality boots that are conducive to holding up to our harsh Canadian winters. We ended up spending nearly 300$ (on sale!)  combined but we’re confident that these boots will last us for quite a few years and most importantly keep our feet warm and dry for many winters to come. We try to use the same philosophy of value over cost when we’re purchasing food, clothing and furniture. We’re not in an income bracket that allows us to necessarily buy the best quality all of the time but we do make conscious decisions to purchase things of mid-range quality or better (if we can swing it) at a higher cost to gain product longevity. Replacing things is so no fun!

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Frugal living isn’t about obsessing about saving money. As shocking as it might sound, Mer and I really don’t obsess about our bank accounts. Sure, we check in from time to time to make sure everything is as it should be but we rarely have a look to scrutinize where our money goes. We’ve sort of automated our frugal lifestyle and the routine of not spending is just so ingrained in us that we rarely need to check in to see how much we’ve spent. We have a rough budget for groceries and weekly expenditures and we simply stick to our budget as best we can. Sure, there are weeks that we go over. For example, our local grocer was having a sale on organic chickens a couple weeks back so I completely blew our weekly grocery budget and stocked our freezer full of chickens to make delicious meals in the months to come. Frugal living isn’t about obsessing about money. It’s more a lifestyle choice that allows you not to focus on money at all!  By living on a budget we end up saving money (albeit at different increments each month) which is is the consequence of choosing to spend our money wisely.

Basically, if I were to summarize this entire post in just a few words I’d have to say that cheap people focus on not spending money while frugal ones spend it with intention and purpose.

QOD

What are your thoughts? Is being cheap and frugal the same thing?

 

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