Random thoughts of an upbeat mind

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Brain dump

I have so many things in my head to write about and now that I am sitting in front of my computer, my mind has gone blank.

Say what!?!

So here are the bits and pieces that I can remember.

For 2015 I challenged myself to read 20 books and I did it!! YEAH me!! 🙂 I didn’t count any cookbooks I went through but I did count 1 children’s book and 2 essentially picture books (the Humans of New York books). This year I increased the number to 25. Given that I sort of started a book club I expect that I will be able to fulfill this task.

On the topic of the book club, I started “The Girl on The Train” mid-November. I am struggling with it. I read 2 other books since November … I have 13 days to finish it. Time to put my nose in a book.

I also started “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up“.


I love the concepts of this book and will try to implement them as soon as I am finish reading. I see a tidied house in my future. 😀

For Christmas I received a small purse similar to this one, a few colouring books and some pencil crayons. I forgot how much I love to colour. Princess had her eye on my colouring books so I got her one of her own. Now she’s a happy girl.

I have exercised every day since December 1. Last Friday I stepped on the scale and was not happy. How do I weigh more than usual? Not impressed at all. Then I told myself the old muscle weighs more than fat line. I also took my measurements and even though I feel thinner, I’m about the same size I was in 2012 when I started taking my measurements. 😦 Somebody’s got a lot of work to do.

I tallied up my 2015 budget and it was not pretty. My food spending was out of control. I really need to keep a closer eye on this. Reducing my trips to Costco should help. I am also going to try carrying over any excess or deficiencies month to month and see how that works out. I’m all stocked up with meat so there should be some carry over this month.

I was thinking about doing a no spend challenge for the month but I think I would rather dedicate my energies to tidying and colouring. 🙂 If I am home decluttering and colouring I can’t be spending money right? 😉



7lbs!?! Not bad at all.

Last week I took my can to the coin machine at the local bank. Since I have an account there, it is free to count my change.

For some reason 2 Toonies, 2 Dimes and 1 Nickel did not get ingested into the machine so my receipt total was $369.87. Not as much as 2013, but still not bad considering I don’t use cash often.

Since we no longer have pennies, this amount was rounded up to $369.90. I added one of the dimes that were in my hand so I would only get paper money back.

The leftover change went back in the tin for next year.


Christmas savings

Now that Remembrance/Veteran’s Day has passed I think it’s acceptable to start talking about Christmas.

Sealed pot 2015

Sealed pot 2015

All year long I throw all my change into this “sealed pot”. It is my easy way to boost my Christmas savings. I don’t miss the coins and it makes such a big difference.

This is the fourth year that I am doing this. I got the idea from SFT and I love it.

Last year’s netted me $310.30.
2013 $445.37
2012 $106

Last year’s pot weighed 5.6 lbs and the year before was 8.8 lbs so it will be interesting to see how much this pot will net. I will not find out until the first Saturday in December.

2.5 weeks to add a few more coins. 🙂

Then the hard task of figuring out what to get everyone.

Christmas wrap up

Another Christmas is over.  So far it’s been quiet.  My girls went to sleep over at their Dad’s house on Christmas Eve.  That is my usual time to wrap gifts and just relax.  I had a lazy Christmas morning and then it was off to my Dad’s for Christmas dinner. 🙂

It was a great Christmas with lots of food and drinks.  I had some Motown CDs which I gifted my Dad and he was happier than a pig in mud.  It was great as usually my gifts are a bust.

Boxing day is when my kids and I open our gifts. Princess was happy with her gifts.  Diva made a bad decision in the morning and punished herself for it by telling me to take back all her gifts. Far be it for me to deny her. lol Princess and my sister braved the mall in search of bargains, while Diva and I ran a few errands.

Today I was to have lunch with my old boss but that has been rescheduled so I am just going to relax until Diva’s BFF comes over.  I might should see about getting a new vacuum.  I would like one with a crevice tool and seeing as the one I have is my original vacuum from 7+ years ago, I will look around to see what I can find.

Oh Christmas tree

So I caved.

Remember how last year I made a trip to Costco and saw these beauties.

Little Christmas trees

And I walked away without bringing one home?

Well this year not so much.  I went to Costco with Diva who asked me for a tree this year.  And since I knew I didn’t want to lug a big tree home I sent her to the tree cart to pick one.

We came home with this one.

Christmas tree 2014

Pardon my crappy cell phone pics, y’all know I’m still rocking my Blackberry Bold.

Anyhoo, I gave Diva the task of getting it ready with the lights and ornaments from the old dead tree.  You remember this one right?

Dead Christmas tree

Stop laughing. Yes I still had it. And YES I planned to use it again this year.  **Don’t judge me!!** LOL

Anyhoo, Diva took the decorations off of the old tree and put them on the new one.  Here it is all dressed up.

All dressed up Christmas tree


Here’s hoping your Christmas is safe and wonderful.

It’s that time of the year

Now that the snow is here is really is starting to feel a lot like Christmas.

Too bad I am not a fan of the commercial Christmas we seem to celebrate.

As usual I have 8 people on my list, if I don’t include myself. 😉

My youngest sister & my daughters will get money.  So easy and always welcome. 🙂

It is the rest of the list that will cause me some grief.  My parents (Mom, Dad & step-Mom) need nothing.  My brother likes expensive electronic gadgets. 😦 My other sister will probably get some jewelry or something girly.

Today I will start looking and hope and pray that gift ideas are plentiful.  And that this is my only trip.  I have some points to a couple of stores that I will visit to see if I can use up.

I’m not impressed with myself for leaving the shopping so late.  Oh well, what’s done is done.


Opening this year’s sealed pot

This is my third year participating in the sealed pot.  A great idea by SFT.  Basic premise is to choose a “pot”, seal it and put all spare change in it for a defined period of time.  I use it for Christmas spending.  It really is phenomenal how much these bits and pieces add up to.

The first year I can’t remember what it all added up to.  But last year’s pot weighed in at 8.8 lbs and turned into $445.37.

I didn’t really have high hopes for this year’s pot as it was a heavy plastic year for me.  Or at least it felt like that.  Yesterday I weighed my tin.  And it was confirmed that it is significantly less than last year.

Sealed pot 2014

3.2 lbs less than last year.

Today I walked to the bank with my tin and dumped it into the coin counter.  Final result is $310.30.  No bad but not as good as last year.

The pot is now once again sealed and the $0.30 has been used to start it up again.

This exercise has definitely goto me thinking about really trying to make next year an all more cash year.  But I have enjoyed the perks I get from my credit cards.  So I will have to figure out a balance.

Now that I have a rough budget, I guess I really need to figure out my Christmas shopping.

I have cable/internet!

I left my Mom’s yesterday and decided to stop at my neighbour’s who lives down the hall.  Just to check in with her as she lives alone.  She is a very nice lady who looks out for me and my kids.  I was intending to just “pass by”, but ended up spending over an hour at her place.  While I was there my kids called me to scream in my ear that the internet was back.  It was too funny.

So now that I am comfortably in my home you get to the treat of this past week in review. 🙂  I know you are excited.

On Sunday, we stayed in.  I was not risking life and limb to take Princess to the movies, 12 minutes away, even though the mall had power.  In the afternoon once we lost cable she was not happy as she could not let her friends know that she wasn’t coming as my girl has no phone book.  All of her contacts are in an app on her iTouch.  I’m sure my laughing did not help.

Monday, Princess surprised me by agreeing to walk to the library with me.  Ahhhh the promise of free wifi when you no longer have it at home.

An icy walk

Icy branches

My Aunt who was without power wanted a change of scenery and a hot meal.  So as I arrived at the mall, she called to request a pick up.  I left the kids at the library, which was unusually busy, and went back home to pick up my car.  The drive to get my Aunt was uneventful.  On the way home from dropping her off, I came back a different way and ran into traffic as two lights were out. A 6 minute drive took over 30. 😦

Tuesday I dropped my kids at their Dad’s house in the afternoon.  It is the tradition that they sleep over Christmas Eve night.  This gives me an opportunity to wrap their gifts. 😉  When I went back to Costco all the little Christmas trees were gone, so I decided to use what I have.

Christmas tree

The above picture was actually taken on Christmas Day as the wrapping of gifts was not that exciting to me.

Wednesday brought more snow and a phone call from my Dad telling me that Christmas dinner was on.  He lost power early Sunday morning and got it back late Monday night.  So I got myself together and fought traffic through the falling snow to collect my kids and go to my Dad’s.

Christmas dinner

After dinner we opened presents.  My parents gave my kids a set of books, gourmet cookies and money.  I got pajamas, gourmet cookies and Sweet Georgia Browns.

While at my Dad’s, I perused the ‘net looking for an iTouch 5th generation for Diva.  My kids scored mainly cash this Christmas.  And Miss Diva wanted the new iTouch to replace her broken one.  The cheapest one I found at The Source, but wanted to look around a bit more before I pressed buy.

We went home and my kids were not surprised that there was a tree and presents under it for them.  Diva told me I knew you’d get us something.  My kids are too smart for their own good.

Christmas tree before Christmas tree after

My place is looking like a hot mess.  My girls got 2 different sets of socks, something to write with, books, a sweet treat and something to listen to.  The most excitement was over the socks and the cds.

Thursday, we still had no internet despite promises from Rogers, so I hauled my tail to my Mom’s.  She told me the tree in her front yard had fallen down but I was not prepared for the sight of it in the road.

Fallen tree

Fallen tree close up

At my Mom’s I looked for a cheaper iTouch but found none.  So I ordered Diva’s iTouch and somehow a Samsung tablet ended up in my cart for me. BAHAHAHAHAHA!!  I am on the fence as it is not a need, but I figure I can always return it. 😉

My Mom came over last night so we had Christmas again.  We watched movies and hung out.  And by hung out I mean my Mom fell asleep on the couch. 😉

Today I am going to walk to the library and return some movies and pick up what’s on hold for me which includes the 30 Day Sculpt.  I missed doing the video so much I ordered my own copy yesterday.  I am going to be lean but not mean next year!! 🙂

A quick update

This ice storm is no joke.

My Aunt lost power on Sunday and still doesn’t have it back.  She lives in a senior’s apartment building.  So far she says the building is still warm enough to sleep there overnight.  Yes I offered my place like a good niece but the old lady is a tough one.  Plus she is helping keep people calm and entertained so she feels useful.

Various family members and friends have lost power for a spell but most have got it back now.

I never lost power.  Thank God!!  I have however lost my cable/internet/home phone since Sunday afternoon.  I want to complain a little but given my good fortune of continuous electricity I shall refrain. 😉  I have no idea what is going on in the world.  I suppose I could turn on the radio but that seems out of character for me.

Right now I am at my Mom’s borrowing her internet.

We went to my Dad’s for Christmas.  My step-Mom pulled a rabbit out of a hat considering they were without power until late Monday night.

Thankfully no one I know was anything other than cold for the past few days.

I hope that the city gets power back to everyone.  In this cold weather being without heat is not anything to prolong.

Anyhoo, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/Kwanzaa/few days off.  And where ever you are, you are safe and warm.

I am done!!

I do not have to see a mall or store other than for groceries until next year!

I am finished my Christmas shopping.  So far, I have spent $357.50.  I still have to give money to my kids and sister.  I usually give my sister $50 and am thinking to give my daughters $60 each.  Originally I was leaning towards $100 each but I have since purchased them presents so reducing the amount made sense.

I have hit upon a little dilemma.  For the first few years that we lived in our apartment we had a Christmas tree made out of green bristol board that was taped to the wall.  A couple of years ago I bought a small real tree in a pot, which I have since killed. 😦

Dead Christmas tree

Think anyone will notice?  LOL

And yes, I still have my dead tree, not sure why but it’s still here.  One of my crafty friends suggested I spray paint it green.

The thought of getting a big real tree and dragging it to my apartment is not that appealing to me.  I saw a few small trees when I was out yesterday and for a brief second I contemplated bringing one home.

Little Christmas trees

Aren’t they cute?  The only reason I didn’t was I wanted to check my Christmas budget first. 😉  I know, it surprised me too.


On a different note, I have been plugging away at the blanket.  This is what it looked like before I finished putting all the granny squares together.  I am debating putting a border around it.

Crocheted blanket


Now I just have to tidy up the loose ends.  I wish I had thought about it when I was in Wal-Mart yesterday as the needle I have I do not like.