Sunday, March 21, 2010


If you're on my twitter you've seen me talk about a lot of fresh, made-from-scratch food lately.
I've decided to brag a little (whats a blog for, really?) and blog about it for a week. So to catch up, the weekends meals.
Friday's dinner consisted of pork chops, made with brown sugar & apples, with a side of asparagus and mashed potatoes. (Keith put way too much milk in the potatoes; that's why they're runny). It was still super delicious though. In the spirit of full disclosure, dessert WAS a Jello chocolate pudding mix. Woops.

Saturday's breakfast was a simple banana pancake topped with fresh strawberries and sliced banana with warmed maple syrup. It was surprisingly filling and oh so very yummy.

Dinner was an elaborate affair that I totally forgot to photograph, but trust me, it was awesome. We invited Keith's dad over for dinner and served a plate of fresh Roma tomatoes topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella, chopped basil and drizzled with olive oil for the appetizer. The salad was a simple salad of mixed baby greens, romaine lettuce, quartered Roma tomatoes and shaved carrot, followed by chicken parmesan on a bed of whole-wheat bowtie pasta, with sauteed carrots, celery and broccoli, tossed with a bit of butter. For dessert I baked a lemon tart and Keith made a raspberry sugar sauce to spoon over it. All of this was made from absolute scratch using fresh ingredients. It was epic.

Sunday: For breakfast this morning, I made eggs with green onions, fresh mozzarella, green & red peppers, basil, cilantro, celery and of course, salt & pepper. I paired this with fried potatoes made with olive oil, dried rosemary and salt & pepper, and added vanilla yoghurt with sliced strawberries on the side.

SO filling. SO good. SO flavourful. And it managed to hit all five food groups - protein, veggies, dairy, starch and fruit. Hows that for awesome?
We have home-made, totally-from-scratch pizza (topped with fresh mozza, basil and tomatoes) in the works for dinner tonight. I think I'll serve it with a big salad and save half of it for lunches tomorrow. Yummy!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thoughts on tuition & textbooks

There's two ways of looking at a part-time student. There's the kind that have a decent job, making a decent income, who goes back to school to upgrade or to expand their horizons for whatever reasons. Then there's the student who has a crappy job and is going back to school part-time to change their "careers" entirely.

I find that what colleges cater to is the first type of student - where paying 500$ per course and an extra 140$ for each courses' textbooks is not a problem. (Although I must add that the course cost is dependent on the program; when I did part-time (legal) my courses were only 300$, whereas Keith's (financial management) definitely fall in the 500$ range).

So if you're taking 3 courses at 500$ a pop, that's 1500$. That's more than I pay ($1350) as a full-time student for 5 courses! Why is this? Why don't colleges offer some kind of discount the more courses you take as a part-time student?

For example, the first course is full price. The second? Fifteen percent off. Third? Twenty to twenty five. And so on. I think this method would definitely make more money for the college (not that they need any, sheesh) because:

a) people LOOOOOOOVE buying stuff on sale.
b) More people would take more than one course per semester, thus equalling more money being paid to the college, even if it is offered at a 15-40% discount.

and c) They do it for the full-time students, why not extend the same courtesy to part-time?

Don't even get me started on textbooks. HOLY. Why? WHY? I will never understand the price of textbooks. Keith's textbooks cost us an extra 150-200$ a pop for each course, and mine aren't much better. It's INSANE. College students are one of the poorest demographics out there, and some idiot is charging 80$ a book? And the Textbook and Technology Grant (available only to full-time students, what a surprise) is a joke. And trying to re-sell them is a nightmare sometimes. I can't tell you how many times I took a book back to resell only to be told they don't accept it or they're at the limit for the semester.
(And just a note, I know all the ways to cut down your textbook costs, but that's not the purpose of this rant!). Even thinking of it gets me all ranty and stabby.

What do you think? Do you have any thoughts on my suggestions for cutting costs in favour of part-time students?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


  • Have an interview at Famous Players on Saturday.
  • Class was cancelled on Monday & today.
  • Achieved 81% on Part I of my Estates client file.
  • Fixed my transcript and now have a GPA of 2.83 overall.
  • Midterms weren't the greatest; 65% on my Crim and 67% on Estates.
  • One thing I REALLY hate; when you have someone on twitter (and they're just a regular person) and when you @ them they never reply back. Seriously? What are you, too good to talk to me? Where the heck do you get off? Uppity bitch.
  • So now I kind of just want to stop following her & reading her blog...should I?
  • No really, should I?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Surprise

Hi! I'm Sarah's dinner. She just threw me together using the most basic ingredients in her fridge in about fifteen minutes.
I must say, I am most awesomely yummy, and will be made frequently in the future!
Ingredients: (Serves 2 very full wraps)
Base: Spinach tortilla, light scraping of 35/cal mayo & calorie-wise Ranch dressing & lettuce

Everything else: 3 oz chicken breast, cut into strips
A quarter each of red, green & orange pepper (chopped)
3 green onions (chopped)
3 celery stalks (chopped)
Just enough shredded marble cheese to cover top.
Dash each of salt, pepper & lemon pepper seasonings.

Just fry me all together for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is done. Add cheese on top to melt and then serve in prepared wrap.

Keith had sour cream & Diana Sauce (honey garlic) on his wrap with no cheese and also pronouced it delicious.

Pleased to meet your aquaintance! Until next's to happy surprises in your kitchen. (grooooooooooan).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I got to thinking a couple of weeks ago when I went home to visit my Mom for a couple of days - about family, and when your children start bringing home their significant others, and it's serious.

Most families - at least, I think, accept their new daughter or son in law as an extension of their children, and welcome the opportunity to include a new member to family events or functions.

And that's certainly the case with Keith's side of the family. His mom & dad accepted me fully into the family, as part of them, and included in all major decisions (especially when Della passed away). Part of the family. Because I was important to Keith, and therefore important to them.

My side? Not at all. Not that there is any precedent to the matter; my older brother, although being 31, will probably never marry and is currently in an on-off again relationship for the past decade (and my mother has only met her once or twice in that time). I am the first in my family to be engaged, and the first one to try to actually include my significant other with trips home/family functions.

My mother has - quite bluntly - told me that she has no relation to Keith, no duty to include him in any family functions, anything of that nature. Quite simply, she does not see him as having any ties to her family, despite him being engaged to her daughter and one day the father of her grandchildren. My father, while on the surface seemed to include him, the Mexico fiasco proved otherwise. And I know it isn't just because it's Keith, it'd be anyone I brought home.

And it breaks my heart. Because he is my family. Because I know it should be different. Because he is the single most important person in my life, and my parents can't/won't see that.

I don't think what my parents are demostrating towards Keith is normal. Do you? What are your experiences with in-laws, or your parents inclusion of your significant other?

Friday, March 5, 2010


Keith & I are spring-pruning our finances. Since I don't have a job at the moment, all we have monthly is his paycheque and a bit of money from CPP each month (my dad is a disabled contributor, and I'm under 25 and in full-time post secondary).

Our rent is about half Keith's monthly income. Actually, its about 72$ more. We don't have credit cards, or lines of credit, or overdraft protection. So that means we have about 900$ per month for all bills & personal. It's really not much but it's doable if we are super, super careful.

Good news is that Keith's desktop is finally paid off, so that eliminates a monthly bill of 65$. Another thing is I finally convinced Keith that we don't use our home phone since getting our cell phones. So that's another 71$ bill monthly that's essentially gone. Already we've cut back 136$ of our fixed expenses by getting rid of those two bills.

One thing I need to get into is clipping coupons and watching sales in order to cut back on our grocery bill. I'm also toying with the idea of making my own laundry soap; apparently it's super cheap, lasts forever, and works just as well. I don't receive any coupon books or flyers right now, but it's definitely something to look into if it warrants it. Do any of you have any suggestions for websites where I could find manufacturer coupons on everyday items or think getting coupon books is a good idea?

We're also looking into cutting back our cable portion of our bill. Currently we spend about 160$ on cable, which includes a PVR box, extra digital box in the bedroom, Sportspak for OHL hockey, extended basic, and then all the stupid fees they charge. It's WAY too much, in my opinion, to be paying every month just on TV. It's actually sickening.

For reducing that amount, we have a few ideas: Keith mentioned getting rid of the Sportspak once the Bulls season is over (March 13), which takes an amazing 30$ off monthly. I actually took a closer look at the bill today and discovered that while the extra box is only 5$, the fee they charge for an extra outlet is 7$! That's twelve dollars a month for something we barely use. Also, we pay 57$ for "extended basic" cable. We watch channels 3 to 16, 30, 31, 34, 42, 45, 46, 54. That's IT. Twenty three channels and we pay 57$ a month for the privilege? Ridiculous. So we're looking into reducing it to just the absolute basic package, which is 30$, and adding channel 30, 31/34 (I could be persuaded to just pick one, or neither), 45 and 46 individually, if they aren't included in basic cable (channels 42 and 54 are "nothing else is on" channels, and I doubt we'll miss them that much). So that chops another 27$ off our bill. Total savings; $69 a month. SIXTY NINE DOLLARS. Excuse me while I hyperventilate.

So, all told, we're looking at a significant monthly savings of 205$. Again, with the hyperventilation. For us, that's HUGE to eliminate from our budget. I feel I must note that we do have 130$ for a season of ball hockey for Keith coming up & also 520$ for his course for the summer, but this puts us in a much better position to afford those kinds of things.

Right now for fixed expenses, other than rent and Rogers (calculated at its current cost of 300$), is the gym, which is another 140$, and bus passes, about 165$. That leaves about 300$/month for food, laundry and personal spending. We can't save anything right now, which scares me and is definitely not ideal, but we can survive.
What are your experiences with cutting back expenses? Have you done any of it lately? Any ideas/suggestions or tips?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

(my take on) Healthcare

A week ago Leah from fiveblondes did an excellent post on healthcare & it inspired me to write about my own experience. Also, I found out about this process through talking to a dear twitter friend, Jania. (who TOTALLY just twisted my arm into giving her credit *wink)

1) Decided that surgery would probably be the only option to losing (and keeping) weight off. I'm having Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. Benefit: Way too many to list here.

2) Called the weight management clinic I went to last year. Got an appointment for Thursday morning. Cost: Zero dollars. Waiting time: A day and a half.

3) Had appointment with doctor to discuss surgery & options. Cost: Zero dollars. Time: About an hour. Benefit: Learned about the surgery, got the ball rolling.

4) Learned I will either have the surgery at my local hospital, or go to Utica, New York and have it done there. Time: If I have it here, the waiting time is 5-6 months until surgery. New York, the time is about 3 months.

Cost: For the surgery itself (in both places): zero dollars. Travel is not covered for the New York option, neither is the 2-week liquid Optifast diet beforehand (for either option; about 92$). Also, Keith might miss 3 days of work (still to be decided if it's paid or not) to come with me.
For medication, the cost will be zero dollars as well. However, that is due to my mother's excellent health plan (which I am covered under until the age of 25 if enrolled in full-time post-secondary studies) and not related to strictly healthcare.

So. yeah. I should know next month where I'm going to have the surgery. It's going to be a reaaaally long month.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I need some redecorating help in my apartment in the worst way. Right now, we have three red shelves on our walls, and they are full of hockey figuerines. I can't say that without cringing, because holy hell dude, inappropriate in a grown-ups apartment.
But Keith is very attached to these stupid things, so that's the first thing I need help with. How to convince him that they suck and need to be put away, because he is thirty-one years old, not seven anymore, so help me god?
That's not to say that some (like, ONE PER SHELF) can't stay. Because, hell, I'm all for mixing in styles and preferences and baby steps people. But seriously, it needs to be changed, because it makes our living room look like a five year old boys bedroom, and that is not good.

So, I need suggestions for what to actually put on the shelves. Funky vases? Big, thick, chunky candles grouped together? I'm not into figuerines, or crystal things, so that's out. I'd like to keep each shelf under 30$, but the cheaper the better. Any suggestions?

And that brings me to these two areas that need an overhaul as well.

I could be persuaded to leave the tops of the bookcases empty, but the top of the TV thing needs to be cleared out. (yes, those are army guy figure-thingys. ewwww). I actually was thinking of keeping it V.E.R.Y. minimalist, and thought the candle arrangement that Somi'sNilsa did in her fireplace was really awesome. Maybe only having something like that in the space would be enough?

(taken with permission, Nilsa's AWESOME fireplace candly-thingy)

What do you think? What should I do for the 3 shelves & top of the TV?

Monday, March 1, 2010

it does matter. it feels good.

I love this country, proudly, fiercely, unabashedly.
I could have watched the Olympics all month.
Can't wait for 2012 London & 2014 Sochi.

Not only was this the first time we won gold on home soil,
it was the Olympics where we set a new record for most gold
won by any country, ever.

It was an Olympic of stories.
Of Alex Bilodeau, and his brother.
Of Charles Hamelin and his girlfriend, Marianne St. Gelais.
Of Joannie Rochette, who continues to make me cry.
Of Clara Hughes. The only Olympian to win multiple medals
in both Summer & Winter.
Of double gold in both genders of hockey.
Of Jon Montgomery & his pitcher of beer.

Countless stories, immortalized forever.

Vancouver 2010, you did good. Really good.

Stephen Burnt says it better than I ever, ever could.
This made me cry. And love this country just a little bit more.
As if that were even possible.