Monday, December 29, 2014

Can you become an Extreme Couponer in Canada?

Well here we are, a new year rapidly approaching, time to make some new resolutions. Of course, the same old resolution I make every year will be to lose some weight....nothing changes there! But this year, something new I've decided to focus on, is couponing. I've never been one to pay attention to coupons, flyers, etc. Often I'll stand in line at the checkout and watch people price matching and think to myself "why am I not doing that?" just lazy I guess.   I've also often thought that couponing really wasn't worth the time here in Canada, because of the different coupon policies between stores here and stores in the US.  A while back I watched an episode on The Marilyn Denis show with 2 Canadian women that showed how to prepare a meal on a budget, using coupons and other various store specials.   The episode sparked an interest in couponing, so I visited Extreme Couponing Mom, one of the competitors in this competition.  Lots of interesting information on her website,  and an affordable ebook ($10) to teach you how to learn to coupon.   I ordered the ebook a week ago, thinking I would receive it right away, but so far haven't.   Have tried to contact the website owner, and am hoping that eventually I will get the ebook, I'm sure part of the reason this is taking so long is that we had Christmas and Boxing day between today and my order date (December 18th)  but if you are thinking of ordering from her in the future, I wouldn't recommend it.  There is no reason an electronic transfer should take 10 days from the date you paid for it, holidays between or not!  If I ever get the ebook, I'll let you know my opinion of it, but based on my poor experience and lack of customer service (all emails I have personally sent to her so far have gone unanswered) I don't think I could recommend this vendor to anyone.  EDITED -- I did finally receive the ebook, after several emails.  Her email to me was not very professional and again, would not recommend buying from her.

After that disappointment, I kept googling, and found Mrs. January.  I can't get enough of her website!  She too has an ebook, $17, more expensive than the one from Extreme Couponing Mom,  but I decided to go ahead and order it, because I don't think that first ebook I ordered is ever going to show up.  Received the link to that ebook seconds after my paypal order was complete.  Very impressive, the book is over 100 pages of very useful information, I TOTALLY RECOMMEND THIS EBOOK!  I've gotten tons of ideas of how to get going with couponing and she also has a very interesting outline of The Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum plan, which up until now, I have used but not to it's full advantage.  It's really made me rethink my shopping habits and patterns.  With just a little bit of planning I think I can cut my shopping expenses by a lot.

Over the Christmas shopping season, I also discovered that EBATES has arrived in Canada.  I've heard about this site before, and if you are the type to online shop, which I am, it's an easy way to make free money.  Next time I want to purchase something, I'll be going there first to see if I can order it online.

Swagbucks is another site that I always thought you could only use in the US, but it's available to us Canadians now too.  Lately I do all my internet searching through swaybacks to earn points.  Hard to tell how quickly I will be able to earn, but worth a try.
And Lastly, a site that I haven't taken advantage of yet but plan to is Checkout51.  Each Thursday the site lists items, if you purchase them you take a photo of your receipt with their smart phone app, and earn points that can be redeemed for cash.  Not yet sure if this will be worthwhile, but again, it's worth a try.

So that's what I plan to focus on for the New Year.  What resolutions have you made?

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Beginnings

Wow, I turned around, and it's almost the end of September! How the heck did that happen?  Clearly I've ignored my little space on the interwebs, and I'm not going to promise that I'm going to start posting again frequently, because I just can't make that kind of commitment to you right now, but I will at least give you a little update on our lives.

This summer wasn't one of the most beautiful summers, as far as weather goes here in Ontario, and after the horrible winter we had last year you would really think that mother nature would have given us some kind of reward for making it through, but no, it didn't turn out like that.  We however managed to pack a lot of excitement into these past few months, weather be damned.  I probably didn't loll around our patio by the pool as much as I have in recent years, but perhaps that's a good thing.

Limefreckle Jr. and I spent a fair amount of time up in Northern Ontario where my parents live, more time than we have in quite a while (3 weeks in one stretch, and then up again to a nearby island for a couple of days) and it was lovely.  Limefreckle Jr. always seems to show such amazing growth every summer, and this year again he continued to amaze us.  He decided that he wanted to sleep out in the guest house, and not in the house with us, which surprised me, I wasn't sure he was ready to be "on his own".  After heading out there with his ipad to ensure that the wifi could be reached (it could) he moved out of his room inside that he had deemed "too small" for his needs, and into his own spacious apartment. He did show up in my bedroom the very first night at 2AM, and ask for my company.  I went out and slept in the extra bed in the room until 6AM, when I headed back.  I think he just needed that first night with someone else and then that was it, we barely saw him again.  I think he really enjoyed the independence, and quite frankly, so did I.  When he was a toddler, my trips up north were more a "change of scenery" than a vacation, as I spent most of my days chasing him up and down the here....

he never seemed to want to just stay put in front of our house, the neighbour's beaches were always so much more interesting.  And while they still are, he ventures out there on his own now, and doesn't need me!  Now I'm living the dream, asleep on the beach or in the hammock.  I do miss this little guy, but not constantly having to run after him!  Now my view is a lot more like this....

and this.....

or this.....

eating a lot of these..... salad plates, although I have no idea why we call them that, as there is no salad to be found....

Whichever beach we found ourselves on, there always seemed to be kids running around like this....

Limefreckle Jr. likes to travel with his costumes, one never knows when the perfect movie making opportunity might arise.  He literally views life through a camera lens, in his mind when he visits a new place, he's scouting locations, and he's found some great ones this summer.  Even though the weather wasn't the best, we made due, and had an incredible time.

But now September is upon us, and it's back to school...and this is where the new beginnings kick in.  Limefreckle Jr. has moved on from his school of the past 6 years, and is attending a much bigger school.  It's been a very big transition for ALL of us......almost worse for me than him I think!  I wasn't expecting this change to come until next year, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and Jr. decided that he had outgrown his previous setting, and was looking for new challenges.  Who am I to argue with that?  He's doing pretty well at his new school, has made new friends, which I knew wouldn't be too hard for him, he is one of the most social children I've ever met on the spectrum.  The work is a bit harder, and he has homework, which didn't happen in the past, so we've been working through those changes.  He has to wear a UNIFORM, and not just a golf shirt, but a BUTTONED DRESS SHIRT, which I didn't think he would ever put on......and at one point in the summer I thought he would change his mind, but no, he pushed past it, and decided he could do it.  Coming from a kid that has lived in sweats and t shirts for the past few years, this is probably the biggest change of all so far!  He does continually complain about it, but one day my Mom pointed out that he was putting it on and going to school, so I've learned to try to just ignore the complaints and repeat my mantra "this too shall pass...."  Funnily enough, he doesn't MENTION the uniform to any of his teachers at school, so I think that it will be something that he will stop talking about eventually.

The staff at the school has been wonderful, and helped ease my anxiety about the whole transition.  I feel like I had been in a very happy place these past 6 years, and while I knew he needed to move on, I was hesitant to leave the amazing staff that we had.  My first experiences with education for Jr. were not very good.....nursery school, IBI therapy, and even the public school system were all very hard on both of us.  This last school "got it" and more importantly "got him" and I wasn't sure we would find another place like it.  So far, fingers crossed, these people at his new school "get him" too, and I think we have found a place that we can be happy with for the next few years.  Wish us luck, actually, wish ME luck.....I'm working hard at not letting past experiences define our future, and at letting go of things I can't control.  It's time for the baby bird to leave the nest and it's time for Mom to realize that things will all work out as they are meant to......and that changes can't happen without being a bit uncomfortable!

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

100 Happy Days

Spring is finally arriving here in Ontario....a little late, but we'll take it!  I'm off to Myrtle Beach again this weekend with my girlfriends...5 women that I met when we moved Limefreckle Jr. to the private school that he goes to right now.  These women were integral in helping me on this journey of autism we are on -- they all have boys (and one girl) on the spectrum.  These kids are some of Limefreckle Jr.'s best friends, and these women are some of MY best friends.  We decided we needed a weekend away -- and this weekend worked for everyone.  I'm feeling a little guilty to be leaving my family for Mother's day.....but Limefreckle Jr. is quite excited for a boy's weekend....and they will see Mr. Limefreckle's family to celebrate Mother's Day with I think they will be in good hands.  And it is Mother's Day after all, our day, so I think we deserve a little fun in the sun! Although Spring has arrived, the weather here doesn't compare to MB!

Almost a month ago, I noticed a post on a friend's facebook way, with the hashtag #100happydays.  It intrigued me, so I googled it, and discovered that 100 Happy Days is a challenge to take a picture everyday and post it, detailing something that made you happy every day.  This resonated with me, and I decided to embark on the challenge as well. The beginning of of the challenge was quite easy, I was leaving for Myrtle Beach the next day, so I had plenty of pictures to choose from.  But once I got home, I admit I did stumble a couple of times, not sure what to post.  I finally decided that it didn't always have to be something monumental -- if it makes me happy, it qualifies.  I encourage you to give this challenge a try - don't worry if sometimes your posts seem trivial, and sometimes theya re more profound, the purpose is to notice what makes you happy.

Here are some of my #100happydays pictures:

a tree near our condo in Myrtle pretty!
Limefreckle Jr. got to visit a local News Station - he told them he'd like to work there in 10 years

the trip to Myrtle Beach takes us through the Mountains on the 2nd day of the favourite travel day!
Limefreckle Jr. may have grown, but he still loves a good playground!
I was trying to grow my bangs out, but they weren't looking all that I got them cut again. Bangs are great....they truly make me look younger I think!
a fresh pedicure, ready to go back to the beach this weekend

this tree is in the middle of a highway, on my drive every's beautiful!

my son the novelist - he was saddened to hear that one of his favourite authors, Farley Mowat, passed away.  He said he was going to dedicate his next movie to him, and decide to start a new novel, in his honour.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Coming out of hibernation...

It's almost spring here, but you wouldn't know it by the weather. It's also the start of Spring Break today, well, actually, it started on Friday with a PA day, but the weather is far from spring like. There is a tiny hint of it in the air, Limefreckle Jr. always says "can you smell it?" when we are out....but his spidey senses are much stronger than mine. Here in Canada, we have MARCH break....not really spring break now that I think about it, because the weather outside in no way resembles spring, and the break is always before the actual, official start of spring. Fortunately we are heading to Myrtle Beach again this year for Easter, and Easter this year is incredibly late compared to years past, which just means a much better chance of good weather while we are there, so I'm fine with it all. Although we still have a month before we depart, it seems so far away. The extra good news is that a couple of weeks later, for Mother's day, 5 of my besties and I are heading back to MB for a mini vacay. So I have a lot to look forward to when Spring actually arrives. So you may have noticed I've sort of been in hibernation lately. When I hop around to a lot of my favourite blogs, I notice a trend....I'm not the only one feeling this way. This deep freeze that most of North America has been feeling this winter has affected a lot of us I guess. I feel like I'm opening the door a crack and peeking out. I've been hibernating in my home this winter, but also from my blog. I just haven't felt that I have anything that I want to discuss. Whenever I sit down to write, it feels blank, like whatever I have to say isn't really particularly interesting to anyone.... So I've dipped my toe in the water today, and it feels good. Can't promise I'll be back on a daily basis, but I do promise to try to check in a little more often.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

When is groundhog day again?

OK, I've decided, I'm officially sick of this winter. I was OK with it for awhile, traipsing around town in my new Sorel boots as comfortable as can be......until Wednesday night, when I came home from picking up Limefreckle Jr., crawled into bed with some Neo Citran, and didn't fully emerge until Sunday.  And before you ask, like my brother does every single winter, NO I don't get a flu shot.  I don't believe in them.  Until I get the flu, then I think it might have been a good idea.....but I'll forget that next year when it's time to do it all over again.  So now I'm over it all.  Ready for that groundhog to come out of his whole and tell me Spring won't be too far away.  Although he might say there are still 6 more weeks....but whatever, to me, the Groundhog signifies that the end is in sight.

Did I mention my new Sorel's to you before?  Mr. Limefreckle gave them to me for Christmas, but they didn't fit, so had to wait till we got back to exchange them.......I love them, and they are very cozy.  Also bought myself a new pair of Uggs with my Christmas gift money, because my old one's had a hole in them.....I wear them like crazy but not in the major the Sorel's fit the bill perfectly.  And they are getting their wear this year, it's snowing again out there tonight.

Here are the one's I have....

Of course I wear pants when I'm wearing them.....We're crazy like that here in Canada.  Speaking of Canada, saw this on Facebook the other day and couldn't stop laughing.....cause it is so true!

I've pretty much spent the entire week drinking Neo Citran, sleeping, watching marathons on TV (have you seen "Call the Midwife" on Netflix?)  I watched Season 1, and while it's not QUITE as good as Downton Abbey it's a close second, and I'm looking forward to watching Season 2 next.   I've had my computer with me, been busy checking Facebook and emails, trying to update my shop when I could, added a few new bracelets to the mix.  I've also read practically all of "Mad about the Boy" (the Bridget Jone's sequel - not as good as the original, but not bad either), and spent too much time on facebook, laughing at things like this:

The good news is, I think I've lost a couple of pounds, always enjoy that benefit to being sick!  Feel a whole lot better tonight, am going to run up and have a quick shower during the commercial breaks of the Grammy's, I'm not much of an awards show person, but I do love the Grammy's just for the outrageous outfits.  So far Daft Punk has not disappointed!  Hope you are keeping warm and feeling good, whatever YOUR weather is like!

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

The week in review

I swear I blinked and 2 weeks have gone by! We had a cold snap here in Ontario for a bit, can't say it really bothered me, I have some toasty new Sorel's that Mr. Limefreckle bought me for Christmas, and I really haven't been outside all that much (I leave all dog walking duties to him during the winter months, unless it's a bright sunny day....I'm so lazy!). I can't really complain as I drive around in my car with heated seats!   I also love nothing better than to go to hot yoga on a cold winter's I'm OK with January so far, but it does seem to be going by quite quickly.

I have been SUPER busy photographing jewelry etc. for my shop .  I still have a long way to go, I've probably only got 1/4 of my inventory listed online, but slow and steady, this is the year that I'm really dedicating to my business.  I toyed with the idea of opening up a dedicated website, but for now I'll continue on with Etsy and rethink things as the year progresses.

Here are some listings I've put up recently:

Triple Wrap multi bead

Emerald Silver Wire wrapped Earrings

Silver and Crystal Swarovski elements necklace

Carnelian, Dalmatian and Bronze Triple Wrap Bracelet

Silver Hoop Crystal Drop Earrings
Silver and Bronze Bar Necklace

Chakra Triple Wrap Bracelet

 I'm really happy with how my pictures have turned out, photography is so hard, especially in Canada in the dead of winter, when I have to shoot everything indoors.  I'm slowly getting the hang of my camera.  I would love to have live models etc. to show my items being worn, but unfortunately, unless I get Limefreckle Jr. to pose (not likely to happen) it's just not feasible most of the time.  But I think these work pretty well.  This is when I wish I had a teenage girl hanging around the house.  Probably the only time I would wish for that, it's been my experience that teenage girls can be a little hard on their parents (my experience AS a teenage girl at one time, and experienced I've gathered watching my friends go through it!)  I'm sure dealing with a teenage boy will come with it's own sets of challenges!

That's pretty much been my week.......a little bit of hibernating, and a lot of work on my shop. I much prefer the actual creating of the jewelry to the photography, listing and maintaining the shop, but it's something that has to be done.  My next goal is to apply to some bigger shows for the upcoming year, I have a couple of applications that I'm working on right now. 

We saw the Hobbit last Sunday, Limefreckle Jr. is such a movie fan, he loved it, and I have to say I enjoyed it as well, although I'm not quite the Lord of the Rings fan that he is. But it was action packed and left us hanging, and a great movie to see in the theatre.  This weekend has been fairly quiet, out for dinner with my girlfriends on Friday night, and then out to my cousins for some family time tonight.  I went back to my regular Weight Watchers meeting on Friday, the leader is absolutely FANTASTIC and the particular meeting I go to is full of a lot of fun, older ladies (they remind me of my mom and her friends) and they always make the meeting enjoyable.  Unfortunately, I haven't been doing such a great job of counting points since then.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day...

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Monday, January 6, 2014

I'm taking my own snow day

I expected to wake up this morning and find myself snowed in. Mr. Limefreckle insisted that it was going to be a snow day. I woke up to the sound of the snowblower, and turned on the TV expecting to see all the schools closed. Nothing came up regarding school closures, but there were plenty of accidents out on the roads in the GTA. I texted Limefreckle Jr's teacher (one of the great benefits of attending a private school...the teachers happily hand out their cell phone numbers!) and found out that the school was in fact, open. But I decided to take a snow day anyway. The highway that I typically take was apparently ice covered with several accidents, and I just didn't feel like braving that today. So I rolled over and went back to sleep. Limefreckle Jr., who has not got out of bed before 10 since the holidays began, was up and at 'em, just like I used to be when I found out I was having a snow point wasting the day in bed, there's lots of playing to be done! I do have to make a quick trip to the post office to mail a couple of recent orders I received over the weekend, but otherwise the day is all mine. Not that I couldn't have just come home after school drop off and done whatever I wanted, but there is something about not having to head out that makes the day special.

Since Limefreckle Jr. started at this school, I've had to drive him.  We lived about an hour away for the first couple of years, so I would just stay local to the school, go to the gym, have lunch with friends, shop, whatever I could find to pass the time, rather than drive all the way home.  Now we live about 1/2 hour away, still longer than I would like, but a lot easier to come home during the day if I want to.  I see mom's in my neighbourhood saying goodbye to their kids at the door, and can't imagine what that would be like.  Even when we were in the public system, the bus didn't work for Limefreckle Jr. I still had to drive him and pick him up everyday.

So I have the day stretched ahead of me, what to do, what to do.  I had intended to do some product photography during the holidays, and didn't get anything done, so for sure I will do a bit of that.  I will catch up on the season premiere of Downton Abbey, which I have PVR'd.  I will pop out to the post office, to deliver my orders And I will enjoy this one extra day of holidays, courtesy of Mother Nature! 

In other news, we finally had our Christmas celebration this weekend with Mr. Limefreckle's side of the family --- we had some delays, Sunday we were finally all available to gather at our place, have brunch, and watch the premiere of Limefreckle Jr's latest movie, starring his cousins.  He's been working on this project for a few months, and was so excited to finally have everyone together to watch it.  He came downstairs in this ridiculous pirate hat that his grandparents bought for him at the Stupid Factory at Broadway on the Beach in Myrtle Beach (Limefreckle Jr's. favourite store, and favourite area in Myrtle Beach. )  Limefreckle Jr. likes nothing more than a good hat....and for some reason, it occurred to him that this would complete his ensemble for premier day! 

His Nana had prepared a trophy for him, and presented it to him after the movie finished.  He was so proud of himself, took several bows and encouraged his castmates to join him for pictures.  It was priceless!  This hobby of his has helped him to grow so much,  I do think it is true, that when you help a child with autism find his niche, there is no telling what he can make of it!  We all look forward to his next project, he will begin production soon.

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