Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breakfast Program on 15 Cents a Day, Per Kid!

So I've just taken over the breakfast program for my grade.  Our school received the funding not to long ago.  We are approved for 15 cents a day per child, which works out to $3 for 20 students (about).  $3!  I couldn't believe it!  I had a hard time pondering how anyone could see that 15 cents per child per day was enough.  Because we started later and we will probably end it in May, my principal gave me permission for $4 a day (for each class).  It is still quite the challenge!

I started by scouring the flyers-both here in Rossburn and Brandon.  I needed to go to the city and as my time was limited, chose the grocery store that had the best deals for breakfast ideas.  My choice was Sobey's.  I needed to buy two weeks of food for 40 kids.  In my head, I knew that everything that I needed to buy had to be on sale for me to make my goal.  The total I had to work with was $80.

What I bought:

  • 8 loaves of whole wheat bread at .99 cents each
  • 10-4 pack pudding at $1.25 each
  • 6-5 pound boxes of mandarin oranges at $2.99 each
  • 1 box of plastic knives at .99 cents each
  • 2 boxes of plastic spoons at .99 cents each
  • 1-6 pack of paper towel for $6.49
  • 4 muffin mixes for $3.50 each
  • 2 pineapples for $3.49 each
  • 2 large jars of Kraft peanut butter at $2.99 each
  • 1 tub of margarine at $2.99
Grand Total:  $80.01 and I'm positive I'll have extra food left over!

Aside from the food, I also went in menu planning, I planned each day as I  shopped and stopped many times to keep totaling up the food to make sure I was within my budget.

So my menu plan is as such (both classes get the same kind of food):

Week 1
Monday-Christmas oranges
Tuesday-toast and pineapple
Thursday-Christmas oranges
Friday-leftovers (choice of Christmas oranges, muffin, or toast)

Week 2
Monday-Christmas oranges
Thursday-Christmas oranges
Friday-leftovers (choice of Christmas oranges, pudding, muffin, or toast)

When I told the girls in the checkout line what the food was for (as I had the school's food and then my own food on two separate transactions), they gave a lot of encouragement and one amazing tip which I need to follow up.  Apparently, Sobie's is a supporter of breakfast programs and once the approval has been given for the particular club, you are automatically given 10% off (usually only given on Tuesdays).  I need to phone and speak to the manager, but as I'm not able to get in for the Tuesday special, even 10% off would be awesome.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Freaking Fantastic Dog Furniture

So if you're like me, you love pet stuff.

Over at Better After, a reader sent in one of her pictures of an old T.V. set that she turned into a dog bed.  How cute is this?  The only thing that I think could have been done better is making the mattress deeper for the dog...puppies need comfort too!

Over at Home Frosting, Lesa made this adorable but chic crate look dog bed out of scrap wood.  While instructions are not given, it's looks pretty easy to duplicate!

Another neat idea is from Houzz is this suitcase turned dog bed.  Not only is it cute, but the designer gives full directions on how to make this...I swear I need to make one!

Over at Lowe's, they share how to make a royal four poster bed for your pooch.  With great diagrams, this is an easy one to follow!

So, what are your ideas?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vacuums....Searching for "The One"

So I don't know about you, but when I plan on making a bigger purchase, I believe in doing my research.  I'll ask friends, search for reviews, and always compare the item to other products.  What I've been needing for almost a year is a vacuum.  Try living without a year when you have two pugs...not easy.  My allergies and asthma have taken a beating.

2 months ago I purchased a mini vacuum, the Bissell FeatherWeight Vacuum.  A friend had told me that she had gotten it for like $20 and that it was awesome.  So I headed out to Wal-mart, and bought mine.  I paid $25, and it was good, but it wasn't great.  I found it just wasn't meant to handle heavy dog hair.  I also found it did better without the flat head (or whatever it's called).

A couple days ago, I ended up taking it into the classroom to help with the guinea pigs.  Well, it didn't do great with the dog hair, but it's awesome at sucking up guinea pig poop!  The kids love it...they are much more apt to clean the guinea pig cage as they barely even have to bend over.  I don't consider it a wasted purchase, but it definitely wasn't the right one for my home.

Now my dream vacuum for a long time has been the Dyson canister vacuum.  It's a dream other than a short cord.  Now it is amazing on pet hair!  It is shocking what it pulls up.  I was able to try a friend's Dyson a couple times and swoon....The bad news?  It retails for over $600.  At this point in my life of rebuilding my home to look like a home, I can't justify spending the money and I don't have that kind of money lying around.  It would need months of savings.

So what am I looking at getting?  The Bissell Pet Canister Vacuum.  It's on sale right now at Canadian Tire for only $99.99 (regular $179.99).  I don't know anyone who has ever owned this model before and so I did my research by starting to look for reviews.  Usually there are reviews on the actual Canadian Tire site, but no one had added them.  So I looked further.  Best reviews actually came from, which has way more than just books.  Some of the comments said,

  • "I have owned many vacuums - most of them too heavy or too difficult to change from carpet to tile. The attachments of this vacuum are easy to use and it is light weight. The canister doesn't hold a lot but I would rather empty a small one more often to have the super suction and convenience of a canister. It takes care of the pet hair on furniture and floors. If you have a large home or don't like to empty the container often, try something else. This little guy is great for smaller homes & apartments & those who don't like to work hard at vacuuming."
  • "We have mostly wood floors with some area rugs as well as carpet in the bedrooms. This is the one vacuum that I an use throughout the entire house. Prior to owning this, I was using 3 different vacuums- one for each floor type basically. This bissell does great with the pet hair. It does pretty well on the area rugs. It is fantastic on the wood floors. It's great in the bathroom. It works well in the cars and on the furniture and dog bed.

    I am so happy that I ignored most of the reviews here. This vacuum may not be as great as a $500 canister, yes, I get that. But I have never owned a $500 canister, nor will I ever. I don't need a vacuum to last 20 years. I just want something affordable, that I can use in every room of our house. It's been great at picking up the kid's crumbs under the table and on the rug. The suction power is good. It's a pretty quiet vacuum. I love it and am very happy."
  • "I love, love, love my Bissell Pet Eraser Canister Vac! And, it does vacuum up pet hair and I should know I have 6 cats and 3 Samoyeds (long white-haired dogs).I have never had a problem with the hair not being sucked up or the pet hair attachment getting clogged (yes, you have to clean it and remove the long hairs that wind around the brushes, but this is true of all vacs with this type of attachment). Yes, the vac is cheap compared to another vac I have which is a Dyson Pet Hair Vac which cost me well over $800.00 and I hate it. It tips over when you use the extensions, it is heavy and very hard to get under and around furniture. I have all hardwood floors in my house and I don't need a beater bar--in fact I hate them as they scratch up hardwood floors. I do have area rugs, and the vac does a great job on the rugs and upholstered furniture. Yes, the dirt/hair container is small, but that is so much better than having a large container which smells if not emptied often and then becomes clogged if you pack all that much dirt and hair into the large container and then try to empty it---what a mess. I have a 3500 square foot house with two stories and it doesn't take me long to vacuum. It works great on the stairs. Its lightweight and with the extension I can do all 14 steps. I have owned many vacs in my 45 years of marriage and I rate this as the best vacuum I have ever purchased. Thanks Bissell for a great product."

So based on those reviews, the awesome price, and the need to go into the city tomorrow anyway, I think I shall try to get one.  My allergies and my asthma will definitely be thanking me!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Love Straight, LOVE Curly!

So for the last little while I was thinking of something crazy.  After a haircut that left a bitter taste in my mouth, I ended up thinking that maybe it was all for the better.  I had gone in to get a lot of hair chopped off (and lightened) and not much was removed.  Turns out that maybe it was for the best, as I did something crazy...I got a perm!

Now I hadn't had a perm since maybe '91 and all I knew about perms was how scary they were.  I remember how much they burned the scalp and the horrible scenario afterwards:  frizzy and damaged hair.  But I love curls and my hair is so flat well, you get the point.  I started thinking about perms as I had heard that they have changed over the years, that they're not as damaging and there are different kinds out there to prevent the granny look.

So here's the new look...

This picture is with my great grandmother (she's currently not doing well)

This photo is a little mother wouldn't take the picture until she was happy with the smile...

Coming to care for curly hair!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Decor for the Door-Mine That Is!

So in advance, I apologize for the quality of pictures.  My regular camera broke some time ago, and I had ordered one through one school plan, but that fell through.  Right now, I'm left with my iPhone, so pictures are so-so....

So, I don't know about you, but I love having something on the door.  There are so many beautiful wreaths and decorations out there, though my issue is that they usually cost an arm and a leg.  Even a lot of the homemade things, well by the time you get all your supplies, you're still looking at $20 or more to make something!  It wouldn't be so bad if you could afford it, but right now, well, an expensive wreath isn't the necessity when I still have sheets hanging up for my curtains!

What I did find though that I liked (and you'll see a picture below) is of sticks of willow that had leaves, flowers, and other little decorations with them.  One alone looked quite silly, but three together looked great!

Straight view looking in Seen Above

Side view

I found these at Dollarama for $2 each...they did have some additional flowers on the bottoms, which I removed as I thought they looked quite cheesy.  To link them together, I simply took a piece of twine and made one big loop at the back, so it could hang together from my wreath hanger.  For around $6 plus tax, no one is the wiser that this was the biggest fall steal for me....I say it looks just as good as something you might find at HomeSense.  Not bad eh?

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Cake

So we celebrated my September students' birthdays-6 of them to be exact.  For the cake, I decided on an owl idea, which gave pretty easy directions over at FamilyFun.  It turned out pretty okay, though didn't look as cute as theirs of course.  I forgot about the feet, so I just used more wafers cut into triangles for the feet.  I don't know if my kids loved it more than the pool cake though...

Here's FamilyFun's picture:

Yup, and then here's mine....when you compare the two...well, it looks pretty silly....mine obviously doesn't win the award....

However, it tasted amazing...I'll be sharing that recipe with you was impressed!  So, we had