Tag Archives: groceries

may grocery challenge: update #4

greetings, friends!

well, here we are – this is the last entry for our regular tuesday updates in the great may grocery challenge series.

week #1!

week #2!

week #3!

reminder: on thursday, i will share the month’s final grocery bill. [my last may grocery store outing will happen today so that i have time to review my receipts and think about what i want to say about this project!].

here are the thoughts from this past week, may 22-28:

~ stupendous: i managed to go three whole days (monday, tuesday, wednesday, last week) without setting foot in a grocery store – that has gotta be close to a personal record.

~ silly: there is enough cereal in my cupboard to sink a ship. and the cereal sales are still going strong this week at all area food stores. it’s irksome that i do not need any more cereal because i would love to take advantage of deals such as this one at food basics:

love the “buy more, pay less” incentive!

~ clueless: i honestly have no clue if i have spent $200 or $600 on groceries, this month. i am going to be just as surprised as you when i tally up how much money has been spent. i am really excited to see the total!

~ craving: here is the eclectic request list that i gave emailed dad-the-scout for his trip on thursday to the market:

  • a choco chip muffin
  • skim milk cheese
  • white button mushrooms
  • a head of lettuce (**this last one was simply for the laughs: dad as lettuce supplier has become the joke of this project!*)

~ focussed: this week’s vehicular voyage saw me head up to beechwood zehrs:

i so very rarely shop at zehrs these days!

guess what SALE item i was searching out?!…

not as good a price as at central’s sale!

i stocked up with enough lettuce to see me through the end of the month. next time i buy rabbit food, it will be anywhere at any price (likely food basics: even at regular prices, they are still the cheapest).

~ sweet!: nicole (unknowingly) contributed to the cause!

yum! a cupcake made by nicole for her sister’s bday!

~ icky: i bought a tin of water chestnuts and a tin of baby corn as accoutrements for salads. well, one serving of each, then my taste buds turned themselves off. let me tell you, you get a lot of water chestnuts and baby corn in those little tins…

any thoughts from your own may grocery purchases? i never resorted to kraft dinner!

~*~*~*~*~

today is a special day – it is dearest mom‘s birthday! we marked this celebration date on sunday with two fun outings – recap tomorrow!

file photo, may 2012, pre-shopping outing, of course!

mom and her newest bff, celebrity restauranteur chuck hughes, in montreal, april 2012!

mom: you are one of the sweetest, kindest, gentlest ladies (yet you still possess spunk and gumption) on this earth. you are my favourite shopping partner, confidante, and i love you to pieces. enjoy a most wonderful day today (perfect timing that you are in TO to see little e and cutie c!) and all the best in the coming year. xoxo!

may grocery challenge: update #3

i had an a-ha realization during this, the third week of the great may grocery challenge, and i am interested to know whether you have ever found this phenomenon to be true, too: whatever the event, be it your work day, a marathon (ok, any distance of running race, actually), a plane ride, a crafty project…it is the 1/2 to 3/4 span of time that is the slog zone. if you are going to lose momentum, interest and steam, it is going to be during this 50-75% completion mark. agree? disagree? thoughts???

while i wouldn’t say i became disheartened from may 15-21, i will admit the project was not quite as *!fun!* as it was for the first two weeks. i did not want to give up or drop out, it didn’t reach that extent at all [i tell you blogging is the best way to stay accountable] but i just wanted to buy a da*n apple in 30 seconds, without thinking and planning, already!

here are assorted randoms from week #3 (may 1-7 is recapped here! may may 8-14, here!):

~ a drought no more: i was paging through last saturday’s paper when an ad for central’s grocery deals caught my eye – lettuce, $0.99 each. i shook my head and rolled my eyes and refocused on the page just to make sure it was not a too-good-to-be-true moment. yippee!! no need to beseech dad to get me lettuce this week! last tuesday, i hopped in the rav and excitedly drove over to central [luckily, it is nearly in the ‘hood. you can read about my visit to this indy local grocery institution during last year’s grocery challenge here!].

the best sight of the whole week!

…and then i spotted a delightful surprise!

can you believe that?!! ORGANIC broc, TWO for a dollar??!

frankly, i don’t make a point of buying organic, but i welcomed the sight of “organic” + “special” on the same sign – sweeeeet!!!!

~ a lucky find: i ran out of glucosamine this past week. to be honest, i stocked up on vitamins in april, knowing that supplement purchases would spike my may grocery bill. but, i obviously overlooked the nearly-empty glucosamine bottle. guess what? shoppers had glucosamine on 40% off! plus, the bottle was bonus size -> 360 tablets for the price of 300! thank you, jamieson brand and shoppers drug mart!!

~ a yesno~yesno~yesno raging debate: i also ran out of protein powder this week:

what, you don’t keep saran wrap, AA batteries, empty plastic bags and protein powder all on the same shelf??!

i dislike drinking protein shakes. but i love, ♥ love ♥, LOVE mixing protein powder with just enough water so that it is of icing or pudding consistency and then eating it with a spoon or spreading it on an apple. yum! now, i could have replaced my pro powder while staying within the rules of the grocery challenge because i can get the powerbar brand at the store, thereby making use my employee discount, thereby saving $$. but even with my discount, that tub is still over $20, ie not that cheap. the unfeeling rational side of my brain argued that when breaking down the cost per serving, other quality protein sources are a lot cheaper (hello, $1 tuna). but chocolate protein tastes so goooood!, whined the emotional half of my head. at present, that tub is still on the store shelf. but, that could change…today! or later this week! i am wavering…

~ a worthwhile splurge: i am blaming manager paul entirely for causing me to make this unnecessary purchase:

chocolate flavoured almonds!!

paul casually mentioned last week how much he was enjoying cocoa roasted almonds. well, once he said that, i could not get the thought out of my mind! must find! must try! and wouldn’t you know it, in valumart, i spotted said almonds…on sale! now, even on sale,they were still $5.69 for that container (and i could have gotten regular ol’ plain almonds on sale for about $2.99 at shoppers), but paul was not kidding – these are absolutely knock-out delicious! [this happy find cancels out the crappy date squares bust from week #2].

~ a mooched meal: saturday brunch over at mom and dad’s before i went to work!

a mixed-berry medley; a slice of leftover pizza; a few potato chips; homemade rhubarb crisp. thanks, ‘rents!

~ a veritable bonanza: valumart has the best cereal sale going on this week that i have seen in years. there’s gotta be at least ten different varieties that i like (plus others i don’t like) marked down. some are  2/$5 others are $2.99 or $3.99 per box – it’s a joy to behold the shelves. hmmm, still ten days left in may…i think it is worth the investment to stock up!

~ a new water: president’s choice has introduced a collection of carbonated waters:

$0.79 per bottle – on sale!

that flavour is fantastic! but what is that red fruit on the bottle, with the blueberries? i dunno, but the water is extremely refreshing!

~ a close call: sunday morning, 5:45 a.m., all of a sudden the power went out. this is not a rare occurence – our building frequently gets a blip where we lose electricity (just long enough so you have to reset all the clocks) but on sunday, the power was STILL out when i left for work at 8 a.m.! i was getting pretty concerned about my fridge and freezer goods – what if the power is out for hours upon hours, and i have to ditch everything??, i despaired. thankfully, the power returned at 8:04 a.m., i was told, so i didn’t end up losing approx $25 of groceries. whew!

~*~*~*~*~

and that’s it for week #3! we’ll review week #4 next tuesday, then do a final monetary tally and analysis [the plan is to buy the last of may’s groceries on may 30th so that we can find out if i came in under budget ON the last day of may].

i think we’re over the psychological hump – the end is nearly in sight!

may grocery challenge: update #2

whoa – hold your horses! how did it get to be the middle of the month, as of tomorrow?!

it’s time for our second update for the great may grocery challenge – that means that (hopefully) i have spent less than $200 on groceries, so far. no tabulating allowed, but my hunch is that i am doing well. however, we won’t know for sure until approx 10:00 p.m., may 31st!

here’s an example of one of my shopping trips (this one was to valumart) from the past seven days…

clockwise, from L: yogurt; frozen mixed veg; oatmeal pacs; crab (on sale + a coupon!); pickles; pears; date squares

…and here are some observations!

the end of the line jar: i finished my maranatha crunchy pb this week…that means no more of this fabulous brand until june as it is never on sale.

the gratis restaurant occasion: our family outing on mother’s day to solé restaurant in honour of g’ma’s 90th bday! (recap + photos coming tomorrow!).

the discovery: peanut butter on PEAR tastes just as delicious as pb on APPLE! highly recommended! [i picked up pears when valu had this fruit on sale, and absolutely zero varieties of apples on special].

the swap: cauliflower for broccoli ($0.99 on sale vs $2.99 not on sale at valumart).

the disappointing failure: those date squares in the photo, above? virtually inedible. they are tasteless and dry. i still have 5/6 of the tray in the freezer, and i think i am going to need to chuck them, unfortunately, that’s how totally unpleasant they are. [i think i need a tshirt that says, “life is too short to eat cruddy date squares.”].

the cheat workaround solution: i need my everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salads. despite scouring the sale flyers, the only greenery i could find on sale was romaine hearts, 2/$6 at valumart. do you know how puny and skimpy romaine hearts are?? and that price is still highway robbery! no way was i forking out that much moola for rabbit food. so, brilliant plan: i asked DAD to pick up lettuce for me at the market since mooching and freeloading is allowed for this project. (yes, i did feel a little chagrined). thankfully, this week there are more – and cheaper – options available in the greens dept at area stores!

the problem with a rule of this challenge: since the (self-imposed) rules state that only items on sale may be purchased, sometimes the sale price is more than the regular price. case in point: those oatmeal pacs – it’d be cheaper to buy a bag of oats, but they were not on sale, and the individual pacs WERE on sale, so that box went into the grocery cart. i always used to buy my oatmeal in those individualized serving sizes, and i realized buying them again now that you get spoiled, just grabbing a pac instead of measuring out oatmeal (like it’s such a hardship, that extra 23 seconds!) and you create more garbage! [for whatever reason, i swear the oatmeal tastes miniscule-y better from the little package…].

the yucky substitute: when i finally did locate apples on sale (zehrs at conestoga mall), i had to settle for the macintosh variety. thank goodness i only purchased two because they were mealy and soft – exactly the texture and taste i intensely dislike in an apple.

next tuesday will be recap #3!

~*~*~*~*~

the k-w record featured a really interesting grocery-related opinion piece last thursday. check out busy grocery shoppers shouldn’t read this column.

how much time would you say your average grocery shopping trip takes you? me = 5-10 minutes. most often, i buy a backpack’s worth of groceries at a time (so, not a whole lot). i never shop without a list. the only variable is how long the checkout line takes!

~*~*~*~*~

an idea for a future kiki project??!

in the latest issue of runner’s world, this small story caught my eye:

now this is creative!

this woman ran every day…and also drank a DIFFERENT TYPE of beer every day! how fun would it be to streak run and consume a NEW CEREAL every day??! that might be a bit preposterous for a year…but totally do-able for a month! need to ponder!…

may grocery challenge: update #1

tuesdays will be grocery challenge check-in day for the month of may…only because may 1st was a tuesday!

~ financial report: i don’t have a total on money that has exited my wallet thus far because there is no tallying allowed until the end of the month. however, i am mentally guesstimating the perceived exertion spending rate, and things are looking good.

~ three mooching examples: lunch with dad; 3/4 of an avocado and a slice of banana bread from mom; lunch and dinner chez the brother and sil ana. i am trying not to be obnoxiously cheap. but, i do think a cereal raid is on the horizon, fyi mom and dad!

~ lesson learned: i need to stop my natural stockpiling tendencies! i am so accustomed to building up a stash of items when they are on sale that i automatically did that with peanut butter and salad dressing this week. however, if i want to meet and beat my $400 spending target, i need to curtail the stockpiling. if i will go through the items during the month of may, i should take advantage of the sale price; if it’s going to take a while to get to x item, i need to leave it on the shelf.

~ shopping style evolution: i’ve translated my fashion buying question, “is this a want or a need?” to groceries. something like yet another flavour of mustard is not essential; milk is essential, for example. for one month, i can forgo some garnishes.

~ great deals of the week: tuna, cereal, salad dressing, lettuce, peanut butter, carbonated water, milk, chicken pot pie…those are the main discounted items that i snapped up. valumart was a surprisingly good resource this week with their “dollar days” promotion.

~ where i shopped: valumart, food basics, shoppers.

~ concluding impression: all is good! i am not lacking any essentials, and am financially on track.

~ goal for this week: pick up some products to try that i usually would not purchase just because they are on sale.

feedback on your own grocery shopping experiences this week?? paying in cash is super-helpful in terms of sticking to a budget!

~*~*~*~*~

i’d like to wish a happy 90th birthday to my grandma, today!

file photo: christmas, 2010

grandma does not read the blog, but i want to give her landmark birthday a special mention because reaching the age of ninety is quite a milestone. we have a family celebration planned for this weekend, and i know g’ma will love just having us all together – that’s how grandmothers are!

a day of awesomeness

it’s not my usual blogging style to write a “here’s what i did yesterday“-type entry; however, we’re going to venture into that journalistic territory today because i really want to share my tuesday with you.

do you ever have one of those days that just seems too good to be true? that was my tuesday. by the time the evening rolled around, i was craning my neck out the window, trying to spot the lucky star (or flock of cardinals?!) that i was sure must be hanging over my head.

my “good karma” bird

[don’t worry, i do not live with a horseshoe up my a$$; one day last week, i endured a pretty craptastic evening at work that soured my entire day – happens to us all, eh?].

let’s go through tuesday’s events in chronological time order…

~ i worked at the store from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the first six hours of my shift, i was able to: organize the month-end paperwork for our home office package; write the weekly run club email; transfer out a ton of shoes; unpack a ginormous box of new product; complete a markdown report; do a spot audit for inventory purposes – oh, and assist customers with their purchases! it was so satisfying to get so much accomplished. during the last hour, a girl who i had not seen since we ran together with “tri city track” eons ago came in – it was fun to catch up with her!

~ i received a performance evaluation that filled my ♥ with joy.

~ tuesday’s blog post introduced the great may grocery challenge, and it was so much fun reading your responses and comments! one of the best parts about blogging is visiting back and forth. i do hope some of you play along with tracking your grocery expenses, too, and we can all compare notes at the end of the month.

~ i received a phone message from a member of the mcc quilt committee. the kind lady wanted to let me know that my blanket was selected to be part of the quilt display on from now until the end of the month at the joseph schneider haus in kitchener.

log cabin blanket

~ after work, it was time for errands. first stop: the library. finally, i was able to snag emily giffin’s “something blue” after a few weeks where it was already signed out every time i checked for it [reading something blue makes for my third e.g. read in a row! i’m enjoying her style very much].

~ then, it was on to valumart. i got the grocery challenge off on the right foot by taking advantage of a number of super deals, for example:

  • tin of tuna – $1!
  • salad dressing – $1!
  • chicken pot pie – $1!
  • lettuce – $1!

i spent $18 and change, and had a good haul of items to bring home.

~ as i walked into my building, i ran into (not literally) my superintendent. he asked me, “i think it was you who left a NIKE cardboard box in the recycling room??” i thought, uh oh…guilty as charged. [background details: a couple weeks ago, at theOTHERstore, i took all of the cardboard boxes out back to the recycling receptacle. there was one box -  the NIKE one – that i just could not cram in nor break down…so i brought it home with me to *hide* in the building recycling bin]. super doug continued: “i have to tell you that i saved the box because it is absolutely perfect for using when we wax the floors. what a great find!” whew! (while i am tempted to count this positive outcome as a r.a.o.k., i will not!).

~ up in the condo casa, i attacked a to do list as long as my arm. i was determined to pull an erv and get everything checked off, tickety-boo. after a couple hours, my list was complete except for one last thing: make more recyclable bags for the compost bin. i didn’t really feel like doing this task, but decided to get it over with. i trotted down to the recycling room to get the needed newspaper. as i entered the garbage room, an item on the dumping shelf lending library shelf caught my eye:

one dozen brand new golf balls!

i scooped these up for dad! too funny: if i had not gone down to get the newsprint tuesday eve, i am sure the golf balls would have been gone by morning. i bet dad will get a hole-in-one when he uses these lucky-find golf balls!

and then i enjoyed a good sleep!

what’s one activity, moment, blessing, *coincidence* that RAWKED (as my friend derek would say!) for you, this week, thus far? hopefully, sharing good karma begets good karma!

today i am going on an outing with dad, and we are going to pursue something that i had hoped would be a new experience LAST year! [no, it is not a hot yoga session.]…i’ll fill you in tomorrow because i am not sure if we are going to succeed on our mission, or not!

the return of the may grocery challenge

happy first of may!

i don’t know about you, but for me, may kicks off the summer season. it is blissful to think about the upcoming four months of summery weather that lie ahead [september first = autumn, in my book, and we have to start thinking about the return of colder temps – ick].

last year this month, i conducted a personal grocery challenge. at that time, my goals for the thirty-one days of may were simply to track my grocery spending and use coupons/take advantage of sales. i wanted to get a grasp of where i was at – it was an eye-opening experience!

this year, i’m reinstating the grocery challenge, but with a twist. here is the theme for this month:

if it’s not on sale, i am not buying it.

and here are the rules and escape clauses details!

  1. i will only buy groceries that are at a specially reduced/temporary sale price.
  2. i can shop at any store. between valumart, zehrs, sobey’s, food basics, shoppers, bulk barn, the health food stores, etc. [yes, specialty stores do have sales! i scored a box of envirokids peanut butter panda puffs for $2, the other day, at eating well organically!] i have many easily accessible shopping options at my disposal, and it will be easy to hit any of these stores at pretty much any time.
  3. coffee and carbonated water are exempt. i need my diet coke substitute morning java and i need my bubbly. the good thing is that some brand of carb h2o is very often on sale somewhere. and i have a well-stocked pantry of instant coffee. [oh the irony….it is not lost on me how much money would be saved by drinking diet pop in lieu of water and coffee…eesh].
  4. i can mooch all i want. watch out mom and dad, sil ana – your cupboards may be ransacked – haha! free handouts are allowed.
  5. i am going to try to come in at under $400 total grocery spending for the month. for some of you, this may be a high amount, for some of you a low amount, it matters not, but according to my tracking, this is a feasible budget to aim for.
  6. if i end up spending less than $4oo, the extra money gets specially marked in my disney fund [so, for example, i can say, “this is the tshirt i bought with my may grocery challenge savings!”].
  7. money spent during coffee shop outings with friends is exempt because this falls under ‘”entertainment” in my budgeting system.

the hypotheses that i hope to prove:

  • you can eat healthfully while purchasing only sale priced goods
  • you can save a lot of money by reading store flyers and searching out sales
  • you can enjoy a wide variety of products even when only buying sale items
  • it’s ok to deviate from the norm: for example, i always use lite catalina dressing on my salad. what if it is not on sale and i have to try something else? that’s ok!
  • you can save a sh!tload of money by shopping this way. or will this theory backfire? will i see that x is on sale and buy it just because it is a deal??

this is going to be a fun – and funny? – experiment. the worst case scenario: luckily, cereal and milk are always on sale, somewhere!

i think i’ll do a once-a-week update for the month of may about the challenge….so, stay tuned!

bland/boring question: do you like grocery shopping? i do! dad does! mom does not!

nosey/prying question: how much do you spend on groceries a month, and do you think this is a lot or a little? it is probably a good thing that whole foods is not in my ‘hood (although we do have the indy vincenzo’s which is very similar) – i love that place and would have no control on spending, if given easy access to their products!

butter of the almond variety, jar two

a couple weeks ago, i bought my first jar of almond butter in a very long time:

no photo-staging for me - open the fridge, point the camera, presto!

the jar is almost gone. since i love this brand of pb…

also stored in the fridge! not to be confused with my #1 go-to, kraft all-natural (that one i keep in the cupboard)

…i decided to try a maranatha almond butter:

raw, no salt...and an official supplier to canada's olympic teams!

let’s compare! (using the patented kiki **** four star rating system)…

price: (both almond butters are from valumart – did you know that valumart and food basics offer the same price points on peanut butter, and you cannot buy almond butter at food basics at all? now you do know!).

president’s choice blue menu crunchy almond butter = $7.49 for 460 g

maranatha raw almond butter = $7.99 for 340 g

frankly, this is more than i want to pay for any almond butter, so they both get ** (two stars) i do recognize that pres choice offers more bang for your buck.

taste:

pres choice: mild, pleasant…yet it gave me heartburn a couple of days (and i never get heartburn)! knock off a star for that. *** (three stars).

maranatha: mild, more pronounced taste of almonds than pres choice. **1/2 (two stars point five)

texture:

pres choice: wonderful!! the crunch factor is THE BEST, yet it still feels silky on the tongue – what a fabulous contrast. *** 1/2 stars (three point five stars).

maranatha: runny! you could never plop this almond butter on an apple – it’d run all over your fingers. would be great in a recipe or stirred into hot oatmeal. ** (two stars)

will i buy it again?

pres choice: yes. like i said, this almond butter grew on me, the emptier the jar became.

maranatha: maybe?? the jury is still out.

conclusion: i still like peanut butter better!

next up: i want to try bulk barn’s almond butter!

how much did you pay for the last jar of pb you bought, and what brand did you buy? i had totally stocked up at valumart the last time my favourite all-natural kraft was on sale ($3.49, i do believe)…

on the shelf: peanut butter sandwiched by coffees!

…but i had to break down last week and buy it at regular price at food basics where it was $6.99!! i remember reading in the newspaper a few months ago that pb prices were going to explode…and they have! what happened to the days of peanut butter being an economical food product?!

three things thursday

this is going to be the quickest blog post on the face of the universe. i may not even proofread! the only reason i am blogging is because i miss you. all of my focus is on THE BLANKET, this week (see, i am watching the clock so intently that i will not even link back to the most recent talk about THE BLANKET). the good news is that the time and effort is paying off. dare i say i am ahead of schedule? no, i musn’t. that would be a surefire jinx.

three things thursday (and five for friday, two-sday, etc) are popular blogging titles. to the best of my knowledge, i have never done three things thursday! however, i am not about to go back through the blog chronicles and verify that fact – we’ll just take my word for it.

alrighty!

#1 – i love peanut butter with all my heart and mind. my tiptop favourite is this one (nothing new, you’ve seen this brand before, here):

uh oh, this is the last one in my pb stash...and yes, the pb is stored beside the instant coffee - that's my cupboard organization!

in doing some reading, i have learned that ALMOND BUTTER is even better for you than pb because it is not so acidic (if i understand right). i’ve purchased almond butter in the past, but am just not crazy about it. however, for variety, i bought this almond butter – there was a $1 off coupon at valumart to sweeten the deal!

a never-tried-before brand, to me

i will eat it, but it’s just not as yummy as pb.

#2 – i would give my right arm eyeball for this tank top:

it CAUGHT MY EYE (punny!) immediately!!

it’s hanging in the window of the store ‘denim’ in uptown. [again, no linkage due to time! google if you must!]. unfortunately, it bears a price tag of $74. ouch. put this top into the “want” and not the “need” category of fashion desires. it’s totally me, though! and i already have a peach berserk top with eyeballs all over it, and i have that dress that i wore to duncan and jillian’s wedding by the same design team (desigual). anyway, i do stare at it and blow it a kiss every time i walk by.

#3 – what is it about food basics giving me opportunities for a r.a.o.k.?? on monday, i was in line to pay, and the woman ahead of me asked the checkout woman if she could have two $10 bills for a twenty. the cashier said no. she said she needed her small bills in her til for customers. well, the thought flashed through my mind that i could help out by providing two tens. sadly, i only had one in my wallet. but i would have assisted if i could have! haha, how funny would it be if 7/8 of my r.a.o.k.s all took place in food basics!?!

it is going to get to 22 degrees today!

tomorrow is the middle of the month!

this blogging break was good for my wrists!

question for if you are in a rush: peanut butter: crunchy or smooth? me = crunchy!! here’s my other favourite!

maybe i should try THEIR almond butter???

question for if you have a moment to chat: tell me the first three items of news that pop into your head starting NOW! me = i still have the urge to spring clean; i am not going drinking for st patty’s day (surprise, surprise); vfbf joanne and i are coffee cultur-ing after work – might i knit ‘n’ chat IN coffee culture?!!

 

how i spent my leap year day

seeing as february 29th = wednesday, that means leap year day was an aunti day in TO, right?

wrong. :(

just enough snowfall to potentially cause havoc on the roads

the weather gods decided to have a little *fun,* and delivered a spring-like storm of flurries and freezing rain on us. since the conditions were already getting nasty before 8 a.m., aunti made the executive decision to not make the drive down the 401 to toronto. sad.

the latest selection of cd's from the library will have to wait til NEXT wednesday to be delivered!

sooo…that meant that i now had an unexpected and unplanned day at home! what to do?

well, it didn’t take me long to make some plans.

first: i completed another step on the surprise project for dad:

a far-away photo, on purpose!

all will be revealed [to dad + on the blog] within the next week!

given the crappy weather, i declared yesterday a car-free day. that meant that i had no other option than to get my groceries at valumart [i had been planning to hit up the neighbourhood food basics in TO]. after tabulating my grocery expenditures for the month, i realized i had saved between $100-$200 during february, thanks to switching over to food basics for the majority of my shopping – wild, eh?! so, since there was extra money in the grocery kitty, i decided to perform r.a.o.k.#2!

thinking ahead to just such a day, i had saved the food drive bags that were delivered to our building a few weeks ago:

this time, the bags were smaller than the usual grocery bag size

when i went over to valumart to get my own groceries, i decided to fill the bags. there is no food drive going on right now, but the food bank always needs to replenish its stores.

my philosophy is that i only pick items that i would eat myself or give to my family. i had great FUN sourcing out sale items!

bag #1 was baby themed...(eight different flavours!)

...bag #2 was for an adult.

...and into the food bank receptacle they go (which is very small right now because there is no food drive going on).

completing r.a.o.k.#2 deserves a reward, agreed?! yesterday, juanita left a blog comment to let me know that david’s tea was offering a FREE large TEA in celebration of leap year day! i scooted directly from valumart to david’s.

sign in the window! how many people took advantage, i wonder?!

there were two types of tea available, for free:

(L): "green & fruity rooibos" w mango, peach, papaya, apple; (R): "north african mint," a green tea w cardamon, peppermint, ginger, black pepper and fennel

after sampling both offerings, and since i am not a fruit flavour fan, i chose the green tea. i brought my cuppa back to the condo casa…because david’s is also right across the street from home!

tea and knitting -> very nice!

in the aft, i coffee-shopped with mom and dad!

back to the mall, to "a matter of taste," this time!

and for my evening activity? how about a movie?! last eve, the princess was showing both “the artist” and “the iron lady.”

(source)

(source)

if you read yesterday’s blog post, i think you can guess which film i chose to see [although after reading zo‘s comment about “the artist,” i will say that i did consider picking the oscar-winning best picture movie…but my love for meryl streep’s acting won out, in the end].

the verdict?

totally worthwhile. i had a marvelous time watching “the iron lady,” and was very engrossed by the movie.

as anticipated, meryl is wonderful – phenomenal, even? – and deserves every inch of that oscar statue that she won. the storyline is touching, informative, enjoyable. i do recommend seeing this film! i’ll give it *** (three stars) out of a possible **** (four stars). 1.75 stars for meryl, and 1.25 stars for the movie.

(source)

all in all, it was an enjoyable leap year day. although, i did miss my little chiclets!

a christmas file photo will have to suffice!

better luck next week!

did you celebrate leap year day by doing anything out-of-the-ordinary and/or did you see any leap year day deals? tangent: i am freaked that i will be 46 years old when the next leap year rolls around! closer to 50 than 40 = O.L.D.!!!! :0

return trips, part one

one measly week.

that’s how long i held out before i was sucked back over to walmart.

and it’s all the fault of jersey shore. this past week i have been practically obsessing over the gtl tshirt:

file photo from sunday august 14th, outing with mom

this week, when the thursday flyers came out, i couldn’t wait to page through the one for walmart! here’s my shopping list method:

it's easier to just cut out the photo of what i want - then i know the item, the price, and have a visual!

yes, it’s not pretty, yes, it is cumbersome, but it works for me. [sidenote: vegetables and coffee are still soooo ick-sounding that i did not take advantage of the last few items on that patchwork list].

so, once again, it was a rainy sunday, but this time i arrived late afternoon. the parking lot was not at all full! i had thought sunday late aft might be a little zany. but either the rain kept shoppers away, or i am wondering if this walmart, being so new, has not yet become a destination station for hordes of people.

lessons learned from last week:

grab a cart!!

i have only one crossword left to do in my current book, so i hit up the magazine area, first. why not take advantage of this…

10% is 10%!

…to get this!

see the easy crosswords book in the bottom right corner? mine!

[i sincerely hope these are easy. my last book lied to me as the puzzles were challenging, not mindless mildly mentally stimulating].

i hope this book carries me through to christmas. because, nicole, i am following your idea you gave me and asking for the people magazine crossword puzzle boxset!

and then.

women’s apparel…

and!!!

got my shirt!!! oh, happy day!

next, i moved on to the grocery area, and spent more time going up and down the aisles, this week.

while i skirted around the veggies, avacados are not currently offensive, and also not a standard veg:

price compare: this week, avacados are 2/$5 at valumart

i found a new cereal!!!

$3 for a bag of honey graham bites!

[unfortunately, i’ve already tried the cereal and it tastes like what you’d expect a $3 bag of cereal from walmart to taste like…i’ll bury these tiny squares in with some other types, and all will be fine].

just another example of the mega-savings possible – almond milk. the walmart price:

$2.79 at bulk barn - the next cheapest place i have found

unfortunately, they were out of stock. but since i’ll likely be back later today very soon, at least i know it’s available, here.

as i headed to the checkout, i had to chuckle. look at my cart:

not exactly crammed full!

now this week, i could have gotten away with just my arms or a basket.

have to say, the sheer size of this walmart still rather awes me. i can just imagine what newly-arrived immigrants think of the whole walmart concept. if it boggles my mind, to some extent, it must be beyond comprehension for someone who has never before experienced shopping at a mega-store like this.

what good bargains did you find during the past week? back-t0-school sales are everywhere! good time to stock up on paper products!

~*~*~*~*~

gtl didn’t wait long to get outta the house:

at coffee culture with vfbf joanne, yesterday. no coffee!

then it was on to yoga class. jersey shore tshirt doing yoga. yup.

~*~*~*~*~

eta: on sunday eve, a tornado ripped through my beloved town of goderich.

here is the link to the reporting from the k-w record: goderich tornado

i was so very sad to hear this news. wishing all those impacted strength and courage.

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