November 27th – Sales

Yesterday was Black Friday, the annual day for consumer sales in the USA, and to a lesser degree in Canada.      Although I am not a shopper, I thought this would be a good time to find and share a few ‘words of wisdom’ on the attractions and detractions of shopping.

“For some, shopping is an art; for others it’s a sport.”   –  Pamela Klaffke

“The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.”  –  Marcelene Cox   (One of the first things I did with Dan, twenty some years ago,  was  grocery shopping for my three teenagers and myself.  The first time, I spent two hundred and fifty dollars.   Two weeks later, I spent three hundred dollars.    Dan has been doing the bulk of our shopping ever since.  🙄)

“Ever notice there are no clocks in stores?  It’s like casinos; they don’t want you to know how much time you’ve spent dropping your quarters.”   –  Gina Barreca 

“Sometimes I get road rage just pushing a shopping cart in a supermarket.” – Unknown  (I don’t know who wrote it but I have seen the people who do it.  Just one of the reasons I avoid shopping.)

“Once again we come to the holiday season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.”  –   Dave Barry

“Those who hate shopping, don’t know how to shop.”  – Unknown  (I used to go shopping with my grandchildren – a lot.    When Maddy was two, she knew how to shop.  I set her down at Walmart one day.  She ran the entire length of the store, pigtails flying, flapping her arms, and  “cock-a-doodle- dooing”.  🤦‍♀️

“Online shopping gives me a reason to live for another 3-5 business days.”  –  Unknown (but hilarious)

Cool Christmas display 🤗

That’s it for today!  Take care and have a great day! 💞

November 8th – Patience

Patience and diligence, like faith, removes mountains.

  – William Penn

There is no doubt great wisdom in those few words, if I had any mountains causing me grief. What I have are molehills, those little bumps in the road that one encounters on a regular basis in life.

These past few days, there have been more molehills than road.   Doctor appointments, nausea inducing antibiotics, and an oven that decided it was done doing what ovens ought to do, yesterday – just as I had a pan of brownies that needed some oven time. 

Fortunately, we just bought a toaster oven.   But since one cannot put a pyrex pan in a toaster oven, I transferred the brownie mix to a pan that came with the oven.  A pan which is obviously not built for brownies.   I buttered the hell out of it and hoped for the best.

Baking brownies

I don’t know if these are the BEST brownies I ever baked but they are pretty good.  Getting them out of the pan was NOT – not good at all.  I have no idea where the butter went but it was definitely gone.   I’m not sure if it was the battle getting the pan to give up the brownies, or if it was the nauseating antibiotics I am on, but I had heart palpitations for the rest of the day yesterday.  🙄

But,  today is a new day!  I got up, tossed back another antibiotic and Dan and I set out to purchase a new stove.   We went through three stores and ended up with a choice of one stove that is in stock and semi close to what we want.  When did it get so difficult to buy a new stove?  At the last store I seriously considered a stainless steel gas range BUT – we would have had to buy a new fridge to match it.    We checked sixteen fridges and there was not one that was relatively normal and functional.  Dan liked the one with a digital front panel that would show the contents of the fridge at the touch of a button. 👍

Actually, what struck me in that store, was that half of the floor models looked like they had fallen off the transport truck and been dragged through the parking lot.  One stove had the oven handle ripped off, one fridge had a huge dent and scrape on the face of it, another fridge had a latch that was inoperable.   I wasn’t comfortable buying anything there.    I have no idea why their appliances were such a mess.   It was not a discount store by any means.

So, we are back at home. I checked a few more stores online. I found one stove that was doable and it can be delivered as soon as – next March! Apparently, appliances have become the latest casualty of the pandemic. 🤦

That’s is it for today! We are still in the market for a stove with a working oven. We will no doubt find one to serve our purposes in the days to come. One more molehill down.

Take care & have a great day. 💞

October 24th – The Cost of Food

Today’s news story, found here, relates to the ever rising cost of food. The gist of this article, is that the federal government is supposedly underestimating inflation in Canada by how they track the cost of groceries.

The federal government determines their average cost for specific products based on information received from three national grocery chains on a regular basis and compares it to previous data reported from the same chains. Melanie Morrison of Better Cart Analytics in Saskatoon, Sask. is saying that this is not as effective as the system that her company uses. Better Cart Analytics tracks product at thousands of chains and independents across the country.

Since most people do their shopping at larger chain outlets, I am not sure how including pricing from smaller, independent outlets or specialty shops would be any more accurate. The only thing this article seems to show is that the large national chains are not being as affected by inflation as the independent outlets – based on their rate of inflation.

One thing that does seem to be obvious, is that the cost of groceries are increasing and that is not good news for a lot of people.

Food cost is a major part of every household budget.  Fortunately,  it is also one of the most flexible. There is room for improvement in almost everyone’s shopping habits. Here are a few tips for grocery shopping that we have found to help keep our food budget in line.

  • Compare pricing for products sold in bulk and/or smaller packaging. We have at least one chain here that often sells larger size (bulk) packages at a higher price per unit than the price per unit of smaller packages. (Especially meat but other products as well).
  • Compare displays of same product. This same chain will often have a large display of chicken breasts, thighs or wings at a high price. Follow the path that most shoppers take and you will find another display – exactly the same packaging and best before date – at a much lower price
  • Check discount pricing compared to regular pricing. I have seen slightly damaged goods go on sale for higher than the same regular priced goods. (Not just at food stores)
  • Do the math Two for $5.00 instead of One for $2.00 is never a good deal but stores will offer it.
  • Check package weights Some chains sell entire displays of product (especially cheese) at so much per package. The weight is shown on the package and can vary substantially. I don’t check every package, but I no longer grab the first one I see.
  • Note the price of products (Dan is much better at this than I am) and make sure it rings in at the correct price. Most stores have a generous policy if an item rings in higher than it should – and it happens frequently!
  • Check product for damage – especially, fruit, vegetables, and eggs. There is no point in spending top dollar on poor quality product.

Of course, there are countless other ways to save money when it comes to food costs – watching sales fliers for good deals, buying ‘in season’, avoiding wasteful food habits, cooking tasty and cost conscious soups, casseroles, and stews, and avoiding impulse buying.

I know it is really hard to revise one’s shopping habits when one is working, raising a family, or just dealing with life’s issues. But, even small changes can make a big difference to one’s food budget. After a while, the only thing you notice is the money you save.

That is it for today! On a personal note …

Saving money for the things that matter – Happy 3rd Birthday, Cason!

Take care and have a great evening! 💞

October 21 – Shortages

Today, the news story that caught my attention comes from Bloomberg.com.    In this article, food shortages are discussed at length.

According to this article, the three main forces driving these shortages are labour shortages at food processing plants, transportation issues/getting products to store shelves, and hoarding by consumers.

I have seen a number of articles discussing goods shortages, gas and oil shortages, and the like.  They go into detail about how and why these shortage occur, how long these shortages will last, etc.    Most seem to suggest that they will, in time, return to pre-covid supply levels.

I can only speak for how things are in Canada, specifically in Saskatchewan.   So far, we have had limited shortages and not so limited price hikes – which of course are most detrimental to those who can least afford them.

In my view…  We need to adapt permanently! – personally as well as retailers.   In Canada we waste an obscene amount of food, product, and fuel.   Suppliers encourage this waste by their packaging and by their promotions.

There are some things that Dan and I have done for ages.  When it comes to vehicles, furniture, appliances, electronics and the like – we do not buy, or trade up, unless we have to and we do everything possible to keep such things out of the landfill.  

Mother-in-law’s rocker that Jen reupholstered. (I love this chair – I live in this chair 💞)

Since this pandemic started and I retired, we have gotten way better at being purposefully less wasteful. A number of the things we do now –

  • We shop way less frequently – saving gas, wear and tear on our vehicle and avoiding a lot of impulse buys – food and otherwise
  • We are getting way better at watching expiry dates and using up food before it gets tossed
  • We are way better at using our leftovers
  • We take better care with our food – preparing vegetables before putting away helps keep them fresh longer. Freezer packing our meat in usable portions before storing in the freezer also helps.
  • Buying condiments, etc. in smaller bottles so they get used up before being tossed out
  • We did way better at using and processing (for later use) our garden produce this year
  • Using REAL dishes instead of paper plates (mostly).
  • We are doing way more to weather-proof our house this fall to save on energy and to save my lungs and sinuses from the effects of forced air heating this winter
  • Buying better quality clothing and home linens – less often!
  • Using rain barrels to water our garden this summer
  • Giving grandkids money for gifts in lieu of ‘things’ that they may or may not need or use. Especially now that they are getting older, they would rather have the money to do something that they will enjoy.

It is little things – but they all help. It definitely helps with me being home all of the time, especially when Dan has days off. We have time to get things done together. That is not a luxury that everyone has. But if everyone who could, did a bit more it would take the pressure off of supply chains and make life a bit easier for others. We could actually be helping instead of hoarding.

We don’t really do that much, it doesn’t seem like that much, but I cringe to think of how wasteful we were before the pandemic.

Retailers could also do so much more to help control waste – especially food stores. Some perishables you simply cannot purchase in smaller quantities (like Bok Choy) or they are price prohibitive in smaller quantities. Many current promotions are only for quantities of two to four units at a time. Anything perishable – from salad dressing, to crackers, to cereal is impractical purchased in multiples for a small household. But, the price per single unit is rediculous, compared to the multiples price.

That’s it for today! My views were rather wordy compared to my news, but if you got this far ‘Thanks for listening!’

Take care and have a great day! 💞

August 26th – On a Roll!

There are weeks when nothing seems to work out regardless of how hard I try.  🥺 Then the are weeks that work out fairly well, but there are just enough snafus to be rather annoying. 🤨 And then, there are weeks like this week! 😁

Yesterday, I sent a quick message to my  niece Teenie (Jeanne Christine) I had not spoken to her for few months.  She messaged back and we had a nice chat.  This morning, my sister Lorraine sent a message, and we chatted for a bit.  My family is scattered across western Canada and the US.  We don’t connect often, so when we do it is always special. 💞

After my chat with Lorraine, I went outside to feed the squirrels and birds. I stopped to check the garden and found a few more cucumbers ready for picking. We already have more cucumbers than we can use so I decided to make relish. Since I haven’t done any canning or pickling for a couple of decades, I needed to make a run to Walmart to pick up some canning jars and a few other things.

That is when I really started to roll! I don’t care to drive at the best of times but today things went better than usual. The drive itself was fine. 🙂

The parking went better! I love that backup camera. 👏
I got everything I needed – and it fit into the top basket of the cart, where I could reach it at the checkout. 👍
I got home and again the parking went darn near perfect. 🤩
And… The canning rack I bought fit into my canning pot – perfectly. 🥳

Finally, my surgeon’s office called to book my hernia surgery! It turned out we couldn’t book it yet because the lab hasn’t set up my catscan and bloodwork but the woman I talked to is going to call them to get me in there ASAP!! So, it is progress. 😊

There are special days when great things happen. Those days are amazing. But the regular days when special things happen, or regular things just work great – those days are just GOLD! 🤗

I hope your day is going well. Take care and see you tomorrow! 💞

August 14 – Wedding Prep

Bonzzinis for Lunch

Dan and I went shopping this morning for clothing to wear for son Dan’s wedding. Things did not start well. My go to shop (Suzy Shiers) at Southland has closed down permanently. Doubly disappointing as I just read that they had taken over the La Chateau line – and they were my favourite is go to place for ages before they closed down.

We tried Cleo’s and the woman there was just the sweetest but she only had one dress that I thought would be great. It would have been except the top was two sizes too big and the bottom was two sizes too small. It was also one of those super wierd designs that are impossible to get in to. I got my head stuck on an armhole – twice. 🙄

Finally, we went to Suzanne’s and yay! I found the perfect outfit and it is the perfect fit – and it was on SALE! I am so grateful that I found it at the first mall we went to.

We tried a couple of men’s shops and Dan got a pair of dress pants – smaller than he has worn for years but a perfect fit. (No doubt another bonus from working in the melt shop all summer!) He did not find a shirt he liked but he is off the next few days so he will do more shopping around

We were pleased enough with our shopping finds that we went to Bonzzini’s for lunch. I had my beef dip and Dan had his club house. Both were amazing.

After lunch we stopped by Walmart to pick up a few things and I found myself a new blow-drier and it was on SALE. We stopped at one other shop and I scored three new camisole type shirts – on SALE!

Very grateful that I got everything I needed and did not break the bank. 😊

Have to head out to deal with my poor neglected yard.

Have a great day and I will see you tomorrow!💞

July 16 – More Magical Moments

Dan and his golf buddy decided to stay home and golf a couple of our local courses this weekend, instead of taking their annual golf trip.   I feel bad that they decided to forgo their little holiday, but it is nice having Dan here for the better part of the weekend. 🤗

Dan made my meditation corner a little more magical by adding a convenient little table. 🙂
Dan took me to my very favourite restaurant for lunch.  We were even able to eat inside for the first time in about sixteen months.   When I started dating Dan, he asked me what my favourite restaurant was and my kids said “don’t say Arby’s!” Apparently in the dating world in Regina, one is supposed to say Golf’s or the Diplomat.  (Which are both lovely high-end steak and seafood restaurants.)  We have been married for 22 years now.  I doubt that Dan will bail now because my favourite restaurant is Arby’s.
Then we went shopping to buy a new desktop computer to replace ours that died during the last full moon.   After three or four stops, we got one at Best Buy.  I guess they are the best. 🤷 Actually, they were the only store with technically knowledgeable sales clerks.
And we stopped to pick up a few groceries and some styrofoam bowls. I do not know what was with my hands but I was not getting four bags of styrofoam bowls off of the shelf and into our cart. 🤦
Kat scored a few fresh strawberries when we got home.  She loves her strawberries and Tiny Tim tomatoes. Apparently, she has even figured out how to pick her own tomatoes.
Our Buddha statue in his little ground cedar grotto.

We had a nice dip in the pool after we got home.  The water is super warm and crystal clear this year. I am lucky that Dan stays on top of all the filter and chemical stuff even when he is on a set of shifts.

Hope you have a nice rest of the evening and have a good weekend planned! See you tomorrow! 💞

Sunday Morning at Wally World

I got up this morning to the realization that we were virtually out of milk. Since I need some to make mashed potatoes for tonight’s shepherds pie, this was obviously a problem. Since Dan is working today, this was obviously my problem. I dislike shopping with a passion, but being the trooper that I am, I decided to take a drive over to our local Walmart.

I made it through the store. I got almost everything on my list, a couple of things that were not on my list, and a couple of skeins of wool and a new crochet hook 🙂. I dodged the customers who were doddering up and down the aisle moving against the directional arrows (rebels 🙄). I waited patiently for the clerks to move their stocking carts out of the way so I could get past them. I skipped aisles I wanted to go down, just to avoid the families who were there with six kids and Great Aunt Mildred (what happened to one shopper per household? 🤔). I even smiled and said “no problem” to the woman who accidentally ran into my cart. All in all, I did fine. I managed to leave the store in a relatively decent frame of mind.

Then I got to the parking lot, found the Jeep, unloaded my cart, and went to leave it in the nearest cart park. That was the final straw. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???

There were maybe nine carts in the. cart park. Every one of them was parked pointing in a different direction. An area that should have easily held thirty carts was jamb packed with maybe nine carts. It is +2 celcius today. For December in Saskatchewan, that is balmy. The Walmart parking lot was virtually clear of snow and ice. This cart thing was a situation created totally by shoppers who have just zero respect or regard for other customers or the store clerks who gather the carts and return them to the store. Seriously, I am a frail old lady (ok maybe frail is being a bit dramatic 🤧) but I am oldish and it took me all of a couple of minutes to pull out all of the carts and re-park them in an orderly fashion. It is not rocket science.

The thing is, the people who do that kind of stuff are the ones who stomp and pout through life, whining about how hard it is. Life might not be so hard for any of us if those asshats were not such asshats. But no, they don’t think of that! 🤯

That is my rant for the day. Have a good one. If you have to go shopping, make sure you mask up. If nothing else, there is a certain satisfaction to being able to surreptitiously stick your tongue out at the asshats you may encounter. 😉

No one can tell…

Opening Up Saskatchewan

Our provincial government has decided that it is time to re-open Saskatchewan. I agree that it is time. People need to return to their lives and we should be ready. Businesses have been made aware of what they must do to keep their customers and staff at minimum risk. Medical facilities have had time to prepare for Covid and non-Covid patients. Schools will remain closed for now as will churches, sports venues, and the like. Our government should be ready to take swift action if there are signs of a serious outbreak. People in general have been educated as to the risks of Covid 19 and the precautions needed to avoid contracting or spreading it. Saskatchewan is ready. It is time.

I have ventured out very little in the past two months. For the most part, I have gone only where I absolutely had to – our bank, our pharmacy, and to a lab for blood tests. I also went to one outdoor greenhouse and one very quiet dollar store. Dan has been doing all of our other shopping and errands on his days off.

Yesterday I decided that it was time. I put on a mask and headed off to Walmart with Dan to pick up a number of items that I prefer to buy for myself – shampoo, conditioner, and the like.

Not actually me…

Dan dropped me off at the lineup to the Walmart entrance. There were maybe fifteen people in line. The line was orderly and moving at a steady pace. One person would be allowed to enter the store and the rest of us would move up a spot. The spots were clearly identified. I was signalled to enter the vestibule, where there were three more steps to move up. Then I was signalled to enter the store.

Once in the store, it was a GONG show. People were coming in, people were going out, people were crossing sideways to grab a cart or return a cart. I had no idea where I was supposed to go. A staff member caught my eye and motioned me over to get a freshly sanitized cart. I thanked him, grabbed a cart, and moved off towards the pharmacy area.

There were no arrows to indicate which direction I should be travelling. There were only a couple of other people in the immediate vicinity so I was easily able to keep my distance. I was relaxing, while still being vigilant. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a large man moving up beside me. I edged away from him just as he put his BIG hand on the handle of my cart.

This was not the first time Dan has stepped up beside me to take over pushing a cart but he startled me none the less. Fortunately, my mask muffled my shriek and we moved on.

Dan’s hand vs my hand. He has BIG hands.

I led the way around the store, while Dan pushed the cart. It was all good until we reached the grocery department. Suddenly there were arrows on the floor and I was going the wrong direction – as were half of the customers. Dan was in the next aisle, going the right direction. I caught up with him and we quickly got what we needed. We paid the cashier, who was on the other side of a plastic barrier. I was distracted when I noticed she was sanitizing the debit machine after I used it. 👍

By the time I turned back, Dan was gone. He was halfway out the door. As I was trying to get past the service counter, there was a staff member – right there – announcing Walmart’s Covid 19 protocols. In the ten square feet in front of her counter, there were a dozen people all going different directions. I was one of them. 🙄

It may be time and Saskatchewan may be ready. Personally, I do not feel that I am quite there yet – at least not for Walmart.

Canadian Tire Deals

Shopping is not my favourite pastime but every once in while I get an urge to buy something for myself. I am not usually looking for anything specific, just something. When I get into an impulse buy kind of mood, my goto store is often Canadian Tire.

Canadian Tire carries everything from tools to small appliances to toys and ‘tires’, plus much more. Despite their wide range of products, the reason I go there is because we buy all of our gas there so generally have enough ‘Canadian Tire’ money on our card to buy anything I want without spending real money. Despite their wide range of products and ‘free’ money to spend, I generally decide not to buy anything, which of course works for Dan because he always needs something from Canadian Tire.

Lately Dan has been out of luck as I have been on a roll.

I got a new kitchen tap this week at an absolutely killer deal. I have been wrestling with the old one for months. Now I need to find a new home for my plant as it is tangled up in my new tap.
I replaced my old bread maker, which I broke at least six months ago. I got this one at less than half the ticketed price.
And finally, I got a new air frier. I wore my old one out so bad, there were parts falling off of it. And, I got another great deal.

I don’t know if it is typical for stores to give deep discounts on older stock to clear their shelves for new models later in the fall but it might be worth checking your local stores. As long as you do not really need the ‘newest’ model you might be able to score some great deals!