If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get


After reading a post on one of our favorite blogs Zen Habits on how to make it impossible to fail, we were looking for a new electric toothbrush for myself at Target.  There was a baby blue Oral-B Professional 1000 on sale for $48, but there was also a pink one (my favorite, of course) there at full price. Only the blue one was on sale, the pink one was $65, but other than they were exactly the same toothbrush.

So we decided to take them both to the checkout and asked if we could have the pink one at the same price as the reduced blue one.  The cashier called someone over. They looked at it. They called someone else over. They looked at them. No one could find a difference between them other than the color, but they scanned at different prices. They hummed and hawed and one of them said but the pink one was the newest one.  We basically just stood there and let them talk amongst themselves (this is one of those situations where it actually helps your case to just stand there and wait for them to make a decision) and after a few minutes of deliberation they agreed that we could have the one we wanted for the same price.

In the end, we saved 30% !  and by using our Target Visa, an additional 5%

I’m not sure why people don’t just ask. Sure, there is a chance that they would have said no, ans we would have happily paid the full price – but if we didn’t ask, we never would have known.

As they say, if you don’t ask you don’t get. Next time, just ask!

How To Bust The Clutter, One Stack At A Time


We have encountered clutter at our house at alarming rates.  This is NOT our house, but it’s a picture people can relate to.  Too much paper, lost items and feeling overwhelmed.

Lately, we have started to de-clutter every weekend.  We take four hours every Sunday to tackle a room in the house.  You can start with one hour or even a dresser drawer.  In our bedroom we managed to remove four big bags of clothing for Goodwill, reclaim the fireplace and have a fire by the end of the day.  If you have left it too long it will take time and the mess while cleaning up and sorting does gets worst before it gets better.  By getting your rooms to maintaining “stuff”, you have control of the situation and will appreciate the organized drawers and wardrobes too.

Great stress reliever

Don’t wait for spring… start clutter busting now!


How To Save Money From Junk Mail

Junk mail comes through our mailbox almost everyday.  URGH!!!  but wait…how do you know if you are shopping at the right store if you never look at what they have to offer.  To save money you need to invest some time and effort to know that you are getting the best deals.  All deals are NOT found at Costco

Saving money on your groceries and household items is easier than you think.  Key to saving money on groceries is sales.  Sign up for online flyers for your local grocery stores.  Buy the Sunday paper for all the local store flyers. Check your mailbox mid week for grocery flyers.

Open safe junk in your inbox.  Maybe you signed up or this at the store and forgot.  I have coupons from DSW and Barnes and Noble on a weekly basis.  When you are at the store, search your phone email with keyword search to get the coupon.  Just knowing you saved the tax is enough to give you satisfaction and more $ in your pocket.

Cafeteria Food…If You Want To Call it Food

food guide
Cafeteria Food, If You Want To Call It Food

People are sending their children with “prepaid” cards for snacks and lunches to nourish their brains throughout the day.  For $2.75 a meal you get a “meal” that could be balanced if you REALLY try.

What’s on the menu?  Deep fried this or that with dip and sugar laced drink.  What the hell is “breakfast on a stick”?  YICK!

Gone are the days that children sat at the breakfast table and made their breakfast without the aid of a microwave or thaw button.  MMM…

Is there any fruit to go with the salty sugar charged carborific meal that one is to ingest?  No, because joe public does not know the first thing about balance meals.  The government pyramid was doing the public a disservice.  People even that the lettuce and tomato in their burger are actual vegetable servings!!!

Enter the “plate”  proportionate eating compared to other items on plate.  Makes sense but no mention of exercise and if you are a big eater kinda defeats the purpose.

Try to encourage your kids to eat the right foods.  You are only trying to teach them good eating habits.  You are the adult … act accordingly.

How To Stay Warm : I Love My Hoodies!

I have always been a fan of hoodies.  I started to collect them in Canada because of the weather.  Perfect for layering.  The best part of the hoodie is the hood.  Especially in Canada when you needed protection from rain, sleet and snow.  Should be standard issue for the postmen.

Bought my first Lululemon Scuba hoodie 3 months ago.  Totally hooked.  This is a Canadian company.  It spoke to my roots because they know how to keep you warm and stylish 😉my fav hoodie

They are expensive however, they are high quality.  Much rather pay $100 bucks for a decent hoodie that will last me for years.  Crappy hoodies are are not warm and the lululemon hoodies are made well, better fabric…you do get what you pay for

I bought my second one last week and I’m even more impressed.  special edition with reflective material, hidden pockets, vented back vented elbows.

I look at these things as investments.  My hoodie consumption will go down now with these primo pieces in my wardrobe.  comfort and style tackled at once 🙂

My husband bought his first one this week.  He is hooked too  <3


Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal

Started the day off early… no time to eat our forbidden rice sludge…Starbucks to the rescue.   Being a former Starbucks barista,  (I would make fun of customers who would devourer “oatmeal” but then again they were older then me…now I’m as old as them.)  I know that this is a “healthy” option for breakfast.    Perfect Oatmeal.  add nuts, dried fruit and even brown sugar, we are eating about 500 calories and getting a start on our daily fiber intake.  You can omit the nuts and fruit and brown sugar…but then it starts to look and taste like quaker instant oatmeal without the sugar.

It was a nice change.  nuts and fruit in almost every spoonful.  Almost too good to be true.  Let the scale yell at me in the morning! or not…



“The most important meal of the day is the first. So why not make it nutritious and delicious? Start the day off right with our warm and hearty Perfect Oatmeal – 100% whole grain goodness made-to-order with your choice of brown sugar, dried fruit and nuts. It’s breakfast just the way you like it.”

via Starbucks® Perfect Oatmeal | Starbucks Coffee Company.

Lateral Release and Arthroscopy Knee Surgery

Lateral Release and arthroscopic surgery

I recently had a lateral release and arthroscopic surgery on both my knees.  The right one was done in December 2011 just after Christmas and the second one was done a week after Valentines February 2012. The right knee was done first and the recovery is well underway…I’ve had 6 weeks of physiotherapy 2 times a week.    Round 2 for knee #2 for physio is commencing this week.  The second knee feels a lot better than the right.I think its because I know what to expect.  I found that diligent icing of the knees and pain medication is key.

The fact that I couldn’t drive for 4 weeks was a pain.  Depending on others, physio appointments, missed work, frustration and overall fatigue are to be expected.  Go with the flow… realize things will get done later and push yourself everyday that much further.  You are the only one that can pull through this.  Yes support from family and friends helps, but inner strength gets you there.

I can’t wait to get all this behind me.  I have had knee problems for the last 18 years.  After the birth of my son, I developed Osteoarthritis in both my knees.  Moving to California 4 years ago, helped but not enough to stop the degeneration of my knees.

Canadian doctors wanted to replace my knees when I turned 55.  my quality of life suffered and my condition worsened.  Socialized medicine hard at work…NOT!!!

US doctors realized the real problem with my knees and suggested the lateral release and arthroscopic surgery.  So far so good.  The pain is almost gone in my first treated knee and I feel confident that the 2nd will turn out just as good.  I can’t do squats but I can do stairs without feeling like a hammer is hitting my knee with every step.

Get a 2nd opinion and check out reviews and referrals.  Do your homework.  I had a second opinion and the diagnosis was the same but the doctor made the difference.




One Thing I Learned From My Father

me and dad

My best childhood memory was with my dad.  Always daddy’s little girl! My dad worked so hard for the family.  His family arrived in Canada from Japan in the late 1800’s… they were interned in BC, Canada during World War 2 and when the war ended headed to Toronto to start their lives again.  His strong character always believed in helping people.  He believed that you “needed to teach people to fish” and to not “just give them the fish.  This is how I was raised.  I am trying to raise my son this way.  I am not “wise” yet in his eyes…I must earn this…I cannot be wise and be respected for my age or position.  I realize this and thankful I have time…If its not my “wisdom”…. it will be the what I gained being with my dad that my son will gain.  My dad gave me silent strength and my strong belief is doing what is “obligation” and “pleasure”.

Look at your parents…they are either being reflected, admired, examined by you.  Take from them…”good” and “bad” and wear your “make up” well.


How To Properly Stock Your Medicine Cabinet

Medicine Cabinet necessities

Are you one of those parents that have been in a car at 3am looking for a pharmacy that had cold remedies for your sick child. Worst is when they are with you because you can’t leave them at home alone. The solution??? Keeping a stocked medicine cabinet at all times… cold season or not.

This exercise will save you time, energy and money.  Time and energy because you are not going out at 3am. Money because you can purchase and stock up when the items are on sale and not purchased at a premium price at 3 am.

My experience as a single mom a few years back made me realize that I was alone one night with a sick child and very little money. I felt desperate and not in control. From that point on I told myself I wouldn’t put myself or my child in that situation again.

Now newly married and 2 more kids in tow, I find that being prepared is an absolute necessity.


Supplies needed for adults and children:

  1. Tylenol or Advil – for all age ranges in the household
  2. Cough syrup and cough drops – for all age ranges in the household daytime and nighttime formulas
  3. Antihistamine for allergic reactions for all age ranges
  4. Wound cleanser – non stinging
  5. Antibiotic cream for cut and burns
  6. Maalox for all age ranges in the household for diarrhea and heartburn
  7. Band-Aids – assorted sizes – non latex
  8. Gauze in a roll and prepackaged squares
  9. Eye drops – tear maker type for cleansing
  10. Aleve – anti inflammatory for sore muscles
  11. Oral rinse
  12. Sunscreen 30 SPF
  13. After sun cream
  14. Vaseline
  15. Lip balm
  16. Hot water bottle

Also, any medication that is needed for anyone in the household…ie. inhalers and nose spray for asthma/allergy, epinephrine (EPI) pens for allergies etc. (check the expiry dates at daylight saving time to keep track of these items)

Try to purchase from only one pharmacy.  The pharmacist can check drug intervention at time of renewal or new prescriptions being added.



Here’s A Painless Dinner Idea

Broccoli Soup

When we purchased our new blender “Blendtec” off Amazon for $500…we wondering if we were going to suffer from buyers remorse.  All the “easy and wonderful” recipes awaited experimentation.  We started with smoothies…orange ones, blue ones, green ones, until the fruit bowl was empty….now what?…

Dinner time meant lamenting over what to make.  We decided on soup given the fact that the organic farmer dumped another 20lbs of raw materials on our stoop.  (regular occurrence on a weekly basis).  We started chopping and roasting and before you knew it it was time to test the blender with the soon  to be hot lava.  it blended beautifully…only drawback was the horrible noise in the process.

MMM vegetarian soup without the pain of being tasteless.  The recipe calls for no milk products.  The soup does however, looks really creamy.  Healthy, tasty, comfort food.