A Frugal Week

Hi friends,

I hope you all had a great week. I have had a busy and productive one. It was a good week.

I started the week with making a baby quilt for my soon to be great-niece or nephew who will be born any day now. It is exciting awaiting the arrival of a new baby. The quilt was sent off in the post and arrived yesterday.  Since I did not purchase any new materials and had all the necessary fabric, thread and batting on hand, this was a very cost-effective gift.

Early in the week I visited a new to me university in the city. It is a small, private American university. I went there to ask questions and gather information for a friend of mine who is contemplating attending there. I was very impressed with what I learned and the fact that the university seems very responsive to real needs of students.  I do think though that the cost of tuition is a bit prohibitive.This little outing was very interesting for me and brought back my own excitement about being a student so long ago.  Other than the cost of the bus ride ($3.50 Canadian) it didn't cost me anything for the outing.

The night before my meeting at the university I received a coupon from  Michael's Craft store for 50% off a regular priced item.  I am adding large balls of yarn to my stash in different colours.  I don't need the yarn right away so I am going to buy 1 large ball of yarn every now and then.  The usual savings I would have on one regular priced item is 40% off.  This time it was 50% so I saved $6. (Canadian) off the total cost.  I also bought  6 small balls of cotton (at a savings of  $3.00). Altogether I saved $9. on yarns.  I'm hoping to make something different with the balls of cotton to be unveiled later if the project is a success. Normally I make cotton dishcloths and I really enjoy making them. Now and then though it is nice to make something different and add to my repertoire.

Yesterday I spent $14.30 (Canadian) on veggies, fruit and a small bag of pita bread (celery, carrots, romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, bananas, pita bread).  The romaine was about $.50 off and the pita was only $.99 cents.  Though I am now trying to reduce my carb intake (no more bread baking, sigh), I haven't had a sugar spike when I make a veggie/pita (whole wheat) sandwich so now and then I buy the pita at this good price. At the supermarket it is about $2.50 for the same bag.

Today I purchased a few roma tomatoes ($1.49 per pound) and a small head of green cabbage ($.69 per pound) for an additional $5. (and a bit of change) spending on vegetables this week.  I haven't had any mandarin oranges since the winter and so I splurged to have for snacks.  Good thing the oranges are smaller ones.  I've also managed to find small bananas on my last few forays to the produce market. Having smaller oranges and bananas is a good thing because I have to watch the sugar intake.

I do use a lot of veggies and I like to have a variety of them each week. I also like to have a variety of fruits though bananas, oranges, apples, lemons and limes are the staples. It used to be that veggies and fruits were the least expensive things to buy in my neighbourhood.  But these days nothing is inexpensive.  I just try to scale back and buy those items that are not so expensive or are on sale in any given week.
An example of healthy soup made with fresh produce.

Last week in the produce store the zucchini was $1.59 a pound.  Today the same zucchini was $1.79 a pound.  I've noticed that since new owners took over at the neighbourhood produce store, a lot of the prices have increased considerably.  The quality however has gone down. A lot.  The new owner is now charging virtually the same prices as the chain supermarket across the street.  But the supermarket has much better produce.  For example, the small, shrivelled lemons on offer at the produce store were 3 lemons for $2.00 (Canadian).  The supermarket across the street has much bigger, fresher ones and you pay about $.89 each.  You couldn't get 3 for $2. but you can get 2 large and plump ones.

The other day my friend was shopping at the same produce store.  He felt he was overcharged so he got them to re-do the tally and discovered he was overcharged by $10! That is a significant over charge. They blamed it on the new cashier who was just learning the ropes.

Basically, it really pays to shop around.  It also pays to keep your eyes open for changing prices at your favourite stores. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the cashier and to put things back if you find the prices are too high.  At the larger supermarkets I always try to watch the cash register and have saved myself a lot of money this way.  Often the inventory being scanned has not been reduced in the system so if you don't catch it you may be significantly out of pocket.  If you know the prices you can always tell when you are paying too much. I speak up immediately (before I leave the store) and have the problem corrected before I leave.  This saves me a trip back to the store to sort things out later.

I save all bottles and containers that have a recycle fee attached. Whene I have a shopping bag full of bottles and cans, I take them to the supermarket for a refund.  They limit the amount of recyclables they take at any one time but it works for me since I can't have too many piling up in my small kitchen before they need to be returned for the deposit.  Usually the amount I get back for a full bag is around $1.40 Canadian and this week was no exception. I'm given a chit for the refund which I can then cash out when I go to the check out counter.

This week I also made $2. on a scratch ticket sent to me for my birthday.  This is like found money since I didn't have to do anything to get it but scratch the numbers.

I was also able to save several dollars on a donation of airtime to a Kenyan friend. Sending money to foreign countries can be costly, especially when multiplied many times over the course of a year. I never know when there will be a discount off the fees but when they do happen, I try to take advantage of them.

When I went to the pharmacy last night to pick up my medication I did some browsing around the store to see if anything I needed was on sale.   Just before I was going to pay for the items I checked my email and discovered that I could use a coupon that would earn me 16,000 (a  monetary value of about $20.).  I collect points so I can buy staples such as toilet paper, eggs, milk, butter and coffee and whatever else I may need.  What do you think I did?  I mentioned it to the pharmacist that I had points if I waited until Saturday and and she kindly offered to have someone put back everything I had taken off the shelves. I said I would be back Saturday. I did go back and I ended up earning 34,000 (16,000 of them I will get in a few weeks). That is like a dollar value of around $55. and will come in handy for use later.

Have you ever used Freecycle?  You can post offers to get rid of your no longer needed items or you can post want ads.  I usually post things to give away but a few weeks ago I responded to a give away for a bunch of unused fabric. The lady who was giving away the fabric kindly brought it to my home today because she had given me the wrong address when I went to her home just over a week ago. She is moving so she is working hard to declutter.

I'm keeping the larger pieces at the front of the photo. The other two piles will go to my friend.

I was able to sort through all the fabric today and decided I will only keep the largest pieces of muslin. I intend to give the coloured cotton and smaller pieces of unbleached cotton, to a friend of mine.  She's told me she will be organizing a bazaar to be held in the Fall just in time for Christmas gift buying. I told her I would donate a lot of yarn for her other friends to make things to sell and also give her some things I've made. I know she would like to make some quilts too that's why I want to give her the fabric but if she changes her mind I will donate the fabric to the thrift store.

I unearthed these quilt pieces this week while I was sorting a few things.  I should sew them together soon.

Besides sorting through my fabrics and seeing what fabric I could keep of the  new stash, I've been sorting through papers. This is one of my least favourite jobs.  But it saves money for it keeps you home when you could be out spending. It also helps to go through old bills and statements to compare expenses over the past year before you through things out. It helps to see where you can tighten up spending.  A lot of companies now charge a few extra dollars a month to receive a paper bill. I really detest that because I prefer paper bills which I can sit and compare with other paper bills over time. I've just discovered that my telephone provider is increasing fees by $2. a month and another $2. a month for paper bills.  Now I will have to call and make sure I  get invoices by email.  I also need to see where I can shave costs from the communications bundle I already use to save costs on internet, telephone and television. I was overcharged for some television costs so I need to deal with that too and have a few other things to discuss with them. By the time I am done I may find it cheaper to move my telephone service but I try to avoid making service provider changes if I can get some good service from customer service representatives and save a few dollars here and there.

I'm a paper keeper.  I keep all kinds of receipts, statements and documents. Problem is I don't have time to keep it all sorted. Slowly I am getting to that point. I'm working on a system that will work for me and still allow me to get rid of much of the paper I've been keeping for far too long.  It is a long process. Once I'm finished with the paper clutter, there are still many photos, books and crafting items to reduce. For the latter I like to try and use up as much of my craft items as possible and then see what I no longer want or need before donating it. It is also a source of pleasure and relaxation but only to a point. If there is too much clutter it is no longer relaxing and it has been at that point for some time.
All in all I had a frugal week. 
Every little bit of savings day after day and week after week does add up.

Whatever I'm able to save helps me to help Elvis (see right side bar) and others in Kenya.

What was your best frugal practice for the week?
What do you do with your savings?

Safari Fever

Some of you will remember I started a little knitted sweater some time ago for my as yet unborn niece or nephew. After my initial start, I haven't felt much like knitting so I decided I'd better make something else.

I settled on a very simple baby quilt. Since I don't yet know the sex of the baby, I am making a unisex blanket.  I bought the prints almost 2 years ago and the muslin backing a year ago. I don't remember when I purchased the brown fabric which I've used for the binding but I'm sure glad I had it in stock.  I absolutely love the African themed prints. They remind me so much of the wonderful times I've had on safari in Kenya over the years.

My inspiration for this little quilt came from Jenny of the Missouri Quilt Company. I was inspired by the quilt process she described but the finished quilt is obviously quite different (size, number of squares, no borders, etc.).

The baby will be born any time and I need to get this quilt shipped out as soon as possible.

Square blocks.  I started out with 8.5 x 8.5 inch squares and made generous seams.

I used muslin for the quilt back.  I made 3 inch binding, attached it to the top of the quilt by machine and to the back with a whip stitch.

Quilting is a simple stitch in the ditch.

Finished quilt size: 32 inches x 36 inches (81.28 cm x 91.44 cm)

I've given it a little pressing and folded it for mailing.  I hope to ship it out on Monday.

I'm so glad I managed to use up some of my fabric stash and make something for a wee member of the family at the same time.  

My goal is to finish the sweater in time for the baby to wear in Fall.  It is far too hot where the baby will live for him/her to wear a wool sweater over the summer months.  The finished sweater should fit about a 6 month old child though I guess that depends on how fast the baby grows. It should be ready before September when the baby will be about 3 months old and summer will be at an end.

I've also completed my hexagons for the African Flower Crochet Quilt. I'll try not to upload any more photos of this quilt until I've finished attaching all the pieces.

Besides working on these projects I've had a busy week shopping, a bit of indoor cleaning and a bit of gardening.

I sent mom her monthly parcel so that entailed a bit of shopping. The contents vary each month and this time there was:  chicklet gum, raw shea butter, a large container of Vicks and tube of Baby Oil Gel. The mail often gets to her the very next day if I send it early but this time it took two days.  I think it is still a quick delivery given the mail has to be sorted at both ends before it gets to her. I'm hoping to visit her again too just as soon as I can get past a few appointments and such.

In my garden, spent some time dead heading all my plants though I fear I may have done this a little too late.   I'm not much of a gardener but my plants do not generally go to seed quite so quickly.  I plan to have guests on the patio soon and need to try and revive my plants and get my patio cleaned up.  Though I love looking at flowering blossoms the outdoor jobs are not my favourite (for reasons I've explained before) but they are necessary.

Just over a week ago I took out a few books from the library.  I completed one of the books, A Weekend in Paris by Robin Susskind. It was a nice little summer read.  Nothing too heavy but still satisfying because it deals with themes of love, travel and adventure.  This book is probably geared to the young adult set (of which I am not a member,lol).  I still enjoyed the book quite a lot.  Probably because it is set in Paris.  A city I still dream about travelling to one day.

Now I'm off to finish The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman.  This book is set in Bali a year after the 2002 nightclub bombings.  Jamie, an adventure guide, has gone back to Bali to reconnect with the man who saved her from the blast.  But upon landing she starts having traumatic memories of the bombings.  I'm at the part where she has travelled back to Bali against the advice of her mother.  She has settled into her room at the Guest House and is dealing with a pesky young man (child of 14) who wants to work for her and won't leave her alone every time she ventures out.

The Glacier Gallows by Stephen Legault is another book in my reading pile.  This is a mystery about a tragedy that strikes during an expedition through Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. I think it will be an interesting read by a "new to me" Canadian author.  Apparently it is the 4th book in a series.  Though I haven't read the other 3 books I'm hoping it won't make a difference.

Yesterday after running some errands at a local mall I decided to take in a movie and use one of my free passes. It was a toss up between "Spiderman 2" or "The Immigrant".  I ended up going to "The Immigrant" because it was playing in the mall I was at.

Marion Cotillard plays Ewa Cybulski, who along with her sister sails to New York from their native Poland in search of a new start and the pursuit of the American dream. Through unfortunate circumstances Ewa is driven into a life of prostitution and a complex and volatile life with with two men, played by Joquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner. It is quite a slow moving, heavy (as in intense) and dark (as in lighting and subject matter) movie. All the actors give strong and moving performances, especially Cotillard, Phoenix and Renner but even the supporting actors are good and help bring this movie to life. The movie shows just how difficult life was many of those who came to America trying to make a better life.

I've got loads more more to do this week.  I'm looking forward to it.  I like checking things off my list.

How is your world this week?

Tragedy strikes during an expedition through Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park - See more at: http://vpl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/3672663038_the_glacier_gallows#sthash.gGZ60y6a.dpuf

It's a Beautiful Day!

Beautiful hydrangeas. This photo is from my archives and was taken on a walk last summer.

Hi friends,

Just popping in to say "hello". I'm keeping very busy with this and that. I've been tidying in the garden, reading, crocheting, mending, cleaning, shopping, going to appointments and trying to catch up with a few friends.

Still lots to do but today as I went out I was feeling ever so content with the world and felt so happy.

When one feels happy they want to reach out and "touch someone".

The sun has been shining, the weather is warm and I am happy.

Don't misunderstand me.  Not everything is right in my world right now. I have worries and concerns just like the next person. I also have many pressing cares and concerns that sometimes weigh on me. But now and then I stop and remind myself that God is in control.  Yes, he is!  Sometimes I want to control and manage every thing in my life.  One thing I love to do is find solutions to any issues I face.  But now and then, I hit a wall and a roadblock that I cannot surmount or find a way around.  It is then that I am stopped in my tracks and realize that I do not have the ultimate control. 

When troubles do come and seem overwhelming, I am reminded of the holy scriptures that tell us we should cast all our cares and burden on him for he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7).  There are some things that I go through or that that loved ones and friends face that are trying.  Though I can try to help, it is God alone who knows all things.  He knows why things happen and what the outcomes will be.  I just need to trust that it is all GOOD what ever happens.  God's Word says "All things work together for good to them that love God  to them who are the called according to his purpose". (Romans 8:28)  These verses help sustain me in a troubled time and help me press on in prayer and hope.

Whatever is going on in your world today, I pray that each of you have moments of joy and happiness.  If you are dealing with overwhelming matters of life, try to give your cares and worries over to the great "I am" for he really cares for you.

If any of you have time, please also continue praying for my friend Jonah in Kenya who is waiting for the Lord's answers in his life.  Also for my friend Elvis who hopes to finish university very soon (August).

We still need a bit of help to help for Elvis to finish strong, both for his living costs in July and August and for graduation fees.  If you can help at all, please do let me know how and how you can send the support (pay pal, e-transfer, etc.  If you can use Money Gram, Western Union, or World Remit, you can also send directly to Kenya and I can give you the details.

Another photo from my archives.

I am still on a bit of a blogging break but I do visit blogs and leave comments almost daily.
Have a wonderful day!

Happenings in My World

Hello everyone, I hope this post finds all of you happy and healthy. Health is such a wonderful gift. If you have it please cherish it. If you don't have it, remember that you are worth looking after and do what you can to keep it or improve it. I'm learning all this myself. Some of us are slow learners but every one of us can learn.

Over the past several weeks I've been back to the grindstone doing everything I can to get my blood sugar levels down. I'm exercising each and every day, taking my medications faithfully, testing my blood glucose levels, going to sleep earlier, trying to make sure only good foods are prepared and served and just generally trying not to get overly stressed.  I have some days where my sugar levels are doing very well and other days where it is very high even though I do all the right things. For example, last night before bed, my blood glucose was 5.7 (normal). This morning it was 7.5 (slightly over normal).  After a breakfast of cold cereal with fibre, 1% milk and 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds it soared to 17.5! That is unreal. My blood glucose is always higher in the first half of the day.  Even if I eat my usual breakfast of oatmeal (with cinnamon, goji or strawberries and flax meal) my blood glucose is still at about 11 or 12 ml. I still think that is way too high so I've been experimenting with exercising on my stationary bike after each meal. I am better at it some days and not so good on other days though I keep on doing the best I can and feel that it will all help make a difference.  (I already know that eating vegan helps but I am not quite that disciplined.  Perhaps in time with all the changes I've made over time I will end up with a totally vegan diet but for now I still eat a bit of cheese, dairy and chicken/meat/fish).

My doctor wants to increase one of my medications but I am resistant to the idea.  I know that increasing medications is not going to solve anything in the long run though it may help in the short term. That is why I am now exercising every single day rather than a few times a week. I will give it a bit more time and then go back and see the doctor to discuss with her. In the end I may increase the medications but first I want to try everything else possible to correct the problem.

I LOVE pansies.
In addition to that I've gone for my annual eye check and discovered that I had a retinal tear in one eye.  I was very shocked but apparently it comes with age and affects some people who are quite myopic which I am. There can be some very bad consequences of an unchecked retinal tear. In my case, I went to the eye doctor on a Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday morning I was at the retinal specialist's office. By Wednesday morning of the following week I was at the downtown Vancouver hospital getting eye surgery.

I didn't really have time to ask a lot of questions as the eye specialist was and is super busy. I found out he is one of the best in town (I didn't know of him before I was referred) and suffice to say that the surgery went well. There was no pain from all the light beams directed into my eye. What I did find a bit painful was the pressure on my eyeball from whatever was used to keep my eye open. It wasn't exactly painful but the pressure exerted on the eyeball was making my eye fatigued and sore.  By the time the doctor was finished zapping my eye I was so happy!  I return to his office in a month's time for followup.  Everything seems fine afterward, though I've noticed I tend to get eye strain more than I did before. Perhaps this will subside in time.  All I can say is that I am grateful the problem was found and corrected in record time.

It poured heavily on Sunday

In the meantime, I've been keeping very busy this Spring with a myriad of things: planning and preparing my small garden, buying a new patio table, Spring cleaning around the condo (declutter my drawers and closet shelves, wiping down the kitchen), taxes, paperwork, running to different doctors, reading, and life in general. Of course most of you know that the simple tasks of planning and preparing meals and blood glucose monitoring takes oodles of time.  So all in all, I am keeping rather busy.

Starter plants waiting for their pots.
The Paradise Guest House
Weekend in ParisBecause I've read a lot of books early this year I've decided to increase my reading goal for the year from 25 to 30 books. It's no problem as I've got hundreds of books on my "to read" list. It is just a matter of finding some of them at the library or the second hand (thrift) store.  I may have to increase the goal again before the year is out since we still have 7 months left in 2014.  I'm reading at a leisurely pace.  In fact I haven't been doing any reading for a few weeks so today I will pick up a couple of library books (the two you see in the photos). They look like light, fun reads.

Last but  not least. I've dug out a work-in-progress.  It's the African hexagon flower crochet throw/blanket I intended to give as a Christmas present in December 2013!  I've managed to sew all the hexagons together now.  By laying it on my double bed I can see that I still need a few rows of flowers and I've run out of the yarns I've been using. I either have to carry on in different colourways (perhaps too much difference in shading) or try and find more yarn (easier said than done though I could perhaps order on line).

My hexagons are randomly placed and are not all identical. I've used 4-5 shades of yarn in different order and have sewn them together without much thought.  It is too time consuming to keep laying the throw on the floor or my bed to see how to arrange the hexagons.

I still have to fasten the ends at the back and add another row before deciding whether to buy more yarn and continue.

I'm pleased with the overall effect. 

Right now I am experimenting with the yarn I have on hand to finish adding one more row.  I can then see whether what I have on hand will work or whether I need to buy more yarn.  After seeing how heavy the throw is getting I might skip the idea of making a cover for a double bed. But, you never know, I can always change my mind.

Chicken cacciatore is bubbling away on the stove.  This is something I never make but am tired of eating baked and roasted chicken so I thought a change would be fine. I don't generally eat much pasta  and thankfully it doesn't tend to cause any huge blood glucose spikes. I almost decided on boiling some steel cut oats for the foundation of the meal but I'll save the oats for breakfast.

I think tomorrow's menu for lunch and dinner  will be a nice green salad with canned salmon and a hearty vegetable stew.

Keep well everyone. I may not be posting for awhile as I'm going to be busy catching up with friends and work and relaxation around the house.

Joining in with My World Tuesday

A Trip to Town

Hello friends,

I had to make a trip downtown on Wednesday.  My destination was the Eye Clinic at St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver.  It was my first time to the clinic and the first time I've been downtown for quite some time.

I managed to snap a few photos of the sky and some reflections which I share in this post.  Unfortunately I was running a bit late for my appointment so I didn't get as many photos as I wanted.

It got a bit windy before I left the house and a bit cloudy. I thought it was going to rain but it turned out to be a rather warm day; nothing too unbearable and certainly a lot better than I was expecting.

We've just come through a long weekend. It is always a long weekend on the last Monday before May 25th in Canada and is called Victoria Day, honouring Queen Victoria's birthday.  It also marks the unofficial beginning of our summer season when camping enthusiasts begin their camping season in the many camps and parks.  In my area (Vancouver/Lower Mainland) it usually rains on this long weekend.  Though rain was predicted and heavy clouds gathered, it actually didn't rain. Quelle surprise (what a surprise), lol.


Moon View

Hi friends, 

These moon shots were all taken within a few minutes of each other in different locations. 

Happy Skywatch Friday.

If you haven't read my post about Elvis, please read here.

Enjoy your weekend!

Note: Dear Bloggers, I've temporarily disabled the mobile device view while I check out some things. If you are on a mobile device and have problems viewing (post and side bars) please let me know.

Around Town on a Small Bus

These photos were captured as the sun was going down and in a moving vehicle, hence the graininess.

 I hope it adds to the atmosphere, lol. 

Under the train tracks for the Light Rapid Train system (LRT). 

Science World, a great educational centre is the globe on the left. It lights up like a diamond at night.

BC Place, venue for concerts, trade shows, sporting events, etc. is seen just under the LRT rails

Dramatic shot of the sky
On the outskirts of Chinatown. We are at the backside of the Dr. Sun Yet Sen Garden

Entering Yaletown, a newish neighbourhood in Vancouver. This is a southwestern view along Pacific Blvd.

One blurry shot of the heart of Yaletown and one of my fav streets. This used to be a warehouse district.

A famous breakfast place so named because the original location was so small you rubbed elbows with your neighbour. This isn't the original location and it appears to be bigger tho I haven't yet been inside.

View after sundown. This is looking west at English Bay in the West End. You are looking at the Pacific Ocean straight ahead.

A few palm trees at the waterfront. The temperature in Vancouver is milder than most parts of Canada so palm tress can grow here.
Joining in with Our World Tuesday today.
If you missed my post from yesterday, please click here.

Thanks for your visit!

Thoughts on Africa

Hi friends,

Lately, I've been hankering to go to Africa again. I haven't been there for what seems like ages.

Mainly it's because I've been helping this young man named Elvis to get a university degree. I'll be honest and say it has been a lot for me to take on in addition to all my other obligations.  But we are so close to the finish line. Elvis has one more term to go and then he is expected to finish his Diploma in Clinical Medicine & Surgery in Kisii, Kenya. His mother is a single parent of several children and though she works it is barely enough to put food on the table for Elvis' siblings.

Elvis as a teen

Someone who graduates with a diploma in Clinical Medicine & Surgery is the first clinician that a patient or client comes into contact with when they enter a health facility.  In some cases graduates of the program also manage and administer the health programs and hospitals, especially in rural areas.

Elvis just starting out as a university student.

Elvis in his lab coat.

I'm putting out a request to the universe through this blog to help Elvis to finish strong. If you can help contribute toward his living expenses of $100 (US) per month or his graduation fees itt would be a true blessing. 

For those that wonder whether your donations can make a difference, they really do. In this case you are not sending funds for food needs or clothing, you are actually helping someone finish training to get a job and to help others. Kenya really needs skilled workers and I hope soon that Elvis will be joining their ranks.

God bless you for any help you can provide. You can find a donate button at the top
right of this blog. Click on the "Go Fund Me" information.

I'm hoping that after Elvis graduates I might be able to save for a trip to Kenya once again.
I would love to do more to help the widows that I've been helping over the years with food and household needs like jiko stoves.

Thanks so much.
Have a wonderful weekend. 

A Day for Planting

The weather continues to be a bit unsettled here. After a couple of glorious days I really thought the heavy rains were a thing of the past but i was wrong.

Sunday was very gray and the rains came down quite heavily. I couldn't do any of the gardening I planned. 

What a difference a day makes. The sky cleared up considerably on Monday and I started planting my container garden.

I made some progress but I still have a lot to do.

This Solomon's Seal below is one of my favourite plants in the garden and one of the few perennials that I planted and kept for years. 

These hostas are a new addition to the garden. I planted 12 bulbs last year. Some in container boxes and some in the garden plot. Only 7 of the hostas sprouted this year.

Petunias are something I usually buy in a hanging basket but this year I bought a bunch of starter plants and put them in one of my colourful pots. It was a lot less expensive than purchasing a hanging basket which I never hang anyway as I've got no where to hang it.

This green leafy thing is sprouting. I can't tell if it is a plant or a weed. Does anyone know.

Joining in with Our World Tuesday this week.

Happy May!

It's Raining, It's Pouring ~ Again

After my post here, we had one more nice, sunny day. 

Perfect weather.

Now we are back to rain. 

The weather is about 8 degrees cooler today than it was last Wednesday. The forecast ahead sounds pretty good. It is rain mixed with sunny days and temperatures a few degrees warmer than today.

I planned to work on the garden this weekend but it was just too wet.

I have managed to plant kale and brussels sprouts. My few perennials are also doing well.  There is a lot of work to do even with a small garden and so many containers.  Every year I dread the planting. It isn't easy to get the big bags of soil up into the patio and out into the garden and I have to jump up onto the retaining wall to plant.  I think I would enjoy gardening a lot more if I have a house with street access.

I'm not really complaining because I absolutely love having a real garden even though I live in a condo in the middle of the city.  It is nice to see things growing and to have a few birds drop by to visit.

In other news, I had a pleasant surprise in the mail when a long time friend sent me early birthday wishes. Her daughter, a mutual friend and I, were all born within a few weeks of each other and she likes to remember all of us.

My friend sent me two butterfly plates made locally. The card is cute too.

I don't make a big deal out of my birthday and I don't like others to either.  I'm not sure if this is because birthdays after the age of 16 were not celebrated in my family.  In fact, only certain birthdays were celebrated in a major way; ages 1, 7, 10, 12, 16 were the ones I remember. (Well I don't actually remember my first birthday party, lol. I just heard mom talking about it a lot as it was the first birthday of her firstborn and was special to her).

I am totally opposite to some of my friends who remind me weeks in advance of their upcoming birthday. But when someone does something quietly for me in remembrance of my birthday, it touches me a lot.

While I was out shopping for starter plants on Friday night, I was blessed by this awesome sunset.

I tend to miss out on beautiful sunsets here as they aren't visible from my patio and I'm often home at the sunset hour.


I noticed that many people are still having terrible weather and my wish for you are some perfect days ahead.

Though we are back to rain here I am not too down about it. It only takes a few beautiful days here and there and the promise of more ahead, to keep me happy.

Have a wonderful week ahead wherever you are.

May is Here

May is here

May is here

Thank God May is here, lol.

The month of May has arrived and with it the beautiful warm temperatures and lovely skies.


I was supposed to go on brief holiday early next week but had to cancel.

If the lovely weather keeps up at least I won't feel deprived.

I hope you are all having a gorgeous start to your May.

Joining up with Skywatch Friday

On My Walk Today

 Hi friends, I've had a busy few days despite the rainy and stormy weather we've been having.  I had to run out and do errands on Fr...