Shared Household Expenses

This morning, J. and I went through the mindful budgeting planner and noted down all the shared expenses.

Since having read Katy Bowman’s books and deciding that we would walk more frequently, we don’t need more than a tank of gas each month.

However, the shock came from our groceries in March. When I first got the planner, I it a point not to go to the supermarket frequently and did well with 3 or 4-day no-buy streaks. After a while though, I had forgotten about it. J. and I wandered in and out of the grocery store, as you can see.There are no malls to go here, in this tiny town for 2300 people, so the only place you can spend money out of boredom is the supermarket! As I reflect on the past month, I recall that we bought a lot of junk food after work and also picked up items for potlucks and birthday parties.*

We never made a budget the past four years that we’ve lived together up north, but we are going to discuss some possibilities for May and June. I’ll also be moving south, while J. stays north, so I’ll have to monitor my own spending when I move. I’m looking forward to some life changes, but I hate cooking for one. It’s so much easier when you share food, plus J. makes a great garbage can when I can’t finish my portions!

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*Since food is so expensive in the north, it’s expected that everyone contributes at parties.

Thoughts about Lifting

Lifting can be a lonely workout, as there is quite a lot of set up and take down. Also, between sets, you pretty much have to have breaks and it’s nice to have chatter in between. I feel that loneliness may be one of the reasons I’ve not been lifting this year.

Last year, I was lucky to have a solid 6 months of work with K. and H. While K. is like me, and enjoys doing a lot of reading and research, H. was just happy to try something new and take coaching tips with an open mind. Both of them were a great balance to my own learning curve; I loved being able to discuss with K. about mobility and posture, while H., being someone with a variety of physical restrictions, offered opportunities for me to be challenged when coaching. We were a pretty solid trio and were very consistent in our attendance.

Last week, I finally deadlifted after months without. It’s funny; I have no mental barriers to deadlifting. It’s something I’ve enjoyed considerably and I naturally gravitate towards. I can walk up cold, sans warm-up, set up in conventional within a few seconds, barefooted, inappropriately dressed and pull without hesitation. My back stays flat, turn my hammies on*, keep my weight centered throughout my feet. No problemo!

Squatting is a bigger head game for me. My restrictions are much more obvious. My leg strength isn’t as good as my back strength. My long femurs also make it much harder to keep my stance in. I’m more likely to lose my core stability, go into anterior pelvic tilt and struggle with coming “out of the hole” because I’m disconnecting the torso and the legs. I could also bring my shoulder blades in tighter together and stack my wrists in a safer position.

Watching this Juggernaut video reminded that it’s tough, even for the experts that spend their time professional weightlifting. Not to say that I am still more than a beginner, but it’s a good way to adjust your perspective and remember that, like teaching, you are always, always, always a work in progress. It’s also nice that I actually understand all the concepts mentioned and like listening to the critique that’s being given by Chad Wesley and Max Aita.

I have considered returning to a lifting routine but never took action this winter. With yoga, I feel I can work on anything any time, but I just have much higher expectations with lifting. Honestly though, I shouldn’t think this way, since I’m not an athlete in training. My idea of fitness currently is just to enjoy and have fun.

*Likely hamstrings aren’t an issue for me as I use them so frequently in yoga.

Fave Podcast: Jessica Moorhouse

One of the podcasts I find myself going back to regularly is Jessica Moorhouse’s Mo’ Money. My long-time childhood friend, Sarah Li Cain, of High Fiving Dollars, recommended it to me several months ago and I got hooked after listening to the interview with Gail Vaz-Oxlade.

Listened to this interview with Andrew Kirkland of JustWealth this morning. Super interesting introduction to roboadvisors, how the name started and what are differences between index funds and ETFs.

If you don’t have a podcast player, you can use the embedded Soundcloud app:

What are some podcasts that you enjoy? 

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Submitted My Taxes!

Got a nice break earlier this week; Monday and Tuesday for professional development days at work with no meetings. I had two days to myself, so I spent Monday morning listening to an interview with Rob Carrick on CIC and the afternoon finalizing and submitting my taxes.

Last year was the first time I had filed on my own. And this year, being the second time, I did feel frustrated initially. I mainly used the forms method, and as I slowly started connecting the dots, it felt better. When I got stuck, I called my reliable and loving mom. So although I started over a week ago, I am happy to say that it is finally done! I submitted to both federal and the Quebec government; the projected return from Turbo Tax is $4875, which I am pretty happy with.

Also logged into CRA My Account tonight and saw that the Notice of Assessment should come back by April 18th. Now to sit back and wait!

Net Worth: March

I have switched over to calculating net worth every other month.

In March, I took three days off unpaid to try to an interview in Ontario. I also had to spend about a thousand dollar on a plane ticket to help me fly between Val D’Or and Toronto. I got a job offer from the Waterloo Regional District School Board at the end of the month and may have to take unpaid time off for an orientation in May. At this time, I’m still hoping that Ottawa could be my future destination, but no job posting for OCDSB has been posted yet. I will have to accept the position in Waterloo for now as I cannot guarantee work in Ottawa yet.

Overall, between two months though, there wasn’t much more spending. There was an increase of $3228.06 since January, so I’m still pretty happy with that.

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House Cleaning: Bathroom Edition

One of the habits I never really learned at home was how to clean. I never did any cleaning – other than vacuuming – until I went to university. When I shared a house with other people, we had a schedule of when we’d clean the bathroom and take out the trash, but even then, I don’t remember cleaning consistently or thoroughly.
Since moving up north, I’ve been using YouTube tutorials to learn tips and tricks. One of my favourite YouTube channels is Clean My Space with Melissa Maker. Since feeling a bit more confident now, I thought I’d share the process in which I use to clean the bathroom. I took these photos last Saturday. Since J. and I decided to invite people over for board games, we did a big clean in the afternoon before our guests arrived.
  1. Go high to low. This is the first step, as J. taught me. You always start with the dust in high corners, so that it can fall to the ground. I take a broom and just sweep through all the corners. Any cobwebs or dust will fall down, to be wiped up or vacuumed later on. It is also a good way just to check the ceiling for mold, in case it needs to be addressed.IMG_20170325_124743559
  2. Wipe down high frequency areas. I use a general eco-friendly foam cleaner and wipe down all the handles and the light switch, as these are areas that are touched frequently and might accumulate dirt and bacteria. My only issue is that I often forget the door handle on the outside of the bathroom.IMG_20170325_125741656
  3. Make it shine! I love cleaning the mirror. It just makes the whole room look nicer. We currently are trying to use up our Windex and will be replacing it with a more environmentally option from Method.Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 10.32.08 PM
  4. Wipe down the counters. With the general cleaner, I wipe down the entire counter, after having removed everything from the surface. I let the cleaner sit for a few minutes so that any dirt can be broken down. This is called “dwell time”, which I learned about from Melissa Maker, of her YouTube channel, Clean My Space.IMG_20170325_125300537
  5. Toilet time. I continue using the general cleaner with the toilet. Then I use a bit of Clorox for a serious scrub around the bowl. You can dangle the toilet brush between the seat and the bowl so that the brush can drip dry. Now go back to the counters and wipe off that foam!IMG_20170325_130050971
  6. Scrub the walls and windows. I don’t wash all the walls, but I definitely clean the wall next to the toilet, because splashback really does happens, as much as we like to pretend it doesn’t. For the windows, I like to clean the fine corners with a toothbrush. If you don’t have one on hand, then use a Q-tip (but that becomes an costly habit if you’re constantly throwing them away).IMG_20170325_131029501 (1)
  7. Scrub the shower and bathtub. Again, starting from top to bottom. I use an eco-friendly store-bought tile spray, let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then wipe it off. For the tub, I use a bit of Clorox, as there is often buildup from the bath bombs and bubble baths I take. And if there’s pink mold? Have no fear! Using a quick mix of 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid (it’ll turn into a paste) works amazingly well, like magic!
  8. Mop the floor. Do a quick vacuum or sweep first, then time to finish and mop it up!

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  9. Freshen up. As you can see in a couple of the pictures, I also like to have scented candles to make it smell nicer. I often get large blocks of candles from Ikea as the scents are fairly pleasant and the cost per candle is decent.

Those are the main steps that I take. As I learn more from YouTube tutorials or blogs, I become more and more efficient at cleaning each time.

If you have any tips, please share in the comments!

Monthly Goals – March Madness

Here are the goals that I was focusing during the month of March:

Health and Fitness

  • Book a dental appointment (5/5): Booked one for the upcoming Goose Break. Gotta make use of my health plan while I still have it
  • Book an allergist (5/5): This was a task I was suppose to follow through in 2015. I actually had a referral lapse and now I’m paying for it, trying to get another family doctor to give me a new referral. Ugh. Have an appointment though, finally!

Teaching

  • Complete Queen’s OT course (1/5): Queen’s University has a free course on Occasional Teaching. This got put on the back burner. I had started it but I am going to push this off to August as a good time to get myself into the mood of substituting on a daily basis.
  • Explore use of Google Forms (3/5): I had only learned about this tool in my AQ and used it for an assignment in January. It’s so easy and versatile!I’ve found that lots of teachers are actively used GAFE tools. I used it on two occasions at work too  I also shared what I had done with my colleagues during our weekly Professional Learning Community meetings (PLCs).
  • Start teaching teaching portfolio (0/5): Procrastinated on this. As I’d like to apply for the Ottawa school board, I know that they encourage the use of a portfolio during the interview process. I will need to print out some photos with an online order and have been meaning to make use of a 40% coupon code. This will be a priority in April.
  • Explore one new #edtech tool (5/5): Played around with SketchUp 8.

Finance

  • Watch 2 Canadian Investors Conference videos (3/5): Enjoyed the interview with Robert Brown and watched another with Susan Daley of PWL Waterloo.
  • Work on taxes (4/5): Second time processing it on TurboTax on my own. I know, I’m still not an adult yet but my mom helps me with a large part of it.
  • Consolidate TSFAs and close Questrade (0/5): Yeah, stock-picking is not my game. I need to sell and just close up my Questrade account.
  • Transfer investments to a robo-advisor (3/5): Moving more of my TSFAs to WealthSimple but still waiting. Had to re-sign some forms and deal with a few glitches.

Other

  • Learn how to caulk (1/5): Brought a tube up from Toronto at the beginning of March but haven’t done it yet.
  • Learn how to use the steamer for the floor (5/5): We are trying not to use a lot of chemicals and just use more eco-friendly methods. The steamer is a machine that J. purchased a while ago but I hadn’t learned how to use it until this month. It was kinda fun but also sort of scary as you have to wait for the water to boil and be careful about opening the latch so you don’t burn your face!

Aloo Gobi and Raita

Decided to try a new recipe from the Vegan Richa cookbook, which I had purchased back in January. Last month, I tried two recipes, but had been busy the past while and hadn’t touched the cookbook again.

Flipping through the cookbook, I wanted to make sure I had every ingredient for any recipe I tried. Generally, I enjoy aloo gobi at Indian restaurants, but had only attempted to cook it using random recipes off the internet. On the couple of occasions, I’ve  not had success with a solid recipe that I really liked.

I was cautious and not feeling confident that this would be any better, but this recipe was pretty spot on!  Here is the end result, with garam masala and fresh cilantro sprinkled on top:

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I also ended up making some (non-vegan) raita too.* We made some brown rice, plus some (microwavable) pappadums and sliced cucumber as an informal salad. I also wanted a second dish and not having the energy, just heated up some instant vegetable curry from a bag. It was a pretty good spread!

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*Argh, I forgot J. doesn’t really like raita and the fact that this has black salt, which makes a sulphury/eggy smell, he definitely was not going to eat it. Guess I will have to finish it on my own.