Money, money, money

ABBA sure knew what they were talking about when they said, “It’s a rich man’s world.”

As a student, just about to enter the real world, money is on my mind a lot. Especially when I don’t manage it as well as I think I should. I try my best, but I’m still learning the ropes, and I don’t have time during school for more than a part time job. Even juggling a part time job, and school, with homework, and life is very challenging.

I’ve never had a lot of money to go around in my life. I lived with my mom, and no matter how hard she worked, money was hard to come by. Through the ups and downs, I’ve learned a bit about how to find money when it seems there is nowhere to turn, so here’s some ideas, if you, like me, are living in a rich mans world on a poor mans budget.

1) a part time job

Now I know you probably already have a job, and are stretched pretty thin, but if you feel like you can handle a small weekend job to bring in a little more, then go for it! If you can’t find a “job” go for one a little more low key, babysit or shovel driveways.

2 look around

In school people are constantly reminding us that there are scholarships and bursaries, but there are some in the real world too! Check out gofundme.com or kickstarter. There are many more websites like that, where people can pledge you money. I just recently made a gofundme campaign to fund my school loans, check it out here,

http://www.gofundme.com/shelbysteip

3 kijiji

If you are like me, you have plenty of things that you don’t need anymore. Sell them on kijiji. Make sure you use nice pictures of the item, and give an accurate statement about it. Make it look good though, people shop with their eyes first!

4 couponing

I could never really get this one right, mainly because the rules are so strict in Canada, but you can save a good amount of money using coupons. A website i like to check out is savealoonie.ca.

 

So there’s my list. If you have other ideas, pit them in the comments, I’d love to hear about them!

I wish you luck in all of your endeavors,

-ss

A little light…

Let me start off by telling you today that I live in a basement. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my little apartment, and I love the person, and bunny, and guinea pig that I share it with, but one thing I do not love is the lack of light. I feel like I am constantly feeling for things in dimly lit rooms. It is beyond annoying to someone like me who loves the sun. Rhys on the other hand is a night dweller, and couldn’t be happier. I convinced him that we needed a few more lights for our place, and I am so happy with the turn out!!

Check out some “before” and “after” pics:

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My desk before. Messy and dark with Rhys’ borrowed lamp. Not a nice space to write or surf the internet.

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After, I am happy to sit at my desk now with my lovely new lamp. It is a “banker” style lamp which makes me feel like I live in an old movie!

Second piece of evidence:

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Before: Every morning I searched blindly through our closet for something to wear. It was especially difficult because Rhys is usually still asleep and I don’t want to wake him.

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After Rhys put in the new lights. HOW MUCH BETTER IS THAT??? Two hundred times better! I love my new closet light.

I also have a lamp beside my bed as you can see up above, it looks like a light house. What can I say? I love light!

Sometimes a little more light is all we need.

Would a new lamp do your house some good?

Thanks for reading,

-ss

Worms

I have had gardening on my mind a lot lately. I am reading a number of gardening books, and working as an intern at a botanical gardens. I learned about worm composting, or vermicomposting a while ago from a teacher, and I had wanted to put one in my classroom. Since I don’t have a classroom yet, I thought I might try one out at home first. So I found this tutorial and decided to give it a try.

Check out the tutorial here:

http://www.compostguy.com/worm-composting-basics/

He does a great job of showing how to make a compost bin. Here is my go at it!

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First I gathered my supplies:

2 Rubbermaid roughneck totes ($4.99 each)

A drill with a 1/8″ bit ($25.00, a steal at a yard sale on Saturday!)

A spray bottle ($3.98)

A selection of recycled card board

A support for your top bin to sit on so that water can collect in your second bin, I used a sunflower seed container

some yummy worm food ( a few old bananas carrots lettuce and peppers)

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I drilled some air holes in the top, and sides of my upper bin, and drilled a few drain holes in the bottom. I went with 16 on top, and 12 on the sides plus about 8 on the bottom.

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I put my support in the bottom bin and then set in the top bin.

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Then I put in layers of cardboard and worm food. I put in about three layers or so and sprayed the top two layers with lots of water so that they were soaking. I am going to pick up my worms tomorrow!

In total it cost about $55.00 including getting the drill even though we will keep it and use it for many other projects! Without the drill the entire set up, worms and all cost about $30.00, but when my big bunch of worms gets going I am going to sell some of them, and I am sure I can make a bit of money back!

Update coming soon.

Have you ever thought about vermicomposting? Have you tried it? Any tips? leave them down below in the comments!

Happy Sunday

-ss

Going to the zoo

Rhys and I went to Teacher Day at the zoo. They have an entire weekend where teachers get in free, and they have booths set up everywhere about curriculum connections. Rhys had promised me a trip to go see the new pandas, and what better day? So we went, and it was a beautiful day!!

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The animals were out and about, and we had fun looking and walking, but by the end of the day we were tired out.

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If you are planning to go to the zoo, here are a few tips to make your trip smoother!

1) Pack wet wipes, water bottles, and a sweater. We used the wet wipes after eating ice cream so that we did not have to search for a bathroom. Water seems obvious, and a sweater because even on a warm day, if the clouds come out it can get cold quick!

2)Bring your own lunch! The food there is greasy and there aren’t many options, plus it doesn’t taste that great either. If you pack a backpack then you can carry everything you need!

3) Wear comfy shoes. The zoo is very spaced out, so if you want to see everything, you will need to walk.

4)Get a map, and go see your favorite exhibit first. If you leave it till later chances are you will be tired and won’t get to it.

5) Go to the new or most popular exhibits early on or later in the afternoon, not in the middle of the day, they are packed!! These exhibits (I found) were the panda’s, lions, giraffes, and the penguins.

6) Take advil and get used to people shoving you! There were a lot of kids and parents (well of course it is a zoo) but many of them were screaming and shoving, it got a little crazy, especially in the buildings.

7) Take lots of photos of you not just the animals!

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Have any more tips for visiting the zoo? add them in the comments!

See you later

-ss

Blogs Pending

Hey guys,

I am working on a blog about the day Rhys and I spent at the zoo, but I am super tired and instead am going to bed now. I will get that up tomorrow, in the meantime, check out this sneak peak!

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Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!

-ss

It’s the Little Things

So it has been an eventful week here.

Simba had to get three teeth out, which is not easy for a bunny, let me tell you. Thankfully he made it through the surgery fine, if a little grumpy, and was back home hopping around the next day.

Our house has been a flurry of appropriately timed medication, hand feeding, and separation of a guinea pig from his bunny.This of course has been very stressful for all four of us, well maybe not the guinea pig, and tensions have been high. Mr. Rhys and I have been fighting a bit more than usual, but today I opened myself up, and found a beautiful moment in all the stress and upset.

Because he still does not want to eat hay (who can blame him? it hurts!) we have to feed him a slurry of mush called critical care. Now they call it “hand feeding” and at the beginning it was. We would make up the mash, tube it, and he would eat it right up.

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But after the surgery things got a little more challenging.

Whether because he was sore, traumatized, or bored, Simba refused to eat it willingly. We fought a lot of losing battles even with our arsenal of “bunny burrito” and our two person army. That is one stubborn bunny.

So I started to experiment. Our experiments or recipes include both flavors of critical care, different flavors of baby food including carrot, root vegetable (a mix of carrot, sweet potato and spinach), and his official favorite banana apple kale, and different pure fruit and vegetable juices.

Today, after days of painstakingly mixing different flavors together, he willingly ate (twice in one day!) a warm mash of banana apple kale and critical care!

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This was my beautiful moment! After so much strife, here was my bunny eating his food! I could have cried from happiness.

This moment really reminded me to look for the good things in my day. I am going to start listing three things that happened in my day that I am thankful for.

1) I am thankful that the sky was so beautiful on my way home from work, it made me smile.

2) I am thankful that I found an amazing end table for free (a new post on that soon)

3) I am very thankful that Simba ate his food willingly, and even enjoyed it.

What amazing things happened in your day? Let me know.

Don’t forget to keep your eyes open,

lest you miss the flowers.

-ss

Exciting News!

I got some very exciting news today!! I received an email telling me that I was accepted into the Explore Program.

The Explore Program is a FSL (French as Second Language) program run by the government of Canada. You must have been enrolled as a full time student the year that you apply, and it runs over the summer. For five weeks you are immersed in an intensive French language program at one of the universities that partners with the government to run this program, and they mean business. Many of the programs actually send you home if you are caught speaking English!

I feel so lucky to have been chosen from the lottery, especially because I was on the wait list for three weeks! (or maybe one week, but it felt like three!!) I will be spending July learning French at the University of Montreal!

Obviously you can tell that I am very excited to have this opportunity from the many exclamation points throughout this post. I cannot contain my excitement; when I got the email I literally jumpedĀ for joy. If you are interested in applying for the program, the applications for 2015 are closed, but keep an eye on this website

http://www.myexplore.ca/en/

for 2016.

Also you should know, you must reside in Canada or be a Canadian Citizen to be accepted, and you must be enrolled full time in school the year you apply. The bursary from the government covers program fees and materials, room and board, and meals plus some free excursions, but you are expected to pay a $250 registration fee to the University, your travel (although they give you discounts), your spending money, and extra optional excursions that the program may offer plus optional things like internet in your room, a fan for your room, cleaning fees if you want them and a few other things.

I have never been to Montreal, but I have been through it at one in the morning with an exhausted aunt, and a crying baby in the backseat with a sleeping 8 year old. The image up above is from that trip, but that story is for another time. As I find out more about the program, and experience it I will keep you updated.

Let me know in the comments below where in Canada you would love to visit or a crazy story about a place you already have.

That’s all from me,

Yours truly,

ss

Spring is in the Air

The sun is out, the animals are awake, and Spring is officially here! So of course that means that I stopped by the garden center near our house, and picked up a few plants to “Springify” our apartment.

Now I do not have a green thumb, actually my thumbs are basically red. I try very hard to follow directions, but there are so many rules, water an appropriate amount, keep in sunlight, but not too much sunlight, prune, don’t prune. They are all very hard for me to keep straight. Regardless I keep trying, and I am sure that one day I will help plants thrive, rather than die, around me.

Keeping this in mind, and the fact that we live in a basement apartment, I walked into the garden store and asked a very nice sales associate for some much needed guidance as to which plants to choose. She showed me many, and I picked out two that I think suite me pretty well.

The first plant I chose was an Ivy, and it appears that Simba thought it was a great choice too.

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Ivy needs bright light, but not direct, so it’s perfect right beside our kitchen window. It does not need to be watered often, and is such a beautiful plant to look at.

The other plant I got was an Alocasia Polly. Now this plant likes to live in the shade, so it found a nice home on the shelf beside our kitchen table. It likes moist soil, so I need to remember to water it every two or three days!

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The leaves are so pretty! It was unique in the store, which is why I chose it. If this goes well maybe I will try my hand at a few more plants. I think moss would be a fun one to try, and I plan to have a garden once we move out of the city, so I am starting to learn all about compost, and how plants talk with a few books that I got out at the library. I am also starting an internship at a botanical gardens here in Toronto. I am sure to learn a lot more about plants, soil, and food over the next month or so.

Fingers crossed that I can turn my red thumb at least a little green in the next four weeks.

Tell me all about your plant successes and struggles, and feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Shelby