Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Menu Plan Catchup + Investments

This week has been an absolute jumble. I took it upon myself to sort all of the clothes in the house - which means I pulled out 4 years worth of little boy clothes that had been in storage in the crawl space, dumped out all the boxes, and sorted through everything, making sure they got put back arranged by size, and pulling out lots to donate. We also got a new-to-us dresser for our bedroom, so hubby and I both had to go through all of our clothes to make sure everything would fit (we went from 2 tall dressers to 1 long dresser). That's a whole lot of clothes. And I'm a bit ashamed to admit that even before hubby goes through his stack of nearly 50 t-shirts, we already have 3 garbage bags full of items that we'll be donating. And I go through our clothes quite regularly! I'm not actually sure how we manage to accumulate so much so quickly, but it happens. Anyway, after spending most of Monday doing that I was struck by a brutal headache from 5:30 - 9:30 that night, which meant I didn't get to finish up that chore and it carried on to Tuesday.
Yesterday afternoon we had a scheduled appointment with our financial advisor, who we had not been to see in at least 3 years! Whoops! In any event, the last time we saw him, we had one child. Now we have three. And still only one RESP.
After our first boy was born we discovered that the government pays out every parent $100/month through the Child Care Tax Benefit until your kid turns 6. At the time we didn't need that money, so we opted to put it directly into an RESP for Gabe and it's been tallying up ever since. Well, since we started that RESP, some other options have come to our attention. RESPs are wonderful things to get into, particularly since the government will put in 20% of the total value of your annual contribution, up to $500. So assuming you start one on their birth year, and keeping it going with a maximum contribution until they graduate, by the time your kids turn 18, the government could have contributed $9000 of grant money. Not bad. However, the 'new' thing we're also looking into is life insurance for our kids.
Let's face it - the more you age, the harder it is to get an ideal rate for life insurance. Not only do you experience more medical setbacks, but so does your extended family, which affects the rates you'll pay as well. If you choose to wait until you're 30 to get life insurance, you'll most likely pay a chunk more money than if you had opted in when you were 20. Now let's say that your kids grow up to develop diabetes when they're 14. They now are uninsurable and will never have the option to purchase life insurance for themselves in the future - but that's not to say that can't retain a policy that's already been started for them! And even if they are insurable, but say, develop asthma or have 3 grandparents and 2 uncles that suffer from heart disease, when you start the policy for them at a young age, you can add on to the value of that policy later in life, without requiring another medical assessment to be done, meaning that whatever they may be vexed with later in life, they'll still be viewed as having the same risk as they did during their first childhood assessment. Life insurance = a good thing to have. I've heard people make the argument for investments over insurance, but the reality is, if you are a young parent with limited assets, whatever investments you make will likely not be enough to provide for your family if anything should happen to you. And for your children, locking them in to a policy will help ensure that their kids can be taken care of too. At the end of an hour long meeting I felt more secure about our future than I have in a long time!

And then we went to Wendy's for dinner.

Did I mention my meal plan for the week went out the window? Turns out that meal planning based on the grocery flier only works if you get groceries. Saturday we were out of town, Sunday was so full I barely got to do my Mother's Day shopping trip that was the one thing that was going to happen for me that day, Monday I had my headache and yesterday - well, we had Wendy's. So that nice little post I did up a few days ago about my wonderful meal plan? Yeah, scrap that. Instead, I had to make another Mid Week Meal plan. I wanted a noodle dish for tonight since that's one thing my oldest will always eat (he's off supper in general right now, unless there are noodles or pizza... or broccoli) so I skimmed my Pinterest boards and found a recipe I've been meaning to make for a long, long time: Pancit Bihon. In the church I grew up in, we had monthly Fellowship Lunches and the lone Filipino lady in our congregation would make pancit every time. And it's a good thing too, since everyone loved it so much we would've been quite upset if she skipped a month! Well, more of her family came over to Canada and there were a lot more Filipino families, and all of them made this amazing noodle dish. Traditionally I believe it has salted fish as the primary meat, but I like chicken or pork. The recipe I'll be using tonight is one that I found on Pinterest by gauging whether the picture looked 'right' or not. My mom has the beloved recipe from our old Filipino friend, but I have yet to get my hands on it. Once I do though, I'll post that version of the recipe. Anyway, I have everything I need to make pancit in my house - except cabbage. So this afternoon I'll be heading to the store and cabbage is on my list. I happened to notice a couple days ago that I have a kg pack of ground beef in my freezer, and another kg of ground pork in there too. You know what that means? Lasagna! It's been a long time since I've done a lasagna and I'm really looking forward to it. I use two meats for added flavor, grated carrots in the sauce for more texture and veggie servings, ricotta and parmesan layers and lots of good cheddar on top. I have everything I need but ricotta, so that's on my shopping list too. However, I only will use up half of my ground pork tomorrow, plus I'll have half a head of cabbage left. What to do, what to do? Pot stickers!! I've had a stash of wonton wrappers in my freezer for a while now, begging me to finally try pot stickers, and now is my chance! I'll be using the Budget Bytes recipe since, well, everything she does on there is incredible. I'll likely make up some fried rice to go with that and all I need to buy from the store for that meal will be a chunk of fresh ginger. And last on my menu for this week, I'll be using up whatever leftover wanton wrappers and ricotta that I have by making Lemon Ricotta Ravioli in a pesto cream sauce! I've been keeping pesto stocked in my house lately (my boys adore it), and I always try to have light cream and lemons on hand, so I don't think I actually need to get anything extra for those!

Since I'm going shopping today before the sales change, I'm still going to buy all the ingredients for my original meal plan, so maybe I'll just bump my visions of Shrimp Scampi and Cream of Broccoli soup over to next week. ...if I can wait that long!

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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