Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Watery Wednesday......

This photo was taken back in September of 2006 in the middle of Dollywood. We have been there a couple of times and just love it. We go to see the shows, we're don't go on the rides and we have a super time. The group The Kingdom Heirs play there and they are super. If you are in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area of Tennessee, you should spend a day at Dollywood, it is well worth while.



For more Watery Wednesday photos, please click on the link.

Daily Savings Club of 2009

Would you like to join? It starts on January 1st 2009, and if you go to this post it explains exactly how it works. I am sick at the moment, so don't have the energy to write it all out again, sorry!!!

We will save 25 cents per day for the month of January, then in the month of February we will save 50 cents per day. Then in the month of March 75 cents per day and then in April, $1 per day. You of course can save as much or as little as you want, this is just to get you all in the habit of saving something. Find a pot, jar or box to put this all in. Here is mine it sits on top of the speaker by the computer:



I will post reminders amongst my regular posts, lets see how much we can all save during the first four months of 2009. Please also feel free to post on your blog that you are doing this, a link back to my blog would be greatly appreciated :0)

Just a reminder, January 2nd, there will be a post about what to do with all those Christmas cards, so don't throw them out.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Plans for 2009...........

I class myself as one of those organized people, who plans ahead. And one of those things I do is make plans for what we are going to do in the year ahead. However this year I have drawn a blank, and I have no idea why?

It maybe have something to do with the fact we may put the house up for sale in the Spring. We took it off the market at the beginning of December, as things were pretty dead. We may start looking again in February.

I normally have a plan of action of what jobs need to be done around the house for the coming year. This year nothing?

A couple of things I need to do this coming year is loose some weight, mind you I say that every year and basically get no where with it.

Save money, that's an on going thing. I would like to keep our grocery budget down to $300 a month. I shouldn't be buying groceries for the rest of this month, and my totals for 2008, are an average of $321.39 spent on groceries per month, and an average of $196.24 savings per month. All which is better than I hoped for. I set myself a goal of $350 per month on groceries and $150 per month in savings back at the beginning of the year.

Other than that, I have nothing else planned. I would like to put at least another couple of months money into our emergency savings account.

I suppose until we decide whether or not we are going to move things will be up in the air for a while.

Have you got anything planned for 2009?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Now you see it, now you don't

What a difference a couple of days can make. I took the "snowy photos" last Sunday (21st) and the "after" photos a week later on Sunday, December 28th.

We have had some freaky weather, the last couple of days (I am writing this on Sunday 28th) has been warm and wet. Which is actually a good thing, as at least it has melted the snow before we get the next round of snow, because there is one thing that is guaranteed around here, is that it will snow again.
















Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pear, Raspberry and Almond Flan....

I made this as one of the desserts for Christmas Day and it was a big hit. I got the original recipe from the November 2008 issue of Prima magazine.

Ingredients:

1 x 8 inch pie crust baked blind
2 pears peeled and chopped
3 tbsp raspberry jam
3 oz butter
3 oz sugar
1 egg beaten
2 tbsp milk
3 oz ground almonds
1 oz self raising flour

Make 8 oz pastry (see this post) To bake blind, roll out pastry into pie tin, line tin with pastry, line with parchment paper, and then baking beans. Bake at 425oF for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and parchment paper, and bake for another five minutes more.

Cream the butter and the sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg and milk, until mixed in well. Fold in the almonds and flour. Chop the pears and mix with the raspberry jam, place in the pastry case. Top with the almond mixture and smooth top.

Place in a pre-heated 375 oF oven for around 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve either warm or cold, either way is good.

I forgot to take a photo of the finished flan, so only have a photo of a leftover slice. It got rave reviews!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boxing Day Sales and a cross stitch mystery............

It's a tradition in our house to get up early on Boxing Day and go to the sales to get some bargains.

Now I have to say me and dh didn't really want anything in particular this year. Both kids wanted new tv's, however ds "negotiated" with the store where he lives and he is getting the same Boxing Day sales price when he goes back up to his home in January. Dd bought her tv online at the Boxing Day sale price on Christmas Eve. So neither of them had to get up in the middle of the night to line up for hours to get the special Boxing Day pricing on their tv's.

They did get up before 6am though and hit the mall for a few other things they wanted. We met up with them at 9am and had a look around, but honestly the stores were having such good sales before Christmas, that the Boxing Day sales were basically the same as before Christmas.

I did pick up my usual Boxing Day sale items, Christmas cards and wrapping paper. However we were back home by just after 12 noon.

I think with the stores having the pre-Christmas sales, in the hopes of boosting sales in this recession and the ability now of ordering things online, I feel that our Boxing Day shopping trip will be a thing of the past.

Now for the mystery, I am doing a cross stitch at the moment, this is how much I have done. I should have it finished in a couple of days as its a super fast and easy picture. I will post the finished product when its completed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The day after............

thought I'd do a quick post, it's 6.30pm, on Christmas Day, we're all sitting here, stuffed and bloated, from overeating. We have had a super day, had the grandparents over and our neighbours, who are Indian and had never had a Christmas lunch before. Most of all we had good food and good company.

We got lots of lovely presents, and were all thoroughly spoiled. I took a couple of photos to share with you.

After we spent a hour opening presents:



My new Wedgwood Christmas ornament that my mother bought for me. Isn't it lovely?



As it is Boxing Day when you are reading this, we will be shopping in the sales, I will be posting all about our escapades tomorrow........

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas..........


I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas......

In French:Joyeux Noel

In Spanish:Feliz Navidad

In Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie

In Arabic: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah

In Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast

In German: Froehliche Weihnachten

In Hindi: Shub Naya Baras

In Portuguese: Feliz Natal

In Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie

If I have not said Merry Christmas in your language, please look at this list for more translations.


Message From Santa Claus

If it were in my powers,
I would bring peace and love,
To this world of ours,
But I don't have magic enough,
I can cross the sky,
and pass by the stars,
But I can't seem to stop,
Any of hatred's wars,
I see children on the street,
With no hope left,
in the eyes.
So many homeless people
with no where to sleep.
And my heart cries.
I can't give the things they need,
Oh But God I would try.
I'm only a fantasy,
that once took wings to fly,
Some are deceived,
by the gifts that money can buy,
But those who truly believe,
see the gift with the heart,
not with the eye,
I sometime stop and go to my knees,
and pause,
and I too always pray,
That we will find a end to wars,
and live in peace one day.
For all those who believe in me,
I will continue my cause,
Across the stars,
over the wars,
On Christmas Eve,
For the hearts that still believe,
In Santa Claus

©Judy Arline Puckett

If you are celebrating Christmas today, I hope you have a lovely day, and I will be thinking of you all and here is a lovely song Feliz Navidad

Gill

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Looking for a quick last minute gift to make?

I have the solution, as this is so quick and easy to make:

Penuche Fudge

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup hard margarine
1/4 cup cream or milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted icing sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Butter a small 5 or 6 inch square pan, or loaf pan.
In a 2-Q mixing bowl with handle, measure brown sugar and place
margarine on top. Microwave, uncovered, high for 2- 2.5 minutes. Whisk in cream until thoroughly combined. Microwave high, uncovered, 2-2.5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon 2 minutes.




Add sifted sugar and beat thoroughly until smooth. Add nuts if desired and pour into prepared pan. Cool before cutting into pieces.
Makes 1 lb of fudge, approx 16 pieces.



Oh and I thought I had better eat some just to double check it was good.........no really you don't need to thank me for having to do that, really..........LOL

I got the recipe from a thread on Frugal Shopper.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Watery Wednesday...

I don't have a Christmas and a water photo, so I'll just stick with the water side of things...........this is a photo taken at the Isle of Palms, South Carolina when we were on vacation.



For more Watery Wednesday photos, click on this link

Six Random Things About Me...........

I was reading George's blog and he had been tagged for the Six Random Things About Me meme, so I thought I'd play along.

1. I love chocolate, especially milk chocolate, but am picky about what brands I eat. I do not like cheap chocolate at all, and won't touch Hersey's Chocolate.

2. I am an early to bed, early to rise type of person. Will be in bed by 9pm, but up by 6am.

3. I am allergic to exercise.....who knew!!!! Got a great treadmill down in the basement, that reminds me, must go and dust it.

4. I must have breakfast every day, I will not skip breakfast. Generally it's a dish of cereal, occasionally I may have toast and jam.

5. I love going on holiday to the States, and have to say both me and dh are totally in love with Tennessee, its a super place, and the people are ever so friendly, as they are in the rest of the States.

6. I get travel sickness. When we flew to Britain I felt terrible from the moment the airplane set off until we landed. However I love flying. I am the same in the car as well though, so I try to sleep as much as possible. Dh encourages me to sleep, I am wondering though could that be, so I don't constantly "help" him with his driving????

So if you're a regular visitor to the blog, you've guessed it, if you're reading this, you're tagged!!! It's an easy one to do, enjoy!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Winter.....

I thought I'd take some photos for you of the snow. On Monday, we had no snow at all, these photos show how much snow we have had this week. I took these Sunday morning, we are in for more snow right up until Christmas Eve, so I am guessing we'll be having a white Christmas....don't you think!!!! Thank goodness we have the snow blower/thrower as it has come in handy this week. I am guessing we have had about a foot of snow this week.

The first five photos are all from our back yard.











The next three photos were taken at the front of the house:







I am only hoping we don't have as much snow as last year, as we run out of places to shovel it, as we live on a pie shaped lot, and have very little land at the front, and a lot of land at the back of the house. Already the piles of snow are quite high on the front of the property.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Today's Flowers

This week, the Today's Flower team wanted a Christmas theme. As I had already posted photos of my Christmas Cactus and Poinsettia today (prior post) I thought I would do something different, that says Christmas.

The first post is of my Poinsettia place mats, that I use on my living room coffee table.



Again more poinsettias this time on my kitchen table cloth, that my mother gave me, first a close up:



Now the whole tablecloth:



Then I know this is not a flower, but it says Christmas.



As always, click on the photos for more details. For more of Today's Flower photos, please click on this link

(look for more snow/winter photos tomorrow)

A question and an answer......

First the question. My dad and step-mother bought me a Christmas Cactus a week or two ago. I got it on the 9th of the month, and finally watered it on the 19th, as until then the soil was pretty damp.



As you can see there are plenty of buds on it, but when it comes to flower they just shrivel up. I have it in the middle of the family room, not in a draught. Do any of you have any idea what is wrong with this plant, as it does not look a happy camper?

Now the answer. On last week's Today's Flower post I posted photos of my poinsettia, and said it was a new variety, well I have now found out the name. It is called Ice Punch. Which is sort of fitting, don't you think? From this article, it seems as though you guys in the States have had access to this variety for a couple of years now?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Could you Survive Another Great Depression Quiz

I popped over to Quasimodo's blog and she had this quiz on her blog.

You Are 61% Likely to Survive Another Great Depression
Even though you may not be expecting the worst, you're the type of person who prepares for the worst.
You live a relatively modest life. You don't overspend, and you aren't very materialistic.

You are also quite self sufficient and independent. You have many useful skills.
You can take care of yourself and those you love... which is crucial to surviving another Great Depression.
<

Could You Survive Another Great Depression?

This is actually interesting, I actually did better than I thought I would. How did you do?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Odds and ends, bits and bobs, that sort of thing.....

At this time of year we get a fair bit of mail, mainly Christmas cards. I got a Christmas card this morning from England and when I saw the envelope I had to laugh to myself, as it had been sliced open, by whom, I have no idea. Why it was sliced open, I do know why. The card was the exact size of the money holder cards you can buy from the card shops to put money gifts in. It wasn't sliced open accidentally, it was sliced open on purpose, as it was such a neat cut. Shame it was only a Christmas card, and not a money holder card!!!!!

I also went to the post office today to mail some things. One of them was an envelope that was going to Ireland. When the lady in the post office came to weigh it, it was 202 grams, and was going to cost me nearly $13 to mail. She said if it was 199 grams or under it would be $6.40, so off I go home to reduce the weight. What a difference a couple of grams can make, don't you think?

At this time of year I think most people probably feel more charitable to others than at other times of the year, don't you think? I know I do, and although we don't have a lot to give monetary wise I do try to do the odd thing. I go to a couple of shows each year and get a pile of samples and freebies from them. So this year I decided to put together two gift baskets and drop them off at the woman's shelter. Here are photos of them:








The shelter that I donated them to, is for women and their children. So with it being cold season, I also picked up a dozen boxes of Kleenex and dropped them off at the same time. It wasn't much, but better than nothing. One of my goals this year, is to get on sale toiletries and keep donating them to the shelter. (on a side note, did you notice the tiny Christmas crackers on the baskets, I buy them in the Boxing Day sales, super cheap, it adds a festive touch don't you think? I add these to all my gift bags)

Last but not least, I am all excited about a present under the tree. My mother and step-father send us gifts every year (thank you both) and we have had those parcels now for a month or so, as she sends them surface back in October. I finally got around to unwrapping them from the brown paper and putting them under the tree. Now being the nosy person that I am, I of course had a good look at my carefully wrapped present, and you know what, part of it looks exactly like the box that my Wedgwood ornament came in last year.



Remember this photo:



So I am now all excited, only 6 more sleeps until Santa comes!!!!!

***BIT OF AN UPDATE, I HAVE THE RECYCLED CHRISTMAS CARD POST DONE, JUST NEED TO ADD PHOTOS, AND IT WILL BE POSTED ON JANUARY 2ND, 2009******

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Skywatch Friday

These photos were taken on Monday December 15th, 2008 around 4.30pm. It was super windy and the temperature was dropping like a stone. There seemed to be such a variety of colours and I just love the red/pink colour, so much activity in the sky.




For more Skywatch Friday photo's please click on the link

A few random photos from Terminal 1.

We went to the airport the other night to meet ds, as he flew out to Vegas for the weekend as he was best man for his best friends wedding.

I took a few random photos. All signage is in both French and English as we are a bilingual country, although I only speak English. As always click on the photos for more detail.
There was a display for the Royal Ontario Museum

It included this dinosaur.

Plus this little one.


This is the Arrivals area, again see the French and English signage.




This is the view from the walkway from the car park to the terminal.











There were very few Christmas decorations in the terminal, but I saw these ones.




I enjoy going to the airport as there is so much to see. However it does cost $4 per half hour for parking!!!! Not cheap.
(didn't publish post when I normally do, as I put PM instead of AM on it!! Sorry!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Watery Wednesday....

This was taken back in September on the river in Georgetown, South Carolina. I love how the Spanish moss hangs from the tree and the reflection in the water. (click on the photo for more detail)




For more Watery Wednesday photos, please click on the link