Saturday, February 28, 2009

Never Argue with a Woman.......

Someone sent this too me.......

Never Argue with a Woman

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, 'Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?'

'Reading a book,' she replies, (thinking, 'Isn't that obvious?')

'You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,' he informs her.

'I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading'

'Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up.'

'For reading a book,' she replies,

'You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,' he informs her again,

'I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading'

'Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up.'

'If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault,' says the woman.

'But I haven't even touched you,' says the game warden.

'That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.'

'Have a nice day ma'am,' and he left.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Buddy's - It's the little things that count.....

Sometimes it's the little things that help you save both money and energy. I am sure you all turn your washing up liquid bottle up side down in a cup, to make sure you get the last drops out of it. I also take off the top as that is usually gooey and add that to the water.I use shower gel, again I turn it up side down , I also take the top off and add a little water to it. I get a couple more showers out of it. The same goes with conditioner and shampoo, liquid soap, and the list goes on. It may not seem like a lot but over time, I may save enough to buy one less bottle of shower gel over a year.

When I freeze baked goods, I tend to wrap them in cling wrap and then over wrap them with aluminium foil. When I take them our of the freezer, I always use the foil again, generally to line a pan I put in the oven. I do wash all my freezer bags and veggie bags, unless they have had meat in them.I make both my laundry detergent and fabric softener, eventually I will make all my cleaners, however because I use coupons I find that I pay very little for them. For those of you in Canada I have found a great product from Shopper's Drug Mart, called bio-life tub & tile soap scum stain remover. Which is in a Pear Violet scent and is biodegradable and is made with plant derived ingredients. The spray container is also great to reuse, when washed out properly. There are other bio-life products.

We have changed a lot of our light bulbs over to the energy efficient ones. I know in Britain there are different periods of the day/night when electricity is cheaper and more expensive. We don't have that over here in Canada, but I know when we lived in Britain, I used to wash at night and did things when the hydro was cheaper. With that in mind and knowing that eventually we will have the same thing happen over here, I have appliances with delay start, so I too will be able to take advantage of cheap hydro rates. I want to talk about alternative energy in another post.

Luckily I am hot flash Annie, so through the day when I am in the house on our own, I make sure that through the day the heat is down reasonably low, as why keep it up high when it's only me. We do have a programmable thermostat so that too also helps to control the heat and is more accurate.

I am sure you all have little tricks that save you money, care to share?

It's Friday so it is Buddy's, for more Buddy's post's, pop over to Margaret's Ramblings

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Skywatch Friday

This weeks photos were taken from the 31st floor of the hotel we were staying in.

This one shows how low the clouds were, you can't see the top of the CN Tower in Toronto.


This one shows the top of the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

For more Skywatch Friday photos, please click on the link

Catching up again, more on the house......

It's been a busy few days with hardly time to breathe.

Tuesday I had visitors from England, so that day just flew by. Plus we had a viewing on the house.

Monday was another busy day, with another viewing on the house.

So that makes ten people who have viewed the house but no offers yet. The house went on the market on the 12th of February, so it has now been two weeks. Still trying to remain optimistic, but will say there is a nagging doubt in the back of my mind, with a what if.......

So I have been too busy to visit anyone's blog. For that I must apologise. This house selling business seems to have consumed my whole life. We have until the end of March to sell our house, so still have a few weeks to go. As I am writing this on Wednesday, I am trying to prepare some posts for the blog, to try and catch up.

How are you doing with the Daily Savings Club? You should have $13 in your pot, and we are nearly at the end of the month.......

Gill :0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

50 + 1 Mango Recipes......

Thought we'd do Mangoes this week.. It's not a fruit I go out and buy very often, but I do like it.

1. Mango Crisp

2. Mango Mousse

3. Mango Mini Muffins

4. Mango Chutney

5. Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad

6. Margarita Salsa

7. Fresh Mango Cobbler

8. Grilled Chicken with Melon in Pasta Shells

9. Tropical Mango Mousse Cups

10. Broccoli Mango Salad

11. Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa

12. Curried Quinoa Salad with Mango

13. Mango Shake

14. Mango Smoothie

15. Morning Mango Smothie

16. Mango Frozen Yogurt

17. Blueberry Mango Terrine

18. Mango and Pork Skewers

19. Pickled Mango Relish

20. Mango Melon Salad

21. Raspberry Mango Soup

22. Silky Mango Yogurt Mousse

23. Mango Muffins

24. Strawberries 'n' Mango Muffins

25. Mango Muffins II

26. Mango Pie

27. White Chocolate and Mango Cake

28. MANGO KEY LIME POUND CAKE WITH EQUAL

29. Mango Coffee Cake

30. Mango Cake

31. Mango Upside Down Cake

32. Quick Mango Rum Cake

33. Mango Dream Cake

34. Tropical Trifle

35. Ultimate Cheesecake

36. Blender Mango Cheesecake

37. Mango Nut Bread

38. Mango Cookies

39. Mango Lassi

40. Blueberry pancakes with mango butter and cream

41. Mango and Coconut Puddings

42. Baked mango & passionfruit cheesecake

43. Mango, Chive and Prawn Cases

44. Coconut prawns with mango mayonnaise

45. Little Mango Cakes

46. Mango & raspberry shortbread stacks

47. Coconut Mango Cake

48. Mango & lemongrass tart with coconut pastry

49. Chicken and mango rice paper rolls

50. Lemon and coconut syrup cake with mango, pineapple and passionfruit

51. Mango and Yogurt Pops

Quite a variety of recipes there. Hope there are a couple of recipes you would like to try.

Nutritional Info.

Next week, blueberries.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Watery Wednesday...

This week's photo's were taken from the 31st floor of the hotel we were staying on the weekend. It is of Lake Ontario, downtown Toronto. Click on the photos to see the detail, it's pretty neat.

For more Watery Wednesday photos, please click on the link

Busy weekend..........part 2

Just so you know I hate having my photo taken, I take a terrible photo. However as you asked here is a photo of me in my finery!!! Dh and ds wish to remain camera shy, so I have to respect their wishes.


As for the SPANX/magic knickers, I was glad to get the rotten things off. I'm not sure whether it was the fact we ate so late, bit they felt uncomfortable and very restricting. At least my wobbly bits didn't wobble.

So lets get to the funny story. There were 38 floors on the south tower of the hotel, and we were on the 31st floor. So we get on the elevator, and I move over to the left hand side and tell the lady by the buttons to press the 31 button. We go up in the elevator and it keeps stopping on various floors. No on either gets on or off, so finally I say "who on earth is pressing the buttons?" The people in the elevator all turn to me, and say, "it must be you!!" It turns out I was leaning against another bank of buttons, I didn't realize it. Ds said after we got off, he wondered why on earth I didn't press the button myself!!!

Later on we get on the elevator in all our fancy dancy clothing. This time I go to the back of the elevator well away from the buttons. Well the place is heaving as everyone was heading down for the dinner dance. So according to the plaque on the wall they hold 19 people, all I can say it must be 19 midgets. So it starts to fill up as we stop at various floors. As I am at the back I am getting squished, so I say don't let anyone else on, but still they do. I had to say with an insistent tone not to let anyone else on finally to stop people trying to squish in. By the way we must have had to wait 15 minutes to get on an elevator as they were that busy.

So when we come to leave on Sunday morning, it was bright and early, so not busy at all. So we get on at the 31st floor, and it goes down to the 27th, and picks someone up, who happened to be an accountant. So I start talking to him, when the elevator goes back up to the 34th floor. I am confused and say who pressed the 34th floor button, as no one got on. Dh says to me, well did you press the button to go to the main lobby, I say no, remember what happens when I press the buttons. Dh then proceeds to tell this poor accountant guy about me and elevators.

All I know is that I shouldn't be let loose in an elevator!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Busy, busy weekend......part 1

So on Saturday we went to ds convocation. The doors opened to the hall at 12:30pm, so we were there just after 12:30pm, by 12:45pm, there were no seats left. There were 1,200 graduates, and each graduate was allowed two guests. It started at 1:30pm and it finished around 4pm. It was a lovely convocation and Ken Shaw was the master of ceremonies, and was so good.

We were staying at the hotel where all this was at. We had checked into our room before the ceremony. Now this hotel is a fancy dancy one, not one that we would normally stay in. So we pull into the unloading area and the guy came up and asked us if we wanted to valet park so we said yes, as we were unsure about it all, we asked how much and it was $40, which would be added to the bill. I go over to get a cart to put our luggage on, and the guy comes rushing over and said you can't do that, I'll get a bell boy to take your luggage??? So I say fine and go and check in. I ask about our luggage, and they say it will be upstairs in a few minutes, and sure enough a couple of minutes later, there is a knock on the door and there is our luggage, had to give him a tip, another $5 spent there. So we have been in the hotel 15 minutes and it has already cost us $45!!!

Anyhow, after the convocation me, dh and ds all go to our room to catch up, and then ds goes to his room to change and we change into our evening wear. There was a drink's and canapes reception for the company ds works for between 6pm and 8pm. So me and dh sit in a quiet place and eat the delicious canapes while ds networks with everyone.

At 8:30pm, we finally go into the ballroom for dinner. There were three ballroom's as there were 3,300 people attending the dinner dance. The menu for the dinner was:

Roasted Pear and Winter Squash Bisque with Chive foam - it was yummy

Baby Spinach, with fresh berries and goat cheese, with a port vinaigrette, again this was really good, and I think I will make this one in the future, and I don't normally like spinach.

Chicken, with mushrooms, potatoes, veggies and au jus (fancy dancy gravy!!), I have had worse, but it was nothing exciting.

Chocolate silk, with berry compote, and vanilla coulis. It was like two brownie's, cut in triangles with a fruit sauce and a custard swirl through the berry sauce. It was actually very sickly.

Coffee or tea.

By the time we had finished it was 10:45pm, which is way, way too late to be eating if you ask me. Me and dh left the ballroom, at 11pm, as we were tired. Ds then went to meet up with accounting friends, and to cut a long story short they ended up crashing the BDO Dunwoody party, as they had free booze, plus they knew people who work there. Ds finally got to bed at 2am, but had, had a super time. Now as an example on how overpriced the booze was, it was $9 for the cheapest glass of wine!!!

I will post photos and it could only happen to me story, which is really quite amusing tomorrow, as I am pooped

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Today's Flower

This week I am recycling some photos of flowers taken in our garden last summer, in the hopes it may inspire Spring to arrive!!!

The first photo is a white Columbine, with a bleeding heart behind it:

This is my purple lupin with the sedum behind it.

My Martha Washington Geranium.


Purple Iris, that smells like Grape Kool Aid. If you ckick on the photo you will see something on the flower.


For more Today's Flower photos, please click on the link

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Odds and Ends.......

First a good thing. As we all are on the computers frequently, why not do something good.

Click on the purple button at The Animal Rescue Site and give food to an animal living in a shelter or sanctuary --at no cost to you. Here is the link to the site.

To help give free Mammograms, click on this link

To give 1.1 cups of food to the hungry click on this link

To help protect 11.4 square feet of rain forest click on this link

Daily Savings Club, how are you all doing? As it's the 21st of February, you should have $10.50 saved up, pretty good eh?

And finally, as you know I moderate my comments. Things have been quiet for a while, but I now have an anonymous person, who is leaving me delightful comments, but doesn't actually have the guts to have a link back to their site. So they seem to be ticked because I won't publish their comments. I am more than happy to publish their comments, if they would be honest enough to not to hide behind the words "ANONYMOUS." They did use the word Stepford Mum writes, now I am not sure if that's their name, or they could be referring to me...lol I wish I were that perfect.

I have the attitude that if you don't like what I write, then don't read it, no one is forcing you to read my blog. Also if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything. Alright I have had my say, NOW BACK TO MY CORNER!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Buddy's Friday - Some different uses for Coffee Filters.

It's Friday so it's time for Buddy's, pop over to Margaret's to see more of the Buddy's.

Coffee filters are cheap to buy and have a multitude of different uses.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China . Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters.

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. Soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."

OH YEAH THEY ARE GREAT TO USE IN YOUR COFFEE MAKERS

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Skywatch Friday...

I took these photos last Saturday and although it was a cool day, looking at those clouds you would think we were in for some nasty weather...........however it just stayed cool and over cast all day.........as always click on the photos for more detail. They were also taken from the car as we were travelling.






For more Skywatch Friday photos, please click on the link

Update on moving house........

First our house:

We have had 7 different families viewing the house since the weekend, one is supposed to be really interested, no idea about the others. So in the scheme of things that's not to bad, and our real estate agent seems very up beat about it all. What it does mean we have priced the house right for today's market. So fingers crossed something will come of this.

The house we are hoping to buy:

We did the home inspection today (Wednesday). The house was built in 1907, so of course there is going to be an issue of two. The inspection took over three hours, and the home owner came back home about a half hour before we were finished.......awkward or what!!!

Anyhow the jist of it all, the oil tank (oil heating) has rust on it, so whether it passes inspection this year is iffy. The plumbing is "unusual" to say the least. It's working, but the home inspector, recommended that we get a plumber in when we have moved in to check it all out. There is a staircase to the attic and it will make an excellent sewing room for me. However there is no air vents in the roof, or insulation in the attic, so that is all to sort out. There is a crack in the outside wall, but that is nothing major.

Our main concern though is the oil tank, so I think we will be asking them to replace the oil tank. The rest I think it's part and parcel of buying an old home.

I had to laugh though. It's below freezing today and snowing. We go into the house and they have the heating set at 14oC (57oF). Now I am hot flash Annie, but that was freezing *loody cold. I was nithered, I couldn't feel my nose. So when the lady came back in I say, gosh it's cold in here. Her reply was it was hot in the house in the morning and they like it cold in the house, and she is always hot. Anyway she did turn the heat up and it was feeling nice and warm in no time.

However I don't believe her, what I think is that they have only 1/4 of a tank of oil left and they won't want to fill it up before they leave. She was telling me that she makes $100 a day from all the raspberries they have on the property. There are a lot of raspberry, blueberry and blackcurrant bushes on the property. I am also reluctant to believe her on this as well. I just didn't get a good feeling from her.

So I think we are going to ask them to replace the oil tank, and guarantee they will remove all the *rap from the basement and then we'll be happy.........however we are going to make them sweat a little bit and not tell them until next week. By the way dh is an electrician by trade, so is great at DIY, which will save us a ton of money.

So that's all the news for now.

***Anything that is wrong with the electrics, isn't an issue as dh is an electrician, so that's an easy fix for us. He can also turn his hand to plumbing. My dad is a whiz with wood, so any of the repairs we need doing with wood my dad will do. It's the heating that is worrying us. It had new shingles on the roof last year, so the roof is fine. Also there are government grants and rebates for renovations this year, so we hope we can take advantage of those.***

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

50 + 1 Recipes for Lemons

Lemons are a versatile fruit, with many uses, both sweet and savoury.

1. Classic Lemon Loaf

2. Unbaked Coconut Lemon Slice

3. Lemon Curd

4. Baked Lemon Chicken

5. Lamb Shanks in Lemon Sauce

6. Creamy Lemon Pie

7. Lemon and Apple Marmalade

8. Lemon and Herb Butter

9. Lemon and Mustard Dressing

10. Lemon Bar

11. Lemon Cake

12. Lemon Dill Salmon

13. Lemon Garlic Bread

14. Lemon Garlic Salmon

15. Lemon Meringue Pie - a classic recipe

16. Lemon Mousse

17. Lemon Pancakes

18. Lemon Tart

19. Lemon Sponge Pudding

20. Lemon Blueberry Bread

21. Lemon Ginger Scones

22. Lemon Sherbet

23. Lemon Cranberry Pound Cake

24. Frosted Tea Cakes

25. Lemon Curd Tart

26. Strawberry and Lemon Curd Trifle

27. Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

28. Lemon Frosted Cake

29. Lemon Cheesecake

30. Lemon Mousse with Strawberries

31. Lemon Lentil Soup

32. Lemon Basil Potato Salad

33. Florentine Lemon Turkey Loaf

34. Lemon Dressing

35. Trout Stuffed with Lemon Rice

36. Lemon Chicken - Low Carb Recipe

37. Tilapia Fillets with Creamy Lemon Sauce

38. Lemon Garlic Potatoes

39. Immune-enhancing lemon ginger tea

40. Lemon fruit pound cake with lemon glaze

41. Lemon Honey Maple Chicken

42. Lemon Baked Salmon - this looks good

43. Greek Lemon Potatoes

44. Lemon Pepper Muffins - a savory muffin

45. Crock Pot Lemon Chicken with Rice

46. Saffron & Lemon Dessert Bread - A Crockpot Recipe

47. Luscious Lemon Cheesecake - a crockpot recipe

48. Lemon Pot Roast - another crock pot recipe

49. Lemon Pear Tart

50. Grilled Fruit Kebabs with Tangy Lemon Yogurt Sauce

51. Lemonade

There you go quite a variety of recipes, both sweet and savory.

Nutritional Info

Next week it's Mangoes.............

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Watery Wednesday

I took these photos of the Nottawasaga River on Saturday. The river was flowing very fast as we had, had a big thaw during the week. It looked very powerful.


For more Watery Wednesday photos, please click on the link

What we women do.......we must be crazy.......

So as you know we are going to a black tie dinner dance (see this post) I got the dress a while back and last week I picked up the shoes and an evening bag. I really like the shoes and I can see me wearing them again and again. I also got them on sale for $39.99, was pretty pleased with the price. Here is a photo:



The evening bag, although nice, is actually pretty useless as I am one of these women who haul around a huge handbag everywhere I go, and it has everything but the kitchen sink in it!! I'll be lucky if I can get a cell phone, a lipstick and a couple of credit cards in this one. The strap comes off which I think will be better, and I paid $19.99 for it, so I guess that wasn't too bad. Here is a photo of it:


So now for the things we women do part of the post. Now I have to admit, I don't have the most perfect of figures. I have a "full figure" with curves and "wobbly bits," in fact a lot of wobbly bits. So as this dress I have got would look a whole lot better if my "wobbly bits" didn't wobble, I decide to go out and buy a pair of SPANX. For those of you who don't know what SPANX are here is the photo of the contraption:



Now I am no expert on this, so I go by what the instructions tell me and buy the size applicable for me. When I get home I try them on. After much struggle I get them on. Now if I weren't such a shy individual I would have taken a photo with my SPANX on, however that would only have given you all nightmares for the rest of your life.

Suffice to say, yes my wobbly bits don't wobble, how can they they are so constricted none of me wobbles. I pray and hope I don't have to use the bathroom much that night. As although it's supposed to be easy to go to the bathroom with these on, I am guessing it's not as simple as they think. They reckon you can disco dance with these on.........you've got to be joking, as I am all wrapped up like a mummy, so unless there is some sort of mummy dance, that too will be out of the question. I never tried sitting down with these things on. I guess I should try them on again and try sitting down with them on, as I can't stand all night???

I had better get a lot of compliments that night on how good I look, that's all I can say. Oh and I suppose I had better shave my legs and underarms, as we are at the braiding the hair stage ;0)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Family Day and a Happy Birthday to my Mother.

Here in Ontario the provincial government decided to add an extra public holiday between Christmas and Easter and call it Family Day. Today, February 16th is it. However there is a lot of confusion about this holiday and half the people of this province have the day off, however a lot of people don't.

Ontarians who are covered by the ESA holiday provisions are entitled to a minimum of nine public holidays. If your employer provides 10 or more paid holidays, you may not automatically be entitled to Family Day. So where dh is contracted out too, they don't get the day off, so dh is working. Dd boyfriend works for the Federal Government, and he also doesn't get the day off.

So for those of you who are celebrating Family Day, I hope you enjoy the day off with your family......

Also it's my mother's birthday today and my step-father was taking her for a drive around the Lake District and afternoon tea at the Sharrow Bay Hotel. She went a couple of years ago and just loved it, so I know she'll have a good time.

Happy Birthday Mam!!!

Moving Update: Well on Sunday we had one viewing of the house, so that was positive, although having another four or five viewing's would have been even better!!!

Daily Savings Club: Just a reminder, you should have $8 in your pot by now.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Today's Flower........

I picked up a bunch of white and a bunch of red carnations this week, as we put the house up for sale, and I thought they would be a cheerful spot on the front hall table, for when people walked in to view the house. Plus carnations have a longer life span in our house. The last photo is my favourite.





For more of Today's Flowers photos, please click on this link

I should be Miss Marples, or work as a CSI......

We had a couple of people view the house on Saturday. We went out so I have no idea who exactly came, but I can tell you someone brought a couple of kids with them, as there were hand prints all over my patio door glass, probably a three year old and a five year old!!!

Someone used the toilet........how did I know......they left the toilet seat up, and I never ever leave the toilet seat up and have trained dh to not leave the toilet seat up either. I think it is icky to have the toilet seat left up in my humble opinion.

Plus someone sat on one of the recliners, as the cushion was not in it's original position.

Oh the joys of having people looking at your house. Lets hope one of the people who came around on Saturday fell in love with it and wants to buy it!!!

We checked out the town closest to the house we are looking at today (Saturday) and were pleasantly pleased with it. It even has a quilting store, although I didn't see it. So I have to say I am even more excited about it all. Plus its only a ten minute drive from the house, so pretty convenient.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Happy Valentine's Day and more on the house moving/sale and living in the country.

So a Happy Valentine's Day to you all. We don't really do anything special for Valentine's Day. Me and dh just exchange cards. Although I did make dh a cross stitch card this year which made a nice change. Personally I think Valentine's Day is over rated, and in my opinion I don't think it should be all about the one day, it should be about every day you spend together, as I said just my opinion.........

So the house. Well on Friday we had two showings booked, will say I have no idea if either turned up, one I know cancelled, but not sure about the other one, as they didn't leave a card. As I am typing this Friday night, we have a showing booked for between 11am and 12 noon on Saturday. So have to admit we have had more action and interest in the house, over these past couple of days, than we had for the whole time we had it up for sale last time.

Monday is a holiday for us in Ontario, so we have decided not to accept any offers until Monday night...........I know we're being overly optimistic that anyone will put an offer in, but we have to be positive.

I called our insurance company to get a quote on insuring the new house and almost fainted when they gave me the quote, $1, 445.00, which is nearly $1,000 more than what we pay now. There are numerous reasons why it is more expensive, but even so. And the funny thing is when I commented it was $1,000 more than what we are paying now, the guy says, no, it's only $900 and odd more..........oh please!!!!

I also called to see how much the phone, Internet and satellite was going to cost and guess what that is also more expensive. So I am wondering what on earth people are talking about when they say it is cheaper to live in the country, as so far everything is going to cost us more? So please correct me on this, and tell me how living in the country is going to be cheaper, I'm all ears!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Friday, so it's Buddy's time - freezers

Every Friday over at Margaret's Rambling, she hosts Buddy's, where we all post money saving suggestions.

This week I am going to talk about owning a freezer. We have two freezers at the moment. We have a side by side fridge freezer, like this one, and we have a chest freezer like this one

Now as many of you know there are only two of us in the household, so maybe the one freezer might be a good option for us, but I love the fact we have the two freezers. I buy meat in family packs and split them into portions that suit me and dh. If people come just pull out extra portions. Buying family packs generally saves us a bit of money, as they are cheaper.

I buy bread a few loaves at a time. Infact I go to one store where I know they reduce bread products and this week I was able to buy three packs of bagels and a loaf of bread for super cheap. Popped them straight in to the freezer as we wouldn't have been able to eat all the items before they expired.

Also dh takes sandwiches for lunch, and I buy a dozen bread rolls at a time. If they were left out all week, by the end of the week they would be stale, the way I do it, is pop them in the freezer and just take out what we need each day.

I also still insist on cooking for a family despite the fact there is only me and dh!!! So it is handy to put the leftovers in the freezer for another meal. I also keep a freezer inventory so that way I know what I have in my freezer. I wrote more about that on this post

Some do's and don't on buying a freezer:

1. Capacity Required: Do you buy for 2, or a large family? Are you near shopping areas, or do you have to buy in bulk? Do you have other freezer space available, or will this be your only freezer? Also how much room do you have to place this appliance, as that may limit the size you can buy? The appliance industry recommends 1.5 cubic feet of freezer space for each family member with 1 cubic foot of freezer holding approximately 35 pounds of food. So, the larger your family, the larger freezer you will need.

2. Do you want an upright freezer or a chest freezer?

There are Pro's and Con's to both:

Pros & Cons of a Chest Freezer

More capacity and can accommodate odd sized food items, but foods are difficult to get at, and can be forgotten in the bottom.
Lower profile will not obscure windows, but it has a larger footprint to locate.
More energy efficient - cold doesn't escape easily when lid is opened, and foods keep longer.
Most chest models are manual defrost - using less energy.
Usually more economically priced than uprights.

Pros & Cons of an Upright Freezer

Ease of retrieving, sorting and organizing foods.
Smaller footprint like a refrigerator, but taller profile.
Some models come with automatic defrost for ease of cleaning, but foods can freezer burn more quickly, and energy costs are higher.
Foods are more visible - and not forgotten or lost within.
Easier to relocate; will generally fit through doorways (there are extra wide models).
Usually priced slightly higher than chest models.

There are a number of advantages of having a freezer in your home and they mainly relate to saving time and money:

Shopping can be done in bulk, which will free up time to do other things plus it will reduce money spent on shopping.

Cooking can be done in bulk thus saving time and energy costs.

Items that can be cooked from frozen may be kept for "emergencies" when you don't have time to cook.

You can buy large cuts of meat, joint them at home and freeze them until needed. Larger cuts of meat are much cheaper to buy than already cut and packaged smaller cuts.

If hungry unexpected guests arrive at your house, you will always be able to welcome them and feed them if you have a well-stocked freezer.

Fresh fruit and vegetables may be frozen when in season and consumed all year round.
Food may be frozen until needed and less is thrown out if not consumed by the use-by date, which ultimately save money and time (you would have to go shopping again).

The top of the freezer may be used as an extra work surface if needed.

Consumers Reports says that annualized sales of upright freezers sales jumped 17%, chest freezers 10%.

There is more information in this article, which you may find useful.

I hope this has given you food for thought?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Skywatch Friday

This photo was taken from our back yard, last August, click on the photo for more detail. I love the lighting in the sky



For more Skywatch Friday photos, please click on the link

Updates and a question..........plus the daily savings club..

House we are purchasing:

He's accepted our offer.........YEAH!!! It's conditional on us selling our house. I will tell you more about the house, when we have sold our house. I just don't want to jinx it by saying too much. I am all excited and am looking forward to us moving there, if all goes well.

Our house:

Well that is back on the market. We have had to take a big price drop, but we so want the other house, it will be worth it. It's on the front page of our local real estate paper this week, so fingers crossed we get some people viewing it.

Washer:

We have gone out and bought another washer, just a cheap top loader, cost us $348 + taxes, pretty annoying having to do that, but what can you do?

Now for my question. Does anyone out there have a septic tank? I thought I read somewhere that you should put a block of yeast down the toilet once a month, to keep things going okay? Are there any other things I should know about a septic, to keep it in tip-top condition. This one was pumped in 2007, so it won't need to be pumped for another year or so.

Also are there any do's and don'ts regarding a well, as this property is on well water?

Finally are you keeping up with the daily savings club, if you are following the formula, you should have $6 in your pot today, 12 x 50 cents.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

50 + 1 recipes for Strawberries

Just in time for Valentine's Day, thought I'd do Strawberries.

1. Classic Strawberry Jam

2. Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Trifle

3. Glazed Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

4. Individual Strawberry Lemon Trifles

5. Lemon Strawberry Yogurt Shakes

6. Lightened-Up Strawberry Charlotte

7. Maple Mousse with Strawberry Puree

8. Patricia Jamieson's Strawberry Ice Cream

9. Quick Strawberry Shortcake

10. Rhubarb Strawberry Macaroon Cobbler

11. Strawberry Puff

12. Strawberries with Cream - the photo is to die for

13. Strawberry Creams with Raspberry Jelly

14. Pavlova - Oh I just love Pavlova, its ages since I have made one

15. Strawberry Banana Muffin - these look sooooo good!!

16. Strawberry Bread

17. Meringue Hearts - a perfect Valentine's Day recipe

18. Jellied Fruit Terrine

19. Eton Mess - I know I wil make this one!!!

20. Meringue Cake

21. Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

22. Strawberry and Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

23. Strawberry Mousse in Phyllo Cups

24. Strawberry Frozen Dessert

25. Strawberry-stuffed French toast

26. Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

27. Balsamic Grilled Strawberry and Shrimp Salad

28. Berry Caramel Frozen Yogurt Cake

29. Brown Rice And Strawberry Salad

30. Brownie Berry Ice Cream Sandwiches - I suppose I could be forced to eat these....if I must!!!!

31. Devonshire-Style Strawberry Rice Pudding - same with this.....I'll have it, if you insist

32. Strawberry Crumb Pie

33. Strawberry Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

34. Very Berry Wake-Up Shake

35. Strawberry Summer Pudding

36. Strawberry Cookie Torte

37. Strawberry Colada Cheesecake

38. Strawberries `N Cream

39. Icy Berry Pops

40. Fruit Salsa with Vanilla Cream and Cinnamon Wedges

41. Ricotta Soufflé with Amaretto Strawberries

42. Chocolate Chip and Strawberry Crêpe

43. Strawberry Cheesecake

44. Strawberry Chocolate Trifle

45. Strawberry Angel Cups

46. Chocolate strawberry truffle pots

47. Strawberry Fruit Flan - uses store bought items...........super simple

48. Strawberry Chocolate Hazelnut Panini

49. Strawberry Dulce de Leche Trifle

50. Strawberry-spinach salad

51. Strawberry Rhubarb Tiramisu

There are some yummy recipes there, so no excuse with coming up with a "Strawberry Delight" for your Valentine!!!

Nutriotional Info.

Next week Lemons!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Watery Wednesday

My contribution for this week is the tap running when I was filling the sink to wash the dishes, for once the dishwashing liquid was giving me plenty of bubbles. Sorry about the quality of the second photo........

(please click on the photos for more details)







For more Watery Wednesday Photos, please click on the link

A couple of updates........

First the washer........well Sears called and they weren't sure if they were going to be able to come today. So I said fine and booked it for Wednesday. Meanwhile, dh checked out the pricing at a repair store and to cut a long story short, it just isn't worth while getting repaired. So we are waiting until we see what happens with the house sale. If we are moving, we will buy a cheap washer and put that in our house, we found a washer in Lowes for $349 + taxes, so that one will do. If we are staying then I will buy a better quality one.

The house.......well we put in an offer on the house we want to buy, it was a low ball offer, so of course it was rejected. They counter offered and we counter offered back last night. We told our real estate agent that this was it, no more offers, this was the highest offer we were going to offer. They have until midnight on the 11th to get back to us. So we'll have to see. I find the whole thing stressful, and my face has all broken out in spots/zits because of all of this.

Dh's boots........remember I bought dh winter boots last week? Well on the weekend we got a coffee at Country Time Donuts and they had turn up the rim to win. Well I "won" a 20% off a Mark's Work Wearhouse purchase coupon. So I wander back to Mark's and ask them if I could return the boots and re-purchase them using the money off coupon. I ended up getting nearly $30 back, better in my pocket than theirs don't you think?

Monday was a super busy day, running here, there and everywhere, I am hoping today will be a bit quieter.

Monday, February 9, 2009

One thing after another........

Last week I cleaned my windows outside including my patio doors. Fine, not problem with that. A couple of days later I see moisture in between the panes on one of the patio doors. The seal must have gone...b***dy *ell and words to that effect. So I call the manufacturer who makes the windows to see what's what, and of course it is out of warranty, another b***dy *ell. To cut a long story short, it is cheaper to replace the whole door than the two panes of glass so will cost around the $400 mark.... triple b***dy *ell. I tell them I will think about it, as this is all I need spending $400 on a patio door on a house we are going to sell. By the way should mention each door is 4 foot wide, they are big doors.

Next day I look at the door no moisture??? If the seal had gone the moisture is there all the time. The phone rings and its another person from the window place and we get talking and she lives in the area, and I tell her what's what, and say the funny thing is there is no moisture. She then says it must have been on the outside and its not the seal that has gone, and hers does the same thing. Finally a bit of good news...........YEAH!!! I think it must have been something to do with me cleaning the windows, the drastic temperature changes we had in those few days.

Friday I am doing my laundry and there is a *ell of a racket coming from my front loader washer. Do a load of laundry Saturday morning and my washer is not well at all. There is something wrong with the drum and I am left with a sopping wet load of laundry in my washer. So run next door to "R's" and pop it into her washer to spin the water out. Meanwhile dh has the washer to bits and it's the drum, but inside of the drum, where he can't get too.

He goes on the Internet and googles our washer model: Kenmore 970-C42062-00, and lo and behold, everywhere you look everyone has had the same problem with their washer, the drum rust off and it breaks!!!! So I call the service department of Sears and it's $80 for the guy to come out to take a look, and whether or not they'll cover this under warranty is debatable. Its going to be an expensive repair, but I have to have a washer, plus when we come to sell the house, the appliances will have to be included in the sale, its expected. They will blame the laundry detergent I am using, but I am using my homemade stuff, which is no suds, as you have to use a low suds laundry detergent.

Also a while back I lost one of my under wires from my bras in the machine, so I can guarantee he'll find that in there, as we couldn't see it. When I first talked to her, the earliest appointment for the guy to come and look at it, was February 17th, what the heck.......by the time I had finished on the phone with her, the guy was coming today between 8am and 4pm, no idea how I managed that???

I mean this is all we need having to have to go to the expense of buying a new washer.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today's Flower

Here are photos of another of my 96 cents Amaryllis bulbs, this one is a beauty isn't she?







For more of Today's Flower photos, please click on the link

Here we go again..........

One reason I have been busy is that we have been house hunting, and to cut a long story short we have found a house we have fallen in love with, in the middle of nowhere (dh's description, not mine) on nearly 5 acres. As far as I am concerned it's PERFECT, yes it needs some work, but wouldn't we all if we were built in 1907....... When I walked into the house I got "that feeling." You know the one where you instantly know this one is right for you, the one where you know exactly where your furniture would fit. The one where you can see yourself washing dishes, while looking out of the kitchen window feeling, you know the one? The second and third house I didn't get that feeling at all.

So now the fun begins, we have to play the game of us trying to get it for as little as possible and them trying to get it for as high as possible. It's all done through real estate agents over here, but it's still stressful.

Oh then there is the matter of selling our house. Well the reality there, is that in a market where there is a glut of houses for sale, especially in the area we live, we are going to have to drastically drop the price of our house to sell it.

Really its a case of swings and roundabouts, you sell low, you buy low. Obviously we would love to get what the house was worth this time last year, but that isn't going to happen. So it's a give and take situation.

Meanwhile I have been trying to tidy up our house, as a clean and, show/model home tidy home will make more money than a pig sty, though last weekend we went through three houses and of the three only one had made a bit of an effort to tidy up, and even then there were still cobwebs hanging from the ceilings.

Now my family do call me "Mrs Bouquet" at times, as I do like a clean house, however our house could be a lot cleaner than it is. The last house we went through last weekend, there was clutter everywhere. You couldn't see the kitchen countertops for mess. When we went down the basement, where the bedrooms were, you had to bat the cobwebs aside to get past them.......and you know as well as I do, cobwebs that size don't just sprout up overnight. It looked like Christmas morning as there were presents everywhere, it turned out the mother had just got married, and they had opened all their presents, threw the paper down and dumped the presents on any spare place they could find. I could go on and on, but its not worth my energy. My point though, I can normally see through mess, but this house I just couldn't visulize anything, as I couldn't see past the mess as it was that bad.

I am so excited as the possibilities with this other house are great, so fingers, toes and everything else crossed all this worked out. On a side note, the last two houses we sold, we sold them in February. I would love to be moved before gardening season starts.......we'll see!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bit of a whine......

Its February here in Canada, which is generally the coldest, snowiest month of the year. So the other day I went out to buy dh a new pair of snow boots. I thought this would be a simple thing. Two and a half hours later I finally find a pair. There were no snow boots to be had, and the only pair I could find were $130 Now to be fair they are a good quality boot and should last a long time, but $130??

Now for the whine, what was in the stores was all the Spring and Summer stuff. Again let me remind you, February is the coldest, snowiest month of the year here in Canada??? What is it with these retailers, okay you have to be ahead of the game, but what the heck. I know on Boxing Day one store had all the Valentine's things out. Most people don't think ahead of the game, and Valentines Day would be the last thing on their mind on Boxing Day, don't you think?

I am quite sure this happens all the world over, but gosh it is annoying!!!!

Love to hear your stories.........

Friday, February 6, 2009

Buddy's Friday - Cooking with a crockpot....

Every Friday over at Margaret's Ramblings there is a Buddy's Friday meme, where people can contribute frugal thoughts and articles.

My contribution this week is about cooking with a crockpot/slow cooker. There are many benefits of cooking with a slow cooker.

1. Convenience - pop the ingredients in the slow cooker first thing in the morning, by supper time you have a fully cooked meal, and only the one pot to wash up!!

2. Economical, in a couple of ways.
  • It is cooked on a low wattage, it is a cheap way of cooking.
  • As you are cooking over a long period of time you can use cheaper cuts of meats, as cooking them in a crockpot not only makes the meat tender, but also moist.

3. Great for using in Summer as it doesn't heat up the kitchen, the way using the stove/cooker would.

4. They are not an expensive appliance to buy and they come in many sizes to suit the size of your family. Here in Canada they can be quite cheap to quite expensive, here is the Wal-Mart site for Canada. I have a family size, 6 quart size, and even though there is generally only the two of us I find it great. You can also find them at yard sales, car boot's, garage sales, just make sure they are in good condition.

5. I am a morning person and I find that is when I am more motivated as well, so putting everything together in a crockpot in a morning, means I don't have to think about supper later on in the day when my energy levels are down.

Cooking with a crockpot, what to make? The choices are endless and the recipes out there are also endless. There are sites devoted to crockpot recipes, one of my favourite sites is A Year of Crockpotting where she uses her crockpot to cook everyday.

One of my favourite meals to cook in the crockpot is Crockpot Cola Beef it's a great way of using a cheap cut of beef and it makes the best gravy ever. I love to cook a chicken in the crockpot, I pop a whole chicken in the crockpot before I go to bed, add a cup of water, and whatever seasoning you like to use, next morning you have a fall off the bone chicken, that is so moist and tender. You also have great chicken stock to use whatever way you want to.

When our kids went to University, we bought them a crockpot each and I made up a recipe book which includes numerous recipes. If anyone would like a copy of the recipes, it's a word document, do an extra post with your email address in it, and I will email you them (I will not publish your email address).

Also I must apologise for not visiting your blogs, I am really busy at the moment, so my blog visiting it suffering, I'm sorry.....please forgive me!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Skywatch Friday

These photos were taken from our back yard on Monday February 2nd, around 3:30pm. It was actually above freezing as well, which made it an extra nice day..........





For more Skywatch Friday photos please click on the link

Tuesday....it's snowing outside so what to do......

(as always click on the photos for more detail)

Well first you take a photo of the snow falling, so people don't think you're whining just for the heck of it. Yes that is a high school across the road from us, there is a "ravine," I personally would call it an over sized, mosquito and weed infested ditch and a 2 lane road (meaning two lanes each side) between us. So the little darlings, don't really bother us.....


You then make a cup of rooibos tea with vanilla, and sit down and read the latest seed and flower catalogs.

For supper you make a pork and bean stoup (soup/stew) with homemade bread.

Yep that's what you do when its snowing!!

Daily Savings Club. Are you still putting that 50 cents away each day? You should now have $2.50 in your pot now........

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

50 + 1 Recipes for Grapes

Have to say I never cook with grapes, just eat them fresh from the grocery store, so I am interested to see what elese you can do with them.

1. Grape Jelly - a standard recipe and it has photos

2. Grape Chicken Salad Wrap

3. Roasted Asparagus and Coronation Grape Salad

4. Grape Rosemary Focaccia

5. Grape, Orange and Onion Relish

6. Summer Trifle with Blue Grapes

7. Roast Beef, Blue Cheese and Ontario Coronation Grape Jam Sandwich

8. 24 Hour Fruit Salad

9. Nif's Edible Aquarium - great for a kids party

10. Frozen Grapes - great on a hot summer's day

11. Holiday Fruit Salad

12. Individual Italian Wine Cakes

13. Port-Glazed Grape Tarts With Pecan Crust

14. Grapes Rolled in Goat Cheese With a Pistachio Crust

15. Grape Salad - this recipe confuses me, as to my mind it is NOT a salad???

16. Grape, Ricotta and Honey Tarts - these sound good

17. Green Fruit Smoothie

18. Spiced Grapes

19. Grape Muffins

20. Broccoli Grape Salad

21. Concord Grape Pie

22. Concord Grape Sorbet

23. Pork and grape croutons au gratin

24. Apple Slaw with Grape Dressing

25. Green Grape and Green Tea Antioxidant Smoothie

26. Braised ham, green grape sauce

27. Grape and Wild Rice Stuffing

28. Cashew Chicken Salad

29. Quick Fix California Pizza

30. Tropical Fruit Salad

31. Frosty Fresh Grape Pops

32. MANGO-GRAPE SALSA WITH CILANTRO & LIME

33. Peanut Butter and Grape Muffins

34. Toffee Grapes - this ones different

35. Caramel grape mille-feuille - I like the look of this one

36. Apple and Grape Salad

37. Baby Chicken with Leeks, Grapes and Sherry

38. Balsamic Glazed Sausage and Grapes with Polenta

39. Beaumes-De-Venise Cake with Grapes

40. Blue Cheese Pecan Grapes - great snack or appitizer

41. Boneless Chicken Breast with Grapes

42. Brown Rice with Sunflower Seeds and Grapes

43. Burnt Grapes - this sounds really good

44. Cheese and Grape Turnovers

45. Chicken-Grape Salad

46. Curried Cauliflower Salad with Grapes

47. Dave's Grape Pudding Tart

48. "Dump" Chicken and Grapes

49. Fillet of Sole with Grapes

50. Flat Grape Bread

51. Frozen Lemon and Grape Treats

I have to say there seems to be a mix of sweet and savory amongst those recipes. I will say my favourite is #10, I can see me doing this in the summer.

Nutritional info

Just in time for Valentine's Day, next week it's Strawberries.............

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Watery Wednesday........

My contribution for the week, are icicles hanging from the garage.

(for more detail, click on the photos)










For more Watery Wednesday photos, please click on the link

Cleaning Windows.........

Monday, the sun was shining and it was above freezing, so I decided to clean the downstairs outside windows.

I use a mixture of warm water and white vinegar to clean the windows, and I have a cloth applicator and a squeegee to remove the water.

I clean the inside windows with Windex and paper towels. I buy the cheap paper towels for this job.

When I lived at home (before married) we had to clean the windows every other week with Windowlene, and cloth dusters. We had a window cleaner who came around and cleaned the outside windows.

I can only clean the outside of the upstairs windows with a big ladder, and I need dh to help me move the ladder from window to window.

Why are Clean Windows Important?

"Windows allow light into your home which helps heat your home in winter, helps keep electricity bills low as they brighten your home, and provide your own little picture boxes of the world. You sit at them to read by natural light, you watch your kids play outside, and you place your plants next to them to grow. They bring warmth to your home in many ways. "

Windows - Cleaning with Vinegar

"Many different vinegar cleaning solutions have been used for dirty windows. Here are two of the easier ones:

1) Use a 50/50 white vinegar water solution for normal dirt.

2) Use full strength warm vinegar for very dirty windows or windows that have dried paint or hard-water mineral spots. Spray on the vinegar solution then wipe dry with a paper towel. Alternatively, some people use crumpled up newspapers dipped in or sprayed with vinegar solution to wipe the glass, followed by a dry paper towel or crumpled up newspaper. Why newspapers? Because they don't leave any lint behind, they are readily available, cheap and recyclable. Another widely used vinegar formulation that is my favorite for cleaning windows, involves mixing white vinegar, water and rubbing alcohol(70%) as follows:

2 cups Water (500 ml)
1/2 cup Vinegar (125 ml)
1/4 cup Rubbing Alcohol (60 ml)

Those who use it claim that it works just like expensive commercial products."

So do you clean windows?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Good news, daily savings club, photos..........

Didn't have time to post anything for today, so just pulled some photos from last week, of the snow and the sun.......they were all taken from the truck as we were driving by.

As always click on the photos for more detail.





Also a reminder, for the Daily Savings Club, it's now 50 cents per day, so you should have $1 in your pot today!!

Oh and the good news...............my baby is home......and by that I mean my lovely red Dell Laptop. Dd went and bought an Apple MacBook Laptop, I think it is this one, but I could be wrong. So dd is all happy, I am all happy, so the world in general should be happy!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Today's Flower

Here are a couple of my lovely poppies that I grow, these were taken in July of 2008, a bit of colour to brighten a cold snowy day.


For more of Today's Flower images please click on the link