I am a British born, living in Canada. Moved to the countryside in 2009 to a 1909 stone farmhouse. In 2014 we are going to embark on a new adventure with our home ownership.

Life is never ever dull around here and I always have a tale to tell!!

Chipmunk

Looking for some nuts...

Our Farm House

Time for Tea...

Toasty warm in front of the fire!

Martin House

Will anyone be moving in soon?

Our Molly Moo

Friday, September 30, 2011

This weeks home of the week.....

This one is a "starter home" in a very pricey part of the city and its only $1.4 million, enjoy!!  All I could think about was they have taken out every single piece of character from the old home and stuck some awful stuff in there instead, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?????


Rosedale is in a very lovely area, with a lot of older homes.  However as a lot of the older homes are not big enough by today's standards people buy the lots, knock down the old homes and build modern monstrosities in their place.


Can't believe we are already at the end of September where has the month gone too?  The count down to dd wedding is on, 5 weeks tomorrow on November 5th is the big day, so it is going to be a crazy busy 5 weeks trying to get everything done in time.

I finally made a start on decorating the hall, stairs and landing.  Got the ceilings all primed.  I have had the paint for months, so of course this is a last minute job!!!  I don't normally procrastinate but I have done this time.

After supper on Thursday I also primed the laundry room walls.  What a difference as we had put up the blue drywall, so it was quite dark in there, but priming the walls white has really brightened up the room.  So I think I need to keep it in a lighter shade when I do paint the walls, I am thinking of a white with a hint of colour in it like one of these shades.    I like Sico paint from Rona, and have been using it for years with a lot of success.

I forgot to ask is anyone putting money away every day to pay for the celebration food over the Christmas holidays?  I am up to $14 as I am emptying my purse of change when ever I have some change in there.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Skywatch Friday........

I haven't participated in this for a while.  There are so many clouds in the sky at the moment, and although it is dry, I think rain could happen any time with those black clouds rolling in.



For more Skywatch Friday photos, please click on this link

Thrifty Thursday........

I wanted this week to revisit some of the posts from 2008 that I had done on saving money.

This first post also includes a link to a quiz to see how financially fit you are.

This second post was written back in 2008 and I still haven't achieved everything......however the points are all still applicable....

I did a couple of posts on saving money on your food bill.  Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Another post on a simple way to save money here

For more Thrifty Thursday posts, pop by Angela's at Tracing Rainbows......

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Continuation of yesterday's post..........

So I reminded myself what the Brooks and Dunn song, Boot Scootin Boogie," was all about. 


Now I am wondering if we are supposed to learn how to line dance to it?  Saw this video on Youtube, guess I could practice??? However discovered there must be half a dozen different dances to this song?

This one seems sort of easy, I guess?



I will say that song does remind me of "The Wanderer," by Dion



You can even line dance to it:


Does anyone do line dancing?  It looks like fun don't you think, unless you have two left feet?

Now even if you don't watch any of the other videos please watch this, they are from Malaysia of all places:



The music is sung by a great band called the Hermes House Band.  A very upbeat and fun group from the Netherlands.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All about music today..

I was talking to dd on Monday and she was going to see the D.J. on Monday evening to finalize all the details for the wedding. We were talking about different types of music that should or shouldn't be played at the wedding.  It helped that dd and future son-in-law were at a wedding this past weekend, so they saw first hand what sort of music worked.


One that didn't were the "mega-mixes," which comprise of lots of different songs from one artist/group put together on one long track.  They are annoying and so long that you get bored with it before it ends.   She said that people seem to enjoy the modern country songs, and of course the usual groups like Abba, Queen etc.


I personally like the older songs from the 50's and 60's as they tend to have catchy tunes that you can dance too.  Do you have any favourite type of music you like to dance too?


While I was cleaning up on Monday I had some music on.  I actually went and bought a cd the other week.   21 by Adele  My favourite song from that cd is this one:





I was also listening to the Proclaimers. They are a Scottish duo and the funny thing is while I am singing along to their songs, I can sing with a Scottish accent.............in real life I DO NOT sound at all Scottish, I have a true English accent, despite what certain people say, and they know who they are!!



Have to say I also like Benny and Joon which was featured in video above, Johnny Depp is very easy on the eyes!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some quilts from the Great Northern Exhibition...

As always there were some beautiful quilts on display at the show.  I loved the movement in this quilt and the colours.

This reminded me of the scrap quilt that I have to finish off, my goal is to have it quilted before the end of year....we'll see!!
This is one of the major winners, can't say I love this one, but it is nice........
This is the English paper piecing that I do with all the tiny hexagons.  I was so impressed with this one and the amount of work that went into it.
These are quilt blocks done by various people that had to have the theme "Country Roots and Cowboy Boots."  You are given three pieces of material, that has to be included in the quilt bock and you then let your creativity go wild.  I must admit, I didn't think the first prize winner was that exciting; there were better squares in my opinion.

Must admit though I do enjoy looking at everyone's work.

Sunday was a gorgeous day weather wise.  I spent most of the day outside in the garden.  Dug up my potatoes and was surprised at how many were in the ground, considering I had not weeded all year.  I also trimmed the willow trees and some other trees and had a fire on the firepit.

As I am writing this on Sunday night I have to say I am pooped with all the work done in the garden and my back is paying the price. 

Just to let you know I am going to be crazy busy this week, so may not get around to visiting your blogs, but will be posting as normal.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day out, lots of photos.....

It's that time of year again, when the Great Northern Exhibition is on.  The weather was terrible on Friday with rain, and the forecast was iffy for Saturday, so we weren't sure if we would go or not on Saturday.  Anyhow, it turned out to be a stunning day, and quite hot and sunny.  Both dh and I got sun burnt while we were watching the trucks go through the mud bog. 

The first trucks that went through were the smaller ones and they all got stuck at one certain place, so the tractor had to go in and haul them out.

Took a few photos of the trucks lined up ready to go through the mud bog:

This is a type of a Mercedes Benz.
Another Mercedes Benz.  I overheard someone say these vehicles were made for the army, but are no longer made.  It had a lot of gears and was able to go through the mud bog no problem. **Please refer to my brother Nick's comment as he tells us more about this vehicle.  The guy whose conversation I overheard, obviously didn't quite know what he was talking about.**
I never did figure out how the driver got into that truck.  The girl in the photo was probably at least 5' 5".
Another Mercedes Benz, like the other one. Even after going through the mud bog, this truck remained nice and clean.

This truck was either called "Rednecker" or "Redneckin," I can't remember which.
This guy was just covered from head to foot in mud by the time he got to the other end.   I didn't get a photo of him though.
That's him going through the mud bog.
We really enjoyed ourselves, but there were so many wasps around it was awful.  Poor dh got stung by one so his arm is swollen now.

Talked to a farmer for a while regarding the cows that were on show in the ring. Very interesting and the way they pronounce Hereford over here is totally different to the way we pronounce it in Britain.  By the way, the way I pronounce it is hera-fud

Also, saw a sheep sheared and that took around a minute and a half to do that.  The fastest time to shear a single sheep is 45.41 seconds by Dwayne Black (Australia) on the set of Guinness World Records at Seven Network Studios, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 17 April 2005.





I will post the photos of all the quilts tomorrow, there were some beauties as always.

When we got home I decided to go out in the garden for a while.  Managed to get the grape vine trimmed back for the winter.  Not sure if I did it correctly, but it has two choices, it will either grow next year and I'll have a big crop; or it won't!!!

I also spent an hour and a half trimming all the bank down.  It's much too steep for me to cut with the tractor and even the push lawn mower is hard work.  I managed to get over half done, so will finish it off today.

Good day and a productive day for us.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cleaning the toilet and exercising.........

Got a parcel in the mail on Friday.  I am a Bzz Agent and I am testing the One Step Toilet Bowl Cleaning System for them and that was in the parcel.


The blurb says:

"Do you hate cleaning the toilet? It can be the most disgusting task in the house. Might not be the most difficult task, but it is never ending. Wouldn’t it be nice to remove yourself from toilet-cleaning duty?


Introducing Scrubbing Bubbles® One Step toilet bowl cleaner—the toilet system that works hard to keep your toilet clean and smelling fresh so you don’t have to!


Start with a clean bowl and it will easily keep it clean with just a couple of sprays a day. The powerful cleaner tackles tough stains like toilet rings, hard water marks and lime scale – and helps keep them away.


Simply clip the nozzle over the rim inside the bowl—it securely fits all types of toilet bowls. Then effortlessly spray the bowl with the tap of the foot pedal and walk away! The 360 degree spray will cover the complete bowl, even under the rim."
 
Well I will say it was easy enough to clip onto the toilet, and it smells okay, but you do have to still clean the toilet seat, the part of the toilet that the seat sits on and outside of the toilet bowl, so it doesn't actually do away with all of the cleaning of the toilet.
 
I guess though for people who hate cleaning the toilet, it sort of helps with the cleaning?  I will let you know if I like it.  Do you mind cleaning your toilet?

Have you heard of that expression: "An elephant never forgets."  Well I must be an elephant.  Let me explain.......

Back in the early 90's I got some of Richard Simmon's exercise tapes, "Sweatin' To The Oldies."  I loved them and I used to do them all the time.  Fast forward to this year and dd mentioned she had seen a dvd set of Richard Simmons "Sweatin' To The Oldies."


The kids bought it for me for Mother's Day.  I decided to "do" the #1 dvd, and do you know what I knew all the moves, it all came back to me.  Which is actually funny as if you were to ask me what I did on Thursday I would have no idea!!!!

By the way it took me nearly as long to try and figure out how to turn on the dvd player.  Do you know we have three remote controls for the tv and dvd player?  No wonder it is so bloody complicated.

I enjoyed the dvd and was sweating like a pig doing it with Molly looking on. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Home of the week and other things

Well this weeks home of the week is a on sale for a cool $1 million!!  When I first saw it I thought perfect, then I realized it's a semi and you're only getting half of the house, not so perfect.  I still think its a gorgeous looking house from the outside though.  However totally disappointed with the inside, the space is not well laid out to my mind.  Some rooms seem huge, while others much too small.  It won't take you long to cut the grass.....oh wait there is not grass to cut!!!


You're paying for the location here, as it's across the road from the lake.  However as someone commented it's a busy road, so you have to contend with traffic noise as well.  Overall love the look of it outside, not too keen on it inside, especially the wall paper in the powder room, huge pattern for a small area!!


What's your thoughts?

I spent part of yesterday in the garden and have more or less cleaned out the veggie patch of weeds.  Another hour of weeding and it should be ready to rototiller and put too bed for winter, mind you I have to dig up the veggies first.

I have been quiet about the tractor this year, haven't I?  Well thought it was too good to be true, I went and broke the bloody thing yesterday.  I broke a bolt off the bottom, so can't cut the grass now until dh takes it all apart and attaches another bolt.  I can still use it to pull the trailer around, just not for cutting grass {SIGH}

You know I think it dropped off as I cleaned underneath the cutter with the hosepipe, which is very unusual for me, and I think it shocked my poor old tractor and the bolt dropped off?

A very important message to my neighbours:

You know I like all of you, but could you do me a little favour and stop dropping off your laundry at our house for me to do.  I did another couple of loads on Thursday and even my iron is protesting on how much ironing it has had to do recently.

Thanks,

Gill

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thrifty Thursday.........



It's 90 days until the 20th of December.  Plenty of time to save a little bit of money without it costing you a lot all at once.  How to do this, well starting from today you put a little bit of money away each day.

If you put $1 away each day you will have $90 saved up to spend just before Christmas.

50 cents/pence per day will be $45 and even 25 cents/pence per day will mean you will have saved $22.50.

I am going to do the $1 per day and that will be more than enough to pay for all the food over Christmas.

We have made a couple of batches of wine so the alcohol is taken care of.  I put $20 away each week for Christmas presents, so this $1 will take care of the food.

Anyone else thinking about Christmas yet?

For more Thrifty Thursday posts, pop by Angela's at Tracing Rainbows......

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Molly, the dog with a sandpaper fetish and all sorts of stuff for today......

Molly has now got a sandpaper fetish.  She is forever going down the basement and dragging up pieces of used sandpaper from the garbage bag down there?  She even takes it to bed with her?  Don't suppose anyone has any ideas why?  Such a strange doggie!!

A friend sent me this in an email:

The Talking Centipede


A single guy decided life would be more fun


If he had a pet. So he went to the pet store


And told the owner that he wanted to buy an unusual pet.




After some discussion, he


Finally bought a talking centipede,


(100-legged critter), which came in a little white box


To use for his house.


He took the box back home, found


A good spot for the box, and decided he would start off


By taking his new pet to Church with him.


So he asked the centipede in the box,


"Would you like to go to Church with me today?


We will have a good time."


But there was no answer from his new pet.


This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes and


Then asked again, "How about going to Church with me


And receive blessings?"


But again, there was no answer from


His new friend and pet.so he waited a few minutes more,


Thinking about the situation.


The Guy decided to invite the centipede one last time.


This time he put his face up against the


Centipede's' house and shouted,


"Hey, in there! Would you like to go to


Church with me and learn about God?"


...


YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ....


This time, a little voice came out of the box,


"I heard you the first time!


I'm putting my shoes on!"

We have booked a tour with this lady in November: http://tastytourstoronto.com/ so looking forward to it.  I will let you know how we like it after the tour.  Check out the link as it does look yummy good.




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Town and Country - total contrasts......

Monday was super busy, but nothing new there I guess...........

I spent the morning in the garden tackling the veggie patch, as it's knee high in weeds.  Did manage to find onions, carrots, a couple of cabbages and potatoes. All which need to be dug up when I get rid of all the weeds, which should take the rest of the week!!!  I also managed to get an hours worth of grass cut before it started to rain.

Meanwhile dh was drilling a hole between the two basements so he could feed the new wiring from the new basement to the old basement, which was no easy task, as the old basement walls are two feet thick.

After lunch we ran a few errands and headed to downtown Toronto.  Had a visit with dd, before heading to the florist with her, to see a mock up of the centrepieces and sort a couple of other things out with him.

I will admit I wasn't sure of dd vision for these centrepieces.  However between her vision and the florist's creativity, the centrepieces are just gorgeous.  However, I can't show you them, as she wants to keep them as a surprise until the wedding.

As ds and future son-in-law were heading to watch the Maple Leafs hockey team play, dd, dh and I decided to stop off at Swiss Chalet for a bite to eat.  We sat down at our table and as we were reading the menu's we heard this rumbling sound and the table sort of shuddered a little.  I looked at dh and he looked at me, and then we looked at dd who was still reading her menu as though nothing was happening. 

It turned out we were on top of the subway line and every time a train went by we could hear the rumbling and the vibrations.  It was the strangest sensation and not one I really enjoyed.  Dd was used to it and had experienced it before so she didn't notice it.  The joy of being in the city eh!!!!

Molly update:  I have been spraying some "stuff" on Molly's hot/sore spots, called Topagen, that the vet sold me a while ago. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beautiful day, cooking and poor Molly........

Sunday was a stunning day.  Started out cool, only 0 oC when I got up, but it got out just lovely with the sun shining.  A perfect day to be alive in my books.  I spent the morning in the kitchen freezing some veggies and making up a couple dishes of roasted veggies.  I had a combination of potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips and onions. I drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Got the two butternut squash in the back of the photo chopped up and popped into the freezer for another day.

Popped them in a 400 oF oven for around 45 minutes to an hour. I made a couple of dishes at once, so I only cook once but have enough to eat for a couple of meals.  I just pop them in a Tupperware dish and re-heat them in the microwave.
I also picked up a corn beef brisket and stuck that in the slow cooker and cooked that all day to go with the veggies, along with some wedges of cabbage, that I also stuck in the slow cooker for just over 3 hours.

Molly is not 100% again.  She has been having a really hard time with her allergies.  I gave her a bath a week ago, and decided to bath her again on Sunday to see if it would help her skin.  As you can see this is one of her sore spots. I use a special shampoo that I got from the vets on her.
Dh thinks her back end is also getting a lot thinner and she doesn't have the same perkiness she used to have.  I disagree but to be on the safe side I think I will try and get into the vets later on in the week.  We do have to board her for a couple of nights when the wedding is on, so I need to get the kennel cough jab for her, so it will kill two birds with one stone and not cost me for a double visit.

When I mention the "W" word.....walkies......she seems perky enough too me!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Water Softener Salt and other things........

The kids came up on Saturday, so I popped into town to TSC to get some bags of salt for the water softener.  We like to get the 40kg bags, but cannot carry them down the basement.   So having the kids come up is a bonus.

I got six bags and it came to well over $70.  TSC is the cheapest place around to buy it, and I commented on how the price had risen.  The manager told me that we can expect a larger price increase on the salt, as back in August a tornado hit both salt plants in Goderich.  She didn't say there would be a shortage of salt, just an increase in price.  I am hoping we have enough salt now to last us until next February, then I'll have to make sure I invite the kids up so they'll move it down the basement.

Do you know of anything that has decreased in price?  As everything seems to be increasing in price.

Summer is over around here.  It was a nippy 2 oC when I got up on Saturday morning.  I did manage to warm up a bit by the afternoon and I did manage to get all my laundry dried on the line.  We haven't got our heating on yet, but did put dh's blanket on his side of the bed on Friday when I changed the bed.  I saw and smelled smelled smoke coming out of chimney's, so people are starting their fires.  Ours is laid ready to go, but so far we have held off from lighting it

Last year we didn't have the fire on until October 14th, as per this post and we didn't turn the heating on until October 21st, as per this post.  My goal this year is to keep the heating off until the beginning of October, and not have the fire on until around the same time.

Have you turned your heating on yet, or have had your first fire in your fireplace yet?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coronation Street and a couple of good deals..........

Did you watch Coronation Street this week, it was so good wasn't it?  Very well done and quite believable.  Had me in tears at times.......

My good deals this week were these Stouffers Express Meals on clearance for $1 a packet, should have been around $5 each.  I can't make the meals for that.  Zehrs also had PC family sized Lasagna  on for $5.99 so picked up a couple of those for the freezer.
I also got this McCain Cake for free; it was what I won at Canadian Tire with the scratch and save ticket.  Better than nothing.


A while back there was a deal at Sobeys, that when you bought $20 worth of product you got a $20 Sobey's gift card back.  I remember due to pricing I had to buy around $25 worth of stuff but it was worth while.  I got the gift card this week, and so I got 4 blocks of Kraft Cracker Barrel cheese 500 grams each and a 4 litre bag of milk and paid only $4.35 for all, so that was good.

Pleased to say our chest freezer in the basement it stocked to the top, which is always a good feeling.  I now need to do some menu planning and sort everything out.

How is your food supply?  Do you need to stock up on anything?

Friday, September 16, 2011

House and cottage of the week, plus other stuff..

This week's house/condo of the week is just plain awful.  I can normally find something I like about a place, but honestly this condo is just plain awful, right down to the way it is all decorated, and it has just had $300,000 spent on it........where?  I guess if you want to be downtown it has the convenience factor but otherwise, I wouldn't give you $100,000 for it, never mind 1 million!!!


The cottage of the week, well there wasn't one, they did an "office space," instead.  I personally would find it hard to work in a space like that, as it is too "pretty."  Also that space is way too tidy for any real work to get done, don't you think.  Then in the summer how much work would you get done with a deck just outside the door?

***Deal Alert*** If you are in Canada and happen to be passing Canadian Tire they have a KitchenAid 2-quart saucepan on sale for $8.89, should be $39.99, it is worth every penny.  I have one and it is a great size to have in the house.  It's on sale from Friday through to Sunday and there is also a scratch and win  the same days, where you can win  a McCain frozen cake, or a $5 money off coupon, or a $5,000 gift card for Canadian Tire.  I would be happy to win the $5 off card.  I will be popping in as cling wrap, aluminum foil, magic eraser's and a few other things are all on sale for 89 cents each.  Plus it's 10 x the bonus points for gas with the coupon this week as well at the Canadian Tire gas bar.

We went to the market again on Thursday and walked away with 12 bags of rolls for the freezer.  More leeks, carrots, parsnips and broccoli.  Also 7 white pine trees and we bought a gorgeous turn of the century chest of drawers with a mirror on the top from the antique market.  I will take a photo when we get it cleaned up.  Dh said as soon as I saw it my face just lit up, and he knew I wanted it.  Also the guy that owned the booth happened to be there and knocked $35 off of it, so that was nice of him.

As far as I know I have emailed everyone who requested the crockpot recipe book.  If I have missed you please let me know?  I am hoping to get caught up with everyones blogs over the weekend.  It's been a very busy week again around here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thrifty Thursday.........


One way I save money is by using other appliances rather than my regular stove/cooker. I just purchased a new toaster oven back in July and I wrote about it here. It has two shelves so I can cook two things at once; and as there is generally only the two of us it works a charm.

Another small appliance I cannot do without is my crockpot/slowcooker.  That is worth it's weight in gold.  It uses very little electricity and it cooks the cheapest cuts of meat until they are melt in your mouth tender.

I wrote a post a while ago about  the benefits of using a crockpot here. In that post I mentioned I put together a recipe book for the kids using the crockpot while they were in university.  If you would like a copy; it's on a word document, please leave a separate comment with your email address in it, I WILL NOT PUBLISH IT, and I will email it to you.

One of my favourite recipe books for the Slow Cooker, is the "Fix It and Forget It."  Lots of good recipes in there.

My other favourite money saving small appliance is the microwave. The carrot soup recipe I feature on my blog is a favourite of ours and is made entirely in the microwave.  I am lucky enough to own a couple of great Marks and Spencer's Microwave recipe books that I brought over with us when we moved to Canada.  Another recipe from one of those recipe books is sausage risotto, which is really tasty and one that only the British could love, Baked Bean Lasagna!!

Do you have a favourite small appliance in the house?

For more Thrifty Thursday post pop over to Angela's at Tracing Rainbows.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Grotty Start to Tuesday.......

We spent part of the morning down the old basement, connecting the water pipes from the new laundry room to the rest of the plumbing in the old basement.  To do that dh had to get into "the hole!"


Many moons ago, there was a large concrete/stone container built to store water in the basement.  It has no top on it, and over the years people have just thrown their building garbage in there.  When we moved in, dh got a lot of it out, but there was still a lot more.  So we spend a couple of hours cleaning more out.  I also removed all the old duct work that was laying in there from last year, and put it all in a big pile outside the garage and called "K" to pick it up.  He sells the scrap metal for "beer money."


By the time we had done all that we were filthy, sweating and just feeling grotty.  Good news though we do have water to the new basement, and once dh does all the electrics we can use the new washer and dryer.  I don't think that will happen though much before the end of the month.

So after having a shower and lunch, we then headed out to downtown Toronto.  We picked up my dress for the wedding, and it was a perfect fit.  So my plan for not losing weight worked!!!  LOL

We then headed to Yorkdale shopping mall, it's been a long time since we have been there.  I got to look around Pottery Barn and bought four small bowls that were on sale.  I also looked around Crate and Barrel for the first time and bought a ceramic 9 inch square baking dish which is the perfect size for the toaster oven.  Would have loved to look around more, but we were scheduled to have dinner at the wedding venue for 6pm with dd and fiance and his parents.

The meal was so good and we were stuffed by the time we ate it all.  I had the vegetarian option to try it out and so we all knew what it was, and I think I am going to stick with it for the actual wedding day. So we were really pleased with what dd and fiance had chosen.

So all in all a good day despite the dirty sweaty start to it all........

Now due to the busy day we had, I was not able to pop by your blogs, hopefully on Wednesday night I may get time.  However both Wednesday and Thursday I have a lot to do.......

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New to me recipe and other things.........

I bought leeks at the market last week, so decided to try this recipe:

French Leek and Ham Shepherd's Pie.



Ingredients



2 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds leeks, sliced
2 medium tomatoes - peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds cooked ham, thinly sliced
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)


Directions


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil a 2 quart casserole dish.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and chop. Stir in the cream, butter, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and mash until smooth.


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent. Stir in the leek and cook another minute until the leek is soft, but not brown. Mix in the peeled tomatoes, lower the heat, and simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes have lost some of their shape. Stir in the ham and season with salt and pepper.


Spread half of the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the casserole dish. Pour in the ham and leek sauce and cover with the remaining mashed potatoes. Brush the surface of the mashed potatoes with the beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.


Of course I didn't have everything on hand, so made mine a little differently.  I only had a little bit of ham, so added half a pound of mushrooms that needed using up.  I didn't add the tomatoes, which was fine.  I had some french onion dip in the fridge so I put that in the potatoes for added flavour.


 
This is a very versatile recipe, where you could add or remove ingredients easily and was very, very tasty.  Should also add, I know my leeks weren't French, they were grown in Ontario!!!
 
If we go to the market this week, I am going to buy more leeks to pop into the freezer.  You wash and dry them and cut them up as you like and then freeze.  Great for soup or casseroles.  I read you can also freeze diced up butternut squash, so will do that as well.
 
Got crazy weather here, had the a/c on, on Monday as it was that warm?  Then it's going to be freezing cold by the end of the week?  We'll all be as sick as dogs if it carries on like this.
 
For those of you in Canada, DO NOT MISS this week's Coronation Street episodes !!!  It's going to be good.....

Monday, September 12, 2011

What happened to the weekend?

It went by pretty fast.  Did it for you?

Saturday I kept my word and didn't leave the property.  Not that I didn't do anything, I was busy but a good busy around the house.  Even managed to get some of the grass cut.  Mind you between me and you I think my neighbours are dropping off their laundry at our house, as I have done a heck of a pile this weekend!!

On Sunday we had a day in Barrie running errands.  Mind you it was one of those days when all I could do was sigh about the service we got.

Went to "Timmies," and was served by a young kid who I managed to confuse.  Why, well the bill came to $5.47, so I gave him $7.02, as I thought it was easier........I often do that in stores, not sure why I bother as it just confuses the heck out of people.  By the way I knew the change would be $1.55, so a loonie, two quarters and a nickel..........as if I gave him a straight $7 (I had no loonies) it would have meant $1.53 in change, so a loonie, two quarters and three pennies..........

Went to all three hardware stores, Rona, Lowes and Home Depot.  Now I don't claim to know a lot about DIY, but I know a little.  In one store I looked like a bloody genius compared to their plumbing "expert!"  I walked away after the conversation with the guy just shaking my head.

We then went to the Mall and I actually did a little clothes shopping.  I rarely go clothes shopping, but got myself a nice skirt and top in Sears and a new bra.  For the men out there, you may not want to read the next little bit unless you normally wear a bra?  Then read away.

I decided I had better get measured for one, so she made me take off my top.  She then went to get a bra and walked into the change room and told me to take off my bra with her in there.  Sort of paused for a few seconds thinking is this normal, then remembered I had, had kids so nothing in this world is private anymore and got on with it!!!

I then went in my favourite store HomeSense (HomeGoods in the States) and picked up a few things.  I love that store, always find something I need want.

By the time we got home, six hours had passed by.  Time seems to be flying by at the moment, is it with you?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Busy, busy, busy..

What a week it has been and a fast one at that.  Dh has been on vacation and I don't feel as though we have stopped all week.

Monday we were at home doing "stuff," around the house; which for dh means he was down the basement.......poor dh.

Tuesday we had our yearly appointment with the bank.  Funny thing is although we were in there with her for well over an hour, half of that time was just general chit-chatting on a personal level.  Oh well it's always good to see her.  After that we ran errands, got home for lunch time and then in the afternoon had a run down to Ikea as I wanted a small chest of drawers for the attic.  We called in at Deblin's Linen's and I picked up a couple of queen sized sheet sets, two bath towels and two hand towels, over $170 with taxes.  I was shocked at the price of bedding and towels.  By the time we got home it was supper time.

Wednesday we had to go to Brampton, for a couple of appointments.  Plus I broke the screw on my sewing machine where you change the foot; that cost $7 just for that????  Also ordered the counter top for the laundry room, managed to get that for $220 cash......with it being 30 inches deep it's having to be custom made, so did save at least $100 on that if not more, as it should have been $320 plus 13% taxes.  Once again by the time we got home it was supper time.

Thursday we went to the market at St. Jacobs.  We had a wonderful time and I stocked up on a pile of veggies.  I got butternut squash at $1.25 each, a huge cabbage at $1.50, even picked up two bunches of leeks for $1 a bunch.  The only thing that puzzled me and maybe you know the answer.  People were wandering around with huge bags of red peppers, what are they going to do with them?  Met a woman from church which was so funny, as everytime I go to Zehrs I seem to meet her as well!!!  Once again it was supper time by the time we got home.

Friday we had planned on having a day in the house, but dd called on Thursday night to say her wedding dress was ready, could we come with her to pick it up.........of course we would be there.  As the store was in the "Greek town," part of the city and we had no idea how long it would take us to get there, we set off after lunch.  We had a look around the stores, as it is a very interesting part of the city on the Danforth until dd came.

Anyway dd picked her wedding dress, gorgeous but too big.  So we then went to the dressmakers to give it to her to alter; the bridal store does not do on site alterations, which was a bit unusual.  However the alterations store had a number of bridal dresses from the same store there waiting to be altered, so I guess that's a good thing?

Went to drop dd off at her home and then headed home, which was a total pain, as Friday night at rush hour is a nightmare.  Finally got home at 7pm.  I do not know how folk commute along the 401 everyday, it would drive me potty.  We didn't even go up the 400 as that is normally a parking lot, so went up the 427, which wasn't much better but at least it was moving.

So here we are on Saturday morning.  We, or at least I am not leaving the house today.  I need to catch up with laundry.  The house looks as though a bomb has dropped in it.  I need to cut the grass and generally take a breather.

We have another busy week ahead of us this next week as well and although it is all planned out what we are going to do, I should watch out for any unexpected things to happen!!!

Enjoy your weekend,

Gill

Friday, September 9, 2011

Home and Cottage of the week, and a Book Review

This weeks home of the week is a condo for just under $2 million.  Please make sure you look out for the comment on photo #8, I found that very funny!!! Photo #2 is the lobby downstairs, it took me a minute to click what that was.  If you want to live right down town Toronto this is the place for you.  It's not my cup of tea, plus with monthly maintenance charges of over $1,500 on top of your mortgage and other bills, it's a bit actually a lot too rich for my taste. 

The cottage of the week is gorgeous, but pricy at $4 million.  I love how it is all decorated; but it is so neat and tidy it looks as though its never been lived in.  I wonder why there is so many photos of the outside and none of the actual cottages?  The property taxes are over $20,000 a year.  Mind you I think if I could afford a $4 million dollar cottage I could probably afford the property taxes to go with it?

"To Have and To Hold," by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

When Audrey Cunningham moved with her father to his ancestral home on Bridal Veil Island, Georgia, she hoped the beauty and remoteness of the place would keep him sober and close to God. But now wealthy investors are buying up land to build a grand resort on the secluded island--and they want the Cunninghams' property.


Contractor Marshall Graham can't imagine why Boyd Cunningham would ask him to look after Audrey. Marshall has no desire to be saddled with caring for the fiery young woman who seems to think the worst of him. But when someone appears to be sabotaging the construction work at the resort and Audrey's life is endangered, Marshall realizes she holds more of his heart than he thought and he'll do anything to keep her safe.

Amid a time of growth and change for Bridal Veil, can Marshall and Audrey find a foundation on which to build a love to last forever?

This was an okay book,  however, there was something missing from this book, as it didn't grab me and hold my attention.  The "whodunit" part was interesting and I never did figure it all out before hand.

The main characters were okay but if I had to pick a favourite it wasn't the heroine, it was Aunt Thora, who was a fiesty old thing, and make me chuckle a couple of times.

At the end of the book is the author's note which I found interesting as it talks about how they came to write this book.  Although Bridal Veil Island is fictional, there are references to Jekyll Island which is real.

Of the three books I reviewed this month, this one was my least favourite.

Stars out of 5: 3, don't regret reading it, but it was a bit blah for me.  Did enjoy the description of the island though.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thifty Thursday

It's Thursday so it must be "Thrifty Thursday," then.......

One thing I do on a weekly basis and have done for many years and have mentioned on my blog before, is put money aside each week for various things.  I put $20 a week in a birthday box and $20 per week in a Christmas box.  So when a birthday comes around, I just take whatever I need out of the box to pay for it.  Again with the Christmas box, as it is much easier putting $20 a week away, than having to come up with $500 or $1,000 at Christmas time to pay for everything.

I also have been putting $50 a week away in another box, that changes its name depending on what I need money for.  This year it is for the wedding; other years it's been for our vacation, and other times it has come in really handy when paying workmen by cash!!!

I do my banking online, and discovered we were charged services charges on our chequing account?  So I spoke to the bank on Tuesday and it seems the bank has decided to up the minimum amount of money we "have" to keep in our chequing account so we don't pay service fees.  So I now have to keep an extra $500 in there at all times.

It however is easier and cheaper keeping the minimum balance in the account than paying the $14.95 a month on service charges.  Plus I can't earn that in interest anywhere else.  So if you like me do online banking, make sure you read any messages when you go onto the site and not ignore them like I normally do!!!!  I was lucky the lady in the bank reversed the fees and will do the same for me during the month of September.  After that though I will have to have the minimum in there.

I also subscribe to three magazines which I pay for on a monthly basis through my MasterCard.  For a while now I haven't been receiving Harrowsmith Country Life, but have been charged for it.  Finally got around to calling the "red and white company!!" and discovered that Harrowsmith Country Life magazine is no longer in business, but the "red and white company," is still charging me for it.  So of course I asked them for my money back!!  Even had to argue about that as they were not going to give me as much back as I wanted!!

I wonder how long they were going to charge me for a magazine I wasn't receiving????

For more Thrifty Thursday participants please pop over to Angela's site.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coronation Street and a Book Review

Good news/bad news regarding Coronation Street.  It is now on an hour per day Monday through Friday, so in theory we will sort of catchup with Britain at long flipping last.  Bad news, actually more like sad news, I had tears flowing down my face last night, as it was Jack's funeral and poor Tyrone was so upset.  I think the whole of Jack's death was handled so well.  We are now close to the end of November 2010, and for those of you in Britain yes I do know what is going to happen next!!  I "peek" at this site every week to see what's going on!!! 

"The Doctor's Lady," by Jody Hedlund
Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.


Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

Loved the book and the character's.  Priscilla was such a strong character and you can't help but want to encourage her to never give up.  I will say I felt her pain in one part of the book, as any mother would.  Sorry I can't say more but it would spoil the story.  It was interesting to learn more about the native Indian tribes and the struggle to cross across America by land.

I was interested to read in the Author's note at the back of the book, that this is based on a true story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman  If you love history, with a little romance added you will love this book.

Stars out of 5: 4.5 loved it just wished the book was longer.  Couldn't put it down.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grape Jelly and a Book Review

I finally got around to picking some of the grapes.  I can't believe the birds didn't go with them?


For the recipe I use from the Certo Light Pectin requires 5lbs of grapes and two cups of water, which I boil for ten minutes.

I then strain the grapes, in my case I line a sieve with a paper coffee filter and drain it through that.


You need 6 1/2 cups of juice to 4 1/2 cups of sugar and a package of pectin.  That will make around 4 pints of jelly.
I had some at lunch time on scones and it was yummy.  Still have more grapes on the vine, but I think I may let the birdies have them, as we are not big fans of grape jelly.

"Wings of a Dream," by Anne Mateer


Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promises adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry.


While she waits for the end of the Great War and Arthur's return, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, sure that her glamorous and exciting life is about to start.

But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's sickness, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah discovers she must choose between her desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.


Great book, with a leading character you can't help but love.  Rebekah is forced to grow up very fast when she has to look after four children.  Her desire for adventure in the big city is put on hold.  She has a couple of potential "beau's" in her life and you don't know until close to the end who will win her heart.

This is Anne's first book and a great on at that.  I will be reading any other books she decides to write.  Also loved the blouse the model was wearing in the cover photo!!

Stars out of 5: 4.5, I would like to know what happens next.  Great book to have in your library at home.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Monday, September 5, 2011

Traditional Sunday Lunch.........

was once a staple in many households.  A full roast dinner with all the trimmings, where all the family sat down together. 

Since moving to Canada it's not something we have done very often, however on Sunday we did sit down to a full roast beef dinner, with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, Yorkshire pudding, cabbage and gravy.  Boy was it good and well worth all the heat it created while cooking, as it was another hot and humid day. 

The only thing we had leftover was some cabbage, so no leftovers for today :0( oh well never mind.

Do you have a traditional roast dinner on a Sunday lunchtime?

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