Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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

different hand, same operation.......
will say it bloody well hurt this time.  I was in tears, as not only did she touch the nerve, she hurt me with the pressing.  She did ask how I was managing to sleep as this hand was bad.  I think it is just a case of getting on with it, as you get used to the pain.  I am hoping after a night's sleep I will feel a bit better in the morning.

Get the cast off on March 15th, so no driving until then, which sucks!!!  It also cost another $15 in car parking, which is daylight flipping robbery if you ask me!!!!  Hospital parking is a rip off and it took us a while to even find a space as the parking lots were full.

All set.........well sort of...

Today is the big day I am getting my left hand operated on today.  It shouldn't be as bad this one, as it is my left hand this time and I am right handed.

Anyhow, I have been busy putting together meals that are just to heat through, as dh doesn't cook.  I have the following in either the fridge or the freezer:

Lentil Stew

Sausage and Baked Bean casserole
Sausage, Broccoli and Pasta, all I need to add to that is some Alfredo sauce
Cauliflower with Cheese sauce, will make garlic bread with that
Ham Bone Soup
Egg Pie
Stew in the crockpot - I think there will be three meals of that as I do a crockpot full.
Turkey Casserole
Pasta sauce with minced beef - two meals of that.

So that looks like 12 days of supper there.  By then I will have limited use of my left hand as well as my right hand.

Still have cleaning to do this morning and a few other bits and bobs, but at least I won't have to worry about what we will be eating.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A couple of February updates and a couple of book reviews.......

I am closing out February's grocery totals and have to say I went over budget.  I had budgeted $300 for the month and actually spent $336.25, with savings of $90.48 for the month.  I did take part in the 20 x the points at Shopper's Drug Mart on Saturday and have updated my points totals on the side bar, but do have enough points for one redemption of $250 on mega redemption day, which is pretty good, as it's only the end of February. 


I have a couple more book reviews for you.


"The Darling Dahlia's and The Cucumber Tree," by Susan Wittig Albert. 


A small Southern town blooms into life in Albert's nostalgic first in a new Depression-era mystery series. Darling, Ala., is in the midst of financial upheaval surrounding the Darling Savings and Trust, though the ladies of the Darling Dahlias Garden Club are still excited about their clubhouse, an old estate recently inherited from Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone, whose garden includes a possibly haunted cucumber tree, which might shelter a buried treasure. Also distracting the members--especially widow and probate clerk Verna Tidwell; legal secretary and freelance journalist Elizabeth "Lizzy" Lacy, and Mayor Jed Taylor's wife, Ophelia Snow--are a prison break and the disappearance of drugstore clerk Eva Louise "Bunny" Scott, the town tart. After Bunny turns up dead in a wrecked stolen van, the ladies investigate.


This is the first in a series of books about the Darling Dahlias and is set in the 1930's.  It's another book that is so well worth the read and I will order the other's in the series from the library as I thoroughly enjoyed this.  I actually didn't figure out the murder mystery part of it until just before it was revealed as to who did it. 


This book had a great small town feel to it and you were quickly sucked into the story.  The author took you back into the depression era of small town America and even mentioned the differences between the "coloured folks," and the whites.  I can't wait to read the other books in the series.  Oh and I looked up what a Cucumber Tree was as I had never heard of it, from what I can see it's a type of Magnolia.


"Angel Lane," by Shelia Roberts


Keep the heart in Heart Lake. That’s exactly what three small-town shop owners hope to do when they launch their crazy-ambitious “Have a Heart” campaign—asking neighbors to commit one random act of kindness every day. Emma, Sarah, and Jamie love their lakeside community, but the little town is growing too big too fast, and a doing a good deed never hurt anyone. Or so they thought…



When Emma slashes prices at her quilt shop, practically giving away blankets to anyone who looks vaguely cold, she almost stitches her way into bankruptcy. Sarah’s free cooking class boils down to a hotbed of crime when some punk kid swipes her favorite heirloom. And at Jamie’s chocolate shop, things take a bittersweet turn when a local policeman starts giving her grief, stirring up feelings she’s tried to forget—and slowly melts away her defenses…


This is one of those feel good books that make you believe there are good people out there that will help you in a time of need.  It is again set in a small town, where everyone knows one another.  It also has a believable story line in that we all need to support our small town businesses before they all go under, rather than these large chain super stores where you're just another face.


The author has written other books that centre around the town of Heart Lake, I am not too sure of the order of them, I couldn't quite figure it out?  A bonus for this book is that there are recipes in the back of the book for you to try if you like, like Chocolate Mint Pie and White Chocolate Lemon Fudge........so if nothing else read the book just so you can access the recipes!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The highs and lows of the wedding.................

On Saturday, dh and I attended the wedding of a young lady we have known since she was 5 years of age.  She is the same age as ds and will be 28 in April.  She was a stunning bride, breath taking in fact.  She is around 5' 10" with long blonde hair and her dress was gorgeous.  It was fitted to the body until the hips and laced at the back.  The bottom was all flouncy with big flowers dotted here there and every where.  She arrived at church wearing a pear of bright pink Uggs and changed into a pair of bright pink ballet flats.

The bridesmaid wore black strapless straight up and down dresses with bright pink sashes.  They carried bouquets of bright pink roses  The guys had bright pink ties and bright pink rose button hole flowers.  They had an Anglican church service, and it was lovely.

There were probably around 200 people there and it was in a big banquet hall.  The food was usual wedding food, antipasto to start, followed by a pasta course, with ravioli in a white sauce and pasta with a tomato sauce.  Main course was a beef medallion with gravy, chicken breast, roast potatoes and two pieces of asparagus and a carrot, and a green salad.  This course was not at all good, the beef was more rare than medium. I like my beef not too be moo-ing, mine was moo-ing!!  The veggies were bordering on raw and who has salad with gravy?  So that was not a success as far as I was concerned.

The dessert though was top notch, a lot better than dd's at her wedding.  It was a warm chocolate brownie with ice cream and whipped cream.  It was a 10 out of 10 for me.  Then tea or coffee.  Around 11:45pm they had a pork roast called Porchetta with accompaniments, wedding cake which was chocolate with vanilla frosting.  Along with cookies and fruit.  They also supplied little boxes to take cookies home and again tea and coffee.

The speeches were good, what we could hear.  I think you are either a public speaker or you're not, and that applied to these speeches.  The father of the bride's speech was super as was the bride and groom's speech; especially the grooms, he had the bride in tears and even I shed a tear.

The biggest disaster of the night though was the disco.  It was a large room and for some reason the volume of the music was deafening and so loud the music was not 100% clear.  Oh and they started off with techno/house music and it was bloody awful.  Myself and a friend went and sat out in the lobby to get away from the racket.  However it still was loud.  If you have to yell at the person next to you to have a conversation then something must be loud.

The icing on the cake though was when a guy set up two snare drums and a cymbol and connected that to the speakers and beat his drum to the music.  By this point I had a little man in my head who was also playing the drums.  However we hung in until after midnight and were in bed by 1am.

Overall though we had a great time and it was a privilege to see this lovely girl get married.  However I am not good at staying up that late and am pooped today.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weak excuses, but excuses all the same......

I haven't been around much this week visiting blogs and I have a number of reasons excuses why.

1. Been ill - good excuse I guess but it hasn't stopped me doing a post every day has it!!

2. Busy with that bloody beauty routine - update on that.  Hair is dyed and looks good.  Toenails cut, so less threat now of shredding the sheets when I get into bed or causing bodily harm if I kick dh in bed!  Oh and the dreaded legs.  Done one pass through and figure one more pass through should get rid of the majority of hair, and hopefully I'll lose 2lbs in weight when I do!!

3. I have been reading.  I got wound up in a trilogy of books and couldn't put the bloody things down until I had read them all.  I mean squat all has been done around here this week which is not good but I HAD to read one book after the other to see what happened next as they were that good.

I bought the first one from BookCloseOuts the other week and started reading it at the beginning of the week.  Luckily for me the library had the other two in the series otherwise I think I would have had a melt down.  The books are by the author Gil McNeil and the first book in the series is called "The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club," or it may be called "Diva's Don't Knit."  It's the same book just a different title.


Jo Mackenzie needs a new start. Newly widowed with two young sons and a perilous bank balance, she has to leave London to take over her grandmother's wool shop. They arrive in the pouring rain and Broadgate Bay is the kind of Kentish seaside town where the tide went out a long time ago and the dusty old shop is full of peach four-ply. Marmalade mohair, an A-list actress moving into the local mansion and a 'Stitch and Bitch' group will help, but it's not going to be easy. Very Large dogs, celebrity, small town intrigues, packed lunches and romance all loom large in Gil McNeil's funny and uplifting novel. "Divas Don't Knit" turns prejudices and assumptions upside down and tells it how it really is in the world of knit-one, purl-one. Knitting has never been so much fun.


The second book in the series is called " Needles and Pearls," and the third one is called "Knit One, Pearl One."

You really need to read these in order, as one book follows on from the other.  It does use the "F" word frequently, but it's nothing to worry about.  One of the things that is so funny, is what comes out of young children's mouths.  That alone will keep you laughing.  I had forgotten how kids find the strangest things funny, especially if its anything to do with bodily functions or swear words!!  The boys find their uncle's girlfriends name Lulu funny when they meet her, why, because it sounds like "Loo" a word we use in Britain for toilet!!!  Made me smile though.

The one thing though that is totally unbelievable at least in my opinion is that it says everyone can knit, even kids can knit.  I can't bloody knit and neither can my "Martha Stewart" wannabe daughter.  She seems to have inherited my "can't knit for toffee," gene!!!!  This book makes me want to knit though, I think I may trot over to the local Yarn store after my hand is better and inflict myself on them and see if they can teach me!!!

The way the third book ends, leaves room for a fourth book and I hope she does decide to carry on, as there is still a lot more to tell.  I know I for one will be buying the book when it does come out.

So there you go, those are my excuses, weak or not weak?  What do you think?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who said you have to be young and agile to do the splits?

I'm middle aged and cream crackered (knackered) and more or less managed to do them..........

Actually it wasn't quite the splits, as if I had actually done the splits I would be in emergency now with various parts of my body in traction.  As it is I am just aching in places.  How did I do this, well it's bloody well snowing up here.  Dd was saying it was raining in the city, but we couldn't have that up here now could we, so it's snowing and it's the wet heavy stuff!!

So being the good wife that I am, I decided to snow blow the driveway and there is ice under the snow.  So one of my feet went one way the other, the other way; luckily for me I was hanging onto the snow blower and was able to right myself.

This should be the last time I snow blow for the season (as she touches wood, her head) as once I get my hand done next week, I won't be allowed to snow blow for at least six weeks (that's what I am telling dh!!), so I thought I'd make the effort today, to show willing.

Now to sit down and whine on at dh about parts of my body aching..........gosh I am just a ray of sunshine today!!!

(Actually it is true, I can't lift anything over 10 lbs once I get my cast off for a month, and it is heavy hard work snow blowing.)

Look what dd is into now..........

Since the wedding dd has been "project-less."  Yes there was Christmas to do all sorts of projects on, then she decided my blog needed a make over.  She now has found another thing she likes doing:



They are actually quite easy to make and super cheap.   She bought a straw wreath from Michael's and covered it in plastic wrap.  She bought a big ball of wool and wrapped that around the wreath.  The flowers are made of felt.  She took a small piece of scrap felt and covered it with the yellow felt to make the middle of the flowers and cut the petals from the cream felt and glued them all together.

So got the idea from the web where they were charging up to $70 for the same thing.  Cost for dd using coupons at Michael's well under $15.

I think I may be hinting about how nice one of those would look at our house!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sometimes it sucks to be a woman.........

We're going to a wedding on Saturday.  Now all dh has to do is get showered, shaved and put on the clothes that are laid out and ironed all ready for him.

Muggins here has to dye her hair, because the half brown and half grey look isn't in at the moment it seems.

Even though it's not the end of April, I guess I am going to have to shave my legs and under arms, as the long hair look is not in when you're wearing pantyhose/tights?  And as the hair is that long on my legs, I will have to shave them every day over the next three days just to make sure it's all gone.

Then I suppose I better cut my toe nails as at the length they are they will just slice open the toes on my tights no problem.


Then I guess I should hunt out some war paint make up as it's that sort of occasion.

Oh and yes I have to write the card, put the money in it and make sure I have all the directions as I know dh doesn't have a clue where we're going.

As for me being sick............I'm a woman I just have to get on with it!!! {{SIGH}}

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When you look in the mirror and this is looking back at you..........

You know you're not looking your best and to avoid the mirror.  Now granted I don't wear curlers in my hair and granted I haven't been in the shower yet, but that isn't a pretty picture let me tell you.

By the way I have no idea what is wrong with me.  My whole head feels as though its in a fog.  My eyes feel so heavy and I have had a headache for a few days now.  I do have a tiny running nose, but nothing exciting, oh and something/one has sucked all the energy from my body.

Anyone else got this?  What is it?
So I will spend most of the day doing this:
or I may end up looking like this:

Have a good day everyone and hope you don't look like any of those pictures!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some photos................

Not feeling too good at the moment.  So thought I'd post some photos from yesterday in the Subway, as I went to visit dd in Toronto.

DD had bought me my tokens so didn't have to get any, but I hate going through those turn stiles.
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This was a quick shot of the train that was coming in on the opposite platform.  There are enough strange and unusual people in the subway system without me taking photos!!!
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This was a lovely dog and so well behaved.  I think his name was Joey and he was 11 years old.  The owner a young girl was wearing those camouflage pants and boots you can see.  I think she was into the Grunge or Goth look as she had big black circles of make up around her eyes, very raccoon like.  However she was also very polite and well spoken; as I did ask her permission to take a photo of the dog.  You can apparently take your dog on the subway as long as its not rush hour.
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Finally the only thing I bought other than some Carnation Milk at Shopper's were these soaps at Bath and Body works.  They were on sale for 7 bottles for $25 plus 13% tax.  I only went with Pear and Apple this time, nice and refreshing.  I normally choose the citrus scents as I like them the best.
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Do you have a favourite scent when it comes to liquid hand soap?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Recipe and other things......

Made Lentil Stew on Sunday for Monday's supper and put the leftovers in the freezer for another meal:
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The recipe is here.  This is both suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans; so Jane when you come over guess what you'll be eating!!!


Mrs. January wrote an article over at Save A Loonie about "Why You Shouldn't Watch Extreme Couponing."  It is well worth the read especially for those of us in Canada, as there is no way we can walk out of a store with $1,000 worth of groceries and only pay $10 for it all.  Now feel free to correct me if you know someone that has done that, I would love to meet them!!!  I had heard about the fraudulent use of coupons by one person on the show, but it explains it step by step what she was supposed to have done.


We had a couple of larger animals wandering around close to the house on Saturday night. They were probably coyotes by the size of prints in the snow. They don't normally come as close as this though.


This photo is directly behind the house:
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This photo is looking towards the raspberry patch:
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Yes, the rows of dead looking twigs are 6 of the 8 rows of my raspberry patch.  It always amazes me how they come back to life each year.

Gone over my limit with photo bucket this month, so that's what's wrong with the photos on my blog; or should I say lack of them.  They should be up and running again in a couple of days.

Finally a really nice sunset on Sunday evening:
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blast of winter and grocery shopping.....

It snowed like heck on Saturday morning, which was a surprise, well at least to me.  I thought we had missed winter, but I guess not!!  Dh was a love and snow blowed the driveway for me when I went to town grocery shopping.


Here are a couple of photos of the snow, south of the property:
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West of the property:
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In the afternoon I went grocery shopping to Zehrs, as I needed to get gas for the car.  I like to go to the Canadian Tire gas station as I get coupons from the back of the flyer for bonus Canadian Tire money.  This week I spent $50 and got 80 cents back in Canadian Tire money, which puts my Canadian Tire money stash up to $13.05 to spend in the store.


This is what I bought at Zehrs.
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I paid for that little lot, $66.51, and had $31.27 in various savings.  Missing from that photo is a bag of milk that I bought on Thursday for $3.99 bringing this week's grocery shopping total to $70.50.  So my monthly total is $209.03 and savings of $42.06.


The Greek Yogurt was free with a Free Product Coupon.  The frozen yogurt was free, as it scanned in at wrong price, we have SCOP here in Ontario, not sure if its all over Canada?  It was a tax free day at Zehrs, so they reimbursed me $3.85 in taxes charged on various items.  Then I used a number of coupons.


There are no fresh fruit of veggies in this week's shopping, as I still have plenty I need to use up in the house.  I will be buying some canned Evaporated Milk on Monday at Shopper's Drug Mart as it's on sale for 99 cents per can, limit 4.  I make wibbly wobbly pudding with evaporated milk.  Recipe is here, you can substitute a can of the milk in place of 2 cups of ice cream.

Also on Thursday, Foodland is having a one day sale on eggs, bananas and chicken burgers, nuggets and fingers, see here.  With the $1 coupon I have, 3 dozen eggs will only cost me $3.98, which is a great deal.  So all in all I should only spend around $10 on the evaporated milk, the eggs and bananas; which means I will be still on budget for the month.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

All about Garbage and Pinterest

I was out and about on Friday and one of the places I went to was our Municipal Offices to pay for my garage sale table.

As I was talking to the lady we got on about garbage pick up.  There was an article in our local paper saying that the Township is going to hand over garbage pick up to County at the beginning of 2013.  They will be limiting our garbage to one bag per week, and as we get garbage pick up every other week, that will mean two bags per pick up  So far so good as far as I am concerned.

However the other requirement will be that we HAVE to put our garbage in a large clear plastic bag.  No more of the regular black garbage bags.  From what this lady was saying they need to see what you put in your garbage bags.  So as I have a white kitchen garbage bag in my kitchen bin, I will have to tip it out of that and tip the contents in the clear bag, instead of just dumping everything; bag and all in the clear bag without emptying the contents.  I don't get it? I don't see why this is a must?

I know we are fortunate that we have garbage pick up as we live in the countryside.  I recycle whatever I can, and I make sure I follow all the rules required for our garbage pick up.  But this seems just plain silly to me?

Do you have garbage pick up  If so how much garbage are you allowed to put out weekly?  Do you recycle and does the municipality pick that up?

So is anyone into Pinterest?  I'll be honest with you I don't get it.  Dd MADE me join and patiently spent at least an hour on the phone walking me through it.  Truthfully I still don't understand it and can't really see the point of it, but DD is determined to drag me into the modern age regardless.  I have the same problem with Facebook, I don't get that either and if anyone is my friend on Facebook, I am a boring friend as I never post on there.  I use Facebook for entering competitions and that's about it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Decluttering and home of the week.......

So I cleaned out my cleaning and vase cupboard on Thursday.  If I do nothing else, I won't be bothered as this was a major job that had to be done, as it's a bit like the freezer; things go in there never to be seen again!!!


Before:
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All the things out of the cupboard:
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Cupboard washed out and everything put back in:
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Now if the amount of cleaning products is anything to go by, I should have the cleanest house around.......I wonder what has happened? Will say I was pleased to find two pairs of brand new rubber gloves which I didn't know about.

This week's Home of the Week is mine, if I ever had $5 million!!!  It's not very often I actually love a house, but I love this one.  I could move in without doing anything much to it, other than probably painting the little girls room some other colour than Barbie pink!!  Will say I am surprised they didn't stick a swimming pool in the back yard, as that is something you would expect to have at that price range?  Overall though, it's great, even down to the movie theatre in the basement; and I don't watch movies that often!!

Now the Condo of the Week, is a whole different ball game. It's not a bad condo, I have seen a lot worse, and the price is reasonable for downtown Toronto, it's just the location.  I think sketchy would be a polite way of putting it, and I wouldn't want to wander around there after dark.  However this article tells you about the good and the bad of the area and it's an interesting read.  Back to the condo though, there is something missing for me, it feels too stark and urban, but then you're buying and living in an urban area, so that's what you get.  Just not for me.

Maggie asked about freezing bananas yesterday.  All I do is throw over ripe bananas in the freezer, skin on and use them in banana bread/muffins.  Just pull them out of the freezer and let them defrost a bit and the skin comes right off, just like it does with frozen whole tomatoes. 

Christine asked about the freezer list.  It's an Excel Spreadsheet that I save on my computer.  You could do it as easy in Word, just make a couple of tables and fill them in.  I find Excel easier, although we have just updated our software to Microsoft 2010 and I am still finding my way around it.

Pat, I went and deleted your comment, sorry.  You were asking about cream cheese, I agree it is not as good after it has been frozen, but when you're mixing it in with something else I don't find it an issue.

And finally, if anyone has any bright ideas what else to do with over ripe bananas other than banana bread, I am all ears!!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And the Winner is...................

Kim @ Life at Golden Pines.  Congrats to Kim and a huge thank you to everyone who entered. 

Kim is the lucky winner of these:

I decided to have just the one winner and keep them together as a pair.

Next time I am talking to my step-father I will see if he wants to submit/give me another painting for a giveaway, as I know he enjoys doing them.

I decided to have the giveaway today as it's my Mam's birthday and it's a big one.  We ordered flowers from Marks and Sparks and she said they were gorgeous and great quality and very well packaged. We also thought they were great value and it was free shipping.

Anyhow, congrats again to Kim for winning the pair of paintings.

Lazy Idle Bum.

when it comes to decluttering but I did get another good, actually great job done and that was cleaning out both freezers and doing an inventory of what was in them.


This is the after photo of my upstairs freezer:
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Now I have to admit there doesn't look like a lot in there, but as per the list there is a lot in there:
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I tend to store all my bread downstairs.  Also a basket in the freezer of wedding cake, which consists of three quarters of the second tier of the cake and the whole of the top tier.  I am taking a piece of the second tier to her when I see her next as it does nneed to be eaten up.

I also buy the 10kg bags of flour and store it in the freezer as it lasts a lot longer.  Just put the bag in a garbage bag to keep it dry.   Seeing what I have in the freezer is a big help with my menu planning and on Wednesday I pulled out a ham bone and boiled it to make a stock for ham and bean soup.  I need to make up some meals for when I have my hand operated on.

As I have 12 bananas in the freezer I can see some Pineapple Banana bread in the near future!!!

I also read a book this week called "Stand The Storm," by Breena Clarke
Even though Sewing Annie Coats and her son, Gabriel, have managed to buy their freedom, their lives are still marked by constant struggle and sacrifice. Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, where the Coatses operate a tailor's shop and laundry, is supposed to be a "promised land" for former slaves but is effectively a frontier town, gritty and dangerous, with no laws protecting black people.



The remarkable emotional energy with which the Coatses wage their daily battles-as they negotiate with their former owner, as they assist escaped slaves en route to freedom, as they prepare for the encroaching war, and as they strive to love each other enough-is what propels STAND THE STORM and makes the novel's tragic denouement so devastating.


If you like the books from Oprah's Book Club, you'll love this one.  I personally found it a little confusing at times, but overall the basic story kept you wanting to know what was going to happen next.  I found the dreadful treatment of slaves back in the mid 1800's just plain horrible, they were treat just like animals.  You had to admire how strong they were.   Will say there is a twist in the book that I didn't anticipate.  It is well worth the read though.
 
A reminder I will be drawing the name for the blog giveaway, later today, so you do still have a chance to enter if you haven't already.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Decluttering.........or lack of it.......

Not sure what's happened, but I have lost my "mojo" for decluttering.  That's not to say I haven't done any this week, I have just not with the same gusto I did over the last couple of weeks.

I am working on week three of the four week decluttering plan and according to my intitial plan that I posted here, I should be cleaning out the kitchen cupboards.  However I have been working on both the kitchen and the basement.   I don't have photos as honestly there isn't much to show yet.  However I have managed to sort out three boxes down the basement.  One is still full with things I still want and have to find a home for.  One box is full of stuff for the garage sale, and one box was flat packed and thrown out and all the things thrown in the garbage.

I cleaned out the under sink cupboard so that was good, not that there was anything to throw out there as I had just cleaned it out not too long ago. The same goes for the cupboard where I keep our everyday china, I managed to throw out a couple of things but I had cleaned it out not too long ago.

I then decided to use the excuse of having to call Jane to see how she is doing..........she fell and broke a bone........to have a break.  After talking to her for a little bit, I decided it was time to sit down and read a book, as I had no desire to do any more decluttering.  Hopefully on Wednesday I will have more of a notion to do some more decluttering.

Are you in the mood for decluttering/Spring Cleaning this week?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A different sort of a day on Monday......

Dh was called out to a breakdown on Sunday around 5:30 p.m. and arrived back home around 8 a.m. on Monday morning.  Needless to say he was tired and after he had something to eat he went to bed.  Dh used to work shifts when we were in England but has worked day shift all the time in Canada, other than when he is called out.  This house though is not conducive to someone sleeping and me pottering around.  My best bet is to stay in the family room extension, as our bedroom is above the kitchen and you can hear everything in the kitchen when you're in the bedroom.

I went down the old basement and cleared out a box and did an inventory of the freezer, but decided that might be too noisy.  So I ended up sitting in the family room, drinking cups of tea and working on the computer, reading a book and watching tv.  Not a bad way I guess to spend a Monday morning.

It's Valentine's Day today.  We don't do much other than exchange cards in this house.  Dh gave me some scratch and win tickets and won $6, so that was nice of him.  What do you do for Valentine's Day?

Short post today, nothing much to say for a change!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Recipe and remember my diet that isn't a diet?

I made these Cranberry-Orange Muffins yesterday for the first time and was pleasantly surprised at how tasty they were.


Cranberry-Orange Muffins
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1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 egg whites or 1/4 cup cholesterol-free egg product (those liquid eggs in the cartons)
1 cup all-purpose/plain flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped


Heat oven to 400 oC.  Line or spray a 12 muffin/cupcake pan.  I always use paper cupcake liners myself. (did find though they stuck to the paper a lot on the bottom?)


Beat milk, oil, orange peel and egg white in a jug.  Sieve together both flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Mix in wet ingredients just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy)  Fold in the cranberries.


Divide batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups, they will be quite full.  Sprinkle with some sugar if desired and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Immediately remove from pan........no idea why?


Each muffin has 150 calories.  3 g Protein, 23 g Carbohydrate, 5 g Fat, 2 g Dietary Fibre.

They are not an overly sweet muffin and the whole wheat flour gives it a good flavour, will make them again.


Also remember my diet that isn't a diet.  Thought I'd check in with you all about that.  It's actually going quite well.  I am making better choices and am trying to reduce my carb intake, as I love bread, potatoes and pasta.  I have got the not eating on a night after my supper pretty much down pat and if I do have something it's generally a fat free yogurt.


I have upped my fruit and veggie intake considerably which is a good thing regardless, and I haven't had chocolate in ages!!!  I like to have a Motts Fruitsations apple sauce snacks in the afternoon, which I count as my treat.

I am "suffering" in a morning at the moment, as I bought a box of Rice Krispies as they were on sale and I had a coupon for a free box of Rice Krispie snacks when you bought the cereal.  They taste of nothing, I added a banana to them on Sunday morning to try and give them some flavour.  I am used to the more "adult" flavour and textured cereals I think.  Luckily it's only a small box of cereal, so I should have it all finished this week.

Still have a long way to go with this diet change in the way I eat but I do feel as though I am making progress.  As I said at the beginning of the month, baby steps.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Something is missing.......

This is a photo of my left hand:


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I am missing my wedding ring.  I have put a little actually a lot of weight on since we got married nearly 29 years ago.  Enough weight that I can't get my wedding ring off, despite trying all the usual things, soap, oil etc to try and remove it.  So I had it cut off on Saturday, as when I get my hand operated on at the end of the month, my whole hand including my fingers will swell up.  So I had to have it cut off before I get my hand operated on.  I am guessing it will be off now until sometime in April.  I have never not worn my wedding ring, so it is as though I am missing something.

Funny thing happened while she was cutting it off, she kept stopping as another customer was not happy with a repair or something so she kept talking to her.  Then she carried on turning this device to cut off the ring, meanwhile my hand is starting to ache like crazy.  In the end I had to tell her to please get on with it and tell the annoyed customer she would have to wait.  The woman who was cutting it off was very apologetic; not sure about the other customer, can't say I really cared, my hand was killing me by the time it was all done, as I had to hold it at a strange angle for me.

If you are married do you wear your wedding ring all the time?
When we were out and about on Saturday we called in at TSC to get some salt for the water softener.  I saw the veggie and flower seeds on sale with 20% off.  The one thing I am missing in seeds are some beets, so picked these ones up.  It says on the package there is enough for a 21 foot row, so that should be more than enough for us.  Lots of pickled beets in our future!!


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Have to say from a money point of view a very low spend day on Saturday, as lunch was paid with a gift card.  Salt and seeds was paid with cash I had saved.  Dh bought us a coffee and muffin at Tim Hortons and that was all we spent.  Even put some money in our change jar.

By the way Winter is here and it's flipping freezing cold this weekend.  Even have a little snow.  I had to even wear my coat when I was out on Saturday as even I thought it was cold, I rarely feel the cold!!

Planning on hibernating today!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Letter writing, grocery shopping and a recipe.

First let me thank dd for re-designing my blog.  After telling me my blog was ugly and pointing out other problems with it, I gave dd the passwords and told her to get on with it.  Any issues please complain to her!!!  I am actually very pleased with how it looks now.  She does this type of thing for her job, so it's easy peasy for her.  So thank you dd, I owe you one, or do I?

This week's mini challenge over at Carla's was to write a letter to someone.  I have to say this was a simple challenge for me, as I had to send a birthday card to a friend in England and was going to enclose a letter, so I have managed to complete another challenge.  I do type my letters on the computer, but always sign them in pen.
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On Friday I went grocery shopping at No Frills, as I had errands to run in "S" town.  So armed with a list and flyers to price match with I got what is below.  If you remember I mentioned last week I went over my $75 weekly budget, so wanted to only spend $65 this week.  Below is what I got and I paid..........
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$55.90 or 35 pounds and 49p or $56.17 USD  I used $9.79 in coupons and I think my best deal was the 8 packs of Activia yogurt.  They were on for $3.99 and I had $2 off coupons, so only paid $1.99 each.  Also the milk (4 litres or 1 gallon) was only $3.99 as I price matched with Zehrs.

As always it's not a nutritionally balanced shop as I have things in the house from prior weeks shopping that I will use to make meals.

Dh was told by the doctor to have more fibre in his diet along with vegetables, so that's my goal this week.  Also I am lacking in iron so I made a new to me recipe on Friday night that covers both these issues.

Mixed Bean Stew with Cottage Dumplings.

Cottage Dumplings:

1 cup shredded, reduced fat cheese (4 ounces)
2/3 cup cooked, fresh, frozen (thawed) or canned (drained) corn
1/2 cup all-purpose/plain flour
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/3 cup bread crumbs, either white or whole grain
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 egg white.

Mix all the ingredients together.

Mixed Bean Stew:

2 cups cooked great northern beans or 1 can (around 15 ounces) great northern, cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained.
2 cups or 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained.
1 cup chopped red bell pepper, around 1 medium
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (around 15 ounces) tomato sauce

Heat the above ingredients to boiling in a saucepan; reduce heat.  Shape dumpling mixture into 12 balls and carefully slide balls onto beans in simmering stew (do not drop directly into liquid.)

Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.  Cover and cook for a further 10 minutes longer or until dumplings are firm.

Serves 6


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Sorry about the photo, it's not the best.  I will say however this recipe is a keeper.  I don't think it will feed 6, 4 is more realistic.  Even dh enjoyed it, although I cooked a couple of sausages with his.  I also didn't have cornmeal so I used couscous instead and that seemed to work.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How little bit of money add's up to bigger bits of money!!!

Couple of things happened over the past couple of days regarding money that I'd thought I'd share with you.

I got a letter in the mail from our bank regarding our mortgage.  I mentioned here that I had increased our weekly payment by just over $9 to round up the figure.  That little increase has knocked three weeks off the life of our mortgage.  It may not seem like a lot but three weeks, is three weeks and we don't miss those $9+

A few years ago I decided to put the last three digits of our chequing account in a GIC type of account, for example if the chequing account had $567.89, I would move $7.89 into the account.  I think I did that for three years and during that time I put around $1,800 in that account.  I had forgotten about it.......well sort of, as everytime it comes due I just tell them to re- invest this.  Anyhow our financial adviser called on Wednesday to see if we wanted to top up our RRSP's. She mentioned she'll be calling me back later in the month to confirm I want to re-invest this money and was pretty surprised at how I came to "save" the money in the first place.

In both cases little things add up into bigger things.

On Thursday I did not do any decluttering.  However I did go into town to drop off the computer things we had no use for in the electronics drop off.  I also took some of dh's clothing to the drop off.  Deposited a $5 Pinecone cheque and took out our money for the week.  I am on target for my goal to deposit an extra $200 into our savings account this month.  Money has gone into all my pots for the week, including my sealed pot and my garden box, which now has a healthy $70 in there!!!

One big expense this week was Molly's sack of food, which is nearly $91, it lasts six weeks which isn't bad and even better I had managed to save the money up for it.  I normally stick it on my credit card, so was pleased with that.  I am going to have a Molly's food jar and will put money in there on a weekly basis from now on.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were no spend days this week.  Wednesday is when I did my banking online and Thursday I spent money on dog food and put money in my pots.  Friday will be a spend day as I have to go grocery shopping. Saturday we need to buy salt for the water softener.  So three days out of seven will have been no spend days this week, not bad, but not great.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More decluttering and a change of plans......

So this week's project is the living room.  I have been making excellent progress, but there has been a slight change of plan.  Our township is having a Garage/Yard sale on May 5th, so I have decided to book a table inside at a cost of $10, I have sold one of the VCR Players on Kijiji for $10 so that will pay for our table at the garage sale.  What that means for the living room is the table we have in their is now the holding place for things I want to take to the sale.  So the room doesn't actually look as tidy as I would like BUT I have had a good sort out, thrown a lot of stuff out, recycled stuff, and am going to try and sell some things.  Plus all the boxes in there have been emptied and sorted out.  So here are all the photos.

Some of dd and hubby's wedding presents.  All those green boxes are part of dd dinner service, this pattern. There are more wedding presents up in the attic.
This is the table with all the "stuff" on it for the garage sale and what is on sale in Kijiji at the moment.
Looking over towards the sofa, the bed frame is now laying on the floor behind the sofa, haven't found a home for it yet.  I made the small quilt on the back of the sofa.
This is the Welsh Dresser we have in the living room, we had it made before we came to Canada and I have to say we love it.  All the plates on the dresser are Wedgwood.  The boxes on the right are wall lights for the family room, plus a new door handle for the front door, and a out side light fixture for the basement.

The next photo is of the door to the living room.  Round here it's called a Dutch door, as there were/are a lot of Dutch immigrants who settled in this area.
I found another set of plates that we hadn't put up yet, these ones are German.  So I decided to showcase them on the dresser in the kitchen.  I will say the kitchen dresser looks a heck of a lot better on the photos than in real life.  It was put together by the prior owner and not put together well in my humble opinion.

So after a few days of hard work I have completed week two's challenge.  However there are two boxes of "computer stuff" for dh to go through that is still sitting in the family room........hoping to "encourage" dh to tackle that this week.  Oh, and my back is saying have a rest now!!

Oh, and if you haven't entered my Giveaway, pop over and do it now, click here!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More decluttering and a book Review

(I AM PLAYING AROUND WITH MY BLOG DESIGN, SO THERE MAY BE A FEW CHANGES ALONG THE WAY!!)

I managed to get one box emptied and one cupboard in the Welsh Dresser in the living room sorted.

Before:

After:



It may seem as though I am flitting from one project to another without completing anything at this point, but some projects merge with other projects when they need to be completed.  Case in point I had a big box of envelopes laying around in the living room.  I wanted to put them in one of the drawers in the kitchen dresser.  To do that though I had to clean out the dresser, which is what I ended up doing.

Here is a photo of the kitchen dresser:

I couldn't be bothered to take a photo of every drawer before and after, but here is some of the stuff I got rid of:

I will say that this project wasn't on the cards until next week, but I wanted to find a home for those envelopes, so I guess I may as well declutter as I am going along, right?  Those plastic chopping boards haven't seen the light of day since we moved in nearly three years ago, so out they went!!

"Sixty Acres and a Bride," by Regina Jennings


With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to their Texas family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have just three months to pay.
Though facing eviction, Rosa falls in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. They welcome her vivacious spirit and try to help her navigate puzzling American customs. She can't help but stand out, though, and her beauty captures attention. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, Rosa must decide to what lengths she will go to save her future.

This is Regina's first novel and it's a great one.  The leading characters are people you can relate too and Rosa's personality is such that you want her to succeed in everything you do.  One thing though I couldn't visualize Weston, not sure if that makes sense or not?  

It was a book that I couldn't put down and I even stayed up until 10:30 p.m. to finish it as I didn't want to go to bed wondering what would happen next. 

Stars out of 5 : 5 a great book with an interesting story.  It's worth while book to borrow or buy.  Can't wait until Regina's publishes her next book.

"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".

Oh, and if you haven't entered my Giveaway, pop over and do it now, click here!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

I mentioned a week or so ago I was going to have a giveaway on my blog and hinted what it was about.  Well they finally arrived in the mail today so all can be revealed.  I asked my step-father to paint me a telephone box to match the post box he painted for me, and then asked him to paint another two pairs.  Dd is taking one of the pairs of paintings and the other two I am giving away to one or two of you.

Here they are:







They are approximately 5" x 7" and are water colours.  I'll be honest with you I don't know whether to give them away to two separate people or keep the pair together?  I will mail all over the world, so it's open to everyone.

The rules, if that's what you want to call them?

1. You MUST be a follower of my blog.
2. Leave a comment on this post and let me know if you think there should be two winners or just the one?
3. I want whomever wins to email me a photo of the framed paintings so I can forward it on to my step-father.
4. Would really appreciate it if you could let the readers of your blog know about the giveaway.
5. I must have a way of contacting you if you win, and if you don't respond within 24 hours of me contacting you I will draw another name.
6. You may only enter the once.

I will draw a name(s) on February 16th, probably around noon time, my time.

Good luck!!

Week Two of the decluttering challenge and a Book Review

At least I think it's the second week, I actually don't know when the week actually starts, I must ask Carla???  Anyhow I made a start on the living room and I didn't take an actual "before" photo, this is a sort of throw everything around so you can see what's what photo:


I spent a considerable time in the morning posting 7 items on Kijiji in the hopes of selling them.  All the software on the rocking chair has been destroyed and the boxes put in the recycling.  There are two big boxes now next to where dh sits in the family room for him to go through on a night when he's watching tv, as if it were up to me I would throw the whole lot out, but it's apparently not all garbage????

The green boxes behind the sofa are wedding presents of dd and there are more under the table to the right of the photo, so the sooner dd and hubby get a house the better, but they could be here for another year yet!!

I have two boxes behind the door still to unpack from when we moved.  I have excuses as to why I haven't unpacked them, but they are pretty lame.  The bed frame behind the sofa is there because  (feel free to fill in what you want on the lined area) ______________

The main thing in this room is that I have made a start.  I have thrown some things out and I have a pile to go to the electronics recycling and have put some stuff on Kijiji to sell.

Oh and I had a couple of no spend days, both Sunday and Monday...........

Also we have not done a thing in the living room other than change the light fixture, so it is more or less as it was when we moved into the house.

"Words Spoken True," by Ann H. Gabhart

Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father's newspaper offices. She can't imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.


When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune's future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story--and the girl. Can he do both before it's too late?

I am not a huge fan of this author, but I thought I'd give her another try and I am pleased that I did.  This was a book of romance and mystery with a bit of history and murder mixed in with it, so will appeal to a wide range of readers.  I will say it took me a number of chapters before the story had me hooked.  However once that happened I needed to know what would happen next.

The romance side of the story was pretty predictable, and the murder mystery side was easily figured out, but overall it was an entertaining book.

Stars out of 5 : 3 the start of the story was long winded and boring, but once you get into the story it will have you hooked.  So well worth persevering through those first chapters, also you will learn a bit about the social unrest back in the mid 1800's in Louisville.

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


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