Friday, March 30, 2012

$700 and Home of the week





So it cost $700 to fix and service my car this week {SIGH} For that $700 I got a Spring Service Package that includes oil and filter service, inspecting various things on the car and switching my snow tires for my regular tires, that costs $89.85


They also replaced spark plugs and wires, replaced fuel filter, throttle body service and replaced serpentine belt. The above service and labour for the spark plugs etc cost $395.79.  All the parts cost $222.39 and taxes were $80.36. (Just so you know I know NOTHING about cars, so don't ask any technical/mechanical questions as I WILL NOT know the answer!!)  I had to look at the bill to get all the info of what they did, as I was clueless.  I make the garage talk to dh as he knows more about cars than I do.


We cannot afford to replace this car until the Fall of 2013, so fingers, toes and everything else crossed it will last until then.  It has done us well as it is 10 years old but has low mileage.


With living in a rural area I do need a car as there is no bus service.  Our nearest town is 10 kilometres away and I am not fit enough to bike there.  Our doctor is in Brampton, and we can't get a doctor close to where we live.  So all in all it's not practical for me to be without a car.  


I love this week's Home of the Week, I mean it is gorgeous, I wouldn't change anything.  I guess there is one little problem though the price.......I wonder if they would drop it to $250,000 or even better give it too me?  You know dd did have her wedding at St. George's Golf and Country Club last year so that should count for something, right????  I can dream I guess, though unless I won the lottery, I couldn't afford to heat or maintain the place as it's huge. 


Is anyone out there participating in the "March Swagness" promotion?  Must say I will be glad to see the back of it.  Having to get over 100 Swagbucks every day is proving trying.  I have managed to achieve my goals up to and including Thursday.  So fingers crossed I reach today's and tomorrow's goal.  Someone said that you got double your total of bonus Swagbucks if you achieve every daily goal during this event?  Must say I am a big fan of Swagbucks, but you all know that....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Roundabouts and "Wonderbag"

If you're from Britain and you drive, roundabouts are something you encounter on a regular basis.  In Canada they are becoming more popular, not sure about other countries in the world?


Anyhow why I am talking about roundabouts, we attended a meeting on Monday evening about the intersection up the road from us and we got talking to the officials that are sorting all the issues out regarding the intersection.  We talked about many things, but we got to talking about roundabouts.


Pleased the say that a roundabout is not being considered for our particular intersection.  The officials we were talking too were from the Kitchener/Waterloo and London, Ontario areas.  I don't claim to know too much about the London area, but I am familiar with the Kitchener/Waterloo area and knew there were a number of roundabouts in that area.  Turns out the Region of Waterloo are big on roundabouts and where possible they will install a roundabout instead of lights at an intersection. If you check this link it will show you have to navigate a roundabout.  The officials are pushing roundabouts as a safer alternative for intersections.


Anyhow back to why I brought all of this up.  In Caledon they have installed a roundabout in a bit of a strange place, basically in the middle of no where.  It does however solve a problem and it is safer to navigate that intersection than it was.  However there is one slight problem, a lot of people have no idea what so ever how to navigate a roundabout.  As I was approaching it the other day there was a poor woman in a van driving round the roundabout, she even stopped at one stage to try and figure out what to do next....LOL  Luckily for her, it was after the "rush hour" period, so no one else was using the roundabout.


I spoke with a friend later that day who has a daughter who has just passed her driving test, and asked her if there was instruction in the drivers handbook on using roundabouts and she said no.  Now this is in Ontario, not sure what it is like in other provinces in Canada.


The one thing though we do not have to worry about in Canada is mini roundabouts:
Do to the amount of snow we receive here in Canada they are not a feasible idea.


Mind you when writing this post the word "magic roundabout" kept popping up and let me tell you that sort of roundabout scares me.  Here is a link to one, confusing.........very...........


Do you like roundabouts?  Do you know what to do when you approach a roundabout? What's your experiences with them?


This seems to be the latest thing to save energy and time, the Wonderbag.  It looks interesting not sure when it will be available over here?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blogger and Youtube

I have changed my blog to the new layout that is coming April 1st and it is bloody awful.  I need to install Google Chrome to get it to work properl I guess?  Or change to Wordpress!!!!

This is so stinking cute:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nothing much to talk about...........

Life is pretty boring at the moment, just doing the same old things. 

I did spend around 4 hours in the garden on Sunday making a start on tidying up after the winter.  It was cool out but it made for a perfect day for working outside.  I even had to put my Summer hat on, as the sun was shining so brightly.


We have a couple of large Willow Trees by the driveway and they "shed" like crazy over the winter months and so I spent a large part of the four hours cleaning that lot up.


At least we have a little bit of colour in the garden with the Forsythia in full bloom.  We have a couple of trees growing amongst the forsythia bush.  Now they have been there for years and I know there is no way I will be able to dig them out, but it does look a little funny when you look at the photo.


One other thing I have been busy with is the is the March Swagness promotion that is going on.  They give you a goal each day of how many Swagbucks you need to get to receive a bonus.  As an example today I have to get 110 swagbucks and I will receive a bonus of 11 swagbucks.  If you reach your goal each day until the end of the month you will receive a mega bonus as well, no idea what that is.  So far I have been on target every day, thanks to playing the swagbucks tv constantly on my laptop. 

Luckily the weather has gone cold and will be wet for the rest of the week, so at least I can't garden.  I did get enough swagucks this month for five $5 Amazon e-cards, so my Amazon account has $95 sitting in it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Flipping Heck and Mother Earth News........

My car is not well {SIGH}.  It stalled on me a couple of times on Friday and when I turned the key in the ignition on Saturday nothing happened, tried again nothing happened, tried again and it ran.  Dh of course doesn't want me going out in it in case I break down.  So I need to make an appointment to take it into the garage this week {{SIGH}}  Fingers, toes and everything crossed that I don't have to take out a second mortgage to pay for the repairs {{{SIGH}}}

I just received the April/May 2012 issue of the Mother Earth News and there were some interesting articles and links in there. Including a competition to win a Heifer and Chicken Coop amongst the package, unfortunately it's for only people in the States.


Eden Foods, not only sell a variety of products but they have a whole section of recipes, which include Gluten Free, Vegetarian and Vegan.


Barn Light Electric sells the neatest lights and ones that are functional without being too crazy looking.  I love this milk glass pendant.


There was an article that featured "The Happy Homesteader," blog that is really well worth checking out.  This couple live in the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado on 11 acres and they have four German Shepherd dogs.


Looking for a different type of house to live in?  Well maybe this is for you.  Not sure how much they cost and how feasible it would be to live in one, but I guess it would get the neighbours talking.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lots of links from my area.......

I have never been to the South Simcoe Railway, but I think it would be a fun day out.  I have actually never had a good look around Tottenham either, so I think we will have to do that as well.

I stumbled upon an article about a couple of "Coffee Table" books about Abandoned Buildings in Ontario and they have a site here  There are some really neat buildings out there.

I have mentioned this store before it's called Details and has all sorts of interesting things in it.  I love the furniture but it's very expensive.  The linens are really nice as well.

Laura Berry is a local artist and I love her work.  I love her painting "Hidden Retreat,"  Do you have a favourite.

In Beeton on May 26th there is the Beeton Honey and Garden Festival  They are having a recipe contest, where they are looking for recipes that use Honey in the ingredients.  Honey is not something I use very often in cooking, do you?

I also read about a Dairy Farm that is opening a store in June, which includes whole milk and cheese.  I can see a trip will be in store to visit Sheldon Creek Dairy as I love cheese and supporting a local up and coming company is a good thing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Home of the week and lots of sewing links.....

This weeks home of the week is a stunner, I could even live with all the furnishings if I had too, well minus all the little kids stuff, as we don't have any little kids around.  The only thing other than the price that lets this place down is the back yard, it's not very big and very over looked, if I was paying that price I would expect a lot more privacy.


The condo of the week, is not my cup of tea, although in a very desirable area, look at the monthly maintenance fees...........way, way over priced.  Very limited photos, so have no idea what half of the place actually looks like?


I get Sew News magazine, the kids got it for me as a birthday gift a couple of years ago.   I was reading the April/May 2012 issue the other night and it had some really neat things in it.  One thing they features were Comfort Dolls, they are handmade dolls people make for domestic abuse victims in the States, here is a link to the blog  I wonder if we have such a thing in Canada, or is there something similar in other parts of the world?


They also provide a link to an article on how to make a waterproof raincoat out of a shower curtain.......yes a shower curtain.  It actually looks really neat!!  They also feature a how too from Sew It All where you collect thread and other odds and ends from your sewing room and make a bowl.  There is obviously a few other steps but it really looks neat, the link to that is here.

Are you looking for Applique's?  Here is a link to some free applique's, there are many more that you can buy.  Even though Sew News is an American Magazine, I see there is an advert for the Creativ Festival here in Mississauga in April.  Dd and I plan on going in April, I haven't got the tickets yet, hoping to find a good discount code.........haven't yet.  Is anyone going?

For those creative types out there, here is a link to a competition that is open to everyone around the world.  It's the 2012 Tea Cozy competition and entries must be received by June 30th, 2012.  Click on the link to find out the contest details and rules.  Let us all know if you do decide to enter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The calendar says March.....but it feels more like August..

We have been experiencing some super weather these past few days, infact on Wednesday it was too hot for me with the humidity I think we hit 30 oC.  By the weekend though the temperatures will be a lot cooler so I guess I should take advantage of the good weather while I can. 

I have got some crocuses in flower finally:
I am finally getting around to posting photos from the Canada Blooms Show.

I would love a front porch like this one:


The sculptural part of this design was actually a leaf.







I would love one of the copper fountains, they are really neat........




Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Maeve Binchy......

Maeve Binchy is one of my all time favourite authors and I have read most of her books.  When I went to the hospital the other day to get my cast off I forgot to take a book with me, so I called in at the shop in the hospital and they had a used book shelf and on it was a Maeve Binchy book called "Evening Class."  I didn't recall reading it before so I paid my 50 cents and bought it.


It was the quiet ones you had to watch. That's where the real passion was lurking.







They came together at Mountainview College, a down-at-the-heels secondary school on the seamy side of Dublin, to take a course in Italian. It was Latin teacher Aidan Dunne's last chance to revive a failing marriage and a dead-end career. But Aidan's dream was headed for disaster until the mysterious Signora appeared, transforming a shared passion for Italy into a life-altering adventure for them all...bank clerk Bill and his dizzy fiance Lizzie: a couple headed for trouble...Kathy, a hardworking innocent propelled into adulthood in a shocking moment of truth...Connie, the gorgeous rich lady with a scandal ready to explode...glowering Lou, who joined the class as a cover for crime. And Signora, whose passionate past remained a secret as she changed all their lives forever....


What a wonderful book and well worth the read.  At first you wonder what one character has to do with the other; but the more you read the book the more you realize how intertwined the other's lives are with one another.  I had the feeling I had read this before, but I think it's because some characters overlap from one book to another.  It was a good way to spend 50 cents if you ask me!!!

All books that I read are donated to my local library, as I rarely read a book twice.

I am having trouble with my hand.  I seem to have hurt it at the wrist and spent Tuesday with my splint on trying to protect it.  With the weather being as nice as it is, I dare not go out in the garden as I can't put any weight on my left hand.  It's quite frustrating at the moment, but I have to be patient, otherwise I will do more harm than good.

This is such a super cute video of a little Canadian girl singing a song by Adele:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Catching up at home........

With being out and about all weekend, Monday was a time to catch up around the house, including catching up with laundry.  I did two loads on Monday and I have a load to do again today.  Luckily the weather is so nice and I can get them dried outside.  However that means a pile of ironing to do as well.

One thing I wanted to mention was that I have maxed out on my $5 Amazon e-cards with Swagbucks this month, which is good and there is still a couple of weeks to go in the month.  I will just save them up as I know with the good weather I won't be on the computer as much.

I didn't get around to posting about my grocery shopping this week, I went on Friday.  I spent $67.76 and had saving of $16.12, to bring my monthly totals up to $201.89 spent and $45.63 saved.  I didn't stock up on anything in particular and there were no great sales, however it was nice to go grocery shopping on my own again!!!  Oh and I bought something I haven't bought in years Vachon Flakies they are so good, but awful messy when you eat them!!

This is a short post as I am pooped from the weekend and the hot weather we're having..........

Monday, March 19, 2012

Birthday Brunch......(photo heavy)

On Sunday we went to downtown Toronto for brunch in the Distillery District at a restaurant called The Boiler House.  There were seven of us and we had a super time.

We were seated upstairs and I took a couple of photos:

There was a Jazz band playing music which was nice as well.
This is one of the streets:

There was a yummy looking bakery called The Sweet Escape Patisserie, my photo will not do it justice:

The kids bought me yogurt maker for my birthday gift I had asked for one:

We had a good time and with great company.  Both dh and I said we would come down again to have a better look around, as it was cool, weather wise down there, and we were not dressed in warm enough clothes. 

We passed by the Air Canada Centre, where the Toronto Maple Leafs and over sports teams play:

and the Roger's Centre, where the Toronto Blue Jays play and the CN Tower:
There is such a lot of construction going on downtown, the landscape changes everytime we go down there.

On the way home it rained and we saw a rainbow, just didn't see a pot of gold at the end of it!!

I picked up this milk jug from Lady Bird Ceramics at the home show, it's pretty cute if you go to the website you will see the pattern more clearly.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Home Show and Canada Blooms.....

On Saturday we went to the Home Show, it was also the Canada Blooms Show as well.  Dd and son in law met us there and we had a wander around.  There was a lot of lovely stuff, and a lot of things we could never afford including this, which looks like an antique  mirrored door pantry:
However when you open the doors, this is what you see:
Now I don't remember if it was a Miele brand, but the woman said the whole unit; fridge and glass unit would cost no less than $20,000.  Pretty neat though I have to say and here is their website.  If nothing else click on the website link to see the cute doggie.  I would love one of those kitchens that they design, but unless I win the lottery we will never be able to afford it.

I then saw this chair and it was actually very comfy and I thought would be very fitting in our house; and in the scheme of things not too pricey at around $1,100.  Here is a link to their website there is some nice furniture on there.

Oh and Dh thought this might be useful around the garden!!!

 I took a lot of photos in the Canada Blooms section that I will share with you over the next few days, but wanted to show you this plant:
It is a Pitcher Plant and as I'm writing this I am thinking I should have bought one to catch all those bloody cluster flies............though they are not cheap at $45 each.

All in all we were there five hours, and the only reason we left was that we were pooped and our feet and legs were killing us.  Dd and son in law were light weights and left before us.  We had a good time though and will share more over the coming week.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A first for 2012........

Hung out the washing for the first time this year.  Probably would have done it earlier but had my hand in cast........well that seems as good an excuse as any.......right?

On Thursday when we were in the city we called in at Home Sense and picked up a new bedding set for our bed.  It came as a set, of a quilted bed spread, two pillow shams and a couple of square accent pillows.

What I liked about this set, it was neither too feminine or too masculine.
I went to renew my drivers license on Friday.   I had to have my photo taken.  Luckily it was a really nice lady and she let me take mine twice, as even she said it wasn't the best photo.  I have yet to take a photo on my drivers license that doesn't make me look like an escaped convict.  Do you like your drivers license photo?

We went out for dinner on Friday night for my birthday.  We went to a local restaurant which has a good reputation.  We had a $50 gift card so we thought that would cover the meal.....wrong.....

The bill came to just under $65 and here is what we got.  We had soup to start, it came with the entree.  We had spinach and potato soup, everything is homemade, along with hot home made rolls.  For the entree, dh had fillet Mignon and I had steak and kidney pie.  There was mashed potatoes, beets, shredded carrot and Brussels sprouts.  As many of you know I HATE Brussels sprouts, but dh loves them, so he had mine as well.  Dh had a glass of red wine, and I just had water.  Dh's steak was tiny, my steak and kidney pie had a funny taste.  We were not impressed but the place was really busy.  So I don't think we will be going there again, which is a shame.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cast off and ready to go.......with a few restrictions of course....

After spending a couple of delightful hours sitting in the the fracture clinic my cast was taken off.  Being able to take a shower without a plastic bag on my hand will be a delight.  I have not to lift anything over 10 lbs for the next month, but I am chomping at the bit to get out in the garden especially as I have seen my first bulbs flower:

There is nothing spectacular with the next two photos, just enjoyed a bit of colour in the sky:

I was looking North with both the sky shots and both were taken around 7:15pm on Thursday night:

I also wanted to thank you for the birthday wishes, it was my birthday yesterday.  Honestly though I was more excited about getting my cast off than my birthday.  As we have a couple of things planned for the weekend, I am having a "long" birthday over the next few days which is nice.  However so far I got some clothes, a new pair of wellies/rain boots, a $20 gift card for Chapters and a $100 gift card for the garden centre and some scratch and in my case NOT WIN cards, all from dh, I have been spoiled.  I will be celebrating with the kids on Sunday.

I have a busy ahead of me today as I can drive again.  My first priority though is to go and renew my drivers licence, as it has run out, so fingers crossed I don't get stopped by the police on the way to the licencing office!!!!  Wouldn't that suck...LOL

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An exciting day today....

This afternoon I get my cast off.....YEAH!!!  The 2 + weeks has actually gone by pretty fast, but I am glad to be getting the cast off, as it's getting dirty and smelly.  I will still have another month to go where I am not supposed to lift more than 10lbs. 

It's worked out well, as the better weather is arriving and I am itching to get out into the garden.  We only have one patch of snow still left to melt.  Wednesday was the first time since the end of October that we haven't had the wood stove on.  Now if it was up to dh he would have put it on, but as I was sitting in my t-shirt I think he knew it would be over kill.  If I had my way I would also turn the heating off, but that would cause a mutiny in this house!!!

My hoover is working overtime, getting rid of the cluster flies again on Wednesday.  I prefer to hoover them up, rather than squishing them, as it makes a mess.

I got "involved" in a conversation on another site with a lady in Quebec who is finding it hard to keep her grocery shopping bill down every week.....sound familiar?  She was saying due to her not having much selection of stores in her town and grocery stores having different sale dates, she is shopping a few times per week.

9 times out of 10 I go grocery shopping once per week.  If I don't get it during that time tough I won't get it.  How about you how many times do you go grocery shopping per week and why?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another one bites the dust...............

Got a call from the pound and I decided to not adopt the bulldog we saw.  The woman from the pound was very negative about him, and after listening to her for a while I stopped her talking and said "you are being very negative?"  She explained that she didn't want anyone to be under any illusion what they would be taking on.

This bulldog had allergies (like we don't know anything about allergies in a dog!), and had just had an eye operation, so would need lotion put on his eye twice a day for the rest of his life.  Then she thought he would need an operation on his knees and hips, despite the fact the vet had found NO problems with them.  On and on it went.  She figured he would need $250 spent on him per month.

She also said there were 17 other people wanting to adopt this dog, so I said fine let one of them adopt him.  I feel so sorry for this poor bulldog if he only has this very negative woman advocating for him.  So dh has said we should just forget about looking for another dog for a while, and I agree.

Pleased with myself as I managed to take down the snow fences one handed on Tuesday.  Dh just has to take down the posts and put the snow fences away, they were too heavy for me.  So I have decided there will be no more snow this season!!!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Feeling just a tad bit smug with myself......

Why, because I have moved one rung up the ladder from being the total city idiot who lives around here.  Our new neighbour lady now has the bottom rung, as it turns out she is a city girl who has moved to the country.  Mind you I could be in for a bit of a competition, as she at least owns a horse and has two dogs.

Bumped into her while I was walking Molly yesterday and she was walking her two and just happened to mention about our resident coyote that is still wandering around.  She wasn't awfully thrilled about hearing him, and decided to walk back to the house rather than walk via the field.  As I pointed out to her, she had no need to worry with her two dogs, one is a boxer and the other is a black Bull Terrier, so they would over power a coyote.  Happened to see our coyote friend a bit later on by the way, he's now looking scruffy.

One good thing did come out of our meeting, Molly although interested at first with her dogs lost interest fast, as Molly's nose took her in other directions.  So I know she'll be fine with another dog being around.

The cluster flies are overtaking the house again.  I did however book the guy to come and point outside of the house for next month, so that should help in the Fall.  I also have a guy coming by to give me a quote on re-shingling the garage roof and I have been calling around to see how much chain link fencing is per linear foot.  From what I can gather $11.50 is the normal around here?  I don't have much in the way of knowledge of this product, but would like to have an area fenced so we could let Molly out off leash.  I was thinking four feet high would be fine?  If anyone has more experience in this any advise would be welcome.

Oh and by the way, Molly is in a state of confusion at the moment, as I walked her three times yesterday........she has never been walked as much since my brother was here!!!

Finally this photo was taken Sunday evening, we are very fortunate to see such beautiful sunsets:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wreaths, Grocery Shopping and a Book Review

Dd completed her second wreath to give to her friend as part of a house warming gift.  She gave her the dark brown one, as she has just bought an older house and it went perfect with her decor.

I personally prefer the lighter one, but both are nice.


Dh took me grocery shopping on Sunday morning, bless his heart.  He even took me to No Frills and he hates shopping in that store.  Thankfully it was nice and quiet so that was a blessing.


Anyhoo, I spent $73.94 and had savings of $10.39 bringing my monthly total up $134.13 spent and $29.51 in savings.  Stocked up on Casa Di Mama pizzas, and chicken noodle soup for me.  Again I must be sick as I NEVER eat chicken noodle soup, but at least it's lighter on my stomach.  I even bought Italian Wedding soup, which is something I never eat either.  Just not happy with the amount of Sodium in them but as long as I keep drinking plenty of water it won't kill me.

"The Messenger," by Siri Mitchell




Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith... until her twin brother joined the Colonial cause and ended up in jail. She longs to bring some measure of comfort to him in the squalid prison, but her faith forbids it. The Friends believe that they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. She is not allowed to visit him, even if she were able to secure a pass.


Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, needs access to the jail to help rescue men important to the cause. Upon meeting Hannah, a plan begins to develop. Who would suspect a pious Quaker visiting a loved one?


But Jeremiah is unprepared for Hannah, for her determination to do right, to not lie. How can one be a spy and not lie? Hannah, in turn, is surprised by Jeremiah... for the way he forces her to confront her own beliefs, for the sensitivity and concern that he shows her despite the wounds he still carries.


This is actually not a bad book, as long as you can wade through the first half of the book, because it is very slow going at first, and I mean snail like slow going.  If you can hang in there though, it is worth it, as the story does get interesting and it is not without it's twists and turns along the way.  This particular period in history and the Quakers are not subjects that really grab me.  I did find a couple of the story lines a bit unbelievable, especially when Hannah went behind enemy lines, but overall this book kept me out of mischief for a few days.


Oh and that is also a tell tale sign for me as to how long it takes me to read a book.  A really good book I can read in a day, this one probably took me five days, as I couldn't stick with it.  Mind you the last half of the book, I probably read in less than a day, as it got interesting.


Stars out of 5 : 3 Very slow going, as has been all the books this month, but well worth the read if you can stick with it.




"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".

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sick again and put those clocks forward.........



I have managed to pick up a stomach bug and have been fighting on with it since Wednesday.  How I know it's a stomach bug........well me and the toilet are very close at the moment and I'm off my food.........yep I must be sick!!!!  I did eat a little more on Saturday but everytime I eat anything of substance I end up in the bathroom with the runs......I know TMI!!!  The good news is I have actually lost 5lbs.  Finally!!!!!


We were out and about on Saturday.  Dh bought all the things he needs to get the lawn tractor up and running for the season.  I had bought a coupon booklet at Sears the other month for $15 and immediately saved $18 on the water filter for the fridge.  We saved another $32+ on the things we bought yesterday, so this coupon booklet has more than paid for itself.


We also filled out an application at the local Humane Society about adopting another dog.  I will fill you in on more after we go to visit him, as he is being fostered at a private home.  I don't want to say more, as we had applied for another dog but she was adopted to another family.  She was a bassett hound, this one is an English Bulldog.

It's that time of year over here in Canada and the States, time to put our clocks forward an hour.  I for one hate the clocks going back and forward, it kills me and takes me days to get my body clock changed around.  I am worse than a toddler!!!

Finally, here is Saturday's sunset:

Oh and yes, that is bloody snow...........it should all melt this week.........otherwise I may just end up going crazy!!!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sign of Spring and home and condo of the week......

I have seen some robins over the last couple of days, so that means the better weather is on it's way.  We still have some snow but not too much.  The warm temperatures that we have had these past couple of days has been a big help in melting it.  I am starting to see some signs of life in the garden finally.  I noticed that there are lots and lots of buds on the blackcurrant bushes..........GREAT.........considering I can't stand blackcurrants.

This week's Home of the Week is okay, a bit pricy, but according to the comments, it's under priced and should sell for $3 million +  I could live in it, but I don't think the photos do it justice?  Love the ceiling in the dining room and the stair bannisters.  I wish there were more photos of the outside garden space.  Also I wonder why they painted the brick of the house?

The Condo of the Week is also okay I guess, but not much in outdoor space.  I found the comments very interesting again. There was something missing from this place though, it didn't seem very family friendly as it was advertised as a family friendly condo.  I do like that it is a two storey.

I am getting antsy with my hand being in cast and remembering I haven't to over do it.  I got this way last time.  Plus my cast is starting to look grubby which doesn't help.  I managed to get the kitchen floor washed and all the dining room chairs polished.  Mind you as we had a south west wind on Thursday morning, the fire was smoking back into the house pretty bad, plus the ashes blew back on me when I opened the patio door, so I need to give the living room a really good clean again................I got the worst of the dust cleaned up but need to give it another go over again today.

I still have one more book to read and review for this month, so want to get that done before my cast comes off.........but between me and you it's proving to be a tedious book.  I don't know what is going on this month, not sure if it's just me, or all these books are really hard work.

Poor Molly is in a state of shock at the moment, as I walked her twice on Wednesday and once on Thursday.......yes I am antsy!!!!!  Looking forward to the weekend, as dh has actually got both days off, which is very unusual, as he normally has to work on a Sunday.  So we are hoping to get the snow fences taken down. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Banana-Chocolate Bread and a Book Review

In the March issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine, there was a Recipe for Banana-Chocolate Bread that I thought I'd try and it was good.

Banana-Chocolate Bread

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 2/3 cups all purpose/plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas ( 3 or 4 )
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped, or chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 oF.  Butter and flour 5 x 9 inch loaf pan.  In a bowl sieve together flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.

2. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add  eggs one at a time, making sure you scrape down the side of the bowl each time.  Beat in bananas, sour cream an vanilla.  Beat in flour mixture and then stir in chocolate.  Pour batter in the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean.

3. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes,  Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.  Will freeze.

Okay so here are my thoughts and changes to the recipe.  I doubled the recipe to justify putting the oven on in the first place.  I didn't have sour cream so used plain yogurt instead.  Despite me having my glasses on to read the recipe I used baking powder instead of soda.....time to get my eyes tested again I guess?

I have a sweet tooth, but even for me this was pretty sweet, so would cut down the sugar a little bit.  It took an hour an ten minutes to cook mine, but I didn't measure my bananas, I just put in four per loaf, so my batter was probably a bit wetter than it should have been.  I used milk chocolate chips so that maybe added to the sweetness a bit.

It's a keeper though, as it is a very moist loaf.

"Sarai," by Jill Eillen Smith


When Abram finally requests the hand of his beautiful half sister Sarai, she asks one thing--that he promise never to take another wife as long as she lives. Even Sarai's father thinks the demand is restrictive and agrees to the union only if she makes a promise in return--to give Abram a son and heir. Certain she can easily do that, Sarai agrees.


But as the years stretch on and Sarai's womb remains empty, she becomes desperate to fulfill her end of the bargain, lest Abram decide that he will not fulfill his. To what lengths will Sarai go in her quest to bear a son? And how long will Abram's patience last?


Combining in-depth research and vivid storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the beautiful and inscrutable Sarai in this remarkable story of love, jealousy, and undaunted faith.


This book is not for everyone.  If you have a deep Christian Faith and you enjoy reading about the beginnings of Christianity, then this is a book for you.  If not, I would pass on this book.  I found it very slow going until they reached Egypt then the story picked up.  However by then you have probably read a third of the book, so that is a lot to ask of a reader. 


I also found it hard to swallow this story, and I am finding it difficult to put into words my thoughts on it.  Which believe you me, I am never lost for words.  I think this book didn't "settle in my gut," the way it should have and left me with a lot of unanswered questions.


I would love other people to read this book for their reactions though, as maybe I missed the point to this book?.


Stars out of 5 : 2 Confusing at times and took me way to long to really capture my attention.






'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".

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cluster Flies and Martha Stewart........

Its that time of the year it seems as the Cluster Flies and Asian Lady Beetles are coming out of dormancy.  So a couple of times a day I go around the upstairs catching and killing flies and ladybugs.  We could get the house sprayed, but I don't think that's a good idea all that chemical, so over the past couple of days we have had a couple of companies around giving us quotes on tuck pointing the outside of the house.  Some of the original pointing has holes in it, and that is one way the insects get into the house.

So if we can afford to get this job done, we may prevent more of those insects getting into the house.  Have a feeling we won't be seeing much change out of $2,500 for this job.  Then we MUST get the garage roof re-shingled as every time it's windy more shingles come off.  We think that will cost around $1,000 {{SIGH}}  Then while the guys were here looking at the pointing, they discovered we need a new chimney, as the water has penetrated ours and its dropping to bits; the good news we can leave it another year, the bad news at least $1,600 to rebuild it {{{SIGH}}}

For dd birthday I bought her a subscription to the Martha Stewart Living magazine and a subscription to Everday Food from the Kitchen's of Martha Stewart Living.  Dd was kind to give me her copies of her magazines and I have been enjoying reading them.

I have always been in awe of her organizational skills, mind you it does help when you have numerous staff doing things for you.  One thing in her magazine is a calendar of what she has to do that day.  For example today she is going to "deep clean rugs and vacuum heavy curtains." Tomorrow she is going to "clean, sharpen and oil gardening tools."   I wonder if Martha will actually do those jobs herself, or will she get someone else to do that?  At least I don't have to do one of those jobs, "vacuum heavy curtains," as we don't have curtains in this house.  Although I could do with vacuuming the blinds in the family room.......I think that's a job I could do with my hand in cast, just using my right hand.........  Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the March magazine.

From the Everyday Food March magazine there was a neat recipe from the United States Department of Agriculture for "Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble."

What you need:
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp shredded/grated cheddar cheese

1. Coat a 12 oz microwave safe coffee mug with cooking spray.  Add eggs and milk and beat until blended.
2. Microwave on HIGH 45 seconds; stir.  Microwave until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer.
3. Top with cheese; season with salt and pepper.

****I mixed the salt and pepper in with the eggs and milk at the beginning.****

This is now my most favourite way to make scrambled eggs.

Bits and bobs and a book review

Monday was a busy day, as I got a few jobs done, including clearing out some things in the spare bedroom closet.  I also sold an old VCR that I had on Kijiji for $5, so that money went into Molly's food pot.  Plus I listed a couple more things on Kijiji.

My hand is good, just have to remember not to try and lift things with it, despite it being in a cast. 

The weather was bitter cold, but at least the sun was shining, so that helped.  I am so over winter now and I am itching to get into the garden. 

"Prize of My Heart," by Lisa Norato


Three years ago, Captain Brogan Talvis's late wife abandoned their son, leaving no clue as to the boy's whereabouts. After searching relentlessly, Brogan discovers his son was adopted by a New England shipbuilder. And the man's daughter, Lorena Huntley, acts as loving guardian to the child.


Lorena, who hides a dark truth, finds herself falling for the handsome captain and ex-privateer who's come to secure ownership of one of her father's ships. She's unaware of Brogan's own secret when another's deceit has her sailing toward Europe against her will.


Haunted by thoughts of Lorena in peril, Brogan is compelled to choose between the boy he longs for and the woman who has captured his heart.


Have to say this is another book that didn't grab me right away.  To be honest it wasn't until Lorena was "in peril," that the story picked up the pace and got interesting.  I will say though that I didn't figure out the twist in the story, so that wins points for the book.


Stars out of 5 : 3 It really took a long time to get into the "meat and bones of the story" in my opinion which made it hard reading if you ask me.


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, March 5, 2012

Kijiji and a book review.........

I mentioned the other day I had put some items on Kijiji to sell.  I sold three of the seven items last month for $35 and I sold another item for $25 on Sunday which was a surprise but a nice one.  I put that $25 along with $20 I had left over from the week in Molly's food pot, as I hope to buy another sack of her food while it's still on sale.

So overall I am pretty pleased with my experiences with Kijiji.

Here is the first book review of March:
"Chasing The Sun," by Tracie Peterson

When her father disappears in war-torn Mississippi, Hannah Dandridge finds herself responsible not only for her younger siblings but also for the Texas ranch her father recently acquired. A marriage of convenience could ease her predicament... but is it the true desire of her heart?


Wounded soldier William Barnett returns home only to find out that his family's ranch has been seized. Though angered at this turn of events, he's surprised to discover that it is a beautiful young woman with amazing fortitude who is struggling to keep the place running.


Despite these circumstances, Hannah and William form an uneasy truce... and an undeniable attraction builds between them. In a land where loyalties are divided in a country ravaged by war, is there any hope that the first blush of love can survive?

This book didn't grab me from the beginning, it took me a little while to get into the book, but once I got past the first few chapters, I found the story more interesting.  I peeked on Tracie's website and I see there are another couple of books in the series, but I don't see how they relate to this book.  As the way the book ended I felt there was scope for adding another book about these characters, especially Night Bear and Marty.


Stars out of 5 : 3.5  I have read worse books but I have read a lot better books.  This wasn't one of Tracie's stronger books, but still well worth the read 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".

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Grocery shopping and other deals....

Poor dh is having to take me grocery shopping as I can't drive.  Got to say he is a sport as I needed to make 6 stops this trip.  First we had to go to the bank, then I went to Shopper's Drug Mart, then to a medical supply store to see if they sold CPAP masks, as dh could do with another one; they didn't.  Then to Zehrs, then to the pet store, finally to Canadian Tire.

I ended up spending $60.19 in total, but didn't really stock up on anything.  Had $19.12 in coupons and savings though.  However that was not my best deal.  Canadian Tire had a scratch and win promotion going on Saturday, with a minimum of $5 off your purchase.  So we went in to get some oil for the lawn tractor that was on sale for $18.  When the cashier scratched our ticket we had a $50 coupon.  So we went and got a tool for cutting out holes in doors for the handles/locks, a bag of dog chews for Molly, 2 x 8 packs of toilet paper and the oil and it ended up costing us $9.74 for all of that.  Then our friend gave us her coupon, so dh went and got the oil for the snowblower and that ended up costing him $1.64 as he had $5 off.

I also ended up buying Molly's dog food at the pet store this week, as that had $5 off which I have never seen before, so instead of costing just under $91, I paid just under $85.  After all that running around I took dh to Timmies for a coffee and a muffin, so that cheered him up!!

This isn't the best photo but in the afternoon, we went to a garden centre and I bought a Primula and a parsley plant, the Primula adds a dash of Spring to the house and I'll pop it in the garden when it warms up:

That's dh in the photo, all wrapped up fetching wood to the patio door for the fire.  It was still blowing a gale force wind.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My hand and the weather.

My hand is getting better and better everyday.  What I do know however is if I over do it my hand tells me, as it starts to throb.  So as long as do what I was told to do with it I will be fine.

As I am sitting here writing this post the wind is howling outside.  It sounds like a train and it has been like this all through the night making for a difficult night to sleep. This is the Wind Warning that has been issued by Environment Canada:

Wind Warning

Issued at 4:42 AM EST Saturday 3 March 2012

Summary

Very strong southwest winds continue today in the wake of a cold front.

Details

A cold front associated with an intense storm system continues to move from west to east across Southern Ontario this morning. Very strong southwest winds of 60 km/h with gusts to 90 km/h have been reported in some locales and are forecast to continue today. Even stronger winds are possible in exposed areas along the shores of the Great Lakes, where sustained winds could reach 70 km/h and gusts may exceed 100 km/h. The strong winds are forecast to diminish by this evening.

We are very fortunate up here in Southern Ontario, as we are technically only being clipped with this nasty storm, the poor people in the southern States are the ones who have suffered and many lives have been lost; you can read about it here  I can't start to imagine how frightened they were as the winds we are experiencing up here are making me very nervous.

The only good thing about this weather is that it has started to melt the snow.  It's a day to hibernate but I have to go out later and do the grocery shopping with dh.  Wish me luck!!

What's the weather doing in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Recap on February.......

Had a few goals to achieve in February and did okay on some but not on others.

The decluttering goals, I completed the first two no problem, but faltered on the second two and only did bits and bobs on those two.  As soon as my cast is off I will complete the basement and the kitchen decluttering.

I posted seven ads on Kijiji and sold three of the items during the month of February for a total of $35.  $10 went to pay for the table at the township Garage sale and the other $25 went into Molly's food jar.  I am putting $15 a week in there for her food; so have $60 in there now.

I ended up increasing our mortgage by another $10 a week.  Haven't had any paperwork from the bank yet to see how many weeks we have knocked off the life of the mortgage, will let you know when that comes.  I don't think I will be increasing it any more, until dh finished paying CPP and EI in June then I may add that money to the mortgage.

I am starting the month of March off with $180 in my birthday pot, $220 in my Christmas pot, $200 in my "other" pot which should be labeled "firewood pot," as that is what I am saving up for now and $85 in my garden pot.  The sealed jar pot is a lot heavier thanks to dh as he is putting his change in there regularly. 

The "other pot," was dipped into this past month to pay for the wedding gift and to pay for our tickets for The Drawing For Art fund raiser that we go to each year.

As you can see by my figures on the side bar I went over my monthly $300 grocery budget, however I have stocked up on a number of things and have meals pre planned and made for the first week of March.  I also boosted my Shopper's Drug Mart points balance and now have enough for one $250 mega redemption.  My goal is to have enough points for two redemption's in December, so I am on track for that.

I cashed in enough Swagbucks during February for $25 worth of Amazon e-cards and my balance in my Amazon account is sitting at $70.  It is the swagbucks tv that is getting me all the points, as well as the searches.  My goal is for another $25 for March as well.

I also managed to save an extra $200 in our savings account, which was good, as we spend such a lot on renovation expenses. For the month of March, it will be just regular savings.  We will be filing our taxes this weekend and are both in for refunds, so that will come in handy for projects we want to do this year.  I think mine is all of $200, if that!!!!  However it's better than owing money to my mind.

Grocery shopping, I am hoping to keep that to the usual $75 a week.  Continue putting money in my pots on a weekly basis.  We don't have anything big happening this month, that I am aware of, so everything should just be usual monthly expenses.  It will probably cost us $400 to fill up the oil tank again for the heating oil.  Hoping it will warm up a little though by mid month so I am able to go a bit longer without having to fill up the tank.  I should say that it costs $400 to fill up half of the tank as I only let it go half way down before filling it.

I notice gas prices are starting to rise, so need to get my gas tanks filled up for the start of grass cutting season and filling them this week while I can't drive my car might be a good thing as I don't need to put gas in my car.

I may re-advertise the four things on Kijiji again, as you never know they might sell, will also see if I have anything else worth posting on there.

We have put our search for a second dog on hold for a few weeks until my hand is stronger.  We had applied for a Basset Hound called Maude, but someone else got her, she was a puppy mill dog.  Plus I need to save up around $400 for that, which I haven't done yet.

So that's basically it for me on what happened during February and what I have planned for March.

Are you all organized for March?