Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hi and sorry if I have worried you.

Everything is fine I just don't feel I have had much to talk about.  I am guessing though that is not true when I think about it, life has been busy and good.

Our son bought his first house and got moved in.  We are going today for an early birthday celebration for our daughter.  Her birthday is tomorrow.

I have UNFORTUNATELY got addicted to a bloody game on the computer called BIG FARM...LOL  Seriously I can't get anything done!!    I do post on Facebook.

Next week it is our little Munchkin's first birthday, so I will share lots of photos then.  She had her 1st birthday cake smash photo shot a week or two ago.  I never got due to a major problem on the highway.  I ended up turning around and coming home as the traffic was that bad, so was bummed out about that.  Here is a photo that the photographer released on Facebook:

I do have the others, but dd asked me not to post them until after her birthday party.

She is walking now and into everything.  They are teaching her how to get off the sofa without landing smack dab on her face!!   She is a climber like her mother was. I think she is getting her back molars as she is drooling like a river again.  Overall she is a doll.

Saw our little Princess yesterday and she is growing like a weed at 22 months.  She is a super little talker and talks in sentences.  I am going to assume she is potty trained through the day (mom will correct me if I am wrong) and is a delight to be around.  Our little fella is also growing like a weed and will be 2 months old on the 12th.  He had put on 3 lbs in his first month and I would say he has probably put on the same this month.  He has the most gorgeous head of hair and gorgeous big eyes.  I will make a point of getting photos of them all next Sunday at the party.

Will try and post more often as there are things to tell you about when I think about it!!  Now back to my bloody farm (the game!!)

Monday, October 6, 2014

I should dedicate this post to my younger brother as today I made one of his favourite things for supper:

Egg Pie is one of my younger brother's favourite meals, and as it was a cold day and I haven't turned the heat on yet, I thought I would prepare a couple of meals and one of them was Egg Pie.  I think all in all this meal would cost us all of $3 tops and I'll break it all down as we go along.

Egg Pie:
Hard boiled eggs, two or three per person
Cheese Sauce
Mashed Potatoes.

First hard boil your eggs, you know how to do that.  If you don't there are instructions here.  Peel the eggs and cut in half and place in the bottom of the casserole dish with the yolk side facing up, as in the photo.
Next make the cheese sauce.  My recipe consists of:

1/4 cup plain/all purpose flour
1/4 cup marg
2 cups milk
1 or 2 cups of grated cheese, I prefer a strong cheddar
1 tablespoon of mustard, any flavour you like
salt and pepper.

Melt marg in pan, add flour, using a whisk to bind it together.  Let it cook over a medium heat for a minute or two whisking all the time.  Gradually add two cups of milk, again whisking all the time until it comes to a boil and thickens.  At this point I usually season it by adding the S & P plus the mustard.  I then turn off the heat and add the grated cheese.  The heat of the white sauce will melt the cheese without any added heat from the stove.

Pour over your eggs:
Potato layer. I used Yukon Gold this time and I also cooked a big pan of potatoes so I could have leftovers.  I'll explain later.

When the potatoes have cooked, around 20 minutes.  I mash them and add salt and pepper to taste, a clump of marg probably a couple of tablespoons, and probably around a cup of milk.  When they are all mashed together, I then take a wooden or silicone spoon and beat them until nice and smooth;  or until my hand aches.

Layer the potato on the top of the cheese sauce and make a decorative pattern with a fork if you so desire!!
Depending if the egg pie is cold or warm, you need to put it in an oven to warm through..  I use our toaster oven and have it on at 250 oF for around 45 minutes so the top of the potato gets nice and crispy.

THIS EGG PIE DOES NOT FREEZE, THE EGGS GO NICE AND RUBBERY - ASK ME HOW I KNOW!

Before I said cook a big pan of potatoes as leftover mashed potatoes do freeze nicely.  It is so handy to pull out a bag of potatoes that can be heated up in the microwave in minutes.
Now I flatten the bag right down, so it is nice and flat and thin; the contents were still hot when I took this photo.  A flattened bag uses up less space and it takes less time to defrost.

In the back left hand corner of the above photo is part of another meal I made.  This time a favourite in my elder brother's household.  I'll post that recipe in a day or two's time.

So the cost break down is:

Eggs around $1
Cheese around $1
Potatoes, salt, pepper, milk, butter, mustard around $1

I got the cheese on sale for $4 for 500 grams, I probably used less than 1/4 block.
Eggs were well under $3 for 18
Potatoes were $1.99 for 10 lbs, I did not use 5 lbs in this recipe. Milk was free with another deal I got the other week.  
The other items used were not much of anything, at the most 25 cents for all.

I cooked this on a Sunday when it is cheaper electricity, so cooking everything wouldn't cost much either, especially as I use my toaster oven to bake it at night.

The added heat with cooking and having the toaster oven home also warmed the house up a little another added saving of not having to put the heating on.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Mail Box Saga.....

We have community mail boxes, as Canada Post does not deliver directly to your home.  Ours is just down the road from us, so very convenient.
The builder put very nice hard and landscaping around the boxes.  On the other side of the wall is a stone seating area and it looks over one of the golf course holes.

As we are a condominium the boxes themselves are not owned by Canada Post, but by the condominium corp.  This is where the saga begins.
If you look carefully at the photo there are a bank of smaller mail boxes that you access by a key.  Those are the home owner's mail boxes and the homeowner is responsible for the lock on them. 

On the left of each unit it a hole around half way down, that is the key hole that Canada Post use to open the front of the unit.  That is Canada Post's responsibility.

You will then notice on the right hand side unit there are two large boxes; that is where Canada Post puts small parcels and then pops a key in your box for you to open and collect your parcel.  You then put the key back in the mail to go out slot on the top.

Are you following so far?  I told you this is a saga!  There are locks owned by the homeowner and locks owned by Canada Post, but who owns the locks for the parcel boxes???  That is the million dollar question.

I spoke to our mail lady as I had a parcel delivered and she put it in one of the parcel boxes and due to the lock being rusty I had a heck of a job opening the lock.  Once Winter comes things are only going to get worse.  She explained all the above information and suggested I talk to the property management company and she would meet them at the boxes and she would open all the fronts and they can sort out the parcel locks.

Talked and emailed the property management company and they were unsure what was what.  It will be interesting to see how this all pans out.

One of the other condominium corp's mail boxes was damaged; I think by a snow plow but not 100% sure.  It cost them $7,000 to get them replaced.  Now they are "lucky" as the boxes all belonged to one condominium corp.  There are four condominium corp's that use our boxes.  So I mentioned this to the head of our board, as if something happens to one of the boxes who pays for it?

This story hasn't ended and I bet it won't be an overnight resolution to this either!

Oh; I got a newsletter from our board and it mentioned the no dog peeing signs I posted about here.  

"As per the corporation rules no signs are allowed outside of our homes."  

However until someone tells me otherwise they are staying put, as they are working as far as I can see!!!!

Finally, I posted another book review here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Let's talk turkey............

Turkeys are on sale for 79 cents per pound at Wal-Mart this week.  You can get a small turkey cheaper than a chicken.  A lot of people don't like having endless leftovers but here is a great link with twelve delicious recipes that use left over turkey: 

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/pictures/34326/leftover-turkey-recipes/1

We are hosting Thanksgiving on the Saturday and instead of having a traditional Turkey Dinner we are mixing it up slightly and are including a couple of salad and only roasted potatoes and root vegetables as the sides.  I will stuff the turkey and make gravy, but want to make it as simple as possible for myself.

I got another parcel in the mail and it had this sticker on the back of the package.  
That sticker makes you smile doesn't it?  Inside of the package was this book, that I need to read and review in October.
Just a reminder I do have another blog for all my book reviews, here.  I have just read and reviewed The Book Thief for our October Book Club meeting.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Loving Christmas Shopping via the internet........

Got another parcel in the mail yesterday.  This time from Tupperware.  Who knew that you can order Tupperware without having to go to a party?  I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of Tupperware.

Can't say what I got, but I know both items are useful and fun!  The photos though suck.  I need to fire the photographer and get another one........oh wait that's me!!

I ordered a couple of things from Land's End also the other day for the first time.  Never done that before?

I checked out the home of the week and it's a 60's flashback.  Quite pricey at $2 million, but can't say I was offended by any of the decorating.  If someone where to give it to me I wouldn't say no.

Now the condo of the week, I will pass on despite it being relatively cheap for Toronto at only $380,000.  It's described as "spacious," I beg to differ on that.  Look at the size of the kitchen, can you actually call that space a kitchen?  The foyer wastes a huge amount of square footage.

Got the last of the blinds from Blindsgalore.
Really pleased with them.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Out shopping with DD and Our Little Munchkin.........

Went  to Yorkdale on Wednesday for a few hours of retail therapy.  Always good for the soul I think, don't you?  We had a good look around and I got a couple more Christmas gifts and saw a few things that I loved.

Both dd and our Little Munchkin are sick with a head cold.  Our Little Munchkin has been having three one hour + naps a day for the past week, plus sleeping twelve hours on a night, so she has to be sick.  When I met up with them at around 9:45 am she hadn't had a sleep despite being tired.  She didn't fall asleep until 12:15 pm and then only for half an hour.  She is too bloody nosy for her own good and has never been one to sleep in her stroller.  Regardless though you have to love her and of course she had to have a selfie taken with her Nana:
While I was pushing her in the stroller she kept saying "mama," so I kept saying no not "mama, " it's NANA.  Didn't want to know though!!!!

One store I rather like is Crate and Barrel.  They have the best tea towels ever there and not too badly priced at $6.96 CDN each.  So I bought a couple as Christmas gifts and one for myself:
The brightly coloured one is for dd and the weights and measure one is for me, the middle one is for someone else.  The weights and measure one will make a fantastic stocking stuffer if you're near the store:
I also fell in love with this gorgeous light fixture:
The only problem is it can only take a 60 watt bulb.  I have more light coming off my nose end!!
Did see this one in Pottery Barn, but as dd said it was too big for our dining room:
Finally, just because here is another photo of our Little Munchkin:
How are you all doing with your Christmas Shopping?

Friday, September 26, 2014

What wonderful weather we are having and a question.

Cooking sausages on the barbecue; had to put my sunglasses on because of the sun.  This good weather is supposed to hold for another few days at least.  Haven't got our heating on.  Don't even have the a/c on either.  I wish it would stay like this year round; cool in the mornings, warming up through the day and then cool overnight.

Had a question for you all, has anyone read the book AND seen the movie called "The Book Thief?"  I am usually of the opinion that the book is better than the movie.  I am reading the book, and I am thinking I bet the movie would be better, even though I haven't seen the movie.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Update on living in a condo............

I always think that a condo is an apartment/flat.  In our situation we live in a house but pay a condo fee each month, so they take care of the outside of the house; mainly the landscaping etc.  I got an email the other day saying its time for the twice yearly window cleaning.  Well as there are probably close to 1,000 dwellings in our two subdivision's and we are on the far side hopefully we'll get ours cleaned by the end of October.

Despite being British and we British are brought up to clean windows on a regular basis, I have not cleaned all the outside of our windows since moving in.  The inside ones have all been done.  We have been living on a building site, so it has been totally pointless even thinking about cleaning the windows with all the dust and muck.

I am pleased to say though the builders are busy in another area, so it has calmed down by us.  They have been putting in another road just down from us.  We were rudely awoken the other morning before 7am by a low rumble.  They had the big roller out rolling the new base for the road.

There is one thing I have to admit to not being keen of living here, is that things get done outside at their schedule, and not yours.  There are still things to do outside and they are getting taken care of but how they do things does make you shake your head and wonder why,  I have an email into the builder at the moment with photos about a downspout.  Now it isn't a big thing, but it does make you wonder what were they thinking?


Why would they put a downspout straight across the footpath?  By the way there is a hive of activity next door (in the house you can see in the photo) as the lady must be getting ready to move in.

Our driveway has been taken up and reinstalled this summer, as the builders went and dug up the curbs as they were too far down and when they put the second coat of asphalt down it would make the roads too high.  Shook my head about that as well, but whatever, it's not costing us anything.......well not directly!!

I have started a "craze" up here with dog signs.  We are the "Shih-Tzu" capital of the world here.  While you all know I love dogs, I don't feel it is necessary to have every dog pee and poop on our lawn. 

Due to us being a corner lot we have a LOT of grass.  The signs have raised mixed feelings, but they have sprung up like wildfire around here.  Are they working.......I think so, but who actually knows.
As far as I know all the plantings that are due to be done by the builder have been done now............but again who knows?  So we bought 30 bags of mulch and have mulched all the front and side of the house.  We still have the back to do and do need a bag for the other side as there is a tiny garden between the houses.
Mulching also saves me time weeding as the way the boys gardeners weed leave a lot to be desired.  The people who are putting in the plants quoted me $400 to mulch all the gardens; both back and front.  So far it has cost us $135.60 and will probably cost similar for the back.  We have a LOT of gardens compared with everyone else it turns out.

Do I miss cutting the grass..........sometimes, but overall I am not missing all the maintenance on keeping everything looking perfect.

P.S. The dog signs were bought at Canadian Tire for around $4.50 each.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last full day of Summer............

Where did the summer go?  Have to say Fall is my favourite season of the year.  What is your favourite season?

With Fall comes hopefully cooler temperatures.  We had a light frost on the rooftops last week.  The a/c hasn't been on in a couple of weeks.  I will again pay $100 on our gas bill this month so I am in a credit ready for the bigger bills that will arrive in January and February.  It will be interesting to see how our utility bills pan out in this house.  Still haven't had a bill yet for the property taxes.  Putting money away each week towards it, as when it does come in I am guessing they won't wait forever to be paid!!

We got our water softener put in just before we went on vacation.  We got a Clack 1 Water Softener.  It was a lot more expensive than the ones you buy in a big box store, but we have a lot of issues with our water and it has done wonders.  Our water in the toilet doesn't look brown anymore, and we can now drink the water; so well worth the money.  For people with Water Softeners in Ontario; we are finding that TSC is the cheapest for the salt for the softener.  We were buying at Lowes, but they have hiked up their prices to around $6.50 a 20kg bag.  TSC's is around $5.50 a bag, that's for Windsor Select Plus Salt.  If you know of anywhere cheaper I am all ears.

How is your Christmas Shopping coming along?  I have made a great start and my Christmas box where I put $20 a week is looking healthy.  Have to buy for three grand kids this year as well. 

Saw all of them last week.  Our Little Princess is growing up so much and is so well mannered.  She is 20 months old and is such a good talker.  Our Little Munchkin is 10 months old and will be walking very soon.  She eats everything you put in her mouth and is getting more verbal.  Then Our Little Guy, well he is so tiny compared to the other two, heading back towards the 6 lb range.  He seems to be getting a darker skin tone also and is quiet as a mouse, unless he wants feeding.  I am guessing when he gets older he'll have to find a voice when the other two are around, otherwise he'll never stand a chance...LOL

So there you go a bit of everything in this post.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Look who is 10 months old today:

Her mum captioned this photo: "Seriously Mom, not another photo".

Still not walking on her own; probably because she can crawl so fast.  She is growing up so fast won't be long before she is a year old.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Say hello to our newest grandchild........

Samvith (pronounced Sumvit) was born September 12th at 5:13 am.

He was in NICU for a few hours as he swallowed a bit of liquid when he was born.  He is gorgeous and we can't wait to see more of him!!

His poor mother had such a hard labour.........she had to push a whole 10 minutes before Samvith popped out!!!  

We are seeing him again on Sunday so I'll hopefully get more photos then.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Back in Canada..........

Had a good drive home yesterday. It was an easy 7 hour drive with a couple of short stops.  At the border we were first stopped by the US border guys, as they were looking for someone/something.  We weren't it, so they waved us through; wonder what they were looking for?  We then answered a couple of questions with the Canada border guards and they waved us through.  Oh and then we paid our $3.25 CDN to get back into Canada!  We crossed over at Fort Erie, haven't been at that border crossing in a few years.  Windsor is generally where we cross over.

We had a good time.  Probably won't go back there again.  As usual ate too much and suffered for it!!  Had fried chicken on the last night and I had chronic heartburn all night.  I know better.........but I just had to have some of that chicken and I HAD to eat the skin as well!!!

For the first time ever we were very pleased with the hotel.  It was lovely and clean, the staff were so friendly and pleasant.  The breakfast provided was good and filling.  The only negative thing if I had to pick something, was the sofa in the room was uncomfortable.  A couple of big squishy chairs would have been better.  The hotel was called The Wallhouse Hotel in Walnut Creek, Ohio.  It is actually like what the photos show you.  It is very modern and totally the opposite of what you would expect in "Amish Country," but I would highly recommend staying there if you decide to visit that area.  I slept like a log there, despite there being a relatively busy road opposite the hotel and the bathroom was roomy with a huge walk-in shower, which was perfect for us.  It is a big more expensive than a regular hotel in that we paid on average after all the taxes etc., around $150 USD per night.

So now we are back at home and back to normal.  Ploughing through the laundry.  Catching up with everything that has happened and getting on with things.  It was nice while it lasted and it was the break that we wanted and needed.  Glad we went; shame the shopping wasn't better, but great on my pocket book I guess!!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Here, there and everywhere............

Had a day going here, there and everywhere.  Headed out first thing to a place called Millersburg.  This is a photo of what I am guessing was/is the town hall.
Honestly as it was Monday a lot of things were closed.  We asked a local where to get a good cup of coffee and she suggested Jitter's Coffee House.  Good move on my part asking a local and it was the best cup of tea I have had since arriving in the States.
Now that funny thing next to my cup is a Teaze Infuser and it is a neat thing.  So good infact for loose leaf tea I went and bought one, you can also brew coffee in it as well.
After that we went to a place called Roscoe Village near Coshocton.  Again half the stuff was closed, but I did manage to pick up a new Vera Bradley purse/wallet to match my new handbag, so all was not lost.  

We then headed into Coshocton and had lunch here:
Yes we found a Timmies!!!  Again all is right with the world.  They had Mac and Cheese on the menu, which we don't have in Canada.  You'll be pleased to know I won't be pushing for them to have it in Canada either!!  It's a boil in a bag product and you can tell.  

We then headed to Charm, by the scenic route............the map we have sucks, the numbering on the road sucks and dh's GPS sucks...........but we saw some lovely scenery.  Drove right through Charm, as it wasn't quite what we wanted to see.  Then headed to Sugarcreek and saw the huge Cuckoo Clock:

A word of warning to anyone wanting to come and visit Holmes County, Ohio; I would plan your visit to arrive on a Monday and leave on a Sunday.  Nearly everything is closed on a Sunday, we found a Subway in a gas station to have supper on Sunday night.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We can all sleep easy tonight now................(photo heavy)

I have bought myself a new Vera Bradley handbag, so all is well with the world now...LOL  Would you believe it is the exact same one (different colour) as the one I am using now.
I also treat myself to a new case for my reading glasses.
We also had a couple of new experiences today.  I had a snickerdoodle cookie today for the first time.  Which turned out to be a sugar cookie with cinnamon and we had a hot dog with Coney sauce on it, along with cheese, onions and sauerkraut.  It was actually pretty tasty and made a change.
I had the snickerdoodle cookie at Der Bake Oven in Berlin, Ohio.  We sat and talked to the owner Ruth for a short while; a really nice lady.



Loved all the furnishings in the seating area.
There was a ribfest happening in Berlin also on Saturday.  There was also a parade which started at 6 pm.  However the weather was iffy (rain showers) and we were tired so only stayed there until mid-afternoon.  I took a couple of photos of the rib makers stands.  The people at the After Hours Barbeque only started competing last year.  They have full time jobs; so they do this as a hobby.

Took this photo as much for the sky as anything, it was overcast, muggy and eventually rainy.
Finally a couple of photos of some chairs in the hotel lobby, very modern and very leather!!!




Friday, September 5, 2014

Once again the States let us in!!

We arrived safely at our hotel and we are super pleased with our room.  I will write in more detail about where we are staying etc., later.

 It's all very modern, new and clean.
 We have a balcony but no chairs to sit on?  Will have to mention that tomorrow to the front desk......they will just love me by the time we leave!!
 This is our view from the balcony.

We went to Der Dutchman for supper.  Came out waddling like ducks.  Our eyes were greedier than our stomachs!!

Just too tired tonight to check out this store.......gosh I must be tired!!
I will say I don't know why I bother printing out the instructions from google maps.  I think we did and up close and personal tour of all the surrounding countryside before we found the hotel.  Talk about going around the block and back again.......otherwise a simple trip down to Ohio and not too long.

Heading to Berlin, Ohio tomorrow for their Fall Harvest Festival.  Here's hoping it won't be as hot, in the mid-30's oC today.