Saturday, January 30, 2016

Exploring potential areas to move to.

We went on a road trip the other day to the Fenelon Falls and Coboconk areas of  Southern Ontario.  We are lucky in that we don't have to be fixed to one area.  We do have a few requirements though, and they are the following:

  • to be able to find a family doctor and have a hospital not too, to far away; we are getting older
  • have a library close by
  • a post office close by
  • a grocery store by
  • a dentist close by
  • ploughed roads in winter
  • friendly community and a community centre
  • not too, to far from the kids and grandkids; though we are still capable drivers
  • not in a new subdivision
  • and the most important......INTERNET SERVICE!!!
Now I think there are probably lots of other little things that would be handy to have but with most things available online nowadays, as long as there is the internet, postal service and courier companies, we are all set.

We did talk to a real estate agent in the area, and he gave us some good pointers about the area, which was helpful.  As I said we are not anywhere near to moving yet, but it's best to learn as much about an area as possible before moving.  For example we have found out the property taxes in one county we were looking at were twice the price than an adjoining county.  That in itself would save us around $1,500 a year, which makes a big difference when living on a fixed income.

Lots of things to think about......

Thought there were some good ideas here for party balloons, most I had never seen or thought of before.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A first for us and it's a keeper.....

We had spaghetti squash for the first time on Thursday night and it was good.  Around Christmas time there was a recipe floating around Facebook for Spaghetti Squash Chicken Parmesan.  Here is the link to the Facebook video.

I bought a spaghetti squash a couple of weeks ago and decided to finally make it last night.  Here is what it looked like:
I followed the recipe, but instead of using fresh chicken I used breaded chicken strips and cooked them in the toaster oven with the spaghetti squash.  Chicken took less time to cook. 

If I had a veggie garden I would be growing these squash, as they are pretty tasty.  This is an easy recipe to make.  We served ours with garlic bread.  I will be making this again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A first for dh on Tuesday..........

He got his first ever seniors discount on Tuesday!  TSC had a Senior's Day where people aged 55 and above got 20% off their regular priced purchase.  So off we went to get some bags of Water Softener Salt.
Now a couple of funny or not so funny things happened with this purchase, depending on the way you look at it.

Dh was a bit ticked that they didn't ask him for id!!

I was a bit ticked as she assumed we were splitting the purchase (due to special discounts when you buy more than 3 bags)..........hello I am not 55 yet!!!

We had both had our hair cut earlier in the day (with coupons of course) and so our white/grey hair was showing up well.

By the way we ended up saving around $3 a bag with the discount, which is nothing to sneeze at.

We must investigate what age you are at to get a senior discount, as we always thought it was 60 years of age and older.



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Okay I admit it...........

I am getting old.  These past three days have certainly taken it out of me.  Gone are the days when I could get two coats of paint on the walls in one day.  Mind you despite me painting "three" rooms; kitchen, breakfast area and front hall, I only used a gallon and a half of paint.  It was very fiddly.

I am not sure what hurts the most, my back, shoulders or neck.  I am so lucky though that after a night's sleep I bounce back and everything seems back to normal; whatever normal may be.

Today I will be putting the place back together.  I also ordered three of these lights which should hopefully come today:


I ordered three for the front hall.  They are out of Lowes (Canada) and I took advantage of a sale that was on a weekend or two ago.  They are not the most expensive but they suit where they are going and fit in with the rest of the d├ęcor.

Due to all the decorating nothing much has been done as far as organizing this week.  Menu planning has gone by the wayside.  Thankfully I have been popping leftover's in the microwave. 

I went and got this picture framed at Michael's; again took advantage of a 50% off coupon.  We are very happy with how it turned out:


We got the picture from the Drawing For Art function we go to every year, back in 2013.  The artist is George Mocanu.  It's back to hanging up on the breakfast area of the kitchen.  I will get more photos taken of the newly decorated rooms when I get them all back together.




Monday, January 25, 2016

Still painting...........

Still painting.  Should be finished today.  Thought I'd share with you some interesting facts about painting I found on the internet:

The use of paint has been linked all the way back to the first century. The first place on record to use it is in China. Archeologists have also unearthed evidence of paint in ancient palaces built around this same timeframe. They figure ancient craftsmen applied ground pigments such as ochre to wet plastered walls to “paint” those interior surfaces!

Paint colors can affect your mood. Cool tones invoke feelings of calm, peace and happiness. Warmer tones can provoke feelings of anger or energy.

The surface coverage of a gallon varies between 25 and 44 square yard depending on the color of the paint.

The Golden Gate Bridge has been the same color since it was erected. That color is called International Orange.

In the United States, lead-based paint was banned for use in residential paints in 1978, but many other countries banned it prior to 1920.

Latex paint is recyclable, but oil-based paints are considered hazardous waste and should be disposed of by a qualified waste management organization. All paint should be properly eliminated to avoid contamination of public utilities.

The first known residential paint application of any kind are cave drawings.

The oldest house paint was made of lime mixed with milk and sometimes natural pigments. King Tut’s tomb was painted with milk paint! Even the White House was originally painted with a lime-based whitewash.

Throughout history a red front door has symbolized many things, from a safe place for travelers to stop for the night to having a fully paid mortgage.

House painters and artists alike were once expected to grind their own pigments with a mortar and pestle, which may be why there was a time when only well off people in the US would have had a painted house.

The first painters’ union was formed in London in 1502 and was called the Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers.

There tend to be more shades of green than any other in commercially available paint colors because the human eye can distinguish more variations of green than of any other color.

In 1940 Canadian Norman Breakey invented the first paint roller. He didn’t profit from it because he never patented it. During World War II, an inventor working for Sherwin-Williams also created a roller brush because the hogs’ hair used for paintbrushes was unavailable thanks to the war.

It was the Greek philosopher Plato who discovered that you can mix two different paint colors together to produce a third color.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Doing this:


Makes you feel like this:

At least the ceiling is done, now to do to walls...........


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Decorating..............

One of the goals for this year is to finish painting the main floor of the house.  We still need to paint the kitchen/breakfast area.  Front hall and stairs to the basement.  Powder/laundry room and our bedroom. 

Before Christmas I painted both the living room and dining room.  The living room was hard going with the nearly 12 foot ceilings; although I did not paint the ceilings, just painting the walls that height was enough.

I like to use Beauti-Tone paints, which is carried by Home Hardware.  I bought a lot of paint in June of 2015 (see here) basically at half price, so am working my way through those.  If I run out of paint it's easy enough for me to pop into the store to get some more.  Also they have a programme where when you buy six cans of paint you get one free; you don't have to buy them all at once.  So it's well worth doing that.  Plus I like the paint, which always helps!

I am choosing the paint for the main floor from the Colour Confidence series, which just happens to be the colours I like.  So far I have painted the living room in Oak Tone and the dining room in Feather Stone and the kitchen/breakfast room/front hall in Earthling.
Sorry about the quality of the photo.  When you paint what colours tend to be your favourite?

Friday, January 22, 2016

My 6 month cleaning @ the dentist.............

Yep it was that time again on Wednesday.  This was the third time I had been to this dentist, but as yet I am not getting the same warm fuzzy feeling I got from the last dentist.  Mind you we were patients there for 25 years.............

The first time I visited this dentist I didn't see him as he was "running late," second time a female dentist popped in had a quick look and left.  This time I finally met "the man."  Nice enough chap; very strong manly handshake; I commented on that and he offered to shake my hand again.  I said no thank you as I need my fingers un-crushed so I can knit...he thought that was funny.  He did his quick exam and left like the other one did.

Now back to the cleaning.  The first thing I do when I sit on the chair is put my sunglasses on.  They have LED lights and they are so bright, tears are streaming from my light sensitive eyes, if I don't protect them.  She then offers me some mouth rinse, which of course I decline, as it tastes icky.  She has to hand clean my teeth as I do not like the "pressure washer" way of cleaning the teeth.  I have some what sensitive teeth and with that machine it has a habit of pointing out where my most sensitive areas are!

Then we have the question, "do you floss?"

My answer is always the same:

"Flossing to me is like running your nails down a chalk board.  Please feel free to give me a lecture about it.  I will take no notice of you, but if it makes you feel better, go ahead."

She giggled at this point and said fair enough.

The only time I will floss is when I have something stuck between my teeth and I need to remove it.

At the end they want to polish your teeth.  Once again I decline as it tickles and it's icky.  As I point out to them I am a like a cheap date as I only use half of their things.

She also checked my gums to see how big the "pockets" were.  It turns out mine were fine other than the one "between my wisdom tooth and back tooth."  I sat there digesting this news for a few seconds, then realized I don't have any wisdom teeth. I had them out years ago.  I point this out and she says oh yes you're right.

Now this got me thinking............which means things will go down south very fast.  I couldn't remember if dh had, had his wisdom teeth out and also couldn't remember if the kids had, had theirs out.  What sort of wife and mother am I who doesn't remember these things????

So a flurry of emails went back and forth between the kids and I, which resulted in:

  • daughter had hers out in her early 20's
  • son-in-law has had his out
  • daughter-in-law has had hers out and I  actually remember that
  • son hasn't had his out, but as he pointed out he has a big head and has plenty of room....that sort of made sense to me
  • dh has no idea {{{SIGH}}} but like son he has a big head and I told him to ask when he is at the dentist.
  • I had mine out after I had our son, but before I had our daughter and I do remember having an extra root in each tooth, otherwise everything was fine with the process
So there you are my 6 month visit to the dentist is over and done with.  I had no cavities, everything is looking good and they'll see my at the end of July, poor things.  I am one of those people who doesn't like going to the dentist but goes faithfully every six months; as these are the only teeth I have and they have to last me until I die. 

However I would rather go to the dentist than have my eyes tested any day.  That I dislike with a passion, as my eyes are so light sensitive.

Oh and I had a headache and toothache for the rest of the day, but that's normal after a visit to the dentist.

How often do you go to the dentist?

FINALLY - THANK YOU FOR ALL THE TIPS YESTERDAY.  I CLEANED THE WASHING MACHINE AS SUGGESTED SO LETS HOPE THAT DOES THE TRICK.



Thursday, January 21, 2016

Maybe you can help?

My bathroom towels are a couple of years old.  Still in fine shape but they smell, even after I have washed them.  So a week or two ago I washed them twice in hot water, once with white vinegar only and once with baking soda only.  They seemed fine, nice and soft and no smell.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and they are back to smelling.  Any suggestions?  By the way those are not my towels, just loved the colour combination.

I had half a bottle of club soda left over.  So I let it go flat and have been watering my indoor plants with it.  Said it was good for them on the internet?  Thought it was better than throwing it away?  Did make a Jello/jelly with a cup of it too, but didn't like the bubbly taste of it.

Bit of a short post today, eh!



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Knitting with dinosaur bones.......

I am in the middle of knitting a baby blanket and using a different type of yarn and I need # 9 needles for this project.  I normally use 2.75 or 3mm needles for my hats and other projects, so it's like using dinosaur bones knitting with the bigger needles.
I have got this done so far:

It's going to have to wait now until the beginning of February as that is when dd should find out whether she is having a boy or girl.  Because of the size of the needles I could not get a loose enough cast on.  Had to get Angie to cast on for me, and knit the first row to start me off, which is crazy.  I did attempt it twice and had to pull out so I was getting frustrated.

When I started knitting last year I said I wanted to learn how to knit a pair of socks.  I bought this book recently:
 As I have never knit with multiple needles I decided to start with tube socks to get used to knitting with four needles.
 I will admit to finding the whole thing very awkward, but on Thursday at knitting I will give it the good British try!

I read a couple of good books recently.  Once Upon a Flock is about a woman who gets herself some chickens to fill a void and this tells of her adventures.  It was a good book and I reviewed it here.  We read  The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett as our January book club choice, my review is here.  My mam suggested I read "The Queen and I," by Sue Townsend, which I liked a lot better.  You can read my review here.



For more Yarn Along posts, click this link.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

All it took was 2 hours.........

and I made enough meals to last us all week:
I made a cheese, onion and mushroom quiche, some baked potatoes, two shepherd's pie and a bean lasagna. 

I had a lot of mushrooms, and a few onions that needed to be used up, along with a lump of Harvati Cheese, so all that was saying made me into a quiche.  Of course put potatoes onto bake at the same time.

The Bean Lasagna recipe is from here.  The recipe says it feeds 12, I think more realistically 6.   Here is a Iink to the Pulse Pledge Site with more recipes on it. I took out a pound of ground beef (mince) and used half a pound for that recipe.  With the rest I used it to make two meals of shepherd's pies by bulking it up with veggies and we will also have pickled beets with them.  I love pickled beets with shepherd's pie.

So our menu plan this week will consist of:

Quiche with baked potatoes and ceaser salad.
Quiche with fries and baked beans
Shepherd's pie with pickled beets x 2
Bean Lasagna with garlic bread probably twice and I'll freeze one meal for next week.

I am quite proud of myself for actually doing a menu plan and a batch cook all in one day!!!  That is really good for me, as I do not like menu planning for some reason. 

You may have noticed there are only six meals there, I want to see what I have in leftovers and make a meal out of them later in the week.

Did you menu plan this week?  Also I have a big bag of cornmeal.  I need some ideas on what to do with it?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Best ever dressing for salad greens....

Back in December when I hosted the Book Club pot luck, one of the ladies brought over a salad.  We all just loved it and there wasn't a scrap left.  I asked the lady who brought it for the recipe and I have made it a few times.  However it's the dressing that is a winner and so much better than the bought stuff.

To make the dressing you need the following:

1/4 to 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon, or 1 squirt of Dijon mustard
Sprinkle of salt.


Place all ingredients in a small jar:
Shake it all up and pour on your salad greens.  Refrigerate any leftovers; keeps for a few days.
The recipe for the salad is this:

1 Pkg baby spinach
1/2 pomegranate
1/3 c crumbled feta
candied walnuts or pecans
1/3 c sunflower seeds
blueberries

You can add or subtract whatever you like or don't like.  We like it with just salad greens and crumbled feta.

An easy way to get the seeds from a pomegranate is cut the pomegranate into quarters.  Place in a bowl of water and remove the seeds while in the water.  The white bits float to the top while the seeds settle in the bottom.



Sunday, January 17, 2016

Penguins and Monster's, oh my!

On Saturday I was on babysitting duty while Our Little Munchkin's parents went on a "date," to the boat show.

I picked up these cookies for our treat, you can read more about them here:
We had fun biting off their heads, and then the "arms."  I also showed Munchkin how to walk like a penguin.  At Christmas we had Christmas Crackers that had wind up penguins in them.  I brought that game down so we played with the wind up penguins for a bit. I got the Christmas Crackers from Pier 1 , 2016's Christmas Crackers are going to be these ones.  All bought on sale of course!

After we played with the penguin's I brought out the monster book.
You had to put the eyes, nose and mouth on the monster's faces.  They are reusable stickers so she should get a bit of use out of them. 

Then she decided to go "grocery shopping,"
The only problem with that is it is really hard to carry three baskets, and trying to push your grocery trolley with teddy in it, with only two arms!!

She was a delight and very well behaved.  She is growing up so fast and you can actually have a conversation with her and get somewhere!!

Little Munchkin's outfit is from Gymboree, this top and these leggings, all bought on sale of course.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

I wonder who came up with this idea?

I guess it's one way of relaxing you if you have trouble going - just sniff the toilet paper.  I bought some as it was the same price and size of the regular toilet paper.

I went grocery shopping on Friday and spent $85.20, with savings of $10.00.  A couple of good deals for me were mushrooms at 99 cents per half pound container.  Remember when buying mushrooms, to transfer them into brown paper bags, as they keep longer.  I get mine at the dollar store.  I have started buying a little more at a Canadian store called Giant Tiger.  They always have one of two good deals on.  This week jam was on sale for $2 for a 500 ml jar, which is a fantastic price.  Also  got half and half for under $2.  Click on this link to see what half and half is...LOL

I saw this link on Facebook and thought it was really neat.  Dd made Our Little Munchkin a similar mobile for her bedroom.

Now I'm off to the bathroom to sniff some toilet paper!!

Friday, January 15, 2016

A rather expensive way to end the week...........

We moved into this house in June of 2014.  Since September of 2014 I have been asking our local Township when will we be getting a property tax bill.

What is property tax?

Property tax is a levy based on the assessed value of property.


If you own a property you have to pay it.  In other countries it is called different things.  To cut a long and boring/annoying story short, we finally got the bill (s) this week, and so they now have to be paid, by January 29th.  The bills are only up to the end of 2015, not sure what is happening yet for 2016, when I go into the Township office this morning I will no doubt find out what's going on.  There is a lot more to this story about why it has taken so long to get the bill and why it has to be paid by the end of the month, but various government departments at Federal, Provincial and local levels will all come out looking bad if I go into detail.  Suffice to say, there are a number of people who are incompetent and should not be in the jobs that they are in!  But trying to get anyone to take ownership of their mistakes is like trying to get blood out of stone.

Our bill is well over $5,000 which is actually less than I thought, as we were not assessed as high as I thought we would have been.  It's still a lot of money, but I was prepared for this.  The day we moved in I put away money each week specifically for the property taxes, as I knew sooner or later we would get a bill.  Mind you even I didn't imagine it would take this long.  Some people had been in their homes 2 + years without a bill, so their tax bill would have been a lot higher.  I only hope everyone had enough common sense to put money away like I did?

However not everyone does that do they; think ahead?  I am one of the strange people out there that do not like owing money.  It has been really bothering me that the taxes were due, but it was out of my control as I had no bill.

I have mentioned this time and time again on my blog, but as part of planning ahead I put money away each week for various things in my "boxes."

I put $20 in my birthday box.
I put $20 in my Christmas box.
I put $50 in my other box.  My other box has been covering wedding's recently, and yes we have another coming up in March.

These boxes are a life saver to me, as Christmas is taken care of more or less with that box.  I always have money in the birthday box, for birthdays, and when you are forking out $300 + for a money envelope for every wedding that too is a life saver.

If that amount of money is too much for you to save each week, how about coming up with even $2 or $5 a week in a box to cover Christmas.  Even then you will have over $100 saved by the end of the year, which will cover all the cost's of extra food and drink at Christmas?

I am going to talk more about Christmas over the next few days as it's never too early to start!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 The International Year of Pulses

"Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses."

(credit to: Pulse Canada dot com for the above quote)

I stumbled upon this as I have been picking up my neighbours newspaper while they have been away.  It's The Globe and Mail, a bit too highbrow for me, but it has a Sudoku, so I am not going to turn it down, as I love doing the Sudoku's; keep's the brain ticking over.

Anyhoo, I digress.  In Wednesday's paper there was an article about this "newest" food trend.  I read the article with interest, as I don't mind pulses; I don't use them much but with the price of food increasing by the second they are a good cheap alternate to some other foods.  Plus they are good for you.  It also helps that The UN had declared 2016 The International Year of the Pulses.

Not only is there an article in the Globe and Mail, but CBC News has it's own article here.  Canadian Chef Michael Smith is spearheading the campaign, at least in Canada, for us all to eat more pulses, and there is even a website for us to sign up to pledge we will eat half a cup of pulses per week for ten weeks. www.pulsepledge.com    I must say after looking around the site there are some yummy recipes on there that pretty easy to make.  One of my favourites and one I think I may make next week was Bean Lasagna.

If you have just over six minutes to spare you may want to listen to this recording of Chef Michael Smith talking about how good pulses are for you.

A couple of facts about pulses:

Pulses have twice as much protein as whole grains such as wheat, barley or rice. 
Pulses are high in fibre, which helps decrease and control cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Pulses are also high in B-vitamins, and key minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

I have posted a couple recipes over the years on my blog that include pulses.  One of my favourites is Lentil Stew.  Not only is it vegetarian it is also vegan. 

Then there is my "famous" Baked Bean Lasagna  This was one of the first recipes I posted back in 2008, when I first started my blog.  Mark's and Spencer recipe that I have been making for years.

I also posted a 50 + 1 recipes for Chickpeas here, I do not know if all the links work though.

Plus a 50 + 1 recipe for Kidney Beans.  Now when I do my menu plan for next week, I am going to include at least one meal that has some sort of pulse in it.

Do you eat a lot of pulses in your house?


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Should we try again

I am the worst blogger out there, really.  What is my problem?  It's a new year so like a lot of you out there I guess I'll make a belated New Year's resolution and start blogging again.  I think my problem is that I have a pretty boring mundane life, and who on earth would want to read about it?  I do though have a few things in the works though and over the next few months I will begin to share with you what's going on.

The one thing I will share with you today though, is that we are going to be grandparents again TWICE this year in the space of a week or two.  Our Little Princess and Our Little Man are getting a brother or sister at the end of May and Our Little Munchkin will be getting a brother or sister a week or two later.

So as you can imagine, quilting and knitting are high on my to-do list this year.  However I also have a number of other things on my to-do list for the year.  I wonder of I make a list, it will help me achieve them?  I guess it won't hurt?

1. Prepare for two new grand babies.
2. Knitting a pair of socks - it has been on my to-do list since I started knitting.
3. Prepare "stock" for a table at a Christmas Sale in November/December - I'll talk about that at a later date.
4. Finish the basement, or get as much done as possible to the carpeting stage, so in Spring of 2017 all we have to do is put the carpet down there.  This situation is all down to money.
5. Put plans in motion for dh to retire in the next couple of years - this is something I would like to explore more in depth and will do in many posts over the year.
6. Explore more ways to save money and share with you all, what works and what doesn't.
7. Be more organized.  I know I do have that "A" type personality, but I have been letting things slip recently, so need to be more on top of things.
8. Get the rest of the main floor decorated - another big chunk will be done by the end of the month.
9. Try and go away on vacation later in the year.
10. Menu plan - this is a hard one for me, but if I do it I feel more organized.
11. Come up with ways to save money when grocery shopping, as believe me the price of food is rising by the day.

If there is a subject you would like me to explore please let me know.

And finally, just because, here is my first knitting for one of the new babies to be.  It's one of the baby gnomes, customized by me.  He or she is less than six inches in height.
That is the phone next to it, and I made a matching baby hat.  The books on the side are ones I have to review, so keep an eye out for those reviews.  Fingers crossed I can manage a post for tomorrow!!