Sunday, November 30, 2008

Today's Flower

This was a beautiful hanging basket in on it for more detail.

For more Today's Flower photos, please click on the link.

Winter Wonderland

We went for a drive on Sunday and I took a couple of photos from the car. We drove through a place called Hockley Valley, and they get a bit more snow than we do. If was a lovely day, but cold. Click on the photos for more detail.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

VII Things I plan to do before I die:
Go to India
Live in the country on an acre of land with chickens

VII Things I do now:
Plan to change the curtains in the lounge ( still planning- this type of stuff terrifies me)
Use moisturiser every day
Watch Celebrity Get Me Out of Here ( teenager loves it and is glued every night). It is so bad it is compelling.
Hate the rain
Get lots of sleep
Enjoy my current work projects

Look forward to 2009VII Things I can't do:
watch soap operas
hang curtains ( see above)
Iron well
stay cross with Other half or teenager for long

VII Things that attract me in the opposite sex:
strength ( physical
strength ( emotional)
blue eyes
big build ( rugby, American football types)

VII Things I say most often:
Where are we going for coffee?
Where are we going for lunch?
Shall we have red or white?
What's the score?
It can't be raining again?
Are you taking a coat or a warm top?
Where does the time go?

VII Celebrities that I admire
Ronnie Barker
Eric Morecambe
John Thaw
Shay Given
Jonny Wilkinson
Jane Austen
Paul McKenna

VII Favourite foods:
Creme Caramel
homemade Mac & Cheese
Fresh Baked Bread
Penne A La Vodka

VII Bloggers who are not obliged to do this if they don't want to:
Expat mum
Clippy Mat
Range Warfare
Gill that British Woman
Renie Burghardt
Travelling Typhoon
Jessica ( Jessica's World)

Where I Blog from.........

I was tagged to show you where I blog from by Angelena.

I do the majority of my blogging on my laptop, which I do in the family room. We do have a desktop computer which is in the spare bedroom, so will blog from there as well.

I normally blog in the other corner of the family room, but we have moved that chair out (same as the one in the photo) while the house is up for sale.

So, now for the fun part, if you're reading this you're tagged....I know what a pain, but it will be interesting to see where you blog from, also you're not allowed to tidy up the area!!

Adding: What's in the cd player- the two on the left are the Amy Winehouse discs from her "Back To Black" cd (I think that's the title), on the left I got a freebie cd at a show for the "Jersey Boys" (top), and on the bottom, it's Celine Dion's new disc, don't remember the title though.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Crockpot Beans and Sausage Casserole........

This is my own recipe, adapt it to suit your family.


1 package of Breakfast Sausages, I used the Maple flavoured ones, regular sausage will work just the same
2 Cans of Baked Beans
2 Onions Sliced
Potatoes, enough to feed your family, cubed, or frozen baby potatoes.

Slice the onions and place them on the bottom of the crock pot. Cut sausages into bite size pieces, place on top of onions, then put in the potatoes. I use frozen baby potatoes, as buy them on sale with a coupon for 99 cents.

Pour the cans of baked beans on top of the potatoes. I used southwestern baked beans, which have corn and peppers in them. I got them given, and wanted to use them.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

We had it with bread and butter, it was good, and so simple.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Skywatch Friday........

These two photos were taken from the top of a multi storey car park in downtown Charleston back in September. Click on the photos for more details.

For more Skywatch Friday photos click on this link.

A Sparkling Christmas Tree.....

Yesterday dd and I went to the Eaton Centre in Toronto. One reason was to use the gift certificate that the kids had got me for Mother's Day for a back massage. It was a seated massage and it was great and he made my sore shoulder feel so much better. The company's name was The Great American Backrub I had the 30 minute BACKRUB NIRVANA . It's just a shame all the locations are downtown Toronto.

One thing I wanted to do was take photos of the Christmas Windows at the Bay, but I forgot!!! However I took photos of the beautiful Christmas tree in the Mall. It was so sparkly, as it was covered with Swarovski Crystal's, it was stunning.

There are office buildings that look right into the mall.

There were trees hanging from the ceiling........

Now as we were passing through The Bay, we saw what looked like a tv, but its an electric fireplace, neat or what!!!!

Also did you know that there 27 kilometers of underground walkways in Toronto that link together shopping, services and entertainment. If you live downtown, you don't have to go outside you can get from A to Z along these underground Walkways. This is called P.A.T.H. I have never been "down there" before and its very pleasant. Dd worked down there for a while, so knows the area well.

(as always click on the photos to get more details)

Oh, and I almost forgot, Santa was walking through the mall, and he was lovely, we had a good old chit-chat, dd was just laughing at the pair of us chatting.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Watery Wednesday

More photos of Charleston Harbour and Arthur Ravenel Bridge, which is quite a site. We travelled over it many times while on vacation. As always click on the photos for more details....

This photo was taken at the Aquarium, which I featured last week. I think Mr. Frog was enjoying the breeze from the river.

For more Watery Wednesday photos click on this link.

50 + 1 Recipes for Cauliflower............

I love cauliflower. We will have cauliflower with cheese sauce and garlic bread as a meal, it is yummy. Here are some more recipes for you to try:

1. Creamy Chopped Cauliflower Salad

2. Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

3. Basmati Rice & Curry Casserole (Chana aur Sarson ka Saag Biryani)

4. Cauliflower and Couscous Pilaf

5. Cauliflower and Red Lentil Curry

6. Cauliflower with Gruyere Sauce

7. Cauliflower with New Mornay Sauce

8. Creamy Cauliflower Puree

9. Curried Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower

10. Curried Potatoes with Cauliflower

11. Ginger, Split Pea & Vegetable Curry (Subzi dalcha)

12. Indian-Spiced Eggplant & Cauliflower Stew

13. Quick Thai Chicken and Vegetable Curry

14. Roasted Florets

15. Roasted Winter Vegetable with Cheesy Polenta - this sounds so good

16. Sauté of Cauliflower & Mustard Greens with Peanuts - never had mustard greens before

17. Skillet Cauliflower Gratin - make this all the time

18. Tangy Cauliflower Salad

19. Vegetable Satay

20. Parmesan Cauliflower and Parsley Salad

21. Vegan Italian-Style Wild Rice and Vegetables

22. Cauliflower and Carrot Gratin

23. Roasted Cauliflower

24. Danny's Pickled Cauliflower

25. Golden Autumn Soup

26. Cauliflower Soup

27. Chilly Cauliflower Vichyssoise

28. Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Butter

29. Cauliflower Casserole

30. Creamy Cauliflower and Broccoli Crunch

31. Mashed Cauliflower with Goat Cheese

32. Rich and Creamy Mashed Cauliflower - this sounds different, and good

33. Creamy Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon and Snap Peas

34. Apple Cauliflower Soup with Lacy Parmesan Tuiles

35. Indian Spiced Cauliflower Soup

36. Quick Cauliflower Masala

37. Fried Cauliflower

38. Cauliflower and Shrimps

39. Cauliflower with Tomato Sauce

40. Savory Cauliflower Pie

41. Cauliflower Deluxe

42. Cauliflower Fritters

43. Cauliflower Amandine

44. Cauliflower and Ham au Gratin

45. Cauliflower Provencal

46. Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Parmesan

47. Gobi Mutter Masala

48. Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower with Nuts

49. Cauliflower and Lentil Curry

50. Veggie Mash - this sounds really good and a nice alternative to regular mashed potatoes

51. Gran's Piccalilli

There you go, some really good recipes there.

Nutritional Info.

Next week it's lettuce, and I have to say there are some really good recipes on there.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Creamy Mac and Cheese

I got an email from Carnation Milk telling me about some recipes on their site, so I took a look and decided to try their Mac and Cheese recipe. It's pretty simple, but quite rich. It says it serves 6.......I don't think so, 3 adults yes, maybe four with a salad and some garlic bread.


2 cups uncooked macaroni or rotini pasta
1 can (370ml) Evaporated milk
3 tbsp All purpose/plain flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard, I didn't have dry, so just used a squirt of regular mustard
1/4 cup light cream cheese (I just used regular)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
black pepper (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Put flour in pan, and whisk in a little of the milk, to make a paste. Slowly add the rest of the milk, whisking all the time.

Add the salt, mustard and the cream cheese and continue whisking until all mixed in, and thickened. I cut the cream cheese into little pieces to make it easier to mix in.

Remove from heat, stir in cheddar cheese until melted.

Stir pasta into cheese sauce.

Serve immediately.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I've been tagged!!!

I have been tagged by Anastasia

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No, my mother wanted to call me Stephanie, but her mother said no!!!

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? When Vera died on Coronation Street......don't ask!!!

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I don't dislike it, but it could be neater

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Canned corned beef, it's a British thing!

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Yes, a son and a daughter.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? what a silly question, of course I would be...

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? If you ask dh he will say yes..

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS. No, had them out in my late 20's


10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? I'm into honey nut granola at the moment.


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically, no, emotionally probably

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Not a big ice cream lover, if I had to choose though Pralines and Cream.


15. RED OR PINK? Red.


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My family back in England



20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Ice-cream, which is funny, when you see my answer for #13



23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Line dried sheets, flowers



26.FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? I don't watch sports

27. HAIR COLOR? Brown/Grey, until I dye it then it should only be brown!!

28. EYE COLOR? Blue


30. FAVORITE FOOD? Pasta with shrimp and Alfredo sauce


32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Cheaper By The Dozen 2




36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Creme Caramel

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Whoever feels like it

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND. Whoever doesn’t feel like it


40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Some computer programme, dh got it for free

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Dh had the hockey game on, I was surfing the net

42. FAVORITE SOUND. I don't have one, though I love to hear birds chirping.......


44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? I guess travelling back and forward between Canada and England would be the farthest

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? None that I know off!!!

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Carlisle, England

Now for the real kicker, if you're reading this, guess what you're tagged!!!! Don't you just love me!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More de-cluttering and garbage........

Well I seem to be on a roll at the moment. We have had a box of old paint cans etc, that needed to go to the recycling/tip facilities. We also had four old computers, three monitors and an old photo copier down the basement. All were old and not worth upgrading or repairing. So we decided today was the day to get rid of it all.

It cost us an $8 disposal fee, but it was so worth it. We were not allowed to put any of those things in our regular garbage.

We are only allowed to put out two garbage bags a week. We normally have a large grocery bag of garbage a week on a normal week. We put out our blue box on a weekly basis

This is what we are allowed to put in there We also have a grey bin that we put paper products in.

We also have a Green bin:

We put all food waste in there, here is a link to what we can and cannot put in the bin. We also have yard waste collection though that varies depending on the time of year. I know this next week is the last yard waste pickup until next spring. We MUST put yard waste in paper yard waste bags or open top containers.

Overall I must say I am happy with the system we have got. Also me and my neighbours put garbage on one another's lot's when we have more than our two bags. As if you want to put out more than two bags of garbage you have to buy garbage tags at $1 a piece.

In the summer I usually give the garbage men a can of pop or a bottle of water when I see them, as honestly working in the heat and with the smell must be awful.

Are you happy with your garbage pick-up?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Good Deed's..............

One thing that has happened with putting the house up for sale is that I have done a lot of de-cluttering.

I have a thing for Christmas decorations and over the years have accumulated a ton of them. When we had a finished basement we would put two trees up. One in the living room and one down the basement. Since we have been in this house, we have only ever put up the one tree in the living room.

Both our trees were at least 15 years old and had seen their better days. A friend mentioned she was looking for a tree, so I gave her one of ours. I then decided to buy a new tree which already had the lights on it, as I find that a bind putting the lights on the tree. However I still had the one tree, plus a ton of ornaments and lights, so I gathered them all together along with other Christmas items that we no longer use and took them to the women's shelter (Salvation Army).

There were enough decorations including a small table top tree and a tree for the creatively challenged (it was plastic with slots to put the ornaments in, any one could decorate that one!!) and the regular 6 foot tree, so three households could have some sort of Christmas decorations in the house.

Now the reason I am telling you this story, is that you don't have to give money all the time, if you do have spare Christmas ornaments or a spare tree, this is the time of year to be donating them!!!

This was a big deal for me, as I never ever thought I would part with a lot of my Christmas stuff. We also now have a lot more room in the area in the basement where I keep all the Christmas stuff. Also maybe I was planning ahead, as I know when we moved into this house, dh whined for days about how much Christmas stuff we had!!

I am going to tackle dh's closet this weekend, as CP (cerebral palsy) is coming to pick up used clothing the beginning of December, I donate to them on a regular basis as well. Also for those of you in Canada, Fruits and Passion, have a nice bottle of bubble bath on sale, where part of the proceeds go to Habitat For Humanity.

I am also going to make a point of buying a few extra cans of food this weekend to pop into the food bank boxes, as every little helps.

Friday, November 21, 2008

WARNING.....if you're a male I would advise you to skip this post......

I mean I really would you know!!!

About a month ago I was sitting in the doctors with dh waiting to go into see the doctor with dh, when I decided wouldn't it be a good idea for me to have a pap smear (okay hit me on the head now!) So I made the appointment for today (20th), as our doctor was away and you know I had a visit in between hands...........

So the big day arrives and off I trot to the doctors. Now to keep my mind off things, I take the car in for a service first thing this morning and spend the rest of the morning shopping, so didn't have too much time to dwell on THE VISIT!!

I get into the doctors office and the nurse says are you here for a physical......nope......just the dreaded pap smear. She asks me what I weigh, I politely tell her too much, she says well lets go and weigh you, again I say nope, as I know I weigh too much and I don't want a lecture!!

So she tells me to remove my clothing from the waist down, and leaves the room. So I strip off and discover she has left me not one but two paper sheets. I decide that rather than laying on the regular old paper I would lay a sheet down on the bench thingy. I am busy doing this when the doctor walks in. He's all embarrassed that I am not laying down. I tell him don't worry about it and tell him once you have had children nothing is sacred anymore.

He then tells me if you have children in a teaching hospital you can expect a crowd in a hospital room especially if you're having an unusual birthing experience, as all the students want to have a looksy. As I had ds in a smaller hospital and dd in what we call a "cottage hospital," I never had that pleasure.

By the way the "cottage hospital," was a tiny hospital where there were wards for older patients, a maternity ward, though only for straight forward births, I don't even think there was an emergency department. It was like a hotel, I requested a transfer there when I had ds as soon as I was able. I had ds at the other hospital as the drugs they gave me, sent me to sleep for hours, and the doctor couldn't be bothered to sit up all night at the cottage hospital waiting for me to give birth.

Anyhow, back to topic on hand. So I lay on the bench thingy, put my feet in those stirrups , I did leave my socks on, and the doctor did his thing. To be fair I have no problem having it done, it's over with in no time flat and as me the doctor and the nurse chit chat the whole time, none of us are really aware of what is really happening, if you know what I mean.

Now this one is a true story and I first read this back in 2002 on Main Street Moms and this is funny:

This is a laugh for all those women out there who so look forward to that wonderful time once a year when they get to become "intimate" with their OB/GYN doctor. In Sydney, Australia one of the radio stations pays($1000-$5000) for people to tell their most embarrassing stories. This one netted the winner $5000....

I was due later in the week for an appointment with the gynecologist! Early one morning I received a call from the doctor's office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for early that morning at 9:30a.m. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45a.m. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn't have any time to spare. As most women do, I like to freshen up when making such visits, but this time I wasn't going to be able to make the full effort. So I rushed upstairs, threw off my dressing gown, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in "That area" to make sure I was at least Presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment.

I was waiting in the waiting room only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I'm sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away. I was a little surprised when the doctor said, "my, we have made an extra effort this morning haven't we?" but I didn't respond.

When the appointment was over, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal.. Some shopping, cleaning, cooking,act. After school when my six year old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, "Mum,where's my washcloth?" I told her to get another one from the cupboard. She replied, "No, I need the one that was here by the sink it had all my glitter and sparkles in it.

This still makes me laugh!!!

By the way I had no idea what I was going to write about today...........

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Skywatch Friday

More photo's of Tennessee, to be precise the Smoky Mountains taken early morning in September 2006 from our cabin in Pigeon Forge. We had a super vacation there.....

For more Skywatch Friday photos, please click on the link.

I have a weather announcement for you....

See the snowman below? Well that's the only snowman you should see this year....why?

We have gone and bought a snow thrower, this one to be precise. So it's guaranteed that as we have bought a snow thrower finally, it's bound to be a snow less year, it's sod's law.

Not sure why it has taken us over 19 years of living in Canada to finally get around to buying one. It may be something to do with the fact that me and dh are getting older and our body aches in places it didn't in prior years, and shovelling snow doesn't help the situation. Or it could be the fact we live on the bend of a crescent and the snow plow driver just loves to dump 4 feet of heavy wet snow on the end of our driveway, which has had me in tears a few times wondering how on earth we were going to move it?

I do know after last years continuous snowfall we knew there was no way we were going through another winter without a snow thrower. The one we have bought is a bit big for our current driveway, but it will be great for when I move into the country.

So there you go, aren't you glad we bought a snow thrower!!!!

P.S. As I am writing this, Wednesday evening, it's snowing........but we'll just ignore that!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Watery Wednesday

These photos were taken back in September, at the Charleston Aquarium, in South Carolina, when we were on vacation. The first one is my favourite.

For more Watery Wednesday click on the link.

50 + 1 Recipes for Sweet/Bell Peppers

I had forgotten about this veggie. It's not a veggie that I use too often but I do use it. If I can buy them cheap I chop them up and pop them in the freezer for use later. So here are the recipes.

1. Bell Pepper Soup with Sour Cream and Dill

2. Fettuccini with Sweet Peppers & Pinenuts

3. Goat Cheese with Bell Pepper Dressing

4. Grilled Sweet Pepper

5. Stuffed Bell Peppers - it's ages since I have made these, they are good.

6. Three Pepper Salad

7. Sweet Pepper Burritos

8. Sweet Pepper Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

9. Sweet Pepper Stuffed Pork Chops

10. Souvlaki

11. Rainbow Roasted Pepper Soup

12. Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

13. Green Pepper Tomato Salad

14. Sausage Pepper Skillet

15. Tuna Salad with Olives, Orange and Bell Pepper

16. Bell Pepper Delight with Green Tomatoes

17. Bell Pepper Feta Pasta

18. Grilled Three Pepper Turkey Pizza - will work just as well with chicken

19. Risotto With Mixed Bell Peppers And Sicilian Sausage

20. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Casserole - this makes a huge amount, good for a party......

21. Spicy Bell Pepper Salad

22. Vegan Bell Pepper Soup

23. Bell Pepper Salsa

24. Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce

25. Garlic and Herb Sautéed Bell Pepper Strips

26. Spicy Beef and Bean Stuffed Peppers

27. Italian Sausage and Peppers

28. Summer Vegetable and Sweet Pepper Skewers

29. Fresh Red Pepper Marinara Sauce

30. Roasted Peppers and Seasonal Vegetables

31. Red Hot Chilli Pepper Soup

32. Red Pepper Aioli

33. Tempura Vegetables

34. Bell Pepper Cheese Spread

35. Sweet Pepper Relish

36. Carrot and Bell Pepper Salad

37. Pork and Bell Pepper Stir Fry

38. Bell Pepper Dip

39. Bell Pepper Muffins

40. Bell Pepper Nachos

41. Goat Cheese and Roasted Bell Pepper Panini

42. Bell Pepper Omelet

43. Chilled Red Bell Pepper and Habanero Soup

44. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus

45. Bell Pepper and Mushroom Risotto

46. Smoked salmon and bell pepper coulis

47. Tex-Mex Chicken with Bell Pepper

48. Bell Pepper Crackers

49. Red Bell Pepper and Broccoli Pasta Sauce

50. Grilled Bell Pepper Salad

51. Bell Pepper Quiche

There is quite a variety of recipes there. I hope you find one you may want to try?

Nutritional Information:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More deals and some ideas for stocking stuffers....



I went grocery shopping today and one of the places I went was the dreaded Wal-Mart. Now I will say I call it "the dreaded Wal-Mart" as the Wal-Mart near me employs employees who leave their common sense at home. Now as I had a few coupons and my Wal-Mart, just can't get their heads around coupons, I decided it was easier going to the Wal-Mart by my dad's and visit him and my step-mother while there.

Below is what I bought, and it cost me just over $17 for that little lot and I am going to get $20 back in Wal-Mart gift cards.

So how did I do that you ask. Well first of all, look at the Glade Candles, do you see a sticker on them that says $5? If you can find the Glade products with the $5 stickers on them, what that means is that if you mail in the UPC on them, plus the $5 sticker and your sales receipt, they will mail you a $5 Wal-Mart gift card back. The candles were $2.97 + taxes for each one, plus I had two buy on get one free coupons. There is a limit of 8 redemption's on this promotion. So if you buy 8 candles at $2.97 each that is going to cost you $23.76 + taxes in Ontario's case 13% = $26.85, + the cost of a stamp 55 cents for a total of $27.40, and you will get $40 back in Wal-Mart gift cards. You will also have 8 nice candles that would make ideal teachers gifts, stocking stuffer or a just because gift, or even just keep them for yourself.

Now the other deal on there is the Tylenol. Here is a link to a $3 off coupon. I bought the 24 packs of Tylenol at Wal-Mart for $3.37 a pack. You have to pay taxes on the whole $3.37 which is 44 cents, + the 37 cents after they have taken the coupon off, for a total of 81 cents a pack. If you can find them cheaper, then you get them cheaper. Now would be the time to stock up on this sort of thing. Here is a thread on Frugal Shopper with all sorts of other good deals and links to coupons for the Canadians. The $10 off Oil of Olay coupon is a good one to have!!

I got a box in the mail today and it contained this:

I got all of this as I am taking part in a Bzz Agent promotion for Fruits and Passion. I think this is a campaign for both Canada and the States, and have to say I was totally impressed with what I got in the box, which included $75 worth of gift certificates for the store. I also know Bzz Agent is in Britain as well, no idea though about Australia or other parts of the world. I have had some really neat things from them, and all you have to do is tell people about the products and write a couple of reports on the Bzz site to tell them what was said and how people reacted, how simple is that? I know I will be using some of my gift cards to buy a couple more presents for Christmas. I do know that you guys in the States get a lot more offers and often better than us in Canada.

Another way of getting stocking stuffer etc, is by joining Points and Prizes You have to find words and input them into the site, which in turn gives you more points, which you can cash in for prizes. I have just cashed in my points for a dvd, for someones stocking, and I cashed in before that for a book. I joined in May so it doesn't take too long to accumulate the points. This is just for the States and Canada. If you do decide to join send me a comment with your email address in it (I won't publish it), as I will give you some tips on where to find more words etc.

Another couple of things, create an account at the online Wal-Mart photo centre and you can get 50 free prints, see here . Also when you spend $50 on certain products see this link you will recive a $20 Wal-Mart gift card.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lentil Stew

It's been a while since I have made this. This is such a simple yummy dish and great for those cold fall/winter/spring days. Also its really good for you being low in fat, and high in fibre. I got the original recipe from the Betty Crocker's New Choice's Cookbook.


2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped potatoes (about 2 medium)
1 cup dried lentils
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (would you believe I was able to still pick mine from the garden, and its the middle of November)
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fround cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mace (I didn't have this)
8 oz small mushrooms, cut in halves, I slice mine
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, undrained, or do what I do, buy the diced tomatoes, less work.

Heat oil in large pan, cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring frequently until onion is tender.

Stir in the remaining ingredients, break up the tomatoes (that's why I use the diced ones).

Heat to boiling; reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until are tender. Serves 6. I generally make a loaf of bread to go with this to soak up the juices......I love having the leftover's for lunch.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas thoughts and other bits and bobs....

The bits and bobs first. I must apologise for not visiting and commenting on your blogs recently. I have been super busy with the house. However I have also become addicted to a game, thanks to Janet I popped by her blog the other day and she had written this post and she mentioned this site that she has become hooked on. Now I am not a word puzzle type of gal, I love Sudoku puzzles, but for some reason I decided to click on the link, and lets just say it's addictive!!! I will give you the link, but don't blame me, if you get nothing done as you can't stop playing this stupid thing!!! Here it is the link.

So back to the Christmas section of this post.My neighbour behind us has her Christmas tree up, and it has been up for a few days now. This is normal for her, but what always surprises me, is that they have three year old twin boys, and a seven year old girl. I know when our kids were toddlers we put the tree up just before Christmas and it was back down just after Christmas, as they were forever "re-decorating" it. For years our trees always had a heck of a lean when all the ornaments had accumulated. Another neighbour down the road has their tree up as well. Don't you think it's a bit early?

I know I do.Well its that time of year for me, the dreaded Christmas letter. I always put a Christmas "newsletter" in with my cards, and ever year I totally stress over it. As although you want to sing the praises of your kids, it is annoying for the people reading the letter to have to read all about your "bragging." So it has to be a happy medium, but what do you write in there, when you have a boring life? I normally start my letter at the beginning of the month and it takes me until closer to the end of the month to finish it. I am behind schedule this year, as I haven't started it yet!!

Today (Saturday) one of my jobs is to write all the Christmas cards. I need to get them off by the end of November (the overseas ones). However this year I may leave it until the end of the first week of December, just for a change, and to be daring!!

Do you remember the Coach purse I got dd for her birthday? Well dd rang me up yesterday to ask me if I had stolen it??????? I ask why, well it seems every store she went in yesterday it set off the beepers/alarms. They searched through the purse to make sure the security tag wasn't on (I knew it wasn't, as I saw the guy take it off) In the end when they set off the beeper in HMV, they got them to run it over the alarm thing so that it would stop beeping!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saw Tina Turner in concert Thursday night.......

and she was fantastic. Her energy was stunning. I mean I would love to have half her energy. She came on stage just after 8pm, she had a half hour break and the show was over at 10:30pm.

Now on the tickets it said that no photography was allowed, so I didn't take my camera, big mistake, as other people brought cameras. Dh took some photos with his cell phone, but they were awful.

She had a few outfit changes, and from what I can gather her outfits were designed by Bob Mackie, they were all lovely. She suited the short mini dresses the best in my opinion, as her legs are so long.

We had floor seats, which meant we stood most of the time, and as I am not the tallest out there, it was hard to see at times. I found it easier to watch the big screens. Here is a link which shows a video of her and you'll see some of the costumes and music. Also here is the review from our newspaper.

This is what she sang:

Steamy Windows
Typical Male
River Deep, Mountain High
What You Get Is What You See
Better Be Good To Me/Won't Get Fooled Again
Acid Queen
What's Love Got To Do With It
Private Dancer
We Don't Need Another Hero


Undercover Agent for the Blues
Let's Stay Together
I Can't Stand the Rain
Jumpin' Jack Flash/It's Only Rock and Roll
Addicted to Love
The Best
Proud Mary


Nutbush City Limits
Be Tender With Me, Baby

If any of you have an opportunity to see her in concert, do go as it really is worth it.

That's it for us for concerts this year. Haven't got tickets yet for anything in 2009.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Skywatch Friday........

These photos were taken back on September 6th, 2006, and they are of the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee. We just love Tennessee and would move there tomorrow if we could.

For more Skywatch Friday photos, please click on the link.

Here's why I have been busy.......

We have this on our front lawn..........

I am absolutely pooped with all the work. First let me say, and I am not bragging here, but everyone says our house is really nice, I keep it clean, and one neighbour is always saying its like living next door to "Better Homes and Gardens." After this past week though and with all the "staging" and sorting out that has been done, I feel as though our house was a real dump, that couldn't sell the way it was before hand.

I personally didn't think our house was cluttered in the first place, but our real estate agent kept going on at us, less is more. Now our real estate agent is a super person, but good grief she wears you down. Dh doesn't like her at all, but as I keep telling him, don't worry about it, as I only chose her because she'll sell the house...........we hope!! Mind you dh doesn't like most people, so honestly its really no reflection on her.

One thing I do know is that as long as I keep the real estate agent and dh apart we'll be fine. If you are a real estate agent, I would skip the next line, as you may not be happy with me!!! I have no loyalty to real estate agents. Our last two houses have sold in less than a week. The last house, the real estate agent had a buyer all lined up for our house, and she only dropped her commission 1/2%, I was happy she sold the house, I wasn't happy though that she charged us so much for doing so little.

I am guessing you want to know where we are moving to...........we don't know. We had looked at a place and put an offer in last month but that fell through, and not 100% sure if we are going back to that house. There are a couple of other properties that we are interested in. All are in the country and all are on a minimum of 1 acre+.

Another house has come up for sale on our street, that is why we decided to put ours on the market. The other house has only 3 bedrooms, ours has 4. Also we have an over sized pie shaped lot, one of the largest on the subdivision so we are hoping that will sell the house as well.

So wish us luck, and pray this house will sell super fast, as I am going to be demented trying to keep this house perfect!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another way of making ends meet........

I put money away in pots/boxes every week for different things.

Dd got a set of stackable boxes one year at Christmas, she never used them so I "borrowed" them and set them up as boxes to put money away each week.

I go to the bank once a week (generally a Friday) and withdraw a set amount each week. From that amount I put $20 in one box for Christmas, I put $20 in another box for birthdays, and $10 in another box for special occasions. I also transfer $60 a week into the ING account for vacation.

Now the goal behind all this is that when Christmas comes I am not scrambling to find money to pay for things. I put money in there every single week of the year, so there is always some money in there, so when I see something I want for Christmas there is always money there to pay for it. This has been a life saver for me, as I find Christmas very, very stressful, and this is one thing I don't stress out about, having money to pay for everything. Now $20 works for me, you may find you have to save less or even save more weekly, but believe me this is so worth while.

The idea behind the birthday box is the same. Having that money in there, is great so any time there is a birthday, there is always money in there to pay for it. The only draw back to this box is that it takes time to get going. As no doubt like many of you, we have certain months of the year that are very busy for birthdays and certain months of the year, where there are no birthdays. So I found it took over a year to make sure there was always money in the box to cover what birthdays were coming up. It does work though, and again is a life saver.

The special occasions box came about a couple of years ago when dd was turning 21 that year. 21 is a big birthday for the British as is the 18th birthday. So we gave the kids money to invest both times, I decided to put $10 away each week, there that I didn't have to scramble trying to find $500, or whatever weeks before her birthday. We then went on to have a couple of 60th birthdays and some special anniversary's etc. So again this box has proved to be a great help. I know when it was dh's 50th this year I was able to pay for a full set of golf clubs in cash for his birthday, as I had put the money away weekly for him.

Then there is the vacation "box" which isn't technically a box, as I transfer money into the ING each week for that. That $60 a week, doesn't actually pay for the full vacation, but it generally pays for the bulk of it each year. Again I don't miss $60 a week, whereas I would struggle to come up with $3,000 just like that for a vacation.

So basically what I am saying, finding a small amount each week to put away in an account or a box is a heck of a lot easier than probably coming up with $500 just like that. If you think you will "dip" into the pot/box and "borrow" money then by all means don't set up the pot system, move money directly into your savings account. I like the birthday money on hand, it's easier for me, the same with the Christmas pot. It's funny I rarely "borrow" money from the pots, and if I do, I do put it back in.

Just to say, the amounts I have mentioned works for me, however if you can't afford that much or you want to save more, go ahead, its the idea behind all this that I am hoping may help you.

Hopefully this has given you food for thought? Also if you have a minute I got this article in my in box this week with more money saving tips.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Watery Wednesday......

Here are a couple more photos from Drayton Hall, South Carolina.

The pond was built specifically so that it would reflect the house.

By the pond was sitting this fella, it was a baby as it was only 2 or 3 feet long. Dh was yelling at me not to get too close, he's such a baby!!!! At least I saw this gator, which was more than I can say about the photo I took last week!!

For more Watery Wednesday photos, please click on the link. (as always click on the photo's for more detail)

50 + 1 Recipes for Kale

I will say I know nothing about Kale, but according to this article" Kale has been dubbed a superfood by nutritionists for its cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Not only is kale a nutrient-dense, low-calorie food, kale is in peak season during the dead of winter when quality green foods seem impossible to find. " So I guess if that's the case, we all should be eating more of it?

Here are some recipes:

1. Curried Potato Kale Galette

2. Lemon Kale with Chickpeas

3. Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Kale and Croutons

4. Kale and Pancetta Quiche - love quiche and this sounds so different to my usual recipe.

5. Gemelli with Kale, Sage and Potatoes - Gemelli is a type of pasta, you can substitute

6. Kale and Chickpea Soup - this sounds yummy with a loaf of bread..........

7. White Bean and Kale Soup

8. Squash and Kale Phyllo Pie

9. Toscana Soup

10. Bean Soup with Kale

11. Winter Vegetable Hash

12. Sweet Pepper Pasta Toss with kale

13. Rich Italian Sausage and Potato Soup

14. Sweet and Savory Kale

15. Kielbasa Kale Stew

16. Ruth's Red Lentil and Potato Soup

17. Portuguese Kale Soup

18. Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)

19. Bean and Kale Ragu

20. Spanish Style White Bean and Sausage Soup

21. Cannellini Bean with Flat Leaf Kale

22. Kale Puttanesca

23. Baked Kale Chips

24. Simple Kale Soup

25. Roasted Kale

26. Rustic Tomato Pie with Kale Pesto Sauce

27. Spicy African Kale and Yams

28. Chinese Sesame Kale

29. Austrian Kale

30. Braised Tuscan Kale

31. Italian Pork Chops with Kale

32. Crispy Kale

33. Kale and Parsnips

34. Baked Curly Kale with Potatoes, Olives and Garlic

35. Kale Cream Sauce over Pasta

36. Basmati Rice and Kale Gratin

37. Beer Batter-Fried Kale

38. Cajun Kale Salad

39. Cornmeal and Kale Spoon Bread with Red Peppers

40. Curried Lentils and Kale Greens

41. Garlicky Kale with New Potatoes

42. Kale and Leek Pie

43. Kale and Onion Stir Fry

44. Kale and Spinach Bake

45. Kale Crunch

46. Kale Mashed Potatoes

47. Kale Ricotta Dumplings with Sage Brown Butter

48. Kale, Sausage and Mushroom Stew

49. Kale Stuffed Onions

50. Polenta "Pizza" with Kale Topping

51. Rice with Kale and Tomatoes

There you go, an interesting mix of recipes.

Nutritional Info, please click on this link.

Next week it's Sweet/Bell Peppers

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Grocery Shopping.....

I finally got around to doing some grocery shopping this week.

I did go to Fortino's to pick up a few things yesterday, but I didn't take a photo of everything.

I went to No Frills today and I picked up the three packets of McCain's Frozen Fries @ $1.99 each, I have a coupon for $4 off when you buy three packets so ended up getting all three for $1.97. Here is a link to the coupon for the Canadians out there. Milk was $3.97 for a 4 litre bag.

I then went to Price Chopper and got everything in the photo below. The best deal was the Nabob coffee which was on sale at $3 a can. I had 8 x $2 off coupons from when I did a Bzz Agent promotion. So ended up paying only $1 a can. All the fish had $1 coupons on the boxes, so they only cost $1.77 a box, which is a great price. The coffee creamer I got free as I had a Free Product coupon for that which dd gave me. The pies were on sale for $1 each, haven't had them in so long, so thought it would make a change.

Finally I called in at Sobey's and picked up the soup, again had a FPC. Then the apples were on sale for 47 cents a pound so picked up just over 10 pounds of apples.

So this week I spent $70.62 and had savings of $31.44. I was out for 1 3/4 hours and I also ran a couple of other errands while I was out. I drove probably 10 to 15 km's total.

Sunday Song

Doris Day is a favourite singer of a family member.  So this song is for them.