Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Update on the wedding.........

I haven't mentioned the wedding in a while, have I?  Things have been going on in the background and now we are on a countdown as it is less than 10 weeks away now.

The invites are out for the Bridal Shower which happens on October 2nd.  Maid of Honour is in charge of the shower.  Both the grooms mother and I are doing most of the food, and the bridesmaids are helping out with other things.  I know "K" (maid of honour) has got it planned down to every minor detail.   Both dd and "K" are "type A" personalities and it will be picture perfect on the day.  Which actually takes the pressure off me, as if I only have to do the food, that's a no brainer!!!!

The wedding invites went out last week and dd is starting to get replies.  She rang me up on Monday night to say how surprised she was with the out pouring of love and excitement she has received from people emailing and RSVP-ing her about the wedding.  People were saying how excited they were to be invited and how they couldn't wait.  A co-worker was telling her how she had gone out and bought a dress for the wedding.  She is getting such a positive response which is so nice.  As at the end of the day all dd and future son-in-law want are people to be there to celebrate their special day with them.

I see Blair had posted her new 2011 Fall collection on her website, so I can show you the inspiration for my fascinator for the wedding.  It is on the fourth row far right:  and is called Duchess Monarchy.  Mine will not have the cameo on it, and is going to be black and navy blue with beading on it.  I actually can't wait to see it as she does such gorgeous work.

I am actually going to the hairdressers tomorrow to talk about how I want my hair for the wedding and get it washed, cut and styled.  Now that may not seem a great deal but it is to me as I hate going to the hairdressers!!

All the guy's suits are ordered now, so that is all sorted.  Dd and future son-in-law have invited both sets of parents to go to the tasting meal at the venue next month.  We're hoping to see the florist soon to see a mock up of the centre pieces and go over a couple of things.

Dd and future son-in-law had a meeting with the venue and went over everything with them.  Dd sat down with the photographer and got all that organized. 

Hotel rooms are booked for immediate family and I know a card went out in the invites letting everyone know about the special rate dd had negotiated at the hotel if anyone wanted to stay over.  Wedding cake is all sorted, nothing to do there but pay for it.

D.J, I think there has to be another meeting sometime next month to go over any further details there.  Dd has put together programmes for everyone and they are nearly done.  I can't wait to show you them as they are lovely.  The girls came over and boxed up the jam and put ribbons and tags on them, again just lovely. 

Dd got a Cricut for her birthday last year and that has paid for itself time and time again doing things for the wedding.  So for anyone planning a wedding and is crafty that is the thing to buy to save yourself some money.

Dd dress should be coming next month can't wait to see it, as it's a combination of two dresses so no one has actually seen it yet.  My dress should also be arriving next month as well; fingers toes and everything else crossed I don't need any alterations.

So all in all everything seems to be under control.  No doubt things will arise as the day draws closer but dd is very organized so I am not worried.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hydro Bill and laundry.......

Forgot to tell you about our hydro bill.  We now have different time periods where it is cheaper or dearer to use hydro.  Although we had, had that in Britain many years ago, this was new to us over here in Canada.  I wasn't sure how I would like it and I knew that we would see how it worked for us when we got our main bills in the middle of summer when the a/c was on.

July was a stinking hot month, so I was expecting a $200+ bill.  Our bill for June 28th to July 28th was $168.71.  We DO NOT skimp on our a/c as neither me nor dh like the heat, and I know that some days the a/c seemed to be on all day.  We keep the thermostat set at 24 oC (75 oF) and never alter it so it keeps the house at an even temperature, plus we supplement with a tall oscillating floor fan like this one in the family room and we have a ceiling fan in our bedroom.

It helps that our a/c unit is an energy efficient one.  It also helps I don't use my electric dryer very often and I don't use the dishwasher very often. 

I know I could do better on my hydro bill and need to work on it.  I know having the toaster/convection oven helps a great deal and if you don't have one, get one as it will pay for itself in no time.  It also helps we don't have teenagers in the house, as I know you are fighting a loosing battle with them, as I was forever going around after them turning off the lights and their tv's!!!

By the way did I show you the pitiful state of my "whirly gig?"

This was before the storms last week, after the storms it was a complete write off.  So dh put me up a new washing line, just outside the patio doors in the new basement, so it will be a breeze hanging out my laundry.

Dh also went and bought me an indoor clothes line that retracts and is four lines and you hang it on the wall, so that will  be handy to have along with my clothes horse.  It is similar to this but only cost $9.00 on sale.

Tracy from Still Smiling, I can't leave any comments on your blog can you change the setting so there is an anonymous button please?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The new basement.........

On Saturday I promised to help dh in the new basement, however due to me hurting my foot, I didn't get much done.  He is actually doing quite well in the new laundry room and is now on taping/mudding the drywall.

We are putting a countertop over the washer and dyer as it is a front loader.  I have sourced out a place that has a piece of countertop at 32 inches deep and 8 feet long.  Of course when we went to the place there was no one there that could make a decision on the price of it, so left my name and number and will try and strike up a deal for the piece.  I do not want to pay over $160 for it, so fingers crossed I get it for less than that.  Normally to order a piece of countertop that deep it would cost upwards of $40 a linear foot.  However I think this place has had this piece laying around for a while.

I must say this whole laundry room is costing a lot more than we planned, but will look great when it is finished.  We must have already paid out nearly $3,000, but that does include the new stairs and all the tiling.  I am hoping that we can get the laundry room finished for less than $500 as all we need are tiles for the back splash, the door, the paint, the counter top, the sink, taps and fittings, and a few odds and ends; actually $750 seems more realistic.

I hope we can hook up the water by the end of next month and I can then move my new washer and dryer down there.  The rest of the basement we will work on over the winter.

My foot is still swollen and sore, but in the scheme of things it could be worse.  I did very little on Sunday, other than read a book, "Hill Country," by Janice Woods Windle.

"Laura Hoge Woods, who lived from 1870 to 1966, survived an Indian attack, experienced the diminishment of the Texas frontier, witnessed the advent of the automobile, and celebrated women finally winning the right to vote. In her youth, she loved a half-wild Indian captive and later grew to love Peter Woods, an older rancher whose horses she helped train. Throughout all her personal triumphs and disappointments--seven children, the death of a sister, a daughter whose dementia led to violent outbursts and eventual institutionalization--Laura kept her eye on the big picture: politics. The work she and Peter did with horses brought them to the attention of such luminaries as Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and Laura became a confidante of presidents, governors, senators, and local politicians and was elected to political office herself at age 87. This phenomenal woman bent without breaking to achieve the most she could at a time when women were just beginning to emerge as a major political force. She wrote her thoughts and ideas down on scraps of paper, napkins, and the corners of newspapers, hoping to one day write a book called "Hill Country." What Laura Hoge Woods was unable to finish, her loving granddaughter has crafted into a compelling tale of a woman who refused to let anything, especially gender, stand in the way of her dreams."

This was a great book, full of excitement and adventure.  Laura had so much guts and determination, you knew she would succeed at what ever was put out in front of her.  It was quite sad at the end when both her husband Peter and her best friend Rebekah Baines Johnson died.    I must ask our library for Janice Woods Windle bestselling book, "True Women."  Has anyone read that book, it sounds really good?

Sunday, August 28, 2011


what have I done this time..........I went and stood on a rusty nail.  It did not go right through my foot but it sunk in a bit.  I had a tetanus shot last year, so I'm good with that.  My foot has swollen up and my toes are sore.  If it's not getting any better in a day or two I'll head to the doctor or the emergency.

I had plans to do all sorts on Saturday but didn't get much done because of this.

Ds is feeling a lot better.  Although he too said he will head to the doctors later on in the week, as he is still coughing and he runs out of pills on Tuesday.  Neither of us are sure what's what when it comes with pneumonia.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Good Deal on Bird Seed....

There was a couple of $3 off coupons in the flyer when you spend $10 or more at Bulk Barn.  So I decided to go and get a couple bags of Bird Seed to stock up.  It was on sale for $5.49 a bag instead of the usual $6.99 a bag.  I picked up two so I could use the $3 off coupon.  I will pick up another couple next week so I can use next week's coupon as it is on sale for two weeks:

The two bags filled my bird seed container about half full:
The top container is where I keep Molly's dog food, notice my foot trying to keep the top open so I could take the photo:

I keep this container that I got from the kids for my birthday one year in the family room for when I fill up the bird feeders outside:

I am hoping for less than $20 that should keep me going most if not all of the winter, as when I have all four bags I will have over 70 pounds of bird seed.

Do you feed the birds?  Where do you get your bird seed from?

Friday, August 26, 2011

This weeks house and cottage......

Can't say I like the house of the week other than it is right on the lake.  With a house that price, you expect it to look perfect, this one hasn't been cleaned up for photos or staged has it?  Also can you see the window a/c unit on the first photo, on a 2 million dollar house what's going on with that??? 

The cottage of the week now that is more like it, a true cottage in the sense of the word.  Mind you  not sure I could live with all that wood on the walls, but I wouldn't say no if someone was giving me the property.  The photos at the end with the sunset at winter were just lovely.  As price goes also, not too bad a price.  The property is located around 1 1/2 hours from where we live:

I see our neighbour has put their house up for sale again.  They tried to sell it back in April of last year without success, fingers crossed for their sake they sell it this time, as I know they want to move closer to town for the kids.  Property seems to be selling around here at the moment, so they may be lucky.

Is property selling where you live?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Found the perfect scone recipe and banana sour cream cake....

This scone recipe to my mind is perfect, nice and crispy outside and flaky on the inside, plus it rises nicely and isn't like a hockey puck!!!

My only hint/tip, is to handle as lightly and as little as possible, as that makes the best scones.

Cream Scone Recipe:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose/plain flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (75 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I would say this is optional, as I found it a little overpowering for my taste buds)
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
Cream or Milk

Cream Scones: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, two knives, or with your fingertips. (The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.) In a small measuring cup whisk together the milk or cream, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times and then pat into a 7 inch (18 cm) round. Then, using a lightly floured 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing a few inches apart. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream. (This helps to brown the tops of the scones during baking.)

Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with Devon cream or softly whipped cream and your favorite jam. These scones are best the day they are made but can be covered and stored for a few days. They also freeze very well.

Makes about 10 - 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) round scones

The recipe and a video can be found here

I had half a tub of sour cream laying around and a pile of bananas in the freezer, so did a search and came up with a banana sour cream cake.  This is so moist it is to die for.  I did not make the icing but would do if we had company.  This is a super simple recipe and it is a keeper.

Banana Sour Cream Cake

What You Need:

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1 cup Sour Cream
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 pkg. (8 oz.)  Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped Walnuts

Make It:

HEAT oven to 350°F.

BEAT first 5 ingredients with mixer on low speed just until moistened, stopping frequently to scrape bottom and side of bowl. Beat on medium speed 2 min. Pour into greased and floured 13x9-inch pan.

BAKE 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

BEAT cream cheese and butter with mixer until well blended. Gradually beat in sugar.

REMOVE cake from pan. Carefully cut cake crosswise in half using serrated knife. Place 1 cake half, top-side down, on plate; spread with some of the cream cheese frosting. Top with remaining cake half, top-side up. Spread top and sides with remaining frosting. Press nuts into sides. Keep refrigerated.

How to Neatly Frost the Cake:
Freeze cake layers about 20 min. before frosting. This helps to set the crumbs on the cut edges of the cake layers so they don't pull up into the frosting. And don't worry if the frosting does not look perfect on the sides of the cake - the nuts will cover any imperfections.
How to Prepare in Round Cake Pans:
Prepare cake batter as directed; pour into 2 greased and floured 8- or 9-inch round pans. Bake 30 to 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 10 min. in pans on wire racks; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Fill and frost. Keep refrigerated.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Looking for your best tea biscuit/scone recipe........

that DOESN'T use Self Raising flour.  Why, well I along with the bridegrooms mother are doing the catering for the Bridal Shower and one thing I thought I might do is tea biscuits/scones with butter and raspberry or black currant jam.  I have yet to find a recipe that works well using all purpose/plain flour.  So please feel free to share your recipes so I can try them to see what works for me.

Look at this silly goose, it's sitting in the middle of our driveway:
Not sure where it came from, but it's not very old.

Our shower head needed a good clean, so I saw this suggestion online.  Put some white vinegar in a sandwich bag and put it around the shower head and affix to the shower head using an elastic band.  Worked a charm without having to use chemicals.  I left it on for around eight hours.

For those of us in Canada bit of a shock to hear about Jack Layton's passing.  Thought his final letter was very well done, you can read it here.  Rest in peace Mr. Layton.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Retired again........

My job has finished for the time being.  It was good while it lasted and gave us some much needed money.  However now I am hoping to get caught up with some jobs around the house.

I want to make a start next week on decorating the hall, stairs and landing.  I have had the paint for ages, it's just been too hot and humid to get on with it.  It is finally starting to cool down a little, so I think I can do it without drowning in my own sweat.  It's a big job though so will take a while. 

This week I want to get some gardening done and clean the house.  Plus no doubt a hundred and one other things.

I sat on Saturday afternoon, sorting out my coupon folder as I need to try and save money with our grocery bill and be more organized in that aspect.  I used some free product coupons at Shopper's Drug Mart on Saturday for Multi-Vitamins, so now I am stocked up on them, plus I got a $10 gift card from them for "spending" over $50.  I only spent $6.72 out of pocket, as they counted the total before coupons.  So in turn that $10 coupon will pay for my milk, eggs and juice for the week.

As I was going into town, I decided to shop at Wal-Mart and price match from other stores.  I was out a couple of hours and managed to get some good deals, which included at Shopper's Drug Mart:

2x 4 litre bags of milk
1 dozen eggs
2 x Oasis Healthbreak Juice
1 x chocolate chips cookies

paid just over $3.50 for all that as I used 2 x $2 off for the juice and the $10 gift card I got the day before.

In Zehrs, I picked up 3 loaves of bread, one package of four sub buns, one package of 6 sausage buns, one package of hamburger buns and a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing, and paid $9.00 for all of that.  All the bread was on the half price rack and I had a free product coupon for the salad dressing.

I ended up spending just under $70 at Wal-Mart but stocked up on washing up liquid amongst the things I got.  I do find their fruit and veggies pretty good on pricing and on quality.  However as usual stuff that was on sale was of course sold out.  I did get a package of Purex 3 in 1 sheets for free as they were on sale for $2 and I had a $2 coupon.  Has anyone ever used these before?  I don't generally use my dryer, so I will keep these for the winter when there is more of a chance that I have to use the dryer.

I also picked up a package of Tortilla Strips from Fresh Gourmet.

They are really good, I have never had them before, and a little goes a long way I find.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

One butt ugly tomato and update on ds

When we got home on Saturday afternoon, this was sitting on the chair out front:

Now that is one butt ugly tomato!!!

However when I got it all cut up there turned out to be a lot of useable tomato in there, and it tastes really good too.  We think it was our neighbour down the road that dropped it off, I gave him a pot of jam the other week.

I am having problems with my tomatoes, their bottoms are all black and soft.  Not too sure what the problem is.

Ds has gone home.  Wish he hadn't but knew he had to go at some time.  He's still not well, got a rotten cough, and is just plain worn out.  He did come with us to get his suit ordered for the wedding, with dh and the bridegroom.  All going to look really smart.

He ordered a burger and fries for lunch but could only manage the burger which is so unlike him.  Then he had a bread roll with meat and cheese for supper.  He would normally have had a couple but he couldn't manage more than one.  At least he is eating a little and I am sure his appetite will increase in time.  He had lost 5 pounds the first three days he was sick.  He is at least drinking plenty so that is good.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday morning........

Got a busy day ahead of us today, so will catch up with you all and your blogs tomorrow.....

Check out this house, personally way overpriced for what it is, but it's the location that makes it that price.  Wouldn't say no to this "cottage" though!!

Enjoy your Saturday...........

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grass Envy.........

Every morning on my way to work I travel past a golf course called Devil's Paintbrush.  It's a very exclusive, members only golf course, for those of you who have an awful lot of money to spend.  Regardless of the cost, I am pea green with envy at how gorgeous the greens are.  The grass looks like a carpet.  I know that they use a lot of chemicals and water on their grass, I use neither, but it is just gorgeous.  I drive past drooling every time I go to work.  By the way someone told me the membership fee is $100,000, now whether that is actually correct I don't know.

Also to show you what a sad individual I am, I get great pleasure in looking at my grass after I have cut it, especially the field, as I take pride in making sure there are straight cut lines in the field, like this:

That picture was taken from this website which shows you have to make patterns on your lawn.  If I had the time I would do that.  I may give it a go on our front lawn, as that won't take much doing or use much gas, whereas the field would take a lot of time and gas.

Do you have "grass envy?"

Ds is making progress, he is still coughing and is still really tired.  However he is gung-ho to go back to work on Monday.  I guess he will get better slowly but surely.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Short and sweet.........

At work again today.

Ds is doing a lot better, in that he is starting to eat a little bit.  Still coughing up a storm and still coughing up phlegm, but he is having longer periods in between coughing.  He is still exhausted but is a bit brighter in himself.  I have no idea how on earth he is going to manage going to work next week, but no doubt he'll try.

Thanks for all your kind words, they are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Poor ds and a Book Review

Poor ds is truly not well.  He is totally worn out just walking upstairs to his bedroom.  He had to sit down and catch his breath for at least 15 minutes after doing that.  After having a shower he was totally exhausted.  Whenever he coughs he is just drained.  I haven't seen him so sick for years.

I am writing this on Tuesday night, and am planning on going to work on Wednesday as I am scheduled to work all week.  However if ds isn't well I will be staying at home, as he comes first of course.  Its awful to see a grown man being totally worn out by climbing a flight of stairs, that's for sure.

"Amish Values for Your Family," by Suzanne Woods Fisher

When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish. Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions? In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life. In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours. Through their stories you'll discover how to:

slow down

safeguard family time

raise children who stand strong in their faith

prioritize what's truly important

Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy--without selling your car or changing your wardrobe.

I think the one thing I learned from this book is how even the simple things bring pleasure to the Amish.  How they don't hold grudges and offer forgiveness for everything, all because they have full faith and trust in God and he will look out for you.

This book would be an ideal book for anyone just starting out in their married life or with a young family.  As it shows how you don't have to spend mountains of money to make memories for your children that they will never forget.

The book talks about a television programme called "Amish in the City," that was broadcast on CBS in 2004.  I never saw that show did any of you see it?

Stars out of 5: probably 4, more of a reference book than anything else, still interesting though.

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

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Update on our son.......

took him to the emergency department at our local hospital this morning as he was not at all well.

It turns out he has pneumonia on his left side.  They pumped him full of drugs to bring his temperature down from 39.5 oC and gave him a mask with Ventolin and another asthma drug to help him breath.

Brought him home with a prescription, as due to his age as long as he rests he should be fine so there was no need to admit him.  If he had been older than it would have been a different story.

He looks a thousand percent better than at 5am this morning, and I am so glad I made him go to the hospital.

His boss just texted him to say, "it must have been one heck of a vacation, that you need another week off to recover for it!!"  He will have to be off for the rest of the week.

One very sick son.................

Our son came to stay on Monday night to be looked after by his mummy.  The poor boy is so sick.  He has some sort of bronchial virus thingy going on.  He ended up in Emergency on Sunday night in Trenton of all places, as he was that sick.  He was in the Ottawa area on the weekend, and this was sort of on the way home.

As he is 27 it's been a while since I have had to nurse him while he is sick.  His expression on his face on Monday night was just like he looked when he was little.  He was such a little drama queen.  My mother used to tell the story about when he was little and he fell, my mother asked if he was okay, and in a sorrowful voice he said, "I'll be alright."

I think he is in cahoots with Molly as to who can look the most sorrowful

However on a more serious note he truly is not well.  The doctors told him he had to go back to emergency after a couple of days if he was no better.  So fingers crossed he feels better by Tuesday night.....

Monday, August 15, 2011

New to me recipe and Molly

Earlier this past week I had to go to the garage to get the oil changed in the car.  There is a coffee shop nearby that has the best raspberry yogurt muffins ever.  So I called in to get one to eat while waiting for my car.  They didn't have any, so I decided to have one of their low fat apple oatmeal muffins and it was really good.

I had three Gala apples that had seen better days so decided to make some apple oatmeal muffins with them using this recipe:

Apple Oatmeal Muffins


2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oat

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tart cooking apples, cored,peeled,and chopped


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

3. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs; add milk and oil, stirring until just blended.

4. Stir in flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, mixing until only just moistened (do not overmix).

5. Gently fold in the apples.

6. Spoon batter into the muffin tin, dividing evenly among the cups.

7. Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

8. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.

9. Serve warm or cool; store unused portions in an airtight container.

I will say they are better warm than cold.  To make them low fat you could substitute the oil for apple sauce?  Not bad though and makes a nice change.

Molly; not sure what is going on with her.  We finally got her pills down her, but not with a cheese slice but in between bread.  She did eat her food, she just seems out of sorts with herself, so need to keep an eye on her.  Normally when I give her, her pills in a cheese slice in a morning, she wolfs it down, but she was having none of it on Sunday.  Even dd couldn't get her to eat it?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sometimes you don't know what is right on your doorstep......

Just discovered we have an organic farm up the road from us called Mansfield Heritage Farm  It sells organic fruit and veggies and participates in our local Farmers Market on a Friday.  I have yet to go to the Farmer's Market as I keep on forgetting about it.........

Also on thing that sort of puts me off is the price of things.  How can I justify paying $5 for a dozen eggs when I can get them for $2.29 in the grocery store?  Are you willing to pay more for organic food?

Dh will be on vacation next month, so between the jobs we want to get done we want to have a few away days from the house.  I need to search out things to do in our area as I am quite sure there is plenty to do.  I am sure there will be a trip up to Collingwood as we enjoy that area.  Then of course there are The Hills of Headwaters, which is in the area we live in.  I see by their site there is a lot going on.  Of course a day out to St. Jacobs in a great way to spend a day, especially if its on the market day. Yep, I think we will have plenty to do locally while dh is on vacation.

Finally for Sunday.........Molly isn't 100% again, she would take her cheese slice this will have to keep an eye on her.......

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Making your own wine and a new to me recipe.


I got dh a gift certificate to make a batch of wine for Father's Day.  It was finally ready to bottle on Friday night.  He made a Chardonnay. 

First we had to sterilize the bottles. 

Then we had to fill the bottles and then put the cork in it. 

 Put the cap thingy on and then label them.
Sorry about the the quality of the photos.  We also started a batch of Shiraz that will be ready for bottling by the end of September.  We bottled 29 bottles and a half bottle.

I tried a new to me recipe on Friday morning.

Tea Biscuits:

2 cups all purpose/plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp shortening or butter

Mix together dry ingredients.  Blend in shortening, I rubbed it in with my fingers.  Add milk and sour cream, creme fraiche will also do.  Blend well.  Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.  Bake @ 450oF for 12 to 15 minutes.

Must say they were good.  However they hardly rose so not sure what happened.  They are so moist and tasted great with butter and raspberry jam.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Signs of Fall........

There are signs of Fall appearing all over the garden, plus on Thursday there was actually no humidity and dh said it was down to 11oC when he went to work at 4:30am.  I love the cooler temps makes it so much easier to sleep.

I have been cutting the grass over the past couple of days and here are some photos from around the acreage:

The grapes are nearly ready, so fingers crossed I get them before the birdies and my four legged friend, who made an appearance on Thursday afternoon.

The apple trees are are full of fruit:

nice and ripe ready for picking:

The mountain ash tree has lots of berries on it:

Not sure what sort of bush this is but the berries look really lovely:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fulling Mill Cottage and recipes...........

is a house forgotten in time and is such an interesting story.  Fulling Mill Cottage lies in the picturesque village of Fittleworth, three miles West of Pulborough, in West Sussex. The cottage, along with it's cats, was bequeathed to Cat Welfare Sussex by it's last owner, Fred Saigeman upon his death in 2010. Fred had been a staunch supporter of our charity for many, many years. It was his greatest wish that we could restore his family home, and after careful thought the trustees have decided to restore Fulling Mill Cottage to her former Glory.

Here is what it looked like many years ago:

To read more about it and see photos of it, please click on this link

On the weekend I purchased 3lbs of ground/minced beef as it was on sale.  On Monday I made some meals with it all.  Which included shepherd's pie, a lasagna and the cowboy casserole that I mentioned yesterday:

The Cowboy Casserole is a keeper, but of course I changed the recipe slightly:

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil  (Did not use as I browned meat, onions and garlic together)

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb (500 g) Extra Lean or Lean Ground Beef Sirloin*

1- 2 tbsp (15- 30 mL) chili powder  (I omitted this)

1 can (28 oz/796 mL) no-salt added diced tomatoes

1 cup (250 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth

1 can (14 oz/398 mL) HEINZ® Deep-Browned® Beans in Tomato Sauce (I used original)

2 cups (500 mL) frozen mixed vegetables

2 cups (500 mL) dried wagon wheel or penne pasta  (I used whole wheat rigatoni)

2 tbsp of tomato paste/puree

Heat oil over medium-high heat in large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven; add onions and garlic, and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add beef, breaking up with wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain, if desired.

Stir in chili powder, tomatoes, broth, canned beans and frozen veggies; bring to boil.

Stir in pasta; reduce heat, cover and simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

* Other options: Lean/ Extra Lean Ground Round,

Lean Ground Chuck, Extra Lean/ Lean Ground Round or

Lean/ Extra Lean Ground Beef

I think it would also be good with ground chicken/turkey

This feeds 4 comfortably, possibly stretching to 6.

The lasagna recipe is super simple:

Easy Lasagna:

1lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can of your favourite pasta sauce
1 500g container cottage cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
9 lasanga sheets/noodles, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup Parmesan grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350 oF.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish.

In a large non stick frying pan, cook beef and onion over medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring to break up meat, or until browned.  Drain fat from pan.  Stir in pasta sauce and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

In a bowl, stir together cottage and cheddar cheeses,

Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce over bottom of prepared baking dish.  Top with 3 noodles, then 1/2 of cheese mixture and 1/3 of meat sauce.  Repeat noodle, cheese, sauce layers.  Top with last 3 noodles and remaining meat sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Cover pan with foil.

Bake in centre of oven for 30 minutes.  Remove foil.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is browned and lasagna is heated through.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

This is such a basic recipe that you can add your own touch too which includes seasonings.  Also 8 servings is really pushing it.  I would say 4 servings, if that is all you have.  Will stretch to six with a salad and maybe 8 with a salad and say garlic bread.

Now I have put mine in the freezer as we are having it on Sunday lunch.  I have never frozen it before so I will let you know on Monday how it went and what cooking times etc.

I don't have an exact recipe for shepherd's pie.  I brown ground beef and an onion, add beef stock and cook it for a while.  Thicken it with corn starch/flour and Bisto, add Worcestershire Sauce when cooking a seasonings.  Cook for 20 minutes while I am cooking the potatoes.

When cooked add frozen veggies place in a casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes.  At this point when cool you can freeze it, or pop it in a 350 oF oven until cooked through and top of mashed potatoes is crispy.

The two I made, the smaller one I gave to my neighbour as he helps out in winter with the driveway.  The big one went in the freezer for next week when I'll pull it out for supper one night.

It took me a couple of hours to make all that and clean up with a telephone call with dd in between hands.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review and Heinz Baked Beans............

"A Most Unsuitable Match," by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Miss Fannie Rousseau is a young woman of privilege traveling west to uncover the truth behind a family secret.

Mr. Samuel Beck is on a mission to atone for past failures that still haunt him.

Their meeting aboard a steamboat to Montana sparks an unlikely attraction. They are opposites in every way... except in how neither one can stop thinking about the other.

Will the end of the journey bring the end of their relationship, or is it just the beginning?

I have nothing but praise for this book.  I had to read the next page, as I had to know what was going to happen next.  The storyline kept you on your toes.  Fannie was a delightful lead character, though must admit she did a lot of fainting; I am guessing it must have had something to do with the corests she wore!!!

There were a couple of twists and turns in the story which I wasn't expecting.  I personally enjoy stories from this period of time and always learn something new.  This author is being added to my list of authors I must read more of, and when I popped by her website, I discovered she has written a lot of other neat sounding books.

For anyone who is interested, here is a link to Stephanie's website.
Stars out of 5: 5 a joy to read and one I would reccomend to you to either purchase or borrow from your local library.

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

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

There are certain things in life that I will not scrimp on by buying cheaper brands and Heinz Baked Beans is one.  I will say we were sort of confused by all the different flavours of Heinz Baked Beans over here.  I prefer the Original one the best.

The site has a number of recipes on it, I like this one for Cowboy Casserole.

When the kids were home, it had to be Heinz Ketchup as well.  Now as we go through very little ketchup I will buy whatever is on sale when I have ran out.  Luckily more often than not Heinz is on sale, as the kids especially dd whines if there is another brand in the fridge.  I found a link with a number of recipes that use ketchup in them.

Do you have a product that you will not substitute a cheaper alternative on regardless?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blog maintenance and cleaning.........

It's high time I did a bit of blog maintenance.  I need to sort out the side bars, sort out all the blog links at the top.  Just spruce it up a bit.  However I think that is a cold wet Fall days job, and as it is still hot and humid here it may be a few more weeks away yet.

How often do you tinker with your blog?

Also do you do Spring and back end/Fall cleaning around the house?  I don't, which is the complete opposite to the way I was brought up.  I remember us having both Summer and Winter curtains/drapes that had to be changed over, does anyone still do that?  As we don't have drapes on our windows just blinds in the bedrooms as no one can see in the house, there is no need to change anything.

I haven't cleaned the windows in ages as well.  Although a dear friend was saying it is better to have dirty windows as that way the birds don't fly in them.  I'm guessing then that this window is still not dirty enough, as the birds are forever flying into it!!

To the right of the window is an apple tree and my four legged friend was there the other morning eating the apples off it.  Talked to the wildlife control and other than shooting it, which I won't do we just have to play the waiting game and hope it wanders off to pastures new at some point.  Haven't seen it since Friday, so it must have been away on a weekend trip somewhere!!!

Off to work today, have a terrific Tuesday.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review and Campbells Soup....

"Out of Control," by Mary Connealy

Rafe Kincaid controls everything in his life... until he meets Julia.

Julia Gilliland has always been interested in the natural world around her. She particularly enjoys studying the fossils and formations in the magnificent cave near her father's house. The cave seems plenty safe--until the day a mysterious intruder steals the rope she uses to climb out.

Rafe Kincaid is a man used to being in control--of himself, his brothers, and his family's ranch. The last thing he expects is to find a woman trapped in the cavern on his land--or to be forced to kiss her!

Rafe is more intrigued by Julia than any woman he's ever known. But when their developing relationship threatens a reconciliation with his brothers, will Rafe have to choose between his family and this new love that could heal his troubled heart and secure his happiness?

Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The author brought Julia's spunk and personality to life so well.  Rafe is the perfect "hero," despite having an unusual name and the way the story unfolded it kept you on your toes the whole time.  I am guessing there will be three books in this series as there are three brothers, and I looked up the author and the next in the series is coming out in February of 2012.

Stars out of 5: 5 great book well worth the read and can't wait until the next in the series is published.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Now as it is boiling hot here, I of course fancy eating soup, just like in the middle of winter I crave salad.  I bought a couple of cans of Campbells condensed soup as it was on sale this week at Zehrs for $1.79 a can. Dh's favourite is Bean with Bacon, and mine is Scotch Broth.

One thing I love about the Campbells site is they have lots of good easy recipes to try.
If you buy canned soup what is your favourite flavour and brand?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mcdonalds...."I'm Lovin' it,".......I think not!!

Have to say we have never set foot in McDonald's in an awful long time, infact I don't remember the last time we ate there.  A burger in McDonald's has the same effect on me as taking a packet of laxatives!!!  However in my magazines this month was a coupon for 50% off a salad.  So on Saturday night we decided to have a quick meal.

Dh ordered the Big Mac combo and I ordered the Caesar Salad, plus a $1 drink.  It still cost nearly $14.  It's quite expensive to eat at McDonald's now.  Mind you the place was packed, though we felt as though we were the oldest people in there.  Dh did not enjoy his meal, even though the fries were straight out of the fryer, and they were still tasteless things.

As I said to dh, we are past the McDonald stage as our kids have grown and we don't have grandkids yet.  Still I have to say I hope I don't become a regular even when we do have grandkids.......but I could be wrong there?

Do you like McDonald's?  By the way when I was writing this I had to look it up to see if it was McDonald's or MacDonald's as I had no idea!!!

Had a very lack lustre Saturday, just wasn't feeling great, my stomach is playing up, plus my allergies are really bad AGAIN.........dh made up for it by working up a storm in the basement and got more drywall installed.  We are getting the tiles on the floor installed next week, so need to finish up some stuff in there before then.

Have a super Sunday, off to church today haven't been in a while.........

Sunday am: Just spent a couple of hours catching up on everyone's blogs.  The only people I couldn't leave comments on were John D at Tok Tok Place and Flower Power because of the Blogger thing and there not being an anonymous option.  If I have missed leaving a comment on your blog, please let me know........

Friday, August 5, 2011

Now I wouldn't say no to this house or this cottage........

Check out the photos, the kitchen in the pool house is a heck of a lot nicer than our kitchen.  Very lush gardens as well.  Mind you I wouldn't want to live downtown Toronto and for that price I could get a huge estate where we live.

Still it is decorated nicely, other than the art work in the foyer!

Then if you get tired of the city life I guess you could go and spend weekends at this "cottage," and yes they are calling it a cottage:

The bloody boathouse if probably bigger than our house!!!

This is just the cutest wedding video you have to watch.

Sunday Song

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