Thursday, April 2, 2020

Name five things you are grateful for......

1. That our family is still healthy...…..well other than snotty noses in the little ones......but that's a normal thing!!

2. Not having to choose between paying bills or putting food on the table.  That is a hard choice a lot of people are having to make.

3. Having Dougie and the gang for our government in Ontario.  Didn't like when Dougie and the gang were voted in, but have to say, he has certainly earned his stripes during this pandemic.  He gets my vote now!  Which is more than I can say for the other guy in Ottawa!!!

4. All the family are still working; when so many are laid off.

5. Being able to stay home and stay safe...…...I am so lucky.  Dh has to go out to work everyday and work in a factory environment.  Not an ideal situation, but the factory is making steel pipe that is used to make hospital beds.

Finished my puzzle...…….still waiting for Chapters to ship out the second one?

Your turn now...…..

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Keeping busy.........

It was my birthday last month and I got some gift cards.  I ordered a couple of puzzles with one of the gift cards.  Only one has arrived so far, but I am really enjoying doing it.  Also it is satisfying my sweet tooth without actually eating anything!!

I also have a couple of books still to read and review:
When I get bored with that, the house could do with a Spring Clean!!

What are you busy with?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

This is so me.........

I got a shock when I saw this, as although I don't drink alcohol, and I am still wearing a bra 😋…...not sure for how much longer though...…….this could be me!!!

I know things will get better............just not sure when!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Social Distancing.............

Truth to be I am fed up to the back teeth with that phrase, but it's something we all have to do.

I am missing my grandchildren something awful and will say I do feel for all parents with children young and old, being stuck at home.  They do need to try and help their children to keep up with their school work along with everything else they have to do.  Will say the parents of our grands, are doing a great job.  Although we have not been officially told that school's will be closed until September, my guess is they will.

One thing I have been doing is texting over a letter everyday to two sets of grandchildren with tasks to do.  This is an example of what I have texted over:

I do this Monday through Friday, as even Nana's need a rest😃  Thank goodness for modern technology where we can see and talk to the grands through various means.

Again, "short term pain, for long term gain," comes to mind!!

Are you doing anything for your children or grand children to keep them busy/occupied?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

More about food we eat.......

When I talk about garden salad, for us it means, lettuce (generally romaine lettuce), tomatoes, cucumber, sweet pepper, red onion and radishes.

When you make a salad what is your go too salad ingredients?

One thing I made this week which is super simple is a Quinoa Salad.  I make this "salad" using either quinoa or couscous, both are simple to prepare.

If you have not cooked quinoa before here are the basic instructions.  In a pan bring to boil 2 cups of water, a tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of salt.  Add one cup of quinoa, stir and turn down the heat to low.  Cover pan and on a low boil cook for 25 minutes.  You know it is cooked when you see those little white "rings."  I used a multi-coloured quinoa this time.  Let it cool.

As I said I make this as simple as possible by adding diced cucumber, grape tomatoes sliced and sliced red onion.  Mix with the quinoa and I use a prepared salad dressing, as I love this particular one, which is the Greek Feta variety.  Mix some in and let sit for a couple of hours for the flavours to mix together.
 This is what my supper looked like on Friday and it was so good.  I enjoy the Low Calorie Creamy Poppyseed Dressing that Kraft makes.

Back in 2016 it was the International Year of the Pulses.  I believe including various pulses in your meals is a good thing.  I did a post about this back in January 2016 here.  If you have time please check it out as there as a couple of recipe links there as well!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Things I am doing to save money..........

I want to clarify first that we are fine financially, however what worries me is that we don't know what is going to happen after this pandemic ends; or even when this pandemic will end.  So I feel for the moment it makes sense to tighten our belts on our outgoings and try and save where ever possible until we see how things pan out.

The first thing we did was do up an excel spreadsheet of all our monthly outgoings.  When I did that I realized I could save some money if I did a couple of things.

1. Cancel our weekend newspaper.  It's a want not a need at the moment, and with watching so much news online and on the tv, we have no need for the newspaper as well.  Saving $20

2. Try to lower our internet/cable/telephone bill.  Did that and will end up saving $35+ a month.

Doing both of those things, which took me half an hour means a savings of $55 a month.

In Ontario we now have off peak hydro/electricity rates all day, seven days a week for the next 45 days.  I am hoping that will be extended, but meanwhile I will take what is offered.

The weather is starting to get better, so I am hanging out my laundry.  Some people can't/or are not allowed, but if you can, hang out your laundry and that will save you even more money.

Cooking from scratch. With all the restaurant closures due to the pandemic, other than ordering in, cooking from scratch is the way to go.  I am hoping to give you some easy ideas on homemade cheap meals as the weeks progress.

I cut/shaved my hubby's hair on Friday.  I do this regularly anyway.  With the hairdressers being closed now would be as good a time as any to try your hand at that.  We bought a one similar to this one and it works great. At $20 a haircut, we were saving money by the time I had cut/shaved his head twice.

What are you doing to save money during this trying time?  Looking forward to hearing about your great tips.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Not a vegetarian but.....

I don't eat a lot of meat.  Our menu this week has been the following:

Monday: Potato, onion and cheese "quiche," garden salad and garlic bread

Tuesday: A repeat of was that good!!

Wednesday: Cauliflower with cheese sauce and garlic bread...…..on a roll with the garlic bread!!

Thursday: Cauliflower and sweet pepper soup with bread.

Friday: Baked fish, garden salad.

So basically, so far this week we have had no meat, other than some fish today and we are fine with that.

The Potato, onion and cheese quiche was super simple to make.  I used a store bought pie shell, but you could make your own. 


Pie Shell
Two medium potatoes, sliced very thin (I used the side of my box grater)
One large onion, thinly sliced
Big chunk of cheese, grated.  I use an old cheddar.
4 eggs whisked in a jug with enough milk to make around 1 1/2 cup of liquid
Salt and Pepper.

I don't blind bake the crust, just take it straight out of the freezer and fill.

I start with a sprinkle of cheese on the base of the pie crust, then layer with potatoes, onions, seasoning then cheese.  I managed three layers, finishing with cheese.  Carefully pour over the eggs and milk mixture .

Place on a tin foiled lined cookie sheet (in case it bubbles over!) and bake at 375 oF for around 45 to 50 minutes.

I served mine hot with a garden salad.  Add what ever seasoning you like.  I prefer things quite bland, so spice it up to your tastes.

Cauliflower with cheese sauce and garlic bread is such a simple supper to make.

Pre cook your cauliflower florets.  Too make a cheese sauce, it's super simple:


1/4 cup of margarine/butter
1/4 cup all purpose/plain flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper
tablespoon mustard (optional/your choice)
couple cups of grated cheese

Melt the marg; stir in the flour and keep stirring for a minute or so to let the flour "cook." Add milk slowly, whisking it in and bringing it too a boil.  Turn off the heat and then add in the seasoning, mustard and cheese.  Continue stirring until it's all combined. If any of that doesn't make sense, here is a more detailed recipe for you: 

Place your cauliflower in a casserole dish.  Pour over the cheese sauce.  I make bread crumbs from the crusts off loaves of bread.  I generally use one crust, made into bread crumbs, mixed with some grated cheese, put too one side.

Bake the cauliflower at 350 of until warmed through; around 20 minutes.  Add the breadcrumb/cheese mixture on top and cook for a further 10 minutes.  At this point I usually add the garlic bread to cook at the same time.

If you pre-make this dish and then pop it into the oven cold, you will need to bake for a few minutes more so it is fully heated through.

I will do a post for making soup.  I did pick up a couple of cauliflower's on the reduced bin and a couple of sweet peppers, there, so that is why I made what I did this week.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

We're living in crazy times that's for sure.........

It's been a few months since I last did a blog post.  Between now and then all sorts of things has happened, but none as dramatic as the Covid-19 crisis that is exploding world wide.

I have been in two minds about jumping back into the blogging bandwagon but I feel I may have useful information to help us through these trying times, that could help out in a small way?  Some things people already know what to do, others may not.  Also each country has set up different systems to deal with this crisis.  Also each person/family is dealing with this crisis in their own different way.

In our family we are fortunate that so far everyone is still managing to work; either from home or still at their place of work.  Daycare's and school's are closed but the grandkids are lucky to be able to be at home with one or both parents.  I must admit I am missing them like crazy, but thanks to modern technology I can see and talk to them frequently.  However it's not the same as being able to give them a hug, but that will happen soon enough.

One thing I think that has affected probably everyone is the panic buying of food and supplies.  It has happened all over the world and I think some have suffered more than other's.  Personally I think things are beginning to settle down; at least in my area, as the shelves in the stores are a little more fuller.  I know I have had to alter the way I do things and for the first time in my adult life I was concerned about whether or not we would be able to get fresh fruit and veggies...……...and no I wasn't one of the crazies that bought all the toilet paper...……….never did understand why people were bulk buying toilet paper? 

As I said so far everyone is still working in the family, but no job is 100% secure and if we were to rely on the government to support us we would be unable to cover all our bills and still be able to eat!!  So over the next few days I will do various posts about various topics to help us through these trying times.  If there is anything you want me to cover please ask.

I already make 90% of our meals from scratch and now it's up to 100% so will share some cheap and easy meal ideas.  I will go over how to budget and save money doing various things.  Also I am hoping between us all we will be able to come up with various ideas that will help us all not just now, but in the weeks and months after this crisis is over with.


And please stay safe and listen to what your government is saying about social distancing!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Online Auction...........

I have had a super busy week and now I have set up an online auction on my Facebook page Appleby Lane for the weekend.  It started last night and ends on Sunday night at 6:30 pm EST.  Everything listed is at least 50% off, so some great deals to be had.  Here is a link to the site

I plan on catching you all up on what has been happening.  Which will include the weather, bathroom renovations (it's finished😄), visit to the hospital and lots of other things!!

Have a super weekend, you'll know where I will be.....on Facebook!!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Just a warning swear word fabric will be shown!!

I had an order for a toiletry/wash bag the other day, so I made a couple of extra ones for the shop.  Thought I'd share with you the fabric choices.  Both bags have a laminated cotton lining, so waterproof that I get from Dailylike Canada.  Very high quality fabric and well worth the money.

I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it, but didn't have any idea what I was going to make with it.  Just love how it all worked out, reminds me of the 1920's.

Now this one has swear words on it and says, "Where's My F**king Wine!"  Would be perfect for that wine lover in the family.  They both sell for $25 each, plus shipping if needed.  For more swear word fabric products click on this link.  I will be making more products using the fabric.
This is the one I made for a custom order.  The Llama fabric is so flipping cute, don't you think.

I also make all the zipper pulls myself.  So after not doing much sewing for the past month, I am back into it again.

If you want to see what else I make please click on this link for Appleby Lane.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Finally a make for me..........

Since we got our new dining room table and chairs I wanted a new table runner; as our old one was way too long.  I saw this Robin Pickens fabric for Moda and fell in love with it.  It's called Sweet Pea and Lily.  The pale green solid fabric is a Kona solid.  It is ages since I have done any quilting, and I know why, it's kills my hands.  Very happy though with the final product; it's 64 inches long by 14 inches wide.

 The back is the large floral pattern, the binding is the butterfly pattern.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Dealing with bills that spiral upwards, and upwards........

Got our Rogers bill in and it was over $60 more 😮than the prior month because the "promotional prices" they had applied to the account had all expired........

I HATE, HATE, HATE having to deal with this sort of thing.  Now "this sort of thing" involves our internet, home phone (yes we are old fashioned and still have a landline) and tv bill.  My cell phone bill is in place until the end of November of this year.

So I call Rogers and go through everything with the guy and after explaining I want the same service but back at the other price, he put me on hold, and never came back?????

Finally someone else in Halifax (east coast of Canada) picks up and we are back to square one.  No he cannot transfer me back to the guy in Toronto; he will deal with it {{{SIGH}}}  The only good thing about him picking up the call, is I do not have to go all over my info again as at least the first guy had put in my notes he had verified all my information.

After 46 minutes, yes I said 46 LONG, LONG bill will still be $30 per month more expensive.  That is the best they can do.  😠

So now what do I do?  I have no idea at this point.  We could reduce our tv channels I guess and go down to the basic?  Otherwise I don't want to touch the rest of our services, as we use them and need them.

I need to look into ways of reducing this bill as now we are paying just under $310 for the tv, internet, home phone and my cell phone.  We also pay for Netflix and I think that is $13.99 a month and we pay for an internet sports package which is $152 a year (saved a lot by paying for it yearly Dzan .  So all in all, we pay around $335 for everything per month.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2nd best country in the world to live.........


We were beaten by Switzerland.  I think it's the best country in the world, until I have had to shovel snow 7 days in a row, then not so much!!😒  

See where the country you live in ranks by clicking on this link.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Batten Down the Hatches........

Looks like we are in for a nasty ice storm on Saturday and Sunday.

I so hope they get this wrong, but I don't think so.  Here is a link to an article about preparing for an ice storm.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Pillow and sheets....

In all the flyers it seems as though it's the time of year to replace your linens in your home.  I googled it and the best time of year to buy them is January/February.

All of this works out well for me, as I have been suffering with chronic neck pain and knew it was time to replace my pillow.  As per this article you should replace your pillow every couple of years.  When I went to look for a pillows I was overwhelmed with the choices, so had to narrow down what I needed in a pillow.  The one I had was this type of pillow:

It wasn't working for me anymore, so I decided to go a different route.  Here is what I needed in a pillow:

  • It had to be firm, I like a bit of body in my pillow.
  • I suffer from hot flashes, so having the cooling gel in it was a priority
  • I did not want to spend over $100 on a pillow
I was shocked to say the least at the price of some of the pillows I was looking at, but couldn't justify paying over $100 for a pillow, despite the fact I am desperate for a decent nights sleep.

After looking around for the past couple of weeks, I stumbled upon this one from Bed, Bath and Beyond and best of all it had 20% off the price:
You can read more about it here.  I woke up after my first night sleeping on it, without neck pain.........YEAH!!  It's a bit stiff but overall I am happy with it.  If you are looking for a pillow with similar features, this one may be worth a try?

I was in Home Hardware of all places the other day and I stumbled upon a display of microfibre sheet sets.  They were only $19.99 a set; so I picked up two sets.

Now I personally think that cotton sheets are the most cooling fabric to sleep on.  Whereas microfibre sheets are a warmer fabric to sleep on; and due to the fact that hubby finds it cold in our bedroom, it's the least I can do is buy the sheets that feel warmer.  

Also the microfibre sheets are easier to look after, and dry faster and don't need ironing!!  Which I think is a major bonus.  We have been using these types of sheets for a few years now and love them for their durability and price.  

I also saw similar sheet sets in Canadian Tire for the same price as well.  The ladies in Home Hardware were saying they had all bought multiple sets, and why not at that price?

Do you prefer cotton sheets over other fabric?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Not sure how I feel about this?

One of the latest headlines on Wednesday is that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are "stepping back" from their royal roles.

Now as I am not an "insider" to their life nor do I know them personally really I have no say in what they do or how they lead their lives.  However as a tax payer in the country of Canada and a citizen of both Canada and the UK, I do have a vested interest in how tax payer money is spent.

They want to be financially independent, which is all fair and good, but because of who they are they need 24 hour protection and regardless of whether they decide to live in the UK or in North America, someone has to pay for that, at a cost as per the newspaper article below of over $1 million per year.  

At the end of the day, Prince Harry was born into a royal family, he is expected to work for the "firm," whether he likes it or not.  Megan knew this when she married him, so it can't have come as a surprise to her.  They both have a good heart I am quite sure.  Both want to do charitable works; all very admirable.  But at the end of the day, he was born into the royal family, he is the brother of the future king and needs to step up and do what is expected of him.  

They may not like it; but the more they fight the situation the more peed off the general public are going to be.  The more secretive they are, and the more they hide from the press and general public, the more interested everyone is going be, it's human nature.  I am not sure who is advising them about dealing with the public, but they seem to be going about it all wrong.

With Megan working in entertainment she is not daft when it comes to publicity.  So all this commotion they are causing with this stepping back and not wanting to deal with the public and press, is a great way of pushing their image to the forefront.  

I hope at the end of the day, that they get to live their lives how they want; but you can't court publicity on one hand and then spurn public interest on the other hand.  It doesn't work like that......just saying.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

New Restaurant..........

When we went to the DIY store this weekend, we noticed a new business had opened close to it.  This one:

I was so excited to think there was a new Vegetarian restaurant opening.  I hadn't heard of this one, so Googled it to see what was on the menu.  

Imagine my surprise to discover it is a Cannabis store😲  So I guess I won't be getting anything to eat there!!

Mind you according to the press blurb they maybe could supply frozen yogurt!!

"One Plant was created as a joint venture between cannabis company Aleafia Health Inc. and the Serruya family, who are best known for creating the Yogen Früz yogurt outlets."

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Photos from the UK

Now none of these photos are anything special but all held some meaning for me and I'll explain why.

We travelled through the Yorkshire Dales one day and were reminded constantly how narrow the roads were.  This was one of many tight squeezes on the roads!!  
This is so British I had to take a photo.  The iconic red post/mail box.  This was in Skipton in the market.
 Oh those traffic cones.........miles and miles of them with never a workman in familiar; nothing has changed in all these years!!

 This the street our last house in the UK was on.  We are about a third of the way up the hill.  It's as steep as it looks and I made dh park at the bottom of the street.  I was out of puff by the time I walked up to our next door neighbours house.  Yes even after nearly 31 years they are still our next door neighbours.  And you know it was as though we had never been away, we were that comfortable with one another.  We have had many wonderful and some not so wonderful neighbours over the years but I have to say J was the best one ever and we do still write to one another even after all these years.....
No regrets moving to Canada though.  Canada is home and the UK is where we were born.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Nespresso Vertuo Chrome

For Christmas the kids bought me a Nespresso Vertuo Chrome and Aeroccino  I had tried a sample of coffee at Canadian Tire and fell in love with it.  It has a lovely "Froth/Crema" on the top which I enjoy.  I was also lucky they included the Aeroccino with gives me the frothy milk, again which I enjoy.  I got the mug for Christmas, and it's perfect for that lovely big cup of coffee, don't you think?

Part of the package I received with the machine was a sample package of coffee.  When I was looking at it I noticed the package had an expiry date of the end of November.  So I called Nespresso and they sent me another package right away which arrived on January 2nd.
Inside there are 12 different coffee types to try which will give you an idea of what you do or do not like!  Will say great customer service on their behalf.
I will say I was a little surprised at how expensive these pods are, but in the scheme of things they are cheaper than buying a take out coffee, so that's good.  Does anyone else own a Nespresso machine?  Are there any do's or don'ts?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Model Railways and Liam's haircut

Last weekend our local library hosted the local model railway club and they set up a display.  As I had the girls and we always go to the library this was an extra bonus seeing this display.

Unfortunately none of the photos are very good but it will give you an idea of what there was.  I personally know nothing about trains and model railways but do like to watch them.

This display was not child friendly and making sure two sets of hands didn't touch anything; plus making sure they didn't fall off the chairs they were standing on so they could see was not an ideal situation!!

The guys (they were all men) although pleasant were not used to dealing with women and children I think.  I mentioned something and then got a very detailed explanation lasting at least five minutes or more; most of which flew over my head I'm sorry to say.  However it was very kind of them to set up this display for the general public.

I went and got my hair cut on Christmas Eve morning and when I had finished who should be there in the waiting area but Liam and his dad.  As they were next in line I waited with them and helped keep Liam occupied while he was getting his hair cut.  He has had his haircut numerous times, so doesn't scream the place down!!  He has just turned 19 months old.
He's still a red head..............

Saturday, January 4, 2020

First Walk of 2020

I went for my first walk on Friday.  It was a balmy 5 oC so figured this was as good a time as any to do some exercise.  I walked round the perimeter of the subdivision three times and it took me around an hour and I walked around 6,500 steps.........though that doesn't seem enough?  Regardless I at least hit the 10,000 steps on Friday for the first time in ages.

I found this on the internet and thought I might give it a try:

I have a goal of losing 15 lbs by the end of February.  I really must try and get off these diabetes pills as they are killing my stomach.  The gas and general overall upset stomach is awful.  I don't know how people put up with it?  I don't think it helps I seem to have inherited my dad's stomach issues.  His dad also had stomach issues, so at least I come by it honestly as they say!!

As we are in January and the brunt of the winter weather will be upon us soon enough I am going to start using the treadmill also when I can't or don't want to get outside, as another way of exercising.

I think I will try this when I am on the treadmill, as this seems doable as well:

Do you have a plan of action for exercising during the winter months?

Friday, January 3, 2020

This is what I bought and why..........

Do you ever wonder why people buy what they have in their grocery carts when you're in the grocery store?  I do, so I thought I'd do a post of what I bought and why when I popped into Zehrs yesterday morning.

When shopping at Zehrs we get points and they are called PC Optimum points.  Those points you can use to pay your groceries among many things.  My goal when going to the store was the pick up the frozen fruit and the crackers, but then I got a deal emailed to me and I could earn another 3,000 points by spending $30.  With the price of groceries I knew that wasn't going to be difficult.  I have lost my receipt but ended up spending just under $32 and earned I think 4,200 points which is worth $4.20.  Below is what I bought (all prices in Canadian Dollars):

 I bought the potatoes as I find it super simple to give either a baked potato or potato wedges to dh with the salad and main we have on a night.  They were on sale for $2.99 for 10lbs.  The Ranch flavoured croutons were $2.79, I like a handful of those on top of my salad sometimes.  The rice krispie squares were on clearance for under $1 per packet and thought I could add one to dh's lunch everyday for a change.  I generally make one quiche per week, and prefer to use a pre made pie shell.  This package of two was $2.99.  The ground turkey in the photo above was on for $3.00  with the 50% off and the Greek flavoured pork loin was on for $4.50 with the 50% off.  Both went into the freezer for future meals.  We eat very little meat, but I thought the pork loin would go well with salad and potatoes and the turkey would make a veggie shepherd's pie with a root vegetable mash on top of it.
 These are the items I wanted in the first place.  I got four packages of rice crackers at $1 per package and the large package of frozen blueberries for $9.99.  I will say I wanted the mixed fruit blend as I like that the best, but there wasn't any.  I like the no name brand the best for frozen fruit and they are normally $11.99 a package, so saved a couple of dollars there.  I use it on my overnight oats.
Everyday for lunch I have half a package of rice crackers, with the small tub of hummus.  I buy the hummus at Wal-Mart and you get 12 small packages for $6.  Dh also takes half a package of crackers and hummus for part of his lunch as well.  I have worked out the difference of buying regular containers of hummus and the smaller ones, and this is a better deal.  I am not a fan of making my own hummus, it never tastes as good.
While I was checking out, I saw another lady buy some Christmas bags and they were only 54 cents each.  That is a good price, so I decided to go and pick some up.  I bought three of the large bear bags and one large llama bag (there were no more larger bags left).
 I bought a 12 pack of Christmas crackers for $4.14 and two each of the medium bags.
All in all 12 git bags and the box of Christmas crackers came to exactly $12.  Very happy with that deal.  I am now sorted for wrapping paper, gift bags and Christmas cards for next year.

So there you are, why I bought what I did!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Just like Hansel and Gretel......

Do you remember the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, where they leave a trail of breadcrumbs so they can find their way home?  You can read the synopsis of the fairy tale here.

Last week the girls came for a sleep over and amongst all the things they brought (they do not travel lightly!!) were their new slippers.  Paige had lovely little bear slippers, which were really cute and Nora brought these ones:

Aren't they gorgeous all furry and glittery.  I thought they were lovely; 24 hours later not so much!!!  This is where Hansel and Gretel comes in, unlike them though there was no trail of breadcrumbs, there was a trail of glitter where Nora had been...........all through the house.  A week later I am still finding glitter.....LOL

We had the following conversation about her slippers:

Nana: "I love your slippers Nora; I wonder where mommy got them?"

Nora: " Mommy didn't bring them, Santa did!"

Nana: "Oh well I guess I won't be able to get them if Santa brought them for you?"

This as Nora wanders off to do her own thing..............

Sunday Song

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