Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Halfway through the week...

again. Time seems to just fly by. I've been working on my garden and, sort of, planning next year. This was the first year that I've planted some veggies. I didn't do a lot as I knew that I would be gone for 6/7 weeks and things wouldn't get tended to. I'm getting through all the weeding so the patches will be nice and good to go in the spring.

Our courgettes/zucchini did REALLY well. I had some really big ones. Peppers did pretty well. Potatoes were okay. They definitely weren't taken care of but I did get some. I need to do some research on kinds of potatoes next year as these were of the smaller kind. My lettuce failed miserably. The deer ate it all - pulled up from the roots. I would love to have fresh lettuce so need to come up with some sort of idea to keep deer and rabbits out. I did some onions, but definitely could have planted deeper and more of them. Next year I would like to do carrots too. My poor tomatoes died while I was in England. Apparently they had a lot of rain and hubby thinks they caught some sort of disease. He talked to some people at work who said they were having trouble with theirs. Pumpkins - only got one small one - there were two when I looked so something carried it off. We nowhere near got enough veggies to keep us going for any amount of time, but fresh veg was certainly nice. I am going to do some reading up this winter and be more prepared for next spring.

Talking of being prepared I am going to make a list of things to get ready for winter. One part of the list will be things that I could shop for before the snow comes. We get a lot of snow and cold and I don't like driving in it so if I could stock up before winter it would mean less trips out in the snow. I feel like such a chicken for not driving in the snow BUT I did only learn to drive when I was thirty so I'm giving myself a little break lol.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I can't remember the last time I baked cookies. Yes, it's been a while! When I was at work I barely coasted through the days managing to drag myself up at 4am go to work, come home, cook clean and bed. The basics lol. Now that I've been home for a little while I feel as though I'm finally beginning to breathe and get back to my old self. I certainly feel calmer and more fulfilled.

Anyway - I planned on making Oatmeal Raisin cookies just because I like them. When middle son saw what I was doing he wanted me to make Snickerdoodle cookies. It's been a LONG time since I made them.  Anyway they turned out nice.

I think I'm doing better with our food bill too. I have been checking out sales and picking things up as I see them on sale. I'm still having trouble meal planning - something I need to work on. I need things that can be easily reheated as middle son works from 3-11pm and takes previous nights leftovers to eat at work.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


~Sigh~ I have a thing for hedgehogs. I wouldn't keep one as a pet as they are wild creatures, but I like collecting anything hedgehog. I think it goes back to when I was a kid. The house I lived at had a hedgehog that would visit our front garden. They are so cute but prickly too. I haven't seen one for years so now I collect hedgehog things. Daughter always pick me something up if she sees it.

This was a cute card I found in Smith's while I was home visiting Mum in England. I finally found a square frame for it. I really like how it turned out.

Daughter found me this mug. I think it will be great in the winter to drink my cup a soup from lol. She said she found me something in Washington too so I'll have another something when she comes back. I really have to sort out my collection and display them somewhere. Right now all the stuffed hedgehogs are in the bedroom. Maybe one day they'll be in my craft room!

Friday, September 18, 2015

End of the week

I can't believe it's Friday all ready! I'm pretty sure hubby and oldest son thought the week dragged by. They are both working ten hour days. The pay is nice, but it makes for long days for both of them.

I finally took care of the rest of my zucchini (courgettes). It's the first year I've grown these - my first time planting a garden - and they grow like crazy! I have used some but grated the rest and froze it in cup sizes. I tried out a new recipe for Zucchini/Raisin muffins. The rest of the family don't care for raisins but I thought they were really good. They aren't much to look at but the taste was there.

I also made some Potato and Leek soup and froze it. I am hoping it will be a nice warming meal when the cold weather comes. I love soup in the winter!

It feels really good to make food from scratch. It's nice to know what you're actually eating and what you've put into the food.

I've put a few cookbooks on reserve at the library and am hoping to sort out some new recipes so we're not eating the same all the time. Middle son is looking to move out soon so it will be one less person to cook for. Oldest son is also looking for a place - or will be once overtime is done. He says he'll probably be working six days a week soon for a while as work is really picking up.  I need to sort out recipes hubby and I can eat when we're alone. Right now I do cook meat dishes, but won't be doing so much of that when the boys both leave as I'm vegetarian. Hubby likes vegetarian food so no worries there!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Creative Spaces

Where Women Create

I like this book but I'm glad I borrowed it from the library and didn't pay for it! There were lots of pictures and stories of women and their creative spaces. I have to admit that I'm jealous. I'm still waiting for one of my grown kids to move out so I can finally have my craft space. As of now I'm on the dining room table (where I've been for years) lol. I admit to not being so creative lately. It seems such a hassle to get everything out and put it all away again. I know there are countless others who do the same thing but, for once, I'd love to get started on something and NOT have to put it all away again.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another week...

It was rather chilly on Saturday but Sunday warmed up some so hubby and I decided to take a drive to one of the local state parks and take a walk around. It's the sort of thing we want to do and now that I don't have to work every Sunday we have the time.

It was still quite busy out. I was really surprised. We drove around some of the campsites as we plan on going camping there next summer. There were lots of people camping though some were sitting around fires even though it was midday. The plots didn't seem too bad. The other week went we went to Holland everyone was camping really close to one another. At Fort Custer there seemed at least to be an effort to give campers privacy - some plots more than others. We're thinking of trying a night or two there. Neither one of us has been camping for years lol.

The trail was rather nice. There are several in the park but we picked the one we could find. It is a trail for hikers/bikers. There were a few bikers around which was a little annoying as they raced along. Some were nice enough to call out or let us know if they were by themselves or another was following.

One sad thing we did see while we were out walking were the cans/bottles that were just tossed down. I don't understand how people can't just take them with them and throw them away in the bin. Sigh.

While we are out in the woods I have a 'thing' for tree fungus and mushrooms. I enjoy taking pictures of them. I think hubby thinks I'm a little weird lol.

It was a fun few hours out!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday already

The days just seem to fly by. I thought they would go slower when I was at home but I seem to run out of time each day. I am not waking up as early (thank goodness - I don't miss those 4am mornings!) and by the time I have gone for a walk and cleaned up it is 9.30 or so. This seems so late to me lol.

I ran errands today, stopped by the library to pick up some books and drop some (see below) off. I am trying to stay away from buying books (at least new ones) so am ordering some from the library.

I also stopped off at Aldi's. They had bags of onions on sale for 89 cents and mushrooms for .69 cents. Can't beat those prices! Wish they had some of their other stuff as cheap as the one in England by my mum. We got a cauliflower there for 50p or so. Can't find one close to that price here. I did give in and buy one for 2.79. Will use half and freeze half I think.

I am doing a lot better with cooking and buying food - at least it feels like I am lol. I sorted through the dry goods cupboards today and found lots of things didn't even know I had. I am going to try to use some of them up.

Out on my walk early this morning I was startled - I think we startled one another! - by a deer. I was walking by a garden daydreaming away when I saw something from the corner of my eye. I thought it was a large dog. Not. There were three deer grazing in the garden. I managed to almost catch them with my camera phone.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Day at the Beach

As it is a holiday weekend Hubby and I decided to take a drive to Holland, a town by the beach. There is a state park with a lighthouse. In our state you can buy a tag for your car that costs a little more than $10 and it gets you into any state park for the year. It's a really cheap way to go out and we are trying to use it as much as possible.

The state park we went to is one we had trouble finding before so I set the address on my phone gps (Sat Nav) to work out the route. Worked out not too bad until the final little bit. Lol. We did finally make it to the park! It was fairly early in the day so it wasn't really hot. There was a haziness to the sunshine and a slight breeze that kept the heat down. We went armed with a drink and at this beach there is actually a little cafe where we purchased a (reasonably priced) soft pretzel with cheese. We really need to do better with packing sandwiches and such. It seems like such an English thing to do and sometimes I forget to do it while I'm in the states. You don't often see people taking picnics with them to places, but it certainly cuts down on the cost.

Some of my favourite times when I was a kid was going to the seaside with my Mum and family. She always used to get one of those styrofoam cups of tea and would give the empty cup to me to play with. I would spend hours playing with sand and water. Apparently I was a really easy child to amuse. I think it certainly helped growing up near the coast. Even though Hubby grew up close to the lakeshore he and his family didn't spend a lot of time at the beach just hanging out and relaxing and he finds it difficult to do - yikes! He burns really easily too which doesn't help.

We had a nice time walking along the beach and the causeway that leads to one of the (I don't know exactly what the correct name is) tower things that lead the way into the harbour. Nice views too.

I like seeing the waves despite it is actually a lake and not the sea. I can dream, right? One of my favourite sounds when I am home is listening to the waves crashing on the shore. Mum laughs at me when I sit on a bench, close my eyes and just listen. 

See the seagulls? I didn't want to go any further. Hubby laughed at me. I told him that it's been years since he went back to England and seagulls can be vicious!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday mutterings...

Well, I've been doing better on my 'new' dinners. Out of three 'new' things I have made this week they liked two of them. One they said was just 'blah' not tasting of a lot of anything. Oh well, live and learn. I did finally go grocery shopping. I picked up things that were on sale and a couple things I have never cooked before. Okay, no laughing but I picked up fresh spinach and leeks. I have not cooked from fresh with either of these. I want to make Leek and Potato soup - that one is for me. Not sure what I'm doing to do with the spinach but I have a couple of pasta dishes that could use it. We'll see. I have a couple of new recipes to try this week.

Today Hubby and boys will have a treat and have steaks. They don't have them too often and when I was away they saved quite a bit of money eating out of the freezer and not buying a lot so it's a treat for them.

They really liked the above Chicken Barbeque Wraps. I used the chicken I had leftover from making the chicken stuffed shells so they were a tasty new dish and a way to use leftovers! I definitely want to cut down on our food waste not just because it's horrible to throw away food but also so I'm not wasting money! We have less of it now lol.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Autumn? Maybe not...

After last week when it was chilly and I'm thinking that Autumn is coming fast, Mother Nature decided to crank up the heat, humidity and sunshine. It is HOT, HOT, HOT! The air conditioning has been running almost non-stop. I was thinking electric bill was going to be cheaper yet this month but I don't think so now!

Daughter is settling in Washington. She is in the hotel suite where she will be spending the next three months. I am missing her already but excited for her. She has texted me pictures of the White House and the Capitol Building (think that's what it is lol). I am not from America so please forgive me if I've got it wrong! Tomorrow she goes on a tour with other people from her school. Her internship will start next Tuesday.

I am settling in. I cleaned out three storage cubes by the backdoor where we kept barely-used shoes and lots of bags. PHEW! Did not realise there was such stuff in there! I started on the coat closet too. Tomorrow our trash pick-up where people put stuff on curb and it is either picked up by people of the rubbish men. I put some stuff out there, sorted out some for donation and some more ended up in the bin.

Dinner tonight wasn't too good apparently. I say that as it was a meat dish and I'm vegetarian. I won't be cooking it again. Last night's dish was a bit more of a success. It was Chicken Stuffed Shells in Alfredo sauce and I made some Parmesan bread. I haven't made it for a while but pulled down the bread machine. That went down a treat. Oldest son liked it a LOT!

It looked and smelled good though I couldn't eat that either! I meant to make some without chicken but Daughter called in the middle of me making it panicking because she needed business cards and had forgot to order them!

My neighbour used to make this bread all the time, along with artichoke dip. I have fond memories of going to her house after work with another friend (we all used to work at the same place in the evenings while our other halves were at home with kids). Unfortunately the said neighbour passed away a couple of years ago from cancer.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Long Day...

Well Daughter left today.

We were up at five o'clock this morning and were on our way over to Detroit at six thirty this morning. Daughter finally got to Washington D.C tonight at about seven so ultra long day for her. She is there now to begin her new adventure! I am so proud (and a little jealous lol). She has been talking about going since she started at MSU four years ago.

Tomorrow I begin my own - not very big - new life lol. Things will finally settle down. We'll see whether I miss work, if I get bored and if I can't find things to fill my days. It's the first time since leaving work almost nine weeks ago that I haven't been off doing something or having someone visit. I have lots of things planned but we'll see how they go. It will be interesting.

Below are a few more pictures of our Renaissance Faire trip