Well I am ending the year on a high note: my 200th blog post of the year! I bested last year by 159, the previous year by 124, and my first year on the blog by 87. I kicked major ass in 2013 and I couldn't be happier.

Happy New Year everyone! I'm looking forward to more fun and more posts in 2014!

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, December 31, 2013 6 comments
I joined Goodreads in January, set myself a reading challenge, and got excited about reading. My initial goal was to read 25 books, and I bested it by 6. I read thirty-one books! And many of them were over 400 pages long! I really surprised myself and certainly read a lot more than I expected to.

So in no particular order, here are the highlights of what I read in 2013. You can see my complete list here, as well as at the end of this post.

Harry Potter Re-Read (5 books)
Philosophers Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix (first five books) by J.K. Rowling

I love J.K. Rowling, so I started my first Harry Potter re-read. I have both the books and the audio books, so I read them before I went to bed and also took them on walks with me. Listening to Harry Potter while walking is like walking with a warm hug.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
I loved this book and I love J.K. Rowling. Her writing completely works for me. Can't wait for the next one.
Lord of the Rings (3 books)
The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

I tried to read this 10 years ago and stopped around page 50. I'm so glad I tried again, as I got completely obsessed with it. The Lord of the Rings is actually pretty great! I have re-watched all the movies since reading it and love to discuss the differences between the book and the film versions.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

My first walk into Middle Earth was with the Hobbit. I liked the movie so I thought I should try the book. This book definitely made me appreciate Bilbo Baggins. He is a pretty neat dude.

An Astronaut's Guide To Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
I have a really strong appreciation for people who are passionate about what they do. Chris Hadfield is one of those people and what he does is actually really amazing and inspiring. More than just an astronaut, Chris Hadfield is a real life teacher and I have definitely learned from him and his book. A must read.

 Wild by Cheryl Strayed
A memoir of a woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail after the loss of her mother. This book really hit me in the feels and I highly recommend it.

Freaky Deaky by Elmore Leonard
I hadn't read any Elmore Leonard before he passed earlier this year, but I am happy to say I've now read Freaky Deaky. It was a fun one to start on. It was fast paced, the main character was a 'one-step-ahead of the bad guy' bad ass, and it was a satisfying tale where the bad guys got theirs in the end. Highly recommended.

The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns, M.D.
This is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy self help book and I couldn't recommend it more. The book is filled with exercises to work through as you read about how your thoughts effect how you feel. I will probably read this book over and over throughout my life.

And the Rest:

Raylan by Elmore Leonard                        How to Archer by Sterling Archer
Nueromancer by William Gibson              Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn                         The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
The Tempest by William Shakespeare    

Joyland and The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
Cold Days, Side Jobs, The Furies of Calderon, and Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher
Naked Heat, Heat Rises, Frozen Heat, and Deadly Heat by Richard Castle

According to my Goodreads stats I read over 12,000 pages this year. Right on!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, December 30, 2013 8 comments
Mom hosted us for Christmas dinner on Wednesday, pulling out all the stops and making a fantastic roast turkey (as always). Instead of just the usual desserts, she tried a new recipe for Pecan Pie that called for honey instead of corn syrup. She also used a no fail crust recipe she got from my Aunt Joline. This made for one pretty amazing Pecan Pie. I was too full to taste it on Christmas, but I got to take half the pie home with me. Yay! I love a pecan pie and the honey made it taste extra delicious. It was really, really, good!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, December 27, 2013 4 comments
It's Boxing Day here in Canada. It's a statutory holiday, and much like Black Friday in the U.S., retailers advertise "crazy deals" and people leave their homes at 6am to go and get them. In the snow. Still full of turkey. I am not one of those people.

As with the pre-Christmas sales, there was nothing in any of the flyers that would encourage me to get out of bed so early to fight traffic and crowds to get a deal. Plus if I was out shopping, I wouldn't be able to eat all these treats.

Are you out trying to get deals today? If so, what did you get?

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, December 26, 2013 2 comments

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, December 25, 2013 3 comments
I love a good home cooked meal, and happily I have a partner who loves to cook them (I love to cook them too). We started meal planning this year, which led to trying some new things and eating regular favourites. 2013 was a fantastic year for food.

2013 My Adorable Small Town Life Home Cooking Round Up
**Captions link to posts**

Roast Beef


Roast Turkey

Mac and Cheese


Scalloped Potatoes

Steak Sandwich

Newfoundland Fries

Stuffed Crust Pizza

Chili in a Bread Bowl

Taco Pizza

Taco Salad


Pesto Pasta


Turkey Club

Beef Stew

Steel Cut Oats

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, December 24, 2013 2 comments
This was quite the year for treats around here. Last week I did a cupcake round up, and now here are all the other sweet and delicious treats I blogged about over 2013. I definitely had a lot of fun baking, sharing, and eating these treats!

2013 My Adorable Small Town Life Treats and Baking Round Up
**Captions link to posts**

Quick Treats

Single Serving Peanut Butter Cup

Single Serving Chocolate Patties

Emergency Cookies

Mug Cake


Rainbow Cake

Mom's 65th Birthday Cake

Cake Try Outs

Slivered Almond Cake


Oreo Cookie Fudge

Reese's Fudge

Salted Butterscotch Fudge

Cookies, Cake pops, Squares, Pies, and Buns

D20 Dice Cookies

Decorated Gingerbread

Pumpkin Pie

Colourful Cake Pops

Valentine's Cake Pops

Halloween Cake Pops

No Bake Treats

Oreo Cake Squares

Spring Oreo Truffles

Peanut Butter Ball

Cinnamon Sticky Buns

Posted by Jen B On Monday, December 23, 2013 4 comments
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What I'm Currently Reading

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Jen has read 0 books toward her goal of 30 books.

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Jen has read 0 books toward her goal of 25 books.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Jen has read 5 books toward a goal of 25 books.

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