They are selling soft serve ice cream at the corner store for $2. You can choose between vanilla, chocolate, or swirl. I always get swirl. It is so good. There is something about soft serve that just tastes like being a little kid. I just love it.

Every time I go to get a cone (I've been three times this season already) there are always at least five other people sitting out front eating soft serve too. It is definitely a community thing, and for only $2 for a pretty high cone, why not?

Posted by Jen B On Friday, June 20, 2014 7 comments
We had a few rainy days earlier this week and it has really gotten our garden growing.

John built a neat little fence around the plants, which I think makes them look great.

Green beans

Earlier 2014 Garden Updates
2014 Beans and Tomato Garden
2014 Garden Planted

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, June 19, 2014 6 comments
I've had Paul McCartney on repeat for pretty much my whole life. I loved the Beatles growing up and branched out into Wings/Solo territory when I was in my teens. I have loved and obsessed over other musicians/bands over the years, but ever present was Paul McCartney.

Today is McCartney's 72nd birthday and I thought I would mark the date with a song I had on repeat often in the mid '90s. "This One" is still a favourite that I don't mind hearing more than a few times in a row.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3 comments
I've had some muscle strain in my lower back for the past few days and I can't believe how disruptive it's been. I'm a tall girl, so my lower back often gets the short end of the stick, but this week it has really been getting in the way of being able to do things. I am trying to find the balance of moving the muscles enough, but not too much. It's most painful when I stand up or sit down, lean over, do dishes, or any movement that forces me to use those muscles. It has made me realize that I am super forgetful and constantly have to get up to get things: my tea, my book, my iPod, the phone, the remote... I'm constantly up and down.

While resting over the past few days I marathoned True Detective (only 8 episodes), which was pretty good. I also got a few books from the library that I am hoping to finish over the next few days as well. I'm trying to do fun things that don't rely on my lower back. I'm also trying to suppress any and all urges to bake yummy things. It is hard. Yesterday I made buns and did all the kitchen clean up and probably shouldn't have. So today I am reading and listening to my body and asking for help when I need it.

Pile of books to read: currently reading 'The Hunter' by Richard Stark

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6 comments
I went over to the Elmvale Sales Barn (aka the Elmvale Flea and Farmers Market) yesterday to see what it had to offer this year.

The Sales Barn has changed over the years, the heyday being in the '90s when my family and I would go almost every Thursday in the summer to have a look around. The market was full of vendors and there was always different and interesting stuff to look at (and eat). We always got cheese curds from the cheese guy, a sno cone from the red food truck (that might have had hot items too?), and Mennonite sausage. I also got some band t-shirts (Paul McCartney) and TV shirts (X-Files) that I wore constantly in my early teen years. We always had a lot of fun looking around the Sales Barn.

The experience is different now, with new (and less) vendors, and the times I've been over the past few years have left me longing for the past. Yesterday was my first time out this season, and I have to say I had a pretty good time. There were lots of vendors and visitors - it was nice to see so many people out. The thing that caught my eye the most was all the used books. At least six of the vendors had used books, and all mostly just a buck or two. I love looking through a big pile of books with the hope of spotting something great. Yesterday I happened on two gems at two different vendors.

I got J.K. Rowling's Casual Vacancy for $5 (perfect condition) and Jack Kerouac's On The Road for $1 (also in great condition). I love finding a book deal, so getting two was great. I'm already planning on taking John with me next time to see what else we can find.

I also got some smoked meat (salami and pepperettes) before I left.

Salamis were $5 each (840g) and pepperettes were 2/$1 (but they actually threw 3 in the bag, so that was cool).

Are there any neat flea markets near you? They are definitely a sign of summer around here.

Posted by Jen B On Monday, June 16, 2014 2 comments
I've mentioned before that John is a spice whiz, with the ability to throw together amazing meals without a plan. If he enters meal creation with a plan, it is pretty much a gaurentee it will be altered in some way. And always for the better.

When we pulled the chicken out of the freezer, this meal was going to be oven baked chicken breasts with various sides. Then he got the idea to dice the frozen chicken and curry it with diced tomatoes. Partway through cooking he said: "can you hand me a can of black beans?" and they got added to the pan too. It simmered for an hour, and once finished John said: "For a sauce I didn't pay too much attention to, this one turned out pretty great." I think they all turn out pretty great.

This meal lasted two nights. The first night I wished I had avocado, and the second night I popped to the store and got one. The avocado made this already amazing meal incredible. Yum!

Posted by Jen B On Friday, June 13, 2014 6 comments
We are having a provincial election today in Ontario and I'm hoping people get out and vote. In the last election only 49% of Ontarians voted. It doesn't seem like democracy to me when only half the people have a say. If you are in Ontario, get out and vote! There are changes that need to be made to the electoral system (see: Fair Vote Canada), but until they are made this is the system we have to work with. Vote anyway! Even if you think your vote doesn't count. Also, if you are able to take someone with you when you vote, do it! I'm taking John's Grandma with me to the poll.

When the election is over, I have to say I will not miss all the campaign signs in public spaces. I understand and accept the political expression, and always love to see a house with a lawn sign (there are only two houses with a sign on my entire road). However I can't help but call the signs along the roadway an eyesore. This stretch of the bike trail (right) has 17 campaign signs. In a row. For only four different parties. It gets to be a little much.

If you are in Ontario - VOTE! Polls are open from 9am-9pm. If you need information about your polling station, check out the Elections Ontario website. The website may require you to provide an exact address for the information you need. It could be that the address they have for you is different than your actual address. Fun, right? If you run into trouble, just give them a call at 1-888-668-8683.

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, June 12, 2014 6 comments
I started reading Treasure Island for the first time, and what better place to read it than at the beach. My Dad loves this book and we've set a date to watch the movie together when I'm done. I've also put Muppet Treasure Island on hold at the library so I can catch up with that version too.

The beach was beautiful when I visited on the weekend, but it's currently only good for reading/sitting/or walking, as the water won't be warm enough for a good swim for a few weeks yet. A few hopeful people ran into the water while I was there, but they quickly ran back out. 

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8 comments
We got our started beans and tomatoes and put them in ground over the weekend. We haven't had any rain in far too long, so we are watering them with the hose and hoping they are happy. They are calling for rain one of the days this week, but I will have to see it to believe it.

Bean patch
Tomatoes in the ground

Patio Tomatoes

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, June 10, 2014 4 comments
I've been knitting on and off for about 6 years now and in that time I have acquired various knitting needles and supplies. I found an old sewing box in the attic and appropriated it as my knitting box. Up until now there has been no organization of the contents, other than all my knitting tools can be found in the box.

A few months ago I spent about $5 on fabric from the ends bin at Fabricland, for the purpose of creating a knitting needle case. The sewing skills in the family belong to Mom, so I gave her the fabric and she proceeded to make me a fabulous case. She didn't need to measure while making this, she just went in with the basic idea of what it should look like and made it happen. My Mom has awesome skills!

My knitting needles, all bundled up

The majority of my knitting needles

I still have various sizes of double pointed needles and circular needles that need a home, and have tasked mom to make a smaller but equally awesome case for them. The long needle case is my current favourite thing in the world, so I am super excited to have a set of two.

Thanks Mom! You are the best!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, June 09, 2014 4 comments
Mom and I headed back to Moose Winooski's last week. We got the same appetizer as last time (Loaded Sweet Potato Poutine - it is seriously amazing). We both got fish and chips from the lunch menu and they were really, really good. I forgot my camera, but have photos from our previous lunch I want to share for #FoodPicFriday.

Last visit I got the Cheese Tortellini and Mom got the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich. Both were excellent. Beyond the food, the atmosphere at the Barrie location is just a lot of fun. We sat on the family side this time, and a 14 year old girl willingly got a pie in the face for her birthday. She seemed pretty happy about it too!

We've been to Moose Winooski's twice now, and we always leave feeling happy and full.

Cheese Tortellini with Garlic Bread

Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich with Caesar Salad

Posted by Jen B On Friday, June 06, 2014 6 comments
After 4 years of blogging, I have reached my 500th Post!!

I actually reached the milestone earlier this week, (this is actually my 505th post), but I wanted to celebrate anyway.

Thanks for reading! :)

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, June 05, 2014 5 comments
We planted some seeds last week and they are almost ready to go in the ground. We planted 20 beans (18 came up) and 8 tomatoes (we planted 5 last week and 3 the week before - all came up).

It's still early but I'm already looking forward to steamed green beans and home made pasta sauce. Mmmmmmmm... Can't wait.

18 green beans and 5 tomatoes, started last week

3 tomatoes, started two weeks ago

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, June 05, 2014 2 comments
Yesterday I posted about my summer dishcloth knitting project, which needed a photo of my yarn to go with it. I wanted to photograph the yarn in natural light so it would best represent the actual colours. The spot I picked for natural light, also happened to be the best sunbeam in the house. The photo shoot was delayed a wee bit, while Gary did her best impression of 'cutest cat ever'. I love that little monkey!


Don't mind me. Just having a nap here.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, June 04, 2014 6 comments
I used up all my dishcloth yarn earlier this year, which was a great opportunity to buy more yarn. Mom and I both love these knitted dishcloths, so we each bought a big ball of yarn for me to work. The plan is to spend a lot of evenings watching Blue Jays baseball while knitting us a bunch of them (I can complete one in about 3 hours).

The colour Mom chose is called Swimming Pool (blue), and the one I chose is called Psychedelic (multi-colour). If I did the math right, we will each get 12 dishcloths, 6 of each colour. Fun.

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, June 03, 2014 4 comments
Well I've flipped my calendar and am celebrating the arrival of June. The weather has been great (hot!), the packs of mosquitos are thinning, and it is finally raining. It has been far too long since we had a good rain and the sight of it this afternoon is making my heart smile. My flowers are smiling too. My cat, however, is hiding. She is not one for rain.

May didn't leave without a fight though; John and I both got colds. Mine is just a head cold (manageable), but he has both a head and a chest cold and is sick sick sick. No fun. Luckily I did a big shop for groceries and we have lots of easy meals to choose from. Tonight will be bacon, eggs, pancakes, and toast. A little breakfast for dinner to heal us right up.

The last day of May also included an unexpected shock as I made myself some chicken noodle soup:

The bottom of my soup bowl fell out! While it was full of soup! Thankfully the soup wasn't hot (it was pre-microwave), so the counter and the floor just got covered in cold, wet, soup. Kinda gross. I'm sorry to lose the soup bowl, as it's been a favourite since the early 2000s. I suppose I'm happy it lasted as long as it did. Plus the chicken noodle soup was on sale for $0.50, so I'm glad it happened with it, and not the fancy $2 soups I recently purchased.

So Happy June, Friends! I'm going to spend the rest of the day nursing my cold, listening to the rain, and reading. Sounds like a good, relaxing start to the month.

Posted by Jen B On Monday, June 02, 2014 10 comments
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