John's Grandma (and our next door neighbour) turned ninety last week. She is very active and has a better social life than I do, so I haven't been able to make her a cake yet (she's been too busy!). Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks.

I saw her on her birthday and she pointed out to her front yard and was delighted that her rose was blooming for her birthday. A birthday gift from nature.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, September 30, 2015 3 comments
I had a wonderful day in the kitchen yesterday, making chicken stock. I'm still working on the three farmer raised chickens I cut up, and yesterday I boiled the chicken backs that I had previously frozen. My reward was as pot of hearty chicken vegetable soup and ten cups of stock for the freezer. Wonderful!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, September 28, 2015 2 comments
The Toronto Blue Jays are having quite the season, and win or lose they are always fun to watch. They are currently involved in a pennant race, and are set to play the second place Yankees tonight for a three game series. I have a feeling that watching this match up is going to be like watching an early world series. Both these teams want it bad and the Toronto fans will be cheering like mad at the Skydome.

Toronto fans have made some viral Blue Jays videos over the past month, which I thought I would share. The first is a brilliant parody of Taylor Swift's 'Blank Space'.

The second is a home run super cut, up until the last week of August set to Johnny Cash's 'God's Gonna Cut You Down'. Super fun to watch.

Posted by Jen B On Monday, September 21, 2015 2 comments
Curried beef served over rice with a side of fried garden zucchini. A wonderful meal that we got to eat twice (I love leftovers). Really, really, good.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, September 18, 2015 4 comments
I realized I enjoyed Skyrim earlier this year and then spent a lot of time really enjoying it (see some of my stats here and here). After clocking more than 300 hours in the game, I think I have reached a plateau of what I want to do in it. Are there still places to find and quests to do? Of course, but I'm not as eager to go roaming around as I once was.

Skyrim is part five in the Elder Scrolls series of games, and on a recent treasure hunting trip with Dad (to second hand stores), I found Oblivion (Elder Scrolls part four), for $5. I couldn't get into it at first, but once it got me, it got me.

Playing Oblivion after all that time spent in Skyrim is great, as I already know what I'm doing so I can just run around and do my thing. The game mechanics are slightly different, with my favourite change being that merchants have a limited amount of gold they can spend per item, BUT NOT a limited amount of gold they can spend. THIS IS AMAZING, as probably fifty hours of my Skyrim playing was running from merchant to merchant trying to sell stuff (they each had only between 500 and 2000 gold - #skyrimproblems). It's one stop shopping/selling in Oblivion, and obviously my mercantile skill is already at 100.

Oblivion By The Numbers

Current level (at time of this posting): 20

Game days passed: 79

Completed quests: 36

Place found: 62

Houses owned: 4

Skill increases: 366

Training sessions: 97 (I was education poor for a while; all the money I earned went to training)

Number of skills at 100: 2 (Mercantile and Alchemy)

Potions made: 2331

Fame level: 45

Infamy level: 22

Items stolen: 2292

Unicorn friends: 1

Number of Nirnroots found: 73

Number of Xbox Achievements earned: 20 (out of 50)

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, September 16, 2015 4 comments
'Mom's Awesome Fudge' is how this fudge recipe appears in my recipe book, although it's come to my attention that the source of this recipe goes a few generations further. I uncovered this fact after making a batch of it and being reminded of my Nanny. I asked Mom if Nanny ever made it and was informed that it was Nanny's recipe and, yes, she made it all the time. We were pretty young when we spent time with Nanny (she was Mom's grandma), so part of me forgot about it. I'm glad the recent batch I made tasted like memories, otherwise I wouldn't have realized I'd shared this treat with my Nanny when I was little.

This fudge tastes very old timey, sweet and yummy with every bite.

Mom's (Nanny's) Awesome Fudge

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup milk
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
pinch salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Put all ingredients except vanilla and walnuts into a saucepan. Mix together, heating on medium until margarine is melted and mixture starts to boil. Let bubble for 9-10 minutes. To ensure it has boiled enough, test to see if the mixture will form a ball in cold water. Put a spoon into the hot mixture and drop a small amount into a cup with cold water. It should form a ball. Take saucepan off burner and let sit for 10 minutes. Add vanilla and walnuts and start beating fudge with a spoon until it changes colour (turns lighter brown) and becomes thick. Put into a greased pie plate and place in fridge to cool. Cut into squares and store in an air tight container.


Posted by Jen B On Monday, September 14, 2015 1 comment
We've started using the farmer raised chicken I got from my brother and the meat is really delicious. The birds are big, juicy, and flavourful - we just absolutely love them.

One of our favourite meals is pan fried chicken legs, and we vary between plain (just a little seasoning), curried, and honey garlic. Most recently we had honey garlic with the farm fresh chicken legs and it was probably the best I've ever had. John never measures when he cooks, but the sauce is a mixture of soy sauce, honey, and garlic powder. Served with rice and oh so good.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, September 11, 2015 3 comments
Coupon deals have been scarce lately, so I need to brag about it when I find a good one. The coupon booklets that come in the paper every few weeks have had nothing worth clipping (for me). I love saving money, but saving $0.50 on a product I would never purchase in the first place (and which has a price point of over $3.00 to begin with...isn't a deal for me). But I found a few coupons I could use in the past few months, so hence this bragging post!

I love using a coupon when something is already on sale to maximize the savings, and that is what I did with both these deals.

Using a buy one get two free coupon and pairing it with a $1 sale price, I got six cans of deal air freshener. So buy one ($1.00 + $0.13 tax) and get two free* ($0.13 tax + $0.13 tax [*free in Canada often means just the item is free; you still have to pay the tax]). So my six cans cost $2.78, which is $0.46 each. Not as good as the coupon deal from a few years ago that got me air freshener for $0.38 per can, but it's pretty close).

I also had two '$2.00 off' BBQ sauce coupons and paired them with a BBQ sauce sale of $2.00/bottle. So these were actually free-free, as there is no tax on most grocery items in Canada. I love when my bill prints out at $0.00 and I walk away with free product. Feels good. Plus this BBQ sauce is pretty tasty.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, September 09, 2015 4 comments
One afternoon last week it was lightly raining when the sun came out. That being perfect rainbow weather, I grabbed my camera and ran outside hoping to see one. The rain had mostly stopped when I got out there, so no rainbows. But I did see this awesome little frog hopping around in the backyard. He spent some time in front of the garage door, before he hopped along onto some very important frog business.

Posted by Jen B On Monday, September 07, 2015 4 comments
My favourite doughnuts are from Zehrs bakery, a place I don't get to very often, but I love love love their doughnuts. Before a recent visit to Mom's, I told her I was craving them, and she offered to get some for me. Isn't she a sweetheart? Best Mom in the world.

My favourite out of this pile of doughnuts is the croissant. Not sure how they make it taste so amazing, but I could easily eat too many in row. So damn good.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, September 04, 2015 4 comments
It's been hot-hot-hot over the past few weeks, so a great time to hang out near the water. Here are some views from one of the many beaches around here, later in the day, after many people have been through to cool off. Even when there are lots of tourists, it's still a very peaceful place to be.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, September 02, 2015 4 comments
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