Monday, 27 July 2015

Something Fishy...

Did you ever hear of the time that 5 people went out on a boat to do some fishing and everyone came back safe and sound without a single fish?

Me either.

Which is why I decided that someone had to catch the fish...

I haven't been fishing in over 15 years so this was a pretty big deal.

So we celebrated by debating on what kind of fish it was for too long...

Just long enough for the fish to find a hole in the net big enough to swim out of.

In the end it apparently ended up being a walleye which we weren't going to keep then (because it was so small)

AND... something from last weekend.

Remember that candy dispenser I found at John's family's cabin?
Well unbeknowst to us his sister took a picture of the excitement of filling it.
Or at least I'm excited for it.

John is really concentrating.
His mom is likely concerned about the amount of candies that are about to get all over the table and floor.
His other sister in the background doesn't care at all.
But I cared and I was excited.

Also, let us take the time to welcome John's mom and sister to the blog for the first time ever!
(and if I never posted a picture of John and I on the blog then I suppose we can welcome him to the blog as well)

Oh, and one more thing about the fishing experience that John will likely want you all to know
When I got that fish on the line I didn't say "got one" like most would
no, no, no... that just isn't my style
Instead I said 
"something is happening!"
Which is when everyone asked if I had a fish to which I responded
"I don't know... I think?"

In my defense that fish didn't put up much of a fight.
I expected more.
Much more.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

52 Weeks of Cookies - Week 4

Fresh Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

Another week and another batch of cookies (thankfully weeks 1 and 2 cookies have already been finished... my freezer is not busting at the seams with cookies... yet).

I had to find something to do with all those strawberries I picked the other weekend and so I set out for a strawberry cookies recipe (because I was already committed to making 52 different kinds anyways).  It seemed like the perfect thing to do!

To be honest, these cookies are the worst so far (but it is only week 4... there will be many MANY other horrible cookies I am sure.

I forgot to take the vanilla out of the cupboard for the picture but I did not forget to include it in the recipe.

a sign that they were still too gooey... I couldn't roll them in my hand.

What did I change to make them the worst so far?

I added extra flour and oatmeal
The dough was pretty runny... more like a muffin mix than a cookie mix in my opinion.  Plus when I read over some of the comments a couple of days prior to making these I read that people found they had to add extra dry ingredients.
Then I stuck the dough in the fridge overnight in hopes that it would firm up a little more.

Maybe I should have added extra cinnamon to these cookies as well... who knows.

My rating?  I'm going with a 6/10
They are just a little too bland for this Mennonite 
(which is saying a lot because we Mennonites love our bland food!)

I'm fairly confident that next weeks cookies will not be bland and instead be delicious!

So I guess we all have something to look forward to

Friday, 24 July 2015

Life Lately

Last weekend I went strawberry picking with some girls from my life group
It was a rainy day BUT it didn't rain a single drop while we were picking so pretty much perfect.
We decided to pick our berries in the more plentiful but muddy section of the field... my friend Diana and I decided we were better off going barefoot through the mud.
It was one of our better ideas.

I picked 2 baskets

And now have 2 big freezer bags full of frozen berries!
Perfect for making smoothies or baking with!

Of course, I didn't freeze ALL of them and attempted to make some chocolate covered strawberries for John and I.  Some of them turned out okay... I'm no good at the white chocolate thing though.

Other than that I've made some homemade fruit roll up with my berries (John insists that next time I should try strawberries and bananas) and some Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

I've been reading Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series.
It's okay... but I'm not sure I'm sure of what all the fuss is about

Last week I went to the mall to find some jeans 
I parked and happened to glance at the car beside mine and inside were 3 stuffed animals all buckled into their seats.

I'm blessed to have a pool at my condo and I've been spending more time around it with friends.  
Unfortunately, we haven't had much success at a really nice day around the pool.. which just means that it has been pretty well empty whenever we go.
My friend Diana and I decided that on the very hot days when all you want to do is sit inside around a fan that we would go for a very sweaty walk and then jump in the pool.  Lucky for us yesterday was the perfect day for a super hot walk and swim!

If dipping those strawberries in chocolate wasn't enough to make me a pretty awesome girlfriend I also made him some homemade garlic bread and spaghetti and meatballs.
(click on the links to get the recipes for the bread and meatballs... they were both delicious!  AND, the meatballs are cooked in the slow cooker!)
**The bread recipe isn't the exact one that I used... but I thought it looked fairly similar

John and I went out for a walk to find another geocache and spit off the side of a bridge.

Tonight I leave for the lake again
To fish
To swim
and to eat

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

52 Weeks of Cookies - Week 3

Snickers Cheesecake Cookies

Confession: although I made my best attempt to follow the recipe that the link will take you to... I deviated from it... A LOT

Ok, so I buy most of my ingredients for the month the first Tuesday of the month.
Why the first Tuesday?
I can save 10% at 3 different grocery stores on this day.
So I check their flyers and pick the store with the best deals (how Mennonite of me)
OR I pick one that I can collect airmiles on because... why not?

So, how did I change up the recipe?
First off, this isn't my first time baking these.  
I remembered from the last time I tried to make these that I had a difficult time finding cheesecake flavoured pudding.  Such a difficult time that I never did actually find it.
I know I substituted vanilla pudding for it but I couldn't remember if I also added cream cheese.
Well, this time I didn't have cream cheese in my fridge so that wasn't an option.
So TECHNICALLY, I made Snickers Vanilla Cookies

On to my next adaptation to the recipe.

Remember how I bought all my ingredients at the beginning of the month?
Well, I obviously bought my pudding.  
I tend to go for the lower fat version that claims to be better for you.
This time that meant it was sweetened with splenda (yuck).  I figured since this recipe called for 3/4 cups of both regular and brown sugar you wouldn't even be able to taste the splenda (and I was right).
Unfortunately, that splenda sweetened instant pudding was no near the amount that I needed.
After doing some quick thinking I decided I would make half a recipe... this was I would have extra Snickers... YUM!

So, I start off halving the recipe really well.  
As in I added half the amount of butter that it called for.
Then I put in the full amount of sugar and eggs and was about to add the vanilla when I stopped and said 

I didn't want to head out to the grocery store (there is one conveniently across the street but that instant pudding wouldn't be 10% off!
After doing some more thinking and glancing through my cupboard I came across from custard powder.
"this is basically pudding" I said to myself.

By this point I had pretty much given up on measuring or doing more math to figure out how much of it I should actually add and just dumped the custard powder in until it looked to be about the same amount of instant pudding powder that I had added.

Then I added some extra vanilla because I just wasn't sure what was happening anymore.

Oh, and I don't think the original recipe says to chop up the Snickers bites but I did.

I know what you're thinking
"eep... did these ones turn out?"


The cookies were still super yummy!

So, I believe we have all learned a valuable lesson.
Make the cookies with the cheesecake pudding
Or make them with vanilla
OR make them with vanilla and custard.

They will be edible.

Their rating....

The combination of peanut butter and caramel and chocolate makes these yummy!
I kind of wish there was more Snickers in them (obviously, I didn't measure those either and obviously I ate a few too)

Next week I'm making some cookies I've never made before.
So get excited!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Life Lately

Confession: my boyfriends family is pretty fantastic

I got back from one lake last Thursday to leave for another one Sunday morning.

This time I drove out to my boyfriends family's cabin.

We went on the pontoon and swam off of it
We played lots of games
We ate lots of food
We swam at the beach
We got me a fishing license
and we tried to go fishing... but on our way to the boat it started to rain a little too much. 

Thursday (the day I left) was a rainy and cooler day (the rest of the days were SUPER hot) so we were spending time inside.  Which is when I found a jelly bean dispenser.  So what does one do on an indoor kind of day but go to the gas station and buy all the candy that could possibly be dispensed from it and fill it.  It was a great post breakfast treat!

I don't have much currently planned for the rest of the week (or summer for that matter).

Except that I'm looking for a new bathing suit... I probably should have bought one a month ago... hopefully wherever I happen to find one it will be on sale!
I'm also looking for jeans.
So today, I'm going shopping!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

52 Weeks of Cookies - Week 2

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Cookies

This isn't my first time making these delectable cookies so I knew before making them that they would be good.
I didn't have a reason for making these ones this week.  I just knew they would be good.

I followed the recipe exactly (ok, I may have tossed in more than a cup of the Oreo's and I left the dough in the fridge overnight).  I think in the past I had made my own cake mix from scratch (maybe, I can't remember) but this time while grocery shopping the cake mix was a good price (obviously it was the grocery store brand and not any fancy name brand cake mix... remember, I am still Mennonite).

a piece of advice:

The recipe warns you not to over bake them BUT I often find that one of my cookie sheets bakes cookies a little slower than the other (it's the kind that is flat without any edges on the sides).  I knew that they would likely need extra time but the extra time I gave them still was not enough.  
Make sure you check the bottoms.

My rating?
This time it was VERY close to being 100% but I just couldn't bring myself to do it 
(and I'm not messing around with any .5's here)
My reasoning? 
I had to buy cookies to make cookies
Seems just a little bit silly doesn't it?

Friday, 10 July 2015

Birthday (and beyond)

Confession: +30 is too hot

I meant to have this up last Friday and here we are an entire week later.

So, what have I been up to?

June 30th was my last day of work.  I'm still not sure where I'll be working next year (or if I'll be substitute teaching) so for now, I'm just enjoying my summer.

July 1st was Canada Day.  Since the Penner's didn't get together for Easter we got together for a BBQ on the 1st instead.  It was the perfect day outside (maybe a little on the hot side but at least it wasn't +30 outside!  After that John and I went to see the fireworks.  We had a great view of them (and before the ones started that we actually went to see we watched the ones from the 2nd location that does fireworks in our city... 2 shows for the price of 0 because walking there didn't cost us a thing).

July 2nd I had a baby shower for my cousin and her new baby. All those years of playing Mixed Up Mother Goose finally paid off when my table cleaned up during nursery rhyme jeopardy.
Fun fact: We also had mixed up fairy tales

July 3rd was my 30th birthday!
I'm sure I slept in a little and made myself a smoothie in the morning.  I was tidying things up before my friend Samantha came over so that we could go get our nails done when I happened to glance out the window and see a giant vase with a bunch of flowers in it along with a card sitting on my balcony.
there are 30 roses.. one for every year I've been around.
I have a pretty fantastic boyfriend.

Later that evening that pretty fantastic boyfriend of mine took me out for dinner

When I turned 28 I made a decision to read a bit of my Bible every day and to have it completely read by my 30th birthday.  I was following a 2 year plan that I found here and I managed to follow through with it!

Now that I'm 30 my plan is done so I'm just reading a few chapters every day.

But apparently I like to start things on my birthday and not January 1st like the rest of your commoners and so if you look back one post you'll see that I wrote about some cookies and titled it Week 1.  If you know me you know I LOVE cookies and so every week for the next year (or until I turn 31) I'm going to try to bake a different kind of cookie.  That's 52 weeks of cookies folks!  By the end of the year I should have a great stack of wonderful cookies to bake!

I'm rating each cookie so that I won't forget how wonderful (or awful) they are!

July 4th was a day to head out to a friends and spend time with a bunch of friends to celebrate a few of our birthdays.
Before we left the city John and I stopped for some brunch and to get some chips for the group (and a swimsuit for John).
Sadly, no one got our messages about when we were leaving the city, or that we were 10 minutes away when they decided to stop waiting for us and go to float down the river for 4 hours.
Luckily, I wasn't on my own so John and I made our way to the river for a little swim on our own, played some Rummicube, tossed a football around, practiced some water balloon games that we thought we might be playing and went for a walk.
We drove part of the way home in a downpour and most of the way home with lightening lighting the way.

(our friends did eventually come back and we had dinner with them and played pictionary)

July 5th I didn't do too much.  John and I went to a book store and bought some coffee.  Then we drove around looking at open houses and ended up watching Oceans 13 at his place (and reading the first few chapters of the book we bought together).

July 6th I got together with some friends (one that I only see about once a year) for dinner and some mini golf.

After I got back I had to make some muffins for the next couple of days and John came over to supervise and hang out because we weren't sure if we would end up seeing each other again in the next 2 weeks.

Why would we not see each other?
Well, on July 7th I went to my relatives cabin.
The 7th and 9th were wonderful days to spend outside in the sun

July 8th was a rainy day so my cousin and I went to the farmers market, read a lot, and put together a puzzle.

For the record, we put this beauty together without a picture to look off of.  I would say the last 50 or so pieces took the majority of the time.

I came back home on the evening of July 9th

Which brings us to today, July 10th
It is HOT outside.  
This morning I went outside to lay in the sun and read and drink my smoothie but I barely lasted out there before I was completely drenched in sweat

I also planted my lemongrass (despite it not having grown roots... I'm just going to hope they grow now that it is planted)
and I checked on my other plants.  
I'm skeptical about how well my tomato plant will do.  Last year I only got 1 tomato on it.  So this year I planted it in a larger pot and there are currently lots of flowers on it.... I'm just unsure of how well it will do.

But look!

I came home to my pepper plant having some flowers on it!

John leaves this evening until the 19th for the lake.  
Right now the plan is for me to join him out there the 12th-15th

Saturday, 4 July 2015

52 Weeks of Cookies - Week 1

Week 1

There was lots to celebrate this week

July 1st - Canada Day
July 2nd - John and I have officially been dating for 6 months
 (but can we all just agree that it feels more like a year?)
July 3rd - My 30th birthday!
July 4th - Independence Day 
(I may not be American but I've often partaken in Independence Day festivities)

So, in honour of all these special occasions my first cookie for the blog was a given

I pretty much followed the instructions (using semi sweet chocolate chips only and some Rainbow Bit cake mix because it was the only one I had in my cupboard).

The results were delightful

I'm feeling obligated to come up with some kind of rating for each cookie recipe I make so for these ones I'm going with 8/10

I'm not a huge fan of sprinkles.  They are tiny and crunchy.  I think it's the same reason I don't like raspberries... their seeds are tiny and crunchy.  But other than those sprinkles they look festive and taste good.  So I'm still giving them a solid 8.  

No one has ever complained about 80%
(except for that super nerdy kid that anything under 99.9% was unacceptable)

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Life Lately


It's been a while

What's been going on?

Here is the quickest of recaps:
1) I went to my cousins baptism
2) I went to a wedding with John and I was looking great.  For some reason we didn't take pictures.
3) School is done (Yay!) 
4) No, I don't have a job for next year... yet
5) I've officially met all of John's immediate family.
6) Yesterday was Canada Day and John and I went to see fireworks.  AND I must say that I think we got one of the best spots to view them.
7) I was going to have a pool party last weekend but then it decided to storm all day Saturday.  BUT, because Shelley is insistent that my spare room is her room to change in I was forced to clean it up because all my school stuff was strewn about in there.  Now that room is looking pretty tidy and I got it done ahead of schedule!
8) My cousin invited me out to the cabin for a few days next week!  I'm looking forward to some time away, boat rides, and lounging by (in?) the water.
9) My students think I like tea and keep giving me different kinds of tea.  So, I've decided to get into "sun tea".  I tested it out and without sugar it is pretty gross.  Then I loaded the jar with sugar and it wasn't too bad (John says I over sugared it though).  Sugar water anyone?
10) In a couple of hours I'm heading out to my cousin's baby shower... So I guess I should get that present wrapped.
11)  My cousins and friends threw a surprise birthday party for me.  There was even a chocolate banana cake!
12) Oh yeah, tomorrow is my birthday.