Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 RECAP

Celebrating my Dad's 75th birthday in Nova Scotia.
I like "blogging". I enjoying writing and this is my outlet for it. But it's also a great way to keep track of my life. My blog is like an online diary that I share with the public, and it's interesting for me to look back.

I've heard a few people mention that they can't wait to see the end of 2013, that it hasn't been a good year. True, we lost a few dear friends this year and had to deal with some other hardships, but it hasn't been all bad, and I'd like to focus on the good that happened.

January -  I fly to Nova Scotia to spend my Dad's 75th birthday with him. We have a good visit even though I was only there for a few days.

February - We take advantage of the winter weather and enjoy Algonquin Park with friends and visit Johnson's Cranberry Marsh for the first time and enjoy snow shoeing.

March - Canada loses a legend with the passing of Stompin Tom Connors. Rob and I get out for the last of the winter birding. 

April - We celebrate Easter in Alberta, and Rob finally meets my brother and his family. I also fly to Las Vegas on a whirlwind trip to do the VIP Meet & Greet thing with Def Leppard!

Dream come true - April 3rd, VIP Meet & Greet with Def Leppard.

May - It's a birding bonanza as Spring migration is in full swing! We have our best views of many different types of warblers in Point Pelee. and we're out birding most of our two week vacation. We also lose a dear friend with the passing of  Big Frank, I owe him so much and think of him often.

June - I celebrate my 44th birthday.

July - We spend most of our summer weekends enjoying the backyard, alone or with friends.

August - I treat myself to a front row VIP package to see country super star, Kenny Chesney and discover his amazing coconut rum, Blue Bay Chair..

September - We celebrate Rob's 44th birthday in Algonquin and also make it a late honeymoon. There wasn't much "honey" in the "moon" though, as we were both fighting colds, but we made the best of it. We also go to my Uncle Bobby's in Gananoque where Rob FINALLY gets to meet my Dad!  

My favorite picture from the weekend with my Dad.

October - We enjoy a few weekend road trips that involves lots of raptors and I have my "12th Annual Girls Getaway Weekend" at the Briars Resort. 

November - Rob and I celebrate 1 year of marriage in a very special way, delivering an injured Snowy Owl to the Owl Foundation, our first delivery.

December - We enjoy many Christmas gatherings and Toronto sees the worse ice-storm in its history. Rob did a nice blog on how the storm affected us.

Rob and I with Alex, one of CPF's educational birds on our first anniversary.

Here's to a great 2014 for us all, may the happy memories out number the bad!

Friday, December 27, 2013


Rob and I celebrated our 10th Christmas together this year.
This Christmas was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for many people living in Toronto and the GTA, with the massive ice storm that hit the city just a couple days before the big day. We were very lucky, we were only without power 8hrs total, once over night, and again the next day. We had offers to "pack up our zoo" and stay with friends if need be, but luckily for us, we were able to stay put.

When I think back over the past few weeks, my favorite memories and moments are from seeing friends and family. I "Skyped" with family members in other provinces and towns on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We enjoyed Christmas morning at home before heading to Rob's parents for Christmas dinner.

We've had so many Christmas gatherings with friends over the last few weeks, with more to come, as some had to be rescheduled because of the storm. We had and are having a great holiday season, time spent with the people who mean the most to you truly is the greatest gift. I think that's why the Christmas card I received from Rob this year really touched me.

We met in our mid thirties, and I have commented on more then one occasion on how I wish we had of met sooner, like some of our friends. Some of them have been together since high school. I guess we had different paths to follow before it was right for ours to cross.   

The inside reads;
Sometimes I wish that we had of met sooner, that the detours along the way could of been fewer.
But then something tells me we found each other at just the right place in our lives.
Now, here we are - right on time and so right together.
And I want you to know I would've waited forever for this, for you, for the love of my life.   

Another reminder that it's not how much time you have, because there will never be enough, so make the most of the time you have.

 I learned a lot this Christmas; I don't have to bake the same things every year, we don't have to do the same thing every year, plans can get rescheduled and changed, and it's still Christmas. Spending time with family and friends, in person, or on the phone is what really matters.

I hope you all spent time this Christmas with the people who matter to you.


Thursday, December 19, 2013


A new Christmas cookie!
I'm not doing as much Christmas baking this year, but found a new recipe I wanted to try from Hershey's. We have a small dept. lunch on Friday, and I thought these would be perfect to bring in.

48 Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 Cup unsalted butter or margarine (I always use butter when baking, it taste better)
1 Cup white sugar
1 Egg
1 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
2 Cups all -purpose flour
1/4 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Tsp salt (if using salted butter, you can skip this)
2 Tablespoons milk
 Red or green sugar crystals, or powdered sugar to roll in. (I skipped doing this)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.
2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

Rob tried them when he got home from work last night and wrote "Goooood :)" on the note pad, so they must be good.*wink*

For this and other great Hershey recipes, click HERE. I highly recommend their Peanut Butter Blossom Recipe.
A fun, festive looking cookie.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Having fun in the snow!
Toronto had it's first good dumping of snow in a couple years yesterday and I felt like a little kid when I got up this morning and peered out the window. I couldn't wait to get out and play in it!!

My eyes are closed because I'm laughing.
Getting ready to make a "Snow Angel".
Swish, swish, swish!
Help me up!?
You're never too old to play in the snow!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Christmas card from Mom & Dad, 1989.

What an absolute joy it was to find this card this morning! I had been thinking about it all week.

This is the second Christmas without Mom, and even though I love this time of year, it's a little sad too. This Christmas card is special to me. It's the one she bought for me my first year away from home for Christmas. It was 1989 and I was spending Christmas with my brother in Toronto, in our new apartment. I had left Nova Scotia in March of that year to live in Toronto, Ontario.

I remember Mom had a difficult time getting into the holiday spirit that year without any of her children home. And I remember her telling me that this card really spoke to her, as it reminded her of Christmas pasts.

I'm not a pack rat, and I don't keep a lot of things, but I am so happy that I kept this, and I will treasure it every Christmas.  

Click to enlarge and read.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Letters to Santa from the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street
I have always loved sending and receiving Christmas cards. If you're on my list, you've probably already received yours. I now have a favor to ask of my blog readers, no matter where in the world you are. I would like you to mail a Christmas card to a couple in P.E.I. Why? Their son can explain better than I. Here are words from him, Mark Enman.
"This is a newspaper article about my mother Bev Enman and how she cherished the tradition of sending Christmas cards. My mom and her husband Donald have had a very rough few years. Both now live in a long term care facility due to the fact that they both suffer with dementia. Here is what I need from you.........It is simple.......My mom loved the movie Miracle on 34th Street. The part when all of the mailbags with letters addressed to Santa are dumped into the court room was her favorite. I want that same miracle for them. Please take the time to send them a Christmas card. If you don't know them, no matter. This would mean the world to them and my family, that suffers with them, especially this time of year. I would love to see their rooms flooded with Christmas cards. Please help me do this."
The mailing address is: Don & Bev Enman, C/O Summer Set Manor, 15 Frank Mellish Street, Summerside, PEI, C1N 0H3, Canada
Here is a link to the story in the Toronto Sun.  A group has also been set up on Facebook; Give Don and Bev a Miracle on 34th Street
Such a small gesture, huge impact. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Us with our feathery friend, Alex, on our first wedding anniversary.
Rob and I had a most memorable first wedding anniversary. It was the day we had a Snowy Owl in our truck.

Three years ago, when we first heard about and visited the Owl Foundation, Rob signed up to be a volunteer driver. They have volunteers all over Ontario who transport injured owls to their facility in Southern Ontario. This past Saturday, November 30th, was our one year wedding anniversary and the first time we helped deliver an owl to the foundation.

Now, Rob and I are never happy to hear about an injured owl or any bird or animal for that matter, but getting to help one this day, made the day even that much more special for us. We didn't have any real plans for the day and when we got the call we were more than happy to help. The volunteer drivers often work in teams to get the owl to the foundation and today was no exception. Our friends Murray and Debbie, who are also volunteer drivers, drove about an hour north of Toronto to pick up the owl, brought it to our place, and we made the drive south to the Owl Foundation.

It was a cold and quiet drive. We didn't turn the heat on for the owls comfort. No music was played and very little talking, as we didn't want to cause the owl any more stress. During the drive I couldn't help but think "I can't believe we have a Snowy Owl in the truck!". The owl didn't make a peep the whole drive.

We were happy to deliver the owl to the foundation and after a quick peek at our special passenger, a gorgeous female Snowy Owl, and a few words with the staff, we were on our way back to Toronto.

Feeling good after delivering our special passenger.
We made it back to the city in time to visit the open house event going on at our local Wild Birds Unlimited, who had some special guests of their own. Tracy and Bruce from the Canadian Peregrine Foundation were there with a couple of the educational birds, Alexandra, a Great Horned Owl, and Cheyenne, a Peregrine Falcon. We have never seen the store so packed! We also volunteer with this organization, so it was nice to see so many people there to check them out.

Rob relieved Bruce for a while by holding Alex, as she can get a little heavy after a while. 

Rob was thrilled to hold Alex for almost an hour.
Tracy with Cheyenne, not sure who loves who more.
Bruce with Alex. Bruce was in charge of fledge watch at our site this year.
After spending over an hour at the store we had to leave to get ready for our dinner date. We were finally trying a restaurant I'd been wanting to check out for years, La Castile. The food was delicious, and I loved the atmosphere. I felt like I was in an old castle, and Belle and Beast (Disney) were going to walk around the corner at any moment. It is a place to go and enjoy a long, leisurely dinner. Rob's parents often go here to celebrate their wedding anniversary, which is part of the reason we decided to go here, and we will make it our anniversary spot as well. As great as the dinner was, I'd be lying if I didn't admit the birds really made our anniversary as special as it was. 

It really was a pretty amazing first wedding anniversary for a couple of bird-nerds!

NOTE: I called to inquire about the Snowy Owl today and was told she is doing very well. Due to the seriousness of her injuries she will be over wintered at the foundation. They believe she was hit by a car due to the bruising and swelling. She has some eye damage as well, but no broken bones. They were moving her to an outdoor enclosure today and she is eating well, all good signs. I will call again in the new year for another update and we are all hopeful for a good recovery and release. She's in the right place for both.

There seems to be an irruption of Snowy Owls this year, please read and share the following advice. Thank you.