Tuesday, December 30, 2014


We were pretty excited to see Chip and Dale unexpectedly! 
It's been over a month since my trip to Orlando, and I heard a lady named Nancy has been waiting for my blog about it. I was sick when we got back, and then busy catching up with work and Christmas, but here it finally is. 

My girlfriend, Andi, and I had planned and saved for this trip for a year, and we were both equally excited about it, but maybe a little more so for Andi, as it was her first time going to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios!

Unfortunately, sometimes things happen that we can't really control that can put a damper on things. Andi got sick before we left with what she now calls the "Disney Flu". I got it half way into our trip.
Still, we made the best of it, we didn't get to do everything we had planned, but we soldiered on making the best of what we did do. I'm going to write the highlights for each day, which is followed by my top pics from the trip. These are the pics that jumped out at me when I was looking through the over one thousand of them. They may not be the best photo, but they brought back a great memory or emotion.

Some of the best moments and memories from this trip weren't captured with a photo, they couldn't be. Like, when Andi jumped out of her seat during "It's Tough to be a Bug", and I roared with laughter. Or when we had our private Ollivandor's Wand Experience, thanks to Andi's wandering at Diagon Alley! It's hard to capture the joy I feel having a Butterbeer or the excitement I feel just being there. I love going to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, not just because of all the stuff there is to do, but how being there makes me feel, like a child again, without a care in the world. It truly is a magical place, and I look forward to returning.

Here's the recap;

Sunday, Nov. 16- Arrive in Orlando and take the Magic Bus to Port Orleans, Riverside. Boat to Downtown Disney to shop and have dinner at Raglan Road.

Monday, Nov. 17- Early start to the day to make the opening show for Magic Kingdom. Lunch at Be Our Guest. Meet Winnie and Tigger, and go on a few rides; The Teacups, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Winne the Pooh.

Tuesday, Nov. 18- Breakfast in Animal Kingdom at Tusker House, where Andi meets Mickey Mouse for the first time, on his 86th birthday no less. We unexpectedly meet Chip and Dale before we are even in the park! We also meet Daisy, Donald and Goofy at breakfast.

Wednesday, Nov. 19- Enjoy Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot before going through the world pavilions. Enjoy a Frozen Grey Goose slushie in "France", and we both really enjoyed the Germany pavilion. Andi goes on Soarin, but I chicken out at the last minute. She loved it. We dine with visits from Chip, Dale, Pluto and Mickey at Garden Grill. I wait in line to meet my first ever Princess, my favorite one, Snow White. We have a lovely chat about men.    

Thursday, Nov. 20- Back to Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! Before the party we have an early dinner with Winnie the Pooh and his friends at Crystal Palace. We see Elsa (Frozen) freeze the castle before the awesome parade.

Friday, Nov. 21- We move to the Hard Rock Hotel for our last 3 nights. It's finally warmed up a little and we enjoy lounging around the pool. Andi is well on the mend, and I'm getting sicker by the minute.

Saturday, Nov. 22- We visit Universal Studios and the newly opened Diagon Alley, it's amazing. We have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron and go on the Hogwarts Express.

Sunday, Nov. 23- Andi heads out before me as I am need of more rest now that I have the Disney Flu, but join her at the park later and meet Bumblebee. We also have a private Ollivandor's Wand Experience which was truly magical! We enjoy a lovely late lunch at Emeril's on City Walk, before going our separate ways to take in a few more things we each wanted to see at the parks.  

Monday, Nov. 24- Back to Toronto.
Please enjoy a few photos from our trip.  (click on them to enlarge)

Hug from Dale.
I think Minnie and Andi may be related.
That's our lion look.
A little Disney magic!
Entering Magic Kingdom the 2nd time this trip.
The Frozen castle show was breath taking.
Olaf! Taken during the Christmas party parade.
It finally warmed up! Hard Rock Hotel pool.
Named after G n R original bassist, Duff McKagan. 
Running into friends at Diagon Alley.
Minion!!! Whaa??
I was thrilled to meet Bumblebee!
I adore Seuss Landing at Universal!


It's no secret that we like owls, and a lot of owl themed gifts were under the tree this year. Some I bought for Rob, and some were from friends.

I bought Rob a Steiff stuffed owl from the German pavillion at Epcot in November and also an owl themed "Our Family" Xmas ornament. We received a couple other owl ornaments from friends tied to our gifts from them.

My niece sent us owl mugs from Alberta, and they arrived all in one piece! I received a lovely owl bracelet and probably the most interesting gift was a new fun way to fry eggs!

It was a very owlie Christmas at our house this year, as it started with our owl themed Christmas tree. I hope you all had a great one!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Shortbread Cookies, Cherry Balls, and Candy Cane Blossoms
I don't do a lot of baking, but there are a few things I like to make for Christmas. A lot of my Christmas baking gets passed on to friends as a little gift, and of course I keep a bit for Rob and I to enjoy.

The very first thing I ever remember learning to make as a child is Non-Cook Cherry Balls, our neighbor, Marilyn, made them, and I love them. They are as much a part of my Christmas as having a tree.


1.5 Cups Icing Sugar
1/2 Cup Fine Coconut
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)
1 TSP Vanilla
1/2  to 3/4  Cup Graham Crumbs
About 24 Maraschino Cherries (Drained from bottle juice)

Mix first 4 ingredients to dough like consistency. Pinch off a piece of dough, about small walnut size, put cherry in centre and roll into ball shape. Roll in Graham Crumbs. Refrigerate. Makes about 24 balls.

You can find my Shortbread recipe HERE, and my Candy Cane Blossoms recipe HERE.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I didn't win it so I bought it!
I heard last year that the "experts" say you should buy yourself a little something while you are doing your Christmas shopping, it makes you feel good. I've been doing that for years! I always buy myself a few things during the season, and today my last "gift for me" arrived.

The first thing I purchased for myself  this season is the above owl serving board from Jennifer's of Nova Scotia. I really did try to win it first through a Facebook contest. I can't wait to use it!   

Rob and I finally made a road trip to Hyde Park Feed and Country Store this past Saturday. We've been wanting to visit for over a year. We picked up loads of goodies there; local maple syrup, bees wax candles, sparkling apple cider, home made soap, and more. We also purchased the beautiful welcome mat pictured below. Click on the pictures for a closer look!

It's too pretty to step on!
On our way back home we stopped into Featherfields where I was thrilled to purchase a Hobbit Fairy Door made by Sugar Bush Fairies.

This is a picture of the Hobbit Door I have.
When I got home I checked out the Sugar Bush Fairies Facebook page because I hadn't in a while and my jaw hit the floor when I saw the Harry Potter series they had! I quickly got in touch with them and bought the whole set! They arrived today!

I HAD to have these!
I just love the fairy doors, you can put them inside your house like I have, or outside in your garden. They are beautifully handcrafted from premium western red cedar. I have purchased them as gifts for others in the past and they have always been well received. I'm now the proud owner of seven! (and I'm not done yet)

If you haven't bought yourself a little something yet, I highly suggest you do!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


This Christmas package made my whole day!
I don't remember who replied to who's "tweet" first, but I know the tweet involved "Airbourne", the only new rock band I listen to and love. I started following Emma on Twitter and she started following me after that first initial tweet.

Turns out her significant other, Mark, works for Airbourne and was on the road with them when we connected on Twitter. But we had more in common then the band. A love of nature, our fur babies, and more recently, Christmas. I asked her for her mailing address so I could send her a Christmas card, and she asked for mine. I was quite excited about the idea of getting a card from so far away.

I mailed a Christmas card adorned with a Snowy Owl to her quite early, thinking it would take ages to get there, but she received it before the end of November! LOL! I also included a desk calendar that we had made for 2015 for a few friends featuring some of Rob's wildlife photos. She seemed very happy with the card and the little gift.

I returned to work this past Monday after being off for a few weeks, as I got sick while on vacation and needed to take an extra week off to recover from a respiratory infection. Needless to say I was quite tired and stressed out on my way home Monday from the mountain of work I had to deal with.

When I was walking up the walkway to the house, I saw a package sticking out of the mailbox and when I held it in my hands and realized who it was from I forgot all about work! I was overwhelmed with what she sent me; a funny Christmas card, Scottish Shortbread, a couple Airbourne laminates  from their recent Canadian tour, and a Christmas Tree made out of Airbourne guitar picks! It was awesome!! It was such a thoughtful gift and completely lifted my spirits.

Rock and Roll, bringing people together all over the world! Merry Chris Moose Everyone!

My funny Christmas card from Scotland!
Can't wait to try these with Rob on the weekend.
My awesome Airbourne guitar pick Xmas Tree and Laminates!

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Our 10th Xmas tree together!
We've been talking about it for the last couple years, but this year, our 10th Christmas together, we did it, an "Owl Christmas Tree".

Our tree this year is adorned with about two dozen unique owl ornaments, including the topper. The filler ornaments are candy canes, red glittery snowflakes, a few bows, and red and gold small balls. It's bloody beautiful! I am seriously in love with our tree this year and can't stop looking at it! Click on the picture to get a better look.

I was also thrilled that Rob found a box of Ganong chocolates to put under it after being to about ten different stores! Ganong Chocolates are made in New Brunswick.  I need some tastes of the Maritimes during the season.

Want to know why putting a box of chocolates under the Christmas Tree is so important to me?
Read my blog post, "Pot of Gold" from 2009.

I'm so glad to finally be feeling better and finding my Christmas spirit!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


The day after my last blog post I flew off to Orlando, Florida for 8 days of sun in the fun at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Things didn't go quite as planned.

My traveling companion and friend, Andi, had caught a horrible cold a few days before our trip and was still under the weather when we left. We arrived to hot and sunny weather, which quickly disappeared to unseasonable cool and rainy weather which continued for most of our trip.

We made the most of it, but 4 days into the trip I got sick, and as Andi got better, I got worse. I have never looked more forward to coming home from a trip then I did this one.

Rob and I had a week off together after I returned to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary. I thought a day or two of rest on the couch would have me back to my ole self and we could enjoy the remainder of our vacation together, as we had a lot of fun things planned. That didn't happen, I got worse.

We started our anniversary weekend off with a trip to the walk-in clinic, as my doctor was on vacation. I was put on a course of antibiotics for a suspected bacterial respiratory infection.

Our vacation came and went, as did our anniversary, with me still resting on the couch waiting for this horrible illness to pass.

I was suppose to return to work yesterday, but I am still too unwell. I am improving since starting the medication, but it is slow, and it's going to take a while for me to be back to my old self. I have never wanted to be return to work so bad. This time of year at work is always fun, and I missed our Christmas lunch today.

Rob was a trooper through the whole thing, as my illness wrecked his vacation too. He took good care of me the whole time and didn't complain once. 

I will eventually blog about the time in Orlando, but when I'm feeling better.

Our first anniversary was so great and memorable, and this one will be memorable too, for an entirely different reason.


Saturday, November 15, 2014


I remember the first time my BlackBerry rang, someone was calling and I had no idea how to answer it! Who calls anymore? Email, text and Facebook seem to be the way to stay in touch these days. I do all 3, I like the convenience, and having the easy connection with friends and family all over the country.

But something that use to be normal happened this week, and it had a ripple effect. I had girlfriends call me on my land-line a couple nights this week! I could actually hear their voices and their laughter instead of reading LOL.

I enjoyed these conversations on the phone so much, I telephoned other girlfriends throughout the week in the evenings, and called some family members too!

I enjoy social media, and text and emailing have their place, but having a good chat on the phone can do wonders, and I think I will start doing that a lot more.

NOTE: No blogs for a week or so, I'm on vacation and off for the fun and sun of Orlando!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Meadow checking out her prize basket.
Our veterinary clinic, Royal York Animal Hospital, ran a Halloween photo contest this year on their Facebook page. Customers were asked to post a pic of their pet dressed up and the top two dog and cat pictures with the most "Likes" won a gift basket.

I decided to enter a photo of Meadow and put the call out to our Facebook friends to vote. I knew right away that I wanted to donate the prize if we won, to Toronto Cat Rescue, an organization that a dear friend is quite involved with that helps find homes for rescued cats.

Meadow is pretty well taken care of (spoiled rotten), and being able to donate the gift basket to a worthy cause feels great.

"Princess Grumpy", the winning entry.
Overlooking her domain.
We bought a new hat for next year's contest.......

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Dancing with my Dad!
The older I get the more I realize what's truly important in life. It's not how much money you have or your material processions, it's those special moments with loved ones.

Moments and memories that you will think back on that will make you smile and laugh and that you'll talk about for years to come that truly make your life rich.

I had a weekend like that last weekend, when Rob and I drove to Gananoque for my Uncle Bobby's 65th birthday/retirement party. My Dad, and my Aunt Betty and Uncle Dennis had drove up from Nova Scotia. We all had a great time at the party and I got to bank some more of those priceless memories.

Me with my Uncle Bobby.
Rob and I enjoying the fun at the party.
Quote of the night "He sure is a spry ole' bugger" - Rob, talking about my Dad.

Friday, October 17, 2014


The female Snowy Owl we delivered November 30, 2013.
Last month we attended our 4th open house at The Owl Foundation. We've been supporters since we learned about the organization and attend the annual open house every year.

We once again sponsored a releasable owl for a friends milestone birthday, this year for our friend, Patty, and she invited a mutual friend, Cori.

I enjoy the annual trip, it's a great way to get caught up on all that has gone on at the organization and with the resident owls over the past year. To learn more about the wonderful work that takes place here, please click here

It was Patty and Cori's first time visiting the foundation, and I know they enjoyed it very much. Seeing so many magnificent creatures at one time can be a bit overwhelming, and trying to remain quiet is sometimes difficult as excitement can get the better of you.

The highlight of this years visit for Rob and I was without a doubt being able to see the female Snowy Owl we delivered there on our first wedding anniversary last year. She's doing well and recovering from her injuries, we are all hopeful for a release. If that is not possible she may remain as a resident and be allowed to mate with a male Snowy Owl, if she so chooses, and their young would be released to the wild in a suitable habitat.

The resident owls there are kept wild, and allowed to mate and have young, which are released. They also play foster parents to injured and orphaned young owls. It really is all quite amazing.

The lady who started it all back in the 1970's turned 90 years old yesterday. Kay McKeever is something else, and it was nice to see her again this year. Unfortunately, work kept us away from her birthday open house yesterday, but I'm sure she was surrounded by many friends and admirers. 

I cannot recommend this book enough to learn about Kay and how the foundation started.
 To read about last year's visit and the others please click here.

Please enjoy a few photos from our visit this year.

A young Great Gray Owl born to resident parents.
A resident Short-eared owl
A young Snowy Owl born to resident parents.
Foster Mama star, Big Red, a Great Horned Owl. She's raised a lot of young Great Horned Owls over the years!
Two young Great Horned Owls raised by Big Red that will be released.
Sponsoring resident owls or a releasable makes a great gift, and will include an invitation to attend the annual Fall Open House for two people. Make sure to sponsor one yourself!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


The above cartoon pretty much sums up how I've been feeling the last couple months. I've been losing and gaining the same 5lbs for the past two months.

I am eating better, but I lack constancy, and the same goes for the exercise. Still too many nights of unhealthy snacking in front of the TV, too many desserts and grab and go lunches due to lack of planning. I'm also using too many excuses not to exercise; I'm too tired, I have housework to do or I just don't feel like it.

I'm not going to lie, a part of me just wants to throw in the towel, and not worry about it. Maybe wait until the new year....but the rebel part of me that wants to prove to myself that I can do this, and won't let me do that. I'm struggling, but I am not giving up.

Friday, October 10, 2014


First time making Cranberry Apple Walnut Pie, Dec. 2010.

With the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend about to begin, I thought I'd share this recipe I found on allrecipes.ca a few years back that I made some adjustments to. I usually make it at Christmas, but it would totally work for Thanksgiving too. Tastes great and the house will smell amazing while it cooks.


* 5 or 6 baking apples of your choice
* 1 16oz can of whole cranberry sauce
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*  1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 (or, you can use 2 teaspoons of All Spice instead of the above 2 spices)
* 1/4 cup baking walnuts  (optional)
* 1 recipe for a 9" double pie crust or use the ready made Tender Flake Pie Crust like I do.

Preheat oven to 350F

Line pie plate with pastry.
Peel, core and slice apples into a large bowl.
Add can of Cranberries to apples.
Combine all other ingredients into a medium size bowl and mix well. Add this mixture to the apple and cranberry mixture, mix well.  
Pour filling into lined pie plate, cover with top crust. Crimp edges and cut slits in top crust.
Bake approximately 1 hour, until crust is golden brown and filling bubbly.


Thursday, October 2, 2014


A Painted Lady Butterfly at Ruthven Park.
Rob was on vacation last week, and I took the Friday off with him so we could have a long weekend together. We ended up going on a bit of a road trip for the day.

First up, we visited Ruthven Park, as the bird banding station was open for the Fall banding season. Unfortunately, with the extremely warm weather it was pretty quiet for birds, but we did have one very cool sighting, and we also enjoyed the many Butterflies and Dragonflies in the meadow.

Our first Canadian Yellow-billed Cuckoo!
Rob spotted a Yellow-billed Cuckoo down by the river in the trees. This was a pretty exciting sighting for us, as it was only the 2nd time we had seen one. First time was earlier in the Spring, in Cape May, NJ.

Open wing view of the Painted Lady Butterfly.
Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly, we saw many at Ruthven.
A new Dragonfly for us, Arrow Clubtail!
Always makes me a little sad to see the Purple Martin houses lowered for the season.
Box 17 was home to a family of Eastern Bluebirds this season.
After spending a lovely morning at Ruthven we ate our picnic lunch and continued on our way. We had won a raffle prize from The Owl Foundation's open house earlier in the month and went to pick it up. We won a Screech Owl box which we are donating to the Humber Arboretum, a place where we go birding quite often.

After a short visit with a couple of the people who work there, we were on our way again. We stopped at Halifax Donair to pick up a donair pizza for supper.

Tastes just like home!
It was a great day!