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.