Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcoming 2009





















And now let us welcome the new year...full of things that have never been.

Isn't this a lovely new year card? It's from the Pooch & Sweetheart line by Mary Engelbreit. You can find lots of her stuff at http://www.maryengelbreit.com/default.aspx

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

YIKES! 17,000+ stumbles


While stumbling, I came across this image. It prompted me to contemplate my 17,000+ stumbles and the resulting bookmarking of my favourites.

StumbleUpon is addictive. There are so many great, informative sites out there and it is very easy to press the Stumble button on the toolbar to seek yet one more page without thoroughly exploring the site.

My New Year resolution for 2009 is to go back and explore all those pages that moved me to bookmark them. My intention is, in addition to stumbling, is to 'go out and play' and start implementing the knowledge into my life. All those pages peaked my interest; perhaps you will enjoy them too.

I think I'll start at simple.ology and follow this article's recommendations: Want to Have Your Most Productive Day Ever? Body Clock Experts Recommend Super Schedule.

Let the playing begin! No more bookmarking just for manana. Now it will be for Sunday Stumbles, too. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bow Wow


Fluffy and I just finished watching the National Dog Show. The beautiful pointer won Best in Show. Take a peek at this magnificent dog in the video below.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Brilliant gift


My friend Fiona gifted us with this wonderful book. As I expressed in my email to her, unfortunately, any box crossing our threshold is absconded by the parcel-opening monster...my husband.

In my opinion, Make Your Own Cat Toys - Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time is brilliant! It behooves any loving cat owner to obtain one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My 25 things




It's nice to reflect on the things that give us joy during the holidays. Melissa's list at The Inspired Room called 20 Little Things to Treasure at Christmas has inspired me to make a list of my own.

My 25 things, in no particular order:

1. holiday lights
2. John McDermott Christmas special on CBC
3. watching Bad Santa and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
4. listening to The Three Tenors and Gloria Estefan's Christmas Through Your Eyes
5. eggnog
6. eggs Benedict for Christmas breakfast
7. opening up the ornaments before I trim the tree and telling my husband the story of each of them (year after year after year)
8. sipping Tassimo cappuccino
9. sending holiday cards
10. playing with my craft supplies and producing less-than-perfect gifts
11. cinnamon and cloves
12. Voortman's gingerbread men
13. curled up on the chesterfield with my dog bathed in the soft glow of the tree lights
14. Christmas crackers - wearing the silly hats, reciting the stupid jokes, and playing with the cheesy toys
15. champagne for Christmas breakfast
16. getting the parcels ready to go
17. getting excited about checking the progress of the parcels on Canada Post's web site
18. German rum cake
19. chocolate brandy beans
20. holiday phone calls to family and friends
21. taking lots of pictures
22. smiling at and talking to everyone in the stores
23. seeing my husband's happy face
24. spending the holidays with people I love
25. decorating my dog (not his favourite holiday thing)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Words can heal

  1. Here is the summary of the first chapter of the book Words Can Heal Handbook:

    Making fun of someone causes anguish and painful memories.

    If you find yourself about to say something cruel, remember that the words you say in a fit of anger will last a lifetime.

    Harsh words from a stranger can really hurt.

    So much anguish is caused because we simply do not think about another person’s feelings before we speak.

    There is no deeper wound than humiliation.

    Cruelty from the people closest to us stings the most.

    Words have the power to take a life. If you think of your mouth as a deadly weapon, you will be far more careful.

    In the book Words Can Heal Handbook you will find out how to improve your relationships, and how to see if you are unwittingly destroying them. You can read the online version of this book at the following link: http://www.wordscanheal.org/readthehandbook/default.htm

    THE PLEDGE

    I pledge to think more about the words I use.

    I will try to see how gossip hurts people, including myself, and work to eliminate it from my life.

    I will try to replace words that hurt with words that encourage, engage and enrich.

    I will not become discouraged when I am unable to choose words perfectly, because making the world a better place is hard work.

    And I am pledging to do that, one word at a time.

    I took the pledge; you can too at: http://www.wordscanheal.org/takethepledge.htm

Friday, December 19, 2008

A must read


Here's a truly awesome book for children & adults alike.

Links updated November 2012: The online version is no longer available but the author now has a web site at An Awesome Book! by Dallas Clayton

He also has a blog at Dallas Clayton

12 laws of life


Here is a link to an amazing article that I found while surfing: 12 Laws of Life I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Implementing these in my life is a worthy New Year's resolution.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silly girlie


This is my friend Janet's cat, Shilo.

She always sits on the shower curtain rod watching Janet take her shower. Wednesday morning, she stayed up there long enough for Janet to dry off and take her picture.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

128 completely free icons


You have to love freebies! Just go over to the following web page http://wefunction.com/2008/07/function-free-icon-set/ to upload a set of 128 completely free function icons.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The spirit of giving




I received the following email from a friend recently who felt moved to support the non-profit organization, Okala Foundation, which is run by a group of mutual acquaintances. If you would like to make a large difference in someone's life, I would happily encourage you to support Okala Foundation. It is run by reputable, dedicated people who truly care about the plight of the needy in this world and strive to give them tools to support themselves. It takes surprising little to affect a huge change.

Hi Everyone,

This is a photograph of a small group of children in Cameroon, Africa. There are two villages that Okala currently supports, Meyenne, and Ngombe. The children of Ngombe village now attend a new school that was built through funding from Okala Foundation, a non-profit organization put together by a group of women on Facebook, and through sponsorships of $85/year for one child which provides them with a year of schooling, supplies and one meal a day.

Many are orphaned by their parents who either died or are dying from Aids, and many of the children carry the same fate. For most, that one meal is the only one they will have that day given they have no food and no clean running water in the villages where they live.

One day I decided to go through my boxes of things that were in storage and I came across 2 that were filled with stuffed toys and about 80 of my most precious Beanie Babies that I had collected many years ago. My first thought was to list them on ebay, considering the amount of money that went into building my collection.
After I decided to sponsor one of the children I heard that the founder of Okala Foundation was going to Africa to visit them in November. I thought about those beanie babies, and my plans to list them on ebay changed. As I carefully placed each one in the large box I would be sending to Montreal to the Okala founder, Tamara Davy for her trip to Africa, I envisioned the look on the children’s faces as Tamara opened the box and told them they were for them.

In this photograph, the children are holding their very own beanie baby or stuffed animal that they got to choose. I put aside 2 of my favourite beanies along with a card especially for my sponsored child, Therese and I hope to have a photo soon with her holding them.

I am not sending this because I want or need a pat on the back. I wanted to share something with you that has made me very happy. I have realized how much of a difference just one person can make with one small act. If I ever had any doubts that even I can have that kind of an impact, I no longer do.

No amount of money could have brought more satisfaction than knowing that a small group of children will go to sleep at night clutching a little toy that may bring them some comfort and HOPE for a life without the pain and suffering they have lived through and continue to endure…

Gina xo

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Proud to be Canadian


I received this in my email today and wanted to share it. There was no source attributed so I cannot cite it.

Once in a while someone does a nice job of describing a Canadian, this time it was an Australian dentist.

You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian - any Canadian.

An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one.

A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Ukranian, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, M├ętis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians.

A Canadian's religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds. But they also welcome the least - the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected. These are the people who built Canada.

You can try to kill a Canadian, if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world have tried, but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a neighbour. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian.

'Keep your stick on the ice'

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nostalgia


I bought 'I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!' in a subscription to the Dr. Seuss childrens' books for my daughter. We had many happy times enjoying Dr. Seuss' poetry and tongue twisters. This book contained three stories and the title story was a particular favourite of mine. The moral of the story: don't bite off more than you can chew.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yummy supper


This was in the local grocery store flyer. It looked so good that I had to try it. It exceeded my expectations. I've got a feeling that I'll be using this on more vegetables, too.



Green Beans with Pecans & Cranberries

Boil until tender crisp (about 4 minutes), drain and set aside:
- 2 lbs. green beans

Mix together the following over medium heat:
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. grated orange zest

Add and toss together:
- the cooked green beans
- 1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1/2 c. dried cranberries or blueberries
- freshly ground black pepper

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lightbulb moment



Chronic stress kills. Eliminate it...NOW.

I've heard it referred to as 'the silent killer'. Just exactly what is silent about it? Chronic stress screams at us to be addressed through sore stomachs, irritable bowels, racing pulses, skyrocketing blood pressures, etc., etc., etc.

What can we do to eliminate this quality of life disaster? Listen to our bodies and make good, or possibly drastic, lifestyle choices. By gaining control of the chronic stressors, we establish a good wall of defense to unavoidable life stresses.

Similar actions yield similar results. Put your ego aside and muster the courage to change. Remember the lessons of your childhood. They were relatively effortless and produced some of the happiest times in your life.

Get outside- Going out in the sunshine makes us feel good. Experts believe that sunlight causes changes in a tiny structure in the brain called the hypothalamus.

Play - Physical activity combats the production of stress hormones.

Eat properly - The lack of proper nutrients weakens our body and mind.

Have a set bedtime - Good sleep habits set the stage for a healthy life. It affects our mood and stress levels.

Do your homework - Procrastinating produces ill affects and increases stress.

Make friends - A happy social life is stress reducing. It consistently gives a sense of well-being.

Don't watch so much TV - TV and computer use encourages a lifestyle where you are not engaging actively in the real activities and people in your life. Try turning it off.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dangerous dogs?


Is this the face of a dangerous dog? I think not.

Ontario's supreme court recently upheld the breed specific legislation (BSL) banning pit bulls. The judge ruled that the breed was vicious and unpredictable and the public must be protected from them. As an owner, this judgement saddens me.

I cannot speak for all dogs, only mine. He was a rescue from the SPCA and is profoundly deaf, which produced some challenges in training him. He was temperament tested before we adopted him and retested when we took him to his trainer. Our dog passed both tests and the trainer assured us that, "This dog will never bite anyone." This speculation was confirmed much later when he was bitten twice...once by a Rottweiler and once by an American Stafforshire Terrier. He did not retaliate in any way.

Our dog is grandfathered as a pit bull registered, neutered and micro-chipped before the legislation was passed so we do not have to destroy him. BUT...he must live out the rest of his life muzzled in public and cannot be on a leash longer than 6 feet.

Shame on you Ontario for punishing innocent animals instead of addressing the real problem...irresponsible owners.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Holiday prep


It's holiday preparation time. Since moving to Ontario, I fell out of the habit of making special gifts and holiday cards but this year I plan to reinstitute these traditions.

The snowman ornament on the left is one I made quite a few years ago from a burnt out lightbulb, plaster and baked modeling clay.

I bought the raw materials yesterday to make some framed, embroidered silk ribbon pictures. This idea came about this summer when I visited the main branch of the local library. They periodically cull their shelves. There were scads of craft books available and I picked up Sheena Cable's Silk Ribbon Embroidery hard covered book for a song.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Contamination


Am I the only one who thinks that washing recyclable containers causes more damage than treating them as solid waste?

What do people think happens to that biological material that is dumped down the drain?

It contaminates our water, which carries it into our soil that our plants grow in. Also, if the water evaporates, the contamination can get into our air supply.

We are very effectively contaminating our whole environment instead of just containing in a solid waste dump area.

Just my opinion.

Monday, November 3, 2008

15 Things about coffee



We're always hearing how bad coffee is for us. Here's a list of things that perhaps you didn't know about coffee. They can be found at the Industrial Joe Coffee web site.

Health Benefits:
  • Coffee can lift your mood, make you happier, and make you feel better. It alleviates depression.
  • Have a headache? Drink a cup of coffee. It's been shown to help people get rid of their headaches.
  • People who drink coffee have less colon cancer than people who don't. That's a big deal, especially if you have a family history of cancer.
  • Parkinson's disease has also been shown to be reduced by drinking coffee.
  • Coffee drinkers have lower rates of Type II diabetes, and that's an especially important finding since diabetes is becoming more prevalent today.
  • Gallstones and cirrhosis of the liver – both lowered by drinking coffee.
  • Coffee can protect your teeth from cavities.
  • If you have asthma, drinking coffee can help manage your condition and might help you stop an attack if you don't have your medication available.
  • One of the biggest benefits? People who smoke or drink alcohol get protective benefits from drinking coffee and have lower rates of liver problems and heart disease.
Other Uses:
  • Coffee can be used to dye paper and fabrics. If you put the beans in hot water their color will start to come out. You can use that water to dye fibers.
  • If you need a good facial scrub, you can coarsely grind some coffee beans and use them to scrub your face. They have great exfoliating properties.
  • If you've been preparing food and your hands smell like it, rub some coffee beans between your hands for a few seconds; you can also suck on a coffee bean to freshen and clean your breath, no matter what you've been eating.
  • Have a garden? Coffee makes great compost if you don't use it in excess, and sprinkling coffee grounds and orange peels around plants will keep cats from bothering the plants or using the garden as their personal litter box.
  • Greasy pans can be cleaned with the left over ground beans that you used to exfoliate and scrub your face.
  • You can also use coffee beans, placed in a bowl in your refrigerator, to get rid of food smells that might accumulate in there.

These are just a few of the many uses for coffee. Drink it for your health, and use it for all kinds of other things. Coffee has lots of great uses! Experimenting with it can give you even more great ideas about how to use your coffee to improve your life in a lot of ways. It's not just for drinking anymore.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Signs you are Canadian



This list is a variation of the one found at the following link: http://www.wowzone.com/canadian.htm
  • The bulk of anything important is accomplished at Tim Hortons over a double-double.
  • You stand in 'line-ups' at the movie, not 'lines'.
  • You're not offended by the phrase 'homo milk'.
  • You understand the sentence, "Could you please pass me a serviette, I just spilled my poutine (donair, rappie pie, toutons with scrunchions, blueberry grunt, etc.)"
  • You eat chocolate bars instead of candy bars.
  • You drink pop, not soda.
  • You know what it means to be on pogey.
  • You can drink legally while still a teen.
  • You talk about the weather with strangers and friends alike.
  • You don't know or care about the fuss with Cuba, it's just a cheap place to travel with good cigars and no Americans.
  • You can get milk in bags.
  • You know exactly what the phrase 'double-double' means.
  • People ask whether you'd like 'a coffee' rather than 'some coffee'.
  • You drive on a highway, not a freeway.
  • You know what a Robertson screwdriver is.
  • You have Canadian Tire money in your kitchen drawers.
  • You know that Thrills are something to chew and taste like soap.
  • You know that Mounties don't always look like 'that'.
  • You dismiss all beers under 6%.
  • You know that the Friendly Giant isn't a vegetable product line.
  • You know that Casey and Finnegan are not a Celtic musical group.
  • You participated in 'Participaction'.
  • You have an Inuit carving somewhere in your house.
  • You know the French equivalents of 'free', 'prize' and 'no sugar added', thanks to your extensive education in bilingual cereal packaging.
  • Even if you don't like hockey, you still have a favourite NHL team.
  • You can eat more than one maple sugar candy without feeling nauseous.
  • You know what a toque is.
  • You know what an inukshuk is.
  • You know Toronto is not a province (yet).
  • You know that back bacon and Kraft Dinner are a perfectly acceptable meal combination.

Treats for your furry friends

Treat your favourite fur friends by making some homemade treat recipes for Halloween found at PetStyle


You will find such delicacies as:

  • Kitty Pounce Balls

  • Beagle Bagels

  • Sweet Holiday Corn-dy Canes

Monday, October 27, 2008

Giggles or raised eyebrows

I have a push-pull relationship with Natalie Dee's humor. Either way, I continue to return.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

La, la, la, la, la, la!


I came across this while stumbling. It says it all :) And...it is a fitting inauguration to my blog, which is a collection of stuff that passes through my mind in the moment.