Friday, September 30, 2011

Don't forget to stop and smell the apples!

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I'm always a busy person. So, quite often I'll start a post the night before (during commercial breaks from "Prime Suspect", for instance) and then put the finishing touches on it early the next morning before I leave for work (while listening to the revolving door of bathroom ablutions of my 3 girls). That's what I did today.
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But before I finished the post I'd started, I was having tea and catching up on other blogs. And for the 2nd time this week, I came across someone else who was posting on the same thing as I!




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Yes, my life is always busy; and as I age, I've found that I often have to re-evaluate my "want-tos" and my "need-tos" in order to balance my life and my health - both physical and mental - so that I feel happy, fulfilled and rested. I can no longer burn the candle at both ends. Life now is a juggling act; no one day or week is necessarily like the other. I also know that for me, I need to spend a good part of my weekend at home puttering and doing mundane chores. Being busy at home is much more restful than being busy outside the home; and it somehow grounds me in my busy life.


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This weekend will include lunch with friends at a great little cafe; reclining on the sofa to watch 'Fringe' (I'm oh so totally hooked!); a corn boil and the Scarecrow Festival with international students and their host families; ironing; the continuing saga of sorting through my recipes; baking cheese bread; and hopefully lots of laughter.
And in spite of the rain they say will be here, I will spend lots of time being present -- eyes open to see the colors around me, ears open to hear the birds & lawnmowers & young giggly girls, and mouth and nose open for deep breaths of lovely cool air inhaling the scents of the season, the apples and pumpkins that seem to be everywhere.
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Michaela at Collecting the Moments has a post entitled busy days & a rainbow. So go on over and check out her post. And I hope we both brighten your day and start you off on a wonderful weekend.


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It ain't easy bein' green!

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Breakfast for me is usually a smoothie; fruit and yogurt in one glass is quick, easy and nutritious.

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I've been hearing about "super drinks" and the benefits of green smoothies for a while now. But this morning, I decided to give it a try.

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I put about one cup of water in first, added one cup of spinach, half a banana, 1/2 a cup of mandarin orange pieces, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt and 1 tsp honey. I blended it well --- really, really well. And here we are:.

You know that old song: "The first sip is the hardest"? Well it's true; it was scary. But just because I'm scared doesn't mean I won't try something new. So, I went for it


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and it was amazingly good! So, I drank it all. And I'll do it again; perhaps even regularly. I went online to research why green smoothies are supposed to be so good for you, and here (in the proverbial nutshell) is what I found:



  1. They are extremely healthy and easy to digest: the nutrients in these fruits and veggies become homogenized making it easy for the body to assimilate them.

  2. As opposed to juices, they are a complete food because they still have fiber.

  3. They belong to the most palatable dishes for all humans of all ages. With a ratio of fruits to veggies as 60:40 the fruit taste dominates the flavor, yet at the same time the green vegetables balance out the sweetness of the fruit, adding nice zest to it.

  4. It's an easy and tasty way to ensure you consume enouth green vegetables every day. Also, they help form the good habit of eating more greens.

  5. They're easy to make and quick to clean up after; much easier than juicing.

  6. They're supposed to reduce cravings for sugar and other processed foods that are not good for you.

  7. They help improve elimination.

  8. They can help you lose weight.

  9. They're good for your overall beauty: beautiful skin, bright eyes and shiny hair are some of the benefits of increasing your intake of green vegetables.

  10. You will experience overall improved health, increased energy and clear thinking.

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Wow! I know that greens are good for me.


But the only sure thing I can attest to at this point is that this green smoothie tasted really good; and I plan on making them part of my diet.


.................. But if I end up looking like this ...


you'll all be some of the first to know!


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Anybody out there have experience with green smoothies?


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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Never leave home without it!

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My room has been a jumble for quite a while lately. So, this weekend, I cleaned and organized and even got out my winter clothes; I weeded out things that I hadn't worn for a while, passed on the shoes and purses that (even though I love them) I know won't get the use that they deserve. I have so much.
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Now ........... VOILA!
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I can open the doors and easily see what's available. Hmmm? Do I feel like dressing in blue today? Do I need a pick-me-up with something bright and cheerful? Do I need to look ultra-business-like? Should I base my outfit around a certain pair of shoes?
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Next to the closet I've hung the rest of my purses: I like to change up every now and then. Some purses feel luxurious and smell expensive (leather); some add a jolt of color and pizzazz (the red one at the bottom and the pink one at the top); some are practical for heavy-duty thrift shopping or market days (messenger)..
And then there's my dressing table. Everything's clean and neat & tidy once again. My dressing table is next to my bed; so besides my cosmetics for putting my face on in the morning, I like to have some creams and body lotions handy for my night-time. The Burt's Bees' body lotion with royal jelly is wonderful for cracked heels and tired tootsies; the Balea lotion (hiding behind the Burt's) is thick and smells wonderful; and the Bronnley and Watkins lavender lotions are some of my favorites and help to soothe me to sleep if I've had a rough day.
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What about you guys: share with me some of your favorite lotions and creams, etc.
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It feels so good to be organized. Don't know how long it'll stay this way, but clean, new starts give one such hope, don't ya think!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

A touch of Autumn

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I added a little Autumn decor to my surroundings this week. I bought some mums for outside, added my little scarecrows to the hanging box and hung up a little pumpkin trellis that I found at a yard sale this summer. All that remains to be done is the pumpkin carving with the students: I think I'll do autumn pumpkins rather than Jack-o-Lanterns and put battery operated lights in them.
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I've hung my usual fall-colored wreath on the door; and inside, I've put out all my chatchkas.

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Isn't that spider web cute; that's a recent $1 find from The Daisy.
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I'm singing the praises of Friday and am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I wish the same for you.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sweater season is upon us!

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Did you think by my absence that I hadn't been thrifting lately? No, no, no my friends. I've just been accumulating my winter wardrobe so I could surprise you (and me) with the great buys I've made over the past couple of months. Sweater and boot season is upon us!




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I found these great brown suede boots with the awesome back zipper - Frenchies for $6. Very comfy in spite of the high heel; but I still think they'll just be church boots -- you know, the ones you only wear for a couple of hours.


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All the following sweaters were $3.85 at Frenchies. First is this pretty Cleo faux wrap sweater in teal which I've paired with a new black skirt. You can't see the details on the skirt, but it has 2 kick pleats in the back -- very chic, n'est pas!


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This Lily sweater is probably my favorite; I love the polka dot panel down the front..
This white Apostrophe sweater looks much better on me than on the hanger; and everyone needs a good white sweater, right?
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I wasn't sure about buying this one. I love the print and the color and the little bit of bling -- it's Loulou -- but I thought perhaps it wasn't in style this season. Then I said to heck with style and doubts! I slapped my $4 on the counter and happily brought it home.
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And here's another fabulous find: a cotton/spandex blend Eddie Bauer that's so soft! And another beautiful color..
I'm hoping to pull out my winter-wear boxes this weekend. But I think I've got a great start to my "new" winter wardrobe. I love Frenchies! My closet would have so much more room if it wasn't for Frenchies. But oh, how I love my thrift store!


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I'm joining Leigh at Thrifty Thursday #132, Plus a Tablescape (Tales from Bloggeritaville ). Don't forget to stop by and see all the other great thrifty buys.


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Serendipity

ser·en·dip·i·ty
n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.






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Take a cup of strawberries and sprinkle them with 1 tsp sugar and 1 Tbsp Amaretto




Let them sit for an hour or so





Mix this together with vanilla yogurt and granola.




Eat.




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O my goodness!




Serendipity!








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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pickling Day

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Saturday was pickling day; for our household, that means bread and butter pickles as well as Million Dollar Relish. So, it's up early for me on Saturday (well, I'm up anyway), assemble the ingredients and get out "ma main men", the 2 guys I couldn't do without on this day -- the food processor and mandolin slicer. I remember the days of hand slicing and dicing!












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I started with the relish: cucumbers, red & green peppers and onions get chopped really small and then sit in a brine for at least 7-8 hours. The B'n'B pickles don't take as much time: cucumbers and onions get sliced, and after you've washed the blood off that last cucumber and bandaged your thumb (That mandolin is sharp!), you sprinkle with coarse salt and ice cubes and let that sit for 3 hours.










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Well, timing is everything, right? And coincidentally ..... 3 hours is just enough time to have coffee and a danish from the Farmer's Market before heading to Frenchies for some stellar thrifting. (I got some great Halloween stuff ... but that's another post.)
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Back home -- wearing a satisfied grin and a sturdy apron -- the hard work begins. There's the sterilizing of all those jars and lids, (Does anyone else keep the 1st batches hot in their oven while subsequent jars are on the boil?), measuring of vinegar, sugar and spices, the rinsing of the cucumber slices, and into the pot it goes. Ummmm! The smell is heavenly! Scoop and fill, scoop and fill, scoop and fill. And later in the day, I get to do it all again for the relish.











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I like to do up little gift packages at Xmas hence the many smaller jars. But what a great day's work!

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I put my feet up with a glass of wine and listen to the lovely "ping" of those jars sealing.

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What do you like to can or bottle?

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award



I received the above award from ❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀ at Creative Cain Cabin . She is an absolute sweetie with a lovely log cabin home and the prettiest jewellery (and shoes and purses that I often covet). Don't we all wish we had flowers around our names?
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The rules for the award are the usual -- tell 7 things about you that people wouldn't otherwise know. I hope I don't repeat myself and bore you to tears. As I've been in this frame of mind lately, let's take a trip down memory lane.


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1. Believe it or not, I was relatively shy and quiet as a child. I'm not sure when that changed ..... but change it did! (There were many notes home from teachers stating "Sandra tends to talk a lot")
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2. One of my favorite childhood memories is of a Christmas outfit my Mom bought me for my school concert when I was about 10 years old. It was a deep blue, full-skirted velvet dress with attached crinoline and I wore it with my new black patent leather kitten heeled shoes. (My sister had the same thing in red.)















3. Another of my memories from childhood is that of falling out of a moving vehicle. My Dad had just picked me up from a weekend stay at my Grandma's house, so I was alone in the backseat. He was driving slowly around the sharp turn of Herald Avenue (one way street) ... I must have been leaning on the car door (those were the days of no car seats or seat belts and [apparently] inadequate locking systems) ... the car radio was playing (probably loudly knowing my Dad) ... when suddenly I found myself rolling to the curb near the Thrift Mart! I wasn't terribly hurt, just minor scraping. And some nice man picked me up, dusted me off & dried my tears. By the time my Dad even noticed that I wasn't in the car anymore (probably due to how quiet the back seat had become!!), and made the loop back around Herald Avenue, I was sitting on the curb waiting for him. I think I got ice cream after that -- it has amazing healing properties!.
4. I have always had an inordinate fondness for plaids: big, small, bright, soft. However, it took years for me to realize that I could love them without wanting to wear them. (Cue memory of a jumper I wore in my late 20's and a co-workers comment about it putting him in mind of his Grandmothers sofa!) Plaid and I now have an understanding: it understands that I love it; I understand that I must love it from a distance. Sort of like a plaid restraining order!
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6. I'm the type of gal who has shoe boxes of memorabilia sitting around ; and every few years, I like to open it. I still have the sugar doves that were on my Nanny and Poppy's 50th wedding anniversary cake in 1969. And when I look at them, I remember vivid details about what I wore and who I danced with.


7. In my early teens, I fell in love with Kermit the Frog after I saw and heard him sing "The Rainbow Connection". He's on my playlist, I know most of the words to the song, and I still along with him when I listen.

"Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.

La la la, la la la La Laa, la la Laaa, la la Laaa, la laaaa laaaaaaa"




Ahhh, I'm all soft and misty-eyed now! So, I lovingly pass this award on to:




- Sweet Tea at SWEET TEA




Recipients - It's up to you whether or not you want to participate in this; but please don't feel obligated to do so or to divulge information. No pressure!


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And thank you so much ❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀ for the lovely and thoughtful award.



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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Computer troubles anyone?

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To date, whenever my computer has made funny noises, THIS is never what it's been saying to me? I guess I need Elvis in the building.
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And you have to watch this at least three times:


  1. Once for the whole Elvis experience

  2. The second time for the dancing girl in the pink dress with matching hair bow and red-headed Sir Walter Raleigh in the orange shirt and brown satin vest. (Cudoes for combing modern 60's dance moves with the limbo, buddy!)

  3. And the third (and all consecutive times) for all the other dancers and their far-out, groovy fashions!

All I can say is I am diggin' that crazy scene!


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P.S. - FYI, I made a dress in Grade 10 Home Ec just like the one worn by that girl that Elvis is singing to -- but mine was a teal blue satin with a slight brocade pattern on it! Ewwwwwwww! I know, I know; you're all jealous! .



P.P.S. - Was that Gary Pucket from the Union Gap dancing there wearing the shades, green jacket and flouncy pirate shirt?


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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I am ready to let go of summer and embrace fall. She has wooed me once again.
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This weekend at the Farmer's Market, there were Gravenstein apples. Have you ever had one? They are so delicious -- a tart/sweet experience that can only be had for a month or two each fall because they don't keep well over winter. And they're usually on the smaller side --- so you can eat 2 at a time without feeling like a piggy!


The days have still been warm. But evenings have cooled considerably and mornings are chilly. I refuse to close my bedroom window; so I had to put my thermal blanket on my bed. (I still get to stick my toes out.) It's lovely to wake feeling the cool air on my nose and yet be all snuggly under the covers.
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I need to wear a light jacket or sweater when I set off for work. And I needed to turn on the small space heater by my feet for the first hour when I arrived at work! I made an extra cup of tea to help warm me as well. And I thought about the arrival of fall .....
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I thought of the happiness I get when I reacquaint myself with my autumn wardrobe (like old familiar friends). I thought of warmer sweaters and walking shoes & boots; of hats and light weight gloves. I thought of how wonderful it is to walk in the cooler temperatures until your body warms up and you can see your breath. I thought of the leaves changing color; of scarecrow festivals and thick soups & stews; of cobblers & crisps; of baked winter squash (with drizzles of butter and maple syrup); of pumpkin carving and (even better) pumpkin pie.
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I thought of how blessed I feel at this time of year to live in a 4 season climate.
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And I thought of all the things I can do to introduce the beauty of the seasons and this province to my international students.
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The seasons are like my children -- I love them all equally, but there are some things that each one does that the others just can't compete with.


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ahhhh! That was lovely!

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Ahhhhh! Sundays are so relaxing!
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I love the habit of meeting with other Christians on Sunday mornings -- worshipping and laying all my cares and worries at the feet of Him who is so much better able to carry them than I am.
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Then it was the perfect afternoon to amble. So, we choose Lunenburg. Up and down the streets past sherbet-colored buildings; in and out of the loveliest shops; looking and touching and sniffing such pretty items..
We treated ourselves to Chai lattes and shared Key Lime and Dark Chocolate cheesecakes, more walking and ... home.


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Then a lovely rest in the sunshine.


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Dinner was oven fried chicken, Jasmine rice and fresh baby beets. Isn't harvest season wonderful!


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The rest of my bag of beets were used to make Newfoundland beet salad. (I don't know if anyone else makes this recipe?) It's a very simple recipe: cubed potatoes, cubed beets, a little chopped green onion and mayo. Mix; chill; gobble down for work and/or school lunch! Enjoy!


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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

10 Rules for Being Human

This is a little something I came across the other day that was just too good to keep to myself. It should be printed out and passed on to our children when they reach adolescence; and it should periodically be re-issued. (As well as being tucked into our own inbox every now and then!)
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Enjoy!





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Ten Rules for Being Human
by Cherie Carter-Scott

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."


3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."


4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.


5.Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.


6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."


7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.


9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.


10. You will forget all this.


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My advice?

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  • Enjoy being a human.

  • And don't be too hard on yourself ..... you're only human!

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September is .....

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I didn't want August to leave, but I hope that you don't all think that I don't like September or the approach of autumn. Not at all! I love the seasons and feel blessed that I get to experience all four of them (even if one does tend to linger a little longer than may be necessary).
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And the month of September is full of great holidays and observances.






  • Did you know that September is Awareness Month for Gynecology Cancer, Leukemia & Lymphoma, Ovarian Cancer, Prostate Cancer and Pediatric Cancer. Let's all make extra effort this month to pray for a cure.


  • Tolkien Week is September 18-24. So, for those of you who live in comfy holes in the ground, eat more than one breakfast or have unusually hairy feet -- more cause to celebrate. Me? I'll probably have an extra breakfast on Hobbit Day (the 22nd) and give some extra love to "My Precious'es".


  • It's National Fruit and Veggie Month - A particularly tasty month as well as an easy one to celebrate with all the harvesting going on.


  • It's also Healthy Aging Month (see above)


  • And it's Women's Friendship Month. I love my gal-pals, you bloggie friends included. It would be a much sadder world without the support and love we give one another. Women are wonderful!


  • Sept 1-10 is International Enthusiasm Week. I'm enthusiastic about the 3 beautiful girls who are living with me this year and about school starting today and the disciplines and routines being re-introduced to my lifestyle.


  • Sept 4-10 is National Waffle Week; and although I didn't make waffles yesterday, I did celebrate Labour Day and my new students by making delicious pancakes with maple syrup, strawberry & peach sauce and whipped cream. A "labour" of love -- in the making and the eating!


  • Sept 12-17 is Line Dance Week. Where have all the line dancers gone? And I don't mean John Travolta and Debra Winger. I know where they are; they're in line for orthotics and Geritol just like the rest of us. But what about the younger generation? You'd think by now they would have discovered the fun in line dancing. (And no; a group of you groin bumping in a row does NOT count as a line dance!)


  • Sept 1st was also Chicken Boy's Day? Anyone know what that one is about 'cause I sure didn't celebrate. Who is Chicken Boy? Does it have anything to do with this little cutie?


  • Sept 2nd was National Lazy Mom's Day -- not really a problem for me!


  • Sept 7th is Salami Day: I will participate by making pizza for supper. I like that day!


  • Please join me on the 9th for Wonderful Weirdoes Day. I love weirdoes -- well some weirdoes. I think uniqueness should be celebrated and practiced and applauded and encouraged. Being different is not always a bad thing!


  • International Chocolate Day is the 13th -- again, not a problem for me!


  • September also happens to be Fall Hat Month and the 15th is Felt Hat Day. Fall is the perfect time to begin wearing hats again; I like adorning my hats with different broaches and pins.


  • I'm going to try not to participate in Big Whopper Liar Day on the 17th. (My dad, who tells a great story, will not have a problem celebrating!!!)


  • National Respect Day is the 18th. Sing it, Aretha!


  • Talk Like a Pirate Day is the 19th. Aaaarggg!


  • Dear Diary Day is the 22nd. (I often but not always journal. I'll make sure I do that day.)


  • And Love Note Day is the 23rd.


  • But I bet you probably didn't know that Fish Amnesty Day is the 24th. Now, I need some explanation with that one as well. I try to keep up on current events, but I've never heard of any underwater political prisoners. Perhaps I'm just not herring all the news. Maybe I should tuna in to a different channel!


  • National One-Hit Wonder Day is Sept 25th. I'll check out Edison Lighthouse (Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes) on utube; but I'll probably give a miss to The Pepkins (Gimme dat ding).


  • And finally, on the 30th, we can all Ask A Stupid Question without fear of reprisal. Mark it on your calendar! (Still, it leaves me wondering if October 1st could be Give a Sarcastic Answer day. You'd think, right?)


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See what a fun month September can be. Enjoy!



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