Sunday, October 30, 2011

Goodnight Little Garden

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This was the view out of my window yesterday when I awoke. Sunshine was streaming from the sky and the colors were gorgeous. A perfect day to put my garden to bed for the winter. .
I put all the garden furniture and gnomes and butterflies etc etc etc in the shed until not another thing could be tucked in there.

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Then I raked and raked and raked until my arms were ready to give way. Most of the leaves get piled in a hollow in my side garden to go back to the earth. Look at how bare my little garden is now!My garden swing has, unfortunately, seen too many seasons and the fabric on the seat is almost rotten; I didn't trust it this summer to sit on it. Sad to see my lovely swing go:(
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I did bag some leaves. And I moved the autumn flowers to the front so I could enjoy them for what little time is left. And now that the leaves are cleared away, I can also enjoy the Chinese lantern and Turtlehead that are in bloom.

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The weather today is nasty with heavy rains, high winds and temperatures around 7 deg Cel. However, many places in the Atlantic Provinces are experiencing snow. So, we seem to be let off easily.

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Today will be a home day: children plugged into their various electronic devices, me with my feet up enjoying digital TV, strawberry/rhubarb pie and roast chicken in the oven.

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Winter is on it's way, bloggies!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

A huge THANK YOU & a Thrifty Thursday

After my birthday hunting trip, I put myself on a restricted diet -- food, clothes, finances, decor, etc. I'm trying to be more mindful of what I spend and what I put into and onto my body (and abode)! We all know that there's nothing I need! (Well, other than a good man and a few cuddles ......... and the occasional piece of dark chocolate and opportunity to dance!)


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While in the Valley with my TOPS pals last Saturday, I did score a pair of navy blue dress pants that had been on my "I Want" list for over a year: $3.85 didn't break the bank!

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And when I stopped into the Sally Ann yesterday (Salvation Army Thrift Store), I bought half a dozen Chatelaine & Canadian Living magazines (50 cents each) and these seasonal items:

3 Xmas towels and a cute Xmas apron - $4 total.


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Then when I got home from work, there was a little package for me in the mail from my bloggy friend ❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀. She has such a flair for dressing and such a way with scarves and jewellery, some of which she makes herself. When I expressed how much I liked her flower necklace, she wrote me and said she'd be happy to make me one! Isn't that so nice of her! And isn't this the sweetest necklace! The flowers are a jersey knit t-shirt material, so soft. And she choose yellow because I'm always admiring and coveting her yellow shoes, sandals and purses.


THANK YOU SO MUCH DAWN.


(Please check out her blog Creative Cain Cabin).



You really do meet the nicest people through blogging. .


And don't forget to visit Leigh at Thrifty Thursday #136, Plus a Halloween Tablescape. Now that I'm on my belt-tightening budget, I must mostly live vicariously through the thrifting of others!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Shoesday - October 25, 2011

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This is a special Shoesday; a day when dreams come true. (Cue the harp music; crescendo the angelic choir; release the doves........)
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Do you remember my hunting trip in the city? And the post I did showing you the gorgeous red shoes that I found at Naturalizer? The ones that I left on the shelf because of the price? The ones that were $79.99 + 15% HST -- on sale! I showed such good restraint, didn't I.
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Then last week, I received an e-mail coupon from Naturalizer for 30% off any shoe (sale items included) plus free shipping AND a $50 cheque from my Mommy (late birthday gift). Serendipity once again, I'd say! (And I believe I saw the moon and all the stars aligned that night!)
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One week later, look what arrived in the mail...
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They are so comfortable. And look how pretty they look on my feet! Now I should be sure to find a man, right?

(Although they do make me want to say

"There's no place like home! There's no place like home!)

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And as if a day couldn't get any better, I got a call to say I won the Halloween draw at Frenchies. I won these cute little scarecrows!.And if by some chance I meet up with a lion and a tin man before the night is through, I'll know I'm not in Kansas anymore!
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Don't you love late birthday gifts!
Shoes -- They're a good thing.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Early Halloween

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Halloween hit a little early in this area. Friday night, the international students met and had a Halloween party, the first for most of them. Anna came to our house to dress with Mariana, Elly and I -- a bunny, Dorothy (with Toto), a friendly witch and a devilish pirate.
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Every year with these students is different. You get a completely different feeling and reaction from them. Last year's students were very independent and not much into group activities. This year's students are very laid back and easy going and LOVE to get together. Every one of them dressed in costume and although they were drawn to their own nationality, they still mingled.And there was such a lot of dancing (some of us adults included). We have a large group of Brazilians (around 14 of them); and they led the dancing. But when "Great Big Sea" came on the playlist, it was Lynn and I who led the dancing: we got on that dance floor and swung those students around arm by arm until they caught on and began to do it themselves.
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And do you see Charlie Chaplin in the bottom row, second from the right. That's Haoxuan (pronounced something like Zao Zan) from China. He good naturedly sang the national anthems of 5 different countries for the adults -- 5 of the 17 that he knows.
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The kids also got to see the haunted house set up downstairs - a 24 hour project by one of the fathers. I'm sorry I didn't use the nightime setting on my camera because it really was a scream seeing it in the dim light.I loved this guys creativity (and twisted mind!). My Elly and her Korean friends laughed their way through. Then I took Mariana and 6 of her Brazilian girlfriends downstairs; 2 of them screamed so much and finally wouldn't go any further they were so terrified (as they also laughed)!


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Too much cake and pop and cotton candy later, we came back home. What a wonderful time we had. The kids can't wait to go out trick or treating next Monday.


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Sometimes, being an international mother is such great fun! EMy own flesh babies won't tolerate me when I do my "Moves like Jagger" but these international students wanted to learn from a pro! (Or perhaps they were just humoring me?)


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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Favorite Old Cook Book

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I have a lot of cookbooks. I have some favorites, and I love to try new. But, there are tried and true recipes I always go back to. My very first cookbook was this one:
It was given to me by my Mom Xmas 1975, my first year away from home. And it's even more special to me because Cream of the West is the flour that every Newfoundlander used. We are very proud of being Newfies! Purity crackers & cream biscuits, Good Luck margarine and Cream of the West flour -- ALWAYS!
I wish I could sing the radio jingle for you! (And the Ode to Newfoundland! and The Star of Logy Bay! ..... and perhaps Aunt Martha's Sheep!)
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This cookbook is full of hideous 1960's pictures of foods that one would NEVER eat -- i.e. that pink cranberry and celery studded blob of gelatinous goop! (Did anyone ever really eat those?)
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But it also had tons of great recipes which I eagerly tried when I met my husband. Recipes like "Quickie Lamb Chops" -- chops and sliced vegetables layered in a foil envelope and baked until everything is tender and infused with that lovely lamb flavor! OMG! So good!
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And this gorgeous Strawberry Bavarian Cream. Now THIS is the way to do gelatin!

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That book mostly sits on my shelf. But it does come out most years in late October in time to make what I think is the best Christmas fruitcake in the entire universe. This dark beauty is full of fruit and nuts; it's moist and fragrant; it's addictive and oh so fattening! It's my post-Xmas jigsaw puzzle-doing companion (along with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, depending on the time of the day.) It's one of the main reasons for my 5 lb gain over the holidays. But what a way to go!


I've made a few alterations to the recipe to make it my own -- a little more citrus peel; a mixture of Brazil nuts and walnuts; soaking the fruit and nuts in brandy overnight; and wrapping the baked and cooled cake in brandy soaked cheesecloth layers which get re-soaked 2 more times before Xmas.

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My Ex used to love it as well, so there was always someone to help me eat it. But now there's only me, and even a half recipe carries "a lot of weight" (pun intended).

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So now I ponder whether I should or shouldn't bake one this year. I didn't last year -- and I missed it. (And I still gained 5 lb! Must have been that substitution of more Xmas chocolate than usual!) AND it does make the house smell divine and Xmasie.

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I'm thinking on it.

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How about you?


  • Do you have favorite cookbooks that are mostly unused?

  • Do you bake fruitcake for Xmas?

  • Do you also gain 5 lb?

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Autumn Family Play Day!

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The Fall sunshine brings out the little girl in me, and I have to go outside and play. Saturday was the perfect day -- what with it being sandwiched between rainy weeks!
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I dragged my little foreign girls out of bed before noon (what a rotten Mom I am!), and we set off to see what will probably be the last of the Autumn leaves and just hang together. They were so enthusiastic about it! Picture this: dark little heads on their hands, sleepy narrow little slits for eyes, staring morosely out the window thinking of I-pods and laptops and pillows (none of which were in our car!) And Mama next to them singing along with Katie Perry and Usher and trying to engage them in character-building aka geographically educational conversation:
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"Oh! Look at that one! So red!"

"Ohhh! So pretty!"

"Ahhhh, orange, gold and red - all in one tree."
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Not once did I ask "Are you having fun?" Not once did I tell them "Someday you'll be glad you saw colorful leaves in Nova Scotia." No ... I just did what I was supposed to do and treated them like I would my own kids. You know what I mean, right? "We're having a family day and you're coming and you're going to enjoy it! Understand?!"
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There were moments they liked a lot.
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And they thought Lunenburg was pretty. Eating lunch at a little cafe perked them up and fueled them for walking up and down that hilly little town as Mama continued to chatter cheerfully about this historic thingie and that historic thingie. (They did like the Dollar Store.)
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I may have picked up a slightly 'Please! No more!' vibe from them when I dragged them around historic Mahone Bay and into my favorite shoe store. But by then, I had long adopted the stance that someone should enjoy this beautiful day ... and it might as well be me!

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By then, it was time for beverages and dessert at Joanne's Market. Blueberry New York and Peanut Butter Toblerone cheesecake revived us once again. They enjoyed that..
But their eyes really lit up as I said we'll head home now. As we slipped off our shoes in the foyer, I thanked them for coming along and said "It was a fun day!" They smiled at me and dragged their exhausted little bodies upstairs.

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Yes! You know you're the mother of teenagers when you have an "Enforced Family Bonding Day". Thank goodness these ones were too tired (or polite) to whine like my own used to! And I trust that, just like my own, these girls weren't scarred permanently and will actually remember and treasure these days.
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After all - it is a cultural adventure!
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Oct 13.11

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I had a fairly successful hunting trip last weekend. I didn't bag everything on my list; but I did manage to get some good as well as some great bargains.
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  • Two lovely blouses from Value Village: the blue satin was brand new with tags on for $9.99 (a bit more than I usually spend on thrift). But the animal print blouse was a steal! It was priced at 5.99 and had what looked like a coffee stain on the left breast; so I asked the clerk if they took anything off for stains. I got it for $2.99! Ain't that grand then! (I used Oxy and the stain came out beautifully.)
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  • Then I found these 2 purses. I got this knock-off Burberry knapsack for $9.99 (and then a couple of dollars off for some specks of dirt on it); the yellow one is in perfect condition - inside and out; it's was bright, cheerful and $6.99.
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  • The Autumn colored necklace (lower left) was $2.99; and I love these silver plated earrings with blue glass beads (upper left) for $6.99. (But shhhhh! Look what Santa found on the right! These Moonstone earrings in a silver setting that perfectly matche the Moonstone ring my daughter gave me a few years ago. They were $17.99, but still a deal because new they would cost in the $60 range. And a woman needs a few good pieces of jewellry!)


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I smiled extra large at the check-out because I had a 30% off coupon ... which meant that even after Starbucks and Laura Secord, there was still lots of Slush Fund in my tin.



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I hunted through 2 Value Villages for a good used blender. The only one I found sounded like a chainsaw with a bad case of Bronchitis. So, I sent to President's Choice and bought this one for $30; a good price with a 2 year warranty and a clean bill of health..
Re the much-coveted animal print cardigan: after hours of fruitless searching in many stores, I found this one. It was $38 with an extra 20% - still more than I wanted to pay! And I sort-of had my mind set on the traditional beige-brown color rather than this still attractive, but obviously female leopard! So, it sits in it's paper wrapping while I decide whether to keep it or return it for credit. Hmmmm!.



While I'm deciding, I think I'll put my feet up and entertain myself with a few of the magazines I picked up. Maybe Valerie will inspire me to not eat that last piece of pumpkin cheesecake in the fridge!



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Now, go see Leigh of Tales from Bloggeritaville at Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday #134.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shoesday - Oct 11.11

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I had a grand hunting trip on Saturday. I tracked down these shoes at Naturalizer -- Good quality, cushiony and comfortable, not quite as high as they looked at first (they have that little bit of a platform) and on sale! I was quite smitten with these. But $99.99 + tax - $15 birthday coupon was not in my budget.I was sad to leave them on the shelf.
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But then I tried on these: Naturalizer again, same wonderful shoe ... but although these were lower at $79.99 +tax - $15 coupon, I still couldn't justify it! Goodbye little leopard flat! :(
Then I spied these beauties! Ohhhhh! They were so gorgeous on my feet. It was hard to talk myself out of these ones because, you know! They're RED! But they again were $79.99 bla bla bla..

I cried a little when I had to leave them behind. And nothing else after that could even come close to those first finds!
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Except beauty and value! I found these lovlies at Value Village. Not quite the season for nude shoes, but they were THE shoe to have this season. And at $7.99 less 15%, these ones did fit into my budget.
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Strap them to the roof rack, Jeeves!
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I found some good purchases that day and had a lot of fun at Value Village! But that's my Thrifty Thursday post this week.
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I had a wonderful weekend in general with friends and good food and gifts and wine and laughter and dancing wildly, although that last one was done by me ... around the house ... while cooking turkey and listening to Galaxy World Music on digital TV. (Have you ever tried to interpret the various music heard there? Gypsy? Cuban? Ghanan? It's quite fun; and really funny if you're over 50 and white!)
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Now I head into a short, 4 day work week. It is good!
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Monday, October 10, 2011

It's a great day for turkeys!

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It's Canadian Thanksgiving Day! And as I prepare a wonderful feast for my little family, I'll be reflecting on how grateful I am for the many friends and family in my life.


Not only do I have wonderful children, I have been blessed with some wonderful international children (present company included). I have lots of people I can call friends, and there are some I've known for years who are extremely dear to me. My family and I are closer now than we've ever been, more open and demonstrative in our affections. And I've been fortunate to have several older women who have been mentors to me with a couple of them have been like mothers-away-from-home.



One of them is this lady - Mum Brown. I became friends with both her daughters when I first moved up here in my early 20's -- my wild and wooly years when I sowed many acres of wild oats. She not only tolerated me and the shenanigans we three got up to, she fed me home cooked meals, took me on weekends to the cottage, laughed with me (and at me) and loved me. It's been 36 years of love and acceptance. That family is one of my greatest treasures.



And yes, you're right. That's a birthday cake. We also share a birthday: and today is it!



So you see, it's a great day for turkeys!



Happy Canadian Thanksgiving my friends. (You're also on my grateful list.)


















Thursday, October 6, 2011

It'll soon be Hunting Season

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Yes, hunting season is almost upon us. I always stay out of the woods during this time of year!



However, malls and thrift shops are perfectly okay. Here I am, cocked and ready for a major hunting expedition.
And if I catch sight my prey and you're in my way, I apologize ahead of time as many others have fallen before my keen eye and quick step.

(Those green smoothies have worked quickly, huh!)
NOT! I'm simply incognito!



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I have my ammo (my tin of loose change), and I've set my GPS system (Great Priced Sales). This Saturday, I'm off to roam the labyrinth of Value Village and Sally Anns' in the greater Metro area. I'm not adverse to getting tangled in the undergrowth with wild dust bunnies.
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What am I hunting for? I have a list (and I'm checking it twice) I've been keeping for the past months, just waiting for the right time (and a full tin!).


Things like:




  • wild animal print cardigans and shoes


  • a waterproof hat for rainy Autumn days


  • a new blender or smoothie maker (my Magic Bullet is slowly dying)


  • red shoes! (These are "da bomb"! Perfect color and heel height)

  • pretty cotton sheets for my double bed (I have unpretty cotton sheets which are were given to me last summer and are in wonderful condition: but I have to avert my eyes and turn off the light before I get into bed as they are MOST un-pretty! Is it too much to ask for pretty?)


  • a winter pea coat for my daughter ('cause I don't mind hunting for others! All part of the "thrill of the hunt". )



Here's to a successful hunt! I hope I come back with a couple of these babies strapped to the hood of my car.



Monday, October 3, 2011

Shoes-day Oct 4.11

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I went to Frenchies on Friday for Halloween fodder ......
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HONEST! That's all I went for!
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But look what I found for $4.50 -- the cutest little espadrille wedges. .
They're quite comfortable. But until they get worn next summer, I'll go through my nightly ritual of pampering my somewhat unattractive feet. If they can't be pretty, they'd better be well taken care of!
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I found this Bert's Bees with royal jelly in the sale bin for $3.00. It sure feels and smells nice. (And I'm telling myself that 8 months of royal jelly should melt away those bunions? Those little bees work so hard!)
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I do love my feet!
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PS - I did find some good Halloween fodder as well. But you have to be patient.
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit October!

A brand new month! I love October for several reasons: first of all, there's no more messing around weather wise; where September couldn't quite make up it's mind on whether to be hot or cool, October lets you know that Autumn is here. Second, it's Canadian Thanksgiving; and thirdly, it's my birthday (which is like carte blanch for me to treat myself and party with friends and be more idiotic than usual). Then, fourthly, Halloween is at the end of the month (when I get to dress and act like an idot again). Ahhh, joy, bliss! What a month!
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So, what else is happening this month, you ask?

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Well, on a serious note, October is Bully Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness and Aids Awareness month. Lot's of ribbons to add to the broach on your sweater or jacket.



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It is "Eat Better, Eat Together" month; did you know that the children of families who eat together every day are better adjusted and less likely to have trouble in school? Plus there are so many good foods that this month celebrates: it's Apple, Popcorn Popping, Pear & Pineapple, Pizza, Sausage and Spinach month and the 4th is Cinnamon Roll Day, the 14th is Egg Day and the 18th is Chocolate Cupcake Day.Yum yum! I'll have no trouble celebrating October in these ways!
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(October is also National Squirrel Awareness Month; but as I don't find this little fella very appetizing, let's keep him out off the menu okay!)
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October is Menopause Awareness month. But I'm sure that all my female blog friends over the age of 50 can attest to the fact that we don't need a month to become aware of menopause. Ya hear! We don't need a stinking month because we have hot, crabby, tearful, thunderous, sweets-craving daily reminders. So, it's for you other jerks out there!
Okay!



(Beggin your pardon!)

October also happens to be Emotional Wellness month. So, just hand over all the above mentioned foods and allow me to celebrate Massage Therapy week from the 25th to the 29th, and I'll be fine.
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Oct 2nd to 8th is Great Books week. What can I say: there are so many to choose from. So, put your feet up and feed your mind with something wonderful.
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Oct 9th to 15th is National Metric Month. Americans - we Canadians have one up on you here. So, perhaps you can challenge yourself by learning the metric system .............
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or just listen to these guys.
That'll work, huh?




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Oct 24th to 30th is Peace, Friendship & Good Will week. What a nice week that's going to be. Cultivate it during the whole month so when that weeks hits, you'll be a huge hunk of blessing to those around you. And it will further help you celebrate that it's Emotional Wellness month.





Oct 7th is Lee National Denim Day and Smile Day; get those jeans on and wear a big grin! (I'm wearing my relaxed fit ones so my smile isn't impeded by brass studs leaving their mark on my hips.)


Oct 8th is Universal Music Day. Play, sing, listen and dance (and again, it's good for that Emotional Wellness!)


Oct 9th is Clergy Appreciation Day; give them a jar of sheep bite ointment and tell them that you love them! They do a lot for us.


Oct 10th is Kick Butt Day, Canadian Thanksgiving and my birthday. Food (even if I'm the one who'll be cooking it), family, friends and presents mean that it will be a Kick Butt Day for me. (And yes, you have my permission to celebrate my birthday yourselves and have an extra good Kick Butt Day.)


Stay away from National Grouch Day on the 15th and instead celebrate the flip side - Sweetest Day.


Also stay away from Cranky Co-Workers Day on the 27th.


But if you do get stung on the 27th, partake of National Chocolate Day on the 28th. Trust me, you'll feel better.


And of course, the 31st is a favorite day for so many people - it's Halloween! It also happens to be Caramel Apple Day and Magic Day. Figures, huh!



What a fun month this is going to be!


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