Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday Rebuttal

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Remember how I said I was jealous of Black Friday shopping? Well, I'm taking it back. You're right, my friends. No bargain is worth what happens on Black Friday. After all the reports of macing and fights and just general bad behavior, I don't want to be in the middle of that. And I've seen the cartoon that's making the rounds about people rushing and fighting for things that they want on Friday the day after they've given thanks for what they already have! Hmmmm! Cause for reflection.
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So, as is any woman's prerogative, I'm taking it back. I've decided to create my own Black Friday celebration:
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  • Beautiful black, starry nights (relative easy for me to find and dirt cheap)
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  • Delicious black bottomed cupcakes or Black Forest Cake (not difficult to find but will cost me a little coinage)








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  • A darling little black dress (To find the right one can be quite difficult and certainly expensive)


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  • And this beautiful, delicious, darling black man - Shemar Moore! He makes me drool more than any of the above! (Definitely hard to find because there simply is no one equal to Shemar Moore. And cost? Well, there's any dignity I may have claimed to have as well as my virtue and my good Christian name. But something are worth the risk! Sighhhhhh!)

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However, as an poor, aging Canadian living in rural Nova Scotia, THIS is probably the only Black Friday I'll be taking part in for a while:
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Ah well; I can always sweeten the pot and throw in a cruller!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Xmas on the Lahave

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Christmas has arrived in Lunenburg County. I spent the afternoon wandering Lunenburg taking in the Xmas craft fair and the other good things that beautiful little town has to offer. Then this evening, it was off to "Christmas on the LaHave".
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In spite of our warm temperatures lately, it cooled off considerably when the sun went down. Molly and I met with friends downtown and warmed ourselves with cheesie popcorn and delicious apple cider while waiting for the Xmas parade. There were several musical guests to entertain us as we waited, and our singing and dancing helped us stay somewhat warm..
The parade finally made its way to us shortly after 6 pm. There were over 40 floats with Santa, of course, ending the parade and then getting off his float to mix and mingle with the little ones.Also included in the parade were the Fireman's Band, a group of gorgeous little tappers all dressed in white, a couple of local hockey teams, and more dressed and decorated doggies than I've ever seen. It was such fun!
The finale were fireworks over the bridge.
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Ahhh! Warm again, here at home in my jammies; and soon to be huddled under a blankie on the sofa waiting for "Once Upon A Time" to air.

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A fine end to a fine weekend; and a lovely official start to my Christmas season!
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday jealousy!

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Yes, United States of America! This Canadian girl is extremely jealous of your post- Thanksgiving, Black Friday sales.
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I realize that October is too early for post-Thanksgiving Black Friday sales in Canada. But gosh, golly, gee! We need a day for super-duper bargains up here.

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I don't mind battling crowds or waiting in long lines. It's all part of the hunt, right? And it gives me time to recharge my batteries and plan my maneuvers for the next epic battle.

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So why?
Why can't we Canadians get in on the stupendous pre-Xmas shopping savings without having to get in a car/train/airplane and travel to your lovely country to leave our colorful money in your tills?
Why can't we stay in our own lovely country and spend spit for merchandise up here?
And why don't our stores honor more than one coupon and have multiple discounts? Huh?
Why?
Why?
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But no :(
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We Canadians don't have a Black Friday.
No; we'll be having a Blue Friday because on the 25th, we'll all be crying in our much superior Canadian beer while you guys go out and pay - like - a nickle for 51" plasma screen or "I-Phone, the Next Generation"!
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Why, even our cutest little export is getting in on the fun!

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Bloody Americans!

(Wish I was with you today.)
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Typing in a Winter Wonderland

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It's our first snowfall of the year. 10-15 cm (5-6") are supposed to come down, so school is closed. I drove to work alone this morning just as the snow was starting: it was quiet on the streets, not quite fully daylight, and the snowflakes were light and fluffy. It was magical!
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I love being at work when it's snowing heavily. I'm by myself with the radio, a cup of hot chocolate and my emergency supply of soup and granola bars. I'm only 5 minutes from work, so by mid-afternoon when I slowly head back home, the snowplows and salt trucks will have done their job and the driving should be fine.
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In the meantime, I type and sing and sip and think of earlier days when the girls were little and we'd have snowdays. And with the festive season closing in, I was reminded of one of our favorite Christmas albums by Raffi.
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Snows are a falling on Douglas Mountain.

Snows are a falling so deep.

Snows are a falling on Douglas Mountain.

Putting all the bears to sleep.
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Enjoy!



Monday, November 21, 2011

Canadians are so friendly!

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Check out one of Canada's national symbols.


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I think he's probably on his way to work ............ as a Walmart greeter!
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Ain't he cute!
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Birthday Celebration

My lovely little Brazilian girl turned 17 yesterday. A Mama has to treat all her children alike, right!
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So she started her day with a Canadian style breakfast in bed(room);


... balloons and presents (those fuzzy jammies will come in handy in another month!) . .... and an afternoon spent with friends and an evening out celebrating 2 Brazilian and 1 Mexican birthday. A full and happy day for her!.
But there was more birthday fun to be had. Today when all the family was together, we had a celebratory Brazilian dinner. I made "Feijoda" and "Pao de Queijo". The Feijoda is a typical Sunday meal that every household in Brazil would serve. It's a combination of bacon, pork tenderloin and different kinds of smoked sausage, sauteed with onions, garlic (and a touch of heat), lots of bay leaves, and then mixed with black beans. I cooked it yesterday then slow heated it in the oven today; the result was this rich, dark, delicious blend of flavors that I loved!


The Pao de Queijo are cheese rolls made with cassava (tapioca) flour. Cassava flour was bizzaar for me to work with as the moment it touched the heated milk/butter mixture, it became a glob! Beat in eggs and cheese -- strenuous work! Cool, roll (with floured hands) into balls and bake. They were crispy on the outside and chewy (I say spongy) on the inside. Strange texture for this Canadian woman and I imagined them doing funny things in my digestive system!But Mariana adored her meal and said I cooked everything perfectly -- just like her Grandma would make it! That is high praise indeed!
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And every birthday needs a cake. When she worked yesterday at Dairy Queen, my daughter Molly made Mariana an ice cream cake. You know, every international student that I've had stay with me has never had DQ ice cream cake before! ... a situation I always remedy (much to their pleasure).Isn't she beautiful! And such a sweet, happy girl!

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Just one problem. Now she wants her birthday every day!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not your ordinary Xmas slippers!

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Are you aging?

Are you up and down at night, feeling your way in the dark for one of your frequent nocturnal trips to the bathroom?

Do you sneak downstairs in the dark to root out that last piece of chocolate cake before the kids find out it's still there?

Are you tired of stubbing your toes and whacking your hips on sharp corners?

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Well say no more! I've found the perfect Christmas gift for us.

These LED slippers($40) allow you to easily move around dark areas without turning on any lights. Two powerful LED lights will illuminate up to 20-25 feet ahead and because of their build-in weight sensors, they automatically turn off when you remove the slippers. Ingenious!

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So now, I'm waiting for the release of the matching night cap with lights. Aren't you tired of clocking your head on the cupboard door? So far though they haven't developed this idea.

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But I did find this little beauty! Yes, I admit that it has it's drawbacks. It does require you to put the hat on your head and strap it under your chin. But it spins, people! It spins thereby giving you peripheral vision as well as straight ahead vision! Now you can catch the kids running back to their rooms when they hear you coming. Or your husband sneaking that forbidden cigarette in the laundry room.

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Technology! It definitely has it's plusses!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wedding in a blaze!

This is beautiful White Point Beach Resort in Liverpool Nova Scotia -- just a short 40 minute drive from my house. Or I should say this was White Point. Saturday afternoon the main portion of the resort (the most prominent part of the lower picture) burned to the ground. No one was harmed, and the hundreds of tame bunnies that roamed freely on the resort were fine as well.
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But I guess even fire cannot quench true love. I thought the following was a wonderful story.
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(Taken from a local news feature) "Nancy Rogers was lacing up her wedding dress and putting the finishing touches on her makeup when word came of a fire spreading through the lodge where she was to be married.
The 32-year-old bride-to-be walked out of her cabin at White Point Beach Resort at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday to see smoke pouring from the hotel's main hall.
And even though flames were shooting 20 metres into the air and black smoke could be seen for several kilometres, Rogers and her fiance, Michael, decided to plow ahead with the ceremony she had been planning for months.
"We decided that the most important thing was that we wanted to get married and we were only an hour late," she said Sunday from her home in Halifax.
"It was definitely a memorable day."
Rogers and some of her 45 guests, including a woman from Russia who lost her passport in the fire, were evacuated from their rooms and some of the cabins that dot the resort's white-sand beach.
She said it wasn't until after the ceremony that she realized how bad the fire was and that all of her wedding gifts and flowers had been destroyed.
"It was completely engulfed and everything was up in flames," she said. "We lost all of that stuff, but that's not important to us. We got the most important things."
The couple's wedding pictures include some that show the burning resort in the background, as well as fire trucks."

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Isn't that a wild story! What wedding pictures those will be!
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Reports so far say that the fire was not intentional; and the owners state that they will rebuild which is not just a relief for that little community but for those of us who love it as well. This is where all the overnight orientations for the international students are held. Also, my girlfriends and I have had many evenings eating at their first class dining room and drinking wine in front of the fire in our cabin later. It's a really special place.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sprinkles, Sprinkles everywhere!

Today my kitchen was a beehive of activity. Mariana and Elly asked if they could cook some treats for the family. Ahhhh ......... duh! Of course!
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So, I showed them where to find all the extra goodies they needed and how to turn on the oven, and I made myself scarce! (I was upstairs playing Santa!) When I immerged several hours later, there was a lovely smell coming from their vicinity. Emmmm! I quickly barefooted it downstairs to check on their progress. (Perhaps they needed an official tester?)
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The kitchen was amass with sweetened milk and Nestles Quik, crispy biscuit-like fingers and Nutella and ........ sprinkles! Sprinkles, sprinkles everywhere -- and me barefoot! As well, dishes and bowls and cutlery were piling up all around as my busy little beaver bakers were laughing and having a great time.
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I left them to their culinary creativity and I took on the role of bottle washer. (Other than 2 soup spoons and most of the forks, there was another piece of silverware to be found!) Oh dear, what a grown woman will do for a sweet treat!
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Elly is usually quite serious in whatever she does, but Mariana is gradually convincing her to be silly. "Be a child again, Elly!" "I think Mariana is drunk! Hahaha" "No, I'm just very happy. I'm a happy Brazilian". Time for a picture! "When you're rich and famous bakers, what will you call your bakery Elly?" I jokingly asked her.


"Host Sisters Bakery!"

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I tell you, it was bringing tears to my eyes, listening to them and seeing them together today. Two very brave, very sweet little teenage girls from different parts of the planet, speaking their disjointed and mis-pronounced English, making jokes and being so proud that they're host sisters! And so comfortable FINALLY in their new home. You can see why it's so easy to fall in love with these kids.

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This is why I do this - for moments like these!

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Well, and the Pepera and Briga Deiro!

Awfully good with tea!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Red Letter Day - Rednesday Nov 9.11

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Today I'm feeling very pensive. Everywhere I look, I see touches of red.
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When I rose this morning at 6:45, the sunshine was streaming in my bedroom window and making a magnificant backlight to the leaves that are still on the trees.November 9th and there are still leaves on the trees! Their colors are dull and muted, but they seem to be holding on until they absolutely have to go!
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Without realizing it, I myself added splashes of red to my outfit: the red in my earrings and shirt; the poppy on my coat and my favorite tote bag containing the all-important water bottle, lunch and personal papers; my morning tea in front of our local "Breakfast Television"; and the local newspaper for mid-morning break..
Friday Nov 11th is Remembrance Day. I sometimes go to the cenotaph for the laying of the wreath and the service; if I can't make it, I always turn on the TV and observe the 2 minutes of silence. My grandfather served in WWI; my uncles in WWII; I know young people who have served overseas. I think they do a brave and honorable thing when they fight for our country and our continued freedom.

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Rednesday may be the last day I see the sunshine (and perhaps the leaves on the trees) for a while: we are in for heavy rains and winds the next couple of days.
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But for today, I'll sit at work and luxuriate in the sunshine on my back, the soft sounds of my favorite online radio program, and the quiet of my daily routine. And during break, I'll catch up on your blogs, including SueLovesCherries at It's A Very Cherry World!
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Simple pleasures are always the best, don't you think!
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oy vey! It's a thing of beauty.

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Look what I made today. Ain't she a thing of beauty? And to think that I wasn't going to bother with a Christmas cake this year! But I had most of the ingredients in the house already; I remembered to soak the fruit and nuts in brandy overnight; and today after church, I lovingly sifted and mixed and poured and baked and waited as the most glorious smell filled the house. .


And I'd like to thank all of my bloggy friends out there who left comments encouraging me to go ahead and bake it. Ya know! You're kind of like my very own Jewish mother. Always looking out for my interests and my health .... encouraging me to "EAT".



"You should bake that Xmas cake," you said! "After all," you said, "it's one of your traditions." And even though no one said it, I swear I could hear you saying "You have to bake it! What would you eat when you drink your vat of Xmas wine while you're doing your jigsaw puzzle?" "And don't worry about the 10 lb of fruit and nuts that you're putting into your already ample body." (Now you're really sounding like my mother!)


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But like any good daughter, I listened to you. I baked a half recipe. And I'm so glad I did! So, thank you for your encouragement.
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Just don't go complaining that I never call or visit!
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Beattie, the middle-aged London Jewish mother in the British Telecom TV ads:
Beattie (sitting next to the phone, talking to a photo of her child):

So you can't phone. You can't pick up a phone and dial. You got maybe something wrong with your finger. It's a phobia. You're telephobic.
The phone rings. Beattie picks up.
Child (on the other end of the phone):
Hello, Mum.
Fade out; fade in on Beattie putting the phone down.
Beattie (to the photo):
So you can't visit. You can't call round. You can only phone. Never mind. It's a pleasure to hear your voice. (pause) Little more often wouldn't hurt...



Friday, November 4, 2011

Homemade Vanilla




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I recently came across a recipe for homemade vanilla extract and thought I'd give it a go. Another experiment to try (along with my brandied fruit and green smoothies). After all, pure vanilla is expensive! (And can be not all that pure as it usually has a few other additives.) So, let's see if it's worth the effort (and the cost).




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There seem to be any number of slight variations on the ingredient amounts and time you leave the vanilla to "cure". So, seeing as I'm on a financial diet these days, I decided to go with a more thrift-conscious recipe.


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The recipes all call for 2 things -- vodka and vanilla beans. I found a 375 ml bottle of vodka on the alcohol shelf of my jelly cupboard. (Thank you Libby for the free vodka... and the fact that you're hundreds of miles away in nursing school & hopefully have forgotten you left it there! [This is the part where I laugh maniacally like any mad scientist conducting an experiment should!]) And I had one vial of 2 vanilla beans; I purchased one more vial at a cost of $5.99.


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I used 2 small 150 ml bottles I had lying around. Into each bottle, I put about 1/2 cup of vodka and 2 vanilla beans; they had been slit open, the seeds scraped out & added, and then cut in half. So, the math works out to approximately $12-$15 per bottle. Supposedly, as you use the vanilla and it depletes, you can top it up with more vodka.
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Now, that it's bottled, I have to leave it for anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months (depending on which Google site you go with! Scheesh!) in a dark place. [Maniacal laughter again!) I'll give the bottles a shake every month and check on the color. I'm thinking that it should be ready between Xmas and New Years.


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Stay tuned for exciting updates on this latest experiment. ('Cause I know you've nothing better to do with your time and you're already fanning yourself with all the excitement.)


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Small town Friday night doesn't get any better, huh!


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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pillow Talk

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If I had someone to love, I could miss them and order this product to help ease the pain! Sigh!


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Just another something that we lonely single girls miss out on.
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(I've gotta start praying harder!)
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit!









RABBIT RABBIT EVERYONE!





Another new month has dawned, clear, crisp and cold here in Nova Scotia.






You'd think that after the busyness of October and the upcoming excitement of December that November might be a dull month. But nuh uh! It's full of things to observe and/or give us thought.










Some serious like Pancreatic & Lung cancer awareness, Diabetes awareness and Altzheimer's Awareness. And other's are more fun such as American Thanksgiving (Nov 24th) followed too quickly by Black Friday (the 25th). Is that one fun? I guess it's all in your perspective! I've never had the opportunity, but I think I'd enjoy it.November is for Banana Pudding Lovers, Greens and Plantains (I can attest to the goodness & good taste of green smoothies!), Peanut Butter Lovers (I like it as a mid-morning snack at work on a ricecake), Plum and Pomegranate, Spinach and Squash, and Sweet Potato Awareness (baked with oodles of butter). As well, Nov 1-7th is National Fig week, Nov 2nd is Cookie Monster Day (hard deciding what kind to indulge in), the 3rd is Sandwich Day (that'll be a Subway day for me), the 7th is National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day (Duh! Any time, any day!)and the 17th is Homemade Bread Day (Question: Will she finally try out her yard sale bread machine?). .
November is Military Family Appreciation Month. Having a brother who served in the Canadian Navy and friends who serve overseas, I know how much the family sacrifices. I am truly grateful for these brave men and women!





It's National Adoption Month; thank you Moms and Dads out there!





Nov 4-10th is National Nurse Practioner's Week; I'd like to send a big Hey Ya! out to my sweet little Nurse Practioner in training. "You go Girl! Mama loves you!"





Nov 7-13th is Dear Santa Letter Week. The picture will explain my approach this year in hoping to secure a fat present under my tree!






Nov 18-24th is National Bible Week -- one of my favorite books! And I know that whether you are a believer or not, God loves you and has only good things in mind for you. Here are a couple of nuggets of gold from the scriptures that are for all of us:








  • "I'll never leave you nor forsake you". Hebrews 13:5



  • "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3



  • Or read the Song of Solomon that is filled with God's love and passion for us.



  • Or the Psalms that are full of encouragement and hope.




Nov 18-24th is National Family Week; which also coincides with National Game & Puzzle Week and Better Conversation Week. Give you any ideas?





Nov 1st is All Saints Day. But it's also Give up Your Shoulds Day: now, I'm not sure if that means give them up completely or get on with them? I think you should decide on that for yourself! It's also National Men Make Dinner Day; what am I supposed to do about that one?



Nov 3rd is Sadie Hawkins Day. Does anyone out there remember that day? I believe it originated from the Lil'Abner comic strip. During my high school days, we always held a Sadie Hawkins Dance; and the girls could invite the guys (something today's youth probably wouldn't understand at all!).




Sadie Hawkins Day also coincides with National Chicken Lady Day. (I suppose this would explain any women who are not brave enough to ask a man out!)


Nov 8th is National Parents as Teachers Day. As an ex-home schooling Mom, I want to give a high five to those of you who are committed to teaching your children at home. This definately has to be something you feel called to do. It's hard work but sooo rewarding! But then as parents, we are teaching them everyday.
Nov 15th is I Love to Write Day; this is a must celebration day for all bloggers, so you have my wholehearted support and permission to pat yourself on the back that day (and perhaps treat yourself in some way).

And a shout out to one of my favorite modern conveniences .....Nov 19th (2011) is National Toilet Day! Ain't plumbing great! No more throwing your nasties out the window to the street below! No more cold draft on your bottom visiting the john outdoors in the winter! No more crouching in the woods (unless you're berry picking, I guess)!



Nov 23rd and 24th are both Buy Nothing Day. This fits in well with my new financial dieting so I will be participating. Now, how many others out there have the courage to "Just say NO"?




We could spend the 23rd watching old reruns of Dr Who because that is Dr Who Day. (My favorite is Tom Baker; and I loved his Leela sidekick --- cause she really kicked butt! What a woman!)
Nov 25th is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. We should observe this every month, oui?




Nov 25th is Shopping Reminder Day. (Was that one created by a man 'cause I've never met a woman who needed reminding?)




And finally, there are a number of days I've grouped together that I feel are great in building our character and making us better people.




Nov 14th is Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day. Are there things in your life that are stressing you out (or those around you)? Adopt this rule to help you loosen and lighten up: Life is lumpy! Lump in your oatmeal; lump in your throat; lump in your breast .. which one?




Nov 17th is National Unfriend Day. There may be people in your life who are weighing you down and sucking the life out of you; let them go and let God take care of you. You'll be doing good to both yourself and them.




Nov 27th is National Day of Listening. I'm the kind of personality who likes to talk (did you notice?); so, I have to periodically remind myself to listen -- really listen. I learn so much when I listen.




And finally, after all that self-improvement (and the awareness and eating [and being grateful for toilets] and asking men out and strengthening the family and reminding ourselves to shop .. and then buying nothing etc etc), we need a day off! So, if you aren't a Chicken Lady (or man), why not participate in Nov 30th Stay Home Because You're Well Day.

Enjoy your November bloggies. I look forward to reading your wonderful posts.
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PS - Thank you Pam for reminding me of Nov 11th - Remembrance Day. I should not have forgotten that one.