"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's March!

In a few short hours it'll be March, this year sure is flying by!
Did you know that March 1st is Peanut Butter Lover's Day?
JJ Hubby sent me this funny pic last week - perfect timing I'd say :)


Congratulations to Sulky Kitten, the very worthy March recipient of the Whoo Loves Ya Baby award!

(She has a bit of a thing for Tom Cruise...!)

If you haven't visited Sulky before, you need to! Her catty comments and mewsings
on life and pop-culture never fail to amuse, delight - and sometimes even shock me!


Also, Congratulations to Annie from Annie's Adventures for her winning line in February's caption contest!! Annie has a (coveted, lol) place of honour along my sidebar for the month, as well as a permanent place in my Hall of Fame, which you will find under the March Caption Contest page. You'll also find the newest cat pic there... you have all month now to come up with that killer line! Thanks to everyone for their participation this month - I truly appreciated & enjoyed all of your entries :)
Annie, please forward me your mailing info here and I will have your prize off to you.
And when you have a chance, pop by Annie's Adventures and learn a bit of what life's like...
Down Under!

Happy Leap Day!

The night before last we watched the movie Rain Man. It's hard to believe it was released in 1988; and that's probably when I'd last seen it. It caused me to reflect, at length, on what an amazing instrument the human brain is - if only we knew how to tap it's full potential. 

I chose the image of a wolf for today's post because I thought I'd share a dream I had this past weekend, which perfectly illustrates the beauty of the mind and dream language. For me, the wolf symbolizes that mysterious world we enter every night. 

In my dream I'm in a body of water that I know is very familiar to me - I sense I've been here many times before. The water around me is swirling and churning, and I can't see beneath the surface. I put my arm in up to my shoulder and feel around for something. Time passes and with it a great sense of frustration begins to grow; I know that whatever it is I'm looking for IS there, but for some reason, I can't grasp it...

Monday, February 27, 2012

This 'n That

Well, we survived our weekend storm! Apparently, we received more snow in one day (Saturday) than we had all season; 15 centimetres by nightfall. So here's a bit of colour to cheer us up :) JJ Hubby surprised me about a week before Valentine's with this pretty plant (Christmas Kalanchoe). I used to have loads of houseplants years ago (20 some odd just in my kitchen alone, yikes) but tastes change and right now this is my only one. I have yet to transfer it to soil.

Since we were housebound for a few days, I was able to devote myself to catching up on some of my reading. I'm now about 1/3 of the way into The Mists of Avalon - I'm really enjoying it and may have even made it to the halfway point, had I not picked up this book at my Goodwill last week!

I purchased Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell at my daughter's recommendation - she was with me and read it a few years ago herself. I merely cracked the cover open... now I fear I am under it's spell! All other books have been cast aside for the time being, lol. Dark and mysterious, it's set at the beginning of the nineteenth century and chronicles the news of the return of magic to England. Susanna Clarke's style of writing has been compared to that of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. So far, it's a delicious read. (Am I a fickle reader? Sometimes, but I do eventually finish every book I start - unless it's a stinker like Fried Green Tomatoes.)

When I made Peter Pan a few months ago, I was also commissioned to fashion a TinkerBell for my niece's birthday in April. The above book, which I also picked up on Wednesday is obviously dated, but is still a fantastic resource and I know I'll draw from it for this project. (I couldn't begin to express to you the number of treasures I find on a regular basis at Goodwill.) I'll post pics of TB when I'm done. 

As well, Peter Pan now has his own dog! 

I didn't post the pics at the time, but when I sent Peter Pan off to his new home, I also
sent along a little kitten for my niece. 

Before I go, did you know today is No Brainer Day; a whole day devoted to obvious choices...

I think I'll have cinnamon buns for breakfast and stay in my pj's all day!
How about you?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Snowy Saturday Morning

'Ol Man Winter is back!

Actually, this is what February's supposed to look like...!

"Out of the bosom of the Air, 
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken, 
Over the woodlands brown and bare, 
Over the harvest-fields forsaken, 
Silent, and soft, and slow 
Descends the snow."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Snowflakes

Enjoy your weekend, I'm making chili in my crockpot
and plan to catch up on some reading :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Don't Worry, Bee Happy!

A picture of a picture ... 

Continuing our seeing-faces-in-inanimate-objects theme (Pareidolia),
I mentioned to Kay last week that I had a photo of one of my sunflowers 
(we're talking fifteen years ago now- my how time flies) with bees forming a happy face - and a dimple!
Well, I stumbled across it when I was digging up the shot of our witnesses for Monday's post.

At the time I had a number of copies made and kept one on my fridge for years;
calling it (of course) my Bee Happy pic :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

I recently received The Versatile Blogger award from Tracey at Breathing English Air
Thanks Tracey :)
One of the rules for this award is: Mention 7 Random Things About Yourself.

1. I am officially left-handed, but am ambidextrous in many areas.

2.  I was never a bride in the traditional sense, but instead eloped to Niagara Falls close to 28 years ago. The two people who stood in as our witnesses were complete strangers we approached in a park adjacent to the courthouse. We shocked everyone in our lives (my sister was the only person we told) and no, I wasn't with child, just young & crazy, lol!
Our witnesses - as you can see, it was a very casual affair!

3.. My legal name is Barbara; Jane is actually my middle name, and I've always gone by Jane.

4. My all-time favourite concert experience was seeing Alice Cooper, Sept/08. In a word, WOW.

5. I have extremely tiny ears (they measure just under 2 inches) and have what's known as an attached lobe - in fact, I have no 'lobe' to speak of. I will understand if you no longer wish to follow this blog, now that you have learned this disturbing information!

6. 90% of the time I dress all in black.

7. I keep a dream journal and have recorded a number of highly significant dreams over the years.

Now it's your turn dear reader - reveal three random things about yourself in my comments section!

Also, did you know it's Love Your Pet Day?

How can we resist!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wow, Nice Buns ;)

Hehe, now that I have your attention...! 

I made cinnamon buns last weekend (& again yesterday) 
and the results were spectacular if I say so myself :) 

This was a recipe I found in allrecipes and it's supposed to be a clone of the Cinnabon we all love and try to resist when we're at the mall. Here's a link to the recipe. I started the dough in my bread maker and after that it was very easy, though a bit time-consuming. Approximately two and a half hours start to finish, but well worth the effort.

A few tips I'd share are:

1. The recipe calls for margarine... personally, I'd use butter. These are sheer indulgence and only real butter will do.

2. When rolling out your dough, spread your countertop with butter, rather than flour. Your dough will not stick and the butter also adds an extra richness to the final product.

3. I don't add raisins to my cinnamon buns. I was tempted again this time, but am glad I resisted. It's much easier to roll up your dough without them and the ones at the bottom of the pan usually end up burning anyways. These buns are so wonderful - you won't even miss them!

Here they are all nestled in a pre-warmed oven to rise.
Cover them with wax paper, rather than a tea-towel - that way they won't stick.

4. The cream cheese topping is amazing and not too sweet - just perfect. Make it up while the buns are rising, that way you'll have it ready for when they come out of the oven. 

5. Ensure you generously grease your pan - I used a glass 9x13 - and it's very important that you flip your pan over immediately upon removing it from the oven. If you allow them to cool in the pan, you'll have to dig them out one by one.

6. Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Calories Be Flummoxed!

I'm in hog-heaven folks!

A few weeks ago Francie from A North End Journal,
held the 2nd Annual Magic Pig Wand Contest, which I luckily won :)

Well, I received my prize in the mail yesterday and I have to tell you all that Miss Eulalie is absolutely Gorgeous! 
It's quite obvious a lot of work went into her creation; 
feathers, rhinestones, beads, stars, hearts, ribbon, tinsel - she has it all! 

Francie also sent along some very yummy-looking chocolate, which I will happily put to good 
use when trying out the Magic Spell below. Check out Miss Eulalie's necklace!

I suspect I may go hog-wild pigging out on chocolate now that it's calorie-free!
Thanks again Francie :) What a fantastic prize!

More Supermarket Secrets

This is fascinating!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Supermarket Secrets

Simcoe Fall Fair 2010

The other day when I went into the neighbourhood grocery store I generally frequent, (Sobey's in this instance) it was immediately evident that I didn't know where the heck anything was!! They're undergoing a re-vamp and all the aisles have been shuffled about. I try not to do my major grocery shopping there anyways, saving that for the Wholesale Club or Walmart, but it's close to home and I know where everything is - making it a great place to dash in for something.... not anymore, or at least not until I figure out where they've hid everything!

There's of course a psychology to the way grocery stores are laid out. It's no accident that the pet food is now located directly across the aisle from the soda pop - but for the life of me, I don't know why! I worked with someone once who'd owned numerous businesses and I remember him telling me studies have shown most shopper's will tend to turn right upon entering a place of business and that most stores therefore set themselves up accordingly. I did a bit of research over the past few days - and it's actually an intriguing subject. Here's one fascinating look at some of the psychology behind the design.

Is there a psychology behind the way you shop?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Middle Earth

 32 Fictional Fantasy World Maps In One!

Is this not the coolest map ever! Which world do you spend most of your time in?
I'm pretty much always wandering around in Middle Earth, although lately I've been spending
more time in Avalon and Westeros.

Whenever I travel the net, I seem to stumble across things that are 'Lord of the Rings' related - probably because it's a great interest of mine! I usually save all these links and images thinking I'll use them in some future post; that rarely ever happens, so instead I've decided to incorporate them all into one page. Moving forward, you'll find this map and lots of other fantasy-related (mostly LOTR) fun, random stuff under Middle Earth (directly below my header pic). I've left any previous posts on this subject under hobbits in Labels at the bottom of my page.

Also, if you happen to come across something you think I'd find interesting - don't hesitate to email me it to me and if it's page-worthy, I'll happily add it to Middle Earth :) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Heart You All :)

I see hearts everywhere I go as well - this was taken last spring in Brantford, Ontario :)

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Since February is Heart Month, I thought I'd share these two short clips from The Heart and Stroke Foundation. Our family was shocked shortly after Christmas when my my aunt Donna (she's just 61) had a heart attack. She was operated on a few weeks ago and required a quadruple by-pass! Looking back, she says she occasionally found herself short of breath, but that was about it for warning signs. Heart disease isn't called the silent killer for nothing. The evening prior to her heart attack she had indigestion, felt a bit "off," went to bed and slept well. The following morning, shortly upon waking, she had the attack.

Even though Donna is only related through marriage, this has been a huge wake-up call for all the women in my family - in particular her daughters. There's a misconception out there, that heart attack and stroke (for the most part) affect only men - turns out that it's now the #1 killer of women. There are a lot of resources out there to assist us in living healthy lives - I think we should heed the advice, starting with -  visiting our doctor for a yearly checkup!

Men, we want you to take care of yourselves as well :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Is In the Air

It'll be soon be Valentine's Day and Emma has been after me to post a special message for her...

My dearest Russell

Cream and amber,
eyes of green,
button nose...
You are a dream!

Some may think it odd that a dog and cat could be sweethearts,
but have no fear my love, we are not alone in our affections!

Affectionately yours, Emma

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Two Jewels & A Turkey... Chili!

I realize now that it's been quite some time since I shared a recipe, in fact not since Christmas - my how the time has flown! I suppose it's fitting then, that this recipe calls for turkey. Last weekend I thawed some leftover Christmas bird and made a chili. If you haven't yet used up yours, (& hopefully you had some leftover :) this is a great choice. Easy, healthy and bursting with flavour!

It was adapted from a recipe I found at Simply Recipes, here's a link to the original.

Turkey Chili Recipe

2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 cup chopped green pepper (I left this out - only had red on hand & didn't miss it at all)
1/4 cup olive oil
Two 35 oz cans stewed tomatoes, crushed
Two 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained (I used both white and red kidney beans)
2 Tbsp tomato paste (I used 4 Tbsp)
3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock
2 Tbsp chili powder (or up to 4 Tbsp if you like it really hot - I used 3)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried hot red pepper flakes (I used only 1 teaspoon and that was hot enough for us) 
1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used 2 Tbsp of Italian seasoning instead)
1 Tbsp salt, plus more if desired to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 to 4 cups of shredded, cooked turkey meat
Sugar (I omitted this)
Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream for optional garnish.
I added two cups of frozen corn the last 15 minutes of cooking.


1 In a large, 8-quart, thick-bottom pot, cook the onion and green pepper over medium high heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for a minute or two more. Add a bit more olive oil if needed.

2 Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock. beans, oregano, salt, pepper, and cooked turkey meat. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for an hour.

3 Salt to taste. Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of sugar to take the edge of the acidity of the tomatoes if desired.

The chili may be made in advance and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for 2 months.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, and or sour cream.

Makes about 12 cups. Serves 8.

Before I go, I have two jewels to share with you. Above is an inexpensive scale I purchased last summer when my husband was seriously dieting and needed to weigh his cuts of meat. I had never used a scale before, always just guesstimated ! The other day I was making a stew in my crock-pot and when I was divvying up the package of stewing beef, it suddenly dawned on me how often I now use my scale - a lot! It was well worth the few dollars I spent on it, especially when I purchase large packages of meat, or a recipe calls for 6 oz or 1/2 pound of something, for example fruit.

Also, did you know that you can freeze leftover portions of tomato paste? The above recipe, for example, calls for only 2 tablespoons - a small tin of paste holds approximately 7 tablespoons. I simply froze the rest in tablespoon-sized dollops on parchment paper and popped them into a freezer bag later. Next time I need a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, I can quickly reach into my freezer and tada - I have the exact amount I need! This is a little trick which saves both time and money.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Season 11

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things." 

Well, another season of American Idol is underway (can you believe this is the 11th year?) and Steven Tyler is once again in fine form; I love his hilarious, though often cringe-worthy outbursts. He's certainly a breath of fresh air compared to that sour-puss Simon Cowell. He may be crazy, unpredictable and wear ladies blouses, but he's also funny, endearing and seems to genuinely care about the contestants. As I watch the series, I plan to scribble down some of his funniest quips and share them with you when it's all over.

Watching the tryouts is not for the faint of heart. 
This one from a few seasons ago cracks me up every time!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Breakfast to Remember

~ A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous...full of beauty and forever beautiful...
loving and caring and truly amazing. ~

My daughter took me out for breakfast yesterday morning. The New York Bagel Cafe is
located in the most charming and eclectic hole-in-the-wall spot you could ever hope for.
Caroline will be 25 in March and graduated last spring with a degree in Nursing.
She's a great friend and I'm very proud of her - I also love that she's so generous... 
now that she's making the big bucks!

We had their speciality, eggs benedict. I had mine with lox and 
my daughter, the cheese and truffle-oil creation. 

Presentation is SO important - isn't this adorable - under the kiwi is star-fruit.

Everywhere I go I see faces and yesterday was no exception -
do you you see the moose (or camel) ? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Being Otherworldly

I stumbled across this fantastic list lately, printed it off and now keep it where I see it on a daily basis.

Today, I'm practicing #5.

The gardeners from yesterday are of course... the fairies :) And what could be more adorable 
than a fairy house! Did you know there are entire websites devoted to this passion?

Thanks goodness, you might just need a door for your fairy house.
This is the one I'd choose!

or some enchanted stepping-stones...

Tee hee!

Create your own, utilizing the natural materials that surround you.

Or go all the way and build the next best thing to a fairy house: a treehouse for adults :)
This is so cool.