Thursday 31 January 2013

Happy Birthday ROB !


"Happy Birthday Rob !  Six am this morning birthday hugs from Bandit were the start of Rob's day before he headed out with his "Crabby Cabbie" hat firmly set on his head.  More then likely more firmly then usual with the high winds going on this day."

We had woken at 2:45 am to pouring rain outside our windows.  Just before 6:00 am when we arose for the day, we looked out to high winds, cold temperatures and snow.  Rob headed out only to return home mid-morning.  Hwy. 21 between Southampton and Port Elgin had been closed.  The snow squalls and intermittent high winds continued all day.

Can you believe MY "Crabby Cabbie" had the day off for his Birthday ???? Whoop whoop !!!

"We had to make a quick trip to and from town finding it pretty blustery at times."

"The first photo was taken mid-afternoon, with the second taken less then 2 hours later with at least 6 inches haven accumulated over that time period."

Late in the morning I had began preparations for the Dinner I was going to be serving the Birthday Boy.

"Lovely plump chicken breasts first rubbed, then put into a marinade before placing back into the fridge until they were to be cooked up for our Dinner.  When the required marinading time is 30 minutes, I usually prepare and marinade for at least 1/2 a day, as I find 30 minutes never enough time."

"Dinner had been a success with Rob commenting on how good the chicken was."

Recipe please?  Just a mouse *click* away HERE.
NOTE:  Cooking times vary on the size of Chicken Breasts being used.  The large plump breasts I had used had taken at least a 1/2 hour if not a bit more.

How could someone celebrate a Birthday without having a Birthday Cake?  This afternoon I had to remedy this by making Rob's most favourite cake.

"Onto the counter out came all the fixings for Carrot Cake.  Wet meets dry, with all the really important ingredients following."

"Oven ready, then fresh baked from the Oven."

"Really, what would Carrot Cake be without Cream Cheese Icing?  I can not imagine."

"Pictures tell all .... "

"This ended a perfect meal with one very happy boy.  Happy Happy Birthday Rob !  I LOVE You and look forward to making many more Birthday Cakes for you."

 I was a very busy gal today preparing to give my wonderful hubby a very "special" birthday meal, among a few other things I had to do for him on behalf of some "Crabby Cabbie" business needing looked after.  I really didn't have time for anything much other as like doing the Month end tally for the Low/No Spend & Declutter challenge I entered into, and that will just have to wait until tomorrow.

Oops, was anyone wanting the Recipe for Rob's favourite Carrot Cake?


Cream Cheese Icing Recipe?  PRINTABLE RECIPE *CLICK* HERE.

I have heard through the "grapevine" we are to expect 25 cm of snow tonight/tomorrow?  Really I truly hope the weather isn't too bad, as I know there are so many people counting on the upcoming Wiarton Willie Festivities which commence tomorrow.  I will be saying a little "prayer" it comes off without a hitch, along with a bit of cooperation from the weather.

I have been awake since the "wee" hour of 3:00 am, so this will be all she wrote, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Back, Now Gone Again

What a day I just had, and to think it still isn't over yet even though my body is telling me it is.

Out I go first thing to take everyone for their first out and about, only to walk out the side entrance door into three inches of water pooled there.  Yes the shovel had to be used to remove some of the ice around that was not allowing the water to drain away from the house.  What a mess !  I am happy to report it did the trick, as it finally had cleared away later in the day.

After everyone was looked after I was thinking a nice relaxing second cup of coffee would be in order.  WRONG ! I realized I had made arrangements with a girl who had bought a brand new Slow Cooker from me off the swap was to meet up to get it from my "Crabby Cabbie" today.  What was the problem here? of course I hadn't sent the Slow Cooker along with him, resulting with me meeting up with him 1/2 hour one way away to give it to him.

Back through downtown Wiarton I came, first making not one stop, but three in total, before arriving back at our house to let Missy Preggo Lexus out before heading back downtown Wiarton for the VON SMART exercise program.

Timeline for all of this ? it took between the hours of 8 and 9:30 am.

The VON SMART exercise program  in Wiarton runs from 10 - 11 am, every Wednesday.  Once I had finished up there, off I went on again not just one, but again three more stops in Wiarton before arriving back home after the lunch hour.

In my travels I was happy to have met up with one of Bruce County's Celebrities ....

"Finally a personal meeting with Adventure Bruce , down at the Explore the Bruce Headquarters in Wiarton.   You had better believe there were lots of preparations going on there today for the up and coming Wiarton Willie Festival this weekend. "

Back home everyone of course needed in, out and about.  The remainder of my afternoon included one various phone call after another.  Oh man phone calls really do consume a huge part of a day when things have to be looked after, or inquired about.

The one call I had made was to the Grey-Bruce Public Health Unit in Owen Sound.  My brother had informed me about the Shingles Vaccine being a must for someone who has had the Chicken Pox.  I had the Chicken Pox, still showing the scars from it.

Should you have had the Chicken Pox and need to know about the Shingle's Vaccination then check out the following links:

Public Heath, Grey-Bruce:

Shingles:  Causes, Symptoms & Complications

What I had found out from my call to the Health Unit was this vaccine will be costing $180.00, should you not have a Medical Insurance Plan to cover it.  From what I had been told about Shingles, a small price to pay to avoid any chance of the pain and discomfort that goes along with having Shingles.  Something we all have to decide whether or not it is worth it to us as an individual.

Last night for Dinner, I made a "new to me" Knorr recipe.

"I was more then impressed with the Knorr Skinny Scalloped Potatoes.  Not only 180 calories per serving, they are so Easy Peasy as 1-2-3 to make too, and full of flavor."

Recipe please?  Just a *click* away HERE.

Winter was "back, now gone again" .....

"Downpour of rains brought lots of melting snow and water with it, not that our water tables are not in dire need of it.  Fog lingered along our bush line.  Nice to know our sub-pump has been working by the show of green where it runs out into the garden."

According to the weather forecast we will be back into below freezing temperatures by Friday.  Anything goes in Ontario, does it not?

It's winter in Ontario

And the gentle breezes blow,  
70 miles per hour at 52 below!  
Oh, how I love Ontario
When the snow's up to your butt;  
You take a breath of winter air  
And your nose is frozen shut.  
Yes, the weather here is wonderful,  
You may think I'm a fool.  
I could never leave Ontario ,
Cause I'm frozen to the stool

Hahaha ... thanks a couple of my Family Members for sending me this email, as I had not seen it for sometime.  Ha, how could I help but NOT share it?

My blogging buddies are up to it again !!!  Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily is having another Give Away, usually something that is ALWAYS Handmade by her, and Debby at Nanny's Place is having a February Challenge.  The Give Away, of course I entered as I am not going to miss out on a chance at winning one of Carla's homemade creations, and Debby's Challenges? of course I had to enter one out of the two she is offering up, as who can resist a challenge?

Even though I rarely read anymore, a pass time I have mentioned before I loved very much at one time, I found the review William Kendall at Speak of the Devil had done on a book caught my attention.  Please do have a look see yourself, as it is just a *click* away by going HERE.

I believe I will call it a day here in Blogging land by enjoying some quiet time with my husband,  Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

MESS ~ Day 2

Really ? yet another day of not feeling at all ambitious about doing anything.  Again I will blame this on the weather, as it had been another damp, mushy, grey, then foggy day here.  To be quite honest with myself, of late I have been feeling as "blah" as the weather.

"Anyone who knows anything about Fibromyalgia knows how the weather and stress adds up to more discomforts.  If someone doesn't know this, there are facts you can read up on for more education about Fibromyalgia by *clicking* HERE."

When I finally did get myself moving this morning, I headed on downtown to do what I had planned on getting done yesterday.  

First stop was the Foodland Store to pickup some fruit and a Roast.  At $2.97 a pound, you can't go wrong on buying one or two for the Slow Cooker, or to use for Stew Beef, since the price of Stew Beef is $4.99/lb., and that is the SALE Price !

Next stop to the Post Office to get 2 parcels, along with a few cards posted off to their appointed destinations.  Really Valentines Day is only around the corner, and I like my Grandsons to enjoy their cards a bit before the day arrives.  

Next stop was the Bank to make a deposit.  Deposits of any sort seem to be eaten up before the actual transaction, especially when you have been working so hard to get a small business venture up and running off the ground.

The final stop was to drop off a container of Homemade Hamburg soup to my friend.  She always appreciates any and every little thing I drop around to her.  I always appreciate every little thing she is there about for me.  That is what Friendship is all about, if we are so blessed to have such wonderful Friendships.

When I returned back home it was "Checkboard Aussie" duty before I put my purchases away.  I can not believe it was after the Noon hour before I got my bed made today! then going on to folding a load of towels that needed done up and put away.

Taking a bit of a break after attending to some other business on hand, I checked out my emails to find my friend Paul had sent me along some photos from where him and BJ are vacationing in Arizona.

"Paul didn't want us to think just because they were in Arizona that they too weren't getting the "snow" experience.  These photos were taken this morning.  Really though what is a bit of snow when you have that view to gaze out upon every morning?  Thanks Paul !  I love getting your emails and photos.  And "hello" BJ !"

Rob had to come home this afternoon to do a "Crabby Cabbie" vehicle switch.

See where I had been unstuck from yesterday?  Not wanting to go there again, I parked further up the lane way.  See that "Crabby Cabbie" vehicle there ... pretty stuck by the looks of things to me, so there it sits.  Ha ! so much for it only happening to the Woman of the household."

On the one occasion when I was taking everyone out, about and in, I took my camera along when I had Buddy out.

"See that look of innocence?  Trust me he really isn't ... there he goes !  Zoom here, zoom there, zoomed right out of my sight.  By the time I had caught up to him he was around the other side of the house and heading towards the road.  Okay we are back on the lead again ... enough of that "heart failure" feeling with an unruly two year old."

I had absolutely no energy as the day was heading into late afternoon, but I really had to muster up some or I would never get this January Challenge completed by the 31st of January, and we certainly can't have that happening now can we Carla ?

Since I had completed this week's Mini Challenge by cleaning out the fridge already, I had to accomplish what I had outlined for myself this month, again by taking myself into MESS ~ Day 2.

"Down into the basement I went again.  This is the bottom of the stair where a clutter of outer wear and other junk useful things gets left."

"I persevered however difficult with many thoughts of giving up, even ignoring a phone call from my Sister, Donna, to "get 'r done".  And another bagful ready to make an exit out the door and far far away from our house."

To accomplish this month's Challenge I still have one more terrible feat yet to get done ... the "dreaded" downstairs bathroom which Rob has totally destroyed made his.  Wish me luck, as I really really need on that one.

The Low/No Spend Challenge I will also tally up by the 31st....oh man, that is only 2 days away !!!

I tried a new recipe for tonight's supper that I will post tomorrow, as for this moment .... that is all she wrote, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard."

Monday 28 January 2013

What A MESS !!!

I really had a difficult time getting motivated today for some reason or another.  I will choose to blame this also on the weather, as it couldn't make up its mind whether to snow, freeze, rain or what today. 

What I do know, regardless it was a damn damp day, and I really appreciated the heat from the wood stove.

When I did finally get a move on I prepared a couple of packages and Valentine Cards for the mail..  I like sending out Special Occasion cards a bit earlier then the day so they can be enjoyed a little bit longer.  All ready and bundled up to go, I headed on outside to ....

"I started my Van, put it into drive and dropped 6 inches into the wet slushy mush, moving no further..  I couldn't believe it !  I have almost never had a vehicle so useless in snow then this one... oh yes I did, it was a Ford Aerostar rear wheel drive.  But give me a break this is a front wheel drive and the tires are like brand new !"

I calmly stomped walked back into the house call and tell Rob I no longer wanted this vehicle as it was only good for fair weather driving and I can't have that.  We do live in CANADA you know !!!  

Once I calmed down a bit after stewing about the fact I had been stuck in our own driveway twice within days, I decided I best be productive somehow today before the day was gone.  On  the upside it could have been worse with me being stuck somewhere else other then home ... then I really would have had something to stomp around about then, now wouldn't I have?

I find when I am upset or angry about something it gives me fuel and I am much more productive at these times... I took advantage of the feeling this day.

The "crunch" is on with a matter of only a few days to complete the January Decluttering Challenge I signed up for over at Carla's.  Our basement is not finished, but unfortunately has a side entrance which is much easier to use then going around to the front, especially in the Winter months.  With the dogs also in residence down there it is very easy to collect clutter and major dust, never mind how many spiders inhabit it as well.  You know the old saying, "out of sight out of mind", even though we can pass by it how many times every day?  

At least once or twice a year a "big" let's get it cleaned up time comes around.  Since yesterday we had cleared up and around the pen for Lexus, today I was going to work at doing another "grid".  What a mess !!!

"The dreaded "grid" before I started, and then part way through."

"Here we are after ... um I suppose I should have time myself, all the work I had put into cleaning and organizing.  The boxes and such all along Lexus' whelping pen are items to be discarded.  The box still on the chair is full of canning that seemed to have gone "off", needing disposing of."

I am pretty pleased at what I got accomplished this day.  I still have my work cut out for me tomorrow with yet another "grid" in need of doing.  The problem with when taking on such a big job, means something upstairs isn't getting done ... but then again, as I am reminded quite often, Rome Was NOT Built in a Day ! thanks to my Auntie Gladys.

My reality in life? Rome will never be built .... hahahaha.

That is all she wrote for this day in her life, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".

Sunday 27 January 2013

I Want To Accomplish Today

Please do NOT ask me my name today, as I might not be able to tell you.  I thought I had slept well last night, however I still am feeling "bone tired".  What else can a typical Canadian do but blame it on the weather, eh?

I had a phone call from my Son, Paul, at 6:30 am.  Our Aiden was taken to the hospital as he needed an "emergency" circumcision.  All is fine;, he is home safe and sound now, with everything now hopefully corrected.  When I heard Hospital, I felt my heart fall to the floor ... it is times like these I hate being 2 1/2 hours away.  Regardless when he had been born, it had not stopped me from driving down there at 3 am in the morning.  Ha ! but then again, I was 8 years younger, and it had not been Winter.  No matter if I was needed I would be gone like a "shot" !

Today I had my mind set on making the Hamburg Soup I had at the Church Luncheon on Friday, since my Auntie had emailed me the recipe, and knowing how much my Rob would love it.  Once I had taken care of four "Checkerboard Aussies" by the names of Bandit, Lexus, Buddy and Missy Mercedes, I got to it .... as it had been first on my "I want to accomplish today" list.

"Really, how can you go wrong on a full-bodied hearty soup which contains so much colour?  How was it you might ask? as good as it looks in the picture."

Recipe pleases?  PRINTABLE recipe *click* HERE.

"Once I had a bowl for Lunch, and Rob two bowls, there was still this left.  Some for the fridge for Rob's lunches this week, and two containers yet for the Freezer."

Once lunch had been cleaned up from, I took some "time out" to make out a couple Post Cards to send off through the Postcrossing I enjoy doing.  I also took a minute to send off a note and deposit receipt to the young man from Windsor who is going give one of our 2013 "Checkerboard Aussie" a Forever Home.  There have been three excellent Forever Homes found already for the upcoming 2013 Litter, which greatly pleases me ... all have been told that it is a MUST they keep us posted on their life progress.  *Smile* I am pretty stringent on that requirement.

Other then the soup, the next thing on my "I want to accomplish today" list was to complete part of the January "Declutter" challenge (before it is too late...have you noticed the end of January is almost upon us?).  I got down into the "dreaded spider infested basement" and got the shop vac sucking the life up from those Daddy Long Legs (who are not spider) and those hairy legged things ranging in all different sizes, which are spiders.  Once the required corner was *void* of most 4 legged creatures, the big guns moved in ....

"The Whelping Box had to be updated a bit.  With some discontinued flooring samples we had been given from a local store, Rob lined the box with them.  This will be more sanitary and easier for me to clean up after lots of any mess the little ones might leave behind."

"Lexus knew the routine oh so well, as in she went with a "jump up" for kisses on my nose."

Half of the portion of the "Declutter" challenge completed ... OH NO !  I can almost hear the whip all the way from Carla's, as I only have FOUR MORE DAYS to complete the other half !!!  Please send lots of luck and prayers over my way, will you. as I just know I am going to need all the help I can get and then some !!!!

The third thing on my "I want to accomplish today" list was something that made my hubby's eyes open wide and drool run down his chin.

"A Lemon Meringue Pie which just happens to be my Rob's most favourite Pie."

When asked what his most favourite part of the few hours we had together this day, of course his answer had been the "Lemon Pie" !  Jeez, put on the back burner again over a Pie, what's up with that?

There is tons more stuff to be done, like floors needing washed (although the kitchen/bathroom floors did get done this week), cobwebs to be swept from every nook and cranny, cupboards to be sorted ... thank  goodness I was able to find some new House Cleaning Tips by dropping over to Gill's this morning to find out about a whole new "twist" on house cleaning.  Thanks Gill.

Need some new Tips on getting housework done?  Drop on over to find out how, by *clicking* HERE.

A big welcome goes out to Tonya at Momma's Sunshine for joining me as my newest follower.  Thanks for being here Tonya for my daily journal, and sometime opinions and ramblings.

I am pretty pleased with myself that I got three things off my "I want to accomplish today" list, as well as having the bonus of spending some rare "time out" with my hubby, who is "sawing some logs" for us at the moment, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".

Saturday 26 January 2013

Only The Lonely

I really didn't have such a great sleep last night.  When one doesn't get the required amount of sleep one's body and mind requires on any given day, it can sometimes make for a pretty "blah" day, can it not?

"Then you end up feeling and looking like this ALL day long."

"Then you go out to find three more inches of snow has fallen.  Despite how tired you are feeling you still can register enough to admire the beauty of it all.  Then get a "chuckle" at your very pregnant Aussie girl trying to run down the lane way."

"The morning, like my mood, was a little blustery, however the day did turn into something a little brighter then I was feeling."

"I really did feel happy at this wonderful Happy Mail I received from dearest Virna, over at Craftmates.  Postcards from her September 2012 trip to Spain and new Coffee cozies for my "Crabby Cabbie" and I, that she had made herself !  Thank you so very much Virna, I will open the gift packs with our new cozies in them when my "Crabby Cabbie" is home with me.  xx"

I absolutely LOVE the Craftmates, as each and everyone of those four girls are "Out of this World" lovely !  How would I know this? I took it upon myself to go meet them in person HERE.  

Please take a moment to introduce yourself to the Craftmates, Virna, Aimee, Irma and Bebsy by *clicking* HERE.

I took the time today to do a post on our "Checkerboard Aussie" Blog, as I had received testimonials from Forever Homes where two of the "Spectacular Six" Checkerboard Aussies 2012 Litter rule the house.  Please take a little boo over there way to see how happy and smart everyone is making out, just by *clicking* HERE.

However "blah" I have been feeling today, I still had to feed myself.

"I was happy it was something other then my usual PB sandwich on 12 Grain Bread.  I was living it up today with a Chicken Whole Wheat Wrap ! "

What could possibly be wrong with me, other then being tired? let me tell you ......

... I am feeling lonely and missing my Best Friend, my Soul Mate, my husband !!!  I am missing any sense of what resembled a routine we used to have together... I really miss our kibitzing and bickering (second nature to us some days), even our up in each others faces, person to person, arguing some days ... that really is the height of missing someone now isn't it, when you even miss the disagreements?  

This morning before I had gotten out of our bed, Rob had his arm draped over me ... absence does make the heart grow fonder, as it felt so very "good" having that contact.  Mind you, we speak to each other over the phone quite frequently throughout the day, but really it is far from the same as having the personal connection.

Tomorrow is Sunday.  Tomorrow morning Rob doesn't get home until the "wee" hours of the morning.  Tomorrow I will try my darnedest to be quiet and let him sleep in.  Tomorrow he will get up for a couple hours then fall back to sleep in his chair, wake to have Dinner, then fall back to sleep again.  

The next day is Monday and it begins all over again ....

I know I am not alone in how I feel, but I am tired, I am feeling lonely and I need to have an early night to bed with hopefully some much needed sleep, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".

Friday 25 January 2013

Thank You Goes A LONG WAY

Yesterday I had plans to go visit a lovely lady who has been temporally restricted to her home for the past couple of weeks since injuring her hand.  Who doesn't enjoy company when something like this happens?  I am thinking unless I was very sick and out of commission,  I would LOVE to have company come calling.  I was so happy I had gone, since we had ourselves great visit together.  I was happy to go do my visiting after the lunch hour, however in the morning I first had to clean the van off.

"Regardless of the Sun being out, it was still COLD ! and there had to have been at least two feet of snow to be cleaned off of my Van.  I was COLD by the time I was finished and sure happy the wood stove was "fired" so I had a nice warm house to go back into.  Brr.... "

"After lunch I had headed down the highway South towards Wiarton on my way to have my Visit."

"Really who could NOT get "rocked" out by this tune?"

I had done my blog post in the morning, since I had a Guest post, thinking it would give me a break when I returned back home after an afternoon of visiting.  Once I had returned home to settle back in I checked my blog to find the following comment from Cathy, who had been my Guest yesterday....

Thank you Cindy for the wonderful chance to join your blog for a day! You are tireless in your goal of promoting local Bruce County businesses. All of us that fall in that category owe you a debt of appreciation! You certainly are a shining example of selflessness! The amount of traveling that you do, (all at your own expense), to hunt out new treasures, (as well as old), and then spread the word about them, is truly amazing! It makes you one of the unique treasures of Bruce County, and one very special lady!! Again, a huge thanks, and enjoy the rest of this beautiful sunny day! on Captured By Chocolate & Pastries

Wow ! truly I was flattered beyond flattery after reading Cathy's comment.  It is people like Cathy who really make my "heart sing" to know my time and efforts are appreciated.  A "simple" courtesy of a Thank YOU goes a long way, does it not?  And like Cathy, and others I have been blessed to have met along my journey of blogging, and living life, it is those people who have taken a moment to make me feel good by extending their appreciation and thanks.  Thank you Cathy for taking that moment out of your busy life to extend this courtesy to me.

I do LOVE supporting the Community and Small Businesses, as in my eyes it still  is people helping people that make it all happen and come together, is it not?  Do people get that busy in their lives that they can't send off a simple "thank you" to another?  some days I do wonder ....

I have terrible "dry" skin, with Winter causing it to dry even worse.  I have heard so much about Burt's Bees from friends (thanks Carla) and family (thanks Paula) that I thought I would give it a try.

"Just before Christmas I bought the Burt's Bees Daytime and Nighttime Moisturizing Creams for Sensitive Skin, since I have so many allergies I have to be careful."

It has been about six weeks now I have used the creams, quite often twice to three times a day.  I am  finding my face is still extremely dry and flaky.  I made a call to Burt's Bee Customer Service to see if I should have had results by this time.  The Customer Service girls assured me I should have had seen an improvement by now.  She suggested I try purchasing the Intense Hydration Creams.

"These creams were not available at the Shopper's Drug Store I had been in, however I was reassured they were available for purchase online at , and sure enough they are."

The problem here is I had already spend $60.00 plus taxes on the Sensitive Skin Creams with no results, and really wasn't to overjoyed at the prospect of spending yet more money for trying yet another product.

Without even asking the Customer Service Girl told me she would be sending me off a cheque to reimburse me for what I had already spent, and I could then go ahead to make a purchase of the new Intense Hydration Creams.  I was extremely pleased with the quality of Customer Service I received.  Thank You, Burt's Bees.

Once I purchase and begin using the Intense Hydration Creams, I will update on how I made out with the results after a couple of weeks of first using them.

The other day I had called my friend, Toni with an "i" to ask if she would like to go along with me to the luncheon being put on by my Auntie's Church in Port Elgin.  To my delight she had said she would.     I was happy for the company and not having to go by myself, since my Rob was otherwise occupied being The "Crabby Cabbie".

Toni and I "hooked up" in Hepworth prior to the lunch hour, and headed out from there.

"My oh my should you live in Saugeen Shores or close by and did not go to the Tolmie Presbyterian Church for their lunch today, boy oh boy did you miss out !  Homemade hamburger soup, a choice of four different kinds of sandwiches, and a very HUGE, as you can see I picked out the biggest, piece of Homemade Carrot Cake.  Really where can you get a lunch like this along with beverage for $7.00.  Nowhere now a days I am certain.  Stay tuned as I am thinking there will be another luncheon coming up in the Spring."

Really do you think Rob would be left out of the Homemade Lunch loop for one second? of course not as Auntie bought him a lunch of 2 Egg Salad Sandwiches and a piece of Carrot Cake.  Have I ever mentioned before how much she SPOILS Rob? of course I have, the big SUCK !  And again I say, what would he do without MY Auntie looking out for him !

After we had located my "Crabby Cabbie", who hadn't been too far off the beaten track, I dropped Toni back off to where she had left her vehicle and headed home.

"Something wrong with this picture?  Darn tooting there is, as I was dang, dang, triple dang stuck my own damn driveway I was so.  Jeez what a way to end a perfect afternoon let me tell the World."

After some rocking it just wasn't going to go anywhere, so I gave up and left it there.  I am please to honestly say there had been NO cussing whatsoever going on with this little incident, not one little cuss word.  

My brother had popped in for a wee visit on his way by, offering to pull me out, but there was no need as my wonderful hubby, Rob, came home to my rescue not only to give me a push out with the tractor but to clean out the whole driveway !!!  Thank you, Honey ... I do LOVE you everyday, even though we can both be "grumpy pants" some days ... *smile*.

A couple who have decided to purchase one of our "Checkerboard Aussie" puppies, which are due on or about the 6th of Feb, stopped by late this afternoon with a deposit for first choice on a male puppy.  I am going in order of deposits of who will get first choice from there on in, as last year I held a puppy right until the week before it was to be picked up and the lady back out on me.  This was *sad* as I like to think I am a good judge of character, and with the woman being a solid business owner in the dog/agility business I would never have suspected her backing out.  Unfortunately I now am requesting a deposit up front.  I have had three people seriously interested coming forth with deposits before the litter is even born.  These people in order of deposit with have first choice on sex and colours.

With all that done for the day, I had a most amazing personal, but not in person, goodbye with our young Australian friend, Nathan, via Skype.

"Yes years ago I can remember everyone talking about there were going to be phones where you see the other person you are talking to ... here it is via computer and SKYPE.  I was happy to say I was groomed nicely before this session between Nathan and myself.  Bye bye Nathan I will look forward to hearing you are safe and sound back home in Australia ! xx "

What was even cooler was Rob had called at the same time I had been skyping with Nathan, so I had put Rob on speakerphone on my Blackberry so he too could say "good-bye" to Nathan.  Truly it was our pleasure to meet such a nice young man, who I will be happy to stay in contact with.

A warm welcome goes out to my newest follower who has joined me here.  Thank you Michelle of Ms. enPlace for being here on my daily journal, with my sometimes opinions and ramblings.

Almost forgot ... checking in with Toni, Judy, Stacey, Michelle, Diane, Ellen, Debby, Cathy, Jean, Karen, Elsie, Gill, Darlene, Vicki, Abby, Marg, Janet, Marlyn, Christy, Alice and Monica, on how everyone did on their first month of the 52 Week Money Challenge (you can find on the sidebar) ?

"I began with $23.78 in my E-Account, adding the required amount per week as shown below.  Right on the "money" with this Challenge so far !"

Hope everyone else is off to a great start for the first Month of the Challenge?  I LOVE having the company along the way each week of the Challenge.

I am feeling very tired, with my neck giving me much grief today, and besides I have rambled on quite enough for one day, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".

Thursday 24 January 2013

Captured By Chocolate & Pastries

Hello Sunshine, I am so happy to finally see you again, after what has seemed like a very very long time.  Now that I have cleaned well over a foot of snow from my vehicle, I will let you, hopefully work its magic, by melting the remainder of it.  I think I still might be dreaming a wee bit here, as the temperatures are still well below the freezing mark.

Today I am extremely pleased to have a Guest here on "North of Wiarton" who just happens to be one of many of Bruce County's local talents.  Cathy is a wonderful lady I had the pleasure of meeting last Summer at the Canada Day Festivities down in Wiarton's Bluewater Park.  Please take a moment to drop in for a read at that post by going HERE.

Cathy, welcome to "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".  Please read on to find out how Cathy was "captured by chocolate & pastries".

My name is Cathy Kuepfer, and in the summer of 2011, I found myself at loose ends after working as a chocolatier for the past 11 years. I floated through the summer, watching the job postings, but not really sure what it was that I wanted to do. Nothing that came up really clicked with me, or for me. At 62, it's not easy changing careers, and there's not a huge market for a chocolatier in small town Midwestern Ontario.  My other previous work experience was daycare and I although I love children, after 30 years in that field; I had felt burnt out and in need of a change.

Then in early fall of that year, I found two challenges, that helped me realize what I would enjoy doing! First, I had discovered some yummy Black Forest cheesecake tarts at the Mariposa Market in Orillia! I fell in love with them, and decided to try to replicate them since I don’t get to downtown Orillia very often. I managed to come up with a tart that was very similar, and that my family and friends really enjoyed. One of my friends doesn’t like cherry, so I also came up with a blueberry version.

The second challenge came when my husband Clare, the “Crokinut”, gave me a challenge. He is crazy about the game of crokinole, going to as many tournaments and games as he can find! Clare decided that he would like to organize a local tournament, with the help of others from the two local crokinole clubs that he attends. My challenge was to make chocolate crokinole buttons as small thank you favours for those attending, as well as a chocolate crokinole board as a prize for a “20’s shootout”. I was unable to come up with the requested chocolate board, but I did make a caramel one, as well as the chocolate buttons.

The Crokinut was thrilled, and I was hooked!  My creative juices were running by this time, and Cathy’s Creations was born!  I discovered my   passion for creating unique sweets and treats,     including custom made chocolates.” Cathy's Confections' goal is to produce unique items that are hard to find elsewhere and are what the customer wants.  This is something that a larger company cannot easily tackle, but a small, home based business can.  An example of this is putting dates in butter tarts for the Crokinut.

Last March, I was offered the chance to set up a table at the Walter’s Falls Maple Syrup Festival. I made a few unique items, as well as some that are tried and true, and decided to give it a try.

This was not my original intention, so I went back to my initial plan for awhile. Unfortunately, I found out that most people don’t pick up the phone and make that call. Mostly we have become a society that runs out to the store to pick up the most convenient pre-made item.  It’s also hard for consumers to understand that someone is willing to make their version of a particular item. My premise of people calling and putting in unique orders, was not working as planned. 
Therefore in midsummer of the past year, I decided to go out to the people again. I had a table at Wiarton’s Canada Day celebrations, which is where I first met Cindy, one of the most genuine and giving people I have ever met!  ... . And what a beautiful view we had from our booth!

 Since then, I have visited various venues and have met so many wonderful people! They have all been so helpful and supportive, and I want to thank them all. A very special thanks to Cindy for inviting me to write this guest blog.  

Cathy thank you so very much for being a Guest here this day at "North of Wiarton".  It equally has been an amazing pleasure to meet such a lovely person such as yourself who possesses such a talent that so happens to be one of my most favourite "addictions".  I am so looking forward on continuing to follow your "Chocolate & Pastry Journey".

Cathy can be found at her Website at or on Facebook by *clicking* HERE.  Should you be having a "special" upcoming event, or company dropping by? Custom Orders, as well as regular,  are always welcome by calling Cathy at 519-934-1351.

I am certain Cathy would LOVE to have you drop by to "LIKE" her Facebook Page.  I also know for a fact, she has been creating some wonderful "unique" treats that can be ordered just in time for Valentines Day gift giving for that someone "special" in your life.

I do apologize for the format of this post today, as I am pretty sure Blogger has been possessed by some unseen force.  Maybe it has not had its "Chocolate Fix" yet today ???

What are my plans for a finally Sunshiny day ?   I am sure some will include the dreaded, forever there, housework, as well as popping out to have a visit with a lady who has been unable to get out for the past couple of weeks.  Whatever the rest of my day brings on thing I am certain of is that I am happy to be here, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".

Wednesday 23 January 2013

A Wee Bit On The Nippy Side

The alarm went off, Rob was up, dressed and out to the kitchen to make coffee for us.  I followed shortly getting the soup heated for him to take along in his thermos. 

It was "a wee bit on the nippy side" this morning as temperatures were down to -32*C with the Wind Chill first thing.  From what I had heard on Facebook was we had gotten off pretty easy as others had -40* .... and I know what that "deep freeze" feels like.

"Two of these things go together, and one of these things doesn't belong ... ha, remember that ditty?   I had to bring out the "big guns" in head gear this morning.  Really is there truth behind the saying, "you loose the most body heat through your head?".  There must be, as I do feel warmer with a hat on when out in sub-zero temperatures."

"Later this morning the temperatures did rise somewhat.  Still Bandit couldn't roll in the snow today and had to walk about at times on three legs, as they hadn't gone up enough."

"A little conferring and some loving going on here between Bandt and Lexus?  Maybe a bit of "how are we going to manage the kids when they arrive on or about the 6th of February?".  "

Lexus had to return to the house on three legs too.  With Lexus back in,  Missy Mercedes was ready to go out."

"Lots and lots of fun, until the cold finally got to Missy Mercedes' little paws too."

"Nothing holds back our "Go Dog Go" Buddy !"

In-between the out, about and in with the "Checkerboard Aussies" all day, I did manage to get our bedroom cleaned and the buffet dusted all off, before I tackled the "it really needed done" fridge as part of the Decluttering Mini Challenge for this week.

"Oh man, it is a lot of work taking everything out, washing it all down and placing it all back in, minus the stuff I was embarrassed to have had thrown out.  It was a feeling of relief once it was all done, "let me tell the World" !"

After putting every back, washing a sinkful of dishes once food from them had been discarded, it was back out with my "pack" into the deep freeze before I got Dinner started.  Just before starting Dinner I had this scenario going on in the kitchen ....

"Really Bandit?  Really? are you trying to double "guilt" me out here by saying 1) I don't feed you, and/or 2) I don't play enough with you?  Give it up boy, one or the other??  Never a dull moment in our days together."

"Tonight's Dinner did get underway.  Loving that I have my own Homemade Black Bean & Corn Salsa to grab from the shelf when the need arises.  Salsa into the browned ground beef and onion, followed by a can of Black Beans, Zesty Italian Dressing and Chili Powder."

"Layered goodness from out of the Oven topped with fresh lettuce and tomato ... "


Special Thanks to Alice for emailing me that today she tried the Chicken & Broccoli Braid from yesterday's post, with great success, as well as it being a "hit" with herself and her hubby.  I LOVE when I get some feedback to know others are trying the recipes and/or ideas I post from time to time.

Also a warm welcome to the newest four people who have chosen to join me here as followers of my daily journal, along with the odd, one, two, or three opinions and issues I might ramble on about from time to time.  It is nice to know others have the same interests I might have on occasion too.

Oopsie .... before I forget, another little reminder about what is happening down Saugeen Shores way in the Town of Port Elgin this Friday, as I am sure you won't want to miss out on a Homemade Luncheon should you be given the chance of one.

"Come Along to the Tolmie Presbyterian Church, located at 699 Goderich Street for an amazing luncheon.  How do I know this? of course by attending myself on previous occasions."

Would it surprise anyone that I still have dishes in the kitchen that need washed, or I am feeling very tired at the moment, or that my "Checkerboard Aussies" need to go out, about and in again one last time tonight, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".
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