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Nov 23, 2012

Small Business Saturday

Again this year, in honour of Small Business Saturday I thought I would share some of my favourite Etsy sellers. Check them out for unique Christmas ideas and to support creative, talented people (many of them Canadian). I have bought from all these sellers and highly recommend them

1-Erica and I are mad about tea and this Winnipeg tea artist makes the most delicious teas


2-This legally blind wood turner creates beautiful jewellery, pens and other items.


3-This Canadian Marine Biologist makes the cutest most durable dog collars. (And has a love for pit bulls)


4-United Cerebral Palsy of Rhode Island helps advance independence of individuals with cerebral palsy and other disabilities through art. 100% of the profits of the beautiful art, jewellery and accessories, goes to the artists in the Adaptive Art Program. Check out their wonderful work.


5-The best dog leash we’ve ever had. 100% of the proceeds go to Senior Spaniel Rescue


6-Gorgeous cards, amazing prices, from a Canadian seller…..oh yeah….and all the proceeds go to help patients struggling with cancer. You can’t beat buying from this wonderful lady.


7-A Toronto artist who creates beautiful Ukrainian eggs and jewellery.


8-Woolly toques and scarves from British Columbia. A portion of the proceeds goes to rabbit rescue groups


9-Heirloom seeds because gardening feeds the body and soul.


10-Another Canadian…absolutely beautiful gift card holders and more.


Please feel free to forward to other. Let me know if you or your loved ones have small or online businesses our family could support or some of your favourite artists and artisans.


Warm Wishes



Feb 14, 2012


In Defence of the Bleeding Hearts

Valentine’s Day-a day symbolized by hearts. You can’t walk through a mall without seeing hearts absolutely everywhere so I thought it would be a good day to share my thoughts about Bleeding Hearts.

In the past few months on several occasions people have sneered at me “Oh you’re just a Bleeding Heart” in a dismissive, derisive and derogatory way.

So I have given this much thought and my response is, “Yes, yes I am and I am damn proud of it.”

My heart does bleed
For animals that are abused
For children that are sexually assaulted before they even start kindergarden
For teenagers that are bullied to the point that suicide seems like a rational option
For the 25 000 people that will die of hunger TODAY
For the environment
For women who live in societies where honour killings go unpunished
For veterans who come home after serving their countries and are not given the resources they need to return to civilian life
My heart does bleed 

And each day in my own small ways I try to make the world a better place

In my opinion it is much better to have a Bleeding Heart than one that is stone cold.

But just because I am a Bleeding Heart that does not mean I am soft or naïve. It does not mean I have love for everyone or even that I can find forgiveness for everyone (I am far from being that enlightened).

While I do not believe in the death penalty I definitely believe in much harsher prison sentences for those who chose to commit violent crimes and I am unable to feel sympathy towards them at this stage in my life.

To me the qualities that most define a Bleeding Heart are compassion, empathy, integrity and kindness so I’ll take being called a Bleeding Heart as a compliment.

When people sneer about The Bleeding Hearts I have to wonder if they realize the contributions The Bleeding Hearts have made to the world.

It was Bleeding Hearts who would have rallied against slavery
It was Bleeding Hearts who would have worked for women to get the vote
It was Bleeding Hearts who created the Children’s Aid Society and the SPCA
It was Bleeding Hearts who believed EVERY child was entitled to an education
It was Bleeding Hearts who fought for safe work environments
Belong to a union? Well you can thank the Bleeding Hearts who came before you who fought for the benefits you enjoy today
And here in Canada, it was Bleeding Hearts who believed every citizen should have access to healthcare

When I think of people throughout history it seems to me that Jesus Christ, Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein, Jane Adams, The Dalai Lama and Albert Schweitzer may have been considered Bleeding Hearts. While I am sure Attila the Hun, Vlad the Impaler, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, and Ruhollah Khomeini have never been accused of having a bleeding heart.

I know whose company I’d rather keep.

So to all of you Bleeding Hearts out there I send my love and best wishes and hope you have Happy Valentine’s Day.

Keep up the good work

Warm Wishes





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Posted: Feb 14, 2012 10:08am
Dec 10, 2011

Hello Everyone
Ever feel overwhelmed by the problems of the world? Well here's a way you can make a difference today.
Today is International Human Right's Day and I am spending some time today to write some letters with other members of Amnesty International to help support those who have been wrongfully detained throughout the world.
If you have a few minutes today (or even tomorrow or later this week) click on the links below and please consider taking a look at the different cases and writing even just one letter. It will only cost you a bit of time and the price of stamps. And best of all it really does work.
I will never forget reading of one woman who had been unlawfully detained saying how after the first bunch of letters arrived the beatings stopped, after the second bunch of letters came she was given back her clothes, after more letters arrived she was given a decent meal and eventually she was released.
It seems authorities will often behave differently when they know the world is watching and cares
The links will also leading you to this year's greeting card campaign which I participate in each year. Sending cards across the globe knowing that it wil truly bring a smile to someone's face and possibly make a profound difference in their life is one of my favourite activities of the holiday season.
Warm Wishes

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Over 34,000 Canadians are Writing for Rights today. Here's why: 
I write because its right and I have been helped by these writings in the past. Good works.
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Watch as Niagara Falls is lit in Amnesty yellow this evening from 5:30pm, or join in a flash mob at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor in Toronto at 6:45pm tonight.
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Tell governments that you won't stand for anyone infringing upon your human rights - or anyone else's - and help Amnesty International continue its work for another 50 years by making a donation to the Write for Rights campaign today.
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Informz for iMIS

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Posted: Dec 10, 2011 8:37am
Nov 26, 2011

Well yesterday was Black Friday and apparently today was Small Business Saturday. Over the past few years I have been trying to do more of my shopping at local businesses and from artists, artisans and crafters so when I stumbled upon it was wonderful. Now I do a good portion of my shopping from etsy at Christmas and throughout the whole year.

I figure when you know about a great thing it’s always good to share so I created a list of 10 of my favourite etsy sellers. I don’t know any of these sellers personally, I have just bought items from them and have always been thrilled.

1-Because she made the best purse I’ve ever had

2-Because she takes old sweaters and creates the most marvellous mittens

3-Because they create beautiful jewellery for animal rescue

4-Because not only are these socks colourful and fun they are also so very, very soft

5-Because I love pitbulls and so do they, donating the proceeds to Evenchance Pitbull Advocacy (and their products are top quality)

6-Because I REALLY love pitbulls, their jewellery is fun and a portion of the price of their pitbull jewellery goes to Villalobos Rescue Center (the largest pitbull rescue in the world)

7-Because she makes the most exquisite soaps

8-Because they take a bit of brass, a dash of literature and a bit of magic to create the most stunning bracelets

9-Because they are F.A.R.P (The Fabulous Animal Rescue Project) Need I say more?

10-Because her artwork is so enchanting it never fails to call to my inner child

And a bonus- Because we live and Saskatchewan and it’s so hard to find a coat that fits Charlie but this lady makes custom coats to fit any pup

Like I said this is just some of my favourites, etsy seems full of treasures made by wonderful creative folks

Love to hear if you know of some great hidden gems as well (or if you have started making your own creations PLEASE let me know)

Warm Wishes


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Posted: Nov 26, 2011 7:16pm
Nov 22, 2011

I want to crawl into a hole, or at least back to bed. I awoke this morning and again no water as the pipes from the well are frozen. This is day two.  I really want to soak in the tub.  I can’t lie I’m a little worried of what’s to come as this is only November and I hear Saskatchewan winters can be downright frigid.

The sky is blue and the sun is shining. Snow has blanketed the landscape but I am warm and cozy in the house we have rented for this next year.

We are out here, 3 people, 3 dogs, and 3 cats, a 12 minute drive from town with no vehicle until my husband gets his next break in 10 days. As a woman who chooses to live in rural Canada I have gotten pretty good at preparing my home for the inevitable unexpected but I must admit I’m a little worried and a little annoyed by the lack of water.

While we do have bottled water on hand for drinking, dishes still need to be washed, toilets need to be flushed and a shower would be so nice.

Yesterday in an effort to be proactive I took a bucket outside, filled it with snow and brought it in to melt on the stove so I could give the pets water that wasn’t from our bottled water supply. Once I got started though I melted more snow so the toilets could be flushed and even boiled some to wash the dishes and do some cleaning.  This chore took a little over an hour. This is just what they would have had to do in Little House on the Prairie, I mused. And the words of Ma Ingalls came to mind, “What cannot be cured must be endured.” and “What must be done is best done cheerfully.”

Today as I sit looking out on the Saskatchewan countryside I am still more than a little annoyed by the frozen pipes but I also know how very lucky I am-lucky for the bottled water, lucky for the snow, lucky for hydro to melt the snow, lucky to have options. I realize many people aren’t so lucky and I can’t help but do a search on the internet about water.

I stumble upon  I quickly learn that almost a billion people lack access to safe drinking water. I learn that every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. I learn that 1.2 billion people have absolutely no access to sanitation facilities. I learn that in just one day 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed collecting water.

And I learn that donating just $25 could provide water for life for one person.

I think about $25 and what that means. The last time the family went to Saskatoon we probably spent close to that on our lattes, coffees, and hot chocolates. We definitely spent more than that on our subs for lunch. I recently spent more than that on Christmas cards. And I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I spent more than that on the dog’s winter coat (she truly did need one in these parts)

The American Thanksgiving is coming up and once again I am reminded of just how much I have to be thankful for. If you are reading this than you have access to a computer and the internet and I will assume safe water. No matter what else is going on in your life right now when it comes to water you can consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Good or bad, fortunate or unfortunate, things often just come down to a matter of perspective.

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Posted: Nov 22, 2011 10:13am
Oct 22, 2011

Pitbull Awareness Day


Today is Pitbull Awareness Day. One member of our family happens to be a pitbull so I wanted to email family and friends to share some pitbull info.

Charlie Bow (short for Charlotte Baudelaire) came to us in 2008. She was only 12 weeks old but unfortunately for her a pitbull ban came into effect in Ontario in 2005. I am unsure who bred her parents or why the people who first adopted her had her. Perhaps they did not know she was a pitbull or about the ban as they lived in a busy suburban subdivision and walked her frequently in the neighbourhood. Animal control was called and I can only assume they were not eager to put a 12 week old puppy to sleep as they left it up to her family to either find her a new home or have her put down. They put the word out and as we lived in a secluded area we agreed to take her and keep her in hiding as we were already beginning to have thoughts of leaving the province.

Charlie quickly became the family princess as she amazed us with extraordinary smarts, loyalty and love. Since we first got her we have left Ontario to pitbull safe provinces and it is no exaggeration when I say how pitbull friendly a community is, is a huge consideration when we look for houses.

 Over the years we have lived with a turkey, geese, goats, and cats and been frequently visited by deer. Charlie has always been a peaceful creature and is especially fond of baby animals. She was protector and surrogate mother to the baby goat we had to bring in our home and bottle feed.

Communities that ban pitbulls fail both people and animals as they punish innocent animals while people who use and exploit animals and irresponsible pet owners face little consequences.  


Following is a bit of pitbull history-

Once known as the ‘Nanny Dog’ the pitbull was used by poor families in the 1800s to watch the children while the adults worked the farm because of their intelligent, protective and loyal nature.

There is much speculation that Jack the brindle bulldog of the Little House on the Prairie books must have been a pitbull (after living with a pitbull this is something I believe)

Helen Keller had a trusty pitbull

During the Civil War the 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry had a pitbull named Jack. When gunfire cease he would go out search for the wounded and dead men of his regiment, not resting till every man was accounted for, No Man Left Behind. Twice he was captured by the Confederate Army, held as a prisoner of war and became the first dog to be traded for the release of other prisoners.

In 1903 Bud a pitbull became the first dog to travel across the U.S in an automobile. His goggles are at the Smithsonian

 Sergeant Stubby is a pitbull who served during World War 1. During his stay at camp he recognized the various bugle calls, the drill marching routines and even learned a dog version of a salute by putting his right paw to his right eyebrow when others saluted. While overseas he saved his entire platoon by warning of a poison gas attack and later captured a German spy on his own. For this the commander put him in for a promotion and Stubby was the first pitbull to be given rank in the U.S army. Sergeant Stubby went on to serve in 17 battles became a decorated hero and was honoured at the White House

In 1993 a pitbull named Weela rescued 30 people, 29 dogs, 13 horses and 1 cat from heavy floods from southern California

Pitbulls often serve as search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs and work in law enforcement.

Pitbulls DO NOT have a locking jaw

Unfortunately these days pitbulls have gotten a bad rap even though on the National Canine Temperament Testing pitbulls rank 7th with a score of 86%, better than the Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, beagle and many other popular family dogs.

Recently 47 of Michael Vick’s dogs that had been raised as fighters have been rehabilitated and adopted out to loving homes proving that it is not the breed that is the problem but people.

Pitbulls are known for their eagerness to please their people. While this trait makes their humans adore them, when they fall into the wrong hands it is this trait that has caused them so much trouble. Pitbulls will fight because their people tell them to and above all pitbulls are loyal to their human friends.

It is time that people who mistreat and exploit all animals are held accountable for their actions. It is also time that innocent animals are no longer judged solely on how they look.

Please forward so we can raise awareness of the true nature of the pitbull. Throughout history pitbulls have been there for humans it is time for us to be there for them

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Posted: Oct 22, 2011 7:21pm
Feb 10, 2010

A lot of times the best gifts don’t cost much at all. This Valentine’s Day mix up some sensual massage oil and give that special someone the gift of your time and attention. A massage relaxes both your muscles and your mind. It is also a great way to strengthen intimacy with your partner.


Blend together

¼ cup of warmed almond oil

20 drops of essential oils


Several essential oils are known for their aphrodisiac properties including rosewood, ylang ylang, coriander, jasmine, rose, patchouli, and sandalwood.  
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Posted: Feb 10, 2010 2:01pm
Feb 9, 2010

 Back in May I took a trip out to British Columbia with my Dad to visit my brother, Jonathan.  The two of them are looking to buy some property about two and a half hours north of Vancouver where my brother lives. Jonathan thought it would be a good idea to drive up some old logging roads he knew to get an aerial view of the property. Slowly up the mountain we crawled in his 4x4. When we got to the spot we jumped out and headed for the edge. Much to our surprise there was about a dozen people up there relaxing, hanging out and about 4 of them parasailing.   My dad an avid sailor has recently reacquired his pilot’s license after a few decades and was quite fascinated with these guys.  He got chatting with one and the guy offered to take him up.  I sat on the side of the mountain looking up.


 When my dad rejoined us he said, “ Maybe one day I’ll give that a try”.

 My brother said, “Oh, I could never do it”.

 I said, “ I’d do it, it looks awesome”

 My father replied, “ Ok, then do it ”.

 “What right now?”

“Why not right now, you’re here, he’s here, and the weather conditions are perfect.


About twenty minutes later I was strapped in and running off the edge of the mountain. It was beautiful and exhilarating up in the air far above trees taking in the bird’s eye view. For one instant the thought of something going terribly wrong slipped into my consciousness but immediately the reply was “If this is my time to go so be it, there’s worse ways to go and this is just too amazing to miss”


 I guess I was up there about 30 minutes but I had lost track of man’s time. I was just one with the mountains, the trees, the birds and all of nature.


This is the position I will take to my writing. When an idea comes and my inner voice says that would make a good story one day, I will answer back “Why not now?”  When I complete something and think I will submit it one day, I will answer back “Why not now?” And once I have put in my best effort and done the research to find the best places to submit my work, then I will let it go. I will put out of my mind things going terribly wrong and getting rejection letters. I will remember that if I don’t go for it I might miss something truly amazing.

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Posted: Feb 9, 2010 3:45pm
Feb 9, 2010
Category: Beverages
Prep Time: Less than 15 min
Special Considerations: Vegan

This is a simple, quick, healthy way to begin the day. I started making these last summer but have found that I enjoy them year round.


Throughout the summer I spent many days on local pick-your-own farms picking strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Once home I washed them and popped them in the freezer so I could enjoy year round.


 Berries are a good source of Vitamin C and full of antioxidants and hemp seeds are full of protein and essential fatty acids.


In a blender mix

1 cup of orange juice

1 banana


1 cup frozen berries

½ cup rolled oats

1 tbsp of hemp seeds

1 tbsp of ground almonds

1 tsp of cinnamon


Pour into glass and enjoy

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Posted: Feb 9, 2010 12:59pm


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Denise L.
, 2, 2 children
Wolf Lake, Quebec, Canada
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