Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Nature Treasures

Today was a beautiful fall day. Cool and sunny - perfect sweater weather. Jeremie and I decided that today would be a great day to go for a walk, so we piled into the car and drove to Sir Wilfred Laurier Park, or better known as the "dog park."
It is an off-leash dog park and on a beautiful Sunday like today, it was packed full of people with their dogs. I felt a tad out of place not having a dog following our heels, but the park is so beautiful by itself and has so many nature trails that all we had to do was break off on one of the trails and we wouldn't see a soul for a good 10 minutes or so.

Jeremie loves nature, absolutely adores it. He's very knowledgeable and found me quite a few treasures today!

On one of the secluded paths, we saw an older gentleman with a small bucket collecting these bright berries. We talked only briefly as English was not his first language, but he did tell us that these berries lowered his wife's blood pressure. Huh. I took him at his word, but would never eat the things. I had always been told that berries that look like this tend to be poisonous. Possibly they are - but I brought a little bunch home to look up and find out exactly what type of berry they are. (the reference librarian in me is dying to know.)

Jeremie also found me this birds-nest. I have no idea what type it is, only that it's probably a small bird, like a chickadee or a finch. I was hoping to find some broken shells, but they had all been cleared away.

Jeremie has a particular fondness for wasps and hornets, so when he found a giant nest (about the size of his head) in great condition, he was eager to show/tell me all about it. This photo is of a hornet's nest, it had layers upon layers of that paper type weaving (pictured behind) and it felt like the most delicate rice-paper. It is, I learned, bark fibers and hornet spit. (great)
Deep inside the nest is the comb, much like a bee's nest, but instead of honey, it's more like bedrooms for little larvae to grow. Jeremie pointed out the white 'cap' on certain parts of the comb. He told me that, that's how you could tell if a larvae had hatched from it. If there was no cap - no new hornets.

Here is a tiny little nest we found, probably belonging to Wasps'. When I asked why it was so small, Jeremie told me that either one of two scenario's probably happened:
1) The Queen died no new eggs were laid, leaving the other wasps to die out.
Or 2) The original nest was damaged. If this happens the hive will move to a new location.
Jeremie told me that he would think latter happened. This new small hive was misshaped and hastily "slapped together." He said that when they first start to build they will take more time to secure the nest and make it 'pretty.
We walked for a good hour and a bit. It was so much fun having Jeremie there to tell me new things and watch him forage through the dense trees and undergrowth just to get me a birds nest. What a sweetie!
It got fairly cool as soon as the sun started to set - my hands were freezing and Jeremie was staring to get cold as well, it was time to pack it in, take our little treasures home and show them to you!
But tomorrow is back to work and back to packing!
Cold but happy,
- Jenny

Friday, October 23, 2009

Feelin' Rather Good About Myself

I now have officially sorted and gotten rid of more than half the junk in my basement!! I am obscenely proud of myself, seeing as I had to root through all my precious books that had been stored away for safe keeping and decide what I would keep and what I would donate.
For some reason, all I could think of was the movie "Sophie's Choice." Deciding which books were more valuable than others hurt, but I got stronger and more decisive (or cruel) when sorting.
"I can get this at the Library."
"I hardly read this anymore."
"Yes! We can throw that one away! What?...oh, right..that's your book."
I was on a sorting, chucking, donating spree! And boy it felt gooood! I wouldn't say I'm a huge pack rat, but I do tend to hold onto a lot of books. I'm a re-reader. If I like it, the odds are I'll read it again - and working at Libraries means lots of opportunities to get my mitts on weeded books that I still want.
Of course, that being said, I had lots of books too that I "couldn't bare to get rid of." Or "Loved like crazy." Or "Wait! That's a classic and I'm sure worth something!" (yeah right.)
But I don't judge myself too harshly. I can get rid of lots of things easily, just books are difficult.
Jeremie was pretty good and only really started to shake his head a little grinning, while I explained how continuing to own this book was imperative to our future happiness.
Now that the basements done, the real challenge begins!
I have to sort through all the stuff in the rest of the house! We only have an 8x8x8.5 pod to pack this all in - so I have to be sure.
All the furniture will be flattened (excluding the couch of course), we will stack the boxes as high as we can, and are going to mark out the exact measurement of the pod in the floor of the basement with masking tape to make sure everything fits. (Great tip pop!)
The only "odd" items will be things like Jeremie's guitar and my spinning wheel, since we can't get those into a box.
Its funny going through the house, and evaluating its worth and deciding if its worth keeping or if we should leave it.
We've considered leaving the t.v., several bookcases, my desk, and even my bureau.
I really have to think of it all in tiny little steps, or I begin to get anxious and overwhelmed. So I plan out my days with 3 or 4 things to do, and I seem to be getting quite a lot done!
Lets hope it stays that way!
Still packing,
~ Jenny

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where Has Reality Gone?

I saw this ad today - and I could not believe it.
This is a read ad by Ralph Lauren and frankly, it disgusted me.
Her body has been so distorted by Photoshop that she actually looks deformed or on her death bed.

Her head is actually larger than her pelvis. Who on earth could look at this and decide that this is what a person should look like?
Sadly, I wish this were a joke but this is a real ad, and Ralph Lauren has yet to post or comment on it.
Is our perspective on what reality is so twisted that this can actually be published and put out for the public to view and accept??

It's really no wonder that we have so many girls and now boys, suffering from anorexia and bulimia. Or teens who have to have plastic surgery because of how "horrible" they look.
Its creating an entire generation of people who automatically believe that they are unattractive and of little value because the media is setting standards that are not even humanly possible!

Ugh, it fires me up so much, and makes me madder then I'm even willing to admit.
It just leaves such a horrible taste in my mouth.

Oh, and by the way - this model was later fired for being too 'fat' at 120lbs. This she told interviewers herself.

Anger and sadness thats what I feel when I think of 12 year old girls being exposed to all of this - I can't imagine what they must feel.

Full Article
Another Impossibly Skinny Ralph Lauren Model (don'cha just love seeing the model's ribcage through her shirt??)

- Jenny

Friday, October 16, 2009

Our "Prairie" Home No Longer???

It seems that a big change will be happening soon to my little family.
Jeremie and I always have planned to move back to Ontario after our lease was up on the house we were renting.
We would rent a UHaul truck and make our way through Canada in April. That was the plan anyway.
One thing I've learned very well since being married is that no matter how much I plan, rarely does it happen that way.

A week ago we received a "Happy Thanksgiving" phone call from my family in Ontario. It was a nice chat and it reminded me again of how much I miss my family and cannot wait to celebrate with them again.
I was surprised when my Mum told me that Cory - my brother-in-law, wanted to chat with me.
We haven't chatted in a while, and normally our "hello's" are sent through my sister to him.
But happily I agreed to chat.

Cory told me, rather convincingly, that Jeremie and I would save money if we moved down at Christmas instead of waiting for April.
He listed a whole bunch of reasons that sounded good to me, but, of course, Jeremie would have to hear it too.
So I put Jeremie on the phone with Cory, never thinking that just one week later, we'd be all set to move to Ontario in just a few short months.

Everything seems to be falling into place, it will be work and I cringe at the amount of packing I have to do - but it'll be all worth it when I climb onto that plane knowing that I won't have to return to Alberta after just a few short weeks.

Jeremie and I prayed, talked to parents and to Jeremie's sister and her husband, who share this house with us. Everybody saw the logic and sense the move made.

I am simply on pins and needles waiting for December now. I never thought I'd get what I really wanted for Christmas - to be with my family again, and start putting down some roots.
We have work to do, but it will all be worth it in the end.

All this talk about moving back to Ontario and being able to really "settle" has inspired me to start thinking of my own home.
I came across this book in the Library.

It's a beautiful decorating book, full of bright vibrant photographs. It's such a unique style, but fit me perfectly.
I have always loved the retro/vintage/antique look, but never really knew how to combine with my own love of country decor as well. In this book, Robin Brown - the founder of "Magnolia Pearl" interior designs, takes you on a guided tour of her own home.
I was in heaven! She talks about 'layering beauty' and not being afraid of too much colour. How brocade, silk, lace and velvet can all be used in the same room and bring it together beautifully.

She designs from the heart and is not afraid of being proud of what she "loves" even if not everyone else shares her opinion.
It's very reminiscent of the Victorian style of "clutter" but more refined.
This book also gives some great "How to's" like tea-dying lace, how to make a carpet Mosaic on your wall and how to distinguish between junk and treasure.

I hope to incorporate some of those techniques into my own home.

Well I better go, lots to do and it seems like too little time in which to do it.

~ Jenny

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!

We've had quite the snow here lately. Flurries have been on and off for the last three days; it seems we missed Fall altogether and went straight to Winter.
The trees were taken by surprise, and just started dumping their leaves without even bothering to change colour.

I took these pictures this morning. Only Jeremie and I seem to be excited about the snow, the others in the household not so much.
I am very thankful for my winter boots, hats and home-made mittens right now!

I suppose some people would be upset at having a snowy Thanksgiving - even the news man said that this has been the coldest Thanksgiving weekend in 50 years!
I'll believe that!

So we are all snuggled down on this Sunday morning, while it's snowing outside, the house quiet except for the furnace which will humm now and again.
Today seems like the perfect time to work on a few home-made Christmas gifts, get my Pumpkin pie bakes and ready for tomorrow and maybe bundle up for a quiet walk in the snow with my husband.

Happy Thanksgiving!
- Jenny

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Snow Today?!?

Crazy, but true!
Jeremie and I were just stepping out of the car to go into the Gym, when he pointed out the first few flakes. They were tiny and few and far between - but they were there!
I was excited, snow means winter, winter means Christmas and Christmas now means back in Ottawa for almost 3 whole weeks!
I really was not expecting to go back to Ottawa for Christmas this year, since we're planning on moving there come Spring, we decided it would be most frugal to stay home this holiday and save for the move.
However, my family had different plans it seemed! I found out, only about a week ago that my entire family chipped in to buy Jeremie and I plane tickets to fly down for Christmas. Such an amazing, generous gift!! We are both so spoiled with wonderful families.

Sadly, the snow had ended when Jeremie and I left the gym to go home and start supper.
Together we made my Mothers "Baked Egg Casserole" the ultimate in easy casseroles and unbelievably delicious!

This is the casserole before I threw it in the oven for 45 minutes at 375'.

I found the recipe accidentally when looking for my home-made Peanut Butter Cup recipe. I hadn't looked through my old Recipe Book in a while. I believe my Mum and Dad gave it to me on my 16th birthday.
My Mum always writes such lovely things on the inside of books whenever she gives them as a gift, and this recipe book was no different. It's such a great keepsake because of it.
I have found a wonderful store in downtown Edmonton called "Notables Stationary." Quite a deadly place for me as I am completely addicted to stationary of any kind. Cards, Papers, Journals, Pens, Inks...anything really!
I did however splurge on this paper when I saw it. 100% cotton and so soft! I prefer to write with a dip-ink pen when I write letters because I feel it makes it more personal. So I got some Chocolate brown ink to go on my new paper.
I do love my colour too however, and I try to use my two little ink bottles of bright blue and red whenever I can. Not to mention I love the bottles themselves and the illustrations on them. It's so kitchy!

Well, I smell that casserole a'cookin, so I better go check on it.