Thursday, November 26, 2015

I <3 Bulk Barn

You guys.  I discovered the Bulk Barn last night. 

And I am in love!!!!


Okay, so, no, I have not been living under a rock, I already knew what the Bulk Barn was. In fact, I’d been in the store many times before, especially when there was a location at Carlingwood Shopping Centre.  But anytime I’d gone in before, I was just trailing around after my mother.  My eyes would widen as I’d pass bin after bin of amazing looks candies and chocolates and nuts and baking goods.  But truth be told, I never really knew how it “worked”.  And I’m afraid of things that I don’t understand.  So in my mind, it was just a place where Moms who knew the system shopped for baking stuff, and because I didn’t know “the system”, it meant I couldn’t buy anything there myself.  Case closed.

Last night, my mom and I were heading off the to city to Walmart, and I had my list of things I needed to shop for for my Christmas baking/chocolatemeltingandswirling.  Half of my list consisted of things like Bakers chocolate, chocolate chips,mixed nuts, sliced almonds, pecan pieces, dried cranberries, chocolate rosettes, M&M’s, Hershey Kisses, mini pretzels… all the things I needed to make my favourite Christmas cookies and bark.  A few days ago, my friend Sharon admonished me for paying the high local grocery store prices for such things when she could pick up for me in the city at the Bulk Barn.  But I like to do be an independent, non-reliant little chickie-doo, and insisted I would shop for myself.

On the way down, I mentioned to Mom that Sharon had recommended the Bulk Barn, and she was like, “OH!  Yes, of course!  And there’s a nice new one right near the Walmart there, we should definitely go there first!!”

And in my head, I was like, Meh, sure, whatever… but I don’t know the frigging CODE to how that store works, so I will still probably buy it all at Walmart…

We were barely in the door until I lost Mom.  She went ripping right in and started saying, “Oh yes, I need some of this…. and yes, I should get these here too!”

bulk barn

And I was just scanning all the bins, totally impressed with the immense selection, yet still very intimidated and bewildered by it all.

I tracked her down.  “So, like, Mom…what do I do?”

“Well, you take a bag and you scoop what you want into it, and that’s it!  I think there should be tags to label it too… hmmm… I don’t see any tags… I’m not sure… hmmm…”

And then she just trailed off down the aisle mumbling away and I was left shaking my head.  Like, WHAT?!  I know I scoop what I want into the bag, but if there’s supposed to be tags and she can’t find any, THAT can’t be good, can it??

So I come across the Christmas-coloured M&M’s and decide I’m going to dive in.  You gotta start somewhere, right?  I take a bag and open the bin and scoop a bit in and hold it up and, I’m like, huh. I have no idea how much this is.  Is this how many are in a normal bag of M&M’s?  It doesn’t look like enough…  How do I know?  Maybe this is like 30 frigging dollars worth of M&M’s…

“Mom.  Mom??  MOM!!!”

But she’s off skipping down aisles of berries and nuts and chocolateeverything and she couldn’t be bothered with her little Bulk Barn virgin of a daughter.

I finally tracked her down again, and said, “I need HELP! I don’t understand!!  Like, how do I know how much I need?  I have no idea if this is the right amount.  And how do I know how much it’s going to cost?  And what about those tags you were telling me about??  I don’t see any flippin’ tags anywhere!”

And she was like, “Oh I think you have enough.”

And I was like, “But how do I REALLY KNOW?!?!”

“There are scales around here somewhere, if you really want to check, but you can usually eyeball it and tell by how heavy the bag is in your hand and, oh yes, I need some of these…”

And then she was gone again, down another aisle, still talking away but unaware that I cannot HEAR her when she’s in a whole ‘nother aisle.

Seriously, I was sitting on a fence.  A very thin, fragile fence. I was on the verge of a very toddler-like meltdown where I would throw my stupid Christmas-coloured M&M’s back in their bin and stomp out of the store saying, “SCREW IT! I don’t understand this dumb store!  I’m going to WALMART!  At least I understand how to BUY THINGS THERE!!!!”

But instead, I decided to put on my big girl pants and very calmly said, “I’m just going to start loading up bags and not worry about tags and figure this shit out for myself.”

I started slowly, cautiously… I tied up my bag of M&M’s and headed on to the chocolate squares. (FYI, when you say “These chocolate squares are too hard to scoop, can I just use my hands?” your mom will yell “NO!” It kinda makes a scene. But then again, I think we had already made a scene. Whatever.)  I hovered by the nuts, wondering if I should get them there too, and decided, “hell, why not?”  Dried cranberries.  Sliced almonds.  Chocolate rosettes.

I finally overheard Mom asking an employee about these tags she kept wondering about, and he told her not to worry about them unless she was getting things like flour and stuff like that.  So the tag issue was off the table.

I ended up deciding against getting my chocolate chips and Hershey Kisses and mini pretzels there, because I honestly had no clue, I very well could have been carrying around a thousand dollars worth of product at that point.  I didn’t know how heavy my bags were or if I had enough of anything or too much of everything, and I didn’t have patience to seek out the scales to figure it all out.  I finally said, “I’m done.  I’m going to the cash.”

And there, I held my breath as the guy rang everything up, convinced that I had gone wack-o and would end up paying a fortune when I was supposedly trying to save money at this place…

And then he told me I owed him $45.  I expected my baking supplies to cost more like $100.  The chocolate squares alone were a massive savings.  To buy the number of boxes I needed of squares should have come in around $50, and at the Bulk Barn, they were less than $20.

I definitely should have got the chocolate chips and Hershey Kisses and mini pretzels there too.  I will know for next time.

I’m 32 years old, and I have finally discovered the beauty of the Bulk Barn.  I am already planning my next trip.  I think I will probably become addicted to this place.

Who knew, eh?


(ps… Happy Thanksgiving to my American bloggy pals!  Eat some turkey and stuffing for me, please!! So jeal!!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Loves

Happy Wednesday, gang!  Here’s what I’m LOVING today:

  • The snow, of course.  It’s still on the ground!  It’s going to melt over the next few days, unfortunately… it’s going to be +12 on Friday with rain.  But until then, I’m going to enjoy the pretty white scenery that surrounds me!
  • I have discovered Chris Stapleton, and I LOVE him.  Last week, my Facebook newsfeed was blowing up with friends sharing the vid of his CMA performance with Justin Timberlake, and I’ve finally caught on to the hype.  I could listen to this song all day!

  • I love that I’m going to Walmart after work today to grab the rest of my necessities for Christmas baking.  I’m praying for cheaper chocolate prices than I’ve found locally. I’m ready to get my bake on!
  • I’m loving that the Christmas gifts have started rolling in!  Boxes from Amazon, parcels from Sears, orders from Shutterfly…items getting crossed off the list, and me breathing a little easier with each one.  Phewf.

amazon box

  • I’m looking forward to next Friday, because if all goes well, it should mark the official end of my Christmas shopping.  I have a list made with definitive plans made for each person, and now it’s just a matter of buying the remainder of the gifts and putting that list to bed.  I love when that moment comes.  Wrapping is my favourite part, and I can’t wait to get at it!
  • I’m getting Subway for supper tonight.  I can’t remember the last time I had Subway.  I’m drooling just thinking about it.


  • Speaking of droolin… I had a Timmie’s donut this morning and it was heavenly.  God bless visitors to the farm who bring city treats with them. I had their new Sugar Cookie donut, and it was an exquisite little sugar buzz.  Yum.

timmies sugar cookie

  • I LOVE that my family is having a little Grey Cup party this coming Sunday!  OK, so we usually do have a “Grey Cup party”, but usually we just eat junky food and I don’t even bother watching the actual game.  But this year, our Ottawa REDBLACKS are playing in the big game, and everyone is pretty pumped!  It’s been a long time since a football team from Ottawa has done well, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.  Go REDBLACKS!!


  • And I know I keep mentioning this, but I’m so lovin’ all the festive events and activities that are coming up in the next few weeks.  The Christmas parties will kick off this weekend with our company party on Friday and a Christmas dinner and gift exchange with the girls on Saturday.  From then on, it’s full steam ahead to Christmas, with so many fun things jam-packing the calendar!  I can’t wait!
  • Last but not least, I love that even though our Thanksgiving is over, I still feel an excitement over the fact that our neighbours south of the border will be celebrating tomorrow… I think a  little of their holiday magic has seeped into my soul.  Tomorrow night after Zumba is over, I may just bust out my Friends DVD’s and watch some of their Thanksgiving episodes to celebrate. ;)

friends thanksgiving

Have a great day, pals!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It Snowed :)

There really is nothing quite as magical as the first snow.

My alarm went off at 5:40 am this morning, and I groggily reached for my phone.  I saw that my friend Lindsay had already texted me… unusual.  I know Linds is an early riser, but this one had come in 5:09 am, and she knows darn well I’m not up THAT early.  Her text read:  Go look out your window.  You will be a happy girl this morning…

I didn’t hesitate one second.  I popped up out of bed and reached for the blinds of my bedroom window.  And sure enough, there it was.  

Beautiful, sparkling, glorious snow!!!

What makes this snow even more magical is that it is unexpected snow.  They were calling for 60% chance of flurries overnight.  The company I work for does snow removal, and I heard some of the guys talking late yesterday afternoon about having to get up in the middle of the night to check it out, just in case.  I was rolling my eyes and thinking, Oh, they get so damn hyper over the forecast.  It’s only going to be flurries.  Bet ya we won’t get anything. They won’t have get up at all!

I was just a teensy bit wrong on that one!  Ooops!

The weatherman was a little off.  The flurries and “light dusting” of snow ended up being a couple of inches.  Enough to cover the grass completely on my front lawn, and to bring the plows and sand trucks out for the first time this year.  And yes, the snow guys around here DID have to haul their butts out of bed in the middle of the night to get things rolling.

And I just can’t wipe the grin off my face because of it. :)

There are reasons why I should NOT be happy about the snow.  For one thing, I do not have my snow tires on yet.  I was planning to call someday this week to make an appointment to have it done on Saturday.  I think every year, I end up calling them on the first day it snows.  So typical, eh. I bet the phone will be ringing off the hook there today!  Thankfully, I don’t have far to drive to get to work, so I should be OK.

Also, I need new winter boots.  The ones I bought a few years ago now have a hole in the heel of one of them.  I cannot afford new boots right now, so… yeah.  Damn you, snow.

Another reason why I shouldn’t be happy about the snow?  Well, I just discovered yesterday that I am actually allergic to the cold.  I am not even joking, this is a real thing you guys!!   You see, for years, when out in the cold, I would develop a little welt on my left cheekbone area of my face.  Always in the same spot.  I assumed I had at some point got a touch of frostbite there, and that is why the bump always appeared there when exposed to the cold.

Over the past few weeks, on colder days, I noticed a few more spots showing up on my face after my noon hour walk.  They looked like hives.  The same one on my cheekbone, and a few others on my cheeks.  I just shrugged it off.  Whatever.  They weren’t really itchy or anything, and they disappear fairly quickly once I’m back inside, so no biggie.

Yesterday, when I got back from my walk, Lindsay took one look at me and said, “Uhhhh… what happened to your face?!”

A quick check in the mirror showed that I had hives on my cheeks AND my forehead.  That was when I decided I needed to consult the Google Doctors.  And within minutes, I had self-diagnosed myself with Cold Urticaria

Quite literally, I am allergic to the cold.

I have always had weird, sensitive skin.  It’s nothing new for me to have hives or a just random itchy red bumps break out.  I don’t usually get alarmed. I’ve also developed allergies in my adult years that I never had when I was a kid – seasonal allergies, Oral Allergy Syndrome…  So really, this isn’t all that earth-shattering. 

I had just never heard of someone actually being allergic to the cold before!

And of course, it has to happen to me, the snow-loving winter freak!!!

When I posted about it on Facebook, I found out I wasn’t alone.  I had several friends let me know they knew of someone who had it as well, or who experience it themselves.  Who knew?!?!

According to what the interwebs say, there’s not much I can do about it.  I can take Benadryl or Reactine, keep my face covered up completely when I’m outside (Santa, I need one of those bank robber ski masks, please) or just avoid going out in the cold altogether.  The thing is… it’s not THAT cold out yet.  I mean, it was only hovering around zero yesterday.  It’s going to get MUCH colder here in the next few months.  How much worse will my face look when I have to go out in –20 degree weather?!

Apparently I should be thankful.  My reaction is mild.  Some people have the hives break out all over their bodies.  For some, it can be very itchy, or the swelling can be severe. It can actually be fatal is some cases.  Can you imagine?!?!

Of course, I will definitely talk to my doctor about this the next time I see him.  There is a chance the Internet doctors could be wrong.  They did tell me before that I had a brain tumor, and they were off on that one.

In the meantime, I’ll just cover up my face when I go out for my walks and to play in the snow.  Because, like… it’s SNOW, guys.  I can’t just not play in it!!

Happy first snowfall of the year, peeeps :)

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Friday Confessional

It’s felt like a really long week this week… I guess maybe I always feel this way? lol  Either way, I’m celebrating the fact that Friday has finally arrived, and I’m doing some confessing before the weekend begins!

I confess… that despite my best laid plans, I have not done ANY more decorating during the evenings this week.  Things are just too busy.  And when they’re not busy, then the lure of lying on the couch has far outweighed the desire to decorate.

I confess… that as I sit here freezing at my desk this morning, I’ve realized that I’m probably soon going to have to bust out the long-johns (kinda wish I had ‘em on right now, actually).  And when I do, I’m probably going to have to go up a pant size, ‘cause there is no way the long-johns are going to fit under these current pants I’m wearing. *sigh*

I confess… that it may be time to start seriously considering trying out that healthy eating thing again…

I confess… that I thought I had lost my love for The Hunger Games, because originally I had no desire to see the upcoming final installment of the movie series, at least not in theatres, but after seeing the preview a few times, and watching Jennifer Lawrence on Jimmy Fallon the other night, my love for The Hunger Games has been re-ignited.  I’m ready to be caught back up in the hype!

mockingjay part 2

I confess… that we are ordering Thai Zone for lunch today in the office, and it’s just about all I can think about right now.

thai zone

I confess… I have my gift ready for our Girl’s Christmas dinner and gift exchange next Saturday; all I have to do is add a few homemade touches and wrap it!  I’m so excited for the Christmas parties to begin!!

I confess… that the credit card is starting to get racked up again… Not out of control yet, but Christmas shopping is sure starting to put a ding on it.  BUT – if all goes as planned, I should be done the shopping by the first week of December, and then I’ll be able to spend the rest of the month paying it off, and be in the clear again to start 2016 off fresh.  (relax, Mom.)

I confess… that part of the problem is the expense of buying ingredients for holiday baking.  Why, oh WHY, does baking chocolate have to be so expensive?  And why, oh WHY, does all of my holiday “baking” involve melting chocolate?!  Frigging bark.  ugh.


I confess… that I think I whine about the price of melting chocolate for bark pretty much every year on the blog at this time of year…

I confess… I’m going to watch Christmas movies this weekend.  And I’m going to make my first go of cookies tomorrow morning. And I’m going to a Christmas tea and bake sale at St. Mary’s church tomorrow afternoon.  And  I’m going to paint Christmas balls at Paint Nite tomorrow night. I’m done trying to “stall” the Christmas excitement.  Bring it on!!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I’m Loving Wednesday

I’m having trouble finding blog inspiration lately.  So I thought I’d resort to an old tried-and-true… never hurts to take a glance about and find things that brighten my day!  It is Wednesday, after all!

I’m loving how my living room looks right now.  As I mentioned yesterday, the tree went up Sunday afternoon and most of the decorating in the living room is done.  I planned to do more last night, but I ended up with a sinus headache that still hasn’t let up.  Chalk that one up to something I’m NOT loving today… urgh.  Anyways, it was nice to lie on the couch last night with the magic bag on the back of my neck and just gaze at the prettiness around me.  (and no, I did not light up the bezerk-o Christmas tree, that would have made my headache worse.)

christmas tree 2013

(This is my tree from 2013… haven’t photographed this year’s yet!)

I’m loving that snowflakes are starting to appear in the long-range forecast.  I know most people have been loving this warm November so far, but I’m over it.  15 degrees tomorrow?  pssshhhhh… I’m ready for snow!


I love that I have made a start on my Christmas shopping.  I have a few gifts bought for the kids, and a pretty good idea of what I’m getting for the rest.  I always feel really stressed out about Christmas shopping until I make a list and start crossing things off.  Breathing a little easier now that I’ve at least begun.

Totally loving the Christmas parties coming up, which will all kick off next Friday with our company Christmas luncheon.  It will be the beginning of a very busy couple of weeks, but I’m so ready to dive in!

You know what else I kind of love?  I love that I made my Christmas list the other day, but didn’t feel a need to put any major necessities on it.  It seems that every year, there’s always something I DESPERATELY needed… and this year, it comes as a comfort and a blessing to realize I’m not wanting for much these days.  I have spent years crossing “must-haves” off my list, buying them as I could afford them, or receiving them as gifts.  Sure, there are still things that I could certainly use, home improvements that still could be done, a new cell phone, internet service in my home, Netflix… but I don’t feel I need anything right now in desperation.  I am fortunate.

I haven’t said it for a while… I love Jimmy Fallon, you guys.  I really do.  He makes me smile, even on days when I didn’t think a smile was possible.

Emmy Nominations

Oh!  And I love that it is People’s Sexiest Man Alive Day!!!  I can’t say David Beckham would have been my first choice (I’d have probably gone for a repeat of Adam Levine or Channing Tatum, truthfully lol) – but there’s no doubt, the man is a sexy, sexy beast. 

sexiest man alive 2015

david beckham 1

david beckham 3

David beckham 4

On that note…have a great day, friends :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday Randoms… The Pre-Christmas Panic

  • Anybody else feel like November is flying by at warp speed? Anybody else starting to feel panicky because you haven’t started the baking, finished the shopping, thought about wrapping, decorated the house, and have no time to do any of the above until December 20th?  Yeah.  That’s me right now.  I practicially hyperventilate when I let my mind wander there.
  • Well, I kind of lied about the “decorating” part.  I actually have started that.  I know, it’s a little ridiculous to have my tree up on November 15th, but I honestly didn’t know when the hell the damned thing was going to go up if I didn’t do it this past Sunday afternoon.  Life is just that busy right now.
  • I’m not apologizing for having my tree up way early, either.  You know what?  I love Christmas.   I love it so much.  And I love how my house looks and feels when it’s decorated for the holidays.  Last year, when I had to decorate super early because of the House Tour, people said to me, “Oh, you’ll be so sick of it by the time Christmas gets here.”  But I wasn’t.  I never got sick of it.  It still made me sad to take it all down the first week of January.  So you know what?  If having my tree up on November 15th makes me happy, then who cares what anyone else thinks.  We all need a little more happy in our lives right now.
  • The one part of my tree that I am NOT happy about?  Well, the cheap-ass mini lights I bought last year went all screwy-lewy.  Three stands of lights, and on two of them, half the strand wouldn’t light up.  The only way we could get them to light up was to put in those stupid flasher bulbs that nobody uses.  And do you know why nobody uses the stupid flasher bulbs?  Because when your tree is all blinking at all different speeds and intervals, it makes you practically have a seizure just watching it.  I swear to God, when I plugged it in last night, I couldn’t even look at it.  My Christmas Tree is bezerk.
  • I should clarify that I am not completely done decorating – basically just my living room is done.  Still more to do, but I hope to putter at that in the evenings over the next few weeks. 
  • Last night, I decided to watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.  I think it’s a good November movie … Halloween is still not too far from my thoughts, and Christmas is approaching quickly.  It really is a movie that works for both holidays, so I like to watch it in November.  Unfortunately last night I fell asleep about 10 minutes in.  I guess I’ll try again tonight.
  • The dark evenings have me really wanting to kick into hibernation mode.  Of course, there’s too much going on pre-Christmas for hibernation mode.  That will have to wait until January.  But I am so excited to hibernate this winter.  I feel like I need it.  Cozy blankets, naps, watching movies, sipping tea, making soup…just hunkering down inside… it sounds marvelous to me.  Of course, I don’t want that Christmas season to fly by, but I am craving January coziness, for sure.
  • Oh, this is also the time of year when I get jealous that our Thanksgiving is over.  My American pals blogs are full of Thanksgiving menus and talking about what they’re most looking forward to… I could go for some turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy right now.  mmmmmm…
  • I have to keep reminding myself to pause and take a breath.  I feel like I’m pretty much in full-on Christmas mode, and it can be overwhelming.  I like knowing when all the parties and festivities and gatherings are taking place, but between now and the week before Christmas, it’s almost too much.  I’m worrying about when things will get done, fretting over budgeting for it, stressing over every little thing.  This is when I give my head a little shake and say, “Dude.  It is seriously still only mid-November.  And you LOVE this time of year.  Quit panicking.  Relax.  Enjoy.  Take it all as it comes.”
  • As my mom keeps saying to me… One day at a time

Please tell me I’m not alone in my pre-Christmas mid-November meltdown?  Please tell me other people are panicking too?  oy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

We Will Remember Them

Today, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we remember them.  At the eleventh hour, we observe a moment of silence.  We reflect, we give thanks for the men and women who fought for our freedom, and we honour those are are still fighting today.

On Sunday, I attended our local Royal Canadian Legion branch’s Remembrance Day service with my nephew Caden.  The Highland Mist Pipe Band, Legion dignitaries, war veterans and soldiers marched to the Cenotaph, where we sang O Canada and heard The Last Post played, prayers were offered, and many wreaths were laid in memory of our community’s war veterans and heroes.

These are some of the pictures I took that day:

Remembrance Day 2015

Remembrance Day 2015 2

Remembrance Day 2015 3

Remembrance Day 2015 4

Remembrance Day 2015 5

Remembrance Day 2015 6

Remembrance Day 2015 7

Remembrance Day 2015 8

Remembrance Day 2015 9

Remembrance Day 2015 10

Remembrance Day 2015 12

Remembrance Day 2015 11

Remembrance Day 2015 13

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.