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The Hawk Has Landed - in the BackYard

So I was busy snapping the usual photos of squirrels and birds in the backyard when an hour later, after all the animals and birds had left, an extra big bird stopped by, one I've never seen before. Needless to say, I was all excited... until I read later they mainly feed on smaller birds.😱
(I did not want to scare it away so the photos were taken through a glass door...)


Website snapshot

Better Business Bureau has launched BBB Scam Tracker – a free interactive online tool that has been available in the US since February and now for Canadians, as a means to provide consumers across North America with a place to report scams and fraud, and to warn others of malicious or suspicious activities.

All 112 BBBs operating in Canada and the United States are now collecting information from consumers and processing data, which is shared with law enforcement agencies for use in identifying and prosecuting scammers.

SHAREABLE Tip #16 - Whiten (and Brighten) Your Nails with DENTURE CLEANSING TABLETS!

There are all kinds of tricks for whitening your nails – especially for those of you who like to use dark nail polish. This is just another awesome one I recently discovered.


Drop a packet of denture cleansing tablets in a bowl of warm water and soak your nails for at least five minutes.
The effervescent bubbles will dissolve even the toughest polish stains giving you much whiter and brighter nails!

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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Making life easier, one shareable tip at a time.

Halloween 2015... in Photos

So how was YOUR Halloween Day? We can't remember ours. Just kiddin'! 

We managed to capture a few photos (and even a video of a neighbour's dog who didn't seem too keen on wearing his Yoda costume), of the celebrated day.

USEFUL LINK: Ontario's New Emergency Room Departments LIVE "Wait Times" Website

Under the provincial government’s new Wait Time Strategy, the Niagara Health System (NHS) is constantly trying to improve and has made significant progress in patient wait times for key procedures and to make things even easier for patients, wait times for both minor and complex patients in Emergency Room Departments are now posted publicly for hospitals across Ontario, including the Niagara Health System. (See ‘useful link’ further down below for the Niagara region.)

Through the Ontario Wait Times website, Ontarians can now find wait times for all surgical areas performed and diagnostic CT and MRI procedures at hospitals across the province.

Snapshot of website

OFF-LEASH Dog Parks of Niagara

There are many parks to walk your dog in the Niagara area yet there are hardly any actual Dog Parks – places where our four-legged friends can run free and play off-leash in a controlled environment, (under the supervision of their owners, of course). In fact, currently there are only two leash-free dog areas in St. Catharines: Burgoyne Woods and Carol Disher Leash Free Dog Park at Catherine Street Park (see more photos below), and one in Niagara Falls.

We can thank former city councillor Carol Disher, for this.

Disher passed away in August 2015 but she realized the need for off-leash parks in the region and fought passionately for them.

“Of all the areas that she participated in and volunteered, one of the greatest accomplishments was initiating leash-free dog parks in the city,” Port Dalhousie Coun. Carlos Garcia said.

As a result, a leash-free park at Burgoyne Woods was opened in December 2006 and more recently, in honour of Carol, The Carol Disher Leash Free Dog Park located at Catherine Street Park...

Sharing a PRODUCT/PRODUCE: Cheetos 'Bag of Bones' White Cheddar

They’re baaaaack! Apparently, Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar was out last year and I didn’t even know it. I found a short YouTube video ad for them from 2014!

I also discovered you can purchase a bag on Amazon for $19.21. I kid you not! There was only 6 left in stock too! I was like, WTF? Are these people for real. They are good but not THAT good! I had to take a snapshot to share:

SHAREABLE Tip #15 - 2 Great Uses For ICE CUBES

And you thought ice cubes were just for your drinks. There are actually many uses for ice cubes. Here are two food-related ones I often see popping up online and in magazines.

2 Great Uses For ICE CUBES

1. Reheat leftovers without the leftover taste!
Leftover foods like rice or mashed potatoes always taste dry when reheated in the microwave. Next time, place an ice cube on the top or in the center, cover with a plastic wrap and reheat as usual. The food will taste fresh like the first day it was made! The moisture from the melting ice will be just enough to make it tender – not soggy.
2Get rid of excess fat in soups and stews!
Plop an ice cube or two after removing soup, stew or casserole from heat. Wait a few minutes. The grease and fat will stick to the cubes – making it easier for you to scoop out with a spoon or ladle!

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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SHAREABLE Tip #14 - Spray Your Plants with THIS Solution Before Bringing Them Indoors

Soon it will be that time of year again when we have to bring in all our houseplants outdoors – indoors for the winter, but before doing so, you might want to whip up this simple solution of water and soap to take care of any lingering pests on them.

Spray Your Plants with THIS Solution Before Bringing Them Indoors

Plants may be on vacation being outdoors all summer but that also means attracting unwanted leaf dwellers such as aphids, spider mites, scale and mealybugs or other hitchhikers such as lacewings, gnats and spiders.

To get rid of these pests before bringing your plant indoors:

For smaller plants – dunk them into a 5-gallon (19-litres) of water for 15 mins, adding a few drops of liquid dish or hand soap to deter any insects.

For larger plants – mix solution of 40 parts water to one part liquid soap – and spray the plants all over to get rid of those pesky pests!

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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A Visit to LAKESIDE PARK, Port Dalhousie – ST. CATHARINES (30+ Photos)

A popular park with the locals and the likes is Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie, a 1,500 feet of sandy beach, picnic area, concession stands, a carousel, playground equipment, dressing rooms, washrooms and parking area, pavilion, Waterfront Trail and the Port Dalhousie Harbour Walkway.

It’s been awhile since we’ve visited the old Harbour and Park. The weather was fine, around 24 °C on a bright, sunny day.

WIRT: Interesting Chart Shows 6 HEALTHY-weight Women All Look Different on the BMI Scale!

Came across a great article on Cosmopolitan today showing a chart (created for them by New York-based startup Body Labs), of 3D body scan images of six different women all 5-foot-7-inches weighing 145 pounds with a ‘normal’ BMI of 22.8. They all look different even though all the women have the same BMI numbers. (There’s a second chart of a male version below too.)

Body Max Index or BMI as it is more commonly called, is a value derived from the mass (weight) and height of an individual (body mass divided by the square of the body height), and is an attempt to calculate the amount of tissue mass (muscle, fat, and bone) in an individual, and then categorize that person as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese based on that value.

Using me as an example, (I’m old school so I did it in Imperial measurements), I am currently overweight according to this BMI calculator, with a BMI value of 25.8:

(I’ve embedded a calculator at the end of this post if you’d like to find out your BMI also.)

However, there are criticisms of using the BMI to define obesity in individuals, one of which being that BMI was designed for population studies, not individuals. Let’s check out these charts.

SHAREABLE Tip #13 - 3 FOOD WASTES You Can Put to Good Use!

I came across an article in the Canadian Health & Lifestyle magazine and I was upset to find out how much food we waste in Canada each year – more than $31 billion worth. I personally hear all the time of Tim Hortons throwing out unsold donuts but how true that is, I really don’t know. I’m almost afraid to find out. (Incidentally, I’ve added a video at the end of this post called, “The biggest waste of donuts in the world (Dunkin Donuts)” that you might find interesting… and disturbing.)

In regards to the article, I’ve learnt such waste is unnecessary because a lot of what we throw out can be reused, as Casey Berglund, a registered dietician in Calgary, stated in the magazine. Below are 3 food trash examples she gave that can be turned into kitchen staples. I was elated to read about the third food waste since I personally do this all the time with this dairy product. I usually grate it into my soups!

3 FOOD WASTES to Put to Good Use!
Waste not, want not!
Toss in a food processor to make bread crumbs and then store in a sealed container.
Peels can be dried for homemade tea, while pulp from juicing adds flavour and fibre to baked goods.
Freeze hard rinds and use them to add creaminess to soups and stews.
- Canadian Health & Lifestyle Magazine p. 20, SUMMER 2015 Edition


SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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SPOTTED: A Couple of Alaskan Malamutes...

While going for a morning stroll along the Welland Canal, I spotted a couple of Alaskan Malamutes, those domestic dogs that look like wolves and are best known for hauling sleds. 

Aren't they gorgeous?

Prudhommes Antique & Flea Market - PART 2 - The BARN Opening

Back in late March, I posted my visit to Prudhommes Antique & Flea Market – but that was before they opened up another area – the barn. Manager, Leroy, recently contacted me to let me know it was now open, so I went over to check it out and just as before, I was there for over a couple of hours just in that barn because there were so many awesome things to see – and talk about!

The vendors, as usual, greeted me with their friendly smiles and couldn’t wait to show me all the stuff they had, and boy, did they have stuff! There are three levels in the barn and no space was spared.

Between all three buildings, (the two houses and now the barn) there are a total of 50 vendors that gather each week from Thursday – Sunday to sell their items. They even open on holiday Mondays so if you’re bored and have nothing to do, head on over there.

One can learn so much at these flea markets, especially from the older generation of vendors that have been collecting all their lives and listening to them tell their stories about how they came upon their items is just as intriguing as the items themselves. You almost get the feeling they were there to ‘show off’ their collections instead of selling them. ☺

As usual, I took tons of pictures. So many pictures that I had to break all 3 levels up into separate galleries, so take your time and go through each one.

First Level:

We entered the first level from the south-side of the building and the rusticness of the woodwork, which is seen throughout the entire barn – all the way up to the attic, gives it a warm, inviting feeling.

SPOTTED: A REWACO Trike Around St. Catharines

We were taking photos over at Jaycee Park during a visit a few weeks ago when I spotted this interesting looking trike that I’ve never seen before. It’s from REWACO Trikes and this one is the RF-1 LT series, the luxury touring model.

Wilf, the BIRDHOUSE Man

Wilf is a retired construction engineer but that doesn’t mean he has stopped designing or constructing. Now, in his spare time, he builds birdhouses.

I met Wilf purely by chance one day, while going for a walk through a bird park. It’s something I love doing whenever time allows. I would often look up and notice a birdhouse hanging way up high in the trees, but not just any bird house. A birdhouse, you can tell, that was built with love and attention.

Well, on my usual walk through the bird park this day, I noticed a ground squirrel scampering through the woods and I became ecstatic because I’ve never seen one up close. Sure I’ve seen many squirrels, but not a ground one, and just as I got closer to get a better look, the squirrel took off. I was disappointed to say the least but out of the corner of my eyes I could see an elderly gentleman approaching with something in his hands. His name is Wilf…

Jaycee Park - Port Dalhousie, ST. CATHARINES (50+ Photos)

Jaycee park is one of St.Catharine’s largest parks located in Port Dalhousie, with about 8 hectares of landscapes consisting of many different flowers, trees and lush green grass.

It’s one of many parks in the St. Catharines region within the Niagara Area, which allows you to escape the city even though you’re still IN the city.

SHAREABLE Tip #12 – Cleaning Tips For Your Laundry Machine

It’s Spring time and everything gets cleaned – except the washing machine! Everyone uses their washing machine but how often do we clean it? Sure you can leave the door open to air it out after each use but if there are kids around, you might want to find another alternative.

I too was searching for a better way to clean my washing machine and came across these two tips.

Cleaning Tips For Your Laundry Machine

To get rid of unpleasant odours in your washing machine, give it a good clean once a month.
To get rid of detergent residue, run empty washer on normal load at the hottest cycle, with two cups of bleach in the detergent compartment. Next, run on the hottest cycle with two cups of white vinegar in the detergent compartment.
In between times, try adding a little baking soda to your wash. This will not only help to eliminate stubborn odours from your washing, it will give your machine a freshness boost, too
An alternative eco-friendly method:
Add a baking soda mixture of 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup water to the detergent compartment of your machine and pour 2 cups of vinegar into the drum. Set your washer to normal load at the hottest water setting.
Close the door and start the machine, letting it do all the hard work for you. The baking soda and vinegar naturally break up mineral deposits and any mold growth while cleaning and refreshing your washing machine.

Resources: popsugar.com/smart-living | huffingtonpost

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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Making life easier, one shareable tip at a time.

YAY! No More WAITING IN LINE at the M.O.T. To Renew Your Licence Plate Sticker

Finally, the M.O.T. is keeping up with the times. No more waiting in line to renew our licence plate sticker because now it can all be done online! If there’s one thing I hate more than anything is waiting in line.

You have until midnight of the expiry date to renew your sticker online otherwise you will have to go into an actual ServiceOntario centre – and wait in line. Ick!

It’s as easy as 1-2-3 and takes about 10 mins or less if you have all the below information on hand and ready to enter:

SHAREABLE Tip #11 - 3 Helpful GARDENING Tips

In this ‘Garden’ edition of Shareable Tips, these 3 helpful tips may be obvious to you gardening experts but to others just starting out and experimenting with gardening for the first time, these tips will come in handy.

I’ve been gardening for a few years now and I never knew about the second tip!

3 Helpful Gardening Tips

LIGHT –  Know your type of light before buying flowers and shrubs. The key to successful gardening is figuring out whether your garden light is full sun, partial sun or shade and selecting plants that best fit that area.

WATER – A number one quick tip is to water your plants thoroughly BEFORE planting. Giving roots a good soak will help maintain moisture longer and ensure a good start for faster rooting.

MULCH – Mulching will reduce the need for weeding and watering. Plus adding mulch to the garden will help keep the soil and roots cool and moist when the hot summer sun beats down.

– Frank Ferragine, Best Selling Author on Three Books on Gardening, as well as the Gardening Specialist for TV's CityLine

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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Making life easier, one shareable tip at a time.

Classic Cars of NIAGARA – A Red 1956 CORVETTE

This red beauty was spotted near downtown St. Catharines. It is written that the 1956 Corvette styling is regarded as one of the best looking cars – ever.

Rain, Rain Go Away - RAIN FACTS For a Rainy Day

It's April and yes that means rain. As a matter of fact, it was raining when I wrote this. The rain has been the inspiration for my 'Relaxing Sounds' Rain video creation and for some rain facts for a rainy day...

Did You Know...

Not all raindrops are created equally. Rain occurs on other moons and planets but in a different way we experience on Earth.

For instance, on Venus, the rain is made up of sulfuric acid but due to intense heat, it evaporates before it even reaches the surface! And even more interesting, on a extrasolar planet some 5,000 light years away, planet OGLE-TR-56b, is theorized to have iron rain instead of water!

On Titan, Saturn’s largest natural satellite, infrequent methane rain is thought to carve the moon’s numerous surface channels.

VIDEO: Relaxing Sounds: Rain with Light Thunderstorm (Over 1 Hour)

We sure have been getting a lot of rain lately but as they say - April showers bring May flowers...

Might as well get comfy and relax with that favourite book you've been dying to read.

(All videos are in 'HD')

View some RAIN FACTS!

SHAREABLE Tip #10 - Cure UNDERARM ODOUR with Mouthwash

Mouthwash is not just for freshening your breath you know. It can help get rid of that foul smelling underarm odour as well. Who knew!

Cure UNDERARM ODOURS with Mouthwash!

Regular deodorants mask unpleasant underarm
odours with a heavy perfume smell but do little
to attack the cause of the problem.

To get rid of the bacteria that cause perspiration odour,
dampen a cotton ball with a sugarless,
alcohol-based mouthwash
and swab your armpits.
If you’ve just shaved your armpits,
it’s best to wait for another day to try this.


SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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Making life easier, one shareable tip at a time.

Prudhommes Antique & Flea Market – VINELAND (In Photos)

(See Part 2 – “The BARN Opening”.)

If you love antiques, bargain hunting, looking for that special collectible item or just plain love the thrill of this whole experience, this is the place for you!

Located on the North Service Road, just off the Victoria Avenue exit of the QEW highway, there are two houses that can be seen – one an old Victorian mansion and both with the signs ‘ANTIQUES’ placed on them. It’s the Prudhommes Antique & Flea Market and even though it’s open all year round, you get to experience even more when you visit during the summer.

During the summer months, there are an additional 12 small outdoor cabins that are opened up which makes the atmosphere for visitors even more pleasant as the beautiful Lake Ontario can be seen in the background.

Driving into the market, you could see the vendors with their merchandise set up on the lawn. I must admit, I wasn’t really into antiques (as I get older, I’m starting to appreciate them more and more), but I was nevertheless so excited! I thought to myself, who knows what one will find in a place like this!

Prudhommes Antique Market is home to 25 vendors offering a wide selection of antiques & collectibles from furniture, glass, china, jewelry, tools, music-related items to vintage clothing and signs… and everything in between!

SHAREABLE Tip #9 - CHIA, The Super Seeds!

Chia white seeds may be tiny, but they sure pack a big punch! Came across this tip while browsing through a local magazine.

CHIA – The Super Seeds!

According to research conducted by the brand Salba on white chia seeds, gram-for-gram they have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, more antioxidants than blueberries and more calcium than whole milk.

They’re also an excellent source of filling fibre.” – Theresa Albert

And since they’re tasteless, they can be easily added into everyday foods including oatmeal, muffins, stews, soups and even smoothies! Work your way up to a tablespoon a day.

– Theresa Albert, Registered Nutritionist and Author of "Ace Your Health" | Food and Drink Magazine, Spring 2012 Issue

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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SHAREABLE Tip #8 – Prevent ITCHY SCALP When Dyeing Your Hair with 'Sweet 'N Low'

Apparently, this neat little trick has been used by many hair stylists for decades and I have only heard about it now. Most claims it works well.

It’s all about lowering the pH acidity level and neutralizing the ammonia in these hair dyes which contain high pH values – usually around 11.
Sweet ‘N Low however, contains saccharin, dextrose and cream of tartar – all which have a very low pH:
  • Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate): about pH 3.5
  • Saccharin: about pH 2
  • Dextrose: about pH 3.5 – 5
Now I’ve read some have added anywhere from 2-4, even 5 packets per hair dye mixture depending on the brand. You’ll just have to experiment yourself I guess! πŸ˜‰
Did You Know – Saccharin was once banned in Canada for decades? It was ‘quietly’ re-introduced in 2014.
Source(s):  lisaliseblog | agcanada

Prevent ITCHY SCALP when Dyeing Your Hair with
Sweet ‘N Low

Dyes can cause an itchy scalp.
To avoid aggravation add
a packet (or two) of Sweet ‘N Low to the
colour mixture before applying!

Saccharine balances dye’s acidity,
quelling itchiness! S-weet!

– Self Magazine, P. 4s | August 2011 Edition | Photo: Frank Kovalchek

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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Making life easier, one shareable tip at a time.


We all eat these snacks all the time but little do we know how super healthy they are! Not only is popcorn sugar free, fat free, low in calories and fairly cheap, it’s also aids in keeping cancer away. I’ve read numerous times the old-fashion way – on the stove top, is the best way instead of those microwavable popcorn which can end up being more harmful than good!

Cheese is great in more ways than one but as for minimizing dental issues, well that’s just plain darn good to know. Try sticking to the healthier cheeses though like, ricotta, feta cheese and even cottage cheese and lay off the cheddar, cream cheese and that tasty but fattening Gouda cheese!

As for the apples, it seems like I’m going to have to increase my intake on those because I need all the help in ‘that’ department! πŸ˜‰


This popular snack keeps away cancer with its rich source of antioxidants called polyphenols, which destroys free radical molecules that damage healthy cells!

Casein, a milk-protein found in this calcium-rich food, reduces the risk of cavities by acting as a buffer against acids in the mouth that can break down enamel!

A rich supply of flavanoids in this fruit slashes your risk of lung disease and colon and liver cancers, raise ‘good’ LDL levels and increase brain neurotransmitters, resulting in improved memory!

- Amelia Farquhar | Woman's World Magazine | Jun 06 2011 Edition

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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I see it everyday; cars idling in the driveway or parking lots with or without the drivers and I can happily say I’m not one of those drivers since I hate idling my car for a long time. I stopped doing it years ago when I first heard it could speed up the wear and tear on the engine...

"Idling warms only the engine - not the wheel
bearings, steering, suspension,
transmission and tires which all
need to be warmed up also!"

Contrary to popular belief, excessive idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to warm it up is to drive it. In fact, with today’s computer-controlled engines, even on cold winter days, usually no more than two to three minutes of idling is enough warm-up time needed for the average vehicle before starting to drive – but make sure that windows are free from snow and properly defrosted before driving away!

Excessively long warm-ups will not only degrade the engine over time, cost you money and waste fuel, but generate unnecessary green house gas emissions!

** Idling warms only the engine – not the wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission and tires which all need to be warmed up also!

Resource: Natural Resources Canada

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SHAREABLE Tip #5 – BE A GIVER (Advance Your Career)

You hear it all the time 'It's better to give than receive' and it certainly helps for a truthful soul and a rewarding life but in terms of advancing your career, it doesn't hurt either!

BE A GIVER – Advance Your Career
RESEARCH SHOWS that it pays to give in the long term. In his book Give and Take, Adam Grant points out that most people are either takers, matchers or givers.

Takers, as the name implies, look to get as much as possible for themselves. Matchers want everything to be even. But givers are those who help others without expecting anything in return.

It turns out that givers usually end up being the most successful – that is, if they don’t end up burned out from being exploited. Why? According to Grant, givers:

– build deep and broad relationships;

– have greater motivation because helping people gives meaning and purpose to their lives; and

– develop a greater variety of skills and knowledge because by helping others, they often do new tasks and learn from them!

-‘Guide’, The CLAC Magazine | September 2014 Edition, P. 54

SHAREABLE TIPS are pinnable images I create of random tips I come across daily. 
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Making life easier, one shareable tip at a time.