Posted in family, food, loreeebee.ca

Charcuterie Board and Coincidences

Thanks to Covid restrictions I had not seen my brother in over a year even though he only lives an hour or so from me.

Recently he dropped by with a (belated) 60th birthday present for me that he crafted with his own hands. And tools of course. This beautiful charcuterie board is made from a slab of mesquite he picked up on a (pre-Covid) annual trek to Texas.

Charcuterie Board
Mesquite Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie bosrd

The charcutetie board has a lazy susan feature attached to the back so the board can be spun around to access assorted nibbles.

Charcuterie board
Lazy susan

He also filled in crevices with sparkly, metallic paint…very artistic and creative.

Coincidences

Apparently a bee landed on the charcuterie board while the shellac was drying. My soon to be sister-in-law convinced him to leave the bee imprint there in honour of my blog and Facebook names…Loreeebee and Loree Bee…

Charcuterie board
Loree Bee & Loreeebee

A larger coincidence is the fact that my brother showed up with this belated gift the same day my sons had planned a surprise belated Birthday celebration catered dinner for me.

Another coincidence? The date of the party and my brother’s visit were on the 27th anniversary of my mom’s passing.

The sudden loss of my mom just after her 65th birthday was a huge shock for me and I’ve often said I felt like an Orphan after my father passed away not much later.

I always reminisce (more than usual) on the day she died; I know she was smiling down on me that day!

Posted in lorieb.wordpress.com

Happy Birthday to Me

While my 60th will not go down as my most exciting birthday celebration, it will be memorable.  Instead of celebrating in a traditional, non-social distancing manner with family and friends, it will be a quiet day.  As I am writing this, Mother Nature has decided to participate; it is snowing! No, No, No, snow is not invited to this party!

I do have a few wishes though, not quite as many as the candles that would have been on my cake.  Admittedly (sadly, but understandably) they are all COVID-19 related.

I wish:

  • for the safe arrival of my 5th grandchild next week (I had a dream last night that he was born on my birthday lol), that his name will have nothing to do with COVID, and that I will be able to hold him soon
  • that my family and friends continue to be symptom-free
  • that I can snuggle, hug and visit with my grandchildren soon
  • for a vaccine to eradicate COVID-19, accessible to everyone around the world.
  • that the self appointed virus police would mind their own business if the actions of others are not hurting anyone
  • that my gardening business, deemed unessential, will get back on track soon
  • that the world will learn something from these times.  Friends, family and good health are far more important than material things.  Medical staff, first responders and other  services designated as essential are the unsung (and underpaid) heroes.  Sports figures and entertainers, on the other hand, the ones who earn megabucks in comparison to essential workers, are not as essential as we (or they) think they are.

In lieu of (non-essential) birthday gifts, I have created a fundraiser to collect donations towards one of the businesses I do freelance writing for.   I realize it is a difficult time financially for many people.  If you can manage a donation, awesome, and thanks. If you cannot, grant my last wish within the list above.

2.2

 

 

Posted in DIY, family, lorieb.com, parenting

Scrapbook of Childhood Memories

My eldest son just turned 30, although sometimes it seems like he was just born yesterday.  His safe arrival was the best Christmas present ever, especially after the struggle we had the few years prior to his birth.  A few months ago I started thinking of something I could do to commemorate this special birthday.  I much prefer unique DIY projects rather than store bought gifts.  Over the years I have collected childhood memories in the form of ribbons, pictures, schoolwork, even teeth and hair from all three sons.  I planned to use this huge bucket of memorabilia to make a scrapbook for each son, eventually.  As I was wracking my brain for something to do or make, I remembered the bucket, stored with all of our other “stuff” in the basement, and the birthday scrapbook project took off.

I started with a catchy cover, but I guess you had to be there to understand just how significant it is.  When our boys were young, we always sang “happy birthday, birthday boy” to them on their special days.  I think they found it more annoying than funny, but I think it makes a perfect title for the scrapbook…

scrapbook
Happy 30th Birthday, scrapbook cover

First I had to wade through all the items in the stored bucket..  I swear I have saved every report card, birthday card, award and more.  Years ago, when scrapbooking was the rage, I was ambitious enough to divide the memorabilia into three separate buckets, one for each son, but that was as far as I got. I even purchased one large 18×18 inch scrapbook around the same time with good intentions.  It was still in its packaging, just waiting for me to put it to use.  A friend supplied lots of stamps, stickers, fancy scissors and other scrapbooking paraphernalia she had collected over the years.

My first page was dedicated to my son’s first few days of life.  I had a copy of his family tree (from his baby book) hospital bracelets, pictures of him with his grandparents, newspaper birth announcements and even a newspaper clipping of what was going on in the world in 1989…

Scrapbook
On the Day That you Were Born, the Angels got Together and Decided to Create a Dream Come True

 

Pictures and mementos from his early years were next, including a few baby teeth and a sample of his first haircut…

scrapbook
Early Years

 

…followed by pictures of him with most of his family members. Mom & Dad, brothers, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

scrapbook
Family Ties

 

Next came Christmas memories, mostly pictures, with two personalized letters from Santa, courtesy of a friend’s father who spent hours writing back to children every year.  I had also saved a few decorations used at a New Year’s Eve street party celebrating the turn of the century…

Scrapbook
Merry Christmases

 

Another page was dedicated to birthdays.  Lots of party pictures, with a special “pocket” created to hold birthday cards, especially the hand made ones from friends and his younger brothers…

scrapbook
Birthdays

 

Hanging With my Friends was the next page, displaying pictures of accumulated friends from pre-kindergarten to university. The picture in the top left corner appears fuzzy due to the steam off the hot tub my sons and the neighbourhood kids used to love to hang out in…

scrapbook
Hanging with Friends

 

My son played many sports growing up and is a huge sports fan as well.  The next page contains many ticket stubs, Brier autographs, pictures of sporting events and stadiums visited, as well as two curling idols, Brad Gushue and Wayne Middaugh…

scrapbook
Avid Sports Fan

 

The next two pages are full of vacation memories: Texas, San Francisco, Florida, New Orleans, Dominican Republic, Cuba, NYC, and our family cottage here in Ontario, with the second page reserved for our trip to Hawaii.  Mementos include ticket stubs from various attractions, a boarding pass to Hawaii, and lots of pictures.

scrapbook
Family Vacations

 

scrapbook
family trip to Kona, Hawaii

 

My son attended both Beavers and Cubs within Kanata Scouts, so I had lots of memorabilia in those categories…

scrapbook
Beavers and Cubs

 

Soccer (outdoor and indoor) is a sport he played and still plays, 25 years and counting…

scrapbook

 

The other sport he started young and still plays is curling.  In fact, he met his wife at the curling rink way back in the Little Rocks program.  He has so many accolades in the curling world that I had to dedicate two pages to the sport…

scrapbook
early years of curling

 

scrapbook
later years of curling

 

Other sports played included volleyball, swimming, T-ball, and cross-country running…

scrapbook
other sports

 

When he wasn’t playing or watching a sport, he was at piano lessons or practicing at home. At the time, he was the youngest to take lessons at Music For Young Children, starting at the age of 2.5 years old!  His first recital was just before he turned 3 where he nailed Row, Row, Row Your Boat.  We discovered his love for the piano when he would often go across our street to play the neighbour’s piano.  She just happened to make puppets for MYC, so knew the founder, convincing her to let my son try the lessons at such a young age…

piano lessons

I had lots of memorabilia saved from the three schools my son attended from kindergarten through high school.  There are four pages for Castlefrank Elementary School with two of them exhibiting his early artwork and writing journals. The pink piece in the top right corner of the first picture is a cupid, on a valentine card he gave to us.  One page is dedicated to Katimavik Elementary School where he attended grades 7 and 8.  A fourth page is for Earl of March Secondary School, grades 9 through 12. The awards in the packets are for his honor roll and math contest achievements…

scrapbook
elementary school artwork and journals

 

scrapbook
artwork

 

scrapbook
Castlefrank Elementary School with pouch for class pictures

 

scrapbook
Castlefrank report cards and achievements

 

scrapbook
Katimavik Elementary School

 

scrapbook
Earl of March High School

 

After high school my son attended Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, graduating in 2011 with a degree in Civil Engineering.  I didn’t have as much paraphernalia from those four years, most likely because he did not live at home.  The next page combines items from his jobs over the years as well as the Queen’s stuff I did mange to accumulate, including a false ID.

scrapbook
part time jobs and Queen’s

 

The last page is entitled “the Next Chapter” with mementos from his new house, engagement, wedding, the birth of his daughter and his new, expanding family…

the Next Chapter

This scrapbook was lots of work, but definitely a labour of love and a sentimental walk down memory lane for me.  I knew I saved all that stuff for a reason!  I hope I have inspired some of you to put your collection of memorabilia to good use too.

After you’ve read all about this project, please take a few extra minutes to check out my other bog where I make gardening my business.

 

 

 

Posted in lorieb.com

1958 was a great year for producing men

Last weekend my husband celebrated his 60th birthday with 5 of his BFFs, 4 of whom were also born within the last half of 1958.  The sixth is one year younger. Although these guys get together for weekends a few times a year, their better halves were included in this celebration. Three couples live in Ottawa (including us), two live in Toronto and the fifth birthday boy resides in Belleville.

These guys have known each other since primary school, growing up in Kingston, Ontario.  Most of them attended post secondary school in Kingston as well. Only two of these six men have biological brothers so they are very much like brothers to each other. That makes them real, actual BFFs although they affectionately call each other “Bud.”  One could say BFFs are the new Buds, or more aptly Buds are the old BFFs.

1958
their hats say “bud 60”

These BFFs have been together through good times and bad, including six weddings, the birth of fourteen babies, one divorce, the deaths of many of their parents, and very tragically, one death of a beloved spouse. Our fourteen collective children range in age from 21 to 35 but we are the only couple with grandchildren to boast about.  So far.  I’m sure they all left here looking forward to welcoming their own grandchildren after meeting one of ours and seeing lots of pictures of the other two.

Although we celebrated my husband’s 60th birthday with our immediate family in August, he did not want a big splash.  This weekend party (it did last pretty much all weekend) here in Ottawa was the perfect way to celebrate their friendship and their milestone birthdays. Together, like brothers, buds or BFFs.  Now that most of them are retired, we hope to get together more often.

I wasn’t around yet in 1958, but can vouch for the fact that it produced some pretty awesome men.  One of them I am married to, the other four are his buds.

 

 

 

Posted in family, lorieb.com, technology

Surprise birthday party

 

 

A few posts back I wrote about my brother’s fast approaching sixtieth birthday. Well, his birthday is this coming Thursday (30th), but the surprise party was last night.  It took lots of scheming and coercing, (did I tell you my brother is stubborn?) but we did manage to surprise him at his own home.

picture from Pixabay

Thank heavens for Facebook and its event planner feature.  The whole party was arranged, staged and organized by creating the event on Facebook.  With his daughter in Barrie, me in Ottawa, the birthday boy and other friends and family members in Ingleside, social media (FB) came to the rescue, keeping us all connected.  I created the event adding key individuals as cohosts so we could each send out invitations from our own contact lists.  Keeping the party a private event ( an option when creating the event) ensured my brother would not find out as only invited guests could access the details.

      To create a private or public event on Facebook:
  1. Click Events in the left menu of your News Feed.
  2. Click Create Event in the top right.
  3. Click to choose between a private or public event. …
  4. Fill in the event name, details, location and time. …
  5. Click Create.

From the moment the event was created up to the moment of surprise, we were able to communicate as a group.  Except for the birthday boy of course, he was excluded from the group. Jobs such as purchasing the party essentials, organizing the potluck food contributions,  decorating the venue and even distracting the birthday boy (definitely the toughest job) were all delegated on Facebook.

It was the easiest party to organize, ever.  Judging by the turnout of all the guests and the delicious food, it was a great success!

air-balloon-balloons-birthday-42067

 

 

Posted in Canada, family, humor, lorieb.com

Turning sixty this year

air-balloon-balloons-birthday-42067

No, not me, I am NOT turning 60 this year, but my big brother is, so I thought I would honor his upcoming birthday with this post.  You know, instead of trying to find a unique (tacky) “turning 60” or “old fart” birthday present.

My brother is in great company, apparently, 1957 was a great year…do you know who else turned 60 this year?  Lots of celebrities including Steve Harvey, Melanie Griffith, Vanna White, and John’s favorite, Homer Simpson!

Homer_Simpson_2006 copy

 

After all, 60 is a good chunk of 150; 40 percent, 0.4 or 2/5 of 150 Canadian years to be exact.  Any way you look at it, sixty is alot of years, almost half of Canada’s 150 years!

 

 

Canada turned 150 this year and we Canadians are celebrating all year around.  I think those turning 60 (or fifty or any other momentous number for that matter) should too. Actually,  I think my brother may have started celebrating last winter when he was visiting our sister in Texas, good Canadian boy that he is.

I hope my brother is not too bothered about turning sixty.  I know he has his priorities right, retiring from work recently to spend more time doing the things he loves to do.  We are not always sure what those things are, but he does appear to be enjoying himself.

There are lots of good proverbs about turning sixty, so pick one (or three) and run with it…

 

The other good news I have heard (I don’t really know as I am not there yet) is that sixty is the new forty, at least it will be when I get there!

 

 

Posted in family, loreeebee.ca, relationships, travel

A busy birthday week in Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas is a beautiful city to visit, especially when the weather is cold in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Last week I surprised my sister for her birthday, spending a whole week with her visiting all of the popular tourist spots and catching up on sister stuff. The surprise party was held at Talon’s Sports Bar, owned and operated by friends of my niece, and a great location for the party to kick off the birthday week…

As mentioned in my previous post, I did manage to get some gardening in by planting a garden in my sister’s front yard.  I do love seeing the different varieties of plants that grow in the places I travel to.  I knew that succulents and cactus are prevalent in Texas, I just never knew there were so many varieties of each…

Another great thing about vacations is that I don’t have to cook.  This past week I experienced most of the culinary delights Texas has to offer.   At restaurants, a few of which are located right on the water, I feasted on seafood, including delicious crab cakes and gumbo, Mexican, Italian and Thai food,  and of course steak, a Texan favourite.  Home-made, deliciously spicy, chicken tortilla soup, pico de gallo and guacamole prepared by my niece, as well as jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, then wrapped in bacon, grilled to perfection and served with sausage wraps on the beach by her husband.  I think I will stay away from the scales for a few days…

To wear off some of the calories, I was coerced into dancing, Texan style, at my sister’s favourite nightclubs Whiskey River and  Ropers . Thanks to her very patient and kind dancing friends Sinoel, Martin, Benny, Ray and others, I had lots of fun and many laughs trying to master the art.  One-two-three and quick-quick-slow are still echoing in my head…

Of course, when heading south to escape a Canadian winter, you have to go to the beach. The beaches in the Corpus Christi area of Texas are spectacular and plentiful.  Padre Island National Seashore, McGee Beach, North Beach, Packery Channel and Mustang Island are just a few popular spots.  Even though this was my fifth visit, I still find the waterfronts confusing.  Bay, gulf, channel, port…

My last day in Texas was the only one warm enough (78F or 26C) to hit the beach.  Although I found the water was too cold for anything more than dipping my toes, there were a few brave people playing in the waves.  It is winter in Texas too, although winter temperatures there are much more enjoyable than those here.  We walked the beach during the day and then enjoyed a bonfire on the beach using dried out Christmas trees collected from curbs in my sister’s neighbourhood…

We spent a few hours shopping for bargains too, and even though the Canadian dollar is currently so low in value, I was still able to get a few good deals on clothing.  Although we did not venture across the border into Mexico, I picked up a few Mexican inspired souvenirs in Texas, including an adorable ceramic gecko for my garden and some tequila…

The best part of this trip to Texas was the opportunity to spend quality time with my sister, her children and grandchildren.  I kind of put her on the spot by showing up, not just for her surprise party, but also announcing that I was staying at her place for a week.  I had already made arrangements with her son to use his bedroom in her home for the week.  Thanks to Facebook messaging, I was able to make plans with my niece and nephews before my visit without my sister suspecting a thing.  The only time she was suspicious that something was going on was when her son got up early the morning of my arrival to clean up his room.  Also fortunate, and much appreciated, was the fact that she was able to play hooky from work all week to spend time with me, thanks to her staff Cristi, Chrisy and others.

The birthday week in Texas was a huge success and tons of fun, but over much too fast.  Reality has called me back home to Canada and my sister back to work.  Arriving back in Ottawa via Houston and Toronto, I was greeted by snow and missing luggage, both indicators that all good things must come to an end…

Oh, by the way, my gardening website can be viewed at GARDENS4U

Posted in current events, relationships

Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially the surprises

This week I am in Corpus Christi, Texas to help my sister celebrate her 60th birthday. My niece planned the party; my job was just to show up.  I flew from Ottawa to Chicago to Houston to Corpus Christi, landing a mere 45 minutes before the surprise party started Saturday afternoon.  My sister’s birthday is not until Wednesday, January 13th, but we decided to make it a birthday week…

Flying into Corpus Christi, I could easily see why it is dubbed “the sparkling city by the sea”…

 

Arriving at the restaurant where the party was held just 10 minutes before the guest of honour, my brother and I took our positions behind the bar pretending to be bartenders.  Our sister arrived, was greeted by her friends and family who guided her to the bar for a margarita. The expression on her face when she realized the bartenders were her brother and sister visiting from Canada was priceless…

 

The surprise party was a huge success, just the beginning of a wonderful week spent with my sister I haven’t seen in several years.  Stay tuned for more pictures as the birthday week goes on….

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

 

Posted in parenting, relationships

Happy birthday dad!

mom & dad

Today, September 19th, marks the day of my dad’s birthday.  He would have turned 87 today. I often wonder what he would be like at 87.  After my mom died in 1994 at the age of 65, dad’s love of life and will to live seemed to diminish.  He was only 66 at the time, and the quality of his life deteriorated quickly after her death.  He used his advancing age as an excuse preventing him from enjoying his golden years, but we all knew it was the void in his heart that was the culprit.

Happy birthday dad, we are all thinking of you today and hope you  are celebrating with mom and others that left us too soon.

Posted in current events, parenting, weather

Happy Birthday Dad!

These pictures were taken on Dad’s surprise (sort of) 75th birthday where he was celebrated by his family and friends.

Today, September 19th, would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday.  Although he left us eight years ago already, I think of him in some context daily.

I woke up to frost on the rooftops and lawns today, an early appearance even here in Ottawa, but somehow appropriate for Dad’s birthday.  As I looked out the window at the whiteness, I could hear his voice saying “HAH, frost in September!”

Other reminders of my dad come in the form of his expressions, interests and habits (some bad ones):

-his affectionate phrase “dum dum” when someone did something silly, often used on his children and grandchildren.  I must admit to using it in my own household too, softened with a giggle, just like he used to.

-his use of the expression “HAH” as used above, meaning “who would have thunk it?” or “I don’t think so” (when he didn’t want to do something) or when he found something funny or ridiculous.

-his ride on lawnmower that his six children purchased for him on his 75th birthday.  It currently resides at my cottage where the lawns are big enough to need a ride on mower.

-when I am out “puttering” in a garden as he used to love to do.  In his latter days he would have a list of things for me to do in his garden each visit.  As a youngster I remember my mom picking out the plants, but Dad was always the one planting and looking after them.  I know he would be proud and not the least bit surprised about my new profession, Gardens4U.

-when one of my sons (or me) yell at the TV during a hockey game.

-one of his sweaters that I found in his closet when cleaning out his house, barely (if at all) used, that I now use as garden apparel on cool days.

-his use of an accelerant to start the campfire at the cottage, especially after a week of rain when everything is damp.  My husband calls it “grandpa’s firestarter.”

-wandering around my gardens in sandals (Dad often wore his slippers to do this, much to my Mom’s dismay)  with a cup of tea in hand, stopping here and there to pull a weed or two, or to “stop and smell the roses.”

-his goofy grin, that fortunately lives on in my son Derek.

The list goes on and on….Happy Birthday Dad, I miss you!