Tigger By The Tail

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Ta-Dah! It’s Tigger!!


Here is a project near and dear to me as it is for an old friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  I mentioned it in a post a couple weeks ago, and I finally finished it…

Here it is…all done up ~ Tigger style.

As she has just started chemotherapy, it is only a matter of time before one of the many side effects of chemo shows up ~ hair loss.  So while she is enduring the rounds and rounds of treatments, she can wear this chic chapeau with pride and be the envy of all.

DSC09077_AOur heartfelt wishes Sue for a speedy recovery!

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Door Mat Psychology

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In my real world job, I see a LOT of houses.  Different houses everyday and with that, I get to see all kinds of door mats.  Did you know that the type of door mat you display at the entrance to your home tells the world the type of person you are?

True it is…and I have compiled unscientific data on door mat to human personas
and this is what I have come up with….

boring person mat

This one denotes that you are a boring, bland person.  You need to get a life.




welcome mat

The Traditional Door Mat, for the traditional person.  You may need to liven up your personality just a bit.



redneck door mat


The Redneck Door Mat ~ no further explanation necessary




pottery barn shopaholic door mat


The person displaying this door mat needs to stop shopping at Pottery Barn and Wal-Mart.


pet lover door mat


The Pet Lover’s Door Mat






paris hilton door mat

The Paris Hilton Door Mat ~ if this is you, then you need help.




nature lover door mat


The Nature Lover Door Mat ~ can also me mistaken as a Nudist Colony Follower Door Mat….



no pushover door mat

The “I am not a pushover” Door Mat ~ watch out for these folks, they can be real cranky.




name mat


This is the door mat of people that obviously cannot remember their names or where they live….



Irish door mat


Clearly an Irish Person’s Door Mat…




hermit door mat



The Hermit’s Door Mat


flowerpower door mat



The 60′s Flower Child Door Mat, hope they stop taking the LSD soon…..


einstein mat




Einstein’s Door Mat


crafty door mat


The Arts and Craft Type Door Mat




world traveler door mat


The World Traveler Door Mat



foodie door mat


The Foodie Door Mat ~ lookout for platters of food and cameras when entering the home.


pretentious door mat



The Pretentious Type Door Mat


Door Mat



The Practical Joker Door Mat ~ always looking for a laugh at the expense of others.
This is me by the way….



humuor door mat




Sense of Humour Door Mat ~ you are witty to a fault and bordering on the practical jokester type…




So there you have it and I bet you see yourself in one of the door mats listed above too.  If not, then I haven’t come across your type…yet…

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Triple Mix Meatballs

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From Albania to Vietnam and a hundred countries in between…Meatballs come in a wide variety of styles and flavours.  Known as Albóndigas from Spain and Latin America to the Danish Frikadeller to the Indonesian Baksos, they are all variations of the humble meatball.

I have to admit, I am a cooking show junky, and after watching numerous episodes of Guy Fieri’s Triple D, settled on a method of cooking meatballs that renders them so juicy and tender, you will never go back to regular, pan-fried, dried out meatballs. 

There are actually two secrets to juicy, tender meatballs…the first being the quality, quantity and type of meat that you start with…

Which I call the Triple Mix.

Equal parts of Ground Beef, Ground Pork and Ground Veal.


From there, you can alter the spices and herbs to match any culture’s cuisine.  Here at the Northern Homestead, we favour making our meatballs in Nonna’s Italian style, but we also enjoy them occassionally in a sweet and sour sauce format, when we are trying to curb the carb fetish.

Here is our basic meatball recipe, but by all means, add/subtract spices/herbs to suit your own taste.

Triple Mix Meatballs


3.5 lbs equal parts Ground Beef/Ground Pork/Ground Veal
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Fine Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp Onion Flakes
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning Mix (recipe follows below)
One Large Jar of Home-Made Italian Pasta Sauce


In a large bowl, combine meats until well incorporated.


Add remaining ingredients (except sauce) and using your hands,
mix and knead until thoroughly combined.


Shape into balls (whatever size you want, we like ours a little
on the large size) and place in a large, glass baking dish.


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Now here is secret # 2 ~ Pour a large jar of preferably home-made pasta sauce over the meatballs, cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 35-40 minutes (depending on the size of your meatballs) or until internal temperature of meatballs reach 155°F. 

Baking them in a sauce is THE secret to moist, tender, delicious meatballs.


Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes if not using right away.  Otherwise, divide enough meatballs with sauce for future dinners and freeze in small, foil containers.

This batch made close to 70 meatballs, which is plenty for future rushed weekday dinners.

In the words of Nonna…

Buon Appetito!


Home Made Italian Seasoning Mix

You don’t need to spend $$$ on a jar of Italian Seasoning mix when you already have all the spices/herbs in your pantry to start with….


2 Tbsp. Dried Basil
2 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
2 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
2 Tbsp. Dried Marjoram
1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary
1 Tbsp. Dried Sage


Using a mortar and pestle, grind all ingredients until desired consistency is achieved.  Store in an airtight container. 


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Gardening Tips

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T minus 21 Days…

Mark on your calendar March 15, 2013 as THE Day.

Why you ask?

It is THE day I get to play with dirt, peat pots and seed packets…

Because it is PLANTING DAY!

Now I know what your next question is going to be…Why that specific day? Well, because you need to count back 6-8 weeks from the last expected frost date in your geographical area in order to know when to start your seeds….pretty simple eh?

Thyme Seedlings

What I have learned the last 2 years growing vegetables and flowers from seeds has been extremely beneficial….like…you don’t actually NEED to keep every single tomato sprout that sprouted, unless your garden is the size of an airplane hangar…

Here are my Top 10 Gardening Tips to successfully growing plants from seeds

1. Do Not Overwater ~ sounds simple right? Easier said than done though as you suddenly find yourself in over-protective mothering mode, drowning your seeds before they even have a chance to sprout.  The best way to germinate seeds is to keep a dome of plastic over the soil either buy using a tray with a domed lid or using plastic wrap to keep the humidity constant which will prevent the soil from drying out too quickly and therefore less chance of root rot due to overzealous watering.

2. Only plant what you will realistically grow ~ By all means, plant a few extra seeds of each type as insurance, but be prepared to thin out your seedlings and only keep the strongest ones to transplant later into the garden.

3.  Do NOT fertilize seedlings until they have their 3rd set of leaves, if you fertilize too soon, your seedlings will shrivel and keel over from shock.

4. READ ~ each packet of seeds and take note of what has to be done when and how each particular plant prefers to be raised… i.e., most plant seeds prefer to germinate in cooler temperatures (18C to 21C), but there are some (peppers most notably) that germinate faster and grow better in soil temps of 23C to 26C.  I use a heating pad for my peppers, just place it on top of a towel, then place the tray of seedlings on top and keep on Low Heat.

5. Sunshine or Artificial Light ~ is a necessity, otherwise, your seeds will not grow (unless you want to grow mushrooms in the dark), place your seedlings in a sunny, south facing window or spring for grow lights if you have cheap hydro rates (if you do, I am jealous).

6. Check and Turn Daily ~ you can dote a little, just be careful not to dote too much, check moisture levels by sticking your baby finger in the soil down a half-inch, if it is dry, then water.  If you do not have grow lights and rely on the sunshine coming in a window, rotate your plants daily so they don’t become the Leaning Tower of Tomato Pisa.

7. Thin your Seedlings ~ as mentioned above, thin seedlings to one or two per pot, leaving plenty of space for roots to grow.  Thin by snipping the stem at the soil level with a sharp pair of scissors (please, no running with sharp scissors from the kitchen though, always practice safe scissor handling techniques).

8. Transplant your seedlings to larger pots once they reach about 8″ to 10″ in height, again being mindful of what type of plants you are growing as some plants do not like to be transplanted.  For those plants that prefer to stay in their smaller condo digs before setting them out in to the wide world of dirt, plant them in pots of at least 10cm to 15cm (4″ to 6″) in diameter to allow for sufficient root growth.

9. Hardening off ~ A term meaning to expose your plants to the great outdoors a little at a time each day over the course of 2 weeks until they acclimatize.  If you suddenly plunk your seedlings out into full sun on the first beautiful, warm day, you would soon have shriveled seedlings and be left sobbing into your pillow with grief at the loss of all your hard work and effort.  Plants started indoors are protected from not only wind and cold temps, but also from the suns UV rays as most home windows filter out these harmful rays.  The telltale signs of UV burned plants are leaves that suddenly turn white from overexposure to the suns rays.

10. Condition Your Garden Beds ~ Before setting your seedlings into the bare ground, first prepare the soil by adding organic matter.  Mixing in compost will help feed your little green kidlets through the growing season, resulting in higher crop yields and less need for liquid fertilizers.

Once you have transplanted your precious crop outdoors, spread a layer of mulch to keep the weeds at bay and to help curb moisture loss during the dog days of summer.  From then on, it is just a matter of time before you are harvesting that first round, red, juicy tomato to be sliced onto a fresh off the BBQ burger.

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The Scoop On Dirt…

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A good friend of mine made a comment the other day about having to buy dirt…

which got me to thinking….

Why Do We Need To Buy Dirt?

When we live on a beautiful planet, that is comprised of dirt?

Why can’t we just go outside to our yards and dig up a
shovel full of dirt whenever we need it? 

Apparently, not all dirt is created equal. 

There is specific dirt for potting indoor plants,
Dirt for outdoor gardens,
Dirt for mixing into concrete,
Special dirt for making clay bricks,
and plain old dirt that little boys just love to roll around in.


But….now I hear that there is actually a restaurant in Japan that has dirt on their menu!

Yup, you can now pay money to eat dirt.

I don’t know about you, but the last time I tasted a mud pie back when I was about 2 years old, I really didn’t have the urge to eat it again…no matter how much a Japanese chef pretties it up.

Which leads to more thinking…..
Let’s hope they don’t start selling bugs in the grocery stores….

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Psst….Know Anyone That Has a Canoe?

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That they would be willing to give me?  I may fork out a little dough for it, but honestly, I don’t need a whole canoe…only half a canoe (so a floating one is not a necessity).

Oh…and I am picky too, it needs to be a Wooden Canoe.

Not a Fibreglass Canoe..

Nor a Kayak…

But a Real, Honest-To-Goodness Wooden Canoe…

Why you ask?
(Seriously? You have to ask? You can’t read my mind by now?)

For my bookcase of course! Duh!

 This is what I want…

Canoe Bookcase

But because the lovely model pictured here is approximately $2,200.00 CDN to purchase, and I am cheap (i.e. frugal, thrifty), I have decided to take matters into my own hands (ok, hubby’s, he won’t mind me volunteering him) and make one.

So….back to my original question…

Who has a gently used, wooden canoe that they are willing to part with…cheap???

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Sock Hop

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Knitted Socks Update

After almost 3 weeks, I finished knitting my first pair of socks EVER…..and I am for the most part, pleased with how they turned out.  Being new to the knitting construction of toe smotherers, I definitely went a lot quicker on the 2nd sock than the first one. 

Overall, I am happy with the result….and I didn’t once poke myself in the eye with a knitting needle in frustration.


This first pair however, will grace my daughter’s tootsies.


I will attempt another pair for myself, but will try a different pattern as the zigzag pattern of the above doesn’t have that much stretch, so making to exact size is crucial.  For those brave enough to try the pattern, it can be found here.

There may be a new fetish on my horizon….

Or not.

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Family Day

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Seeing as today is a semi-National holiday (for Alberta, Ontario & Saskatchewan), I will be taking the day off to relax with hubby, and do absolutely nothing…or maybe we’ll go see Niagara Falls again for the 900-millionth time.  I still marvel at the sight of the Falls no matter how many times I see them…..it just never gets old. 

For those that live too far away to see Niagara Falls up close and in person,
here you go…

Niagara Falls

and for a real treat, if you click on the picture, it will take you to a live,
streaming video (with audio) of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls,
courtesy of the Hilton Fallsview Hotel. 

Have a safe and fun-filled day of family activities!

See you tomorrow. 

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February Blahs….

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Say it out loud with me…. B-L-A-HHHHHHHHH…

What is it about the shortest month of the year that makes people living in the Northern Hemisphere so moody?

Then I got to thinking…

What do the Southern Hemisphere folk call it? Especially when winter in the Southern Hemisphere is from June to September…does that make mid-August the August Blahs????  Is it worse for them because the month is actually longer???

I need to call someone living in Australia or Chile this coming August to find out…who out there knows someone or has a relative that they could ask living in the Southern Hemisphere?

I really am dying to know.

Meanwhile, I will slip on my flip flops, grab my big floppy beach hat and sunglasses, pack my beach bag and pretend I am sitting on a beach in Mexico….hoping that the darn Lotto ticket I bought for this week actually comes in a winner….



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Valentine For Your Hunny

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Yes, I know I spelled ‘Honey’ different up there…tough noogies, I like it better my way, which incidentally, is the same way Winnie The Pooh spells it….

Now on to today’s post. 

How to make a Valentine for your hunny, if your hunny is of the opposite sex from yourself, and preferably a male…oh heck, I guess all that matters here is if your Hunny loves Beer.

Head out to your local beer distribution facility (Beer Store) and grab a case of 24 cans of your Hunny’s favourite beer.  You will need 13 cans to make this Valentine, so getting a 12-pack will not do the job (hint – you can drink the remainder)….

Beer Cans

Next, chill beer cans for at least a day until nice and frosty.

Then, just before your Hunny gets home from work on Valentine’s Day, set up 13 cans of beer in the shape of a heart…just like here…..

Beer Can Hearts

 Then wait for a big, sloppy smooch of appreciation.

See? How difficult was this?

I don’t know why people think Valentine shopping is so hard….. ;)

Happy Valentine’s Day Hunny!

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