Category Archives: Holidays/Special Occassions

February is “I Love to Read” Month

Annually, February celebrates reading with I Love to Read events in schools across the country.

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I’m sharing my own love of reading with you by showcasing 28 great books that I’ve read and recommend, one for each day of the month.

However, I won’t be posting them on my blog as I think that will become cumbersome with the other posts that I have coming up. So, I’m inviting you to follow me on Instagram @suzanne_costigan for some great reading recommendations. I read everything from adult, young adult and middle grade, and even picture books!

Unimpressed Doggie

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Keyser (front) and Basil show off their holiday spirit with their Christmas ties. Keyser’s expression however, is unimpressed. He’s so funny. They look sweet anyway!

Thanks to our groomer, Vada Club K9, in Winnipeg for the awesome accessories. I love this grooming shop. They take their time, give the dogs breaks when they need, are reasonably priced and my dogs always look and smell great when we leave.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies

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My three boys had an ugly Christmas sweater cookie decorating afternoon. I think they enjoyed this way more than the gingerbread houses of prior years.

Ringing In the New Year

We don’t usually do much on New Year’s Eve. In the past, if the weather isn’t too cold, we have taken in the fireworks shows at The Forks in Winnipeg.

However, this year, since we are enjoying our new home in the country, we decided to have fireworks right in our own backyard. We bought two big boxes of them and James set them off from the garden area. They were so beautiful.

We invited some neighbours over and it was great to get to know some new friends. This is something we will definitely do on a regular basis.

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its
first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

*****
Photos taken by me.

Umm, Which Fork?

Dalnavert is a Victorian house museum in Winnipeg, that has been restored to it’s original 1895 grandeur when Sir Hugh McDonald and his family lived in the home. Sir Hugh was the son of Sir John A. McDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister.

Dalnavert

Dalnavert table setting This is a single place setting for a formal Christmas dinner. Which fork to use? Start from the outside and work your way in right? How many courses could this be?

Dalnavert table A grand looking table.

Dalnavert pickle jar This is a pickle jar.

Dalnavert menu And the menu sits at the head of the table.

A feast for sure!

This is my second post about Dalnavert, see also my post about the reading of Charles Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol.

 

An Evening of Victorian Dickens – A Christmas Carol

Dalnavert

Dalnavert is a house turned museum located in downtown Winnipeg. It has been restored to it’s original Victorian era condition including decor, furniture and even the wallpaper. It’s a popular spot to check out, especially at Christmas time as the house is all decked out in decorations. Another cool point is that there is only one paid staff member at Dalnavert, everyone else who works there is a volunteer.

Dalnavert townJames and I went for the first time just before Christmas. After a tour through the house, everyone gathered in the conference room (an addition off the back of the house) for a reading of Charles Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol. What we didn’t know was what to expect at the reading. Is someone going to sit at the front of the room and read the story?

Much to our delight the reading took place as a shadow puppet show!

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As seen here, it was a person show with the puppeteer reading the story as she acted it out with the shadows. Absolutely magical!

Dalnavert marley's ghost

 

Here is the puppet used for Jacob Marley’s ghost. The beads formed his chains.

Dalnavert backstage And this is the “backstage” set-up.

During intermission a wonderful smelling apple cider and dainties were served. And we especially enjoyed the rich smooth hot chocolate.

Overall the evening was fantastic and I would highly recommend checking out a Dalnavert tour or the Christmas special event next year.

I will post more of Dalnavert, next up – a peek at a Victorian formal dinner.

 

 

 

Happy New Year to my Followers ~ That’s You!

Happy New Year

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Christmas Trees

I just love the blue on these Christmas trees, decorated at the Winnipeg Airport.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas,

a Happy Holiday Season,

and the Best in the New Year!

 

Diagon Alley Owlery

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The attention to detail at Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is off the charts. There is no way possible to hype it up too much, no way possible that anyone could ever be disappointed. This is the Owl Post in Diagon Alley.

 

Bob’s Road (a zombie story)

Happy Halloween everyone! Today, I’m sharing with you a rather extended writer’s prompt I wrote for this Halloween occasion.

bobs road

My truck bumped it’s way down “Bob’s Road.”

I knew Gabby was scared. Her gaze darted around – out the windshield, the passenger window, the driver’s window – repeat. It was all I could do to stifle my grin. My “cheesy-ass grin” she called it. She’d know I was up to something if I gave away that smile.

“It’s so dark.” Gabby tucked her hair behind her ear.

“There’s no moon tonight. It’s perfect for seeing the Milky Way.”

“I know, but. . . still. You have a flashlight right?”

“Actually, I forgot it. I didn’t mean to, I set it on the counter and, well, it stayed there. Sorry.”

She glances out the windows again.

bobs road2“This looks like a good spot,” I say. I park the truck and climb out.

I open the back door and collect the blanket. Then pat my pocket, feel the hard little bump, it’s there safe and sound. Satisfied, I walk around the truck. “Come on.”

“I can barely see you.”

“I know, but look up.”

She pauses. “Wow, Danny, I’ve never seen so many stars.”

I glance up at the sparkling sky. Then spread out the blanket. “Here. Lie down.” I take Gabby’s hand and guide her to lie beside me. She rests her head on my shoulder, turns slightly inward so her hand is on my chest, her fingers intertwined through the buttons of my shirt, she strokes my chest hair. How I wish I could purr. I wrap my arm around her shoulders and hug her close.

Tonight’s the night. I’ve made sure it’s a night she’ll never forget.

bobs road3“This was a great idea. Can you believe how many stars there are?”

I love her approval. “That’s a crazy number of stars.”

Gabby’s body stiffens. “Did you hear that?”

I grin. “Hear what?”

“Shh.” She sits up.

“What?” I whisper, sitting up beside her.

“There it is again!”

“What?” Although, I can hear it.

“It sounds like scraping on the road. There it is again. Again.” She grips my bicep. “It’s getting closer. Let’s get in the truck.”

I look over my shoulder. “I hear it now.” Being in the dark, the scraping footsteps, suddenly feels like a bad idea. My stomach clenches. “In the truck. Yeah that’s good.”

We stand up, I grab the blanket and the dragging steps are closer. Great job guys, maybe a little too good. My heart is racing. I put my arm around Gabby and guide her the few steps to the truck. I open the door, the interior light blinks on, and she climbs in.

The light doesn’t reach down the road. I can’t see the guys from the glare. I slam the door closed and the light snuffs out.

“There’s shadows.” Her voice is muffled on the other side of the glass, but I can see her silhouetted fingers point out the front window.

I glance in the same direction. Yes, shadows, of three people dragging their feet, arms hanging limp by their sides–walking towards us.

“Danny!” She screams.

The shadows are in front of the truck, arms reaching out. I race around the box to the driver’s door. I grip the handle and a zombie hand clamps onto my forearm.

“DANNYYYYYY!” Gabby screams my name over and over inside the truck. “Get in the truck! Danny! Get in the truck!”

Thumping on metal, I hear the guys banging their arms on the hood.

I’m freaking out and I’m the one that set this up. These are my friends. I told them to do this!

The hand on my arm squeezes and I scream — high and loud. I yank the hand off and reach again for the driver’s door. A hand lands on my shoulder, a moaning growls in my ear. Then clacking of teeth rattling together.

Damn the movies and my imagination.

I swear, yank the handle and the door opens. Both Gabby’s screams and interior light escape into the blackness.

“Watch out!”

I turn around. The zombie, looking very much like Kevin, stretches his arms out for me.

“Get in!” Gabby grabs my shoulders and pulls on my jacket. My brain says it’s Kevin, but my adrenaline rushes and my heart pounds. I told him to dress up. Why am I scared? What is wrong with me?

Kevin charges me, reaching for my chest as I scramble backwards onto the driver’s seat.

Gabby yanking me in. “Close the door!”

“I can’t,” I yell.

Kevin is in the door, in the truck, gnashing his teeth, blood on his face. Lose skin. Missing flesh.

I’m shrieking. Gabby’s shrieking.

I push on his shoulders. He growls. Eyes playing straight into mine. It is Kevin. He is in there.

Gabby screams again and as I push the zombie out of the truck, I throw a glance over my shoulder. Chad and Wilson are up against her window, clawing at the glass. Biting their teeth together.

They look so real. I shove Kevin again, but he shoves back. He grabs my shirt, rips it open, and the buttons fly off.

“What the hell? What the hell?” I scramble back across the seat, but he lunges into the truck and lands on top of me. Gabby hammer punches his shoulders to get him off. Kevin buries his face into my chest. I scream and scream and — phffffffft.

Zombie Kevin gives me a sherbert.

For a few seconds everything freezes.

Dead silence.

Laughter starts outside Gabby’s window. Kevin looks up, his makeup smeared, my chest hair covered in fake blood and bits of fallen rubber flesh.

Kevin laughs. “This was awesome, man. You played along amazingly.”

My laugh comes out as a high pitched wheeze. Played along. “Yeah, you guys did, did, uh, great.”

My heart pounds, adrenaline courses, limbs vibrate.

Gabby looks from Kevin to me, out her window at Chad and Wilson. Then back at me. “You did this?” Mascara streaks her wet cheeks.

I give her my cheesy grin. “Surprise?”

“I hate you.” She crosses her arms. “Take me home.”

“Awe, honey—“

“Don’t you ‘honey’ me, Danny. I can’t believe you did this.”

Kevin backs out of the truck. “Operation Scare Tactic complete.”

I turn to Gabby. “In my head, at this point, we were all laughing right now.”

Kevin, Chad, and Wilson turn and walk back up the road, they disappear into the dark.bobs road4

Gabby turns her back to me. “Take me home. Now.”

“This was supposed to be a night you’ll remember forever.”

“Oh, I’ll never forget it. I nearly peed my pants! For what? A joke? Very funny, Danny.”

I smirk. “Really?”

“Danny!”

“Sorry.” I reach into my pocket, no longer sure this is the right time, but it was next on my agenda and I tend to run on auto-pilot. “Hey Gabby?”

“What?” Her chin tips up, I can imagine the eye roll that goes along with it.

“Look at me,” I say it as softly as I can, aiming for romantic.

She huffs out a breath, looks over her shoulder and glares at me.

I hold up the ring. “Will you marry me?”