Friday, June 22, 2018

Celebrating 100 #natashareadsonfridays Posts

Today I posted my 100th #natashareadsonfridays post on Instagram. If you click on the hashtag it looks like it was my 101st post but I used the hashtag in a comment once so I'm not counting that one :)

My first post was on August 5, 2017 and I had just decided to post every Friday about a book I was reading and where I was reading it. The first post was taken at my parents' house in Saskatchewan and I was reading a book on grammar (Between You & Me by Mary Norris).

In October 2016 I decided to change the format to a post featuring all the books I'd read during the previous week. So for the past almost two years, every book I've read has appeared in one of these posts. I sometimes miss a week (or two) but it's been so fun to track my reading this way.

In April I wrote my first blog post about #natashareadsonfridays because I had way too much to say for an Instagram post. And my reading these past two weeks has caused me to write another blog post because, yet again, I have too much to say for an Instagram post.
I really liked this book. It was sweet and funny and made me cry, although that might have been because I was reading it at 2am and I was tired :) I also loved being able to revisit the characters from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I want to read more books from this author.

Okay, I read these two books one right after the other. Have you read these books? Did they seem similar to you? They both talk about people isolating themselves, preparing for the end times, and how the daughters in the families tried to escape. Sadly, they both also have abuse as one theme among many. The Great Alone is fiction and Educated is not. They are both good reads.

I don't know where I first saw this book. I'm sure it was during a readathon sometime :) This book was hilarious and hard at the same time. I was also surprised by the inclusion of the erotic stories, which for some reason, I wasn't expecting. This is a good book but if you pick it up, be warned parts of it should carry an "R" rating.

Yes, reading at the pool season has started again! Yay!!! I saw so many people recommending My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman and was shocked when I discovered our library didn't carry it. This turned out to be one of those cases where Canada carries the British version and not the American version. (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is another one of those books.)

Anyways, once I finally found the book, it took me about one hundred pages to get into it, and then I couldn't put it down. The weaving of a significant fairy tale Elsa and her grandmother share and how it affects Elsa's reality was so engaging.

I loved the Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy and was so excited to hear it was continuing. This book was a quick read and makes me want to re-read the original trilogy again. This was just a short novella and I can't wait for the next full length book in the series to be released.

It was a good batch of reads to mark my 100th #natashareadsonfridays post. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me and I can't wait to see what the next 100 reading posts hold!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Photo Of The Day -- June 1 - 10, 2018 (And May 29 Special Edition!)

While I may not be posting my photos on a regular basis my PAD2018 project is still going strong -- most of the time. Really it should be called "A Photo Four Out Of Every Five Days" but that just doesn't have the same ring! Ha!

I'm starting this post with a photo from May 29 which, as you may remember from my last post, I didn't think I had taken one that day. It turns out I was wrong.

May 29, 2018 -- Sam has his own radio in his room and he has started listening to Blue Jays games up there. Even though you can't tell that's what he is doing in this picture, I wanted to capture this moment.

June 1, 2018 -- About mid-May I was really frustrated with the kids and took the iPad away for the rest of the month. Sam was really good about not asking for iPad but you can imagine that the first chance he had on June 1, he was ready to go!

And actually, I think the break was a good thing because he hasn't used it, or asked for it, all that often since.

June 2, 2018 -- We were doing yard work this day and Sam picked me a bouquet of miniature flowers. Awwwww!

June 3, 2018 -- Speaking of flowers, I was having a conversation after church with a friend about the symbiotic relationship between ants and peonies. So I took a closer look at our peonies after church and, sure enough, they were covered with ants. I took this picture (even though close ups of insects are not my favourite) to remember that conversation.

June 4, 2018 -- After about a week of extreme heat, we went back down to cooler temperatures and Rachel decided that her new pool cover up was her sweater. Ha!

June 5, 2018 -- Sam can almost balance a beer bottle on his nose :)

June 6, 2018 -- Janice gave me NovelTeas for my birthday and here was the wisdom on my teabag this day. I LOVE this!!!

June 7, 2018 -- Our province had a vote this day. I loved that the kids got to see us cast our vote and then feed the ballot into the ballot reader. I think it's important to involve them in the political process as much as possible.

June 8, 2018 -- I've been posting every book I read on Instagram on Fridays. This was my #natashareadsonfridays post for this day. It was a week of good books.

June 9. 2018 -- Since we didn't celebrate Father's Day last year, and Rachel's birthday was on Father's Day this year, I surprised Dave with an early Father's Day celebration this day. Dave loves breakfast so I made this delicious frittata. Yum!

June 10, 2018 -- Wow -- this one could have been called "A Photo For Nine Out Of Every Ten Days!" That's pretty good for me :)

Monday, June 04, 2018

Photo Of The Day -- May 24 - 31, 2018

May 24, 2018 -- I was so excited to find out food trucks were back! Yay! We weren't planning on going but Dave locked himself out of the house and couldn't start making supper so this was excellent timing.

May 25, 2018 -- We went to a very fun 70th birthday party for one of our friends' parents.

May 26, 2018 -- I was excited to be able to get to a nursery this day and I actually got the majority of these 64 annuals planted that same day.

May 27, 2018 -- I've said this before but I'm so happy that Dave doesn't have sciatica this spring and is able to contribute to yard work.

May 28, 2018 -- Don't tell my neighbours but I stole some lilacs off their bush so I could enjoy them inside. I did only cut the flowers from the branches which hang into our yard so I'm sure a good lawyer could make an argument for them being mine, right?!?

May 29, 2018 -- Sadly, I didn't take a picture this day. Boo. I can't even remember what was going on.
May 30, 2018 -- Here is stack of library books to get into. (If it makes you feel better I haven't added any yet, and I've read two of these and am well into a third one already!)

May 31, 2018 -- We were driving to get haircuts when we were caught in a complete downpour. But then we were rewarded with a glorious rainbow.

Sorry a few of these were Instagram/blog post repeats. It's complicated to take numerous pictures a day sometimes :) 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's Up Wednesday: May 2018

It's What's Up Wednesday time again and here's what has been going on around here lately.

image from here

What we're eating this week... At my book club in April, one of the other members suggested a new cookbook to me. It's called Fuss-Free Vegan and we've discovered some great recipes in it. Dave and I love it and the kids are tolerating it and it's just been so nice to have an infusion of new ideas. And no, we're not vegan and I just use regular milk or Ranch dressing or cheese if it calls for the vegan kind.
image of cookbook from here

What I'm reminiscing about... I've been thinking a lot about our Kenya trip last summer. At this time last year we were in the midst of getting ready to go and looking forward to visiting our friends and experiencing new things. If you want to read all about our trip, you can check out my posts here.
What I'm loving... Rachel is really excited about learning to bike and, after I saw my friend and his daughter on the trailer bike, I hooked up ours. The nice thing about this is that kids don't need to be able to balance to ride it. Rachel wants to go for a ride whenever she can. Last week we even biked 13km/8 miles to Sam's ball game and back.

What we've been up to... I've been fighting a cold for over two weeks now so I've been laying low. And trying to participate in life when I can. So we're just trying to stay on top of things over here while I try (only semi-successfully) to get ten hours of sleep a night. Blah.

What I'm dreading... All the car repairs/maintenance we need to do over the next six months. There are a few little things wrong and one big thing and, unfortunately, it means that a lot of our bills over the next few months will be car related, which isn't nearly as exciting as baseball or travel or...

What I'm working on... In between sleeping and trying to recuperate from my cold, we've been spending A LOT of time in our yard. Last summer, Dave had sciatica so the yard felt very overwhelming and neglected for much of the summer. It's been such a change this spring to have two (and sometimes four!) able bodied people to work on things. You can see yesterday's post for more yard before and after pictures than you can imagine here!

What I'm excited about... I'm excited that food truck season is back. We have a food truck gathering just down the block from us every Thursday and it's awesome. There's also one at a church near us on Wednesdays so we could basically eat from food trucks twice a week. We don't but...
I'm still dreaming about the cold asparagus-tomato salad 
I got from one of these trucks last week. Yum!!!!!

What I'm watching/reading... I have a whole stack of library books I'm working my way through. And I'm watching all my flowers grow :)
The pile on the left are my library books which is what I mostly read from. The pile on the right are books I've gotten from elsewhere (and they have no due dates) which I should start reading. Ha!

What I'm listening to... The Blue Jays playing baseball on the radio. It was so fun this past weekend to listen to them outside while I was planting flowers. And then on Sunday we listened to them while we got some inside tasks completed.

What I'm wearing... We seem to have skipped over jeans and t-shirt weather this year so I'm wearing all the shorts and tank tops. And I'm enjoying my summer skirts. Skirts just make me happy :)
Here are all my short skirts.
This also explains why I only have four pairs of shorts!

What I'm doing this weekend... Our pool opens this weekend so hopefully I'll get to spend some time swimming and reading. I'm excited to see how much Sam and Rachel remember from their swimming lessons last year.

What I'm looking forward to next month... I'll write more about this in June's What's Up Wednesday but Dave and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage on June 29! Yay! The kids finish school on June 28. And Rachel turns 7 on the 17th. Next month is going to be busy :)

What else is new... I think that's everything. It's been a bit of the same old, same old around here but honestly, I really like that once in awhile.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Little Before And After: Our Yard Spring 2018

One of my happy places is our yard, especially when it looks pretty awesome! Honestly, last summer the yard was more of a stress than a joy but that was mostly because Dave had sciatica and so it was all up to me (and whatever work I could wrangle out of the kids). This spring yard work has been a two person task and it's been so much more enjoyable. So here's a little "before" and "after" for you. Also known as "more pictures of our yard than you ever wanted to see!" Ha!
This is the bed behind our playroom earlier this spring.
I did some work on it earlier but there was still a lot of grass growing in it for some reason? Weird.
I finally finished weeding and edging it last week and this weekend I planted four gomphrena in a mix of purple and white in the big empty spot. Yay! I'm so happy this spot is complete. I'm also happy our bleeding heart didn't die over the winter. Phew.
 The daylily bed by the clothesline just needed some edging. It looks much better now.
Did I mention that I'm so happy that Dave con contribute to yard work this year. Not only can he mow (Yaaaayyyy!!!), but he dug all the grass out of our two patios.
On Saturday we went to a nursery (finally!), and I bought 64 annuals. (A few years ago I somehow bought 103 so this didn't feel like a lot.) I also bought two bags of mulch.
Happiness :)
Because we went to Kenya and were gone for over two weeks, I didn't plant pots last summer. I thought they would be too much work for someone while we were gone. However, this year we are only gone for bits and pieces at a time so I wanted to plant some pots. This area needed some weeding and attention.
 I planted petunias and snapdragons here and I can't wait until they all bloom.
I'd done work in the "light post bed" previously and I thought it needed some mulch to clean it up a little. After I took the "after" picture, Dave pulled all the weeds in front of the rocks so it looks even better now.
Our main front bed is where most of my annuals go. Unfortunately, it gets a lot of shade so I have to find shade loving plants for it. I'd already weeded it once this year but it needed it again. It also needed some colour.
I planted sixteen impatiens and four marine bells and it's so much prettier now.
This bed has always been the bane of my existence. There was a big bush I wanted to trim one year and it turned out that it was mostly dead inside. So we got rid of it. Anyways, since we rarely see this bed, and it's filled with a couple of hydrangeas, it's hard to care too much about it. 
I discovered that one of the hydrangeas was dead so I pulled it out and weeded the rest of the bed. Then I remember the extra mulch we had so, after I planted a few impatiens, I filled the rest in with mulch. It looks so much better now, and I actually kind of like this bed as opposed to being glad I never see it.

So I'm excited about everything that has been accomplished over the past week. Now I just need it to rain so I can weed, edge, and deal with a few more problem areas. I can't wait for that to happen so I can show you "before" and "after" pictures of those areas too.

Then I can just enjoy our yard for a few minutes before I need to weed again. Ha!