Tuesday, April 23, 2024

All My March Reads

I realize we're almost at the end of April but I haven't yet posted about my March reads. I can always tell when work is getting stressful, and taking all my brain power, because not only do I sleep a lot more, but I default back to In Death books for the bulk of my reading. So the first half of the month I read some great books and then, the last half of the month, I read a lot of the In Death books.

Once the trilogy of The Inheritance Games reaches its climax, this book tells stories about two of the brothers. I thought this book was good but it didn't feel like a vital part of the story. I really think the trilogy can stand alone without this extra book. 

 

I really enjoyed this book. I read it in one sitting (way too late at night when I should have been going to sleep) and I loved it. This book made me cry. It's not very deep, but I recommend it.

This is another book which sucked me in. As with all thrillers these days, there is a twist partway through, which I couldn't have anticipated, but which made the book all that more enjoyable and creepy.

I am doing a reading challenge this year through FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity) and this was one of the books I read for February (albiet a bit late). I was glad to read this story, although sad that stories like this have to exist. Why are people so cruel?

   

  

Here are all the In Death books I read towards the end of March. I'm not going to write about each one of them but I will say, that as the series continues, I find the building and growth of Eve's community much more interesting to read about than the solving of each book's murders.

So that was all my March reading. While April has continued the In Death trend, I have also read some other excellent books. I will write about them eventually, but it likely won't be for a couple of weeks.

March total: 12

2024, thus far: 48

(For interest's sake, 2023, at this time: 43)

Monday, April 22, 2024

Friday Favourite Moments #16 (On A Monday)

I'm currently enjoying the perfect Sunday. We have very little on the schedule so I am doing a little house cleaning, a little organizing, a little blogging, and a lot of "getting things done" all while I drink tea in my pajamas! Did I mention it's the perfect Sunday?!? Plus, I didn't have to set an alarm this morning which just makes it all better.

Below are my Friday Favourite Moments for last week.

1) Baked good from a co-worker
A few of us had an unofficial bet going about a student at work and I won! Sometimes you have to find the fun in frustrating situations and, in this care, I happened to guess right. So my co-worker baked me cranberry scones which absolutely made my morning. They were soooo good!
 
2) Readathon weekend
It's been awhile since I've done a readathon, and I only found out about this one about four days before it happened, but I read all day last Saturday and it was the best thing I could have done. I read three books, we had charcuterie for supper, and the kids even joined me in a "walking and reading" picture. I will write more about the readathon later, but it was definitely a favourite moment in my week.
3) Sam's school trip
Sam was actually gone for three days last week on a school trip. While I didn't love having to drop him off at school at 7:00am on a Sunday, I loved that he had so much fun! His class went to Point Pelee National Park in southern Ontario and they slept in yurts. It was a geography trip and Sam was in a yurt with three of his closest friends. I'm so glad he had such a good time, even if he did sleep for sixteen hours straight when he got home!
 
Another favourite moment from the week was when Sam came home and I got to hug him again!
 
4) Pansy planters

On Sunday morning I helped hand out pansies for the dance fundraiser. I got a hanging basket and a pot for myself. I am so happy with my pansies!!! And having our pot of pansies on our outdoor table makes it feel like spring is actually here! (Even if I am bringing them in every other night due to the threat of snow. Argh.)

5) Rachel baked biscuits

I made a big pot of soup last Monday and Rachel independently baked biscuits to go with them. She was happy to do this and I was happy to enjoy warm, buttery biscuits with our soup. Win-win!

6) Taxes are finished!!!

   There is no picture to go with this one but Dave and I did our taxes on Thursday night. It always hangs over our head, and then they're usually really easy to do. And we got a refund which is really great!!!

So those were my favourite moments from last week. There's a lot going on this week in blog world so I'll see you back here again tomorrow!

Friday, April 19, 2024

Friday Favourite Moments #15 (A Week Late)

So I took an unintentional blogging break. I didn't mean too but other things kept happening and then, by the time I had time to blog, I was too tired to write anything coherent. Now here we are over a week later, and I'm finally back. And I'm prioritizing blogging over doing my taxes and folding laundry! Hahaha! So this is still going to be a Friday Favourite Moments post, but all these favourites are from last week. Hopefully on Monday, I'll post my Friday Favourite Moments from this past week.

1) Laundry Hanging Season!!!

I know I am likely the only person who gets excited about this (well, probably my mom does too!), but I hung my first load of laundry on the line!!! I love when the weather is nice enough to hang laundry outside!!!

2) Buying pansies

I went to my favourite greenhouse and was able to buy pansies (and some ranunculus too!)!!! I was so happy to pick out my pansies. Now I just need the weather to be consistently nice enough that I can plant them outside.
 
3) Disc Golf with Dave
Dave and I bought discs and played a couple of rounds of disc golf on a nice afternoon! It was fun to play and we can't wait to go again sometime.
 
4) The Eclipse
While we weren't in the path of totality, we did get 99% eclipse. It was so cool to experience as a family -- the sky got noticeably darker and it definitely got cooler outside. It was more like dusk, rather than complete darkness, but I'm so glad we got to experience it.
 
5) First BBQ of the season
We enjoyed our first BBQ of the season -- sausage, potato salad, and chickpea salad! This was so delicious and I could eat this meal again right now! The best part was that we grew our own herbs (chives and mint) for the salad.

Last week was a very "spring oriented" week of favourites! We had gorgeous weather and enjoyed all the outside things. Now I'm going to get some laundry folded, and get our taxes done, and then I'll write a post for next week about this past week. Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

10 On The 10th: April 2024

I am deciding that April is one of my favourite months -- baseball is back, outside laundry hanging is back, spring flowers are back, the weather can be really great (sunny, but not too hot) and best of all, my spring allergies haven't hit yet!!! Yesterday was the 10th of the month so here are 10 pictures from my pretty perfect April 10th :)

I hung a load of laundry on the line while drinking my first cup of coffee-hot chocolate. It's not quite warm enough yet to just sit out for my morning coffee, but we're getting there!
It was a PD day for me and the kids. Normally, I'd have to be at work but I took the day off to get a bunch of appointments done. This post could also be titled, "The Day I Was Thankful For Good Health Care Coverage"! Rachel and I were out early to get to optometrist appointments. We tried a selfie but the sun was too bright so instead, here's a picture of our shadows on my favourite path :)
Rachel enjoyed posing with the large glasses outside our optometrist's office. She's getting new glasses and is very excited about them!
I bribed Rachel to walk to our appointments by telling her we could stop at Starbucks. I had a Medicine Ball for the first time and it was so good! I will definitely be getting that again. Yum!!!
Back hanging another load of laundry before walking Rachel to another appointment. At that one, I sat on the steps in the sun and read.
I'm delayed in getting our family calendar done for April but it finally happened yesterday afternoon while I was boiling eggs and potatoes for supper. So glad to have this off my plate. (And yes, I realize it's only partially done here. I didn't want to blast all our activities all over the internet! Hahahaha!)
Sam had an optometrist appointment in the afternoon so we stopped by the library to pick up some really great books!!! I can't wait to dive into these! Sam is giving a thumb's down because he's a teenager. I also booked him an afternoon appointment, again, because he's a teenager.
And yes, I also bribed Sam to walk to his appointment with a Starbucks stop. And yes, I had two Starbucks drinks in one day, this time a caramel frappe.
Then we all made salads for supper and had the first BBQ of the season! YAY!!! Dave is grilling sausage here.
This is one of my favourite spring suppers -- BBQ sausage, potato salad (with chives we grew in our yard!!!), and chickpea salad. Sooooo goood!!!

And that was my April 10th -- a lot of appointments, Starbucks, and yummy food!

Monday, April 08, 2024

Share Our Lives: Favourite Hair And Make Up Products (Sort Of!)

I'm linking up today with the Share Our Lives bloggers. They are Sarah, Dara, Joanne, Adrienne, and Jen. (Click on each name to go their blogs.) We are talking about our favourite hair & make up products. But I don't wear make up and I don't use any hair products (other than shampoo and conditioner) so instead I'm going to show you my favourite toiletries. Hopefully the Share Our Lives bloggers will forgive me for "expanding" this topic, as it were :)

My hair and skincare routine is either a) very easy or b) non-existent! Hahaha! I wash my face every morning with a washcloth and cold water. That's it. Since I don't wear make up, I don't need to wash my face at night. I mean, maybe I should, but I don't. Also, I feel like I'm low maintenance but, when we go to Europe, I have to pack a washcloth because they don't have them there. It's a little ridiculous that it is an essential item to me, but it really is!

My hair washing routine is that I shower every other day and wash my hair and condition it. Then I towel dry it and comb it. That's it. I don't use a hair dryer. I don't use mousse. I don't even use a specific shampoo and conditioner. Right now I'm using a colour treated shampoo to try and maintain my highlights a little longer. After it's gone, I'll go back to using what ever is cheapest or sounds most interesting without being too expensive.

In terms of other "products" I use, they are the following:

We've each had our own shower scrub for a few years now. We all use a different Softsoap Body Wash. My favourite one has honey and lavender. I've probably been using this body wash for about three or four years now.
The thing I am most vain about is wearing my contacts. I wear them almost every day. My contact solution is probably the third most important toiletry I use, after toothpaste and my lip balm.
I started using Tom's of Maine natural toothpaste in 2000. It has a very strong taste which took some getting used to, but now I can't use any other type of toothpaste. Other toothpastes taste too sweet to me. When I go to the dentist, they have to use a non-flavoured pumice powder to clean my teeth because I can't handle the minty gel they would use otherwise.
Even though I don't use any hair or makeup products, I do paint my toenails. They are always polished. I do it myself at home, usually while blogging, watching a Blue Jays game, or a Hallmark movie! Hahaha! I've loved the Essie brand ever since I discovered it about five years ago. I introduced Rachel to Essie too and some of these colours are hers. I didn't realize we had so much nail polish until I put it all out for this picture :)
My mom introduced me to Carmex in 1990 when I was in Grade 12. If I wear this continuously, I get fewer cold sores. I have containers of Carmex all over the place -- on my nightstand, at work, in my purse, on our main floor -- I usually have about four on the go at once. And I use it a lot. This might actually beat out toothpaste for my favourite toiletry :)

So that's it. Those are all the products I use. Except for nail polish (and toothpaste!), I feel like I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to products. Just don't take away my Carmex :)

Friday, April 05, 2024

Friday Favourite Moments #14

I'm doing a bit of a different take on my Friday Favourite Moments this week. Normally, I pick a few favourite moments from the week but we spent Easter weekend with our best friends at their house in Virginia and, after a packed weekend of fun with them, and twenty hours of driving, I've been working, doing laundry, and sleeping this week. The only other exciting thing I've done is met Sam's teachers for this semester, which happened last night.

So instead of sharing favourite moments from the week, I'm going to share my (many) favourite moments from our weekend. Our best friends live in our city but Tim's parents live in Virginia and Janice's family is from there. They both went to college there and travel there fairly regularly. After Covid lockdowns ended, they built a house on some property in Virginia so they have the option to spend more time down there with family. And this was our first time to go see it.

We were so happy to be out of the car and at Tim and Janice's!
It was lovely to go for a walk around their property and see their space.
Willem introduced us to disc golf and we enjoyed an evening of practising!
Sam turned FIFTEEN on Saturday and we started the celebrations with brunch.
I loved the glimpse of spring we enjoyed this past weekend.
Did I mention this kid is now fifteen?!?!?!?!?

An enjoyable afternoon of disc golf on Willem's college campus and a lot of laughter!!!
So happy to get back to the Book Fair! See this post here for our first Book Fair visit :)
Italian doughnuts with chocolate dipping sauce instead of a birthday cake for Sam.
We coloured Easter Eggs and the kids got Easter baskets.
Easter photo after church on Sunday.

 
Willem had been talking all weekend about a hike to a reservoir he had done with friends in the fall. I was super excited to do it, even though Janice warned us there was a "sketchy bridge crossing." Well, to me, that made it sound even more fun!!! And yes, the hike was gorgeous. And yes, the bridge was sketchy. And yes, there was more water in the spring than Willem remembered from the fall. And yes, Janice skipped the bridge after the first crossing and waded through the water instead! But yes, it was absolutely worth it!!! 
We enjoyed all our favourite US stops -- Target and Panera Bread! And we brought home a baker's dozen of cinnamon crunch bagels. Yum! Yum! Yum!
 
So those were my favourite moments from the weekend. This coming weekend looks nice and sunny, and somewhat warm, so I'll be spending lots of time in one of my favourite places -- our back yard! Whoo hoo!!!