Thursday, August 13, 2020

10 On The 10th: Dave's Point Of View

As Natasha started taking pictures for her monthly 10 on the 10th post, I jumped in and took a few of my own. While this started out with helpful intentions, it quickly descended into a flurry of unflattering, ridiculous, and otherwise unhelpful pictures of Natasha, while she tried to get her ten photos.

Without further ado, welcome to my "sarcastic 10 on the 10th" photo essay (the photos are in roughly chronological order, but there is a certain amount of artistic license being taken here).

We'll start with a photo of Natasha trying to get a shot of the hummingbirds that visit the feeder in her parents' garden. Let's just say that Natasha wasn't moving quite as quickly as the hummingbirds, so I had a much easier time getting my photo than she did!

Next we have a candid shot of Natasha hanging out laundry, a pretty frequent activity whether we're at home or on vacation.
Later on, we pulled out the lawn darts (which, unlike the originals, don't have pointy metal tips); their main purpose was to keep the kids entertained, but clearly the grown-ups were sucked in, too. Check out Natasha's excellent technique!
To balance out the daily over-eating of incredibly delicious meals, we have been doing walk-at-home videos to keep in some semblance of good shape ("round" is a shape, right?). Although this photo doesn't really show much movement, we were kept in motion for about an hour by various brief workout sessions.

We had enjoyed a wiener roast over the campfire the previous night, and so we needed to give the roasting skewers a final wash this afternoon. Rachel and Sam have been (mostly willing) helpers with the dishes, especially when they are bribed paid in cans of pop.

This photo shows Natasha checking up on work plans for the fall  The deck of cards in the foreground did not play any role in her decisions.

And then it was time to start the dinner prep -- here is Natasha speedily peeling a beet for roasting on the BBQ... Mmmmm!
 For the first few days of our visit, Natasha's dad was the resident bartender, mixing up Caesars, Moscow Mules, G&Ts, and whatever else we asked for. More recently, Natasha has taken over some drink-mixing duties with unbridled enthusiasm.
The happy results of Natasha's drink-mixing efforts. If only all her blogging could be on the deck with a drink in hand!
And we will end with Natasha busting a move on the deck, in an impromptu "waiting for the burgers to be done" dance party!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

10 On The 10th: August 2020

Welcome to 10 On The 10th, the Saskatchewan Edition :) While I was taking pictures yesterday, Dave kept suggesting pictures for me to take so, in the next few days, he's going to post his own "10 On The 10th." You can look forward to that! Hahaha!!!
We slept in the tent the night before and an extremely loud and annoying bird woke us up with its continuous chirping at 5:13am. This picture was taken after we'd yelled at it, Dave had searched for it outside, and we'd given up and decided to catch a bit more sleep in the house. It was 5:27am. Whooo hoo.
This is Mom and Dad's fancy schmancy coffee maker. I make two cappucinos with hot chocolate for myself every morning. Yum!!! Mom even bought me my own special mug.
Mom and Dad have so many hummingbirds at their house in the summer. I was excited to capture this picture of one at the feeder.
We eat so much good food all the time here. Mom makes the most delicious (slightly spicy) carrot pickles, there was leftover potato salad from the night before, there's always a ton of fresh garden cucumbers, and we have gone through about half the homemade salsa supply already.
Mom and Rachel made buns this day. Today for breakfast I'm looking forward to a bun with homemade yellow raspberry jam. Deliciousness!!!

Dave and Rachel pulled out the lawn darts in the afternoon. (The darts don't have the sharp metal ends so they're very safe, in case you're worried.)
It made me laugh to see the kids bellied up to the island drinking ginger ale. I can imagine them in ten years at a bar drinking something stronger! Hahaha!!!
Opa was showing Rachel how to make hamburgers from scratch. Rachel ate a burger and a half for supper and Sam ate two so they must have been good. (I'm vegetarian so I didn't get to check them out.)
I mixed myself a gin and tonic for "happy drinks." Now that I know how to make them we can have happy drinks when Opa isn't around to make them. I don't know if that's a good thing or not!
We ended the day with HUGE pieces of lemon meringue pie because my mom decided that, between the six of us, we needed to finish it off in one sitting. It was delicious! (Are you sensing a theme here?!?!?)

So that was the 10th in Saskatchewan. Next month will not feature so much yummy food -- you can count on that.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

"Currently" In Saskatchewan

I've been trying to decide what to blog about and then my blog friend Dara responded to these "currently" prompts in a blog post here. I thought they would be a fun way to share a bit of Saskatchewan with you.


We are at my parents house and my mom has some boxes of household things she wants to get rid of. I've been enjoying seeing things from my childhood home which I'll get to our house at some point.


We're eating all the fresh produce from Mom and Dad's garden -- beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, raspberries -- along with all the delicious food we only eat in Saskatchewan -- perogies, cream gravy, and farmer sausage. Plus tonight Mom is making Saskatoon Berry Pie.


Mom's flowers are amazing. Plus, they are letting a bee keeper keep his hives on their land and so all day long I can hear (and see) the bees humming as they fly from flower to flower gathering honey. If you look closely at the last picture you can see two bees in the flowers.


Happy Drinks!!! A number of years ago we spent a few weeks in Mexico with my parents. My dad had instituted Happy Hour and one day Rachel asked, "Is it time for happy drinks yet?" Thus, a new phrase was born. So we have happy drinks every day! I've been enjoying Moscow Mules, G&Ts, and a new drink Mom and I invented (and named by Dave) a St Petersburg Burro -- it's vodka, tonic water, and a rhubarb and ginger syrup and it's delicious!!!


I'm remembering how much I love Saskatchewan skies. And canola fields in bloom. This picture was taken about a five minute drive away from my parents house. It just makes my heart so happy!

Also, one night my mom and Rachel were going through clothes and then my mom remembered she had a box of older clothes and they found my Grade 12 grad dress and my mom's veil from her wedding. Rachel decided to model them and I also remembered how much I LOVED my Grade 12 grad dress. (We didn't have proms in Saskatchewan -- we had a supper and a dance after the graduation ceremony so this is what I had instead of a prom dress.)

So that's a little bit of Saskatchewan currently for you.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

One Sentence A Day: July 2020

Welcome to "One Sentence A Day" for July, a monthly link up with Rebecca Jo and other bloggers.

1 - Wednesday - It was our Canadian national holiday this day but we didn't celebrate. More sentences: Normally, we would have gone to the city's fireworks but, due to Covid, they didn't happen this year. Also, our air conditioner broke in the middle of an extreme heat wave :(

2 - Thursday - It was a day of quite a few walks to do various errands -- getting Dave's office chair from his work (finally!), returning library books, and buying coffee.

3 - Friday - The kids spent the day with Dave's parents, I had a long overdue optometrist appointment, and we had a really fun last minute session at our pool. (Explanation: We are members at a private pool and normally spend four to five hours a day there most weekdays during the summer. They are open this year but we are only allowed to book two, one hour sessions a week. We can also "pick up" any sessions which are available for the next day after 9pm the night before. This was a "pick up" session.)

4 - Saturday - We spent a lot of time deep cleaning and organizing the basement and then met up with Dave's parents at the pool for a swim.

5 - Sunday - It was a "blah" sort of day but we went for a walk in the evening and had two spontaneous, really good, socially distanced visits with friends we hadn't seen in a long time.

6 - Monday - It was the first day of virtual VBS for the kids and it went really well.

7 - Tuesday - I did AquaFit at the pool this morning and then we went swimming again, just after noon, as I'd managed to pick up an open slot the night before.

8 - Wednesday - Our air conditioner and our car got fixed/had maintenance done and both came with hefty bills. (Second sentence: Ugh.)

9 - Thursday - I cannot believe how much Sam's swimming has improved these last few weeks and we got to have a socially distant (very quick chat) with Janice, Tessa, and Willem which was awesome!!!

10 - Friday - We had our first rain in weeks today!

11 - Saturday - We went for an impromptu walk and I had flowers in my salad tonight.

12 - Sunday - Our family led worship at church (for our virtual service), and then we went swimming, streamed an old baseball game, and had takeout pizza for supper.

Wearing masks to worship lead at church. We were asked to wear them if we weren't in front of the camera.

13 - Monday - Our church's VBS started with a Zoom meeting and then physically distanced activities at the church and it was sooooo good to see some of our church family in person for the first time in four months.

14 - Tuesday - I did early morning AquaFit at the pool and, after VBS, Rachel and I had an afternoon nap together.

15 - Wednesday - I documented this entire (insanely full) day for a Day In The Life post which you can read here. (Second sentence: A highlight was a Zoom happy hour with blog friends.)

16 - Thursday - VBS, swimming, house tidying -- there was a lot going on this day.

17 - Friday - It was the last day of VBS, we cleaned the playroom for the first time in forever, and we discovered that Sam's feet are almost as big as mine!

18 - Saturday - We had a physically distant in-person care group and it was amazing to see people again!
The family hosting small group built a rock climbing wall during quarantine and Rachel enjoyed trying it out.

19 - Sunday - We made a bit of progress on putting together our new BBQ and we picked up some more masks from a friend.

20 - Monday - I enjoyed a very good physically distant visit with my best friend, Janice, and I ordered some bulbs for next spring.

21 - Tuesday - We enjoyed a very fun afternoon of visiting with some friends (in their backyard pool) and I discovered that I shouldn't go to the library if I want my kids to do anything productive for the rest of the day!

22 - Wednesday - We woke up to the news that our water heater had broken overnight and there was a small puddle of water in our basement :( (Second sentence: It got replaced that morning and was a fairly minor inconvenience overall.)

23 - Thursday - The kids have been having daily swimming lessons this week and I laughed so hard during them today that I cried! (Second sentence: The kids have been doing really well but it's hard to swim in a straight line on your back!)

24 - Friday - I ran about a million errands today and took care of a lot of bureaucratic annoying things -- renewing my driver's license, renewing my health card, getting new license plates for our car, getting gas, and doing a Costco run. (Second sentence: It was the first Blue Jays game of the season today!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

25 - Saturday - I was doing a readathon all day today so I read all the books.

26 - Sunday - I kept going on my readathon today and finished reading for 24 out of 48 hours.

27 - Monday - Our best friends gave us a TV (which we're using as a monitor for our computers) and we watched a Blue Jays game to initiate it.

28 - Tuesday - A trip to the library was the highlight of today!

Discovering this bat in our playroom was NOT a highlight of today.

29 - Wednesday - I enjoyed swimming with the kids (and folding ALL the laundry) this day.

30 - Thursday - The biggest airport in Canada felt like a ghost town.

31 - Friday - We LOVED having happy hour and a dance party on the deck with Oma & Opa (my mom and dad)!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Monthly Musings: Summer Vacations & Staycations

Through the What's Up Wednesday link I've discovered a new blogger, Holly who blogs at Pink Lady. When Holly mentioned on Monday that she was hosting a link up for today, AND it was a post to answer questions AND the questions were about vacations/staycations -- well, if you know anything about me, you know I was all in! Also hosting this link up is Patty who blogs at Good Better Best.

1) Top 5 items you pack when headed on vacation?

I really struggled with this question. I had my family helping me and everything. I was trying to think of things that I take no matter what -- if I'm going on a warm weather vacation, going to my parents' house for Christmas, or going away overnight. Maybe I limited myself too much :) Sam was also very disappointed that I refused to add "clothes" to my list because I felt like that was a given. So here are five things I pack, no matter what, that other people might not place as much importance on:

    1) Books to read, or now my Kobo, I guess. Although to be honest, we're flying to my
        parents' tonight and I have my Kobo and some books. I just don't want to run out :)
    2) My camera. We bought a digital SLR about seven years ago and it goes everywhere
        with me. I don't take my phone with me all the time, but my camera will get packed.
    3) Lots of shoes! I realize everyone takes shoes but I always over pack on shoes. I can
        go light on everything else but let me take my shoes!!!
    4) Slippers or indoor flipflops, depending on the season. I HATE going barefoot so I
        always have a separate pair of footwear for inside.
    5) Necklaces. I am addicted to necklaces so I always have quite a few with me.

If you want to read more about how I pack, I did a post on that here for our packing process for our cruise this past January. (Although I don't write too much about what I pack.)

2) Packing cubes? Yes or no?

I haven't bought any yet. I was going to buy some as my birthday present in May but the pandemic hit in March and it felt unnecessary to buy travel items. However, I really do want to get some at some point. Maybe for Christmas???

3) Do you prefer warm or cold destinations?

I had to think about this for a bit but then I realized I love heading somewhere warm in the middle of our winter. Of course, I also love heading somewhere slightly cooler in the heat of our summer. So it really depends! We've had two warm weather cruises in January and have gone to Mexico in February. However, we've also gone to Iceland and the Yukon and Alaska in July!

from our Southern Caribbean cruise, January 2020

in The Yukon, July 2019
trip to Iceland, July 2018

4) Favourite vacation location of all time?

I struggled with this one a little bit but then my husband reminded me how much I LOVE New York City. And I am not a big city person! However, my love for New York knows no bounds. I'm thankful that Dave has family just north of the city so we have an excuse to visit every year (or so).

We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in January 2019.
However, if I had to pick a vacation to do over again, I would definitely choose our trip to Kenya to visit friends in July 2017. We chose to go to Kenya because our friends lived there, otherwise it would not have been on our radar. And we would have missed visiting an amazing country.

Pictures from our safari, when we also visited a Maasai village.

5) Given our state of affairs, what are your staycation tips?

We have done a couple of staycations. My tips are to say "Yes!" as much as possible -- ice cream for breakfast - Yes!, three rounds of mini golf in a row - Yes!, stay up past bedtime to watch movies - Yes! Saying "yes!" makes it fun for everyone.

We also eat out to keep food simple. After all, I want a break too. We also get input from everyone in the family but we have a few special surprises up our sleeves. Having some unexpected fun makes it special too.

If you want to read about our staycations you can see one from December 2013 here, and one from February 2016 here and here. You can see that we combine simple things with special things. We also had a staycation in August 2018 but I didn't blog about it. I think we might need to plan another staycation for the fall...

6) Camping? Glamping? Or!

Glamping, but only if it's in my parents backyard! We sleep out in the tent, have a weiner roast and marshmallows at the fire pit, and we're only steps from indoor plumbing. Plus all the food stays in the kitchen so we don't have to pack it. It's a win for everyone!!!

7) How many states have you been to?

I did a Q&A post recently and this was one of the questions. Thus I figured out I have been to 27 states and all ten Canadian provinces and one of its three territories. (Since I'm Canadian, I had to throw that in there!) Also, as I explained in that post, I don't count states where I've only been to the airport.

Visiting Alaska last summer

8) Have you ever traveled by RV?

Yes, when I was in Grade 9 I traveled with my grandparents to visit my aunt in Kansas for spring break. We took their RV and I really enjoyed it.

9) Most random place you have been to?

I don't even know how to answer this one but I'm choosing "The biggest ball of twine in Minnesota." We were planning a road trip, through the States, to visit my parents in 2016. I was reading a Pinterest article about "the most bizarre things to visit in each state" or something like that. I said, "Hey, we could go to the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota."

Dave perked up, "That actually exists?!?!?" Weird Al Yankovic has a song about it (which you can listen to here) and Dave thought it was a made up thing. When he found out we would only have to drive an extra 45 minutes (on a 72 hour road trip) to see it, well... you can read about that detour here! Lesson learned: Don't share random things you find on Pinterest with your husband! Hahaha!!!
Dave made a road trip CD for that trip, and that song was on it, and we listened to it about a thousand times. By the end of the trip, we had the song memorized and even sang it for a coffeehouse at our church later that year.

10) What is the first place you are traveling to when the pandemic is over?

Well, we're flying to my parents' tonight but I don't know if that counts. It feels more like visiting my parents than traveling somewhere. I'm hoping we'll get to travel to Los Angeles for my husband's cousin's wedding next spring. They had to postpone it from this past May :( I'd also really like to get to Europe with our kids. We were just starting to dream about how to do that in the next couple of years when the pandemic hit...

Thank you Holly and Patty for hosting this fun link up! If you decide to answer these questions, let me know. I love reading about other people's vacations almost much as I enjoy taking them!