Tuesday, August 03, 2021

One Sentence A Day: July 2021

Welcome to One Sentence A Day for July 2021. July was a month of summer fun and it felt like the most normal month we've had in a long time. As always, I'm linking up with Rebecca Jo (see her blog here) and the other One Sentence A Day bloggers.

1 - Thursday -- It was Canada Day (Canada's national holiday) but celebrations were muted due to Covid and the discovery of unmarked First Nations' graves at residential schools. (More sentences: A lot of people wore orange (rather than red and white) and we went for ice cream at a spot that was donating all its profits to a First Nations group.)

We also watched this heron for quite awhile on our way home from getting ice cream.

2 - Friday -- I baked challah for the first time in ages.

And Sam and I ate popsicles!

3 - Saturday -- We got a lot done this day including cleaning the playroom (Sam even cleaned off his desk!) and taking a long walk to run a bunch of errands.

4 - Sunday -- We had a super fun beach day at Port Dover on Lake Erie!!!

5 - Monday -- The kids went off to full day camps (leaving the house for full days for the first time since in person school closed on April 9) and I got a lot done at home!

6 - Tuesday -- It was another really hot day and I read and walked a lot.

I enjoyed walking Sam to his baseball camp every morning.

7 - Wednesday -- I went shopping and bought new shorts, a new t-shirt (both of which I LOVE), and a new swimsuit, which was quickly becoming a necessity.

8 - Thursday -- It was very rainy, we were all tired, and we discovered that Bluey had died :(

9 - Friday -- We enjoyed a drive-in movie featuring Rachel's final dance performance and a showing of Raya & The Last Dragon.

10 - Saturday -- We had a quieter day and started a new puzzle.

11 - Sunday -- We got A LOT of much needed housecleaning done this day.

12 - Monday -- It was the first day of VBS and Sam and Rachel loved seeing their church friends in person again.

13 - Tuesday -- It was the All Star Game for MLB and I loved watching my Blue Jays play so well. (Second sentence: And Vladdy won the All Star MVP which is the first time a Blue Jay has won that award!!!!!!)

14 - Wednesday -- We went on a long walk to the library, Starbucks, and a friend's house.

We got to go IN the library for the first time in months!!!

15 - Thursday -- We made homemade pizza today for the first time in ages.

The kids made prayer flags at VBS this day.

16 - Friday -- We went on a 12km family bike ride to do a thrift store drop off this day.

17 - Saturday -- I participated in my own #24in48 readathon this day.

18 - Sunday -- I finished my #24in48 and then we had a good visit with Tim and Janice in the evening. (Second sentence: I got to hug them for the first time since March 2020!!!)

24 hours of pure reading means I get a lot of books read.
 
19 - Monday -- Sam and Rachel had their first tennis and swimming lessons of the year.

20 - Tuesday -- We had the best afternoon visiting with friends and the time just flew!

21 - Wednesday -- Swimming, tennis, reading, organizing around the house -- just another summer day :)

22 - Thursday -- We had supper with Dave's parents for the first time since December 2019.

23 - Friday -- Dave and I went on an 8km (5 mile) errand-y walk and I finished off another virtual walk, this time of the Krueger Game Park.

24 - Saturday -- This was a quiet, rainy day at home but we did have fun celebrating our friend's 50th birthday in the evening. (More sentences: I had my first G&T of the summer and I got to hug another friend!!!)

25 - Sunday -- We had a day of getting things done, including swimming in the evening where one of our kids made GREAT strides in a skill that had been eluding them.

26 - Monday -- Rachel and I got haircuts for the first time in ages and we were able to donate our cloth recycling for the first time in eighteen months!

27 - Tuesday -- It rained, the kids didn't go to swimming, we packed, and we ate a really good sheet tray supper with amazing CSA vegetables.

28 - Wednesday -- It was the day of getting all the things done before we left.

29 - Thursday -- We flew to Saskatchewan to see my parents!!!

30 - Friday -- Rachel has been waiting for this day for two whole years! (Second sentence: My dad has decided that he will teach the kids to drive at age 10.)

31 - Saturday -- One of my kids made a brave choice to NOT do something today and I was really proud of them :)

And that was our July in one sentence a day. Next time I do this post will (hopefully*) be the first day of school for my kids. ACK! How is this summer going by so fast?!?!?

*I say "hopefully" because last year the first day of school got delayed about two weeks before school started thanks to Covid. I'm not expecting that to happen this year but, as we've all learned, "never say never."

Monday, August 02, 2021

I Spy: Week 30

We are currently in Saskatchewan visiting my parents, and I didn't even turn on my computer for the first few days. Thus, you get my "we flew to Saskatchewan" focused I Spy post today. As always, I'm linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2021

{pieces}


It was so cool to see pieces of the clouds and the pieces of Canada as we flew to Saskatchewan. I don't know how well you can see the land and lakes beneath the clouds.

{tied}

Sam and Opa have been playing a lot of crokinole and they are pretty evenly matched. I don't know how often they are tied, but they seem to have a lot of fun!

{scented}

True confessions time: I really wanted to include this picture of Mom's sweet peas so I honestly went out and smelled them to see if they could cover for this prompt. It turns out that sweet peas have a lovely scent so I was happy about that!!!

{grid}

As soon as I saw this prompt, I was really hoping I'd get a window seat on the flight so that I could get a picture of Saskatchewan and its grid. I LOVE this photo and that it shows the sections so clearly! 

{your choice}

 

Rachel has been counting down to this summer for two years because my dad teaches the kids to drive at age 10. So here she is in all her driving glory!!! (You can't see my dad but he is sitting behind her. He doesn't just let the kids have free rein!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

What's Up Wednesday: July 2021

Welcome to What's Up Wednesday for July. As always, I'm linking up with Shay at Mix and Match Mama and Sheaffer at Sheaffer Told Me To to talk about what we've been up to lately.

For the past number of months, I've started my post with a quick update as to where things are Covid-wise as our province has been under quite a number of restrictions. I'm not going to do that today because except for wearing masks (and distancing and reduced capacities), things are feeling much more normal here. YYYYYAAAAAYYYY!!! I mean there are a few things we aren't able to do yet, like attend church in person, but in general, things feel better. I will definitely be covering more about this in my answers to the questions so read on for a somewhat "normal" What's Up Wednesday.

image from here

What we're eating this week... We're eating all the food to use up our CSA veggies before we leave on vacation! I made Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls on Saturday, we had delicious grilled veggies on Sunday, and we had amazing baked veggies last night. We're all about the vegetables over here this week!
 
We've also been enjoying PC Sparkling Water this summer. I am the only one who likes the pink grapefruit and we all love the lime. Sam is big into the lemon. It's definitely been a summer treat for sure!

What I'm reminiscing about... Since the kids are finishing up two weeks of swimming and tennis lessons, I've been spending my mornings at the pool. There are a TON of little kids so I'm reminiscing about those pool days with my little kids.
These are all from the summer of 2014 when Sam was five and Rachel was three and I didn't know if they'd ever put their faces in the water, let alone manage to figure out actual swimming!

What I'm loving... I'm loving how normal this summer feels!!! I'm also LOVING that I've been able to hug a few friends lately. After seventeen months of only hugging Dave, Sam, Rachel, and my parents, it's been soooooo exciting to hug a few other people!!! We're all doubly vaccinated so THANK YOU SCIENCE!!!

What we've been up to... The kids have had camps, they attended VBC at our church, they've had a couple of weeks of swimming and tennis lessons, we've gone INTO the library (because it's open again!), Sam has had baseball, and we're just enjoying our summer! 
 
 
What I'm dreading... Unlike the past sixteen months, right now, I'm not dreading anything!!! This is such a GREAT place to be!!!

What I'm working on... My summer goals! I made a list of goals for July but I'm realizing they need to turn into summer goals instead because I'm just not making much progress on some of them. You can read them here if you want.

For the past few days, I've also been working on packing and getting ready to go on vacation! We're headed to Saskatchewan to see my parents and we can't wait!!!

What I'm excited about... This!!! Is it possible that we might actually get to go to a Blue Jays game this summer?!?!?!?!?!
image from here

What I'm watching/reading... Well, as you might have gathered, I've been watching Sam and Rachel at swimming and tennis and Sam at baseball. That really doesn't leave time for a lot of other watching :) However, I have managed to read a lot, thus far, in July. I'm currently trying to finish Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey before we leave for our trip. You can click on the "Addicted to Books" tag at the right to see all my book related posts.
Sam pitching at baseball

What I'm listening to... I've been listening to the sound of the bat hitting the ball, balls bouncing on the tennis courts, and splashing. A lot of splashing :) As I write this post, I asked the kids to clean up the Lego in the basement, which means that they've been quietly playing with Lego for half an hour and so I'm also hearing the sound of them looking through the Lego bricks for specific pieces. Hopefully, eventually, they'll actually clean up the Lego, but for now, I'm not going to complain!

What I'm wearing... Pretty much all Rachel wants to wear this summer is denim shorts. She inspired me to buy a pair and I bought a bright red t-shirt to wear with them because I thought it looked really summer-y. I also saw this pineapple shirt on a number of blogs and made it my third purchase on Amazon this year! Hahaha! Totally worth it though, because I LOVE this shirt! I also bought new sunglasses because mine were so scratched up it was hard to see through them. I'm excited because I managed to find an actual glasses case too so when I'm not wearing my sunglasses, they're in the case. Yay!!!

Since our restrictions are lifted, I was able to finally get a haircut for the first time in four months on Monday so I feel so much better!!! Rachel got her first haircut in a year. Yikes.

What I'm doing this weekend... Enjoying happy hour on deck with my parents! Possibly, sleeping in the tent in Mom and Dad's backyard! Reading and eating a lot of good food! Whoooo hoooo!!!

What I'm looking forward to next month... It will be our last month of summer break, with a lot of time spent in Saskatchewan, so I'm looking forward to seeing my mom and dad for the first time in a year, and then more time at the pool when we get back.

What else is new... When I bought the pineapple t-shirt on Amazon, I also bought packing cubes. We're using them for this trip so I get to see what I think of them. Do you use packing cubes? What do you think of them? I think I might have used them incorrectly, so give me your best packing cube tips.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Dave Also Reads Sometimes

Dave here, jumping in for a guest post. It will come as a surprise to no one that Natasha is an avid reader, and you might easily assume that she tends to read a bit more than I do. However, the size of this gap trench yawning chasm was not apparent to me until Natasha told me in March that she had read fifty books since the start of the year. Intrigued, I decided to figure out how many books I had read, and I came up with a total of... wait for it... four! Not forty, not fourteen -- FOUR.

Inspired -- and more than a little embarrassed -- I decided to up my reading game, and see how many books I could read over the next several months. I am happy to say that, while I have not exactly embarked on any readathons since then, I have managed to significantly increase my total over the past few months. To mark my progress so far, I've decided to share a few highlights with you. 

The Andromeda Strain (Andromeda, #1)

I remembered enjoying this one as a teenager (along with other Crichton best-sellers like Jurassic Park and Congo), and thought it might be interesting to re-read it in the midst of the time of coronavirus. I have to admit that, although there were some intriguing aspects to the story -- the cutting-edge computer technology of the late 60's, the fits-and-starts progress of the scientists' investigation -- on the whole I felt disappointed by the story. Without giving away the ending, let's just say that I wish that COVID-19 was as easy to vanquish as the Andromeda Strain.

If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir

I received this book for free from the PJ Library program; although the program is primarily focused on distributing Jewish-oriented books to kids, they recently started sending out books for parents, too. This book is a woman's memoir of her years spent studying the Talmud (a massive collection of rabbinic writings, gathered from generations of Biblical study). While there were parts of the book that I found pretty dry -- the Talmud is primarily an intricate set of legal arguments, and the author is an academic at heart -- on the whole I really enjoyed it. Kurshan drew interesting parallels between esoteric rabbinic arguments and significant events in her own life, such as getting divorced, re-married, and having kids.


Doppler falls into the surprisingly popular "quirky outsider decides to break away from Scandinavian society and embark on an adventure" genre (see also A Man Called Ove and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared), in this case befriending a baby moose and living in a tent for a year. Although the story tends to meander somewhat (in a potentially moose-like way?), it made for a fun read, on the whole, and the author shared some tongue-in-cheek observations about Norwegian society.

This is an unusual murder mystery, in that it is abundantly clear quite early on both who was murdered and who committed the crime. The suspense comes from the gradual reveal of exactly what led to the crime, getting to know the characters, and a lengthy exploration of the aftermath. This was a re-read for me as well (I first picked it up several years ago), and it definitely held up to a second reading. Even though I knew how the various plot lines were going to turn out, I enjoyed the journey of getting there, and rediscovering the complexities of each character.


Great Big Sea is one of my favourite Canadian bands, and their lead singer, Alan Doyle, is more than a long-haired, sea shanty-singing front man. He is also a songwriter, occasional actor, and author. All Together Now is a collection of stories he gathered as lockdowns and quarantines began last spring, and it became clear that we wouldn't be gathering in person any time soon. Although the quality of the stories was somewhat uneven, there were a few that were really hilarious, and overall it was a fun, light read which gave me a new perspective on Doyle's career with Great Big Sea.

That about covers the highlights from the past few months. A few other honourable mentions are Yiddish for Pirates -- which I haven't finished yet, but features a Yiddish-speaking parrot (who is indeed also a pirate) as its protagonist -- and Coraline, a fairy tale by one of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman. For those keeping score at home, my reading total for the year is up to an almost-respectable 17 books. I might drop by in January to fill you in on the rest of my reading for the year; until then, I'll return you to our regularly-scheduled programming.