Wednesday, May 27, 2020

What's Up Wednesday: May 2020

Welcome to What's Up Wednesday for May. For context, we're just finishing week eleven of quarantine and our province hasn't really opened up yet. Restaurants can do take out/delivery, small businesses can do curbside pickup, and we can't gather in groups of larger than five, outside of our immediate family. Parks just opened up this past weekend, although not playgrounds, and it doesn't look like we're going to be opening much further for a few weeks at least.
image from here

What we're eating this week... BBQ season has started and I am here for it! I love eating BBQ suppers at our outdoor table. We've also been eating a lot of Caesar salad recently. The kids love it!

What I'm reminiscing about... Last summer when we were able to do a big road trip to the Yukon and Alaska (you can read more about that trip starting here). I'm also reminiscing about spending lots of time at our neighbourhood pool. I really don't know yet what this summer will look like and I'm a little anxious about it.
 pool time
Yukon/Alaska road trip to visit friends

What I'm loving... Our yard. We've spent a lot of time planting annuals, weeding, and just generally trying to stay on top of it. I love spending time in our back yard, especially. And we're purchasing a few things to make it even more pleasant, assuming that we'll be spending even more time in it this summer.
One small thing we purchased was this outdoor mat and I LOVE how much it brightens up our back step. It's a small thing that makes me really happy!

What we've been up to... Besides all the yard work?!?! We've been up to continuing to settle into quarantine life. We're continuing to publish our family newspaper every week (you can read the latest edition here). The kids have been doing online learning (and will continue until the end of June). We've been biking more and just enjoying being outside more. Just over two weeks ago we woke up to snow and today the high is 29C (84F) so we're also getting used to the instant summer we've gotten. We basically went from snow and freezing to 20C (68F) in two days so it was a bit of a shock.

What I'm dreading... Our province just announced last week that we won't be going back to school this year and that overnight camps are cancelled. So right now I'm dreading another 13 weeks of being at home with not much to do. Please, please, please let our swimming pool open for the summer.

What I'm working on... I started playing around with pages on the blog last year sometime. I've finally updated (written!) the "Who We Are" page (everyone wrote their own introduction) and this past week, I updated the "Where We've Been" page and linked all of our travels. You can check out the "Who We Are" page here and the "Where We've Been" page here.

What I'm excited about... Ummm... Honestly, this is a hard one for me to answer right now. I'm not really excited about much of anything, except for maybe yard work! Ha! I'm also still excited about our family newspaper. I like seeing what the kids choose to write about and how they've been portraying this time of lock down.

And I'm excited that a couple of blog friends and I have had a couple of Zoom happy hours. Those have been really fun and definitely a highlight for me! And since right now we have to have virtual happy hours with our "in real life" friends, why not with our blog friends too?!

What I'm watching/reading... Rachel and I have been watching Disney Fairy Tale Weddings. It's been a nice, escapist thing to watch and Rachel and I enjoy seeing what each couple's surprise is. We've also been watching Disney+ nature documentaries which I find oddly intriguing.

I've been trying to read some of the library books I've had out since March 14th. I'm slowly working my way through them. I'm currently working on The Giver Of Stars by JoJo Moyes. I'm also reading a lot of books on my Kobo and I'm so thankful I purchased an e-reader when I did.

What I'm listening to... My family. This is what I hear All. Day. Long. I love them dearly but oh, do I want a break. Also, Rachel is currently trying to teach herself a Christmas hymn on the piano which is half amazing and half very annoying :)

What I'm wearing... I was trying to figure out something exciting I've been wearing lately and I couldn't think of anything new -- pjs, shorts, t-shirts, etc. However, I have been wearing my hat which I bought last summer, and I don't think I've showcased it on What's Up Wednesday, so here it is:
Even if I only get to go "on vacay" in our backyard this summer,
at least I have a great hat! 

What I'm doing this weekend... Same old, same old -- being outside if the weather is nice (reading or weeding some beds), watching Blue Jays Rewind on SportsNet, attending online church, and trying to enjoy another weekend of lockdown/isolation/quarantine/whatever we're supposed to call it.

What I'm looking forward to next month... NOTHING. Well, that's my honest answer. I guess I'm looking forward to finding out more details about what school openings might look like in September. Rachel turns 9 and Dave and I are celebrating marking our twelfth anniversary but I don't know what either of those will look like in quarantine. And I am looking forward to our CSA starting -- fresh local veggies all summer -- whooo hooo!!!

What else is new... Not much. Our province hasn't really opened up and it isn't looking like it's going to any time soon. We're still in waiting mode over here -- waiting for the library to open, waiting to get haircuts and massages, waiting for optometrist and dentist appointments, waiting to see our friends -- just waiting...

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Eighth Edition of The KC Post

May 19, 2020
Sam Stumps Vs. Rachel Swings
by Sam

Today in football, the Sam Stumps played the Rachel Swings. They played in the Swings field, Swinging Park. The final score was 42-14 Swings. It started off with the Stumps kicking off. The Swings immediately got a touchdown. They got two more in quick succession. Then the Stumps got one, and the Swings got another. The Stumps then pushed up the field, until they got to the Rachel Swings 5-yard line. They then deked out the Swings' defenders with a sneak pass to get a touchdown, and make the score 28-14. Sadly, it was the last touchdown they would get, as the Swings got two more touchdowns, and won the game 42-14.

I Went To Japan (on Zoom with Grandma)
by Rachel
Today, Sam and I went on a Zoom meeting with Grandma and learned about Japan. First, Sam and I got two pencils, a pair of chopsticks, and two boxes each, and we had a cookie for a snack. Then we got on the Zoom meeting and started learning. Next, we learned and learned and learned about Japan, like what a sumo wrestler’s day is like, and how to play Japanese drums. After that, we learned how to make sushi, and other Japanese food. We also watched a video showing what Japanese people would eat in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Finally, we got a chance to show Grandma some funny cat videoooos.

May 20, 2020
Haikus About Asparagus
by Natasha

Asparagus pee
It smells really disgusting
The veggie tastes good!

by Rachel

My bright green veggie
Asparagus is yummy
My pee, my business

by Dave

Asparagus goes
Well with eggs; No one needs to
Hear about my pee.

by Sam

Yum asparagus
But it makes my pee smell bad.
Overall, it's good.

May 21, 2020
Drumsticks The Chicken
by Sam

Editor's note: Sam created Drumsticks the Chicken about two years ago. He has decided to include a weekly Drumsticks comic for your reading pleasure. (Over the past month, Sam has read every Garfield cartoon strip ever created. Jim Davis has produced six Garfield comics a week since 1981 so that's a lot of comics!!!)

Royal Outing To Procure Leavening Agent
by Natasha

Today the queen, the prince, and the princess, endured much hardship to procure the scarce resource known as yeast. The royal family has been enjoying an abundance of buns, challah, and fresh pizza crusts, which has depleted the store of yeast in the royal kitchens.
The family decided to leave the royal carriage parked and used their two-wheeled conveyances, powered by the energy provided by the consumption of all the yeasty goodness coming from the kitchen. Both the prince and the princess were getting used to new bikes so the outing was fraught with danger, punctuated by shrieks and much laughter.
The round trip of almost 7 kilometres (4.5 miles) was a success as the royal storehouse was restocked with yeast and all returned to the palace safely. All can now rest assured that the production of leavened products by the royal kitchens will continue.

Pitching is Fun
by Rachel

Today Sam helped me build up my pitching skills. He showed me how to throw a two-seam and four-seam fastball. He also showed me how to pitch a circle changeup and a regular changeup. He said these were the 4 basics throws for pitchers who are just starting out.
He also showed me the three basic steps for a pitching motion: Up, Feed the Beast, and Follow Through. If you have a ball and a baseball glove, “Up” is where you bring your arms from a “straight down” position to up above your head. “Feed the Beast” is where you bring the ball down, point your foot to where you want to throw the ball, put your ball hand towards the outfield, and your glove hand towards home plate. “Follow Through” is where you move your arm towards your front foot, let go of the ball, and then bend your front knee and let your arm go over your pointed foot.
Another thing I did to learn (I’m still learning), needed help from my brother and dad. My brother came up with this idea: he stood at second base, and then my dad was the catcher. I pitched the ball to my dad; he threw it to my brother, who then threw it back to me. This way, I could practice my pitching and my catching.

May 22, 2020
5 Easy Steps To Make Your Friend Happy During Quarantine. Have fun and be safe! 
by Rachel

In this article, you’re going to learn five easy ways to help a friend with yard work while they’re in quarantine.
1.    First, make sure they’re okay with it.
2.    Go to their house and ask them what needs to be done.
Get them to show you what to do and how you should do it, and where to put the stuff and everything.
3.    If they’re okay with it, get your kids to make a stained glass elephant (I showed you how to do this in a different article. Editor's note: You can read that here if you want.) If they can’t go outside, they might want something to look at to make them happy.
4.    While the kids are making the stained glass elephant, start doing the yard work. It’s better to bring too much equipment, rather than too little. (I’d also recommend bringing some water – you don’t want to get dehydrated!)
5.    Get your friend to check your work, to make sure that it’s what they want. Then go home and make a reward for your kids and for you. For us, we went home, rinsed off, and then Dad made Coke floats. For grownups, make sure you have some alcohol on hand.

by Sam

Today, Sam, Rachel, and Dave played baseball. They were going to play Rachel and Dave vs Sam. They started out the game, and Dave and Rachel scored 2 runs. Then Sam batted, and Rachel started complaining that she wasn't on Sam's team. She kept complaining until Natasha came out and decided to end the game. (Editor's note: The game was called on account of whining and shriekiness. I didn't think the neighbours needed to be subjected to that.) But then Sam got sad because he felt that Rachel could just play one game on Dave's team. So they will try again tomorrow.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop
by Natasha

In a non-surprising turn of events, the KCUT Head Gardener Natasha has admitted that she might "really like yard work." The KCUT gardeners spent the afternoon in the neighbouring realm of Snellvania, helping get their royal grounds ready for the season.
"There just wasn't enough to do on the KCUT royal grounds so we had to look for more to do," Natasha explained. "Snellvania provided a prime opportunity to continue with our yard work obsession."
The gardening team transplanted, weeded, and removed some rogue plantings. Avante garde street artist, RaSaNa, made an appearance and brightened up Snellvania's borders with a chalk elephant, their specialty.
"We had so much fun," Natasha exclaimed. "If any other realms would like a hand, we're more than willing to continue to feed our obsession!"

May 23, 2020
Foreign Trade Mission a Success
by Dave

KCUT International Trade Minister Dave embarked upon a pan-regional tour this past Saturday, visiting industrial centres in nearby realms and establishing lucrative trading relationships.
His journey started in Beechwood, far to the west, where he visited the headquarters of Consolidated Overland Supply and Trading Co. (Costco). While there, he exchanged the wheels on the royal chariot for a set more suited to the season, cancelled a previous trading agreement, and purchased essential supplies of salty snack foods. He then journeyed east to replenish the royal malted beverage supply, obtaining a mix of lagers and ales representative of the region.
His next stop was the royal kingdom of Hedricktonia, where he was provided with a floral arrangement and exchanged updates and greetings with the kingdom’s diplomats. Finally, he visited a nearby trading outpost to obtain a carpet of greeting for the castle’s main entrance.
At long last, Dave returned to KCUT, and declared the trading mission a success.
The new carpet of greeting.

May 24, 2020
Resident Struck by Mysterious Illness
by Dave

Local resident Dave was struck by a mysterious illness this past weekend, likely brought on by excessive exertion in the mid-afternoon heat. Dave complained of a headache, nausea, and exhaustion, and declared that he wouldn’t be able to help with cooking and chores.
Fortunately, upon receiving news of the illness, the KCUT medical team immediately swooped into action. Chief Medical Officer Natasha prescribed a course of rest and liquids, and Nurse Practitioner Rachel assisted by clearing a space on the couch, fetching a blanket, and providing a cold glass of water and a damp washcloth. Dave proceeded to rest for much of the remainder of the day, under the watchful eye of Rachel (and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the KCUT medical team).
By that evening, Dave declared himself “mostly better”, and was up to doing the dishes and playing a brief game of catch with Sports Therapist Sam. Natasha continued to express some concern and, in hindsight, suggested that Dave’s decision to head outside that afternoon to clear up sticks in the backyard was “pretty dumb, from a purely medical standpoint.”
The next morning, after a good night’s sleep and a strong cup of coffee, Dave’s symptoms had entirely cleared up, and the KCUT medical team declared him fit to return to regular activities... as long as those activities didn’t include any unnecessary mid-day yard work.

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Kids' Take On Coronavirus

I first saw this posted on Sarah's blog. You can read what her son answered here. I thought it was a good way to find out what the kids are thinking about coronavirus.
These are all random pictures from our time of 
quarantine/lockdown/isolating/whatever you want to call it. 

What is the Coronavirus?

Rachel -- A virus that can be deadly and it's keeping us from going to school.

Sam -- Bad.

Who is the Prime Minister?

Rachel -- Justin Trudeau (I had to explain what a prime minister was but when I told her, she knew right away.)

Sam -- Justin Trudeau

How many days have we have been in lockdown?

Rachel -- Nine weeks. I think this is our tenth week.

Sam -- 67. He mathematically figured it out! I asked the kids these questions this past Tuesday.

Do you want to go back to school?

Rachel -- YES!!!

Sam -- Sort of.

Who is the first person you're going to hug when lockdown is over?

Rachel -- I think maybe [and then she named her four best school friends].

Sam -- My grandparents.

Where is the first place you want to go?

Rachel -- Back to school.

Sam -- Out of the house! (Good answer!!! When I asked if he wanted to go anywhere specific, he said, "Ideally anywhere beyond our block. Either school or the library.")

What do you think we can do to get rid of Coronavirus?

Rachel -- Listen to healthcare workers and stay in lockdown until we can stop being in it. When I asked her what might cause lockdown to stop, she commented, "Maybe when they find a medicine."

Sam -- Throw Coronavirus into outer space. Or just continue to stay in quarantine, I guess.

Is mom/dad a good teacher?

Rachel -- Daddy is, Mommy isn't.

Sam -- He gave me a thumbs up.
How did the Coronavirus start?

Rachel -- In Hong Kong, China. (Clearly we need to work on some geography.)

Sam -- Because of bats. I think people got it from bats in Wuhan, China.

If you had to wear protective clothing to help you what would it be?

Rachel -- Mask, gloves, and something to cover my face.

Sam -- A hazmat suit because it looks cool and I want to wear one.

Are you enjoying lockdown?

Rachel -- NO!

Sam -- A little.

How long do you think it's going to take before we can leave lockdown?

Rachel -- I don't know. When we can go back to school. And then people can choose to stay in lockdown or go back.

Sam -- A while. When I asked for more specifics, he said, "Up to a year at most."

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

If I Were To Constantly Post On Instagram...

In case you didn't know this, I LOVE Instagram (most of the time!). I see Instagram-able moments often, although I don't like to post on there more than once every day or two. However, if I'm on vacation, or participating in a daily photo challenge (like I am for May), or participating in a readathon, I will post more often. Anyways, these are all moments from the last month (or so), which I would have posted on Instagram, but instead I decided to do them as a blog post. Probably I should just label this post "Life Lately" or something like that, but I didn't :)
April 29, 2020 -- I know it's unusual that we still print out pictures, but I declared quiet time this day and Rachel entertained herself for over an hour looking at our photo albums.

 April 29, 2020 -- I baked cinnamon buns, round two, this day and they turned out so much better. Yay!

 May 1, 2020 -- Rachel has taken to packing her backpack, picking up Dave's computer, and making the trek from the office, through the kitchen, to get to the dining room for "school." Her backpack holds writing implements, a notebook, her troll, her mini My Little Ponies, and one sparkly glove. She is odd sometimes :)

May 3, 2020 -- It was a nice enough day for homemade lemonade popsicles. Sam and I like them with whole raspberries.

May 3, 2020 -- We are our first supper of the season outside. (We hadn't yet set up our outdoor table due the SNOW in the forecast for the next week. Boo.)

May 5, 2020 -- I've had tulips in the house continuously since the end of January but these were the final two batches :( Also, I only yard wasted them this past Sunday - hahaha!!!

May 7, 2020 -- We found a bag of apples rotting in our fridge (ewwww), so I rescued what I could and made applesauce. It was so good!

May 8, 2020 -- Our travel mugs are wondering if they'll ever get used again :(

May 8, 2020 -- Rachel has taken to working on Dave's computer, on the floor of the playroom, wearing a Santa hat, for some reason...

May 12, 2020 -- An IKEA order arrived and Sam discovered he still likes hanging out in boxes.

May 13, 2020 -- Rachel enjoys making art out of her lunches. She is very creative and does this all on her own.

May 14, 2020 -- Sam had to make a paper tower (with very specific instructions -- ie. no more than 1 metre of tape), and see how much cutlery it would hold. His held twelve spoons and a fork.

May 15, 2020 -- One of Rachel's (optional) school projects was to make crayon pucks. We had a HUGE container of broken crayons so made twelve pucks. Peeling all the paper off kept Rachel busy (and quiet!!!) for over an hour.