Thursday, October 29, 2020

Monthly Musings: Thanksgiving Preview (Recap?)

It's the last Thursday of the month which means it's time to link up with Holly and Patty for their Monthly Musings. This month is all about Thanksgiving.

Disclaimer: Since I'm Canadian, we've already celebrated Thanksgiving this year. Canadians celebrate the second Monday in October and I think it tends to be more low-key than American Thanksgiving. I think we celebrate earlier because the harvest ends so much earlier in Canada. If we waited until the end of November to celebrate, it would be winter. Also, I don't know about the States, but there is a HUGE emphasis on giving to food banks in the lead up to Thanksgiving. If you want to know more than you ever cared about, including how it used to rotate between being celebrated in October and November, you can read more about Canadian Thanksgiving here.

image from here

1) Favourite Thanksgiving traditions?

If it weren't 2020, we likely would have watched the Oktoberfest Parade with friends. However, it is 2020 so we couldn't. Something else we've done a few times over Thanksgiving is gone to visit Dave's relatives in New York. We've done it about three times and it's the perfect time to go. Again, if it weren't 2020, we might have done that this year.

Oktoberfest parade watching in previous years.

2) Favourite Thanksgiving dish? Will you share the recipe?

I'm vegetarian so we don't do a big turkey dinner. We usually have a lot of seasonal Fall vegetables from our CSA so we bake them all. I think this year we had roasted beets and roasted squash. I don't have recipes for them -- we just like roasted veggies. We usually eat them with baked fish but this year we had sauteed shrimp and it was amazing! Hello new tradition!

3) Football game? Yes/No? In person? On TV?

Football isn't tied to Thanksgiving here. And our national football league was cancelled for this year so we didn't watch football. Rachel and I really got into watching the Fall Hallmark movies though and I could be excited about that new tradition :)

4) Talking turkey -- white meat or dark meat?

When I used to eat turkey, I loved white meat. And oddly enough, after being vegetarian for eleven years, the year I was pregnant with Rachel I had a HUGE craving for a cold turkey sandwich with mustard. So I downed white turkey meat from the Christmas turkey on two sandwiches. Pregnancy cravings are real (and weird).

5) Do you call it stuffing or dressing?

We call it "stuffing" and my mom and dad make the best stuffing -- they fry onions and celery in lots of butter, add spices (I think summer savoury is the one which really makes it but I could be wrong) and then fresh, white bread. It's soooo good and, even though I've been vegetarian for over twenty years, I will still eat a big helping of stuffing from the turkey!

6) Tell us three things are you thankful for in this crazy Covid Thanksgiving.

Over our Thanksgiving weekend I was thankful for Hallmark Fall movies, our gorgeous Fall weather and the amazing leaves, and that I made my dad's sauteed shrimp recipe and it turned out really well!

Fall leaves with Sam, Fall 2013


Fall leaves with Sam and Rachel, Thanksgiving 2015


Fall leaves with the whole family, Thanksgiving 2020

7) Pumpkin pie? Apple pie? Pecan pie?

I'm not a huge pie person but I will eat apple pie every day. Yum! (I hate pumpkin.) 

Thanksgiving 2013, the year I actually baked an apple and a pumpkin pie.

8) If you celebrate Christmas, do you put up your tree before or after Thanksgiving?

Since Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October in Canada, no one puts their tree up before Thanksgiving :) We put ours up around the first week of December because we get a live tree and it won't survive if we put it up much earlier.

9) Black Friday shopper, yes or no?

No, I'm not a Black Friday shopper. I've talked before about how I don't know how Black Friday became a thing in Canada. It's so weird. (You can read my little letter to Black Friday in Canada here.)

10) Do you sit at the table for Thanksgiving dinner or dine more casually?

We go all out. We pull out a tablecloth and the Fiestaware dishes and make it really pretty. I think we're probably fancier for Thanksgiving dinner than we are for Christmas dinner!

Fancy Thanksgiving tables at friends' over the years.

Our festive Thanksgiving this year. We had dinner with a friend over Zoom, thus the computer! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What's Up Wednesday: October 2020

Welcome to What's Up Wednesday for October 2020. 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. I love writing these post, I love reading all of your posts, and I love re-reading my posts to see what we've been up to in previous months/years.

image from here

What we're eating this week...We're eating the last of our CSA veggies and it's all the fall root vegetables -- celeriac, butternut and acorn squash, and pumpkin. I love that our CSA introduces us to veggies we might not have acquired otherwise, like celeriac.

What I'm reminiscing about... Well, Hallowe'en isn't completely cancelled in our province, but our family isn't comfortable going out trick or treating this year. And costumes aren't allowed at school so our kids won't be dressing up. So I'm reminiscing about some of my favourite costumes that the kids have worn.
Harry Potter * Hermione Granger
a moose * Kevin Pillar (former Blue Jays centrefielder)
I've already promised the kids that we'll go all out for costumes next year.

What I'm loving... Oh my goodness. Our fall colours are incredible this year. This fall has been hard in a lot of ways but the colours are giving me so much joy.
What we've been up to... School, work, baseball, dance, and getting Covid tests. Sadly, Rachel, Dave, and I all got hit with our "regular" fall colds and much of our October was defined by into the 2020 mantra of "if you're sick, stay home." Unfortunately, in 2020, if you have what is likely "just a cold," you need a negative Covid test before you can resume life. I understand that, but we had three weekends of self-isolating while waiting on Covid test results. Thankfully, they all came back negative, but that definitely defined our month. Well, Covid tests and baseball defined our month. At least one of them was fun.
Sam playing in his last game of the Fall league.

What I'm dreading... I'm dreading November. I don't like November. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October so we don't have that to look forward to. I don't like when it gets dark so early. And baseball is over -- both Sam's local league and Major League Baseball. I really need to find something to make November exciting. Please let me know if you have any ideas because I need something to get me out of the November funk.

What I'm working on... When I was home for a week waiting on Covid test results, I started working on our Disney Cruise photo book. I really need to finish it and make our 2021 calendars. And I want to schedule our family pictures and order our holiday cards. I just realized I have a lot I should be working on right now :)

What I'm excited about... I've written before about my blog friends' Happy Hour which Emily, Allena, and I started in April. Well, now we've invited another blog friend (Erika) and we've started a book club!!! We had our first meeting last week and it was AMAZING!!! We have another "gathering" scheduled in November and I can't wait!!! I put "gathering" in quotation marks because we live in four separate provinces/states so our gatherings are virtual.
Allena created a graphic for us (which I LOVE) and wrote a great blog post about it. You can read her post here.

What I'm watching/reading... I've been watching a lot of TV lately. It's been an oddity of our fall. Currently, I'm watching World Series baseball as I write this post. I want the Dodgers to win but I want the series to be close. So far, so good. (I'm writing most of this post on Sunday night as I watch Game 5). We've also been watching Hallmark Movies. Sadly, we can't access the Hallmark Channel in Canada but one of our networks, The W Network, plays Hallmark Movies on the weekends. I need something sweet, predictable, and fun and Hallmark Movies have been delivering!

Sadly, I haven't been reading much of anything. Welcome to the weirdness that is 2020 -- I've basically stopped reading and started watching TV. Who am I?!?!?! I just can't seem to concentrate much on reading these days :(
What I'm listening to... Normally, our Lego lives in the basement but this past weekend, Sam and Rachel brought it up to the playroom and it has taken over. So I've been hearing a lot of Lego playing going on.
What I'm wearing... I wanted to buy a new work cardigan, and I needed another pair of jeans, so one night I went shopping. And I ended up buying a completely unnecessary blue sweater/jacket. It's so soft and, if I'm not at work, I've been wearing it non-stop. It really is the perfect piece of clothing for 2020 -- it feels like wearing a hug.

What I'm doing this weekend... We're trying to figure out a different kind of Hallowe'en celebration. I think we'll finish our cemetery tour from the spring (you can read more about it here). If kids dress up, there are some local stores which are doing socially distant trick or treating on Saturday afternoon (which feels safer to me than going door to door), so we might do that. We're planning on an orange dinner (grilled cheese and Cheetos) and then watching a good Hallowe'en movie. We might watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" It's going to be a different Hallowe'en but hopefully it will still be fun. And yes, we bought a box of candy to eat in lieu of trick or treating!)

What I'm looking forward to next month... Well, I talked about November above. I'm not looking forward to much of anything in November. I need to have a better attitude about November but Canadians also need more exciting things happening in November :)

What else is new... I really can't think of anything.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I'm looking forward to reading all of yours over the next week(s)!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Fall Photo A Day: Part 3

It's week three of my Fall Daily Photo challenge. This has been such a fun way to document Fall! Although I did get a bit mixed up this week, and missed a day of prompts, but not of pictures. However, after talking about it with Dave, I figured out a way to make the actual prompts work. Are you confused yet? Because I sure was :)

Also, I wanted to post this on Friday but I ran out of time to blog last week so you're getting it today.

image from here


I don't wear boots, unless you count my rain boots, but I decided to take this picture of Dave's old, and new, boots/shoes/every day footwear. I have about five or six pairs of footwear in regular rotation every season. Dave has one. He wears these in the heat of summer and in the depths of winter.
To be fair, he does have a pair of winter boots for the coldest, snowiest days, and he does own a pair of sandals for really hot days but I would say those two pairs of shoes get about two weeks of the year combined use.
And now you know more than you ever wanted to know about Dave and shoes! Hahaha!!!

Fall Decor

I don't really have any fall decor, except my front door wreath, which you've already seen. However, we went to the library this day and they were handing out craft kits as a Hallowe'en treat. So Rachel quickly made this spider craft to hang in our playroom. "It's your fall decoration, Mommy!" she announced. I really do appreciate how supportive my kids are of my blogging endeavours! 

Fall #OOTD

We didn't go anywhere this day, and if fact, it was kind of a "blah" day but I did get dressed solely so Rachel could take this picture. We went shopping on Friday night because I wanted a grey cardigan for work, and I needed new jeans. And then I fell in love with this fluffy blue zip up jacket. It was a total impulse buy but I have been wearing it all the time (except at work) since I bought it. So this was my Fall outfit of the day. (Okay, true confession -- my outfit of the day was actually pajamas under my new jacket!)


I LOVE LOVE LOVE that a classmate of Sam's started to sell eggs in the school parking lot this year. We get local eggs from our CSA and now we have a source for after CSA ends. Rachel and I walked to the school to pick them up this day and ran into friends of ours from the neighbourhood. I also loved catching up with them, briefly. Between work and Covid restrictions, I feel like I haven't talked to neighbourhood friends for months. (Because I haven't. sigh.) 

Fall is...

So I thought this prompt was "My town" and I was going to write about how I love living near the cemetery and how it's so beautiful this Fall. But instead I'll write about how "Fall is..." incredible to experience as I walk through (or by) the cemetery. We still haven't finished our cemetery tour from this past spring and I think we're going to try and finish it on Hallowe'en. I think that will be a fun way to mark the day.

My town


Again, I got mixed up in my prompts and was going to write about "remembering" all the spring veggies from our CSA but instead I'll write about how I love that "my town" includes CSAs (community shared agriculture) and how I love filling our fridge with seasonal, local veggies!


I don't know if you remember what our yard looked like in the spring with everything all green and lush (picture on the left). Well, it's pretty incredible in the fall too (picture on the right). Our tree is putting on a show this year and I LOVE it! I took this picture to remember the amazingness of our yard when it's buried under snow in a few months.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Brain Dump

Well, I'm sitting here at 6:36 and realizing I haven't written a blog post for this week. So this is going to be a brain dump/life lately kind of post. Hopefully it makes some sort of sense :)

Last week, my current job, which was supposed to go until October 9th, and had previously been extended by one week, got extended until December 18th! Yes, I will be working full-time until December 18th, which is both awesome and intimidating. I am working at the school board main office so I go into work every day. I miss being in the schools but love having consistent work.

This means that Dave and I have basically switched lives -- I'm the one heading out of the house every morning and he's the one getting the kids off to school and then working from home. Last week he got to experience the joy of working from home with a sick kid. There are some things about our role reversal that I don't really mind :)

I'm hoping and praying (and crossing all my fingers and toes and wishing upon stars) that this weekend we are Covid test free. Yep, every weekend for the past three weekends, one (or more) of us have been getting Covid tests or waiting on results or waiting to get tested. Thankfully, they have all come back negative but I'm done now...

My "big" dilemma these days is that I want to schedule our Fall family photos but I don't really want to get haircuts. Will everybody's Christmas cards have the "2020 lack of haircut" look or is it just our family? Also, normally I don't write a Christmas letter, but I'm wondering if I have to write a Christmas "note" to explain the 2020 hair? Or will everyone just automatically know? Yes, these are the thoughts occupying my brain space these days...

I'm worship leading on Sunday at church. Due to some miscommunication, I was up at 5:30 this morning putting the finishing touches on the service. Now my focus will be on figuring out how to write up the scripture in such a way that Sam and Rachel can share the reading of it together on Sunday. I guess I do have a bit more on my mind than haircuts and photos!

I'm so thrilled that the Tampa Bay Rays and the LA Dodgers won their respective series. I can't wait to watch some World Series baseball. However, I wish some of the games would start a little earlier. This is totally Eastern Standard Time centrality, and I completely recognize that, but I want to watch baseball and still get to bed in a timely matter. For those of you who don't hang on every moment of baseball, all the World Series games start at 8pm EST which means they might be over by 10:30 or 11pm at the earliest... Ugh. I want to watch baseball and go to bed early.

Speaking of baseball, Sam has his last two games of baseball for Fall on Thursday and Friday this week. Last night his coaches asked the kids to send their "walk up music" requests. Yep, Sam will have personalized walk up music for his last at bats and I am so here for it!!! (He picked "Natural" by Imagine Dragons.)

I had my first meeting of a new book club last night. It was with some very dear blog friends and it was so much better than I imagined it might be. Blogging has brought so much good to my life and I really do appreciate each and every one of you who reads here. 2020 has been such a hard year in so many ways but the fact that it has normalized connecting over Zoom with friends near and far is such a gift. I miss hanging out in person with my friends who live nearby but I love that I can hang out on Zoom with friends in another country.

Okay, that's my random brain dump for today. If you made it this far, I applaud you. Come back on Friday for my photo heavy Fall challenge post.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Fall Photo A Day: Part 2

Here is the second week of my Fall photo a day challenge. Unlike last week, all of these pictures were actually taken on the correct day!

image from here

On the Road

I took this picture as Dave was driving me home from getting my second Covid test within a week. That's the only place I've been going lately. Hello 2020 :( (In case you didn't see the news earlier this week, this test did come back negative.)

Lazy Day

Earlier last week, when I knew I had to stay home until my Covid test came back, I tried to sign up for the Hallmark Channel. Sadly, you can't subscribe to it if you don't live in the States :( However, our friends have kindly lent us their TV login and I discovered that we can stream Hallmark-type movies (or sometimes actual Hallmark Movies) on The W Network, a Canadian channel. Whooo hooo!!! So this day was a lazy day of watching two Hallmark Movies with Rachel, and sometimes Dave and Sam too.


It was Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada and many people have their dinners on Sunday rather than on Thanksgiving Monday. Since I'm vegetarian, we didn't make a turkey but we had roasted beets and squash, a special baked potato with cheese my dad introduced us to, and fried shrimp. We enjoyed dinner over Zoom with a good friend of ours who is like family.

In our province, we were encouraged to not have Thanksgiving with people outside of our immediate households which made for a very quiet Thanksgiving weekend.


I didn't intentionally drink out of my "Eight O'Clock" cafe mug but it was a perfect mug for this day's prompt. I got this mug when I went to the popup Central Perk Cafe in New York City almost exactly six years ago. The popup cafe was hosted by the Eight O'Clock Cafe which is how these two things connect! Below is me sitting on a couch you just might be familiar with :)


Every Tuesday between about mid-June and mid-October we go and pick up fresh vegetables from our CSA (community shared agriculture). We have been doing this for nine years now. Sam's favourite Tuesday of the year is when we get to help crack garlic bulbs, and separate them out for planting for the next year. We didn't know if we'd get to help this year (because of Covid), so Sam was thrilled that this past Tuesday was garlic cracking day!!!

And since this appears to be a "throwback" post as well as a "photo challenge" post, here is a picture of Sam on his first garlic cracking Tuesday back in 2013. He was so little!!!


I have been loving our zinnias this year. They are putting on quite the show. These aren't even the most amazing ones but they are the "orange" ones.


My manager brought a huge smile to my face yesterday by treating our team to coffee. It totally made my afternoon on a very grey day! And yes, mine was a coffee-hot chocolate :)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Falling For Fall

This past Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving. We had our Thanksgiving meal on Sunday night so on Monday we spent some time outside. Fall has arrived with all its beauty and we enjoyed it.
We had to rake the leaves in our front yard so that Dave could mow the lawn. Rachel wanted to play in the leaf pile and I wanted to get some family pictures, so we compromised.
The following is what happened as I tried to set the camera in just the right spot so we could use the self-timer.
Am I ever going to get the camera in the right spot?!?! Thankfully, my family was (mostly) very patient with me in my quest for "the perfect shot."
Success!!! And I think it was totally worth it.
Then I put my camera on "sports mode" and told Rachel to go nuts with the leaves. And she did.
Is it any wonder we love Fall around here?!?!