Saturday, January 30, 2021

I Spy Photos: Week 4

It's Week 4 of the I Spy Photo Challenge, hosted by Lysha at A Camera And A Cookbook. I struggled with some of the prompts this week like "Different Angle." But I like a challenge and it was fun to have to think a bit more about some of the photos I was taking.

 Let's Play iSpy 2021


We opened up a new puzzle to celebrate Puzzle Day yesterday!

{different angle}

These tulips all grew down this week, so not only are they at a different angle, but I was basically lying on the floor to take this picture!

{before & after}

I didn't know how to show this in one picture so here is my "before" and "after" of last week's puzzle. And Dave eventually found the missing piece on our living room floor.

{fruit or veggie?}

Technically, tomatoes and avocados are both fruit but I'd rather make guacamole with them than cut them up and eat them on ice cream!



I realized after I'd taken this picture that I'd gone for a "different angle" of our backyard. Also, it looks so nice after a fresh snowfall.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Monthly Musings: Valentine's Day/Love

I'm so excited that Holly and Patty are hosting Monthly Musings again this year. I didn't start joining in with them until midway through last year so I'm excited to walk through a whole year of musing with them. This month we're talking about Valentine's Day and Love. Read on to see my thoughts on this topic.


1) How do you show love? What is your love language?

I think I show love by giving gifts. I like to send people gift cards or buy them flowers. My primary love language is acts of service and I also like to do things for other people.

2) Do you have any fun Valentines' traditions?

To counteract some of the commercialism of Valentine's Day, we started going to MacDonald's for supper on Valentine's Day. It makes me laugh but honestly, it's hard to celebrate Valentine's Day with young kids.

The first year we went to McDonalds for Valentine's Day, 2012

3) Favourite Valentines' memory?

I think my favourite Valentines' memory is one year when I was in university, I commented how much Valentine's Day sucked as a single person. My friends went out of their way to make that day special for me. They gave me chocolates, made lovely cards, and I just remember feeling so loved. They honestly hosted the original Galentine's Day way back in 1993 just for me and I loved them for it.

4) Favourite Valentines' treat?

I don't know that I have a favourite Valentines' treat. I'm so boring :)

5) Do you wear Valentine's Day fashions?

No. I might try to wear red the day of, but I don't own anything particularly Valentines-y!

6) Valetine's Day... love, like, or hard pass.

Ahhh, it's okay. With younger kids it honestly just feels like a lot of work making cards for everyone in their classes. I do enjoy having an excuse to have a small celebration in the midst of February but Dave and I show love to each other every day -- we don't need a special day to celebrate it.

7) What do you think is the most romantic song?

I really love "Amazing" by Bruno Mars. I can't sing it out loud without starting to cry. Hahaha!!!

8) Dine out, take out, or cook in this Valentine's Day?

Sometimes we eat at McDonalds and sometimes we pick it up to eat at home. This year we'll be picking it up to eat at home. But at least we'll set the table nicely!


Our Valentine's Day table, 2018

9) Pink or red?

To wear, I choose red but if I decorate, I like going for more of a pink theme.

10) Flowers or chocolates? 

If you've read around here for any length of time, you'll know I absolutely go for flowers. After some discussion, I actually buy my own flowers for Valentine's Day because I love picking them out! And I always go for tulips.

After reading through my answers, I'm feeling a bit like I'm a Valentine's Day curmudgeon :) I'm looking forward to reading all the responses in the link up and seeing what I can do improve my Valentine's Day spirit!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What's Up Wednesday: January 2021

Welcome to the January 2021 version of What's Up Wednesday. 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.

I have to say that 2021 isn't starting off better for us as our province is in a complete lock down, the kids have been learning from home since the beginning of January (and will be continuing that for at least another two weeks), our next door neighbours have started a major renovation which is extremely loud, and I have clearly hit the Covid wall. (You can read a good article about this idea here.)

I'm hoping by February's What's Up Wednesday, things will be looking a little better but this January has been hard. With that caveat, let's move on to what's up with us this January (spoiler alert: not much).

image from here

What we're eating this week... A man in our church bakes pies to encourage people. Normally, he makes them for organizations who are working towards social justice or for charities, especially ones related to our denomination. However, since the beginning of January, he has been baking them for families of elementary aged kids in our congregation because we're all doing online learning right now. When he called last week and asked if he could drop off a freshly baked apple pie for our family, I burst into tears because I was so touched. So we've been eating pie this week.
Also, Sam has really been into eating seaweed lately. I buy packages of it at the grocery store and he eats a package every day. The rest of us can't stand it so he likes to breathe on us once he's eaten it. So yes, pie and seaweed -- that describes our family's January!

What I'm reminiscing about... Our Disney Cruise! We went on an amazing Disney cruise with my parents last January and it was amazing! You can read about it starting here. Also, when we landed at the airport and were waiting to go through customs, we saw people who had gotten off flights from China wearing masks. I commented to Dave, "What's going on in China?!?!?!" and that was my first ever introduction to Covid, although it was a probably another month before it hit our news.
What I'm loving... When I was putting together my January goals (you can read them here), Rachel asked if we could have a weekly games night. We decided to make it a "weekly take out and games night" so we could put the cooking and dishes doing time into playing games instead and it has become a highlight of our week! Each person gets to "host" a night, deciding what sort of food we'll be ordering and which games we'll be playing. It's been so fun and having one person in charge cuts down on a lot of fighting decision making!
Last week it was Rachel's turn and we ordered burgers/hot dogs/fries/onion rings from Harvey's and played Quirkle. This week it's my turn and I know what game we're playing (Quicksand) but haven't decided where we're ordering food from yet. I think we'll continue this weekly night into February because it's been a lot of fun!
What we've been up to... Working and learning from home, doing puzzles, going for outdoor walks, playing games, celebrating Dave's birthday, and trying to stay sane :) 
We've also followed a few online creative suggestions like making snowman pizzas and stained glass cookie art. We're happy to try anything that might be fun and help pass the time!

What I'm dreading... I'm dreading how long this current lock down will last. I'm dreading how long the kids might be off school. I'm dreading what new restrictions Covid might bring our way and how long they will last.

In non-Covid dread news, you may, or may not, know that I still print out pictures and put them in photo albums. I know, I'm so old-fashioned. Well, for the past number of years we've printed our pictures at Costco but they have decided to close their photo centres. So now I need to find a new place to print our pictures. I want inexpensive but good quality. Wal-Mart for instance, is cheap but the quality sucks. So I'm dreading having to find a new place to print photos. I HATE change. Ugh.
What I'm working on... Staying on top of laundry. This was our bed on Sunday evening. Yikes!
Also, since our school closures (and thus online learning) have been extended indefinitely, we're working on figuring out a healthy routine. What we could let slide for one week (living in pajamas and not getting enough exercise) was not sustainable long term. Thus, every afternoon, to get a break from screens and the major construction noises coming from next door, I've implemented an hour of outside time. So we're working on getting dressed, leaving our rooms, and getting outside every day. Some of us are doing better with this than others of us.

What I'm excited about... Honestly, these days I'm not excited about much. I guess I'm excited that the 24in48 Readathon is back in a couple of weekends. I'm looking forward to a whole weekend of getting a lot of reading done. I'm excited that my latest Covid test came back negative. Whoo hoo!
And given that it's winter, I'm excited about tulips! I've been buying a couple of bunches of them every week and they make me smile.

What I'm watching/reading... Honestly, these days I'm not watching much of anything, unless you count these Walk At Home videos. If you're exercising though, does that count as watching?
Leslie Sansone Walk Away The Pounds Intensity Walk DVD Leslie Sansone: Ultimate 5 Day Walk Plan (DVD) Leslie Sansone: Mix & Match Walk Blasters
As for reading, I am planning on doing a January book review blog post next week but (spoiler alert!) I've either been reading Lisa Kleypas' regency romances or anti-racism books -- there is no middle ground. I also read this book this past weekend and, despite having misgivings about the premise, I LOVED the book. Have you read it? What did you think?
The Book of Longings

What I'm listening to... As I'm writing this, Dave and the kids are doing dishes and Rachel is playing all the songs from "Sing" as their accompaniment. Those songs are actually pretty good and it's a nice break from Frozen 2 which is what she usually picks.

What I'm wearing... I'm either wearing work clothes, workout clothes, or pajamas. Hahaha! I've been trying to stay on top of exercise and get a good walk, or a workout video, in every day, so I've been wearing a lot of work out clothes.
My very stylish (hahaha!!!) workout outfit consists of an old t-shirt, workout capris, and a pair of Sketcher GoWalks my mom gave me last summer.

What I'm doing this weekend... Housecleaning. We really need to do some housecleaning. We're also hopefully going for a long walk to a bakery to get croissants to celebrate Croissant Day on Saturday.

What I'm looking forward to next month... Hopefully our kids will get to go back to school in person and some of our restrictions will lift. Hopefully... Also, the 24in48 readathon is happening the first weekend in February so I'm excited about participating in that. And hopefully Spring Training will start and we'll get to listen to/watch some Blue Jays baseball, although that isn't scheduled to start until February 27th so it's pushing it to say "next month."

What else is new... Nothing. We're just getting through one day at a time over here.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

I Spy Photos: Week 3

It's the third week of the "I Spy" photo challenge with Lysha at A Camera And A Cookbook. You can find her blog here. Keep reading to see what I spied through my camera this week. 

Let's Play iSpy 2021

 {ordinary day}

Yesterday was an ordinary Friday which meant we celebrated Shabbat at supper. We light candles, bless the wine, and cut the challah, all the while reciting the Shabbat blessings.


One of my favourite things is Sam and Rachel play games together. They get along so well.


We don't normally burn candles in our house (except for Shabbat!) but Dave had a birthday this week!

{brings me joy}

Dave and Rachel did the grocery shopping last week and I asked them to buy some tulips. Rachel was so proud that she picked these colours out herself. "I got you some good ones, right Mommy?" Yes, yes you did :) Both the flowers and Rachel's enthusiasm for picking them out brought me joy this week. 

{black & white}

I struggled the most with this prompt this week and finally decided to take a picture of this piece of art Rachel created in the spring.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Three Things About Us

I've seen these type of blog posts and I really enjoy reading random things about other bloggers and their families. Since there is nothing new to write about, last night I asked everyone to tell me three things to share with the blog world. And then I asked them to pose for a picture too!


Rachel would like everyone to call her "Rach."

Online school is definitely "not my favourite but I will keep doing it if I have too." (The kids have amazed Dave and I with their willingness to participate fully in online learning.)

Rachel (excuse me, Rach) is super excited that we bought her and Sam new snow shovels because now she can be more effective when she's helping to shovel snow. 


Sam loves eating seaweed for lunch, unlike anyone else in the family!

Sam recognizes that Rachel wants to change her name, but he insists on calling her "El" (pronounced like the last syllable of her name)! (I'm sure you can guess how well that goes over! Hahaha!!!)

Sam is turning into a pre-teen who likes to spend a lot of time in his room.


Dave started a new job at a new company at the beginning of January. He is really enjoying the new challenge. (This was a sought after change so it really is a good thing.)

He's a lapsed jogger but he wants to get more fit in the new year. (Thus, he has been doing workout videos with me sometimes.)

Dave is always looking for a good book to read and seems to default to "easy" reads like Hemingway and Steinbeck. However, he got a new book for his birthday that is less dense and he's looking forward to reading it.


I am really looking forward to working from home today so I can watch the inauguration. Rach(el) will be missing some school and watching it with me.

I desperately want this lock down to end so I can get a massage and a proper haircut and, possibly, even some highlights! Gasp! This all feels like the height of luxury right now.

I currently have three bouquets of tulips in the house and I'm holding myself back from buying more!

So there you go -- three things going on with each of us right now. What's something going on with you?

Monday, January 18, 2021

If A Tree Falls In The Forest...

...does anybody hear it? Or "If a person celebrates a birthday during a pandemic, does it actually count???" Dave's birthday was yesterday and normally, we try to have a fun experience to mark birthdays. You may remember that last year we were in San Juan, before leaving on our Disney Cruise. (You can read about that birthday here.) The year before that, we celebrated at Blue Jays' WinterFest and Dave was able to meet his favourite baseball player ever! (You can read those posts here and here.) This year, well, we all know what this year has looked like...

Our province is currently under a fairly strict lock down so we can't get together with anyone nor are we really allowed to leave our houses (except for "essential trips.") Since exercise is considered "essential" we went for a winter hike at a trail we had heard about which sounded interesting.

The trail is called "The GeoTime Trail" and it has signposts which explain geological history in our area (and beyond). It was a little cold, and the signs are quite extensive, so I took pictures of each sign so the kids could read them at their leisure.

I enjoyed taking a ton of pictures. Some of my nature pictures are inspired by my blog friend, Joanne, who posts a lot of pictures from their winter hikes in the woods. (You can read Joanne's blog here.)

We found a few trees which had fallen over and enjoyed a slight detour to play on them awhile.
We had tried doing this trail walk a few weeks ago but it was pretty much under ice. This time it was still really icy but none of us fell. We all agreed we want to try and do this trail again sometime when it's less icy. Sam needed help from Dave to get up a few hills (and so did I!) and Rachel had her own way of getting down icy hills :)
More pictures of nature close up. I really enjoyed playing around with my camera and taking pictures!
Did I mention that Sam and Rachel were excited about reading the signs?!?! They actually want to take all the pictures of the signs and make them into a photo book. Hahaha!
We were mostly in the middle of a forest, or walking around the outskirts of it, but we were also in the middle of a subdivision, so we had views like this gorgeous frozen water on one side but on the other side were the backyards of people who live in the subdivision.
I loved this bridge, and the creek it went over.
This was a really fun day in icy woods and I'm so glad we were able to do this.