Saturday, February 27, 2021

I Spy Photos: Week 8

Welcome to the latest crop of I Spy Photos for the challenge hosted by Lysha over at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2021


We have a lot of snow but the sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures are beginning to melt it. You can see dry pavement in this picture which is amazing because it means the ice is gone!!!


Yes, it's true -- my key chain has more "extra stuff" than it has useful keys :)


Here is the front of our house with lots of snow and ice, February 2021. Hopefully by the next picture we take of the fronts of our houses, the snow will be gone and the ornaments will be off the trees. There might even be pansies in the window boxes :)


When we walked into our house to view it, this corner was one of the first things we saw. The built in shelves, the natural wood, the details of the ceiling molding -- I fell instantly in love and just "knew" this was going to be our house.

{photographer’s choice}

Tomorrow is the first Blue Jays Spring Training game of 2021 so obviously this had to be my photographer's choice! Baseball is (almost) back and I am here for it!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Monthly Musings: Spring Fashion Essentials

I almost didn't link up with Holly and Patty for their Monthly Musings this month. If you know me at all, you know I'm not huge into fashion. However, I thought I would share for a low-key perspective on spring fashion. Plus, after our week of crazy snow (and two "snow days" in seven days for the kids) I need some spring dreaming :)


1) What are your spring must have pieces?

Layers! And rain boots! Spring is so changeable here -- it can be warm one minute and snowing the next. So I wear a lot of layers -- short sleeves with cardigans, that kind of thing. Also, I LOVE being outside in the spring but in this part of the world, I definitely need a good pair of rain boots. A few years ago I used Christmas money from my parents and bought myself a pair of Hunter rain boots. I LOVE them. They are pricey but worth it.

Rachel was seven when she took this picture of me with our DSLR. However, it does showcase my spring jacket and my Hunter boots.

2) What are your spring must have accessories?

I love wearing t-shirts and statement necklaces in the spring. I don't tend to wear necklaces as much in the winter but as soon as spring hits, I'm all about the necklaces.

3) How do you transition your wardrobe to spring?

As soon as I can possibly get away with it, I ditch my socks! I love wearing shoes without socks. And I try to wear light colours. I have a lot of floral tops I can wear with a plain cardigan.

Some of my favourite shoes to wear without socks as soon as it's warm enough.

As soon as I can ditch my boots, I wear these Converse-type running shoes. Thankfully, I work at a place where I can wear shoes like this!

4) What are your favourite colours to wear in spring?

I don't know that I've thought about it but maybe beige and navy??? I definitely go for muted colours as opposed to the brighter reds and blues I lean towards in the summer.

These are older pictures but I'm looking forward to wearing both these tops this spring. I guess I also go for light and flowy?! :)

5) Any spring fashion advice?

If your weather is anything like ours, wear layers. It might be cool in the morning but hot in the afternoon. Or warm in the morning and cold by afternoon. Layers are your friend!

6) Do you change up your makeup in spring?

I haven't worn makeup in years, so no, I don't change my makeup in the spring :)

7) Do you change up your skincare in spring?

I try to remember to wear sunscreen when I'm outside. Even though it might be cool, if the sun is shining, I will burn.

8) Do you have a favourite spring scent?

As with makeup, I don't wear perfume, so I'm going to say "Dirt!" is my favourite spring scent! I LOVE when you can smell the earth and digging in the dirt makes me so happy!!!

9) Best budget tips for updating your wardrobe?

Buy inexpensive tops that you can wear with winter/fall/spring pants and cardigans. Since I only get to wear lighter tops for a short time, I don't want to spend a lot of money on them. I also like necklaces which are inexpensive and add fun to an outfit.

10) Do you think you will be wearing dresses this spring?

I would love to wear dresses this spring but I don't think I will. I don't own any, and the ones I tried on last year were too short for work. I tend to wear skirts in the summer but not really dresses. If we were going to church in person, I might buy a dress for that but, alas... 

Clearly, I could use some spring fashion tips so I'm looking forward to reading the other posts in the link up! Yesterday was a glorious day here -- it was above freezing, our snow was melting (WHOOOO HOOO!!!), and I pulled out my Spring jacket and walked to work in my running shoes! I even went for a walk in the afternoon without wearing a toque and mittens. Spring, I am sooooo ready for you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

What's Up Wednesday: February 2021

Welcome to the February 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.

February 2021 is looking a little brighter for us. The kids are back in school (WHOOO HOOOO!!!), our region has opened up a little bit (this means we went into the library the other day!!!), Rachel is back to in person dance (!!!), and our case counts are down. It feels like there is a little more hope on the horizon. Also, this appears to be the "Winter" version of What's Up Wednesday -- read on to see what I mean :)

image from here

What we're eating this week... February seemed to be the month that everyone decided to bring us food! We got another amazing pie from the "pie man" at our church. Our neighbour brought us lemon cupcakes, and we did a small-ish cookie exchange with Tim and Janice and got heart shaped sugar cookies. I'm all about people bringing us sweets! Hahaha!!!

What I'm reminiscing about... Last February was the last month before Covid hit and life as we knew it changed. For our family, we were in the midst of teachers' strikes (and many days off school), a fun road trip with our small group from church, looking forward to Spring Training starting, and dance and piano lessons. Little did we know, it was all about to change...

What I'm loving... The lengthening days!!! Almost every day, I comment to Dave, "Look what time it is and it's STILL light out!!!" I thrive in sunlight and the fact that we've seen more sun this month and more daylight has made me happy!!!

I'm also loving that I've been blogging about my tulips since early January and that some of my regular blog readers have commented that they're buying tulips too! I am always happy to share the tulip love and encourage more tulip buying in these dreary winter months!!!
What we've been up to... The kids are back to school in person!!! They had five weeks of mandated online learning right after the Winter Break and finally on February 8th, they went back to school. It was so exciting!!!
The second "first day of school" of the 2020-2021 school year.
(Please, don't let there be a third "first day of school.")
We've also been going on winter forest walks every weekend...
...baking lots of chocolate cakes...
...doing puzzles...

...and flopping in all our snow! (It's too deep to make snow angels.)
What I'm dreading... Our province's March Break got pushed back a month to April. It's going to be a long haul of school for the kids and teachers and all the school workers. I really hope everyone can maintain a good attitude, and good energy, for this extended length of school.
What I'm working on... Reading my library books! Why do all my holds come in at once?!? And housecleaning. I've had a couple of days with no work so I've been working on cleaning rooms we haven't cleaned in... way too long.

What I'm excited about... In June, in an attempt to be more motivated to exercise, I signed up to do a virtual walk of the Camino in Spain through The Conqueror Challenge. Thanks to a few factors (daily headaches for awhile, unexpectedly working full-time, etc) it has taken me much longer to complete than I originally thought. I've also been doing it as "intentional walks/working out" as opposed to just "all the steps I get in a day." Anyways, I'm on the home stretch of almost being finished this walk and I'm excited about it. It's almost 800 kilometres (almost 500 miles) so that's a lot of walking :)

What I'm watching/reading... We've had A LOT of snow lately, and not a lot of warm weather to melt it down, so I've been watching our snowbanks get bigger. We've also been watching our icicles get longer. Is it spring yet?!? Sometimes I wonder how this will all melt...
As for reading, I read a lot of books during the #24in48 readathon at the beginning of the month. You can see my review of those books here. I'll be doing a review of the rest of my February books next week. However, the last book I read was A Court of Thorns and Roses. I'm re-reading this series in preparation for the fifth book being released.

What I'm listening to... The house next door to us sold last April and the new owners have finally started a major renovation -- they're doubling the size of the house. So all day long I hear banging. It's loud. It would be way more exciting if it meant our house would be much improved at the end of this but we just get all the noise without any of the excitement :(

What I'm wearing... Winter clothes. It doesn't really matter what I'm wearing because it's all hidden under winter clothes. Hahaha!!!

What I'm doing this weekend... I know it's not technically the weekend but on Friday I am getting highlights, a haircut, AND a massage!!! Whoooo hoooo!!! Also, we're meeting up with friends and hiking at a conservation area. I'm excited to see these friends as we haven't done anything with friends in months. Plus, we'll probably do some more house organizing and maybe even a puzzle.

Also, SPRING TRAINING GAMES start this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know that we'll be able to watch any but I'm hoping to catch some on the radio!!!!!!!!

What I'm looking forward to next month... I don't know. Normally I'd be excited about March Break and Can-struction but I'm guessing Can-struction will be online again and March Break is now April Break. I'm looking forward to our St Patrick's Day celebration. I always make the Beef & Guinness Stew from the Guinness factory and it's DELICIOUS!!! (You can find the recipe here.)

I'm also hoping that I might be able to start hanging out laundry in March. We shall see...

last year on March 16, 2020 * view of our laundry line currently

What else is new... I am a substitute secretary/librarian for our school board. I was fortunate to get work in one school covering a long-term leave for the past two and a half months but, as of this week, I'm back to being on call. So I'm waiting for my phone to ring and checking out the job board, hoping to pick up some work. Monday was a "snow day" ("weather impacted distance learning" day -- meaning the kids had schoolwork but it doesn't really count) and yesterday I didn't get a call. I'm hoping to work three to four days a week but we shall see... So I'm trying to find ways to fill my time and, at the same time, hoping for jobs to be assigned to me. It's a weird limbo space to be in.

If I don't get a job today, I will enjoy reading all the posts in the What's Up Wednesday link up. If I do pick up a job for today, then I will have to read those posts later :) Happy Wednesday everyone!!!

Monday, February 22, 2021

My Four States Of Being

On Friday we went for a walk to the library because IT'S OPEN and we could GO INSIDE!!!!! Although we could do curbside pickups, it had been closed to "in person" for almost two months so this was VERY exciting for our family, as evidenced by the fact that we hauled home 28 books. And by "we" I mean "Dave." Anyways, I digress...

On our walk, I commented that when we got home, I was going to bed. I was tired. And the kids commented, "You're always in bed." It's somewhat true -- working full-time has been really exhausting for me this time around. I think it's partially the work and partially the inherent COVID stress about being in the schools right now. The constant shifts in the school year -- Are we in person? Are we online? Are we about to be moved to online? When is March Break? (It just got moved back a month to April). When will education staff get vaccinated? (Maybe in Stage 2 -- again, April.)

Plus dealing with all the parent stress -- Are the schools safe? Yes, they are. No, they aren't. Maybe they are, but what if they're not? <-- These are all comments I've heard from parents over the past six months. And this doesn't even touch the tip of the iceberg when a kid exhibits "symptoms." Needless to say, while I have loved working in the schools, it has been exhausting this year. So yes, I spend a lot of time in bed. I'm not always asleep, I am also getting a lot of reading done.

This was me last February -- I couldn't find a more recent picture of me reading in bed!

However, the kids and Dave came up with three other "states of being" for me and I thought I would share them here. They also commented that I'm either working out or walking. Yes, this is true. I am almost done my Camino trail (whoo hoo!) and so I've been dedicated to getting my daily kilometres in. And if I'm not doing those, I am shoveling, which I also add to my Camino trail. On Saturday, I got 2.6 km (1.6 miles) just in shoveling snow. (This may also contribute to me being so tired all the time!)

The third state of being they defined for me was "working." I've been working full-time since the end of August and I'm just not used to it. I've loved seeing our family income increase, and I'm loving the experience I am getting, but it is still not a "state of being" I'm used to applying to myself. And I don't think my family is used to it either :)

They decided that the fourth state of being was "baking applesauce jumbles"! Hahahahaha!!! While it's true I do love those cookies, and am often baking them, I also bake buns, challah, muffins, and other kinds of cookies.

I tried to convince everyone that "blogging" should be a state of being for me but I realized that my blogging hours are my early morning, time to myself, when everyone else is asleep hours. Thus, they don't really get to see this state of being. For example, I woke up at 6:30 this morning (Sunday) and am writing this post and everyone else is still asleep -- and likely will be for another hour.

So there, according to my family, are my "states of being." To be fair, about ninety percent of the time, I will likely be doing one of these four things. The rest of the time I am doing laundry, putting together puzzles, making a grocery list, or buying tulips!

What are your main "states of being"? More interestingly, how would your family describe them? I also think it would be interesting to try this same type of exercise once Covid has ended and we can get back to more regular routines.