Wednesday, March 31, 2021

What's Up Wednesday: March 2021

Welcome to the March 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.

March has been a bit of a slog for us. Our school's March Break was pushed back a month so we've just been going to school and work, and trying to find new ways to stay entertained. While things aren't as locked down as they were in January, they aren't all that open either. Thankfully we've enjoyed some amazing spring weather which has really helped.

image from here

What we're eating this week... Dave makes a dish that uses beans but he never uses up a whole package. So I steamed the leftover beans, added in avocado and feta cheese, and tossed them in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Well, I can't make enough of this salad. The kids have been taking it for lunches every day and I have too!

We've also been eating birthday cupcakes since Sam turned 12 yesterday!

What I'm reminiscing about... As happens every March, I'm reminiscing about baby Sam. Like I said above, he turned 12 yesterday and so I'm thinking about those early baby days. Sometimes I miss them and other times, I really don't.

What I'm loving... I've been loving the small taste of spring we've been experiencing. It's been so glorious to sit outside and read with laundry hanging on the line. Spring is my favourite!!!

I'm also loving all the cards which Sam's friends made him for his birthday. After sitting empty for most of last year, it's so nice to see our "card window" full of cards again :)

What we've been up to... School, work, Rachel has dance three days a week -- it's just been business as usual around here. It's actually been kind of nice since last year at this time we were completely shut down. I can't think of anything exciting that has been going on except enjoying our amazing spring weather!

What I'm dreading... I'm really dreading that our kids might have to do online learning after our week of break in April. I really hope the schools open up again and that the kids can finish out the year in person. I think that, because we never went back after March Break last year, I just worry it might happen again. Thankfully, cases have remained stable (and relatively low) in our region so hopefully this won't happen. However, our province as a whole is not doing well... Ugh, Covid -- I hate you.
What I'm working on... My March goals. (You can read what they are here.) I'm really behind on them and hoping that I can finish some of them off this coming weekend, because early April is still practically March, right?!?!?!
What I'm excited about... MLB Opening Day is TOMORROW!!! So I'll be watching my Blue Jays play some baseball!!!! WHOOOO HOOOO!!! My Blue Jays kick off the entire MLB season by taking on the Yankees!
Toronto Blue Jays - Home | Facebook
I'm also excited that, with the warmer weather, we've had more opportunities to see people outside. I MISS PEOPLE. Yesterday, for Sam's birthday, we invited his friends (and their siblings) to play at the park after school for a bit (in lieu of a more official birthday party) and they had the best time. Seeing all the kids playing together (even though they were wearing masks) gave me such a lift. And the other parents commented on how great it was too.

What I'm watching/reading... I've been watching the temperature so that I can get my flowers outside whenever possible. We're having some colder weather these next couple of days so I can't plant them out just yet. As of tomorrow, however, I'll be watching baseball!!!
I need to be able to plant my flowers outside so we can use our back table again! Hahaha!!!
As for reading, I've been getting a ton done. Come back tomorrow to see all the books I read in the last half of March. The last book I read was The Engineer's Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood. I've also been reading articles on to catch up on all the baseball news :)

What I'm listening to... I've been working in a library almost all month and there is a teacher who has to teach in the library every morning. This teacher helps kids learn to read and I've been reminded of how reading doesn't come easy to everyone. So I've been listening to these kids work so hard to figure it out.

What I'm wearing... Shoes without socks whenever possible! Now that I've stopped wearing my socks, I am loathe to put them back on!
Me, this past Sunday, when it was barely above freezing but I refused to wear socks.
I am basically like a toddler :)  

What I'm doing this weekend... We're going to have a weekend of getting things done at home, I hope. And if the weather cooperates, we'll go to our in person Easter sunrise service. It starts at 6:30 so I'm only going if the weather is good! And we'll be streaming some baseball games!!! Yipppeeee!!!

What I'm looking forward to next month... A week off work and school for me and the kids. We don't have anything special planned but just a week without alarms and the morning rush will be glorious!

What else is new... Three of our four parents have now received the first dose of the vaccine and we are so relieved about it and so happy for them. One of our parents is a bit younger than the other three so was only able to pre-register for an appointment recently, but we're hoping they'll get it soon...

Monday, March 29, 2021

10 Questions To Mark One Year Of The Pandemic

I've seen a few bloggers fill this out and since it gets at slightly different things than I talked about in this blog post here, I thought I would respond to it. Also, while I think Laura Tremaine came up with the original questions I don't know who was inspired to blog about them first. I've seen links to both Tanya and Shelly so I thought I would include them both.

Also, I realize we're into one year and two weeks of the pandemic but whatever :)
1. What was life like in early 2020?

Well in January 2020 we went on a seven day cruise with my parents. It was amazing and we had so much fun! When we got home, the kids had shorter weeks of school due to rotating teacher's strikes. At the end of February, we had just gotten back to going to school five days a week after over a month of three and four day school weeks. Sam was looking forward to attending an international camp in the summer and Rachel was two weeks away from her first ever dance exams. Sam and I worship led at church on March 8 -- the last time a "regular" service was held at our church.

2. What was the biggest change?

I couldn't work because the schools were closed, Dave was working from home, and the kids didn't have any school for three weeks. And we couldn't really do anything outside the house -- no playdates, no fun daytime excursions, and no activities. Everything just... stopped.

3. What were your coping mechanisms?

I drank a lot of Coke, I cried a lot, and I tried to find fun things to do with the kids. It also helped knowing that almost everyone, the entire world over, was experiencing very similar things -- everyone was just staying home.

4. What did connection in your relationships look like?

A lot of Zoom calls. Our church small group met about every two weeks on Zoom and that was so good. Other than that, it really felt like all the connections were shut down. It was soooo exciting whenever we briefly got to see someone in person -- mostly if we were exchanging goods of some kind.

5. What will you remember most?

How well my kids did with this huge disruption to their lives. I will also remember how sad and lonely I was. I missed people. (I still miss people.)

6. What was the biggest challenge?

I think the biggest challenge for me was that I couldn't read. I would have thought having endless time to read would have been an incredible gift but I couldn't read. I read a lot of fluff and didn't get into meatier books for quite a few months. Really, it's just since the beginning of February that I feel I've finally gotten my reading stride back again.

The other HUGE challenge was that my work (as a substitute secretary/librarian) just stopped. With the schools closed, I had no job. That was really hard.

7. What was a beautiful memory?

I still remember how fun making our stained glass elephant was. Also, our two week trip to visit my parents in Saskatchewan was sooooo good. I never would have assumed that just going to Saskatchewan would be so amazing but it really was.

8. What do you believe now that you didn't a year ago?

I don't know. I guess I believe that "in person connection" is more important than I would have guessed. Dave has said that, even as an introvert, he misses casual conversations with people. I also believe that our house is never scrupulously clean because we just don't put energy into it rather than we don't have time :) Hahaha!!!

Oh, and that we all need to wash our hands a lot more!

9. What would you do differently?

I would exercise more and not "let things go." I wish I had set up more of a healthy routine for both eating and exercising rather than thinking "I can be unhealthy for 'just three weeks' and then get back into good habits." It's been a struggle to break some of those early coping mechanisms.

10. What will you carry forward?

Blog Friends Book Club/Happy Hour!!!
Also, hopefully I will carry forward the excitement of getting to see people and go about our "normal" lives without feeling overwhelmed by things. I try not to take every single day that the kids can attend "in person" school for granted. I try to relish driving Rachel to dance (I don't always succeed at this one) and I try to be grateful every day that I get to leave the house and work.

So those are a few more thoughts on having lived with Covid for one year (and two weeks). If you haven't answered these questions yet, I encourage you to reflect on them. This was a good exercise for me.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

I Spy: Week 12

It's another week of the I Spy Photo Challenge with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook. It's been fun to do this challenge even though some weeks, I don't feel very inspired. That may have happened this week :)

Let's Play iSpy 2021


To me, the (blurry) daffodils about to pop say spring but the leaves add the question mark -- Spring?


 Every night we go around the dinner table and say what we're thankful for. We take turns to start and this origami sun, which Dave "folded" is our marker for who gets to go first.


I'm currently working at a library and got to process some new books this week. I couldn't wait to "open" this book because, by the cover, I guessed that the pictures were going to be amazing. I was right!


After Dave set up the trampoline on Sunday, Rachel was on there "alone" at first, but not for long!

{your choice}

We had a few unexpected days at home earlier this week but it gave Rachel and I the chance to try and recreate a colour experiment from Children's Time at church a few weeks ago. The experiment turned out well so our rainbow is my choice this week.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Monthly Musings: Spring Traditions And Activities

I'm so glad I discovered Holly, and thus Patty, last year because today is one of my favourite link ups of the month, Monthly Musings. Holly and Patty host this every month on the last Thursday. This month is all about spring and you know that I am so here for it!!!


1) Do you celebrate Easter or Passover? If so, what are your traditions?

As you may know, we are an interfaith (Jewish and Christian) family so this means we celebrate both Easter and Passover. Normally, we have the first seder with Dave's family. This year we are going to get together on Saturday afternoon (technically a few hours before Passover starts) and have a small Passover celebration. For the past few years, the kids have contributed their own unique pieces to the telling of the Passover story which I love. Other than getting together with family, we don't really have a Passover tradition we've done every year though.

For Easter, the main thing we do is go to church on Sunday morning (but again, that won't happen this year). The Easter hymns are some of my favourite of the year but it's just not the same over Zoom. Our church is attempting a small, in person, sunrise service this year so we might try to go to that. It starts at 6:30 which is really early :) We don't always do Easter baskets with our kids, but when we do, we try to get them something practical that they can use in the spring -- their own rakes one year, kites, sidewalk chalk and bubbles, etc.

The year the kids got their own rakes for Easter.

2) Favourite spring tradition?

We have a tradition of celebrating the extra light of the time change day by going for ice cream. Normally, we go after supper, but this year we had other plans so we went in the afternoon. It doesn't matter how cold it is, we still go!

And it's not a tradition, per se, but I LOVE the day that we set up our yard for spring. Dave sets up the rain barrel and we put the trampoline back up. This past Sunday was the day we did that and it was sooooo fun!

3) What spring activities are you and your family involved in?

Normally, there would be spring soccer at the school and we'd be looking forward to Rachel's dance performance with all that entails -- photos, dress rehearsals, and of course, the show itself. Sadly, none of that is happening this year :(

4) What are you most looking forward to in spring?

 I most look forward to hanging the first load of laundry on the line and reading a book in the sun with a drink in hand. Thanks to our gorgeous weather, both of these things were able to happen this past weekend! Whooo hooo!!!

5) Do you plant a garden/flowers?

Yes, I always plant my window boxes in the spring and then annuals in pots (and some beds) around the end of May. I already bought my pansies for the window boxes and this year I decided to try some ranunculus too. We'll see how it goes...

6) Do you decorate your house for spring?

No. I change out our wreath to the spring wreath but other than that I don't decorate.

7) Do you have a favourite spring meal?

 We don't really cook all that differently as we head into spring but my favourite meal of the spring is our St Patrick's Day Beef & Guinness Stew. I really should make it more often.

8) Does it feel like spring yet where you live?

Yes! I can't believe how many nice days we've had already. The past five days have been gorgeous although we're supposed to get colder with maybe even some snow next week. But we've had a few meals outside and I've read outside enough to get a slight sunburn already. Ooops. And the kids have pulled out their bikes!

9) Will your spring look different this year due to Covid?

Yes, Rachel and Sam won't have neighbourhood soccer this year and Rachel's dance studio isn't having their big show.

10) Have you dined outside yet this spring?

Yes! We ate outside with friends on Saturday night and then we moved our supper outside on Sunday too.


I can't wait for more meals outside!!! 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

I Spy: Week 11

I've really enjoyed linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook every Saturday (and sometimes on Monday!) for the I Spy Photo Challenge. Keep reading to see what I spied this week.

Let's Play iSpy 2021


After so many weekends of doing puzzles, we are "puzzled" as to which one to do next. And when to do it :)


So the only "journal" I keep is the one you're currently reading (the blog) so Rachel let me take a picture of her journal drawer. Yes, she has enough journals that they have their own drawer in her desk!


One thing I miss with Covid is that the kids haven't been bringing home art from school. I miss seeing their creative minds at work, no matter how "abstract" it was.


I actually went out specifically last night to my favourite path in our city to take this picture. This is the path I'm on numerous times a week as it takes us from our house to uptown. And look how amazing the light is at 6:15! Whooo hooo spring!!!

{your choice}

I started following our local greenhouse on Instagram which is dangerous because I took a trip there yesterday solely because of the primula pictures they'd posted. Now that the grocery stores aren't selling tulips, I wanted a centrepiece for our dining room table. We won't talk about the fact that Rachel and I walked to the greenhouse and then had to call Dave to come and pick us up because we accidentally bought all our spring flowers. Ooops :)
Look for updated window boxes coming soon-ish.