Wednesday, September 29, 2021

What's Up Wednesday: September 2021

I can't believe it's already the last Wednesday of September. Can you believe we're already three quarters of the way through 2021?!?!?!? That is crazy to me. As always, on the last Wednesday of the month, 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.

For the past eighteen months I've started my WUW posts with a Covid update. September 2021 has been the most "normal" month we've had since February 2020. We've gotten to do things we haven't done since the pandemic started and it was incredible!!! We're not completely back to normal (we're still wearing masks and distancing) but things are feeling a lot more hopeful. I keep telling people we're about halfway back to "normal."

image from here

What we're eating this week... For some reason we've been eating a lot of potatoes lately -- Sam made a curried shrimp soup with potatoes, we had them diced and roasted, mashed with kale, and then mashed with butter as a topping for shepherd's pie. I really don't know why our meals have been so potato heavy lately...
Also, we received some homemade applesauce, and then I made some more with some apples from a friend and some that Sam picked at church, so we've also been eating a lot of really yummy applesauce.

What I'm reminiscing about... Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple of weeks and for a few years we would go visit Dave's family in New York over Thanksgiving weekend. And then this past weekend I read a certain book (see "What I'm Reading..." below) and now I'm reminiscing about that time I got to visit the Friends' pop up cafe in New York City and sit on a famous couch.
You can see more pictures from my visit to the pop up here

What I'm loving... I'm loving attending church in person and getting to sing with other people again!!! Virtual church was so hard for our family and we didn't attend very many services that way. For the past three weeks, we've been able to gather with some of our church family for in person services again and it's been AMAZING!!! These are the first in person services our church has offered since March 2020. About thirty adults gather in the sanctuary while the kids and youth groups meet outside. I LOVE hearing other people singing.

What we've been up to... Work, school, church, dance, going to baseball games, celebrating the Jewish holidays, buying school supplies, voting in our national election, and attending fun events in our uptown. There's been a lot going on in September.
Uptown Night Market with Janice & Tessa * LUMEN Festival
apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah * early voting
Rachel was quite excited that one of our neighbours got a bunny and let Rachel take it for a walk in our backyard!
What I'm dreading... Well each of the schools I work at has had one Covid case. That was a hard week but we got through it. I'm dreading Covid cases potentially hitting Sam or Rachel's classes and what that would mean for our family, especially since Rachel can't be vaccinated yet. It feels like we're getting so much closer to her age group getting vaccines, but we're not quite there yet...

What I'm working on... Laundry, always laundry. This was our bed on Sunday morning as I was working my way through three loads of laundry. After I'm done writing this post on Tuesday night, I have another four loads of laundry to fold. It. Never. Ends.

What I'm excited about... All the "in person" things we've gotten to do lately -- go to church, attend a Blue Jays game, sending the kids back to school -- it's all still very exciting to me!!!

What I'm watching/reading... Well, this past weeked I finally picked up I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends and it was so good! I read it in one sitting and now I just want to watch the whole series from beginning to end! I loved all the political commentary which went along with the retrospective of the show too.
I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends
As for what I'm watching, it's all Blue Jays baseball!!! It's Tuesday night and you can bet I'll be glued to my computer, streaming the games against the Yankees this week and cheering my Jays on to victory! Go Jays go!!! 
What I'm listening to... I've been listening to the radio as I drive back and forth to work. Normally, I listen to a radio station which plays mostly 80s and 90s music. However, for the past few weeks I've been listening to sports talk. I'm absolutely devouring everything I can about baseball right now, especially as it pertains to the Blue Jays. I'm really hoping they'll make it to the Wild Card game, win it, and be playing baseball well into October!!!

What I'm wearing... Are you shocked if I say "all the Blue Jays gear"?!?!? Well, you shouldn't be :) Our friend even made us Blue Jays' masks to wear at the game. So yes, pretty much every day I'm wearing my Blue Jays bunnyhug (hoodie, for you non-Saskatchewan people), or my Blue Jays shoes, or something else.
Modelling all our gear at a live game a few weeks ago! 
What I'm doing this weekend... Well, Saturday will be the day of getting all the things done (grocery shopping, laundry, errands, etc) because Saturday night I'm attending my friend's birthday party (on Zoom). On Sunday we're having an outdoor church service with communion. Sunday afternoon, we're heading to Toronto to see the last regular season Blue Jays game!!! Yes, we went back to one game and now we're hooked. We need our baseball fix :)

What I'm looking forward to next month... Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October so I'm looking forward to a three day weekend. I'm also hoping we'll get outside for some forest walks as we haven't done one of those in awhile. And of course, I'm looking forward to Hallowe'en and drinking spiked apple cider. Yum!!!

What else is new... I think that's pretty much it. We're firmly settled into our fall routine and, although it's busy, we're loving it! Give us all the "in person" activities please :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

I Spy: Week 38

Well my I Spy post for this week is only three days late so that's not bad, right? Of course, it's not yet 7pm on Monday night, and I'm already in pajamas and blogging from bed, but that is sometimes real life these days. Anyways, as always, I'm linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook. And once again, my photos are almost all along the same theme...

Let's Play iSpy 2021

{real life}

This is "real life" in our back entry when we go from church (where friends gave us two bags of hand-me-downs) to lunch out with friends (where most of our family got belated birthday presents) to grocery shopping to home and then the car gets unloaded. This took me about half an hour to put away/clean up on Sunday afternoon.


We went to our city's LUMEN Festival -- which is a festival of light, technology, and sound. This was a musical instrument (of sorts) and it was fun to see the kids "connect" the beams of light with notes and try to make music. Only Dave was successful in playing a recognizable tune -- Mary Had A Little Lamb -- the rest of us just had fun with the sounds. 


This sculpture of light was just off of our public "square" and was one of my favourite installations. I thought it was so beautiful and fun.


These "upright" plastic columns were such a cool installation. If you stood near the columns they would hum or change colours. It was so fun to see how each column would change for each person. 

{your choice}

When we approached this installation, Rachel was grumpy and said, "I don't need to see a mixed up alphabet." Then we spent about ten minutes trying to interpret all the words. Each colour was a different word. So here you can see "art" in red, "words" in blue, and "light" in white. Then the middle word was "should" and then in different colours were about six or seven other words like "question," "challenge," and "provoke." It was fun to try and pick out each word. To illustrate, I'm including a sixth "I Spy" picture of the whole installation so you can see what I mean:

As you can probably tell, we really enjoyed the LUMEN Festival and were so happy to be doing something so fun in our uptown again. I don't know if this festival is particular to our city or if other cities have something similar, but if you ever have the opportunity to attend one, our family highly recommends it!

Monday, September 27, 2021

What I've Read Thus Far In September

I can't believe I'm so far behind on blogging. I really meant to post this in mid-September but between full-time work and the kids being back into their (mostly regular) Fall routine, blogging has fallen by the wayside. Boo. However, here is what I read for the first half of September.

People We Meet on Vacation

I really kind of loved this book. Yes, it's a typical romantic comedy but I mean, it's travel related. Also, except for the best friend who I eventually fell in love with, this book was basically my twenties. The part where they go to a random party in BC on their first vacation -- yeah, I have a story like that (without the romance and the sex)! This book just made me want to travel again.

You Should See Me in a Crown

I really thought this book was so fun. I wish I knew some high school kids I could recommend it too. It was an easy read and if you like unlikely heroine stories, which might make you cry a little, read this one.

One Two Three

This book was so well done considering Frankel wrote it from three different points of views with very distinct voices. Sometimes books with multiple narrators are confusing and this book goes against that stereotype. The story was heartbreaking but there was also hope and I really loved it.

The Comfort Book

I took this book out because, after reading a few Matt Haig books, I wanted to read everything he'd ever written. You can skip this book. It's basically a collection of writings which have inspired Haig and helped him to overcome his depression. Maybe it's because I read it straight through, but I didn't love this. I like Haig's writing but this included a lot of quotes from other people. Maybe if I'd read it at a point when I needed encouragement and comfort and stories of hope, I would have liked it better.

Family Blessings

I needed some light reading in September and I was tired of Nora Roberts so I turned to LaVyrle Spencer, another romance author, who stopped writing in the early 2000s. This story was a light, predictable read, and it was exactly what I needed mid-September when I was exhausted from work and life.

Not only has my blogging decreased now that I'm working full-time, but clearly my reading has as well. Out of all of these books I would most recommend One Two Three and then People We Meet On Vacation, but only if you like to travel :)

Do you have times of the year when you just don't read as much? My "rest of September" reading post will come early next week (I hope!) and you'll see that my reading hasn't really picked up since this. Maybe October will be better...

Sunday, September 26, 2021

I Spy: Week 37

Yes, this "I Spy" post is a) over a week late and b) all focused on one particular thing. Maybe next week I'll actually post my "I Spy" post on Saturday like I'm supposed to :) Maybe by next week, our family will be back into the September (October? Fall?) routine and not feeling it so much. Maybe next week... Yes, this has been September 2021 for our family. Phew.

As always, I'm linking up with Lysha (and the other dedicated (and more timely!) "I Spy" bloggers) at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2021

{golden hour}

Last Saturday, we went to a Toronto Blue Jays game IN PERSON for the first time in two years!!! It was the very best experience and we LOVED it!!!!!! I thought the rays of the sun portrayed "golden hour" perfectly and, it was also very shortly after I took this picture that Teoscar Hernandez hit a three run homer which was the turning point in the Jays taking the lead and winning the game! A different kind of "golden hour" if you will :)

{action item}

The Jays' ground crew has taking care of the diamond as their "action item" and, after wetting down the base path, they can check it off their list :) 


Not only was it a "change" to see a live baseball game after two years, but we also don't sit on the 100 (field) level. Thus, seeing the game up close and personal was also quite the "change" for our family.

{cell phone}

A loaded dog with the dome in the background -- I thought this was a pretty good picture taken with my "cell phone."

{your choice}


Family selfie at the game was definitely my choice for this week. It's not the best photo but it's definitely the best memory!!!

I promise that Week 38's photos will be less baseball focused but this is one of the most exciting things to happen for our family in a very long time!!!

Friday, September 17, 2021

I Spy: Week 36

Well, I'm not as late with this post as I was with the week previous to this, but I'm still not on time for my "I Spy" contribution. I'm really blaming September over here :) It's been good but insane. Again, I'm linking up with Lysha (and the other dedicated "I Spy" bloggers) at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2021


The main point of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) is not "remembrance" but there is a plea to God to remember Jews when God seals the Book of Life. And although I am not Jewish, I find this prayer a powerful one.


Dave had been fasting all day and was clearly in a slightly silly mood after eating supper :) When I told him I didn't know what on earth to post for "dainty" he said, "I'll daintily take out the garbage"!!! I'm not sure he thought I'd actually use these pictures! Hahaha!!!


Rachel found this obsidian heart on one of our hikes in Kenya. That was over four years ago and it still has a place of honour on her desk.


We don't have an actual TV although we do watch a not insignificant amount of screen on our computers (mainly Blue Jays baseball and Disney+ movies and shows). This means that our kids are forced to get a little more creative with their time. Rachel has been trying to teach herself to do the splits (and just be more flexible in general) with YouTube videos and I'd say it's going fairly well :)

{your choice}

While I don't love hot peppers on my food, I have been LOVING them in this fall planter. I don't know if I will ever be able to have a fall planter without them again!!! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

I Spy: Week 35

I'm so late with my I Spy post that this one is actually from a few weeks ago. Sam and I got sick, school started, the Jewish holidays have been happening, and everything got thrown for a loop, including picture taking and blog posting. Most of these pictures were taken around the time I should have posted this which was at the beginning of September. As always, I'm linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2021


I really struggled with this prompt and finally took this picture of the "clips" I've been using to easily put my hair up for most of the summer.


There is not much as "dear" to me as these two kiddos walking along the railroad tracks and talking to each other. This makes my heart melt every single time.


Rachel made chocolate chip cookies by herself (mostly) on Labour Day weekend and these "handmade" sweets were delicious!!!

{starts with D}

I really thought I'd taken a picture for all the prompts, but when I went to write this post this morning (yes, this morning!), I realized I'd forgotten one for this prompt. So here is a quick picture of my Disney magnet board. We got all these magnets on our two Disney cruises. It was either a picture of this or my desk. Hahaha!!!

{your choice}

This mural outside of Starbucks caught my eye. Something about it speaks to me.

Thanks for reading my belated I Spy post. I'm going to try and post another one tomorrow but we'll see what tonight holds because I haven't looked at the prompts or taken any pictures for it... Hello September craziness!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Combination Post -- Not Just A Mom AND 10 On The 10th

I am joining up with the "Not Just A Mom" bloggers to talk about my morning routine, and since it was recently the 10th of the month, I am combining this post with my "10 On The 10th" post too! I will confess that September 10th this year was insane and there was nothing good to take pictures of -- I went to work, I napped, we had fast food for supper, and then I watched a little bit of baseball before going to bed. So I actually took these 10 pictures of my Saturday morning routine on September 11th.

For me, every morning starts in the bathroom. I brush my teeth and wash my face, using just a washcloth and water. I'm so addicted to this routine that when I travel to Europe, I make sure to bring a washcloth because they don't really have them there. 

Since it was Saturday, it was time to tackle the laundry mountain. Sadly, our dehumidifier in the basement is a little broken and doesn't always turn off when it's full so it ran onto the basement floor. Thus you can see a line of water on the left, heading under the dryer. It wasn't the most fun way to wake up.

As much as possible, I use the dehumidifier water on my outdoor plants. I bought these pots of chrysanthemums last weekend and they make me so happy! (And yes, I have a couple of pots of annuals mixed in there too because they still look okay.)

It was time for coffee-hot chocolate. Every morning I choose a mug from my collection. This day I chose my "get things done at home" mug. I don't know why this mug has become that for me but it has :) While I drank this, I also had a conversation with Rachel about the potential of biking to school.

I make my bed every morning and then I lay out my clothes for the day. I have to lay them out on a made bed. I know -- it's odd. I also open the curtains and tie them back.

I'd been up for about an hour by this point so it was time to wash my face with water for a second time and put my contacts in. Yes, I only ever wash my face with water. No, I don't wear make up. This "minimalist skin care routine" has worked for me for over thirty years now.

It was time to hang laundry outside, drink some more coffee-hot chocolate, and catch up with Dave a little.

 We gathered everyone together and, while Sam and I ate breakfast, we menu planned for the month, made a grocery list, and made a list of weekend things to do/get done. And we had a separate list for our morning errands. I really love lists and I think my family does too!

We all got dressed and headed out for our errands -- we walked to Wal-Mart for school supplies (and a few other things) and then to the libary.

Here we are, just shortly after noon, heading home from the library with the Chariot full of library books, school supplies, and a few miscellaneous items.
So there you have a small sample of my weekend morning routine. I really meant to write about my weekday morning routine, and may still do so, but last week got away from me and so you get this instead.
Thank you to the Not Just A Mom bloggers for hosting a fun link up!