Saturday, October 30, 2021

I Spy: Week 43

It's time for another week of "I Spy" with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook. My photos this week are very orange, which was unintentional but fits the Halloween spirit of this weekend. Also, a few of these pictures are from my neighbour's decorations. I asked her if I could take some of these photos because I've been spying them out my window for awhile now.

And for those of you who have been following my I Spy posts for the past few weeks, in a refreshing change of pace, I don't talk (complain) about laundry this week! Hahaha!!!

Let's Play iSpy 2021 


I don't care if it is fake, a spider with red eyes will always be "scary." My neighbour has a whole frame decorated with a web and various sizes of spiders. I just couldn't bring myself to take a picture of the whole thing. One spider I can deal with -- many spiders, get me outta here!


This picture needs a little background story: We get a lot of hand-me-downs from friends and the kids sometimes find an absolute favourite pair of socks. When those socks get holes, it's not so easy to just go out and buy a replacement pair. I refuse to "mend" socks -- it's just not worth it, in my opinion. So the kids ask Dave to mend them, because he's a softie. So here's one of Sam's favourite pairs of socks, with holes, waiting for Dave to fix them. (They've been sitting on Dave's "fix it" shelf for about four months now so you can see how high of a priority they are!)

Do you mend socks? Am I being mean or practical? I already know my mom will say I'm being mean and how she wishes she lived closer so she could fix all my kids' holey socks! :)

{starts with G}

This is my "forest of green onions" as I refer to it. A few years ago, my friend Erika blogged about this amazing tip. It was seriously life changing. You can read it here. So ever since then, we've had a forest of green onions on our windowsill. It's rather large now because we got a lot of green onions in our CSA this year. However, we will use them, and thanks to Erika's tip, we will save a ton of money!!!


This is my neighbour's "spiral" rack filled with pumpkins. And spiders. But don't think about the spiders. Focus on the pumpkins! I love the mix of pumpkins she has placed on here!

{your choice}


My choice this weekend is to eat as much orange food as possible. So here is my bagel with orange marmalade on my orange plate! Yum yum yum!!! Tonight's supper is stuffed baked acorn squash topped with cheddar cheese. Bring on all the orange food!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Monthly Musings: Fall Fun And Traditions

It's time for Monthly Musings with Holly and Patty. This month we're talking about Fall Fun and Traditions. After you've read my post, go to Holly or Patty's blogs to read the other blogs in this link up.

1) What are your Halloween traditions?

We used to go trick or treating at Dave's work, grab a quick supper, and then go trick or treating in our neighbourhood. However, Dave switched jobs in January so we won't be trick or treating at his work. (Don't ask Rachel how sad she is about this. Hahaha!!!)

Last year on Hallowe'en we needed to find some fun ways to celebrate during Covid so we instituted an orange supper. We had grilled cheese and Cheetos and the kids are looking forward to eating it again this year. We will go trick or treating with friends (although we don't know which ones yet) and we'll hopefully have spiked Hallowe'en apple cider. YUM!!!

I'm excited this year because we have a family costume theme! Whoooo hoooo!!!

2) Favourite fall activities?

 We enjoyed LUMEN (a light and technology festival in our Uptown) in September. I'm hoping we'll get some fall hikes in yet before it snows. I don't know that we have a lot of favourite fall activities which we do consistently.

scenes from LUMEN, this year

3) Favourite fall recipe?

I really liked curried butternut squash and pear soup. The recipe is this one, along with 1/2c of apple juice to make the broth. Then you puree it and eat it with sour cream.

I also like making stuffed acorn squash. I blogged about that recipe here.

4) What beverage makes you think of fall?

The spiked apple cider that my friend introduced me to. She makes it for Halloween with Jim Beam Red Stag cherry bourbon. I tend to make it on Christmas Eve. It's sooooo yummy!!!

5) Favourite fall fashion staples?

My favourite fall fashion staples are two flannel plaid shirts that I bought at Target on a trip to the US about five years ago. They're old but very comfortable. The other one is very similar but it's in shades of blue and orange.

6) Do you decorate for fall? Halloween? Both?

I put my fall wreath on the front door. I made it in 2013, I think. The other thing I always do is get chrysanthemums for along the fence. Other than that, we don't decorate for this season.

7) Bonfire? Cornmaze? Or hayride?

I think I'd prefer a bonfire or a corn maze, although it's been ages since I've done a corn maze. I love when friends invite us over for a backyard fire though.

8) Apple pie or apple cider?

Definitely apple cider. Although the man at our church has brought us quite a few apple pies this year and they are really good. The last pie he brought us was a pear pie and we ate it in two days. YUM!!!

9) Favourite type of apple?

A red one that isn't too crisp. I don't like green apples and I don't like hard apples. I don't really gravitate to one kind though.

10) What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

We don't really have Thanksgiving traditions. We've started making sauteed shrimp, Caesar salad, and baked veggies for Thanksgiving. Last year we had a special supper for American Thanksgiving and we might do that again this year too.

This year our theme for fall has been "survive" all the things. It's been a very busy fall and, unfortunately, we haven't had a lot of extra time for fun as a family. Maybe we'll have some time in November to enjoy some of the fall before winter hits.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

What's Up Wednesday: October 2021

It's time for another What's Up Wednesday. October went by so fast. I feel like I blinked and it's basically gone.

Since March of 2020 I've started my WUW posts with a Covid update. I don't have much to say in that regard this time around -- we're wearing masks all the time (grocery shopping, at school, at work, at dance, etc) but other than that, things feel so great. The biggest Covid news is we're waiting for our national health agency to approve vaccines for kids ages 5 - 11 so that will (hopefully!) be the next big Covid news, as opposed to more restrictions and lock downs. We shall see...

image from here

What we're eating this week... We just participated in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon on Saturday so we're still working our way through all the readathon snacks! We do a big grocery trip a few days before the readathon especially to buy snacks and it's so much fun! Think of it as a "yes trip"! You want three kinds of chips? Yes! You want two kinds of store bought cookies? Yes! Will we be eating this food for a few weeks? Yes :)

Starting this weekend though, we'll be eating Hallowe'en candy. Yay!

What I'm reminiscing about... I'm reminiscing about Readathon fall walking photos with Sam and Rachel! Almost every October I participate in a 24 Hour Readathon and taking these photos, and posting them on Instagram, has become a readathon tradition! And yes, we can all walk and read.
October 2018 * October 2019 * October 2021

What I'm loving... I'm loving our in person, midweek, church program meet up. It's been so fun to gather in person again for activities and our church's midweek program is a favourite.

We gather in the parking lot around a campfire.

What we've been up to... We participated in the readathon, we celebrated Thanksgiving, and we've done all the regular stuff -- work, school, dance, religious school, and church. It hasn't been a very exciting month.
What I'm dreading... November. I really dislike November. There is nothing exciting going on for Canadians (we celebrate Thanksgiving in October) and it's just a long month of not much happening where the weather is getting colder but it's not really winter... Blah.

What I'm working on... My November attitude :) I'm also trying to finish up all the training videos I need to do for work before November 5th -- concussion protocols, WHMIS training, all sorts of "fun" stuff.

What I'm excited about...  This is totally boring but bear with me here. When I got permanent hours at work, I told Dave I wanted to hire a house cleaner. Then we ran into friends who commented that having a house cleaner wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Thus, we decided to spend money on easy suppers and implement a "house cleaning night."
So every Wednesday, we have an easy supper (store bought lasagna we throw in the oven, grocery store sushi, fast food take out, etc) and we all clean our house for a few hours. I'm so excited that our house is cleaner, we're all pitching in, and we're not spending as much as we would on having a regular cleaner. So this -- a plan for a clean house -- is what I'm excited about. Hahaha!!!

What I'm watching/reading... I have been watching nothing. I am not at all excited about the teams playing for the World Series, I haven't gotten into any other sports, and I don't want to start watching Hallmark holiday movies until at least mid-November. So I have been watching nothing. (See above where I mentioned I was boring.)

I read the most fun book during the readathon on Saturday. This was the perfect mix of slightly weird (for Hallowe'en), really interesting, and set in 1989 so lots of 80s references, which I LOVED! I highly recommend this book.
We Ride Upon Sticks

What I'm listening to... Every month I try to pick a sound which has defined the month and I don't have one this month. The leaves haven't really fallen off the trees so I don't hear leaves rustling as I walk outside. The kids haven't been listening to any type of of music. It's been a quiet month... Maybe I'm hearing the squirt of the mop every Wednesday as we wash our floors?!?!? :)

What I'm wearing... It's been a weird October, and hotter than normal, so I haven't really transitioned my wardrobe to fall yet. I'm still not wearing socks with shoes and I haven't pulled out many sweaters. I tell you, this October has been a really odd, transitional month. I haven't even worn my fall jacket much yet.
What I'm doing this weekend... We don't have any super exciting plans this weekend except for trick or treating on Sunday. I'm excited about our family costume theme!!! Other than that it's Religious School, church, dance, and a junior youth event for Sam. I guess I'll be driving everyone to all their activities this weekend. Hahaha!!!

What I'm looking forward to next month... I think we're going to get to do our labyrinth night at church this fall and I'm so excited for it! It happens towards the end of November and, for me, it really kicks off the holiday season. Last year it was cancelled because of Covid so I'm really looking forward to this year.

What else is new... Rachel has an emergency dentist appointment this morning (to check out something weird which happened to her teeth last night) and Sam has planned dental surgery later this morning so our family could use some prayers and good thoughts for healthy teeth and mouths and no pain at the end of today.

Thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to catching up with those of you who also wrote a What's Up Wednesday/month in review post. Hopefully November contains a lot less "weird" and, maybe even a little bit of "exciting"!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

I Spy: Week 42

Even though it's a Readathon Saturday, I'm linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook for her I Spy Challenge. I'm sorry that some of these pictures are very uninspired (and that I talk (complain) about laundry for the second week in a row). I promise that I'll try to do better next week :)

Let's Play iSpy 2021

 {backyard (Fall or whatever season you’re in) – quarterly pic}

We really need some free days with nice weather to get our yard ready for winter. You can just see our tree starting to change colour. It was warm for so long, that many of the leaves haven't changed yet, and I don't know if they will. I feel like the mushroom growing by the laundry line represents our Fall yard -- a little overgrown and a little wild!

{your work place (or where you spend your day)}

Well, I spend my day at a school but, due to privacy, I don't want to post a picture of the school (or my desk or office). However, I will share this picture I took last week. Dave was driving me to work since he needed the car and the sunrise was beautiful. I was so happy to be able to take pictures and not have to navigate morning traffic. And yes, my commute is only about fifteen minutes but I really don't like driving. Ugh.

{“now hiring”}

Honestly, my first thought when I saw this prompt was "now hiring someone to fold my laundry." I managed to wash most of the piles from last week but the folding and putting away hasn't happened. I think I need to find a daily "laundry folding time" in my day but that hasn't been a priority as of yet.


We had our last CSA pickup of the season on Tuesday and it is always a "heavy" one. We got a ton of root vegetables including onions, carrots, squash, regular and sweet potatoes, celeriac, beets, turnips, and more. I was so thankful that Dave came to CSA and lugged all these vegetables home.

{your choice}


I mentioned above how most of the trees are just starting to get some colour around here so I had to capture this shot of the fall planters outside the library with the ivy covered wall, where the ivy is just starting to change, in the background.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Three Things

I sometimes see posts where bloggers write three things about each of their family members. I decided it was time to give you an update on us so here are three things about each of us.


1) Rachel is really loving Conqueror challenges (virtual walks) and has just taken on her longest one to date. She's already earned two other medals as she is highly motivated.

2) When we were at the library about a month ago, we ran into friends and they introduced Rachel to Playaways. They are an audio book and Rachel is loving them. She often listens to them as she draws or is falling asleep.

3) Rachel has really been working to improve her flexibility. Her latest goal is to be able to do oversplits and she has been practicing them a lot.


1) Sam is loving middle school, especially being able to take the school bus. He has been great about getting up and out the door every morning for 8:05.

2) Sam has been taking Torah reading lessons with Dave's dad. Reading the Torah is complicated because it is written in Hebrew letters and has no vowels or punctuation. Sam has been doing this for a few months now and really enjoys it.

3) Sam is using his phone for more than just games as he has texted me items to add to the grocery list (olives and kiwi) and checked the weather app a few times. (For those of you who don't know, I've been the main checker of weather in our house for years now so I love that Sam is starting to do this independently!)


1) Dave is the chair of the Religious School at the synagogue. He is thrilled that classes are finally up and running, even if he makes up half the teaching staff and classes are only running every other week at this point. They are meeting in person and so far things seem to be going well.

2) Dave is also thrilled that the rest of us are leaving the house for significant chunks of every day so he can more fully concentrate on work. Part B is that Dave is happy he can still work from home in his pajamas and not have to go into the office :)

3) I brought home a Rubik's cube for Sam a few weeks ago and Dave is excited that he's figured out how to solve it in seven easy steps!


1) Lately I've been getting massages every four weeks and I am LOVING that! After being in a sporadic routine with massages thanks to Covid lock downs, it feels so good to be back on a regular schedule!

2) I hate backing out of commitments but I resigned from my wider church position this fall. Ideally I would have held that position for another two years but I wasn't expecting to get almost full-time permanent hours at work and something had to give. It's not that this position took so much time, but I just needed some extra space in my schedule.

3) Our matching family pajama company just came out with their theme for this year and I am so excited to order them!!! Sadly, Dave is taking a stand and not getting a pair (he doesn't like the pants), but the kids and I are eagerly looking forward to our pjs arriving. They are really fun this year!

Monday, October 18, 2021

October Reading, Thus Far

Well, I really haven't read all that much for the first part of October. I keep falling asleep early and that messes with my reading. However, here is what's kept me entertained thus far this month. And it's a good thing there's a readathon coming this weekend because I really want time to read a bunch of books!

Forgotten in Death (In Death, #53)

I will always read JD Robb's In Death series. This one wasn't as good as some of them but I'm still glad I read it.

The One

This book was so good. I really liked most of the stories, except for the one about the murderer, although that one did raise some interesting questions. There is either a lot to say about this book, or I can't say much at all because I don't want to ruin it. Let's just leave it as, this is a book which will stick with me for awhile and I think a lot of people should read it.

Yoga Pant Nation (Class Mom, #3)

I don't know how Laurie Gelman turned this into a trilogy where the third book is better than the first one! I think Jennifer Dixon is the funniest character I've read about in a long time. Maybe because she's around my age and dealing with some of the same struggles, I feel like I can relate to her. Anyways, I recommend this book and am excited Gelman is writing a fourth one in this series. Bring it on!!!

Bletchley Park and D-Day: From Codebreaking to Intelligence - The Untold Story of How the Battle for Normandy Was Won

I know you're all going to be disappointed (HAHAHA!!!) but I really think this might be the last book I read about Bletchley Park. That's partially because my library doesn't carry many more books about it and partially because this book was a bit of a stretch for me. I think if you were a World War II academic studying about D-Day, this book would be right up your alley. However, as a layperson who doesn't really care all that much about the army/navy/air force, their various divisions, and all the complexities surrounding the D-Day invasion, this book was a little slow and went into the weeds a bit. I think the author was trying to prove that Bletchley Park contributed significantly to D-Day and I just wanted to read more about Bletchley Park and less about the justifications. Thus, I am fairly certain I've reached the end of my Bletchley Park reading. For now...

So those are the four books I read the first half of October. Like I said, it was a slow few weeks of reading. Here's hoping I can get into my TBR pile a little more over the next few weeks because it isn't getting any smaller.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

I Spy: Week 41

It's Week 41 of I Spy with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook. For the first time in weeks, I am actually linking up on the right day :) I feel like we're finally starting to get a bit of a handle on our fall routine and things are settling down -- just in time for Hallowe'en! Hahaha!!! Anyways, without further ado, here are my (somewhat uninspired, I must admit) pictures for this week.

Let's Play iSpy 2021 


Our front yard, as seen from Sam's window, is such a "mess" right now. We've had a lot of rain, with more to come, but once it stops, we need to rake and mow and trim again.


I saw this "patch" of mushrooms as I was walking and talking to Dave the other day on my lunch break. I immediately stopped the conversation to snap this picture and text it to him, because there are so many mushrooms here.


I was pretty much all caught up on laundry on Monday after our three day weekend. How our family of four generates this many dirty clothes in four days is a complete "mystery" to me. Seriously!


Sam found this acorn at church earlier this week. He has named it Bob and calls it his best friend. I think it's really "funny." Dave, whose dad is named Bob, finds it less funny :)

{your choice}


Curling up with a cozy sweatshirt, a cup of coffee-hot chocolate, and a good book on a rainy morning will always be "my choice"!

Friday, October 15, 2021

10 On The 10th: October 2021

I can't believe it's already time for another "10 on the 10th" post. October 10th was the Sunday of our Thanksgiving weekend and it was a full day for us.

Rachel, Dave, and I started the day bright and early with grocery shopping.

In anticipation of our Thanksgiving Dinner later that day, Rachel made a double batch of her famous chocolate cake.

We headed out to a favourite spot for a fall hike.

It really was gorgeous but it was pretty muddy and the mosquitoes were bad, so we only lasted about forty-five minutes. We'll have to try again when it's a bit colder and not so wet. 

Since we got home earlier than we had anticipated, I had time to mix up a batch of gingersnaps. The kids had been asking me to make these for a few weeks so I was glad to be able to get them made.

We don't do a traditional turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. It's usually a mix of some protein and some roasted fall vegetables. Last year we started making sauteed shrimp which is so delicious! This year we had a slightly picky eater join us so we also mixed up some Kraft dinner!

Empty plates and full hearts -- we loved celebrating Thanksgiving with some of our favourite people.

And that was our October 10th -- it was a really great day!