Monday, February 28, 2022

I Spy 2022: Week 8 (Week 60)

I'm slowly getting caught up on my "I Spy" posts and this one is only two days late! Hahaha!!! Maybe next week I'll be on time??? As always, I'm linking up with Lysha (and the other dedicated (and definitely more timely!) bloggers) at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2022

{backyard – quarterly}

I decided to take my "backyard pictures" from a different angle this year. You can't see the trampoline but, really, since it's winter, you can't see much of anything, except a whole lot of snow, in our backyard right now!

{across the street}

I really struggled with this one because I didn't want to take a picture of our neighbour's house "across the street." Then I hit on the idea of taking a picture of our house at night from "across the street." I really need to get a tripod for non-flash pictures but I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out.

{starts with 'L'}

A folded Load of Laundry (and an empty Laundry basket!) all "starts with 'l.'"


Rachel received this as a Christmas present from Tim and Janice years ago. It hangs across from our family calendar and I always look forward to how she'll choose to depict the "next" month. Here is what she was excited about for February.

{choose anythingsame vantage point}


Our dining room in February -- a beautiful bouquet of flowers from good friends was the centre of our table for a few weeks, the Valentine's tablecloth (and banners in the windows), and we still have six chairs and napkins for meals with my parents. And yes, we still have tulips too :)

As a reminder, here is what it looked like in January:

I think I need to take my dining room picture from a different angle to capture the room better without the bright light from the window. Maybe I'll experiment for March.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

I Spy 2022: Week 7 (Week 59)

I'm exactly a week late with this "I Spy" post. Ugh. I can't wait until spring when I don't feel so confined to the house all the time. Go away winter and cold. As always, I'm linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook. Also, most of these pictures were taken on a walk with my parents. I feel like my favourite path is the best place for pictures of "walk" and "rocks."

Let's Play iSpy 2022

 {the sun shone}

I thought this was a neat way to show that "the sun shone" because you can see the shadows on the left and the melting on the right and the sun shining in the middle. I wasn't sure how I was going to capture this prompt and I love how this photo turned out.


As soon as I saw this prompt, I knew which photo I wanted to take. This is all the devices "plugged' in at my parents' house. Also, I want an outlet like this one!


I wanted to get a picture of the "rocks" on the path where the kids often sit and take a break. What I wasn't expecting was how hard it would be to get a picture because many of them are covered in snow. Thankfully, these ones are a little larger and were poking out a bit.


This isn't the best picture but the story behind it is hilarious (I think!). I was taking the picture of the path below because it's my favourite place to walk, so I was going to use it for this prompt. However, as I was putting the phone away, I accidentally took this picture of my mom and I "walking." It made both of us laugh so hard because it was definitely unintentional but clearly fits the prompt well!!!

{your choice}

It is always "my choice" to walk on the path, especially with people I love like Dave and the kids, or in this case, my parents.

Thanks for joining me for my late, and very walking focused, "I Spy." 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

What's Up Wednesday: February 2022

It's already time for February's What's Up Wednesday. As always, I'm linking up with Shay at Mix and Match Mama and Sheaffer at Sheaffer Told Me To.

Honestly, February has been hard. I've been frustrated with winter weather and with the restrictions (no downhill skiing, no lifting, no shoveling snow) from my lung detachment in January. (You can read more about that here.) Thankfully it's almost March, we're hopefully through the worst of winter, and things are starting to look up (more Covid restrictions are being lifted -- YAY!!!).

image from here

What we're eating this week... It's winter so we've been eating lots of soups and stews. Dave and the kids made Cream of Carrot-Cheddar soup over the weekend which is one of my favourite soups. Also, on Monday night at supper, I realized we've been eating a ton of fried mushrooms lately. The kids hate mushrooms but Dave and I love them so Mom and Dad have been making fried mushrooms for brunches and random suppers. So soup and fried mushrooms is what defines our food this month! Hahaha!!!

What I'm reminiscing about... Thanks to weather and Covid restrictions, we still haven't celebrated Dave's 40th birthday, which was in mid-January. Hopefully this weekend the stars will align and we'll be able to go out for a big birthday dinner. However, I'm also remembering that my 40th birthday was not so awesome either. We had just moved across the country, we were cleaning our house because the landlords had left a dirty house, and the first person to wish me "Happy Birthday" was the telephone guy as I was trying to set up our phone line.

Me, around the days of my 40th birthday

Our chaotic house -- moving boxes everywhere.

We eventually had a combined "Dave turned 30/Natasha turned 40/housewarming" party about three months later and these family pictures are from that night. Clearly Sam was in a mood!

All this is to say, we will eventually celebrate Dave's 40th in style too!

What I'm loving... We're getting small tastes of spring-like weather and I am so here for it. The other day it was above freezing and sunny. I went on two walks that day and had over 15,000 steps on my FitBit for the first time in months. Give me all the lengthening days, warmer weather, and snow melting. We're heading into my favourite time of year!!!


We had our bedroom window open almost all day yesterday for the first time in months and the big pile of snow behind Sam is starting to melt, a little.

What we've been up to... We've been up to a lot.

We've been doing puzzles...
...getting Covid boosters...
...chipping and shoveling ice...
...sorting through hand-me-downs and forgetting to water tulips...
...wearing our pajamas inside out and sleeping with spoons under our pillows 
in hopes of snow days...
(It's worked too because we've had two snow days in February already!)
...and Dave and his parents introduced the kids to downhill skiing. I can't ski for this whole winter because of my lung issues from January, but Dave took the kids to our local ski hill and now they're hooked. Hopefully we can get some family downhill skiing in next winter.

What I'm dreading... Well, more and more people we know have gotten Covid in the past month so I'm dreading that soon it may be our turn. Does anyone escape from getting it? Have you seen this meme?
r/WhitePeopleTwitter - The Covid fatalism has set in
image from here
I'm also dreading next month a little because it is March Break, and for the past two years our kids haven't gone back to in person school after March Break. So I have this slight dread that our kids won't be back in the school again this year. It's not that I have any reason to believe it's going to happen, but it's hard to get over two years of experience. 

What I'm working on... Reading through my stack of library books. Why do I always take so many out of the library?!?!?! Also, why can't my full-time job be reading!?
What I'm excited about... We're tentatively starting to plan a mini getaway for part of March Break and I am so excited about the possibility of traveling somewhere that isn't to my parents' house. We have gone to visit them three times since Covid started but we haven't gone anywhere else and the excitement level is HIGH!!!
I'm also excited because we have family haircuts booked for tomorrow night! As you can see from the pictures in this post, we're all looking a little rough. (It's been four months since we've had haircuts thanks to Omicron.) 

What I'm watching/reading... We watched quite a bit of Olympics, although not as much as some years. We've also watched some really fun movies with Mom & Dad lately -- The Princess Bride (which the kids loved and which was as good as always!) and Hamilton.

As shown above, I'm also trying to read all the books. Here are two non-fiction books I've read this month which I think everyone should read. They were both really good reads and sobering stories I think everyone should know.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

What I'm listening to... I've been listening to a lot of Dave playing guitar. He is getting ready to do a concert with a group of musicians from church so he's been practicing a lot.
What I'm wearing... I haven't been wearing anything exciting at all -- just work clothes and pajamas. However, Rachel got glasses last week so she's been discovering the world of glasses. On the right is what she calls her "evil librarian look." Hahaha!!!
What I'm doing this weekend... Hopefully we'll finally get to go out for supper to celebrate Dave's birthday. That is, if the weather, and everyone's health, cooperates. And maybe we'll get to go to church in person for the first time in over two months!!!

What I'm looking forward to next month... March Break -- a week off work and school -- and the possibility of traveling again!!! And baseball might be back!!! (Come on MLB -- get an agreement in place. We need baseball.)

I also might get to hang laundry outside if the snow ever melts.

What else is new... If you're not a regular reader, you may not know that my parents usually live three provinces away and that they've been house sitting for our neighbours since mid-January. Sadly, they have now booked plane tickets home towards the end of March. Thus, we will be enjoying having them as neighbours for the next few weeks but, by next What's Up Wednesday, they'll be home again and we'll be missing them.

So that's what's up with us this Wednesday. Is it spring where you live or are you still in the depths of winter too? And what exciting things have you been wearing in February? I always find this question hardest to answer in this month so give me some options!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

I Spy 2022: Week 6 (Week 58)

It's past time for another week of linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook for I Spy. Do you want to hear the real reason I'm ten days late for this week? Honestly, it took me a while to get a picture of the "spot in town" I wanted to photograph. I never go for walks anymore (thanks winter and my lung issue) so I wasn't walking past it every few days. Dumb, right?!?!? I can't wait until we have less ice, and I have more stamina, and I can walk more.

 Let's Play iSpy 2022

{Spot in Town – Quarterly}

Here it is -- the "spot in town" I chose. It's our public square. You can see the menorah is still up in the middle left of the picture, the ice rink is open in the middle of the picture, and the Christmas tree is up in the middle right of the picture. I love this square and usually we're walking by it a couple of times a week.

{Starts with Y}

For "starts with 'y'" I decided to get a picture of the yellow flowers in the bouquet my friends sent to me. Tulips, roses, and daffodils are all gorgeous yellow flowers!


Surprisingly, Dave, Rachel, and I only "spent" an hour doing this puzzle. It was really fun to do and now we all want to travel again! Also, we don't know why they chose a rainbow for Canada?!?!?


Yes, my library books are often "stacked" like this on my dresser. I sort them by due date and read the pile on the left first. I will admit though that it's pretty rare for me to have three stacks of books -- usually I only have two.

{Your Choice}


Even though I'm late with this particular week, except for the "spot in town" I was trying to use photos taken from this week. So "my choice" is the after work snack I had at my mom and dad's one day -- fresh chocolate chip cookies, some grapes, and the best homemade salted almonds ever. I really need to learn how to make the almonds because they are sooooo good!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Halfway Through February And What I've Read

We're heading into a long weekend here in Canada (YAY!) with a potential for a snow day today (double yay!) so I'm looking forward to reading some more great books soon. Until then, here's what I read the first half of February.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

This book was so beautiful and heartbreaking and joyful. I loved it. It is very different than The House In The Cerulean Sea but just as magical. I really can't say too much about this book without giving away some key points but please read it. Fall in love with it, just like I did.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

I cannot believe I hadn't heard this story before. I flew through this book as I just couldn't put it down. This story is one which needs to be told and we all need to know it. I was horrified reading this book, knowing what the end was going to be. Do you know the story of how women started to win worker's compensation? These women were the pioneers of that era. This story reminded me a lot of The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks in that this is a key part of our history which hardly anyone knows about. I also found this book much more engaging than The Woman They Could Not Silence which is another Kate Moore book I read. This one is way better.

A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes, #3) A ​Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes, #4)

If you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for?!?!? It's violent but oh so engaging. The last book is over 500 pages but I raced through it in two days. These books are some of the best fantasy I've read in a long time. I think they might be better than the A Court Of Thorns and Roses series. Yes, I said it.

The Uncommon Reader

This was a really short, really hilarious novel about what happens when The Queen of England makes time for reading. There were lots of lines about reading which made me laugh out loud! This would be a perfect readathon book because it's light and short.

Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World

This was a parenting book with a focus on anti-racism. I wish this book had been around when my kids were a little younger. I think it has great ideas, and things which I could still implement, but I would have loved this book to be foundational in parenting my kids in their younger years.

The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries #1)

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I mean, it's TJ Klune and I've really enjoyed his books thus far. However, this was a superhero novel with a twist. And it's a series. Parts of this book made cry and parts of it left me confused. But I still want to read the second in the series :)

This Place: 150 Years Retold

This is a graphic book with ten short stories, telling Canadian history from Indigenous points of view. Given that I don't love graphic novels and I really don't tend to gravitate towards short stories, I liked this book. I was going to recommend it to Sam but I think it needs some conversations as younger people read it and, sadly, I just don't have time to do that right now.

So that's what I read the first half of February. What have you been reading lately? Do you know the story of the Radium Girls? How do you engage with your kids when you come across books like This Place?