Thursday, April 28, 2022

Monthly Musings April 2022: Vacation/Trips Planning & Prep

I love this link up with Holly at Pink Lady (find her here) and Patty at Good, Better, Best (find her here) so much! It is even better when they are talking about travel and trips, because those two subjects are some of my favourite things ever!!!


1) What trips/vacations do you have planned for the rest of the year?

Well, we started dreaming about this trip in February of 2020, and it's gone through a few iterations, but our family is hitting Europe this summer (EEEEEKKKKKSSSS!!!), (assuming that Covid restrictions don't cancel it, like they did last summer).

Unfortunately, one of the iterations which had to be tossed out the window was Eastern Europe, due to the war in Ukraine, so I won't be visiting any new countries (boo) but we're going to lots of places that Dave and the kids haven't been to.

Throwback to our honeymoon to Scotland (left) and Ireland (right) in 2008.

Throwback to Sam's only time in Europe, Austria 2010

This will be a really big trip for us (around three weeks) so we don't have any other travel or trips planned for this year, unless you count traveling to Toronto to see Blue Jays' games! Hahaha!!!

Actually, going to a baseball game is pretty awesome too!

2) Best packing tips?

Pack versatile clothes -- tops which can be worn with multiple bottoms, layers for changing weather, small and light shoes. Plan out all your outfits for about a week and then get rid of a couple of things. But pack one and half times the amount of underwear you think you'll need. And never forget your swimsuit! 

3) Packing cubes... yes or no?

Unnnhhh... so far I haven't loved ours. I don't know if I have inferior ones or if I'm not using them correctly, but they haven't been my favourite thing. Please share your packing cube tips (and recommendations) with me. So many people love them, I feel like I'm missing something.

4) Favourite travel outfit?

For this question, I'm thinking my favourite outfit to wear to travel on a plane, to wear a few days to get to your destination -- comfy, loose clothing with layers. To fly to Europe this summer, I'll probably wear my black workout capris, a pair of comfortable shoes without socks, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. I'll stick a pair of socks in my carry on bag, but comfy, casual, dark coloured, clothing will be what I'm wearing.

Add a sweatshirt to this outfit and I'm good to go!

5) Favourite vacation destination and why? Share photos!

My favourite destination to go to again and again... New York City! There's lots to see and do and something to appeal to every taste.

Have I reached the limit of the number of times I can use this picture on the blog before you get sick of it?!?!?!? :) New York City, March 2022
Cruisin' 5th Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, January 2019 

My favourite destination to visit with Dave was Iceland because we had so much fun and could be pretty active.

Iceland, July 2018 (Our 10th Anniversary trip) 

My favourite family trip was probably our Kenya trip to visit our good friends.

Visiting friends in Kenya, July 2017

My favourite multi-generational trip was our Disney Cruise with my parents. Cruises are a GREAT way to travel with many generations because you can meet up for dinners and the evenings but go your own ways during the day, randomly running into each other on the ship.

Disney Cruise with my parents, January 2020

6) Have you flown since March 2020?

Yes, we've flown within Canada three times to go see my parents. It's been fine and totally worth it!

A little nervous before our first post-Covid flight, August 2020

The airport felt like a ghost town and the plane was very empty. 

Flying to Saskatchewan, August 2021 (left) and making the best of a cancelled flight, December 2021 (right)

Honestly, one thing we've found about flying post-Covid is that, thus far, we have not actually flown on the flight we actually booked. Once we've booked, the airline has changed the time, cancelled the flight, or caused some other issue. I would say that flying, post-Covid, means being very flexible, at least in our experience. 

7) Beach or mountains for vacation?

Both! Beaches in the winter and mountains in the summer!

Bahamas, January 2018 (left) * Aruba, January 2020 (right)

Iceland, July 2018 (left) * Yukon, August 2019 (right) 

8) Do you prefer to sightsee or relax on vacation?

Why do I have to choose!?!? The best vacations have some of each!!!

9) Hotel, camping or Airbnb?

We don't camp. We often stay in hotels on road trips but we may be at an Airbnb, for a bit, in Europe this summer. Dave and I stayed at one in Iceland and it was amazing. We also stayed in one for a few days before our last Disney Cruise and it was great!

10) Overpacker? Underpacker?

Well, if you ask my parents, I'm an "overpacker" but if you ask anyone else, I'm probably an "underpacker."

On the right is what we took for our family of four for a seven day cruise, with a three day stay in our departure port beforehand. We checked the biggest suitcase and we had two larger carry ons and then a small carry on bag each.

On the other hand, this is what my dad took for a four week trip to India. Sam, who was not quite five at the time, could easily carry it.

I'm curious how our family compares to all of you. I like to think I'm an "underpacker" but maybe I'm really not! Hahaha!!! :)

As you can tell, we LOVE to travel and are really excited that it's something we can dream about, and participate in, again post-Covid. If you're really interested in all our travels, you can click on the "traveling" tag on the right hand side of the blog, or you can click on the "Where We've Been" link at the top, where I outline many of our travels.

I'm so excited to read all the other posts in this link up! Like I said, traveling is one of my very favourite things to do!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

What's Up Wednesday: April 2022

It's already the last Wednesday of April so it's time for another What's Up Wednesday post. I am so excited today because it's the first "normal" What's Up Wednesday post I've written since April 2019. Yes, for the first April in three years our province is not in lock down, our kids are still attending school in person, and all the things are happening and I LOVE IT!!! You can go here to see what life was like in April of 2021 and how I compared it to April of 2020. So what does a "normal" April look like? Read on to find out...

And 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.
image from here

What we're eating this week... We just got through Passover and Easter so we ate all the Passover and Easter foods -- matzoh ball soup, charoset, and parsley dipped in saltwater for Passover and then chickpea and potato salads for Easter.
making matzoh balls for soup * matzoh ball soup * charoset

Plus, Sam got braces and now he can't eat popcorn for two years, so we ate lots and lots (and then some more) popcorn.
What I'm reminiscing about... This coming weekend Rachel's dance studio has its big spring show. We've got a few days of dress rehearsals and performances coming up and it hasn't happened since Spring of 2019. So I'm remembering Rachel's dance performances through the years.
Rachel in 2017 as a gem in Aladdin * Rachel in 2018 as a peppermint lollipop in Mary Poppins * Rachel (as a rainbow) and Sam as a flying monkey in 2019 in The Wizard Of Oz (Rachel was also a flying monkey and 2019 is the only year Sam took one class of dance.) 

What I'm loving... Spring! When we get bits and pieces of nice weather I'm enjoying the flowers! A number of years ago someone surreptitiously planted daffodil bulbs in the shape of a happy face on one of the expressways in our city. For the past two years, because we've been in lock down, we haven't seen the happy face bloom. Now it's one of my favourite sites on the way to church!

What we've been up to... Besides celebrating Easter and Passover, and Sam getting braces, we've been celebrating Sam's birthday (almost a month late) with an arcade party and an "Among Us" cake...
... and going to a Blue Jays' game!!!
And when Dave had to go to the office to work for one day (out of town, and gone over supper), the kids and I got ice cream!

What I'm dreading... Honestly, I'm just dreading getting Covid. I know more and more people who have had it and I feel like our turn is coming... Thankfully, I'm not worried about us getting really sick from it. Selfishly, I just don't want the kids to miss out on things they haven't been able to experience for three years -- like dance performances and birthday parties.
What I'm working on... When I have a free moment, and the weather is good, I'm working on getting our yard in shape for spring. Those two things haven't combined well this past month so I really haven't done much outside yet.
What I'm excited about... The Blue Jays have been playing amazing baseball in April and it's been so fun to follow them. I'm always excited about baseball but even more so this April! Currently, the Jays are first in the AL East and the AL so it's really exciting!!!

What I'm watching/reading... Sadly, I haven't been able to watch Jays' games recently because basketball playoffs or hockey is always on. I need my baseball people!
My reading is not that exciting lately. I'm doing a bit of a re-read of the "In Death" series. I guess I just need some predictability in my reading so I'm falling back on old favourites.
What I'm listening to... I love that during the workday I get to hear students learning to play instruments in band and having fun in the gym. It gets a little noisy at times but, as I told my principal the other day, "THIS is what a school should sound like." (Yes, I'm still grateful every single day that the kids are in school in person in our province. I'm not forgetting the past two years that quickly.)
What I'm wearing... Shoes without socks. I have officially ditched my socks and I'm really happy about it. Of course, we had snow last week (and they're actually predicting snow today in our city -- WHY????????) so sometimes I still have to wear them.

Yes, I am boring. Other than not wearing socks, I'm just wearing all the same old work clothes. Or pajamas.
What I'm doing this weekend... Rachel has her spring dance show with her whole studio and then we're going out to supper with Tim and Janice to celebrate a couple of big birthdays! Whoooo hoooo!!! And hopefully we'll get to go see Canstruction at some point...

What I'm looking forward to next month... Well, I have a big birthday coming up on Monday :) Honestly though, we're not doing much to celebrate for awhile so it'll probably be a regular old work day. We're going to another Blue Jays game with some of our favourite people later in the month and I'm just looking forward to spending more time outside.

What else is new... I think that's about it.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Sunday, April 24, 2022

I Spy 2022: Week 16 (Week 68)

It's another "I Spy" post and, as always, I'm linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook. This week there were a few photos I could have used for more than one prompt so it was a challenge to figure out which photo best suited each prompt.

Let's Play iSpy 2022 

{along the way}

I did a lot of walking last Monday, and "along the way" I saw these Stations of The Cross. Each station had a cross image and told a piece of the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. This was a really interesting Stations of the Cross and it was on my favourite trail.

{black and white}

I took this picture on Monday night after we'd had a few hours of snow. While I didn't love the snow, I did love how our back yard looked in "black and white." This isn't an actual black and white photo as I don't know how to edit them that way, except on Instagram, but it feels close.


By Wednesday, all our snow had melted and I gave our front bed a much "overdue" cleaning out. I got rid of the greenery from the window boxes, raked all the dead leaves out of the bed, trimmed out all the dead stems, and hung the pansy basket. It looks so much better now!!!



Each bouquet of tulips grows so differently and these ones really "branched" out. I love how sprawly they are :)

 {your choice}

Getting locally made, delicious, ice cream with my kids is always "my choice"! Clearly, it's my kids' choice too :)