Monday, October 31, 2022

Hello Monday Featuring The Weekend That Was Beyond Amazing!!!

Well, I don't think I've ever linked up with Holly, who blogs at Pink Lady, and Sarah, who blogs at Sunshine And Books, for "Hello Monday" but I decided that this week was the perfect week to do so. I mainly write this blog to document our family memories and this past weekend was so blissfully normal, but so amazingly perfect, that I want to remember it forever. So read on to see why it was just the best weekend!


I have no pictures of Friday night but my friend stopped by, and we talked for almost two hours. And then I got to hug her for the first time in two and a half years!!! Yes, this is the friend who is immunocompromised and has been extremely careful during Covid. She finally got Evusheld, an antibody against Covid (her specific disease means the vaccines don't work for her), and now she can get back to living life a little more normally. I was so thrilled to be able to hug her again!!!

Then, while Dave went to pick up McDonald's for supper, the kids and I did a bunch of yard work in the back yard. They raked all the leaves from our tree while I cut back the peonies and some of the Black Eyed Susans. I LOVE that the kids are at the stage where they can be helpful with yard work.

I was going to watch the first game of the World Series, but I started getting tired at 8pm, so I crawled into bed, read for a bit, and was asleep shortly after 9. I woke up on Saturday morning at 8:40, having gotten 11 1/2 hours of sleep. It was glorious!!!

On Saturday we had a slow morning and I got two loads of laundry hung on the line, which is my own personal version of heaven! Hahaha! Then I chopped up one of the heads of kale in the fridge and made my favourite chickpea-kale soup.

Then I dragged everyone outside to do some yard work. Dave and the kids raked while I cleaned up the flowerbeds.

And we took some time to play in the leaves...

... and to recreate pictures.

Sam and I in 2013.

Sam and I in 2022. 

Left: our back yard before: leaves all over, flowers needing to be deadheaded, pots of annuals to be put away; Right: our back yard after -- everything is cleaned up for winter. Yay!!!


Another thing which made this weekend glorious -- I lived in my bunnyhug for 24 hours straight and it was amazing! Hahaha!!!

In the afternoon, the kids had a Jr Youth event to carve pumpkins at church so Rachel put on her Hallowe'en costume. For some reason, she wanted to be a cowgirl this year.


While the kids were at church, Dave and I enjoyed a couple of hours of hiking in this amazing forest! It was so gorgeous!

We picked up the kids, chatted with some of the other parents, and then picked up pizza and watched a Hallmark movie!


Then we went to the Enchanted Forest put on by one of our cities. Have I mentioned before that I live in a twin city? We live right on the border of the two. So this was put on by the city we don't live in but was a fifteen minute walk away from our house. It was about a twenty minute walk through a forest that was lit up in different ways, sometimes with music, and sometimes without. It was a magical evening.

On Sunday, I woke up and then Rachel and I spent about an hour and a half in the kitchen. She baked chocolate chip cookies while I chopped more kale and processed a bunch of vegetables from our CSA. A lot of veggies and garlic needed to be chopped up and dealt with.


I made unstuffed cabbage rolls, which were supposed to be for supper, but in the afternoon, we went to some friends' house for a last minute Hallowe'en party. It was supposed to last just a couple of hours, but clearly no one wanted to leave so we ended up ordering pizza and enjoying drinks and amazing conversation around the fire while the kids played and played and played. It was such a fun evening, and I was so busy enjoying myself, I took no pictures.

I commented to my friends, "It has been such a GREAT weekend and this has been the absolute best, and most fun, way to end it."

It was such a perfect weekend of fun things to do, getting things done around the house, spending time just with Dave, spending time with friends, eating pizza twice (!!!) and relaxing. I really wish every weekend could be like this! I really hope your weekend brought you as much joy as mine did.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Monthly Musings: Thanksgiving Prep (Or Recap!)

It's time for Monthly Musings with Holly at Pink Lady and Patty at Good, Better, Best. We're talking Thanksgiving today and, since we celebrated Thanksgiving in October (I'm Canadian, eh?), this is a bit of a recap as well.

1) Do you host Thanksgiving or go elsewhere?

We've done a combination of things around here. We've celebrated with friends and we've had quiet dinners at home. This year was a quiet dinner at home and that was fine with me.

2) What dishes do you make or contribute?

When we've celebrated with friends, I've often made pies or brought drinks. This year Dave and I made the whole meal. Our "go to" Thanksgiving meal for the past few years has been Hasselback potatoes, Opa's shrimp (my dad's special sauteed shrimp recipe), and roasted veggies from our CSA.

Our meal wasn't very good this year. I got the wrong kind of shrimp, I put too much oil on the roasted veggies, and the potatoes weren't quite baked all the way through. It was just "meh."

3) What is your favourite Thanksgiving recipe and will you share it with us?

I don't know that I have a favourite Thanksgiving recipe. I get all my recipes from my parents and they usually begin: "Start with a lot of butter. And then add some more." I mean, isn't that always a recipe for deliciousness?!?!?!

4) What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

 In writing this post, I'm realizing our Thanksgiving can be pretty low-key/boring. We don't always go to the Oktoberfest parade on Thanksgiving morning. We don't always celebrate with other people. It kind of depends on the year.

This year we had a quieter weekend. We went to the final Blue Jays playoff game on Saturday...

... Rachel worship led and contributed to the sermon at church...

... the kids and I watched two Fall Hallmark movies while Dave grocery shopped, and then we went for a walk on Thanksgiving Day because it was so beautiful.

I would say that in the past couple of years, we've tried to get out for a walk if the weather is good, but we've also enjoyed some cozy Hallmark movie watching time. Our Thanksgiving is all about Fall over here.

5) Stuffing or dressing?

I think I call it "stuffing." Either way, it's delicious and even though I'm vegetarian, I still eat it!!!

6) Pumpkin, pecan, or apple pie?

Saskatoon berry is my absolute favourite pie! But since that's not an option, I'll go with apple.

In 2013, I made an apple and a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving with our best friends.
I'm still very proud of these pies!

7) Casual dining or set the table?

We always set the table with a tablecloth and napkins. And flowers for a centrepiece. Even this year when everything else was low key, we still had a nicely set table. I like pulling out my Fiestaware for Thanksgiving.

8) Favourite beverages to serve with Thanksgiving dinner?

Apple cider! We love drinking apple cider in the fall.

9) Do you shop Black Friday?


Here's a letter I wrote to Black Friday a few years ago and I still stand by it:

Dear Black Friday in Canada... I really don't like you. You showed up suddenly about five years ago and now it feels like we can't get rid of you. We celebrate Thanksgiving in October so you really don't make any sense. We used to have our Boxing Day sales (because it's a stat holiday here, and you know, we're Canadian) and now you've overshadowed those. Go back to where you came from please.

10) Holiday movie or football games?

Well, I guess Fall Hallmark movie, but really, I think "a walk in the woods" would be my preferred way to spend the day!

I'm off to read the other posts in this link up. I enjoy seeing how other people spend holidays and I know Thanksgiving is a HUGE deal in The States. I think it's just not as big of a deal here in Canada and, since I'm used to it, I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

What's Up Wednesday: October 2022

Once again, I had an unintentional blogging break but I'm back. And what better way to come back than with a "What's Up Wednesday" post. You will see in this post why I didn't have time to blog in October as today is a "Sam Had His Bar Mitzvah on Saturday" focused What's Up Wednesday.

As always with What's Up Wednesday, 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... My parents drove from Saskatchewan (a four day drive) to attend Sam's Bar Mitzvah and they brought us some special treats including carrot pickles (!!!) and homemade salsa! So we've been eating a lot of that. Mom also made oatmeal from scratch almost every morning and we gobbled it up. And we had pizza night twice while they were here so that was delicious too!

Dave's aunt and uncle brought delicious rugelach (filled dough with chocolate) from New York for us and so we've been eating those too. YUM!!!

What I'm reminiscing about... I'm reminiscing about what an amazing day this past Saturday was. It was the day of Sam's Bar Mitzvah and we felt so surrounded and loved by our families and community -- both the synagogue community and our church community! Sam lead almost all of the prayers, chanted from the Torah, chanted the Haftorah, and gave the D'Var Torah (a mini sermon), and he did such an incredible job!
This is a screenshot from Zoom so it's a little blurry but you get the picture. 

What I'm loving... All the time I'll have now that Bar Mitzvah planning is over! HAHAHA!!! I'm also loving the fall colours we've experienced this year. They seem to be more brilliant than ever and I cannot get enough of them. 

What we've been up to... Besides Bar Mitzvah planning and hosting, there have been a few other things going on. We went to the Blue Jays last playoff game (which was amazing for about six innings and then completely fell apart in the last three innings)...
This is us before things fell apart. 

... we enjoyed Empty Bowls For Haiti with Tim and Janice and family...

... Rachel worship lead a service at church with two of her friends and one of our pastors. She gave a short reflection for the sermon, as well...

... and we went for a Fall walk on Thanksgiving Day.
And we celebrated my mom and dad's safe arrival after their very long days of driving!

What I'm dreading... Normally, I would answer that I'm dreading November, probably my least favourite month ever, but after the insanity that was October and all the Bar Mitzvah planning, I'm actually looking forward to a lot of down time, watching a lot of Hallmark Christmas movies, and a lot of doing "not a whole heck of a lot" (did I say that twice?!?!?!).
What I'm working on... Getting our life back in order post-Bar Mitzvah. A lot of things didn't get done in October because Bar Mitzvah planning took priority and now it's time to catch up.

And this picture shows that I also need to get started on the fall yard work -- cleaning up the flower beds, raking leaves, and emptying the planters and putting them away for the year.

What I'm excited about... I was hanging laundry one day and the bench I always put my laundry basket on was falling apart. I called my dad and joked, "I need you to build me a laundry basket bench." Well, they pulled up and my dad pulled this out of the trunk. I was so excited I couldn't even get a whole sentence out! The best part is, he made it out of my grandma's old quilting frames. So, as in the picture on the right, you can see the marks from where she would clamp the quilt to the frames. I LOVE IT!!!
The laundry basket bench in use as I hung laundry yesterday morning as the sun rose. Fall laundry hanging at its best!
If you don't know what a quilting frame is, here is a picture of when Dave and I stopped to visit my grandma as we moved out to Alberta in 2007. We are sitting at a quilting frame with her, although not the one my dad made my laundry bench out of. Also, as a side note, she was 100 years old in this photo and lived for another four years!
What I'm watching/reading... Well, we're going to be cheering the Phillies on against the Astros in the World Series and after that I'll be watching Hallmark Christmas movies.
All I've been reading lately is all the emails with Bar Mitzvah details so I'm going to try and read some of your blogs, now that I have a little more time.
What I'm listening to... I'm no longer listening to Sam practising chanting his Torah portion or singing the prayers. He put a lot of work into practising and it definitely paid off. Sadly, I'm also no longer listening to Blue Jays baseball as their season is over. I guess I'm listening to the rustle of the leaves as I walk through them.

What I'm wearing... I bought a new dress for Sam's Bar Mitzvah thanks to help from my mom and some of my blog friends! I texted them pictures of options and they made helpful comments! I love my dress and am looking forward to having another occasion to wear it again.

What I'm doing this weekend... Baking cookies with Rachel, going for a walk in the forest with Dave while the kids are at Jr Youth, and enjoying an "enchanted evening forest walk" with the whole family. And hopefully I'll also be getting a lot of sleep! I'm tired.

What I'm looking forward to next month... Relaxing at home, being cozy under a blanket, and generally enjoying some down time before the insanity that is December hits! I'm also really looking forward to walking the labyrinth at church towards the end of the month. This always kicks off the Advent/Christmas season for me and I absolutely love it.

What else is new... I think that's everything!

I hope you've had a good October and I'm looking forward to hearing what's up with all of you!