Tuesday, January 31, 2023

I Spy 2023: Week 4

It's time for another week of I Spy. And this week I spied a lot more winter happening around our house. Considering I got to weight lift (aka shovel) every day this past weekend, I would say winter is definitely here now.

Let's Play iSpy 2022

On Your Plate – Quarterly

Winter brings soup season and one of my favourites is a chickpea-kale-tomato soup. This is seriously such an easy soup to make and, last week, I ate it for lunch almost every day. And I realize this is "in my bowl" instead of "on my plate" but soup doesn't mix so well with a plate :)



I wanted to get pictures of my ornaments "hanging" from the tree. I loved their little hats of snow after the big dump we had late last week. Of course, after I took this picture, Sam tried to knock all the snow off the ornaments, which completely ruined their look!

Starts with A


I really struggled with this prompt. Then I decided to share this picture which I took to text to a friend to show her the low "attendance" (starts with "A") at church on Sunday. I think attendance was low due to the significant snow we received on Sunday morning. Honestly, if Rachel hadn't been reading the benediction, we probably wouldn't have gone to church either.

Also, the friend I was texting with hasn't been able to attend church in person since March 2020 due to her health. Therefore, I text her during church when we attend in person and she attends online, to share little observations about being in the church building. Normally, I don't condone texting during church but I make an exception for her.


The "pile" of snow on our front yard grew significantly this past week. I asked Sam to stand beside it to show how big it is now. And we've had even more snow since I took this picture. Yay winter?!?!?

Choose Anything – (Monthly – same vantage point)

Last year for this prompt, I chose to show our dining room monthly and since I only made it to April, I decided to use the same idea. So here's our dining room this past Sunday -- note three bunches of tulips and a puzzle which Rachel and I did on Sunday afternoon.

*week 56 of Lysha's challenge prompts. See her post here.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Kicking Off Our Winter Getaway

Last year, in the midst of Covid restrictions, we were looking for fun ways to celebrate Dave's 40th birthday. Eventually, we found a resort which looked like it offered a lot of winter fun and so we booked it for the weekend of Dave's birthday in January. And then, five days before we were going to leave, my lung detached and I was put on bed rest and we couldn't go. (You can read about that here if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

So we were eagerly looking forward to last weekend and hoping we'd all stay healthy and be able to travel. Thankfully, we were able to leave Thursday night. Sam had a high school open house so we weren't able to leave until 8pm and it was a three hour drive. Dave and I kept each other awake and we collapsed into bed around 11:30.

The next morning we were up somewhat early because we had an appointment with some goats!!! We had not planned on walking goats but, as the weather has been so warm, we weren't sure if we'd be able to do some of the other activities we had planned so we added this in as an extra.

If you ever have the chance to take a goat on a walk through the woods, DO IT! We had so much fun! We laughed so much. And goats are so cute!!! 

I don't remember the last time I saw Sam have so much fun. He had a perma-grin on his face and laughed so much. We all laughed but I think Sam especially enjoyed it.

Goat walking is where it's at!!! This will be a family adventure we'll remember for a very long time.
You all know I'm not an animal person and even I enjoyed holding a goat.
After walking the goats, we grabbed some delicious lunch at a cafe in town. Then we spent the afternoon skating in the woods. I was so looking forward to this and I kept checking the website to see if the track was open. We've had a warmer than usual winter and it wasn't until that morning that it showed it was open! I was so excited to be able to do this!

It's a 1.3 kilometre (.8 mile) loop through the woods at one of our provincial parks. Rachel skated around once with Dave and once with an ice skating helper (which you can see in the middle picture). Sam, Dave, and I all skated around it three times.

We had tickets to go back in the evening for the Fire & Ice event (they were setting out torches along the loop in the afternoon) but we were all exhausted so opted to not return.

After skating, Sam, Rachel, and I went to the pool and hot tub, while Dave (who didn't think he "needed" one) tried unsuccessfully to buy a swimsuit. We stayed in a one bedroom suite at a resort so decided to take advantage of the supper buffet at one of the restaurants in the evening. Sam especially enjoyed the chocolate fountain!

The town we were staying near had a light show at the pioneer village and we also had tickets to that in the evening. However, the kids were extremely exhausted so we let them stay in our suite and Dave and I had a mini date.
There was narration through out about time (which Dave and I didn't think added to the experience), and some of the lights got brighter if you yelled! You can see the dimmer lights in the picture on the left and the brighter lights in the picture on the right. With all the yelling, it wasn't really a peaceful date :)

The lights were really pretty although the walk was quite short. I think it was okay that the kids missed it.

I loved the lanterns hanging in this tree and the lights changed colours too.

It was a very fun, and full, first day of our getaway and we were glad we got to experience so many new, and fun, adventures.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Monthly Musings: Beating The Winter Blues

Winter at our house

I'm so glad that Holly at Pink Lady and Patty at Good, Better, Best are continuing Monthly Musings for 2023. This is such a fun link up! Join in and answer the questions below because the more people discussing this topic, the better. I'm really struggling with winter right now. It's been grey and our weather has been yo-yoing and there is nothing fun (in my mind) going on from now until mid-March. Ugh.

And I should clarify that "winter" in our area usually means a lot of snow, a lot of grey, a few big storms a year (we're predicted to have 20cm (8 inches) of snow in 24 hours by this morning), a lot of shoveling, and cold-ish temperatures (normally minus 10 to minus 20C (14 to minus 4F)). This winter has been unusual in that I feel like it hasn't really "hit" yet, other than a couple of storms.

1) Something you do for yourself to beat the winter blues?

Well, if you've read the blog for any length of time, you will not be at all surprised to read my answer of "buy tulips"!!! It's been a long standing tradition of mine to have numerous bouquets of tulips in our house in January, and sometimes, well into February too. They are a daily reminder that spring is coming. Eventually :)

2) Something you do for your family to bring joy over the winter?

I try to find fun activities to do outdoors (or indoors!) in winter. If we can find something fun to do, it makes winter a little more enjoyable. Skating has been a highlight this year.

3) Favourite cozy items or go-to's?

Right now, I love curling up in the blanket my best friend crocheted for me for my birthday. I also love my fleecy owl pajama pants and my sherpa jackets.

And slippers -- slippers are also important for supreme coziness.

4) Winter exercise habits or practices?

Snow shoveling is a great workout! Especially when we get a lot of it. Other than that, I don't have anything amazing to suggest. We get wet, heavy snow so it's basically weightlifting. Yay?!

5) Do you practice journaling or meditation?

Does my blog count as a journal? Other than that, no.

6) Do you light candles or use essential oils to relax?

No, I hate candles. My coworker has a diffuser going in the office every morning which I enjoy but I haven't translated that practice to at home.

7) Any bedtime rituals you would like to share that promote quality sleep?

Flannel sheets and my comfort bag (heat bag? magic bag? What do you call it?) on my feet at night. It's like an instant cue to make me really sleepy :) I even read an article the other day which shows that there's documented proof behind warm feet helping you fall asleep but of course I can't find it now... 

8) What are your morning habits that help prepare for a good day?

I get up much earlier than I have to so that I have time to wake up. I enjoy a quiet hour (or more) of drinking my coffee-hot chocolate, blogging, talking with Dave (once he wakes up), and enjoying the soft glow of the twinkle lights.

9) Favourite way to spend a day off in winter?

My favourite way would be to sleep in, enjoy a couple of cups of coffee-hot chocolate in my pajamas and blanket, maybe spend some time doing a puzzle while enjoying my bouquets of tulips, eat an easy lunch -- not leftovers or anything which requires too much work, enjoy a fun activity outside in the afternoon (with lightly falling snow -- not too cold or windy please) like skating or walking in a forest, eat soup or pizza for supper, and then crawl into bed early with some cranberry tea spiked with Fireball Whiskey and a good book. Doesn't that just sound like the perfect day?!?!

10) Favourite winter themed movies?

Oh my goodness -- I can't think of any. I am completely stumped on this question.

I don't think any of my tips are revolutionary but I am looking forward to reading all your posts about these questions. Dave and I were talking a few months ago and we realized that winter is our least favourite season because it means a heck of a lot of work (shovelling, scraping, walking on icy sidewalks, trying to stay warm, etc) without a whole lot of benefits or things we really enjoy. However, we do choose to live in a place where we can experience all four seasons so we try to make the best of it.

And with that, I'm really hoping we wake up to a snow day and cancelled school (and work for me!) today. There's a better than good possibility so we shall see if I get to spend the morning enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee-hot chocolate and reading your blog posts. Otherwise, I'll be leaving extra early this morning to trudge to work in all our snow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

What's Up Wednesday: January 2023

Ummm... HOW are we already at the last Wednesday in January?!?!? That is CRAZY to me! While the weeks of work have gone way too slowly, this month in general has gone very quickly!

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 Too for this post.

image from here
What we're eating this week... Soup. I've been eating a lot of soup. The grey January days make me want a warm bowl of soup so I've enjoyed cream of carrot-cheddar soup and my favourite chickpea-kale soup.

What I'm reminiscing about... I'm reminiscing about all the winter fun we had this past weekend on our getaway. I will likely start blogging about it next week but we had the BEST time. We walked goats, skated in a forest, went downhill skiing, snowshoed, and discovered kick sledding. It was so much fun and we already hope we can repeat it next year!
What I'm loving... My January tulips. They just make my days so much brighter and bring me so much joy this time of year :)

What we've been up to... Well, besides our weekend getaway, we've just been trying to get back into routine after our Winter Break. Yeah, we're still not settled into a good routine of planning and getting to all our activities. Rachel was sick for a few days and Dave had a birthday and Sam got springs on his braces and that just threw all of us off. Hopefully, in the next week or so, we'll get our acts together and have actual meal plans and stop running to the grocery store every other day and get our family calendar done, but until then, we've been flying by the seat of our pants around here.
Celebrating Dave's birthday last week.

What I'm dreading... We're supposed to get up to 20cm (about 8") of snow over the next day. I don't think it will be enough all at once to cancel anything so I'm dreading navigating our ways to work and our evening activities while trying to stay on top of shovelling that much snow. Ugh. Don't get me wrong -- snow can be really beautiful (if you can enjoy it from inside, under a warm blanket) but it is a heck of a lot of work too.
What I'm working on... My blog friend, Bekah, wrote a post about "flourishing in the frozen" which was about embracing the good things about winter. You can read it here. That is what I am working on -- enjoying this season (which is absolutely not my favourite) and trying to find the fun, the joy, the cozy, trying to flourish despite the fact that I really, truly, strongly, dislike winter.

Also, I'm trying to work on finding more consistent times to get together with my best friend, Janice. Fall was insane and we went way too long without seeing each other. We're trying to get together weekly to walk and it's good for my body and excellent for my soul.
What I'm excited about... Rachel and I have hair appointments booked for Tuesday! Whooo hoooo! I'm getting highlights and Rachel is getting... less conventional... colour :) Dave and Sam have haircuts booked for this week so I'm excited that, by next week at this time, we'll all be looking much better! Hahaha!

I'm also excited about the fact that Sam is spending time on the Disney Cruise website in his free time and finding cruises for us to take! We're not planning on booking anything any time soon but I love the fact that he has ideas for future vacations and is doing the research on his own to check them out. (Is it weird that I find this exciting?!?!?)
What I'm watching/reading... Well, here's where you find out just how exciting I am since I've mostly been watching the weather. January has been crazy with warmer than usual temperatures, freezing rain warnings, and now a snowfall warning. Can we just have some regular winter weather please?

As for reading, I'm so excited that I've been reading a wider variety of books lately. You can see what I read the first half of January here. Since that post, I've finished three more books and am halfway through a fourth one. I'm so happy my reading has normalized a little.
What I'm listening to... I'm writing this post from bed and I'm listening to our shower nozzle LOUDLY drain on the other side of the wall. It's rather annoying and probably needs to be fixed as it hasn't always been this loud.

Earlier today Sam was speaking in a British accent for no reason so I was also listening to that. Kids are weird, I tell you.
What I'm wearing... I've really been enjoying wearing the new shirt and sweater my parents got me for Christmas. I especially love the warmth of the sweater.
What I'm doing this weekend... Not a whole heck of a lot. We've had a couple of busy weekends and I'm looking forward to a quieter weekend of getting things done, including possibly doing a puzzle and painting my toenails. It's going to be super-exciting around here people :)
What I'm looking forward to next month... Blah. February. I've been thinking about this prompt for three days and I just can't think of anything I'm looking forward to in February. It's just going to be a regular, boring month with nothing at all exciting happening. Maybe I should look forward to embracing the routine and the coziness of the month...

What else is new... I think that's about it. It's just the same old, same old over here -- just with a lot of tulips!

I hope you all are having a great week. Please share something about February that I should be excited about :) I clearly need some help getting into a more positive frame of mind...