Tuesday, February 28, 2023

I Spy 2023: Week 8

It's time for another edition of "I Spy" and I should probably apologize but, be warned, this edition is all about our very weird weather. It's just been a very very very strange winter, weather wise. One day we have spring like temperatures, and the next day, winter hits with a vengeance. Today, for instance, the buses are cancelled for the third (or fourth?) time since Winter Break, which means my school will be at less than 25% attendance and Sam will be staying home.

Let's Play iSpy 2022 

backyard – Quarterly

On the left, is our "back yard" last Tuesday and then the right is our back yard on Thursday. So yeah, 48 hours apart, two completely different pictures. Last night we had more ice pellets so there's even more white back there today.

across the street

This is what it looked like "across the street" as the rest of my family was shovelling/scraping the car off after our ice/snow storm on Thursday morning. It's lovely that everyone can pitch in now when it comes to winter weather clean up. PS. If you want to play "Where's Waldo?", I see at least four shovels in this picture!

starts with L

While I don't sit under them in winter, my solar Lights "start with l" and bring me joy, even in this season. Bonus: they are a fun science experiment too as they go on later, and stay on longer, as the light increases every day!!!


Our weather has been insane and we never know what to expect "next" these days. This was the snow blowing around as it fell yesterday afternoon. We felt like we were living in a snow globe.

choose anything – Monthly – same vantage point

Here is our dining room decorated for Valentine's Day. Rachel made the paper chain which takes up the bulk of the decorating, we have the festive tablecloth on the table, there are three bouquets of tulips, and because Dave and I were so sick, the Covid tests are sitting on the Hoosier cupboard for easy access. Whew -- what a month February was! 

*week 60 of Lysha's challenge prompts. See her post here.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Monthly Musings: Warm Weather Destinations

It's time for another Monthly Musings with Holly at Pink Lady and Patty at Good, Better, Best. I am sooooo ready for some warmer weather so these questions are perfect!


1) Favourite warm weather destinations

I really love heading somewhere warm in the midst of winter. We've been to Mexico and on a couple of Disney Cruises in January-February. I would say that our day on Aruba stands out as a highlight and I would love to spend more time there.

2) Packing cubes: yes or no?

I really think I need to donate my packing cubes. Either that or I should watch some YouTube videos on how to use them well. I just don't understand the appeal. Sorry :(

3) Favourite carry on?

I am so sad because my favourite carry on was my LL Bean personalized bag but the handles finally wore out on our Europe trip this past summer. I now have another one which is similar but I need to get used to it. My carry on drives Dave nuts because it doesn't have a zipper and he's constantly worried something is going to fall out of it. However, I haven't lost anything yet!

4) Essential items in your suitcase?

For a warm weather destination, essential items are my camera, a swimsuit, my sun hat, my denim shorts, and my favourite t-shirts. Also, a nice skirt to wear with a t-shirt for a dressier occasion and a statement necklace for some added bling.

5) Excursions? Yes or no? Share your favourites.

Since we haven't done a lot of resort stays, I don't have many favourite excursions. However, my favourite Disney Cruise excursions have been ones where there is some learning, and potentially a game involved. Our family loves "Amazing Race" type events so anything that has overtones of that, we find really fun.

We also only tend to do excursions if there is something we really want to see and figuring out transportation on our own is complicated. We really like to explore on our own as much as possible. 

6) Most random item you always pack?

 Ummmm... I don't know... Indoor footwear?!? I HATE being barefoot so I have a pair of indoor flipflops I wear all the time in summer so yes, I took them on our cruise to wear in our stateroom and I wear them in hotel rooms as well. Is that random enough?!?

7) Do you use a travel agent?


The only time I've ever used a travel agent is when my dad and I took the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing, China to Moscow, Russia through Mongolia, with a side trip to the Ukraine. That trip was so complicated, with three different country visas required, that my dad and I did not want to be figuring out all the details on our own.

Now we have gone on some extended family trips where a travel agent likely booked them but those were trips we were taken on, not trips we booked. I am usually the travel agent when it comes to booking our trips. Figuring out all the details is a fun part of the travel process for me.

And I guess technically, the Disney Cruise company books our cruises, but I am the one who calls them and waits on hold and then figures everything else about the cruise -- excursions, transportation to and from, etc.

8) Favourite sunscreen?

I don't have a favourite sunscreen. Basically anything that offers really good protection, I guess. I bought some off a co-worker before the winter break and we'll take it on our March Break trip -- it's a spray on one so we'll see if I like it.

9) Favourite flip flops or sandals?

While I have my indoor flip flops, I don't really wear them otherwise. The last few years I've been loving my Sketchers (or fake Sketchers, as the case may be) which I wear without socks. I also really like my Toms. So yeah, I don't tend to wear flip flops or sandals.

10) Favourite swimsuit?

Well, the swimsuit I have now is not my favourite swimsuit. My favourite swimsuit in recent years was probably the tankini I'm wearing in the picture below which I bought at Target. It had black boy short bottoms and then a really pretty blue top. Sadly, this swimsuit got too stretched out a few years ago. I would love to find a swimsuit I really love but until then, I will just make do with whatever I find.

Thinking about warm weather destinations makes me extra excited for our March Break trip which, while not necessarily a "warm weather" destination, is at least warmer than where we are right now! Hopefully, we'll even be able to have a beach day while we're away.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

What's Up Wednesday: February 2023

I can't believe we're already at the last Wednesday in February. We still have almost a week of February left! I guess that's what happens when the shortest month of the year ends on a Tuesday.

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... Sadly, I was sick most of last week so this week we've been working on getting back to healthier meals. When I was sick, Dave and the kids ate a lot of take out! We had a sausage and veggie bake on Saturday night and homemade pizza on Monday night.

What I'm reminiscing about... Last winter my parents were our neighbours for a few months. I really miss having them live a few doors down from us. It was so nice to stop in after work for a quick visit, to enjoy pizza nights with them, and just have them so much closer for a bit. I wish they were our neighbours again instead of living three provinces away.
What I'm loving... Our midweek church program has been back to normal this winter. We have the full program running again and I love it!!! I love getting to visit with my friends midweek, I love not having to worry about dinner one night a week, I love seeing the energy of all the kids -- it just makes me soooo happy!!!

Also, we've been able to open our windows a few times this month and I love that!!! Even though we shouldn't be experiencing spring-like weather, I'm very excited about it!

What we've been up to... February has felt like such a mixed up month. I was sick so spent most of four days in bed, Dave had a bad cold which also knocked him for a loop, Valentine's Day passed with very little marking it (neither kid handed out cards and Rachel only got one as only one kid in her class handed them out), we've been inside a lot, and our weather has been very weird. It hasn't really felt like a regular February, that's for sure.

Rachel and I did go out for a special Afternoon Tea. Dave and I gifted the kids experiences this year for Christmas, rather than gifts, and a teatime with me was one of Rachel's experiences. We had a really fun and delicious afternoon a few days ago.

Rachel's experience with Dave was rock climbing and they also did that this past weekend.

We also cleaned quite a few rooms in our house a few days ago and went for a walk to the library. Did I mention it's been really exciting around here?!?!?

What I'm dreading... I was in our backyard a few days ago and I noticed that some of my flowers are starting to peek up above the ground. I'm dreading that we're going to get a bout of colder weather (which would not be unexpected at all) and that all the flowers popping up are going to freeze. Sadness. Here's hoping they survive whatever cold might be coming our way still...
Don't die in our freezing rain coming tonight little spears of green.
What I'm working on... Making summer plans. It's only February but we're trying to sort out our summer plans. A few special people are coming to Ontario and we want to make sure to make time for them, I'm trying to sort out what the kids are doing, and we're trying to figure out some potential trips. It's kind of crazy how far in advance we have to plan summer...
What I'm excited about... MARCH BREAK!!! I'm excited about time off work and I'm excited about the vacation we have planned!!! Also, Spring Training (for MLB) starts this weekend and I'm so excited baseball will be back!!!!!!!
What I'm watching/reading... We have yet another "special weather statement" for tonight into tomorrow. They're calling for freezing rain (again) and just generally yucky weather. About once every two weeks these past couple of months we've had weather bad enough to cancel buses but not bad enough to close the schools. Since my school is a bus-dependent school, it's a total pain. We have about 25% of the students show up and it's just a day of chaos. So yeah, I'm watching the weather...

As for reading, I've been getting a lot of reading done lately. I'm (unofficially) participating in the Decades Reading Challenge (see more about this challenge here) and this month we've been reading books from the 1900s-1910s. I really enjoy books from this time period. I've read a few which have been set in New York City museums/libraries, and now I just want to go back to New York!
What I'm listening to... I can't think of what sounds define this month. That's a little sad but I really haven't been listening to much... Starting this weekend though, I'll be listening to baseball and I'm SO HAPPY about that!!!
image from here
What I'm wearing... I basically wore pajamas for a week and other than that I've been wearing work clothes. I'm really not wearing too much interesting around here. Today, I will be wearing a pink shirt for Pink Shirt Day. This is an anti-bullying day focused on schools and you can read more about it here.
Left: I also wore my new Converse to go for a walk this past weekend.
What I'm doing this weekend... We're hosting Dave's parents for Shabbat on Friday, Sam has badminton, Rachel has dance, and hopefully I'll be listening to a Blue Jays Spring Training game (or two!). Also, Sam's experience with me is to go to a sports bar, watch a game, and eat nachos so we might try to fit that in this weekend.

What I'm looking forward to next month... Our March Break trip!!! We're meeting up with some blog friends (YYYYYAAAAAAYYYY!!!), fulfilling a bucket list item for me, and seeing our best friends in a super fun place. It's going to be an exciting week!!!
The countdown (with active numbers) which Rachel made for our March Break trip.
Only fifteen days left to go, as of today!!!

What I bought on Amazon... We actually bought some things on Amazon this month. I am trying to expand my festive spatula collection so we bought the exciting Hawaiian print ones as well as the taco themed ones. Rachel especially loves the taco ones.

What else is new... I don't think there's anything else to share. We're just hanging on until March Break over here! Hahaha!

Thank you for stopping by and tell me -- am I the only person who's excited Spring Training is starting?!?!? Do I need more excitement in my life?! (Don't answer that!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

I Spy 2023: Week 7

Welcome to another week of "I Spy." This week's photos feature the lasting effects of the ice storm which we received last Thursday night. While this past weekend felt more like spring, our continuing ice storms remind me that winter is not yet over. Let's Play iSpy 2022

  the sun shown

Thankfully "the sun shone" and our ice is all melted, but this photo shows both the sun shining and the ice covering our tree in the backyard. I'm so thankful that although there was a lot of ice, we didn't lose any branches off our trees.



Our drainpipe was definitely "plugged" with ice after the storm. Thankfully it's all melted away now.


My friend Shirley is so creative and talented. Last spring she started painting rocks. This is the "rock" she painted for me for my 50th birthday. It's so beautiful. 



It was hard to capture a picture but this is Rachel and I "walking" on my favourite path this past weekend. Please note I'm wearing running shoes instead of winter boots. I try to embrace the moments of warmer weather when I can.

your choice


You may have already seen this on Instagram, but Rachel and I went out for afternoon tea this past weekend. A scone with jam and clotted cream is always "my choice." Yum!!!

 *Lysha's prompts for Week 59. See her post here.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Halfway Through February And What I've Read

I've been quiet on the blog this week because I've been sick with a really bad cold. I've taken two Covid tests and they were both negative so this was just a chills-and-fevers, loss-of-appetite, runny nose, and headache "regular" kind of cold. I've taken three sick days this week and spent most of the time in bed. Gah. I'm finishing this post on Thursday afternoon and hoping I'm well enough to go in to work on Friday -- just in time for a long weekend. Ha! But honestly, it would be nice to interact with the outside world again. Until I have more exciting things to blog about, here's my "partway through February" book review.

I didn't get as much reading done as I normally would in the first half of February because one book took me a looooong time to read.

This was my book club book. I read it in one sitting because I had to know how it ended. However, I didn't love it, mostly because the thought of climate change, and how we're killing our earth (and thus, us), kept me awake most of the night. So this, all too real possibility of a book, just gave me a lot of anxiety. But if you are interested in that sort of thing (what happens if a Category 6 hurricane takes out Miami and Houston and what does that do to the rest of the US?), then you should read this book.

Again, this series isn't the most amazing series ever written but I am wholly invested in the characters and can't wait to see how it all wraps up.

This book was really interesting but it took me a long time to read it. This book is the reason I only read six books in the first half of February. While the main focus was on the two women's race around the world, the author also went down some very interesting rabbit holes like the power of the railroads, the history of time keeping in the US, what it was like to work on a steamship, and many other topics which I found fascinating.

This was a book about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, told from the point of view of a teen girl who lived in Chinatown. It addressed the racism she had to face as well as the story of trying to find hope in the aftermath of the earthquake. I enjoyed this story.

This was a quick read to finish up the Cedar Cove series. This is a series I could see myself reaching for when I need some comfort reading. It wasn't earth shattering but just a lovely, fun, sweet read.

This book made me want to go back to the Frick Museum (I've only been once in the early 90s). I love how Fiona Davis writes about historical buildings in New York City. Her books draw me in and I really enjoy the two timelines. There are a few of her books I haven't read and I'm putting them on my list because I know they'll be good.

So that was what I read the first half of February. Since I've been sick, all I've had the energy for is to sleep and read so I've already read 5 books since Monday but you'll have to wait a couple of weeks to hear about those :)