Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Favourites

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favourites.  How can it be the last Friday of July?!?!

1. Summer is my favourite time of the year.  I think this temperature was a little skewed since my car had been sitting in the sun for over an hour, but it was pretty close to 39 degrees (Celsius) with the humidity.  I am not complaining, I love it!  (Note the A/C is still cranked in the car, haha.)

2. We found a favourite new park near our house.  We had heard about this playground from other families but we only ventured over for the first time this week.  E is wearing his new favourite sandals, but they aren't great for playgrounds and definitely not the rock wall (in the corner).

3. Lip Sync Battles are my favourites.  I have had a love/hate relationship with Tom Cruise over the years.  Love Top Gun and Jerry Maguire Tom, but hate Vanilla Sky and Creepy Scientologist Tom.   Since Katie Holmes (Joey!) has been freed and some new Mission Impossibles have come out, I've shifted back to loving Tom Cruise.  I especially love this Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon!

4.  I have always liked Little People, Big World on TLC and when I saw this photo, I was so excited. Zach has always been a favourite and I am so happy to see his wedding pictures.  Apparently the wedding will be on TV at the end of August and I can't wait!

5.  I shared a recipe for a version of my favourite cocktail yesterday.  I love a mojito, this lemon basil version is a neat twist on it. 

Happy Friday!  Stay cool friends. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Basil Lemon Mojito

We got a new basil plant this week because our original one wasn't doing so well.  Our new one had a few too many large stems so we had to trim it down right away.  We kept some of the sprigs in some water on the windowsill and they inspired me to try a new cocktail.  This fun, fresh and fizzy drink is so tasty on a hot evening.  I just wish we had had enough to make a second round of them!

Basil Lemon Mojito*
(for one drink)

1 sprig of mint
1 sprig of basil
1 to 2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 shots of rum (I used 7 Year Old Havana Club)
juice from half a lemon
club soda

Remove the mint and basil leaves from the stems.  Tear into smaller pieces.  Muddle with the sugar in the bottom of a short glass.  We actually muddle ours in a cocktail shaker so we can strain out the bits of mint and basil.

Add the rum and lemon.  Shake with ice if using the cocktail shaker, or stir if you're muddling right in the glass.  Strain into the glass.  Add some ice cubes. Top with club soda and stir with a spoon.  Garnish with some leftover small mint or basil leaves.

Even though I strained out most of the leaves, I added a few back in for some colour.

*I didn't know if you could still call this drink a mojito if it didn't have lime, but I think you can still get away with it.  It still has the rum and mint.

Try this for your next evening on the patio.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Linking up with Shay and Sheaffer for What's up Wednesdays.  Love being in the middle of summer, I don't want it to end!

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - Grilled Chicken and vegetables, lemon pasta, and garlic bread
Monday - Spinach with roasted potatoes, cheddar cheese, and fried egg
Tuesday - Chicken thighs, corn and beans
Wednesday - Salmon
And that's all we have planned so far.

And this peach crisp.  Actually it's all gone now, but I may make another round of it again.

What I'm reminiscing about...

 Summers in Cape Breton.  Dave's parents are down there right now. Although I'm reminiscing about it, I'd still rather be here.  They are not enjoying the hot temperatures that we are.  

What I'm loving...
 I am loving the atmosphere in our city right now.  Sure, we whined and complained about the Pan Am Games since they were first announced, but I think we eventually got over it and had a great time hosting the Americas.  There is talk about Toronto making a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics and I am all for it!  It would seriously be my dream come true to be in an Olympic city.

What we've been up to...
 Running.  I have been running every other day all month long.  I love getting up early to run, and when I get to enjoy the cool morning air and the sunrise, it is definitely worth it!

What I'm dreading...
I can't really think of anything right now.  I'm very fortunate to be looking forward to a lot of things.

What I'm working on...
 As usual, getting work done for the end of the month so I can bill it.  Dave is working on getting the shed/garage finished.  He got some cedar shingles to finish the sides. It will look great when completed, and complement the "cottage" feel of our backyard.

What I'm excited about...
We just booked our flight to Spain for October.  The three of us are going to Barcelona and I'm so excited.  This will be E's first overseas trip.  I have been wanting to go to Barcelona for awhile and it is apparently a great place to visit in October when we have some time to travel.  We are going for a week.  We wanted to do a trip to a city where there are lots of things to do, and bonus for Barcelona is that there are beautiful beaches.  If you've ever been to Spain, I'd love to hear some tips, especially for travelling with a preschooler.  

What I'm watching/reading...
I'm still reading Edge of Eternity, it's long but I still love it.  I've also put a hold on our next book club selection,   We are Water by Wally Lamb. 

We are watching Homeland on Netflix.  Looking forward to Bachelor in Paradise starting on Sunday!! It's all so ridiculous and I love it!

What I'm listening to...
The old music on my iPod while I'm running. Some examples:
Club Can't Handle Me - Flo Rida ft. David Guetta
Don't Look Back in Anger - Oasis
Everlong - Foo Fighters
Runaround Sue - Buddy Holly
Gin and Juice - Dave Matthews Band
Hope and Ruin - The Trews
Vogue - Madonna
Stoned Love - The Supremes
When You Were Young - The Killers
1979 - Smashing Pumpkins

(very random, but actually they are all really great running songs)

What I'm wearing...
As little as possible.  I know that sounds more risque than I mean it to, but when the temperatures have been about 30 degrees Celsius (about 90 F) plus humidity and we don't have central air, it is hot!! I am not complaining because I prefer the heat to the cold winter, of which we have too much.  So I'm wearing light dresses at home, and skirts and short sleeved tops to work.  I wish I could wear this dress to work but strapless definitely doesn't fit in our dress code!

What I'm doing this weekend...
It is a long weekend in Canada (in the US too?).  We are having some people over for supper on Saturday.  I'm sure we will have a few other adventures.  And I'm sure this little pool will be out in full force.

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Camping in Algonquin, visits from family, a few rounds of golf. 

What else is new... 
I picked up some popsicle makers at Loblaws the other day and so I'm pinning recipes for homemade popsicles. Can't wait to try them out!

What will you miss most about summer?
I really think we are jumping the gun a bit here.  I mean sure, a lot of the people who link up here live in the Southern US where temperatures are insanely hot for a long time, but here in Southern Ontario, I feel like we are just getting started.  I don't want to talk about the end of summer until next month, k?
I am in absolutely no mood to go back to this!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weekend Recap

We are truly in the midst of summer, hot temperatures last week and this week.  I love it!  

I started off my Friday morning with my favourite summer breakfast, strawberries and milk.  So yummy!

We had corn on the cob for supper, along with some burgers, and we ate outside on our patio.

On Saturday morning I got up early for a great run.  I got home in time to enjoy a protein shake and coffee outside before we headed out on our bikes for a big day.  We left our house at about 9:00 and rode down to the ferry terminal to go to the Toronto Islands.  On our way we saw part of the Pan Am marathon which is pretty cool.  When we got to the terminal, we met our friends who had driven in from Mississauga.  We all hopped on the ferry to Centre Island.  Dave and I had gone to the Islands many years ago on our bikes, before we had E, and then once for a wedding.  This was E's first visit so of course we headed to Centreville, a little amusement park perfect for kids 2 to 6.  It was great, and we were happy E had a little friend to go on the rides with (aside from Dave).  I didn't get my own bracelet, I was happy to let Dave and E go on the rides without me. 

This carousel is really neat.  It was hand carved in the early 1900s.  It has some really neat animals on it to ride, but Dave and E picked the classic horses.

Flume ride

At the top

You can't tell by his face, but this was E's favourite ride.  There weren't a lot of people there so he got to go on a few rides in a row.

I took this selfie just to prove that I was there since I was taking all the pictures of them on the rides.   That's not even E in the background.

Later E said this was his favourite ride.

These big chairs always freak me out.

Getting ready for the big roller coaster. 

After the ride, E's hair is a little disheveled. But he had a great time!

Family photo by the "Town Hall". 

After a great day on the rides, eating french fries and ice cream, and spending time with friends, we said good bye and got on our bikes for home.  We decided to ride around the Islands for a bit and caught this beautiful view of the city.  We ended up down at the Ward's Island ferry terminal and took that ferry home instead.  It was way less crowded and we didn't have to wait in line at all.  I would highly recommend a trip to the Toronto Islands. For little kids, it is the perfect sized amusement park with plenty of rides.  For adults, you can ride bikes, rent kayaks and canoes, spend some time at the beach, have a picnic, and even play Frisbee golf.  And the best part is you're basically right in the middle of a big city.

On Sunday morning, I cleaned the house and Dave did some stuff in the yard (like patch a hole with concrete).  I shared our house tour last week but I thought I would take a few photos of our upstairs while they were clean, rather than just me moving around piles of clothes so I can get a good picture (not that I'd ever do that, ahem).

For lunch, we walked down to Baka for lunch on their patio.  Then we picked up some groceries on the way home.

E's nutella and banana crepe (for lunch, don't judge)

Sunday was so hot!  Halfway through the afternoon I decided to drive to Canadian Tire to buy a kiddie pool.  I got the very last one and E was very excited when I got home.

We had a yummy supper of grilled chicken and vegetables, lemon pasta, and garlic bread.  Then I threw together a peach crisp.  Usually we clean up while we are cooking but this time I left it all out on the counter.
This is real life.

Our tasty peach crisp.  The splash of almond extract in the peaches made it even better.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Last week I read these two articles here and here about the hashtag "#Blessed" that everyone uses on Twitter and Instagram.  The two articles basically say that the hashtag is getting out of control.  People are claiming they are blessed for mostly good things, like their family and their health, but they also use the hashtag for things like a cup of coffee, a day off work, etc.  It's getting a little ridiculous.  Kris Jenner is the focus of the first article.  The thought is that she throws in #blessed to her tweets and 'grams as a humble brag, she isn't just rich and privileged, she is also blessed.  Which I guess is fine but it sort of takes advantage of the word that really stands for God's grace in other people's lives.  The second article references the bible verses that spell out what being blessed actually is (Matthew 5 1-12).  Being blessed means God loves you even when you feel alone, God will comfort you when you are broken, God will be your refuge in a world of evil.  It means a bit more even than having a great job, house, family or good health.  It goes beyond that.  (I'm not saying non-Christians can't say they are blessed, because the word can have different meanings, I'm only referencing its origin in the bible.)

What happens when something becomes so popular (46 million #blessed hashtags on Instagram) is that it begins to get misused, and then people start writing about how it is being misused, and then people stop using it even when they could be using it.  Another similar example is "ironic".  Alanis Morissette wrote a song that gave whole bunch of examples of things that are not ironic and now no one knows what ironic means.  I'm still confused!

On Saturday morning I went for a run with my iPod for the first time in a long time. I have been running sans music, but I dug out my old iPod out this week and brought it along.  At one point a great song came on (Club Can't Handle Me - Flo Rida ft. David Guetta, by the way) and I started running as fast as I could and I was beaming as I ran.  It was a beautiful morning, I am healthy and I can run.  I felt blessed!!

I think we should still keep saying we are blessed even if it doesn't fit into the exact description Matthew 5 1-12, but we should be conscious of when we are saying it so it doesn't lose its meaning altogether, and then people start rolling their eyes.  Perhaps it should have a more sacred use, for the big things that truly enrich your life and that you have a true appreciation for.   And if you're so inclined, those things that are gifts from God, not just a really great cup of coffee.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Favourites

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci for Friday Favourites.

Let's get to it!

1. I am loving Amazing Race Canada.  It's so quaint, because it's obviously a Canadian production, and the prizes aren't as big as the American version, but it's still awesome. This year they actually head outside of Canada.  I also love that they have a transgendered contestant (very timely!), gay brothers, and lots of different cultural backgrounds.

2. Gardening is not my favourite.  Although many of our plants are either dead or nearly dead, our garden has yielded this beautiful flower.  We planted the bulb in the spring and they actually bloomed!  I can't even remember what the flower is.

3.  E starts school in the fall, and I hope that it will be a favourite for him, as it was for me.  I know he practices his letters at daycare but we have been trying to get him to practice his letters and numbers at home.  This week Dave made a "game" for E to practice his letters to get points.  It worked because he was super excited about the game and the points and he did them all.  Some better than others but he's getting it!

4. Dave found a gift card to Banana Republic the other day so he gave it me to use.  It had $25 on it so I treated myself to a dress.  It was on sale and I see that it is actually from the 2014 Holiday Season.  It is blue and a little shiny but it is sleeveless so I am going to wear it in the summer anyway.

That's it!! You only get 4 Favourites today!  

Have a great weekend!!