Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What's up Wednesday

Linking up with Shay and Sheaffer for What's up Wednesdays.

What we're eating this week...
Nothing too complicated.  We went out to Queen Margherita Pizza on Sunday night. I made macaroni and cheese with cauliflower on Monday and we ate it again on Tuesday.  We have leftover Sloppy Joes for tonight.  We will have guests on Thursday so we will make steak and caesar salad.  On Friday night we'll be at the airport!

What I'm reminiscing about...
Our trip to New York that we took in 2013.  A couple of friends have just gone there or are going there soon so I've been talking about New York food and attractions lately.

What I'm loving...
My new iPhone.  I don't always have the newest thing, but I am happy I went with the new iPhone and it conveniently was released right when my old contract expired.  

What we've been up to...
 Shopping for last minute trip things, doing laundry, making lists, charging the camera battery, planning our clothes, and checking the weather for Barcelona. 

What I'm dreading...
The last couple of days of work before going on vacation.  Trying to get everything done, letting clients know I will be away, and filling in co-workers about certain files so they can cover me if something urgent comes up.  

What I'm working on...
 Getting ready for our trip, planning E's birthday party, and also thinking about Halloween costumes and pumpkin ideas.  E wants to be Rubble from Paw Patrol.  Not sure if we can find an actual Rubble costume, or if we can find a construction worker costume and then add ears and a tail.  Halloween is not my strong suit. 

What I'm excited about...
Our trip to Barcelona.  We leave on Friday night.  We haven't gone on a big trip since we went to Peru in 2012, and E has never been to Europe, so it should be great!

(I'm hoping this will be what E looks like on the plane)

What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching a lot of Blue Jays games.  This is a pretty exciting time in Toronto. The Jays haven't made the playoffs since 1993 (when they one their second World Series in a row).  People are pumped and so are we.  The Affair is back on TV, Walking Dead will be back soon, and we still have  some episodes of Narcos to watch.

I finished our last book club selection, Any Known Blood. I also bought a few chick lit books to take with me on vacation. 

What I'm listening to...
I found a new playlist on Songza that I like - '00 Rap and R and B Pool Party.  Also, who else is loving Justin Bieber?! I kind of gave up on him but now I'm loving his music, well played Biebs. 

What I'm wearing...
Still wearing some summer clothes.  It isn't as hot but it isn't exactly fall weather either.  It's still pretty warm in Barcelona, but probably when we get back it will be time for jeans, leggings, sweaters and boots.  

What I'm doing this weekend...
Flying to Barcelona, arriving there around noon on Saturday.  Barcelona FC is playing Seville that day. I'm not a big soccer fan, but we are hoping to watch the game at a sports bar near where we are staying.  On Sunday we are going to try out the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour.  We have done this in London and Vancouver and find it is great way to be introduced to a city. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Our trip, E's birthday, Amanda Lindhout, and Halloween.

What else is new... 
We are Dave is tackling projects around the house.  He fixed the garage, painted the front room, and is prepping the basement for renovation.  Home renos and decorating, although things I want done, are not always at the top of my priority list.  It is good that Dave keeps this part of our life going.  

What's your favourite Halloween tradition?
As I said above Halloween is not a strength of mine.  I have never been very good at planning a costume and although I do like to dress us, it is usually something I've thrown together in the days before Halloween.  I have a feeling poor E will suffer because of this; mostly I have just bought him a cheap costume from the grocery store.  However the past two years I have carved a pretty good pumpkin, so I'd like to keep this up. 

Two years ago, Thomas.

Last year, Mockingjay

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Weekend Recap

On Friday night, we had leftovers for supper and then E and I made an apple pie.  We used Macintosh apples, thinly sliced, and made the crust from scratch.  It turned out really well.  We will be away for Thanksgiving this year, so I decided to make one of my favourite kinds of fall pie to take to our friends' house for dinner on Saturday.  My new iPhone (the rose gold 6S!) had arrived that day, and after a minor freak out (on my part) because of a glitch in the operating system, Dave got my new phone up and running.  

A special little pie made from the leftover pastry - brown sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate chips.  

On Saturday morning we headed up to E's school for a fall fair.  

His head was cold so he wanted to wear this hat (from Peru) and put his hands in his pockets because they were cold too.  He looks about 10 years older in this photo.    

I'm not a fan of cotton candy, but I supposed it's alright once in awhile.

You can just see his teeth disintegrating before your eyes from all of that sugar!

I went home early to get my hair cut, so Dave and E took a leisurely walk home by the river.

On Saturday afternoon we went over to someone's house for dinner and E got to play with their son who is E's age.  They had a great time and we had a yummy dinner.  E was a little whiny on the way home saying "I didn't want to go home yet, I was having so much fun".  Good times.  

On Sunday morning I walked down the street to pick up a few things including these little pumpkins and some new coffee.

We like to get coffee from a local coffee shop but sometimes Starbucks is calling my name, especially with their holiday flavours.

After church and lunch, Dave and I hung some pictures and then I went for a run.  Dave and E headed up to the park where I met them later.  

Relaxing in the grass

Evening light at the park

We walked up to Queen Margherita Pizza for supper.  Always a favourite.

Dave's pizza, the Calabrese.  

This week we will be busy getting ready for our trip.  I'm sure we could have done more over the weekend to get ready, but it was also nice to be somewhat relaxed. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Little Things Part 2

I wrote last week about the little things, and how we should have a more thankful mindset instead of wanting more or complaining.  I thought I would revisit this topic today for some random thankfulness for the "little things" which are actually big things when you think about it.

Watching stupid movies
This weekend Dave and I watched some dumb movies, but they were great.  We like watching Oscar winners and old favourites, and binging on a new TV series, but sometimes a movie that requires little intelligence is a good choice.  We watched Neighbours on Friday and Saturday and Horrible Bosses 2 on Saturday and Sunday (we're also so old that we couldn't watch all of the moves in one sitting as it got too late).  Also, can I just say that Zac Efron is something we can all appreciate.

We were invited to our friends' house for dinner on Saturday night and I was to bring dessert. I looked up a bunch of recipes as I considered what I should make. I eventually decided on apple pie.  Simple, but always a favourite.

Black Shoes
Last winter all of my plain black shoes met their demise.  Over the summer I had different shoes I could wear, but I had my eyes open for a new pair.  I bought some the other day, and even though they are just plain black shoes that will go with most things, I am still really happy with them.

Cozy Blankets
Unless it is super humid, I like to have a blanket on me when I'm lying on the couch in the evenings.  Of course now that it is getting colder, having a blanket is even cozier.

In church yesterday the discussion was about mountains.  I was thinking about the two times we've climbed mountains - in Vancouver at the Grouse Grind and of course in Machu Picchu - and then when we took the train, and cable car up the mountain in Switzerland.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favourites

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci for Friday Favourites again this week.

1. E's birthday is coming up next month.  We decided to keep the party kind of small this year, and I know E doesn't really care if there are 4 kids there or 15.  The "theme" is balloons, which sounds kind of lame on its own, but we will play some games with balloons and I have found some cute cake designs.

And we have these cute candles

2. We finished painting our living room so I took the opportunity to put up some fall decorations.  I got them at Homesense, and the wreath is from Michael's last year.

3. It's September, do you have your fall scented candles and hand soaps?  We have the soaps, but not the candles.  I keep buying candles but then we rarely light them, so I didn't bother this year.  We've only opened the Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte so far, and it is definitely a new favourite.

4. This week I made my favourite protein shake - one banana, one scoop of peanut butter, Arbonne chocolate protein powder, milk, and some ice cubes.

5. Yesterday I wrote about my favourite meals to order at certain restaurants.  You could say it's boring, but I just want to make sure I enjoy my meal. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Restaurant Favourites

For someone who loves to go out to eat, and try new recipes, you would think I'd be a bit more adventurous when it comes to ordering at restaurants.  However, I pretty much always order the same thing with very few deviations from my favourites.  I'm talking about chain restaurants here for the most part.  Obviously if I'm going to a new restaurant or a place where the menu is constantly changing I will try new things, but I do have a few guidelines for ordering.  I love going out to eat so much, I want to make sure I enjoy my meal; the worst thing is when you don't enjoy your food and then you feel like it was a waste of a meal out.

So here are my standards and some guidelines:

McDonalds - Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Large Fries, and Diet Coke

Earls - Santa Fe Chicken Salad with no dates

The Keg - Prime Rib, medium rare, and rice (for dinner) or Prime Rib Sandwich with fries (for lunch)

Jack Astors - Club Sandwich with fries

Swiss Chalet - Quarter chicken dinner with dark meat and french fries

Chipotle - Chicken Burrito Bowl with brown rice, black beans, mild salsa, sour cream, guac, cheese and lettuce

Tim Horton's for breakfast - Blueberry bagel, toasted, with light cream cheese

Brunch Anywhere - Eggs Benedict

Ice Cream Anywhere - Mint Chocolate Chip

Anywhere with Oysters - Oysters for an appetizer

Some of my "rules" for ordering:

- Don't order things you can make yourself
- Don't order pasta unless you're in a legit Italian restaurant
- Quesadillas or club sandwiches are usually a good bet
- Don't order fish unless you're on the East Coast or you know for sure it won't be overcooked
- Steak Frites is usually too rich
- Onion rings, nachos, and caesar salad can often be disappointing unless you know for sure they are good
- If possible, check out the menu online before arriving at the restaurant so you can make up your mind in advance and can instead spend time talking to your dinner companions
- If you know the food is not that great, order another beer/wine/cocktail

(See, now I would never order this because I can make pancakes with fruit, but E liked it)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Media Wednesday

This month's book club selection was Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill.  Sometimes I confuse an easy read with a good book. This was definitely an easy read even for one of our longer books of the year (about 500 pages).  Overall I guess it was an alright book, but I didn't love the way it was written.

The story takes place in Oakville, Ontario and Baltimore.  There are five generations of Langston Canes - from a runaway slave who came to Canada via the underground railroad to a writer who is having a midlife crisis of sorts.  The story goes back and forth between the 5th Langston and the other generations, but the transitions are easy.  If this can be a criticism, I found each of the Langstons and their supporting characters so intriguing, I wanted to read more about each one of them, but there wasn't enough book.  

I loved the commentary about the treatment of black people in Canada as compared to the US.  We like to think that because slavery was illegal in Canada for longer than it was in the US that we are so much more accepting and less racist than everyone.  Although there were certainly better conditions for black people here, it was not perfect and I liked that these subtleties were pointed out in the book. 

I really liked that it took place in Oakville, particularly since most of our book club meetings are in Oakville.  In Lawrence Hill's other book "Book of Negroes", part of it takes place in my hometown, so I appreciate the local ties.  

Despite what I did like about the book, I found it kind of tiresome. Maybe it was because this was our second slave related book this year, or maybe it was just the style of the book.  I just sometimes felt like I know what the author is trying to do here, I get it, but it wasn't buying all of it.  

However, if you're a fan of Lawrence Hill, or North American history in general, and haven't read this book yet, pick up a copy.  

See our other book club selections here:

We are Water

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weekend Recap

The last weekend of the summer started with a patio lunch with some people from work.  I hope it's not the last one of the season, but it might have been :(  

This was actually very fitting since I got the bigger beer with my lunch. 

When I got home, Dave and E had been up at the park after school and I met them at home. We put together some homemade calzones.  They actually turned out pretty well and I would definitely make them again. 

The next morning I went for a run down by the river and saw a coyote.  Dave continued his weekend project of prepping the living room for painting and then painting it.  E and I walked up to Sportball for the first session of the fall.  He was so excited to be running around, the only pictures I could get were him in motion.  One of his friends from his little school is even in the class, so he was glad to see an old friend

While he was at Sportball I walked up the street to do some errands. The Ukranian Festival was happening and I caught most of the parade on my walk. 

After lunch we waited for the rain to decide what it was doing, and then headed down to the Ukrainian festival just as it started pouring (good timing).  We decided to hit up our local pub for a beer and some wings and nachos until the rain subsided.  After that we continued our walk and E went on some rides.  
Bouncy Castle

With our little neighbour friend

After some rides we got some pierogies and sausages and met up with some more neighbours.  E talked his way into a popsicle from the ice cream truck.  

I asked if I could take his picture, but he insisted on a "family picture" (selfie)

The talented dancers on stage.  

On Saturday night we watched a really cute movie, The F Word. It is set in Toronto and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, and Adam Driver.  It was worth watching for sure and I love seeing my city in the movies. 

On Sunday morning E and I went to church.  E got to help light the candle at the beginning and he was very excited about that.  Our church had a welcome back BBQ after the service so we sat and enjoyed some good food, and even some ice cream with all the sprinkles.

After that we did a few errands for some fall decorations, new pillows and birthday invitations.  Then Dave and I painted the ceiling in the living room before we went up the park.  The city installed a ping pong table so we purchased some paddles and tried it out. 

When we got back I got supper ready (for Sunday and Monday), and Dave painted the living room walls (with some help from E).  After supper I made muffins.  

A great weekend where we got lots done around the house, hung out with friends and had some yummy food!