Thursday, June 30, 2016

July Goals

My goals for June were:

1. Start going through the baby stuff and figure out what we need to do for the nursery.
I haven't brought anything up from the basement, but I have figured out what we need to buy and how  we will arrange the furniture.  I'll get to the baby stuff this month. 

2. Invite some people over for a BBQ.
Done.  We had our neighbours over last weekend. 

3. Walk E to school.
Done.  I was able to walk him to school twice this month when I didn't have to be at work for the regular time. 

4. Read two books.
I read three books.  A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, The Rumor but Elin Hildebrand, and our book club book for next month, Big Little Lies but Liane Moriarty. 

5. Get our camping stuff ready for the summer. 
Done.  We are ready to go today!

My goals for July are:

1.  Actually start going through the baby stuff. 

2.  Plan our week at the end of July when we are off work.  We aren't going anywhere, but will do some fun things around the city.

3.  Try a new restaurant, preferably with a patio. 

4.  Decorate our guest room. 

5.  Empty out the closet in the baby's room and sort the clothes.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
Monday - I was out at a golf tournament; Dave and E had spinach topped with roasted potatoes, shredded cheddar cheese and a fried egg.  
Tuesday - Homemade Tomato Soup and grilled cheese
Wednesday - Chili
Thursday - Campfire Nachos 

Friday - Hamburgers

What I'm reminiscing about...
Various last days of school.  E's last day is today. The last month of school was always so fun, lots of games outside, fun worksheets, and when we were in high school, a lot of nothing at all.  

Grads of '99!  This was 17 years ago!! #iamold

What I'm loving...
Our watering system for our garden.  We can be pretty good at keeping things watered but when we would go away for the weekend, our plants would take a hit and a week away would just about finish them off.  We used it at our old house but didn't get it set up here until this year.  It's just one less thing to worry about and we are happy with it.  

What we've been up to...
Getting ready for camping.  I kept our list from last year of what to bring and what we made to eat.  No need to try and reinvent the wheel.  We will be enjoying lots of our old favourites (see here and here).  

What I'm dreading...
Not too much, but I do know that the next three months are going to fly by so I need to work hard to get everything ready for the new baby - fixing up the room, cleaning clothes, organizing my clients/work while I'm on mat leave, and choosing a name!). 

What I'm working on...
Dave is working on finishing up the basement.  We bought a few things at Homesense the other day so now that the guest room is complete, we have put the bed in and start setting it up for guests.  I am not an interior designer so it is somewhat challenging to put together things that look nice without spending a fortune. 

A little sneak peak of the guest room.

What I'm excited about...
E's summer camps that he will be attending this year.  There are a few a High Park that seem really neat and I think he will enjoy them.  

What I'm watching/reading...
We finished up Game of Thrones on the weekend (best season ever!), and we've started on Bloodline.  We want to watch Homeland too, although I'm confused about what season we are on.  

I'm reading a new book that Dave got me for my birthday, The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart.  I'm only a few chapters in, but it seems good so far. 

What I'm listening to...
So many birds outside in our yard.  I love them but they can be loud and they start chirping before 5:00 am!!

What I'm wearing...
Lots of comfy summer clothes.  I have a small rotation of maternity clothes but they seem to be working out so far.  I can always change things up with jewellery.

What I'm doing this weekend...
Camping in Algonquin Park.  We did this same trip last year and had a blast (despite being rained out of our tent one night).

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Hosting book club, a visit from my friend Cindy, our week off to enjoy our city.

Last year's visit to Centre Island

What else is new...
New playground by the Sunnyside Pavilion and splash pad at High Park.   We hit up the splash pad on the weekend and on Monday night, Dave and E went swimming at Sunnyside after supper and then checked out the new play structures.

What is your favourite July 4th Canada Day tradition and/or recipe...
We put out some flags in our planters this week and I picked up some sparklers to enjoy on Friday night at our campsite.  We don't do too much for Canada Day, just drink a few beers (I'll have to forgot about that this year) and enjoy ourselves.  

Thanks for checking in with me today!

Linking up with ShaySheaffer and Mel

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Weekend Recap

We enjoyed a fairly relaxing weekend with no travelling for once.   On Friday night we headed up to one of our favourite spots, Queen Margherita Pizza, for supper.  I tried their eggplant fritti as an appetizer and it was delicious; I'll be getting that again!

This is on our walk home, a moving selfie!

On Saturday morning, I went to the Junction Farmer's Market and Dave and E went to Ikea.  I picked up some Ontario strawberries, beets, and some bread.  

Then of course I needed a drink from Starbucks.  This summer, my favourite is the passion tea lemonade.  

We were having our neighbours over for supper, so I made a strawberry pie.  We also served beer butt chicken (using the same rub I use on ribs, minus the brown sugar), roasted beet salad, potato salad that our neighbours brought, and fresh bread with roasted garlic butter. 

A pre dinner snack, I bought this guacamole and salsa instead of making them this time. 

Chickens, ready to hit the grill.

I love a good summer meal outside on the patio. 

It's hard to see but the boys are in the tree house.

On Sunday morning E and I went to church for the last Sunday School class of the year (plus cake!).  Then we sat down for a few minutes before taking a walk up to get some fish and chips for lunch and our groceries for the week. 

Then we went to High Park to enjoy the new splash pad (along with everyone else!).  It was busy but E had a great time running through the sprinklers.  

After supper we got organized for the week and then sat down for the season finale of Game of Thrones. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Let's Talk - June

Linking up with Andrea and Erika for Let's Talk.   Today's topic is Red, White and Blue, but since I'm in Canada, I'm shortening that to Red and White!

I love this dress from anthropologie. It would be perfect for a hot Canada Day weekend.

The best dessert to celebrate with on Canada Day is of course strawberry shortcake.  Not only are the strawberries in season, it is the right colour.

Patio lanterns always make me think of Canada Day, probably because of this song:

You can find these in any home store like Home Depot and Lowes, or some fancier Edison bulb ones at Crate and Barrel.

This shirt from the Drake General Store is a great way to show your Canadian patriotism.  There are little Mounties all over it.  It comes in kids and adult sizes. 

We will be spending Canada Day camping in Algonquin Park, can you get any more Canadian than that?!  We don't have any big plans other than the usual camp activities and maybe some sparklers.  And as long as I can listen to Wheat Kings by the Tragically Hip, I'll be fine. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Favourites

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci for Friday Favourites.

I got these pretty bracelets and necklace (that doubles as a bracelet) from Stella and Dot this week. 

You know I love Heritage Minutes, and most of them highlight some pretty great stories and heroes of our Canadian history.  This week two new ones were released that focus on some darker moments, and our treatment of our Aboriginal people.  This one is about the residential schools and it is heartbreaking.  Worth watching and learning about.

What I'm pretty sure will become my new favourite restaurant for lunch during the week just opened this week. Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant at Square One is finally here!  The pictures and menu look fabulous.  I'm hoping to stop in sometime soon.

I love watching Wimbledon and I'm looking forward to seeing our Canadian Milos on the court this year.  He's been playing well so I hope he has a good fortnight.

I am looking forward to this weekend.  We will be at home for the first time in weeks, and we only have one set plan, some neighbours coming over for a casual dinner on Saturday night.  (and we'll probably have to get an ice cream at some point too!)

Happy Weekend!! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Treats

The hot weather is here and summer officially started this week.   We are looking forward to lots of fun summer treats, including these favourites of mine:

Strawberry Shortcake.  My favourite way is with a tea biscuit and real whipped cream.

Popsicles - I made this kind last year but I have a few other recipes I want to try. 

Lime Snowcones - I have to get this if I'm at any street fair or the Ex. 

Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Fruit Crisp - I like peach and cherry, with some apples to fill in with it.

What are your favourites?!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

School Days

The last day of school is next week!! How did that happen?! E had a great year at school and seemed to learn a lot.  He made lots of friends (and dealt with some kids that weren't so nice all the time), got to go on some fun field trips, improved on his writing and artwork; and generally had a fun time.  I always loved school so I was hoping that he would find it to be a good experience, not a dreaded one, and I think we have succeeded with that.

A few comments on our experience with school (and I want to preface this post with noting that these are my personal opinions based on our school and our teacher, this is not a commentary on teachers and school administrators everywhere; perhaps we had a unique experience but I was disappointed with a few things and maybe things would have been different if my expectations had been managed, both by myself and by the school/teacher):

E started school when he was three, turning four in October.  This is the age for Junior Kindergarten, but it is pretty young.  He did okay, and I think part of that is due to the fact that he went to daycare since he was one.  All day Junior Kindergarten only came into effect over the past couple of years and I think the school needs to go a little further with accommodating these little kids. One example is that part way through the year, E got a puffer for his cough.  He is not asthmatic but the puffer seems to be the new "drug" of choice for coughing, so we got one for him. Unfortunately because he is four, he isn't that good at using it by himself (and who can blame him).  But that meant that he could not use his puffer during school hours because no one is allowed to help him.  And since Dave and I both work, we could not drop by the school and give it to him at lunchtime.  I'm sure there are other instances where little kids cannot take their medicine so I'm not sure what they are supposed to do.  Hopefully next year, E will be able to use the puffer on his own.

I also felt like we were admonished on a regular basis for bringing E to school even when he had a cold.  It is our opinion that if he is well enough to participate, even with a cough or runny nose, then he should be able to attend school, after all he was usually not the only sick kid.  But there were numerous occasions when the teacher would say something to us about his cough and then just look at us, like "you should do something about that".  He's a kid and I have a full time job, I can't take time off for every cough or sniffle!!

We were lucky that E attended the before and afterschool program in his classroom so we got to go in every day and see what they were up to and occasionally speak to the teachers directly about things. For those parents who picked up and dropped off outside each day, I think they were left out of a lot of things.  I know part of this was that the teachers were on work to rule strike action for the first few months, and even after that ended we only had one scheduled parent-teacher interview.  We got monthly emails about what was going on in the classroom but we didn't get a lot of information about our children specifically.  Thankfully they are getting old enough to tell us about what goes on during the day.

There are also an insane amount of volunteer and donation requests.  We are lucky that we live in a school district with a lot of interested and able parents so our children are afforded a lot of opportunities.  I was able to go on one field trip, but that was pretty much it.

We are looking forward to next year, Senior Kindergarten, which will also include the start of French Immersion.  I know both of the SK teachers are great, so E should do well with either one. And now that we are a little more experienced in the school system, hopefully we will know more of what to expect.