Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What's up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - steak, potatoes and beets (both freshly dug up when we were in Shelburne on the weekend!)
Monday - Grilled Chicken, leftover potatoes and corn on the cob
Tuesday - Quinoa with tomatoes, mushrooms and basil
Wednesday - Out to the neighbourhood pizza place
Thursday - Chicken kebabs with Greek inspired sides (at the campground)
Friday - Hamburgers and veggies and dip (at the campground)

What I'm reminiscing about...
The Toronto Film Festival is coming up again this September.  I usually do a post about the movies that are coming, and try to get downtown to see some of them and the movie stars that are here.  I know I will be too busy this month to head downtown for any films, but it will still be an exciting time for our city.  And it is always a good opportunity to get a preview of the Oscar contenders (past winners that have opened here are Slumdog Millionaire and 12 Years a Slave). 

What I'm loving...
The last couple of weeks of summer.  I love fall too, but summer is my favourite.  Whenever I get in a hot car, I like to soak it all in for a few minutes, so I can try and remember that feeling when we are shivering in the winter. 

What we've been up to....
Making choices about our house - we ordered our new windows and front door, which involved lots of colours and designs, and we picked colours and furnitures for the baby's room.  As I've said before, I love discussions about paint colours because they sound so ridiculous. 

What I'm dreading...
The last three weeks of work, I have a lot to do there, but still lots of other non-work things to do (doctor appointments, first day of school, errands, etc.) that I know it will be hectic.  

What I'm working on...
Picking up odds and ends for the baby's room and trying to figure out what I really need, it has been a few years since I had a baby to look after, so I need to refresh my memory.

What I'm excited about...
I am excited for my maternity leave.  I know I will be looking after a baby but I am so lucky to take time off work (in Canada we get to take a year off), and I am looking forward to it.

What I'm watching/reading...
We finished The Night Of and Stranger Things over the weekend, I would highly recommend both of them.  Season 2 of Narcos starts next week and that is next on our list.  

Last week I finished reading The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty.  We had read Big Little Lies for our July book club and I saw this at the library so I picked it up.  It is really good so if you like this author and haven't read it yet, try it. 

What I'm listening to...
I found a new radio station that plays the music I like, and at 5:00 on my way home from work, they do a remix. It's 103.5 FM in Toronto.  I still flip around to my standard favourites, but this is a new one in the mix. 

What I'm wearing...
The same five outfits on repeat, but I did just buy this new maternity dress from Old Navy and I'm excited to wear it as the weather gets cooler.

What I'm doing this weekend...
Camping at The Pinery Provincial Park.  People say I am crazy for camping while a month away from having a baby, but with the air mattress, I should be okay.  I am mostly excited to being outside and swimming on this last weekend before school starts! 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
To have this baby!! They aren't kidding when they say the last couple of months are the longest, they really are.  And we are so exited to meet our new little guy!
And if that wasn't enough, I'm also excited for the first day of school, the last soccer game, and the Ukrainian Festival in our neighbourhood.

What else is new...
I'm actually looking forward to the next season of Dancing with the Stars.  I haven't watched for a few seasons, but Maks and Derek are back and I also need to see the train wreck that is Ryan Lochte.

What is my favourite summer to fall transitional piece?
I love my Toms booties.  I don't wear socks with them so they are really only good for fall before it gets too cold.  I may get a new black pair this season.

Linking up with ShaySheaffer, and Mel.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Weekend Recap

Second last weekend of the summer before school starts, and we did a few fun things.  On Saturday morning we drove up to Shelburne Ontario (and if you're following along, yes, I grew up in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, what a coincidence).  My grandparents grew up here and I still have a lot of family there.  My grandfather died in 2012 and my grandmother died in 2014, and although we had funerals for them, we had not put their ashes in their grave yet, so this is what we did on Saturday.  My grandfather's surviving brother, and sister-in-law (married to a different brother) were able to come, and the children and grand (and great grand) children of my grandmother's sister who live in town were all there (and of course my Mom, Dave and E).  The minister did a short service, and it was really nice.  When I grew up in Shelburne Nova Scotia, which has a rich history of its own, I only had one relative there (my mom!), so I always appreciate being in Shelburne Ontario where I have lots of cousins, and also to see the gravestones of my family members.

After the service we went back to my cousins' house to have lunch and spend the afternoon swimming.
Some of the gang in the pool.

E taking Dave for a spin in the Gator

(E is excited to go back when there is snow as he was promised a ride on the snowmobile!)

On Sunday, we did some cleaning and yard work in the morning, and then my mom and I went shopping at Sherway Gardens.  I had not been there since they completed their renovations, it is so nice now and lots of fun new stores.  We at at Joey and I managed to get most of E's back to school clothes, at least enough for now.

While we were gone, Dave took E on a long bike ride to the lake and they played tennis and baseball at the park in our old neighbourhood, visited a few different playgrounds, wading pool, and got a popsicle.  We have not been able to do any family biking this summer, so it was nice for them to go out on this adventure.

Short week this week and then school next week!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Let's Talk - August

Today's topic is Fall Favourites.

I love summer and I'm not ready to let go of it yet!  But I do love fall and it is always good to have something to look forward to.  

My favourite things about fall are:

Starbucks Fall Drinks!

(This pretty latte is not from Starbucks, it's from Baka Cafe on Bloor West)

The fall colours

Thanksgiving food

Halloween pumpkins

Cooler weather

Having a theme to decorate with (summer decorations never really seems to happen)

Enjoy the rest of summer!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Favourites

Linking up, as usual, for Friday Favourites.  Check out the hostesses here: AndreaErika and Narci.

I know I shouldn't be buying any more maternity clothes with only a month to go, but I am so tired of my clothes, I couldn't resist picking up one more dress.  I can wear it until the end of the month and it will still be suitable for post-baby into the fall (I hope).

My mom has been here all week running "Camp Nana" for E.  They have been keeping busy with trips to the ROM, High Park, walks by the river, making muffins, and painting.

I found some websites that have educational games on them so we set up E on the laptop to try them out.  He was so excited to use the laptop, usually he is relegated to the iPad.  He liked using the mousepad.

I have been stopping by Homesense lately to pick up some stuff for the baby's room but I could not resist getting some early fall decorations.

If you are not watching "The Night Of" on HBO yet, do yourself a favour, spend this weekend binge watching it and then watch the finale on Sunday night.  Someone described it as Law and Order but made by the people who did True Detective, and I think that is a good description.  Also, it smacks of season 1 of Serial, so there's that too.

Happy weekending!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Breastfeeding Must Haves

My Thursday posts are usually focused around food, so today is really no different, but this time it is what our baby will be eating for the first six months of his life. 

I've only nursed one child so I'm not an expert, but these are some helpful things to get you started:

Patience!! That is number one.  I'm sure they exist, but I know few people who just started nursing their child and it went off without a hitch.  This is a learned skill that both you and your baby have to acquire, and even if you've had multiple children, you still need to work with the new baby and of course they are all different.

A support person. Commonly your spouse, but could also be your parent, friend, or lactation consultant.  Feeding a baby, especially at night, can be a very lonely experience; it can be painful, messy, inconvenient and just plain hard.  Having someone around who can help you, even if it's just being near you, is immensely helpful for success.

A breast pump. The one I liked was this one.  I still need to figure out if the one I still have works, or if it needs repair or replacement.  It is useful for getting the milk flowing, "fixing" inverted nipples, and allowing you to stock up for when you need to be away from the baby at mealtimes.  Some people like the double pump, but I liked my single.  I would recommend the electric one rather than the hand pump so you don't have to do as much work.

A pillow with a removable cover.  The pillows themselves have nice patterns , but they will inevitably get wet and it's easier to remove a cover and throw it in the wash rather than washing the whole pillow.  You may want to get a few different covers for this purpose. 
A privacy cover, if you want.  I have no issue with someone feeding their child out in the open, and I think (I hope) society is gradually moving that way, but if a cover makes you feel more comfortable, then get one.  They have really nice patterns and different styles.

Nursing pads.  I tried many different kinds, but my favourite is this brand.  I had no patience for the reusable cloth ones, although some people don't have an issue.  I wore these constantly and they were certainly required for the first few months.

Lanolin Cream.  I buy the Medela brand, but there are others available.  I've also heard coconut oil works.  Smear this on after every feeding and shower and you'll feel much better.
Nursing bras without underwire.  I have both kinds, but you definitely need the ones without underwire because you'll need to wear a bra to bed for a long time (with the pads) and an underwire simply won't do.  Get several of the style that you like, and then you can just keep switching them (and rinsing them out between uses, I told you, this is a messy business).

A notebook and clock.  Especially at the beginning, you'll need to know how long you're baby has fed, which side you started on, and when you last fed him/her.  You will be tired and not remember these details on their own.  You'll need to write them down and time your feedings.  You should also write down when you changed diapers and what was in there.  If you have trouble breastfeeding and need to go back to the hospital (like we did with E), the doctor/nurse/lactation consultant will want to know these details.  I'm sure there is an app for this now, but I will stick with the old fashioned pen and paper.

(Back at the hospital with jaundice, so another tip is "although you may feel terrible at the time, it will all be okay, and you're not alone!")

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Media Wednesday

I started reading Shay's blog in 2013 or so after seeing her on her brother's season of the Bachelor and seeing some posts on Twitter.  Then I started linking up with her other blogger friends.  After awhile I thought that blogging is something that I could do.

If you are interested in starting your own blog, here are my humble tips:

First, think about what kind blog you would like to write.  Mine is a general lifestyle blog, similar to the ones that I read on a daily basis.  My goal is mostly to share bits and pieces about my life so that my family and friends can follow along with us, and I can keep a record for myself of what we are up to.  The theme is basically "things Sarah likes".  Other blogs are focused on travel, fashion or food.  Find something you like and build from there.

Second, choose a blogging platform.  I use Blogger through Google.  It is easy to use and free, and it links all of your photos to your Google account.  There are lots of options out there and many resources for figuring out what one is best for you.  Choose a design that goes with your theme.  This can also be a work in progress as your blog grows and evolves; you'll see what sort of options you want to add and which ones are not necessary.  See what others have done and borrow their ideas.

Third, decide what to name your blog.  I chose Toronto SAM because I wanted a focus to be on our lives in Toronto, and SAM is my initials.  I decided to purchase a domain name through Go Daddy but you don't have to, you can just use the web address given to you by Google.  I decided to go with a domain name with both .com and .ca so it would be easy to remember.

Fourth, plan out how often you'd like to post and a rough schedule.  I enjoy reading blogs that post everyday on a consistent basis, so I decided to copy that same schedule.  Even if you don't want to post everyday, I would say pick a predictable schedule, communicate that to your readers, and stick with it.  For example, post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or once a week.  People will keep coming back if they know when there will be new content.

Fifth, start writing!

And finally, post and share.  I share my posts on Facebook everyday, and sometimes on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, although I'm not very consistent with doing that.  Get the word out there that you write a blog and don't be shy.  Find some link up parties and join in to get some new traffic.  (Link up parties are where another blogger gives you an idea to write about, and then you can share it with their readers by linking to it on their site.)

If you're interested and have more questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

And as always, if you like what you read here, share my blog with your friends!  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday

Linking up with Andrea for Show and Tell Tuesday.

Today's topic is Advice for your High School Self.  I loved high school and don't really have that many regrets.  It was a small school and we didn't have a lot of opportunities but we did what we could with what we had, and we had fun.  But here are a few things that I wish I'd thought more about.

1. Don't worry about being top of your class, take the classes that challenge you. 
I actually did graduate near the top of my class, but at the time, I regretted taking Pre-Calculus because I got a 79, and if I had taken regular math, I would have had a way higher mark and graduated higher in my class and maybe had a better entrance scholarship to Dalhousie.  But in the end taking Pre-Calculus was a good idea because when I wanted to take Physics in university, I needed Pre-Calculus, so it all worked out in the end. 

2.  Try out for all of the sports and don't give up.
We only had four sports at my school - soccer, basketball, badminton and track and field.  I wasn't a super sports star and I only ever made the soccer team in grades 10 to 12.  I did try out for basketball one time, and I think I dropped out before the last tryout.  I should have just tried out for all of the sports and maybe I wouldn't have made the team, or at least improved my skills for the next year.  Being on the soccer team was so much fun and it would have been fun to do more.  I did track for a year or two in junior high (running, hurdles, long jump) but never stuck with it either. 

3. Be friends with everyone.
This is especially true if you are in small school because you will run into the same people all the time and it's better to just get along with everyone.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Weekend Recap

On Friday I went to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a work retreat.  We have these about every three years and they are always held at the White Oaks Resort.  We do work sessions for strategic planning all day and then we have dinner and trivia in the evening.  I used my free time between the session and dinner for a massage and some quick outlet shopping.

A hotel room all to myself

On Saturday morning, after breakfast, we had another work session and then it was on to a team building activity.  We had a bit of free time so two of us went to my favourite wineries.  I decided to stock up on some special wine that I can start to enjoy in October.  We went to Southbrook and Konzelmann before going to Trius for our activity and lunch.

At Trius we blended our own wine with their Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Of course I couldn't participate in the tasting but our host did say that smell was 70% of the flavour, so I was beyond passing.  We had a good time.  My group named our wine Ruby Rouge and this was our description:

We had a really nice lunch at the winery before heading back to Toronto.

While I was gone, Dave and E explored most of High Park and had a great time on a sunny day.

On Saturday night we watched the Olympics and the Tragically Hip concert of course. I'm actually not a huge fan and only know a handful of their songs, but I felt we needed to participate in this national event and it was worth watching.

On Sunday, I finally cleaned out my closet (and the closet in the baby's room).  Dave and E went for run (Dave)/bike (E).  I got some groceries down the street.  I prefer walking up, but when you don't have time or the strength to carry it all back, the car is a good substitute (and free parking on Sunday mornings! #nerd).

My mom arrived from Nova Scotia to spend the next few days looking after E during the days.

We finished our evening with some fresh corn, burgers, the Olympic Closing Ceremonies, and HBO's The Night Of.

Dancing along with the music of the Closing Ceremonies.

Only a couple of weeks of summer left!!! I can't believe it.