Monday, April 30, 2018

"Having it all"

The other day at the event I went to where they talked about the personality test, the presenter also posed the question: "Show of hands, who thinks they have a balanced life".  I raised my hand, but soon saw that the question was supposed to be rhetorical and no one else had raised their hands.  So then I took my hand down.  There is a misconception out there that we are all supposed to be running around with our heads cut off and straining to find this elusive balance.  Do I think my life is perfect? No. But do I think I'm doing a good job? Sure!

So many articles are written about "having it all", this is apparently very difficult for women especially.  But what does "all" mean?  Chances are, you already have it all, or at least enough.  The problem is that people don't realize it, they are always looking back or looking ahead, either yearning for the "good old days" or waiting for that day when everything will be perfect. I don't mean all of the time, sure there are bad days when you miss people who are gone, or you are not enjoying school or work or your home and you know there will be a bright day ahead when you can make a change there, but there are lots of good things that can get overlooked.

I am not a psychologist or life coach, but I will say this:  Think about what is important to you, and keep it simple - family time, sleep, exercise, career, etc.  Then make quality time in your day for those things.  I say quality, not necessarily quantity, because we are busy people, but when you've got some time, do the things you enjoy and the things that are important to you.  When you know you've spent time doing those things, you can feel better that your life is balanced. And then you can stop chasing it!

I wrote this post about things that I like to do and how I fit them into my day.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Favourites

This song came up in my Spotify playlist the other day and it had me bopping my head so I decided to share it here.

I went to a presentation for a work event and they talked about personality types.  You may have seen this before.  Although you can have qualities from each category, most people are stronger in one category than the others.  I am a Blue with bits of Green, and I would say Dave is Yellow with some Red.  We are opposites, but sometimes those make the best partnerships.  My co-workers and I have been having fun categorizing people in our office.

Peter Mansbridge was on Twitter Live doing a post about some documentaries he is working on about the Royals.  They will air on CBC News Network the week before the Royal Wedding.  I was happy to see him.  I missed him on the news recently with the Humboldt and Toronto tragedies.  The new National team did well covering those events, but I always enjoyed Peter's take on everything.  I will have to check out the documentaries. 

Last night E's school was putting a performance of their Hoop Troop and Hoppers Team.  The show was at 5:00 so I just picked up both boys and we went to sit in the gym (and luckily there was pizza to keep everyone satisfied) to watch the show.  The Hoop Troop (the younger kids, I think grades 5 and 6) did a hula hoop show and then the older Hoppers (grades 7 and 8) did a skipping routine.  It was so good, and you could tell a lot of hard work went into it.  I didn't get a picture of the performers, but I grabbed a selfie before we left.  Q was done by that time (but he did well to last the whole 45 minutes).

And some bonus photos of the boys in the school yard before we went inside. 

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favourites
and The Blended Blog for Friday Loves. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

New Things

Here are two things I do not like - diets and numbers on a scale.  I know when I am eating poorly and when I'm eating well, I don't usually need a diet to tell me what to do.  But in my quest to try new things, I decided to try the "Reset" meal plan provided by the gals who run my workout classes.  It would be good to lose a few pounds so my summer clothes will fit better, and I like a good challenge.

What I like about this meal plan is that all of your meals and snacks are written out for the whole week.  Each week is different too. The first week has a heavy focus on vegetables and what I'll call "white" protein - chicken, fish, chick peas, greek yoghurt, nuts, and very little sugar or carbs.  Then each week you get to add things back into your diet, like bread and fruit, and you can settle into a few better habits. I have always turned my nose up at certain diets because they seemed too hard to maintain for the long term.  I don't know what will happen after I'm done with the official schedule of meals provided for me, but you can't succeed unless you try it!

I was always hesitant to start this reset plan because I always seemed to have special events where following the meal plan 100% would be impossible.  But it's okay to follow it as best as you can without worrying too much about sticking to it completely.  For example, I have a lunch at work today but I chose the fish and lentil/sweet potato mash as my meal choice, simple.  For the bridal shower and baptism we are going to this weekend, I will just make some smarter choices, rather than:

The plan also suggests you give up caffeine and I said "No way José!" so already I'm not doing it 100%.  Me without my coffee would just be bad news.

Dave is doing it with me, which means I prepare all of his meals for him, and he loves that.  The kids eat all of the suppers that we have had this week, and E enjoyed the warm oat bran for breakfast on Monday.

Oat bran with honey and cinnamon, greek yoghurt and coconut, lemon and ginger water.

Homemade hummus and vegetables for a morning snack

It is a lot of work to prep everything and takes some coordination, but it's not difficult, just time consuming.  Of course it is my first time trying something like this but I'm getting into a rhythm.  The rest of my fitness group doesn't start the Reset for a couple more weeks, but once I made up my mind to do it, I decided to just jump right in, no time like the present right?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What's up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
We are trying out a meal plan with no sugar, no bread, no cheese, etc.  More on this tomorrow.

What I'm reminiscing about...
Two of my friends at work are having babies, one due next month, and the other in June.  I have been sharing my advice about being a new mom, c-sections, hospital stays, etc.  It's kind of hazy but some of it is coming back to me.

What I'm loving...
The love and support that has been shown in Toronto following Monday's terrible events.  Everyone is of the consensus that we will be stronger and kinder because of this and that the fundamental goodness of humans will be more on display.  

What we've been up to...
Watching all of the sports - Raptors, Blue Jays, even the Leafs.  Two big games tonight, Game 7 of the Leafs' series, and Game 5 of the Raptors' series.  They are both must win.

What I'm dreading...
Sunscreen.  I have said this before, but I just hate applying sunscreen, making sure it is done evenly, wondering when I will need to reapply, etc.  

What I'm working on...
Planning our trip to Chicago.  We have our flights and hotel booked, and tickets to some events.  Now onto restaurants and other sights we should see. I love a good travel itinerary. 

What I'm excited about...
The birth of the Royal Baby!  The news was (quite properly) overshadowed by the van collision in Toronto on Monday but before that happened, I loved seeing the videos of William bringing George and Charlotte in, and then seeing the stunning Kate introduce the baby to the world.  I am excited to hear what his name will be.

What I'm watching/reading...
We only have one series that we are still working our way through, and that is the Big Family Cooking Showdown.  The Handmaid's Tale starts again on Sunday and I'm excited about that.  Any new Netflix shows we should check out?

I am reading one of the books on my reading list and so far I am not into it.  It is Do Not Say We Have Nothing.  It jumps around between past and present and stories within stories so I have a hard time following it.  I'll give it a few more days and then I may just give up.  It's my reading list so I can do whatever I want!

What I'm listening to...
I didn't realize how many Avicii songs I liked but after he died last week I put on the Avicii Spotify playlist and loved it.  Sad to lose such a talent.

What I'm wearing...
No more boots and coats!  I need to dig out my summer clothes, I think it's finally time!  

What I'm doing this weekend...
Attending a bridal shower on Saturday and a baptism on Sunday, and Dave's parents will be here too. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
The start of t-ball and soccer season for E, a round of golf for me, some family visitors, the Royal Wedding, Mother's Day, and Dave's and my 9th wedding anniversary.  Lots of fun to be had in May!

What else is new...
E has a loose front tooth so when that falls out, it will really change his looks. 

Linking up with ShaySheaffer, and Mel, as usual.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Weekend Recap

I love my city and the people that live here.  Just like all of the other cities in the world that have faced tragedies such as this one we are TorontoStrong! Be kind to people, spread the love, love always wins over hate.  A shout out to the first responders, the regular people on the scene who rushed to help the victims, the police officer who arrested the suspect without firing a shot, and our media who covered the day's events with measured compassion and information.  We can be proud of all of these things.

Now onto our weekend recap.  On Friday I wanted Mexican food so Dave made some tacos complete with home-made salsa and guacamole.  Everyone loves tacos around here.

We watched the Raptor game and then some Netflix.

On Saturday I went to my workout class.  When I got back Dave and E went to Costco.  When E woke up from his nap we grabbed a snack and then went for a walk to Bulk Barn. So nice to be outside in spring clothes!

In the afternoon, I made some snacks for the week and then Dave and E went for a bike ride to the schoolyard to shoot some hoops and throw the baseball around.   When they got back, we went to a birthday party for one of our friends.
They always set up a full band for a jam session, there are always some talented attendees of the party.  Q joined in with an actual shopping cart. 

So much fun to hear live music.

Q enjoyed his popcorn and water at the bottom of the stairs.  (That may or may not have been his whole supper, in addition to two cupcakes.)

We did not see E for most of the party as he was running around with the other kids.

Getting ready for next year's party.

When we got home,  Dave and I watched The Post.

On Sunday morning we all went to church to hear E's last performance with the junior choir of this year. 

He did really well!

Our lone crocus in the front garden.

I meal prepped all afternoon while the boys watched the Blue Jays and played outside.  I went for my first run of the year.

It was such a lovely day, we capped it off with steak on the BBQ, and the Raptors game.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Spring Where I'm From

Linking up with The Blended Blog for a spring themed link up today.  What is Spring like where I am from?

I'm coming to you from the City of Toronto in Southern Ontario, Canada.  Not to play into the stereotypes but we do have a long winter here and when spring (finally) arrives, we embrace it with everything we have.  This part of the country does have four distinct seasons, which is different from Nova Scotia, where I grew up.  There it seems like winter hangs around for awhile and then summer arrives without much actual "spring" weather.  I know these things are not exclusive to my city, but these are the things I love about Spring in Toronto:

Birdsongs.  We have lots of trees in our yard, and Toronto is a city of parks, so there are plenty of birds singing their hearts out.  My favourite are cardinals, but we have blue jays, robins, grackles, mourning doves, woodpeckers, and sparrows.

Flowers.  In our neighbourhood, and I'm sure in others, we have these lovely blue flowers that cover everything.  They only stick around for a week or two, but they are nice.

Cherry Blossoms.  Another sure sign of Spring in Toronto is the emergence of the cherry blossoms at High Park (also known as Sakura).  Our ice storm last weekend apparently did not damage the blossoms so the watch is on.  Then everyone and their dog flocks to the park to get a photo.

This is baby E, in 2012.


People outside.  We tend to hibernate in the city throughout the winter, and the park by our house is not maintained in the winter anyway, so when the snow and ice is gone you will find hoards of people out and about.  Beware the errant child or biker, especially if you're on a bike.

Patios.  Give me a drink on a warm patio, with a bit of shade, and I am a happy gal.  Restaurants and bars are always chomping at the bit to get their patio set up and the customers are happy to fill them up.

Rubber Boots.  I don't care as much if the weather is bad if I get to wear my Hunter boots or Sorel duckie boots.

Sports.  The Raptors are in the playoffs, the Maple Leafs are in the playoffs, and the Blue Jays just about everyday.  Toronto vs. Everyone.
 2017 Home Opening Weekend

Butterflies.  I asked for E's contribution and this was his.  He said he sees them in "the field".

Racoons.  I would be remiss to omit the racoon population in this city.   They are around in the winter too, but, like the human population, experience a resurgence when the weather starts to warm up.  We even had one in our yard on Saturday in the middle of the day.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Favourites

April is more than halfway over, I can't believe it! That means we are in the midst of spring, despite the weather, and that, dare I say it, summer will soon be here!  I love Toronto in the summertime and I can't wait!

I ordered a couple of books from Amazon this week including this one.  I read the comments on Erika's post on Tuesday about raising a grateful child and this book was recommended several times.  I don't think E is ungrateful, usually quite the opposite, but I didn't think it would hurt to read the book and learn a few things.  

I also wanted to order this book but it was going to arrive too late for a gift I want to give, so I will try to find it at Chapters.  

Because of that book, this book was suggested so I put it in my cart.  We saw the episode of This Week Tonight when they talked about it and it looks good.  

I always loved Dawson's Creek and so I of course follow Joshua Jackson on Instagram and Twitter.  I saw he was on Q last week so I downloaded the interview.  He is starring in a Broadway play right now and so the interview as mostly about that, but also about his Creek days.  He seems like a very intelligent and passionate about his work. Listening to this reminded me how much I like Q and Tom Power is a good host, I will try to listen more often. 

My workouts always end with savasana and the instructor always sprays this around the room.  It is so nice, and it also doubles as a yoga mat spray, so I want to pick up a bottle the next time I am at Saje.

Yesterday I asked for recommendations for Chicago.  I need more!

Enjoy your Friday and weekend!

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favourites 
and The Blended Blog for Friday Loves. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Chicago Recommendations

I have booked a trip with my a friend to visit Chicago in June.  I need recommendations so I am looking to you for help!

I know very little about Chicago other than it has good pizza.  I have heard of the Magnificent Mile only because I remember that "guests of the Oprah Winfrey show" stayed near there.  I found this article about what not to do in Chicago, and it had some good tips.  We are already planning to do the Architectural Boat Tour like we did in New York, catch a Cubs game, and see Hamilton.

Any other must-sees?  Restaurants?  Best place for pizza? Hot dog? Cool shops?

This is a thing, apparently.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Media Wednesday - Currently

This is what I am currently into media-wise:

Netflix - Fargo, Wild Wild Country (we finished this last week actually), The Big Family Cooking Showdown

YouTube - Yoga workouts (for me and for kids), Black Jeopardy from SNL, CBC Kids History Lessons

Books - Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Podcasts - Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness (Queer Eye!), Jay and Dan, This American Life

News Stories - Humboldt Broncos, Beyonce at Coachella, Harry and Meghan wedding prep, Duchess of Cambridge baby watch, Ontario ice storm

Spotify Playlists - Nice for What by Drake (not a playlist, just on repeat), All Out 00s, Hit Rewind, Kidz Bop, Baby Beluga by Raffi, Cleopatra by The Lumineers