Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween Top Three

In honour of Halloween, here are a few of my top three Halloween favourites:

Wunderbar (Fun fact, only called Wunderbar in Canada and Germany, called Starbar in other countries. I don't think the US has them.)
Red Nibs
Swedish Berries
Honourable Mention - Tootsie Rolls (I always wanted these as a kid but now I am worried about my teeth, because I'm old)

Non-Scary Halloween Movies
Hocus Pocus

Scary Movies
Get Out
The Blair Witch Project
The Village

Monster Mash

Treats to make
Rice Krispie Squares with sprinkles and googly eyes
Mummy Brownies (brownies with strips of white icing)
Pumpkin Cookies

Check back tomorrow for some pics of our Halloween night.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

What's Up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - Ramen from Kinton Ramen
Monday - Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Tuesday - Chicken a la king on tea biscuits
Wednesday - Leftover chicken
Thursday - Baked Chicken Tacos
Friday - Salmon and roasted vegetables
Saturday - not sure yet

What I'm reminiscing about...
We closed on our first house on Halloween in 2008.  I remember getting the key and going there that day.  We didn't move our furniture in right away because we painted the whole thing first.  I remember the next Halloween when we gave out candy for the first time in our new home.  I can't remember how many people we got, but it wasn't a lot.  And then the next year we had baby E with us to hand out the candy.  I can't help but share this photo again this year.

And for fun, here is our attempt at recreating the pose with Q.  Slightly more active at 1 month old, as opposed to 10 day old E. 

What I'm loving...
I honestly can't get enough of the fall colours, I don't remember them being this good last year.

What we've been up to...
Celebrating birthdays.  Q turned 3 at the end of September and E turned 8 last week.  They are so fun!

What I'm dreading...
I try not to hate on any one season (*coughwinter*) so I will say instead that I am dreading the end of this beautiful fall weather we have been enjoying.  I like that I don't need to wear gloves and a hat yet, and some days I can get away with a blazer instead of a big jacket.

What I'm working on...
Getting E's passport renewed, making sure we all get our flu shots (Q and I got ours on Monday), getting ready for my trip next week, and carving our pumpkins for Halloween.

What I'm excited about...
Dave had a successful year at work and that means we get to go on another trip.  Last year we went to Barcelona and this year we get to go to Hawaii.  The work trip is at the Four Seasons on Oahu and we plan on going a few days early to explore another island, probably Maui.  We have never been to Hawaii before so this will a very exciting trip!  My Blue Crush dreams are coming true, I mean, I won't be hooking up with a football player (hah!) but I would love to try surfing.

What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching Mindhunter, David Chang's new show on Netflix, The Great Canadian Baking Show, and the Raptors!  Welcome back champs!

I shared my October reads on Monday, lots of good ones that kept me turning pages.  Right now I'm reading The Light We Lost.

What I'm listening to...
Tegan and Sara.  I read their book this month and I'm enjoying their music now, and don't forget their Lego movie hit, Everything is Awesome (yes that's them!).

  What I'm doing this weekend...
Getting my hair cut, taking our photos for our Christmas card, and that's about it!  And don't forget to set your clocks back!

What I'm looking forward to next month...
My trip to San Francisco and the start of the Christmas season!

What else is new...
Our basement renovation is coming together.  Dave has been working hard and he is ready to put the flooring down.  It will be so nice to have another living space.

Linking up with Shay and Sheaffer

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Weekend Recap

I don't do this often, but on Friday I went out for lunch by myself and sat at the bar at Union Chicken and ate my favourite chicken sandwich (the O.G.), had a beer, and read some magazines (something else I don't do much is buy magazines).  It was really enjoyable to sit in the buzz of the restaurant, I really recommend it. 

When I got home from work I picked up the kids, did a quick work out, and cleaned the bathroom. Then we went over to our neighbours for pizza.  

My kids were first in line for the pizza.  Then the kids watched TV and played, while the adults had a few drinks and then got into the karaoke.   Fun night!

Despite the late night before, Q and E were still up pretty early.  I decided to make pancakes and turkey sausage for breakfast and it was a good call.  We needed a good breakfast.  Then I took E up the street to get his passport photo taken and I tried to get him a flu shot at Shoppers, but they didn't have them in yet.  We also stopped in at the library, No Frills, and Hot Oven Bakery.   Meanwhile Dave took Q to Sportball.

I knew it was going to rain later so after lunch I did some raking and cleaned up the backyard.  Dave painted the basement and E ran back and forth and helped both of us.  When Q woke up he came out to help and then we went for a quick walk around the block and stopped at the playground.

I made a spinach lasagna for supper and we watched a bit of TV before heading to bed early.

On Sunday morning I went to my workout class and then took the boys to church.  In the afternoon we went to High Park for a hike. Again, the leaves were so colourful and pretty.

Unfortunately our plans were cut short when Q stepped into an ankle deep puddle and soaked his shoes.  So we went home instead of going out to eat, and ordered some ramen instead.  We did watch the new Lion King and I really enjoyed it!  I mean, it's pretty much the same movie but the animation is amazing. 

After the kids went to bed, Rex watched Mindhunter with us. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

October Book Review

Phew, this was a busy month for books! They were all easy reads and most of them held my interest so I read whenever I could.  Let's dive in!

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker.

This was on my list for a long time and I finally picked it up.  This is about a high school girl who is brutally raped at a party (this happens first chapter, so no real spoilers) and then she is given a drug treatment that will help her forget it with the hope she can just move on with her life without having to carry that trauma with her.  You're not sure who the narrator is at first, so that was an interesting start to the book, but the narrator ends up getting the perspective of a lot of the characters, including their own, and as the story gets pieced together, you start figuring out what is going on and how everyone is connected.  This one kept me turning the pages and the writing was so well done.  

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

After reading my September books about the Holocaust and a plane crash, and the rape book, above, I needed something light!! This was a cute little book about an American who gets a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University in England.  Her plan is to spend one year there and then go back home and start her career in politics.  As she meets various people, her plans are altered.  It's a little ridiculous at times, but it was fun (with some surprising serious parts), and it made me want to visit Oxford.

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

The author is married to Michael Gelman, the well-known executive producer of Kelly and Ryan, and she is originally from Canada! #funfacts  Another light read and pretty relatable for those of us with public school aged children (well, sort of, I'll get to that).  The main character has two older daughters from previous relationships, and then a son, with her current husband, in kindergarten.  She acts as "class mom" for his class and the book goes through the school year.  It is funny and a quick read.  There is a sequel that I will pick up next.  The only thing that bothered me about the book is that none of the parents moms of the kids in the class seemed to have jobs.  They were constantly volunteering for events, bringing food to school parties, and dropping off and picking up their kids at the actual school bell times.  (Reminiscent of Big Little Lies) This is not my life, but I guess it is a reality for other people.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

So enough with the lighthearted reads above, now into some darker material. In the very first chapter, a young boy is killed in a hit and run. It's hard to say too much about this book since part of its appeal is the plot twist.  Part of the book is told from the point of the view of the police detective in charge of solving the hit and run case.  Since the book takes place in Wales/England, it reminded me of Broadchurch or The Bodyguard (Netflix, not Kevin Costner).  The author is extremely talented and you can really understand the character's motivations and feelings, and it's very subtle, not obvious.  The author believes in the intelligence of her readers.  I even like how some details are left unresolved, like life, not everything is wrapped up in a nice little bow.

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl

This book came recommended by Natasha.  The author was the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, and these are her memoirs of her time at that magazine.  Although my family always had copies of Gourmet magazine around, I never really paid much attention to the content and didn't even realize they no longer publish it.  The book was really neat, I liked hearing about the food and publishing industries in New York, how they made the decisions they did, what they did on 9/11 (opened their 8 kitchens to cook for the first responders), and the different stories they published over the years.  It's kind of like The Devil Wears Prada, but not at all.

High School by Tegan and Sara Quin

You may know Tegan and Sara as Canadian singer-songwriters.  They are twins and they write this book about their life in high school where they discovered/embraced their sexuality, become musicians, and go through all of the other normal high school things.  As I read this it took me back to my high school years (they are a year older than me) with some differences.  I would like my Class of '99 classmates to read this book and tell me if I was missing something or did our rural Nova Scotia high school have the same drugs and lesbians as their Calgary high school.  I really enjoyed the way they talked about their own experiences of the same events (being twins but reacting differently) and how they captured some key moments of high school life (even if it was slightly different than my own experiences).  I was familiar with some of their songs but I've been listening to their music on Spotify this week and really enjoying it. You can tell they are talented songwriters and it comes through in their book too.

I actually read one more book this month but it's barely worth talking about.  It was Christian non-fiction swill.  Now, I like Jesus as much as the next person, but I find these Christian books are a dime a dozen.  I could write one and it wouldn't even be hard.  Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs didn't really speak to me or offer anything groundbreaking.  

Friday, October 25, 2019

Friday Favourites

It was a big week here in Canada - we elected a new government (same Prime Minister).  I misread the voting card (and I wasn't the only one) and thought voting started at 9:00, but it was actually 9:30.  It did mean I was the first in line at my polling station.  I am fine with the results.  I like the Liberals but I think another majority would not have been productive, so now with this minority they will be forced to work with the other parties.  Now we get to see how it works out and hope we aren't heading back to the polls in another 18 months. 

The Raptors season opener was on Tuesday.  I rocked my Got 'Em shirt to work with my suit.  It was fun to see them get their rings and unveil the banner, sometimes I still can't believe it all happened!

Whenever we go out after supper for a walk I always think we should try to do it more.  Q and I walked around the block to check out the local Halloween decorations.  A short walk but nice to get out for some fresh air. 

E got his school pictures back and they look pretty good!  I picked the one on the left.  Q got his photos taken this week too. 

We finished up The Office this week, and it was just as enjoyable as the first time, if not more, since we appreciated where it was going.  Dave started listening to the Office podcast put on my Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela).  He said its good but makes him want to watch the series again, even though we just finished it!

I shared my fall must haves yesterday here, how I do Halloween on Wednesday's post, and all of E's birthday fun on Monday and Tuesday.   Check them out!

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

10 Must Haves for Fall

I did a post in June about must haves for summer, so I thought I would do one for fall:

1. A can of pumpkin - I don't cook with pumpkin anytime except in the fall, and you can make it savoury or sweet.  We made some pumpkin mac and cheese, a pumpkin loaf, and a pumpkin pie.  I may pick up one more can before we make the turn into Christmas. 

2. Trench Coat - A trench coat is great for work or for looking put together on the weekend.  I got this one at Banana Republic last year and it is pretty classic.

3. Sweaters - I love able to throw on a sweater without a jacket and fall is the time to do that.  I haven't dug this one out yet, but this weekend the box of sweaters is coming upstairs!

4. A walk in the park - This isn't a "thing", but it is a must have so you an enjoy the beauty of this season. 

5. Hand cream - It is starting to get a little cooler so my skin is feeling it.  I have a little one at my desk from the Body Shop which comes in handy to apply throughout the day.

6. Immune stick - The fall is usually accompanied by some colds, but I try to ward them off with my "magic wand" from Saje.  I roll this Immune stick on my throat and chest when I feel a cold coming on and I think it helps. 
7. Headband - When I do go for a run in the fall I like to have my ears covered.  I have a nice thick headband from lululemon that does the trick.  They don't seem to make a similar version anymore. It also works as a guard for your neck, like I used in Barcelona in January.

8. Rubber boots - I love being able to march through puddles and wet grass without worrying about my footwear, and my Hunter boots are just the thing to do that in. I have this style with the adjustable back.

9. Coffee - I love making an afternoon coffee in the fall with my French Press coffee maker.  Since it gets darker earlier, I feel like I need the extra boost to stay awake.

10. Red wine - I drink wine all year round, but I tend to go for red wine in the fall.  One of my favourites is this Barbaresco, but if you see the price, we don't get it on a regular basis!

What are your must haves for fall?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

How I do Halloween

I was never that into Halloween, I would usually go to parties but I was never that good at putting together a great costume, and my pumpkin designs were the basic triangle eyes and toothy grin.   But now that I have kids, particularly ones that are getting older, I have improved my Halloween game.  So this is how I do Halloween now:

I pick up the costumes as early as I can. Luckily so far my kids are able to pick what they want to be (sometimes with encouragement, which makes it easier) pretty early and don't change their minds.  This year I picked up Q's costume at Costco in early September, and E wants to be something rather popular so I knew we could easily get it, and we did that at the beginning of October.  I never dress up, but this year I might put my miner coveralls and hard hat on to answer the door.

I just get our treats at the grocery store or Costco. I like to give out chocolate bars that I like, Dave likes to give out chips.  We usually hand out two or three items per kid.  There is never any shortage of candy in the stores, but I don't want to be rushing to get it the day before.

We don't usually have too many decorations for outside, I don't know where people store all of this stuff (although I enjoy seeing their displays), and I don't like the gross creepy things.  I got a few items at Michaels this year to put out and that satisfied E.  And best of all they were 40% off!

I don't buy our pumpkins until a week before Halloween at the earliest.  I have found that they go rotten pretty quickly and the squirrels start eating them if we leave them outside.  I do take my chances because sometimes they are all gone at the grocery store, but the local produce stores will usually have some left.  We get two or three pumpkins and do some fun designs. I always want to do something a little different and I will spend the time doing some fairly intricate carvings.  Last year we got some white pumpkins and painted them too.  We'll see what we come up with this year. 

Dave takes the kids out trick or treating, along with other kids in the neighbourhood, and I stay home to give out the candy.  I still get to see the neighbourhood kids and I like to keep track of how many people we get.  I keep a tally, and it's usually between 40 and 50.  I also drink wine ;)

When the kids come home we look at what they have.  I like to sort it out, although E doesn't care about that as much.  We let them have a few things, but not too much.  

After a few days, we will just put the leftover candy in some bowls in the kitchen for everyone to share (although Q is too short to know they are there), and I will throw some away.  The kids don't seem to mind and I'll still put some in E's lunch.

We also have had these tacos for our supper.  They are great because you can make the filling ahead of time and it's a quick finish in the oven.