Friday, August 14, 2020

Friday Favourites

 On Monday I posted about going back to school and asked for some feedback, and I thank the  people who commented and sent me private messages.  I also put up a poll on my Instagram to see how other parents/educators feel.  I feel better that most parents are sending their parents back to school, given my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I thought that I was the only person who thought the plan was good enough to send my kids, and I wondered what I was missing.  It was pretty split about whether people were worried about mask wearing, class sizes, and getting sick, but overall I think we are willing to accept some risk for the reward of having our kids back in the classroom.  Things are changing and I think our government is doing as well as they can, trying to balance a variety of interests, but we are remaining positive here and we are excited about the school year. 

We had some of our fish that we brought home from our summer vacation.  We panfried it in butter with a bit of homemade fish fry dust and it tasted almost as good as when we had it before.  And the potatoes were fresh from Shelburne.

E enjoyed a soccer camp at High Park this week with our neighbours.  Masks on drop off is the norm now, although they don't need to wear it during the camp.

Q had soccer on Wednesday and since Dave was golfing E had to come with me (new protocols say one family member only, but they made an exception for us this week).  I brought a book along and E was content to read, although not impressed I snapped his photo.

On Wednesday I posted about my desk.  That morning I took Q to the playground at 8:00, before my first meeting, but I was still able to answer some emails there.

My workout studio finally got to open the doors to its new space with the start of Phase 3 in Toronto.  I'm not sure I want to attend a class in person yet, but they are still live streaming their classes, which is really great.  I tuned in on Monday and Tuesday nights, and will join again this morning.  I'm looking forward to going back to an in-person class, but just not right away. (Totally my own feelings, I know the studio is doing everything right!)

Another yummy meal we enjoyed this week was some homemade curry.  I made Jamie Oliver's recipe for lamb rogan josh (and even made my own rogan josh curry paste), and also an okra curry.  They were pretty tasty.  I'm so happy I can get fresh okra and fresh Ontario lamb up the street.

Linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favourites.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Let's Look

Today we are looking at our desks.  Well, my desk is looking a bit different these days, as I'm sure is the case for many people.  I have been mostly working from the dining room table.  I try to put my computer away at night time, although I have done less of that lately since we are eating supper outside. My "desk" is right in the middle of the action and I'm often refereeing fights, making snacks for the kids, and spent the remaining school year helping E with his work.  

And then I will usually take my phone calls at my other "desk", a.k.a. my room.  I often walk around the upstairs tidying our bedrooms, making beds, and folding laundry while I'm listening to a call.

And sometimes I work outside if it isn't too humid.

For the record, this is what my desk at the office is like.

We'll be back there someday.

Linking up with Shay and Erika.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Weekend Recap

On Friday night we had pizza night again and then watched a bit of TV.  We tuned into the Leaf game (the one where they came back from being down 3 and then winning in overtime) and then tried to get to bed fairly early.   

Saturday was our big day.  I got up early to go for a run followed by a workout.  It is hard to get up early sometimes but I never regret it.  Then we got in the car and drove up to Shelburne to visit with my family.  One of my mom's cousins passed away in June and we would be having an outdoor celebration of life on Saturday.  We haven't been up there since last year so it was great to see everyone. 

Golf cart ride!

Jean, the cousin that died, always took the kids out for a Gator or golf cart ride and let them drive, so E felt he was adequately trained.  (I actually didn't let them go out like this, I said A could drive while E held onto Q, who was sitting in the middle, and that worked out well.) 

After the service, we just hung out around the yard for the rest of the day with everyone.   The boys went out in the field and dug a few potatoes.

Got the shovel

Then cousin Ryan took Q for a ride in the side-by-side, and he was pretty excited! Ryan will have to take over for his mom now and take the kids out for a ride when we visit :)

This farm house has been in the family for four generations. 

Can't get enough of these skies.

Mel broke out some cheesies for the kids, she was popular.

We brought our tent to sleep in and set it up right on the property which was convenient.  We had a fire and then the kids basically asked to go to bed.  Once I got them settled, I snuck in there myself.  Unfortunately E threw up after he got into bed and had been sleeping for a bit, so I had to get up to drag the air mattress outside where Dave and Ryan helped me hose it off.  Dave stayed up a bit later.  Then it started pouring (we all agreed rain was not in the forecast!) and that kept me awake for most of the night (also Dave and I were sharing the remaining non-puked on sleeping bag, and sleeping on the upside down mattress with the plastic side up, not super comfortable). 

The next morning we were pretty tired.  I helped clean up from the service/party and then we had breakfast at Brian and Nancy's and then had a swim before getting in the car to drive home.  We had thought about spending the day there and heading home on Sunday evening but it was not in the cards for us, we just wanted to get home and rest.  I wish I had taken more photos but I was too  busy catching up with everyone.  I hope we can get up to visit again soon. 

Here are some photos of Jean with the kids from last summer when we were up there.

And a sky photo from last year because I can't help myself.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Back to School?

The plans for going back to school for many provinces, including our own, Ontario, have been released.

I have my own views about this and I wanted to share them with you and see what you think too, in particular those of you who are parents, educators, and health care professionals.  So please leave a comment on this post, or on my Facebook, or slide into my Instagram DMs (@smacto) and give me your thoughts.

This may be a bit of a jumble and I'll try to organize my thoughts below, but essentially it comes down to this - I am glad that schools will be open for a full school day, five days a week. I have some qualifications to that, but overall I feel excited that my kids can go back to school (Q is starting JK, and E will be in Grade 4).  So what am I missing?  Am I na├»ve to think this is a good idea?  How do you feel?

From my view it has been difficult to have the kids at home with us while we have been trying to do our full time day jobs.  For my own sanity I need those kids back in school and it needs to be everyday.  We have options of course, if we needed to hire a nanny, we could, but it isn't the solution I want.

I have heard lots of criticism of Ontario's plan and at first I wanted the critics to be quiet, since I heard "5 days a week" and that's all I cared about.  I was afraid too much criticism would lead to clawing back on those days.  But constructive criticism is useful and if the plan can be adapted to improve it, then let's do it. What does drive me nuts is that the government then gets criticized for making a change when it should be applauded for listening and considering different ideas.  They had to start somewhere and no plan will ever be the most perfect plan.

I know everyone has different concerns, but my main one is just getting back to some semblance of normal. Covid will be with us for awhile, even if a vaccine is developed, and we can't just sit in our house forever.  People say the Province is prioritizing the economy over schools but I don't necessarily agree with that; they go hand-in-hand.  Especially for people that don't have flexible jobs or multiple childcare options, the kids need free public school all day everyday for the parents to work.  I do think we could use a bit more creativity for the schools, and maybe we will see that, like more outdoor options until the weather gets bad.

I'm not worried about the kids wearing masks, I think they can handle it, and I know physical distancing will be difficult, so I suppose one of the main issues is class sizes, and that has always been an issue, even without a pandemic to contend with.  I know that the school year will not look the same and that there will be things that are missing, but that doesn't bother me as much. My worry is more that it will all come crashing down and a rise in cases, no matter how slight, will send everyone home for an undetermined amount of time again.  I think we need to recognize that there will be positive cases but we should be able to reduce risk and keep most people healthy. Ontario seems to be trending in the right direction, although the second wave will arrive at some point.

I also see the stories about kids going back to school and it's been a disaster, but I haven't heard any success stories, and I'm sure there must be some, right?! Also each jurisdiction is different in terms of their cases and attitudes towards the virus itself and we don't always know what the exact rules in place are in those disaster scenarios.

So am I totally out in left field here? Is it totally unreasonable to put kids back to school with these guidelines?  Will my kids be the only ones in line on the first day of school?

Friday, August 7, 2020

Friday Favourites

If you have not seen my vacation posts yet, click over to see a whole lot of beautiful Ontario and fishing.  Now is the time to explore your own province (or state) and that's exactly what we did.  Now our province is pretty big and we went far (1,700 km) and we had a great destination at Hyatt's Manion Lake Camp.

Our week started out with blueberry pie, using the blueberries E picked when we were on our trip. Nothing beats those wild blueberries, it was such a good pie!

Q started soccer this week and he was so excited! The program wasn't sure if it was going ahead but with the movement of Ontario into Phase 3 they were able to start it up.  There were only 9 kids in his age group at his time slot but it worked out really well.

I took Q for a picnic and walk on Thursday. 

The river was running high but we still found a spot to throw some rocks.

This is Toronto, so fortunate to have this nature near our house.

Pretty flowers on the way home.

E had golf camp all week in the afternoons at Humber River Valley Golf Club.  He really enjoyed it and we are hoping he can go to another session in a a couple of weeks.  

That explosion in Beirut this week was unbelievable.  The stories coming out of that city right now are devastating. Canada has a large Lebanese community and we will be making donations to help the people of that city.  2020 can take a break anytime now. 

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Summer Holiday Part 3

Another perfect morning for weather on Wednesday.

I had a work phone call scheduled so I stayed back and set up my computer.  But then my call was cancelled so the cat kept me company for awhile.  

We got a fire going when everyone got back from fishing so we could cook our fish here instead of inside. 

We should have been doing this all week!

After some quiet time, we went over to the beach and then tried out the kayaks.

E fed the horses some carrots.


Cool dude

And after supper, another night on the pontoon boat.

After driving for a bit, Q fell asleep.

Our last day was Thursday.  The plan for another fish fry that night so we needed to get out and catch our dinner. 

Dave caught this nice bass.

And I caught my dinner right away.

Dave and I both lots our hooks a couple of times - once each to getting caught on the bottom or rock, and then we both lost out to big pikes that cut our lines.  So annoying, I almost had mine in the boat before it snapped.

Dave's mom was picking blueberries so it was just Cliff and E in the other boat.  

Q was getting tired, so we went back where I stayed with the boys, and Dave took his parents out again.  Meanwhile we rested and watched TV.

Since we still needed fish for our dinner, everyone went out in the afternoon except for Q and me (as you'll recall I had already caught my fish).  We went swimming.  (This is actually E from when he got back)

Dave's dad caught this massive pike.  It went back in the water but he was proud.

And E was successful too.

We had a delicious fish fry and then a homemade ice cream cake for dessert.

On Friday we were up dark and early ready to head home.  We took a breakfast break at Kakabeka Falls.

Q didn't want to look since he was still eating his breakfast.

But he was ready for a phot on the way back.

Then we pulled off the highway to eat our lunch at Aguasabon Gorge (near Terrace Bay). 

And then we got an ice cream treat and playground break in White River.  This is the home of the original Winnie the Pooh.  You may remember this Heritage Minute.  The solider picked up the orphaned bear cub from a trapper in White River.

We pulled into our hotel in Sault Ste Marie (the Comfort Inn) around 5:30. We got settled in and then went out for supper. We chose Stackt Burger for take out and we ate by the water front.  It was so good.

Then climbing on some outdoor art installations at the art gallery.

We didn't have to get up as early the next day since we only needed to catch the ferry at 3:00 that afternoon.  The free breakfast at the Comfort Inn translated into a paper bag breakfast since their dining room was closed.  We each had a muffin, fruit cup, and juice and ate outside in the Muskoka chairs. 

Since we had extra time, we stopped at the big Loonie in Echo Bay and took a little walk on the boardwalk there. 

Then onto Manitoulin Island.  We went to this brewery for beers and lunch.

Covid Beer

We also tried stopping at Mum's Bakery in Mindemoya for apple fritters but they sold out way before we showed up, and instead we just got an assortment of other sweets.  Then we waited in line at the ferry terminal.

Q was excited to see the ferry.

On board

We had to wear our masks the entire time we were on the boat (1 hour and 45 minutes) but it was fine.  The kids didn't complain about it at all, they are very adaptable. 

We had downloaded a movie for them to watch on the iPad so that kept them entertained.  The adults played crib.

Once we were off the boat we grabbed supper at the Tacomoray food truck.

Dave and Q had tacos, E and I had nachos.

Then we drove home, sort of emptied the car, put the kids to bed and then watched the Raptors game.

It was a very successful and enjoyable trip, even though it wasn't really how we had planned it and we missed the family that couldn't join us this year.  We are so fortunate that we get to visit this spot and that we could still go this year.  Thank you for welcoming us Don, Brenda, Allison, and Alex and sharing your home and pets with us! 

Thank you readers for sticking with me for these long posts.  You can see Part 1 here and Part 2 here.