Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday Favourites


A few fun fall Friday favourites for you today.

We thought it was time to start a puzzle this week. E got this one for his birthday.

I went for a run on Tuesday and made it down to Grenadier Pond at High Park.  Lovely morning with just a bit of a chill.

One thing I miss about being at my office is popping downstairs to get a Starbucks in the afternoon.  So earlier this week I went for a walk to treat myself.  I had a Cinnamon Dolce Latte with almond milk and a coffee cake. It was so nice.

The "Wish Book(s)" arrived this week too.  The kids started looking through them and we always get them to cut out the things they want to fill one page of paper, and that's it.

I made stuffed peppers on Wednesday for supper and got the idea to carve jack o'lantern faces in the peppers (our filling was different than that one though).  The kids loved it!

The inside was so pretty I had to take a photo of it too.  It's a Moroccan inspired filling with couscous, chick peas, apricots, pine nuts, carrots, and yummy spices.

Dave took a new manager position at his work this week, so we went out for lunch to celebrate on Thursday.  There is no indoor dining in Toronto, not that we would want to be inside anyway, but the patios are in full swing.  We wore our warm clothes and I brought an extra scarf for a lap blanket and it was great. 

Then we carved our pumpkins!  We are going to put them out on Friday night too so more people can see them when they are walking by.  I had thought of doing a Ruth Bader Ginsberg pumpkin but couldn't find an easy stencil for it.  And we also thought of doing just a straight up "Covid Sucks" pumpkin but settled on a Storm Trooper (E's costume this year) and Toothless from How to Train your Dragon, since both boys have been watching a lot of that TV show on Netflix lately.

Happy Halloween!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

October Book Review

I have a bit of an Obama-centric post today, which is fitting given that the US election is in the horizon and we are all missing Barack and Michelle (aren't we?).  By the way, I refer to them by their first names here even though I know the proper address is President and Mrs. Obama.  

Anyway, the first book is American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson.  

I added this to my reading list after seeing it was on Barack's reading list.  I could tell by reading it why he found it particularly interesting.  It mostly takes place in the 1980s when America was involved in removing the newly elected president of Burkino Faso.  The main character works for the FBI and then is brought in to do some spying and maybe more.  There were a lot of political and also governmental aspects to the work she did and the involvement with Burkino Faso.  I'm sure Barack would have been well aware of what happened in Africa and other countries where the US (and other countries) inserted themselves into the mix to cause certain outcomes.  It has happened for many years and is still going on.  Being President, Barack would have known even more than what has been made public. 

Anyway, back to the book itself.  It was a little slow to start (even though it starts with a nighttime intruder in the main character's house) but then I got into it.  There was a bit of jumping around between different time periods so that helped to keep me reading.  I don't like spoiling anything, so I will just say I do not know Burkino Faso history so all of those parts of the plot were a surprise as I was not sure if the story was true or just based on other African countries where this type of thing has happened.  One of my favourites books is The Poisonwood Bible that takes place in the Congo in the 1960s so I knew of that situation but not much else. 

I always like to pick up books that feature different parts of the world, and since I hadn't read something about Africa for awhile, I found it very interesting, and I would recommend it if you're also looking for something different.  

And the second book was also probably a Barack favourite - Becoming by Michelle Obama.

This was such a great book to read.  I already love Michelle, but didn't really know too much about her other than she was from the South Side of Chicago and she attended Ivy League schools.  I loved getting to know about her family and upbringing.  She also wrote about what motivates her, how she made the various decisions she made, which led her to the life she has led.  I felt like I knew her personally.  The book is her story, but of course has many things to say about Barack and their time in the White House. I always love behind the scenes type stories so this was perfect to hear about what was going on during those big events that we all saw from the outside.  

But man! When you see what she and Barack have done, the people they grew into, and the work that went into that, it is exhausting and you feel a wee bit inadequate.  But it also was so inspiring to know that all of his talent did not go to waste.  He ran for President and used all of his qualities to win and then win again.  When Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, besides the obvious fact I was not happy about who did win, I was mostly disappointed that all of her experience, talent, and wisdom would not get to be applied in the Office of the President.  That was not the case with Barack, and I feel so happy that he got to realize that achievement. And that doesn't even speak about what it means to so many people to have had a Black man in office and to show people what is possible.  I know Michelle says she will never run for President, she makes it very clear that politics is not here thing, but wouldn't it be great if she did? 

So anyway, this is a typical autobiography so if you like that, and you like Michelle, read it.  And you can also watch the accompanying special on Netflix, which I will have to watch again now that I've read the book.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What's Up Wednesday

 What we're eating this week...

Sunday - Ribs, potato salad, coleslaw
Monday - Leftover ribs
Tuesday - Turkey Burgers
Wednesday - Stuffed Peppers (with jack o' lantern faces)
Thursday - Chicken, Okra, Sweet Potato Mash
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Baked Chicken Tacos

What I'm reminiscing about...
I am really missing being able to travel.  We don't travel a ton, but definitely a couple of trips a year, and it's always been something I look forward to doing.  I'm glad I've blogged about my trips over the years so I can look back at them and remember.  Last year at this time, I went to San Francisco which was so much fun!

What I'm loving...
How much fun Q is having at school.  He was always pretty good at going to daycare but then with several months away from school, I wondered how it would go at school since he is a bit more emotional that E ever was.  But he is excited to go (except when we have to make him stop playing with his toys) and happy to see us when we pick him up.  The kids are pros with their masks now and he hasn't lost anything except one water bottle, so we're doing well despite not being allowed in the school.  His teacher posts photos and stories on their Google Classroom so it's nice to see him and his friends.

What we've been up to...
Doing a little homeschooling with E.  He was at home for 14 days in isolation (positive Covid case in his after school program).  We did get out for a walk and bike a few times, but he was mostly just at home.  We are lucky he is an easy going kid.  He had several assignments posted in his Google Classroom each day, along with his IXL math program, and Lalilo French reading app, so he did a good amount of school work.  And he was happy to play video games and watch TV too :)

What I'm dreading...
The United States Election.  What a gong show that is (no offence American readers, but you know...). I'm really not sure what will happen, but no matter who gets more votes, I can't see anything going smoothly for the next little while.  I wish you well, America, I do, but it doesn't look good.   

What I'm working on...
Doing the switch over to our winter things.  Although we have had a pretty warm fall, the cooler temperatures have begun.  Other parts of our province have already had snow and I know we will get some soon enough.  Q is able to wear E's old snowsuit and boots, but I needed to get new ones for E.  I got a snowsuit from Joe Fresh, and Sorel boots (the last one in the youth sizes, men's sizes are next!).  I also got Q a little puffy jacket from Joe Fresh.  A bit warmer and waterproof than his other coat, but not as bulky as his snowsuit coat.  The hats and mittens are coming down out of storage. 

What I'm excited about...
I'm having a hard time coming up with anything. It's 2020, I'll take non-exciting for now. 

What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching The Haunting of Bly Manor, Great American BBQ Showdown, Amazing Race, Great British Baking Show, The Long Way Up.  

I actually have some books to write about tomorrow for my October book review.  And now I'm into Daisy Jones and the Six.  I can tell this will be a quick read.

What I'm listening to...
Adele.  She hosted SNL last week and I loved her Bachelor skit when she sang a sample of her hits.  Since I work at home now I can sign out loud at my desk while working and no one (really) minds :)

What I'm doing this weekend...
It's Halloween and although it will look slightly different this year, I am putting out some individual paper bags of treats for the neighbour kids for contactless pick up.  And Dave and E have a tee time for Sunday morning (golf in November, who would have thought!).

What I'm looking forward to next month...
I'm hoping for a fairly uneventful month.  There are no birthdays or major holidays, and I assume there will be no Remembrance Day services to attend.  If the kids can just be at school every day, then I'm happy! I am seeking to keep Christmas small this year, so hopefully I can order a few gifts next month so it's all done before December.  

What else is new...
Flu shots for three out of four of us.  E has had to wait since he's been in isolation for two weeks.  I don't know if it's fair to take him for a flu shot on Halloween, but we will get it for him soon, hopefully before they run out.  Get your flu shot too! I am always a promoter of it but it's especially important this year!

Linking up with Shay.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Weekend Recap

Friday was an absolutely beautiful day.  The weather was warm and the sun was out.  E and I took a bike ride at lunchtime.  

We had breakfast for supper and then Q went to bed fairly early.  Then we made popcorn and watched Hocus Pocus.

On Saturday morning I took Q to get his flu shot. This is his "angry face".  But he did fine and we even stopped in at the library and the playground for a few minutes (but it was chilly so we didn't stay long).

After lunch I went to Costco while Dave and the kids did some yardwork and played outside.  They were putting up booby traps around the tree house. 

Our backyard trees.

Pizza night on Saturday.  I think I won pizza of the week with this one. It was so good!

That evening we watched Addams Family Values.  

On Sunday morning I made breakfast and it looked like a face. 

Then we got dressed up and took our tripod down to the water to take our family photo for our Christmas card. 

Then back home to get warm and putt around the house for awhile.  I did some meal planning and made a list for groceries.

I went up the street to get a few things for our week ahead.  We were having ribs for supper so I prepped the rub, BBQ sauce, and potato salad.  Then I went out to see my fitness studio, Saor Studio.  I hadn't been there since it opened up in the summer, as I've been still working out at home, and now they can't have in person classes.  But they were open on the weekend for people to see the space and to shop at the little boutique.  The space is so lovely and I can't wait to go there and actually spend time, it will happen at some point even if it seems impossible now.

I picked up a candle while I was there and then dropped it off as a housewarming gift for one of our neighbours that moved recently.   And I also got to see their new house so that was nice. 

When I got back our ribs were cooking away in the oven.  Dave wanted to try and grill them on the open flame, so he went out to start the fire.  It is so nice to have a fire outside when it is chilly. 

Meanwhile the kids put together obstacle courses in the yard.  We all took turns going through them.

Ribs go onto the grill.  This was our first time trying this and it worked out pretty well, but the coals are hot, so next time we wanted to get the ribs up a little higher so they could spend longer on the grill.

Finished product. 

Potato salad with bacon and pickles (a Michael Smith recipe).

And the coleslaw we always make (so easy, just mayo, grainy mustard, a splash of cream, salt and pepper, and we buy the already shredded cabbage and carrots from our fruit market).

Showers for the kids after we ate, and Q was so tired he fell asleep before 7:00 as I read to him. Then the rest of watched The Great British Baking Show and Amazing Race.  Another lovely fall weekend :)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday Favourites


We celebrated E's birthday on Wednesday with waffles, sushi, ice cream cake from Bake Sale, and some presents. 

FaceTime Happy Birthday from Nana and Papa.

Then some new videos games and video chat with his friend

Q had his four year old check up this week.  He was a pro getting his two shots.   He also insisted on taking the umbrella.

E and I went on a little walk on Tuesday to scope out a family photo setting that we are going to do this weekend.  We found a good one, we also saw a racoon with distemper, some dead fish, and the biggest bunch of burrs that got caught on E's foot.  Plus it was a successful "school" outing since he found a rock with a fossil that he could show his teacher.

I joined some gals for a run on Thursday morning.  It was dark, it was raining, but it felt so nice to be out(side) with people, share some stories, and also get moving.  After being a bit absent in the exercise department (due to being busy and then having a sore back), it was good to be moving.  Plus as the skies lightened up, we were treated to some lovely fall colours during our run, which in case you didn't know by now, are my favourites!!

Q brought home about 50 pages of construction paper on Thursday, all scribbled on, folded and stuffed in his backpack. I feel like I owe the teacher a gift card to Staples to replenish her construction paper collection!  Then he laid them all out on the floor while I was making dinner.

E had another art class this week.  I would recommend this program if you live in Toronto, Art in Action.  She used to go into the schools for lunchtime programs, but now of course is offering a virtual class.  It's very well done.

Happy Friday! Hope you get up to something fun this weekend :)

Linking up with Andrea for Friday Favourites.