Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Favourites

As I typed the title out and spelled "favourite" with a "u", which is different from the spelling used by the American hosts and other people that link up, it reminded me of my favourite memes.  Canada is the top, America is the bottom.  (Although to be fair, we aren't feeling sorry for the Americans swift rollout of the vaccines! *applause*).  I notice that spelling is different and I'm sure some Americans don't even know Canadians spell things differently (we take after the British tradition for a few things).

I know there is probably another name for this treat, but I know it as "Christmas Crack". Saltines layered with caramel and chocolate.  We made a batch this week with rainbow sprinkles to make it less Christmas-y and it was as delicious as always.

This was the state of the house on Wednesday.  Q played with all of his toys instead of diligently watching his teacher, but it all worked and he did help clean up at the end of the day. 

Homemade cinnamon buns by Dave.  This is another nice treat and he had Q help out which was a good midday activity. 

Thursday game night has taken a hit lately since we are all so tired at the end of a long day of balancing work and school.  But this week we ordered some food from Gatto on Bloor (we had a gift card) which was pretty good, and then E and I played crib.  I beat him :)

I have been somewhat fascinated by the Rachel Hollis news - I did not read Girl, Wash Your Face or her other book as I felt there was something off about the message she was peddling (I was like,
"Girl, don't tell me what to do!").  I read the article in the NY Times yesterday that chronicles her rise and fall (if you can say she's actually fallen, losing Instagram followers and postponing a conference doesn't necessarily mean she is done).  The article was interesting as it seemed to point to her being disingenuous as being a problem, since what was she really selling in the first place? But then perhaps it is a reflection on the people (and reflection of society) that gave her the platform at all that are the real issue.   Anyone have any thoughts on that? I feel as though many of my readers would know what I'm talking about and perhaps read the books themselves.  Also, I don't get Glennon Doyle, is she any different than Ms. Hollis?

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Monthly Musings


1) Are you doing a spring cleaning this year ?
I never do a full spring cleaning project, I just clean up random things.  I did a full clean of the bathrooms last week and I want to clean the doors and walls too. 

2) Favourite cleaning products?
Lysol wipes, Scrubbing Bubbles with Bleach, Powdered Tide (I'm a Go Clean Co convert).

3) What is your must clean for every spring?
The front hall closet - exchanging winter gear for sandals and baseball hats, cleaning out the old dust and salt that has built up over the winter.

4) Any garage/shed cleaning tips? 
This is Dave's purview, but he would say that the only way to clean it is to take everything out before you can organize it and put it back in.  Also get as many things up off the floor as possible (shelving, cabinet, hooks, etc.) so that you can easily get to what you need.   

5) Pack rat or Marie Kondo devotee?
Somewhere in the middle.  I fold my clothes like Marie Kondo but I still have a few things kicking around that don't necessarily spark joy. 

6) Best cleaning hack?
Okay, here is where I make my cleaning confession - my cleaning "hack" is to invite people over for dinner so that forces me to clean the house.  Now, with no one having come over for quite some time, my house is less than clean and has been for awhile.  It means I am more spot cleaning/tidying those high need areas rather than having everything clean at once.  

7) Do you have help with house cleaning?
Yes, both Dave and I do cleaning and we try to engage our children to help out too (with varying results).  We do not have a housekeeper. 

8) Favourite cleaning appliance?
I like our Dyson vacuum cleaner.  We've had it for years and it has held up well.  I am glad we decided to splurge on it years ago (I think we used our wedding gift money to get it), it has been a worthwhile investment.

9) Run the dishwasher every single night or just when full?
When it's full, so every 1.5 days or so.

10) Favourite way to donate or purge unneeded items?
I like to donate clothes to this store, but it has been closed for awhile, and most places haven't taken donations over the past year.  We also used to donate non-clothes items to our church's yard sale, but again, they haven't had that since 2019. I have given a few things to my neighbour who has small boys but I also just have to throw things out.  For larger household things we can put them on the curb and sometimes people stop by and take them. 

Thanks for hosting Holly and Patty.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

What's up Wednesday


What we're eating this week:
Sunday - Steak, Mushrooms, Baked Potatoes with toppings (it was like being at The Keg!)
Monday - Shell Pasta with peas, pancetta, and mint
Tuesday - Red Lentil Curry with rice and mango chutney (Oh She Glows for Dinner recipe)
Wednesday - Turkey Burgers
Thursday - Order 
Friday - Sausages and Pasta Salad
Saturday - nothing planned yet

What I'm reminiscing about...
Now that we are doing school at home again, I can't even remember how we did it last year at this time. Q wasn't in school and E didn't have a regular school day schedule so I'm not sure how we organized our day, but I suppose it wasn't organized at all.  It's a hazy memory, sort of like those days when you first bring your baby home from the hospital.  I'm happy I have this blog so I can go back and see what we were up to during this "unprecedented times", which I think now, more than a year in, we can now say are "precedented", haha.

Last year, doing local walks.

What I'm loving...
I bought the case of Fever Tree tonic water at Costco last week for some gin and tonics.  It doesn't quite feel warm enough yet, but they are so refreshing in the hot sun.

What we've been up to...
Dave picked up a golf net for our backyard so we can hit balls into it like at the driving range.  We set it up last weekend and will even get use out of it when golf courses open back up (whenever that will be).

What I'm dreading...
Another summer without summer camps and summer sports.  Although we are registered for all of these things, I don't feel like many of them will be able to operate (or at least not as they would like to).  I know the kids are resilient and don't even really know what they are missing out on, but they really are missing so many opportunities for fun things to do.  One summer of interrupted fun was enough, and now we are facing another one.  

What I'm working on...

Organizing my time between all of the things - trying to help Q (and to a lesser extend E) with school while answering emails and phone calls throughout the day. I don't have long periods of time where I can sit at my desk until 2:00 when Q is done school for the day and I let him just watch TV.  We have had a few urgent things come up at work lately that require some thought and lots of phone calls.

What I'm excited about...

Right now, the only thing I can think of is getting vaccines out to everyone.  Dave tells me numbers of how many vaccines were distributed on a daily basis, and honestly the numbers go in one ear and out the other (I have told him this), but all I want is for as many people as possible to get the vaccine and as quickly as possible.  I know Canada has its challenges in getting supply but it is slowly coming in and I sure hope it can ramp up.  Partly I am being selfish because I want the kids to go back to school, to travel, to eat at restaurants, and have some of our regular routines return, but really it's knowing that the variants are more serious in the young people (who aren't eligible for vaccines yet), then I just want everyone to get them now!

What I'm wearing...

Still the same old clothes I've been wearing for a year, but I did get my summer clothes out the other day so hopefully it will be warm enough for shorts and skirts soon.  I organized my drawers again, as I do when I switch my clothes around.  I may even get some jewellery out at some point now that it won't be covered by jackets, hats, and scarves. 

What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching the new episodes of Island of Bryan, will start Handmaid's Tale tonight, and re-watching Ted Lasso.  We are also watching the new Mighty Ducks show on Disney+ with E.  If you have Apple TV, check out The Year the World Changed, narrated by David Attenborough.  It's how nature has benefitted from all of the humans being locked down over this past year.  It gives one hope that perhaps this wasn't all for nothing.

I posted about my April books on Monday.  Now I'm not sure what to read, still waiting for a few library holds, but I think I have a few books a friend gave me last year so I'll pick up those for now.

What I'm listening to...
Nothing special lately, just my usual podcasts (The Daily and The Bridge) and playlists (Funk and Soul, '90s hits, instrumental). I have been enjoying the birds in our yard. I hear a cardinal and I have to stop and try to find it in the trees.  I'm obsessed. 

What I'm doing this weekend...
I guess it goes without saying that we have no plans, so we will probably hit golf balls in the backyard, watch the Blue Jays on our outdoor screen, and do some cleaning.  I'd also like to put away the winter stuff in the front closet, finally!

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Gosh, I don't know.  Although the current lockdown is scheduled to end midway through the month, I am not sure much will actually change here in Toronto.  So I'll say what I said last month "warmer weather, hopefully better news about the vaccine rollout for Canada".  It is also Mother's Day and Dave's and my wedding anniversary. 

What else is new...
This is sort of "old news" but Dave and I have our first shot of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, thank goodness! We will get our second one in August.  It is a relief to get the first dose and makes me feel much better (even though we are still following all of the lockdown and public health rules and will be doing so for the immediate future).

Linking up with Shay today!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Weekend Recap

Dave and I were feeling a little achy on Friday after our vaccines the day before so we took it easy in the morning.  We had a successful school day to end the week and Q did some shapes and we read The Paper Bag Princess.  

We ate our lunch outside.  I had our leftover Indian food from the night before and the kids had their lunch in their bento boxes.  Even though we aren't at school, I sometimes put their lunches in there as I find they will eat a few different things.

I went to Costco briefly (mostly to get chips) and to send a courier for work.  We had our pizza for supper that night and watched a of TV before trying to head to bed early.

On Saturday morning we were feeling better.  I cleaned the bathrooms while Dave went for a run.  After I was done cleaning I did a Beyonce Peloton ride.  It was a fun one!

After lunch we set up the new feature for the backyard, a golf ball hitting net!  With the driving ranges and golf courses closed, we need to have a way to practice.  It's fun for the whole family (with only one wayward ball!).

We also took a walk to get some meat for supper.  I left E in line to get his own Booster Juice while I went across the street.  He's at the end of the line counting his money.  

When we got back we decided to walk and get an ice cream cone. 

We came home to eat supper and then decided to put the Blue Jays game on our screen.

Upper deck seats ;)

On Sunday morning we watched a few movies and did some tidying up.  Q's teacher had sent some simple science experiments for us to try, so we did a few of those.

More golf in the afternoon and we had the Blue Jays game on the speaker (we tried putting it on the screen but it was too light out and also windy).

We are re-watching Ted Lasso so I was inspired to make a batch of shortbreads (you'll know what I mean if you watch the show).  I added cardamom and vanilla and they were so good.

We watched a fun movie after supper, The Kid Who Would Be King.  It's based on the Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table story and E knows a bit about that from Trollhunters.  I watched the Oscars after that on delay so I was up pretty late.  It certainly was a muted ceremony as compared with year's past so I'm glad I had the ability to fast forward through some things.

Monday, April 26, 2021

April Books

 I have three books for you today, all very different.

First up is American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. This was on my reading list for 2021.  

This book is about a mother and young son running from the cartel in Mexico, trying to get to the United States border.  They meet people along the way, good and bad.  I was captivated by the first chapter and read it quickly as I didn't want to put it down.  I am somewhat familiar with the cartel issues in Guerrero State (where the story starts), as my company does work there, but I don't think I could truly appreciate how deep that goes until reading this book.  I know that people coming to the border from Mexico and Central America is a hot topic in the United States and it elicits strong sentiments for and against.  I have always felt that if people were willing to make that journey and take the chance, then they were doing it for a good reason, but the reasons are well detailed in this book and it really does make you think about the real problems people are facing.  I would hope that someone reading this who was on the 'against' side may see these migrants as real people who deserve a shot. 

Now, after reading the book, I looked up a bit about it and then heard about some of the controversy around it and the author.  There are some issues with the fact that the author is white with no ties to Mexico that indicates some appropriation of the culture, and that the story would be better told (and has been better told) by Latinx writers instead.  There are also people that take issue with the stereotypes that she includes in the book.  If I had known these things before I started reading, it's likely I would have felt differently.  As with most things, I think if this is your only source of information about Mexican migrants at the US border, then you need to do more reading, especially by writers from the countries where these migrants are travelling from.  That said, I think it does a good job of showing the individuality of the people arriving, and illustrating the dire situations that people are escaping from. 

UpdateHere is a link to a site that lists other books to read instead of American Dirt, ones that tell the same story but perhaps in a more genuine way and written by Latinx voices.

The next book was I Am the Rage by Dr. Martina McGowan.

I never pick up books of poetry but I thought I would try something new.  This was one particularly timely with the Derek Chauvin verdict coming out last week.  These poems are written by a Black woman and they are about the current Black Lives Matter movement.  There is one called "Tale of Two Georges" about George Floyd.  I have not sat down to read this book cover to cover, and I don't think that is how one should read a book of poetry. Rather I have it on my desk and pick it up every once in awhile and choose a poem to read at random.  I have enjoyed the poems, written in free form, and very topical.  I challenge you to pick up a different type of book, maybe one of poems, and enjoy something you wouldn't normally read. 

The last book is Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld.

I am a big fan of Seinfeld so I appreciate his humour.  This isn't really much of a book, instead it's just a collection of all of his material since the 1970s.  So it's good to read and if you're a fan, you will like seeing his material, especially bits that you already know and love.  

Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday Favourites

A long week but lots of good things.  To start with both Dave and I got our vaccine shots yesterday.  A friend of mine messaged me that there were walk-in vaccines available at Downsview Arena.  I got right up there and was in and out quickly.  Then Dave went up but he had to wait in a long line. But he still got one before they ran out for the day.  We feel so lucky that we had this available to us.  

And almost as good as the vaccine was that they were giving out full sized chocolate bars to all vaccine recipients!  (Dave got a Snickers.)

E submitted his mosaic art this week.  This is actually a chocolate bar #synergy.

Q had a great week at school.  He has a new teacher and she is fabulous at keeping the kids engaged. We made butterflies on Monday out of Playdoh.

Caterpillar at the bottom

Playdoh is my nightmare - I hate mixing the colours.

He also made a spider (and cut up the pieces of black paper like E's mosaic picture).

I made a delicious lasagna on Monday night.

Oh hey.

We woke up to some snow on Wednesday and we were able to build a small snowman.  It only lasted a few hours but it was fun anyway.

Running on Thursday morning in High Park.  We got to get a glimpse of the cherry blossoms so we needed a photo!

A little hopscotch for outdoor gym class.  Sandals and mittens? Sure, why not. 

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.