Monday, May 31, 2021

May Book Review

Two books to write about this month.  I'm reading a third one now but only halfway through so I'll save it for next month's post.

The first book is one from my reading list for 2021 - Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah. 

I really enjoyed this book and I read it quickly.   The story starts with a young PhD student who is living in the woods for the summer doing research.  She meets a young girl who comes to the property and something seems amiss since the girl is wearing pyjama pants, no shoes, and seems to have some injuries.  The girl says she is an alien inhabiting a human body.  The characters form a relationship along with the neighbour.  I thought the writing was so well developed and the characters were all three dimensional, with many great details and lovely passages.  It reminded me a bit of The Good People where the story seems so illogical but it's written in such a way you start to believe that the impossible is actually possible.  I would definitely recommend this book.

The second book was one I had on my shelf when my neighbour who was moving gave me a bunch of books.   It was What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan.

I liked this book a lot too and also read it quickly.  It was about a missing boy from a town in England.  The story follows the investigation of what happened and it goes between the boy's mother and the head detective on the case.  It very much reminded me of Broadchurch if you've seen that show.  Like any good whodunnit story, it had me guessing what was going to be the outcome and I was ready to even blame the mother even though she is supposed to be the reliable narrator.  It seems as though the detective, Jim Clemo, will make an appearance in other books by this author so I would be interested in checking those out too.  I said it reminded me of Broadchurch but the character I had in my mind as Jim was Bill Tench, the FBI agent from Mindhunter.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Monthly Musings


1) Favourite summer tradition?
We don't have any set traditions but things we always try to do - bike riding, swimming, ice cream cones, Blue Jays games, Canada's Wonderland, golf, picnic lunches, washer toss, and camping.

2) Any vacation plans this summer?
We have four camping trips planned, so hopefully the provincial parks will be open soon so we can go on those trips.  We don't have anything else "planned".

3) Ocean, pool or lake?
Ocean is my top pick, but as long as I can go swimming, I'm happy at any location. 

4) Favourite summer fashion item?
Sundresses - stylish and cool for work and going out.

5) Favourite summer recipe?
Strawberry pie (see my recipe here). 

6) Strawberry shortcake or blueberry pie?
That is a tough choice, both are so good, but I'll have to go with blueberry pie since we rarely have the right blueberries to make this one (the wild ones), so it is a real treat when we do have it. 

7) What couldn't you do in 2020 that you can now do this summer?
Haha, nothing.  This summer will be pretty much exactly the same as last summer, welcome to Ontario.

8) Favourite sunscreen?
I'm a bit of a sunscreen snob.  The only one I buy is Ombrelle.  Dave and E like the spray but I only use the lotion, I don't think the spray is good enough for proper coverage. I did some research a few years ago and spent what felt like hours standing in the drugstore trying to figure out the best one. I did not document my findings but I know I chose the Ombrelle brand and I've used that one since then.  I did have a free bottle of Beauty Counter sunscreen that we took to Hawaii when we went in the ocean since it is the reef-friendly kind. I have also bought the Aveeno brand in the past when Q was younger and I wanted more of a "baby" version.  

9) Favourite summer beverage - with or without alcohol?
With alcohol - gin and tonic.  Without alcohol - fizzy lemonade.

10) Do you have a garden this year? Flowers? Veggies? Both?
We have some potted plants - flowers and herbs - but not a garden.

Linking up with Holly and Patty.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

What's Up Wednesday

 What we're eating this week..

Sunday - Chicken, green beans, and potato salad from this Food Box
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Tacos
Wednesday - Grilled Chicken Greek Bowls
Thursday - Order
Friday - Burgers
Saturday - Not sure yet

What I'm reminiscing about...
We celebrated our wedding anniversary on Sunday so I was thinking of that time of course.  It's one of those things that feels like yesterday but also a million years ago, you know?

What I'm loving...
Vaccine rates are going up!! I'm so encouraged by all of the happy photos of people getting their shot.  I still can't believe we have a vaccine (several in fact) and I am grateful.  What would our lives look like if we didn't have the vaccine option? 

What we've been up to...
Riding bikes! Q is really good even though he can't go for a long distance, but he can still fit in the bike trailer so we can still go out as a family.  I also like hopping on my bike to do a quick errand.

What I'm dreading...
Dread is a strong word so I'll just say I'm not looking forward to the construction scheduled for our street.  They are replacing water mains/sewers, and it will mean the whole road is ripped up, and may include the front part of our lawn. We will have to move the sprinkler system and then deal with new sod again.  At least the activity on the street will be some excitement for the kids to watch. 

What I'm working on...
Keeping the kids engaged in school until the end of the year, only a few more weeks.  There is talk about going back to school for a couple of weeks and I don't really know what the point would be.  I'd be fine for a few days just so they could see their friends and hang out, but we'll see.  E's teacher reminded us it is report card season so it's still important to get work done. 

What I'm excited about...

I'm hoping that it will be the end of the pollen and oak tree droppings soon.  Our backyard is a mess all of the time, and you can't leave any cushions out or they are covered in yellow.  I just want to sit outside without having to clean up first.  

What I'm wearing...
Nothing exciting - shorts and t-shirts.  I ordered a new pair of running shoes so hopefully I get those soon.  My old ones have been around for several years so it was well past due for an upgrade.  I got pink ones :)

What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching the Formula 1 documentary on Netflix, The Handmaid's Tale, the NHL playoffs, Blue Jays baseball, and For All Mankind.  I'm watching the Oprah and Prince Harry series, The Me You Can't See. 

I am currently reading a book I had lying around, as I wait for some library holds to come in. 

What I'm listening to...
Justin Bieber, always coming through with the summer hits, and this year it is Peaches.  I also love that it's Bo Bichette's walk up music.

What I'm doing this weekend...
The usual - some outdoor activities, cleaning, and reading. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
My birthday, Father's Day, the last day of school, and our first camping trip of the summer (assuming campgrounds will be open by then, fingers crossed).

What else is new...

E's piano lessons are coming to an end for this term. He has to record a video of his song for the virtual recital so he's trying to pick between two.  Although he doesn't practice much I'm still happy we signed him up for it and we'll sign him up again for next year. 

Linking up with Shay

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Weekend Recap

 We had a lovely long weekend, and really enjoyed the good weather. 

On Friday night, the boys were outside playing (crushing rocks).

We had pizza for supper and then the boys came back with wet clothes after a water fight.

On Saturday morning we had plans to meet up with one of Q's friends and his family to try our hand at the Moonbeam Books scavenger hunt.  Can you smell this photo?

We picked up a sweet treat to start our morning.  Then we just walked around looking for the pictures that were hidden around the neighbourhood.  We only found a few but it was a good way to spend the morning.  We also played a bit at the playground and saw some other friends there.

In the afternoon Dave got out for a round of golf now that the clubs are back open in Ontario.

Meanwhile I took the kids for a walk to get bread.  We ordered some food and put a movie on the outdoor screen for the kids. It was a late night for everyone.

On Sunday morning we went for a bike ride on the Lakeshore and stopped into the bike park.

Q didn't want to pose for a photo.

But I caught him!

In the afternoon we went for another bike ride to get an ice cream cone and we also did some more scavenger hunting.

Dave and I were celebrating our anniversary on Sunday so we had bought a food box from Culinary Adventures.  There was a spatchcock chicken ready for the grill, and ingredients for a potato salad, green beans, and cherry pie (plus some other goodies like cured meat, loaf of bread, and smoked salmon).

Everything was delicious.

Happy Anniversary!! We finished up the golf (yay Phil!) while the kids were outside.

Monday was a holiday of course, but I set my alarm so I could get out for a run before Dave left to go golfing. It was a beautiful morning to be out.
That said, it was slightly chillier than the day before so Q thought he needed his winter coat, hat and mittens.

He did remove the hat and mitts but left his coat on while we went to the playground and for a hike in High Park.

When we were done at the park, I took the boys to McDonalds for lunch which we took home and ate on the grass.  We all had some quiet time after that, I read, and the boys watched TV.  Then Q actually fell asleep for awhile so when Dave got back E and I went for a bike ride to see if we could find any more clues from the scavenger hunt.  Over the three days we looked, we only found 10 out of 20, but we still submitted our entry since there are participation awards.  We had supper (leftovers) outside and then set up the outdoor screen for Game 3 of the Toronto-Montreal series. 

Loved this long weekend! It's the kick off to summer, only one month of school yet, keep the vaccines coming!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday Favourites


Happy Friday!  For those of you following along, things in Ontario are getting a little better this weekend with golf and other outdoor activities being permitted.  Dave has a tee time for Monday :) And with the continuing vaccination rates, we will have more things available to us soon.  Can't wait!! Keep it up Ontario, we'll get there!

Dave and I are celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary this Sunday.  I posted about our wedding day last year if you're interested in seeing how we celebrated all those years ago.  We have ordered a fun food box from Culinary Adventures and will get some oysters as a treat too.  I've already been to the liquor store for some "nice" bottles of wine (meaning they cost more than $15.00, haha.

From our trip to New York in 2013.

How pretty is this tree?  I love Spring!

Q did some of his gym class outside this week.  After this he said he was sweaty and needed to go inside.  I'm hoping he will acclimatize before the weather gets too hot.

Q did a little biking after supper this week, he is doing well.

The boys were checking out the ants carrying off a small piece of E's chicken.

A few fun posts from this week:

Hope you have a nice long weekend!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Homemade "Extras"

I could not think of a good title for this post, but what I'm talking about today is those little extras we make for our food that we just do automatically.  They aren't really recipes but simple combinations that you may like too!

Curry Mayonnaise - combine curry powder and mayo to your desired taste. We dip our roasted sweet potatoes in this. Everyone loves this including Q (he actually eats the most of it).  

Lemon Marinade - lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt.  Great for chicken.

Siracha and Honey - mixed together (as spicy as you want) to dip chicken wings or nuggets in.

Coleslaw - add some mayo and grainy mustard to shredded cabbage and carrots, season with salt and pepper

Lawry's Seasoning - toss homemade French fries in before baking (and add a bit more before serving)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

How I Workout

I've had a pretty consistent working out habit since at least Christmas so I thought it was time to share what I do to stay active.  My schedule is:

Monday evening - 30 minute live Peloton followed by 45 minute Pilates class (I started this a few weeks ago, I like the live class and it just happens to be right before my Pilates class starts.)

Tuesday - Rest

Wednesday morning - 60 minute cardio and weights class

Thursday morning - 4 to 6 KM run

Friday - Rest (although I'd like to fit in a quick Peloton ride or digital studio class, I seem to rarely have time on this day)

Saturday or Sunday morning before lunch (not early) - 30 minute Peloton, with the other day of the weekend being a "rest" day, I use quotes because we are still usually doing something active. 

Group Classes

I have always been a fan of group classes - I like someone else telling me what I need to do to get a good workout rather than me trying to figure it out on my own (either at the gym doing weights or a (VHS, ha!) tape, DVD, or YouTube workout).  And I like the social aspect of the group class, rather than a one-on-one trainer.  I have been been participating in Saor Studio classes for a few years (formerly Well and Tight, with classes held at the Gotta Dance studio), and they were just opening their own studio when the pandemic happened. So I've yet to workout at the studio in person but I have been checking in for the live Zoom classes and occasionally one of their recorded classes since last March.   Someday we will be back in the studio but for now, this is my set up in the basement.

Peloton Biking

We got our Peloton in mid-March and it has been a great addition to our workouts.  I mostly stick with the bike classes, and haven't dipped my toe into the rest of the library other than some stretching and core workouts.  I love Cody, Alex, Tunde, and Ben. The theme classes are really fun and I am always sweaty when I'm finished.

Outdoor Running
I have been running with a few ladies throughout the winter on Thursday mornings.  We started last summer with a Saor Studio group that started with a short 20 minute workout followed by a 4K run.  After outdoor fitness classes were stopped for one of the various lockdown orders, we kept meeting up just to run since we could keep ourselves separated and we weren't an actual organized group.  I also like running by myself sometimes when I get the chance so I can listen to music. 

Being a Parent
We often are out walking, hiking, biking, skiing, skating, swimming, golfing, playing something at the park, running up and down the stairs to get various things, cleaning, and just doing stuff around the house and yard, so that means my Apple Watch fitness goals are often filled in (although not everyday).  Everyone is happier when we are out of the house doing something active so that's how we spend our time!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Weekend Recap

 We had such a lovely weekend of warm weather.  Friday was it's usual busy day of school and trying to get work tidied up for the week.  In the late afternoon, Dave started sanding the side entryway where our new door was installed a few weeks ago.  Q was keen to help so he donned an N95 mask and "helped". 

We had burgers and fries (homemade) for our supper.  We watched ___ which was a cute movie.  

On Saturday morning we had pancakes for breakfast and then got our bikes ready for a ride.  We enjoyed riding on the Lakeshore last year for #ActiveTO when it was closed to cars on the weekends.  The City decided to do that again and this was the second weekend Lakeshore West was closed.  It is a pretty big trip down there and back but we knew Q would want to bike a little, so Dave just strapped his bike to the bike trailer, and once we got down there, Q hopped on his bike for a little while.  He pedaled hard!

We went down to the Ontario Place area and climbed the rocks and ate lunch.  We were with our neighbours.

We got home in the early afternoon.  We were tired but we stayed active - Dave painted (with some more "help" from the kids), and I planted our herbs.

We ordered a pizza and pasta from Goodfellas, got Q to bed early, and then watched the Blue Jays game in the backyard.  (E was playing video games outside at the neighbour's house).

Sunday was another lovely day.  I did some cleaning while Dave did more painting.  We picked up some lunch at The Dark Horse's patio BBQ.

And then I took the kids to the playground.

I took a few photos of our backyard for yesterday's post.

We had an easy supper of chicken fingers and coleslaw.  The boys got cleaned up and in bed at a decent time, but Dave and I stayed up too late watching our recorded shows - Handmaid's Tale and SNL.

I think the nice weather may be hear to stay! It certainly does make things more fun.