Friday, January 28, 2022

Friday Favourites


I sort of can't believe it is Friday already.  This was the first full week with the kids back at in person school this month.  It was good to be back to a more consistent routine.  Part of what made it a good routine was that we started carpooling with one of our neighbours who's daughter is in Q's class and also goes to the YMCA.  We are going to switch off dropping off and picking up with them so we only each have to leave the house once a day. 

I think I finally found a good way to take a photo of what I'm wearing.  I have never been good at mirror selfies.  Here is a new sweatshirt I got last week at Nordstrom Rack from Zella.  I love the Zella brand of workout clothes and the Rack usually has something worthwhile to add to my collection.  I like that it is slightly oversized and the blue is a pretty shade.

We decided we should get some air purifiers for our house so we picked out ones from Mila.  I'm not sure if I've really noticed a difference since we got them last week but they do have a lot of data and of course it's all available to see on your phone and connects through the Google Home.  

We finished Yellowstone this week so now I'm all obsessed with all of the behind the scenes stuff since I don't need to worry about spoilers.   I see there is a YouTube show called "Stories from the Bunkhouse" so I'll be making my way through those. 

I wrote a fun post yesterday about Valentine's Day. I will dig out our decorations today so we can decorate over the weekend. I've already bought some heart candies from Bulk Barn.

Enjoy the last weekend of January.  The days are getting longer. 

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Monthly Musings


1. Favourite Valentine's Memory?
When Dave and I started dating, he made me a nice dinner and we ate it together in my room.  I know that sounds weird, but my apartment didn't have a dining area so we had to eat at my desk. 

A close second memory was in Grade 3 when I got the new New Kids on the Block cassette tape and brought it to school to play it at our class Valentine's Day party.

2. Chocolate, Flowers, Both?

3. Favourite Romantic Date?
A leisurely meal at a restaurant (preferably Italian) where we can order all of the things - cocktails, appetizers to share, bottle(s) of wine, mains, and dessert.  

4. Any Valentine's Traditions with Kids?
We usually have pancakes or waffles with sprinkles and have a few heart themed gifts. 

5. How do you show love?
By making food.

6.  Do you decorate for Valentine's Day?
Yes, we have a few things, including a banner to hang across the fireplace and some hearts for the windows.

7. Do you wear Red or Pink on Valentine's Day?

8. Valentine's Day - Big Deal or Small Remembrance?
Big enough deal, like most holidays.  We like to recognize it and have an excuse for treats, but we don't go all out.

9. Favourite Idea for School Valentines' Parties?
Uh, see my answer to number 1 above, NKOTB dance party, am I right? Haha. Our kids don't do parties at school for anything anymore but any sort of craft that requires pink and red construction paper is a win. 

10. Have you ever had a secret admirer?
I don't think so but who knows?  Maybe I was someone's cafeteria girlfriend at university and never knew.  The concept of a cafeteria boyfriend/girlfriend was this - at university I lived at Shirreff Hall at Dalhousie, and at that time, it was an all girls residence, but the co-ed residence, Eliza Ritchie, ate at our cafeteria too.  There were a few boys that we always had our eye on, and we would have our own cafeteria boyfriend that we would look for and try to maybe even speak to.  If you ever did speak to them then you were considered "broken up".  In first year I broke up with my cafeteria boyfriend (who was also in my English class) after I spoke to him at a party, and in third year I actually dated my cafeteria boyfriend in real life (incidentally we started dating on Valentine's Day).  

Linking up with Holly and Patty.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

What's Up Wednesday


What we're eating this week...
Sunday - Turkey Dinner (frozen leftovers from Christmas) with fresh mashed potatoes and carrots
Tuesday - Soba Noodles and Tofu with Almond Sauce
Wednesday - Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetables
Thursday - Fettucine Alfredo (I've been craving this meal since watching The Holiday when Kate Winslet makes "Christmas Fettucine", but I found a vegan recipe to make instead of the traditional cream based one).
Friday - Order Out
Saturday - French Onion Soup

What I'm reminiscing about...
I can't let a post go by without some mention of Covid, and yesterday marked two years since the first Covid case was declared in Canada.  Two years of all of this and our lives have changed so much, and it's hard to know which ways they won't ever go back to "normal".  

What I'm loving...
The snow!  Sure the roads are still a bit of a mess, but I am happy we have snow. Cold weather is boring unless there is snow.  

What we've been up to...
It's puzzle season over here.  It's such a great way to keep the kids occupied during those "in between times" when they may be wanting to watch TV or something but there isn't enough time.  Q also gets up earlier than the rest of us and goes down to work on the puzzle. 

What I'm working on...
It's that time of year where we need to plan for summer camps.  I have printed out my paper calendars to start filling in our plans.  We have already booked camping for Canada Day weekend!

What I'm excited about...
The Olympics! Canada typically does well at the Winter Olympics and I'm excited to see our Maple Leaf competing.  This is the mascot, Bing Dwen Dwen.

What I'm wearing...
New boots :) I never have any luck buying shoes at Winners or Nordstrom Rack where everything thing is laid out by size on the racks and racks of footwear, but this time I did!  I got these Sorel boots at Nordstrom Rack last week.  They have a great tread for winter but are also somewhat stylish. 

What I'm watching/reading...
We are all in on Yellowstone. We are halfway through Season 4. Next up is Ozark and Succession. I am also watching Queer Eye when eating my lunch, and we are watching the Amazing Race with E. 

I'm reading Taste by Stanley Tucci.

What I'm listening to...
The Encanto and Sing 2 soundtracks.  We love the movies and songs. 

What I'm doing this weekend...
Another winter weekend coming up with skating, skiing, and maybe some sledding.  

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Dare I say it? Jamaica! I am so nervous that Covid will get us before we can board the plane so I am cautiously optimistic.  I'm also looking forward to restaurants re-opening for indoor dining and swimming lessons beginning again.  And Valentine's Day :)

2017 Jamaica

What else is new...
The kids are doing online art classes and have turned out some great work.  
Q's art

E's art

Resolutions Check In
To keep myself accountable I wanted to use this monthly post to check in on my resolutions to see how I'm doing with them.  You can click here to see what I did this year.  I've been good at taking some free time for myself each day and we have spent lots of family time together, I get my one on one time on the ski lifts.  Haven't done any donations or organizing, and I haven't gotten together with any friends this month (blame Covid, will make some plans for next month when restaurants open).

Linking up with Shay.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Weekend Recap

 I had a special treat work on Friday, we ordered some oysters from Rodney's Oyster House for a late lunch in the boardroom.  It felt very Mad Men.

When I got home we made our pizzas and enjoyed some wine.  

It was another cold day on Saturday but we went skating anyway.  

A few more people out this week than last week.  Word has spread that the rink is open and it was a bit warmer!

Q got a doughnut delivered to him from our neighbour.  Reasons for the doughnut are unclear to me, but it had something to do with Q doing well on some video game.  He was pumped!

Dave was cleaning the house and the boys needed something to do after lunch so they read their Harry Potter books on the stairs (sort of like being under the stairs like Harry).  

E did his painting class and turned out this beautiful piece.

We thought about going sledding but no one had any energy for that.  Instead we just played some video games, I picked up the grocery order, and we had a lasagna that a friend had made for us and brought over. 

Skiing on Sunday morning!  This was E waiting for his lesson.

It was a beautiful morning and I was much warmer than the week before.  There was fresh snow and we were some of the first people down the trails.

Here come Dave and Q ready for Q's lesson.

Car chalet!

The sun was so warm and made the temperatures manageable.  

We had to take a side road home due to some accidents on the 400 but we got home around 4:30, got everything put away, and watched the rest of Encanto.

Love these winter weekends! 

Monday, January 24, 2022

How I Sleep

I love sleeping. I'm sure most people say that, but I like napping and I love my cozy bed.  I've always been pretty good at sleeping, but occasionally I will wake up in the middle of the night and sometimes not be able to get back to sleep.  My trick now for getting back to sleep is this: I won't let myself start thinking about what I need to do the next day, instead I try to focus on the last dream I remember having, so I can try to stay in "sleep mode".  Aside from that, I have a few other things that help me sleep:

Pillow - We have these pillows.  We got them after staying at an Airbnb in Halifax that had them and we loved them.  They have a cooling side and a warm side.  What I like is that they are heavy and they stay put during the night.  We have been trying to find good pillows for years and we are glad we invested in these.  They are expensive but are often two for one. 

Blanket - We got a Hush weighted blanket for Christmas and I love it.  We have the cozy cover to use in the winter, and then it is a cooling blanket as well for summer.  It also stays put when sleeping and I have found that it's easier to fall back to sleep when I wake up at night. 

Sleep Spray and Oil - I often use this spray from Saje, and sometimes the put this oil on my pillow (putting a few drops in my hand, rub them together and pat it over my pillow). I don't know if I sleep better when I use it or not, but I like the smell anyway. 

Mindfulness - When I first lay down while I'm falling asleep, I will usually say some prayers, and then walk through what I need to do the next day, like what I'll make for breakfast, what I'm going to wear, etc. and then I usually fall asleep before I get too far into my day.  (See I'm good as sleeping!)  

Time - I try to get in bed by 11:00 and wake up around 6:30 most mornings. My kids are at an age where they aren't up all the time throughout the night, and if they do get up early, they can go downstairs by themselves.  I'm definitely more of a morning person and I'm quick to wake up once I'm up, whereas I'm usually falling asleep on the couch at the end of the day. 

Other - I wear my Apple watch to bed usually because I like to be able to look at the time there instead of on my phone that lights up too brightly.  I wear a mouth guard that prevents me from grinding my teeth (I just grind the mouth guard instead). I always have water by my bed and Peppermint Halo in case I wake up with a headache.  If I've feeling overly sore from a workout or if I am feeling restless, I will take Advil before bed as I find it calms my body. 

(Our mattress is fine but nothing special, we are in the market for a new one.  I thought about those ones that you can get in the mail but I think I may want a "real" mattress rather than a foam one.  I also want to lay on it first.  Any recommendations?)

Napping - A note about napping.  I am a fan of a nap.  I will set a timer for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how much time I have, and I can fall asleep fairly quickly.  Since I know I have an alarm set, then I know I will wake up before too long.  I just relax my face and try to clear my head and that works for me.  A blanket is a must :)  

Friday, January 21, 2022

Friday Favourites


We had another snow day on Tuesday, which was a good idea because the streets were still pretty messy (and actually still messy on Wednesday when the kids went back to school).   Q was ready pretty early to play outside and work on their fort. Here is is waiting for E to come outside. 

Q was up early every day this week.  I made him lay down on the couch with me one day but this didn't last long.

Yesterday he finished the puzzle when he got up.  He was very proud.

I took the day off on Wednesday with the aim of getting a massage and going shopping.  If we had gone to Hawaii I would have gotten a massage there so I decided to treat myself to one here at the Four Seasons.  And I also haven't gone shopping in a mall for a long time so I spent the morning at the Eaton Centre.  Shopping during the pandemic is a little sad though - there was hardly anyone at the mall, many of the store were closed or late opening, and there wasn't really anywhere to eat my take out lunch since everything was covered in snow.  Thankfully when I arrived a bit early for my massage appointment, I got to sit in the Four Seasons lobby for a bit. The shopping trip was a success though!

I posted about this week's menu yesterday including this yummy salad.

Last night we ordered take out from My Roti Place and played a couple of rounds of cards.  I think I've already told you about Sushi Go but the other new card game we got is Exploding Kittens.  It's pretty fun too.  It says 7+ but Q (age 5) was a good handle on it already so we can all play 

Hope you've had a good week!

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Weekly Menu

We didn't have any groundbreaking meals this week but what I hope you take from this post is twofold: you may be inspired by one or two meals and that you know you're not alone when you're ordering food ;)

Sunday - Wings and Shishito Peppers.  We like to have a simple supper on the nights we are are coming home from skiing.  The frozen PC wings work just fine. 

MondayTacos.  We were still shovelling snow before supper on Monday night and finally gave up around 6:00.  The kids were actually able to get this meal started and got everything out.  E started the meat and Q warmed up the taco shells.  Dave made the salsa and the only thing I really had to do was wash the lettuce.  The kids should be ready to do this alone in no time!

Tuesday - Salad Bowl.  Another week, another Earthy Andy salad bowl.  This one was a vegan Niçoise  salad.  The "tuna" was mashed roasted chick peas.  This was a hit with the kids too. 

Wednesday - Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.  Usually I make our macaroni and cheese from scratch using this recipe where its mostly done in the microwave.  But this time I made the roux on the stovetop (starting withs some sautéed onion) and added pureed roasted butternut squash.  It was so delicious! 

Thursday - Order something.  We have been partial to dumplings and noodles lately so we may get that again. 

FridayPizza Night.  Dave's new pizza dough recipe actually starts on Wednesday now so it's well underway.

Saturday - Turkey Dinner.  We have turkey, gravy, and cranberry sauce leftover from Christmas (all in the freezer of course) so this is perfect for a winter weekend.  Turkey dinner is one of my favourite meals. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Pandemic Update

I like to check in every few months to give an update on how the pandemic is where we live (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) since it seems to vary so widely depending on your jurisdiction.  Can I just say again that who thought we would be "flattening the curve" within those three weeks in March 2020, and we are still here two years later with COVID remaining such a big part of our daily lives?! 

Ontario is back in a "modified" Stage 2 which means no indoor dining, no gyms, indoor capacity limits, remote work, and no indoor sports/lessons (for us that means virtual piano and no swimming).  School was also moved to virtual for the first two weeks in January.  The kids were supposed to go back on Monday but we've had two snow days this week instead.  

Before Christmas (and the arrival of Omicron), I was over Covid!  I was ready to socialize, travel, and go back to normal (with masks inside if that's what it took).  We had our Christmas party and my parents visited from Nova Scotia.  We were even planning to go to Hawaii.  Then case counts were skyrocketing and it required a bit more vigilance.  Our trip was postponed for us, so we didn't have a choice of whether to go or not, but I still wanted to go.  It seemed as though many other people were travelling so I was willing to take my chances.  

Now that school is going back and the still have their weekly ski lessons, then I don't feel as though our lives are too disrupted by the current situation. I like to go out to eat at restaurants, but we don't do that too much in the winter anyway, so I'm not that bothered.  I do wish we could go inside the ski chalet, but we manage.  I know I am lucky because I don't work in a hospital or need to access health care on a regular basis so I don't really see the burnout that others are facing.  With the case numbers not being reported anymore and being at home with the kids anyway, I feel very isolated to what is happening in other parts of the world. 

 For the first time since the pandemic began I know several people that have contracted Covid in the last month.  We have remained healthy so far.  I've heard different things, like we are all going to get Covid, we just need to make sure we don't get it all at once.  And also that we don't all have to get it if we can implement the right health measures. We are all as vaccinated as you can get at our house and I don't know what else we can really do.  We wear our masks and spend most of our time with people outside. I've been avoiding the subway but I'm going to go on it this week. 

With everyone going back to school as of today, we will just have to watch for symptoms.  We have a few antigen tests leftover from the kits they gave to the kids before Christmas.  We used a few around the time when our parents were coming to visit and a couple of times when we felt a little off.  I've heard that antigen tests aren't always reliable, but we have always tested negative and any small symptoms have gone away quickly so I don't think we have actually been infected. 

At this point, I'm not sure what I'm hoping for, I feel as though we are in a bit of holding pattern.  We have a trip to Jamaica planned for next month so I guess I'm just hoping we remain healthy to get on the plane (there and back).  If it works out that we can go, then it will be a much needed and appreciated break for all of us.  We also have a ski trip planned for March Break to Quebec. We will drive there and are renting an AirBnb so as long as we are symptom free then we should be able to get there and back no problem.  By that time, Spring will be here and Spring has always proven to be a shift in attitudes and health measures (for the better), and we carry on.