Monday, February 28, 2022

February Books

First of all, we are sending our love and support to the Ukraine as the war with Russia continues. I found out our neighbour's son has made is safely to Poland so that was good news to receive. See the Ukrainian flag I made for our front window out of construction paper (bad lighting, sorry).

Three good books to write about this month:

The first was "The Book of Essie" by Meghan MacLean Weir.

This one was on my running list of books to read (this one came from Andrea) and I was lucky to find it on the library shelf instead of having to place a hold.  This book was about an evangelical preacher in the United States who, along with his family, is on a reality TV show (think "19 Kids and Counting") and the youngest daughter is pregnant (and unwed).  The book is told from her perspective and that of a reporter.  The book is about how the producers and the girl's mother try to figure out what to do with this. It's all about image and reputation and really no regard for the girl herself.  The reporter has her own backstory that lends some empathy for the pregnant teen. 

I really liked this book as I am fascinated by right-wing conservatives in the United States, and bonus angle of the reality TV show.  For all of their proclamation of Christian values and following Jesus, there doesn't seem to be much alignment with social justice issues.  (Case in point, the anti-abortion and anti-trans laws in Texas.)  Aside from the topic itself, the book was well-written and hinted at certain things without coming right out and saying it in an obvious way, leaving the reader to draw figure it out first. 

The next book was One by One by Ruth Ware.

I've read a couple of other Ruth Ware books and they are reliable reads, perfect for a vacation.  This one was about a corporate retreat at a remote ski chalet where people start disappearing and dying.  I really can't say much about this because I don't want to give anything away, but it was a good read.  I especially liked the ski chalet aspect since we have a ski holiday coming up in March.  The chalet in the book came with a chef and housekeeper to attend to all needs, and that sounds just lovely.  It also sounded so cool to be in the Alps with the long ski runs and little villages (risk of death aside!).  Dave read this book too since he needed something read when we were away. 

The last book of the month was "Of Marriageable Age" by Sharon Maas.

This is on my 2022 Reading List and I think it will be one of my favourite books of the year.  There are three story lines that focus on different individuals and it goes from one to the next.   There is a young boy adopted by a doctor in a small Indian village, a cook's daughter living on the grounds of a British family in Madras, and a teenager in British Guiana.  It took me about ten pages to get into it and then I could hardly put it down.  It had many heartbreaking parts but also such lovely passages.  Our city has a large Guyanese population but I hadn't really understood the connection of why Indian people ended up in South America and how their culture is different from India itself.  

Friday, February 25, 2022

What's up Wednesday (on Friday)

I missed the opportunity to link up on Wednesday with this post but I love these monthly wrap up posts so I still wanted to do it.

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - Tuesday - We were in Jamaica
Wednesday - Chili topped with cheese, plain yoghurt, and nacho chips
Thursday - Spaghetti and Meatballs
Friday - Chicken, Potatoes, Broccoli and Cauliflower
Saturday - Salad Bowls
(The theme was easy home cooked comfort food after being on holiday.)

What I'm reminiscing about...
We just got back but remembering our trip last week.  It is always so much fun to get away.

What I'm loving...
That COVID restrictions are finally letting up.  We mostly kept to ourselves before we went away, even after restaurants and stuff started opening up, so we could make sure we wanted to stay healthy before getting on the plane.  Now I feel like I can go out to eat, attend a class at the gym, and see more people.  

What we've been up to...
Getting tested for COVID.  We had to do antigen tests to fly to Jamaica, PCR tests to get back to Canada, and then were "randomly" selected to be tested again when we got back to Toronto. 

What I'm dreading...    
I don't know what is going to happen with the Ukraine.  We live in a Ukrainian neighbourhood so I feel particularly drawn to this story and incredibly sad for the people there.  It also makes me worried about Putin's actual plans and if he will just want to stop with the Ukraine or perhaps come across the Arctic to Canada.  

What I'm working on...
Nothing exciting to mention. 

What I'm excited about...
Pancake Tuesday is next week and then Lent begins. I feel as though I've been sort of removed from church over the past few weeks since we ski on Sundays, but I'm looking forward to getting back into it and prepare for Easter, my favourite time of year. 

What I'm watching/reading...
When I was on the plane I watched the Oscar nominated documentary "Summer of Soul" (found on Disney Plus).  It was so good. I smiled, cried, and bopped along with the music.  It's about the Harlem music festival that took place in the summer of 1969 and what it meant to that neighbourhood at the time and since.  
I am doing my February book post on Monday, and now I've just picked up "What I Remember, What I Know".

What I'm listening to...
After the Super Bowl Halftime show I have been selecting more '90s and 2000s hip hop.  I used to play this Mary J. Blige CD on repeat in university. 

What I'm doing this weekend...
Trying to get caught up on laundry and cleaning.  E has a ski race, but Q can't ski because he has injured his toe (dropped a bowling ball on it on our last day of vacation), so we'll see if we all go up on Sunday or if one of us will stay home with Q for the day. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Our ski trip to the Eastern Townships in Quebec for March Break, Dave's birthday, and St. Patrick's Day. 

What else is new...
The Humber River overflowed its banks again with ice floes. This happens every couple of years and wreaks havoc on the trails and parkland.  This year they were doing construction down there and when the ice came through, it took down a lot of the equipment left there. 

Resolutions Check-In
I have tried a few new Peloton instructors and particularly love Robin Arzon. We travelled outside of our country.  But the other things have fallen by the wayside for now. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Monthly Musings

We returned from our Jamaican holiday on Tuesday night and jumped right back into work and school on Wednesday.  I will be putting together our vacation posts for next week. Spoiler - it was great to be on vacation!!

Now onto this month's link up of "Monthly Musings" with Holly and Patty.

1. Favourite spring pieces in your wardrobe?
Although they are getting old, I still love my mint green and purple pants (that's two separate pairs of pants, one of each colour).  I don't wear many pants in the summer so they really are just for Spring.

2. Favourite colours to wear in spring?
Green and light pink. 

3. How do you transition your wardrobe from Winter to Spring?
Switch to my trench coat and sneakers for outside.  But remember to check the temperature and bring layers.  The sun does not always equal warmth and temperatures vary quickly. 

4.  Favourite accessories for Spring?
Sunglasses.  It isn't easy to wear sunglasses with a toque (which is a constant in my winter wardrobe). 

5.  Do you change your handbags in the Spring?
Not really.  But since we tend to be more active, then my "handbag" is a backpack or shoulder bag (who am I am kidding, it's a fanny pack but worn over one shoulder) that I can take on bikes and hikes. 

6.  Best tips for off season storage?
I just pack away my off season clothes in a Rubbermaid bin in the basement and rotate them. 

7.  Best tips for editing your wardrobe?
When I am putting my off season clothes away as the seasons change (see above) I take the time to remove the things that I didn't wear all of that season or things that have had too much love and need to be retired.  

8.  What colour just says spring to you?
Anything pastel.

9.  Best basic spring transition outfit?
Pants, sneakers, t-shirt, cardigan, scarf.

10.  Do you have a favourite spring fragrance?
I don't wear perfume, but my favourite natural scent from springtime is lilacs. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Holiday Time!

 We are going on holiday today :) I'm so excited to be going anywhere, but especially to be going to warmer climes!  We will be in Jamaica this week.  Check in with me on Instagram (@SmacTO) or Facebook (if we're personal friends) as I'll probably post a few times while I'm away. 

This was us in 2017 our last time in Jamaica.  We are going to a different resort but the plans remain the same :)

Monday, February 14, 2022

Not Just a Mom Link Up - Day in the Life

First of all Happy Valentine's Day!  We will start this day with a red themed breakfast of some sort and then finish with some pizza waffles (which isn't technically V-Day related, but the red pizza sauce helps!).

Today is a fun link up hosted by yours truly and the lovely ladies listed below.  I love a good Day in the Life post.  I know these are just regular days but they are fun to look back on. You can see other Day in the Life posts I've done here

This was last Thursday and ended up being a day of note because we didn't have water for about 8 hours that day (more below).  

I set my alarm for 7:00 but woke up around 6:30 so I got up then.  Water splashed on my face, mouth guard out, contacts in, and teeth brushed, that's it for my morning routine when I'm not going into the office.

Q was getting up while I was in the bathroom and when I got downstairs he had already set out the stuff for making lunches.  Jam sandwiches. 

And he scurried down to get the other snacks. 

Lunches made.

Then I packed the backpacks and completed the health checks.

I emptied the dishwasher put some other dishes away.

E came down and worked on a few of his Valentine cards.

I made a bowl of oatmeal and took it over to my desk where I fired up my laptop.

Q was getting a drive with the neighbour (we have been carpooling).  I caught him as he was going out the door.

Then E set off for his walk to school.

The Olympics hockey and curling was on the background but I had a few things to do at my desk so I just listened.  Around 10:00 I started Module 2 of an Indigenous Studies course I am doing through the Canadian Bar Association.  It's self-directed so I have scheduled it for every other Thursday, there are five parts and it takes about an hour for each module. I take notes and there is a quiz so I feel like I'm back in university. 

It was about this time our next door neighbour called to see if we had any water.  I checked and we didn't.  After some investigating, it turned out the construction workers down the street had broken a watermain with an estimated outage of at least 6 hours.  Dave collected some snow to bring inside in case we needed water to flush the toilets. 

After my course was over, I made a bagel sandwich and sat down to watch some Queer Eye.

For the rest of the afternoon I worked on a hybrid work policy for our office and attended to a few other tasks.  Q's teacher shares photos on a regular basis and this one featured Q. I was impressed that his mask was still up over his nose (barely).

Around 3:30 I decided to walk down the street. I wanted to see what was going on with the watermain, get some fresh air, and meet E on his way home.  

Back to my desk for a bit and then I did two Peloton strength classes and a full body stretch.

We had ordered Indian (which we had planned to do anyway but with the water being off, it especially made sense) and it arrived at about 6:15, right when the water was coming back on.  Eating at the counter and watching the Olympics.

This food is just so good! Everything is so flavourful.  This is our typical order - okra, tandoori chicken, lamb saag, onion bhaji, spicy pickle, rice and naan.  If spicy pickle is on the menu at an Indian place, get it.  I will eat the leftovers with scrambled eggs, it's just so good!

Then I showered (!) and we watched the rest of the snowboard cross where we got a medal. I took Q up to bed and we read a few books.

I went back downstairs and we watched The Amazing Race.  Then I started working on my blog posts and said to Dave I didn't get a photo of him all day, it looks like I was here all alone.  He said I should just add a footnote that we got divorced.  Hahah.  So then I "snuck" this photo to prove his presence but he caught on. 

We watched the Olympics until I made E head to bed around 10:00 and we went up shortly thereafter.  Lights out.

Thanks for stopping by. Check back with us next month too when we talk about reading habits :)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, February 11, 2022

Friday Favourites

I don't feel like I'm quite as on top of the Olympics this year.  It is difficult with the time change, but we watch what we can.  This is totally us while we sit on our couch, for any sport (particular mixed curling, Johnny Mo definitely over swept that last rock, shame):

If you aren't watching Craig McMorris' commentary on the snowboard events, you're really missing out.  He is a gem (sorry Americans) (also CBC pun).  He is so engaging and brings a personal touch since he knows all of the competitors so well (including his own brother, Mark). 

I put a few touches for Valentine's Day out.  Since I took these photos we got a bunch of cards from the grandparents and some Laura Secord chocolate my mom sent us. 

We are doing our COVID tests on Sunday evening and then pending a negative result, will be boarding a plane to Jamaica on Tuesday.  We are slowly gathering our vacation items, it's been a long time since we've been at an all-inclusive (or gone anywhere for that matter).  We have spent a fortune on sunscreen and bought new flip flops for the boys.  I had ordered a new bathing suit and dress for our Hawaii trip (that was then cancelled) but they will be fun for this trip. 

A reminder for you bloggers out there that may want to link with us on Monday, we are sharing a Day in the Life. 

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Weekly Menu

A peek at our menu for this week.  

Sunday -  Pasta Fagioli.  Since reading Stanley Tucci's book, I wanted to try his recipe for this as I'd never had it but it seemed like the ultimate comfort food.  It was very good and everyone loved it.  I will make it again. 

Monday - Turkey Lettuce Wraps. This was another hit.  If you tell Q something is a "taco" he will love it, no matter what. So for someone who can be picky about green in his food, he ate this right up.

Tuesday - Roasted Chicken Thighs, Potatoes, and Swiss Chard.

Wednesday - Salad Bowls.  This one was inspired by Earthy Andy's shawarma bowl but I used chicken and sweet potato instead of cauliflower and chick peas.  The accompanying sauce is so good. 

Thursday - Order.  This is supposed to be Family Game Night so we will have an easy supper and play some Sushi Go or Exploding Kittens (and Mario Kart). 

Friday - Hamburgers and Fries.  This isn't something we make often in the winter, but we were craving good homemade burgers. 

Saturday - Chili. Dave requested this meal so we could take some in a thermos for our skiing lunch.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Let's Look - What I eat in a week

Today's topic is what we eat in a week.  I kept track of my eating habits last week and it was pretty accurate to what I eat most of the time (healthy breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and minimal snacks).  You can read about what we ate for supper here so this focuses on my personal breakfasts and lunches.  

A few notes - I don't believe in "dieting" per se, but I do try to make healthy choices throughout the week, saving chips and alcohol for the weekends.  I don't list my coffee, but I drink 2-3 cups in the morning. 

Breakfast - Spelt toast with almond butter, hemp hearts and cacao nibs, melon.  I started eating spelt toast (when I can find it) as an alternative to regular wheat toast.  It was part of the reset eating plan I tried out a few years ago and it's a habit I've kept up.  Spelt bread just seems to have more nutritional benefits than plain old bread.  

Lunch - Leftover soup from the freezer, and some crackers. I was at my office on this day and I keep a box of PC Rosemary crackers in my cupboard for when I'm feeling peckish.

Snacks - Latte and cookie from Starbucks. This is my love language :)

Breakfast - Spelt toast with peanut butter and jam, melon.  Sometimes I can find spelt bread at the grocery store (Dimpflmeier makes some) or the Kingsway Deli carries it sometimes.  

Lunch - Skillet with leftover roasted potatoes, cheese, eggs, and tomato.  This is like something you'd get a Smitty's (the all day breakfast place, IYKYK).

Snacks - Meat stick, and an extra coffee in the afternoon.  The meat sticks are the turkey ones from Costco, sure, high in salt, but a great little snack.

Breakfast - Muffins and grapefruit.  My mom had put some extra muffins in the freezer when she was here at Christmas and I had forgotten about them, but they were a great find for my breakfast. 

Lunch - Leftover red lentil curry

Snacks - square of dark chocolate

Breakfast - Shake, melon. The shake recipe I use the most is this: one banana, one zucchini, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, 1 tbsp turmeric, 2 tbsp cashews, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 1/2 cups cashew milk (and some water until it's the right consistency).

Lunch - Leftover red lentil curry again. 

Snacks - Spelt toast with honey, coffee and doughnut from Golden Gecko (procured on a midday walk with Dave), meat sticks, apple pie.  I was extra hungry on this day, not sure why.  

Breakfast - Shake.  The recipe I make above is enough for two days.

Lunch - Leftover lentil soup, ham and cheese sandwich on leftover focaccia bread.

Snacks - Chips and wine

Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, vegetables, spelt toast.  This is a great breakfast since it uses up vegetables in the fridge and it's filling.  I just add salt, pepper, and a little squeeze of lemon on top.

Lunch - Leftover noodles and apple pie

Snacks - wine and chips

Breakfast - Egg sandwich on a bagel.  This is our standard breakfast for skiing days.  We wrap them up to eat in the car on the way to the hill.  

Lunch - Leftover pizza, hot chocolate, trail mix.  We typically have ham and cheese sandwiches for ski lunch, but we had pizza on this day.  Last week we tried instant noodle soup for a hot lunch and it was a success so we will do that again.  We also bring hot water for hot chocolates and hot apple cider (which E prefers).

Snacks - Dried fruit snack, doughnut and tea from Tim Hortons on the way home. Sometimes we get Timbits but we all opted for doughnuts this time.  I got an apple fritter :)

Linking up with Shay and Erika.