Friday, July 29, 2022

Summer Vacation

We are off to Nova Scotia for a week for our summer holiday.  We are going to be in Cape Breton to visit with family. I'm not sure what we will get up to while we're there but I do know it will be nice to see everyone!


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Monthly Musings

 I don't like these prompts!! Haha, I'm not ready to talk about back to school, we are only one month into our summer holidays! Although I realize that some people reading are heading back very soon. 

Linking up with Patty and Holly for Monthly Musings.

1. How do you get organized for the school year?
I make sure the kids have a decent amount of clothes, that their backpack and lunch bag are in good shape, and if not, then I will buy new ones.  Those lunch boxes don't make it too long, but their backpacks have lasted for a few years now (it did help that for much of that time they weren't actually going to school in person).  Our school doesn't require us to buy school supplies so there is no big shopping trip required.

2. Favourite places to shop for back to school clothes?
When they do need clothes, I like going to Zara Kids, Abercrombie, and H and M.  For shoes I typically order online at The Shoe Company.

3. Do you meal plan? Favourite back to school meal?
I meal plan on a regular basis.  We always have this mac and cheese on the first day of school.

4. What are your kids favourite things about going back to school?
Seeing all of their friends.  They may see a couple of them throughout the summer but not on a regular basis so it's a nice welcome back to see them all on the first day of school.

5. Best place for school supplies?
We don't need to buy school supplies but anything we buy for home I usually get at Staples.

6. Any first day of school traditions?
We take photos on the front step, and we all walk to school as a family, picking up neighbour friends along the way.  It's a great way to see everyone and catch up with other parents in the schoolyard. Plus I have no desire to take a car anywhere near the chaos that is the schoolyard on the first day!

7. Best lunchbox tip?
Don't complicate things.  Just keep cycling through the same 3 or 4 meals until they say they are tired of something (if they ever say that).  My kids get jam sandwiches, cheese bagels with butter, and pitas on a loop.  Occasionally they will get leftover pizza or pasta.  

8. Buy lunch? Bring lunch? Both?
The kids bring a packed lunch most days but we take advantage of any opportunity to purchase lunch - pizza days or delivered lunch on Fridays (this was suspended for a couple of years, I hope it returns this year).

9. Does school start before or after Labour Day where you live?
After Labour Day.  First day of school this year is September 7. 

10. Best money saving tips for back to school?
Don't buy a new backpack every year unless the previous one is worn out.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

What's Up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - Lamb Kebabs (using our fresh mint and parsley)
Monday - Korean short ribs, corn, and rice
Tuesday - Zucchini Pasta
Wednesday - Market treats
Thursday - Order
Friday and Saturday - We will be in Nova Scotia!

What I'm reminiscing about...
Our Google Home shows us photos all the time and this week I saw the photos from 11 years ago when we were in Manion Lake for a family reunion and a baby shower for me.  And then 5 years ago, we were in Nova Scotia for my uncle's funeral.  So I have been thinking about these times shared with lots of loved ones. 

What I'm loving...
Sitting outside in the mornings when I'm working from home.  I like to take advantage of the warm sunny weather when I can, knowing the summer is only so long! Sometimes people ask if this is a real background.

What we've been up to...
The kids are at camp again this week, Q is back at gymnastics camp, and E is doing golf camp. When we get back from Nova Scotia the remaining camps have lunch provided so this is my last week of making lunches! (Until September....)

What I'm dreading...
I have full faith our air travel to and from Nova Scotia will be delay and stress free, but deep down, I am apprehensive of the airport in Toronto and our connection back home through Montreal, and that our bags will stay with us.  

What I'm working on...
Getting our stuff ready to go to Nova Scotia.  It seems our packing list will be relatively similar to what we packed for Jamaica - bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts, sandals, and hats.  This time we need clothes for the evening fire and if there is a chance of rain.  The only difference is that we'll be near stores so we can always pick up anything we are missing.

What I'm excited about...
I'm really excited that I get to go to Miami for work in a couple of weeks. I'll only be there for two nights and in an all day meeting, but if I can get a Cuban sandwich somewhere and walk on the beach, I'll be happy! 

What I'm wearing....
I'm "wearing" the new stuff I bought for my face.  I have been pretty good at putting it on twice a day.  I really don't notice a difference but it feels nice to do a little "self care".  I wash my face with the cleanser once a day, then apply the Vitamin C serum and the eye cream twice a day, finished off Kiehls moisturizer. 

What I'm watching/reading...
Stranger Things, Great British Baking Show, Amazing Race Canada, The Terminal.

I did a review of my July books on Monday. Now I'm reading Fight Club by Miriam Toews.

What I'm listening to...
This week I've been leaning towards some party hits from the 1990s to the 2010s. 

What I'm doing this weekend...
Heading to Nova Scotia for our summer holidays.
This is from the last time we were there in 2018. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Visiting with family (Dave's parents, my mom, and cousins in Cape Breton, my dad and his wife in Toronto), a work trip to Miami, hopefully some golf, camping with friends, and wrapping up summer stuff

What else is new...
We got our driveway back! By no means is the construction on our street finished, but at least the part at the end of our driveway is done (for now) so the fences are gone and we can park.  Thrilling stuff over here!

Resolutions check-in...
I think I've sufficiently introduced these goals into my routine so I don't know if I need to keep reporting on them.  

Linking up with Shay


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Weekend Recap

I started out my Friday morning with one of my favourite breakfasts - fresh fruit on plain yoghurt with coconut, cacao nibs, and hemp hearts.  I enjoyed it outside with my book and coffee before starting my work day.

At lunch E came back to the house with the boys he had been doing the basketball camp with and I gave them hot dogs and sweet potato fries.  Then they played some video games outside. 

I picked up Q from his camp later in the day, I wanted a more enthusiastic photo but this is what I got.  He did enjoy it!

I squeezed in a live Peloton ride before supper because it was Alex Toussaint's first live ride with people in studio and I knew it was going to be good, and it was!! Love me some AT!

Then we ate supper outside.  And set up the Blue Jays game on the projector, what a game!

On Saturday morning we all went to E's baseball game. Q and Dave threw the ball around too.

Then we went home and got changed and drove down to the Sunnyside pool. Dave ran down and met us there.  It was a beautiful day for a swim!!

New album cover.

Then lunch at the Sunnyside Pavilion.   Q is loving life. 

Frozen lime margaritas hit the spot!

Walking back to the car.

Check out the boys' new hats

We had some downtime before E had to go to golf, it was the club junior tournament weekend, so he golfed 7 holes on Saturday and on Sunday.  I made a beer butt chicken while Dave took him to the club and hung out to practice and drink a beer on the patio until E was done. 

Dave golfed on Sunday morning and the rest of had an easy morning (well sort of, I did clean the bathrooms and vacuumed the kids' rooms).  Then I made the kids surface from the basement and go for a bike ride.

My criteria for attending an event...

We watched the F1 race when we got back and then Dave dropped  E off at the golf course.  This time he came back and then went up near the end of E's round with Q so they could both use the practice range.

I made an apple pie and some lamb kebabs for our supper.  Then we got to bed at a good time (after watching a bit of TV of course).

Monday, July 25, 2022

July Books

Three books this month to tell you about.

The first was Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

This book will probably be my favourite of the year, I loved everything about it.  This author wrote All the Light We Cannot See which was one of my favourites.  The review for this book said if "All the Light is a love letter to museums, Cloud Cuckoo Land is a love letter to libraries", and that was definitely true.  This book has many different threads that are woven together - a young boy and girl in and around Constantinople (now known as Istanbul) - short aside, if you cannot hear mention of Istanbul without singing this song then you are my person, end of aside - an older man who is directing a group of elementary students in a play at the library (and we look back over his life, as well as another person who is at the library), and a young girl in the future who is on a space expedition to a new planet.  Without spoiling much, all of the characters are reading the same story and there are excerpts from that story throughout the book.  If I was still in university studying English, I'm sure I could write an essay on the juxtapositions of the novel, but I'm not, so this is instead my superficial review.
Given the various settings, it felt like I was reading several genres at once - ancient history and sci-fi, with "regular" novel woven in, and the author succeeded in telling all of these stories.  Although there are big events that happen to each of the characters, I didn't really feel like it reached one big climax in plot, since they were all experiencing different things, rather the stories carried out independently of each other, and really, they all could have been their own fascinating story, but as I said, just linked through the ancient tale.  I do know I didn't want the stories to end, I wanted to hear more about all of them. 
A beautiful quote from the book that I copied out was this: "Each of these books, child, is a door, a gateway to another place and time.  You have your whole life in front of you, and for all of it, you'll have this.  It will be enough, don't you think?".  I am fortunate that I love reading and that I do get to travel to so many different places and times, and although I do have a rich life, I won't be able to do everything so it is enough that I have reading to accompany me through life.  Highly recommend this book!

The next was Well-Read Black Girl, a collection of essays curated by Glory Edim.

I found this book through Natasha and marked it down on my list last year when books by Black authors were particularly on my radar.  This is a great read.  I thought it was going to be excerpts from books and other written works by Black women writers, but instead it was a collection of actual essays written by them about books and writers that made an impression on them growing up and inspired their own writing.  I liked this better.  As a white person, I did not blink an eye growing up reading books about people that looked just like me and lived in the same sort of circumstances, I even loved Gone with the Wind so much that I read it multiple times, romanticizing the antebellum era, without thinking twice.  To read the essays in this book where it would only be one single book or character that spoke to these young Black girls, it struck a chord of the need for more representation in literature, film, television, and other works of art. It's not only important for the under-represented population to read about someone that looks like them, but it's important for people who do not look like the characters to see what other experiences are like.  I've said this multiple times about various books I've read, I can't know what it is like to grow up Black, Indigenous, poor, homeless, disadvantaged, abused, etc., but when I read about those that were, I can at the very least be empathetic to those people and see beyond my own little bubble of privilege.  I encourage you all to do the same.

And finally a fun summer book - Summer Love by Nancy Thayer.

Ignoring everything I just said above, this book is just a book about rich white people in Nantucket and not an empathy building exercise at all!! That being said, it was a fun easy summer read and I'm not mad about it.  The book is split between the past when four roommates/friends are spending the summer in Nantucket, and the present where they have returned for a reunion and brought their kids with them, who are the same age as the parents were in the other part of the book.  I've never been to Nantucket but I can appreciate that it would be somewhat like Nova Scotia or Maine in the summer in terms of tourists.  I thought the author did a good job of rounding out all of the characters.  It made me yearn the beach and a lobster roll ;)  Recommend if you want something easy.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday Favourites


My favourite things from this week can be found in my post from Wednesday when I wrote about the current media things I'm into and my post from Thursday when I shared a Day in the Life.  

Also loving Lizzo's new album.  

And the hot weather we've had this week. Sweating after my bike ride to work on Tuesday.

Short and sweet, enjoy your weekend!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favourites. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Day in the Life

I thought it was time for a Day in the Life post, summer edition so I documented my day yesterday.  Interestingly the last time I did one of these posts, we didn't have any water and that was also the case yesterday! This time though it was a planned outage so we could get prepared.

I set my alarm for 6:30 but didn't remember I was supposed to be taking photos until a few minutes into getting ready for the day.  My reminder was set due to the aforementioned water outage.

I went downstairs and Q was right behind me.

Then I filled up the bathtub for extra water, although we didn't really need it.

Then I took the garbage bins out. See the big hole at the end of our driveway, hence the water being shut off for the day.

I made a shake and sat down to get some work done before I had to drive Q to his camp.

Ready for a day of fun!  He's at the Boulevard Club this week. 

Then I popped over to Costco to get gas and fill up our propane tank for the BBQ.  I was first in line as they opened at 9:00.

Sadly on my way into the house my coffee spilled all over the inside of my purse.  I had put my travel mug in my purse since I was a carrying the propane tank but the lid wasn't on all the way!  Annoying, but no harm done.

Then I got to work.  This is me on a call with our executives talking about revisions to the authority matrix.

After I was done that call, E and I went out to get some groceries but since we also needed lunch we decided to get some pizza and sit outside to eat it.  The pizza was delicious!

Then E went to the Bulk Barn while I went to No Frills and we met back at the car.  I had a call when we got home to talk about a new agreement with our client's lawyer.  Then I poured the leftover cold coffee into the mug and added some sugar syrup and milk. I saw the kitchen was slightly in disarray but I left it for the moment.

The workers enjoyed our lawn for their break. 

We picked up Q at camp and then stopped into the Annette Farmer's Market.  We ran into some of Q's friends.

Corn, peaches, strawberries, raspberries. Plus noodles and momos (Tibetan dumplings), cookies, brownies, and Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese buns).

I did a quick 30 minute strength workout in the basement.

Then came up to share the noodles and dumplings with E for supper while Q had some of our leftover pizza from lunch (and if you're wondering where Dave is, you should know by now he's at the golf course!).
I didn't realize I would be so sweaty after my workout, but I was and needed a shower.  I decided to do my hair mask and face scrub, two things I only do every week or so, not every time I have a shower.

When I came back down, the kids were (play) fighting and this is E coming over to ask me what the rules are for fighting, like can he dodge a kick even if means Q will fall over since he will have missed. 

Then we went to a neighbour's house for a drink and the kids played.  It was kind of a late night for a Wednesday, but it's summertime! Anything goes!

Then we got the kids into bed and we watched a show.