Monday, July 31, 2023

July Books

 Just two books to tell you about this month...

First up was Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.

This was a recommendation from another blogger that had been on my list for awhile. It's a non-fiction book written by a journalist who spoke to multiple defectors from North Korea.  When deciding to write this book, the author decided to try and find people from the same city as a way to "fact check" the stories as much as possible, since it would be difficult to actually fact check their individual stories.  We hear from several different people about what life is like in North Korea following the war until the present. Not only is it a way of life that is nearly unheard of for people living in capitalist/democracy countries, they also suffered from a great famine and many people died of hunger, disease, and neglect.  It was really amazing to hear the lengths to which people went to feed their families and survive.  
This was not the first book I read about North Korea, I also read The Girl With Seven Names, but that was more focused on how to defect from North Korea and the challenges that come after that.  This novel, Nothing to Envy, was more about day to day life, and the author did a great job of really painting a picture, like a novel, but with as many true facts as possible woven in.  I always love reading about different parts of the world. and this was definitely a different part of the world!

I also read Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst (not be confused with One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle).

This book is told from three points of view, three generations of women, who travel to Italy together one summer.  Each one is struggling with their own challenges, and this trip is supposed to bring them closer together. It is a pretty predictable book and you could probably guess the various tropes as soon as you start reading, like I did.  However, it was a fun easy book to read.  With White Lotus being filmed in Italy, and then everyone on my Instagram travelling there in the past year, this was just another delightful book to read about this area.  I have been to Rome and Venice, but there is so much more for us to explore and we'll get there someday.
(Although I would say Rebecca Serle's book is better!)

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Monthly Musings


1. Favourite Summer Outfit?
Zella shorts and Athleta tank top.

2. Favourite Summer Footwear? 

3. What Summer Accessories are you wearing on repeat?
These clay earrings.

4. What do you use for a summer bag?
I have a lululemon belt bag that I probably use too much.  If I'm slightly dressed up I do take along a larger leather bag from Matt and Nat.

5. What summer scents are you wearing?
I am enjoying English Pear and Freesia from Jo Malone.

6. Maxi Dress? Romper? Jumpsuit?
Maxi Dress. I got a pretty green one in the spring that I have worn a few times. 

7. Favourite Summer Sunglasses?

8. Favourite Summer PJs?
I got these two sets last year from a local boutique, they are nice and cool.  I like to wear shorts and a tank top, and I wear that all year round, not just in summer. 

9. Do you wear white after Labour Day?
I don't wear a lot of white anyway so if I stop wearing it after Labour Day, it's not a conscious choice.

10.  Favourite summer fashion trend right now?
I googled "2023 summer fashion trends" but didn't see anything that stuck out other than the bright pink that everyone is wearing for the Barbie movie, I love that! I haven't seen the movie and it's unlikely I will dress up for it, but I love that others are!

Linking up with Holly and Patty.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

What's Up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - Salads and pierogies
Monday - BBQ chicken and sweet potatoes
Tuesday - the boys ate at the golf club and I had a sandwich
Wednesday - not sure yet, but probably something on the BBQ
Thursday to Saturday - camping meals

What I'm reminiscing about...
I was thinking back to all of the things I used to do as a kid, it's funny what sticks out in my memory, things I probably only did once or twice are still there.  Swimming (especially at high tide), going to the beach, reading in the sun, rollerblading, visiting my grandparents in Ontario, playing tennis, golfing, having Kraft Dinner for lunch.  I wonder what my kids will remember from their summers?

What I'm loving...
I love summer, that's it. It's my favourite time of year.

What we've been up to...
Dodging the thunderstorms while playing tball, baseball, soccer, and golf. I feel like every week we have a delay or a cancellation because of a storm, but I'll take this over the bad air quality we had at the beginning of the summer due to the forest fires.

What I'm dreading...
As part of our house renovation, they have to take part of the roof off.  I am dreading that time as I'm so afraid we will get a rainstorm that will ruin the house. I know no one wants that and they will be working quickly to get the roof closed up as soon as possible, but we are subject to sudden and hard rainstorms and it makes me nervous!

What I'm working on...
I'm actually thinking ahead to the school year, even though I do not want summer to end. E will continue with his tutoring and we are going to start Q in it too, so they both have assessments in the next couple of weeks and then we will get them set up for September. E is also going to take a break from piano lessons because our piano is not accessible at the moment, and instead will try ukulele or guitar.  I had to reserve his lesson spot for the fall now. 

What I'm excited about...
We have our trip to Disney booked, flights, hotel, and park tickets. Now we need to pick out a few restaurants to make some reservations, and learn how to use Genie+.

What I'm watching/reading...
We are watching The Bear and Succession together. I am watching And Just Like That by myself.  And we also stick Curb Your Enthusiasm on occasionally. 

I'm currently reading Demon Coppperhead, and I'll share my July books on Monday.

What I'm listening to...
Chris Stapleton Radio on Spotify.  When I was in the car driving E back from camp, it was raining and for some reason this channel seemed like the right one to put on for the drive.  I've been listening to it again in the mornings while I'm working. 

What I'm wearing...
My new tank tops from Athleta.  They are so light and I picked out some pretty colours. I wish I'd bought more!

What I'm doing this weekend...
We are going camping with our neighbours to Bruce Peninsula National Park in Tobermory.  We have never been to that campground before so we are excited to try something new (despite it being 4 hours away!).  We even have a boat trip booked. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...
My mom is visiting next week (which should be interesting with us living in the basement). The kids will also spend some time with Dave's parents at the end of the month. I'm hoping we can fit in some more golf together, a beach day, some more Blue Jays games, and swimming.

What else is new...
I have always boiled corn, but now I've started making it in the microwave and it's so simple! I husk it and then wrap each piece in a wet paper towel.  Then put them on a plate, usually just 2 or 3 at a time. I do 2 cobs for 5 minutes and 3 cobs for 8 minutes. Perhaps you already do this, but if not, and you only need to make a couple, try it, you don't need to dirty a pot!

Linking up with Shay 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Weekend Recap

 A little brother time before heading out to camp on Friday morning. 

Q had been at Dino Camp all week.

After work we headed over to the neighbours for the evening.  Like the week before, happy hour drinks turned into sharing dinners and a bit later evening. 

On Saturday morning we all went to High Park for Q's tball game.  It was such a beautiful day!

Both teams were a little short on players but we had enough to field the infield with some coaches and older siblings in the outfield, and all of the kids got to hit twice in the inning.  It was actually a great way for the kids to get some practice in, and this is "instructional league" after all.

And the best part is the freezies afterwards.

We got some french fries and cold drinks after the game.

And then some ice creams!

We rested when we got home and watched the rest of F1 Quali. Then E went to a birthday party (indoor go-karts and dinner out). Q and Dave washed the car and I walked up the street to get some corn for dinner.

There was a bunny across the street.

After supper I took Q for a paddle in the Humber River.

It was really nice out on the water.  We saw a deer, a beaver, and tons of birds.  My phone wasn't super accessible so although I got it out for these photos, it wasn't easy for me to get a photo of the animals we saw.

Our Sunday plans got a bit mixed up with the weather. The day started out fine, Dave went golfing and I did a 45 minute Peloton and did some reading. E and I biked to his baseball game, while Dave and Q headed to High Park for a tball game. However it turned out the tball game was cancelled due to a scheduling mix up and since we were a call-up, we didn't get the notice it was cancelled.  Then there was some thunder so the umps at E's game had to declare a 30 minute delay and since the game was half over, the coaches just decided to call the game.

Then we biked to High Park to meet up with Dave and Q with plans to go for a swim, but because of the aforementioned thunder, the pool was also closed while they waited that out.  After we sort of figured out what was going on, it turned out we only needed to wait another 10 minutes before the pool opened back up.  We waited in line and then just as they were putting the bracelets on me and Q, there was thunder again and they had re-close the pool. So then we gave up and headed home and it's a good thing we did!  It started raining on our way home but really pouring as soon as we pulled into the driveway. Q and Dave were just getting off the subway so I drove up to get them. I got soaked just running out to the car!

With our afternoon plans ruined, we decided to head to the movies.  We saw Mission Impossible and it was fabulous! Tom Cruise is single-handedly saving the movie theatre experience! Haha, maybe not single-handedly, but he's doing a great job.

Then home for some supper and an early bedtime.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Friday Favourites


E got in a few rounds of golf this week - golf camp and with his friends.  Here they are coming up #18 at Scarlett Woods.  It's so great we can drop him off at the golf course for a 4 hour outdoor screen-free activity!

On Wednesday I wrote about how I ride my bike to work.  I biked on Tuesday and Thursday this week, both beautiful days! 

We all golfed on Tuesday night - me with my ladies' league at Scarlett Woods and Dave and the boys at Islington. We finished up at the same time so I drove over to meet them on the patio and have a drink, french fries and ice cream.

Wednesday was t-ball practice night for Q. 

They played a scrimmage so E was in the dugout in charge of the lineup, he is a natural. I was in the outfield yelling things like "Where's the play, Reds?"

Then I suggested E do the groundskeeping and he gladly obliged. 

And Q wanted a turn too!

Yesterday I gave a little update on our renovations. It's a slow but steady process.

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Renovation Update

Our renovation is finally underway, after a couple of weeks of demolition.  Rather than do one large post at the end, I wanted to bring you along the way.

First step, since our kitchen isn't being renovated, the contractors walled it off and built a box around our island.

Half of this part of the house will be removed and replaced with a second storey room, and the other half will remain, all is demo'd.

Upstairs down to the studs.  Our house was built in 1928 so it had a plaster and lathe interior and no insulation.  We were pleased to see the strong wood underneath all of that, a very sturdy house. For those of you who know our house, this photo was taken in E's room, looking towards our room at the front of the house.

The living room, mid demo. 

We had three bins full (sort of like the baa baa black sheep).  The fourth bin is in our driveway now and will be slowing filled up.

Beams and framing delivered. 

Framing is happening now, and some discussion about the radiators and air conditioning.

We have had one issue so far.  When we went camping for Canada Day the workers left the water running in the upstairs bathroom overnight and it leaked all the way down to the basement.  We will need to have the walls and floors replaced down there now *thumbs down*.  But it is livable and could have been so much worse.  Since part of the roof is coming off later, I'm hoping this is our only water damage!

This is where it leaked into the main floor, this was not supposed to be touched, but will have to be replaced now.

Looking up at the ceiling in the basement. 

A portion of the laminate flooring in the basement lifted up and will need to be replaced.

And as for living in the basement, it's not bad.  The noise has been fine, the dust is not an issue, and it's been great being here for daily inspections and to discuss various things in real time with the contractor.  Of course it would be the one time we leave that we have an issue!!