So, I figured I was due (overdue actually) for an update post. Because I am a very very bad blogger. They say the key to a successful blog is consistency. Obviously this is why all my posts go viral.
Sigh…I’m so funny.
Because it’s been almost three months since I last posted, I thought I would just chat for a bit about what has been going on in my little corner of the world.
So without further ado…
1. Summer is here!
Actually, it’s half over, so I’m a little late to the party on that one. We have had a very busy one, but it has been very very good. My Mom has been looking after Nicholas full time, so his summer has been fantastic. She spent two weeks trucking him back and forth from swimming lessons, took him and a friend to a local berry farm for the day, and in general has been keeping him active and his days full. In between times he has been going to coffee and swimming with my Dad. We are so very fortunate to have her as our primary childcare provider. Nicholas adores her and she is trying so hard to make this a summer that he will remember. I keep telling her that all she would have to do is be in the same room as him and he would be happy, but she is determined to do all kinds of things with him and I am so grateful.
Summer has been busy for all of us. We’ve been busy swimming, spending time by Joe’s parents’ pool, and here, there and everywhere. We finally made it to the beach for the first time today, and plan to go back again next weekend if the weather permits. We’ve got a golf tournament in a couple weeks, and Joe and I are both planning to take the last week of the summer off during which we have some fun things planned. I am super excited to have a full week off, I haven’t really had that since Christmas of 2013. Starting a new job in 2014 made it a little difficult to take time, though I have managed a few days here and there.
Work has been busy, but it’s going well. I’m currently up to a 5 day week for the time being, which I’m incredibly grateful for. I’m incredibly happy to be working for such a great organization with such amazing people. I know how lucky I am to have a job I love and I’m thankful every day.
I have changed my focus in school. I was taking a course in Office Admin at Fanshawe, but found out that they are retiring the course. I made the decision to transfer some of my credits to another course that I think is better suited to help me in what I do. It means I’ll be in school a bit longer, but I think it will be worth it.
Joe and I have been taking steps (literally) since the end of May to improve our lifestyle and better our health. It has been successful so far and we’re looking optimistically forward full steam ahead. But more on that later…
So those are the basics about what has been going on in Limaville. Life is going on, life is good. We have our down days, but the up days make up for them and we are grateful for all the days. I would make all kinds of promises about how I’m going to blog more and post more recipes, more book stuff, more anything stuff. But I won’t promise, that way maybe we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.
I hope that everything is going well in your corners of the world, and that you’re having a fantastic summer.
What is your favourite season? Living in Southwestern Ontario, we are blessed to experience four distinct seasons. I truly love each one. I love the crisp, cool fall days where the leaves on the trees change colour and you can just start to see your breath in the air. You can go out for walks and the air is chilly, but you can get away with just jeans and a heavy sweater. I love the clean, fresh smell of winter, and get excited for the first snowfall, and for waking up to find a blanket of snow everywhere. I love the feeling of the air finally starting to warm up after a long winter. The smell of a spring rain, the sight of daffodils and tulips poking up out of the ground.
But mostly – I love summer. And summer is in the air, especially this last week. It hit 30 degrees today, and it is likely to again tomorrow. I think next week is supposed to have more seasonal temperatures, but this blast of heat that we’ve been experiencing has given us a taste of summer again, and a promise of what’s to come. I can’t wait!
If you know me, you know that I love a good list. So in the spirit of the warm weather we’re having, and the warm weather to come, here are the top eight reasons (in no particular order) that I can’t wait for summer:
1. The beach. I love the beach. It is my happy place, and there is nowhere I would rather be on a hot summer day. It can be 35 degrees at home and feel like 45 with the humidex. But standing on the shore of Lake Huron, it’s warm, breezy, and there isn’t a drop of humidity in the air. I can sit for hours, staring out at the waves, reading a book, or simply laying on a towel or in a beach chair, eyes closed, listening to the water lap up against the shore. When the heat from the sun gets to be too much you simply wade out into the water to cool off and bring your body temperature back down. Back to the sand, you’re good for a little longer, until you’re ready for another dip. Over and over it goes, all afternoon.
Then of course, there is the beach at night. Where would you rather view a sunset more than over the water? The air cooling down, a blanket wrapped around you and someone you love. You can watch the sun slip slowly beneath the horizon, and if it happens to be July 1st, and there’s a fireworks display, well – you’ve just had about the most perfect day ever.
2. Ice cream. I freaking love ice cream. It is my dessert of choice, most of the time. When I go out for dinner, often I finish looking at all the decadent desserts on the menu and I look up at my server and ask: “can I just get a bowl of ice cream?” My friends are all nodding their heads right now. Ice cream is awesome, but ice cream in the summer? That’s what I’m talking about!
I have memories of being a child and hearing the bells of the Good Humour man on his bike with the ice cream treats inside. The Purple Phantom with the bubble gum nose was my favourite. Dairy Queen of course is open year round, but of course it tastes better on a hot summer day after an afternoon of swimming. In a nearby town there is an ice cream parlour called Lickety Split. In another nearby town there is the Cool Cucumber. These places are only open in the summer, and there is nothing quite like driving past one of them to find they’re open for the season. It’s truly a reason to celebrate.
3. Baseball. I love baseball. When I was a teenager, I lived and breathed baseball. It may have had something to do with the massive crush I had on Roberto Alomar. It also had everything to do with the game. I got away from baseball a bit during the strike in 1994-95. After that I paid attention, but not how I used to. The game lost a bit of something for me. In the last couple of years I have returned to the fold. We have made it out to a Toronto Blue Jays game at least once a season in the last couple of years and I hope this year to get out there again. Nicholas played baseball for our local league last summer and will again this summer, so he is interested too. Perhaps a game for Joe and I and a game for the family. I love the atmosphere of a ballpark. Especially when we’re winning.
4. Grilling. Oh, heck yeah. The smell of the barbecue is a sure sign of summer. It may sound silly but my favourite thing to eat off the barbecue is grilled chicken breasts, when they’re seasoned properly and done properly so they’re tender and juicy, and they’ve got barbecue sauce on them…..oh yes. I am fortunate to be married to an excellent grill man. Joe is so good at barbecuing that I said to my Mom the other day “if I ever tell you that I’m thinking about leaving Joe, just whisper into my ear: grilled chicken breasts. I’ll be sure to reconsider.”
Barbecue is awesome because it tastes great, the cleanup is minimal, and when you eat outside on the deck, you just leave the food on the grill and everyone grabs their own. You don’t even need to dirty a serving plate. Add the spuds and veg in foil packets, and you’re all set.
5. The smell of freshly cut grass. Need I say more?
6. Campfires. Another summer activity I could do every weekend. The sun goes down, everyone moves from the deck to the fire pit. Someone gets the wood, someone else grabs that week’s flyers and a lighter or matches. Grab some coat hangers and a bag of marshmallows, your drink and a sweatshirt, and you’re almost all set. All I need is my iPhone set to my “Fireside” playlist, and I could sit there all evening. It’s a great way to spend time with family and friends. I love the smells, the sound of the fire crackling, the warmth. While I’m out there that is. As soon as I get in the house, it’s into the shower. I can’t sleep with the smell of campfire in my hair.
7. Flip flops. I hate socks. Once the warm weather starts, I don’t wear them until the snow flies again.
8. Produce. Tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, cherries, peaches, corn on the cob. Fresh, local produce simply can’t be beat, and we in Ontario are so lucky to have access to so much awesome fresh fruits and vegetables. In late August and early September I would exist simply on corn on the cob if I could. When the fresh produce is out of your own garden, so you are eating it within sight of where it grew, it’s an added bonus.
So those are just 8 of the reasons that I am so excited for summer. There are so many more that I haven’t listed here. Are you excited for summer? What are your reasons? Do you have a different favourite season? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Good Tuesday Morning! Second official day of vacation, but technically, I've been off since Friday. It feels good. It's nice, because for the first time in recent memory, Joe and I have vacation at the same time.
So what have we been up to? Keeping busy I guess. The weather has been so so up to this point, but I'm hoping it turns around. Saturday was Nicholas' last day of soccer and it was downright cold. Yesterday we went to visit our friend Jolene in St Catherines and went all tourist to Niagara Falls. I haven't been tourist there for many years unless you count when Joe and I went in October for our anniversary, and we didn't really do anything touristy then. Nicholas has never been to Niagara Falls before, so we thought this would be a good opportunity for him to experience some of it.
Needless to say, he thought it was pretty cool. All our talk about the “big waterfall” didn't really prepare him for how big Niagara Falls is. Even after seeing it as many times as I have, it still fascinates me.
One thing I never got to do in all the times I have visited Niagara, is go on the Maid of the Mist. I did the Journey Behind the Falls as a kid with my family, but we never made it on the boat. Perhaps because every time we went growing up it was in the summer time, and the waits were too long. This time, I did a bit of research about it and decided that we were going. I wanted to see it, and I wanted Nicholas to see it. I knew he would love it.
So we did. It was awesome.
The wait wasn't too bad. Maybe a half hour or so. The view while we waited was pretty great.
And the boat ride itself was amazing. Nicholas loved it.
You really don't realize how massively fantastic The Falls are until you see them from this angle. It makes you realize exactly how small we are compared to this natural wonder.
It was pretty amazing. I highly recommend it.
So yesterday the weather was crap, and after a busy weekend, we pretty much took it easy. We vegged out, and I watched most of a season of How I Met Your Mother – which I have just discovered, and am totally loving by the way.
I love vacation. Whether we do everything, or absolutely nothing at all, it's pretty great. And sitting here on a Tuesday morning, with most of the week still laid out before me, the possibilities are endless. We'll see where we end up.
It boggles my mind how many reports I have seen of people leaving their kids (and animals for that matter) in their cars in this hot weather we’re having.
With all the media attention this has been getting, I am amazed that people would leave a child unattended in a car at all, for any length of time, let alone in this intense heat. Children are dying. Isn’t that enough to say: “wake up sweetie, you’re coming in the store with me.”
I came across this video in my facebook feed. I know it’s a simulation, but it brought me to tears. It brought me to tears because this kind of thing is happening all the time! Children are being injured, and dying all the time, and it is absolutely 100% preventable.
Please – take a few minutes and watch this video. Please – understand that this could happen to you. With all the abductions happening, it is unsafe to leave a child alone in any weather. Please be responsible, please, please – do what you’re supposed to do. You have had this child, or you are responsible for this child. Do what you need to do to protect it. Please. And if you happen to be walking past a vehicle with an unattended child in it – get help. Those few minutes could end up saving a life.
I’ve spent some time away from this blog. I’ve been journaling a bit lately, but that’s it. There’s lots of stuff going on, but at the same time I feel like I don’t have anything to write, and I don’t want to put stuff out there unless it means something – at least to me.
So summer is here. Beach and pool season is upon us. Time ticks on…it literally seems like yesterday that it was Christmas, and a week ago that my son started school. Now we’re into July, his first year of school is over, and he’ll be entering Senior Kindergarten in September. Full days, every day. It’ll be a big adjustment for him, and for us. I think we’ll all do fine though.
Summer is my official favourite time of year. I always used to say that Fall was my favourite season, and it is definitely up there, but in the last few years, my family and I have started frequenting the beach, and I have to say – summer has stolen my heart.
The beach never used to be a big deal for me. I hated the sand caught in everything, the having to walk and carry everything from your car parked a mile away down to the water, the semi-clean lake, the buff bikini bods prancing around everywhere making you wish you had brought more towels to cover yourself with. Also, most of the beaches we went to got deep fairly quick so I spent the majority of the time listening to my mother shout: “Bring it in Danielle! A little closer to shore!!” I’m quite a strong swimmer, but she is not, so it definitely worried her when I was too far out of her reach. Even as I got older.
All that has changed in the last couple of years. Nicholas was born in May, so honestly, he didn’t get out into the pool too much during his first year. Since you’re not supposed to put sunscreen on kids less than 6 months old, I spent the majority of that first summer in the shade, making sure his sensitive baby skin wasn’t overexposed to the suns rays. His second summer was a little better, we spent some time in my parents’ pool, but again, he was so little, that the majority of the time in the water was spent with me holding him and the rest of the time was spent with me worrying that he would fall in the water. Very nerve wracking. I was identifying with my Mother and how worried she always was about me.
The last couple of years though, we have discovered the beach. One Saturday we just packed up the car, and took a drive out to Kettle Point to spend the day. Now let me tell you a little about Kettle Point that makes it perfect, and how it gets past some of the crappy beach stuff that I listed above. First of all – the sand thing – well, it’s a beach, so there’s no really getting rid of that. But it’s harder packed sand, so it does cut down a bit on the sand getting into everything.
Another nice thing about this beach is that you drive right up to the water. A totally new concept for me, you just simply drive your vehicle across the sand, and up to the water. Pop open your trunk or hatch filled with all your beach stuff, and badda bing, badda boom, you’re done! No carting all your stuff for miles before you get to the water. It’s great. It’s also filled with lots of families, not just the young, buff, “look at me” crowd.
The best thing though, and the reason why I love to take my son there, is that it stays shallow forever. There is no sudden drop, and you can walk out quite a while before the water even hits your waist. This is awesome for kids, and I can sit comfortably by the water’s edge and let my son play (luckily he doesn’t venture too far on his own yet) without worrying that he is going to fall into the pool. I still make him wear his PFD and I along with whoever is with me watch him like a hawk, but he is perfectly content to play in the shallow water and play with the waves as they come in.
The beach has become a source of great joy for me and for my family. I can literally sit for hours in the non-humid climate, letting the breeze hit me and soak up vitamin D. The sound of the water is so soothing for me, it is truly my happy place. Last year I took a vacation day from work, and I spent the entire afternoon at Kettle Point, all by myself. I sat and read, listened to music, watched the water, swam a bit, probably nodded off a bit. It was awesome for me and I totally plan to do it again this year.
We’ve made it to the beach once so far this year, and have several plans to go again. Nothing beats that first breath of air that hits you when you first step out of the car onto the sand.
Do you love summer? Are you a beach or pool person? Or would you rather be snowshoeing? Please feel free to hit up the comments.
Have a great summer – and don’t forget your sunscreen. The sun is awesome, but we must respect it the same way we do the water.
What an awesome vacation I have had. Relaxing, calming, amazing. I’m on Day 7 and I have spent 5 of them so far by a body of water – either the beach or a pool. It’s not over yet, so there could definitely be more. I’m actually counting on it. To say I’ve got a tan is a bit of an understatement.
The best part has been the time that I’ve spent with my son. We’ve always been two peas in a pod, but this week it seems like we’ve gotten even closer. He starts school next week so as you’ve read before, it was very important to me to make this week amazing, and I think I have.
Sometimes I find that after a vacation, I feel like I need another vacation. Usually I feel that way. This time, not so much. I’ve spent time cuddling, laying on the beach, reading, floating on a pool raft, stretched out on the sand staring at the water rolling in. I feel relaxed, I feel content, and I feel like I’m ready for what lies ahead.
The storm is coming. That storm is called: Nicholas Goes to School. He says he is excited, he says he is looking forward to school, to the bus ride, and all that stuff. But he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t really grasp what is coming. That he is going to be out there on his own. No Mommy, Daddy or grandparents to cling to. He is such a shy little boy. We go anywhere and he meets new people and he literally clings to me until he warms up. We were at the beach the other day with Joe’s parents and I literally moved ten feet over from where he thought I should be and I heard him yell “where’s my Mommy??” as he ran up to where his Nana was sitting. Once he realized I had just moved over a bit, he came over and put his arms around me and said: “you’d never leave me, right Mommy?”
Talk about breaking my heart. Because I have to tell him that of course I would never leave him. Then I have to go and betray him as I make him get on the school bus by himself. Make him spend the day at school without me. I try to explain to him that of course I would never leave him alone without someone there to look after him. That even when I’m not there, there will always be someone to turn to if he needs something. That even when he goes to school and I’m not there, he will have the teacher, and all the other kids there with him. He won’t be alone.
But come the first day of school, I know he isn’t going to understand this. He’s going to be absolutely devastated. I know that he’ll be fine. I know that once he gets used to school and gets into the swing of things, that it is going to be amazing for him. He’s going to make friends, he’s going to grow in so many ways – socially especially. It makes me so excited to think about all the things that he is going to learn. The world is laid out at his feet and it’s all there for him to possess. He’s so lucky. We just have to get over this little hump called the first day – week – month – of school.
But now, it’s Friday night. I have three more full days left of my vacation. Lots of time to soak up some more sun, and some more cuddles from my little guy. I’m not going to dwell on that first day until I absolutely have to – on that day. I’m not going to ruin the rest of my vacation worrying about the inevitable. I’m going to make the absolute best of it. For all of us.
Woot, woot! One more week till vacay! Boy, do I feel like I’m needing it this year. It’s almost the end of August, and so far I’ve taken 2 days vacation. My decision – my friend and co-worker tells me that I hoard all my vacation days like a squirrel saving nuts for the winter, and she’s right. I get three weeks a year, and usually I don’t feel like I need much time off for the first six months. I usually take a week in July, a week sometime in the fall, like October, and then a week at Christmas. But I do hoard my days, mostly I think because I want to make sure I get the perfect time, and spaced just right.
So I’m ready. Boy, am I ready!
My husbands work schedule doesn’t allow for much time off for him in the summer, so he’s working a lot of the week that I’m off. A day trip will be in store, a lot of time at the beach I’m hoping, and we’ll probably get in to see a movie, as the boy loved that when we went on his Birthday in May. We’ll have to get his school shopping done as well. We have most of what he needs, just another pair of shoes and a lunch pail are needed.
Wait – what? Did I say that my son is starting school? How can that be? He was just born, wasn’t he? Something is wrong here. Something is very wrong.
This brings us to the meat of the topic. My son, my baby, my little guy, is starting school in 2 weeks. I’m kind of starting to freak out. I know it is going to be good for him, I know he needs this experience and socially it will be a wonderful thing for him.
Once I remove him from my leg.
He is so shy. I know a lot of this is my own fault because he has not been in a daycare setting. He is great when meeting new kids, but so so shy around new adults, especially men. I don’t know why this is, he has an amazing relationship with his Daddy, Grandpa and Papa. But it really takes him a while to warm up around men that he doesn’t know. He’s never really been away from us with at least one family member present – ever.
So I’m a bit worried. Mostly because it breaks my heart to imagine him all on his own for the first time – at school, all day. Then I think back to my first few days of school. I was exactly the same way. My mom stayed at the school with me for the first few days because I cried whenever she tried to leave. When the teacher finally told her to go home, and she did – she got home to find the phone ringing. It was the school secretary calling to let her know that I was doing just fine, and the teacher had her call Mom so that she wouldn’t worry. I was fine. I turned out okay. So will he, but it’s much tougher being on the Mommy end of the situation.
That’s why next week is so important to me. I delayed my vacation by a few weeks so that we could spend some awesome quality time together before he starts school. He’ll always be my baby, but he’ll never be my pre-school-days baby again. So this time together is as much for me as it is for him.
Why didn’t somebody tell me that being a Mommy was so hard sometimes? I blame you all for this! 😉
When I start making this pasta salad, I know that summer has arrived. Everyone has their own variation, this is mine.
1 bag – pasta of choice. Hardier pastas work best. I’ve used Rotini, Fusilli, Farfale (bowtie), and Scoobi-Do is a favourite. It’s a nice change from the traditional elbow.
1 jar – Miracle Whip
2 cans – flakes of ham – some people like tuna, I prefer the taste and saltiness of ham
4 eggs – hard boiled
mustard – a healthy squirt
dried dill – a healthy shake
curry powder – to taste
salt and pepper – to taste
Cook the pasta in salted water to al dente. Strain and run under cold water until completely cooled.
In a large bowl, break up flakes of ham and cut up hard boiled eggs. Leave both in fairly large chunks as they will break down more when you stir it all together.
Dump the pasta on top, and add Miracle Whip and combine, to get desired creaminess. Add mustard, dill and curry, along with salt and pepper, all to taste, testing along the way of course! 😉
That’s it. It’s best served chilled, though if you plan on storing it in the fridge for a while, the pasta will absorb the dressing, so before serving add a bit more and give it a stir.
I prefer mine very simple, but there are literally hundreds of things you could add to this salad – bell peppers, green onions, spanish onion. You could add fresh peas if you had some from the garden or market. That’s what’s nice about it, add what you like to make it your own and suit your tastes.
Serve with a burger or hot dog or whatever summer treat you’ve got off the grill, and enjoy!
Woah. It’s a hot one out there. It’s been a hot week actually. It’s the humidity that does it. There is a heaviness in the air that seems to hit you and take your breath away as soon as you step outside.
Summer is here folks – I’m not one to complain about the weather (too much) but it’s here and we might as well enjoy it.
Please stay safe, keep up on heat advisories, and employ these simple practices in your day to day life when its so hot out:
– Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink plenty of water. Not just water, look for beverages that have electrolytes.
– Keep your blinds and windows closed during the day.
– Turn off the lights in your home when they’re not needed.
– If you’re outdoors, try to stick to the shade and avoid too much direct sunlight.
– Wear a hat outdoors, but remove it when you go indoors, this will allow your body to cool off quicker.
– Use those fans! They help to circulate the air, which can be enough sometimes. If it’s a ceiling fan, make sure it is turning in the right direction for cooling. You can place a bowl of ice or something frozen in front of the fan to boost the cooling up a notch.
– Minimize the use of your stove and oven. Cook outside when you can, or use a crock pot! I know people often associate a crock pot with winter cooking, but you can make some really great meals, all while not heating up your house at all.
– If you have to be outside, and tend to exercise outside, try to limit your activities to early morning or late at night, when the sun isn’t so strong and the humidity isn’t as unbearable. This includes activities such as grass cutting and gardening as well. Don’t forget to drink during your activities. Especially then.
– Mint. Eat it, look for mint in lotions, etc. It has cooling properties that will help cool the body down.
– Avoid alcohol when outside in the heat. I know this sucks, but it dehydrates you.
– Get soaked. Be it in a swimming pool if you’re lucky enough to have access to one, a local splash pad, or just a sprinkler or kiddie pool in your backyard. It’s amazing how a bit of cool water can lower your body temperature to something much more manageable.
There are many other ways to keep cool, the internet is full of them. If you have to, go to the mall or your local library to cool off. But please, if you think you are having heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately.
Some of these (okay, most of these) are so obvious, but it’s so easy to forget the basics sometimes.