Category Archives: All The Nice Things

Couchsurfing & Warm Showers are awesome

This past weekend, we hosted another set of couchsurfers. We love Couchsurfing, although people unfamiliar with this mode of travelling probably think we’re nuts. In its simplest terms, couchsurfing means staying with locals when you travel to different places. But it’s so much more than that. Couchsurfing has allowed us to travel the world while staying put, to forge friendships with people who we’d never have met otherwise, to open our minds to the great wide world and to continue to live out our “what goes around comes around” philosophy.

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Swing Out in Wedding Garb

Swing Dancing and Old Friends

Roughly 16 years ago, I met my husband at the University of Western Ontario’s swing dance club, Swing Kids. Roughly two years before that, way back in 1999, my brother had dragged me to a swing dancing event at Chicago’s Willowbrook Ballroom (well, sort of Chicago. Close enough). I reluctantly went, sure that 1930’s dancing would be extremely boring. In my defense, I was 17 at the time, and knew absolutely nothing about swing dancing. Well, to my surprise, it was great fun, and I was hooked right away. How could you not be, when you got to take a lesson to learn how to dance and then got to dance with pretty much everyone – and to a live band, no less!

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All the nice things… from (almost) all the days I didn’t post

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Trains and visits from grandma

Today my mom (whom my kids call Vó Bia) came to stay for a 5-day visit. It’s been a while since she was able to come from London, ON to Kingston, ON, so we were looking forward to her coming to see us. We picked her up at the train station, then headed straight to the YMCA for the kids’ swimming and jump rope lessons. Dan met us there, and I headed out to grab some pizzas, because we didn’t have time to make anything to bring with us for dinner. It’s a busy day on Monday nights – we have swimming lessons at 5:00 and then K-girl has jump rope at 6:20, so we don’t get home ‘till after 7:40 p.m. most Monday nights. That means we have to bring something to eat, and we usually have dinner in between swimming and jump rope. So today’s nice thing was having Vo Bia along to see the kids’ swimming lessons, and the ability to pick up a ready-to-go pizza and share it with Vó Bia and the rest of the family while chatting about our day.

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Birthday and Special Haircuts

I love birthday parties. I love hosting little parties at my house, making yummy food, and having friends over. My little K-girl turned 7 on January 20th. I can’t believe how fast time is flying. For her birthday, K-girl had decided she wanted to get a special haircut at the hair salon and donate her hair for a child who needed a wig. She also wanted to get a little make up and nail polish. Usually Nana cuts our kids’ hair, since Nana used to be a hair stylist, so this was K-girl’s first time at a hair salon. I got the hair stylist who usually does my hair to cut my daughter’s. K-girl’s hair looks adorable short, and some kid is going to be really happy to have her gorgeous hair. After the hair cut, we went out for lunch with Nana and Papa, as is the tradition here.

The day after K-girl’s birthday, we had a little party here at the house. Some of her homeschool friends, friends from the theatre, Nana and Papa, a long-time family friend, plus one of her aunts and two of her cousins came over to the house. We had lots of yummy food, the kids had a Pokemon battle, and we even played charades and guess-the-word games.

K-girl is currently obsessed with Pokemon, so we had a Pokemon-themed party. I even tried my hand at a Pokeball cake, which was both frustrating and fun. It’s not Cake Boss quality, but the birthday girl was happy with it.

I kinda butchered the Happy Birthday writing, but she didn’t care. She was pretty happy with her Pokeball cake.

So, today’s nice thing is wonderful time with wonderful friends. And chocolate cakes that are super easy to make, because I always have everything on hand for this recipe from Boutell.

What nice thing happened for you today?

Sunday Treats & Family Time

Our church has a lovely fellowship hour after mass. When we left Kingston temporarily between 2006-2008, one of the reasons we really yearned to come back was our church community. It was hard to find that back in Ottawa.

Not only do we get to spend some time chatting with our Sunday family and just hanging out, we also get some lovely treats, too. Thoughtful folks bring lovely treats each Sunday, and the kids really enjoy them. The kids they run around in the back of the hall and burn off their energy before we go home and put them down for rest time.

Today’s nice thing is being free to attend church, hang out, and have yummy treats.

The other nice thing is to be able to spend time as a family, watching our kids quickly acquire new skills by using the indoor playground daddy built. We’ve got some pretty cool monkey bars and a trapeze in our basement now. My hubby is awesome. In so many ways.

Those are my nice things for Sunday. What nice things happened for you today?

Thank you to Dream Big Printables for this post’s great image. Check out their awesome art!

Husbands Who Cook

Today’s nice thing was that we had some more folks over for dinner. Dan decided that this year he’d like to have people over for dinner on most weekends. We had found we were getting a little too socially isolated, and we wanted to re-connect with friends and re-establish a social life. After all, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” as they say.

So today’s nice thing is that we had a lovely family over for dinner. I met Chris when I performed in my very first play last spring – an adaptation of the Princess Bride. I like to joke that I was in a play with Johnny Depp, because it’s uncanny how much this dude looks like the actor. Anyway, after doing the play, we became friends with Chris and his lovely family. So we invited them over a couple of times, one of which was for yesterday’s dinner. Their kids and ours get along well, so they played and we actually got to have a fairly uninterrupted conversation, which was nice.

But the other nice thing is that the entire meal was cooked by Dan. Dan really enjoys cooking, so he takes pride in making the meals when he invites people over. And sorry, family, but he also makes the best “pudim de leite condensado” I’ve ever had. I don’t even make the stuff (I refuse to, ’cause there’s no way it can compare). When we first got married, Dan was a better cook than me. Now I think we’re pretty much on par. It’s nice to have a dinner cooked for me though 🙂

Today I’m grateful for an involved husband and father who can cook, dance, fold laundry, change diapers and clean toilets, and who enjoys entertaining guests. Looks like I hit the jackpot (but I already knew that).

What nice thing happened to you today?

Thank you to Dream Big Printables for this post’s lovely image. Check out their awesome art.

Mighty Fingers and Good Movies

Today I went to hand clinic for the third time. Back in October, I broke my left pinky finger playing basketball. To make a long story short, I was given some exercises to do, and the nice thing for today is that the exercises seem to be working. My range of motion has improved greatly from when I first landed at the hand clinic. I don’t have full extension yet, but I should get back to almost full if not full extension if I continue doing the exercises. My flexion is almost normal, though it still needs a little work. I’ll always have a “fat knuckle” (doctor’s words, not mine), but I don’t mind.

The other nice thing is that Dan went to the library and surprised me with some movies for us to watch. Yesterday we finally finished Saving Mr. Banks, which I’d been meaning to watch since it came out in 2013. It was a pretty good movie, but, as expected, was very loosely based on the true story (just as Mary Poppins was very loosely based on the original books).

But the nice thing about watching that movie is that now I’m very curious to learn more about P.L. Travers, so I decided to read her biography – and it’s available at my library. Yay! Can’t wait to learn more about this really interesting (if very odd) author.

What nice thing happened for you today?

Thanks to Dream Big Printables for this post’s great image. Check out their awesome art!

Skipping School

This post is part of a daily series to notice “all the nice things” in 2017. I encourage you to also keep a journal of all the nice things that happen this year. At the end of December, you’ll have great memories to look back on. Thanks to Cesar Abeid for the idea.

Today’s nice thing: skipping school.

Yesterday was a rough day with the kiddos. I love them and I love homeschooling, but it’s not always easy. Some days are really hard. Yesterday was one of those days. Today, in order to re-set, I decided to go with the flow of the day. I wasn’t going to nag the kids to get their chores done (or to do anything, really). So I just kept to myself for most of the day, attending to them as needed, but not asking much of them. They ended up still getting all their chores done (albeit it took them 3 hours), playing really well together, and I ended up being able to clean up my inbox while they played. And we still managed to make it outside to play in the snow.

Sometimes we skip school. We’ve been judged for this, but we don’t care. We’re living life on our terms. We don’t need to explain why skipping school is OK, but I’ll write a post about it later on, because I’m tired of people talking about stuff they know nothing about. Skipping homeschool lessons is perfectly fine, not only because we still get all our work done by the end of the year, but also because life experiences, even (and especially) at a young age are much more valuable than structured lessons. There was no time when our kids learned better than during our bike trip this summer. During that time, we did not do structured lessons at all. Yet, my son’s speech skyrocketed (he has a speech delay), my oldest daughter finally got the concept of how a story is told (beginning, middle, end, characters, conflict, resolution – she’s still working on setting), and my youngest girl learned from her siblings at a pace much faster than what she does at home.

Today I’m thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling.

Another nice thing about today is that because yesterday was so rough, hubby gave me the night “off” tonight, which means I get to sit down and do one my favourite things – write. I also got to go to the gym and do a quick workout and have an uninterrupted shower afterwards.

Today I’m thankful for showering at the gym.

What nice thing happened for you today?

Thanks to Dream Big Printables for this post’s great image. Check our their awesome art!

Singing Glory

Today’s nice thing is that we had a “new” Gloria at church, and I really enjoyed singing it. I say “new” because it’s not really new – just different than the one we’ve been singing during advent. We sing this one every year too, but it’d been a year since we last sang it, so it felt new.

I sang it well and felt uplifted singing it. When I was thinking about it after church, I thought about how much I enjoy singing, and I was reminded of a great group I participated in last year. It’s called Rabble Singing Kingston, and they call themselves the “one night stand of choir singing.” It’s a lot of fun, you just show up once a month, learn a song, and then all sing together. No commitment, no signing up, no strings attached. I looked them up, but it turns out they’ve been put on hold for a while. It was nice to remember the fun times singing with them though. I only went a couple of times, but they were both really great.

Another nice thing for today was helping K-girl to learn about the mass and continue to get her ready for first communion. I got this book for her last year – it’s called Let’s Celebrate the Mass!and it helps kids to follow along with the service. It’s great to help her go through the book as mass happens, and she gets more interested in what’s going on that way. I think she’ll be ready for her first communion soon.

And finally, another nice thing that happened today was playing tag with the kids in the basement. It’s always so nice to drop everything and just have fun playing with them. Parenting is definitely challenging and it’s often not easy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What nice thing happened for you today?

Thanks to Dream Big Printables for this post’s great image. Check out their awesome art.