Bits of Joy

Hello blog friends! I’m glad you’re here. I hope you have a few minutes for a chat over a cup of coffee or tea. We had a mixed bag of weather this past week: Sun, rain, snow, and sun again. As I type this, Toronto is under lockdown to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus so I limit my in-person contacts and continue to go outside only for exercise or groceries.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, there are still many small pleasures and fun moments to enjoy every day. Here’s my bits of joy and photos to share with you:

Going for a Beach Walk

Sunnyside Beach

Sunday was sunny and beautiful. It was perfect for my bike ride to Sunnyside Beach and a walk along the sandy beach. I enjoyed views of Lake Ontario, blue sky, fresh air, bird life, trees, with very few people around at the time of my visit. This may be the last “warm” day of Autumn 2020. Two days after I took this beach photo, we got snow!

Baking

Monday was a rainy day. Having three ripe bananas on my kitchen counter prompted me to bake. I haven’t baked for a few months because it was too hot to think of baking in the summer. I used Jean Paré’s Banana Bread recipe and the loaf turned out really good. It was a tasty homemade snack to go with a cuppa while staying dry and warm indoor.

Loving the First Snow

Tuesday was snow day. First snow accumulation on the first day of December 2020! Just a thin layer by the lake and more snow elsewhere in Ontario. The snow flurries and snow flakes looked so pretty when I sat inside sipping my hot coffee. I love to go for a walk after the first snowfall when everything still looks pristine.

Cycling to a Park

Wednesday was sunny again so I went cycling and enjoyed a beautiful wintry day. I was glad to have my sunglasses with me as the reflections from the snow were blinding. How many Canada geese do you see in the above photo? There were many more of them by the lake than those I captured here. When we get more snow in the parks, it will be fun to go snowshoeing.

Speaking of blinding, on Wednesday around noon, while cycling, I saw a flash of blinding light then a fireball in the clear blue sky. It appeared and disappeared in seconds. The local news reported it was a falling meteor travelling an estimated 100,000 kilometers an hour. The American Meteor Society also received reports on this daylight fireball event occurred over Central New York. That was unexpected and pretty cool to see.

Hill without snow.
The thin layer of snow was gone by Thursday.

Joining a Challenge

Dan at No Facilities blog has taken over hosting the Thursday Doors photography challenge. I decided to participate for the first time. My debut Thursday Doors entry in Beaux-Arts style is here. I look forward to sharing my selection of door images and meeting other bloggers who participate in the challenge.

Reading

I enjoyed reading a few e-books this week. One of them was Jill Weatherholt’s Second Chance Romance novel. It’s an easy read and a heartwarming story with happy endings. In addition to reading Jill’s book, I also read and agreed with the Second Chance Romance book review by Annika Perry, another blogger and writer that I follow. Both Jill and Annika have my admiration for their wonderful writing.

Selecting a Tree

I browsed and found a handsome evergreen tree for the holidays. No, I don’t plan to bring one home. I like the natural look of the first snow landed on the tree and its symmetrical shape. This is my digital tree all decorated and ready to go as my e-greeting card to my family and friends.

How did your week go? Any fun plans for the coming week? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

Copyright © 2021 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

73 thoughts on “Bits of Joy

  1. Dan Antion December 6, 2020 / 6:58 am

    Thanks for mentioning Thursday Doors in your recap! I love the pictures from around the lake.

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 10:16 am

      You’re welcome, Dan. I look forward to the upcoming Thursday Doors.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill Weatherholt December 6, 2020 / 7:35 am

    I’m happy the restrictions aren’t preventing you from getting out and enjoying nature, Natalie. Your photographs are beautiful! Thank you for reading Second Chance Romance. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Have a great week ahead.

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 10:22 am

      Jill, During this pandemic, thankfully all the parks are open and local public health officials encourage residents to go outside for exercise. It’s cold here now and I see very few people when I’m outside on the trail. Automatic safe physical distancing! Thank you for writing heartwarming stories. We can all benefit from more love and happiness. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  3. Debbie December 6, 2020 / 11:36 am

    What a pretty digital tree! Somehow, the snow on its branches presents a more calming sight than ornaments, garland, and colored lights, too! We’ve had a few flurries, but nothing has stuck. I know snow is coming, but after the first one, I’m done! Give me sunshine, ha!

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 12:19 pm

      Debbie, The sunshine makes everything better including melting the snow so less shoveling to do, ha! Hope you’re enjoying December.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gary A Wilson December 6, 2020 / 2:17 pm

    Wow – Natalie – a daylight meteor sighting. That is extremely rare and perhaps a bit frightening. Too bad your amazing camera was not in-hand as that would have been a valuable shot.

    And I too love the early pristine snow for exploring. Snow has the ability to transform a familiar neighborhood into a crystal white dusted new wonderland.

    It sounds like you too understand and love this.

    Blessings.

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 2:54 pm

      Gary, That meteor sighting is very rare. Fortunately, no damage reported. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 2:56 pm

      John and Susan, Yes, going outside makes a big difference. During this pandemic, thankfully all the parks are open and local public health officials encourage residents to go outside for exercise. Have a nice weekend!

      Like

  5. rawsonjl December 6, 2020 / 4:16 pm

    We’ve been quarantined in our house and are enjoying many of the same simple bits of joy (though hiking in the woods instead of walking on the beach).

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 5:03 pm

      Joanne, Being close to nature is wonderful, especially during lockdown/ quarantine. I’m glad you’re able to hike in the woods. Stay safe and well. Have a great coming week!

      Like

  6. Laurie December 6, 2020 / 6:12 pm

    That banana bread looks delicious! I haven’t baked banana bread in years. My husband loves the overripe bananas I would typically use to make bread out of. I don’t know if I would share your joy of snow. I am hoping to get through the winter without any! 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 7:05 pm

      Laurie, If we didn’t have any snow here in the winter, that would be a huge climate change.

      Like

  7. Deborah December 6, 2020 / 7:47 pm

    Oh I love the snow. We don’t get any in my part of Australia so I’ve only seen it once on a visit to New Zealand. Such a contrast to your beach walk as well!

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 7:53 pm

      Deborah, Yes, the weather changed quickly within two days. That first thin layer of snow didn’t last. It’s sunny again today and the next couple of days.

      Like

  8. Jo December 6, 2020 / 8:12 pm

    I love your digital tree – it’s decorated magically. How cool to see that meteor? That’s definitely a once in a lifetime thing – I hope you made a wish on it…

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 8:54 pm

      Jo, That meteor sighting felt surreal. Fortunately the fireball wasn’t too big to cause damage wherever it landed on. I made a wish 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. csuhpat1 December 6, 2020 / 8:28 pm

    Such beautiful tips. We are going back on heavy lockdown tonight until Jan.4th.

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 8:57 pm

      Patrick, I read about the lockdown in the Bay area and other counties in CA. Hang in there. Stay safe and well.

      Like

  10. leannelc December 6, 2020 / 8:58 pm

    Nice that you didn’t chop down your Christmas tree and just snapped a pic instead. I put our (fake) tree up yesterday and I get to enjoy the twinkling lights for the next few weeks before I have to take it down and put it all away again.

    Like

    • Natalie December 6, 2020 / 9:18 pm

      Leanne, Twinkling lights are lovely, especially here when it gets dark early in December. Every year, I go for a walk to look at so many beautifully-decorated trees in the downtown core, and the natural ones in parks. I love looking at them without bringing one home.

      Like

    • Natalie December 7, 2020 / 2:22 pm

      Thank you. Glad you liked my photos.

      Like

  11. trentpmcd December 7, 2020 / 9:24 am

    Sounds like a good week with a lot of activity, despite the snow. And very cool to see a daytime meteor! I hope you have a wonderful week 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie December 7, 2020 / 2:27 pm

      Trent, It was just a thin layer of snow that melt the next day. The sun was shining so I was able to go cycling and walking outside. The meteor sighting was unexpected and surreal. Now I can add it to my list of “life experiences” 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Erica/Erika December 7, 2020 / 9:31 am

    I love your title, Natalie. It lures me in. I also have Jean Pare’s cookbooks. I will leaf through them again. The snow makes everything fresh and pretty. Wow, actually seeing the meteor!

    I totally agree about Jill and Annika and their wonderful writing. Have a good week. 💕

    Like

    • Natalie December 7, 2020 / 2:31 pm

      Erica/ Erika, Bits of joy or small pleasures are something I can go for every day, especially this year. I like that Jean Pare’s recipes are easy to follow and the results have been good so far. The meteor sighting was surreal. I can add it to my list of “life experiences” 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid December 7, 2020 / 1:51 pm

    I love the combo of the sun and the snow and how cool it must have been to see that meteor! I had to google snowshoeing – you know what they say, learn something new every day! It looks like you are making the most of your outside time during lockdown – hope you’re staying safe and well. Summer has well and truly arrived here, it’s been so hot, I’m almost melting!

    Like

    • Natalie December 7, 2020 / 2:35 pm

      Sammie, The meteor sighting was unexpected and very cool. I’m glad to share “snowshoeing” and now you know what it is. I feel safe being outdoors here because it’s cold, very few people are out, and lots of open space in the parks or by Lake Ontario. Stay cool and enjoy summer where you are!

      Like

  14. Antoinette Truglio Martin December 7, 2020 / 4:58 pm

    SO cool to see a meteor fall in the daytime! Being outside is the only way you could do that! Love your posts.

    Like

    • Natalie December 7, 2020 / 5:09 pm

      Antoinette, The meteor sighting was very cool. It was a clear day with excellent visibility. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week!

      Like

  15. OnceUponaTimeHappilyEverAfter.com December 7, 2020 / 5:27 pm

    So glad this tree is going to be a virtual Christmas tree. It would be a shame to cut down such a perfect specimen!! I bet it has the best foresty smell. And is probably home to a number of lucky birds. Perfect standing right where it is!

    Like

    • Natalie December 7, 2020 / 5:38 pm

      Leslie, You’re right about the best forestry smell and how the tree is home to a number of lucky birds. It looked perfect with the snow so I decided to make it my digital tree for 2020 holidays.

      Like

  16. dinah December 7, 2020 / 10:40 pm

    Thanks for inviting me to visit. Love your photos and your banana bread looked wonderful! I hope you have a lovely week ahead.

    Like

    • Natalie December 8, 2020 / 9:24 am

      Dinah, Thank you for your visit and comment. I’m glad you like my photos. The banana bread recipe is easy to follow and makes good use of my ripe bananas. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Annika Perry December 8, 2020 / 2:48 am

    Natalie, I loved reading about your week and the photos are so beautiful. The picture of the beach with the city in the background should be used for travel brochures, it looks stunning and so inviting! Yeah, snow and such a perfect Christmas tree with snow lightly strewn across the branches! Wishing you a wonderful week ahead … oddly enough it feels like a normal one of olden days For me with appointments such as dentists, car service etc … normally I would have moaned a little about these but just great to be able to get them done! Take care and keep the photos coming, I’m enjoying my virtual travel!

    Like

    • Natalie December 8, 2020 / 9:27 am

      Annika, With all your appointments done, you’ll be so ready with a fresh start in the new year. I’m glad you liked my photos. The sun is shining this week so I hope to have a few nice photos to share in my next post. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Debbie December 8, 2020 / 6:17 am

    Hi Natalie your photos and trips outside for exercise look great and the snow is beautiful! What a great idea to ‘select’ a tree too, fabulous! #lifethisweek

    Like

    • Natalie December 8, 2020 / 9:33 am

      Debbie, Being outside close to nature makes me happy so I want to leave the trees where they are. The digital tree is great for my e-greetings. I do almost everything online this year, due to the lockdown. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Beaton December 8, 2020 / 10:00 am

    Curious about the blinding light episode… did you think oh no its the world ending hahaha or the alien invasion has begun or any other outlandish ideas or maybe I simply watch too much sci-fi and horror movies
    ~B

    Like

    • Natalie December 8, 2020 / 10:09 am

      B, When the blinding light flashed, at first I thought it was something that reflected the sun light because it was a sunny day. Then I saw the fireball and its path in the sky. I was expecting an explosion but didn’t think it would be the end of the world because the fireball looked about the size of my hand. I didn’t hear anything after it disappeared and no damage reported in the news (phew).

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Denyse Whelan Blogs December 9, 2020 / 12:50 am

    So good to see the season’s change so dramatically. The snow is very pretty but I imagine over time it is more ‘mundane’. I hope you and family & friends stay well …covid sure is not going away anytime soon.

    Our extremes of high temperatures have left (for a while I hope) and some part of our country are enjoying much needed rain. Mind you, the humidity when that happens is pretty awful.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week is the last Share Your Snaps for 2020 and then only one week to go after that before a short break with Life This Week returning on Mon 4 January 2021. Hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

    Like

    • Natalie December 9, 2020 / 9:38 am

      Denyse, I’m glad to hear you’ve got some relief from the extreme high temperatures. Hopefully we’ll both have moderate temperatures in the coming weeks. I look forward to sharing my snaps and seeing yours and other bloggers’ at the next link up. Have a great week!

      Like

  21. Veronica Lee December 9, 2020 / 1:32 am

    Your photos are always such a joy to look at , Natalie.

    It’s really comforting to be close to nature amid these crazy times.

    Stay safe!

    Like

    • Natalie December 9, 2020 / 9:40 am

      Veronica, I’m glad you like my photos. I’m thankful to be close to nature, especially during this pandemic. Hope you’re keeping well. Have a great week!

      Like

  22. Suzanne@PictureRetirement December 9, 2020 / 1:27 pm

    My favorite thing in this post – a meteor sighting and finding your Christmas tree. Sounds like a perfect week.

    Like

    • Natalie December 9, 2020 / 1:34 pm

      Suzanne, It was a very good week. Getting outside to be close to nature has made my day interesting. Hope you have a wonderful week!

      Like

    • Natalie December 9, 2020 / 5:38 pm

      Yes, I like it very much. Glad you think it’s beautiful, too.

      Like

  23. PurplePumpernickel December 9, 2020 / 9:40 pm

    I am so glad that you are able to take joy in your reading, baking, walking, cycling, and enjoying the snow and Christmas trees in situ, despite the lockdown. Be safe and keep well!

    Like

    • Natalie December 10, 2020 / 9:20 am

      Ju-Lyn, Fortunately we have many city parks with open space here and we’re encouraged to go outside to exercise during the lockdown so I cycle and walk almost daily. Baking and reading stretch my mind. The Christmas decorations have been up in the city centre and that bring joy, too. I’ll share some photos on Sunday. Have a great weekend!

      Like

  24. Sanch @ Sanch Writes December 9, 2020 / 10:12 pm

    I feel for you all in lockdown again but as you said, it’s refocussing on the simple things, isn’t it? My sister is in Toronto too and said she’s been enjoying walks, cooking, baking, reading. Love your pics and love that you can still go outdoors!

    Like

    • Natalie December 10, 2020 / 9:23 am

      Sanch, Simple things are easier to achieve and keep me sane during this lockdown 🙂 I’m thankful that I can go outdoors any time and as long as I want to. Have a great week!

      Like

  25. Min Write of the Middle December 9, 2020 / 10:35 pm

    Hi Natalie, Thank goodness the lockdown restrictions still allow you to get outdoors for some exercise and nature goodness! Your banana bread looks delicious! I’ve cooked a few of those lately too as our bananas seem to get overripe before anyone gets to eat them! That’s incredible that you saw a meteor fire ball falling from the sky. I can imagine that would be quite the experience! I love your snow photos and your tree – quite a novelty to us Aussies over here in the summer heat. Stay safe and enjoy your week. xo

    Like

    • Natalie December 10, 2020 / 9:27 am

      Hi Min, It was a very good week despite the lockdown. I enjoy my time outdoors as there is always something interesting to experience, plus the fresh air and nature. The meteor sighting was unexpected and the excellent visibility on that day made it unforgettable. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  26. betty - NZ December 10, 2020 / 5:04 pm

    I’m so glad you can get out and about! What a great tree 🙂

    Your link at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week is an exciting addition! Thanks for joining us!

    Like

    • Natalie December 10, 2020 / 5:56 pm

      Thank you, Betty, for hosting MCoW. I’m glad you like my natural tree 🙂

      Like

  27. Liesbet @ Roaming About December 10, 2020 / 7:10 pm

    I love the tree you selected for your holiday cards, Natalie. Such a beauty. And, you keep it alive this way too. Double goodness! Fantastic and incredible about you spotting the meteor. What a surprising treat. That banana bread looks scrumptious. It was a very cold day here today, in the Arizona desert, and I wish we had an oven onboard our van. We made plenty of banana bread in the past (on our sailboat) and, back then, as we had stacks of the ripe fruit, I was always disappointed that the recipe only asked for three bananas! 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie December 10, 2020 / 7:47 pm

      Liesbet, The orange fireball was unexpected but very clear to see against the blue sky. I remember reading about the stacks of ripe fruit on your boat 🙂 I hope it gets warmer in AZ for you. Hope your book sale is going well.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit December 16, 2020 / 3:59 pm

    Ooooooh – the snow in that Christmas looking tree is gorgeous! Don’t get that around my parts at Christmas time. xoxo

    Like

    • Natalie December 16, 2020 / 4:21 pm

      Leanne, The first snow is very pretty when it’s fresh and light in quantity. Glad you like my digital tree 🙂 Happy holidays to you and your family!

      Like

  29. Dr Sock December 20, 2020 / 2:05 pm

    Natalie, how cool that you saw a meteor during the daytime! Last week was an ideal time to view the Geminid meteor shower but unfortunately we had cloudy skies here every night.

    Jude

    Like

    • Natalie December 20, 2020 / 7:52 pm

      Jude, The meteor sighting at mid-day was a nice surprise. I went outside for the Geminid meteor shower at night and saw two shooting stars among many other stars. I enjoy these experiences.

      Like

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