Casual Friday + Words of Wisdom from Anne with an “E”

  • Thanks for all your support and well-wishes on Wednesday’s post. I know we all have our own hard, and it’s cathartic to hear and know that; it’s also good to band together and go joyfinding. I’ll do a bit of both here today.
  • I ended up having a lot of screen time the last few days which kinda bummed me out, but much of it was sweet friends reaching out in support (Hi Elaine, Hi Hillary!); friends with their own “hard” that come alongside and cheer and support. I do find texting a slippery slope, but it’s also a great tool to maintain community. You’ll be proud to know I only checked the news ONCE on my phone all week.
  • It was another roller-coaster week of parenting. The kids ended up getting sent home early their first day back to in-person learning because of a pending storm (good call, school board – the roads got very messy mid-afternoon) and the next day was cancelled outright. I tried to make life as easy as possible; simple meals, I hired a hostage negotiator babysitter for one afternoon but I was still bone weary. The kids also fought. A lot. And over perceived slights (disagreeable looks, getting in the way) which could not be solved with a coin toss. Sigh.
  • After over a month of fitting work responsibilities in and around kids and online learning and prepping lunches and answering questions and doing laundry…I just wanted a solid day to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Expecting the kids to be in school all week, I had gone ahead and set up a full schedule for Tuesday, but managed to make it through a volley of video calls – only interuppted once by receiving a Post-It note from a child asking: “Can I go on the Chromebook? Circle yes or no!” to which I replied “No and why are you bothering me?!” I kept a close eye on a particularly rambunctious neighbourhood snowball fight through the window, as well as an adorable snowman making effort…all while nodding along to budget considerations and milestone projections like an adult who didn’t have children covertly slipping Post-It notes and building snowmen nearby.
  • The taxes that I was so relieved to have done weren’t actually done and there were still forms to sign and lots of back-and-forth with the accountant, but those communications ended up saving about $6,000 in tax, so it was worth the effort.
  • Wednesday and Thursday were…amazing. The kids were in school the whole day and I felt like a productivity wizard. I had picked away at things over the last few weeks and kept my head above water, but there were so many nagging tasks that I just couldn’t prioritize when I had to fit work in and around having kids home. It felt so good to get some major meetings behind me and I’m feeling a lot more positive about work responsibilities after this week of catch-up and, in some cases, proactively finishing tasks.
  • Now let’s find some joy, shall we?


  • The kids have been begging to go sledding and I have to admit the little side-hill on our property (think the size of a ditch) doesn’t really cut the mustard anymore. I decided to get the kids off the bus after their early dismissal and head directly to our favourite sliding hill (yes, Wolfville also has sliding hills). We collected a few friends along the way and it was great fun. Speeding down the hill with Levi and flying – literally – over one of the speed bumps was both terrifying and exhilerating. When we finally came to a stop, he collapsed against me quietly – I worried he had hurt his tongue or head – and then stood up screaming: “THAT WAS SO CRAZY AND FUN!” It really was so, so fun.
Oh I love this picture. We had reached the-coat-must-come-off stage. I get walking up the hill is strenuous, but I must stay fully garbed at all times or I freeze.
  • Reading Anne of the Island in bed one night. I was so tired (shocking) and literally felt like I couldn’t move so I used the opportunity to read through most of that book in an evening and it was just pure comfort.
  • My dear friend (giver of the awesome, thoughtful mug gift from last week) came over to watch the latest Nate Bargatze special on Netflix (Greatest Average American; I’d already seen it twice, and it only gets better with each viewing). I love to laugh and I love to spend time with Joy – win, win. We quote lines from Nate Bargatze all. the. time. Humour is subjective, but I just think he is objectively hilarious.
Joyfinding: one last Christmas stamp + the sweetest woodland creature stamp. Happy stamps are just…fun. I now always try to get the prettiest stamps available!
  • Homemade confetti. Nuff said? The kids (mostly Abby) have been working on using up old scraps of paper; we have a star punch and regular hole punches. This feels like it is bordering on glitter territory, but I did sanction/encourage it. I can’t decide whether to put a warning label on the cards or just let my mother silently curse me when she has tiny circles of colourful paper littering her dining room floor? *Update: I decided to be responsible and, against my fun instincts, did label the back of the envelopes with Caution: Confetti Alert*
  • One child was so tired and cranky they excused themselves from the table after a few bites on Tuesday at supper. I let him go – he had a giant bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, and two generously full chicken and spinach wraps for lunch. After some snuggling and chats (very joyful), I made a mental note to leave a snack in his room in case he woke up hungry. I forgot. At 4 am our bedroom door opened. This is quite unusual, so I woke up immediately. When I got to the door a tiny voice simply said: “I’m so hungry my legs are shaking.” Sigh. I like that the kids now ask permission to get food in the middle of the night (there was a candy fiasco a few years ago that doesn’t bear repeating), but not at 4 am. I got him a muffin (these 5-ingredient muffins that I’ve been making at least once a week for YEARS; I do add a bit of oil or applesauce to make them extra moist and now sub 1/4 cup brown sugar – total – for the dates because it’s easier and I need easy right now) and a granola bar and cup of water. I told him to eat up and then get back to sleep; when I left he was sitting, legs dangling over the edge of the bed, eating his granola bar with his bedside light on at its lowest setting and it just…melted my heart. An unexpected “joysighting” at 4 am. I hope he got back to sleep. I didn’t.
  • Yes, the green beans were joyful! Freshly steamed with a dollap of butter and some salt, I enjoyed every mouthful. We all love fresh beans and I got bonus joy by serving them out of my new bowl from Christmas (inexpensive – Dollarstore, dishwasher safe, and so pretty).
  • I’m grateful for most of the food I consume, but this soup was bordering on joyful. I talked to Abby after school the whole time I was chopping and prepping; she ran to the cupboard to get ingredients so it felt like a team effort and the house smelled delicious. Plus there were leftovers…and leftovers give me joy.
  • I was tired last Sunday and couldn’t stop yawning in church. Capacity limits are minimal and we were sitting alone with about 50 empty chairs around us. It was cold. Did I mention I felt exhausted. We can’t sing, and watching a music video is just not the same. Worshiping with a group is a powerful form of community and connection. All this to say I wasn’t feeling overly joyful. But then…they showed a musical rendition of Psalm 1 and our pastor explained that the singers – Poor Bishop Hooper – are a young couple singing through the Psalms. I quoted from Psalm 1 in my post on lamenting, and I’m reading a Psalm each morning at the breakfast table. I’ve known God long enough not to be surprised by this, but it was such a burst of unexpected joy. I’m not likely going to listen to all the Psalm songs (try saying that five times fast), but I’ve been listening to this one on repeat.
  • Finding this in the drawer of my bedside table, from when Levi looked at our 2021 Christmas card and decided to recreate the back picture.

quotes from Anne of Avonlea

One of my goals for 2022 is to read through the entire Anne of Green Gables series; I’ve done it once before, during my first year of university.

A lot has changed since then!

I grew up immersed in Anne’s world – we watched the Megan Follows movies regularly, we read the books and, living so close to Prince Edward Island, we visited the very regions where Lucy Maud Montgomery dreamed up her famous “Anne-girl.”

But while the characters were familiar to me, I can’t quite get over how much practical wisdom is contained within these books. They do portray the world through rose-tinted glasses, but that’s not always a bad thing.

As per usual, I made note of favourite quotations and thought I’d write them out here. If you don’t get around to reading these classic treasures, here are some nuggets of wisdom I discovered recently. Anne, of course, would be a kindred spirit with my recent persistence in “joyfinding”.

  • “Marilla, what if I fail?”

“You’ll hardly fail completely in one day and there’s plenty more days coming,” said Marilla. 

  • “I’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. “I don’t exactly want to make people know more – though I know that is the noblest ambition – but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me – to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.
  • If a kiss could be seen I think it would look like a violet,” said Priscilla.

Anne glowed.

I am so glad you spoke that thought…instead of just thinking it and keeping it to yourself. This world would be a much more interesting place – although it is very interesting anyhow – if people spoke out their real thoughts.”

  • “After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
  • Anne had a long meditation at her window that night. Joy and regret struggled together in her heart. She had come at last – suddenly and unexpectedly – to the bend of the road; and college was round it, with a hundred rainbow hopes and visions; but Anne realized as well that when she rounded that curve she must leave many sweet things behind…all the little simple duties and interests which had grown so dear to her in the last two years and which she had glorified into beauty and delight by the enthusiasm she had put into them.
  • “But I’d rather look like you than be pretty,” she told Anne sincerely.

Anne laughed, sipped the honey from the tribute, and cast away the sting.

Happy weekending. Happy joyfinding. And be careful when you open envelopes; there just might be some confetti inside.

Have you ever read Anne of Green Gables books? If so, who is your favourite character? Do you collect favourite quotes from the books you read? Any moments of joyfinding to share?

27 thoughts on “Casual Friday + Words of Wisdom from Anne with an “E””

  1. I never read the Anne books, which is so weird, because when I was younger I was such an avid reader- it felt like I read everything. I’m not sure how I missed those. I love the quotes you included here. Maybe I’ll still read the books, one of these days.
    Your story about the confetti cards reminded me of one year when we made our own wrapping paper for Christmas- – it involved a lot of glitter. We wrapped gifts for my sister and brother-in-law, forgetting that my BIL is a major glitter-phobe. Apparently when they opened the package glitter fell out all over the place, and they never quite recovered from it. I mentioned making valentines for them that year, and they begged us not to.
    Glad you’re finding so much joy these days!

    1. Oh you should. They are so lovely. Well, to me at least. They are quite old and the language can be flowery, but they have so many layers of sentimental appeal to me.
      Your glitter story is hilarious (“and they never quite recovered” sounds like a great ending to a children’s picture book about glitter; if I write it someday I’ll give you full credit in the acknowledgements section), especially the follow-up where they begged you not to send Valentines.

  2. So glad you got two (and now hopefully three?) days at home with the kids in school!

    Those Anne quotes are lovely — each one made me smile. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

    1. Three days. Three whole days. I almost don’t know what to do with myself (I’m kidding; I’ve worked all day).
      My inbox is down to 10 and I took a shower at 12:30 pm.
      I’m speechless and nearly delirious with joy and hoping all the “snow” icons for next week turn out to be flurries.

  3. Anne of the Island and House of Dreams are my two favourite Anne books. I love Anne’s girl gang in the first, and the second, while quite dark and sad, is also lovely. Maybe I like it because it’s dark and sad, it shows a real humanity.

  4. I read a lot of the Anne books when I was young but I am not sure which ones! I read the first one in October 2020 as a friend asked that her friends read it with her that month in celebration of her 40th birthday. It was a really delightful read. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but it might be Matthew? I just love his gentle soul! And of course I love Anne and how precocious she is!

    Those 5 ingredient muffins look great, and they are GF! I get a box mix of banana muffins that is GF but should stop buying that box mix and make these instead, but I would also sub brown sugar because we never have dates on hand and I don’t even know where I’d tell my husband to look for them when he does the grocery shopping! Ha! I am sure they are probably in the baking aisle but I can imagine some grumbling from him if they were hard to find! (he does all of our grocery shopping).

    Your week this week sounded like mine last week. I had high hopes of 4 days of work w/ no kids around and ended up having 2 since Will caught a virus and was home Thur/Fri in addition to being home Monday for his tubes surgery. This week has been wonderful because the kids are healthy (well mostly, we are treating Will’s ear infection but I don’t think it bothers him since the drainage drains out of his ears) so they are at school and Phil has gone into the office everyday. I mean having him home would be totally fine, I barely see him when he is home, but when he’s not home, but that means he’s done drop off and pick up every day, and it’s been extremely cold this week!!!

    1. I love Matthew too. And Marilla (especially when she excuses herself after chastizes Anne for something to go laugh over the hilarity of it all – she’s such a rough exterior but warm heart).
      I love these muffins. Sometimes I make them with apples and carrots, too, but they’re not as good as the banana ones. I also usually add a handful of chocolate chips because…well…everything is better with chocolate. They also freeze well!
      I’m so glad you’ve had a few consecutive days with reliable childcare and (relatively) healthy children. If you’re anything like me, I swear I can accomplish about 2 days worth of tasks in 5 hours if I can work non-stop. I’m so used to being interrupted and juggling so many balls at once, that concentrated time to work I just hammer out so much…it makes me feel less guilty about not meeting a weekly quota too with my hours (which my boss is totally okay with); I just manage to get a lot done in a short period of time. And after a month of the kids being home that feels…wonderful.

  5. Yummy, those green beans look delish! And the soup, too. My house is pretty low on groceries since we were out of town…I wish I could just grab a couple of your meals through the screen to tide me over. 😉 I love those book quotes too! I am pretty sure I read at least part of Anne of Green Gables as a kid- I KNOW the books were in our home library. But I don’t have many clear memories. I should add that to my list. Those quotes kind of remind me of A Gentleman in Moscow which I think you said you also loved- wise little phrases that are so simple and insightful.

    1. I’d share the meals if I could!
      I did love A Gentleman in Moscow. I really should buy that book; I want to re-read it and I think I loved it enough to justify owning it!
      Congrats on the successful trip, by the way. I’m living vicariously from our frigidly cold reality here…

  6. I loved your confetti alert. A week with more screen time is sometimes what we need, I think that has been the case for me to although not on my phone on my laptop. I am not a big phone user, I find the screen a little too small. I use it for specific things such as listening to Podcasts but I don’t surf the net on it. I didn’t even know you could keep track of your phone use on your phone until I read the post you linked to, shows how much I know about these things (very little). Hope you have a good weekend filled with restful and nourishing things.

    1. Thanks!
      I’m ready for the weekend and looking forward to some rest and hopefully just the right balance of screentime and outside activities.

  7. When I was a teenager, I went through quite an Anne phase. You’ve given me a little inspiration to maybe do a little re-read!

    1. It’s been so enjoyable. Definitely, the right thing to read on the recent dismal, COLD winter nights we’ve been having here in Eastern Canada.

  8. I love all your joy-finding! It does brighten one’s day 😉 I have found that we often will feel whatever emotion/mood we’re looking for…if we look for the good/optimism/joy, we’ll usually feel good/optimistic/happy 😉

    1. Awww, thanks Kim! So true; what we look for is often what we get in terms of mood and attitude. Doesn’t mean life can’t feel very hard at times, but there is ALWAYS joy available it can just take some extra hunting on particularly tough days…

  9. No I haven’t read those books. I don’t think they are known here I Germany. At least I have only read about them on English speaking blogs. Maybe Ill have a look if I can snatch one somewhere.
    Produktive days are so great. I often battle exhaustion and motivational lack and this week I had a day were I worked for 10 hours and got so much done. I was tried inn the end but not exhausted. So I felt like getting a grip on this todo list.
    Seeing that bowl of green beans makes me want eat a whole one too. I think they need to go on the menu soon.

    1. I bought more green beans today…they were just so good! Gotta repeat the success of last week.
      The Anne books are lovely, and I’m already dreading coming to the end of the series.

  10. The Anne of Green Gables books were my absolute favorite from my tween years. I reread the first 3 books while I was on maternity leave a few years ago. My favorite is the Windy Poplars one – will have to reread that too. Thanks for the inspiration! Your blog brings a lot of joy, thank you for all you give and share!

  11. I’ve never read Anne of Green Gables (although I’ve heard of it) – I think it just wasn’t a book that was popular in Germany when I was younger. We had similarly set books though that I remember reading. Maybe I should pick it up one of the days (add it to the long reading list :)).

    That soup looks delicious. We’re making a (similar?) tortellini soup this weekend and I can’t wait. I love all kinds of soups this time of year!

    1. Anne is such a classic book for Canadian; it has been really fun to revisit the books later in life. I bring a new set of perspectives, for sure. I highly recommend, especially the first 3 books of the series which really give you the authentic “Anne” experience.

  12. I adore the Anne of Green Gables series! I recently reread the entire series, after being gifted it for Christmas, and I was so worried it wouldn’t live up to my memories (I read the series as a child and loved it). Aside from Anne, I truly think Marilla is my favorite character. There is just something so sweet and no-nonsense about her.

    1. I, too, adore Marilla. Definitely my second-favourite character!
      Rachel Lynde reminds me of someone I know and that always makes me chuckle (don’t we all “know” a Mrs. Lynde)?

  13. Oh, Elisabeth. I love so much about this post! You had an amazing week after an inauspicious start and I particularly love how you found joy in the most challenging circumstances. The picture of Levi, airborne! The productive work days back to back to back. Homemade soup. Anne books. So many good things, and reading about the joy in your days has made the start of mine more joyful. (I already had a bit of joy today – helping my father with a phone issue and resolving it before sitting down at my computer. Woo hoo!)

    I find new insights each time I read the Anne books. I know them – and others – so well that I know the specific phrases and sentences and even sometimes where I will find them in the books. The pearls on a string quote is one of them. I just love that idea… Ordinary days are often the best days. 🙂

    And I had to mentally thank you for warning your mom about the confetti. I silently curse the glitter cards that come at Christmas – my preemptive move is to open the envelope and peer in to see if there is a glitter threat. If so? I leave it in the envelope, extract any letters/photos/etc., and call it good. To say I detest glitter is a true understatement!

    I hope today brings you still more joy.

    1. The Anne books have been lovely! I’m sad to be on a bit of a break as I work through a big library pile, but know the Anne books will wait for me.
      Yes, no one seems to be a big fan of glitter except for my children!

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