Monday, March 10, 2014
Good Morning Friends and Happy Monday- I feel like today is the start of something fresh and new- there really is nothing like a bout of bad health to make a person truly appreciative of the everyday lives we all lead! Last week our family has hit hard by a round of the stomach flu- I liken it to the Great Flu Epidemic of 2011- it was just that bad. So after many packages of Saltines have been consumed, numerous litres of Ginger Ale flattened and countless loads of laundry washed and put away- life is returning to normal.
Yesterday was the first day since last weekend that we felt well enough to venture outside for reasons other than procuring more crackers and what a treat it was! Some time over the past week Spring has started peeking out in earnest- crocuses and (my favourite) snow drops- blossoming like nobodies business- the birds are thoroughly Twitterpated and the sun- oh the sun felt warm! With the switch to Daylight Savings yesterday felt like a holiday- scooters and bikes were out in full force and the Littles were thrilled to be out with their friends ripping around the playground- dinner was held off- play was just too important!
This winter has been a tough one- I know my friends and family back East will laugh at this statement- but Vancouver winters are hard- dark and grey- soul draining. The promise of fairer days ahead has me beyond happy- I am dreaming of shorts and sandals- bare feet at the beach- sitting on a blanket with my favourite ladies while our Littles collect crabs and screech up and down Sunset Beach- coffee in the morning- Whiskey Iced Tea in the afternoons- warm breezes on our shoulders- surprise sunburns when we get home- yeah those days are coming back again soon!
I know there has been a great deal of radio silence over the past little while on this old blog- aside from last weeks absence due to the flu- I have really been struggling with coming here and writing each and every day- I love to write- even if it is about nothing much- but I am struggling to find enough hours in the day. I am hoping with a return to fair weather I will start to feel motivated and inspired to come here and share the small details of my days. So please just bear with me as I try to find my way- and time- I promise brighter days are ahead!
PS I may have even spotted a few Buttercups! Yeee! So exciting- I love all the first shy flowers of Spring!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I'm just a little black rain cloud
Hovering under the honey tree
I'm just a little black rain cloud
Pay no attention to little me
Everyone knows that a rain cloud
Never eats honey, no, not a nip
I'm just floating around over the ground
Wondering where I will drip
Winnie The Pooh
PS- my mood is more like Eeyore- bring back the sunshine!
Friday, February 28, 2014
Wednesday night saw found us getting very little sleep- The Boy had a cough that would just not be stopped and subsequently everyone was kept awake. So yesterday morning when I woke up so tiered I thought my eyes were made of sandpaper I made the decision to keep both Littles home from school- while this may seem counterintuitive ( I could have napped while they were both away) I knew neither of them would be at their best for the school day- so home they stayed. Looking at a full day with two tiered and cranky children I steeled myself against the inevitable terrible day it was sure to be.
Then something miraculous occurred- once several cups of coffee worked their magic I noticed that the day was not too grey- the clouds were breaking- no rain. With my two favourite Littles at home this meant only one thing- beach day! We grabbed the scooters and threw together a hastily assembled picnic and headed out for adventure. Our favourite neighbourhood beach was of course mostly deserted- really only busy during lunch when near by offices empty out- and so we had the place to our selves- peace prevailed through out the land.
Sometimes when we are at our most vulnerable things just have a way of working out- what was sure to be a very hard day became an easy day once I threw any additional expectations out the door. We were fed and clothed and we played- some days that is all anyone really needs to be happy- to fix a terrible night- well play and a tonne of coffee for me!
Walking through our neighbourhood I noticed so many promising signs of Spring- late February is like that- it all happens very suddenly- the trees start blooming- the birds start freaking out- crocuses are blooming and best of all the days are noticeably longer. I need Spring so badly- I need longer- brighter- warmer days- I am so over Winter(which yes I know could have been much worse). Looking back to a post about January it's hard to believe how much things change yet stay exactly the same in such a short span of time.
My Littles are growing- maturing- they still squabble but the times that they get along and play or at least work out their own disputes is starting to outweigh the times I need to intervene. Seeing the physical manifestation of their growth and maturing can be compared in a handy metaphor to the buds on the trees- just waiting to bloom. I wont do that though- no metaphors- no pushing them to grow- just sitting back and enjoying both my children and the trees in late February.
Friends it is Friday- this week we are sticking close to home- although I so wish to be with my family in the Okanagan the roads are just too nasty right now- my heart is with them- with my Mom. May you all be surrounded by love and family- with sunshine in your hearts if it is not on your shoulders- Happy Friday!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Lets be really honest here- some days there is seemingly nothing to eat in the house- some days it is five o'clock and you still have no idea what to make for dinner- some days a trip to the grocery store with two or three crabby kids seems like the last thing on earth anyone would want to do. Still people gotta eat. It's a conundrum for sure and one I faced just last night- so I thought I would share one of our favourite quick- from scratch- soup recipes. It's whats to make when the pantry is empty!
Easy Curry Tomato Soup
vegetable oil or rendered fat*
half a small onion diced
a clove or two of garlic
1 stalk of celery diced
1 medium carrot diced
soup stock- or bullion cubes*
one large jar of canned tomatoes
1-2 cups of water
curry powder or paste
a dash of ground pepper
half a cup of cream, sour cream or yogurt
In a soup pot heat oil or fat- I like to use bacon fat which I save in a small jar in the freezer for such events as cooking soup. So heat up the oil or fat and saute the diced vegetables- this is a basic mixture for any soup- onion, celery and carrot. Once all the veggies are soft and the onions have gone transparent add your soup stock and canned tomatoes- add water- 1 or 2 cups depending on how watery your canned tomatoes are- allow to simmer for a few minutes before blending with an immersion hand blender- blend until the soup is smooth- add curry and pepper- remove from heat and add cream- still until combined. Serve with a nice chunky slice of bread for dipping!
This is the perfect soup for a cold winter night when the craving of fresh veggies is strong- I will admit that last night I used our last jar of canned tomatoes and I swear I could taste the Okanagan sunshine! I also used garlic that my dad grew and carrots that our kids planted- it is so satisfying that even when the pantry appears to be empty I just need to dig around a little to find treasures from the past summer!
* rendered fat- I like to cook with left over bacon drippings- the taste is perfect for soup's like this one
* bullion cubes- Ok so while soup stock is the best ingredient to use if your pantry is truly empty you may still have bullion cubes floating around- if this is the route you are taking please be sure to add at least one cup of water per cube!
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
In the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded.
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Monday, February 24, 2014
Every weekend we try and go on at least one family adventure- our adventures don't need to be big or even cost a lot of money- in fact the best adventures are often close to home and cost roughly the same as a cup of coffee- or are an actual cup of coffee! This weekend was no exception- we stuck close to home but paid a visit to one of our favourite beaches- English Bay- usually we find it far too crowded with tourists but this weekend snow was gently falling and the beach was abandoned save for the Surfrider Foundation doing beach clean up- and of course us!
With our coffees in hand - the Mr and I guided our Littles through the deserted streets of Vancouver's West End- once at the beach we turned them loose to do what kids do best- mostly roll in the sand. There was a fair amount of beach combing, some races and lots of digging. Yeah this is why we love the West Coast- deserted beaches all to our selves in the middle of winter!
I love the sound of the city when it snows- a quiet descends as folks chose to stay indoors, the falling snow muffling the traffic- the normal hustle and bustle seems to slow right down. This is balm to my soul as one of the most challenging aspects of city living is the noise- I think anyways- I need peace and quiet every once in a while. We have little secret spots all over our dear city where our family seeks out solitude- English Bay is not usually one of them- which is why it was such a treat to have the beach essentially all to ourselves!
I find that winter is the season for tucking in and resting- healing ourselves for the coming time of longer days and sunshine- fun and constant activity. I am spending this time right now sorting out our lives so when those longer days hit our life won't be so disorganized. I am also spending so much time this winter pursuing things I love to do- knitting, painting- cooking of course! Filling up my soul with little domestic pursuits that make me happy- filling my soul with quiet and reflection- visiting places that give me that feeling of contentment. This is what our family weekend adventures are becoming more and more- simple and quiet- finding laughter and fun in easy living!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
In an effort- perhaps- to satisfy my gardening urge I decided I need a few more indoor plants- I love a good succulent- they are just so cute and perky! A small community of succulents live in our living room over near the window- nothing too prickly that might hurt small fingers but enough green to lighten any grey mood! While succulents are fairly hardy souls there are some rather hard and fast rules when settling them into their new homes- which is what I thought I would share here today.
Planting these little beauties is easy if you just remember the most important rule of all- succulents do not like to get their feet wet! Naturally succulents don't need much water- they are after all indigenous to dry climates- that said when they do get watered they need soil with very good drainage. You can either purchase special potting soil just for succulents or you can mix together sand and regular potting soil to create a mixture that drains the water away easily.
Along that same train of thought- lets talk about the planting vessel it's self- I chose to use a vintage silver mint julep cup- obviously. The only issue with this vessel is there is no drainage hole in the bottom- most of the time you could just drill one out- not the case with this vintage gem. Instead I threw a few handfuls of pebbles into the bottom to create some drainage- when combined with sparse watering this should be adequate.
Drainage- make sure the container you chose has a large hole in the bottom or drill one out- if that is not option use a good layer of chunky gravel
Potting mix- succulents do not like wet feet so your soil should drain easily- hence the hold in the container
Light- Succulents love sun- ensure that your plant gets 6-8 hours of daylight per day
Water- of course Succulents are a plant and need a little water to live- but not much which is what makes them so hardy
If one had to sum up succulents it would go something like this- sun, very little water and hard to kill. Sounds like my kind of plant! Of course succulents are having a bit of a moment right now thanks to elaborate glass terrariums seen in many a design magazine these days- but I prefer a small table top gathering- stashed away in a sunny corner- providing that mood lightening pop of green every Vancouver home could use.
PS- yes that is a succulent growing out of the back of a dinosaur- our friend Caro makes the best take homes treats at birthday parties!