Friday, May 31, 2013

T.G.I.F- For Reals

          Finally we are staring down the rabbit hole that is Friday- this seems like it was the longest week ever- not helped a all by the fact that we are all sick- and so the Littles have not been sleeping- and The Mr.'s bike was stolen by some thieving thug- and it rained- every- single- day! I realize these are pretty trivial things to complain about- my life could be much, much worse- but still the week seemed extra long and emotional. With this in mind I finally have called it quits on the week and we all tucked in for some comfort- food and warmth.

       I had a stash of rhubarb sitting in our crisper and it needed to be dealt with before it got too far gone and turned to compost- so I decided to give Michelle of Mint Green Apron's Perfect Rhubarb Squares a whirl. The pictures accompanying her blog post looked extra comforting and so I skipped making the standard compote I had originally settled on in favour of this- something my Mom or Mother In Law would make. Boy oh boy I was not disappointed- this is a tasty treat indeed! Check out the recipe and Pin it for use in the future!

       Then I had a request from the Littles- they wanted to make something for Daddy- since his bike was stolen and he was slightly out of sorts and cranky last night- so from rhubarb we moved onto The Mr.'s favourite peanut butter cookies- you can find my Mom's no fail recipe here- it is a family favourite!

        So here we are with some comforting goodies, all tucked in with our runny noses and tea- the Littles playing some stacking games and I just started a new knitting pattern- yes I am moving beyond hats into new territory- hand warmers! I think I am going to pick up what the Universe is putting down- we are going to take it easy and just chill- with a little side helping of these rhubarb squares!

        Friends weather it is sunny, rainy or heavens to Betsy snowing in your neck of the woods this weekend I hope you are feeling much love and peace!

P.S.- can you even believe that Summer- SUMMER- is only a few weeks away?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Girl & I

     Miss Lo is almost four- in a few short months- time has gone by so fast and yet not fast at all- I can only attribute this to my obsession with monitoring time- I am acutely aware and always have been of it's passing. Miss Lo and I do not get much one on one time these days- we never really have- The Boy is always around- so when we get the chance for some Momma- Miss time we grab onto it and do something uber girly!

        It might seem a bit cliche to go shopping with my daughter- I don't really want to bond with her over excessive consumption- however exploring our neighbourhood shops on a quiet Friday morning after yoga feels so right. We wandered through Gastown poking our noses into design shops and boutiques that our men folk want no part of- and that is what makes it so special.
      I watch my young lady changing from a wee babe- to a crazy toddler and now into a fearless kid- observing how she interacts with shop keepers- what she likes and doesn't as her style and taste start to develop. This kid is pretty special- she is clever and quick like Mr. Fox! I still can't get over that this little soul chose us- we are so very lucky!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rhythm of The Studio

         People often ask me how I ever manage to get things done- to which I often reply in confusion "What do you mean?" What they mean of course is how do I ever manage to get any of my own work done- the work that doesn't involve laundry, tapping down sibling arguments or feeding the yawning maws of these little ones. For the most part our Littles are pretty self sufficient- they manage to find ways to occupy themselves and never really care what I am doing- unless they are hungry or can't reach the glue sticks.

     Yesterday was the perfect example of how we run our day- when we woke up it was to day two or was it three of rain- not the soft misty sort but the sort of rain that soaks through to your bra- yeah that kinda rain. So we had a long afternoon ahead of us- I was itching to get to work on a custom project and so when the Littles decided to pull out their own craft supplies and craft along beside me I was quite happy that at least they weren't trying to climb the book shelf. Yes our apartment was a disaster- very chaotic and I may have slipped on a glue stick- but oh did they ever have fun flexing their creative muscles!

     With my Littles literally at my feet I managed to get a few new screens completed- samples for a few orders as well as finishing up a few new goodies for my Etsy shop. First up are these adorable
Party Elephants! These started life as proofs for my custom order- and I completely fell in love with them- so of course I added party hats and balloons- these are post card style and come with envelopes- perfect for birthday invitations or thank you cards!

      My other little pet project around here has been really focusing on our own plastic consumption- and we are all making a huge effort to reduce the shear amount of plastic coming into our life! So it was a natural for me to start making these produce bags- great for the Farmer's Market where the vendors often don't even have bags- and even better for the grocery store where they do have plastic bags. I have two prints available right now- the clothes peg print and these darling little bunnies under the ferns- both are up in the Etsy shop.

       Now I don't want to give the illusion that every day is craft heaven around here- where my little ones sit contently and colour in the lines! Some days are better than others- some days I plan to work and instead end up mediating children's disputes All-Day-Long.The key for me has always been- no matter the situation- to just go with the flow- it isn't about finding balance- it's about finding the rhythm of our days and working together as a family so that every one can lay their head on the pillow at night satisfied with the shape of their day!

P.S. in other news please take a moment to check out all the nominations for Vancouver's Top 30 Mom Blogger of 2013- yup I'm there- it would be great f you wanted to vote for me;) Also you can vote more than once! So don't forget to go back- and vote for me again!xox

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer Bucket List

         We love being outside- we love being out in nature even more- this past weekend we crossed the first item off our Summer Bucket List- hike Pacific Spirit Park again- we had not been since January- it was time. Each Spring we like to sit together and as a family decide what we would like to do for the coming season- this year we have joined The Happy Family Movement and officially created a Summer Bucket List!

         Obviously many of the highlights on our list are outdoor activities- Miss Lo has requested a picnic in the park with her friend Daphne and The Boy wants to have more water fights in the park with his friends from the building. As parents we are always encouraging the Littles to get outside, get moving and have fun- as a general rule of thumb we try to spend at least an hour a day outside- sometimes on really rainy days that can be a real stretch- other nicer days it can be difficult to come inside!

So here is our Summer Bucket List for 2013

1) go camping (three camp outs booked)
2) eat S'mores
3) go strawberry and blueberry picking- make jam
4) go to Atlantis water slides in Vernon
5) go to the Twilight Drive -In theatre in Aldergrove (this is the Mr.s request)

6) picnic with Daphne
7) water fight with friends
8) bike ride to Second Beach pool
9) bike ride to Ganges on Saltspring Island (via the ferry of course!)
10) make popsicles

11) bon fire at Poppa's house with hotdogs and S'mores
12) go on a Momma date to the beach with wine- see this post
13) explore Fort Langley
14) try a new beach- we love Spanish Banks but are looking for a new spot!
15) go hiking in Pacific Spirit Park

16) go to Whistler (my vote is to a spa)
17) check out the Sole Food Farm right up the street from our house
18) more crafting ( The Boy)
19) learn to make Kombucha (me)
20) learn to make ice cream!

       It is a pleasure to dream and plan about the coming season- thinking about the warm winds blowing through our hair, sand in our toes and our eyes resting upon the beauty of Mother Nature. Come what may this Summer is going to be a good Summer- I can feel it in my bones!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekending: Foodie Edition

      We are foodies- yes we love food- good , local, simple, tasty food- and we would prefer that food was GMO free- so after some humming and awing about the weather we made our way to the March Against Monsanto this past Saturday. It was pouring- like the classic, heavy sort of rain that Vancouverites lovingly refer to as "Liquid Sunshine"- but spirits were high as protesters filtered into  yard of the Art Gallery.

       You might wonder what a protest against the Evil Empire Monsanto has to do with being a foodie- the way I see it is good quality food should not come at a price- financial or health. Seeds belong to the world- not a corporation that seeks to mutate them into an abomination of nature. The idea that perhaps one day my children will not be able to plant the seeds of their great grandparents is terrifying to me- so as a person who loves good food that is good for our bodies, doesn't cause cancer or bug's stomachs to explode- the answer can only be found in standing up and saying No- which is how we started out our Foodie weekend!

      Post March Against Monsanto found us seeking shelter- out of the incessant rain at 
Tacofino Commissary at 2327 East Hastings- yes we finally made it to the Commissary! The bricks and mortar restaurant of  the famed Tacofino food truck- obviously we felt obligated to try as many things as possible- the Brunch Nachos were fantastic and of course the fish tacos never disappoint!

        Sunday dawned not much brighter than the day before- we started our morning off with a few cups of Salt Spring Coffee- which is fast becoming the favourite brew around these parts! French Toast made with local eggs and bread by Daddy was served along with yummy homemade Endless Summer jam- the last jar of the year!

        We hit the Kitsilano Farmer's Market and stocked up on so many yummy, fresh goodies! Eggs, Radishes, Lettuce, Cheese, Mushrooms and of course a visit to the baked treats lady- so much fresh goodness to be found at the Farmer's Market! Once again in spite of the grey skies the market was packed- possibly the busiest I have seen it ever.

       As an individual there are many thing we can do to stop the spread of GMOs- our biggest form of protest is in our wallets- shop smart and buy organic, grow your own food- even just a herb garden in the window, put down the pre-packaged foods- corn, wheat and soy are the most genetically modified foods and can be found in most pre-prepared foods.

        "My Grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a Doctor, a Lawyer, a Policeman and a Preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a Farmer"
Brenda Schoepp

       In completely unrelated news- voting for Top Vancouver Mom Blogger starts today- feel free to follow this link over to the site and if your heart is in it vote for me please! Check out Vancouver Mom- it is the place to vote!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Making: Smoothies

        This past week I have noticed quite a bit of discussion centering around the old family favourite the smoothie- mainly amongst my own friends but also online. The smoothie is the perfect way to pack a belly full of nutrients into a little one at the start of the day. My Littles are not big breakfast people- when The Boy started going to pre-school we fell back into our routine of smoothies for breakfast in an effort to get something- anything- into his tummy.

     We love a good smoothie and usually just grab for whatever is in the fridge and freezer- recently we have been switching things up a bit as The Boy has something going on- either allergies or just an aversion to dairy- he gets very "snotty"- for lack of a better word- I had a similar experience as a kid- so I think it is seasonal allergies. At any rate he has been off of milk the last little while- we had found a substitute in Almond Milk but darn if the organic stuff isn't pricey!

    Enter in my friend Michelle from the blog Mint Green Apron- this gal has got it going on- a plethora of meal and snack ideas- as well as accolades from my boyfriend Jamie Oliver no less! Michelle posted a recipe for Quinoa milk last week on the Mint Green Apron Facebook page- the perfect solution for expensive store bought milk alternatives- much less packaging-  bonus points for the kids loving making and drinking it!

    OK this is where my extensive story all comes together- the bit where the smoothie comes together with the Quinoa milk! I thought I would share both our favourite smoothie recipe and Michelle's Quinoa milk recipe. 

Quinoa Milk: soak Quinoa over night- I used about a cup or grains and two cups of water- in the morning cook Quinoa- once cooled place into blender with water to thin out- again I did about a one to two ratio - blend- strain through a sieve. Favour to taste- I used a dash of Maple Syrup and some nutmeg.Voila Quinoa Milk- Thank you Michelle!

Favourite Smoothie Recipe: 1 banana, 1/2 avocado, 1 cup frozen berries, 1/2 cup frozen spinach, tablespoon peanut or almond butter, 1 cup plain yogurt (The Boy can still tolerate yogurt) and 2 cups Quinoa milk- blend- enjoy through a re-usable straw!

Tip: double your batch of smoothie and freeze half in popsicle molds! Yes my popsicle molds are from the 1980's- yes they are the original Tupperware- handed down from my Mom- and yes they smell weird- but they work great! These are perfect for breakfast on the go- no need to worry about spilling on our way to school!

     Friends it is Friday again- this week went by so fast- I don't even feel like there were enough days! This weekend we are just chilling out- a little Farmer's Market action- a little Monsanto demonstration at the Vancouver Art Gallery starting at 11:00 am- find a protest in your area and get involved- just say NO to GMOs! Much love and happiness going out to all my Friends and Family this weekend!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Seam Allowance: Tova Tunic

      It has been a little over seven months since I decided to take the Seam Allowance Pledge- well in spirit anyways because I don't live in Berkley- where they hold the monthly meetings- on the second Sunday of each Month at A Verb For Keeping Warm- that would be quite the commute. To refresh your memory the pledge was to make at least 25% of my clothing- that is a goal of making one out of four items in my wardrobe- that I actually wear.

     It has been a bit of a struggle between sewing for Miss Lo and The Boy- who just keep growing- I don't know somebody must be feeding them some good food or something- often my own sewing gets passed over. Case in point this great turmeric coloured tunic- it is the Tova Tunic from Wiksten- sewn out of some completely random fabric- it's gauzy with a slight sheen in an interesting basket weave- and the colour! How could I resist? At any rate although the fabric was a steal of a deal it has been sitting on my desk for over a month now- yesterday was the day to get this project going!

      The pattern it's self was very simple and clean- easy to assemble- although I did encounter some issue with fitting the collar. The fabric- regardless of being fantastic in every way- was perhaps not the best choice- as you can see the Mandarin collar does not want to stand up- I do actually like the open neckline so it's not an issue for me. This is a soft and breezy top- perfect paired with shorts or jeans for the Summer. 

     I am digging the Seam Allowance Pledge- if anything it has made me much more mindful of my purchases and consumption- where goods are made and how they are constructed means more to me now than a year ago. Instead of conveniently shopping at the mall I have managed to either sew, buy second hand or swap for almost every item of my clothing since October. I'm not looking for a pat on the back- instead I am just trying to share the possibility- of consuming differently- of craftsmanship- of patience. 

    If nothing else then I am just trying to share what I made- this super cute top- an easy tunic pattern from Wiksten that I will most definitely be making again- pledge or no pledge!

P.s.- yes I did buy these jeans- with a gift certificate from Anthropology during boxing week- guess how much they cost me? Just guess! $14.99! Marked down from over $150.00- how is that even possible? Should I have bought them? Probably not- then again I'm not perfect!

P.s.s- thank you to my friend Alison for snapping these pictures of me after preschool pick up yesterday!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In The Garden

       We spent the larger portion of last Sunday out under the Okanagan sun helping my Mom plant the 2013 garden- this year the Littles have their very own spot marked off. With Momo's help the Littles planted potatoes, pumpkins, carrots and beans.

      We only have so much room on our deck in the city so for the kids to be able to go and actually dig in the dirt and learn how things grow from their Grandma is ever so important- it will be such fun to watch them dig up their potato hills next fall! So delicious to roast them next fall and know these potatoes were planted by their hands on a fine Spring day.

      I have so many fond memories of my own Grandma in her garden- it was the biggest garden I had ever seen- she came from a generation that needed to control their food source- a generation who had survived the depression and war- a generation that knew what it meant to go with out. My grandma's garden seemed to be able to feed us all if need be.

      I think so many folks these days take their food sources for granted- they take food security for granted- the availability of cheep, easy food is so common place these days. Collectively as a nation I think that we don't remember what a life with out butter, sugar or tea is- therefor food has become less special.

       My hope for my children- for all children really- is that society is starting to wake up- to recognize the importance of self-sustainability- even just a little bit- in our food supply. My wish is that they will learn from their Grandparents what it means to be part of something bigger- part of an extended family, part of a village, part of the cycle of the growing season. My wish is for my babies to recognize the stink of manure, the wriggle of a juicy earth worm and the sting on their shoulders of the season's first sunburn. I wish for them to learn patience by watching their food grow.

“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ” 
 Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals