Clay Concretions

Clay Concretions

The girls and I have sorted through our latest treasures and we’ve determined that our concretions fall into one of three catergories:  round, oval and oblong/irregular!  What we’re going to do with our massive collection of rock is yet to be determined.  Perhaps build a stone wall??

Round ones

Oval ones

Irregular ones

Big C wins the prize for finding the biggest round concretion that I have ever seen!  Little C found a neat little one that looked like the sole of a foot but we seem to have lost it.

Hockey puck sized

And the latest addition to my book collection is my fav Lloyd Kahn and his book “Home Work”.  It is another very inspiring book!  He would approve of these rocks for building something of a shelter.

Lloyd Kahn's second book titled "Home Work"

Sunday Afternoon Collecting Rocks

We had a lovely few days of Christmas spent mainly indoors.  The evenings have been very crisp and cool and we’ve been waking up to a frosty roof and ground.  But it has definitely been a green Christmas.  Today was the perfect day to climb into the van and go to the beach to collect one of our favourite local rocks – CLAY CONCRETIONS!  I cannot disclose the exact location of the source of these rocks as I have been sworn to secrecy.  They can only be found in two areas – our secret location on the east side of Vancouver Island and somewhere on Texada Island located in the Georgia Straight.  To my knowledge, these neat rocks cannot be found anywhere else!!  That`s what makes them so special.

Rock collecting in action!

Clay concretion round and beautiful and so easy to spot!

The majority of clay concretions that we find are typically round and smooth or some can be shaped like barbells or footprints.  The secret beach that we were on today has huge cliff walls made of clay were these beauties morph from…

Base of clay embankment where concretions evolve

We had a great afternoon of walking on the beach and enjoying each other`s company while collecting rocks! 

Big C resting on some drift wood

Little C posing

Self portrait

Some amazing drift wood

The girls fell asleep early this evening probably because of all the fresh air.  We will be sure to post some close up photos of our clay concretions once we wash them up and take a careful look at what we found.  This upcoming New Year’s week, the girls and I look forward to doing some of the projects we did not get done before Christmas.  We’re going to make dream pillows filled with lavender and organic candy canes (the girls decided ‘wands’) for our New Year’s celebration.  I love this last photo as you can see the Whistler or Blackcomb Mountains across the Georgia Straight.  The clouds make for an interesting effect…

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Big C’s Felting and General Musings…

This has certainly been a busy week in preparing for the holidays and all the other things like birthday parties and company dinners.  And thank you Robyn for such a nice party this afternoon!  Anyway Big C has been up to some intereting things including a fun piano lesson, lots of felting and writing a letter to Santa sort of.  Here’s a look…

Dear Santa...

 Big C has also become something of a good felter.  Anytime I pull out my basket of felting supplies, she is by my side thinking of new things to create.  Big C’s latest clever creation is a jellyfish, I’m sure inspired by our recent visit to the aquarium.

Jell-y-fish

 I love this mermaid lady creature thing Big C  made.  She looks as though she could sing opera or something.

Mermaid creature

Big C has certainly been enjoying her piano lessons.   During the last class of this year, she played so beautifully – I was so proud of her!

Big C and Madame J

And I saved the best for last.   Ofcourse it’s the Amaryllis – it bloomed for Christmas and there are four more waiting to burst into flowers!!

So beautiful

Happy Winter Solstice!!

A Visit With Santa and the Girls’ Afternoon Apart

 After our second night of 12 hours of sleep, my girls were very excited about visiting Santa on this Sunday morning.  Quite the opposite to how they were feeling the other day.  Here’s a look at how things went…

Santa photo - ho ho ho

Then I decided to take some photos of the girls on the beach just because it was a relatively clear day and I’ve been wanting to do this for some time.  I didn’t  want to get the traditional Christmas photos this year.  Unfortunatley this wasn’t the beach I had hoped to take their photos but we had fun nonetheless…

West Coast girls

Well the day got rather interesting after what might appear like a functional family going about their Christmas activities.  Once we returned home, the girls wouldn’t stop fighting which seems to happen at a regular rate these days  and I kept snapping and I couldn’t focus on a damn thing.  So I went out for a much needed run in the cold.  And what a wonderful run it was – I experienced that so-called “mindfulness” people talk about.  Just me and my thoughts.  What a treat.  I’ve officially started training for the Comox Valley 1/2 marathon slated for March 22nd 2010!  Anyway when I returned from my run, Big C was chomping at the bit to go play with her friend up the road.  I think she and Little C have spent far too much time together so the timing was great.  Ofcourse when I asked Little C what she would like to do, her response was “make banana bread”.  So I’m going to include our usual Vegan recipe that comes out well time and time again and makes a smaller batch perfect for a family of four…

I have no idea where this recipe came from – perhaps the internet or my mother in law.  There are few ingrediants and they are simple.  I’m just not sure about the canola oil thing anymore.  So I would substitute for safflower or vegan magarine next time.  I’ve jsut read that canola oil is one of the worst oils to use!  Anyway here’s Little C doing what she loves the most…baking!

Little C making Vegan banana bread

We also added a sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon on top to make it taste extra yummy…

Banana bread heading into the oven

Whilst the banana bread was baking in the oven, Little C and I decided to make some applesauce with the bag of bruised organic apples that I bought.  We simply peeled and cut the apples into small chunks, added maybe 1/4 cup of water, a titch of brown sugar and cinnamon and mashed everything together over medium heat on the stovetop.   The combo of the banana bread and warm applesauce made for nice dessert tonight

Delicious organic applesauce

Early Christmas Celebration

Today is my sister’s last full day with us here on the Cold Coast.  The end of such family visits can be so bitter sweet.  We’ve had such a nice visit with Auntie Laura and with Christmas only 2 weeks away there is a lot of excitement in our household!  We did many interesting things on this day including some last minute shopping at the big mall, a failed attempt to visit with Santa (although my kids loath the thought of visiting Santa, we thought it would be a fun photo op), Big C’s piano recital at home to family over skype, Chinese food dinner (and a bottle of  wine which might explain my typing errors) and a nice exchange of Christmas pressies.  And the most exciting thing for me is my new laptop which I am very proud of for some reason.  Thanks to my generous parents for their proceeds from my big 40th birthday!! I’m still trying to get used to the built in mouse – I just caught myself reaching out for the mouse with my right hand!  Ha it’s like learning a new fine motor skill which I’m not entirely thrilled about but I know I’ll adapt – I’m an OT for the love of Buddha.  Alright here are some photos which really seem like hodge podge to me but nonetheless…

Auntie Laura and the groovy girls and my new laptop!

Big C playing her piano

Our gingerbread house - a favourite Christmas tradition

I forgot to mention that we also assembled our store bought gingerbread house today.  The girls and I have been doing this for the last couple of years and we really enjoy it.   However, after seeing a gingerbread barn in the most recent issue o Mary Janes Farm – the Everyday Organic Lifestyle magazine, I swear I’m going to make it from scratch next year.  I also saw a great recipe for Organic Candy Canes in the very same issue!  And my sis got me a Silpat Mat for Christmas which is great for making candy and baking.  So many great ideas so little time I’m afraid.

The end product - the groovy girls were pretty pleased

A nice exchange of Christmas pressies

Some sensory exploration of each others' vests

Some sugary sweets to eat!

One of my favourite Christmas cakes is Yule Log for some reason.  We picked one up today from one of our local bakeriers – I believe it is a German bakery – this is another food item that I need to learn how to make! 

Yummy Yule Log

 Lastly, I must insert a picture of the Amaryllis bulb that Little C and I planted.  Well is has shot up at least 12 inches in the last week – it’s freaking me out a bit – I swear it’ll touch the ceiling before it blooms.  Here’s a look at the silly thing…

Out of control Amaryllis

Well thanks big sis for such a nice visit.  The girls have really loved having you at our place.  And Chirstmas is exactly 2 weeks away.  Merry Early Christmas!!

VI Tourists

Nothing coud be more touristy than coming to Vancouver Island and visiting Coombs Country Market.  Yahoo.   I love this market for its interesting assortment of imported foods, yummy baked goods and bread section and ofcourse the wooden toy area.  This is what we were up to yesterday…

Combs off season - just my kids in the foreground

Rub the Buddha's belly and make a wish!

A lovely display of wooden owls

The most troll dolls I have ever seen in a single display - scarey!

It was so cold on this day you could actually see a few icicles hanging on the windows.  We enjoyed a lovely snack from the bakery.  And we managed to find eggless/milkless blueberry bread for Big C which she thoroughly enjoyed – this doesn’t happen often on our outings.

note the icicles to the right of Big C's head

Sneaky Little C

That’s all.  Typical for the nutty west coast

Fun at the Aquarium…

On Sunday, we made our way to the Vancouver Aquarium.  It was another beautiful sunny day but the arctic airflow that we’ve been experiencing made it bitterly cold!!  The aquarium is located in Stanley Park and they are fortunate to possess one of Bill Reid’s sculputres at the front entrance (he is a famous Haida artist who made many amazing sculptures…Raven and the First Men is another one of my favourites)…

Killer Whale sculpture by Bill Reid

The aquarium has had many updates since I last visited including an area called Treasures of the BC Coast and a Frogs Forever Exhibit.  We really enjoyed the Tropic Zone as well and ofcourse the Beluga Whales and Sea Otters found outside in the Canada’s Arctic area.  From the Tropic Zone…

The underside of the largest turtle I have ever seen

The cutest sea horse - they were amazing to watch

Hatpin Urchin (a bit of glare from the glass)

Then we moved on to the Treasures of the BC Coast and the Jellyfish area.  We saw the most amazing Octopus and at one point we witnessed it puff out a vast quantity of “ink” when it bumped its head against the glass (I have some issues with the captivity of these creatures but I’ll admit I enjoyed every minute of this experience)

Big C and the most amazing octopus

The jellyfish were fantastic to watch…almost like watching the slow changes of a lava lamp.  The contrast of the jellyfish with the turquoise background made it very visually pleasing…

Jellyfish

swimming

everywhere!

Next we ventured out in the cold to get a glimpse of the Beluga whales, I believe there were four females including two calves.  Their lineage is quite interesting with one older female having produced a calf with her “son-in-law” so to speak.  They were very responsive to our voices and one of the calves came over for a visit .   I did not get any photos! ha  But I got a photo of the cutest  Sea Otter just floating around in the sun…

Sea Otter floating around

Ofcourse the exit from the aquarium led to the gift shop where Big C and Little C made a few important purchases thanks to their Auntie Lynda who gave them some spending money!

Little C loved this blue aquatic Christmas tree!

Well visiting the big city like that always makes me appreciate the slower and more relaxed pace of Vancouver Island!