Happy Easter!!

I would have to say that we are having a nice, relaxing Easter weekend.  The weather was great Friday and Saturday which meant the girls played outside all day and Brian and I worked together in the yard.  Today, Easter Sunday,  has been a rainy,  inside  kind of day.  Though I guess Easter  really isn’t  the same without our extended family…growing up in a Catholic household meant going to mass frequently over the Easter weekend and sharing many meals with family.  I miss that indeed.  High price to pay for living away from family, across the country at that.

Even though Brian and I are raising the kids in a  quasi-Christian/Buddhist fashion, I still like to have some Easter traditions for the kids to enjoy. I started the morning off right by baking some really delicious vegan donuts with maple icing…I won’t write the recipe out here but I found it on a blog called Vegan Yum Yum…the blog’s owner, Lauren Ulm, has written a lovely looking cookbook so I”m sure I’ll be referring to her blog again!  For the egg replacer, I used chia (1 teaspoon chia to 3 tablespoons water) ~ I am loving this substitute because everything comes out so moist and light!!

The kids begged me to do an Easter egg hunt which we did in the backyard…luckily before the rain started!!  This is something I have no recollection of doing as a child.  And then ofcourse we dyed our Easter eggs. I am a bit disappointed with this operation as my intention was to dye the eggs naturally with beet juice and blueberries and while out looking for tumeric for a yellow effect…I found the tye die PAAS egg decorating kit.  The girls were all over it and really it seemed easier for me!! 

Well that’s about it for now.  I’m hoping to pack the family in the car and go to the beach to collect some larger beach rocks for my garden…an inexpensive and beautiful natural border!!  Happy Easter!!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Wow it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted an entry…I’m having some difficulty uploading photos for some reason. And I don’t like to post an entry without photos!! I’m going to try again tomorrow and possibly call for assistance? Anyway we had the most amazing sunny spring day on VI!! What a treat!! The girls and I have a new ritual of getting up early Sunday morning and attending art class at the local rec centre…the teacher Robyn is fantastic and the kids really enjoy it. I get to sit for 1 hour and 15 and drink coffee and read!! I’m reading a book by the Dalai Lama on happiness and learned some new things about myself and life in general today. We couldn’t resist the beach afterward…we spent our time walking along the shore looking for the perfect rock to throw and skip…the girls were really keen to learn how to throw rocks which we thoroughly enjoyed (until I hurt my shoulder ofcourse!!). I was eager to get home and see how brian wanted to enjoy the day with us but he didn’t…he needed his rest. I took advantage of the girls enjoying each other’s company and brian lying on the couch to indulge in a 16 km run…oh it was a pleasant yet painful run…just a tad bit too hilly for this gal!! I’m as persistent as ever and still plan on running that damn half marathon coming up in something like 6 weeks!!
Once I get things running smoothly here in blog world, I’d like to share my thoughts and photos on Little C’s birthday, some handmade dresses and bags that we’ve acquired and the talented artists who created them and ofcourse a sneek peak into the girls art class and a word about their great teacher…Namaste…

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!!

On the First Day of Advent…

We are very excited about the fact that today is December the 1st!!   The lights are out and strung around the house and there are boxes everywhere.  It’s crazy. We’re madly trying to get the house all decked out.  Actually no.  We tend to take our time getting the house decorated by savouring each and everything that goes up.  Today our focus was getting our fancy Advent Calender organized by placing special treats in each drawer…take a look…

OUr reusable Advent Calender

Each drawer is a piece to the puzzle

This calender is great because we put our own treats in year after year.  The kids open the respective drawer, take out thier treat and flip the drawer around so the piece of the puzzle is exposed.   Big C is evens and Little C is odds.  It’s a fun tradion.

Big C at the Festival of Trees

 This weekend, we had the opportunity to hear Big C and her fellow choir mates sing Christmas carols at  the Festival of Trees at VIU.  What a nice way to start the Christmas season – they sang beautifully!!  We were so proud of her.

Amaryllus Update….

Amaryllus plant at 2 weeks

 I think this plant is growing quite rapidly.  At 2 weeks, it appears to be where the plant should be at at 4 -6 weeks.  Little C has been tending to it very well.

Waldorf Christmas Craft Faire

Today we drove down to the Duncan area (not flooded at all where we went compared to Cowichan Bay) to the Sunrise Waldorf Christmas Faire.  Wow what a great yearly venue!  The whole Waldorf school was open to visitors free of charge to partake in sampling baked goods and delicious vegetarian food items; to listen to all sorts of musicians playing violins and various drums;  and best of all was the large gymnasium full of local professional artists displaying their amazing goods…

Hand-crafted gnomes looking rather cheeky

Big C was drawn to the tie dye right away

Mama and her baby

 I managed to stock up on some wool in beautiful colours…

Beautiful colourful wool

Enchanted garden gnomes and colourful silk scarves

They had many activities and crafts for the kids to participate in for a few dollars.  The girls experienced an enchanted garden where a Waldorf verse was read aloud about harvesting food and then the kids could choose a gnome and crystal to take home.  It was beautifully set up in a dark room with strings of lights and canopies strung everywhere and tables with little gnomes harvesting food.  Very enchanting indeed.  The girls also fell in love with these dyed scarves which they can creatively drape around furniture or even on their wee bodies – they cannot have them til Christmas though!

A nice window

All and all we had an enjoyable day out.  Ofcourse it rained all the way home!