The Lone Runner…

Yep that’s me.  I found myself out today for a run in the afternoon as it was my day off.  It was very windy outside and for me that’s been excuse enough not to run lately.  So I continued on only to find myself gravitating to my favourite place to run in my neighbourhood….a beautiful wooded green space protected by the NALT…I’ll refer to it as LV.   At least in the park I would be sheltered from the wind…that’s what I was thinking.  This park is definitely one of the more elusive parks in town…sometimes you can go in and not see a soul. 

 Today I counted….7 men, 1 woman, 2 babies carried on  2 of the aforementioned men and 6 dogs (offleash ofcourse).  One man had a long walking stick.  Yes I will admit my senses definitely heighten when I’m in park and I make these sorts of observations…I didn’t see any of these people until I was ready to leave park.  So this happens to me every time I go in…I feel confident and brave initially but by the time I am really in the heart of the forest surrounded by the beautiful trees and ferns and moss…I hit the panic button…I start to wonder if that male cougar (Linley is know for him)  is watching me from  the thick of the forest…or will the man I encounter on the trail be friendly?  As crazy as it sounds, this is the fear I typically have when I am alone in this  isolated albeit beautiful  area. 

 So why do I do this to myself?  Why do I put myself in this situation??  Well I guess why wouldn’t I…I love to be in the woods and run on the hilly trails…should I live in fear this way??  It’s up for debate.  Until then I will think of better ways to protect myself…someone suggested I get dog spray and carry it in my hand…that sounds like a good idea.  We shall see…maybe the next time I go for a run in the woods I’ll have found myself the perfect running partner …

Spring Is Slowly Springing…

We have had some unprecedented weather both here on Vancouver Island and basically across the country…what’s happened to spring this year??  Mother Nature seems a bit confused.   Having said that, I spent a good part of the afternoon in the backyard cleaning up the garden and cutting out the blackberry canes.  Nasty things.  The sky was all beautiful and blue but there was still a good chill in the wind.  I’m still really excited for spring though…I love the sounds of the birds in the yard and the sights of bees in the spring flowers.  And I am very excited for some plans I have for the garden.  I have a new book that has been a great source of inpiration for me…I picked up a copy of  “Your Farm In the City” by Lisa Taylor, while I was in Seattle.  She is a local author there and part of a great group called Seattle Tilth.  Anyway Brian and I have a plan for something that the girls are really going to love…stay tuned!!

 

magnolia blossoms

 
I felt so sorry for the blossoms on our magnolia tree the other morning…I went out for a run at 6:30am and there was frost on the roofs and ground and the poor blossoms were frozen like little ice cubes….they seems ok now and will hopefully open up in the next few days.               

the girls enjoying their time in the fresh air and sun

                                  

 
 
 
 
 
 

Spring Break 2011…

This spring break brought us 2 whole weeks off!! It was lovely I must admit that for sure. During our second week off, Lynda, John and Benno from Ontario visited us for a week. We had a great time with hiking local trails and enjoying the scenery VI has to offer. Although I would have to say the highlight of the trip for me was visiting Seattle for a few days. I truly believe a change of scenery is good for the soul. Now to try and upload some photos…

the girls and the Space Needle

Low and behold…I have figured out the problem…the part I love most about visiting Seattle is going to Pike Place Market…I wish we had more time to explore there…but it was nice to spend a bit of time there regardless…

Pike Place Market

 

the cooper pig

We also walked along First Avenue to Pioneer Square and we were so excited about the Underground Tour that we decided to take it!!  It was very cool indeed…downtown Seattle was originally built at tide level and the town experienced flooding everytime the tide was high!!  Then a huge fire burned most of the buildings down and the town was rebuilt an entire storey higher…we saw the old town way underground (obviously) and it was a very interesting tour!!                                  

glass blocks from the sidewalk up above current street level

The kids were also very excited to see the mummies and shrunken heads at Ye Ol’ Curiosity Shop at the Pier…Brian and I had visited this store many years ago and we had seen the mummies on television.   Definitely worth checking out if you’re into that kind of stuff.  And last but not least, I loved the Trader Joe’s stores that we walked to and I mean we saw parts of Seattle I’ve never seen before due to our quest to find these locations.  I love the Lavender Soap and I cannot wait to get more supplies when we visit Trader Joe’s in Pittsburg PA this summer!!!

Auntie Lynda and the girls really did go up the Space Needle!!

Back After An Entire Year!!!

Wow…I cannot believe an entire year has gone by since I last blogged…I cannot recall why I really stopped in the first place. I think I was having difficulty uploading photos so I basically gave up. And things were pretty crappy around here a year ago. But now I feel refreshed…I feel like my old self again. So I begin my blogging journey again and look forward to sharing with friends and family. Namaste…

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…

Plasticine Takes the Place of Playdough…yay!!

Let me begin by saying I am not a huge fan of Playdough.  The girls have been playing with it for many many years.  The problem I find is that it dries out so quickly, Little C loves to eat it and I was replacing it constantly.   The amount of waste and plastic containers would drive me crazy.  I know I could have very easily made playdough – I just never did!  I was too busy baking things to eat instead.  The exciting news is that the girls each received a plasticine kit for Christmas with many beautiful colours.  Their hands now seem strong enough to soften the clay and shape it into their desired forms.  This wasn’t possible before.  This past wet weekend was spent making some fun creations…

Big C in the process of creating...

...an owl mask

It was so neat to watch the process of creation taking place before my very eyes!  Big C wanted to please me by making an owl which is her mama’s favourite creature and Little C wanted to present me with a flower!  How sweet…

A flower for me!

close up

                                                                        

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Ah here we go wtih the birthday party invitations again.  It seems like between Big C and Little C  we’re always going to one birthday party or another.  Usually Big C brings her own cupcake to these celebrations because of her significant food allergies – it simply makes life that much easier.  The only problem is she is getting sick and tired of the Crazy Chocolate Cake kind – she requested Vanilla this time.  So the girls and I embarked upon some kitchen adventures this morning.  I found a great recipe online for Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes from www.Epicurious.com  – the recipe required indgrediants that were readily available in my cupboards and I have to say they came out tasting pretty yummy!!  One of my favourite online vegan websites for recipes and handy information is www.postpunkkitchen.com .

Big C was the leader of making the cupcakes today and she was responisble for measuring out all of the ingrediants.  It was a great way to teach her about the principles of measurement and the whole fraction thing – she seemed to get it!  There’s nothing like bringing math to real life experience.

Important baking lessons

Good teamwork between sisters

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare muffin tin with with either oil or cupcake papers.  Mix the soy milk and vinegar together and set aside for a few minutes.  Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda in one bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla and oil.  Add the dry ingrediants and soy milk to the sugar mix.  Blend until smooth and then transfer to muffin tins, 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top.  Makes approximately 10 medium sized cupcakes.

I make my own vanilla icing which is rather yummy and old-fashioned tasting.  I measure 1 cup of icing sugar and add 1 tablespoon of vegan margarine, 1 tablespoon or so of vanilla soy milk and mix until smooth and desirable thickness.  Delicious!

Yummy Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes!

Flour face!