Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday dinners

I'm so pleased to be back to hosting Sunday Dinners with friends !!

Tonight's menu
Pork Tenderloin with honey mustard glaze
Local baby potatoes
Streamed broccoli and carrots
Garden salad
Blackberry Cheesecake

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Local is best don't you think?

I do & I hope you do to......the girls and I have been loading up on buckets & buckets of the most glorious blackberries. The jam is in motion as I type ( pics to come).

For as long as I can remember I have been drawn to home grown local food.  I like the idea of knowing where my food comes from.  Over the year this desire has evolved greatly. Last year, a community here in B.C. took part in the 100 mile challenge which was aired on the food network.  I wouldn't say that I go that far.  We still have sugar, wheat flour & pasta & rice.  However, I do my best to grow my own veggies, pick local berries, buy from local farmers and when shopping at grocery store I try to keep my purchases from B.C. first, then Canada and I never buy food from outside of North America ( with the exception to rice & organic bananas).

This take commitment, planning and a bit of flexibility with your monthly food budget.  At first glance it appears to cost more, but once you've made your initial investment in a good canner & jars your pretty much set for the next decade. It pleases me to no end when in the depths of winter when everything in the store is crazy expensive and from the other side of the world we're eating our fill of frozen and canned fruits which I'll use in baking, pancakes & breakfast smoothies.  Frozen veggies for all those comforting winter soups, sauces & stews.  Yummy jams & jellies to spread for our toast & sandwiches and let not leave out all that perfectly tart cranberries sauce that will be paired up with all those large roast birds we like to eat.

One of the other benefits is the time I spend with my kids.  Their learning where our food comes from, how to find & grow food for themselves and a appreciation for the farmers who's life work is all about feeding us!  What more can I ask?

If you don't already I urge you to give it a try......I'll bet you'll feel so good that you'll be hooked.  Go on I dare you !!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

We will not be defeated !!!

( huddled under the closest tree......Thanks for the save  " Mrs. Tonkin" ! )

RAIN - 1

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Anxiety Dragons Not Allowed

My little Liam is on a mission to slay his fear dragons !!!  Our Danielle arrived yesterday with some special gear to aid in his mission.  A very fabulous Knights get up.  It's a start...here's hoping we can help him evict those nasty dragons !!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


 I Love rhubarb !!  I think it's a highly under rated fruit.  It's backed full of vitamin C, is a natural diaretic and will almost grow any where. Today I decided to whip up these lovely muffins...the perfect combo of tart & sweet.  Too switch things up a little we made up a crisp with rhubarb & raspberries instead of strawberries.  It turned out great !  Here's the muffin recipe...I highly recommend you give them a try !

Rhubarb Muffins:

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp melted butter
1 cup ap flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup ground flax seeds
2 cups chopped rhubarb

1. Combine melted butter, sugar, egg, flax, vanilla & milk in large bowl.
2. Combine dry ingredients.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet.
4. Bake at 350 until golden brown

" WHAT ???? "

The response I received after saying that school wasn't started for 2 more weeks !  I can relate baby, I can relate....

Today I'm thankful:

- for a big enough house for everyone to have some space of their own...
- that our local pool is still open...
- for rain that watered my garden over night...
- that someone phoned about buying the old washer & dryer ( brakes are expensive )
- that Danielle's coming for a visit...
- that the blackberries have had enough sun this summer to ripen......
- that the grass is too wet to mow....wasn't feeling it today......

I think maybe it's time to turn the rhubarb in the fridge into muffins or maybe a crisp or maybe......

Monday, August 23, 2010

Food creativity.....

While down in Courtenay I had picked up a bag of three fresh roasting hens.  Due to our vehicle issues they ended up needing to be frozen.  On the drive home they defrosted enough that wouldn't allow being thrown back in the freezer.  So yesterday I threw them all in the oven and served them up with the traditional sides.  I'm all about efficient cooking so I had made a super sized pot of mashed new nugget potatoes.  I have a huge fondness for meat pies especially when their packed full of yummy vegetables.  The only problem I have with making my own is that pesky pastry.  It's one of those things that I have just resigned myself to buying.  So tonight I decided to make due with using the mashed spuds.  It was a hit !!!  I don't know why I hadn't tried it before.

I started by sauteing up some diced onion & garlic.  Then about four cups of the left over gravy from the night before.  I threw in about three cups diced chicken.  I streamed up some cawliflower, carrots & broccoli until they were half way done.  Then stirred everything together.

I then top the filling with the left over mashed potatoes and baked at 350 for about 30 minutes.

We rounded out the meal with one of Keisha's wonderful garden salads.  Lucky for me there's just enough left for lunch tomorrow.  I think tomorrow we'll turn the remaining chicken into one of Anthony's favorite soups !!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A visit long over due.......

This beautiful lady is Keisha & Anthony's oldest birth sister Michelle.  Michelle & I finally found each other several months ago.  We have chatted/Facebooked/emailed and finally have visited.  The weather was crazy HOT for these parts !!  At one point I had thought of visiting with just Keish & Anthony.  I probably should have.  Between all the emotional/sensory issues Liam & especially Ana had a really tough time.  Despite that we had a really nice first visit.  The "bigs" are loving the idea of being an aunty/uncle already.

Thanks for everything Michelle & Don !!!

One last summer trip.

Well that was fun ! We spent this past week down island going to summer camp, visiting, soaking up the sun, playing & taking care of business.

For years we've been driving pass the Comox Air Force Museum.  Our schedule hasn't allowed us to visit until this past Tuesday.  The museum is manned by volunteers.  There were three of the most charming old guys there to help us find our way around & answer all our questions. 

Instead of staying at our regular motel we decided to camp at Kin Beach.  Our site was very spacious, totally kid & dog friendly and it's a quick walk to the beach.

The weather was warm/hot the whole time.  The kids had a great time at their camps and are already planning what they want to do next summer !   One of the only complications we had was the heat & Piper.  It was way to hot for her to hang in the van at all.  I was able to find her a wonderful kennel/doggy daycare just outside of town.  It was kind of funny that each day I would drop everyone including Piper off at their camps !!  The ladies at Doggydo Kennel and Boarding were great.  Piper played her little heart out...she was one super happy tired dog each afternoon. On her last day I was presented with copies of pics from her time with them.

After a fun but busy week we started to make our way home.....until the vans brakes failled !!!  Thankfully I was able to get us stopped safely before anything horrible happened !!  I can tell you as a mom that this was one of the scariest experiences of my life. 

Many things over my life have encouraged me to be an extremely self reliant person.  I have to tell you through.....I'm so thankful to the kind locals that shared their phone & offered the kids and I support but most of all for our amazing Nana Val & Grandpa Bill who have always got my back !!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


My kids love smoothies !  I love that I can pack them full of goodness.  Breakfast has always been one of those meals that takes time in our house.  Between the normal developmental kids stuff & the ADHD some meals can feeling like pure torture.....

My Mom gifted us one of those "Bullet" blending machines after our full size conventional machine packed it in....this little thing is working out well !!!  Most mornings I throw in ripe bananas, yogurt or plain soft Tofu, a variety of frozen fruit, omega oil and fortified rice milk.   

Mmmmm now doesn't that look good !!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

So today.....

1.  the weather was lovely !!

2.  we went almost 10 hours with anyone registering any complaints....

3.  made scrambled eggs & ham for breakfast

4.  Liam only complained 1/3 of our walk this morning about his phantom foot pain

5.  Ana had a tea party at Huckleberry today...with real ice tea & watermelon

6.  Anthony had Devon over to play

7.  Keisha made every puzzle we own with great pride !!

8.  I indulged the request for Subway for dinner....

9.  I got in big trouble for picking Sprite instead of Root beer for Ana...big scream at you trouble....my bad !!!

10.  I got caught up on my chores

11.  was reminded why I enjoy living here so much....

12.  Liam passed his swimming lesson with flying colors

13. Keisha made me 3 love notes

14.  enjoyed visiting our water front with my " bigs" & Pup....

15.  wished I had remembered the camera......the harbor was so beautiful this morning !!

16.  ate too many cookies....

17.  starting to pack for our trip

18.  should have mowed the lawn.....there's always tomorrow.....

19.  finished reading " Bella the bunny Fairy " with Ana

20.  is ending the day with a big smile & the feeling of a job well done !!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The weight has been lifted.....

after much mulling and internal discussion I've decided that re opening my home is not the right choice. 

In my 20 years of working in & around the foster care system I've seen & experience both the highs and the lows.  I think it's time to move in a different direction.  I have a strong deep passion for supporting care givers and have been offered the possibility of taking over the education facilitator position for the north island.  This position has sat empty for the most part for years.  It was temporarily filled last Fall.  My name was put forward as a good replacement.  I have enjoyed previous opportunities to work with care givers, to help educate, share my experiences and knowledge all of which I have really enjoyed.  I'm excited at the prospect of getting back into it.

This September all of my children will be in full time school.  I have always believed that opportunities present themselves at the right time in our lives.  This position will allow me to stay connected to my hearts biggest passion.  I'll be able to set my own hours, which will mean that I can continue being an active participant in my kids schooling. This doesn't fill our desire for more family members.  I guess we'll just have to see what opportunities present themselves.  If it's ment to be it will....right !

It's amazing how light you feel when you know you've made the right choice !!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a long week.....

This week has been an interesting one.  We've all been working through/on some tough things.  The kids are all missing their friends & school routine.  Which in turn means that they are fighting with each other more than normal.  Spending next week in Courtenay going to camp & visiting will be a good distraction.  We would all do better if they cut the summer holiday down to just 4 weeks and added a week to the Christmas & Spring breaks.

I have been trying to rein in some annoying inner dialogue and reassessing some previous decisions.  One of those inner dialogues is over the reality of my children all needing to be on meds.  My logical self know why they need them and that their quality of life is improved with them.  My " organic, natural is best, rarely even taken tylenol" self will probably always question if there something else I could be doing?  I hate the fact that our local pharmacist doesn't even need to look up their files.

We have had some successes around here to celebrate.  Liam is doing really well in his swimming lessons.  Keisha has finally succeeded in passing her swimming assessment.  She is now able to swim anywhere in the pool she'd like without wearing a life jacket !!  Ana has successfully wiggled her rotten tooth out....which in turn means I no longer have a tooth removal on the upcoming dentist bill...Yah !!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

" I can do it "

I'm so glad to say despite being dealt so many hurdles that " YES you can" and OH ! so much more !!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Part of that great appliance shopping spree that I went on a couple of weeks ago was a new front loading washer & dryer.  Sadly the washer was faulty.  One of the downsides to living a few hours away from any kind of urban center is that it takes time to get these kinds of situation handled.  Surprisingly it has only taken a week to have a replacement delivered.  So today's mission was to get a handle on the crazy piles that were taking over the TV/laundry room.

Today we have done 4 loads of clothes & 3 loads of bedding.  This would have taken days with the old much smaller machines. These new front loaders are so efficient ......I like LOVE efficient !!!  I'm starting to see so much more time to do what I don't know...I'm sure I come up with something !!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

How is it possible....

...that I, the lover of most things containing cream cheese could have a daughter that will turn down anything containing it ?  Who doesn't LIKE cheesecake?  I just don't understand !!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Decision Decisions.....

Well every year our local Lioness club holds a very popular Christmas Fair.  Word of my work at the school has made it's way to one of the ladies involved.  I have personally been asked to consider being  involved. After several nights of intensive pondering I think I'm going to do it !!

I'm thinking of focusing my efforts in one area.....Baking !!!   It's been a long time since I've been able to attend a Christmas Fair.  I'm not sure what kinds of things would be the most popular.  I have some ideas....however I would love some input from all of you.

I would love to know:

- what would you buy if you were able to attend?
- what are your favorite Christmas goodies?
- would all you non-gluten eating folks consider purchasing gluten free baking at a fair like this?

A great big THANKS in advance I'm excited to have your feedback !!