Thursday, June 21, 2012

gone to the t-dot

it's going to be a whirlwind extravaganza as our parents have set out to give us the experience of a toddler's dreaming and a bit of a refreshed gastronomic tour. 

src: design sponge
art by julia rothman
(do you know where i can get this image 

as a print? i'm in love with it.)

the t-dot is a commuting city. everywhere we go is at least a 20-minute drive to our destination and i am well-nigh giddy with the opportunities to knit (what with the kids strapped into car seats and all!). so obviously, i'm bringing along some knitting. and i'm having a bit of trouble deciding what to bring.

i will spare you my inner logic. but i think i've narrowed it down to four projects: a scarf for the wife, the second sock from my second pair of patchwork socks, a dress-in-progress for the girl and a shirt for the boy. 

but i really want to bring enough yarn for 2-3 hats and a pair of gloves... too much?

i have no hope of finishing any or all of these projects in the short time we are away but the possibility of having knitting in my hands every time i'm in the car (which will be a lot) is just too much to pass up. and i'm not allowed to buy yarn, remember? which means i have to bring my own. 


we are doing our best to squeeze in time with friends and family but i'm afraid 10 days isn't enough to revisit an entire life lived in our home town. such is the dilemma of every homecoming. 

i'll try to send postcards (and perhaps even take the knit parade on tour) along the way.

Monday, June 18, 2012

in a nutshell

this photograph represents the sum total of our weekend.

busy. productive. overwhelming. minor injuries. lots of cleaning. very little knitting.

all the while, the children decided that they were on a completely different frequency then we were. there were blessed moments when our rhythms synched. but most times, well, let's just say we lost more battles than we won.

it's going to be quite the hectic week as i hunker down at work and we prepare for a trip to toronto, amidst all the regular business. i'm not sure if i'll be able to get back here to open this window into our life and times. but i will try. 

have a fantastic week! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

{gorgeous moments} at the river beach

this week  has been mostly wretched with rain. we're getting a little sun today but the next few days promise to be wet, as well.

and the reason for my weather report is because i was looking back at my favourite moments from last weekend. 

when it was like the summer it should be now (you know, that we've arrived at mid-june). so we found ourselves, once again, in fraser river park, where we enjoyed some time in the sun and sand.

the boy was in heaven.

the girl (who has missed almost every beach trip we've made because she was fast asleep) was in curious discovery mode. having just woken from a nap, this was the first time those little bare feet have been allowed to touch sand.

we stayed at the park all afternoon. and we vowed to pack a beach bag so we are always ready to go to river beach-combing whenever we felt like it.

but come july and august, when the weather gets properly hot, it's to the ocean beaches we'll head. i already know it will be quite the trek, being without a vehicle, as we are. but it will also be worth the blissfully tired sun-soaked bodies at the end of the day. 

it's been quite the busy week. i longed for this friday as soon as it began. now that it's here, i am so grateful. and looking forward to the moment when i can officially breathe in the weekend and exhale the work-week. 

wishing you a lovely weekend! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

mothering soundbyte: separation anxiety

at 3:30am this morning , as the wife is getting ready for work (don't ask): 
me: dude. i can't believe it. it was just the two of us in bed all night. 
wife: i know, eh? how did you feel?  
me: a little weirded out, to be honest.  
wife: yeah. you looked uncomfortable. 
me: really? how?  
wife: you were hugging yourself, like this. [crosses her ams on her chest like a vampire.]


just because the pink poppies
in the coop gardens make me happy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

from the kitchen: late night baking

i suffer from late-night-baking syndrome.

which means to say that i bake quite regularly, very late at night (10pm and later, PST), long after my loves have surrendered to sleep.

i adore my little brood, you know i do. you might also know how much i love to involve my babes in the kitchen.

[inhale] but i have to admit, there are times when all i really want to do is fiddle about in the kitchen at my own pace. to do things out of order. to not have to worry about whether some spill, burn, or other imminent danger (which, by the way, includes petty theft of potty training treats) is about to happen to one or both of my toddlers . to know that the extent of the multi-tasking i have to do is listen to an audio book (currently listening to game of thrones, as an antidote to the end-of-season withdrawal). to be able to clean as i go. [exhale]

and i do enjoy the quiet hum of our little apartment this late in the evening. it's the only time of day when i can choose to hear myself think and catch up on pop culture, sometimes at the same time.

so i knit. i clean. i blog. i bake.

(sometimes, i work. but we're not going to talk about that.)

probably in that order... thought not necessarily all in the same night.

and in the morning, if it's baking i've chosen to do before my 2am bedtime, my little family wakes up to freshly baked goods. in the words of the barefoot contessa, "how bad can that be?" (well... there are the effects of sleep deprivation, but that's not what this entry is about.)

last night, i made quinoa banana bread muffins and a nutritious marble cake. both recipes were from la tartine gourmande, and were chock-full of gluten-free alternatives. the results were so delicious, i couldn't believe what i made without wheat flour.

in the lovely light muffins, the quinoa flakes add such a nubbly crunch. and while the marble cake was dense, the flavours were clean and full of flavour.

the kids agree. they liked the muffins a lot.

but the cake was the winner. 

so much so, i found a mauled marble cake carcass right next to the learning tower and the boy's crumb-chunked face.

i wish i had taken a picture before going ballistic on him. i didn't. and i couldn't stay mad for long. it was pretty funny... and the mark of a successful, healthy, and toddler-friendly recipe after all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

growing pains

i mentioned at some point that we’ve been working on the kids’ room.

well, the boy decided last night that he was sleeping in his room.

just like that.

i stayed with him in his sister’s bed-to-be (she’s still nursing after all) until he fell asleep. Then hours later, he fell off his bed.


when I came in to soothe him, i immediately carried him to our bed. he protested and asked me to bring him back to his bed. so I did.

he woke up once more, at which point, I collapsed beside him.


the boy spent an entire night in his own room.

and tonight... tonight the girl is in there too. in her own bed.

just like that: one phase over, another begun.

proud-making and a little heart-aching all at once. on one hand, we can give ourselves a parenting pat on the back. our son is building his confidence and developing a sense of independence. and our daughter, we're giving her permission to do the same. 

on the other hand... i think i need a hug.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

mothering soundbyte: momma fail

me: something something something (i can't remember now)
the boy: huh?
me: instead of saying, "huh?" it's better to say, "pardon?"
the boy: pardon?
me: yes. it's just the more polite way of asking someone to repeat what they said. it sounds nicer.
the boy: (something indiscernable)
me: huh?

on the ferry to victoria last weekend

so much for leading by example.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

{gorgeous moments}

friday weekly ritual (modified from its original inception), where i share a photograph or two (or more) featuring my favourite moment(s) from the week. 

my dad was here last weekend. and he treated us to a day trip to victoria so we could all enjoy the royal british columbia museum's dinosaur exhibit. 

it was a gorgeous day. fun was had by all on the ferry and off. 

and this was the absolute best photo i took that day.

because sometimes it really is best to experience the moment than to miss a split second trying to capture it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

recipe share: filipino style beef steak

being filipino, i'm afraid i grew up more carnivore than omnivore. i ate rice everyday, and to my recollection, my favourite vegetable as a child was corn. i didn't develop my taste for vegetables until long after high school, when my palate was ready to be introduced to the wide world of food from anywhere and everywhere. (thanks to my university years and foodtv.)

i am in my late thirties now, and a mother. my foodie adventures are no longer about trying everything and learning all there is to know about a particular cuisine. these days, cooking and eating are all about feeding my family whole, nutritious - but delicious foods (we don't really need to get to where the omnivore's dilemma comes in now).

keeping it real, i'm not always successful. my pantry is no longer full of canned, processed, and otherwise packaged foods, but there are a few staples i'm still learning to live food experiments don't always pan out. and to be honest, we succumb to the convenience of takeout once, if not twice, a week. that's just the way things go. 

part of the issue is, i refuse to be a slave to the kitchen. just as i don't spend every waking moment cleaning, i don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. like the job-that-pays, that's precious time i could be spending with my kids. i want my kids' memories of me to be of the time i actually spend with them instead of doing things for them. (that's also time i carve out to spend with the wife and knitting, you see.)

so, the meals i make are usually quick, easy, and rely heavily on the repertoire i developed before children.

which leads me to today's recipe share (i know, long winded much? why yes). 

i served the beef steak with brown basmati rice 
and sauteed fiddleheads.

aside: i love fiddleheads. 
i ate them like chips that day. 
my family, not so fond of the fiddleheads. 
oh well. (more for me!)

this filipino style beef steak is an old stand-by. it's a great way to stretch a good steak, especially if you've got unexpected company. plus - it's quick, easy, and so simple, the actual recipe i'm about to share is rather pithy. adjust the amounts of any of the ingredients to your taste.

soy sauce
zest and juice of 1 lemon
sliced beef, from your favourite cut of steak (we like strip loin or tenderloin for this)
black pepper
sliced onions
grated or finely sliced ginger
about a tablespoon of butter

marinate the beef in equal parts soy sauce and lemon juice and throw in the lemon zest, too. (the soy sauce you use can change the flavour of this dish. so, experiment with soy sauces to see what you like best. kikkoman is our favourite.)

sauté your onions in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter (adjust amounts to taste). cook the onions until they have browned. then, remove the onions from the pan onto a plate and reserve.

now, brown your meat in just a bit more oil and butter, adding whatever marinade is left. as the meet cooks, you will see a nice begin to develop.

when the meat is almost cooked, return the reserved onions to the pan and give it a mix. let the flavour mingle about for another minute or so before finishing with a pat of butter. (the added butter is definitely not traditionally filipino but it will give the dish an overall gloss and cohesive texture.)

serve with a tumble of rice and your choice of vegetables.

if you are pressed for time:
and you just don't have time to marinate the meat, after sautéing the onions, you can proceed like so: 

add more oil/butter if you think it's necessary and throw in the sliced meat. as your meat is browning, pour your soy sauce in a circular motion around the edge of your pan twice, or thrice. then, zest and juice your lemon over the sauté. grate over or sprinkle the ginger. give the pan a good mix and then proceed with the rest of the instructions above.

optional garnishes and serving suggestion:
when the wife and i first moved in together, i got inspired and plated this dish around a cupped mound of rice, with some toasted sesame seeds, fresh coriander, the morning's leftover omelet dotting the plate. but honestly, fresh coriander or chives will do.

Monday, June 4, 2012

knit parade: patchwork socks the first and the second

i thought you might like to see how my patchwork socks turned out.

they are purdy.

and i still can't stop making socks. here's the first of the second pair. i don't like it as much but it's socks. so i'll still get lots of wear out of them.

after this pair, i may just be needing a break from all the sock making (not to mention the riot of colour) and finish up that shrug i was making for the girl. she'll need to be wearing it in about three weeks for her baptism.

mkay. getting crackin' now. 

hope your week kicked off well! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

{gorgeous moments}: at the farm

friday weekly ritual (modified from its original inception), where i share a photograph or two (or more) featuring my favourite moment(s) from the week. 

and technically... these photos are from last week. (ahem)

the same day we went to the woods, we went to the farm. my brother and his lady friend fully admit to "using" my children as an excuse to going to a petting zoo. 

we'd been to maplewood farm before.

in 2011, my dad  happened to be in town for the boy's second birthday. so i talked him into driving our little family all the way to north vancouver so that my littles can meet some farm animals for the first time.

it was a very wet sort of spring day. the rain stopped just long enough for us to enjoy the grounds for a little while. and we found the walk around the farm so charming. especially because i think we were the only ones there.

this year,  we were late for all the sheep shearing festival events, having just come from the woods. and this time, i got fixated on photographing the animals.

in 2011, i thought the boy was so strapping, having just turned two. (who knew that all that baby fat would melt away in a year?

this year, the wouldn't leave the bunnies alone.

here he is telling his sister all about how to approach and pet the bunnies.

in 2011, the girl was just about three weeks old.  

now, at almost 15 months, she's already training to be a farm hand.

time really does fly.

thank goodness for remembering to enjoy the ride.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

awarded with liebster love

when i began writing this blog on the first day of the year, i had very specific goals:

: to rediscover my capacity to be creative
: to stay focused on living simply
: to commit to getting outside
: to share my current obsessions with the universe: mothering, knitting, and food
: to commiserate with the soul of the universe in some way, any way
: to document life with the loves of my life
: to celebrate any luck that comes my way
: to savour every moment of bliss

i never imagined that more than four people would come here regularly (that's the wife, our kelowna family, maybe cousin joe, and me).  

but the other day, a fellow raveller, but otherwise perfect stranger (and now virtual friend), left this comment in my last entry:
"The heart of your blog inspires me and I nominated you for the Liebster blog love award."
so very kind.

i had no idea what in the world the liebster blog award was, but hannah describes the honour perfectly on her blog:

"liebster" means "dearest" in German and the award is given to up-and coming, read-worthy blogs with less than 200 followers.

how cool is that? not to mention heartening and humbling.

i definitely have less than 200 followers but i have received personal notes from friends, family, and acquaintances that have taken the time to continue the conversation i started here, either by commenting, or in other ways.

whether you know it or not, your energy helps to keep me focused on the goals i set when i decided to open a window into my family life, and unto the universe.

when you accept the liebster blog award, you have to pay it forward and nominate five liebster-worthy bloggers and share 5 things about yourself. so here goes.

five liebster blog award nominations: 
i rarely share on facebook anymore. i don't pin. and i don't tweet. there just isn't enough time in a day as it is. but i read quite a few blogs regularly... out of interest, yes. but mostly to derive creative inspiration and fresh perspective. here are five of my favourite inspiration, perspective, and liebster-worthy resources:

1. bedelia designs
celia and her family found me and my family when we were pregnant with our eldest children in our prenatal class. somehow, we managed to become and stay friends. she and the wife were even pregnant together with our second children. celia is a terrific mom but she's also an artist and illustrator. on her blog, she shares her newest work, her process, and deals on her illustrated prints! 
one of my favourite prints from
bedelia designs

jenna is celia's illustrator friend. i don't know her personally. but her blog and illustrations therein are hilarious portrayals of mothering and motherhood. overall, her sense of humour makes me feel better about life. i think she may have quite a following already. but i honestly think more moms need access to the frankness of her exaggerated humour.

latest blog entry from mom illustrated
3. pi'lo
i don't know the designer behind pi'lo personally but i have always admired the quiet specificity of her esthetic. her point of view as a maker, artist, and person is a stark contrast to mine. but i find it refreshing because there is something to be said about the nuance of detail in the images and objects she shares as she fixates. i know that the artist is quite prolific in the handmade world - what with anthropologie choosing to stock some of her stuff in toronto. but i am not sure about whether her blog has a following quite yet so i thought i'd share the liebster love with her, too.

a photo of vintage textiles
from the pi'lo blog

4. sam lamb 

a blogger from toronto who mainly features what she makes on her blog. i know of her because i ravel. and i've made her toddler vest design twice, one for each of my babes and one of my completed projects is on her pattern page. she has lovely knitterly taste. and while, i don't sew and don't really aspire to sew, i wish i could sew like she can.

something sewn by sam lamb

5. ummashin
who honoured me with the liebster blog award nomination in the first place. i've been following her on and off for a few months now. and the spirit of her blog is quite similar to mine. she writes about yarn, knitting, and her adorable kids. and she's been to purlsoho. all of my favourite things. so we have quite a lot in common. you will also marvel at the speed at which she knits.
hannah at purl.
photo source: ummashin

five things about me you may not have known?
  1. i swim like a fish.
  2. one of the things i love most about having children is that they sing vocal exercises back to me. it's like having my own personal choir at home sometimes. we are constantly singing things back to each other. 
  3. i don't have a driver's license. it's a longer story than a want to tell. but i will say that if i don't get my driver's license soon, i'm afraid it will become one of those things i fear i'll never get. gotta fix that.
  4. in addition to wishing my children the life of their dreaming, as well as growing old and staying healthy with the wife, i dream of moving to nova scotia, keeping chickens, and working at a really cool yarn store when i retire.
  5. since high school, my favourite any-time-of-day meal has been a well-toasted bagel with cheddar cheese, accompanied by chocolate milk. my taste in bagel, cheese, and chocolate milk have quite matured since (my bagel of choice is now flaxseed, my cheese of choice is gruyere, and the chocolate milk i drink is now organic), but i still relish the combination every bit.

Friday, June 1, 2012

into the woods

i've been talking about going to woods for a year. a full year. 

what with having a new baby, moving to a new home, adjusting to life with the wife back to work with the boy in preschool and the girl with a nanny, well... it just wasn't possible last year.
but then my baby brother came for a visit last week. he comes to visit with his lady every year, and with every visit, we try to do something touristy and terrifically new with them.

so came our visit to lynn canyon.

just before children, the wife and i came out here with friends at least three times in one year and had really, just the best hiking experiences ever. (i miss those girls.)

but the park has since upgraded its amenities. the once flat trails i remember so well are now mostly accessible by stairway... and um, we didn't factor in how exactly, a stroller would fit into the mix.

we didn't get into the crevices of the woods as i had originally envisioned.

the boy wanted to be carried more often than necessary and the trails led to steeper hikes than we were brave enough to tackle with the girl on our back... but it was still, overall, a successful little family adventure.

the boy discovered slugs.

and i allowed myself to rediscover the forest.

i hunted for mushrooms. but with summer almost nearly underway in the forest, the mushrooms that teemed in the forest when i was last there in the fall almost four years ago just weren't there. 

the only fungus to be found were on fallen trees.

there's something so spiritual about being enveloped almost entirely by varying shades of green and brown...

something about the kind of quiet that is void of the ever-present hum of our city life.

the kind of quiet that gives way to the unmistakable rush of water nearby, or the constant chatter of birds unseen, and yet and all around.

the wife and i took it in turns to run down the nearby stairway to pay a visit to the gorge nearby.

it is so humbling to behold the sheer power of water rushing against earth and rock. 

(and i will totally admit to knowing for a fact that if i was ever reaped for the hunger games, the odds would SO not be in my favour. ahem.)

when it was the wife's turn to visit the water, i set the girl free in a nearby meadow and gave her free reign over where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do.

she wanted to play with the stroller.

and excavate the gravel road.

what is up with that? 

i took as many pictures as i could. 

but a hike with even one toddler (my brother and his lady scampered away with the boy after our picnic lunch) meant that i could only linger through the forest with my eyes and my feet, not my camera. there was little opportunity to zoom in and see the parts that make the sum of the forest.

i can't wait to go back. if not to lynn valley, then an elsewhere canopy-sanctuary nearer by. 

this time, stroller-free. with babes on our backs or on their feet.

maybe we'll just pick a spot and just go off-trail for a bit. 

maybe i'll come prepared with stories of faeries and gnomes and foxes and deer. 

maybe we'll take a moment to stay still together watching for and listening to the birds.

whatever may be, into the woods we must return, as many times as possible.

living in this city, there really is no excuse.