Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Each morning when I come home from yoga, I step inside our front gate and pause there for a moment. Our garden is spectacular. And in the early morning quiet, it is just so peaceful, so idyllic. We have taken our house off the market, but when it was for sale, I used to think that this is when people should come for the viewings, about 7 or 7:30am. Everything seem so fresh, so alive. Maybe in retrospect, I should be happy that no one came to see it like this, they may have bought it. And sure we could use a little more space and another bathroom, but let me tell you, I don't mind staying here.

We made the decision a few weeks back not to sell. The market had slowed, pretty much the day we listed, and selling was taking longer than we had imagined. Also, Sam decided it was time to make a career change, and banks get kind of funny about mortgaging a new house with out income verification, funny how that is. I do believe things happen for a reason. Shortly after we made the decision to stay, we were at a friends birthday with a lot of our friends from the neighbourhood, and everyone kept telling us how happy they were that we weren't leaving. I think it was nice for Sam to hear this. As the person at home with children, I am sort of the family frontline in the neighbourhood, Sam busy working, doesn't get that level of interaction on a regular basis. To have all these people happy we were staying I think really reaffirmed for Sam how fortunate we are to live in a great community.

I don't want to get too complacent, as one never knows what the future holds, especially when your partner is in the midst of a career change. But for now, I am happy to be here. I am happy to have Sam home, fixing things around the house and spending time as a family. I am happy to enjoy my beautiful garden and my wonderful friends. I will make the most of these moments and really be grateful for them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tourist in My own Town

It seems that summer has finally arrived. Yeah. I was getting very tired of Juneuary!! Not to mention my children being upset with me for packing up their puffy coats. So, we have had lovely weather this week which timed nicely with my sister and her husbands visit from Australia. We decided it would be nice to get out and take in some of the amazing things that Vancouver Island has to offer.

We began with a delicious meal and strawberry shortcake made with fresh local strawberries. The next morning we cooked a big delicious pancake breakfast, more fresh berries and then headed off to hike up Mount Douglas. It is a great place to hike, it is easy enough for children to do, (Sam did have to carry Piper part of the way) and the view from the top is just beautiful. You will have to excuse me, as my sister had the camera and I will have to get some pictures from her. You get a panoramic view of the southern tip of Vancouver Island. We finished off our day with a walk around the inner harbour and some yummy fish and chips at Fisherman's Wharf.

Wednesday was Sofie's birthday and breakfast of choice was waffles with whip cream. More fresh local berries for those who like fruit. We then headed out to Butchart Gardens. It was a gorgeous day, probably the hottest all week. The gardens were packed with people from all over the world, so some areas were a bit like a lineup and if you went the opposite direction it was like a fish swimming up stream. The Japanese garden was spectacular. And the children enjoyed riding the Carousel. We had a lovely birthday dinner for Sofie and I made one of her favourite desserts, Meringues with Whip Cream. (We literally went through 2 litres of whip cream this week.)

Thursday we had a busy day planned with a walk to Witty's Lagoon in the morning. It is a lovely hike down a wooded path to the beach. The tide was way out so we were able to wonder out on the sand. We saw some beautiful Swans. It was a busy day down there, as there seemed to be a number of different schools with large groups. We still had a great time, went for a little wade and played some frisbee. Then it was back up the trail, where Jack was very excited that we got to see a very small dead bat, and off to Point Ellice House. At Point Ellice House we enjoyed a yummy and filling Victoria Style Tea on the lawn, played some Croquet and wondered around the beautiful gardens. It was a really lovely day capped off a visit at home from some good friends who were about to head back to Wales.

On Friday I took my sister and her husband to my favourite bike shop, North Park Bike Shop, and seriously, you would be hard pressed to find better customer service than there. The owners are lovely and they have a fantastic selection of Electra bikes, a family favourite.

I really enjoyed my time with my sister and her husband. I really miss her when she is so far away, and am extremely envious of her and the weather she gets to enjoy. It was fun to play tourist in your own city, it opens to you to so many possibilities and hidden gems.

*The cupcakes at the top are Rootbeer Float Cupcakes I made for Sofie's Birthday party, the recipe is from Smitten Kitchen.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Dutch Cheese and Butter Cleanse

I was having a conversation with a couple of friends recently about our generation's fascination with going on cleanses. I have tried a couple, some went well, some were a hopeless failure. I have also heard of some really seemingly ridiculous cleanses. One friend reported his girlfriend dumped him at Day 5 of an 'Apple Cleanse', I am just surprised he hung on till Day 5. We have another friend who swears by the lemon water with cayenne and maple syrup, he does it every year. Another friend does the Wild Rose twice a year, the Wild Rose was my hopeless failure.

We began to wonder if part of the cleanse fascination was potential weight loss and then wondered if this was our generation's idea of a diet?

Personally I know that I have tried cleanses to try to get myself back on track to eating healthier well rounded meals. Generally in the spring, I try to knock off the wheat that I have survived upon all winter. I really have a weakness for bagels. I have tried giving up dairy, but I just love cheese too much. Last year I managed 30 days with no dairy, I am not sure how. I mean I do really try to eat healthy, I live in a household of vegetarians. But really, just try to hold me back from a friend cinnamon raisin Mount Royal Bagel with honey vanilla cream cheese.

So, last week with spring well upon us, I decided it was time to eradicate the wheat and dairy. I lasted till about lunch. Sunday is not a good day to start a cleanse. Apparently neither was monday or tuesday. Each day my valiant efforts were worn down by late afternoon. I did manage to go one whole day no wheat and dairy. Ooops apparently wine is not allowed on this cleanse, and I am meant to meet a friend for a drink. I'll start again next week.

This year the cleansing has not gone as well. Is it more parties, or perhaps my 'been there, done that' attitude? I am struck by a comment one of my readers mentioned on an earlier post, "what things would you do, if there was no chance of failing at it?" Perhaps knowing I can do it without fail has brought me to a failing wall. It really should be the opposite. I just can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps in my heart of hearts I am really not that interested in cleansing, and I should just get over it and make more of an effort to live by what I really am committed too, everything in moderation, including moderation.

This, I believe, I cannot fail at.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Brisk Walk and a cup of Tea

I often think that the majority of problems both personal and global could be settled over tea and/or a good brisk walk. I think perhaps my working brain is directly connected to the cadence of my feet. A good pace and the thoughts just start flowing, a bit like a mouse on a wheel. This morning I decided to skip yoga and hit the streets. I laced up my shoes, charged up my iPod and headed out the door. I have a lot on my mind right now and I just needed to get out and get some fresh air. I find music helpful, my current playlist of choice is the two albums by Dan Mangan, they seem to help me walk and think.

We are currently facing a change in financial circumstances and for the next while we will be dealing with some uncertainty. So, my topic of the day was to come up with some strategies to get through the next couple of months.

If you know me, you will know, I am not that great with money. I have an unnatural love of shoes, strollers (I have owned 11) and bikes, I currently own 2. Notice I left the shoe count out!!! I am also one of the world's biggest procrastinators. I have journals and journals filled with my great ideas for saving money, getting in shape and getting organized. Sadly they span about 20 years. Don't worry I don't really waste too much time thinking about it, it seems the moment I finish jotting down my big plans, I am back to enjoying life, hanging with my family, buying shoes and eating meringues.

I recently signed up for a daily online newsletter with a group called the Smart Cookies, hoping to pick up some sweet tips for becoming more financially savvy. It has only been a week so, I will have to report back on whether this is helping. The tips are good, it is just, will I put them into action or not.

My walk this morning was very helpful, I am all geared up to get busier over the next few weeks making pottery and I am planning on opening up my studio for the Fernwood Art Stroll and also being at Moss Street for the Moss Street Paint In. I am very excited about the pottery I have been working on so this gets me very excited.

Now for the tea part, I think I shall enjoy a cup and mull over my thoughts and decisions, come up with a plan of action and a schedule to try and work with in. I will keep you posted.