Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The reason I haven't been around much...

I have been dealing with some pretty hard core health issues for the past 10 months or so... a bit too private in the details here, but the surgeon suspected a mass in my reproductive organs. My mother passed away from breast cancer a week after her 30th birthday ( I turned 30 this summer, so psychologically this was poignant timing) and her mother died of ovarian cancer in her 40s. I was put on a wait list for an ultrasound, and stayed there for 5 months. I called a couple of weeks back and they said that it would be 4 more months of a wait. Drs are so busy up here, and I wonder if there is some stigma with trying to fast track your patients... mine wanted me to wait and get the specialist to do it. Meanwhile I have been in pain constantly, affecting pelvic joints and pressing on nerves all through my pelvis, back and bladder. I couldn't hike much, or bike much( it hurts to sit... so that is a lot of pacing!)... and I was moody and distracted. The helplessness of waiting was turning into regular panic attacks. I have been an irritable mess. And I dropped 30 pounds without trying. I have been no fun at all really!( poor kids. they are all amped up in their behaviors and I have been in no place to deal or be patient properly)
I saw the surgeon last Friday and he got me in for a scan the next business day ( what a relief!) . I haven't heard back yet.... good news? The tech said that my intestines all looked swollen and gassy. Next stop colonoscopy!
So.... it would have felt a bit false to put up photos and stuff through that period.... not really up to it. I kind of withdraw through periods like that.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Had an impromptu trip down to my folks this week( a one day trip with a friend who is a professor in the city)... 6 hours in the car , and too much anticipation was just too much for the boys. I think that they get glutened every single time from feeding the dog a million biccies and all of the doggie kisses that come after. The last few days have been pretty trying! It was still fun though. I took them to the arena to pay in the snow.... then they rode the escalator a million times in the mall giggling like mad! Grandpa was fun too!
Now for halloween plans... youngest insisted that he was going to wear a pumpkin ON his head this year... It work out surprisingly well! Eldest is still on the Greek mythology obsession and plans to be Zeus. We made him a plywood lightening bolt a sheet as a toga, and a wreath on his head made of ivy. I told them that I will take them trick or treating this year and will trade them their goods for a small Playmobile toy. Just for the experience of it all. I will probably pick them up some sort of allowable sucker and a piece of good chocolate as well. But in the meantime? The Great Pumpkin of course!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Backdated Tofino trip

We finally made our way out to Tofino for a day trip this summer. While I had been before , growing up on the Island, my hubby had never been. It ended up being a chilly day, but was gorgeous anyways. The road out there felt a bit sketchy though... people who are used to it sure drive fast! I sure love the coast!

Going to rally up the boys to get up into the bush for a bit today. Hoping to have caught the tail end of the chantrelles... maybe grab some oregon grape root while we are there. Get out the rain gear!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Finally back!

Just hooked up our new, used rebuilt computer! That only took us , what...6 months to save up for? Soooooo nice to have a computer again. Missed the music and online documentaries most of all. Homeschooling is so much nicer with it too!
Busy and lovely ( short seeming) summer, really crummy gardening.... life just flying by! Here are a couple of piccies! ( I had to BEG the boys to let me get a photo of them for Great Grandma. Youngest is hardly ever seen without sunglasses these days... both indoors and out)And... we have a household friend! This is our sweet little indoor bun! She is litter trained and just the sweetest most playful thing ever. A military woman got called off to duty and couldn't keep her anymore. The boys benefit so much from having her around. Sweet little snuggle bun!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Computer troubles

My computer has bugged out on me... trying to do what I can in safe mode, so I can't do photos or much of anything really. Wishing that a bit of warmth and sunshine would come... it would be nice if I could be up off my butt and actually able to get busy outside!! I should be back soon anyhow!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Papas mother has been in the hospital for three days now. Without going into personal details, she has been really ill for a while now with freaky symptoms and no answers. I am awaiting the phone call this morning regarding her brain and spinal cord MRI. Fingers crossed. To top off the stress, papa bit into dinner last night and the tooth( the one that has been bugging him for a couple of years now) cracked in half. Lucky for us, the 6 month pay in for the dental plan just finished last week... talk about good timing. The copay will still be a large chunk unexpectedly for us this month ( especially considering we racked up over 100 bucks in chiro visits, got the fish and game club membership and payed our archery pass for the year. Gahhh. those were supposed to be our unexpected costs for the month!). I literally sent my hubby off today with the change scrounged up to pay for it. I have one chicken in the freezer left and one dozen eggs ( plus a pound of organic chicken livers and some bones for beef broth) until payday a little over a week from now. I am going to have to be SUPER creative. I figure if I cook the chicken up I can stretch it for about 5 nights worth of food ( If I split it into three portions and freeze the cooked meat) plus a good pot of chicken broth. If I use the eggs now I can freeze a few loaves of bread in the freezer ( cause I do have 3 kg of peanut butter in the cupboard?) and that will be the most economical way to use them. Good to have had the really frugal times because now I can look in my cupboard and not panic too badly when this happens. Just praying that we don't have to drop everything and somehow get to papas mom anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I put out my back, but...

... it was worth it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Two in a day

Q&A from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

This was just so nice (i think you need to pause the music at the bottom of the page)


Papas birthdad came for a visit this weekend. We always have a great time together and his visits are much anticipated by everyone. We had good food ( too much) good drink ( anything is too much for us lightweights) and fun conversation. A great part of the weekend was heading out for the first time to use the archery range. Grandpa had told papa that he would be bringing him a much beloved bow of his for a belated birthday present. He has been so excited... practically sleepness in the nights leading up to it. When he showed up, he actually bought ME a bow as well so that I could be included in the fun( he even looks like santa a bit!). How cool is this! I had made plans of knitting and carding wool under the eves of the clubhouse... which I would have enjoyed as well... but this is super duper cool! We went to the target range to practice and I was so struggling with the bow ( it wasn't really set up at all. no knock point, arrow rest in the wrong spot, and the string wasn't set up properly... fun to watch me fumble with that ridiculous set up). I am so stubborn, that in my frustration I will just become more silently determined to MAKE it work. So this camoed out army general guy yells at me " Excuse me!!!... what are you doing?" and he comes up right in my face square in front of me and takes my bow. I could feel all of my boys bristle and grandpa was right in next to me ready to intervene at a milliseconds notice. I was all very odd and intense, and if you know me I am a really solo" go off and figure it out myself" kind of gal. Think stomping toddler " let me do it myself!" I relaxed as much as I could manage and tried to hear this guy out. I could tell we didn't like each other much right off, but he kept through and forced a lesson on me. Thank goodness! It was the hugest blessing ever that he was there. We warmed up to each other a ton after a handful of minutes , and after 5 or ten minutes of his interfering ( lol) I shot 6 arrows in a row straight into the bullseye. He took me to the long target and I wasn't so great, but got them all in the bag in a straight line right down the middle. Pretty sweet! Anyhow I am so glad that this guy was there. He taught me a style that is perfect for me , and a set of actions to follow that reminded me of the Japanese ritual archery... like a meditation. We also checked out the 3D archery trail. What fun that is... exactly like frisbee golf but with bows and arrows! You hike up the trail and the beginning is marked. Everyone looks around for the target and the boys shout out " its a raccoon!!!" or " Its a cougar!!!! in complete delight. Twisted I am sure... sorry to my vegan friends! I can't wait to go again. I finished the day with a super relaxed stoned feeling ( I get that after spinning wool too) ... a sure sign of an activity that is good for my body and mind.

Tring to finish up my backlog of school reporting this week... in between a new knitting project that I have started. Last week I had finished a simple contemporary shawl thingy which I absolutely love ( I will get a piccie this week) and when browsing patterns I fell for another shawl dealy. I had seen the finished shawl before by the designer on Etsy, but it cost over 300$. Beautiful though. While browsing furthar for design inspiration I saw that she offered the pattern for sale. It was pricy for a pattern, but I splurged and spent the 8 bucks as a treat to myself for mothers day! So I am just in the process of starting that ( 420 beginning stitches makes it feel like you are starting it forever, even though I have been working on it for hours already) Nice to be excited about a project.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quick dinners

Spent the day out and about today. Hit the thrift stores( how impossible it is to find a new water canner this time of the year. Mine rusted out on me and I have mango chutney canning in the plans) and then spent a large chunk of the day out at the fish and game club getting our membership in order.What a BEAUTIFUL property! As obscure as I still feel it is to be a member now, it really is possible for it to be a perfect fit for our family. The archery facilities are soooo super cool ( I will write more later I am sure, but it involves an archers cabin with a woodstove, a frizbee golf style 3D archery trail and a pretty all round sweet set up!) as well as opportunities to volunteer for some pretty amazing environmental conservation initiatives and helping with thier hatchery. We spent a few hours looking around ... the most fun was an area in progress where they are building a " cowboy shooting" area, with an entire old west town ( saloon, houses, jail, general store etc) for these crazy timed cowboy shooting competitions. Wild stuff!

On these days I just don't have time to cook like usual, so we resort to something quick and simple. Today... hot dogs. Our style though. Gluten and dairy free smokies, home made sauerkraut, bread and butter pickles I made yesterday ( baby cukes from the farmers market and organic sugar and aple cider vinegar!), caramalised onions,chopped tomatoes. All of this we wrap in a nice big leaf of romaine lettuce ( grain free yummy!) Then we break out whatever condiments we like for on top. Hand cut fries on the side! Fast food dinner in our house.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

another month?!!!

Trying to plug through the end of the " school year" here. I am behind on everything! There is too much to do! Gardens to make.
The boys are really into archery right now and we have outgrown backyard practice. I am considering building a target in the meadow down the road against a clay bank and doing practice there... but it looks as though we are going to have to get a membership to the local rod and gun. Which is hilarious! ( if you know us!) But they have a private beach on the lake, a stocked lake for trout fishing with the kids, and a beautiful archery trail ( frisbee golf style) through the forest, as well as camping. And you really can't beat the price. 85 bucks for the entire family for the year. As far as the cost of doing things with the family, that is super duper cheap for the perks.My hubbys dad is bringing him a bow as a birthday present next week, and he just found his old hunting number from when he was younger. My hubbys boss from years back would love to have him as a hunting partner. They are both really concious people... not the good ol boy hunting type, and they will make perfect companions. We will probably all cry when he brings home a deer, but will be thankful for the good meat and hide and bones.
We found morels yesterday!!!!! I have never found them here before ( someone told me that they dont grow here... classic morel hunter keeping thier secret so they can have them all to themselves!) and we are planning an expedition when my hubby gets home from work today. I dried what we found yesterday and they dry really quickly overnight. How yummy will that be , to have morels to use next winter! I hope we have luck again today!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Trips, guests and more guests!

Just at the tail end of a busy window of an out of town trip and a house full of guests! The wind down! Managed to get down to Victoria for a visit with my folks and a trip to the museum.

We had such a nice time down there. The boys coped pretty well and we really were digging the museum this time around. Especially me! The fiber arts displays, tools and handicraft specimens ( the most incredible beadwork, basketry, and embroidery) definitely caught my attention much more now than they every have in my dozens of trips to that museum on school trips and such as a child! The boys were right into it as well, since they have been really digging primitive arts and tool making lately. It was especially awesome when it was quiet... almost magical in there. Then the school tours started and the boys were irritated and stiff and had thier ears covered. School kids are noisy! Sadly it can be tricky for them to recover once they are overloaded like that.
When we came home things were all out of whack. The littlest one has been bedwetting and verbally stimmy and angry ( the likes I haven't seen since we cut out dairy a year ago) and the oldest is crawling around all over the floor, flappy and stimmy and really just completely out of it( looking at me with that completely blank but very unhappy stare). For the first few days I just assumed it was just a recovery from the trip, then I started worrying that they were regressing for some reason. ( I had just pulled the autism and sensory processing books off the shelf last week to donate to the local elementary school. A little premature and overly optimistic maybe?) My tummy has been awful all week, itchy skin and just not right, but I hadn't put it all together until yesterday. I all of the sudden had the vision of a box of kellogs corn flake crumbs on the counter when my folks made hommade chicken strips. My dad is gluten/ casein/ soy free, but isn't careful AT ALL when it comes to the condiments and hidden gluten sources. I had already saved the meal a pile of times from questionable seasonings and such .( I research every single product we use and contact the company if unsure. we also never use anything if there is ever a question, or just make our own versions that are safe). Anyhow, despite all of my neurotic checking and rechecking, I somehow gapped on that one! It used to be that it took about two weeks to recover from being glutened, so we will have to see. It has been one week and a little bit and the kiddos are still looking pretty affected. It was actually a blessing though because the boys have been talking about gluten and dairy lately and thinking that they have been missing it. They are clear in thier minds that they DO NOT like feeling like this though. Since it has been a long time since we were contaminated they have been unable to make that connection. Better so have a small slip up than to sneak a bite of something really gluteny or cheesy when they are at class or something!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And another month flies by!

I don't know how this keeps happening! Another month has flown by... a very gray, rainy, dreary month! About the last time I wrote we found signs of a mouse in the house. It never got into our food, or garbage or anything, but we found little signs. Like holes eaten in my sweaters!!! I thought that it was some sort of moth problem with the fleeces or something, so I was carefully sorting through everything. No moths, but I did find mouse poop. The horror! We have lived in this 120 year old house for 7 years and have never had mice before... it makes me crazy. What made me extra crazy was when searching and cleaning ( and not finding more than a dozen little turds) we opened the furnace vents and found the main pathway. Mouse crap in the forced air furnace. We turned off the heat completely until the landlords agree to clean the vents. Thank goodness it has been a mild winter so far. So I was completely neurotically panicked... we have been under the weather for most of the winter, and the boys are asthmatic. So after the cleaning, bleaching, plugging every teeny crack with steel wool, and neurotic waking up to every little sound I heard( i am embarrassed to admit the part where i sprinkled baby powder over every single surface to see if i could see where it was coming from.... that was fun to clean up!).... I came down with the most awful flu. Like freaky fever, chills like i have never experienced, toilet hugging passed out on the bathroom floor for three days, heart racing and sweating, barely conscious for a week kind of weird flu. ( of course the family should be banned from google , because they were convinced I had hantavirus! I think the doctors were even a little freaked out about it) It never progressed to the lung collapse and total system failure part though!... it took a couple of weeks to get better. Good news though. the mouse is gone. I think that it may have only been one. None of the traps ever got any, and there has been no sign of it at all. We bent back one little metal piece on one of the vent grates and I think that it was just out of place enough before that it could JUST squeeze through.

Got a little bit of knitting in. A friend had a brand new baby, so I pulled out that skein of my first ever hand spun. The one I did on the spindle... the cause of this slippery slope obsession with all things fiber! I used the free pattern for the manly Pebble Vest on Ravelry, but thought it was girly enough. I knew that i wouldn't have quite enough for the entire vest from the original skein, so I spun some of that nice cheviot mushroomy brown fleece. It is really nice and soft spun up. I had bought it from a farmer who washed it already. She wasn't a spinner though , so it isn't washed quite as thoroughly as the stuff that I do myself. I still have 3/4 of the fleece left, so I may rewash it all when the weather gets nicer. So here is the finished vest. I don't think the pics quite do it justice... it needs a nice squishy new baby inside of it!

Been busy for the past couple of weeks trying to " get out there" a bit more. I am trying to expand the kids comfort zone a bit. They don't do crowds or outings too well, but we can't just be hermits all of the time! Eldest son is really doing so well these days out of the home, finally making friends and just happier around others and not so overwhelmed. Youngest son is improving. We tried to go to a show featuring an African children's choir. We got there too late and sadly we are too passive to handle people shoving through while we waited first in line to see if they could squeeze us in with some rearranging. Then we tried to go and watch the Olympic opening on the big screen. I was grumpy, and am not an Olympics fan at all, but thought it would be an OK way to have the kids experience community in that way. It was going all right until a woman and her teenage son sat down directly behind us and she proceeded to comment on EVERY SINGLE thing that was going on. Describing what they were wearing, what she thought about everything, reading what it said on the screen out loud. It was just so bizarre that I got the giggles until tears were streaming down my face. We left halfway through and watched it in the quiet comfort of home instead! We went to a busy ( and awesome) travelling Science World show yesterday and it was just too much for the youngest... his coping skill is to punch himself in the face and hide under tables, and generally growl at anyone who looks in his general direction. After many breaks and snacks and walks around the building to recoup, he came around a bit. Enough to get a sweet fossil of an octopus leg from the paleontology exhibit! Eldest son even volunteered to go up to take part in an experiment during the show. Something that never ever would have happened a year ago! I got to hit the thrift store in the next city over, and could hardly contain myself when I found the final desirable cast iron piece that i have been lusting over... a wicked muffin tin. For cheap cheap cheap! And to top it off, a copy of the encyclopedia of Country Living, which is pretty cool and I usually am about 40th on the wait list when I want to re read something from it! It was a good day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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In photos...

Thanks for the tip Miranda! I need to brush up on my photo skills!

What this doesn't show are the multiple batches of salsa and tortilla chips that I devoured while I knitted away furiously. I am the type who will get way too focused and forget to eat all day... so snacks are a must. I only mention this for one important reason. I froze about 30 or 40 pounds of tomatoes from the garden this year, all in serving size baggies. I always have great intentions, and they do eventually get used up when I run out of the cheater cans of tomatoes in the pantry! It is the blanching and peeling I dread! So I have been successfully plowing through the tomato supply with this great salsa recipe!!!
Slide the frozen tomatoes straight out of the bag onto a baking tray and throw on a couple of cloves of unpeeled garlic and an Jalapeno pepper .( I have been skipping the hot pepper and instead am putting in one chipotle pepper in adobe sauce. The kind in the little cans) I use a large mortar and pestle to make my salsa but I am sure that a food processer would work. I have also seen the japanese style suribachi for much cheaper than a good mortar and pestle and they work great. Even for hard spices like cumin seeds... Throw the whole pan into the oven under the broiler until the skin on the tomatoes blisters and turns black. If the tomatoes are the cherry type they will be finished at this point but if you are using other tomatoes flip them over and blacken the other side... the jalapeno too, because this makes it super easy to skin. While you are waiting use the mortar and pestle grind up a pinch each of cumin seeds and dried oregano. Mush the roasted and peeled jalapeno{seeded if you want} ( or chipotle) and garlic cloves into the spices until you have a smooth paste. Then I slip the skins off of the tomatoes and throw them into the mix as well ( my huge mortar and pesltle is my favourite kitchen appliance. i even leave the salsa in it to serve it up.) and mash it up until you have something that resembles salsa. I throw in a half of an onion finely diced, a handful of fresh chopped cilantro, a capful of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of good salt.
I love this salsa. Not quite a fresh salsa and not quite a cooked one... a good in between traditional tasting one! Best of all an easy and yummy way to use up those bags of tomatoes sitting at the bottom of your freezer.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I really am still around! With all of the spinning I was doing I decided that it would only be practical if I taught myself to knit.( knitting meaning more than a scarf!) All I knew how to do was to knit and pearl. In the past month I made myself a lovely pair of socks and I handspun some wool and made my hubby a beautiful celtic knot type of cabled hat. I didn't go into it easily! I even had to read a pattern graph thingy
It turned out really nice but the camera just doesnt want to show the cables properly. I am pleased with myself though... I no longer hate knitting! Good thing... as it takes hours and hours and hours of my time! The fact that it has been raining pretty much non stop over the past month helped things along as well.
I really mean to write more often... things are interesting around here and there is no shortage of things to write about. Just got distracted for a bit!