Monday, January 16, 2012

In Tofino....

I love that someone was so thoughtful as to put this up on a lamp post for me to see on my way into town everyday......

A sprinkling of snow in Tuff city...

It's been snowing here on and off for the last couple of days. In between the little sprinkles of snow we've had perfect clear blue skies and glorious sunshine. This is just how every winters day would be in my dream world. A sprinkle of pretty snow over tree covered hills but warm enough to still go to the beach and play on the swings :)

Have you ever tried....

.....painting a restaurant at night with the help of a 2 year old and 4 year old? No? I don't blame you. It's not that much fun. But, this is exactly what we've had to do. Where's Nana when you need her eh?

It needed to be done. We had had enough of the yucky dark blue walls and shiny hospital blue ceiling and after several ridonkulous quotes from painters decided the only way we were going to get this done was to do it ourselves. We armed ourselves with a spangly self-filling roller thingy and a whole load of paint and got stuck in. The time saved using the automatic roller was more than made up by chasing and chastising hyper kiddies not to mention even more time spent attending to their snacking needs and constant netflix movie requests. But like I said, it wasn't going to get done any other way. Go team Ralston! Wooo!

Our progress has been painfully slow and the poor kiddies are getting a little too accustomed to running riot,  helping themselves to cookies while we are stuck up ladders and sleeping in lawn chairs.

Slowly but surely the yucky 90's kids bedroom blue is disappearing and being replaced by a lovely warm sandy colour. It feels relaxed and comfortable and brings out the warmth of the wood. Ooooh, I'm so excited to see how it's going to look when we're all done! (Which will be in about 3 years time at this rate!)
Wish us luck!

Make butter and better choices.....because you can!

One of my resolutions for the new year is to eat well. Let me explain (hopefully without boring you to tears).... For the first two weeks of January Neil and I went vegetarian. Anyone that knows Neil will be in utter shock that he could last two weeks without meat of any sort. It's not that we don't want to eat meat we just wanted to teach ourselves that meat does not have to be a daily part of our diet. From now on we'll be much more selective about the meat we buy. As we'll be eating it less often we'll be able to spend a little more on the quality. We'll be aiming for meat that is as local as possible, organic and high welfare or no meat at all. We've already figured out the huge benefits of having a crab pot and a freezer full of fish we caught (thanks to my dear brother Dan taking Neil fishing!) And just for the record, Mcdonalds is OFF the menu! FOREVER! :) You'll have probably noticed that I've been leaning towards coconut oil and nut milk instead of dairy but again, that doesn't mean no dairy at all. We've discovered that making our own butter is actually more cost effective than buying butter in the supermarket. In our part of the world organic butter is much more expensive than organic cream. So we go and buy some organic heavy cream and turn it into lovely organic butter! For all of those of you thinking "what a load of hassle, I'd rather just buy it" pleeeease read on and pleeeeeease try making your own butter just once, it's so flippin easy you'll be gobsmacked!

Here we go.....

Step 1- Take your cream out of the fridge and leave it to stand for about 30 minutes so that it reaches room temperature. If you don't do this step it's going to take you a lot, LOT longer to make your butter.

Step 2 - Take a large jar, as large as you can comfortably hold in one hand. Fill it just about half way with your heavy cream.

Step 3 - Shake, shake and shake some more. Shake it all about so that the cream is swooshing around from top to bottom of the jar.

Step 4 - Keep shaking. Don't stop. At some point the sensation will change and the swooshing sound will stop. At this point you have made whipped cream. Keep shaking!!!

Step 5 - Keep shaking. all of a sudden the sensation will change again, you'll begin to feel a slopping sound as if you have a solid lump in thin liquid thumping the top and bottom of the jar as you shake.  You have officially made butter!! Stop shaking.

Step 6 - Open the jar and carefully strain the liquid into a cup. This is buttermilk and you can use it in baking some scones or some other yummy thing or as a base for a creamy salad dressing.

Step 7 - Put some cold tap water into the jar with the solid buttery lump and swoosh it around. drain off this water and repeat a couple of times until the water runs clear.

Step 8 - Plop your buttery lump out onto a wooden board and press down on it with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out any remaining buttermilk. If you don't squeeze out the buttermilk it might make your butter go sour.  At this point you can decide to add salt or not. For this quantity I'd add about  1/4 teaspoon and mix it up with the butter in a bowl. 

Step 9 - Once you've squeezed away the rest of the buttermilk, use the wooden spoon to shape your butter into a block or any other fancy shape you might like. Wrap it in some grease proof paper and pop it into the fridge.

You just made butter! Woohooo!  All we need now is our very own cow.


Greeting 2012...

There were no parties for us this year. We spent our last evening of 2011 sitting around our fire pit snuggeld under blankies and eating s'mores. The kids were unusually peaceful and as I watched Seb stare into the flickering flames, I recognized the dreamy state of complete and utter peace that comes over me when I sit by a fire in the woods. He closed his eyes and I smiled and asked if he wanted to go to bed, he replied " no Mummy, I want to stay here, I'm just having a relaxing nap".  My smile grew bigger and I felt happy, as happy as I have all year. My kids, at the age of 2 and 4, appreciate the beauty of a cold night spent sitting out in the trees being warmed by a fire and that to me is heaven.

2011 was the year that brought us here to the wild west coast of BC. We've had plenty of stresses since we've been here and days that have had us both feeling so very low that we didn't really know how to pull ourselves up again but I can safely say that I have had more moments of complete peace and more moments of complete wonder and amazement and joy than any other year in my life. Where 2012 will take us I don't know but wherever it is I will do my best to take with me as much of that peace and wonder and amazement and joy as I can possibley carry.

Happy new year everyone!