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Showing posts from September, 2015

What I Read in September

Third Beach selfie
I'm away from home right now visiting friends and family, but I would never miss a Book Report at the end of the month! I may have to update this when I get back, though, because who knows how far I'll get into my plane-ride book!

*Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman -- I've waited many months for Emily's new book, Simply Tuesday, and I really enjoyed it. I read it in two days, and I read her books just like I read her blog, Chatting at the Sky, slowly and while savoring. This 4th nonfiction book of hers talks about why she chooses to hush instead of hustle, and why her soul needs the Tuesdays to breathe--the regular, ordinary, and small. This book is lovely and I enjoyed it, but I won't keep it. I'm passing it on to a friend who I hope will enjoy it as well.

*The Martian by Andy Weir -- This book is a science/space nerd's dream come true. It's a fiction book written mostly in diary entry form, of a man who is stuck alone on Mars, and …

We'll Be Back After This Brief Interruption....

Handmade cards with monoprints and papercuts
My family is traveling out of the country for the next three weeks, might I interest you in the backlog of children's literature gems on my other blog, The Well-Read Sleepy-Head? Or maybe a backlog of homeschooling posts around here? I'll be publishing my September Reads at the end of the month, but aside from that, see you after the Canadian Thanksgiving!

Friday Links

The Port Mann bridge on a beautiful day with minimal traffic!
I haven't done a batch of links in a long time, but I had to share a few of these gems before we leave for our long trip. Enjoy!
*Spilled Milk is quickly becoming my favorite kitchen companion podcast. The foodie non-married couple are the perfect pairing with meal prep, especially because I laugh out loud throughout. 
*A tiered cheese wheel for entertaining...brilliant! Those Brits think of everything...
*This is a great list for easy/kid-friendly hikes around Vancouver, if you ever find yourself visiting this magical city!
*want to watch those wonderful BBC Masterpiece shows when they air in the UK? There's a way!
*These famous DIY sisters are finally writing a cookbook
*I couldn't believe this amazing hunting/conservation story via Radiolab.
*I just finished The Martian novel and can't.even.wait. to watch the movie on the big screen with friends!
*As silly as it is, I might have teared up at this. The ti…

Ft. Langley 1st Annual Food Truck Festival

this picture does not show the crazy!
A few weekends ago, Ft. Langley celebrated the 1st Annual Food Truck Festival, and we decided to go and see what the hubbub was about. Hubbub, indeed, it was nuts! So many of the food trucks--in a very tight spot with hundreds of people--sold completely out around the half-way point in the day, and many had wait times that a normal restaraunt would be embarrassed by. 
The day was perfect for it, and I think they'll do it again, but there were a lot of unhappy festival goers on facebook, letting the venue know that the spot was way too tight, not enough vendors, and a space with shade was needed. I was very surprised by a 35 minute wait for a simple vegan burrito, but I wasn't disappointed by the great flavor of the GYPSY trunk vegan food. It was a $12 burrito, so, there's that (ouch!) but the taste was very good, and I'd buy from them again, when I didn't have to share it...
In all, I would say next year if we decide to go (Ste…

Chili and Cinnamon Buns - A Midwestern Tradition

these buns just need a plop of gooey cream-cheese frosting
I don't know about you, but I tend to cook seasonally. I don't make many soups in the summer, and I don't eat nearly as much hummus, tomatoes, and cucumber dips in the winter. I think it has a lot to do with budget-buying seasonal  produce is often the cheapest option because there is an abundance of it, and the price goes down. I eat salad after salad in the summer but I find that I sometimes have to force a salad here and there through late Fall and winter...until the tail end of winter when I'm longing for some fresh greens!
When there's about four weeks left of summer, I start to get a hankering for Fall soups. Sure, I want the heat to end, and my favorite temperature (about 65 degrees F) to come back, but mostly, I just want to start nearly every dinner with onion and garlic cooked in oil or butter. A few weeks back-still summer--I had a really good opportunity to make some friends chili and cinnamon r…

Hikes with Kids: The Chief! (2nd Peak)

Shannon Falls view 
On Labor Day, Stefan and I had planned to take the kids up to Squamish. Originally we'd planned a day up there with friends, but with schedules, timing, and weather it hadn't worked out. I wanted to get up there before the rains came, and before our upcoming trip, and since we had 3 days off together, I knew we'd be able to spend 1 of those up in Squamish. Stefan looked up hikes, I packed enough food for a lunch and a decent snack, got the kids ready in exercise clothing, bathroom breaks, and something to do in the car, and we took off relatively early. The traffic was excellent (holiday) and we got to Squamish in an hour from our house, which is unreal. So far, so good.
The walk up to Shannon Falls was...not a hike. Since I had no preparation for what we were doing, I was a little disappointed when there were a hundred tourists just looking at a waterfall that was relatively far away, but oh no...we had not even begun! 
the top of 2nd peak, see small pe…

Weekending - Biking around Stanley Park, Vancouver

fallen tree = instant playground
Okay. So, I have no actual photos of us biking around Stanley Park's seawall, but that'd be because we were biking. I do, however, have a few lovely photos to share from the time we spent at Stanley Park, mostly pausing for breaks for the kids, lunch, or just a pretty location for a picture. Stanley Park is one of my favorite places in Vancouver, and this year was the first time both kids biked all the way around the (5 mile) seawall on their own. The last time we did this, Ani was 4 and in the bike trailer, and Lukka had a bike so small he looked like he belonged in the circus. 
rowing practice for crew members
Both kids made it around with plenty of energy to spare (we considered going around twice), and enjoyed a picnic lunch at Third Beach, shown below, while the kids played in the sand on a beautiful Fall flavored day. The air was a perfect temperature, maybe 65, while the sun came in and out of the clouds. We spent time stopping quite fre…

Homeschool Field Trip: Apple Picking at Willow View Farms

I rarely set up field trips as intentional, often they'd be more categorically listed as "accidental" (happily!), and this would be one of those. The morning we went out to Willow View Farms in Abbotsford  was a gorgeous Fall day. It was chilly and sunny-just like apple picking should be. By mid-morning our jackets were off and we were noisily chomping our fresh honeycrisps.

With moving into the lowermainland of British Columbia last year near the end of September, I felt I really missed apple season, because as much as we travel back and forth between borders, we can't take fruit or seeded vegetables across with us. I was also schooling the kids, packing up our apartment in Blaine, WA, finding housing, and doing all sorts of other necessary and tiring things, and I unfortuantely missed one of my favorite seasons in the year-apple pickin' time. 
Growing up near Nebraska City, which is the home of Arbor Day, apples are THE Autumn seasonal marker for me,  aside fr…

Hikes with Kids: Princeton Walkabout

thankful to dip my feet in the water, at least until the wasps came
This trip happened just a little over a month ago but it feels like it was months and months ago. The four of us took off to camp with friends at their cabin on Allison lake, in the Oakanagan region. It was hot the days we were there, but we had a lake to splash in, with rope swings, a kayak and a paddle board to try out, and plenty of kids to entertain ours! I mentioned to Stefan that this was probably one of my favorite camping trips to date because of three things: 1) other kids to play with our kids 2) going with our friends, and 3) indoor plumbling on the premises(!). Thanks to our generous friends who own the cabin, we were 1 of 5 families who set up a tent and enjoyed the area throughout the weekend. 
The first day we took a long hike with half the kids in very high heat and pooped ourselves out (the swim after was amazing!), but that's not the one I'll tell you about, because it's not even on the A…

School Has Started: Resources and Changes in our Homeschool

I can relate to the top strip, Lukka can relate to the bottom
Our home has just finished week two of the 2015-2016 school year, and we're a bit early this year because of a big trip we'll take to Nebraska at the end of the month. Easing into school after a three-month full stop summer wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be, ease being the key word. Things will be very different for our schooling this year, because the kids will both participate in what's called Community Connections, a 'school once a week' with other homeschool kids, where they will fulfill PE, art, science, and history/geography requirements in a 6 hour day, over the course of 30 weeks.  That means I only have to school my kids in the following subjects this year: Language Arts, Math, Health/Career, Bible, and French (optional). I have felt a huge amount of relief in this change.
CC will enable my kids to meet other homeschoolers their age (they are divided into grade levels, 2 grades in each…

15 in 2015: Make "Joy the Baker" 's Confetti Cookies

the cookies as dough balls before baking 

It's the last day of August as I type this and lately I've been feeling the push to get a few more of the 15 in 2015 things done before the next four (four!!) months slip by with school starting, traveling, and holiday seasons start in. This 'thing', was a simple one: bake the Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies from Joy the Baker's Homemade Decadance cookbook before the year was out.

 These cookies are just as beautiful as they look in the book, though mine were (ahem) slightly less uniform. Thankfully for YOU, Joy has those pretty cookies on her website for free. Her cookbook, well, bakebook, as she is a full-time baker, is fantastic. I've made now 5 items out of it since I bought it around March or April, and I've loved everything. There is a picture on every page which is a must for me when I buy a cookbook. This book includes not only baked goods like cookies, but cakes, cocktails, breakfast items, ice creams, bars, …

Hikes with Kids: McKee Peak

the lookout at the top!
As the last real days of summer are quickly coming to an end in the lower mainland, Stefan and I have been hiking with the kids every Saturday morning. We'll pick a place we've never been to, and find a hike that will be a doable challenge for the kids and at least a bit of a workout for us. If I'm going to do the work, I want to make sure I get good and sweaty, and tired myself! As we drove to Sumas mountain to look for the elusive hiking trailhead, we found that it was closed due to fire safety issues. We didn't want to go completely home without hiking (what a bust!) because we had driven about an hour to that point. Stefan found that close by was a hike that was also a downhill bike trail and apparently it had a good view from the top. Did it ever!
McKee peak is one of those trails that you'd never notice from the side of the road but the locals all know about. At the beginning, the area to the side is under construction. It looks like th…