08 June 2011


As I look at this photo I can hear the creek rushing off to the left and the cows mooing off to the right. I feel the slight breeze and the warmth of the setting sun. I can smell the lilacs that are blooming just behind me. Oh how I wish this was my day...but instead there are three sets of swimming lessons (more hours than I would like spent in a humid, loud, chlorine smelling rec centre) and then soccer practice. Oh and a little school thrown in along with grocery shopping. The hubby is working late...just me and the kiddos all...day...long. I am hoping that by the time he returns there will be a little daylight left for a quiet solitary stroll...if not, these few moments with this photo will have to do!

04 June 2011

Fresh local produce and Rhubarb Scones

I have really been enjoying Spring in the Okanagan this year...especially my first local, fresh asparagus and rhubarb in three years. I have really missed them.

I have been eating asparagus almost every day now for the past few weeks in omelets, stir fries, steamed and roasted (my favourite which is where most of my asparagus ends up). Rhubarb in muffins, pies, crisps and scones (and a new cake-like crumb bar I will be trying this afternoon).

Asparagus and rhubarb are two of my very favourite vegetables; possibly because they are so refreshing after a winter full of root vegetables and the occasional imported "luxury" like salad greens or a pepper or cucumber.

I have really been enjoying them but I am really excited because in about two weeks the strawberries will be ready...the beginning of berry and fruit season!!!

The Okanagan is known for it's orchards...I really can't wait. For so many years I took the fresh fruit for granted. When I first arrived in Nova Scotia I remember picking up a harrowsmith magazine that declared the only places in Canada where peaches were grown was in BC's Okanagan Valley and the Niagra region in Ontario! I almost cried...what?!!! No fresh peaches for almost three years! While I did find some great farmer's markets in Moncton, NB and in Halifax, NS...the fruit was not the same. They just don't get enough sun to really bring out the flavours (although I really liked the maple syrup...oh and the lobster). I am a little embarrassed to say, but honestly, what really made me want to move back to BC was the fresh fruit. I have decided I just don't want to live somewhere where I can't get fresh local fruit within a days drive. I know that sounds crazy to a lot of people and I am getting used to the strange looks I often get (and the more polite smile with the raised eyebrows and head nod)...but I know there are a few of you out there who will understand!

My favourite this season has been the rhubarb scones.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (I keep a canning jar with cane sugar and a couple left over vanilla pods) but you can use regular sugar as well
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

whisk the above together in a medium sized bowl. Cut in 1/4 cup of butter.

In a small bowl whisk together:
1 egg
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp heavy cream (or milk or half of each)
1 tsp vanilla

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb and work into the dough. Form into scones. I like to flatten into a sqare shape and cut squares or flatten into a circle and cut wedges.

Place on a lined baking sheet and brush tops with cream and sprinkle with vanilla sugar if desired. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Enjoy the season!

02 June 2011

Here's what's new in my corner...

This past week-end my hubby and I were able to sneak in a quick week-end away at our "week-end retreat"/rental townhouse in Vancouver. We emptied the Yukon of back seats and loaded her up with some of our things that have been in storage this year.
I had so much fun unpacking things I haven't seen in almost a year.
It was also one of the few times we have been away without the kids. We had a great time strolling around campus getting to know our new neighbourhood. (and I went without my camera...just to pay a little more attention to my amazing hubby instead of things like buttercups on the side of the road...although I still noticed them). We also did a bit of window shopping at the local Williams Sonoma and Anthropologie and Chapters and the MAC store and...I am getting a little antsy...the house is there...my things are being unpacked into it...now I just want to go and get settled in. A couple more months to wait...I am learning patience (just in case I haven't had enough opportunity to learn it yet).

Aside from a glorious week-end with no deadlines, no phones and nowhere I had to be, I have been acting as chief chauffeur...swimming lessons, soccer, triathlon training, fencing...(one of the reasons I was able to get a bit extra reading in this month). I always have a book in my purse.

We have also been trying to complete the kids schoolwork for the year (I am really looking forward to next year and the new selfdesign program we are trying). The six year old finished the required work at Christmas and we have been doing a few fun workbooks and sitting in on the eight year old's science lessons. The eight year old is a little behind so we are working extra hard to get everything finished which we should be able to do by mid-June. The eleven year old is done except for a science project on deserts and she is finishing up French 9. Our first full year of homeschool has been a great project and we have all learned so much. I think that next year will be even better as we find what works best for our family.

And our big news this week...

the eight (and a half) year old finally lost his first tooth! and I have a very happy boy...

01 June 2011

Off my bookshelf May 2011

This month I have been trying to cram in more reading because I know I will not have as much opportunity to choose books to read over the coming months. I am starting a new semester of classes June 1st and I am planning on doing three semesters back to back to back. So, most of what I read will be chosen for me over the next 12 months. Luckily, this month I was able to get in a few great reads a couple of which I will be finishing up in June.

Here is what has come off my bookshelf this month:

I will be taking a creative non-fiction class and thought I would do a bit of light creative non-fiction reading to prepare...I love it. Great book of short stories.

I picked this up at our local farmer's market. It was co-written by one of my favourite farmers from Pilgrims Produce.

I have always loved reading about the last Romanovs and I found this book at a local used book sale. I thought it would be a fun read since it was written before records were more open and DNA testing had been done. I finished the book with a lot more questions than I thought I would...

After reading Anastasia I wanted more of the Romanovs...which led me to pick up this book (another used book sale find). I really loved this book. I recommend it to anyone interested in the Romanovs. This book is the memoirs of Olga Alexandrovna who was Tsar Nicholas Romanovs younger sister. I have read things from the Romanov perspective before but they were mainly journal entries and letters written prior to the revolution. This book was written much later and gives a really interesting perspective on events. So glad I read it!

This has been a great read for days when I am feeling a little overwhelmed. I have had a couple of those...A woman in the 50s with a...shall I say "unsupportive" husband and ten (yes ten...makes my four seem very easy) children. She wants to write and tries to earn extra money for her family by writing short stories and jingles. A good light read and it makes me feel like my life is pretty easy after all...so worth the read.

After reading about the Russians, I started missing the British...and I needed something to read on days I didn't feel like reading "light". I am really enjoying this book...I say enjoying because I am not quite finished...it is 800 pages so I am still working on it.

Sticking with the British theme...I picked up a few collector's editions on the Royal Wedding.

and then finishing off the month...a few more magazines...I think I bought too many this month...but they were all really good!

That was my May reading and what was off my bookshelf this month.