I don’t know if it’s because the weather is grey and dreary or the Christmas lights are coming down but summery shades of coral, aqua, and pops of yellow have been inspiring me lately. I always enjoy collaging images that have caught my eye to see if there is a particular theme I’m drawn too. Based on these images/colour scheme I would conclude I’m craving warmer climates!
We had a wonderful Christmas. I didn’t take many pictures because I was enjoying each moment as I was in it, rather than trying to capture it on film (What do we say now that we’re digitized? Capture it on memory card? New Year’s Eve is my birthday and Ben and I have a date planned. We actually don’t know what we’re doing yet but child-free time is always awesome!
This Christmas season is the first time I have felt the pressing need to cultivate our own family Christmas traditions. Levi is at the age where he understands that Christmas is a special time of the year, filled with worship and family celebrations, presents, goodies, and decorations. As we prepare for Christmas together, each activity takes on a special meaning that Levi will carry a memory of in the years to come. This year we created our own wreath out of old magazine pages. Levi helped me staple the pieces down and he thought it was “so cool.” Wouldn’t it be fun if every year we created a new wreath together? The idea for this wreath is from here.
Another fun activity was baking Christmas goodies for our neighbors and delivering them by hand so we could wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We made melt-in-your mouth shortbread, orangettes and candy-cane bark.
Our lovely friends have been dropping by with gifts and one friend brought Levi a bird feeder. Isn’t that a wonderful present? We’re watching daily for little birdies to make this new discovery. I would love to give sustainable gifts to family and friends every Christmas.
Here’s the super duper healthy pancake recipe I said I would post last week and then didn’t. The recipe is adapted from The Thrive Diet. I have to be honest, the original recipe tastes a little too healthy so I sweetened things up a little.
2 Tbl Agave nectar
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened if you like)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sprouted or cooked quinoa
1/4 cup roasted carob powder
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup hemp flour
Blend up mixed berries in a blender and then heat up on stove top.
In a food processor, process all ingredients until smooth. Oil a pan with a bit of coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Pour in pancake batter to desired size and cook for five minutes or until bubbles appear. Sprinkle the top of the pancakes with confectioner’s sugar and cover with berry syrup.
Last week my friend Nikki and her family invited us to go to the Vancouver Aquarium on Friday. I knew Levi would be stoked to go, however, this is an expensive time of year and even tickets to the aquarium were beyond our entertainment budget. I didn’t immediately say no to Nikki because I was praying that the extra money would appear. Wednesday and Thursday passed and I planned to turn down the invitation. I was disappointed because, like every parent, I want my kids to be able to have fun and memorable experiences. Learning to say, “I can’t afford it,” is difficult because plastic could temporarily solve my “no money” problem. And by “no money” I should point out it’s all relative. We have everything we need and more. Friday morning, I was in a sleep-induced coma when Ben came to wake me up.
“Hey, Claire just came down and gave us tickets for the aquarium that they can’t use.”
Claire is our upstairs neighbor. Claire didn’t know my mama heart was longing to take my kids on an exciting aquatic adventure. Divine provision? I think so. I think God cares about the itty-bitty details of my life, beyond my needs, to meet some of my many wants. I can only hope that this Christmas season I will be as generous towards others as God has been to me.
Jethro waking up at the aquarium. That’s his “where the heck am I?!” look. Can you imagine waking up face-to-face with a giant sting-ray?
Levi and his best buddy taking in the anemones (I cannot say that word for the life of me, enemies, anememonies).
And the rest of our weekend…impromptu “dress-up like cowboys”. Levi came up with this costume on his own.
Family birthday party where I got to give my mom and sister sparkly gifts because they are shining lights in my life and I love them.
I’m talking to you!
The earrings and necklace are from one of my favorite artisans on Granville Island, Janis Dean Johnson Jewelry Design.
In December of last year I wrote a review of the Nuba Restaurant at The Waldorf Hotel for Vancouver Mom. It was one of those experiences where I asked myself, “Why am I so uncool and culturally irrelevant that I had never even heard of the Waldorf until this event?” The Waldorf felt like a genuine, Vancouver cultural experience.
To answer my own question, It’s not always easy to find the pulse of city life when you run with the 2-year-old crowd as opposed to Hipsters R’ Us. When I was contacted by the Vancouver-based digital agency smashLab to promote the Culture in Vancouver campaign, I was happy to oblige. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage urbanites and out-of-towners to take advantage of the local art and culture the city has to offer. Vancouver ranks as one of the best places to live in the world, not just because the outdoors are our playground, but because it is a thriving cultural centre. The campaign is accompanied by a mircosite, www.cultureinvancouver.com which offers a comprehensive events calendar of daily happenings in the city. For a busy mom like myself, the site is a quick and easy way to be in the know.
A significant component of the Culture in Vancouver campaign is the sweepstakes. That’s right peeps, free stuff. Five incredible prizes are being offered where each “experience” has been tailored with themes ranging from theatrical to culinary. The grand prize will offer a three day weekend of behind-the-scenes peeks into some of Vancouver’s most notable cultural venues, including passes to coveted local events. For each prize the winner and a friend will receive two to three nights stay in Vancouver and dine at some of Vancouver’s best restaurants
(After Trio A. performing during the 2011 PuSh Festival; Photo Credit: Anna Van Kooij)
Entering the sweepstakes is easy: Go here, and enter your name and e-mail address. FYI the grand prize includes passes to a Canuck’s game (Holla!).
The sweepstakes will end with the drawing of the final winner on January 6th, 2012.
Remember when I mentioned my Greek neighbors? I said that I was certain Levi’s first word was going to be “Opa!” because their voices resonated through our house from early in the morning until late at night. We moved into our current home in the hopes of getting away from the noise pollution of the loud college students living above us. I was very disgruntled to discover that noise pollution is inevitable when living in close proximity in the city. And then in the way that we are usually humbled, I soon discovered that the elderly Greek couple, J and E, with the parade of family and friends coming in and out of their home, were the loveliest of people. It became a regular routine to stand on our front stoop, talking back and forth while Levi and their grandson sort of interacted in that parallel play, “Why don’t you look at each other?” way.
Our neighbors would grow all their produce during the summer months and come by with fresh spices and delectable figs from their fig tree for us to devour. When I started our first vegetable garden last summer J became my textbook for how to grow a fruitful garden. He was very patient with me and didn’t even use the word “jungle” to describe our garden. J told me broccoli wouldn’t grow and when I saw a little bit of a flower I was sure he was wrong. The little flower never materialized into anything edible. When Levi and I would go on our neighborhood strolls I would stop to check out J’s produce and he would crush different types of Oregano leaves in his hands so I could smell and appreciate the difference. Soon the sound of the loud conversations between J and E became a part of what made our house a home.
And then one day a few weeks ago I noticed silence. Were they out of town? Ben ran into our neighbors downstairs who informed him J was in the hospital with terminal cancer. It was discovered very late, recovery was unlikely. Today Ben is attending his funeral. Events like these are a somber reminder of the shortness of life. By God’s grace I discovered early on that our neighbors were tremendously kind, generous, lovely (and loud : ) people. It is an important lesson for me to learn that if I can look past my own character flaws (Low tolerance for noise, happy or otherwise), I will discover blessings all around me.
Next summer when I’m growing my garden, I’ll think of J and the lessons he taught me, about vegetables and life.
I love my friends for so many reasons, one of which is the great source of inspiration they are to me. It may be an encouraging word, a spontaneous visit in an hour of need, or as simple as posting a lovely song on their blog, that lifts my spirit. Thank-you Sarah Miller. I’m going to re-post this music video for your enjoyment and you should also check out why Ms. Sarah likes it too!
A Vancouver Christmas wouldn’t be complete without attending Bright Nights in Stanley Park. To the eyes of an adult the display might seem gaudy but to a two and a half year old it is a wonderland to behold.
My boys are starting to hang out together. Jethro thinks Levi is hilarious. Levi thinks Jethro is either one of four things: cute, hungry, sad or happy (or pooing. Five things actually). I think they’re going to be great buds.
I’m continuing to experiment with gall bladder friendly recipes. I made these pancakes and I’ll post the recipe this week. They are vegan and gluten free!
I took a quick trip to the thrift store and came away with this lovely, hand painted desert stacker. The trays are made of pine. I can’t wait to fill them with Christmas goodies!
My sissy sent me a picture of the vintage dress I hemmed for her last week. She’s styled up and ready to go to a Christmas party. It’s amazing what a little alteration can do to make a dress fabulous. What a hot mama!
Like many people out there I am a huge fan of Bleubird Vintage. Bleubird is a beautiful lifestyle blog, curated by the lovely Ms. James. James recently got married and posted a sneak-peek video of her wedding day. I couldn’t resist sharing it on Elasticpantcity because I was in awe of the attention to detail in their decor, and how even from this brief clip their personal style is so apparent. Hope you enjoy and if you’re planning your big day, feel inspired!
When my sister came to me with this vintage dress I complimented her on finding a print that is so on trend. Chevron is every where! I’m particularly loving it in home decor but why not wear it too! The dress was a bit long so I hemmed it above the knees for her. She’s going to style it up with a belt and heels and I know it will look amazing.