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Days hot enough for ice cream

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Blueberry Ice Cream: 1c plain yogurt, 1.5 c whip cream, 1c blueberries, half-cup coconut sugar, tsp vanilla and dash of lemon juice. Voila! Our afternoon soft serve snack. A bit filmy from the high fat content I think… maybe that is why guar gum is in some recipes… but super easy!

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Today we hung our first pictures on the wall in our new house. Phew, now I know why we have not got to this project yet. Cleaning glass, frames, laying them out, holding them up, moving them around… all with 3 children running around… plus we emptied several more boxes, moved storage items to the shed outside (now that it has a new roof!)… good thing we have out of town guests coming or we may not have done these chores for months yet! I am grateful.

My children, no doubt, were less than excited about the workday and asked several times to go to the ocean. Instead we went to meet a potential musical theater teacher for my oldest… and ended up at the spray park where we knew TWO people!! WOW! Our backdoor neighbor was there with her little girl, and the first person I knew in Duncan – Stefanie – who made a nursing bra for a friend in Vernon (I know, small world!) and brought a cookie sheet on loan to our hotel at Christmas. I was so excited to hang out at the park with some adults!

We ended our day by cooling off (again!) – my oldest and youngest are little ovens and roast in the summer… Stefan I know the middle one is going to make a great slideshow one day… but had to include it here too! You are simply gorgeous.

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Pasta Primavera

Wikipedia says this means a dish focused on pasta and vegetables, with a protein sometimes added, but the focus being the vegetables themselves.

I often find it hard to focus. I am a multi-tasker. I realize that multitasking is not always the most efficient (see the1thing.com), but I do it anyways. I think having children has made me more this way… how often do I have the luxury of focusing in on any 1 thing?? I look forward to those days. For now, I am used to flitting from one thing to the next… however, this morning, this 1 thing caught my eye in our front garden. How gorgeous!

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I don’t really consider myself a flower person, but I am a pasta person! In Vernon we had a family run, amazing, Italian restaurant on the same block as our house. However, I can cook a mean pasta primavera, and quick! Here’s how:

You’ll need 1 onion, 1 clove garlic, 1c carrots, 1 pepper, a couple stalks broccoli plus 1.5 c milk and 2.5 tsp cornstarch. Salt to taste.

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1. Chop onion, garlic fine (I use food processor)

2. Slice carrots, pepper. Take thick outer part of stalk off broccoli and compost. Chop inner stem and florets.

3. Saute in olive oil the onion and garlic. Add carrots, pepper. Last add broccoli. All to the raw side of tender crisp (NOT well done!).

4. Shake milk, cornstarch and salt in a jar and add to hot veggies in pan. It will thicken in no time.

5. Boil pasta, drain, and top with sauce. Add cheese if desired, black pepper… something like this:

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I imagine you can use rice or soy milk, though I haven’t done it in a while…

You can also substitute favorite vegetables of course… maybe one day we’ll harvest our bush beans and add them in! Here they are today:

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Growing… and quiche!

Janelle, 3.5 years, has had some quotable quotes lately… of course, many I forget, but today she said “Mommy all the babies in your belly become ADULTS!”. Yup, it’s true. One day they will be adults. Sigh.

For now, we enjoyed a great gardening morning (after unpacking 10 more boxes from our recent move!). Did some more planting – spinach, lettuce and dill from seeds, and a luscious potted sunflower! We turned the remaining grown spinach into pizza buns for lunch, and the remaining grown arugula into a scrumptious quiche – the gas oven here is the icing on the cake!

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Quiche: crustless! Just mix 6 eggs with 1/4c milk and 2 TBSP sour cream/yogurt/ricotta cheese and then add salt, pepper to taste and 1/4 c chopped pepper, fresh herbs (1/4 c chives in this one), 1/2c greens, a clove of garlic, 1/2 c cheese – whip together, throw in greased pan at 350F et voila! Can also add broccoli in lieu of greens… or many other variations!

Here are the photos of the empty boxes… the kids played really well as I ripped through the contents and sorted as best I could. Helped that some contents were well-loved treasures of theirs!

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Electricity kudos

This morning I woke up to a power outage. Having just been camping, you’d think I’d adjust quickly, but the number of times I went to turn something “on” was astounding! I did think of pulling out my camping stove… but instead my husband went to work with no coffee.

At 8:30am my son was playing with his favorite lamp and the light went ON! I didn’t even blink for a moment, and then flicked a light switch and it clicked – now I immediately turned on my kettle, coffee machine, and stove (cooking up some soaked chickpeas). It is only now I am asking – could I have used my gas range after all?!?!! The clock display was out of course, but I’m sure the gas was flowing, unless the lighter requires electricity. Hmmmm…. Nevertheless I gave thanks today for electricity as I went to turn on my washing machine, computer, etc. etc. etc.

Winding down the day, here is our dinner:

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This one was impromptu… we met Kurt at the library after work and zoomed back home for a late(r) dinner for which I looked up “chick peas” in one of my favorite cookbooks. It was supposed to look like this:

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Here is the post-dinner pile-up!

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Channeling my Inner Diana

Recently a superb friend quoted me this title. As I went through my mental memory bank of what this might mean, I found myself flipping mental picture after mental picture… and yet, the answer was there, in front of me… or rather behind me… who else would drive 500+km with 3 children 6 and under, with 11 lbs of freshly picked organic strawberries in tow! Last night at bedtime snack-time, I sat and cleaned them all and popped them in freezer bags. We lost quite a few, but I`ll still treasure the Pilgrim`s Produce bounty come Fall and Winter!

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Today we enjoyed a lot of fresh outside time between the raindrops. Rain is quite fun when it is 18+ degrees I have discovered! The girls found an enchanted playspot amongst the covered forest off a trail near our house… and continue to work on their garden creation (this garden bed was left empty this year, just for play!).

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As I wind down the day, and peer into an uncleaned kitchen (my husband is a devoted dish cleaner! wow!)… I realize perhaps one must channel their Inner Diana in order to bake cookies & muffins, start sprouting, legume soaking, make a curry, defrost plums for snack… all in a day`s play.

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I gave a sample of Rancho Vignola nuts to a woman here who I ran into on the government wharf tonight… she said they were the best nuts she ever ate and she polished the jar in 1 sitting! I was positively thrilled! Yes, I am a foodie.

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Apples, Art, and Arugula

This morning first thing the girls went out in raingear to check out the apple tree – yes, a few growing! Nothing compared to Anita`s orchard (Coldstream Creek), but positively thrilling in our own backyard!

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I have always admired my husband`s ability to draw and paint… he can sketch a horse that actually looks like a horse, muscle tone and all!! To me, that is a miracle. I have also always dreamed of having artwork and particularly murals in my home. Here is the start of Kurt`s first mural. The middle section is an invitation for me… my own chalkboard wall!

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Our spinach and arugula have gone to seed, but they are still amazingly tasty. I LOVE ARUGULA! Straight out of the garden, so fresh, so bitter, so GOOD! I made salads and crackers for lunch served up with our own frozen pesto from last year. I have never had this amount of homegrown greens. Makes me smile.

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The less glamorous part of our day was taking all this junk (old roofing material) to the dump. TWO dump runs in one day = husband gone for 2 x 2 hours, well including stopping in for a coffee date with our neighbor Don – he stopped by this morning with an invitation to coffee with his friends and a message for us: `don`t be lonely`! Thanks Don!

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A Flowery Trip

After 3 weeks in our family’s “hometown” of Vernon, we have again landed in Cowichan Bay, where we have resided almost 2 months. What a flowery trip! As my daughter says, “we are traveling people”! Now that I am home I can hardly believe we did 3 weeks on the road with our 3 children, but how wonderful it was… and we are grateful to have left the Okanagan Valley so well-hugged, and also to have lovely flowers from amazing friends to immediately freshen our kitchen!

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As I left Cowichan Bay 3 weeks ago, I felt I might just miss this place. And then leaving Vernon this week I felt, again,… I might just become an Island girl yet. When I look at myself skipping, waving to the captain, and enjoying the blowing wind on the ferry…

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It seems it just might be so… coastal life does look good for all of us Sharpes. Our trip was a reminder of the deep friendships we have. We pray those will last a lifetime! It also rekindled our love of dance!

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Friends, you have energized me over these three weeks and I aim to infuse my life here will all the love, warmth, inspiration, and depth you have surrounded me with on this flowery holiday! Tonight, I am glad to be home, ripe strawberries, greens ready to be munched, and all!

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