Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hoppy times

There was an early easter bunny sighting at the ski hill this past weekend. There didn't seem to be any eggs to be had, but a lot of folks did comment on how fast that bunny could ski! 

We all headed up to Beaver Mountain to finish off the ski season on the last day. I am still amazed at how much progress Isla made this year at skiing. Even her daddy was inspired, and we've convinced him to take a few turns on two boards every now and then, instead of his usual one. 

It was a great family outing, blue bird skies and warm spring skiing conditions. We ran into many friends at the hill, but had to make an early afternoon departure so that we could drive into Salt Lake City to pick up my mom from the airport. Her arrival has been much anticipated, and the kids are thrilled to be spending the lead up to Easter with their Grandma Lady this year. 

It's a good thing she's here, because somebody needs to lassoo that bunny and make sure there are a few eggs to find easter morning. She'll be playing the role of easter bunny this year. Robin and I are headed off tomorrow morning for the east coast, for the annual National Ceramics conference in Philadelphia. Besides looking forward to a getaway with my hubby, I'm giddy with excitement about four consecutive nights of uninterrupted sleep, and the opportunity to check out a part of the continent I've yet to discover. I still have a few things to cross off my list before I lay down my head tonight. The packing is done, but I've yet to finish the basket (pattern) that I've been making for Isla. I'd better get it done, so that I can at least feel I've contributed something to the holiday.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crazy Hair and Caterpillars

Each week Isla's preschool features a theme of some kind and this week it was all about occupations. Her teacher had approached me a while back about having Robin come and talk about being a 'Potter', but unfortunately the timing didn't work out with his own teaching schedule, but by the sounds of it they were able to get enough other moms and dads to volunteer to come in to talk about their jobs with the kids. 

Today they had a hairdresser come in and appropriately declared it crazy hair day, so Isla went off to school donning a fountain and two side spigots. 

Roscoe and I had our own lesson in occupations, and learned all about what it is to be a city worker here in Logan. The water line in front of our house had a leak and they've been prepping and surveying it for a couple weeks now. Today was digging day, and Roscoe couldn't have been a more attentive student. He positioned himself at the front window and took it all in beginning at 8 a.m. until I forced the nap issue this afternoon.  The workers were noticeably aware of their audience and invited him to check out the machine on their lunch break.
Fortunately for Isla, she too got invited to try out the controls later this afternoon once she came back from school. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Daffodil days

Since our deluge of visitors earlier this month, I'm just now catching my breath this afternoon to enjoy a cup of tea and a quiet house. Robin and Isla have headed up to the ski hill to get in a little father daughter spring skiing, and Roscoe is slumbering the afternoon away in his big boy bed. 

This winter seemed to happen by so quickly, without much time to reflect on it's highlights. And now here we are, the first day of spring, with semester end just around the corner and another year of graduate school nearly complete. I feel a little like our daffodil bulbs that have pushed their way through some pretty rough soil to greet the sunshine.   

I have to admit the last few months went infinitely better than the fall months in terms of our stress levels around here. Robin's schedule permitted a little more family time in his day and my coping skills hugely improved.  

So what were the highlights? Isla learning to ski, Roscoe learning to talk, all the great company that made our spare room feel less empty and most definitely all the fantastic food we've been savouring. The cookbook is still a part of my everyday thoughts, and all the recipes we've been trying out this winter have helped inspire me to get writing. Tonight I'm making paella for the first time. Thanks to some great friends back in Calgary (Rob & Christine),  we have the authentic spanish pimenton spice in the cupboard that is a necessity when making paella. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

New traditions

Yesterday we drove Cam to the airport in Salt Lake, finishing off a week of terrific food and fun times. For his last supper on Wednesday night, we tipped our hats to ol' St. Paddy and made the traditional cornbeef and cabbage supper. A new experience for all of us, except our friend Sunshine who suggested the idea for which we were all grateful. The meal was exceptionally easy to prepare and allowed plenty of time to even make a loaf of Irish soda bread for the occasion. 

Irish soda bread:
3 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg lightly beaten
2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter
raisins (optional)

Combine dry ingredients. Mix egg and buttermilk and blend with dry until just moistened. Stir in melted butter and bake in greased pan for 65-70 minutes at 325 degrees. 
We found the bread tasted even better the next day!

There wasn't a morsel of beef left after everyone had helped 
themselves to seconds and thirds. But we all left a little room for the chocolate cake I made in honor of St. Paddy's Day, and sending out a big belated birthday hug to Fraser down in Mexico who turned 5 that day. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cam, the Fisherman

The month of March is all about who's coming and who's going in our house. The same day I drove my sister and her kids to the airport, I picked up our great friend Cam Fisher and brought him back to Logan. Cam is here visiting from Ontario, Canada for a week. We're all super stoked to see him since it's been at least 7 years since we belly laughed like we do when Cam's around. 

The boys have been staying up late talking about pots and the past almost every night so far, then getting up early to get in some skiing before it all melts before our eyes. We're trying to get as much skiing in as we can before the season is truly over. Although today had all the signs of spring attached to it, and the activity of choice for Isla was jumping on the trampoline over at a friend's house.  Cam and Robin got in a walk along the shoreline trail at the base of the mountains that still have a bit of lingering snow left. 

Cam and Robin met in their undergraduate program at Alberta College of Art, and it's terrific that Cam is still doing the clay thing. Cam and Robin therefore come from the same stock and share many of the same influences from that time. After a year at the Banff Centre for the Arts, doing a self directed study as well as the co-production assistant the Banff New Media institute, Cam and his girlfriend Rita moved cross country back to their origins in Ontario. Cam recently built a wood fired kiln on the farm where he is living with another potter, Chris Lass,  and they have some exciting plans to hold an anagama workshop there in June. 

Cam and Chris have fired the kiln four times and they are getting to know it's nuances and personality, experimenting with forms and varying scales of work to fill it's belly. The farm where this kiln now lives is owned by Chris and her husband Mark, and it's been through their generosity and a select group of creative minds that have come together to inspire a collaborative space, and what may be the beginning of many great community firings to come. They have plans to incorporate a culinary aspect to the experience, having vetted interests in the slow food movement. Which shouldn't surprise the potters out there that so many of you also subscribe to. 

Cam's visit here has offered the added benefit of me not having to cook supper every night. Cam is a whiz in the kitchen and we've been all enjoying some of his signature dishes like Broiled pork tenderloin with a spicy bean with orange and cumin topping. Tonight we're having Rainbow Trout stuffed with toasted nut and breadcrumb filling. Yum! Too bad we can't convince him to just move in and help us write the cookbook. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'Nothing like family

My sister and her two children arrived in Utah this past weekend, for a quick 4 day visit as the first part of their spring break vacation.  After picking them up from the airport late Saturday night, the frenzy of excitement began early Sunday morning and held strong through until we left them at the airport hotel in SLC this evening. 

The weather was cooperative enough for us to spend plenty of time outside while they were here, visiting the local zoo, trips to the playground and walks to the ice cream shop. All four kids seemed to relish in one another's company, and I felt lucky to be able to share a little piece of my life here in Utah with my sister.   

Her unselfish nature has supported me in so many ways over the years, and despite her initial dismay with us for leaving the Kootenays to take on this graduate school adventure back in 2008, she's been there for me every step along the way. Besides loving my children like her own, she's my role model, a best friend and the person on the other end of the phone when I need it the most. The last four days went by in a flurry, and although our time together seemed to revolve around keeping four small children happy and healthy, I'm left with a full heart and a stronger appreciation for the unconditional bond that is, family. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Unexpected events

Yesterday afternoon, Isla and I headed up to the ski hill to burn a few turns on an otherwise uneventful day. We drove up with her little buddy Arianne and her dad Mark.  The girls were happy to keep skiing and reluctantly called it a day around 4:30 p.m. 

Mark and I expected the girls to promptly fall asleep after their big afternoon, but instead about 10 minutes from the hill we came to a standstill of traffic on the road. An avalanche had come down and covered the road, making it unpassable. 

We sat there for well over an hour, answering the multitude of questions that the girls had, doling out snacks and waiting patiently for the trucks to clear the road. We decided to head back to the hill to at least make some phone calls home and let everyone know what was happening. 

Much to the girl's delight, Beaver Mountain was hosting a night ski event, so instead of getting back in the car and waiting in the line up, we strapped on our skis again and hit the slopes. Isla was very excited and willing to try out skiing 'in the dark'. She did great, put in a full day of skiing and was home in bed by 8:30p.m. 

Monday, March 1, 2010


Watched the game yesterday with some great friends that were kind enough to toast us on our victory with a little Jim Beam after the heart stopping overtime period. Way to go CANADA, and thanks USA.