Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas Eve

The children are sleeping, there is snow on my sister's mountain, the house is cozy and all is ready for the big morning to come. Nothing left to do but snuggle in with a night cap and wait for Santa.

From our home to yours have a very Merry Christmas Eve.

Love The Boyds

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

What ought to be done

 "They only did what they ought to have done".  I heard someone say this at a Remembrance Day service today and it has really stuck with me. I've been recalling the words over and over, thinking about all those people over the course of history who died, on one side of the other, for the cause of freedom. I think about the fear those young soldiers must have felt as they were sent blindly to their deaths in the trenches and front lines of the World Wars, and I wonder at what moves today's armed forces. What is that feeling in their hearts and souls that is big enough, brave enough to drive them to do what they do, even knowing what we know about war today. The men and women who go into the battle fields today are not as ignorant or blind to the realities of war as they once were, and still they go. And I wonder what separates those that have that feeling from those of us who do not. 

"They only did what they ought to have done."

Hearing this phrase today me feel very small because of all the things I ought to do that I have never and may never do, and it made them seem very big because of all the things they have done, and will either continue to do, or will never do again because they no longer can. And they are big. And I am small. And today is about remembering that because their bigness has brought us this: 

PEACE, from a kindergartners point of view.
A couple of photos from the Remembrance Day service we attended downtown today. 

They are only doing what they ought to do.

To those of you with that feeling I say, thank you. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Biking on the Sac

How does one come back into the blogging world after being totally off the radar for months?
With a post about one's two year old enjoying her strider bike out on the cul de sac of course!

Little girl turned 2 on Sunday. There was a party, there were cupcakes, there was a trip to the hospital, but all's well that ends well as you can tell by the smiles.

Two suits her, don't you think?

Orange blusher on the cheek came from Crayola time with big brother while mom was making dinner. What you can't see are her blue and green palms. Or her arms - they look like Ed Sheeran's.

We're back! I think. I can't be sure - life is so unpredictable.

Happy fall, friends!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Secret Nest: Part Two

I've been keeping track of the nest. I was told by more than one person to leave it alone, but I just couldn't! So just a couple of days after finding it in the first place, I set up a chair by our dining room window, and if I stand on the chair on my tip toes and the wind blows the hanging basket in just the right way I can see right into the nest. I am quite proud of myself for finding a way to spy on the nest without disturbing the owners, and besides, if I had left the nest alone I would have never spied these:

It looks like the nests owners are going to be parents soon!  And my spying chair is not going anywhere. The last time I checked (five minutes ago) mama bird was tucked in with her eggs having a snooze. 

I want to do some research because I have so many questions about these birds, their eggs, and their life cycle. It's times like these I wish I had a bird expert friend.... In the meantime, I have a bigger problem, I need to find a way to water the hanging basket without disturbing the nest. The flowers are starting to look pretty sad and droopy and the birds need the flowers for hiding and protection. 

Bird ownership is a stressful business! 

more on the nest coming soon.....

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Secret Nest

This morning I noticed a little bird flying out of the hanging basket that I can see out our dining room window. Jake and I went out to investigate and when we peeked into the basket we saw this:

Can you spot it?

My in-laws brought over a bird book and I am pretty sure it was a little Chickadee I saw flying back and forth from the little nest. I wonder if little eggies will appear in there sometime soon.  

We are going to leave the nest alone of course, but we do look forward on spying on our new neighbour from our dining room window again and again over the summer.  

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Stickers and Spaghetti

She's smiling because she got a third sticker on her potty chart.... and she's had spaghetti for dinner.

She needs a hair cut and a bath, doesn't she?

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Lasagna Heaven

I wouldn't say I am a fabulous cook. I have my staples, about eight to ten dishes that I make well and make over and over and over. Every once in a while I pull out a cook book or google a recipe to switch things up, or because inspiration hits me and something makes me think that my kids will be adventurous eaters for once - Amelia would be, Jake likes the eight to ten things I make over and over and over. Most of my culinary regime is pretty simple, nothing to write home about. However, there is one thing I make really really well, one thing that I am willing to boast over, heck, even blog over, but I don't make it often because it requires more than the 30 minutes I usually have to get dinner done and on the table.

Lasagna. It might sound unimpressive, but don't be deceived. If you've ever made a true homemade lasagna, you know. It's a multi step process, it takes time, talent and energy, and it's not something you serve up every other Tuesday. Lasagna is a Sunday meal, a come-together-at-the-table-and-indulge meal. I made it today, and it was delicious.

The way I see it lasagna isn't for the faint of heart. If you are looking for low fat, low calorie, low taste, look elsewhere. There are many things I will try to calorie cut on, or switch ingredients to make a "healthier" version, but my lasagna is not one of them. Somethings are worth the indulgence, somethings are worth the decadence, somethings are worth the second helpings. And when you only make something once or twice a year then when you do make it, I say make it right.

My recipe is a mix from a Taste of Italy cookbook I got as a wedding gift, watching my best friends mother make homemade mouth watering lasagna in my teens, and a googled bechamel sauce recipe. It is simple, it is rich, it is tasty, and it is - if I do say so myself - the second best lasagna I have ever had. First best if my best friends mom. She makes her own lasagna noodles, diligently and painstakingly rolling out each noodle into a super fine sheet, so paper thin she can make at least eight, maybe ten, layers in her lasagna dish. I'm good, but not that good. My noodles are store bought - only six layer worthy.

The secret, I think, is the bechamel sauce. I use it instead of the ricotta cheese and spinach mix most recipes call for. I don't like ricotta cheese in this recipe. I can't pin why, I think it is a texture thing. I find the bechamel makes for a creamier, richer, smoother all round texture. It's melt in your mouth, moist, deilcious, the adjectives could go on and on.

Here are my steps:

First - homemade (not from a jar) simmered for at least three hours bolognese sauce. Tomato sauce, onion, garlic, red wine, basil, salt, pepper, red wine, organic ground beef. Pour some on the bottom of lasagna dish. Lay down a base of noodles.

Second layer - a thicker helping of the red sauce topped with a generous sprinkling of real fresh grated mozzarella cheese. Lay down another set of noodles.

Third layer - fresh made bechamel sauce. Don't be stingy, pour it on. This isn't a fat free recipe. You can have salad tomorrow (no wait, you'll be eating leftovers tomorrow - have salad the next day). Sprinkle Italian parmesan cheese on top of the bechamel. I mean it, sprinkle harder. Lay more noodles.

Fourth layer - red sauce/mozza cheese. Lay noodles.

Fifth layer - Bechamel/Parmesan. We're almost done. Lay the last noodles down.

Top layer - end with the rest of your bolognese sauce and a final helping of grated mozzarella.

Bake it covered, then take the cover off to crisp the cheese at the top, and give it a nice brownish look.

I serve a nice green salad on the side (made by my mother-in-law in this photo). I like to keep the lasagna saucy and decadent. I serve up the green stuff on the side.

Fill your wine glass up with a nice red wine, invite over family and friends, forget about your diet for one evening and voila!  Lasagna heaven.

Now I am not saying the way I do it is for everyone. I know my mother, for instance, loads her version up with veggies, and I have another friend who likes it the good ole ricotta cheese and spinach way. But for me, the creaminess and richness that you get when a great red bolognese sauce meets a great white bechamel sauce, and lots of great Italian cheese is layered in between sheets of pasta, it just doesn't get any better.... well, it can get better. Roll out your own paper thin sheets of lasagna noodles and you'll think you've died and gone to heaven. It's almost worth starting dinner prep at noon.

But the best part in any case - leftovers tomorrow!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Victoria Day

Who doesn't love a good long weekend?

Not us, we love 'em, and the Victoria Day long weekend that just passed us by was no exception. It was hot, it was lazy, it was sun soaked - throw in a parade and a wading pool on the front lawn and I don't see how it could get any better.... okay it got better, because we also went to the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Located in Duncan, BC, just shy of an hour from our house, this little gem is well worth the long ride up. There's a train, a play ground, a forestry exhibit, a snack bar, and a souvenir shop. Basically, something to keep any member of the family occupied and happy. Oh and there is wild life! plenty of it. There was excitement over a baby fawn that was spotted but I unfortunately missed it. I must have been preoccupied by my own baby fawns. 

Back at home there was lots of water play and lounging on the lawn chairs. Jake and Amelia did the water play, Matt and I did the lounging. It was a miracle (the lounging part). The kids were occupied all afternoon, minimal parent involvement needed.  I've decided that wading pools are gifts from God to parents.

And the grand finale - the Annual Victoria Day parade. It's a good old fashioned parade, packed with local business floats, school bands, cultural groups, and the odd organizations that no one's ever heard about and it's no wonder why.

The Lambrick High marching band.  Matt's Alma Mater.

Our favorite house milk, in extra large size. I love the ladies in green in this one. It's the pom pom's and the lime green. Love it.

The bath tub racers are always a favorite.

Operation Christmas Child was handing out candy canes. Jake was happy.

Moving on to the  local organizations no one's ever heard of... Puppets for Peace? Anyone?

This one's for you, mama. 

We were on the side lines this year, but sometimes the sidelines are better. You get to see everything.

Victoria Day 2015, we enjoyed you. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Exploring Nature

The other weekend our family set out on a little trip to a local Salmon run. The little salmon fry were flitting this way and that in the rushing waters, a reminder of the true miracle of their long and tumultuous life cycle. A reminder to the big people at least. The little people were a bit more concerned with "fishing" and rock throwing.  Daddy had to hunker down for a lecture on leaving nature in its place.

But fun was had nonetheless.  Forest walks always remind me of my childhood. Every Sunday my dad would throw some salami sandwiches and a box of cookies into a knapsack and pile us all into the car to head off to some local wooded destination. Trails around Deep Cove, Dog mountain at Mount Seymour, Lynn Valley, Pacific Spirit Park, all places I grew up wandering around on Sundays in Vancouver.

Being here on the Island opens up a whole new world of foresty treasures to explore, and Goldstream park is one of our favorites. It has an easy trail, so Amelia can walk it; there is a nature house which gives the kids a destination; a river where you can watch salmon at various stages of their lives; and all the other lush and green aspects that make the West Coast of Canada one of the best places to explore.

The "fishing" didn't last longer than 30 seconds because daddy quickly pointed to the "no fishing" signs posted everywhere. But it started a good conversation about nature and conservation, and working together to help animals in the wild to thrive.

Speaking of animals in the wild, look what I spotted:

It's a Bluejay!!!  And he's really blue!!!

Have fun exploring your local nature!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

The little girl who had pigtails

It took 18 months to get here, but wasn't it worth the wait?

I know I've been away a while. It's really a good thing because it means our lives have been busy and full and there's been no time for up loading photos and writing blogs.  But I am starting to feel like I need to make time, because this is my photo journal, and what good is a photo journal is you don't take the time to maintain it. Plus people we don't see very often are starting to wonder what we look like. Or at least they wonder what she looks like, because let's be honest she changes every single day. Everyone else has kind of plateaued.

Here's Amelia: 18 months old.

More Boyd Family adventures, coming soon!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Happy birthday Matt.

We younger Boyds love you long time.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Best present ever

I have a very good friend who lives in Switzerland. This is a friendship I cherish, and even though we don't talk to each other nearly often enough and see each other even less when we are finally in the same place at the same time is is as though no time has passed at all and we pick up exactly where we left off. In 2004 when I spent a year in Switzerland she played a vital role in my life and our friendship really cemented itself. She made the long trek to Canada for my wedding, but sadly when her turn down the aisle came this summer I unfortunately couldn't make it. However, I did get a chance to see her many times during our epic Boyd Family Swiss trip last May.  We caught up, told stories, shared meals, and made new memories while reminiscing on old ones. She is a good friend - one for the ages you could say. 

So I shouldn't have been surprised as I was when at Christmas I received an email saying that she was gifting us a three month "subscription" to a local chocolate shop in her hometown, and that from January through to March we would be receiving a hand selected box of locally made chocolate samples from them. At first I thought I hadn't read the german written email correctly - and then toward the end of January the first box arrived. 

I didn't tell Jakob what I suspected might be in the box, so when he opened it he pretty much thought he'd died and gone straight to heaven.

Best present ever! Looking forward to February's chocolates of the month.

Thank you Anja - xo.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Amelia's Box House

Matt built Amelia a play house out of a oversized box and gave it to her for Christmas. He duck taped a roof on it as well as a chimney, cut out a couple of windows and a push door. We thought she was going to wake up Christmas morning head straight for her box house and never come out.  But, for the last five weeks she's done nothing but hovered around it, push at it, bend over to peek through the door, laugh as her brother stuffed himself into it, put her dolls and favorite stuffed animals into it, but never ever dared go in herself. Then one day Jake and I were playing with Lego when we realized Amelia was missing. 

Where was Amelia?

Why in her box house of course.

Hello darling.  

Naturally Jake couldn't let her have all the fun alone. I'm not sure how they both fit in there, but they did, and oh how much fun they had!

Amelia's box house has been the centre of her play for days now. Yesterday she stood up while she was in it and started walking around the living room with the box house hanging over her. She looked like a "ghost house" and made her brother laugh so hard he nearly had an accident. I'm thinking this years halloween costume.

Thank you dad, Amelia loves her Christmas present.