Eyes to the Skies

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I am going a bit bird crazy, as anyone on my facebook page or on flickr can tell you! And now, just for your own viewing pleasure, I am going to share the delights that are the winged things of my neighbourhood. You lucky things you! I have decided that it is ok that we don’t have a pet right now, as I can hang out with the neighbourhood critters, and it doesn’t cost me anything! And hawk stalking is a fantastic pasttime!

Having a lovely camera has been a saving grace for me. Given me a way to see the world through eyes that seek the beauty. And lately my eyes are tuned in to things of a feather. There are so many amazing birds to sight just from my own kitchen window!

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Finchy came for tea
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Gorgeous Boy!
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Cute Sparrows Abound!

And if I want to go further, I can head a few blocks in one direction over to a creek where a crew of redwinged blackbirds flit about, or I can follow robins which ever way they please to go.

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Now I am becoming a bit obsessed, but it is a healthy obsession. It makes me happy, or at least makes me excited. And it drives me to learn new things.

Like for instance, is this a redtailed hawk or a redshouldered hawk?

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Everytime I think I get it figured out, I second guess myself. Some of the pictures I have used to identify it as a redtailed hawk, they don’t have yellow beaks. But then in some they do! And I know that the hawks I have seen circling the river area are not exactly the same as the one I saw outside my balcony today!

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Anyway there is a family or a community or clan of hawks that apparently live on the rooftops of our building! So while the boy kicks ball with the neighbourhood kids, I am wandering around the perimiters, eyes to the sky, snapping away. It makes me happy anyway.

So now whenever we go outside, my son has his soccer ball under one arm, and I my camera. And he has to tell me sometimes to focus, else I walk into a post or tree while I am staring at the trees trying to place the bird for the call!

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I have a couple of missions. To capture birds in flight on film, and to get closer to those flighty redwinged black birds that hang out by the park. They love to tease and laugh at me they do! But I will get them yet!

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And in the mean time I am having a laugh and the natural world is laughing with me. Or telling me to take my camera and stuff it!

Summery School Safe Muffin Mix2!

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I am pretty sure about 45 seconds ago, there was a muffin on my plate!

Today’s in mumma’s muffin making adventure land, we went on a pantry raid. And the results are delicious. Were delicious. Which also resulted in a tidier cupboard!

Mostly I just used my last coconut muffin recipe to make this weeks nutfree school friendly batch of deliciousness. So this might look like a repeat, but there is a surprise in here. Today’s mission was to use a recipe that called for applesauce, but to use the bowl of mashed up pineapple puree in its stead.

What I came up with I can call  Summery School Safe Muffin Mix2!

First step actually happened on sunday but this was my first chance to get funky in the kitchen. I had 3 rings left of canned pineapple and I knew I wanted to use it in muffins later on. But I also know my son is suspicious of all things chewy in his food. So I knew I had to do something with the pineapple to make it invisible. So, I chopped it up as wee as I could, and simmered it with about a half cup of water and a dousing of sugar. When it was good and mushy, I smushed it more with a fork and set it aside to cool and then refrigerate until I was ready to use it. So a good idea to do this ahead of time, or at least an hour before, put it on and let it simmer down while you do the dishes, and mop the floor that you suddenly realize is a sticky mess. That was how I spent my morning anyway 😀

So to the business of the muffins!

Summery School Safe Muffin Mix2

Set oven to preheat at 400F, Mix the following dry ingredients together;

  • 2 cups flour (in combination of what you have on hand, this time I used 1 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup white all purpose
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used the last of the brown I had around, but you can use what you like best)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • LOTS OF CINNAMON

Then beat these wet ingredients together, in a separate bowl;

  • 1 cup coconut milk (plus maybe a few more dribbles of it if you think your batter isn’t moist enough
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt (I have plain around but vanilla or even coconut would be awesome. why the yogurt? because I had a small container in the fridge that I thought was left over coconut milk but it was actually a dip I had made with yogurt, and cinnamon, and I thought, hey let’s add this! yogurt always does great things in muffin mix!)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple puree (premade, or use apple sauce or some other sauce if you have around, but the pineapple is part of what makes it summery so up to you.)
  • scrapings of coconut oil. I’d say 2 tablespoons, that is what I had around today. if soft like mine was I would just make sure is beat in well with the rest, but if you want to carefully melt some first and let get to room temp that’s great too.
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (cause mama wants to get as much good stuff into these as possible)
  • 1 large egg
  • capfull vanilla extract or even better coconut flavouring if you have it around?!

Once you have mixed the wet into the dry – don’t mix too much, toss in a couple of tablespoons of sweet coconut flakes and at least half a cup of chocolate chips, or the end of a bag, like I did.

Scoop into greased muffin tins, I use small tins and 3/4 full. Bake 16 minutes at 400F and let cool about 9 minutes (or 13 because you forgot) and then move to a cooling rack and of course eat the biggest one immediately!

Pets a Plenty, In Theory

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”

We grew up in a house of pets. Dogs, cats, birds, and random wild reptiles that were kept in a trunk outside the door. Because our poor mum could only tolerate so many fresh caught snakes being brought in doors! My sister collected dirt toads, my brother snakes. I collected the fur off our huskies, happily brushing through their thick greasy soft coats while I watched my younger siblings shimmy up trees and scurry over rock faces. We had a pet graveyard in nearly everywhere we lived. When we moved from one home to another, we wailed and begged until we convinced our dad to dig up our cat and move it to be buried at our latest new home. (I wonder if he actually did it?)

Through most of those days we had 2 dogs, huskies, who were like our big and younger kid brothers. Our loves, our protectors. My sister learned to walk by holding on to one of their tails. I was a scrawny kid able to walk 2 large energetic dogs and only on occasion did I get pulled through the brush in fast flying pursuit of a rabbit! I still tear up when I think of saying goodbye to them, and that was about 24 years ago. And the cat I had for nearly 14 years lives in my heart still. Sometimes I feel like she could travel between the realms to comfort me.

Lately I have been thinking how much good it would do our hearts to have a dog. Maybe a rescue, but to be honest I have hesitations. I would really need to know that a rescue dog was going to be calm and safe around my rowdy 7 year old! Anyway I keep saying One Day, because right now my funds and energies need to go towards keeping us fed and entertained. But oh I would love a dog! Or even a cat. A few goldfish even. But I really don’t want to deal with litter boxes, or stinky cages or gravel and tanks to clean.

Am I then a grumpy mother who won’t let her child have a pet? I don’t think so, I just think that right now we are not in the best place for it. In fact if you asked him, he would probably say No Thanks! But One Day, one day! In the mean time, I keep having dreams about animals. One the other night about that big old huskie who was my truest BFF. And last night I had a dream that I rescued a little black kitten. I think I need someone new to nurture and love up! But not just yet. Unless someone were to Give us a pet, in which case I would be open to the idea 😀

Charm for a Moment

You know that look you get on your face when you are walking towards someone you know? Someone you love? Someone you are happy to see?! Maybe even someone you are meeting up with? Someone all of the above, heading your way? That glowing ‘’im so happy to see you I could skip and run into your arms and hug you’ face?

What do you do when that person is a stranger? When you look up and see a friendly face coming your way with a look in his eye and a smile on so wide that it speaks to him being happy to see you?! That makes him seem almost familiar? Do you look away for a minute, down, over at a sign and then up again as you approach each other, to see if you were right? And when you see his great big happy smiling face looking at you, do you look into his eyes and smile back? And then do you pick up speed as you keep walking by, but turn to look about 12 steps away and catch him looking back too? Then what do you do? Do you quickly look back in the direction you are walking, and maybe even pick up more speed, conscious of the possibility that he could still catch up with you? Do you 2nd guess yourself, “maybe he is a crazy person? Or MAYBE you are charming?!” And do you reach your destination (a bus stop about 2 blocks on) and stand for a second catching your breath, a cute excited smile on your face while you lean forward to see if he is still there? Do you smile after his receding read sweater and then turn your song back to the beginning and bask in the happy glow of a moment?

What else could a person possibly do?!

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It is important to remember that we all deserve happiness. Even when times are tough, or probably especially when times are tough, it is vital to remember that we have the right to enjoy our lives.

This week I have been giving my day a positive start with intention and affirmation. First thing, before the door opens and the day and I meet, I have stretched into the morning and said something positive to myself. An affirmation. A goal. A reminder. A motto. A statement. Today will be a good day. Good things will happen today. Today I will be good to myself.

And every night I have reflected back on how right I was. Positive focus.

P1070228Yesterday I walked both ways to an appointment. I didn’t need to. I had bus tickets in my pocket. But I felt like I needed to really work for what was happening. And I might need those bus tickets more another day. It was somewhat cold. There was a sprinkling of snow on the ground. But I was dressed for it. (Well, lesson learned – my fabulous new snow boots were not quite right for an hour walk each way…) And it allowed me to feel like I was doing a good thing for myself. I could walk and listen to music and watch birds and smile and feel good. Enjoy.

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Many companions on my walk

Because whatever is expected of us, whatever tasks and responsibilities and cares are heaped upon our shoulders, we have the right to face it happy. We deserve happiness!

Today I am tired. Sore even. And it is Friday. A last chance for peace and aloneness before the weekend is upon me. Today I have a list of things I need to accomplish that are all part of the forward moving, sustain us, plan. But I also have to remember to be good to myself. Not wear myself down trying to stay above. A little self care is in order. A soul spritz.

Don’t forget yourself.

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Don’t forget that whatever surrounds you or comes your way, you deserve comfort and happiness. So puff out that robin red heart of yours and find the warmth that is loving yourself!

Affirmative Affirmations

This week’s mission is to Celebrate every little good thing, as if it were a gift from the universe. To wake up and say “Today is going to be a good day” and to believe it. So, does the awareness bring about the good things? Or does the awareness just create, well, awareness, focus, spotlighting all the good things that are around me? If I had decided to ride with the bad news of Monday by curling up into a miserable ball and letting myself believe life was terrible, that would be all I could see. But I can’t do that. I am a Mama Lion, worn and patchy in some places, but still lean and mean if she has to be. So I am looking at world around me with eyes keen for the prize. I am open to the gifts of life, and I am going to immerse myself in gratitude. Good things are going to happen today.

And so far, so good.

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Hopeful Sprout

Snow in April means I get to wear fun scarves tied around myself. The great thing about the cultural diversity of the city I now live in, is that no one looks at me funny for being one in a flock of women with scarves tied around her head!

Yesterdays great news was that my son has been referred to a children’s camp this summer, a week for free! This is an opportunity I had not even dreamed of! We are both already very excited!

Today I was determined to get the camp forms in the mail, so we will be counted early in the first come first serve. I pulled out my stationery box, and found an envelope. But not just any envelope. A special envelope. An envelope with a stamp already on it. An envelope I forgot was there. An envelope I have had with me through moves and triumphs for years! A while back, yes, years ago, I had gotten a letter in the mail. And the stamp on said letter was completely unmarked. So I had moved it to the little white envelope. You know, for later use, the right moment? Fun… Today I took it to a postal outlet and asked if I would need to add to the stamp, as it has been a long time since I mailed anything and I am not sure how much it even costs. Turns out the stamp covered the forms! So that form for that camp is in the mail today, thanks to someone who sent me something years ago. WIN!

These little happenings are gifts. They are functional gifts, because they are helping us get things done. But they are also little boosts. Reminders that everything I need will come exactly when I need it. And boy do I need it!

Today I am grateful for the little gifts, and for the eyes to see these gifts, and for the heart to appreciate these gifts. Today I am open to whatever the universe thinks I need!