Wednesday

Spring comes slowly this year...


The transition from winter to spring always feels like an epic battle of sorts. Warm days arrive and winter fights back with a vengeance. We know, of course, that spring will win out in the end, but why does it have to take so long?! 

And this year the winter has been particularly cold and steadfast, and the inevitability of spring feels rather doubtful. Will it ever really come?
I usually try to stay optimistic, but I have had it. I AM SICK OF THE COLD! 


Of course, it is much milder than before. The temperature fluctuates between minus 10 and zero degrees these days… which is much, much better than minus 35… But still, I don't know many people who would equate those kinds of temperatures with a lovely spring day!

It does, however, make for perfect cross-country skiing weather, but I would trade all that in an instant for yellow raincoats and daffodils. 


So I've been spending the weekends compulsively baking and drinking hot cups of coffee. 
(And if you are so inclined, these madeleines are such a treat. Everyone always falls madly in love with them. They are unassuming and wickedly addictive, and I highly recommend them).


It is customary in Quebec to celebrate the maple syrup harvest by visiting a sugar shack every spring. But since sugar shacks (and maple trees) are non-existent in the north, we decided to recreate a proper sugaring-off party with some friends. We had all the classic fixings: pea soup, omelet, bacon, fèves au lard, cretons, pancakes, baked spiced ham, homemade bread all with a generous slather of maple syrup of course!


We even made our own tire d'érable (aka sugar-on-snow or maple taffy), and we dipped strawberries in it for an exotic twist ;)





 In other news, this little boy of mine is now 17-months old and it is such a fun age! He still keeps us on our toes with his bottomless well of energy, but oh how he melts our hearts and makes us laugh out loud. And it honestly just keeps getting better and better!

^^ 1. hanging out in the public baby pool - this place is awesome. 2. feeling cuddly. 3. We are trying to toilet train these days, and Zac loves to escape from the bathroom and run through the house completely naked. It's liberating. 4. Loving the bath - refusing to get out. 5. He's such a boy - hammer in one hand, truck in the other. This boy LOVES trucks! 6. He has no interest in watching TV but this twinkle-twinkle video is like baby crack. I think 1 million of the 3 million views are from us.^^


I hope you're having a lovely week, and I hope your weather is warmer than mine ;)
oxo
Vanessa.

Tuesday

Lately… taking life a little more slowly


March came and went so quickly. Is it really April already? 
Up here in the north, it doesn't really feel any different. For all intents and purposes, it is still winter. Just a milder, more humane sort of winter.We can spend prolonged periods of time outside now. We play in the still 6-feet deep layers of snow. We cross-country ski. We snowshoe. We stare out the window and daydream of warm summer days that never get dark.


We spent the weekend at a friend's cabin deep in the woods this past weekend. No running water, no electricity, only a wood stove to keep us warm. It was quite lovely, actually. Of course there were minor stressors because a toddler was involved - but it was all well worth it.



It felt so refreshing to unplug from everything, and just be
And lazing around with lovely people and cooking delicious food all together. That's what we all need to do every once in a while.




As you may have noticed (if any of you longtime readers are still out there!) I haven't been posting very much lately. I've been finding it really hard to find the time and energy. And I am of the belief that blogging should be inspired, and not forced or contrived. So I've decided to simply let go… and wait and see what happens. If an exciting recipe, song, or story comes my way I will certainly make an effort to share it with you. But I will wait for it to happen naturally. Right now, I think I need to focus on being a good mom, a loving wife, and a devoted physician. And right now, that's a very full-time job!

I hope you are doing wonderfully out there.

With lots of love,
Vanessa.


little moments as of late...


It has been a while, hasn't it? I don't even have the excuse of being busy this time. We've been on vacation in Montreal for the past 10 days. And the time has just been flying by.

We've had friends and family over for meals, we've been going on walks around the still wintery city, and we've been taking Zac to all kinds of cafés and restaurants. Life has been good.


 ^^ I bought this Nespresso milk frother the other day, and let me tell you, it is God's gift to coffee lovers. This thing is awesome! ^^


I love spending time in this wonderful city... even though it's still so cold out, and we would really like the snow to melt so we can play in the park again.
Please, Spring, don't forget about Montreal ;)

Thursday

Weekday Pancakes! (Flourless Coconut Banana Blueberry Pancakes)


These pancakes are so delicious and so easy to whip up that we even make them on weekday mornings! And that's saying a lot… because getting two adults + one very active toddler ready and out the door in time in the morning is no simple feat.

I love how healthy this recipe is. I love how they magically develop into real pancake consistency even though they contain no flour, no baking powder and no sugar. And I love how my toddler (and husband) devours them.

Weekday Pancakes - Flourless (and gluten-free) Coconut Banana Blueberry Pancakes
Serves 2 1/2 (2 adults and one hungry toddler) - about 8 pancakes)

3 large eggs
1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup dried shredded coconut (fine or medium)
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
butter or coconut oil for frying
maple syrup for serving

In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas, eggs, coconut and cinnamon. Then gently toss in the blueberries.
Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Let the pan get really hot, then add some oil or butter and swirl to coat the the pan. Add about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake - very gently flip the pancakes over once the sides are drying and bubbles form on the surface - about 2-3 minutes. Cook the other side another 2 minutes - until golden.
Top with maple syrup and enjoy :)

*Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Everyday: Healthy Recipes from Our Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl 

Monday

Shoes for Spring


So many gorgeous flats and spring sandals to choose from these days. 
Now if only the snow would melt!

(above: d'Orsay flat and hole punch skimmer both from Madewell)

 1. loeffler randall sawyer sandal - Madewell. 2. Carson ankle zip - Frye. 3. On the floor - Seychelles. 4. Lucie mirror metallic slingbacks - J. Crew (these paired with some rolled-up boyfriend jeans = spring perfection). 5. Cleo cross-stitch loafers - J Crew. 6. Unlock the door - Seychelles

I want them all.
;)

Sunday

We know what cold is.


In most places in the northern hemisphere, March represents the end of winter and a welcomed fade into spring. Not so for us in the north. March is still wickedly cold... mercilessly cold.
By March we have all had our fill of winter, but up here, winter has only reached it's halfway point.

And this week up north, the calendar may have been turned to the hopeful month of March, but the temperatures hovered around minus forty…. a gentle reminder of our arctic reality, lest we forget.

And while it's easy to complain, and to ache all over for warmer days, instead I thought I'd pay a little tribute to the cold with some photos. We certainly do know what cold is up here…

 ^^ frozen eyelashes, and frozen waves in the bay ^^

 ^^ the lock on our front door routinely freezes over ON THE INSIDE because it's so cold! ^^

^^ this is what it looks like when we open our door in the morning ^^

^^ and don't get us started on "the wind chill" issue. They don't use that measure up here. They don't need to. The actual base temperature is already cold enough. I'm not going to lie, we sometimes sneer at other people's definition of "cold".  We see our friends' Facebook statuses complaining about how cold their weather is, claiming to be enduring minus thirty-something degree weather… but it's not the actual true temperature, it's the "wind chill temperature". And we snicker to ourselves - "ha! they don't know what cold is... WE know cold"! And for some immature reason this makes us feel better about ourselves, and tougher, and a little less miserable ;) ^^


And even though I get sick of the cold come March, I have learned to accept it, and even to appreciate it ….. for the experiences it gives us, for the way it shapes our lives, and for the beauty it brings….


… it makes it all worth it in the end.

Weekend Moments in photos and in watercolour


We had a fairly lazy weekend, and spent most of it at home. Although we did clean out and reorganize our entire basement, so that Zac has room to run around and get his ya-yas out.

Sunday morning was the olympic gold medal hockey game (airing at the ungodly hour of 7am)…. but we were devoted to watching it anyway, because, well, we're Canadians. And hockey supposedly runs  in our veins. So we went all out and invited our friends over for an early morning breakfast/pajama party. The instructions were to literally roll out of bed and come straight over, and we would supply bottomless cups of coffee.


There were so many babies and kids in our living room this weekend, I couldn't believe it! I still can't get over how quickly life changes. We are suddenly all parents now, with kids and wonderful chaos all around us…. And these kids? They are seriously gaining on us. And soon, we will be outnumbered ;)


 It was a lot of fun (and yes, we won gold!). But to be honest, I 'm happy the olympics are over now. I'm not even sure why…. just time to wrap it up and move on, I guess.

In other news, our African iris bloomed this weekend. It's such a magnificent thing when it happens (it  rarely does), and the flowers only last a few hours, making it feel that much more special.  We always feel lucky when we witness it. And the flowers are just brilliant, and they smell sweet like honey.



I've been playing around with this Waterlogue app, which turns your photos into watercolour paintings. It gives your photos this incredibly dreamy feel, and makes me want to start painting again.



I hope you had a lovely weekend.
oxo
Vanessa.


Friday

Have a magical winter weekend


Whenever I see the northern lights, I am reminded of why we chose to live and work so far away from from urban society. 

I took this photo last night in our backyard. I had decided to brave the cold, and trudged through the 5 foot-deep snow behind our house with my camera and tripod. At first there was nothing, but the sky was clear and starry, so I just lay in the snow and gazed up at the sky… and then, just like that, a few green streaks appeared over the northern horizon. Adrien came out to join me, with the baby monitor in his pocket, and we watched in silence and in awe. They only lasted a few minutes, and the sky returned to normal. But it felt like a gift…. like they had come out just for us. Magic!

I wish you a wonderful weekend!
oxo
Vanessa


ps: for any of you Montrealers out there, this photo is going to be shown on the 6 o'clock news tonight on Radio Canada, during the meteorology report with my friend Pascal Yiacouvakis (at 6:57pm to be exact). 

Wednesday

Lady Grey Loves… Jonathan Adler for Tom's Shoes


I love the collection of Tom's shoes designed by Jonathan Adler (to be released this spring). Bright, colourful, cheerful & chic. Perfect for spring. The yellow ones and taupe ones are my favourites.

(photo via)

Tuesday

Sound medical advice that will (finally) get you exercising


One of my colleagues at work sent me the link to this video (below) last night, because he thought it  might be a good tool to share with some of our patients to get them motivated to exercise. I watched it late last night, and I loved it! And then I immediately took out my yoga mat and did 10 minutes of sun salutations. It was just what I needed to hear to get me exercising!

We are told all the time to try to squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise a day.... and somehow that can sound so daunting. In fact, it often sounds impossible to fit 30 minutes of exercise into our busy days. But in fact, we all know that we could if we tried. And the most powerful part of this video is the way Dr. Mike Evans turns things around at the end and says, "can you limit your sleeping and sitting to just 23 and a half hours per day?" 
Ummmm, yeah, I should really hope so! Sounds totally different when you put it like that!

Have a listen (9 minutes) to this incredibly well-done video below. It is totally worth your time....

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