Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thawing Out

The sun is starting to shine and spring is on our mind.  Projects are starting to come together as the cockpit once again becomes a viable working space, hatches are flying open to let the fresh air flow in, daydreams of sailing are starting to feel like they will soon become a reality and our urge to explore the outdoors any way we can is undeniable.  It's still a bit chilly out, so we donned all our cozy clothes and headed out for an adventure..... on the dingy.  It was fabulous, the sun was shining and melting deliciously into our skin, we couldn't help but smile!  As we slowly paddled along exploring our marina, it was a fun way to check out everyone's boats, search for treasure on the bottom of the ocean, sneak and creep under the bridges and of course practice our pirate lingo.  I can easily see how in a few years (ok, maybe 10), L will be going out on little adventures of his own!  We may not have acres and acres of land to offer L like I had growing up, but the water is also vast and full of adventures.

Can you feel the EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!!

Poor kid, I'm amazed I could even zip up his lifejacket with all those clothes on!

I think this is the only part of the trip he actually sat down, way to much to see, good thing he's got great balance. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bucking Broncos

It's days like today that I am more than happy to be tucked away in the back of our marina.... protected. As winds were predicted to be between 80-110kph, I knew it was going to be a rough day.  So after we planned our day for as many activities off the boat as we could, we headed outside for some stable ground.  We all were starting to turn a bit green and needed some fresh air, so off we went to do some chores.  As we were leaving the boat though we noticed a crowd of people and the end of the dock and thought we'd take a look.  The winds were howling and the boats were bucking like crazy, it was quite a sight.  Unfortunately for one of our neighbors, the bucking was so violent it broke their dock that leads out to their boat in two places.
Here is a little glimpse of the winds:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Some Seriously Groovy Granola

It's been years since I've had granola.....I'm in love!

2 C GF Oats
1/4 C (each) Pecans,Walnuts, Almonds,  Cashews
1/4 C (each) dried blueberries, dried cherry's, unsweetened coconut
2 TB Flax seeds
1 TB Vanilla
2 TB Water
1/4 tsp Salt
1 TB Cinnamon
4 TB Almond Butter
4 TB Honey

Soften almond butter and mix with honey.  Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and then mix in wet ingredients. Once mixed thoroughly fold in the almond butter/honey mixture to cover all contents.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place granola on a lightly greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once.

I used whatever ingredients I had in the pantry and roughly followed a recipe I found on this wonderful site my girlfriend Sherri introduced me to :  She has tons of amazing gluten free recipes.

Blizzard on a Boat

Well they didn't prepare me for this in any of the Sailing magazines!  Luckily there are some residents here that have been here long enough and own a shovel.  Usually here on Vancouver Island we get a "token" snow, it shows it's face sticks long enough for us to take a picture or make a few tracks on our way to our cars and then is gone before lunchtime.  This is a whole different story, but fun just the same, I love the snow.  It's a bit windy out there though, so makes it tough for the little guy to really enjoy it, but we make sure we get out and play when the wind dies down.  We're staying cozy warm and enjoying the benefits that come along with a snow day!
My little snow bear, he can barely walk he's so bundled up

Logi's first snowman

Icy puddles are even BETTER, he's really loving the bike so far

The wind picked up so we headed in for a hot chocolate and some snacks at the marina's restaurant 

I'm not sure what was more of a hit, the whipped cream or the hot chocolate

One happy little camper, snow days rock!

Mini-snowman created by Daddy and Logan

Super yummy homemade granola ~ my first attempt.  Delicious and surprisingly simple, I'm hooked!

Story time with his buddy Stefan 
Day 2 of storm, it's getting chilly around here!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter Blessing

This holiday season I started off a bit bah humbug I must admit.  Being away from all our friends and family and the few people we did know here were going to be away for the holidays..... and then I remembered what a stranger said to me one time in regards to the holidays when I said I wasn't "into" a certain holiday.  He looked straight at Logan, gave me a big smile and said "You are now!"  So I decided I had to put my big girl britches on and create some memories for my little boy.  Really it was the perfect opportunity to start our own family traditions as I have longed to do for quite some time now.  I never could've imagined it would have turned out so perfect!
Nothing says Christmas like a pair of Yoda ears, and making gingerbread cookies for Santa!
Santa was a hit, they even forgot to open some of their presents they were so excited. 
Logi and I were going for a walk one afternoon and one the residents at the RV Park that is attached to the marina offered to come over for a "Santa Visit"  It turns out he even had a Santa business card and showed up at our neighbors (who lives in a floating home across the way) and created some absolutely precious memories for our two boys.

Logi scouted out our first Solstice Stick
And then a sprig of holly.

My happy little pirate on his first treasure hunt.

Getting to the treasure was half the adventure!  

Our first Solstice Stick (pre-glitter)!!

All our glittery bits, plus some homemade Apple Butter (so yummy!) 

I do love celebrating solstice, so I thought since we can't fit a tree, or even a yule log on the boat I decided a stick would do.  I also remembered back to our own family traditions and always loved getting together with all the girls and making wreaths over the holidays.  I would get my fix of the beautiful smell of pine, and recreate some old traditions to boot!  I wrapped the stick with all the treasures Logan had found on our adventure, and then added little papers with all the things we were grateful for this year and a little glitter.....and whala a tradition has been born.  Not only is it something to decorate the boat with for the holidays, it creates a time for us to do something outdoors and celebrate the gifts and beauty of nature together.  We both loved the adventure of it all, and though he wasn't to into the glitter this year (surprisingly)  he loved looking at his creation pointing out everyday, each of the special treasures he had found!

With decorations up and our spirits lifted we ended up hosting both a Winter Solstice party AND a Christmas party.  It felt wonderful to have the boat cozy and festive, filled with friends, old and new!  Our Winter Solstice party made way for a very heartfelt and serendipitous reunion of unexpected friends, and Christmas dinner was a pure miracle.  We had celebrated Christmas a day early because Gordon had to work on Christmas day.  I was busy prepping foods, playing with Logi and getting ready for a evening party and had planned but somehow forgot to go to the grocery store..... this little fact hit me like a rock at 8:30 pm on our way home from a party!!!  My little "uh-oh" turned into full blown panic when I realized ALL the grocery stores in town were closed until Boxing Day!  Luckily one of Gord's workmates new of an Asian market that was open and called me at 11:00 on Christmas day to inform me of this wonderful news (I was cooking a Gluten/Dairy free, Vegan dinner for 7) so I was overwhelmingly relieved as I sped off to the store.  Dinner was a hit and just as we were cleaning up the water tanks ran dry... no biggie we can refill those easily enough.  But then, just as I was checking on the pumpkin pies.....the propane ran out!  Amazingly enough they were actually done and we all enjoyed our ENTIRE Christmas dinner.  Someone was definitely looking after me that day, I didn't even burn anything, which as many of you that know me know that that is a miracle in itself.  So as I sit here and reflect, I truly can count my many winter blessings!

My beautiful family

Amazing (and ingenious ~ why didn't I think of this trick!)  friends

Happy little boy

and One Happy Hubby xo

Happy Holidays everyone!  I'd love to hear of some of your holiday traditions or special moments!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Squash & Chickpea Moroccan Stew

~Saute these items together~

2 TB olive oil
1 med. yellow onion
4 med. cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick

~Then stir in the following items~

2 C gf vegetable broth
1 lb. butternut squash (diced large)
3/4 lb. red potatoes (diced large)
2 C chickpeas
1 (14oz.) can dices tomatoes with juice
pinch of saffron

~Add the following after removing stew from heat~

1 C brined green olives
salt & pepper to taste

~Serve with rice or quinoa, top with toasted almonds, cilantro and plain greek yogurt~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's been a long time coming

We have just celebrated our anniversay of 9 MONTHS living aboard!  It's unbelievable really, and even more unbelievable that it's been that long since I've written about boat life.  I have so much to say, so much has transpired. I think I needed a little bit of distance from the emotions of it all though in order to write objectively.  I am a very emotionally driven soul, and sometimes can get a bit lost without a little objectivity.  This has been a period of huge adjustments, both physically reorienting to a smaller space, and emotionally as I had to find a way to say goodbye to some of the most amazing friends.  I find it is different now that I have a child, once you find people that not only hold a space for you but also your child in their hearts and love them as their own, and you feel the same about their children... it is very hard to walk away.

After about a month, I have to admit the honeymoon ended a bit.  The reality that simple living isn't "simple"at all, hit me in a big way. As we adjusted to the space, the logistics of laundry (multiple trips to the laundry nap and folding laundry with a toddler is an all day adventure) , showering (try that one with a toddler when he has free access to a toilet that MANY people have used) and contending with the weather (we waited until August before summer arrived) as well as the tidal drops of as much as 15 feet (try going down that ramp during a winter storm)  It all slowly but surely began to add up.  As well as our impending departure in October, I think both my friends and I were in denial, it all caught up to me.  We also were disappointed by the fact that due to mechanical issues we weren't able to take the boat out at all that summer.  Honestly it took me by surprise how long it took me to adjust (but to be fair I think I was simply exhausted....see timeline below).  Simply for the fact of how long we had been planning this and how much I was looking forward to it.

I am happy to say though, I feel I have adjusted, and am still extremely happy we made the decision to move aboard.  We made our first jump down the island at the end of September and are now docked in Victoria, BC. We took about two and a half days to sail down and it was seamless and the weather was stunning. It was a trip initially blessed by the passing of hundreds of dolphins right as we were leaving the marina in Campbell River It is beautiful here and the weather is much milder than in Campbell River, which is a HUGE plus.  Slugging it out in the rain day in and day out for most of the year gets to you after a while.  I find it much milder here and we have spells of rain but they are sandwiched by glorious days of sunshine.  I literally cried the day after we arrived and woke to the rays of sun beaming in our windows.  I am ready to go cruising if it is for nothing else other than chasing rays of sunshine and rainbows. 
I think it was in November when I finally took a deep breath and let go of all of the angst, and surrendered into the uncertaintity of it all.  This experience has totally changed my perception of the strength of our family.  I feel like I really know how strong we are, how loyal we are to each other and our vision., and truly believe in our ability to adapt to whatever comes our way.  Luckily I have Logan to remind me daily to be joyful, spontaneous, and forgiving.  He is such a little trooper and has adapted seamlessly (ok, maybe there was a bit of acting out when we first moved....but he missed his friends. Who can blame him, I was a bit grumpy myself).  Truly though he approaches each day with such zeal and excitement.  Everything is fleeting, happiness, saddness, but no matter what it is  simply one moment at a time.  Each independant of the next, no judgement, no clinging.  And my husband, well I can't say enough about him.  He has been amazing through this whole process, loving me despite all my tantrums. He continually goes out of his way to make sure I am comfortable, safe and most of all loved.  I am a very lucky woman, and find myself falling in love with him more and more everyday.  I absolutely love that we are rediscovering and redefining ourselves....together.

When looking back at the past 9 months, it has truly been a whirlwind (lots of fun and exciting things but a whirlwind nonetheless!).
 Here is our timeline: 

MARCH - Prepped house to rent as a  furnished rental, put all other belongings into garage for storage ( I had no idea what a big task this would be!). Moved onto the boat.  Went to Mexico on vacation for a week
APRIL -  Acclimating to the boat, fixing up interior to make things more livable.  Started an energy exchange at the local Bikram Yoga studio (work one day a week for free unlimited yoga)

MAY-  I went home to visit my family in Virginia for the first 3 weeks, while Gordon sailed to San Fran with a friend to deliver their boat. Two days after returning home from VA, Gord left for 5 days to sail  in the 'Swift Sure'Race in Victoria
JUNE-  4 days after returning home from Victoria, G left for 2 weeks to race in the 'Van Isle 360' on a friends
             boat. One week later we went 3hr south to Victoria for the weekend to celebrate a friends birthday.
 JULY-  We unexpectedly get notice that our friend that is renting our house is moving..... IN A MONTH!  This was a double blow as we were SO sad to see her go, AND it meant dealing with the house again.
 AUGUST - Has anyone noticed WE haven't been sailing yet??? Yes, the boat didn't move all summer because of  'transmission issues' It was quite a dissapointment, as well as the fact that summer still hadn't arrived in Campbell River yet.  It was STILLraining. We had to sort all of our belongings again and move them to an 8x10 storage unit........I NEVER WANT TO EXPERIENCE THAT AGAIN.  OMG I never realized we had so much useless stuff, and the sad part is that we are paying to store some of that stuff now!  We gave most everything away though, we no longer own any furniture, no bed. nothing!  It was quite a cleansing experience I must admit, and I highly recommend it (once it's over of course ;) End of August, we dragged our sorry, exhausted tails to the airport and headed back east to VA for some much needed R&R at my parents place for 2 weeks. Oh yeah, and on the way to the airport in Victoria we checked out and secured the slip we would be moving to in a month.
 SEPTEMBER-  Returned mid-month from VA, finalized all preparations for our first leg of our journey south.Verified slip vacancy at new marina, Gord got a new job at a hospital in Victoria, and the part missing pieces of the boat FINALLY put back together and we were mobile! Sept. 24th we left CR for a 3 day sail south to our new home, for the next year or two.
 NOV/DEC -  One trip home to CR tie up loose ends and visit friends. Winterizing the boat.  Otherwise taking a deep breath, finding our way around town, making friends, and reconnecting with old ones.
I know this was a long post, but I wanted to get caught up. We've had a lot of computer issues since September and it's made it difficult to keep up on things. I hope to be more disciplined and write more frequently about our experiences.  As long as this post is, there is so much that was left out.  Feels like this was just the tip of the iceberg and it doesn't justify the experience as there have been so so many beautiful moments along the way.  I feel like it is a bit of a 'dry'  no nonsense rundown of things and doesn't give the full picture of life we are living.  I am so  grateful that despite all the hard work it has taken that we have made this change in our lives. It has been truly transformative.......for all of us.