Anatomy of a Birthday Cake V 4

June 22, 2016

Here we are again (and again, and again, if you so desire). Another party, another cake, another story of how flour, eggs and butter become birthday magic. Only this time, Little e is old enough to help. It’s her brother’s cake, after all, and she takes it as seriously as she does all the rest of his things (that is: they are all hers first, not matter what).




I will admit I was a little nervous offering to let her help. At four-and-a-half, she’s often more hindrance than help in the kitchen, more fingers in the mixing bowl than volunteer dishwasher. And that’s fine. That’s expected. But with a time crunch (cake must be iced and assembled while birthday boy naps and before guests arrive), I wasn’t sure how well it would go. Would there be candy everywhere? Arguments about sticky fingers in the icing bowl? Morsels of cake going missing?

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So far. 8

June 15, 2016

It has been four and a half months since our littlest (and last!) was born. I thought you might like to know how we’re getting on…




Throughout the pregnancy this baby felt very different to the other two. We didn’t know her gender, so that was a constant source of pondering (a.k.a betting amongst family members). She gave ferocious, impressive kicks, every jab showing as she faced the “wrong” way – her spine to mine. Her chosen position proved problematic during the exiting process but I’ll spare you the details. These days she has the same penchant for doing things contrarily – only rolling from back to tummy instead of the other way around, which is the more common. Her diet preferences are Mum, thanks and Mum’s preferences are cake, so I think she is about 33% cake at this point. We’ve just started solids and she’s very keen on that business. I gave her a concoction that included broccoli, pea and spinach and she wolfed it down. We did a little baby to Mama fist bump about that. Her other recent development is making utterly delightful squeals. She’s been a bit less noisy and giggly than my other two, so far, so the squealing is quite addictive. While she might be more discerning with laughter she dishes out grins willy-nilly. She grins with her entire face – mouth, eyes, cheeks, ears. I call it the “you’re my favourite person in the world!” look. She gives it to her sisters, visitors, the butterfly kite hanging from her ceiling, the laundry basket and the couch. Indiscriminately cheerful. Perhaps world leaders should be made to cuddle smiling, squealing newborns every morning before starting the day. Surely the world would be a more peaceful place.

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Tofino: Haiku Love 4

June 8, 2016

A few years ago (yikes! years?!) I posted a sort of love poem to Vancouver, that city we love and left and still go back to whenever we can. And not that long ago, we here at F&F posted haiku weekly. Remember that? I miss those days. So I’m resurrecting the haiku habit for a bit of a love poem to the west coast of Vancouver Island, the little town of Tofino specifically, where we spent a calm and sandy few days not long ago. A private and historical island was open to the public (free boat rides!) for only that weekend, and the weather was uncharacteristically, brashly, hot and sunny. The kids were in heaven. The food was, as usual, worth photographing and eating out of order (ice cream before dinner, anyone?). Here’s to you, Tofino. With love.




Adventure awaits

just beyond the laburnum;

watch me chase it down.





Sandy toes, clam shells

and bull kelp stretched like noodles

(lasagna, not spaghetti).





Locked tight until fingers

pry it apart, the clam shell:

a surprise of nothing.





Happening upon

messages from other parents:

demand or desire?





Logs washed ashore

in fierce west coast storms: bleached, beached,

sun-warmed tree ghosts.


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…And…your turn! How would you haikaption this photo? Leave a haiku or just a comment–hearing from you makes our day!






Puffin List 1

June 1, 2016


“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury


Ah travel, my old lover, I still remember you. Your dark-eyed exoticness, your mysteriousness. The fights we had, how wonderful it was to kiss and make up. The way you confronted me, the way you shared something beautiful just when I least expected it; the gifts and the challenges. I remember you when I am shouting at my kids to go to bed / get out of the bath / get dressed / not put wet cereal on the walls. I remember you when I am trying to go to the toilet by myself or have a shower without someone coming in to tell me they NEED! a snack. I remember you when folding laundry, packing lunch boxes, contemplating the leaking windows or the slowly rotting house piles. I remember our romance.


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Everyone’s Cookies 1

May 25, 2016

You know those recipes floating around the web for homemade store-bought things? Like oreo cookies or ice cream sandwiches or animal crackers? So good, right? I, for one, love to feel I’ve won over the food corporations by one-upping them at their own game. So let us visit a staple of childhood around here and then make it so, so much better. (And don’t feel bad for the poor store-bought cookie we’re going to leave in the dust; at some point store-bought cookies were imitations of something homemade, right? We’re just coming full circle.)


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Who remembers—and/or still eats—Dad’s Cookies? Those sweet, crispy oatmeal cookies, sometimes with chocolate chips, sometimes without (but always best with) that came in rows wrapped in that yellow package. There’s that caramelly flavour and satisfying hint of salt. Tooth-aching sweetness, but a crunch that has you eating more than you probably should.


Well, these are not Dad’s Cookies. They’re Everyone’s Cookies, and you should make them for everyone you know. They have the same nostalgic, oaty goodness, but with chew (so if you prefer the crunch, get ye some Dad’s; on that point these deviate). The sweetness is dialed down a little and the coconut comes through more. Good quality chocolate chips also really shine here. So far, they’re the cookie I’ve had the most recipe requests for.

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