Sunday, 17 May 2015

Hawaii Four-0

I've always had a notion that it might be easier to turn 40 on a beach somewhere, sipping a Mai Tai.  After all, many things are easier on a beach somewhere, sipping a Mai Tai.  So for my milestone birthday in April, I packed my bags and my baby and headed for Maui.

Mr Super Traveller

Unfortunately, I failed to pack my driver's licence or credit card.  Oops!  I discovered this at the check in counter when I tried to pay for my luggage.  Mom, who had joined me at YVR, was less than impressed.  But not surprised, I suspect. 

We got changed into our Hawaiian gear before landing.  Even Throckmorton.

Derek was not able to come on this trip, but I had two other fantastic fellow travellers: Mom, who joined us in Vancouver, and Bronwyn, who met us in Maui. Neither of them wanted to be my chauffeur or sugar-mama, so Derek got right on the task of sending my cards by courier.  

We quickly fell into a very chill morning routine.  B & I would go for a run through Wailea, finishing up at the Honolulu Coffee Co, where we would meet Mom for our morning Nutty Hawaiian Latte.  Finley came along for the ride, which was a pretty slow ride going up the hills!

After our coffees we would walk back along the water & I like to jump in the water at Keawakapu beach to cool off.  Finley, however, did not like it the first time I did that!  Here he is, trying to save me from the unseen dangers for the ocean.  If this blog had sound effects, you would be muting this picture.

I took advantage of the freedom afforded by having two excellent babysitters with me.  I've wanted to do my rescue diver course for a long time, so I finally did it.  It was a fun course and I learned a lot.  I spent my the morning of my 40th birthday pulling my instructor up to the surface, doing in water rescue breaths and pulling him up on the beach.  It was a fair work-out!  No photos of my course - it was too full on to stop for a photo op!

However, I will share some pics of what Finley got up to with his grandma & auntie:

1. Ate bacon.  Approximately one pound.

 2.  "Walked" it off.

 3. Ate chocolate.

It would be fair to say that he really enjoyed his time with them.... As long as they didn't try to take him to the beach or the pool.  These were not popular places with Finley, making me temporarily wonder if I really bore this child!

Our first beach trip was to Secret Beach, which is quite aptly named.  On the day we visited, there was only one other group there.

Secret beach, all to ourselves

As you can see, Finley was not overjoyed.  Perhaps he was embarrassed to be seen with his mommy in her "sporty" sunglasses.

Auntie Bronwyn tried to lure him into having some fun with sandcastles....

 But he maintained a death grip on me while proclaiming "All done beach".

I thought he might warm up to the beach as the trip wore on.... Well, we did manage to get to the point where he didn't cry at the beach.  As long as you let him stay in his stroller.  Here he flashes a rare beach smile for the camera.

The pool wasn't any more successful.  He was OK with hanging out on the edge of the pool, perhaps sticking a foot in, but that was it.  I wonder if he saw that same James Bond movie that traumatized me as a kid... the one where the woman is swimming in a pool and the villain somehow solidifies the surface while she is under water.  That's all I remember about it, but it scared me!

"Bye bye" to the pool and "all done" at the beach... you are probably wondering if he liked Maui.  I think he did.  We did lots of great walks, hung out on the lanai, played with the doors in the condo, and found an amazing playground.  Not to mention eating off the Keiki menu at some local dinning spots.

I had a great birthday, which we celebrated by eating and drinking!  Bronwyn and I had birthday shave ice from Ululani's, a fabulous shave ice place in Kihei.  I went to town & got ice cream and mochi on mine!  Yum.  I requested that we do the shave ice as a sort of tropical version of a birthday cake.  Little did I know that mom & Bronwyn had planned a surprise for me after dinner: coconut cream pie & lilokoi cream pie.  Triple birthday treats!  I remember hearing something about how one's metabolism speeds up at age 40. 

We ate in on my birthday as my dive course had taken up a good chunk of the day.  However, a few days later we had a very special treat (talk about stretching my birthday luck!) - lunch at Mama's Fish House.  This is one of those places that you think couldn't possibly be up to all the hype, or possibly worth the price.  It is and it is!  The food is amazing and the views are pretty hard to beat.  We got a front row beach front table.

My meal: Ahi tuna

Mom & Bronwyn both had stuffed Mahi Mahi

Finley's meal (his choice!)


Our view - WOW!

We did more than eat, believe it or not!  I went for a dive on the West side of the island (over by Lahaina).  The dive boat was supposed to go to Lanai, where I dove once before, but the weather prevented us.  That was disappointing - Lanai is famous for its lava caves & black coral.  Hopefully next time I'll have more success.

Here is one of the last photos I took before I killed my "waterproof" camera

Bronwyn spent her evenings taking gorgeous sunset photos from various beaches around Wailea.

An artist at work
My sunset photos sometimes look like this...

But often I was just lazy & took a photo from the lanai while I hung out with mom & shared a beer with...

It seemed like the trip flew by, then suddenly it was time to head back home.  I can't wait until next year when we can continue the beach & pool exposure therapy with Finley!  Big Mahalos to Mom & Bronwyn for looking after Finley while I took some "me" time to rest my weary 40 year old bones!

He looks like a surfer dude, right?


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Cookbook Challenge: comfort foods for the winter that wasn't

With apologies to the rest of Canada,  (who hate us west-coasters at the best of times),  this winter has been more like spring.  BBQ has seen more action than the slow-cooker.  As a skier, I am brazen enough to complain about the warm winter we had, which doesn't tend to get a lot of sympathy from anyone.  If only we could ship some snow from the Maritimes onto the top of Whistler.

Skiing with Rich in Feb

This is what the hill normally looks like in April or May, not February!

But even in a comfortable winter, I love comfort foods.  Winter is the best time to indulge in soups and stews.  I didn't get this when I was little, and would beg my mom to make lasagna and meatloaf in July.

Cookbook Challenge 25: South Indian Lentils & Vegetables from The Complete Book of Indian Cooking by Shehzad Husain and Rafi Fernandez

That is a bit of a mouthful.  This is a big book which I brought home from India with me in 1997 as a gift for my mom.  I have conveniently forgotten how heavy my backpack was, but I'm sure if this was my idea of a good souvenir, it was a seriously heavy bag!

After owning it for awhile & not using it, my mom gave it to me and occasionally asks me to make Indian food.  I have not been very adventurous, but the book actually has lots of great looking recipes.

The one I chose was hardy and yummy and easy to make.  Also, Finley liked it, which is a huge score these days.  It's one of those kitchen sink kind of meals where you can throw in whichever veggies you happen to have on hand.

Cookbook Challenge 26: French Onion Soup from Heartsmart cooking for Family and Friends by Bonnie Stern

I don't know where this book came from.  Other than Jaime Oliver, I think Bonnie Stern is the cookbook author most represented on my shelf.  Her stuff is always reliable - tastes good, easy to prepare and healthy.

I've never been into French Onion Soup, but Derek and my in-laws are serious connoisseurs.  I made this especially for Derek.  I mostly just liked the cheesy bread on top!

Cookbook Challenge 27: Chicken Pot Pie from "Dinner: A love story", by Jenny Rosenstrach

This wonderful book was a gift from my sister Briana.  It's part cookbook, part journal, part guide on how to bring your family & besties together to eat, drink and be merry.  This idea really strikes a chord with me - growing up, we ate dinner together pretty much every night.  The whole family, and often boyfriends and friends too.  It was so great to all sit down & catch up on our day, laugh & joke and eat good food.  Not to get super geeky here, but research shows that the benefits of families eating together are huge - improved communication, relationship building, more nutritious food, modelling manners.  Obviously that is pretty much why my siblings and I are models of healthy, polite and communicative human beings!

Anyway, back to the book.  It's great.  She also has a blog:  Thanks Briana for introducing me to this great book & blog.

Chicken pot pie is comfort food through and through.  It was delicious!

At our house, Finley is not quite on the same eating schedule as us, but we have most breakfasts together and dinner a few times a week.  Sometimes a guy likes to be independent at his own little table though: 

Cookbook Challenge 28: Indonesian Chicken from Whitewater Cooks with Passion, by Shelley Adams

This is cookbook author who is the third most represented on my shelf (I think this is incorrect grammar, but I can't seem to figure out the right way to say it).  I got this book for Christmas.  As compared to the first three whitewater books, my initial flip through this book didn't light me on fire.  The recipes looked good, but nothing special.    Finally I had to just jump in.  I made the Havana Chicken, but I won't blog about that one as it was only OK, it was burned, and I got a bad burn and did an F-bomb dance on the back porch while BBQing it.  

My friend recommended the Indonesian chicken.  It was easy and delicious and no sensitive ears were harmed in the making of this dinner.  

Here's what I've been doing instead of skiing this "winter": LOVING my new bike!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Hello... is anyone out there?!

I've been a very negligent blogger lately.  I am shocked to see that my last blog post is over two months old.  Up until that point, 2014 was shaping up to be a decent blog year for Throckmorton & I.  Not incredibly prolific, but a steady output never the less.  Then boom!  We disappear.

Well, not to worry, as we are back!

It's Monday evening, but it feels like Sunday, as we have just enjoyed a long weekend.  Today is "Family Day" in B.C.  It is wonderful to have a long weekend in February, and I think it might be the most relaxing long weekend of the year.  As opposed to the glorious warm summer long weekends, where the impulse is to get out of town, travel, camp, bike, cram the maximal enjoyment into 3 little days off, a long weekend in February says "Hey, it's cold out there.  Slow down.  Sleep in.  Have another cup of tea."  Which is mostly what we did.

I won't lie, I would've like to have spent my long weekend on my skis.  But it has been a dreadful season at Whistler.  It's been one Pineapple express after another.

We had one snowy weekend in town, but it didn't last long.

I started Family Weekend at work, helping to welcome a new baby girl to the world.  It was a lovely start to the weekend especially as it was a long-time patient of  mine and I also got to help deliver her first daughter 2 years ago.  Many congrats to them!!

The rest of the weekend was spent with our little family.  We had a yummy brunch on Saturday - pancakes & egg muffins (new recipe!)  I snuck out for a quick soggy ride while Finley napped.  In the evening Derek & I went out for a lovely date while our nanny looked after Finley.

Sunday we met up with some of Finley's friends at Little Sneakers.  Imagine a gymnasium filled with balls, climbing structures, ride-on toys & little cars, bikes etc.  Now add 25 or so children.  Mayhem.  Finley loves it!

Today I had the bright idea to take Finley down to the Aquarium.  It was raining.  It was a holiday.  I'm not sure what part of me thought that I alone came up with the idea of taking my kid to the Aquarium.  It was completely nuts!  I think there were more kids than fish today.

Finley hasn't been to the Aquarium before & I thought he'd be pretty excited to see fish, belugas, dolphins, frogs, otters.   But no, it turns out that the doors & stairs at the Aquarium are far more exciting than the exhibits!  We met up with his buddies Sam & Robbie and for a while they were entertained with a marine-themed sing-a-long.  He was starting to lose his patience when they announced that we were going to sing Baby Beluga.  Finley knows that song & we often sing along to our book before bed.  Unfortunately, when the band-leader produced her copy of the book, Finley was quite upset to see it.  He didn't understand how this Aquarium employee got her hands on HIS book.  Much crying and grabbing at the employee ensured.  We took our leave.

We stopped to say Bye to the belugas on the way out.  Thank to Briana & Ted for the annual membership.  We have many Aquarium visits in our future!