I am rich

Today, I turned 28 (for the 11th time). Har har.

When I look at my life today, I have nothing but gratitude for everything I’ve been blessed with. I’m married to the love of my life, we have a pair of healthy kids, I have family and friends who would do anything for me, I live in a gorgeous city, and have a great career and a business. My bucket is so full that it is over-flowing.

I don’t mind getting old. I feel like I’ve finally gotten old enough and comfortable enough in my own skin to own up to who I really am. I no longer try hard to impress or please others.

Today, I feel so rich.

Cliff made my fav--chirashi don.

Cliff made my fav–chirashi don.

Sav-2

After dinner, we hung out at the beach.

After dinner, we hung out at the beach.

Savanna picked out this iPod Shuffle for my birthday present. I love it!

Savanna picked out this iPod Shuffle for my birthday present. I love it!

Rustic no-knead bread

Lately I have been on the hunt for a good bread recipe. It has to have simple ingredients I can easily buy, and it cannot be time consuming. I think I have found THE ONE.

In terms of ingredients, it can’t get any easier than flour, salt, yeast, and water. Prep time is 5 minutes, if that. No kneading! Then you let it sit for 12-18 hours, and bake. It’s so good that I baked 8 loaves in 10 days.

You do need a cast iron pot with a lid. I used my 5Q Le Creuset dutch oven for this, and it’s perfect.

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3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F with the cast iron pot in the oven.
Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
Tonight I tried adding shredded oka cheese in the dough, and it turned out divine. I think you can add shredded cheese (whatever you have left over), likely some chives or green onion, or other chopped fresh herbs.
This is so simple that there’s no excuse to not make it. Caution: This thing is very dangerous while it is still warm. I cannot stop at just one slice.

I’m alive

That was a record. I didn’t blog for a whole month.

It wasn’t intentional, of course. I mainly blame the lack of time on work. Mid-January to late March is traditionally the busiest time for me at work. This year is no exception.

In the past month, other than work being crazy, I also started walking to work everyday. Well, let me back up a little bit. I got into a competition with a girl at work with our step counters. She is a fierce competitor. To have a chance to win at all, I decided to give up driving and just walk to/from work everyday. Luckily I am only 4.5 kilometres from work, so each way is only about a 45-minute walk. Just walking to/from work gets me at least 13,000 steps a day, exceeding my goal of 10,000 steps a day. Then sometimes I also go for a jog after the kids go to bed. Thanks to the competition, I’ve lost 8 pounds in 6 weeks so far.

In the little spare time between work, walking, and sleeping, I try to spend it all with the kids. While the amazing cherry blossoms were still out in March, I set up the tripod and remote for a few family photos.

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The kids are growing like weeds. Josh has been peddling around the neighbourhood with his bike (with training wheels), and he is all set for kindergarten in September. Savanna is a champ at using the toilet, and she will be going to preschool in September.

I have tried out a couple of new recipes in the last little while. I’ll try and find time to share them here in the next few days.

 

Sherry

It’s always an awesome problem when I open up a set of photos to edit and find too many good ones. That’s what happened with Sherry’s photos. I think I’ll be editing for quite a while.

While I’ve known Sherry for many years in her professional career as the friendly, helpful, and cheerful type, I never knew she has this hidden sultry side. She rocked her session and we had a blast.

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Winter in Winnipeg

I’ve never been to Winnipeg before. While I was really interested in seeing that city, I wasn’t too thrilled with going there in the middle of February. A conference I was attending happen to take place in Winnipeg this year, so off I go from the mild Vancouver with cherry blossom to the sub-zero Winnipeg.

Other than presenting a workshop and networking at the conference, I didn’t have a ton of responsibilities. In fact, my boss encouraged me to skip out a part of the agenda and go visit the Human Rights museum with her. It’s the first national museum to be built outside of Ottawa. I have to say, I was seriously impressed. The architecture is breathtaking, and the displays were so well done that I–as a non-museum lover–actually really enjoyed it. Too bad I only had my cell phone camera, which really doesn’t do the place any justice.

The amazing walkways connecting the exhibits.

The amazing walkways connecting the exhibits.

All the exhibits are connected by walkways like this.

All the exhibits are connected by walkways like this.

The start of the exhibits.

The start of the exhibits.

Looking out the window.

Looking out the window.

View from the top.

View from the top.

Visitor participation.

Visitor participation.

Visitor participation.

Visitor participation.

Being away for four days felt like forever away from the kids. By Friday, I was just dying to get home as my heart ached to hold them in my arms. Josh welcomed me home with a big hug and kisses. Savanna held onto my neck tightly, rubbing her face all over mine, and quietly chanted “mommy, mommy” like she didn’t believe I was actually home. For a good half an hour, she wouldn’t let me put her down. I held her, kissed her, and I cried. It felt like a giant hole in my heart is finally filled.

Winnipeg was a frozen tundra.

Winnipeg was a frozen tundra.

Happy to be home and holding my baby in my arms.

Happy to be home and holding my baby in my arms.

Norma

I remember when I first met Norma many years ago, she was this quiet and reserved young lady. We worked together for many years, and she never fail to amaze me with her intellect and work ethic. I sorely miss having a colleague like her.

Sometimes I forget that Norma is no longer a “kid”. She is now a mother of the most beautiful little girl who turns one this week.

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