We had been looking for a second dog when we got you. We’d come home empty handed from the SPCA and our neighbour said that their friend had pure bred border collies for sale but two weren’t selling. We could go look and get one for free if we liked. When we arrived we were shown the very border collie parents (neurotic) but you looked different. More like Bella, our border collie lab cross. Black with a bit of white and shorter hair. We weren’t sure if we were ready for a pure bred border collie but we fell in love with you. Even if your name was Batman at the time.

We named you Oscar on our drive home with you. You were named after Cam’s lunch box brand. It fit because you ate anything and everything. Plastic bags, tin foil and even pink fiberglass insulation. You made us sick with worry sometimes. Things got better once we switched you to a raw meaty bones diet.


It turns out we were likely right. Your mama must have strayed because you were definitely not all border collie. You were exactly what we’d wanted.

I still remember when we saw you through the kitchen window when we arrive home one day. You had your back legs on a chair and front legs on the counter and you were hoovering the cookies I’d made! You even went for one last mouthful as Cam reached for the cookies. We were SO mad but we also thought it was a bit funny. Puppies are like that.

Brand New Oscar

You drove your dog companion Bella crazy with your incessant puppy energy.

We were worried when we took you back country skiing for the first time and you ran the 10km skidoo ride in, bounced through the thick snow up and down and up and down all day and then ran the 10 km out. What worried us was that you didn’t seem tired at the end of the day!

Peeking over the fence

You were the fiercest mouser I’d ever met. Better than the cats we had at the time!

You were even able to catch squirrels and wild bunnies, which you proudly pulled apart piece by piece and ate, much to my disgust.


You never just randomly or annoyingly barked. You barked when someone was at the door or something’s not right. You made me, Lily and Leif feel safe when Cam wasn’t home. I can’t tell you how many times I reminded my kids (or myself) that if someone was to come into our house, we’d know about it because you’d let us know.

You slept on my bed with me before Lily was born. You were selfish with the space though and often kicked or elbowed me while I slept on a narrow edge of the bed. This oddly didn’t stop me from letting you come up.

Laid out on the couch

Lily could touch you, pet you and fall on you in the way that toddlers do and you were so tolerant. You helped teach Lily how to respect animals and their personal space without any grumpiness when she infringed by accident.

Everyone's tired of driving in the truck!

You were sensitive, in ways that a lot of other dogs aren’t. You were never quite the same when you and Bella were separated during six months we were not able to have you live with us. Bella was tragically killed shortly after she left us and we never saw her again. I hope you don’t think we just got rid of her.

You almost died in the care of someone else during that six months. I felt so guilty for not being able to have you stay with me during that time and so angry because I’d trusted that you would be kept safe and cared for. I found you another home for the rest of that period where you were VERY happy! You had other dogs to play with, hikes everyday and were loved. Your wound healed with that care. Still, I was happy to have you back with us when we were able to have you again.

Oscar trying to ignore me

You were always uneasy around the vacuum and whenever the garden hose was on.

Cam sometimes thought you were annoying because you weren’t as “cool” as Bella, who could and had practically done everything. She could cross raging rivers over narrow logs where you needed to be carried. She could wait for a landing helicopter and jump in with ease while heli-skiing while you were very occasionally motion sick driving in the truck. She would listen and obey without question, while you would allow your nose to take you further away when we called. I know that Cam loved you and especially needed you when his long time companion, Bella had died.

Saving Oscar

Your feet smelled like nachos. Seriously, it’s as weird to write that as it is to read it.

You always smelled good and almost never like “dog” or “wet dog” smell. You smelled almost sweet.

Back and forth on the shore

You liked scratches or harder brushes behind your ears and your neck but were really sensitive to any pressure on your back end. This was true even when you were younger. Things that make you go hmmm…

Daily play at the ball diamond

You were right by my side when I started to go into labour with Lily. Your attention could not be swayed. It wasn’t different when Leif was born except that you were there watching him come into this world. You and Cam. You greeted him with a gentle touch of your nose and a sniff.

You weren’t always when you were little but you became a very “easy” dog to have around. A real joy for friends to take care of. I think you had a standing welcome in Oona River whenever you wanted.

A boy and his dog

I remember the day you jumped up in excitement about going for a “car ride” and landed with a scream. You’d hurt your back. You need anti inflammatories but were never the same afterwards. Your back end muscles started to disappear and you weren’t able to move as well. I started to lift you into the truck each time. You got lighter and lighter to lift.

Eventually your two back legs ended up acting as one with the feet pressed together. You were having a harder time getting up.


It broke my heart when you started falling. At first it seemed like accidents like when you were running and went from the grass to the pavement but then it was when you got pushed over by another dog. Later still you started to fall every once and a while when not moving and without anything pushing you. I felt as helpless as you looked with your legs splayed on the floor. It took you longer and longer to get up with each fall.

Oscar chilling in the grass

I hated to watch you go up stairs with such effort and feared for you as you practically fell down them each time. You started to take longer to come downstairs after a night’s sleep. Sometimes it wasn’t until mid day that you would come down. You were sleeping a lot more…

I started to wonder if your hearing was going. You wouldn’t seem to hear but even a whisper of food or treats would make your ears perk up. You never lost your appetite and would remind us of supper with an intense stare and an excited bark.


You weren’t willing to go outside anymore if the weather was cool or wet. Of course you had to go to relieve yourself so I had to make you occasionally with a gentle push or bribe of a treat.

This old deeg of mine

Your favourite spots in the house are in your bed at the top of the stairs or next to my bed, on the floor pillows in the dining room or laid out on the hot floor of the sun room.


We’d been talking for about a year about how to know when the right time was to let you go. It was SO hard to talk about, much less make the actual decision. We talked with friend and the vet about it. We talked as a family about what would be best. We didn’t want to wait until things were so bad off that you were in a lot of pain. Honestly, I want for you what I’d want for myself. To die with dignity and with my loved ones around me.

You were my first deeg. You were my baby before I had babies. I still called you baby until the day you passed away.

This old dog

The vet came to our house since you never liked going to see them. You took your last peaceful breaths with me laying next to you. I stroked your fur, just how you like. You could see Cam and my eyes looking into your eyes as we told you we loved you. We all said goodbye.

The kids and I had a little fun recently remaking old photos that I took of them. I had to share!

It’s fun to see the how the kids and my photography have grown. My “before” photos were with my Pentax which I was very comfortable with- even if I was lacking in some basic skills like exposure… I still really love the “befores”. The “afters” are with my Canon, which I’m still trying to find my groove with.

Did I mention that I switched camera brands? It wasn’t because I don’t love Pentax, in fact I might even appreciate this under the radar brand a bit more now. The problem is Pentax doesn’t make the camera I want. But this is probably all best saved for another post.

Anyway, the light at our cabin in the below “before” shot is just so spectacular and the light the day we recreated this photo wasn’t that awesome. (Probably why we were remaking old photos to begin with!) It was super hard getting the right tilt of her head but Lily had a lot of fun sitting for the photo. I love how the pajamas she’s wearing were very similar to her “before” t shirt!




Remake Time!

Two year old Leif was so in the moment in the “before” photo that it would have been almost impossible to really duplicate. His six year old self was kind of on the fence about been willing to remake any of his photos but I think Lily’s enthusiasm rubbed off on him a bit. He was, however, very happy to see the afters and giggle with Lily and me!




Remake Time!

This might be my favourite remake of the three. Lily still has her orange hoop earrings but they wouldn’t go into her holes this day! So we updated the picture with her beloved feather earrings. It’s not hard to see the underexposure of the “before” shot.




117.365 Remake Time!

Have you ever thought about remaking old photos? Not only did we have a lot of fun but it was another exercise in learning with my camera. I look forward to more of these in the future.

This wasn’t at all what it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be vegetarian, made with butternut squash and chickpeas. I ended up making it with steak and yams! Is Jalfrezi ever made with steak? Regardless, it turned out so well and we were all so happy with the flavours. Here’s what I did:


Beef Jalfrezi

  • 1 Onion
  • 1 thumb sized piece of Ginger
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • bunch of Cilantro
  • 1- 2 tsp Garlic Chili Paste
  • 1 Steak (Tri tip or Sirloin or..)
  • 2 Peppers (any colour)
  • 1 large Yam, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup Jalfrezi or medium Curry Paste (I used Patak’s)
  • 1 Cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 28 oz can Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 ripe Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Lemon
  • Natural Yogurt
  1. In a food processer, process the onion, ginger, garlic and 90% of the cilantro, including the stalks.
  2. Slice the steak into strips and set aside.
  3. Heat a large pot or skillet on medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger mixture along with the garlic chili paste and cook for about 10 minutes or almost softened and golden. 
  4. Add the strips of steak and stir in, browning all sides. They don’t have to be all the way cooked.
  5. Add the peppers, yam and curry paste. Stir well to coat everything.
  6. Add the cauliflower, canned and fresh tomatoes and vinegar. Fill the tomato can halfway with water and add. Stir again.
  7. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on. Check the curry after 30 minutes and if it still looks a bit liquidy, leave the lid off for the remaining 15 minutes.
  8. When the yams are tender, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and lemon juice.
  9. Serve with yogurt on rice or quinoa and chopped cilantro. .

Lily is 10!

I feel like I’m always bowled over by my kids getting older. But seriously, this time… Double digits. Ten years ago I became a mother. I’m sorry but this is kind of astounding to me.

It’s a tradition that we sing Frances England’s You and Me every year on Lily’s birthday as the words are so apt.

Blowing Glitter

Click here to hear the song!

You & Me

You and me, happy as can be
Flying through the park on our bikes
On a Sunday afternoon

You and me, rolling on the floor
Practicing your somersaults, cartwheels,
You donkey kicks and more…

How did you grow so big overnight
How did you get so smart and bright
Yesterday you were asleep in my arms
Today you’re growing off the charts

I’m so proud of you

You and me, drawing pictures wild and free
While the paint goes flying,
Your big smile brightens up the room

You and me, reading books in bed
Your head on my shoulder,
You eyes on the pages ahead

How did you grow so big overnight
How did you get so smart and bright
Yesterday you were asleep in my arms
Today you’re growing off the charts

I’m so proud of you

This might have been Lily’s favourite birthday yet. Her best friend Lily V came to stay with us for the weekend but the birthday excitement actually started weeks before.

With all the work going into finishing the house for sale, I was worried about what Lily’s birthday would look like. I’d likely be looking to celebrate her birthday out at a park or otherwise away from my sparkling clean house. It’s hard to plan outdoor events though here because they often get rained out! Luckily our dear friend Kim thoughtfully stepped in and helped Lily plan an amazing birthday party. She even offered to host it at her house to safe me the grief! Thankfully our house was sold by her birthday and the party could resume here and it was a steller sunny day to boot!

Lily's Crazy Hat Crazy Lady Tea Party

A plan for a Crazy Hat Crazy Lady Tea party was then in the works. Lily made invitations and worked on a crazy hat for her big day. Lily’s hat had moss, flowers, fake birds and peacock feathers attached to it. Also planned was the cake (Chocolate Quinoa), music (Frances and Sarah), games (charades…), a photo booth and pop and mentos explosion.


So many great friends came to celebrate with us and we all had a wonderful time. Man, we are going to miss these friends when we move. We’ve done it before when we moved from the Kootenays and then from the island and it doesn’t get any easier. Our time in Prince Rupert has been our longest stay in one place in many years and my heart aches when I think of leaving it. I know the friendships don’t end when we move but I’ll miss seeing these good people as often as I do.


Lily, Averil, Lily, Gwen and Caterina Super hero

Caterina and Averil

Lily and Gwen

This weekend was also the weekend the carnival came to town. You might remember our first experience with the travelling carnival last year. Last year, we used a coupon for three rides for each child which seems laughable to me now. How careful I was about keeping the rides to that minimum! Perhaps at the time it made sense and didn’t have everything to do with my own motion sensitivity issues? Hopefully not. Hopefully Lily simply wasn’t as daring last year.

Best Friends Forever

This year both Lilys bought a wrist band allowing them on any and all rides for the day. I baulked at the exorbitant price but very quickly was ashamed of my resistance because it was exactly the right choice for my little daredevil. Those wrist bands were paid for in the first hour we were there.



(click on the above picture to see a shot of Lily’s face the first go around on this ride. Once you click, then scroll down.)

I was motion sick just watching them line up for all the rides! A few of them the girls went on back to back without getting off. The ride operators were for the most part friendly, perhaps a bit too friendly at times, once coming over to chat me up while the line up stood and stared at us. Scandalous!

Was this their ninth or tenth time on this ride?

I can’t say I was sorry to see the carnival go, even when I think of the fierce joy shining out of both Lilys faces. All the noise, and people were really over stimulating but the carnival only comes once a year. Might as well enjoy it.


I actually thought I’d be writing a post tonight about my house being on the market and the madness of keeping it tidy to show to prospective buyers. Instead I write to say that we listed the house at the same time we were presented with an offer. It was an offer we could not refuse, in small part to save myself the grief of turning my house into a show home until the offers rolled in. So we accepted the offer and a mere two days later the conditions were off and the sale is final.

It’s actually kind of weird. We’ve been working on one project or another in order to finish the house for the last four months, well longer really but focusing all our time for the last four months and it sells before our realtor even has a chance to take interior or exterior photos!

Of course I can’t leave without taking some pictures of this beloved home of ours.

Living Room

Living Room

We put in bamboo hardwood throughout the main floor. The original layout of the house didn’t include an upstairs and had an extra wall here and there so it was nice to remove any transitions between the current room layout. We are so happy with how it turned out.

Dining Room

One of the major changes we made to our house was to completely gut the bathroom. I’ve always described the previous bathroom as “hideous”. It had brown and beige subway tile on the floor, mismatched 80’s floral tile in the bath enclosure and it felt like you stepped into a trailer’s bathroom. The finishing work on this house wasn’t great so it was a joy to take it out and put everything all back together properly.

We’d purchased an old claw foot tub from another house renovation quite some time ago and we finally brought it up to our hoarded-in sun room to be refinished. We took great care and left it to bake for more than a week.


New Bathroom New Bathroom

Cam built a chopping block countertop to replace some terribly built set of drawers in the kitchen. Did I mention that the previous owners weren’t great builders? Ugh. You can tell what they hired out and what they did on their own and we took pains to replace their “handiwork”.


I’m really excited about the new owners of our home. They happen to be very good friends who I know will make this a home for their growing family and enjoy it like we did. We will be handing over the keys and on our way to our new home my mid June! Until then we can rest easy knowing we don’t have to show our home and can get back to our normal lives of exploring the outdoors, spending time with friends and each other.

Tick tock tick tock… Time is ticking down until our house will be put on the market. We’ve been working and working on finishing the house and preparing it to be shown. We’re so close now and I’m very much looking forward to getting back to real life where we are away from the house exploring and having a good time.

Our friends recently sold their house, as their time in Prince Rupert has also come to an end, and it was encouraging to see how smoothly the process went for them. I felt sad that they were leaving and I’m honestly feeling really sad about leaving as well. I love Prince Rupert and the friends and community we made here. :(

Anyway, on to sharing a recipe. We eat a lot of salad in this house, especially now that spring is here and the days are getting longer. This dressing recipe comes from the Hollyhock Cookbook and is one of our favourites. I keep promising to share this recipe with all my friends, so here it is:


Sesame Maple Salad Dressing

  • 1 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/3 cup Tamari
  • 1/3 cup Safflower Oil (or Sunflower)
  • 3 tbsp Sesame Oil
  1. Blend all ingredients together except the oils. While blending, slowly add the oils to combine.
  2. OR place all in a mason jar with a lid and shake, shake, shake!