Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tortilla-Making

Homemade Tortilla

When I lived in Honduras, there was a family who sent out their daughter every evening, to sell tortilla's door-to-door. She came knocking, basket in hand with stacks of corn tortilla's covered in linen.

Tegucigalpa, at the time still recovering from Hurricane Mitch, sold the tools for tortilla-making in every market; a wooden press and a crudely cut tin plate.

Tortilla Tools

Meseca Corn Flour happened to be available at our local Fresh Co. The recipe written on the side of the bag resulted in clumpy dough, so we added some more water for the right consistency. You're not going for pancake batter sloppy but rather for 'clean' playdough consistency. You can adjust the recipe adding more flour or water as necessary, since these are the only ingredients needed!

Then you cut two circles out of a sturdy sandwich bag material. These will serve as a smooth tool to peel your flattened corn ball from the press to the pan.

Corn Ball

O is demonstrating how to use the press;)

Framma sent us home last week with Edamame Hummus, so we grilled our tortilla's and topped with this Asian style hummus. 
Very Yum.
Now we have to get this recipe from Fram to post here;)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Getting to Know You: City Bus & Library

 First City Bus Ride

Kudo's to Cambridge for being so user-friendly!
In our 'Getting to Know You' themed week, we started with a bus ride downtown to the Cambridge Library, now referred to as IDEA/EXCHANGE http://ideaexchange.org/ since it doubles as an art gallery and public learning space.
This was O & Baby C's first city bus ride.
They liked the 'no car seat' factor!

 Happy Rider

Downtown Cambridge is beautiful, particularly by the water.
We crossed the River Bridge to get to IDEA/EXCHANGE.

 River Bridge

The library/gallery interior boasts trendy industrial interiors; one part library, one part art space.

 Gigantic Lobby Art

The third floor is designated especially for children.
Not only do they have seasonal programs open to the public, tons fabulous reads in store (O picked 'A Second is a Hiccup' http://www.scholastic.com/browse/book.jsp?id=4570
and they give our Library Cards to children from birth onwards without a limit on the time used, simply for the pleasure of reading!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Metropolis to Mennonite

 Horse & Buggy Parking

You know you are not in Shanghai anymore when there is Horse & Buggy Parking at the TSC Store!

Morning Bike Ride

St.Jacob's Market is a 20-minute drive from our new nest.
We didn't really plan it this way, but it's absolutely convenient.
Hubby and I used to frequent St. Jacob on Saturday's, pre-babes.
So it was fun to return with two in tow and show them around the veggie stands and animal auction.

Outdoor Market

Child of my own heart is a fan of the 'natural sugars'.
Her first bite of a Maple Sugar snack!

 Pure Sugar Cookie

 The Great Giraffe


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Week of Firsts

 
 First Flight

Baby's first year is a whirlwind experience.
But Baby C takes the cake this week, with some serious 'first's'!
First time flying (in which she slept in the baby carrier for 12 out of 14 hours!)

First Move

Not many babes can say their first time moving house was from China to Canada!
 

First Time Crawling (in forward direction!)

Lo and behold, much like her big sister, Baby C began crawling (in a forward direction) just after we moved in. Carpet traction is absolutely in her favour! She used to just spin circles on hardwood flooring!

First Time in Carseat

China's laws do not insist on car seats (and vehicles rarely leave out seatbelts) so Baby C has had her first experience in a car seat.  She's none-to-thrilled about it, unless deep in slumber.


First Swing

By the sweet little smirk on her cute little face, the swing is a much-needed break from said car seat!

 First Time meeting Auntie's...

Since all of our family resides in Canada, it was a week filled with meeting relatives for the very first time.

 ...and Coz Clan!


Hoppy Spring


Pot 'o Eggs

O has always experienced Easter festivities, even in Buddhist China, in the form of our own Easter Bunny at home and an annual city-wide Egg Hunt in Shanghai. But the poor babe has never experienced egg painting!
Good Friday we snuck into my BFF's home and piggy-backed onto their plans.
O had a go at this age-old tradition.

Colour

The art of dying.

Shrink-Wrapping

The science of shrink-wrapping designs.


The results were colourful and unique!

As a kid, I remember going to Dundas Driving Park for Easter Egg Hunts. I called up my sister, mother of the cutest nephew on the planet and asked if they wanted to join us in the park.
As it turned out, there was no Egg Hunt, but there were wood chips, which apparently are more tasty anyways!
Planet's Cutest Nephew

Next stop was our family Easter party, where there WAS an Egg Hunt in store!


Good time had by all!

Hello Home: Moving In

 A week of 'First's'
We're here, in the place we're calling 'home'.
It's odd to think that 'home' is a foreign place now.
Roots are beginning fresh.

 Grass Happy

O is just happy to be allowed to play in the grass, rub charcoal on her face and drink bathwater.
She already has a collection of sticks by the front door and brings me rocks in the form of gravel;)
These things are good..and I am happy for the girls because it would be horrible to have a childhood without nature.

Big Backyard

Our little home is crying for loads of love, so we've already begun stripping away the old...

 Future Kids Hideaway

 Future 'Industrial' Kitchen

 Future Computer Cubby

 Future Sewing Space

 Future Spa Bath

 Future Woodworking Den

 Future Cold Celler

 Future Entrway

Future Library & Art Space

...stay tuned for the new and improved.

Good-Bye, Shanghai


 We've got some packing to do...



Saying good-bye to Shanghai has come with very mixed feelings.
Like the Robert McCloskey book 'Time of Wonder',
 “ ...a little sad for the place you are leaving...a little glad for the place you are going.”

When we moved here 6 years ago, we intended to stay.
Shortly after having our babies, we knew we would eventually leave.
Inevitably, we will be back this way in three years time, for whom we originally came for.

 By Ship...

....and Air

Hubby and I have spent the past few months reminiscing about this city and how we started here.
We came with four suitcases and recently packed up 64 boxes to be shipped home.
How we knew not a word of Mandarin (“I want to buy water…I can’t say any of those words!”) and how these days the taxi drivers laugh when we throw in some local slang in our exchanges with them.

Originally we got around on one bike, China-style with me riding side-saddle on the back…we graduated to pedicabs  and subways. Then when our children were born, vowed only to take taxi’s around town and fumbled about to the groaning of the drivers, for seat belts and buckles stowed away.

We came with connections to no one, just one job contract and a small concrete apartment up five flights of stairs. Our very first year, we lived in an area where we were the sole foreigners and when we moved in, everyone for miles was informed.  My students used to caress my arm hair, as they had never seen a foreigner in person, let alone touched one.

In the weeks before heading ‘home’, Adam was out regularly for good-bye lunches with employees while both babies and I were gathering with my old colleagues, play date pals and LLL friends.
Over the years we have watched many friends come and go; such is the nature of life abroad.
It feels very surreal that it’s now our turn.

We’ve been far from our families at times of loss and returned home for celebrations and farewells.
Living abroad has stretched our marriage and our minds, forcing both to grow and learn. In our case, living in China has expanded our family from two to three to four…Our babies put new meaning to “Made In China” They carry birth certificates in characters and several stamps in their passports.

 

The walls and halls are empty and echoing.
Good-bye, Shanghai.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Antique Walking Street

Dongtai Lu

Most days we go about things forgetting where we live and what's around each corner.
It was a sunny Sunday, so we decided to visit a cultural cornucopia; Shanghai's Antique Walking Street.
There is ample opportunity for learning from a short walk around.

Weaving skills from men making beds...

 

...costume, clothing and tapestry...
 

 ...instruments & music...

...religion & ritual...
 Buddha Busts & Prayer Beads

..and loads of Chinese politics & history...