Monday, May 3, 2021

Blooming in April


Many mornings you can find me nose-deep in flowers, still half asleep and barefoot, but inhaling flower scents nonetheless. I don't need coffee to wake me up. All  need is dew on my toes, sniffing a rose, pollen up my nose.

It's true: most mornings I roll out of bed and head out to the garden. Admittedly, I need to tend to the dogs first: Raka, the big dork, acts like she hasn't eaten in days, and she will let you know in no uncertain terms. Hazel, the little dog, freaks out every morning like she hasn't seen me in months, so I need to reassure her that I am indeed here to stay for the long haul.

Dogs thusly fed and assured, we step out the front door, where usually a brisk wind rattles our ears. The dogs pee and chase the bunny while I administer my daily inspections: how many millimeters has each plant grown since yesterday? How many more degrees did a flower bud open?




When we first moved here a little over a year ago, there were only two small Rhododendrons. Before doing anything at our new place, I spread compost around the house's foundation and planted lots of things I had dug up from our Marblemount Homestead.

Why pay for new plants if you can just steal their babies?

Almost all of the things you can see in these photos were either divisions of old plants, gifts from fellow gardeners, or plants grown from seeds scattered on the Earth in spring. 

 





Truly, dear reader, growing a lush flower garden doesn't need to be expensive. 

I do have to admit, though, that Old English roses are one of my weaknesses (together with dark chocolate, a nice silk yarn, and puppy kisses). So whenever there is a thing to celebrate (Mother's Day! It's coming up! Steve!!! Kids!!!! Are you reading this????), I like to go to Christianson's, my favorite nursery dangerously close to our house. They have an AMAZING assortment of everything, including Old English roses.

I could spend days there. 

Someone please forward this to my husband Steve, and maybe he'll see my oh-so-subtle hints. 

 





What are you growing nowadays?
 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

A very special Earth Day - Hope Island

The other day was Earth Day. The first thing my husband and I ever bonded over was the Earth. 20 years ago we met shoveling cow manure at a dairy, and as we both worked side by side, scooping up steaming piles of you-know-what, we talked. And after we finished cleaning up after the cows, we kept talking. And talking.

One of the things I learned about him then was that he was equally as adventurous as I was, and also equally in love with Nature. That's when I fell in love with him a little bit, although I was engaged to someone else at the time.

Over the span of two months, we kept talking. He borrowed my motorcycle so I could drive his truck in the cold March weather instead of shivering on my bike. He took me rock climbing at Clayton Beach. We kept talking. Very soon, I broke off my engagement with the other guy, and the rest is history, as they say.

20 years later, our love for the Earth keeps our relationship alive, adventurous and flourishing. Earth Day we spent kayaking.



We paddled to Hope Island, my new favorite place on Earth, covered with a magical old growth forest, tons of flowers, and layers of memories of Native American people who have surely worshipped this place for eternity before White people stole the land from them.

Steve and I walked on the island asking the spirits for permission to enter, and they must have granted it. The whole day we spent there all by ourselves we both felt immensely grateful and reverent.

We also found a rare Calypso Orchid.  Steve named his habitat restoration business after the Calypso Orchid, because it only is found in pristine, undisturbed forests. He plants trees for a living to restore salmon spawning habitat, and his vision is to plant trees that will grow into mature forests where these flowers can thrive.

Here she is:


These pictures of our beautiful Earth don't really need my words, so I'm gonna shut up and let them speak for themselves.

 

How did you spend Earth Day?

















 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Dairy Free Banana Cream Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream

Okay, you guys, I gotta tell you something: If you are trying to eat better to improve your health but you don't want to skip the good stuff, I have an amazing recipe for you. 

It comes from a book called "Thug Kitchen - eat like you give a f*ck". It's a vegetarian cookbook unlike any I've ever seen, mostly because there is a lot of swearing in it. You might be offended by it, but I think it's awesome, because I have a potty mouth myself, and because their recipes are AMAZING.

Let me show you the banana cream pie I made, adapted from Thug Kitchen.


Granted, it's not the prettiest pie in the world, but it's so tasty! My kids swooned over it, and the reason I don't have great photos of it is because it got devoured in a millisecond by my whole family.

I've been grieving over the loss of dairy in my diet. I mean: no cheese??? Whipping cream???? I have a soft spot for whipping cream. So when I learned that you can whip up coconut milk, and it tastes even better than the real thing, my life changed.

Wanna try it?

Here you go:


Banana Cream Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream

 

First bake Crust all by itself:


1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup white and 1/2 cup whole wheat)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup refined coconut oil (it needs to be solid, not liquid)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 Tablespoons almond milk or oat milk or soy milk (more if you use some whole wheat flour because it absorbs more moisture)

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a pie plate.

In a food processor like Cuisinart or by hand, mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix it til it looks like coarse sand.

Add olive oil and 2 Tablespoons almond/oat/soy milk until it dough comes together. Add more milk if it still looks dry. Now press that dough into your pie plate, covering the bottom and the sides.

Line the inside of the crust with foil, and put dried beans on top of that til it's half way filled up to the rim. This is a process that bakes the crust correctly. I know it's weird, but just do it. 

Put it in the oven for 12 minutes. Then take it out of the oven, remove the foil and beans, and put it back into the oven for another 12 or 15 minutes. Let it cool.

Make the Vanilla Custard Filling:


1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
1 cup almond milk or oat milk or soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas

In a saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar and salt. Whisk 1/3 cup of the coconut milk, and mix it well so that there are no clumps in it. Now whisk in  all the coconut milk that's left over, and the almond/oat/soy milk, and also the vanilla.

Now you are making the custard. Put the pot over medium-high heat and stir continuously for about five minutes until you see bubbles and it gets gravy-like consistency. 

Turn the heat down to medium-low, so the mixture can thicken, while you keep scraping the bottom and sides with a spatula to avoid pudding skin. You do this for 7 to 10 minutes until it looks like firmer pudding. I did this, and it wouldn't thicken up, so I just added some more cornstarch.

Slice the bananas into 1/2-inch pieces and put them into the crust, on the bottom and up the sides. Pour the warm custard on top of all that.

Cover and put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight, but good luck on that, because that pie will be gone before you know it.

Make the whipping cream

1 can of coconut milk (cold)
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

This takes some planning! Put a can of coconut in the fridge for a whole day or overnight. It needs to be nice and cold. 
 
Put a bowl and beaters of a mixer into the freezer for 15 minutes to have it all really cold.

Take the coconut milk out of the fridge and DON'T SHAKE IT UP! Scoop all the solid white stuff of the coconut milk out into a bowl, and leave the liquid at the bottom to use for another thing like smoothies.
 
Add 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and beat it all on medium-high speed for one or two minutes.
 
 

Now eat it!!!!


It takes some doing, this pie... But it's worth it. Let me know how it goes for you!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

This is very vulnerable and scary to share for me

 Hi there, happy Sunday!

I want to tell you something really, really vulnerable, and it’s scary for me to share this here. But I feel like I NEED to share it. And I’m telling you not so that you’ll feel sorry for me, but for a specific reason, and you’ll see in a minute why.

Ready? Okay... Deep breath... Here it goes:

My childhood was pretty rough. I grew up in a house where our grandparents lived with us, and my grandfather was literally an alcoholic axe murderer. He had killed several of his pets in a rage, and he kept threatening to kill his wife, our grandma. I was and still am a very sensitive soul who picks up on everyone’s feelings, so you can imagine how my nervous system was on high alert all. the. time.

My mom and dad had four children within six years when they were still very young, and they were super overwhelmed and financially struggling a lot. My mom was depressed, distant and bitter, and my dad was unpredictable and controlling. I can’t remember either of them ever hugging me or telling me they loved me.

I was always a “good girl”, bringing home straight A’s and excelling in sports, but I never got praised for it. In fact, I got criticized frequently for anything that was less than perfect. And even though I was good and obeyed all the rules, whenever one of us four kids (all girls) did anything wrong, my father beat all four of us. This was supposed to build character.

I could tell you story after heartbreaking story, but I don’t think I need to. You get the picture.

As a result of all these experiences, I believed in my bones that I am never good enough, that I am not worthy, that I am not wanted, and that I am not safe. These beliefs have been core wounds of mine that cut very, very deep, and they created destructive and painful patterns in my life.

And this is why I'm sharing this with you:
If you have some of these same core wounds, you know how devastating it feels when you are being attacked or shamed by someone, or when you don’t feel appreciated or valued. You know how incredibly painful it is when you feel that you are not wanted or don't belong.

This last week, I felt attacked and shamed by someone I trusted. You know that feeling when you are really triggered, like you are gut punched? I swear, when that person confronted me with her wagging finger (just like my parents used to do), I literally felt my face burning with shame. It turned beet red, and I wanted to disappear in the earth. Or start throwing punches and attacking with a vengeance.

I’ve talked with many of my coaching clients who have had these experiences of being triggered, being emotionally or psychically gut punched.  In the aftermath of that, it can literally feel like you are crazy or losing your mind, right? It’s the worst feeling!

We believe what the other person is saying about us is true, because this is what we learned when we were little. See? I am indeed not good enough, I am indeed not worthy, I am not wanted, and I am sure as hell not safe.

And then maybe there’s another part of you that doesn’t believe it, or that pushes back against it.

But it’s all just such a big balled-up mess, all smooshed together, and it’s painful, and it’s shameful, and it’s heartbreaking, and it’s confusing, and sad, and depressing, and hopeless, and it pisses you off, and you feel like you are going nuts.

And this is why I’m sharing this with you: There is actually a way out of this! Read on.

For me, in the past during the scenario where that person attacked me, I would have gone down a terrible shame spiral, and then I would have either hidden and felt completely resentful and not ever extended myself to someone again, hidden my light and played small.

Or I would have puffed up like a gladiator and wanted to beat the shit out of them. Not really, but you know what I mean? I would have attacked them with my words, yelled, cut them off and tried to get back at them, or completely severed the relationship.

That would have created a whole other mess and not worked in the long term.

Instead, I was able to calm myself down. I was able to stay more objective and see what was really going on. I didn’t blow up the relationship with this attacking person. I then reached out for support from people I trust, and they were able to mirror back to me the truth, which was immensely helpful. This way of showing up left my self worth and self esteem intact instead of destroying it. In fact, it got strengthened through this whole ordeal.

And this shift, this transformation is something everyone can learn. If I, the damaged, messed up Corina, can learn it, you can, too. I have immersed myself in the work of transforming my old beliefs and painful patterns for a while now, and I've created amazing, almost miraculous results because of it.

But I couldn't do this by myself, and chances are if you are reading this, you can't either. And there's nothing wrong with that! We all need support, we need accountability, we need tools and practices and a system.

I would absolutely love to support you and teach you this system. It’s actually a step-by-step process that’s incredibly effective and powerful.

You can either do this through one-on-one coaching with me, or in my much more affordable online group coaching program that starts March 1st. I want to invite you from the bottom of my heart to participate in it, because it’s so powerful and life changing, and I know it works, because I use it every day.

The early bird pricing ends in two days, so I encourage you to check it out, look at my program, read the testimonials, and come join us!

 


What are you struggling with most, and what do you want to transform?
Come join us before the early bird pricing ends!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Finding joy in nature

If you have followed us for a while, you know that we live and breathe for and in and with Nature. Nature is our spiritual renewal, our reason for being. If there's a day when I can't go outside, I get grumpy.

That's one of the reasons we lived tucked away in a wilderness valley for so long, and that's why we chose our next place to live, which is filled with diverse natural beauty. We are spending as much time in it as we can.

Steve and I are lucky to be self-employed. We live simpler than many people, so we can get by with less, and spend our time playing outside.

For example, this past week was filled with many different activities - either squeezed in before or after work, or when the kids had a snow day. The best thing about this is that these adventures also serve as a way to connect as family.

The first few pictures below are from two different hikes to lakes in the area.



 



We also had a day of fun at Mount Baker with two of our kids. The third kid has been missing on our outings more and more, since he turned 18 and is much more self sufficient, finishing his Senior year and working. We miss him but know that this is a normal part of separation from his boring, old parents and annoying little sister and brother...

We usually only to go to Mount Baker in the summer and fall for glorious hikes, but we decided to check out the ski area. We don't downhill ski, mostly because I'm too cheap to pay for it, so we concentrate on cross country-skiing, snow shoeing and sledding.

I can't believe how wonderful this area is in winter, especially when you go during the week instead of the busy weekends with lots of skiers.

 






And then there's the ocean! Oh, the ocean! And so many lakes to put your kayak and canoe in! And islands stretching to the horizon! 

Every direction you look, there's a new playground!




If you are looking at these pictures asking yourself, "Do these people ever work?" the answer is YES! We work a lot and really hard. And then we play really hard.

I want to share these pictures as inspiration to nudge you a little bit: to go outside more, breathe more deeply, find joy in the very, very simple things.  It doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. 

I will leave you with images from our week:

* Steve bottling the hard cider we made from all of our Marblemount apples

* Me modelling two of my sweaters that I knitted this month




I hope you are getting outside and that you're finding joy in the little things!

What are your favorite things to do outside in the winter?

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