Baby Carriers and Wraps

If any of my friends know us, they know us as being baby carriers.  In fact, amongst all of our friends, we carried (and still do) our kids the most. Travelling is made easy with the absence of strollers and napping is a breeze as baby just sleeps when she/he is tired.  Front carry when light and back carry as they get heavier.

In my 7-year career as a mom, I’ve tried and used an Infantino carrier, a Baby Bjorn carrier, five Moby wraps, two Ergo Baby carriers, two toddler Tulas, one Mei Tai, one Storchenweige ring sling, and a Yaro woven wrap.  Out of all of them, my favourites are the Moby and the Tula.  I’ve always admired the woven wraps and the variety of ways they can be worn but find that there is a steep learning curve.  Also, they require breaking in.

Out of all those carriers, I have kept two Moby’s, the woven wrap, a ringsling and two Tulas.  Sometimes, when my kids are antsy and I want to give them a fun thing to do, I make a hammock out of a wrap.  I actually had wraps made while at an outdoor market while in Amsterdam many years ago.  They are not quite as wide as a traditional wrap, nor do they have the same give.  But they make great hammocks.

So, here, all three kids are in hammocks. W loved it, especially when we swing her.  V stays still enough to sit in it for a while, while Z tries to purposely fall off.  He’s such a goofball sometimes.


Look at that little foot! 

Last Man Standing 

This happens all the time.  Whenever winter break comes, so do the illnesses.  I’m currently living with three coughing little people and one achy adult.  

It started with V getting a fever the week before the break. Then a few days later, she has a cough.  V loves to snuggle her little sister so naturally, W got the cough, too.  Then, on Monday, Z came down with a high fever.  He even went upstairs to crawl into his bed to sleep on his own. (That never happens.) 

It turns out, they all have some version of the flu.  Z was complaining of congestion in his noise and unable to breathe.  His fever was short-lived, thank goodness.  W, on the other hand, is also teething. That, plus the coughing.  

As I sit and write this post, M is trying to keep himself together.  He is suffering from indigestion, as well as the cold.  He woke up with aches and a sore throat. Thank goodness the sore throat is gone.  

I just hope this does not take over the entire break.  Otherwise it would suck.  We’ve been home for two days now since the kids have been sick. I’m hoping to get out later this week with them.  

I’m the only one who’s healthy.   I hope it stays this way. It would be rough if I was sick too.  

Feeling Overwhelmed

I’m going to make a confession to start because I think it will make me feel better. 

We have too much stuff.  

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with keeping up with the clutter and organizing but it got to me tonight.  I like to see clear surfaces.  It drivers me bonkers when surfaces have clutter.  I try to keep the kitchen counters uncluttered most times – at least before I go to bed.  Makes me feel better. 

When you live with 4 other people and three of those are under 10, it gets pretty hard to maintain tidiness. I’ll admit, we don’t have a cleaning lady or nanny – I’m those and M and I do everything.  We used to have cleaning ladies come and clean but after the incident when they stole from us, we couldn’t bring ourselves to trust anyone else. 

I’m going to use this post to declutter my mind. Perhaps I might be lucky and someone will give me helpful advice on how to deal with all this mess.  

This issue has been on my mind for as long as I can remember.  I recall the days when I was heavily pregnant with W and painting all the kitchen cabinets antique while.  These were the days when W would nap in the crib for over 1.5 hrs at a time.  After putting her to sleep, I’d come down, madly paint, varnish, and screw the finished doors on.  It made me proud.  

It’s just how I am. When I set my mind to do something I do it with full force.  No stopping till it’s done. 

It all started with the fridge surface.  There were Holiday photo cards and they were just placed anywhere any way.  Magnets strewn around and papers stuck on that didn’t need to be there.  In the end, we recycled most of it and kept the fridge front uncluttered.  

Then there were the papers – kids artwork, doodles, and schoolwork. One is in grade 1 and the other is in SK.  So their schoolwork is, for the most part, not that big of a deal. So I recycled most of it and kept some in a binder.  The oversized artwork I kept in a plastic folder. 

That felt good.  Then I wanted to do more but M was getting tired.  He has a cold and wanted me to sit and build some micro ships with him and eat dark chocolate.   We started bickering and calmed down enough to go sit on the couch. Of course, after a few minutes, the baby wakes. 

(Needless to say, I’m up here nursing her. Back to decluttering my mind.)
We’re very lucky to live in a spacious house.  Not including the basement, we have about 1700 sq ft of living space.  Unfortunately the house was not built nor designed for functionality. An extension was built to add an extra bedroom as well as a family and breakfast room.  

Too many walls and long spaces make it really tough to design living spaces.  We’ve rearranged our rooms and furnitures so many times that I can’t think of how many times.  Dreaming of moving is just pointless because we can’t afford any other house unless we move to the suburbs. 

So, the biggest area of clutter is the basement.  Yes. The room where the water tank and humidifier are.  It’s a disaster.  There are mounds of legos, tools and just stuff.  It drives me crazy to go to that room. Yes I also have my pile of fabrics in two cabinets and the drawer full of beads from our jewelry making days. 

Next are the kids bedrooms.  Kids love to collect stuff and store them in boxes and containers.  Sometimes they just lie around collecting dust.  After I spent time tidying up their desks it is cluttered again. 

Clothes.  I feel we are drowning in clothes.  We are lucky to have pass me downs for kids clothes as it is a huge money saver.  I’m in the process of vacuum sealing Vs small clothes to keep for W. Even though it may be at least a year before she can wear some of it, it doesn’t make sense to get rid of them only to buy them again later. 

I, myself, have noticed that I only wear certain pants and shirts since having W. My body has changed and a lot of my clothes don’t fit the same way anymore. So I’m probably going to have to go through my stash again and purge. 

Craft supplies.   Yes, I love crafting.  I’m very proud of the scrapbook i made for Z.  It is nearly impossible to do anything like that with your 2nd or 3rd kid. I still want to create a book for both girls but am feeling overwhelmed since i have to go through a lot of photos to print.  Sigh. 

And that brings me to my next point. We decided to extend my leave until Sept.  This has put even more pressure for me to be super productive with my time at home.  I’m finding it very challenging.  W is not napping long enough for me to do anything significant.  I’m finding that there are so many things that need to get done.  

It just doesn’t end.  How does one cope? I’d love to hear from you?

Holiday Frenzy

I love the holidays.  It’s a time to slow down and enjoy loved ones.  But at the same time, one can’t help but feel the hustle and bustle of preparing food for gatherings.  

Our family had brunch this morning at my mom’s. It was all five of us siblings, plus our other halves, and the kids.  This year, there are five grandkids.  So we all crowded around in my mom’s townhouse living room. She also has Sophie, my little sister’s bf’s cat.  Willow loved seeing her and wanted to touch her the entire time.  

As for naps, they were terrible.  28 min in the morning and 23 min in the afternoon.  I can’t imagine how exhausted she must’ve been. Despite the short naps, she was happy in the car both ways.  


We did gift exchanges for the kids at my mom’s and Z couldn’t wait to put together his NHL hockey table.   W wanted to get into it as well so I tried to distract her.  She got a Vtevh basket and cash register.  She loves the basket.  

I had cinammon in a ziploc bag that she saw. And you know how much she loves plastic so I gave her a stick.  She loved chewing on it!   She held on to it for at least 15 min, chewing on it every so often. 


This is one moment V and Z were playing nicely.   As soon as V picked up the puck instead of using the players, Zander got upset.  I was preparing dinner at the same time since B and L were sleeping over tonight. Z and V were so excited about this.  


I made latkes for dinner – gluten-free and vegan. Traditional latkes require egg or flour as binding agents.  To achieve a crispy exterior and chewy interior, I used Russet potatoes (lower water content) and chickpea flour in our Vitamix blender.  Some salt, pepper and an onion and that’s it. I shallow fried them in my cast iron pan.  They turned out delicious. 


After dinner the kids wanted to watch a movie with B and L. So we put on Zootopia and made popcorn. This was a splurge as we normally buy microwaveable popcorn.  I don’t think I will ever buy that stuff anymore after tasting these kernels.  So much tastier!  And that cheese powder, from Amazon, just makes everything taste even better!

VGFS

Michael has been trying to keep a gluten-free diet for the past 5 weeks.  He’s more disciplined than I would be if I were doing it. For him, going GF has eliminated the need for Zantac and his waistline has also shrunk significantly. So to  show support for him, I try to make GF meals. 

Well, I was very excited when I stumbled across a Sufganiyot recipe that was GF. Hanukkah is a day away and you need to have sufganiyots to celebrate. Here’s the link in case you are curious. 

I premeasured all the dry ingredients and put them in a ziploc. The yeast had to go in after since I ran out and had to get more.  As I read the recipe I noticed it required eggs and butter.  My little sister, Lori, is vegan so I susbstited those ingredients with an egg replacer and oil.  


As I mix the ingredients, I noticed that the specks of yeast were still visible in the dough. But I proofed it anyway.  Later, when Michael came home, I fry some and taste. It was very yeasty and the middle was still raw.  He suggested we mix the dough even more. So he stirred and we proofed it again. 

I should’ve dissolved the yeast into the water first before mixing in with the dry ingredients. I should do that from now on. Makes sense. 

I proceeded to pipe the dough after M fixed them and the first  proofing.  While frying them, I noted that because it’s a sweet dough, 350F was too hot and made the dough darken too quickly.  So we lowered the temperature. 


They seemed to have cooked nicely. I can’t say I love, or even like, the taste.  Personally, they’re terrible.  The recipe called for 7.5 tsp of yeast.  That’s a lot of yeast! Maybe it’s necessary to proof the gluten-free flour. Who knows?


Michael thinks that all recipes on the internet has an element of sabotage in it.  After all, why would people want to share their recipe if it’s so good? I don’t think so.  In any case, here’s what i think of these vegan gluten-free sufganiyots. 

There are too sweet for my liking. definitely too yeasty.  Heavy and dense inside – not fluffy at all.  Sadly, most of it went to compost as they were not enjoyable at all.  This is for sure one failed attempt at making this version of sufganiyot.  

(As I type this, Michael is out getting Tim Hortons powdered jelly donuts for our family brunch this morning.  It’s Shabbat so all the kosher bakeries are closed. Tim’s is the next best thing.)

Just for laughs, Michael piped out this long shaped donut. We laughed so hard at the thought of it looking like $&#%.  Lol

Happy holidays to you all!!!

Girls’ Day

Have you ever had one of those days when you don’t get out of your pjs for the whole day?  Well, V and I did today.  Her last day of school was yesterday and they had a pj party.  Fun!


W likes to do her own thing sometimes.  I guess most toddlers can’t sit still.  Our breakfast area looks out onto our deck and we have a clear view of the backyard.  While V and I play with playdoh, W walks around and picks up things here and there, putting them in her mouth. She comes and checks with me once in a while. Several squirrels were on our deck hunting for food.  There were 3 at one point. W found this entertaining.  

Playdoh has been one of many favourite toys amongst our kids.  I still remember Z as a toddler, pretending to be Jamie Oliver and making a salad with playdoh.  I would shape some tomatoes and small vegetables for him to chop up and he would toss everything into a bowl. 
V and I found a mold in our pile of tools that had a gummy bear shape. I got so excited when I saw what it looked like after.  So I had the idea to make 100 for the 100th school day for V.  We’re up to about 40 I think.  They look so delicious.  

If anyone has ever tried having two kids or more and doing something with one, they’ll know that it’s a challenge – especially if the other one is a toddler. So I waited until W was asleep and came down to bake with V. 

We made candy cane butter cookies but I quartered the recipe so I didn’t have a huge batch.  All the ingredients were easy to calculate in my head except for the flour.  3 1/4  cups of flour is really 13/4 so 1/4 of that is 13/16.  Every 4/16 is 1/4 c so there are three 1/4 cups and 1/16 c. (And here’s proof that you need math everyday!)

She enjoyed mixing the ingredients and the food colouring. It was a challenge to roll the dough as they would fall apart as you rolled them. I tried chilling them but that made it too firm to roll. So we just did our best.  


While the cookies baked, I explained to V that we tidy up our work area. She loves washing dishes – I think girls like cleaning in general. She’s happy to sweep, dust, mop – just sometimes I have to go over it again.  

They were light and buttery although didn’t like it too much. The colours were close to what they were before baking – just the bottom flattens out. 

​It’s been two weeks since W started walking. I think she’s really mastered it. She loves to walk and you could see in her face the pride through her smile.  When I’m sitting on floor and she sees me, she would come walking towards me all excited. 
I’m so proud of my kids – they’re all so unique and special in their own ways.  

Rice Pillows

If there is one thing that my family has as a go-to food, it’s rice, seaweed, tuna and miso soup.  We sometimes have thus for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Rice is a staple in our house.  So is seaweed and Rio Mare tuna.  That’s our favourite tuna by far – bathed in olive oil. Just delicious. 

Our little W loves rice.  She got her first taste of seaweed about a month ago when she watched her siblings eat it.  Plain or filled with rice and/or avocado, she loves it. I cut them into bite siZed squares so she can just pop them into her mouth. 

It also makes for a nice picnic since it’s portable.  This combination is so satisfying since it has so much umami.  We love umami – it’s the fifth taste.