Friday, November 04, 2011

Airplanes with kids on them.

My kids and I will be heading off soon and lots of airplane traveling adventures. I have traveled a bit with little guys, and am still struggling to find ways to make it super easy and smooth. That said, I have nailed down a few things that help. So here's my line up of helpful tips.
1. Bring enough nappies for a 48 hour period. Diarrhea always seems to happen on flights which means a million more nappy changes than one would expect. The more the merrier.
2. Wear travel friendly clothing. My travel uniform is thus- leggings, short sleeve dress, slip on shoes and cardigan. That way I am comfortable, but still look "pulled together" ish (for some reason people are more inclined to offer help if one looks nicer). But I do bring an extra t-shirt and leggings, as I've been pooed on enough to want to be prepared.
3. I try to dress the kids in track (sweat) pants, t-shirts, and jumpers (sweatshirts). Layers are good. Sleepable clothes are good. Probably some people would like to put socks on their kids, but for me, it is only one more article of clothing that gets abandoned. Some slip on shoes for kids is the way to go. Canvas ones preferable to plastic, as they breath, and will keep their feet warm.
4. I no longer pack activities for myself, aside from a "wisp" toothbrush. Although, a magazine with pictures wouldn't go astray. But I've found that I don't have a lot of time to sit and read things other than children's books... to children.
5. I like to make little "flight" packs for the kids. They get to open new little packages, and the excitement can last the whole trip...
6. Microbead neck pillows. That way if you have a chance, you will be able to sleep relatively comfortably.

Anyone have any awesome car travel tips?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why three is better.

Three to fuss and three to fight.
Three to keep you up at night.

Three minutes to rest, in a week.
Three small people that seem to leak.

Three small people who laugh at jokes.
Three small people who laugh at pokes.

Three little friends who love each other.
Brother sister, sister brother.

Six little hands sneaking crackers.
3 little hands getting smackers.

A sister to care, a brother to show,
a little one to go go go.

If two is good then three is better.
Just, perhaps, a little wetter.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Our week without buying groceries was good. I was surprised by how much food we had. It required me to spend more time in preparation but I was amazed how well we were able to eat. We were even able to have people over, and bring a salad to share to a party. In fact we probably could have gone a few more days, although we were beginning to really miss fresh fruit and veggies. The interesting thing about this week, to me, was the extra stress I felt. I didn't feel like I could eat much due to fear of running out of food. I was thinking what it would be like to ACTUALLY not have any food to feed my kids. I am SO grateful that I can. I will continue to pray for rain in Africa, so that next year will be better.

That said, today sucked. I woke up early thanks to a blabbing baby, and have spent my day grumpy. To try to boost myself I made yo-yos with pink icing (recipe here: ) which turned out a bit dense and heavy but tasted alright.

Then during "nap time" in which one child napped, another yelled from his bed, and another watched a David Attenborough video, I made some little wire bird's nests (how-to here: ). All up, I made two in 20ish minutes, and that does include some butt wiping, and drink getting and other services. I made one with a little "egg" the colour of each birthstone of my kids. How sweet.

Yesterday, which started similar to today, I sewed together a pair of pants that I had cut out of a bed cover I bought in India nearly a decade ago. I've been wearing them all day despite the fact that they are highly unflattering and are a very close relative of jammy pants.

Creating is survival for me. Everyone may spend the day in misery, with the house disappearing under the dirty laundry and crunched up crackers. But at least I made something from start to finish today, dammit. At least one little happy thing got made.

Sho... Habby makig. (that's me wishing you happy making while being really drunk, which I'm not, but thought maybe it would be funny to allude to, and then thought it would be really confusing hence this parenthetical statement.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

When I was hungry...

I, probably like much of the world, have been deeply impacted by the images coming out of East Africa. The idea of women having to watch their children starve to death leaves an ache in me that not even a brownie can cure. I am generally out of the loop of news etc, much to my embarrassment, but this particular news tidbit somehow landed in my lap. Usually, I would be able to just get on the internet and donate some money, but this time it's a smidge tighter fundage wise and I didn't feel comfortable donating what I wanted to. SO, the kids and I scrounged through the house looking for coins. We made a slotted tub for our coins, and were able to get some money, as Leif pointed out, "Still, it will help." I was so excited that the kids could get into it, but really wanted to do something more. So Saturday night we began brainstorming. We landed on an idea to not buy any groceries this week, and eat only what we have. That way we can donate the money we have saved on groceries. In that way, at least we (or really I) have to be conscience of our food, grateful for it, and aware of it, possibly by it's scarcity. I am generally a haphazard shopper so there should be enough if I can be creative. Although, I have no eggs, little milk, few veggies, and little fresh fruit, I've got canned fruit, dried beans, and some frozen things. I am excited about this little journey and what lessons we may have in store.
Tonight we will be eating weed stir-fry... evidently clover is edible.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Seed Bombs

A while ago I found some ideas for some guerilla gardening. Things like planting flowers in ugly places, pulling weeds that aren't yours, and sowing seeds to see what happens. One idea that I found that I have been desperate to try for a while with the kids was seed bombs. The basic idea is that you puree some newspaper, mix in some seeds, squash into a mold or roll into balls in your hand, and then toss around in unsightly fields.
Usually my ideas of creative things to do with the kids end up in me making it while they play outside, or a huge mess, or both. This idea was a raging success! They helped me pick out the seeds (although I nixed some of Leif's ideas of rockmelon and zucchini mainly because we wouldn't be around to see em.) We put in a rockery mix, Australian natives, and some forget-me-nots for obvious reasons. The kids loved squidging in the gooey papery mush with their hands. Leif helped me make the balls while Pip just played. The next morning we all went out in our jammies and threw them around in a derelict field. The kids loved throwing "bombs" and L was happily announcing to everyone we came across that we were making seed bombs. It was a rolling success, and I would HIGHLY recommend getting your children involved in guerilla warfare of this nature. (Get it? Nature Guerilla?)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Cloth wipes recipe

I've been struggling to come up with anything I could blog about without pages and pages of bleck... And I have been wanting to share this recipe so it seemed as good a time as any to put up some tripe.
I love using cloth nappies. It's nerdy I know, but I love it. I have settled upon the most fabulous system for us, sweetpea pocket nappies. I bought some bamboo inserts and now only have to change the baby's nappy 2 times a day. Yippee! I only have one in nappies now (sorta) so my washing isn't too out of control. It only makes sense, if using cloth nappies, to use cloth wipes as well. The best system I have found is to fold a bunch of my homemade wipes (or face washers, cut up terry squares, cut up flannel, etc) in a container with tight fitting lid and dump solution on em. This way they are wet and ready to go when needed. Then they go in the nappy bucket along with soiled nappy or... ahem... undies. So here is the recipe, as I have tweaked it, for your wiping delectation.

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon oil of choice (I love to use coconut oil as it has natural yeast fighting properties)
1 tablespoon of liguid soap
2 drops tea tree oil
*optional- 2 drops of lavender

stir it up as you pour over wipes. Mine can last up to a week before there is even a hint of mustiness thanks to the tea tree oil. Make sure to keep the lid on it when not in use.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Women and The Man's Problem.

Sex is generally referred to in Christian circles as a man's issue. Preachers will proclaim loudly and with gusto that avoiding inappropriate sex is a man's issue, and women struggle with... umm... not sure... um jealousy maybe? I grew up thinking that women shouldn't want sex, or have a sex drive, and that there was clearly something wrong with me if I did. Girls are told that if we could only dress modestly then the boys won't think about sex. The idea is that men want sex, women don't, and that sex is dirty, secret, monogamous, and uncomfortable to talk about. Pious women don't mention it, want it, and will cover every bit of flesh so as to keep men from the same evil. Maybe, if women can get their necklines high enough, their skirts long enough, their pants pleated enough, that no one will think about sex, ever.
Maybe someone needs to remind these pastors that just as men were made in the image of God, so women were. That just as men are emotional, physical, psychological and sexual beings, so women are emotional, physical, psychological, and gulp, sexual beings. When men preach and make comments about how it is a man's issue, he alienates 1/2 of his congregation ostracising her from help. I am, of course, making the assumption that sex IS an issue for women. Of course a woman's sex issue is different from a man's, but not non-existent. Women cheat on their spouses, feel disappointed in their sex lives, feel "pent-up", desire sexual attention, fantasize, etc. Maybe christian women need to be discussing sex more. Girls need to know that they DO have a sexual self, that they MAY find that they want to have sex, that they MIGHT enjoy sex when it happens. Girls/Women need to have the conversation. And maybe within earshot of a preacher. If we don't know each other's stories and issues how can we help each other? How can we help the lonely and frustrated married women who finds a man who wants her attention? How do we help the teenage girl who gets a new boyfriend and discovers that she does want sex? The discussions are nipped in the bud as soon as we are told our "issues" are real.
This is a very non-organized rant. But I would love discussion on the topic. This is obviously from an Evangelical-Christian perpective, but I would LOVE perspectives from all sides. Let's talk about SEX!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Stay-At-Home Shame

Lately, I have been on a tyrade about the stay-at-home gig. People are not acknowledging enough, obliging enough, or even proud enough of me or whoever they know who stays at home. I have bellowed on and on about how the stay-at-home housewife is the shame of society. That if I could only "Contribute to society" enough then I could be of some value. I could label myself by that noble venture, and leave the humiliating kid wrangling to someone else. I could even get acknowledged on Women's Day, because I'm so "successful". If only I had it all, a thin body, a burgeoning business, CEO of some NGO, and a mum of the fashionable 2ish kids, people would "ooo" and "aahh" about how I've got it all, the SUPER-MUM. Our celebs, the icon of "Super-mums", are people who burst babies forth from their perfect, unmarred bodies, then show up the next day for their runway show or movie. The rest of us who don't escape our jammies due to sleepless nights and days, dealing with our own children have a lot to live up to.
In the midst of this angst, I have realized how ashamed I am of my own job choice. I introduce myself as "just" a stay-at-home mum, awaiting the sound of crickets. I don't acknowledge my job enough, nor am I obliging enough to what I do. Being a mum of three is a choice that I made. I decided not to abort two surprise pregnancies, so I ended up with 3 under 3, an amount of children that seems preposterous to many sales clerks, and an irritation to everyone else in the shops. I feel the need to apologize for living, all the while resenting everyone around me for "making" me feel like that.
So, I am now beginning my journey toward accepting the true and inherent nobility of the job I do. It is a worthwhile one. I am raising my own children, doing the hard-yards, being bored sometimes, stressed other times, lonely, and tired at all times towards a noble end. I am doing it because it's right, because it's the best thing for them. It's the best thing for me. I've been given children, and it is my duty, privilege, and honour to raise them. I, and not some child care center, am meant to be the catalyst, good or bad, to help them become who God wants them to be. To teach them to love humanity, live with humility, and serve a mighty God. After all, that's a pretty big deal. So, Hello, I'm Erika and I am a stay-at-home mum. What are YOU doing to change the world?