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Titus

Titus is 6 months if you can believe that. Saturday marked a half a year that he has been part of our family. He is a very dear little boy and I love watching his personality appear.
Babies are hard work no matter what but he has a very sunny nature most of the time to make up for his total dependence.
He is not skinny like the other 2 and was 8.5kg at 5m already
He likes food and we have slowly been introducing solids since about 4 months, mostly rice but now more veg and fruit.

Catherine has been taking a photo a month of our cute boy so we can document his first year. Here are the first 5 months. To see the whole set you can go to her Flickr page for our family.

Month 1

Month 2

Month 3

Month 4

Month 5

I feel cheated

I have an unwelcome visitor. With Rachel Aunt Flow only came back after 15 months. With Caleb it was 11 months and now this time it is a day short of 6 months! What is going on with that. All this breast feeding my enormous giant baby and still not even a good 10 or 11 months without a monthly visitor. For most of us a period is rather a hassle but it happens and we deal with it. I used to be like this. Now I am one of the unlucky that get menorrhagia, I have blogged about it before “I love being a woman”

Basically I get very very heavy periods and sever cramping. It makes life quite uncomfortable during the first few days. So my options are much the same as they were then. Except having populated the world a little more already I am leaning more and more towards the take it all out options. But…

I am sleep deprived and don’t even have nearly enough time to do the things I need to do. But…
I feel finished having kids, I struggle with the baby stage and this time in no exception, Titus is delighful and as things go he is an easy baby, but babies are babies and they take time and really limit what you can do and the time you need to get things done is quadrupled.But..

I really blame all these buts on Carle we had a conversation which got me thinking about Dads and their girls and would it not be sweet for Yme to experience having a girl from the baby stage. I am so over having babies. I can’t imagine coping with 4, my sanity is hanging on a tender thread as it is.

I should really just go and see the Dr and discuss the options. For the mean time it is back to the Menstral cup for me.

While googling I came across this list of euphemisms from around the world for a period. Funny I have never heard of the South African one and no one else had either when I asked on Twitter.

The Netherlands: “The tomato soup is overcooked”
Brazil: “I’m with Chico”
China: “Little Sister has come”
many parts of Latin America: “Jenny has a red dress on”
Australia: “I’ve got the flags out”
Denmark: “There are Communists in the funhouse”
Ireland: “I’m wearing a jam rag”
England: “I’m flying the Japanese flag”
Japan: “Little Miss Strawberry”
France: “The English have arrived”
Germany: “The cranberry woman is coming”
Puerto Rico: “Did the rooster already sing?”
South Africa: “Granny’s stuck in traffic”

Have you hear the SA one before?
What do you call that time of the month?
And please talk some sanity into me, 3 kids is enough right???

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Tutorial How to make a Dinosaur tracksuit top

I saw this Dinosaur tracksuit top on Pinterest, it is so easy. I made one for Caleb’s birthday and it has been a real hit with him and his friends. Here is the link to the blog tutorial with some nice pictures, I have added my instruction below

Here is how to make it:

1: Find a plain tracksuit top with a hood and zip, this was the hardest part as it is very hard to find plain tops with no writing or pictures on them.

2: Choose a colour felt that works with the colours of the top you bought

3: Make a triangle shaped template to cut out the spines. I measured from top of the hood along the middle of the back to the base and divided this by about 11. I think they were about 5cm at the base

4: Fold felt in half and cut the triangles with base on the fold so when opened it makes a diamond.

5: Fold the tracksuit hood and body down the middle where you want the spines to go and iron along this line. I am a non ironer but this really does help you to get them in the right place.

6: Sew the diamonds down on this ironed fold line, the original idea the lady hand stitched them but I use the machine and it was super quick

7: Fold the diamonds in half to make triangles and sew along the sides, you can use blanket stitch like this or just straight stitch too.

8: Done! Give it to your designated child to wear.

Gift challenge update

I posted a while ago that I was on a year long gift challenge to make, upcyle or regift all the presents I gave. Here are some of the things I have done so far

A friend’s kids were having a party for their doll Pumpkin and we could not go empty handed so I made a quick pumpkin for us to take

I came across this scarf pattern years ago and like that it is unusual. It was Yme’s moms birthday and I wanted to make her something very special and had some Lumpy Bumpy yarn left from when I imported it. I really love the way it came out and when she wears it to work with her black top and jacket it look amazing. I think the colours suit her and bring out the special spark and vitality for life that she has. This picture does not do it justice on her. I must try get one of her rocking it in her work outfit

My friend Catherine takes so many amazing pictures of my family I wanted to thank her, she mentioned that Paul’s favourite Aran Cable hat had a hole in it, so I made him a new one. I don’t have a picture of it on. I know in the photo it looks very long but Caz assures me it fits. I will have to ask her a pic of it on Paul if she can get him to agree

I also made made a dinosaur one which her Bear loves

A twitpic of it on – not best quality but love the way he puts it on and loves wearing it, the little spikes land up going straight sometimes and not so straight other times

I made some toy food for Suzanne’s daughter birthday

I made another scarf for Acidicice’s birthday. I need to get one of it on her. I just have a picture I took after I made it

I am busy work on a felted pencil bag for Ghilraen’s daughter and some knitted food for her other daughter. I have one glove of a set for Sharon done. She too has taken such amazing pictures for me that when she asked for fingerless gloves I just had to make them as a gift even though she wanted to pay me. They have been a challenge, but I actually love how this one has turned out. Too bad by the time I am finished the other one it will be too warm for them! Oh well there is always next year

I have an decided what I am making for Mom’s 60th. I have the yarn from Carle at Nurturing Fibres but because Mom might look here between now and her birthday I can’t mention what it actually is that I am making. Lets say it will be a first and I am excited.

I have quite a few hats and things I have made for orders but that is another blog post.

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Life as a classroom

Part of the fun of homeschooling and particularly unschooling is that you are restricted to time tables and curriculums. Today we felled the big pine tree in our garden. It was really sad to have to cut it down but the pine needles make such a mess and the get into the gutters and clog the drains. The soil also gets very acidic from the pine needles. The tree was huge and very top heavy so the branches would become a problem in a few years as some naturally died and could potentially fall on the house. Alos not being an indigenous tree it uses a lot of water.

Does it sound like I am trying justify cutting down such an old beautiful tree? Well I guess I am. Caleb was in floods of tears this morning telling me that I have broken his heart becasue we are cutting down the tree. See what happens when you have little eco warriors for kids 🙂 But I assured him that we are going to replace the tree with an indigenous tree and that we are going to use all the wood.

We used a fantastic company KDB Tree Fellers Everyone from the admin and overseers to the workers and expert chain saw operators were friendly, efficient and hard working. I can recommend this team to anyone in Cape Town and they were not even nearly as expensive as I had been warned tree felling would be.

I took some pictures of our day from start to finish between Rachel and I we took a lot of pictures (503 to be exact)

There was the big pine tree and 3 lopsided conifers to start, you can see from the road sign how big the trees are. The middle tree of the corner set we are keeping and the Norfolk Pine in the middle of the grass.
trees

It was rather a grey day, this is the pine tree, you can see Rachel standing there to give you an idea of scale
Pine Tree

First the 3 small lopsided conifers on the corner, we kept the one straight one.

There were 2 guys with chain saws up in the tree, they were trained riggers, the other worked on the ground to cut up the branches as these 2 cut them off from up the tree

Branches that had a risk of falling on the house were tied with rope and lowered down

The foreman asking them to cut some of the branches into half meter lengths for us to use

I asked if they could keep the pine cones for the kids, thinking that there were about 10 pine cones, well there were 20 bags full. They diligently picked off all the pine cones off every branch that was cut down and collected them for the kids

I will have to think of a lot of pine cone crafts

Pinklet girl watching

Falling

we wanted to keep the wood, some for fire wood and some for projects and plans we have for the house and things to make. This is the start of the log pile

Ringing the bark off the stump

Carrying logs

Caleb did not like the noise, Titus on the other hand napped longer that day than just about any other day ever 2 hours in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. He seems to like chainsaw and woodchipper noise

Smaller branches and pine needles were sent through the wood chipper and I will use them in the garden beds and on the veggie garden as mulch

The last part of the stump about to go down, guided with ropes away from the house

Final fall

All gone

Kids playing on final wood pile

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Whales

I am a terra firma kind of girl. I like having my feet on the ground. I don’t mind flying as am means to get from A to B but not that keen on small planes. I don’t really want to sky dive, bungee jump, go into space if that was something normal people could do. This quite amazes Yme as he would love to be an astronaut and would jump at the chance to go and colonize other worlds if that was ever an option like in sci-fi movies and books. No I am really quite happy on land

While I have my feet on the ground I really like to help people. A few months ago I blogged about Alice a young 15 year old girl would has terminal cancer and she wrote a bucket list. We are making a box of goodies to send her a small piece of SA as she can not travel here. The things have started to come in and thanks to everyone who sent stuff, I will do a post about the box before I send it.

I went to her blog to see how her list was going and I saw that she has managed to do quite a few things in England but that whale watching was still on the list. It is whale season here in the Cape and I wondered how we could get her a personalized video of the whales so it could be like she was here watching them. I contacted The Simon’s Town Boat Company to see if it was possible for them to do a video or if I could maybe send someone on a trip. They kindly got back to me and offer that me and a videographer go out with them and record a personal video for Alice. I am really touched by their kindness and willingness to help.

I am excited and terrified. They have been so kind and I really hope that I will not be sea sick or anything. Being a dry land kind of girl means I am not sure how I manage on a boat. But this is not about me this is about trying to make it something lovely for her. I hope we have nice weather and that the whales are out on Sunday. Wish me luck

The words every mother hates

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‘It is a virus.’ There is nothing to be done for a winter virus of snot and slime and coughing and misery. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them to need antibiotics and most of us know it is not good for them to be on antibiotics repeatedly, but damn there is something that feels good about doing something.

A virus makes you helpless, you have to just watch them suffer. Of course antibiotics for a virus is not helpful either but I can see why so many moms used to try pressure my dad to prescribe them, when he was a GP. They give you something to offer your little one as they suffer.

Titus is sick. Viral, snot, cough etc. We did go to the Dr because after one child with RSV and a collapsed lung as a baby I just wanted to check it was not in his chest. It is not, just all upper respiratory. So we have saline nasal spray and wait and see. I actually liked the Dr a lot. She is the local Melkbosstrand Dr a friend recommended. I like that she did not rush in with antibiotics and was thorough in examining him. His ears are a bit dull and might get sore so we just need to keep an eye on that.

I was thinking maybe medicine does not have anything for a virus but what about herbs to help.

So after much reading and a visit to the health shop I made him a deconcotion of chamomile, anise, sage and elderberry. I even found a recipe for a immune boosting syrup I can make for the older 2 to help us through cough and cold season.

Yay I can DO something, I can make and give my kids something to help. ‘take that you nasty virus, I am not powerless’

Disclaimer: herbs are the basis for a lot of medicine and can be very powerful and even dangerous. Because they are natural does not just make them safe. Read and check before giving anything to your kids.

Carrot cake and chai icing.

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It was a good friends birthday and she requested the carrot cake I had made for a spinning day a few weekends ago.

I love this recipe. It is sort of based on one my mom had in her whole foods book. We can’t find the book and I was sad as it was by far the nicest carrot cake ever. I tried others on the internet, even one with cooked carrot, but was always disappointed. Mom then gave me one that was similar to the one we used to make but has mashed banana in. But it was close enough that with a bit of substituting and playing with the recipe I think it is close to the original.

I used to make it with cream cheese topping which is lovely but one day I did not have any so used my new favourite thing to add when cooking – chai tea powder.  I have made chai cup cakes, pancakes, crumpets and now icing. I just make normal butter icing and add a few spoons of power. I think it works well with the carrot cake.

Recipe:
1 cup castor sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup oil ( I use olive oil)
3 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 cups grated carrot
3/4 cup chopped pecan nuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup of tinned crushed pineapple
Pinch salt

Hand mix all with wooden spoon in a large mixing bowl until mixture is all combined.

I bake in a large ring tin but any large pan or 2 smaller ones will work. Grease well as it is a soft moist cake that will crumble if you get it stuck on the pan.

The ring baked at 180 for just under an hour but check your oven.

I should have taken a photo of a cut piece if cake as it was rather enthusiastically decorated by the kids and you can’t see the lovely cake with carrot and nuts and all.

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Step parenting is hard

Well parenting is hard, but as a step patent you always have that extra anxiety.

Rachel made this card for Yme.She loves Hama beads but this was the first time that she finished the lion all by herself. I love the fairies that she added all around the picture of Yme. She asked me how to spell the words but deciding what to say was all her own decision. I think it shows that he is doing a great job.

rachelcard

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The talk – you know the one

That every parents dread, the birds and the bees one. I have always gone with the sage advice of only answering what they ask. So I have been able to avoid the nitty gritty for a while now. Rachel knows about the seed and the eggs and that the baby grows inside the mommy. She has seen both of her brothers being born. Being a nurse we use anotomically correct names for body parts so vagina and penis are as normal as knee and elbow in our house.

We are in the car, so no escape and the kids start talking about olderst and youngest, boy babies and girl babies. I said to Rachel that she is the only girl baby I will ever have. She asks if she and her brothers came from the same side (did the eggs ovulate from the same side) I said I was not sure.She then marveled at all the brothers and sister she could have and we spoke about potential babies versus those that really become babies and that I was not going to have any more. She said well maybe all the girls are on one side and all the boys on the other. I can see where this is going but know I can’t avoid it forever. Just hope that if I answer what she asks she will not venture further down this line of questioning. I always meant to get some national geographic animal programs, as mammal mating is a good way for kids to learn. This was my plan, you know what they say about carefully laid plans…

So back to our eggs, or my eggs I should say. I told her that the it is the seed from the dad decides if the baby is a girl or a boy not the egg. Then she says but how? I say well the egg and seed join and then the baby starts to grow.
R: But how?
Me: well the baby grows in the Mom’s tummy
R: yes but how does it get in there?
Me: when the seed and the egg join
R: yes but HOW do the seed and the egg get together?

This is starting to remind me of Julia Sweeney and her discussion with her daughter here is the article or watch the video for a real laugh.

I asked if she remembered the book we read called “Mummy laid an Egg”
Mummy laid an egg

R: yes, but that book is all wrong
Me: Why Love?
R: Because they said it comes from a tube!
Me: Yes my Love, it comes from the penis which is like a tube
R: But how does it get to the egg?
Me:The penis goes into the vagina and then the egg and seed meet
R: But how?
Me: They fit together
R: But how?
Me: (starting to panic, how do I avoid the graphic details) well the penis is like a tube and the vagina has a hole for it to fit into
R: But how
Me: They just fit, okay!!

silence

R: So did Yme have to take his pants off?
me: Yes
R: Did you have to take your pants off?
Me: Yes

silence

R: That is weird
Me: Yes love
R: Do you know you are going to make a baby?
Me: Well it does not work every time, sometimes the egg is not ready
R:Have you ever done this and it did not work?
Me: Yes

But this time I thought it was enough for one day and there were road works so I said I needed to concentrate. Sex for fun and not just procreation chat will have to come another day