Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strawberry Farm

Yesterday I took Fifi to a strawberry picking farm to pick strawberries. We went with Maria and Caspar and a couple of Maria's friends and kids. It was pouring down when we were driving to the farm but had stopped raining long enough for us to spend 45 minutes or so picking strawberries.

We had a gorgeous time. Fifi kept eating loads of strawberries, and I felt so guilty about it that I wouldn't eat any and felt I needed to keep picking more to make up for it (which makes no sense). Scott made fun of me later, reminding me that they take people eating the strawberries into the price at the end. After tasting one of those delicious strawberries, I'm so annoyed I didn't eat any!

Tomorrow I'm going to make jam out of them. Fresh beautiful jam. I found hulling the strawberries difficult, but now they are washed, hulled and ready to preserve. Yummy.

For the price of 2kg of strawberries at the farm compared to 450g in the shops, I'm getting all my strawberries at the farm until the season is over.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Baby Led Weaning and Bento

When I began the weaning process with Fifi, I decided to take on the 'baby led weaning' philosophy - basically, skipping purees and going straight to finger foods. The idea is that if the baby is allowed to choose for himself what he wants to eat, he will develop a more balanced and healthy approach to eating. He will eat when he is ready and hungry (and he will not choke if he is left to start solids until after six months, when the gag reflex is in full working order).

So we started with sliced pears and bananas and broccoli trees. It seemed to be going nowhere, but that is very normal with baby led weaning. At 10 months, she was still only eating a few things a day; I'm talking one or two peas and a yogurt (spoon fed by herself). I repeated the 'food is fun until they're one' mantra over and over to assure myself this was normal. And she was still breastfeeding and gaining tons of weight and was very healthy, so I tried not to worry.

But after a year came and went, and she still wasn't doing the solids thing, I started to worry. I decided with the next baby I wouldn't do this silly baby led weaning thing, because it seemed to produce picky eaters. (My friend who's kid is the same age as Fifi also did BLW and found the same problems with him.)

But suddenly, it clicked. Suddenly, she started eating. She'd eat a whole quarter of a sandwich. She'd eat a whole banana. She'd eat all the blueberries in a punnet. She started branching out from just fruit and yogurt to breads, meats and the occasional vegetable (though not much more than a few bites on the veggie side of things). Then it increased and increased and kept increasing. The breastfeeding went down too though that had more to do with my diminished supply due to pregnancy than anything else.

Now, the kid is eating us out of house and home. And while she loves her sweets, she also really loves good, healthy food. She's still picky with her veg, but that could be my fault as well, since I'm picky with my veg and probably don't offer it enough! I'm going to chop up some carrots today and steam some green beans and asparagus and bake those sweet potatoes to get a kick on trying harder in that department.

Just Thursday I made a fresh fruit salad for the whole family. Scott put it on her little table for all of us to munch on. Fifi pulled up her chair and proceeded to eat the whole salad. A family sized fruit salad, gone in about five minutes. Grapes, strawberries, bananas, pears and oranges. Gone.

I write this, because today I was just bewildered to see how much she was eating. She asks for fruit and yogurt (and cake) all day long, though she'll settle on almost any alternative you offer, but it still amazes me to see her actually eat her proper lunch. I made a grilled cheese sandwich for her today, and she happily ate the whole thing (minus the crusts). I'm just so pleased.

I also write this to introduce you to my latest craze: bento. Bento is a Japanese thing (see the link), but it's become quite a craze amongst Westerners, some who remain true to the Japanese theme and some who have Westernised it. While I'm afraid that to begin with, I'll be a very Western bento-boxer, I'm very excited about the prospect of supplying my husband and children with healthy lunches, full of well-balanced, bite-sized meals. I bought a bento box for Scott (a manly black one) and one for Fifi (a cute, kiddie blue one). In them I plan to pack anything from fruits and veggies to sandwiches to left-overs, with the occasional cute onigiri, just to be sort of Japanese about it. For Fifi, I can cut sandwiches and fruit into adorable shapes with cookie cutters. Maybe I'll occasionally do the same for Scott, just to make him laugh - and make his friends laugh at him. I'm really excited about starting these bento lunch boxes. It's encouraging me to think very four-basic-food-groups. It's getting me excited about putting lunches together. It's making me feel like a good wife and mummy. It'll be really fun to send the kiddos off to school with bento boxes as well, even though that's many years away. That is, if the excitement doesn't wear off by then...

Anyway, long may the bento live on in our home. And the baby led weaning will most likely get another go with Baby #2.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Husband

Can I just brag about my husband for a moment?

One thing that has always impressed me about Scott is what a hard worker he is. Yes, when it comes to housework, that is a different story, but when it's his job, you won't find a harder worker anywhere (or rather, a harder yet healthier worker - he's no workaholic, staying all hours of the night in the office with his secretary - he doesn't even have a secretary).

When we first decided to get married, he was working a crummy job in KFC to save money for a ring and a house and a wedding. He worked his pants off. He worked 60+ hours a week with fried chicken just to make sure he would be able to marry me and do it right. He applied for tons of jobs and finally got a job with the bank. He moved over to a entry level position, and there he worked as hard as he could for years until they finally promoted him. It was discouraging work, but he worked hard anyway. They screwed him over a few times, and yet he kept working hard for them. His performance ratings proved that.

Finally, his hard work is starting to be rewarded. He officially moves into a new position in August, where his mind-blowing computer skills will be sufficiently utilised. More than that, he's been awarded a prize by the bank along with only 3 other people in the whole of Scotland for his outstanding performance. He is a hard, hard worker, and finally he is getting some credit for it.

I've always known how hard he works, and it has always impressed me. It angered me when his credit was given to others, and he was left unnoticed. Now that's starting to change, and I couldn't be happier for him. I've been wanting for ages to brag about him here. I just think he is wonderful, and I'm so proud of him. I love him very, very much.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Free Time

I have an hour to myself. I shall spend it cleaning the kitchen. Hurrah.

20 week scan in T minus 3 days.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Laundry is Boring

I'm bored.

I had a good all-day plan for today, but it fell apart. I was going to take Fifi swimming in the morning, come home for lunch, go to the Kilmacolm breastfeeding group (because my usual Thursday group I run with Mhairu is off today), and then I was going to head down to the church campsite to visit the girls at camp. But I remembered the kiddie pool doesn't open until noon, so that threw me off. So all morning we've been in the house, and I'm close to going stir crazy.

It's been a productive morning though... sort of. Fifi fell asleep in the car dropping Daddy off at work. I hoped I could get her to stay asleep and place her in her bed, but she woke. So I laid down next to her to get her back to sleep and of course fell asleep myself. We slept for an hour. Then I got up and folded the five loads of laundry that has been piling up and - get this - put most of it away. Only most because Fifi got pretty restless around this time. We ran a few new loads of laundry, and now we're eating lunch. Or she is rather. She had cheese slices and pear slices while she waited for her fish fingers to cook, and now she's eating those. I might make myself a grilled cheese sandwich. It's sort of the only thing I ever eat these days. I like it with ketchup and a mug of tomato soup.

After my lunch, we'll go to the breastfeeding group. Then I'll probably go around the shops and advertise for my baby signing classes before heading over to camp. Tonight for dinner is chicken curry (curry from a jar, not homemade), rice and naan bread. Dessert is sticky toffee pudding. Tesco's own, also not homemade.

Fifi is whiny. Spooce is just patiently hanging out, not bothering me at all these days; just a reassuring kick now and again to let me know s/he's still there. And I'm really bored.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Fifi and I had our first 'Why?' conversation this morning.

I was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar (by Eric Carle) to her (teaching her the signs for both caterpillar and butterfly, which was very amusing to watch her imitate). When I ended the story with, '... and turned into a beautiful butterfly', Fifi looked at me and said 'Why?'
'Because caterpillars turn into butterflies,' I explained.
'Because that's how God made them.'


Monday, July 14, 2008

Dress Shopping

Fifi, Mum-in-law and I went shopping today to find wedding dresses for Fifi and her cousin Audrey for Kate's wedding. It was quite an ordeal. Having forgotten to put the stroller in the car, we knew Fifi walking around the mall for ages would be a chores so we rented one of those shopping cars kids can ride in to take around. Fifi loved it while it was moving, but once we were in a shop, she was extremely bored. She kept getting in and out, in and out, pulling down clothes, in and out, running away, pulling down clothes, in and out... it was a bit of a waste.

We looked at several gorgeous dresses at Monsoon (see here and here for pictures of the ones I could find on the site) but had a bit of a hard time justifying the prices. We decided to shop around a bit more first, and if we found nothing, we'd come back for one of them.

However, we were very lucky. We found the perfect dress (which I guess I better not show in case it's meant to be a secret) for less than half the price of just one of the Monsoon dresses - with fur shrugs to go with it. It was very successful.

I am now very tired from shopping all afternoon with a mad 1 1/2 year old running around like a crazy hyena, pulling everything off the racks. She, however, is not tired, because she got to sleep in the car on the way home.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Just wanted to pop in and say hi before I start getting email threats from my family members.

This morning Maria, Carol and I got Cillian, Caspar and Fifi together to play for the first time in ages. They are so cute, all learning to play together and all insisting that each toy is 'mine!' It's crazy to think in a few months the number of kids among us will double. We'll go from 3 to 6 within a matter of two months. (We are all three pregnant.)

And speaking of pregnant, so is our friend Cheryl! Congrats to her and Matt. Their baby is due a month after mine. So many babies.

Fifi is napping now, so I've done some dishes and am going to call my mom and paint my nails.

When she wakes, I am going to make a long awaited trip to the bank and the post office and then come home to make dinner and pack for our WEEKEND AWAY!

Fifi is staying with Grandma and Grandpa Saturday and Sunday while Scott and I lounge by the pool at a hotel far far away.

So I should also tidy the rest of the house in preparation. But dishes are a start.

Gotta go. Nails to be done before naptime ends.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

American Trifle

I think I may have shamed my mother by posting these pictures (here and here) of my house. I tried to explain that it was for solidarity, for all the other mothers in the world who may think their house is the only one in shambles. But to make up for it, here are a few new pictures of my now very clean and tidy house.

It is clean, because we had a few folks over last night for a very last minute (as in decided to do it early yesterday morning) 4th of July get-together. Yes, I realise I was the only American there. But there was a Canadian, so I sort of changed it to an Independence Day/Canada Day thing minus any Canada Day festivities. Not that there were any American festivities either, but there was a red, white and blue trifle, which was, by the way, the inspiration for the get-together. I've never actually bothered with 4th of July since moving here, but I really wanted to make a strawberry and blueberry trifle, so what the hey? I didn't get a picture of it, though. Scott dug into it before I even got to present it proudly to my guests. It didn't look very patriotic anyway. But it was tasty. We also had burgers and fries and bbq baked beans.

It was fun catching up with friends, and Fifi was on her cutest behaviour, except for the first part when she was very unhappy with me for spending more time in the kitchen than playing with her. And it is very, very nice having a tidy house with clean kitchen floors (thanks, Mom, for the swiffer-sweeper thing). Long may it continue.