Summerly days behind and a long weekend ahead of us

It has been pretty quiet on the blog – for no better reason than: a whiff of summer. The last couple of days have been so blissfully summery that we just HAD to spend each and every spare minute outside. Though we didn’t manage it down to the beach again we still had a great time and the kids simply loved it. They dug straight into the sandpit or the tree swing or joined me in planting some pots and eagerly watered them. Also getting dressed in the mornings was no longer trouble and fighting – it was quick and easy and done in no time seeing that we only had to take some shorts and shirts on and off we could go.
Today is the first day for the weather to cool off slightly – but that’s ok so we finally get things done inside the house and also here on the blog.
Despite the warmth and long outside hours I managed to try a number of new gluten-free dishes which I will hopefully type in rather sooner than later. I have tried some more Quinoa, a delicious office lunch containing beetroot, red beans and gerkins and a brilliantly moist buckwheat bread, just to mention a few.

For now there lies a long weekend ahead of us, which we will spend visiting dear old friends down in the southwest of the country. This means a pretty long drive in the car – 4 or 5 hours depending on the traffic – with the 3 monkeys in the backseat. I already started preparing some entertainment (a.k.a. taking some long forgotten CDs and books) and yummy provisions. I’ll try sushi rolls for the drive and the first day, which we will most likely spend at the Zoo when we get there. I know hubby, Miss Monkey and I myself just LOVE sushi and I want to leave the rolls pretty big instead of cutting them down into bits to make it more of a to-go-snack than fancy meal. I think of using tuna, avocado, capsicum und cucumber as filling and I hope it makes a good meal for a day on the road. Also, I’m curious to see if the smallest monkey will have it – though this one is a real food machine and normally gulps almost everything. The middle monkey won’t have it as far as I know. He has been a real food-moaner lately and I think this really sucks but so far I haven’t come up with something to do about it and I really don’t want to force food into him. Basically, though, I think he’s is just a lazy eater – too lazy to try out new tastes. Hmm, we’ll see how it goes when we’re away for those days. I will definitely keep you posted.

Mothers’ Day

All you Moms out there – have a happy day today!
Mine started at 5.16 a.m. sharp when the little monkey woke up and was no way going back to sleep again. Not exactly the kind of kickstart for the day I had in mind. It got better though. Shortly after the smallest was up also the two bigger monkeys were wide awake and without discussing agreed to keep an eye on their little brother and keep themselves company and busy so hubby and I could stay in bed for another hour of sleep.
When it was eventually time for me to get up, too, I got spoiled with loads of hand- and love-made presents from my kids:

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It kind of brought me back to those days when I myself was actually making presents for my Mom on Mothers’s Days, instead of just running down to the shops at the last minute to simply buy her something. I know my middle monkey spent a whole afternoon, say 3 to 4 hours, this last week to make my present! All by himself, behind closed doors. Miss Monkey was quicker and more self-dependent but the great card she gave me was all hand- and love-made, too.

Also, I am glad we decided to take our own Moms and also one of my Grandmas out to celebrate today. We drove out to the country with them, took them to a lovely, picturesque, refurbished castle where we had a remarkably delicious brunch all together. It was a glorious, happy morning and it also made my own Mothers’ Day really perfect.

I am especially happy and grateful today because very early this morning I had to learn of the death of a woman I know. I cannot even say we were close friends because we were not. I got to know her when living in Australia; she worked with my husband and we occasionally met. She died this morning after battling cancer. She and her family are beyond brave and positive and strong. They had to bear more than anybody can possibly bear and they never gave up. She was a Mom, too, and she died on Mothers’ Day morning leaving two small kids and a husband, a family, friends, people who knew her and who were happy to have her in their lives. I feel overly sad to know that she’s gone because she of all people would have deserved to win this battle. And I feel grateful and blessed to be here, happy and healthy, with my kids, husband, family and friends happy and healthy, too.

Katja, I know you are up there and keep an eye on your dear ones. I wish from now on, there will only be sunshine for you on every single day, because this is the least you deserve.

Post-holiday – again

 

Hi all, I’ve been absent for a while as you probably noticed. We took a week off and went to Denmark for a family vacation with the monkeys and my brother plus his family. Let me tell you this was a totally different kind of holiday from what we’ve experienced just 3 weeks ago when taking a timeout in Italy! 🙂 But it was no less fun and enjoyable and first and foremost: it was spending quality family time together all the 5 of us, something we really needed to do. We captured playgrounds in the woods or at the beach, conquered numerous castles and watched the Royal Guards and Horses on duty. We had a lot of Danish ice cream and some nice BBQ-lunches in the sun. We got drenched on a walk as short as 150 meters and discovered the fun of Viking Chess Battles with the whole family.

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Due to those vacation and the following Easter weekend which we spent with hubby’s family at the cottage, I haven’t tried new or transformed old gluten-free dishes lately but I do have a number of delicious meals queuing which I will of course write about here shortly. So be prepared for gluten-free versions of traditional food such as Lasagna or pie and culinary experiments including Quinoa and Buckwheat and yet another new bread.

Going on a holiday

Yes. You’ve read correctly. I am going on a holiday. Just hubby and me. We are taking a time-out just for the 2 of us leaving our monkeys in the caring and loving hands of our parents. Hmm.

It’s the first couple-getaway for us since our anniversary in 2011 – so it’s been quite a while. Since 2011 I have basically not spent a single night without at least one of my monkeys. Every parent knows what that means: 30 months of sleeping in stand-by. Permanent alert-mode. Hmm.

I’ve had 3 sick monkeys and one sick self around here during the last month and I feel really ready for this vacation now: I’m trying to put all my doubts and worries aside by the help of an overwhelming need for recreation, alone-time with hubby – and sleep. Long, undisturbed, restoring sleep. Hmm. Still. However much I need this vacation, those silly doubts and worries just won’t stay in that corner I’ve sent them to. They keep sneaking back into my mind and leave me feeling insecure. I have never ever before left them – my 3 monkeys all at once is it. Least of all I haven’t left them for 5 consecutive nights! so, here’s when the ‘what-ifs’ start to rumble.: What if one of them gets sick? Or all of them? Even worse! What if my parents get sick? What if they won’t sleep / eat / feel  well / behave? What if something happens to us? What if the plane mystically disappears from the radar? Just happened… What if I simply won’t be able to rest, relax, recreate, sleep, talk to hubby … enjoy myself after all? Hmm. I feel kind of trapped between those silly worries and the urgent need for some time away.

What keeps my mind busy and off those doubts nowadays is organizing the next week. It is not just me and hubby going away for 5 days. It’s not just throwing some dresses and stuff into a suitcase, checking us in online and off we are. NO. It is all about list-making, scheduling, plan-writing, explaining, preparing etc at the moment. Sometimes I stop and wonder how I actually manage considering my non-existing Master-degree in Logistics. 🙂

Tomorrow I’ll start packing up the clothes and 1 million more things which need removal over to my parents’ for the time of our absence.  I even went to a big Swedish furniture today (SATURDAY) in order to buy a safety guard for my parents’s staircase. It was an absolute nightmare as the store was already crowded before it even opened but now I feel a little more relaxed seeing that my little monkey probably won’t attempt to descend the stairs.

I know the next 3 days will fly by so I won’t have too much time to think and / or worry. And before I know I’ll be sitting on my seat in row 24 off to the lovely south and my 3 sweet monkeys will be nothing but fine – enjoying their time off from their overprotective, ever-worrying mom.

I’ll definitely let you know how it went.

The difficulty of taking it slow

The last 2 weeks were really tough around here: One after another monkey got sick, all with the same kind of throat infection – all likewise bad tempered, unbalanced and suffering. Each mother knows these spirits during a child‘s sickness usually come in waves – now imagine 3 monkeys, a new sick one every second day. I had all different moods and stages here on each single day. Yippie.

Here comes the first chance for me to just lean back, relax and: take it as it is, take it slow, take it easy. I failed. I just cannot do this, I am incapable of that. When I stay at home with sick kids it‘s not me thinking „Now let‘s have a nice and cosy time, shut the blinds, watch silly movies, eat what we‘re up to and just take our time to recover. I‘ll help you with that.“ Instead I let the kids watch silly movies an eat what they want while I try to get as many things done around the house as I possibly can – things which were way off the list yesterday but now that I‘m home anyway… Silly me! I don‘t know why it‘s so hard for me to just let go, take it slow. I ended up pretty stressed and annoyed by the situation and ached for the moment when the front door opened and hubby came home. Chance clearly missed.

BUT the second chance was waiting just around the corner. The kids were recovering and pretty much ready to return school and kindy when I myself suddenly buckled. I felt a mix of everything – sick in anyway. So I took thursday and friday off and tried to relax and recover. It started promising: hubby drove the kids to school so I could remain in my PJs and go straight back to bed for another 3-hour-sleep after the troops had left the field: Check. It was marvelous! And really relaxing indeed. Then, on thursday, I got up, showered and dressed. Quickly hang up the washing before shopping the groceries just to be back in time so I managed to walk to school to pick the boys up. Yeah. Not marvelous, not relaxing. In the afternoon I felt more sick than ever. Chance missed – again.

The final chance came the next morning, again I went straight back to bed for 3 more delightful hours. When I got up, I made myself a nice breakfast, talked to my best friends on the phone, read the paper in the sun room, had a chat with Miss Monkey who came back home from school early. I took things very slow, closed my eyes when something worth cleaning/tidying/washing/… came into focus, I walked slowly to pick the boys up and even slower back home with them. By the end of the day I indeed felt recovered, refreshed, good.

Well, that wasn‘t all too difficult, I thought. So why…? And: It was worth it seeing the effects. Still… We‘ll see how it goes the next time around.

Coconut bread – 2nd try

I was so bothered by yesterday’s accident that I decided to give this bread another go right away. The day today turned out to be the least relaxing – I stayed at home with both big monkeys who both have bad throat infections and who both were in a mood… let me tell you! 😦 Anyway, I took some quiet time to do some research and after that I could tweak the recipe a little. Today I used:

200ml coconut milk

10g dried yeast

200g all purpose gluten-free flour

200g cookies-and-cake gluten-free flour

1 tblsp. vegetable oil

1 tblsp. raw sugar

some salt

100-150ml warm water

First I mixed all dry ingredients, then I added the coconut milk and 100ml water, later I added some more water – you will know once the dough has the perfect texture.

I let it rest for more than an hour and baked it about 45mins (200 degrees C). It looks a little pale but it’s really tasty and the texture is soft, a little moist and crispy on the outside. As I already said I will add more sweets next time now that I found a recipe (or: a mixture of several to fit) that works. Take a look:

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Oh what a morning…

Today was of the mornings I wish I forgot right on spot.

It started 30 mins early as both boys woke up at 5.30 instead of around 6. ‘So what?’ I thought, kept them snuggled up in my bed and had a little coze. Getting up and getting dressed was still ok – getting dressed has recently been the weak spot in our morning routine, especially with the little monkey. But no worries here today.

So, by 6.55 both big monkeys were dressed, my hair was dried – and then everything kind of started going downhill. I fought with those silly tights I chose to wear today – only to realize they were actually purple, not black. Aaaargh. Little monkey was also having a small crisis of some kind then leading to him constantly clutching on my leg – ripping my tights with his small sharp finger nails! (didn’t I want to cut them the other night?!)

Some time later I managed into another tight, got the little monkey dressed – and could simultaneously hear the big monkeys fighting over some non-sense down stairs. By now time was already running and non of them had had a bite of breakfast so far. Aaaargh.

In the kitchen then first thing the little monkey did was taking a handful from the chocolate spread jar. Aaaargh. Middle monkey “Can I get some flakes’n’milk?” – “You’re not allowed that at the moment, remember sweetie?” -“But Mom…… !” (5 mins of pleading and discussing to follow)

Finally and miraculously we made it to the front door in order to get dressed to go outside. Another small issue about the pros and cons of gum boots-to-wear-with-everything (the gum boots won) and the little monkey holding on to the keys so, so, sooo firm and out we were. Yippie.

I really don’t know why and retrospectively the morning does not seem all that odd to me anymore – but it was. I felt as tired and worn-out by 7.45 as I would normally at 5 in the afternoon. Hmm.

We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. I will be staying at home with the middle monkey who is having a bad throat infection and even has to take medication. So it hope t will be a little more relaxed – for me.

Back on – finally

So now, finally I’ve managed to open a new blog, get that one started and designed (haha) and even started to copy a few of the older posts from the older blog. I’d really love to post on a more regular basis from now on.

I have been thinking how to start this new one – several options on hand: telling you everything that happened since March2013 (last post in the old blog), pretending it was just yesterday that I last posted – or giving another year’s recap.

I decided to go for the recap which will be posted shortly. Generally the blog will be about my sewing, special diets we’ve been trying lately – especially gluten free and casein free. But of course it will be mainly about the 3 cheeky, not-so-little monkeys and what’s keeping us busy around here.