With Easier Life Comes Lousier Blog

You may have noticed that I haven’t been fully present here in the blogosphere during the past weeks. It’s because I’ve noticed something that I didn’t expect: When my life gets easier after the colic time, I don’t seem to find time to update this blog. It feels strange. I didn’t think it would go like this. Not have time for updates when I have more time. 

People always asked me how I had time to start a new blog when I had newborn twins.

Let me explain you.

When the twins were born our world turned upside down. Everything I thought I knew about taking care of babies went out of the window. We felt like we were thrown into a merry-go-round that was spinning too fast and we were trying to hold on to it the best we could. The babies had our attention from the moment we opened our eyes in the morning until we closed them in the evening.

We had to leave our hobbies and everything extra that took time from taking care of the babies. Since the other baby had colic it meant that either me or my husband walked around carrying the crying baby and the other one took care of the other baby and the toddler.

So what did I do?

When I walked around with the crying baby I thought about this blog and my next post. How should I start it? What about the ending? Which photos I would use? Anyone with colic baby knows that there is absolutely nothing you can do to calm the baby. All you can do is be close to him and let him know that he’s not alone. I was physically close to him but my mind was somewhere else. It escaped to this blog.

In the evening when all the kids were sleeping I sat down to my computer and wrote the text. The writing was quick since I had thought it through before. Sometimes I fell asleep myself while I was putting the kids to bed but then I wrote the text the next day. I didn’t worry about it.

Many of the texts turned out bright and happy. Even if I was exhausted I often wanted to write something positive. I didn’t want to be stuck in that exhaustion. But often I also let it show through. I didn’t want to be fake.

I’m grateful for this blog. It’s one of the major things that kept me sane during the colic time. It was my own thing. My place. The only thing I did regularly only because I liked it after the twins were born. Not because I had to. 

Every comment, like and follow have felt sooo good. I’m honestly grateful for every visit this blog gets. I have found some new friends. Someone I have already met in person. What could be better outcome from blogging?

Well anyways. Now our life is easy. The kids are happy. They are learning everyday, sleeping and eating well. No drama going on.

What do I do now?

I have noticed that with this easy life I don’t have to escape to this blog during the day. In the evening when I sit down to the computer I have no idea what to write. Sometimes I write something quickly but regret it after publishing and often I write nothing.

I’m in a new situation and I don’t know how to continue. Since I’m not as tired as I used to be I have started to do things that I used to do before twins came. I have spent my evenings, for example, crocheting.

I don’t know if this is the end of this blog or if I continue but the way of making it has to change. I need to figure out how and when and what I write in the future if I write. And I have to find time to read other blogs, participate and be a better community member.

Maybe a little hiatus will do good.

Or maybe I’ll publish some texts that I still have in the drafts. I’m not sure. But I just wanted to let you what’s going on.

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Our summer in pictures

Oh yes, let’s start with this one! It was the first of May. Vappu. When everyone goes out to have a picnic or start the barbecue season but this year our backyard looked like this. The spring was unbelievably cold and this was the crown of it all. As they say, summers in Finland are cold and have only little snow.

In May we had some nice visits to the Helsinki center, underground electrical station and to see presidential funeral among other things. The underground electrical station was so much fun and such a special opportunity but when my son was asked afterwards about the best part of that day he replied it was getting in to that digger you can see there. 😀

I also got out with friends a couple of times and had some dates with the husband. I ate some nice lunches and dinners and had an opportunity to drink my coffee hot for a change.

In June it was finally warm enough to go swimming outside and have some ice cream (like everyday :D). We bought new furniture to our terrace and used them regularly. I love eating outside. Everything seems to taste better there!

The boy got a new sandbox to our backyard and was extremely happy about it. 😊

The next picture was the story of my life this summer. I made this meme early June and sent it to the husband like every day. It says: all kids are sleeping … were sleeping. Since as soon as I got every one asleep and brewed a coup of coffee and was ready to sit down and take a sip, someone was already awake. Like every time.

I didn’t have time to do much in the garden this year. All the weeds were growing wild and free but I try not to worry about it. This is Midsummer rose and the photo is taken on Midsummer when it was blooming beautifully.

The summer was not only sunshine and happiness. First of all it was quite cold and rainy but we also had to take our babies to the hospital a couple of times since they were not feeling well but it was luckily nothing serious. I also took them to cafés and restaurants so that they would get used to it from early on.

Looking back this summer is actually quite emotional. The babies were so little. We did not do as much different activities that I had hoped for but we invited lots of visitors to our home which was nice. I learnt that you don’t have to be always going to places and taking trips and visits as I have done previously. Staying at home with friends and family members is also very nice. Actually we had a good summer. Very good one.

Here was our May and June! This one got so long already that I’ll continue with July and August later.

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Twins 8 months – moving around

I can’t believe that they are 8 months already! And at the same time I can’t believe that they are only 8 months old. Looking back this year the colic time and all seems distant. As I predicted I don’t remember much of it. When I think about last spring, I have to check photos from my phone or blog posts to see what we did and how it was back then. Oh boy it was tough.

We are living in a calm and serene period of time at the moment. It’ll probably get harder again when the twins learn to walk but I enjoy this easier time with all my heart.

The boy has learnt to crawl and he has also created a quite unique way of moving around. He puts his head down to the floor and lifts his butt up and sometimes raises his hands up as well. It looks like he’s saying “yes mom, I can walk, I just can’t keep my head up”. 😀 He keeps getting stuck under the table, chairs or the sofa all the time and is then crying for help.

The girl likes to roll over but she is more of a watcher. She is monitoring her brothers and laughing at them. She is also more advanced with her language skills and I’m pretty sure she means mom when she looks at me and says ‘mama’. I really think it’s her first word! Or maybe not. We’ll see haha. 😀 She is also better than her brother in eating herself and learnt the pinch grip last week. The boy still basically just throws the food around when given the opportunity.

They still have 3 naps per day and eat 4 meals. In the evening they go to sleep at 8 and they wake up at 7 in the morning. They still get milk twice a night.

We have sleep trained them earlier and gotten to only one eating time per night but when we stop the training they start demanding food twice a night very soon. With our first born son we slept full nights already at this point but now with three children the sleep training is not as easy. It includes pretty much always little crying but now we can’t let them cry or they wake everyone else up.

If anyone has tips on how to do sleep training when you have many kids I’ll hear them gladly!

Have a nice day!

Mannamaria

Let’s Become Vegetarian

Being ill was not only bad! I had an idea while resting! I’ve told you I’d like to be vegetarian but I’ve had all these excuses: I don’t know how to prepare enough vegetarian meals, I’ve been tired with the twins and haven’t had the strength to look for new recipes and everyday meals.

I’ve been a master in inventing new excuses.

A week ago I watched the documentary ‘What the Health’. I’d watched Cowspiracy earlier. They are not entirely applicable to an EU country and they are not the only reason why I’d like to be vegetarian. But that documentary reminded me of this dream or goal of becoming vegetarian I’ve had for a long time. My family hasn’t eaten lots of meat but I’d like to leave it all.

So I decided. Enough with excuses. Now is as good time as any to try this out!

Since October is ‘meat free month’ I decided to take part and started this challenge already a week ago. I’ll try to be vegetarian until the end of October and then see how it went and how I want to continue.

Rules that I’ve set for myself:

  • Buy and prepare only vegetarian food at home. At this point eggs and dairy are ok. I’ll try leaving them later.
  • Vegetarian food only at home. My son and husband can eat whatever they want at daycare and work but I will only eat vegetarian dishes and prepare them at  home. They won’t eat meat at home either.
  • Seafood is ok occasionally. Just make sure that it’s msc certified.
  • I’ll continue until the end of October and then see how it went, and decide whether I want to continue.

What I have prepared during this first week:

  • Lentil soup
  • Tomato pasta with pulled oats
  • Vegetarian hamburgers
  • Spinach and feta cheese pie
  • Tomato and chevre pie
  • Pesto pasta

In a restaurant I’ve had

  • Sushi
  • Pan-fried noodles with tofu (this one was the only hard one! I almost chose beef and broke my challenge already but luckily went with tofu after all.)
  • Smoothie (a big, lunchy one)

My son hasn’t noticed anything different in my cooking and that’s also my goal. That the meals are so tasty he wouldn’t notice anything. This first week has been surprisingly easy. Now I’m trying to invent new ideas for the next week.

Please share your favorite vegetarian recipes! I really need all tips I can get.

And join me to this challenge if you want!

Mannamaria

When Stay at Home Mom Is Ill

So I’ve been ill. Really ill. The disease knocked me down to bed over a week ago. If it was influenza season I’d say I had an influenza but since it’s not, I don’t know what it was. I thought it was just a cold so I didn’t go to the doctor right away. I waited for it to go away too many days. It got so bad I couldn’t get up from bed at all. I couldn’t even think about going to the doctor’s office for many days. Eventually I went to the doctor’s, got the antibiotics and started to get better.

What’s my problem then? Just get some rest mmmkay? Well if you have three small children to take care of it’s not that easy.

This all week I have been thinking about this. How are we supposed to handle these situations? It felt literally impossible for me to be ill. For days I used all willpower I had to continue taking care of children and doing the chores. I couldn’t think about being ill. Who’d take care of the children and everything if I’m ill?

But eventually it got me.

In our case the grandparents live far away and couldn’t help us while husband was at work. My friends work and those who are at home are there because they have children and obviously they couldn’t help us. We didn’t have any place were we could have taken the kids so that I could have rested. When someone told me “you really have to take care of yourself” I felt like punching her.

We are lucky that my husband’s employer let him stay at home to take care of the babies for couple of days. Not all employers allow that. We also had a nanny helping for two days and this way we got through this. Maybe everyone has some back up plan? We didn’t. We made one as we went on.

Even if we found a way to get through this I felt horrible when my husband had to stay at home so that I could rest.  I felt like a loser. I had one job, to take care of the children, and I couldn’t even do that.

But had my husband been ill he could have taken sickness leave and stayed at home and rested without further discussion. It’s just us moms who can’t be sick.

I don’t know if I had a great point with this text. I just wanted to point out this issue so that everyone would have a plan in case they get ill. Since it’s not easy for a SAHM to get that rest. Had we had a proper plan beforehand maybe I wouldn’t have felt so bad to stay in bed for a couple of days?

Anyways, now I’m back in business again and ready to take care of any family member in case they get ill. 🙂

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria


Someone is already waiting for winter. 😊


Children’s Culture – Opera And Ballet For Babies

Yesterday marked a big milestone for me and the babies. For the first time I went to the city center with them. With a colic baby we have stayed mainly near home. Now we can start moving around more. Yey!

We had a good reason for going. Helsinki Opera & Ballet organized an event where parents could take their babies to the Helsinki Opera House and get their first opera and ballet experience.


High quality children’s culture is close to my heart. In my opinion it’s not only fun for both the kids and the parents but it’s also a great way to teach children to consume and value culture.

With the older boy we have been to concerts, theatre, music theatre and museums. Also children’s festivals, theme parks and library visits have been part of our life.

Yesterday was twins’ first culture event and what would have been a better way to start than the National Opera and the beautiful Helsinki opera house. The staff had created a wonderful, warm atmosphere. The music was beautiful. The babies and mothers participated in the act occasionally. The most rousing part was when a ballerina came front and danced for us. My babies stared at her, mesmerized. It was a small group. I think 20 babies with their mothers.


It was fun. Attending cultural events is always fun. We’ve created some great memories. At least for us adults. The boy has been so young that he won’t remember most things that we have done. The babies obviously won’t remember anything from yesterday.

Does it matter? What’s the point in attending events that they won’t remember anyway?


Even if they won’t remember the events itself, they will remember our positive attitude towards these events. And I believe they remember how it felt to be there. We have photos of the events and we talk about them later. Children are curious about happenings concerning themselves. Many times have we watched photos and answered questions like “why did we go? Who was there? What did we do there? Why? Is it far away? Can we go again?”

And those conversations are what it’s all about. That is what educating children to consume culture is all about. I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to offer my kids these experiences. The events are by the way usually free of charge like the opera experience today.

Do you like to attend children’s concert, theatre or other events? 

Have a beautiful day!

Mannamaria



Everyday meal ideas

It often seems that all blogs and cook books are full of ideas of what to eat during the weekend, or when friends come over or you’re having a party. In my opinion cooking is easy during the weekend when you have more time.

I’m always struggling with the everyday meals. I feel like I’m making the same dishes week after week. I don’t seem to find new ideas for dishes that wouldn’t take more that 30 minutes of my time preparing. With two babies that really is the maximum time I can spend on cooking in the evening.

My criteria for a good everyday meal are:

  • Shouldn’t take more that 30 minutes to make. Some days I can only use 10-15 minutes.
  • Preferably a big dish that we can eat two days in a row. Soups are always a good idea!
  • As healthy as possible.
  • Vegetarian dish is always a good idea. I’d be vegetarian if I knew how to cook more vegetarian dishes.

Yesterday I made Janssonin kiusaus or Jansson’s frästelse or Janssons Temptation. It’s one of those dishes I always forget that exists, then I make many of them in a short period of time and then I forget it again.

It is not healthy or vegetarian but it only takes about 5 minutes to put together and tastes delicious. My son loves it. The instructions are at the bottom of this post. Traditionally it’s served with beet root but since it’s quite heavy meal itself I like to make a green salad with it. Sometimes I don’t have time to put the salad together so I just chop some vegetables to the side.

What is your favorite everyday dinner? I welcome all ideas!

Mannamaria

 

I used a large lasagna pan for this one.

 

When I’m making this during the week I buy the ready made potato&onion mix from the freezer. During the week end, with more time, I peel and chop the potatoes to sticks myself.

Here are the instruction if you want to try. You can also check allrecipes.com though their recipe is a little different.

Jansson’s Temptation

You’ll need

1,2 kg potatoes and 2 yellow onions OR

1,5 kg peeled and chopped to sticks potatoes and onion mix from the freezer.

2 cans of sprat/ European anchovy fillets (2x125g/80g)

2 dl double cream

2 dl whole milk

Directions 

  • Preheat the oven to around 200C/400F/Gas 6
  • Layer 500 g of potato and onion mix in the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Then top with the first can of anchovy, the next layer is 500 g potato and onion mix again and then the second can of anchovy fillets. Top with the last 500 g of potatoes and onions.
  • Mix cream, milk and the sprat juice from one of the anchovy cans and pour it over the dish.
  • Bake for about an hour. After one hour the dish is cooked but it’s not mushy as I like it. I like to keep it in the oven for 2 or even 3 hours but turn off the oven at some point. If I’m busy and I usually am… I take the dish out after one hour, give everyone a portion and then put it back to oven.