Monday, December 22, 2014

LAST MINUTE PRESENTS

  Last winter my son lost all but two pairs of his winter gloves. The same seems to continue this year, and I´m pretty upset about it truth be told. In the fall, when it begun to get cold, I bought him a pair of good quality gloves. He wore them twice, and on the third day he came home without them. He´d lost them already (I do not want to think anyone at school had stolen them...).

  This Christmas I´m happy to give him this gift, self made my mommy:
 
Four pairs of dark blue fleece mittens.

The fleece I use is thick, warm, and keeps the wind and snow out. As opposed to knitted mittens, fleece beats them clearly in wearability. And that´s what counts most in kids´ clothes.

In addition to being extremely great to wear, they´re also ridiculously easy to make. Simply draw the outline of your kid´s hand on paper, add 1/2 inch seam allowance (except to the tip of middle finger), and cut out of fleece. Then sew , right sides together, with a regular straight stitch as close to the edge as you can. Turn right side out and you´re done!
  In the fall and spring, when it´s still muddy and dirty, but chilly already, I like to place these fleece mittens inside the rubbery rain gloves to keep the little hands warm. After coming back inside it is so neat to pull the two gloves apart and they´ll dry easily and won´t stink at all!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

BELUGA SPROUTS

  I discovered beluga lentils last year in Yule. What a masterpiece of taste all on it´s own! My daughter loves them even more than me, and we have had them cooked throughout the year.
  But recently my stomach has begun to dislike cooked foods, so I figured I´ll try sprouting the lentils.
  I had to begin by searching the web of whether they could be sprouted or not, and if they could be eaten raw. The answer to both is yes!

Here´s what belugas look like dried, straight out of the bag.
First I soak them 8 hours, or over night, then rinse them a couple of times and place upside down in our dish drying cupboard at an 45 degree angle (these type of cupboards are common in Finland, but I´m not sure if anywhere else... Anyone?). Then I let them sit there for a couple of days, rinsing twice/thrice daily, until they´re ready.

These are two days old sprouts. Ready to be thrown into my mouth. The taste is awesome. At first bite the taste is somewhat sweet, then it turns rather neutral, and in the end their piquant peppery taste can be recognized. I prefer them plain, straight out of the jar.
We share a passion for these sprouts.
  Earlier I have sprouted mung beans, green lentils, and alfalfa. The first two I do not like the taste of, and the third is quite a job to rinse clean of husks in the end. But man, now I´ve found a sprout I really enjoy, both making and eating!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

PARKOUR OUTFIT FOR A BOY

  My son was very specific with his Christmas present wish: a black sweatshirt with white text saying "parkour" on the chest. He´s done some parkouring since the fall, and is all into the sport with his friends.
 Here´s what I made him:

Dark grey, not black, because it suits his very fair hair and pale face better, and because it shows dirt less. =) But he gets pants to go with the shirt. The designs are loose and will give him well room to do all sorts of leaps and jumps. 

I found these masking letters in the craft store, and tried this technique for the first time. Me like! And not far from the original request.

I used black accents here and there to give contrast, and to get closer to his wish.
    Happy and energetic X-mas my love!

Friday, December 19, 2014

YULE OUTFIT FOR A LITTLE GIRL

  This is somewhat an X-mas present, but I gave it to my two-year-old daughter already...

...for obvious reason. This color combo is to be worn prior to and on X-mas, not after. The dress is made of soft cotton velour for warmth and comfort. The leggings are cotton jersey.

The edges are trimmed with a slightly darker jersey to give a bit of contrast. I was soooo tempted to use the polka-dot fabric here, but that would have made the whole dress unsuitable to wear after Yule. It is simply utterly too lame to dress like an elf after Christmas!  =)
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

PROJECT GUESTHOUSE, PART 2

  The sea has not yet frozen, which means we´ve still been able to spend weekends at our summer home. Remodeling that is.
  Our guesthouse has proceeded nicely (you can see the starting point here):

Insulation in process. Although this is a summer house mainly, we want the guesthouse to be warm for winters too. Hopefully in the future (when the kids are older), we´ll spend weekends here year round. Preferably with friends.

We used ecologically friendly insulation, made of old recycled newspapers.

The walls were covered with timber panels and then colored using wood wax. It is breathable and non-toxic. At home we´ve used the same stuff on our floors, and fallen in love with it. It feels nice and warm against bare feet, and when it wears off in places mostly used, you can just rub a little more wax on where needed. Awesome and practical. The old door in this picture is an original one used when the place was built in 1967. It is older than that, solid and very heavy timber you no longer get anywhere. It was in a relatively good shape, so we wanted to save it for a new purpose...

View to the door. This guesthouse is a studio, there´s only one room and a little kitchen nook.


 

Here´s what it looks like right now. Still missing finishing touches, but it is starting to take shape. The pic is taken standing at the door coming in. There´s a bunk bed and the small kitchenette in the back. The old door we preserved, now serves as the end of the bed/kitchen "wall".
Obviously the place is in need of an electrician... And I must point out how I hate the faded yellow pine table & chairs there (original ones from the actual cabin, probably 80´s style)! But we have not yet bought new furniture because we need to store all the stuff from the actual cabin somewhere while we tackle it in the near future. So I´m gonna have to stand this for some more time. Poor old me...

We installed big windows on every wall, except in the back, to create a feeling of space in this otherwise small space. The couch is also evacuated from the bigger cabin, and is ridiculously too large here, and we will replace it with a smaller one one day. Patience, patience...
  My husband and I have staid here for three weekends so far. We designed it to suit two people, and by far it has proven to be a cozy little sanctuary. I can´t wait to get it finished!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

EATING PLAN FOR YULE

  Evolution has brought me to this:

Breakfast:
1 cup green tea w/ soymilk
2 cups freshly squeezed vegetable/fruit juice
1 banana topped with coconut oil and honey
There´s cucumber, celery, and apple in this glass.

Lunch:
1 cup water w/ Echinacea drops
raw food meal of choice

Tzatziki dip with veggie sticks is a great lunch option.

Dinner:
1 cup green tea w/ soymilk
2-3 cups green smoothie/pudding

Cinnamon-flavored green pudding. Made of spinach, banana, avocado, water, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla. I left the banana a bit chunky for something to bite on.

  If/when I get hungry in the evening after eating all three meals of the day, I´ll grab fresh fruits and veggies to fill me up.

  This plan combines raw foodism and principles of Clean eating by dr. Alejandro Junger (where he recommends eating two liquid meals and one solid meal per day)

  All the above examples happen to be green, but that´s not the intention (except for the green pudding of course =). I use mostly seasonal veggies and fruits as the base of all meals, bulking them up with avocado, coconut oil, and occasional cold smoked salmon or goat´s cheese. I´d love to eat an all-raw vegan diet, but at least for now my stomach doesn´t agree with nuts & seeds. A girl´s gotta do what a girl´s gotta do... which is enjoy this nutrient and enzyme rich fresh diet for the next six weeks or so!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

PRE-CHRISTMAS PARTY

  My husband and I rarely go out to parties in town. But the other weekend we did manage to do that, just the two of us! We staid in a hotel in midtown Helsinki, and fully enjoyed grown-up time together. We did a tiny bit of shopping, ate and drank well, laid on the beds being lazy and watching tv with no interruptions, had some wine, and finally went in to the bar downstairs to do some jamming. I met a few of my husband´s colleagues, whom I´d never seen before, and it was so cool getting to know them a bit. You know, to get faces to the already familiar names I´d heard so many stories about over the years.

Our hotel room was right next to the presidential suite, so the view could not get any better than that. (Remember this tunic I made last spring?)
It´s just a shame that at this time of year it gets dark at 4pm, so we could not enjoy this full view for very long. But who cares really, we weren´t there for the view initially!  =)

Learning to take selfies, which I´ve always found narcissistic really. But since everybody is doing it nowadays, it´s probably ok...

Here´s my party look for the evening. I wore a pair of black suede pants with the top (which I also wore a year ago to a girls´ night out).
  The rest of the evening was spent in the restaurant, pub, and bar mingling, dancing, and laughing. We staid up until 4.30am! I can´t even remember the last time I staid awake for that long, let alone in a bar! Good times!

  A night out with my husband, staying overnight in a hotel (with him =), and spending a lazy next morning is what I call luxury. When you have small kids, it is easy to just go by their demands, serving them, and forgetting about yourself. It is crucial to a good relationship to get some time alone with your significant other, preferably away from home. Because you´re not just mommies and daddies, you are also "girlfriends" and "boyfriends" who do have that spark there. And that spark needs to be lit up every now and then to strengthen your love and appreciation to each other. At least that´s how it works with us. The roots of a good family lay in the good relationship between mommy and daddy. It should not be valued less important than the kids´ needs. We should all be equal, kids and grown-ups. That´s what I teach to my kids too.