Experiments In Domesticity

Marriage, Motherhood & Modern Housewifery


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Stir It Up

It’s been far too long since I last posted. What happened to my New Year’s resolve? It seems both time and motivation have vanished in the ether. I could make many excuses: I’ve bought and sold a house, I’ve partially packed a house, I have a very active toddler, Musicman has been away, etcetera, etcetera. As we all know, sometimes life gets in the way.

Way back in February, I celebrated my 38th birthday while Musicman was away. Because he had not thought to leave a gift at home for me, he went all out in March and bought me a Thermomix. (Okay, I’ll admit it, he may have had to listen to me talk about it for a year first …)

For the uninitiated, the Thermomix is a kitchen robot that can basically do everything except spoon the food into your gaping mouth. It is made by the Vorwerk company – designed in Germany and produced in France. It grinds, grates, blends, mixes, kneads, steams, sautés, weighs and cooks. You can even get it to clean itself by putting a drop of soap and some water in it.

Adapting and trying out new recipes has taken up some time but the learning curve is not too steep and my family has been enjoying the results tremendously. The things I like most about the Thermomix are its speed and efficiency. I have found that there is a lot less waste involved because I am less reliant on pre-packaged foods, and I am able to throw unpeeled vegetables in and the end product is still lovely. I am also able to whip up a decent meal in half an hour – from scratch.

I use the Thermomix at least once a day and find it especially wonderful for smoothies, steel cut oats, blended soups, hummus, guacamole, dips and rice. It would have been handy to have had when Ladybug was starting to eat solids. It is great for gardeners who are interested in preserves and canning. It is also an excellent tool for those delving into raw and vegan cooking.

Please note: I am certainly not being paid by Thermomix. I wish I were because the machine does not come cheap. I just drank the Kool-Aid and wanted to share my delight with others.

Vegan Potato Rösti with Applesauce from Rescued Fruit

Vegan Potato Rösti with Applesauce from Rescued Fruit


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Moving On Up

Musicman and I have tossed around the idea of moving closer to family since I became pregnant. We definitely did not want to move while I was pregnant, as I had the most amazing midwifery care. Once Ladybug was born, moving anywhere, other than from the basement to the living room, seemed too daunting for a time.

In the last few months, our discussion about moving became more serious. With one set of parents in poor health and the other about to retire, we felt the time to make a decision was upon us. We sat down and made a list of the pros and cons, and decided that a move was in order.

Our realtor came by today and our house will be listed as of tomorrow. Sitting in our beautiful, tidy home, we both feel excited and wistful. We love our house, we have great friends here, and Edmonton has so many amenities. We are moving 600 plus kilometres, from a city of over a million inhabitants, back to our hometown of 90,000.

What tipped the scales was the idea of Ladybug being near her cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We both had this opportunity when we were young, and we feel it is very important. We can always get another house and make new friends.

Selling a house, moving, and buying a house are stressful events for adults – imagine what it must be like for a toddler! Poor little Ladybug has been walking around the house watching me stage rooms. She points to where things used to be, makes a sound and then holds both hands up as if to say “what’s going on?”

When moving with a child, it is generally advised that you not make any other major changes to their routine. For example, don’t go from co-sleeping to a crib or toddler bed. At the new house, try to set up your child’s room first. It’s also a good idea to prepare them for the move by discussing it with them.

I expect that Ladybug will be more clingy over the next couple months and that her sleep pattern will be disturbed. She doesn’t sleep as soundly or for as long whenever change is afoot. I plan to take things slower than I would have in a pre-baby move and to give myself plenty of time to get things done.

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If the Shoe Fits …

Since Ladybug started walking last month, I have been searching for appropriate footwear for her. Because of my requirements, this is not an easy task. I want a soft, flexible shoe; made from natural materials; and made in North America. If I weren’t so picky, I could waltz into any children’s store in town and pick up a pair of Robeez but, alas, they are made in China.

I have managed to purchase a wonderful pair of indoor shoes that fit the bill. While indoor shoes and socks are not necessary, and it is recommended that toddlers go barefoot in the house, our hardwood floors coupled with the fact that it is winter in Canada make for some cold tootsies. Enter the lovely Padraig slippers. I am obsessed with these natural, flexible, warm, and machine washable gems. They are artisan-made in Vancouver, Canada, and come in loads of fun colours. I’ve been giving them as gifts to all our toddler friends.

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Last year, I received the gift of a great pair of boots for Ladybug called STONZ. They are weather-proof, soft, flexible, and cute. They even fit over Padraigs, for extra warmth, if you buy a size up. Sadly, as the company has grown, they no longer make their product in Canada. This year I chose to go with a Quebec-made boot that is virtually identical in design, with the addition of some poly-fill and without the cute appliqués. The Sherpa Chic-Choc boot is an easy on and off, and keeps Ladybug’s feet toasty down to -25 degrees.

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The snow, however, will not last forever, and my daughter’s feet continue to grow at a rapid rate. Because children under two go up an average of a half shoe size every two months, it is important to replace shoes and socks frequently. Improper fit can lead to a lifetime of foot problems. Measuring your child’s foot is recommended before purchasing any new shoe. Toddlers are meant to wear shoes that are breathable and as close to the barefoot experience as possible to ensure healthy musculoskeletal development. Shoes should never be handed down because they conform to the feet of the first wearer.

So, what is a fashion-interested, budget-minded, eco-conscious mama to do? Fret no more, dear reader, for I have found two lovely solutions. Both are made in the USA and fit all my requirements. The first, Soft Star Shoes hails from Oregon, is made from American-sourced leather, dyed with food-grade dyes, available in vegan styles, and is handcrafted and customizable.

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The other, Bear Feet Shoes is of Texan provenance, boasts beautiful styling, and is made from American and European materials (some of which are also organic).

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While neither company is giving their product away, considering the time, effort and materials employed, I think they are very well-priced. A child’s footwear is certainly not the place to scrimp or sacrifice quality, as my mother reminded me the other day. We do, after all, spend many years on our feet.

For a more in depth exploration of footwear for kids, please read the excellent article from Runner’s World Running Times here.

The children’s foot facts were sourced from:
Foot Health – Children

Learn About Feet – Children’s Footwear

How to Select Children’s Shoes

Buying Shoes for Toddlers