Friday, July 23, 2010

Allotments and AK47s?!

How can it be raining when there are no clouds? In fact we have finally got a hose-pipe to water the plants with, much to M's delight.
DH is scared to purchase any lettuces from the supermarket now lest I am offended!

and the unidentified plants have now flowered, leaving me no clearer as to what they are. S thinks they should be taken down with the secateurs, but they are not unpleasant-looking, so I've let thenm be. Anyone know what they are??

Lettuce and more mint (tried to pick it before it flowered)
and now drying the mint out, and as it seems to be a constant 26C plus in the kitchen, this seems as good a place as any.

S's using youtube instructions to make a paper AK47 gun. Not exactly politically correct crafting, but a creative and non-computer games passing of time. Much patience was needed, as dozens of pieces of sticky tape were required.

and then some painting..
'No I don't need any help,
no not even in destroying it,'

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Forced to take a break

Biryani has got the Chickenpox (Chicken spots she insists) which is called vattenkoppar in Swedish. When I explained this to her she was not impressed and said something along the lines that these would only be suitable cups of water for ants (which gives a clue to the literal meaning of the Swedish name). The big boys have already had it but Hz hasn't and so is banned (this sounds a bit harsh, but there are apparently some rules) from dagmamma until everyone's well. So far no spots on Hz and to be honest I'd rather get it over and done with, but there you go...

Anyhow the elderflower cordial was strained and diluted to what DH thought would be suitable for Swedish palates (after having being offered v strong glasses of squash on several occasions)

Now I know it looks more like something you have to produce for the midwife, but it actually tasted OK (but I needed about a third more water adding), and I set off with kids to try the hard sell. We knocked on all the doors of our block on the sweltering Sunday afternoon (which should be a perfect time to sell a cool, refreshing drink) In fact most people were out/ away or quite bluntly said 'No'. However not put off the children persisted while I was longing just to go home and drink it myself. It paid off and after a change of tactic asking if people wanted to taste the home made beverage we made a few sales and the last door that opened was a kind old lady who asked them all what their names were and after receiving her drink, carefully placed a 5 kronor piece in each of the childrens' palms (4 times the drink actual's price). This lady chats to me now and again, consoling with me the difficulties of having 5 children, having borne as many herself. They bought themselves an ice lolly with the profits and thankfully we could go home and recover from the heat.

and here is a half way grown lettuce I picked to accompany supper, I'm afraid to leave them all at the allotment as I suspect the slugs would like them.

and apologies for the blurry photo, it's just the mobile camera you see, but Biryani is really into these letters at the moment (sent by her grandmother) and even puts them away again afterwards (usually)

and some snaps from the balcony, Biryani really hates me to brush her hair. I hope inshaAllah she'll come round to having it brushed/ doing it properly herself more regularly.
Here she's watering the sunflower, the only one out of quite a few that actually survived. It has now grown taller than the cane supporting it, and is teasing us by not flowering.

and Hz deftly waters the plants/ the window with the water pistol. They've all been having much fun spraying each other to saturation point with their new water guns, helped along by the fact my allotment key also opens the tap outside our flats. The best game in this hot weather.

And finally some more pics of the balcony, it's nice to have a little oasis at home, even if compact.

Friday, July 09, 2010

As I try to write this I've had to go 3 times to settle Hz after being woken by kids' screams/ noise. I keep forgetting to write about this important stage of his life, as I am normally reminded what to write by my mobile phone pics.
It's been a 3 weeks since he's stopped breastfeeding and it has gone quite smoothly. He of course was not happy about it and continued to ask for it for a few days. Now he just ends up not having any sleep in the day (unless he's at dagmamma (I think this name is much nicer than 'childminder', where he has a good 2 hours nap) and being v restless all night. When he wakes he's either very clingy and needs to be held, or else very angry and thrashes around violently as he can't have what he wants. We've had a few good nights, but it's usually late to bed if he's been at dagmamma or overtired and earlier if he's not had a nap (as in today).
I thought I should feel energised as now it's the first time since I've been in Sweden not pregnant and/or breastfeeding, but the restless nights and the late sunsets means it's not be for the moment.
It also seems that Hz has suddenly come on in his talking, now using consonants for beginnings and ends of words (this helps a lot obviously!) and even small sentences:
Didi (Biryani) move
Aba daan (Dad) gone

He's imitating a lot in all 3 languages he's learning (English, Swedish, Urdu).
He can now go confidently up and down the stairs which is a great help for my back, and can run pretty fast.
Another significant milestone, but which is not likely to be in the child development books (yet) is that he can use the mouse and so he is able to play games himself without too much assistance. It probably sounds like he's too young for all this technology, but it means I can get on with something that takes more than 5 minutes without worrying he's getting into some mischief or whinging for attention. So now there are 5 kids vying for a slot on the pooter and the poor thing rarely gats a break...
So we now no longer have a 'baby' in the house, which feels a bit strange....

There's no doubt it's summer!

We joined friends to visit the local 'tivoli' (amusement park) and this is the largest ferris wheel apparently in Northern Europe (56m high I think). Last year I went on it with the kids but this year, oh no! it goes round three times, stopping at the top while more passengers get on and the wind blows through your hijab (would be hair) and you imagine how it is to be a bird seeing the tops of trees swaying in the (unwelcome) breeze, and why I did not wear a parachute? and will you kids stop leaning over the edge and scaring the living daylights out of me?!.

and the usual tacky prizes can even be found in Sweden, which is normally renowned for it's style and taste.

So anyway, the next of set of photos are a kind of visual parable of the procrastination of my life.
I had thought about making elderflower cordial after reading a recipe in a book S got out LAST summer holidays called 'Smarta Cash' which is full of ideas for kids to make money. After reading the only ingredient I lacked was citron syra (citric acid I think) I finally got round to purchasing the stuff just after the elderflowers had died and were moving on to berries. So this year I was determined to do the recipe before the same thing happens again. I was almost ambushed by the lack of real lemons in our house and also the recipe needs lots of sugar. But it got done and is now steeping in the fridge. I divided the quantities by 4 as I'm not sure how it'll turn out/ popular it'll be. The quantities were large as it's designed so you can sell truck loads of the stuff.

Sugar syrup/ citric acid mix is poured over elderflowers:

Then place lemon pieces in the mixture and leave for 3-5 days.

Let's hope it tastes good, inshaAllah

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A strange Midsummer...

It's been extremely dry and warm which is quite unlike the usual late June weather. I noticed there were fewer varieties of wild flowers to pick this year, maybe due to the heat, or the cold Winter we had. It's hard to believe it was so cold and snowy as I sit inside typing this as it's just too hot to go out just now (for me anyway!)

I haven't been online so much recently, I got a letter from the council about the allotment. I had to remove the tyres I'd thought would be good to grow potatoes in/use for raised beds- I'd read about this use for them in Gardening books, but apparently they are too unsightly. I think as much as my neighbours assorted 'furniture' and old fridge they have in their allotment, and at least there should have been green leaves adorning them. Also they've said I need to get rid of the weeds, so have been trying to get on top of this problem. This, however, was something I needed a proverbial kick up the backside to get on with.

So the 'harvesting' slowly trickles in. I have learnt a lot as the second lot of radishes are much better than these. I prepeared the ground better and sowed less thickly, and they did have warmer weather to help them grow.

and now we have a good supply of salad leaves. Anyhow hoping inshaAllah next year I'll be more organised and have more plants than weeds rather then vice versa!