Sep 28

The Deadly Nightshades

Green bean and mushroom stir fry over brown basmati rice. 

If you know us, then you know that both Ivan and Mika suffer from bad allergies. It shows up mainly in the form of eczema – red itchy skin on the elbows, backs of the legs, neck, ankles and wrists. We’ve tried almost everything to help cure it for both of them, but nothing has really worked yet. We keep a very minimalistic house, we just bought a Dyson to help with dust, we have no carpets, we don’t eat dairy, meat or eggs, we have all the steroid & topical creams available and use when necessary, we’ve tried giving up wheat and soy, Ivan has tried chinese herbal medicine, desensitization shots, antihistamines, prednisone…and we feel exhausted by it all.

We recently, however, decided to try avoiding tomatoes. And it had a significant effect. This week we’ll be eliminating all the members of the deadly nightshades from our diet, which include tomatoes, potato, eggplant, peppers, paprika and cayenne. It might not sound that tricky, but when we already eat a solely plant-based diet, a huge amount of our meals are made up of these ingredients!

So if you are in a similar situation and want to give this a go, I’m including our menu for the week so you can see how to prepare a bunch of meals that suit a ‘no deadly nightshade’ diet:

Monday: Sweet Potato Dahl without the red pepper flakes

Tuesday: Roasted cauliflower homemade tacos with zucchini salsa without the cayenne pepper

Wednesday: Felafel and quinoa tabbouleh (without the tomato)

Thursday: Green bean and mushroom stir-fry over brown rice

Friday: Homemade pizza with a homemade hummus base

Lunches for the week:  Moroccan Stew and Carrot Ginger Soup (already prepared and in the freezer) and hummus/lettuce sandwiches to be made daily.

Breakfasts: Hot oatmeal with cinnamon and banana

Treats for the week: Apple crisp muffins, carrot cake muffins and sweet potato biscuits.


Sep 26

18 Months (one and a half)

Your new words are “bubbles! sky! bike!” and they are (as your aunty tess points out) glorious words. You don’t have very many words really, but you talk your own language non stop and the words you do have, are gorgeous.

In the last few weeks your papa and I have noticed you really interacting with other kids on the playground. Not just the token ‘hi’ and fuss over a shared toy, but really playing with each other and enjoying the company. It’s pretty cute to watch.

Your nap times are pretty consistent now – you go down once a day from around 1:30pm til about 3pm. You like to sleep with your brown bear (osito) and your little baby doll (bebe).

You’ve finally come to terms with the fact that we stopped breastfeeding and you love drinking your little toddler vitamin shake from your bottle. Your papa has been amazing at getting up for your 5:30am (or sometimes earlier) wake up and giving you your bottle ever since we stopped breastfeeding.

You’re testing boundaries and it’s getting tricky. The road outside our house is now the most terrifying thing for me. You used to stop at the curb, but now that you’ve figured out how to jump off it (yes, jump off it), there’s no stopping you! It’s can still be tricky to know what’s ‘normal toddler behaviour’ and what’s ‘Mika’, but I’m happy to be along for the ride and watch you develop into a little person.

Today we walked for an hour in the late afternoon while we waited for papa to come home. You love dirt and dandelions and sitting on things. I took my camera:

Sep 24

Wet socks, Dysons and fall

I was awfully sick. It happened over the space of 3 hours. First the headache came. I thought it was from the lack of caffeine – I’ve been avoiding coffee during the weekdays, saving it for a special weekend treat – and so I quickly gulped down a cup of (great) coffee. As I swallowed the last gulp, my throat felt as though I had a golfball sitting in it. I started aching and before long I was curled up in a ball on the floor, shivering and texting Ivan to not worry about stopping for groceries on the way home from work.

I was sick enough to try anything. Even putting wet socks on my feet. If you ever feel the start of a cold, flu or something more serious coming on, do this treatment. You will feel like a dork, but if you’re like me, you will have the best sleep you’ve had in a very long time and you will wake up feeling much much better.

I am very in love with this website that I just found. Really in love. Check it out.

I have a constant battle with myself over television. To me, I see TV shows as junk food for the brain. It feels so good when you’re watching them. I have fond memories of watching them. But really they leave you feeling sluggish and blah, you really don’t get any smarter and you’re probably getting fatter as you sit on the couch/in bed watching them.

It doesn’t stop me being very excited for the return of Homeland, The Walking Dead, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory (probably in that order). Yeah, I’m excited. It’s gonna be a great winter 😉

Mumford & Sons release a new album tomorrow. That is all.

We bought a Dyson. It will be delivered some time in the next week and we can’t stop giggling with excitement. (I’m sure Ivan would rather me not describe him as ‘giggling’, so picture him fist pumping instead perhaps). Despite living thousands of miles away from our families, having a child and a full-time job, I think this purchase has probably left us feeling more grownup than ever. Spending our hard earned cash on a vacuum cleaner? Yep. And next month it’s an OmniBlender. Adulthood FTW.

Fall (autumn) is here. And it is by far my favourite season. I think it’s something to do with the anticipation. I was talking to Tess about it this afternoon and we decided that it is because you don’t take anything for granted. You’re not expecting nice hot days, so when you get one, it’s extra glorious. And when it’s a cold day you think ‘ohhh how exciting, winter is coming!’ (don’t click that link unless you are a game of thrones geek). But no, in all seriousness. This time of year is very beautiful.

Here we are enjoying the beautiful fall:


Sep 20


We were feeling doomed. We were lying there in the darkness. The emotions were gloomy and the air was tense and I felt like I was a speck of dust being blown away by the winds of eternal sadness. I would never return.

And then he said ‘we are so young’ and suddenly I was a speck of dust staring up at the sky of possibility and excitement. The winds died down and I felt strong and tiny at the same time.

He reached for my hand under the covers and we lay there staring up together into the darkness. Or into the sky of possibility and excitement, if you will.

Nothing had changed really. Nothing except the way we were choosing to see things.

When Mika falls over whilst attempting something tricky (but safe…), we say ‘dust it off Mika, that is what happens to adventurers, just get back on the horse.’ Telling her this usually stops the tears. She dusts her hands together with delight and continues on her way.

We need to remember this too. This is the way of the adventurous. Adventurers tumble and adventurers lose their way and adventurers feel tiny in a big world. But they also find new things. They also reach high places. They also feel humbled by the greatness of the world and find peace and comfort in this greatness.

We are young. And we are adventurers. And we will keep reminding each other that we can choose how we see things when we are staring up into the darkness.

Iceland photos from here and here. We’ll tell you why soon. Aren’t they amazing?

Sep 17

The ones you can’t explain.

I just discovered that there’s a bus during the week that takes us almost from our door to the beach in 10 minutes.

Up before everyone.

That tiny ponytail!

A perfect morning.

Finding the most awesome glasses at the park and not wanting to take them off.

Local brunch spot. A new discovery.

Sometimes the best weekends are the ones that you can’t really explain. There were late nights, babysitters, (very) early mornings with beautiful crisp air, lots of coffee, lots of treats, lots of walking, roasted vegetables, homemade pizzas, bottles of wine, hot tubs, an abundance of fruit, crossword puzzles, silly dancing, market flowers and a cougar.  (I didn’t get a picture of the cougar.)