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what didn’t get blogged about this month…

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i get to the end of the month and have pictures i still want to share…but i don’t have time to write a blog post about each event. and you probably don’t want to read a blog post about each event. 🙂

 

but these three monkeys that i call my family…i just can’t get enough of them. sooooo here is what didn’t get blogged about this month!

 

we borrowed teresa’s thermometer, bought raw goat’s milk at the market and pasteurized it…all for mercy. mercy in turn got some chunky thighs. mama is proud. ♥

 

we saw a car accident:

 

the sun came out and everything warmed up and bloomed. now we spend saturdays exploring chisinau:



(who needs starbucks when you can get free wi-fi and plug your laptop in here?

 

we had a visitor (caleb!) from ukraine:

 

we did a little sewing…

 

we ate apples:

 

we ate gluten-free cookies from dohdoh ♥

 

we received letters, letters and more letters! (spencer, emma, grace, ashlyn, aliana, grandma, grammie…we love mail!)

 

we got sick (snotty noses and more!)

 

we read books:

 

we played with friends:

 

we got a care package from grammie and pops:





 

also, because you need a flashback…remember this dress i made for mercy?
{she’s one month old here.}

and these leggings from target? {she’s five months old here.}

the benefits of a slow growing child {at ten months old}!

and yes, the pants are still pinned five+ months later…

 

i actually didn’t take as many pictures as i thought i would this month. i thought with it being warmer and mercy getting older i would start taking pictures more often. i actually take them less often. that kid is busy. she climbs anything. eats everything. she’s fast. sneaky. smart. i barely have time to get my camera out.

 

but be expecting a whirlwind of pictures.

 

a certain someone we like to call grammie and pops just might be visiting this months!!!!!

mercy adoniyah klein burtt ♥

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disclaimer…i know i have written these letters to my girls before. i apologize if you are sick of them. truth be told, i enjoy writing them because i figure someday they can look back and be embarrassed but know without a doubt that i love them. so that’s the disclaimer. this is a letter to mercy you may read if you’d like. ♥

***

dear mercy adoniyah,

you are ten months old. ten. months. that’s almost a year.

you act two years old sometimes. yikes. if you don’t want a certain food you smack the spoon away and send the food flying. you already have an opinion of what you think you should be eating.

if you don’t want mama to set you down (because you are an extreme mama’s girl), you arch your back and throw a tantrum. that’s right, you throw a full on legit tantrum at the age of ten months old.

but little girl, you have so many smiles. your entire face lights up when you smile and your eyes sparkle. you give the best open mouth, slobbery licks kisses in the entire world.

you have had a crazy month. we thought you were acting a little extra fussy. we blamed it on the teething, which is partly true because you now have six eight teeth if you include the two pushing through as i write this.

but after a visit to the doctors we also found out that you grew close to two inches in one month which is a personal record for our family. you also gained a little less than a pound. that is a person record for you!

yet you are still kind of a peanut. you wear all 6-9 month clothing and you still wear a size 1 or 2 shoe. you have the best petite baby toes and fingers.

you are tactile. oh. my. goodness. you have almost pulled out mama’s eyebrow ring numerous times. you will sit and touch every textured part of your “touch and feel” books. when i hold you, you need to be running your fingers through my hair for comfort.

you are a lightening fast crawler. you’d like to be a walker but mama isn’t letting you. grammie made me promise i would keep you crawling until may.

when you want your daddy to play with you, you yell across the room at him, “da!” he pretty much stops everything he is doing to come and play with you.

you think your big sister is the best thing in the world. she loves you. she knows her job is to protect you and she does it with a vengeance. i pity the first child that treats you meanly for your big sister to witness. you seem to call your sister “de-ah” which is not “da” and it is not “doh.”

you gave us another big scare this month. we were opening a care package from dohdoh and we had (safely?) buckled you in your booster seat while we unwrapped goodies. somehow you found a large metal sequin and you just swallowed it. you were choking and gasping and becoming all too silent. this is the second time i have done the baby heimlich and i wouldn’t mind if it was the last time i did it.

but you are teaching your mama a lot about trusting the Lord. i am in a country where i don’t speak the language and i very much doubt 9-1-1 works the same way here.

you are teaching me what 1 samuel 1:27&28 really means, “i prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what i asked of him. so now i give (her) to the Lord. for (her) whole life (she) will be given over to the Lord.”

thanks for being my adorable, snugly, cheerful, beautiful baby girl. i love you mercy adoniyah klein burtt. ♥

love,
your mama

p.s. the last two pictures are what happens when i lay you down on your back and tell you to lay still. it makes you a little mad. why oh why do i find this both cute and hysterical?

cream of potato and spinach soup

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only it doesn’t really have spinach in it. cream of radish green and potato soup doesn’t actually sound very appetizing.

 

i miss a few things but one thing i am still not used to…is the lack of easily available green veggies (during the winter). i am really enjoying springtime and the new veggies it is bringing! remember this post where i first found wild leeks and beautiful radishes with greens? i knew then that i had to figure out how to use the greens. i miss leafy green veggies and can’t bear the thought of throwing anything leafy and green away! my first experiment was this meal – – and it wasn’t bad! i kind of made it up as i went along. i had one small-ish bunch of radish greens that i steamed with a chunk of neon orange pumpkin and a few carrots. i blended it with kefir (a drinkable yogurt) to make a cream soup base. separately i sauteed diced carrot, onion, potato and garlic in chicken stock with curry, salt and pepper. i stirred the veggies into the cream soup and it was a delicious curry – – pretty similar to mary’s secret garden in ventura, yum! the next day we ate it over rice and i think it was even better.

 

today i went shopping and every week i find more signs of fresh green produce! i bought wild leeks, baby spinach, baby sorrel, miniature bunches of leaf lettuce, green onions, fresh dill, fresh cilantro and more radishes with greens. when i got home i realized i still had a bunch of radish greens from last week that i hadn’t used yet. this time i didn’t have any neon orange pumpkin so i decided to try some sort of cream of potato soup. i washed and trimmed all my radish greens and i was a little intimidated at first. radish greens look like a LOT in the beginning and they can be a little gnarly and prickly. i peeled and diced two somewhat gigantic potatoes and steamed the potatoes and greens together with salt and pepper. while that was cooling, i sauteed two more potatoes, an onion, two carrots and half a bulb of garlic (all diced) in chicken stock. then i started blending the potato/greens mixture with water. the greens cooked down significantly but they still made everything an amazing and beautiful shade of green. why didn’t i think of this for st. patrick’s day?! i stirred all the cream soup into the cooked veggies, seasoned it with cumin, pepper and vegeta (a romanian/moldovian seasoned salt). i tasted it…and i am pleasantly surprised. it tastes like a cream of potato soup. just a lime-y green colored version. christian isn’t home yet so technically he hasn’t given his opinion but the kids like it. i think it tastes good with a {dollop?} of plain yogurt on top which for your normal person would be sour cream but i prefer the health benefits of yogurt for my girls. 🙂 i had mine with a little hot sauce and i think christian would have enjoyed some tastefully simple bacon bacon on his if we had it.

 

hopefully tomorrow i will post pictures of our easter weekend but i thought you might enjoy a glimpse of green soup until then.

 

happy easter from addy and mercy ♥

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this is what happens when i try to take one quick picture before lunch while the girls are still clean. this is pretty much everything i said while attempting to get said picture. ignore the fact that my camera settings are a little funky in some of the pictures. trying to adjust your shutter speed and aperture while keeping two kooky children in one place was somewhat close to impossible. i needed a nap afterward!

***

“okay, one quick picture before dinner. both of you look at mama and smile.”“yeah, okay this might be harder than i thought.”
“mercy adoniyah, where did you get an apple? oh from your big sister? lovely.”
“i think you are tickling your sister. move your arm down.”
“um, really? do you have to make those faces right now? smiles would be better.”
“that’s adorable, but just look at mama, okay?”
“addy, i think you are choking your sister. move your arm a little. now smile.”
“mercy, you are not dying. just look happy for one picture.”
“really mercy? happy and crazy are two different emotions. and addy, why do you look intoxicated right now?”
“mercy is smiling! addy look at mama quickly!”
“never mind. when did mercy put her binky in? has she had it for all the pictures?”
“okay, that’s kind of cute. but my settings are a little off. mercy, wait come back.”
“mercy adoniyah, give your big sister back her binky.”
“addy grace, why are you pouting?”
“okay that’s cute. now addy just one big smile.”
“mercy do you really need to eat an entire apple right now?”
“oh, you do? how about mama holds your apple?”
“i’ll take that as a no.”
“okay addy, we are almost done. no, no silly pictures yet. we haven’t actually gotten the good picture.”
“up. look up. what’s so interesting about the floor all of a sudden?”
“no baby girl, leave your dress on. you look pretty!”
“almost done, i promise. addy, what’s wrong with your ear? yes, i know you have earrings from grammie in.”
“yes i know, your mama is very cruel making you stand in one place for this long. just one last smile, okay?”
“leave your headband on mercy girl. addy grace let go of your earrings for a second.”
“this is kind of cute. what? is that apple juice on your dress, mercy? i wonder if dohdoh can photoshop that…”

dancing with dada ♥

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spring is coming ever so slowly. it was still 30*F last night but today it made it up to 53*F…the trees actually have tiny buds starting and it has been raining instead of snowing. one of the downfalls of controlled heating is that our heat has been off for almost two weeks now. the girls having been waking up around 3-4am freezing cold (even in layers of jammies). yesterday we borrowed an electric heater to warm the girls’ room up and last night they slept much better.

we had a wonderful evening with friends tonight. our friends ionica and cristina have two girls, debby and naomi. they have dolls and barbies and princesses and addy could stay there forever, playing with them!

this was my sunday morning. two princesses and one handsome fella. does it get any better than this? i seriously doubt it. ♥

ice cream love.

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addy loved, loved, loved (i could add some more) loved…
frozen yogurt.
yogurtland.
golden spoon.
yogurt mill.
she got it from her mama, i confess.
i love yogurt too.

we can’t get frozen yogurt here.
but we can get ice cream.
in a bag.

what do you get when you take this

plus this

and this?

you get this

and this

and this!

seriously this kid takes my breath away some days ♥

rain. spring. ♥

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teresa and i went the piață centrala today (aka the market) in search of apples and pumpkin to make baby food. and possibly use the pumpkin for this also. i bought these beauties…6 kilos for 30 lei or 13 pounds for $2.50. yeah, i know. they are apples from last fall, stored in a cellar but the ones we found still have a good crunch.

i am already in love with springtime and it isn’t even here. ♥

wild lavender. wild leeks. radishes with greens. i even found a recipe for the greens.

spinach with crazy roots

baby stinging nettle, which doesn’t sting when it is a baby. (unlike a baby rattlesnake, fyi.)

the world’s biggest carrot.

raw peanuts to roast and make peanut butter and then this.

in california it is basically illegal to sell goat’s milk privately. in moldova you can buy it in a former soda bottle. do not fear. i will pasteurize it first. this cost me 10 lei (85 cents) for .5L (a little more than a quart). cheap to me but pricey for milk.

p.s. i had another picture. but i am not tough enough to add it. so instead i will just tell you about it and you can picture my horror and just believe me when i say i am still a little scarred.

we were walking around looking for the best priced apples and i was checking out all the freshly de-feather-ed chickens and the way their heads were, um, arranged.

and then i gasped.

and gasped some more.

and almost puked.

and realized that with easter coming, i was surrounded by these poor creatures: skinned baby lambs.

and i got out of that area really fast.

but let me tell you, it almost made me a vegetarian again. actually, it might have. good news is that beans and rice and potatoes are really, really cheap.

i won’t leave you with a mental image. i can’t. instead i will leave you with this beautiful photograph. it was taken by a really cute (and somewhat short if you can’t tell) three year old who seems to know more about my iphone then i do.

darn kid.

 

 

 

my artistic daughter

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addy's sense of fashion gets me!

i think addy has the potential to be an artist. i know as parents we love to brag about our kids abilities and that’s not a bad thing. but this is different. this is actual reflecting about her strengths and talents (versus her weaknesses). for those of you who don’t know, i was a teacher. i loved my credentialing and child development classes. i loved learning about pavlov’s dogs and gardner’s intelligences. i was the math major that scored higher in visual/spatial, tactile/kinesthetic and musical than i did in logical/mathematical. one thing i know from my own mom…let your kids develop their own intellects yet pursue their own dreams too. i loved learning mathematics in a very spatial and tactile way.

all that to say, i think my oldest is very visual already. we know she ain’t auditory. she watches things and memorizes them. she can tell me where we are headed and we’ve only lived here two months. i told her we were going to church (we usually take the 17 trolley bus) and when we got on the 23 bus she said to me, “mama i think we take the one-seven to church.” what?!

she can write her name decently good for three years old. she actually can control the pen and write, “up-down-across, a…circle-up, d…” she took an art class when i was pregnant with mercy and she l-o-v-e-d it. she was completely at home making a disaster in the studio. 🙂 she was, of course, the teacher’s pet. oh my.

we try and do some sort of art every day because she loves it just that much. this is one example of how i see her artistic ability developing. she wanted to sew with me, so i told her to draw me a picture of a monster and then we would make a stuffed monster from it. she asked me to help her but i told her she had to draw her own monster. she wasn’t looking at any pictures. she just brought me her finished product which surprised me because i think it is really detailed for a three year old!

but this one really got us. she was drawing with christian. she was tracing a picture in a coloring book and christian said, “why don’t you draw that picture right here.” she started drawing this, which we thought was just a funky looking person. now mind you they were sitting at the table across from each other.

christian asked her “is that the top of his head” (where those toothpick looking lines are) and she answered, “no dada that’s the teeth…here is the head and the hair and the eyes and the nose and the ears.” she had actually drawn the picture in perfect placement only she had drawn it upside down so that it would be right side up for dada to see. i find that strangely weird!
maybe i’m completely wrong. maybe my kid is actually going to be a laid back, slow talking professor. maybe she is going to be a quirky, large animal veterinarian. but maybe, just maybe i’m calling it early and we are actually related to the next picasso or escher!

seven + two = nine

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two posts in one day? i know…shocking!

it’s been one of those days. nothing horrible. nothing disastrous. just a little off. mercy started her morning at 5:45am. i had literally walked into the kitchen and switched the coffee pot on and she started crying. i went in there and she was wide awake. and she smelled. nothing like starting the day with a poopy diaper before a cup of coffee. isn’t that against the parental handbook somewhere?

addy followed at 6:15am. she came bolting out of bed and with bright, excited eyes she exclaimed, “is my dada home? i heard him!” i should interject that christian left on thursday and is gone until sunday. nothing like crushing your three year old’s excitement before the sun is even up.

then the power decided to go out. the praise is that it was during my language lesson so i was able to deal with it and eventually get it back on thanks to some translation, phone calls and more. (side note, it’s just our power that keeps going out, not the apartment.)

my girls took a really good afternoon nap though and i was able to do dishes, laundry and even study language. after they woke up, we took a walk to the store and it hit me…two months.
two months ago i was saying goodbye to my family in california and moving to moldova. i can’t believe it has already been two months and i can’t believe it has only been two month.

it also means my baby girl is nine months old. she’s still little but she is on the go. she never stops moving. she moves around the house on her knees and on her feet. she wants to walk sooooo badly but i am trying to keep her crawling a little bit longer. she laughs and giggles and squeals. she is starting to tease and play with addy. she really is such a joy. she has brought me such happiness during this transition in my life. i am so thankful the Lord knew i needed a toddler AND a baby before moving here. seriously…i love this face so stinking much!

addy too

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of course addy was also in the christmas lights photo shoot. here are a few adorable ones of her. i also found these three pictures of her with spencer, emma and emmy. enjoy!

not your regular post…

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I don’t know if you have figured it out yet…but I try to post about Moldova on Mondays and I try to post about Mercy on Thursdays and Addy on Fridays. I am well aware that today is not Monday or Thursday or Friday but Wednesday. I am also well aware that I should probably be working on my Mercy post or thinking about my Addy post.

But sometimes.


You gotta do what you gotta do.


homemade laundry soap and my green/cheap endeavors continued…

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I mentioned making laundry detergent…and a few people asked me about it. I found the recipe here like I mentioned in my homemade baby wipe post but I realized that I have “tweaked” it a bit and decided I would go ahead and blog about it. There are tons of recipes online for making laundry detergent but this is the only recipe I have come across that doesn’t need borax or washing soda. I can’t find either of those ingredients here.

Why make your own detergent? Simply, it’s dirt cheap. There are other reasons, but this was my motivation. I need sensitive detergent which is not cheap in Moldova. It isn’t really cheap in California either. The cheapest I found was All Free and Clear. Even on sale, you end up spending about 30-45 CENTS a load. I bought a bar of sensitive washing soap for about 75 cents and a box of baking soda for about 75 cents. For less than $2 I can make 8 liters of laundry detergent which washes 35-65 loads of laundry! So you are looking at 2-5 CENTS a load. Why would you not want to make your own laundry detergent?!

It is nice to have a laundry detergent only pot and grater…clean up is simple because you don’t have to scrub it clean. Make sure you buy washing soap, not body or hand soap. It is in the aisle with laundry detergents.

This is the bar of washing soap grated and 2 cups of baking soda measured out. Oh and that is one heck of a cute Cinderella princess helping me.

This one thinks she is helping me by pushing this stool around the kitchen. 🙂

Here’s a tip I got from Teresa and I loved it. Boil 2 liters of water, add the grated soap, cover and leave for 5 minutes or longer. Stir and most of the soap will be melted. This is much nicer than cooking and stirring the soap and water (no strong scent, no headache).

Add the baking soda and start mixing and stirring. It is going to foam a lot! It came pretty close to the edge. Stir really well because the baking soda wants to clump together. Start making dinner. 🙂 Keep stirring off and on as the foam goes down and the liquid cools down. When it is room temperature, add 2 liters of warm (similar temperature) water. Keep stirring and letting the liquid cool down.

Try to keep your kids distracted just a little bit longer. Let your youngest child eat an entire banana if needed while your oldest child does her hair.

Once the mixture is cool-ish, split it between two 6 liter bottles (so 2 liters in each bottle). Add 2 liters cool water to each bottle. You should have 4 liters of detergent in each bottle, 8 liters total. Shake the bottles up a few more times as the detergent comes to room temperature completely. The idea is that you don’t want a layer of soap solidifying at the top.

It should separate like this when it is sitting still for some time. That’s fine as long as when you shake it up, it looks like this:

I add a 1/2 cup detergent to my cloth diapers or my lightly dirty loads or 1 cup to my really dirty loads of laundry. I also like to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar to my loads of laundry (put it where you would put bleach).

Ohhhhhh and one last tip…I also can’t find stain remover here. I found this simple recipe and it works like a charm. Add 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide to hot water (in a washing tub). Stir it well and add your soiled items. Let them soak overnight, wring them out in the morning and wash them normally. So far every stain has come out!

Oh and sorry for the poor quality pictures! I used my phone because I didn’t want my camera in the kitchen and even then getting pictures was a lot of work!