Monday, May 25, 2015

I'm selling my cloth diapers...anyone interested?

Ivy has been in underwear for 2 months and I am ready to sell my largest (size M) cloth diapers.

(When I get home from France, I will sell my NB & S if you're dying to have some of those adorable Canadian diapers, you can still get your hands on some!)


Before I list them on, are there any takers in the Alpes-Maritimes region of France?

Except for one name-brand diapers, these are all handmade Chloe Toes pocket diapers with FOE & snaps. The inside layer is a stay-dry wicking fleece. These will fit babies starting around 4-6 months until they are potty trained.

Disclaimer: I've used these on all four children, so the elastic isn't as tight as it used to be when I first made them 8 years ago. Most of the diapers are in decent-to-good shape, with 2 or 3 showing some wear/rips around the snaps.

The soakers are a combination of hemp fleece, microfiber, cotton, and other absorbent fabrics. Some soakers are commercially made, although I sewed most of them myself. Some fold into 2-3 layers, others are already sewn together into layers. Again, these have been used for 8 years straight so they are starting to show wear. However, they are still functional.

Here are the specifics of the 14 diapers for sale:
  • 1 white Canada diaper with red FOE
  • 3 red Canada diapers with white FOE (well, over 4 kids the white elastic has grayed somewhat...)
  • 3 green w/ white polka dots, white FOE
  • 1 purple w/ white FOE
  • 1 blue/green w/ white FOE
  • 2 carnival print w/ black FOE (one is starting to rip near the snaps)
  • 2 sun/moon print w/ black FOE
  • 1 yellow Fuzzibunz size small
  • 2 small zippered wetbags
Price: ??? 

Make me a reasonable offer and they are yours! I'm also open to bartering/trades.

All but 2 of the diapers come with soakers (1 full and 1 small soaker in each, which I found to be the best combination).

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

A week in Burgundy

During the second week of school holidays, we traveled to Burgundy. I already wrote about our drive up on the day we came home from Corsica.

We switched gears from  hard-core hiking and exploring and took this next week at a slow, leisurely pace. Some days we just stayed at home, played games, read books, and rode bikes around the village.

We loved staying in the old stone farmhouse...the kids kept discovering more toys squirreled away in one of the barns. We found bikes for the whole family and shelves full of books and toys and games. Plus it was our first time having a yard again since we left the States. By yard, I should specify that the outdoor area was comprised of gravel and gardens around the perimeter. No grass, but still lots of fun!

I was hoping to visit a snail farm, since Burgundy is the major snail-producing region in France--but they open later in the season.

Here are highlights from our week in Burgundy:

Hike to the Roche de Solutré

This large rock juts up out of the rolling hills of southern Burgundy. One one side is a sheer cliff, at the bottom of which were discovered 100,000 horse skeletons.


Chateau de Pierreclos

The oldest parts of the Chateau de Pierreclos were open for tours...

We got to try on real medieval armor and weaponry.

 Lesson learned: don't mess with Zari. She is a fierce warrior.

Chateau de Cormatin

Our kids made it through the 1-hour guided tour of the Chateau de Cormatin (in French of course!)

They were very ready to go outside and explore the grounds...

We saw several cranes (?). One was eyeing the visitors.

Another pair was on one of the chimneys at the very top of the chateau

They liked the topiaries shaped like animals...

...and the turtle fountain

Eric played tag with the kids inside a hedge maze. This is the view from the tower in the center.

I geeked out over the kitchen gardens

A fun visit

Cinderella Moment

The person who looks after the farmhouse when the owners aren't there stopped by to say hello. He invited us to come swimming at his house, since his four kids were home during the school holidays. We said, "sure, why not?" I had a mental image of an above-ground pool in someone's backyard. Instead, we followed him home (basically around the corner and into the next village) and gasped when he pulled inside the gates of a private chateau.

Turns out he's the chateau's caretaker. He lives in the carriage house, which he turned from the original stable/barn into a beautiful home (he's an architect and works from home; caretaking is his side job). The pool was on the other side of the indoor, glass-walled poolhouse, every amenity imaginable. It had a lovely view over a wine-growing valley.

So this is how the 1% live, I thought.

We enjoyed every minute. His children were lovely and wore our kids out. He invited us over again, and we happily took him up on his offer!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Ergo Zari

It's a crazy thing when your oldest child is big enough to carry your youngest child in an Ergo.

Zari kept saying, "Wow, my legs really hurt! This is hard work! How do you do this?"

I reminded her that I carried Ivy all 14 kilometers on our long hike in Corsica, and she was even more impressed.

Some recent catches: I think they are mulet, sar, and rouget...but Eric is the expert, not me

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Monday, May 11, 2015

From Corsica to Burgundy

We only spent a few minutes in Corsica last Saturday morning (May 2nd) waiting to drive into the ferry. The seas were rough, and even the gigantic ferry boat was rocking back and forth. We took turns sleeping on the floor in one of the lounge rooms and minding the children. Inga and Ivy spent most of the time playing in the ball pit.

We got back to our apartment right around noon. Eric parked the car with the flashers on right in front of our door. We ate lunch and headed back out by about 2 pm.

Next destination...Burgundy! (I love the 2-week long school breaks here!)

A friend/colleague of Eric's has an old stone farmhouse in a village outside of Mâcon, Burgundy. It's been in her family for several decades. She invited us to come stay there when it wasn't being used.

The drive ended up taking a bit longer than the anticipated 5 hours because we had some strange car troubles. We filled up about 2 ½ hours into the drive, and within 10 minutes the gas gauge had dipped down more than a quarter tank. We worried we had a leak, so we stopped at the next gas station and filled up. 3 Euros. Hmmmm. Eric also didn’t see anything dripping.

So maybe it was a problem with the gauge and not a leak? This time we drove a little longer, maybe 20 minutes. Now the gauge had dropped close to ½ tank. We filled up: 5 Euros. Definitely not a leak. So we drove on. It did the same thing, dipping close to ½ tank in the first 30 minutes and then staying there for the rest of the drive.

And we also had one puke incident: Ivy, of course. I had just given her a little fruit juice to drink and the second time she took a drink, she puked everything back out.

We also had a few wrong turns and unplanned detours, including one right at the end near Mâcon. It ended well, though, because we went right by a big Auchan so we were able to pick up groceries. I don’t remember what time it was when we finally got to the house, but it was late. Quick dinner then off to bed.

Here are some pictures of the farmhouse. It's cosy, comfortable, and unpretentious. I loved seeing the mismatched furniture, dishes, and linens--obviously accumulated over years visiting each summer. The main house has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, plus there's an adjoining 1-bedroom apartment that can be opened up into the house. After that, there are several unfinished attached outbuildings, plus a barn at the back.

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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Corsica Day 6: Gorges de Spelunca, drive over the mountains

Friday, May 1, 2015

We packed and cleaned in the morning, heading out some time after 10 am. The apartment was spotless when we left it; I hope we get our full security deposit back and don’t get charged a cleaning fee.

We drove to Ota, a mountain village not far from Porto. Two kilometers after, there’s a lovely hike that goes up the Spelunca mountain gorge. It follows the river uphill to a 18th century Genoese bridge, the Pont de Zaglia.

The hike supposedly takes 1 ½ hours, but it took us 3 hours including stops to see lizards, to go to the bathroom, and to eat lunch at the bridge. Ivy and I dipped our feet in the icy mountain stream. “Froid! Froid! Trop froid!” she’d shriek in merriment and then go back for more.

We got back in the car at 2 pm and decided to drive the rest of the way to Lucciana, which is just outside Bastia. The drive was magnificent. On our way here 6 days ago, it was dark and I had no idea we were going through such stunning mountain scenery. It rivals or even exceeds the Canadian Rockies in scale and grandeur. And in some ways, it tops the Rockies since these mountains plunge straight into the sea. There is still snow on the upper slopes.

We only had one puke incident…surprisingly enough it was on a flat stretch of road! We had stopped to buy groceries, and we all ate ice cream cones before getting back in the car. Ivy threw up her entire chocolate ice cream cone a few minutes later. Poor little thing. At least I caught most of it in a container.

We met the couple renting their little cottage at the airport and followed them the rest of the way. It’s in the large flat marshlands south of Bastia. We were in this mishmash development of cottages packed one next to another. It sounds lovely, but it neighborhood had more of a trailer park vibe than seaside getaway. But it’s fine; all we needed was a place to sleep close to the ferry.

There were a few toys and kids’ books and a loft bed…which means our kids were in heaven and played right until bedtime. Eric had to leave to find an internet signal in order to send off a letter of recommendation.

I slept in a double bed with Ivy, and Eric slept in the kids’ room on a couch. Not an ideal way to sleep, since it was too short for him, but it worked. I woke up at 3:15 am to nurse Ivy and couldn’t get back to sleep. Anticipating our 5 am wake-up time, thinking of things on my to-do list, and imagining all the horrible ways the kids might die if I’m not paying close enough attention (this happens all the time…I try not to, but these scenarios keep coming unbidden.)
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Friday, May 08, 2015

Corsica day 5: Porto

Thursday, April 30, 2015

After yesterday’s long hike, we decided to take it easy. We spent the morning on the beach at Porto.

Eric went spearfishing and caught another araignée de mer. This time it was a male, and even larger than the first one he found.

He was very happy because you can’t fish them during the month of May. He had to borrow a large pot (marmite) in order to cook it.

The kids were fascinated with the crab. At one point it wiggled so much in the bag we'd put it in that it toppled off the countertop, landing upside down on the kitchen floor. Much hilarity ensured. Eric cleaned it outside in the garden and said that it seemed to die as soon as he placed it in a bucket of fresh water.

Zari was very upset about killing the crab. She insisted we say a prayer of thankgiving and sorrow, like Native Americans used to do when they hunted animals. She was much calmer after we offered our thanks to the crab for giving its life so we could eat.

Cooked and ready to eat

Yet again Ivy wouldn’t go down for a nap. All this week she’s either missed or refused to nap. It’s nice, actually, because she goes down very easily in the evenings.

After lunch we went to Porto again to see the chateau. Well, it’s more of a fortified tower, one of the many built all around the island several centuries ago as part of a large military fortification.

Inga sometimes gets this stubborn, defiant, Inga sometimes gets this stubborn, defiant, independent streak. She’ll go off by herself, against our wishes, and hide or climb or do something otherwise to show she’s her own self.  streak. She’ll go off by herself, against our wishes, and hide or climb or do something otherwise to show she’s her own self.

While we were all on the rooftop, Inga went down and hid herself. I couldn’t find her at all and sent Zari running down the path to see if she’d started hiking back down. Eric found her secreted inside a deep window well…with no window, just a hole with a deadly dropoff on the other side.

She also started climbing up some steep rocks after we’d exited the tower. She fell after I told her to come back down and got scratched up in the brambles of the maquis.

I made dinner while Eric went spearfishing one last time, to the Bussaglia beach just a few kms away. He was thrilled when he came home with a large sar, the largest fish he’s caught so far this year. So between the crab for lunch and the fish for dinner, he feasted today.
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