The haul, and other random thoughts


The haul today.  A kilo of in-season apricots. Lovely eggplant for chinese food.  Fresh corn.  Tomatoes the kids will eat like candy.  Figs.  Local bananas (“the yummy baby bananas please Mama.”) Sugary sweet cantaloup.  $12.

When people ask us about Egypt, my husband always answers the same thing “Come to Egypt, it’s a riot!”

$12 for all that fruit.  And about $1.50 for “tastes like Paris” baguette, $1 for almond croissants that may be better than Paris.  Not so bad.  Unfortunately fish and salads are out in summer.  Just don’t do it.

At swim lessons, the coach asked my son what his favorite fruit is, and Jack Jr. promptly answered “muffins.”  Parenting fail.  When asked later, he responded blueberries.  Maybe blueberries and muffins go together in his mind?

It is fig season.  I have not lived anywhere where fresh figs grow everywhere since I was little kid.  Some childhood memories are accurate.  Figs are that awesome.

Of course, I’ll be lucky if the haul lasts me two days.  I’m feeding two growing boys.  The kilo of apricots will be gone today.  And the figs? Well, those may be gone before I get the kids from school.




Using cloth diapers

Before we came to Cairo, I wasn’t really sure what would be available for the baby.  Diapers, formula, baby food, safety gates, plug covers…  All the things you take for granted when there is a BabiesRUs less than two minutes away, and a Buy Buy Baby (know as Bye Bye Wallet in my house) ten minutes away.

Formula is not a problem.  We have been lucky enough to nurse well, and I brought my ever present friend, the Medela PIS along.  Baby food can always be made, and I brought enough Happy Baby and Plum pouches in our luggage to feed an army of little babies (at least for a few weeks.)

I shipped gates ahead (and it was here when we arrived!)  I packed cabinet locks in our luggage.  I got plug covers from another expat Mommy a few days after our arrival (still don’t know where to find more, but we have enough for now.)

This left me with diapers.  I squeezed diapers into every nook and cranny of our luggage, bringing enough pull-ups for Jack Jr. and diapers for Baby Hulk to last for about a month.    I also put two Costco sized boxes of diapers and pull-ups in our air shipment.  That gets me another 6 weeks.  I can find diapers here, but it is pricey.  My other option is to shop on-line and have it shipped here.  This just seems silly to me.  Besides, packages can take 10 days… or several weeks.  Which leaves us with… potty training for Jack Jr.  (I brought several packs of underwear) and cloth diapers for Baby Hulk.

The cloth diaper options are astonishing. I decided on pocket diapers as a decent compromise between ease of use and affordability. (See a decent primer here.)I ordered five different brands at first, and I was really hoping to like one of the less expensive brands best.  Some of these diapers can cost $20 a piece!

While none leaked or did anything gruesome, several were too bulky to be worn under clothing.  I put those on him with a t-shirt and no pants.  One brand (Imagine) was so bulky between his legs that he was stuck in one position the entire time he wore it.   My favorites were definitely FuzziBunz and BumGenius.  I ordered more BumGenius – they were on sale and I used a coupon.

Here’s the thing… I spent $40 a month on diapers for baby Hulk before.  That means I can pay for two cloth diapers a month if I paid full price.  I need about 12-14 diapers to wash every other day.  In 6-7 months of cloth diapering, my stash is paid off.  Yes, there is a time, energy, water, and detergent cost to laundry, but it is not $40 a month.  I paid $90 for six diapers because of sales and coupons – even better.  All in all, I’m pleased with the reduction in our trash, the baby seems comfortable, we have had no rashes, and his tush is just adorable.  Besides, now I spend my online shopping dollars on such fun as board books and art supplies!

Repurposed Buttons

My mom made this adorable sweater for the little boy.  It is soft, warm and lovely, and he wears it all the time.  My contribution was to sew on buttons.  I was going to buy some, but the fabric store is not near home, and with a little guy to play with on weekends, a trip out there isn’t a real priority.  Instead I raided the bottle where I keep all the spare buttons that come with clothes, and found six buttons that *almost* match.  I think it works just fine.  (But my mom may want me to tell you that she would have used matching buttons.)