5 things my 3 year old says that suggest she might be 8.

1. It’s okay mummy, it’s only a bug. (As I scream the house down at the sight of a Christmas Beetle)
2. Don’t worry mumma, I’ll be careful.. I won’t hurt myself. See? (As she climbs upside down on a hanging bridge at the playground)
3. Don’t cry Willy, it will be fine. (As she calms her baby brother)
4. No mum, no no no, it’s not a crow, it’s a magpie.
5. When we go home, I will go to potty, clean up, have a drink, read a book & go to bed. Does that sound good?

LoveS Continue reading

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Organic CocoBerry Mini Muffins – Gluten, Dairy & Guilt Free

The world has gone nuts for coconuts. Coconut oil for salad dressing, coconut flesh as ice cream, the list goes on. Here in Australia, the organic/raw/super healthy way of eating is fairly new. Not new new but it hasn’t quite taken off as it has in Europe and America. Over the last few years, I have grazed with this way of eating but not quite taken a big chunk of it by dedicating our whole life to it. The other day when when my three year old asked for a snack (probably the upteenth time that day) I realised I have been giving a mixture of healthy (rice crackers) and not so healthy (processed cheese) when I could take control, put in extra effort and make it all as healthy as possible. So I felt guilty.

The next day at the grocery store, I decided to buy ingredients to make guilt free snacks for Ava that she can eat without anyone feeling guilty about it. I was looking for spelt flour as she had had it in quiches and quite liked it. But instead I found something more exciting… Organic Road Coconut flour (I love it when you can find organic at the supermarket).

Armed with the mighty coconut flour and a new found confidence, I googled several recipes that incorporated these assets. Many of the ones I found were either too complicated or time consuming. With a toddler and a baby, I do not have the luxury of time. So I constructed my own recipe, made them dairy free, and named these CocoBerry Muffins.

I don’t usually brag about my cooking, but husband and daughter chowed them down.. And I was so pleasantly humbled when a few of my friends (some of them super health nuts) asked for the recipe after seeing the photos on FaceBook. So here it is, I hope it works for you and your family. It is certainly a great feeling being able to offer my daughter such a guilt free, homemade snack!

CocoBerry Muffins
(Makes about 9 cupcake sized muffins)

Preheat oven to 175’C
Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases or pre-cut square baking paper

1/2c organic coconut flour
1/4tsp baking powder
Sprinkle of sea salt

1/3c melted organic coco oil or olive oil
1/2c maple syrup/honey (couldn’t decide so I mixed the two!)
4 eggs at room temperature
1tbs rice milk
1tbs vanilla extract

1c chopped fresh strawberries

Mix together the dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients.
Mix really well, in either a stand or hand mixer.
Fold in strawberries and divide into cases.

Bake for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Smells amazing even before it went in the oven!

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Sprinkles are optional!

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Going down the Organic Road

LoveS

Our Five Favorite Baby Items

There is a myriad of baby products out there, vying for the attention of mums-to-be, all with a promise that their product is the best. Well… tell you what, as a mum of a boy and a girl, I struggle to find clothes that do not lint/fade/change shape after several washes, or shoes that barely last a few playground visits. I tend to splurge on my kids where I can but the quality of products from say Target and Ralph Lauren, can be very similar. Only the kids look better in the latter!

Of course there are some products that are truly amazing, can’t-live-without, and worth raving about. I’m a huge admirer of all things pretty and innovative. Just because I’m a busy mum, there is no reason why bub and I can’t look our best. So here it is, Our Top Five Faves for bubs aged 0 and above. Tested by me and my precious two!

1. Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddle Wraps – http://www.adenandanais.com

These wraps retail around AU$55 for a set of three. They’re not the cheapest wraps but they are definitely the softest, most generous sized and are so beautiful I am tempted to wear them as scarf. I hated fumbling around with “wraps” that are merely the size of a handkerchief.. what is the point! With these, there is no more fumbling around. These wraps “grow” with your baby and will always cover every inch of him/her. Our son has doubled his birth weight and can still be wrapped in these easily. These wraps also double as a blankie for the car seat and pram.

Aden & Anais Wrap in Azure

Aden & Anais Wrap in Azure

 

2. Stokke Xplory Pram – http://www.stokke.com

From the moment I set my eye on this pram, I loved loved loved it! It is just gorgeous, definitely unique oh and yes, practical! Firstly, they sit up high so baby is closer to your eye level. Secondly, it can double as a high chair. The pros just don’t end there.. the pram carries lots of groceries in the shopping bag included and as your little one gets older, he/she wlll have lots of fun posting the mail, getting a straw, being greeted by other people. The handle is fully adjustable – hubby is 6 foot tall, I’m 5’4″ and we always use it on different heights. Another great feature is the seat – it can face you and also face out for when bub is older, and it reclines to three positions.

Now, as much as I love this pram, there are a few cons. If you have a small car, you will have to stack the seat on top of the chassis. This means, when mantling and dismantling, seat has to be placed on the ground whilst chassis is being erected. Not a huge deal but it does take a bit more time. If you are considering this pram I highly recommend adding on the cup holder and/or bag hook as extra convenience.

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Stokke Xplory Pram

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3. Gaia Natural Baby Products – http://www.gaiaskinnaturals.com

If like me, you are super conscious about what goes on your baby as much as what goes into your baby, fret no more – these products are IT! Gaia products are pure, natural, organic and smells just divine. They do not contain parabens, mineral oils, or other nasties, making them perfect for sensitive skin. Their skin soothing lotion is my personal favorite and I keep one in the kitchen drawer for a quick hand moisturiser. Launched in 2002, with Gaia baby, the brand has expanded in their product range and are available, inexpensively via online, pharmacists and supermarkets.

Gaia baby products

Gaia Organic Baby Products

 

4. Nuna Leaf Baby Swing – http://www.nuna.eu

I was at the baby store choosing items for my registry when I saw an adult version of this baby swing. The lovely salesgirl encouraged me to try it out and after she swung me, I did not want to get out! It was comfy, smooth, quiet and just relaxing. Needless to say this went straight onto the registry (the baby size one that is) and boy was I excited when a good friend purchased it for our son. The Nuna Leaf is a great alternative to noisy, battery operated swings. Just a nudge and it rocks sideways! It’s really like sleeping on a leaf.

As good as it is the seat does not have recline positions so you can’t really sit baby up to feed. A bigger negative is that it can be a challenge to maneuver the whole swing from room to room. Although the base is heavy for safety reasons, the seat is very light so as you carry it by the seat, it is bottom heavy. Perhaps it is easier for someone stronger!

However the Nuna Leaf does look great, blends into any decor and if you follow home magazines, you may spot a Nuna Leaf Swing on a nursery inspiration page. One more thing.. I highly recommend the toy bar attachment for extra entertainment!

Nuna Leaf Baby Swing

Nuna Leaf Baby Swing

5. Bumbo Portable Baby Seat – http://www.bumbo.com.au

This last one is not a huge secret.. who hasn’t heard of Bumbo! But just to support all the good reviews, I am highly recommending it! And why not – Bumbo seats are great for feeding bub in (with or without the tray), it can be perched on the table to interact with bub at eye level (of course with much caution) and it gives bub more opportunity to observe his/her surrounding. What I love about this seat is we can leave it at the grandparents’ house for sleep overs or take it on a holiday, it is super portable! Bumbo comes in lots of different colours and now comes with a safety belt (for those without, one can be ordered for free via the website).

Bumbo Seat with Tray

Bumbo Seat with Tray

Great for reading!

LoveS

*Remember to always follow each product’s user guide*

The “I’m No Longer Pregnant” Diet

I’ve never been one to follow a diet. Umm not.. that’s not totally true.. Who hasn’t at one point in their life? Whether it is eating to lose weight, to gain weight or to detox, we all have made food choices that were right (or wrong) for us at that point in time.

The last “real diet” I was on ended in my late teens. Back then, in the middle of squeezing excess oil out of my french fry and sipping diet tea (read mild laxative) as I awkwardly walk around the supermarket, my hormones finally stabilized and I was becoming a real life grown up woman. After a couple of years recovering from all this I found a love affair with good food. No more Big Macs per se, hello pan seared salmon on a bed of truffle risotto with a side of crunchy green beans and glass of Pinot. Truth be told, I had replaced junk food with a somewhat lesser evil – rich, creamy, real food.. and a teeny bit of alcohol!

Thankfully my body adapted well to this lifestyle of eating. Having good food at a fine dining restaurant inspired me to eat better at home. Welcoming my 20s meant welcoming a lighter, more nutritionally educated me. I have since managed to stick to this lighter weight which is around 13kg less than at my heaviest.

During both pregnancies, I put on ” the maximum healthy gain” of 14-16kg. During my first, I did everything right – kept my fruit and fibre intake, saying no to tea, and since I do not eat red meat, I kept my protein and iron intake regularly. And I had no appetite for wine months after I gave birth. If you read one of my previous posts, I was also dedicated to my pilates.

Surprisingly, I was not so strict with myself this time round. I was extremely relaxed with everything and barely exercised. Although the same craving for chocolate was there, the weight gain was the same. So why do I feel like I need to go on a diet now?

Brownie vs Organic Produce

Brownie vs Organic Produce

I believe letting ourselves go once in a blue moon is great as long as your mindset is set true to your intentions. The fact that I was so relaxed during my second pregnancy set a precedence of relaxed eating. The past several months I had subconsciously conditioned my mind into thinking it was okay to eat as I pleased as I was pregnant. This mindset has obviously been carried forward post-birth. As I was not strict with myself, perhaps I am now feeling the guilt and need to fit back into my skinny jeans. But the “I’m no longer pregnant” diet is more of a mantra than a physical need to starve myself. I love food too much for that! But when I crave a caramel slice or reach out for a second serve of pasta.. I remind myself that “I’m no longer pregnant” and I’ll cut down my serving. I must say.. so far it is working a treat (no pun intended). I even have my husband say it to me when I’m feeling swayed toward my pregnancy days.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, no matter how hectic it gets. For me, food is meant to be enjoyed.. just have the naughty treats in moderation! There will be no more Snickers ice cream for me for now. I’m not craving it, I don’t need it and I’m sure it will still be around when I’m ready for some.

Now to work on toning my mummy tummy…

LoveS

About a Boy.

It has been a while since my last post. There is no excuse for this.. However I think I have a pretty good one – we’ve been busy having a baby! We are so grateful to have a boy this time and he perfects our little family. When we found out we were having a second, we were ecstatic. We already have a beautiful daughter and we knew that another child would fit in wonderfully. Then the anxiety kicked in.. Towards the second and third trimesters, I could not comprehend the thought of having two kids. Be it baby brain or hormones, but at that time all these thoughts felt logical to me. My main concerns included 1) I’ve spent the last two and half years looking after a girl, what the hell am I going to do with a boy? 2) I love my daughter so so much, where am I going to find more love for this new person? Well I can now say that I am coping with a boy (I can even clean and change his nappy without worrying if I’m doing it right!), and I love him just as much as our daughter. Motherly instincts kicked in the moment he was born and thank goodness for that.

However, now into our fourth week, life is not as easy as I had expected. Our daughter was an easy baby (perhaps I have selective memory?) and I was expecting our boy to be the same. Hmm.. One should always prepare for a not so smooth ride! For us, the first week was about continuous crying at night, the second week was about constipation and the third week was about staying up past our 7pm bedtime. We concluded that the crying was due to wind and the constipation, after many poo conversations, was due to wind and perhaps the formula he was having. As for the staying up.. Well, we are still hoping for the best with this one!

It pays to mention also, that despite re-reading the once helpful baby books – Tizzie Hall’s Save Our Sleep and Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby, there is no way you can smoothly juggle two routines without getting flustered or yelling (whilst feeding newbie) at the older one to eat dinner by herself like she did pre-baby. This is why wine o’clock is very important! Please, baby authors.. write a book that incorporates tips and routines for more than one young child.

Last night I slept quite well for the first time in 3 weeks. Eight hours with a 25 minute feed break wasn’t bad at all. Perhaps little man should stay up until 10pm more often. Haha.. Maybe not.. Ahh precious sleep. Luckily my husband Mark has been great with giving bub his night feeds. He is a bit of a night owl so that helps when I’m feeling sleep deprived or upset about why our baby won’t stop crying. Ladies, if your husbands don’t help with the night feeds, I suggest you whack him one in the head – any help would be a great support for you.

My next obstacle to tackle is day sleeping. Less day sleep = more night sleep, right? According to the routines, baby should only sleep a certain amount of time each day and be awake after his feeds. How to keep a newborn baby awake is a mystery to me. So far no amount of wet wipes, a screeching little girl running a muck or a friend’s three year old accidentally kicking him have managed to wake him. On the other hand, if I can just remember how I managed to get daughter into her routine so easily.. Why is my memory so blurred?? Must be the lack of sleep! Or the baby brain!

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Ava and I reading up on baby books

LoveS

Looking After Your Pregnant Self

If you are pregnant, or have been pregnant (as a matter of fact – if you are a woman), it is highly likely that you are aware of the amount of controversy and pressure surrounding pregnant and post-pregnant bodies. The media is laden with photos of celebrity before and afters, even social media dictates what is acceptable via Likes and not acceptable via (often mean) comments.

Each pregnancy is different, as I found out first hand. And every woman is different. Be it you’re the health nut or not, genetics play a huge part in determining our body shapes and the shapes we may become (pregnant or otherwise). I’ve spoken to moms who, during pregnancy, succumbed to their naughty cravings and highly condone indulging; and also those who walk, practice yoga, eat super well and who are determined to go back to their pre-pregnancy size ASAP. There certainly is no right or wrong. After all.. you can still do the latter and have stretch marks or a large baby. You can do the former and have a small baby and no stretch marks. We don’t all have a personal trainer or nutritionist and we can’t cherry pick our genes. But we all have power over our Pregnant Self – we can control the affects of our changing body during this precious time by maintaining it to the best it can possibly become. Chocolate fudge or not!

1. Beauty comes from the inside

This is often in the form of vitamins and healthy eating. Admittedly, I was not an uber fit single woman who lived at the gym and health food shops. I was more “Okay, I will train for this charity run but I will not refuse my midweek cocktails ritual with the girls (which often involved quite a bit of cocktail)!” However I do believe that eating well and taking vitamin supplements contribute to an overall wellbeing. This habit should bide well into to our Pregnant Self. Taking specialised pregnancy supplements in accordance with your doc is a must – your bub will be sucking a lot of energy and goodness out of you and both of you need the extra vitamins and minerals. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet will also benefit both you and bub. Most doctors will give great advice on what to eat to get the most of what but it’s a lot of common sense anyway. It’s okay to have that second slice of mud cake that you’re craving, after all you are pregnant, but perhaps not on a daily basis. Bub does not need the sugar for a myriad of reasons, gestational diabetes being one of them. Healthy mum equals healthy bub (and hopefully grows up a healthy adult)!

2. Keep moving

Not an exercise type of gal? I hear you! Here’s a tip: overcome this mentality by thinking about what you don’t like about exercising and find an exercise that suit you. For me, I did not enjoy being hot and sweaty and detested the outdoors. So I tried yoga and pilates and.. loved it! Both are fabulous for the pregnant mind and body and can ready baby into the right delivery position. If these are not for you, try walking. Any kind of walking.. the mall, outside, around the house.. Basically anything is better than nothing and believe it or not, you will feel energised afterwards. Half an hour of pregnancy pilates 3-5 times a week helped me get back into my favourite pre-baby jeans in no time so I highly recommend it.

3. Pamper yourself

After all that exercise, it’s time to go to the day spa! Find a reputable day spa who specialise in pregnancy massage and go for it! Carrying extra weight around your belly adds pressure to your back. 30-60 minutes of gentle massage will soothe and encourage blood flow. Don’t forget to get a pedicure while you’re there!

It’s easy to look after your Pregnant Self at home too – light a candle, put on a face mask and soak in the tub for as long as you want! Once or twice a week, exfoliate your body with a good scrub or exfoliating gloves. Concentrate on your tummy, hips and thighs to encourage cell renewal around these areas that will stretch as your pregnancy progresses. Work in a circular motion and be gentle! After each shower, oil up with either Kora’s Rosehip Oil or Bio-Oil, both have been proven amazing for preventing stretch marks.

4. Relax

Try not to stress or dwell on things that you cannot control. My second pregnancy is proving to be a lot different to my first and it was easy to dwell on the pros of my first pregnancy. But I’ve found ways of enjoying the second pregnancy in different ways – for example, I’m allowing myself to have a cup of tea once a day.. it’s not a major faux pas and the doc gave me the OK. It’s fabulous what a short tea break can do!

Most of all, enjoy this moment – you’re creating a life inside of you. Nothing is more amazing than that. This may be an old wives’ tale but I strongly believe that the calmer you are, the more calm your baby is and will be. Go and light that candle!

Pregnancy Must-Haves

LoveS