Monthly Archives: January 2013

Give that baby a drink

I have many pet hates. I have a metaphorical menagerie of things that greatly peeve me. However, few get me as worked up as the following well intentioned, but completely misinformed statement: ‘geez it’s hot today, you better give that baby some water’. Grrrr.

Exclusively breastfed babies under the age of 6mths, do NOT need supplementary water. Not even on ridiculously hot days. Clever mother nature provides us with both a watery foremilk to hydrate baby, and a rich creamy hindmilk to fill baby up. On hot days, bubs tend to like short, frequent drinks which gives them plenty of foremilk, and therefore plenty of hydration. Giving young babies water actually gives them a false sense of fullness, and reduces the amount of breast milk they take in for the day.

One of the best pieces of advice I got prior to leaving the hospital was to ignore the advice of people who birthed 30 years ago. I am constantly surprised by how much I agree with this. All mothers can offer advice and support that is useful. However this advice does need to be scrutinized in light of modern research. Many of the parenting strategies of our parents have been shown to be counterproductive and in some cases detrimental. Breastfeeding advice certainly falls in that category.

For practical, research based advice on breastfeeding babies in hot water, see this link

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Filed under Breast feeding, Nutrition

A cosy little home

I try to practice constant gratitude in my life, but I often find myself falling into the trap of wishing for more; more money, more and nicer possessions, and believing life will be better when I get more of x, y or z. The desire for more causes us to forget to be grateful for the many blessings we have; be they physical possessions or emotional or spiritual attributes. In my life, I have found this to be a source of significant discontent.

Last night I was reminded of how much I have, and how lucky I am. One of my pet wants relates to our house. At age 32, I live in a little old house. It needs a renovation to bring it into this century, the yard is unfinished and over grown, my furniture is mismatched, and we live on a main road. I frequently get house envy when I visit my friends, and find myself dwelling on how horrible my house is.

We are currently experiencing terrible weather and flooding in Queensland. The rain is unrelenting, and the winds strong and gusty. Yet here I am, safe in my very cosy house. High enough that there is no threat of flooding at all. When I entered the bedroom last night, I was overwhelmed with how fortunate I am. I have a secure roof over my head. My lovely warm bed is flanked on either side by cots where my precious children sleep. My little loves were sleeping soundly and safely, my big husband was ready to cuddle me, and the solid roof and walls of our house cocooned us in safety and comfort. It was in that moment I realised how lucky I am, and how wonderful it was to even have a house.

This morning when I walked over the broken tiles in the bathroom I didn’t groan or whinge. I accepted them as a minor character floor, and thanked the universe for my many blessings, this house included.

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Filed under Mummy health and wellbeing, Spirituality

A rainy day in the kitchen (and a 2nd birthday cake)

Today is one of those perfect grey and rainy home days. I love rainy days; when the skies seem close and moody, and the house is a cozy, safe retreat. This one is particularly nice as its Australia Day, and that means triple J’s hottest 100 is playing on the radio.

My toddler, Boo, turns two tomorrow. I’m really struggling with this birthday as I know my baby is growing up, and soon those giggling fits and mispronunciated words will be gone, replaced with new challenges and milestones. I’m proud of my ‘big girl’ though. Everyday she surprises me with something new, and she is a curious and loving child. I am very blessed to be her Mum.

Naturally another birthday means another cake. I’m using the same cake as her first birthday. You can find the recipe here. This is a beautiful cake, and the smell of coconut and maple syrup had added another lovely layer to my blissful rainy day. This time the icing is not so child friendly though. I have done a vanilla butter cream, and used puréed blueberries as a colourant. Sadly this was much more pink then I expected, giving us a pink shark instead of blue like I was hoping for. I also used fondant (shock horror!) for the features of the shark’s face. I have never used fondant before, and I found it really challenging. I have also learned that it cannot be dyed with raspberry juice. I ended up using the juice as a paint, by applying it on top of the fondant once applied to cake. I’m not happy with the sugar based icings, but sometimes you have to pick your battles. I can’t wait for her to see her special shark cake tomorrow. She’s going to love it!

While baking Boo’s birthday cake, I decided I also felt like comfort food and a quick raid of the fridge turned up some quark close to its use-by date. Perfect for blueberry and quark pancakes. Quark is a European fresh cheese similiar to cottage cheese. Traditionally it is made without rennet. The one I get is from Barambah Organics, and is a thick creamy delicious treat.

Blueberry and Quark pancakes

1 1/3 cups quark (or ricotta)
3/4 cup of milk
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)

Combine these wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Only add the egg yolks for now, the whites get folded through later. Add the blueberries last.

In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt

Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta mix, and stir until combined. Do not over mix.

Beat the egg whites, until nice and firm. Gently fold through the pancake mix in two batches.

Fry spoonfuls of the batter over a low heat, with some butter or ghee.

I had never cooked quark or ricotta pancakes before, and found it difficult to get the temperature just right. As you can see in the picture, mine were more than golden. You need a fairly low heat, not too much batter for each pancake, and to keep a close eye on them.

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Adding quark to the pancakes gives this dish some decent protein, and makes them more filling. They also taste delicious.

Enjoying a rainy day at home with my family, and baking some yummy treats is pretty much a perfect day in my book.

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Filed under Nutrition, Recipes, Snacks for Children, Sugar free, Toddler snacks

Home made play dough recipe

Kids love play dough. I can still remember watching while my Mum cooked up play dough, impatiently waited for it to cool, then spent hours making and creating all sorts of fun things. Naturally I want to repeat this with my girls, so I dug out the play dough recipe, sat little missy on the bench, and got cooking.

This recipe is made from ingredients in your pantry. It’s totally non-toxic, and cheaper than the commercial variety.
Home made play dough

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cooking salt
2tbs cream of tartar
1/2 tbs vegetable oil (I used rice bran oil)
2 cups water
1tsp natural food colouring

Method

  1. Combine flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large saucepan. Slowly blend in oil, water and food colouring
  2. Stir continuously over a low heat, until the mixture thickens and forms a ball.
  3. Allow to cool, then wrap in cling wrap to stop it drying out.

My darling girl had a wonderful time playing with her new play dough, and to be honest so did I! It gave us another opportunity to bond and learn together: she learnt a new texture, some new hand skills and how to use cookie cutters. I learnt how to let go, have fun and allow myself to live in the amazing moments life with a toddler brings.

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Filed under Activities for Toddlers, Eco baby