Baby Bunting

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One of the most exciting things any expectant parent can do is set up their brand new little one’s bedroom. Certainly, for most pregnant women I know, decorating the nursery before baby arrives is a rite of passage; having something prepared physically gives a tangible element to what is happening unseen in our ginormous bellies.

Baby Bunting

Not all mums and dads can do this, for a range of reasons. I wasn’t able to do this as a result of severe pelvic instability. For five long months I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking of all the things I wish I was doing to get ready for my bubba, in my fantasy world of pregnancy.

In all my years of singledom, and those early fantasies of starting a family when I fell for my man, I had an idyllic vision of what I might be like as a pregnant Beck. I would be walking, changing my yoga to suit my growing belly, still going to parties and gigs and the footy “to get baby used to noises,” and crafting my little hand-knitted socks off.

Baby Bunting

By week eight of my pregnancy, this vision began to blur. Then by week 16 it was edited and left on the cutting room floor as I finished work early and began a regimen of icing my poor pelvis every 2 hours, getting a breakfast/lunch/snacks picnic from my lovely husband for they day, researching mobility aids for me instead of knitting patterns for my little one.

Baby Bunting

Toward the end of my pregnancy, I had little choice but to ramp up the painkillers to start preparing my body for childbirth. One thing, mercifully, that I began to be able to do, was to sit up in a chair for about 20 minutes at a time, resting in between for a few hours.

So, with this new found time, I decided to sew!

Small Fabric Canvas

I found this gorgeous tutorial over at this wonderful blog that showed the loveliest, easiest way to make bunting. As I couldn’t paint the walls, a small-scale project that would add some colour into the room seemed a great idea.

My hubby would set up my sewing machine for me, and I’d maneouvre the wheelchair in under the table, and sew. Slowly, deliberately, not always very well, but it was the most exciting thing in the world for me to be doing something creative, productive and for my soon to be baby.

Nursery Corner

With some of the left over fabric, I covered some stretched canvas frames, in an effort to cover more of the walls.

Of course, being the crazy lass I am, now that bub is here and I am well on the road to recovering my mobility, I’ve decided that the colours “just don’t suit baby,” and I’m going to make some more in the cooler colours that my little angel seems to sit with so comfortably. And when I do, I’ll most definitely share the project with you!

Large Fabric Canvas

If you have kidlets, how did you set up your nursery? Before or after baby was born? Did you make anything for your little bundle? I’d love to hear your stories!

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Banana Parfait with Home-made Yoghurt

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Recently, I bought an EasiYo Yoghurt Maker. It is one of my new favourite things. In my various quests to make and grow as much of my own fresh and healthy food as possible (in my apartment), and to get my budget living, stay-at-home-mum skills on, I’m becoming cultured.

See what I did there?

So. I made yoghurt. I used a store-bought sachet, but the next thing I’m going to do is make my own starter culture from organic milk. When I do, I’ll share a tutorial on how I did. (Don’t you love how ‘when’ is so definitive? Now I *have* to do it!)

Despite all these lovely, lofty ambitions, there are just some days when dinner is an afterthought. Eager to tuck in to my yummy, sugar free, fresh yoghurt, and find something quick and healthy to make for dinner, I made some Banana Parfait.

I crushed up a few handfuls of my Activated Nuts, which was wonderful, as I really need to show my mortar and pestle some more love.

Crushing my activated nuts

I don’t have parfait glasses, but I *do* have martini glasses. And while I’m still breastfeeding, cocktails are quite rare round these parts, so I’m rather excited to have found a use for them and bring them back from sabbatical.

Create your layers, as thick as you like, as many as you like.

The layers - activated nuts, banana, homemade yoghurt

I made two for dinner, served with some of my home-made banana bread, plus an extra one for my lunch the next day.

Parfaits in progress

It was a surprisingly filling dinner actually, with the protein and good fats from the yoghurt and nuts proving quite satisfying, while the banana bread added something a bit more substantial to the meal.

It only took a few minutes to throw together, and would be great to make for breakfast, or brunch for those of us Hashimoto’s sufferers who can’t have dairy in the morning!

Next time I make these, I’ll slice the bananas thicker, and add some dessicated coconut and layer the yoghurt between banana and coconut, with the nuts away from the yoghurt to stop them from soaking up too much of the yoghurt.

Yum!

What sorts of ingredients to you put in your parfaits?

Anyone for tea-ther?

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In our house, our beautiful babe is teething. Is she? Hang on, I’m sure there’s a few white bumps… Wait, she’s chilled out today. I’m sure those gums were swollen yesterday… Wait, what?!

I’ve heard tell of baby teeth that go up, then back down, and up again, and down… And so on and on that those lovely little milk teeth have clocked up some miles in those teeny tiny gums. Dubious as I may have been of such stories, I believe I’m seeing this happening before my very eyes.

Anyone for tea-ther?

In times like this, I think it best to grab myself a cup of tea! It will do us all some good ๐Ÿ™‚

South Melbourne Love

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Since moving in to South Melbourne, I am loving the little hidden bits and pieces I’m finding on my wanders around the place.

I grew to love my local cafe when I was pregnant with my baby girl. It’s just across the road, and wasn’t too far to be pushed in my wheelchair. Eventually, I was able to wheel myself there! Oh the freedom! Now that my pelvic instability has mostly cleared up, I’m able to get out and about much more, with bub in her carrier or pram.

South Melbourne Street Art

This is an image that I’ve found stenciled on the edge of an alleyway right near this little purveyor of chai and coffee goodness. I love how it gives you pause to think, and that depending on my mood elicits a wry smile or makes me stand a little taller, like Sarah Connor.

Mostly, I love how an errant truck has carved into the stencil. The rusted effect, for me, conjures up thoughts of big, hulking factories, buckling under their own weight, making rank upon rank of crude automatons.

Water Baby

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I have been looking forward to taking my gorgeous six month old daughter swimming, but have had to hurdle some self-created obstacles to get there. The right temperature? I don’t have any swimming nappies! Do I put her head under? I need a second person to help get her in an out of the water!

Arg!

So, on the weekend, hubby and I seized what could be the last warm Melbourne day before the cold of winter descends, and took a tentative dip, as opposed to any kind of plunge.

Baby's first swim

It was great! She had a great time, smiling and kicking, even though she was shivering a little in this strange new environment. Once her dad jumped in she even became shy! But she certainly enjoyed it.

I’m thrilled! Maybe she’ll make it to the Olympics to swim for Australia one day? A bit too early for London 2012 methinks…

How did you go with your baby’s first swim? Did you take them for a dip newborn? Pop baby’s head under? I’d love to hear your thoughts on when to go under water, and when to start swimming lessons.

Activated Nuts and Seeds

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Ooo, this is one of my ambitions that I wanted to become a habit, and it seems to have stuck. If you have never tried activated nuts and seeds, hang on to your hats people, they are so yummy, so good for you and so damn easy you wont even believe it.

This little pot of goodness is more than enough for a delish snack, especially when those mid arvo cravings hit! But before I get into the hows, how about some whys?

As many of you already know, nuts and seeds are an excellent source of fats, a little protein kick for between meals, as well as some great nutrients too. However, in order for our bodies to access all this awesomeness, a good deal of effort is required to overcome certain enzyme inhibitors which can cause digestive upset. Activating them cuts out a lot of that effort; leaving your energy better spent elsewhere,ย  chilling out some of the negative aspects of eating nuts raw, and making many more good vitamins and nutrients available for us to absorb.

As far as Hashimoto’s goes, I find that nuts and seeds are fabulous. I try to pour a little ramikin for myself when I get up in the morning, so that as the day goes on and I need a little meal to kick along my energy and metabolism they are right in arms reach, derailing me from sugary foods. I try not to eat them every day tho. And they are awesome with yoghurt, and I LOVE the pepitas in salads – they add an awesome crunch and a teensy salty element, which is novel to me as I don’t use much salt anywhere in my cooking.

Still with me?

Even if you’re not, They. Are. So. Yummy. that you should give it a crack anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

So. Step One.

Gather up some nuts and seeds – just make sure they’re not oily, so no peanuts, macadamia nuts, etc. My favourites are walnuts, pecans and almonds. My favourite seeds are pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. Sunflower seeds lost a bit of their love for me and became a bit too thin, but have a go and see what you reckon.

Step Two.

Soak your nuts and seeds overnight in a pot with a lid in enough water to cover and a little bit more, with one tablespoon of sea salt. I make a huge batch, so here they are soaking in my soup/jam pot. You might like to try just a bit on your first go, to see if you like them.

Also. Stop singing NKOTB.

You may be realising about now that my photography skillz are preeeettttyyy basic :s and yes, you guessed it, an ambition of mine to improve them!

Step Three.

Drain off all the water. I don’t get too fancy, just hold the lid to the side of the pot and drain that way, and leave the colander alone. You will notice the water is a little brown, and the nuts a little lighter and possibly swollen. This is cool. Spread out in a big baking tray, without oil or baking paper, just au naturale.

Step Four.

Cook for 12-24 hours in an oven set on the lowest possible setting. Just make sure its on, and doesn’t just have the fan switched on, like I did for an hour the first time I did this! Oopsy! About 70^C or so should be plenty. Every few hours, grab some tongs and move the nuts and seeds around, and try not to eat them all before they’re done! The longer you slow roast them, the better. I try to do this overnight when electricity demand and rates are lower, especially if its already warm.

Step Five.

Freeze. Seriously, freeze these babies. They taste amazingly crisp coming out of the freezer, and keep longer. Double win! And enjoy. Sooo yummy. In fact, I’m going to grab some now.

What do you think? Have you tried them? Do you have another way of making them? Let me know!

Thank you to Sarah Wilson for the inspiration!

Quit Coffee

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Dear Coffee,

Mug of liquid silk. O velvety cup of goodness. It’s time we said goodbye. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

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While I have adored indulging in you for more than half my life, meandering through all your forms: long macciato, long black, flat white, latte… the impact you have on me lasts longer than your warmth on a wintry Melbourne morning, and your help to get through a looong work day does me no favours in the long run.

To finally say adieu, I write this post to underscore my need to part from you. Otherwise, the chances of me slipping up are simply far too strong! [I dare not say Ciao.. whatever will I drink when I go back to Italy?! Ah, the mercies of small bank balances!]

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Why, you may ask? Protest, even? Well. I have Hashimoto’s Disease. When I have coffee, you stimulate my already burned out adrenal glands. You help kick my insulin spikes along a little further on its roller coaster trajectory. Coffee, you may give me a little moments happiness, but hours if not days later, I pay the price many times over in lethargy (oh! the cruel and tempting irony!), aches and pains, forgetfulness, brain fog, insomnia, headaches.

My added inspiration dear Coffee is my baby girl, for whose benefit I have visited upon you less often, and only at a half shot, has helped me more than I was aware. Going cold turkey on you is never fun! My half measures and weak lattes have held an ulterior purpose all along.

You see, I have to list it. Here, in full view. But primarily, Coffee, so that I can see these words I type and remember why it is that our heady days must come to an end.

And while it may smart a little, o Coffee, there is another I may turn to, so that my cherished social outings and gatherings may yet continue.

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Chai. Camomile. Peppermint. The ritual of tea, sometimes the warmth of the brew teasing honey from a spoon, maybe watching milk form clouds in a delicate cup, soothes not just a need for a hot drink. I have many, many more friends to spend time with, who will not treat me so ill. Pun intended! These friends can do me more good than you know – camomile to soothe the nerves, the spices of chai to warm and stimulate circulation and balance blood sugars, peppermint to aid digestion.

And so, it is done. Coffee, fare ye well. It’s been grand, for the most part, and I grant you that 15 years of love was worthwhile. But the last several years of clinging to sensations past in the midst of pain does neither of us any good. Here’s to herbal remedies, healthful drinks and happier days. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Thank you Laney at Crash Test Mummy for the inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚