Cheeeese

Cheeeeeese!

Who couldn’t adore that little face? He has been watching his little mate doing this cheesey-smile when a camera comes out so this is his version!

I sewed this swing* up for Cameron’s doll/teddies. I got a random burst of creativity at 10 pm (as you do) and went to bed anticipating his response.

The verdict? “Woooooow”

& I would pretty much do anything for that smile.

We had Toddler Art Group again this morning but I couldn’t find my camera so you will have to imagine how fun it was! I was zipping around cleaning 30 mins before the tots arrived so we only had scented play-clay sculpting and drawing with easy-grip coloured pencils and easy painters like last time.

I promise I’ll be more organised next time and have photos are more creativity!

In other news, it’s Racheous Goes Vego (Take Two). This time it’s just me and just for me. But for all the same reasons (health, conscious eating, sustainable consumption, animal rights, environmental health, etc etc).

Watch Food, Inc. I guarantee you will learn something and it will help make you chose what you eat more wisely (not just about the meat industry). My husband watched it and we changed a lot of things as a result after researching about the food industry in Australia. It’s great to be informed.

* Idea from the book “Creative Play for Your Toddler” Steiner Expertise and Toy Projects for 2 Years – 4 Years By Christopher Clouder & Janni Nicol.

Smile

“You look happy”
“I am”

Cameron is starting to really come into his own lately. He just seems more confident, social and independent. Sure, he’s still my clingy bub but he’s been suprising me.  

For instance, he crawled up to his kindergym instructor and gave her a cuddle after only having met her once. He adores my sister and is happy for me to do whatever I like while she plays with him. He loves playing alone with his cousins.

I was baking the other day and taking care of my nephew and niece when I was witness to the sweetest thing… I hear pitter pattering on the tiles and giggles and see three little bodies crawling around the corner. Cameron was in the middle, very chuffed while Jo’lee chuckled along crawling beside him and Jayka counted their ‘steps’ together as he crawled on the other side. It made my sigh and as I kneaded dough and asked Cameron what he was doing I realised I felt super-duper-Mumsy.

It’s so lovely spending time with my nephew and niece. Jayka kills me with his cuteness. Like how he calls watermelon “naughtymelon” (nothing to do with it being ‘naughty’… just how he pronounces it) and how they both circle me as we play “I’ma getcha!”. Jayka has taken an interest in me breastfeeding Cameron:

“Hi Te-Raychoo, whatcha doin Te-Raychoo?”
“I’m feeding Cameron special milk”

& so he now asks and talks about ‘special milk’ a lot and is so adorable. He’s very inquisitive about Cameron.

Cameron has gained more weight (and has started eating a bit more… which is great because he was managing next-to-nothing for a while there) and has finally hit 8 kgs! Big accomplishment for him but still very modest compared to the ‘average’

I on the other hand have been losing weight. I’m down 2.5 kgs and counting and doing my best to be healthy and get fit.

Cameron now dances when he hears fun music. His dancing is really just bouncing with conductor hands but it’s pretty much the cutest freaking thing ever.

He’s loving birds at the moment and signs bird whenever he sees one. He even signed bird when he saw a bird figurine in the shop the other day. We aren’t sure if it’s coincidence or not but he’s also said “bih” when signing it a couple of times.

His clearest signs that are used in context regularly are definitely “Dadda” (which he has said verbally too in context) and “finished” which is almost always used in conjunction with his dislike for solid food. Although “boobah” (milk) and “Mum” are signed infrequently and he waves a lot but rarely in context. Our latest signs that I’ve introduced are cat, book and ball which are the things he’s taking a lot of interest in recently.

Speaking of signing, I won the “Sign It, Baby!” DVD giveaway on Hip Little One which I’m super stoked about! It’s an Australian baby sign language DVD and I’m so looking forward to getting it and seeing how it is.

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Baby Finger Foods

If you’re like me and dealing with an independent, fussy, picky eater who would prefer to feed themselves much of the time then you’re probably trying to find nutritious, easy-to-prepare, bake and take with you that isn’t too messy or wasteful.

Too many times I’ve slaved away and created amazing baby-friendly foods (like the baby cereal fruity healthy breastmilk pancakes that took me forever) that have been thrown on the floor and smooshed into hair. It’s ok for experimentation, learning and enjoying food but it’s frustrating when you’re out and about or dealing with a skinny bub and just wanting them to consume something decent.

Here’s some great recipes that I’ve came across or adapted that are not too difficult, involved or messy and are easy to put in a ziplock bag and have as snacks too.

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[Healthy carrot sticks]

1 cup carrots
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely

1. Preheat oven to 220 deg C
2. Top and tail the carrots, peel them and cut them into sticks
3. Put the carrot sticks into a bowl and toss them with the rosemary and oil until well coated
4. Spread them out in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and cook for about 20 mins, until tender.

[Cheesy vegie nuggets]

1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups cheddar (grated)
2 1/2 tbsp water
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Heat the oven to 190 deg C
Cook the broccoli, drain and chop well
Combine with the remaining ingredients and mix well
Form into nugget shapes and place on a greased baking tray
Bake for 20-25 mins, turning halfway through cooking time

[Tofu nuggets]

1 package firm tofu
1/4 cup flour
2 egg yolks
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika

Cut tofu into fingers/dice
Spread flour on a small plate or flat dish. Beat egg yolks in a shallow dish
Mix remaining ingredients in shallow dish
Coat each piece of tofu in the flour to cover, then into the egg, then crumbs, and then to tray
Bake at 180 deg C for 15-20 minutes until crisp

[High iron teethers]

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp butter
1/4 – 1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses

1. Rub the butter into the flour until it is like breadcrumbs
2. Add the molasses, then gradually add as much milk as you need to give a soft dough
3. Knead for 2 minutes, then roll out to 1.5 cm thickness
4. Cut into fingers
5. Put on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins at180 deg C until lightly golden

[Wholesome wheat teething bikkies]

1 beaten egg yolk
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup breastmilk
1 tbsp oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
Optional but adds nutrition:
1 tbsp soy flour
1 tbsp wheat germ
1 tbsp dry whole milk

1. Blend wet ingredients then add dry ingredients and mix well
2. Knead dough then roll and cut into shapes
3. Bake at 175 deg C for approx 15 mins
- Freezes well -

Dips:

[Baby hommus]

can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 of one ripe avocado
1/4-1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
2 tbsp cream cheese
pinch garlic powder, pinch smoked paprika, pinch cumin, squeeze of fresh lemon juice, olive oil or more yogurt may be added for creamier texture

Blend all ingredients in a blender until desired texture is reached. It can be used as a spread, or for baby to dip with veggies.

[Brainy baby]

1/2 ripe avocado
1 tbsp olive oil/flaxseed oil
the yolk from 1 hard boiled egg
breastmilk/water if needed

Mash ingredients together – voila!

Some other tips that have helped me:

1. soak sultanas/dried fruits overnight for easier finger foods for babies confident with chewing
2. coat slippery foods (eg. banana, avocado) with nutritious wheatgerm or crushed cereal powder to make them easier to handle
3. dip half a banana in baby yoghurt and freeze for teething bubs
4. use vege purees for dips
5. let baby eat in own time whilst you eat without pressure

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I know how hard it can be with a fussy eater who isn’t keen on food in general. Even with great foods that he loves Cam is still not a huge eater. He’ll drain breastmilk like it’s going out of fashion but isn’t so keen on solids :P

I hope that helps someone!

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Oh no! Racheous has dropped – help me out and click below to vote – it is very much appreciated!:

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I Went & Did It

I did the bad thing. The thing you’re not meant to do.

Back in this post I talked about how fat ain’t cute and how I was embarking on Operation Fatty Boomsticks Sexy Mumma. Well… clearly that failed. I went bralkogging (brisk walk/jogging… yeah, I made it up) twice and Mrs Excuses promptly made a shameless return.

I continue to think things like at least I haven’t gained any more weight and white chocolate is good and exercising is for lamey mclameingtons because it’s easier than actually losing weight, stopping my sweet-tooth-binges and getting off my ass.

For those of you (who are so lovely and I do big toothy grins with double thumbs up and toyota jumps for) who say “Rachel, you are a sexy Mumma, you don’t need to worry” I want to say quit enabling me (heh heh jokes) I have a BMI of oh-crap-I-can’t-believe-I’m-admitting-this 27.5 which is not in the healthy range and it all ultimately comes down to health.

So, back to what I was saying… I did the bad thing. I’ve been squeezing into old clothes or wearing daggy maternity clothing for too long. So I went and bought the size up. Yep, I admitted defeat.

We’re off tomorrow morning for our first family mini-holiday near the beach and I thought, if the weather is good, I should wear a tee and *gasp* shorts. But I can’t fit my pre-Mum shorts anymore. And not in a “ooh, these are a bit tight” way but in a “these only come up to me knees” way.

The last holiday we went on was our honeymoon almost 2 years ago and I had this smokin’ bod (lol):

& I remember feeling ‘fat’ and insecure then… 13 kgs ago.

Although I’ve bought these clothes I have decided to not focus on weight loss but just to put more emphasis on healthy living and moderation. I’m not too great at the moderation thing.

I’ve been vegetarian for over a couple of months now so I’ve been pretty good with meals but drinks and snacks have been out of whack. So it’s time for an overhaul.

I’m not making any promises. A couple of months from now I may be updating on how big my booty has grown but lets hope that I start making positive changes and I’m feeling motivated.

I’m still not motivated regarding exercise though. I don’t know, I never have been… Any tips?

Off to holiday! We’re going to some craft markets and too a special place (revealed soon just incase the BFFs BF is snooping… although I doubt he reads my blogs :P)

Video and paper-making tutorial to come!

Thank you for the lovely private messages and emails regarding my other post and {As Nature Intended}. I really do have the most beautiful readers and viewers!

Make our day <3:

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This little piggy ate.. tofu?

I’m by no means wanting to convert people… I figure that anyone interested can readily find information out there if needs be… but I’m just outlining some of the health related reasons why we have chosen to go vego… and why we are thinking of raising our children as vegetarian.

Did you know that studies of vegetarians show lower levels of pesticides in breastmilk? Pesticides such as DDT, chlordane, and heptachlor and industrial biproducts such as polychlorinate d biphenyls (PCBs) .

There are so many myths about vegetarianism. There was a time when nutritionists and dietitians even said that vegetarians lacked protein and calcium in their diet, but no longer.

Now, it is known that vegetarians get plenty of protein. What they don’t get is the excessive amount of protein found in the typical modern diet. If you get enough calories and eat a balanced diet with variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, then getting enough protein is not an issue.

The calcium myth is applied, in particular, to vegans. Somehow, the notion got started that the only good source of calcium is milk and cheese. Granted, milk does have a good supply of calcium, but so do many vegetables — especially green, leafy veggies.

The truth is, vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis because the body assimilates the calcium they eat more easily during digestion.

A vegetarian diet isn’t out of balance. It has a good proportion of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat – the three macro nutrients that are the cornerstone of any diet. Plus, vegetarian food sources (plants) tend to be higher sources of most of micro nutrients.

Another way to look at it is this: The average meat eater consumes one or fewer servings of vegetables a day and no servings of fruit. If a meat eater does eat a vegetable, chances are it’s a fried potato. “Out of balance” depends on your perspective.

Another myth is that babies and children need meat in order to grow. This somehow makes the assumption that protein from plants isn’t as good as protein from meat. The truth is, protein is protein. It is all made from amino acids. Children need 10 essential amino acids to grow and develop properly. These amino acids are as readily available in plants as they are in meat.

People who follow a varied, well-balanced vegetarian diet are eating in line with current nutritional recommendations for healthy eating, as most vegetarian meals tend to be low in fat and high in fibre.

Medical studies have shown that vegetarians are less likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer, diet-related diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, so a vegetarian diet is very good for your health. On average, vegetarians live 7 years longer than their meat-eating peers.

So much of this I wasn’t aware of until recently and now I’m reading more and researching more into what I hope to become the norm to my family.

I’ll admit that we were opposed to the idea of raising our children as vegetarian at first. I was pretty naive about the health benefits and ability to get all you need from things without meat… Not to mention the mere thought of criticism put me off.

I’m still pretty spooked about the criticism side of things. Anything outside the norm is bound to be questioned and we’re used to that I suppose (what with our relactating, public breastfeeding, baby wearing, bed-sharing, cloth-diapering parenting ways…).

But I think I worry about uneducated, ignorant, narrow-minded less-researched people who will think that we are somehow malnourishing/abusing/neglecting or somehow not doing the best for our children.

Especially because we were both slight as children and no doubt (especially looking at our Cameron here) our kids will follow suit and I am anxious about people assumming that they’re skinny due to vegetarianism rather than that just being them.

I am by no means saying that a balanced diet that includes animal products is wrong or what-not – just in case people draw conclusions. I’ve never been the healthiest person (I’m very much a stick-to-what-you-know kind of gal… hence this being a process). Vegetarianism is just another way about getting your nutrients.

But, it’s all an adjustment in many ways and I’m merely sharing that with you all.

So, I’m thumbing through vegetarian cookbooks, looking at vegan recipes online, searching out vego restaurants, talking about vegetarian food pyramids with Mike and stocking our pantry full with new and wonderful grains, legumes, oils, condiments/spices/herbs as we start to broaden our diet rather than restrict it.

P.S. ZOMG to anyone who knows us – we’re eating tomato. Yes, tomato peoples. Now you know we have our serious faces on.

If slaughterhouses had glass walls…

… everyone would be a vegetarian (says Paul McCartney)

It’s posts like this and this (the lovely JD – one of my blog following obsessions who can put into words what I can’t regarding vegetarianism/veganism) and sites like this that remind me why I have always wanted to make the vegetarian transition (and furthermore vegan)… but I’ve always made excuses and it’s so damn easy to be ignorant – the majority of the population is… (like JD, again, speaks about in this post).

I have always been a meat eater and even have paid out on vegetarians (eep! sorry!) but all to disguise the fact that if I allow myself to truly think about where my food comes from it doesn’t sit right with me.

I have recently had an interest in ethical consumerism although it is a very tricky thing. But with more and more research into vegetarianism, in particular, I’ve found reasons to become vegetarian that I hadn’t really considered. It took my friend (Cam’s Aunty Sil Sil and the coolest person I know) making the transition for me to really step back and think why not? rather than why.

One reason, which is very valid to me, that the transition appeals to me is purely an awareness for food. I eat without thinking and I’m very rarely involved in the food-preparing process. I want to be healthy and conscious… which I’ve never been… and I want to do it so that someday I can teach my children by example.

My ultimate goal would be to grow most of my own veges and fruit and not consume anything with animal products in it. There’s so many questions still for me to consider and this is the start of a process but hey! Here I go…