The liebster award

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Prior to sinking into the swampy abyss of moving house and the awful, never ending bout of food poisoning that followed, I was nominated for the Liebster Award by that lovely mummy over at Tiptoe Bay. She has an adorable daughter, a furbaby, and enjoys a cheeky glass of wine – don’t we all…not that I’ve had one for a while – so head over to Tiptoe Bay and check her out!

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to recognise new blogs with under 200 followers. Accepting the award involves acknowledging the blog that nominated you, displaying the award logo, answering 11 questions, revealing 11 random facts, nominating 11 fellow bloggers and setting 11 new questions. Phew!

Let’s begin:

  1. What is the worst job you’ve ever had? I’ve been lucky enough to work for our family business for most of my adult life, but I did have a short stint at a cafe called Deli France when I was in high school. I washed a lot of dishes and the boss was a total bitch.
  2. If you could live any where in the world where would it be? I’m lucky to live in Australia – we have a lot of freedom (politically, personally, socially), great weather, excellent health care, fabulous food, and environmental diversity (beaches, plains, snowy mountains, bushland, rain forests and deserts). If I was single and childless, I’d love to live in Europe for a year or two, but Australia is where I want to raise my children.
  3. What is your favourite film? I don’t really have a favourite but I love The Witches of Eastwick, The Devil Wears Prada and Bridesmaids.
  4. What cleaning product could you not live without? Dettol wipes.
  5. Do you have a dream that hasn’t yet been fulfilled and, if so, what is that dream? As an adult, I don’t dream very big, I just want my family to be happy and healthy. As a child I dreamt of becoming an actress and living the hollywood lifestyle – just as well I let that dream slide.
  6. Are you a ‘glass is half full’ or ‘glass is half empty’ kind of person? Both, I’m a hopeful realist!
  7. What are your top 3 albums to listen to on a long car journey? Anything from The Kooks, Maroon 5, or Florence and the Machine, plus some Wiggles for Little Chop.
  8. What would your perfect breakfast be made up of? My perfect breakfast would be a mixture of salty and sweet. I love pancakes with maple syrup so they would have to feature plus some crunchy, buttered sourdough toast with garlic mushrooms and crispy bacon. No eggs – yuck.
  9. Who inspires you? Lots of people inspire me for different reasons. My daughter inspires me to be more social, to get out more, to be silly, spontaneous and have fun.
  10. What would be your ideal date? (location not person!!) I think I would have loved the eighties. I was born in ’84 so I missed most of it. I know it was a daggy time, but the music and fashion were fun and flamboyant. We all take ourselves a bit seriously these days.
  11. If there was only one thing you could take with you to a desert island what would it be? Lip balm.

Now for 11 random facts about me:

When I was 12, I met my then favourite Aussie pop band, Savage Garden, backstage at their concert. I was completely starstruck.

I believe in love at first sight. When I met my partner I knew that we were supposed to be together. He says the same thing about me.

I have a major sweet tooth but not for lollies. I love cake – pancakes, cupcakes, scones, pastries, biscuits. I can’t say no.

I have undergraduate degrees in Arts- Psychology and English Literature and most of a postgraduate diploma in Editing and Publishing.

I love, love, love English comedies. Absolutely Fabulous, The Vicar of Dibley, Extras, Blackadder, Faulty Towers, Jam and Jerusalem – you get the picture. Love them all!

Everything about eggs turns my stomach. I will only eat an egg if I can’t see, smell or taste it, like in a cake.

I’m addicted to jeans and wear them almost everyday. I haven’t counted recently but I’m guessing that between my thin jeans, maternity jeans and post birth jeans I have about fifteen pairs.

I fantasise about tropical holiday destinations. Warm weather, perfect beaches, tropical fruit, cocktails, swimming, lying in the sun with a good book, shorts and sandals. That’s my ultimate holiday.

I’m a cat person.

I love online shopping and receiving packages in the mail. I’m not addicted but I’ll indulge once in a while. It’s much easier shopping while Little Chop is asleep than taking her with me.

I grew up with a younger sister and when we had Little Chop, I hoped that she would also have a sister. In ten weeks or so I will give birth to our second baby girl and our family will be complete.

Now is when I break the rules. Instead of nominating 11 blogs, I’m just going to nominate a few that I like at the moment.

The Three Bears

Figs and Twigs

Sally’s Home Kitchen

Mama Gets Real

And, because I am a time poor mummy and the process of accepting this award is extremely time consuming, I’m going to break the rules again and say, just tell me 11 things about yourselves and answer the 11 questions above if you feel so inclined.

Now I must bring this this post to an end as I have a stuffy, grumbly baby girl who requires my attention.

Until next time.

My tips for feeding a fussy toddler…

…and they don’t involve Tiny Teddies (although they are delicious).

Little Chop & Ted

Little Chop & Ted

Toddlers can be fickle. I know this because I have one – a fickle one.

One week she loves bananas, can’t get enough of them, will eat a whole one without coming up for breath. The following week she’ll take a bite, screw up her nose, toddle over to the rubbish bin and drop the whole thing in.

Food was a big part of my upbringing and I always felt truly loved when my mother prepared my favourite comfort foods, so on occasion my heart has been broken when my daughter has refused to eat the meals I’ve lovingly made for her.

I’ve spent hours cooking delicious food only to be left feeling defeated and frustrated when she’s flatly refused to take just one bite. Tears have been shed more than once.

It’s taken a while but I’ve finally learnt not to take Little Chop’s food fussiness so personally.

Here are some of my tips for feeding a fussy toddler.

1. Don’t push the issue

If your toddler refuses to eat or taste something you’ve made, don’t force them to try it or get frustrated with them. This will only cause stress and negative emotions towards new foods. Stay calm. Put the food in the fridge and try again tomorrow, or freeze it and try again in a week or two.

2. Have a backup plan on hand

Keep something you know they’ll eat in the freezer or pantry as a backup. For Little Chop, I keep pots of home made bolognese, fish fingers and Weet Bix.

3. Build up your recipe collection

The more recipes you know, the more options and back up plans you’ll have for feeding your fussy little food critic. If they refuse to eat the risotto, you can whip up a batch of pikelets in five minutes flat. If they don’t like rice learn some pasta dishes. It can’t make things any worse.

4. Learn what works and adapt it

If your toddler loves rice offer them a variety of rice dishes, e.g. fried rice, risotto, paella etc. Same goes for pasta, beans, bread – learn what it is that they will eat and present it to them in a variety of ways. Little Chop likes a particular combination of finely chopped vegetables so I use that mixture to make her bolognese, stir fry, soup and fried rice.

5. Keep trying

Just because your toddler won’t try something new today doesn’t mean that they won’t try something new tomorrow, so keep offering. Don’t give them the same thing everyday, this will only perpetuate the issue.

6. Keep it simple

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to make a toddler happy, just keep it simple and tasty. Don’t spend an hour cooking their dinner unless you are cooking it for yourself too. You will feel much worse when something you slaved over gets rejected than something you whipped up in fifteen minutes.

7. Don’t take it personally

You might feel personally rejected when your child refuses to eat what you’ve cooked for them, especially when you associate food with love as I do. Remember this is just a phase – a learning period – and it won’t last forever. Your child loves you just as much regardless of whether you feed them Weet Bix or roast lamb.

8. Offer what your having

Your toddler is more likely to be interested in trying a new food if they see you eating it. For example, tonight I offered Little Chop some pasta with osso bucco in her Bunnykins bowl. She took one bite and wouldn’t eat any more. I made the same thing for my own dinner and she had about ten mouthfulls from my bowl. She wanted to eat it because I was eating it. So, try offering your toddler food from your plate.

I hope that parents of fussy toddlers find something useful in these tips. If you try them out, let me know how you go. Please remember, I’m not an expert, just a mum trying to help other mums and dads who may be struggling with a fickle, food-rejecting toddler.

Good luck!

And the award for the worst week of the year goes to…

On Monday, I let out a big sigh of relief because one of the worst weeks I’ve had for a long time was finally over. I didn’t know it was going to be a bad week. A busy week? Yes. Moving house is always exhausting and we’d never moved with a toddler before, which basically means that you need extra eyes and hands to replace the ones that are busy toddler wrangling.

Last Sunday was moving day – hubby had enlisted a couple of mates to help with the heavy lifting and Little Chop was set to spend the day with her ever doting Non Non (that’s toddler speak for Nonny, because my mother is far too young and stylish to be a Granny) – boxes were packed and we were ready to tackle the moving thing head on. And that we did. At some point in the afternoon our helpers headed home to resume their weekends and Little Chop returned to join the chaos of boxes, packing paper and randomly placed furniture.

When 7.30 rolled around and the pantry box was yet to be found, we decided to order some takeaway from the local Korean; chilli prawns, barbecue pork and rice.  The prawns were enormous, like clenched toddler fists, and really spicy. Eye wateringly spicy. So spicy I couldn’t sleep because I could feel the chilli burning and gurgling all the way through my sensitive, pregnant intestines all night long.

The next day I felt a bit off, nauseous – I blamed the chilli. Then in the afternoon I felt the familiar feeling of hot saliva rising in the back of my throat. I’m not usually a fan of throwing up but I was finally going to get some relief, praise Jesus. I felt so much better, it was over, out of my system, time to resume life.

Except it wasn’t over.

Little Chop was awake in the night, teething. I was sitting up holding her, trying to rock her back to sleep when the acid came up in my throat again. I passed her to hubby and ran to bathroom where I threw up so violently that the little red capillaries around my eyes burst and I peed myself a little bit. Not my most glamorous moment.

When I woke in the morning my underwear was damp. Weird, I thought, must be from the pee that came out when I was throwing up. I went to the bathroom and put on clean underwear but within minutes had another wet patch. I started to panick. I had vomited so hard my waters had broken. Non Non hurried over to watch Little Chop while hubby took me to emergency.

At the hospital a lovely young midwife checked my temperature, blood pressure and monitored the babies heartbeat. She also checked my panty liner, which was dry…hmm. Then two doctors came in and prodded at my tummy while examining my cervix for leakage. Nothing. The doctor explained that the vomiting had probably caused my bladder muscles to weaken a bit so I’d leaked wee. I was embarrassed, but relieved that baby was okay. I then proceeded to throw up again so another nurse came and gave me an anti-nausea injection in my bum cheek. By this stage I was feeling fairly mortified because apart from peeing myself, and having two doctors looking up my vajayjay, and getting an injection in my bum, I also hadn’t shaved my legs in ages.

But wait, it gets worse…

Embarrassment aside, I was feeling a lot better after the injection. I managed to eat something and hoped my stomach would stay settled. And it did aside from a little gurgling. That evening, Hubby went to his course and I carried on with Little Chop’s regular routine with the false sense of security offered by that cheeky injection. Everything was going smoothly until I took Little Chop to bed and, without going into unnecessary detail, I erupted again…from the other end. That evening it took me an hour and a half to get Little Chop to sleep because I was running down the hall to the bathroom every fifteen minutes with her trailing behind each time. I got about two hours sleep that night.

I lived between the bathroom and the couch for the next four days, surviving on rehydration salts, lemonade ice blocks and the odd piece of toast. The midwives at the hospital were fairly certain that I had food poisoning from the prawns – apparently they can stay in your system for several days and don’t tend to elicit a quick reaction from your body like other sources of food poisoning. I am finally feeling better and baby is fine, but needless to say I will not be eating prawns, or Korean takeaway, for a very long time.

A lovely day and a new recipe: Mushroom and cannellini bruschetta

Today was pretty close to perfect.

The weather was mild. We had a play date in the morning and another in the afternoon. Naps and bedtime went smoothly. And, I came up with a new, very Italian, very delicious lunch recipe.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos but I’m not sure photos would have persuaded you to try the recipe because it turned out to be one of those ugly but delicious kind of things.

Anyway, if your a fan of mushrooms on toast, I urge you to give this a try.

You’ll need:

2 slices of crusty bread like pane di casa or sourdough, toasted

1/2 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed

3/4 cup chopped mushrooms, whatever type you like

1/2 tsp fresh or squeezy thyme

1/2 tsp crushed garlic

Butter, olive oil, salt & pepper

Toast your bread and get two frypans heating on medium. In one pan, melt a knob of butter, add the mushrooms, thyme, a pinch of salt and a crack of fresh pepper – cook until the mushrooms are soft, juicy and have a bit of colour. In the second pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, add the beans and garlic and cook until the beans are heated through.

Roughly smash up the beans with a fork or the back of a spoon.

Spoon your bean mash onto the toast and top with the mushrooms.

Devour before small child wakes.

Fussy toddler banana and yogurt pikelets

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Hot on the tail of the popular apple cinnamon pikelet recipe I shared a little while ago comes this equally delicious offering – a new addition to my Fussy Toddler recipe arsenal.

I love pancakes and I’m always on the lookout for new recipes so when I stumbled across these ones on a foodie blog I follow I had to try them, and they didn’t disappoint.

Until now, I’d never seen a pancake or pikelet recipe quite like this one but it produces the most delicious, moist, fluffy pikelets that are sure to please even the most hair-pullingly fussy toddler’s taste buds, and maybe your own as well.

If your a fan of ricotta hotcakes, you’ll love these!

I’ve adapted the recipe to make it my own so try both versions and see which you prefer.

For my pikelets you’ll need:

3/4 cup thick natural yogurt, can be Greek, I used Jalna pot set yogurt with bush honey

1 egg

1/2 cup plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 over ripe banana

1-2 tsp milk

Mash the banana and mix with egg, yogurt, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the milk bit by bit to loosen until you get a smooth, thick consistency.

Heat pan on medium low and add a little bit of butter. If the pan is too hot, the outside of the pikelets will burn before the middle cooks through, so a lower temperature is better.

Spoon smallish dollops of the batter into the pan, you should be able to fit 3-4 at a time, and cook until the outside is golden brown and the middle is set enough to flip. Then flip and cook on the other side until equally golden brown.

Because these pikelets are thick and the batter is heavy, they take time to cook through. Be patient – make yourself a coffee – don’t turn the heat up!

Serve warm with a little drizzle of honey and some sliced fruit like strawberries or kiwi.

Voila, happy toddler, happy mummy.

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The Beautiful Mama Blog award nominees

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Not long ago, I was lucky enough to be nominated for the Beautiful Mama Blog Award by the lovely and generous Valerie at atlantamomofthree.wordpress.com/. At the time I was new to the world of blogging so I accepted the award and promised to pass it on later once I had found my feet and had a chance to get to know some fellow bloggers.

Well, the time has come.

Here are some beautiful mamas whose blogs I enjoy. You may know them already as we tend to run in tight circles here on WordPress. Go and check them out!

Figs and Twigs 

Mummy Flying Solo

Tiptoe Bay

A Game of Diapers

M & A’s World

If any of the above mamas would like to accept this award, please follow these steps.

1. Display the logo on your blog with a link to my blog

2. Tell us three things you love about motherhood

3. Pass the award on to as many other beautiful mamas as you like

Three’s a crowd a.k.a sex and the co-sleeping parent

co-sleeping positionsThere were three in the bed and the little one said, “roll over, roll over.” So they all rolled over and Daddy fell out…went to the spare room and there he has slept for the past year!

Before Little Chop was born, I never really considered the effect her arrival would have on my relationship and how it would change. I knew that it would change, how could it not? A newborn demands your love and attention above everything and everyone including your partner, so you inevitably compromise and sacrifice things you enjoyed in your childless life to put your baby first – things like socialising, sleep and sex.

After giving birth, sex was the last thing on my mind. Having delivered a 4kg baby aided by an episiotomy and forceps I was quite content to never have sex again. Then my milk came in and the early challenges of breastfeeding took their toll. Sleep deprived with cracked nipples and a throbbing episiotomy scar, I waded zombified through those early weeks, often sobbing while breastfeeding with the pain that radiated from one end of my body to the other. My partner who was also sleep deprived and overwhelmed by our new arrival was patient and equally disinterested in sex…for a while at least.

Then my six week post-partum check-up rolled around and my partner started to get interested. Really interested. I was still in a fair amount of pain and didn’t feel physically or emotionally ready but I thought I should give it a go for my partner’s sake and to see how things were healing down there. Let’s just say that it didn’t go too well. I cried. It was painful and I was so anxious and self-concious about my squishy post-baby body that I felt tense and awkward. I told my partner I didn’t want to try again for a while and that was that.

By the three month mark, my episiotomy had healed and I was feeling more confident having lost most of my baby weight – I was ready. Within a few weeks, our sex life was almost back to normal, less frequent, but consistent. A couple of months later Winter rolled around and I started feeding Little Chop in bed overnight rather than braving the cold lounge room. She self-weaned from her dummy and no longer wanted to be swaddled. She would only sleep in my arms or by my side. We became co-sleepers. And so, my partner was sent to the spare room where he has remained for the past year. As my Doctor said, “Oh Laura, that’s no good for romance.” Mmm, you don’t say…

I had wondered about the sex lives of co-sleepers before I became one. I knew co-sleepers with more than one child so obviously they had managed to find a time and place to do the deed. If you’re curious, like I was, allow me to enlighten you. It’s tricky. You either need to plan ahead or be extremely spontaneous. It might be a nap time quickie or something you ‘book in’ for the evening instead of watching Masterchef. Occasionally, you’ll be interrupted when your child wakes unexpectedly and you’ll have to abandon the act because they don’t know how to self-settle. And, unless you have a spare room, it probably won’t be in bed because that space now belongs to your child. So there, now you know.

What my Doctor said is true, unfortunately. Co-sleeping is no good for romance. When you spend about twenty hours of the day with your child you tend to crave and relish in your alone time. Well, I do anyway. Nap time and evenings are the only times of the day I get to myself and sometimes I am reluctant to give that up, even for my partner. Maybe that’s selfish but it’s what I need to preserve my sanity. Sometimes I feel like I am stretched very thin and I don’t have enough time and energy to meet everyones needs. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a co-sleeper. I do miss the intimacy and comfort of sharing a bed with my partner and I know he misses it too. But, would I rather get up to settle my daughter multiple times each night? Or, let her cry herself to sleep? No. It is what it is and it won’t be forever so for now I’ll take my daughter’s warm sleepy cuddles over a torrid sex life and that’s fine by me.