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Bye bye January…

I am wondering how I am meant to be resting up at 32 weeks pregnant with 35 minute drives twice weekly for iron infusions, Ultrasound appointments and two weekly OBGYN appointments… I’m doctored out right now, Florrie is fed up of being in the car and I’m really fed up of not being able to wear my normal warm clothing for this time of the year… Moan over!

Everyone says I look a lot better from the iron infusions, thankfully, but I’m still waiting for this magic drug to burst into the much needed energy I need to finish the projects I wanted to complete before this little man arrives, on the plus side I think all this iron is giving this baby super strength, he is a real wriggler and loves head butting my rib cage (he is breach at the moment) and kicking my bladder… All the fun moments of pregnancy… Ha, ha!

I am in love with the Baby Gap at the moment, the baby bargains have been in abundance this January, I think I have managed to get a whole newborn baby boy wardrobe for less than $100, he has long sleeve and short sleeve vests and cute little onesies, I love newborn babies in nighties, boy or girl they look so cute, so I have a few nighties too! I have very cute long johns in a variety of colors and I have my Mum and a close friend on knitting duty, cute little cardigans as I am sure the weather will be chilly and I love newborn hand knitted sweaters… All in all he will be the best dressed March newborn baby boy!

Of course I cannot forget my little Florrie’s spring closet, so I have been picking up a few bargains for her too, I love the Target Osh Kosh girls clothes… They recently had a very Cath Kidston raincoat and boots in there, of course a must for every toddler girls Spring wardrobe, they also have just reduced a few Osh Kosh items by 30%, so I got her a little spring jacket and red spotty dress… With Spring clothes appearing in the shops now, I just cannot wait for the warmer weather to arrive!

I have a small list of need to get items before the birth, but I’m very pleased with my bargain baby buys so far, we got 20% off the stroller! a super cheap managers clearance on our Chicco car seat $60 from $199, lots of clearance items from the Baby Gap, we already have the crib, it just needs converting from a baby girl to a cute boy crib! On my list still to get are little socks, some swaddle blankets, a head comforter for the car seat and a small nesting bassinet that can be used in the crib and our bed if needed… Not too many things left to get, so I am happy!

On a totally different subject, I am now going totally green with my dishwasher, I am totally addicted to Pinterest and have found a recipe for making your own dishwasher powder, I have bought the ingredients and am very keen to try it, our dishwasher does not seem to clean well and items do not sparkle, so in an effort to use less chemicals, be more economical and get the dishes cleaner, I’m trying out this recipe…
dishwasher powder recipe
Wish me luck, I will let you know how it works and report back here with my findings!

Just a few free pattern ideas for all you crafters out there… These are the ones I am loving!
crochet moose beanie… very cute?
crochet striped beanie… various sizes!
crib sheets… they look easy peasy!

Just a few recipes you might want to try this weekend…
The best broccoli and cauliflower cheese… Jamie Oliver style… thanks to friend sending me the link!
Super Bowl Sunday guacamole
Of course the Super Bowl would not be complete without chips and Queso… skinny style!

Happy first weekend in February… Hopefully this means the temperatures will get a little bit warmer, and we will see the grass again soon!

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A blatant plug for Florrie’s Attic on Etsy!

My house is so unorganized at the moment, I hate it, but with my lack of energy all I’ve managed to do is crochet and sleep… Adding to the chaos are so many doctors appointments, it’s just crazy, appointments for iron infusions, appointments with my OB and appointments for ultrasounds, in between my own appointments there has been Florrie’s checkups and vaccinations with the pediatrician… Just madness, but in the last week we have gone from a three car family, with 5 people scrambling to share 2 cars to a very comfortable 5 car family, less taxi’ing around for this tired momma!

On the subject of crochet, I have been concentrating on my Etsy shop and trying to add new products in the hope I can attract some new customers, I would love it if you could help me out and share my shop to others also my Facebook page… I would be very grateful if you could help me out!

Here are some of my new products…

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All of these newborn hats are just $10 each and ready to ship!

I have several new items I am working on, another baby blanket with the crochet edge, I am totally in love with these, they are perfect for the warmer weather of spring and then into summer, I love that they are very different, so with that in mind I am going to make some burp cloths, I love different looks that are not generic like shopping in Target, so I wanted to create an unique look for these… Watch this space!

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This is a newborn baby blanket, made with a very soft shirting fabric, it has a crochet edge… It is $18 ready to ship!

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Inspiration…
I am officially 32 weeks pregnant today, but I will leave you all with a belly shot from 29 weeks!

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Handmade Baby Boy!

Life in our house is busy as usual, but I have had to take a step or two back and learn to let others help me out… Not easy for this busy Mom of 7, but I’m learning… My glucose levels have returned to normal, gestational diabetes scare over… Yay, but my iron levels are dangerously low, 60% depleted, so this explains how bad I’ve been feeling! the extreme tiredness, the shortness of breath and the occasional palpitations! This week I start hour long infusions of iron, hopefully this will make me feel so much better, I’ve been adding lots of iron rich food to my diet but I have to give in this time and take the IV, but if I had the choice I would just try the diet for a while longer!

As I am kind of on an in forced rest, my body won’t let me do too much, I get totally exhausted and very breathless easily, I’ve been concentrating on making baby items not only for this little boy who seems to be causing me so many problems at the moment, but later on for my Etsy shop Florrie’s Attic! I love, love, love babies in hats, boys hats are a little more difficult to find something different, so I’m working on ideas for cute baby boy hats! I’m also working on a fabric baby blanket with a crochet edge, at the moment I am using boy colors but the options are endless and I am totally in love with this new thin, spring blanket!

I have found a couple of links to handmade burp cloths and crib sheets, so this is definitely something I would like to try, JoAnn’s is a destination this week for supplies! Here are the links…
Hand made burp cloths
Handmade crib sheets

We are starting our little girl and boy room this week, well I say we, what I actually mean is I am organizing the colors and Paul is starting the manual labor! I have finally decided on a colors and I am very excited… We went to Sherwin Williams yesterday for paint samples, so I am hoping that the colors will be perfect! I love mismatched shabby chic style and I think this room will be perfect for a little girl and tiny boy to share… this is my inspiration!

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On a final note for today, Martin Luther King Day, of course I always have to talk about food… Although I am not actually cooking at the moment, I am in charge of the menu and tonight we have cheesy spinach baked penne I have been using gluten free brown rice pasta from TJ’s, I also like the fact that this recipe uses lots of iron rich spinach, combined with lower fat cheese options like cottage cheese, now I’m not sure my family will love this, but I love cottage cheese, we are going to have this with my favorite baby kale salad from Costco and some kind of protein, not sure what that will be yet, as I need to go to the grocery store, but I’m thinking mine will be baked tofu!

Links I have found for free crochet baby patterns…
Baby girl hat crochet pattern
Triple crochet cocoon and hat pattern
A guide to properly sized crochet hats… a must when you are making hats!
A super chunky baby cocoon
Newborn to 3 months crochet beanie

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Gestational diabetes? Maybe…

I have to say this pregnancy has not been one of my best, I don’t think it’s my age because when I had Farrel at 27, I remember feeling the same… I blame those boys, I seemed to sail through both of my girls pregnancies! I have been waiting patiently for my pregnancy bloom, but it just hasn’t happened, so at 30 weeks I am resigned to 9 more weeks (c section at 39 weeks) of just making the best of how I feel!

Last week after taking the glucose test I was urgently called into my doctors office… Low iron and a high sugar in my blood… Alarm bells… Gestational diabetes… That explains exactly how I have been feeling and looking! Thankfully my OB wanted me to try the diet route first, I was happy about that… High protein, low sugar, low carbs… Basically limited whole wheat carbs or gluten free, lots of protein and very little sugar, fruit included! Now I thought this would be easy, but the first few days were tough… It is surprising how many things we buy and eat that are bad carbs and very sugary, but thankfully we have the internet and Pinterest these days… Life on a special diet does not have to boring, the recipes are endless, and as I am making everyone in my house eat these foods, for ease of planning and cooking, I am getting into full swing… Tonight we have a delicious egg and baked tomato with pesto with a spinach salad and quinoa mix… Lots of protein and iron rich spinach!

After a lot of research over the weekend I have bought blue agave as a sweetener, tofu, I love tofu, very low sugar nut bars for a snack, blue corn chips are meant to be good for blood sugar levels as long as they are not fried, but baked… It has been very interesting to understand how the body works… Protein seems to be a key ingredient along with lots of veggies in most special diets, so this is my thoughts on planning my diet over the coming weeks!

Breakfast seems to be the most difficult to plan and eat well, as I am usually rushing out somewhere, so with this in my mind I have researched one of my favorites baked oatmeal, I can place all the ingredients for a pumpkin baked oatmeal into the Ninja and just switch it on in the morning! Pumpkin is meant to be a super food for diabetics, along with cinnamon and nutmeg, of course we all know that oatmeal is a very slow release complex carb that is good for all diets, making this a perfect breakfast, full of energy and nutrition, it can be made dairy free by using coconut or almond milk and by simply using gluten free oats it becomes gluten free!

Pumpkin pie oatmeal in the slow cooker
My changes to this recipe are… instead of the brown sugar I will add only 1/4 cup of blue agave sweetener, and to replace the pumpkin pie spices I will add cinnamon and nutmeg. Also an addition of a tablespoon of non fat Greek yoghurt adds much needed protein to your nutritious breakfast too!

The moral of this story is when you are feeling very sorry for yourself, as I was last week and finding it difficult to cope with diet changes… Positive thinking and lots of research can make you feel much better, after not eating well on Saturday and feeling dreadful and ending up in bed early on Saturday evening, I am determined to get my blood sugars reduced by just diet alone, I hate taking medication and feel it should definitely be used after trying natural methods for most things… On the plus side we are eating really well now, lots of raw vegetables and complex carbs, paired with lean proteins… Delicious!

On a quick side note… If you are trying to live your life more healthier, or have been diagnosed with a disease that requires a special diet… Go grocery shopping in Costco, over the past few months they have introduced so many new organic healthy choices, all at good competitive prices. Over the past few weeks the new items I have bought are, freekah, a healthy grain like quinoa, very low sugar snacking nut bites, ancient grain spelt flour pretzels, a quinoa and healthy rice mix… Everything has been organic too, which is a big plus in my book! My other faves are their baby kale mixed salad, their own fat free Greek yoghurt, full of protein and now they actually have a very reasonably priced large bottle of avocado oil! There is so much more organic choices to choose from… It’s well worth a visit!

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Recipes to try…
Black and wild rice salad with roasted squash
Olive rosemary bread

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When did buying a stroller become so complicated?

I think over the many years since I had my first child, our lives have become busier, I know for sure that I am in a car much more these days than I ever was back in those distant days! As a mother of 7 children soon to be 8, I can say with all honesty that my first three sons in their twenties were fantastic sleepers, the next four that followed were not so great, I am starting to think this is because with my first three children they were not always slumped into car seats, they were laid into Moses baskets, bassinets/cribs and cots to sleep, when we went out they were laid into prams not cradled into car seats and strollers right from the time they were born, meaning that they got used to sleeping flat and not cradled into a womb position almost constantly… So this is why with my new baby boy I have decided to try it old school, go back to the days when babies were laid in prams to sleep, after a lot of research into all these new strollers that have appeared on the market in the last three years since I had Florence, I have chosen a stroller that I am hoping will work for me and give me a good sleeping baby…

The stroller choice is a mine field, with strollers costing $1500, down to car seat frames that are $69, I don’t plan on buying a double stroller for Florence, she is a good walker, but occasionally she gets very tired, so I think the car seat frames won’t work for me, although they are light and easy manoeuvre, I want a stroller that will work for a baby and a two year old, my plan is to baby wear if Florence gets tired so that she can sleep in the stroller if needed, this does not happen very often as she is very independent and loves to walk everywhere, so hopefully this plan should work well! The next type of stroller is the travel system, the car seat clicks onto the stroller, this is what I had for Florence, I loved it as I didn’t have to wake her if she was sleeping in the car, especially as she got older, but the one downside was the weight of the stroller lifting it in and out the car, it was very heavy and to be honest I very rarely used the stroller until she was about a year, also the stroller only faced forward, which is fine for an older baby but I like to have my baby facing me when they are tiny!

I have spent many hours researching my stroller this time and I have finally come up with the perfect stroller for my needs, I love the Contour Bliss stroller, the frame looks stable with big back wheels and easy to manoeuvre front wheels, the actual seat easily converts to a bassinet so that your baby can lay down flat whilst you are out and about, the seat accommodates a newborn baby up-to a 40lbs toddler, it easily forward faces then turns to rear face, it has a big basket for storage! It is also a travel system, the whole seat/bassinet is easily removed so that the car seat adaptor can be fitted, it is a universal adaptor and allows branded seats to sit securely just onto the frame! The one downside is that it is quite bulky when folded down but thankfully we planned for this when we bought our minivan, so hopefully this will work well!

Yesterday I went out just window shopping, planning what stroller and car seat to buy, but being that time of the year when after Christmas Sales are winding down, extra discounts have been applied to clearance items, bargains were abundant…. First on my list was a brand new key fit 30 car seat by Chicco, usually $199 but yesterday I purchased it for $60. Next on my list was looking at strollers, looking at weight, ease of use, practicality, again more reductions so a $399 stroller with 20% off coupon makes the Contour Bliss a perfect choice!

With only 9 weeks to go, I was not planning on actually buying these items quite so soon but sometimes we just have to snap up a bargain when we see one… So this little boy tucked up tightly inside me has most things he needs to come home to now!

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Boosting our immune systems to get through the winter months…

Back in my twenties I would run to the doctors office at any sign of a cough or sniffles for either my children or myself, these days I am a firm believer in trying natural remedies and you are what you put into your body! I do believe there is a time and a place for medicines, but I also believe in the power of human nature and we are all too quick to pop pills for an instant magic cure! My Dad is. very good example of this, for years and years now he pops magic pills to help his high blood pressure, and maybe at the end of the day that is the answer for him, but on closer inspection there are many many things he could try to help himself more naturally, but he is a stubborn man, well that is an understatement and thinks he knows better, but just a simple de-stressing could help, he is one of the most stressed people I know, the way he speaks is so stressed, he never looks happy, if he could just learn to chill out , I’m sure it would help! Another thing that would definitely help is drinking water, back to the stubbornness, he drinks barely two cups of coffee a day, that is his only hydration, now we all know that water is the key to life, it leads to a lot of medical problems, problems in your urinary tract, blood issues, headaches, digestive problems, the list is endless, as I said water is the key to life, and I firmly believe this! He also chooses bad food choices, high blood pressure can be helped with diet, like adding a rich nutrient food like spinach to your plain chicken sandwich, an easy fix to helping yourself… I often use my Dad as an example of what not to do, to my children when I want to encourage them into a healthy diet!

So with that said I have been in full research mode, each morning I am waking up with a sore throat and ear ache, in the next two months of bitterly cold weather I want to boost our immune systems by adding foods that will help with that… So far so good, everything I have read seems simple enough to add into our meals… Honey is a natural antibiotic, easy to add to breakfast oatmeal, casseroles, warm drinks… Something we can all be deficient in according to my research is zinc, this is a powerful booster for our immune system, pumpkin seeds are rich in this and again are easy to incorporate into meals, casseroles, breakfast, warm winter salads or just as a snack! Turmeric, ginger and garlic are all powerful immune boosters and extremely easily incorporated into warm comforting winter meals! Vitamin c is a major factor to helping us fight those winter germs, but what I did not know was, that just one kiwi fruit a day gives us our daily allowance and help keep those bugs at bay! These things were all added to my shopping list and menu for this week!

Another thing I have to take into account with diet is my flare ups of IBS, anyone suffering from any Gastro tract disease will know how painful flare ups can be, so I am much more aware and careful of my diet than I used to be! I am a huge fan of baked oatmeal for breakfast these days and for people with Gastro tract disease oatmeal is the perfect carb, slow releasing and the easiest of carbs to digest… According to my research it can be a good food for people suffering from IBS, colitis, crohns and much more… (But of course each individual is different and can tolerate different food items). Here is today’s breakfast recipe of pear and cranberry baked oatmeal, easy and made in 20 minutes in my new Ninja cooker!

1 cup of steel cut oatmeal
4 cups of any milk you would like (I used non fat organic and water, but coconut or almond milk would work fine too)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
A sprinkling of grated nutmeg
1/2 cup of fresh cranberries (mine were organic left over from Christmas)
1 fresh pear, cubed
3-4 tablespoons of honey (my husband moaned it wasn’t sweet enough, so feel free to add more honey, after all it is good as a boost for your immune system)

Add all the ingredients into your Ninja, stir, turn to stove top medium setting, place the lid on and cook for 20 minutes… Mix in thoroughly and serve… Healthy and nutritious!

Alternatively add all the ingredients into a pan, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, stirring occasionally, cook until oats and fruit are softened!

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A very quick side note, Costco is becoming the ultimate place for healthy organic ingredients, today was a bitterly cold after the snow storm day and perfect to go shopping in day, the roads were clear and Costco was unusually quiet… Perfect for browsing and discovering new items… Here is one I discovered today

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This product is organic, high in fibre, protein and iron… It was a huge success with my fussy family, some said it tasted like rice others likened it to cous cous or quinoa, but it was definitely a success I even managed to get ultra fussy Blu to eat it, in my book that makes it a good buy! It would also be good to add to the baked oatmeal too!