Uncategorized

We are what we eat…

Getting older sucks… I have gained weight and I haven’t changed the way I eat, your metabolism slows down and the middle age spread begins… are you kidding me? Really?

Ok, so I admit I really do need to excercise more, but I’m a busy Mom of 8 children, I include my older ones too, from first thing in the morning until I sit down with that much needed glass of wine I’m on my feet rushing from here to there, but according to my OBGYN that’s not the type of excercise that is going to burn off those calories at my ripe old age, well he didn’t mention the ripe old part, I’ve just added it in so you get the picture… he says I need at least a 20 minute cardio routine per day that will get my heart racing, so even my gentle morning yoga routine does not fit the bill for getting my heart racing I’m afraid. Food is also important and consistency, 4-6 healthy small meals a day, well the small portions are not a problem for me as I’ve never eaten large meals, but 4-6 is a huge problem, I can go hours and sometimes forget to eat… ok so here we go, new me, I am determined to beat this middle age spread.

I love healthy foods, I love salads, I love soups, I love fish, I love veggies, I even love radishes too, so how hard can this be? 4 to 6 small portion meals/snacks a day together with a low impact cardio workout, just to start me off and some yoga to keep my joints supple. The hardest part of a carefully thought through menu plan is the prepping, to have a healthy menu for Paul to go to work with is the planning a prepping the day before… this week we are keeping it simple and doing a ‘let’s see what we can make with what we have in’ using up supplies in our refrigerator, freezer and pantry… so next week we can start a fresh in an organized way… does anyone else do this once a month, to clear out the old ready for the new?

Let’s start with Breakfasts that I can easily prepare in advance… healthy banana, oats and honey waffles, perfectly preprepared and easily transported if you have to go out…

Serves 2
One cup of gluten free oats
I cup of dairy free milk, almond or coconut (if using coconut I suggest 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water)
1 egg
1/2 a banana
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for about 1 minute… add 1/4 cup of the batter to a lightly oiled waffle maker and let it cook for 2-3 minute.
Serve with fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt or for a dairy free option a tablespoon of almond butter 😋

My next easy to prepare breakfast is raspberry, coconut chia pudding…

Serves 2
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of raw honey
2 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Take the first three ingredients place them in a blender and let them blend for 45 seconds, divide the blended fruit milk into two mason jars then add 2 1/4 tablespoons of chia seeds, place the lid onto the jar and shake to mix the chia seeds, place in the refrigerator over night… top with a few raspberries and a tablespoon of sliced almonds 😋

Now if I’m staying in I love a slice of whole grain gluten free bread with avocado and grape tomatoes drizzled with balsamic glaze and if Paul is going to work I make him a super healthy veggie omelette ready to cook in the microwave for a couple of minutes and a piece of fruit. Another healthy on the go breakfast is a smoothie served with a hard boiled egg for protein.

Lunches are much easier when you are at home, your choice is endless, I love salad, cheese, eggs, veggies, homemade hummus and steamed veggies, but planning a healthy portioned out work lunch takes a lot of prep… 5 meals, 5 healthy carbs, 5 healthy lean proteins and plenty of veggies ready for a busy week of working… quinoa, brown sprouted rice, sweet potatoes, ground turkey meatballs, oregano chicken and Cajun pork, all leftovers from a past week dinners and lots of veggies, but when you are home you can quickly bake some sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, add in a little arugula and a lightly fried egg, finally whip up a Harrissa dressing… so good 😃

Heathy fish and chicken tacos are my favorite dinner option, polenta crisped salmon and chicken tenders served with warm corn tortillas, salad and a healthy mango salsa, easy healthy and filling. Dinners are always a challenge in my house, some of us need GF carb options, some of us don’t like veggies, some of us are mainly vegetarian, except for a little fish and some of us are such basic eaters that meat and plain pasta is all they will eat. Salad is my friend, I can add a protein and then a healthy carb and it covers most diets in my house… but soup season is on it’s way, although I love Summer, I personally love soups they are so versatile, healthy and can stretch your budget sideways.

Snacks are my biggest challenge for planning ahead, each time we eat we are meant to have a complex carbohydrate, a protein and a fat, so getting that right in a snack is a huge headache for me… protein bites were simple and nutritional for a snack, gf oats, almond butter, honey and then I added chopped nuts dried fruits and seeds. Another idea is brown rice cakes, and almond butter, or fruit and a handful of nuts… but with all the planning snacks still remain something I think about last and quite often forget to eat myself… I am working at it though… slowly 🙃

… and then we always need an occasional treat, I try my hardest to make these treats as healthy as possible, like lemon muffins made with yogurt and honey… light and delicious 😋

Whatever you eat, try to make it nutritional, delicious and make sure you drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

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Diet and nutrition, Uncategorized

Chopped Salads… 

I try my very hardest to eat healthy and cleanly as much as I can, of course it’s more difficult when you are out or busy but on the whole we eat a good healthy diet… this is a difficult thing to do when you have a large family of picky eaters.  Getting my two youngest children to eat well is a challenge, I believe in never forcing them to eat, but I do try and encourage them to try something, sometimes they love it, like Florrie with fresh peas at the farm when we were picking them,  she took one taste and loved them, but when I was spiralizing the carrots she asked to taste them and hated them straight away, the face she pulled was quite funny.  I have discovered recently that their best meal of the day is breakfast, they love fresh eggs fried with coconut oil every morning, and now we get freshly laid eggs from our neighbor next door, they are delicious, they love strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and watermelon, they love smoothies and homemade pancakes, Jamie Oliver’s one cup recipe, so simple and quick, they will eat these until the cows come home, they are also delicious when you swap the flour out for a gluten free flour too. I try most days to make breakfast their most important meal of the day as they eat really well, then I feel there  is not so much pressure for the rest of the day as I know they have eaten one good meal that day.


Lunch is another meal I kind of miss with,  it’s usually just me I’m making lunch for, my babies are happy to graze after a large breakfast, I kind of always fail for myself.  I make fresh salads for Paul and Mabel, but I always forget myself… I’ve come up with a new plan, Salad lunch prep for the week, I will make enough basic salad for a week, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and scallions,  a tip I have just learnt is to line your containers with kitchen roll paper to absorb the moisture, then daily using leftovers from dinner change each salad up daily, today we will be having a lemon rosemary roasted chicken, I’m having shrimp, with a kale Cesar salad and tortilla wraps, so I’ll shred some chicken, or add shrimp and add it to the salad and bake a couple of wraps to crisp them up to add to the salad… I’m hoping this will keep me on track instead of snacking with my children.  

I have recently discovered I absolutely love chopped salad, we have had it before a few years ago, recipes from Jamie Oliver again, but I really hadn’t thought about chopping every salad we have until I visited a new salad place that has just opened in a local town, in Chopt you pick your salad then they ask if you want it chopped up, Kale Cesar salad with tofu totally chopped up and it was totally delicious.  I thought I’d try it out on my family… huge success, they prefer their salad ingredients chopped up, but as you can imagine chopping 8 salads is very time consuming, each person likes certain things in their salads, so I’ve been tossing salad ingredients into separate bowls then emptying the bowls onto a board and finely chopping them… until last night when I came up with the genius idea of the food processor, you can start with the harder veggies like carrot and broccoli, pulse them a couple of times then add the rest of the salad ingredients, it worked perfectly, and it was a lot quicker, you just have to clean up the food processor bowl and blade, but not too bad.  So my chopped salads have been a huge success, my family are enjoying them so much they are saying they do not need the carbs along with their protein just the salad it’s so filling… My only problem now is how much Salad veggies I am getting through, but at least everyone is eating their greens, well except for one extremely picky eater, who likes everything as plain as it can be.


I’ll leave you on a sweet note… I was visiting friends for lunch yesterday, I usually take desert with us, but I’ve been in search for healthier sweet treats, some I’ve made have been ok, but just not quite right, yesterday I came across this recipe for Lemon coconut muffins, they were healthier because the sugar was very low, and could easily be swapped out for honey, or some other healthy substitute, they contained coconut oil and yogurt, I think they would even be good with gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour… they were a huge success both at lunch and at home, but be warned if you try these at home, the batter is extremely thick, she does say that on the recipe, but I was surprised at just how thick it was, I added a little more coconut milk just to loosen it a little… but despite that they will definitely be something I will be making again and again.


Florence, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday sweet baby Girl 💟

Today is the last day my baby girl will be 4, her sweet face, her chubby cheeks and her cute little smile are only four for just today, tomorrow she will wake up and be a whole 5 years old… 

It’s crazy to think it was 5 years ago that I was planning to go into the hospital and meet my little girl… From the very first moment I saw her beautiful face I was totally in love and knew that this little girl was going to be very special in all our lives.  Today she is funny, smart and the bestest big sister a little brother could ever have.


Florence’s favorite thing to do is stay at home and play with her toys, she loves her toys so much, babies, Barbie dolls, kitchens, dolls houses, soft toys… the list is endless.  She loves to paint, draw, chalk and write letters.  Another of Florence’s favorite things is water, she loves to have a bath for hours upon end with all her toys joining her, she loves to play with water and most of all she likes to swim in water at the pool or at the beach, she is definitely my little water baby.


We have a crazy life with so many people living in our house, Florrie loves her siblings, each and every one of them, Mabel does her hair beautifully and paints her nails, Blu is just Blu with her and she adores him, her older brothers all adore her and in turn she has a special place in her heart for each of them.  Oh I must not forget our dog Simba, yes we do still have Simba and Florrie enjoys spending time with him.


Florence has been to dance classes which she loved, unfortunately the classes stopped and we now need to find another little dance school which we love as much as the last one, hopefully she will be starting dance again after the summer.  She is right now playing soccer, her Dad is the coach, she loves to run around play the games with the ball and meet the other girls.


This little girl makes me smile every day, she says the funniest things, she loves life and I’m glad at the moment I have chosen to homeschool her, it means I get to spend everyday with her, learning along with her, sometimes I teach her and other times she teaches me, more often than not it is her showing me something… She is crazy, funny, beautiful, but most of all she is simply amazing and we all love her to bits…

 


Happy Birthday sweet Girl… Have a wonderful day tomorrow 👑

Tate's milestones

11 months and counting…

Oh my… One more month today and my little Tate will be a whole year old, I’m telling you it’s been the quickest year EVER!

Tate is a little bundle of energy, always on the move, he likes to touch anything and everything in his path, but most of all he loves music, he will stop in his tracks and just bop up and down to the beat! His favorite toys are his Dad’s work laptop and guitar, he always makes a beeline straight to them if he sees them!

On the subject of walking, it’s not happened yet, which makes Dom still the reigning champion walker of my children, 10 months old and walking, crazy really! Believe me I’m in no rush for Tate to walk, but he is standing much more and I noticed yesterday just how much he is walking around the sofa, so I think walking unaided won’t be long… Slow down little boy!

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Tate is a creature of habit, every night he wakes about 1.30 to 2am, then again at 4am, the earlier wake up period leads to being nursed in bed and then I fall asleep and wake up with a very content baby boy on my pillow next to me… Oh well at least I have a gorgeous face sharing my pillow, it’s not all bad!

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Tate loves to play with Florrie, they are fast becoming the terrible twosome, I have been lucky really as Florence is a great big sister, although from time to time I see a little jealousy, but is think that is only natural, and I always try to make sure I cuddle my very tactile cuddly Florrie!

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Tate is finally showing some interest in eating food, it is only tiny amounts and usually from my plate, but it’s a start, he always shows interest when I’m eating so I totally always offer him food from my plate… Last night he ate two pieces of avocado, he pulled a yucky face, but he did eat them, he also ate some black olives from my lunch, again his face was a picture but he ate them! I am still breastfeeding him when ever he wants to and will continue until he tells me he wants to stop, I believe in self weaning, so this is the way I’ve always been with nursing my children!

At his last checkup, only last week, Tate weighed 20lbs 4ozs, his weight has slowed down, he had his HIB vaccine, I believe in one vaccine at a time, I do not like to overload their system, so now I am faced with the MMR dilemma again, with measles on the rise again, I am not sure how to deal with this… In the US you can no longer get single vaccines for these three diseases… I am maddened by the governments decision on this, although I believe in vaccinating your children, I like to have the choice of one vaccine at a time and on my schedule… So what shall I do? that is the big question at the moment!

This has been a crazy 11 months for us, Tate is definitely a gorgeous little brother for each of his siblings, like Florrie everyone absolutely adores him in every way… Each one of them are secretly hoping he will say their name first… Me, well I just want time to slow down just a little bit, keep my babies, babies for just a little bit longer, all of my other children all grew up way too fast, in my opinion, including Blu and Mabel, who all of a sudden look so grown up to me, it’s crazy!

Happy 11 months little boy!

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Tate's milestones, Uncategorized

She’s having a baby!

I was so unorganized this time around… In all 7 pregnancies before this one I have never experienced any signs of early labor, all of my children were born either roughly to their due date or a little bit later, so of course I did not expect it to happen this time…

Last Monday saw the start of a busy last week for me, the date for my c- section was booked for Monday 17th, so all those last minute pre baby things needed to be completed… And there was a long list! Monday was my last ultrasound and stress test appointment… Everything looked good, but this little boy was still breach!

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Tuesday was my last midwife appointment, again everything looked good, still a breach little boy and a little bit of blood! We headed from the doctors office to find the hospital, then into Buy Buy Baby for a few last minute baby items and a few items for Mommy! I had a lunch date at a friends house on Wednesday planned followed by a birthday shopping trip for Paul’s Birthday on Friday, Thursday was meant to be a stay at home, housework day, Friday a grocery haul for the coming week whilst I was in hospital, Saturday we had a St Patricks day party and Sunday was meant to be a Florrie Day… All about this little girl before her life would completely change… Oh and of course inbetween all that I needed to dye my hair, shave my legs and cut my toe nails, a job that was not so easy to do at 39 weeks pregnant… Oh the joys!

So Wednesday started as planned with the addition of a few contractions… Lunch was lovely then we headed to the shops for Paul’s birthday presents, I was in a lot of discomfort, so after a while I decided to call my doctor… Of course he wanted me to go to the office to be checked, but it was getting late so we chose to go to the hospital later! More shopping, then a trip home to meet Paul… A quick shower and shaving session, just in case and we arrived at the hospital at 7pm… Yes I was contracting, so after a few hours of an iv to see if dehydration was causing me to contract, it was decided I would be having my baby that night!
PANIC… with a capital P, I wasn’t ready, I hadn’t completed my to do list, I hadn’t bought anything with me, this wasn’t meant to be the day, but it was happening!

The countdown to midnight started, tomorrow was Thursday the 13th, we wanted our baby born on the 12th if we could… The anesthetist was called away to an emergency so we were left waiting for another one to arrive! At 11.49pm on Wednesday, March 12th our 7lbs 5.8oz, 20 1/2 inches long, our baby boy was born… Now we needed to decide on a name, we had only had 9 months to decide, now we had 4 days before we left the hospital to give this tiny boy a name!

My recovery was as expected, but my little boy has had a slightly harder time, on the second day he developed low blood glucose, due to not feeding properly, he was shuddering and shaking, thankfully I noticed and the nurses were excellent and got him straight on the road to recovery, this was shortly followed by the development of jaundice, his bilirubin levels were high by Saturday and he then spent 12 hours over night under the ultraviolet lights, thankfully this helped and the billibubin levels began to drop!

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We both came home late on Sunday evening… I have never had high blood pressure, but of course typically just before I was about to leave, when I got my final check over… My blood pressure was high… Crazy! After a quick nap and by lying on my left side my blood pressure dropped enough for me to be released into the normal world… Time to go home to our crazy house and our family, who by the way, are all totally, madly and beautifully in love with our little boy… Tate Jude, oh yes I forgot to mention, we finally decided on the Saturday evening found the perfect name for him!

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Uncategorized

Florrie the big sister…

Where to begin my story…
I suppose it goes back to being 46 this year, too old according to my OBGYN to get pregnant, when my doctor told me I was getting to that age, I did not realize quite what he meant at first, it took me a while to realize he meant the big M word… Duh? Gasp, horror, I was that age now, officially old enough to start the menopause… And yes all signs led me to believe it had started, my cycle had changed, my mood swings were different, my period was an erratic mess… Gasp, I was starting the menopause! I started to look on the positives, not that I could find many, periods, heavy, heavy, heavy, irregular timings and weird moods at bizarre times of the month, but, yes according to my doctor I did not have to worry too much about pregnancy, no eggs were being released I was just going through the motions, so although about a year ago I was in love with the idea of Florrie having a little sibling, I think those baby hormones had flared, but then subsided quickly, I was definitely thinking life was calming after the storm of a newborn entering our lives… This was it 7 beautiful children, we are definitely blessed!

Going back to the end of June now… School was out for summer… Yay, and my period was late, but I wasn’t worried, remember that peri menopause thing… But there was this nagging in my brain, on a trip into Target I casually wandered around to the pregnancy tests…$15 to pee on a stick and then flash NOT PREGNANT, I was not spending that, so I walked away empty handed! Still a nagging thought lingered, so on trip Starbucks one day I wandered into the Dollar Tree across the road, I had read somewhere at some time they sold $1 pregnancy and ovulation kits, but not only that they have $1 majuana testing kits too… Bargain! I picked up one pregnancy test, yes only one… Last of the big spenders… $1 later and three drops of pee the control line appeared but that was it… Phew, wait 2-3 minutes later another very faint line appeared… WHAT? I called Paul and all he could say was try it again, but of course I had only bought one, yes ONE $1 test… Really! So the next day I headed back to the Dollar Tree and repeated the whole process… SH##, another faint line… My plan was to forget about the whole thing, enjoy the summer and then think about it when the children went back to school… Really, I am just a crazy chick, and of course no great plan ever goes to PLAN!

About two weeks later the sickness started, then it hit hard… I felt like Crap, excuse the term, but I really felt bad, I was forced into going to the doctors as a non pregnancy related issue occurred… And so began the roller coaster of the first trimester! The odds were not good, at my age a 1/4 chance of having a baby with a chromosome deformation, at 8 weeks I had an ultra sound, one heartbeat… Yay, some good news, at 12 weeks I had another ultrasound and two blood tests, the first blood test and ultrasound nuchel fold test bought my odds of having a trisomy 13 or 18 baby into a normal range and although my Down’s syndrome risk decreased it was still low! The second blood test the new maternit21 confirmed a normal 46 chromosomes… Yay, but I had decided I wanted to opt for the same invasive test I had with Florrie, a CVS, 2 needles in my stomach later, a very long weeks wait and I finally got my results on Friday… 46 normal chromosomes, Florrie is going to be a big sister to a little brother… Of course it’s a boy, when I have all this girl stuff… It’s so funny!

Are we crazy… I think the answer to that question is a definite YES… but life throws us curve balls sometimes just when we are not expecting it… Florrie has bought so much joy into our family, so even if Paul and I are MATURE parents (in other words old) we will love and cherish this bundle of joy and this huge family will always love and be there for each other… Who says what is normal anyway, we have seven children now so one more just makes for more fun!

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