Monday, May 31, 2010

Never too young to teach them!

I truly believe children are never too young to learn about gentle parenting, and of course this includes baby-wearing. Children learn so much from the modelling of behaviour. I like to think my kids are learning gentle parenting just by seeing what we do and by being around families who share similar thoughts.

Esme was given a doll's sling for her first birthday by a friend of ours. She's never been too keen on wearing it, until now! This morning I asked Jacob if he wanted to have a go and of course this inevitably meant that Esme wanted to try it out too. Here's Jacob wearing the doll in the sling (excuse the funny face, making faces when the camera comes out seems to be the 'thing' these days):

And here's Esme wearing 'dolly' She was so excited to have her dolly close to her. It was really funny too, as soon as she had her in the sling she went off and started doing other things. Just like what Mummy used to do when carrying Esme in the sling!

Future baby-wearer in the making, perhaps? ;)

Allergy free cooking

We haven't had a lot of experience in this family with allergies and having to cook special foods. However, since starting Steiner playgroup we have happened to come across some little people with allergies. It's a bit different to an adult having an allergy. It's easy enough for an adult to avoid certain foods but with a child it's a little different. They just don't understand that they can't have something when it's set out in front of them.

At playgroup, the food we have for morning tea during the term (soup and bread rolls) are made so that children with allergies are catered for and they don't feel left out. This year we have also started having allergy free food for our end of term party. Parents are asked to bring a plate to share for these parties and so last term we had to put our thinking caps on and make some sort of food that was wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free. I found it quite a challenge and ended up coming up with some disgusting concoction as this was the first time I'd had to make something like this!

Anyway, seeing as it's Jacob's birthday, I had to make a cake for him to take to kinder. Even though I didn't have to, I thought it would be nice to make some sort of cake that all the children could share, regardless of allergies. So, the above pictures are the end results! Wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free chocolate cupcakes. I think they are actually pretty tasty for allergy free cupcakes and am very happy with the results! They have turned out to be really lovely and moist. Here's the end result:

Allergy-free chocolate cupcakes:

125g rice flour
110g cornflour
50g cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup jam (I used blackberry)
2tsp baking powder
150g nuttelex
250ml soy milk

1.Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Line muffin pan with paper cases
3. Sift dry ingredients together (flours, sugar, cocoa, baking powder)
4. Add margarine, milk and jam, then beat with electric mixer until well combined
5. Half fill the paper cases with mixture and bake for 25 minutes

They taste really yummy when just cool :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A basket of vegies

Chris and I have been very busy the last few months sewing some beautiful felt vegetables. We've done three sets now, two to give away for birthday presents, and one for Jacob for his birthday. There is many hours of work (and a lot of love!) put into these baskets of vegies as they are all sewn by hand. We had patterns for most of them but some of them (potato, sweet potato, parnsip and sweet corn) are our own inventions. I am so pleased with how they have turned out. I was getting so sick of all the toy plastic fruit and vegetables we have as they have all just ended up broken and haven't lasted the distance so I'm looking forward to ditching all that stuff and having these instead! Next task: sew some felt fruit (might need to have a couple of months break before we tackle the next lot though!!)

Here's a close up of the different vegies. Can you guess what they all are?

Trying to survive without...

...a camera is very hard!! The other day the kids managed to knock the camera off the computer desk and damage the lens. I don't blame them, I should have moved the camera before they got to it but it's so hard not to be able to just take photos when you want!! I feel like all these cute moments are passing by and I haven't been able to capture them. I don't know how people ever survived without cameras. Perhaps I need to learn to live more 'in the moment'? ;) Jacob's birthday is coming up next week so I am really hoping it will be fixed by then. Otherwise I think we will be borrowing one! In the meantime, I won't be putting up as many blog posts because they are all waiting for photos to go with them...

Prince Jacob

Yesterday we headed off to a special friend's 4th birthday party. The party was based on a princess theme and all the kids had to come dressed up as royalty. Rather than buying a costume I thought I'd pull out the sewing machine and have a go at making my own. I made a crown with felt using a template I found on the web. Then I made a cape out of panne velvet. I'm very happy with the end result! It gives you such a good feeling when your kids love the things you make for them too. Jacob didn't want to take the crown off!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The loss of a beloved pet

Last night Chris went out to bring the bunnies in and discovered Tiddah was dead. We're not sure why. She had no really obvious signs of being sick so I don't think it was anything bad like myxo or calici virus that she died from. I do think it was something to do with her digestion as rabbits have a very delicate digestive system. She's been having unformed cecotropes (don't read that link if you don't want to be grossed out!) for awhile but we changed the bunnies diet and stopped giving them the pellets and this seemed to stop so we thought all was ok! Ingesting too much fur can also lead to gut statis. Tiddah is an angora bunny and there has been an awful lot of fur in her cage lately so I also suspect she may have had problems from this too. I can't help feeling immensely guilty over all of this. I should have taken her to the vet at the first sign of the problems. At least then they would have been able to give me some advice on how to care for her and what the problems could be.

We've only had Tiddah a few months as we got her from a couple that were moving overseas but she was very much a part of our family. She provided company for our other bunny, Cheeky, who was lonely after her first companion escaped about a year ago. The children also loved her, both of them would call her by name and liked to give her cuddles. As annoying as it may have been, I'm going to miss giving her 'haircuts' and having angora fur floating everywhere around the house and on our clothes!! I'm even going to miss lugging her weight around to take her outside each day! I feel so sorry for Cheeky too as she's lost a good friend. We're trying to give her lots of cuddles and time with us so she doesn't get too lonely. She spends the evenings with us and the days outside with the guinea pigs. Last night she sat next to me on the couch and kept jumping up on me and licking me - so cute!

I guess this is as good a time as any to teach the kids about the cycle of life. Esme's still a bit young but I think Jacob is just coming into this sort of awareness. I haven't told him yet but will either tonight or tomorrow. I plan to bury Tiddah while he is here and talk about how she has gone to a special place, where she is happy. We'll just have to see how it goes...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Mother's Day

Although we didn't do anything particularly exciting for Mother's Day this year, it was a lovely day. Chris cooked a very yummy breakfast of apple slices with caramel sauce sandwiched in pikelets and served with ice-cream. Not particularly healthy but pretty tasty ;)

While I was out the previous afternoon, Chris had been busy getting the kids to paint and draw a book for me. It was called 'we love mummy' and had sentences with what the kids did each day with me and they had done pictures to go with each sentence. Chris had laminated and bound the book for me too. I love the fact that it was something the kids had a hand in making.

We have a policy that we only give presents that the kids have made for us for Mother's and Father's day. I really don't see the point of the husband going out and buying something for the kids to give on Mother's Day. To me, Mother's Day is about celebrating the special role I have as a Mum and my relationship with my kids and for them to give me a present that they have made just melts my heart. Here's some photos of the book:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our new herb garden in the making

Fresh herbs are always so yummy! In the past we have grown them in window boxes outside but lately they haven't been doing so well in there. It's always been in the plan to set up a herb garden outside but we just never seemed to get around to it (too many other things seem to occupy our time, like raising two kids, one of them a very mischievious and active little girl!) Well, today we picked up some potted herbs from the farmer's market and thought that we'd just bite the bullet and make a herb garden. So we (well, Chris!) scrounged around and found some old pieces of wood lying around and knocked up a planter box of some description. Even he admits that it's not the greatest building work around but hey, it does it's job! We ended up digging up some of the compost we put on the vegie garden last weekend and using that in the box. Lots of worms doing good things to the soil in there, as you can see by the following photos ;)

Here's Jacob and Esme supervising while Daddy digs in the new soil (please excuse Esme's bare bottom, we are pretty much nappy free at home ;))

Worms are sooooo much fun, especially seeing just how far they will stretch! Jacob wasn't so keen to get his hands dirty touching the worms but more than happy for Esme to hold them for him to look at!

The finished product: coriander in the top left (we personally hate coriander but are growing it for the bunnies!), parsley in the top right and lemon thyme and thyme (transplanted from other pots, hopefully they will continue to grow!) down the bottom. We still intend to add some oregano and chives and a bit more parsley (mint is staying in the pot it's already in because it has a tendancy to take over ;)) We already have a rosemary bush that is growing beautifully! The whole box is now covered with some netting mainly because if we don't the possum will eat it or the chooks will scratch it up (you can already see that chook eyeing off her new potential digging patch before I put it on!) I'm quite impressed by the finished product and look forward to watching everything grown (hopefully!)

We love Farmer's Markets!

Last week we decided to visit the Mulgrave Farmer's Market for the first time ever, after hearing so many wonderful things about Farmer's Markets in general from friends. And I have to say, I think we are hooked! The freshness of the fruit and veg is just incredible, so different to anything you buy in a shop, even fruit and vegie shops (where I used to do most of my shopping, that's all changed now!!) The savings we made as well were pretty impressive, we probably saved about $10 all up. We've decided to make it a regular family event and go each Sunday from now on. Here's some photos from our visit today.

Jacob and Esme munching on a fresh apple we bought.

Jacob helping Daddy choose some vegies. I hate to admit it, but Esme is a bit of a nightmare around these sorts of stalls. She absolutely HAS to touch, pull, sample, you name it, every vegie she sees!!

Inspecting the 'rhinocerus' at the entrance to the market, the market is held in Mulgrave where the body shop headquarters are.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My new favourite toy store...

...for the kids that is ;) Although I think I'm a bit of a child at heart because I would love some of the stuff they sell at Eco Toys! They have beautiful wooden and fair trade children's toys. I'm kind of over plastic/battery operated toys for the kids now. They really don't last the distance and I think it's better to pay that little bit extra money to get something that is going to see them through. They have some lovely Steiner inspired stuff there too :) Anyway, I've just found out they are opening a new store at Hawthorn. Which is very convenient really because Chris works at Hawthorn. Oh dear, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing ;)
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