Saturday, December 12, 2015

SAHM is all kinds of hard work


Alright, now that that is out of the way allow me to vent a little (helps my sanity)...

I feel like I'm about one temper tantrum away from going completely bananas! I slap my hand to my head and shout "I'm going to completely lose it" several times in the day. If the one isn't crying, the other begins. They whine, they demand, they destroy, they want their way. They scream, for fun, when upset, as a game, when excited, they scream...a lot. They don't listen. I end up shouting to get their attention and to light some sort of proverbial fire under their butt. I'm hoarse by 5pm. The beautiful 3 year old girl clings herself to me. I love that she is cuddly BUT this is a bit too much. She wants to sit on me (especially during supper, drives me bonkers), me to carry her, she sleeps smashed up right against me every night, there's even times when she's on the toilet and demands a hug or I hold her hand. I don't want to come across as insensitive as there are moms out there that have lost a child and would give anything to be in my position and I'm so grateful for my babies and that I get to cuddle with them but sometimes, I'd just like to not have a human hang off of me FUR FIVE MINUTES so I can go to the toilet or cook dinner or sleep in peace. And of course all the other complexities that come with toddlers which I don't feel like listing as I know you know what they are. It is mentally and emotionally difficult, especially the seemingly never ending crying. I just wish I could have some help. I feel sorry for single moms. But in all reality, this is the least of my complaint. Love love love them and could sop them up with a country biscuit! There are plenty of wonderful precious moments and laughs and happy times of course.

The household to do list is annoyingly long. Dishes (I've watched the clock, I spend at least an hour throughout the day with just dishes), laundry (somehow there is always 1-2 loads every day even though I wear the same skirt and shirt all week long), vacuuming (I pretty much have to vacuum once a day as the little ones make crumbs and bring in dirt from outside play time), mopping, toilet, sink, shower, blah blah blah. And cooking. I'm starting to loathe cooking and I no longer know what to make as my kids are picky and bloody well won't eat it anyways. Then I become some kind of short order cook trying to think of something nutritional for them. Don't worry, once they're old enough to grasp "you don't eat this now, you don't eat." I can't do that to them now as they are still small and growing and need vitamins and minerals. I usually have to make a smoothie to get a variety of fruit, avo, nuts and make a juice of veggies so they get some green and minerals in their system...this yields more dishes and more time in that damn kitchen.

My biggest complaint is the feeling of I'm alone. Yes, I have hubby but the poor guy has to work almost every waking moment so we can survive so for him this home is more of a place to sleep, shower and pack more food and get back to work. He is a good papa and is all about the kids when they are awake at the same time as him. I wish I had some family that I could call up and say "help..." I wish I had some friends to go out and have girls' night with sushi or something. On the very rare occasion there is a relief society activity at church but it's always scheduled during my 19 month old's nap time so I never get to go (if I had family, maybe they could babysit). I have no network to call upon. It's me taking care of, seems like, everything and everyone's needs. Gee, I just never get to go out. I'm a very social mover and shaker. This is difficult to never get to go out and have fun. Me and my kids go out but that's more work than fun. They're still a bit young. When they get a bit older, maybe like 4 and 5 it'll be more pleasure than work?? The girl can be quite fun at the movie theatre but the little brother has to come too and he is not fun at the movie theatre. Quite possibly the most unfun thing with these 2 cuties is shopping. I had to do all my Christmas shopping with them...a 3 year old and a 17 month (at the time) old...NOT FUN. On the rare occasion, we get to go out as a family which is fun and lovely but too infrequent due to hubby's work.

Life is so hard here and it gets harder and harder. Rent has practically tripled in the 5 years I've lived here. As such, we will now have to move to the opposite end of the city. O the rent will only be R100 less than what we pay now but it's impossible to find the amount we pay in this area. Being in a lease for 3 years saves you those incredible increases. Food has gone up, petrol has gone up, medical aid has gone way up (an extra R500/month is a ridiculous increase!!!), electricity gone up, etc. Hubby's wage? The same. Hence he has to work way harder to keep up. I miss Canada and the lifestyle there. It wasn't fancy by any stretch but it was free. Didn't have to stress about electric fencing and burglar bars or general safety. Had disposible income to go out for dinner 3x a week if I wanted. Got to go on vacation at least once a year. Went to the movies weekly. Grocery shopping wasn't a stress. Could afford health supplements. Work was generally 8 or less hours a day, 5 or less days a week so there was free time. I'm drained. I wanna go home with my family, at one time on the same plane.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Detox-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional

I've gotten rather full of junk, if you will.

My eating habits have taken a hit since prego number 2 (he's 9 months old now, so what's my excuse??). I barely eat veggies. I've become addicted to nonsense (ice cream bars, chips, pizza, deli meat sandwiches, pasta in grande proportions, etc). I've gained weight since I've had the's suppose to go the other way round of losing weight since having a baby! I've also been stress eating. Just shovelling crap down my throat during moments of stress which seem to be all too common these days (I blame South Africa for that). And raising 2 young babies requires much dedication and no left over time to dedicate to health and weight loss. In the past, for me to lose weight, I had to exercise 2 hours a day and focus/record everything I ate to ensure I ate a suitable number of calories and quality foods. Plus, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing these meals.

My attitude has become overwhelmingly negative. Dealing with the nonsense of a disorganized corrupt country will wear you down. Plus, lot's of trials have been thrown our way since getting married.

My faith has been shaken. That which does not kill you will make you stronger??? I'd like to change that to that which does not kill you will wear you down and make you numb. When a heap of trials are thrown your way on a regular basis, you may question things.

So my solution is to do a GRANDE LIFE DETOX. It was either that or continue down the road of unhealthy ways, become haggard and then die of some stress related disease.

Part 1-physical detox. I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead for some serious motivation. I'm doing a juice fast. I'm on day 2. My goal has been set into phases.

(The green juice is about a litre and is divided into lunch and dinner. I had already drank my brekkie juice so it is not shown in image. Ideally, you would juice your juice and then drink it but I have two kids and little time so I must juice my days worth in the am and put it in the fridge and consume as the day goes on. So much more convenient too than hauling out the juicer 5x a day and cleaning it 5x a day.)

Phase 1: Day 1 to 3 of just juicing.

Phase 2: Days 4 to 5 of just juicing continued if I'm feeling good.

Phase 3: Days 6 to 10 of just juicing if I'm feeling strong and good.

Phase 4: Day 11 to 20 of juicing and eating veggies and fruits only. But if I felt like I could not do just juicing after Day 3 then this phase would entail Day 4 to Day 20.

Phase 5: Day 21 to life. Maintain with addition of legumes, nuts and seeds; grains on occasion; and animal foods once or twice a week. Ultimately, I'd like to just juice for 30 days like Joe Cross starts out but I'm not sure I can go that long without eating food. I know I can do juicing and eat fruits and veggies only for 30 days.

Part 2-become a positive person. This is a process. Some things I'm doing to help are:

- Social Media fast (I want to fast from this as long as I do just juicing, once I incorporate solids I'll go back on social media but in very small amounts)

- Gratitude Journal. I write down 3 new things each day that I'm grateful for that happened that day. This helps focus on the good that happens each day

- Reread the law of attraction and quotes about it. I want good things to come my way so I must implement the law of attraction

- Read, listen to and watch uplifting things.

- Vision board and visualization. I made a vision board of things I want to attract in my life along with images that just made me feel happy. Plus, I spend some time each day visualizing the things I want in my life

(yes, that is money cuz I want to attract money so we can buy a house and have a nice savings account for future missions and such)

Part 3- strengthen my testimony by bearing it to my kids on little principles throughout the day and to hubby. Continue with praying and read scriptures daily.

These next 30 days will be a process but the end results will be worth it. Here's to a big detox with a positive outcome!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mothering 2 Small Kids

Well, I'm not gonna sugar coat it. It's difficult to be a mother to a 2 year old and a 6 month old. Especially when you don't want them to eat junk and live on tv. They are both so dependent on mama for pretty much everything.

The 2 year old can do some things on her own but still can't prepare her own food and use the potty. Ugh, potty training, ugh. She doesn't want to sit on the potty. I don't believe in forcing her to do so as that WILL result in a longer uphill battle to potty train. She's also very bossy and stubborn. She wants to be outside all the day long, which I'm totally for except I have things to do and she requires my supervision to be outside.

The house brings me the most stress. It is typically in total disarray. Toys all over the place, piles of clean and dirty laundry, dishes in the sink, books flooding out of the coffee table, junk all over the computer desk. I hate it. Chaos in the environment brings chaos in my soul. I start to shut down when I see stuff all over. Ugh. I wish I had a dish washer. I'm grateful I have a washing machine. I could not imagine hand washing all those clothes. I just don't understand how there is so much laundry...EVERY day? I wear the same outfit all week long. The kids clothes are small and shouldn't take that much room in the basket to make it overflow. Hubby also wears 1 of 3 feature outfits during the week. Where o where is this mountain of laundry coming from?

Cooking is such a time consuming thing. Especially given that I make it all from scratch. This is just safer (avoid them damn GMOs and chemicals) and cheaper. But it's so hard to be in that kitchen for more than 5 minutes cuz someone is belting out my name and requiring my assistance with something. I miss having toast. I don't want to buy bread anymore cuz I cannot find one single loaf that is free of soy flour. Homemade bread is delish but so time consuming. I wish I had a bread machine, those are nice and convenient. Glad I have a blender though. My 2 year old insists on a rather liquid diet. She's all about the smoothie. She's been a picky eater since March. When will she grow out of this phase?? Trying to feed her is exhausting. I don't care if she eats much but I do care if she eats anything at all. She does pretty good at breakfast. And she loves apples, eats 1 sometimes 2 a day. Some nights she'll have 8 peas and call it dinner. Or 1/2 cup of tomatoes. She's starting to want to eat meat though.

My 6 month old is a terrible sleeper. I think this brings me the most stress as he needs to have x number of naps a day. It's a real rigamarole to get him to take a nap. I have to put socks on his hands cuz he'll scratch his head or rub his eyes. I gotta put him in the stroller cuz he needs to be rocked to sleep most times. On the rare occasion when he is ready for a nap while big sister is taking her nap, I can have success putting him to sleep on the bed but I have to lay beside him, keep my eyes closed to pretend I'm sleeping and hold his hands down as he'll try to grab my face to play. After about 20-30 minutes, he'll fall asleep. He'll wake up 30 mins later though.

I'm also fixated on their milestones. Is the 2 year old's vocabulary large enough? Is she the right height and weight? Is counting to 10 at this age good enough? Are her temper tantrums too extreme? Is she supposed to complete the puzzles by herself yet? The 6 month old doesn't babble except on the rare occasion. Is he the right weight and height? He still needs support to sit up. When is that cone head of his going to round out? Are his intestines healthy as he doesn't get much breastmilk? Why am I such a failure at producing breastmilk and getting my kids to latch??

I'm totally fixated on his head. His sister's head rounded out nicely by this age. Her cone also wasn't as high up as his. His cone doesn't touch any surface to get rounded out. I've started massaging his head every waking moment of his. I sit him up and keep him from laying on his back unless it's nap time. Took him to chiro and asked about those helmet things. He didn't seem too worried about it but it's not his baby so why would he worry that much. The GP said baby's head is an odd shape (it is a symmetrical cone, not lop sided or anything) but said it'll work itself out as he grows plus his hair will cover it. So many have made comments about his poor albeit very cute little head. One woman asked "what did you do to make his head look like that?" What a stupid question. Like any mother would do something to have their kid's head be a pronounced cone shape.

I get stressed when they both need me at the same time or they both cry at the same time. That'll usually get me to cry too. I really just want to give them the best, the best start in life, the best to have a nice life and future. But, really, every parent wants that.

At the end of each day, I usually feel like a failure cuz I didn't do this right or get this done or what what. But, I'm sure I'm not a failure. I think I just have way too great of expectations placed on myself. How to let go?

Sometimes, I say "if I know how hard having 2 so close together was going to be, I'd have waited another year before having number 2." But, really, it was the right plan. These 2 kids are already BFFs. It is so entertaining and joyful to watch them interact and play with each other. The 2 year old's first thought and comments are of the baby. She straight wakes up and goes to his bed. She'll bring something to share with him too. She gives him hundreds of kisses a day. She's by his side. If he cries, she's straight "help mama, baby crying." No one (except me and her) are allowed to touch baby either. When we were at the chiro she was quite upset that the dr touched bebe. She kept saying no and was grabbing at dr's hand to remove from bebe. Then she grabbed bebe's hand and gave it gentle kisses. She frequently is touching him going "shhh, shhh" and kisses him. She talks non stop to him. She wipes his mouth if he has a drool or if the cloth isn't nearby she says "help, baby burp." The neighbour kids were huddled around baby the other day and she got mad and shouted noooo came running over and gave him a protective hug and kiss. The boy is her baby. She insists he be in tummy time so she can be across from him in tummy time to chat away face to face. He also loves her. He always flashes huge smiles and giggles for her. He always reaches for and grabs her too. They have this thing where they'll have a fun scream thing. She'll scream with joy, then he'll scream, then she'll scream, then he'll scream and then they both laugh. I love watching them together. It brings me immense joy. I could just gobble these 2 delightful creatures up with a spoon. Love love love em.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2nd Pregnancy at 35

Absolutely sucks. Especially the third trimester!

I started out the first trimester being so awesome with my wheat free, dairy free, sugar free, tonnes of veggies etc nutrition and my wonderful workout routine and my pregnancy boosting supplements. The first 6 weeks were stellar and I thought "wow, I'm gonna rock this pregnancy better than the first"

Then that nausea set in. It wasn't as intense as the first one and thought, "ok, I can do this. It's not as bad as the first." But then it intensifed a bit and was different from the first in a way that it was a low nagging nausea in the pit of my stomach and suprisingly eating was the only thing that kept it in check. 10 mins after stopping eating, it would return. So I munched pretty much all day while taking the Magen, which wasn't as helpful this time around. I ate things like raw carrots and homemade hummus. Then I needed pasta and sandwiches like I transformed into Joey Tribianni. Yho, it fell a part a bit there. The nausea "shockingly" got bit more intense (still not as bad as with number 1). I stopped exercising as awesomely as I was in the beginning but did something a couple times a week as the exhaustion allowed. And I started feeling freezing cold. Also, having a busy toddler is quite taxing when pregnant. First pregnancy, I was free to rest or whatever my body needed. But this pregnany has really been about the busy and easily bored toddler. But shortly after 2nd trimester set in, the nausea and fatigue settled down.

This was my breather trimester. Summer also rolled in. I was eating decent. No intense cravings like I had with little miss. Well, I wanted some ice cream each day but that may be due to the incredible heat of summer coupled with being a furnace of a pregnant lady. Yho, I've never felt so hot in my life! Not even when I used to do Bikram Yoga. Luckily, the complex has a pool. We made use of that every afternoon. It was bliss. We walked around each morning and swam every afternoon. So all in all cant complain about 2nd trimester.

Then March set in, height of 3rd trimester. I have not known pain/illness like this before! It's day 27 of physical trial and tribulation. The weather transition rapidly from summer to winter (um, where did fall go??) and bubs got a cold and cough. Her cough was quite full of congestion, she sounded like a purring cat when she breathed. She got it from one of these clowns that she plays with in the complex (kids dont know how to cover their mouth when they cough). She even needed some antibiotics. I'm not a big fan of big pharma and got the natural route but there are some times and places where meds are required to get the situation in control, but its not my first go to. She was fine in a couple days but hubs and I got her cold. He got the cough part and I got the head cold part. It was a whole week, which is absolutely unheard of for me and my pretty stellar immune system. But you may not know this, pregnancy kills your immune system (and metabolism) so your body can focus on growing a baby. So there you have it, step 1 to what was ahead. Then as the cold was clearing up, I got a tummy bug. That wasnt fun. No vomitting, just the other thing. That concerned me cuz that kind of lower body movement can jump start labor. But it settled down in time for my lumbar to be out. Out like not before. O the pain. I hobbled around like a geriatric. Then my hip kicked in the next day. Walking was accomplishing the impossible. I went to the chiropractor. He aligned me, and I was really misaligned. But my hip somehow missed the message and stayed in a most excrutiating way. Then 2 days after the chiro, that cold that "cleared up" transitioned into a sinus infection. So far, quite possibly, the most pain I've ever felt. My entire left facial bone structure felt like it was going to burst. Like a freight train powed me in the cheek! I cried like a baby. Because the sinus pocket touches down onto the molar roots, tooth pain was very present. So much so, I thought I had a tooth thing going on and ran to the dentist. He said my teeth are fine and explained that sinus thing I just did. Only thing the pharmacist and gynae said I could do was take some Panado for the pain and was sinus out with seawater nasal spray. This past month, I've been eating raw garlic like candy, squirting seawater up my nose like cocaine (cant think of anything else you'd put up your nose for drastic comparison??), consuming Rescue Remedy like water and begging/praying for some relief. My sinus isn't as painful as it was a couple days ago but still aches like a steady headache but in my face. I've almost used the entire seaspray in 6 days. And my hip still hurts. Tried a massage today. Could only afford the half hour session. It helped relax the muscles so the pain is less intense. Looking forward to the day of pushing this kid out. But then there's all that postpartum yuckiness to deal with (bladder control, hemorrhoids, bleeding, breastfeeding trials and pains). So really, looking forward to the end of June. Then I have a big job of post natal weight loss. O sigh. There may not be a third baby, unless we become really rich and I can afford helpful things like: nanny/ maid, weekly chiro visits, weekly prenatal massage, home waterbirth, etc.

If you're married and under 35, best to start having them babies now, cuz yho pregnancy ages you like 10-50 years depending on if its first or subsequent pregnancy. Ps, your hips never really go back into place so that second baby will be a killer unless you are a teeny tiny skinny mini.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Toddler Activities

I'm constantly googling ideas for this child of mine, for her development and fun activities to do at home on a tight budget. Here's what I've put together so far. This is for her current 18month old style (the previous acitivities for X month old have been retired as she's outgrown some).

I've put these into 3 groups: Play time, Music time and Craft time. Why have I done this? Kids need routine, they learn through repetition, they are busy and need wholesome things to keep them busy well, aids their sensory development and we know the benefits of music.

Disclaimer: I'm not a perfect mom, much to learn. I'm just doing the best with the info I get and the tools I have at my finger tips.

1. Sensory Bins and Bottles

So your imagination is what will limit you here. If there's a tangible object, you can turn it into a sensory box. I've made up 5, not because my imagination is limited but because I have 5 empty bins/boxes to use.

A. Bean Sorter
On the right. I've put black eyed peas, split peas and popcorn kernels along with a 3 section egg tray for the legumes to be sorted in. Plus I've added a scoop. She loves this. Great for fine motor development. I've taught her to be a clean kid too cuz if she drops 1 split pea on the ground, she picks it up and puts it back in the bin straight away! Love it!

B. Pasta Plus
On the left. I've put in macaroni, cotton and shredded paper along with a container to keep these items separated. Plus I've added a spoon for stirring. She likes to take the cotton and rub it gently on her cheek and she loves the sound the macaroni makes when she stirs it up.

C. Dancing Color Experiments
In the middle. There are also some craft items squeezed in there (I need another bin for grocery shop will have to get ice cream...dang, hey!). So for the colors I have a small bottle of vinegar, baggie of baking soda, food color, plastic syringe to squeeze vinegar on to colored baking soda and 3 little dishes. As she is young, I do 2 primary colors. Once the dancing stops, I add water. Then I ask, what happens if we mix the blue with the red water? It turns purple! She says OoooOoOOOoooOoo through the whole process. Then puts her hand in each dishy of water. Then she stacks the 3 dishes up when she's had enough.

D. Beach Experience
This is not in the photo. It is powder sand, shells and stones all from the beach. She loves to dig in the sand. And of course the feel of powder white sand is quite luxurious.

As she gets older, I'll have a packet of plastic animals she can play with in the bins and I'll probably go with more themes like the beach theme rather than just pasta/cotton/paper. Ever changing!

E. Sensory Bottles

There's only 3 but there are more coming as I get the empty bottles. The one on the left has shampoo and washers. This illustrates how objects move slower in thicker liquids. The middle is rainbow rice that I dyed last night and treasure trinkets buried inside. I tried to shake it to show a trinket but the rice kept burying it when I placed it upright. The one on the right has water, blue dye, sparkles and a couple small crab shells. Sometimes I wonder who enjoys these bottles more, me or her?? More to come (again imagination is what will limit).

2. Blocks and Stackers
I have wooden blocks, a couple big soft blocks, measuring cups and recently was given stacking cups. She's up to building a 7 block tower but gets really mad if the 8th block knocks it over. She has my temperment.

3. Books
I started reading to her, well... when she was in the womb, but in real life when she was 1 month old. Her first book was about 4 fabric pages with crinkly paper inside and a mirror on the back. She laughed at the stuff on the green page and to this day is quite drawn to green (I think it's her fav color). She LOVES books! It's one of the few playtime activities that will keep her occupied for more than 5 minutes. She is gentle with books too. Never tears the pages. We go grab the max 7 from the library every couple weeks and I have a few in her collection. They range from board books, learning books (1sts), fun short stories and a couple Hungarian books.

4. Puzzles
I know puzzles say not for children under 3 but I'm not a conventional rule follower all the time. She has the foamy letter/number puzzles, wooden puzzle and recent addition of the piece puzzles. Her main objective is to take the puzzle apart. She can put the wooden numbers into their slots on the puzzle with my help. And today, I got her a 24 piece. She even grabbed 2 pieces that fit together twice but mainly enjoyed taking it apart and putting it into a pile here and then over there. Whatever dude, gets her exposed and soon she'll be an efficienado. Tomorrow I'm going to make her some 2 piece puzzles out of the animal pictures on cardboard.

5. Balls in Bucket
This is probably her fav thing. She has been a big fan of balls since 4 months old and is a very efficient thrower now. I have 3 colorful plastic balls, a small bouncy globe ball, tennis ball, soft plush ball, bigger bouncy textured ball and from time to time she starts rolling my big yoga ball around the house. Any time we pass a bin of balls in a store she points, jabbers and gets excited. She's working on kicking now. I want to sign her up for soccer (there is a club 18months-3) but it's in the southern suburbs which is a bit far at this point. Maybe next season.

6. Bubbles
She loves bubbles. She loves to chase after them and if they land intact on the floor, she loves to step on them (in a most delicate manner I might add). Easy recipe 1 cup water, 4 tablespoons dish soap, 2 tablespoons glycerin.

7. Freeplay
This develops her independence (which is quite developed already) and imagination. Here is where she can enjoy her toy toys like her mickey mouse car, musical caterpillar, stuffed animals, etc.

8. Outside Time
This takes up the bulk of her awake time. We go outside 2-3 times a day for almost an hour each time. She gets quite upset when we come inside. She loves to walk around the complex. She has a route (creature of habit). First stop is the pool area. She likes to do a lap around the pool. Then we do her preferred route around the flats and grassy area. When the other kids are home from school, she dumps the route in favor of play with the children. She also has 3 specific plants she likes to gather from-lavendar bush, cool textured succulent plant and the pink/yellow flower bush by our front door. She'll walk the whole time with one of those plants clutched in her hand. We also like to paint with nature. We take leaves and the make a pretty green streak on the brick. There are these black berry things and these red berry like things that also leave pretty colors on the brick. Sometimes we even make an impromptu nature sensory bucket with a collected variety of leaves and flowers in a plastic bowl. She loves nature like me.

So that's our play time. We obviously don't do all 8 things everyday. The only daily occurence is books, balls, outside and I try really hard to get a sensory activity in each day. But some days, life happens and we have to go grocery shopping or fun happens and we head into town to the big awesome park (that takes the whole morning pre nap time) and of course there's Sundays with church and now nursery. She was so good on her first day at nursery last week. Awwwwwwwwww. She folded her arms and listened to the lesson and daintally ate her snack and politely played with the toys. I almost cried 3 times just watching how adorable and wonderful she is. Love her!!!!

Music time
We've been exposing her to music since before birth. When she was new, papa was always singing a Burundian lullaby to her. So precious. I was always singing hymns to her. Now, I've made a singing time box.

I just started it this week so it's quite minimal but honestly enough for her attention span. I have my song list divided into action songs and prop songs. I made some music shakers out of old vitamin bottles, lentils and nature scene magazine paper. Her fav song is Itsy Bitsy Spider. She's always putting her fingers together like the spider climbing up the spout to request me to sing it. After every song I sing, she claps and says Yay! My number 1 fan folks. We bought her a tamborine today and she has a pretty awesome keyboard complete with beat option keys that she got for her first bday. She loves the beats and dances to them. From time to time we "drum" with containers and sticks. I also have some kiddy CDs to play while we do other things like craft time. Which leads me to...

Craft time
Well, as you may have guessed it, babes arent crafty experts. However, this activity still develops skills so we go forth anyhow. Collages are good to give baba gluing and pasting skill development. She prefers to put the lid on and off the glue stick but will run a streak of glue on the paper every once in awhile. Finger painting is probably best bet for this age. I've made them from cornstarch, color and water; flour, color and water; equal parts flour, salt, water plus color in a squeezy bottle. This one dries puffy and sparkly from the salt. And next will do the jello one where you add just enough hot water to get the consistency of paint. I've also made a couple home made playdoughs plus I have some store bought ever lasting playdough and cutters. She loves playdough. This play will last a while for her. My next project with her will include making a candy house or icing cookies or something confectionary like.

And there you have it. My 3 groups of activities to keep this woman busy, entertained, learning and growing. I love being a SAHM. Sometimes, I have more fun doing these activities than she does. Sometimes this woman does a better job of entertaining me than I her. She's quite a comedian! Her new schtick now is closing her eyes and walking then laughing about it. One time, however, she walked into the chair...she didnt laugh but I did. She's really good at clowning around. And she is really clever. She understands everything I say. If I say, go get your shoes, she goes and gets her shoes and brings them to the chair where I put them on her and she gets really excited cuz she knows it's outside time. I hope this boy in my belly is going to be fun, smart and cute like her. Will find out in a few weeks.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to live a wheat-free-corn-free-milk-free-soya-free-organic-eco-friendly-superfood life as a poor renter in an urban location with minimal healthy selections

Alright, long title but is quite self explanatory as to what I'm about to write about today.

First, I need to complain. This part of town sucks! No organic produce. Gluten free flour mix is costly. Coconut water/young thai coconuts are tough to come about. No bulk deals on, well, anything. And we live on the ground floor which is 90% appealing, minus the ability to have pots with growing veggies as those will be stolen (our BBQ was stolen).

Ok. I feel better-ish.

Sometimes we are given challenges in life so we can problem solve unique ways to accomplish the former easy things in life. Hence me living here instead of the land of the free and everything wonderful..."O Canada, our home and native land...." I miss you my baby and look forward to living there again in a few years (eish!).

So here's what my past 3 years so far have taught me.

1. Wheat free, corn free, soya free (basically GMO free): easiest way is to avoid packaged foods. That's where that stuff lies. Learn to cook from scratch. Luckily, that was something I learned in grade 7 and have loved since. It just tastes better! The wheat free thing is the most challenging. Um hello, pizza anyone?! Heck, yes, who doesn't love Italian food. And toast for breakfast is so standard in the westernized civilations you really have to think outside the box. Let's start with breakfast

A. free range eggs to the rescue. you can simply scramble em, or make a fritatta, or an omelette. have a side of fruit or veggies and your done.
B. gluten free muffins. this is my standard recipe. 2 c "flour" (gluten free mix with rice/potato/tapioca/chickpea/xantham gum. I also stretch it out with 1/2 c ground golden flax to save some money), 1/3 c sugar, 1.5 tsp baking powder, pinch himalayan salt (from now on anytime I talk about salt, it's this pink gem I'm talking about cuz I don't wanna write it out in full everytime), 1/2 c blueberries (frozen are cheaper in this city), 1 c "milk", 1 free range egg, 1/4 c sunflower oil (never use or buy canola, it too is a bad boy), smack vanilla. bake about 20-30min depending on your oven and weather (totally affects my baking if it's wet or dry outside). Spread with cold pressed coconut oil and some raw honey if you like.
C. cold rice cereal with "milk" or hot millet/rice cereal with "milk" and dates and honey and seeds too if you want...I'm gonna get to the milk so don't worry
D. smoothie. take some "milk" and add some seasonal fruits along with a frozen banana to give it some thickness and chill factor

So who still wants toast??? I can testify that once you stop eating bread for a couple weeks, the smell of hubby toasting a slice on the rare occasion is enough to make you queezy (and that's not the pregnancy talking!)

As for pasta and pizza, there are wheat free options and recipes out there. Google em! I personally don't even eat either anymore as I have a rotation of the following lunch/dinners:
free range chicken n lentil breyani with cooling cuke n tomato salad
chickpea n millet greek inspired bowl
organic potato salad n roast free range chicken wings with beet salad
sweet curry lentils n rice
cauliflower/carrot/pepper/tomato/fish pot n rice.

That pretty much sums up my main roster of go tos. Every once in a while I mix it up with a thai coconut curry or quinoa risotto with fish or something interesting. These are all affordable too as we use chicken/fish more like a condiment and the veg are the main feature. As you know, free range meats are more expensive so luckily we are happy with just a small tasting of it as a part of our meal. You too can teach your taste buds the cheaper yet healthier ways of life :)

2. Milk free
Cooking and baking can be challenging without milk especially if you are used to it. So here are some things I do. I make nut milks. As nuts are costly, I use these tastey/healthy/pricey milks soley for pouring on my rice cereal. 1/2 c nuts (almonds or cashews are best), 1/2 c dates, 4 c water, pinch salt, smack vanilla. Blend. My blender comes from a second hand shop so you can imagine how much it is not like a Vitamix (one day, when I'm rich, I 'll own this gem!). So I get ground almonds to help my poor baby whip this into a milk. It does separate as it sits in the fridge but a good ole swirl gets in homogenous again. As for baking, I use a cheaper milk option. Currently I have rice milk powder in my pantry. It on its on is not tasty but works beautifully in my muffin recipe. I'm going to make some coconut milk this week as dried coconut are much cheaper than nuts and maybe that can be my milk for all recipe. 2 c coconut, 4 c water. Blend. Of course you can get ready made coconut milk in the can but have you ever read the ingredients. Surprisingly little coconut in it. Some brands only show coconut extract and a bunch of other crap. Yet still costly. Hmmm. But I'm looking into where the H I can get young thai coconuts on a regular basis. Then I can have lot's of fresh coconut water and then use the meat to whip up a real nice milk. Oh dreams.

3. Organic
I just can't get over how shops don't have organic produce. I went in to Checkers one time and asked if they have any organic produce. The woman looked at me like a parrot before eating a peanut. Then she sqawked "what?" Then she lead me to oregano. close honey but no. She asked her manager. Neither knew what organic was! What? I say, WHAT! There used to be an organic farm stall inside the waterfront market. But the last time I went there they were gone. Some other farmer who not only doesn't sell organic produce but looked at me like I was some kind of crazy woman to dare ask if he did! So, hubby brought home a flyer from Nature's Deli for an online organic order place. They're not bad. Each weds you can get a pre selected bag of 10-12 seasonal items. You can also add on real full cream organic yogurt and what not. I don't mind them. Some of their stuff is pricey. There pre selected bag is obviously the better deal but you dont have much control over what you get. One week week we got leeks. Don't know how to do much with leeks other than vichysoisse. Baby loved it. It was quite dang tasty. Sadly, we cant order every week due to our finances and it's more of a treat to get a bag from them. Once a month seems to be the ticket right now. If we were rich, ya, weekly for sure! So that leads to the clean 15 vs the dirty dozen list. I try to avoid getting produce from the dirty dozen list. I also am going to grow some greens on my kitchen window sill (best sunny spot and least likely to get stolen or visited by the neighbor cat). I did it a couple months ago. Just need some more soil. I also want to make a compost under our kitchen sink. We got a juicer for christmas present and it's sad to toss out all that pulp. I have made a batch of muffins from the pulp and some lentil pulp burgers (sounds gross but tastes decent). But really, can't keep up with the pulp to recipe ratio so vast majority goes in dump.

4. Eco friendly
I've just finished talking about the compost plan and indoor garden plan so we're done there. Now to move on to my exciting big eco friendly move taken last month. We invested in presewn pocket nappies! They are cotton/hemp/bamboo goodies in fun colors. I love them! There was only one night I didn't love them cuz I had a cold and had no desire to throw them in the machine and hang them out to dry but if I dont, I fall behind and then she'll just have to pee on the thanks. I actually want her little nappied bum to show as the colors are cute and I match her outfits to them. Plus in a couple months, we'll have another wee one in nappies so that'll just save us tens of thousands in cash to use these healthier nappies :) we also do them standard things-hot water tank off unless hour before showering, use stove with thought (bake, cook all at once so it doesn't have to go all day and re heat or whatever), re use, know, that kind of earth friendly stuff. I also got some soapnuts. I made some soapnut liquid out of some of it. It washes the dishes nice however, you have to use it full strength. It does a decent job on clothes. I used it on the floor too. I haven't yet tried it on my hair. Thats next. However, the soapnuts aren't cheap and get used up faster than I anticipated. So they are not cost effective. I've gone back to using vinegar water to clean the house. I'm saving the soapnuts for the nappies only now as they are pretty particular on which cleansers to use to keep them lasting long and keep from detergent buildup.

Well, that's all I got for now. Little miss is gonna wake from her nap soon so I gotta get it together up in here. Toodles.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why Organic? A simplified explanation

You may ask yourself, why on earth should I spend more money on ORGANIC when there are perfectly good foods in the grocery store at a cheaper cost?! A picture is worth a thousand words so, here is a start why:

You probably don't know that the foods you eat are bathed in chemicals. Chemicals that are toxic poisons. Chemicals that if you were to accidentally ingest them, you'd have to call poison control or have treatment done at the hospital or you may even die. So now why is it okay or safe to eat food that has been washed in these very chemicals? Doesn't make sense! The officials likes to brainwash us to believe that it's safe to eat these food exposed to these chemicals as a very small dose won't kill us. Ya, but it's not exactly going to keep us up and running strong for long! And ps, the officials doesn't have OUR best interest at heart.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Hmmm, that's funny cuz the apple is the dirtiest fruit/veg out there! After testing, it is found to contain over 200 different chemicals! No wonder my throat would swell and my gums would itch whenever I ate a conventional apple. I thought I was allergic. Then someone suggested organic and booyah baby I can enjoy apples again!

"Well, I wash my fruits and veggies before eating them and sometimes I peel them." Washing is good to remove surface debris but it does NOT completely remove the pesticides/fungicides/herbicides that the produce has been bathed in since day one. That stuff is in the soil. It is absorbed in the roots of the plant and throughout the entire fruit or veg. Peeling is the same as it only removes the surface junk, however the peel also contains the bulk of vitamins/minerals/fiber.

FYI: In one report, the CDC found that 100% of the people tested had 13 of the 23 pesticides they analyzed. Some short term and long term effects of repeated exposure to pesticides include- infertility, birth defects, childhood and adult cancers.

"I don't eat lot's of fruits and veggies to worry, I eat meat, maize and milk." First of all, that diet alone is screaming high blood pressure and other disease! Second of all, your meat and milk is WORSE as they too are regularly "treated" to hormones and antibiotics. Plus those animals are fed Genetically Modified foods which also get that chemical treatment and are in horrific conditions! They are in small crowded pens/cages, the birds are in total darkness their whole life, the cows are in ankle deep poop which is a breeding ground for E. Coli, they are very stressed out thus causing them to naturally secrete stress hormones, they are prone to diseases from this improper ill living and many other problematic things. Would you eat roadkill? Then why would you eat this?

A quick blurb on genetically modified foods: these are foods that have been genetically engineered/altered by man (since when has man ever known more or done better than God???) These foods are fairly new and long term health effects are not yet known but don't be fooled, there are problems from these foods! The environment is already seeing repercussions and the chronic diseases that are becoming more mainstream speak volumes. Avoid the following: corn/maize, soy, cotton (oil), wheat, canola. You may say you never eat tofu but I got news for you, soy is in almost EVERY packaged food as is some form of corn.

So then what does organic mean? Basically, it means produce that is grown naturally without chemicals. It means animals that are farm raised the way they were meant to by grazing in fields, eating natural foods that suit their systems without routine injections of drugs to either grow bigger/produce more milk or fight off recurring infections. Plus, organic foods does taste better and the meat doesn't shrink down in your pan like the other stuff (they also inject salt water to increase the volume and charge you more money on that non organic meat).

You will notice a difference in your health and you will feel better!! It is WAY HEALTHIER and worth the 15% or so mark up in price. And as the consumer, we speak volumes when we choose what we buy. If more and more of us demand and support the organic market, the prices will go down as supply is increased. Think about it this way, pay a little more now or hundreds of thousands for your future hospital bill when you need to receive treatment for diseases like cancer.

The above is really in a compact nutshell. It goes deeper but I know you don't have time to receive all the info now. Also, be wary of your sources when researching more for yourself. Not all official sites are 100% truthful. They have set certain "standards" that benefit themselves. And they like to publish on a need to know basis.

Use your logic: does it make sense that it's safe to eat chemicals, hormones and antibiotics on a daily basis? Is that the key to optimal health?