anxiety, anzacs, baby and toddler, baby led weaning, bad week, baking, biscuits, camping, cooking, CPTSD, diy, missy higgins, music, ptsd, reading, recipes, repurpose, Saree, Sari, sewing novice, Tim Minchin, toys, university, upcycle, winter, wrap top

Week Eleven. Remembering.

Right now I can’t for the life of me remember what I was going to write about… 

This week has gone so quickly.

We made Anzacs (as we always do) and danced in the kitchen to Missy Higgins 

I adore the painting on the right but photo for recognitions sake.

(Bub especially loves this song, and now sings the chorus – well part of it. Calls it the Anzac Song.  I especially love this  song- being a frustrated artist)

Truth be told I love all of her music and have a particular soft spot for this . Its especially good after arguments with people you love.

Which happens when they misplace things when you moved house in Febuary and still have no idea where they are. (Yes, I am looking at you, Big M) So that ate up some week.

Then there was this STUPID AND IDIOTIC “postal survey” (plebiscite makes more sense- thought up by plebs. Anyone else do Latin at school? Anyone?) announced in Australia. It has made me rather upset. The amazing and brilliant Tim Minchin sums it up best here and quite simply I believe this :-

Anyway. There was that.

 I also did a spot of sewing- we’re going to my cousins wedding in September up in QLD and I’m s-l-o-w-l-y making my way through a pages long to do list (mostly pin inspired).

At the top is “Make E’s Wedding Dress” and yes, we all had a good laugh at that one.

I wanted to make her something that reminded her of a Sari as she often asks to wear one (her passion for Bollywood undimmed)

After looking at so, so, so many patterns for dresses for babies and toddlers. I found this one. For a reversible wrap top. 

 (Actually first I found this 

but I really didn’t want to pay for a pattern and the handy image search corner thing found the top for me).

So I printed out the pattern, then traced it onto baking paper and made it longer and cut it out of some beautiful but very thin Indian cotton I had bought on eBay and some equally beautiful broderie anglais. Also from eBay.

After thinking about it overnight I realised two things. 1. That they would not work as a lining for each other and 2. That I’d cut out one too few front prices and that would have looked very wrong. (One shoulder wrap dress on toddler. Not good)

So the next day I cut out another front piece from the cotton and some lining from Calico and tried to pin it all together. Discovery of the week- pins are like hair elastics- they vanish.

Anyway- I was being careful and taking my time so, yes, the next day I sewed it all together following the instructions – which are actually quite simplre I’d imagine especially so for a slightly more experienced seamstress.

I ended up with a dress which looked okay on the Indian cotton side and lovely on the calico. I hung it up overnight as apparently this helps with hemming.

That night I thought again and realised my mistakes. 

The next day I fixed them (sew all edges except the bottom hem first, then seam the sides with the fabric you like least outwards).

I even used a decorative stitch.

Tried it on Bub, hemmed it. Done. One wedding dress that I don’t have a finished picture of. Although here is the next best thing- pre hemming and adding of ties:-

 I will have a “proper” picture though- when I finish the pants to go underneath it and make the front panel end in a curve not a point and I’ll put it here 

And now, of course, I’ve remembered what we did do that was new….but we haven’t finished it yet, so that will have to wait for next week.

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Alia Bhatt, anxiety, anzacs, baby and toddler, baby led weaning, baking, biscuits, blw, Bollywood, cooking, diy, education, headscarf, Kurti, mental illness, mindfulness, montessori, pasta, pintrest, post natal anxiety, pre natal anxiety, ptsd, quotes, reading, recipes, repurpose, sensory activities, Sewing, stress, toddler activities, toys, upcycle, winter

Week 8. Scrappy,  but good biscuits and toddler fun 

So, no blog post yesterday. And no apology either. Truth be told I’m exhausted. 

I don’t know if it’s winter or my ED or bub having her immunization reaction or “I’m a single mum with a daughter” (anyone else remember those black & white ‘women low in iron’ ads? Were they for red meat? Or just awareness…anyway. Advertising in the 90s rocked & 80s …. what went wrong? (Not that I watch commercial tv except in waiting rooms so I wouldn’t really know))

So yes. Exhausted. And yesterday while bub napped I thought about writing but then, well, didn’t. 

Because this week got away from me. I’ve browsed pins for clothing ideas (I adore Alia Bhatt) for ways to cover my hair when I go to the GP  ( being germ phobic is so much fun when you have to pick up a regular prescription) for baking ideas and for storage ideas for our Airbnb tent (& got eldest working on it- woot!)

 it’s also been a week where looking up things like this :

featured a lot.

Also it’s August. Considering semester started about three weeks ago and I’m tired of just scraping through assignment by assignment (I want an HD damn it! (For those not permanently studying HD= High Distinction = A or in the 90%s)) I thought maybe Pintrest might have some handy hints/ tips.

This (and the discovery I have an assignment due next week) led to a wild Pintrest a thon on Sunday night.

 I found so many pins like this: 

  and subscribed to this :

  (honestly I got the information I needed from the pin but…you know…fellow blogger. The emails haven’t stopped. Yup- one of those) 

Thus I was going to write a post on Pintrest and studying- then I realised while my assignment is due in a week that isn’t today and I won’t have used these pins by today.

 So that’s for next week.
Then I thought I’d do a “self care” post because I’ve been looking up lots of pins about it over the last few months and self care seems the new “thing” (after paleo, yoga, jazzercise, pritikin diet…thats got me back to the 80s. Further I have no idea) 

But have I used them yet? Have I even read them? Erm- no.
Right – so that left me with a post on anzac biscuits  or shirring . 

 Because while I’ve looked at a lot of pins there isn’t anything that feels finished.

So this is kind of an evaluation plus excellent biscuit plus actually surprisingly cool toddler activity post.

Excellent Anzacs

To anybody out there who doesn’t like Anzacs – try this recipe but use white sugar instead of brown. They will taste like brandy snaps.( If you do this Do not give them to your toddler. They will go mad)

Anzacs are bubs cooking activity of choice at the moment. We’ve made them about four times in the last three weeks.  When offered an alternative  (“shall we make cake” “No- Anzac Biscuit “ which is so sweet and followed by please and she put those words together herself and the brilliant thing is they are quick, easy, relatively low sugar and it’s fine for kids to eat the mix – No egg)

So yesterday we made Anzacs. 

And it was fun. 

And bub chose to be in her Baba Sling which is fantastic for cooking and short things like that. 

Very nice way to spend the afternoon. And bub had “parfait” (yoghurt with anzac crumble and hidden fruit) for dinner. 

I could walk you through the recipe- but I honestly didn’t take any photos & with such a simple recipe it feels a bit like the teacher who would give you a hand out then read it to you. Kind of pointless.

* One thing though- aside from the sugar- best shaped with wet hands and also watch the time. I haven’t had a batch go the full time yet.

Toddler Sensory and Other Development Things Activity.

While I was hectically trying to find a pin to do yesterday afternoon during bubs nap that wasn’t baking and wasn’t sewing I struck upon the idea of a toddler activity. 

Apparently you will always have either pom poms or pipecleaners at home- just lying around- as you do.

(Bub woke up at this point and thus began a great chorus of “No Pom pom, no pipe cleaner. Oh no!” which provoked a lot of laughter but no activities)

The problem is (aside from the pompom pipecleaner dilemma- do people from America smoke a lot of pipes?) lots of activities were a part of lists and I wouldn’t have felt like I’d done that pin unless I finished the list.

 

We ended up with moon sandplaydough or this: 

When I told Big M about it (wonder if that psudonym will stick) the phrase “And then what”? May have been used.

 So I wasn’t going to do it. 

Being the self confident person I am.

Instead I was aiming for this: 

 later in the afternoon.

But you know- a toddler to amuse in the kitchen, an oncoming headache – it’s pasta, it’s cheap, its quiet; why not let her play with it. 

I started bub off with some patty pans and a handful of rigatoni (I think..bumpy big macaroni) and asked her to help by putting the pasta in the patty pans. She was having so much fun with that I got out a straw. Now- notice the straws in the screenshot? Not see through. Also the pasta is decidedly larger than the straw.

Our straws are clear and the pasta just JUST fit on them.

After a lot of “mummy help please” and “are you sure you want to” “yes” I was so proud of bub when she took a piece of pasta off then put it back on a straw.

I then struck upon the idea of bamboo skewers – do I have to say “ supervise your child if they are doing this activity – especially if you give them a thin pokey bit of wood- even with the point cut off” in headmistressly tones? 

Thought not.

 Good.

They worked so well and she was so happy and so so proud putting pasta on and taking it off.

At around this time we had everything set up for the biscuits (did I say this was to entertain her while we did some dishes and got ingredients out to make Anzacs? – it was) but bub didn’t want to stop.

When the skewers ended up on the floor, eldest and I struck upon the idea of spaghetti at exactly the same time .

This was the best yet. It would have been better had it not been thin spaghetti but you work with what you have and bub loved snapping the spaghetti as much as threading on to it.

It all ended about half an hour after we started with bub hiding the pasta in the seat of her high chair and pockets of her tabard (apron) before asking to do “cooking now”
So if you have a toddler who is restless but not tired or just want something a bit different to do with them- try this.
It’s parent involvement heavy (my way was anyway) but so much fun. You might also want to try a shoelace in place of straws. I think it would work.

So there we go. I did complete a pin after all.

(I also used this one after realising every new paragraph in this blog started with “so”)

anxiety, baby and toddler, bad week, candles, cooking, Dandenong ranges, mental illness, pintrest, post natal anxiety, ptsd, reading, recipes, repurpose, Sewing, sewing novice, stress, upcycle, winter, winter solstice

Week 5 – Part One

This (as promised) is not about sewing OR cooking. I know. Amazing. (Although I have done both of those in the last week and totally recommend that if you want oh-so-yummy pancakes go *here* if you want to make something unexpected that your baby will devour go *here* and if you want to make a top you totally and utterly loathe into the cutest little dress and headband for your bub go, well,  there and there)

So. I might have mentioned in the last post, possibly even the one before that life hasn’t exactly been simple for me of late. Imagine a sundae if you will- the ice cream is the general state of being- I’m not well. (For those into labels I have PTSD, Genralised Anxiety Disorder, Post Natal anxiety, Specific phobias including illness, Agoraphobia & Borderline traits.) In addition to the mind stuff I have IBS, Chronic Fatigue and a rubbish immune system. So yeah. There’s that. The topping would be two teenagers with various mental illnesses of their own which lead to *school* being a huge issue instead of a normal everyday activity & living on a stupid income that I am enormously greatful for but think the government forgot to adjust at some point (like the 90s) (NB to avoid the wrong idea being given – when I say enormously greatful, I mean it. I am so lucky to be living in a country that is generous enough to support me when I cannot support myself. I am so lucky to have received this support when there are now so many in my situation who won’t. It just makes life a little more difficult living on such a fixed and comparatively low income)

So- still with me- ice cream sundae? Yup. Cool.

Add to the topping the crushed nuts of my parents (many issues there) & my ED coming back. On top of that pour the 100s and 1000s of day to day problems (eldest going interstate, bills we forgot, immunizations for bub etc.) and you get –  my life. In sundae form.

 Then you take the spoon and stir. A lot. To “make it soft serve” Which is what I always used to do when I ate such things.

 What you end up with is a grubby looking pile of mess in a pretty glass with far too many melty bits and unexpected crunches.

(It does taste good though- should have maybe gone with a different metaphor…)

Anyway 

Life being like that leads to a stressed mum. Which leads to a stressed bub. Who is changing in a not good way- disturbed sleep, more crying & very wound up.

So back in time a month and a bit  when I found this pin : 

Which I will be ever greatful for. I know my bub isn’t this small but I read the post and thought that the ideas just might help & couldn’t hurt.

 Its written by Hannah, a child therapist from the UK , whose blog I really wish I known about before now. 

Thank you Hannah. You rock.

The suggestions included Candle Time, a Relaxation Corner, Outdoor Relaxation, Family Cuddle time and Baby Massage.

Candle Time

Now my first thought was baby + candle = Er- Nup. Yeah? 

Turns out it’s manageable.

What the blog suggested :

Light a candle and put on some relaxing music, then sit with your baby quietly and watch the flame together. “

What I did was light a tea light and put it in a glass. Last thing pre dinner/bath/bed bub & I looked at the candle for a while then I read her a story.  

At first it went something like:

“Look at the flame- isn’t it pretty- orange and blue”

“……”

“No you can’t hold it hon, it’s not safe. Isn’t it pretty though- let’s put it on the…”

“…..” 

“No, I can’t put it down on the bed- no don’t look in the top that’s hot- owch- you’ll hurt yourself…lets put it on the table”

LUNGE

“No hon- you CAN’T touch it…lets read Hairy Maclary now, ok?”

(I’m not even going to try to transcribe bub. Anyone who has met a just speaking child will know writing can never do them justice)

Then we discovered lanterns at winter solstice. That seemed to be a turning point. No more lunging. Still wanting to touch and hold and kiss candle but far more time spent watching the flame and then the lantern when the paper was wrapped back around the glass.

Since solstice we’ve had paper snowflake lanterns and the last two nights the ‘invisible cat’ lantern. Bub currently has an invisible cat living with us so I took the Diwali lantern idea (two posts back) and turned it into a cat we can only see at night.

Result:

 I don’t know if the candle itself has  helped her relax yet- but I’m not following the guidelines letter for letter- it’s certainly given bub several beautiful new experiences she wouldn’t otherwise have had and given her a pre-dinner settling ritual. 

There is definately more eating and less food flinging going on than before I started. Plus I love the one on one cosy candlelight book time. 

Relaxation Corner
The blog suggested

” Babies really benefit from a ‘relaxation corner’ in their room, ideally visited before naps to help calm them before sleep. The focal point of a relaxation corner is a light feature. Bubble tubes are ideal, but a simple lava lamp will also be effective. Focus on making your relaxation corner as multi-sensory as possible. Include anything that calms your baby such as a basket of story books, soft fabrics and a diffuser that will disperse the smell of organic essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile. “

Yep. I’ll get back to you on that one. I’ve looked at many pins about making a tipi tent thing and many about making a lava lamp. I have developed a desire to make a spinning lantern. I just haven’t had the impetus, the time or the money to do it. I did however FINALLY get bubs’ paddling pool up so she has a safe, soft, small dog free place of her own to play and wander and get mum to make snowflakes and lick the floor if she wants without me then totally freaking out. She loves it. 

I also found calming glitter bottles. 

They are part if this new (is it new? I’ve been out if the game 14 years) sensory toys idea. 

I love them. Very simple to make and can be very pretty. I also adore the idea of using them as a “time out” when bub gets bigger. Feeling grumpy? Go shake a bottle if water and glitter glue and once all the glitter has settled you can come back a calmer, distracted child. (I wonder if we’ll make it to 1.5 litres…) 

We’ve made three. Two tiny travel size and one 600ml. The 600ml has been most affective at calming bub during wakeful nights, the travel size were the most fun & interactive. Bub learnt a new word “shake” & used it freely. 

So no relaxation corner just yet. Soon though. Promise.

However because of pins that the idea led me to I’d have to say it has definately helped Bub calm & relax

Outdoor Relaxation 

The blog suggested

Give your baby some time in nature as frequently as you can. Go to the park, a field, woodlands or sit in the garden and let them crawl around.”



Last year we were living in the Dandenong Ranges. Walks became a regular morning activity with bub in a sling off we’d go. But we had no garden (Don’t ask)

Now we are in slightly-more-suburban East Geelong. I tried to keep up the walking and for a while it was Torquay beach twice a week and East Geelong cemetary on the days in between (really not as morbid as it sounds). That slowly stopped as first I got sick, then it got wintery.

We have a garden. Unfortunately the back garden is a bit of a mire or an ant hill (depending on the temperature) so that leaves the front which has a ‘fence” so low I could hurdle it. But we’ve had some nice feeling-like-everyone-is-watching picnics. 

On days when we don’t go outside there is a definite change. I don’t know if it comes from bub or me but just ten minutes of walking up and down the driveway, looking for the moon or visiting our potted plants seems to help.

The whole ‘touch anything’ thing. That is challenging. Really challenging. But when bub checks if the plants need water now I’m not rushing in with a Wet One.

Result

Yes. It makes a difference. It’s sometimes so hard though and at the moment it’s one of the last things I want to do. I miss the space in the Dandenongs. It felt easier there. It also felt like bub got more out of it. We need somewhere like that here. Also a taller fence. (Watching bub voluntarily hug our ‘seasons tree’ in the cemetary is something I’m not going to forget. Nor is the fact she’s befriended a grave statue. Beautiful bub)

…..leaving it there for now, I’ve rambled too much,  if I’m getting tired, you must be too- tomorrow part two….

baby and toddler, cooking, muffins, pintrest, ptsd, recipes, repurpose, upcycle, winter, winter solstice

Week the Third 

This week was an easy one, it came with a built in theme “Winter Solstice”.

I’m quietly a bit Wiccan and used to love Yule with a passion as I’d always felt like we missed out by having Christmas in summer and just nothing for all the bleak, freezing, always cold or too much heating months of winter.

Then I had kids and realised that if Christmas was in winter nine times out of ten someone would be ill.

Quite glad Christmas is in summer.

Anyway

This is the first time in about four years I’ve remembered the solstice before it occurred, looked up some age appropriate activities and followed through with them in about five years. So there is one big bonus point for Pintrest.

Bub loves birds at the moment. We have had a commercial bird feeder (lump of seed on a wire) hanging from our lone decent tree for about two months. Nary a bird has pecked. (I don’t blame them- it’s hanging from an ocky strap – it’d be a bit like bird bungee with bonus snack). It makes bub sad that birds don’t eat there so I thought we’d try and make something solstice-y & bird friendly.

I’d found this 

– Orange bird feeder ornament the night before and gotten everything together for it- except lard/copha  (Not a big fan).

Bub loooved eating her first orange pulp and I managed to successfully scrape out 80% of orange without shoving the spoon through the skin.

I thought maybe the string bit would be difficult but I shoved it through with a bamboo stick (can’t remember how to spell that word!) Then made the birds a little faux branch to wobble on by sticking 3 more straight through. I used extra string for less wobble. Seems to have worked.

Bub then loooved trying to eat native bird seed with mummy going “gah! No! Eeep!” as we filled the orange. With a teaspoon.

After it was filled and patted we tried to pick it up I realised that we would either have an empty orange and a trail of bird seed or we needed something sticky. Tablespoon of peanut butter. More bird seed. More patting. Then we headed outside. My god we should have worn coats!

Many thanks to M for tree climbing

After coming inside for bubs long overdue nap I remembered we were going to do this ice votive but I’d read about 5 tutorials for them and thought simpler was better at this point so instead we filled a small bowl with water and red food dye (clever mummy) and put a plastic cup weighed down with native bird seed in the middle and bunged it in the freezer. Bub loved holding the dye.

Then off we went for a nap.

We were going to make shortbread. But bub had enjoyed her orange so much I found this recipe for Orange Loaf and by halving the recipe & putting it in patty pans we has some  very yummy solstice cup cakes and a happy baby- loves cooking.

My favourite of all the Pintrest based ideas wasn’t really from a Winter Solstice pin at all – although there many on how to make amazing lanterns.

I’d seen this one on a pin for  Dilewale Crafts a few weeks earlier and loved it. I combined the concept with a template for Mhendi symbols that mean “sun’ that I printed on yellow paper and wrapped around a glass. (see here). (Yes- still in love with India, Yes, bub still loves Bollywood :))

With a tea light candle in the glass we had a beautiful lantern and a beautiful end to a lovely day.

Happy Winter Solstice to all.

And yes. I totally forgot the ice votive holder. Sigh.

anxiety, baby and toddler, cheesecake, cooking, muffins, pintrest, ptsd, recipes, repurpose, Sewing, upcycle

Second Week

Almost perfectly on time 🙂

So.

 I decided (after a week in which I hunted EBay for tshirts to turn into dresses and nighties, got trapped in Spotlight looking for a reasonably priced pillowcase then spent a day cooking mini cheesecakes for Michael’s birthday, (see here), realising they take as long as big ones, freaking out, Making a mug brownie as a cake replacement (actually really good- not a mug cake fan- but this was yum),  then eating really good mini cheesecake the next day. ) That I need some rules around this.

Or I’ll just keep cooking and sewing with occasional garden forays. 

And this isn’t a cooking blog. 

Or a sewing blog. 

This week I’m going to let it slide though because I made bub these : (yup- sweggings)(Or maybe swants )(nup sweggings is better)

And she loves them. And I love them.

I learnt from prior experience and followed the tutorial.

 Then I managed to stitch my hem over where the elastic needed to get through. The empty tube-y bit. About 4 cm before the end of the hem.

By this point I was fed up with my machine and bub was grizzly so I part machine stitched & hand stitched (I’m a hand stitching deamon)  a yoga waistband onto them- idea from here :(baby yoga waistband pjs upcycle- making them next :))

She chooses to wear them as much as a 1 1/2 year old can, they are comfy & it makes me so happy to see her in them.

Most importantly they made it through the washing machine.

Yay!

So if you have a bub and old jumpers go for it (be sensible- no cable knit) but they are really so good for Melbourne-ian Geelong-ian winter.
 (On another note my sewing machine keeps getting really loud and buzzy and thread from bobbin clumps in the stitches- how do I stop it? Any ideas? Sort of grrrrrthunkythunkythunkybzzzzz)

On top of that bub tasted her first baked cheesecake (see above) and loved it, we has left over Philly and I’d promised bub a garden picnic with cake.

I’m a bit careful with bub and sugar but I found these :

(how do you make an image a link? must read how-to bit of site)

Apple: she loves 

Cheesecake: she really really loves

So we cooked these. Bub helped. She woke up this morning asking for “cooking”

They were really easy – used a couple of bowls but very simple, especially as I used tinned Apple  (brilliant for bub & pie & crumble & cheap).



 So happy& warm bub. I did my Pintrest activity. We had yummy muffins (Or parts of) as we crawled around and then stomped around in our new boots. And all was good.
UPDATE : I made this today: 

(See Week 1 “Easy DIY nightgown upcycle”) works so well if you follow the tutorial – now a t shirt that was my cousins then my eldest that bub had loved because of the sewn on colour bits is now hers -so yes- follow the directions 🙂 (Oh – yes- they’re armwarmers – she insisted💜😊)